Posted by: outroversion | November 28, 2015

10 Years On: Jem @ Portsmouth Pyramid Centre (28th November 2005)

So I better get this out there right now because it’s going to come up with a lot of the bands I saw a decade ago were featured on a popular teen drama known as The O.C.

My GOD was into that show. I tried my best to be Seth Cohen, started skating, dressing like him and named my cat after him. We were all young and impressionable once, I just like to take things to another level.

Now Jem is one of the more poppy artists that were on the show and so this was a fork in the road for me, was I really the kind of guy who goes to pop shows? The answer thankfully was no, the nearest I got in the next 10 years was a misguided segue to a Ting Tings all ages show.

I’d obviously been to an amazing gig a couple of weeks before and was pumped to go to another, this was a much different scene however.

I’d ordered a Tesco delivery for this evening so I was forced to talk to my housemate and get him to receive it for me.  I mean, this gig was a while ago I need to really grasp onto any memory I can.

So I was a member of the Jem music forum, one of those old ones that anyone could make. Shoutout to Taf, Gemma and BBOFH whereever you may be!

Those old forums were a weird time. Bizarre.


Anyway, I now knew what a support act was so I could check out what a Mattafix was before the show! Turns out they are a reggae fused indie band who had a song so good that I still listen to it all this time later…

Big City Life


I certainly during that half an hour felt that often a support band might just have one song that people will know and they’ll be waiting for that impatiently before they’re unceremoniously told to bugger off so the main act can come on.

It’s worth mentioning that Mattafix were actually about more than just one good song, they had three. To & Fro and Gangster Blues are also worth a listen. Otherwise don’t get too excited…

My views on support bands changed soon after, very soon after and forever but back to the present… the present being 2005…


Jem released an engrossing debut album in 2004 with original and innovative work that I was interested to see how it would be performed live. Unfortunately it turned out it was via a DJ, something I very rarely saw in the hundreds of ensuing gigs. I met the DJ and band after the show as I still thought that was what you did, it was a sad day once I realised this wasn’t always the case.


I must say that the gig was so close to the record that it confused me as a green-horned gig goer. I mean I’d heard the whole point of live music was experiencing something you couldn’t at home.

The gig was fine but certainly missed the spark of a raucous crowd and the punk ethos of non-mainstream artists but the venue was fascinating, acoustically it was perfect for its intended purpose and it was carpeted which I certainly didn’t see much of as time went by.

Another staple of my gig going life was not bothering to work out what I was doing after the gig so I was stuck wandering around until the first train back to Bournemouth at 6am and let me tell you, Bournemouth is way further away from Portsmouth than you’d think like I literally thought they were walking distance. Haha I had no idea of geography even of England but going to so many cities to see bands changed all that.

I also learned the beauty of hotel rooms, in fact the following year I stayed in a hotel right across the road from the same venue but I had no idea about any of that back then.

She released another album 4 years later which did fine but I’ve never listened to, my taste had changed significantly by that point. Apparently she’s working on a new album right now too, if you’re interested.

Typical setlist from that era:

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 16.01.41

Posted by: outroversion | November 23, 2015

[Rock Cover] Stellar Kart- For the First Time in Forever


Stellar KartFor the First Time in Forever

Posted by: outroversion | November 20, 2015

Alt.Xmas: Skinny Lister & Beans on Toast- This Christmas

I’ve wanted to do a review of this gig forever. This gig completely changed my life.

I wasn’t particularly digging University and was more interested in the extra curricular activities it offered. Most nights I’d stay up all night, go to get breakfast, read a magazine and then go back to my student house to sleep until the cycle repeated.

I’d recently acquired a copy of Arctic Monkeys’ Beneath The Boardwalk demo album. An album that was half the Sheffield quartet and half Daniel Powter’s debut album, a CD I still have in my car to this day.

I was suitably blown away by the album, I remember telling someone about them, “they’re insane like one of the lyrics was, “he told Roxanne to put on her red light” that it referenced “Frank Spencer“, drinking, ringtones and he sang in a northern accent.

I bought NME that week and with it you got discounted entry to the club night down at the same venue I saw The Subways. Three bands were playing, I remember checking a couple of them out to this day.

Seeing The Rumble Strips’ video for Motorcycle, reading about the colleagial history of The Young Knives it was a world of learning that I was actually excited about and couldn’t wait to go to the lecture that night taught by these bands.


I was in the venue, the speakers spewing out Indie classic after indie classic, you know when you just suddenly feel at home? Well that was how I felt that night, it was like the bands were playing for me. I drank with each artist after their set, discussing nothing that I can remember in particular but just having a great time.

