VIAGRA BOYS: An Ode To Sweden’s Finest.

25 12 2019

 

VB

Foolishly, I haven’t written about Sweden’s finest Viagra Boys. They have been a band that I have been obsessively listening to over the past few years. I guess I assumed I had already written about them. Never assume. But I guess now is the right time.

Last year they released the exceptional Street Worms, which is one of the most solid debut records we will ever be given by anyone irrespective of genre. It’s got everything you could possibly want from a record. The dark humour and their take on the world, and how fucked it has become is incredible. For me, they are up there with one of my biggest loves- METZ. They’ve got this heaviness in their sound that just blows your mind with every single listen.

Viagra Boys make you want to break stuff, they make you want to pick up a guitar and smash up a stage. They just present the world to you how you see it, but the way they do it is something else. I cannot think of any other band who have this much strength and power in their music. What I love about the band also, is that their fans are so passionate about them and really appreciate the dark humour in the songs and how the songs just make you feel free. There is freedom in relating to your favourite band, and knowing others feel the same. The same goes for bands like IDLES and The Murder Capital. Dedicated fans who are just in love with the music.

 

 

Sebastian has such a distinctive voice. For me, it’s the song Baby Teeth that really cements the sound and style of Sebastian’s vocals. He’s got this effortlessly cool drawl that makes you feel like you’re listening to Lou Reed or Iggy Pop for the first time. When you find a band like this, you really know you have found something special. I can’t write about Viagra Boys and not mention the anthem that is, Sports.

Sports is such a cool song. It oozes coolness so effortlessly, and you cannot help but lose your mind when you play it and shout “SPORTS”! along with Sebastian. I love how the drums and guitar seem to egg each other on in this song to play louder, and to get faster when the hook hits. It’s an underrated anthem, but us shrimps fucking love it. It’s the kind of song that you cannot help but recite whenever you can. The sax hits, and it is the most glorious feeling ever especially when Sebastian is screaming “SPORTS!” as if he has been wounded. I absolutely love this song, and for anyone who has never listened to Viagra Boys- start with Sports and let your obsession be fuelled. There’s six of them in the band, and they are all so vital to creating a sound that is theirs, and theirs alone. They possess the wildness of The Birthday Party and the storytelling of the king that is, Mark E. Smith. These are just a handful of reasons as to why I adore Viagra Boys.

If you check out their live performances on YouTube, you’ll see just how wild they are and how powerful their shows are. You feel like you’re watching something from another planet, and it’s one of the many reasons as to why you should and will love them (if you don’t already!) You can truly see that they are band that put everything into their music, and the way it comes across in their live shows just leaves you in awe. Again, they are a band that will definitely influence the next generation to make something of their own and thank Viagra Boys for it.

Songs like Frogstrap, Can’t Get It Up and Upside Backwards are just incredible. The more I listen to them, the more I hear how they have truly created something that goes beyond Punk or Post-Punk. It goes beyond anything we’ve ever heard before. All you can do is listen obsessively because that’s the kind of hold they have on you. I wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?

 

 

Viagra Boys are on tour in June in the UK. I didn’t get a ticket to the Manchester show because I’m a twat and it’s sold out. Don’t mess up like I have and go get tickets to their shows, if they haven’t sold out yet!





IDLES: Manchester Academy. 4th December 2019.

5 12 2019

idles

I apologise in advance for potentially how erratic and lengthy this will be. Last night’s show went beyond meaning the world to me, and although I may not be able to eloquently put into words what the show meant to me, I know that there is an incredible group of people who fully understand. That group of people are the AF Gang. Thank you.

Prior to the show last night Joe, Lee and Bobo walked past me. I stupidly (or sensibly) used my self-control to not go up to them and spurt out words of love and ask for a photo. I think part of me couldn’t believe it. Not that these real people walked past me, but because I was a couple of hours away from seeing them on stage. It hadn’t sunk in yet; the tickets were last minute (and I owe it to two complete strangers who have hearts of gold.)

