Did it all go according to plan? Well no, not at any rate. After reading back last years nominations and recommendations for the forthcoming year I can already see that Tangled Hair didn’t deliver anything and there was a bunch of stuff I didn’t even consider. Let’s fire up iTunes and remind myself what went on this year…
MY TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014.
Probably the first time I bought into a crowd funded thing. Not sure why I hadn’t before, and I didn’t really feel that helpful about the whole thing after. Nevertheless Falco aka Future Of The Left front man continued in his still-sounds-like-Mclusky post Mclusky slew of musical output. This time with a bang on form and witty self release under the title, christen fitness.
It still sounds like Mclusky no matter what he does. Is it in his raging voice, over driven guitars and bass or just the razor sharp lyrics?
Left field suggestion from me, as you’d just assume I’d only be picking from the underground and acts I have a passing connection with, but I go pick a top 10 electro-pop act. I pre-ordered the Metronomy album on CD, and immediately regretted not spending the extra for the vinyl. With this came the opportunity to pre-order tickets to an intimate début showing of the record in Brighton’s Old Market venue. I went, it was magical and I had breakfast with Chris T-T.
The record itself continued much in the vein as previous efforts. Electro indie-pop, with the song Reservoir being a particular stand out.
I missed them at 2000 Trees in 2013, I didn’t get to see them live, but you just KNEW they were amazing. Then they split up. It’s solid fun, fun, FUN from ecstatic dramatic opener “World In Harmony”, which I guess is what they think the world would sound like, if it were in fact in harmony. The album never lets go of the throttle, every song an electro pop blitzkrieg – absolutely fabulous stuff.
Mr Frank Turner got the opportunity to scream his guts out again, as much mooted hardcore / punk band, with well documented best pal, Ben Dawson surfaced. It featured 13 tracks and clocked in at 36 minutes. This years Devizes Festival meant I missed their performance an Bristol’s Fleece where, according to my Facebook and Twitter feed, everyone I knew was attending.
My professionalism paid off after a blistering motorway run to Portsmouth saw me arrive at the venue 2 hours early and get introduced to Reuben drummer, Guy Davis. Happy with that, I sneaked a Chinese in one of Southsea’s many public green spaces, watched the bands set, which wasn’t long enough for the headline billing and thus included no less than 4 covers. All of them heavy and I couldn’t make out a word… (Set list Here)
The album is ace, with Blistering Blue Barnacles being the obvious-addition-to-any-punk-playlist-since.
I had the pleasure of managing to sneak these Londoners onto a bill in Swindon as part of their album tour. A trio of keyboards, more keyboards, drums and a guitar (which is largely hidden away) gives you a clue to their sound. Lush and squelchy keys make songs all about space and aliens and such like. In an electro-power-pop kind of way. SO MUCH FUN, and brilliant live.
Their front man runs / owns a studio, where he has recorded the likes of Ash and Emmy The Great, is the live FOH sound engineer for post-rock / noise band Three Trapped Tigers and happened to be one of Tim Wheelers childhood friends. He manages all that and is a complete dude, who never once stopped smiling.
Oh and did I mention the album was only pressed onto Vinyl. Of which you could purchase a uber rare / expensive one which had an actual meteorite ground into the pressing? Too cool.
(Check out a great first pump photograph of Emperor Yes! from The Victoria on our Gallery, to your right. Or click here if you’re in the email)
11 tracks of perfect post rock. Summing up a genre without watering it down or trading paths too well trodden before. Lush production, and excellent arrangement all condensed down into on average, 4 minute songs. Beautiful.
I managed to catch these for the first time at 2000 Trees this year, and they smashed it. Having previously not been able to quite manage a live show for them, they are probably too big for me now – alas, my memory will always be filling that festival’s main stage with some epic soundscapes which sounded even better after the terrible r’n’b DJ in between acts.
I predicted their album would be my number one this year, it isn’t, but it is on the list. Never have I been so happy to catch a band on their way up to being loved than these 3 lads from Brighton. I managed 2 shows for them this year, opening their second UK headline tour (after opening their first ever headline tour last year!) in Salisbury. That show has become local Salisbury folklore already, I then managed a Swindon show the day before they played 2000 Trees too.
That Swindon show also became the stuff of legend, a 4 band bill in the midweek? On paper it looked like it was doomed to fail, but we sold out the Victoria on a Wednesday. All the bands got paid, with Gnarwolves going home with more than they expected – Some lovely words from them followed and I, rather naively, believed we would be a shoe in for the Autumn tour. Alas we weren’t as they had outgrown us. However they did leave an absolute banger of a record in their wake.
10 tracks of 3 chord punk, with catchy choruses and trademark witty or poignant lyrics. Clocking in at 26 minutes, it’s on a par with Mongol Horde in packing a lot into a short space of time.
Only released on 24th November, this record makes it onto my list because, it’s utterly fantastic. But also because *humble brag* I’ve had the album for months. Listening to the various versions develop into a fully formed record has been a joy to unfold. I remember Chris T-T tweeting about his experience working with the band on the recording of their duet, he was a gush with superlatives and all of them justified. This is the sound of a band reaching their song writing peak, flexing their ability to weave songs as Kyle manages to weave 2 stone walled classics together in such a sublime manner as he has done.
Normally you’d keep well away from material such as 1940’s film It’s A Wonderful Life. You know if you mess it up it’s going to be pointed out, but attempting to weave that story into a Dickens novel as well? That takes some serious confidence. Managing to pull it off is something else entirely.
11 tracks that manage to tell both stories at the same time, whilst also being semi-autobiographical of front man and my-brother-from-another-mother Kyle Evans, skip by with some great lyrical jokes at the bands name, the ditching of the banjo and an exploration of wider instruments all delivers a thoroughly memorable, likeable, accessible and classic Christmas album.
At time of originally writing this, they are 6th in the iTunes Christmas chart, just behind Leona Lewis. Have some of that establishment. For one week at least!
I managed to give them 2 gigs this year, and catch them in Camden for their album release show. With many many friends and associates we saw the band bash out the album, have 3 guest vocals to fill the 3 ghosts of Xmas, and I managed to shift their entire stock of the album manning their merch desk. Brilliant.
2014 was a year for retrospective Emo releases, as American Football and Mineral were both treated to re-releases and probably more if I dug into it. So it was fitting that a British band should release their début album and beat the yanks at their own game.
A heartfelt record about love, loss and regret, it’s clear the band have been through some stuff. If I had to single out lyrics, I’d be re-writing the sleeve notes here for you. Whether it’s losing his father on the song Pups “It doesn’t matter that we can’t get drunk Dad, it doesn’t mean we can’t fun. We can go out for a couple or maybe a few, it wasn’t getting drunk and low, it was being with you” makes my hair stand on end and my eyes well up. Nearly losing my Dad last year has made me susceptible to such emotional heart tugging.
This album has more besides and with every listen I commit another line to heart and imagine a warm summer, wearing only t-shirts with the blissful ignorance of youth in our steps and Instagram filters on my eyes.
It’s also an album which doesn’t let up, just absolute cracker after cracker. I want to see them live so bad, I want to stand at the front and sing along to every word and get lost in the moment. Good job they’re announcing a spring tour then isn’t it?
JoFo – You Can Do Better
Earlier in the year Jack Alcopop quipped about releasing two records with rather negative titles, this being one of them. JoFo’s 4th studio album, and their belting best. 10 tracks of immediate, urgent indie rock.
I managed to rescue their Bath gig from Moles, after it burnt down, and moved it to The Nest. It was an average night, and I won’t point fingers, as it could have done better, but getting to help one of my favourite bands with a show, getting to watch that show will always stay with me. Fucking super professional people, super fucking cool band, super ace songs.
It was an album I spent most of this year listening to, it’s still on regular rotation now. It was released so early, I can’t believe it was 2014! It is where I go to remind myself what I have and everything I should be grateful for. Again lyrically it kills me, I’ve made my own observations and parallels and invested my emotions into this record and it has paid back in spades.
I completely disagree. Surely it’s down to your own interpretation of greatness? I mean Emperor Yes! was a truly GREAT record. Kyle’s wording and intertwining of those two stories? Incredible. There were lots of great records this year, there’ll be plenty more in other peoples lists that I’ll read and think, I’m going to listen to that – Some of which I will love and think are great. Maybe I’m easily pleased, maybe he’s hard to please or maybe greatness is just in the eye of the beholder.
