GIG ALERT: Electric Litany at Exchange – 13th November 2021

London four-piece post rock band Electric Litany come are set to play at Exchange Bristol next month, as part of their first UK tour.

This gig is set to bring be a good night already, but with No Feathers and Nossienness, both local bands who know how to put on a good show. If you’ve ever been in the basement stage at Exchange Bristol, you’ll know intimate a venue it is, and just how good the atmosphere can be in there.

So if you are looking for something to do on a Saturday night in Bristol, look no further than Exchange Bristol. Tickets are only £8 and can be purchased here. We’ll be there taking pictures and writing a live review of the show!

Live Review: Skindred at O2 Academy Bristol, with Trashboat and RXPTRS. 8th October 2021

After seeing Skindred and Trash Boat at the Download Pilot this year, this was one gig I was super excited to be at. Skindred are an amazing live experience, and Benji’s interaction with the crowd is second to none. Trash Boat are also amazing live, and one I was happy to see again.

The show was opened by local band RXPTRS, who brought all of their energy with them. They may have played early to not a full crowd (they were on only 15 minutes after doors), but they really did connect with those who had come down early to see the show. They treated us to a couple of new songs, as well as some of their back catalogue. A first band’s job is to get the crowd warmed up, and they certainly did that and more.

Up next was Trash Boat, a five piece from St Albans. Since their formation in 2014, these guys have been pumping out non-stop bangers. In the last few years especially, they have really started to make a name for themselves.

In my opinion, Trash Boat played an awesome set. Musically, they are at home on stage, the whole band clearly get on really well together, and share the same ideas. Their lyrics are simple, but have a clear message behind them, and they rock out hard.

But for some reason, the crowd just didn’t seem to warm to them. It might have been because their music was a bit less heavy than RXPTRS or Skindred, or that frontman Tobi did talk and take the stage like they were the main band, but the crowd just were not into them in the way I (and probably the band) hoped. Don’t think they’ll be selling many tickets for their upcoming tour to this crowd – especially as we were told our closest show is Birmingham!

After a quick break (and some Queen singalongs), it was time for the main event. Everyone was excited to be there, and eager to move their feet – mosh pits were starting before the band even came on stage!

It’s a real struggle to put into words, just how good their set was last night. From the moment the band came on stage, the energy and enthusiasm was brilliant, all the way through to the moment they walked off at the end of the night.

Throughout their set, the crowd responded just as much as Benji gave, with plenty of mosh pits and crowd surfing. We were treated to covers of Oasis, Eddie Van Halen, House Of Pain and Slipknot, mixed masterfully into their own songs.

One of my favourite parts of the night was the crowd chant off for That’s My Jam. One half of the venue was screaming the “Whoop Whoop”, while the other half was screaming back “That’s My Jam”. Benji certainly had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

A notable mention has to go to the Skindred Sandwich Challenge, where an audience member has to eat a sandwich in 30 seconds on stage, and if successful wins tickets to see Skindred in New York! So far, no one has completed the challenge, and tonight….

Was no different. Sadly Shay (I think that was her name) failed the challenge, but we all had a good time anyway.

Another mention also has to go to the brilliant acoustic version of Saying It Now, in dedication of Benji’s sister. Last night’s venue – O2 Academy Bristol, has a special emotional connection for Benji, and last night we were all together in that moment.

But of course, there is one thing Skindred are known for. One thing that everyone who comes to one of their shows knows to expect. The Newport Helicopters.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a quick moment to go to YouTube and search it up. Words cannot begin to describe was awesome a spectacle it is to watch. Hundreds of garments of clothing, all flying up above the heads of people, and everyone (even security) got involved. It may not be what makes a Skindred show, but it is certainly a key element.

And that’s because a Skindred show is so much more than just a show, it is an experience, a connection with the audience. I can bet that not a single person left that night feeling unhappy, or that that they missed out on something. I’m certain that every single person there had a great time, and if you are in any deliberation about going and seeing Skindred live, then go. It will be worth it.

