Hereford’s Punk and Reggae Nights With Fowokan

Hereford is slowly evolving into a Punk and Reggae music hub with nights happening in various locations all around the city. Some UK cities are known for their Indie, psych, blues, dance music, and a multitude of other music movements: however, Herefordshire holds a reputation for great border folk bands, a long-standing metal scene, alternative rock, reggae and the current regeneration of punk with the appearance of bands like the Subhumans, and the recent annual punk festival A Crisis of Conscience held at the Booth Hall in aid of homeless charities. We sent Gavin Brown to review the night.

The Underground Revolution Hereford host Punk band Alvin and the Angry Barrels opening for Fowokan Reggae Band at the Booth Hall June 2 2017
Nick Vidal-Hall for Booth Hall Photography. Punk and Ska band from Leominster Alvin and the Angry Barrels

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The Booth Hall Tribute Act Nights: Forever Sabbath & The Youth Within. Where’s The Brummy Accent?

Hereford City Centric sent our local music wordsmith, Gavin Brown, to check out the Black Sabbath tribute act, taking place at The Booth Hall and supported by Herefordshire Punks on the up, The Youth Within. I am going to assume he really enjoyed it by the enthusiasm in his review.

The Booth Hall have launched a series of tribute-themed nights that have included Chili Peppers and Blink 182 tribute acts in the past. Finding myself in a crowd of super pumped Blink 182 fans a couple weekends ago on the night Blink tribute act One Eighty Two played was a pleasant change for me. The truth is, I have always found bands that do covers the most boring of the lot; especially those “pub” bands. Stale beer fragrance comes to mind. There is a difference between cover bands and tribute acts, although I love it when local bands do the occasional cover.

Tribute acts have something to live up to. They study the musicians/performers they are emulating and really have to put in the effort. There is always something distracting about them though, they never ARE the actual band, and I would hate to be a tribute performer knowing everyone is staring at every detail about me in search of the resemblance to the original person they are mimicking; guess that makes them pretty gutsy and confident too.

Continue reading “The Booth Hall Tribute Act Nights: Forever Sabbath & The Youth Within. Where’s The Brummy Accent?”

The Underground Revolution: Doghouse, Reality Attack & Wolf Cryer Review

24 September 2017

The Booth Hall Hereford 

The Underground Revolution Presents Doghouse, Reality Attack

and Wolf Cryer

Music Review by Gavin Brown

Following hot on the heels of the immense Steve Ignorant gig earlier in the month, it was with great pleasure to be able to witness the formidable music machine that is Doghouse, an outfit with the very same ideals and outlook as the great Mr Ignorant. Add to this a great supporting lineup courtesy of the down and dirty punk of Reality Attack and the grungy hard rock of Wolfcryer, and you’ve got a recipe for a great night. And a great night it was with a healthy turnout from an enthusiastic audience showing once again how vibrant the musical climate is in Hereford nowadays.

Booth Hall Photography, Reality Attack at The Boothhall Underground Revolution Night Feb 24 2017
Chillin’ Photograph by Raphael La Roche

WOLF CRYER

Wolfcryer the Booth Hall February 24th
Wolf Cryer – Photograph by Gavin Brown

Kicking off the night were Wolf Cryer and the local lot got the night off to a brilliant start with their grunge-inspired rock, which was a definite highlight. The band’s extended heavy jams were completely mesmerising as was the powerful groove that they laid down and the vocals of singer Claire Perkins were undeniably impressive and topped the bands sound off perfectly. Wolf Cryer have that grunge influence with heavier bands like Babes In Toyland, or even Gruntruck with their more metal sound and even a hint of the Melvins in there too. These bands seem like an influence on their sound, but Wolf Cryer do their own thing with it and this is definitely a band that need checking out again. Having not heard the band before, I was blown away and won’t hesitate to catch them when they next play live, which will hopefully be soon!

Booth Hall Photography, Wolfcryer at The Boothhall Underground Revolution Night Feb 24 2017
Wolfcryer Bassist Jon Wilson – Photograph by Raphael La Roche

REALITY ATTACK

Booth Hall Photography, Reality Attack at The Boothhall Underground Revolution Night Feb 24 2017
Reality Attack Photograph by Gavin Brown

Reality Attack were up next and their raw punk didn’t disappoint at all, with their defiant and in your face noise a joy to watch. The speakers were tested to their limits as the band thrashed through their set as if it were the last one they’d ever play! Their crust/anarcho punk sound went over so well with the dancing audience, and they debuted some new material that will be forthcoming on their new EP. It is just as pissed off as their older material with the brilliant You’re A Cunt a highlight of the bands set.

Reality Attack rallied against the system throughout with a heartfelt tribute to the young Russian punk stabbed to death for standing up to fascists a few days earlier only adding to the band’s anger – and the band certainly told it like it is. They finished their set with their bassist up on vocals singing his heart out and ended things on a high. Reality Attack are definitely the real deal and proved this tonight beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Booth Hall Photography, Reality Attack at The Boothhall Underground Revolution Night Feb 24 2017
Reality Attack Bassist Lizzy Photography Gavin Brown

DJ BDS

Between each of the acts, BDS of Last Tree Squad was spinning tunes and this added to the eclectic nature of the night as well with bass, heavy dub, reggae, dancehall, hip hop and grime cuts testing the Booth Halls speakers to the max! Heating songs like Murder She Wrote, Raggamuffin, Welcome to Jamrock and 99 Problems really loud definitely added to the atmosphere.