Sadly, I didn’t make all the 45s set but what I could hear was truly wonderful and it sounded so energetic. But I did catch all METZ’s set. I think anyone who knows me, knows I love two bands a hell of a lot- METZ and IDLES. I saw METZ earlier this year when they played the Pink Room at YES (USA Nails supported, and again this was a dream line up.) I was blown away and I was left struggling to hear the day after. It was incredible. Second time around in a much bigger venue- they sounded the same. Full of this beautiful rowdiness that just makes you want to pick up a guitar and make a lot of noise. They are one of the best live bands around, and to see everyone else react the same was a beautiful thing too. Songs like Get Off and Acetate were sheer madness, and of course just made me fall in love with them all over again. If you ever get to see them, GO. In any capacity, just go. They’ll shake your bones and shatter your skull in the best way possible.

The main event. The bit where my heart beats faster in a good way, not from having a panic attack. The part where my life probably changes. Where it all kicks in.

IDLES take to the stage and open with Colossus. If you ever want to see a bunch of passionate, beautiful people rush to the front upon hearing the opening chords to an anthem- go to an IDLES show. This was the first time in a very long time where I was in the midst of the crowd. I normally stay back or near the side. I don’t do big venues usually. But I can safely say that I felt so fucking safe at this show. IDLES played 18 songs, and I’m pretty sure we would have begged them to stay longer and play them all again. They are a band that just make me feel so fucking happy and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. They are a band that say the things I probably can’t, and just voice out my worries and emotions better than I ever could. They are my outlet and my safety net. I have never sung (well, shouted) like this at a show before. This morning my body hurts and my throat hurts in the best way possible. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every single song is a highlight (we got QUEENS for fucks sake!!!) and I wanted to stay in the moment forever. Is this how someone feels when they see their child for the first time? I think this is probably better. From the crowd chanting IDLES prior to them coming on stage, from Bobo ending up in the crowd to Joe ending up with someone’s shoe on stage- this was truly the best gig I’ve ever, ever been to. Sorry Nick Cave, I think you’ve bene overtaken! The crowd chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” to the mass sing along of Wonderwall and All I Want For Christmas Is You. It was the most loving and precious atmosphere; I just wanted to be immersed in it forever.

This was my first IDLES show and it won’t be my last. There is something about seeing them for the first time that just gives you that kick up the arse that you need. Everything that this band and us fans stand for is something to treasure and to pass on. There were kids at the gigs with their parents, and if it was their first ever gig then everything else in life has a lot to live up to! I loved that during Rottweiler birthday girl, Catherine got on stage to play guitar with them. To see a fellow AF Ganger up on stage with the band and just ripping the stage apart was beautiful. That’s how you do a birthday and close a show.

Slow Savage broke my heart. This was the only moment I cried during the show. There is something about the way Joe shouts, “I’m the worst lover that you’ll ever have” that rips you apart. It’s the sheer openness and vulnerability in their songs that lures you in and wraps itself around your heart. This song is a prime example of it. But there is something else about their shows that will wrap itself around your heart- the strong feeling of unity.

Danny Nedelko is sang like a football chant on the terraces. This song means a hell of a lot to me and so many. It’s a perfect example of what makes this country great- the people who come here to better themselves. Our beautiful immigrants. We love you and you are welcome here. Always.

I feel I am missing key moments from the show, but I’ve had 5 hours sleep and a bit of a migraine brewing. I don’t care. I have never felt so alive as I did last night. The atmosphere was safe and full of love- just how it should be. We got Queens for fucks sake! I’m still delirious over that; incredible. Last night changed something in me. I’m not entirely sure what just yet, but something will emerge I’m sure. It has to. Since losing my Gran 3 months ago, I’ve not had hold of any emotion I have; everything has been a downward spiral in my head but last night I had a glimmer of stability. I have to go with that.

There is also nothing more satisfying and therapeutic than screaming along to their song Mother, and yelling “MOTHER! FUCKER!” with a few thousand people. Nothing can beat that.

Keep fucking going, and love yourself. LOVE.YOURSELF.





HATE MOSS.

2 12 2019

HATEMOSS

 

There is so much that I love about Hate Moss that I have no idea where to begin. The name of the band alone should make you love them. This Brazilian/Italian duo are based in London, and I think if I still lived in London, they would be THAT band that I constantly go see. They have something about them that just makes you really want to invest in them. As far as duos go, they’re up there with the best of them. They take elements of bands I love and make something of their own which is beautifully dark and creepy.

