PETE SHELLEY.

15 12 2018

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Our heroes, in our eyes, are invincible. They never die. We expect them to live forever. We expect them to always be around so we have their words as a safety net. We take what they give us for granted, at times. But we adore them. We love them. We cling. In love, lust, pain, life and death- we cling, and we hope.

Over a week has passed since Pete Shelley from Buzzcocks left this world and went elsewhere. Pete Shelley created the songs that I identified with as I hit an age where I was solidly uncomfortable with who I was, and ashamed of what I was. A gay kid growing up in a place that wasn’t the most welcoming towards my kind. It’s improved now, but in my mind- it’s always there in the back of my head when I go back. Certain songs by Buzzcocks were the soundtrack to my self-doubt, my self-hate. Myself. As I got older, and a little bit wiser- the songs took another meaning for me. Now, we are without Pete and I’m unsure what to do.

 

 

Buzzcocks were EASILY the best Punk band from the UK. They came from the greatest city in the world, and a city I am so proud to now call home- Manchester. Pete created songs that made you feel less alone as you fell into the cruel depths of unrequited lust and love. If he could get out from it- so could you. He was that best mate that you’d go down the pub with, and talk about these woes with. That’s how he made you feel. He made you feel less alone, and less strange for carrying these feelings around. His words were poetry. Words for the soul, words to mend the heart. Words to soothe the mind. His words came from a place that hit you right in the gut. For me, there is no denying that Pete Shelley was one of the greatest songwriters of all time- and criminally underrated. No one has ever written like him, and no one ever will. He had the ability to write about what hurts us in such a delicate and vital way. A proper poet.

I remember the first time I met my girlfriend. It was about 8 years ago. I wasn’t in the best place mentally, and I wasn’t the best person to her. I fell in love with her, but never let it on. She felt the same but I was a dickhead who was petrified of their own feelings, and in the process truly hurt someone I never meant to or wanted to hurt. Fortunately, I got my shit together and grew up, and we’ve been together now for 2 and a half years. But there was one line that stuck out more than anything. When she was with someone else, this line plagued my mind: “And if I start a commotion, I’ll only end up losing you and that’s worse.” If I spoke up sooner, I’d have saved us both from unnecessary hurt. But like I said, I’ve grown up and we’re both better now. These are the songs that find you, and you cannot help but cling to them. I clung on to that line for dear life. Things worked out though, finally.

A Different Kind Of Tension is my favourite song by Buzzcocks. I love the lyrics, and how they just show us how the world contradicts us and how expectations are always haunting us irrespective of our age and such. It’s a song that I hold very dear to me, and one I’ve used as a safety net many, many times.

It was the sheer tenderness and honesty that made me fall in love with Buzzcocks, and it is that same tenderness and honesty that made me love them even more as I got older. They were…are… a band that any and everyone can identify with.  Their music was genderless, and I loved that about them. They made us gay kids feel so safe with their music, and they spoke of things that we couldn’t find the words for. We have so much to thank Buzzcocks and Pete for, we really do.

 

 

If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have a lot of the bands we love and adore now. They changed everything. Not just for Manchester, not just for Punk, not just for us lost kids- but for everyone. The innocence and questioning in Pete’s lyrics, and the way he observed the world and portrayed what he saw was truly remarkable.

We cling, and we hope. Thank you, Pete x

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THE VOIDZ: O2 Ritz, Manchester. 7th November 2018.

8 11 2018

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If you’re ever wanting to see some of the world’s most talented musicians put on a show, then for your own sanity- go see The Voidz. Everything about the show last night was just utterly mind-blowing. It’s 7:40am and I’m going to try explain why this was one of the most inspiring and earth-shattering shows I’ve ever seen.

Let’s get it out the way first; The Voidz are fronted by the coolest person in the world, Julian Casablancas. However, if you are thinking it’s all about him then you’re dead wrong. The band is unreal, and left you wishing you could be as cool as them. So there you have it; it isn’t about Jules- it’s about the whole damn band. Oh and please stop assuming they are going to play a bunch of songs from The Strokes. Ain’t happening, kiddo. The Voidz have records that are eccentric and mind-blowing. They’ll fuck with your head, and that’s why you love them so.

They open the set with Leave It In My Dreams, and to be honest that just sets the tone for the whole set. It is full of this raw emotion that Jules conveys so well in his voice. His voice is so distinctive, and you just know it is him when you hear it. The way he can project it so it fills up the whole room is pretty damn spectacular. They blitz through the show with M.utually A.ssured D.estruction and Permanent High School most certainly being my favourite. But there’s something that needs touching on- Amir and Beardo.

