Will Varley @ The Montgomery, Sheffield

 

So this gig was a bit different to the usual fair you’ll find on Mixing Up The Medicine given that it was essentially a sit down folk music gig in a theatre, so a little different to my usual pit fest. To make it extra different for me, I even took my wife AND my mum and dad.

I’ve been a fan of Will Varley for a few years now, having happened across him on the line up at a festival I was at. Somehow this ended up being my fifth time seeing him this year, having seen him touring his latest album ‘Spirit of Minnie’ back in February and then by crossing paths with him at three other festivals this year.

I think he’s a really great song writer, with a varied repertoire that covers musings on modern life, history and current affairs with a mixture of styles ranging from comedic talking blues right through to poignant and heartfelt ballads. Consistent throughout it all is an amazing knack of telling a great story.

Opening the night was local lad Ben Ibbotson, and he seemed to take his task of getting the crowd warmed up very seriously! He had a cracking voice and his indie-esque songs were very catchy. He did his upmost to get the crowd involved, evening managing to get a bit of a singalong with his set closing ‘These are the Days’.

Next up was Dubliner Ailbhe Reddy (…don’t worry, I don’t know how to say it either). She cut a somewhat diminutive figure on stage at first, but soon grew in to her set and seemed to warm to the audience as she went on. Her songs consisted of intricately plucked guitar melodies on a rather fetching 1950s style hollow body electric guitar, accompanied by a beautiful and delicate singing voice. It was a very different vibe to the opening act, but the audience were more than happy to listen and absorb the songs, which whilst introspective, were still absolutely captivating. A really enjoyable set from an artist that I really didn’t know anything about.

And then on to Mr Varley. A lot of the shows he’s performed this year have been with an accompanying band, with ‘Spirit of Minnie’ consisting of several songs that probably need accompaniment to bring them to life. Tonight however, it’s just Will and a nylon strung Spanish guitar and it’s ace.

He played a 90 minute set, but if it weren’t for my bladder insisting on a rest room break part way through, I don’t think I would have noticed (…and having to get up to go to the loo when it’s a sit down gig is proper awkward!!!).

As always it’s a really entertaining show. The songs alone are great anyway, but there’s also a great rapport with the audience and it’s not unusual for him to break off mid-song to tell a little story or joke about him messing up the words. There seems to be a lot of older material covered with favourites such as ‘Seize the Night’, ‘Weddings and Wars’ and ‘We Don’t Believe You’ all played as well as a few more obscure tracks such as ‘February Snow’ and ‘Advert Soundtrack’. In fact I don’t think he played any songs from that most recent album. As always the heartfelt ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ is beautifully done, though I do have to say that the arrangement on the full band version of the song is stunning if you ever do get chance to catch it.

The crowd seem most enthused for the comedic songs in the set. ‘I Got This Email’ is a genius song, brought up to date with refreshed political references, and there’s a new song also about what might happen if the internet broke. As popular as these songs are though, it would be doing the quality of the songwriting a disservice to think of these as where Varley excels and I think the beauty of the set is probably the effortless ease from which he can switch from making you laugh out loud to making you want to cry and think more deeply about what life is all about. The show ends with my favourite song ‘King for King’ and it seems a fitting end to a cracking performance.

Having had a hectic touring schedule this year, Varley has announced that he’s planning to take an extended break to spend time with his wife and their recently born daughter, but he’s vowed he will return, and I know I’ll be sure to get along to more shows if his as soon as he does.

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God Damn @ The Flapper

God Damn are one of the bands that have reignited my passion for live music. I first saw them opening for the Foo Fighters at Old Trafford back in 2015, a show where I also realised that stadium shows are just not my thing. As iconic as the Foos are, live music when you’re packed in with 70,000 other people just doesn’t work for me. I was already hooked on God Damn’s debut album ‘Vultures’ by that point, and their performance was the highlight for me that day.

Fast forward a few months and I got to watch them again, this time at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. The dank underground venue a stark contrast to that first gig, and I reckon there were probably less than 50 people there – it was awesome, and one of my favourite gigs to date.

I saw them once more a few months later as part of an all-dayer in Leeds along side Dinosaur Pile-Up and Heck. That’s over 2 years ago now, during which time the band have released a second album (2016’s ‘Everything Ever’) and recruited a third band member. Since then I’ve managed to cruelly miss every opportunity to see them again, shows always being in the wrong place or at the wrong time.

So, having been quiet for a while, they announced that they would play their only show of the summer at The Flapper in Birmingham as part of the venue’s closing party. I didn’t want to miss out again, so a road trip was duly planned, keeping it classy with a four hour Megabus journey there, and then the night bus home again at 2am.

I’ve never been to a gig in Birmingham before, let alone The Flapper. The venue is located on the canal, split over 2 floors, but you enter on to the first floor via a bridge, with stairs taking you down to a canal side yard and the gig room. With the UK in the midst of a truly epic heatwave, the yard was absolutely rammed. The people of Birmingham are so friendly though, and myself and friend David were invited to sit with some of the locals, who kept us company most of the night.

Venturing inside, the gig room is tiny. The stage is more of a step and the roof is ridiculously low. So many great bands have played here in the last few years including Demob Happy, Tigercub, Dinosaur Pile-Up and Future of the Left. Kind of gutted that I’ve missed out on the chance to see so many of my favourite bands in such an intimate setting.

The land the building sits on is due to be developed in to flats, with the weekend I was there supposed to be being the last the venue sees in operation, but at the 11th hour they’ve been given a 12 month extension on their lease. Moves are still on going to try and secure a longer term future. So rather than a closing party, the weekend was rebranded as a celebration of being awarded the extension.

The line up for the event seemed to have chopped and changed a half dozen times, and unexpectedly first band on are You Dirty Blue. I was only able to catch a couple of their songs, but really enjoyed what I heard, the two-piece producing fuzzy blues rock with a modern twist.

Ghosts of Dead Airplanes are next up, delivering a punky but powerful set. Their frontman plays melodic but heavy guitar whilst he delivers clever lyrics that provide a commentary on modern life, his eyes fixed on the crowd with a slightly unhinged stare. The energetic bass player bounced around behind him in between backing vocal duties, and pounding drums completed the trio. Really loved this set, the band have a real edgy feel to them and I definitely hope to catch them again some time.

After a break for a show from a fire performer in the yard, it’s time for the main event: God Damn. The room was packed. Frontman Thom takes to the stage alone, and greets the crowd with the opening to ‘Skeletons’. Surely one of GD’s best tracks, I’m used to seeing this deployed as the finale to a set. However, rather than the punch in the face that normally greets you at the start of a God Damn show, this felt like a friendly welcome, and it’s evident how many fans are present as everyone sings along to the stripped back and mellow intro… already there seems like a special atmosphere in the room. Drummer Ash and keyboard player James take there place on stage just in time for the track to explode in to the main riff, the crowd also jumping in to life.

What an awesome start to the set, the room absolutely buzzing and the energy levels through the roof. The entire set stayed at this intense level. There was a really good mixture of tracks with a few new ones thrown in to the mix along with several tracks from the ‘Vultures’ album and a couple from ‘Everything Ever’. Personal highlights were ‘Dead To Me’, ‘Silver Spooned’ (which was introduced with the instagram sensation ‘I don’t remember how this song goes’) and oldie ‘Heavy Money’.

This really was the perfect storm of a gig. Band I love, playing in a tiny, dirty, sweaty venue, to a packed audience of proper fans. Thom spent a lot of time in (or in fact crowd surfing on) the crowd, whilst set closer ‘Vultures’ sees a large chunk of the audience invited up on to the stage to sing (and mosh) along. One gig reviewer put it far more eloquently than me (see her version of events  here) when she described it as “there is no us and them tonight, the band and crowd are one, fuelling off one another and having the time of their lives” – the night really did have a feel of community about it.

The world needs gigs like this, which means we need venues like The Flapper. Hopefully planners in Birmingham will see fit to allow the venue to remain. Pretty drunk, drenched in sweat, and with a giant grin on my face, this was definitely a night that’s going to stay long in memory.

 

Liverpool Calling 2018

I attended Liverpool Calling last weekend, but after a hectic week in between it’s only now that I’m getting around to capturing my thoughts about the event. And first thoughts are, wow, what an event. I had an absolute blast! I’d seen announcements about the line up knocking around for a few months, and whilst there were many bands I fancied seeing, I wasn’t sure I was up for the fact the shows were going to be spread across the city at several venues – however, when the stage splits and times were announced it turned out that all the bands I really, really wanted to see were playing the same stage anyway. The only choice left to make was whether to just get a ticket for Saturday, or go along Friday night too for an extra fiver.

I decided I’d drive for the Friday, and the plan was to jump on the train for Saturday and enjoy a few beers.

In principal, this felt like it ought to be a similar event to Leicester’s Handmade Festival, which I went to in May. Myself and the friend I went with both came away from Handmade feeling slightly unfulfilled, without quite being able to put a finger on why. It had an awesome line up, but something about the venues and the atmosphere just didn’t quite click.

There was no such problem in Liverpool – to be fair I only saw a slice of what was on offer, visiting 4 of the 9 venues used, but that covered all the acts I wanted to see, and the crowds at each one were great. The festival had 2 halves really – Friday night was a showcase of local and emerging bands playing small, independent venues in the city centre, whilst Saturday was an all day affair, moving to the Baltic Triangle at the outskirts of the city to see the marquee bands play bigger stages.

My Friday night was spent mostly at The Jacaranda, which has a low ceiling’d basement stage that’s tiny and filthy – exactly the kind of venue I love. My Saturday was spent at Constellations which seemed to be some kind of abandoned factory building which hosted the main stage, but also had a really lovely outdoor yard which had a second smaller stage where mostly folk and acoustic acts played through the day.

I watched an awful lot of bands, so in the interests of brevity I’ll keep the reviews short and sharp. My weekend panned out like this though:

Friday

Exoskeletons – travelling up from Kent, these guys stage banter was so terrible it was actually quite good. I really enjoyed the dual vocal element. Definitely check out their album ‘We Are Here to Make Things Better’, their track ‘Holes’ is going to get added to pretty much every playlist I’m going to make going forward.

Wife – I really enjoyed Wife, their heavy bass driven songs accompanied by various screeching and howling effects. A bit of a sonic assault, but an intentional one. Their drummer was probably the most animated drummer of the weekend, and I love it when a drummer gets a good gurn on. Their frontman needs to stop negging on the band and making out to the audience that they aren’t very good.

Forever In Debt – fast becoming one of my favourites of the North West scene, they played to a jam packed room. There were some technical problems, with the microphone failing for opening song ‘Billy’, and the at various other points in the set pieces of equipment seemed to want to try and unplug itself, but it was still another performance full of energy and banging grunge tunes

Strange Bones – I nipped across to the bigger Phase One venue to catch the first half of Strange Bones set. They’re basically Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, except from Blackpool. They’re hugely entertaining, with a great sense of theatre and the use of several props during the performance. Frontman Bobby Bentham is a bona fide rock star in the making (if he doesn’t class as one already), spending a lot of his time performing in the crowd, whilst moments on stage saw spectacular scissor kicking jumps. I need to listen to this band more!

Chambers – I saw the sister’s of doom duo in Leeds a few years ago and was really impressed, but they’ve kind of passed me by since then. Was great to reacquaint myself with them, and remind me why I liked them in the first place. They’re heavy, sludgy and intense and the performance sounded really tight. Yet another band I need to make sure stays on my radar.

Sweet Deals on Surgery – having listened to their record ‘The Snake and the Snoozer’ previously, I was undecided on SDOS. Now that I’ve seen them live I feel that I ‘get it’ with the raw, punky edge coming out a lot more. Despite obviously being unhappy with their sound set up, and their drummer and bass player having a small falling out on stage, I still thought they sounded really good, and definitely ended up implanting a few earworms, none more so than set closer ‘Take My Hand, Punch Me In The Face’. Will definitely be back for round 2 of SDOS soon!

Saturday

Echolines – best described as “not Dead Houses” who I’d purposely shown up early to see. Turns out Dead Houses had pulled out last minute, and whilst I was trying to figure that out, I probably didn’t give Echolines the attention they deserved, with me ending up leaving before the end of their set so I could go and check in to my accommodation.

Eyesore and the Jynx – I was back in time to catch the back end of their set. Their bass led art punk type sound isn’t particularly my type of thing, and consequently they didn’t really leave much of an impression.

Elevant – my first nice surprise of the weekend, Elevant were right up my street. A nice grungy backbone laced with an element of rock’n’roll swagger, their frontman was a real performer, and I loved his wobbly-legged dancing, whilst watching their bass player working her fret board was impressive. My only complaint would be the lack of that one knock out song that you can tell everyone about, but I will definitely listen to Elevant more and get to know their stuff.

SPQR – quite a big crowd gathered to watch SPQR, and there’s definitely a bit of a buzz about this band. I’d had recommendations from 2 different sets of friends to make sure I go watch them, and I can understand why. They have a great set of songs which have a slightly quirky sound to them and largely play on the quiet/loud/quiet pattern, except the quiet bits are really tender and heartfelt and with sense of vulnerability, which only makes the louder moments sound even more brutal. Definitely check out their EP ‘The House That Doubt Built’.

Peaness – perfectly pleasant pop ditties largely about rather mundane things such as food waste, Wagamamas and living in Chester. Not really one to mosh to, but catchy and upbeat. I loved how smiley the trio were, seeming to be absolutely loving being up on stage performing, and their harmonies were ridiculously good.

Pale Rider – I didn’t really get it. The guitar was overly fuzzy and hard to distinguish and the vocals also seemed drowned out. Three of the band wore smudged black face make up, though apparently the bass guy was too cool to join in. They struck me as being a bit “style over substance”.

Sœur – I’m fast becoming a tragic Sœur fanboy, but I don’t care. I think they’re ace. I was several beers deep at this point, and went and did the same thing I did last time I saw them, which was to head to the front and dance away to myself. Gutted there wasn’t a bigger crowd for them. New song ‘Fight’ to end the set sounds a bit special, gradually building and building to a dramatic finish – can’t wait for new material to be released later this summer!

Will Varley – I’m a big fan of the folk man, but I wasn’t really here to see him today. Was a nice bonus to see him do a couple of songs out in the yard, including ‘Talking Cat Blues’, before I headed in to watch Demob Happy. I already have tickets to see him on tour in October and he’s playing a couple of other events in between that I’m gonna be at, so hoping to take in a a lot more of him over the summer.

Demob Happy – come the end of the year, somebody, somewhere is surely going to give ‘Holy Doom’ an album of the year award? Such a great record, and I love watching the tracks from it live. I got a bit giddy during the set and decided to start making friends with the rest of the audience, and then I danced around the front of the venue without a care (probably looked a bit of a douche, but meh). The crowd really grew in to the set and there was a real buzz about the place by the time they finished with ‘Be Your Man’.

The Wytches – second time this year I’ve seen them live, and the second time I’ve come away feeling underwhelmed. I love The Wytches, but the set seemed short and unengaging, which is a shame, because I’ve seen them really tear it up when I’ve watched them as headliners.

Pulled Apart By Horses – ace! Still absolutely buzzing that they played ‘Meat Balloon’, one of my favourite PABH tracks and a song so old that it precedes them landing a record deal. I’ve never seen them do it live, and kind of presumed it had been retired from their live sets. The whole venue bounced for their performance, and it meant the event ended on a proper high!

And so it ended… There was an after party back at one of the venues in town afterward, but I was well cooked by that point. Hats off to the organisers, because I thought it was a great weekend. Big enough to feel like a proper event, but small enough to retain a certain level of intimacy that helps make these kind of things feel more special. My decision to go along this year was pretty last minute, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for announcements about next year and if they can deliver a line up with a similar vibe I’ll definitely look to get onboard earlier as it was such a great experience.

Wavves and Dune Rats @ Gorilla

Last Wednesday I went to a gig with a little bit of a difference for me. Most of the time I go to watch bands I love. Bands whose back catalogues I’ve listened to to death, and to whom I can sing every word and bounce along to ever beat. But even though they’re a band that have been around for a while (last year’s ‘You’re Welcome’ was their 6th album release) Wavves are new to me. My obsession with Gender Roles led a friend to recommend I give them a go, and I agree that in parts, especially they’re earlier stuff,  they do sound eerily similar. However, they’d thus far failed to make a similar impression on me.

Having said that, when I was asked along to the gig I figured I’d give it a bash. I was free that night, and it was the first time the Californian surf punks had been across to Europe in a while, with them only set to play three shows in the UK. I had a gut feel that with them being a bit of a niche act that it was going to be a special show.

It was also my first time visiting Gorilla, which is located under the railway arches at Manchester Oxford Road station. Tickets listed doors at 7:30pm so we figured that bands wouldn’t start until at least 8 o’clock, but as we walked in at 7:45 opening act Dune Rats where just starting their set. The room itself was a really nice size with the bizarre feature of having toilets and one of the bars actually behind the stage. This means you can get a spot with a viewpoint from actually behind the band, where you’re really close to the action without getting sucked in to a sweaty mosh pit (and it did get very hot).

Dune Rats are an Australian three-piece who had previously toured with Wavves down under. I was pretty surprised at how busy the venue was so early, and also the number of Dune Rats t-shirts knocking around… it looked like these guys had a bit of a cult following of their own!

As always, I’d listened to some of their stuff in the lead up to the show. They play pretty simple, but also extremely fun punk rock songs, with one guy in the crowd who seemed to be more interested in the beer than the music trying to rib them about sounding like Blink-182, which was perhaps a little harsh. The songs are kind of dumb, mostly talking about drinking beer and smoking weed, but they’re also extremely catchy.

Shouting along to beer drinking anthem ‘6 Pack’ whilst swigging from my own can of Red Stripe was great fun and there were are a ton of other really good sing-a-longers in there, such as ‘Scott Green’ (about trying to find weed at a party “Who’s Scott Green?”), ‘Bullshit’ and set closer ‘Dalai Lama’. The crowd really were in to it too, with a large section singing along the whole time. It was a really fun performance and I’m glad we got down early enough to see it.

It’s a pretty quick turnaround in between bands, and befor we know it Wavves are taking the stage. Frontman Nathan Williams is dressed top to toe in Adidas sportswear, including the classic 3 stripe track pants that all 90’s teens owned and even a pair of sambas for trainers. He also walks on with a litre bottle of Jameson’s whisky that he looks to have made a pretty big dint on already, and proceeds to pour himself a large measure. He announces that he’s come dressed as a “scally” and also that he’s pretty wasted.

The crowd get going pretty quickly, and I surprise myself with how many of the songs seem to have stuck in my head. They play ‘King of the Beach’ from the album of the same name really early in the set, which is probably my favourite track, mostly because it’s the one that was my first introduction to Wavves and also because it’s one of the most Gender Roles-esque tracks. But it’s their newer stuff, from last years album ‘You’re Welcome’ which I thought I wasn’t so bothered about that I seem to enjoy most, with ‘Daisy’, ‘You’re Welcome’ and ‘Million Enemies’ amongst the highlights for me.

The band look to be having great fun on stage – a guitar strap breaks early in the set and Nathan has to swap guitars and then in one of the most chaotic moments (and you might have had to be there to understand this) he manages to accidentally throw the replacement guitar across the stage, snapping another guitar strap and breaking a tuning peg as well as smashing in to the pedal board of second guitarist Alex. It’s a genuinely hysterical moment. It seems that they’re travelling light on this tour and so he only actually  had two guitars with him… luckily the guitar tech has mended the first one in the mean time, though there’s still a slight delay whilst Alex sorted his board out and the set was able to continue.

It’s a really great crowd there. At one point me and my friend Pie were worried we were going to be the old foagies amongst a bunch of teeny boppers, as Wavves are quite pop-punky at times, and whilst there were definitely some sections of the crowd like that, it was genuinely a really good mix, with people coming far and wide to check out a band who don’t seem to make it across here all that often.

Having spent most of the set having a dance to the side of the stage in our little faux-backstage area, we also ventured into the pit towards the end of the set too, where the atmosphere was electric, the room erupting into one big hot sweaty pogo-ing mess!

I took myself off for another drink just before the end of the set, but my mate stayed in there to take part in Nathan going for a crowd surf, entering the crowd via a somersault.

And then it was all over… a fun packed, laugh out loud, energetic performance, with a really good crowd and a venue that I think might become one of my favourites. Really glad I went along, and perhaps a reminder that you shouldn’t necessarily be put off going to a gig just because it’s a band you don’t know so well.

7th April, part 2 – Sœur and Demob Happy

So the British underground rock scene only went and bloody did it again didn’t it?! I was already all over it when Demob Happy announced the tour to promote new album ‘Holy Doom’. By hook or by crook I was gonna make it to a show; and then they only go and bloody announce Sœur as the support act!

I bloody love Sœur! They’re ace! Out of last years 2000 Trees line up they were the one band that I accidentally saw (…there were many other great bands and great performances, but these were one of the few acts I hadn’t planned on seeing) that genuinely blew me away. I’ve been listening ever since, and been desperate to see them live again. They did a free entry tour back in November, and heart breakingly I couldn’t make it to any of the shows. I was super stoked that I was finally going to get a chance now.

So what’s so good about them? They sit firmly in the middle of a blossoming British alt scene, and I challenge anyone who enjoys any variant of rock/grunge/punk/alt music not to like them at least a little bit. But rather than fade in to the bushes (<– Homer Simpson reference) amongst what seems to be becoming a fairly crowded scene, they shine out with their own original take on the genre.

What’s different? Well, where do I start? The three piece consist of two guitars and drums (no bass, though admittedly the odd bass line does crop up via an effects pedal). Their riffs contain chord changes that would sit very comfortably on a decent metal record, yet they’re delivered via a sludgy baritone guitar aesthetic that sets them apart from a more cliched metal sound. They use really clever changes of pace, mixing unpredictable moments of the quiet/loud/quiet dynamic with occasionally syncopated rhythms and clever pauses. And they’re vocals are shared by their two female guitar players, but in a unique take on the dual-fronted format whereby neither singer ever seems to take the lead – they’re either harmonising, exchanging alternating lines in a verse, or on some occasions even competing against each other whilst singing different words to a different melody. All of this adds up to an intriguing but in my opinion extremely effective sound.

I rock up to The Deaf Institute in Manchester with just enough time to sling my bag in the cloak room and buy in a round of beers. Sœur are opening with ‘Put You On’ just as I get my change from the barman. Full disclosure: having been at Falsestival all afternoon (see 7th April, part 1 for details) I may have had a few drinks by this point. Add to this a round of Jagermeister supplied by my mate DT and it’s safe to say that any gig going inhibitions had been well and truly shed, and I spend the entire set in my own little Sœur-loving dancing bubble at the front of the room. I had such a good time though!

As well as other songs from their EP ‘What Separates Us’ we’re treated to recent stand alone single and personal favourite ‘No Fire’ before the middle of the set comprises of a couple of new songs. I can kind of sympathise with audiences watching Sœur for the first time, because their unpredictability potentially makes them a difficult watch if you’re not familiar with their songs. That being said, I’m kind of predicting the unpredictability, so I definitely took time during this section to chill and take in as much as I could. I hope these songs make it on to a release sometime soon and I’m looking forward to the chance to hear them again. The set closes out with the anthemic ‘Slow Days’ followed by a triumphant ‘Left Living’ that leaves me with a beaming grin. It was really nice to have a catch up with the front ladies Tina and Anya afterwards, and I’m unapologetic about being a tragic fanboy as well as regurgitating a lot of the same superlative sentiments used in this blog entry. I can’t wait to see them again!

Phew! Deep breath needed… I’m not even at the main event yet… Similarly, on the night I took myself out to The Deaf Institute’s terrace for a breather, but was back in the venue just in time for the start of Demob Happy’s set.

I saw Demob three times last year when they supported label-mates Dinosaur Pile-Up (yep, that’s me bleating on about DPU again… one of my absolute favourite bands that are gonna continue to get name dropped on this blog). Their debut album ‘Dream Soda’ is a really good listen, and whilst they were a band firmly on my radar, the DPU tour was the first time I’d seen them perform. They did that annoying thing where they hardly played any of the songs you know and instead opted to use the tour to test drive new material. On the first show in London, once that annoyance had subsided, I was really enjoying the new stuff. By the third show I went to, I was singing along and absolutely hooked!

There were pretty much four months between those shows and the eventual release of album number two ‘Holy Doom’, but listening to those songs again on release day felt a little like unearthing that forgotten record from your youth you hadn’t remembered you loved so much. The new record has a totally different vibe to ‘Dream Soda’. I’ve heard other people describe it as sounding similar to early Queens of the Stone Age (‘I Wanna Leave (Alive)’ is very nearly a rip off of QOTSA’s ‘Quick And To The Pointless’), however, whilst I can’t disagree with that sentiment, personally it wasn’t the first thing that struck me about the new Demob Happy sound. The fuzzy bass, tripped-out guitar sounds and vocal harmonies really remind me of 60s psychedelic rock, channelling supergroup three piece Cream as well as, dare I say it, The Beatles.

As good as ‘Dream Soda’ is, I think ‘Holy Doom’ is definitely an upgrade and the new sound gives Demob Happy a uniqueness that will help set them apart from that aforementioned crowded scene.

The live performance is a real treat and the crowd are really up for it. My little Sœur-loving dancing bubble is soon turned into an energetic happy dancing mob. The set starts with album opener ‘Liar In Your Head’ and we get to hear most of the tracks from ‘Holy Doom’ including ‘Fake Satan’, ‘Loosen It’, ‘I Wanna Leave (Alive)’ and personal favourite ‘Maker Of Mine’ as well as a really awesome (and unexpected) rendition of ‘Runnin’ Around’, which is the type of album track you think will never make it to a live show. There’s also room for stand alone single ‘Dead Dreamers’ and a little ‘Dream Soda’ nostalgia with crowd favourite ‘Succubus’ as well as ‘Junk DNA’ (go watch the music video for this, ‘cos it’s great) making the set too. The set rightfully ends with Demob’s biggest and arguably best hit to date ‘Be Your Man’, the crowd being whipped into a frenzy and the night ending on a real high.

And so an epic day came to an end (well, not strictly speaking true… I had another two hours until my bus home, so hit up a few bars with DT, but that was the end at least from a live music perspective) . Part 2 of 7th April was possibly even more epic than part 1 with me getting to fully immerse my self in drunken sweaty appreciation of two up and coming bands who I adore – here’s to the opportunity to do it many more times in the future.