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Welcome To The D.H.Lawrence Music Festival

It was a privilege for Rock Shotz Live Music ImagingLiveMusicImaging to be official photographer for this year’s D.H Lawrence Music Festival, a great little one-day, multi-venue community music event in the small Nottinghamshire mining town of Eastwood, home of the renowned author, D H Lawrence.

Rock Shotz Soundz caught up with Ben Mark Smith, singer/songwriter & one of the festival organisers, to find out more about this unusual event.

The initial concept for the D H Lawrence Festival came from local music promoter, Chris Roots Barlow who first saw the realisation of his idea in 2016. Ben Mark Smith came on board a little while later to lend a hand with the logistics.

When asked to tell us about his favourite part of the festival, Ben told us that he particularly enjoys the opportunity to bring amazing musicians, most of whom have never visited the town before, to Eastwood and have them perform their predominately original music live, (as most of the Festival’s venues usually use backing tracks or cover acts for their in-house entertainment.)

One of Rock Shotz’s personal highlights was the combination of rock venues between The Old Wine Vaults pub and (bizzarely,) Eastwood Conservative Club, which hosted some incredible acts covering everything from Rock to Steam Punk! Special mention to Replica JesusYOUTH ILLUSIONThe Small Town BoysThe WildflowersClonkThe 1855 and The Collective Band who played blinding sets! Sorry we can’t mention you all, but the standard of all the bands/artists we heard was truly outstanding!

It was difficult to spread across all 14 (!) venues, but some of our acoustic highlights were a beautiful rendition of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ (sung in Italian) by Mat Meakin at The Wellington Inn; meeting Jack’s got a plan at The Sun Inn, (at last!) and hearing ‘True Blue’ sung live by Jack Chapman at Oliver’s Pub & Kitchen .

We asked Ben Smith to give us his festival highlights. He told us:
‘ I was obviously stuck at Dog & Parrot: Real Ale House all day’ (where he was venue host.)
‘However …
– Jonny Olley & Jasper Malone’s sets were amazing!
– Having a giant inflatable cock waved at me throughout most of my set was interesting!
– My cousins coming from Cheltenham to play with their band, PANIC SWITCH, at the Vaults stage was awesome!
– Just seeing so many of my fellow music mates come into the Dog & Parrot, having an incredible day & being pretty shocked at how good it was. It really was pretty cool!’

Plans are already underway for next year’s D H Lawrence Festival, which Ben hopes will be even bigger and better! This year was a game changer, but organisers are looking for bigger names, more sponsors, promoters willing to take on venue hosting. It is also hoped that the local community will become more involved with photography groups, poetry groups, etc.

Any artists interested appearing at next year’s festival, 12/09/2020, can contact Ben and Chris through the Facebook or Instagram pages.
IG: D.H.Lawrence Music Festival

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Jake Martin: First Night

Jake Martin
Rough Trade, Nottingham

Rough Trade was enveloped in genuine love and admiration for this young acoustic punk/folk singer/songwriter. Jake Martin has a dedicated following nationwide and friends from all areas of the circuit turned out for his special night.

He had selected fantastic support in the form of Manchester’s Arms & Hearts, (Steve Millar), who warmed up the audience with heartfelt renditions and interaction which undoubtedly won him a room full of new fans.

Ever popular Jess Silk treated the audience to a blistering set in which they sang along to anthemic favourites such as Preaching From The Barricades and Drink Up Your Whiskey, as well as new sounds such as the incredible, thought provoking Stranger On A Train.

By the time Jake Martin took to the stage for the first night of his first ever headline tour, the audience was truly warmed up and ready for the top man.

He opened with Introducing, (just in case) and continued by delivering a fine set of old favourites and new tunes. There were introspective moments about growing older and losing good friends, but generally the mood was light and humorous, as Jake Martin bantered with the audience with confidence.

