Issue 4 27th November 2008 Southampton



Issue 4 27th November 2008 Southampton
Southampton University’s Finest Entertainment Publication
Issue 4
27th November 2008
Hello there, you lovely readers....
Tis the season to be jolly and so we have
some rather good Christmas features to
get you in the mood. There’s a picture of
Father Christmas and everything! On the
Interviews front, we’ve a knockout trio of
Frank Turner, Mystery Jets and crazy Danes
Alphabeat. We also have an assortment
from the world of cheese, with record
reviews of Girls Aloud, The Saturdays, and
Tom Jones (don’t worry, there are some
conventional reviews in there too). Our
live section is an amazing recollection of
outstanding performances from Oasis, The
Killers, and many more. Film offers you the
likes of Bond right through to a superhero
turned attorney at law, and, of course, if
after all that you still want to see local live
music, you can find out what’s on in the
Gig Guide on the back page.
We also have a brand new TV section,
over there in the TV (clever, huh?), and a
comedy section which caught up with
the Mighty Boosh on tour. If you’ve ever
needed an excuse to not do any work
today, then The Edge is it. So sit back, put
on some Christmas tunes and enjoy what
is definately ‘Southampton University’s
Finest Entertainment Publication’.
Until next time,
The Edge Team
Editors: Pete Benwell and Hannah
Record Editor: Tom Shepherd
Live Editor: Rik Sharma
Features Editor: Holly Hooper
Film Editor: Dean Read
With: Tim Lemon, Amy Cazneaux, Nick
Brown, Morgan Taylor, Jack Harding, Will
Roszyzck, Gemma Price, Martin Foot,
Danielle Richardson, Marianne Ward, Sam
Hampsher-Monk, Richard Thynne, Rachel
Millar, Chris Hooton, Hayley Taulbut, Viveka
Owen, Alexander Payne, Rachel Gregory,
Emmeline Curtis, Kate Fletcher, Ella Smith,
Sophie Etheridge, Kate Golding, Jemma
Davies, James Miller, Dan Morgan, Conor
McGlone, Jazmin Sherman, Alex Smith,
Abby Thomas, Will Hayes, Kat Bawmwang
and Cedric Letsch.
Contact us at [email protected]
We’d love to hear from you.
No, really.
Assorted nonsense from the world of film and music
Good news Beatles fetishists! Popular divorcee and musician Paul McCartney, has
that an experimental
track thought to be
myth does,
in fact, exist. The
minute long
of Light’,
which was recorded
for an electronic
festival back in
but was never
released because the
other three of the fab
four thought it was ‘too
adventurous’. Cowards.
McCartney described
the recording process like so: “I said
all I want you to
do is just wander
around all the stuff,
bang it, shout, play it,
it doesn’t need to make
any sense. Hit a drum then
wander on to the piano,
hit a few notes, just wander around. So
that’s what we did and then put a bit of an
echo on it. It’s very free.”
face it, are much better, have announced
that they are not breaking up, despite
rumours to the contrary. Hooray! Head
honcho James Murphy told the NME that
a new album is on the way, stating that he
already had demoed some songs “in my
Chris Martin has announced that Coldplay
are likely to split up at the end of next
year. Speaking, to the Daily Express,
he stated that “I’m 31 now and I
don’t think that bands should keep
going past 33”. Eagle eyed readers
will remember this very column
covered the four piece’s plans
to record a track with Jay-Z
only a few short months
back – maybe a desperate stab at reinvention?
The singer added that in
their remaining time left
the band were “trying to
pack in as much as possible.
Until the end of next year,
we’re just going to go for
it in every sense. In other
splitting-up related news,
LCD Soundsystem, who, let’s
Pretentiously named bigshot director
McG has promised that the new terminator movie will ‘reinvigorate the franchise’.
Speaking at a conference in London, he
promised that ‘Terminator Salvation’ will
‘push the envelope’ with ground-breaking
special effects. A five minute trailer
shown to assorted media types in London
yesterday reportedly featured the usual
action packed array of gunfights, car chases, stunts and explosions. Batman hunk
Christian Bale takes the lead role as John
Connor, leader of the resistance against
the Cyborg army, with unconfirmed
reports circling claiming that Arnold
Schwarzenegger would make a cameo
appearance. Whether or not this will lead
into a second trilogy is unclear, but the
most telling (and depressing) feature of
the story is that the series is referred to as
a ‘franchise’…
TV Peanuts
Episode 1: An Auspicious Beginning
How unfortunate that I begin this column just a few weeks after one of the biggest news
stories in history. An event that few would have predicted possible, with global implications
for the next four years or more, the people made their choice and the establishment listened.
That’s right, Jonathan Ross has been suspended. The crown prince of light entertainment
(that makes Graham Norton the Queen I think) has been unceremoniously tipped out of his
throne for 12 weeks, placed on the BBC’s naughty step and told to think about what he’s done.
While Russell Brand will no doubt flourish from his resignation, Ross may find it
hard to regain his stature. His Friday Night show has been replaced with new episodes
of Live at the Apollo, a show which is actually deliberately funny. Ross has been one
of faces of the BBC for a few years now and seems to be starting to fill the gap Terry
Wogan will eventually leave, however his jobs (apart from Film 2008) rely on him being
a trusted household name, remove the popularity and his career seems far more unstable.
Virgin Media and Sky end their dispute out of court. Expect Sky 1 back on Virgin soon. Yay!
Simpsons repeats! Bad news for Virgin Media employees however as 2200 jobs are to be cut
by 2012.
Heroes creator Tim Kring is reported to be bringing back Series 1 Producer Bryan
Fuller in an aim to reverse the frankly startling damage the two subsequent series have
caused. Fuller was responsible for much of Claire’s story so expect more cheerleading!
24: Redemption, a TV Movie bridging the sixth and seventh seasons will be shown on Sky
1 soon. Jack Bauer goes to Africa and has an entirely uneventful time there. Or does he??
Britannia High is crap and no-one is watching.
By Nick Brown
The Mighty Boosh
Portsmouth Guidhall, 10th November
Come with me now on a journey through
time and space... and the Portsmouth
Guildhall. It seems an odd setting to
witness the Mighty Boosh’s latest foray into
theatre; it’s perhaps more suited to holding
James Morrison (or some other run of the
mill act), rather than have a full frontal
attack of psychedelic comedy streamed
straight from another dimension, although
I doubt anywhere in the world is suitably
equipped to really handle the
vastness and immensity of the
Mighty Boosh. For those not
in the know, the Mighty Boosh
consists of electro fop Vince Noir
and jazz nerd Howard Moon,
two best friends, who-in the TV
series- currently live in a vintage
store in Shoreditch along with
Naboo the shaman and Bollo,
Naboos gorilla helper. All the
characters are here tonight,
including Tony Harrison, who is
basically a pair of breasts with a
face and tentacles, the hitcher,
a green cockney with a polo for
an eye (who’s partial to sexually
assaulting marine mammals),
the crack fox and, of course, the
frankly brilliant Bob Fossil. For
those unfamiliar with the ins
and outs of the Boosh I’m afraid
you’ll have to research deeper
for yourself (and I recommend
you do) as it would take all day
to truly explain the wonder and
magic within the Zooniverse.
This last year has seen the
Boosh explode into the big time;
from a small scale BBC3 comedy
into a bona fide business empire, with their
very own festival, book and an apparent
movie in the woodworks. Noel Fielding and
Julian Barrett (who play Vince and Howard)
are officially celebrities now, with everyone
from teen girls to middle aged men
following the Boosh empires rise to global
domination. With this newly found stardom,
and with the popularity of their last live show,
the boys have got a task ahead, in keeping
the bar high, but tonight they certainly
don’t disappoint, as after only 2 hours
they have Portsmouth eating out of their
hands, with most people, men included,
swooning over Noel, who’s quite literally
the coolest person ever, and so to the show.
A short introduction from Joey Moose,
the crowd goes wild, enter stage left
Vince Noir, in a gold sequined sailors
top, standing at the helm of a massive
futuristic ship, stage right, enter Howard
Moon, wearing a village people style sailors
suit, with a crappy blow up dingy around his
waist and both break immediately into song,
‘Future sailors’. You can tell the characters
haven’t changed a bit, after their grand
entrance Vince and Howard go into their
characteristic start of show conversation
in front of the curtains, their comedic
sharpness obviously hasn’t diminished
half Howard introduces his new play,
a post apocalyptic look at Earth in the
future, which is ruined by Vince, who has
his own ideas of the future, a prog rock
apocalypse with an especially stylish
mutant race inhabiting the world. For
the encore the whole crew take to the
stage as zombie grannies, like a night
out in a Blackpool Mecca bingo hall and
As the Boosh returns for the second prove their niche as the only real rock
‘n’ roll stars of comedy, by rocketing
through some of their most loved songs,
culminating in ‘Charlie’. Stand back
Gallagher brothers, these lads really are
rock ’n’ roll stars. At two and a half hours
the show isn’t short either, and provides
for the best night out I’ve had in ages.
guest appearances and songs from some
of the other characters-the highlight of
which for me is the crack fox’s appearanceand an interactive dance lesson from
Bob Fossil, as we all learn to ‘lick the lips,
then rub the nips’. The first half ends with
a bang as the hitcher returns, with a
particularly massive performance of ‘eels’.
Seeing the Mighty Boosh is an
experience that everyone should have,
a surreal trip through time and space.
Buying a ticket not only entitles you to
an evening of immense entertainment
but it’s also a first class ticket to another
dimension, via the psychedelic electro
nebular, and around the Camden
galaxy. Like Monty Python in the 60’s
and the Young Ones in the 80’s, these
guys are breaking the parameters of
comedy itself. They’ve thrown out the
rule book of the simple sketch show or
sitcom and somehow stumbled upon
the phenomenon that is ‘The Mighty
Boosh’. Punk’s not dead; oddly, it’s simply
reincarnated in a 35 year old he-she
electro fop and an ageing ‘jazz Dalek’.
By Morgan Taylor
one bit, even after the 50 something
nights they’ve already done on this huge
UK tour. Even incessant interruptions
from idiot hecklers don’t put them off, as
Noel (or rather Vince) simply humiliates
the deluded person shouting from the
balcony, and the crowd give a cheer of hate.
This tour is bigger than ever, with their
very own live band backing them up on
most of the songs adding a new power
and rock ‘n rollness to their comedy. What
with the props (that include a man size
hairdryer, revolving centre stairs and the
‘alabaster retard’ moon), the many costume
changes (at least six for Vince), the high
production values and new live aspect,
their show is colossal. Unlike the last tour
the majority of this show is a mixture of
double act stand up from Noel and Julian,
Before their gig at Garden Court, Hannah Calcutt and Emmeline Curtis caught up with one half of the Danish
: Anders SG (vocals), Anders R (guitar), and Troels (drums), finding out what makes for an
uncomfortable party, the worst moment of their UK tour so far, and why the Spice Girls just don’t excite them enough...
How did you come up with your name?
Anders SG: We had a lot of names we were
thinking of. Because of our Danish label
we wanted to have ‘the name’ that we
would be known for for years to come. We
always thought there was something cool
about the alphabet, and we fiddled about
with the letters a bit, till Anders R came up
with ‘Alphabeat’. We all love it.
Any tour anecdotes so far?
Anders SG: I had an embarrassing stunt
at Shepherds Bush Empire in London. We
were playing for 2 nights there, and on
the second I jumped on top of a moniter
and it fell, and the crowd gasped.
Troels: There was no music behind either,
so it was just silence apart from the crowd,
all looking in shock.
Anders SG: It’s ok though, I survived and it
looked cool.
Is it hard for European bands trying to
make it in the Uk, and how do you think
you have been received here?
Anders SG: We have been well received.
We signed to Virgin last year and we
thought it better to move over here than
say in Denmark and watch from there. We
were really keen on going and touring
and being present over here. We played
some really shit venues, but it was a great
opportunity; we found the small tour was
paying off, and what had been a crowd of
30 was now 70 to 100. Fascination was a
big hit, and we have had two top 20 singles. We live here, and feel a big difference
compared to when we go to Germany and
France. We have been embraced much
more here.
You were asked to support the Spice Girls,
but turned it down. Was that a hard decision for you?
Anders SG: Not really. We had done loads
of gigs in Denmark at that time, in big
stadiums. We were a bit bored of Denmark and had got the chance to come to
the UK, even if it was just to do small gigs.
Photo by Cedric Letsch
The offer was nothng exciting, and was
not in our plans. We also didn’t want to be
known as ‘that band that supported the
Spice Girls’.
What would you be doing if you were not
with Alphabeat?
Troels: This has been our lives for a long
time, so it’s hard to say - we have given
100% over 2 years. Before we all had jobs,
but were gigging at night.
Anders R: I would start my own cafe.
Anders SG: I would go and work in it.
Troels: We could do kareoke!
Anders: I would make music in some way,
producing or something like that, it would
definately be something creative.
What are the best and worst things about
your job?
Anders SG: The best is being able to do
what you always wanted to every night.
We always wanted to play music to big
crowds. It is a strange opportunity, being
paid for what you would do as a hobby.
The worst is that on tour you are never
100% well.
Anders R: We have all had a cold on this
tour, and injurys on various body parts.
Troels: But it is doing the gigs that causes
the injuries, so you don’t really notice. It’s
doing what you love.
collaborate with?
Anders R: Eminem
Anders SG: Kelly Rowland said she would
like to work with us, and that would be
Troels: Now it would be realistic, and if the
idea was good then we would love to.
Anders SG: You know, if Prince, Madonna,
Justin Timberlake called, we wouldn’t say
What are the best freebies you have gotten since becoming famous?
Anders SG: Not as much as you would
think. We have had a couple if ipods. I
tend to give these things away though.
Like free clothes, I don’t tend to wear
them. If I buy something then I think a lot
more of it.
Troels: You don’t appreciate the free
things as much.
Who designed your artwork?
Anders SG: A guy called Ben Eines. When
we first came to East London, he had
done all these letters in shop windows,
and with our name we thought it would
be fun to use. So we went around with our
manager taking pictures, and he agreed
to let us use them.
Troels: We gave him some red wine I think!
Anders SG: It just fit well with everthing.
What are your musical influences?
Anders SG: For this record we were influenced in a way by the 80s and people
such as Madonna and Bowie, but we are
not influenced by anything specific.
Anders R: Our songwriter and guitarist,
Anders B, was inspired by a small period
of time, but on the next record we will
focus on something new, something
You have had a few comparisons to ABBA.
How do you feel about this?
Troels: I think that came about after an
NME guy saw us live and made a comment that we were the best thing to come
out of Scandinavia since ABBA.
Anders R: It’s an honour, but we aren’t really like them.
Troels: ABBA did lots of good things,
they were not just some cheesy pop act.
They are songs that are still listened to
today and still good, they kind of had the
Beatles effect where 30 years later you can
still play them and not think that they are
Is there anyone you would really like to
Some actors have a hard time watching
themselves on screen, do you have a
similar problem with your music videos or
Troels: I never listen to the album. I think
it’s part of our Danish humbleness, you
know, not to put ourselves on top of the
world. I don’t put the record on and go
‘wow, listen to this, isn’t it amzing!’
Anders R: If it comes on at a party you
kind of want to just disappear and go to
the toilet or something. If it’s a private
party people sometimes do - they do it to
be sweet, but it’s very uncomfortable.
Finally, is there any question you have
never been asked, but would like to answer now?
Anders SG: Oh, good question....I don’t
think so.
Troels: What’s your favourite scary film?
Anders R: ‘What Lies Beneath’.
Troels: That’s a good one, it’s really scary,
because you never actually know what
lies beneath.
Mystery Jets
talk vomit blocked toilets, Tracker bars.....
and a little about music with Tim Lemon and Hannah Calcutt
Where does your name come
William: We formed the band when
we were quite young, about 6 or 7. It still
does mean something but it’s become a
bit more vague. Originally it was Misery
Jets but we changed it to Mystery Jets.
For anyone who’s not heard
your music before, how would
you describe it?
William: Poppy. We’re a pop band,
but I think at the same time we like
to incorporate quite far out ideas.
Blaine: Yeah, I think pop is a good
word, although pop encompasses
lots of things. I mean we don’t
sound anything like Girl’s Aloud.
William: But talking heads were a pop band
Blaine: I think the fun thing is to try
and see what you can get away with.
William: Someone described as a
futuristic soul band, and I really like that.
You’ve sold out across the
country with this tour, that must
be a real power trip for you?
William: Oh yeah, a massive power trip,
I’ve got power suits waiting for me
back in London, big shoulder pads. I’m
gonna start ordering people about.
I’ve heard that you’re famous
for trashing your dressing room
and leaving an epic mess, any
plans for this one?
Blaine: This happened once. We did a
university gig and there’s no way we can
make excuses, it was completely uncalled
William: I would just like to say that I was
not involved, it was Blaine and Kai, they
both had a little bit too much, you know,
Coca Cola, too much in the blood sugar
and got over excited and started twating
each other with sandwiches.
Blaine: We did get charged like £300.
William: Quite right.
Blaine: It’s quite funny ’cause that story
has obviously gotten online somewhere.
Well, it’s Wikipedia famous!
William: Really, when you type in
Mystery Jets. Can anyone change
your Wikipedia. So anyone can
write the biggest load of nonsense..
But they moderate it...
Blaine: Checked by the powers that be.
William: Checked by the wicker man,
I’d like to be a wicker man some day.
So have you always wanted to
be in a band, or did you want to be
anything else like an Astronaut
or Bee Keeper?
William: Maybe we still don’t
want to be in a band
Blaine: I’m quite happy
William: We’ll do it for
minister after
President of
the United
States. No, I
think we love it.
Blaine: I think
when it gets
change your
go off on a
solo career.
get many
William: Yeah
we get Tracker
Bars, and bags
of grapes.
William: Can I ask you something; your
piece of paper says Wessex Scene,
what is Wessex? Is it West Essex?
No, it’s a region in England.
William: Oh, it should be West Essex.
In your song ‘Young Love’ you
worked with Laura Marling, how
did that come about?
William: It was really simple actually, we
spent an afternoon at our producer Eril’s
house and she came in and sang her part in
2 or 3 takes. It was all over in a few minutes.
What are you going to
do on stage tonight for
her part in the song?
Blaine: Apparently there
was a competition organised
where everyone sent in
videos of singing Laura
part, but we didn’t
know about it.
But we only
found out about
it a few days
before the tour
so there were a
lot of unhappy
Laura Marling
the crowd.
William: We
about it so it
couldn’t really
The first song of yours that I
heard was ‘Can’t Fool Me Dennis’,
Is there a Dennis and how did he
fool you?
William: Henry, Can’t fool me Dennis, did
he try and fool you?
Henry: Em no.
William: I think Dennis was fooling
Henry: He was a guy who died young,
and it’s a song about living your life, and
he actually said, do anything you want as
long as it makes sense.
Do you have any exciting tour
anecdotes you’d like to share
with us?
William: We get asked this a lot and my mind
always goes blank. Everyday something
chaotic happens because being in a band
that kind of thing happens.
Kai: Our toilet got blocked and Trigger
(tour manager) put his hand down there.
William: You’re joking Trigger put his hand
down there, he pulled it all out, but it was
only liquid wasn’t it?
Kai: There was sick and red wine
William: When did that happen?
Kai: It was the two Daises, we had these
two Daises, two girls from Twickenham
called Daisy, and they became instant
Henry groupies because of their postcode.
Blaine: ‘Laughs’
William: I don’t remember them.
Kai: I went to the toilet, it was a combination
of blood red wine, I tried to flush it and it all
got wedged.
*Groans from the room*
Kai: I go “Trigger we’ve got a problem with
our toilet”, he goes “oh fucking hell”, he gets
a bin bag, and in one swoop he throws it
outside, and Nick the driver is freaking out
and he says don’t worry Nick it’s sorted.
Do you have anything for the
next album yet?
William: We’ve got a few songs but I don’t
think we’ve really grasped what the album
is or what it’s going to be or what the
artwork’s going to be. It’s way too early. I
don’t think it’s exciting going into a project
knowing what the outcome is going to be,
you go into it not knowing, that’s why you
do it. I think that’s why you write things,
you create things, ’cause you don’t really
know what’s going to happen. It could
be woeful or amazing, I think it’s that risk
that’s exciting.
Girls Aloud - Out of Control
By Amy Cazneaux
Out of control is the fifth album from
the girls and is compiled of an eclectic
mix, taking influence from many of the
best decades of music and although this
fails to be their best album, it still offers
an incredible collection of amazing tracks
that will get stuck in your head for days on
end. When first listening to this album I was
initially shocked to find a soppy, ballad free
collection of upbeat fun songs exhibiting
the girl’s well-publicised fun sides.
Whilst this album suffers from
a level of overproduction, it’s an
improvement on their previous albums.
‘The Promise’ is their
girl’s girly and romantic sides with a
slight 60’s/70’s twist and although hadn’t
had much radio play before it flew in at
number 1, Cheryl’s certainly marketed
the song. This is unquestionably
the best four minutes of the album.
‘The Loving Kind’ was co-written by
the Pet Shop Boys and has a definite 80’s
feel. It offers a much tamer, feminine feel
compared to some of the more upbeat
songs on the album. It’s highly probable
that this will be released in the next few
months so we all have that to look forward
to.‘Turn to stone’again has an 80’s element,
but is not the best song on the album,
probably put there by the record company
to fill a spare five minutes. ‘Fix me up’
offers up some seductively saucy lyrics
making it
a definite listen. ‘Revolution In The
Head’ is another likely release with
its impertinent reggae style vocals.
‘Untouchable’ is a mammoth track for the
girls, reaching nearly seven minutes long,
it’s alright, but it would be interesting
watching them attempt to sing it live.
One of the best songs on the album is
definitely ‘Miss You Bow Wow’; disregarding
the title this song is actually pretty good
and is definitely a future release. It has some
fantastic lyrics, in particular, “I remember
living the dream…Twenty minutes in a
hotel bar… Then I slip into your girlfriend’s
jeans”, complimenting their scrumptiously
sluttish style and feisty attitudes
(especially in Sarah Harding’s case).
‘Live in the country’ on the other
hand is purely annoying, for some
reason the girls decided to collaborate
drum and bass with a farmyard animal
sound effects machine which obviously
doesn’t have number one written on it,
however there is definitely something
about it that makes it sarcastically British.
Overall, I’m not sure I could call this
the best album of their career, but when
they’ve had so many great albums
previously, it’s hard to compete with the
benchmark they’ve set themselves. It
contains some amazing catchy hooks
demonstrating pop at it’s finest. I even
believe that this album could convert a
non-girls aloud fan (if they exist.)
Max Tundra - Parallax Error Beheads You
By Alexander Payne
Six years in the making and the English
multi-instrumental musician, singer and
producer, Max Tundra, is back with his third
album Parallax Error Beheads You. For those
of you that haven’t heard of Max Tundra,
he is very much involved in experimental
electronic music using anything he can
get his hands on basically. I would like
to compare him to an artist, but frankly I
can’t. The range of styles and genres in his
music are far too numerous to do so. That
said, it does make me feel like I should be
walking in downtown San Francisco in
the 80’s, holding a boom box to my ear,
in a pink shell suit and playing this record.
The lead single from the album is the
slightly dubiously titled ‘Will Get Fooled
Again’, maybe a humbled reference to
The Who for some reason. Nevertheless,
the intro does sound good with guitars
and keyboards, backed by a drum ‘n’ bass
style rhythm similar to what could be
found on a Pendulum song, but then the
vocals enter and it spoils it with a strange
rapping style trying to comment on the
youth generations’ use of the internet by
talking about myspace and e-bay. It does
sound like one of those annoying myspace
bands that want to be your friend and
tries to be the soundtrack to your life.
From here on in the whole album tends
to skip between lounge music and an 80’s
throw back, all mixed in with experimental
electronic jazz. However, some parts of
the album do seem work. No matter how
insane the arrangements are it sounds
good together. I find it’s an album of two
halves: one half you will like but then
the other half will just be confusing and
bewildering; even in the songs themselves.
The down side to the album is that it
does sound like some guy has just sat
down at a laptop and played around with
a music package. I’m not trying to take
away any of the talent that lies within the
album, but it feels over-produced and too
clean-cut and crisp, lacking feel. It is the
type of music that wouldn’t sound out
of place on a computer game like ‘Super
Mario Brothers’ or ‘The Sims’, maybe he
should re-name himself Mario Tetris.
Overall, the album does push the
barriers of electronic music into bizarre,
yet interesting territory, but that is
its only appeal. This is not the type of
music to relax to as it’s too experimental
at times and feels disillusioned. Max
Tundra is currently supporting Hot Chip
on a UK tour and has already played at
Southampton Guildhall. I look forward
to his next album which hopefully will
be more settled than this record and
hopefully his true talent will shine through.
Geographer, Mathematician, Biologist, Oceanographer ...
... are all making their way to PhD research in the
School of Electronics and Computer Science
ECS has over 250 PhD students from a wide range of different
subject backgrounds including Acoustics, Archaeology, Biology,
Chemistry, Economics, Engineering, Geography, Mathematics,
Philosophy, and Physics, as well as Computer Science, Electronics
and Electrical Engineering.
As a world-leading School we can offer you outstanding
facilities and support during your PhD research. Find out
more at our Postgraduate Open Event on Wednesday 3
December, in the Main Lecture Theatre, Building 32,
University Road from 2 pm to 5 pm.
David Holmes - I Heard
By Dan Morgan
To all but the most ardent music
followers out there, the name David
Holmes is unlikely to ring many bells,
but the fact the Belfast-based ambient
master remains almost anonymous belies
the huge spread of his influence. Outside
clubs, TV ad campaigns and Hollywood
blockbusters regularly feature his work.
Given his success, and the guru-like
status those in the know regard him with,
his latest single, ‘I Heard Wonders’, is a
dull disappointment. After a promising
intro of swirling synth crescendos over a
simple drum beat, the track becomes a
dark mire of ambient synth and simplistic
lyrics. Whilst initially effective, the drumtrack quickly becomes repetitive and
uninspiring, only serving to highlight the
lack of substance to the background synth.
Outside of a busy club basement, it is
difficult to see any appeal in this lacklustre
contribution. Nothing special here at all.
Alphabeat - What is
By Conor McGlone
Big Strides, the ambitious trio from
London will release their third album on
November 17th. Though not a household
name, the band is already recognised with
performances at Glastonbury, Ronnie
Scott’s and a tour in Japan. Notable
exposure came from Jonathan Ross’
remark “I can’t decide if I love it or if it
upsets me!” Well one thing that is certainly
clear is the originality of the outfit. The
lineup itself suggests a courageous
uniqueness, featuring a double bass and
a harmonica. Whilst unconventional,
most of the tracks are upbeat, funky and
completely accessible. This is typified by
the opener ‘No Lower Case Kisses’ where
simple riff driven grooves make it hard not
to nod your head and hum along. Some
of the lyrics are indulgently abstract but
still maintain a certain charm whilst others
are teasingly witty, take: ‘One thought of
you and I melt like a mars bar in a deep
fat fryer.’ Bet you didn’t think you would
be chirping along to lines like that!
