Friday, 2 September 2011

The Long Lost Band

The Long Lost Band : The Big Light Secret

I first spotted these guys when I was putting a festival together in early 2011, they came across as confident, in a folk style but without the traditional trappings.

I was searching for music that people in their masses don't normally get to hear, no dance, no 80s means that most radio stations in the UK won't play the music I was putting on.

That's a shame, because there is masses of music out there that people are missing en masse.  The musicianship around today is outstanding, the internet is in part responsible, people not only get to tutor themselves on the net, they can share their music there too, and that means in order to get anywhere you really have to be top drawer.

This album arrived in my inbox with the usual vigour from Stuart Anthony the Vocalist and Guitarist of the band, he is nothing but up front about his wantings!

Despite me being mad busy with my own music and writing, I really did want to review this album, but just never got the time, until now that is!

This album is a bit of a mix bag really, the start and the end are top class the rest a bit wishy washy from my point of view, the best thing about this band is that there are a couple of tracks here that really should be dancing into our ears from radio, TV  and online radio stations.

Survival and Play the Part in particular are quality items and songs I'll be listening to on my rotation regularly.

A great opening track, it has all the big band sound you expect from an acoustic rock outfit with the acoustic right up front, so many bands producers drop the acoustic right back as a rhythm instrument, but honestly, it is a front line instrument and MUST be used like that.  The song feels like its inspired by St Peppers Lonely Hearts Club songs but with a great modern twist and a pink floyd insert to boot.

A little quicker in pace and a different feeling genre this is more country in feel than the other tracks, it still keeps up the quality of the first track,   I love the low voice pitch used, so many people stay safe, but Stuart really likes to push the boat out and drop the pitch down to his low ranges!

A great spanish feel to the middle section picks the song up further  and creates a mystical sound, you are dragged away to a sunny place, a bar in the med, a place in the warm glow of the Med.

For My Sins
This is virging on anthemic rock, the electric guitar is a little to high in the mix for me, and the acoustic too far back, but the song is nice little number, travelling along well and building to a crescendo at the end of the chorus.


The Big Light Secret
Back in style with a master class of acoustic music,  with a rock edge, this song doesn't quite have the chorus of Survival or Refuge but lifts the album to a much heavier style, I'm thinking the drums could sound a lot bigger here and give this song a really massive feel.

The Hawk
Instrumentals, are great additions to album, I think sometimes bands play it too safe and need to open up, an intrumental often allows this to happen in a way that other songs can't.  They let you get to know the people in the band, and sometimes let you hum your own melody lines, a way of being in the band yourself!

This is a nice track and contains some great interludes to mull over, some smart atmospherics in the background by the electric guitars make this a quality track to relax to. 

A Tale Of Two Masters
I'm not sure about this track, it's good work, and a nice feeling but it doesn't really go anywhere for me.

There Is No Sun
 I think this is archetypal Long Lost Band, it's what they do best, they pick you up and take you somewhere else, the lyrics and the feeling of the song, absolutely fit with you and a sweeping feeling washes over you.  It take a hard day and offer's it to the devil, "take all my worries away cos I don't need them whilst i'm listening to this song" : A better mix all round on this track.

Play The Part
Again this is what the Long Lost Band do well, I think the songs on the album that are in this style stick out big time, they are all high quality, and right up my street, north america beckons for them, as this is a cracker, It feels a bit of Blind Melon & America all rolled into one, this could sit happily on any US rock station play list and I really could see myself driving down Route 66 with this on the radio. 

Stuart Anthony - Vocals, Guitar
Matt Appleton - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Oscar Armer - Bass
Greg Maddox - Drums/Percussion
For further information

Friday, 12 August 2011

Organising Festivals,

I really enjoy organising music festivals, i've done a few now, and this one is a fairly big one.  2 Stages and 20 bands over 2 days, takes some organising, myself and Tony have been working on this for a few months now, Southport Music Festival (Buskathon) in aid of Cancer Research UK

Leaving Tony to sort out the council & Police etc, (good luck with that ) I focus on getting the bands in for the day and the logistics of PA, backline, etc.  We also had to build a full 20ft stage, get hold of gazebos to cover gear and arrange access and car parking for the bands and contractors on site.

This is not so bad normally but for the fact the stages are smack in the middle of the town centre and access is a nightmare at the best of times.

