Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Review: Coventry band The Primitives are rock solid in Leamington

Pete Chambers with another Backbeat Column for Coventry Telegraph.

Review: Coventry band The Primitives are rock solid in Leamington

'Crash' hit-makers prove they can still cut it at the Zephyr Lounge.

The Primitives at the Zephyr Lounge, Leamington

The Primitives at the Zephyr Lounge, Leamington, Friday May 22

The Primitives gig in the marvellous Zephyr Lounge in Leamington, had something of a ‘treat’ feeling to it.

We expected to see a great band, but actually ending up seeing two great bands.

The support band was Leamington outfit Satsangi. I like bands that are hard to pigeonhole, and these are one of those, playing inventive music, using a host of instruments, but always remaining structured and edgy at the very same time.

Before we had a change to download the Satsangi experience, Coventry’s very own Primitives were on the stage, with Tracy in full control at the front, making elegant shapes while delivering spot-on vocals.

The Primitives at the Zephyr Lounge, Leamington

Any would-be musicians out there, would be well advised to check the Prims out, to see how a structured rock band works at its very finest.

The rhythm section (Raphael and Tig) were as solid as you can get, as they worked their way through the hits, Stop Killing Me, Sick Of It, You Are The Way, Way Behind Me and, of course, Crash.

These were punctuated by the new breed of Primitives’ body of work including Spin-O-Rama, Petals and Dandelion Seed.

Guitarist Paul Court is as cool as you like on stage, his fills and runs probably give the band that special sound we all love, that sound that separated them from lots of other would-be bands.

While his guitar playing is impressive, his song writing is positively stunning.

The Primitives at the Zephyr Lounge, Leamington

We sang along, sweated, sang and sweated some more, then all went home with smiles on our faces. So proud that The Prims are one of Coventry’s finest bands, and can still do it like it should be done.

Pete Chambers for the Coventry Telegraph.

From Hobo A to Z of Coventry Bands The Primitives 

Back Beat: You better Buster gut to see Bad Manners at the Copper Rooms!

Pete Chambers with another Backbeat Column for the Coventry Telegraph.

Back Beat: You better Buster gut to see Bad Manners at the Copper Rooms!

Bad Manners gig, the passing of  DJ Brian Sweatman and a jive night all feature in Pete's latest column.

Buster Bloodvessel (right) with Neville Staple unveiling a 
2-Tone trail plaque to mark Horizon Studios in 2009

Buster Bloodvessel and his band Bad Manners are heading for the superb Copper Rooms venue at The University of Warwick on Sunday June 14.

It’s always a pleasure to have Buster in the city, and his connections go way back to the early days in the 1980s. They recorded at the long gone Horizon Studios that used to be opposite The Rocket pub on Warwick Road.

In December 1980, I discovered the band for the very first time, and I was probably the first person to write about it in Coventry. Indeed it was the very first live review I ever wrote and it basically began my music journalism career. In my review I revealed that this London based band had been performing ska for some two-and-a-half years. I advised my readers to “Go and see them, as they are going to be big”. I was right on the button, but before I disappear up my own review, with a blaze of self belief as a music hack, the sad truth was on the same night The Clash were playing at Tiffany’s and I would never get to see them, so not so finger-on-the-pulse are you now Mr Chambers?

The band had something of a love affair with Coventry, recording most of their big hits at Horizon Studios under Grammy award winning producer Roger Lomas’s watchful eye (or should that be ear). Indeed the studio’s most successful recording in chart terms was “Special Brew ” by Bad Manners getting to number three in 1980.

I asked Roger what he thought of them on first meeting. He said: “I first met them early 1980. In regard to what I thought about them, put it this way, I took the band on just by meeting them at Magnet Records’ 1979 Xmas party, without hearing a single song - there’s confidence for you!”

Buster, who made a return to Coventry in 2009 to help unveil the Horizon Studio plaque on the Rocket pub with Neville Staple, said at the time: “We used to come from Horizon Studios when we had finished recording to here, The Rocket, so to me this is where our ska really started.” Bad Manners have also played many times at Leamington’s Assembly .

