Bristol – Trio of Bands, Women, Punk Revival and Politics

Bristol - Trio of Bands, Women, Punk Revival and Politics

Trio of Bands, Women, Punk Revival and Politics

Opening the proceedings of a night organised by Victoria Bourne of Husky Tones are a young band Drunken Butterfly. The trio is retro punk with modern lyrics. At times it was so retro it was nostalgic, bring back memories (well for the older members) of a diverse audience at The Louisiana tonight.

Tonight the trio bought energy as they performed their own numbers form current EP and a cover of PJ Harvey a big inspirational force on Darcie, bassist & vocalist, Alice guitarist & Katie on drums summing up the power behind them with the slogan Girls Unite. The band is raw and youthful as they open tonight’s proceedings; With Sister, Not all Men and Socialist in The City, title track of the EP with confidence they played a new number performing it live for the first time tonight,; Good Bye Union, reflecting on Brexit. Drunken Butterfly with hints of many bands from the past including Poly Styrene have the potential to make a noise that will be long appreciated on the music scene.

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Bristol Trio of Bands, Women , Punk Revival and PoliticsNext Husky Tones, a duo that re-defines what combining  vocals, guitar and drums can achieve. Tonight the music was loud, punk-blues fitting in with the evening. Victoria Bourne & Chris Harper have a wide catalogue, always shaping the music to the audience.  Opening with Round The Wrekin from the inspirational album Who Will I Turn To Now. The title track a salutary tale of the reality of the UK benefits system in 2017.  The music fell out of the speakers with spirited, raw attitude from the power of the sticks and the sublime edgy and raw licks of the guitar. . Momentum; one of the highlights live with the combination of Victoria’s drumming, vocals, strong lyrics and  deep chugging rhythm from Chris’ guitar.  The upbeat party vibe lifted the mood These Hips Are Made For You, fast furious and still angry hence ‘punk-blues. Short set, including to celebrating living in Bristol for six-years a Portishead cover, Glory Box they may have sung the lyric-‘ I’m so tired, of playing’, truth is we never tire of listening to the duo that is never afraid to stretch the blues with punk and fun.

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Bristol Trio of Bands, Women , Punk Revival and PoliticsClosing the night, the legendary Rita Lynch. Rita has sung punk since the days in London with her own band in the 1980’s. He fame rose as  bassist in Bristol band Blue Aeroplanes. Her music is always edgy politically motivated and so much more. Rita creates sonic imaginary as she explores social, philosophical thoughts and sexuality . Music with a clear message.  Closing with an authentic true Punk Rock sound with hefty chords, great rhythm guitar from Rita tonight augmented her voice as she stood on tip toes to deliver here recognizable sound.  The set was accomplished weaving in tones of Patti Smith, Pat Rook and The Kinks. A very infectious sound played by a top-notch performer.  The set list was full of numbers and we were left wanting to hear more; opening with Tied To You , with hope and losing included this was a set where the lyrics covered the hurt and never-ending cycle of life, at the heart Hope. We all say thank you Pandora for leaving that in the box.

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Tonight, we heard three bands united by feminist lead attitude. Led by three strong musicians who happen to be women and for once women on the stage outnumbered the men.  A great night of local music celebrating beliefs, hope and above all punk inspired entertaining sounds and lyrics that cut through to the heart of the issues. Long live music and welcome the day when fairness and equality is a reality not a hope.

Dave Arcari ~ Live @ Beaufort Ballroom: June 2015

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0112l

Dave Arcari
Beaufort Ballroom, Ebbw Vale
13th June 2015


Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0062lDave stepped on the stage and we were in for a night of wild blues that is full-on acoustic there is never anything subtle this is blues that hits you in your solar plexus and works up the spine with excitement and anticipation as he plays from his back catalogue. Tonight in the opening few numbers he slipped in a couple of numbers on his much anticipated new album. He shared that the song writing was slow and having read about getting your song writing mojo back to avoid travelling songs he ignored that convention with not one but two travelling blues numbers – no hints of trains or whistles as he launched into Travelling Man on his signature shiny National guitar, about life on the road. The second new number had the stomp box creating a deep back drop to his high energy stage presence on I Went To America reflecting his recent gigging experiences.

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0042lTonight we heard songs on his banjo, electric resonator, and his black National that always receives murmurs of approval from the audience I love that guitar, as he performed the title track from the album Got Me Electric. With stomp as well this was a number full of static electricity that fizzed and raised the hairs on your neck. Earlier in the set another track from the album Parcel of Rogues received a cheer in the setting of Robbie Burns’ poem written in 1791 about the act of union that is as relevant today with its anti-traitor sentiment. We had a version of Robert Johnson’s, Preachin’ Blues that is his own take on delta blues revitalizing the oft heard number, and making you realise with your attention caught the full depth of the this authentic number, found on Whisky In My Blood.

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0185lFitting for a man dressed in black we have his tribute to the great Johnny Cash, Blue Train you never get many covers in the show but when you do they have the distinction of being given the Arcari treatment. Ending the first set with Good Friend Blues, a simple blues number which sounds so stunning because of that dirty slide driven ‘Black beast of a guitar’ leaving everyone wanting more after a short break.


Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0115lThe second set was full of percussive distorted music that is the signature of Mr Arcari and his guitar, a singer songwriter who stands out in a crowd with his ability to tell a tale that shapes around the music. Cherry Wine is always a favourite of mine a highlight of his Whisky In My Blood album with the added value today of his fantastic stomp box that really adds to the live solo act. This was followed by Devil’s Left Hand that he played for the first time when opening for Steve Earle who famously wrote Devil’s Right Hand. Also from the album of the same title we heard Hangman’s Blues and Texacalli Waltz; a hard arsed fu***d up blues as he waltz’s with his black demon of a guitar; perfect synergy.

Dave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0262lHis music is eclectic a variety of styles and his playing really suits Mississippi Hill Country music and a tribute to Cedell Davis, which had his own distinctive guitar style closed the evening See Me Laughing leaving everyone wanting some more. We had the encore with the beast where he got off the stage close up to the audience, no amplification, no leads, no effects with a memorable version of Dust My Broom, a wonderful end to a great night of live music incorporating jamming with the audience and the stepping up on stage for some stylish harp playing from Christian Presse on Walkin’ Blues.

Tonight, as ever he delivered his two sets in his usually infectiously energetic way, punctuated with his amusing anecdotes and thoughts of a travelling musician, above all though it is the combination of his voice one moment loud and raucous wiDave Arcari - The Beaufort - June 2015_0018lth punk blues guitar work and then he shows the gentler side and what a marvelous voice he has. He is the entertainer who does what he does enjoying every note refusing to conform as he shares his energetic In-Your-Face Blues of the most honest type the authentic sound of Dave Arcari a Ronseal – Marmite Performer. He plays one of the best sounding steel guitars I have ever heard for me the man in black can’t pay too much of his black beast and the louder the better.


Set 1                                                            Set 2
Dreamt I was 0ne Hundred                            Stagolee
Travelling Man                                               Homesick & Blue
Cotton on My Back                                        Cherry Wine
I Went To America                                        Devils’ Left Hand
Still Friends                                                  Another Chance
Parcel of Rogues                                           Bring my Baby Back
Whisky in my Blood                                      Can’t Be Satisfied
Preachin’ Blues                                             Hangman’s Blues
Trouble in Mind                                             Texicalli Waltz
No Easy Way                                                Close to the Edge
Got Me Electric                                             See Me Laughing
Blue Train                                                    Good Friend Blues

Walkin’ Blues (Encore)

CD Review – Go Forth and Multiply – Well Hung Heart

Well Hung HeartWHH - Cover-1
Go Forth and Multiply
Out May 5th sn GROWvision Records

Having seen Well Hung Heart, live at The Globe in Cardiff as part of The Hoax current tour I was more than a tad excited to be listening to the album – I had high expectations as I loaded the album, thankfully I was not disappointed. The opening track was straight in at a ripping rocky pace the title is ‘Big Plans’ and the album certainly has big plans when it comes to musicality and style. There can be no argument Well Hung Heart are avant-garde, delivering a live sound with minimal over-dubbing, that melds and welds together a full plectrum of sounds that can be plucked and strummed out of a guitar.
WHH - Cover-3

This is a whirlwind of genres swirled together, punk, grunge, rock and underpinning deep in the undergrowth of sound is the blues, not as anyone would instantly recognise but there is no doubt Robin has incorporated blues guitar into this eclectic mix. This is a band that refuses to be encapsulated in aspic but runs free to deliver music they love and want you to enjoy the journey with them. It is at times unbelievable that this is a trio the sound they produce reminds me of stadia rock and at times early ZZ top. The band is Californian based with Greta Valenti with her powerful vocals that can change from raunchy, belting out rock and then deliver the gentlest softest lyric, she has a wonderful range full of tones and complexities; at times reminding me of Bjork and Siouxsie from the Banshees. Mix this with the skills and deft touch of Robin Davey (The Hoax) playing both bass and lead guitar you have a powerful mix of musical skills and understanding of how to deliver an interesting sound with perfect timing and control. Joining the party as drummer is Phil Wilson who adds that driving dimension of beat perfect timing and delightful backing vocals adding another layer of sound. Every one of the eleven tracks are gems in their own right the vocals on ‘Made For Leaving’ are full of yearning with artful use of soul in the voice that is accompanied by gentle but persistent drumming, the tempo fills out as Robin joins in with some delightful guitar work such a contrast and unexpected it is almost a ballad. The feeling of anger, rebellion and protestation is bubbling underneath many of the tracks but comes to boiling point in ‘Rehab is for Rich Kids’! If John Peel was alive surely this would be part of his current play-list, musically complete, different and above all true to the artistry of the musicians who are Well Hung Heart. This may not be the Blues! but Go Forth and Multiply is an album of today full of relevant undertones and is cracking music and is addictive always a measure of a cracking album.

Line Up
Greta Valenti – Vocals, Keys, Lyrics, and melodiesWHH - Cover-2
Robin Davey – Guitars, Bass, and Riffs
Phil Wilson – Drums, percussion, and backing vocals

Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of five doodle paws a doodle rating of
pawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inch

There is still time to catch them perform live and buy the CD

25th April The Cluny, Newcastle
26th April O2 ABC Glasgow

The Dirty Aces – Live and Recorded

The Garage in Swansea is a venue that is now putting on a variety of blues acts regularly and tonight The Dirty Aces with the mighty Giles Robson were the act delivering the music live from the stage.

Opening tonight was local bluesman Gordon Wride, tonight the Revelators were a duo with a harmonica player joining Gordon delivering a set of Chicago Blues, Robert Johnson and Howling Wolf that set the ambiance for the evening as we all waited for a new line-up for The Dirty Aces, Giles robson (Harp & Vocals),Filip Kozlowski (Guitar) and new to the line-up Simon Small (Drums) and Tom Hull (Bass).

Dirty Aces - The Garage, Swansea - Feb 2014 - DSC_0203l

Tonight we were treated to a display of British Blues with a modern edge with tracks from previous C.D. “Crooked Heart of Mine” and their latest E.P Sinnin’ ‘Gainst Me creating a high octane beat that drove the tracks forward creating a live sound that delivered a real feel good factor from the opening note through to the closing note as the music faded away and everyone would have liked to have heard more. There is no doubt that the new E.P and line-up were delivering a different sound with more than a twist of anarchy curtsey of a punk beat; and rougher making the performance seem slightly edgy and riskier; this revamp makes The Dirt Aces a really exciting live act. Giles as ever led and shaped the form and texture of every track with the combination of his distinctive laid back haunting vocals and his very own style of blues harp, definitely dirty , high tempo this was a virtuoso performance and set the band out from the rest. Giles is able to walk the wild side of blues thanks to the rest of the Dirty Aces who provide a solid bedrock of musicianship that lays down the perfect platform for Giles to soar from and at times almost go free-form taking a leaf out jazzy blues.