This time instead of contacting bands directly, I opened it up on Facebook to any band wishing to get in touch. The response was excellent, especially off Liverpool Bands Facebook page and we were well over subscribed to start with, but, as with anything once the dates some bands dropped out, not many though I have to say.

It's always a bit of a mix bag of music when you do it this way, if I had just phoned bands up off my normal contact list, I would have :

a ) Got bands that suit my taste only really
b ) Probably picked the same bands as performed last time.

So this time I got email after email, bands i'd heard of but never seen and i've seen most in the North West, solo artists i'd never heard of, new bands that i've yet to see and even a band coming over from Manchester (Daystar) to support a GREAT CAUSE!

What struck me mostly was the sheer quality on offer, I didn't really pick the acts, they picked "themselves" and it looks like a very eclectic line up.

The first big hiccup was in May, the festival was all booked in only for it to be pulled by the council due to problems with the areas we are using, from a different festival the weekend before.  This now meant that all things booked, like PA and Bands needed to be re-arranged.  From my point of view that meant starting over again with the bands negotiating which day they can do, and also contracts with PA companies needed re-sorting.

The bands have been GREAT, they're all well up for this, and who wouldn't be, Southport is full of people on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and this concert is smack bang in the middle of town, you can't walk along lord street without seeing or hearing the bands this weekend.

Hopefully thousands will enjoy the day of music and more importantly lets hope thousands of pounds is raised for a GREAT CHARITY.

For a list of the bands giving their time for this event :


Saturday 13th August web

12:30 Evil Piccolo​ges/Evil-Piccolo/209505645​747171?sk=app_2405167945
13:30 Audio Asylum​ioasylumuk
14:30 Kahuna
15:30 Red Threads​threadsmusic
16:30 Day Star


12:00 Rob Gough​goughofficial
13:00 Just by Chance​m/
14:00 Ratty Little Fingers http://www.therattylittlef​
15:00 The53s​the53s
16:00 Kevin Critchley Outfit

Sunday 14th August
12:30 The High Vibes
13:30 The Trestles​trestles
14:30 THE VARANGIANS​angians
15:30 Dan Elson​elson
16:30 The Trinity Test​nitytest5

12:00 Miles and Rob
13:00 Side Show​ges/Side-Show/124151067635​360
14:00 Fag Ash Lil
15:00 Jackpot Golden Trio http://www.jackpotgoldenbo​
16:00 Slick Cupid​ickcupid

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Waterfront Treaddur Bay, Wales. - Vision Thing

I know I don't normally talk about my own band much on here, but i'm going to put that right, we recently had a trip out to Anglesey north Wales as part of our "Principalities that should be Countries and Other Annexed Territories Tour 2011".

The distance to the northern western reaches of the celtic nation means that I start the day driving myself in the opposite direction to meetup with the mini bus and some of the other members of the band and road crew (Roo).

The main problem with mini-bus tours and band gear is that what starts out as a large mini-bus with lots of seats soon turns into an overloaded store cupboard flying full pelt down the motorway, the image on the left is my view out the back and on the right my view out the front.

A view which for the most part mainly consisted of the rear arse of caravans.

It took about 2 1/2 hours to get out to Amlwch our base for the night at The Waterfront, after an expensive Chip shop stop in Conwy (£5.50 for Pie, Chips and Beans would have made a wiganner's heart fail) we arrived and converged with Dave and Matt who made their own way at the accomodation.

The house perched on the top of a hill at this pretty little coastal spot  is owned by a band members company and we were very lucky to get free accommodation for the duration.

"Oh no, i've told the agency a thousands times to spell the band name right".  A spinal tap moment, for us, although it was created by us, so I guess it's not quite the same.  

The accommodation was great, however, within minutes there was talk of a wander down to the shoreline and photo opportunities, we were assured by our trumpet player that it was literally minutes away, and very safe.

Within minutes we realised it was unsafe and much further than that. Either way, we took advantage of the moment to create this nice shot below.....

Thankfully, unlike Spinal Tap, the drummer didn't exeprience any fatalities and we all arrived back at the house intact, if a little knackered.

In the afternoon we even had time for a impromptu jam, whilst Si the Bass was sleeping soundly, the jam ended up in Si's bedroom and he no longer was sleeping soundly.

Once we've freshened up we made the 30 minute journey out to Treaddur Bay the venue for tonights gig.  The Waterfront is a lovely white pub in a most beautiful spot, the waves crash within 20 ft of the stage,  a venue location to die for, worth travelling behind caravans for 2 hours easy.

