Tag Archive | "Nick Parker"

Gaz Brookfield, Nick Parker and Ben Wain – Bocabar, Glastonbury (Feb 6, 2016)

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Gaz Brookfield, Nick Parker and Ben Wain – Bocabar, Glastonbury (Feb 6, 2016)

Posted on 07 February 2016 by Joe

After a day of relentless rain the River Brue, between Street and Glastonbury in Somerset, decided enough was enough. In a fit of rage it cast aside its sodden verges and pushed itself out into the surrounding fields. Just metres away from these new muddy lakes at the Bocabar on the edge of Glastonbury another typical west country event was taking place, with Bristol’s Gaz Brookfield, his fiddle player Ben Wain and Nick Parker performing in front of a loyal following.

Ben Wain, Nick Parker and Gaz Brookfield (l-r)

Ben Wain, Nick Parker and Gaz Brookfield (l-r)

The trio were in Glastonbury on the fourth night of a 20 or so date tour across the UK, Netherlands and Germany. For Parker this was the home leg and he brought along his band for the occasion, called the False Alarms and including Swampgrass’s guitarist Brad Lister and Flipron’s bassist Tom Granville.

For the independent spirited Brookfield, who deliberately remains unsigned, he’d brought along a fair few followers too. But he was also venturing from his Bristol base on his ongoing mission to win over new fans. On this evidence it’s no wonder he recently sold out Bristol’s 400 capacity The Fleece and is busy all year round playing around 200 gigs.

There’s an engaging appeal to Brookfield as a performer but also his songs demand attention – part tongue in cheek commentary on modern Britain, part stream of conscious musings from his hectic life on the road.

Ben Wain and Gaz Brookfield

Ben Wain and Gaz Brookfield

Among those tracks getting an airing tonight were Be the Bigger Man about the universal issue of bullying. And with the opening line “I’m sick and tired of renting, I want a place to call my own” on Sailor Jerry’s Kitchen he is speaking to the hundreds of thousands of young people trapped in high rent Britain.

In Wain, Brookfield has the perfect foil and a virtuoso fiddle player. The music just sounds action packed and heartfelt from start to its rousing sing along finish.

Nick Parker and the False Alarms

Nick Parker and the False Alarms

Parker is cut from the same cloth as Brookfield as a singer songwriter embedded into the west country music scene and with a focus on being an engaging performer. He admits on a new song tonight that he “doesn’t do political”. Instead his tales are about growing up in awe of Irish music on I’ve Never Been To Dublin and stories of modern love and odd relationships.

At the end of Parker’s set, which also featured the versatile Wain, Brookfield joined in for an epic medley around the folk classic Plastic Jesus.

Alex and Craig Priddice

Alex and Craig Priddice

*Support tonight was from Alex and Craig Priddice, locally based brothers with some perfect harmonies and great tunes under their belts that are building up a reputation locally as another quality live act.

For more information about the Gaz Brookfield, Nick Parker and Ben Wain tour click here.

Words and pictures by Joe Lepper

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Fly Cat Fly – Pocketful of Pain

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Fly Cat Fly – Pocketful of Pain

Posted on 11 November 2015 by Joe

Recommended to us by Somerset based singer songwriter Nick Parker, this German trio have some stadium sized hooks and great melodies in their small indie band locker.

As a result Fly Cat Fly could be equally at home amid a sea of several thousand waving iPhones torches or in a dimly lit backroom of a little pub.

Fly Cat Fly. Photo by Photo by Robert Krampitz

Fly Cat Fly. Photo by Robert Krampitz

Opener Staring Holes is a case in point. It’s got some huge drumming in the intro, beautiful festival twinkling guitar but with its whispering vocals is also a slight, subtle track.

Third track Ready To is another high point with a great soaring chorus amid the distorted guitars, as is I Don’t Need Eyes To See, with its simple guitar part and Bowie like vocal delivery.

The centrepiece comes with Kingdom Come, a film soundtrack of a sweeping song that starts slight and slow then goes wonderfully ballistic towards the end.

Across all 11 tracks there’s plenty to like here and shows that there are still interesting new, guitar-based indie rock acts around.

For those UK readers wanting to see Fly Cat Fly they have a string of dates taking in London, Glastonbury, Bath and Swindon over December. More details here.

7/10

By Joe Lepper

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Open Mic Night – Hawthorns, Glastonbury (May 19, 2015)

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Open Mic Night – Hawthorns, Glastonbury (May 19, 2015)

Posted on 20 May 2015 by Joe

For Minor Works Unit, one of the acts appearing at Glastonbury’s long established weekly open mic night at pub venue Hawthorns, the evening had an extra special meaning.

Hawthorns family atmosphere

Hawthorns’ youngest attendee

The central Somerset based act was left devastated earlier this year when their frontman and songwriter Dan Bradford died suddenly.

As the local paper The Central Somerset Gazette reported in February he was a hugely popular local singer and actor, with Minor Works Unit proving an excellent vehicle for his witty and often surreal lyrics. A Somerset based version of 1960s pop surrealists Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band would not be far from the mark.

A Minor Works Unit

A Minor Works Unit

Since Dan’s  tragic death the band have kept rehearsing and  brought in new vocalist Matt Crisp, with the aim of keeping Dan’s songs going.

Tonight at Hawthorns, amongst the mainly acoustic guitar based acts, they got back on the horse, took a deep breathe and began a new era for the band.

For some attending they would have known Dan and how emotional performing without him for the first time is for the band. For others they wouldn’t have known the back story. For all attending though the band proved a hit, with Matt doing a great job of belting out Dan’s lyrics ably backed by the band, of double bass, percussion, ukele and guitar.

Andy Badman

Andy Badman

Organisers Steve Henderson and Brad Lister clearly realised this act was a little different and allowed them an encore.

Seeing the return of Minor Works Unit also gave me a chance to experience this popular open mic evening for the first time. I was left impressed by the breadth of talent amongst the seasoned musicians and new recruits to performing alike. For some like Andy Badman, who usually plays in a 50s rock n roll band it gives him a chance to hone his folk blues skills. He’s an accomplished guitarist with more than a few nods to the likes of Bert Jansch in his style of play.

Rainbow Tony

Rainbow Tony

Then there was the friendly Rainbow Tony, who invites the audience into a singalong and is full of chat afterwards about his guitar heroes.

Another more seasoned pro appearing on the night was Nick Parker, who tours Europe regularly as a solo artist and with his band The False Alarms. Tonight he was accompanied on vocals by his daughter Flo, with their version of The Decemberists The Engine Driver proving a highlight.

Nick and Flo Parker

Nick and Flo Parker

I sadly missed the final part of the evening, what with it being a school night, but amongst others that impressed were the guitar and slide playing duo of Spencer Cox and Nick Balura and the strong vocal performance of Tolly Snell. Nick Balura’s solo instrumental set was also excellent.

Spencer Cox and Nick Balura

Spencer Cox and Nick Balura

Open mic nights offer so much in an era where venues are shrinking in number but what impressed me most was the strong sense of community amongst the acts tonight, which made it a perfect occasion to mark the return of Minor Works Unit.

by Joe Lepper

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Matt Creer – The Leeward Tide

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Matt Creer – The Leeward Tide

Posted on 04 March 2015 by Joe

Matt Creer came onto our radar thanks to a tweet by Chris T-T declaring his love for the Isle of Man singer songwriter’s latest track North Northwest. We listened, we agreed, we got in touch and Creer popped his new album The Leeward Tide in the post.

creer

As befits a biography that boast music credits working with the aforementioned Chris T-T, as well as Mike and the Mechanics’ Paul Carrack and Beverly Craven, on The Leeward Tide Creer straddles mainstream, independent music and folk with aplomb.

There is an immediate comparison with Seth Lakeman, who with the aid of a Mercury Music Prize nomination brought his Devon folk rock to a wider audience. Creer could quite easily do the same. In fact listening to this album I’m struggling to see why Creer isn’t headlining Cambridge Folk Festival and gaining regular UK airtime as Lakeman does.

Creer is getting there though. He’s made the top ten of the iTunes singer songwriter chart over 2014 and 2015 and at the time of writing The Leeward Tide was in the top 20 of the same chart just a day or so after release.

As well as the instant appeal of North Northwest, there’s the beauty of the harp on Flesh and Bone and the tender Islands that also stand out; as does Shout Me Down, which reminded me of Scottish based folk collective Southern Tenant Folk Union.

Another song that deserves a mention is Your Dancing Shoes, which reminds me of the smart observational lyrics of Somerset singer songwriter Nick Parker.

The Leeward Tide sounds polished and beautiful, especially on Flesh and Bone, but crucially it is not over produced. It still feels like a group of musicians in an Isle of Man bar or a friend’s living room performing an intimate gig.

It also feel very Manx. As someone who has never been to the island though I should clarify that it sounds like how I imagine its coastal and rural landscape to be. As calms after the storm go this is just about perfect.

8/10

by Joe Lepper

To Download The Leeward Tide and find out more about Matt click here.

 

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Glastonbury Festival 2014

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Glastonbury Festival 2014

Posted on 30 June 2014 by Joe

Everyone has their own Glastonbury experience. It’s so vast, with 200,000 people and thousands of acts scattered across two large Somerset farms that this giant muddy city is able to offer something for everyone. There are those that like the big name acts of the Pyramid and Other stages, some who can dance all night at Shangri-La and Arcadia and then there’s some like me who enjoy finding new bands and watching music in the many smaller, more intimate venues.

Storm clouds over the Pyramid Stage

Storm clouds over the Pyramid Stage

I was attending this year as a judge for this year’s Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition so was especially keen to catch up with some of the finalists. During this review I’ll cover each of my day’s trek around the storm hit, mud strewn site’s smaller venues to bring some new acts to your attention.

Friday

After discovering it was Kaiser Chiefs not my dream of Prince playing the surprise slot opening at The Other Stage I headed to this year’s best venue, William’s Green, where new bands rub shoulders with more established acts looking to play a second, more intimate gig. Ralfe Band were first on and provided the perfect start with Oly Ralfe’s accomplished Baroque pop on keyboards and acoustic guitar putting in great versions of tracks such as Crow and Ox.

Ralfe Band

Ralfe Band

As I made my way over to the BBC Introducing stage I stopped off to watch a little of Blondie. I knew it would be a soul destroying experience for this fan and was proved right. Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and one of the world’s best drummers Clem Burke remain from the original line up but they were supplemented with some rent a rock session musicians and were now very clearly a spent force. Harry shouted rather than sang her way through the classics like Hanging on the Telephone and their bland ‘new ones’ were met with groans and sighs from the crowd. Is it time to call it a day? In Blondie’s case, definitely.

Wood Burning Savages

Wood Burning Savages

Over at the BBC Introducing stage Dan Hyde proved a welcome antidote, backed by cello and giving a new take on the skinny jeaned young singer songwriter genre. Derry’s Wood Burning Savages were next and immediately looked like a band destined for bigger things. Every track in their short 20 minute set of fast paced indie rock sounded like a single, especially Lather, Rinse, Repeat. In singer Paul Connolly they also have a great frontman; part Bono, part Danny Kendall from 1980s Grange Hill.

Carnabells from Leeds were next at BBC Introducing and were brought on stage by fan Steve Lamacq. All giant hair, paisley shirts and velvet jackets they play rock and roll with a huge dollop of indie rock and did Steve proud.

The beauty of the BBC Introducing stage is it is next to the Gully Outer National stage for world music as well as John Peel for the more established BBC 6 Music style acts. Birmingham’s Eternal Taal – Bhangra Entertainment Team were hard to ignore with their energetic crowd participation act at Gully as were Temples over at John Peel with their carefully crafted late 1960s psychedelic rock. It’s a little Tame Impala light but they still do this genre justice.

Carnabelles

Carnabells

Following a brief burst of sunshine some menacing clouds began to appear. I sought shelter back at William’s Green to see We Were Evergreen. Anyone who has heard Canada’s Rural Alberta Advantage will be impressed by this smart, Parisian electro pop act.

The next event was the weather, with a truly frightening electrical storm bringing the festival’s music to a brief close due to health and safety fears. Everyone at the festival will have their tale to tell of where they were when this intense rain came down. For me it was in The Leftfield where Neonfiller.com favourites The Tuts were just getting going in their punk pop set when the generators were shut down. Billy Bragg, who is curating proceedings at The Leftfield apologised but audience didn’t care though as they launched into a Cliff Richard at Wimbledon style sing-along to Bohemian Rhapsody. The guitar solo bit was particularly funny.

Young Knives

Young Knives

Back at William’s Green and the electricity back on, Young Knives played a storming set, filled with tracks from Neonfiller.com top 20 album of 2013 Sick Octave and an incredible performance from lead singer Henry Dartnell as he snarled, barked and jerked around the stage.

Billy Bragg’s Friday night Leftfield show is a tradition of the festival. Tonight it was just him and telecaster and acoustic guitar, belting out his hits and reminding us of the late Tony Benn, who was a regular at the festival. It’s a political venue so the politics is ramped up through tracks such as Between the Wars and There is Power in a Union. But he’s also a preacher with heart and Handyman Blues about his father was among many tearjerkers. Bragg always puts on a good show, but there’s something special about his Friday night Leftfield slot.

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

My evening ended with two Somerset based bands, Flipron and Nick Parker and the False Alarms who share members and played a great joint set at Avalon Café. Both Parker and Flipron frontman Jesse Budd were playing a number of times at the festival but you’d never know they were probably wrecked from exhaustion as they belted through their most festival friendly tracks. There was even dancing amid the tea drinking.

Nick Parker

Nick Parker

Saturday

John Peel openers Black Tambourines were one of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition finalists this year and left me impressed during their short set at the Pilton finals in April. It was great to see a full set from this Falmouth act, which owes a lot to the 1960s garage punk and mod sounds of the Unrelated Segments and other obscurities from that era.

The Black Tambourines

The Black Tambourines

At BBC Introducing by coincidence another Falmouth act, Polly Money, is proving that the Cornish music scene is in fine voice. Her intricate acoustic guitar work and looping vocals show she is another accomplished, emerging talent. After a surprise gig at BBC introducing from Little Dragon I headed back over to William’s Green for the billed psychedelic rock segment of the weekend, which started with the Nirvana-esque grunge-sters The Wytches, Brisbane’s Blank Realm, Smoke Fairies and Dinosaur Jr’s favourites Bevis Frond.

The Wytches

The Wytches

All these William’s Green acts were great in their own separate ways from Smoke Fairies’ style of dressing in designer white outfits, Bevis Frond’s love of life, Blank Realm’s insane vocals and The Wytches massive hair.

The Smoke Fairies

The Smoke Fairies

The evening was spent in the company of two great songwriters. Watching Nick Lowe sing What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding with his perfect pitch and intonation is one of those ‘things to see in music before you die’ moments. He was especially suited to the beautiful Acoustic tent with its hanging red drapes and giant disco ball.

John Grant

John Grant

John Grant at the Park was as amiable and fun as he appears to be on disc, with his clever lyrics and liberal swearing. As joints were being passed around at the front Grant dazzled us with tracks such as Mars and GMF, perhaps his greatest song. On the way back home that night (I live near the site and was popping in each day) I managed to catch the Arcadia landing show, an outstanding spectacle of fire breathing giant space spider pyrotechnics.

 

Arcadia

Arcadia

 

Sunday

The Black Tambourines and Wood Burning Savages prove the festival has emerging talent that has seemingly arrived fully formed. But some of today’s BBC Introducing stage acts showed that some have a little way to go in terms of stage presence. Glastonbury Emerging Talent finalists FURS have the right look and sound but fell into the trap of not looking like they wanted to be there. Kagoule have their chops around a distortion pedal but while excellent musically they looked nervous and were smile-shy.

Kagoule

Kagoule

We are told by the BBC DJ who introduced singer songwriter Lapsley that she will be one of those acts that will be making a swift move from the BBC Introducing to a main stage swiftly. It does happen, with Ed Sheeran playing the stage in 2011 and bagging a Pyramid slot this year. Lapsley could do well with her  haunting electronica. She has some nice touches to her act as well, especially through voice manipulation gadgets. But she’ll have to do a lot of work on her stage presence to follow Sheeren’s lead. She looked  like she was on work experience at an office, desperately trying to pluck up the courage to ask a manager where the coffee machine is, rather than at a music festival.

Gallery Circus

Gallery Circus

Gallery Circus though showed these acts how it should be done. This Newcastle duo of twins Graeme and Daniel Ross play sibling blues rock in the White Stripes vein and are  sensational live; Graeme’s frantic drumming especially. After seeing the energy they put into playing live I want them to get wider attention and a main stage slot that so many on the BBC Introducing are touted for but today only Gallery Circus deserve.

After the storms of Friday and Saturday the mud was thick and getting about the site was tough work. I decided to stick to one area for the duration, even if that meant missing the Festival’s buzz act Dolly Parton. The Park was my venue and provided the best segment of the festival as well as the best live act I’ve seen since Nick Cave’s astonishing Pyramid Stage set in 2013.

M+A

M+A

Phosphorescent brought the songwriting talents of Matthew Houck and key tracks, such as Song For Zula and Ride On/Right On from his Neonfiller.com Top 20 album of 2012 Muchacho, to the Park. He had a little wobble early on, having a hissy fit with a mic, slamming down the stand in disgust. Perhaps realising that this made him look like an utter knob he backtracked, thanked the sound engineers for their hard work and the gig resumed.

Ahead of next act Yoko Ono with Yo La Tengo I popped up to the Rabbit Hole, the crazy bar near the Park’s ribbon tower to catch a second gig from Glastonbury Emerging Talent winners M+A. Their blend of European pop and electronic trickery was superb in this tiny venue and they proved worthy winners of this competition.

Yoko One and Yo La Tengo

Yoko Ono and Yo La Tengo

I was not expecting Yoko Ono to be good. I was mostly there for the novelty of seeing such an well known figure of modern culture and had always been of the opinion that her and Lennon’s preaching was more pretentious than heartfelt. There was pretension, but she is such an engaging personality I can see why so many listened to her and husband back in the day. Before she came to the stage people with flowers in the hair went around the crowd handing out labels to write down wishes and hand back in a bucket. Then Ono arrived, tiny, focused and full of smiles backed this time by Yo La Tengo as the Plastic Ono Band.

Packed full of tales from her own life, including the tragic loss of her daughter due to a marriage break up and artists visiting her and Lennon, the audience immediately warmed to her. Musically it was pretty fine too. Backed by Yo La Tengo’s indie rock, Ono throat warbled her way through tracks such as We’re All Water and Mind Train as the audience beamed back at her.

St Vincent

St Vincent

St Vincent provided one of the most astounding show of the weekend. Looking sensational in gold trimmed black dress and stiletto boots she moved around the stage like a android doll that is smirking as it discovers rebellion and music for the first time. Coordinated dances with the band, a move onto a giant white pedestal, a coordinated roll back down it and two of the most insane crowd surfing moments I’ve witnessed then followed.

St Vincent being helped into the crowd

St Vincent being helped into the crowd

The crowd surfing was particularly impressive, still playing guitar she struggled through the mud in her heels, had to be helped up by security staff, fell over a number of times, jumped on people, managed to borrow a flat cap and then popped back on stage still in android doll character as if nothing had happened. How she managed to still look cool after that I’ll never know. Your Lips Are Red and a tender version of Prince Johnny were among many highlights of an incredible masterclass in performance and music for some of the emerging acts here to take note of.

dragon

Words and Pictures by Joe Lepper. All pictures are copyrighted to News and Features Ltd, if you would like to use any please email joelepper@newsandfeatures.co.uk

To see more photos from the weekend head over to our Facebook page.

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Nick Parker- Angry Pork and the Occasional Bird

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Nick Parker- Angry Pork and the Occasional Bird

Posted on 05 June 2014 by Joe

At its heart this second album from Somerset based singer songwriter Nick Parker is folk. But dig deeper and there’s a far broader range of styles on offer, from alternative indie pop to stadium-sized, get your lighters out, rock.

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Production from Twin Falls man Luke Stidson helps the alternative indie feel and with a collection of local musicians and friends in tow the album also has a warmth to it.

In places those taking part even steal the limelight, such as guitarist and harmonium player Dave Little whose country twang brings to life opener Could We At Least Try. Singer Beth Rowley is another talent given room to shine and provides a star turn on the melancholy Oceonographer.

Parker and Stidson clearly know how to get the best out of a range of musicians with Clare Tarling’s fiddle playing deserving of praise for highlighting some fine melodies in the songs but never veering into the clichés of Irish folk/rock, that are thankfully avoided on this album, even though on Never Been To Dublin Parker admits to adoring that genre.

Another musician involved is Billy Shinbone, the alter ego of Flipron frontman Jesse Budd, who brings not only banjo but some fine 1950s style lead guitar work to elevate songs such as Jerusalem.

The collection of tracks here are those Parker has been gigging across the UK and Europe for much of the last year. But while the stomp of up tempo tracks such as I’ve Never Been to Dublin Before and the stadium rock bombast of Another Journey Home are sure to be crowd pleasers on stage, it is the sadder, more atmospheric tracks such as Oceonographer, Come on Jump Over Your Shadow and Something Someone Said where Parker’s writing really shines on disc.

7/10

By Joe Lepper

Nick Parker and his backing band The False Alarms, which features many of the musicians on this album, will be performing later this month at the Glastonbury Festival 2014.

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Godney Gathering, Somerset (July 20, 2013)

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Godney Gathering, Somerset (July 20, 2013)

Posted on 29 July 2013 by Joe

After a full week of heat the likes of the south west rarely sees, this year’s Godney Gathering was packed.

Event organisers Mike and Sue Daniels must have breathed a sigh of relief after the cruel wet weather of last year, which flooded its Somerset farm setting and forced an eleventh hour location switch to an indoor cattle market  nearby.

In addition to some beautiful weather this year’s event was also a far larger affair, with the main stage supplemented by two other stages, The Jaywalk Stage, sponsored by nearby Street guitar shop Jaywalk Guitars, and an acoustic tent. This trio of venues proved perfect to enable the festival to showcase some excellent local acts as well as its more well known headliners, such as The Blockheads.

Godney Gathering Logo

In keeping with our aims of promoting music near to our two bases of Somerset and Brighton, as well as showcasing new talent we decided to concentrate on the local and emerging acts at the event.

Up first on the Jaywalk Stage were local Glastonbury band All Us Authors. Who straight from the get-go provided Godney with a powerful indie rock performance, gathering a decent sized crowd right from the start. Over at the acoustic tent next we saw Lee Rahn from Street, who played a great set, bringing in a good sized crowd of local fans, friends and family.

The Young Aviators, one of the highlights of last year’s Godney Gathering, were back at this year. They put in an electrifying and energy fuelled set on the Jaywalk Stage, seemingly bringing most of Godney in to watch them.

A highlight of my night was local ska/rock band Shoot The Moon, having previously played the first ever Godney Gathering they were better than ever, getting the whole of the Jaywalk  tent bobbing along to every song.

Headlining the acoustic stage was Nick Parker, the Street based singer songwriter who spends much of his time touring Europe and instantly filled the acoustic tent. With his big voice and engaging stage banter, he played a brilliant acoustic including tracks such as Never Been to Dublin Before and Metaphor.

Now in its third year, the Godney Gathering appears to be getting better ever year, with good value in every department from acts and even the food. Godney will hopefully soon make a deserved bigger name for itself as one of the best one-day festivals the UK has to offer.

By Ryan Perry

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All Us Authors, Nick Parker and the False Alarms (Pilton Working Men’s Club, Feb 16, 2013)

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All Us Authors, Nick Parker and the False Alarms (Pilton Working Men’s Club, Feb 16, 2013)

Posted on 18 February 2013 by Joe

All Us Authors may have a slight tongue twister of a name, still be at college and are happy for their mums to dance at their gigs, but don’t underestimate them; they are clearly an ambitious group with the swagger and talent of a band going places.

Based in the Glastonbury area, but with plans to move to London, they are already regular performers in small local venues, including the Pilton Working Men’s Club, which is the local of Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis and within cow milking and stage diving distance of the festival site.

All Us Authors

All Us Authors

What was clear from the start, as they played tracks from their forthcoming EP and their debut EP Animal, was how accomplished they are musically with Animal tracks such as Murder in Chaos particularly on the money tonight.

Arctic Monkeys appear a key influence for the band, especially when hearing lead singer Dan Nixon’s deliberately distorted vocals. But after two or three songs it became clear their influences are far more eclectic, with the likes of Joy Division and Foals being muttered among the crowd. Late 1970s Athens, Georgia, band Pylon are another that sprung to mind, with their similar  jerky combination of new wave, punk and funk.

Key to their success is Nixon, who on stage regularly swiped back his quiff as he gazed at the half full venue with a sheepish smile at times, a piercing glare at others. He’s the real deal as lead singers go, cool as you like and with so much genuine stage presence that he even looked good dancing with the mums at the front and stepping off stage to rearrange the lighting himself.

As I left the venue I noticed Nixon was at the back chatting to Michael Eavis. Discussing their set list  at this year’s festival perhaps? According to their Facebook page they are in the frame for a slot at the festival, which could prove to be the perfect springboard they need to reach a wider audience outside of Somerset.

Nick Parker and the False Alarms

Nick Parker and the False Alarms

Support was provided by Somerset based singer songwriter Nick Parker, playing tonight as Nick Parker and the False Alarms, the band he has just finished a tour of Germany with. Usually a solo performer it is rare that he plays locally with a full band and this gig gave the Somerset crowd a welcome chance to see what Germany has been treated to.

Tracks from his debut album King of False Alarms and forthcoming release are engaging enough when performed solo but really benefited from the full band sound. Dave Little’s 1939 lap steel and John Steer’s guitar work were particularly impressive as was the added stomp provided by Sam Boughen’s drumming  and Tom Granville’s  bass.

Metaphor, from King of False Alarms and about parenthood, as well as Never Been To Dublin, about hearing the music of Ireland as a boy through his older brother’s bedroom door, were among a number of highlights. Perhaps most impressive of all was their version of Hier Kommt Alex by Die Toten Hosen, sung by Parker in German.

by Joe Lepper

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Somerset Festival Organisers Fill Gap Left By Glastonbury Break

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Somerset Festival Organisers Fill Gap Left By Glastonbury Break

Posted on 19 April 2012 by Joe

The Glastonbury Festival  is taking a break in 2012 but central Somerset festival organisers are not resting on their laurels when it comes to making live music available this summer.

On July 21 the one day Godney Gathering is back for a second year, at Godney Farm near to Glastonbury. Starting at 5pm and finishing at 1am there are five acts for the £20 admission cost.

Godney Gathering 2011, pic by Mathew Danby

Headlining will be festival rockers Subways, followed by The Hoosiers, whose debut album The Trick of Life topped the UK album charts in October 2007.

Others are Reef surf folk side project Stringer Beasant, Manchester indie rock outfit The Rainband, psychedelic rock from Goldray and Glasgow surf band Young Aviators.

Organisers have promised a £2.50 limit on all alcoholic drinks sold at the bar. For ticket details  and more information click here.

This year also sees the first Glastonbury Fringe festival. Taking place between June 21 and July 1 the event involves music, art and theatre at venues across Glastonbury.

Nick Parker

Highlights include Ben Marwood, Oxygen Thief and Neonfiller.com favourite Nick Parker at Tor Leisure on June 23. Jim Lockey and the Solumn Sun, Gaz Brookfield and Oleander Brown perform at the same venue on June 22, and a Shamanic Trance Dance Workshop at Glastonbury Assembly Rooms on June 21 also looks intriguing.

For more information about Glastonbury Fringe and ticket details  click here.

By Joe Lepper

See Also: Godney Gathering 2011 Review , 2012’s Best Festivals Revealed

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Nick Parker – The King Of False Alarms

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Joe

After years playing in a variety of folk bands Somerset musician Nick Parker has finally gone solo and served up an excellent debut album ‘The King of False Alarms.’

Although listed as ‘acoustic, folk and country’ on his Myspace page Parker can arguably be lumped in with the newish breed of folk music to come out of the UK such as Leisure Society and Frank Turner, who are as much influenced by the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel as they are by the hey-nonny-nonnying of traditional English folk.

The nearest comparison is probably Frank Turner and The King of False Alarms opener ‘Comfort or convenience’ is firmly in the Turner mould; driving acoustic rhythm, rousing chorus, impassioned vocals all layered with cello and violin. It’s a great opener.

Things slow down with the more downbeat series of tracks such as ‘He should be home by now’, ‘The happiest man,’ and ‘Things that I miss’. While these showcase some sumptuous production (recorded in a cottage in Devon, according to his website) and range of instruments they have less impact than the more rousing tracks.

It is with ‘Here With You (Ode to the Open Mic)’, featuring just Parker, his guitar and backing vocals from some garden birds that things get far better. This raw sound, more akin to Neutral Milk Hotel’s album ‘In the Aeroplane over the sea’, really grabbed my attention and starts a storming second half to the album.

Among the best is the stomping ‘Metaphor’, with good use of lapsteel and great lyrics surrounding the thoughts of a nanny who has to hand back the kids to their parents at the end of the day. I particularly liked the line “I know you mean no harm, I’m the drummer in Def Leppard but I’ve lost my other arm.”

‘Blackmail’ with violin and cello to the fore is almost chamberpop and arguably the stand out on the album.

Parker has clearly assembled a fine bunch of musicians on this album and his experience and openness to a variety of indie and folk influences shine through.

It is going to be tough to get his head above the parapet with many others, such as Turner and Joe Steer (aka Broadcast 2000), ploughing a similar indie-folk field (apologies for the metaphor). But I hope Parker achieves the larger audience he deserves with this debut.

The King of False Alarms can be bought direct from Nick Parker’s website. Details here.

7/10

by Joe Lepper, Aug 2010

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