• Don't Panic - King's Cellars, Cambridge

    7 Nov 2006, 2:59

    5th May, 2006

    Josh did what I couldn't be arsed to, and invested a great deal of time in organising and promoting the first night at the uni. He befriended and booked local DJs, sorted out a venue and PA then persuaded a few dozen of his mates to come along. And all this in exam term of his first year. Maybe next year we'll have a psy society after all...?

    And so fifty or so kids put on their dancing shoes and crammed under the UV tubes in King's College cellar for Don't Panic. The decor was a bit ropey and the soundsystem the venue's own, but it had been too long since the last party in Cambridge. Anyway, the night was exquisite and just what was needed to distract us all from our work and associated impending doom. The storytellers were the lovely M? and his good friend Bungle and there was plentiful acid and mudma. All in all it was a damn good night that left everyone wanting more even after M? dropped his trademark cheesy track - Beautiful People.
  • Tilly And The Wall, Emmy The Great, Fell City Girl - The Soul Tree, Cambridge

    30 Oct 2006, 2:14

    3rd May, 2006

    Fell City Girl were once again worth five times the door tax. Every time I see them I am more convinced that they deserve to take this country by storm. Every time I hear Weaker Light I realise they surely will. This band are the best thing you're likely to see and the Radiohead comparisons I've heard floating about are almost justified. If you still haven't, go see them now.

    I'm sure Emmy the Great lived up to her self-congratulatory moniker, but after experiencing Fell City Girl, I knew nothing could compare. I heard from fairly reliable sources that she's pretty good, but I wasn't drawn in enough to do anything but sit around and chat at the back. Sorry, Emmy.

    Tilly and the Wall were rather disappointing. While there's no denying the power of Night of the Living Dead, most of their songs fell pretty flat live. While a tap-dancing percussionist is a nice twee gimmick and can be made to sound decent on record, there was a big chunk missing out of their sound live. Sure they were fun, but an guitar man with an unreally enthusiastic American accent and girls seemly there just to be pretty meant they were unimpressive. A shame, because I was really looking forward to them...
  • Tripycyty - Cellar Bar 8, Cambridge

    23 Oct 2006, 0:51

    27th April, 2006

    A rather stunning night at this newish venue. The dancefloor at Cellar Bar 8 is about the same as that at The Cow or The Man On The Moon, but it has the benefit of a small antechamber suitable for a chillout area. What's more, it has marginally cheaper drinks and more of a free party vibe. The lineup was all local talent with M?, Bungle and Mr Burns taking the decks in the room. Meanwhile Nemitode, Luvlea contributed an electic fusion of dub and electronica round the back. The crowd was lovely, the tunes on par and there was a lovely marine nature DVD playing as visuals - here's to more of the same in Cambridge.
  • The Pistolas - The Soul Tree, Cambridge

    16 Oct 2006, 15:23

    26th April, 2006

    I can remember very little about this night due to wine and good company. Apparently The Pistolas played. They were good enough to see.
  • Miss Black America, The Dawn Parade, The Saffs - The Junction, Cambridge

    10 Oct 2006, 13:20

    25th April, 2006

    This evening was marred by poor sound especially in the top end with the vocals constantly clipping. However, because it featured some of Cambridge's best ever bands and celebrated one of the country's best truly independent labels, it was still major laughs. Matt was also dressed up as a badger which would have kept me smiling alone.

    The Saffs were amazing - I'm gutted I not only missed this band's existence but never got to see them when they were still alive.

    Miss Black America have yet another lineup change, this time with a rubbish girl on bass (where else?) The old tunes are still as good as ever, esecially Talk Hard and Human Punk but, given the crowd that night and the wanky new songs, I can't help thinking I'm a bit old for it all now.

    The Dawn Parade played last after all the kids had fucked off early to bed. Still, there was a rather special moment when they got Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T up on stage to decimate Teenage Kicks.
  • Hell Is For Heroes - The Soul Tree, Cambridge

    7 Oct 2006, 18:11

    24th April, 2006

    The Soul Tree specially rented in a barrier for their tiny little stage to protect the world from aggressive hardcore kiddies. Unfortunately, there were none of the predicted stage diving antics, just some very bad moshing from the studded belt brigade. Still, Hell Is For Heroes sounded pretty damn good, if a little underwhelming after all I'd built their live show up to be. However, I'm very glad to have seen Sick/Happy live.

    Support was provided by Orko and Keiko. The latter were boring while the former sounded great from the back and they even ended with a superb postrocky number.
  • Chrysalid - Jack's Club, London

    3 Oct 2006, 18:09

    22nd April, 2006

    The best night I've been to for an age and, without a doubt, the best licensed event I've ever attended. Certainly the best vibe I've experienced in London outside of a squat. The rig was fully - Opus amps, Opus crossovers, EQs and processing and, of course, Opus cabinets. There was even the prototype double 24" infrabass enclosure which is the size of fifteen washing machines and needs the roof to be taken off so a crane can lift it into the venue.

