Live review: Darwin Deez with Youth Sector – Thekla Bristol – 19/05/22 

Celebrating the slightly belated 10th anniversary of his debut self-titled album, Darwin Deez and his band brought their show to Bristol’s Thekla to play to a sold out boat.

The show was opened by Youth Sector, a 5-piece from Brighton. These young lads came onto the stage well dressed and well coordinated, all with stylish open button suits. Seeing them come on stage, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was fully blown away. From the off, these boys threw all their energy into the set, culminating an indie-pop-funk sound, which quickly got the crowd on side.

As a band, these guys clearly got on well together, not only in matching outfits and energy, but in general presence and enjoyment, it was clear this was another band that just got on well together. You can tell these guys are mates for life.

Throughout the set, Darwin and greg periodically came out to sing and dance along to some of the songs, and got the crowd up and dancing as well. When the main act loves the support band this much, you know it’s been a good choice of show opener.

And then it was onto the main act of the night. After a quick change around, Darwin first came onto stage alone, with a backing track playing, before the rest of the band joined. I was expecting them all to pick up their relative instruments, but instead they launched into a finely choreographed dance routine. Unexpected but certainly nothing less than amazing.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album, it was only right that it was played through in full. Although a little less lively than Youth Sector, the crowd were still having a great time, albeit with slightly less in your face dance moves and slightly more singing along.

As an album and as a live set, there was a very dreamy feel to the night, with the stage backing resembling the stars, and twinned with opening song Constellations, this was one night almost under the skies.

The end of each song was met with rounds of applause and cheers from the whole boat, the music only broken up by the occasional dance break from the band.

As Darwin said, it really did help break up the show and made them a cut above the other bands that have graced that stage. Also it was an absolute joy to watch.

After playing the album in full, the band played a couple of other songs, but sadly before this I had to dip out of the show and start work. However I was assured it was a great show and the closer was met with more thunderous applause, and that everyone there had a great time.

As always, a massive thanks to the crew on board Thekla, as well as all the bands, staff, security and crew for making it a brilliant show.

Tickets to the last few shows of this tour can be found here.

Review and photos by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic

NEW MUSIC ALERT: AGAT’s new album WITH THE INCROWD

Although released back at the end of March, we thought we would like to introduce you to Tel-Aviv based alternative hip-hop artist AGAT and her latest album.

With The Incrowd is a harsh but neccissary look into society, especially it’s addiction to glutinous and materialistic behaviours. AGAT is an artist that is not from the typical background of most of what you probably listen to, and she wants to make a point with that.

Explaining the feelings behind the album, AGAT explains “I talk about the problems that I see around me, and potentially on others in the world. I feel that there’s this need for immediate satisfaction that causes people to act in certain ways, that I also follow myself, and these lead me to feeling depressed or like I’m not moving anywhere real.”

Even down to the album artwork, with one colour and a simple picture, when paired with the album it shares the important message of this horrid thing that we just cannot get rid of.

AGAT can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Spotify

Live review – Yard Act with Nuha Ruby Ra – Trinity Centre – 11/05/22

Playing their second Bristol headline show of 2022, Yard Act graced Trinity Centre with their anarcho-post-punk, tunes. This show sold out quite a while ago, and we were lucky enough to be invited down to the show.

The show was opened by Nuha Ruby Ra. Normally I do some research on the support band before the show, but sadly last night I did not have time to. Her style was certainly a surprise to me, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it wasn’t that.

Her experimental and echoic style took a while to win the crowd over, but by the end of her set most people were onside and a few keen fans were dancing down at the front.

She made her unique sound by using two mics with different effects running through each, and partnered with a loud and rolling backing track. This dreamy, trance sound is very typical of Yard Act, they certainly book different acts to be their supports. Although not the kind of music I’d listen to in my headphones, I would certainly be seeing it again.

Only one support, before the main act of the night. Right from the off, Yard Act brought all their energy out to the stage. They opened with what was noted on the setlist as Strip, a purely melodic song with no lyrics. It was an interesting start to the show, and another example of the experimental style that Yard Act are well known for.

Then front man James comes on stage and continues to bring it all with him, getting straight on with Dark Days. Yard Act aren’t the easiest band to sing along with, but the crowd were certainly all with it for the chorus, shouting those two words right back at the band. Following this with The Overload was certainly a brave choice, but as everyone stayed for the rest of the set its clear these guys are no longer the one-hit-wonder than some used to think they were.

