Well I’m afraid I have some sad news to impart, Steal The Smile are sadly no more. As many of you regular readers know, this is a band I have championed often in this blog. I got to a few of their shows and they are still regularly played on my iPod. They were a bloody good band who had a lot of potential. I feel quite confident that we will hear more from the boys in other guises in the future.I’m particularly looking forward to hearing more from luke, but then he is my son 🙂
So it’s the Smile are dead, long live the Smilers. Guys thanks for the music and the shows and good luck with any future musical ventures. You can still find them on MySpace and Facebook.
In the meantime the boys have kindly offered a few of their recently recorded tracks for download, click here to obtain your copies. “Jealousy” and “Dreamer” are very tight and accomplished slabs of power pop punk. Send the link to everyone you know, let’s send the boys out with a bang and not a whimper!
Steal The Smile audition for the hoodie version of Robin Hood
I’ve posted about these guys plenty of times before and I will probably post about them lots more too, they are Steal The Smile. Anyway they are in a Battle Of The Bands contest on Saturday at the Haymill Cafe in Burnham. Read all about it in the Maidenhead Advertiser. The boys will be up against Flourescent Canvas, We Found Nemo, Fried Squirrel and Last One Standing.
So you know what you need to do, get yourself to Burnham on Saturday and support the fuck out of Steal The Smile. Stay in touch with them even if you can’t make it, because they will have some new music available soon and even some free tracks. Check them out on Facebook and MySpace and check out my previous posts on the boys of STS by clicking here.
The boys in the band are;
Luke Adamson- Vocals/Guitar
Henry Stevens- Guitar/Synth
Oli Mowbray- Bass
Johnny Yeates- Drums
Be there or be square on Saturday and get the boys from Steal The Smile into the Grand Final on December 4th. If I found out that you weren’t there, just remember……….. I know where you live!
Off to the NME/ Radio tent to kick off our third day at the Reading Festival, where we saw the Joy Formidable and they were indeed a formidable joy, if you’ve not heard them you really should check them out. After that it was back to the BBC Introducing Stage to see another band from Wakefield (remember the Penguins from yesterdays post?) These guys were called the Runaround Kids and I felt that they had a bit of the Undertones about them, the vocalist also has a similar style to Luke from Reading band Steal The Smile. Next up it was Local Natives from Los Angeles and this was their first Reading appearance. I am pretty damned sure that it won’t be the last for these purveyors of great summer pop harmonies. We trundled back to the BBC Introducing Stage again after that for another local band; the Peers. Very much a local band done good, they are a really tight band and seemed incredibly well rehearsed.Los Campesinos have as many personnel as Arcade Fire and are not dissimilar in sound, a very good band indeed.
After our earlier experience in the Comedy Tent (aka Alternative Stage) we returned to see two comics in a row. First up was Charlie Baker from Devon and bears a striking resemblance to Jack Black and he uses this as part of his act, genuinely a funny guy. Secondly we saw Robin Ince; a great ‘leftie’ comedian. We actually hit the comedy tent to get out of the rain, but in spite of that Baker and Ince were bloody hilarious.
The Festival Republic Stage was the next to be graced with our presence, we went there because neither Nick or I could be bothered with Limp Bizkit on the Main Stage. At this point let me tell you Nick’s Limp Bizkit joke; “Do you know that you can now put Viagra in your tea to stop your biscuit going limp?” Boom! Boom! Anyway back to the Festival Republic Stage, the band are from Philadelphia and are called Free Energy. Sadly it was a small crowd, but these guys could work a crowd of almost any size I reckon. The lead singer was very Jaggeresque and came across like Bobby Gillespie with more funk than Primal Scream. In a nutshell an archetypal classic rock band, truly fucking amazing.
Back to the Introducing Stage yet again for the Brilliant Things. The singer appeared to have dressed for the prom or was perhaps a fan of Stevie Nicks‘ (off of Fleetwood Mac) sartorial style. Thanks to Mr H for pointing out that latter suggestion. None of that was meant as negative though, the Brilliant Things are clearly a very good band. Kele off of Bloc Party was next in the NME/ Radio 1 Tent. Electro funk and dance styles really suit him, although I’m not sure the pyjamas did though. But nonetheless he played a storming set and worked his audience really well. Exit International were then on the Introducing Stage. They played screaming hard rock with perhaps too much emphasis on the screaming. It makes you wonder though exactly how the fuck three people can make such noise.