It was plain to see in his face, the joy Martin feels when everyone has fun with what has become his ‘signature song’ : For F*cks Sake Jake, as well as with the final rousing chorus of We Sing The Words All Wrong.

This was an evening of music, smiles and laughter all ways round and has set the tour off to a fantastic start.

If Jake Martin is touring your way, I highly recommend you catch up with him for a great evening’s entertainment with one who will make himself a favourite within minutes!

📸: Rock Shotz Live Music Imaging

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Pretty Babs Take Over The Bodega

Pretty Babs

It was an early start for Indie band, Pretty Babs’ debut headline show in Nottingham on Saturday as there were three support bands on the line-up. This was the first city gig for the Babs’ management, One Eye Shut Music Promotion, so everyone was on a mission.

Sam Jones, Brad Drury, Craig Tucker and Liam Bainbridge, 4 young men from North Nottinghamshire, make up one of the most talented and hard-working bands in the East Midlands. It’s hard to believe they’ve never headlined in the city before, so this was a Big One for them.

The Bodega was almost at capacity, drawing in Babs fans from far and wide, many wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the hashtag #upthebabs, bringing love and fandom for the band in mini-bus loads!

The programme for the evening was exceptional, kicking off with Warsop stalwarts, The Star Botherers, singing their original songs on matters as wild as what to do when your bass player dies and the problems of being a Star Wars bride! They quickly broke the ice and set the atmosphere bubbling.

Next up was festival favourite, Nick Parker, complete with full backing band. The False Alarms bring a full-on sound to a number of Parker’s familiar, self-penned songs. I’ve seen Nick as a solo artist many times, but I wasn’t prepared for the huge difference the band made to the presentation of his set; a versatile, exciting group of musicians joined, on this occasion, by Dave Burbidge of The Leylines fame, depping on drums as though he was a natural member of the band. A great set!

With entertainment of this calibre, it had to be a carefully-chosen act on third to maintain the ‘buzz’ before the headliners and the incredible Essex heavy rock duo, Ghosts of Men, were exactly the right pick! Loud, funny, impressive, Ads and Clegg gave a rollicking performance, engaging some of the more well-known members of the audience to help them with their unorthodox show.

By the time the headliners were ready, the audience was rhythmically chanting ‘Up the Babs’ as one voice, creating a tangible air of excitement.

Pretty Babs opened with The Fall, getting everyone on their side, then proceeded to deliver a well-considered set which included beautiful ballads such as The Storm. I was privileged to be working from the stage at the time and the sight of the audience waving their phone torches along with this song was breath taking and surely must have been a highlight in many peoples’ memories.

Lead singer, Sam Jones has the most exquisite Indie/Rock voice and plays guitar like a demon. Some of you may know hi as a solo artist on the Roots Music Circuit and this has been where has honed the confidence needed for being a strong front man. Either side of him are dynamic bass player, Liam Bainbridge and Craig Tucker who is a good match for Jones on guitar and vocals, adding to the sheer musical weight of the front line, each of them bringing their own exuberance to the stage. Behind them sits the powerhouse who drives the band, Brad Drury, a drummer of incredible stamina and experience, who is key to the synergy of the band. All the right ingredients for a tight, professional, impressive line-up.

By the time the band played their final songs, Road Runner and Don’t Step On The Moor, the audience was ignited, animated and desperate for the music to continue. Sadly there was a curfew,so the show really was over: however, Pretty Babs were showing Nottingham loud and clear that not only can they host a great programme of music, but that they have the capacity to fill The Bodega more successfully than some more well-known names!

You can call this one A Success, guys!
#upthebabs Proud of ya!

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Blue Lighting with Captain Accident (& the Disasters.) The Maze, Nottingham. 03/05/19

Emergency! Emergency! The Maze is closing down! Captain Accident & the Disasters come all the way from Cardiff to this well-loved venue to bring some much needed cheer.

Adam Parsons (aka Captain Accident) sits alongside me in one of the big comfy chairs in the artists’ area. In profile I can’t help but notice he has cheekbones to die for! To begin with, he is a little self-conscious, but visibly relaxes when I tell him I won’t be writing as we talk.

I have been looking forward to this, having fallen in love with their music when I saw the band live at Rock City late last year. (More of that later.)

I discover that there is some truth in my deduction of the origin of the band name. I ask about the clumsiness? Dyspraxia? Adam hypothetically demonstrates his lack of spatial awareness with the corner of a table and a pint glass. Oops! From teenage years, ‘Captain Accident’ became his moniker and he now proudly wears three enamel school ‘Captain’ badges on the front of the hat he wears to establish to his on-stage persona.

In every day life, Adam Parsons is a husband and dad to a young family. He teaches Music (Performance) at an FE college in Cardiff 3 days a week. The studio where he writes and records is in his home.

As the child of hippy parents living in a part of the country which includes the dockland area known as ‘Tiger Bay’, Parsons was reggae and ska savvy from a very early age. His band has supported some huge names associated with the genre: Aswad, Less Than Jake, Bad Manners, The Toasters and Neville Staple; but he is proudest of playing with his personal music icon: Toots & the Maytals, on more than one UK tour! It was in this role that I first saw Captain Accident & The Disasters last year. To have the endorsement of such a great name is a massive achievement!

When I ask about festivals, I am told that current emphasis is on promoting the tour (of which this is Day 2,) but that there is genuine band excitement to be playing Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire for the first time this summer.

The audience at The Maze know their reggae! With warm-ups from Mat Crosher, Buenos Treehouse and the extremely popular Jimmy the Squirrel, people are already set for some serious skanking when the Captain and his crew arrive on stage.

The 7-piece plays true reggae, dub, lovers rock, rocksteady. Mostly original songs, with the occasional take on a classic, such as The Fugees’ Ready Or Not, concluding their set with a personal favourite of mine: Twenty Pence.

The line-up sees Captain Accident on lead guitar, with The Disasters providing bass, rhythm, keyboards, drums and additional full-percussion section. Together they are as tight as you please, sending good vibrations radiating from stage to audience.

‘I love what I do!’ Adam Parsons says as we’re wrapping up the interview. Those cheekbones resurface and the Captain’s smile says it all!

For full list of tour dates and where you can hear live summer sounds, visit their FaceBook page:

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Extermination Dismemberment gig review at Albert’s Nottingham

Everyone has a dream, be they young imaginations shaping the future, the first 30 seconds of the play button being pressed on a Walkman, images and dreams created by music, but behind the screen of melodies, poetry and rhythm one asks, “why can’t I” that is a question I wished I never asked. My name is Lee Stevens Dowling I am a gig promoter.

18th April 2019

The annoying buzz of an 11am alarm, better things to do but needs and must, magnet recording studios two cabs one long journey, no car, no taxi, no bus too skint, pushing both on foot from the back exit of snention just beyond the steel dragons eyes, to goldsmith Street at Albert’s, general public uncaring to my task, most look at me with a resenting gaze for occupating the sidewalk. Get to Albert’s, load in dying for a cider, my body sweats from the heat of a median sun and my own body begging to my like a widow to any who I will listen to give back what fate so cruelly took in jealously, miss my bed but block out the crys, for ciders sweet taste like rain in a desert, load in done, no foul ups they’re coming.

Food ready I meet them the stage set, friends old and past who’s name I recall barely though those mystic fogs of memories, stood before me Chainsaw Castration their guitarist Jack, we gigged together years ago with his old band Rational Choice, excellent Bad Brains cover. No shades of punk here tho as Jack sought higher pastures and exodus himself to Manchester where Chainsaw got their momentum and began building their temple and refining their craft, but joining them. A rival band of the Manchester death metal scene Sam Bramley from Visions Of Disfigurement. Tho nothing serious, friendly banter at best. Next to arrive the man behind this affair, the man who by tagging me in a post roping me into the night Daniel Phipps from Spawned From Hate, by his words I made this night, but why was it for my own ego, the unspoken urge of a promoter to bestow his city with the best offerings like the scene itself is a god and by offering the most richest of bands my existence be given deeper meaning then birth, work, death.

Phipps greeted me but the shock he presented me, never in 6 years did I have such feelings of the familiar dread. His bassist broke his arm, Dave approached arm in swing, his face painted with both disappointment but a cunning gaze, this man would be a dark horse as I would later see. Finally the headliners show up Extermination Dismemberment arrive four men from Belarus, horrible country, brutal right wing dictatorship, but lovely culture, where else could death metal be so savage and raw but the kindness and respect they showed, truly humble men grateful for the show, as if this gig is a fantasy from the void of crushing political climate and uneasiness paranoia of an Orwell dystopia, my smile returns.

First band shows up, Black Mass Tomb a young man with nothing but a guitar and backing drum tracks, first ever gig, the nervousness visable, “you’ll be fine kid” he sets up, the crowd shows up, names given, tickets showed, entry permitted. It begins Black Mass Tomb begins whilst his nerves still visable it becomes quite clear this man has a goal, riff after riff of brutality and quite intelligent song writing, one of his songs he wrote for a friend for his pro wrestling theme up in Chesterfield, if he was a rookie going in he would be leaving a pro the crowd cheered, a wave of shock and gratitude washed over him as he said “thank you” into the mic like a boy finding his place and becoming a man, “I’ll be in touch” I say to myself.

Spawned from hate set up, no drummer again just drum tracks, but Dave climbs onto the stage my eyes sharply turn whatever plan this man has will be put into action, I wait eagerly for what could be a magnus opus or a Greek tragedy, the set begins blastbeats, mid paced grooves, Phipps, Ewan kicking it like a normal day at the office but Dave the ultimate darkhorse, busted out maracas in between the chaos, madman, as this happen Colpocleisis the final band to arrive showed up, plesentrys where made.

Next up the first to arrive Chainsaw Castration, a blistering set of fast paced blast beats and mid paced chugs even tho the vocalist was not the official vocalist you’d think they’d have been playing together for years, not a single misstep but when chainsaw slowed down with those slamming break downs that’s when things really picked up with the audience more or less turning into crazed MMA fighters but the friendly atmosphere still lingered strongly over the heightened madness

Second to last Colpocleisis from Liverpool these boys are ventrans of the UK death metal scene and Chainsaw Castration’s drummer doing double sets straight after and he didn’t miss a single beat with them playing many tunes from their new Fallopian Fallout album showcasing this bands mastery of brutality be it 100 miles an hour or 10 miles an hour nothing was missed.

And final them Belarus boys Extermination Dismemberment came on, intro Samples from films, check, more of the same but somehow even more extreme then all the other bands combined, check, the crowd 50 plus in attendance going absolutely manic, stage diving, moshing and spin kicks, check, Exdis hit Nottingham with all the force of a sledgehammer every riff more intense, every blastbeat harder, at one point I stood on a table in angulation, whilst no stranger to slam death metal this was my first time seeing and booking it, the crowd both young and old wishing for more even after exdis finished the sheer intensity of the performance not only amplified their musical ability but they pulled no punched no wasted momentum. This style of heavy metal is truly the future of the scene, while the guardians of the old school may gauze with malus, for the change in the genres identity from their rose tint glasses and demo cassette tapes of bands who’s twilight years are behind them, believing themselves to be rockstars amongst mere mortals, however these new bloods of the Slam genre will soon be champion names we will be praising in joy and in admiration not just for their music but for their DIY ethics rooted strongly in punk and the people behind it all viewing their fans as not fans but equals. Whilst the names of old are forgotten and lost to the merciless wraith of time Extermination Dismemberment, Colpocleisis, Chainsaw Castration, Spawned From Hate and Black Mass Tomb will be here for years to come.