Archive for June, 2009


And so it goes…

I’m not a huge fan of hot weather, and I’m deinfitely not a fan of humidity, so it’s been heavy going this past week; I was laid up with some sort of throat infection at the weekend and now I can’t sleep because everywhere is like a sauna.  Bah! Anyway, to the subject at hand, and I’ve decided rather than list everything I’ll just recommend the things that have leapt out at me for the coming week; I’m working on an easy way of aggregating all the upcoming events, but it’s slow going…

Wednesday night at the M-Club we have "the studio" — four indie/punk(ish) bands for £1, which can’t be bad.  Doors open at 7:30, and then at 10:30 (and for an extra £5) the event becomes Vanilla NITE — what that entails, exactly, is unclear, but I’m sure all will be revealed in the fullness of time.

On Thursday The Box offers up Groanbox, a band who are hard to describe but nonetheless worth a gander. No support acts listed, though, so it’s anyone’s guess.

Friday is a tough one to call — on the one hand Vavoom are at the Imp, and if they’re even half as good as they were last time I saw them then they’ll still kick ass; on the other hand Attack! Attack! are at the Box (along with Sgt Wolfbanger, Hi Alert, and The Day Before Mortality).  Needs some serious thinking about…

Old schoolers should have a whale of a time at the Limey over the weekend; Saturday offers an Alice Cooper tribute, and while I can’t imagine the stage show is anything like the real thing it should still be fun; on Sunday it’s the legends that are Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts, which I’d advise against missing if you have even one iota of common sense.

Looking ahead to next Wednesday, it’s a gig that I’ve been looking forward to for 15-20 years.  Yes, Warrior Soul are coming to the Box!  They never quite got the recognition or exposure they deserved, but they were a formative part of my youth and I’m bursting with anticipation to finally get to see them live.  Be there!


Bleached Wail/Sumo Kings (The Box, 25-Jun-2009)

Last night I found myself singing “Your tea in your Eeyore”, with lyrics like that, who else could it be but the Sumo Kings? Like an anarchist democracy, it’s hard to say who’s the lead, with each of the Sumos getting their moment in the sun. I glance from Sumo to Sumo, trying to capture all that’s happening on-stage, from Jay’s whirl of fierce drumming; to Faz in his trademark hoodie, bantering with the crowd; from Steve’s staccato, percussive guitar distortions onto Ad’s steadfast bass, which allows the others to fly. Steve and Faz really crank-up the guitar action during the bridges and you can feel the kinetic energy in the room build and build, finally releasing loyal fans and new-comers alike to go mad. Despite the unfortunate lack of a soundcheck, the Sumos’ irrepressible energy and raw talent stands out a mile.

Next-up were the justifiably hyper Bleached Wail, a trio hailing, or should that be wailing (Er, no. Ed.) from Alsager. The name comes from Gus’ description of his early singing voice, but I’m happy to say his voice is in full Technicolor, its power literally lifting him to his toes as he sings. Gus is complemented by Floody, who moves around the stage like an over-wound toy finding ecstatic release, and Nick on drums keeps it all together, resembling a creative Brazilian defender.

There’s a real sense of dialogue between Gus’ lead guitar and Floody’s bass, the unruly guitar licks ramping-up the crowd and I bet, each other, spurring them onto ever-greater musical peaks. And the dialogue expands, with Floody’s vocals chipping-in like a wisecracking sidekick. Inspired by diverse influences like the film Highlander as well as favourite books, Bleached Wail’s backbeat rhythms have the crowd moving in no time, with loyal fans singing lyrics right back at them.

If you like gutsy indie with gnomic lyrics, get yourself to the Sumo Kings’ next gig, 24th July at Manchester’s Roadhouse and do watch-out for them re-appearing at The Box. If you want to surf Bleached Wail’s mayhem tide, before it becomes a nationwide tsunami, catch them at the Underground in Stoke-on-Trent on 3rd July. I expect they’ll be back at The Box as it’s one of their favourite venues. The Sumos were also full of praise for the Crewe music scene and venues including The Box, and called on all us local music fans to get out and enjoy what’s on our doorstep.

Guest review by Mhairi Gordon.


Foulplay (Imp, 25-Jul-09)

I’ll start by dealing with the tragic and saddening news of the death of someone who, while appearing a little bizarre on the surface, touched all our lives. Yes, Jeff Goldblum has passed away…

Right, now that’s out of the way, on to Foulplay.  They’re a band with a lot of history, but in their current incarnation they’ve had about a week’s practice after an extended absence and to be honest the phrase "poorly rehearsed covers band" is hardly something that inspires confidence.  However, with a combination of experience, musicianship, and luck they pulled it off and gave the patrons of the Imp an entertaining show that made up with enthusiasm what it may have lacked in polish.  It’s not very often you’ll hear Adam and the Ants, The Vapors, Elvises Presley and Costello, and Oasis lumped together, but they were all delivered with gusto and even induced some dancing from the crowd.  Their encore was interrupted by the news that some whacked out nutjob had died, but even that didn’t dampen the atmosphere and even when they ran out of material the audience clamoured for them to play something again.

In other news, early reports from the Box were that it was a good night — Sumo Kings and Bleached Wail are usually a good bet — and there are some developments at the Limey that could see it back on its feet again soon (more on that when I can confirm or disconfirm the news).

(Pre-emptive apology: it’s rarely good news when someone dies and I’m sure the passing of Jacko will upset a great many people, so if my implication that he was anything other than a perfectly sane and balanced individual causes offense then I’m sorry.)



Over the past week or so I’ve been a bit under the weather — my chronic insomnia has been compounded by the humidity, so I’m averaging an hour or two’s sleep a night — and my personal life has become a little more involved so things have slowed down a tad, but I’m still here!

A few things on tonight: Foulplay are at the Imp; there’s a Free/Bad Company tribute at the Limey; and Dinosaur Pileup, Japanese Voyeurs, Sumo Kings and Bleached Wail are at the Box; I’ll be at the Imp, and friends Mhairi and Mark will be at the Box having a few words with the Sumo Kings and Bleached Wail.

Hopefully a combination of medication and planning around things will make everything run a little smoother, but I’m a man and we don’t multitask well so juggling personal, professional, and public lives is stretching me a bit!


Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival/Limey Surprise

Although it’s not actually in Crewe I thought it was worth mentioning in passing, mostly because of the presence of a few Crewe-based bands on the lineup.  I have little interest in folk music (Nick Drake and Pentangle are about all I can manage) and even less interest in boats (or at least those of the narrow persuasion), but the boats were easy enough to ignore and there seemed to be a fairly liberal interpretation of the folk genre.  Of particular interest was Chloë at the Big Lock who yet again played a blinder; the 150+ strong crowd that had gathered along the canal banks certainly seemed impressed and the people who approached the band afterwards to say how much they enjoyed it covered almost every possible demographic — their sound has pretty much universal appeal and if they continue their aggressive schedule of appearances there’s every reason to expect big things!

I should also mention the unadvertised gig at the Limey which, bizarrely, had drawn a larger crowd than the previous two gigs I’ve seen there.  Having already been on my feet (and on the beer) all day and with some personal matters intervening, I didn’t catch enough of it to say much about it other than it shows that the venue does still have a following, and that it wouldn’t take much to bring it back to its former glory…



Seems like there’s been a monumental breakdown in communication — what the bouncer told me when he refused to let me in was, apparently, not the message that should have been delivered, and while I’m still a little unclear on what’s actually going on I’d like to apologise to anyone I may have offended. At the time I wrote it, though, they were all reasonable assumptions based on what I’d been told when I tried to go in. Here’s hoping it gets sorted out soon…

Update: I won’t go into the sordid details but I think I’ve pieced together most of the story, and barring some wrangling over finer points I think we can move on and file it under just one of those things; the whole sorry affair could have easily been avoided if those involved had taken the time to talk to me (that’s what the contact page is for, people) rather than taking drastic measures but there’s no mileage to be gained from pointing fingers. I’m sure there’s some sort of moral to the story, but finding it is left as an exercise for the reader!

I’ve just got back from the Box after being told I’m no longer allowed in there with a camera.  Considering the fact that I provide them with free publicity, probably spend more time there than anyone other than employees, pay to attend with my own money, and throw away more money than I ought to on beer whilst I’m there, I’m somewhat at a loss to explain this recent turn of events.  I guess I’ll just be spending more time at the Limey now…


Coming up this weekend

As they have their own website and promoters and have done nothing to be helpful I’ll let you find out for yourselves what’s on at the Box.  (I’m feeling curmudgeonly today. Bite me.)

As for the Limelight, on Thursday night it’s the pop/rock machinations of Illicit Eve; Friday night features a double header of Crowded Scouse and Beautiful Sound (hmm, I wonder what they do?); and Saturday is Sample Minds.  I wish tribute acts would be a bit more imaginitive when picking names, but there you go…

Beyond that, all I’m aware of is Chloë at the Imp on Saturday night, plus the goings on at the Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival (which, while not strictly in Crewe, is close enough and features several Crewe-based acts) — hopefully the weather holds!