Weezer would easily win the best crowd interaction and comedy awards for the festival if such awards exist. The singer wore a cat hat given to him by someone in the crowd for most of their set. His energy was truly phenomenal and he even found time to fall in the mud while dressed as Lady Gaga. That was during their excellent MGMT cover which had a touch of Gaga thrown in. I am looking forward to seeing them again someday too. Paramore were next, they were very good and had a strong fan base in the crowd. Personally I thought they would have fitted better if they had been on before Weezer. Hayley’s voice was a little too low in the mix for the first couple of songs. The crowd really loved them.
Finally it was time for the last headline band of this years festival and most of us in the crowd had been in position since just before Weezer’s set, those at the front had been there even longer. Yes the stage was set for the return of Blink 182. I had never seen them live before, although I had seen Mark Hoppus with +44 (Travis had a broken arm that tour so didn’t appear, I never had the chance to see Tom Delonge’s Angels And Airwaves. But however good these Blink offshoots were they were surely nowhere near as good as the sum of the original parts. Their stage set, including some strange rabbit animations and a brilliant light show was excellent, but it was the power and camaraderie of the band that really shone through. They played a blistering set, just allowing a few moments of quite amusing toilet humour style banter between songs, including a great dig at Jedward. the crowd were really fired up and everyone I spoke to really loved it.
What a great close to a great festival. although when I first saw the line up back in March I thought I’d be disappointed, I even thought this might be my last Reading. Well I wasn’t and it won’t be! Roll on Reading 2011. Who will the headliners be? I don’t know but my guess at the moment is that it could be Linkin Park and maybe Green Day. I’d be happy with either of those. Who would you like to see there next year?
Tomorrow morning dear readers I will be travelling to the Reading Festival. Now for those of you from outside the UK who think this might have something to do with books, well it doesn’t, it’s all about rock music, with a dash of dance and comedy. I have been in attendance for more years than I care to recall now, many of those with my good friend Nick Horslen and that partnership is maintained this year once again.
I intend to provide you with a review post of the festival, but whether that will need to wait until Monday or Tuesday depends on the connectivity! The headliners this year are a really eclectic selection in my opinion. Friday night is Guns N Roses, who let’s face it aren’t Guns N Roses anymore are they? Saturday night brings Canada’s Arcade Fire, who I think are very good but a somewhat strange choice for headliners, but they are good friends of David Bowie and he has appeared on stage with them before, so my fingers are firmly crossed. Then to close on Sunday night it’s the turn of reformed pop punkers Blink 182. They are my son’s favourite band of all time, so he will certainly have a great festival and maybe in a few years we will get to see him play the hallowed Reading stage with his band Steal The Smile.
OK so here’s the deal, if you can’t make the festival, check the festival website then comment on this post and tell me the bands you’d like me to check out on your behalf and if I can fit them in I will. But if you are there feel free to get in touch via the blog, maybe I’ll even let you provide a guest review 🙂
I had the pleasure of attending yet another great gig promoted by Mr Simon Pattinson from York. It was another benefit for York Hospital Radio and £300 was raised. As usual Simon promoted a brilliant gig, you can’t really beat four excellent bands for £5 can you? But firstly let me apologise for missing Rosie who were the first on the bill. But all the people I spoke to that saw them rated them very highly.
The first band I saw on the night was the Paper Tigers. A great band name in my opinion and whilst their name says paper their sound is so much stronger. A female singer with a great rock vocal ability, a superbly tight rhythm section and a guitar sound reminiscent of Steve Jones aural attack with the Pistols. I’m sure from a visual perspective they might be compared to the likes of Paramore. But believe me these guys are bloody good in their own right. They can rock out and they can be mellow. I particularly loved their song “Rebellion” and frankly anyone who writes a song called rebellion is more than alright with me! I hope they go on to bigger things.
The next band up were the Shadracks, how good a name is that? A really exciting band who I suspect really know how to party. They’re from Scarborough and even have a song in their repertoire about that very town, which they referred to as a shit hole. But then don’t we all think the town we come from is a shit hole. Hillingdon, where I came from certainly is. The Shadracks sound was reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys before they got a bit pretentious and up themselves. They also carry a great dose of superb northern wit with them. They had, sadly, run out of CDs ( a real shame, because I definitely would have bought one!) but to make up for it they brought along a load of hand-made party goody bags containing sweets and tied up with a glow in the dark wrist band. All this was hand crafted by the singers Mum. Now that is a brilliant touch! I absolutely loved their song “Lucy Locket”. Their disco Bomb activity worked well, getting everyone to crouch down and then, on the count of four, jump up and pogo. I have seen the Streets do this at Reading, but that audience was far more sedate than the Shadracks audience! I would definitely pay to see these guys again.
