Home | BLAM | Reviews | Bands | Links | The Gallery | News | Readers' Whines

BLAM February 2006

A word in your ear...

No win, no fee, no way!

It's the semi bi-annual serious editorial………jokes next month as usual

By now you have probably heard lots of rumours about The Forum's fundraising event on 10th and 11th, and 17th and 18th February featuring 15 local bands over two nights. Here's the true story: We are running these two night events to raise money to fight a court case which, in the extremely unlikely event that we were to lose, would have serious consequences for the future of The Forum and potentially beyond this venue and into venues throughout the country.
You may remember that some two years ago we added an additional 50p top every door ticket to try and highlight the spiralling cost of public liability insurance, which currently costs more than £100 for every show and has been rising at an incredible rate every year since we first opened. The cost of the insurance is bad enough, but the real problem is that lots of insurance companies have settled cases "out of court" on behalf of venues and nightclubs, paying relatively small sums out because it is actually cheaper to pay somebody than it is to fight the case, regardless of how stupid their claim might be. What happens then is that the insurance company puts up your premium in the following year at an even higher rate because you are a bad risk. Our public liability in 1993 - £810 a year. Our public liability in 2006 (and this is without any accidents WHATSOEVER) - £9,000 a year. The equivalent rate of inflation on your ticket would mean it would now be £46 to get into The Forum. Fucking incredible isn't it?
But the story doesn't end there. Because now The Forum is being taken to court by a member of the audience who hurt themselves whilst moshing to Raging Speedhorn. I am going to repeat that in block capitals, because some of you are probably thinking that we are making this up: Somebody who went along to a Raging Speedhorn show and flung themselves around to their gentle, rhythmic, soothing sounds wants to get The Forum to pay them because they hurt themselves whilst doing it. The cost of going to court, and you might need a stiff drink at this point because I know I fucking did, will be……£15,000. That's Fifteen Thousand Pounds in lawyer costs to defend the action against us. If we lose (which I repeat seems incredibly unlikely) then we will have to pay damages to this person, probably another £10,000. If we win, we might get back 75% of the money we had to pay in legal costs - although that would only happen if the person who is bringing the action could actually pay, otherwise we will get stiffed for the money in any case. You're probably thinking, hang on, wouldn't it be cheaper to give him the £10,000 and just walk away? Well, yes it would. But if we are serious about staying open then that isn't a choice we can make, because what it would mean if this person won is that every single one of you would lose the right to dance at The Forum, you would lose your right to mosh, to crowd surf, to pogo, to do anything at all in response to the music, in case you sued us afterwards. And potentially it wouldn't just be at The Forum, it would be in every venue throughout the country. The full consequences of us not defending the action are so serious for live music in the UK that we couldn't allow it to go ahead.
More than that, I for one am totally fed up to the back teeth with fucking paperwork, government agendas, licensing law changes, health and fucking safety changes which do FUCK ALL to protect you and keep you safe and plenty to make sure that some fucking suit wearing halfwit who knows fuck all about what we do, what you want, what the music is about, can continue to make more and more money for sitting around on their fat arse dreaming up pointless bits of legal speak and legislation. So, our choice was to roll over and let the insurance companies and "no win no fee" law companies fuck us and you repeatedly up the arse, or to make a stand and say that enough is enough and this is fucking ridiculous and we're not putting up with it any more.
If you want to join us in trying to keep your right to have a party then turn up on the forthcoming two weekenders and support the local bands who have already signed up to support the cause. Let's all get together and tell Satan's little helpers where they can stick their views on live music.

Please, we need your support, don't just sit around hoping somebody else will do it for you.


Blam is owned and produced by The Forum. We are poor starving musicians and artists who don't even have a garret so there is very little point in coming after us for money just because we accused you of being a donkey basher, but if you are really intent on litigation, then you sue us via

The Forum, Fonthill, The Common, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8YU

But nine times out of ten I wouldn't bother because our lawyers, Shyster, Rippemhoff & Felch are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. We would like to apologise to those of you who were looking forward to the usual round of dick and clit related jokes in this month's editorial. Here's one: What do you call a bloke who thinks he should get money for moshing too hard at a Raging Speedhorn show? Your answers on a postcard.


Comedy Forum

Thursday 2nd

Tunbridge Wells' original AND best value for money comedy club is held the first Thursday of every month.

FOUR TOP CLASS ACTS, THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EVERY MONTH, ONLY FIVE POUNDS,
NEW LUXURIOUS TOILET FACILITIES.

For the past 5 years, on the first Thursday of every month, the Forum has played host tofour top acts from the stand-up comedy circuit. Acts that have gone on to become staples of Channel 4 (and Ceebeebies!) include; JIMMY CARR, ROB ROUSE, NINA CONTI, ELECTRIC (Big Cook, Little Cook) FORECAST and MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE. Here's your chance to see the stars of comedy before they start presenting rubbish 'Top 100 Drain Hole Covers in Southborough' stylee programmes.

A star in the making’ Metro Magazine 2002

At the age of 15, CHRISTIAN REILLY joined a band to get laid. The Boys’ Brigade had different ideas…As former integral part of the Perrier award-winning show Otis Lee Crenshaw and the Black Liars, with comic/songster Rich Hall, Christian’s career has taken him around the world three times. On his way, he received accolades at international festivals and numerous network TV credits in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Britain.
Now a solo stand-up performer and playing all the major comedy venues in his own right, Christian uses his dynamic guitar and vocal skills to target histrionic rock bands, musical theatre and morose indie musicians. You can also hear him soon on comedy Radio 2 series That Was Then This Is Now with Richard Herring and Emma Kennedy.
‘his stand-up is witty and heaving with punchlines…will win over all but the hardest hearts and minds.’ Chortle
"This genuine, trendy, confident comedian has a natural talent for risky jokes, song and quips which you can’t help laughing at! If you get the chance to see Reilly live, do so. He is not to be missed!" Funny.co.uk

ANDREW O'NEILL isn't your usual stand-up comedian. Yes, he tells jokes. Yes, he makes you laugh.
But whether he's demonstrating exactly how Bargain Hunt would beat the Antiques Roadshow in a Mortal Kombat-style showdown, or getting more serious with his deeply-held political beliefs, he's an engaging performer and a thought-provoking comic. Andrew is a self-confessed and proud anarchist (it's all about freedom of association and fighting repressive power systems), vegan (it's all about the unnecessary use and exploitation of animals) and tranvestite (it's down to the wiring in his brain) - all of which comes through in his stand-up.
Also appearing tonight will be ROSS ASHCROFT, with MC GLYN RICHARDS providing the comedy glue for the three fantastic acts tonight.



Friday 3rd

Unreconstructed 70s rock with beer, fags, birds,and more beer (and porn star moustaches) TOKYO DRAGONS are a Watneys Red Barrel perfumed The Darkness, but with out the thin falsetto of Mr Hawkins. Great tongue in cheek stuff - just see the video for 'Come On Baby (released 6th Feb) on their website. Coming over like vampire driven ideas that Lord Ozzy would have rejected as being too daft. Its pub-rock last heard in the the Ruskin Arms back in '79.!


HOWLING BELLS
saturday 4th

"The sound of PJ Harvey hitching a ride with the Velvet Underground through Twin Peaks." NME
HOWLING BELLS have got it all. They’ve got the looks, they’ve got the style, they’ve got the swagger... and most of all, they’ve got the tunes. Their debut self-titled album was recorded with renowned Coldplay producer Ken Nelson and is a truly intoxicating collection of tracks; lurching from blues-fuelled rock to country-folk lamentations. This is sure to be THE debut album of 2006.
HOWLING BELLS possess a sound reminiscent of another town, another time. They'll take you to a place far eerier than Twin Peaks. They'll spirit you to the abandoned Old West, to a town shrouded in snowfall, illuminated by campfire. In this town the beguiling melodies of this five-piece will reel and roll about your head like desire and anticipation - the twin themes of their forthcoming debut album.
Just as vocalist Juanita Stein's silky and sultry voice effortlessly traverses bouts of sudden calm, creeping rage and perfect pop, so too does their music. Lurching from blues-fuelled rock to country-folk lamentations, the buzzsaw melancholy of "Velvet Girl" and the barbed longing of "I'll Wait" are pitted against the unadulterated garage blues of "Low Happening" and the saloon-swagger of "Broken Bones." Then there's "The Bell Hit" - a song in possession of a carousing chorus within a simple yet poetic refrain. Of all these songs, one thing rings true - the Howling Bells will haunt and return to you.


The Young Knives
Sunday 19th

"The Young Knives are the most exciting thing to come out of Ashby de la Zouch since KP Crisps - and they're my hot tip for 2006" - The Guardian

Three-vox trio The Young Knives are your choice henchman of gritty pop disorder. Clad in tweed suits, boasting a band-member christened The House Of Lords and writing the finest punk-art-pop-eccentro anthems you've yet to register amidst your psyche, they're 2005's latest, hankering obsession-to-be.
Hailing from Oxfordshire and featuring brothers Henry (lead-guitar) and The Lords (bass), plus Skewie (drums), the band have carved local and minor national ripples over the past few years for a small succession of handsomely penned EPs and mini-releases, yet are now going at it all-guns-a-blazin'. Just check out the choreography for the video of 'Weekends and Bleakdays' on www.theyoungknives.com. Priceless.
Being produced by Gang Of Four's Andy Gill (also the production-head behind Killing Joke, The Futureheads and early Chili Peppers) helps, as does a diary packed with imminent (and recently aired) performances alongside fellow upstart hopes for the year impending - namely, Maximo Park, The Immediate, Tom Vek, Editors and Youth Movie Soundtrack Strategies. And then there's the tunes. Of which, 'Weekdays & Bleakdays' has already become a cult web-hit, after having been included on the recent Queens Of Noize 'Best of 2005' iTunes release. Not so much 'nifty' as 'revelatory'. Would we lie to you?


The Research
+ Piney Gir
Thursday 23rd

At first sight, EMI signing a band like the Research seems a bit like AC Milan taking on a player from a pub team. The label is associated with the Beatles, Coldplay and lavish orchestration. The Research hail from Wakefield, use a two-piece drum kit and a £9 keyboard which singer Russell Searle - who, ominously for EMI, uses the nickname "the Disaster" - balances on his knee.
When they first crank up, Sarah Williams's drums sound like the bashing of biscuit-tin lids and Georgia Lashbrook's bass doesn't seem to be plugged in. The Disaster wears a peaked cap with badges all over it and hair sticking out. He sings in an American accent and comes over a bit Woody Allen.
Together it all sounds either like Jilted John fronting the Ronettes or as if Brian Wilson had formed the Beach Boys in a junk shop, but once you get your head around that, this is a decidedly good thing. EMI have taken a risk taking on a band like this but have undoubtedly recognised that beneath the low-rent instrumentation lurk some killer songs. The Research pen melodies that would grace Steely Dan or Motown but the fact that they choose to deliver them in an almost Toytown way becomes part of the charm. "What on earth was that?" chuckles someone as the Disaster wrings out a keyboard solo that sounds like Telstar played on a squeaky toy.
The music's grin quotient shrouds the melancholy and bite in the Disaster's words about "heartless cows", disastrous romances and dead-end northern towns. It's not unfeasible to imagine the sublime Lonely Hearts Still Beat the Same becoming a massive and only slightly novelty hit, which would allow the Research all manner of indulgences, like a keyboard stand.

When she was just a little girl she asked her mother what would she be? Would she be famous, would she be rich? Famous, yes. Rich, possibly. The writer of a stunning debut album, most definitely. 'Peakahokahoo' is out now in all good shops!
PINEY GIR lives in London, England but grew up in Kansas City USA in a Pentecostal Christian household. During her childhood Piney developed a vivid and playful imagination while receiving a formal education in music, untouched by the temptations of sinful secular pop. In her late teens Piney broke from the past and discovered the music of the masses with huge delight and a completely personal perspective. This unique mixture of experience has shaped and defined her music.
Piney’s rich, beautiful vocals are as refined and smooth as a roll of silk but can give way at any time to frenzied yelps of discontent. Her sound is often fractured and mysterious but always touched by a sly sense of fun.
Piney Gir is an enchantress, virtuoso and extraordinary new talent. Live she is an audiovisual delight with a wardrobe of wonder displaying a talent born to outshine the spotlight directed at her.
" I can't wait for the day when people no longer feel the need to say 'female vocalist' or 'girl band'. Why does gender have to come into it, almost like separate genre? We're not there yet and until we are, there is cause to write about being a girl, I think."
So there you have it, not one but two bands with a female vocalist in one night!


The Modern
Friday 24th

The Modern bask in a sexy, synthetic and forward-thinking space. Obsessed with glamour, theatricality, synthesizers and style, they're pure pop with brains and balls, electroclash with warmth and tunes, with a sharp New Wave edge that makes them appealing to rubber-clad Goths, New Cross indie scenesters and unashamed pop kids alike.
Their music moves from luxurious plastic symphonies like 'Goodbye Means Forever' through the seductive filter disco of 'Tokyo Girls' to the twilit grit and glitter of 'Suburban Culture' and back again without ever losing sight of the melody or being more than seconds away from a great chorus.
As extravagant as The Darkness, as flamboyant as Scissor Sisters, The Modern are about low life and high drama, rainy streets and lost weekends, packed nightclubs and empty cinemas. "We are an antidote to pub rock."
The Modern consist of:Nathan Cooper and Chi Tudor-Hart (both vocals and electronics),Emma Cooke (an East London-born actor whose CV includes roles in 'Miss Marple', 'Sex, Chips And Rock 'n' Roll' and an 'EastEnders' special where she played the young Pat Butcher) on vocals, Bob Malkowski (drums) and Robert James, a formerly Britpop-obsessed guitarist (and eyepatch-wearing "indie pirate") who gives The Modern their gritty bite.
After working on some songs and playing a "really scary" dance music festival, The Modern decided that, to get signed, they would need a gimmick. "The idea was to get an open-backed lorry, set everything up and do a circus performance with us playing, driving past all the major record labels," remembers Emma. "Then we found out that bloody Status Quo had done the same thing! So the day we were going to do it we played Filthy McNasty's instead." The performance at the famous North London pub was enlivened by a ballet dancer friend of theirs dancing onstage in a gimp constume, having dashed from Sadlers Wells round the corner where he was performing in 'The Nutcracker'. It convinced The Modern that they were onto something. "We'd gone into dance music thinking maybe this was a foot into the industry," says Nathan, "but the instant we started doing the music we loved, more electroclash stuff, the response showed us straight away that that was much more where it was at." Since then, The Modern have written prolifically and played everywhere from gothic club Electrowerkz, where they converted, as described by Emma, "a dark, damp room full of people in black rubber with their bum cheeks out to indie scene stalwarts like The George Tavern, East London and the Paradise Bar in New Cross. With their reel-to-reel tape player, Blake's Seven-style stage setting and projections, filmed by the band themselves, it's clear before they've even played a note that The Modern's ambitions stretch far beyond most bands'. "I always feel that being onstage is a privilege, not a right,"(hear hear! - Lanky Fop) explains Bob Malkowski. "I think it's very important to go into another character onstage. I often joke that when I get behind the kit I'm not Bob anymore, I'm Voltage Max."
"We don't want to follow the traditional rock band conventions," explains Chi. "We like to follow the rules of theatre, and we like to dress up and put on a show."

However, the breadth and extreme enthusiasm of The Modern's ever growing audience is ultimately down to the music, which blends anthemic pop with post-punk intelligence in a way not achieved so successfully since the early Eighties. "People are finally seeing how influential bands like The Cure, XTC and Joy Division were, bands that were guitar driven but were also pop," says Nathan. "We want to combine the electroclash, synth pop, edgy guitar image and production values with pop songs that people latch onto. In the Eighties, pop was interesting. The Cure appealed to angsty teenagers but they could also be on the cover of Smash Hits. There just isn't that kind of crossover band any more. You've got pop which is for seven year old kids and you've got indie and there's nothing that bridges that gap. Our music can be enjoyed by a large spectrum of people, it's not just aimed at 'cool' people. I reckon we could cross every boundary. Anyone can like it because of the songs."



Saturday 25th

Watch out Muse, be careful Radiohead there's a new band in town and they're hot on your prog rocking heels. THE CONWAY STORY deal out the same kind of emotionally wracked and melodramatic rock shapes, and judging by their latest single Photogenic - do it with a whole lot more style, grace and vigour.
Photogenic is awash with punishing guitar riffs, shotgun drum snaps and overblown rock pretensions. Frontman Nik Owens singing with all the passion and dramatic poise of a glam rock superstar, think Robert Smith, David Bowie and Brett Anderson shoved in a blender and mixed by Freddie Mercury. A breakneck combination of the sublime, the majestic and the overblown - if Photogenic doesn't have you leaping across the room, cranking up the volume and pulling ridiculous air guitar moves then go home now, you're time is up.

The Conway Story are Nik Owens (vocals/guitar), Jimmy Kerr (guitar), Russ Dyer (bass) Lenin Alegria (drums) and Nicholas Hirst (keys).
They have been together with the current line-up since the start of 2004, hailing from various parts of the world. Vocalist and guitarist Nik Owens and keys player Nicholas Hirst are UK- grown talent, currently based in London. Guitarist Jimmy Kerr developed his skills playing rock and blues in California, Russ Dyer spent several years playing bass in Spain while Lenin Alegria first picked up drumsticks in his native Chile

Spending most of last year travelling the country on their debut UK tour supporting the likes of Hard-Fi and The Glitterati. They received great single and live reviews, and have been described by the press as "the love child of the Smashing Pumpkins and Jonny Borrell from Razorlight". They have also received radio play from XFM, Radio 1 regional sessions, Total Rock and Kerrang Radio.


The Laurel Collective
Sunday 26th

The Laurel Collective are 6 nice, affable young bachelors and two sick,ultraviolent delinquents who play a simmering stew of musical inflences. Like so many good things in life they were once bedroom based. They started with a bunch of sampled cut ups and turned them into a live set with eight musicians, as well as writing most of their own material.* Since then they have been writing songs about declarations of love written in the snow by a flowing johnson. Singers Bob and Martin then paste on their voices and lyrics about fishing with Grenades and lassoing the moon. Because, quite simply,when they heard Slint they wanted to sound like Slint, when they heard Beck they wanted to be like Beck, and when they heard Ween they wanted to be like Ween. Then they realised that whatever they did, they could only make it their own. Out of this frustration they just set up and thought if it sounds good just go with it.


The Stable

Yet another vicious month of backbiting, infighting, jiggery pokery and scores on the doors awaits you through the Forum portal with our once a week event featuring the best in new local bands all vying for a place in one of The Stable's Grand Finals and compilations. Leaders of the table at the moment are still OffLimit with 156 fan points, with Hellbound Fury (148) The Space Parade (147) Kappa Mandate (138) Afflicted Quarter (120) and De Carabas (106) filling the other top slots. Special mention must go to The Crayons for amassing 15 points, but I promised the lads not to mention this!


Mon 6th
EXUS . FALL TO FICTION . LATE NIGHT RADIO

eXus have drawn their influences from many different genres from hardcore to hip hop and have come up with their own genre entitled Junkrock. They hail from Burwash Common, and their website www.exuspunk.tk appears to be permanently offline.But they look a right posse of Jack the Biscuits intheir kipper tie combo. I don't think I've ever heard a tie-clad band I didn't like.FALL TO FICTION are: George (The Balls), Mark (Herby), Will (The Shaft), Simon (The Twig), Ryan (Flash). They describe their sound as Emo / Post Hardcore / Pop Punk/Funk/Jazz (what? can they do 'When the Saints go marching home' 5 piece from Heathfield and Herstmonceux areas.Sounding similar to Brand New, Hundred Reasons, The Used, and James Brown...!? Many of the riffs and lyrics have been inspired by bands and artists such as Jason Mraz, Thrice, Finch, UnderOATH etc. LATE NIGHT RADIO ww.myspace.com/latenightradio have a great pop punk sound complete with American accents. Judging by their photo, they have a cameo role inthe forthcoming Pirates of the Caribbean sequel - the Curse of McFly. All jolly good exciting sounding stuff - check 'em out.

Mon 13th
DYSURIA . FLEEING FROM FINALES . THE VITAMIN FRIENDS
Fleeing from Finales consist of: Lead Vocals & Ivories: Sam Little, Guitar: Dan Fuller
Guitar, Electrics and Backing Voakes: Sam Shwalbe, Bass: Tom Petty, Drums: Tim Moller
and list their influeneces as: Mae, Something Corporate, The All-American Rejects, Ben Folds, The Rocket Summer. Relative newcomer Sam, has a fine set of pipes. Listen to 'em at www.myspace.com/fleeingfromfinales, which also features a rather Cars-alike synth sound on the track 'An emotional summer'. THE VITAMIN FRIENDS appear to be in their own words,
" ... the laziest, shittest band in the world...", who prefer a couple holes on the links to recruiting a drummer. Let's hope they're more successful with skinbashing duties than lowering their handicaps.

Mon 20th
ELEVEN DAYS AGO . IMPERIUM . STOWAWAY STERLING
IMPERIUM used to be known as AURORA and have recruited a new bassist, one Joel (see picture) , a Forum messageboard warrior. (Rumours that it may soon be changing again to Park Avenue would appear to be unsubstantiated - Peter Kay fan Ed). Imperium were recently awarded 1st place in West Kent Battle Of The Bands, and also picked up Best Guitarist and Vocalist awards for the night. Think Evanescence and Dream Theater.

Mon 27th
9-VOLT . INTO ASHES
9 Volt are fromCrowborough, and feature the Forum bar support, Mr Christopher Hoad, the man with the Land Rover featuring 'If the Landy's rockin' - don't come knockin'" written in 15 years of grime on the rear window.A popular act, even with the curmudgeonly Mr Mills of this parish who wrote, "9 Volt could make the hardest cynic swell with pride. they're an old fashioned no-bullshit band, working the old fashioned no bullshit way. There's something precious, almost exquisitely enchanting about 9 Volt, mixing the traditional magic of good time heavy rock with the innovative demands of a nu-generation of guitar-hungry whorehounds" - blimey, I think he's in lurve! INTO ASHES were formed in the Autumn term of 2004 at Reading college when guitarist (Chris G) and bass player (John A) found a common interest in their love of Alexisonfire. The introduction of Chris Wayne (drummer extrodinaire) completed the instrumental line-up of 'Into Ashes'. In order to complete the band, (sorry, where was I, I think I drifted off there - Ed) a suiting vocal style was needed. Several drinks and a good hangover later, Mark signed up for the job and was welcomed by all the band.
NB. This show has been re-scheduled from last month, where 9-Volt were found to be suffering from a drummer deficiency, Into Ashes (Gawd Bless 'em) turned up, and another band who shall remain nameless ((not In so far then? - Ed) had a major outbreak of Inconsideratitis and decided they just couldn't be arsed to turn up and not bother telling anyone about it


Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan

Kameraki . Plain Hamish . Fracture
Mon, 16th January 06


Just in case you're wondering, it's pronounced 'kamma racky' and is Finnish for 'camera', so remember that for your next pub quiz. You'd think that with a name like that, there'd be a clever or vaguely interesting twist about it, like a foreign obscenity, or Manga figure, but sadly not. Maybe such things are considered unseemly over in Uckfield, I dunno. They're all odd down there.
That aside, these free-spirited, loose sounding prog metallers of the Dream Theatre persuasion at least know a good ditty when they borrow one. Kameraki make flexible, noble melodic rock, with lots of grunting guitars and fiddly-widdly bits, somewhat strained vox, and despite their teenage angst, manage an air of practiced seriousness effectively enough. Hardly earth-shattering or forward-thinking stuff by any means, but certainly genially presented and sufficiently cute to make you approve without craving additional stimulus for the most part.
Kameraki do tend to trip over themselves now and again though, believing complexity equals impressiveness, and it's briefly frustrating as they dampen their impact by overdoing it beyond their capabilities. This is particularly evident when drummer Nick Roberts sticks in lots of wanky fills to make himself feel important, and the whole shebang turns raggedy-arsed instead of the clean and expressive sound that they achieve otherwise. The somewhat Incubusy "Daemons" is perhaps the most striking example of what happens when they stop such nonsense and hit upon a decent balance, so it's clear that there's a goodly amount of potential there, even if it is a bit trite and ordinary right now.
Plain Hamish are quite extraordinary. This has to be the design of some clever fellow, surely? There can't be many bands out there with the foresight and initiative to deliberately ensure the absence of a single redeeming feature. It takes uncommon effort to be this bad. Hold on, what was that? It's not deliberate? But it must be. Why else would they be so utterly ghastly, and actually get worse at each gig rather than better? Oh dear, you're kidding me. Well bugger me with something knobbly, there was I thinking that trying to sound like the house band in everyone's own personal Hell was all a big practical joke.
Something sounding vaguely like "Molly's Chambers" kicks things off, but whatever else it might be, it's also sloppy, directionless, out of tune, out of time, and mortifyingly dull. From then on, it's downhill so rapidly and steeply, it takes a full 20 minutes to hit the bottom and die with a splat. Crippled by their own cackhandedness, they wail and widdle away in no discernibly coherent fashion, trying to figure out what on earth to do. Is it a song, or is it a jam? Neither, it's just a shocking din, and when they exhaust this in favour of formally 'jamming', there's absolutely no difference. The spectrum of their repertoire, from stoner garage to fucked funk, contains no ideas, or even ideals to aim for; just a random, vulgar, pointless waste of time and electricity, to which a loop tape of Lo Odio is infinitely preferable.
Unpleasant and at times quite revolting to experience, Plain Hamish can make you feel physically ill. Not visually, as they're hardly gremlins, but because their noise is so spectacularly ugly and foul; a crass, nauseating, structureless mess, from their inability to listen to each other, to the asinine whine of whatever passes for vocals. Their frontman/guitarist has a powerful instrument in his throat, but has no idea how to use it, squawking away into the microphone as tunelessly and cluelessly as a toddler playing with a penny whistle, and it's just as tempting to batter him with it. Sure, I doubt Plain Hamish are in for the long haul and probably don't give a toss as being a band is clearly just something to do for a giggle, but there comes a point when they have to realise that people who come to see new bands aren't all in on the gag.
To suddenly have such diabolical awfulness inflicted unexpectedly is about as welcome an experience as pulling on your trousers in the morning to find that somebody else has shat in them for a laugh.
"We don't really care whether you vote for us or not!" they admit at the end, which begs the question of why they bothered at all. Though on the plus side, tonight's votes make them victorious, so with luck and loyalty behind them, perhaps they can improve, but not without wiping the slate and starting from scratch with little things like rehearsals and tunes, because at the moment, Plain Hamish are plain shite. Or maybe it's a joke after all and I just don't get it.
Now this is more like it. Eastbourne indie quintet and Myspace heroes Fracture are like someone suddenly turning up the heating, filtering the atmosphere and making it smell invigoratingly ozone-fresh, all over again. Blimey, its fantastic when that happens isn't it? When everything's shit, life's gone tits-up, you begin to engender poisonous self-loathing, and then something you weren't expecting to happen comes along making you realise how damn fantastic things are after all. We live in a beautiful world, yeah we do, yeah we do. Call it karma if you like, and debate whether it happens for a reason if you want to; it's your life and you live it as you please. Personally, I take my pleasure where and when I find it, trying not to think of the whys and hows. Thankful, occasionally, for the existence of things like loved ones, sunsets, Urban Hymns and Morrissey, but content to just enjoy good things while my troubled heart still beats. Fracture are one of those things, if only for me, if only for the next 20 minutes or so.
It doesn't matter if they only appear so good because the previous band were so awful. The fact is, right now they make music that's inspiring and welcoming. Hastily welded together like some cut 'n' shut deathtrap from bits of Editors, CTC, The Music and The Boxer Rebellion, they're not a new style beast, and the cynics might guffaw, but they're exhilarating to ride and that's what matters. Sometimes, that's the only thing that does matter. Right here, right now, they're a magnificent, huge-sounding, crunchy slice of embryonic Britpop that swoops, soars, hums and thumbs it's nose just the way you want it to, with songs that'll tear your heart out and feed it to next-door's cat. Try the languid sweaty decadence of "Some Say" or the instantly familiar sounding "The People", with it's infectious keyboard line, if you want hooks and melodies that pull you towards them like the smell of McDonalds to a hungry chav.
Green and fresh they might be, but Fracture know about presentation and flamboyance as instinctively as a whore knows about cock. Hell, they even look the part without having to try. Scruffy louts, with phlegm in their throats and nicotine stains on their grubby fingers, they pose laconically, while sneering scallified frontman Nick Webb gives it his best Liam/Ian, just daring you to deny his absolute cool. And you can't, that's the beauty of it. He doesn't need an 'ironic' tambourine either.
Fracture are still a little too hesitant to burst forth in all their swaggering splendour and while they're searching for something uniquely theirs, this is a good thing. They're not good enough to start demanding that we suck their dicks just yet, but give them a year and you might very well volunteer. Form an orderly queue.


We always like to hear from new contributors, new bands, new people, people who hate swearing, big ones, small ones, some as big as your head.Because believe you me, it's a right hard slog making up all the lies, half-truths and general bollox that we lovingly/laughingly call BLAM. So If you've recently been moved to tears by the sight of a '74 Rickenbacker 4001, plugged through a Big Muff, whilst being lovingly caressed by a young gunslinger who knows his middle eights from a 'truckers gear shift' then please get in touch. Preferably with a local drugs helpline, in the meantime do not operate any heavy machinery.
You can write to us at

The Forum, Fonthill, The Common,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8YU
Or call the Information line on 08712 777101

We also have a website where you can find out all about what's on, and laugh at the photos of the damp mattressed fainthearts that 'work' here. That's at

www.twforum.co.uk
You can also email us, so do that to:
twforum@globalnet.co.uk

On the website you can book tickets, find out what's coming up, get a map, get a life, identify which ne'er-do-wells have trodden the boards at the ol' shitter, check out our interactive gaming section, or go on our messageboard and start arguing whether we include too many Appalachian Nose-Flute nights in our gig programming. In fact, we beseech, nay implore you to do any of the above which would make a change from downloading hardcore 'chicks with dicks' jpgs as you'd normally do.
Please note that as well as being able to reserve tickets for all Forum shows online, tickets are also available to be purchased from the following retail outlets:
The Longplayer, 3 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells 01892 539273
Criminal Records, 6 Goods Station Road, Tunbridge Wells 01892 511776


++++++coming soon++++++

COMEDY FORUM - Thur 2nd March
THE VIOLETS - Thur 9th March
CYRANO . DE CARABAS . AMANACER- Sat 11th March
MISTY'S BIG ADVENTURE - Sat 18th March
COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS - Fri 24th March
ADEQUATE 7 - Sat 25th March
BREED 77 - Sat 1st April
MC LARS - Fri 14th April


Lifted (with permission) from the February edition of BLAM! - All queries regarding libel actions should be directed to them


TOP