For more information on this gig and The Stranglers, PIL, and The Damned’s upcoming gigs here go to

Brian Sweatman

Huge sadness of the passing of Brian Sweatman probably Coventry’s finest rock ‘n’ roll DJ.

I often teased him about playing that Hillbilly music, but in reality, he was a walking, talking human encyclopaedia of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll music. His collection was vast, but quality also played its part. His DJ sets were never boring, whether he was playing “That’ll Be The Day” by Buddy Holly or “Nervous” by Gene Summers.

Nigel Lomas, drummer with The Sorrows and longtime friend, said of Brian’s passing: “Unbelievable, I am basically lost for words. I went to see him last week, he was telling me his favourite Elvis song was Jailhouse Rock. I have known him since my school days and will certainly miss him and his great rock ‘n’ roll music knowledge. May he rest in peace.”

Mods, scooterboys, rudeboys and basically music lovers are going to love Boots ‘N’ Scoots, a beautiful glossy new magazine that is less about adverts and more about the scooter scene and its parallel music genres. I am happy to have a regular contribution in the mag that looks at what’s happening at the 2-Tone Village and the local scene. Issue one is certain to become collectable, and is available in the 2-Tone Village, priced £4.95.

Pete and Julie Chambers at Buckingham Palace

Last Thursday myself and my wife Julie, were honoured to attend a Buckingham Palace Garden Party attended by The Queen. I was selected after being named Citizen of The Month last year, I can tell you it was a thrill to walk through the palace into the grounds. The sun shone, and if you like people watching, then there is no better place. I even wore my 2-Tone Walt Jabsco tie and Specials cufflinks - flying the flag, as it were. To answer a couple of frequently asked questions, No, the toilet paper is just normal and Yes, they did serve cucumber sandwiches with no crusts.

Strictly Jitterbug

There is a place in Coventry that has been keeping jazz music alive for many, many years, it’s something of a fine institution, and something Coventry should be very proud of.

The Corner Pocket Jazz Club comes alive every second Tuesday of the month, and it’s where people like Ivor Lee and Lewis Hall, along with many others, do their bit for the jazz genre in all its many forms in this city of ours.

On Tuesday June 9 at 7.30pm, they are presenting “Midnight Swing: A Festival of Lindyhop, Jive and Swing Music”, hosted at Standard Triumph Club . It features dance troupe Strictly Jitterbug, who are on hand to teach authentic dance steps. Once you have your shapes sorted, it’s time to take the floor with The Swing Kings, with special guest Al Nicholls.

This is a great opportunity to learn these fascinating dances, they really are quiet hypnotic to watch, as the dances move so rapidly around the floor in such an entertaining and stylised way.

Tickets priced £5 are available from Standard Triumph Club (024 7667 186), Cejais Teddy Bears at 169 Spon Street, and Lynn Crossley at Balloons ‘n’ Things, 42 Earlsdon Street.

On Monday June 15 at 5pm the mighty Selecter will be signing copies of their superb new album “Subculture” at Coventry’s HMV store in The Precinct. The shop will be open from 9am for people to get the album and then come back in later for the signing or they can just buy it when the signing starts. More information to follow.

Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph

Bad Manners bust out the hits at Warwick University

Pete Chambers with another Backbeat Column from Coventry Telegraph.

Bad Manners bust out the hits at Warwick University

Ska legend Buster Bloodvessel and his gang go down a storm at the Copper Rooms.
Buster Bloodvessel and his band Bad Manners at Warwick University's Copper Rooms.

Buster Bloodvessel and his mighty band, Bad Manners skanked the night away at Warwick University’s Copper Rooms on Sunday June 14.

The audience all went along for the ride, well, be rude not to, and Buster was on top form performing hit after hit, including Lip Up Fatty, My Girl Lollipop, Special Brew and of course Can Can.

I can’t imagine anyone tonight not enjoying the rather unique stage presence of one of ska’s most enduring legends. Buster (real name Douglas Trendle), has spent many hours in Coventry, hence his lament tonight of the long gone Parson’s Nose Chippy, and their Faggot, Chips and Peas, receiving a huge roar of appreciation from the Cov crowd.