The night was champions league final night and the big screen was at the back of the stage, so it was.... 
drag the kit in before the match ....
watch the first half set up in the half time break  and then as soon as the game finished it was straight into our first set........

No time for sound check as we were on a mammoth 20 song, 90 minute set with a 15 minute break in between. 

It took a great start too, Micah trumpeting with the celebrations of the spanish fans in the audience, which did seem out of proportion with the fact we were in Wales.

Nonetheless, our first set went well, apart from someone coming up and asking did we know "Maggie May" which was a bit left field, as an originals band who only play 1 cover the answer was a resounding NO. Thankfully this didn't dampen us as the on stage sound was very warm and powerful indeed.

At the break people were onto us, it's very strange when you play a place with no friends in the audience you really have no idea what the reaction will be.  In the most part people were interested but a few specifically made a beline for us whilst we were cooling off and massaged our egos with superlatives we rarely get chance to hear from strangers, we even invited a few up later in the night to have a sing with us.

The second set started with a slide song "Static" we've never played live before, it felt good to give it an airing, it's always important to play album songs live at least once.  You never know what kind of reaction they will get but fun to have them played, to me it almost feels like a waste if you don't get them out there at least once.

Our set went from strength to strength and people started dancing, not just anyone, pretty much everyone in the pub by the time we got to 'Sobriety', at this point I remembered offering a sing song for some folks from the audience at the break, so Pete olbiged and offered, a few bottled out but one girl took the mantle on and Pete ran quickly through the chorus, which is pretty much just  "da da da da"

Anyhow, she was singing, people where dancing and she enjoyed it, everyone in the room was made up for the lass although her microphone did sound a bit out of tune, but that couldn't be helped.

We finished with Domino days with the audience right on us and wanting more, now normally, we have to say thanks but no thanks when encores come about, we just never thought we would get any and always shied away.  

Well NOT ANYMORE we got our instruments back on and stepped up to Beautiful Day by the Levellers, everyone was dancing everyone was singing and the night faded away into a haze.

As I drove back (designated driver), the minibus was awash with singalongs and alcohol flowing with a 3am finish on the cards and sore heads the next morning. A great trip and thanks to Martin for putting us on, lets hope we can get back there asap.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Publishers want bigger cut from downloads

Publishing companies and record labels have braced themselves for an onslaught of expensive court cases to determine how royalties are treated and calculated in the digital age.

The industry’s apprehension comes as Rob Zombie and White Zombie, Whitesnake and Dave Mason have launched a series of class-action lawsuits against Universal Music in the US arguing their contracts have erroneously counted digital downloads as sales.

The rock acts argue Universal should have specified any digital activity as licensing agreements, which would attach a significantly higher royalty payment.

More from this article......

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Being Jo Francis : HELLO HERO : Snippet review

The opening few bars of this song, say "WE ARE HERE", it's a post punk, garage mix of indie rock, holding them short of all out rock/metal, it's a tough thing to do, but THEY DO IT!

You've got to have a listen to this track, I love it, from the second it starts to the sudden ending there is no let up, no give, no amateurism, just sheer top class music.

"Being Jo Francis" keep cropping up in conversations I have in the area with promoters and other media people. Everyone seems to say the same thing, "oh had a great band in the other night, Being Jo Francis", and it's true to say that they've captured themselves here, brilliantly.

For a 3 piece they have masses of sound and masses of confidence, and their new EP doesn't have a bad track on it.

Look out for more info from this band over the coming months.

Hello Hero (Click Buy for Free Download) by Being Jo Francis


Their 6 track EP is avaiable now for £5.....

Monday, 21 March 2011

Stuart Anthony's Long Lost Band - Play the Part

Whack, i've woken up in 1970.

Which is strange cos I actually did awaken in 1970, this tune, could have been on the radio when I was born, WAIT don't stop reading, this ain't no throwback band, this isn't a song lost in time, this is a tune that's modern, "Fleet Foxes" stylee, if "The Shins" can do it so can Stuart Anthony's Long Lost Band.

This song goes forth with wild psychedelic structures, it drags you in and plonks you down right in your middle of your favourite dream. I can fully imagine feeling a million miles from anywhere with this song blasting from the stage at a live show.

This song is 7 minutes and 41 seconds long, but it's 461 seconds of joy.  The genre is acoustic, but the vibe is electric, the bass drives it along like a summers day, i'm visualising fields of daisies and vw camper vans with the words spinning around in my chilled out head.

You get all the Neil Young, Tim Buckley influences, I don't know where all these amazing bands are popping up from, but this one is top of my list.

It leaves me buzzing, leaves me wanting more, I can't wait for this album to get released if this is anything to go by, i'm hooked already.

You can catch Stuart Anthony's Long Lost Band  @

Daystar - Slip and Dive.

There is one thing you need to know before I start, I like Black and White videos, I don't know why, I just do, which is lucky for Daystar as this video is indeed in black and white.

The Manchester music scene is garnering pace at the moment again, from the lull of the last decade, we see shades of brilliance, and the great venues keep popping up.

Daystar are a 5 piece with a modern take on the 90s Manchester scene, but they are definitely not lost in 2011.  They bring back the sound with freshness, with "Slip and Dive", they attain a level of professionalism in the song and video that some well known signed bands struggle to get.  The song was produced by mansun engineer Ronnie Stone and that shows how serious this band are to break the big time.

They've played live on ESPN's talk of the terrace, which for a band that has only been gigging for a year is quite remarkable.

Daystar are gaining recognition to levels they probably could only have dreamed of a year ago, but with talent like this they shouldn't be wondering why, they have definitely not reached their true potential yet, and I look forward to hearing them more and more in the future.

This song is sleek, the video is straight forward and tells you everything you need to know about this band, they have a great vibe, and you feel it throughout the song.

You should check them out as their live performance on ESPN shows they are as sleek live as they are on video.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Some people were asking when their review is being done, well, I don't do every request thats sent to me, I only do the songs I like, the gigs I enjoy or the videos that captivate me.

If you have sent me a request to do a review, and it hasn't been done, don't get down hearted, it just means that i'm just not that into you.

In saying that i've about 4 reviews pending that I will get too when time allows, so be patient and chill.

Remember, the REAL music business isn't a race to number 1, it's a time line labour of love, and just because I don't like you now doesn't mean I won't like your next release.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Danny Mahon - Odd Socks - Video review.

Its a fact, that Danny Mahon is a northern poet of exceptional talent, he's been on my radar for some time now, as Danny is quite well known around the North West of England. His lyrics are right up there in the tops of Manchester folklore

He is sometimes classed as a folk artist, a protest singer, a northern Billy Bragg, but he could easily stand on a stage of death metal and fit in, his songs are THAT evocative and people react to his lyrics.  His style is almost punk like, but generally there is just him and his acoustic guitar, and that speaks volumes about the talent of this man.

Manchester is a city full of life and full of things to sing about, Danny's ability to knit this into music creates a modern Madchester scene all of its own, if you go to a Danny Mahon gig, it's not a sit down jobby, it's an all encompassing involvement for the whole time he is on stage, he interacts with the audience, and the audience sing along, its almost like EVERYONE knows his songs and everyone relates to them.


The only man in the world I know of that can do a song in a school that has the words "twat" & "shit" in it.
"Odd Socks" to me, is an anti-bullting song, but it's also, and I'm sure Danny would hate me for this, it's almost a love song.

It's cute, but at the same time portrays very important messages.  When you listen to the song, it could be set in any age frame and not necassarily in youth. I guess that's by the by really, the song is fast paced like young life I suppose, and the visual side is married to the words well.   Tied up with visualising the lyrics without being over the top and televising every single line.

The acting is perfect for the song, the youngsters in the video play their parts really well, very relaxed, and the rainy Salford day adds to the fact that life isn't always full of roses. Everyone can relate to this video, everyone gets pulled in by the video, it's even a bit of a tear jerker, good versus evil, the rebels versus the empire, Labour versus Conservative, it's all in there.

The song itself is a little cracker taken from his upcoming debut album, this is typical Danny Mahon, the territory is absolutely his, this song should catapult him forward into mainstream, and he deserves it absolutely.

ODD SOCKS IS THE SECRET RECIPE is to be released on the Plainsounds label, the single will be available to buy on April 16th (UK Record Store Day).

The video was created by Manchester based Tunafish Media, and marks the directorial debut of James McDonald.


