100 Club

The Claim: 100 Club, London

Celebrating the re-release of their 1988 album ‘Boomy Tella’ and, the release of the new single ‘Journey’, Kent’s The Claim headlined the 100 Club in London this past Saturday night.

Along with ‘Journey’, they aired other new songs ‘Just Too Far’, ‘Dear’ and ‘Hercules’. All of which retained their razor sharp Medway roots and continued to find interesting ways to deliver pop hooks.

Their classic ‘Birth of Teenager’, knits the support of Treasures of Mexico and Jasmine Minks together with is dark lyrics and infectious melodies.  

On ‘Boomy Tella’ album opener ‘Not So Simple Sharon Says’, The Smiths’ 60s British kitchen sink drama imagery is displayed gloriously. Dave Read’s vocal’s, although vastly different in sound, have Mozza’s knack in finding great and unexpected vocal hooks.

The pop majesty just kept coming has they dived into their back catalogue on ‘Lonely Tarts’ and ‘Between Heaven and Woolworths’. When David Arnold gets his hazy jingle jangle via Mod’s immediacy going like this, it’s easy to imagine what a young Graham Coxon was listening to before ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’. Just how did roaring success pass them by?

However, there was no place to be wayward or cynical at this gig. So rare are their live shows that, their credibility and integrity just continues to grow in their absence. Now, with new material shining on its debut London outing, the new album cannot come soon enough (May 24th)

*Image courtesy of https://twitter.com/akumulator_uk

Treasures of Mexico : 100 Club, London

With former members of The Dentists in the band, Chatham’s Treasures of Mexico were always going to light up the 100 Club this past Saturday. Their penchant for sun kissed tunes displayed in full force as they supported the legendary Jasmine Minks and The Claim.

From opener ‘Holding Pattern’ to set closer ‘She’ll Never Get Over Me’, the Kent outfit hit a sweet spot, effortlessly rumbling along like The Feelies, circa ‘Good Earth’. With Bob Collins on lead guitar, they had the ability to step out from the shadows of gentle indie. Whether it’s Weller on the attack or the effortless psyche-jangle of the Fanclub’s Norman Blake on ‘Avalanche’ or ‘The Last Thing’, it’s clear Collins still has the “it” factor.  

During ‘The Last Thing’ and ‘She’ll Never Get Over Me’, front man Mark Matthews threatens a Mark E Smith menace that doesn’t quite materialise. It’s a tantalising piece of brilliance. As the melodic sunshine unfurled, an angst loitered and had the crowd on tenterhooks. The not knowing whether a punk fury was going to breakout of these perfect pop songs was exhilarating.

It’s on ‘Supercute’ where everything comes together for them. Matthews has tapped in to the romanticism of Spector girl groups and Lawrence from Felt, Collins has licks and solos to redefine the C86 movement and in Secret Affair drummer Russ Baxter, they have a melodic beat keeping behemoth.

You will be hard pressed to find a band this good, third on the bill of any gig for the rest of the year.

*Image courtesy of https://twitter.com/akumulator_uk

Tim Burgess and The Anytime Minutes: 100 Club

For Independent Venue Week, The Charlatans front man embarked on a tour around the UK's iconic small venues. For his London date, he came to Oxford Street's 100 Club. As any Charlatan fan will attest, they've been on a roll since 2015's 'Modern Nature' album. So, to do anything live to top that was never on the cards, was it?

Backed by members of the brilliant Average Sex (signed to Tim's O Genesis label), something magical happened this past Wednesday. Especially when Laetitia, the singer from Average Sex entered the affray. Tim and Laetitia became the post-punk Marvin and Tammi and, as a result, created a party for the ages.

'Clutching Insignificance', usually a bewitching take on the archetype Charlatans sound, became a different beast. Vocally, Laetitia is a behemoth. Her fire and 60s soul enriched the song to spark dancing both on and off stage.

Anyone who didn't fall in love with their partner or a past love all over again on 'One Last Kiss' is dead inside. On record, its a crisp take on classic Phil Spector and Brian Wilson records and with Average Sex in tow, heightened the the icons sound.

Then, just when your thinking this party has nothing left to give, they dropped a cover version Culture Club's 'Time (Clock of the Heart). The happiness oozing from the stage had an almost desperation to it. It had to escape, it had to infect the lives of others. The bleakness of the society had to be washed away.

Charlatans guitarist Mark Collins popped in for a stripped back punk version of 'North Country Boy' before the party went out with a bang on Burgess' 2003 classic 'Oh My Corazon'. After this gig, the roll the Charlatans are on is going to have to pick up the pace to surpass this.

At the time of writing this review, the news has announced the tragic death of legendary comedian Jeremy Hardy. I would like to dedicate the happiness this gig and writing about this gig to Jeremy. He has given me so many great nights out and in on Radio 4. You'll be sorely missed.

Sisteray - Sisteray Said

“seems like we're generation of rejects”

Wounded and cornered, the British rock n roll band can look ready for slaughter. It is however, planning a viscous polemical assault. Enter stage right, Sisteray.

Reminiscent to The Rifles' hilarious 'She Got Standards', Sisteray have found their indie sniper rifle and head shots are being taken. 'Wannabes' is a beefed up glam rock number attacking the coke fuelled Liam lookalikes who just never leave rock n roll scene alone.

It's refreshing to hear the passion and intellect at which they attack a generation glued to their phones. If only for gig goers, it may result in more people being in the moment. Don't tell your friends what your doing and don't watch the band three feet from your face through an iPhone, twats. Be in the here and now, the time for reflection is in the pub the following day, with people, not social media!

The most striking thing about this EP is the development from 2017's '15 Minutes' EP. 2017 Sisteray would send you off to listen to 00s greats such as Hope of the States, The Rifles, Art Brut, Ordinary Boys and The Paddingtons. 2018 Sisteray, well, they've become colossus. The drumming is worthy of The Who's epic 'Live at Leeds' record and the guitar parts are becoming more interesting and unpredictable with every song. Roll on the 100 Club.

Sisteray -Algorithm Prison

The first time we saw Sisteray live, they had punk songs and they had rock n roll songs. They were good but, it felt a marrying of the two would lead to great things. This is what new single ‘Algorithm Prison’ does.

Lyrically, it snarls at the apathy that technology obsession breeds, especially in their home city of London where life is 24 hours if only you join in. Toss in Niall Rowan’s righteous Charlie Harper and Nicky Tesco vocals and you’re into banger territory.

Musically, it does being the merging of their punk instincts with a broader rock n roll escapism. The guitar riffs and solos, whilst angst ridden are deftly kissed with a sense of freedom. The juxtaposition of this style with a lyrical assault on the willingly downtrodden breed’s life into an indie/punk scene so often concerned with love stories.

Cabbage Live: 100 Club

With their debut album ‘Nihilistic Glamour Shots’ just around the corner, the Mossley outfit are back on the road. With no material in tow, can they pull off their status as a headline act?

At their best, Cabbage are that thing you have been waiting for. They have innate ability to pull together all the Manchester legends mentioned on ‘Tell Me Lies About Manchester’ with the volatility of the punk greats. ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’ combines the swagger and stagger of the Mondays circa ‘Bummed’ with the snot and snarl of The Libertines and the Pistols. This continues on ‘Kevin’ and new single ‘Arms of Pleonexia’ and, in this groove, the brilliant Idles, Shame and The Blinders cannot compete.

However, when they stray into the straight up rock n roll numbers ‘Indispensable Pencil’ and ‘Preach to the Converted’, their power fades slightly, and puts them back into the pack. it

What brought real hope was the undeniable ‘Necroflat in the Palace’. To witness such a young crowd lose its shit as one unifying entity, screaming the lyrics 'I was born in the NHS / I will die in the NHS’ has to be the most beautiful thing ever seen.

The Claim at the 100 Club

The illustrious 100 Club played host to the inaugural Medway Weekender. Headlining the first night were The Claim, a genuine hidden treasure from Cliffe in Kent.

They open with the ‘Say So’, a solid reminder of a time when singles could be a blend of infectious and thought-provoking melodies. ‘Do You Still Feel’ furthers this notion, the Roses style drums are met with a withdrawn Boo Radleys-esque vocal during the verses. They serve as a perfect precursor to a rousing chorus and irresistible guitar part.

Closing the set was the classic ‘Sporting Life’. The guitars are as sharp as ever on this paisley gem. The contrast of the high and low guitar parts is a thing of beauty. It builds the tension expertly in this tale of gambling woe and then, as all hope is seemingly burned, comes the lightest of jingle jangle touches.  

What remains apparent, is without frontman David Read, there never would have been an audience for so many beloved alternative singers. He has a great nous of creating something truly interesting within a great guitar melody. Where Ian Brown and Mark Morriss were going for pop nirvana, Read straddles that line of underground/overground like The Simpsons did for its initial 8 seasons with aplomb.

How long The Claim will be back for remains unknown, but this was a special night with a special band so, here’s hoping for a lot more.