March Madness

If you thought February was a bit full on then welcome to March.  Whilst the UK did its usual shit the bed over some snowfall the rest of the planet got on with what it had to do without much fuss. Such was the panic, Fraser had to abort his trip to Londinium to see Turbonegro unless he hired a chopper then paraglided in, he was stuffed due to the Baltic conditions and an inefficient panic-stricken country. Anyway.

RPM scribes did manage to leave the house at some point because Ben caught Ryan Hamilton & the Traitors up North whilst Dom caught the tour in Cardiff. When Ben saw the tour party it was as advertised because on the night in Cardiff the Main Grains couldn’t attend due to…Um… snow on the roof of their car! No Car couldn’t find it under snow, leaves, it had blown away or they couldn’t make it because it was waaay too far when London was next on the schedule, ticket sales weren’t exactly great or some similar excuse, oh well, it wasn’t to be so Hamilton was left to break the news of the Main Grains transport issues cough, cough. Like the trooper he is he and the Traitors played an extended set to the few hardy souls who ventured out into the great wide open to fly their freak flags and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had. It would have been nice to have both bands but there we go.

So with most people tucked up in their castles listening to punk rock praying that those hardy postal workers managed to get into work so they could deliver a veritable avalanche of new releases, some even made it onto the death decks of future RPM scribes such as Dirt Box Disco with their ‘Immortals’ album and joining them this month would be Eureka Machines with their brand new pledge endorsed campaign ‘Victories’, which went down well (to be fair) all Eureka pledges go well as Chris Catalyst seems like a guy with a plan and knows how to execute  a well-oiled campaign always full of little extras.

 

 

There were also some notable records released in March by the likes of Christmas with their most excellent ‘Scum As You Are’, Ryan Hamilton also got recording this time with Tony Wright and their ‘Grand Ole Otley’ and showing that we’re not all about the crash, bang, wallop! Boss Caine and his album ‘Loved By Trouble, Troubled By Love‘ was also released this month.

The most hotly anticipated release of the month has to go to those speed dealers Zeke and their brutal, frantic and breakneck take on rock n roll that made ‘Hellbender’ such a success. There was also tour dates announced for a few months that would have some of the scribes at RPM all hot and bothered. Last Great Dreamers released their latest offering also through Pledge it was the most excellent ’13th Floor Renegade’ it certainly got HQ rocking and rolling.

Hot Snakes released ‘Jericho sirens’ mid-March which also bothered turntables and speakers all over our gaff. Its no secret that we love a single here at RPM and seeing as we love the little things in life who could forget some epic 7″ releases in March most notably in the shape of Fireburn and their EP ‘Shine‘ a band that will feature later in the year under more tragic circumstances. Fireburn might not have had the sheer brutality of Todd Youths Bloodclot project it certainly was pretty damn good and along with their EP something we are delighted to champion.

Finally and thankfully people managed to stay out of jail or the morgue this month which is always a good thing. Again its quality over popularity for RPM scribes and the champions of March are plenty but I’d have an inkling if we had a vote it would have to be Zeke for the ‘Hellbender’ album. 1-2-3-4 woosh!

 

 

 

Author: Ben Hughes

Photography: Marc McGarraraghy

 

Recently signed to Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records label, Ryan Hamilton and his newly renamed band The Harlequin Ghosts are an exciting proposition, facing exciting times.

Recently announcing they would be knocking the headline tours on the head for a while to concentrate on other opportunities, I didn’t think I would be catching them for a while here in the UK. Yet, here they are on a high profile tour opening for Welsh legends The Alarm, which should hopefully widen their appeal to larger audiences than they have been reaching in recent times. It seems the image change and the name change is no coincidence, as this band is stepping things up to the big league.

 

There’s a glint of something different in Ryan Hamilton’s eyes tonight. A new sense of determination and seriousness to his delivery.  There’s less of the between-song jokes and banter, although he is still obsessed about learning new English swear words.

Whether it’s the matching sharp suits and the heavier (yet still catchy) material, I don’t know, but this bunch of musicians seem more cohesive now, more like dare I say it…a band.

Faced with an over-loud and dodgy sound mix and an audience unfamiliar with their material, Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts are up against it tonight and they rise to the challenge. When a band are up against the wall with something to prove, when they have to fight for attention, that is when a band are at their best.

So out of the relative comfort zone of a room of people who will sing along to your mighty fine power pop ditties, the band reel off song after song to a small but growing crowd of The Alarm fans, sipping their beers waiting for their heroes. Maybe tonight, just a few of those fans may have found a new band to check out in the morning.

It’s a good job Ryan and the guys have the songs then.  ‘Karaoke With No Crowd’ with it’s over cool “whoo hoo’s”,  the sublime power pop of ‘Records and Needles’ and the following ‘Medicine’ should be enough to reel in even the staidest of observers.

Ryan, his hair in plaits and wide-brimmed hat, making him look like some spaghetti western preacher leading his congregation. He uses his hands to gesture as he addresses the audience, whether playing the guitar or just in control of the mic. The Tom Petty like drawl of ‘Never Should Have Moved To LA’ is mighty fine as always, they then transport us back to Texas with the country twang of ‘Oh My God’.

Introducing final song ‘Freak Flag’ Ryan tells us he is the living proof there are second chances, that it is possible to get a second chance at the rock ‘n’ roll dream. Tonight’s performance is a testament to a rock ‘n’ roll survivor and long may he keep returning to our shores. A sublime set from the probably the best support band you will see this year or next.

Now, Mike Peters is a true survivor and a legendary rock ‘n’ roll talent. He may not be as famous or as revered as Bono or Springsteen, but he has the songs, the road-weary years of experience and the passionate fan base to match.

I guess I’d call myself a casual fan of The Alarm, and I’ve never seen them live, so tonight is a truly monumental experience for me, as I never imagined they would be this good.

This live incarnation of The Alarm, with Mike Peters on vocals and acoustic, his wife Jules on keyboards, longtime Alarm guitarist come bassist James Stevenson and drummer Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard is as good as it gets.

Anthem follows anthem tonight as Peters and the gang dig deep into the 35 years plus back catalogue to deliver a set that will satisfy even the most casual of fans. From opener ‘Blaze Of Glory’ to main set closer ’68 Guns’, it’s a masterclass of rousing, alternative rock ‘n’ roll. From the ’80s, through the ’90s and beyond, all bases are covered.

 

Peters has free reign of the stage as the rest of the band are pretty much rooted to the spot. I’ve never seen any frontman use 3 vocals mics for a performance. The only advantage I can see if for the vocalist to reach every corner of the venue, so as not to be confined to one spot due to him being the sole guitar player. Fair play, he uses it to its full advantage, switching between left, right and centre stage at will during songs.

It’s an energetic and passionate performance as the man plays to his crowd, and The Alarm fans are as passionate as it gets. Being down the front, I witness it firsthand; 2 ladies of a certain age next to me sing and dance together having the best night of their lives, a middle aged gent in a suit jacket is reliving his youth, precariously swinging from the railing with one hand and punching the air and pointing at his hero as he mouths the words to the anthems of his youth.

This is nostalgia at its finest, people. There are no teenagers here, we are all of a certain age, gathered together to hear the songs that transport us back to a time that was simpler, better and much more fun than most of us have now. True escapism, am I right or am I wrong?

I would usually argue that no one wants to hear new songs at this sort of show, but The Alarm do have new songs and they ain’t too shabby to be fair. ‘Beautiful’ fits the bill nicely and 2 new songs bookend ‘Strength’ come encore time. ‘Neutral’ and ‘Two Rivers’ are as good as it gets and rightly deserves a place amongst the classics.

The feel of a stadium show in a small local venue, you can’t beat the power of rock ‘n’ roll old or new. Two excellent world-class bands in my local venue and certainly one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.

Buy The Alarm ‘Equals’ Here

Love Hope And Strength Foundation 

Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nev Brooks.

It seems like yesterday that I made the decision to avoid John Lydon and PIL and instead make my way to catch Ryan Hamilton at 2018’s Camden Rocks. Since then a lot of things have changed for the band without even thinking about the name change (when I caught them they were Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors). I suppose the most important change being the band no longer have to put their material out themselves, they have been signed to Wicked Cool Records. For those in the know, this is the Garage Rock label founded by “Little Steven” Van Zandt in 2005. The label evolved out of Van Zandt’s weekly syndicated radio show Little Steven’s Underground Garage, in fairness Van Zandt recognized that some brilliant rock music just wasn’t getting the push it needed and he was the right guy to do it.

When you consider the label also has on its roster among others Steve Conte, The Dollyrots, Wyldlife, Prima Donna it has some serious street cred and what better place for Hamilton to ply his trade.

The first thing I noticed when the band hit the stage was the sharp suits, the second thing I noticed was that the sound had gone up a gear, they rocked!!! Tracks moved away from the alternative country feel, sped up hit hard and the between song banter talked about the Little Steven influence and how great he was to work with.

This performance as Ryan pointed out was just one within a run of dates that will be the last solo tour for a while, they’ve already picked up some serious support slots for next year and that’s all after time spent in the studio recording the new LP. If the new single performed tonight “Bottom’s up, (here’s to goodbye)”bought tonight on 7” pink vinyl available here

is anything to go by it will be a blinder. Tracks like “Be Kind Rewind”, “We should never have moved to LA”, “Karaoke with no crowd” and “Gulf of Mexico” just breathed, the band let loose, enjoying the feeling of being let loose. The stories, crowd banter and impromptu song “Sorry Chloe” showed a side of Ryan that wasn’t there in Camden, confident, excited and looking forward to what’s coming up. The cover than ended the set tonight I think shows that confidence, the B-side to the new single a rocked out, funked up version of Paula Abdul’s “Straight up”. The future is very definitely golden.

Bandcamp

 

One of our favourite bands at RPM HQ The Alarm release a new video from the ‘Equals‘ album appropriately named ‘Transatlantic’.

Spending most of this year Crisscrossing across the Atlantic Peters and the band found time to shoot a promo video looking out over the Manhatten skyline.

Before the years out you can catch the band playing in the UK and US and as special guests, they have Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts along for what should be unmissable run of shows.

November
Wed  28th  ULU. London
Thur 29th Wedgwood Rooms Portsmouth
December
Sat 1st Arts Club, Liverpool
Sun 2nd O2 Academy 2,  Birmingham
Wed 5th Sub 89, Reading
Thur 6th Brudenell, Leeds
Fri 7th Liquid Room, Edinburgh

 

Follow The Alarm:

http://thealarm.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheOfficialA…

https://www.instagram.com/thealarm/

https://twitter.com/thealarm

Whilst we’re here we’d like to point you in the direction of an incredible charity – Love Hope & Strength. if you do one thing after reading this news it should be to click here and get over to the site where incredible work is done, even Ozzy got involved with LH&S

Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts
release debut single 
Bottoms Up (Here’s To Goodbye)
19th October 
UK tour  
& video for their cover of ‘Straight Up’

 

 

The tour starts in Leeds at Brudenell Social Club on Wednesday 10th October and culminates with a show at the Camden Assembly Room in Camden on Friday 19th October.
Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts have just signed to Wicked Cool Records and they have been working with the legendary Stevie Van Zandt. The band are proud to announce the first single with the new label Bottoms Up (Here’s To Goodbye) on 19th October. Released as a limited edition pink vinyl 7”, the B side is a swaggering cover of Paula Abdul’s 80s smash Straight Up.
In 2017 Ryan and the band reaped critical acclaim with debut album ‘The Devil’s In The Detail’ – under their previous name ‘Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors’. Singles ‘Heavy Heart’ and ‘Smarter’ received heavy radio play and were each voted Classic Rock magazine’s ‘Track of the Week’, as well as their Ginger Wildheart collaboration and Samaritans charity single, ‘F**k You Brain’.
Having already achieved Steven Van Zandt’s ‘Coolest Song In The World’ thrice on his ‘Underground Garage’ radio show, Little Steven recently heralded Ryan as ‘hope for the future’ – holding him up with such luminaries as Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl and Bille Joe Armstrong.
Speaking of the video to accompany ‘Straight Up’, Ryan says:
“I wanted something fun and quirky, something that looks like the 80s threw-up on a music video! In making it we limited the technology to old school 80s/90s effects – we’re super happy how it turned out.”

Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts / Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers 
The Bottoms Up UK Tour dates
October
Wed 10th Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Thur 11th Voodoo Rooms (the Speakeasy room) Edinburgh
Fri 12th Think Tank Underground, Newcastle
Sat 13th MFN, Nottingham
Sun 14th Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
Tue 16th Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
Wed 17th  Fuel, Cardiff
Thur 18th Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
Fri 19th Camden Assembly, London
If you miss the chance or just need another fix of the band then they head back to the UK for a support slot to The Alarm.
The Alarm and Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts UK tour dates
November
Wed  28th  ULU. London
Thur 29th Wedgwood Rooms Portsmouth
December
Sat 1st Arts Club, Liverpool
Sun 2nd O2 Academy 2,  Birmingham
Wed 5th Sub 89, Reading
Thur 6th Brudenell, Leeds
Fri 7th Liquid Room, Edinburgh