Tag Archives: Tantrums

Review: Scarlet Harlots / Tantrums / Bronze Medals / The Carpels

As part of the Moseley Festival, The Bulls Head is buzzing with the atmosphere that tonight’s gig is not going to disappoint as two of Birmingham’s’ biggest local bands are taking to the stage. The Gutter Skank DJs are dropping some awesome tunes whilst the first band are setting up.

The Carpels are first on, and their blend of dubstep beats, spiky indie riffs and two differing vocals draw us in. The energy from the band is injected into the crowd and they set a really high standard for the rest of the bands for the night.

Bronze Medals take to the stage next, with their more mellow sound, chilling out the crowd that had been revved up by The Carpels.

The eagerly anticipated Tantrums are up next and the room is crammed with people who want to witness their impressive performance. The mix of heavy dub sounds and haunting vocals shouldn’t work on paper however it sounds incredible and the crowd really soak it up, with many people singing along. How these guys haven’t been snapped up is a question on many people’s lips.

The final act of the night is Scarlet Harlots, who have people dancing as soon as they grace the stage. Their confidence on stage shines through and the progression within their music shows that these lads are moving with the times and should go far.

Overall the bands and DJ’s work well together to create a fantastic gig which is over too quickly.

Perri Ross


Review: Tantrums ‘Champloo’ EP Launch @ The Rainbow

‘Champloo’ EP Launch
The Rainbow
2nd June 2010

'Champloo' Artwork by Lewes Herriot

You can’t move in Birmingham for talk of Tantrums right now and tonight’s ‘Champloo’ EP launch at The Rainbow compounds this as the venue is absolutely heaving by the time the frisky five piece take to the stage amidst moody lighting and plumes of smoke.

The young and fearless down the front immediately create a mosh pit as the dubstep intro of ‘Barracudas’ rips into the humid air followed by its enormous stadium-prog rock guitar riffs. Tantrums have long ignored musical boundaries, fusing heavy electronica with giant size axe wizardry but now there’s a conscious effort to make the melee as accessible as possible. The Fleetwood Mac harmonies of ‘Steal it Back’ and ‘Mek Ya Feel Hype’ have daytime Radio 1 airplay written all over them, while still retaining an edginess in their filthy laptop manglings to keep pushing your naughty buttons.

How apt too that their debut EP is to be the first physical release on Bigger Than Barry Records, an offshoot of the Brummie clubnight phenomenon that has never followed any direction other than that of pure upbeat party music – an ‘anything goes’ sound that Tantrums themselves have embodied. One minute it’s all Rusko digital squelch and bangs the next it’s giant indie-disco choruses like a supercharged, more urgent New Order.

Tantrums absolutely nail it tonight and are threatening to become something much, much bigger than just another local buzz band.

Andy Roberts

Review: Tantrums / (silver) souvenirs / New Killer Shoes @TheFlapperBrum

Tantrums, (silver) souvenirs, New Killer Shoes
The Flapper
23rd April 2010

Nothing quite beats donning your summer shoes and heading down to The Flapper to enjoy a quick pint out in the sunshine before going to see an old favourite band and some new faces. Dancing seems to be the order of the day and this includes band members.

The night kicks off with New Killer Shoes who plough through their set with the ferocious speed of a band who just want to play as much material as possible.  The music is upbeat and the lyrics sprint along in an Artic Monkeysesque fashion.  Singer John Kings’s words are littered with modern day references; ‘Leave Me Alone’ highlighting the pitfalls of MSN.

The audience seem energised by the set, ‘Lets Go Disco’ even sparks some ad hoc caterpillaring.  Luckily, reviewers need to stand back out of harm’s way.  NKS don’t seem like the kind of band to attract break dancing fans but hey, we’ve all had one too many beers in the sun on a Friday afternoon.

Five piece (silver) souvenirs appear to be setting Brum alight with a steady string of gigs and complementary reviews so it was a relief to finally catch them.  They open and the audience are immediately transported into their rhythmic, melodic world.  And they seem to have said balls to any kind of indie band conventions; fuck having one or two microphones, stick four right at the front of the stage so the layers of voices and lyrics can be built up and then torn down again.  It’s energetic stuff and more dancing ensues.

Listen to (silver) souvenirs live In The Belly podcast here.

Tragically, we’ve attracted the caterpillar and he seems to be depositing most of his beer on the aforementioned summer shoes; shame they weren’t heeled.

Fortunately nothing can detract from SS’s magical quality, definitely one to watch (and as quickly as you can.)

With our drunken friend now out of the way and stumbling towards the canal the audience are relatively safe to enjoy Tantrums.  These guys just get better and better and new addition Anna, aka Little Palm, seems to have the given the band more room to grow.

Anna’s voice is stunning and the lyrical interplay with Simon works brilliantly.  The gal’s not just there to make up the numbers leading the vocals on some of the tracks and giving as good as she gets with band shenanigans.  New track ‘Steal It Back’ stays true to the band’s guitar pop sound topped with those lovely vocals.  And fear not, the distinctive dubstep interludes are still there, reminding us that this band’s roots are firmly planted in Brum.  Sadly it’s all over far too quickly, despite a quick encore.  The set feels short but it’s great to leave an audience wanting more.

