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Posts tagged Big Joan

The brilliant Annette Berlin is throwing an album launch party tonight down at the Grain Barge. Assuming you’re not going to see the man JCC down at Colston Hall or Bass Clef at the Cube you’re strongly recommended to go down.

She recorded the above at BBC Introducing towers the other week & mighty fine it is too.

You’ll also know Annette as part of Big Joan of course. 

"Never, in the history of music making, has one person sounded so much like PJ Harvey without actually being her" would be one way to describe this track. 

Anyway, I’m gonna go away now & mull on just how many flipping ace gigs I’ve missed while whiling away the last two weeks in North Norfolk & North Wales.

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Posted at 5:12 AM 07 June 2013
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Annette Berlin - Just Like You
(Forthcoming Mini Album)

Annette Berlin you’ll know as the front person from one of my favourite local bands Big Joan. She concentrates on singing (and battering dustbins) with them but is a talented solo artist in her own right. Often described as “teutonic” (simply because she’s part German as far as I can tell) she has a unique(ish) singing voice that she allays with pretty sharp and effective guitar playing. As a whole it works brilliantly & if you’re a fan of anything that can remotely fit under the umbrella “riot grrl” you’ll enjoy this.

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Posted at 6:49 AM 04 February 2013
Mark My Wurdz, this is gonna going to be a great nightiz.
I’ve bleated on about Big Joan & The Perverts here before & fully love em both. I have every confidence H & At The Heart Of It All will blow us away an all.
Support local music. (If you live in Bristol & support foreign music if you don’t but are cool with travelling to a great night).

Mark My Wurdz, this is gonna going to be a great nightiz.

I’ve bleated on about Big Joan & The Perverts here before & fully love em both. I have every confidence H & At The Heart Of It All will blow us away an all.

Support local music. (If you live in Bristol & support foreign music if you don’t but are cool with travelling to a great night).


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Posted at 7:38 PM 07 January 2013

Shit me, gigs to write about have been well piling up ….

…. I’m away at the moment so all my spare time’s being spent uploading OP’s writing to Louder Than War, which is cool but I really wish I had more time to do stuff on here / do reviews for Louder Than War myself.

Off the top of my head I’ve got all these to write about on here but which aint gonna happen so here’s a quick “what i been up to” thing …

 - Cant fucking remember this night hardly at all. Was I even there? Think so.

 - Groovy. Big noise. Like, really big.

That Fucking Tank, Poino & Big Joan
 - This rocked huge fucking big time styleeeee. Soon got thru my four spare tshirts (that front room at the croft aint made for sell out, hour long sets by bands who invoke a reaction of bouncing none stop) & had to cycle home with no tshirt on under my coat. Brrr, bit not as Brrr as if I’d had a sodden tshirt on. Much as I keep on telling you Big Joan are Brizzle’s best live band atm I think That Fucking Tank pipped them tonight. Sick shit, awesome night, bummer for you if you missed it & all I can do is shrug.

All Day Punk Fest - Not a great event but Pettybone's last ever show was one of the years gig going highlights - absolutely blistering set & totes emosh what wiv it being their last ever show an all. Flipping killed it to buggery & back again. Seriously. Half an hour of mayhem down in the basement of new venue Exchange at 6pm. The day never got going again after that. The Computers were good, they have cool skillz when it comes to entertaining. But the rest of the evening was hey ho. Should maybe gone back to the Fleece where I'd started.

 & loads of other twinkly eyed septuagenarian rastafarian GODS all on one stage at the Big Top. Absolutely ace fun, big style skanking. Briz needs more reggae. Awesome evening slightly ruined for my money at the end with a group “hug” singalong of Bob Marley’s “One Love”. Big Jeff disagreed with me on this one but I was adamant that they should’ve closed with a team singalong of Talisman’s “Dole Age” instead. One Love my fucking arse.

Hardcore Fest - Gnarwolves were fucking class, as were all the other bands. Weird day, saw 16 bands but only knew 3 by name. Coulda done with Jed being there to tell me who they fuck they all were tbh. They spanned the whole cross section of hardcore more or less, not a duff band amongst em I dont think. Ended up face planting a wall at one point when some huge dude next to me got in the way of a lad who was wall bouncing, wherupon huge dude richetted into me & i, in turn, smashed into the wall. Had to go for a little lie down I’m afraid which was a bit lame. Later on my knee got crushed by some other dude, was walking a bit wonky for at least a couple more days after coz of this. I like gigs where I wind up battle scarred. Weird thing was no one other than band members & me arrived till about 8:30 &, like, doors were 3:00. I know it clashed with see no evil but fuck, what’s wrong with some people. Priorities dudes, piorities. Gotta be honest, this day pretty much knocked the spots of the Deadpunk bank holiday alldayer imo.

Portico Quartet, Empty Pools & the godawful Scarlet Rascal
 - Crack’s third party was a weird one. Still perplexed as to what Geoff B sees in Scarlet Rascal. Is it just me? They are fucking SHIT aren’t they? Y’all must know me by now, I never ever hardly ever diss bands as a general rule of thumb but it bugs me a bit when crap gets loads of support & money thrown at em when there’s so many much better bands in the city so much more deserving. But then the whole “Geoff B is a god who can never do no wrong” thing has always confused me a bit. Like, enough with the fucking pedestal already yo? I really like him coz he’s like a normal but everyone else seems to see him as a flawless demigod. Weird. Empty Pools similar. They too I find kind of normal & am confused at the speed they’ve become worshipped by, esp, 6music dj’s. Portico Quartet were great anyway so that was good at least. Then I went for some fresh air & wasn’t allowed back in. Really wanted to see Face & Heel but wasn’t allowed back in. “Let me back in” I said to them on the door but I wasn’t allowed back in. So I went home to bed.

OLO Worms, Falling Stacks, Sweet Baboo, Ichi

 - Oh, this was a fun night. Cross genre, cross Louisiana & everything. Except not cross the basement. Why no basement gigs at the Louis this year? Falling Stacks were flipping ace even if (or becoz) they wore their big black influence on their sleevies. And Ichi was as much fun & pure entertainment as ever. It’s more like you’re at a circus when you see him perform, not at a gig. Sweet Baboo was sweet & OLO Worms were as lovillilly bonkers as I was expecting having listened to their album so much prior to the evening.

Hec, I’ve probably missed other gigs. I shall endeavor to find more time for this in future. I will. (Probably won’t). At least I feel a bit caught up now. 


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Posted at 7:46 PM 02 September 2012

So, I’ve had 3 whole days without gigs….

…. now for a 6 gigs / 6 days run. me’s a gonna be a vibezin’ left un right un centre too.

bastions tonight;

star fucking hipsters tomorrow;

that fucking tank, big joan & poino friday;

rachael dadd saturday;

bristol reggae explosion sunday &

dead punk thing monday.

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Posted at 5:24 AM 22 August 2012


A review that first went up on Louder Than War last week. Fucking awesome time was had & “haha” to everyone who preferred to stay at home watching the arsing Olympics closing ceremony.

Castrovalva, The Hysterical Injury, Big Naturals and We Are Romans

The Croft, Bristol

12th August 2012

It was the night of the Olypical Games’ closing ceremony but for the discerning Bristol based fan of noise mongering there was no question of doubt about where we should be - & it definitely wasn’t sat at home watching the teev. No, it down The Croft for musicky mayhem. Oh, and a power tool.

It’s not often that a man of my years & gig going experince goes to a show & see’s something he’s never ever seen before. But that was what happened last Sunday. I’m going to keep you on tenterhooks as to what it was but I’ll tell you this much: it involved a power tool.

Actually the night consisted of quite a few unusual facts that gave us, the audience, food for conversation. For a start there were four bands playing but none of them consisted of your traditional “drums, lead guitar, bass guitar, vocals” format. Indeed, three of the four bands were two pieces. Also, at least three of the bands were flying sans lead guitar & the fourth was using a Baritone guitar which, to quote from wikipaedia “…also has the capacity to be used as a bass guitar if strung correctly”. So no traditional lead guitar all night. 

We Are Romans kicked off proceeding, the first of tonight’s bands from Bath. ‘Romans’ …. ‘Bath’ …. (I’ll pause now while you take that in) …. (I’ll presume you’ve now taken that in & will carry on). Like all the bands on tonight’s bill they didn’t let the fact that they were shy of being a full fourpiece prevent them from making an unbelieveable noise. Their job on tonight’s bill was to bring the riffs, something they achieved with consummate ease leading me to suspect their job on most bills is to bring the riffs. Their list of influences is staggeringly close to what you’d (or ‘I’d’ anyway) consider “the ideal” (Minutemen, Helmet, Fugazi Isis, Melvins, Jesus Lizard, Neurosis, Black Flag etc). As you can imagine with that list of influences riffs alone weren’t the full ‘We Are Romans’ story - there were drums too courtesy of a sticksman who properly clattered the fuck out of his set like there were no tomorrow. I love when you get to a gig early enough to see the first support, a band you’ve never seen or heard before & they’re brilliant.

Next up were Big Naturals, possibly my favourite live Bristol band (neck n neck with Big Joan. Describing them as a “drum & bass” duo doesn’t do credit to the mass of effects pedals, circuit boards, oscillating things, feedbacking things, reverby things & similar such gubbins that they employ to make their structured, considered balls to the wall AND the floor AT THE SAME TIME racket. 

Big Naturals ‘thing’ though, live, is that they utterly spurn the stage & set up shop in the middle of the venue’s floor. Yes, including the drums. Especially including the drums. This was the third time I’ve seen them this year & each time I wonder why more bands don’t do it. The closeness & intimacy you get with being so close to & on the same level as the band totally changes the ‘dynamic’. Right from the off it’s like a sonic smack to the solar plexus which fills you with an overwhelming surge of joy. And there was you thinking getting smacked in the solar plexus wouldn’t bring you joy.

Can’t say I’ve ever tried it but I imagine if I attempted to remove the stupid grin from my face at any point during one of their sets it’d prove impossible. The power of the drumming combined with the sheer experimental craziness of the bass playing whereby Gareth pushes the instrument to it’s absolute extremes is simply unparalleled as far as I’m aware. It’s just a non stop voyage through reverb, feedback & no end of effects. A seasoned pair of eardrums like mine (for ‘seasoned’ read ‘shot to shit’) took it in my stride but seriously, and this is something I’d never normally advocate, you should consider getting some earplugs if you’re ever gonna see them live. They have an album coming out soon. It’s gonna be off the hook. And even though I’ve already reviewed them once here before (when they supported <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Flipper</a>) I will review their album too & I will keep on reviewing them till you’ve all proved you’ve taken note by joining me as fully paid up members of their fan club. Got that? Good. (Or until John gives me my marching orders of course).

Now’s where the unique occurance I referred to at the start of this review began. Apart from the headlining band the star of tonight’s show was a power tool, namely an electric saw. Big Natural’s set didn’t so much end as meld into a jam with the drummer from Hysterical Injury (he was on the stage proper). Next up Annie Hysterical starts up an electric saw & begins setting too, sawing up a huge sheet of wood into CD cover sized shapes to later be used as, yuuup, CD covers for the new single (see below). Needless to say there was a mike catching all this so we had the two drums, one bass & an electric saw jamming together for 10 minutes or so & which ultimately bled into (figuratively, thankfully) Hysterical Injury’s set.

Hysterical Injury are well established on the Bristol scene now (despite hailing from South Wales & living in Bath) & have picked up shedloads of 6music airplay since releasing their debut album earlier in the year (watch this space for a review some time soon - it’s brilliant). Not surprisingly with Annie on vocals they get compared, pretty accurately as it happens, to all your favourite “riot grrl” bands. They’re another band who create a frightening amount of noise for a twopiece but it’s rather more mannered than the other bands on the bill tonight, there are obvious shapes to their tunes & you don’t get the impression like the preceding two bands that they’re lashing out on a great big jam. There’s definite hooks & catchinesses in amongst their clattering, meaty (the meatiness coming from the bass especially) fury & the half dozen songs they played tonight were over way too soon, something that the members of the audience who were down tonight with the sole intent of dancing to them (amongst them members of the wonderful band Bellies must’ve been sad about. 

And so to Castrovalva. What can be said about Castrovalva that isn’t “these guys are pretty much off their respective rockers & fecking brilliant to boot”. Quite a lot probably, starting with the fact that they’re one of the most amazingly fun bands I’ve seen for a while. It’s so unusual to see a band & not know where the fuck they’re gonna take you next. At their core Castrovalva are a noiserock band but definitely not your run of the mill noiserock band. In fact they’re not your run of the mill anything. I know it’s lazy journalism to compare a band to another but for roughly a third of their time on stage they really reminded me of Pulled Apart By Horses somewhat deranged little brother. The mischievous little brother who just wont behave or play by the rules. Check this, their current single, for proof (I think) of such. 

The reason they only sounded like that for about a third of the time was mainly because of Leemun’s (lead singer) vocals, in particular his astonishing range. He was all over the place - my heart so went out to his vocal cords. One minute he was hardcore screaming the next he’d slipped into a high pitched shriek. Then he was bringing his pitch monitors into the equation to further weird things out. 

They gave good groove too & for the audience dancing, or movement in some way or other, was pretty much obligatory. I can’t imagine what the band were like before they (originally a two piece) were joined by Leemun on vocals but I bet they weren’t so idiosyncratic, unusual, mind blowing or unique. A unique noise monster from planet off their fecking trolleys. The crowd loved it & despite it clashing with the lympics closing ceremony I suspect there was no one who’d have traded there position in the sweaty Croft tonight for one at home on the settee. Not for a minute. So much were we enjoying it that we even managed to coax an encore out of them, something that it sounded like they rarely do as they opined “but we’ve been doing the same set for three years”. (They need to work on their trembly bottom lips to get this to work I reckon though suspect it was for show alone).

And to finish a shout out to the invariably unheralded promoter - the evening was arranged by the man known as Dave Artscare. If there’s a night of weird and wonderful noise going on in Bristol you can bet your bottom dollar Dave will be behind it in some way. Massive props to him for arranging tonight & a quick plug for his next event, a joint one with another of the city’s promoters (Blood Red Sounds) which sees Poino, That Fucking Tank and Big Joan amongst others playing The Crofts two rooms on 24th Aug. Six awesome dead noisy & fucking ace bands for six mere quid. Go here for more details.

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Posted at 5:30 PM 19 August 2012

Thought Forms, Big Joan & Geisha Noise Research Group.

Awesome night, cracking bill. This was always going to be a contender for gig of the year. Thought Forms & Big Joan are two of the cities best bands by a mile (I’ve spoken about them both on here before so won’t again). Both kick ass & you should buy as much of their shit as you can get your hands on.

Here’s a track from Big Joan’s last album, the track that sounds most like Gang Of Four:

And here’s a track by Thought Forms. It’s a over a year old but representative:


Both of those bands are pretty noisy but they were nowt compared to the nights headliners, Geisha Noise Research Group who treated us to a pretty impressive aural evisceration. Atari Teenage Riot with shed loads more added intensity. And we all know how intense ATR are. Stonishing. Bleeding stonishing. Bleeding ears stonishing. Very amusing that I saw them on the same day as that new campaign about tinitus was launched. “Oh tinitus, up yours”.

They have a new album “in post-production” atm. Have touched em up for a pre-release download code /streaming link whatever for Louder Than War review purposes so watch this (or that) place.

The video below was made last night. And yuuuup, that is me doing my usual whooping ting in the background.