Friday, March 31, 2017

EAT ME, Waco, Limiter, Pinky, Crime and Punishment 2011, Live at subside 29/3/17. Review

While the crowds were lining up at the academy and the institute I was on my way to a free show at Subside to see brummie 'grime-core' bruisers Crime and Punishment 2011 (7.2/10) (Who I interviewed after the show). Their last show (supporting the brilliant welsh pop punk group Junior) was significant as it was both the last show they played with the MC Glitch (who is now embarking on a solo career as J-Dead) and also the first set with their new drummer, Sam. This show at Subside was CPK's first full set with Sam as a small but appreciative crowd came over to see them play. While there were some issues with sound quality and Dan Carter now has to rap a mix of both his own bars and Jake's on the older songs, this seemed to almost work to their advantage, sounding more punk than ever before. Sam's drumming helped flesh out some of the older songs, while the newer tunes are dark grime flavoured bangers that bode well for the bands forthcoming d├ębut album.

Next up was the local duo P I N K Y (6.4) who like contemporaries such as Basement or other local groups like Bathtub seem to exist in a sort of odd middle ground between modern day pop punk and 90's grunge. Their lo-fi sound is stripped back to just vocals, drums and guitar. Although the guitar is soaked in noise from several effects pedals, and frontman Joel Price vocals flit between howling angst and cool nonchalance. Pinky are releasing a new EP soon which will definitely be worth checking out.

Bristol's Limiter (6.8) were the first of the two bands to appear on stage tonight who had travelled throughout the whole 'Bloody Norah Tour-ah' supporting Eat Me. When people talk about 'real emo'  I assume that they're talking about bands such as Limiter, who take cues from bands such as Brand new and mix heavy riffs, clean vocals and sweet guitar melodies together. Their set went down pretty well with the crowd loving their songs between the odd Gordon Ramsay baiting on-stage banter.

EAT ME's label buddies and tour mates Waco (8) were absolutely fantastic. Mixing unashamedly old school rock with a more modern punk rock style vibe. Their whole attitude is based on peace and love as well as loving in the moment. Rocking out in paisley patterns and Hawaiian shirts and throwing out all sort of rock star poses. Their singer looks as if he's walked straight out of 1973 and dropped plenty of casual hippie- style advice throughout the set. Telling people to live in the moment and inviting audience members to talk about conspiracy theories afterwards as well as and how the Birmingham crowd had 'kind faces and smiling eyes'. Waco have got loads of energy and plenty of musical chops, they are far too good to be written off as just another retro rock band. Put simply, Waco are a band who know how to party.

While most bands start to sound more polished over time 'the violent Hanson', EAT ME (8) defy convention by still being as raw and scrappy as they can on their third EP 'Melon Enema'. Eat me mix pop punk with math rock. So alongside the self depreciating lyrics and sing-along choruses are all sort of odd time signatures and guitar solos. They play pop punk with an almost jazz style abandoning of the rules. None of their songs seem to conform to any real structure. While their music might sound a bit of a mess at first listen in truth it takes a lot of skill for a band to sound as off the wall and impulsive as Eat Me do. Their set was loads of fun and afterwards I bought the vinyl copy of their new EP and they gave the CD's of the last two for free, thanks guys!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Junior, Live at The Sunflower Lounge 16/3/17. Review.

In a recent interview with Loud and Quiet magazine Savages' Jenny Beth made the point that 'Somehow it's okay to go to a show, see a band, drink a beer and walk home and that's it - I don't understand that.' While Jenny might be talking more about the idea of challenging an audience,  which she has done with her band, it's also a band's duty to entertain. Especially on a Thursday night in Birmingham. So thank fuck for bands like Junior (8/10).  While most bands would be rightfully pissed off at travelling all the way across the valleys just to play a show with a broken amp. Junior took to the challenge beautifully with their singer-bassist and drummer playing requests at random from whatever people shouted at them using one bass note. The best of which was the sing-along to Smash Mouth's hit 'All star' (requested by me).
Another highlight was the limbo championships. While the band played, audience members were invited to try their skills under the rope. Crime and Punishment 2011's Jake was the winner while Smart Casual's drummer Talbot fell straight on his arse. 'Limbo championship winner' t shirts can be bought from their merch table alongside more funky tie-dye shirts. Audience interaction seems to be a common theme at Junior shows, with band members playing in the middle of the crowd and kids crowd-surfing through the tiny venue.
All joke's aside though, when their kit works Junior are a fantastic live band, their take on pop-punk is infectiously joyful and packed full of heavy riffs and guitar solo's as well as the occasional bit of PSB style sampling. Junior are a tight live band and have clearly honed their musical skills on the road. While the rest of the world has moved on to depressed lean sipping rappers, Junior and fellow South Wales based punks 'Who Saves The Hero?', are keeping the spirit of 2003 and a completely non-ironic love of pop-punk alive.



Crime and punishment 2011, Bathtub, Straight for the Sun. Live review 16/3/17

While I may have missed Proud Ember's set I did manage to get to The Sunflower lounge to see Straight for the sun (6/10). Who faced with every bands worst nightmare, a show with their keyboard player and drummer missing, played a set of their songs stripped back to just two electric guitars and vocals. Yet they took to the challenge brilliantly, filling the set with lots of light hearted banter and editing their songs to suit their jangly take on indie and emo. The ballad 'Broken heart surgery' was a highlight as it proved that even without the extra instrumentation the band's vocals and guitar melodies are impressive enough.
After having seen Bathtub (6) about 3 times before it's a bit strange that it's only this time around that I've started to like them. Probably because this set At the Sunflower Lounge was one of their best. A powerful mix of pop punk and grunge, delivered with passion and a great little anti-Trump rant, "fuck sexism, fuck racism, fuck homophobia, fuck transphobia.."
While I have seen Brummie 'Grime-core' lads Crime and Punishment 2011 (7.6) many times tonight's set was something special as it marked Jake aka Glitch's last ever show with the band, as he departs to pursue a solo career as J-Dead. The first half of the set saw the band running through all their usual set-list, and playing favourites such as 'Bodybags' which had it's very last play, the furious call to arms' 'Rucksack' and the trap flavoured 'paralysed'. CPK have become so confident on stage that rather than just Joey Sniper screaming while Glitch and Dan Carter share bars, that they're all pretty much shouting on top of each other, creating a cacophony of noise over Jason's wall of beats and guitar samples. Joey Sniper got on stage and screamed from on top of the bar and staircase. While Dan jumped about spitting bars. After performing the moody 'There's a reason storms are named after people', Glitch left the stage and CPK's new drummer Sam, (who also played drums for Bathtub earlier on) joined them for two brand new songs. Both dark, grime flavoured bangers. Jake joined the band for the only time they'll have 5 members to perform a completely revised version of the bands' last single 'Nefarious'. The new mix of laptop beats and live drums work surprisingly well. CPK have found a way to step up their game without replacing Jake and while the old songs sound good, the new material sounds fantastic. With respect to Jake the new material is some of the most exciting yet, and Jake's last show with CPK was their best yet.