Nic Toms

Review: Scarlet Harlots / Tantrums @Biggerthanbaz

Scarlet Harlots / Tantrums
Bigger Than Barry Records Showcase
The Rainbow
5th March 2010

Tantrums by Tom Nicolson

As enjoyable as it is being ejected from a venue into a piss wet corridor filled to the brim with confused crowd members, it often leads to a strange pre-gig atmosphere. This is the price of having two events in the same night at the same place. As a result, both bands tonight must sound check in front of the crowd and issue instructions to the engineer over noisy heads.

However within two seconds of Tantrums taking to the stage, the crowd’s collective memory is erased. It’s all about the skyscraper sized songs careering at high speed towards our ears. As well as onstage antics like guitar biting and laps around the crash barriers, we are treated to a perfectly executed show featuring recorded spoken word interludes, heavy dub beats, primary coloured visuals, two brass players and the perfect melding of vocal harmonies thanks to new member Anna.

All the signs are there that Tantrums new E.P is going to melt from over playing as soon as it’s released on Bigger Than Barry Records. But it is live that this frenetically brilliant band excel. The crowd is unable to take its eyes off the stage as Tantrums unleash killer guitar work that is beautiful in its technicality and lethally catchy. Every second is high adrenaline joy. Anna doesn’t need to ask us to dance – we already are.

It might be the fact we’re well into Saturday before The Scarlet Harlots are able to get started on stage but it takes a few minutes for them to hit their stride. When they do, the reason why this band continues to dominate the local scene becomes clear.

‘Backlash’ is bursting with beat squelch and high guitar flecks, all wrapped up in Sam Baylis’ voice and punctuated by a chorus chant which our voices throw back. The combination of climatic build ups and danceable rhythms means the kids at the back slip half finished roll ups into pockets to better manage bouncing on tip toes.

Onstage, The Scarlet Harlots move as though the music controls them as much as it does us, with arms stretched out to conduct the electric currents. They certainly feel like a much bigger band than the low ceiling-ed Rainbow can contain tonight.

Interview with Anna Palmer on joining Tantrums here.

Lindsey Kent

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‘The last half an hour before sleep is usually spent with Jerry Seinfeld’ – Interview with Tubelord

Kingston based Tubelord have had an exciting four years and 2010 is certain to be no different. The band are hitting The Rainbow in Birmingham on Sunday 21st February as part of the Club NME Specials Tour and so we thought it appropriate to get some inside info from the band themselves.

Joe, Dave and Sean are a trio who have an act of great randomness that is something else. At one time or another they had plans to move to Gothenburg, but then decided against it as they realised that Bristol is closer than Sweden. Just your average everyday thought.

When asked what they enjoy doing to relax singer Joe Pendergrast comments, “To relax is to keep busy!” These young driven guys seem to enjoy the pace that is the music business but make an exception when, “the last half an hour before sleep is usually spent with Jerry Seinfeld & Co.”

Their new single ‘Stacey’s Left Arm’ is released on 22nd February and the addictive shimmers of guitar at the beginning is instantly a pull before the drums start a brilliant funk bounce which morphs into a journey of contrasting time signatures that according to Joe is; “one of the few songs we have written where the title is related to the song writing process.”

Are you looking forward to performing as part of the Club NME Specials Tour in Birmingham?
“Yeah I think so, the gig is with our good friends SHAPES, dead sound bunch of fellas they are. Finally catching up with friends and making new ones throughout the course of the night always seems to be the way of Birmingham gigs.”

One of the band’s very first shows was up Birmingham way in Walsall for an OXJAM all-dayer, performing with the likes of the now sadly defunct Blackfish. “It was our first experience of the industrial jam-jar that is Birmingham.”

Where is the best/favourite place you have performed at?
“Cork is insane. The best place we have performed…Or at least the most peculiar was probably above the English Channel on Brighton Pier.”

Tubelord’s musical influences are maybe a little surprising, given the battering ram of sound that they are capable of.  Joe asserts that the likes of Phil Collins and Madonna get their collective creative juices flowing because: “It’s a lot of fun, and very satisfying. I guess it’s easy to listen to as it’s currently free of promotion, no-one on the radio is telling me to listen to it, and it’s purely voluntary.”

Collins: A major influence on Tubelord

Which other bands are you listening to at the moment?
“Ok ok….Koppen, Jeffrey Lewis, Bettie Serveert, Surfer Blood, The Lord Dog Bird, Black Elk, Yeasayer.”

What are your plans for 2010?
“A new release set for the Summer which we’re all excited about…reshuffling the Tubelord deck of cards and most probably, more touring all over!”

See Tubelord play their cards right The Rainbow on Sunday 21st with support from SHAPES and Tantrums. For more info and £6 advanced tickets, go to the Birmingham Promoters website here.

