Facebook Slider

Rockaway Beach 2020, Butlin's, Bognor Regis - The Captain Stavros Opinion

B-U-T-L-I-N-S that's the way you spell SUCCESS! What better way to wipe away those January blues than with a hop, skip and a train ride down to the seaside? If you have no clue as to the meaning of 'Dry January' and wouldn't  mind enjoying a variable smorgasbord of new, old, weird and wild music making your way out to where you can meet some like-minded spirits is at the top of your to-do list. There is no shortage of characters and bands with character.

It's 12:30pm Friday the 9th of January, the Chief and I are supposed to be setting off out my door for our train at this very moment when the zipper to a packed duffle bag breaks off in my hand and the bag splits open like a fortune cookie. I look up at the Chief, he looks back at me through his stone-cold blue marbles emotionless. Fortunately there's a Plan B. Unphased by our plight behind a thick bearded and lush mane of hair I draw strength from the Chief's indifference to the situation unfolding before us. “Two minutes Turkish” I wish I'd yelled instead I duck into the wardrobe for a backup bag still in it's original packaging waiting to save me on this very date fated by the universe itself. Somewhere just out of earshot a starter pistol cracks off a blank, and we're off.

I'm not sure what Bognor Regis is like, or the Butlins for that matter, in the summer but I'm almost certain I'd hate it. I hate crowds and children but this place suffers from neither near mid-January. The tiny town is littered with unplucked vintage items hanging heavy on the vine, reasonable prices and a seemingly never ending string of cozy pubs and parks. Not only that but follow any of the winding village roads down hill and you'll be met with the roar of the ocean as the tide crashes into the pebbled beach in the morning only to ebb away at night with equal force. It's a delight to both wake up and fall asleep to if you can manage either of those that is with so many things going on. Okay, okay, let's talk music.

Day One kicks off for us at 19:00, giving those leaving cities plenty of time to make it in for the first act. Musos' Crew however were more concerned about hitting the buffet as we'd arrived with plenty of time to spare. Attacking the salad bar with a fervor unseen by most the Black Country, New Road (@BlackCountryNewRoad) crew slinks in behind me. At buffets I've got compound vision so while I stare and continue loading my plate(s) I yell, 'oh hey, really looking forward to your set!' which is met with young faces full of concerns for my welfare, but more likely their own well being considering the sight before them. The 6-piece were highly recommended by Martin, bassist of Cling Film (@ClingFilmBand) touting them as not to be missed. He was right. Whisper's of 'they're so young' came from the middle aged+ crowd surrounding me at the front of the stage but quickly turned into awe before the end of the first track. Raucous applause continued to rise and fall throughout the rest of their set as well. Slow building and methodical each note is deliberate and cutting. The music swims in bridled restraint, brimming with tension. The pacing reminds me of soundscapes from years ago, each of their songs told a story. They didn't speak much outside of the lyrics sung by Isaac (vocals/guitar) but if you watched closely you'd see a shorthand shared between band mates of candid smiles and subtle nods. Unhurried and remarkably uninterrupted by the tanked up crowd it was an experience that stood out this weekend. The next morning after a gluttonous breakfast I ran into them as they checked out of our hotel. We chatted for a few and recommended if anyone in the UK wanted to catch a performance they'd be rolling through January and February. Most performances I've learned are sold-out, unsurprisingly, but if you're lucky enough to be in place where they aren't (yet) catch a show, you won't be disappointed.

Speaking of anything but disappointment out comes John Cale in blazer and jockey trousers; next level man. A legend to me personally he doesn't let down. On the streets you'd likely pass John without drawing a second glance, on stage however, good luck taking your eyes off this Demon God, he drew them in in droves. John's left hand grips and slackens around the fretboard sliding up and down the neck like a piston while his right snipes each string precisely, each note hits hard and dirty. Watching John, a multi-nstrumentalist as comfortable behind the keys as he is the strings is impressive enough in and of itself. His voice is another thing completely, a musical machine of feat and strength it belts out and holds the notes for what seems like an eternity. Although he's survived the '80s and being surrounded by heroin on this night he was blasted by LED torches thanks to the stage crew that rocked him so hard off balance and probably within inches of his life. Nonetheless he left the stage as gracefully as he entered, albeit with detached retinas.

 

The next day after a light breakfast trunks and towels in hand we head off to the indoor, newly built state of the art, water park situated next to us, purely for research ... Ambient music piped through the speakers as we ripped and shot through pipes and flumes unencumbered by the lack of children which was the cherry on the sundae of an already glorious afternoon. Truth be told, I've always hated ambient music but it takes all kinds and now I'm certain of it. Floating upside down on a giant inflatable banana with a smaller inflatable bat under my feet for support as half naked human people around me bounce giant inflatable eyeballs off each other over the waves and music rolls off us all alike. I was pretty blissed out  when I caught the DJ's eye as he spun tunes from between two inflatable palm trees behind the decks. Upside down on my giant yellow banana I threw up, to him an inverted, thumbs up, which in hindsight I now realize betrayed my true feelings on his set. He reciprocated by cocking an eyebrow in acknowledgment and returned to making the sweet ambrosia that trickled its way back down my ear canal as I closed my eyes and wiggled my pruned toes in the wave pool's water. Two heavily chlorinated waves filling up both nostrils and sinus cavities I crawled and hacked a lung up back ashore. Land-ho, landlubber. 

Dried out and un-pruned at the Red Stage we catch our first gig of the day, The Sweet Release Of Death (@the_sweet_release_of_death). Is there any way to prepare for TSRD? No to both band and tragic ends. If I could sum up in a few words their sound, it would go a little like this. Imagine if you will the terrible (in a GREAT way) sounds from far and wide across the land by some horrible miracle came together to find themselves near one another. Eventually they'd meet crashing into one other uncompromisingly, culminating in a perfect storm of sound and calamity.  I'm still probably selling them short. It was pretty wild, an organized chaos I very much enjoyed them. Small on talk, big on sound, would recommend.