Some people have described
Alphabeat as mighty cheesy, but I
think they’re mighty good. With strong
vocals from both Anders Nielsen and
Stine Bramsen, this song starts slow
and combines guitar, drums, and some
strings to produce a rather nice pop
song. After the second chorus this track
changes to a fast paced catchy beat
with short staccato strings and by the
end has become the dance inducing
music we all expect from Alphabeat.
This song is far from their past catchy
hits but Alphabeat are a bit like Marmite,
you will either love them or hate them.
By Jazmin Sherman
When Kanye West was first trying
to break into the industry he had a
hard time getting signed to a record
label because they told him he was
not ‘hard’ enough for rap, but not ‘pop’
enough to be mainstream. Today a
major part of his success is due to his
versatility. He transcends the markets;
he can be R&B, he can be hip-hop, he
can be rap, and now, as proven by his
latest single “Love Lockdown”, he can
also be dance/pop. Driven by tribal
sounding drums and accompanied by a
simple piano riff, it is hard not to dance
when you hear it, which brings me to
the question, what can’t Kanye do?
Although the music is pioneering it
still draws on a wealth of influences with
The Red Hot Chili Peppers being the most
obvious. Tunes like ‘Nothing’ and ‘Your
Supposed Eyes’ are extremely reminiscent
of ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magic’. Similar to The
Chili’s is the blend of funk and rock and
the vocal delivery, at times a talking rap
style. The Big Strides have created their
own sound however and it is not simply
jazz, blues, rock or country and western
but an imaginative fusion of them all.
Brilliant is ‘The Pretty One,’ which is
upbeat and clever - the fetching use of a ska
beat adding to the feel-good vibes which
radiate from this number. The climactic
increase in pace fits well at the end and an
underlying jazz influence is demonstrated
here with trading fills between the
instruments. Harmonica driven pop songs
are uncommon today but as par brief, Big
Strides make it seem perfect sense in the
context of the single,‘Hen Night Limousine,’
where hectic rhythms and growling bass
line add to the intensity of the tune. ‘Soul
Swap’ is a more laid back piece which
incorporates a horn section to great effect
– perhaps a device the band could have
implemented more throughout the album.
The three have a cool aurora surrounding them, perhaps something to do with
their spontaneity, rawness and unpolished
presence. It must not go unmentioned
that along with this package they are also
talented musicians who all play interesting
solos and show an ability to slip between
different genres with ease. One criticism
might be that the front man Marcus
O’Neil does not display the most powerful
of voices. However the overall album is
striking and a more conventional voice
may have gone against the intended tone.
Anyway, a certain Bob Dylan didn’t have the
sweetest of voices and he has influenced a
generation of musicians all over the world.
If you want a fresh and funky sound
then look no further; this album should
deservedly raise the profile of the band
to a new height – a big stride indeed.
tortured sound of a genius, similar to
the works of David Gray or Damien Rice.
The band have progressed leaps and
bounds from their debut album, Up All
Night, in which their thrashy guitars and
drums, successfully accompanied Johnny
Borrell's breaking voice in many of the
songs. Their second album, was a step
in a different direction, the guitars and
drums became cleaner and Johnny's
voice, more distinct. Fewer songs worked,
but where it did, for instance, ‘America’, it
really came together. This trend continues
with their new album as the band’s success
has become solely reliant on how much
Johnny Borrel is sounding like a solo artist
and Slipway Fires seem to show that battle
is being won but controlled. I think it may
be time for Johnny to spread his wings.
Razorlight - Slipway Fires
By Alex T. Smith
By Hannah Calcutt
Kanye West - Love
Big Strides - Super Custom Limited
There seemed to be great promise
for Razorlight's third album, Slipway
Fires, seemed assured from their new
single, ‘Wire to Wire’. Unfortunately
it was met with mixed results.
‘Wire to Wire’, seems as though Johnny
Borrell sat alone for a year, in a room lit
only by the sun peering through cracks
in boarded up windows, with his fingers
at a piano and a crack pipe not too far
away, and in that dark state, forgot he was
in a band, and wrote for himself, a solo
masterpiece. The angst in Johnny's voice
and minimalism of the accompanying
instruments, is breathtakingly articulated.
This sound, appears briefly and less
developed in their prior single America,
the sound is one, of just one, Johnny
Borrell. Where that sound continues,
good music will surely follow. Where
that style changes grave errors are made.
‘You and the Rest’, can be summed up in
one word, McFly. And it is an awful sound,
there is a real sense of over compensating,
as if the lack of a band influence in ‘Wire to
Wire’, led to a free-for-all for attention in ‘You
and the Rest’. Unfortunately, the karaoke
doesn’t stop there. ‘North London Trash’,
is The Zutons meets the Kaiser Chiefs, its
laughable lyrics are held together by a
god awful beat. Fans of their first album
will find solace in all the destruction in
‘Monster Boots’ and ‘Burberry Blue Eyes’.
The good times return with ‘60 Thompson’
and ‘The House’, the perfect voice, with
perfected lyrics, comfortably supported
by a band, brings images to mind of the
Fat Freddy’s Drop - Pull The
By Kate Fletcher
New Zealand’s seven piece collective,
Fat Freddy’s Drop, have returned with an
ultra chilled out new single, ‘Pull The Catch’,
taken from their eagerly awaited second
studio album, ‘Big BW’. Their hybrid of dub/
reggae, funk, hip-hop and jazz really shines
though in this tune- mix it together with Joe
Dukie’s soulful and meaningful vocals and
you’ve got yourself a winner right there!
The catchy chorus is accompanied by a
thick texture of brass (Sax, trombone, trumpet
and tuba), a funky baseline and a smooth
melody that will stay in your head for days.
The conscious lyrics are essentially a metaphor
about mankind working together; “Come, pull
the catch as one, food for everyone”, a poignant
message in today’s climate. All seriousness aside
though, I totally and completely recommend
this single and everything else these talented
guys have done. You won’t be disappointed!
Darkehorse - Flat Screen
By Ella Smith
The debut single from Darkehorse, a Northern
'Funk/Rock' band, is somewhat familiar with its
guitar riffs. Likewise, their B-side track 'Jack's
My Friend' at some points remind me distinctly
of Jet's 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl?', therefore,
they certainly fall into the 'Funk/Rock' category
and do so well, with impressive bass and guitar,
however, this would be more impressive if it
had more flair. The lyrics leave something to be
desired, at one point being: 'Eye, Eye, Itchy, Eye
Eye..' Personally, I prefer the two B-side tracks as
opposed to the actual single, rhythmically they
are stronger and generally better produced.
I believe their self-definition as a 'British
unsigned masterpiece' may be a step too far,
although from the musical arrangements,
they certainly have talent, but lack originality.
Kid British - Elizabeth
By Sophie Etheridge
‘Elizabeth’ is the debut single from Kid British.
The Manchester band sounds like an eclectic mix
of The Specials, Outkast, Blur and the Gorillaz.
It’s hard to fight the feeling that the idea of
personifying money into a girl called Elizabeth
has already been done (Mystery Jets – Half in
Love with Elizabeth), but the catchy chorus
soon distracts from this. The lyrics contain some
good puns, some slightly cringe worthy puns,
and then a handful more puns, just in case you
didn’t quite get the fact that ‘Elizabeth’ (the
singer’s girlfriend) “is only money”. Despite this,
it’s the type of song that you don’t really need
to listen to the lyrics; a very fun song, with
noticeable ska influences, sure to bring a little
bit of summer into the impending dreary winter.
Their catchy hooks, upbeat songs,
and wide appeal makes Kid British yet
another Manchester a band to look out for.
Bryn Christopher - My World
By Rachel Gregory
Since Birmingham-born Bryn’s first
offering over the summer, he has
emerged with an entire album this
autumn. Branded by Radio One as the
male alternative to Amy Winehouse
when he emerged onto the mainstream
scene a few months ago. He has a
mesmerising, raw quality to his voice
and there is a deliciously soulful vibe to
his songs. Winehouse selected him to be
one of her support acts on her 2007 tour
and his first single, ‘The Quest’, which
was first released in 2008, featured
as the soundtrack behind the series
finale of Grey’s Anatomy, meaning he’s
already started to break America. Kudos.
Inspired by the likes of Michael
Jackson, Otis Redding and more recently
Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, you’d
expect this album to be packed with
soul and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s full of
pleasant songs with meaningful lyrics. It
isn’t all great though. The first half of the
album is fairly mediocre, broken up only
slightly by the catchy ‘Smilin’ and ‘The
Quest’ – the two songs he’s best known
for, but on first listen I found little else
on the album to get particularly excited
about. ‘Sour Times’ is a courageous cover
attempt but nowhere near as good as
the Portishead version. Many of the
songs start off well, but become a bit
of an anticlimax as they sound a little..
samey, but an album is rarely flawless.
The second half of the album does
get more interesting with every listen;
it contains some genuinely good songs
which provide Bryn with the chance to
show off his voice’s full range. There is a
pleasing, ska vibe behind a few of the later
songs, teamed with what sounds a lot like
a kazoo playing in the intro of ‘Seconds
Ago’ (I consider this a good thing). ‘The
Way You Are’ is one of my favourite songs
on the album as it’s brilliantly upbeat.
The real treat for me though,
was the penultimate track, ‘My Kinda
Woman’. Sounding a little like some of
The Police’s old stuff, and featuring the
apt line “You’re so unaware that I’m so
aware of you”, it’s a beautifully written
love song – not overly sentimental but a
straightforward declaration of attraction.
All that’s missing is Bryan Adams’ gravelly
voice; I must confess that, while I liked
Bryn’s voice (similar in sound to Sting,
incidentally), I would have preferred
more power for some of the livelier tracks.
The album was a mixed bag - I
would definitely consider it background
music for my morning coffee, rather
than an album I’d play whilst getting
ready for a night out, but it’s relaxing
and chilled. Over all I liked it a lot, and I
look forward to hearing more from Bryn.
By Emmeline Curtis
By Kate Golding
The Jonas Brothers are a trio of
brothers who have been let loose on the
world with guitars and catchy tunes, who
have sold over a million records in the
US, starred in their own Disney Channel
movie, and are about to get their very own
Disney Channel show. They also have the
winning smiles and wholesomeness that
sends teenage girls into crazed screaming
frenzies at the mere sight of them; they
have everything going for them, and are
bound to be as big a hit with teenage
girls over here as they are in America.
If you are looking for some good
music though, then you need to look
elsewhere. ‘When You Look Me in
the Eyes’, ‘Still in Love With You’ and
‘Hello Beautiful’ are examples of what
is wrong with this album: they are far
too sugary-sweet and sickening to
listen to, and unless you are a teenage
girl madly in love for the first time, I
doubt you will be able to make it
through the whole song. They
sound like any other love
song, with nothing
new about them.
The album does
have a few catchy
songs, such as ‘Hold
On’ and ‘S.O.S’ that
make you want
to dance around
when no one is
never admit to.
‘Australia’ is also slightly better than
the rest, with some good guitar riffs
which I couldn’t get out of my head,
as long as you don’t listen to the lyrics.
The best song on the album is ‘That’s
Just the Way We Roll’, purely for the
bizarreness of the lyrics. “I woke up on
the roof with my brothers/There’s a whale
in the pool with my mother/And my
dad paints the house different colours”
is just one example of the craziness
they are trying to exhibit with this
song, which actually
works quite well.
I enjoyed it, but would not go so far
as to recommend this album to anyone;
it has a few good songs on that had me
singing along after a while, but most
of the songs just never live up to the
hype surrounding the boyband. The
Jonas Brothers are similar to Busted
and McFly, but too squeaky-clean to
really be interesting, and it gets slightly
irritating after a while. Parents will have
no complaints, but you might if you
actually paid money for this album.
Dorp - Humans Being
Dan Black - Yours
By Abby Thomas By Will Hayes
Style is important, and Dan Black is
undoubtedly about as chic as you can
get. He’s clean-cut, he’s well-dressed,
Zane Lowe and Perez Hilton love him;
he’s even covered Biggie’s ‘Hypntz’. It’s
undoubtedly all too easy to gush over
Dan Black, and so tempting to compare
him to other fashionable electro-types
like Calvin Harris and Cut-Copy; but as a
man who’s been on the music scene for a
while, Black deserves a little more credit
than comparison. ‘Yours’, then, seems to
have just about everything in the right
place: it has a funky bass line, a singalong
chorus, jarring and escalating electronics
– God forbid, it even has handclaps, and
is about the most jaunty break-up song
you’ve ever heard. The hushed opening,
echoed vocals and repeated verses may
seem textbook, but when they’re done
so well – and no doubt, every beat and
shout is perfectly placed – it’s easy to
see why they’re such a safe bet. A track
like ‘Yours’ is so enjoyable it’s almost
unnerving, and it tells you one important
thing about Dan Black: forget all this
Parisian style and relentless modernity,
and what are you left with? That really,
he’s a whole lot of fun. ‘Yours’ is a
colourful, playful and danceable release.
Nick Harrison Something Special
By Kat Bawmwang
The title of the song brings into
question whether or not Harrison’s newest
release is “something special”. Luckily
for him, it might just live up to its name.