Buster Bloodvessel and his band Bad Manners at Warwick University's Copper Rooms.

Buster Bloodvessel and his band Bad Manners at Warwick University's Copper Rooms.

Buster Bloodvessel and his band Bad Manners at Warwick University's Copper Rooms

Buster Bloodvessel and his band Bad Manners at Warwick University's Copper Rooms.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Copper Rooms, is a superb venue, if you haven’t yet been, I suggest to check out some of great bands coming along, it really is something Coventry should be proud of.

Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph.

Backbeat: Rocking up at The Rocket pub in Coventry

Pete Chambers with another Backbeat Column for Coventry Telegraph..

Backbeat: Rocking up at The Rocket pub in Coventry

Bands who hung out at the ill-fated pub, Paul King and Steve Walwyn's new album all feature in this week's column.

The Rocket pub in its heyday

By the time you read this The Rocket pub will just be a memory amid the brick dust of redevelopment that we call progress.

Hundreds of pubs close every week of course, but this was The Rocket , a special place.

The pub was located right across the road to Horizon Studios, (yet another temple to 2-Tone music no longer standing.)

“It was basically the canteen for the studio,” as Grammy Award winning producer Roger Lomas puts it. “My most vivid memories of The Rocket were back in 1980 when I was recording the first two Bad Manners albums (‘Ska’n’B’ and ‘Loonee Tunes’) just over the road from the pub in Horizon Recording Studios. On a daily basis the pub would prepare the band’s food for them at the same time every day. They looked after us all really well and made food for us that wasn’t even on their menu.”

Nev Staples and Roddy Byers in The Rocket pub

Horace Panter and Lynval Golding in The Rocket

Not many pubs could boast they had been visited by The Specials , The Selecter , Bad Manners , The Beat, Madness , Chrissie Hynde (from The Pretenders), Rico Rodriguez, Dick Cuthell, Paul Heskett, Ian Dury and Blockhead Norman Watt Roy, Rhoda Dakar, Charlotte Caffey (who as a member of the Go-Go’s wrote their biggest US hit, “We Got The Beat”), Belinda Carlisle, (ex Go-Go’s who went on to have many hits including, “Heaven Is a Place on Earth”, “I Go Weak” and “Leave a Light On”), Jane Wiedlin (ex Go-Go’s who went on to have a hit with “Rush Hour”), and iconic photographers Chalkie Davies and Carol Starr.

None of that has helped save the pub of course, but it did receive a 2-Tone Trail plaque in 2009, unveiled by Buster Bloodvessel of Bad Manners and Neville Staple.

Roddy Byers, of The Skabilly Rebels, said of the demise of the pub: “Another part of our history gone! I spent more time in The Rocket pub than in Horizon Studios back in the day, lol”.

Selecter legend Neol Davies said of the pub: “Ian Dury and Norman Watt Roy came in The Rocket as guests of The Selecter. Norman came to play bass on two of my songs on Celebrate The Bullet in the studio across the street, Horizon Studios, now a useful verge for a car park. You can see how easily civilisations get lost.”

Maybe when the new development is finished there may be a place for a new 2-Tone plaque, so future generations will know that The Rocket pub and Horizon Studios helped play their part in the world of popular music.
I recently caught up with Paul King at the Music Museum, who gave me an hour-long candid interview for our up and coming King Exhibition that opens on July 10. Can I state for the record, contrary to other claims, Paul King will not be appearing at the Coventry Godiva Festival.

He said in the interview: “What I did then was the perfect time to do it, I was a young guy at my peak, I was proud of it and pleased with it, and everything I did is probably on You Tube if I, or anyone else wants to see it again.

“I’m more than happy for the guys to continue to do it with King Phoenix. It’s nice the songs are still being performed and people still want to hear them. I think it’s great, good luck to them to do it, but I’m somebody who doesn’t want to join in”. You can see the full interview at the exhibition in July.

