Thursday, August 23, 2012

Möngöl Hörde vs The Wheelbarrow

So I got a couple other nights to still blog about in London but I am skipping right to the end, which was my last night there because it was an epic night full of win.

Did you know Frank Turner had a new side project called Möngöl Hörde? Neither did I some 20 hours ago. Then like seven hours later I was at their debut show at The Wheelbarrow. But before I get too far ahead of myself I have to talk about the opening artist, Oxygen Thief.

So when Oxygen Thief started I thought he was going to be just a rehash of Frank's solo sound as he was British and played acoustic with a punk feel, but quickly he made me realize he had his own thing going. I have never heard so much aggression and heavyness coming from someone playing acoustically. And he was tearing it up on the guitar, playing it like it was lead guitar for some post-hardcore punk band. He had fucking breakdowns going on and just was playing with so much ferocity and emotion I couldn't help but get sucked in and be in awe of his music. He has got such a unique sound, he is solo and playing on an acoustic guitar but it is in no way folk music. It is acoustic hardcore something I wouldn't think would be possible but Oxygen Thief not only pulls it off but completely dominates while playing his heart out. Also he did one badass and super fun cover of M.I.A.'s Paper Planes that the crowd got involved in singing along enthusiastically.

Then came the reason this little Pub in England was at capacity or even over because there was no room in the place it seemed. I had some lofty expectations after checking out a couple of Möngöl Hörde's songs they had released on youtube and being blown away by the couple tracks they had put up. This wasn't just Frank going back and doing Million Dead again which is a band I never really got that into. To be fair I only heard of them after the fact because I fell so in love with Frank Turner's music I needed to find and consume everything he had created, but after giving his hardcore punk band roots a listen through I never went back to it. Möngöl Hörde is its own unique powerful beast that is more metal and noise rock than just hardcore.

And Möngöl Hörde and the crowd absolutely fucking nailed it! For being their first ever show you could never tell, as they played flawlessly and tight throughout the whole set. And the craziest part was how relentless every song seemed, just full out aggression that wouldn't let up song after song. I guess their were a couple slow or quiet parts but that was only to show a little contrast and make songs more interesting. But then the aggression would fly back out harder and faster it seemed. And frank could scream for ages it seemed and never lost his power and even had a few different levels to it which helped make the songs more dynamic. Oh and did I mention this was a three-piece band consisting of drums, guitar and vocals only that was making this flawless cacophonous rocking music.

What really completed the night in it's legendary status was the crowd. Frank Turner and old Million Dead faithful made their way last minute hyped and ready to bring it up a notch. And from the get go the notch was brought higher then I knew it could go. Plus while it was extremely crowded super hot and sweaty the mosh pit always stayed friendly. This was a mass of people all there to let go of their inhibitions and give their bodies and souls to rocking out and not about committing violence on others. Not that I didn't take shots from elbows and fists to both the body and head but that is the cost of doing business in the thick of the pit. (That also included a whack to the head from Ben Dawson's drumstick when I go knocked and fell on stage at his feet just missing taking out part of his drum set thankfully) The amount of energy and love and the complete lack of separation between band and crowd made this a special night, one I won't ever forget and will quickly come up when talking about best show ever attended.

And then it was over, it felt like forever and I was ready to keel over and die but apparently it had been less than an hour as it was just before 11 and they went on a little after 10. But just because the music was done didn't mean the night was done. After cooling down for like 20 minutes outside I grabbed an ice cold pint of cider with ice which hit the spot and made some new friends with fellow shell shocked attendees of this once in a lifetime opportunity. Just got to thank Frank again instead of letting me leave when I used the last of the pounds I had on me he bought me a pint and a shot and the night continued. I also guess I need to go buy my ticket to his show at the HoB Anaheim because I told him I would see him there. As well Ben couldn't have been nicer and didn't need to keep apologizing for whacking me on the head with his drum stick when I fell on stage.

You should also go check out the blog post by the lovely Alice I met that night at her blog Town Called Alice. There is also a great slideshow that Dan Griffiths put together that capture the night. I also took a crappy video with my iPhone that I uploaded to YouTube that what it lacks in sound quality, it makes up for capturing the atmosphere and insanity of the room. I would love to see more pics or videos if you were at the show post them in the comments...

The Lock Tavern Thurs. Aug 16th 2012

So a few nights ago I made my way down to Camden around 8:30ish and nothing was oing on at The Wheelbarrow or pubs in the immediate vicinity s o I grabbed a pint at The World's End and enjoyed the metal they played over their sound system. As I got bored there by myself quite quickly and wasn't ready to call it a night so I headed north from Camden Town station to explore. And boy was I glad I did as eventually I came upon The Lock Tavern where I could here the sounds of live rock n' roll coming from the place out on the street.

I made my way up to the venue part of the pub upstairs, this small room with just enough room for a stage and a bar of it's own was jam-packed people rocking out to the band Lovepark. So I instantly fell in step and worked my way into the middle of the crowd. This was a very fun indie rock band with just the right amount pop to their sound. What sticks out the most for me was they had what seemed like their own signature guitar style. Not that every song sounded the same just the way they played their cool little guitar licks had a uniquely Lovepark vibe to them. Such a fun band that I picked up their single on vinyl and made this a worthwhile adventure out in Camden.

Next up were some very young lads going by Cowboy. I wanted to like them more than I did just because I really dug all the electronic atmospherics that the lead singer added with his MacBook live on stage which was quite cool. One thing for that show just wasn't up to par was the guitarist singing voice. I don't know if it was just that nights live performance or just he wasn't consistent enough but I wasn't feeling it when he sang solo. They all were very talented musicians and had some dynamic songwriting that I really enjoyed. Most of all their drummer was just aces, he blew me away with how fracking unbelievable he was, just wow. So while their set had some ups and downs and didn't have the crowd going like the band before them, Cowboy is definitely a band to remember and follow as they are so young and so talented that it would be a mistake to not pay attention to them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Wheelbarrow Aug 15th 2012

So I lost track of time and forgot how long it took to get all the way down to Camden from Wimbledon and ended up strolling in late about 9:30 really just in time to catch the of the set by The Widows. They had a fun punk/roackabilly sound to them with some fast, fun and good guitar and bass lines. Also the drumming was spot on in all the songs I heard and they even had a keyboardist who on the last song played electric violin that really added to the depth of their sound. But the real star of their set was their lead singer whose energy was up to legendary levels and it didn't matter that I couldn't understand a word out of his mouth there was so much passion and emotion and rock n' roll pouring out of him that I couldn't help but get into them. I hope they translate in recorded form to sound as great as they did live.

Next up came and quick but powerful set from Kitty Junkbrother whose poweful vocals blew me away. The sad thing was most of the pub seemed more into their own conversations then giving her due respect because she was an artist and musician that you should be listening to. She only played four songs because that was all she could remember to play on the acoustic guitar but that was enough for me to be floored by her talent and especially awesome vocal performance. She apparently plays more often with her keyboard so I think I need to look up some of that stuff because her music is what stuck with me tonight and has me pining for more.

Well that did it for the night I got to remember to head out earlier while in London as I forget how the nights end young here music was down by 10:30 pm...

Monday, August 13, 2012

catching up in London

So I went out tonighit to The Belford and it was pretty uneventful and an odd night. So they had like 6 artists on the bill and they all play twice but only 2 songs each time. Well I rolled in their late just as the second act of the second half was finishing and they tried yet mostly failed to get the crowd to sing along with their chorus of "damn facebook". Of the next four only one really did anything for me and that was Lucine Bell who had this intense dark and moody sound while playing some of the heaviest acoustic guitar I can remember hearing. Also for some reason reminded me a bit of the band Bush.

So now I am going to bring it back a few days when I went to this small place called The Betsy Trotwood for a show presented by Music Earth Rise on the 7th of August. I was intrigued by Emma Wilson. She had this really endearing and lovely quality to her voice and great charisma while still pulling off a genuine cute shyness between songs. The last act that played was Otti Albietz who was a lot of fun. While singing he was having a blast and his energy and good spirit filled you while he sung. His voice showed great range in power and melody and just had such fun unique song writing that makes me want to go back and listen to him again.

The next morning/early afternoon I went to go see Itchy Teeth play again at BT live in Hyde Park. BT live was this mini-festival like setting they had setup for the olympics with bands playing and multiple giant screen TV's playing the different sports. Before Itchy Teeth played there was another singer/songwriter, Meg, that I really enjoyed her sound and style she was rocking. Meg songs had such and fun and quirky feel to them that was infectious and catchy. I would love to hear her play in a more natural setting for a rock show then a quick 25 minute set at 11:30 in the morning. And then Itchy Teeth came on and rocked out and proved even playing at noon and 100% sober that this was a fun band that I like alot.

Now this brings to my night at the Spice of Life where I walked in confused by the first artist being that he was a country singer from the states who was good enough but just not my cup of tea. The second band of the night was called Playmaker and really rocked the fuck out of the place. They had their amps up all the way and weren't messing about in their straightforwad alternative rock sound. They had great energy and played well with some great guitar riffs but I just couldn't get super into them. But I got a free EP from the band and will see what I think of them recorded on a second or really more listen and probably get a review up of it sometime after I get back to the states.

And so it is time for me to talk about Itchy Teeth again. I can already tell I am in complete love with this band after three shows I just can't get enough of them. Their live shows are just so much fun and even better when you know the tunes already. And they really brought it this time getting the whole pub it seemed to dance through their set. Though it migh not have happened without some help from the lovely Jessi who pulled everyone up front and out of their seats like a boss and the music kept them up and dancing. Itchy Teeth's music has such a fresh breath of air feel to it while still playing a style that harkens back to the great bands of the 60's where it was just fun to play rock n' roll and dance the night away. I hope to see them again and again before leaving London in 9 days time. Not just because I love their music but because of all the friends I am making through the band at their shows and afterwords hanging with them in the pubs makes me never want to leave London.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Wheelbarrow in Camden - London

Well I finally got out for a night of music in London town and it was a hell of a time. Made my way to The Wheelbarrow in Camden based off a recommondation I got off of Frank Turner's forum. It was a long but easy trek as I only had to catch one bus plus one tube to make my way down there. So I got there early and found a seat at the bar, feeling like this little pub with a stage tucked back in the corner was just what I was looking for. I started the night off with Guinness as seems to be what to do out here to get the night going and made quick friends with a great fucking bloke named Simon which helped pass the time til the music started.

The first act was sounding like a good singer with some catchy enough tunes as he played by himself with just his acoustic guitar. Unfortunately don't recall his name or much of his music as I was too busy conversing with Simon and meeting his friends which included the second band of the night.

Which brings me too the fun pop/rock british indie band Itchy Teeth. I think at the beginning my dancing in the front had more to do with the drinking plus the two cute Brittish girls that my new friend was friends with were dancing in the front but that quickly changed as their infectious fun sound really drew me in. But it was really their last song of their set, "Did We Lose the War", where it got mental and just blew me away. It was by far their most hardrocking track, but it was really just phenomanal and they just completely and utterly nailed it. They were beckoned to play an encore and continued to nail it for one more song. All in all Itchy Teeth played like legends last night I should see them again before I leave London and will be following them online for sure.

By the time the third band came up I had gotten pretty pissed and was right up front again and digging on the tunes played by Red House Glory. They had a more straight forward rock and roll sound to them and had some very cool and interesting guitar lines. I would definately keep my eye on more from this band as they said they were very new and played quite a few songs for the first time live.

As the music ends early and they kill the bands at 11 so it was still time to drink with my friends from Itchy Teeth plus the lovely Jessi until it was time to hit the tube home before they ended for the night. Good times were had and good music was found so mission accomplished lets hope all my nights out for music go so swimmingly well...