A massive thank you has to go to Skindred, Trash Boat and RXPTRS for playing amazing sets, and to all the venue staff and security for helping make this event.

Review by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic. All photos are copyright Ted Stargatt/TrueStyleMusic

We chatted to Freddie Mercer about his new single PLACE IN THE SKY

Released back in September, Place In The Sky is a testament to freedom from lockdown, made from a mix of classic sounds and modern sonic landscapes. We chatted to Freddie about all things music:

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

Sure, I’m from a town called Frome in Somerset, I was classically trained but I first was truly magnetised to music when I heard ‘Babe I’m gonna leave you’ by Led Zeppelin on my fathers Hi-Fi.

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

You released your new single Place In The Sky today. Can you tell us a bit about the song? What does it mean to you?
Sure, it’s really a song about feeling numb throughout lockdown and the energy really comes from that frustration.

Is this a hint at more new music to come?
Absolutely, another 4 tracks en route.

Who produced this music? Have you worked with them before? How was it working with them?
Myself and my mate, Alex Ferguson. We went to ACM together and have always loved making music in the studio and drinking beers after.

What is your least favourite bit about making music?
Having to sell myself. The rest is top fun!

Which artists have you been listening to recently? 
Sam Fender has a couple of good tracks, but other than that not many new artists.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received, or that you are willing to share?
Listen to what people have to say and what they think you should do, smile and walk away. Then do exactly what you were going to do before, anyway.

Where can we find out more about you?
I’m on all the main socials as ‘freddiemercermusic’

Anything else you would like to tell us?
Just that there’s lots of new music to come, thanks guys.

I’d like to thank Freddie for taking the time to answer our questions and wish him the best of luck for the future!

Gallery – Frank Turner at Lost Evenings

Day 1 – Duo show with Matt Nasir

Day 2 – The first three albums with The Sleeping Souls

Day 3 – England Keep My Bones with The Sleeping Souls

Day 4 – Greatest hits with The Sleeping Souls

All photos are owned by Ted Stargatt of TrueStyleMusic. Any use of photos without permission is in breach of copyright.

To gain permission to use photos email truestylemusicblog@gmail.com

Review: Our day at Dot To Dot 2021

Dot To Dot festival is always my highlight in the Bristol gig calendar. A full day of non-stop music, with an array of new and undiscovered artists playing across the city, as well as some hidden gems and seasoned music professionals.

This year started at The Lanes for me, with Sunspot out in the courtyard. They were chilled, played some good music, was just a good opener to the day.

Into the bar, for Kieran Hill. Standing in for Try Me, Kieran played a mix of his own music and a couple of covers, with Lyle supporting on the trumpet. An unexpected surprise, but one that was certainly welcome.

Keeping on with our bid to get in as many artists and venues as possible, it was over to Thekla to catch Efe. Another super chilled band, with an incredibly talented guitarist pushing the show forward. Followed by the rocking anthems of Wunderhorse upstairs straight after, and then Eve Owen out on the dockside, the day was getting better and better.

Over to O2 Academy next, for Chubby and The Gang. I’d caught the second half of Chubby’s set when they played the Download Pilot earlier this year, and I really enjoyed it, so was excited to be able to catch the full thing. Unfortunately they just weren’t quite up to expectation. The lead singer had plenty of energy, but the rest of the band and the crowd just weren’t responding to it really. It almost felt like too much of a performance at the crowd, rather than for the crowd.

Like I said, really enjoyed them at Download, maybe d2d was just an off day.

Next venue was the Fleece, with absolutely no idea who I was going to see there.

On my way there I ran into Becky and Oli from Musosoup, who I’ve been working with for about 2 years now, and never properly met in person! I got the opportunity to say a few words about d2d and the Bristol music scene. Look out for Musosoup TV on Instagram to see our interview!

Anyway, into the Fleece for Luke Royalty. Never heard of him, so was going in having no idea what to expect. Not the normal kind of act I’d expect at the Fleece, a bit of an indie-pop mix, using a lot of tracks and pre-recorded sound. It took me a while, but by the end I was really enjoying their stuff, and I can say their song I Could Get Used To This has now made it onto my daily listen playlist! These are the first from the weekend that I would say to watch out for.

