Archive for April, 2010

Album Review: Meat Loaf – Hang Cool Teddy Bear

Mr ‘Rock Opera’ the inimitable larger than life ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ singer Meat Loaf is back with a new LP, this time he has friends!

Meat Loaf – Hang Cool Teddy Bear

Meat Loaf - Hang Cool Teddy Bear

RockOSaurus Says:

The round one is back! Hand Cool Teddy Bear is a glorious and star studded return to from from the larger than life american classic ‘rock opera’ star. His storytelling pop musings are everpresent but with the helping hand from some friends this album is a real treat of hard hitting rock and roll.

The collaborators range from guitarists Jon Bon Jovi (co-writing the showstopper Elvis in Vegas) to Jack Black & American Idoler Kara DioGuardi (sinigng backing vocals), plus every one’s favourite TV Doctor Hugh Laurie even takes a turn tinkling the ivories quite beautifully on If I Can’t Have You. Don’t let the mix of artists fool you this is definitely a Meatloaf record, just with some added oomph!

Justin Hawkins is the only guest who really stamps his style on the album with his trademark falsetto, unmistakable guitar sound, plus his tongue in cheek man rock lyrics on California Isn’t Big Enough (Hey There Girl). The real treat is the Justin collaboration Love Is Not Real with its huge riffing and stunning solo’s from guitar legends Brian May and Steve Vai.

Yes it’s big! Yes its slighly cheesy! Yes it’s suprisingly good! Meatloaf has finally stopped trying to recreate Bat Out Of Hell and is now firmly rocking it in the modern day!

Mr Flowers Says:

What’s with this spate of rock gods returning with an army of collaborators these days? Meat Loaf returns with his rock opera sound perfectly intact after over 4 decades. The chances are you’ll already know if you like this or not.

The duet with Kara DioGuardi doesn’t quite match the highs of the duets that defined Meat Loaf’s career, but she equips herself well and belts out the rock choruses well. The Jack White collaboration on Like A Rose is probably the most modern sounding on the album, and Elvis In Vegas ends the album with a fittingly epic Springsteen-like effort. Another highlight is California Isn’t Big Enough, one of the Justin Hawkins penned songs on the album, whose chorus features the brilliant lyric, “I can barely fit my dick in my hands, ooowoahh”. Some of the ballads don’t work so well, but it’s not anything that can’t be rescued with a guitar solo here or there.

So it’s an album with some pretty good songs on it, but if you’ve never been a Meat fan there’s nothing here that’s going to be changing your mind.

RockOSaurus: 8/10

MrFlowers: 7/10

DoesItRock Overall Score: 7.5/10

A Guide to Camden Crawl 2010, Part 4

We concluse our DoesItRock Guide to Camden Crawl 2010 by pointing you in the direction of some of the more challenging “they’re much better live” bands who’s performances you wont want to miss!

Go see them Live: Spotify Sampler

Pulled Apart By Horses

Really hard to pin down to a single genre. they mix element of alternative, proggressive, noise-rock, post-hardcore & metal all bound with an aggressive in your face attitude. These guys demand your attention, their live shows are not suprisingly chaotic and highy rated. (Saturday)

Listen to: E = MC Hammer (on Spotify)

Pendulum

Standby for take-off as these electro-metal come drum & bass rockers are here for one purpose! Raving! (Saturday)

Listen to: Propane Nightmares [Live At Brixton Academy] (on Spotify)

KASMs

Brilliantly catchy off kilter rampant rock from group with alternative lo-fi leanings and plenty of wierd warping effects in their back pockets! (Saturday)

Listen to: Male Bonding (on Spotify)

Bo Ningen

Japanese Godzilla of progressive and experimental rock with mammoth riffs, crazy freakout vocals,. Epic sonic explosions of strangely enjoyable noise sure to leave you either stunned in amazement, or deaf! (Saturday)

Listen to: Koroshitai Kimochi (on Spotify)

Turbowolf

Seriously whacked out experimental rock with angry streak. Sure to be an intense show combining punk energy with electro fuzz riffing, Death From Above 1978 style.

Listen to: Ancient Snake (on myspace)

TubeLord

Alternative frenetic riff rock resurgance has spawned this cracking band in the same vein as Dananananaykroyd. Live show is sure to be great! (Sunday)

Listen to: Night Of Pencils (on Spotify)

Kap Bambino

Crazed use of the synth machine and samples galore are the signature of this fiesty electro band. Rather like Scooter only with some credibility. Hard and heavy electro mixes and yelped (out of tune) vocals are probably best for the dance mad!

Listen to: Took Life (on Spotify)

Right Hand Left Hand

This duo use looped instrumentals to create anarchic post-rock which is at the same time catchy as totally bonkers. A glorius rock and roll mess!

Listen to: Stanislav Petrov (on myspace)

That Fucking Tank

Strap your progressive ears on for these superb instrumental rockers. Their comical song titles are worthy of a gander at the least.

Listen to: Keanu Reef (on Spotify)

For those of you who have been keeping track, here is the complete playlist for all our featured artists in a single handy Spotify Playlist: 

Camden Crawl 2010 Highlights

Im afraid thats all from me here at DoesItRock.net…the choice is now yours. Go forth, check out these bands and head down to Camden on the May Bank Holiday Weekend. We’ll be there, stay tuned for the review…coming soon!

A Guide to Camden Crawl 2010: Part 3

There are plenty of bands playing both days at the festival giving you ample opportunity to catch them. Here’s a bunch of highlights from those groups on Crawl’s extensive lineup.

Sat/Sun Highlights: Sat/Sun Spotify Sampler

Midnight Juggernauts

Spacemen who sound like the electro pop incarnation of David Bowie. These Aussies are maving waves in the electronic scene, time to check them out.

Listen to: Into The Galaxy (on Spotify)

Calories

Their live performance supporting Dananananaykroyd split the DiR team with Marmite like efficiency. So i’m afraid i’ll leave this one down to you! This tune is infact quite good!

Listen to: Adventuring (on Spotify)

Eliza Doolittle

Lilly Allen, Kate Nash move over Eliza is in town. Sounds exactly the same as the previously mentioned artists, witty social commentary with sugary sweet pop.

Listen to: Moneybox (on Spotify)

Betty & the Werewolves

Racious female fronted DIY punk with girl power flowing through their souls. Rapidfire vocals are full of amusing lines and are extremely catchy.

Listen to: Euston Station (on Spotify)

Chickenhawk

Rampaging rock and roll riots! Chickenhawk wont stop till they have torn down the building or you have run scared of their unrelenting experimental riffing!

Listen to: I Hate This, Do You Like It? (on last.fm)

Kurran & the Wolfnotes

Impressive layered arrangements for a young folk band who ahre similarities with bands like The Shins.

Listen to: Whatabitch (on Spotify)

Lonelady

Riding high on a hype wave there is sure to be a crowd here for this indie rock darling, for good reason too. She’s very Madchester and the scratchy guitars and sombre vocals sure to leave a lasting impression.

Listen to: Intuition (on Spotify)

Veronica Falls

Indie as you like with a dictinctly surf pop sound. If it’s floaty vocals and fedback guitars your after, check them out.

Listen to: Beachy Head (on Spotify)

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo

A beautiful voice in amongst all the rock and roll this folk rising star could provide the most peaceful string loaded show of the weekend

Listen to: This Is How It’s Meant To Be (on myspace)

Surfer Blood

Dripping with indie credentials and comparisons to Pavement & Built To Spill, possibly trying too hard to be hip.

Listen to: Swim (on Spotify)

Alex Metric

Calvin Harris has serious competition in the form of Alex Metric. His electro-pop is dance heavy but never fails to produce a hook heavy melody.

Listen to: Head Straight (on Spotify)

The concluding post follows tomorrow…

A Guide to Camden Crawl 2010: Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of our guide to London’s premier new music showcase festival, The Camden Crawl….

Sunday Highlights: Sunday Spotify Sampler

LostProphets

Welshmen who are positioned at the top of the Post-Hardcore tree. Energetic punk rock with infectious melodies and a whole host of brilliant songs.

Listen to: Last Train Home (on Spotify)

Gang Of Four

The genre defining & influencial 70’s post-punk band with spiky angular guitars and a political message. The original lineup has been reformed and set to play their extremely catchy rock. Not to be missed!

Listen to: Damaged Goods (on Spotify)

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

Underground rockers have been around the block many times but are still making thundering blues alt-rock with a dark twist.

Listen to: Rise Of The Eagles(on Spotify)

Invasion

Huge heavy metallers with scorching female vocals are sure to start ears bleeding with their bludgeoning QOTSA-esque sludge metal. Riff roaring, fast and furious noise. They do sing about wizards and sci-fi alot though!

Listen to: In The Midst Of Madness (on myspace)

The Blackout

Have risen to be big players in the UK Post-Hardcore scene, the double header with these and LostProphets is a rockers dream ticket.

Listen to: The Fire (on Spotify)

Rolo Tomassi

Insanely intense live performances are the trademark of these hardcore techno infused in your faces technical metalheads. These youngsters can be too much for the pop fan and the slightly scary female screaming vocals back up this fact.

Listen to: I love Turbulence(on We7)

General Fiasco

Generic indie rock which is perfectly enjoyable, not going to set the world on fire but worthy of a mention.

Listen to: We Are The Foolish (on Spotify)

SHARKS

Punk rock and roll which is high in DIY production and rough around the edged charm. Vocalist is reminicent of Joe Strummer and this has an overall Clash like ramshakle-ness to it.

Listen to: It Threatens (myspace)

Wintersleep

Indie rock from this Canadian collective is briming with exciting energy, great  floaty vocals and a multitude of hummable melodies.

Listen to: Archaeologists (on Spotify)

Sunshine Underground

Indie rock infused with electro effects and a funk ethos. Produce very slick catchy tunes which can fill a dancefloor in double quick time.

Listen to: Coming To Save You(on Spotify)

Kassidy

Armed with Acoustic guitars their complex melodies are pretty damn cool if slightly folky. Yet their catchy riff writing is well worth a listen.

Listen to: Stray Cat(on Spotify)

We Are Scientists

Great live band who play uplifting pop-rock based on superb blues riffs and catchy chorus’s. Made a splash with brilliant debut album.

Listen to: The Great Escape (on Spotify)

The Delays

Brit-poppers who lace their tunes with a dreamy indie pop sensibility. The pop is unashamed but and know how to pen a cathcy melody or four.

Listen to: Long Time Coming (on Spotify)

Lightspeed Champion

Dev Hynes, the ex alt-rocker of Test Icicles turned folk and croons sweet pop melodies.

Listen to: Galaxy Of The Lost (on Spotify)

More to come tomorrow, peeps!

A Guide to Camden Crawl 2010, Part 1

With the line-up for the 2010 edition of the award winning urban new music festival almost finalised, it is time shed some light onto the artists set to make (or break) their names up in Camden Town.  With a massive lineup of 174 extremely eclectic acts confirmed thus far all sharing the same passion for producing great music and dream of making it big in the industry. With so many new bands to see we’ll try to pick out a few bands for you to keep an eye on, ones to avoid, and the odd song to give you an idea of what you’re getting in to.

Saturday Highlights: Saturday Spotify Sampler

Slow Club

Girl, Boy vocal pop duo that play simple cheery melodies but excel with their enthusiastic vocals and captivating wordplay. As simple as it is effective! Highly Reccommended!

Listen to: Me And You (on Spotify)

Calvin Harris

Leading the UK popular dance scene at the moment with his superbly catchy syth heavy electro. All over the radio and here to steal the show!

Listen to: Acceptable In The 80’s (on Spotify)

Teenage Fanclub

It’s all jingle jangle for this 60’s recalling scottish power pop group. Hard not to enjoy, poppy melodies dry like cement in your memory!

Listen to: It’s All In My Mind (on Spotify)

The Drums

Hot indie scene buzz band play Surf Pop with a twee indie edge producing simple carefree whimsical tunes.

Listen to: Lets Go Surfing (on Spotify)

Dead Meadow

Rough around the edges Floyd influenced psychadelic with a dash of sabbath and plenty of guitars are stamped across the Dead Meadow. Guitar fans are sure to enjoy, as are the hippies listening to the blissed out vocals and fuzzy six stringed lo-fi noise.

Listen to: What Needs Must Be (on Spotify)

Shy Child

Funky electronic keyboard tickling from this NYC dwelling duo. They are a hoot live!

Listen to: Liquid Love (on Spotify)

Stricken City

Female vocaled indie rockers with plenty of melody and jangly pop harmonies. Multi intrumentalist layering without breaching pretense.

Listen to: Small Things (on Spotify)

The Like

LA girls play indie rock with a sweet side. Breezy melodies, beautiful vocals and catchy guitars line their pop-centric appeal, they are certainly above your average all girl group. Think the Corrs with guitars!

Listen to: What I Say And What I Mean (on Spotify)

We Are The Ocean

Essex born and bred Post-Hardcore punk rock and roll with bite and vigour. Clean vocals are terribly american, but an oversight which can be ignored! These guys pack a mean snarling punch!

Listen to: Look Alive (Spotify)

Cornershop

“Brimful of Asha on the 45″, “Everybody need a Bosom for a pillow, everybody needs a Bosom”, One hit Wonders are worth catching for ‘that’ classic song alone!

Listen to: Brimful Of Asha (The Norman Cook Remix) (on Spotify)

Straight Lines

Uplifting power/pop-punk/rock from these welshmen showing the british can do good time guitar pop as good as the Americans. Immediate and incessently catchy rock music!

Listen to: Runaway Now (on Spotify)

The Chapman Family

Would be Maximo Park-a-likes if it wasn’t for their indie grunt and thrashy noise rock freakouts keeping things interesting!

Listen to: Kids (on Spotify)

The Lost Levels

Chaotic indie guitars on a progressive electro mission. A real genre bender who produce some fine (if a little bonkers) tunes.

Listen to: Power (on Myspace)

Art Vs Science

Funcy hard hitting beats from this Australian Dance rock outfit. Thumping keys and fun lyrics keep them interesting.

Listen to: Parlez Vous Francais? (on Myspace)

House De Racket

Racquet sport gimmick wielding Frenchman, who like fellow dance music countrymen Daftpunk & Justice, really rock out!!!

Listen to: Synthétiseur (on Spotify)

More to come tomorrow, folks!

Album Review: Slash – Slash

The most iconic modern guitarist has gone solo, well sort of! He has enlisted the help of a huge number of superstar singers to craft what is one of the finest Hard Rock release of the year so far!

Slash – Slash

Slash - Slash

RockOSaurus Says:

Slash himself provides the guitar wizardry and his signature sleazy blues, stunning soloing and wah wah inflected mega riffing is stamped firmly over the whole album. Yet far from being a one dimensional release, songs range in styles from his staple classic hard rock to blues, pop, metal, prog and even country.

The guest list of this album reads like a who’s who of both classic, modern rock and pop. It’s these collaborators who have defined the albums style more so that slash himself with each track playing to the strengths of the vocalists. Now this can be seen as either lazy on slash’s behalf or a decision taken to produce the finest album possible with the talent available.

The albums opening riff on Ghost is a typical high squalling Slash product and with The Cults Ian Astbury providing the vocal muscle this sets the tone for a polished, hard rock effort packed with hooky pop choruses.

Fergie’s turn on Beautiful Dangerous work surprisingly well and her sultry voice leading a promiscuous riff and blistering solo. Adam Levine of Maroon 5 leads an understated ballad showing blazing guitars can be scaled back to equally good effect, while By The Sword is a trippy meandering acoustic come hard rocker led very fittingly by Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale. There is surprisingly little filler here with only I Hold On with Kid Rock & Chris Cornell led Promise not living up to potential.

Slash is at his best when producing those mammoth rock numbers and the man who compliments him above all else is Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy. This is proven with 2 stunning tracks Back From Cali & Starlight both infected with a slow building bluesy swagger and stratospheric chorus’s!

When the pop edge is finally jilted, the back to basic rock spirit really revels on the superb Doctor Alibi featuring Motorhead’s Lemmy and the metal thrashing is unrelenting on the chugging Nothing To Say, showcasing Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows vocals perfectly & Slash’s axe versatility.

There is something here for everyone and not to like this is criminal as it is a perfectly crafted set of epic rock tunes with huge variety, mass pop appeal and a thumping rock and roll heart!

Mr Flowers Says:

Reliably, Slash’s guitar parts can’t be faulted and each song is appropriately infused with each of it’s collaborators hallmarks. For the most part, the all-star cast bring a lot to the table; Crucify The Dead’s macabre vibe would have been a corn-fest had it not featured one of the men who pioneered it all, and Doctor Alibi is easily one of the most exciting songs on the album with the undeniable vocal tones of Lemmy backed by a crunching 4 power-chord riff. Even Fergie assumes the role of rock goddess convincingly on Beautiful Dangerous. Unfortunately, sharing songwriting duties back fires a bit on Gotten, which sucks slightly *because* it sounds like Maroon 5.

