Next month marks the 30th anniversary of me and RPM’s Nev Brooks attending gigs together, our itinerary starting back in November 1989 when we were lucky enough to catch a just about to break big Mudhoney annihilate a packed to the rafters Bristol Bierkeller. Also on the bill that night, the cosmic psychedelia of The Telescopes, and in many ways tonight’s show bears more than just the odd striking similarity to that most memorable of first date nights.

It’s not just the fact that three decades on Brooks is somehow still putting up with my antics but that tonight’s show also perfectly blends those punk rock/psychedelia genres once again. Tonight is also long since sold out as two years on from the release for their excellent ‘The Haze’ album Leeds based rockers Pulled Apart By Horses look to premiere brand new songs from their yet to be recorded fifth studio album by playing a series of fourteen shows across the UK in some the most intimate venues they’ve played in years.

It’s great to see Le Pub’s live room packed out for the arrival of local openers Dactyl Terra (geddit?) too, a trio who in turn proceed to deliver a size ten alt-rock boot up the arse of all the UK bands who currently think it’s cool to wear cowboy hats and wax their facial hair whilst worshiping at the temple of 70s and 80s hard rock dinosaurs (sorry I couldn’t resist it).

Which also rather tenuously brings me to tour main support, Baba Naga. This trio is already renowned as Sheffield’s finest exponents of pagan doom and are also a band I quite often see being compared to… ahem Pink Floyd. So, whilst there’s certainly a few quieter Floyd-like transient moments during tonight’s all too brief 30 minute set, for me the Babas have much more in common with the aforementioned Telescopes or perhaps ‘Gravity Grave’ era The Verve whilst at their more rockier moments they actually kind of remind me of The Heads from just over the other side of the river Severn.

There’s no between song Baba banter just the sound of their intro tape looping away like some kind of hypnotic mantra and as a result I have no idea what songs the guys played tonight, I just found that I had this compelling urge to go  buy myself a Baba Naga tour kaftan at the end of their set…ha!

Owning all of the Pulled Apart By Horses albums but never actually having seen them live before tonight I really wasn’t too sure what to expect as the band stepped up onto Le Pub’s legendary low stage, and I must admit my first impressions weren’t that positive at all. Opening with new track ‘Pipe Dream’ singer Tom Hudson complete with matching black jacket and ¾ length trousers (keeping his ankles cool obviously) seemed kind of uninterested in the events at hand exuding an almost Kasabian-like arrogant swagger, that is until the track suddenly changed pace half way through and he instantly transformed into one of my new favourite frontmen, marching through the packed crowd mic in hand barking out lyrical orders to his devoted followers, he is now equal parts Iggy Pop and  Matt Caughtran.

‘First World Problems’ quickly follows and this along with ‘Rinse & Repeat’ aired later on after two cuts from ‘The Haze’ are the perhaps the immediate hits from the (I think?) eight new tracks played tonight, something that is never an easy thing to do, but all of them seem to go down well with the Horses faithful.

The superb 3 minute pop punk anthem ‘V.E.N.O.M’ is thankfully still in the set being the first song I ever heard by the band back in 2011 on Radio 6 Music and closing things out tonight we have the old school debut album mayhem of ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ and ‘Punched A Lion In The Throat’ to send everyone home drenched in sweat.

Of course I’d have liked to have heard some tracks like the immense ‘Hot Squash’ from ‘Blood’  slotted into tonight’s set, but you know what, the new stuff worked just fine and this must be the first time, since I witnessed The Bronx preview the whole of ‘Bronx IV’ live long before its release, that such a feat was done with so much aplomb.

I leave Le Pub totally euphoric with what I have just witnessed, and its gigs like this that will always have me bowling back to the car arms laden with merch ready to tell the world what they have been missing out on.

Pulled Apart By Horses were fucking phenomenal tonight – FACT!

Author: Johnny Hayward

 

“It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled,” as some wise sage once sang.

 

It’s been way too long in fact, however, over the months of no gigs, I got this thing in my head that I really wanted my return to watching live music to be something special. What about Brighton upstart ska punks The Bar Stool Preachers playing a mini-festival at a rugby club literally a few miles from my front door then? The fact that The Bar Stool Preachers were also the last band I saw live before lockdown really did bring the whole thing full circle, but it was the “how the hell are they playing there?” part of this proposition that really hooked me in. So, tickets were duly purchased (£8 for four bands…Bargoed) and I sat around counting down the days until I could once enjoy that familiar ringing in my ears (which I must admit is the part of gig going I really had not missed).

 

In the hours leading up to Flemfest (the only slight disappointment of the night proving to be that the superbly named mini-festival had not derived its moniker from any punk rock notoriety but actually a local chap whose birthday it was nicknamed Flem), it became clear that; 1) it was going to be held outside, 2) that the bill had been reduced to three bands with Sister Yellow pulling out, and 3) it was a sold out show. That special twist I wanted from my first gig just got even more special as watching any band outdoors in the rain in the summer can be a tough ask here in the UK, but in September it would test even the hardest gig goer…perhaps the Sisters had some inside information on the weekend forecast?

 

Thankfully the weather turns out to be brilliant on the day of the gig and as I walk down Tram Road on the outskirts of Blackwood, the general bustle of people, the strong smell of street food vans and other festival-y substances, plus the throb of live music gives me goosebumps, but the first thing that really hits me as I enter the site is just how an impressive a set up Pontllanfraith Rugby Club have going on here. The stage and sound are so far removed from the back of a truck type of events I’d grown up knowing and it’s like someone has brought Red Rocks to a south Wales valleys town, there’s even a wall running out from the centre of the stage acting like a crowd control barrier for some mini version of Download Festival. I bet I know someone who will be making use of that as the night progresses.

To the music then, and whilst I missed the start of Pigeon Wigs set, what I did catch was mightily impressive. The band having recently played at the nearby Green Man festival exude a kind of quirky pop/rock charm that has me thinking Dexy’s Midnight Runners one minute and The Lemon Twigs the next. They are most certainly a world away from my old days of gig going in Blackwood when most Welsh bands I encountered wanted to be The Alarm. Pigeon Wigs are most certainly a name to look out for, and just like Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard before them they could very soon have the power pop world at their feet.

 

Dactyl Terra are a band I’ve seen before, supporting Pulled Apart By Horses in Le Pub in Newport, although the band have changed a lot since I last saw them live. Granted they still play the same brand of space rock as they did back in 2019, but adding an extra band member means their sound has also added an extra jammed out dimension, so for a majority of the people over 50 in attendance who remember the rock years of Reading Festival Dactyl Terra are the near-perfect early evening festival band.

 

As the clock hits 9:30 the sun has completely disappeared from the night sky and through the minimalist stage lighting I can just about make out the silhouettes of another band making their way onto the stage, it becomes apparent it’s The Bar Stool Preachers when a fully skanking line check erupts from the venue’s excellent sound system, and before I can even catch a breath, we are off double quick time into a eighteen – yup that’s EIGHTEEN song headline set via ‘One Fool Down’. TJ and the lads obviously delighted to be playing live once again then rip through the likes of ‘Trickledown’ and ‘Looking Lost’, before new track (written about the state of the homeless situation here in the UK) ‘Two Dog Night’ gets let loose and proceeds to tear everyone a new one.

There’s a lot of angry bite in the 2021 version of The Bar Stool Preachers and the addition of Karl Smith (ex-Jaya The Cat) on guitar means the likes of ‘Start New’, ‘DLTDHYOTWO’ and ‘Raced Through Berlin’ all pack a beefier chug than ever before. That’s not to say that any of the old skank appeal is lost though.

 

Of the other new songs previously aired pre-lockdown there’s sadly no ‘Late Night Transmission’ tonight, but ‘State Of Emergency’ sounds imperious, and the previously Strokes-like genius of ‘Heart Attack’ has now morphed into an almost totally different piece of music called ‘Flatlined’. Likewise, ‘Love The Love’ has taken a similar brave songwriting curve that had some us singing ‘Lonely This Christmas’ over the doo-wop intro.

 

Closing things out with ‘8.6 Days (All The Broken Hearts)’ TJ finally slips into full rock star mode, daring to negotiate the stage divide wall to deliver the song’s unforgettable chorus and thus ensuring that everyone leaves with a mandatory Cheshire Cat grin. That’s before the lads return for a much-deserved encore of the prophetic ‘When The World Ends’ and the always uproarious ‘Bar Stool Preacher’, and just like that, my first gig in eighteen months is over. What a great gig it was too, with The Bar Stool Preachers coming away from it like all conquering heroes and making many new fans along the way.

 

Make sure you check them out on the rest of their dates this September and on their full UK tour this December, because The Bar Stool Preachers are no longer just very strong contenders but in fact world champions in waiting. GET ON IT!!!!!

Author: Johnny Hayward

Some of the writers managed to send in their list of the top ten live shows they went to in 2019.  they attended hundreds of shows all over the place via trains, planes and automobiles.  On another day I’m sure these lists would change many times over.  RPM Online supports Rock and Roll and loves a live show and as you browse through the lists there are many genres covered as well as some familiar suspects there are many new entries this year.  We’d love to take this opportunity to thank all the bands who toured and played shows all over the UK and continue to do so, All the festivals that supported independent music from Rebellion Festivals and Camden Rocks to Steelhouse Festival in South Wales and all the festivals around Europe and wider thank you.  Continue to look after independent Rock and Roll and help it thrive and reach a wider audience if you want to get involved get in touch we always welcome fresh eyes and ears to spread the word: rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com

 

 

Leigh Fuge 


John Mayer –  02 Arena London

Ryan Roxie –  The Asylum, Birmingham

Michael Monroe –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Cult –  University Great Hall, Cardiff

Kenny Wayne Shepherd –  City Hall, Salisbury

Kiss –  The Arena, Birmingham

Alice Cooper –  Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Paul Gilbert –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Wildhearts  – The Tramshed, Cardiff

FM & The Quireboys  – The Globe, Cardiff

Nev Brooks 
Pulled Apart By Horses – Newport Le Pub (Reviewed Here)

Primal Scream –  Great Hall Cardiff

Alice Cooper, MC50, The Stranglers – Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

Nick Cave – Millenium Centre Cardiff

Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bar Stool Preachers – O2 Bristol

The Hip Priests, DC Spectres, Deathtraps – Le Pub Newport

The Wildhearts, Towers Of London – SWX Bristol

Wonk Unit – Drogonfly Pontypool

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Sin City Swansea

Holy Holy – Tramshed Cardiff

 

 Gareth Hooper
Duncan Reid, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St John’s church Cardiff

Clowns, BBSC – The Exchange Bristol

Amyl And The Sniffers – Louisiana Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – The Blackheart London

The Wildhearts, Janus Stark – Komedia Bath

The Hip Priests – Le Pub Newport

Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions – Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind – Jacs Aberdare

The Stray Cats, Selector, The Living End – Hammersmith Eventime London

Johnny Hayward
Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions, Social Experiment –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (Reviewed Here)

The Hip Priests, Rotten Foxes, Flash House, Glitter Piss –  The Pipeline, Brighton

Rebellion Festival 2019 – Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Jim Jones & The Righteous Minds, Heavy Flames, Deathtraps –  Jacs, Aberdare

Death By Unga Bunga, Seek Warmth –  Hy Brasil, Bristol

Dboy, The Vega Bodegas, Nigel –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Stray Cats, The Selector, The Living End –  Hammersmith Apollo, London

Grave Pleasures – The Fleece, Bristol

Pulled Apart By Horses, Baba Naga, Dactyl Terra –  Le Pub, Newport

Clowns, Broken Bones Gentleman’s Club, Glug – The Exchange, Bristol

Fraser Munro
Adam Ant – St Davids Hall Cardiff

Kiss – Kiss Kruise, Miami

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Briatol

The Hip Priests – The Drippers, Deathtraps – JT Soar, Nottingham

Alice Cooper, MC50, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Turbonecro, The Hip Priests – The Chameleon, Nottingham

Dboy – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Damned – KK’s Steel Mill. Wolverhampton

Skidrow, Backyard Babies – The Forum, London

the Wildhearts, Towers Of London – Tramshed, Cardiff

Ben Hughes
Michael Monroe – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (Reviewed Here)

Duff McKagan/Shooter Jennings – Academy 3, Manchester

The Wildhearts – Stylus, Leeds

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Low Cut Connie – The Fulford Arms, York

Amyl & The Sniffers – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Ryan Hamilton Songs & Stories Show – Bloomfield Square, Otley

Tyla’s Dogs D’amour – The Fulford Arms, York

Levellers – The Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Hands Off Gretel – The Fulford Arms, York

Nigel Taylor 

The Stray Cats – O2, Birmingham

Saint Agnes – Plymouth Junction, Plymouth

The Wildhearts – Cavern, Exeter

Motörgoblin (Orange Goblin plays Motörhead) – St Moritz Club, London

Ginger Wildheart – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Queensryche – Islington Assembly Hall, London

Mother Vulture – End of the World Festival, Plymouth

Uriah Heep – Steelhouse Festival, Wales

Cradle of Filth – London Palladium, London

Ghost – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Blaze Bayley – The Junction, Plymouth

Dom Daley
Rebellion Festival – Winter Gardens, Blackpool (Reviewed Here)

The Damned – London Palladium, London

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Bristol

Duncan Reid &The Big Heads, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana, Bristol

Amyl & The Sniffers – Lousiana, Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Clowns – The Exchange, Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – Black Heart Camden, London

New Model Army – Tramshed, Cardiff

The Wonder Stuff – O2, Bristol

With 2019 quickly rolling downhill towards 2020 and with Halloween just around the corner and Shit Island still under Tory rule heres a playlist to take you away from the humdrum of real-life and to take a peek at whats on the RPM turntables and MP3 players this month.

Alice Cooper is in the house with Go Man Go taken from his excellent EP ‘The Breadcrumbs EP’ and how could we not include Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind so get down and get with it as ‘Shazam’ is in the house on the virtual player.

Also on the live front we’ve caught up with the awesome Cyanide Pills who are ‘Still Bored’. this month we’ve got an exclusive interview we recently did with Spunk Volcano so it seems right we should include ‘Shit Excuse’ from ‘Double Bastard’.  It seems that every man and his dog is attending one of The Cult winter tour dates so why not play ‘New York City’ from the 30th Anniversary ‘Sonic Temple’.

Hands up if you’re heading to one of the Black Flag dates around the UK this month?  We are so ‘My War’ is on the list. Pulled Apart By Horses rode into Newport and left a mark so ‘The Big What If’ is on the list.

As for new albums we’ve reviewed how about a few new ones starting off with Pardon Us with the opening track on their debut album ‘Wait’ ‘check out ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Wolves’. The Hangmen are back with ‘Cactusville’ as are Starcrawler who we’ve included with the excellent rock and rolla ‘No More Pennies’, Bitch Queens bring ‘Superboy’ and their brothers from different mother are back with a new single.  The Hip Priests ‘I Hate The City’ from their recent split but fear not pop pickers they have another single on the way this month we’ve heard it and its a no brainer kids all killer and no filler was written for them.

As we say goodbye to Barrie Masters we’ve included Eddie And The Hot Rods cover of ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’.  Since they’re having a movie made about them we think it’s apt that we include the awesome Redd Kross with ‘Motorboat’ on this months playlist.  turn it up baby because Charger make the paylist with ‘Victim’ from their self titled record. Cockroach Clan released their new/old record so why not sample some Norweigan punk rock whilst youre here.

It wouldn’t seem right not to have a Wildhearts tune in our playlist seeing as they have a new mini-album out this month and are playing the UK again so heres ‘A Song About Drinking’.  Supporting them on this round of dates are Janus Stark who also have a headliner at the hope & Anchor so with news of their new album released last week heres one from them for good measure – We can’t play you anything new but trust us when we say it’s going to be worth the wait so to keep you going heres ‘Every Little Thing Counts’.  It only seems fair we offer up some Shitbaby Mammals with the opener from their record ‘Heart On My Sleeve’.  To wrap up this months playlist heres some Black Star Riders with the second track from their new album and title track ‘Another State Of Grace’. So until next month…

You would have had to have been living under a pretty big rock these past five years or so not to have heard the name Pretty Vicious mentioned in music circles. The Merthyr four-piece were hailed as the “next Oasis” by many websites/magazines and inked a silly money major label deal after what was literally just a handful of gigs.

Whilst a few of my close mates experienced that early buzz first-hand and rejoiced in seeing a local band once again looking set to make it big I deliberately stayed away purely because with a band as young as Pretty Vicious (they were all in their mid-teens when signing their initial deal) it all felt a touch too voyeuristic, and you only have to look at what subsequently happened to The Strypes to see how badly it can all go for a young band if they don’t shift the units their label wants them to.

So here we are in 2019 and now devoid of that original record deal with Virgin /EMI Pretty Vicious currently find themselves doing low key interviews to promote ‘Beauty Of Youth’ minus their singer as he has had to step away from the spotlight due to a personal tragedy that almost cost him his sanity. Their long-awaited debut is now being released through Big Machine Records a label based in Nashville that normally specialises in Country music so with all this going on this just suddenly felt like the right point in time for me to fully experience what Pretty Vicious are all about.

Granted it’s not exactly my first time hearing the band as I did dip my toe in the water with some of their early singles and whilst they were okay they didn’t exactly blow me away either, so what ‘Beauty of Youth’ is is my first chance to sit down and fully immerse myself in the band’s sound, a sound that has now had 5 whole years to develop and mature.

Well, the “next Oasis” label afforded Pretty Vicious early doors I can certainly pick up on during opener ‘These Four Walls’ and there’s more than one occasion during the album’s dozen tracks that I get the sense that the pressure must have really been on the young lads to write arena-filling tunes at all costs. ‘No One Understands’ for example certainly has that early Stereophonics Valleys lad bowl (as in strut) about it, whilst album closer ‘Little Molly’ is the anthemic lighters (or should I say phones) in the air tune that all albums of this ilk see as mandatory. BUT and this is a huge BUT its when Pretty Vicious break out of musical trappings of what is expected of them that they truly shine, in particular, singer Brad Griffiths who sounds not unlike a curious hybrid of Axl Rose and 70s Ozzy Osbourne during tracks like ‘Are You Entertained?’ and the brilliant ‘Someone Like You’. Indie music this most definitely is not folks, and the production from Dan Austin (You Me At Six, Twin Atlantic, Pulled Apart By Horses) certainly helps the boys push the attitude (and guitars) to the fore.

Elsewhere ‘Something Worthwhile’ kind of reminds me of 90s rockers Cast albeit with a turbo booster shoved up their arses, ‘Move’ has an almost Gary Holton goes grunge feel to it and the back to back pairing of ‘Force Of Nature’ (Oasis drum fill in the intro aside) and ‘Lost In Lust’ could very easily be Smashing Pumpkins at their very peak.

With all that is going on musically in the dozen songs that make up ‘Beauty Of Youth’ the future should really be looking bright for Pretty Vicious, but with Brad side-lined and dealing with his personal demons I applaud his bandmates for sticking by him as there is no way success should come before a mate’s own wellbeing. “It’s just a game” after all, as Brad sings during ‘Playing With Guns’. I just hope he gets himself sorted and that the band can then fully capitalise on this absolute stonker of a debut album. In their own time though as they still have the real beauty of youth very much on their side.

Buy ‘Beauty Of Youth’ Here

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