Dirty Aces - The Garage, Swansea - Feb 2014 - DSC_0206lFilip Kozlowski provides a lead guitar sound that compliments the vocals and with Giles’ harp at times there is an interesting battle as to which instrument is in the ascendency this friendly duel adds an exciting dimension to the band, ensuring that this is a band the blends and bends the tracks to allow all the skills to shine through – it is not the case of I am the leader you follow… Simon Small the drummer has a style that is recognisable and with his at times broken, not quite complete blues shuffles suits the measured anarchic side of the band when combined with his impeccable timing and delivering of a beat that makes the rest of the band feel secure with this skilful anchorman at the back who is never going to hide behind the symbol as he drives the tempo and keeps the shape on every track. In to the mix add Tom Hull, on bass, despite being the first outing with The Dirty Aces he provided interesting bass lines that add to the mix swelling the depth of sound and adding a funky twang to many of the tracks performed. The tracks from the latest E.P. demonstrate the quality of lyrics as evidenced on ‘That Simple Step‘, with the beautiful harp opening that sets the tone of wishfulness and strength that fits in with the lyrics delivered in a soft vocal countering the high pitch assertive harp, that goes to the depth of your soul and sends tingles up the spine as the music draws you in until only the stage matters, this is hypnotic harp playing. The set was interspersed with Dirty Aces favourites including Mighty Incinerator, Devil Led Evil and Cooling Board and some exciting new tracks including a very apposite, apocalyptic number ‘When That Final Storm Rolls In’ considering the bout of rain that has fallen from this sky over the last few months, this is true Devil music that stirs up a range of emotions. And what Giles referred to as his Jeremy Kyle song, with its modern, strong lyrics, ‘The Song of All Our Songs’ (apologies if the title is not quite right but this was a superb number and my personal favourite of the evening). All too soon it was the end of a the set that took the audience through every emotion and ensured a good-time, the encore was The Dirty Aces, unique take on House of The Rising Sun, this is no cover as it is given the harp treatment by Giles; like all great bands you were left wanting more..

After the pictures – review of a tantalizing E.P. my only wish thatit was much much longer…

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dirty aces ep

The Dirty Aces – Sinnin’ ‘Gainst Me –

This is a three track E.P. A tempting taster of the re-vamped The Dirty Aces, a raunchier, bluesy punk sound that full of energy that is focussed into the lyrics and music creating a full upbeat driving rhythm that has a real twist of punk, this is controlled anarchy! Giles leads from the front but he is one of the Dirty Aces not a front man who expects the band to follow this is musicians working as one to create a complex woven tapestry of sound that takes you on a mesmerising journey as his hypnotic harp style acts apun the senses like a blues version of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Each of the three tracks are distinctive sound opening with the title track you are treated to 3 minutes of a journey starting of deep with a bass intro, then the tempo and tone rises as the harp joins then some percussive drumming then vocals and guitar joining this party of sound; it is an infectious foot tapping hand clapping track that makes you sit up and take notice. That Simple Step the middle track opens with harp and has a break-neck tempo that the vocals calm down as you realise often what seems to be a simple step is full of complications and confusions, the music reflects the fear that The Simple Step often generates; the playing of cymbals really represents the hesitancy we have all experienced when taking a life-changing decision. The all too soon it is the last track Ain’t No Forgetting, punk really comes to the fore right from the oft with the count in and the music just follows on this is a track that would get crowds to there feet, other stomping, it is impossible to sit still whilst the tempo rips through your body and soul. This is a great introduction but like a taster menu, the music is delicious but you are left in the lurch and wanting more a bigger earful of this great blues sound… counting the minutes until a full CD is released until then these three tracks will just have to suffice…