nxb3 on tour – Goy Boy McIlroy at Pop Recs Ltd, Sunderland

The first of two gigs tonight was this absolute cracker in Frankie & The Heartstrings record shop in Fawcett Street, Sunderland. Not a massive turnout in the shop when the band took to the stage at about 8pm after the set by support “Simpsons Abattoir band” fronted by Frog from the now defunct Kubichek; but the people that were there got a real visual and audio treat from a band that deserve to be much much bigger in their native north east.

They took to the stage and David introduced the band with “Hello we’re Goy Boy McIlroy, in a small intimate setting you might think the pressure is on us to perform well but the pressure is really on you to enjoy yourselves, so just relax, we’ll take all the pressure off, We’ll play the music and you can just enjoy it. That’s it simple relationship and they immediately kicked off their set with the killer ‘Social Mobility Blues’ an excellent track they’ve only started playing recently. David was behaving himself until they started ‘Agoraphobia’ then he was off on one of his many wanders through the audience, climbing up on the sofas, wrapping himself up in a blanket then wandering back to the stage where he curled up into a ball under the blanket as the song played out. Another old one in the form of Psychological Plaything was followed by a new slower track that I don’t know the name of but which sounded really good. The upcoming new single ‘Redemption Caramel’ came next followed by ‘another new one ‘Midnight Crisis’ which saw David dash off towards the back of the shop with the mic in hand. Frankie was behind the crowd pulling slack in the lead but the junction box the lead was plugged into went flying across the floor and straight into someone’s foot and the mic lead went flying with the vocals coming to a dead stop. Frankie was straight on the case though tracing the lead back and putting it back in place. David meanwhile was in the road outside the shop chasing three passers by.
By the end of the track David was back at the stage, seriously out of breath but after a bit of banter to help him recover it was straight into a string of old tracks starting with ‘Ro-Langs’, ‘The Pilgrim’ and ‘Black Glove’ with David here there and everywhere, even hiding away in the bands back stage chill out room for a while during one of the songs. They had planned to do God’s Calling but in the end it was dropped from the set and they finished off the gig with ‘Writhing’ their previous single. David was at it again, rearranging the sofas behind the crowd then grabbing half a dozen people and pulling them one by one into the space between them. I was number 6 and he got his bottle of water and poured it into my mouth then did the same to the others, as the song picked up the pace he grabbed a few of the six and they all collapsed into a heap onto the sofa on the right hand side while singing the lyric “you’re going down” then he grabbed onto me and he pulled me over onto the other sofa while hanging onto my lower legs. The song faded out, everyone got back up and David thanked everyone for coming out and plugged their appearance at Stockton Calling on 19 April.
Are we officially friends David asked Dave Harper as he was sorting the leads out at the end of the gig. Dave shook his head but that didn’t put David off, we’ll just give it a couple of weeks then, and that was it. The end of an absolutely brilliant gig that really was the dogs bollocks. Best I’ve seen at pop Recs Ltd by a long way and if you don’t want to get caught up in David’s antics then don’t stand at the front in the middle of the stage. Me, I never learn I’ll be at the front next chance I get.



nxb3 on tour – Chapman Family at The Independent, Sunderland

This is a review of the best gig that I ever saw the Chapman Family play, at the Independent in Sunderland, it doesn’t start in Sunderland though, it starts in Leeds…

I drove down to Leeds on the afternoon of the 8th December 2012 to see local punk band Kleine Schweine play a storming set upstairs at The Packhorse in Headingly. 25 minutes of thrashing guitars, driving bass, hammering drums and frenetic vocals later I was heading out the pub back to the car to drive back north to Sunderland to go to the Independent to see The Chapman Family. I got to the venue just in time to see the last song by Reckoner who immediately impressed me with their brand of heavy bluesy rock, I’ve been looking out for them ever since but only managed to see them once more.

Next up were another first time band in the shape of Goy Boy McIlroy who made a huge impression on me with their alt blues, David’s excursions into the audience, climbing over bars, tables, speakers and just about anything else that got in the way. They have since become a firm favourite of mine and I’m constantly tracking their gig schedule to catch them as many times as I can.

