PLUS: Trivium, Fall Out Boy, Frankie Boyle, Snow


PLUS: Trivium, Fall Out Boy, Frankie Boyle, Snow
The University of Southampton’s Finest Entertainment Publication
Issue 5
16th January
Trivium, Fall Out Boy, Frankie
Boyle, Snow Patrol, Dubstep,
Films of 2008, and the worst lyrics
Happy New Year readers!
With that unseasonal burst of enthusiasm, welcome back to the University of Southampton’s finest entertainment publication. Trying to put this rag together in the depressing
post-xmas period of exams, cold, illness, broken
boilers and general doom and gloom wasn’t
easy, but we’ve somehow managed to bring
together a typically brilliant collection of music,
film and general entertainment stuff for your
perusal this month.
Look immediately to your right for the
latest collection of try-hard claptrap that constitutes our regular That’s Entertainment column,
written by our mystery correspondent. Following that, cast your disgusted gaze down a little
towards Nick’s far superior TV Peanuts section,
with a succinct summary of the festive season’s
televisual offerings. Those who can face reading on will find Frankie Boyle dominating the
comedy section, features on the Southampton
dubstep scene and the worst lyrics like, ever,
reviews of the latest releases from The Killers
and Fall Out Boy along with many other popular musical collectives, interviews with the likes
of Trivium (metal!) and Kids In Glass Houses, an
extensive buffet of gig reviews offering morsels
of Slayer, Justice and Feeder, before an epic
treatise on 2008’s best films. Eventually, at some
point, it finishes.
Good luck with exams. We’ll be back very
The Edge Team
Editors: Pete Benwell and
Hannah Calcutt
Record Editor: Tom Shepherd
Live Editor: Rik Sharma
Features Editor: Holly Hooper
Film Editor: Dean Read
Assorted nonsense from the world of film and music
A Hampshire radio station has had
its website hacked into by Islamic
extremists because it played a song
by Cliff Richard, it is claimed. Astrid
Haigh-Smith, owner of Radio Basingstoke, claims the station’s normal site
was replaced with a message warning
‘the West’ that they should not insult
Islam. If that wasn’t strange enough,
Haigh-Smith believes that the station’s playing of Cliff Richard could be
to blame. Speaking to, she
said “We’ve played the Cliff Richard
version of ‘Hallelujah’ (him too?!) but
would never dream of running down
any religions”. Whilst the eerily youthful-looking octogenarian is known as
a Jesus enthusiast, there are surely
many far less benign targets within
the music industry for elements of
Islamic extremism. As a parting shot,
the hackers left a message stating
that “whoever thinks of insulting Islam will suffer the same fate. We are
the nightmare of Western websites
in the cyber war”. Watch out, Radio 2!
Two British directors have been
nominated for a prize at the 61st annual Directors’ Guild Awards, to be
held later this month in L.A. Christopher Nolan has been shortlisted for
his work on The Dark Knight, whilst
one-time Trainspotting director Danny Boyle is nominated for Slumdog
Millionaire. Competing against the
likes of directorial heavyweight Ron
Howard, the winning director is considered likely to go on to success
at the Oscars, with only six winners of the DGA’s failing to
pick up an Academy Award
since their birth in 1948.
The Dark Knight, which
has been pretty much
impossible to escape
for the last six months,
is tipped as a potential
winner of a Best Picture
award when the Hugh
Jackman-hosted Oscars
come around later this year.
Enthusiastic Swedish types
Alphabeat have been dropped
by their record label, Charisma, an
offshoot of troubled major EMI. Despite scoring three top twenty
hits, spending a
combined year in
the U.K. singles
char t
and their album going gold,
the label decided not to renew
the band’s contract
when it ended in December. Whether this
was made for artistic
or financial reasons
is not clear, but, as
the credit crunch
bites, more reasonably popular major
label acts are likely
to get the chop.
TV Peanuts
Most channels tend to pull out the big guns at Christmas thanks to the guaranteed audiences of full, sleepy
families looking for something to fill their dull, dead eyes. With the introduction of interactive TV functions and
on-demand programming, the ability of channels to pull in audiences for an evening’s worth of entertainment
has been diminished. Viewers can now pick and choose what to watch and when to watch, effectively creating
their own Christmas schedules. So, what did pull in the punters on Christmas Day?
BBC1 scored a clean sweep, providing the top 6 most watched shows of the day. Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death attracted 14.25 million viewers, proving the duo’s sojourn to the silver screen has not dulled their appeal. Sadly, despite the sparkling wit and slapstick gags, the plot of
this particular half-hour special was somewhat lacklustre compared to previous offerings. Their usually tight plots were unwound somewhat and the lack of Shaun the sheep left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Similarly, Doctor Who, the second most watched programme of the day (11.71mil) promised much
but delivered surprisingly little. How many times is the Doctor going to point a thingy at an invading army and have them all conveniently vapourise simultaneously? Smug arse, go back to Hamlet.
Editor in Chief: Adam Parker
Jack White, James Dawson, Mike Havis, Ella
Smith, Gareth Brading, Dan Morgan, Tim Lemon, Conor McGlone, Jazmine Sherman, Richard Yates, Emmeline Curtis, Sophie Etheridge,
Rachel Gregory, Sarah Colson, Joseph White,
Jonny Seal, Hayley Taulbut, Chris Hooton,
Dan Sumner, Roger McGough, Will Roszyck,
Chloe Musson, Viveka Owen, Jack Harding and
Stephen O’Shea.
Contact us at
[email protected]
Eastenders split up its episode into two parts (11.47 and 9.89mil) to elongate the dreariness of their annual
drama-fest. The happier the residents of Walford Square are at the beginning of the episode, the worse you
know they’re going to feel at the end. The Royle Family (9.98mil) and Strictly Come Dancing (8.57mil) rounded
out the top 6.
ITV 1 provided scant competition with Coronation Street (7.36mil) Emmerdale (4.76mil) and Dancing on Ice
(5.2mil) while BBC 2 mopped up the scraps from the table with an episode of Dad’s Army (2.7mil). If you need
more proof of BBC’s dominance, both BBC 1 and ITV1 showed the Queen’s speech and the BBC pulled in over
6 million viewers while ITV1 managed just 1.7 million. Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message from Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad didn’t even make the top 20 watched programmes (in fact no Channel 4
programme did).
So what did we learn kids? Christmas films aren’t as popular as soaps and TV specials, ITV still has a long way
to go to catch up with BBC’s dominant market position and Channel 4 needs to try harder. Much harder.
By Nick Brown
Frankie Boyle - Live
The self proclaimed ‘blackest man in
showbiz’ took his crude one-liners on the
road for a sell out tour of some of Britain’s finest towns, please note the inherit
sarcasm there. Also note that if you don’t
like swearing or are easily offended then
this is certainly not the man or article for
you. For many the name Frankie Boyle
will mean nothing but for those who
spend too much time in front of the TV
watching comedy panel shows, the
man is a God. His regular slot on
BBC show Mock the Week providing his dry wit and snazzy
suits a platform from which
he has built a large fan base.
Frankie is near to the
mark with his comedy and
although some may say
it goes too far, you
that this is
the philos-
ophy you buy into when watching a Frankie Boyle stand up. A
series of snappy raw jokes fill the
majority of the show including
much ridicule of his native Scotland and constant references
to topics such as rape, disability
and paedophilia. I did say it was
near to the mark. The rest of the
show is filled with fresh banter,
with the audience accepting
much abuse. In these interludes
you can see hints of the genius of
the man. With some top rate put
downs leaving some members
of the audience embarrassed
and the rest laughing along at
their expense hoping they are
not next to be picked upon.
There is no doubting the
comedy talent of the man, the
majority of the audience are
laughing along throughout the
whole show. His timing is exceptional and its dealt through his
surprisingly cheery nature. This
keeps the audience in his hands
making almost any jokes ac-
ceptable. Boyle thrives on the
sharp intakes of breath from
his audience after yet another
cutting joke. Often standing
arms spread wide open with
a cheeky grin, chuckling to
himself, his evil laugh reverberating around the theatre.
It is however easy to see
how some don’t like it. It’s obvious to see that some may find
the material uncomfortable as
he really has pushed the barriers. It could also be said that
the gig lacked in content. With
Boyle producing a reel of jokes
with very little substance provided, much like a Jimmy Carr
show. Also many may find the
overuse of swearing unnecessary. In particular his use of the
word which must not be repeated, which is used a bit too
much for my liking. Although
this offensiveness is how he
gets his laugh. My final quibble with the stand up is that
I had heard much of it before.
Many of his best jokes were
ones taken straight from the
many panel shows from which
he has made his name. This
made me wonder if it was worth
the entrance fee, as I could
have found some of this material anywhere on the internet.
This said, if you like comedy
then you will love Frankie Boyle.
The shear talent of the man is
evident in the question section
of the show and this is worth
the entrance fee alone. In this
section he lets the audience ask
questions and, on the spot, he
has the audience reeling with
laughter with his responses. This
is perhaps evidence of his success on the comedy panel show
format. I would personally like
to see more substance to his set
before he tours again but this
should come with time. That
said he may not be the finished
article (but if you love the offensive nature and can stand the
swearing,) he isn’t all that far off.
By David Walsh
Following the release of Trivium’s latest album ‘Shogun’ last autumn,
Mike Havis travelled to London to meet the band’s lead guitarist Corey
MH: What are the best and worst aspects of intense, fast and in your face and people
just seem to react to that.
recording a Trivium album?
CB: I don’t really think there’s anything bad
about recording an album.
MH: No stress or pressure at all?
CB: No not really, on the last record we
pretty much just took our time with it.
Y’know went at our own pace? It was very
relaxed. Usually when you record it’s a lot
of fun; just getting material, building the
material up, adding bits and hearing it
come together. So there’s no real bad thing
about recording,
usually it’s pretty
smooth for us.
MH: Was ‘The Crusade’ in any way a result
of the pressure to follow up on the success of ‘Ascendancy’?
CB: With that record we just wanted to
do something completely different from
‘Ascendancy’; we didn’t want to make
‘Ascendancy Part Two’ or anything that
sounded like it. So we were experimenting, kind of spreading our wings and
showing people a different side to what
we do. We didn’t want to be
pigeonholed into doing what
MH: Can you tell us
a little bit about the
writing process?
CB: Usually a bunch
of us, Matt (vocals),
myself and Paolo (bass
guitar) will write a lot of
riffs or song ideas and record
them. Then they’ll get passed
around the band so we can
give each other ideas. When
we’ve got a good load of material, we’ll go into the rehearsal
space and start jamming on
it and everybody makes their
contribution to help finish it.
Throughout like a whole tour
we’re coming up with ideas, so by the time
we’re done touring and we’ve had a little
break, we’ll have some ideas to start on for
the next record.
we did on the last record. We were breaking down the barriers of what we could do
musically. That record was like a stepping
stone that allowed us to make this record,
which we feel really represents our sound
really well. The Crusade was a building
block to get here. At that point in time,
doing that record and writing the songs
that we did felt good and made everything exciting and fun. If we’d have
done Ascendancy again
we wouldn’t
MH: What sort of a record were you looking have been
to make when you started writing Shogun? that stoked. It
would have
just been
CB: There was no specific idea. Songs just
more of the
really came out; we write the music first
and that was naturally sounding the way it same and
was. Then adding the vocals, bringing back we don’t
want to
the screaming, definitely gave it a different vibe. We just wanted to make the best do that
album we could make and really make it
MH: So
would be
your desCB: It’s hard to choose a favourite song. But ert island
playing live, I have a lot of fun with Kirisute disc?
Gomen and Insurrection, they’re very
MH: What’s your favourite Trivium
song off of Shogun? What’s your favourite
Trivium song overall?
CB: That’s tough... Maybe like ‘Rust in
MH: Did you ever hear anything back from
Iron Maiden about your cover of their
song? Was it a fun change from the normal
recording process?
CB: That was kind of like a last minute thing.
At first we declined doing it because we
were in the writing/pre-production process and didn’t have the time to take off.
But when we were recording the album,
the label needed more songs because we
were just gonna do the original eleven. So
we started jamming on Iron Maiden, not
even for Kerrang because we thought their
deadline had gone. It was recorded in like a
and power metal and all that. I pretty
much craved any kind of metal and was
trying to find new bands all the time.
Guns N’ Roses started it all though.
MH: How old were you when you started
playing guitar?
CB: 14.
MH: Did you have lessons or were you self
CB: I took lessons for the first few years
when I was still in high school. When I
graduated and moved away I was just
kind of teaching myself, using videos and
so on.
MH: Can you
tell me a little
bit about the
of each band
CB: Matt’s
kind of a
clean OCD
freak, Travis is
day so it was pretty quick and was right at
as well. Paolo
the end of everything. I never heard from
anyone in the actual band, but I know their
manager (Rod Smallwood) dug it.
They’re these
crackers, I
MH What were the band that first got you
if you
into heavy music?
have them over here but
CB: Guns N’ Roses. They were the first band he’s addicted to them. No one is really
where I was like “this is what I’ve been too kooky; everyone gets loud, everyone
gets quiet. We all pretty much have the
waiting to hear.” I’d never heard
same personality. Matt and Paolo are
anything like that before.
very goofy today; I partied a lot last night
I only heard whatever
so I’m kind of mellow today... for now. It
I’d hear around the
just depends on the day what side of the
house from like
person you get.
my parents or
my sister
MH: Where do you see Trivium in ten
and they
years time?
didn’t like
great stuff.
CB: Wherever it is, just still doing what
From there
we’re doing and getting better, reaching
it just sort
new people. We’ll see where it goes. We
of carried
definitely want to be very successful, sell
over; that
band got me a lot of records and have lots of fans. So
hopefully the longer we do it the more
into others
like Metallica people we’ll reach and more people will
get into the band. We’ll have to wait and
and Megasee ten years from now where we’re at.
deth. Then
It’s a work in progress but we definitely
it branched
plan on being around for a long time and
off into like
death metal to keep making records. So longevity is
the key.
Thou shalt love thy lyrics as thy pumping bass
One Edge writer expresses his reverence for the lyrical poetry of song as he extols the virtues
of the words behind the music.
For me, lyrics are one of the most
powerful and pertinent elements
of popular music and yet it seems
that they are sometimes criminally
I by no means object to a thumping beat
and have occasionally been known to dabble in dubstep, a genre that is essentially
defined by deep rumbling basslines. Despite this, no matter how much the lower
frequencies pounding out of a subwoofer
may make my heart feel as if it’s wobbling;
it remains difficult to connect with the
music on a personal level. Lyrics provide
an insight into life experience – human experience, even if in the case of formulaic,
factory line song writing this experience
is somewhat diluted. For a man of no faith
nor scripture, song lyrics have always been
something within which I can find comfort.
A Christian might stare at their WWJD
wristband and contemplate carefully
“What would Jesus do?” and perhaps take
inspiration from a relevant bible verse (or
even their favourite preacher’s podcast).
Personally, it is in times of thought, trouble
and reflection that I find myself trawling
through my music library. It is not for advice that I turn to music, as taking guidance
from often egotistical and occasionally
drug-addled “rock stars” might be somewhat foolish, it is simply for complementary experience. It is the comforting knowledge that another has been there too, felt
how you feel; that is enough. Regardless
of the emotion, be it elation, anger, wistfulness or even desire, the feeling can be
amplified or alleviated by the right lyric.
Following a painful split, one person
may take solace in the introspective and
deeply personal poetry of Bob Dylan’s
‘break-up album’, Blood on the Tracks.
The forlorn listener might find particular
meaning in the plaintive You’re A Big Girl
Now, in which Dylan laments: ‘I’m going
out of my mind / With a pain that stops
and starts / Like a corkscrew to my heart /
Ever since we’ve been apart’. Dylan’s melancholic words are not too everyone’s
taste or disposition and if drinking half a
bottle of Sambuca and slurring along to
Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive is more your
style, then I shall not be one to judge.
Powerful lyrics like the aforementioned
are by no means stranded in the music
of our parents’ generation. Like Leona
Lewis you could find that you ‘keep bleed-
ing, keep, keep, bleeding love’ or during
a moment of despair or self-affirmation
(depending on your personal religious
beliefs), one could unify voices with Caleb
Followill of Kings of Leon fame, in singing ‘Jesus don’t love me, no one ever carried my load.’ Lyrics are not conceived by
accident and are often deeply resonant
and carefully considered. Don’t let them
pass you by. The next time you listen to
a song, whether it is rehearing an old favourite or experiencing a piece of music
for the first time, really try and listen to
the words, you may hear something you
truly relate to and feel a lot richer for it.
Shakira- ‘Whenever Wherever’
Lucky that my breasts are small and
humble /So you don’t confuse them
with mountains
I do often find myself worrying that my
mammary glands might be mistaken for
a natural elevation of the earth’s surface
having considerable mass, generally steep
sides, and a height greater than that of a
I get the feeling Madonna was too busy
with some Guy to spend too much time on
the words of that particular song.
If you were a re-recordable CD, I’d replace
your music with literally anything. Sorry
Katie, but it’s true and I don’t think anyone
needs an explanation as to why.
Flo Rider- ‘Low’
So lucky oo me I was just like a clover
Shorty was hot like a toaster
Because sometimes telling a girl she looks
nice just doesn’t do the job.
By James Dawson
For the love of lyrics
The Killers- ‘Human’
I’m on my knees/Looking for the answer/
Are we human?/Or are we dancer?
Pretentious or preposterous? Either way,
it’s a no from me.
Cam’ron- ‘Hey Ma’
Get in the Car/And don’t touch nothing,
sit in the car/Let discuss Somethin’/Either we lovin’ or I’ll see you tomorrow
Ah Cam’ron, he’s a keeper. Definitely one to
bring home to the parents.
50 Cent (A.K.A ‘Fiddy’)- ‘21 questions’
I love you like a fat kid love cake.
Madonna- ‘I love New York’
I don’t like cities but I like New York /
Other places make me feel like a dork
Black Eyed Peas- ‘My Humps’
What you goin’ do with all that junk/All
that junk inside your trunk/I’ma get, get,
get, get, you drunk/Get you love drunk
off my hump/My hump (X8) my lovely
little lumps/you love my lady lumps
(Check it out)
And later in that same song…
I mix your milk wit my cocoa puff/Milky,
milky cocoa /Mix your milk with my cocoa puff, milky, milky riiiiiiight
The lyrics to this song are surely so bad
that they are just fantastically great. Unless
they are being sung along to by a parental
Kate Nash- ‘Mouthwash’
And I use mouthwash/Sometimes I floss/
I got a family/And I drink cups of tea
Another insightful contribution from Miss
Katie Melua- ‘If You Were a Sailboat’
If you were a cowboy, I would trail you/If
you were a piece of wood, I’d nail you to
the floor/If you were a sailboat, I would
sail you to the shore
Snap! - ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’
I’m as serious as cancer/When I say
rhythm is a dancer
Amazing, amazing, amazing. A prime example of the enjoyably terrible lyric.
Oasis - ‘Champagne Supernova’
Slowly walking down the hall/Faster
than a cannonball
Does not compute.
Des’ree- ‘Life’
I’m afraid of the dark/Especially when
I’m in the park/When there’s no one else
around/Oh I get the shivers
I don’t wanna see a ghost/It’s the sight
that I fear most/I’d rather have a piece
of toast/Watch the evening news
Life, oh life
Oh life, oh life
Life, oh life
Oh life, oh life
Des’ree’s lyrics are so bad
That they make me really mad
Sylar from Heroes is a cad
I like orange juice
Usher- ‘Love in the Club’
I’ll be like your medicine, you’ll take
every dose of me
It’s going down on aisle three, I’ll bag
you like some groceries
And of course...
Have you ever made love to a thug in
the club with his sights on
87 Jeans and a fresh pair of Nikes on
On the couch, on the table, on the bar,
or on the floor
You can meet me in the bathroom yeah
you know I’m tryna go
I wanna make love in this club ‘ey (in
this club ‘ey in this club ‘ey)
Usher has clearly not spent much time in
Cynical comments and additional lyrics
courtesy of
Holly Hooper
Heavens No, Hell Yeah! This collection of truly disgraceful samplings presents lyrical
examples that are either so bad they’re hilariously good...or just so gosh darn appalling that
they should be sent directly into the fiery charm of musical hell.
Fall Out Boy - Folie À Deux
By Tom Shepherd
The hype machine can be treacherous,
and albums don’t come much more hyped
than Fall Out Boy’s 4th studio album Folie À Deux, meaning ‘a madness shared
by two’ for those curious. This album has
undergone the most elaborate internet rumours, election conspiracies, last minute
release date delays, not to mention a
huge roster of celebrity appearances.
But let’s put all that to one side for a moment and try to focus on the album itself.
‘Infinity On High’ was always going to
be a difficult album to follow, it demonstrated FOB had grown up from the pop
punk roots from which they started, and it
would seem that the band have matured
even more since. This does mean however,
that those still hoping for a revert back to
rugged, punk sound of ‘Take This To Your
Grave’, the band’s first studio album, will be
dissapointed, but this was never really going to happen, let’s be honest. Nope, the
punk aspect of FOB is definately no more,
with the band making the final transition
from pop punk, to simply pop. (Insert remark about how this happened a couple
albums ago here.) What we are presented
with from Folie À Deux however, is a lively pop album, sometimes bordering on
the soulful, sometimes bordering on the
funky. It’s interesting. It’s clever. It’s fun.
On first listen, a lot of the tracks can indeed pass you by. But stick with it and you
shall indeed be rewarded. Folie À Deux
isn’t as instantaneously catchy as previous offerings from the band; the hooks
are far more obtuse, but once found are all
the more rewarding. Take ‘Headfirst Slide
into Coopestown on a Bad Bet’ , a spooky,
low key affair, that before you know it has
erupted into guitar driven, symphonetic
chaos. For FOB, this isn’t just an album
for the now, a footnote on their extensive
repertoire of records, this one’s for the history books. There’s a far more epic sound
to these songs than has existed previously
for the band, a sense of unity amongst the
entire album, an emo opera. Emo probably being an unfair term, the band having long severed their ties with any ‘emo’
representation; a sense of self awareness
being exerted throughout the album,
demonstrated with lyrics such as, ‘Nobody
wants to hear you sing about tragedy.’
As for the album’s composition, it
seems that Pete Wentz may have taken
a backseat with his intricate and overthought lyrics this time around. Good you
may cry. But in fact these lyrics did seem to
become embedded with the fundamentals of the FOB album,
and it is a little sad to
see them go. But it has
opened the doorway
for lead vocalist
Mr. Patrick Stump
to take the lead
with the production
the album,
and a mighty
fine job he’s
the album
is flawless.
It’s arguable
that there’s
overreliance on
voice, but with his already impressive vocal
talent only improving, it can be forgiven. As
for guest vocals, an unusual synth addition
by Lil’ Wayne in Tiffany Blews is topped only
by a bizarre country western rendition from
Pharell at the end of w.a.m.s, I kid you not.
Also feature vocals from Gym Class Heroes’
Travis, Debbie Harry, Elvis Costello and Panic at the Disco’s Brendan, apparently. There
is a sense of featuring celebs just to prove
that they can, but heck, who wouldn’t.
The band still havn’t quite cracked the
formula to create the figurehead album
that they’re striving for. But they are certainly getting close. It must be said that
this album doesn’t feel as natural as previous FOB albums. The youthful, carefree and
energetic songs have been replaced by a
sound that sounds very much like it’s been
sat down and thought about for a long time
in a studio. In fairness the
band are hardly youthful
and carefree anymore, but
the energy is still in abundance. Be it in the form
of the pent up fury being
expressed in ‘West Coast
Smoker’ or the ecstacy of
innocence in bouncy piano
driven ’20 Dollar Nose Bleed’.
To ignore it would be madness.
By Ella Smith
I approached this album with some trepidation as Funk really isn't my thing. Having
listened to all 18 tracks of the CD, I am certainly not a convert. The first track, 'Weakness of a Trade' is the first disappointment
of many. It lacks a strong beat and the lyrics
are far too fast and mumbled, making them
impossible to enjoy. Despite this, the end
saves the song; with improved clarity and
more extensive instrumental progressions.
The second song begins with a stronger
beat, however, there was no noticeable
end to the first song and beginning of the
second. This is a common theme throughout the album, where songs merge together, without significant changes in beat
or substance. Although, 'Neptune's Minty
Trident', the second track, does have more
to offer than the first, with a female chorus that blends successfully with the tone
of the song. However, whilst the first track
strengthened towards the end, the second declined; it loses pace and becomes
increasingly repetitive, and frankly, dull.
Rather blandly, a number of tracks are
unaccompanied by lyrics. Whilst this is acceptable when the instrumental work is
impressive and evocative, when it is uninspiring and repetitive this is unacceptable. For example, 'The Future is Now'
combines a futuristic sound with nothing
outside the expected, or of any substance.
The climax is when you expect the word
'Ghostbusters' to chime in at any second.
Despite this, there are one or two oc-
casional flairs of originality or interest,
for example, 'Drunk on Funk', if remixed
at a faster speed would certainly make a
good club track, as it combines stronger
lyrics with dance beats. There are also
moments where instrumental progressions are impressive; 'Super Hi-Fi Funks'
intro has varied guitar riffs, although they
fade out far too quickly. Likewise, 'Rock Da
Spot' has impressive mixing in its opening sequence, but yet again, this fades
too soon. Finally, 'Avance' is saved by the
singing of 'Merinia and Vincent', which
vastly improves the quality of the song.
Overall, many of the songs are far
too long, for example I feel that 'Get On
Down' at four minutes and eight seconds,
could easily be condensed into two min-
utes. This would allow you to appreciate
the song before you get annoyed with it.
Generally speaking, this album does
not appear to be a good example of funk,
or dance/electronica. It is a mix up of rap,
soul and occasionally, club with mild electronica. None of this follows a clear theme,
yet all manages to sound the same: boring and uninspiring. I certainly was not
encouraged to dance or 'get my freak on'.
Some of the instrumental work is strong,
as are some of the vocals, although, these
are too infrequent and the only redeeming features on a sub-standard album.
New Kids on the Block - The Block
Coldplay - Life in
Technicolour II
By Conor McGlone
By Gareth Brading
In a follow-up to 2008’s chart-crunching singles “Viva La Vida” and “Violet Hill”,
Coldplay have opted to release another
song from their fourth album, but this
time in a different style. “Life in Technicolor II”is an extended lyrical version of the
original taken from the “Prospekt’s March”
EP, including an instrumental bridge.
Whilst much of it sounds identical to the
old song, you should still appreciate the
raw power and strong George Harrisonesque feel this song manages to deliver.
If one real criticism can be levelled against it, the tune can feel slightly repetitive without much variety for
during the four minutes. However, the
strength of the composition lies in the
sheer catchiness of the rhythm, which
should leave you humming it for days.
Guns and Roses Chinese Democracy
The wait has been long, eminent in the
late eighties and early nineties; they were
infamously accused of lip-syncing and of
using backing singers in their live performances. Nevertheless this, their first album in
fourteen years has been widely anticipated.