Harrison’s unique vocals work well with
the syncopated electric guitar, flowing
piano melody and catchy beat; producing
a sort of paradox in sound, both energetic
yet chilled out. Perhaps it is the fusion
between the ska influenced beats and the
catchy guitar hooks with the mellower
piano that create this. The almost didactic
lyrics of the chorus that “you’ve been
given something special” and to “put it
into good use” stand the test of “would I
be okay singing this out loud?”, as well as
adding to the infectious tune with more
than just confusing or pretentious words
that so litter the music scene these days.
Harrison’s sound is one that can be added
to pretty much anyone’s playlist, so don’t
be afraid to have a listen; you might like
the whippersnapper you’re listening to!
‘Something Special’ is that little
bit of sunshine that could brighten
up your day in the cold cold months
that face us. So warm yourselves up
with the sunny chords of Harrison’s
creation and feel very free to bop,
dance along and (shock- horror!) smile.
I approached Dorp’s ‘Humans Being’
with scepticism as I discovered that what
I thought was a debut album from a
new band eager to make their mark on
the music scene, actually turned out to
be an unheard of band’s sixth album in
twelve years. Expectations were low as
I began to play the CD, but I was then
hit by the copious amounts of energy
contained within the first track of ‘Cops
and Robbers’ and I soon realised that
Dorp’s twelve years of efforts to be heard
had finally paid off . ‘Humans Being’ is
their prize. This energy never takes a
rest on the thirteen track album and
can be heard and felt right through to
the very last song, ‘I Got What You Need’.
The band sound typically Indie, with
guitar-led songs, coupled with lashing
rhythms which drive the album and grab
the listener’s attention. While this is going
on, Dorp throw in the occasional hint of
techno through the use of synths and
decks, but always maintain a powerful
rock sound. What’s very noticeable about
‘Humans Being’ is that it wastes no time
with any of the songs, helped by the fact
that introductions really don’t float Dorp’s
musical boat. This means that the album
stays interesting, as the songs simply don’t
hang around long enough to bore anyone.
If the band’s exceptional sound isn’t
enough, then a quick listen to the lyrics
reveals a whole collection of issues which
the band are eager to voice their opinion
on, including the paradox of the American
Dream in ‘Extreme’, the music industry in
‘NME’, and sex and relationships in ‘Boy/
Girl’. Dorp are clearly an observant band,
claiming on their website that if there
“was ever a time to use your musical
voices to make a statement, it's now”, and
‘Humans Being ‘ is their mouthpiece for
these musical voices. ‘Humans Being’ is
undeniably a good album, but criticisms
may arise when you get to the end of the
album and feel that Dorp haven’t really
attempted to write any songs that sound
different to each other. Despite this,
‘Humans Being’ is a highly recommended
album to anyone who wants to hear the
familiar sounds of an indie band, observing
the modern world through their lyrics.
The Saturdays - Chasing Lights
By Emmeline Curtis
The Saturdays are the newest girl-band
to hit our airwaves, and feature two ex-S
Club Juniors and an ex X-Factor entrant.
This immediately makes you want to
dislike them, but their debut album is
not all bad; it is full of catchy songs that
make you want to get up and dance, and
melodies that will be stuck in your head,
maybe not for days, but at least a few hours.
The album contains a mix of fastpaced tunes and slower ballads, but it is
the up-tempo numbers that the girls do
best. ‘Up’, ‘Lies’ and ’Work’ are perfect to
sing along to with your friends. ‘Set Me
Off’ has a great melody and sounds as if
they are actually having fun with it, and
their debut single, the Yazoo-sampling
‘If This Is Love’, is another fun song.
The title track, ‘Chasing Lights’
never really gets going, and is a bit
of a disappointment. If the album is
named after one song then it should be
something special, but this is sadly not
the case. Ballads ‘Fall’ and ‘Vulnerable’
are also not quite up to the standard
that the rest of the album reaches, and
can be quickly skipped over unless you
are really in the mood for heart-break.
The R&B-esque song ‘Issues’ stands
out and shows off the girl’s voices well,
although at times the background music
doesn’t let them be heard as much as they
should. ‘Why Me, Why Now’ is another song
that you should listen out for. It really got
into my head and is possibly my favourite
of the whole album. It is more heart-felt
and honest than the other ballads, and
is the perfect song for this wintery time
of year and a walk through the snow.
One thing I did not like about this
album was the last track - a Wideboys remix
of ‘Up’. I have never understood the need
to put the same song on an album twice,
even if someone has played about with it a
tiny bit. In my opinion it is an unnecessary
waste of a song, and simply fills space.
The girls do their own brand of electropop with attitude well, and add a
little sparkly finish to it all. They don’t
let the ballads get too soppy, which
is always a good thing, and the lyrics
are feisty and light-hearted. It is not
an amazing album and has nothing
original about it, but is good fun if
you are getting ready for a night out.
The Automatic - This is a Fix
Tom Jones - If He Should
Ever Leave You
By Kate Golding
What’s new pussycat? Tom Jones’
new single is what! Tom Jones has been
somewhat absent from the music scene
for quite a long time now, but this new
single shows he has certainly not lost his
magic. This song is a great comeback,
exactly what the average Tom Jones fan
ordered. It’s not unusual of his style, in that
it’s got a big band, the trademark dulcet
tones, smooth lyrics and even a brass
solo. Even if the last thing you want to
do is imagine a granddad singing of such
deeds, it’s undoubtedly a good song. ‘If
He Should Ever Leave You’ definitely will
not be an instant classic like
‘Sex Machine’ or ‘She’s A
Lady’, but nevertheless it’s
a solid single
from the
and a song
w h i c h
should be
received by
his fan base.
Duffy - Stepping Stone
By Dan Morgan
You’ve got to hand it to Duffy; in the
ruthlessly competitive world of solo
musicians, she has pioneered a sound that
is, whilst not completely unprecedented,
is at least a welcome breath of fresh air in
the smog of acoustic soul music spieled
out by most recent female singers.
‘Stepping Stone’, her latest single, is
more of what we have come to expect
from the Welsh singer-songwriter. Whilst
not as obviously laudable as her previous
hits, the song is instantly gripping, with
a powerfully dark, percussive bass intro.
Both verse and chorus are effective, and
the brooding, introspective nature of the
song is perfectly suited to Duffy’s coldly
beautiful voice. Let down only by a weak
strings bridge towards the end of the
track, ‘Stepping Stone’ is another rung
on the songstress’ ladder to being head
and shoulders above the competition.
By Jemma Davies
It seems as if Welsh boys The Automatic
have attempted a giant leap from
their catchy first album ‘Not Accepted
Anywhere’, fallen a step short of the
wobbly wall of progression and smacked
their heads into it on the way down. For
want of another tenuous metaphor, I’ll just
say that I think The Automatic fall into the
category of ‘mediocre’. They’re not really
decisively indie, or rock, or punk – not
that it’s bad to have a bit of everything,
but especially in this album, they never
really seem to rev up their guitars enough
to get into fifth gear. All the way through
I felt like they were struggling in fourth
and it frustrated me. Even when I blasted
out their album’s namesake ‘This is a
Fix’ I was still staring at the time bar on
ITunes, watching it count the seconds
up waiting for that all important middle
8 to kick in, for that final crescendo that
makes the hair prickle on your neck and,
oh dear God, all I got was a key change.
I realise that the second album is always
a hard one, made even more so perhaps
in this case for the departure of keyboard
player (and background screecher) Alex
Pennie, which can never be easy on a
band halfway through the recording of
‘the difficult second album’. The first track
‘Responsible Citizen’ is a promising opener,
with the same grungy crunk guitar tones
as bands such as Weezer or Rival Schools,
which is followed by their single ‘Steve
McQueen’, which isn’t bad, but it isn’t
particularly dazzling either. The rest of
the album merely follows suit, and as you
play through the record the songs don’t
seem to start or finish but merge into one.
I liked their debut single Recover – it had
punch and fire that new songs like ‘Secret
Police’ and ‘Magazines’ seem to be flailing
around in the dark for, and who doesn’t like
a bit of ‘what’s that coming over the hill…’?
A lot of bands get slated if it happens that
one of their songs becomes their defining
image, and in the case of these boys,
‘Monster’ has probably become bigger
than them, and indeed a target for musical
snobbery. But what The Automatic’s
second album could do with is probably
a little more fun and frolics, rather than
trying to make the jump into ‘maturity’
that is so often one step too far away.
Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling
By James L Miller
Mogwai come across as a cult hit band,
a remnant of an underground age of
music being passed on through friends,
rather than a mainstream music act. Their
latest album The Hawk is Howling is their
6th album release, however to many they
are an unknown band, and with a name
like Mogwai and an album with a track list
including 'The Sun Smells Too Loud’ and
'Thank you Space Expert', it's an album that
many would be wary of; perhaps rightly so.
From a technical stand point the
composition of the album is solid, all ten
songs are instrumentals, not a word is
sung or spoken on the album, and the
musicianship is good. There's one or two
noticeable slip-ups on the album, for
example the introduction of the drums in
'Local Authority', which seems clumsy, but
this isn't the biggest let down of the album.
The tracks themselves, whilst being
varied from song to
song, leave a lot to
be desired. The
variation within the songs themselves
is more often than not very poor, with
next to little progression in songs such
as 'Kings Meadow'. This is a cardinal sin
in instrumentals. Without the addition of
lyrics to tell a story, set a scene or paint any
sort of picture for the listener with a singer's
words, an instrumental needs to move,
change and progress to convey feeling and
emotion; to invoke a mood. Ultimately The
Hawk is Howling doesn't deliver where it
needs to, the songs seem flat and lifeless,
with tracks such as 'Scotland's Shame'
running for well over seven minutes and
hardly showing any sense of progression
or change. The names of the tracks are
often far more evocative than the songs
themselves, 'I'm Jim Morrison, I'm dead' is
a pretty hard hitting title given the lacklustre two-dimensional song it heads.
Two tracks stand out as good songs,
which out of ten is not good enough
at all. 'The Sun Smells Too
Loud' seems
an almost nostalgic nod to arcadia style
music, it's a fun, high energy, happy track
that draws the listener in and moves along
at a smooth pace, and ‘I Love you, I'm
Going to Blow Up Your School' similarly
progresses and changes superbly. The
instruments are almost symbiotic working
so well together, with smooth variation and
alterations to the composition making the
song flow much more than other songs.
Two high calibre songs however, do not
hold up a ten track album. Ultimately the
album lacks excitement. The songs are
reminiscent of advert backing music, or
music as film credits roll on, but nothing
more. From a technical standpoint the
music is solid, the foundations for good
instrumentals are definitely there, and the
skill the band has with their instruments
isn't being called into question, but from
the perspective of listening to music for
enjoyment, look elsewhere.
Bring Me the Horizon, Southampton Guildhall, 23/10/08
Bring Me The Horizon enter the stage one
by one amid soundtracks for the respective superheroes that they are dressed
as, and waste no time for introductions,
launching straight into “Diamonds Aren’t
Forever”. In a matter of minutes Oli, disguised as Superman, climbs onto of a
speaker stack, yelling “I can fly!”, and dives
Vampire Weekend, London Forum,
As I was queuing up waiting to go into The
Forum, I didn’t have the usual excitement I
normally do when I go to see a gig, it was
more apprehension. I had loved listening
to the quirky sounds of the New Yorker
quartet on their self-titled debut album,
but had come to the conclusion that with
such a unique sound, their live performance was likely to be either really good,
or really bad. To my relief, I found it was
the former. Their performance was pretty
much flawless.
Opening with ‘Mansard Roof’, the first
track of the album, got everyone excited
and dancing straightaway. Unlike when
you see many other bands, there were no
fights, no blood from mad moshpits, no
getting elbowed in the head. I think this
must be down to the music – Vampire
Weekend’s essence is both dance-inducing
and chilled, and extremely eclectic. Being
true to their sound on the album, the guys
had three girls playing violins and a cello
for the tracks ‘M79’ giving a genuine, classical edge, whereas the hits ‘A-Punk’ and
‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ have Afro-pop
influences, where the extremely talented
drummer, Christopher Tomson, moves on
to play the bongos.
Throughout the performance lead singer,
Ezra Koenig – like the rest of the band –
sounded even better than on the album
(which, really, is how it always should be),
and got the right balance between chatting to the crowd just enough to make you
feel involved, and got some good audience-participation going, encouraging
everyone to help him out in ‘One (Blake’s
Got A New Face)’, always a winner.
Personally, my favourite part of the gig
was in the encore. By powers of deduction
the band had played all of their album
apart from ‘Walcott’ by this point - plus a
couple of new songs they had apparently
played at the festivals over the summer…
but didn’t mention what they were called
– so I was interested to see if ‘Walcott’
was all we would get. Nope, shortly I was
listening to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’
a la Vampire Weekend, amazing! Even if
you’re not a fan of cheesy 80s hits, you
at least have to give them credit for not
being predictable!
So, basically, if you get a chance to go see
this band at some point, I would recommend them 100%, you’ll sing your heart
out, you’ll dance, and you’ll see some
genuinely talented musicians in their element. What more could you ask for?
By Danielle Richardson
into the crowd. The magazines didn’t
exaggerate when they claimed these boys’
show was all the rage at Vans Warped
Tour, because there’s hardly a breathing
break in their explosive set. JJ Peters busts
on stage during “Football Season is Over”
to deliver his parts in that track, and the
first half of the set seems to accelerate
with every song, culminating in “It Was
Written in Blood” before a moment of calm
with the cheeky sample that precedes “No
Need For Introductions...” There’s plenty of
old in there too, in the form of “Pray For
Plagues” and “Tell Slater Not to Wash His
Dick”, and it’s these songs that stir up some
of the most impressive moshpits I’ve seen,
stretching across the entire venue.