The headliners were Surprise Fire, these guys really know how to rock and how to work the audience. I bought their EP before they had finished their third song! A really powerful guitar sound and a great heavy drummer. This is a band with a social conscience (check out their song “Coal”) and a great sense of fun (they had us all join in a rendition of Happy Birthday for their friend Daniel). The singers vocal wasn’t mixed very well for the first couple of songs, but even then they were still very good and just got better! I can see them working really well as part of a support package to someone like Rage Against The Machine. They would go down a storm at the Reading Festival given the chance.
So after my last gig it seem that normal service has been resumed. Regular readers will know that my last gig review contained a view of probably the worst band I have ever seen. This gig was excellent and I would definitely seek out all the bands again given the chance. I will also check out Rosie, seeing as how working late made me miss them.
Finally, if Simon can fill Stereo, how come whenever my son’s band Steal The Smile play at the FaceBar in Reading there is hardly anyone there? It’s all about promotion in my opinion, some promoters promote and many others don’t!
First off let me apologise to all the bands that I didn’t get to see on Sunday, especially the headliners from Brighton, Mimi Soya. Sadly work commitments meant I to leave immediately after a great set by a band you’ve heard about many times before on this blog, Steal The Smile. But more about them later. I saw four bands in the end at a total cost in the region of £100 and a total mileage of 400 miles. So at £25 and 100 miles per band did I get value for money? Overall yes. Did I get value for money from every band? You can judge that by reading below, but can you guess who didn’t provide value for money? Once again at this venue there was hardly anyone in the audience, what is it with promoters? Do they not get that their job title consists of the actual word ‘promote’?
First up were the Mardies. I thought they were pretty good, although some of their songs seemed a little ‘samey’. The clear exception to this rule was the rather excellent “Dancing With Thieves” (I hope I got the title right girls!). My first impression of this all girl band was of Sixpence None The Richer with balls. So overall not a bad performance and their harmonies were immense (4 out of 5)
Next up were Nicotine, which is supposed to be addictive, but this lot were a long way from addictive in my humble opinion. Guys if you are reading this review you might wish to stop now! The two vocalists were really trying the shouty, screamy vocal style, for which you need to have really good vocal styling, clearly they didn’t. It was also bloody difficult to understand anything they said, even when they were speaking. One of the guitarists/ vocalists had a Sandie Shaw thing going on with his feet going bare. If that helped improve his vocals I’m glad I didn’t hear him sing with his shoes on! Some of their guitar work was ok, but for me it felt like the drummer was playing a completely different song in a completely different band. Overall it seemed like their mission was to take the wonderful simplicity of someone like the Ramones (but not the ability) and then complicate the fuck out of it. They finished with a cover version of the Troggs “Wild Thing” which included the worst vocal of the night and probably the worst cover of this great song that I have ever heard and I have heard plenty. Boys, don’t give up the day jobs (1 out of 5)
The third band on was the excellently named the Fortunate. They’re from Basingstoke and have been going for around 18 months. They consist of three guys (bass, guitar and drums) and an excellent female singer who also played keyboards. Their sound is quite crisp and fresh, although for the first song the vocals were way too low in the mix. But after that it was great. The diminutive singer, Natalie, reminded me a little of Clare Grogan off of Altered Images. Overall the fortunate are a very tight band with a great pop sensibility. I would certainly pay to see them again and I purchased their excellent 3 track CD. (5 out of 5)
Finally, as far as my day went anyway, it was the turn of the mighty Steal The Smile, who were once again without Henry who was off on a solo acoustic tour of Grimsby and Scunthorpe. Well ok I made that bit up, he is on holiday in the USA. Oli, Johnny and Luke played well enough for Henry not to be missed on the night. They really are getting tighter as a band and some of their playing seems to intuitively read what one of the others is doing or going to do. Johnny was by far the best drummer from all the four bands I saw at the gig on Sunday. The boys played a five song set which included two relatively new songs; “Always Wrong” and “Two Years Down” both are now available on MySpace and the second is still available on this blog by clicking here. You can also read more of my STS blog posts by clicking here. Obviously I would hand over my cash to see these boys again and sometime soon too. (5 out of 5) Keep on rocking guys!
So here we are on another UK Public Holiday weekend and guess what? It’s raining. Someone once said to me that there is an easy way to tell when it’s summer in the UK. Do you know how? Well it’s quite simple really, the rain is warm! So here I am stuck indoors so I thought I’d put together a slightly random post that captures a lot of the stuff I have been meaning to blog about for a while, so here goes.