Like processed cheese, this album is easy
to package and to mass produce. Similarly
this type of no-thrills cuisine is tasteless,
soulless and leaves you feeling slightly nauseous. Feet firmly entrenched in the nineties; the sound is dreary, dull and deflated.
Even the track produced by Timbaland,
‘Twisted,’ though by association, the best
pick of a bad bunch, seems stuck in the past.
The sleeve notes artwork is laughable
and exposes the five as shameless posers.
Congregating around a grand piano the
group look as if perhaps, they are actually
meant to possess musical talent. Sold as
Few singles can have been as feverishly anticipated as the latest contribution from the masters of classic rock (or
rather Axl Rose and some freelance axethrashers), and with such a frenzied build
up it would take a real masterpiece to
live up to expectations. Unfortunately,
Chinese Democracy is not that masterpiece. Although the broodingly atmospheric intro pulses with promise, the
main body of the track contains none of
the sharp genius that the golden days of
G’ N’ R’ produced. With a huge sound that
seems to lean towards an angry version
of Aerosmith-esque stadium rock, you
can’t help but feel that the producers are
over-compensating for what is expected
of the band. The guitar solos are undeniably impressive, but the weakness of the
vocals and the lack of any real direction
in the track overshadow the positives by
a lengthy margin. Maybe its time for G’ N’
R’ to lay down their sweaty laurels whilst
they can still do so with their pride intact.
James Yorkston Tortoise Regrets Hare
By Tim Lemon
‘Tortoise Regrets Hare’ starts off with
a nice relaxing acoustic guitar, and then
adds in a mix of violins, keyboards and bass.
It is a pleasant acoustic ballad, which just
bubbles along at a gentle pace for maybe
just a bit too long. The song reminds me
of the good olden days of sitting by the
fire with family, just relaxing, and overall
has an enjoyable folk song feeling to it.
However, overall it lacks a bit of energy.
hear one of the greats do her own thing.
‘Close to You,’ one of the bonus tracks,
is slightly catchy and shows some vocal
delivery skill but still has th paltry sound.
This album is a perfect example of
polished, manufactured bubblegum pop.
As a typical case it will probably go on to
make a bundle of cash with not a care in
the world for artistic integrity. Do not think
this is a subjective rant, manufactured pop
is a necessary evil in the music business
but at least some do it well. It is impossible not to mention Take That’s great success in the reformed Boy Band business.
Perhaps this parallel case do deserve their
wide critical acclaim. Notwithstanding, if
you like uninteresting music, weathered
bass lines and are a twelve year old girl,
‘The Block’ could be right up your street.
a poppy melody. Introspection is a pervasive theme for this album, and nowhere
more so than in ‘Human’, the preview
single for Day and Age. Track 3 is the eagerly anticipated ‘Spaceman’. With a catchy
melody and strong chorus, it looks set to
mimic here its success as a single in the US.
Track 4 is a step in a totally different direction. ‘Joyride’ is a theme-park confusion of
urgent drum tracks, sporadic guitar riffs
and a slightly awkward saxophone solo.
Possibly the strongest track on the album,
‘Dustland Fairytale’ is one of the Killers
best ever tracks. With a desperate nostalgia reminiscent of the massive ‘When You
Were Young’ it is melodically superb and, in
places lyrically brilliant. Tracks 6 and 7 are
something of a cross between the dark flippancy of ‘Joyride’ and the urgency of ‘Hot
Fuss’. Although initially disappointing, ‘This
is Your Life’, with it snatches of U2-esque
pop-rock, deserves to be given a chance
to grow on the listener. The same can’t be
said of ‘I Can’t Stay’, which is a semi-acoustic let-down. Tracks 9 and 10 are a terrible
way to close the album, being the weakest
on it by some length. ‘The World We Live
In’ is a weak pop track, its flippancy in a
stark contrast to ‘Goodnight, Travel Well’,
which sounds worryingly like a weak Pink
Floyd tribute act making a mess of ‘Time’.
Although let down by a few undeniably weak tracks, Day and Age is classic
Killers. With flashes of the urgency of ‘Hot
Fuss’ and the vastness of ‘Sam’s Town’, it
would be a coldly hardened critic who
couldn’t see the appeal of the Killer’s
new album. But let’s hope they leave the
saxophones to Supertramp in the future.
The Killers - Day and Age
By Dan Morgan
By Dan Morgan
the epitome of sophistication, the group
resemble a mixture between the Rat Pack
and the gangsters from Reservoir Dogs. Old
indeed they are and with age surely comes
wisdom. Strange then that their self written
lyrics sound more like the crooning of sexobsessed adolescents than that of a group
whose average age is 37. While the melodies are instantly forgettable and the harmonies boring, the lyrics are disturbingly
one-track minded and immature. Tunes like
‘Sexify my Love’ say it all – ‘Take it fast, slow
now do it like a pro slide down your waist
and get low, low’. Heart-wrenching, no?
It is truly challenging to find many positives to say about this album. It’s such a
bland affair and few songs seem to really
stand out. However, ‘Grown Man’ does have
a slightly inventive Aretha Franklin sample
that is perhaps worth a mention. However, I expect most people would rather
The Killers are a band in transition. With
each of their three albums we have seen a
different side to the Las Vegas four piece.
Debut album ‘Hot Fuss’ was a groundbreaking display of anthemic
Brit rock,
By Dan Morgan
and in ‘Sam’s Town’ the band captured the
dusty vastness of Midwest America. For
Day and Age, Flowers and co.’s latest contribution, a distinct sense of faded glamour seems to flicker behind the synthesizers. Although sadly lacking in the kind
of soaring anthems that previous albums
have produced, Day and Age still delivers
enough of what we have come to expect
from the masters of synth-rock to assure
us that the Killers still have a lot to give.
‘Losing Touch’, the opening song, quickly builds into a dark introspection, lifted by
Kid Cudi - Day ‘N’ Night
By Jazmin Sherman
Kid Cudi's first single to gain
mainstream attention has suddenly
started to dominate the airwaves in
both the US and the UK. It's a great
combination of smooth vocals and tight
beats, making it incredibly hard to resist.
On top of mastering a sick beat, the lyrics
themselves prove deeper than most
would think as he raps about a lonely
stoner looking to free his mind and forget
the pain, giving the song just a little bit
more edge than most techno songs.
Kid Cudi, originally from Cleveland,
Ohio, has recently been signed to Kanye
West's record label and is already up
for BBC's "Sound of 2009" award. Cudi
is definitely one to watch out for as I
think this track is just the beginning.
The Beat Poets - Staring
Stars Down
By Sophie Etheridge
Being a fan of Beat Generation poetry,
I was very much prepared to like this
band. Unfortunately, The Beat Poets are
not as revolutionary and interesting as
their name-sakes, but rather have come
out with a very conventional sound with
their new single, ‘Staring Stars Down’.
The Beat Poets sound a bit like U2
if you swap Bono for Liam Gallagher,
which may not be an entirely bad
thing if you’re into that kind of music,
however, if you’re looking for something
new and exciting then you’re barking
up the wrong rock band. ‘Staring Stars
Down’ is an OK song, it has a catchy
guitar riff and some words you can
sing along to. You won’t hate ‘Staring
Stars Down’, but you won’t love it either.
The Streets - Heaven
For the Weather
By Rachel Gregory
Mike Skinner delivers another absolute
corker of a tune. As there’s not much
more to come from The Streets, (having
recently announced that he’s working
on his last album,) he’s decided to leave
us with a few tracks to remember. This
one’s a lot more upbeat than most of his
stuff and it sticks in your head just like
all the others. It’s the kind of song that’s
instantly memorable from the first listen.
You’ll either download it straight away or
annoy everyone else by singing that one
repetitive line in the chorus for weeks, and
then decide to buy it – but buy it you will.
By Richard Yates
The term 'singer-songwriter' has become an overused phrase synonymous
with soppy James Blunt-a-likes and budding teenage MySpace warblers. So it
helps to be reminded of genuinely talented musicians like Will Oldham (a.k.a.
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy), who has been producing a prolific output of critically acclaimed under-the-radar country music
for the past fifteen years. Don't let the
'country' tag alarm you – this is far closer to
late Johnny Cash than 'Achy Breaky Heart.'
Oldham dips into his extensive back
catalogue for this live album, recorded in
Edinburgh on a Spring 2006 tour of Scotland and Ireland. Accompanying him are
the Edinburgh folk band Harem Scarem,
who provide an elegant Celtic flavour
to Oldham's songs, and freestyle drummer and percussionist Alex Neilson. Simply following Neilson's subtle drumming
throughout this set is a journey in itself
– no two bars are ever the same, and his
constant improvisation and originality set him apart from many of his peers.
Set opener 'Minor Place', taken from
Oldham's classic 1999 album I See A
Darkness, sets the tone for the rest of the
night with it's gentle acoustic strumming,
sparse percussion and tightly-woven
backing harmonies from the female accompanists. Unlike the original recording,
this live version sounds almost angelic
due to the nature of the backing vocals,
which perfectly augment Oldham's fragile voice. It's a great song and ensures that
the evening starts off on the right note.
The highlight of the 13-song set is the
seven minute-long epic 'Cursed Sleep',
which despite its length never outstays
its welcome. It sways back and forth
from quiet, brooding verses to grandiose
choruses where the backing harmonies
and strings take flight, perfectly complimenting Oldham's Kentuckian wail. The
sensation it creates is almost one of seasickness; perhaps Is It The Sea? is indeed
an appropriate title for this record. One
of the best features of this performance
is its ability to transport you to a far away
place: if you close your eyes during the
fiddle solo on the title track you can pic-
ture yourself in a Lord of the Rings film.
The crowd remain loyally silent during the songs - no lager-fuelled Oasis style
singalongs here. In a way this reflects the
aura surrounding Oldham's music: the audience is encouraged to simply sit back
and soak it up, as if keenly paying attention in a music lesson. The crowd's silence
adds to the intimate atmosphere of the
set, interrupted only by wild bursts of
applause between each song. Even Oldham seems overwhelmed towards the
end: "Yeah, uh… just thanks so much for
coming and being so… nice!", as if back
in Kentucky the most polite audience response he can hope for is for the crowd
to refrain from hurling rotten fruit at him.
Is It The Sea? casts a new perspective on Oldham's music and is a cut above
some of the lazy live releases from bands
simply looking to bolster their piggy bank
by knocking out inferior versions of studio tracks. The whole thing is beautifully
recorded, and although a CD can never
fully re-create the feeling of actually being there, this comes pretty darn close.
sounding acoustic feel, and you can
feel the emotion in them. They are broken up by the massive chorus of 'Please
Don't Take These Photos From My Hands',
which will have crowds singing along to
it; another catchy song with big guitars.
Snow Patrol sometimes face the danger
of getting overly repetitive and dull with
their songs; 'Crack the Shutters' is a good
song, but sounds like many other songs
they have done before. There are some moments on this album however, such as the
handclapping intro to ‘The Golden Floor’,
that breaks up the repetitiveness. 'The
Planets That Bend Between Us' is another
song that is a bit different to their usual
music - it sounds a little melancholy at first,
but is actually quite uplifting. Perhaps the
band were feeling more cheerful that day.
The album ends on a high note with
the epic and experimental
three-part finale, ‘The
It is slightly darker
and more dramatic
than the rest of
their album, with
of pianos and strings and choir-esque
voices, which makes it interesting to listen to. Part 1 has an immense orchestral
sound to it, with an ominous and stormy
feeling that disaster is about to strike,
and part 2 is equally atmospheric. Part 3
brings the disaster to a close and makes
everything all good again - back to the
soft rock tunes the band does so well.
The album doesn’t contain one big
‘Chasing Cars’ like hit, but it is a safe follow up to it, with the band sticking to
what they are good at – big emotions and
big guitar crescendos. Gary Lightbody’s
fascination with the world of love is at
the centre of this album, and gives him a
knack for writing love songs that capture
exactly how you feel, while avoiding the
clichés other songwriters do not. He also
has a beautifully expressive voice that
never lets the songs become overly sentimental, and gives them meaning that few
singers could match. I’m not sure I agree
that this is the best record they have ever
done, but it is certainly a good album.
By Emmeline Curtis
Snow Patrol have had an amazing few
years, platinum-selling albums, sold-out
arena shows, and a song that has been voted the best of all time. A Hundred Million
Suns is their fifth studio album, and according to Gary Lightbody, “musically, lyrically
and sonically the best record we’ve made.”
The album opens with ‘If There’s a
Rocket Tie Me To It’, which starts with a
sweet-sounding melody, slowly building up to a drum-pounding finish. It is
similar to the first single to be taken from
the album, ‘Take Back the City’, in that
they both have catchy hooks and guitar
riffs which get stuck in your head and
would go down well with a stadium audience. The opening track is a good indicator of what the rest of the album is like,
though it is nothing too adventurous.
'Lifeboats' and 'Set Down Your Glass'
are both more simple and mellow songs
than the rest of
the album they have
a sweet
Renfro - Mathematics
Clinic - Tomorrow
By Sarah Colson
By Joseph White
Kicking off with a slightly out of tune
thumping guitar, Tomorrow brings in
interesting prospects often seen in this
band’s weird and wonderful sound. But
this is relayed by a droney vocal melody
maintained through out which does
about as much as you would expect
from a stoned snail. It is devoid of their
customary odd melodies and varying
time signatures, and replaced with a
lazy reverberating harmonica and a
few discordant guitar strums. Given
that this is Clinic’s thirteenth single to
date, one may ponder the reasons for
such a deflated momentum. All in all
Tommorow remains a half-catchy, halfdecent and very much half-experimental
opener, and I am only able to praise it
in this way because of the re-mix that
follows. DFA add a beautifully woven
dark base moog sound, straight from the
pit of a New York disco house dance floor.
