Tag Archives: Bury St Edmunds

Bury Fringe All-Dayer, Hunter Club, Bury St Edmunds, 5 May 2018

Thirty bands across four stages in the welcoming surroundings of the Hunter Club, mainly showcasing performers from the musical cauldron of Bury St Edmunds. Curated by Seymour Quigley, local veteran of many bands including the inestimable and greatly missed Horse Party, a favourite on this site. And he must be congratulated on a superb job; with so much choice and quality on show during the day.

There was a mellow and relaxing start on one of the stages from Alicia Hall and then Robert C Taylor, with subtle acoustic guitar and a mix of covers and own compositions. Cambridge based Lemondaze were a revelation of loud, artful, psychedelic energy. With all the infinite possibilities arising from bass and two guitarists with a mountain of effects pedals, three voices and industrial strength drumming the songs hit and lifted the audience onto another plane for their half hour.

Duo Kulk played the first of two sets, the heavy electric guitar and frenetic drums combination works brilliantly in an intimate venue, with guitarist Thom Longdin down in the audience or roaring some vocals, while Jade Squires pounds the drum kit mercilessly. Back on the ‘Rock Against Racism’ stage we found another intriguingly named duo: Grandma’s Waffle Velocity from Colchester, this time the vocals and unrelenting drums interlinked with an effects-laden bass. The Glitter Shop brought a dream-pop, keyboard driven vibe to the main stage performing some powerful versions of best known tracks ‘Alive’, ‘Fizz and ‘Sleep’. I caught the end of the set by Cambridge trio The Baby Seals, consummate performers with a great sound and stage presence; and also a couple of rapid fire rock-pop songs from SIAH, very well received by the audience.

I was looking forward to Londoners Fightmilk having seen them recently and they certainly didn’t disappoint, with a set drawn mainly from their soon to be released new album the four-piece mesh brilliantly on stage with a wall of noisy mayhem tempered by light and shade in their mix and neat instrumental flourishes. Witty lyrics are delivered knowingly by lead singer Lily Rae and older songs ‘Pity Party’, the stealthy ‘Your Girlfriend’ and the mighty ‘Bank Of Mum And Dad’ went down well too.

While Cambridge trio Goldblume were weaving their magic of edgy blues next door, Bury rockers Tundra thoroughly warmed up the home crowd for the arrival of local heroes Gaffa Tape Sandy, returning from playing in Leeds earlier in the day. Opening with ‘Transylvania’, it was second track ‘Water Bottle’ that sent the faithful into overdrive, with crowdsurfing carrying on through the set, even when the music was briefly interrupted by a charity flexi-disc raffle. The rhythm powered trio make an incredibly full sound and the pace and momentum did not let up throughout, reaching its apex in the majestic ‘Beehive’, a glorious end to a fantastic day.

http://www.gaffatapesandy.co.uk/
https://fightmilkisaband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TUNDRABANDOFFICIAL/
https://goldblumeband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SIAHbury/
http://thebabyseals.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/theglittershopband/
https://www.facebook.com/Grandmaswafflevelocity
https://kulk.bandcamp.com/
http://www.hunterclub.org.uk/

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Sun Scream : Take It Easy, EP released April 2018

I first encountered four-piece band Sun Scream when they contributed the sparkling lead-off track ‘She’ to renowned compilation ‘This Is The Sound Of Sugar Town, Vol 2’ celebrating the riches of music produced around the Bury St Edmunds area. Now they have released their debut EP, complete with distinctive artwork drawn by band guitarist Emily Wallace. Over this four track collection these psychedelic adventurers create their own collage of depth and subtlety.

1. Extract Sinister introduction soon gives way to some heavy fuzz guitar and a mind-bending lyric about putting a piece of a soul in a hole. This of course fits perfectly with the variant structured sections of the music, eventually loosening into an textured onslaught of lead guitar and bass lines, some synth-type bubbling and a general good-time vibe.

2. Marmalade A short instrumental meander, extreme echoing guitar creating almost a harp-like feel.

3. Samsara ‘…The Sanskrit word samsara means “flowing on” or “passing through”…with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change’, it is a title which gives a broad canvas to this epic track. Mainly based around a stately descending guitar figure, the mobile bassline and fluid drumming weave around to great effect. This is a proper psychedelic workout, with words of rivers, skies, life and death to add to the heady mix.

4. Take It Easy The title track is a brooding delicacy, built around a repeated bassline and counterpoint guitar. The vocal is more forward in the mix for this one and the sparser sound has the required addictive atmosphere of weird menace.

With a growing live performance reputation too, this is a band to watch…


https://sunscreamband.bandcamp.com/
https://cambridgemusicreviews.net/2017/07/29/various-artists-this-is-the-sound-of-sugar-town-vol-2-released-july-2017/

Various Artists : This Is The Sound Of Sugar Town, Vol 2, released July 2017

A new collection from the musical cauldron which is ‘rock city’ Bury St Edmunds, also known as the ‘sugar town’ of East Anglia.

1. Sun Scream – She Strong opener, a powerful riff, some nice ooh-oohs with the vocals and an instrumental spectacular to finish.

2. Cathedrals And Cars – The Concierge This is one of those songs that you think you have heard before (perhaps I have?), always a good sign. With busy guitar lines and a rallying call type chorus, it is raucous and uplifting.

3. Janet Street Slaughter – The Sensitive Side Of Bill Sykes Crazy band name and song title, this is a pounding rocker, the vocalist starts off like Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs then loses it in spectacular style at the end.

4. The Wilsons – If It Wasn’t So Soon A fine burst of country-rock, a lyric of desperation leading to the hook line each time. Good ‘as-live’ sound on this one conjuring up the wide-open spaces of the journey narrative.

5. The Cuts – Hometown Punk rock never died; here is the proof. Profane and sort of profound.

6. Gaffa Tape Sandy – L’Appel Du Vide Fresh from an appearance at Glastonbury, this power-pop trio play a noisy and very catchy song named after the syndrome that makes you want to jump off buildings if you look down…

7. Bracken – Slaves Pt II Six and a half minutes of engrossing doom laden rock, with a vocal that is not for the faint-hearted. Whatever happened to Pt 1?

8. Horse Party – Looking For Life I love and miss Horse Party who are sadly no more; they were a superb explosive band live and recorded. This song showcases their mellow and mysterious side.

9. Suburban Minds – Sun Break A pulsing drum-driven power waltz at times dense then sparse with emotive vocal.

10. The Virtues – Moon Man
A bit of psychedelic-edged rock with a winning chorus and energetic instrumental break. Great bass sound!

11. Jack Rundell – Wicked Words ’21st Century singing cowboy’ and obsessive Hank Williams fan (read the tribute on his website) lightens up the album with this warm and cleverly crafted lo-fi track.

12. SIAH – Susie Smokes A swaggering belter of a song from the this four-piece fuzzy guitar combo but I still can’t work out the band name?

13. Tundra – Vacation(Cheer Up Chuck) With a raw recorded sound and a simple chord structure this garage band track pulls you in. A gratifyingly loud guitar crashes into the mix near the end.

Many of these fine performers can be seen at the Hunter Club alternative music nights run by local promoters ‘Washing Machine’, see you there!

https://repeatfanzine.bandcamp.com/album/this-is-the-sound-of-sugar-town-volume-2
http://www.washingmachinebse.co.uk/
http://www.hunterclub.org.uk/

Billy Bragg And Joe Henry, Apex, Bury St Edmunds, 15 November 2016

From Billy Bragg’s website….”In March 2016 Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, guitars in hand, boarded a Los Angeles-bound train at Chicago’s Union Station looking to reconnect with the culture of American railroad travel and the music it inspired. Winding along 2,728 miles of track over four days, the pair recorded classic railroad songs in waiting rooms and at trackside while the train paused to pick up passengers.”

Now touring the resulting LP, the show begins with the intrepid duo performing ‘Railroad Bill’, ‘The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore’, ‘Waiting For A Train’ and other timeless Americana, along with plenty of anecdote and musings in the week following the American election. Their voices blend well, with Billy Bragg’s deeper tones and musically Joe Henry adds some extra guitar flourishes which he then showcases more in his five song solo section.

After the interval it is Billy’s turn for a solo spot, ‘Between The Wars’, ‘Help Save The Youth Of America’ (of course!), ‘Power Of The Union’, classics all. (Unfortunately no ‘A13, Trunk Road To The Sea’ which may have fitted the travelogue mood?!)
As Billy and Joe were reunited for the rest of the railway album it is clear how much of a modern message is carried by the words of these old songs (helped by the excellent sound quality in the Apex). Towards the end of the show we also had a gorgeous cover of the classic ballad ‘Gentle On My Mind’ and following a trawl through the songs of Bob Dylan they had decided on a version of one of my favourites ‘Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You’.

Contemplative, poignant, downbeat but still optimistic and celebratory, the audience left having witnessed a unique evening of performance.

http://shinealight-joehenry.billybragg.co.uk/

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Half Man Half Biscuit, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, 12 June 2015

‘At DFS a job I have landed
But I don’t get paid for the first five years…’

If that raises a smile you could be a potential fan of the cult national treasure that is Half Man Half Biscuit. They arrived on stage to the sounds of ‘Summer Is A-Comen In’ from the film The Wicker Man, a tribute to recently deceased actor Christopher Lee and as soon as they started it was clear that The Apex was a fine venue for their show, with good sound quality allowing the words to be heard.

Frontman Nigel Blackwell continues to explore the lyrical backwoods of living in small towns, daytime TV, musical trends, forgotten celebrities and one-time sports stars. His surreal narratives combine astute observations, rants, jokes, absurd wordplay and almost unintentionally end up as social documents of the minutiae of life not recorded elsewhere.

Sometimes more serious subjects are filtered through the same process and make statements about unemployment (‘Turned Up, Clocked On, Laid Off’), mental illness (‘Used To Be In Evil Gazebo’) and death (‘When The Evening Sun Goes Down’). Of course there are the ‘love songs’, she always leaves (with featureless TV Producer Steve… in ‘The Light At The End Of The Tunnel’), or is missing and renders all else pointless (‘For What is Chatteris…’) or there are relationship misunderstandings (‘My Outstretched Arms’).

And there is much much more; celebrate the delights of Korfball in ‘Joy in Leeuwarden’, experience the insomnia of ‘Restless Legs’, recall that BBC 6Music was nearly closed down if it hadn’t been for the campaigning anthem ‘Joy Division Oven Gloves’ and of course relive the anticipation and disappointments of ‘All I Want For Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit’.

In the two hour show early songs from ‘Back In the DHSS’ (their first album and John Peel favourite) went down a storm, as did the newest tracks from current album ‘Urge For Offal’ but their back catalogue is so rich there was plenty else they could have included.

Its not just the words and wit, they are not to be underestimated musically. As a live outfit they are a taut, noisy post-punk riot of guitars, drums and grinding bass. Between songs Nigel holds the crowd with tall tales and reminiscence, handing out luxury backstage crisps and getting the front row to decipher a fake setlist. He is a likeable bloke and clearly still enjoys performing and meeting his audience. It was a brilliant show; they play dates now and then instead of long tours, probably a very civilized way to be?

All together now…
‘For you I’d lose my self-esteem
For you I’d lose my self-esteem
For Crewe I’d use Junction 16…’

http://www.chrisrand.com/hmhb/
http://cobweb.businesscollaborator.com/hmhb/

Horse Party, The Corner House , Cambridge, 20 June 2014

Horse Party are a 3-piece indie-blues band of drums and two guitars, playing a set of confident tunes, mostly taken from their recent album ‘Cover Your Eyes’. The pounding beat of ‘Back to Mono’ opens the set, the guitars overlap well and nobody missed the bass, it was certainly a full enough sound for the appreciative audience in the confines of the Corner House. There is a definite American influence, the guitar notes bend and linger and each song has plenty of time to establish the mood musically and lyrically. A highlight was when sparse arrangements in ‘Six’ gave way to guitar fireworks and inventive drum power, then back again.

Ellie Langley, Seymour Quigley and Shannon Hope are accomplished musicians, based in Bury St Edmunds (once described as ‘the new Seattle’ by John Peel during a previous musical flourishing..) and are important contributors to the resurgence of the local music scene, including their own fanzine and promoting regular music nights. An enjoyable set, I hope to see them again…

https://www.facebook.com/horsepartyparty