Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tom Walker Trio: Live at the Symphony Hall 10/6/15

You'd think that after three days at Lunar I'd have had my fix of live music for the time being. Yet with a lovely sunny day and nothing much to do with it I made the journey especially into town to check out The Tom Walker Trio. For nearly a year I had been friends with Tom walker on Facebook without ever actually meeting him, so I felt it'd be nice to get a chance to see him play. The free gig put on by Project Sound-Lounge was placed awkwardly in the Symphony Hall Foyer right behind  the massive sheets of tinted glass. Seats were lined out and a mix of fans from all ages and backgrounds had come to see them play. Amazingly Tom Walker is only 20 years old, but his talent and stage manner belies that fact. With a deep throaty growl, and some serious skill on his guitar, Tom Walker and his band are very much in the Blues Rock mould popularised by the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan. More recently other young types such as Joanne Shaw Taylor, Oli Brown, and Virgil and the Accelerators have made some amazing music in this style and TW3 are very much the equal of those bands. The two guys backing Tom are at least twice his age, but the three clearly share a friendship and on stage are a tight unit. The slap bass playing adds another layer of funk into the mix. In traditional blues style the set-list was made up of established blues classics, such as Jimi Hendrix' 'All along the watchtower', which Tom has put his own take on, having replaced the iconic solo with something of his own. Another highlight was their take on Joe Bonnamassa's 'The Ballard of John Henry' with perfectly nicked Joe's dirty, dusty tone.
The band's original songs don't quite stand up to classics such as those, but still show a lot of promise.

Considering it was free and over an hour long, it was definitely worth coming along too, despite the strange time and place. Afterwards I finally got to meet Tom, and he told me a bit about the blues night  he's putting on at the Roadhouse In Birmingham.

Rating 7.2/10

Check out their new single below.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Left For Dead is relocating! All details here.

Unfortunately Left For Dead, The shop which I have been a semi-regular visitor of since it's opening in late 2013 has had to move to a new location. As the owner has said himself,* "trade has really slowed since December and once I had costed everything up, it simply wasn't viable to keep the CF shop running". It has been obvious that this was a possibility to me as a customer for some time. The custard Factory has been a bit lifeless lately. This may be partly down to the also sadly missed Urban Village. Yet I should mention that The Urban Village still holds vintage fairs in the Custard Factory and closed because of the owners decision to retire. 
Even though Left For Dead was by far the best independent in Birmingham (in my opinion), The Music & Video Exchange, Swordfish, Milque and Muhle, The Diskery, and Polar Bear records are all still active, and hopefully doing well. As well as one or two stalls in The Oasis Market.
Left For Dead's new site is in Shrewsbury. In Andy's own words "Shrewsbury is a great town and the shop is in a fantastic location; 5 minutes walk from the train station and a couple of minutes walk from the major car parks. There's a bunch of excellent pubs, restaurants and bars nearby. I've got lots of plans and ideas for the new shop; alongside Left For Dead's continuing commitment to carrying quality new releases and back catalogue I am also going to open a coffee den on the second floor. I will also continue to put on in-stores and I have already had discussions with a venue in Shrewsbury regarding promoting touring bands." The store is being prepared to open on 14 Wyle Cop, officially opening it's doors on the 27th. Personally I feel sad that Left For Dead is leaving The Custard Factory, but I cannot begrudge, Andy for making the decision to move. I will miss the in-stores, and the freebies that I have been given along with my new CD's (Yes, I still buy CD's). I've discovered many great bands through the freebies. Such as Nils Bech, Vertical Scratchers, Cymbals, Twilight Sad, Evans The Death, Diagrams and many more. Independent record stores are a big part of any area's music scene. I will make an effort to visit Shrewsbury at some point, the new shop already looking bigger and a bit nicer than the old one. Shrewsbury's gain is Birmingham's loss, and a reminder that an independent is for life, not just Record Store Day.

*Source: Email for loyalty card holders