Category Archives: Music

The New New Wave vs The Old New Wave – by Mick Robinson

Four gigs in one week is quite unusual for me these days, but emphasised the plusses and minuses of each act and also highlighted the differences of each band, especially the old and the new.

Here are the gigs in order;
Sham 69 Saturday in London.
Gemma Rogers Sunday in Brighton 
Working Men’s Club Tuesday in Brighton 
Stereolab Wednesday in Brighton

There were several eras covered, and so it was interesting to compare each band and where they’re at either then or now.

Sham 69, fronted by Jimmy Pursey and with the original line up from 1977, are very much a marmite band in the love or loathe stakes. Mainly due to their original followers being skinheads and violence at all their gigs at that time, followed by chart success & Pursey’s larger than life persona, the fans were passionate, but the haters had plenty of ammo to dislike. 

I loved the band at the time, but I was a punk rocker and there was trouble with skinheads everywhere and going to a gig of theirs back then… that was a definite no no for me. Back then, the kids were not united.

Fast forward to five years ago, and Jimmy had stayed a lot at Hotel Pelirocco, my place at the time. I got on well with him, something which culminated in him offering Dirt Royal, the Brighton band I managed, a support at The100 Club. They were great. It was a mixed crowd, there was no aggro, just a good rock’n’roll band, and I could finally jump in the mosh pit safely. Jimmy was born to perform and always has the audience in the palm of his hand.

Gemma Rogers penultimate gig on her UK tour for her current album, No Place Like Home, at the lovely Hope And Ruin, a great debut full of clever witty observations of everyday life with a bit of a social comment edge for good measure.

It wasn’t as busy as expected, but perhaps isn’t as well known here as she should be. She had a sore throat, but that was pushed to one side with a stunning vocal and stage performance. Like Jimmy Pursey, she’s born for the stage. She has charm, grace, panache and style in abundance, and was wildly received by her passionate fans.

Working Men’s Club hail from Yorkshire, are signed to ultra cool Heavenly Records and are loved by critics – they get all the plaudits – and are definitely on the rise to the next level of fame. A touch of the New Order indie dance crossover best describes their sound. I first saw them at The Great Escape four years ago playing to 30 people in Photomatic in Gardner Street. It was an epic performance, followed by a bigger, but also epic performance at The Latest Bar a year later, now playing to hundreds instead of 50 or so people. I personally felt the charisma and stage presence of singer Minksy was slightly lost on the bigger crowd as he’s very intense, but watch this space as they move into the next stage like Fontaine’s DC  before them.

Finally the unique perfectly crafted lounge Anglo French avant garde electronic pop sound of Sterolab (pictured). They made one of my all time faves – French Disko, an amazing pop song. If you want to check them out, it was perfectly highlighted on a YouTube clip from mid-90s TV show The Word, a clip that still sends a shiver.

They sold out at Concorde 2, quite a feat at any stage of your career, and were eagerly anticipated by a crowd stroking their beards, but actually the gig fell a bit flat and me and my pal Dave, over from Australia, left early.

I like a bit of performance with my gigs no matter how innovative or arty, Jimmy Pursey gave a master class, Gemma has bundles of charisma & presence, WMC need to get back to their roots and the Lab need chairs. ✌️❤️

Jazz at The Bronze

There are few things we here at Whistler Towers like more than a bit of jazz in the evening. And maybe some really really good food. And maybe some splendid drinks. So imagine our delight when we tripped all the way over there in Kemp Town (or Kemptown – you choose) to The Bronze, where on the first Thursday of every month, they feature live jazz. The nght we went down we saw the very fine One Hat Trio (pictured) – Eddie Myer, Lol Thomas and Luke Rattenbury – who “play classic guitar trio hard bop with echoes of Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Pat Martino, with added Afro-Cuban rhythm”. (nicked that from their Facebook page – you might have guessed). And I guess that’s probably true. They’re very good and very cool. They’ve got a residency at The Brunswick, too. 

Your Gull About Town has written about the food at The Bronze before and I’m not surprised. The “slow and low smokehouse” serves up locally sourced smoked food at its finest. Chef David has the best smile and greeting and… Oh, come on. Good food, fine drink and kicking jazz. What’s not to like?  

81-82 St James’s St, Kemptown BN2 1PA

01273 679 220

Dirt Royal tell Mick Robinson about their Great Expectations

I’ve been a big fan of this Brighton band since they started a few years ago, and we’ve done some superb gigs together at The Prince Albert, Hotel Pelirocco, two landmark gigs at the Concorde and the 100 Club in London supporting punk legends Sham 69. They also played the new band stage at Rebellion and have toured Germany.

You have just released your second album, Great Expectations. How long did it take to record, where did you record it and what’s your connection with Germany?

Char – We recorded the album in Horsham at Ignite studios it was very cold, we did nine songs there then we did three songs at Russell Church’s Sea Side Studios. The tracks were mastered at Gatehouse studios. We didn’t have time to record a song called Outsiders which is shame because it’s a rip off another song I really love.

