Phonotonal
Rocketchild

John Peel Day
Live (Rocketchild / Dariush Rashidi / The Wutars / Mr Derry)

A night dedicated to celebrating the life and work of a fantastic man – a pioneer of new music. I could put lots of quotes in about what the bands of the evening thought of the legend that is John Peel but the truth is they all said virtually the same thing! So I’ll let Dariush Rashidi speak for us all:

John Peel was an open minded guy, he gave bands a chance and really was just all about the music and that’s rare to find in this industry… I really dig that!

So, down to what’s important then, another eagerly awaited night of great music from MusicMann Promotions all in celebration of the late, great JP.

First up were Rocketchild. After surrendering their later slot to The Wutars (they had another gig in St. Albans – rock ‘n’ roll!) they exploded onto the stage shouting and bawling as ever giving the placid crowd a firm kick up the backside with this high-octane wake-up call.

Rocketchild are one of those bands that when they are performing it is impossible to take your eyes off them. Whether it’s Richie doing his own unique brand of aerobics, or, err Richie jumping off the stage, and then .well Richie really! These guys are still as tight as ever, shown in songs such as ‘Black Pill’ and ‘M.A.N.’. However, my favourite is still ‘Last Night In Brixton’ being so memorable I’m still humming it!

The final song of the set was the classic ‘Going Underground’ by The Jam ( every band has an obligatory cover version for the evening) which was an amazingly good version, full of punk spirit. In short these boys need to record an album, if only for my sake!

Next up was our word-master Dariush Rashidi, and the only act of the evening that I knew absolutely nothing about, so here’s a quick low down: Dariush is a singer/songwriter, is influenced by US bands, listens to all kinds of music and likes to emphasise the British-ness of his voice. His goal: ‘To move people spiritually with my music – anything else is a bonus’. Hmm pretty deep and I was intrigued.

Fortunately I liked Dariush’s voice and, listening to the tunes on off, its clear he’s a great writer. ‘Watching the Grass Grow’ is very melodic and commercial sounding. It also flows really easily which is always a bonus when playing live. Probably the best tune on offer was the last song in his set unfortunately, I don’t know what its called so I’m afraid you’re none of the wiser – sorry!

Dariush normally performs solo but recently he’s had a band with him. The band members are good musicians in their own right but I don’t think enough rehearsal time was put in which resulted in some bad timing and a few hitches. Other than that it was not a bad effort at all with the covers, ‘Molly’s Lips’ by The Vaselines and ‘Beetlebum’ by Blur, adding some familiarity to the set which went down well.

Following hot on Dariush’s heels were old favourites My Luminaries. Now if any of you have read my previous reviews you’ll know I think they’re fab. Since the last time they visited BCSU they’ve come up with some new material and have obviously been rehearsing quite a bit. Everything from their look, their ‘choreography’ and their sound is just so professional and sharp.

The third song they played ( I’m not sure of the name but it’s the one with lots of aah aah aaaaahs) reminded me of The Arcade Fire which can, quite frankly, only be a good thing. They called it the ‘wanky track’ but I thought it was great. After that we were treated to the ‘3 minute pop songs’ being ‘Transmitter’ and ‘The Man Without His Phone’, which are both definite crowd pleasers.

Finally, after a last burst of pure energy and a shopping basket full of great tunes the band left the stage leaving us wanting much more, boo hoo. However not gone for long ( hopefully) as a head of a major label was there on the night and it looks like only a matter of days before the band sign a deal and will be playing bigger shows near you soon! What a nice thought, John Peel still exposing bands and opening doors for talent such as My Luminaries even after he has left us. There’s something poetic there!

After a small break The Wutars soon came along and brightened things up again. I have seen The Wutars about ( no joke) six hundred times ( ok, maybe a slight exaggeration but it’s a lot) and I can safely say these boys have a huge following from their fellow students and quite rightly so. I even found myself singing along especially to ‘Extensive Research’ being a personal favourite!

Some new songs brought a very welcome bit of change to the set and their version of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ by The Smiths sounded better than ever ( well, apart from the original of course). That aside, I don’t think there’s too much else to say, except your promotions girls are EXTREMELY pushy – so please get that sorted!

Our final act of the night was the unforgettable Mr Derry, winner of last term’s Unsigned Band Showcase. Yet again we were treated to some new material which was really very good. They’ve also been spending time gigging around Manchester and London and creating a new line of merchandise – loving those coasters! The stand out songs were the highly energetic ‘The Danceman’, the country ( yee ha) ‘Mama and Papa’ and ‘The Nice One’. Oh and there was a very good new one which is either called ‘Mini Bar’ or ‘Millie Dog'( ?), something like that – it was good anyway.

They ended with another new song after a great version of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ ( someone had to do it!).

Thank you Mr Derry – please come again!

And before I go can I also mention ( of course I can, it’s my review) how great the DJ was. He kept us very entertained between band, the boy can dance and play some quality tunes!

All in all it was a great night and a very fitting tribute to such a wonderful and influential man. JP would have approved wherever he is.

Guest article from Katie M.

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