Harry Cash’s relaxed but impactful vocals sail effortlessly over the super tight punchy grooves. It’s straight to the point and no nonsense. Get these guys in your ears immediately.
“A sold out Railway Hotel is eagerly anticipating what is about to happen here. Debut shows rarely sell out in this town, so what on earth is going on here?
If you live in Southend, you know it’s all about Cool Thing Records. Asylums have led the charge for forward thinking exciting music in this town, as well as uniting us all on their self sufficient journey. They’ve also brought friends along for the ride, championing the delightful Southend Music Scene. This led to the announcement of the compilation EP release of Alternative Occupations, featuring the fiery Petty Phase, loudest band in Chelmsford The Horse Heads, and not forgetting Bait. Wait a second, who the hell are Bait??
BAIT had been shrouded in secrecy building to the unveiling of the band in full. We were given teaser images via a cryptic Instagram page. Something deliciously dark was clearly brewing, until finally we heard ‘I’m Still Here‘, where suddenly it was all very clear: Mike Webster is back making music again. Uh oh.
The climax of this special show was already in sight, but first we are treated to A.C.I.D, another band who has opted for the ‘I don’t want to talk to you’ approach of getting their music out there. Their Instagram page is their only online presence, which reveals snippets of their twisted world. Translated to the stage, you have a piercing display of electronic bass riff wizardry and gritty guitars. The frontman leads the meandering dynamics of his compositions with an awkward reassurance, that culminates with a gloriously loud finish. The whole room cheers and throws praise at them, but the frontman decides to turn to us, then looks at us all like we’re the biggest pieces of shit on the planet. And we are lapping it up. Boring this most certainly is not, the anger is rather refreshing.
Suspects up next. After thinking it couldn’t get any louder than A.C.I.D, I was fantastically mistaken and full of regret for leaving my earplugs at home on my dresser.
Tom Prescott paces up and down the stage, continuing the theme of pent up angst and frustration. “Fuck Friday, Fuck Saturday, Fuck Saturday, Fuck You!” he snarls, whilst James May beats the shit out of his kit with impeccable accuracy. It’s raw as hell, but the simple formula of ‘play as loud and direct as you can’ works a treat for this duo. There’s a big smile on my face, despite feeling like I’ve been hit by a sea of tanks.
With the cat finally out of the bag, the anticipation of finding out just where you go after Baddies is at it’s peak. Michael Webster, his twin brother Jim, MRE and the nucleus of Cool Thing Records himself Luke Branch take to the stage. Michael screams, then launches into ‘Greatest of the Teeth‘. We’ve just been smacked in the face with a visceral assault on all our senses.
This performance is Michael’s brain dissected, put back together again, then projected onto us, the unwitting public. The industrial beats and digital soundscapes certainly hark back to some parts of his musical past, but this is the most honest he has ever been. Where Baddies used uniforms to demand our attention, there are absolutely no smoke and mirrors to cloud his message delivery here, his intentions completely clear. He’s angry at the world, but much like he’s done with his other project Asylums, he’s taking us along for the ride, this time drowning us with painfully accurate observations of our society. The irony of the crowd with their smart phones held up high during ‘Hate One Another, Love Yourselfie‘ is not lost on Michael, as he sadistically mimics us with his hand gestures.
Luke on bass duties is as always, a joy to watch. It seems you can put any instrument in the guy’s hands and he will captivate you with his stage presence. But even his hips can’t distract from the unprecedented success that Bait’s debut show has been tonight. Misery has never sounded so vital. Bait has us hooked. How about that. But ultimately, we’re just blessed that we have discovered #AnotherCoolThing.”
Photos: Kana Waiwaiku
Figured it’s time to update the Southend Who? blog!
We’ll have a bigger update of the blog coming soon. Plan on going bigger this year. Especially with the Southend music scene looking REALLY FRICKING GOOD at the moment.
Take ASYLUMS for example. Blistering fun crunchy rock from Luke Branch, the man who seems to strike gold with every project he touches. Collaborating with Baddies’ Mike Webster, we feel this is possibly the best thing he’s ever done.
And we don’t say that lightly; this man was in Smother for goodness sake.
It’s that time again! Southend Who? takes a look at who we think you should be checking out at this year’s biggest live music event in Southend!
With so much going on, we’ve planned the perfect schedule for the must-see acts of the day!
KISS ME QUICK – 11.45am – VILLAGE HALL STAGE
So the smart people will know to get down to the site nice and early. One reason is to get your bearings of the site without the crowds, but mainly to check out the fantastic KISS ME QUICK.
Fronted by David Woodcock and Wendy Solomon (both fantastic artists in their own right), this genius pairing of the two is an absolute joy. Their super happy folk is the perfect start to the day. Click the photo for their music!
FUTUREAGES – 12.15pm – VILLAGE SCHOOL STAGE
We’ve not been shy when it comes to singing FUTUREAGES praises (best post rock band on planet at the moment, shucks). But you won’t get to see them often in Southend on such a big stage as the Village School Stage. This is our biggest recommendation of the day. DON’T MISS OUT. SERIOUSLY.
YOUTH CLUB – 1.05pm – VILLAGE SCHOOL STAGE
After seeing FutureAges, don’t go anywhere! Southend heroes YOUTH CLUB return to the same stage they smashed last year. Having enjoyed top 30 chart success with their ‘Colours EP’, they’ve gone from being local darlings to national darlings. This is likely to be the first massive crowd of the day. Our suggestion is to be part of said massive crowd and dance your tits off to their polished indie pop!
KAYLEN CASTLE – 2.05pm – VILLAGE YOUTH STAGE
After the inevitable madness of Youth Club, it’s time to bring the tempo down a touch. But that’s not at the expense of quality. KAYLEN CASTLE is a self taught acoustic guitarist who, quite simply, has mad skills. At only 17, he is sickenly good. This is definitely going to be a treat for the ears. So grab yourself a drink and check him out.
LONGY – 3.10pm – VILLAGE SCHOOL STAGE
Did you miss LONGY absolutely smash his set at Leigh Folk Festival the other week? If you did, this is the perfect chance to redeem yourself. Longy is a force to be reckoned with, but with his full band behind him, he’s unstoppable.
THE GOLDMASTER ALLSTARS – 3.30pm – VILLAGE GREEN STAGE
If you have seen Longy before, then now is a perfect time to switch over to the main stage for THE GOLDMASTER ALLSTARS.
It’s hard to find a stage big enough to fit these party starters on, so the massive main stage is perfect! These boys have been ska and dub pioneers for nearly a good two decades, perfect for the afternoon at Village Green!
SHLOMO – 4.20pm – VILLAGE SCHOOL STAGE
SHLOMO is one of the leading lights in the beatboxing game. More recently he’s been experimenting with loops technology. Not many can touch him with his skills. He will be one of the most astonishing things you see all day.
DAN LE SAC VS SCROOBIUS PIP – 5.30pm – VILLAGE SCHOOL STAGE
One of the big pulls on this line up this year. DAN LE SAC VS SCROOBIUS PIP have always pushed the boundaries of hip hop and electronic music, and this is likely to absolutely go off. THOU SHALT NOT MISS THIS BAND.
WHOM BY FIRE – 6.15pm – PERFORM STAGE
WHOM BY FIRE are a deliciously intense folk duo. Previously Caleb, they are just glorious. I nice breather before the headliners, and highly recommended!
MAN LIKE ME – 6.50pm – VILLAGE SCHOOL STAGE
MAN LIKE ME are possibly one of the most entertaining live acts you will ever see. Full of brass, dance routines, and big big dance tracks, these boys raise it up. This will go off HARD.
BILLY WRIGHT – 7.25pm – PERFORM STAGE
After years with Redtrack and Casablanco, it seems BILLY WRIGHT has finally found his calling card: being himself!
His chilled pop is perfect for winding down the evening too.
BETH ORTON – 8.10pm – VILLAGE SCHOOL STAGE
Closing the festival is the phenomenal BETH ORTON. Boasting an impressive back catalogue, she’s incredibly welcome at Village Green! Some thought this might be an odd choice for a headliner, but you will be sure to find much of her set incredibly familiar. Her folk mixed with electronica is a real treat.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Our perfect Village Green. Other notable acts to check out if this doesn’t suit:
EIGHT ROUNDS RAPID – 1.20pm – VILLAGE GREEN STAGE
THE HILLMISTERS – 2.55pm – VILLAGE HALL STAGE
KATIE MALCO – 5.25pm – VILLAGE YOUTH STAGE
ASYLUMS – 6.45pm – PERFORM STAGE
EDDI READER – 7.10pm – VILLAGE GREEN STAGE
Lot’s of insanely exciting things happening in Southend right now.
One that we’re incredibly happy about is FUTUREAGES finally unveiling their long awaited second EP.
They are unrivalled when it comes to visceral rock insanity. A female fronted Mars Volta is the closest comparison you can make, but in all honesty this lot are a truly unique entity in their own right.
5 gold stars. 10/10. Go buy this immediately from their BANDCAMP page. Check out their FACEBOOK page too and find out when they’re playing live soon, as there’s no Southend band that comes close to touching them live.
This Saturday sees the return of the biggest free festival in Essex, VILLAGE GREEN. And this year sees the addition of a spanking new stage, and huge acts, including many who played at this years Glastonbury festival.
Bands we have previously featured like FUTUREAGES, HOODLUMS, PHILLIOUS WILLIAMS, YOUTH CLUB and SAM DUCKWORTH (who will be bring his Glastonbury 20 musician headline set to Village Green this year, after being forced to pull out last year due to being hospitalised) are all playing.
As well as these obvious must-see choices, we figured we should help you decipher the rest of the bill, so you don’t miss out on some absolute gems on what is a huge lineup this year.
Southend Who? has picked out our top acts that we think you should definitely be checking out this year.
ED HARCOURT has a career that spans over a decade. He’s currently touring his fifth studio album. His first received a Mercury Prize nomination, and his latest offering is a beautiful, delicate affair, which was embraced in the sunshine at Glastonbury this year.
Another Ed, this time ED ROME of local ska legends THE BIG. He’s been flying solo for about 5 years now, and his last album received critical acclaim from Steve Lamacq on BBC radio 2. Easily one of the most phenomenal guitarists in Essex. Easily.
PERHAPS CONTRAPTION have to be seen to be believed. Bonkers, astonishing, visceral and unique. Perfect festival material basically.
Quite simply one of the UK’s most glorious best kept secrets. Previously Mercury Prize nominated, SWEET BILLY PILGRIM’s latest album ‘Crown and Treaty’ is one of the smartest alternative pop records you’ll hear this year.
Frank Turner and Billy Bragg approved, BEANS ON TOAST slayed the Left Feld Tent at Glastonbury this year, with his sharp and hilarious social commentary. The husky voiced troubadour of our generation will surely go down a storm with the ‘beer and burger’ regulars of The Alex and The Last Post.
There are also rumours floating around that a certain Canvey legend might be making an appearance. Which would truly an astonishing honour.
NED – ‘A New Normal’ ALBUM REVIEW
Hailing from Essex but based in Camden, NED are an exciting new band that have been busy writing and recording their debut album over the last few months. The result is a varied and interesting listen that darts between aggressive and confrontational preaching, to soaring and thought-provoking tunes. What links each track however, is that every song on “A New Normal” is an absolute banger.
Opener “Mass Manipulation” sets the tone of the record, with a vicious and pulsating baseline sitting underneath a throbbing beat, while lead vocalist Vaughan King demands you to “Stand up, stand by!” He invites you to join NED’s fight against all that is unjust with the world, and with a tune this catchy it’s difficult to resist!
While the overall message that runs through this album is one of frustration at injustices that our society accepts as ‘a new normal’, the actual song genres they smash together means they jump between bar-brawl partying (“I Am Free”) and expansively beautiful epics (“Vitoria”), to absolute spazz-out vaudeville punk (“Eat The Apple”) and regretful, hypnotic modern hymns (“Dog In Chains”). In other hands this could be a cohesion nightmare, but NED have balanced this, sculpting an album that is unique and very much on their terms.
An album with a strong message is nothing without tunes to back it up, and NED not only rise to the task, but take you on a surprising, visceral and above all entertaining journey that gets better with every listen. I cannot recommend it enough.