BPREVIEW: The Hungry Ghosts – ‘Amerika/Lazaro’ single launch @ Centrala 22.07.17

Words by Ed King / Pic by Rob Hadley (Indie Images)

On Saturday 22nd July, The Hungry Ghosts will be celebrating the upcoming release of their ‘Amerika/Lazaro’ double a-side with a single showcase gig at Centrala (Minerva Works). Support comes from You Dirty Blue, Charlie Boyer (The Voyers), Average Sex, The Lizards.

Doors open at 7pm with tickets prices at £6.50 + booking fee. For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Set for release on 4th August through Setting Son Records, ‘Amerika/Lazaro’ is the first release for The Hungry Ghosts with their new line up. Adding two new bodies and three new faces, the Redditch born purveyors of slaughterhouse blues are enjoying (we hope) a promising evolution this year – with height, grace, automaton time keeping and the occasional Manchester moshpit brawl now packed into The Mothership (The Hungry Ghosts’ trusty touring steed). Don’t mess with Emily Doyle I think is the message here.

So, any good..? The last time Birmingham Review saw The Hungry Ghosts was at Counteract’s 7th birthday in April, where the now five piece were supporting The Mother’s Earth Experiment and the world’s worst kept secret. And there was certainly something going on. BPREVIEW: The Hungry Ghosts - ‘Amerika/Lazaro’ single launch @ Centrala 22.07.17The new material – still spearheaded by Billy Ollis and Joe Joseph – is a continuation of this curve; fresh yet confidently identifiable, the two snippets we’ve been privy to so far are promising to say the least.

‘Amerika’ opens with swagger, low steel twangs and a guitar riff so addictive it would out twitch a crack baby, before Joe Joseph’s serrated drawl comes to drag us a little further through the grit. Think ‘Super King King’ after the longest sex of its life. Smeared with all the imagery, prophecy and the subtle flavour of gold rush fever you’d expect from a Hungry Ghosts track titled ‘Amerika’, this is a little lighter than their usual brand of twisted metal yet still immediately identifiable. Blood Red Songs is an awesome EP but this is the balance we’ve been waiting two years to hear.

Following the narrative is ‘Lazaro’, a more garage rock affair that introduces the ‘naked as a stranger’ protagonist who will be our resurrected guide through this double a-side. Punched out from the off, this side of the single is more raw and raucous – a hark back to the ‘Hares on the Mountain’ that hooked our cheeks in the first place. Awesome. Again. Double A.

And here’s a sneaky peak into the story of ‘Amerika’ and the dark tendrils that pulled it out from the collective subconscious. Or Joe, for short. The rest you’ll get to figure out on repeat from 4th August.

‘Amerika’ – The Hungry Ghosts

The Hungry Ghosts are launching their ‘Amerika/Lazaro’ double a-side at Centrala (Minerva Works) on Saturday 22nd July, with support from You Dirty Blue, Charlie Boyer, Average Sex, The Lizards. For direct event info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

For more on The Hungry Ghosts, visit www.thehungryghosts.co.uk

For more from Setting Son Records, visit www.facebook.com/settingsonrecords


For more on You Dirty Blue, visit www.facebook.com/youdirtyblue

For more on Charlie Boyer/The Voyers, visit www.soundcloud.com/TheVoyeurs

For more on Average Sex, visit www.facebook.com/averagesex

For more on The Lizards, visit www.soundcloud.com/allyourfriendsarelizards


For more from Centrala, visit www.centrala-space.org.uk

BREVIEW: John J Presley + Table Scraps, The Hungry Ghosts @ Hare & Hounds 14.09.16

John J Presley @ Hare & Hounds 14.09.16 / By Rob Hadley (Indie Images) © Birmingham Review


Words by Jay Dyer / Pic by Rob Hadley (Indie Images)

Wednesdays are not exactly prime nights for live music. Venues generally struggle to attract punters to their doors, punters whom have most likely hit the hump of the working week and long for the weekend. Surprisingly, however, The Hungry Ghosts - supporting John J Presley @ Hare & Hounds 14.09.16 / By Rob Hadley (Indie Images) © Birmingham Reviewas I arrive at the sun drenched Hare & Hounds I’m happy to see many people out to delve into some mid-week indulgence.

Entertainment for this evening comes in three forms: John J. Presley, Table Scraps and The Hungry Ghosts – which, from an initial perspective, looks like a bit of a mismatch. I head back up the winding stairs and into the Hare‘s smaller Venue 2. The room has been cut in half by a looming black curtain, I guess in order to condense the crowd, but alas we all huddle at the back – leaving enough space for a decent sized family car between ourselves and the stage.

The Hungry Ghosts - supporting John J Presley @ Hare & Hounds 14.09.16 / By Rob Hadley (Indie Images) © Birmingham ReviewThe Hungry Ghosts take to the stage in their now customary fashion, seemingly appearing out of thin air. The band emerge without much fanfare, except front man Joe Joseph who looks like he got off his ship in Whitby and travelled down to Birmingham via a cowboy convention.

As the set commences, their impact become apparent. The marriage of the booming rhythm section and the screaming guitars is something to behold. It seems The Hungry Ghosts have spent a lot of time in the rehearsal room since the last time I saw them, ensuring they dial in their sound precisely on the brink of annihilation. The quiet to loud dynamics are wonderfully maintained with each movement proving both intricate and deadly. Then there is the swagger. During parts of the set they are touching on Nick Cave levels of swagTable Scraps - supporting John J Presley @ Hare & Hounds 14.09.16 / By Rob Hadley (Indie Images) © Birmingham Reviewger. ‘Super King King’ is a perfect example, with the strutting riff echoing around the room.

As Joe Joseph peruses the stage and beyond, the bass line creates a head bobbing, lip turning, effortlessly sexy beat. The Hungry Ghosts describe their sound as ‘slaughterhouse blues’. I agree. Just when you think you’re safe, you are riding the waves of chaos into impending doom. I love it. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Next up on stage tonight are Table Scraps. The three piece bring a fast paced brand of punk rock which has understandably rewarded them with much respect and admiration within the Birmingham ‘scene’.

Table Scraps - supporting John J Presley @ Hare & Hounds 14.09.16 / By Rob Hadley (Indie Images) © Birmingham ReviewThey started out life as a two-piece, but have since added a bass player which makes all the difference. Table Scraps’ sound is light and thick in all the right places and they really know how to write a catchy hook. Whether it is the gloomy, sludge filled ‘Bad Feeling’, or the thumping ‘Motorcycle’, the band know how to knock you about and leave you begging for more.

Guitarist, Scott Abbott, is seriously good; combining complex guitar lines with singing duties is no easy feat, yet he pulls it off with enough instinct to make it seem effortless. The crowd respond with a bit more energy than they did with The Hungry Ghosts, moving into the no-man’s land in front of the stage and having a few knocks about.

Table Scraps’ sound is forged through the intense driving bass lines and pounding drums battling the high end guitar lines and the accompanying gruff vocals. It takes you on a journey through the best parts of punk rock and reassures you that it’s just a heap of fun.John J Presley @ Hare & Hounds 14.09.16 / By Rob Hadley (Indie Images) © Birmingham Review

The room reaches its capacity for this evening and the headline act appears on stage to a cheer from the crowd; enter John J. Presley, flanked by his backing musicians. Their focus, the heavy musical influences of the southern states of the U.S. and the forming of blues escapism; tonight’s set is dripping in conventional blues guitar styles and played with such a tender touch that it must be admired.

However, as the performance goes on things start to grind on me; songs begin to merge, sounding identical to the one preceding it. There is very little change or movement in the music, which ultimately leads to myself and some of the other crowd members becoming restless.

John J Presley @ Hare & Hounds 14.09.16 / By Rob Hadley (Indie Images) © Birmingham ReviewAnd whilst I am a complete advocate for poetic versatility making a prominent return to song lyrics, John J. Presley is going in the wrong direction. His lyrics feel overly conceited, so much so that I can mouth the next line with such ease it’s unbelievable.

I enjoy listening to blues, and understand it has the problem of being restrictive upon experimentation. But unfortunately I find tonight’s set derivative of everything I have heard before; it is not breaking any ground, at all, seeming to settle and stagnate as the set wears on.

Back on the positives though, I do admire John J. Presley voice – it’s wonderfully thick and raspy, which is great for his own style. Also the music is technically played, precisely, and with a level of ability few people possess. I am just saddened to find myself sat at the back of the venue by the end of the set.

For more on John J Presley, visit www.johnjpresley.com

For more on Table Scraps, visit www.facebook.com/tablescrapshq

For more on The Hungry Ghosts, visit www.facebook.com/the.hungry.ghosts


For more from the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath), visit www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk