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As the Blackheart Burlesque Hits London. TBF Meet’s Suicide Girls Founder Missy Suicide

Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Alt Models, Burlesque, Featured, Pinned, Suicide Girls | 0 comments

You’d have to be living on the Moon or North Korea, not to have heard of the Suicide Girls, the alternative modelling agency that’s famous for featuring tattooed and pierced hotties in pinup style photos has become one of the biggest names on the alternative scene.

What isn’t so well known though is the amount of side projects that the Suicide Girls brand are involved in. Everything from books to movies, comic books and of course Burlesque.

The Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque first toured over 10 years ago and was a roaring success. After a decade of being left on the shelf, the Blackheart Burlesque is back and coming to London on Saturday 10th January.

We caught up with the founder of the Suicide Girls and brains behind the show Missy Suicide to find out why you need to see the show….

missy-suicide-suicide-girls

The Black Flag: The Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque first toured back in the early 2000’s. Why did you choose now to take the show back on the road?

Missy Suicide: Putting on this kind of show is a lot of work and it’s pretty intensive. And so we kind of wanted to focus on other things, so we put out a book and then it was like shall we put the show back out and then it was like well….. Let’s make a movie, let’s do this and let’s do that. And it just kept getting put on hold and put on hold and put on hold. But it was something that we really love doing.

And then we released our book ‘Hard Girls, Soft Light’ and that was two years ago. We sent two girls up and down the West coast doing a book signing at comic book shops. It was just two girls and they signed books at a comic book shop in Santa Cruz which is a tiny town in California, There was like 500 to 700 people standing outside waiting to get two girls autographs and we were like well it’s time to get the band back together, people really want a live show and we can put on something way better than just having two girls at a comic shop and so we decided that the time was right to put it back on.

TBF: So what can we expect from the show?

Missy: There’s a ton of pop culture references, its sexy, it’s fun, it’s impossible to leave without a smile…

TBF: The show features choreography from Manwe Sauls-Addison, who has worked with world famous performers such as Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga. How did he get involved with the show?

Missy: Well we had worked with him on a Television pilot that didn’t end up going anywhere, but he and I had got on really well and so I called him up and we started thinking about some ideas for the show. I was like ‘I’ve got some ideas but this isn’t like your typical Burlesque show’ and he was like ‘ok alright’ and then I was like ‘I don’t think you understand me’ and he was ‘alright lay it on me’ and so I said ‘let’s see if we can work out this one number and if this works then this should be good. So I want Planet of the Apes theme, girls in bikinis and monkey masks, set to Disclosure’s ‘When Fire Starts to Burn,’.  So he spent like a week reviewing and going over everything for the auditions and he showed me what he had, just him doing it and I was blown away by his choreography. We’ve been sharing the burden ever since and coming up with crazy idea’s. I love him so much, he’s the best collaborator to work with!

TBF: The show features Star Wars and Clockwork Orange inspired routines that sound amazing…

Missy: Yeah there’s a lot of pop culture themes like movies, comic books and video games and cartoons. All the kind of stuff that people who’d grown up in the last twenty years would really appreciate and be into.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/vO1Hd_0JECA[/youtube]

TBF: So how does it feel to be returning back to the UK?

Missy: It feels great, I’m really excited, especially that it’s Madam JoJo’s (this was before the iconic venue recently lost its license). It’s sort of a dream come true. We’re really just over the moon. I can’t wait. It’s a great way to start off the year.

TBF: Which girls will be performing at the show?

Missy: I’m really not sure which girls will be performing. We hold auditions every time that we do a show and have different performers come in and join the troupe. Right now our troop is like 25 girls that are all part of our gang I guess. So that we can have different girls perform at different times and place. It’s a long and intense tour and if girls schedules mean that they can only be there for a portion of it or get injured or something, so we have to take those things into account.

TBF: So it can essentially be a different show every night?

Missy: No it’s the same show every night but different girls do different portions of the tour. So I’m not sure who’s going to be at the London show. We probably won’t know more until a few weeks before the show. But we are going to have some of our UK favourites as special guests. Arabella is going to do a number as well as Katherine. You guys are actually allowed to do Fire and we’re not allowed to do fire on our tour.

So we have Arabella who has been a Suicide girl for a number of years and now and she’s going to do a number for us and Katherine who has done a lot of fire stuff and actually hosted a portion of the US tour.

TBF: The show really does look like it’s going to be amazing. Do you think that Burlesque is a natural progression for the Suicide Girls as an Alternative Modelling Agency?

Missy: Yes. The same way that we updated pinup photos on the SG website, we kind of wanted to update Burlesque and put a modern twist on it. So it seems like the natural progression of that, which kind of brings the whole sort of sexy spirit of the photos to life.

TBF: Burlesque actually dates back to ancient Greece and yet still remains popular today as a performance art. Why do you think that is?

Missy: I think that it’s theatrical, it’s an entertaining experience, it’s funny, its sexy and all about the tease that appeals to people. Burlesque is a pretty good show. And it appeals to people because they want a funny sexy show.

TBF: Where are you off to after the England shows?

Missy: I think we’re doing Canada after that and Asia. We’re hoping to make it to South America at some point. Our booking agent is sorting it all out.

TBF: Are you going to continue with the Burlesque shows or are you going to put it away for a few years and then come back to it again?

Missy: No I think that we’re really excited and It feel like the first time we had a lot of kinks to work out and now the shows just becoming better and better and better. It’s becoming its own sort of machine and it would be impossible to top at this point. We’re just having so much fun with it in that exciting man way and finding that other half of that theatrical, creative mind has really been a godsend and also we’re worked out a lot of the kinks of being out on the road and all the little things like being on buses and things that you just don’t think about. It’s all just been in overdrive working out all these things that going about your day you just don’t think about. I feel like we’re really starting to get everything down and I’m really excited about what the future holds.

TBF: Are you going to be coming out yourself?

Missy: I believe that I will be yeah

TBF: I imagine you all being on tour together is quite fun…

Missy: It’s so much fun. We had like a private tour of the Sidney Zoo and we just had the best time, just hanging out, exploring new area’s and seeing the world

TBF: Missy thanks so much for talking to the Black Flag. I look forward to see the show

The Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque @ the Electric Ballroom Camden on Saturday 10th Jan 8pm

Check out http://blackheartburlesque.com/ for Tickets 

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REVIEW: Sex, Drugs and HIV – Various Artists

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Charity, Featured, Pinned, Reviews | 0 comments

The Sex, Drugs and HIV project was started by Mat Sargent back in 1995 to raise funds and awareness for the charities The Terrance Higgins Trust, Release, Rape Crisis and Cancer Research. Almost 20 years later and the album is finally finished and available to the public. And what a great body of work it is.

Let me start by saying that this is a phenomenal album that rightly deserves a place on any serious music fans shelf. From the first track on disc 1, the title track itself ‘Sex, Drugs & HIV’, which is a country/hillbilly drawl about not sharing needles you are taken on a musical journey that twists and changes genres constantly. And that’s one of the great things about this album, at has chosen each musician for each song, meaning you could have a metal guitarist working on a reggae track with musicians that they have never worked with before. The fact that there isn’t one single disasterous track on the album is a testament to Mat’s skill as both a writer and a producer.

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Mat and Howard marks

To list every individual track would simply take too long and to be honest its hard to find an addition on the album that I don’t like. I think for myself the highlights are ‘Road to Morocco’  which is a rocky eastern influenced instrumental track, Hashish another instrumental track (which is a great driving tune as I’ve discovered), Tortured Genius which features vocals from the late X-Ray Specs lead singer Poly Styrene.

The first track on the second CD ‘Easy Target’ is a SKA track featuring some of the major names in SKA and Reggae such as the late Judge Dread, The Selectors Pauline Black, Roddy Radiation of the Specials fame, Rhoda Dakar and many more. As a long time SKA fan this is probably my favourite track on the double album.

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Mat and Charlie Harper

‘Pain/Mercy’ is another great addition to the album and features the unlikely pairing of Afrika Bambaataa and Paul Roony from Vice Squad, on a funk track that wouldn’t be out of place on a the Jackie Brown soundtrack except of course for the fact that it’s about about the creation of HIV for Biological warefare.

As well as two CDs of some of the best music I’ve heard in a while, Sex, Drugs & HIV also includes a DVD with over 170 hours of footage about the making of the album, which is a phenomenal amount of great material.Whats more the DVD contains a video for each track on the album which all join up together. Keep a look out as Mat’s making 30 1 hour documentaries in the near future.

All in all ‘Sex, Drugs and HIV’ get a cool 9/10 as it’s a seriously awesome compilation that you’ll keep coming back to time and time again. It’s well worth the £20 price tag and it’s for some great causes which as far as I’m concerned makes it a bargain.

Rating: 9/10

Sex Drugs and HIV is available to buy now from Amazon

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Fetlife (ab)users

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Articles, Featured, Fetish, Pinned | 0 comments

 If you are a person who just dipped their toe in the world of BDSM, you are most likely going to end up on fetlife. Fetlife is everyone’s favorite first choice. There, you experience the “kinks” and “kinksters” first hand. But it also brings danger as many “newbs”, are likely to get used or manipulated (and not in the kinky way.)

 

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Honey, I’m home.

 

When you first register you will be very excited and eager to get acknowledgement from the rest of the BDSM community. Depending on your gender, you will also have lots of random friend requests from people who are not even on your continent. I was extremely excited by the anonymity that Fetlife provided me, and wanted to post every dirty picture that my phone had to provide. However I was surprised how many people there were somehow connected to me. When I first set my location on my profile, I was not accepting “friend requests” from people in the same area, or city. I mean, how creepy would it be to find your uncle on Fetlife? However, I did accept someone from Antarctica, hoping I don’t know them. That was a mistake. Lots of people on fetlife don’t put their real location. And that person that I added indeed knew who I was and has added me for that reason. Many people on Fetlife “collect” friends. You shouldn’t consider this harmless. You should only add people you have talked to and trust, not every stranger that wishes to befriend you. I am saying this from my own experience, as I have had people “I know” adding me from “fake” profiles, screen grabbing my photos and trying to embarrass me in front of others. If you are a hot female looking for attention or a good looking guy, posting your face on a profile picture is not a good choice. Most of the time you will get attention because “you look hot” but that is not the point of this website. You should post a picture that represents a part of you, or something that you like. Opening yourself to a community of strangers at the beginning might bring you regret in future. Set your pictures for “friends only” and only add those whom you want to let “perv over you”. I would not suggest posting pictures of your intimate parts because they often end up on random porn sites.

 

dinner is served

dinner is served

‘’Just because you share interest, it does not make you friends’’

 

One girl had a really big fan base on Fetlife, I think she had a bit over 5000 friends, which is a lot when you think Fetlife all together has around 3 000 000 users and most of them are inactive. She posted a lot of pictures on Fetlife. Playing with toys, then with some really strange toys, which I wasn’t able to identify. Intimate pictures of sexual intercourses with other men and women and so on. Someone obviously took those pictures (it is not possible to download pictures from fetlife but there are ways) and posted her on a random, trashy porn site. She would have never known if one of her friends didn’t notice her picture flashing on a banner somewhere. She took some legal actions, but in the end it did not work for her. Now who knows, one day maybe her neighbour sees it. Of course if you like that sort of thing, go for it! When you make your profile, don’t use your real name ever, and do not provide it to anyone. I mean the last thing you want is someone finding you on Facebook. Choose a different name, an alter ego. I am saying this because, if you are not open in your personal life to everyone about your “fetish” side, then you shouldn’t open yourself here. Just because you all have something in common does not mean people are not “evil” there as well. As a matter of fact, you will be surprised how “closed minded” SOME people are there, outside of the kink world. When you start your ‘’about me’’ section, be vicious but private. Brutal honesty is what will get you where you want to be, but it might also pose danger if someone finds out about you. Tell everyone in your profile what you like and don’t like, your flaws and your fears, what kind of people you would like to know from there, and who can add you, contact you and how. This will spare you a lot of time that is likely to be wasted by random people hoping to “get lucky” (I will speak more about this subject in particular).

 

Always use rubber.

Always use rubber.

‘’You never know who is behind the profile picture.’’

As a girl men harass me constantly. They do not care how girls look any more nor what they like. Men just want to get them. A big majority of ab-users on Fetlife are male and there for rarely have standards. Fetlife isn’t a meat market , but there are no vegetarians. Hungry vampires can’t thrive on ice cream. I don’t mean that literally I mean it in a context of life. Almost every user on fetlife is a ‘’smiley glad hand with a hidden agenda’’. And no one will convince me diferently because there is not one person that joins a fetish social network that wants ”nothing”. Even ”vanilla” people want something. Most of the times I see men posing as ‘’doms’’. Some of them are really experienced doms and contact me in a very nice manor, and are never demanding or pushy, but most of the times people who pose, as doms are just horny boys looking to use a girl. That also stands for women. Women on Fetlife are almost impossible to count on. They are mostly ‘’subs’’, ‘’baby girls’’, ‘’slaves’’ or ‘’bottoms’’, 90% of them are ‘’owned’’ and in their profiles you will be able to read all about their doms and ‘’how fucking great they are’’. 70% of them however, look for ‘‘friends’’. ‘’I’m just looking to make friends’’ is just another way of trapping another girl into a threesome with their man.

 

A little touch of innocence.

A little touch of innocence.

‘’Three out of 20 girls were under aged!’’

I have had a chance to talk to a couple of girls on Fetlife. Started off as a friendly conversation where we talk about random things. Their profiles said 18 but they were not 18. As a matter of fact, three out of twenty girls I’ve talked to were under aged. Yes that’s right, under aged. Pedophilia is there, but it is a bit different from what we consider it. No one wants a ‘’really young girl’’, but if she is just a few months of being legal, it’s a turn on for most of ‘’daddy’s’’ and ‘’doms’’, on Fetlife. I have talked to a man who calls himself a ‘’daddy’’, he told me that ‘’even though I am not as young as he likes, I look younger then the young girls that he talks to’’. I was interested in what he meant, and he as well confirmed that he knows a lot of girls on fetlife who are not 18 yet.

One girl I was talking to was from Denmark, she is 19 and she is married to her Dom. He organizes gangbangs in their ‘’dungeon’’ where hundreds of men have sex with her. They even have their own website where you can pay to become a member and join the fun. She is not under aged now, but when she started she was 16. Which is perfectly legal in Denmark for your information. It’s understood that Fetlife does not promote this kind of ‘’illegal’’ behavior and obviously you have to confirm you age, and in my experience I think caretakers on Fetlife are doing a very good job in keeping things in order. I as well have a bunch of weird turn-on’s that would make your stomach turn, but I would not ever take advantage of someone who is inexperienced and young. A lot of young people there get used for being naive and innocent. These predators don’t care if they will damage them for life. However the choice is yours and no one can decide that for you. Actually that’s wrong, they can if they own you.

''I like my tea with kink''

”I like my tea with kink”

‘’Fetlife can be a very fun, and enjoyable experience if you keep your safety.’’