I think the best time to listen to Hate Moss is, well, all the time! But aside from that, listening to them in the dark when nothing and no one is around is an ideal setting. I’ve got a few bands that I listen to like this, and there’s something so sacred about listening to music in this vulnerable setting. I guess in a way, it makes you really soak up everything that’s going on in a more heightened manner.

 

 

Hate Moss don’t make sounds for those wanting sickly delicate emotions and thoughts. They’re for those who aren’t afraid to stay on the edge of something that could probably terrify someone else. Their songs have this euphoric glow to them, and it is really brought to life on songs such as The Time Your Remake which is 8 minutes of sheer heaven. Their synth-based sounds remind me of the likes of Drab Majesty and my all-time love, Cold Cave. They give you this atmosphere that gets you right in the gut.

Hate Moss totally stop you in your tracks when you listen to them. You simply can’t do anything when you listen to them apart from just that- listen to them. The vocals will send shivers right through you, and the music alone will increase everything you could possibly feel when listening to them. Two people are doing this- just two people. The incredible thing is that they don’t have that many songs, but every song feels like this ethereal cloak of darkness that you want to constantly cover you. They are such a special band, and you can really hear where they want to go when you stop and listen to their music.

Songs like Evil and Honey were made for you to just play really, loud. They’re the kind of songs you can see yourself screaming back at the band. Sometimes you just find a band or a song that you absolutely cling to, and these songs because your everything for that specific moment in your life.

 

 

I could quite happily switch off from the world and listen to Hate Moss on a loop. I could also sleep for a few days because I am so tired. But anyway, Hate Moss have something about them that just makes you feel like their live shows are really something else. This duo really knows how to get the listener right in the gut, and with just a handful of songs- they have mastered this perfectly.





FONTAINES D.C. : O2 Ritz, Manchester 19th November 2019.

20 11 2019

 

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“A sell-out is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money. An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of their thinking. A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they effect. A dilettante is someone who can’t tell the difference between fashion and style. Charisma is exquisite manipulation, and money is a sandpit of the soul.”

 

Recently crowned by Rough Trade as being their record of the year, Dogrel by the mighty Fontaines D.C. is a record that you need to witness in a live setting. If like me, you’ve been playing it almost religiously since it came out this year you will know just how powerful this record is. It’s romantic, it’s brutal, it’s honest and it is powerful. There’s only one way to play it, and that’s loud. In a live setting, it becomes something else. I knew it was going to blow my mind, but my god it exceeded everything and anything I thought about this beautiful band.

Their set is basically Dogrel in full, and every song is performed with this ferocious energy that makes you believe in every single word that comes out of Grian’s mouth. He’s a poet yet he delivers the words in a way of a preacher, it’s absolutely hypnotising and such a great thing to witness. As I watch the band, I can’t help but feel that they have the same energy and presence that The Birthday Party had. Grian stalks the stage like a young Nick Cave; Carlos and Conor are like Rowland S. Howard and Mick Harvey/Blixa.

 

 

Fontaines D.C. are unapologetically loud, and they touch on subjects that most tend to shy away from. Their songs touch on the sexism in the workplace to dreaming of being big to black cab drivers. There is so much reality in their songs, and this reality is something that many would fear or try to shy away from. No one at the Ritz last night was shying away from any of this. Pints of beer were flying; middle aged men were screaming the songs at the top of their lungs and the kids at the front were no doubt soaking up everything Fontaines were giving us to create their own noise in the future. I sure hope they do.

