FRONT Magazine
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LUKE’S ALPHABET TOUR: N – NECK DEEP

Yes, alright I know, I’ve fucked it. This Alphabet Tour should have been finished by the end of 2013 but FUCKING HELL IT GETS HARD. In summertime nobody tours cos it’s festival season and at the end of the year no-one tours cos they’re bloody knackered and/or are making a new album. But after a long meeting involving a blunt knife, some tweezers and a packet of Chewits I’ve been given until 5 June as that would mark exactly one year from the A gig. I’ve got to step this shit up, and I’m starting with…

Who: Neck Deep
When: 13 January, 2014
Where: The Barfly, London
Beer: £4.20 for a Heineken
Average age: 17
Cost of a t-shirt: £10
Best bit: The overwhelming energy.
Worst bit: Fuck me, it gets warm.

I’ve been a fan of Neck Deep for a while, back when I first saw the artwork for A History Of Bad Decisions, and when the news finally broke of a proper full-length I was pretty fucking excited I can tell you. So I listened to it. Twice. Then again. Then again through better speakers. And it’s right ol’ rager of a pop-punk record from the Wrexham dudes. So I went along to the album launch night at the Barfly to see if it could hold up. Check it out… »

LUKE’S ALPHABET TOUR: L – LOOM

Here we go with another round of this Alphabet Tour I’ve got myself into. It’s turning out way harder than previously thought and it’s totally everyone else’s fault for not playing in the right order. But for L it’s the fuzzpunks Loom at a small pub in Dalston. Pretty much the opposite of Kodaline.

Who: Loom
When: 22 November, 2013
Where: The Dalston Victoria, London
Beer: £4 for a Camden Pale Ale
Average age: 25
Cost of a t-shirt: N/A
Best bit: Bleed On Me.
Worst bit: Too small a crowd for the quality of the band.

Yeah, it’s a bit later than I’d have liked too but it’s fucking Christmas and I’ve got drinking to do – which is exactly what happened at The Dalston Victoria the other day when I went to see Loom. Having read all the hype around these punks for the past few months it would be a shame not to go to a free show down the road in a pub – all three of those factors are a plus. If you live in London and you weren’t there THEN WHAT THE HELLPISS WERE YOU DOING? It was a free gig. Free. No money had to change hands to see one of the best bands clambering out of the new vein of British punk. We’re not talking hardcore punk here, but raucous noisy bastards writing simple songs to throw yourself around to. Check it out… »

LUKE’S ALPHABET TOUR: M – METZ

I should probably admit something to you now – I was quite drunk when I went to this gig. The thing is, it’s nearly Christmas and we went to the pub before the show for a couple of Pints Of Christmas (Guinness with Tia Maria in it) to get warmed up. Then it was onto Shoreditch to one of my favourite venues in London.

Who: Metz
When: 28 November, 2013
Where: The Village Underground, London
Beer: £4 for a cheap lager
Average age: 25
Cost of a t-shirt: N/A
Best bit: Wet Blanket.
Worst bit: Lack of movement from everyone.

If you’ve not been to the Village Underground and you live in London then get your shit together and head down. It’s a massive brick tunnel with one of the loudest soundsystems this side of Motörhead and tonight it’s absolutely rammo. I can hardly bloody move in my half-cut condition which is just as well cos you can’t really dance to Metz.

In a sonic punch of fuzzy punk the Canadian trio crash and bang their way through an hour(ish) of hardcore-tinged noisy ragers so sharp they could mince diamonds. Standing on the edge of shoegaze, post-punk and grunge, the volume and quality of the music is staggering and everyone in this underground room is losing all kinds of shit to the latest rad-ass punks to come out of Toronto. (If you don’t believe me on how good the Toronto punk scene is, do some Googling.)

It’s a stripped down and raw set with little in the way of crowd interaction and there’s no encore, it’s straight up ‘Fuck you I’m going to come along and play my songs and you’re going to like it’. Rounding up with a cover of The Damned’s Neat Neat Neat (which didn’t go over as much as the songs from their album) and Wet Blanket it’s back out into the cold night with ears ringing like someone rammed a steel pole deep into your skull. Worth it.

Follow all my drunken gig-going in real-time over on that Twitter.

LUKE’S ALPHABET TOUR: K – KODALINE

It’s come to my attention that I’m rapidly running out of time on this and if I don’t complete it the Gods of FRONT will castrate me. There’s a genuine fear chilling through my bones that if my task is not completed the hired goons will come knocking. And to be fair I’ve been fucked over by bands not playing in the right order – Kendrick Lamar and Letlive have come and gone but because OF THESE FUCKING RULES I couldn’t use them.

Who: Kodaline
When: 10 November, 2013
Where: Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Beer: £4.60 for a Foster’s
Average age: 35
Cost of a t-shirt: £20
Best bit: The balcony performance.
Worst bit: Gigs on a Sunday are not the one.

This week has been a busy one – I’ve been to see Bring Me The Horizon and Dillinger Escape Plan for my fix of violent heaviness, but tonight is a different monster. Going into this I’ve got little to no idea about Kodaline. My mate recommended them to me as ‘something you might like’, which could be anything from Charli XCX to Carcass so I’m still none the wiser. But walking into the venue it became clear.
Check it out… »

LUKE’S ALPHABET TOUR: J – JAMES BLAKE

Here’s it is: the J review for the Alphabet Tour from James Blake. This would have been posted sooner but I’ve been stuck trying to figure out if there’s any way of rearranging the alphabet. Not for a laboured pick-up line, but BECAUSE THERE’S NO FUCKING BANDS BEGINNING WITH K! Or if there are, they’re refusing to play near me. So if you’re in a band beginning with K, hit me up.

Who: James Blake
When: 25 September, 2013
Where: Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Beer: £4.60 for a Foster’s
Average age: 28
Cost of a t-shirt: £20
Best bit: The overly dramatic light show.
Worst bit: I’m never going to get over beer prices at gigs.

It’s a bit of a jump from Issues to James Blake, I’ll give you that, but what’s the point in only listening to angry young men all the time? If I’m hanging out my arse on a Sunday afternoon on the sofa, the last thing I want is someone screaming at me – that’s where Mr Blake and his downtempo electro (downlectro?) come in. Check it out… »

LUKE’S ALPHABET TOUR: I – ISSUES

Exactly a week after H for Hawk Eyes I’ve wandered off to Islington to watch Issues co-headline the Academy with Crown The Empire. Here’s what went down…

Who: Issues
When: 13 September, 2013
Where: O2 Academy, Islington, London
Beer: £4 for a pint of Tuborg
Average age: 21
Cost of a t-shirt: £15
Best bit: The bassist losing his shit constantly.
Worst bit: The early finishing time. 9:30pm?!

OK, before we go any further let’s get one thing straight – nu-metal was wicked. You might be looking back on it now like it was a bunch of baggy jean wearing teenie boppers losing their minds to some angsty American swearing a lot – but it was fucking fun. Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, (ahem) Spineshank… we all had the hoodies and we thought the music was never going away no matter what our mum said. But, like everything, it gradually died and faded into the collective memory as something to be smirked at and a guilty pleasure when everyone is off their tits at a house party. But guess what – it’s fucking coming back. Check it out… »

LUKE’S ALPHABET TOUR: H – HAWK EYES

Now that festival season is over and watching bands doesn’t include sneaking beer down your shorts or scraping mud off your clothes, it’s time to step it up a gear on the Alphabet Tour. I’m back with H for Hawk Eyes and these guys really deserve your time.

Who: Hawk Eyes
When: 6 September, 2013
Where: The Black Heart, Camden, London
Beer: £5 for a pint of Camden Hells (lolwut?)
Average age: 25
Cost of a t-shirt: £10
Best bit: Skyspinners!
Worst bit: The invasive stench of piss.

“Shit yeah, Hawk Eyes!” is what you should be shouting until your lungs fill with bile after reading the headline of this post. These guys are so under-appreciated it’s fucking criminal and I’m here to convince you why this noisy Leeds crew deserves to be in your iTunes – you know, underneath your drunkenly downloaded Har Mar Superstar discography.

I first heard these guys when I saw them supporting Alexisonfire at Rock City in Nottingham – back when they were called Chickenhawk – and now they’re a completely different beast. They’re tighter, louder, the songs are stronger and they’ve found themselves a loyal fanbase THAT SHOULD BE BIGGER. Check it out… »

LUKE’S ALPHABET TOUR: G – GUNNING FOR TAMAR

Right, let’s get one thing straight – NOT ENOUGH BANDS ARE PLAYING GIGS! This obviously isn’t true, what I mean is NOT ENOUGH BANDS ARE PLAYING IN THE RIGHT ORDER. It’s been weeks since my last Alphabet Tour review and that’s because every band beginning with G decided to give me a wide berth. Thank fuck then that Gunning For Tamar came rolling into town and filled my G-spot (ha ha fucking ha).

Who: Gunning For Tamar
When: 15 August, 2013
Where: Upstairs @ The Garage, London
Beer: £4.25 FOR A CAN. A CAN!
Average age: 25
Cost of a t-shirt: £8
Best bit: The fact the band showed up after a minor breakup.
Worst bit: The atmosphere vacuum left by so few people.

If you’re an avid FRONT reader (and if not then think about your life choices) then you should recognise the name Gunning For Tamar from FRONT 180. But that was months ago and now they’re playing London’s Garage – well the upstairs bit anyway. As the tickets are so cheap and the venue so small I’ve decided to arrive early so I don’t get shunned to the back and see piss all… but this isn’t necessary. Despite having two support acts by the time GFT take to the stage it’s still thin on the ground.
Check it out… »

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