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Mis-Shapes And Standing On Necks….

9 Jul

So I woke up Friday, usual monotonous morning routine, two coffees, shower, brushing teeth and leaving with plenty of time to get to work. Upon leaving the house, adjusting my headphones as I normally do, I decided I would go with the shuffle option on my iPod, really the greatest invention since music itself. The first song to tease and pleasure my big lug’oles on this fine sunny morning came from an album by the name of ‘A Different Class’ by Pulp, it was track 1. Mis-Shapes. If ever I needed a sign of the day ahead, this was certainly it.

Followed quickly by what seemed a flurry of good tunes, I was quickly brought back down to earth by arriving at work. Not all was lost, my very close friend Glen, of the Wilson Clan, had confirmed he was coming along with me that night to the Purple Turtle, Camden. So through the day I confirmed our names on the list, got back to Enfield with time to spare and we set off via bus to Camden, got to the venue about half nine, and in we went, reasonable prices, good vibes and good people. Good people with the exception of some guys that had blatantly been out all day in the sun and wandered in off the street, handing their entrance fees over and then making nuisances of themselves. Whilst stood with my mate Dan, I was fully expecting him to politely ask if ‘any of them would like him to stand on their necks?’ It wasn’t needed as the bouncers saw the problem and ejected it. So if next time you’re in Camden and happen to see some lads walking around with crepe sole imprints on their neck, you know what happened.

Time for the first act of the night, I was surprised to see my mate Nick Mercer, formerly of Sergeant, hitting the stage with his acoustic guitar and playing some of his earlier hits and more. A very promising start to the proceedings, I’m no gig reviewer but, I would say that his set got me in the mood for the rest of the evening.
A short break followed, enough time for a cigarette outside and to talk about boots, necks and things of that nature. Up next was the Stone Thieves, a good name in my opinion, which instantly grabs my attention. Now I must confess I have actually seen these before this night, but was so drunk the last time my conscious being had no recollection, photographic evidence was needed for it to be proved to me. The sound was spot on, I know they had a couple of issues with the monitors, but out front sounded good. They have the look and that very brash, ‘let’s fuckin av’it’ sound. An enjoyable set with minimal casualties, I will definitely be out to see these boys again.
Now the final band of the night, I had not heard of until the day before, when Phil, Co-Founder of Mis-Shapes, had mentioned them in a message to me, told me they were superb. You obviously expect to hear that, but what I saw did not let his words down. K E Y S were superb, fucking superb. Unlike anyone i have seen in a while, psyche, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, every tune was a banger. Thoroughly enjoyed them. Looked and sounded awesome.

A very brief rundown of the night, probably doesn’t do the acts much justice, but this monthly night Mis-Shapes is one of the best nights around London for showcasing the best up and coming talent from all over the country, I say this without any sarcasm or cynicism, only sincerity.  I went to the first one at the Buffalo Bar a few months back and saw The Merrylees, a particular Mis-Shapes highlight for me, I strongly advise you to check them out if you haven’t already. I am yet to see a dud. The Mis-Shapes resident DJ’s, Co-Founders of the night, Joe and Phil have clearly got a very good knowledge of music, and the sets between bands and for the rest of the evening after the bands finish are a lesson into music themselves, and I defy anyone not into this scene to not enjoy the music on show, whether it be the bands or DJ’s, even their guest DJ’s smash it whether in the form of Svengali’s Johnny Owen or Shameless’ Micky, plus more. A perfect mixture of what is relevant and what made it come to be relevant, timeless tunes and classics that just never go out of fashion, predictable hits with obscurities that make you fall in love with this music, these bands, these nights over and over again.

With a recent move into the bigger, and in my opinion better, Purple Turtle venue in Camden, to allow for those Mis- Shapers that have had trouble getting into previous nights, even turned away because of the previous venue not having the space for the amount of people coming to throw oblong big fish little fish all over the gaff.
Surely this night is only going to go from strength to strength, I happen to know who some of the upcoming acts are going to be, my only advice is ‘you would be mad to miss it!’

Anyway people, it was nice talking to you again, August the 2nd is the next do with the fabulous Edgar Jones playing, this is a do not to be missed people.
I have added links to some of the groups mentioned and the nights Facebook page which has all the relevant info for you fine people to join us in this shapely revolution.

Until next time, be good to each other people.

Peace and Love,




None Of The Music Around Now Is As Good As It Used To Be!………………REALLY??

17 Mar

‘None of the music around now is as good as it used to be!’ An extremely bold statement I’m sure you’ve all heard, which upon first hearing, is easy to agree with, especially if you listen to Radio 1. But it doesn’t take much digging to find something listenable, and not a massive amount more digging to find some real gems. The people that make this statement are a whole variety too, usually over the age of 35, bar the odd pretentious little bell end you run into, wearing a John Smedley, or clothes they only describe as ‘Vintage’, which basically means a dead mans jumper bought from an indoor jumble sale like Beyond Retro, which is worse than Primark, yes, such a place exists! Back to the point, these people are a whole variety of people with a real eclectic mix of music between them, everything from Chess to Chase, the statement is used across an array of genres. Always said with the same firm belief and conviction you’d expect to hear from a boxer at a press conference explaining how he’s different from anyone the other guy has faced and how he’ll knock him out, while giving the fans their money’s worth. I just simply don’t agree.

The biggest problem with the statement in question, is the fact that most of the people saying it don’t ever really look into it and are happy to have whatever shite radio station they choose to listen to at work, on only at work, for them 8 hours of the day they’re there. So have no real authority to say it in the first place. I’ve been guilty myself of saying some of the things that run along with this line of thought. Obviously anything that is meant to evoke emotion, is always going to be personal preference, but if you refuse to look for what you like, you can’t surely sit there and tell people there is nothing as good, or even better, available to them.
Another thing most of us don’t have anymore with music is the familiarity of the one record you could afford that week, so would listen to numerous times whether you liked it or not, often resulting in you liking it. With the whole ‘download anything you like for free’ movement, the stealing of music available to everyone, you have anything you like at your fingertips. So therefore you don’t have to familiarise yourself with any record now. If you don’t like it on 1st listen, there are very few of us that will give it a few chances to change our minds, which in a lot of peoples eyes takes the soul out of the music.

Also anyone that isn’t downloading anything for nothing, is a) A liar, or b) has a lot more money than the rest of us. I don’t always agree with the fact you can have what you like without paying for the work someone has often slaved over, I even have some friends that, if it wasn’t for this industry being on its arse thanks to us lot thieving their work, would probably have quite comfortable lives, but instead they’re working in shops, and other such things to substitute for the money they don’t make from record sales. Here lies what makes it better though, if it’s not a career choice, the only reason, the most important reason any art may have, is that people are doing it because that’s what they love and are able to share it with the world, much more easily. The honesty this brings with it must mean so much more to you than some jumped up X Factor contestant that wants nothing but fame, getting their awful karaoke version of a song to Christmas number one. And so many more people are making music available to you, by a law of averages alone, there has to be music as good and better, easily accessible. There are a lot of radio shows and club nights dedicated to bringing you these musicians as well as all of the magazines, websites, blogs, articles in a lot of forms and the ability to use your own initiative. You’d be mad to think otherwise.

This is not to say anyone making music years ago wasn’t making it because they loved it, of course they did, but when bands get millions for simply reforming, putting the reason they split aside for a pay check, it’s this that surely takes the soul out of music. It’s not for the fans at all, if you believe it is, you are deluded. I enjoy the shows as much as anyone, but that doesn’t mean any of it was for us or the love of them songs. We are simply the reason they can, not the reason they do.

You can go to many pubs on a Friday night and see people that are still smashing out Teenage Kicks alongside their own material, picking up their £30 each and living in their fantasy world of imagining to be playing Wembley, but at least these people accept it for what it is, and embrace every reason you should ever like music, whether they’re shit or not. Creative booms, another reason I’ve heard used for why music used to be better, never stop and it’s possibly the most nonsense thing I’ve ever heard anyone say, that and The Beatles are rubbish. We live in a time where we are able to pay less and less where creative and artistic professions are concerned, apart from the live shows of course, but people rather than embrace it have a way of making it seem bad. I’m not saying it’s fair or right, I am saying enjoy it because we don’t get anything else costing less and less. More music and the more people that are making it are more dedicated to what they’re doing than ever before, knowing it’ll never make them even slightly rich and famous unless you’re ridiculously lucky, it shows them wearing their hearts on their sleeve. The pretentiousness is still amongst people involved, not all, but I’m sure this has just always been part of the whole ‘I’m an artist, into art’ persona they love to project.

‘There’s no originality anymore.’. Well this I can’t agree with either, in terms of an individual genre you may have a valid point for a little while, sometimes. Music is constantly growing into a bigger monster with more and more of it there to be heard. Originality is what keeps it growing. Music is constantly moving, making it original, the only people not being original are the people that use the opening line of this blog with confidence. I’m not here to give you a list of groups that are as good, I’m just saying there are and it’s up to you to find them, rather than be stuck in an era from earlier in your life, or even before your life. Listen to music from the past by all means, as it’s the reason music we listen to now exists, it would be very naive to think your favourite bands now weren’t influenced by what came before them. This doesn’t mean it lacks any original qualities, although there are many tribute bands under the guise of original.
It’s obvious that not all of the biggest bands throughout the last few decades were that good, but struck a chord with people around at the time, sometimes due to financial backing, so the fact that the financial backing isn’t as strong as it once was for most puppets of the time, can only be good in terms of a lot of bands sticking to their guns and making the music they want to make, not the easily digested Capital FM bullshit that sells.
My observation would be that only music for children, gay clubs, and the teenage girl sells now, and by sells, I mean makes superstars of it’s purveyors. The main reason people would agree with the title I reckon.

The soul of music is greater than it has ever been due to the sheer numbers making it purely for the love of doing so because a star career solely making music is not an option, unless you’re willing to sell your soul, or lucky.

Thanks for reading you beautiful people.

Peace and Love,

James, x