Up next we caught Our Girl (@weareourgirl). I had the pleasure of watching them open for Blood Red Shoes back at the Oslo circa 2016. That year I must've watched them another 3 times as they toured. I was happy to see them on the bill and made the time to catch their set. The band has fully crystallized since it's synthesis. Nathan, (vocals/guitar) has had a very good year and rocked all around the stage more than ever before, she seeped confidence and was in her element, 'it's our first show this year' certainly won't be their last either. Looking forward to big things from this gang and hopefully hearing some new tunes as nothing on the bill had changed from 2016 ... If you haven't already heard of Our Girl, where've ya been?           

Speaking of where've ya been, if you weren't at the main stage for Nova Twins, fuck if you didn't miss out on catching the Golden Goose. These East London meets Harajuku Birds of Prey are not only out of this world, they're from another galaxy all together. Materializing before us they came out blasting, BOTH barrels, klap, klap, krack, KRACK. It was fucking insane. Let's go through the check list, shall we? Look, check and on point. Attitude, check, obviously. Talented AS FUCK Double/Triple check, in the eternal words of the B.B., you can't, you won't and you DON'T stop, illest of communication. These bad-ass-shes blew my mind. Hyperbole aside they didn't break a sweat while dropping some SERIOUS heat. Georgia South, if Flea, Morello and Sailor Moon had a lovechild, is by far the most prolific, talented and technically profound bassist of her generation that I have EVER seen I was awed she augmented that bass into some sort of technical wizardry with bluetooth ring wah? Lethal as all get-out,  all while wearing a smile on her siren face. Might be I fell a bit in love, speaking of love, Amy Love. Her axe and those epic locks of hers shredded most absolutely. Nothing and no one was safe, she tore apart the stage with her pipes and then set her sights on the crowd, diving in to bring everyone's bodies bouncing up and down. They came fast and hard and it feels like they left all too quickly because before I knew it the set was gone. They're playing Feb 6th in London, don't miss it. If you do, they've got gigs across the land (galaxy) coming, catch 'em while you can.

Rounding the bases for the final day in B.R. we walk by the beach on a most windy but gloriously sunny day that sets the spirits soaring. Attempting to hit the town museum we hit a wall instead, closed. Around the corner however is the Dog and Duck a hole in the wall but brightly lit and packed micro-pub. We chin-wagged with owner/bartender/former Londoner/full time cockney and ex-TV cameraman Steve 'what's the girl version of your name' who had no shortage of fine ales and banter. 'Oi ai, I've seen plenty of Kennethina's in my day' the chief touts as I snagged a half of a still/cloudy blood orange cider and crossed the street to lean against a sunbeam streaking down and across a weather beaten cement one storey. The ocean crashed in the near distance and I crashed back for seconds before I nearly forgot, Go-Karts, MUSIC!          

Rushing back to Rockaway Beach we threw ourselves around the petrol fumed bends on karts made of steel, best opening band ever? They certainly had chops. Thoroughly rung-out we headed to the Red Stage to catch an afternoon of tunes. Unfortunately the afternoon for me would be spoiled by the front-men for both Life and Heavy Lungs. Both had excellent musicians irrespective of their front men, essentially caricatures of what a front man should be. Absolutely ridiculous and clowny antics seemingly for no other reason than a lack of musical capability. Ravings and watered down philosophies spewed out of their mouths in the form of banter and lyrics, yikes. Unlike them, their band mates could very much throwdown. I don't mean to be this harsh, honestly I'm biting my tongue. Truly I'm sorry they're not both lead by Heavy Lung's drummer George Garratt who beats the drums as hard as he does his voice. 'Is this music?' he yells into the mic from behind front man Danny Nedelko who dances like a confounded fool belly dancer molesting himself shamelessly while removing his shirt front and center stage, 'we don't know' he offers with a shrug. My boy George, it surely is not. (Knowing the bloke's name now further cements my indifference to Idles - Ed.)

Although the rest of the day's music didn't do it for me I was given coins by the chief to play the 2p push-coin games as a distraction. Walking away after a few minutes of having squandered my riches, hands smelling of dirty copper, I reminisced about what I'd learned over the weekend, other than the fact I'm most likely incubating a gambling problem deep within me. Firstly, the vegetarian sausages are still as addictive as ever during the breakfast buffet. I did also become fairly proficient with the unlimited ice-cream machine by the end of the festival, stick to filling up mugs instead of bowls is my advice. FYI, Butlin's, removing the handles from the (my) machines so I couldn't drown my scrambled eggs in ice cream during breakfast? Dirty pool, shame on you! This year, as in last I discovered new music and looked forward to catching these acts again live as they once more tour the UK throughout the year. There were so many side events outside of the music too from pop up record shops, quizzes, dancing, Karting, Swimming the list goes on and on so that I was never short on having something fun and cheerful to do. From this year to last I also noticed a fair shift in both age and variety of the crowd. More youngsters and a lot more weirdos so I'm definitely down with that! Speaking of being down, I've never been one to be down with package deal holidays, I like creating my own adventure personally. That being said I will say I cannot begin to explain how refreshing it was having my every whim catered to and having to think zero percent of the time, truly a boutique festival experience. But don't take it from us, take it from Hollywood Super Star (tax evader) Wesley Snipes, always bet on Rockaway (Passenger 57 rerun on late night tv Sunday, couldn't help myself).

Read more...

The Lasters, Album Launch, Somewhere In London

“Where the hell have you brought me to?” fellow Musos’ contributor Chicken Titz demanded of me, Captain Stavros, and rightfully so. I’ve kept her in the dark about tonight’s event thinking we’d both get a kick out of a little mystery. “What is this, some sort of lazer-tag orgy convention?' she spat scanning the crowd. Turns out what my idea of a mysterious and fun time is would be wrong, so very, very wrong. We pass a derelict pit behind Waterloo Station underneath an overpass by a chain-link fence that’s seen better days making our way to some blown out Community Theatre for the preview of Fred Deakin's “Space Opera” -The Lasters-. This performance was billed as an opera and maybe it was an opera in the sense that opera’s terrible.

Thinking this would be a performance of some prestige naturally we've arrived early and hungry so like far out cosmic black hole brethren we decided to consume the space time around us by shovelling Cuban food and Sangria into our gobs to pass the time. Full of hope, and food, we waddled over to the venue a few hundred feet away and awaited a unique and memorable experience as we queued up. At first, it genuinely seemed pretty cool set behind Waterloo Station - the vibes were post-apocalyptic-alley-meets-ghetto-chic dumpster fire with all the trimmings of a 2 star halfway house (coincidentally also the same rating of Fred's former graphic design company in Japan). Naturally we’d never feel compelled of our own free will to traverse this sort of landscape but an assignment is an assignment.

 Titz peers over the rim of her wine glass as she shoves a fistful of cheeses and cured meats into her face, sneering at me as we co-pen this article at my flat, she’s reading over my shoulder as I’m typing. “Maybe shut-up and get on with it” fair-play, we’ve got a lot to unpack here. She’s pulled up The Lasters KickStarter and points at some figures, my jaw drops. When giving a man (child) like Fred Deakin essentially carte blanche to do what he pleases with 35K (a 350% crowd funded blank-cheque) he’ll go ahead and produce a lazily and slapped together poorly written excuse of a musical a.k.a. Space Opera. A little backstory on Fred before the backstory of this story. Fred is a disc jockey. After Titz here spent several minutes Googling him to see if he played any instruments involving keys that weren't on a laptop all we could come up with were a list of various digital firms that were opened and closed (failed) all with exclamation marks! These included several mixed media companies and a bunch of 404'd websites, one common thread ran throughout all of Fred’s achievements: Fred really likes telling people about his story. Always with the story. You’d think with so much practice telling stories he’d actually be able to do so coherently and convincingly, not so. You might be asking yourself around this point ‘what type of people would fund this sort of self-indulgent behaviour?’ I mean, we definitely asked and if you did, well, we're glad you asked.

The funders, the fans, the fanatics all dressed in uniform with their The Lasters t-shirts handed out freely upon entrance in whatever size you wanted (except ours) made up the crowd this evening. These uniformed bodies filled the folding chairs of the theatre to capacity. Pensioners, human resource workers, off-off-off Broadway enthusiasts and laser-tag aficionados, people who needed to keep their buzz topped up throughout the performance hitting the bar over and over just to make it through, the list goes on... Strangers that were also compelled by their own compulsions to share their stories with each other at maximum volume over the top of one another in the over-crowded bar serving room temperature drinks at refrigerated prices, in much the same fervor as our good ole buddy Fred, birds of a feather. The only problem was that Titz and I didn't have any feathers, we just didn't fit in so we avoided eye contact at all costs and stole away into a corner by the toilets. I think the both of us respectively had a different idea of what 'Space' meant to us and the sagas within it (Titz is nodding and topping up our wine), but there's an audience for everything I suppose.

 Anyway, so Fred walks on stage in traditional Japanese kimono-top, bowing Buddha style, his palms together, and that was more than enough to trigger Titz' (she’s half Japanese). “No Japanese person wants to see a white gaijin doing that shit”. He begins th(w)anking everyone involved in producing The Lasters, from the audience to his wife (not present) for the moral support. He jokingly eludes to his wife's role differing from that of actual contributor to his work and also different to 2017's drama 'The Wife', where Glenn Close is considered intellectual, graceful, charming and diplomatic, whereas Joe is casual, vain and enjoys his very public role......................obviously not anything like Fred or his wife. Next we’re introduced to the musicians: Stephen Huw Davies in a boiler suit with sunglasses (which we later found out doubled as a space helmet), Abby Sinclair, Fred's daughter in the opera, came off as a toddler in overalls, would decide the fate of Earth’s last family. She really did look like a lady version of Chucky. It should be mentioned she made the best of a bad situation with a stand alone performance, clear vocals, solid dance moves and multi-skilled musician swapping between guitar and bass. Charlotte 'The Labia' Hatherley with her tight tights and hip length mac left nothing to the imagination (Titz and I were in the front row), hence her nick-name. Charlotte also sang beautifully and effortlessly shredded her way through all the licks on her guitar. All were miserably dressed for a Space Opera though and really took away from the theatrics. Fred, where did all that crowdfunding budget go? Clearly not towards wardrobe. 

The Lasters is a continuous 73 minute (which felt like 73 hours) soul-destroying performance involving multi-platform stage and screen adobe flash shows/powerpoint presentations rolled up in a college boy-thinly written story; all was assembled using a crew of talented musicians who were essentially glorified marionettes that had no choice on what they were playing, singing, speaking or how they were dressed as Fred essentially masturbated himself mouthing his own lyrics and dialogue throughout the performance in the background as the musicians just tried to get through it. The opera starts off like this, with the backstory. The adult population of earth is irradiated due to nuclear fallout as a direct result of using technology (we shit you not), but their children have come through alright. I guess no one's told Fred that sperm count, 1st generation radiation childbirth and the resulting defects don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but we digress. This has all come about as stated earlier due mostly in part to 'tech' which is now forbidden on Earth. It appears for some reason a family, one family, sans matriarch populates the entire planet. Inexplicably after Abby’s character leaves Earth in search for her mother in the last quarter Mars begins a vast bombing campaign on what’s left of Earth (un-populated) for seemingly no reason at all other than to destroy what’s left of the vacant husk of a planet. The main protagonist chases a hologram version of her mother across the galaxy/universe along with some uncredited alien species guiding her and giving her hope. Her father is also in tow? Even though he doesn’t board a space-ship but does get a duet with his hologram ex-wife, Fred’s singing (speaking in wavering tone deaf glorified talking) induced major cringe. Upon Abby reuniting with her now dead mother/hologram Fred chases her with a laser (we don’t even get to see the laser) for a bit, who even cares? I’m done with this trash and going along with its nonsensical journey it reads like a schizophrenic monologue. Sorry for the outburst but Titz just read the plot out to me off the Kickstarter page and it fried my fucking brains. A man and a woman leading opposing civil factions were the only people that decided to populate and live on Earth as a family. Still, one left anyway. Worst civil war ever. Comparable, by Fred, to 'War of the Worlds' and 'Quadrophenia', I wish I could eye-roll harder on paper.

We could sit here all night trashing The Lasters and in fact we have and have had a great time doing it. We've gone through a ton of snacks, a bottle of wine and half a bottle of spiced vodka smuggled back from Poland, brewed in who knows where and who knows how all while we've struggled trying to remember what The Lasters was even about or if we liked it? We both agreed in the end that we endured a meaningless performance that we could’ve done without. What sage lessons other than that did we walk away with though? We decided the best memories and lessons learned in hindsight came from before and after The Lasters. First of all, we shouldn't have rushed eating Cuban food. Secondly we should’ve had more Sangria, we also should've ordered another plate or 10 of food. We discovered a new 'space' in London that we’d consider revisiting; if we were ever to get stuck in the Waterloo area we'll know where to go to kill some time in style. We remember ripping by the Thames on my motorbike and stopping because the moon was just so full framed by the London-Eye and reminiscing about the past couple of weeks and even our day, in the end The Lasters made us appreciate anything that wasn't that horrid ‘Opera’ and everything that was us, and maybe that was the point in the end? ChikenTitz doesn’t think so. We feel that maybe we walked away breaking even but we definitely enjoyed the ride. So, watch/listen at your own peril, ride at your own risk. If we've learned something from this traumatic experience, it's probably that if you believe anything is possible, maybe it is? 

Read more...

Queen Of Hoxton Rooftop Press Party : Las Mexicanas

Hello, my name's Steven but some also know me as Captain Stavros. This past Wednesday however everyone at the Queen Of Hoxton's rooftop press party knew me as, 'hey, you're that guy that lost every arm wrestling match' or 'weren't you the guy that was being strong armed and force fed tequila by the Luchadoras?' some or any of these statements may hold nuggets of truth to them, the memory's a bit hazy from that evening if I'm honest. I can say one thing for certain though it's now Thursday morning and my head feels like a Luchadora's done a backflip off the top ropes and landed a flying elbow square onto my skull, an account which is probably not too far off the mark.

Musos' was asked to come preview the rooftop's opening night for what would soon follow in the coming weeks to be a slew of Mexican themed events this summer hosted at and by the Queen Of Hoxton's Paola Feregrino-Rodriquez, resident cultural curator. Paola really rolled her up her sleeves on this one splashing out on murals, decorations, Mariachi's, Luchadoras and themed foods and drinks. If you'd like to see what we're talking about head over this Sunday for the Cinco-De-Mayo party they're hosting fun in the heart of London for under a fiver.

The rooftop, a 4 flight walk up, nestled just off crowded Shoreditch High Street overlooks a  skyline jammed up with cranes and high rises alike. Out under an open sky in central London is sort of a surreal experience because if you're like us, the less than wealthy, you don't have affordable access to huge rooftops during those prime summer weeks (days) in London. We're greeted high above the pavements below there's an unsupervised abundance of Mexican and Spanish themed beers in buckets of ice on each of the picnic tables. Mingling (patrolling) about are Luchadoras, Tigresa and Rana Venanosa, who greet us with warm smiles and clenched fists, 'you arm wrestle?' I'm asked, 'not professionally' I respond. Next thing I know I'm wearing a lucha mask and losing 3 of 3 consecutive arm wrestling matches. What little pride I had, if any, has been and will always remain completely obliterated after this disgrace. Tigresa noticing my very public humiliation and dampening spirits takes it upon herself to revive them in the only manner which seems fit, tequila shots topped with tiny crunchy worms, when in Rome ...

We head to the bar for some snacks to line our guts for the night ahead. There's a healthy sized menu on offer for the summer's patrons but we're restricted to only a few pre-made nibbles. On offer are sliders, pulled chicken and pork tacos accompanied by nachos with several dips. While we didn't have access to vegan/vegetarian options they are there if you're wondering. To be brutally honest, the food was pretty bland and tasted like mushed up water logged paper towels. The tacos erupted and gushed liquids all over us and had zero flavour while the sliders on white sesame seed buns topped with iceberg lettuce and mayo tasted kinda like bathroom cleaning products. The nachos, homemade, were rather oily and outside of the spicy cheese dip left something to be desired. I'm pretty sure it's just opening night teething problems and the process will be refined as the food will be made to order for future events.

There were plenty of other forms of entertainment outside of food to feed off of. We nabbed a few delicious margaritas and made our way over to the all female Mariachi act wandering the rooftop serenading us by blasting out righteous tunes. After swinging by the rooftop's photobooth we tried our hand at, and failed, to put together some fresh flower headbands guided by our very patient tutors. Cracking open the last few beers inspired by our surroundings we made some new friends and chatted in good spirits about topics other than, 'where do you work?' or 'what school did you go to?'and instead stuck to 'where are you going this summer?' or 'aren't you glad it didn't rain today?!'.  The atmosphere was a cross between an alfresco-house-party meets bbq vibes. A great place for young and old alike, where a group of friends can meet up on a weekday or weekend and melt away those pesky daylight hours or for some chilled out sunset action in the heart of the city.