    I've heard Plank engineer soundsystems before but this was by far the best I've ever heard music. Like at the Elbow gig I was blown away by how crisp the sound was all night long and how much of a difference the system makes. The whole frequency range was covered without colouring or adding anything to the digital sound and every note, every snare and every synth was lovingly reproduced perfectly. There must have been only about 20 KW going through the speakers that night but it sounded crystal clear and was not fatiguing in the slightest, even close up to the stacks.

    Perhaps even better than the main soundsystem was the lineup. We started off with a drop of free liquid acid and came up to Shotu playing live. This was followed by an incredible set in the chillout to Nagual Sound Experiment showcasing new tracks from his various projects. We watched a French artist dance before heading back in the main room for Phonic Request's live performance.

    For me, this was the highlight of the whole night and we didn't even manage to stay for the entire set we got so rinsed. Perfectly trippy visuals were projected onto a massive circular screen while Phonic Request slammed the tunes into us. Never had I heard such psychedelic and darkly atmospheric music have such life and such a danceable rhythmn. I've never seen Carlos Santan do anything more energetic than tap a single foot on the dancefloor before but he was positively skipping around and pogoing throughout. I too stomped like a crazy fool and was driven half insane by the sounds, squelches and beats he conjured up. Kudos to whoever was controlling the lighting, I don't know the name of the Martin effect I enjoyed the most, but it was all done superbly and was better synchonised to the music than at big events like Glade. The décor in the main room was incredible too and the backdrop being painted as the night progressed was mindblowing. Gave me a bit of a fright when I emerged to find that everything looked different to how I remembered...

    After that we caught Kuba played live in the chillout followed by a rather dull set from Snafu. I got horribly confused by a cigarette packet someone left on my knee, failed to recognised anyone and got utterly tripped out by el_houghton. After a couple of minor crises and by the time I'd gathered myself together enough we went back to get thoroughly rinsed all over again by Braincell. Sick sick party.

  • Fell City Girl - The Free Butt, Brighton

    18 Sep 2006, 16:25

    7th April, 2006

    De Burca - three chubby Irish blokes with acoustic guitars and another in charge of minimalist percussion. Harmless emo.

    Econoline - competent indie rock with a charismatic front man alternating between guitar and bass. Also pretty harmless.

    Fell City Girl - swooping and epic. They opened with These are the heart attacks which really let Phil's strong voice shine. They play music the adjective "shimmering" was designed for and you can't help but beam when you see them live. Beautiful and cute at the same time - February Snow was awesome as was Rudolph Valentino, Star of the Big Screen in the encore. This gig was replete with majestic grandeur.
  • Hope Of The States - Audio, Brighton

    14 Ago 2006, 23:31

    4th April, 2006

    Support was provided by two mediocre guitarists but, that aside, this gig was simply monumental. The new albums tracks were abundant and glowing especially Sing It Out. The band were all hott and tracks like Black Dollar Bills were as spine-tinglingly affirming as I remembered back when they was one of my favourite bands in the country.

    The Brighton gigs are always pretty special and this one was no different. The crowd (and company) was lovely and the band responded by bringing out an ace performance. We were crammed in the centre front row so got to witness the eerie violin bows on guitar strings and swipe a setlist at the end. The dude on the left was ill but still came out for an encore which included the best moment of the night: Static in the Cities.


    The Red, The White, The Black, The Blue
    The Good Fight
    Blood Meridian
    Black Dollar Bills
    Sing It Out
    George Washington
    This Is A Question
    The Church Choir
    Be Not So Fearful
    Static in the Cities
  • Mogwai - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton

    10 Ago 2006, 15:04

    31st March, 2006

    The trendy myspace kids were out in their hordes tonight but we walked away satisfied if a little bemused about reports regarding Mogwai's live volume. I'm sure they used to pump out far more kilowatts of sound power back in the day, but from this gig there was little to justify even using the adjective "loud". Certainly they were no louder than your average gig despite a fairly hefty soundsystem and if truth be told, I've experienced much higher decibel levels at underground free parties. Still, this did nothing to detract from the experience of seeing this band live. My ears remained intact to sample the dulcet tones that this band is capable of produced.

    Dressed in matching tracksuits, the band didn't say much or interact with the crowd a lot. Instead, they let the music speak for itself. And indeed, Mogwai are a band that manage to say so much without speaking any words at all. Lyrics are unnecessary when the music is so richly atmospheric. The set itself was a stormer. Not too much from recent release Mr. Beast and enough oldish material to keep me happy. Always noisy, engaging and supremely beautiful - an encore including Sine Wave made my night.

    Support act The Magnificents were nothing special. No matter how much you are into that sort of thing, they were nothing that hadn't been done before. New Order, Joy Division and a touch of Kraftwerk were all present but The Magnificents failed to add vital innovation or achieve anything more. A strange and disappointing choice of warm up band and a shame that they were far less than the sum of their parts.