Tag Archive: icarus youth (the)


It sometimes seems that these days there are as many sub-genres of rock music as there are bands themselves, as a music writer it takes a lot of keeping up with. To know your Gypsy Punk from your Krautrock, your Doom Metal from your Shoegaze or your Riot Grrrl from your Neo-Prog requires no small amount of homework. Tonight’s Songs of Praise show at The Victoria, however, can be summed up very simply, old school rock and roll, a trio of bands that both kick arse and cut the mustard. White Knuckle Bride revel in the sort of street rock that you associated with The Sunset Strip of the mid 80’s, big riffs, big choruses and a live performance charged with aggression and attitude. They are aided and abetted by current tour buddies, Burnthru and coming down from Derby to join them are sleaze merchants Bury the Ladybird (pictured). Rock and Roll it would seem is back on the menu.

 

If that doesn’t take your fancy then maybe some tongue in cheek country and/or western, for The Badass Cowboys play both types, might appeal. This ever-popular band will be at The Beehive and rather than try to describe the band I will let their album titles speak for themselves. Take Me Home Randy Rhodes; Born in the KFC and the truly inspired Portaloo Sunset, I think you get the idea of what they are about.

 

Friday can be summed up in the phrase “ from the sublime to the ridiculous.” For the sublime you should head up to the Arts Centre where violinist Miranda Dale and pianist Paul Turner will be performing not only that most quintessentially English piece, Vaughn Williams The Lark Ascending, but also music by this country’s other big names, Walton, Britten and of course Elgar.

 

At the other end of the spectrum we find ourselves back at The Beehive for Bill Smarme – king of the social club crooners, love guru, connoisseur of fine wines and marmalades, building contractor…apparently.

 

On a more even keel, The Victoria has a cracking line up featuring three of the bands to watch at the moment. The Icarus Youth do a neat line in alchemizing rock, urban and alternative sounds into a slick and quite brilliant final product and if bands such as The Post War Years or Two Door Cinema Club are your thing, then this is the place to be. But as if that wasn’t enough The Blood Choir bring their atmospheric and bleak soundscapes to life and the cinematic folk meets indie pop of Old Colours kicks the night off. Now that is one hell of a line up.

 

The big event for Saturday takes place at The Running Horse where they have gathered together their favourite acts from the past sessions to create The Acoustic Garden Festival, which does pretty much what it says on the tin. There are far too many bands to mention them all but with Faye Rogers, Alice Offley, Bateleurs, Coach and Billyjon on the bill, you can get an idea of the pedigree involved here.

 

Rock fans are going to be like kids in a sweet shop, as they have to choose between, original Status Quo drummer, John Coghlan at Riffs Bar, tributes to Muse and Iron Maiden at The Victoria and The Furnace respectively and some good old R’n’B at The Rolleston with Dickie Reed.

 

The Sabbath kicks up a couple of more chilled options. The aptly named Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Arts Centre is hosted by Mr Love and Justice, probably one of the most popular bands of the thriving “historical, socio-political, agri-folk, jangle- pop” scene. They are joined by the Jansch-esque Tim Graham and the soothing and ethereal tones of one of my favourite bands of the moment, Rumour Shed.

 

Other laidback serving suggestions are available at The Beehive under the enigmatic title of Incarnations of Matilda. Presumably this will be not only the usual Matilda display of harmony driven blends of folky piano jazz, but after a quick game of musical chairs will feature songs by Emily Sykes and Friends also. Two bands for the price of one, what a bargain.

There were elements of both curiosity and familiarity that drew me to the gig that night, that and the fact that it was the only real option for quality live music in a town obsessed with tired classic rock cover bands and forty-somethings who still believe punk never died. Curiosity came in the desire to check out ex-Old School Tie front man, James Cameron’s new band, the familiarity in the safe knowledge that headliners The Icarus Youth always deliver.

One unexpected dose of familiarity came as opening band Adepto Futui, who I must confess I though was going to be a solo artist, took the stage and a recognisable face loomed large amongst their ranks. Many years ago I used to watch an acoustic blues duo called Apple (if memory serves) and it was none other than guitarist Shed Judd (owner of the best white ‘fro since Jeff Lynn) who was strapping on an electric six string and preparing to lead his band through their debut gig, and what a gig it was too. Rocked out blues is a pretty hit or miss affair. Mostly it is the last bastion of mulletted, rock rhythm guitarists who mistakenly believe that just because the two genres share the same musical alphabet they can easily mutate from one to the other. Wrong! Blues is an attitude, a feeling, and a voice – not something you can assemble like the colours on a Rubik’s Cube. Adepto Futui, however, fired through a set of songs that not only did them proud, but that would stand up to scrutiny from the drinking dens of the Mississippi Delta to the smoky clubs of Chicago and everywhere in between.

One of the main selling points, having taken for granted the quality the songs, was that the band was top of its game. Too many bands are happy to be a beat and a lead guitar but here were a band of musical equals, tight rhythms and cascading piano holding their own allowing the guitar to do it’s job from blistering riffs, staccato jabs or to drop out altogether. When you have a band that is that on the groove, it just works. Local “blues” pretenders take note!

I get the feeling that if James Cameron could clone himself he would be able to just form a band by himself and take all the musical roles, such is his musical dexterity and command of technology but that would be a lonely and indulgent existence and as Weatherstorms ran through their set, it’s clear that making music with like minded individuals is the right vehicle for him. There were touches of the euphoric sound that flavoured his previous band but here was something more chilled but no less as impressive. Switching between keyboards, acoustic guitar and vocals and aided and abetted by only drums and vocals, he still showed his ability to blend delicate soundscapes that build into massive pieces of sonic architecture and then drop back into quiet, hushed atmospheres. Curiosity satisfied, this is a band I will be seeing many more times.

The local connection of the headline band comes from the much hailed Kulucci March, a band that seemed to arrived fully formed on the local scene, made massive waves and then disappeared as abruptly as they had arrived. It did seem inevitable that some of those musicians would rise again, and The Icarus Youth is proof of that. Mixing big harmony indie, rock drives and subtle urban attitudes, their “Indie Rock and Rhyme” as they describe it reflects everything that is cool and contemporary. Guitars play intricate lines but stay just the right side of the mathy bandwagon, preferring to wander between melodic hooks and big rock power chords whilst the bass lines add weight and occasionally unexpected funkiness to the proceedings. Across the top of the music, straight vocal deliveries mutate into quirky rap and then get driven to their logical conclusion as everyone piles into to create big close harmony choruses. As I said, The Icarus Youth encapsulate everything that seems so now, in their music, image and attitude: utterly listenable, eminently watchable and a fascinating prospect who seem to have a bright future ahead of them.

It seems like this is the week to be out on the town if you are a fan of the heavier end of the music spectrum. So without even stopping to have a dig at even a single cover band, (which I was again this week accused of belittling in a rather bizarre confrontation in Co-op, of all places!) it’s eyes down for a full house.Starting as we mean to go on, Riffs Bar is hosting another heat of it’s Bloodstock Battle of The Bands tonight which sees Without Consequence, Acts of Brutality and Brink of Reason all fighting it out for places in the semi final.The 12 Bar also chips in its fair share tonight, headlining are Bristol band, The Chimerical, who manage to mix the accessibility of Britpop with the sucker punch of grunge. A band who I can’t recommend highly enough, SkyBurnsRed, take the middle slot, blending alt-rock power with eastern rhythms and wonderful violin washes and kicking off are IX, all cinematic metal and industrial soundscapes; imagine Trent Reznor writing songs for Opeth.It’s all about bands and burlesque at The Victoria, the music this time coming in the shape of rockabilly outfit, Josie and The Outlaw, and if Celtic fringed folk-rock is more your thing then get down the Beehive for a bit of Missin’ Rosie.

Friday at The Victoria is all about the most contemporary of sounds. The Icarus Youth will be bringing their brilliant weave of rock, urban and alternative sounds, always a brilliant live experience, supporting is a familiar face launching a new musical vehicle. After 7 years fronting the eight legged rave that was Old School Tie, James Cameron wastes no time in unleashing Weather Storms on the world, a blend of dub, electronic, garage and epic post rock.

It’s all about the old school punk at Riffs Bar with Useless Eaters and a welcome return to these parts for Nobodys Heroes who between them deliver the sound and the spirit of the first generation punk movement.

Okay, now two quick questions. Anyone remember Toploader? Anyone able to name anything other than “that damned song?” Thought not. Well, they are at The MECA, but for my money it’s worth getting there early to catch support band A&T, an eclectic firestorm of hip-hop, funk and rock.

Staying at The MECA for Saturday and it’s your chance to indulge yourself in a bit of New Wave of British Heavy Metal with ODS – Oliver/Dawson Saxon, supported by the biggest band ever to come out of Whitley Bay, Tygers of Pan Tang. Patched denim jacket? Check! Ammo belt? Check! Whiff of Patchouli Oil and Old Holborn? Check! Ahh…those were the days. If you can’t afford the real thing Metalhead at The Rolleston (again!) come a close second.

Things get really heavy down at The 12 Bar with South-West Hardcore’s regular outing catering for all things musical aggressive with The Hotel Ambush, The Argent Dawn, Moments Before Oblivion and Go Out With a Bang. In strict competition for a slice of the same audience, The Furnace takes a more pop-punk, but nevertheless feisty tack with ScreamDontWhisper! Third Place Victory, Boy Set Sail and Sell Your Sky.

Something a bit different can be found in the form of The Reggae Riddim Club at The Victoria.

And after all that loud and shouty stuff, Sunday will seem like an oasis of tranquillity. The Beehive’s afternoon slot is filed with local swing blues stalwarts, The Teddy White Band and The Arts Centre’s regular Lazy Sunday Afternoon show features the historically aware, pop-folk residents Mr Love and Justice and guests Daniel James plus Americana meets Old World folk from Bateleurs.

And if that is your sort of thing, cap it off with a trip to The Rolleston that evening to catch the infectious, virtuosic and foot-stompingly upbeat, Grubby Jack.

The week rounds off on Wednesday with two options. Theo Altieri and Ian Payne play the Running Horse session whilst at The Victoria, Sierra Hurtt and her band alchemize everything from chilled folk to blues and from cool Latin to jazz to sultry soul and come off like a less ethereal and more worldly-wise Sade.