With shows such as the X Factor still clinging to life, and the state of Radio 1, the UK currently suffers from a collective petulance at the
state of music, so we here at Hardwicke Circus feel like the time is right for a hero to ride in and rescue you forlorn appreciators of good music from the sonic doldrums by introducing you to some of the young up and comers that get a spin in the van to and from gigs. Some you probably already know, hopefully you will be introduced to some new faces.
Gang of Youths
This is something of a cheat as Gang Of Youths are already considered
indie rock royalty in the home country of Australia, however Blightly has yet to wise up to the quintet, whose most recent album, Big Music Masterpiece go ‘Farther in Lightness’, reached number 1 in the Australian album charts. The thing that first strikes you when listening to these lads is singer Dave Le’aupepe’s magnanimous lyrical approach. With songs coming in on average over 5 minutes on an album over an hour long, Dave’s soul shaking voice is close to ubiquitous (if you disregard the 3 musical interlude tracks), poetically exploring the human experience in all its bleakness and triumph, confusion and clarity, heartbreak and joyousness.
The band also display an appreciation for intricate musical detail,
with each track offering satisfying reveals to those willing to take the time to truly digest them. The songs are unique enough in structure to keep fans engaged without straying too far from the old pop song chestnut to alienate the passing listener.
All around Gang of Youths are one of the finest bands Australia
has produced in recent years, easily standing shoulder to shoulder with bands like world conquering Tame Impala and the vastly underappreciated Middle East.
Give them a go if you like: Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen,
The Lemon Twigs
The Lemon Twigs are mad; there really is no getting away
from it. The band, led by New York based brothers Mike and Brian D’Addario, are a beautiful, dysfunctional, outrageous spectacle of a band, and probably one of the most engaging things you’ll ever see. Only those that have seen the Twigs live will be able to attest to the bizarre pair, backed up by Danny Ayala on keys and Megan Zeankowski on bass, the brothers spend the first half of the show with older brother Brian on vocals and guitar and younger brother Mike on drums, before swapping duties at half time. Both brothers boast enviable chops on drums and guitar, as well as being one of the most incredible, tightest vocal bands currently around.
But it’s in the performance that the band really shines. With Brian on the vocals and Mike on the drums the band are a tight, grooving power pop machine, exuding effortless cool with the power of The Who and the beautifully crafted songs of the Beach Boys. All members of the band get chance to flex their musical muscle and display the kind of playing that musicians twice their age dream off.
However, with Mike and Brian switching the band takes on a whole
new persona. Mike, having revealed himself to be sporting a fetching sequin dress, struts around the stage like Iggy Pop, kicking over mike stands,
smashing guitars, performing muscle snapping high kicks and generally being a storm of high octane lunacy. Mike’s raucous punk defiance proves to be the
perfect counterbalance to the smooth 70’s sheen of his brother, and it is this contrast that makes the band so eminently watchable. This really is something you must see before the whole thing implodes.
Check them out if you like: the Beach Boys, The Who, Iggy Pop
Parcels are the best looking band in the world right now, which
is a fact. They are also one of the best retro-pop bands around. Another lot hailing from Australia, now living in Berlin, they do a fine job of mixing Chic-esque funk with modern pop sensibility, with the outcome being songs with choruses that will be stuck with you for days and grooves that don’t quit. Taking influence from Jungle, the vocals are, layered, super tight and show a band clearly dedicated to their craft. For evidence of just how tight this band are, check on YouTube their performance at the Funkhaus. Effortlessly cool and
tight as fuck, it’s the kind of thing that could make a believer out of the most miserable bastards.
For Fans Of: Chic, Jungle, Fleetwood Mac
Please do check these bands out and come back next week for
some other upcoming bands that we love.
They say if the cops show up, it’s probably been a great gig; so it was for early Springsteen, so it is now. Today, Rochester prison’s riot squad paid the band a visit.
The days of Johnny Cash bringing down Folsom prison are sadly over but rock and roll has always held an affinity with the incarcerated, so getting back to Rochester Prison six months later was an exciting prospect, especially after the explosive cameo from now ex-inmate Romeo, which has become the stuff of H.C legend. Romeo’s performance seems to have been taken on by the inmates as well as this time around we had rappers cuing up to have a crack at the slot.
If we thought the inmates of HMP Rochester had offered up their best and brightest last time around nothing could have prepared us for today.
The gig started poorly all things considered, as an issue with I.D meant that we wouldn’t be allowed to leave the prison let alone play. However once a few calls had been made and the people in charge decided that yes, we were in fact the same people form the time before, we were permitted to enter and set up the gear in the prison chapel.
Once we’d broken through the red tape the inevitable quality of what the gig would become began to show itself; excellent performances from poet Dirk, who read his poem ‘Free’, and singer-songwriter Matthew got things underway. With the two inmates having already worked the crowd into a frenzy, we took the stage. The set was well recieved throughout, much to our amazement the crowd broke into a display of capoeira dancing in the aisles during ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, spurred on by the onlooking prison staff. However it was on the break of ‘When the Chips Are Down’ that the gig truly took on a life of it’s own. We were joined onstage by grime M.C Jack and the enigmatic Rasta “Dada”, together their electric performance spiralled out of control until we found ourselves taking part in a 10 minute reggae dub jam. Steadily, more and more rappers, singers, poets and guitar players stormed the stage until the band was shoved to the side, making space for the barrage of performers that looked to make their mark on proceedings, with a real star turn from apocalyptic preacher Anthony, who led the crowd into nothing less than a religious experience.
