Tag Archives: the blue collars

Casuals Live. Post gig feature and trailer.

28 Nov

On the 10/11/2012 The Garage Highbury, one of the Mean Fiddler’s most prestigious venues, played host to the Casuals Live event. To say there was expectation in the air is an understatement. Vivid Riot Promotions and best-selling author and award-winning documentary maker Cass Pennant spent six weeks planning, promoting and organising this event, which was the very first of its kind.

A page from the gig programme

Bringing together four bands from across the UK, with four different styles, everyone at this event had one thing in common – A connection to the football casual scene and a love of music. A scene where music, clothing and diversity are always in abundance, this was the perfect combination for a gig with a difference.

As soon as the doors opened, the beer was flowing and the conversations were buzzing. The expectancy was electric and as DJ Dan Nolan span the first tunes of his DJ set, the smiles on everyone’s’ faces told a thousand stories. There were people from different football clubs, different walks of life and with very differing tastes but with thing uniting everybody– A love for culture on many different levels.

The job of opening Casuals Live went to Southend’s Plastic Youth. “Animal Style’ fizzed from the PA system and from the offset PY had people swaying to their brand of powerful literate Shoegaze. It was only a short set from PY but with the three songs they played, they certainly left their mark on the crowd. ‘Death Row’ finished a set with well-honed perfection. Job done and the event was well under way.

When it came to picking a band that lived and breathed the Casual scene, second band on the night, Reading’s Violet Class were a perfect choice. These lads live and breathe football culture. Kitted out in all the right clobber and Reading season ticket holders, they certainly looked the part but would their music be as smart as they looked?

Violet Class – Sound Check

Any questions about this bands music were answered after the band’s opener charged into life. ‘Socks on Shoes’ had hints of Ride and The La’s but also made you think, fuck, these boys have something special. The dancing at the front of the stage also put to bed any doubts that people would be standing still tonight – I only say that, because I fancied a boogie myself.

As the first chords of ‘Six Penny Step’ were strummed on the guitar the crowd broke out into rabid applause, this was a song that a lot of people were familiar with and were waiting for. Violet Class delivered the perfect rendition of the song and did themselves and their fans proud, whilst winning over of a whole host of new admirers along the way. Smart and to the point, Violet Class are going places.

Cass, gig programme, Section 60 and a Blue Collar.

As the beer carried on flowing and the DJ Dan Nolan continued to spin the tracks, every single person in the audience was now in full motion and had their dancing shoes on. I spoke to people who had travelled from as far away as Scotland and Dorset and many other places that showed how much dedication interest this event had created.

By the time The Blue Collars took to the stage, the area in front of the stage was now packed. “Alright, we’re The Blue Collars, from Stoke.” I actually thought that the buzz in the air couldn’t get anymore electric but I was very wrong. ‘This Old Town’ has had over 6000 views on You Tube and the prospect of hearing this popular song first was the best way for TBC to kick off. As soon as the song ended, applause rang out across the whole venue and people started pushing even closer to the front of the stage. The audience just wanted to feel a part of everything that was going on and The Blue Collars were more than happy to welcome them with open arms.

The Blue Collars

Melodic, angry and thought provoking are some of the words I would use to describe TBC but seriously, you have to see this band live to get the full range of emotions and intensity. They have the songs, the banter and the confidence to go very far and by the time they finished an exhilarating version of ‘Agree to Disagree’ the crowd were going crazy. Cass Pennant took to the microphone, “That was heavy duty or what?” The roar from the crowd was deafening and the sound of the whole audience singing, “Blue, Blue Collars” was cue for an encore. The Blue Collars closed their set with ‘The Dance One’ and front stage was a mass of jumping and clapping bodies. They came, they conquered. Enough said. Not bad for a support band, eh?

I actually felt sorry for Sheffield’s Section 60. I thought, how the fuck are they going to follow what has gone before them. I have been a fan of this band for some time and could tell straight away that they were here to do the business. “They have to raise the bar after The Blue Collars”, announced Cass Pennant and the boys came out in fighting mood and looked as smart as fuck.

Section 60 live.

‘Gunslingers’ the first tack in S60’s set has a bass line that gets into the very soul of you and could make a snail on valium stand to attention. The boys were back in London town and this time they are taking no prisoners.

When it comes to anthems, S60 walk with the likes of The Verve, Puressence and Oasis and they stand just as tall. Having one band that can move a crowd would have been incredible butting having four is testament of the young talent that is emerging from all over the UK and S60 stand at the forefront of this.

Section 60 and a full house.

‘The North Will Rise Again’ saw S60 bring the roof down. Anthemic, poetic and fucking ballsy, this track represents S60 perfectly. A performance this good only comes from years of practice and bundles of talent. A perfect end to a perfect night.

Cass Pennant, looked moved as he took to the microphone and announced that the whole thing had blown him away. I have to echo this sentiment. If you ask anyone who was at Casuals Live they will tell you that it was “A very special night to remember.”

Cass Pennant bringing the evening to a close.

Here is a you tube video that captures Casuals Live in all its glory.

Before I end this piece I would like to say a few thanks to people that made the night happen and also made it very special.

Thanks to our sponsors 80’s Casuals Classics and Peaceful Hooligan. Also to the following people – Jeff, Dan Nolan, Helen T, Jake, Nick S, Dave R, Mick Habeshaw Robinson, Jim Benner, Gemma, Mean Fiddler, Alex T, Vicky, Casual Way of Life, Jela, Kul Britannia, Street Sounds magazine Distant Echo, Cal, Clarkie, Dave E, Kate, all the bands on the night, and everyone who shared our event online and of course to every single one of you that came to the gig on the night. This will not be the last of this… Vivid Riot Promotions and Cass Pennant.

“There’s three lads in the corner looking for a fight.”

10 Apr

Stoke’s The Blue Collars are what I would call my perfect band. I also say the same about The Jam, so I am not being flippant about The Blue Collars. Great songs, bang on lyrics and the feeling that they will never release a bad song. With youth on there side, they blow the cobwebs off of a thousand older Indie pretenders.

The Blue Collars are a band to listen to whilst travelling through dodgy town centres with an air of menace hanging heavily in the beer-soaked air. Anthems for last orders and closing time as people spill onto the streets and the silence is broken by the incoherent anger of drunken nutters. Waking up on a Monday morning with a heavy head and thoughts of what the hell happened at the weekend, whilst all the while trying to hold down a shitty job that means less than a pint of beer – The Blue Collars know there’s more to life than pissing it all up the wall and I can say is, thank fuck these lads picked their instruments and put pen to paper.

We managed to grab a few words with the lads and caught up with there current happenings.

Hello chaps! So, who and what are The Blue Collars?

“We’re five lads from Stoke who love making music together about anything and everything, from work and nights out, to fighting and girls with half moustaches.

The current band is: Rob Morris, Simon Taylor, Jake Grocott, Kris Hassall and Rob Henton, and we have been together now for about five years and in that time we have gathered a really good local following. We have all known each other for a very long time, through school, next door neighbors and friends.”

One of the things that got me into your music was the lyrics – What influences the way you write songs in particular the lyrics?

Rob – “I get lyrics from experiences I had in life, whether they are good or bad. I often find myself people watching and I can get ideas for lyrics from doing that. I sort of observe the characters or the situations that I can find myself in, it’s a good way of getting issues or problems off your chest and to make a song out of it is a bonus!”

Which bands got you into music in the first place?

“I’d say the bands that got us into music really were bands like Joy Division, New Order and The Cure.”

Which current bands influence you the most?

“At the moment The Drums, The Maccabees and The Twang. When we first started a lot of people used to compare us to the Arctic Monkeys, but I think we have slowly grown out of that sound as we’ve gone on.”

What’s the funniest thing that has been said or has happened to the band?

“One of the funniest things that spring to mind was quite recent. We were headlining one of our local venues – the Sugarmill, and our local pub have a fancy dress night every year and this year it fell on the night of our gig. We told everyone that we weren’t doing anything for it as we were playing a gig but when we went backstage to get ready to go on we got dressed up and went out on stage to a sell-out crowd dressed as the Spice Girls! It was a bit embarrassing but it was quite funny in the end. Our drummer spent £40 on a pair of boots for it!”

Are there any bands that really get up your noses?

“The Ting Tings – I wish someone would silence her!”

What have you released up until now and have you got any gigs planned for the future?

“Up until now we haven’t released anything, we have paid for 4 demos to be recorded, which are all on YouTube and that’s about it. We don’t have another gig planned yet as one of the guitarists has moved to Middlesbrough  for Uni’ and the rest of us all have full time jobs so these days it’s hard trying to get a practice together but hopefully we’ll have a gig sorted for the summer!”

Which of your own songs are you most proud of and why?

Rob – “I would say This Old Town – from a lyrical aspect. I was in a really bad mood when I got in from my job as a laborer one day, so I went upstairs and started to write a song about the day I had. I hardly had to think about what to write, it just flew out. I also really like the music to the song, I think it’s really catchy and the lyrics went with the tune brilliantly.”

What are you into outside of music?

“Outside of the music we’re all into the same sort of stuff really, all normal lads into boozing, music, girls and football. We have 3 Stoke City fans and 2 Port Vale fans in the band so we have quite a bit of banter about that, especially how Vale are in the shit at the moment.”

Ok, I will leave the last words to you. Anything else you would like to add?

“Not much really, just keep an eye out for any gigs we have in the future, we’re hoping to start getting more gigs in Stoke! Give us an add on Facebook ,or follow us on twitter,  where we can inform you on any new tunes/gigs etc we have.”