The stage presence and stage talk that Yard Act has is unparalleled, combing the perfect dry British humor and wit meant the show was much more than just the music. The kind of band that can make you go from moshing, to dancing, to laughing all within one song is rare, and Yard Act do all three perfectly.

James even stole a mini fan from someone down the front for Human Sacrifice, keeping himself cool and doing that thing we all did as kids, talking through the fan into the microphone. He also did a good job of keeping the rest of the band cool throughout the song.

Guitarist Shippo always does a good job of stealing the limelight for a small portion of the show, his playing style and sound unrivalled to any other guitarist out there, his solos and riffs keeping the already electric atmosphere going.

The first big finish of the night was The Trapper’s Pelts, keeping the crowd moving, before the walk-off-walk-on, but an extra person joined them on stage. Bristol’s own Katy J Pearson joined Yard Act for the encore, helping Yard Act do their version of her song Miracle. I’ve loved Katy’s work for a long time, and seeing these two icons of the new music scene was an extra special way to top off a brilliant show. Ending the show with Land Of The Blind topped it off, with one last cheer and excited applause from the audience that was it for the show.

As always, Yard Act played a blinder of a show, and if you still haven’t had a chance to see them yet, they are heading off on a third UK tour later this year, with a trip to Bristol’s Marble Factory on the list.

A massive thank you goes to the Staff and Security at Trinity Centre, as well as the band and crew for putting on an excellent show.

Words and photos by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic

Live review – Spinn with Enter Red, Pentire and Stay Lunar – Thekla – 12/5/22

Liverpool based indie-pop band Spinn brought their UK tour on board the Thekla, for a night of good music and good vibes.

The show was opened by local boys Enter Red, a familiar face on the boat. I’ve heard good things about these guys, and I’m so happy that I finally got to see them live! To say they blew me away would be an understatement, and the dedicated fans that turned up early to watch a brilliant band who brought everything with them. They’d certainly have every right headlining their own stage.

After their set, Adie from The Bristol Gig Guide interview Enter Red, and their interview will be live over on their Instagram soon.

Up next was another local band – Pentire. Another familiar face at Thekla and another band I’ve certainly heard great things about, these also didn’t disappoint. 5 minutes before their set started, it felt as if the venue suddenly became very full, and the eager crowd was gathered around the stage to watch Pentire play in full form.

Their latest single Fading Out was met with cheers from the crowd, and for their final song of the set, Best Friends House, the crowd went mad, with a decent sized mosh pit and people up in shoulders. With two out of three support bands already knocking me away, this was shaping up to be a good evening.

Third on the bill was Stay Lunar, also from Bristol. With three local bands, the promoters sure knew how to get the best crowd down for the show, and Stay Lunar lived up to every expectation I’d built up so far. Although their style was a bit softer and a bit more mellow than the first two, they still played a great set and by the end the crowd was fully on side and ready to rock out to Spinn. Stay Lunar also played a new single for the first time – I Like It When You’re Around. If the single sounds half as good as it did live, it’s going to be good!

Last up, Liverpool based indie band Spinn, touring on the back of their February released second album ‘Outside of the Blue’. Carrying on from the Stay Lunar vibe, Spinn’s indie pop, slick musicianship and feel-good guitars had a real summer, positive vibe. Front man Johnny Quinn, clad in suit, swayed and swung around the stage while delivering his warm vocals. The in between song banter was engaging, delivered with Johnny’s broad Liverpudlian accent and little stories, and the now full house really got into the sound.

The record is a little ‘smoother’ than this live show, but the sharper edges gave the performance some bite.

And then it was over. 4 quality bands, each offering something a little different to the indie pop space but a boat load of punters leaving happy

As always, a massive thanks goes to all the staff and security onboard the Thekla, and the team behind the show for making it happen.

Review of Enter Red, Pentire and Stay Lunar by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic
Review of Spinn by Glenn Morrison, writing for MusoMuso, used with Permission
Review and photos of Pentire shared and used by The Bristol Gig Guide with permission
All photos by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic

Live review – Metronomy with Goat Girl – O2 Academy Bristol – 4/5/22

Metronomy entertained an almost full O2 academy Bristol with their brand of Electronic at the end of a global tour (US and Europe) and the post the February 22 release of their 7th Studio Album ‘Small World’.