A Danny Mahon gig is one of the best nights out you can have, I strongly suggest you follow my advice and go see him play, you can catch him on myspace at

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Artist And The Copyright Infringement Loophole : Jeff Price article - great read.

am not the first person to write about this topic, but with the recent ruling by a federal judge reducing LimeWire’s possible copyright infringement damages from 1 trillion (no, I am not kidding), to a possible 1.5 billion dollars, I thought it important to bring up again...........

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Mount Fabric - Secretly an Astronaut

Anthemic, is the main word that comes to mind when you listen to Mount Fabric, The big sound and the high pitched vocal are of a very high standard.  Both musicianship and singing ability is excellent, they remind me of a mix between "God is an Astronaut" and "Muse" with a bit of "Radiohead" & "Smashing Pumkins" thrown in.
Coping with Relief

This song does feel like i'm on a bit of a journey with them, starting gracefully, building up to a cresecendo, but not overpowing , most bands would have cranked up the distortion in the big bits, but this band know restraint, they know how to drive the music without relying on heavy effects pedals, even when they are on the very edge the song still has a real vibrant feel to it.

Big Plans
The best track on the release in my view, this is a cracking song all the way, and I could hear this played on many radio stations across the world without issue, fabulous vocals throughout the chorus, the long vocals lines are right up my street.  They have no issue with adding in differing pre and main chorus sections, and most importantly it all knits together brilliantly.

This song on it's own really makes my ears pick up and listen, and I can listen to it over and over again, the effects included are done sweetly, not overpowering at all, it's a great piece of work thats for sure.

Epiphany doesn't disappoint at all. despite my love for the previous song, this is a nice little come down, well executed and still upbeat keeping up the pleasure of the other 2 tracks.

Altogether a band to look out for over the coming months you can find them on

The Big I Am - Collecting Skies - Album review.

The name "The Big I Am", according to Colin Heaney on a recent radio interview is from an old Liverpool saying, mothers used to chastise their kids when they where being a bit lippy "Don't come the Big I Am with me son", and I remember this myself. The one thing these boys are NOT however, is lippy,  they are a very friendly bunch who play music for the right reasons, the sheer love of it.

Normal isn't normal for The Big I Am, most bands use guitars of the 6 string variety to create their sound, the thing that hits me as soon as I started listening to this album is the fact that the stringed instruments are a Cuatro and a Ukulele.

On "Collecting Skies" you sail from song to song with ease, the feeling is relaxing, Colin Heaney and Peter McPartland share the workload on the vocals and stringed instruments with ease, they swap with each other, but, most people wouldn't notice, that's how good these guys are.

With Steve O'Toole on Piano and Orchestrations by Wim Oudijk you are catapulted into a dreamland, a place you want to stay, away from everyday life.

Quite simply the sound from these guys is LUSH. 

These songs are so good you could be forgiven for thinking this was a "Greatest Hits", but it isn't, it's an album full of top class songs, not a single one takes a step back from the great feeling you get when you first hit the play button.

When you get to the Title Track "Collecting Skies" you've been through 9 songs of The Big I Am, you just think it can't get better but this track take's them to another level, the orchestrations are to a very high standard. the music is powerful but not overwhelming, the lyrics drive evocative imagery at you but are not depressing, and you dream of clouds and sunny days. The message though it is very pertinant at the moment, "I could live a million years and never understand whats here".

The final track though, is my favourite song on this album, "Board Games" is a wonderful idea for a song, the music sounds almost Russian in feel, I guess that's a design due to the song title.

I can't compare this bands music to anything else, it's outstanding from start to finish, a superb addition to your collection, and whats more, NO DRUMS!!!! :)

Everything you ever wanted to know about The Big I Am is here

Collecting Skies is out now, go and buy it and they are playing gigs through the UK in 2011.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Stuart Newman - Feel the Temperature Rising - Song Review

I love this song.

Stuart Newman has a style whereby you actually feel the effort he's putting in, the effort he puts into his voice, the effort he puts into his guitar work, his style is something that is definitely, definitely different.

Then, there is the effort in orchestrating a song like 'Feel the Temperature Rising', to anyone who isn't a musician, I can tell you right now, you don't just magic songs like this out of hats, they don't just all suddenly appear as if you've just ordered them off Amazon.  They take time, the song takes time to write, and then lyrics take time, then you add mid sections, pre-chorus, end sections and then you finally record it, and that takes heaps more time, adding drums, backing vocals, other instruments. And then, when you've really just about had enough, you do a video and that takes endless amounts of time.

