Thursday 29 May 2008

Canned event

Dubdog films to be aired at Southend-on-Sea Screening Event

When: Saturday 31st May 2008, 11:30 to 15:30
Where: Victoria Plaza Shopping Centre, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

The Southend Media and Creative Arts Festival, now in its sixth year is a not-for-profit celebration of the vibrant and diverse creative culture in the county. The festival started as a showcase for student work at South East Essex College but has grown rapidly to become an exciting town wide event mixing professional and student work across all genres including art, fashion, music, performing arts, short-film, literature and poetry.
Canned Film will be supporting the festival by conducting a Big Screen event on the Saturday 31st May 2008.

Rubbish Manners

Monday 26 May 2008

Flying Fish

Fish sculpture made from car parts in Wai Kika Moo Kau vegetarian restaurant in Brighton.

Wednesday 21 May 2008


UCS Graphic Design students Hannah, Rachel, Sean and Suzanne take their studies seriously enough to dress 4 colour process.

For those not down with graphic design jokes look here.

Sunday 11 May 2008

Worst pub in Britian dot com

The pumps aren't calling!

Maybe I should stop going to gigs, I seem to have a bit of a jinx effect! Went to see a band from Cambridge on Friday in a local dive of a pub. Walked in through the door and suddenly felt like I'd walked into a squat. Although the general scummyness added to the atmosphere, when the guy behind the bar said they'd run out of beer and it was only bottles for sale, I knew I was in for a heavy night. Bottles of Becks and Budvar had gone by 9 o'clock quickly followed by Corona. By the time the last band took the stage the bar man had announced that the gin had just been finished. 'Worst pub in Britian dot com' he joked as I took the above photo. My fellow drinking partners and I moved onto the only small bottles left in the fridge, minitures of Rosé wine!!! 3 later and it was definitely going to be a sore head the next day.

Anyway, the band was great. Loud, fuck me they were loud, which sort of makes up for my last live experience (see previous post.) The Tupolev Ghost were more Shellac than Shellac. A four piece from Cambridge who were tighter than a very tight thing. The drummer was sitting incredibly low ala boy racer style and I wondered if this could have explained the chest pains he complained of halfway through the set but it was probably due to his incredibly accurate fast drumming that knackered him out. Despite several requests to turn the volume down by pub staff, I admire Tupolev for not giving in. Platitudes of "yeah, yeah, sure" were proffered but they never touched their amps. Now a double bill worth seeing would be The Tupolev Ghost and Wooderson, if you fancy a Fugazi and Shellac overload.

The Tupolev Ghost, they were great.

The band before Tupolev Ghost, who put the gig on, were Bring Out Grandad and they reminded me of a band I haven't thought of in probably over 14 years, a band, in fact, I never actually liked, called Loop. I think I only listened to the tape a friend did for me twice, (sorry Phil.) I must say I was amazed by my recall ability. I wasn't alone though, others agreed there was a tad of Loop about them, which while not great, it is better than there being a loop of Tad about them! (Some people may even get that joke.) I was, however, impressed with their ability to wear their influences on their sleeves, literally. Ramones, Sub Pop and Arab Strap t-shirts were all on display once the grunge check had come off!

I'm not going to mention the first band other than to say, on a very hot day, in a very hot pub, someone in front of me in a pullover decided to manically dance as if really getting into the music but his sense of rhythm betrayed otherwise!

So, far from me wanting to turn Dublog into a gig review blog, I thought I had better redress the balance slightly and try to show that there is some life in the old dog that is Ipswich. Shame it has to come all the way from Cambridge, shame they had to play through a crappy vocal PA, shame the beer ran out, shame the venue was such a dive and shame the audience consisted of about 10 people. Maybe when I'm not there, gigs in Ipswich are fantastic. Then again...

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Noise annoys

Because I've been fairly busy, with both pleasure and business, this post has been waiting to be written since last Thursday, May 1st, when I went to a local pub to watch Wooderson, a Sheffield 3 piece. Their MySpace page promised a Fugazi/Shellac hybrid which got my attention and it also gave me the chance to go out with a friend I hadn't seen for a while.

The evening didn't get off to a flying start when it looked like my friend and I, other than the bands playing that night, were going to be the only audience members. Two paying customers did turn up for the first band but left after the second. The only other people in the bar, other than the three bar staff, were about 4 locals up for a game of pool.

Pints were bought to the sound of a sound check that went straight into the set of the first band, a run of the mill local thrash punk outfit. Their drummer, doing his best multi tasking Phil Collins impersonation, could have performed on his own in a D&V style (anyone remember those One Little Indian wonders?) and they would have been exactly one thousand times more interesting!

The second band up were a baroque cabaret band from Brighton who I suspected were quite well monied by the look of their expensive electric violin and piano lesson confidence. Entertaining, for one night only, yes, but I'd happily never see them again. Trying too hard to be 'different' but sadly replicating every other band that has had the same lame idea. Shame local band Charlie Brown's fans weren't present, they'd have loved it, purely because of the strong front female/piano/vocals. I applauded and I laughed at their in between camaraderie but I was two pints down by this point and one of an audience of 10 not 6 feet from the cello player!

Finally, Wooderson took to the stage to sound check. They were told they were too loud! They were a guitar, a bass and a drum kit! A guy from the venue was carrying around a hand held decibel reader! The band went through their instruments to find out what was causing the problem. They turned down the guitar, still too loud according to decibel man. They turned down the bass, still too loud according to decibel man. They hit the drums quieter, still too loud according to decibel man. They looked aghast at each other and they are lucky their ahgasting wasn't too loud for decibel man. I've heard a lot louder in this particular venue. Acoustic guitars and drum brushes were discussed by the band and they took all this with good grace and just a whiff of incredulity. They promised to play their instruments as unforcefully as their songs would allow and after a brief sound check, agreeing not to use the microphones for the vocals, yes you've guessed it, the vocals were too loud according to decibel man, they went for a beer and fag break to form a strategy before doing a set. When they did return to the stage, unfortunately, within 3 minutes of the first song they were told they were too loud by decibel man.

Decibel man in action.

This band had travelled 4 hours to play in Ipswich and this is what they get, small town mentality. They weren't too loud. When I saw a Jam tribute band in the same venue a month ago, they were louder. But the crucial difference was that the venue was packed on that occasion, punters were buying beer and no landlord in their right mind is going to tell a band to turn the noise down when the sound of a cash register is several decibels louder. To add insult to Wooderson's injury, the venue wasn't paying the band, they were going to have to share a cut of the door takings. With 4 paying customers at £3 a head, that's a princely sum of £12 to share between 3 bands, one local, one from Brighton and one from Sheffield!

Wooderson discussing the use of brushes.

Not much has really changed in this country for bands wanting to try something outside of the mainstream. When I was gigging with Bum Gravy I can remember playing the Jericho Tavern in Oxford with Headbutt on a Sunday night and less than 20 people turned up. We were only paid a tenner after we refused to leave the venue if they didn't pay us something, previously claiming they couldn't afford it because not enough people turned up. The ten pounds didn't cover the petrol of the two vehicles we took from Colchester to Oxford, not to mention Headbutt travelling from London. Sorry, but whose fault is it not enough people turned up? We kept our end of the bargain.

Wooderson performing their one song

It's a shame the promoter didn't do much promoting. Nice guy as he is, he didn't really think it through. This venue caters for covers bands, Thursday is a stupid night to put on a gig on the outskirts of a town and he clearly didn't put much effort into drumming up an audience. But, audience aside, the venue's idea that this band were too loud is plainly ridiculous and it worries me the message that Wooderson will take back to their home town. Surely it will be, 'don't bother with Ipswich.' It's a shame because while Ipswich hasn't got any great venues, it does have more open minded landlords and landladies than at this particular venue. We have a new University being built on the docks and the town needs an injection of life that new art student blood, I'd like to think, will hopefully bring. But unless the town is ready to see its own potential, Ipswich, unfortunately, is a dead duck to anyone who isn't into pre-packaged covers bands or the light entertainment offered up by the major venues that do exist in the town. Certainly, its home spawned punk scene is only ever going to take Ipswich down a cultural cul-de-sac.

So, on behalf of Ipswich, I apologise Wooderson, and I only hope they also saw the irony in the sign above the stage that declared the Railway as being Suffolk's Number One Venue (sic).