Doors open at 4pm with tickets priced at £7 (advance) and £10 (otd) – as presented by This is Tmrw. For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.
Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam have been out on the road with YR Poetry, touring their latest double release since the 25th July. The August 5th gig at the Hare & Hounds is a stone’s throw from the end of their oddly alliterated tour and a chance to see the MAMMOTH 20 track LP get some serious stage time. Plus check the wider line up… for a tenner downwards you can’t really go wrong there.
So what’s the ‘ere LP all about then? Littered with short, sharp shocks the Sink or Swim / The Mirage double whammy is the fourth/fifth long playing endevour from SFL. Opening with the twisted garage rock of one of the album’s title tracks, we slide into some kick drum led punk pretty quick and then bounce around the two.
The other title track delivers a longer wall of sound and pedal kissed rock, before introducing a second half that would have felt right at home on the sticky Hummingbird and Black Horse dance floors of yore… that’ll separate the men from the older men. Then there’s the album’s closer, ‘Drunk in the Sea’, with a psychedelic kiss goodnight.
But it’s live you want to see this band. The last time Birmingham Review stood in front of Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam was back in May this year, again at the Hare & Hounds, when they supported Victories at Sea. Ouch. Then there’s the wider line up to this ‘all dayer’ album launch who are, for the most part, pretty high on our ‘I’ll call in sick tomorrow’ list.
Can’t argue at that for a crinkled Charles Darwin; but if you need a little more twist to your arm…
‘Sink or Swim’ – Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam
The Mirage – Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam
Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam headline and host their ‘all dayer’ album launch for Sink or Swim / The Mirage at the Hare & Hounds on Saturday 5th August – as presented by This is Tmrw. For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.
*Birmingham Review caught up with Table Scraps just before the doors opened. To watch our interview with the band click here, or on the YouTube window at the end of this BREVIEW*
There are more qualified people here tonight, than I. As the evening rolls out conversations about blues, rock, blues rock, punk, rockabilly and the hangover of Ozzy Osbourne (figuratively), I stand on the periphery looking in. My extensive knowledge of the Tori Amos back catalogue won’t help me here.
Luckily, I have Damien Russell: drinking companion, back up wordsmith and the Cyrano de Bergerac of American blues and pan Atlantic punk. All the informed references come from him. The visceral reactions (which you could argue are just as punk as punk) and tired metaphors, they come from me.
A packed room cut in half, the Hare & Hounds Venue 2 (minus the back bar..?) is comfortably crowded as Black Mekon take the stage – and I mean take, jumping more than any men in matching jackets and Kato masks may have ever jumped before. A searing harmonica cuts over a steady, kick, drum… in a barrage of twisted blues. Strings break, shoulder straps break, speaker stacks hiss; the bouncing boy to my left is told politely “…ok, ok.” Reds, greens and dry ice take us into a double jab at “the welfare state” as short blast songs punch their way around an eagerly complicit crowd. “You’ve got to understand, Black Mekon can’t die.” The room continues to fill.
As Round One comes to a close we make a short trip through doors not meant for us, past a cigarette, then into a curiously quiet downstairs bar; maybe amphetamine is making a comeback. “Do you get the feeling if Nick Cage was to start a punk band…” offers Damien, as I write down perhaps the only intelligent part of my summary.
Some more conversations about Americana, blues and the relevance of territory and skin colour, then back up stairs for Round Two – or Table Scraps, as the bill poster presents them. I feel somewhat more confident as I do know some, not all, but enough Table Scraps songs to confidently chip in from this point, and no one is in this room by mistake. But I have ears, the Internet and not just red headed piano players in my iTunes account. And like all artificial intelligence, I too can learn.
But when the immediately faster tempo throws itself on our mercy, or perhaps the other way around, I don’t really care. See, I used an adverb, that’s how reckless I’ve become. Table Scraps on record sound gloriously DIY, but live there an added sheen. I heard ‘Motorcycle’ in the soundcheck (one of my repeated Table Scraps endevours, if not only for the lyrics) and had been “surprised at how clean the sound was”. But being neither musician nor sound engineer, this was the first of my potentially garrulous assumptions.
On stage, tonight, hidden by a sea of frenetic heads, Table Scraps sound raw, low, deep, punchy and all the other adjectives a fucking rock band should be. Or punk, or whatever the appropriate genre moniker may be here (please refer to line one). By the time ‘Electricity’ is basking in a frenetic but tight guitar solo, I’m fully on board. This is fun.
The song of the hour is up next, ‘My Obsession’, as the Table Scraps half of the latest 45 Consortium 7” gets drop kicked off stage; fierce and threatening, in a good way, like some clever simile involving Christian Slater and a Magnum .44. Then an elongated misstep proves DIY is still DIY, and a well natured “…fucking drummers man,” from Scott Abbott take us into a track the set list calls ‘Teeth’. God bless garage rock, a repeated chorus and ‘belched out’ harmonies – it’s good to see something so tight yet so confident, even in its fuck ups. It makes me like them more.
The addition of Tim Mobbs seems to have helped bolster the bolshy two piece into a more well rounded trio, with the band themselves citing the added freedom they now enjoy – on stage and in the logistic that get them there. Mobbs also has a Theremin, which he plays sporadically (is there any other way..?) by using the head of his bass guitar. It adds some extra colour and twist, no pun intended, and for some reason makes me think of the child’s chemistry set I used to own. No idea why, but warm and fuzzy is the end result.
There are moments in the rest of the set where the rapid punches move to more obvious body blows, as elements of grunge and stadium rock wrestle each other on stage. And there is some similarity to a band whose name suggests a violent approach to large seeded fruit… But the tag team vocals and unashamed solos bring a fresh edge. It is perhaps also worth pointing out that being 5ft 7” on a good day I can’t see much of what’s going on at the front of the room; I write and record this evening relying on my more audible senses.
“You know this one…” yells Abbot, before ‘Motorcycle’ stands as the penultimate track of the night – with no pretence of an encore strutting itself to the wings and back. It’s a big sound to get right in a small room, but Table Scraps have delivered their set with aplomb and I am itching with something to see them on a large outdoor stage. Roll on September 16th.
But for now it’s back downstairs for more cider, by-partisan backslapping and reference points I will have to note down and research. Now what exactly is a ‘Black, Flag..?’
INTERVIEW: Table Scraps @ Hare & Hounds – 27.04.17
Doors open at 8pm, with tickets are priced at a friendly £5 (+ booking fee). For more direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here. You must be over 18 years old to ride this ride.
‘Belched out of the Midlands’, one of our favourite quotes this year, Table Scraps are busily terrorising people across the UK with a four date tour – coming to their home turf on Thursday 27th April for the official launch of ‘My Obsession’, their latest single. And now greater in number, with the addition of TJ on bass guitar and vocals, Table Scraps are official 33.333 recurring louder. “Hello… sorry, what? From the Environmental Health. No, no one of that name here… Try the Weatherspoons.”
Released as part of Black Mekon’s 45 Consortium series – a series of six limited 7” vinyl press singles, featuring Black Mekon on one side and a guest artist on t’other – ‘My Obsession’ is ‘a tense and brooding slab of menace anchored around a hypnotic fuzz bass and primal drum groove.’ Sounds like most Monday mornings to me.
What the Black Mekon side of the 7” is, we sadly cannot say. It’s either a closely guarded secret or a digital marketing mishap, but we’ve scoured the public domain (their website, Clash Magazine, Discogs…) and come up with nothing but mystery.
But I guess that’s what Thursday’s all about, and costing a mere five British Pounds Sterling you’re likely to get more bang for your buck than a convoluted scratch card. And some 3D glasses. Win win.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, here’s Table Scrap’s official video to ‘My Obsession’ – produced, as always, by the bionic three piece themselves. Viddy my droogs, what bolshy horrorshow warbles from Birmingham’s ‘most respected (and feared) fuzz merchants:
‘My Obsession’ – Table Scraps
Table Scraps + Black Mekon play at the Hare & Hounds on Thursday 27th April – launching ‘My Obsession’ through the 45 Consortium series of limited releases. For direct gig info and online tickets sales, click here.