After the days of your life you lose doing all this you finally have a 5min song that people can listen to and watch.

So it's Saturday night, and I'm a bit tired, I've been recording all day and decided to slot in a quick review, because this song is excellent, the sound of the guitars is very well put together, the stereo tracking is really sweet to my ears, the haunting vocals sliding around over the top make a really well executed feel.

I love the way the song builds and changes towards the end, the power of the vocal lines inter-twined make a really professional aspect to the work on show here.

Feel the Temperature Rising is a song you can listen to over and over again and not get bored with at all, Stuart clearly puts a lot of work into his music, his videos, his website, the whole setup eeks of hard bloody work and toil and the results are excellent.

Keep up the good work Stuart  I think its all coming together well.

To quote a person on the video wall for this song : "Good to hear someone who doesn't sound like everyone else." I can't beat that, it makes a lot of sense to me.

You can find Stuart @


Stuart Newman - Feel the Temperature Rising video @

The Levellers - Levelling the Land 02 Academy Liverpool - 04 Mar 2011

Hot from receiving their "Roots" award at the BBC folk music awards last month, The Levellers, I admit, have always been a personal favourite of mine, and with over 90mins of music played, its tough to know where to start.

What I can say is that from the moment they arrived to the moment they left the audience where hooked, the songs blasted out, kept people jumping, singing and the venue lends itself well to this kind of band.

For anyone who has followed live music for a long time these guys are staple to most bands that came out of the 90s, their influence is heard in many more recent international and local bands, from their traveller roots, they use heartfelt folk lyrics styled in a rock outfit. 

In 1990 when this band where seen playing traveller's fields near Glastonbury, amidst the chaos of pitched battles between traveller's and security firms with goats and chickens flying everywhere, they where finding their feet within the general music industry, leaving the community from which they grew up, and releasing Levelling the Land  in 1991.

For most bands this would have seen them move away and just play mainstream music, Mark Chadwick and the boys however, just didn't do this, all through the years the band have stayed true to their roots, and the BBC Folk award is testement to how the industry and the music buying public views them.

It's kept them just on the radar of the public but under the radar of the usual music channels and radio stations. With their own Beautiful Days festival they stick to their ethos, its unsponsored, unpromoted, but it still sells out.

Sadly, the same can't be said for the people who follow the band, back in the 1990s most people who followed them, where long haired, bedraggled people, struggling generally to eek out an existence, it's clear from the state of the people in Liverpool tonight that these people have either turned into IT consultants and Marketing Senior 40 somethings én masse or their following has changed somewhat.

Either way, the band ROCKED, the audience where dancing and singing from the very off, the place was buzzing and songs you knew but didn't know you knew kept flowing throughout the set, with the massive "One Way" to the amazing "What a Beautiful Day" & "Devil went down to Georgia"

interspaced with gems from across not just this album but many other albums too.  Late in their set came the one song that is top 10 of my list from life, "Hope Street".  I've fond memories of busking this song myself on the streets of North West England.

Chadwick even had time to ask a punter to stamp out some Ganja, oh how times have changed.

The Levellers are the soundtrack to most people's lives, whether they know it or not, and they are still up there with the best of them, and long may that continue. Thankfully the Academy turned off the Gorillaz videos for this band.

"Levelling the land" is re-issued on March 14th 2011 and the Levelling the Land Tour is selling out fast with more dates to be added.

The Wonderstuff - 02 Academy Liverpool 04 Mar 2011 (Quick Review)

"Do you wanna hear a song about a cow!", this is not the kind of line i've ever heard at a gig before, not even a 'folk' gig, but thats what I was hearing at the Academy.

The Wonderstuff are back and it feels just like they never left, well they didn't really, they reformed in 2000, after a few years away and have been coming and going ever since.

When I entered the venue after queing up for 20 mins, a tall, leggy violinist was centre stage, and it was difficult to focus on anything else.  Erica Nockalls is the violinist for the Wonder Stuff these days, she towers over the other boys, is classically trained and makes a big impact.

Having worked out the gig was well underway at 8:30pm I thought well, it's fashionable to be late anyway and carried on watching, the academy was sold out weeks ago for the this gig, The Wonderstuff supporting The Levellers is a top draw so it's not surprising there is a crowd congestion getting in.

So onto the music, I often think, when I see acoustic guitarists fronting bands that they get a raw deal, the sound for Miles was pretty poor out front, and I thought their overall sound lacked a bit of body, in saying that, they have the tunes to back up their set.

