Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Diamond Skulls launch

Frank UnderworldIn recent weeks, this blog has become something of A Blog About Gallows, but this is purely coincidental, so those of you who don't share my enthusiasm (firstly, why the hell not?!) need not be too concerned. To be honest, with work taking up as much time as it has, it seems the only things we've actually done in recent weeks has been go to a couple of Gallows gigs, though I also got some more work done on my backpiece tattoo.

Monday night, though, with free tickets in hand, we made our way to Camden Town for the punk-rock gig of the year: the launch night of the Diamond Skulls Social Club.

Gallows were the headline act, and the four supports were, in order of appearance: The Dead Formats, Dead Swans, (Toronto's own) Cancer Bats, and The Ghost of a Thousand. The first band had supported Gallows at the Tap 'n' Tin show a couple of weeks prior, but we'd missed them due to arriving late to the venue, so this was a good chance to play catch-up.

To be fair, all of the support bands put on great performances, even if I wouldn't necessarily buy any of their material at this point in time. Cancer Bats were probably the best of the supports, but tGOAT were also very strong on performance.

Gallows came on at about 10:15 to play about 40 minutes or so. They started with "In the Belly of a Shark" and ended with "Orchestra of Wolves" amid a mass stage invasion (see pic below). In between those songs they also played four new songs, including the three played at Chatham, along with "Rolling with the Punches", "Come Friendly Bombs", and "Abandon Ship".

Stage Invasion

Throughout the set, singer Frank (see my pretty awesome pic at top) was throwing T-shirts into the audience, and those purchasing shirts got 33% discounts as well as some freebies thrown in. I got a limited-edition signed print with my purchase.

On our way out, Frank was manning the merch stand, chatting with fans and getting photos taken. Overall it was a top-notch night of entertainment, like a mini hardcore/punk-rock festival. Here's to the next Gallows gig...

In the meantime, tonight the wife and I are off out to see one of her current favourite bands, Maxïmo Park, at the Forum. It's exactly 12 years today since she first set eyes on me at the very same venue while watching Manic Street Preachers. Weird, huh?

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bizarro World

It's contagious, this Bizarro World phenomenon...

A week or so ago, I ordered a lovely Snake Oil (aka Snakred Heart) T-shirt from Frank "Gallows" Carter's newly launched Diamond Skulls Social Club range. They are limited editions, this one of 111, signed and numbered and rather fetching.

Then a few days later, a MySpace bulletin from Gallows said, "Buy a Skulls T-shirt on Monday [19 May], and get a free ticket to the launch party."

I'd been toying with the idea of buying another shirt anyway, cos I really liked the cranberry-red Skull one, so a free ticket for the launch night, at which four bands including Gallows are due to play, seemed a ridiculously good deal. I ordered my shirt and wondered whether it was just a gag...

Today the new shirt arrived -- limited edition of 50, this one -- with NOT ONE BUT TWO free tickets in the package -- that's added value of £20 (US$40) on ordering a £30 shirt. How fucking cool is that?! Not to mention bizarro.

Here's a link for those of you who want to purchase a shirt or two yourselves.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Readers, forgive me. It's been ten whole days since my last post.

Truth is, in that time I've done almost nothing but work. I don't even think I've watched any films.

I've not really got much to say.

We're holding on to a little hope that we may get some tickets for the Maxïmo Park gig next Wednesday. I'm still in two minds about us going to another Gallows show on Monday. I have shitloads of work to do, so I'll get back to it.

Sorry I haven't been getting round to any of your blogs either. When I'm busy, I'm busy. Even the weekend I worked till 7pm both nights, so it's not huge fun.

Anyways, it's 7am and I'm gonna go and start my 12-hour day. Wish me luck...

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gallows at Tap 'n' Tin

I have no idea what goes on in mainstream music these days, no idea at all. But in the sort of magazines I read, Gallows is a big-name English band. Those of you who play Guitar Hero III will find their song "In the Belly of a Shark" tucked away in the Bonus tracks.

They play energetic hardcore/punk, though you'll often see them lumped in with certain emo types and even with metal. I've given up on trying to decipher musical genres anyway: anyone who plays a real fucking instrument is okay with me; I can't stand fucking synthesized pop bollocks full of samples and inanities.

I bought their album pretty much on the back of seeing a gig that was televised on Rockworld TV over here, and it's a great record.

So, when Gallows announced that they were playing a warm-up gig on 10 May in a 260-capacity venue just 20 minutes' drive from my house, I didn't have to hesitate to get tickets.

We got to the venue -- Tap 'n' Tin, in Chatham -- just after 9pm, too late for the first of the support acts. This was due to not knowing where the venue was and not wanting to park too far away from it. Several aborted attempts at both parking and locating the venue led to delays, but it was ultimately the best decision. I don't think anyone relishes the thought of walking Chatham after dark on a Saturday night...

I'm old school, so ideally I like to buy a shirt when I go to a gig. Better still if it's dated, but since the current growing series of gigs Gallows are doing is not really a tour per se, there doesn't appear to be any tour-specific merchandise. No worries. At least I got a shirt (our lateness and the small size of the venue meant there was no queue at the stand). Three of the band members were even hanging out at the merch stand, and guitarist Laurent (or "Lags") sold me mine.

Support band Lakes were okay in places, but to be honest I don't think I'd buy anything by them. It just didn't quite gel for me overall. Maybe their sound wasn't well set up (certainly almost no lyrics were audible), but it was just a bit uninteresting to me.

I don't know what time Gallows finally hit the stage. About 10:15pm maybe. They opened with "In the Belly of a Shark" (the Guitar Hero III track) and did an awesome job of it. After that I sort of lost track, but all the fan favourites were there -- "Abandon Ship", "Rolling with the Punches", "Will Someone Shoot That Fucking Snake", et al -- just as you'd expect, along with at least three new tracks getting their debut airing, the best of which for me was "Graves".

The gig ended with "Orchestra of Wolves", vocalist Frank Carter making his exit in crowd-surfing style (see pic below) as the audience chanted the final refrain: "The hardest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return".

The gig was proper awesome, and even Red, who had not exactly looked forward to it since she's not mad on Gallows' music, gladly admitted that they put on an excellent show. Big love to her for trying to take some pix, but the lighting was so small-venue bad that it was all but impossible to get anything decent from our vantage point, stood on chairs at the side, hoping we were far enough from the crowd-surfers and circle pit (which we were)!

Here's the lads in action in their video for "Abandon Ship".

And here's some pix from us:

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Singing from the same hymn sheet

A few weeks ago, some e-mail discussion between my missus and Shea ended up with the idea that she would send him a recipe and he would try to cook it, documenting his efforts via the gift of video.

In the meantime, she and I decided to do the same -- partly as a visual guide for Shea in his efforts, and partly because I like shooting and editing video. Our finished vid is posted here, as regular readers will know.

But now, Shea and Avid Andy have shot their own version of the same dish. Go and check it out by clicking here, please. It's very funny and well worth a few minutes of your time.

Thanks for being such good sports, Andy and Shea, and we look forward to hearing what challenge you set for us next...

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Should the missus and I start a YouTube cookery channel?

Feeling peckish?

Here's our first attempt at shooting a recipe on the fly. Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

I short chew might like chew shee zhish

What is with the way Liza Minnelli talks?! "Shtart shpreading the newzh", and all that? Anyway, ridiculous as that is, it pales in comparison to what a complete fucking talentless, pitchy, piece-of-shit performer she has become.

Witness the clip below, courtesy of YouTube, of a show I saw on Italian TV in our hotel when in Seville. Fast-forward to 5:22 when she gets into her shtride with "New York, New York", and schtick with it if you can.

Sherioushly, if she were an unknown in thish day and age, she would be laughed off any shtage she grayshed. Embarrashing. Give up, Lizha, and make room for shum new talent.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Lesbians ahoy!

You couldn't make this shit up!

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