Thursday, 26 August 2010

Good Charlotte with support from Canterbury - Koko London - July 27th

Tonight is a big night, tonight a band with a career spanning 14 years returns to the UK for a one off special performance. A performance to thank fans for sticking with them and to wet peoples appetites for the new album and tours to come. This band have had many ups and downs over the years but have always had a strong following and have always tried to do something different and fun every time they make an album. I am genuinely excited to see them and I hope they give their fans something to remember.

I walked past the Koko at around 3 to see a massive line of people already eagerly waiting to get it and rock out, many people at the front had blankets and could have been their overnight, that is how much some fans love this band. I arrive back at 7ish to see the line is now round the block and you can tell that its going to be a massively fun night.

The crowd gets let in and shortly the support band arrive onstage and get ready to wet peoples appetites. Normally the support bands at these things are a wild card and nearly always turn out to be some band overly tipped for big things, who’s genre is totally off the mark and don’t go down well with the fans of the main band. Luckily tonight the support band is Canterbury and they go down a storm. Their fresh pop punky style mixed with indie rhythms and melodic vocals is a refreshing change and sounds wonderful. They burst into their first song ‘peace and quiet’ and it sounds immense, very catchy and gets everyone moving. They play through their 7 song set quite quickly and do what a good support band does, get everyone warmed up and raring to go, without trying to make the night their own. They go down well and now everyone is ready for the main attraction…

Good Charlotte come out to a massive reception, its been a while since they played in the UK but people have not forgotten them, their pop punk heroes and they’re ready to rock out! Joel, Benji, Billy, Paul and Dean come out slowly in darkness to some intro music whilst the crowd scream with excitement, the lights come on and they blast into ‘The Anthem’ and this sets the tone for the night. This high energy pop punk makes people move and this packed out crowd love it! They tear down the house and when it comes to the end of the song, they all stand on platforms and simultaneously jump into the air, all thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere of the Koko. Good Charlotte are clearly having fun as they play classics off their second album ‘The Young and The Hopeless’. During ‘My Bloody Valentine’ they add a different twist mixing it into ‘So Lonely’ which is a Police cover and then back into the main song towards the end, they do this seamlessly and put a great spin on one of their best tracks.

They continue to rock out for the next hour and a half to almost twenty tracks from all 4 albums, playing hit after hit, keeping the crowd singing along all the way, every song as catchy as the last. They also have time to throw in a new track ‘Like Its Her Birthday’ from the upcoming album Cardiology which is going to be released later this year. The track goes down well and Joel tells the crowd that the song is about one of Benji’s ex girlfriend’s who goes out and parties every night, like its her birthday. They play an amazing set and put their heart and soul into every moment of the gig while Benji tells the crowd how this gig means a lot to them and how its one they will always remember and that they are grateful that their fans in the UK have stuck by them over the years. Good Charlotte come back onto the stage for their encore which is made up of ’The Story Of My Old Man’ mixed into a cover of Blink 182’s ’Dammit’ which sounds great and shows their appreciation of another great pop punk band. They go into a rarely played track from their second album ‘Riot Girl’ and finish on ‘The Young And The Hopeless’ ending with another huge jump from their platforms to great applaud and cheers.

Tonight has been special, a great gig from a great band that I look forward to seeing more from in the upcoming months. The set they played tonight seems like one you might not see again as the new album will make up a lot of the songs and playing for an hour and a half isn’t done by most bands, so if you where there then you will appreciate how rare a gig it was, but if you weren’t check them out when they come back over because it may not be as special but it will be a hell of a lot of fun!!!
If you want to check out more photos from the gig check

Friday, 20 August 2010

Family Force Five - Derek Mount aka Chap Stique - Interview At Wolves Slade Rooms - 05-08-10

We’ll get straight into it, you opened the main stage of Sonisphere this weekend, how was that for you?

It was incredible, a dream come true for me, I’m a big metal head so I got to see Iron Maiden, Rammstein and we got to play in front of some legends I grew up listening to, which was awesome. We also had some amazing outfits which this guy made for us, he makes them for people like Muse, Judas Priest and Cher so we busted them out for the first time their as they’re kinda metal looking, which was pretty fun. It was a totally unique experience for us as a lot of the time we play dances places, or with scene bands or hardcore bands or pop bands and we had never done metal before, it was an honour.

Did you go down well?

I think so, at first the crowd of mainly 45 year old dudes in black t-shirts don’t necessarily mosh and dance like 13 year old girls do, so at first we where like “Do people like us at all?” but after we got done with the show we where walking around and all these people with the thickest accents ever where like “we love country gentlemen” so they really loved it, which was cool as we where really nervous at first.

Well I was going to ask if you checked out any bands at the festival but you already answered that.

Well yeah, I’m a die hard Maiden fan, they where one of my favourite bands as a kid. But we had a show the next day, when Maiden where actually playing, so we had a show at the Underage Festival and I was ringing round all the people I new in England trying to see if anyone would take me over to Sonisphere but I finally found some random dudes that I road in their van with them and we watched Iron Maiden and camped out and slept on the ground, which was fun and really amazing.

This is your first headline tour here in the UK, how are you finding it?

Its been great, kids have been going nuts, and we love the bands that’s been touring with us. I was actually checking out some Lost Prophets stuff as I didn’t really know much but Ian is amazing, and Tek One have been truly amazing to watch, I love those guys. What a great first tour for us, we came over with Cobra Starship early this year and that was awesome but to have your first headline run be this exciting has been amazing.

Speaking of touring you’ve been on tour for ages and have another tour planned in the U.S. in December, is it hard being away from home for a long time?

Yeah, it is, its probably the hardest part of our job is balancing family. I have a wife and some of the guys have kids and you just want to see them as much as you can, but we are very blessed to have the best job you could ever ask for and we’d be very silly to complain about it. So you do what you gotta do to make it work so where big fans of Skype and 1800 flowers and we do a lot of video chats and you just gotta make sure you make an effort to see each other and show the other person you love them but yeah its tough.

Seeing as you spend a lot of time on the road, have you got any road stories?

All kinds of them, one of the craziest ones which I wish was more fun and funny but we had an accident recently, our bus driver had a seizure whilst he was driving. We where on top of this mountain going down a hill and all off a sudden the bus just crashed on the side and we were all freaking out, it was on this weird angle where you couldn’t even walk so we were crawling around and falling all over each other, and we had gone just another couple hundred feet we would have died, there was this giant drop that our bus would have tumbled over and flipped. Luckily everyone was ok and that was one of the most scariest days of my life, we all looked at each other and where like crying and going “I love you man if we had died you could have had my Van Halen collection”. We’ve had a lot of crazy moments on tour but that one stands out.

With all this touring do you have time to write new material?

Yes, but you have to make that time happen, we set aside 2 hours a day minimum that we get together and show each other some ideas that we have. Sometimes we get time after sound check to Jam, today we did, it was really fun, we’ve got this really cool song with Smashing Pumpkins kinda influence that sounds pretty neat, but we’ll see what happens as we’ve written about 35 songs for the next album so we’ll have to narrow them down and decide what goes on their. So it could end up being a huge rock record, or pop music or dance music its just depends on what’s chosen to go on there but we’re very excited about it.

My Space seems to be a big tool in the music industry these days, with artists communicating with their fans over it and some even ditching their own website and having just a My Space site, what are your opinions on My Space as a tool in the music industry?

Well, I know you can’t see this but I’ve got My Space open write now on the Family Force Five page and I’m writing some kids some messages, so yeah its been the bread and butter of Family Force Five, its been the only way we’ve survived by communicating with our fans. In the states, My Space is fading out and its now more Facebook and Twitter but for years we’d wake up and immediately and go on My Space and we’d be required to add a certain amount of friends, or to write back to kids or delete spam and whatever it was you just got to make sure you keep in touch and show that you appreciate them. So to this day we try really hard to keep in touch and I try to write to every kid that writes to the band on My Space. We also have this phone number that kids can call in and tell us all kinds of stories about what their doing at home and we’ll play games and its pretty fun man ,we are really thankful that they like our music and so we like to show them that we like them too.

Your music is very unique and sets you apart from the rest so in guessing you had a lot of musical influences, who would you say are your main ones?

It changes a lot and the cool thing about our band is that we all write, I mean I grew up a metal head but I don’t know if that’s a huge influence to Family Force Five but we all bring something collectively different to the table. I mean where all into dance music like Daft Punk and Justice. Where all huge Rage Against The Machine and Beastie Boys fans as theirs a big hip hop element to our music which most of the brothers are really into. We all like pop music too, we grew up on 80’s new wave stuff like Talking Heads, Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears so there’s a lot of stuff but every now and again we’ll come up with something that we don’t know where it came from and it don’t sound like anything it just sounds like Family Force Five, so big beats and catchy melodies is what we relay on.

We only have the ‘Dance Or Die’ album released over here, but you have another two in the states, is their any plans on releasing your first album ‘Business Up Front/ Party In The Back’ or my personal fave ‘Family Force Five - Christmas Pageant’?

Thank you for liking it, we had a lot of fun on both those projects and I don’t know what the future holds in store for them as a lot of the time there is legal things that we don’t have control over, but I know for a fact that yesterday we had a meeting about getting the Christmas album coming out over here and hopefully that will be happening and I’m pretty confident it will so keep an eye out for it, this year maybe.

Love Addict was released on Rock Band the other day, what do you think to the guitar based computer games?

I think they’re really hard, I’m not very good at them. I haven’t played love addict yet, so I hope I can do that one since I’ve played it once or twice live on real guitar. We had a competition with some fans the other day with our song radiator which is also on their, and these kids smoked us man! We play this song every night, every night! We wrote this song and we still can’t get the perfect score like these kids get on advance level, its kinda weird as they put the rhythms in a spot which is different than what your actually playing. But its neat though, its brought rock and roll out of the gutter a little bit to make kids excited about playing guitar, when I grew up everyone wanted to play guitar and there was a little period where people where not so excited about it so hopefully it will get people excited again.

Where would you like to see yourself this time next year?

I’d like to see myself warmer, its freezing here man its august 5th and by the way its my birthday tomorrow so next year I’m going to be old, old as sin! But no, I’d love to go to Japan we’ve been talking about how that’s the next frontier, that we’ve never entered that we’d like to go to , but any part of Asia would be amazing to start playing their. I hope that the new album is something that’s striking a chord with people and speaking to them and hopefully we’ll be continuing to write more music.

One last question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a zebra and a giraffe which would you be and why?

Probably a giraffe, because if you had a long neck like that and you head banged it would be amazing you know, it’d be like slow motion and you’d be knocking down trees and eating leaves. Plus there would be all that controversy of the Lamarckian theory’s of evolution and stuff and you’d be like “let me tell you all about it, I’m a giraffe dude!” that would be way cooler than being a zebra. Cos people would be like, you might be a zedonk, you know a zebra that’s mated with a donkey and that’s the last thing I’d want to be, a zedonk, I’d rather be a giraffe.

Thanks for your time, do you have a message for your fans reading this?

Thank you very much we love all you guys as fans and hit us up on My Space or Facebook or Twitter and we’ll try and write you back.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Family Force Five with support from Tek-One and La More La Morgue - Wolves Slade Rooms - 05-08-10

Wolverhampton Slade Rooms is host to tonight’s Family Force Five gig, a nice venue on a rather dodgy street in Wolves which is home to sex shops and takeaways, but the fans ignore the depravity, queuing up hours before the show starts so they can see the southern American dance crunk rockers. The doors open at seven and the fans tear into the venue getting as close to the barriers as possible, eagerly waiting tonight’s entertainment.

I’ll admit now I did a bit of research into the support bands before the gig and I thought I was in for some rocky treats with some rock DJing in the middle with Family Force Five’s unique dance rock to end the night. But I was wrong(well about the support bands anyway)!

The night kicked off with Tek-One who I read use a whole host of old toys to make their music and I thought they’d be kind of retro and maybe even computer game inspired. But when they came out on stage with one of them on a heavily decorated “Drop Dead” designed drum kit with the other on a set of turntables I know that I should have listened to their music before making a judgement on what they where going to be like. Howard says hello to the crowd and asks “Are you ready for some dubstep” the crowd screams “yes!“ and I think to myself “Dubstep? They must be joking, they’re going to be supporting Bring Me The Horizon in a few months and dubstep won’t go with that!“ but again I was wrong! Felix gets himself comfortable on the drums, and they kick into some dark and dirty beats which sound immense. They’re stage show is something different, Howard DJ’s and mixes between tracks bringing it up and down whilst Felix joins in on the big beats and breakdowns putting everything his has into beating the living shit out of the drum kit. It was not what I was expecting but I really enjoyed it, and on second thought the big beats will be a good start to the BMTH gig as it really gets you pumped and ready to rock!

It’s a shame that La More La Morgue where not as exciting. La More La Morgue, in case you didn’t know are a duo who have a web based persona a bit like Daft Punk. But in actual fact its Welsh Lost Prophet Ian Watkins and the crowd of kids here tonight know it, screaming as soon as they catch a glimpse of him, albeit behind a mask and in a leather jacket. LMLM come onto the stage and in fact there are two of them both on one mixing desk, they just go straight into there collection of cd’s and start the set. The crowd are lapping up what I think are just average dance tracks that are being mixed well. LMLM play on the fact there are two of them with Ian Watkins friend jumping into the crowd when Ian doesn’t need him, making the crowd go crazy as they think they’re grabbing onto the Welsh superstar. There set mixes well and they play the odd rock track including ‘beastie boys sabotage’ but there is something missing, maybe if they had opened the night I might have liked them more as I feel Tek-One had a lot more to offer.

Now for the main event, the reason why people are here tonight Family Force Five!! Even in a small venue like this, the band pull off a nice open to the gig with drummer ‘Crouton’ coming on stage first and kicking into some beats with ‘Chapstique‘, ‘Fatty’ and ‘NaDaddy’ joining him by playing a nice bit of intro music with singer ‘Soul Glow Activator’ appearing whilst the band kick off proceedings by jumping straight into their biggest hit over here ‘Dance Or Die’ which gets the kids jumping! The band go crazy and really put everything they have into this performance, rocking out and making the crowd putty in their hands! The song comes to an end to great applause and the band turn it up a notch and change to a rockier number from their first album which is currently unreleased over here ‘Country Gentlemen’. It has a catchy chorus and thumping beat which makes it one of those nod your head songs! The entire set is made up of up-beat rock/dance songs which won’t let you rest for a minute!

This band really have a huge live show in the states, with a massive drum stand and a wall synthesizer with big buttons which the band hit to play, it’s a shame they can’t afford to bring it all over here but they have a few things set out for the UK gigs, from playing in tops with their faces on to Soul Glow Activator disappears of stage for a moment only to reappear with big Hulk like gloves which holds his mic and allows him to punch the air and dance around some more! He screams into the mic and jumps into the crowd , whilst the band continue to rock out. The gig comes to an end and everyone can be happy with the performance as Family Force Five really has some energy and they clearly love what they are doing, and its good for them, the audience here loved it too!
For more photos from the gig go to