Rews @ The Flapper 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds

Words by Ed King / Pics by Paul Reynolds

“We were talking about this the other day… our second sold out show in the city. It’s absolutely fantastic. We’re so excited that there are people returning show after show to come and see us; it’s such an amazing atmosphere, we honestly can’t wait to come back.”

I’m catching up with Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams, aka Rews, as they travel from a debut gig in Leeds to another hot ticket show at the Sugarmill in Stoke. Birmingham is a few notches down on the tour post, with the rock powerhouse returning for their second consecutive sold out show in the city on 22nd March – this time playing at the well-loved and well-programmed Hare & Hounds, with local support from You Dirty Blue and P.E.T.

“It’s been really good,” explains Collette Williams – as I ask about the rest of Rews‘ tour, “and it’s nice to be able to get to some places that we haven’t yet been to before – we haven’t actually played in Leeds before, which is crazy. I used to go to Uni in Leeds and this is the first time I’ve been back in about eight years.”

“Yeah, it’s been really brilliant,” adds Shauna Tohill. “We were just a bit sad about having to reschedule some of the gigs to being with, we now have new dates for them, but it’s been amazing so far.”

Rews keep a pretty rigorous live and tour schedule, with a focused work ethic both on and off the road. But beginning their UK tour as the tabloid titled ‘beast from the east’ closed off half the country proved to be somewhat of a challenge.Rews @ Hare & Hounds 22.03.17 “The two dates we had to postpone were because people just physically get to the venues,” continues Tohill, “the roads were all closed. That’s was Newcastle and Glasgow… we’d never been to Glasgow before either.”

Back touring the UK and Ireland, still on the crest of “this Pyro wave”, Rews have had a significant year – not only with the release of their stellar debut album, but also racking up some serious time on the national airwaves. And not just the rock stations either, for a while it seemed Rews had polished off their shotguns and taken over Broadcasting House.

“It’s been incredible, but so strange,” tells Williams. “We keep getting messages from friends and family saying, ‘I’m in my car, driving back from work, and you’re on the radio at five o’clock’. The DJs were really supportive too and took the time to find out about us. Apart from Scott Mills, who didn’t, then went on to tell everyone I was an alcoholic and flower arranger – he was like, ‘let’s just coin her with something’ which was quite hilarious.” But however they got through the BBC’s front door, or whatever floral self-destruction may or may not have happened in the green room, Rews’ time on the air has certainly bolstered their growing army of fans. Then again, a week of having your single (‘Your Tears’) pushed across the biggest broadcaster in the county should pay some dividends.

But time and tide wait for no radio playlist, and ‘Shake Shake’ is the latest Rews single – released in February and already building momentum. “A lot of people have been making comments about it,” explains Tohill, “and some have been comparing it to the older version that we had.” ‘Shake Shake’ was one of Rews’ original four singles, with the track first recorded and released in 2016. “but our ‘likes’ have gone up and you can see that reflected in people watching and interacting with it online. You can see that it’s been received well by people.”

“I guess we’ve got two different camps,” continues Williams, “we’ve got new fans who didn’t know the old version of it, but who love the energy of the new version. Then we’ve got the people who have been there from the start who can recognise it’s a different recording and a different sound. But when we play it live everyone loves it – it’s really energetic and they all get dancing to it, which is cool.”

Live gigs are where Rews undeniably make their mark, with such high octane and engaging shows you sometimes have to check there really are only two of them on stage. In your face Polyphonic Spree… But Pyro, Rews’ debut album that came out in November 2017 (read our Birmingham Review of Pyro here), is a ferocious first foot forward – an addictive ten track ‘avalanche’ of an album, with all the hallmarks of a rock classic in the making. Seriously, in about five years just wait for the listicles.

But Pyro also cemented their signing to Marshall Records, as Rews were one of the first UK bands to appear on the iconic rock brand’s recently formed label.  “It’s been good,” explains Williams, “they’re quite hands off in their approach, which allows us some creative breathing space. But we’ve been with them a year and we’ve grown together, so I think they’ll be trying to kick it up a notch now –  more international stuff, us getting out and playing more places we haven’t been to. There’s some exciting stuff on the horizon.”

“We do have some news…” adds Tohill, “but nothing we can tell you about now.” I’m guessing, and hoping, it has something to do with America. Rews would kill it in America.

But world domination aside, there are other good fights to fight – with Rews recently being pretty proactive on International Women’s Day, appearing in various panel discussions and interviews, as well an all-female gig in Brighton (if you get a chance, read the Women Who Rock feature on Mels Jukebox).

Rews @ The Flapper 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds“There’s a whole combination of things, it can be quite complicated,” explains Tohill, as I ask the uncomfortably obvious question about ‘issues facing women in the music industry today’. “But I think a lot of it is just getting the right kind of support and respect really. Collette and I both find we’re well supported and respected, but there’s just, you know… sometimes, things like when you get groped whilst your having your photos taken. It’s not really on. It’s fine to give someone a hug, and some caring touch, but not anything more than that.”

“I think it’s about opportunities as well,” continues Williams. “There’s been a lot that’s come out about the lack of female musicians appearing on festival line ups, and I think it’s about turning some of the attention onto opportunities and filtering that in from the ground level up. It’s about inspiring young women to get into music, to take up an instrument, because it’s important to get the balance right. Whilst there might not be enough females (in areas of the music industry) you don’t want to go too heavily to the other side and have this sense of entitlement – that you’ve been put on the bill just because someone’s trying to fill some kind of gender gap.”

“It feels like it might take a few years yet,” adds Tohill “but the more awareness we have and the more women that get involved in the music industry, the more you won’t even need gender as a factor and we won’t see that divide anymore.”

How do you feel when gender is used to describe Rews? Being called ‘the female Royal Blood’ isn’t a bad thing, but it’s still steeped in sexuality.

Rews @ The Flapper 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds“We’ve talked about this a few times,” continues Tohill. “We don’t really mind, too much, but it depends in what way it’s being used. Again, it is going to take a few years, generations possibly, to take away the kind of ‘unique thing’ about being a female band. But we are a female band, so we don’t mind people referencing that if they’re not doing it in a derogatory way.”

“It works both ways too,” adds Williams, “we can use it in our favour – some people are still intrigued by it, in a positive sense. But it shouldn’t be used just for the sake of it because it’s not a describing factor about our music. Ultimately it would be great to drop the gender and for it not to be a factor at all.”

The first time I met Rews we spent, or rather I spent, perhaps too long fixating on a word in their press release. But I’m also aware that during this conversation I have, repeatedly, referred to these two women as ‘you guys’. So, we all have out part to play. But as far as journalism goes there are many words to describe Rews that have nothing to do with their gender and everything to do with their music. Feel free to fish out some superlatives from this feature, or Google ‘awesome’ and take your pick from the world wide web of synonyms.

But for now, I’ll settle for the following: ‘Rews’, ‘Hare and Hounds’, ‘Thursday 22nd March’, ‘sold out’. And if there’s any word count left, ‘excited’ and ‘respect to Birmingham’s live music scene’.

‘Shake Shake’ – Rews

Rews perform at the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) on Thursday 22nd March, with support from You Dirty Blue and P.E.T – as presented by Metropolis Music and Birmingham Review. For direct event information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit 

For more on Rews, visit

For more on You Dirty Blue, visit

For more on P.E.T, visit

For more from Metropolis Music, visit

For more on the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath), including venue details and further event listings, visit

BPREVIEW: Rews @ Hare & Hounds 22.03.18

Rews @ Hare & Hounds 22.03.18

Words by Ed King

On Thursday 22nd March, the rock powerhouse of Rews returns to Birmingham – closing off their England tour dates with a special headline gig at the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath).

Support on the night comes from Tamworth’s garage rock two piece, You Dirty Blue, and Birmingham’s rising punk balloon, P.E.T

Doors open at 7:30pm, with tickets priced at £8 (plus booking fees) – as presented by Metropolis Music and Birmingham Review. For direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Rews @ Hare & Hounds 22.03.18At the time of writing this gig has all but sold out, with literally only a handful of tickets left on sale. There are also waiting lists available, for returns and cancellations, through the registered ticket agents – but it’s changing by the hour, so click on the following links for TicketmasterSkiddle or See Tickets to get updates and info. And hopefully tickets.

You can also check in with one of the support bands, You Dirty Blue or PE.T, as well as us at Birmingham Review HQ who will be mopping up any local returns. We suggest you do it quickly though and with a few fingers crossed – swing over to the Birmingham Review Facebook event page for this gig, or email and we’ll can check down the backs of a few cyber sofas for you.

Rews @ The Flapper 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewThe term ‘rising balloon’ gets bandied about these days, and quite often by me. It’s exciting to see an artist in nascent and the tried/tested metaphor is often an appropriate badge of both recognition and applause. But I can’t use this term for Rews anymore, as their rising balloon got caught on the tail end of a NASA space shuttle and is now in confident orbit around the planet. Quite simply, and without allegory or hyperbole, Rews are set for huge things. HUGE. SO NOW I’M USING CAPITALS INSTEAD.

And every inch of it is deserved. Not only have Rews mastered the addictive rock formula on record but they are phenomenal live. PHENOMENAL. So phenomenal, in fact, that after seeing Rews at The Flapper in February 2017 we booked them to headline the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase at the Actress & Bishop the following November – a venue now probably fundraising for a new roof, after Rews tore the old one clean off and scattered it across the city. We’re biased, but it was a stonker of a gigRews @ The Flapper 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review. Which seems to be de rigueur for Rews as their relentless touring and festival sets have won them a huge fanbase in a relatively short space of time. And again, every inch of it is deserved.

Rews’ debut album, Pyro, is a stellar debut too – being one of the first artists signed to Marshall Records and doing the iconic rock brand nothing but proud. And if you haven’t already got yourself a copy of then 1) shame on you, 2) shame on you again, 3) get thee to an online retailer before we fetch the wooden spoon and naughty step. You can read our Birmingham Review of Pyro here.

The reciprocal feather in the cap of this gig is that Rews added Birmingham onto their spring tour dates because of the all-round awesomeness of their last gig in the city. So, this is down to you.You Dirty Blue @ Centrala 22.07.17 / Rob Hadley - Birmingham Review Yes, you. The live music endorsing public and punters of Birmingham, you did this. It’s not too often that Birmingham sits as one of the cherries on a national tour circuit, but for Rews we are. Or were. And shall be again. So, with a single (tough and manly) tear in one eye and civic pride in my belly, I salute you all. VIVE LE BIRMINGHAM LIVE MUSIC SCENE.

But it’s not all Rews, Rews, Rews… as much as that would suffice, you’re getting two more bands for your musical buck on 22nd March. Lucky sods, the lot of you.

First up is the Tamworth based garage rock two piece, You Dirty Blue. Well established on the local live circuit, Birmingham Review happened across You Dirty Blue at Centrala back in July 2017 – as they joined a pretty stellar line up at The Hungry Ghost’s ‘Amerika/Lazaro’ single launch.P.E.T / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Review

Although sandwiched by the great and good, You Dirty Blue were one of the stand out acts from the evening – with the gloriously raw yet proficient edges that any true DIY artist needs to make their mark. We became hooked. And a few months later we got to sink our teeth in a little deeper, as You Dirty Blue released their ‘monstrous debut’ EP, Tough Crowd, just before Christmas. In short, we gave it a resounding thumbs up… with a cheeky middle finger thrown in for good measure. But again you can always read our Birmingham Review of Tough Crowd for yourself, just click here. Pah… independent thought is for suckers.

Second support for the night comes from P.E.T – ‘Birmingham’s rising punk balloon’… for want of a better expression.P.E.T / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Review But that they are; P.E.T are the new kids on the Brummie block and have already racked up a few decent support gigs and industry endorsements since forming in late 2017.

In your face, feisty, not shy of screaming into the microphone, P.E.T are the essence of post-punk punk. But they’ve got the smarts to go with it – citing an impressive list of influences that many older (self-declared) aficionados wouldn’t have in their cultural cache. Go ahead, test it, ask P.E.T “…do you know a band called The Slits?” and see what happens.

Plus, they’ve got all the raw bolshiness that you can get from a band who just love playing and performing – you ‘aint going to see P.E.T on a stage and forget about them in a hurry, especially if your standing at the front. But we think they’re mostly harmless. At least, no one’s been injured yet. Not visibly. Keep an eye out for P.E.T though, we sense curious times ahead.

And as a picture paints a thousand words, and there’s nearly that above us already, we though we’d end with a few moving image reminders of Rews. Too tough to pick one song, so we’ve gone for two – one recorded, one live. Viddy below my droogs and we’ll see you at the Hare & Hounds on 22nd March:

‘Your Tears’ – Rews

‘Can You Feel It?’ – Rews (live at Hawley Arms for Camden Rocks)

Rews perform at the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) on Thursday 22nd March, with support from You Dirty Blue and P.E.T – as presented by Metropolis Music and Birmingham Review. For direct event information and online ticket sales, visit

For more on Rews, visit

For more on You Dirty Blue, visit

For more on P.E.T, visit

For more from Metropolis Music, visit

For more on the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath), including venue details and further event listings, visit