Tag Archives: Itch

Slam Dunk

Well, everyone’s been waiting. I say everyone, it’s not exactly a major festival, but ho-hum. It’s out. As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly thrilled by the first announcements of this year’s Slam Dunk Festival. The line-up includes Architects, Cancer Bats, and Forever The Sickest Kids, and, aside from the King Blues, who are just fantastic, and I cannot wait to see again, it’s all sounding like a bit of a headache! Maybe I’m just being negative, and I’ll wait and see, with some updates on the new announcements, but I’m hoping for more ska, as last year’s festival was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a show, with bands like The Skints, who I’m sure will be making a return this year, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake.

Slam Dunk to┬áme, means punk, reggae, and ska, but it all seems to be getting a little bit screamo for my liking. We’ll have to wait and see!

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Punk & Poetry.

After choosing English Literature as one of my A Levels, it seems that I spend half of my time analysing poetry in great depth. The dreaded anthology, which earned itself a Facebook group of almost 50,000 members wholeheartedly devoted to its burning, has clearly ruined poetry for many young people. But as with dance, and many other things once deemed too uncool for school, the fire in these activities has been relit by the use of the word ‘street.’

Street poetry is a world away from, in my case, the nature shrouded world of poets such as Edward Thomas, somebody with whom very few people in the modern world, never mind young people, can relate to. This poetry speaks of life as it really is. Yet these poets know their roots. Often citing Greek Mythology, Shakespeare and other poetry greats of the past, the word ‘street’ does not limit them to the literary confines of the modern world.

And one very fine example of this is Kate Tempest. In November, at the Junction in Cambridge, her band, Sound of Rum, was one of three acts on the triple bill. I was amazed when I checked her out before, but nothing compare’s to their live performance. Their music can be described as a kind of tech-rock and rap fusion. Intricate guitar and bass parts created through the use of electric guitar and loop pedal, backed by some fairly basic drums. However, don’t let this fool you, when the drummer let loose for a solo, he managed to wow the crowd with some impressive talent on show. However, the woman who really stole the show was Kate Tempest. With lyrics sharp as knives, and passion that has the ability to leave you reeling, as she stands swaying in front of you, pouring her soul out, Kate Tempest has a unique ability to bring poetry to life. Her sensitivity, the feeling that at any moment, she will break into floods of tears, as what’s she’s saying is so real, and has such meaning with her, adds a completely fresh and new dynamic to poetry for me.

It is so easy to disregard poetry, as most of it is so hard to picture – whether it be Edward Thomas, to Wilfred Owen, older poems are so much harder to visualize, but Tempest brings her world to life with incredible dexterity and skill, and she deserves to be recognised. Here is one of her poems, titled ‘Pennies.’ ENJOY.

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The King Blues… Thank you!

My weekend was made when I found out that the King Blues have been so kind as to fit us Slam Dunk-goers into their schedule. Well… Slam Dunk South-Goers that is, because they have been announced as special guests at Hatfield this year, whilst the Northerners are still left waiting in anticipation as to the special treat in store for them. The rumours are all saying it will be Zebrahead.. but nobody knows!

Anyway, The King Blues are a fantastic addition to the already great line-up. The band were supposed to be playing last year, but had to pull out, because of the birth of Itch’s first child, so I guess it’s their way of making it up to us!
It’s extra kind of them, as they have a show in Norfolk(!) later that day at 9pm, so it’s going to be a bit of a tight squeeze to get there in time.
All of the stage times haven’t been announced yet, however we do know that the King Blues will be on at 3.20 on the Kerrang Introducing stage, although I’m not sure why, as they are probably the biggest band on the bill!

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The King Blues – Punk and Poetry

Well, seemingly lightyears since the news of a new album from The King Blues was first released, Punk and Poetry is finally here! And thank god it is, because it is yet another stunning album from the UK’s best up-and-coming punk band!
Whilst the band were originally intending on writing more of a love and relationship based album, the current political climate led them to have a change of heart. So from the onset, there is no doubt that The King Blues are as angry as they have always been!
The opening track features a dramatic and theatrical instrumental section backing Jonny Fox’s poem for the ‘Last of the Dreamers.’
See an a capella version of the opener below:

As if they didn’t need to certify that they were angry any more than was already clear, this is followed by the aural assault of ‘We Are F**cking Angry.’ Commenting on the political turmoil around the globe, as well as at home in the UK, this couldn’t be any more hard hitting if they tried, with a pounding mix of Dubstep-style synths, heavy guitar, and Itch’s grating vocals.
Next up is the band’s new single – Set The World On Fire. This adds a lighter, poppier sound into the mix, whilst always managing to retain great lyrics. The song draws parallels between Itch and a stereotypical MP – highlighting how, as a country, we have a tendency to just skip over what is in the news, as we have all become so numbed to what is going on, after years and years of it, such as in the line: ‘The war wages is on and it’s only eight o’clock!’ This is only one of many issues that this song addresses, others including plastic surgery and asylum seekers.
With a new lineup comes a new sound, and it is instantly obvious that whilst Itch’s lyrics remain as they used to be, there is a very different tune driving them forwards. Additional guitarists and new bassists and keyboardists have brought a much fuller sound to the band. It is very noticeable that the ukelele takes much less prominence, and instead there is more room for electric guitar, rather than Jamie Jazz’s trusty acoustic!

This new style includes other songs, such as I Want You, another of my personal favourites, which likens his love to how ‘the fat boys want Chubby Checker!’ The older single Headbutt, and Everything Happens For A Reason are two more of the poppier tracks, yet still stand out for me as some of the best, the latter being a vivid account of Itch’s buildup to becoming a father.
However, one song which really stands out to me is one which sticks more within the boundaries of the traditional ska-punk style – The future’s not what it used to be – My favourite track on the album. The song kicks off with a good old ska beat, accompanying a slow horn section, where Itch claims to have drawn inspiration from the Specials’ ‘Ghost Town.’ Whilst the song may seem a little slow at first, it picks up towards the end into a breakneck, almost incomprehendable fury, before dying back down into the chilled out chorus.
This is yet another unmissable release from the King Blues, so DON’T miss it! With a running time of 30 minutes exactly, the pace remains quick throughout, but the King Blues manage to cram in everything that needs saying, and much, much more within this time, thanks to skill of the band themselves combined with Itch’s one-of-a-kind lyrical talent! This album is a real credit to what this band are capable of, and is yet another example which goes to show that just because a punk band changes their style, THEY HAVE NOT SOLD OUT!

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Artist of the Week – Perkie

This week, I want to shed some light on a hidden talent, who really needs to be discovered by a lot more people!
Perkie was once a member of the King Blues – in fact, she played keyboard for them when I saw them last year. However, she branched off to work on her solo album, and thank God she did! It amazes me every time I listen, to see the little ‘unsigned’ title on her myspace page. Her haunting voice, which is ever-so-slightly reminiscent of Adele. Her voice is one of the best I’ve heard in a while, and her quirky and original lyrics and sense of style make her really stand out from the crowd!
Whether she’s drawing a smile talking about her piercings or drawing a tear on ‘While I’m Here,’ Perkie shows a great talent which deserves a lot more attention. Whilst she doesn’t use her Myspace for messages any more, all of the tracks from her debut E.P are up on her site at: http://www.myspace.com/perkiekicksthings or you can check out her Facebook page under Perkie!
She played at Rebellion festival last year, and has a whole host of little shows coming up this summer, so if you like what you hear, (which I’m sure you will) go and check her out!

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The King Blues NEW SINGLE – Set The World On Fire

The King Blues have released their new single from the upcoming album, Punk and Poetry today, and it looks promising!
The band have received a lot of criticism from older fans recently, about their new ‘poppier’ sound, but the messages are still there, and I think this new song will hopefully encourage all those doubtful fans, who are coming out with the usual rubbish about the band being sell-outs, to have a proper listen to their new sound, and realise that The King Blues are still one of the best bands out there today!
Check out the official video for ‘Set The World On Fire’ below:

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