THE GALLERY: Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17

Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley - Birmingham Review

 

 

 

Words by Ed King / Pics by Rob Hadley

On Saturday 25th November, Birmingham Review presented its Winter Showcase at the Actress & Bishop – a sold out live gig with Rews, The Hungry Ghosts and Ed Geater. It’s taken me more than a week to recover.

I’ve sat down to write a review of the night several times too, but how do you write a report about your own gig..? You can’t, well I can’t. But luckily our friends at Counteract can, so for Charlotte Niblett’s two cents on the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase click here – with some cracking pics from Paul Reynolds thrown in for good measure. And I have been kicking myself that in all the copy I’ve written about Ed Geater I never came up with ‘triple threat’… good work Charlotte, love that one.

Also, I kinda/sorta don’t have to write anything as the solider of Birmingham Review (or Rob Hadley as he is know in the wider world) was front row and centre for the entire evening with a camera in his hands. And if a picture paints a thousand words then there’s around 84k without you fluttering an eyelash or me hitting a key. Any more would just be rude.

There are some cherry picked pics below, but I would CAPITAL LETTER SUGGEST you check out the full Flickr of Rob’s pics by clicking on this hyperlink or the suitably subtle prompts littering this report.

Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17But now you’ve got me typing away… the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase wasn’t only a chance to book three acts that are all amongst the most exciting on the national gig circuit today, it was an opportunity to put our money where our mouth is. Birmingham Review covers many corners of the city’s cultural landscape, but music is where we began and will always be an intrinsic part of our content.

Rews, The Hungry Ghosts and Ed Geater all have a real “chance at whatever metaphor you use for success”, and we’ve said so with words and pics several times before. But on Saturday 25th November Birmingham Review got to be part of that progression, even if only for one night. But what an incredible night it was.

Ed Geater opened up to an already busy room, playing the tried and tested from his portfolio such a  ‘Symmetry’ and ‘Don’t Think’ alongside a quick toe dip into some newer waters. Layering beat boxing over acoustic six string melodies, with the occasional breakbeat to keep you quite literally on toes, Geater kicked off the Winter Showcase with poise and aplomb. The Hungry Ghosts swaggered on stage for the second set, oozing with gin and mischief, and served up a fine platter of slaughterhouse blues with ‘Amerika’, ‘Lazaro’ and a slightly tweaked ‘Super King King’. Raw, raucous, and now with a cemented new line up, there is just so much to love about this band.

Then it was Rews… half way through their UK tour to promote Pyro, the duo’s corker of a debut album, and straight into a gut punching rock explosion with ‘Let It Roll’. On fire throughout the entire set, featuring album tracks including ‘Your Tears’, ‘Miss You in the Dark’ and ‘Death Yawn’ alongside the ferocious ‘Can You Feel It?’ (one of my personal favourites live), Rews quite simply nailed it – Shauna Tohill’s fearless front stage lead as Colette Williams powers through with vocals and percussion, it’s awesome stuff. Birmingham will never be quite the same again.

The other significant win at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase was the crowd. There’s a lot of talk about ‘supporting the local music scene’ but unless you drag yourself out of the house, stick a smile on your chops, and get involved when musicians and singers are bearing their souls on stage… then talk is all that it will ever be. At the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase 175 people did all of the things I’ve just listed. And it felt phenomenal. To everyone who was upstairs at the Actress & Bishop on Saturday 25th November, I both salute and thank you.

The Birmingham Review Winter Showcase was also my swansong, as I now hand the reigns over to Helen Knott – who is taking over as Birmingham Review editor, and Damien Russell – who is coming in as Birmingham Preview editor.

I will be moving over to editor-in-chief (sounds more glamorous than it is) and focusing on the books and periodicals set for release under Review Publishing. Look out for our first titles which will be on shelf by the end of 2017: Snapshots of Mumbai – a coffee table book about the Indian megacity, and the Birmingham Music Review 2017 anthology.

We’re recruiting too, so if you know your way around a QWERTY keyboard or a DSLR please email charlotte@birminghamreview.net

Meanwhile, back at the Actress & Bishop

 

 

 

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Rews at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

For more on Rews, visit www.rewsmusic.com

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The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

The Hungry Ghosts at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

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

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Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

Ed Geater at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17 / Rob Hadley – Birmingham Review

For more on Ed Geater, visit www.edgeater.co.uk

For more from the Actress & Bishop, including venue details and links to event, visit www.theactressandbishop.co.uk

WRITERS/PHOTOGRAPHERS WANTED – Birmingham Review is looking for new contributors. Anyone wanting to get involved, please email a short introduction to charlotte@birminghamreview.net 

LAST FEW TICKETS: Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17

LAST FEW TICKETS: Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17

Words by Ed King

IT’S CHRISSSSSSSMAAASSSSSS…

Well, kind of, bit of an obligatory catcall in Birmingham right now. But love it or loathe it (and as inescapable as the people crushing death trap that is the German Market) it’s ‘that time of year’ again.

LAST FEW TICKETS: Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17And to kick Winterval in the proverbial sack (of presents… shame on you) on Saturday 25th November, Birmingham Review presents its Winter Showcase at the Actress & Bishop – a live gig with Rews, The Hungry Ghosts and Ed Geater.

Doors open at 8pm, music starts at 8:30pm, with tickets priced at £8 (advance) and £10 (on the door) plus booking fee. Tickets can still be bought via See Tickets until 12noon on Sat 25th November – for online sales, visit www.seetickets.com/event/rews-the-hungry-ghosts-ed-geater/actress-and-bishop

**LAST FEW ADVANCE TICKETS REMAINING** You might well get in on the door (it might well cost you an extra two quid) and we might well jettison a table or two, but there are less advance tickets than can be counted on two hands. So hop, skip and jump people.

And in case you need a little nudge, here’s a speed dating introduction to each act we’ve got performing at the Birmingham Review Winter Showcase – with some useful links to boot. See you, and them, at the Actress & Bishop on Saturday 25th Nov.

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Rews

Rews and their infection ‘earworms’ crawled into our subconscious back in Feb, after a stellar gig at the Flapper. To read Damien Russell’s BREVIEW of the gig, click here – to read Ed King’s INTERVIEW with Rews just before they got on stage, click here. And it seems we weren’t the only ones to go a little batshit over Rews, as everyone from a Glastonbury baked Mark Radcliffe to a Huw Stephens have been championing the duo.

Rews have recently released their debut album too – the somewhat awesome Pyro. To read Ed King’s ALBUM review of Pyro, click here. And if you’re more audio than visual (or a little from Column A and a little from Column B), the check out Rews’ official video to ‘Your Tears’ – the lead single from Pyro.

‘Your Tears’ – Rews (taken from their forthcoming debut album, Pyro) 

For more on Rews, visit www.rewsmusic.com

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The Hungry Ghosts

The Ghosts, The Ghosts, The Ghosts… Where to begin? If this band aren’t destroying the main stage at some greenfield site in the next few years then there is something SERIOUSLY WRONG with the universe. The kings and queen of slaughterhouse blues, ferocious and phenomenal on stage (and often off, for part of the set at least) The Hungry Ghosts are one of the most exciting bands playing in the Midlands today. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

But seeing (and hearing) is believing, so get yourself to the Actress & Bishop on Saturday 25th Nov and bear witness to this first hand. Meanwhile, amongst the coyotes and shadows of an unforgiving prairie…

‘Amerika’ – The Hungry Ghosts

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

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Ed Geater

I felt more than a little sheepish asking Ed Geater to play the ‘support’ slot at our Winter Showcase, but he graciously didn’t flinch and said yes. So we poker faced it and casually sent him a Booking Confirmation. Playing it cool…

Beatboxer, singer songwriter, possibly Birmingham’s best collaborator, and a proper, PROPER performer – Ed Geater is a unique gem that this city should be proud to call one of their own. The Birmingham Review Winter Showcase will be Ed Geater‘s last gig for ‘a while’, as he’s hibernating to concentrate on some new material (… fe, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an album)  and we are uber excite to get this man on a stage we’re promoting. Playing first, make sure you get there for doors open at 8pm – you do not want to miss a minute of Ed Geater.

‘Don’t Think’ – Ed Geater

For more on Ed Geater, visit www.edgeater.co.uk

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Birmingham Review presents its Winter Showcase at the Actress & Bishop on Saturday 25th November with Rews, The Hungry Ghosts and Ed Geater.

Advance tickets are priced at £8 (+bf) and can still be bought via See Tickets until 12noon on Sat 25th – for online sales, click here.

For more from the Actress & Bishop, including venue details and links to event, visit www.facebook.com/Actressandbishop

ALBUM: Pyro – Rews 03.11.17

Rews @ The Flapper and Firkin 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

Words by Ed King / Pics by Paul Reynolds

Big day today. A red-letter day, as Rews release their debut album, Pyro, to a legitimately eagerly awaiting world.

Well, this little corner is perched on its seat at least. And I suspect I’m not alone. Half of Glastonbury, for one. Marc Radcliffe for another. No doubt some friends and family. The Hawley Arms.  The Railway Inn. The list continues…

Birmingham Review first saw Rews back in February this year, when the ferocious twosome came to The Flapper & Firkin – headlining a somewhat smug support band and nailing every second of it. Fun and furious in all the right ways, Rews were a clear win. So much so, in fact, that along with a couple of other acts that we love more than is probably good for us we’ve invited them to play our Christmas bash at the Actress & Bishop (…Sat Nov 25th, 8 quid, for more of this shameless plug click here).

Rews @ The Flapper and Firkin 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review Signing to Marshall Records pretty much around the time we saw them at The Flapper, Rews have been busy building momentum and recording an album over the past year. A busy festival season, some hand-picked showcase gigs and a pretty healthy portfolio of radio plays took care of the first bit, whilst Shauna (Tohill) and Collette (Williams), aka Rews, locked themselves into a studio to deliver the second bit. And the result is Pyro – released on Friday 3rd November, through the amp wielding rock monster that is Marshall Records.

Live, Rews are unassailable. So, then… is Pyro any good?

As I’m listening to Pyro, courtesy of sneaky stream from their management, I’ve got the other ear on Radio One – not a station I usually listen to, but Rews are dropping a triptych of teasers from their debut album during the Huw Stephens Show. I’m steadily working up to my own opinion, but I also want to hear what it sounds like in the middle of Playlist A.

Kicking off (a deliberate metaphor) with ‘Let It Roll’, it’s pretty clear from the start that Rews have come to play – Pyro is not pulling punches, as the album’s opener unleashes an unashamed barrage of grab you by the balls rock. ‘Rip Up My Heart’ continues in the same vein, and I can’t help but think of the heavier end of Seattle in the late 90’s and the first time Mike Patton turned up for rehearsal – but that might just be me.

Tohill has those gifted vocals that can range from an almost conversational calm to a high pitched TEAR YOU FACE OFF ROAR, then duck back under the covers as if nothing ever happened. ‘Violins’, track three as we march through this debut, is a near perfect example of this, backed to the hilt by the animalesque thunderclap machine that is Collette Williams. And trust me, this combo is something quite phenomenal live. Then ‘Shine’, the first taste of this here album, comes out with its slightly darker claws; there’s something unflinching about this track and I want it to push, push, push… but how the hell am I going to throw myself down the abyss in under three and a half minutes?

Then back to the back catalogue, before signatures and deadlines, with two of the pop-rock-fingers-up-slapped-face anthems that dragged us into this chaos in the first place, as ‘Death Yawn’ and ‘Miss You in the Dark’ run over you in quick succession. Rews have an unnerving knack of penning easy to catch earworms, a phrase I’m borrowing for this review, and are absurdly fun with it in the process. ‘Death Yawn’ is perhaps my favourite example of this here (especially when you paint the picture what, and whom, it was inspired by) although both these tracks have been stuck in my head since I first heard them over eight months ago.

Speaking of which, I am a tad dismayed not to see ‘Can You Feel It?’ on the track listing for Pyro. Despite appropriating one of the world’s most tired clichés (and using another for the title) it’s a crazy fun track – one that is not only backed by a great melody, but that explodes with the raw versatility of what two talented people can do if you just let them run. Anyway, not my album. And if I’m being supercilious with my lexicon, plonk me in front of an upright piano and get your own back. Drunk spiders…

Rews @ The Flapper and Firkin 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review Then perhaps the cream of this particular crop, or at least the bright forward face of Rews to come, as the album’s second single, ‘Your Tears’, jumps out like Fonzi over shark infested water (Google it). A simple message of self empowerment, a rough edged beginning, that pause… then a chorus that will napalm itself to your brain. Awesome. The danger for Rews, as with every rising balloon, is how firm is their grip. But if giving them a ticking clock, an advance that one day needs to balance out, and enough public pressure to make any normal human want to curl into the foetal position, brings out tracks like ‘Your Tears’ then the plan seems to be working.

Not, however, for ‘We Explode’. I am always asking Birmingham Review contributors to balance their reviews, what I call ‘the velvet glove punch’, and this is where I rein in my adulation. Not a fan of this track; from the staccato start, across the store bought chorus, and through the Pumpkins appropriated spiral into discord, this is Pyro’s weak link. To me. But go out and buy the album then you can argue me down, I just know Rews can deliver better and I have nine other tracks at hand to prove it.

‘Shake Shake’ quickly remedies this dip, with a restrained verse leading up into the kind of chorus that makes you… well, the title maps the landscape out quite clearly. A cracking song, again awesome live, and one I suspect may have been lined up with ‘Can You Feel it?’ in the track listing lotto. Rews @ The Flapper and Firkin 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

And to kiss the whole thing goodbye, another wonderfully promising glimpse of Rews to come – as ‘Running Against the Wall’ builds a glorious intro of percussion and keys, into a joint vocal message of fuck you adversity. Then it just rocks. Something Rews do with an unashamed and infectious success rate.

There you have it – one man’s opinion. We laughed, we cried, we drove recklessly and punched a hole in the wall… but I’m backing this band. Rews have proven themselves time and time again in a live setting and now they’ve nailed an album. I sense greenfields, bloodshed and glory. Plus, Pyro kicked the front teeth out of everything that got played around it on the Huw Stephen’s Show, so job done on that front too.

Mark it on a calendar, carve it on a wall; Friday 3rd November, in the year of our Lord 2017. Pyro came to pass. And if anything deserves ornate calligraphy in bull’s blood…

‘Your Tears’ – Rews

Pyro, the debut album from Rews, is released via Marshall Records on Friday 3rd November, For more onRews, including online sales of Pyro and live gig listings, visit www.rewsmusic.com

Rews play at the Birmingham Review Christmas Party (Winter Showcase) on Saturday 25th November at the Actress & Bishop, 36 Ludgate Hill, Birmingham B3 1EH. For more event info, including links to online tickets sales, click here.

BPREVIEW: Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17

Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17

Words by  Ed King / Live pics by Rob Hadley & Paul Reynolds

On Saturday 25th November, Birmingham Review presents its winter showcase at the Actress & Bishop – a live gig, with Rews + The Hungry Ghosts as joint headliners, alongside Ed Geater in support.

Doors open at 7pm, with tickets priced at £8 (advance) and £10 (on the door) plus the relevant booking fee if you buy through a ticket agent. Tickets can be bought via See Tickets, Eventbrite and Music Glue – click on the name/logo of each outlet for a direct link.

 

 

Tickets are also available through the individual artists’ websites: Rews, The Hungry Ghosts, Ed Geater. Or you can buy tickets direct from Birmingham Review – contact us on info@birminghamreview.net to arrange physical ticket sales (p&p may apply).

So that’s what, where and how much sorted. Now a little more on who… Birmingham Review is lucky enough to have covered a whole smorgasbord of music across 2017, from the lava lamp delights of The Mother’s Earth Experiment to the eclectic ensembles of the Post Paradise showcases at Centrala. Rews + The Hungry Ghosts + Ed Geater @ Actress & Bishop 25.11.17But there are always those that stick in our ears for a little longer, or to quote one of our headliners: “Like a little Tequila worm that crawls in, gets drunk, and stays in there forever.”

To show how much we love what we love, we’ve invited a few of our new(ish) friends to come and play at what is, in effect, our (non-denominational) Christmas party. And we’re inviting you, for the mere price of a ticket, to come and see a few of the horses we’re backing in the New Year.

You know that friend that always goes on about having seen (INSERT NAME OF BIG BAND) when they played (INSERT NAME OF SMALL VENUE)… well this is your chance to do one better. Three better, in fact. Check out the below for a sneaky peak at the Pyramid Stage headliners of tomorrow. Or even better, come down to the Actress & Bishop on Saturday November 25th and seem then a bit more close and personal… well, up close at least.

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Rews

Rews @ The Flapper 15.02.17 / Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

First spotted playing at The Flapper back in February, where I got to interview the two women who are increasingly being referred to a ‘the next Royal Blood’ and Damien got to cover the gig. Seldom do you get such a good first impression, both on stage and off.

Since then Rews have gone on to storm Glastonbury (one of Mark Radcliffe’s festival highlights), nudge their way onto various national radio stations, be the first UK band signed to Marshall Records and line up an album, the actually eagerly awaited Pyro – out in November. Just don’t tell them I used an adverb. Infectious, awesome and will kick the teeth out of our Christmas party.

‘Shine’ – Rews (taken from their forthcoming debut album, Pyro) 

For more on Rews, visit www.rewsmusic.com

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The Hungry Ghosts

The Hungry Ghosts - 'Amerika/Lazaro' single launch @ Centrala 22.07.17 / Rob Hadley - Birmingham Review

It’s no surprise that WE LOVE THE HUNGRY GHOSTS at Birmingham Review. And to prove it, we’ve covered them here, here, here, and of course here. I have even had to stop myself from writing about their gigs, as my sycophantic rhetoric is in danger of repeating itself. Plus, there’s no better metaphor than a Joe Joseph metaphor and I’m tired of being outdone (I should learn the guitar to balance things out).

But all their praise is deserved; to quote Larry Love from Alabama 3, whom ‘the ghosts’ supported back in 2015, “they’re a rock band. A real fucking rock band”. Which indeed, they are. The next 24 months could be the pivotal point for a band who, and I mean this, could well land somewhere between The Rolling Stones and The White Stripes in both sound and success. All aboard the Slaughterhouse Blues Express, next stop ‘Amerika’…

‘Amerika’ – The Hungry Ghosts

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

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Ed Geater

Ed Geater @ Hare & Hounds 24.03.17 / Rob Hadley - Birmingham Review

I first saw Ed Geater at a showcase presented by Call Me Unique (who sadly couldn’t join us on stage, but has promised to make up for it at the bar) – but his name has been buzzing around the Birmingham circuit and beyond for a while. I have never met someone who didn’t enjoy an Ed Geater gig – seriously, if you’re out there get in touch we need to emboss you in bronze.

Master of the loop pedal, a seriously talent songwriter and an overall lovely fella, if some savvy subsidiary doesn’t snap him up soon we’ll eat all the hats. Check out Giles Logan’s great interview with Mr. Geater too, ahead of his headline show Hare & Hounds homecoming hoedown…. and breathe, that we covered back in March.

‘Symmetry’ – Ed Geater

For more on Ed Geater, visit www.edgeater.co.uk/

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Birmingham Review presents its winter showcase at the Actress & Bishop on Saturday 25th November, with Rews, The Hungry Ghosts, Ed Geater. For tickets email info@birminghamreview.net, or click on the following outlets: See Tickets, Eventbrite, Music Glue

 

 

 

For more from the Actress & Bishop, including venue details and links to event, visit www.facebook.com/Actressandbishop/

For more from Birmingham Promoters, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.birminghampromoters.com

INTERVIEW: Rews

INTERVIEW: Rews  / Paul Reynolds © Birmingham Review

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Words by Ed King / Pics by Paul Reynolds

“Like a little Tequila worm that crawls in, gets drunk, and stays in there forever.”

Is that them..? No. The problem with meeting strangers is you don’t know what they look like. I’ve sifted through Rews’ website, seen promo pics, videos and alternating styles, but I still couldn’t pick them from a line up.Birmingham Review

Rews’ music however, especially the ‘earworm’ that is their latest single ‘Miss You in the Dark’, has burrowed quickly into my head –  nudging ‘Can You Feel It?’ further down the canal. I’d recognise them if they walked up the stairs. But the only thing I can identify about the two people I’m here to interview, with any certainty, is that there are two of them. Luckily they spot me. I guess one is the loneliest number.

“Rews is inspired by a Dutch surname, spelt Reus,” explains Shauna Tohill – the arguable front woman and lead vocalist in the London based two piece. “It means the tall people or the giant people. Collette (Williams, the ‘vocalising beatrocker’ and other half) and I aspire to be giants in the world of music, so why not call ourselves Rews?” Is it family name, or..? “No, I found the scribbled on the wall of a toilet at Corsica Studios.”

I talk a lot about words, and (irony withstanding) it can be an often self defeating endevour. You are heard less the louder you shout. But the verb that jumps onto the table tonight is ‘fun’; Rews are a punchy, pop punk, rock band who ‘make a lot of noise for two people’. But it’s addictive, powerhouse, ferocious and fun. The F word again. I’ve only just met them and I’m half thinking we should turn off the recorder, go outside and find something to climb.

“We’re experimenting at the minute,” explains Shauna Tohill when I ask for a self description, “it’s getting more rock”. “It’s naturally forming into a heavier sound,” continues Collette Williams, “from the instrumentation and set up, from pedals through to heavier grooves and the sound that we’re trying to create. Especially in a live environment.” Precisely why I’m here; Rews’ music videos were the siren call but I want to see this on stage. “People say we make a lot of noise for two people. But we love that.”

“After we first jammed together, we were deciding about whether to go for a bass player but then thought, you know we can cover this,” continues Tohill. “Also it’s difficult enough to arrange for more people to be in a rehearsal, especially when you’re working a lot. We love playing with other musicians but I think right now it’s good the way it is.” I’ve never understood how most bands stay together; like family board games, table wine and Christmas, the end is inevitable. “Everything’s easier with two,” adds Williams, “we can both fit in a car with all our gear, there’s one less mouth to feed. Plus there are some incredible two piece bands around, like Royal Blood, who make you want to up your game and be creative, to really utilise what you have. Because when it comes to pedals, when it comes to triggers, when it comes to duel vocals we can have this gigantic sound… so why not try and do that.”

INTERVIEW: RewsGigantic’s a good word. On the surface there’s nothing genre shattering about Rews, with the more accessible pop punk (itself an oxymoron) having reared its less than ugly head several times before. And like contemporary classical, I think we need a new term. But Rews are ‘really fucking good’ to quote Ceol Caint’s review of single ‘Death Yawn’. Their sound is gigantic. If they can deliver their infectious foot stamp on stage, live, tonight could be impressive. Plus there’s something brewing on the horizon that we’re only teased with at this stage, but it sounds like a game changer.*

Rews are relatively new to each other too. And whilst both Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams have been serious about their music for a while, as Rews they have only been writing and performing for a few years – finding each other after moving independently to London.

“Both of us had been in bands for years,” tells Tohill, “and I was doing my solo thing for a long time (Silhouette). Then I came across this artist retreat in Cirencester and I moved there for four months to write and decide which direction to go in and I wanted to do with music. That was my first move out of Belfast I guess. This was before I met Collette.” My toes curl at the term ‘Artist Retreat’ and the sneer that is my oldest foe sits clear on my face. I don’t even need to ask the question.

“It was a really amazing experience actually,” continues Tohill – mercifully sidestepping my frown. “I got free accommodation, free food, free studio space, all in exchange for working the land. So I learnt how to grow vegetables and worked on community projects with  alcohol and drug abusers, elderly people. It was really such an eye opening experience.” This sounds better than my assumption, I wonder if they have a room for prose writers. Would you ever go back? “It was really amazing, a great place to go and be away from people and just focus on what you want to do creatively. Collette and I have been talking about going back there to do some writing together as well.”

Shauna Tohil’s also toured with Snow Patrol and Darwin Deez, to add some cherries on the CV, whilst Collette Williams has worked with the respected music director, Kojo Samuels. “That was with Sony,” explains Williams, “trying to find the next massive girl band type thing. I was touring the country, playing drums, and looking for ‘authentic female talent’. Which was fantatsic; I’m a massive advocate for finding inspirational females. That also led to some work with Gabrielle Aplin – appearing on one of her videos where 30 drummers get their kits lit up and everything.” Williams appears on the official video for Aplin’s ‘Sweet Nothing’ – front and centre for a while but hair colour might mislead you. “Then mainly some pop session stuff,” continues Williams, “I worked with the guys from Union J but my background has mainly been session work.  Although at the time I met Shauna I was the front woman for a Surrey based band called Sonder. But that was like chalk and cheese to this.”

INTERVIEW: Rews  / Paul Reynolds © Birmingham ReviewSo jump forward, how did you physically meet? When did the Rews seed get sewn? “We were introduced by a sister of someone I went to university with,” explains Williams, “Shauna had just started going to a new church and met her there. She (Shauna) was looking for a drummer at the time and my friend’s sister, who’s an amazing drummer as well, was kind enough to mention me and thought that Shauna and I might get on.” Might be too late to ask, but do you get on? “Extraordinarily well,” answers Williams, just calm enough to be believed, “especially for two people who a lot of time together.”

“We’re like sisters now,” continues Tohill, “we are so close. We have our sister fights, but we also have our sister love time too… that sounds really weird. We love each other though.” Something going on; in under ten minutes I’ve picked up a clear sense of candor, camaraderie and media savvy. Rews are professional but personal. We began this conversation with toilet humor, jokes about citrus fruit, blue rose references and self deprecation; it’s difficult not to like this kind of company. And when I finally get to see Rews on stage later tonight this partnership manifests into something palpable and honestly endearing.

But a relentless tour schedule can go through brothers like butter, and Rews are in Birmingham for only gig five on a 15 date schedule. Although Williams assures me “even when we’re not gigging, when we’re back home, we’ll hang out and be writing. We’re so close anyway it’s kind of weird if we don’t hang out for a couple of days. It just kind of doesn’t work”. “We’ve kind of grown into each other’s pockets,” adds Tohill, before a final retort from Williams brings the interview to an appropriately tongue in cheek close. “What she means is she steals all my money.”

We take some pics by the pool table. I bitch about gender politics and almost perpetuate a conversation I’m sick of hearing in the first place. The only thing left is to see Rews live, so we drink up and go our separate ways – me to the bar and Rews to the stage.

At this point I’m rooting for them too; I often judge people by how they interview, and having been half on board before I got to The Flapper right now I want Rews to firmly succeed. The world needs credible inspiration, role models and some ‘really fucking good’ music. Plus it’s a ferocious gig and there’s potentially something truly special here.

But time, tour circuits and another festival season will tell. And as Collette Williams patiently established, “people listen to our music, come to see us live, and it speaks for itself. That’s so important.”

‘Can You Feel It?’ – Rews

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMAtei5wn4I&list=RDdMAtei5wn4I#t=1

*About a week after this interview, Rews announced they had signed to Marshall Records – the newly set up label from the amp manufacturer and rock retail giants. For more on this, click here and visit our Rews feature in THE GALLERY.

To read Damien Russel’s BREVIEW of Rews at The Flapper, click here.

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For more on Rews, visit www.rewsmusic1.wordpress.com

For more from The Flapper, including full event listing and online ticket sales, visit www.theflapper.co.uk

For more from Birmingham promoters, visit www.birminghampromoters.com

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