Back over to Thekla, and this time I somehow ended up at a rap gig. Those who know me will know that rap isn’t my style, but I ended up really enjoying Kofi-Stone’s set. He sounded really good and the crowd were really into it. With my limited knowledge of rap all I can say is – It was pretty good!

Getting the miles in, next was Louisiana, firstly for Belishas in the downstairs bar. These young lads were loud, angry and noisy, but another one to certainly look out for. It was then time for Liverpool based band Pixey upstairs. Although I only caught their first two songs, they were another really solid act, and one to watch out for!

One final walk across town and it was back to the O2 Academy. I managed to catch the last bit of the set from Black Honey, again, another band who absolutely rocked.

And then it was on to Girl Band.

Honestly, I was both really confused and disappointed with Girl Band. Admittedly, I had only heard of them, little more than that before d2d. Firstly, calling yourself girl band as 4 blokes is a little bit strange, let’s be honest. Then there’s the music. It’s just a lot of noise, felt like there was very little skill from any of the musicians on stage, just using their instruments and pedals to create noise. Onto the main singer – again it was just boring. Throughout the whole set he looked like he didn’t want to be there, hardly interacting, or even acknowledging the crowd. Just weird and boring, the whole thing. But the crowd seem to like it so who knows?

Then it was on to the main event of the night. One thing with d2d is deciding who to end the night with. In the end, my choice came down to three – Sports Team, Palace or the secret set at The Louisiana (who were Heavy Lung). In the end I decided to stay for Sports Team.

And I’m certainly glad I did stay. Sports Team rocked the venue for the whole of their time. Lead man Alex was at one with the crowd for his whole set, barely staying still for more than about three seconds. The audience kept that energy up, with plenty of mosh pits and even a few surfers.

I don’t know Sports Team well enough to comment about the songs they played in their set, but from speaking to others who knew them well, it was a good mix of old and new, bangers and B-sides. Basically, a classic band set.

However, if you are looking for a calm, easy going band these guys are anything but that. There was a lot of pushing and crushes in the crowd, certainly a few less considerate people down in the pit. Alex didn’t help that, especially jumping onto the speakers and almost swinging from the overhead fixtures, even getting into the crowd near the end of their set.

As much as I love an artist getting in with the crowd, it just felt like Alex either didn’t know what he was doing or simply didn’t care. Most artists who crowd surf know how to do it, how to not get dropped and make it back to the barrier in one piece. He did not. It was also doing stupid stuff like giving the mic stand to the crowd in the middle of a song, and ending the set by handing the mic to someone in the front row (much to the annoyance of the stage crew).

In short, what I’m trying to say is. Sports Team are amazing to watch, but if you are considering booking them for a gig or festival, maybe think twice.

But with all that, I still ended up having an awesome time at d2d this year, and got to see an amazing showcase of talent across the city. I’m glad it’s back and I can’t wait for next year!

Review by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic

Lost Evenings day 4 recap

Well, it had to end at some point and day 4 marked the last of the festivities for this year’s Lost Evenings Festival.

I’ll be honest, the day got off to a rough start, thanks to the DJ set hosted by Frank at the Underworld the previous night. But after some coffee and paracetamol, I was up and running, ready for one last day of get togethers and good times.

On a personal note, I cannot let the weekend go by without giving a mention to the Solo Armada, a wonderful group of individuals who come together around gigs and events, to make sure those going alone can find someone to chat to and hang out with. There’s been lots of talk about expanding and make the SA something official post LE, keep your eyes on their website, and join the Facebook group to find out more. If it wasn’t for these guys, I wouldn’t know some of the people I now consider friends.

The reason I mention these guys is because, shortly after getting to Camden, it started pouring with rain and my plan for a morning wonder around the market was put on hold. But that was no bother, as a meet up had already been sorted over at The Lock. It meant I had somewhere to go to catch up with people, both old friends and new.

There was one more cool event before the main show, an amazing acoustic set from Johnny and Rich from PET NEEDS, at the Camden Assembly. If seeing the band twice over the weekend wasn’t enough, getting one extra show from these two was just the icing on the PET NEEDS cake. If you weren’t there, don’t worry! We have the whole performance (well, the three songs they played) over on our Instagram TV! We also chatted to the band the day before, check that out here.

Then over to the roundhouse for the last time of the event. Unfortunately, for this last night I was flying the TrueStyleMusic flag solo, this meant I had to get both photos and reviews by myself. So for the supports, I apologies if my thoughts are limited, but I hope it still gives you an idea of what the night brought.

Opening up the NA stage one last time was Berries, another Xtramile friend. I know I’ve said this a fair few other times about other bands from the weekend, but why did I not check these guys out sooner? From the one song of their set I managed to catch, they rocked! The crowd was fully on board with what they were playing, and even had a few dedicated fans singing along with the band!

Main stage saw Guise as the Sunday opener. Now I’ve seen Guise three times live now, once solo, once duo and now as a full band. To be completely honest, their music is not for me, but that still doesn’t make them a very enjoyable act to watch, in whatever form of the band it is. Full band is clearly their best performance, and the on stage chemistry between them made it even better. As a band, they just felt like they were in-sync with each other, everyone understanding and working with each member’s vibe.

Back over to NA stage, for Deux Furieuses, who win the award for most mispronounced name of the festival. I only caught about half of their first song, but I can say they were pretty good overall. Sorry I can’t give much more insight into their performance, but if you so want to know more about them, I’d suggest heading over to their website!

Skinny Lister were the last support over on the main stage, bringing their folk-punk style to the max. Anyone who has seen these guys live will tell you that every show they play is much more than just a show, it’s an experience. The band bring their full energy to the stage and crowd, with singer Lorna not standing still for the whole set. There were many crowd singalongs, chants and good times. A pretty good president to what was soon to come on the main stage.

Closing the NA stage for the final time was the wonderful Samantics. Sam is an incredibly talented musician, using his synths, beats, loops, a ukulele and his own voice to create this brilliant song, all live on stage. His songs are deeply personal, and combined with his lyrical genius and words coming out of his mouth quicker than most people form thoughts, this makes Sam my final ‘you-should-go-check-him-out’ recommendation of the festival.

Greatest hits. That was the title for night 4. And what a bunch of greatest hits it was.

Opening up with Get Better, Frank and The Souls came onto that stage and exploded with energy, and the crowd brought just as much back to them. It was also during this song that I got my first Crowd Surfer picture, thanks Stephen for being my willing participant.

1933, the punk version of Little Changer, If Ever I Stray, Out Of Breath and the rock version of Long Live The Queen were all phenomenal songs, back to back. By the end of this run we were all exhausted from the constant dancing!

New song Haven’t been doing so well also featured on the set list, and although it was only released into the world 4 days before, it is quickly making its way into becoming another greatest hit! Followed on by Plain Sailing Weather, Polaroid Picture, The Gathering and Glorious You, the band kept giving and the crowd kept receiving (even if we were shattered from 4 nights of dancing).

Then the band left the stage and we were graced by the presence of Frank alone. There She Is was dedicated to Jess, and was probably the first real tear-jerker of the night. Followed by Thatcher (I won’t use the full song name, for those of you who don’t know Frank it’s a song about cider), was just unreal. It was around this point I just stopping singing, taking pictures and videos, and just stood still and listened. The feeling of being back in that crowd, with people being happy, singing along, just having fun, was something else. Frank Turner shows, especially Lost Evenings, are always something wonderful and amazing, but after the last 18 months, it was everything and more.

The ‘unplugged’ version of Be More Kind was next, with The Way I Tend To Be, and a crowd photo, following on. 5,005 smiling faces and good times going on, this photo just is the whole weekend.

May be an image of one or more people, people playing musical instruments, people standing and indoor
Photo – Ben Morse/Frank Turner

Three more high energy s