But on the positive note, there is a lot of good stuff about Fetlife that I will point out now. Every website has its bad sides, even ‘’innocent’’ vanilla sites like Facebook. Fetlife can be a very fun, and enjoyable experience if you keep your safety. There are people who are rejected from the real world for being transvestites or cross dressers, or even for just being bi-curious. For people like that fetlife is the only place where they feel like they belong. The other day I was having a conversation with a man in his late 40’s. Since he was a boy he never developed properly, his penis in other words, never grew. He was at the time on testosterone injections and his penis grew 2’’. When he was in his late 30s he got diagnosed with gender dysphoria which means that actually he was supposed to be put on pheromones as a boy because he was meant to be a woman, but old days – old ways. He started his treatment now when he is almost 50, in hope that he becomes what he was always supposed to be. For a man like that Fetlife is a source where he can feel free and supported. Many of his friends support his journey and welcome his change.

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‘’I saw Fetlife as a Dominant man with a whip in his hand and I was his little sub. He forced me to open my mind, even when I didn’t want to. And I liked it.’’

Another positive perk Fetlife has is actually meeting likeminded people. Everyone on Fetlife shares the most important interest with you, ‘’fetish’’. Even if you are just a curious vanilla person, Fetlife will open your mind when you are confronted by groups of likeminded individuals. But stay aware, these are still humans; they are not some magical happy fairies that will support you in anything. In time you will find yourself experiencing things you never thought are possible. Fetlifers organize a lot of events, from a casual daytime ‘’munch’’ to Saturday clubbing. On Fetlife you will never be judged, not because they are open to everything (because they are not) but because they are open to understand everything. I, for example don’t understand people who ‘’age play’’ and put on diapers and pretend they are babies, but as a part of this community I don’t think anything bad about them, neither am I against it. Even gold digging women have their group on fetlife. They say money is their fetish, and on many videos you will be able to see them masturbating or having sex on piles of money. Findom is a kind of a branch, which includes Dominant women dominating rich (not necessarily) submissive men for money, or for complete power over their bank accounts. I could go for hours now writing about this, but no one will ever be able to tell you exactly what is what until you go there and put yourself out there. If you consider your sex life boring, if you are unsatisfied (I mean, if seeing your internet history is able to make your atheist mother go to church), you might want to consider joining this community. Maybe you will, like I have, find a whole new side that you never thought was there. Overall if you have your head steady on your shoulders, and you can set boundaries for yourself, you will find fetlife quite enjoyable. Some call it sleazy, some compare it to Tinder, and some can’t live without it. Fetlife will always be like anal sex, you either love it or hate it…or so I have been told.

 

 

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TBF’s Own Nick Freedom Receiving Major Spotify Hits for Mungo Jerry Collaberation

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Articles, Classic Corner, Featured, News, Pinned, Stream, Tracks | 0 comments

The Black Flags own Nick Freedom has been receiving major Spotify hits for a track that he and his brother recorded with Mungo Jerry back almost 30 years ago. The track, a different version of Mungo Jerrys ‘In the Summertime’ has popped up on the subscription based music on-demand service and is presently receiving around 14,000 hits a day.

The track was recorded in March/April 1987 at Red Bus Studios London and released by I.R.S. records on their Illegal label in the U.K. and by C.B.S in Europe.

The track was a co-production by Mungo Jerry and The Brothers Grimm who were also the artists along with Ray Dorset (Mungo Jerry)

The tune is now on a compilation album and is pushing towards the 9 million plays mark on Spotify as it is receiving over 14,000 plays per day.

Nick Freedom one of the Black Flag contributors is one of The Brothers Grimm who produced the track.

‘I remember at the same time we were recording the tune at Red Bus, Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle were in the other studio Recording ‘Diamond Lights’ Says Nick Freedom, ‘I am a spurs supporter but that bit of music history still makes me cringe but thats Rock and Pop for ya!

We toured Germany, Denmark, England and Ireland and did T.V shows in the U.K including the saturday morning B.B.C. 1 kids show It’s Wicked.

We also did T.v’s in Germany, France, Italy and Ireland. We appeared on a German popular game show that was also broadcast in Austria and the viewing figures were reported to have been 27 million which aint bad!’

[youtube]http://youtu.be/rRUb6vSs_Fw[/youtube]

Check out ‘In the Summertime’ by Mungo Jerry and the Brothers Grim on Spotify

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REVIEW: CoCo and the Butterfields’ ‘See the Sun’ EP launch at the Margate Winter Gardens June 28th 2014

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in Album Launch, Featured, Gigs, Pinned, Record Releases | 0 comments

A review by Dan Theman

When I first picked up a pen to review local gigs I would never have guessed that I would be writing about a band that had just played Glastonbury. Neither would I have anticipated writing about a band that had invented a genre of music. Now imagine my pleasure at being invited to attend the EP launch of Kent’s very own rising stars ‘CoCo and the Butterfields’- a band that has done both. With their unique mix of Folk, Pop and Hip Hop, CoCo and the Butterfields have created a truly original sound called ‘Fip Fok’ and their music combines the best bits of each genre. You get the upbeat foot stomping energy of folk and bluegrass, the catchy sing along chorus of pop music and the infectious beats of hip hop all rolled in to one. Throw into the mix five very talented musicians, superb vocal performances and beautiful songwriting and it’s easy to see why CoCo and the Butterfields have just won the ‘One to Watch’ award at the East Kent Culture Awards.

Band members Tom Twyman (guitar & vocals), Dulcima Showan (violin & vocals), Jamie Smith (beatbox), Micah Hyson (double bass), ‘Handsome’ Rob Wicks (banjo) are friends who started their musical journey busking  together on the streets of Canterbury. From these humble beginnings two years ago they have evolved into one of Kent’s most popular bands and have appeared at venues and festivals up and down the country. Now fresh from Glastonbury they are performing to a packed venue in their home county and based on the excitement of the queuing masses, tonight’s gig is beginning to feel as much a triumphant homecoming as it does an EP launch.

The first thing that struck me when entering the Winter Gardens was that it’s a very grand venue in both its size and its decor. The second was just how busy it was. There must have been around fifteen hundred people in attendance and I couldn’t pick one demographic that made up the bulk. CoCo and the Butterfields clearly have a broad appeal because there were people of all ages, including many families.

Tonight’s first support act was Phoebe Warden – a local female singer/songwriter whom I have had the pleasure of seeing before. Having seen her perform previously at a very intimate venue with an audience of less than one hundred people, I was curious as to how her enchantingly delicate voice would carry across such a large stage to a noisy crowd. It turned out her voice filled the room and her performance was well received. Phoebe is a beautiful girl with a beautiful voice and I would challenge anyone to watch her perform and not be captivated by her. Anyone wishing to take me up on that can catch Phoebe at the ‘Lounge On The Farm’ music festival in Canterbury on the 2nd of August.

https://www.facebook.com/phoebe.warden.music

The second on the bill was Hullabaloo, an energetic Jazz swing band that really knew how to get the crowd fired up. Their set featured some well-known covers such as Frank Sinatra’s Mack the Knife and Misirlou by Dick Dale (the track the Black Eyed Peas sampled on Pump It) which went down an absolute storm with the younger members of the audience and saw the double bassist climb on his instrument whilst playing. I’ve been to a lot of gigs but that was a first for me. I found them thoroughly entertaining and judging by the people dancing and the huge round of applause at the end of their set, the audience did too.

http://hullabaloo-uk.com/

Rather than make a grand entrance, CoCo and the Butterfields kept the suspense going just a little longer by appearing on stage one at a time. First Tom, then Rob, Micah, Jamie and Dulcima. With each newly emerging band member the crowd screamed and applauded with the sort of vigour often reserved for chart acts. Any band that can get that response from such a large crowd is surely going somewhere.

They opened with an obvious crowd pleaser, ‘Five Bells,’ and the floor started to shake from all the dancing and stamping of feet. This was followed up by ‘Fly’ which sees Dulcima’s voice reveal its true range as she graduates from soft dulcet tones to something much deeper and incredibly powerful.

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Next came ‘See the Sun’ – the title track from the new EP, which required “the help of some special tiny people” – the TKAT children’s choir. As well as the eighty piece adult choir on the stage (lead by Sam Palacios), the upper balconies housed almost one hundred and fifty children from five local primary schools which together make up the huge choir. CATB were also joined on stage by two additional violinists (Karen Jolliffe and Kammy Pike), a cello player (Mike Bacon) and a drummer (Dan Lucas of Anchor Baby Recording). I can see why they chose ‘See the Sun’ as their title track because it didn’t take long for the audience to start singing back the chorus line “There’s always time for one more song”. I think it’s safe to say this one will be another crowd favourite and tonight’s grand performance was a great way to unveil it to them.

How do you follow up your brand new EP’s title track, I hear you ask? With a song about falling in love with an astronaut, a pirate and a dancing girl of course! ‘Astronaut’ is a light bouncy song which featured more guest musicians. This time a trumpet (Jack Bennington) and trombone (Sion Jones) which gave this rendition much more of an upbeat ska sound than can be found on the original recording. ‘Tipperary Boy’ was preceded by the phrase “we’re gonna have a hoe down!” and hoe down we did. There is definitely a sweet spot in the musical spectrum where bluegrass meets hip hop. Until now you probably didn’t think such a spot existed but I assure you it does. Then came the song which according to Tom “started the whole folk hip hop thing” – their cover of ‘Just a Dream’ by Nelly. Although not their own, CoCo and the Butterfields have put their own stamp all over this and deliver a rendition which I prefer to the original – conclusive proof that anything can sound better with a banjo and a beatboxer. Tonight’s version also featured another special guest artist, Adam; who at just eight years old blew the crowd away with some amazing beatboxing skills.

Now bringing the tempo back down a little was ‘Alone’ which features some wonderful vocal harmonies and on this occasion the choir and recorder player (Jo Rumary). The audience were obviously familiar with this one because there were several hundred of them singing along to the melodic chorus. After a few birthday shout-outs it was time for my favorite CoCo song ‘Scarecrow’ which was preceded by a salute from the bandmembers to one another and to the audience. I absolutely love the violin on this song and I must confess to putting down my pen and pad to join the audience and dance. As it was approaching their bedtime it was time to say goodbye to the children’s choir who left the venue to a serenade of ‘Auf Wiedersehen Farewell’ from the Sound of Music – very cute indeed. This was followed up by a haunting vocal solo from Dulcima who pushed her voice to even greater heights. I couldn’t help but laugh when she thanked the audience for listening – I don’t think she realises just how good she is.

With the rest of the band back on stage we were treated to a laid back and rather soulful tune called ‘Little Boat’ which featured Tom’s brother (Dan Twyman) on saxophone. This was followed by the much more energetic ‘Mother’ which soon had people dancing again. It’s worth noting that the CD version of this features ‘Gentlemen Of Few,’ another great local band who recently got through to the finals of the BBC Young Folk awards. What came next I was not expecting – a cover of ‘I Will Always Love You’, a song which I really don’t like. Luckily for me CoCo and the Butterfields soon steered away from the version made famous by Whitney Houston to a much more enjoyable foot stomper, that when delivered with Dulcima’s powerhouse vocals made me make a little note in my pad – “Damn this girl’s got lungs!”

The next song struck a chord with me that was shared by the band themselves and probably a fair few people in the audience. ‘King Of The Corner’ was released on the ‘One Heart, One Love, One Soul’ album to commemorate the life of Daniel ‘Taihg’ Lloyd – a local busker and friend who sadly died. I knew Taihg and hearing this song performed on such a grand scale was very moving.

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‘King Of The Corner’ was followed by ‘Hip Hop Song’ which is another of my favorite CoCo and the Butterfields songs. Performed with all the backing musicians it took on a sound somewhere between ska and swing and was very well received. A lot of bands introduce their new material alongside a few old crowd pleasers that sound just like they did the first time you heard them. CATB didn’t take this approach. They consistently added a little something extra to their older songs and additional layering of instruments and backing vocals really shows off their evolution since the original recordings were released. ‘Hip Hop Song’ also gave a chance for each band member to perform a solo with Jamie’s beatboxing performance injecting a little extra comedy in to what was already an entertaining evening. After each members solo performance the whole band launched into the theme tune from ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ which sounded fantastic. It felt like half the audience (the older half) were singing it with them, me included. This little sing-along was well placed before what can only be described as an epic beatbox battle between Jamie and Dom Wolfe (AKA Mr Wolfe beatbox). Now you don’t get that at many gigs where you also find a banjo player! From banjos and beatboxers to a song about platonic love called ‘So Long’ which was written by Tom and dedicated to his friend Cameron who was in the audience tonight. It’s clear from Tom’s lyrics and moving vocal performance that this one was written from the heart and it was a fitting way to end tonight’s show.

As Tom, Dulcima, Micah, Rob and Jamie said their goodbyes the backing singers carried on singing and continued to do so – an encore was definitely on the cards. Returning to the stage to screams and thunderous applause, CoCo and the Butterfields played a song that everyone had been waiting for – ‘Warriors’. This was the point I gave up on note taking all together and left my spot in front of the barrier and joined the audience for another dance. I would recommend checking out the video for ‘Warriors’ YouTube because it’s very creative and way above the standard of your average local band music video. That being said, CATB are well known for their creativity and not just in their videos. Dulcima makes her own stage costumes and even the bands tour van (affectionately named Frank) was painted by them. The evening drew to a close with a bluegrass version of ‘Jump Around’ by House Of Pain. The younger members of the audience were probably unaware of the original but they jumped around all the same.

Not many bands have such wide appeal these days. The younger generation are drawn to the vapid pop music found in the singles chart and real music connoisseurs tend to listen to underground acts. CoCo and the Butterfields put on a show that appeals to everyone and as they don’t feel the need to add hip hop’s love of profanity to their unique ‘Fip Fok’ style, they are fun for the whole family. Next time they come to town I’m taking my kids because I know we will all enjoy it. Follow the links below to check out the band’s Facebook page and website where you can download some free tunes, buy the new EP and check their gig diary for a show near you.

https://www.facebook.com/CoCoandtheButterfields

http://www.cocoandthebutterfields.com

Words: Dan Theman

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The Black Flag Meets Electric River’s Sponge

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Featured, Interviews, Pinned | 0 comments

Regular visitor to the Black Flag will no doubt recognise the name Electric River, the four piece from Ashford Kent have been featured on TBF about a million times now and for good reason, Electric River are an extremely hard working band who have put the work in and broken through into London and beyond, playing a string of shows across the country as well as recently releasing their album ‘Faith & Patience’. I jumped at the chance to interview the band and sat down with vocalist and bass player Sponge to discuss their upcoming gig at the Boston Arms, Faith & Patience’ and Van Diesel….

The Black Flag – You guys have had quite a year so far from touring with Lit and being chosen to open for New Model Army amongst other things. How did all this come about? And what’s been the highlight?

Sponge: It’s been through persistence. We’re basically a DIY band. We don’t have a booking agent or any help on that sort of level. So we’ve had to go out and book our own shows and do our own tours and what not. And it’s just really come from persistence of playing live shows and honing our craft so to speak, playing as many gigs as we can and trying to improve our show every time. And eventually we picked up a manager, who we’ve been with for a few years now and he opened a few doors for us and introduced us to a few other bands and whatnot.

Obviously opening for Lit and New Model Army was fantastic. Especially with New Model Army gigs. I’ll be totally honest and say that I didn’t know much about them. When we were introduced to the band and their music and obviously I really liked it. And then when we ended up playing a few shows with them, I just couldn’t believe how nice and welcoming they made us feel.

We’ve played with quite a few bands over the years obviously and they’re definitely regarded really highly. Those guys are a really good band and really good people to be around. And the Lit thing as well, it’s all come from similar persistence. Just playing gigs and getting a manager on board that can open a few doors and he introduced us to other people and you know now we’ve actually got a new record out and people have been watching us progress over the last few years. People have started to take note and that’s how we got on the Lit tour.

The guys from Live Nation, you know the big booking agents. We’d been sending stuff to them for years, showing them how we’re doing and how we’re progressing and they finally offered us the opportunity to open for an established band, which was obviously Lit. We went out on the road with them for a week and it was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t say what the highlight was because it was all so good. When you’ve been working towards something for so long like that, it’s all a bit of a thrill.

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TBF: It must feel like it’s all coming together

Sponge: Yeah it definitely feelsthat way, I mean don’t get me wrong, we’re never going to be top of the charts but it feels like the band is progressing, we’re starting to play to more people and get a larger fan base. We just put a post-up on Facebook today saying ‘if there’s any towns or places that you want us to play, name them in the comment box’ and there’s something like ninety odd comments up there already and that posts only been up a few hours, so it’s really nice that it’s not just localised now.

We’ve broken out of Kent and London and explored other places in the country and had a really warm reception from all over the place so yeah things are definitely moving forward…..

TBF: Your getting ready to do an album launch at the Boston Arms on July 3rd. How are things looking for that?

Sponge: Yeah we only announced that a few days ago.The album we recorded last April and we had material for a good six to eight months before that, in order to get the album ready for the studio.

It’s taken all this time since last April to get together a proper release campaign and get the album out to the public and to our followers. And the Boston Arms things is the first chance we’ve had to let our hair down to a certain degree and celebrate the fact that we’ve done this.

Even though we have the label on board, it’s still very much an independent label on a small scale, but we seem to have generated a real buzz for ourselves, through again hard work. So it’s going to be a real big celebration of that hard work and hopefully people who are digging the album at the moment, will come down and help us have a great evening.

TBF: You’re a Kent (Ashford) based band. Is it very different playing London than back home in Ashford?

Sponge: It’s really hard for any up and coming band to build a substantial following in London because there’s a million bands…. You could walk into most popular places in London any night of the week and there’s a band and they’re from god knows where around the country, and then you also have tourists coming to London.

In all the years we’ve been doing it I can’t think of a venue that has a predominantly London based following, that goes there because it’s the club to go to. It’s not like that, it’s like you rent the venue and then you have to promote the gig yourself and even if you do get on a show with a promoter, it’s the same sort of deal, your dragging your fans up from Kent or from different areas of the country to make sure the venues are buzzing when you play that gig.

It’s sort of a bit of a love hate relationship with London as you’ve got to do those shows there, as obviously anyone that’s involved in the music industry is generally based in London, so if you want to get people down to a few shows, even A&R people, you’ve got to play shows in London.

It’s just that much harder to actually generate your own thing down in London but it can be done. Finally slowly for us we’re slowly beginning to get a London following but its taken years, it’s taken absolute years and obviously getting these shows with New Model Army and Lit and various other bands we’ve played with all helps towards getting that fan base. But it’s definitely different playing in London. Some of the venues are fantastic.

On the Lit Tour we played the Electric Ballroom which has got so much history for all styles of music and whatnot. And there’s so many venues like that in London, where there’s history of bands playing and various things that have happened.

On one end of the spectrum, the shows are really hard for up and coming bands but on the plus side you get to play some really great venues and when it does work and you do get a few people to come up from London, you feel like you’ve really achieved something. So yeah we’re kind of split on opinions of London but we’ll play anywhere. It’s just part and parcel of being in the band.

TBF: Yeah I’ve noticed that not only do you guys seem to be playing a hell of a lot of gigs over the next few months but you’ve also got a UK tour lined up. Tell us a bit about that.

Sponge: Yeah well we’re in the process of booking a tour for the end of August. We’ve got a few dates. We’ve been really busy throughout May, what with the Lit tour and going up to Manchester for Strummer Camp which was awesome, we went to Cheltenham and Southampton.

We just play as much as we can. This isn’t our profession, it’s all still just a serious hobby. We’d love to make it our career but at the moment we’re just not in that position. We’re all still working day jobs and trying to squeeze in as much band stuff as we can.

Every weekend that we have free we’ve just been booking gigs and driving around the country and playing as many shows as possible really.  Like I say we’re organising another tour for August. Hopefully we’re gonna go out on the road with some good friends of ours called Colt 45, who are another really good up and coming band who are in a similar position to ourselves, they have a record coming out in July. So we’re in the process of doing that and we’re hoping to go over to Europe for the first time at the end of September, but it’s all very early days at the moment. But any time we get off we just jump in the van and go and do it…

TBF: Is it true that you guys have blown up your van twice? And how, not once but twice?

Sponge: Yeah and we’ve actually broken down 3 times, but for some reason it just keeps going….

TBF: Is it the same van?

Sponge: Yeah it’s the same van. Luckily enough, we have a few mechanics in the family who keep it going and the people who we got the van off have been really good, they just helping with little bits and pieces as well. We call it Van Diesel, a bit of a word play on Vin Diesel (laughs).

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TBF: Your track ‘Hold Your Nerve’ has received a hell of a lot of airplay on Kerrang. That must be a great feeling…

Sponge: Oh yeah. It’s really cool actually because we haven’t actually approached many radio stations up until recently.

When we put out the first taster EP, which was at the end of 2012, which was the original recording we did of it, again we managed to get a little bit of a buzz going about the EP and quite a few of the internet radio stations picked up on it and then all of a sudden we started to get plays on Kerrang Radio and on P Rock and other stations.  That’s been really cool.

It’s actually weird because we’re not really a scene band either. You know there’s a lot of music at the moment that people like to put in boxes or label, or put it against a scene. We’ve never been like that, we’ve just sort of done what we wanted to do and do it with as much passion and energy as we can. And just try and do what’s right for us so to speak and the fact that peoples starting to pick up on it is obviously really brilliant and now with the new album finally being out and having fantastic reviews and comments on our social media and stuff. People are really digging the album and the material. It’s really quite humbling when we’ve been through so much as a band and still managed to keep it together. It’s fantastic!

The Faith & Patience album cover

TBF: You’ve been described as “The Gaslight Anthem/ Green Day style punk but with added grit”. Is that an accurate description?

Sponge: I’d say that’s fairly accurate, though I’d say we’re a lot more predominantly English sounding than those bands vocally and lyrically. But the actual essence and the drive behind the music were influenced by those bands and a lot of old punk music. We’ve never hidden the fact that we’re Clash fans but we also like a lot of American stuff as well.

I also don’t think a lot of people like admitting that they like commercial bands but we’re a fan of song writing, good songs, good melodies, good lyrics and it’s always been an idea in our minds to bring that to our music but then again we like a lot of underground music, stuff that’s a bit rawer and would never get played on the radio, so yeah those influences are spot on and the fact that people picked up on a few of them is great.

TBF: So as well as the release of your album  Faith & Patience, a string of gigs and a uk tour, what else is on the cards for 2014, a little rest maybe?

Sponge: No (laughs), no. There’s never a rest when you’re in a band that is trying to create a buzz….

We’re not trying to say that we’re the best band in the world or anything but like I said, we want to make a career out of playing music. We want to go to as many places and play to as many people as we possibly can and if that does generate a living for us that would be like a dream come true. Like I mentioned we’re hoping to get out on tour at the end of August, tour Europe for the first time at the end of September/October, we’re playing at Guildfest, which we’re really excited about and we’ve got a couple of local festivals like Dover Music Festival and Ashford Beer Festival, which we’ve played every year for seven years on the trot or something ridiculous like that. It’s always a really good one and because that’s at the end of the summer it’s I guess, a bit of a celebration of what we’ve worked on over the rest of summer.

There’s no plans on having a break at the moment. It’s just full speed ahead and try and play as many shows as possible and try and get the album into as many people’s hands as possible as well.

TBF: Any major Festival appearances coming up?

Sponge: No, no cause we still haven’t got a booking agent at the moment. We’re all working towards that which is why we continue to go out there and do our own stuff to show people in the music industry that we’re not afraid of hard work.

To be honest even if we did never get an agent it wouldn’t really stop us because we’re so motivated as a band, it’s what we love doing, it’s our absolute passion, it’s what we get out of bed for in the morning, so it’s always look forward, look forward, look forward. We have been lucky enough to play some of the bigger ones, we played Rebellion festival up in Blackpool, Beautiful Day Festival down in South West, and we actually went over to the Czech Republic and played a big festival which was phenomenal.

But again a band like us that hasn’t got a booking agent, those opportunities do not come around on a regular basis. At the time when the festivals were getting booked, obviously we didn’t have the album out or anything in the pipeline. To the general public it probably looked like we were quite Quiet but behind the scenes we were planning obviously the album launch and touring, so now with the album being out and a few tours under our belt, hopefully that’s something that we get to do next year.

TBF: Our famous last question. Where do you see Electric River in five years’ time?

Sponge: Like I said, our outlook on the whole situation is if we can make a living from playing music, I don’t mean we want to be famous or rich beyond our wildest dreams. I just mean if I can make the same amount of money that I make from my day job through playing music, which is what makes us happy as a band, then that’s what we want to achieve. That is the goal for any long period of time.

Obviously we know that now that the album is out, eventually the buzz that that’s created will die down but we’ve already started writing music for the next album, so like I say we’re always looking forward and just looking at becoming a better band, better performers, better musicians and better songwriters, it’s just a continual process….

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