A fairly quick change over and the Chapman Family were on stage getting ready for the gig. Kevin started tuning up his bass, the guitars joined in first tuning up over the general crowd noise and the Kaiser Chiefs playing over the PA then they started stringing short tunes together, Kingsley joined in on the keyboards and Scott last of all on the drums. The crowd were realizing that this might actually be the start of the set and the chatter started to die down. Scott starts hammering on the cymbals, they all sound check their mics, Kingsley yells ‘Merry Fucking Christmas’ and everyone starts making a tuneless racket. Eight crashes of the cymbals and the band launch into the wall of noise that is the intro to “Into The Breach”. Kingsley rants ‘So wake up, Fucking wake up! You’ve fucked off all your rights, You’ve fucked off all your feelings’ and there’s a few people pogoing down the front like there’s no tomorrow. ‘This is the death of truth, This is the death of truth’ he continues screeching, rising in intensity until it leaves you quaking in your boots. He sings ‘Fuck you all, Sick of your lying mouth, This is the death of you all’ as the song finally draws to a close. The power, intensity and emotion of this track is just earth shattering and you are left feeling totally drained after watching just the first track of the set. It’s a bloody marvellous set opener and one of the best tracks that I’ve heard for many many years.
As the guy next to me says ‘Oh my fucking God’ as he tries to come to terms with the acoustic mauling he’s just gone through the band slow it down with the intro to “Cruel Britannia” which builds up into another raucous crescendo before fading out to Kingsley repeating ‘You’re red, white, black and blue’ which transitions smoothly into the gentle intro to “No More Tears”. The pace quickly builds again to the more familiar classic Chapman Family thrash and the finale with the band chanting ‘No More Lies, No More Fear, No More Hate, No More Tears’ as the backing to Kingsley’s vocals as the track faded to the end. Immediately No More Tears ends then Scott thrashes the cymbal twice and it’s straight into a storming version of “This English Life” which runs straight into the slower and gentler (at the start anyway) “This Is England”
Its 26 minutes into the set and the band haven’t paused between songs, no audience chat, no catching a sly breather here and there, just full on, in your face, breakneck speed, angst ridden rock music until they introduce “Summer song” with ‘This is a song that’s on the EP’. A supercharged “Anxiety” finished the set off and Kingsley thanked Alex the promoter for putting the gig on as the end of Anxiety played out.

An absolutely excellent gig that featured the best version of their best track (Into The Breach) that I have ever heard, the best setlist that I have seen them play, the most intense gig that I have ever seen them perform and that featured one of the best supporting line ups I have ever seen.

It’s so hard to believe that I’ll never seen them live again, I’ll miss tonight’s last gig at The Georgian Theatre in Stockton, a gig that is free entry to their fans, in their home town as I’ll be working on the other side of the world but I did get to see them 11 magnificent times and wish them all every success in the future.

nxb3 on tour – Chapman Family at Pop Recs Ltd, Sunderland

Pop Recs Ltd is the new record shop from Frankie and the Heartstrings which opened on 1st June at 50 Fawcett Street bang in the middle of Sunderland city centre. Ever since opening there has been a steady stream of bands playing evening shows in the shop, doors opening at 6pm and the bands playing at 7:30pm. The shop is quite big with racks of vinyl and CDs along the left wall and a stage at the far right corner with not a lot else so there is plenty of floor space to get the punters in to watch the bands. At the till there were also drinks being sold as well as a fairly brisk trade in The Chapman Family’s new single, This one’s for Love which was in a limited edition purple vinyl.

The band were ready to start about 7:20 and they kicked off with a long intro into ‘Summer Song’ followed by ‘Anxiety’ from their first CD which looked a little out of place as its more usual to see it as the set closer. A brand new song ‘We Stick Together’ was followed by ‘No More Tears’ and ‘This Is England’ A bit of chat before Adult then it was time to thank Frankie & The Heartstrings for having them to play in their brand new shiny shop and their new single ‘This Ones For Love’ A bit of taking the piss out of Kevin over his birthday then another new song ‘Side by Side’ followed by another track off their first CD ‘Sound Of The Radio’ and the set closer was a riotous version of ‘This English Life’ which was the highlight of the set for me.
The low point was the omission of Into the Breach which is one of the best songs I’ve heard in absolutely ages but it probably wasn’t appropriate as there were a few very young kids dancing at the front all through the gig. The version of This English Life more than made up for the omission though.
The row of 5 glitter balls along the front of the stage was a bit surreal, Goy Boy McIlroy would have had a field day with them.

Another really excellent Chapman Family gig with a good mix of old, recent and new songs scattered through the set. The record shop was impressive too, not a massive selection of stuff to browse through yet, but there was plenty of vinyl, a good selection of stuff from local bands as well as stuff that was left over from previous instores. The huge selection of bands that have played there in the month since it opened is very impressive and as long as the gigs continue there I’ll keep going back. After the gig finished it was over to Empire Spice for a tasty Chicken Madras. Great night!!