Starlight’s slow-fast combo works well, with its sweet intro and blues/gospel style, and the Iggy Pop collaboration, We’re All Gonna Die, is great too. You could argue having a record written by such a disparate set of songwriters means you can never get a coherent album experience, but as a set of individual songs there’s hardly a foot misplaced.

RockOSaurus: 9/10

MrFlowers: 7.5/10

DoesItRock Overall Score: 8.25/10

Steel Panther @ Brixton Academy

Friday 19th March 2010

Long permed hair, Bandana’s, skimpy jeans and torn t-shirts were to be spotted aplenty on Brixton high street this evening, something not too often to be said in these modern times. Of course they were heading to the academy to witness the heavy metal harking, power chord striking, split jumping retro rock of the 21st centuries premier 80’s hard rock throwbacks Steel Panther. They are indeed a big draw and the sold out crowd is proof that they are a force to be reckoned with in their own right.

mini-IMG_5847.JPG

It is true they have taken the 80’s hair metal parody so far as to be off the scale it’s coming back round again for a second go. Their male dominated attitudes, liberal sexual views and beer driven antics are comical to the point of absurdity, which is why they are so loved. No other band could get away with writing an album full of dick jokes and sexual innuendo and still have a solitary fan. Of course the reason is their outstanding musicianship and their sublime live shows (with a little glazing of nostalgia thrown in for good measure).

Their support for this evening’s performance was far from ordinary. In fact they were stunning! All three of them were! The Sirens were to be perfectly honest 3 very hot & extremely agile strippers who danced provocatively is progressively less clothing for the crowd to the sounds of Slipknot and Lamb of God. It was totally shallow & male adjusted but who else are you expecting to perform when the headline band’s greatest ambition is to go one month without contracting an STD? Just made me wonder why more bands didn’t employ these tactics to get the crowds through the door.

mini-IMG_5743.JPG

The Sirens

After a substantial wait (probably due to setting up the camera crew who were filming this evening’s performance for a live DVD), Steel Panther emerged from the 80’s time machine and set up camp on their full 80’s stadium style stage setup complete with ramps, oversized drum kits and a mind blowing 24 full sized Marshall stacks!!!

Panther Look the part with typecast characters for each member Michael Starr the enigmatic lead singer who gets the girls, the hair preening, mirror obsessed bassist Lexxi Foxx, hard rock all night Guitarist Satchel and the dumb drummer Stix Zadinia. Self proclaiming that Heavy Metal is back is easy to understand once you have been panthered. Energy levels of this band are incredible, Starr, Satchel and Lexxi were constantly bounding round the stage, Starr even put in some impressive David Lee Roth style ball busting split jumps!

mini-IMG_5801.JPG

Vocals tonight were superb! Snows voice propels to the higher ranges of human hearing as well as having a great deep rock and rolling roar. Early set highlight came in the shape of Party All Day sparking a massive sing-a-long and thousands of fist pumps! The Devils Horns were brandished at every occasion by both crowd and band, sharing in the absurdity!

mini-IMG_5752.JPG

With only one albums worth of material it was always going to be a stretch to fill time. Good job they know a few jokes and are good storytellers! Each song was preceded with inter band banter of monologue length. This did begin to wear thin by the end, but again this wasn’t unexpected.

mini-IMG_5808.JPG

Top tunes from the set included the 2 fingers up to mainstream music in the shape of Death To All But Metal,the polygamous triumphing ballad Community Property and all out comedy of Fat Girl (Thar She Blows) each played extremely tightly with Satchels guitar skills showing great prowess!

mini-IMG_5827.JPG

A review of the show is not complete without mentioning their gimmicks which kept the show interesting. They recruited a bunch of strippers from the local joint to gyrate onstage during Stripper Girl, handed out foam Shocker hands for the song of the same name and I mustn’t forget the blow up dolls or confetti!

mini-IMG_5834.JPG

After exhausting their repertoire the encore had to include the one thing they can do better than anyone else…80’s covers! Two of them in fact, both note perfect homage’s to days gone by. Avoiding as many clichéd bands as possible they settled on the great Motley Cru’s Shout At The Devil & an absolutely amazing version of Gun’s & Roses paradise city which really blew the roof off!

mini-IMG_5810.JPG

A brilliant night of ‘Heavy Metal’ drew to a close and the Steel Panther boys they promised to be back and confirmed they’d be playing Download Festival in the summer (oh yeah!). This is one promise I hope they keep as tonight was man rock fun at its peak!

mini-IMG_5787.JPG

Album Review: Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can

UK folker Laura Marling returns with her sophomore effort

Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can

Laura Marling

RockOSaurus Says:

Starlet of the UK’s resurging folk scene Laura Marling latest album shows much growth from the debut but it is shrouded in a whole lot darker light. Gone are the wistful whimsies pop songs of mercury award nominated debut and in its place are sullen downbeat tunes. This is not to be entirely unexpected given her recent love split with Noah & The Whale frontman Charlie Fink who wrote almost an entire album worth of breakup songs.

Looking beyond the darkness it tricky but the production values are greatly improved with plenty of dramatic addition of string instruments and floaty backings. The Devils Spoke is a feisty single which shines brightest with its subtle acoustics and swelling cello.

This is a complex richly textured album of many heartfelt emotional outpourings (see breakup song Blackberry Stone), leading to a rather alluring listen. But at the end of the day, without any real fireworks this album is best kept for those days when you feel no-one else feels as bad you do… because apparently they can!

Mr Flowers Says:

This is an album full of some beautifully-crafted songs, but I fear you probably need to have a more discerning ear for folk music then I have to fully appreciate it.

Devil’s Spoke is rollicking jam by folk standards which builds like a storm of ominous vocals with banjos and acoustic guitars, and Blackberry Stone has a great melody which really shows off Marling’s soulful and amazingly mature-sounding voice from the off, but as a whole the album is simply a bit short of stand out songs to truly mark it out.

RockOSaurus: 6.5/10

MrFlowers: 6/10

DoesItRock Overall Score: 6.25/10


Listen to Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can now on Spotify!

Newton Faulkner @ Colston Hall, Bristol

Friday 5th March 2010

There was a distinctly couple friendly air to the gathering throng of people in bristol’s revamped theatre come music venue Colston Hall. On closer inspection I got a deeper sense that many of the women have dragged their other halves with the promise of beer and an it’ll be worth your while smile. Seemed to work a treat!

This did lead to the somewhat expected disinterest in arriving early to catch the support act for the night, a very ‘Fair Trade’ gentlemen by the name of Charlie Winston. His shabby/rustic appearance with charity shop chic gave exactly the right impression on a man who is in-fact a very talented singer-songwriter who is just slightly crazy and a tad too much on the side of Bob Geldof for credibility.

Charlie Winston

Musically he played his acoustic guitar with purpose and a pop friendly charm backed up by his immediately hummable and sing-a-long tunes. His sidekick was a very talented Mouth Organist who had a sound similar to a saxphone, interesting and compelling. Charlie laced his songs with wit and humour which kept the crowd entertained. Songs like My Life As A Duck (complete with crowd vocal line “I’m A Duck”) and Kick The Bucket (a tribute to life & living). He brought his sister  Vashti out to sing harmony on Boxes which was a beautiful, if underwhelming ballad. Watch the radio waves because I reckon Charlie Winston isn’t far from breaking into the big leagues.

Newton Faulkner didn’t so much as bound onstage, he seemed to stumble upon it. Seeming startled that so many people were in the room he proceeded to put down his cup of tea and remember what he was doing this evening. With all the “Hey I’m Newton, I play guitar, I don’t have a backing band…” style niceties done and dusted he rang out his characteristic pitch perfect acoustic guitar harmonics on his opening track from the latest album Rebuilt by Humans, Badman. Another stunning show of harmonic’s were displayed on the intro to one his biggest hits I’ve Got Something which sparked a chorus of happy voices from the floor.

Newton Faulkner

Entertainment was plentiful here this evening what with Newton’s laid back nature and rambling story telling between song banter he never failed to raise smiles. He excelled himself on a short melody of covers he’s been experimenting with such as Dead or Alives cheesey classic You spin me Right Round as well as older Rn’B hits like Blackstreet’s No Diggity and Warren G’s Regulate just funny! In fact the cover he finally did play was his Massive (Attack) hit Teardrops. This was stunningly eerie, compelling and beautiful, unaccompanied on his solitary guitar.

Moving off his weary feet he moved to a raised seat on one side of the stage which he liked to call “The Office”. It was less like the office I’m used to as his was crammed with cello effects pedals and a multitude of sonic contraptions.  The addition of the cello effects (played with his feet) add a new edge to his act and musically sounded bigger and bolder. He even risked betraying his fans when he picked up a…deep inward breath…an electric guitar to play a lovely blues based tune.

In his office he was very concerned that we would be disconnected with the music he was producing, so a variety of cameras were set up and displayed on screens to show his foot movements. He even went so far as to record video clips of music samples (namely the kazoo like instrument played on Lipstick Jungle) and a revolving tape deck labelled Strings playing (you guessed it), a string section accompanied backing track. It was basic humour but surprisingly effective and funny!

He finally wrapped up in the office after playing the song of two parts “She’s Got The Time”. This is a brilliant track played with genius simplicity on a guitarlayle (a hybrid eucalalye/guitar), for which he produced the lyrics on a screen for upmost crowd participation (all that was missing was the Disney bouncing ball). Now singing this song is hard to sing even if you know the words, made even more tricky by the fact that you’re busy giggling at deranged lines like  “Chewing on my food on the floor at the station gets some bk its ok tryna be friendly, i said yo do u wanna haribo she said no!!”.

Leaving the office he returned to his classic material as he thrust into the stunning Dream Catch Me which was met with rapturous appreciation. On Gone In The Morning Newton instructed the crowd to sing along as if “You are Pirates with Rabies and are ready to land and storm a beach full of barbarian mother kissers”. Did I mention that some bits of this gig got a bit surreal? Especially the part during UFO when Newton was busy doing a silly little dance. Out of stage left an Alien appeared and proceeded to dance the funky chicken, Saturday night fever and walk like an Egyptian. Probably falling into the quirky (but inspired) category was his cover of Queens Bohemian rhapsody on a single acoustic guitar! What a  brilliant but bonkers idea, one executed sublimely.

Now I agree with Newton’s philosophy on Encores…why bother going off only to “suprisingly” return once more?. He states it would actually be more radical to just stay on stage and play one more song before leaving for the night. Something he proceeded to do signing out with a sombre ballad I’m Not Giving Up Yet.

This was an outstanding show and one which will be remembered for exquisite guitar playing, quality entertainment value, and above all else a superbly joyous performance! This was feel good music at its finest.

Album Review: Streetlight Manifesto – 99 Songs Of Revolution

Ska Punkers and all round good time posse Streetlight Manifesto release new album full of covers.

Streetlight Manifesto – 99 Songs Of Revolution

Streetlight Manifesto - 99 Songs Of Revolution

RockOSaurus Says:

The greater Streetlight Manifesto collective have taken on an ambitious covers project, this being the first release of that series. Now despite these songs not being written by the band themselves, vocalist Tomas Kalnoky has stamped his rap come punk vocal authority all over this album by picking well suited material to re-work.

Their brass heavy antics have most of the album packed with melody and fun time feelings. This is even to be said of their inspired uplifting cover of Radiohead’s hit Just complete with tenacity and a joyously fuzzy guitar/trumpet assault.

Where I feel this album lacks is that a lot of the songs do not really test the musical sector of the band. Reggae inflected Skyscraper (Bad Religion) and the acoustic Linoleum (NOFX) do not shine brightly on their talented musicians. Others feel like slightly above average ska punk numbers where Streetlight haven’t done so much as reinvent material, rather just play it. Some tracks work well like Punk Rock Girl (The Dead Milkman) and Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard (Paul Simon). But offset against The Troubadour (Louis Jordan) and Birds Fly Away (Mason Jennings) the album is flatter than your average Streetlight Release.

If you like ska punk this is still a great release of lesser know tunes given the uplifting happy brass work over, but it is unlikely to win over any new fans!

Mr Flowers Says:

A compilation of ska-punk covers from Streetlight Manifesto. The result is a enjoyable album, but what did you expect when you take a collection of already popular songs and re-release them?

None of the covers are necessarily better than their originals, but are suitably fun ska romps in their own right. There’s not a huge amount of originality there, either in the concept or how they’ve reimagined the songs (Just with trumpets – Mark Ronson, anyone?) but at the end of the day, who cares? It’s fun and if it allows some people to rediscover some old songs like Paul Simon’s Me and Julio then this album deserves at least a few listens.

RockOSaurus: 6.5/10

MrFlowers: 7/10

DoesItRock Overall Score: 6.75/10


Listen to Streetlight Manifesto now on Spotify!