TOP EP’s (evidently all very punk…)
Brawlers – I’m A Worthless Piece Of Shit
Solemn Sun – §
Woahnows – Life In Reverse
Nai Harvest – Hold Open My Head
Bloody Knees Vs. Birdskulls – Split 7″
And due in 2015…..?
We’ll I’ve previewed the B-Sydes record, and think that’s ACE. Frank Turner will have his post-breadkup record, record out which I hope will be a happier listen. Every year brings a new Beans On Toast record, so that’s a cert’. Ash have announce the pre-order of their album, and Nai Harvest I understand have one in the bag. All those above in the EP’s list in fact have got to be quids in for LP’s? AND rather excitedly I saw ASIWYFA’s tweet of the masters of their new record. That list alone is enough to get me excited, and that’s before I discover anything new.
ANYWAY, there you have it. I’ve pinned my colours to the mast, and no mention of my favourite Scot’ Mark McCabe – Well his album was great too, but wayyy to sad to make it into my top 10. Not that I didn’t love it, I really did and I love him equally.
Tune into The Colour Of Vinyl, tonight from 8pm to listen to Rob’s top ten and some honourable mentions of the list above.
It’s been nearly 3 months since I last updated, sorry for the lack of information as I was off gallivanting.
June saw Devizes Festival ( 3 weeks in June) hit town, and I did 23 ish events in 21 days. Highlights included Howard Marks, the ejection and subsequent slating in the Gazette & Herald. (Can’t please them all, some good points in your review, you kinda missed the point though and I managed to ruffle a few feathers in a conservative town.) Mr B (awful sound but great venue and performance). And that crazy Mrs B Nice who was on another planet. Great comedy, and those 3 previous acts all had similar names, which caused chaos.
Ian Hopkins went sick, as you all know, but is back on his feet and rejoining the Festival committee after this years Wash Up meeting next week. Hooray!
I managed to prove myself with a few events, and have much grander, exciting plans for next year. Watch this space come September, and I’ll start to roll out a few hints. It’s going to be proper exciting.
The shortest of breaks was filled with a complete surprise party for both Matthew Adams and I, (Late June) reaching our 30th & 31st birthdays respectively. Thrown by Nicky Stalham and Zoe Moore, it included an El Mariachi Mexican band, loads of Tequila, Mexican’s and Mexican’ts, friends and family, and then someone being sick in a pub toilet, which I waited around drinking coffee until 3am sobering up enough to drive home, because a taxi wouldn’t allow a sick person in the back. EPIC.
Then came 2 huge Swindon shows, The Computers & Gnarwolves. (early July) Both shows really brought the good times back to Swindon. I don’t like to blow my trumpet, but these were my biggest shows in terms of finance ever, and it really paid off. Great to see some big bands back in town, and I’ll be looking to continue doing more, provided we get the right offers. Check out the video below of Gnarwolves, along with these two awesome reviews. Especially the comment about the sound at Gnarwolves, which was done through a fog of sickness, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. ThisIsWiltshire review & Hit The Scene review.
After that was a weekend of no sleep, continued sickness, paracetamol and 2000 TREES. (Mid July) My first ever full weekend at Trees (yes, really – I’m normally working at venues as it clashed with Fieldview in the past, OR doing warm up shows for this very festival!) was glorious. The Thursday saw the best bands of my past 6 months of promoting. Retrospective Soundtrack Players, Oxygen Thief and Ben Marwood all having played Swindon’s Victoria for me prior, and all sharing the same backing band was quite special. TRSP’s managed to reduce me to tears, and Ben Marwood also managed e tear. Later that evening saw JoFo play a proper indie rock racket, which made me smile more than their Bath show I managed to rescue after Moles burnt down. Gnarwolves finished off my affiliation with that day in proper style – If it wasn’t for the fact this day alone is the returning bands from the previous year, their set would guarantee them a place on next years bill. Ace.
Zoe, Rob, Meelie and I caught Dan Le Sac for the first time, since I missed them at the Frank Turner support at Wembley, instead opting for the Kingston instore show with Jim Lockey (hardcore). They didn’t disappoint, but it was also announced that they will be parting ways soon, so it was probably my one and only time of seeing them. Fiddlesticks.
