Gig Review :: ‘Twas The Night Before Wembley – Camden Barfly – 12/04/12

© Katie Gedling 2012

“This is the place that was going to hold five awesome acts and two-hundred Xtra Mile loyalists?”

Twas the night before Wembley and…something, something, something. I was going to try and be really clever and come up with alternative words to that classic poem to introduce this review, but I tried and it really wasn’t good. On the contrary, Twas The Night Before Wembley was pretty awesome, and a perfect way to pre-empt what is bound to go down as one of the best gigs of the year.

This was my first Barfly experience, so to say I was surprised to see the size of the place is an understatement. I mean I didn’t expect it to be huge, but this place looked like any other pub. This is the place that was going to hold five awesome acts and two-hundred Xtra Mile loyalists? We were certainly in for an intimate show then! Doors opened and the crowd flooded in, the room a’buzz with talk of who the special guest might be.

Shortly after, Ben Marwood kicked the night off and was met with a rapturous applause. Having toured with Frank Turner last year, the crowd certainly knew who Ben was, and the singalongs began immediately. Fan favourite, ‘Singalong’ seemed to go down the best, with the entire room in fine voice for Marwood’s irony-filled anthem. ‘Tell Avril Lavigne I Never Wanted To Be Her Stupid Boyfriend Anyway’ was also met with a brilliant response, but maybe that’s what you get when you throw the chorus to ‘Sk8r Boi’ into the middle of your song? He said that’d be the last time he did that…somehow I don’t think it will be.

Marwood left the stage and the crowd was suitably warmed up when Jamie Lenman announced that Dave Hause would be up next. The former Reuben frontman was a perfect master of ceremonies, cracking jokes and seemingly having a good time. Though I couldn’t help wonder how many of those crammed into the Barfly even knew who he was besides “that bloke with the tache who’s got a suit on” (yes, that’s a direct quote).

Having flown into London just a few hours before, a jetlagged-looking Dave Hause was up next. The Loved Ones frontman played a blinder, though it felt like many in the room didn’t know who he was. The majority of his set was taken from Resolutions and the crowd seemed into it, with a fair few singing along. He even threw a ‘Pretty Good Year’ – a Loved Ones song – into the mix, but even those who were singing along before didn’t seem to know what it was. So that was a shame, but Dave himself was awesome as always and in good spirits. He took time out to joke with one member of the audience, though I don’t know if they quite got it.

Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun soon followed. Hot on the heels of their new record, it seemed like the crowd was a little more into it. Hearing songs from Death in a live environment was amazing, and really helped to solidify how far that band has come since their last release. A few songs from Atlases made it into the set, and it was great to hear how well they worked in conjunction with those new tracks. They played hard and may have even won over the few that had not yet been subjected to the Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun experience.

Like I said, there was all this talk of a special guest playing the Barfly that night, and it seemed many had decided that this guest would be Frank Turner. Granted, that’s a valid assumption to make. After all, he is Xtra Mile’s biggest act. However, when you look at it logically, Turner playing a set at The Barfly was pretty unlikely given the importance of what he was due to undertake in less than twenty-four hours time. So when it was revealed that Billy Bragg was the special guest, more than a few in attendance headed for the door.

Even with a drop in attendees the room was still packed when ‘Uncle Bill’ started playing. The set was comprised mostly of hits, with ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun’ being the only new track played the whole set. This is what people want though, and Billy knows that. ‘To Have And To Have Not’ was a definite highlight of the set, but you can’t beat ‘A New England’ when it comes to awesome set closers. The crowd shouted for an encore, and an encore we got. Bragg returned to the stage with a guest of his own. Unsurprisingly Mr Turner was in attendance, so the two of them belted out a cover of Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are A Changing’, something that sent those who’d headed elsewhere in disappointment charging into the room.

Four down and one to go. So far the night had been a massive success, now it was time for Crazy Arm. As a massive fan of these guys I know they can tear the roof off a venue like The Barfly with ease. And they did. But like Dave Hause’s set, it seemed the crowd really wasn’t into it. After a night of folk punk and acoustic tunes, many seemed to think Crazy Arm were a little too much. The atmosphere was less intense, but the band were not. They were as tight as ever and absolutely killed it. It was nice to hear ‘Little Boats’ being thrown into the set again after a long absence and some of their older songs sound amazing with the additional instrumentation. The band closed the set with a cover of Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’. And though it seemed to get the crowd going a bit, the intensity of a Crazy Arm headline show just wasn’t there.

With that I headed back downstairs, unable to speak having completely blown my voice out shouting along with Crazy Arm. All in all it was a great night, and a fantastic way for Xtra Mile to showcase the talent they have on their label. I couldn’t think of a better way to prepare for Wembley either.

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #34: “Barack Obama’s Wife Looks Like A White Lesbian”

“There are four rules with women…” – Ian Critchley

So…we were in The Garratt to record the show and Ellen Degeneres was on the TV above us doing push ups with Michelle Obama. This is where that title comes from and that’s all we’re going to say on the matter!

So this episode of Under The Bridge is the most inane and offensive episode we’ve ever done. It doesn’t even have anything to do with music really. Honestly, we went in without show notes and flew by the seat of our pants. There was a group of people eating food on the table across from us and, yes, we carried on these conversations. No, we weren’t drinking. Maybe we should drink more, because stuff like this wouldn’t happen.

So we talked about nothing and got a passing guest in the form of, Well Wisher’s, Mike Cahill. Barry also passed through, but didn’t really do much, and Lewis Bolland makes his triumphant return. We also have new music from Lucero, Cheap Girls and Ben Marwood.

If you want to email us questions and/or ‘contructive’ criticism direct your answers here – utbcast [at] gmail [dot] com.

UTB #34: “Barack Obama’s Wife Looks Like A White Lesbian”

Album Of The Year 2011 :: Oxygen Thief’s Top 5(-ish)

The idea that there’s a one true ‘album of the year’ is a pretty misguided one. With that in mind, we’ve tried to offer up a series of recommendations from both the Moon & Back Music staff, and from a few notable names from the world of music.

Oxygen Thief (a.k.a. Barry Dolan) plays, metal-tinged, acoustic music that I like to describe as “something along the lines of acoustic Reuben”. Anyway, he released a fantastic album – Destroy It Yourself – earlier this year and now he’s here to tell you what his favourite records of 2011 are.


5. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake.

I haven’t actually listened to this that much, but it sounded awesome when I listened to it and hopefully me putting it in this list will remind me to put it on more often. Mercury Prize winner too, ace.

4. Shapes – Monotony Chic.

Like a British version of Glassjaw, all angles and shouting and RARRR but with bits of The Smiths in there as well at times.

3. Johnny Foreigner – Johnny Foreigner vs Everything.

In which Britain’s very best indie-rock band make something so good even the slow songs are brilliant. And I hate slow songs.

2. Mastodon – The Hunter.

RIFFS. WOARRRGH! Prog! FACE-SMASH! Everything you’d want from a Mastodon album & then some. Unless you want endless repeats of Leviathan in which case you are fail my friend.

1. Young Legionnaire – Crisis Works.

Side project from Yourcodenameismilo frontman, Bloc Party bassist, and a drummer. Riff-heavy, soaked in melody, and brilliantly innovative.

0. Oxygen Thief – Destroy It Yourself.

Don’t know if putting it at zero-th place means it’s better than all of these (hint: it’s obviously not). I certainly own more copies of it than any other album I’ve purchased this year, so in terms of quantity-currently-residing-in-my-house it certainly wins. I’m very proud of it though, so would like to give it a cheeky mention.

Honorable Mention:

Ben Marwood – Outside There’s A Curse

A) it’s great and B) that album has led to a lot of fun touring times with the man himself. So check that out too.

Album Of The Year 2011 :: Cara Moore’s Top 5

The idea that there’s a one true ‘album of the year’ is a pretty misguided one. With that in mind, we’ve tried to offer up a series of recommendations from both the Moon & Back Music staff, and from a few notable names from the world of music.
Today it’s the turn of, Moon & Back contributor (and our favourite American!) Cara Moore.


1. Dave Hause – Resolutions

I saw Dave with this album at the beginning of the year, and Twitter promotion is to thank for that. I dragged a along a group of friends to Kentucky to see him, and we all left massive fans. He let me buy his album for $9 because I tried to pay the last dollar in quarters. I doubt more than two weeks passed this year without me listening to this album. ‘Prague’ and ‘C’mon Kid’ are personal favorites.

The rest fall in no order but definitely were defining albums of 2011 for me:

Laura Stevenson And The Cans – Sit Resist

This album really blew me away. I can’t thank Fake Problems(knew they’d find a way in here!) enough for exposing them to me. This is again a choicenthat was greatly influenced by seeing them live. The lyrics are just so honest and I love the variation of instruments used. Every single sound compliments Laura’s unique voice.

The Horrible Crowes – Elsie

Anyone who knows me knows this is a given on my list. I was really happy with how Elsie turned out, mostly because it wasn’t The Gaslight Anthem like critics predicted. I had the opportunity to see one of the two US shows and it was amazing. This album just moves. There are sad songs and soft songs and powerful songs. Fallon has amazing vocal range and Ian’s ability to come through and play so dynamically as a complimentor, taking background or really blowing it out and commanding is genius and really completes the album.

Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours

I’m a massive CWK fan. I really wish they would’ve toured to StL. Regardless this album is so good. It is poetic and strong and weird and great. I love that no CWK album sounds like it is trying to reinvent the sound yet they are all CWK. I feel like all I can say is so so good, and Hey! Listen!

The Swellers – Good For Me

This last spot was so so so hard to pick and I felt like not only was it hard enough to filter but there are still albums thatbI haven’t heard. I think this is going to be a surprise to some but I loved this album. I was even surprised by it. It was so relateable for me. I listened to it countless times this year. When I was pumped, when I was sad, when I wanted to hear something heavy-ish, when I was shoveling snow…OK not the last one yet but this album is like the color black; goes with everything. Super amazingly nice group of guys to boot.

Honorable Mention:

Ben Marwood – Outside There’s A Curse

Not only do I adore this album and Ben in general (he wrote me a poem once!) But I owe a lot to it. It was what really brought me to M&B, the podcast and mostly Ian and Barlow. It’s so mystical yet haunting yet full of lore and bouncy. He’s like the folk Buddy Holly ‘everyman.’

Other notable records:

Tom Waits – Bad As Me

Title Fight – Shed

Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room – Hurricane Season

Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground

Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Peyton On Patton

The Kooks – Junk Of The Heart

Man this was exhausting. I’m glad it only comes once a year.

Album Of The Year 2011 :: Barlow’s Top 5

The idea that there’s a one true ‘album of the year’ is a pretty misguided one. With that in mind, we’ve tried to offer up a series of recommendations from both the Moon & Back Music staff, and from a few notable names from the world of music.
Today it’s the turn of, Moon & Back Music Editor, Anthony Barlow.


5. Laura Stevenson & The Cans – Sit Resist

It wasn’t one that hit me right away (technology conspired against me), but Sit Resist is a beautiful record. Need I say more? Oh, alright.

I found Sit Resist to be one of the most charming records of the year. It’s uplifting, and often child-like, instrumentation makes it unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time, and Laura’s vocals are nothing less than amazing. Seeing her and the band play live is one of the highlights of this year for me.
Dismiss this record at your peril!

4. Into It. Over It. – Proper

After blasting through all the seven-inches, splits and compilations I could get my hands on, it was great to finally get a proper (sorry, I couldn’t resist) full length out of Into It. Over It. With a sound that I can best describe as “Thursday meets Onelinedrawing”, I immediately fell in love with it.

How I’d not heard Evan’s stuff earlier seems insane. Little did I know that, come the end of the year, he’d have released a record that’d crack my ‘Top 5’ and have even helped spawn a whole new branch of Moon & Back. Cheers, Evan!

3. Ben Marwood – Outside There’s A Curse

It might have been released way back in January, but there was no way I could forget Outside There’s A Curse. Armed with little more than an acoustic guitar, Ben Marwood manages to evoke every emotion possible – each of them encased within some of the cleverest, most poignant, lyrics I’ve ever heard – with this collection of acoustic gems.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Ben is bound for big things so, do yourselves a favour, get in on the ground floor and check out this record. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed. I just wish he’d have put ‘We Are No Longer Twenty-Five On Here!’

2. Dan Andriano In The Emmergency Room – Hurricane Season

Alkaline Trio are one of my favourite bands of all time and Dan Andriano may well be my all time favourite songwriter. So, as you can imagine, I was excited to have an album full of ‘Dan songs’. As excited as I was, I couldn’t help but think this could be an album of Alkaline Trio cast offs.This doubt was soon remedied and, as it turns out, the whole record is a real step away from the kinds of things I’m used to hearing out of Dan.

Hurricane Season feels a lot more personal than his recent songs with Trio, and the wide range of instrumentation makes these songs a hell of a lot more interesting than if this had been another ‘one man and a guitar’ effort.

1. Great Cynics – Don’t Need Much

I’m not gonna lie, as soon as I heard Don’t Need Much, I knew it’d be sitting on top of this list come the end of the year. It quickly became one of my go to records, and I reckon it’s been played at least once a day since I got it. I’m not trying to say it’s perfect, but it’s got that something – that thing you just can’t put your finger on – that makes it completely awesome.

It’s a collection of ten, fantastic, simple, (mostly) upbeat, pop punk songs that you can’t help but sing along to. Go get it!

Interview :: Ben Marwood

“It does feel good, and a relief that it’s actually happened, because, otherwise, we could be chasing our tails forever” – Ben Marwood

We may have caught up with Ben Marwood back in February, but that didn’t mean we had nothing to ask him. Ben was on tour with Frank Turner and Franz Nicolay when we stopped him in Manchester. The show at the Night & Day Cafe was a sellout, but Ben seemed to be taking it all in his stride. We talked about finally getting to tour with Frank, the reception of the new album and we pitched our latest effort as TV producers.


Interview :: Frank Turner

“It suddenly occurred to me that, if I’m wrong, I’m fucked…” – Frank Turner

Frank Turner was back touring the UK’s smaller venues alongside Ben Marwood and Franz Nicolay so, as expected, we went off to ask him questions. Some of them dumb, but many of them insightful. We talked about the new album, going back to playing small venues and finally got to debut ‘Dumb Shit People Say About Frank Turner’. If he wasn’t sick of us yet, he is now.




Interview :: Oxygen Thief

“…We’re both English men with acoustic guitars…”

The night after the Oxygen Thief show in Manchester, I dragged my arse into town to meet up with the man himself for a quick chat about Manchester, experiencing Shaking Hands With Bill first hand, his new album and Spandau Ballet covers. Please bear in mind this was a Saturday afternoon, after a long night of drinking, and we were both quite hungover.



Album Review :: Oxygen Thief – Destroy It Yourself

“…something different, that you can turn up really loud, and just enjoy”

Despite what first impressions might have you believe, Oxygen Thief (real name, Barry Dolan) is not another name to add to the ever increasing list of ‘nu-folk’ artists populating the UK. He might be one man with a guitar but it’s highly unlikely he’ll be drawing comparisons with the likes of Frank Turner and Mumford & Sons. Hailing from Bristol, Oxygen Thief’s brand of “acoustic loudness” has more in common with the metal and hardcore scenes than anything truly ‘folky’.


Destroy It Yourself brings something truly fresh to the table. The recent swathe of acoustic music has been pretty mellifluous fare, populated with songs about long lost loves, political protests and heavy drinking. Now I’m all up for that, but to have an album so passionate and anger-filled almost always relying on the power of an acoustic guitar is rare. Dolan’s intense guitar playing and forceful vocal ability is akin to an acoustic Reuben, which is no bad thing. His lyrics are equally powerful and you’ll find it hard to get them out of your head. This is particularly prevalent when it comes to tracks like ‘Modesty Is Dead’ and ‘Nice Night For A Neck Injury’ – two tracks which follow a more traditional structure than others on the album. That being said, my favorite track on the album has to be ‘Words On Walls’. It’s as erratic as they come and I can certainly see the chorus line being shouted back to the stage at live shows, which is always a bonus.

Whilst the majority of the album consists of Oxygen Thief and his guitar, it does tend to go a little mental (technical term) from time to time. The aforementioned ‘Words On Walls’ has a really odd breakdown at the very end and the sparse use of effects pedals spice it up from time to time. My only complaint is that repetition does become a factor towards the end of the album, but it didn’t stop me enjoying it.

If you want something different, that you can turn up really loud, and just enjoy, look no further. Destroy It Yourself is an album that transcends genre and Oxygen Thief will soon be adopted by punks, indie kids and metalhead’s alike. If anything, you’ll be surprised at what can be done with an acoustic guitar and a few effects pedals.

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #18: “Do Squirrels Have Knuckles?”

“You could, like, cure AIDS with the theremin…” – Ian Critchley

Here we are for another Under The Bridge, it’s time to spent another hour or so listening to “drunken louts” offend the world with their views. I hope you all know that we are not full of hate and everything we say is in jest. We have another guest this week, and he’s a musical guest too. As Cara Moore correctly guessed, Ben Marwood is joining us this time around. He’s here to discuss the week in music and to talk about his forthcoming jaunt around the UK with Frank Turner and Franz Nicolay. Tune in for fun, frolics and a fuck load of swearing!

Go on, have a listen!

Under The Bridge #18: “Do Squirrels Have Knuckles?”

(Subscribe on iTunes)


Music – Ben Marwood

  • Singalong
  • Tell Avril Lavigne I Didn’t Want To Be Her Stupid Boyfriend Anyway
  • Oh My Days
  • They Will Float Your Body Out To Sea
  • District Sleeps Alone Tonight (Postal Service Cover)

News

  • Morrissey announces new UK tour
  • Frank Turner Minute
  • The Foo Fighters
  • Britney Spears
  • Nerve Centre call the (thought) police
  • Rise Against to stream Electric Ballroom show online
  • Iron Chic debut LP released on Banquet Records
  • Lots of festival news
  • Jimmy Eat World playing London and Cardiff
  • Alkaline Trio finish recording “reimagined” album
  • Green Day to release, live album, ‘Awesome As Fuck’ through Adeline Records
  • Bowling For Soup announce new album
  • Screeching Weasel stream new record

Main Topic

  • Ben’s touring with Frank Turner and Franz Nicolay in May.

Outro
Questions/Emails

Competition!

Where Can We Find You On The Internet?

Anthony

Ian

Ben

  • Twitter – BenMarwoodMusic
  • Facebook – Ben Marwood

The Podcast

Moon & Back