Thursday, 23 June 2011

"Jew!", Lies Giggs

Hopefully picked up a few tabloid readers off the strength of that title.

Great Men have 2 gigs in London in July, and being the generous folk we are we've engineered them to suit every demographic:

Friday 1st July - Chamber Club @ New Cross Inn
with Saturday Kids, Pet Scenes, Plantagenet 3 and Partly Faithful. This is on a Friday night, is only £3, and the party goes on as late as you like. Perfect for out-of-towners and Londoners alike.

with Peanut Butter Lovesickle, The Beast, and more. We're on at 8pm in this conveniently located venue in the heart of Camden. Perfect for working folk after a hard day at the office, and layabouts after Neighbours has been on. Bring a copy of the flyer below for 25% off the entry price!

We've also started the long, turning an aircraft carrier-esque, process of thinking about gigs in the Midlands and the North again. If you'd like to help us out in anyway, give us a holler. Cheers!

See you there!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Spectators at an Execution: Year One

On June 18th 2010, my friends went to the pub to watch England play Algeria in the World Cup. I retreated to my feedback den and, in my ongoing Widdleman VS The World Cup tradition, over the course of the match I wrote, recorded and mixed this track:

England 0 0 Algeria by chris-walls

Some geeky points to note are the dual drum machines (one of them hand triggered - the out of time one!) and the feedback duet that I finished just moments before the neighbours knocked on the door...

Shortly thereafter, R-Man and I learned the song and incorporated it into the Great Men set. We dropped the initial World Cup name in favour of something a little more us (with some conceptual continuity of course - there's a present for the first person to spot it). You can hear our version on the Live in London EP and here's a video of us playing it in the Shazam live lounge on October 22nd 2010:

At some point, I'm not sure when, I started noodling about on an acoustic guitar and over time this solo acoustic version came together:

Spectators at an Acousticution by chris-walls

Since I'm not that great on acoustic, I tried playing a solo (with drum machine) version on electric as well:

Spectators at an Electricution by chris-walls

There's probably more mileage in this yet. If anyone out there fancies trying their own version we'd love to hear it and add it to the catalogue!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Download 2011

Yes, it's the obligatory festival review! I hadn't actually planned on going to Download but got offered a ticket at the last minute (thanks Lou!) so headed on up. As is tradition, Regan boarded a plane to France so as to maintain a rock equilibrium in the Midlands. Due to lack of planning I only set off after work on Friday, hence had already missed most of the awesome bands that were scheduled. Luckily 2 nights before I'd seen The Darkness in Shepherd's Bush so all was not lost. The plan was to arrive in time for Def Leppard's headlining slot. Then 20 minutes before they were due to being, this happened:

So we did the sensible thing and absconded to dry old Beeston for a few Harvest Pales with R-Man and T-Fran. I'd caught Def Lep a couple of years ago so it wasn't too much of a shame to miss them and stay dry for a night, especially since we'd have missed half the set by the time we arrived anyway.

So clean and dry, Saturday kicked off with Rise to Remain. I'm not down with the kidz enough to know anything about them but there was some satisfactory widdling involved. I'm a sucker for bands that look scary, so Ghost were good to look at but unfortunately the mix in the tent didn't let me find out if they were actually any good. So a giant Yorkshire pudding later, we headed over to check out Royal Republic's acoustic set. Sadly by the time we found the Jagermeister tent (secreted down a hidden pathway) we'd missed most of their set. I'm going to go ahead and recommend you watch their excellent Shazam session, even though Great Men have been shunned by the Shazamers now.

Skunk Anansie are always good, but chose a very poor setlist for a festival slot: far too much new material. Cheap Trick were very accomplished for "a brand new band from the United States"... And I was pleasantly surprised by Avenged Sevenfold, they put on a top notch show on the main stage.

At this point I was faced with a tough call. On the main stage was System of a Down, the very first band I ever saw at Rock City. But on the second stage was Alice Cooper, who is guaranteed to put a massive smile on my face. I got in position for Alice and was not disappointed. My advice to you, dear reader, is not to make my mistake of nearly not watching Alice Cooper. Always watch Alice Cooper. There was an especially great vibe in the crowd as clearly most people had never seen Alice before and were totally blown away. A python, 20 foot monster and guillotine, not to mention riffs and solos galore, later, grins and a buzz of excitement abound. I then managed to catch the last 40 minutes of System of a Down, who were excellent (on a sub-Alice plane of course), and as my friend pointed out, probably mentally ill.

The rain held off all night, but just as we contemplated leaving the tent at 10am, the heavens opened. And stayed open. We braved the elements for a cheeseburger and watch Sworn Amongst, who satisfied the 3 main requirements of metal:
  1. Riffs
  2. Solos
  3. Growling silly things. (example lyric: "Die! Die! Die! ... we f**k the system every day"
We then had the misfortune to witness My Darkest Days (apt name), who must have taken a wrong turn on the way to the X Factor auditions. They were so bad that we decided to just leave the whole festival immediately.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Garage Sale

As you may know, in recent months I relocated from a vast palace in Nottingham to a pigeon hutch on a Holloway rooftop. As such I need to jettison some of my life. I figured I'd offer these delights up to y'all on here before putting them on eBay. Email if you're interested in any.

Marshall B65 Basstate with Celestion speaker. Could use some TLC.

Fender Dual Showman 4x12 cab on wheels with outward angled front

Fender Dual Showman 100w valve head, twin channel with reverb. Beautiful and loud. Battle worn around the country with Swound! and Great Men and will do you proud.

Marshall JCM 1960 2x12 cab, used live once (An Evening With Great Men)

Jackson Performer Dinky Reverse from 1997 with Dimarzio Evolution pickups

Kay through-neck

Jackson Kelly Professional with GFS pickups - coil-tapped bridge humbucker and neck P90.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Things I've learned from the Cycle Superhighway

I was in a pub in London last night (really) and saw this poster about Transport for London's new Cycle Superhighway scheme. In just a few seconds it taught me more about this metropolitan 21st century life than I could ever learn from free papers or chick flicks:

  1. People of all genders and races can own and ride bikes.
  2. Black people are safer than white people.
  3. Black people are faster than white people.
  4. Black people are more vibrant than white people and reflect this in their choice of vehicle and outfit.
  5. Women have baskets on their bikes, probably for make up, shiny objects, shopping and babies.
  6. White men have the most important jobs and dress accordingly.
  7. White men are so busy at their important jobs they can't even afford the time to change into suitable cycling clothes.
I hope having read this you are now as enlightened as I am.

I hope it's unnecessary to write this but just in case let it be known that the above is satire.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Return of the Son of the Space Octopus

Well it's been a busy week in Great Men's registered office here in Holloway.

We had our first high volume practice in months, then followed it up with a gig at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes. Thanks to the folk that came along (including you Frank Skinner)! No photos have surfaced yet but I'll let y'all know when they do.

On Friday we sadly waved off The Fabulous H-Town Savage as she has gone to conquer the Australian music scene. We dealt with it in our own ways: Regan overcame his fear of heights and climbed to the top of some trees at Kew Gardens (rumours of faeces flung at passersby have yet to be confirmed or denied). Then we went and hung out on a wall in Hackney with that Scottish one from Ulterior and ate sausages.

The natural way to follow a night spent sitting on a wall was to hang out in a cemetery. Here's the proof:

The weekend rounded off with some CD shopping at the mighty Music Video Exchange in Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and that naked guy. Then we went to see Obzerter, Regan's very first metal gig. I'm not saying it was a revelation, but here's what he looks like just one day later:

By the way, did you know we have a YouTube channel now? We'll probably get shut down soon so have a look while you can.