BREVIEW: The Moonlandingz @ Hare & Hounds 28.03.17

BREVIEW: Goat Girl – supporting The Moonlandingz @ Hare & Hounds 28.03.17 / Denise Wilson - Birmingham Review




Words by Steve Crawford / Pics by Denise Wilson

Tonight’s support, Goat Girl, are a four piece South London band from an emerging DIY indie scene. Signed to Rough Trade last year, they’ve been getting great reviews whenever they play live. Songs that build slowly with quiet-loud sections, repeating guitar riffs with a twang played against a tribal, Cramps like drum beat. Spleen is vented in songs like ‘Creep’ and ‘Country Sleaze’ – delivered in nonchalant, laid back vocals from singer/guitarist Lottie. An album is due out later this year which possibly means Goat Girl will return to Birmingham at some point as a headline act?

After a comprehensive sound check from a roadie searching for the troublesome “mix 6” which has disappeared from the monitors, The Moonlandingz finally take to the stage. What we’re all wondering is what exactly will Valhalla Dale’s most infamous resident, Johnny Rocket (aka Lias Saoudi), be wearing this season? The wait is over as – heeeeeere’s Johnny – in (it has to be said disappointingly) normal brown shoes and trousers.

BREVIEW: The Moonlandingz @ Hare & Hounds 28.03.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewBut it’s the topper-most half of the outfit that gets the fashionistas from Vogue scrambling for their notepads: cling film wrapped around a naked torso, worn coquettishly and daringly below the nipples, holding within pictures of a beaming Kriss Akabusi and two chocolate digestives. It takes some doing to make an entrance at the Hare and Hounds, lack of access to the stage via wings means performers have the indignity of wading through the throng from the back of the venue, but Johnny/Lias pulls it off with aplomb.

‘Vessels’, the first track off the debut album Interplanetary Class Classics, is the set opener and what’s immediately apparent is that The Moonlandingz like to crank it up when playing live. It’s LOUD. Somewhere in-between Saturn 5 rocket launch loud and Motorhead loud; the bass pummels and re-jigs internal organs and the fluid in the cranium starts to swirl and eddy. Looks like “mix 6” found its way BREVIEW: The Moonlandingz @ Hare & Hounds 28.03.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Reviewback with a vengeance. Volume does mean a lot of the subtleties of the album are drowned out tonight, but then the recorded LP will always exist for such things. The band keeps up the pace with a “greatest hits” section as ‘Black Hanz’ and ‘Sweet Saturn Mine’ get belted out; pools of the audience bounce and semi-pogo along in the sold out, sweaty Hare and Hounds.

A lot is made of Lias Saoudi as a front-man, and rightly so. Adrian Flanagan considered him to be the best in Europe. Tonight as alter-ego Johnny Rocket he gives it his all in a delightful sleazy, louche and salacious performance, with a whiff of danger that never really becomes more than a threat – although at one point a mike stand is dropped into the crowd, nearly clattering into the photographers below. Refreshed by cans of draught Guinness which aren’t even poured into a glass, let alone left to settle (the man’s an animal) he doesn’t let up and keeps his foot on the pedal throughout.

BREVIEW: The Moonlandingz @ Hare & Hounds 28.03.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham ReviewBut this isn’t just the Johnny Rocket show. Rebecca Taylor, glorious in fake fur coat, is more than a match for Johnny/Lias in the band-fronting stakes; it is very much duel effort fronting The Moonlandingz. The foil and counter-foil between Taylor and Johnny/Lias is nicely highlighted during the latest single, ‘The Strangle of Anna’, which sees them as a latter day Serge Gainsborough and Jane Birkin.

Joining in the carinivalesque on stage there’s some fine swagger and posturing from bass player Manfredo, whereas guitarist Mairead O’Conner is the epitome of serene tranquility. The calm at the eye of the storm she is totally unfazed by her wayward bandmates antics and holds a sure and steady course. Watching over it all from behind his keyboard is the band’s avuncular leader, Adrian Flanagan, in a gone-fishing hat and shades. The only member who really engages the crowd between songs (although I can’t make out what he says) Flanagan looks both amused and delighted at times with his creation, diving beneath a towel at one point to reappear moments later, BREVIEW: The Moonlandingz @ Hare & Hounds 28.03.17 / Denise Wilson – Birmingham Reviewpossibly to confirm that this fictional band are indeed punching holes in reality tonight.

All tracks from Interplanetary Class Classics are played plus ‘Drop It Fauntleroy’ from the Black Hanz EP, but the band finish up with ‘Man In My Lyfe’ from The Eccentronic Research Council’s Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Music Machine… I’m Your Biggest Fan album – which is where all this began, giving birth to the fictional Johnny Rocket and his band The Moonlandingz.

As the final track fades Adrian Flanagan announces “That’s yer lot”. And so it is. No encore. The spectacle that is The Moonlandingz exit stage front, back through the cheering throng once again.


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BPREVIEW: The Moonlandingz @ Hare & Hounds 28.03.17

Words by Steve Crawford

On Tuesday 28th March, The Moonlandingz come to the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) on the first date of their UK tour, with support from Goat Girl.

Doors open at 7.30pm. But at the time of writing, this gig has been SOLD OUT with your only chance being the This Is Tmrw waiting list only. For direct gig info, including venue and waiting list details, click here.

It didn’t end well for Johnny Rocket of The Moonlandingz. Stalked by an obsessive fan since seeing him (resplendent in blue jumper and tin foil socks) and ‘his band’ play their ‘cosmic synth, Krautabilly, fuzzy Joe Meek style pop’ at the Valhalladale Working Men’s Club.

Pushed to the edge by his constant rejections and the celebratory mood in Valehalladale following Margaret Thatcher’s death (the stalker has reason to believe she is Mrs Thatcher’s love child), she eventually catches up with Johnny, stoves the side of his head in with a rock and watches as he falls backwards into a river and sinks to the bottom, until the air bubbles stop. So ends Johnny Rocket and The Moonlandingz.

Or at least the fictional versions as created by the Eccentronic Research Council (ERC) for their album – Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Machine Music… I’m your Biggest Fan. This 2015 release saw the ERC collaborate again with the magnificent Maxine Peake – taking on the role of ‘the stalker’, alongside Fat White Family’s Saul Adamczewski and Lias Saoudi.

Over the course of 2015-16, The Moonlandingz started to make the move from fictional to semi-fictional. Johnny Rocket was resurrected by Lias Saoudi, a junkie Major Tom figure who fell to Earth as a dishevelled glam rocker in silver cod-piece with make-up gone awry (See The Moonlandingz‘ ‘Black Hanz’ video below).

Initially conceived as a recording project only, it was after a session for 6 Music’s Marc Riley that The Moonlandingz’ potential as a live act took hold. In 2016 the band played a handful of gigs and festivals including South by South West and the Liverpool PsychFest

Skip ahead to 2017 and a fleshed out Moonlandingz release their debut album – Interplanetary Class Classics, through Transgressive Records on March 24th. Recorded in Sheffield and New York, the album sees yet more collaborations including Sean Lennon (who after re-mixing ‘Sweet Saturn Mine’co-produced the album) Yoko Ono, Randy Jones (the cowboy from The Village People), Phil Oakey and Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor.

Already a band that are causing rips in the cosmos as a live act, a now infamous naked/dirty protest at their outset meant The Moonlandingz have gained a bit of a reputation, with subsequent gigs having been ‘riotus…feral’. Hang onto your cod-pieces Birmingham.

‘Black Handz’ – The Moonlandingz

The Moonlandingz perform at the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) on Tuesday 28th March, with support from Goat Girl – as presented by This Is Tmrw. For direct gig info and online tickets sales, click here.


For more on The Moonlandingz, visit

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BREVIEW: The Hungry Ghosts + Goat Girl @ The Victoria 25.10.16

The Hungry Ghosts @ The Victoria 25.10.16 / By Claire Leach © Birmingham Review


Words by Jay Dyer / Pics by Claire Leach

I have long been an admirer of The Victoria. It’s a quaint, traditional pub, at the heart of this vastly changing city – one which has not been hit quite as hard by the wide gentrification across the road, in the new (sterile) Grand Terror Watts – supporting The Hungry Ghosts @ The Victoria 25.10.16 / By Claire Leach © Birmingham ReviewCentral/New Street station. Plus The Victoria has a wonderful stage room upstairs, which is sadly not utilised enough. It is the perfect venue for the city; it’s neither too large nor too small, and I am joyed (and somewhat surprised) to see The Hungry Ghosts on their bill – blowing away the establishment’s Tuesday night cobwebs.

I arrive early, embark up the stairs and into the gig room. I take another look at the date on my phone to make sure I have the right night, as I find myself all alone. The date is right. I grab a beer and waste a bit of time downstairs so I look less weird. As I swig from my glass of unpronounceable lager, finally people arrive so I head back upstairs to find Terror Watts setting up their equipment.

Terror Watts are a band that I enjoy live and tonight is no different. They hit you with bursts of energy, married with fine-tuned garage rock songs. In other words everything I love to see live. Their set is tight as can be too, something I imagine has taken some time in the practice room to get right. However I am getting a strong sense of déjà vu; it takes 2 or 3 songs for it to dawn on me that Terror Watts have not altered their set in the slightest Goat Girl – supporting The Hungry Ghosts @ The Victoria 25.10.16 / By Claire Leach © Birmingham Reviewsince I last saw them. With such a condensed music scene in Birmingham, being original and taking pride in variety is key to making a name for yourself. Terror Watts ignite with a flash to some delight, but after a while I long for something bigger.

The next band on stage are Goat Girl, a 4-piece garage rock outfit from London. Goat Girl have recently signed to Rough Trade so I feel a bit of buzz and anticipation for what’s to come. On paper, they are everything I love in a band; raw garage rock, forged through simple chord structure and dancing harmonic melodies, is what I absolutely yearn for. I’ve listened to some of Goat Girl’s music online and I love it, it really engages with me with its energy and production.

However, after they finally get pulled away from their cocktails downstairs (where Goat Girl have been residing all night) they embark on a set which neither inspires or encapsulates my eager mind. Tonight Goat Girl come across as overly self-absorbent, looking as if they’re only thinking about what next to order from the cocktail menu.The Hungry Ghosts @ The Victoria 25.10.16 / By Claire Leach © Birmingham Review

The music I loved so much on record is diluted by a lack of live dynamic range; the set is void of energy. I want to shout, “hey, it’s a Tuesday, it’s not a big crowd, but show some energy to those who came out to see you”. Somewhere buried deep down I can hear some wonderful hooks and rhythms, but played with such reluctance they lose the audience in large parts. Goat Girl do play well, I just don’t ‘get’ what they are trying to do live. But somehow they bagged themselves a Rough Trade deal.

The Hungry Ghosts are next up, bringing their self-titled ‘slaughterhouse blues’ to the stage. The four piece have been making quite a name for themselves over the past few months; The Hungry Ghosts have recently released their debut Blood Red Songs EP and played a barrage of shows around the country.

The Victoria‘s upstairs venue has now filled to about half capacity, which is alright for a Tuesday night, and The Hungry Ghosts’ set is an unforgiving and brutal display – marrying gloomy bass with screaming highs. Each song is played with such The Hungry Ghosts @ The Victoria 25.10.16 / By Claire Leach © Birmingham Reviewprecision and energy it makes them perfect to watch; effortlessly playing their way through a destructive set.

Front man, Joe Joseph, becomes a focal point of the performance as he looms over the microphone with one eye darting behind his cascading hair. It really is the eyes; they unnerve me slightly. They remind me of an overly exuberant actor I watched portraying the blind old man in a performance of ‘Antigone’ a few years back.

Joe Joseph seems to react to every single movement of the music, his body jolting with the beat. This is peaked when he ends up laying in the foetal position in the middle of the audience, screaming into the microphone.

There’s nothing ‘quaint’ or ‘traditional’ about The Hungry Ghosts, but they can fill up a room no matter how many people are in there with them. When you go to watch The Hungry Ghosts you are watching a band perfectly navigate the line between destruction and control; I absolutely love it.

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BPREVIEW: The Hungry Ghosts + Goat Girl @ The Victoria 25.10.16

The Hungry Ghosts + Goat Girl @ The Victoria, Tues 25th October

Words by Ed King 

On Tuesday 25th October, The Hungry Ghosts + Goat Girl share a double headline spot at The Victoria on John Bright St – with The Terror Watts + Apathy in support. This gig is presented by Sonic Gun Concerts.main-with-web-colour-bcg-lr

Doors open at 7:30pm with tickets charged at five and a half English Pound Sterling… or £5.50 as it is known to its friends. For direct gig info & links to online tickets sales, click here.

The Hungry Ghosts… where to begin. Click here, or click here. Or you can always even click here.

In a blood stained dark leather nutshell, The Hungry Ghosts are as seductive and suspect as a devil’s tuxedo (the easiest way to discuss them is often by metaphor). Blues, rock, sordid Americana, The Hungry Ghosts are – right here, right now – one of the most exciting bands in the Midlands’ music scene. “A proper fu*king rock band”, their debut Blood Red Songs EP is something raw and ferocious – a delicious four track explosion of twisted metals and rock drawl.

Billy Ollis is an absurdly solid guitarist, who drags their ‘swamp music’ blues from the dark heart of the black magic bayous with a seemingly Faustian ease. It’s quite something. And if Jodie Laurence and Joe Joseph, The Hungry Ghosts‘ dual vocals and more forward facing faces, haven’t at least sub let their souls I’d be a little surprised. It’s rare to see a band this genuine and exciting. And I’m a cynic.

‘Super King King’ – The Hungry Ghosts

Sharing the headline spot is Goat Girl, the relatively fresh faced London quartet that feels like a David Lynch wet dream. Also turning the rivers of music red with their laconic rock and semi-drowned blues, Goat Girl recently signed to Rough Trade – releasing the dangerous swagger that is their double A side single ‘Country Sleaze/Scum’ on 7th October.

Bold bass lines, a brash rhythm guitar smacking you from cheek to jowl, a splash of dark psycadellia… it makes me think of Hope Sandoval on the last leg of a brown sugar and fury fueled road trip. Viscous, fuzzy, and nudging you over the edge of a very sheer drop. But there’s more than just a warm self destruction at play here, with Goat Girl’s unabashed lyrics making me want to 80‘s fist pump in sardonic social appreciation. Although I suspect they’re a bit smarter than that.

‘Country Sleaze’ – Goat Girl

The Hungry Ghosts + Goat Girl play at The Victoria on Tuesday 25th October, with support from The Terror Watts + Apathy. For direct gig info & links to online ticket sales, click here.

For more on The Hungry Ghosts, visit

For more on Goat Girl, visit

For more from The Victoria, visit