The gig that launched a brace of albums..

The Black Market Venue was resplendent with candlelit tables and black table cloths, the curtains were pulled across (initially at least!) to make what is a cavernous space feel more intimate, red and black balloons bedecked the place (including some HUUUUUGE ones by the stage!).  The room was filled with possibly a larger crowd than anticipated – eagerly ready to support the album launch for not just Star Botherers, but Strange Currencies too – and if that wasn’t enough, there was a set by Black Thorn to get the night underway!

Jamie had been kind enough to give us a lift up to the venue – so I could have a cheeky pint of Illicit or two for a change – and not have to gamble a trip in my increasingly erratic car (but that’s another story!).  By the time we were herded into the back room by Brad there was a sizeable gathering in the front bar, but unbeknown to us there was quite the crowd already ensconsed in the back room – tables had filled up, we installed ourselves by the bar, by the time Kev, Julie and the kids arrived the curtains had to go back to make room for everyone.

I’m really glad about that – it’s great to see so many people out to support local independent and unsigned artists.  As well as an album launch it was a showcase for The Black Market Venue’s recording facilities – where, of course, Happy Angry was recorded, and is headed up by Joel.  Venue, bar, brewery and now recording studio – certainly a diverse establishment!  As we got ourselves settled in Black Thorn were getting themselves soundchecked – and soon enough were underway.

As Black Thorn got themselves underway Joel explained they were keen to test out some new material they’d been working on, along with of course some old favourites.  Of course, the drawback of being in a room full of friends and access to a pint or three of Illicit is you might not be too good at paying attention to song names.  I think the first one was called City Point, but I’m willing to be corrected!  From hazy memory it was about watching rat-racers daily-doings from a balcony whilst enjoying a relaxing drink or two.

Vin Rouge was up next, and John had brought the band a bottle of red to share during it.  I love how this song changes mid-flow into some slap-bass driven psychedelia!  I managed to omit the next song (a cheat photo of a set list suggests 2 Chord), a lively cover of  Drinking from the Bottle was up next though.  Another new one which I think is called One of Those Days about those times when you just don’t want to go out, it had a bouncy baltic waltzy feel to it.

I can’t remember much about Treehouse if I’m being honest (aside from being prefixed by ‘the merch song’, but they finished up with Slaves and finally Coffee, another new one.  An excellent set though – it’s exciting that they’re working on new material, all of which sounded great.

I’m not as familiar with Strange Currencies, so I’ve been pretty bad on song recall – I’ve only seen them once before at Deerstock earlier in the year, and really enjoyed them then.  They’re lively and groovy with an indie rock sound.  The song titles I did manage to jot down were Gypsy Disco, Slow Train, MSP and Prosecco – it was a cracking set, with interesting diversions like the drummer striking up a mandolin during one song.  To my shame I didn’t pick up an album, which I should really remedy.  Bart wouldn’t let me buy a Star Botherers one so I thwarted him by buying it on iTunes when I got home, ha!

Speaking of buying on iTunes – I’ve just noticed I can do that for Strange Currencies too, so have done!  They put on a really good set.  You can get hold of their album – Making Monsters – just here.  I’m looking forward to giving that a listen tomorrow now!

That of course leaves Star Botherers – strangely odd without their ‘the’ for me.  Tonight they were in full five-piece configuration with Joel and Ellis joining Bart, Dave and Brad on stage.  They kicked off with Star Wars Bride and then into First Night Festival Fever.  Joel was already undertaking a string change by this point (it’s always impressive to watch how quickly he can do that!).  Mid Life Crisis was up next, done in the old skool style rather than the re-tuned version you’ll find on the album (maybe I need to get out more for noticing things like this!).

Ringing in Sick was up next and then My Guitar.  This is my first time seeing them at full strength with Ellis on board, having missed them at Rockstock, it sounds really good – whilst I love to see them in all configurations, it gives some real oomph to what are excellent songs.  Ellis added guitar, mandolin and bouzouki from my hazy memory to the different songs.  3 Sets of Strings was up next then Playing for Nothing, I think a first live viewing of this song for me – I really like this one.

Just Around the Corner is up next and then into My National Trust.  We had a bit of a pause for some tuning up, and with time skipping away there was time for album closer One Inch Death Punch with the final track reserved for the inimitable When Dave’s Dead – always a highlight.  There was a considerable clamour for an encore, which was provided with 13 Years in Oregon.  An awesome set thoroughly appreciated by a bumper crowd, a really great launch.  We extricated ourselves from the many many goodbyes we needed to goodbye and headed back home with Jamie and Teresa.  A top top night.

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