Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes There is always a moment when you know the band you're about to see is on the verge of exploding. Tonight holds that moment and it’s bittersweet. It means the end to a show fuelled by raw hunger, an energy searching for acceptance and instead is replaced by a sense of arrival. Wolverhampton was the last date on the tour to sell out and is often a rarity for a Slade Rooms show, in fact Midlands dates in general. It seems us Midlanders can be lackadaisical in our approach to supporting bands passing through our fair towns; which further reinforces the magnitude of what’s next for this band.


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Black Peaks + Heck Black Peaks take the headline spot and are welcomed on stage by a whistling crowd. Opening with ‘White Eyes’ they deliver a pitch perfect set. I have to confess I've yet to listen to their debut album, I had intended to listen the shit out of it, as Black Peaks singles have been a slow burn for me. Instead I was waiting to blown away live.


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Crossfaith Crossfaith really are a guilty pleasure, and in all honesty after seeing them 4 times now I can’t decipher how they haven’t quite blown up yet. They are a band you need to experience live. Their one by one, riser posing entrance never gets old and I always want to know what leather jacket keyboardist Terufumi will be wearing this time. Sadly nothing compares to the Akira red jacket but tonight’s slogan emblazoned back of ‘New Age Warriors’ is promptly second favourite.


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Hinder Summer and festival season must be over as we’re here tonight for the first gig of autumn 2015 - tonight to the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton to see a sold out gig by Californian surfer rock dudes, with charismatic frontsman Whitfield Crane - welcome Ugly Kid Joe.


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Funeral for a Friend Resurfacing after a quiet few years, Funeral for a Friend carry on their long stint as a hard-core metal rock quintet, with a showcase of their new album ‘Chapter and Verse’ at tonight’s event in the intimate and tired venue of the Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton.


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Charlie Simpson Heartthrob Charlie Simpson, with his floppy hair and shirt jean combo, enters the stage very humbly on the simple and small stage of The Slade rooms, a full venue, yet tight fit for the audience. With a pianist on side, the set promptly begins and with second track ‘Down, Down, Down’; from popular album ‘Young Pilgrim’ and ‘Sun Down’ he illustrates his indie, folk sound and soft vocals.


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Palma Violets Although they’ve only been around for a couple of years and have just one album worth of songs, Palma Violets take the stage with real swagger and confidence, knowing that their stage act is unbeatable. They’re a sort of young version of The Jim Jones Revue, with the same sort of manic energy, delivering fast and ragged rock ‘n’ roll. They open with ‘Deanna’, their (similar) version of the Nick Cave song. Mr Cave is the master of stage performance and they’ve obviously paid considerable attention to all he can teach them.


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Martin Rossiter The mid-90s were mostly overshadowed by the blundering giants of cock-er-nay ‘geezers’ Blur and grunting manc monkeys Oasis – though neither were of much interest to me. Gene were a band who piqued my interest with their intricate melodies, lyrics which spoke of dysfunctional relationships and yearning, and a lack of pretension. Though I was in the minority in believing that last statement, as frontman Rossiter was perpetually pigeonholed by the press as a fop, with aspirations of Morrissey-esque stylings. The latter, whilst no insult, is a lazy comparison fuelled purely by the fact that Gene’s music addressed similar themes, and Rossiter’s vocals are very clearly English. Not, mind you, the hackneyed faux-cockney of Blur, nor the nasal Mancunian drawl of Oasis – but the real sound of an English man singing in his own voice.


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Axewound The super group that is Axewound means the Bullet fans are out and proud. Personally I'm a Bullet hater but a Cancer Bats liker. Why would I want to see this band you may wonder? It's simple, they are dirty and it’s fun metal with some thrash, and hardcore moments thrown in. Axewound's album Vultures is what I hope the new Highlander movie soundtrack will be, it's some awesome metal cheese delivered with massive aplomb. Lead singer Liam is like an excitable puppy at the merch table signing stuff and having photos as doors open.


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School of Seven Bells School of Seven Bells (SVIIB) is a New York Band, with a sensual and ethereal sound, which is a sort of fusion of the dreaminess of The Cocteau Twins and the hard edged shimmering guitar drone of My Bloody Valentine. Plus a few beats thrown in. While they have been around since 2007, they are not particularly well-known in the UK, despite having made three acclaimed albums. Their dramatic, trance-like soundscapes are particularly suited to live performance, so I was really looking forward to seeing them in Wolverhampton.


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Blancmange Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe teamed up around 1978, but the Blancmange name did not appear until 1980, when “Irene and Mavis” a limited (1000 copy) run debut EP appeared. Daniel Miller of Mute Records christened the pair, “the maiden aunts of techno” in reference to the old ladies in the launderette who appear on the single cover. A reference that is still used today (see Stephen Luscombe’s post on the Blancmange website.


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The Jim Jones Revue If you are not familiar with them, The Jim Jones Revue are a no-frills garage band who have been around since 2008. They are a very hard-working live band and it is good to see them in Wolverhampton.


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Magazine The packed-out Slade Rooms are privileged to play host to a one-off warm-up gig by cult reformed band, Magazine, prior to their appearing at the July Hop Farm Festival. Support tonight is provided by Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff, accompanied by violinist and long-term collaborator, Erica Nockalls. The two have written and performed many songs together. I must confess to not knowing anything about their material or The Wonder Stuff and I had no expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. The two are a striking combo producing a unique sound, largely due to Erica’s amazing and original violin playing, which seems to span a range of styles. Erica really looked pretty far-out too – check out the pictures!


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