Posts Tagged London

Alabaster Suns – Alabaster Suns CD

Alabaster Suns – Alabaster Suns CD (Iron Pig Records)

alabaster suns coverALABASTER SUNS is the new band of London-based musicians Nathan Perrier and Kevin Williams, the former guitarist and drummer of Capricorns, along with new boy Anthony Dearlove on bass, and this self-titled mini-album on Iron Pig Records is their debut release.  I liked Capricorns well enough, especially their last album, River, Bear Your Bones (reviewed elsewhere on Judas Kiss), though the only time I saw them play live they were rather overshadowed by Lair of the Minotaur, who totally rocked.  The five tracks of this half-hour release, though, demonstrate some significant changes from the sludgy instrumental stoner rock of Capricorns, as well as some points of continuity.

The album’s seven-minute opener, Iron Gang, is a tangled snarl-up of awkward, angsty guitar surge and complex, technically accomplished drumming.  Kevin Williams belts out some raucous, shouted vocals over the top, and the band’s overall sound has a strong feel of late 80s and early 90s hardcore and noise-rock about it, bands such as Prong, Helmet, Helios Creed, Nomeansno, Lard, Tar, or even the more musically adventurous work of late-era Black Flag and Hüsker Dü.  The length, musicianship and progressive flourishes of Alabaster Suns songs prevent this from being considered out-and-out hardcore, but the influence can definitely be felt, and of course Nathan Perrier used to drum for Conflict before joining Capricorns, so this hardcore punk lineage isn’t too hard to trace.

Alabaster Suns leave plenty of space for time changes, breakdowns and melodic hooks amidst all the riff-rage, though, and whilst Iron Gang and Royal 6 In Hand pack the wide-bore ammo, the relatively short title track Alabaster Suns stands out from the pack as a gentle, introspective instrumental piece, dominated by a bright, clean guitar tone, which could easily have been recorded by Capricorns, or indeed the latter-day, Bees Made Honey-era, incarnation of Earth.  The brevity and tightness of the release keep the attention from wandering, as it was sometimes wont to do amongst the instrumental longeurs of Capricorns jams, and all in all, Alabaster Suns is an accomplished and auspicious beginning to life after Capricorns.



Reviewed by Simon Collins.  Reprinted with acknowledgements to Judas Kiss web-zine.


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Time for the Good-Looking Boy

Time for the Good-Looking Boy

 Box Clever Theatre Company

 Pleasance Dome Jack Venue23, Bristo Square


YOUNG mixed-race men from London; especially those speaking in cod-Jamaican patois and dressed in ‘gangsta-rap’ gear and hoodies aren’t getting a good press at the moment what with recent disturbances and outbreaks of looting in and around the city.

Coming in with all this baggage, it’s natural for the audience to prejudge Time for the Good-Looking Boy.  Many may dismiss it in Daily Mail terms as, ‘probably some soft, leftie claptrap making excuses for the kind of scum who are looting and wrecking all round them in London’.  Well, it’s not.

Lloyd Thomas plays the nameless ‘good-looking boy’.  He’s brash, but he doesn’t want you getting the wrong idea, ‘I’m Mr Average. Mr Ordinary.’ He does nice things like nice boys are supposed to do. Occasionally breaking into rap he says, ‘I ain’t no bad boy wanting to cause midsummer madness’. He loves his mum, who has brought him up, ‘real proper’. He’s likeable, as well as good-looking.

In a light-hearted manner he tells the audience how he has had a fight with his girlfriend, Sammie.  Not a ‘fight, fight’, though; a word fight.  A member of the audience was persuaded to provide her words, ‘What time do you call this?’, Why didn’t you phone? Don’t you have a watch? We get the picture. It’s good knockabout stuff and the packed audience laps it up.

As more details unfold, the mood changes subtly.  We hear more about the party, his kid sister who thinks that he bosses her about to much and his best mae.  As details of the young mans’s story emerge the audience starts to notice odd things;little details about his white trainers with coloured laces. As we’re listening to this young man’s story of how he loved his girlfriend, his kid sister and his mum, we realise that something terrible has happened.  Why have the police called at his mum’s door? Why did she go off with them?

As he relates the drive home from the party it all becomes shockingly clear. The effect on the audience ispalpable. Thomas gives a flawless performance in this haunting story.  This is my Pick of the Fringe.  If you see only one play, make it Time for the Good-Looking Boy

Reviewed by David Kerr

***** Five Stars

Box Clever

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The Wardrobe Ensemble,Bristol

Zoo Roxy Venue 115


TIMING is everything.  The producers of the production could not have imagined that riots inLondonand other English cities would be the top item in the news just as Riot opened inEdinburgh.  Whether this boosted the audience or not is hard to say but the players performed to a full house.

This entertaining story is based on the events inEdmonton, northLondonin 2005, the year of the Crazy Frog, when a riot broke out at the midnight opening of a new outlet of a large Swedish furniture company.  You know the one; lots of blue and yellow.

The lure of sofas for £45 on the opening night drew enormous crowds.  People fought over items as inexperienced staff and overwhelmed police failed to cope with unexpected numbers.

The players capture the absurdity of the whole affair in a tight script that has lots of laugh-out-loud lines.  Gin (like the drink), the nervous supervisor tries to warn his boss that things might get out of hand. She is full of New Age crap so she doesn’t want to hear any ‘negativity’.  She sacks Gin and orders the doors opened to let everyone in at once rather than in stages. Big mistake! Mayhem takes over.

The flawless action is tightly choreographed with simple props of Ik** lights, folding chairs and a hanging wardrobe. Some of this was sheer genius. Who would have thought that two unfolded chairs could function as shaking doors holding back an angry mob?

Riot is one of the highlights of the Fringe. Book now and you won’t have to beat the doors down to get in.


***** Five Stars





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