The next two days followed in the same routine, late nights, busking slots, Dave McPherson popping up everywhere, AWESOME sets from The Bronx, The Computers and finished off in style with Crazy Arm. Jim Lockey announced their name change into Solemn Sun – I met all the rad dudes from across the country I rarely get to see, Adam Boucher, B-Sydes, Anthony Barlow, Lonely Tourist, Felix Hagen, Barry Dolan, Rick Marwood, Ben Marwood, Kevin BSM Records, and Jack Alcopop, Drop Out Dan etc and I spent time with Steve Hooper and his Mrs and the excellent Jodie from Bristol / Live Music Scene, to seemed to know even more people than I.
Shout outs to the Devizes massive (Luke, Dan and Alex) and all the Swindon crew (too many to name… but special mentions to Jake and Samuel)
Upon our return, and after a shower (or two) Rob Escott of The Colour Of Vinyl (link on your right) and I got down to reviewing the festival, via his session on Melksham Town Sound, which you can listen again via this link on Mixcloud, or check out our Pictures of our adventures on the Sheer Facebook page.
Proper excellent weekend, that gave us the post festival, festival blues. Hate returning to work and longing for it all to kick off again.
Which didn’t take long as PROFESSOR ELEMENTAL hit Devizes, in the amazing surroundings of St Mary’s Church / Arts Centre. The Prof’ went down extremely well, loved the town and the venue and what we are trying to achieve. Visually the place was arresting – Pictures on the Sheer facebook page – We had people travel from Swansea, Gloucester, Guildford, Poole and Bournemouth for the show(!) and our electro-swing DJ went on later than Devizes premier pub/club The Crown.
Check out this video, taken by an audience member…
In the mean time, I’ve had in the 10 year anniversary t-shirt image in. Designed by young, fledging graphic designer, Sharna Mollett – It will be available to purchase / pre-order very soon, with an ETA of late September for printing. Check out the design below. Mock up was created by Alex Fruen of Original Glory, who is also handling the digitalisation of a hand drawn image. Skills.
FINALLY, the first job I had after all that had blown over, was to announce the first of the September shows, in the shape of KUNT & THE GANG. (links on the gigs tab, to your right, if you’re viewing this on the website!) and our final show of the Summer at the Stratton Stroll this Saturday.
Then it’s a genuine 6 or 7 week break from all things musical and organisational, whilst I write the promotion plan for Devizes Festival 2015, have a summer off with friends, start the first of the Bad Film Nights, give the in-laws a thank you curry for all the child minding and perhaps a wee late minute holiday away too.
See y’all in September’
KIERAN J MOORE
Eek! The once humble, Parisian style mood of the venue is being given a facelift this week by Jonn King – He has already completed the stairwell, hall and downstairs toilets, while the main work in the function room comes next week – sneak pics below!
BUT DON’T PANIC the front bar, main toilets and smoking area / garden remain unchanged.
The function room looks set to lose it’s oddly shaped tables and random assortment of chairs, for a more uniform layout. The new lick of paint was certainly needed and I hope give a cleaner impression!
I’ll also have this ace little booth to store my kit in, and look dead professional and what not to stand behind. The first show AFTER the work looks set to be Friday 9th May, the Devizes Festival acoustic showcase, which features Barney Goodall among others! >check that out here<
You’ll all get the chance to see what work has been done TOMORROW evening, when Gaz Brookfield comes to town. Free entry from 8pm.
In other news, we have a massive show to announce Friday, so please keep your eyes peeled in the usual spaces. And a big shout out to Gnarwolves who have been upgraded to the main stage at this years Reading Festival, well done lads.
Stairwell (leading into function room)
The downstairs / wheelchair toilet
We’ve been mega busy in Devizes, and it’s flown by in what seems like a blink an eye, but for what it’s worth, here’s my quick round up!
We went through an Autumn slew of shows, which featured a lot of the peripheral acts from the scene I love most – We had Retrospective Soundtrack Players kicking us off at the end of October, in fine, rather modest style – A well attended show with a great performance!
Beans On Toast followed shortly after, which is always a great gig, but really good for me to get more of the gossip from what’s going on else where with other friends! Turned out the Salisbury show on that tour, was rather naff.
Andy Oliveri continued our strong series of gigs, and he played a blinder, with his backing vocalist and g/d of Jim Locky & Solemn Sun tour manager / bassist Phil. Was great to get more of these people from the wider scene into Devizes – That night was backed up from Henry Green too, who stole the show!
Gaz Brookfield brought the penultimate show of this programme to an end, stuffing the venue to bursting point, and he managed to bring with him Joe McCorriston too, another guy I was more than happy to have! This gig was extra special, as we managed to have Ellen Cox AND Mark McCabe in there too – That is definitely going to be a show that we look back at and go, “Wow, they were all there on the same bill, crazy!”
Finally Dave Hughes bought what I thought was going to be an acoustic set, electrically – but actually proved a fitting finale to that run of shows and again, was an absolute pleasure to work on, watch and hang out with!
Thus ended probably our most consistent run of gigs ever!
December kicked off with “Rockxegyn Thief” the Oxygen Thief full band show, which actually counted member of the previously mentioned Retrospective Soundtrack Players in their ranks. I can now count half the members of that band, off my list. Swindon proving that it too can come up with the goods, even on a Wednesday night!
Finally it all boiled down to last nights gig with GNAWOLVES at the Corn Exchange. Again, another unashamedly successful night! Well attended, sounded ace, good bands, people and atmosphere!
The fear of the new electric system was dealt with easily, though having to get everything PAT tested, wasn’t just a ball ache, but expensive too! Though the curse of the venue did strike again, as it’s bloody expensive hire costs, and security demands means I actually walked away with a £200 loss. Still the band got paid, had an absolute riot and want to work with us again, so wins all round – and perhaps I’ll make that loss up at some point!
SO looking forward to 2014?
We open next years programme, with another act from my preferred underground scene – B SYDES. aka Benjamin Sydes, this dude is a friend of friends and really deserves a show in our venue (The Lamb) support comes from Bath’s Georgie Vale – who hasn’t been back for a while, and recent newie to me, Kirsty Clinch. Opening the night will be Mike Barham from Old Crows, who has returned to Devizes after finished Uni! Welcome back Mike! Look forward to your first solo set!
Further down the line I have a similar sized punk show for the Corn Exchange, a gig in a Church to be announced (St Mary’s), perhaps a Mr B show (or two) and I want to bring Gnarwolves back to the area, and I want to redesign the website too, so plenty to look forward to, BUT ALL OF THIS MATTERS NOT, if you don’t come to our Xmas and Final show of the year –
CHRIS T-T @ The Lamb, Friday 20th December – Facebook over there>> https://www.facebook.com/events/469489329832472/?ref=ts&fref=ts
You can read what Chris thinks of the gig here, and see his own words about a “Special Guest” over on our sister site, ColourOfVinyl – http://thecolourofvinyl.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/a-conversation-with-chris-t-t/ – We don’t know who the guest is, but Chris has recently had people like Jim Bob from Carter USM as a guest, so whoever it is, it’s guaranteed to be very special indeed!
Thanks one and all for your support over the past year, it’s been one of the best,
First of all, it’s that time of the month again, where The Bear opens up it’s bear pit (how apt!) and allows anyone who dares enter, the opportunity to perform live.
Open mic, 3 songs, then switch time – dependent on turn out means you may get another shot at the stage once everyone willing has had their soap box moment.
Doors I believe are at 7 / 7.30pm… Always a good laugh, and Devizes’s only real open mic (Did I mention, it’s free entry as usual?)
OK, moving on to my DAVE HUGHES show tomorrow, check out page 63 (I think) of today’s Gazette & Herald or Wiltshire Times for a lovely preview, entry is like usual and at The Lamb. The quality control is tight and to prove this, here are 2 live recordings taken from the past 2 shows; Dave’s fellow Scotsman, Mark McCabe, putting in an excellent show…
and Portsmouth’s Retrospective Soundtrack Players, a song I particularly like and v.happy with the way it came out! Hope you enjoy too!
TICKETS FOR GNARWOLVES have started shifting again, after a break in sales, not sure why – but they’ve now available from Devizes Books in Sidmouth St, priced £7. Remember you’re getting a £3 discount than the door price – that’s like almost the cost of a pint, just for buying in advance – It’s not often we get a band who have recently graced the front pages of a national magazine (Front) so please buy in advance, this is a big deal for Devizes! You can also buy on line at WeGotTickets. You know it makes sense!
FILM! If film is actually your passion in life, you could do worse than check out DEVIZES FILM FESTIVAL. In it’s inaugural year, the festival is open to anyone and everyone – read about what you can and can’t do with your footage here… Really cool that we finally have something like this in Devizes!