Keane at The Forum

Regular contributor to the Pierless Music site, Stuart Huggett, recently had the chance to see Keane in the intimate surroundings of The Forum in Tunbridge Wells. Lucky man.

This is his review of that up close and personal gig.

Keane – Tunbridge Wells Forum, October 25th 2013:

Keane are helping celebrate several anniversaries at tonight’s back-to-basics gig, an intimate affair in Tunbridge Wells’ famed Forum. The Battle band mark 10 years of huge international success with a ‘Best Of’ album next month, and this show is an early present for their original home Fierce Panda Records, soon to reach 20 years of talent spotting. The Forum also turned 20 this year, one of the country’s great toilet circuit survivors.

For me, it’s also an anniversary show. It’s been 13 years to the month since I first saw Keane live, supporting Northern Soul-loving indiepop group Spearmint at the Crypt. This was the early years of Keane, then a struggling four-piece band (guitarist Dominic Scott would quit a year later) yet to settle on the piano-led sound that would make their name.

Aside from Tom Chaplin’s patient frustration with their billing – the Crypt was publicising them variously as both ‘Kean’ and ‘Keen’ – all I really remember of their set that evening was the would-be epic edge that differentiated them from the usual post-grunge supports we were used to seeing. Credit to the anonymous writer for The Fly magazine, though, who reviewed the show and noted that, “Once again the Crypt has delivered a band that could make it in the current market.” Despite many opportunities, I’ve not caught Keane live since, until tonight.

There were reports in the press earlier this week that the band were ready to announce their split, a story already rubbished by Chaplin. Certainly Keane are in extremely high spirits tonight, enjoying the chance to tease each other on the smaller stage, joking with the crowd and reminiscing about the time they got bumped off the bill at the Forum by the almost-forgotten Stellastarr. If they’re ready to take a break, they’re leaving in a fine mood.

Photo taken of the crowd at the Forum by Keane’s drummer Richard Hughes

Pleasingly for this nostalgia trip, the set leans heavily on Keane’s mega-selling debut ‘Hopes And Fears’. The addition of bassist Jesse Quin means you’d have to squint pretty hard to pretend this was a three-piece Keane gig from back in the day, and Chaplin himself is a much more lean and confident figure than he once was, but by restricting Tim Rice-Oxley to just the one keyboard the sound is as clean and clear as during their breakthrough era. Even the treated synth squall of ‘Is It Any Wonder?’ is stripped down to its piano essentials.

Old songs are resurrected, unplayed b-sides are unearthed and even the two new songs from the ‘Best Of’ (‘Watch How You Go’ and ‘Higher Than The Sun’) are met with singalongs. Some of the most devoted fans apparently started queueing at 2am this morning so they keep Keane onstage as long as the venue’s able.

10 million sales and counting, this is a jubilant celebration of local boys done good. From the Weald to the world. See you in another 13 years for the comeback.

Stuart Huggett

Setlist: Bend And Break / Black Burning Heart / Everybody’s Changing / Myth / Silenced By The Night / Watch How You Go / This Is The Last Time / Is It Any Wonder? / Sea Fog / Won’t Be Broken / Somewhere Only We Know / Sovereign Light Café / Bedshaped.
Encore: Snowed Under / Higher Than The Sun / Crystal Ball.

Keane website:

Stuart Huggett:

Peter Bruntnell at Flairz

While Pierless Music is here primarily to support music that originates from the Hastings area. We also want to help publicise gigs and events by musicians that choose to play in the local area.

One such is Peter Bruntnell, who is playing at Flairz, in Havelock Road, Hastings this Thursday, 31st October.

Mojo magazine said of him, ”Since 1995 Bruntnell has been making country rock-flavoured music to rival Wilco.” And said, “Showcasing why – even after twenty years – Peter Bruntnell remains as one of Britain’s finest (and most overlooked) songwriters.” Sounds good doesn’t he?

For more info about the gig and to buy tickets go here:

On the night Peter will be supported by Small Town Jones. Doors open at 8pm and admission is £8.

One of the things that Pierless Music want to do, in our collaboration with the Fat Tuesday team, is to help promote Hastings as a place of musical tourism. So, the more great musicians like Peter Bruntnell that come to play in Hastings the better.

Why not go along and give him a warm welcome.

Blog Post – Why Only Original Music?

It’s one of those questions that I’ve been asked many times, “Why is Pierless Music only interested in original local music?”.

It’s a very valid question, as the local music scene is certainly a mixture of both original and non original music. So, I decided to write a blog post to try and explain our reasoning. You can find that post here:

This post was actually written nearly a year ago, but wasn’t posted for some reason. I’ve now updated it slightly.

While you may not agree with our reasoning, hopefully it does help to explain why we think the way that we do here at Pierless Music?

Voodoo Fest 2013

We always like to do things a little differently here in Hastings and Halloween is no exception.

Where other towns are trick or treating and playing around with pumpkins, Hastings has Voodoo Fest.

Voodoo Fest, which is brought to you by the people behind ‘Fat Tuesday’, is now in its 3rd year. The organisers describe Voodoo Fest as the “closing music event for the Hastings Festival season. So anyone who was a pirate, got greened at Jack in the Green or blackened at bonfire, partied during old town carnival week, Fat Tuesday, or any of the other great things that happen in Hastings and St Leonards during 2013, this one’s for you”.

You can find out more on the Voodoo Fest website at:

As you’d imagine, the event takes place on All Hallows Eve itself, Thursday 31st October and this year the team are taking over the whole of The Carlisle pub, both downstairs and upstairs.

But, the Voodoo Fest event actually starts at 7pm at the General Havelock, in the town centre, with a ‘funeral gathering’. From there a coffin will be carried to The Carlisle, accompanied by the Hastings Second Line Jazz band.

From 8pm at The Carlisle, 5 bands and 2 DJ’s will be on hand to entertain you right through to the witching hour and beyond.

Bands performing include Junk Deluxe, made up of members of Alabama 3. Fat Whites, a band who were recently awarded ‘gig of the week’ in the NME. Local favourites The Kid Kapichi, who kicked up a storm during Fat Tuesday. The Vince Ray Rock and Roll Loser Machine and also Dr Savage and the Fat Tuesday Second Line.

Tickets cost £10 and can be bought via the Voodoo Fest website, or from Substance in Robertson St.

All guests are encouraged to dress up for the night and if you want some inspiration just have a look at the photo’s from last year on the event website.

There is also an Event page on Facebook, which you can find here:

It promises to be yet another interesting and varied evening in Hastings.

Pierless Music and Fat Tuesday

You may have seen the news in todays edition of the Hastings Observer concerning Pierless Music teaming up with the Hastings Fat Tuesday duo of Adam Daly and Bob Tipler. If not here’s what you missed:

Obviously this is exciting news and something we’ll be talking about here in the days and months to come.

We have many great ideas and plans for the future and we’ll let you know all about them in due course. But, as you can imagine, there is plenty of hard work to come now to get this charity off of the ground.

But, we thought we’d just share this good news with you in the meantime.

King Size Slim

I’m sure many of you Hastings folk will already be aware of the “Fat Roots Boogie” of Toby Barelli, aka King Size Slim, and if you’re not then now is the time to take notice.

This is a man who revels in live performances, something that is backed up by these figures from his website for 2012.
“146 shows, 13,972 miles travelled, 4 new tyres, 1 new gearbox, 98 sets of guitar strings, 12 harmonicas, 24 guitar picks, 6 thumb picks, 8 finger picks…..” See what I mean?

This year King Size Slim released his 3rd album ‘Milk Drunk’ (which I can heartily recommend by the way) and he has spent the year touring to share it with the world. The end of that tour brings him back home to the Brass Monkey in Hastings on Friday 25th October.

More details can be found here:

This gig see’s him performing with a band. But whether solo, or with that band, his live show is one well worth checking out. The energy of his performances and the infectious rhythms of his music can’t fail to get your feet tapping.

I had the privilege of interviewing Toby about his musical journey and seeing him perform an intimate live radio session earlier this year, during the course of which he managed to destroy a guitar case by stamping on it in time to his music!

So get on down to the Brass Monkey, or buy the ‘Milk Drunk’ album and see what all the fuss is about. I guarantee that you’ll not be disappointed.

King Size Slim website:

Guy Fawkes Tried in Hastings!

I know that Pierless Music is here to talk about and share information about local music, but we couldn’t resist telling you about this. Don’t worry, there is a musical connection of sorts.

Tony Streeter, who among other things, promotes the Ragged Trousered Folk nights at The Jenny Lind and who is also one of the mainstays behind the annual RNLI Hastings Beach Concerts, has written a book with a very local theme.

The book is called ‘Lives and Times of Kindred Spirits – the Bonfire Societies of Hastings & St Leonards’. This is very topical as the Hastings Week celebrations are due to start this weekend. They, of course, culminate in the Bonfire Procession and fireworks on Saturday October 19th.

To quote Tony, his book “Documents the history of Bonfire in Hastings, year on year, from 1815 onwards. It also includes details of the anti-Papal riots of January 1851; the Salvation Army and anti-Salvationist disturbances of 1883/84; neglect in the workhouse in 1884; Hastings first ever Carnival in 1895; the employment of local labour in the construction of the tramways in 1905; and the poverty marches of the same period”

The book is 272 pages long and sells for £8.50. More info can be found here:

To celebrate the publication of his book, Tony is having a book launch on Saturday 12th October at The Jenny Lind, in Hastings Old Town, between 1 and 4pm.

But, this is no ordinary book launch as it will include ‘The Trial of the Arch Traitor Guido Fawkes’ as performed by local actors. Don’t worry, I don’t think they are any plans to hang, draw and quarter Guido Fawkes afterwards!

Entry is free and there will also be music from local bluesman Jeremiah Longshanks. See, I told you there was music involved.

“Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot…..”

Oxjam 2013

It’s that time of year again.

I remember that last year we wrote a piece here on the Pierless Music website about Oxjam and our own local event in Hastings and now we have another one in 2013.

Friday 11th October see’s this year’s Oxjam event and the venue this time around is The Roomz in Western Road, St Leonards On Sea.

For those who aren’t aware of what Oxjam is and what it does, you can find more info on their website at:

As the name suggests, all gigs are in aid of Oxfam, but Oxjam themselves explain it best by saying “Oxjam began in 2006, with the aim of creating a network of music-loving people across the UK, all united by a shared goal – to raise money to fight poverty and suffering around the world. 6 years on we’re still going strong, with hundreds of incredible gigs taking place each October”

On the bill at the Roomz are Unicorndad vrs Robodad, Fulhast, No ( ) Middle Name, Slum Of Legs and DJ Kuschel Rock. There will also be a charity auction.

Doors open at 7.30 and tickets cost £5 in advance and £6 on the door.

More info about the actual gig can be found on the Facebook event page at:

This Oxjam gig is supported by Hastings Brewery and the 1066 Cake Stand and you can sample their wares on the night.

It sounds like the perfect combination doesn’t it? Music, beer and cake and all in aid of a very worthwhile cause too.

You can donate to Oxfam here:

Something For The Weekend?

It’s been a while since we shared some new local music videos with you. Now is the time to rectify that, so here is a little weekend viewing pleasure for you.

Here are three very different videos and styles of music which help to showcase the range of music being created in the Hastings area.

First up are The Kid Kapichi. A young band who have had a pretty good year in 2013, including supporting Skunk Anansie both in Hastings and Nottingham.

This brand new video is of their track ‘She Kicks Off’. The video was filmed in St Leonards On Sea, using local video makers.

Find out more here:

By way of contrast we next have ‘Mastering The Mystery’ by Cloudier Skies, a local act I was only introduced to earlier this week. But I like what I’m hearing so far.

Find out more about them here:

Finally we have some virtuoso guitar playing from James Blackshaw and his song ‘Love Is The Plan, The Plan Is Death’. Once again I only found James’ music this week, after being introduced to it by a friend.

You can read about James here:

It never ceases to amaze me just how much great music is currently coming out of the Hastings area, and the fact that I’m discovering more all the time can only be a good thing.

Enjoy your weekend.

Protest Songs and Rebel Sounds

Politics and music are not always the greatest bedfellows, at least according to some. But it can’t be denied that that combination has produced some great songs and performers over the years.

Protest songs have probably been around for as long as the guitar has been invented, after all there’s always something to moan about isn’t there?
Some performers, such as Bob Dylan and Billy Bragg have made a whole career out of it and now we have someone in Hastings trying to do the same.

Gareth Hooker has been playing original music for the past decade in various local bands and as a solo act too. I actually remember being given a CD of his very first band called Overland, which I played tracks from on Hastings Rock radio. How time flies….

Gareth is probably best known though for fronting the sadly departed Youngplan. At one time Youngplan were at the forefront of what was then called ‘Rotherbeat’, along with their mates Mumm-Ra. They were widely regarded as a band going places, but unfortunately they never quite got there and split around five years ago.

Well now Gareth has resurfaced as a folk singer of what he calls “protest songs and rebel sounds” and he says that “this time it’s serious”.

As Gareth told me “I’ve always felt that there’s no point getting up on a stage in front of a load of people unless you have something to say. And there’s no point having something to say unless you act on it“

To that end Gareth is performing at The Fountain in Queens Road in Hastings this Friday, 4th October. The gig is in support of the Hastings and District Trades Council and there will be guest speakers as well.

Many would argue that there’s plenty to be angry about in the world at the moment and it’s good to see people like Gareth getting up and singing about it.

And you don’t even have to wave a flag, or hold a banner to get involved. Just pop down to The Fountain pub on Friday evening, have a beer and listen to some of those “protest songs and rebel sounds”. They might just strike a chord with you.