Songs like Too Real, Sha Sha Sha and Liberty Belle see the venue absolutely erupt in euphoria. We all know that this is one of the greatest records of the year and beyond, but trust me it all changes when you see it live and when you are surrounded with people who love this record, and this band as much as you do. You feel at home and oddly secure. Chequeless Reckless was my highlight for sure, but I’m going to touch on the set closer Big shortly which was equally as powerful. So, Chequless Reckless goes beyond being a song; it is a vital piece of poetry that should be studied. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if, in the future their lyrics find their way onto syllabuses in schools. Fontaines are no doubt our future and are showing us a side that we need to be exposed to. You can see their world anywhere, but so many chose to ignore it. Don’t. Just don’t. I love the way the band just play with this urgency and dedication to make these songs be heard. Grian’s vocals takeover the venue, but when you see the sheer devotion in the way Tom beats the living shit out of the drums and how Conor treats his bass like a machine gun not to forget how Carlos and Conor thrash their guitars about with this sheer Punk energy that would make even Johnny Ramone proud if he was here. If you were at this show last night, chances are that like me, your love and obsession for Fontaines has gone through the roof.

The band end with Dogrel’s opener, Big. In a way, this has become a bit of an anthem. All their songs have done this. Fontaines could easily sell out arenas there’s no denying that, and maybe this will now be the last time we get to see them in a venue this size but their songs and the way they perform them do create a sense of intimacy and sheer devotion between the band and the fans. Big is THAT song that will inspire many to get out of their current town and to make it elsewhere. Anyone can do it, and the self-belief that Fontaines have, and had got them where they are now. Big is the song you play to pump yourself up or to just give yourself reassurance that you can make something of yourself, even if your beginnings aren’t grand.

 

 

If you’re looking for a band that will blow your mind, burst your eardrums and leave you covered in other people’s drinks- then go to a Fontaines show. It was most certainly one of those shows that you know people will be talking about in decades from now; it was memorable for so many reasons, and as time goes on those reasons will evolve. People will start bands because of this show, people will create their own poetry because of this show, this band and Dogrel. There is no denying just how brilliant Fontaines are and of course, they deserve to be big. Last night’s show went beyond proving that. Definitely one of my favourite shows of the year.

 





FALSE HEADS.

5 11 2019

FH

 

It’s that wonderful time of year where we play, gun shot or firework. To drown out the exploding sounds (I really hate fireworks) I’m playing False Heads super loud. I can just about drown out the fireworks.

 When I lived in London, I heard of False Heads quite a few times, but I foolishly didn’t pay close attention. They probably played a shit ton of shows I could have gone to, but I can’t dwell on the past. Fast forward 3 years since they formed, and False Heads are most certainly one of the most exciting bands in the country and maybe one of London’s loudest bands. Their sound will get out all of your frustrations and disdain. There’s a slight Grunge like feel to their sound, but aside from that you can’t really lump them as anything but excellent.

 Their newest single, Fall Around come out on the 25th October. Initially I was going to write about the single, but they deserve way more than that. The new single is a heavy and raw song to really get stuck into, and to let False Heads suck you into this world they’ve created with their brutal sound that makes you feel like you’re in a pub brawl that’s spilled onto the street. I love the heaviness on Fall Around- that really heavy drum and guitar sound together is just divine, then you get the slick bass hitting you along with the vocals. It is such a perfect sounding song- if you listen to it after listening to previous songs you will massively hear how their sound has just continued to evolve and is still on this brilliant journey. They take you along for the ride, and it is such a joy to listen to.

 

 

Songs like Slease, Retina and Help Yourself were made to just lose your shit to. I’m annoyed at myself for never seeing them when I had the chance in London, but the thing with their music is that they make you feel you’re right in the midst of their live shows when you listen to them. I love Slease, and I think it’s one of the year’s most underrated gems. It’s got everything you’d want from a heavy sounding band. They have this captivating sound that just makes you want to turn it up a little louder, and to try see if you can actually make your ears bleed from the loudness. They’re that great, they’ll have you wanting to do dumb stuff.

Their debut record should be with us next year, and I reckon it’ll be something to truly treasure and pay very close attention to. False Heads have songs that are nothing short of anthems, and in a few years’ time they’ll be playing them to stadiums full of devoted fans. They have this glorious Post-Punk feel to their sound, but they give us something more. Something we may never have heard before; there is so much charm in their sound, and the lyrics are so easy to connect with. False Heads may only just be getting started, but they’ve won over a wealth of fans all over. You cannot deny just how great they are, and how a sound like this is so vital.

 

 

With new single Fall Around thrust into the wild now, there is really no telling how the debut record will sound like but I reckon it will consist of real heavy bruisers that will be destined to be played loud and screamed back at the band.

Iggy Pop and Danny Fields are fans of this trio, and if that isn’t enough to get your attention then I really don’t know what will.

*Photo by Neil McCarty





BAMBARA: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 22nd October 2019.

23 10 2019

Image result for bambara band

 

I went to this show as someone who casually listened to Bambara; I left as someone who is now obsessed and in awe of what I witnessed in a room that should have been packed.

I think the best way to describe a Bambara show is wonderfully loud and chaotic. As soon as they ripped into their set, I immediately felt like I was watching The Birthday Party for the first time. They have the same raucous sound that is all over the place in the best way possible. I don’t want my music to sound polished or perfect- I want it to be noisy, all over the place and powerful. I got all of that and more from Bambara’s set. They put their absolute everything into their performance, and honestly, Reid Bateh is quite possibly one of the best performers I’ve ever seen. He absolutely puts all he has into the songs, and in a live setting you can truly see just how much this means to him. It’s like he has to get THIS out. I don’t know what “THIS” is exactly, and maybe it’s something we all have in us, but he gets it out in a way that is beautifully enthralling and terrifying at the same time.

Bambara aren’t a band for those wanting roses and sunshine. They are a band for those seeking something to cling to. They’ve toured with two bands that own my heart- IDLES and METZ. Imagine seeing that! It’d be like witnessing something so sacred, and spiritual. I had a great spot at this show, and maybe it was because it wasn’t sold out. It should have been sold out by the way. I could see everything, and I was so fascinated with drummer, Blaze. His style reminded me so much of one of my favourite drummers- Alex Robins. I loved that Blaze’s stage attire was shorts and cowboy boots- if that doesn’t define cool, then I don’t know what does. His style of drumming is intense and captivating. He’s the kind of drummer that a kid would watch and think, “I want to do that.” He made a 32 year old feel that way (me, by the way.) I love how the band all have this sense of solidarity when they play. It feels like a brotherhood (obviously that’s the case with Reid and Blaze!) and this tight sound they have just makes you completely hooked on every sound they make, and every word that Reid sings.

 

 

Songs like José Tries to Leave, and brand new song Serafina (which I think they had only played once before maybe?) were just magnificent to watch. With this possibly being the second time they performed Serafina, they nailed it perfectly. I love how Reid thrashing the microphone wire like an out of control lion-tamer, and he definitely reminds you of a very young Nick Cave when he was in The Birthday Party. This was probably one of the loudest shows I’ve been to at the Soup Kitchen- it wasn’t as loud as the times I saw The Jesus And Mary Chain (I couldn’t hear properly for 2 days, but I was stood right by the speaker so…it was to be expected!) Although the venue wasn’t packed, but to be honest sometimes it doesn’t matter you know. Sometimes it can feel like the whole world is there, and Bambara definitely made you feel that way. At times it felt intrusive as you witnessed them leave their absolute everything on stage, but bands that do this just have my complete respect. To be that open on stage is something to really appreciate and admire for sure.

I love how bassist, William completely lets go on stage. Sometimes you see bass players who are holding back and seem to be teetering on letting go, but William is unafraid and just makes you wish you were as cool as him. Bryan and Sammy are INCREDIBLE guitarists; they could easily have blown the amps with how loud they were, and take that with how grand Blaze’s drumming is- then you get the general idea of how wild and loud this show was.

There was something about this show that at the end, I felt like I had got what I needed. I felt some kind of release. I’m not sure what of. I mean today is 2 months since my Grandma died and I’m ready to go back to bed and spend the day crying. But last night, that gig gave me that feeling that you get from your favourite band. It was truly special for so many reasons. I urge you to see Bambara whenever and wherever you can. It’s not just a show, it’s an experience. An experience that will stay on your mind until the next time. Over and over.

 

 

Their set ended on Monument, and it was such a high to end on. Of course you wanted more, and you just wanted them to carry on for an eternity but this was just one of the most mesmerising shows I’ve ever been to. Bambara have been around for some time now, and these New York heroes are a band to become majorly obsessed with.

This was my first time seeing the band, and I definitely hope it won’t be my last. Their new record, Stray will be out in February. It’s their fourth record and I reckon it might just be their heaviest to date. I cannot wait to hear it, and can probably call it as one of 2020’s finest records.





THE MURDER CAPITAL: YES (The Pink Room) Manchester. 18th October 2019.

18 10 2019

tmc

 

A very wise person once said, ‘The Murder Capital are one of the best bands you’ll ever see live.’ Not sure who it was, it was probably anyone who has ever been to their show.

Their debut record, When I Have Fears has been my crutch since my Gran died in August. It’s been that something I turn to when I have no idea what is going on and when I’m trying to get a hold of what I’m feeling. I never get hold of it; I never will. The show tonight meant the world to me for this reason, and I honestly don’t think I’m ever going to get over just how incredible it was.

 The Pink Room at YES tonight was completely rammed. It was full of people who were clinging to these songs. The Murder Capital are a band of the people, and my god they are a band to be utterly proud of. James’ is one of the most enthralling front men I’ve ever seen. He’s got the presence that will make him be likened to Nick Cave. The band are just the most captivating and passionate band you’ll see. During songs, James leans over to Damien, Gabriel and Cathal and plants gentle kisses on their heads- it is such a simple moment, but you just know how much it means.

 

 

When I Have Fears is one of the most hard-hitting records of the year. Before they play On Twisted Ground, James announces “This is for everyone who should be here.” I immediately think of my Gran and my friend who took her life in the summer this year. I cry. I cry for many reasons. Some obvious and some not. All reasons I try to grasp every day. I wish I could say this show was a form of healing, but I won’t heal, and I’ve accepted this. What I can say is that this was one of the most emotional, passionate and important shows I’ve ever been to. With just one record, The Murder Capital have created something we expect from bands who are playing huge venues and have numerous of records- but The Murder Capital are different.

 Watching the band, you simply cannot get over just how immense the experience is. The way Diarmuid annihilates his drumkit, and makes you feel like the stage is going to crumble because of the sheer weight of his playing, this merges so perfectly with James’ vocals which can be grand yet delicate. The band are exceptional at creating tender moments on their songs, and the bring it out so well in their live shows. I love when they all completely let go in their heavier songs like More Is Less and Feeling Fades and I love seeing the quieter moments where you can see them take everything in. You can really tell that this isn’t just a band to them, it isn’t just a job. It’s their life. And as a fan, that’s how you feel. They go beyond being just a band; they are just everything. Simple as really, yet it holds a lot.

 Everyone goes apeshite to More Is Less, Green and Blue and set closer, Feeling Fades (stage invasion from the Happy Couple was great, and James launched himself into the crowd!) And the tender moments in songs like Slowdance I and Slowdance II are just so perfect. For Everything is belted out by the band and is also sung back to the band by the crowd even louder. These are the moments that make you realise that you have seen something truly special; this will probably be the last time we see them in such small spaces. They’ve just announced a tour for early next year, and it’s only a matter of time before they start selling shows out in seconds. They are such an important band, and they aren’t afraid to vocalise the issues many want to shy away from.

 Don’t Cling To Live reads as a poem, but when you see this live it becomes an anthem. It is one of those songs that regardless of where you hear it (live or in your room) it changes you. It becomes part of you; it has something that makes it such a gorgeous composition. Seeing it live is truly something else. Seeing The Murder Capital live is truly something else. Once you see them, that’s it. It takes over you. In an ideal world I could be at their shows every single night. They hold so much power in their music; it can break you, then heal you, then break you again. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for sure, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Aside from being way too close to people who thought talking all the way through the show was appropriate, I can safely say that this was one of the most personal and captivating shows I’ve ever been to. It’s hard to put into words just how exceptional the show was, and I think anyone who has seen them or even just loves the band knows what I mean. There are some bands that just love beyond words, and The Murder Capital are exactly that. There are no words good enough to describe this band and all they mean to me. It was such an intense experience, and although it was over all too quickly it has left a lasting impression that is permanently etched upon my heart.

 Tickets for their tour next year are now on sale. Buy them and go sing your heart out.

*Photo by JustGrayce