Leon – We had plenty of time Char, me and Loz just decided it was out. Did you not get the memo?

Char – We work with Time for Action records that are based in Germany – it’s just a shame we can’t tour and get out to Germany, they treat us really well out there.

What is the main inspiration behind your songwriting?

Char – On this album lyrically I was inspired by a lot of the uncertainty and repetitiveness you start to notice in the people around you once you get  past 25. I feel compared to the first album it’s a lot more pessimistic. But I’ve been told we sound a lot more vulnerable at parts.

Leon – I think with this album I wanted it to sound bigger than the rest, but when it came to the writing I wanted it to be as honest and raw as possible. The first album we wrote songs based around characters mostly with some self-reflection, but this time I wanted it to feel personal and more relatable.

When & how did the band form?

Char – I met Loz in a bar called PR6 he was playing Blink with his mate Harry. Then I met Leon at the Jurys Out open mic night – he was wearing a Libertines T shirt.

Leon – No comment. I prefer to keep this shrouded in mystery 

Who’s your biggest influence & why?

Char – The Clash of course. So many reasons but for now I’ll say because they are the best band that there ever was.

Leon – Well this is a big one, what does one look for in ones influences? Raw talent, musical prowess, cutting truthful lyrics? I dunno. I like a catchy tune, I’m well into Polka at the minute – it’s the next punk take it from me.

You met Mick Jones (from the Clash) when he was in Brighton in 2015, what did he say? 

Char – He said ‘Nice set boys. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers’. He was beyond cool and had a lot of time for creepy fans like me.

Leon – He didn’t speak to me. I saw Matt Cardle at Westfield once. That was pretty cool.

What’s been your favourite gig you’ve played so far?

Char – That’s really hard. Playing Concorde 2 with Sham was amazing. Our first gig in Germany was incredible, but all the gigs we played at 12 Bar in Soho hold a special place in my heart. I miss that place, but right now I’d be happy to play a gig at a bus stop.

Leon – I do love the Concorde 2 gigs, but we’ve done some great gigs at the Albert over the years, they can be very sweaty and lively. It was also the first stage we ever graced so it has a special place among the many venues we’ve played.

Where do you see live music going, post lockdown?

Char – Going to be a big hit I think which is bad because it wasn’t getting much support before, maybe people will want to go out more after being caged for a year.

Leon – I think there’s a lot of DIY stuff coming out now so I’m hoping the decline of the stadium show will give space for small grass roots venues to make a comeback. Instead of going to see old bastards headline the Brighton Centre, maybe people will watch a new band down the street.

What’s your fave film?

1.Star Wars (empire)

2.Toy Story

3.Rocky 1

4.Clockwork Orange

5.Batman 1989

6.The Fly

7.Drop Dead Fred

8.One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest

9.On The Beat


How are you keeping busy in the lockdown?

Char – Writing a lot and Leon has taught me how to record demos at home, so we’re just trying to get all the ideas down ready for when we can practice again. Got a lot of new songs between us, over 20.

Leon – I’ve been reading them books.

Any other contemporary bands you like, especially in Brighton ?

Char – Teenage Waitress I’m all over at the moment, The Lathums, Bite The Buffalo, and I’m loving the new Strokes album. And my mate I was in a band with at school recently showed me Cloud Nothings.

Leon – I’ve been getting into the new post punk thing, bands like Squids, Sports Club and Yak, there’s also some cool stuff coming out of Australia like the Chats and Viagra Boys

And what are your plans for 2021?

Char -Get the new songs together and ready to record. But also we were planning to record a new single so we will be getting that together ASAP I would like to get that out this year, all depends on when we can get back in a practice room together again.

Leon – Shake my tail feather, I just wanna go dancing.

If you could play anywhere in the world where would it be?

Char – New York!

Leon – San Francisco all the way.

Any advice for a band starting out right now?

Char – Write, rehearse, gig, record.

Leon – Don’t do it, get a trade or learn how to code or something.

Where can we buy the album?

Char – The physical copies of the album have sold out, but it’s still up on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and a load of other streaming sites I’ve never heard of. Actually, we did a few Dirt Royal bundles with the album, t-shirts and previous singles and stuff. There might be one or two still available at…. quick go now

Hot Off The Block – ShameFaced

In the first of a new regular slot, Mick Robinson profiles up and coming new bands who are making a bit of a splash. First up, ShameFaced from, well, just up the road

There’s a huge groundswell of local talent waiting to burst out of their garage, rehearsal , studio space and play live, and when the lockdown is fully lifted this place is gonna see one hell of an explosion of energy & excitement.

Several local bands have caught my eye, and apart from playing on the Monty Platters show on Slack City Radio I’ll try and get some of those artists thoughts into the public arena via this page.  

ShameFaced are a young, raw almost 60’s garage style band from the Crawley/ Horsham area – great guitars, melodies and lyrics with clout & meaning. We talk to Mass, Cian, Chris and Jude about life as a rock band during lockdown.

How did the band form? When and where?

Chris: Mass, Cian and I met in secondary school, we all started learning our instruments at a similar time and started rehearsing together badly, we all chose to go to the same college where we met our rhythm guitarist Jude early on and he came to a rehearsal and since then we have been developing our sound.

What inspires your song writing?

Mass – There’s a lot of different ways it comes about to be honest, a lot of the time it’s a very subconscious thing if I already have a clear idea in my head on what I’m thinking about, it’s often a lot of observational stuff from my perspective. I’m a big fan of Mike Skinner (The Streets) and how he creates a mood with his words so effortlessly, David Bowie, Pixies and The Cure are also big influences on my songwriting. A lot of the time we create a vibe when we’re jammin together which helps me know which direction to go in depending on how I think the sound feels. If it doesn’t feel right then we just start playing something else until I feel like I want to write something.

What bands have influenced you?

Cian – Some of the bands that we all like and have naturally influenced our music are The Libertines, The Stone Roses, The Clash and The Streets and we all have our own personal inspirations.

Any contemporary bands you like?

Mass – Slaves, Flowvers, Fontaines DC, The Chats, Easy life.

How have your live gigs been going, prior to lockdown?

Jude – Really well, we have been enjoying every show we’ve played, Live performances are always fun and we like to see the same faces coming back to see us play.

Is there a good music scene in the Crawley, Horsham area?

Chris – Not particularly, although there is definitely the audience around for one. There’s a few great bands and artists about including Slow Time Mondays who we have played shows with a couple of times now. We have recently been playing shows in London which have all gone well, we definitely want to branch out more in London as well as places like Brighton.

What undercurrent vibes are there amongst your generation about this lockdown?

We got challenging rhymes for challenging times. 

Where do you see the band going given a normal non lockdown situation?

Cian – We have big plans for when things go back to normal, we’re currently working on a studio set up which we will be working on something you should expect to hear later on this year.

How do you feel about the music industry today? Spotify, record labels… Is the ideal these days to get signed still?

Mass – Today’s industry is a blessing and a curse. With platforms like Spotify, it encourages more people to make music and be inventive, so there is a lot of D.I.Y about which we are fans of. It is a lot harder to make a living for smaller artists, but everyone is starting to realise that record labels aren’t a necessity anymore and if you’re smart about it, you’re probably much better off being an independent artist.

Hopes for the band 2021 ?

Jude – By the end of 2021, we hope to have released our first body of work and to have played as many shows as possible, the songs we are set to release will be a serious step up from our previous demo releases.

Will you come play my pub in Brighton?

We’re there, any day of the week mate.

Anything to add feel free

For now if you haven’t heard them, listen to our demo releases over on Soundcloud

and keep up to date with us on instagram or facebook  @shamefacedd. We hope to see you at a show soon.

Slack City radio takes off

So wide can’t get around it, so low you can’t get under it, Brighton has always been one city under a groove. But in these days of lockdowns and shutdowns, it’s harder than ever for musicians to be seen and heard. Playing “late night radio in the daytime”, Slack City Radio, Brighton’s newest radio station, aims to put that right.

In the first of a new regular column on the Brighton and Hove music scene, Mick Robinson, one of Slack City’s DJs and a man steeped in Brighton and in music, talks about what they’re doing, when they’re doing it and the bands they’re playing.

The UK’s music scene & industry has one big pause button pushed on its sound system at the moment. From the venues, the sound engineers, lighting techs, roadies, merch sellers, ticket collectors, security to the musicians themselves, we probably have the most talented van drivers in the world at the moment.

As long as the venues can survive and as soon as restrictions are lifted, the scene will be reborn again overnight. The passion for the music here is so strong it can’t be suppressed for too long.

The independent radio stations on offer around the country at the moment is off the scale, created and hosted by genuine and knowledgeable lovers of music. No one gets paid and there’s no big sponsorship funding behind them. It’s all just built on love and passion.

Brighton has some excellent stations and excellent shows on them. Radio Reverb, 1BTN are fine examples, and the latest addition is Slack City, brought to you by the people behind Totallyradio and Juice FM before that.

Launched on January 1st this year, a station to reflect the eclectic & mavericks of this fine city, the base that the studio broadcasts live from is the wonderful Presuming Ed’s Café on London Rd.

I’m very honoured to host my own show in this set up. Called “Monty Platters”, it has evolved over the last five years on several local stations. The remit is a mix of old and new, a bit of punk, funk, any era or genre goes, pushing the boundaries a little with no compromise on quality.

A very important part of the weekly show is new Brighton bands, and the last few years the music scene here has never been better with an abundance of young exciting bands, Ditz (see link below), Sons, Rotten Foxes, Skinny Milk, Dirt Royal to name but a few.

Have a listen this Friday where we’ll be previewing some of the above & several other brand new tracks by Brighton’s crop of new talent.

Monty Platters live on Fridays 2pm till 4pm, repeated Sunday mornings 10-12.