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Blackpool vs Preston Album

Blackpool vs Preston Album
Blackpool vs Preston Album

Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Blackpool vs Preston, a free-for-all slugfest between some of the grimiest, most unwashed, unsober reprobates the county of Lancashire has seen since the Tudors.

My name’s Southern Steve and I’ll be your commentator for tonight’s match. Let me assure you, you’re in for an all-out, over the top rope, barnstormer of a main event. We have seven Blackpooligan bands and seven Prestonian pretenders lined up for you. So, with no further ado, Let’s get ready to rumble…

In the tangerine corner, please welcome our first contestants, ‘Dinosaurs are Shit Dragons’ with, ‘Let’s Big Party Go!’

Straight away, all hell breaks loose. It sounds like someone got the Tasmanian Devil drunk and let him loose in a studio. Incoherent screaming’s backed by frantic guitar bashing until it settles into a delightful chorus of, ‘We’re gonna party till we all throw-up, then we’ll party some more until we shit ourselves.’ It’s glorious, fight fans. The Dinosaurs are down and no one from Preston has even reached the ring yet. The smell’s terrible but it sounds great.

With the ring suitably slippy/sloppy, Preston’s aptly-named, ‘Fighting’ saunter to the squared-circle with ‘Bassline AL’. A catchy guitar hook feints an opening, before the song suckerpunches you by taking off in a different direction entirely. I can’t quite make out what they’re singing about but I think it involves torches and welding and blades. I’m a little bit scared. As far as a contest goes, it’s more of an indie bromance happening at the moment rather than a real fight. Both bands have helped organise this event so they’re biding their time, waiting for a less friendly target to emerge.

Speaking of bromances, here come ‘Kraul’; or at least the second half of them. Kraul share a drummer and guitarist with Dinosaurs so only half the band get stuck-in to fighting, er, ‘Fighting’. Tune-wise we’re back to fast-paced scuzzy distorted lo-fi rock (I refuse to say the ‘G’ word, It rhymes with ‘gunge’) Anyway, I like ‘gunge’ and Kraul do it well, taking a Cobainesque running jump at ‘Fighting’ and giving us our first over-the-top-rope elimination. Follow that, Preston.

And they do. Oh Lordy they do. Meandering to the ring is an Andre the Giant of a tune: ‘Slowcoach’ by ‘Hello Bamboo.’ All wrestling conceits aside, I’ve been addicted to this song ever since I first heard it two days ago. I don’t think words can do it justice. It’s like Freddie and the Dreamers crossed with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Kraul and Dinosaurs huddle in a corner, as far away from as possible from the bloody weirdos. I mean, who wants to swap sweat with that? All of a sudden, Preston are winning.

Better bring out the big guns then. Blackpool return fire with a new track from local legends, ‘Goonies Never Say Die’, their first for nigh-on two years. It’s everything you’d expect. Instrumental indie starting slow and building to a distorted climax, teasing you along the way with a cheeky middle-section. They’ve been away for too long and it’s good to see them back. The question is, is this a comeback or a parting-shot? Time will tell.

We’re a good few rounds in now and the ring’s starting to fill up with bodies. Preston’s ‘Chaotix’ come out swinging with ‘Black Blood’, a screamy slice of high energy metal which if I’m being honest isn’t really my kind of thing. Dinosaurs and Kraul team up to prise them over the top rope before ‘Hello Bamboo’ double choke-slams half of Kraul out after them, just in time for ‘The Karma Party’ to make their entrance.

I saw these guys last year at The Blue Room and was really impressed so I’m quite surprised at the difference between their recorded sound and their live show. In the pub I made the mistake of putting a full pint on a speaker, only to have it shaken off in seconds by the bass. It’s that brutal speaker-shaking sub that’s missing here. You can hear where it’s supposed to be, it just doesn’t kick you in the teeth like it does so impressively live. It’s still a good slice of ska-tinged pop-step, it just needs that extra punch to really make an impact.

Speaking of punches, Elohymn sprint to the ring with ‘Empty’ and start sparking-out drummers all over the gaff. Another instrumental outfit, these guys differ from Goonies in the delivery. It’s more up-tempo and angular, peppered with science-fiction samples, recalling ‘Isis’ or ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’. As it finishes I’m left feeling that I’ve just witnessed The War of The Worlds in musical form. Just as that thought comes, Goonies Never Say Die are vaporised by a passing gang of Triffids and we’re down to the final few rounds.

Scouts come smiling to the ring with, ‘I’ve got a P.M.A.’ Much like Chaotix, it’s not my genre. I think I may just be too old for Scouts. Regardless, they set up camp in a corner of the ring and wait for the next entrants.

The first thought I have when Zvilnik turn up is, ‘F**k me, it’s a girl!’ Up until now, I hadn’t really thought about it but it’s been a very male line-up so far. The sound of a girl’s voice really freshens things up, especially when she comes to the ring shooting lightning out of her fingers, shouting about Nikola Tesla. Fresh is the best word I can use to describe it. It’s like a dose of Febreeze, covering up the lingering stink of puke and spilt beer. Half the remaining bands abandon ship rather than ride the lightning and we’re left waiting to see if Blackpool’s got anything left in reserve.

Yes. Yes they do. They’re called Escape Artist and they even things up with, ‘My Ship’, a song with the refrain, ‘Mine is the ocean, mine is the sea’. Style wise, it’s back along the lines of Kraul, which is no bad thing. As we all know, water doesn’t mix well with Tesla Coils and, before we know it, we’re left with Kentucky Fried Zvilnik. Shame, I liked those guys.

Moving on, ‘Boy Genius’ counterpunch with, ‘Lads Lads Lads’, another well-crafted slice of scuzz. Escape Artist and Boy Genius are pretty evenly matched and all of a sudden we’ve a war of attrition going on. They’re trading blows, going at each other hammer and tongs, not noticing The Drop Out Wives sneaking up behind them with a sledgehammer. ‘Tralaalaa’ delivers a slice of sleezy horrorcore to the swede, backed up with a good kick to the nuts for all concerned. All of a sudden the ring’s clear but that move was a DQ for sure. Puke, yes; Triffids, yes; Tesla Coils, yes; a kick to the goolies though? That’s a step too far.

So that’s that, isn’t it? Not quite. As the smoke clears and the crowd gets ready to leave, there’s one more gem from Preston’s ‘Featherbone’: ‘Whatever Makes You Happy’. Top song. They’d probably hate me for saying so but it reminds me of the Arctic Monkeys at their most layed-back. It’s a great end to a great fight, a punch drunk singalong to close the show and mop-up the bodily fluids.

So who won? I don’t know, it’s an album review, not a wrestling match. The real point is that there’s some quality stuff on this album by some real local talent. You can download it here by naming your price. All proceeds go to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. So far, I’m informed most people have downloaded it for free. I think the blood, sweat, tears and puke deserve at least a £3 donation.

Don’t you?

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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