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Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Launch Event - What a Day!!

Sunday November 11th will go down in history, as the day the first BritRockArmy live event took place. The event was an all day affair, with the doors of The Roadhouse in Birmingham opening at 3pm. The first part of the event saw 4 acts play an acoustic set, whilst in the evening, we would have some great full bands rocking us until 11 o'clock that night.

The acoustic set kicked off at 3:30pm with Tommy Graham, lead singer and guitarist of West Midlands Rock band The Blacklist Saints. He put on a fantastic performance, treating the crowd to all 4 tracks from the Saints EP, but also threw in some new songs too!! It was great to see another side to the rock riffs of the Saints normal sound.

Little did I know that we would be seeing quite a bit more of Tommy later that evening. The second act to play in the acoustic lounge were 2 members of Welsh band SoundStorm. They took the lounge, literally by storm, with a fantastic set of acoustic songs, with vocalist Jon really showing what an awesome voice he has. Next up were 2 members of Liverpool based Mod/indie band The Universal. Singer/songwriter Terry Shaughnessy and guitarist Piet Koehorst delighted the crowd with songs such as Shine On, Volcano, and a cover of The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby. They put on a fantastic set, and if half the crowd hadn't already been standing, they'd have received a standing ovation, I'm sure.

The final act of the acoustic session was Birmingham/Wales split duo King and Queen of Sorry. Their set included favourites such as Traffic Lights, One More Time, and 33 to 45. Throughout their set, Kathryn showed what an acomplished singer she is and Rhod equally acomplished on guitar. They finished their half hour set with Queen of Sorry.

Once the acoustic acts had done their bit, and they all did it fantastically!! It was time for the full band rock night to begin. Now, unbeknownst to a lot of people, there had been a bit of frantic substitutions going on whilst the acoustic acts were playing. Early on, I'd received an email from Zodiac N Black saying that due to their bassist having an accident, they were not going to be able to make the journey up from London. My heart first sank and then began racing as I frantically rushed around wondering what on Earth to do, this was, after all, the first event I had ever organised. Talk about a baptism of fire. While I was outside getting some air, Ian from Blacklist Saints, who had been there helping Tommy out during his acoustic set, was also outside. I jokingly asked how long would it take to get the rest of 'The Saints' there? Well, that was the catalyst for a string of texts, phonecalls, arrangements,and mercy missions from Blacklist WAGS.

Anyway, I'll carry that little story on in a while, lol. Kicking off the full band night, Collider performed some awesome tracks including Tree House, Snakes With Wings, and Dinosaurs. Now, these guys really proved what the launch event was all about. Showcasing the sort of music people may not normally listen to, and may not be to everyone's taste, but Bill and the guys were amazing, making full use of their little electronic box of tricks, a really great 30 minute set. They were followed on stage by local band Looca, who bought some really great support with them. Iain and the guys put on a dazzling show, that was so popular that they were persuaded to play an extra song. There was a switch in the running order next as Guns For Girls bassist had been stuck on the motorway, so they switched places with the awesome Crooked Dawn, a band who are featured on the BritRockArmy album 'The Uprising'. They performed the featured track, Poor you, as well as a mix of old and new songs, and as with the 2 bands before them, put together a great set. Guns For Girls, who have been featured on the blog before, were up next, complete with now arrived bassist. They had a crowd rocking to tracks including Vinegar Strokes and The Death of Rock and Roll, impressing everyone including members of some of the other bands.

OK, so next up should've been Zodiac N Black, but unfortunately the guys couldn't make the trip up from London, so their place was taken by the most quickly assembled, rushed to get there, none rehearsed or soundchecked Blacklist Saints!! Proving that they actually are Saints, the guys put on a great set, including some fantastic new songs and all the songs from their self titled EP. They finshed with Last Way Out, and by the time the last chord had been strummed, it was surprising Tommy could even talk. Don't forget, he'd alreadfy performed 6 hours earlier and dazzled the first people there, with his acoustic skills.

It was now time for the headline act. A band that I think some people were surprised to be headlining. Sister Shotgun hit the stage, Chloe in her trademark corset, and Martin sporting a cast on his guitar playing arm. The guys put on a truly great perfomance, proving why I decided to give them the headline spot, which incidentally was their first headline spot. With existing track Dirty Mind, and a mixture of covers and some amazing new tracks from their soon to be released debut EP, they had the crowd rocking from start to finish of their, sadly, shortened set. Again, as with Looca, they were persuaded to perform one extra song, which was greatly received by the fans.

It was an awesome day, with a bit of everything. Drama behind the scenes, great music, great bands, team work, and a great spirit between all the bands, all of whom stayed to watch everyone else once they'd played their part. I cannot say a big enough thanks to all the bands involved. But a special mention must go to the Blacklist Saints guys. For showing what this is all about, enthusiastic bands wanting to get their music out to the people. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!

All the pictures below are used courtesy of LoveRockPictures and Alec King.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

BritRockArmy Uprising - Compilation album update

Hi all! Crazy times ahead this week. The compilation album is gonna be EPIC!! I already know this as I've heard the tracks that have been submitted! Although I think bands are trying to send me to an early grave, as just when I think I've got 15 tracks selected, my inbox tells me another band has sent a track and it's an absolute cracker!!

So, how its gonna work is like this. Of the 50+ tracks that have been submitted, I'm gonna select 15 to make up the first part of the double album. The rest of the tracks will go into the 'People's Choice' poll which will appear on the Facebook page sometime in the middle of this week. The poll however will be based on the bands and not the tracks as I want to keep the tracks secret until the selection process is complete. The 15 bands with the most like on the poll will make up the 'People's Choice' part of the Album. This is where the bands will need to be on there toes and try to persuade people to vote for them. No underhandedness will be permitted however, lol.

As you can see from the heading of this post, the album is tentatively titled 'BritRockArmy - Uprising'.

Once I've got this little corker out the way, I've gotta finish the prep for the launch event next Sunday at The Roadhouse. Now, whilst I'm incredibly excited about it, I'm also incredibly nervous, so I need as many of you out there to come along and help make sure the fantastic bands playing, are playing to a packed out venue.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the acts involved in next week, you guys are fantastic and I really appreciate your enthusiasm and shared excitement for the event. I'd like to thank all the rockers out there that have given their support of the cause, and I'd also like to thank the people who have taken me seriously, and not just thought I was some flash in the pan that could be used for others gain. The BritRockArmy finally, officially launches next Sunday, and believe me, I'm here to stay!!

Album Review - Fireflys - Cathedral for Your Ashes

The Fireflys are a 3 piece alt/rock band hailing from sunny Runcorn in Cheshire, UK. They were initially formed in 2007, although the current line up only got together in October of this year. 'Cathedral For Your Ashes' is actually their second album, and was released in February 2012 on their own Canadia records label.
When you press the 'play' button, you are greeted with a great guitar riff intro to opening track 'Ashes (No Revolution)', the albums title is taken from the final line of the chorus. It's a great way to begin, a nicely worked, up tempo number with a great vocal from frontman Lee Wylding, who also proves he's pretty nimble with the guitar with a great little solo midway through. The band draw influence from the likes of The Smiths, REM, and Pearl Jam, the latter being evident in style in second track 'Talking to The Satellite' with great guitar work again from Lee. In truth you can hear references to all these throughout tyhe album. The pace is slowed for the third track, and 'Jenny, Play Your Guitar' takes on an almost bluesy feel, with some sweet bluesy guitar riffs going on inbetween verses. Next is another great example of the smoother side of the bands playing with 'Is He Hurting you' sounding like a hybrid of Eric Clapton-esque guitar hooks, plus, and this is gonna show my age, but it also reminds me a little of a band my mum listened to when I was small, Dr Hook, (think of that what you will, it's my opinion, lol). Throughout the 10 track album, we are treated to just what an acomplished guitarist Lee Wylding is, catchy riffs follow one after the other, and also his vocals show both smooth, bluesy tones, with an edge of rocky huskiness when warrented, 'Bottletop' is a great example of all the aforementioned qualities, and we are only half way through the album. 'Rolling River' and 'Pack-a-Punch' are both good ol' fashioned rock n roll songs with the latter doing exactly what it says in the title and smacking you with a great left/right combo. 'Little Bird' is one of my personal faves, it's got a much more alternative edge to it and is just a great track. 'Dear Emily', which was on the the 2009 debut release, 'Better to Burn Out' has been given the 2012 treatment and has a real bluesy/funk feel to it. And so we reach, sadly, the end, with the beautifully crafted 'Easel'. If ever a track was written to be plasyed live and acoustic, it was this one. With a gorgeous string arrangement in the background, the only way to describe it is EPIC!

Ashes (No Revolution) by The Fireflys

Catherdral For Your Ashes, is a phenomenal piece of work. It's another fantastic example of what is wrong with the British music industry. When work like this goes unrecognised, and 'artist' such as 1Direction, get worldwide acclaim for singing other people's songs and taking all the credit!!

The Fireflys are:-
Lee Wylding - guitar/vocals
Stephen Roberts - the bass
Andrea Packer- the drums

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