Read more...

Mike 'One L' Krol, The Social, London - The Interview

 

I'm here on Little Portland Street loitering about outside The Social on a school night in hopes of catching some words with man of the hour, Mike Krol when I run into Paul, The Social's long time in-house sound engineer. Has Mike 'One L' Krol done his soundcheck? The response is in the affirmative and he points me over to a very unassuming looking guy and says, "that's one of his guitarists". "Mike's in the van eating his dinner" the guitarist thumbs over his shoulder at a windowless white van that would raise eyebrows and suspicions near any school district, "but I'll let him know you're lookin' to grab some words with him". I thank him and tactlessly forget any form of introductions or pleasantries. I pull up next to a group of strangers who offer me a stool to sit while I wait and I reciprocate by eavesdropping on their conversation, which was far too spicy to publish. Seriously saucy stuff folks, great way to pass the time though. I look back over by the guitarist and his signature thumb gesture's over shoulder again but this time it's pointed at me! He pivots much the way a bullfighter would to avoid the horns and from behind his wiry frame appears not a raging bull but a force equally to be reckoned with, none other than Mr. Mike Krol.

He walks over in a white denim jacket that's been on tour and yet is as crisp and white as the day it was purchased. Aside from the jacket he's dressed in black from head to toe sporting a Rough Trade T. I'm not sure why but I'm already at ease, or as close to is as I've ever come to. Mike's an unhurried sort of dude which makes you feel like you're catching up with a good buddy who's just happy to chew the fat for the sake of it. It's refreshing.  I run the request for an interview by him and he's cool with it. I offer him my stool for a seat, which he accepts, and I take a knee. Outside of my laughter, which on playback sounds hysterical (not in a good way) I find myself really enjoying hearing both the questions and responses even though I know what's coming. He's just got that way about him.

Cpt: Okay, so the first question I'd like to get out of the way is, what questions do you hate being asked?

Mike: OoOoo I guess it would be like, 'what does your music sound like' or 'how do you describe your music.

Cpt: Everybody says the same thing by the way

Mike: Yah, because that's the worst. It's like, yeah I dunno, just listen to it, what does that sound like, you know? It's hard to, I dunno it's hard to say something that doesn't sound like, you're cocky or you're , you know, it's a hard question to answer? It's like if someone asks you, how good looking are you?How do you answer that?

In Mike's case, it's easy, very.

Cpt: Next question, what's the first thing you bought with your first real Music Money was it like a night of, 'drinks are on me' or did you get yourself a little something you've always wanted but couldn't justify?

Mike: I would definitely say I've had a nice meal before with friends or people involved in the music making process, celebrated in that way, food. Ya I dunno, mostly I've always had a job so I've always had, you know, income and been able to purchase the gear and equipment I need to make music. I've never had to take out an advance to buy something. Mostly just been celebratory food.

I went off the rails here talking about a real good pineapple I had in a jungle once, it's a true story but I'm not eloquent enough to describe the experience. Probably because it was completely indescribable. If you're ever in the Amazon jungle and somebody offers you pineapple, do not turn it down. Same goes for mango in the Philippines.

Cpt: What's your favourite food?

Mike: OoOOoO (I really love hearing these OoOoos on playback, they're genuine) I really like plums if we're talking about fruit and I think plums are a real underrated, fruit. Not many people like them.

Cpt: I think it's a mysterious fruit.

Mike: It is mysterious.

Cpt: Yeah, because it can be real sweet or it can be that insane tartness of a crab-apple.

Mike: Right right right. I like it somewhere in between when a plum is sort of more firm.

Cpt: Texture?

Mike: Yeah.

Cpt: Agreed.

Mike: And it's kind of more like an apple and when you bite into it, like, I prefer that to, but then also when it's sweet and not to tart. So there's kindofa window of a day.

Cpt: Like an avocado?

Mike: It's like an avocado.

Cpt: For me, I'm a watermelon guy.

Mike: Watermelon's a tough one.

Cpt: But?

Mike: It's like, no one can eat a full watermelon

I'm pulling a face at this point, not because I doubt him, but because I'm trying to remember if I have ever eaten an entire watermelon. Mike looks at me sideways through slitted eyes.

Mike: You can? ← said in earnest without even a hint of sarcasm.

Cpt: I wanna say yes, but I'm certain I just get to the point where I feel like I'm going to explode and need 15 minute to take a knee or lay down or something.

Mike: Yeah, it's a little much, I don't think it's a snack that you can partake in by yourself. You need to have a party.

Cpt: How am I for time, am I good?

Mike: You're good.

Cpt: Okay, biggest disaster you've had on a tour and how you overcame it?

Mike: Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Cpt: We can skip it?

Mike: I know there've definitely been disasters. I dunno, just recently a couple of weeks ago, I lost my voice and I'm still kindof recovering from it. We had to cancel the show which is how I overcame it and took a night off to recover.

Cpt: How long were you going for before you voice finally gave out? I know that coming over to Europe is costly and you wanna hit everywhere you can, then go back again to some places if you can.

Mike: This tour has been 24 days total, like 24 shows total and we've only had 2 days off. I don't know when it fell off during that stretch but I dunno maybe after 10 or 11 shows. It's been rough and before this tour we had a week off and before that we had a 5 week US tour. We also played SXSW, which were multiple shows, over 3 days then 6 days off before coming over to europe.

Cpt: What was the first thing you did when you had time off to yourself, crash in your own bed?

Mike: Absolutely yes. Not being in your bed forever, my girlfriend and I (Alison) who plays bass in the band, literally just spent a week in bed eating junk and watching Netflix.

Cpt: What did you watch on Netflix?

Mike: Let's see, we definitely binged some Queer Eye, we watched some Office, we started to watch on Hulu this show called The Act.

