CROOKED LITTLE SONS - BLACK ANCHORS - BLACK DROVES - DEAD FRAMES - STELLAR FOX - Cavern 17.08.18

CLAIRE HILL

 

Tonight’s five band showcase at the Cavern is all about the launch of ‘Crooked Little Cassette: Vol #1’ by Crooked Little Sons, released through Black Sail Records today (17th August 2018). The exclusive collector’s cassette features two brand new songs, ‘Thick as Thieves’ and ‘Noose Paper’. A couple of the musicians on the bill tonight, drummers Lee Lane and Finn McAuley, are pulling double duty as they are both in two of the bands.

 

First to hit the stage tonight is STELLAR FOX, who won the opening slot via a competition on FaceBook. They’re a young four-piece from North Devon who have recently released the single ‘Heartache in my Head’. Bass player Harry Bunker is unable to make it tonight so fellow musician Ella Crossland takes his place and makes up a neat rhythm section together with drummer Finn McAuley. Lead vocalist/guitarist Freedom Wall is someone that just demands attention, and guitarist Tristan Taylor shows his skills as the band power through their set, which includes ‘You Told Me’ and ‘Killing Time’, both available on Spotify.

Although initially sounding a little raw at times, towards the second half of the set, the vocals sound much stronger and the band command the audience more, with plenty of heads bobbing and people really getting into the music, especially the familiar cover of ‘Rock and Roll’ by Led Zeppelin.

 

Band members:-

Freedom Wall - vocals/guitar

Tristan Taylor - guitar

Finn McAuley - drums

Harry Bunker - bass (Ella Crossland played this gig)

 

Find out more about Stellar Fox here:-

https://www.facebook.com/StellarFoxRock/

 

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Next up are DEAD FRAMES, a highly energetic punk rock outfit from Plymouth made up of members of Crooked Little Sons (Lee Lane), Arizona Law (Edd Moore) and Black Sail Records (Jim Pope). After opening with ‘Broken Bones’, ‘Happiness’, and ‘Everything to Lose’ and demanding that the audience in the half full room “Come forward, motherfuckers!”, the tight unit charge through their seven song set of frenetic songs on this, their third ever gig together, not that you would’ve known. They are clearly accomplished musicians who look to be in their element on stage.

 

Drummer Lee starts the vocals on ‘Pay the Price’, adding another string to his bow. For a trio, these guys are just about as heavy as I’ve seen and clearly have a wealth of experience between them. I like that these guys look so comfortable on stage and that they can all sing. Although the room is only around a third full at this point in the evening, the people that were there were very receptive to Dead Frames’ brand of rowdy punky rock. All too soon, it’s time for their last song, ‘I’m Not Finished Yet’.

 

Band members:-

Jim Pope - guitar/vocals

Edd Moore - bass/vocals

Lee Lane - drums/vocals

 

Find out more about Dead Frames here:-

https://www.facebook.com/DeadFrames/

https://twitter.com/Dead_Frames

 

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South Devon’s BLACK DROVES are next to play, and whilst the stage has been reset, the area right in front of the stage has completely filled up from the front, to about 4-5 rows back, and as the duo take the stage the atmosphere is intense. Frontman Mat Webber thanks everyone for coming out tonight as it’s been a “pretty shit week…”, referring to the tragic death last weekend of young musician Matt Kenward, who was well known to lots of the attendees here and had shared a stage with many of the musicians here tonight. Emotions are running high as the band run through their set, which includes a cover of Reef’s ‘Place Your Hands’, which has the packed crowd at the front really jumping. Then a few friends are invited onto the stage, including X Factor finalist Luke Friend, for a heartfelt rendition of ‘Flying High’ as a tribute, ending with cries of ‘Matty K’, audience members hugging each other and crying, and Mat Webber smashing his guitar onto the floor in a fit of explosive emotion.

 

Band members:-

Mat Webber - vocals/guitar

Adam Brackley - drums

 

Find out more about Black Droves here:-

https://www.facebook.com/BlackDroves/

Watch the video for ‘Let Go’ here: https://www.facebook.com/BlackDroves/videos/1814614905257274/

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

After that emotive and difficult performance to follow, I was left wondering how BLACK ANCHORS, a punk rock three-piece from North Devon would fare, but despite a slightly subdued atmosphere initially, the audience are responsive. The supercharged, shirtless trio launch into their set with ‘Roll Like Thunder’, vocalist/guitarist Scott Xander Linn encouraging the crowd to have a good time and shouting “Let’s get sweaty on each other!”. Drummer Finn McAuley pounds out a driving beat like he’s not already played one set tonight, Scott’s vocals are crisp and clear and James Fidge is the most animated bassist I think I have ever seen - that guy is all over the stage!

By the time Black Anchors finish their nine song set with ‘Tom Waits and an Empty Bottle of Rum’, the crowd are clapping along and cheering as Marcus Osborne from Crooked Little Sons gets up on stage to sing guest vocals with the band and Scott gets down into the crowd to play guitar (and indeed get sweaty on people!). A highlight for me is the incredibly catchy ‘Resurrection Summer’.

 

Band members:-

Scott Xander Linn - vocals/guitar

James Fidge - bass

Finn McAuley - drums

 

Find out more about Black Anchors here:-

https://www.facebook.com/BlackAnchorsUK/

Watch the video for ‘Resurrection Summer’ here: https://www.facebook.com/BlackAnchorsUK/videos/851167158407003/

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

By now the numbers in the room have swelled and it suddenly feels very full indeed as punk ‘n’ rollers CROOKED LITTLE SONS burst onto the stage to rapturous cheering from the appreciative crowd. Frontman Josh Bessant, looking dapper in a sharp suit, takes a moment to pay tribute to Matt Kenwood, who was both a friend and fan of the band, and as he holds the attention of the crowd he flips the sadness into positive vibes as he shouts “The rest of the show is for Matt!”, and the place erupt into cheers.

It’s guitarist Marcus Osborne’s last night in Exeter before he moves on to pastures new, and as the band storm through their set of eleven hard hitting songs, the Cavern turns into party central. The rowdy music gets the crowd going wild; there are people stage diving, crowd surfing, moshing, slamming, the crowd at the front are getting their aggression out and loving it. It’s like the punks of the ‘70s have been reborn but with totally different fashion sense! Towards the back of the room, people are more restrained but equally getting into the fantastic music.

A highlight is a song “Dedicated to that special person in your life…who you hate!”, ‘Snake’. The band themselves are seemingly putting everything they’ve got into this performance; Josh is a brilliant frontman, he’s charismatic and entertaining, with a vocal that’s a seamless blend of aggressive and clear, drummer Lee Lane attacks his second set of the night with gusto, showing he’s a force to be reckoned with, bassist Larry Collinson-Brown masters the chugging undertones that drive the Crooked Little Sons sound and Marcus Osborne is a skilled guitarist with great vocal ability to boot.

The last two songs of the set are ‘Noose Paper’, about newspapers such as the Daily Mail and The Sun, and ‘Thick as Thieves’, the two tracks from ‘Crooked Little Cassette: Vol #1’. The new songs go down a storm with the crowd and Josh ends up in the middle of the audience after abandoning his shirt. Live band nights at the Cavern are usually special but this one was utterly unique. If you like your rock with a slice of punk, I’d recommend checking out Crooked Little Sons at a venue near you!

 

Band members :-

Josh Bessant - vocals/guitar

Marcus Osborne - guitar/vocals

Larry Collinson-Brown - bass/vocals

Lee Lane - drums

 

Find out more about Crooked Little Sons here:-

https://www.facebook.com/crookedlittlesons/

Watch the video for ‘Fick’ here:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt7WjAvotWE

‘Crooked Little Cassette: Vol #1’ available here:-

https://crookedlittlesonsband.bigcartel.com/

https://blacksailrecordsuk.bigcartel.com/

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

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