Opening the night was ‘Goat Girl’ a 5 piece post punk band from London. Their recent album ‘On all Fours’ followed their acclaimed 2018 self titled debut with a fuller sound, with added electronic elements. The thumping beat was present throughout the set with the whirling guitars creating a big sound but 3 part harmonised vocals softening the mix. It was an interesting set and, although pinned to the front of the stage by Metromony’s gear, the clever use of some simple set dressing gave the band a presence that drew great appreciation from the crowd.

With the stage cleared it was time for Metronomy. The new album ‘ Small World’ is a simpler, pared back offering from the group and we were intrigued to see how this would translate. We didn’t have to wait long as the opener ‘Love Factory’ came straight from the new album with a sharper edge to the recorded version, with the guitars turned up a notch and even the pace seemingly a little quicker.

The band were very tight, delivery crisp versions of old and new material, underpinned by the thick warm synth tones and driving beat. The pace changed regularly, seamlessly inter-song to take the crowd from head shaking, foot tapping to gently swaying as the synths pulsed and the melodic guitars and vocals almost drew you trance like forward and back. The 20 song set, covered their whole catalogue and their link to the crowd seemed almost ethereal at times as words were not required to feel that the 1300+ souls in the venue were totally in tune with the music.

Review and photos by Glenn Morrison/GM Gig Photography

Live review: Stöner with Slomosa – Thekla Bristol, 4/5/22

Touring their new album Totally, which comes out Tomorrow, newly formed rock band Stöner brought their grungy hard-core style to Bristol’s legendary floating venue.

The show was opened by Slomosa, who had come from Bergen in Norway to join Stöner for this tour. Although they didn’t have a massive way with words, these guys came on and rocked the crowd out hard, and got them warmed up well for the main act.

It seemed that most people had never heard of Slomosa’s music before, bar a few dedicated fans, and I think this Norwegian band went away with a few new fans from this show (myself included). As a band, they played well together, and it was clear they were in sync with one another. Norwegian heavy music is world renowned for being in a league of its own, and Slomosa certainly proved that once again.

My personal favourite track of theirs has to be There is Nothing New Under The Sun.

And then it was onto the main act of the night. Although I do enjoy a night with a big line up and getting introduced to plenty of new music, there are also nights like last night that I like where it’s just two bands playing, keeping it simple.

From the moment Brant, Ryan and Nick hit the stage, they brought all the energy they could muster out with them. Another band not much for talking, it took a couple of songs to get the crowd fully warmed up and singing and dancing along.

Stöner are a relatively newly formed band, but previous bands that the members were in (from Kyuss to Queens Of The Stone Age) meant they had high expectations, and they certainly lived up to them, and the dedicated fan base that came along to the show brought just as much as the band gave. Some lockdown projects are certainly questionable, but this is one that has surely come out for the better.

Aside from some technical hitches with some monitor feedback, the set as a whole sounded amazing, with Brant playing, singing and using his array of pedals and effects to create a really good sound. My personal favourite from their set has to be Stand Down, with Brant mastering all three at the same time! A little bit more techno sounding than the rest of their set, it was still a really good track.

By the end of the main set, there was also some brilliant dad-dancing coming from Brant! And after the walk-off-walk-on, there was one last burst of energy, with the mosh pits finally starting and even one crowd surfer (despite it not being too successful!).

And then that was it for the night. It was a brilliant show put on by both bands, and I’m sure everyone who came down had a great night. As always, a massive thank you has to go to all the venue staff and security, the crew and of course Slomosa and Stöner for putting on a great show!

Review and photos by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic

Live review – Heavy Salad with Silent K – The Lanes – 30/04/22

The Lanes in Bristol is always known for putting on a mix of fun and exciting live gigs from all different genres, and Saturday night’s show was certainly no exception.

After a slightly chaotic start getting everything set up and ready to go, the night was started off by the mighty Silent K, who can come down from Liverpool for the show. And as soon as they started, that chaos continued, just this time it was on stage and a bit more controlled.

For an 8pm gig, these boys still rocked out hard, and by the end they fully won the crowd over, with people dancing around the front and having a great time. I’m sure they went away with some more fans of their music.

A special mention has to go to their keys player for the coolest style, rocking the bear hat and sunglasses for an early evening, indoor gig!

Then next on was Heavy Salad, from Manchester.

Although they were a bit less chaotic and a bit more calm than Silent K, they still put on a good show for the crowd. Just like before, it took a couple of songs to get the crowd on side, but once they were it was a party atmosphere, with more dancing and good times.

I personally love it when a band splits lead vocals between two of them, to me it shows that they have good chemistry as a band and they clearly get on well together, and it’s even better when it’s a male/female split.

I found out after the show that this was in fact a stripped down set for Heavy Salad, and that they normally play with 7 of them on stage! I was massively blown away by just the four of them on stage on Saturday night, I can only imagine what the full band must be like.

A personal song favourite of mine has to be Joggers From Mossley To Malibu Beach, their latest single. Complete with a crowd singalong, this made the night even better.

And as the night continued more people came and danced along, the space slowly filling up with people after a good night out. Although it wasn’t quite sold out, it was still a good atmosphere, with everyone able to have some space to enjoy themselves and have a good time.

And before we knew it, that was the end of the show! Although it wasn’t a massive set list, Heavy Salad were certainly crowd pleasers, and hopefully went away with a few news fans. I’ll be seeing both Heavy Salad and Silent K again given the chance, and I’m sure others who were there will be as well.

As always, a massive thanks goes out to the venue and bar staff, the sound tech, promoters and both bands for putting on and playing great sets.

Review and photos by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic

We chatted to DIRT ROYAL about their new single SHOOT ME NOW

Released yesterday across all platforms, we thought it would be a good oppertunity to chat to Dirt Royal about the new song and all things music

Can you tell us a bit about Dirt Royal? Where are you from and how did you all meet?

To be honest I don’t know, one day I was just practicing with a band and then I asked how long we’d been together and Loz just looked at me and says “You’ve always been in Dirt Royal, very spooky stuff! – Leon

Me and Loz met in pr6 then I met Leon at the Jurys out pub and then later at the black lion open mic. I tricked them into thinking the other one was auditioning but they both were. -Charlie 

Where did the name Dirt Royal come from?

You’d have to ask the boss – Leon 

How would Bruce know? 

It describes our sound, scruffy scrappy but it’s not straight up heavy rock n roll. We are suckers for a catchy chorus. Barry Gibb jamming with the Libs maybe… only joking there is only one Barry G -Charlie 

If you had to sum up each band member in one word, what would you say?

Mouth, Hair, Musician, you can deduce who’s who – Leon 

Gob Leon! Mouth isn’t graphic enough to describe the tool you use to project your breath taking attitude problem. 

I like to think I’m more than hair but my old head chef would probably agree with you Leon. Shout out to Darth Bolton. -Charlie 

You released yesterday your new single Shoot Me Now. What does this song mean to you as a band?

I think this song was one of the first of a new batch of songs, it’s one that the people at gigs seemed to get into quite quickly, it’s basically a song about reaching the end the line with something- Leon

Yeah think like 3rd song since Great Expectations? Set the bar. Really fun energetic and tongue and cheek. What more could you want? Maybe a country life butter advert, then we would be real punk! -Charlie 

Who produced it? Have you worked with them before? How was it working with them?

We recorded the single at the Ranch in Southampton, we’d never been there but our good friend Dan Ash of Teenage Waitress recommended them and I have to say it was s great experience working with the guys at The Ranch – Leon

And Joel from the Novatones. They came highly recommended from musicians we respect and enjoy listening to. I had a great time working at the Ranch. Shout out to Neil, Kurt Albini and eagle eye Joe. -Charlie 

What is one thing you’ve learnt from making music?

When you’re at someone’s flat at 3am and trying to put the cribs on and you’re sat with people who ‘used to play music so get where you are at’ leave! Before they start telling you how it should be done. My Mum says if someone shares opinions on you and your life without invitation then they are rude, my mum is a smart person. Shout out to my Marge. -Charlie 

Keep it short, simple and truthful and try to play as few guitar solos as possible but that bits just my personal ethos – Leon

Are there currently any live shows plans?

Ask Char, he books then and I turn up! – Leon

Next up single release party @shortts bar Brighton! Theodefeatist will be playing too along with a bunch of acoustic acts from our open mic night.  -Charlie 

What is next for Dirt Royal?

Chips? Hunous? Maybe another Katsu Curry Kiev – Leon

‘Bag of chips on the way home’ joking! Gotta stop mugging him off, people will know I’m his biggest fan. 

Next is ALBUM 3! Recording starts next month with a great producer and engineer and Of course we really love the new songs. Can’t wait!!!!  -Charlie 

Where can we find out more about you?

Go to this https://linktr.ee/DirtRoyal it has links to everything! Music, socials, pics of Loz! He don’t do interviews, he’s a shy one. 

Shout out to our shy awesome drummer!  -Charlie 

Anything else you would like to tell us?

