Gig Review – John Butler Trio – De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill

As you’re no doubt already aware, we don’t normally publish gig reviews of acts from outside of our local catchment area, but this is an exception.

We are currently having a few issues with The Stinger’s website, so to save delaying posting this review any longer, I decided to share it here.

So, without further ado, here’s my review of the John Butler Trio playing at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, on Saturday 15th August 2015:

I’m sure the reaction of many friends of those attending last night’s John Butler Trio gig at the De La Warr Pavilion, in Bexhill, when told who they were going to see, was “Who?”

It’s fair to say that the Australian band aren’t very well known in the UK, but it did mean that just about everybody in the sizable audience were there for the right reasons. This was an audience of fans and fanatics, a fact borne out by this being one of the most enthusiastic audiences I’ve ever come across.

Preaching to the converted maybe, but to a relative newcomer to the delights the John Butler Trio like myself, this was a performance that showed exactly why those fans were here and why they are so enthusiastic.

For the uninitiated, the John Butler Trio play a rootsy musical melting pot of styles and genres, from rock to folk, with stops at reggae, funk, blues and more along the way. Formed in Western Australian in 1998, they are currently touring to support their sixth studio album “Flesh and Blood”, which was released last year.

John Butler himself is a virtuoso guitarist and banjo player, something he displayed to great effect during the two hour show. He was very ably assisted by fellow band members Grant Gerathy (drums, vocals and percussion) and Byron Kuiters (bass, double bass, vocals and keyboards).

I did hear a comment when leaving the gig afterwards saying that “he did drag the songs out a bit”. A fair point maybe, but when you have the musical ability of these guys and many of the songs in the set build in intensity and then maintain that for those extra minutes, as these did, that is forgivable and I don’t think many were complaining about that.

In fact, intensity is the one word I would use to sum up this gig. There may not have been a genuine hit single in sight, but that didn’t stop this, admittedly, biased crowd singing and dancing along throughout, and the band playing their hearts out as well.

John Butler is very much a musician’s musician and songwriter and he attracted a fair sprinkling of fellow players to this gig. His solo, acoustic rendition of “Ocean”, which lasted over 10 minutes, was just one shining example of why he is so well respected in the musical community. Just search on YouTube for a great video performance of the song.

A quick mention should also be made of the excellent lighting during the show and also the fact that this was standing gig, downstairs at least, something that always seems to add an extra level of atmosphere to a gig. Every little helps.

As an Australian friend of mine commented on my Facebook post, stating that I was at the gig, I was very lucky to see the John Butler Trio in Bexhill. I think that is a sentiment shared by everyone who was fortunate enough to have been present at the De La Warr Pavilion on Saturday evening.

Well done to the De La Warr also, for booking relatively unknown acts such as the John Butler Trio, and possibly taking a chance in doing so too. It certainly proved well worth while on this occasion and will no doubt do so in the future as well. Build it and they will come.

Andy Gunton

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:

Hornet Album Review

We’ve mentioned Hornet and their new album ‘Skies Are Falling’ on the Pierless Music site before. The album was recorded with the help of fans and supporters of the band who donated money, for the recording, via Pledge Music.

Well, ‘Skies Are Falling’ is now getting some well deserved attention and has just been reviewed by Kerrang! magazine. They gave it a KKK rating.

During the course of the review Kerrang! said that “Hornet play riffs that make you want to ride a motorcycle down a staircase. Riffs that make you want to pour whisky onto your cereal”

Nice one.

You can read the full review here, via the Hornet Facebook page:

Album Review – Jupiter by Harvey Summers

The new album by local producer/musician and songwriter Harvey Summers has just been released. It’s called ‘Jupiter’ and very good it is too.

Tony May has kindly written a review of the album for Pierless Music.

You can read it here:

Harvey Summers is a keen supporter of original local music and has produced albums by several local bands/musicians, including the new album from Otti Albietz, ‘Bubbytone 2′.

You always know that when Harvey is involved with a project, it is going to sound great and ‘Jupiter’ is no exception to that rule.

Why not have a read and then take a listen?

King Bathmat – Truth Button

Local prog rockers King Bathmat are back with the release of their 6th album ‘Truth Button’. The album was released worldwide on 21st January on Sterohead Records.

For the uninitiated King Bathmat are the brainchild of singer/guitarist and songwriter John Bassett. Although John has been releasing albums under the King Bathmat name since 2003, it is only over the past couple of years that the project has expanded and now includes 3 other band members.

King Bathmat’s music has been described as “The sound of Pink Floyd wrestling with Kasabian” and “Black Sabbath cuddled by extravagant ELO harmonies”.

If you want to find out for yourself whether these decriptions are correct, you can listen to the band’s music on ReverbNation:

‘Truth Button’ is also available to buy on various sites, such as iTunes and Amazon.

More info about the album and King Bathmat can be found on the band’s website at:

I was going to write a review of ‘Truth Button’ myself. But if you look at their website, where you can read some reviews, you can see that the album has been getting a lot of attention worldwide on websites, magazines and radio stations as well. All of which is very good news for the band, especially as the reviews have been very positive.

King Bathmat even had a track from the album featured on the cover CD of the latest issue of ‘Prog Magazine’. The album is reviewed in the magazine as well.

Just to prove that King Bathmat are not standing still, John Bassett has 60% of the bands next album already written. You can’t keep a good man down.

Gig Review – Claire Hamill at Saltburn Conservative Club

I know what you’re thinking having seen the heading to this post.

Saltburn?! But, that’s miles away from Hastings. And, of course, you’d be right.

But, this is Claire Hamill we’re talking about here and when someone takes the trouble to send you a review of a gig she’s just done back in the area of her birth, we at Pierless Music just couldn’t resist it.

So, thanks very much to Richard Heywood for his review, which you can find here:

Go and have a read of Richard’s review and then compare it to the review of Claire’s album launch gig, at the FILO, just a month ago. You can find that review here:

If you have written, or want to write reviews of gigs by bands and artists local to the Hastings area, wherever they play. Then please send them into us, just as Richard and Lily did.


Hastings Observer Album Review

Eagle eyed readers of the Hastings Observer may well have spotted, on page 60 of the current edition (2nd November), an album review by Pierless Music’s Andy Gunton.

The review was of Garry & Rose Blakeley’s album ‘The Wheel of the Year’, which Andy reviewed for this site a few weeks ago. That review can be found by going to ‘Reviews – Albums’ in our menu section.

The version in the Hastings Observer has been slightly edited and can be read here:

We hope to be providing more reviews for the Hastings Observer in the future.

Yes, you may well have read them here first and also in an unedited form. But, at least our local paper is printing them and helping to give local artists some much needed exposure.

‘The Meeting of the Waters’ by Claire Hamill – Album Review

Well, here as promised is a review of the new Claire Hamill album ‘The Meeting of the Waters’. Find it here:

Pierless Music will be sending this review to the Hastings Observer, so hopefully it will be printed there as well.

This album certainly deserves wider atention and we really are lucky to have a singer/songwriter of such high calibre in our midst.

‘Lost Songs and Monkey Bikes’ by Deano Adams – Album Review

Deano Adams is probably best known for fronting local bands such as Rumiko Jr/Donkey Kong Jr and Sand Rabbit. But, now he’s finally got around to releasing an album of solo material that he recorded back in 2008.

The album is called ‘Lost Songs and Monkey Bikes’ and has been reviewed for Pierless Music by well known Hastings boy Stuart Huggett.

Here is Stu’s review:

We hope to bring you a photo of the cover art shortly.

If you want to submit of your own, please contact us at Pierless Music.

Mumm-Ra & Youngplan – Gig Review

Well, did you manage to get tickets for either of the Mumm-Ra gigs over the weekend?

If so, what did you think?

Pierless Music were in attendance for Friday’s gig and Andy even managed to sneak back to see the gig on Saturday as well.

Here are his thoughts on both gigs:

Why not let us know your own thoughts on the gigs?