Just what you know, everything, doubt it…

Back in the early days when this blog was a young pup, I had the half-arsed notion to make this a new music thing, based loosely around bands that I might see locally and which were largely unsigned.

I kept to my original thought for a while but, well, over the years, the focus has drifted somewhat and the blog has developed more “organically” shall we say. Tonight though, let’s go a bit old school for a moment…


Towns are a new band, local to the West, and if not unsigned, definitely indie. Best of all I actually saw them the other week, opening at the Wooden Shjips evening, and really enjoyed their set. (All boxes ticked, then)

Towns are from Weston Super Mare and are with Howling Owl records. They have a couple of limited releases and are apparently garnering a little bit of praise around the Internet

With a definite nod to the Charlatans and Ride, they gave us an entertaining half hour or so at the feece, flinging guitars around, battering the hell out of drum kits and wantonly abusing the sound equipment all around. For a fleeting interlude they filled the space with waves of guitar and baggy drum sounds, which sent a bit of a jolt around the gathering faces. To be honest they deserved a larger group, and I’ll bet they can put on something of a show in front of a home crowd, and if I was a younger man….

I think their current single is the mod-ish “Just Everything”. It’s a belter and you can see it here:


I automatically turn on my recorder as soon as I enter a gig these days, and for once, I was rather glad I did…


Just Everything

Tilahun Gessesse – The Voice

These days you’re never more than six songs away from Ethiopia on my iPod.

Listen to this, I mean, really…

Forty years old and still as vibrant as anything coming out today…

Good times are coming, I hear it everywhere I go…

Criminey! Was that two weeks ago? Where does the time go?

Wooden Shjips

Well… two weeks ago (apparently), I went to see San Francisco guitar fiends, Wooden Shjips in the appropriately grimy, down-to-earth surroundings of the Fleece in Bristol.  I think I’ve said before how much I like the Fleece, it really is yer bona fide “rock” venue, stone floors, old gig posters, real ale, ridiculously in-the-way pillars, and it really suited the dark, dark sound of Ripley Johnson and the boys.

We had a couple of support bands, one slightly ridiculous (Scarlet Rascal and the Trainwreck, ho hum) and one, Weston band Towns, rather fine (more of them soon I hope…)

The Shjips came on fairly late and did their thing for an hour or so, lumbering through a raucous, heavy set that drew largely on “West”. It was bassy, uncomplicated stuff, high on meandering solos and fabulously repetitive – pretty much what the punters ordered, in fact.  To be honest, I’d’ve liked the organ to have been a bit higher up in the mix (and I always find the vocals hard to hear) but that’s being churlish, really.

You get the impression that Johnson plays the music that’s in his head and won’t be deviating from that path any time soon – it’s up to us to keep up really, and I’m ok with that. They played for a long (or very short) hour, did an encore of Vampire Blues and were gone all too soon, a slight whiff of sulphur hanging in the air… All wonderfully shadowy and psychedelic…

The recording is patchy, (mainly because the sound was a bit erratic again), full of audience “participation” but on the whole good, highlights being an endless version of “For So Long” and a particularly brutal “Home”.

Black Smoke Rise


For So Long

Vampire Blues

If we can call them friends, then we can call them on their telephones

Wooden Shjips at the Fleece tomorrow night and I’m mightily looking forward to it. Should be a good night and all that, but as I was thinking about it the other night it made me realise that I’ve been sadly neglecting this Blog for some time now.

More pertinently, it made me realise that I have a rather nice set of recordings from the Andrew Bird gig I went to a few weeks ago, which have yet to see the light of day…

Andrew Bird

Mr Bird has made a rather sudden impression on our household, rising to the giddy heights of actually being liked by myself and also by Josie at the same time (very few artists, I can tell you…). On top of that theBristoldate at the Trinity Centre was during half term. Clearly meant to be…

I’ll be honest, it was a while ago, and a good few of the details are by now a little sketchy, (although the large double gramophone spinning crazily at the back of the stage does come to mind) but I’ll not go on. But I do remember being struck by what a phenomenal musician Andrew Bird clearly is. I’ve never seen anyone play violin in quite the same way as he does, switching between bowing and plucking within verses and with some judicious use of the old loop pedal and the ubiquitous whistling, it was a helluva  spectacle…

There’s some terrific footage on YouTube filmed by Knappafire which’ll give you a flavour

It was a lovely evening, warmly appreciated by an at times incredulous audience and now I find myself sitting here in my Andrew Bird t-shirt reflecting on it, one I wished I’d made more of.  It certainly deserved a little more than these hurried lines…

The recordings came out better than I expected and you could do far worse than give them a wee listen…


Orpheo Looks Back

Fatal Shore

Tables and Chairs