Firstly way back on the 13th May I finally got to see my son Luke play a gig with his band Steal The Smile. They were the second band on that night in the FaceBar at Reading. The band on before them were, and I’m being nice here, in need of an awful lot more practice. Apologies to the bands that followed, but we left for some scoff at TGI Fridays! Steal The Smile played a great six song set which included some of their older and newer stuff along with the obligatory Blink 182 cover. I can tell you that all the boys in the band are looking forward to seeing Blink at the Reading Festival in August. It was a real pity that Steal The Smile were once again badly let down by a promoter in that they had to hang around for three hours for a sound check that never actually materialised and by the time they played there were nowhere near as many people as there could have been. The band wasn’t paid for this gig, but I bet the promoter was! What is it with promoters, and I use the term loosely here, who simply book a venue and some bands and do bugger all else? Is it a stupid assumption that promoters ought to promote? I think not! So if there are any good promoters out there (i.e those with brain cells that at least run into double figures) then get in touch with the boys and book them! You can find them on Facebook and MySpace. Keep visiting too, as there is a revamp being lined up and possibly a lot of new stuff!
Steal The Smile live at the FaceBar in Reading May 13th 2010
There were a couple of quite amusing moments during their set. Firstly the sound guy was trying to speak to them over the sound of the music and clearly couldn’t make himself heard. It did make me wonder how much he actually knew about sound! So finally Luke just gave the instruction “Articulate” like a rock n roll Dalek, needless to say there was still no response from Mr Sound. The other part was just before the final song when Luke said “This is the point in the show where I usually tell the audience how beautiful they are. But with a large part of the audience being my Dad it seemed a bit strange” Johnny then made a point of telling me that he thought I was beautiful, hmmmmm I worry about the drummer! Finally on Steal The Smile for now, it’s not too late to get hold of an exclusive free song from them, just click here for a previous post of mine to get your mitts on it!
Next up Glastonbury has lost U2 this year thanks to Mr Hewson’s back problems, which were apparently quite serious. Anyway there is a little silver lining in that their replacement will be the Gorillaz. In their current incarnation the Gorillaz contain not one, but two, former members of the best band ever; the Clash! yes Mick Jones and Paul Simonon are both in the touring band and bizarrely wearing sailors hats as part of the new album Plastic Beach’s nautical theme. I think I may have to get a hold of some tickets for their tour later this year. Read the BBC article on the revised Glasto line up here. Below you can watch the video for the first single from Plastic Beach, it’s called “Stylo” and features Damon Albarn, Mos Def and Bobby Womack
On May 24th there was the news of the tragic death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray aged just 38. I have taken some stick from many Slipknot fans in the past for using an incorrect picture of them without masks, but whilst that has been a bit of fun and banter I am sure all fans of the band are pretty upset and hurt by his death. To lose a music hero is not pleasant, I know how I felt on hearing about the death of John Lennon, Bob Marley and Joe Strummer. So my sympathies go to Paul Gray’s friends and family and to all Slipknot fans around the world. In his memory here are the band with the video for “Psychosocial”
Yesterday saw the sad news that Gary Coleman the diminutive star of the US sitcom ‘Diffr’nt Strokes has died. He had kidney problems all his life which meant he never grew above 4 feet 8 inches. His most famous catch phrase from the show was “What you talking about Willis?” Willis being his older brother in the show. Hed was clearly popular in the music fraternity too as the testimonials on the NME report of his death show. Kind words from Blink 182, Janet Jackson and Katy Perry
And finally for this post, have you seen the new Miike Snow video, for his song ‘The Rabbit’? It’s really strange. It has a bearded kid and a re-enactment of a 2 Live Crew album cover. Click here to see it. Let me know what you think of it
Hello good people of the blogosphere, this is a quick post to say a big thank you. After 14 months my blog has now surpassed 500,000 hits, I am truly blown away. In that time there have been 125 posts from me and there have also been 268 comments and I must confess it’s the comments that I love most! So keep ’em coming folks!
Now listen folks, you don't have to come to my house to read my blog, just do it on line, it's much easier!
The top search terms that directed people to this blog in that period have been; Pink Floyd, Lily Allen, Kate Bush, Slipknot, Catwoman, Beatles, Pink, Michael Jackson Thriller, Bjork and Creed. Strangely of all the tags I have added the top five are David Bowie, The Beatles, Steal The Smile, BBC and Kate Bush of which only the Beatles and Kate Bush feature in the most searched list
Steal The Smile are also among the top 3 links made from my blog, with a large number of people heading to their MySpace page, click here to take that journey yourself!
I would also like to thank some other bloggers who have direct plenty of traffic my way and I recommend that you check them out;
As usual I would like to mark this occasion with a song, can any of you guess why I chose this particular song? Incidentally it is Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” performed below by Matthews Southern Comfort
This one will be a bit of a random post, kind of the post with absolutely no theme whatsoever. Now there’s an idea, how about a future post all about TV and movie themes? Me likes that!
First up is a great clip of Talcy Malcy’s funeral winding its way through London. Truly an entertainer to the very end. Cash from Chaos indeed (actually that sounds a bit banking industry related, only for them it was chaos from cash I suppose!) Click here to see my recent post on the death of Mr McLaren
One of the songs played at Malcolm McLaren’s funeral was Sid Vicious’ version of the Paul Anka penned Frank Sinatra classic “My Way” Check it out below
I would also like to remind you that you can still get an exclusive Steal The Smile track “Two Years On” from my recent post about this superb young band. Click here to go to that post and download the song. Trust me, you WILL NOT be disappointed! You can also click here to view some video footage of the STS boys (Henry, Johnny, Luke & Oli) hard at work and having plenty of fun in the studio. They also have another gig coming up in a couple of weeks at the FaceBar in Reading. I’ll be there, why don’t you get your arses down there too? Check out the boys playing the FaceBar from a couple of years back, with an excellent cover of Pendulum’s “Blood Sugar”
OK I said this would be random and indeed it is. Do you have any idea what John Squire off of the Stone Roses and the Seahorses has been up to lately? Well he has been doing new designs for the covers of classic Penguin books. How rock ‘n’ Roll is that? Click here to see his handiwork.
I think this looks just a teensy weensy bit like a stone rose, what do you think?
The Sunday Times has published a list of the richest young UK music stars, all under thirty. Joint top are Charlotte Church, Katherine Jenkins and Leona Lewis, all worth an alleged £11m each, followed by Katie Melua and Cheryl Cole, both worth a measly £10m each. Craig David is the highest placed man at a lowly 7th place with just a tiny £8m in the piggy bank, bo selecta indeed! I wonder if the other girls off of Girls Aloud are envious of Cheryl being worth twice as much as each of them? Click here to read more. The full list is;
1. Charlotte Church £11M
1. Katherine jenkins£11M
1. Leona Lewis £11M
4. Cheryl Cole £10M
4. Katie Melua £10M
6. Joss Stone £9M
7. Craig David £8M
8. Natasha Bedingfield £6M
9. Lily Allen £5M
9. Nadine Coyle £5M
9. Sarah Harding £5M
9. Nicola Roberts £5M
9. Kimberly Walsh £5M
9. Jamie Cullum £5M
9. Duffy £5M
9. James Morrison £5M
9. Paolo Nutini £5M
9. Amy Winehouse £5M
It’s clear to me that there are hundreds or maybe even thousands of bands playing and recording around the UK who remain unsung and unsigned while the industry falls over itself to sign the next X Factor style pop muppet. people this is WRONG! It is up to you to stand up and be counted, it is up to you to make the choice, you need to take action! So put down your tabloid, stop playing on the Wii (or whatever else you use), stop playing with yourself and get out there and support some real music support bands that write and play their own songs. But do it now, otherwise you WILL be blamed for the wall-to-wall shitstorm of Jedward, Joe McElderry and other pop wannabees that poisons the airwaves.
Not everything in life is black and white but Steal The Smile are in this photograph
So where can you start your campaign to get some real music? Let me reintroduce you to a band I have blogged about before; Ladies, Gentlemen and those of you who aren’t quite sure which you are yet I give you the mighty STEAL THE SMILE. These boys are aiming to put the punk back into pop and I for one believe that they can do it! Every generation has something that shakes up their musical world; The 50s had Elvis, the 60s had the Beatles, the 70s had punk, the 80s had Rave, the 90s had Britpop and frankly the noughties had nothing, so we are well overdue something or someone to do the business for the ‘noughteenies’ Will that something be STEAL THE SMILE? I don’t see why not.
By day they are mild-mannered Supermarket Workers and Marine Engineers amongst other things, but by night these guys ROCK!
Not only that but I have a very, very exclusive giveaway for you courtesy of Luke, Henry, Johnny and Oli. It’s a track that has so far not been heard outside the STS inner circle. It’s called “Two Years On” and you are just a click away from owning it. All I ask is that you support the fuck out of these boys!