We would really appreciate it you listen to our new single and share it with all your loved ones and then the people you hate, spread the word! Also if there are any guitar string manufacturers willing to sponsor me give me a call, otherwise I’m switching to Ukulele – Leon

Yeah check out the tunes! New ones out 22/04 but The old stuff is alright too, all on Spotify etc. 

NEW SINGLE ALERT: Lostboy with LOVER

Back at the beginning of this year, we chatted to Sheffield based musician Lostboy about their new single WEIGHT. Well they also have another new single OUT NOW.

Lover is available across all streaming platforms now.

Lostboy is off on tour soon:

Tue 3 May – Leeds, Oporto
Wed 4 May – Newcastle, Head of Steam
Sat 7 May – Manchester, YES Basement
Wed 11 May – London, The Grace
Thu 12 May – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
Sat 14 May – Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge

Tickets can be found here.

We chatted to SAL about their new single BULLET IN THE HEART

Released just last week, we thought it would be a good oppertunity to chat to SAL about all things music

Can you tell us a bit about SAL? Where are you from and where did your journey into music start?

I’m originally from Newbridge Co. Kildare. That’s where I started performing, singing, writing songs and dancing. Newbridge was immersed in music for young kids at the time and it’s a huge part of the reason why I’m an artist now. I moved around a bit growing up and one of the places I moved to was West Wicklow. It was there that I started performing with bands and after that I moved to Cork to study music in college. Cork City has such a vibrant music scene, it felt like such a creative melting pot being a part of the community here. I found amazing musicians here who I loved playing music with, collaborating with and recording with and it was from doing that, that I started releasing my own music in 2016 under my own name ‘Sara Ryan’. I began touring Ireland, Germany and Switzerland and I released my Debut Album ‘Breathe’ in 2019. In 2021 I changed my name as an artist to SAL, I wanted a fresh start, to completely re-invent how I view my artistry and how I release my music out into the world. SAL has allowed me to write with creative freedom and release music in a way that empowers me. I’m excited to release my Debut Single ‘Bullet In The Heart’ on this new journey.

If you had to sum yourself up in three words, what would you say?

Vibrant, Excitable and Vulnerable.

You recently released your new single Bullet In The Heart. What does this song mean to you as an artist?

This song is a song written about finding resilience in the face of loneliness. It’s about finding strength in the midst of chaos and finding a way, no matter what life throws at you, coming through it all stronger and stronger each time. It’s a song about heartbreak but heartbreak while you’re in love, while you’re in a relationship and how isolating that can be. But the main concept behind this body of work, is resilience, regardless of it all. 

Who produced this? Have you worked with them before? How was it, working with them?

Kealan Kenny and Martin Atkinson were the producers on this track. They are both incredible at what they do, they have the ability to hear things sonically that is so creative, expressive and imaginative. They’re knowledge and understanding of melody makes each sound so cosmic and beautiful. I loved working with them. It’s important to me to be a big part of the production process too and I ensured that I was through every step of the way within this project. It’s also very important to me to feel comfortable and connected to the people who I’m working with, and in the case of Kealan and Martin, they are absolute family to me. 

What were some difficulties you weren’t expecting when you made Bullet In The Heart? How did you manage to overcome these?

We encountered difficulties in the early days of the process because we loved the demo so much. I recorded the demo of the song when I was fairly unwell but there was a tone within my voice on that particular day that perfectly fit the pain within the lyric. So we recreated the song from a different standpoint in terms of delivery, and we overcame this, by allowing the pain within the song to become empowered instead of defeated.

What are some of the best parts about songwriting and making music?

It’s the most cathartic and therapeutic way to release how you’re feeling. I find that no matter what’s going on in my life, I’m so lucky that I have a way to express that. No matter how bad things get, I can always find a way to release what’s going on for me. I really find that so beautiful.

I hear you are going on tour soon. What can we expect from these shows?

An uplifting, energetic and cosmic experience. 

How do you prepare for playing live?

Meditation and yoga is a big part of my life. I get really nervous before I perform, so when I can, I try to find some time to allow myself to ground myself before going on stage. Vocal warm ups too and movement, all of those things help me to feel like I’m in body.

Where can we find out more about you?

You can find me on instagram, facebook, tiktok, my website, all the usual social media outlets. I also have a Patreon community that I absolutely love, it’s a really personal way of connecting too. 

Anything else you would like to tell us?

I can’t wait to share these songs with the world and connect with others through these songs. I hope with the help of these songs that people will feel in some way empowered, because that’s what music has always done for me.