Alison: Are you alright?

 Alison has come up in my blind spot because it probably looks, and sorta kinda is, like I'm holding Mike in a hostage type situation and my time with him was up like 5 minutes ago. She introduces herself politely in that way that only North American ladies do and I miss very much. I manage to get a few words with her too. She's polite funny and as easy to talk to as Mike. We shoot the breeze a while tossing Netflix recommendations around for a while and upcoming shows. I try to the best of my abilities to make a polite exit so they don't full on have to leg it. 

Read more...

Marky Edison Interviews Lugosi In Advance Of Dublin's Musictown Event

 

This is the fourth year that I’ll be hosting an event for the Musictown Festival in the Music Library, Dublin. Previously we’ve had Mongrel State, Kicking Bird, Naoise Roo, Hvmmingbyrd, The Motives and Cult Called Man. This year we’ve got an electro act, No More Questions and the horror/fantasy inspired rock of Lugosi. I’ll be leading the Q&A between their live sets so I thought I’d get a head start and have a chat with the Reverend JM Burr from Lugosi. We meet in the library a month before the show.

“There aren’t enough places like this. I was working with a guy who was bumming me out and I didn’t get on with. There were only two of us in the office. I was trying to teach myself more theory and I discovered that the Music Library has a piano here so I spent every lunch on a Thursday here just running through scales, expecting that that would transfer over to the music theory that I was going to follow up with. It didn’t help. That’s my experience of playing in a library. I’ve gone to a number of things in the room here. My friend is a librarian in London and has to go on all these ‘Save The Library’ marches. It makes no sense.”

The two bands will be playing a set together to close the show. “On Soundcloud, they [No More Questions] have genres for each of their tracks. One says ‘dubstep’ and the beats are very interesting.  Then there’s another one for ‘pop’ and it’s nothing I’d listen to. It should be an interesting show. I have an idea for where it’s going to go. We’re saying we’ll do an original song together, a drone-y jam number and then a cover. Even if we don’t get it right, we’ll still get it right. They seem like they’ll be comfortable in whatever modality of music. If we spend two or three hours in a room and make a soundscape together that could be good. Rather than a ‘1-2-3-Go!’ That mightn’t work for us. It’s musical impressionism.”

“Several years ago, around Halloween time, I got a note in my door from a neighbour. It said “I’ve seen you play. I like the way that you sing and growl and front your other band. Let’s get together and make some music.” We didn’t have a drummer at the time, so it was the bass player and myself, the singer. We got a guitarist and we knew who we wanted for the drums. My brother-in-law, who had been playing drums in one of my other bands. We got a drummer from metalireland.com; he was a very good drummer but we just really wanted Jimmy. There’s nothing wrong with his drumming but he wasn’t Jimmy.”

“I had a number of songs that I had written originally for a punk band when I was just out of high school. We were called The Red Skulls. We recorded some songs and the ones that I had written the words and music to, we threw in for Lugosi to get us started. Then we started writing other tunes as a group. Generally speaking, they were all inspired by horror movies, science fiction, TV references, campy horror, serious horror, but it’s all in the spirit of fun.”

“Myself and Neil are big fans of The Misfits. The first time I heard them I was thirteen years old. I just could not believe what I was hearing. The other punk I’d heard up to that point wasn’t very good. It wasn’t very interesting. With a lot of American hardcore, I just don’t like the singing. It’s not very musical.  Everybody loves Black Flag but they never had great singers. Musically fantastic, and Rollins did so much after but it never appealed to me. I prefer the more musical singing like Bad Religion. A lot of people are turned off by that because it is very melodic but, for me, the musical singing, coupled with interesting growly stuff, really makes for something I like to listen to. And I like to make music that I want to listen to.”

“We’re going to release an album soon. We’re putting the finishing touches on it at the beginning of April. Pressing is a thing from the past but I love the idea of a physical product so even a small run that we could have just for gigs. It’ll be a 10-track album with nine originals and an instrumental, a gargantuan instrumental called ‘Galactus’. There’s songs about vampires, about shape-shifting native American witches, plain old run-of-the-mill witches. There’s a song about Ash Vs Evil Dead, ‘Groovy, Baby’.  There’s one about Twin Peaks. A lot of people don’t consider that horror but I think it’s the height of horror. This is the guy who made Eraserhead after all.”

Lugosi and No More Questions play The Music Library, Dublin on Saturday April 13 from 2.30 – 4.30 pm. This is an all-ages show and tickets are free from Eventbrite here.

Read more...

Captain Stavros Interviews & Watches Cousin Kula

'Who or what are Cousin Kula (@CousinKula)?' you might be wondering to yourself, and rightfully so, I too had the same question on my lips about a year and a half ago. I'd put on Still Corners for background noise while I re-wrote some notes for class. After a few tracks however YouTube's algorithm had a hiccup and jumped artists putting on a track I didn't recognize, I'd soon come to know it as 'Working For It'. I had no idea who these guys were but I was instantly hooked and wanted to learn more. Studying now placed firmly on the back-burner with curiosity leading the charge, I pop open DICE and sure enough CK is touring. They're playing Servant Jazz Quarters in a couple of weekswhich is practically around the corner from me, kismet! I book a ticket and reluctantly get back to studying. 

If you've never been before SJQ is an intimate venue. Nestled in the heart of Dalston is a pocket universe where you can catch some of London's finest jazz and other genres in an eclectic setting. The music is always in the basement, which reminds me of the bowels of an old clipper ship, lots of exposed giant wooden load baring beams. Anyway. A few things from that evening really stuck with me. The opening band for example was Be Good (@BeGoodIsABand) who played a cover of Roy Orbison's 'Crying' I never knew I needed. Another was telling a dude with the hair of a wild man, only later to learn it was Jordan (Lead Guitar of CK) to be quiet so I could hear the song, and then regretting I'd opened my fat mouth when he took the stage. Finally I remember CK coming on, and like the rest of the audience, being well impressed. Everyone was chanting MORE MORE MORE by the end but Elliot (Lead Vocal/Rhythm Guitar) in a remorseful hushed tone said, 'sorry we can't because we don't have any more songs to play', disappointing but fair enough.   

It's now March 2019 and CK are touring again with a whole volley of new material. Over the years I kept tabs on the group and was looking forward to seeing them again, but how would my experience compare to the previous? We've all been guilty of romanticizing the past and maybe even embellishing how wonderful it really was. It was a risk I was willing to take, no risk no reward. I'm now lurking about the Lexington, tonight's venue. I catch (wait in the shadows for) Elliot coming down the stairs after Cousin Kula's soundcheck and say 'hey, I'm the weirdo that's been in touch over Instagram for a low-key interview before or after the gig tonight, we still on?' They oblige. Elliot asks me to join the guys outside on an already full picnic table in the smoking area outside the Lexington on a crisp and dark March evening. The table is full and the one seat that's available I give over to Elliot and say I'll just crouch down and I'm cool with that, it'll also help me keep the interview brief. 'Naw mate, we can all move over' everyone moves over and I grab a seat next to Doug (Synths/Sax). The vibe is all inclusivity and I'm not even sure what I've done to build what feels like an instant rapport. I ask if it's okay to record the interview and off we go so without further adieu let's get started because it's a fun one. James (Percussion) is running late and can't participate. Side-note it's really hard to remember who said what exactly so when an answer was unanimous or inseparable/indecipherable by individual member I'll preface with 'Cousin Kula', enjoy (I know I did). 

Captain: I'm not in the habit of asking music related questions, I mean I might slip up and toss one out, but I'm more focused on asking random questions to know more about the people that make the music I already like, I hope you're okay with that? 

Cousin Kula: No problem 

Cpt: So first question is, what questions do you not want/hate to be asked? 

Cousin Kula: I guess we'll just see as we roll? If we don't like it we'll be like, naah, next. An irritating one is how would you describe your sound? (Someone) Ah yeah, that's a bad one. (Someone else) What kind of underwear are you wearing? 

Cousin Kula: Hey, that's a good one! 

Cousin Kula: You wouldn't want to be asked that. 

Cpt: That's a great question, I'll take it! What kind of underwear is everyone wearing? I'll go first, blue with white polka dots. 

Cousin Kula: Wow, you actually know? That's amazing! 

Inner Monologue: Is it though? 

Cpt: How do you not know? 

There's almost zero hesitation as everyone starts to dig into their waistbands yelling out random things like. 

Ollie: Turquoise 

Elliot: Black, I think it's always black. 

Cpt: For the record, everyone's wearing underwear. 

Elliot: But you've got the best pair on. 

Cpt: Thanks, but tomorrow's are my favourite. 

Doug: You've already got them picked out, are they on the radiator or something? 

Cpt: Nope, straight outta the package, brand new. Wait, do we wash new underwear or just throw it right on? 

Cousin Kula:  Right on, straight out, that crisp outta the package feeling. What are they? 

Cpt: Dinosaurs with cowboys riding them. 

Cousin Kula: OoOoOOOo VERY nice. 

Cpt: Okay, first real question. Cats, Dogs or Other? 

Doug looks up from writing setlists: Boring! 

(laughter) 

Cpt: Okay, next question. Are lucky numbers a thing? 

Cousin Kula: No? I dunno, is luck a thing? 

Things get almost too philosophical but before they can ... 

Elliot: Wait, 4:20 is. All our songs at the moment are around 4:20 (open to interpretation). 

My eye catches to my left that the setlist are still being drawn up but that's not a dig because Doug is still fully engaged in the interview.   

Cpt: Side-note guys, could I grab a setlist off you? 

Doug: What, you want me to just write you one out now? 

I ponder the request for a moment as a serious question, have I passed the audition, do I get to play the triangle in the group now? Then the laughter comes roaring in and I'm snapped back into reality. 

Cpt: Nah, nah, of course not (convincing tone) I mean after the set. 

Doug/Elliot: Of course. 

Cpt: Okay, music related one. If you could put your music in a film, past present or future, what would it be? 

Will takes the lead/Cousin Kula: OooOoo, that's a good one! 

Cpt: You would not believe what a lead balloon this question is but I find myself not being able to give up on it. 

Will: Wes Anderson is pretty cliché, but I'd love our music to be in a Wes Anderson flick. 

Elliot: I think it'd be cool to be an animated film. 

Cousin Kula: SHREK SHREK. 

Elliot: With our sort of sound something animated is a bit more fun. 

Jordan: Toy Story. 

Elliot: The next avatar (everyone laughs at this). 

Cpt: I said I was going to ask only a few questions but seeing as we're on a roll here can I keep going? 

Cousin Kula: Yes, go for it. 

Cpt: You want it, you got it. Board Games or Video Games? 

Cousin Kula: OoOOOoO 

Oliver: Used to be video games when I was a teenager, but now it's board games. 

Elliot: Yeah it's definitely board games. 

Jordan: Video games for me, yea. 

Cpt: I think it's gone the opposite way for me used to be board games now it's video game. I'm with you Jordan, video games. 

Oliver: Settlers of Catan. 

Cpt: Excuse me? 

Oliver: Settlers of Catan, that was my summer basically. 

Cpt: Sorry dude, is that a board game or a video game? 

Oliver: Board game. 

Cpt: Sounds very Risk like. 

Doug: It's basically like Risk, on a board. 

Elliot: except you don't lose any friends. 

Cpt: Wait, Risk is on a board (I lose my composure with laughter unfit of a gentleman). 

Doug: No wait, it's like Age of Empires on a board I mean (classic). 