Size of a cow was always a personal favourite of mine, and they polished it off well, I'm glad they didn't do "Dizzy" well from what I saw they didn't, they still have the ability to get the crowd going, there is no let up in exhuberance from them, but instead of beer, these days they are supping from wine bottles.

Throughtout the set the big screens either side where showing gorrillaz videos, nice touch Academy, off putting to say the least.

The gig was over by 9pm, There is no doubt this is a great band who should keep performing as they offer a lot still, and lets hope that continues for a long time to come & I think Miles has done a good job of keeping them rolling.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Ratty Little Fingers - Live & EP review

Live at The Zanzibar, Seel St, Liverpool 19th Feb 2011  & The Herald Live venue, Southport, 26th Feb 2011

What can I say? Sometimes, you wander from venue to venue and see all sorts of bands, and feel a little "uninspired".  As a music writer, promoter, musician and recording label type bloke, I get to see LOTS of bands around and about, last year over 100 bands passed through my eyes and ears, and that was just live acts.

You sometimes get a breath of fresh air though, something that really makes you want more, makes your ears prick up and take in the world from a slightly different angle.

Ratty Little Fingers provide that, I was lucky enough to see them on consecutive weekends, they are made up of Katy McGrath, Vocals & Acoustic Guitar, Christian Sandford, Upright Bass, Drums & Austin Ray on Banjo & Violin. 

They are not afraid to play irregular instruments, from the violin, banjo combination to the box for a bass drum, the chocolate tin for a snare and full size double bass.  

Katy provides a very happy feel from the moment she shyly steps up to the mantle, however, she is evocative of what a front person should be, confident in her delivery, stable in her position as the leader of the trio and above all HAPPY to be doing what she clearly loves doing WITHOUT THE ARROGANCE of so many indie bands.

The three of them together, take you on a journey from folk, to pop to country, even dabbling in a bit of rock with Katy pushing her vocals to the edge on a few songs, the acoustic sounds backed up by very credible backing vocals by Austin and Christian make for a superb sound when they are all on the edge.  There are influences from Bare Naked Ladies to Mumford and Sons in some songs, and that goes to show how they can bridge the humour gap in a few songs with the real serious traditional style songs as well.  

Ratty Little Fingers are hoping to play over 100 gigs this year, so there should be ample opportunity to get out to see them, check out their website for more information.


The first thing that grabs you when you pick up this CD is the way its put together, RLF have packaged the CD in such a way as to make you feel all warm inside.  When you read the back it says, "Thank you for purchasing this Ratty Little Pre-P, the profits of which go towards the ratty little petrol fund to get us home safely this evening."  

The packaging is home made and costs a mere £2 to purchase from the band, I love CD's like this, it really shows the band are thinking not only of the costs they incur on the road but also the fact that its about the music on the CD not the fancy covers or colourful packaging that can sometimes overstate a bands potential.

This CD delivers absolutely on the music front.....

Leftovers begins as we mean to go on, acoustic all the way with words that start to provide a story straight away, the song develops and builds along with the story into a mean crescendo towards the end with wonderfully quirky backing vocals. overall a great little song, pushing the genre well and not just run of the mill 3 chords verse chorus style songs.

This is very Dan Mangan influenced, i'm not sure whether the band have ever heard of Dan, but I think they should, they fit in right with the Canadian acoustic music scene, this song brings out the real nice feel of RLF, the wonderful violin rustling through the background creates a top class sound that would not be a miss on more eclectic radio stations around the world.

Again, using hand claps shows how this band are really without worry about how, or what they use to make music, perhaps not as strong as the first 2 songs, but it really puts a country feel across whilst not losing the folk feel along the way.

Overall: Three songs for £2 is like all your Christmas's have come at once, what a treat, get onto for more information on this great band.

A Full EP is due out later in the year.


Welcome to my blog.

I've decided to re-open my blogosphere world, and get back into real music, by real musicians.

The world is FULL of massively talented people these days and I want to really push & promote these amazing people as much as possible.

So, if you want to have me "quick" review your work for soundbites simply send me a linky to it and your website, and if I like what I hear i'll review it asap.

The only real way you can catch me is on twitter @  and DM me a song or live gig I might be able to make to review.

I'm NUJ Accredited and have my own recording studio.  I'm also sometime guitarist in sometimes international band vision thing.