Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990
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Tamworth Bands History : 1987 : July

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – The good times roll in a concert full of contrasts
Tamworth Showcase – The Rathole
SUNDAY NIGHT at the Rathole confirmed what many of us had long suspected, Tamworth’s new breed of bands are providing a fresh and exciting sound and perspective. This was undoubtedly one of the most absorbing concerts I have seen in eons. So let the good (and bad) times roll.

Emma Gibbs Loves Badges
Or out it another way, Emma Gibbs Loves Emma Gibbs. For here is a band not without innovation or intelligence who decide to mask both these qualities behind a suffocating student ego which is pitiful to behold. In their ‘unique’ attempt to be totally different, confrontational and adverse. Emma Gibbs merely comes over as ignorant, stupid and indefensibly churlish. They shock no-one and fool only themselves and there is simply nothing more mutually embarrassing than watching over-the-top students trying to impose their over-developed egos on the world. They can give Tamworth what Tamworth can give them – rien. Bad karma maan.

World Intelligence Network
WIN are a band full of warmth, charm and exhilarating melodies who can do no wrong in my book. Even without two members they attempted a Billy Bragg meets Chameleons approach and showed that the weight of charisma can triumph over the weight of drumbeats. Lovely boys.

The Great Express
And how they justified that ‘Great’ tag tonight. Even compared to their first uplifting ‘Rathole’ show this was a revelation and proved that the Great Express are an almighty force for Tamworth to be proud of. Gone are any tracks that were less than 100 per cent dynamite and in comes powerhouse full of unrestrained anger and menacing guitars. One of two of the tunes are priceless and the band’s stage show is now dramatic and immensely watchable. Great performers, great show, great songs. Great Express. Brilliant.

The Pakistani Brothers
The musical equivalent of an acid trip. Three drunk adults, three drunken machines and several drunken songs which end up as a bizarre brazen brawl. Odder than odd, sort of odder still.

Fetch Eddie The Babies Gone Blue
Yep, pop stars. A spellbinding tuneful set which once again had the audience in a state of rapture. The general feeling that spread around the Arts Centre is that we were witnessing a piece of pure pop which if translated to vinyl could well make an unstoppable beeline for the top of the charts. Lead singer Pod is one of the most distinctive and original vocalist Tamworth has produced in years while guitarist Aaron is undoubtedly one of the best local songwriters I have EVER heard. This is a band with destiny and any group than can introduce a song as being a tribute to ‘the late, great Ted Moult’ simply cannot fail.

Catch 23
The Wilsons
Edward ian Armchair
Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – Bursting to be back in town

Caption: Catch 23…as drawn by bassist Neil Gordon.
Caption: Catch 23…as drawn by bassist Neil Gordon.

TAMWORTH ARTS CENTRE stages one of its biggest nights of the year tonight (Friday) with the official launch party of the first single by Catch 23. The loveable Atherstone outfit will obviously top the party bill, along with Edward ian Armchair and superb local band who are trading under dubious name The Wilsons.

For Catch 23, tonight’s official single launch is the culmination of a short but dynamic career. In what seems like just a few months, the band have risen in stature and ability to the point where they now earn the respect of every local rock fan.

Tonight’s show is already set to be a sell-out, and Catch 23 themselves are delighted to repay the loyalty of their fans with this special fun concert.

The band’s first single is a double-A-sider ‘Don’t Lie’/’Love Explosion’. Like most Catch 23 tracks the single is packed with energy and atmosphere as well as tow catchy, danceable tunes which are certain to sound very nice indeed pouring out of radio speakers.

Already is has earned amazing praise from Mercia DJ Paul Robinson who has promised to give the band maximum exposure, and there is a real buzz in the air that this single could well lift Catch 23 to the top of the pile.

Tonight’s special Arts Centre show will see the single on sale for the very first time. The band have stressed that they would prefer Atherstone-based fans to buy their copies at record shops to ensure entry into the Mercia Charts, but Tamworth people can get their grubby fingers on the goodies tonight.

The single comes packaged in a superb sleeve which includes all the lyrics and a brilliant sketch-drawing by the multi-talented Neil Gordon, a bassist who is clearly the illegitimate child of Jean-Jacques Burnel and Picasso.

As well as selling the single, tonight’s gig will be very much a fine show in its own right. Catch 23’s local gigs have been kept to a minimum of late – apart from one hugely successful Pebble Mill bash – and they are bursting to return to their native stages. Already more than 100 tickets for the special event have been snapped up by fans and the ticket-less out there are warned to get to the Arts Centre very early tonight to stand any chance of enjoying a rock and roll party to remember.

Joining the single-bearing heroes will be local poet Edward ian Armchair and this odd bunch called The Wilsons. I am not allowed to reveal too much outfit, suffice to say they share Catch 23’s love of live-work and on their day can leave every self-respecting rock and roll fan drained of energy. A ‘Wilson’ is a term familiar to some of you, but let me tell you, there are no flies on this band!

So an absolutely unmissable show – one which will be a tribute to the sheer strength of the local music scene. Just a couple of years ago Catch 23 were learning their first chords, now they are releasing their first single and are on the threshold of something very exciting.

They couldn’t have done it without Tamworth’s music scene and so tonight’s wonderful show will be a mutual thank-you session and tremendous fun to boot. Catch 23, the floor is all yours…

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – Single of the Week
THE REALISATION of hopeful potential is always a wonderful thing to see – and this is thus. Catch 23 have blossomed with style from a schoolboy band who happen to play good music, to a good band who happen to be schoolboys and this remarkable two-tracker is ample proof that they are a rare and special commodity indeed. ‘Don’t Lie’ is the finer of the two tracks, a rip-roaring embodiment of the spirit of ’78 which combines a spirited attack with a meaty melody. The flip-side ‘Love Explosion’ is an equally succulent musical morsel, which has unbounded energy and life and a hook that most anglers would appreciate. Put it together and you have a single which Catch 23, their fans and the whole local music scene can enjoy and revel in. Atherstone never had it so good.

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – New treasure in the Attica
ATTICA make their long-awaited Tamworth return on Sunday night when they team up with Dawn After Dark and our very own Kevin McGough, for a superb Rathole triple-header.

Most eyes will obviously be trained on Attica, a band who have carved a permanent niche in the Tamworth music scene. Their new sound is said to be original and distinctive and they are keenly awaiting the chance to try out their new material on their ‘home’ audience.

As well as the not inconsiderable pleasure of seeing Attica, local fans will also be keen to see the splendid ‘Dawn After Dark’ again.

Completing the line-up is the most brash of poets – Kevin McGough. Kevin, who believes that compromise is not merely a dirty but an OBSCENE word – is certain to stir up a hornets’ nest and he should add a certain something to a spicy night indeed.

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
CAROUSEL have added a new female singer to their ranks. Brian Lacey and Andy Stokes auditioned Heidi Thomas last week and were delighted with the way she fitted in. The group, who are currently writing a lot of strong new material, also recently added exciting drummer Alan Bayliss to the line-up. To complete the picture this original and innovative pop band now want a keyboard player. More details from Brian.

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
ONE On One have recruited former Depth Charge man Dave Fitzgerald as their new lead singer. The band’s guitarist Tim Latham meanwhile is all set for a trans-Atlantic trip where he will be working as a session man for some of the time. One On One’s former singer Dave Ingham recently completed a highly-successful demo tape at Expresso Bongo studios which will be sent off to star-hungry record companies.

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
BREAKING Point are still holding auditions for a new drummer and are still interested to hear from any would-be stick-bashers. So far they have auditioned self-confessed Breaking point fan Terry Cooper and former Sacred Oath and Eye Do It drummer Vicki Gwinnett. If you would like a bash at becoming a Breaking Point skin-basher give Kevin Briggs a ring.

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
MICK Goodby, the former Depth Charge and BHX frontsman is still on the lookout for a new rock band to join. Mick is interested in working with any interesting rock musicians and you can contact him…

INTEREST in a Tamworth version of the ‘Rocky Horror Show’ as been quite impressive with the likes of Mike Turner, Mick Goodby, Paul Scragg, John Garforth, Mike Fleming, John Reeman, Donna Colclough, Anice Byfield and Rikk Quay volunteering to get involved. One person not impressed however is disco-king Mark Flavell who is worried a Tamworth version would be Butchery. Still butchery or not we will definitely go ahead with the idea and we will hope to get the silly charity event off the ground later this summer.

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
THE stylish World Intelligence Network are looking for a new drummer to complete their powerhouse alternative outfit. More info from Rich Cuttler.

Tamworth Herald – 03/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
IT’S nice to see that former Restricted guitarist Roger Moore has got together a new band, The Conspiracy. The outfit are hoping to gig in the near future and have been enlisted into the Arts Centre section of the Rock Festival.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox – Sharp stuff from Cut-Throats
TAMWORTH’S ‘Rathole’ opens its doors to the charming genre of rockabilly and psychobilly music on Sunday night.

Three – possibly four – bands specialising in this high energy musical onslaught will take to the Rathole stage ensuring a night of stomping fun for a bewildered audience.

The line-up is made up of two locally-based acts – The Alley Cats and debut-makers The Cut Throats – alongside top Birmingham psychos The Surf Rats and possibly another manic outfit, Lost Souls.

The night – a sort of ‘Wrecking at the Rathole’ affair will be interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly it will give ‘Rathole’ audiences their first chance to taste the pleasure of The Alley Cats.

Secondly it will give them an opportunity to enjoy top class out-of-town psycho music and thirdly it will give a debut to a brand new band The Cut Throats. They have been together only a matter of weeks although already there is a buzz around that they are going to be hot stuff indeed,

They are made up of the following interesting quartet of local musicians – Simon Mills (bass), Nick Plant (drums), Daz Knight (lead guitar) and Bill Telford (vocals). Nick probably deserves most of the credit for getting the band together which he started to do shortly after the brief but fascinating career of The Mutant Zombies ground to a halt.

Nick – then known as Sick Nick the Psycho – was keen to play maximum psycho music and according to Bill Telford that is exactly what The Cut Throats offer.

“People who have come along to see us practice have said we sound something like a cross between The Meteors and The Guana Batz which is just what we want,” said Bill.

The band’s material is all self-penned although they throw in the dance favourite ‘Wipeout’ as a way of getting the audience into an advanced state of bopping. And according to Bill, Tamworth will have witnessed nothing like The Cut-Throats before…

“We are totally different to all the other bands in Tamworth but I think we should still go down well because we are that bit different,” enthuses Tamworth’s newest singer.

So, a ‘Rathole’ night with a difference. Psychobilly, rockabilly fans et al should find the whole occasion immensely enjoyable, but I have a sneak feeling many ‘normal’ rock fans will also get a kick out of this original stomping fun. It starts on Sunday night at 8pm.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox - Pulling off a Jersey treat
TAMWORTH’S most popular band, Dance Stance have scooped another mouth-watering booking which ranks as their finest achievement to date.TAMWORTH’S most popular band, Dance Stance have scooped another mouth-watering booking which ranks as their finest achievement to date.

For over the August Bank holiday while most of us will be sweating it out in the Castle Grounds, Dance Stance have been invited to play two major concerts in the Channel Islands as guests of the Jersey Tourist Board.

The band were spotted at their marvellous university show at Keele and after a great deal of negotiating, the outfit have been booked for one indoor and one outdoor show over the holiday weekend.

They will fly to the Channel Islands, stay in four-star hotels and become the first non-name band to play at prestigious venues for many years.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the way everything has gone because it has taken a lot of hard work and planning to pull this one off.” Said the group’s ever-active manager Ray Sheasby. “Needless to say everyone is looking forward to a hectic but welcome three days in ‘Bergerac’ country,” he added.

Dance Stance’s itinerary will see them play at the Howard Davis Park, a major outdoor venue more used to big bands like Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen the pop groups like Paul Hanlon and his Soulmen.

After this the group will play at Jersey’s top nightspot the ‘Inn on the Park’ which has a capacity of 1,250 and recently featured no less of a knee-trembler than Tom Jones. Dance Stance here will be joined by a top London DJ for a night that runs from 9pm until 2am.

Dance Stance are understandably over the moon to have earned this tremendous double-booking – one which will provide them with an enviable holiday as well as tremendous exposure. They are to be featured in both the Jersey Evening Post and on radio Jersey and there is no doubt it will boost their growing credibility.

And of course it clears up the mystery of why the band wouldn’t be topping this year’s Rock Festival line up. Several members of the group had said they would have loved to have played but ‘something big’ was on the horizon. Well, ‘something big’ has now arrived and I am sure most local fans and bands will send their best wishes to Dance Stance as they begin this, their first-ever World tour!

“We are really upset to have to miss the Rock festival but you have to admit this is a bit special,” said Ray Sheasby.

Yes, I’ve got to admit that…Jammy swines.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
THIS Sunday’s major Tamworth Rock Festival meeting has been postponed until Sunday, July 19 – giving everyone an extra few days to get their ‘attendance fees’ together. We will give more details of the meeting in next week’s Musicbox but in the meantime make a note not to miss the meeting on Sunday 19 at the Tavern in the Town. The reason for this week’s cancellation is that the selfish Rock festival chairman is hoping to go to the Silverstone Grand Prix and is unlikely to be back in time. Sorry.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
Our congratulations to former Royal Family lead singer Dave Smith who won our recent Marillion competition. His clear, well-argued answer was far more coherent than Marillion’s lyrics and he is a worthy winner. Thanks to all those others who entered including Steve Rattigan, PJ Rogers, Paul Evans, Mike Fleming and David Lee Rothes Jockstrap all of whom produced witty retorts and clearly got into the mood of the contest.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
My thanks to B. Plant from Elford who sent in a very well written and thoughtful case for Emma Gibbs Loves Badges as I condemned them, to an egocentric death last week. The Elford music fan said: “There is a distinct lack or originality in Tamworth’s bands and now when a band arrives with imagination and their own individual style, everyone jumps down their throats! Why? Are they not sick to death of all those boring rock bands that Tamworth seems to be so good at producing? Without necessarily agreeing with the sentiments, I respect the thought behind them and I am always grateful for readers’ comments about any of our local acts.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
Tamworth Youth For Christ movement stages another impressive show on Saturday night with a return visit from the popular Bryn Howarth. Check out what he’s like at QEMS School, Ashby Road on Saturday might starting at 7.30pm.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
Wolfsbane have announced one or two smart looking concerts for the future. Jeff Wilson, Blaze Wilson, Steve Wilson and Jase Wilson will be at the Marquee supporting Tiger Tails on July 23, at Edwards No.8 on July 30, at Reids, Southend on August 4 and at Cascades on August 16. They will of course also be headlining Tamworth’s Rock Festival.

Tamworth Herald – 10/07/87
Musicbox - Fun four choose their favourites
The Wilsons – Tamworth Arts Centre
ALL hail The Wilsons! For here are four lovely fellows who bear a remarkable resemblance to four lovely fellows called Wolfsbane and play an equally uplifting, mindbending set full of fun. Tonight The Wilsons chose to play some of their own favourite cover versions including the superb ‘Rockaway Beach’, the immortal ‘Born To Run’ and the appalling ‘Love Removal Machine’. Wilsonmania begins.

Catch 23 – Single Release
Catch 23 deserve nothing but praise for this wonderful little show! Which had a hugely biased audience bopping, sweating and dancing like their lives depended on it. Catch 23 showed no signs or nerves to turn in a set which bristled with optimism for a glittering future.

Obviously the single tracks ‘Don’t Lie’ and ‘Love Explosion’ – rightfully took the night, but just as exciting in my eyes were the newer even more magical songs such as ‘Hurt Me’ and the magnificent ‘Facing Up’. Truly a concert and a night to remember and truly a band with a future. Fun, fun, fun

Surf Rats
Alley Cats
The Rathole

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - Are you ready for this?
Wreck on with the psychobillies

Psychobilly Night – The Rathole
THE RATHOLE saw a new crowd of supporters last week – when the psychobillies steamed in to ‘wreck’ the night away!

First up were the new Tamworth band ‘The Cuthroats’ who were playing their first ever gig.

They were very entertaining and vocalist Bill Telford, tried hard to make the audience respond, but in true Rathole style, no-one did!

Next up were Lost Souls who really stole the evening for me. The double-bass player, in particular, was excellent and they soon had everyone dancing(!). Even a rendition of the Batman theme seemed to go down very well!

Finally it was the Surf Rats who strolled on stage. They had a far-too serious outlook on their music playing fast songs that tended to drag for a while.

Overall it was a goodnight for all psychobilly fans and bands alike, and hopefully we can look forward to seeing more nights like this at the Rathole.

Review: Anice Byfield

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - Here comes days of rock-filled fun
It’s that festival feeling!

TAMWORTH ROCK FESTIVAL has been given official council backing – and the countdown to four days of pop fun is now under way.

A full meeting will be held this Sunday at the Tavern in the Town for all the for all the bands involved to really get the festival feeling flowing.

This year’s festival was given the fullest support by Tamworth Borough Council at a meeting last Thursday of the recreation and amenities committee. Councillors representing both Conservative and Labour, praised the festival’s unique achievements and ensured that the ‘show would go on’ as planned.

Once again the now established Tamworth Rock Festival format will feature tow exciting nights of new bands at the Arts Centre, and then two long days of outdoor rock and roll in the Castle Grounds.

It all starts on Friday August 28 at the Arts Centre when The Final Line, The Sexy Pistols, Emma Gibbs Loves Badges and the Pakistani Brothers team up for a bizarre evening of entertainment and then the following night the Arts Centre stage welcomes The Jim Crows Blues Company, New Age Gypsies, Bankok Shock and The Conspiracy.

Then on Sunday, August 30 and Monday August 31, the Castle Grounds will come alive from 11am to 8pm to the sound of no less than 18 of the top local bands in the area ranging from old heroes like Wolfsbane and Breaking Point, new heroes like The Great Express and fetch Eddie and unknown heroes like Platinum Hi and Jabberwockie.

We will give the final line-up in next week’s MUSICBOX nut all the bands involved MUST attend Sunday night’s meeting to hear where they play and when.

The meeting at the Tavern on Sunday night will not only discuss future planning and organisation for the festival, but will be a vital fund-collecting point. As a reminder, all the bands who are playing at the Castle Ground’s section will need on Sunday to pay £6 per member. That way the festival is the Castle Grounds is kept free for all spectators and ensures that the Tamworth Rock festival is unique. I mean, can you imagine Status Quo PAYING to play at the Reading festival.

Would everyone – bands and organisers – please get to the meeting by no later than 7.45pm on Sunday night as there is a chance of a major photo-call. The meeting will then be the official launching pad for the Tamworth Rock festival 1987.

Musical policies will be worked out to put to the Tamworth electorate and hopefully they will vote for the festival in massive numbers!

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
Bands full of appeal
DON’T forget tomorrow (Saturday) night the special concert event at the Assembly Rooms in aid of the Zeebrugge Disaster swings into action. A number of good local bands should be playing – and there is talk of a top celebrity popping in as well – although at time of going to press the final line-up was not certain. As well as some fine music, there will be also other displays and events all of which will help to rasie funds for a very worthy cause.

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
Breaking Point – who were in action at West Bromwich on Saturday night – are still searching for a new, permanent drummer. The group stress that they have a lot of good live concerts on the horizon and any new member can expect to join a tight unit committed to a powerful musical future. It sounds interesting, give Kevin Briggs a ring during the day.

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
Ruffian On The Stairs are searching for a new keyboard player. The group want someone interested in playing jazz-influenced rock/pop and enthusiasm is essential. If it sounds like you, give Mark a ring.

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
A new Tamworth-based band who are aiming to play original new music are searching for a drummer to complete their line-up.

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
A special charity concert takes place at Two Gates WMC on Sunday night (July 19) featuring a new ‘showgroup’ Code of Practice – and a comedian. The show, in aid of Corvettes Football Club, starts at 80pm on Sunday and costs just £1.

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
A new band trying to create a new sound are looking for a bassist and a drummer to bring their line-up to a close. Although they found it hard to describe their sound., they feature ex-members of groups who fall under the collective name ‘The Mutant Calling Yellow Green Zombies’. Suffice to say they are nice guys with nice music taste and can find out more by ringing Rob.

Tamworth Herald – 17/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
Bop in
THE RATHOLE stages one of its popular alternative discos on Saturday night where the audience will be encouraged to bring down the records they want to dance to.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Pop-basher began with Musicbox
THOSE of you who saw the hugely-entertaining ‘Network 7’ on Sunday may have spotted a young pop gossip-writer named Annette Witheridge. Annette who has worked for the Daily Mirror, News of the World and The Sun, is due soon to take over as pop editor of the Daily Star supplying the millions with the latest smut on your fave raves.

Older Musicbox readers may remember Annette’s career in pop-bashing began when she edited this very column. At that stage she was writing about the likes of Ice, Brewster, The Fretz and Those Attractive Magnets – a far cry from dishing the dirt on the likes of Elton John which she did recently.

During the course of ‘Network 7’ the ever-chirpy Annette said that she didn’t mind too much about wrecking people’s careers because that was her job. This led to no less than Boy George saying that this former Herald star should be ‘hung, drawn and quartered’. Most MUSICBOX writers always be thus persecuted?

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Established rock band Shellshock are on the look out for a new vocalist and lead guitarist to join their powerful outfit. Experience is preferred but not essential.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
A new band who mix alternative and 70s rock sounds, are searching for a fast drummer and powerful singer to complete their line-up. Anyone interested should contact Tim.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
In the run up to this year’s Festival, ‘The Rathole’ is hoping to stage several Sunday night concerts featuring mainly local bands. If you want to play at the ‘Rathole’ over the next few weeks contact Ian Gibbons.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
Wolfsbane were at the Marquee again last night (Thursday) along with top rock outfit Tigers Tailz. MUSICBOX was hoping to travel down with the Wilson-boys, so expect a capital review next week.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
‘The Rathole’ is enjoying a richly-deserved summer holiday on Sunday night and there will be no concert/disco this week. ‘Normal service’ should be resumed next week.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
New punk-based outfit The Conspiracy were due to make their first trip to the recording studio tonight (Friday). The band who will be making their Tavern in the Town debut on August 27, will be recording a number of tracks at Expresso Bongo. Other local acts who have recently been into the studio include New Age Gypsies and The Pakistani Brothers.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – SNIPS
A new rock and roll band who have a lot of good club work on the horizon are searching for a new guitarist, vocalist and female backing singer.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – Band is making waves
Catch 23 are back in Tamworth tonight (Friday) when they team up with a special disco at the Embassy Leisure Suite. The enterprising Atherstone youngsters are in the midst of a battalion of local and not so local concerts at the moment in an effort to promote their excellent debut single ‘Don’t Lie’/’Love Explosion’. Already the single has crept into the Mercia charts and is receiving substantial airplay on Mercia Radio where the band have been interviewed several times.

Tonight’s Embassy show will mix Catch 23’s powerful pop with a full disco, ensuring something for everyone to enjoy. So make sure you get along and see for yourself why Catch 23 have been receiving piles of fan mail from all around the country. The Embassy is the place to be, Catch 23 are the band to see.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – Jokers go to earth
The Soil Brothers – Burberries, Birmingham
THE SOIL Brothers romped on stage, check-shirted and jean clad to bang and clang out their last-ever gig to a very amused Burberries audience. They had come to see the celebrated Tarry and Gerry play their last gig, but first they were to sample our won Soil Brothers.

Though there were a few technical hitches, the band played all the old favourites in fine tune, and with a little gentle coaxing by Steve McNamee the crowd were very soon getting down to the soily sound.

Special mention must go to Jon Hills who battled on even when his accordion refused to make a sound and to Katie Boyle who could actually be heard for a change.

Anice Byfield

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – Shining Example
TAMWORTH fanzine writer Rob Cross has just produced a highly-original and opinionated new magazine under the deceptively harmless title “When The Sun Shines”.

Rob’s latest – and perhaps greatest – fanzine features interviews with the likes of The Capitols, Fuzzbox, Wunderstuff, and Mighty Mighty all done in Rob’s frank, uncompromising and very witty style.

Rob, who will be let loose on the Tamworth Rock Festival programme with a page full of his own very personal controversial comments on the local scene.

Tamworth Herald – 24/07/87
Musicbox – Here it is: the best festival line-up ever
HERE IT IS the final line-up for this year’s eagerly awaited Tamworth Rock Festival again the Festival throws up an amazing range of old and new acts covering just about every musical genre possible. Many of the names will be familiar to most local rock fans but some will be new to everyone.

The tasty mixture offers the possibility of one of the finest festivals yet, so here it is the full blow-by-blow agenda of what your eyes and ears will witness over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Friday August 28: Tamworth Arts Centre, 8pm, Admission 50p. Emma Gibbs Loves Badges, The Sexy Pistols, Pakistani Brothers, Stranger Than Life.

Saturday August 29 (Tamworth Arts Centre, 8pm, Admission: 50p) The Final Line, The Jim Crows Blues Company, New Age Gypsies, The Ferocious Apaches.

Sunday August 30: (Castle Grounds 12 midday – 7pm, Admission: Free) (In this order) Kubla Khan, The Searching, A5, World Intelligence Network, Catch 23, Rape In yellow, Zealout, Platinum hi, The Great Express.

Monday August 31: (Castle Grounds, 12 midday – 7pm, Admission: Free) The Pink Tomatoes, Future Field, Shellshock, Jabberwockie, Wolfsbane, Fetch Eddie The Baby’s Gone Blue, Depth Charge, Ruffian On The Stairs, Breaking Point.

That’s a grand tally of 27 bands covering everything from punk to pop, synthesisers to sickness and power to purity. The whole festival bandwagon is now well on the road so get ready for a T-shirt, poster and sticker blitz as the town’s musicians prepare for their biggest weekend of the year. The Tamworth Rock Festival represents everything that is positive and strong about the local music scene and if the enthusiasm so far generated by the event is anything to go by, get set for a rock and roll extravaganza.

Tamworth Herald – 31/07/87
Musicbox – Sharp looks and some jolly noise
THE RATHOLE re-opens on Sunday night with a tasty trio of ‘Unknown pleasures’.

Two relatively new Tamworth acts – The Searching and the Ferocious Apaches – will team up with enterprising Birmingham crew The Fillipinos for a happy hat-trick of modern sounds.

Topping the bill will be the latter who, if photographs and publicity material are anything to go by, ooze style. Their music is said to be hard-edged funk-tinged pop, the look is very definitely sharp and purposeful and the group themselves are happy to hang under the banner of motor-sonic dance floor music. Methinks they will be somewhat different from the average Ratholians.

Teaming up with these aspiring superstars are The Ferocious Apaches making their Tamworth, England and World debut all in one. The group packed full of humour, jollity and harbouring no chips-on-shoulders whatsoever, ply white noise pop and are made up of Mark, Rob, John and Bob. Whatever these guys tend to do does have a horribly fascinating appeal.

Completing the show are The Searching who still seem like a new band although they have actually been around for some 12 months or so. The outfit – made up of Steve Scott, Pete Williams, Mike Reid and Mark Chapman – describe their sound as original rock which has been linked with the likes of The Damned in the past and is said to be ‘very good to bop to’. The band have lined themselves up a very nice place in this year’s Tamworth Rock Festival so if you want a sneak preview of what you can expect, then get along on Sunday night.

The whole show should start at around 8pm on Sunday night, and a diverse night of pop ‘n’ roll is definitely in store.

Tamworth Herald – 31/07/87
Musicbox – Metal monsters for the kill
Wolfsbane – The Marquee
IF SOMEONE had told me a few years ago that one day I would travel 200 miles in a day to see a heavy metal concert, I would have smiled sweetly and then smeared their faces with something indescribably nasty.

But there I was, bones creaking from a mini-bus marathon standing patiently to see four long-haired boys in ripped t-shirts attempt the ritual demolition of my eardrums which is the core of metal music.

The prospect should have filled me with dread bordering on terror but instead I settled down among the long-haired leather glam-boys and glam-girls and enjoyed every single sexists second.

Wolfsbane, you see, are unlike any other band I know. They can make you forget what you are supposed to like, challenges what you are supposed to think, destabilise your musical idealism and ensnare you in their own web of rock and revolt.

They stride on stage so full of purpose, energy and almost unbelievable charisma, that whether it’s a youth club stage or this most famous of venues, they tower above the audience and make you putty in their metallic grasp.

I haven’t yet reached the stage of joining in with every word – there is enough here in London to do that already – bit for the first time, I can actually understand the impulse of those who choose to so do, to get that little bit closer to a feeling that is all-encompassing and dramatically bewitching.

The band’s set itself was virtually new material – a very big surprise indeed that, and all those fresh tunes were as infectious and steamy as the old, proving that Wolfsbane have a great songwriting quality that most of their peers couldn’t hope to attain.

By the end of their set – their fourth no less at this famous old venue – the atmosphere around the place seemed to echo my own optimistic thoughts.

The Marquee has spawned many world-beaters in its time and it may well have spawned another. Wolfsbane have style, durability and the vital winning charm.

Throw in ‘the look’, ‘the sound’ and ‘the purity’ and you have a band we call all be proud of, metal fans or not. If they aren’t a name, national band in 12 months from now, I will eat a Stranglers album.

Catch 23 – The Embassy
A Bit closer to home, this than the Marquee but still well-worth every mile I travelled. Catch 23 continue to mature and improve with every performance to the point where they have now graduated into the major league.

Despite the fact that guitarist Lou Vermin broke his amplifier early on, the group’s newly-realised professionalism made them ‘go for it’ in even more determined fashion to create a powerhouse of a set.

Most of the audience admittedly seemed a little bemused by it all, but gradually as the groups’ presence began to manifest itself the dance floor began to vibrate and the atmosphere just grew.

Best track was again the superlative ‘Facing Up’, but for me the outstanding feature of the whole set this time around was that man Steve Webster. Watching him improve both as a vocalist and a frontsman over these past couple of years has been a very enjoyable experience and he now sets the stage, the band and the audience alight with a style that is well-beyond this tender years.

Another fine Catch 23 show and another step in the right direction for a band who are maturing so quickly they will be old and cynical before they are eligible to vote.

Tamworth Herald – 31/07/87
Musicbox – Gypsies from the past
New Age GypsiesNew Age Gypsies – Try Me/World Without End
AN interesting new slice of new psychedelia from an outfit who appear to have just stepped out of a time-travelling machine that left in 1967. The two songs are very different indeed, which implies the band have a wide range of musical ideas at their song-writing disposal.

The first track, ‘Try Me’ is the more conventionally psychedelic (if the term isn’t a contradiction in itself) with guitars doing all manner of strange things throughout, a and the general effect being quite bewildering.

The second number is a more modern pulsator which has a very impressive hook and and atmosphere tinged with late new wave/early Cure. It also boasts some pretty excellent bass-playing which makes it a plus in my eardrums and makes me feel there is a lot more power than you would suspect from a band who look so placidly mellow and hippish.

As a demo it certainly makes an impressive entry to the world of the Gypsies.

Mark Mortimer – Mollusc Number Nine
A TRIBUTE to the great Martin Luther Short, this oddball piece of experimentation perfectly illustrates that within Mark Mortimer’s mind there is a complex tangle of ideas and influences he hasn’t yet revealed to the rest of the world. Either he is barmy, a genius or both, but whatever he is, any song that praises the immortal Mollusc has to be worthy of the loudest cheers.

The Great Express – You Are My World
A STUNNING slice of modern pop which has realised its full potential under the skilful production of Donald ‘Mollusc Number Ten’ Skinner. The song breezes along brightly until suddenly turning loud ‘n’ nasty and leads to a satisfying forceful climax. Any song that features two pianos, six…a fab tune…

Tamworth Herald – 31/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
THOSE OF YOU who read the Herald’s sister paper the Lichfield Mercury, may well have noticed a running debate about a rock festival at Armitage Football Club on Sunday, August 30. The event as all-day one which just happens to be on the same day as Tamworth’s all-day festival, seemed to be a monumental case of bad –timing in my eyes, so I wrote to the Mercury and said so.

Last week by way of a response, ‘A Fairweather Friends Fan’ from Burntwood said ‘a plague on both their houses, to the two festivals and said Tamworth should put a new range of bands on its festival line-up instead of (wait for it) ‘the same circle of bland AOR, New Model Army clone. Tamworth blue-eyed boys’.

Well just for this young man’s info, of the 27 bands involved in this year’s ‘Tamworth festival, seven have never played anywhere before ever; 14 would, rightfully deserve the tag ‘new bands’, and only a handful played in the event last year. As for a ‘wide range’, well this year’s festival looks far and away the most diverse I can remember and of the 27 bands involved I am sure 27 of them would prefer to be hung, drawn and quartered than labelled as ‘New Model Clones’. Still to, ‘A Fairweather Friend Fan’ (don’t people who throw dirt ever have names) we extend an open invitation for him to come and sample our goodies to see for himself. Now then, where did I put my copy of ‘Vengeance’…

Tamworth Herald – 31/07/87
Musicbox - SNIPS
A new rival of the immortal ‘Frankie Says’ T-shirts have just arrived – Wolfsbane shirts. The band have just produced a rather silly ‘official’ T-shirt which appears to be selling like proverbial hot cakes. The sizes come in everything up to ‘Extra Large’ and they cost just £5 a piece from band members.

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