So this was a bit of a gig with a difference, being hosted by Show Stream TV and available to watch live online, it also involved a talk show style panel at the beginning of the show and then again before the headliners took the stage. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be in to it, but it ended up being an interesting event with a slightly different vibe to the normal shows I go to and certainly something I’d happily go along to again.
The initial panel section was hosted by Shell Zenner (such a rock’n’roll name!) of BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio fame. She quizzed Jeff Thompson, co-founder of Off-Axis and Un-Convention, Bill Cummings, the editor of God Is In The TV Zine and Jen Hingley from False Advertising about various aspects of the music industry. Is was interesting hearing about Jeff’s experiences working with artists and bands. Off-Axis is an organisation that helps independent bands set up tours and facilitates gig swaps to help artist reach new audiences, whilst Un-Convention is a conference and networking event to help emerging artists navigate their way in the music industry, which sounds like a really interesting event, though probably not aimed at hobbyists like myself. His key message was that as well as standing out as an artist, it also really helps to just be a nice person if you’re wanting to get places in the industry. This opinion was gladly backed up by Bill, who deals with artists via his online platform at www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk. Jen gave an insight into here experience as not only a member, but also manager of False Advertising.
The music kicked off with Leeds rockers Dead Naked Hippies. I’ve reviewed them on this site before, as part of an all day event I went to, but last time around, featured in a mid afternoon spot I wasn’t glowingly enthusiastic. I was really impressed this time around. I’ve always enjoyed their recorded material, though this set only featured a couple of their released songs. Instead they opted to perform a glut of new songs. The new material sounded really sweet though.
Front lady Lucy Jowett prowled around the stage (and sometimes in the crowd) exuding personality, her punk rock crossed with glam rock persona accompanied by a Jagger-esque strut that really commanded the audience’s attention. Meanwhile guitarist (and vegan donut connoisseur… if you know, you know) Joe Clarke had a really clean yet deliciously deep guitar tone going on, even swapping to a bass for some of the songs. Drummer Jacob Marston held everything together as well as introducing some samples and sound scapes to some of the songs. Highlight for me was a new song towards the end of the set that is apparently so new it doesn’t even have a name at this point. Talking to the band after they affectionally referred to it as “poppy banger”, which is a great description, as the song has a really strong and upbeat guitar riff through out.
Next up were Sly Antics, who I wrote about a few weeks back. Since then, I’ve listened to their recorded tracks some more, and whilst I’m still not as in to them as the live performances, the extra familiarity with the songs helped make this set even more enjoyable than the last one. Without wanting to regurgitate my last review, I’ll just say that I’m definitely a fan of the filthy, bluesy rock and roll show these guys put on, and I’ll once again single out vocalist Sam Buckley’s awesome blues voice – a real treat.
Ms. Zenner then took the stage once more, this time with Chris Warr from False Advertising, Sam from Sly Antics and Jacob from Dead Naked Hippies. There was a brief chat just about general band life, upcoming plans and so forth. Again, the key message for aspiring artists being that yes it’s a tough world to crack, but don’t give up. However, make sure you look after yourself whilst you’re doing it.
And so finally to False Advertising. Now I’ve played it down thus far, but actually this gig was kind of a big deal for me. I’ve been a big fan of False Advertising since the back end of 2017, not long after the release of their EP ‘I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring’. However, despite a few attempts I’ve so far failed to see them perform live. I even had tickets for them last year, but ended up at a different “not to be missed” show instead. So I was really looking forward to finally popping that FA cherry.
They did not disappoint. In fact, live they were even better than I imagined. I was already really into the grungy slacker-pop sound that these guys deliver on record, but have to say that live the grungy aspect gets dialled up a notch (if not several). It turns out Chris Warr is a total power drummer. Man, he beats those things up, which personally is exactly the kind of drummer I like to watch. And almost in call and response to the drumming, Jen Hingley becomes a complete bad ass on stage. The mild mannered interviewee from the opening panel all of a sudden became a snarling, screaming, head banging show lady, with the guitar tone filthier than anything else that night.
I never take notes at shows, and given the chance I’ll enjoy a beer or three as well, so excuse my hazy recollection of the set list. It was a great mixture of new, unreleased material and old songs including ‘Not My Fault’ and ‘Scars’.
And of course there was the switcheroo part way through the set, with Chris coming out front to take on guitar duties whilst Jen swapped on to drums (a move I knew was going to happen having followed the band on social media).
‘Honest’ (which is probably my fave False Ads song) and ‘Give It Your Worst’ were amongst the songs performed with Chris taking the lead. Have to say, having been blown away by Chris’ drumming at the top of the show, Jen was pretty damn impressive herself, certainly holding her own, whilst also smashing out some quality drumming gurns.
The pair then switched back again, all the while bassist (and birthday boy) Josh Sellers going about his business with minimal fuss. I quite enjoyed the little interlude he played whilst the final drum/guitar switch was happening, before segmenting into ‘Hey You’, another False Ads stand out.
All three bands on the night were class. The crowd however, were perhaps a bit subdued. A couple of guys were throwing some shapes down the front for False Advertising, but other than that it was a largely placid crowd, which would normally be cause for complaint from me. However, given the context of the night, it kind of felt right. Everyone there still seemed engaged and attentive and certainly gave the bands a great reception. With the panel format included the event some how felt a bit more high brow, and probably not the right environment for a burly 30-something dude to start flinging himself around to the music.
I really appreciated the chance to turn up to something a bit different though, and getting some insight from the performers as well as other industry insiders somehow helped a regular punter like me feel just that little bit closer to the music scene I hold so dearly.
I believe Show Stream are looking to put these kind of events on regularly, so if you see one, don’t be afraid to give it a go.