DOGHOUSE

Booth Hall Photography, Reality Attack at The Boothhall Underground Revolution Night Feb 24 2017
Doghouse – Booth Hall Photography by Nick Vidal-Hall

Formed out of the ashes of cult Cardiff techno punk band Sicknote, tonight’s headliner’s Doghouse play a much-anticipated set and are another band who don’t disappoint either with their defiant and cutting lyrics really hitting home over energetic and hard techno beats that got an enthusiastic response on the dancefloor throughout their whole set. Their spirited performance has much in common with Steve Ignorant as they spew bile about the current state of the nation and like the former Crass man, they do it with an element of humour and cleverness, never coming across as preachy with the techno elements adding to the warm and energetic atmosphere. Doghouse has a massive performance art and cabaret (that they have dubbed Cabarave, a description that fits perfectly) element to them that works so well, from costume changes to some inspired dancing, you couldn’t take your eyes off the duo all night.

Delivering songs, mainly culled from their debut album Idiot Savant, their passionate delivery on topics ranging from council tax to unemployment and thinking for yourself was very inspiring too. The band were as informative as they were entertaining all night. A great performance from two true musical mavericks that deserve to be heard by all.

Overall, this was a brilliant night that saw so much variation in musical terms, but this certainly united everyone in attendance as the atmosphere was amazing and that can only be a good thing.

Feature Image: Nick Vidal-Hall for Booth Hall Photography

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BBC Introducing H&W take over The Victory Pub

BBC Introducing In Hereford and Worcester came to the Victory Pub in Hereford on 31st January 2016.  If you are not familiar with BBC Introducing….in a nutshell; local unsigned bands upload their music, the BBC crew listen, and select four bands to play a set in a local venue. They bring recording & lighting equipment, making a real show of it.  The sets are then played on BBC H&W’s Introducing show, giving much needed exposure to the acts.

I popped along to see what they do, how they do it and to see a couple of bands that I’ve got into over the last twelve months from my time in Hereford Live, namely Atlas and Last Tree Squad. 

It was the latter of these bands, Last Tree Squad – normally a seven piece, but tonight an eight piece dub reggae band, that kicked the event off. Front man Loftie is well known on the Hereford music scene, a man that works hard not just for his art and his comrades, but for all those making music in the city.

Last Tree Squad

Last Tree Squad, Hereford

 

The stage area at the Victory is pretty snug at the best of times, so as you can imagine getting eight on to a stage was some feat of engineering.  After the introduction by Andrew Marston, the band kicked off with “We don’t want it”, which has quite a roots reggae feel to it, and a strong anti-violence message.

Last Tree Squad really mix it up as they go through “Oh, Oh” and “Streets” before finishing up with “What you gonna do”.  As you would expect with such a large band, there is loads going on in the sound, with the heavy bass lines that I love, leading the songs’ grooves.

The eighth member tonight was Jenny Frost, who sings in the Hereford Soul Choir, and brought some more depth to the vocals that was a bonus. I could go on all day about Reggae – coming from the West Midlands, bands like Steel Pulse are part of my younger days soundtrack – and what a great band Last Tree Squad are, but really you just need to look them up and go see them.

Sin Eso

Sineeso

 

Next up were Sin Eso from Bromsgrove. A new band to me, they play a great brand of melodic metal – their band page says a “mix of romantic Rock and love Metal”, and there’s definitely some Evanescence in their style, but Toby Bowett, lead singer & guitarist, has a voice reminiscent of Ed Kowalczyk, the ex-singer from post-grunge rockers Live.

Sin Eso, BBC Introducing, Hereford and Worcester
Sin Eso Performing live @ The Victory Pub, Hereford

‘Eye of the Storm’ was a particularly catchy (sorry to use that awful word) track and just to prove they are their own sound, they chuck in some rap vocals from Matt J Owen, keyboard player for the band.  I suspect there is a great future ahead for Sin Eso; they have a cool aura about them.

They’ve already played at the O2 Institute in Birmingham and I can’t see that being the end of it.

Thank The Academy

Thank The Academy band, Bromsgrove

 

Third on the list were pop punk band Thank The Academy, hailing from Birmingham. Absolutely in the mould of Blink 182 and Sum 41, they have honesty, a humble nature and the fact they had just completed a four date tour of the country with Never Hill, meant they played a pretty tight set.

Love to see a bit more originality from their song-writing, there were hints of it – Navigation for example – but in a pretty busy genre scene I think they will be doing their damnedest to show they can be different from the crowd.  Their EP “Navigation”, a follow-up to their debut  EP “Worth A Try” is due out any minute.

Atlas

Atlas band from Hereford

 

Finally, local rock trio Atlas took to the stage. Well, they say rock, I say down-tuned riff chugging monster Metal. I loved their set – part Mastodon, with some Bolt Thrower guitar and a bit of James Hetfield on the vocals thrown in for a pretty full on sound.

Lots of latent menace before an all-out onslaught of grooving terror and if you listen to their album MMXV you’ll know what I mean from tracks like Breaking Under and Isolated Clone. A great end to the night.

Atlas, BBC Introducing H&W at the Victory Pub, Hereford
Atlas play BBC Introducing H&W @ The Victory Pub

The sets will be played on the BBC H&W Introducing show throughout February, so keep an ear out for them.

Links to the bands for more information:
Last Tree Squad: www.facebook.com/LastTreeSquad
Sin Eso: www.facebook.com/sineso.official
Thank The Academy: www. www.facebook.com/ThankTheAcademyUK
Atlas: www.atlashereford.bandcamp.com/album/mmxv

ARTICLE WRITTEN BY RICH LOVELL, Music Director/Reviewer – Hereford City Centric & The Underground Revolution, Frontman – Punk Band Terminal Rage