Other Half/Final Transmission/For The Hornets/Rascade/Manic Stanley -
The Hunter Club, Bury St Edmunds, Saturday, 4th November 2023
Paul: The Hunter Club in Bury St. Edmunds is a grass roots venue catering for all styles of original music from bands who create their own. It is simply a joy to see groups of all types get a chance to play their product whether they have just started or been together for some time.
Jane: I love this venue; it’s small, low ceilinged, and darkly decorated giving an effective ambience. The stage is low and there is no barrier to separate us from the acts giving a close personal feel during the performances. How I wished there was a place like this when I was young.
Paul: Many venues across the country are packed with cover and tribute acts. At the Hunter Club it is different. Seymour Quigley seems to have one aim; that being to promote music via his Washing Machine shows. The above venue is simply a showcase for local talent.
Jane: You’re so right, Paul. We don’t mind a good cover band in a local pub or possibly as a support, but once in a venue the anticipation of what this band we have never heard of will sound like and deliver is all part of the reason we love music and small venues so much. Seymour exudes his passion.
Paul: Tell me, what can you get for £5? A pint of San Miguel, a pint of cider? What you get at the Hunter Club is not one, not two, three, or even four bands, you get five! FIVE bands for £5! I don’t know how you do it Seymour I am just glad that you do.
Jane: With Bury St. Edmunds being a College town, this is a fantastic venue for students who have little money but who want to have a great night out with friends discovering music together. You’ll need an early tea though as it’s a 6.15 p.m. start. (We will revisit this subject later in the review!)
Set List: Listen Up/Childhood Less/Let The Band Play/Moon Temple/Blood On Your Hands.
Paul: The opening act tonight are Manic Stanley. This is a female fronted band who play a short and punchy set getting those in attendance interested. In fact, we do ‘Listen Up’! and by ‘Let The Band Play’ there is great enthusiasm within the building. A great start to what promises to be a great night. I can sadly find no information about this band. Their style is bordering on Nu Metal/Punk.
Manic Stanley - Photograph 9
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Jane: I’m not always a lover of a female singer but with the frontgirl having a slightly deeper voice which fits nicely with the musical style I am pleasantly surprised. The guitarist joins in with some singing but I find his vocals very quiet, however he does let his hair down swinging it around enhancing their rock image. I thoroughly enjoy the set, my particular favourite being their last track, ‘Blood On Your Hands’.
Set List: Quick Fix/I’m A Sinner/Don’t Let Me Down/Lost My Faith/You Know What They Say.
Paul: Second to take the stage are Rascade who deliver a great mix of riffs and cowbells! I can see no set list but know they have turned up the heat with the likes of ‘Quick Fix’. Second song ‘I’m A Sinner’ is described by the singer as a shit song! Said ‘tongue in cheek’ as it is actually very good. There’s a lot of hair swinging with some notable headbanging both on and off the stage. I like Rascade and hope to see them again soon.
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Jane: I too enjoy this band and by now the venue is filling up nicely and I can see everyone moving, swaying and bobbing to the music. At the singer’s invitation everyone takes a step or two nearer the stage, that’s more like it! What I like about this band is that even though there is that angst and angry way of delivery it’s mixed nicely with some soft vocals and a bit of talking too and I can actually hear all the words. I, like Paul, would definitely like to see these again playing a longer set.
Set List: Take It Away/Digits/Backstreet/All The World/Hand On The Gun/Crazy/Shake it/ Comfortable.
Paul: For The Hornets next and at first we are lulled into a false sense of security seeing Drummer, Rod Tarft and Guitarist, Gabby Ardeman take the stage looking just like anyone’s dad followed by Bassist, Lee Smith with neatly tied back blonde hair. But as Singer, Adz Bond appears dressed and looking like Marilyn Manson in his tutu and garishly smeared make up, we know this might be a little bit different.
Adz provides us with all the rock star charisma we could possibly need immediately connecting with the crowd as he poses, sings and speaks also inviting us to move closer still. Rod does a great job driving from the back and Gabby displays plenty of experience as he plays with aplomb.
Soon Lee’s hair is down and we see an almost constant windmill of blonde hair along with poses and stances helping to create a really good visual point alongside Adz. Straight from the opener ‘Take It Away’ frontman Adz has taken us to another level with his unique delivery of their brand of Rock fused with elements of Metal, Punk and Grunge. As they continue he jumps and leaps about the stage and then writhes on the floor in foetal position.
For The Hornets - Photograph 14
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“Who has seen us before?” he asks adding that we are in for a treat as they are a little different as they launch into their version of ‘Backstreet’. Very entertaining indeed. Later in the set we see Adz leap off the stage and join the crowd before falling to the floor and singing from a curled up position with mike cord draped around his neck to worrying effect as it takes a while to uncoil once back on stage, but it certainly adds to the overall intensity of the performance.
Jane: Wow. This is so different. Nothing I would have expected to like but they are quite intoxicating and I really would love to see these again. I can imagine them playing at Download or even one of the smaller stages at Glastonbury. I think both Paul and I agree that they are refreshingly different.
Paul: Speaking to Bassist, Lee after the show, he enthusiastically told me of a forthcoming northern tour. I suggest a couple of venues which might be suitable including the Yorkshireman in Sheffield that Glenn Andrew Milligan books bands into now and again and also for whose online magazine I am writing this article. Contact has been made, so hopefully For The Hornets will have a successful tour and get the exposure they deserve.
Set List: Smokescreen/Clarity/Crimson Kiss/The Road/Clockwork/Carry On/2020/ Pray For The Rain/Concrete Wings/The Disgraced.
Now to, surely, the group that should have been the headliners in my opinion. Especially as they have just released their superb ‘Catharsis’ album and not forgetting that they are playing a home town gig and the fact that their banner is hanging as a backdrop throughout tonight’s great selection of bands.
On to the show. As I have already suggested Final Transmission should have been headliners. There is little chance of them being upstaged by the band that is due to follow them, in my opinion. Rarely do you see a five piece where each member has such a big personality on stage.
Let’s start with Tom McCallster drummer, who at 8ft tall and hair to match has an enigmatic playful smile and the power he puts into his drums provides the perfect platform for the music that Final Transmission play. On the left we have Connor Wooler lead guitar, his flailing hair falls and flows like the notes he plays.
To the right we have brother Aidan Wooler bass guitar who is another powerhouse performer, a precision player as well as sorting the programming which enhances the music. Just to his right we have Jordan Cameron guitarist, who pulls some comedic faces as he duals and entwines with Connor whilst playing to the camera.
Then finally at centre stage we have Adam Telford-Dinsmore, whose vocals are what connects everything together superbly. At this evening’s show he appears a bit nervous and feeling under the weather, being concerned his vocals will not be at the required level.
This causes him to be slightly restrained in his delivery, however I feel he is as good as I have seen him before. I do miss his mane of hair and his usual energy level but Adam delivers with a smile and together Final Transmission are superb, the crowd reaction demonstrates that.
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Jane: I totally agree with you here Paul. The band have a brilliant connection with a very relaxed feel, chatting to one another and the audience without any feeling of urgency. I know Tom is tall, but 8ft! Just a slight exaggeration! He does love the cow bell referring to it with excitement and playing it whenever he can. I think this will be on his Christmas list!
As you say, Adam is a little nervous but I feel this soon dissipates as he gets going and his relaxed chatting with the crowd helps this, there are a lot of hardened fans here to see them. It is a shame he has felt the need to lose the hair; maybe he had a Sampson and Delilah moment leaving him worrying his strength has disappeared. I think not!
Paul: ‘Smokescreen’ gets us going and from this moment we know who most people have come to see. The set flies by with plenty of material played from the newly released Catharsis (personally I would like to have heard more such is its excellence, particularly ‘Ashes’ and ‘Lifeline’). I appreciate it is a 50-minute set so other long-time favourites have to be included such as ‘Carry On’ and ‘2020’.
The final two songs transmitted from the stage are ‘Concrete Wings’ where Adam really demonstrates his vocal range and ‘The Disgraced’ which is an undisguised vitriolic attack on politicians and those who make decisions but then suffer very limited consequences (both of the final two songs can be found on the brilliant ‘Catharsis’ album.)
Then it is over. We want more. But it’s not to be tonight. I look forward to next time. Then we will hopefully be treated to a full set. Oh well, I got the review, I got the photos and I even got the T. Shirt thanks to Aidan.
Set List: Markist Mark/Sameness/Brainfood/Trance State/Like A Dog/Slab Thick/Losing The Whip/In My Wires/Tiny Head/Communities/Jollies.
And now for the final headlining act, Other Half. I have hinted that there is little chance of the previous transmission being eclipsed. Here is why:
Every band we have seen this evening has arrived on stage on cue and ready for their slot after an enthusiastic introduction from Seymour. He now speaks with great passion and zeal for Other Half. To begin with there is trouble with the drums and after a few minutes of tinkering and adjusting the issue appears to be resolved.
Then as Guitarist/Vocalist, Cal starts the opener there is no bass! I am not sure if the lead is not plugged in or if it is broken but Bassist, Soapy is rebuked for buying cheap coloured leads which once connected are not long enough! As Soapy fiddles about telling us that she intends to keep the ‘pink’ leads as she likes them, Cal fills the time by jovially asking “So what did you have for your tea tonight?”
He then asks us about the good things that are going on in the world, but nobody can think of any, because there are none! It breaks the ice and we all have a good laugh. “Well at least we have the joy of music”, Cal says, but we don’t. Seymour’s rousing endorsement is beginning to sound a bit empty. But Hey Ho! Let’s go! as the Ramones might say.
But again, we are to be disappointed as the bass drum moves. We come to another halt, another false start if you like! “Has anyone got anything heavy” Alfie asks, “Maybe a couple of bricks?” Yes mate in Bury St Edmunds we all carry bricks in our pockets, it’s not Norwich mate where you have the Brickmakers! Some returning sarcasm, maybe.
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Eventually after the chaos we get going, with Cal playing the wrong song! He covers this by telling us, “All our songs sound the same!” and as the show progresses, we come to realise he has a point. After each successful song he quizzically asks what is next, before and even after checking his set list.
I guess it’s an attempt at humour which continues as our comedic host tells us of the release of their new album, their third album adding, you might as well only buy one and that might as well be the new one because they all sound the same anyway.
Between the humorous banter, Other Half sound pretty good but I have lost interest. The band do attempt to create some mystery by only identifying themselves with mononyms, that is why we have Cal, Soapy and Alfie! It isn’t quite KISS is it? The Norwich trio play an abrasively catchy brand of indie rock and when and if I see them again, hopefully I will be in a better position to judge.
Jane: This is so funny Paul and so true. You couldn’t write it! If the band ever give up the day jobs, they most certainly should go into stand up! However, even though their songs have a similarity they are short and quirky with a big impact and I enjoy them as do a small group at the front who literally launch themselves into mosh pitting, including Seymour who loves it so much he grants them a bit longer. Ten out of ten for perseverance.
Paul: The night concluded with Final Transmission being the undoubted champions for us.
Review By Paul Mace & Jane Mace
Photographs By Paul Mace