The Crown Inn, Worcester - 22.10.2011
It's hard times for musicians at the moment and I, for one, am throwing my annoying self behind the campaign to see musos properly paid for all the entertainment they provide and the custom they bring into venues - which doesn't include so-called pay-to-play and the battle-of-the-bands formats - which usually benefit the organisers but not the artists who actually put in the effort... (rant over).
Just about the only exception I'll make is for charity events - when the great and good of our wonderful music scene show their true colours by giving up their time to support well-worthy causes - and last weekend's event in aid of Help For Heroes at the Crown Inn in St John's, Worcester, has to be one of the best I've been to this year.
An unearthly early start of 2pm, so yours truly only missed Tammy Downs - but good reports about this girl who I'm hoping to catch again real soon.
First up was Sophia of Psyflyer in solo mode - but a few tuning and sound issues in her set which cropped up again throughout the day. Strange really - unless the sound is absolutely horrible I'm not fussed that much - I tend to like live music warts-and-all - but it really does get to some musicians.
I was tremendously impressed with the hastily-reformed Passengers, from Evesham, who were the origins of Koda who were originally booked - a stunning set kicked off with the incredibly beaty Change Like The Weather, but this comes at a price - drummer Anthony gets through an alarming number of drumsticks in their set - apparently he was offered some titanium drumsticks with a 'you won't break these' reassurance - but he failed to get a refund as the company refused to accept that they'd been broken with 'normal use' - maybe they should see him play!
I haven't seen young Kidderminster three-piece for a little while now and great to see that Chris and the guys are still turning out great originals like Take Me With You and new number Only Way Out as well as throwing in tasty covers of Sugar by Fallout Theory and Ribena by Pegasus Bridge - we do like locals covering locals!
For the time being the Pershore-based SJS Band have reverted to a Girls On Film/Das Sexy Clap (or even White Stripes if you prefer) type two-piece - and I reckon it might just suit them. They seem just a little bit more grungy with a touch of boogie thrown in on numbers like If You Leave Me and I'm supremely confident that this very young duo will go supersonic really soon.
Another trio who seem headed for the big-time are Kiddy metallers Vault Of Eagles - there's just quality in bucketloads from Mari, Hetti and Scott who'll be shooting it out in a month's time at Marshall Amps own talent-search final at their headquarters in Milton Keynes - this trio could really be the next outfit from our region to go global in the very near future.
This was the first time I've heard a full set from newbies Poetry In Numbers and I do like their driving Hawkwind-ish riffs intermingled with some jangly indie-rock dischords - will deffo catch them again but please invest in some guitar tuners real soon guys (they're less than a tenner each and by far the best accessory for any guitarist).
The main evening set kicked off with the primal scream that's the trademark opening of the wonderful Tallulah Fix - it's been a while since I've seen my #1 act of last year as they've had a late summer recess but they're back with a bang - not quite sure about the untitled new number in 3/4 time though - a rare beast nowadays - but would love to see them on the same billing as earlier outfit Passengers - what a gig that'd be.
Next-up outfit Jets To Zurich from Aberdare met up with Tallulah about 18 months ago at the Victory in Hereford and have been gigging together since then - the rock 'n' rollers have great numbers like Downward Spiral and newbie Pyramids under their belt - but also bring that uniquely-Welsh slightly off-colour brand of between-number banter which makes for superb entertainment.
Credit to Mikey Bradshaw, his hard-working crew (especially the indefatigable Pierre on the door) and all the bands for putting together a superb showcase of talent and raising much-needed dosh for Help For Heroes - this fabulous evening was closed off by the men in white coats - by which of course I mean the Kit Kincade-fronted Ronin - another one of the great rocking local acts who've emerged over the last twelve months or so and in a perfect world would be fighting with nine other Hereford and Worcester acts for the top-ten national chart places - well that's what we think anyway!