Dead Captain hail from Tameside in the deep dark Northwest, that’s north of Watford for the Southerners who aren’t too sure of their geography. To loosely quote a famous Northern gentleman for my own ends, ‘we do thing differently up here’. Well Dead Captain do that’s for sure.

The legend, in their own words is as follows “All we have is a small cardboard box with a scribbled marker pen message, “we could have come through had we neglected the sick. Very little is known about Dead Captain. The box we found is scattered with notes, drawings and recordings. It was discovered outside a charity shop in Ashton Under Lyne. An attached note simply stated do something with this“. They did!

Dead Captain are currently a duo  featuring Dan Adams and Dunstan Carter, both who have featured in various notable music ensembles in the Manchester vicinity over the last couple of decades, The Cornelius Crane, Foilface & SupaJamma to name a few.

Vermillion follows on the heels of ‘Toddler Democracy & The Fear two outstanding tunes in their own right. It mixes a Manc’ take on American college rock mixed up with a healthy dose of prog, I’m particularly drawn in by the haunting theremin vibe, it also features the long lost sound of a Fender Rhodes piano which reminds this listener of the Hill Street Blues theme tune. Carter’s vocal is undoubtedly English so rather than call this a Mid-Atlantic vibe I’m going for somewhere off the coast of Lancashire in the Irish Sea heading off to the Atlantic.

According to the blurb, Dead Captain’s debut album will be out “sometime between the collapse of Brexit and the impeachment of Trump“. So, that’s either, never or sometime whenever!

So get your ears around it, it’s a free download a risk free aural delight.

And finally ….. Be careful out there.

Saint Steven.

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Mid to late 1990’s Manchester saw a rather desperate Manchester, still desperately riding on it’s former glory days of the late 80’s indie / dance scene. Sure Oasis had proved there was some success to be had by keep on mining that vein & produced some excellent shitty Manc attitude  along with a couple of fistfuls of excellent tunes.  If you didn’t play that game it was a city where you couldn’t get arrested. Despite the negativity of the city to anything that didn’t fit their magic formula there lurked in a few darkened basements  a rumble of pounding drums, driving bass & buzzfire guitars, a tiny hardcore straight-edge punk & metal scene & had developed & was rearing it’s wonderfully ugly head at venues such as the Star & Garter & PJ Bells / Republica.

DT Soup

At one such venue, the Garter a band was soundchecking & the engineer said to the bass player give me an E. Said bass player not knowing what string was E hit the fat string & history was born.  That history came in the form of Dog Toffee, named after a rather unsavoury character in a long forgotten wannabee Viz publication. 3 teenagers with a cool as fuck uncompromising style that didn’t fit with anything remotely relating to that period of Manchester history,  running on pure instinct & raw energy. The shows were raw, shambolic & frighteningly entertaining, it was difficult to see where the band ended & the audience began as large portions of the audience shared the stage with them. What was clear was this band didn’t give a fuck & loved every minute.

What was instantly obvious about Dog Toffee was they had tunes & I  mean raw pure of heart rock ‘n’ roll tunes. They sounded like the bastard offspring of Elvis & Lemmy, perish the thought those 2 fellas would have ever got it on but I hope you catch my ,meaning. For me they were the most exciting band I’d heard since I first heard SLF & the Pistols back in the late 70’s. Kerrang described them as a cross between Dwarves &  Misfits which I would say was pretty fair at that point.

Over the years the band were signed by Sony, did several deals with various independents & also signed to RCA Victor in Japan. They did 3 superb albums working with the likes of Pete Pee Wee Coleman & Nirvana/ Mudhoney / Soundgarden producer Jack Endino.

The bands live reputation was second to none & there wasn’t anyone in the UK who knew about the underground scene didn’t know about this band. They shared stages with the likes of the Wildhearts, Damned, New Bomb Turks, Dwarves, Misfits, Therapy?, Groovie Ghoulies, King Prawn & Anti Nowhere League to name a few.

The band took a short break in 2003 to actually try & make some money to pay a few bills, such was the near bankrupt life of a UK rock ‘n’ roll band on the road but they are now back with new material & a homecoming show at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen on Saturday July 21. It’s 20 years since I first saw this lot live, no angst ridden teenagers this time, older, meaner & no doubt wiser.  Be warned it will be loud, those amps go to 13 & they ain’t afraid to use them.

DT Pose

Saint Steven.

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Nice to see the return of Blackthorn Music Festival which is coming back to Whitebottom Farm – Etherow Country Park – Compstall – Stockport – SK6 5HZ. The festival goes from strength to strength with each year. Genre -wise there is always a heady mix of styles, rock, indie, acoustic, country to name a few. The line up is always a mix of familiar talent from past & present with a healthy dose of new blood. Chances are if you’re the type to go check out a band you’ve never heard of you may come away having found a musical new love!

Blackthorn Poster 2018

This years top of the bill line up is stronger than ever featuring local, well I should say International hero Peter Hook & the Light, hip hop legendary pioneers The Sugarhill Gang & the Furious 5, the anti-hero that is Pete Dohety, We are Scientists, Oldham’s Twisted Wheel, William McCarthy & The Bluetones. I’m also delighted to see that Tom Hingley & the Kar-Pets are also on the bill alongside various tributes to REM, Happy Mondays. Tom of course is being a tribute to himself!

blackthorn-2018-1

The setting is beautiful, the beer is affordable, there’s always a great choice of quality food outlets, the mood is relaxed & the vibe has always been family friendly.  See you down the front!

Website – https://www.blackthornmusicfestival.co.uk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BlackthornMusicFestival

Tickets – https://www.blackthornmusicfestival.co.uk/tickets

Watched this a couple of nights ago and it’s still resonating with me. Regardless on where you stand on the Sleaford Mods (Me? Love some of it and the rest I can leave) this is ESSENTIAL VIEWING for any band wanting to get anywhere in the music game. It’s one of the greatest music documentaries ever made. Not for the rock n roll tales of excess (there’s not much in that dept), but for the gritty reality of what it takes to make your mark in this game.

The music world is full of hard luck tales and nearly bands who would have got there if it hadn’t been for someone else, some band member, manager, label etc. It takes a hell of a lot of hard work, resilience and self ownership to get anywhere in this game and even then you need all your stars to align, that bit of luck on your side, be in the right place, the right time etc.

Sleaford Mods

After several years, The Sleaford Mods got their chance for their 15 mins. It could have been over as soon as it had began but they jumped on it and took their ride for all it was worth and they’re still riding it, because love them or loathe them they have what it takes to stay in the game.

In a band you need a solid unit where everyone knows their role within the band. Sure, you need an ego to work in this game, however when there’s a job that needs to be done, egos have to be left firmly at the door in order for the greater good. You also need everyone on board promoting the hell out of it.

In my 10 years of Northern Star I worked with many fantastic bands, but I only ever worked with one band with the focus, commitment and work ethic that it takes to get there. They weren’t the best band I’d worked with but they were certainly contenders, until one person’s ego believing it’s own press, brought the whole thing crashing down.

A lot of bands either don’t know what it takes or are not willing to put the effort in. They waste their time getting jealous of others, moan about everything and make fuck all effort, then expect to reap the rewards when there’s some minor glory to be had. Every band I’ve ever been in has suffered this fate which is why I now choose to go it alone and work with who I choose.

I miss the label and putting on gigs so much, but nothing could ever get me back into it unless I could work with a band (or bands) that had the attributes needed to make an impact, with their eyes firmly focused on the prize.

 

The Reverend

A lovely write up of a fabulous single from Bury Choirs.

Jason's Jukebox

Over the last 6 years or so – ever since I started this site – I’ve made many friends in Manchester, England. Some are connected with bands you’ve heard of and some are indie musicians – on the fringe of accessibility. So it comes as no surprise that my heart was broken when I read about the attack on Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017. As it turns out, someone connected to someone I know was hurt in the blast – just a girl on a night out to enjoy music with her family. If there is one thing I know in this life it is that music has the power to unite people. So when a friend told me about this charity single featuring a mash-up of some of Manchester’s famous songs it was a no brainer – I told him I’d give it a listen and post a…

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Jason's Jukebox

It is a classic case of “what could have been”. Local Manchester, England band gets some buzz, records an EP, quickly gets signed to a label and the EP never comes out. But what if the EP had pointed to an alternate future? A future not dictated by the whims of record label executives following trends? Dog Toffee fit that scenario perfectly. Led by Gav Rourke & Sean Lyons and backed by a string of drummers (finally solidified w/ long time drummer Phil Nelson), the band tapped into punk, grunge, girl group sounds, and white noise inspired by The Fall. The band would go on to support legends in concert (Dwarves, Misfits, and Dee Dee Ramone to name just a few), headline shows, and record with Seattle legend Jack Endino. But until now, their debut recordings have never been released. 20 years later is as good as time as any.

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Blackthorn Festival returns again for 2017 with another blistering line up. Cool festival based in Compstall in the the Stockport area of the North West. This years headliners include Lightning Seeds, Reef, Space & Sex Pissed Dolls.

The festival offers a great mix of familiar established acts alongside new emerging talent & also an evening dedicated to tribute bands so a bit of something for everyone. The site is very beautiful & going off the last couple of years the vibe is always friendly with several stages so there’s always something happening. Last year there was an excellent choice on food stalls & properly staffed bars. Always a relief not to have to queue excessively for some well earned lubrication.

Blackthorn 2017

The main stage area has the added advantage of being in a largely covered area compete with hay bails, it is a country park after all, & the bar right where you need it. No need to miss any tunes!

On top of the music you’ve got art installations & the opportunity to experience some serious glamping!

See you down the front.

 

Weekend tickets are £55, see website for day rate.

Postcode – SK6 5HZ

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