So he is definitely not there, but King Phoenix definitely are there and will be rocking the main stage on Friday night. If you haven’t caught them yet, well you are in for a real treat. The new line-up takes the band’s material to another level, I for one can’t wait to see them on a big festival stage. Indeed Friday night looks something of wish list for me, I really wanted to see Rooted N Booted on the main stage, and now I will, it’s also been a long held wish to see King back as a band playing their home festival and that’s got a tick too.

Steve Walwyn

Steve Walwyn's album, 'Instinct To Survive'

Guitar ace Steve Walwyn has left his Dr. Feelgood duties aside for a while, and has just released a superb solo album entitled "Instinct To Survive". The album is crammed full with hook-laden songs, and lots of guitar licks that won't ever disappoint. Indeed I was playing it the other day, and my wife exclaimed: "Who is this, it's brilliant!" Praise indeed.

The album kicks off with some juicy slide into the title track "Instinct To Survive", and so the journey begins, rocking along at a blistering pace. One of my favourite tracks on the album is the tour de force ballad "Feel Like Breaking Down", this is rock music with a touch of elegance, where spot-on vocals combine with amazing guitar fills to create a classic track. Having just played this track three times in a row, I guess I must like it quite a lot, and the album is worth buying just for this track alone. It doesn't however stop there, there's "Toad in The Hole", a rocky instrumental but no worse for that.

"Sweet Louise" would make a great single, but hang on, so would the next track "Call on Me". This album is something Steve should be immensely proud of, as should fellow players, Chas Chaplin, Martin Cure, Ted Duggan and Craig Rhind. It's available on iTunes, Amazon and the Feelgood online shop. Be rude not to buy such a superbly executed album.

Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph.

Backbeat: 2-Tone furniture is top drawer for ska fans!

Another Pete Chambers Backbeat column for the Coventry Telegraph.

Backbeat: 2-Tone furniture is top drawer for ska fans!

Sideboards for Rubeboys, City of Culture bid and a return and new name for This Modern Youth are all included in this week's column.

Dee Harris and Hayley McConville with a piece of 2-Tone styled furniture

And now for something completely different... we are talking  2-Tone furniture, all lovingly created in Warwickshire.

Constance Clara Hand Painted Furniture and Coventry Music Museum on Ball Hill have recently formed a partnership, and it means as well as books, CDs and Harrington's, you can now buy hand painted 2-Tone styled furniture there.

The unlikely collaboration began when directors of the company, Dee Harris and Hayley McConville, visited the museum earlier in the year. "Visiting the museum stirred up lots of memories for us" reveals Hayley, "Not least because so many of our experiences are linked to the music of the times. Music can be so inspirational and influential, no matter what your taste.

"Our musical tastes change over the years, sometimes depending on what’s in fashion but often in line with what we actually like and enjoy having around us. The same applies to furniture. Styles come in and out of fashion and we can link memories with certain items, such as the orange and brown flowery print fabrics of the 70s, or the drop-leaf dark oak dining table that grandma used to serve Sunday tea on (complete with tinned peaches and Carnation Milk!).

"We never expected to be so inspired by visiting a music museum, but we have come away with some fantastic ideas for painting and transforming furniture. Just watch this space."

A piece of 2-Tone styled furniture from Constance Clara Hand Painted Furniture.

Dee added: "We thank the museum for giving us the inspiration to try something a bit different from our usual style of painting, which is a rustic, classy, country-feel. We enjoyed working on this quirky piece and already have other exciting projects lined up for the museum and our website."

Museum director Julie Chambers said: "Constance Clara visited the museum, and you could see the light bulbs go on. A few weeks later they returned with a superb mirror, with a superb black and white checker surround. Since then we have also acquired a lovely ska style bureau. Ska fans love to embellish their houses and bathrooms with 2-Tone themes. So the items have already caused a lot of interest with our Specials / Selecter and Madness fans. Plus it's great that a local company is creating unique one-offs."

For more information about Constance Clara Hand Painted Furniture, who also focus in shabby chic, visit

A poster to support Coventry's City of Culture 2021 bid

After another successful Coventry Godiva Festival , the talk turns to... what happens next financially?

Should it become a paid event? Seems that a majority are fine with paying a basic entry fee over the three day.

This is of course a matter for the powers that be, but as Coventry proudly bids to be a City of Culture , can we really stand to dilute, or even worse, kill our cultural showcase?

In my humble opinion, if we are planning a City of Culture 2021 bid then it’s a no brainer, we have to keep the Godiva Festival, there is no other way. Our bid would be worthless without The Godiva, so thoughts of downsizing or diluting the festival, should be replaced with thoughts of making it far more inclusive, still keeping it local, but adding some bigger current acts (more likely if an entry charge is introduced, and there is extra money in the pot).

I believe that music should play a large part in Coventry’s City of Culture bid, and we at The Coventry Music Museum, have already attended workshops on the subject and we are all behind the bid.

Hull is the 2017 City of Culture and can boast musically The Housemartins, Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and crooner David Whitfield.

We in Coventry have the fire power of 2-Tone music, it’s not just one artist, but a label, a style, and to many a way of life. It’s music, its art, it’s fashion, it’s multi-cultural and it’s ours.

I don’t suggest a bid would make it on the strength of 2-Tone music alone, but it’s a pretty good genre to have at our disposal. So its inspiring to see Pauline Black helping to promote the bid alongside David Burbidge, head of the steering group.

Another icon of Coventry music is of course electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, it seems there are towns keen to claim her, but she is definitely ours. I have suggested to the powers that be, we name a road after her, a good opening gambit in our City of Culture bid. Let’s lay down our marker now and get the press used to discovering just who actually does come from this amazing city.

This is not just about music, or the arts, it’s about all of us, not just the chosen few, it’s our city, we all have a part to play. We don’t always get great press in this city, but it’s time to let the world know. For more information on the bid go to

Circus Riot

Cov band This Modern Youth shook things up a year or so ago on the local scene.

The bad news is they have now split, the good news however is a new band has risen from their ashes called Circus Riot . Already the band has contributed to the latest Clash based Specialized project (for Teenage Cancer Trust), with their take on Clash song “Drug Stabbing Time”.

If their first showcase song “My Time” is anything to go by, I think we will be hearing a lot of great tunes from this band.
Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph

Backbeat: Stepping out in Doc Martens - the boots with real 'soul'

Pete Chambers with another Backbeat Column for the Coventry Telegraph..

Backbeat: Stepping out in Doc Martens - the boots with real 'soul'
Pete Chambers reviews a new book tracing the sub cultural journey of the ultimate iconic brand.

Doc Martens are the subject of a new book Dr Marten, A History of Rebellious Self-Expression

I’m assuming that there can’t be many reading this who hasn’t worn a pair of Doc Martens at some time or other, or had a relation who did.

It’s the ultimate iconic brand, that’s never really had to try too hard, it’s either DM or it isn’t.

The brand has a huge cultural history, and that’s now been captured in a new book by bestselling author Martin Roach, entitled Dr Marten, A History of Rebellious Self-Expression.

It’s the definitive history of the brand, from the people who wear it.

I’m proud to have contributed to the book, and it’s great to see The Rude Boy’s Bedroom from the museum in full colour over two pages.

I even get my quote highlighted in the book: “I think 2-Tone without DMs is a bit like meat with no gravy, it’s great on its own, but a bit of the ole’ brown makes a world of difference.

“In the nicest way DMs are the ultimate Mash Up, a sub-cultural traveller, that crosses genres with ease.

“If it’s good enough for Pete Townsend, Jerry Dammers and Joe Strummer then you bet it’s good enough for us.

“For instance in The Coventry Music Museum, we have purple Docs that belonged to Special bassman Horace Panter, and high strapped yellow Docs as worn by King’s Mike Roberts. Two very different styles but united in music.”

The book traces the sub cultural journey of the boot from the original skinheads of the late 60s, to Pete Townsend’s high flying guitar hero antics, the Clash and the punk adoption of the DM.

Then came 2-Tone, and the brand really found a home, The Specials, Madness, The Selecter and The Beat, pretty well made Docs their official footwear.

Story Link: New exhibitions and new development at Coventry Music Museum

Docs arrived into my life in the early 70s, on the realisation that there was something real to be part of.

So the early 70s saw myself and the gang wearing the finest togs (Crombies, Stapress, Brutus shirts) and of course DMs.

Indeed Doc wearing for me began in the early 70s and hit a spike in the early 80s with the advent of 2-Tone.

We now have two copies of this wonderful glossy colour 250-page book up for grabs (normally selling at £10).

The Music Museum currently has a King Exhibition running, featuring an array of DM boots.

Tell us what King song features the lyric “Get Your Boots On” and send your entries to by September 11.

Correct entries will go in a hat, and winners will be required to collect their prize from museum.

Lone Pigeon come to The Tin Music and Arts

The Tin Music and Arts are very excited to be teaming up with the fantastic team at Inspire to bring you an awesome night of live music in the shape of  Lone Pigeon.

Lone Pigeon is the working name of Gordon Anderson, a Scottish musician and co-founder of The Beta Band (which was formerly known as The Pigeons) and an integral part of the Fence Collective set up with his brother Kenny Anderson (King Creosote).

After The Beta Band came to an end Gordon rejoined his former band mates John Maclean and Robin Jones to create The Aliens and recorded two albums.

This promises to be a real great night and is a coup as Gordon Anderson has not played in England for over six years.

Lone Pigeon tickets for Saturday, August 29, cost £7 and are available here

Nutty Train at 2-Tone Village
The rude boys and girls of The Manchester Ska Foundation visit Coventry's 2-Tone Village

The rude boys and girls of The Manchester Ska Foundation visited the 2-Tone Village on Ball Hill, and set the record for the longest Nutty Train consisting of 18 people.

The Nutty Train was made famous by London Ska band Madness. We’re wondering if anyone out there can beat the record.

Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph

Backbeat: Martin Bowes' musical tribute to war hero grandad

Pete Chambers with another Backbeat Column for the Coventry Telegraph

Backbeat: Martin Bowes' musical tribute to war hero grandad
Martin Bowes of Attrition has released a new album, Millions Of The Mouthless Dead

Over the years Martin Bowes, the man behind Attrition, has created something of an audio palace to the cult of the atmospheric soundscape.

He has a talent of transporting his listeners out of their comfort zones and into the realms of the strange and disturbing.

Just when you think Attrition have reached some kind of critical mass, out comes another work of art that defines their legacy.

The new Attrition album, Millions Of The Mouthless Dead, by Martin Bowes and Anni Hogan, is based on a poem by Charles Hamilton Sorley and is inspired by William Bowes, Martin’s grandfather, and the millions on all sides that experienced the living hell that was the Europe of 1914-1918.

The masterstroke is giving the listener the ammunition (pun intended) in the noises and sounds that help to create a soundtrack to the mental visions of the work.

The sounds are often just hints of tanks, planes, explosions, but they combine to create a beautiful “shivers down the spine bleakness”.

Thankfully, none of us will ever know the hell that these soldiers on all sides experienced during World War I, but these sounds, uncomfortable as they are, take you to the front, in the trenches, the blood, the gas and the death.

Ultimately the whole work is an inspiration. It’s hard not to be moved by this. Martin has produced a masterpiece of sound, a soundtrack to the human spirit.

If the contents are stunning, then the packaging on the deluxe edition is astounding. Wrapped in a hessian sandbag and theatrical barbed wire, the CD comes beautifully bound, including a booklet, reproductions of his grandfather's postcards, a T-shirt and a memory stick in the shape of a bullet containing the album and Attrition’s back catalogue.

I wonder if the Imperial War Museum has heard this album? It certainly wouldn't be out of place in its galleries.

Martin said: “The name Attrition that I chose 35 years ago for the band I was starting came from ‘War of Attrition’, a term used for the First World War, inspired by my fascination with it all after stories from my grandfather William Bowes’ time on the frontline in Ypres, Belgium, in 1917.

“I actually attempted to write a song about it in those early days... but it was too big a topic for me to handle successfully back then.

“In 2014 I finally took to it, creating Millions Of The Mouthless Dead, merging original war poetry with dark ambient soundscapes, teaming up with Anni Hogan on piano and various guest speakers reading war poetry in French and German, including Wolfgang Flur (ex-Kraftwerk) – a big influence himself on my music in the early days.

“I am happy with how this has turned out. As much as any artist can be happy with their work. My father, Arthur, is pleased, and a part of my family history is now simultaneously published for the first time and yet laid to rest in my own heart.”

The Enemy’s new sound is working so well
Tom Clarke, frontman of The Enemy (middle), has played a part in the creation of the new venue.

Coventry Music Museum has a wall of all the top ten hits to come out of Coventry and Warwickshire.

It begins with Frank Ifield’s I Remember You in 1962, and ends with The Enemy’s Had Enough in 2007.

I would dearly love to see that wall grow, and just when you wonder where that next hit is coming from, up jumps Coventry’s finest trio with a brand new single.

The new song, It’s Automatic, is something of a departure for the band.

Yes, it has the usual Enemy attack to it and, while I have always loved that hint of a sneer in Tom Clarke’s vocals, this time it’s much more about melody, and he sounds very different, and it’s working so well.

All hail a band that are brave enough to move on musically, this new single is outstanding.

Bring on that album.

Farewell to Coventry band Yes Sunshine

Yes Sunshine

Well, gutted is the word I used on hearing the demise of one of our finest local bands – namely Yes Sunshine.

Not many bands get in the NME and on BBC Radio 1, or play at Manchester City’s ground and the main stage at Godiva Festival.

These guys did all that, but have now called it a day, putting this announcement on their Facebook page.

Yes Sunshine.
Musician/Band2,182 Likes
August 24
It's with heavy hearts we announce that Yes Sunshine is no more.
We feel that this is the right moment, whilst time is still on our side, to move on to pastures new. There has been no fall out, rift, or upset. 
...See More

The statement in full: “It’s with heavy hearts we announce that Yes Sunshine is no more.

“We feel that this is the right moment, whilst time is still on our side, to move on to pastures new.

“There has been no fall out, rift, or upset.

“We have surpassed all our own expectations, we have raised the bar as far as we could, we have knocked the door as loud as possible, doing so whilst flying the flag where ever we went.

“What we achieved is out there for all to see, and we are proud of what we have accomplished.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has supported us.

“We are truly grateful to all who have been involved, and helped shape these last few years.

“Family, friends, fans, management, Mick, John and Derm, Pete Chambers, BBC Introducing, local music connections, local media, Mike Matrix, Blue Soap Music, Mint 400. We thank you all.

“There will be ONE last Yes Sunshine gig, to say goodbye properly. Details to follow.

“As a great man once said, ‘All things must pass’. Mike, Jord, Declan, Mark and Chris”.

I don’t know the whole story but I will say that these guys had so much going for them. They hadn't even released a proper album.

So many bands flog a dead horse, but Yes Sunshine had at least two good years before them.

They will be hugely missed. Their last gig will be on October 9.

Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph

Backbeat: How music helped Coventry teen Whizzy escape torment of bullies

Articles by Pete Chambers from his Backbeat Column in the Coventry Telegraph.

Backbeat: How music helped Coventry teen Whizzy escape torment of bullies

Damon Lee Gallagher-Smallbridge, AKA Whizzy, 
a Coventry teenager who has battled the torment of bullies with rap music. 
Picture: Mark Rider.

Hearing a 16-year-old boy rapping about suicide is disturbing stuff, especially when you learn he’s from Coventry and the source of his anguish is from being bullied for his autism.

Like so many before him, Damon Lee Gallagher-Smallridge – or ‘Whizzy’ – has transcended the pain by the power of rap music, in his words and in his songs.

One song, Whizzy Alone 2015, is a harrowing tale of a young boy, his thoughts of escape, and his love for his mum, who through it all keeps him going and keeps his dreams alive.

It’s a superb rap, made even more powerful when you realise the words are for real. This is real life.

I asked Whizzy about the song.

“I have been into music since I was about ten, starting writing at the age of 13,” he said.

“I’m 16 now and the thing that inspired me to write the Alone song was just I was bullied at school, picked on all the time for being the kid with glasses or the kid who wants to be a rapper.

“I didn't wanna go school any more because I was sick of all the insults.

“Then I started writing my thoughts and feelings down and starting making raps about everything that was going on.

“I was also bullied because I’m autistic and I struggle to communicate with others so, for me, music is an escape from what’s going on in my life."

I asked him where he would like to be in two years’ time.

“In the future I will be hopefully be touring around the world,” said Whizzy.

“Performing my music and hopefully helping all the other people who are bullied to write their thoughts down.

“I would love to be a headliner in Coventry one day, as I would love people to know me as the kid from Cov who made it.

“I wanna just be on tour around the world, showcasing my talents and doing workshops for young kids to help them out.”

It would be wonderful to think he has found his escape through the music he loves.

You can hear the song  here on Soundcloud.

The Ellipsis battle the beasts within
The Ellipsis, who have just released a song called Two Wolves

The Ellipsis have a new song called Two Wolves.

Basically it’s an allegorical tale of the battle between the two wolves inside us all, one wolf is evil and one is good.

The video for the song has been based on the 1981 classic John Landis film, An American Werewolf in London, and was shot in a few locations including the London Underground.

The band are having an exclusive showing of it at The Big Comfy Bookshop, Fargo Village on Thursday, September 24. It will be a nice intimate affair where the band will talk about their songs and play some of their best stuff acoustically.

There will also be the video's director, actor, graphic designers, local businesses as well as Angela Prior-Kimble from Heaven in Fargo, who assisted with the styling for the video. She has a long, colourful career in movie costume designing.

Happy birthday, FarGo Village

FarGo Village, in partnership with Imagineer Productions, are creating a ‘bloco’ - a costumed carnival street band and dancers, which will perform outside at FarGo Fused event on Saturday, September 26 to celebrate its first birthday.

The music will be a fuse of samba reggae, ska, dancehall and house.

Doc Martens competition winners announced

Congratulations to the winners of our Doc Marten book competition – Pete Conway and Chris Mcgovern.

We asked which King song features the lyric 'Get Your Boots On'. The answer was Love and Pride.

Please collect your prizes from the Coventry Music Museum, open from Thursday to Sunday, 10am till 4pm.

Farewell Jonny Concrete, hello Wilde
New on the scene, Wilde

So as we lament the end of Yes Sunshine, another fine local band calls it a day. Yes, Jonny Concrete are no more,

The good news is that Dean Ingram and Becky Lawless are to continue to work as a duo.

So with all this news of splits, it’s good to hear we have a great new band on the scene called Wilde, and judging by what I have heard so far, they're definitely ones to watch for the future.

The band, namely Shay Simpkins, Ed Pinder and Matty Purnell, are up for creating exciting and powerful energy-filled songs.

Oddly enough, the guys are going to be supporting Yes Sunshine as they bow out on their final gig on October 19 at the Kasbah.

The Commonjets, yet another top band, are also supporting.
Go ape at Zephyr Lounge

On Saturday, September 26, look out for the 100% APE gig at Zephyr Lounge, Leamington, featuring Electrik Custard, Satsangi and Dark Houdini.

Doors open at 8pm, it’s £5 entry on the door, although tickets are also available from Seismic Records Box Office.

Live music will be up to midnight, followed by DJs until 2am.
Back to rudeboy roots

Those who know The Specials/2-Tone story will know that part of its early history began with original rudeboy Neville Staple and Trevor 'ET Rockers' Evans and The Jah Baddis Sound System, before Neville joined the band.

On Sunday, October 4 from 3pm, The Jah Baddis Sound System is back for a very special all-day party at the Sphinx Sports and Social Club.

In conjunction with Fargo Scooters and Skabretta Events, in aid of the Train Track Awareness Memorial Stone in loving memory of Declan Callum, the day also includes sets by Second City Soul Band, Anthony Harty and Rudegirls Kirstie and Sugary.

There will be an amazing auction, DJs, special guests and lots more.

Entrance is a £5 donation, children free.

Tickets from Fargo Scooters, 2-Tone Village or email

Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph