Howling Owl Night at All Hallows Nov 9th 2013

All Hallows Hall  is my new favorite place. It is right next to the Jolly Roger in Easton which is a pub that looks terrifying but is run with a rod of iron by the landlord so it’s safe. Unlike the 2 pubs either side of it you won’t see guns, knives or drugs. You will see some pretty steamy dancing on a Saturday night though and the Guinness is very good.

The church hall was derelict for years and it’s been taken over and turned into an amazing venue. A tardis stands in one corner, the ceiling has an insane mural of the sky and circus rigging is set up ready to go. It’s a work in progress and there is still clearly more to do but it’s a great start. It is just a hall, bars to the back, loos to the side and with a stage so high that even the presence of my nemesis Big Jeff didn’t piss me off – I could still see the band even though he always stands at the front and is about 8 feet tall and wide.

Some genius had the idea of projecting psychedelic kaleidoscope images all over the stage which made it look like a taller, more spacious version of the Factory. Without the projections it would have just been a church hall. The sound isn’t great, it all bounces back and echos, it would be a good place to sing madrigals but guitars and drums sort of get lost in it all. I think they have plans to insulate the top back wall which would probably make a huge difference.

We rocked up at 9 on a miserable wet Saturday night with minging hangovers and little energy, found chairs and beer and felt old. The place started to fill up with people half our age, lovely happy young people drinking wine from bottles. Good humoured young people who accepted me using the night as a tipsy opportunity to practice properly being old and ranty.  Shouting ‘pick up your bottle you fucking reprobate’ made them blame each other, question whether they should do as they were told and fall over the bottle when they couldn’t see it to pick it up. I love being right.

There were 4 bands playing for a bargain £3, all of which I’d heard of but I’d only seen 2 of them.  They are all with Howling Owl Records who I only know about because I bought one of their records purely on the basis that I liked the cover, not because I am a young hip thing who knows about bands before 6 Music finds them. It was a good album, I got lucky.

First on were Let’s Kill Janice; indie, pop, garage rock with a tiny little singer with kooky dance moves. Fun. She has a kind of weak voice which works really well with the music, bringing a sort of sweet lightness to what would otherwise be just normal garage rock.

Next up were the stars of the show – Velcro Hooks who are a nice mish mash of the Pixies and the Stooges with great catchy tunes, proper thumping drums and enough jangly guitar to make even me consider dancing. For me to dance I have to be so drunk I can’t stand so it never happens.

If you ever need a song to sing along to try this one -‘it’s been a long time coming with you……’. The wine had kicked in and by this time most of the crowd were throwing beer cans around, jumping up and down and singing along. Oh yes! There was tangoing, there was breakdancing, more beer cans were thrown, people were getting up on stage and joining in….From out of nowhere came free vodka jelly’s! The night just got even better.

Hollow Giants were the ones I really went to see. Having seen them rock the tarp off a marquee earlier in the year I was really looking forward to them. They played magnificently, impeccably,  but the acoustics in the hall didn’t do them any favours. They mostly remind me of BRMC a couple of albums ago. They are a whole lot better live and in a venue with a lower ceiling.

Last up were Towns who I saw a couple of years ago when they looked a lot younger and their parents came to see them. The are still Madchester shoegazy types but instead of shy teenagers they’ve got hip; fur coats and shades have replaced baggy t-shirts. There was no sign of any parents.

By the time Towns played the audience were raddled. They called Oliver Wilde up on stage, he barely made it up the steep steps, then crash landed next to the drums. Most everyone else followed, with people climbing on the scaffolding, more beer cans flying and guitars screaming. By the time we left most everyone else was on the stage. The beautiful happy drunken crowd made the night into one big happy joyous celebration of noise and wine. Bacchus was worshipped.

I’d go and see all these bands again without hesitation and I’ll be keeping an eye on developments at All Hallows. What a fab night.

 

 

“More flowers on the lead guitar” Hollow Giants at Fannys September Party

I hate festivals with a passion that defies all logic but my mother challenged me to do everything I was invited to so I went to Fannys September Party, at a secret location somewhere in Somerset, I had to go.

Fanny says she only works with her friends and other interesting people and it shows. It felt safe, no one puked or even fell on my tent,  no one bothered if you peed in a hedge, the music from 2 stages was ace and the people I met just wonderful. Lots of them were people I’ve known for years but lost touch with so that was doubly lovely, and it was good to meet fellow vinyl collecting sci-fi nerds too.

I also got to work behind the bar, with real live people, in real time, in the real world which was a total treat after my usual solo freelancing at Naked Website.

The first band that stopped me reading the Saturday paper was Edwin Brookes and the Burning Glass who are great, light, funny, silly people, with a drummer who can do a million things at once. The video doesn’t do them justice, they were perfect late afternoon entertainment.

The second lot who blew my socks off were Hollow Giants who made a lot of noise, which I totally approve of. See for yourself. The guitarist was wearing a rather fetching garland of flowers around his head, hence someone in the audience shouting out ‘More flowers on the lead guitar’, beats ‘too much top’ any day. I didn’t get any photos of them because I was being a snarky barmaid at the time, the power had gone to my head.

This was the sad and empty stage the next day.

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This hasn’t changed my mind about the general awfulness of festivals, but I’d do this again.

Yes Rebels, Lionface, Repo Man, The Brackish – Old Market Music Festival Sept 13

Too hungover to review any of these but here are videos and links of some of the best of the Old Market Music Festival where fun was had by all.
Yes Rebels – just fuckin’ rockin’

Lionface – white dreadlocks, gorgeous vocals over drums and electronica, kickin’

Repo Man – ranty Jim Morrison crossed with Beefheart vocals with added sax, gifts thrown into the audience, lots of screaming scratchy guitar. Also kickin’

The Brackish – beaming musicians having a very good time, complicated timing, very catchy.

Vents at Club 1980 – aka the Birdcage

The Birdcage is a weird venue with little pixie boy barmen. I like little pixie boy barmen, they make nice G&T’s with Tanqueray.

It’s a weird venue because there is a lot going on in there. Cakes next to beer, shoes and clothes for sale next to coffee machines, huge sofas next to a tiny stage underneath a load of bicycles stuck to the wall. It’s all very confusing. The best bit about this place is the hallway and the loo. The walls are covered in pages from 70’s and 80’s music magazines, Playboy, the odd gay propaganda flyer and classical music manuscript. That I like a lot.

It wasn’t full at all but some stupid fucking bint stood in front of me and sometimes on me so my view of the stage was restricted. She was clearly blind or very very thick, I’m a 10 stone 5ft 6 ginger woman, and I’m hard to miss.

Vents at the Birdcage

Vents are 2 people, 2 gorgeously discordant guitars, one amazing voice and a backing track. Things went wrong but no one cared, I had fun. The singer Emily is a whole lot prettier than the light makes her look in the photo and even if she was piss shit ugly no one would care, she has great legs and like I said, an amazing voice. She’s all the best bits of Patti Smith with a bit of Siouxsie Sioux that can actually sing in tune.

You can see for yourself here: