After my partner’s friend decided not to go, i found myself with a free ticket to the JAWS show at the academy. I’ve never listened to jaws in my life, have no real interest in their niche and had loads of work to do, so naturally i ended up going. Me and Kira perched near the back door of the venue, staying out of the way of the endless tide of slightly drunk and far too excited teenagers that clumped to the front. It was pretty interesting to see how much energy these people had – even the house music being played before the band was sang along to, like an arena rock encore with full cast. Even the crowds at Death Grips weren’t this rabid.
10 minutes late, the band made it to the stage, swiftly kicking into a song from their latest record (i assume). You can see why people like these guys – the song’s are hooky enough, they dress weirdly enough, and the lead singer isn’t that bad looking. He reminded me a bit of Frankie Muniz. I’ll let you decide for yourself if that’s a good thing or not.
The songs themselves weren’t really all that great – your usual indie riff over chords with some sort of vocal chant at some point. likeable enough, but not my thing. The set was solid enough however, with a good mix of deep cuts and hits. you could tell which ones were hits by how high the crowd was jumping. The mix was a bit odd – the drums were more than dominant and the lead singer’s guitar was oddly low, especially seeing as his reverb soaked strums seemed to be the backbone of all the songs. Nevertheless, the band was tight and decently energetic, and the drummer really held it all together perfectly. I can’t really slag them off too much – the crowd was loving it, the band seemed to be having a good time and even played my girlfriends favourite track from the first album.
One weird thing that happened was the encore; They just sort of left after a point. No goodbye, no thank-you, just sort of walking away from their instruments. they came back as expected a minute later but everyone in the venue was certainly puzzled by the nature of their brief departure. No-one really knew what to do for a bit. Lots of turning heads, not much applause or demand for them to come back.
Overall it was a good time. Fun to watch the crazy crowd, ignoring the odd choice of band to freak out too. If you like your indie simple, dreamy and energetic, i would recommend these guys, but not too much to anyone else. You’ll just be like me – feeling weird and a bit out of place stood at the back, making snarky comments about the shirtless guy trying his best to start a circle pit.
For the past few years of listening to comedy podcasts I have heard tell of a mysterious event. Every now and then, podcasts such as Stuart Goldsmith’s Comedian’s Comedian and anarchic sketch group Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown have released episodes from what has been referred to as ‘the secret welsh festival’ or ‘the unpronounceable comedy festival’.
Machynlleth Comedy Festival (or to save time ‘Mach’ pronounced like the coat) is set in an idyllic Welsh town on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, where comedy fans camp in local fields and see a variety of performers at a host of intimate local venues. This year a couple of friends and I decided would go and see for ourselves what its all about. We’ve got tickets to go the festival this weekend and we’ve carefully selected the acts to see – so here’s a run-down of some of my favourites.
Nick Helm’s frantic yet tender on stage persona of a heartbroken wannabe superstar has evolved gradually over the years, and is now starting to be appreciated by many as he makes regular TV appearances on 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown and has his own BBC sitcom, Uncle. His live performances however have a reputation for being outrageous, unpredictable and shambolic, and as the Machynlleth programme states he ‘has no idea’ what his live set will be, which I’m sure means we can expect much of the same.
John Shuttleworth has been performing his self penned songs about pigeons, switching from mains to dessert and his Y-reg Austin Ambassador for so many years now that his creator Graham Fellows says he now doesn’t have to put any make-up on when preparing to play him, as he’ finally the same age as the character. This year at Mach he will be performing a set of hit’s which I’m extremely excited about because as a long time fan of his BBC Radio 4 show I cannot wait to see them performed in the flesh.
Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown
The Midlands sketch trio have found a panel show format that only they could make work – a show in which they, with two different guests each week must compete to avoid performing a household chore. Regular rounds include the ‘Flat Games’ (formerly ‘Flat Olympics’ before they received a complaint from Sebastian Coe around the time of the 2012 Games) ‘Beef Brothers’ in which Tom from Pappy’s plays his John Grisham defense lawyer character with bewildering commitment, and the show’s quickfire round, which due to Tom and Ben’s epic weekly jingles always ends up anything but.
This year’s festival runs from Friday 28th – Sunday 30th April
All images and information from:
http://www.machcomedyfest.co.uk (2017). Festival Programme. [online] Available at: http://machcomedyfest.co.uk/sites/default/files/Programme%201-14.pdf [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].