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Hi and welcome to the blackroom. My name is Pauline Black, lead vocalist with The Selecter.

When I began this weekly review page, lots of my friends said, ‘oh, there’s not much going on Coventry, you’ll soon run out of bands to write about it’.

Sad to say, but I must admit that this thought had also crossed my mind, but I decided that negative thoughts were not going to be entertained. After all what is the point in trashing something, until you’ve heard what’s actually on offer.

So I ventured forth into the Coventry nightlife and discovered that the live band scene is not only alive but seriously kicking. So to all those ‘Doubting Thomases’, I have only one thing to say, ‘Get off your butts and go see for yourself!!’

Going to see bands is a bit like doing the lottery. I always pick the bands I’m going to see for the following week in advance, just like picking my six lottery numbers. And sometimes you win a tenner (if it’s a good band) and sometimes you wonder why you bothered (if the band is awful).

Then there are the times when you have to choose between two bands with only limited information about either of them and you pick the wrong one, only to go out the following night and have some eager soul tell you, ‘Whoah, you missed a brilliant band last night’.

Well, I guess that’s how it’s going to be. But mostly I come up with ‘tenners’ which is a much better average than I make on the lottery. Who knows maybe there’s a winner out there somewhere, who is going to put Coventry on the map for the Millenium!

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Bands2C : Boiling Peter Bread

@ Hand and Heart, Saturday 6 March 1999

I like a band with a good weird name and you can’t get much weirder than ‘Boiling Peter Bread’. In fact they have the dubious honour, although some (including myself) might call it a considerable achievement, of being called ‘the worst named band in the West Midlands’, by Neil Colcouny of that illustrious music rag the Melody Maker; but then ‘what’s in a name?’ Boiling Peter Bread would sound as sweet by any other name!!! (You’ll have to forgive me for this quote; I’ve just been to see Shakespeare In Love).

The Hand and Heart was packed and everybody I bumped into said, ‘Hey, there are two really good bands on tonight’. So obviously BPB’s reputation proceeds them.

The band took to the stage amid lurid red lights and what can only be described as swirling, ghostly noises. Drums, keyboards, bass and vocals/guitar make up the ensemble. Apparently the lead sax/flute/cool paper pipe player (the mysteriously titled Hans Spitzlburger) couldn’t make it tonight.

From the first song I was hooked. This is good quirky, eclectic 70’s influenced melodic pop/prog rock. Driving music, with surprising subtlety at times, with nicely in tune, anguished vocals care of Dave Cross and an interesting line in vocal harmonies from some of the other members.

The accolades must go to ‘Krispy’ Chris Bucin on keyboards, who’s Hammond influenced sound reminded me of the Doors. His range of sounds and prodigious technique make this band a cut above the rest. He takes in so many influences, from the Stranglers-ish harpsichord intro of one song, to a grandiose sounding Yes influenced number.

They trawl the ‘70’s and beyond with an excellent creative interplay between keyboards and guitar, while some zany heavy rhythms were being laid down at the drum and bass end from Fran Hunter and Fran O’Sullivan respectively.

The chorus of ‘Knicky Knocky Nay’ (well, I guess that’s what it was called!) had most of the audience chanting away to it, and sounded like an out-take of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

The Doors influenced ‘How Do You Feel Tonight' was punctuated by a loping bass line, before a beautiful keyboard motif took over.

At the end of the set there was much well-deserved applause and shouts for an encore, which wasn’t taken up by the band, much to my disappointment. This is well-produced, well structured music, which at times sounds almost jazz influenced. Boiling Peter Bread are eccentric English music at its best; an aromatherapy and pummeling massage for the mind.

Boiling Peter Bread - Dogs BollocksIf you are interested into listening to Boiling Peter Bread on CD, then get hold of their debut self-titled album, recorded at the Depot Studios in Coventry on their own Brian Records label. Also, currently released is the ‘Dogs Bollocks EP’, sporting a cover of Arthur Brown’s classic cut, ‘Nightmare’ and also features live favourites ‘Poster’ and ‘Jones’.

And if you fancy wading around in mud again this year during the festival summer season, then you may well catch them at Glastonbury. Other scheduled festivals are the Green Gathering, Godiva Festival and The Leamington Peace Festival.

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Prole Position @ Golden Cross, Thursday 11 March 1999

The advance publicity for this gig said:

"The multi-talented Ashley Spindler, aka Prole Position is one of the ‘wing-nuts’ that keeps the music machine rolling and with a set that combines the ‘wall of sound’ aspects of Phil Spector with the trashier excesses of ‘70’s glam, we should be in for a night of top quality ‘alternative sounds’".

The kind of advance promo that really whets the appetite.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately I arrived a bit late and Prole Position had already taken the stage. A ‘Wall Of Sound’ is no exaggeration, believe me; although this discordant fanfare would have had Phil Spector reaching for the ‘off ‘ button on the control desk. Cacophony would probably better describe it.

Ashley has an ardent passable voice, if it could be heard over his truly horrible sounding guitar, which has an annoying tendency to degenerate into swirling, dissonant feedback at every opportunity.

The harsh clatter of pre-recorded battering drums and ‘80’s style repetitive keyboard riffs add to the listener’s pain, particularly when recycled from a tinny boom-box. For one person on stage, he makes a hell of a lot of noise.

But one thing that he did, that the main band Callaghan didn’t, was mean what he said. Nobody could invent this kind of noxious racket if they didn’t. What goes on in the recesses of his soul, only Ashley knows, and I’m not sure I would fancy an ‘Awayday’ trip there.

He shrieks and he wails and wrenches great dollops of anguished cries of misery from his very depths, which fills the ears with the knowledge that here stands a very troubled, if hugely ego-ridden man. Despite leaving my ears bleeding, long may he carry on, as long he doesn’t move next-door to me, because I pity his poor neighbours, if he insists on rehearsing in his bedroom!!!!

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Future tense

Next week I’ll be reviewing Endless Knot’s gig at the Malt Shovel and new ska band Spunge, who played the Golden Cross last week. Plus an interview with Roddy ‘Radiation’ Byres who is currently back in Coventry.

If you know of any bands that I should get out and see, then don’t hesitate to email on

Remember your feedback is always appreciated.


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CWN / the blackroom / 22 Mar 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM