ELEPHANTS ON WHITBY BEACH

ELEPHANTS ON WHITBY BEACH

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Merkin Christmas!

video

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

ALL CHANGE

Yes, as promised new music from Whitby Now 2008 has been posted on the Whitby Popwatch MySpace site, which is at the top of the links there, if you cast your eyes across.

You can now listen to...

THE MERKINS
HIGH TIDE
SACK THE JUGGLER
FIVE X NINE

Without leaving the centrally heated comfort of your front room. As long as you've got a computer in your front room. Or a laptop that you can take into your front room. I'll shut up now, shall I?

You can download any of the tracks using the extremely simple method outlined here.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

THE MERKINS CALL IT A DAY

The Merkins have finally decided to throw in the towel.

In a message to Popwatch, Pug said "After much soul searching we have decided to bring the Merkins rock 'n' rollercoaster to an end . There's no hard feelings between us, we just decided enough was enough. We would like to thank everyone who supported us over the last couple of years, especially Whitby Now who gave us our first and last gig . We had a blast ... We came we saw and most of all we ROCKED!!!"
So have you got something else up your sleeve then Pug? "I am in the middle of putting together a new band which is so different to The Merkins and so much heavier ... Rocking times are comin' and I think your gonna like it!"
Popwatch loved those pesky Merkins. Now let's see what the future has in store. We wait with bated breath.

Monday, 1 December 2008

PETITION AGAINST FORM 696 A THREAT TO LIVE MUSIC

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Scrapthe696/

If you wish to register your opposition to form 696 (see earlier post), you can do so at the above link.

NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS, WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN?

I have recently had the privilege to be involved in two really great events for local bands: Whitby Now and the Battle of the Sands featuring between them 30 bands all from Whitby and Scarborough or just beyond all of incredibly high quality and with a really diverse range of styles and influences. It looks to me like the local music scene is the strongest it has been for ages.

BUT... out of these bands, featuring, let's say an average of 4 members each, so roughly 120 people only 2 were women, solo artist Tania Rodway and frontwoman of the DTs Alethea Estill (or Leafy). That's a pretty lousy 1.6%, and, whilst I have no wish to cast aspersions on either Leafy or Tania, they are both singers and frontwomen (and long may they continue). There was not one woman playing an instrument at either event.

So I'm throwing down the gauntlet. Come on girls, put on some Patti Smith, or Gossip or Supremes or Hole or PJ Harvey or Fiona Apple or Eliza Carthy or The Slits or Bjork or The Dixie Chicks or Madonna or Joan Jett or Siouxsie Sioux or Girls Aloud, whatever floats your proverbial boat. Then pick up your guitars, basses, fiddles, trumpets, get behind your drumkit or keyboard and get ready for next winters Whitby Now and Battle of the Sands. If you don't, I might just be forced to!!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

WHITBY NOW, BECAUSE TWO WORDS SAY IT ALL

Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Corner of The Forefathers presents his amazing two word reviews of WHITBY NOW 2008.
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FRIDAY
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JAMES AUGER
Lovely voice
DISCARNATE
Missed them
THE SCARLETT ALLIANCE
And them
3 FOOT NINJA
Very impressive
WASTING CHARLIE
Tight as...
THE COMMITTEE
Great voice
PANDA LASAGNE
Mad as...
YABBADABBADOO
Crowd jumping
THE BANTER
Young energy
THE MERKINS
Back stage
FIVE X NINE
Raw angst
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SATURDAY
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WHITBY NOW BAND
Sublime tone
ALEX KIRBY
Conversational ambience
CARL ROBINSON
Hendrix heaven
HIGH TIDE
Introverted melancholy
SACK THE JUGGLER
Blues explosion
TANIA RODWAY
Quality surprise
THE DTS
Funkin' mint
LOKI
Sadly backstage
THE GOREFATHERS
Goretastically unique

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Whitby Now 2008 video

I don't think Whitby Now 2008 was videoed, so here's my contribution to the aftermath, The DTs playing Unmarked Helicopters. I was especially chuffed that the lighting guy was sufficiently awake to give us UFO lighting, thanks :-)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

FORM 696 REQUIRED FOR TEENAGE KICKS

A new piece of licensing legislation which currently exists in 21 boroughs of London could have huge implications for events like Whitby Now and the live music scene in Whitby and beyond if it becomes nationally accepted.

"The form demands that licensees give police a mass of detail, including the names, aliases, private addresses and phone numbers of all musicians and other performers appearing at their venue, and the ethnic background of the likely audience. Failure to comply could mean the loss of a licence or even a fine and imprisonment. The police say they need the information demanded on Form 696, which runs to eight pages, so they can pinpoint which acts and venues attract troublemakers, and make sure venues are safe. But Feargal Sharkey, who rose to fame during the punk era as the vocalist on the single "Teenage Kicks" by the Undertones, is so angry about what he sees as a threat to live music that he is consulting lawyers about how to stop it."
Sharkey cited one such statement from Hillingdon Council in west London, which he says "tries to make a direct connection not only between crime and disorder and live music, but most astonishingly - I'm still knocked over in disbelief - between live music and the prevention of terrorism."

If you want to join the campaign against Form 696 you can join the Facebook group: http://tiny.cc/IuIS4 or follow the blog at: http://form696.blogspot.com

DOWNLOAD THE WHITBY NOW TRACKS TO YOUR COMPUTER

A lot of people are asking if they can download the tracks from the Popwatch MySpace page to their own computers. The answer is yes. You used to be able to do it direct from the player, but that function seems to have been disabled in the new player MySpace are now using.
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This is how to do it, and it's dead easy.
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1. Go to this site http://www.file2hd.com/Default.aspx
2. Copy and paste the URL http://www.myspace.com/christhepoetuk into the bar at the top
3. Tick 'I have read and agree to the terms of service'
4. Highlight 'Audio' in the list of file types
5. Click on 'Get Files'.
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The files will all appear underneath and you can save them to your computer.
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You can use this to get any files from any MySpace site, and lots of other things besides.
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POPWATCH. Here to help with life's little difficulties.

Monday, 24 November 2008

THE BANTER TAKE ON SCARBOROUGH AT BATTLE OF THE SANDS

The final line-up has been unveiled for the Battle of the Sands, a major music contest to be staged in Scarborough.

Ten bands will fight it out at the Spa Ocean Room in Scarborough on Sunday 30th November and The Banter are the only Whitby based act to make it into the final ten.

The rest of the line-up is: 6 bands from Scarborough: Fuzz Gun Sniper, Superjets, We Heart Katamari, Mum Locked in Castle, Property of Dave and Puritan, plus Vibrant Rain from Hull, Fire Escape from Knaresborough and Black Jack from Barnsley.

Doors will open at 1.30pm and the bands will begin at 2pm, running through to around 10pm, when the winners will be announced. The two winners will have the honour of playing alongside the main headline act at Coastival.

Tickets for the Battle of the Sands are now on sale priced £5 and available from the Spa, Mojo's or Coastival's website at www.coastival.com. 

Get along and support your local act! Popwatch wishes The Banter all the very best. Just play like you did at Whitby Now lads!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

LISTEN TO MUSIC FROM WHITBY NOW 2008

Music from both nights of The Whitby Now Weekender is available to listen to on MySpace. I've changed my Chris The Poet profile name to Whitby Popwatch, so just click on the top link in the Popwatch links section and you're there.

The first selection features The Whitby Now Band, Tania Rodway, The Scarlett Alliance and The Banter. You should be able to download them (if I've done it properly). I'll change the selection after a bit, but I don't have viable recordings of everyone who performed. Sorry about that, its certainly not a reflection of the quality of your songs.

I realise it is your material, so if you object in any way to these recordings, please let me know and I'll remove them from the site immediately.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

WHITBY NOW: PART TWO, SATURDAY NIGHT

. Please keep your eye on Popwatch for further Whitby Now 2008 developments. Thanks.
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After Friday night's brain frazzling (in a good way) lineup of eleven bands, Saturday was a little more relaxed and a bit less jumping-abouty. That's not to say it wasn't exciting, no by Jimmimy its not!
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There was a varied assortment of styles to savour. Get yourself a plastic glass of beer, just to make it more realistic, and settle down to read the following retelling of Saturday's events. It'll be like you're there all over again.
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It was a bit nippy on Saturday night. Brass monkeys weather, and I followed Tania Rodway and her companion down the steps. She was saying how nervous she felt. I had no idea what to expect from her, but I knew she'd be alright.
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On entering the hall after braving the freezing north wind outside, I took a seat, removed my socks and shoes and warmed my feet in the radiantly dulcet tones of Mr Mark Liddell, the singer of THE WHITBY NOW BAND. Unfortunately a steward made me put my footwear back on, and now I'm being sued by several audience members due to an outbreak of athlete's foot that has subsequently spread like wildfire across Whitby.
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After performing a top notch song written partly by Jean Scales (she kept that one quiet!), Mark proceeded to present to the audience his small, but perfectly formed (wait for it!) ukulele. Then Mark, Paul, Nige, and Si did a magnificently satirical "song about Whitby and Scarborough" that caught everybody unexpectedly, like a seagul dropping a fish-head into your duffle coat hood. It really has to be heard to be appreciated. I'll get it up on this blog as soon as I can. I loved it, me. Cock on!
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ALEX KIRBY was introduced by James Wales as one of the best singer-songwriters ever to come out of Whitby, and you can't argue with the man. He seems completely comfortable onstage, and his between song chats are conducted as if you're sitting with him in his front room.
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I'm not suggesting for one minute that his front room is as big as an aircraft hangar, with formica tables, uncomfortable chairs and a bar in the corner, but you get the picture.
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He did a song about letting people wear his hat, and I'm sure he did one about domestic pets too, where he was asking a lady if he could play with her puppies for a bit. Nice to know there are still some gentlemen around who are also kind to animals.
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Cult musician, guitar god and part time shop assistant CARL ROBINSON strapped on his axe (as I believe they're called in certain circles) and, more than ably assisted by his band, Hey Presto! Suddenly he was the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix. Except with a considerably neater haircut.
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He dedicated his set to drummer Mitch Mitchell, the last remaining member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, who died on November 12th.
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'Hey Joe' and 'Foxy Lady' were all present and correct, and of course the audience weren't happy until they'd been well and truly Purple Hazed. Of course he played it behind his head in the time honoured Hendrix fashion, but here's a tip Carl; next time floss before going onstage. Doing it with your guitar strings during solos is just plain unhygeinic.
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'Scuse me while I kiss the hem of his checked shirt.
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HIGH TIDE sounded great. Normally when they do small venues they sit down, and I also like it when the guy who plays with them does his fabulous minimal box percussion. However, this time they had a band, and I think it was the same guy on drums.
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Our music teacher at school always used to tell us that you had to stand up to sing properly. Something about chest expansion and your diaphragm, and there were no stools in sight tonight. Liam has a superb voice, perfectly suited to Jack's guitar playing as it languidly unfolds and gently wraps itself around his words. Their sublety remained resolutely intact.
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The other thing our music teacher (Mr Jackson) used to tell us was to look after our voices. "Gargle regularly with honeydew and speak only in a whisper, lest one's vocal cords should become dislodged". Words of wisdom of course, unless you're a blues singer, in which case drink bourbon, smoke tabs, shout at your good-for-nothing woman who done gone treated you wrong, then smoke another tab and drink a bit more bourbon.
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So that's what Luke Pearson did before forming SACK THE JUGGLER, and consequently he's got the perfect blues voice. He must have really worked at it.
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A four piece unit with Jamie Simpson, William Barber and Stephen Johnson on guitar, drums and bass respectively, Sack The Juggler kicked what can only be described as some ass.
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Its one thing to be technically proficient, but Luke clearly feels this music coursing through his veins, and it shows. Nerves and sinews are stretched to breaking point to keep notching up that righteous passion just a little bit more. Then a bit more. Then a bit more. How long before the pressure cooker explodes all over the kitchen?
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We'll not find out tonight, because at Whitby Now once your 25 minutes is up, you're off. (That's if you' were playing on the Saturday night of course, because due to unforseen circumstances all everyone was allowed to do an extra five minutes. On Friday, 20 minutes and that was your lot Sonny Jim!
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Most of the people performing at Whitby Now have been around in various combinations playing gigs and generally popping up here and there about town, but what about TANIA RODWAY? I'd seen her on Jean's friends page and she came highly recommended by Mr Liddell. Mind you having a burger in one hand, a pint in the other and a fag in your gob is highly recommended by Mr Liddell, so that doesn't necessarily count for much.
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As floor manager Kate Longmate, who kept proceedings running to time with the accuracy of a Space Shuttle launch, led Tania onstage, I was wondering whether her Whitby Now debut would be a nervy affair for the raven haired chanteuse.
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I needn't have fretted. Once Tania hit her stride there was no stopping her. She kicked off with Ironic, the Alanis Morrisette song. When she hit one of the high notes, my glass actually shattered - and it was made of plastic!
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A perfect contrast from Luke's searing anguished voice, Tania's notes were as clear and focussed as laser beams. Her set included Duffy's Warwick Avenue, a Eurythmics song, and I think one by Aretha Franklin, correct me if I'm wrong though.
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We all fell in love with her. She said it was better than sex. I don't know, I can't remember that far back.
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I spoke to Leafy before she went on with THE DTS, and now she actually believes she can perform photosynthesis. I think she must have been sitting under a bright light all day, because she had energy coming out of her ears, the lass.
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They had their special electronic drum kit thingy onstage, and Leafy pouted, preened and vogued her way through 25 minutes of popular hits. In a frilly skirt, red tights and a bowler hat she ushered people up on the dancefloor to strut their stuff and fight for their right to party.
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LOKI took to the stage with singer Paul 'Loki' Locker flanked on either side by Chris 1 and Chris 2. The fourth member of the band, Rodge appeared to be a small metallic looking electronic gizmo on a tripod in the background that Chris 1 was in charge of fiddling with.
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Prior to their appearance, the DJs played Stone Roses and Happy Mondays tunes, and they were spot on. Paul has that swagger and confidence and the sheer energy of the music generates excitement in bucketfuls.
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People took to the dancefloor spontaneously and it was like The Hacienda except by the sea and with cheaper drinks. Anthony H Wilson would have signed them up in a flash. I loved the one about MySpace. Brilliant subject.
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After several tentative attempts, Paul finally mounted one of the wobbly monitor speakers and jumped offstage mingling with the dancers, and at one point swung his microphone round with such enthusiasm that it flew off the end of the cable forcing him to scurry across the dancefloor to retrieve it.
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Loki, play Whitby more often! We love you. As Tania says, when is the LP out?
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On Saturday, for one night only, The Forefathers became THE GOREFATHERS. Giant skulls were mounted on the speaker stacks at either side of the stage glowering out at the audience with seemingly evil intent to set the mood for the proceedings.
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The Gorefathers turned up sporting crudely fashioned sack masks and it was time once again to accept a dose of medication from our resident rock doctors.
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Great handfuls of maggots were thrown out into the audience from a bucket on the drum podium in keeping with the horror themed shenanigans. I bet it seemed funny at the time, but let's see who's laughing next year, when we turn up at Whitby Now 2009 and the place is buzzing with flies.
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It always looks hard playing drums and singing, but Steve 'Controversial' Scott did superbly well to pull it off. He did vow never ever to play drums for The Forefathers again though. Shame, but possibly good news for any drummers looking for a job.
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So it was all over in a cacophanous flurry of sackcloth and rock medicine. Two nights of absolutely amazing local talent that ran like clockwork from beginning to end. Everyone involved
should be immensely proud of themselves for what they've given to Whitby. I can't wait for next year.
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The only sad thing was that our good friend Mr Horne couldn't be there, but we were with him and his family all the way. See you next year Jon.
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Sunday, 16 November 2008

WHITBY NOW PART ONE: FRIDAY NIGHT

This review is actually a work in progress, but I thought I'd post it as it is and add stuff like photos as they become available. I just wanted to get something up on the net as soon as possible. Its a way of saying thanks to everyone involved for a totally superb couple of nights. It all ran like clockwork and everybody was completely chuffed.
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JAMES AUGER kicked off the first ever Whitby Now weekender with an assured set. Despite being the only solo artist in the Friday night running order, his only ammunition being an acoustic guitar and an honest, plaintive voice, his songs filled the room. They reached out and touched people and that surely is the point.
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A song about Gothenberg left me intrigued. What is it about the city that provokes Whitby musicians to write songs about it in their droves? Actually I can only think of two, James and High Tide, but you know. Maybe others will surface and the truth will out.
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Since stumbling across DISCARNATE whilst idly trawling MySpace for Whitby bands, I've been instantly hooked. I think it's because they don't ease you into their world with a nice singalong cover, they just hit you with it. They are unlikely to be invited to play at a wedding.
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I was hoping for an ear shredding set of obliterating guitar mayhem and pitch black growls dragged out of barbed wire vocal cords. I wasn't disappointed.
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People who wouldn't normally be in the same room as a death metal band were at first stunned by the thrill of it all, then gobsmacked at the musicianship on show, and finally won over by the charm of four lads who managed to enter into the community based spirit of the event without ever sacrificing a single iota of credibility.
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You can delve deeper into the heart of Discarnate by reading the Popwatch interview HERE.
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THE SCARLETT ALLIANCE are a two piece inspired by The White Stripes and mirroring their line up of singer-cum-guitarist and drummer. Hell, even Jack's guitar is pillar box red. I don't think he had his famous special shoes on, but they're a sight to behold if you ever get the chance.
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They have some good material and they're developing a sound of their own. Blue Skies is particularly beautiful. Simple and uplifting, if it makes you think of Summer when actually it's the middle of November by the icy North Sea in a dimly lit auditorium drinking lager from a plastic glass, it can't be bad.
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For me they need to let rip and dirty things up sme more. Some songs need a knee in the plums before they give up their secrets. It's hard when there's just two of you against The World, but I like their philosophy of "This is how we're going to do it, and that's it."
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THREE FOOT NINJA passed by like an express train in the night careering along on those glittering indie rails that so many bands have polished in the past.
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As Three Foot Ninja played, a rumour that the Merkins, who were due to go on at 11.30pm as the next to last band, would be without a drummer started to spread around The Spa like a chinese whisper. Harry, their new drummer, and a very fine one at that, was having a problem with the house kit. A soap opera plot was starting to unfold in the usual Merkin way.
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They've been through thick and thin this band, and if you don't believe me read their authorised autobiography HERE. It seemed clear that another controversial chapter would have to be grafted on.
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Any thoughts of despondency were quickly quelled as WASTING CHARLIE took to the stage and pulled off a stunning set. They were obviously enjoying themselves, and that's always infectious. Girls were dancing right up close to the front with their hearts beating like hummingbird's wings. The bass player was all over the shop, up on the drum podium and jumping up and down like nobody's business.
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They were tight and crisp, with an almost sixties guitar sound in a couple of the solos. It's that clean, melodic quality that cuts through the song and lifts it a few notches. I thought they had a lot more punch this time around. Its the best I've seen them play.
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The Kings of Leon have become inexplicably popular lately. Nobody liked them when they sounded like themselves and had an intriguingly scruffy beardy backwoods look. Now they've turned into U2 suddenly they're worth their weight in gold, as a friend pointed out.
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THE COMMITTEE began their set with a version of The Kings of Leons' popular hit tune On Call ( I think, please correct me if I'm wrong) in which a keyboard was used for the first, and possibly only time in the whole concert. Sounded so refreshing to hear an instrument you don't strum or hit for once.
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They played a blinder despite some string related technical difficulties, which I only vaguely noticed myself. Dave the singer seems to think it compromised the set, but it didn't. No one spots stuff like that, it's how you cope with it that counts.
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Their own songs are better than their covers. I Wonder Why has been likened by Jon Horne to Eddie and the Hotrods. Astute as ever, he's spot on. Marvellous.
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Obviously it wouldn't be Whitby Now unless somebody came onstage dressed as a large banana and their fellow band member sported a giant donkey's head. That tradition was upheld this year by PANDA LASAGNE, who are always willing to step into the breech when something hugely daft is required.
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As barmy as a weasel in a teapot, they pummelled out a string of surfbeat scattershots and sweated like Tom Jones on bonfire night. I particularly like the one where someone shouts 'Hey! Hey! Hey!' lots of times. Oh, and the one about that peanut off the Planter's packets with the monocle and the top hat.
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For an insight into Panda Lasagne's somewhat off-centre psyche, there's an audio interview HERE.
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The Merkins were now desperate, trying to contact one of their old drummers and get him to drop what he was doing and rush to the rescue, trying to persuade Kane Waterfield that he could do it, even though he didn't know the songs and was due to play in the band directly before The Merkins, they even toyed with the idea of gigging drummerless! At one point they were asking if any members of the audience would be willing to have their heads shaved and wear a purple stick on beard. It was that desperate.
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James Whale had done a sterling job as compere for the evening, and fellow Yabbas had been in charge of the music between bands, which was better and more appropriate to the acts this year than it's ever been. Now it was YABBADABBADOO's turn to shine, and shine they did, like a 1000 watt light bulb. Within seconds the dancefloor was full of gyrating bodies, and happiness filled the room, and even spread to the smoking area outside. I swear I saw a seagull tapping his feet to that Magic Numbers song.
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The songwriting of THE BANTER is about what they see around them. Not the urban jungles of the inner city, or the pretend americanisms of slick posers. Places such as Helredale and Baxtergate get namechecks. We all populate their songs in a way, because we live there too.
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The Land That Time Forgot is a cracking tune, driven by a wiry guitar riff and Kane's superb drumming. When he stood shirtless on his stool at the end of their set, flinging his sticks far out into the audience, it was the sign of a band at the top of their game.
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Its a good job they weren't asked to do an extra song actually. It would have been a bit quiet.
As all good soap operas do, THE MERKINS' saga came to a redemptive end. Harry relented and played a cracking set. Pug gripped the microphone like his life depended on it and heavy metal rained down on us once more. A disaster had been narrowly averted.
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Unfortunately, as it always does, the audience thinned out a bit around eleven and sadly the band played to less people than their music warranted.
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FIVE X NINE brought proceedings to a searing finale with their sheer driving rock force. Kyle was wound uplike a watchspring and was shouting people up onto the floor. It ended in a whirlwind of flailing guitars and shuddering foundations. Heaven.
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To see FiveX Nine's rather mint video, click HERE.
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Brilliant night!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

WHITBY NOW, TASTE BEFORE PURCHASING: PART 4

Here are the last five acts on Saturday night.

The order Jean gave me differs a bit from the one The Gazette printed, so I don't know for sure which one will prove correct, but who cares? As long as they all turn up and give it what for.

Eyes down, look in for a full house.

6. SACK THE JUGGLER

Sack The Juggler are a four piece blues band who don't have a MySpace site or any photos to speak of. Anyway, here's a juggler and a P45 form. I know its a bit literal, what do you want? Blood?
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I can tell you that they create an intense soul vortex of sound, and Luke is no shrinking violet. He throws his head back and lets forth with such measured ferocity that the very fillings in your teeth will probably rattle free and fall out.
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Expect heartbreaking blues, searing soul tunes and an expensive dentist's bill.


7. THE CARL ROBINSON BAND

We used to go and see Carl every Thursday night at Rosie's and get him to do Shadows tunes like FBI and Wonderful Land. Come back Carl, we love you.

He's got lightning fingers this lad, even the Gazette says so. This year Clicker got Carl to light his annual bonfire by playing a Hendrix lick near to some wood. The resulting sparks ignited the kindling and WOOF! The whole lot went up (see picture).

A bucket of sand will be on standby at all times should the need for swift action arise. Be sure not to wear flammable clothing.


8. THE DTS

Rollercoaster, gotta make the most-a, dance dance dance the night away' as Barry Blue once sang. The DTs have a cavalcade of boogietastic covers that they've promised to bless us with, and boy are we ready to be blessed. Hallelujah!

The irrepressible Leafy got her name because of her uncanny ability to perform photosynthesis. Here she has absorbed all the light and colour from her fellow DTs leaving them drained and monochrome in comparison.

Other celebrities who can photosynthesise include Kate Moss, Robert Plant and Lesley Ash.


9. LOKI
Loki are easily the best Manchester band to come out of Whitby. Their song 'Mint Town' was on Tom Robinson's 6 Music Radio show and they'll be unstoppable at Whitby Now.

Paul Locker goes at it like a man possessed. Always has done, and always will do, and its to his credit. I've seen him in bands in Whitby in the distant past, and he does the business.

With Chris Corner on bass and Chris 2 on guitar providing the propulsion, Loki could well take off like rockets into the night sky and explode in a shower of shimmeringred, green and blue.

As long as Ian Brown's not playing anywhere on Saturday that is.


10. THE GOREFATHERS

When Alan left The Forefathers, rumours of their demise were rife but illfounded. More proof that you can't keep a good band down, and we're promised a spectacular finale tonight.

I sincerely hope Dave doesn't have too many difficult chords to play, because here he is struggling with a tricky Fdim7, and his brain is heating up so much that it's starting to emit light. Eeek!

For one night only they'll be performing as The Gorefathers. We don't know what they're going to do, but it'll probably involve lots of ketchup, so if you're intending having chips with tomato sauce from the snack bar, get in there before The Gorefathers buy up all the sachets.


There you go. That's Whitby Now 2008 all done and dusted. Its time to wander off home after a fantastic ten quidsworth of locally produced sonic pleasure and start preparing for next year

I leave you with the magnificent BARRY BLUE as a special treat to get you in the mood. Play this immediately before setting out.




WE INTERUPT THESE WHITBY NOW TASTERS TO BRING YOU...

The result of the latest Popwatch poll. The Question was 'Who wants to be a millionaire?'

We sent the results to The Oxford University Department of Statistical Analysis for a detailed breakdown of the voting patterns.

Unfortunately they were on a lunch break, so we did it ourselves. It seems most people want to be a millionaire, but some don't, and some don't either, because all they want is you. Yes you. Sat there at your computer. All they want is little old you.

Please have a go at the new Popwatch poll. Don't forget, people died for your democracy.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

WHITBY NOW, TASTE BEFORE YOU PURCHASE: PART3

Welcome to Saturday night at Whitby Now 2008. Once again all the bands that have MySpace sites are in the Popwatch links in the order they'll be appearing.

I've been battling a monumentally slow computer tonight. Also MySpace has gone all funny and I can't do any searches on it. I don't know if its just me or if its the same for everybody, so it's taken ages to do this seemingly trifling bit of guff.

These are the first five performers on the Saturday night. If you can be bothered to log on again in a couple of days time, the final five will be polished off in no uncertain terms.


1. THE WHITBY NOW BAND

Kicking off the second night of musical shenanigans is The Whitby Now band. As my research for this project involved not asking anyone about who was in this group, I've decided to have a guess, based on the fact that it will be made up of old seasoned Whitby Now stalwarts.
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I reckon Enid Butler in full Elvis Vegas period get-up on vocals. Carl Robbo on extra twangy Hank Marvinesque guitar and Baron Bottomley (who sang 'Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington' at the first Whitby Now, and is pictured above) on piano and backing vocals. As for the rhythm section, I think Heath of Sludge Ghaut on bass, standing on amps and gurning, with Whitby's only percussionist/newsagent Martin 'Thunderbird' Verrill on the kit.
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One can only dream.


2. TANIA RODWAY

This year there seemed to be more Goths than ever at the Halloween Goth Weekend, outnumbered only by middle aged gentlemen in anoraks sporting cameras with improbably long zoom lenses.
I
Tania will be adding a bit of darkness to the evening's light entertainment. Don't let her seemingly gothic looking MySpace site fool you though. Metabillyrockapopgoth is the way she describes herself, and who am I to argue?
I
Buy her a Blue WKD and welcome her to Whitby Now. She'll be the one in black, unless of course scientists invent a darker colour in the meantime.
I
A cider and black is right out, by the way!


3. ALEX KIRBY

For some reason Alex doesn't seem to be on MySpace anymore. This photo, seemingly taken from a boat at sea through the window of the Spa during the last Whitby Now, is the only known image of the elusive singer-songwriter in existence.
I
I remember seeing him at The Met recently, and despite other bands struggling with the notorious murky Met sound quality, his voice and guitar playing cut the air cleanly like a flensing knife through blubber. Recommended listening, well worth twenty minutes of quiet attention.
I
We like our whaling references round here.


4. JON HORNE AND THE MADONNAS



Popwatch's favourite curly topped troubador regales us with more acutely observed and literate lyrics interwoven with chords wrung with fearless emotion from the strings of memory and loss.
I
He might do a Blondie song as well.
I
We're promised that Jon will be backed by The Madonnas too. I reckon they'll be made up of top Whitby musos, and I for one hope they'll go the whole hog and vogue like mad whilst wearing conical bras.
I
Listen out for Brian London, Snow Song and American Whiskey. Top songs all. Worth going the whole wide world to see.


5. HIGH TIDE

Now truly finding their own voice after ditching a lot of The Beatles references, High Tide are cooking with gas (although frankly electricity might be cheaper in the current financial climate). I hope the minimal percussionist is going to be on.

They are pictured here at The Coliseum cinema watching a rare 3D version of the 2007 Whitby Now video. The best bit, where a drunken Lee Jones suddenly lurches towards the front of the stage, has just been on. Its almost like he's going to fall out of the screen!

They really remind me of King of Convenience. In fact the title of the Kings' first LP, 'Quiet Is The NewLoud', could be High Tide's manifesto.

For a taste of Kings Of Convenience, click here.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

WHITBY NOW, TASTE BEFORE PURCHASING: PART 2

Here's the second chunk of the Friday night line up. As before, the bands are in the links section in order of appearance on the night, and they all have MySpace sites that are just tingling for a visit from you.

Both nights kick off at 7pm prompt, the doors are open from 6.30. Its a fiver each night, so thats approximately 50p per band. Cheap as chips (unless you buy 'em at Trenchers).

There will be no free sausages.

6 THE COMMITTEE

Tipped by Walesy out of Yabbadabbadoo for big things, and he should know, this band are growing in confidence and skill by the day. The new tune they've just uploaded to their website is fizzing with sparky poppiness and zest. Jon Horne thinks it's reminiscent of Eddie and the Hotrods, and he's right, that's no bad thing.
I
This picture of the band on a bridge signifies their current transitional state and reminds us that life is essentially a series of bridges we must negotiate successfully in order to fulfill our manifest destinies.
I
Or maybe they're just crossing a river.


7 PANDA LASAGNE

With their tribute to Colin Duck's shop and the anthemic Stupid Tourists, how can you fail to enjoy the frisky and foolhardy Pandas?

A terrific acoustic gig earlier in the year and a triumphant stint at The Bridge in Ruswarp have made them as dear to the hearts of Whitby folk as Botham's Yorkshire Brack and putting 'eh?' at the end of every sentence.

Cheese on bread.


8 YABBADABBADOO

Frontman James is the compere tonight, so it'll be a quick change from his sparkly showbiz suit into his rock threads. Careful with that zip, or you'll be limited to Mica and Sparks songs! Still, Jean wouldn't mind.

Expect faultless covers and at least one of their own thrown into the mix for good measure. They're at their best at these big dos.

Yabbadabbadabbadabbadoo! Its one of those words that, when you type it, you're never quite sure where it finishes. Like Steve Macmanamanamanaman.


9 THE BANTER

A new EP out on Rangam Records stuffed with fantastic tunes which showcase their evolving songwriting. Pent up energy channelled through electrified instrumentation. An impeccable dress sense and a cool demeanour. What more could you ask?

Well, how about different wallpaper? This photo wasn't taken at James Auger's house by any chance, was it?

The Banter have a Waterfield score of 1.


10 THE MERKINS

Pug's come over all Simon Sharma at the moment, what with his Merkins History, which you can find elsewhere on this page. Everyone should read it. Its utterly fascinating and sheds real light on how hard bands work just to keep going.

THE MERKINS' STORY is already in production in Hollywood with Johnny Depp playing Pug and Vin Diesel as Heath.

Should be a rivetting performance with Harry the new drummer, and at least one newly written song. A must see.

The Merkins also have a Waterfield score of 1.


11 FIVE X NINE

A no holds barred, full fireworks finish to the first night. If you're in any doubt, check out the cracking video Dane made for the song Falling Hard. I'm looking forward to being blasted across the dancefloor and pinned against the back wall of the Spa by the sheer molten rock force of these lads.

A lot of people are puzzled by the name, and their claim that 5x9 in fact equals 42.

5 x 9 = a x b2(E2-E(abxc2))-cosine 23.000 + 79.347 x log .458 = 42
(Well that's how I worked it out anyway.)

Five x Nine are another band with a Waterfield score of 1.
I
So the final three bands of Friday Night each contain a Waterfield. Testament to the fact that Heath has done more than anyone else to keep the underground bubbling away nicely beneath Whitby's more visible mainstream. He's been putting gigs on for as long as I can remember.
I
Top man.

Monday, 3 November 2008

WHITBY NOW, HAVE A TASTE BEFORE PURCHASING : PART 1

Whitby Now feels especially big and brassy this year. For a start its on two nights, so everyone will get to play after its gone dark. It was a controversial decision to split the traditional single big concert down the middle, but the proof of the pudding is in the spilling of a bit of it down your shirt, so we'll see how it goes.

I'm really looking forward to it this time. Some of my personal favourites are playing, at least two of which I have never actually seen live.

Anyway, here is a rundown of the acts in order, starting with the Friday night. Each one will get a twenty minute slot, which is an ideal time to showcase your talents without overdoing it and outstaying your welcome like that Auntie who comes to stay every Christmas.

Let's crack on then. Here are the first five. Stay tuned for the rest coming up over the next few days, or as soon as I can get this bloody computer to go a bit faster.


1 JAMES AUGER

Autobiographacousticism of the highest order. Vulnerable and honest, listen to James unfold little bits of his life for you, and feel honoured.

Also check out the wallpaper. Is the whole house decorated like that?


2 DISCARNATE

Mark Liddell always likes to test his jokes out first before trying them on a live audience. Here are Discarnate after hearing the punchline of the one about two nuns and a donkey.

If you like having your brain excavated from inside your skull whilst a demon taunts you in a growly voice, they're the band for you. They have quiet bits too. But only to emphasise the LOUD BITS!


3 THE SCARLETT ALLIANCE

Popwatch faves Jack and Sam continue their voyage to the heart of the White Stripes' psyche. Drums, guitar and vocals. Anything more would be over egging the pudding.

Show your support by bringing something red along to wave at the stage. I'll be bringing a bank statement.


4 3 FOOT NINJA

Spiky and taut guitar pop from a band that has supported The Subways on tour. Expect a tight and thrilling adrenalin rush, like having a ride in Barry Sneddon's Old Lifeboat after he's had a Tornado jet engine fitted for a laugh.

By the way, who's for a Vampire Prawns reunion?



5 WASTING CHARLIE

Pictured here outside the Stakesby Arms at a loose end awaiting the arrival of their instruments. Despite the lack of a kit, the drummer
is still practicing. Now that's dedication.


An EP promised soon, new material for Whitby Now and probably a Kings of Leon cover to boot if Jean gets her way (KOL, as they're known to theit afficianados). Fill yer boots.


All the bands featured are at the top of the Popwatch links in order of appearance, so you can get an earful of their wares yourselves.

THE HISTORY OF THE MERKINS

After attending Whitby Now in 2006 with Pete, we decided we could be as good as anyone playing that night. Not long after that, me and Pete hatched a plan. We put it to Death that we should form a band to conquer the local music scene, which was rising once again around the Whitby area .

With Death onboard The Merkins were born. We now had a band: Me (Pug) on bass and vocals , Death on guitar and Pete on drums. Death had a few songs already written, so after finding a place we could practice we soon had some material to unveil to the public. I was finding it hard to sing and play bass at the same time, so the decision was made that I would play bass and we would find another singer. This is where Heath comes into the Merkins family.

Having known Heath for a good few years, I asked if he knew of any singers we could try out, and to my amazement, or amusement, which ever way you want to look at it, he said he was thinking of having a go at fronting a band himself !!!

So after arranging an audition with him, Heath came down to Merkin HQ and just sat there looking rather scared of the mic. That's when I decided to give my bass to him and sing myself... The Merkins mk2 were born... More songs were written and practiced to perfection, and it was decided that Whitby Now 2007 would be the chosen event at which to debut our music.

Everything was slowly dropping into place what with our place on the Whitby Now bill confirmed. Things were looking good, until Heath dropped the bombshell that he wouldnt be able to play with us at the gig due to him having tickets to see Ian Bloody Brown of all people... Anyway we didn't give up on our big chance. We'd worked bloody hard to be ready for it, so we called in Death's nephew Dave to play bass with only 4 weeks to learn the songs from scratch! That was just six practices.

With a 6.30pm time slot, and me being rather drunk after knocking back large amounts of Southern Comfort backstage with Jay from Yabbadabbadoo, we were ready to ROCK! And rock we did!

What a debut , what a night. I think we went down ok and sounded awesome from what we were told after we finished, despite the sound onstage being terrible.

Debut gig out of the way we could now get down to the business of writing and rehearsing . With Dave putting in such a sterling performace on bass, we asked him to stay on with us as second guitarist and The Merkins mk3 were born... In this guise we continued to practice our set and played a few gigs at the Rifle Club Rangam events that Heath organised, and all was going well until Pete dropped another bombshell for the band. He was getting married and moving back to London... AAAAAAARGH!!! Will we ever get anywhere as a solid unit ????

We organised another gig at the Rifle Club as a farewell gig to our best mate and founding member, and we thought that would be it. Then we noticed a Whitby Now fundraiser coming up at the Resolution, so we bullied Jean to let us play it with Pete for another final farewell. Between Pete giving us notice of his departure and the farewell gig at the Resolution, the decision was made to carry on. With Pete gone we needed to find a new drummer and fast. Enter Matt on drums. We wanted to introduce Matt as Pete's replacement at the Resolution, so we wrote a new song so to make it easier for him to learn. With Pete helping me on vocals while Matt drummed, we had a blast at Petes last gig.

The line up was now Me (Pug) on vocals, Death on guitar, Dave playing second guitar, Heath on bass and Matt our new drummer.
The Merkins mk4 were born.

After a few months it was clear to us that Matt wasn't the man to step into the void Pete had left upon his departure, so the decision was made to replace him, but who with? The search was on yet again for a drummer, but everyone we asked was already in a band or too busy.

Was this to be the end of The Merkins? No way! In comes Paul "Harry" Harrison on drums. We all knew Harry from school days, and he fitted in from day one. Having not played drums for around 10yrs, it didn't take him long to get to grips with our tunes. It was like he'd been there from day one. We've even written a couple of new tunes, and we'll be unveiling one of them at this year's Whitby Now on Friday 14th November. We'll be taking to the stage at around 11.30pm.

Be there to witness the live debut of The Merkins mk5. We can't wait. Hope to see you all there. Thanks for sticking with us, it will be worth the wait. We've already started recording our debut ep, and we'll be finishing it off after Whitby Now, so keep your eyes open for it. Comin' in your ears soon...

This post (in case you hadn't worked it out) was written by Pug.
It appeared originally as a blog on their MySpace site.
Go on, send your band biography, or anything else for that matter, to Popwatch.

Monday, 20 October 2008

ROCK NIGHT: OCTOBER 18th AT THE MET

I finished work at 9pm in Scarborough and flew over the moors back to Whitby grinding gears and shattering speed limits like nobody's business. I was like Lewis Hamilton, except in a Peugeot 106 instead of one of those big Formula One cars. On some straight stretches I was topping 50mph!

At one point something dashed out across the road, and I hit it a glancing blow. I honestly thought I'd killed a badger. Sure enough, on arriving home there were black and white hairs on the bumper. Poor thing.

The next morning there was a news report stating that ex World of Sport anchorman Dickie Davies had failed to return home after a solo evening hike on the North Yorks Moors. Putting two and two together, and bearing in mind his two tone coiffure, I realise now that in my haste to catch Scarlett Alliance at The Met, I may have accidentally hit the erstwhile iconic ITV presenter on a night time ramble.

Dickie, this one's for you!

Needless to say, I missed Scarlett Alliance, who I would have really liked to hear. They got a good review from Jean for the Homegrown gig. I have to disagree with her about joining up with other musicians to form a bigger band with more clout, for want of a better word, though. I like the fact that not everybody forms guitar/bass/vocals/drums outfits. The same with High Tide, who I also failed to catch. The addition of a minimal percussionist is a great move, but I don't think they need any more embellishment. What they do is what they do.

Apparently Jack was happy with the Scarlett Alliance performance, but I think he wished they'd played through a bigger amp or something. I know Sam had tonsillitis which meant they didn't have a Friday rehearsal. Jack told me when I saw him on Baxtergate. If you want to go Whitby Popspotting, Baxtergate is our Sunset Boulevard. And Botham's do a lovely cup of tea. Brack too.

The Committee play very competently, and they actually benefitted from the sound quality at The Met. To me the acoustics always give the impression that the gig is taking place in a huge biscuit tin. It made their guitars a bit more grungified and ever so slightly dirty.

Its true what Jean says, they need some sort of stage presence to evolve. A chemistry of some sort needs to become evident when a band performs. They did a few of their own songs, which were fine and dandy. Popwatch loves original songs. Then they did this...


I probably should know what it is, but I don't. I liked it though. Unfortunately they followed it with Chasing Cars and Sweet Caroline, much to everyone's delight. I say REBEL COMMITTEE, REBEL! Go on, upset your Mums.


Yabbadabbadoo set this whole thing up to raise money for Whitby Now. It would have been nice if more punters had turned up, but those that did venture out were treated to a fabulous Rock Night of entertainment.

The Yabbas took to the stage, and it was as effortless as ever. they make it look so easy, which it isn't, by Jimminy. My particular favourite was this cover of Love Me Like You , a song by the poptastic Magic Numbers. Superb. The sound quality is a result of all those sonic waves swirling around that high dancefloor ceiling.




During a routine visit to the clean and user friendly Met bogs, I could hear through the closed door that someone was performing in the bar. On further investigation it turned out to be no other than Mark Liddell. I ordered a beer and had a sit down in one of the comfy chairs to drink in some of Mark's melodic loveliness.

Tom, a builder who once did our bathroom up for us was there with his partner Dee. She reckoned Mark's voice has become smokier of late. All the better to do songs like Dirty old Town I'd say.

For educational purposes, contrast and compare this version of Joe Jackson's Is She Really Going Out With Him? with the previous tunes in this article, and I think you'll agree, it was a veritable Kellog's Variety pack of an evening.




I used to always go for the Coco pops when I was younger, but I've grown out of the sweet toothiness of that now. I prefer common or garden Corn Flakes, although I do stray into Special K territory sporadically.

When I went back into the main hall to catch the tail end of The Yabbas' set, dancing was taking place. The world seemed to be a happy planet and Whitby, at least a bit of it , was rocking.

I returned home for a nice cup of tea and some cheese on crackers, before scraping the remaining bits of Dickie Davies' bouffant off the car.



If anybody who saw them play fancies reviewing High Tide or Scarlett Alliance, please feel free to do so.

Friday, 17 October 2008

One Poet Short of a Bill


Word has come from the Pride Of Whitby that this virtual zine's moderator, some would say editor, is not doing Whitby Now this year - Whitby Now being the multi-faceted festival of coastally-based creative endeavour to be held on the 14th and 15th of November. I believe I am not alone in thinking this is a mistake. Hundreds of hormonal hoolies hacking away at guitars makes for a good evening's entertainment in my opinion, but oh, how much better it is when leavened with poetry and practiced sarcasm.

Thus I will be posting dodgy recordings of Chris, taken from an open-mic night at Java when he forgot his notes and had to recite poems from failing memory, until he relents and promises to do at least a short set.

Here's the Pitbulls' Wedding. I like this one.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

BUS TRIP FOR THE LEVELLERS

Any Popwatchers who fancy a trip out can catch the magic bus to Bridlington to see one of the festival's headline acts – The Levellers – on Friday.

The bus leaves Langborne Road at 7.30pm and returns from Bridlington at 12.30am, stopping in Scarborough en-route.Tickets are priced £30 which includes admission to see The Levellers and return bus travel. For details or to book ring (0845) 3732760.

Musicport at the Bridlington Spa runs from Friday to Sunday where a glittering line-up of acclaimed musicians from round the world will take to the stage. Debut performances will be from Toumani Diabaté, The Levellers, Rolf Harris, Ivo Papasov, Billy Cobham (with Asere) and Ska Cubano. While returning to the festival are Reem Kelani with a world premiere and The Warsaw Village Band. Twenty-plus acts on the acoustic stage include New York's angriest banjo player, Curtis Eller, Iraqi refugee musician Nahro Zagros and many local and international artists. The musical bill across two main stages and a DJ room are complimented by theatrical performance, a visual arts, workshop, film and children's festival programme, stand-up comedy and a festival market.

BATTLE OF THE SANDS

Coastival is a festival of the very best in Arts and Culture taking place in Scarborough February 13th - 15th 2009

Would you like to play support to a Coastival headline act with your band? Then you simply have to enter the 'Battle of the Sands' competition, then pop along and wow the judges, the prize being opportunity to play support to a big name headliner. The Battle of the Sands will be held on November the 30th in the Ocean Room at Scarborough Spa. Two winners from the ‘battle’ will then play alongside the main headline acts at Coastival in February 2009.

The competition is open to any musicians, groups or individuals, aged 16 and over from the Yorkshire area. To enter send in a CD of your music along with an entry form to Coastival before the end of October 2008.

A panel made up of people from the local music scene will select between 12 and 14 acts to take part in the Battle of the Sands on 30th November and then choose the winners based upon the performances on the night.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

JEAN AND MARK, PRIDE OF WHITBY!



Congratulations to Jean Scales and Mark LiddelL who won the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Community Award at The Pride of Whitby Awards.

A hugely well deserved award for all the hard work they both put into the running and organisation of Whitby Now and it's fundraising events. Hurrah and raise your glasses in their honour!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Saturday, 4 October 2008

MUSIC IN THE BASEMENT: ROBINSON INSTITUTE, GLAISDALE, 11th OCTOBER

MUSIC IN THE BASEMENT returns with a fantastic line up, with local and regional bands the night will bring all kinds of musical genres together. A great family night and a chance for new acts to perform alongside professional and semi-professional acts.

Please book a ticket in advance to avoid disappointment on the night.

MUSIC IN THE BASEMENT
ROBINSON INSTITUTE
GLAISDALE
WHITBY NY
YO21 2PZ
11TH OCTOBER 2008
Start - 7pm
ticket £5/£3
BOOKING LINE 01287 660279 01947 606623

CIRCUS ENVY are a rootsy five piece based in East Yorkshire, who eschew the indie rock zeitgeist in their home town in favour of a sound equally influenced by classic rock, folk rock and Americana.

LAUNDERETTE POETS is the musical collaboration of Marissa Claughan and Patrick Gradwell who began writing songs in 2003 when they met whilst studying music at university. After receiving positive feedback from listeners they soon realised that their music had a future outside of the classroom and continued their partnership beyond graduation. Musically and lyrically Launderette Poets bring depth and sincerity to their songwriting, drawing on their different musical histories to create the pretty, melodic sound that has become their forte. Lead vocals and cello are Marissa's responsibility, whilst the guitars are played by Patrick. Bass and keyboard parts are played by Craig Steer.

ELAINE PALMER'S extraordinary voice has a certain charm and character, some of her material is influenced by living by the sea, ocean and harbours on the North East coast of England, She has toured extensively and has recorded many albums and she writes all her own material.

Sally Ann Smith and Mark Atkinson are the organisers of Music in the Basement and currently working under name of FRAGILE. Joined by Kevin Meling on bass and Phil Moore on Keyboards.

ALSO APPEARING
JAMES AUGER
ADAM MOSS
THE COMMITTEE

TICKETS£5 ADULTS, £3 FOR UNDER 12’S
FOOD INCLUDED
BAR AVAILABLE
TICKET LINE01287 66027901947 606623

This post was kindly donated by FRAGILE

Thursday, 2 October 2008

A BIT MORE ABOUT THAT 5X9 VIDEO

Here's a short interview with Kyle of 5x9 about the brilliant video for their song 'Falling Hard' which you can watch if you scroll down the page a bit.

Where was the video filmed?
The video was made for promo purposes as a college project, it was filmed in various locations across Scarborough, including a roundabout below Valley Bridge, some rocks on the sea front and the gig was at Vivaz. It was edited by Dane on an imac using HD imovie. It's the only one he's made, but I've made my own version for the same song. I'm not sure what's happened to it though, as I gave it in at college for marking. Dane will be making another this year for our most recent finished song 'Cant See'.

Where will the televised gig take place?
The York gig is at a venue called 'Speak Easy' on 2nd Nov. If people are interested in a ticket they should contact me on our myspace page or email fiveXnine@hotmail.co.uk

Who's televising it?
The TV channel is propeller TV, Sky channel 195

Got any new songs?
We are currently working on some new material and will be recording an album to be launched by April 2009.

Upcoming Gigs
October 10th - Vivaz - Scarborough
October 14th - Zero - Scarborough
October 23rd - Westwood College - Scarborough
November 2nd - Speak Easy - York
November 14th Whitby Now - Whitby!

Also we need more gigs, so if anybody wants to book us contact us:Myspace : www. myspace. com/fivetimesnineEmail: fiveXnine@hotmail.co.uk
Thanks Very much.

Kyle
5X9

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

HOMEGROWN GIG WHITBY COMMUNITY COLLEGE - REVIEW

What a great effort that the bands from WCC put into this event to raise money for Whitby Now - there is no way I could let the occasion pass without a review.

I can remember how worried little big Jack Wilson was a few weeks ago that nobody would buy tickets, the kids would all want to drink so wouldn't come etc etc. Pish pash posh - they sold 130 tickets and raised £300 for Whitby Now.

It was very weird indeed walking back into my old school hall, (there were 3 Whitby Now committee members, 3 Yabbadabbado's and one random Radiographer in our gang) and I knew we had made a mistake in our choice of seats straight away as we were sat on a table at the back of the hall but directly in front of the stage and we looked exactly like the judges from X-factor. My sister cruelly insisted that I be Sharon Osbourne as I have short hair, and she be Danii Minogue because she has long hair but in my head I was Cheryl Cole.(oh shut up!)

Mark was Simon Cowell obviously , you can clearly see the resemblance, and Yabba James ,Yabba Dave and Yabba Pete were the 3 Louis'. Thankfully, even though some of the participants were as young as 14 years old - it was clear that these bands were going to make it past the audition stages. That is not to say I won't be making some constructive criticism so if you can't take it bands - look away now.

High Tide kicked off the show with their usual silky hot chocolate with extra cream on type vocals and acoustic guitar. I am used to seeing Liam and Jack in smaller more intimate environs and I did sense that they were perhaps not as comfortable as they usually are. Liam didn't introduce the audience to any of the songs and made that essential connection between act and audience all that harder for them to achieve. And of course, there is no reason why Jack couldn't introduce a song as well. OK, they felt like they could squeeze an extra song in by cutting back on the chat but I would rather hear 3 songs and get the best out of them than 5 where I found I was actually only listening properly to 3. But having said that, I love listening to these guys. They work so well together and sound like peaches and cream, Simon and Garfunkel, Fred and Ginger, vodka and red bull - you get the picture. The highlight of their set for me was their own tune Gothenberg - sublime.

Next up were The Committee and it was the first time that any of the Whitby Now/Yabba's gang had had the pleasure. I will try not to gush - but oooooh, they were good. They are a five piece band and boy did that make a difference. They were storming. It said in the programme that they describe themselves as a mixture of the Kooks and Razorlight but I didn't think so. The lead singers voice was a bit deeper and more mature than either of those. ha ha. Really. They started with one of their own tracks and while I can't remember what it was called - I can remember how well crafted it was and how good it sounded. Next came a cover of On Call by The Kings of Leon and I have to admit a bias here as they are my current fave band/obsession and then an equally brilliant version of Caroline by The Quo - which got the audience whooping and clapping in unison.

I was a little disappointed that the Ukelady boys had cancelled but it didn't really affect the dynamics of the evening and another duo,
The Dapper, took to the stage. It was their first ever performance and to be honest it was a little rough around the edges but as a first time effort it wasn't bad at all. Their enthusiasm certainly made up for their lack of experience and Dom and Francis really looked like they were enjoying themselves so first time nerves can't have been too severe and they relaxed even more when one of their teachers joined them to sing 'Valerie'. She must have been a popular teacher as the crowd were very appreciative.I hope The Dapper are already planning their next gig as you can only learn through experience.

If I can offer a word of advise to all the two-somes that were on tonight - if you want to make a BIG impact - big up! Join together - become a bigger band and a bigger sound. Especially if you dream of filling stadiums one day. You have to be exceptionally good to fill a big space and entertain a big audience when there are only two of you. I felt that The Dapper looked immediately more comfortable when Teach joined them and I think they will benefit by getting more band members.

Wasting Charlie have come on leaps and bounds since I first saw them at Whitby Now 2007. They performed at one of our fundraisers at The Resolution earlier in the year and we advised them to take a few tips from the older acts that were on the same bill that night and try and add some movement to their act and try and look like they were enjoying themselves more. They certainly took note and at Evies Gig they took it to another level and it was heartening to see that they are still dancing around. OK, they got caught up in the leads at one point and had to be entangled but that was a small price to pay for a less static performance. Although perhaps a happy medium needs to be found. Too much movement sometimes leads to slightly slopping playing.(take note The Committee - you need to move around more. Become more engaged with the music you are playing and the audience you are playing it to.) My favourite song from Wasting Charlies set was Molly's Chambers by the Kings of Leon but I can't seem to help myself and am seeking professional help. I used to like Wasting Charlie's own track, Head in the Sand but I don't think they did that. It had a really distinctive sound that showed off Joe's unusual vocals to a great advantage so I would advise them to try and recapture some of that sound because it set them apart from the rest!

Finishing the evening was the beautifully clad
The Scarlett Alliance, Sam seems to like stripes, and Jack seems to really really love red. He was a symphony in red and black but rather disappointingly ditched the hat with feather after the first song. It was hard to believe that this was only The Scarlett Alliance's 2nd gig - their confidence was impressive. Their sound didn't seem to fill the school hall like it had at their gig at The Resolution and again I can't help wondering if they couldn't expand the band further. I know The White Stripes were a twosome but it isn't for everyone. My favourite from this set was Blue Skies, ( I have been humming it to myself ever since) but I felt that this could have been even better if it had been speeded up a bit. One more thing would be to have a look at the set list. Try not to have too many slow songs together, and mix it up. Keep the attention of the audience at all time.

I have to say though, all those points I have made are little things and didn't mean that the evening itself was not a triumph - because it was. I was on a high for about 2 hours afterwards and I know my friends were too. Mark was so excited he said 2 naughty words in his thank you speech and earned himself 100 lines and a detention.

There was so much to enjoy and I suppose the most exciting bit is the enormous potential that all these young musicians possess and how it can only be to Whitbys' benefit.

x jean
PS Remember this is only my opinion, I could be talking a load of b******s so if you were at the gig - please feel free to chime in and tell me so.