Elliot: We have a little set up in our house for like, uhm, old school board games. 

Cpt: wait, wait, you guys all live together? 

Oliver: Yeah, we all live together, 4 of us in 1 house where we rehearse and 2 of us in another house down the road. 

I reminisce with the boys that in my younger days I thought it was standard that all bands lived together and that this caused me a great deal of embarrassment at one time. I ended up writing to Aerosmith, the whole band, at an address I found in one of their jewel cases. I even drew a Corvette from a 'Learn To Draw' book I'd purchased from the book fair at school. I got a letter back which I collected during my lunch and ran back to school winded to open it in front a crush I had on a girl in my 5th grade class, one who was also an Aersosmith fan. Turned out it was just a merch catalog. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die, pretty sure I need therapy to resolve these feelings. 

Cpt: Okay, next question, do you remember your first rated R movie? 

Elliot: Pulp Fiction. 

Jordan: Reservoir Dogs. 

Elliot: Actually I think mine was Jeepers Creepers. 

Douglas: I think mine was Kill Bill? 

Cpt: Kill Bill, circa 2001, no 2003 Kill Bill? 

Douglas: Yeah? 

 Cpt: Wow dude, how old are you? I've gotta do some self reflection. 

Everyone laughs because I've blown it officially, I'm the old dude at the table telling the kids to get off my lawn! 

Oliver: OoOoo I think mine was Lock Stock And 2 Smoking Barrels. 

Cpt: You can't just make things up Oliver, this is a factually based interview! 

The tide turns on Oliver, everyone except for Oliver is heard saying: YEAH YEAH YEAH! 

Cpt: I didn't get one from you Will, you're awfully quiet over there. 

Will: I don't think mine was even a rated 18, it was something like Blair Witch Project, it wasn't even Rated R, probably a 15 or something. 

Cpt: Even if it wasn't rated R it should've been because it fucks you up (it fucked me up). 

Elliot: It is, it is, It's fucking scary. 

We went back and forth here talking about Korean and Japanese horror. 

Elliot: Jordan's into his films. 

Cpt: Jordan, is this true? Any particular reason why? 

Jordan: My Mum's into her films, growing up me and her watched a lot of them and I was watching '80s horrors from a younger age. We always used to go to the cinema together too and I just sorta grew up in the cinema. My Grandad's an actor so ... 

Cpt: Wow there, anybody we know? 

Jordan: Yeah...maybe? 

Elliot: It's British TV, do you know Zippy and George? He was their voices. 

Cpt: Oh yeah, I know them, they're the ... 

Cousin Kula: yeah yeah yeah. 

Jordan: He's a Dalek as well. 

Cpt: WHAAAAAAT? Oh yeah, just a Dalek, I thought I recognized the telescopic arm family resemblance there Jordan. 

(Laughter) 

Elliot: I met him once, we'd go around his house and he'd be smoking cigars, Jordan would be smoking cigars with him. 

I look over at Jordan and his eyes have become half moon crescents of nostalgia as he brims with a huge smile and I can totally envision a miniature version of him just puffing away smoking rings on his Dalek Grandad's lap. I stop the interview at this point because I feel like my line of questioning has trekked into personal territory. It's not that I wouldn't have loved to have kept the recording going but the guys were really candid, unguarded and open with me and their answers. To me on some level I'd feel like I was betraying the moment. It was easy to share with everyone at the table like a bunch of picnicking conspirators, it was the type of conversation collusion that made me forget this was supposed to be an interview. 

Cousin Kula's chat, like their music, has a shorthand to it that can only have been forged from growing up, living and playing together. No one overtook anyone else in the conversation but instead continued thoughts linking the voices together as one. I had to play the interview over and over to break up the quotes because one voice (aside from my obnoxious tones) blended into the rest carrying on and knitting thoughts together. Watching them perform this translates over in much the same vein, no voice or instrument steps on any other's toes. The results? It all comes out clear, luxuriously produced with a clean velvety depth, very pleasing to the ear. Like the tide, it rolls up all unassuming and before you know it you're waist deep in an energetic sound that ebbs and flows like no other. Guitar screams with a shreddingness of flare once only imagined by Prince. The keys keep a staccato tension at times and an immersive anticipation the next that builds and juxtaposes itself so well alongside the rest of the lineup of instruments, particularly on 'Working For It' and 'Jelly Love'. Your reality will distort with each tune and be reconstructed as something wholly different, of this I can assure you, but go with the ride, don't resist. Unlike being stranded in the cold and unforgiving vast emptiness of an ocean tide however their tunes will not leave you stranded on a deserted isl but instead envelope and mesmerize you. This was one of the first gigs in recent memory where when I heard, 'This is our last song' I realized I hadn't even taken a single photo, I'd been absolutely engrossed  by the performance. I think if you enjoy their sound you must see it constructed live. It's one thing to admire a creation in its completion but seeing each tiny piece, the subtlety the ambiance complexity, coming together to make the whole will hold your unwavering attention.   

I was genuinely excited during this performance and new tracks like 'Jelly Love' and 'Sparkly Fairy Queen' which came with surprise 8-bit outro that's a reprisal of the chorus. The ending is still in debate because rumor has it Oliver (Bass) isn't a fan but if I can imagine myself as the deciding vote I'd say keep it, two thumbs way up, sorry Ollie! A six song set might seem short but time the way we perceive it in our daily reality ceases to exist when you're in the audience, it's more than a taster but definitely not enough to satisfy, but you won't leave dissatisfied either. The gang all work jobs to support making this array bad-assery tunes and were in fact driving back home that very night to Bristol to make it into work for the morning, that's commitment. You've got a couple of months before the gang swings back around for a yet-to-be-announced show and location I got the heads up on alongside The Physics House Band on May 3rd. Give 'em a follow on your preferred social media of choice so you don't miss out. 

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed