It was another dreary January evening, a fine rain was descending on our windscreen and as we drove through the quiet streets of Plymouth we talked about the bands on the bill for the evenings entertainment. Was it to be a washed out affair with my photographer and I standing about chatting to the promoter or were we to be wowed by the sonic splendidness of the bands on the bill, read on to find out!
We love local music and are so thankful for these smaller, more intimate venues opening their doors mid week in order to showcase the talent that is on offer these days. The Tiki Bar & Grill has become renowned for this and is a great venue for bands to play, it easily houses a good hundred or so revellers in the basement and the stage size is adequate, providing the band aren’t too ‘active’. Tonight, the place was filled with the usual assortment of hipster wannabes with their beanie hats, unkempt face furniture, chequered lumberjack shirts (for a split second, I thought I was in Seattle circa 1992 at a Pearl Jam gig) and Morrissey style 50’s spectacles, oh, and a few pairs of rolled up skinny jeans (fuck me, I’M TURNING INTO MY OLD MAN….HELP!!)
Upon arriving, the first band (Black Foxxes) were just finishing up, I bumped into Mark (singer) and apologised for missing their set, he said that they hadn’t expected to be on so early but seeing as they had to squeeze in 4 bands on the same night, they had to play earlier than scheduled. I’ve seen Black Foxxes a couple of times before in Plymouth, they kick ass, if you get the chance to see them, do, they really are a breath of fresh air, such a talented 3 piece and with Mark belting out the vocals, you really ‘feel’ every word that he sings. There seems to be a distinct lack of talented 3 piece acts doing the rounds at the moment so long may they continue to peddle their wares.
Up next were Blackpool 5 piece ‘Boston Manor’, it made me smile but when I spoke to the young lady on the door, I explained that I was on ‘Boston Tea Partys’ guestlist, with a wry smile she thumbed through a sheet of paper until my name was crossed off and my hand duly stamped with ink so powerful, I could probably keep it on there until the next gig and hope that they hadn’t changed the colour! Anyway, I digress…..
Riding high from the recent release of their second EP ‘Driftwood’, the band were eager to please the capacity crowd that had amassed on this cold evening to seek solace and warmth in the confines of the Tiki Bar. The crowd were quite reserved, okay, it was a wet Tuesday night and seeing as the majority were under the age of 16, there was not much alcohol flowing, even so, it would have been nice to see a little pushing and shoving to encourage the band who were really giving it all, keen to make a lasting impression. To be fair on the crowd (who were now warming up a little), they did a fair bit of head nodding and toe tapping and by the end of their set, they gave a huge cheer, obviously won over by Boston Manor who deserve to be where they are having worked themselves into the ground with their relentless tour schedule, picking up a healthy fanbase along the way. It would be nice to see them play a larger venue or a festival where they would have more space to really let go and enjoy themselves.
A short musical interlude took place and before long, the next act ‘Choir Vandals’ took to the stage. They had come quite a way to play on this tour, in fact all the way from St Louis in Missouri! Formed of 4 members and consisting of 2 guitars, bass, vocals and drums, it was great to see how the American music scene was doing compared to our homegrown talent. I was quickly impressed, very impressed, the music was a fusion of alt-rock with a bit of stoner/slacker thrown in for good measure. I think it was the slurred vocals with a wry hint of J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr which did it for me and despite a string breaking incident, the set was played out in flawless fashion, each member seemed to be really getting into their groove, especially the bass player who looked like he was having a great time on that small stage and the drummer who had stripped to his shorts for the occasion, displaying a rather impressive tattoo filled torso for the young ladies to swoon over (and young men if that’s the way they lean).
I mentioned earlier about the singer breaking a string or two, had it not been for the kind member of Boston Manor who quickly tuned his guitar and swapped it over after a song, their sound would have been somewhat limited, full credit to him! I definitely want to get these guys involved in a future ‘Introducing’ feature and I’ll be penning some questions shortly and firing them off for them to ponder over whilst wrapping up the UK dates that they are currently sharing with Boston Manor and Moose Blood. I love chatting to bands after their sets, especially acts who aren’t from the UK, finding out about their influences, what the ‘scene’ is like where they live and generally to see if I can blag some free CD’s that I can play on my new music podcast…..!
At Night and in the Rain
House on the Corner
An Honest Conversation
Another musical interlude followed and instantly, the room seemed fuller than it had been all night, maybe it was that the audience had surged forwards in preparation for Moose Blood, the main act of the night. Whichever it was, when the 4 friends from Canterbury took to the stage, the place seemed to be buzzing with anticipation. I felt like a 14 year old, squashed up in the corner where I had hoped to stay throughout their set in order to scribble notes and try NOT to be dragged into the melee that was the pit.
Moose Blood’s music ranged from all out alt emo-rock to anthemic, slower singalong tracks, such as ‘Cherry’ where the audience literally took over from vocalist Eddy Brewerton. There was also a light smattering of crowd surfing, which, for a venue with no barrier to hold people up, was quite impressive, though this would never beat the best bout of crowdsurfing I witnessed when one reveller was carried around an entire boat when Exeter based rockers The Computers played a launch party in Exmouth a couple of years back. The guys oozed confidence and so they should, they’re a tight outfit who will go on to do great things, they already have a healthy fan base which I’m sure will grow further after a summer of UK festivals and other larger venues where they deserve to be playing on a regular basis.
I had a listen to their album ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time’ which was released in October 2014 and I loved it, this is a band that are gonna do really well on the circuit, if you get chance to catch them on the remaining dates of their UK tour, do so, you can thank me later!
I Hope You’re Missing me
I Hope You’re Miserable
To see photos from the 3 acts, click below;
You can see Moose Blood on the remaining dates listed below;
JANUARY (with Choir Vandals & Boston Manor)
23 - LONDON Borderline
24 - MANCHESTER Star And Garter
25 - LEEDS Key Club
26 - GLASGOW Audio
27 - SHEFFIELD Corporation
28 - LIVERPOOL Evac Loft
29 - BIRMINGHAM Oobleck
31 - BRIGHTON Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
MARCH (with Creeper)
3 – COLCHESTER Arts Centre
4 – ST ALBANS The Horn
5 – LEICESTER Scholar Bar
6 – NORTHHAMPTON Roadmender Underground
7 – SOUTHAMPTON Takedown Festival