The opening act were fairly standard and I don’t remember any of their songs to this day but drinking strongbow and blackcurrant surrounded by people all into the same kind of music was pretty special to me.

Someone pointed out a guy behind me who was wearing slippers. I just thought fucking hell yeah as long as he’s comfortable. Twenty minutes later that same guy walked onto the stage…

The Rumble Strips

The guy in the slippers and his band brought all their instruments onto the stage, now I’d never seen that before. I thought all guys in bands were rockstars and didn’t have time for any of that but these guys were real.

I went backstage and chatted to Charlie about his slippers, his thoughts on Charlie Simpson’s new non-Busted band, had them and the other bands sign my NME and well, how blown away I was by the band. At this point it was no exaggeration to say it was the best gig I’d ever been at and 10 years later it’s still right up there.

The Young Knives

Seeing this picture again after I saw it for the first time 10 years ago is amazing. I was just intrigued that these three guys hired someone to take their picture in a bush. Everything about them was semi-pro and that got me excited. No polish, no bullshit.

More passion, so much sweat, songs I’d vaguely learned earlier in the day to sing along to, I even played/absolutely fucked up the bassline in one of the tracks that’s how live and raw this exhibition was.

All the bands and audience out front dancing and singing along to Babyshambles, The Smiths as things wound down but people continued to rock their brains out, I sat on the side with my NME and my cider and blackcurrant and thought, this is it…

Posted by: outroversion | October 25, 2015

New Music: Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott- The Austerity of Love

Paul Heaton & Jacqui AbbottThe Austerity of Love

I can’t get enough of this song right now. I don’t even care, it’s lovely :’)


So yeah, it’s essentially The Beautiful South in that it’s the two lead singers from the quintessentially British 90s group. If you liked them back then, which most people did as they were quite harmless and nice to listen to, they’ve got a new album out which maybe we should all check out.

I’ve been meaning to do this as 10 years ago I began a musical odyssey the likes of which had never been seen before or since. I suppose it began when I passed my driving test in 2005, opening up a world of new possibilities for someone who lived in the middle of nowhere their whole youth. This was the first gig I hit up entirely of my own volition and over the course of the next 5 years I’ll hopefully keep doing this for memorable gigs and albums but I’ve gotten pretty bad at the blog game the last few years.

The Rifles // The Subways

So it was Freshers’ week at Bournemouth University where I was studying law. Both were nothing to write home about. However I bought tickets to this gig at the start of the summer and had been listening to the Subways debut album in my car constantly since I passed so I’d been looking forward to this night.

I chose to go on my own as I did 95% of the gigs after this one. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember The Rifles particularly and still only know the name 10 years later, I didn’t really know what a support band was and didn’t appreciate that they were always an opportunity to see great bands before they were topping bills. Like I say though, this was my first real gig so give me a break.

I swear there was sweat dripping off the walls after this gig and my ears were ringing for the whole of the next day. They tore the place apart, everyone there was having a great time and I’d just gotten a taste of my future.

10 years and three albums later I would see The Subways again, at my favourite festival 2000 Trees. Singing along to these songs again was perfect, everything that happened in those 10 years forgotten for one night.


Typical Setlist from that era:

Posted by: outroversion | September 5, 2015

Rising: Creeper


I took a bit of pleasure in not reviewing 2000 Trees this year and enjoying it with no obligation to remember any of it. This also meant I didn’t research many of the bands I didn’t know before hand which led to some nice surprises.

One of the most noteworthy being Southampton’s Creeper. An enigmatic frontman gothic in appearance with showmanship up there with the best and a solid band with a sound as grandiose as Mariana’s Trench.

They’ve already got a solid following, the presence and passion of which was unignorable watching them live. They’re playing Alexandra Palace for the Vans warp tour followed up by a (sold out) Halloween gig coming up suiting to their vampiric leanings and they already sell out everywhere they headline so catch them before the hipsters find out.



The Honeymoon Suite


Lie Awake

Posted by: outroversion | August 17, 2015

Will Varley- Weddings & Wars

Will Varley Weddings & Wars

It’s come to a point now where if someone actually goes to the effort of making a proper music video it’s an event once more. Where from Michael Jackson to the advent of the viral internet there was a saturation of oneupmanship battling to get noticed. The idea of a concept video has become way too much effort for most artists who just sploot out an endless stream of online media in the knowledge their fanbase is strong enough to vaguely sustain them for another year with minimal effort yet endless touring.

So seeing this wonderful 8-bit video for Will Varley‘s Weddings & Wars was a chilled bottle of Oasis in a digital desert. I came across it as he’s supporting my new favourite band Skinny Lister, who in turn are supporting Frank Turner on his next UK tour. It’s going to be one hell of a show.

Posted by: outroversion | August 8, 2015

Dr. Dre- Compton [2015]

Dr. Dre- Compton

Back in the late 90s I was into Eminem right off the bat, the second he released My Name Is.

I first heard Eminem in high school. When Busta Rhymes first heard him, his reaction was to put his face through the windscreen of his tour bus. My reaction was symbolically similar…” ~ Outroversion January 2010

Thanks to that man, I was introduced to a whole new world of music and artists, the most noteable being Dr. Dre.

Later that year, I bought 2001. Wow. You better believe I was bootlegging tapes for everyone at my school trying to spread the word that there’s more to music than what’s shoved into our impressional ears by the mainstream media.

I’d never known an album to have 22 tracks or an artist to bring along all their buddies to be on it and I didn’t know wtf a “skit” was!

Dre knows how to do longevity. It doesn’t take anything away from G Thang that he raps about his “beeper”, it doesn’t matter that he hasn’t released an album in nearly two decades and is into his 50s, he’s still as relevant as ever.

Dre’s albums chronicle glorious snapshots in time and provides a legacy to anyone fortunate enough to be featured on one. His albums might have been the first time people heard Snoop, Nate, Eminem and Xzibit. Compton features the rising Kendrick Lamar, Jon Connor, Candice Pillay and Anderson .Paak among numerous others, all now part of a very exclusive fraternity.

I’ve put off listening to this album since it dropped as it does seem like such a big deal. But come on, the time is upon us.

We’re reminded this is a soundtrack to a documentary with the intro, the horns as if the start of a movie and an old style report on the city of Compton. The actual opening track features two young rappers, King Mez and Justus both yet to hit 25 and the unfortunate fact is it sounds like most other filler tracks on any given rap album. If this was freestyled and recorded live, that would be something. However, the unfortunate reality is they probably spent a long time writing their verses. Expect these guys to go the way of Knocturnal.

For every Still & Forgot about Dre, What’s the Difference, G Thang, Dre Day & Let me Ride there were tracks on the last two that are best left in the past but try to find a rap album without filler, good luck with that. I’ve got to say, this album does not start strongly but it probably should be mentioned that Dre doesn’t turn up until a few tracks in, but hey- now you’re starting feel it.

And Dre’s music is the kind you feel, it doesn’t pass you by. You get the impression nothing was given the green light on this album until he’d listened to it cruising through Cali.

His mastery of production is found in how well tailored his sound is. It’s like Eminem said “you don’t have to ask who produced it. You just know” and that’s an art in itself. Thanks to the eras through which he honed his skills, you get the brass and RnB, auto-tune is on the downlow and an artistic decision when used rather than how it is otherwise with an unfortunately overt dependency and modern evil in this genre.

There’s nothing particularly unexpected and it’s the familiarity that is the appeal of this album. Dre’s going to tell you how well his life is going, there’s going to be messages from the old gang, great beats and pantomime gangster posturing, nobody really wanted anything else.

And you know, a Doctor gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want. People wanted Detox. This isn’t what that was going to be but you needed closure and this is just that and it’s dignified. While people are talking about Eminem’s verse for one reason or another Dre has bookended his career and it’s been one that has been incomprehensibly successful, “Trying to get finances poppin, man I thought that was the object?“.

Snoop comes out of his stupour for a couple of verses, most noteably on One Shot Kill in which he genuinely comes across as a credible and genuinely talented rap artist rather than a gangsta version of the count from Sesame Street.

The spotlight on this album is certainly spread evenly among the guest artists but fucking hell Dre, this is supposed to be YOUR album. Fair enough not having Eminem on every track but he still kills it harder than anybody on the first 11 tracks by the time his spot comes along on Medicine Man.

This album is a chronicle of his career, well why not pay “hommidge” to the reason you haven’t had to release an album in 16 years!? I Need A Doctor should have been saved for this album, Medicine Man (M.M btw..) is the only thing 90% of people are going to come away from this album remembering. Deservedly so if that is the case, what a verse. Doc’s protege gives you those tingles on prescripton.

I’m probably not qualified to review a rap album of such gravitas but as it is, I probably won’t listen to it again, there was nothing that stood out apart from the single verse mentioned above and the rest of that song isn’t up to the calibre he was shooting last century and the album certainly isn’t. *BANG* sorry.

Posted by: outroversion | June 5, 2015

Band of the Month: The Weepies

The Weepies

You know I mean it when I make a post these days! Yeah I mean it’s a married couple so you’re thinking Mates of State, Arcade Fire. In reality these guys have been going a long time, we’re talking 15 years. Yeah I dunno, I guess I’m a little behind the game these days… They’re nice to listen to so if you’re in that kinda mood, check them out.

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