If you’re ever looking for two guitarists to be left in awe of, then open your mind up to Amir and Beardo. The way they sound together is just nothing short of guitar heaven. I swear Beardo is the happiest person I have ever seen on stage. His smile and stage presence is a thing of beauty. He totally hams it up on stage, and you cannot help but grin like a total buffoon back at him. He’s absolutely mesmirising. Amir too, has the same quality. They both bounce off each other, and as Jules steps back from the stage- you truly notice what this band are about. They are loud, the songs are important and the way they sound together is just stunning. If I could think of my dream line-up, I’m pretty sure these guys would be it. The Voidz are the body of Punk, the soul of Punk and the heart of Punk. But they’re not a Punk band- they’re out there, and they aren’t afraid to truly push themselves.

There’s an improvised song early in the show when Jules spots a young kid in the audience. His concern for if the kid is old enough to be there, and if they have headphones on causes him to suggest that the kid shouldn’t be so close to the speakers. Anyway, if it was the first show that the kid had been to then they are pretty damn lucky.

For some of the shows they’ve mixed up the set which is pretty great, and the show last night was just a perfect set. The show ended on Human Sadness. But we were also treated to Black Hole and Dare I Care. Songs like Wink were greeted with such rapture. In fact, every song was.

There is something really remarkable about The Voidz and it truly comes to life at their shows. Alex is such a ferocious drummer, and you have Jeff and Jacob who add a calmness to the set. But don’t let that fool you. The Voidz, like I said, are made up of exceptional musicians. Musicians who know exactly how they want to sound and aren’t afraid to experiment and push themselves, and for me that’s what makes a band great. On record they are obviously perfect, by my god their live shows are out of this world.

The Voidz are loud, passionate and brutal. They aren’t coming for your blood, but just your undivided attention- which is pretty easy to give.

 





MELVINS: Manchester Academy 2. 28/10/2018.

1 11 2018

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve idolised Melvins. I’ve always been in awe of their heavy sound and how they just make you constantly feel like you’re hallucinating or some weird shit. On Sunday night, I finally got to see them and after years of waiting- I can safely say it was worth the wait.

Melvins ripped apart the Academy on Sunday night. They easily could have sold out the main venue, but in Academy 2 which used to be a notorious sweatbox, they kept their cool and made you feel like you were in a huge arena with their sound and presence. There is something about Melvins that makes you want to pick up a guitar and just unleash a thousand furies upon anyone who will listen. Previously they’ve had two drummers- this time, we got two bassists. I’d have LOVED to have seen them with two drummers, but having two beasts on the bass was an equally brilliant experience. Oh, and Steven was wearing one of the best jackets I’ve ever seen!

The set did mainly consist of material from their newest record, Pinkus Abortion Technician which is a brutally heavy record and although I’ve not paid too much attention to the record- the live version of these songs just made me love the record a hell of a lot. Something that is always consistent with this band is how out there they are, and just when you think they can’t blow your mind more than they have- they just ruin your eardrums and make you so glad you have this band in your life.

I took my girlfriend with me to the show. I wasn’t sure if she was going to enjoy the show, but she’s one of life’s greater people and she’s pretty cool so, I had nothing to worry about. She was more shocked that I loved a band as heavy as this! I can see why. If Sleep ever play a UK show again, I’ll have to take her. Anyway, converting people to this great band aside- Melvins put on a mind-bending show. Everything about their live show utterly projects just how amazing they are, and how they are just so criminally underrated. Bands like this have it in them to last until the end of time, and I’m pretty sure King Buzzo is going to outlive us all. There is no way he is human. He’s something else, and to just be in the same room as him blew my mind. I had to stop myself from freaking out when he walked on to the stage to do a line check.

A highlight of course, was Dale closing the show with a delightful rendition of So Long, Farewell. However for me, Don’t Forget To Breathe was my favourite moment of the show. Sure it’s a new song, but my god it is menacing. It is terrifying and it is divinely hypnotising. I felt like I was on another planet when they performed this. It’s an 8 minute whirlwind that just lures you in, and they do it in the most enigmatic way possible. If it wasn’t for Melvins, we wouldn’t have a lot of the bands we have now. I love hearing bands who have been influenced by them, because for the most part the influence is subtle but when you dig deeper- it’s definitely there.

I can safely say that after years of waiting, this was everything and more. I knew I was going to have my brain fried and my eyes opened to a different world. I went in expecting something magical, and I sure as hell got it. Easily one of the best shows I’ve been to this year and you know, it’s always pretty damn cool seeing one of the most important bands to you live. That’s a feeling that can’t ever be replicated.





BEACH HOUSE: Albert Hall, Manchester. 19th October 2018.

20 10 2018

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We all have a band that we adore seeing live. A band that when we see them, just makes everything better. It gives you this sense of belonging, and finding “home.” Live music is so powerful, and when it is one of the bands you unconditionally love- it means so much more.

Prior to last night’s show, I had seen Beach House twice in London a couple of years ago. I was just in awe of the lighting, the way they sounded and how electric the atmosphere was. I’ve never connected with London, so to see them in my newly adopted home- Manchester, was just a dream come true. Since 2006, Beach House have been a band that have meant the world to me, and have always been the most comforting sound. To see them in such a beautiful venue in the best city in the world, was just perfect.

Albert Hall is one of Manchester’s best venues and just a beautiful building. An old converted church that was just perfect for Beach House. To see the silhouettes of people dancing against the stain glass windows was so moving, and to see a sea of people getting completely and utterly lost in the music was such a thing of beauty. There was a person at the front of the stage wearing a yellow hoodie (I think) and from where I was sitting, I could see exactly how much the music means to him. They were reacting how I have done so many times at shows. This was the first time I had seen Beach House and not cried. Their music is everything to me, and to see someone else react like I do and have done was just so moving. Victoria noticed the person, and she went over to them. It was such a beautiful moment. Victoria has this presence on stage that, although you know she is shy, she has this gorgeous aura about her that is so soothing. To see her be this way towards a fan was such a lovely and touching moment.

Beach House played 18 songs. 18 songs that filled the venue with love and comfort. Songs that mean the world to us all. Beach House have enough records for you to want to see them live all the time, and B-sides to make you even more addicted to them. Their set list last night was just perfect. I could not have dreamed up a better list of songs to hear. I mean sure, classics like Lover Of Mine and Apple Orchard but it’s the rarer songs that really hit you in the gut. The reaction that everyone’s favourite, Myth has is just beautiful.  Walk In The Park was the most sentimental song for me. I’ve used that song so many times as a way out of whatever was going on.

The drums on 10 Mile Stereo blew my mind completely. Every time I’ve seen them, this song has always been played and every single time it just moves me. It is such a brilliant song, and to see it live never ever gets old. Alex and Victoria are nothing short of brilliant musicians. Victoria hides behind her hair, but her presence is so big and so wonderful. She doesn’t need to make pointless conversation or behave a certain way in order for you to pay attention. Her voice is so calming. Beach House are a band I listen to after I’ve had a panic attack, so I do listen to them a hell of a lot! There is something so reassuring about Alex’s hypnotic guitar and Victoria’s gentle voice. It feels like you’re being guided towards something your mind can’t always take you to. Beach House take you there, always.

Beach House have always been a band I use as a guide and just a form of security. Their live shows most certainly reinforce all of this. I adored seeing Wishes, Girl of the Year and Norway so much. Norway and Lazuli are two songs that I treat as my crutch at times, and every element of these songs just calms me down. 18 songs don’t feel like enough. It went by so fast, and I just wanted to hear more and more. The lighting wouldn’t make an epileptic feel too great, but it makes the show. The lights are in time to certain moments of the songs. Myth and Lemon Glow for me, really came to life and the lights just made you feel like you were in an abandoned swimming pool, and Beach House just give you this pure and joyous experience that no other band can give you. You feel like you’re floating and unaware of what is happening in the outside world. Music is the perfect escape, and Beach House just fill you with this feeling of freedom that no other band ever has.

Was this one of the best shows I’ve ever been to? Of course it was. I loved how diverse the crowd was, and the amount of love shown for the band. And the way that Beach House reciprocated it, was nothing short of perfect.

Beach House are a band that you just have to see. On record they ease your soul, and their live shows go above and beyond this. With each record they find new ways to captivate you, and for me their live shows do exactly the same every single time.

 

 





TABLE SCRAPS. The Castle, Manchester. 04/10/2018

5 10 2018

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Whilst living in London, I missed many chances to see a band I quite frankly adore, and am obsessed with. My missed chances came down to clashes with other plans, public transport being a shithead and my own misgivings- panic attacks. The thought of potentially going out on my own would more often than not cause me to feel like I was, to put it heavily but honestly- dying. I still get that feeling. This week I’ve noticed it happening, but I’m not beating myself up over it. I left a city that was pretty much killing me in all ways possible, and now I’m finally settled in a place I should have been in many years ago. Why is this relevant? It probably isn’t. I’ve been up since 5am. I’ve done my washing, ironed (I know!!) some clothes and to my disgust, drank coffee because I wanted to see if it would help me stay awake. I’m now at work. I start at 8, I’ve got 15 minutes to tell you about why last night’s show was brilliant. Please note: the coffee hasn’t helped at all and I really want to take a nap.

Table Scraps are quite frankly one of the best bands you will ever see. I’m not exaggerating with this one. You want riffs that melt your face? Got it. You want vocals that beautifully burst your eardrums? Got it. You want the bass to sail through you and make you move in ways you didn’t know you could? Best believe you’ve got it. Oh, and you want the drums to sound like some higher being is in the room? Got it, and then some. Table Scraps are three musicians who, in my eyes (and ears) are HUGELY underrated. On record, it is obvious how amazing they are. But when you see them live, it’s totally different. The Castle is a tiny venue. It’s a pub with a small back room, which is basically a sauna. Last night was a sweatfest, and I don’t think it could have been better any other way. Scott is EASILY one of the best guitarists around. In fact, he’s most certainly up there with being one of the best I’ve ever seen. He makes his guitar sound like a machine gun being wielded by a maniac. This is purely down to the way he thrashes his guitar about and gives you this face-melting solos when you least expect it.

Let’s talk about Poppy and her being probably the best drummer you’ll see. There’s a couple of drummers I love hearing, and seeing them play live. I’ve got my list on my mind, and I’ve pushed Poppy to the top because I honestly don’t think I’ll ever witness anything or anyone as great as her again. I know fuck all about playing music, I just love music as a fan and write as one. I don’t know what the technical terms are or whatever, but let’s just go with Poppy being the best drummer around- and most definitely in this country. Again, she treats her drums as a weapon. Every beat is felt in your chest, and you move to the perfect timings. Then we move on to Tim. The tallest bass player I ever did meet. The bassist is the backbone of a band, but with Table Scraps that doesn’t occur. They are all the backbone of the band. I love the way Tim guides and glides us through the songs. He isn’t as manic as Scott is, but don’t let his cool, calm stance fool you. He’s got this subtle way of making you pay close attention to what he is doing. And what is he doing? Making you witness that the bass can be equally as aggressive as the drums and guitar.

Table Scraps annihilate the stage at The Castle, and blow our minds. My personal favourite was I’m A Failure. It’s my favourite song by them, and I was super happy to see it live. This is only the second time they have played Manchester and I sincerely hope it isn’t the last. Just give them a residency at The Castle or Soup Kitchen. But to be honest, they are a band that could easily play a huge arena and win people over. There is something about them, and I rarely say this because I love small venues, but there is something about Table Scraps that makes you want to see them play a huge stadium. Their sound is massive, and it is meant to be heard by us all. I honestly don’t see why they couldn’t sell out a huge venue, and just rip us all to shreds with their brutal sound. I hope one day they get there, because they truly deserve it.

The set ends with the excellent, Motorcycle (Straight To Hell) which sees Scott launch himself into the crowd for a few seconds, and the end of this song is greeted with Scott, Poppy and Tim just going absolutely nuts on stage. It was the perfect ending to one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

If you ever get the chance to see them, GO. You’ll probably be a bit deaf the morning after but it’s worth it. They are truly one of the most talented, coolest, greatest and best bands around.

Oh, and one last thing- they’ve got a tape out on Burger Records. Do you know how big a deal that is?! HUGE.





SEXTILE: Soup Kitchen, Manchester. 16/09/2018.

16 09 2018

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If you ever wondered what Suicide and Cold Cave would sound like if they launched head first into each other, they would sound like Sextile. I’ve been a HUGE fan of the band for quite some time now, and last night I finally got to see their live show. When I lived in London, my two favourite venues were The Old Blue Last and The Shacklewell Arms. Now I’m in Manchester, I wondered if I would find a venue that could have the same dark, basement feel. Soup Kitchen was the host of the show last night, and my god it is just the perfect venue for a band like Sextile. If I was in a band, this is where I would want to play. Over the past three years I wondered what their show would be like, and last night just exceeded every single expectation I had.

One of the many things that I loved about the show was how Brady commands the stage without even having to engage in pointless talk between songs. He has this way about him that just makes you walk closer towards the stage and really listen. He’s like a preacher with the way he is on stage. He’s got this wonderful presence about him that makes you wish you could see this band every night. Melissa is one of the best drummers you’ll ever see. She’s got a Bobby Gillespie sound going on (think Psychocandy) and as she stands towering over her drum kit hitting the drum skins with such passion without breaking a sweat is just amazing. She’s effortlessly cool. Apologies for my ignorance, but I cannot remember the name of the guitarist- all I know is that she was brilliant, and during the second to last song she joined Melissa on the drums and they both had this tribal-like sound going on.

Friday saw the band release the EP titled, 3. I’ll be writing about that soon but for now let’s stick with the show. They played most of the EP, and it was so great to hear it live. I’ve been playing 3 on my journey to and from work on Friday, and I loved the grittiness of it. I love how they have a Gang Of Four sound going on mixed with The Vacant Lots. The band may be from L.A but they definitely sound like a band that have been roaming the alleyways of Berlin during a harsh winter. They absolutely ripped through the song, Paradox last night and it was definitely one of the songs that made the crowd go nuts.

I’ve always said that Manchester crowds are the best, and last night’s show was a prime example of this. The crowd was made up of people just having the best time dance so care free to a band that they love. The atmosphere was brilliant, and who cares that the show didn’t sell out. It’s better to have the right amount of fans there who love the band rather than a group of drunk idiots stumble in and be obnoxious. Sextile are equally captivating on stage as they are on record. The venue was perfect for as band like this. You felt like you had fallen into the hands of a cult as soon as they stepped on stage. I loved when they performed Drop You (it’s my current favourite from the new EP) but to be honest, they could have just performed a whole bunch of nonsense and I would have loved it. I just love this band so much. I think this might have been only their second time playing the UK and since then, their line-up has changed but regardless of band members- Sextile are just fantastic.

When they performed, Who Killed Six, that’s when it really kicked in how much I loved the show and wish it could have lasted forever. I LOVE this song so much and it’s my favourite off Albeit Living. Its song that I love playing ridiculously loud, and to witness it live was just nothing short of perfect for me. I’ve not been to many shows this year, but this is the one I’ll be holding very dear to me.

If you ever have the opportunity to see Sextile live, GO.





PURPLE HEART PARADE: Lonestar EP.

11 09 2018

 

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If two bands I idolise collided and created a record together, it would sound like the new Purple Heart Parade record, Lonestar. They sound like The Stone Roses and Beach House all in one. Although my biggest love is Punk, hearing something this laid back and nothing short of ethereal is just beautiful. I’m going to do my best to explain why this is such a gorgeous record, and what makes it so wonderful.

Manchester is home to some of the best music that this country has produced. There’s this underlying sound within Manchester bands that give them this distinctive style. It’s something no other city could ever replicate, even though I am sure they try. I don’t blame them. In March this year, I finally got my shit together and moved to Manchester after waiting for a hell of a long time. Being able to call this beautiful city home makes me so happy. Listening to bands that come from this city is just as great. What Purple Heart Parade have done with this record is create the most daring and atmospheric record of the year. It just makes you feel really good. We all need something to take us away from real life for a bit, and Purple Heart Parade take you on this euphoric journey into another dimension. Everything you want is there, and more.

Lonestar is made up of four songs. Four songs that will rip right through you. Four songs that’ll make you feel ten feet tall. Four songs that will feel like a massive bear hug. It’s such a gentle and soothing record. I want to talk about the song, Butterfly House quickly. This song is just over six minutes long, and it is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. When I listen to this, I feel just like I did when I first heard Beach House many years ago. There’s this glow to this  song that just makes you so happy. The instrumental moments on this record in general just make you realise that everyone in this band is a genius, easily. Everything about this band is effortlessly cool and so slick.

The most important song of all on this record is Mission Hills. The bands explanation of the song puts it perfectly: “The song is about emotional distance in a relationship but also the loss of a close friend, a victim of the tragic Manchester Arena attack. The band don’t just capture the sound of their hometown but also carry a part of it with them in a very personal way.” I don’t know of anyone who lives here that doesn’t think of the Arena attack every day. It’s always at the back of my mind, some days it’s right at the front. It is such a stunning song, and although it oozes sadness you feel like you are watching a bunch of shooting stars soar right across the night sky as if they are sending you secret messages. You can take what you wish from it. It’s such an important song, and as I listen to it I can feel a lump forming in my throat. It’s just such a delicate and beautiful song. It may make you sad to listen to it, but my god it is a work of art.

Lonestar and The Room make you feel like you have fallen into a deep slumber. Everything around you feels like a dream. You have no worries and no fears. All is okay. There is a heavy feel of reassurance in this record that makes you feel okay, like it’s all going to be okay. It is such an emotional record, and Peter’s vocals are so relaxing. Purple Heart Parade just make you feel at ease with all that’s around you. For a band to give you this much comfort is a thing to treasure. It’s obvious that Purple Heart Parade are one of the best bands around. They’re the Kings of Manchester, that much is clear too.

My praise for this record isn’t enough, so please go out and buy it- and listen to it religiously.

#Bemoremartyn.