September in Review


Thee Telepaths | Venus Flytrap | Skybeard

Sculpting sound and building huge sonic structures are local band SKYBEARD. Opening their set with the sublime ‘Mildred Beige’ they immediately evidence a hypnotic power that draws the listener deep into their world. Augmenting their instrumental sound with some choice spoken word samples increases the atmospherics as the band lead the audience through a musical maze but proceed with caution because just when you think you know where the band are going they’ll surprise you with a left turn. Skybeard have an expansive sound that incorporates post-rock, stoner and prog but their beauty lies in knowing no boundaries.

Darkwave duo the VENUS FLY TRAP open their set with their 1986 debut single ‘Morphine’ which has lost none of its addictive quality. In a set that constantly shifts gears they hit us with the powerful ‘Sabotage’ and then the cinematic ‘James Dean’. Latest single ‘Vitesse’ follows with vocalist Alex Novak dancing in android form and guitarist Andy Denton playing riffs with robotic precision. Wasting little time ‘Pressure Drop’ follows along with two choice covers: Suicide’s ‘Rocket USA’ and The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’ and on both of which Venus Fly Trap marked their indelible stamp. Set closer ‘Metropolis’ belies the bands love of science fiction and is an electronic foil to Iggy’s ‘The Passenger’ as they take us on a pillion ride through a neon soaked cityscape.

Kettering’s scientists of sound THEE TELEPATHS have been rather busy carving out their own unique niche in the world of psychedelic rock. And it’s a brand of psyche in the best tradition insofar that it has a subversive nature. Capturing that moment in time when Altmont and Charles Manson turned the hippy dream into a bad acid nightmare Thee Telepaths take this essence and add a modern twist. Years of gigging has given the band an undeniable telepathy (pun intended) and they effortlessly follow each other while playing with an almost free form jazz sensibility which suggests the sound could head in any direction. However Thee Telepaths work because of the four different characters operating in unison: bassist Tim attacks his instrument like Dee Dee Ramone as vocalist Dean seems to sing in a shamanistic trance. Drummer Vince is a blur of sticks while Tom paints small pools of concentric circles with his guitar and pulls a pleasing retro sound from the keyboard. Bringing these elements together into a cohesive whole gives the tunes a chameleon nature as they constantly shape shift and evolve. The bands set dips into their string of fine EPs which led to their acclaimed full length ‘The Velvet Night’. Due to the hypnotic, otherworldly quality of their sound as Thee Telepaths set ends we’re left with a feeling of waking from a dream, a return to reality. Heavy Nuggets indeed.

King Purple | Monarchs | Century City | Baby Lung

BABY LUNG opened the night with a sublime performance, drenching the Roadmender with their velvet tones, enveloping the audience in an intricately layered atmosphere. They performed indie anthems She and Casualty, both rich with a psychedelic depth, cut with the jazz elements of the added saxophone. The band also performed Shoetown Blues, of a more rhythm and blues style. New to the scene at the beginning of the year, the local band are coming to end of it having already played the mainroom of Northampton’s iconic music venue and it’s not over yet. We are sure to see them headline it very soon, BABY LUNG are one to watch.

MONARCHS were next serving up their powerful indie rock sound accompanied with colossal bass lines. Having seen MONARCHS many a time before I got straight to the front for this one. Weighing in as a three piece band they are certainly not found wanting, with a full bodied sound and mighty stage presence. They performed old favourites Eye Lies, Darker Shade of Black and Darker Shade of Black.

Penultimate band CENTURY CITY warmed up the anticipating crowd before KING PURPLE with an indie pop vibe. Headliners KING PURPLE certainly did not disappoint. The band have recently made the leap to being a quartet with second guitarist Jacob, new to the band adding an extra avenue of creative opportunity to fill. They superseded expectations blasting through the montorus PA that was made for their kaleidoscopic velveteen sound. New single Warning Signs is a demonstration of the bands melodious harmonies, showcasing a variety of different shapes and textures. 

GOGO LOCO + The Strays

The evening’s entertainments unfolded in the warm and cosy comforts of the Pomfret’s barn, shielding the attendees from the relentless elements. GOGO LOCO brightened the evening, warming any damp spirits with their explosive energy. The maraca-driven trash rattle n roll duo performed tracks Whiz Pop and Maraca Go-Go from their latest recording session as well as other new ones, What Would Diddley do and Gogo Loco Fever, staying true to the Bo Diddley beat and their rockabilly signature sound.

THE STRAYS, a touring band from Cheltenham finished off the evening with bang, topped off with the punkish nonchalance of frontwoman Stella Sonic and gutsy baselines they really packed a punch. The band tipped their hat to record producer Joe Meek with a cover of one of his tracks, with their performance of Nighttime Is The Right Time being a highlight of the evening.  If you liked The Snakerattlers and Shakin’ NIghtmares from GOGO LOCO’s night at The Lab, you’ll love these. The Lovechild between Imelda May and No Doubt they had everyone dancing by the end of the night. I treated myself to an album. Check them out!

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