Sunday, 27 February 2011

Gig Swig: Bearsuit, The Retro Spankees and Anguish Sandwich LIVE! At The Labour Club, Northampton (25/2/2011)

Broken Shackle Tabernacle always put on a jolly good show. They bring musical obscurities from all over, together alongside local talent. Tonight is no different! With Beatsuit headlining and The Retro Spankees and Anguish Sandwich representing Northampton, its set to kick the roof off! Anguish Sandwich manage to evoke the glorious sound of lo-fi in their live show with vocal fuzz, guitar fuzz and Meg White style drumming. The bassist decides he's better off on the floor and has a nice sit down as he grooves out some tasty bass lines that add weight to the trebled off it's face guitar. The songs speak for themselves, despite being absent of guitar solos or attitude or angst. The band sure know their way around a good melody and a banging rhythm. Anguish Sandwich prove why lo-fi guitar pop is so popular and they do it justice in the live environment. Not even a broken string can bring their show to a hault. After a quick guitar change, they hammer the set home  and are met with a well deserved cheer. Anguish Sandwich don't rely on lo-fi to be fly.

Anguish Sandwich

Hard act to follow? Not for The Retro Spankees, who blow the minds of all present and everyone within ear shot of  the venue. Their songs fizz and crackle with an enthusiasm as catchy as the common cold. Hardcore fans of the Spanks must of noticed the new bass player?! It threatens to unravel their tight sound, but it doesn't. Boom. They proceed to glide through their sight, unleashing blinder after blinder, the crowd are having it large. And so are the band! Pay attention to The Retro Spankees, they know exactly how it's done. They got it down to a T.

The Retro Spankees

Hard act to follow? Definitely. Bearsuit pull it off though, just. They have an interesting sound, but where there is interesting, their is no arresting. Most of their set seems to just sit there as if it's showing you a power point of its great ideas. The band themselves look like all the misfits from your middle school grew up and decided to make an unconventional band to appeal to all the misfits out there. They do appeal; at the beginning of their set, but we don't know any better. Then better is unleashed at the end of their set when they let loose on some upbeat, party songs that everyone goes nuts for. They still retain their intelligence, but it just feels more right for them to be kicking and screaming a bit more. Its good for bands to want to progress, but musical pasts shouldn't be completely forgotten. Especially those that are cherished by fans.



GIG HIGHLIGHT: When the crowd decided to just sit down on the floor during The Retro Spankees set.

BEST PERFORMED SONG OF THE NIGHT: "Leave My Brain Alone" By Anguish Sandwich

Want more from the band? Visit:

Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Photography by Jack Parker.Safe.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Gig Swig: BROTHER @ ARU Student Union, Cambridge (Monday 21st February 2011)

These guys are unleashing their back catalogue at the end of a grey February. But it's clear from the first confident "hello Cambridge" from Brother's lead singer Lee, that this set is destined to be screamed back at them from a massive summer festival crowd. The support bands do a good job of making rock'n'roll that so free from actual rock'n'roll it hurts, but they serve well to make Brother taste even more like a sweet breathe of fresh air. "New Years Day", "Darling Buds Of May" and set closer "Time Machine" have already made a name for themselves as stone cold classics. And with every "this is a new one" announcement, another classic feels like its being born into the world. Despite their self proclaimed "Gritpop" tag, Brother make almost pure pop songs. The verses have pep in their step, the chorus go from massive to massiver and there are "oohs" all over the shop. They sure now how to play them with attitude and swagger however, with main man Lee doing a good job of being a front man with his witty banter and connection with the crowd. The lead guitarist seems to be content on swaggering through the songs, giving the crowd his best bad attitude faces. The vibes from these two characters bouncing off each other makes for a great show. Harking back to a point made earlier, Brother beef up their sound with the addition of a feisty backing singer and a third guitarist/general instrumentation dude which makes them even more festival ready. Every chorus booms out of their songs, as if they are trying to break free and become a song of their own. But they don't just have the big songs and the looks to be a great band. They have an energy that runs through their sound that's an energy all of their own. Brother's songs are like a long lost brother: surprising, new, and yet instantly familiar.


GIG HIGHLIGHT: When all the uber fans went to see Brother who came out to do autographs on their merch.


Want more from the band? Visit:

Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Photography by Jack Parker. BOYAKASHA!

Friday, 18 February 2011


A new wave of female fronted pop has crashed onto the shores of music. They have shook up the underground, armed with their guitars, lo-fi aesthetics and obsessions with 60s girl groups. They may not be as forward thinking as the mainstream girls tearing up the charts, but their charm lies in exactly that. The fact that they look back, add a healthy dose of D.I.Y and create sounds very much their own is why music fans are falling head over heels for them. The guitars jangle and the simplistic lyrics yearn, the drums thud and the 'oohs' go with the 'ahhs'. Fanboys and fangirls everywhere are swooning. Who are Power Chord blabbering excitedly about? Enter a world where the music is as dreamy as the girls making it and prepare to fall in love (if you haven't already) with...










Written By Jack Parker for Power Chord. Images taken from Google Images. Awesome. 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Gig Swig: Slum Party #1 @ The Labour Club, Northampton (Saturday 5th February 2011)

Who said music had to be conventional? Music is an art of convention and structure, sure thang! But every so often a band will come along with their own ideas about how music should be played. Slum Party; the new club night from local legend Chris East brings unconventional bands and places them right in your face. The line up is a great one to kick off the night's reputation. With Pheromoans, Halo Halo and Blood Visions all tearing up the rule books in their own super ways, the night goes from strength to strength. The gig is like a bad party, in all the right ways. Blood Visions rip the stage apart with their sound that takes the loud/quiet technique and turns it up to eleven. This results in a new sound called loud/louder. Their usual drummer is absent, but Northampton based musician Matt King steps up and murders the drum kit. Playing their classic songs alongside some new numbers, Blood Visions maintain their reputation for enthusiasm, depth and high volume in their brand of alternative guitar music. If feels like each instrument is fighting for centre stage. The guitar jitters then lets loose on some grungy chord progressions while the bass rumbles like an angry mob. The drums pound along with heavy cymbal use as the lead singer gives it his all, succeeding in being heard above the exhilerating noise of four dudes rocking the fudge out. The audience are left to enjoy the rest of the gig without their faces. For they have been blown off by Blood Visions and their short but sweet set.

Halo Halo

Halo Halo get up on stage armed with a banjo and a drum kit. What follows is a set that feels like a well calculated jam session with drum beats forever changing direction like a very windy day. But no one appears to be battling against the wind, trying to keep their fringe down. No! They are loving the tribal grooves that Halo Halo bash out, using their banjo and their drum kit proudly. Their sound is fun and free, changing and going where it wants. The set highlight comes in the form of a harmonica led tune that crops up near the end which finds the girl/boy duo harmonising with harmonicas! The eager beavers at the front of the crowd get into so much that they start coming up with synchronised dance routines. Halo Halo are brilliant brilliant.

Pheromoans come on looking like a group of dudes who want to have some fun. And boom! They do. Of course they rock the socks off the Slum Party party dudes and dudettes at the same time. They very much have a sound of their own. Ramshackle guitars twang alongside the loose instrumentation while the lead singer half sings, half rants about inaudible things. It may not seem like it, but it's a winning formula. It makes you want to pogo up and down then shake your arms around like you just don't care. Random hand percussional instruments also get a good shaking every now and then, but its the lazy surf guitar riffs that lick your ears and make a good impression. They know what they are doing and the set lasts for the right amount of time. Slum Party proves itself to be a perfect capsule of strange yet free music. Bring on the next one!


GIG HIGHLIGHT: When Blood Visions bassist Marvin bashed his head in on the microphone.


Want more from these bands? Visit:!/pages/BLOOD-VISIONS/145632718781508

Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Photography by Jack Parker.YES!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Gig Swig: Sal Paradise + No Man's Land Live! @ The Roadmender (3/2/2011)

No Man's Land

Sal Paradise
A random Thursday night at Northampton Roadmender seems to be a strange time to have one's faith restored in youngsters making music, but stranger things have happened. Such as Panic! At The Disco ditching the trademark "!" in their name then bringing it back again. No Man's Land kick off with a set of blinding cover versions and intriguing original material. Which shows the band's already keen desire to leave off the covers on their set list and spread their original material wings to fly! The lead singer owns the stage, making their band name become literal for the duration of the set. The men know their place as they stand  almost motionless just doing their job in providing an instrumental backdrop to the powerhouse vocals. Their singer definitely looks like she is enjoying herself and she wraps her voice around the words to "Sweet Child O Mine" and makes it her own. The whispered backing vocals from the rhythm guitarist add a nice touch too. The songs that stand out the most however, are their self-penned numbers that may be little in number, but they are big in soul and bluesy sass. Keep an eye on No Man's Land.

After being warmed up by the simple instrumental/super vocal shtick of No Man's Land, Sal Paradise swagger on stage and proceed to let rip with songs that only four passionate young men could play. Complete with the magic band components of looks, attitude and tunes with potential, Sal Paradise make it look easy. Their sound is a thrilling concoction of well played guitars, well played drums and well played bass that leaves you thinking "well played". The crowd go nuts for their sound, which seems like it was written to play live and on a stage. The upbeat tempos and beefy guitar chords seem to evoke primal feelings in the youngsters in the crowd. Sal Paradise manage to pull off punk anguish with suave style and tight musicianship. They are easy on the eye too. Hurray for the youth and the music they are making!


GIG HIGHLIGHT: The crowd surfers, those cheeky chappies!


Want more from these bands? Visit:

Written by Jack Parker for Power Chord Music Blog. Photography by Jack Parker. Super.