The reaction was so vociferous, the staff were under the impression a riot was ensuing, and proceeded to call the prison security to deal with the inmates, but we all thought, fuck it we’re having a top time, requiring the best diplomacy from our man on the inside Tim to get the gig back on track. Having fought off the law we managed to get through the rest of the set without ending up in the cells.
This continued the top form of recent Hardwicke crowds, following two amazing cameos from the night before. Zulu warrior priestess Stevie Van Lange mesmerised us with an historic African war chant over the rap break of ‘Chips’, and the legendary Graham Parker joined us on stage to perform a duet with Jonny on his hit ‘(I’m Gonna) Tear Your Playhouse Down’, describing the gig after as “a cut above” along with fellow Rumour band mate Martin Belmont.
Next we head back to one of our favourite towns, Whitstable, into the loving arms of the best pub in the world, the Duke Of Cumberland, before heading north to Cockermouth on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who came to see us on this run and hopefully see the rest of you soon.
Tom Petty means a lot to this band.
As an artist his work stands with ease alongside the very best this world has ever produced, showing the way time and time again with infectious melodies, whilst the simple power of his lyrics affected the hearts of millions, he was the home run king of Gainesville. Whilst those around him sought to bend to the commercial curve, Tom maintained an unwavering, unflinching belief in the southern bred, personal soul of his music that left him standing atop his weaker willed contemporaries. His work with Jeff Lynne, Stevie Nicks and the Travelling Wilburys brook down barriers and demonstrated the respect he commanded with some of the world’s biggest song writers. We will forever owe him a musical debt.
As a man, he personified integrity and decency in an indecent industry. The requited love and respect he shared with his fans led him to fight against the powers that be as they attempted to take advantage of his growing success by marking up the price of his record. This includes, allegedly accidentally, threatening a top record label exec with a large switch blade. He is an example to anyone who wishes to wade the dirty waters of the music industry and we will always seek to conduct ourselves with similar levels of dignity.
All that’s left to say is our thoughts go out to Tom’s
family and friends and thank you for the music.
Zack hasn’t slept for days.
Coffee is something close to the
heart of any band; certainly don’t think that Keith Moon could face the
day after the night before without stimulant help, so when Carlisle
coffee kings Bruce and Luke came to us to propose a marriage; it was an
opportunity too good to resist. Really it’s mad that caffeine and rock
and roll have never come together like this before, we’re excited, so
should you be.
We spend a lot of our time drinking coffee,
trying to ignore the aches and pains that come with life on the road, so
the unique opportunity to select, taste and roast our own coffee blend
was one we took up with vigour. It all began in the depths of Bruce and
Luke’s local roastery, a magical place built into the ruins of a
dilapidated railway station, abandoned train included. We spent an
afternoon tasting the different beans and blends that B&L had
schemed up after we’d discussed the direction we wanted to go in,
leaving us in a state similar to Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura. Given the
coffee’s need to keep a 6 piece social music band on the road and on
their feet, it was obviously important to us the coffee be powerful. The
use of Robusta beans, which carry a higher caffeine rate then it’s
milder, weakling of a brother, Arabica beans, ensures our coffee really
gets the heart pumping and the hips shaking. And so, the Hardwicke Blend
came to be! The coffee we ended up with, after having been lovingly
roasted by local hero Dan Mason, has an intense flavour, with hints of
chocolate and caramel, and provides a serious kick for when you need to
get shit done. It’s quality has been recognised, being granted a 2017 2*
Great Taste Award, the only coffee in Cumbria to receive the
Simply put, this coffee is the product of
likeminded local lads coming together and trying to approach their craft
in a unique way, trying to do something new, and we’re proud to be a
part of it. So I say again; Zack hasn’t slept for days, as of writing
this it’s 2 o’clock and he’s on his 7th cup, so please buy it, before he
It’s time, once again, to punctuate the void with a slice of Circus pie. Presenting the grand reveal of a new sonic collective, Hot Moves. We have risen again to stir the auditory cauldron into a frenzy with four new tracks to take your mind of the state you’re in. Although it feels like no time at all since our first E.P, Social Music, with the right people involved and the songs ready to go it seemed pointless to wait any longer.
So over the past four months we’ve had the pleasure of coming together with producing superheroes ‘Super’ Steve Lipson, ‘Colossal’ Chris Tsangardies and Peter ‘Captain’ Collins to produce something top, something we feel is a notable development of past work, and something that tees us up to smash it in the future. Opportunities like this are rare, they have got to be grabbed if they pop up and we’re excited to have these legends involved. All that’s left is for you to buy it (because you definitely won’t be able to download it for free from anywhere), digest it and come sing it back to us. HC. xx
Pre-order our latest single “Please Don’t Try This at Home” NOW! http://listnin.co/pAFRDB02
“Hot Moves” is released on Alternative Facts Records on Friday 13th October 2017.