Unfortunately it quickly becomes obvious that Oli Sykes cannot deliver live what
he can on record. He runs out of breath
mid-song repeatedly with the effect that
his screams aren’t sustained and he’s
forced to deliver the new style of vocals he
adopted for “Suicide Season” in a manner
that resembles talking rather than shout-
ing. If you’re in a band, you need to stay in
shape - pure and simple, but although the
vocal performance in the show is sub-par,
the band’s sheer energy keeps the show
rocking. Luis Dubuc joins Oli on stage to
do the clean vocals for “The Sadness Will
Never End” in his usual, synthesized voice,
making that song sound like a happy disco
tune instead of the dose of despair it’s supposed to be. “Traitors Never Play Hangman”
and “For Stevie Wonder’s Eyes Only” cancel out the disappointment though, and
“Chelsea Smile” as the closer leaves most
of us impressed and screaming “I know
something you don’t know!”
Review and photo by Martin
The Black Seeds, Southampton Soul
Cellar 05/10/08
What an absolutely electric performance! I was still buzzing the morning after. The very renowned ‘Uplifter’
opened the night in true Soul Cellar
style with MC Tanja, a very talented
reggae/dub skat style vocalist. More
musical magic was brought to the
stage when Boston based band ‘Boy
Com’ blew the crowd away, opening
their short yet mighty sweet set with
‘Come On In’, which they dedicated
to the great cellar of soul and everyone who had managed to make it on
the night. Boy Com are a nine piece,
dub/reggae/hip-hop group, and get
the party started they certainly did.
It wasn’t long before the whole room
was, quite literally, a sea of groove.
After their part of the show they joined
the fellow audience to enjoy the rest of
the night and witness The Black Seeds
in action.
Whilst the fireworks were exploding
in every direction outside on bonfire
night, they were just about to commence in the Soul Cellar. After weeks
of anticipation, suspense - and agony
as it turned out, for one of the audience members who had actually had
the Black Seeds logo tattooed onto his
chest! The pain must have been worth
it because he was more than happy to
show me with a grin on his face. Just
for the record, I have no objections if
any nice man wishes to show me his
six-pack, (Well it is my job to find out
about the more dedicated fans). The New
Zealand band has some great characters,
Barnaby is the lead singer and a guitarist.
The other members all helped out with
the vocals and proved they were all multitalented. The bands instruments included
bass, drums, keyboards, saxophone, bongos, wood block, tambourine and some
other unidentified-flying-percussions…literally. There was also some stunning brass
work going on from the trumpet corner;
one of the most memorable moments
was a very long sustained note that the
trumpeter held impressively. Let’s just say,
for example that if your average Joe was to
exhale for that long that his insides would
no longer be on the inside, they would
have unfortunately vanished altogether.
So basically, my point is that you shouldn’t
try this at home, but more importantly;
these guys are bloody fantastic musicians, entertainers and performers. Every
song was performed effortlessly yet left
us breathless. They mixed the old and the
new classics. ‘Slingshot’ was brilliant, ‘Fire’
was burning, ‘Take Your Chances’ we did. I
took a chance and went to see these guys
live, no regrets. Cheers to the Black Seeds
and their supporting acts. They came, they
played, they conquered! Let’s hope they
come back for more.
By Marianne Ward
Funeral For A Friend, Portsmouth Pyramids 31/10/08
Post hardcore is hardly the most inspiring genre; its critics often claim that it
lacks originality, maturity and intellectual
content. As Simon Gavin recently said,
“The problem is that people don’t buy itthey steal it.” This fact means that it often
doesn’t get the airtime it deserves.
Funeral’, or F4AF, combine metal riffs,
punk melodies, hardcore vocal lines, and
even pop influences to achieve their
signature sound - a combination of earcatching rhythms, poetic (if elusive) lyrics,
impressive guitar parts, and close vocal
harmonies, all of which has been packed
into the four studio albums F4AF have
released to date. Members of the F4AF fanbase were out in Portsmouth in force last
Friday, dressed to the teeth in black and
red (though, to be fair, it was Halloween!)
at the unlikely venue of the Pyramid’s
swimming pool.
F4Af showcased an hour and fifteen
minutes of their finest material from four
albums: recent single ‘By the Waterfront’
was expected and well received by the
fans with the obligatory circle pit, also
from their new album was the stirring
‘Maybe I Am’ and ‘Can’t See The Wolves
For The Trees’. All of which are featured
on the fourth studio album, ‘Memory and
Humanity’, which seems like a return to
form after a slightly experimental dynamic interlude with the third (most popular album) ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’.
It wasn’t just new material; Novella and
Juneau from the 2003 album ‘Casually
dressed and Deep in Conversation’ were
spectacular and unexpected treats, as
were ‘History and Roses for the Dead’ from
‘Hours’. Including earlier material in the
set list, although a slightly unusual choice
for a new album tour, is proof that F4AF
haven’t merely improved as a band since
their formation in 2002, but they also
started off pretty well too.
Such a set was not just an audio visual
treat for more long term fans, but proof
that the band does have strong material
from every album and is and has always
been a cracking band capable of producing knock out tunes, phenomenal riffs, and
killer choruses. The set proved also that
there were different genres to be heard
in F4AF. Such musical ambidexterity is
perhaps unusual in post hardcore. Whilst
most songs are energetic, musicianship
and a generous dose of melodic harmonies ensure that songs are not offensive,
and others are downright poignant. ‘Your
Revolution is a Joke’, being one acoustic
example of this. Crowd appreciation and
participation was exemplary - even if singer Matt Davies had to remind the circle pit
of ‘Pit Etiquette’! Such social conventions,
once commonplace, are now perhaps
unfamiliar in a time when health and safety laws often forbid such public displays of
appreciation. Is it just me who thinks there
is something cathartic about circle pits for
underprivileged teenage Emos?
The Memory and Humanity tour is also
a chance for Funeral to introduce their
new bassist, Gavin ‘the rage’ Burrough,
who replaced Gareth Davies, who left earlier this year to spend more time with his
American wife and family. Gareth, formerly
of Hondo Maclean, Ghostlines, and The
Future, promises to be a welcome addition to the F4AF family. Matt Davies said
of Gavin “His enthusiasm gives us a second
wind”. This enthusiasm was clearly evident
on Friday (even if he didn’t oblige to the
crowds requests for him to “Strip, Strip!”).
The band clearly enjoyed performing as
much as fans enjoyed seeing it. My only
criticism of the night would be that it
didn’t go on longer, and Matt even apologised for that! Evidently a new member
guarantees another chapter in what is
becoming a post hardcore saga. Based on
tonight’s performance I hope there will be
many more chapters after this.
By Sam Hampsher-Monk
Oasis, Bournemouth BIC, 21/20/08
Oasis may be a band of many clichés, of
the Gallagher-attitude, of Britpop and of
sing-a-longs, yet they are still one of the
bands you must see live. This is why tickets
were so sought after for their UK arena tour
in support of their seventh studio offering
‘Dig Out Your Soul’. So when the Oasis bus
rolled into the seaside retirement destination of Bournemouth, and the intimate
International Centre, south-coast fans had
their chance to see this legendary band upclose and personal.
The gig opened with Brooklyn-based
band Alberta-Cross. Look past the long hair
and hillbilly-esque lumberjack coats and
there were a few soulful blues tunes, but
they were the only thing standing in the
way of the headliners, and the New-Yorkers
were largely met with a series of ‘Who are
ya?’ chants. Their set didn’t last long, and
the tension while waiting for Oasis’s arrival
was palpable. The audience, many of whom
I suspect had been drinking something
stronger than shandy, waited impatiently,
but the lights soon dimmed and Oasis
burst on with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” which was
quickly followed by “Lyla” from their 2005
‘Don’t Believe The Truth’. The classics were to
be expected, but they were soon exhibiting
their new material, debuting “The Shock of
the Lightning”, which I suspect may become
an all-time Oasis classic, as well as “Waiting
for the Rapture” , “To Be Where There’s Life”
and the Liam Gallagher-penned “I’m Outta
Time”, his quieter, melodic tribute to John
All the staple elements of an Oasis
performance were present- Liam’s singing
posture, raspy voice & attitude as well
Noel’s legendary guitar riffs, and indeed
it wasn’t long before they whipped the
crowd into a storm with anthems like
“Cigarettes and Alcohol”, “Morning Glory”,
“Slide Away” and “Supersonic”. Particular
highlights for the audience were the longer
spells with the acoustic guitar when Noel
would take centre stage and his brother
would disappear backstage (we know how
they have never liked ‘competing’ for the
limelight). “The Masterplan”, “Songbird”
and fans-favourite “Wonderwall” all
arrived, as well as an all-acoustic version
of “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, something
which was new for an Oasis show, but
which was effective nonetheless. By the
time the band delivered “Champagne
Supernova” to a vociferous and vocal
crowd, before closing with Beatles cover “I
am the Walrus”, the Bournemouth audience
needed no convincing that Oasis are still
on world-beating form. That this gig took
place on the eve of the announcement of
a massive 2009 UK Stadium tour- including
three nights at Wembley Stadium- is
significant. How long is it before we
will be able to see the Gallaghers &
Co. in such close proximity again? Be
certain to keep your ear to the ground...
Review and Photo by Richard
The Killers, London Royal Albert Hall, 03/11/08
They don’t really need any introduction.
The Las Vegas indie band with a distinctly
British 1980s disco-synth sound, have sold
ridiculous amounts of records, their first
two albums reaching number one on this
side of the pond, as well as going multiplatinum. ‘Mr Brightside’ is even the first
choice track on Top Gear’s ‘Seriously Cool
Driving Music’ CD. This is one seriously
popular band, even Paul McCartney is
“Are we human, or are we dancer?” poses
frontman Brandon Flowers. I’m still none
the wiser, but to be honest I don’t care.
There are inflatable palm trees and fairy
lights and the Royal Albert Hall. It’s a regal
setting, but its suspended upside-down
mushrooms provide relief from echoing
acoustics and create an incredibly intimate
venue. It’s a Radio One night, and Zane
Lowe has suitably warmed up the crowd
with a DJ set during which (uncharacteristically and much to his advantage) he
decided to let the music do the talking.
Taking to the stage in a modest blaze of
glory, the four-piece receive a deafening roar from those lucky enough to be
there. After opening with current single
‘Human’, the band pleased the crowd with
tracks from ‘Hot Fuss’ and ‘Sam’s Town’.
‘For Reason’s Unknown’ brought to their
feet the few who were not yet standing.
Flowers danced his way over stage and
amplifier, exciting the crowd but making
it difficult to take a decent souvenir photo.
‘Somebody Told Me’ energised the audience enough before a couple of tracks
from b-side album ‘Sawdust’, and then The
Killers sold us their new album, ‘Day and
‘Losing Touch’ left the audience attentive but subdued which was probably to
be expected. Whilst the song might be a
grower, the crowd weren’t too enthralled.
Thankfully, ‘Spaceman’ reinstalled hope for
the new album and brought back the
party atmosphere, and lots of clapping.
A likely future classic, ‘Spaceman’ has syn-
thesizers, a catchy tune, repetitive lyrics,
and lots of “uh uh oh”-ing. All good stuff
for Killers fans looking forward to more of
the same.
An acoustic version of ‘Sam’s Town’
brought us back into familiar territory,
with the audience accompanying Flowers
on vocals. ‘Read My Mind’ followed and
reinvigorated the audience into a dancing
and clapping frenzy, particularly the guy in
front, who was so excited that I expected
his vigorous arm waving to send his girlfriend over the balcony and into the crowd
below. Upbeat new song ‘Joy Ride’ echoed
previous releases and promised old fans
the new album aims to please.
A cover of Joy Division’s ‘Shadowplay’ followed; some sang, others enjoyed Dave
Keuning’s tinny guitar, but most were indifferent and wondered when ‘Mr. Brightside’
would make an appearance. Then it did.
Despite the feeling of imminent death due
to the possibility that the Albert Hall might
just collapse under the weight of jumping
fans, it may just have been the best live
music I have ever experienced (and not to
rub it in, but I have seen Muse at Wembley).
Having thanked London for starting it all
for the band, Flowers proceeded to the
front of the stage and reached out to the
audience for the entirety of the song. I’m
not sure whether band or audience were
more grateful for the privilege of being
New tune ‘Neon Tiger’ began the encore,
calming the crowd before raising them
up again with ‘All These Things That I’ve
Done’ and ‘When You Were Young’ to close
the show. It will be interesting to hear the
much anticipated new album after the hit
and miss choice of new tunes throughout
the night, but however indie-cool The
Killers might have become, they sure know
how to put on a show.
By Rachel Millar
Hot Chip, Southampton Guildhall, 23/10/08
Hot Chip appear on stage like one of your
more macabre daydreams in a Monday
morning seminar; a firing line of washedout lecturers, they stand in a straight line
confronting the audience behind a multitude of synths and percussive weapons.
Unlike most of their electro-pop peers the
London-based 5-piece have long since
kissed their 20’s goodbye, as to my surprise have most of their fans. The small
gaggle of teenage girls to my right wearing at least three quarters of Topshop and
dancing in a circle look fairly out of place
amongst the somewhat subdued thirtysomething audience.
Hot Chip arrive to rapturous applause however, punctuated by hazy drones and with
the striking artwork from their most recent
album ‘Made in the Dark’ looming large
overhead, before launching into ‘One Pure
Thought’ their latest single. Immediately
heads begin nodding and toes begin tapping as the pulsing beat that is so iconic
of Hot Chip’s sound seeps into the crowd
and it is not long before this entrancing
rhythm is compounded by crowd favourite ‘And I Was A Boy From School’, perhaps
the band’s finest song which perfectly
combines singer Alexis’ melancholy voice
with chiming guitars and a driving snare
beat, creating an altogether haunting and
heartbreaking number. In fact so much
so that it is when these pulsating songs
subside that the gig loses its consistency.
In an era when electro is dominated by
the fidgety and erratic beats of pioneers
like Justice, Sebastian and Daft Punk, Hot
Chip adopt a very different style, with
expanses of music that wash over fans in
a trance-like way and reach stunning, layered climaxes. Yet while this might work
with earth-shattering success at 5am in
a warehouse in Berlin, in a conventional
gig set-up the periods of silence between
songs jars somewhat, leaving the audience feeling pulled in all different directions.
‘Shake A Fist’ a massive tune full of
squealing synths and beats that shudder
across the dancefloor provides some relief
from the lull in excitement
and it is clear that Hot Chip
are very technically skilled at
reproducing their music live.
As expected radio-friendly
hit ‘Over and Over’ breathes
a new lease of life to the gig
as well, sending the crowd
into rhythm convulsions
from the moment the lyric
‘Laid back’ is uttered.
Trying hard to divert my
gaze from the quite fantastic older gentleman in
front of me in a suit, sweating profusely, jumping up
and down, yelping, pulling
shapes and the classic ‘theroof-is-on-fire’ dance and
exhibiting a look of sheer
delight at being alive, the
show draws to a close.
Perfunctory and slightly
forced cheers for an encore ensue which
Hot Chip naturally comply with and singer
Alexis Taylor steps upstage to perform a
gorgeous and quirky cover of Sinead O’
Conner’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ whilst
blue spotlights roam the Guildhall illuminating the crowd and swaying cigarette
lighters of enthusiastic smokers. Despite
his slight frame Alexis has great stage presence, appearing like a neurotic member of
Kraftwerk in thick-rimmed glasses and a
button-down white shirt and the voice he
projects is really quite magnificent. It is
a soft ending to a thoroughly confusing
gig and despite a thunderous response to
the singles some of the show falls flat with
talking from the audience even drowning
out more downbeat numbers. It all feels
a bit routine and with a fourth album in
progress we hope that Hot Chip will find
news ways to excite.
By Chris Hooton
Less Than Jake, Southampton
Guildhall, 10/11/08
Although the crowd at the Guildhall could
have easily fitted in a venue half its size,
all four acts did not let this get to them.
Imperial Pleasure opened up with their
boppy ska failing to get much of a reaction, but they certainly set the tone for the
remainder of the night with their enthusiasm and energy. Beat Union followed,
again failing to make much of a stir, but
when Hawaian three piece band Pepper
hit the stage, the half empty Guildhall
erupted into a skanking frenzy, that lasted
right the way through till 11 ‘o’ clock when
Less Than Jake vacated the stage, leaving
behind a happy and exhausted crowd.
What makes Less than Jake such
a brilliant act to see live is not their ability
to almost replicate a pre-recorded sound,
or their amazing talents to sing in perfect
harmony, but their hilarious antics, and
their enthusiasm which manage to extend
over any crowd that has the pleasure to
see them. Five piece Less Than Jake had
the audience captivated with their feelgood-ska-punk-rock from start to finish,
with tracks from their new album GNV FLA
incorporating every style that they have
experimented with so far, getting as good
a reaction as classics such as ‘The Science
of Selling Yourself Short’ and ‘All My Best
Friends are Metalheads’ and ‘Automatic’.
Highlights of the show included
dragging female security guard Shirley
on stage in an attempt to break down the
Roger from Less Than Jake (Photo by Cedric Letsch)
barrier between what Roger called “band,
audience and assholes” by trying to get
her to “shake her ass” to their music, which
of course only created a greater distance
between the three, with Shirley appearing to hate every second of it, leaving
the stage to a soundtrack of eponymous
chants. Less Than Jake also allowed three
female fans on stage to compete for the
prize of a lifetime. The task was to replicate an American accent successfully to
be judged by the crowd, and the winner,
Hayley, who managed to generate most
crowd attention, got a prize that sums up
Less Than Jake’s sense of humour perfectly
– nothing at all.
The night was wrapped up with
a two track encore, ‘Plastic Cup Politics’
and ‘Gainsville Rock City’, with the skarockers leaving the stage to a thunderous
applause that they truly deserved. Less
Than Jake did not merely play live, they put
on a show, and they had every audience
member hanging off their witty vocals and
trombone squeals, and rightly so. Next
time Less Than Jake grace the south coast
with their presence, it will doubtless be
with a bang, and the opportunity should
be grasped with both hands by every ska
fan in the city. Those who missed out this
time, do not miss out again: you will certainly regret it!
By Hayley Taulbut
Easy Star All Stars,
Oxford Carling Academy, 30/10/08
Since we missed their performance here in
Southampton, I accompanied my reggaeloving boyfriend all the way to Oxford for
their performance at the Carling Academy.
Fortunately we weren’t to be disappointed
and the trip was worth it. For those who
have not heard of the Easy Star All Stars,
they are a group of dub reggae artists
based in New York. I was introduced to
them via their album ‘Dub Side of the
Moon’ (Yes, it is a play on Pink Floyd’s Dark
Side of the Moon). This album is a dub
reggae interpretation of Pink Floyd’s classic songs. Their second album was a songby-song cover of Radiohead’s album, now
named “Radiodread”. Now, I have to point
out that sometimes a classic song being
re-worked, can sometimes be rather disappointing, especially for those intimately
acquainted with the original. However,
apart from a few moments when they get
carried away, the remade songs are completely recognisable as what they began
as. The chorus’ are just as strong as the
originals, and the energy from such classic
songs is infectious, with both the artists
and the entire audience loving it.
The place is packed, the supporting artists are on, and building energy.
There is a very chilled out vibe, a few
hippies dancing through the crowd on
the dance floor, so far, nothing out of the
ordinary. The set begins with some of their
original music; interestingly none of the
Stars seems to take centre stage though.
The singers, for example, alter who leads
for almost every song, ‘I Lost Myself’ has
a soulful female singer, whereas ‘Karma
Police’ uses a much more manic male
singer. The atmosphere is very inclusive,
and relaxed. I even find myself singing
along, and joining in with the audienceartist banter. The All Stars switch between
their original tracks and the covers with
effortlessness and it is easy to forget that
the covers are in fact covers. An hour and
a half goes past, and all in all it exceeds my
expectations. The band may be famous
for doing covers, but they make the songs
their own, and deliver them excellently.
The artists are extremely talented instrumentalists, ranging from the sax to the
flute. Even if this experience has not completely converted me to a fully fledged
reggae fan, it has definitely made it far
more accessible for me. It is a diluted variation of reggae; however their reggae roots
and beats were authentic enough and it is
a true pleasure to hear the iconic introduction to ‘Money’ by Pink Floyd redone with
an equally iconic reggae twist. I would
recommend Easy Star All Stars, however
if you just don’t like reggae then even this
may not change your mind, but if you do
like Pink Floyd or Radiohead, then it won’t
hurt to give it a go.
By Viveka Owen
Frank Turner + Chris TT, Winchester Tower Arts Centre, 30/10/08
I had never been to the Tower Arts centre
before the night of the gig and I was surprised to say the least, though perhaps I
shouldn’t have been, considering firstly
that we were in a school, and we were in
Winchester. Expecting a normal gig venue,
it was strange to see a reasonably small
space for standing at the front and then
a lot of steps going round the room to sit
or stand on. So, expecting a normal gig, it
felt strange to be sitting for the first support act, Emily Barker. Her gentle songs
met with applause and polite silence during the performance of them. The latter
was definitely to do with the style of the
intimate venue – I can safely say that if
this had been at a traditional place, such
as the Joiners, the mood would have been
different. The former though, was because
she was an engaging act, and deserving of
the crowds recognition.
Chris TT and his backing band ‘the
Hoodrats’ were next; Chris TT ‘the bearded
Having watched Frank and his band sound
check before the gig, there was time
enough for a chat with him afterward.
Rik: Do you want to introduce yourself…
Frank: My name’s Frank Turner, and I’m a
folk singer from Winchester.
R: Your next release is a bundle of stuff,
what’s gonna be in that?
F: Well, basically, I have this principle of trying to not duplicate songs across releases.
But what that’s meant was, at the moment,
one would have to go shopping for a lot of
out of print stuff. So, we thought we might
as well make life easier, particularly for
the new people coming on board. I think
we have twenty four songs on there now.
Some of them are re-workings of earlier
versions of songs that were on albums,
and there’s a whole shitload of songs not
on either album. It’s called ‘The First Three
Years’, which is a homage to Black Flag’s
‘First Four Years’. I actually just took the
front cover and just scanned it, and…
R: Took a bar off?
F: Yeah yeah, and that’s gonna be out
R: Do you have any plans for new material?
F: Well… plans have gone a bit up in the air
for me a bit recently. We were just gonna
crack on with the new record, writing
and recording, in the new year but, with
the way that everything’s gone recently…
things have been a bit mental! Which is
great obviously.
Commie’ as Frank was later to call him. His
songs were also well received; many of his
fans are also fans of Frank too, as the artists
are closely linked. Playing the deliciously
malevolent ‘Ankles’ as well as new single
‘We Are the King of England’, he was also
given rapturous applause, however, I was
disappointed to see (or not to see) that he
did not play ‘When the Huntsman Comes
A Marching’, which is the one song of his
that I truly love. Nevertheless, an energetic
performance set the tone for Frank to take
to the stage.
He opened with ‘The Ballad of Me and My
Friends’, something that for a long time
he has been closing his sets with; very
weird, however, it formed the first part of a
fantastic opening salvo including ‘Reasons
not to be an Idiot’, ‘Imperfect Tense’ and
‘Nashville Tennessee’. He then played a
new song, ‘Live Fast, Die Old’ which sounded reasonable, though of course, as is
often the case with new songs at gigs, the
R: Have you ever thought about… you
often play some cover’s in your set; infact
last time you played in Southampton you
did an AC/DC cover…
F: Yes! Yes I did.
R: Thought about putting out an EP
between albums, of just covers?
F: Yeah, I do think about that quite a lot.
The problem is, I’m on quite a small, hand
to mouth, indie label – who are great and
I love them dearly! – but the thing is…
releasing covers and stuff…
R: Do you have to get permission to do it?
F: Yeah, well… its not even so much
that you have to get permission,
but basically, the margins of profit for an indie label in putting out
a release are pretty small anyway… and then if you include
payments to all the bands that
you cover… it would just have to
be a labour of love, because you
would never see any return from it,
and my record label is of course,
a business so… yeah. But fucking hell! I would love to do
a thing like that. I’d totally
love to end up doing my
own Spaghetti Incident… I
have a list of songs as long
as my arm that I want to
R: Me First and the Gimmee
Gimmies style…
F: Yeah… I’ll tell you what,
fans don’t know the words and the songs
have less impact than they might in a few
months. Further highlights were the ode
to punk rock ‘Back in the Day’, and ‘Once
We were Anarchists’. The latter song I particularly enjoyed, having not seen him perform it before. The crowd loved ‘Father’s
Day’, probably Frank’s most popular song,
accompanied by an excellent new intro
and outro, from the new keyboardist. The
atmosphere was strange, wholly positive,
but it was weird to be able to stand so
close to the front without having to take
evasive action from elbows and legs; part
of this is due to the crossover appeal Frank
has, and also the soporific effect the venue
has. Warm applause greeted the end of
every song, and it was a far cry from the
raucous atmosphere Frank’s set at Reading
Festival got. Chris TT mentioned that the
Winchester crowd were lucky, because
many of the other venues on the tour
had been around the 1000 mark, capacity
wise, and the tiny Tower Arts centre was
unique in that respect.
He finished the set with ‘Love, Ire and
Song’, before coming back for the encore,
accompanied by Chris TT and Emily
Barker, to play ‘St. Christopher is Coming
Home’, and a gloriously elongated, rousing sing-a-long ‘Photosynthesis’. During
the last song, (‘and I won’t sit down / and
I won’t shut up / and most of all, well / I
will not grow up’). Frank charged about
the stage, singing those lyrics in a style
that he would have sung in a certain
hardcore band of old in, into the faces of
those in the front row. In these fantastic
moments, the words from ‘Back in the
Day’ came to mind; ‘Punk rock’s in the
ink that’s in my skin / (the) attitude’s in
every song I sing’. If there was any doubt
at all about the truthfulness of those lyrics, it was well and truly quelled by the
fantastic finale.
one thing that I would want to do with it is
try and do mostly songs by friends of mine!
I’d really like to do an EP of a ‘Kid Harpoon’
song, ‘Get Cape’ song, ‘Ben Marwood’ song,
‘Jonah Matranga’ song, that would be kind
of cool you know.
R: Which songs do you love playing live
most, out of your set?
it and everything, but the kind of attention
that it attracts is not what I’m interested
in. I’m not a fucking protest singer, not
even a political singer. I’m a songwriter, it’s
what I do. I don’t want to spend the rest of
my life playing trade union benefit shows
you know. I think that people… first of all
because it’s got the word ‘Thatcher’ in it,
and secondly because anybody who sings
protest songs is generally considered to
be hard left. People make a lot of assumptions about my politics based on that song,
which are just plain old fucking wrong. I’m
not left wing. I maybe was, about six years
ago, a little bit but I’m a libertarian above
anything else. Neither left nor right. I’m
just a bit bored of people coming down,
and going ‘Yeah! Support the Unions and
the Welfare state!’ I’m just like ‘Really? I
don’t know. I haven’t made my mind up on
that one yet actually.’
