Last Tree Squad 2017 EP Launch at the Booth Hall Filled the House

 

LAST TREE SQUAD EP LAUNCH LIVE AT THE BOOTH HALL HEREFORD

17 March 2017

Review by Gavin Brown

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Heading a lineup of fresh talent of varied musical styles, Last Tree Squad brought the good-time vibes to The Booth Hall for the launch of their new EP. The crowd inside were witness to an almighty example of energetic live performance throughout the night, culminating in an impressive display of musicianship, charisma and moving the crowd from the headliners.

 

Last Tree Squad 2017, the Booth hall, Hereford
Last Tree Squad

REGGAE PIE

Upon arriving at The Booth, we were treated to the sounds of the Reggae Pie DJs who were reliably dropping dub, reggae and jungle bombs in a fashion that really set the scene for the night ahead with the bass rattling, exactly as it should be.

COOSIE

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With the bass still resonating through the walls of The Booth, local MC Coosie from Verbal Highz took to the stage and dropped a concise but effective set of beats, rhymes and life that showed off his lyrical prowess with knowing mentions of everything from Shrek to Madeline McCann and adding effects with a little toy horn, he demonstrated a wry sense of humour throughout the set. Coosie definitely got the live aspect of tonight’s show off to a flying start.

ESKE FORTE

Eske Forte, Last Tree Squad 2017, the Booth hall, Hereford

As the interim dub classics erupted and then subsided, it was time for Esk Forte to take the stage for the next portion of live entertainment. Armed with a guitar, saxophone and a sublime voice, she was reminiscent of Laura Marling in her early days but with a lot more attitude and vigour, and captivated the audience with that spellbinding voice. Alternating between playing the songs with the guitar and the saxophone showed how talented she is and the set was a joy to watch, the only thing wrong with it was that it wasn’t longer.

RUCKA SMALL

Rucka Small, Last Tree Squad 2017, the Booth hall, Hereford

Following Esk Forte wasn’t an easy task but Rucka Small proved himself to be more than up to the task with the rappers double-time style of emceeing going down a storm, a style that reminded me of one of this country’s finest rappers, Skinnyman, partly because of the double-time style but also the delivery and lyrical content, which bordered on the humorous at times, especially when he declared he’s got “bite like Tyson” in a hip hop moment straight out of 97 that still sounded fresh!

Rucka Small was joined towards the end by Last Tree Squad man BDS to hype the crowd up a little more, which definitely worked as he rattled off his quick-fire rhymes to serious applause and ended a great set on a high.

CUT LA VIS

Before the night’s headliners took to the stage, the man that is Cut La Vis demonstrated his formidable DJing skills as the bass heavy cuts kept coming in fast and heavy; this proved to be the perfect opening to Last Tree Squad kicking out their jams.

LAST TREE SQUAD

Wasting absolutely no time at all, the six-piece (featuring Esk Forte among their ranks) raised the energy levels even further with an enthusiastic approach to their craft and those energy levels stayed risen for the remainder of the night.

Wasting absolutely no time at all, the six-piece (featuring Esk Forte among their ranks) raised the energy levels even further with an enthusiastic approach to their craft and those energy levels stayed risen for the remainder of the night.

Blasting out memorable tracks from the EP as well as other cuts, Last Tree Squad proved how good a live band they are with every member of the band firing on all cylinders, ably led by BDS whose passion on the mic was suitably impressive and constantly hyped up the crowd.

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Last Tree Squad’s BDS 

Between the music, the stage chatter was constant with usual suspects, Theresa Dis-May and Stig Trump (as BDS put it) were ridiculed with the frontman declaring it as being “like Thatcher and Reagan all over again” to mass applause and sending a message of good vibes over war and hate as well as a closing impassioned rant against the manufactured music industry and all the X Factor rubbish.

Last Tree Squad put on a hell of a show, and their sound, one that takes in reggae, dub, hip hop and jungle, delivered with an infectious lust for life that was so enjoyable to listen to and the enthusiasm of the crowd was testament to this.

Seek out the brilliant EP, and seek out Last Tree Squad live as it is an experience not to be missed out on, one that was rapturously received tonight at The Booth accompanied by a strong supporting bill. It is nights like this that are needed to keep live music alive.

Images: Booth Hall Photography, Nick Vidal-Hall

You can also pick up a printed version of this interview in April’s Slap Mag (Free)

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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