This...! finally gets you bopping along in
spite of initial intent. There is no doubt
that this single will probably be hailed as
another Clinic classic as it does stay true
to their plodding mournful sound and
message, but it also represents a serious
lack of effort. Now dispute it if you must,
but the fact that Tomorrow precedes,
and in many ways is saved by, a simple
and invigorating electronic infusion,
may indeed indicate that this band
have a real need for fresh innovation.
Pint Shot Riot - Holes
By Jonathon Seal
The third single from Coventry fourpiece Pint Shot Riot is an enjoyable
3-minute ride through the fast-paced
lives of these mood-lifting Midlanders.
The instant hook of the introduction lays
the basis for one of the catchiest poprock songs of 2008. Mixing the up front
attitude of Hard Fi and fellow Midlanders
The Enemy, and adding a huge splash
of pop-punk catchiness, Holes is one
of those songs that is instantly likeable
and can easily have you singing its
chorus under your breath, even when
not realising (believe me I’ve done it).
Catchy guitars, sing-a-long lyrics,
and adrenaline pumping choruses
prove the hype surrounding this band
is more then justified, so lets just hope
2009 sees PSR continue their selfinspired uplifting rock and maintain
the Midlands hold on providing
THE fun music for our generation.
When first listening to this album, it’s
really quite surreal. Like you’ve just been
plunged into a world of ice and snow.
Not only because of the lyrics - ‘just looking at the ice won’t make it melt’, ‘something got frozen, got stuck on repeat’. It’s
also the ambient electronic sounds that
have been fused on to the record, the
beautiful vocal harmonies, the haunting falsetto melodies, and the atmosphere that’s created from all these layers.
The end result is a sound reminiscent
of Icelandic ambient band Sigur Ros. It
transports you to a different place and,
from my experience, those bands whose
music has the ability to do that are incredibly rare. Renfro’s electronic clicks,
creaks and taps buried under the surface
literally invade your mind, and although
I can’t say I’ve tried, I’m sure listening to
this album when you’re half-asleep (as
you do) would be really, really creepy. Not
that the songs feel sinister, but simply that
the sounds are so dreamy and ethereal.
As the band’s debut album, I’d say it
was quite an achievement; a genius blend
of electronica, experimental techniques,
melodic pop, and an avant-garde style.
This is reflected in the band’s formation,
consisting of two guys – Tim Branney who
contributes the melting vocals, and ‘Atom’
James Draper who adds all the crazy electro
noises which provide the rhythm section.
When put on top of each other, something
very unusual is produced. But it works.
Having said all that, though, Mathematics is not the best album if what you
like is catchy tunes or songs that you can
actually make sense of. Basically, it’s beautiful, but it’s beautiful background music.
Whilst ‘Telescope’ is particularly worth a
listen, having quite a catchy melody, there
aren’t really any other stand-out tracks
and the album has the effect of being just
a bit samey. But this album is about the
mood and the sound more than trying
to make good pop songs. Tim and Atom
were obviously attempting to experiment
and create an atmosphere – to be honest,
I don’t think they care whether it’s good
enough for the radio. It’s mellow, and
sweet, and it’s different – which was exactly their aim. In terms of Mathematics,
they’ve balanced the equation. Job done.
Making a follow up to their breakout
album, ‘Ascendancy’, was never going to
be an easy task for Florida death metal
act Trivium. Though ‘The Crusade’ had
bought them a lot more room for stylistic
manoeuvre, it was still generally received
as little more than a mediocre thrash album and with this first taste of failure still
hanging over them, ‘Shogun’ looked likely
to end up another weak record. That may
be the reason why it sounds so good.
The album begins with the soft chiming of acoustic guitars, launching into
the full-scale audio assault of ‘Kirisute
Gomen’. A strong opener, the song combines a vicious pounding beat with lightning paced riffs, moving into a slower
catchy chorus. The much debated return
of Matt Heafy’s death metal roar is also
proudly on display, providing a healthy
balance between the yelled vocal style
of ‘The Crusade’ and its predecessor.
Shortly after comes the brilliant ‘Down
From The Sky’. True as it may be that a
heavy metal band writing a song about nuclear warfare isn’t exactly reinventing the
wheel, the song is so catchy that you can
almost forgive them. Flowing easily from
staccato guitar into melodic choruses and
then heavy riffs, the song only seems to fall
down on its lyrics. Poetic genius like “they’ll
blow it all to bits” makes the band sound
immature and almost lazy. Sadly, examples
just like it can be found all over the album.
However, this only detracts slightly
from the strength of the record. Whether
it’s in the brutal force of songs like ‘Insurrection’, the triumphant chorus of others
such as ‘Of Prometheus And The Crucifix’ or
the heavy groove of ‘Throes Of Perdition’,
every track has something worth hearing.
Furthermore, the recurring theme of battle
and references to ancient culture such as
“Scylla and Charybdis” add a flavour of the
epic to match the grandiose feel of the album. Nowhere is this more evident than in
the mighty Shogun which ends the record.
A painting of light and dark, it mixes all
the best elements of the record together
seamlessly and deserves special praise.
Blistering solos sit alongside mellow bluesy guitar and soft acoustic passages trade
off with metal screams. Clocking in at over
eleven minutes, there isn’t a second you’d
want to skip and it perfectly concludes
the album, with the chorus echoing the
haunting acoustic chords from the start.
Altogether, Shogun is an album
that won’t disappoint; out of
eleven tracks it
is hard to pick
out a weak
Showi n g
t h e
c a n
n o t
only acknowledge the
C r u s a d e ’,
them into something positive; the resulting sound is more diverse than ‘Ascendancy’ and makes Shogun the band’s
best effort yet. What remains to be seen
now, is whether they’ll be able to continue this success with their next release, or will they need another album of
throwaway thrash to warm them up for it.
By Michael Havis
Feeder, Southampton Guildhall, (15/11/08)
When I told people I was going to
spend my Saturday night watching Feeder at the Southampton
Guildhall, I was inundated with
expressions of envy, and of my
damn good luck, however, I could
not help being a little reserved
before rubbing it in too much. Every
time I had seen Feeder previously
I had been slightly disappointed,
somehow though, I had a feeling
things were going to be different.
Having only seen Feeder play at
Reading and Download Festivals,
there were always other acts that
overshadowed them. Seeing them
on their own made me realise why
this tour had sold out.
The Guildhall was packed, and
for once, I did not feel like the oldest person there. There were young
children there with their parents,
teenagers, and middle-aged people alike, all who had come to see
Feeder play live and I believe this
encapsulates the reason for the
band’s success. Feeder had succeeded in attracting almost every
age of music lover and almost
every social stereotype – in short,
it is their ability to appeal to all that
has earned them a sell out tour
and the success they truly deserve.
This being said, it is not their abil-
ity to manoeuvre between different
groups of people that makes them
a fantastic live act. The three-piece
play with flair, passion and precision
– every single track they played was
technically and musically outstanding: the vocals were in perfect harmony, and the timing was flawless.
The lights and visuals also worked
incredibly well as a backdrop to this
perfection and succeeded in creating an aesthetically and auditory
captivating and pleasing experience,
and although musical perfection is
certainly not something to criticise,
I must admit that they were slightly
lacking in performance. There was
almost no crowd interaction or even
interaction with each other, which
on the one hand allowed them to
cram songs into their set, but on
the other it almost felt like watching a recorded live concert at home,
minus the comfy seat and the beer
fridge. In the same way the absolute
excellence of the sound almost leads
you to believe that you were listening to a recording not a live performance. In all honesty though, this is
a very minor criticism. One cannot
condemn a band for their ability to
perform their songs faultlessly and
although I was a little put out by the
lack of communication, I enjoyed
every second of it. There was a
good variation of songs, mixing
upbeat classics such as ‘Buck
Rogers’ and ‘Seven Days in the
Sun’ with slower tracks such as
‘High’ and ‘Sonorous’ taken from
their new album. You could not
have asked for more from the
three piece band from Wales.
By the end of the night, my
negative preconceptions were
torn apart. They rounded off the
night with a four track encore,
including ‘Silent Cry’ and
‘Yesterday went too Soon’, finishing with ‘Just a Day’. This was
exactly the sign that the crowd
needed to don their dancing
shoes. The Guildhall danced
their socks off to the feel-good
tune, leaving the venue with
lost voices and happy insides. As
cliché as this may sound, Feeder
left the crowd with a warm feeling inside, buzzing with energy
and pleasure, myself included
and it is this that makes Feeder
a fantastic live act. They have an
immense ability to allow every
audience member to leave their
cares behind and dance !
By Hayley Taulbut
Mixmag Xmas Party: Justice, Egg (London), 05/12/08
How do you follow the party of the
year? Easy, you step things up to another level. Following the storming Mixmag
Tour Launch Party thrown in October, a
party that saw a roadblock on York Way
as Friendly Fires, Hervé, Little Boots
and more cracked the Egg wide open,
comes an even bigger line-up featuring
some of the hottest talents in the UK
dance scene and mighty, mighty electro
pioneers Justice.
As expected the queues were heaving and the situation was not much
different inside with hoards of electro lovers congregating in the hallways
as perplexed bouncers tried to deflect
the tide of neon. A stampede then
ensued for the main room in preparation for the headliners but clubbers
were instead greeted by a very lacklustre performance from one of the resident DJs, more proof that the night was
not altogether particularly well thought
through by the organizers.
All was forgiven though as Justice
took to the stage, crammed right down
by the DJ booth and speaker stack the
sound was bass-heavy and booming (as
a week of ringing ears is testament to)
and Xavier and Gaspard’s set did not
disappoint. They delivered two hours
of the hardest electro and house you
will hear, occasionally interspersed with
80s gems to change up the pace. Crowd
favourite ‘Phantom Pt. II’ brought the
house down while The Proxy’s ‘Dancing
in the Dark’ was a real treat for electro
connoisseurs with its nerve-tingling,
melodic build up and thumping release.
With fans dancing on the speakers and
the rest of the crowd writhing under
the lights from front to back the temperature soared as clothing was shed
and shapes were cut. It is Justice’s
Grammy-nominated album ‘†’ (Cross)
and their live stadium shows that have
generated such worldwide acclaim and
made them one of the most revered
outfits in dance music yet in their DJ
sets they still consistently show a fondness for where they started out; sweaty
raves in packed-out clubs.
Meanwhile London’s own Chase &
Status battled for attention in The
Basement and proved just why they are
being championed by the likes of Zane
Lowe, Nihal and Kissy Sell Out at Radio
1 with an eclectic and lively set. They
made their name as a Drum & Bass
act with three number 1s in the dance
chart, but showed glimpses of a new
direction on their latest album ‘More
Than A Lot’ with a heavy influence
from the dubstep scene. This was compounded with the track ‘Eastern Jam’
an excellent bit of sampling coupled
with a monstrous bass-line that seemed
to go down very well indeed. The main
proponents of the exploding dubstep
scene were up next however, Caspa &
Rusko, and these two potentially have
the ability to destroy the 5am shift as
I have seen them do in the past. Sadly
however the soundsystem did not do
them justice (ho ho) and much of the
deep bassline went un-amplified.
On the whole the night was a good
showcase of UK talent flourished with
the sheer French mastery Justice bring
to the table, however despite it’s size
and complexity the Egg did not do
enough to meet the sound standard
expected of your more discerning
By Chris Hooton
SAT 31ST JAN 2009, 12PM
New Found Glory, Southampton Guildhall, (26/11/08)
Finally came the main event. New found
glory themselves. Coming out to ‘All
Downhill From Here’, this set the tone for
the full performance- and I’m not talking in
a good way. The more and more that ‘New
Found Glory’ played, the more and more
I found myself drifting to the back of the
Guildhall and bored, eventually retreating to the overpriced bar and watching
from the back. They eventually played a
couple of new songs in quick succession,
which they claimed were unlike any NFG
songs that the crowd may have heard
before. Evidentially what followed were
two songs, which sounded exactly like
every other NFG song I’d heard before.
Not helping the already bad situation,
the singer- Chad-‘s voice began to crack
halfway through the set and poorly trying
to cover it up held the microphone out to
the crowd at every possible opportunity,
meaning that trying to listen to any of the
songs properly was impossible.
The final song of the set however was the
best of the evening. “Hit or miss” was performed well and had most of the crowd,
even the parents at the back bouncing
up and down, however even this good
performance was not enough to save the
rest of the set.
As the evening drew to a close I think
the only people pleased with the evening
were the hardcore fans standing crushed
against the barrier at the front, and I can’t
help but think that most of the people in
the room might have thought the £18.50
would have been better spent elsewhere.
I think its fair to say that New Found
Glory have been around for absolutely
ages, at least 10 years anyway, and having just released a greatest hits album,
you would expect them to have picked
up a few tricks or two on the live circuit.
I went to see them at the Guildhall in
Southampton on the 26th of November to
see how they faired.
First up on the bill were Four Year Strong,
a relatively unknown band to me but having interviewed the guitarist a few hours
previously, I was expecting something
pretty good, and to be honest they didn’t
disappoint. This was a frantic live show
with a lot of running around, jumping and
melodic American pop punk. The guildhall seemingly erupted when they played
their biggest single and most strangely
titled song to date ‘Bada Bing ‘Wit a Pipe.’
One thing I would mention however is
the similarity of most songs to each other
which made most of the set turn into one
big song with breaks every 3 minutes. As
they left the stage having gained a few
extra fans it was time for the next band of
the evening to enter the stage.
Once again it was a relatively unknown
band in the form of ‘Set Your goals.’ One
thing about Set your goals was their use
of two vocalists. Disappointingly, one of
these singers took it upon himself to stand
at the front of the stage looking miserable
and remaining static. This pretty much
ruined their whole set and apart from this
fact in my opinion the songs and the energy from the rest of the band was fantastic.
By Dan Sumner
This Manhattan, The Joiners, 13/11/08
The Joiners is a strange venue in my opinion. On entering, I was surprised at how
small it was. The place looked like, in
the best possible way, a cross between a
World War II Music Hall and a basement.
The small stage in the far room and the
bar definitely made it a tight and intimate venue perfect for bands trialling new
songs or newer groups to test their tunes
to the public. Now-massive names like
Coldplay and Radiohead have played that
stage before, but this time it was the turn
of ‘This Manhattan’ in their first headline
Before that though, there were the support acts. The first was called ‘My Scissors,
Your Seatbelt’ and hailed all the way from
London and whilst they played an interesting and varied enough set, they just didn’t
seem capable of capturing the audience.
This was mostly due to the fact that a lot of
the time they didn’t seem that fussed, they
weren’t. The lead singer was mostly forgettable, with screams that didn’t go down to
well with the crowd. A brief verse from the
drummer- who bared more than a passing
resemblance to Jack Black-left more of an
impression than any other song in the set!
The second support act was ‘Akalons’
in what was the first live set they’d ever
played and if this was their first gig I can
honestly say I look forward to their future,
playing a good mix of original songs and
covers. The lead singer had a voice that
wasn’t the strongest I’ve heard but suited
the songs he was singing to a tee and
kept a good commentary going with the
audience throughout. The only thing that
seemed to be missing from the set was
more confidence but with their performance style already up to this standard I can
see this changing pretty soon.
When the main band hit the stage the
atmosphere instantly changed. The crowd
clearly knew what they were in for tonight
and as someone who had only heard one
of This Manhattan’s songs before I can say
I was honestly surprised. For a band that
was only just performing its first headline
slot, Matt, Alex, Chump and Dunk looked
like old-hands at this whole performancething, rocking the stage with their cheeky
and brilliant punk-pop sound and working the crowd like experts. Following an
unusual but well-suited audio snippet of
Heath Ledger’s Joker which came after
the first song was a whirlwind of pure
music, from the upbeat and optimistic
‘Who Needs Lovers When You’ve Got
Friends Like These?’ to the slightly slower
but equally pleasant on the ear ‘The Day
That Changed My Life’, the local-four piece
band managed to enthral their audience
throughout and make the set seem a lot
shorter than it was. The most important
thing that stood out in this set is that they
were all clearly loving it. From the banter
between each other and to the audience
“We wanna see you dancing to this song.
If you don’t I’ll get Chump to sit on you!”
to the regular mischievous comments “We
popped Akalons’ cherry!”, and from invit-
ing fans up onto the stage for the epic
finale “Oh Miss Rena! Look at the Stars”
to actually making sure the titular Rena
was on the phone for it, they were clearly
in their element, which rubbed off brilliantly on everyone in the building. As this
reviewer left the venue tired, free copy of
“Miss Rena...” in hand and still singing that
very same song down the road, I knew I
would be hearing from This Manhattan
again very soon.
By Roger McGough
Unholy Alliance Tour, Feat. Slayer & Trivium
Hammersmith Apollo (London), (30/10/08)
As a general rule of thumb, it should be
remembered that Slayer fans can be a little
crazy. By which I mean, had they put some
of them in East Germany with George
Michael and told them metal music was
in the west, the Berlin Wall wouldn’t have
made it past the planning stage. Even the
sight of a simple handheld video-camera,
hovering over the queue, provokes a huge
throng of fans to start chanting for the
headlining act. The doors had yet to open
but the crowd left no doubt that they
weren’t going to sit and watch quietly.
As the lights go down, the masses are
treated to the wails of a choir belting it
out over the sound system; an orchestra
backing them up plays suitably ominous
music. “I’d recognise that overblown nonsense anywhere” I thought “Trivium must
be about to hit the stage.” Nevertheless,
ridiculous intros aside, the band have an
impressive energy about them, kicking off
their set with ‘Kirisute Gomen’. A further
element of showmanship is added to the
song by an exciting light show with jets of
smoke. Still in spite of this and the stellar
instrumental performance, frontman Matt
Heafy’s vocals seem a little bit off tonight
and take away (even if only slightly) from
the overall power of the show.
Continuing the set is ‘Becoming the
Dragon’ and whilst some previous vocal
problems persist it gets a suitably enthusiastic reaction from the fans. Soon after,
older crowd pleasers ‘A Gunshot to the
Head of Trepidation’ and ‘Like Light to the
Flies’ mix with newer material like ‘Into the
Mouth of Hell We March’ and ‘Down from
the Sky’ to provide an interesting and var-
ied setlist that keeps everyone interested.
Unfortunately for the band, the strongest reaction yet is for their cover of Iron
Maiden’s self titled hit, originally recorded
for Kerrang magazine, which excites a
cheer from seemingly everyone in the
building. ‘Pull Harder on the Strings of
Your Martyr’ then rounds off the set and
sees Heafy smashing his custom guitar
into pieces and hurling it into the crowd.
He only gets back on stage for a new
guitar after giving everyone in the front
row a chance to sing along. Trivium put
on a lively show, but a few small careless
hitches (such as one of the microphones
being almost inaudible) stopped them
from putting on the best performance
they could have.
Then came the band that everyone
had been waiting for, the grandfathers
of thrash metal, Slayer. As a grand white
curtain emblazoned with logos and pentagrams falls, the band is revealed and ‘Flesh
Storm’ begins. The fans are packed in like
sardines and the Slayer faithful start several mosh pits spanning the width of the
crowd. Even the standing section are on
their feet as the set rolls on through classics ‘War Ensemble’ and ‘Chemical Warfare’.
This was not to say that the fans were at
all biased through more recent numbers
like ‘Jihad’ and the thrashing, antagonistic
‘Cult’, as they kept a constant presence felt
throughout. There is a great raw element
to the show also; no gimmicks are here,
just a wall of amps and a screen for Slayer’s
logo. Thrash metal like this doesn’t need
anything else.
Moving onwards, the band thank their
fans for spending Halloween with them
by way of the epic ‘Seasons in the Abyss’
and sinister ‘Dead Skin Mask’. Though a lot
slower than the rest of the set, they take
nothing away from the show and set up
an eerie mood all their own. Then again,
this is only the silence before the storm, as
the thunderous ‘Raining Blood’ brings the
crowd into a frenzy. Pulled off with all the
vigour of the band in their prime, frontman Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King
headbang throughout and bring the song
to life with the full unedited version. Then, as the
notes of ‘South of Heaven’ ring out, the first of the
terful ‘Angel of Death’ begin, to finish off the eve
It is a fitting end to an often daft, but always vivac
evening of extreme metal. The crazed Slayer fan
pacified... for now.
By Michael Havis
Kids in Glass Houses, S.U. Garden Court, 27/10/08
Kids in Glass Houses have taken the British
Isles by storm in 2008, with their own brand
of tongue and cheek pop punk. Tonight at
the Southampton Uni SU sees them nearing towards the end of their second headline tour in support of their debut album,
Smart Casual.
In support tonight are two very young
bands hoping to follow somewhat in the
Welsh lads’ footsteps, coming in the form
of fellow South Wales’ Save Your Breath
and Brighton’s This City. Both these bands
tick all the boxes for youthfulness and potential, but just aren’t quite enough to get
tonight’s crowd going; but certainly ones
to watch for the future.
Kids in Glass Houses bounce onto the
stage emphatically. They’re no strangers
to stages of this size and waste no time
in strutting their stuff in front of the wide
eyed audience. And it isn’t long before a
combination of lead vocalist Aled’s charming stage banter, guitarist Iain’s innovative
dancey-guitar moves and the pure energy on stage has wooed tonight’s crowd.
There is perhaps the feeling that the band
are sticking to a much tested formula, I’m
not saying rehearsed but after six months
of solid touring, things are bound to start
looking a bit casual. Smart Casual - Zing.
The set list is to be expected, with the
band playing almost every song from their
debut album. An interesting twist takes the
form of a cover by the then chart topping
‘Sex on fire’ by Kings of Leon, which unfortunately becomes the biggest singalong
of the evening. There is also a welcome return to ep relic ‘Telenovela’, which doesn’t
receive much of a reaction from the crowd
at all.
Lack of crowd participation seems to be
the theme tonight. It takes (what are usually regarded) fan favourites ‘Saturday’ and
‘Easy Tiger’ to spark up any warmth from
this crowd on this cold November evening.
The band themselves however, seem unfased and go about their happy-go-lucky
antics undetered. They’ve done enough by
final song ‘Give Me What I Want’ to receive
the crowds approval in the form of a bit of
a sing and dance. The Welsh quintet demonstrating that they can win the hearts of
any crowd, as I’m sure they’ll continue to
do long into 2009 and beyond.
By Tom Sheppard
Rancid, Astoria (London), (16/11/08)
‘No One Likes Us / We Don’t Care’ reads the sticker
plastered across the back of Lars Frederiksen’s guitar, as he holds it aloft, facing the crowd at the end
of the gig, echoes of feedback still ringing in our
ears. Funny that, seeing as during the last ninety
or so minutes the exact antithesis of that sentiment seemed to be occurring; every one of the
bands 30-song-strong setlist greeted with raucous
cheers and explosive movement.
Kicking off with ‘Radio’ into ‘Roots Radicals’
meant air was a little hard to come by at the start
of the set but that was the least of my concerns.
The sheer euphoria that hit the crowd when
Tim Armstrong stole up to the microphone and
called out the opening words of ‘Radio’ cannot
be overestimated and all worries concerning oxygen were discarded. Burning through massive
tracks like ’Journey to the End of the East Bay’ and
‘Maxwell Murder’ as if there would be no tomorrow, Rancid are a band who still have the hunger,
the passion and the sheer energy to captivate an
audience for an hour and a half. Not to mention
one of the most impressive back catalogues ever,
which doesn‘t half help. Every single one of their
six albums, from the heavy self titled 1993 effort,
through to 2003’s pop-punk ‘Indestructible’ is
a masterpiece, each fitting consummately into
a different genre, ranging from straight up skapunk to 1998’s ‘Life Won’t Wait’ - reggae, dancehall
and dub.
The most heavily featured album however,
was 1995’s platinum selling ‘…And Out Come
the Wolves’, of which almost a third of the set
came from. They took a largely different cut of
songs from it though than when they toured
in 2006 (in fact, this London date
was two years to the day from the
Brixton Academy gig); this time
airing ‘She’s Automatic’ and ‘The
Way I Feel’ amongst others, along
with the more usual suspects.
Rancid have not released any
new material since ‘03, apart
from a disc called ‘B-Sides and
C-Sides’, which does what it says
on the tin; a collection of the bands offcuts from
throughout their career. Only one of these made it to
the stage today, the skank-inducing ‘I Wanna Riot’.
Highlights of the set included the brash ‘Dead Bodies’,
‘It’s Quite Alright’ and ‘Nihilism’, as well as the surprising inclusion of the love song ‘Who Woulda Thought’,
a change of pace from the tracks that preceded it. The
exhilarating ’Hoover St.’ rounded off the second third
of the set. Also, predictably, the Operation Ivy classic
‘Knowledge’ was covered along the way. However,
as each song disappeared into the air, the tour, and
their three night stint at the Astoria was coming to its
conclusion, you could sense the sense of loss amongst
the band. Armstrong spoke sorrowfully to the crowd.
‘Not long left now… it’s all gonna be over soon’, before
the band broke into perhaps their best song (excluding the singles), ‘Old Friend’. A couple of minutes into
the song, the band broke it down to a quiet melody,
and Tim rushed backstage to grab an armful of merchandise, which he dispensed into the crowd. Rancid
are a band who give things back to the fans; constant
messages of thanks were told throughout; and the
reasonable ticket prices further proof.
All good things had to come to an end though; but
what an end. Finishing the set with ‘Ruby Soho’ and
then encoring minutes later to play their most well
known song, ‘Time Bomb’, the perfect ending to a
brilliant set, Rancid proved to be the most professional gritty punk band around. The band profusely
promised they would bring out their long awaited
(five years) new album, and return to the UK in 2009.
Bring it on.
By Rik Sharma
Paul Gilbert, The Brook, 24/11/08
Having been made privy to the existence of Paul Gilbert back in the summer
(my housemate showed me a YouTube
video of his exploits on a double-neck),
I was intrigued and quite surprised that
such a famous guitarist would be gracing the walls of the Brook! Having taught
Buckethead, as well as having been in two
bands (Racer X and Mr. Big), Gilbert isn’t
exactly an anonymous guitarist, and his
work in guitar magazines like Total Guitar
have elevated him to the level of worldfame; he’s even attributed as one of the
fastest guitarists alive – so this was going
to be a treat to watch. The show was
subtitled ‘Guitar Masterclass’ as well, so we
couldn’t really be more enthusiastic!
From up high in the ‘balcony’ area of
the Brook, we witnessed the interesting
support band Hellcyon. Having only been
a band for a matter of days before they
supported Gilbert, Hellcyon did an amazing job, their heavy metal stylings jarring
bizarrely well with their singer’s high yet
resonant voice. Though they hadn’t much
time, and most people there were basically itching like mad to see Gilbert, the
support did really, really well, and I’d be
interested to see how they can move on
from this to more exposure.
But then it came to Gilbert – and my God,
he didn’t disappoint. I will admit I wasn’t as
familiar as I could have been with his music
when I turned up; my housemate at the
gig with me was a mad, mad fan though,
and so I had been listening avidly to his
solo albums (in particular the most recent,
‘Silence with
a Deafening
these instrumental pieces were the
what the maestro
Nothing else
can be said but
to comment
that the man
is a genius –
songs like ‘The
Gargoyle’ and
the aforementioned album’s
title track were four minute long virtuoso
performances of guitar, and only guitar.
Gilbert wears headphones on-stage to
protect his battered hearing, and whilst
the lanky, gangly American looks like
some kind of audiophile bouncing around
his room, his dexterity on the guitar was
His vocal performance wasn’t exactly bad
either – songs
from his earlier
albums, such as
‘Burning Organ’
and ‘Spaceship
One’ feature his
own voice, and
he can match
his own skill on
the guitar with
his surprisingly
resonant vocal
per formance.
highlight from
the two hour
(containing at least two
encores - they
left once anyway) was his performance of
Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Red House’ complete with
Gilbert playing the guitar, a la Jimi, with his
teeth. You know you’re watching someone
with amazing talent when they can imitate
Hendrix – Gilbert is no exception.
His band, composed of his own wife Emi
on the keyboards, Craig Martini on bass
and Jeff Bowders on drums, were more
than able to play alongside him, although
the keyboards were pretty much absent
in comparison through the amps. Gilbert
was unsurprisingly the best thing about
the night though – we’d gone to see him,
and to witness such genius on the guitar
was more than enough for me, despite
having seen Jimmy Page, Dave Grohl and
Brian May live in the past. Gilbert may
not be as stratospherically well-known as
any of the rest but he’s up there in terms
of talent, and it was an experience worth
By Will Roszczyk
Stereophonics, 02 Arena (London), (20/12/08)
Needless to say, as anyone who really
knows me will be well aware I was beside
myself with excitement at the prospect
of seeing the Stereophonics, particularly
Kelly Jones, in the flesh. Having begun
at Glasgow’s SECC on 2nd December and
climaxing with this final performance at
the O2 Arena, the tour relived some of the
band’s best moments over their ‘Decade
In The Sun’. Coinciding with the release
of the new album, ‘Decade In The Sun:
Best Of Stereophonics’ on 10th November
this year, their live performances included
hits from all six studio albums, five
of which reached no.1 in the UK
album charts.
I have to admit, it had been a
while since I had last been to a
huge arena such as the O2 – in
fact, it may have been when I saw
Westlife at Wembley… hmmm… so I did feel some slight apprehension as to what the view would be
like, having got so used to smaller
venues. However, I needn’t have
worried; not only was the view fantastic, looking directly down onto
the stage, but the atmosphere was
electric – more electric than any
atmosphere you could get in a
smaller venue.
I have to say, I was not
impressed by the support band,
The Courteeners, an indie quartet from Manchester whose debut
‘St. Jude’ reached no.4 in the UK
album charts; so by the time the
Stereophonics finally made it on
stage, and I was desperate for a
good show! Needless to say, they
did not fail to impress. Kicking off
with ‘More Life In A Tramp’s Vest’
and ‘Thousand Trees’, both from
their debut album ‘Word Gets Around’
(1997), Kelly Jones had the crowd roaring
from the second he rolled on stage in his
iconic leather jacket – which he kept on
throughout the whole performance! His
voice has a certain rawness and distinctness that is irrefutably unforgettable, and,
in my opinion, irreplaceably unique. Along
with his accompanying guitarists, Adam
Zindani and Richard Jones, and drummer
Javier Weyler, the Stereophonics delivered
a two hour-long powerful and energising performance, belting out classics from
their UK no.1 album ‘Performance and
Cocktails’ (1999), such as ‘Bartender And
The Thief’, ‘I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio’,
and ‘I’m Just Looking’, as well as other
timeless epics from their 2001 album ‘Just
Enough Education To Perform’ and their
2003 album ‘You Gotta Go There To Come
Back’, including ‘Handbags and Gladrags’,
‘Mr. Writer’, ‘Have A Nice Day’, and ‘Maybe
Tomorrow’. They also covered more recent
hits from their UK no.1 album, ‘Language.
Sex. Violence. Other?’ (2005), including
‘Devil’, ‘Superman’, and ‘Dakota’ – my all
time favourite song which brought an end
to an incredible and memorable night.
The Stereophonics are said to be
returning again in the new year with a
fresh new album, which is sure to be just
as brilliant as their last six, which have, so
far, produced for them 9 million worldwide
sales. I can only say – I can’t wait.
By Chloe Musson
Delays, Lennons, (11/12/08)
On the eleventh of December, I made
my way to Lennon’s nightclub to see the
“Delays” play. It was a freezing cold day
but the gig made the journey worthwhile.
Already having three studio albums under
their belts the Southampton quartet, the
“Delays”, who have been often been likened to the Cocteau Twins, belt out infectiously happy indie-pop fare. The band
is made up of brothers Greg and Aaron
Gilbert (vocals and guitarist, and keyboard
player respectively), Colin Fox (on bass),
and Rowly (percussion). On first inspection on MySpace the “Delays” seemed a
little bland and generic, just another relatively unknown indie band. However, The
“Delays” are set apart from other similar
bands by two relatively unique assets. Firstly, listening to the Delays is a refreshing break from the stereotypical melancholic indie band as they are bubbly, as
they mostly use up tempo rhythm and
poppy synth riffs. The lead singer, Greg
Gilbert, has a unique pop perfect falsetto
that also set the band apart.
The Delays burst onto the stage with an
infectious energy and a rocking set list.
The foursome, fronted by lead singer Greg
Gilbert, arrived on stage and immediately
started blasting out their set of catchy lyrics and tunes. The audience responded,
and many of the audience were obviously seasoned Delays fans as they belted
out the tunes with Gilbert. Greg Gilbert
surprises audience members new to the
band and warbles his way through the
songs. They played crowd pleasers such as
“Valentine”, where Gilbert charismatically
engaged with the audience. With nods
back to eighties pop and it had an almost
disco feel to it. The music is in general
bubbly and happy. Pleasingly throughout the gig they interspersed the happy
tunes with some more mellow and melancholy songs such as the song “Long Time
Coming”. Nevertheless, the rhythm and
tempo constantly remained upbeat and
the crowd responded by bouncing along.
In my mind, some songs were immediately catchier and distinctly better than
others but as these were again interspersed along with the catchier tunes,
so they maintained a strong catchy beat
throughout and wowed the audience. The
seasoned fans added extra enthusiasm
and helped to create a great atmosphere.
All in all, I enjoyed the Delays gig and
was impressed. Although I do not think I
will run out and buy their albums, their live
performance was very entertaining, and
I cannot fault their on-stage enthusiasm
and energy. Furthermore, although some
of their songs are quite forgettable, they
do have some really catchy anthems which
stayed with me long after that evening.
By Viveka Owen
Kids in Glass Houses seem to rapidly be-
coming Britain’s pop punk favourites. After relentless touring up and down the country, in
the past twelve months the band have landed
a record deal, have been heavily recommended
by various Radio 1 DJs and have played a stint of
festivals across the summer. But what lies ahead
for the Welsh quintet? Tom Shepherd caught
up with guitarist Iain before their show at
Southampton SU to find out.
TS: You’re approaching the end of the tour
now. How’s it going?
Iain: It’s been wicked so far, all the shows
have been really good. We didn’t know
what to expect from this tour, because it’s
the second tour we’re doing plugging the
record. But the shows have been amazing, like the Astoria was the best show
I’ve ever played in my life. Yeah it’s been
TS: I was going to say the size of the venues is obviously increasing, do you still get
overwhelmed playing shows of this size,
or do you just take it in your stride now?
Iain: Well like, it’s cool seeing the venues
going up, it’s wicked obviously because
it’s going in the right direction. But the
Astoria was a bit overwhelming, just
because it’s such a prestigious venue.
And it’s really famous, so we were a bit
overwhelmed by that, but everything else
we just vibed pretty much.
TS: The supports for this tour are This City
and Save Your Breath. Do you get much
say in who the supports are, or is it just
done by someone else?
Iain: Yeah we picked both those bands.
Save Your Breath are our friends from
back home and we wanted to help them
out, get them out of Wales. This City we
did because a mate said ‘this is my mates
band, you guys should check them out’.
TS: You’re touring for a while now, and
you’re going to Europe with Zebrahead
and Simple Plan. Has Europe been an
ambition for a while now?
Iain: Yeah, I mean the whole reason I’m
doing this is just ‘coz I want to play my
guitar and see the world, so yeah, if we
get out to Europe then it’s all good.
TS: Is it nice to be a supporting band once
in a while, and to be able to kick back?
Iain: Yeah definitely, I mean I’m a bit jealous of Save Your Breath, ‘coz they’re going
on first, coming off stage and getting
steaming’. And I remember that and that
was a lot of fun, so it’s nice to support
bands, especially when you play with
bands like (Lost) Prophets, New Found
Glory and Paramore. It’s kinda nice.
TS: So it’s been a pretty good 12 months
for Kids In Glass Houses, the album’s come
out, various festivals, a trip to Japan; what
would you say has been the highlight?
Iain: Up until this tour Japan was definitely
a highlight just because that country is
like something else, it’s amazing. But highlight of the year for me so far is playing
the Astoria, definitely.
TS: Coming from South Wales, did you
ever feel there was the air of expectation
from bands from the area, such Lostprophets, who you mentioned earlier,
and Funeral For a Friend, or does that not
really bother you at all?
Iain: I don’t know really. I mean Wales has
a really good music community at the
moment, and when you’ve got bands
like Prophets and Funeral setting you a
level to aim for you’re always gonna push
yourself harder just ‘coz its like ‘they live
like 10 mins down the road from me, why
can’t I be doing that?’ And like their work
ethic has always been an inspiration just
‘coz they’ve done nothing but work their
tits off to get where they are.
TS: ‘Fisticuffs’ is the new single. Some
people might say that’s a bit unexpected, some people might say they were
expecting ‘Girls’ to be released following
the publicity it got from the Callum Best
show. What made you pick that one?
Iain: Basically right, with the singles, we
just want people to get what the band’s
about, and that like we have got a heavier
side to us, we have got an edge to us, and
so we didn’t want to get lumped in with
all this overly poppy sort of stuff, so we
wanted to be like oh no, hang on, we have
got a pair of bollocks, you know what I
TS: KIGH aren’t a band who aren’t afraid
of a cover now and then. I’ve come across
covers by The Movielife, Metallica, and I’ve
also heard a rumour there may be a Kings
of Leon cover tonight. Any others in the
Iain: We’re gonna work on a Prince song,
but we can’t decide which one yet. Me
and Aled (vocals) are huge Prince fans and
every day we’re just like ‘we should do
this, nah we should do that’ but when we
work one out we’ll definitely be covering
Prince somewhere down the line.
TS: Some ‘Doves Cry’ would be awesome…
Iain: Ah, there’s no bass on that tune, see,
and Shay (bass) would get left out!
TS: I can see you’ve been giving this a lot
of thought. Finally, what can we expect
from KIGH in the future?
Iain: Another record next year, more touring, more jokes, more good times!
Subs on the Solent
Jack White meets Etidorpha, the man co-running Southampton’s first
big dubstep night, to find
out more about the city
scene and the genre in general...
As the fine form of Popular Music approaches roughly its seventh decade
of existence and its electronic counterpart its fourth, the following question
may have crossed your mind: is there
anything original left? We’ve had noise,
we’ve had silence, we’ve had old school,
new wave, new rave, and no wave. We’ve
even had “sonic cathedrals”. What next?
Let me take you back to São Paulo, Brazil. It’s 1968. Stay with me, don’t wander.
It’s dangerous. A group of artists, under
the banner of “Tropicalism”, have begun
creating music that mashes together traditional Brazilian music, its African roots,
and the new rock and psychedelic sounds
coming out of London, New York and California. Based on the modernist ideas of the
“Cannibal Manifesto”, they take the parts
of the different sounds that they love, devour them, chew them with their own ideas, and then spit them out as something
new, exciting and, importantly, unique.
Now, let’s come home to Croydon, South
London. Don’t wander, it’s dangerous. It’s
late 2004 and a new sound is creeping out
of the dark alley where UK garage lies dying in a pool of its own champagne vomit
with its cousin drum and bass. Based
loosely on the echoes of 2-step rhythms,
the heavy bass lines of dub/jungle, and
sharing the moody atmospherics of
grime, dubstep pulled up its hood and
stepped out into the drizzly urban night.
In short, the sound can be described
as being principally instrumental with
a focus on sparse beats and heavyweight bass, especially sub-bass frequencies too low to be audible, but
more than able to rattle your ribcage
coming out of a 50kw sound system.
“It’s bass music built for the
sound system and there’s a lot of
scope for experimentation”
explains local dubstep DJ and promoter
Etidorpha. And experiment they have.
Since the scene’s conception, producers
like Skream, Digital Mystikz, and Kode9
have cannibalised from almost every
source imaginable, taking us from reggae
influenced tunes, through fantastically
nauseating bass wonk and wobble, to the
techno strains that characterized many of
2008’s best releases.
“It’d be fair to say that dubstep
is now just a word for ‘music
with pummelling bass’ which has
always been popular really.”
Four years later, and Southampton has
finally caught up. Amongst a few dedicated nights, Subset (www.myspace.
com/subset1) has emerged as the main
contender for a serious dubstep night in
the city. Held at city centre venue Soul Cellar on the third Thursday of each month,
Subset was established by Etidorpha,
fellow DJ/producer Physics and south
coast dubstep label Boka Records (www. as a way to push the
sound and give the struggling Southampton electronic scene a kick up the arse:
As for the future, the Subset guys will
be continuing their commitment to the diversity of dubstep with acts like Appleblim
(curator of the latest instalment in the Dubstep All Stars series – the definitive techno/
dubstep mix) and Boka Record’s own 16-Bit
(with a storming release to coincide) lined
up for the New Year. With the addition of
a visual DJ, the night can only get better:
“We don’t view this as an average night out; this is something
a little bit special, something
“There wasn’t anything that ap-
we hope people can get excited
pealed to me, nothing edgy or in-
about. We have people coming
teresting at all.”
up to us all the time with mix CD’s
“We decided there needed to
they’ve done, wanting to get in-
be a night a couple of years ago,
volved…how many nights do you
but at that point it never seemed
go to where you see that kind of
feasible…now is the time and the
thing happening?”
reaction so far has been real positive.”
This has been reflected by both the
quality of the recent acts (scene heavyweights The Others and Bristol’s Komonazmuk), as well as the increasing numbers
of dubsteppers showing their support
for the fledgling night.
If you’re new to dubstep, I’d recommend checking out any of the Dubstep
All Stars series, as well as for suggestions but, most importantly, go down to Subset at the Soul
Cellar and hear the evolving sound of 21st
Century urban Britain it as it was made
to be: in a small, dark room with a subwoofer and 100 other like-minded people.
Director: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer
Connelly, Jaden Smith, John Cleese
I would venture a guess that any filmwatching person would regard Keanu
Reeves’ acting skills as wooden at best,
blank and emotionless at worst. For those
people (of which I sometimes count myself a member) ‘The Day the Earth Stood
Still’ is a testament to the casting choice
of director Scott Derrickson – he managed
to gift Keanu with the role he was born to
play, and as such the movie is that much
better for its blank lead. The movie does,
however, suffer from some weak writing
and some incredibly clichéd characters.
Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connolly) is
called alongside other scientists to survey
a mysterious object entering the Earth’s
orbit. The object settles in Central Park
and a figure enters from within – under
interrogation, Klaatu (Reeves) reveals that
he is an alien emissary, sent by a group
of powerful extra-terrestrial civilisations
to warn the human race that our treatment of the planet has warranted action, potentially hostile and apocalyptic.
Reeves, often thought of as having the
emotional range of a piece of 2 by 4, finds
what could be described as a niche role to
match his strange, other-worldly visage.
As an alien without emotion he conveys a
sense of unease and distrust through his
vacant expressions and as such this is probably one of his best performances – the fact
that he barely seems to blink throughout
the film is incredibly unsettling. Jennifer
Connolly does what she needs to, attempting but failing to balance the multiplicity of
trying to be a strong heroine, sympathetic
mother and put-upon widow as well as an
ally to an alien. What detracts from her performance is her disadvantage in being in
too few scenes without weeping to show
off her weirdly huge eyes – we get it, she’s
sad, but why drum it home? After a very
short amount of time she infuriated me
and I actually wished that she was not the
main focus of the movie alongside Reeves.
Kathy Bates plays a Defence Secretary who
is decidedly ambiguous – she cannot seem
to decide whether to go with her hunches
or follow orders and as such the actress
has a pretty nothing role to play. An actress who is best at playing disturbing, angry characters is somewhat nullified here,
in a stock politician role and the only thing
that makes it a little different is that she’s a
woman – this is the kind of role someone
like Ed Harris would play. Will Smith’s son,
Jaden, is actually pretty damn convincing
as the precocious step-kid of Connolly’s
character, a damaged child who cannot
process death but is faced with it throughout the film’s length. John Hamm and Kyle
Chandler play sympathetic and antagonistic sides of the government’s response
to Klaatu’s arrival and each do what they
need to – their performances don’t give
them much more of an option and this is
a shame, as they’re ciphers, nothing more
than extreme examples of each side of the
debate. John Cleese appears for about four
minutes as a wise and important scientist
– really, really weird for any of us brought
up on ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Monty Python’,
as Cleese is not known for his serious roles.
The problem with the supporting cast is
that they are not as interesting nor as bizarrely compelling to watch as Reeves is –
this is perhaps deliberate, with him being
an alien and all, but at the same time you’d
think that the characters would be more
fleshed out as to be able to compare with
Klaatu – unfortunately this is not the case!
Scott Derrickson, through his direction,
stakes a claim to be the breakout director of 2008 here; he manages to take a
major-budget sci-fi action film with a
brain and make it work, a hard task – but
Derrickson seems to have ably coped with
it, presenting a film that manages to balance both insane action with thoughtful
ideas. His concept that alien civilisations
want us to stop harming the Earth (or face
the consequences) is eerily apt for the
current position of global warming and
the film does not often find itself drifting
into cheesy or strained scenes – but the
writing is poor, particularly in regard to
the characters, who are crudely sketched
caricatures of atypical judgements and
opinions. Visually, the movie succeeds beyond expectations. The special effects on
show are stupendously good – from the
orb that swirls with energy that signals
the alien arrival, through to the sentinel sent to guard it (and latterly this object’s amazingg defence mechanism). The film is a sumptuous
sight to behold if nothing else.
The film is great – its message
is firm, its effects work strong
and convincing and many of
the main roles well-cast, however the characters are pushed
to one side, put out of balance by Reeves and Connolly
and whilst Reeves is the centre of the film here, Connolly
is not strong enough to grip as
much as him, as well as the other characters. To poorly quote the movie itself:
With Reeves offscreen, the film suffers.
With Reeves onscreen, the film survives.
Will Roszczyk
Director: Pierre Morel
Starring: Liam Neeson, Famke
A blistering, non-stop assault on the
senses. Intelligent, compelling and a
damn good thrill ride. Who’s the daddy!?...
Tzvetan Todorov’s model of narrative
equilibrium and the action film go handin-hand. Harmony - disruption - restoration. Simple, and Taken’s no different. Director Pierre Morel’s kicks things off with
some good old fashioned scene setting.
Subtle, delicate and about as ordinary as
a Nicholas Cage adventure film. Oh, and
we’re also thrust onto the side of his protagonist in the most ostentatious of fashions: outcast bio-Dad buys his daughter a
karaoke set, step dad whips out a dashing
white pony. Top that. But as far as negative criticism for Taken goes, I’m spent. A
mundane start and structure fail to conceal the fact that Taken is a stunning, highoctane fuelled action film with a freehold
on the fast and furious, the tense and intense. Second-best to Bourne, perhaps,
but more than a match for those that rest
and revel in the action/adventure genre.
So here it is, reviewed for you in full…
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) may’ve been
cast into the shade by a pony but he’s one
hard b*stard: A worn, torn, tried and tested retiree trying to make up for those lost
years taxed by trade. A trade that annulled
a marriage, divided a three piece family
unit and rid Mills of any domestic respect
he may‘ve had. His line of work?
Protection. Prevention. Expulsion.
He was a first-class covert infiltrator for the U.S Government. Highly- trained, highly-skilled, highlydangerous. So I suppose it’s
Mr. B*stard to you, then.
Neeson’s adroit and
wrinkled visage tells us
all we need to know
from the outset he’s
been there. Done that.
Got the t-shirt. But
when a clan of wily,
woman trafficking
immigrants “unexpectedly” up and off with daddy’s little
girl in Paris, the pension gets
the boot and we have ourselves a movie and a pretty
good one at that. Aa part
chase, part rescue, part action; adventure, thrill and
redemption movie with
verve, vigour and viscera.
Archetypal? Sure. Taken throws up nothing new, but it is one of the best of its
overcooked kind: sometimes heavy,
sometimes cruel. Gritty in places, stylish
in others. Clever in areas, conservative
in others. It’s a very well made film- fresh
from the minds and eyes that bought
us the superb French thriller, District 13.
Co-penned by Leon helmer Luc Besson,
‘Taken’ draws numerous yet obvious likings
to the Bourne franchise; guerrilla styled
photography, breakneck editing, fast cars,
fast hands, state of the art tech’, superior
covert opp’ kicking ass after ass. Bourne
didn’t know who or what he was though.
Mills does: a pensioned off, peeved off CIA
hard nut minus the rust and with plenty of
thrust (“I will find you, and I will kill you!”).
But for all its heart stopping scraps and
tussles, takedowns, beatdowns, fist, gun
and knife fights, ‘Taken’ succeeds in mining
our emotions and domestic qualms on an
up-close and personal level. The empathy
injection, although clichéd, works to the
film’s advantage. None of us could really
relate to Bourne’s mind state or predicament but with this we kind of can. Whether
it be as a father, mother, daughter or even
tourist.Therefore every grapple, pursuit,
punch, shift, block, bullet, bob and weave
has added intent and meaning. You’ll be
willing Neeson’s Mills on through every
scene as he plots and pummels his way
to his naive yet adorable daughter’s aid.
It’s Neeson who’ll no doubt seize the plaudits then, and why not. The acclaimed
thesp’ churns out yet another first-class
performance as the determined, ageing action heroin- proving once more that there’s
no role he cant take on without rendering
both his own and convincing. Neeson’s
pin-sharp portrayal of Mills’ means the
character’s not just his corny little girl’s
rock, he’s ours too. The man’s an exceptional actor. Simple. His ‘Taken’ turn reiterates
his kudos as one of the industry’s finest.
As for the film itself? In terms of flat-out
entertainment? I’ve got to say it’s the best
I’ve seen since the Bourne Supremacy. Yes,
I said Supremacy. Didn’t go much on Ultimatum but I’ll leave that for another day.
Anyway, Taken’s energy, score and ardour
are spot-on but it’s in the cutting room
where the film really excels. Sharp, swift,
seamless: the action set-pieces are cut to
near perfection, showing us just enough
on occasion to evoke a grimace, gasp or
sly snigger. There’s nothing funny about
the film as a whole, though. ‘Taken’ is a
solid all-round effort. Flawless? No but all
an action film junkie could ever really ask
for from a steely, high-concept flick. See it.
Jack Harding
Film 2008 - The Year In Review
08 of the Best
1. There Will Be Blood
2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
3. The Dark Knight
4. No Country for Old Men
5. The Diving Bell & the Butterfly
6. [rec]
7. In Bruges
8. Man on Wire
4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
‘There Will Be Blood’ may’ve been the
best fresh film I got round to seeing last
year, but it wasn’t my favourite. Almost,
but not quite. ‘No Country for Old Men’
earned the Coen bros. a long overdue
Oscar gong, ‘The Dark Knight’ lived up to
and beyond its hype and prized prodigies
P.T Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis fused
and forged something special, yes, but it
was a hard-hitting Romanian indie that
impressed me most. In short? 4 Months,
3 Weeks & 2 Days tiptoed in and out of
UK cinemas back in January ‘08, lapped
up critical acclaim from east to west and
clinched top prizes at Cannes, Toronto, L.A
and Stockholm. Oh, and it’s also a powerful piece of European cinema against
which all friendships and all moviegoers
will truly want to measure themselves...
“After the fourth month it’s a new offence” affirms underground abortionist
Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov) to a timid yet expecting student in a grotty, downtown
hotel room. “You’re not done for abortion.
They get you for murder!” Words forbidding, strong and spoken from the truth,
yes, but 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days - unlike Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake - tells more of
the abortion itself, not of the abortionist.
Set in the twilight years of Nicolae
Ceauşescu’s communist rule, this dark
and harrowing inner-city drama is largely
told from the stance of college tech’ student Otilia (Anamaria Marinca)- a steadfast young woman who assists her roommate, Gabita (Laura Vailiu), in an illegal,
intense and dissident abortion. An abortion whereby circumstance, condition
and currency all come heavily into play in
a manner in which neither of the women
could’ve foreseen, at least not legitimately. The needs and effects of such a procedure prove far more critical than originally thought and are explained with both
force and thorough by the obnoxious
Bebe: a chauvinistic git who demands that
a naive Gabita come to an immediate and
life-changing decision- whatever the cost.
In an emotionally-taxing yet intelligent
tale that unfolds over the course of a
single day, 432 is as powerful and as
pragmatic as it is poignant and original.
Writer/director Christian Mungiu has
crafted a strenuous parable of the dark
and the downcast, the repressed and
intense: opting not to discuss Gabita’s
ordeal head-on, but Otilia’s handling of
the situation as she struggles to juggle
the dire events surrounding the proposed termination with her own woes.
The performances across the entire cast
are hardly fit to rival the standout turns of
Day Lewis and a certain Heath Ledger but
they are uniformly fine. Anamaria Marinca’s portrayal of Otilia owns the screen
and exemplifies the mood of the movie.
Retained yet dynamic, despondent yet
durable, Marinca delivers a multilayered
performance of a selfless woman in whom
feelings of concern, guilt, action and anxiety suffer a series of head-on collisions.
A modestly shot tea-time sequence eases her emotional pile-up to the fore : a 7
minute, medium-long stationary shot of a
pre-occupied, angst-ridden Otilia framed
central to an upbeat dinner table chin
wag. The film’s final shot also packs a similar punch in a manner that’ll spark nostalgic apparitions of Francois Truffaut’s
The 400 Blows and Shane Meadow’s This
is England. Never thought I’d use those 2
directors in the same sentence but hey.
Given the extent and severity of the
primary and subordinate themes, it
would’ve been plausible for Mungiu to
adopt a theatrical tone in order to add
further weight to the subject matter(s).
Plausible but conformist. Fundamentally
shot via unflinching handheld takes that
invite comparison to the work of legendary Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky,
432 features no fancy camerawork, no
overemotional act-offs, no pathetic fallacies, no score. Mungiu discards any door
that might lead itself to a melodramatic
episode and goes for sheer, uncompromising realism and this is what impressed me most about 432. We’re literally dragged into a darkly ominous world
and confronted with an objectionable series of situations at which nobody should
have dealings with in either fiction or reality but the issues discussed are of the
real world, they do happen on a regular
basis throughout the cities and slums
of Eastern-Europe and beyond. Which is
why 432 makes for such essential viewing
and an unmissable cinematic discussion.
Christian Mungiu exposes the melancholy
and seriousness of the narrative hinge for
what it is and crafts his picture and directs
his cast in a way that, perhaps, mirrors
both the anguish of an abortion and the
shadow of the then suspended Iron Curtain. I cannot praise 4 Months, 3 weeks
and 2 days enough. It’s an outstanding
achievement that’s instantly able to hold
its own against the likes of Three Colours
Red, La Haine, Lilya 4-ever, Irreversible
and The Lives of Others: all revered commitments to the modern world of European film. 432 could be a masterpiece.
08 of the Worst
1. Five Across the Eyes
2. Meet the Spartans
3. The Hottie & the Nottie
4. Disaster Movie
5. Be Kind Rewind
6. He Was a Quiet Man
7. The Happening
8. Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of
the Crystal Skull
Five Across the Eyes
Amidst what can only be described as
an eternal torrent of no-budget horror
flicks emerged this piece of shhh-ugar.
Some of you may have heard of it, others
may’ve seen it but I’m guessing most of
you fail to fall into either of those camps.
Which is good. Very good. For Five Across
the Eyes was nothing more and everything less than a rank-amateur attempt
at crafting a film worthy of being uttered
in the same breath as The Blair Witch
Project. Hardly the pinnacle of moviemaking, I know, but still a solid dive into
the eccentric and a damn good spinechiller. Scared the hell out of me back in
‘99. Which is the very least I can say for
Five Across the Eyes: a pointless and utterly obtuse commitment to cinema.
Written, directed and produced by firsttimers Greg Swinson and Ryan Thieson,
the “film” tells the typical tale of five thick
teenage girls who, after crashing their
car into another vehicle parked outside
a desolate off-road store (at night, in the
middle of nowhere, while lost- hmmm),
find themselves caught up in a bizarre
and bloody ordeal with the car’s visceral
owner whose homicidal antics threaten
to cost the girls their fingers and, worse
(or better), lives. Sound familiar? ‘Course
it does. It’s the blueprint to nigh on every
horror film released since 1980 and it’s
about time this passé niche was wiped
clean off the face of contemporary cinema. It’s not big. It’s not clever. It’s not
entertaining nor scary. But- Wait. Five
Across the Eyes does lay claim to one
horrifying aspect that, I must admit, is
rather nightmarish and hard to watch.
The performances of the “actresses” are
absolutely terrifying. Lacking in experience, conviction and - above all else
- realism, the sheer inadequacy of the
cast’s “performances” will leave you wondering what’s worse: the acting or the
dialogue. I’m tempted to go with the
former. Actually, no, the latter. No the
former. Oh who cares they both suck.
Shot via hand-held digi’ cams (how modern), the guerrilla realism vibes Swinson and Thieson were clearly trying to
conjure just don’t come to pass and are
as poor and as painful as, say, hurling a
handful of shhh-ugar out of your car window in an attempt to sidetrack a psychotic huntswoman. If that’s not idealistic and
downright dire then I don’t know what is.
Actually I do: this “film”. My mum could’ve
summoned something better on her mobile and she doesn’t even know how to
work the flaming thing. Catch my drift?
You can see what this team of rookies
were trying to do. Their idea was all right,
I guess but their execution poor. Blair
Witch? Man Bites Dog? Cloverfield? [rec]?
Behave. Five Across the Eyes is everything
those guerrilla greats thankfully weren’t.
Worst film of the year? Try worst film ever.
Roll on ‘09
(9 films to keep an eye out for
this year)
1. The Curious Case of Benjamin
2. The Wrestler
3. The Soloist
4. Watchmen
5. Public Enemies
6. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
7. Terminator Salvation
8. Nine
9. Inglorious Bastards
By Jack Harding
Film 2009 - The Year Ahead
The Annual Look Ahead
As the New Year has just passed us by
and our New Year’s Eve hangovers have
subsided, it is time for us to once again
receive a list of this years upcoming films
from everyone from ‘Empire’ Magazine to
‘Film Review’. It therefore falls to the Edge
and myself to provide a similar list for
those students unwilling to fork out the
four pounds for a copy of a film magazine
or simply those too lazy to make their
way to a newsagents. It is, however, my
pleasure to regale you with all the films
I feel will warrant a trip to the cinema
or at the very least a trip to blockbusters. So sit back and prepare yourselves
for a short jump into the future, as we
glance over Oscar hopefuls and giant
robots and possibly find time for the
odd comedy and even a little magic.
Oscar Fever
As we breeze through January and past
our exams (sorry to remind all of those
who are reading this instead of revising
but then again I’m writing this instead of
revising so we’re even), we will eventually begin to suffer from a minor condition known as Oscar fever. It is therefore
necessary that I inform you which films
out in the next few weeks you should see
before the proceedings begin, so you at
least know what people are talking about.
Although technically gracing our screens
originally in 2008, ‘The Changeling’ is still
available at most cinemas and deserves a
reference due to the extreme likelihood
of Mrs Angelina Jolie receiving at least
a nomination for her best portrayal of a
character since ‘Girl, Interupted’ in the
moving drama directed by Clint Eastwood. Another popular challenger for
the coveted awards airing this coming
year comes in the guise of Brad Pitt and
Cate Blanchett with ‘The Curious Case
of Benjamin Button’. The story revolves
around Pitt’s character Benjamin Button
who ages in reverse. The film is directed
by David Fincher who has produced
‘Seven’ and ‘Fight Club’, both with Pitt and
although this latest adventure seems to
be less violent and more sympathetic,
there is no doubt that Fincher will add
his unique style to it. This piece of cinema
has already got viewers and critics watering at the mouth. This is one not to miss.
‘Cruising’ for a hunky golden man
Tom Cruise has managed to sneak a film in
just in time to be considered for an Oscar
and with Director Bryan ‘Usual Suspects’
Singer at the helm perhaps he could make
a real go at it. ‘Valkyrie’ revolves around
the story of an assassination attempt
on Hitler made by some of his leading
Generals. With this period already being
showered in Oscar glory due to films such
as ‘Schlindler’s List’ perhaps Cruise and
fellow co-stars Bill Nighly and Kenneth
Branagh could have a real shot, however,
they may just prove that it takes something really special to draw awards from
such a terrible period in world history.
Winslet double teamed by AListers
Another drama where mid-twentieth
century Germany plays the backdrop and
Kate Winslet’s first chance at Oscar gold
this year is ‘The Reader’. The plot revolves
around a love affair between Winslet’s
character, Hanna, and Michael Berg, portrayed by Oscars regular Ralph Fiennes.
The characters and their love for one another are put through their paces when
Hanna is found to be accused of mass
murder when she was a guard at a Jewish concentration camp. This type of story appears to put Fiennes in his comfort
zone and so it would be hard to imagine
this film not receiving at least one Oscar
nomination. Winslet, however, is more
likely to obtain a nomination or even a
win for the first time in her career with
her ‘Titanic’ co-star Leonardo DiCaprio
and Oscar winning director Sam ‘American Beauty’ Mendes in ‘Revolutionary
Road’. The story is set in 1955 and concerns the lives of newly weds the Wheelers, DiCaprio and Winslet. The couple find
their lives are beginning to stagnate in
suburbia and they are unable to break
free from their nullifying existence. The
story’s drama and emotion will come
from the couple’s ever strained relationship and their attempts to break free.
The foundations seem set for Oscar glory
with a professional and competent cast
and an experienced director on familiar
ground and so this is definitely not one
film that is to be missed by ‘any’ student.
Gus’s Milky Penn
Arguably many people’s favourite to
sweep the Oscar’s is Gus Van Sant’s ‘Milk’
which stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the
first openly gay man to be elected into Californian public office. The story is a simple
one of a man fighting for fair and equal
treatment but no one said Oscar winners
had to be complex. With the director of
‘Good Will Hunting’ at the helm and rave
reviews already being broadcast about
Sean Penn, it wouldn’t be too much of a
stretch for this reporter to claim that the
cast and crew should already be writing
some acceptance speeches, just in case.
And the favourite is…
Ron Howard returns once again to the director’s chair with ‘Frost Nixon’, a dramatisation of the interview between David
Frost, portrayed by home grown talent
Michael Sheen, and Richard Nixon, played
by Frank Langella, after the President had
become the only man in history to resign
from office. This may appear as simply a
boring documentary but with such talent
both behind and in front of the camera it
is sure to be a thrilling success. None of
the films which I have mentioned so far
however, are my favourite to sweep the
awards. That place is reserved for Danny
Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. It tells the
story of Jamal, a poor street boy from the
slums of India who begins to succeed at
the countries version of ‘Who Wants to be
a Millionaire’, however his success raises
questions about how he knows the answers and so during his arrest and interrogation he tells the story of how he has
come into the knowledge. The story is a
heart warming tale of love and life which
I have no doubt will grip the viewer and
drag them through every moment of the
film as if they were living it themselves.
It will undoubtedly be Danny Boyle’s
finest film since ‘Trainspotting’ and it is
one which I implore you to go and see.
Finally before I leave the Oscars to the
professionals for yet another year I feel
that it would be unfair to not mention my
dark horse in ‘Rachel Getting Married’. The
film chronicles the events and emotions
of an entire family coming together for
a wedding and despite the title the concentration is on the sister, Kym, played by
Anne Hathaway, who is a recovering drug
addict and who causes the films main focal points. Although under most people’s
radar, I believe this film would well be
worth a watch and might even sneak an
Oscar for Miss Hathaway who appears to
be setting herself up to follow in the footsteps of many great actresses before her.
Probably not going for an Oscar
but will be awesome anyway
Despite the wide range of films challenging for an Oscar it would be unfair
to overlook all the other films out this
year which will undoubtedly provide
audiences with lots of laughs and some
great action, however the list will have to
of course be surmised and even rushed
in places due to word count and space.
First of all we have a few kids films that
even grownups like to see sometimes in
the form of ‘Monsters vs Aliens’, a third in-
stalment of the Ice Age franchise and perhaps one which will ring a few more bells
with students, the Roald Dahl creation,
‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’. Within the comedy
sector Hollywood and even some British
talents have managed to produce a number of brilliant farces for us to enjoy over
the coming months. ‘Nick and Norah’s
Infinite Playlist’, ‘Role Models’ and ‘Sex
Drive’ come to us from across the pond
and ‘Kick-Ass’ is provided by the team behind ‘Stardust’ but not without help from
Nicholas Cage and Christopher ‘McLovin’
Mintz-Plasse. Special mention, however,
comes from the creator’s of ‘Gavin and
Stacey’ attempting to crack the big screen
with ‘Lesbian Vampire Killers’ -good luck.
If anything there are two many action
based films this year and so with the following list I have attempted to pick only
the best. J.J. Abrams returns with ‘Star
Trek’, Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox are
back once more to do battle with giant
robots in ‘Transformers 2’, The Bourne
team of Damon and Greengrass team up
once more for ‘Green Zone’, Daniel Craig
loses the tux with ‘Defiance’ and the old
‘Fast and Furious’ team band together for
one more outing. Within action we do of
course have what is fastly becoming its
very own section, comic book based movies. Although X-Men may be disbanded
as a project, its most intense character is
back with ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, the
title hinting at many other back stories.
‘G.I. Joe’ or action man as we know it is
also coming to the big screen. Finally we
also have ‘Watchmen’, the highly anticipated and much darker comic based film.
To polish it all off we have the category
of drama and all round entertainment
featuring ‘Che: Part One’, Will Smith’s
‘Seven Pounds’, Dan Brown’s ‘Angels and
Demons’, ‘The Damned United’, ‘State of
Play’, Guy Richie’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and
what looks like a fantastic ‘Public Enemies’ starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Of course it would be foolish
to forget the next instalment of Harry
Potter, The Half Blood Prince and a special eye should be kept on the look out
for James ‘Titanic’ Cameron’s ‘Avatar’
which may very well blow audiences
away. So there it is, your guide to 2009
cinema. No doubt reviews of the films
mentioned and many many more will
feature in the Edge throughout the year.
By Stephen O’Shea
Open Mic Night
The Talking Heads
Open Mic Night
The Talking Heads
Open Mic Night
The Talking Heads
The Joiners
Broadcast 2000
+ Kumiss
+ Pacer
+ Blind Man’S Vision
The Joiners
Not True
The Ataris
+ Luke Leighfield
The Joiners
Jenna’s Revenge
The Buzzcocks
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The Brook
Templeton Pek
+ Short Warning
Rock / Punk
The Joiners
Pigeon and Panda
Talking Heads
Open Mic Night
The Hobbit
A Word Like Like: Attack
The Joiners
Open Mic
The Hobbit
State of the Enemy
The Joiners
Open Mic
The Hobbit
The Hounds of Love
Kate Bush Tribute
The Brook
The Reaktors
The Joiners
Tired Irie
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Soul Cellar
Stone Cold
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The SAS Band
The Brook
Haunted Stereo
+ Frazer King
The Hobbit
Fleetwood Bac
Tribute Band
The Brook
The Joiners
The Only Ones
The Brook
The Plymouths
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Intraverse + My Endeavour
The Hobbit
The Brook
Bury Tomorrow
The Joiners
Open Mic Showcase
The Talking Heads
Know Your Enemy
Rage Against the Machine
Tribute Band
The Chase
+Farewell City
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The Joiners
Seth Lakeman
The Brook
RDB + Sola
The Hobbit
Kerrang Relentless Tour
The Guildhall
Green-ish Day
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The Brook