F: That’s like asking me to choose children!
[laughs] A singalong’s always great…
though I must admit, I’m pretty thoroughly bored of doing ‘The Real Damage’. At
the moment, which you just caught a bit
of; at the end of the set we’ll get Emily
Barker and Chris TT on stage, and we have
seven people and instruments on stage,
and we do two songs like that; ‘St.
Christopher is Coming Home’ and
‘Photosynthesis’, and it’s been
really fun and great ways to
round off the evening. So, I’d
say those two for now.
R: What songs do people
want you to play that you
just won’t play?
F:‘Thatcher Fucked the
Kids’. Not playing that
song again.
By Rik Sharma
R: You gotta tell a joke to leave…
F: I am addicted to jokes! Honestly I am
fucking obsessed with jokes. I subscribe to
a number of different joke websites! Jokes
are my favourite thing ever. Okay, I’ll tell
one… Guy goes into a library, and asks to
get a book out about suicide… librarian
goes ‘Fuck off! You won’t bring it back!’
R: Ever? Is that
You know… I fell off a fifty foot ladder the
other day. It was alright, it was only on the
first rung!
F: [sighs] No…
it’s not guaranteed… I’m sure
I’ll be talked
into it with alcohol sooner or later.
It’s just… I like the
song, and I stand by
I ended a long term relationship the other
day, not too bothered, wasn’t mine There
we go, there’s three terrible jokes. My band
fucking hates me for it, because every day,
in the van, when I get on the net, I’m just
like guys, guys, guys!
Christmas Time
’Tis the season of indulgence
It’s late November which can mean only one thing: for the next few weeks it’s prolonged-Christmas time! The coming weeks
might be financially crippling but they do allow us to justify the unhealthy excess of food and alcohol, under-the-mistletoe
promiscuity, the Argos catalogue and of course sentimental Christmas films. At present (woo…presents!) the obligatory Christmas montage adverts are yet to bless our small screens but we can expect
at least a few of these seasonal classics and by golly we’re going to enjoy them.
By Holly Hooper
The Nightmare Before Christmas:
Bringing the macabre to the season of joy,
we can expect no less from Tim Burton than a
dimming of the bright Christmas lights for a
darkly magical take on the Christmas adventure.
This cult film is stop-action animation that could
sing its way into even the Scroogiest of hearts.
Santa, elves, Christmas
carols, laughter, joy and
of course Will Ferral in
yellow lycra leggings, make
this a lovely addition to
the Christmas Film genre.
Don’t expect the genius of
Anchorman but do expect
a wonderfully seasonal film
that has a few very funny
moments… “fruit spray?”
It’s A Wonderful Life:
A beautiful and timeless classic that will
warm the cockles on a cold winter’s day, no
matter how many times you’ve seen it before.
If you haven’t seen it…may god have mercy on
your soul.
mandatory Spielberg
I’m taking bets now, bookies
favourite is currently Hook but
E.T. is a very close second. Let’s
face it, whichever Spielberg
makes a festive appearance, we
are guaranteed a heart-warming
adventure underscored with a
moral message and culminating a
happy fuzzy feeling so sickeningly
sweet that you have to tell some kid
about Rudolf’s coke problem just to regain
a sense of normality. No-one should have a
nose that red.
Jingle All The Way:
The Governor of the state of California, in
his former glory days as a beefed-up action
hero, is on a mission to buy the affections
of his son in a slapstick celebration of the
brutality of Christmas Eve shopping. The
film is a necessarily cheesy and schmaltzy
affair which makes it a Christmas must.
A Christmas Carol:
Jean Luc Picard. Need I say
Home Alone (and Home
Alone Two: Lost in
New York):
every child’s
fantasy is
in this
story of
neglect. A
pre-rehab Macaulay
Culkin is separated from
his rather careless parents on
two consecutive Christmases allowing
him to finally have the freedom to
lounge around in his PJs, eat nothing but
massively unhealthy food and concoct
elaborate booby traps: the Christmas
Dr. Who Christmas Special:
Okay, so it’s not a film but it is an
undeniable tradition that the primetime
BBC1 drama produces a feature length
treat for all the adoring fans. Dr. Who
is a veritable institution and its many
adoring fans can immerse themselves
in the last moments of the lovely
David (I just want to pick him up and
put him in my pocket) Tennant.
...Mistletoe and wine?
Christmas Songs, you gotta love them. Or do you?
There’s one thing that Bob the Builder, the Beatles and the Spice Girls all share in common, that’s right, it’s the Christmas
number one.
There have been a lot of Christmas songs throughout the years, even if it now seems that X factor will hold the top spot for
the rest of eternity. We at the Edge, in light of the festive season, thought we would do what we do best, and criticise as many
Christmas songs as we could fit on one page.
By Richard Yates and the odd addition by Hannah
The Best:
War is Over (Merry Xmas) –
John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Hands down the best ever festive
tune, written by one of the 20th Century’s
greatest and most popular songwriters.
John Lennon also had a hand in this one too.
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
and Kirsty McColl
This song seems to bring a warm
tingle to everyone’s hearts at
Christmas, albeit after several
pints of Guinness. Shane
McGowan had drunk
at least eight before
stumbling into the
studio to record
this timeless
track: “Iwwaz
ebayyyy / in allll
the dredderrrrr
“. For all we
know he
b e
year) and was, let’s
face it the only song
you know by Wizard.
I remember a time
when I believed in
the sentiment of this
song and while those
ignorant days may
be over, any song
with a child choir
and jingling bells
has got to be good.
photo of Mt. Kilimanjaro? Besides, half
of Africa has its summer in December
due to the tilt of the earth’s axis, so the
absence of snow is understandable.
Step into
Christmas – Elton
It’s Elton John,
how could it not be
good. Many people
won’t agree with that
last sentence but
Have a Cheeky Christmas – The
Cheeky Girls
“Everybody come together, it’s a hot
hot Christmas night, make the magic last
for ever, have a cheeky Christmas time”,
you know it’s bad, I know it’s bad, and they
know it’s bad. If you bought it, burn it.
reciting Shakespeare. A final thought for
health nuts: McGowan, despite having
consumed more alcohol and nicotine than
the entire population of Finland, is still
trucking along at the ripe age of 50. The
comparatively squeaky-clean Kirsty McColl
died at 41 in a freak Mexican speedboat
accident. Make of that what you will.
nevertheless ‘Step Into Christmas’ can
be found on any Christmas compilation
worth having. Big platforms and one
very large piano, I’ll step into Christmas
with you Reg. (Sorry that was terrible.)
Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
Aside from being a successful peanut
salesman, Noddy Holder could glam rock
with the best of ‘em back in the 1970s.
Given that the main competition was
Gary Glitter you could view this as a fairly
minor achievement, however, Slade’s
classic glam Xmas singalong still brings a
smile to the faces of young and old alike.
What’s more, Noddy had the last laugh as
Glitter’s attempts at cracking the peanut
advertising market failed laughably.
Last Christmas - Wham
This is quite possibly the worst song
of all time. Or the best, depending on
which way you look at it. Either way I’d
rather gouge my eardrums out with
a rusty spoon that listen to it again.
I Wish It Could Be Christmas
Everyday – Wizard
This song narrowly missed the top
spot back in 1973, only beaten by Slade
(1973 must have been one Christmassy
The Worst:
Do They Know It’s Christmas? Band Aid *
Yes, it was all done for a good cause,
blah, blah, but the actual song? Perhaps
Morrissey summed it up best: “One can
have great concern for the people of
Ethiopia, but it’s another thing to inflict
daily torture on the people of England.”
Although what else should we expect from
Bob Geldof, the Irishman with the world’s
most skewed ‘actual musical talent/ego’
ratio. “There won’t be snow in Africa this
Christmas time” – has Geldof not seen a
I Want to Give You One For
Christmas – I don’t know who it’s by,
I couldn’t even find it on YouTube.
A Christmas song from a more modern
era, fraught with shameful innuendo,
which is about as subtle as a…….
Mistletoe and Wine – Cliff Richard
Oh, just bugger off Cliff.
*One editor in particular rather likes
this song and will be singing it at top
volume this year, but it the interests of
personal taste it remains in the worst list.
Starring: Gary Cole, Thomas
Hey everyone of you sexy film section Allen, Stephen Colbert,
readers! It’s been a while since I’ve indulged
myself with an editorial (who doesn’t love
seeing their brain dumped out on paper?);
an unfortunate consequence of the decent
content I have been getting to fill the
section with for the last couple of months.
As a little something different for this
issue I thought I would further gratify my
own wants with a brief rundown of films
I have seen recently and my impression of
them. Clearly this bite-sized snippet of my
opinion may be frustrating as I won’t bother
backing up my points like I would with a
full review, but I hope it can point people
in the direction of some decent flicks or
stinkers to avoid. Either way it might not
reappear after this issue so it’s probably
not a big deal anyway. Let’s get started.
Requiem For A Dream
Well, well, well…. While watching,
my view was that this was definitely
something a little different but I couldn’t
at the time decide whether that was a
good or bad different. After a little while
to mull it over I’ve decided it’s definitely
a bad different. The message “DRUGS
ARE BAD” is emblazoned over the whole
thing right from the beginning and
the ending so ridiculously over the top
that it’s almost like this film was made
for people off their face to understand.
Also a brilliant piece of suspense-full
music is over used to the extent that it
will probably hold no weight ever again.
See it, just to understand my disdain.
Everyone seems to hate Shia and I guess
I can see why at a push but I have no real
problem with him. This was definitely a
pleasant surprise, entertaining throughout
but with an ending that could have been
a little less expected. Also the guy who
plays “the best friend” (you know what I
mean) steals the scene every time he is in
it. A bit contrived is the girl who moves in
next-door. She looks like a Victoria’s Secret
model rather than a suburbanite, this
however is definitely a plus for the film.
The Counterfeiters
NAZI era Jews being used to forge the
British pound in a slightly above average
concentration camp to destabilize our
economy. Sounds like a real party doesn’t
it. Well it is definitely a story worth telling
and the gruesomeness that comes along
with it is necessary. It’s amazing that
events, which occurred 40 years before I
was born can disgust me, but when you
see the attitude of the guards in this true
story it is difficult to understand how this
regime was promoted to power. Good
watch but unsurprisingly depressing.
Dean Read
DVD Release Date: Out Now
Harvey Birdman? What’s that? How is
that the name of an attorney? Is this a
spin off from that stupid show about
the inept stick thin lawyer woman?
These might all be things you are
asking yourself when appraising the
title of this section, but you also might
be saying “Harvey Birdman is fucking
awesome and I can’t believe they are
finally bottling that awesomeness into a
DVD. How the hell will it all fit?” Both of
these responses are in fact
equally valid. Unless you’re
used to watching late night
Adult Swim cartoons on the
Bravo channel there is no
reason why you should have ever heard
of Attorney Birdman and his antics, but
I can tell you, you’ve
been missing out.
Imagine if you will a
little known 1960’s
era Hanna-Barbera
(the guys who brought us classics such
as the Flintstones and the Jetsons)
cartoon called
Trio. It starred
an assortment of superheroes and
supervillains doing what superheroes
and supervillains do. Now add
about 40 years, a propensity to
turn kitsch historic animation into
something severely more anarchic
and you have Harvey Birdman: Attorney
at Law (HBAL). The old superheroes
are now attorneys working at the law
firm of Sebben & Sebben, and
battle against their former foes
in the court of law. The worthy
souls now being defended are the
beloved characters from our childhood,
Scooby, Shaggy, Fred Flintstone; the
whole gang get up to shenanigans
which Harvey has to bail them out of.
This rather factual description in
no way conveys the experience of
watching an episode. If we are to take
as some sort of basis an episode of
family guy, where the humour is pretty
random and in a lot of cases in no way
related to the characters and therefore
completely unearned. Now take that
randomness, place it onto culture
defining classic characters who most
people have some frame of reference
for and you are starting to get to what
Harvey Birdman is all about. Birdman
is much more along the lines of short
sharp and very funny, think Aqua Teen
Hunger Force rather than the Simpsons.
Series 1 of this gem has just been
released on DVD and contains 12
episodes. Even a fan such as myself has
to admit that the first two are a little
rough, focusing too much on in-jokes
that require significant background
knowledge about the characters
(I’m not too up on my Johnny Quest
unfortunately, otherwise I probably
would have thought ep.1 was a riot).
However once these have served as
an intro the writers strike the right
balance of parodying nostalgia
and bringing the funny that makes
Harvey Birdman what it is – plus
Peanut shows up… Peanut is king.
One of the areas
where HBAL really
shines is the quality
of voice talent. If
you skim to the top of the article the
names Gary Cole and Stephen Colbert
should be
to you. Cole
shows up all
over the place
nowadays, but most notably as Ricky
Bobby’s no show father in Talladega
he is brilliant
as a bit of an
idiot with a lot of bravado i.e. Harvey
Birdman. Colbert is more famous across
the Atlantic than over here but his show
The Colbert Report is incredibly
witty and he brings all of that to
the table as Birdman’s somewhat
hyperactive boss with a ridiculous list of
demands. These two are notable as they
are famous outside of this cartoon but
the quality of the voice acting
is excellent across the board.
It is an interesting
Network undertook when
greenlighting this series. They
are in a situation of taking
their old cartoons, which I
am sure are money-spinners
to this day and parodying
them in a very astute way.
In a lot of cases parody done
very well (which HBAL definitely is)
makes the original almost unwatchable
without referring to the piece that
has lampooned it so fully. A good
example of this belongs to Wes Craven,
where he initially tore to pieces the
teen slasher genre conventions with
Scream just to be butchered by the
original Scary Movie. Luckily this is not
the case for HBAL. It is in a very loving
way that these classic characters are
used, almost making me want to watch
the old cartoons again rather than
analyse their current cultural relevance.
If there is one real complaint I have
about this DVD it’s that I just want more
of Birdman trials and tribulations, this
just isn’t enough! I think it is definitely a
polariser, you will either not get it at all or
wonder why you have never heard of it
before, either way 1 episode is only about
15 minutes. What have you got to lose?
I highly recommend you give it a shot.
Dean Read
dry and riled. A slap-up
for Fight Club cronies...
Given the simplistic, dark and notso-divine qualities of Chuck Palahniuk’s
writing, it was only a matter of time
before a second of the “transgressive”
author’s novels made that proverbial
leap from page to screen. A matter of
time - yes, but an adaptation’s certainly
been a long time coming. Too long in
fact. I mean come on- it’s been 8 novels
and 9 years since David Fincher cast the
pages of Chucky P’s robust debut into
a combustible black satire - reducing
commercialism and consumerism to mere
ashes as viewers looked on in shock and
awe. The result? A stone cold classic, but
of all the books to follow Fight Club onto
film, few could’ve expected Palahniuk’s
reluctantly praised, riotously quaint yarn,
Choke. A seedy, semi-psychotic headscrew
about sex, sons, sex, mothers, sex, love
and scams that’s now, thanks to bit-part
actor-cum-director Clark Gregg, strutting
ominously into cinemas across the UK;
horny as hell, gagging for some action.
Originally penned by Palahniuk back
in 2001, Choke sucks us into the oddball
life of Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell), a
Colonial times reenactor-cum-sex addict
who’s spun a wretched swindle to pay
for his dementia suffering mother’s
hospital care: pick a restaurant at random,
wine there, dine there, then pretend
you’re choking on a hunk of food so
that the patron who “rescues you” will
feel emotionally and, more importantly,
financially responsible for you for the rest
of their life. Hideously shrewd, right? Well
Mancini’s that kind of bloke. Palahniuk’s
that kind of writer, and Choke’s that kind
of film. So if sexually explicit scenes and
dialogue, morally wrong narration, randy
conmen, breast crammed daydreams and
chronic masturbators fail to float your
boat then…oh what the hell- Choke is a
must see as far as this month’s movies are
concerned. After all, it’s not all dicing with
death and decree and sexual compulsion:
elements of intimacy and romance do
surface in this cloudy con/sex pool.
Echoing Fight Club’s depressing sense
of modern life, Choke - at heart - is a
gross, exaggerated and hyper-kinetic
journey through one of the dark and
marginalised veins lining the underbelly
of urban America. Sounds a tad dense
but it’s relatively placid when compared
to the schemes and statements slurred
by Club. Rarely does the film’s squalid
tongue venture too far from its cheek.
Here, Clark Gregg just about captures
both the demeneted nature of the novel
and its author’s recklessly unique voice.
It isn’t pretty, nor is it what you would
call akin to the norm. Choke is an offthe-rail, raw and dirty-minded character
driven comedy interspersed with
outrageous moments that rarely cease to
entertain or amuse, touch or transgress.
As Victor Mancini, Sam Rockwell
defines the archetypal comedy anti-hero:
droll, charming, cynical, but a man of
odd principle. Imagine Austin Powers on
Prozac. Hurled onto the streets of a societysanctioned, institution-shrugging America:
unruly, dense and sneering. The character
fits Rockwell like a glove. Giving the ever
impressing thesp’ his best role since Chuck
Barris in George Clooney’s Confessions of
a Dangerous Mind. He acts up a sardonic
storm in a turn to top the character’s kudos.
Add to Rockwell’s performance those of
the supporting cast (Angelica Huston
as mum Ida, Kelly Macdonald as Nurse
Marshall, Brad Henke as dirty Denny) and
you’ve got yourself a very well acted film.
And the direction? Neat. Clark
Gregg’s coughed up a wryly amusing,
ably structured spin on one of modern
literature’s most repugnant and hilarious
books. There’s no disguising that. He
cuts close to the source material in many
areas but occasionally drifts towards his
own incentives regarding the tale in film
of one character. It’s that simple; every
character in the film is utterly pathetic in
one way or another, and as a result, it makes
the madness that unfolds that much more
hilarious to watch, because there is simply
no empathy you feel for these people.
After the Oscar-winning success of
their last film ‘No Country For Old Men’,
Joel and Ethan Coen effectively could
have just stopped, taken a breather, and
enjoyed glancing at the lil’ golden men on
their mantelpiece for a few years, but here
again we have a star-packed Coen Brothers
movie. In terms of comparison to ‘No
Country...’, ‘Burn After Reading’ continues
the trend of dark, madcap comedies
from the writing and directing siblings,
and once again, their quirkiness, with a
little help from Messers Pitt, Clooney and
Malkovich, creates a quite crazy little movie.
Oswald Cox (Malkovich) works for the
C.I.A. as an analyst – not a high-profile
job there, but one that nevertheless he is
angered to be demoted from. Furious at
the agency, he writes his memoirs, whilst
unbeknownst to him, his ice-cold wife
(Swinton) fools around with sleazeball
Harry Pfarrer (Clooney), an unhappily
married and promiscuous Treasury agent.
Gym trainer Linda Litzke (McDormand),
who wants to drastically change her
appearance, and her colleague, the idiotic
Chad Feldheimer (Pitt), discover a disc
which serves as a catalyst for the five
to come into contact with each other,
and what’s on the disc is nowhere near
as important as the chaos that ensues...
Mere months after ‘No Country...’, the
Coens have managed to rustle up some of
the best actors out there (and some friends
from previous flicks) to make what can
best be described as a dark comedy. Trust
me in saying that watching this movie, you
may find sympathy for the mere minimum
Clooney, Malkovich and McDormand
have the majority of screen-time, and
Malkovich’s short-fuse insanity is used to
great effect throughout. Clooney plays a
parody of the public perception of himself
in Pfarrer - a man who is always in need
of women, and sex, played by one of the
acting world’s most notorious bachelors.
McDormand and Swinton are the two
women presented here, and as with
most Coen movies (‘Fargo’ in particular,
which also starred McDormand), Litzke
is a complete kook, causing massive
ripples in search of a pathetic reward.
Support-wise, Brad Pitt dominates. He’s
not so much stretching his acting talents
as playing an idiot and getting paid for
it, and his character Chad is one of the
highlights of the movie. Everything he
says is totally moronic, and his actions
throughout his and Linda’s machinations
are so ridiculous they serve as further
hilarity (a sequence with a phone call,
followed by a meeting with another
character embodies this idiocy). J.K.
form. This approach worked an absolute
treat for David Fincher and Gregg’s clearly
taken note. His droll cameo tops off a
good all-round job. Sure, the first time
helmer’s no Fincher and Sam Rockwell’s
no Edward Norton but, then again, what
right does any aspect of any movie really
have to compare itself to Club!? Ok, Choke
may feature a forlorn anti-hero who takes
some odd pleasure in attending group
therapy sessions, but to compare the two
in terms of celluloid and social worth and
innovation would be off beam and unjust.
Choke is a stand alone, illicitly moral
and blissfully satirical film that all but
lives up to the quality of Chucky P’s noveleven though Gregg’s attention to detail
and depth he was willing to dive into the
psychology of Mancini was somewhat
shallow. As a fan of the book, this came
as the only real letdown. But I guess this
sort of thing has to be expected when 300
page novels are streamlined into 90 minute
movies. Cutbacks get made. Details get
shaved. Episodes altered. Pages lost. Thus,
Choke’s not a film that lodges hard in the
memory, but one that’s chock full of wit,
grit, raunch and revolt. Just not enough
strength to stifle the worth of the book.
Jack Harding
Simmons (or Juno’s dad to many) manages
to almost steal it away in an appearance as
a C.I.A. boss who is totally mystified by the
events going on around the agency with
this disparate group of people, and he
serves to embody us, the viewers, in his
total bemusement at their antics. Swinton
seems to keep getting these heartless,
icy women roles, but she plays them
so well that she may as well keep it up.
The film is not without fault: I enjoy
many Coen films, but they require a
certain sense of humour, and I don’t want
to encourage people to see a film that
they may not find at all funny. It’s also
very short, and this, along with the all-too
serious little scenes along the way (it is
dark comedy after all, not all laughs), does
make it quite a disjointed and perhaps
rushed effort. Simmons’ character, at the
halfway point of the movie, orders his
colleague to ‘report back to me when it all
makes sense’ - a sentiment that some will
find in the complexities of the plot (though
only some). Regardless, it’s suitably mad
enough for any person looking for a good
laugh, and for fans of the Coen Brothers, it’s
a must-see addition to their filmography.
Will Roszczyk
Beware! Bond is back and more brutal
than ever!
Fuelled by grief and revenge for the
death of his beautiful girlfriend, Vesper
Lynd, Bond’s mission this time around
is more dangerous and more gruelling mentally and physically- than ever. This time
it’s not only duty – it’s personal! His private
revenge fuels the dark plot of Quantum
of Solace which picks up where the 2006
hit, Casino Royal, left off. (I would strongly
recommend viewing Casino Royale first!)
off with an adrenaline
charged Aston Martin chase, the plot is
picked up again in Lake Garda, Italy. The
stunning opening shots of Bond racing to
Siena, with hostage Mr. White in the boot
of his car, render the audience speechless,
captive to the sheer pace, energy, and
suspense of the chase. I guarantee you’ll
be so exhilarated by the time Jack White
and Alicia Keys’ version of ‘Another Way To boat trip to Italy, all by the time Bond’s
Die’ kicks in, that you won’t have realised passports and credit cards are revoked by
you’ve been gripping the seat, barely M. Surely the extent of fast paced action
breathing the entire time. The riveting spanning the globe give this Bond an edge
thrills of the chase do not end there. that action junkies won’t forget in a hurry.
Having safely delivered Mr. White to his
interrogation, the pace surges forwards
This film proves that a new Bond era is
again, as M’s bodyguard reveals himself well and truly underway, with many already
as a traitor and member of Quantum, putting Craig forward as the best iteration
by setting Mr. White free. As the mission in history. Craig’s portrayal of Bond is gritty,
unfolds Bond tallies a remarkable death sexy, and brutal. Whilst this may not appeal
toll, whether in the crowded streets of to more traditional fans, who favour the
Siena or on to Haiti in the Caribbean. By wit and natural charm of Pierce Brosnan, or
the light-hearted stance of Roger Moore, it
seems that Craig’s dark, cold and ironic
portrayal is perhaps more fitting
as creator Ian Fleming
envisa-ged. Perhaps
w h a t
b e .
the time the trail leads to beautiful Bond
girl number 1, Camille Montes (Olga
Kurylenko), 007 has impersonated one of
the baddies, zipped along on a motor bike
and is preparing to commandeer a speed
boat. No one could say that this film fails
to deliver where action is involved. There
is a fast paced and invigorating gun fight
in a restaurant in Austria, a bodyguard
falling from a roof top, and another
demonstrates skill at portraying a man
caught between the dangerous divide
of duty and personal vendetta and his
original portrayal is probably the film’s
best attribute. This Bond works best in
the midst of fast paced, exhilarating
action scenes and in nearly-naked
love scenes with those beautiful girls!
Shot in 6 countries (more than any
other Bond film) we watch as our hero
moves around the globe, staying in
luxurious hotels and liaising with
beautiful women, however it could be
argued that even the Bond girls in this
film seem edgier and grittier than ever.
Beautiful brunette Olga Kurylenko, plays
the part of feisty, Russian-Bolivian born,
Camille Montes - a woman also out for
vengeance. Whilst this livewire initially
clashes with 007 on their first meeting in
the Caribbean, it is safe to say that he
soon wins her round as she discovers
he is the only person she can trust. Freshfaced, English actress Gemma Arterton,
adds another dimension to his romantic
attachments as she plays Strawberry Fields,
a fellow MI6 agent working in Bolivia.
On the other side of the scale to
the stunning girls, Quantum of Solace
also ensures that the bad guys are well
represented through the eccentric villain,
Dominic Greene, a dedicated member of
Quantum. As Greene manages to turn all
closest to our hero against him our interest
is well and truly captured. Whilst the
appearance of Greene may not be all that
frightening, his plans to create a drought,
charging double for water, certainly are!
As one would expect, Quantum
advertises the usual gadgets that
Bond films,
although these might seem less fun and
quirky than some of the gadgets of the
past. The special earpieces concealed
in gift bags, and Bond’s up to date
mobile phone, which sends MI6 photos
of the Quantum members as they flee
an Austrian theatre, ensure that the
gadget box is ticked by any avid fan.
My final comment is this, at times too
much appears to be going on for the
audience to keep up. Perhaps a momentary
loss of concentration during one of the
most action packed scenes would perplex
even the sharpest of viewers. Furthermore,
probably since it is a follow-on, Quantum
seems to lack any real plot and once the
rapid momentum of the first half slows,
the audience see that the only real threat is
an eco-maniac who never truly intimidates
our hero. Attention could begin to slip.
Whilst this film offers unforeseen twists
and is so crammed full of action you
struggle to focus on it all, we never really
doubt the safety of the world and this villain
seems like nothing Bond can’t handle. This
film is worth seeing, although mainly for
Craig’s inspiring interpretation of 007 and
for the simple reason that it is a Bond film.
Gemma Price

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