Jennifer Isles
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Our new TL Audio Valve Desk

Review: Hot Club de Paris / Tantrums / Barnesy @ The Rainbow

Hot Club de Paris / Tantrums / Barnesy
Birmingham Promoters
The Rainbow
8th February 2010

Last minute replacement for (silver) souvenirs, who keep losing drummers, is Barnesy who’s rasping out his gritty city soul as The Rainbow starts to fill up. His twists of lyrical phrasing and perceptive witticisms, on tunes such as ‘Estates in a State,’ are compelling as they are stark.

He has the wry cynicism of Ray Davies thrown in with the bantering honesty of Jamie T, forming blunt and confrontational narratives of disillusionment backed by bluesy jazz chord progressions and accented with fancy work on his fretboard. His smokey, folky 5am comedown music has touches of Leonard Cohen’s stripped back, black humoured finger pointing that can be imagined decorating some hazy bordello before the whiskey hangover kicks in and the sleep deprivation starts to singe.

There has been a lot of talk about Tantrums across various blogs and podcasts of late, gushing over how ruddy fantastic the band have become. So, the announcement of a line up change has been greeted with a sense of bafflement amongst a number of people – why would you meddle with the formula if it’s working so well? New addition Anna Palmer aka Little Palm has also been courting the attention of many of Birmingham’s music aficionados, leaving some to question the distraction of her own career.

Tantums are widely accepted as brilliant, Anna equally so in her own field. But together? The vast majority of adult men would profess to both loving their mothers dearly and admit to watching the occasional blue movie. But never the twain should meet.

Has the band’s creative restlessness led them down a dodgy path? We look on with anticipation, hoping that it’s not a complete frickin’ car crash.

The new five member Tantrums take to the stage and from the tentative and tidy performance it’s obvious that they are anxious as to how they will be perceived. After a slightly wobbly start on opener ‘Mek Ya Feel Hype’, the vocal pairing of Anna and Simon Gregory starts to gel and the new line up appears to be a less hasty bolt on than we had initially feared.

If anything the band are a lot smoother arrangement wise as guitarist Stuart Boyd-Crosbie is concentrating solely on guitar while Anna has taken on the battered Casio mantle -whether she kicks ten shades of crud out of it as Stuart has done in the past remains to be seen.

Although Anna has the obvious juggernaut of a voice, the slight irony is that it’s Simon who impresses with the power of his vocal, perhaps a conscious raising of his game since Anna has such a good reputation for him to contend with. The result of their harmonies over the top of patches of dirty laptop backing tracks forges a kind of 35 Seconds meets Fleetwood Mac pop beast.

So, an augmentation as smooth as Don Draper with an air hostess and a new, as yet untitled, set closer tonight illustrates that Anna’s songwriting input is sure to widen the Tantrum’s already magnetic appeal. Panic over.

Hot Club de Paris agree by asking; “How amazing were Tantrums?” which is answered with whoops and whistles from The Rainbow crowd. The Liverpool three piece’s stop start almost barber shop like harmonies with cutting guitar licks are particularly bright for a freezing Monday night in a Digbeth side street. Their knack is making short tangents of rhythm seamless as celebratory vocal lines glide like kites through the room which playfully splash colour around in endorphin overdose fashion.

From Barnesy’s candle lit darkness to the full, glowing spectrum of Hot Club de Paris via the radiance of Tantrums, this night has covered all textured bases.

Andy Roberts


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Top Ten Brum Bands of the Decade Mix and Brumcast Download

Readers of The Blue Whale Blog have spoken. They have chosen their favourite band from Birmingham and the West Midlands to have graced the stage since the dawn of the Millennium.

As you may be sick of hearing about by now,  throughout December, readers were asked to submit their own personal top ten to http://www.bluewhalestudios.wordpress.com – each band receiving a maximum of 10 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and so on. The scores have now been added up and we can now reveal the people’s choice of the best bands of the decade.

Below is episode 145 of the awesome Brumcast, aired on Rhubarb Radio on featuring your trusty editor pretending to know about music and playing tunes from each of the top ten bands.

However, if you don’t fancy listening to the muttering mumbles of Little Chris and I, feel free to listen or download the Soundcloud mix below.

10. Misty’s Big Adventure – ‘The Story of Love’

Misty's Big Adventure photographed by Scott Johnston

Steve Bridgeman says:

“So far away from my usual musical taste and yet I think they’re brilliant! Whimsical, thought-provoking lyrics, with a vocal delivery possibly reminiscent of the Divine Comedy? Comparisons to the Flaming Lips might be fair too? They’re certainly the most glamourous band on the list, with lovely ladies on keys, sax and trumpet, and an Erotic Volvo – whatever one of those is – on dancing duties. Dave Gorman loves them, and so do I.”

9. The Big Bang – ‘Come Dance in The Fire’

The Big Bang

JP White Ex- The Gravity Crisis and Silversuit and now promoting gigs as part of This is Tomorrow says:

“Frighteningly intimidating on stage, sound as a pound off it, these were by far the best live act of the list, and certainly for their first two years were top of the tree.”

8. Mr. Nobody – ‘Opera Fan’

Mr. Nobody

Liam Cole of Kidnapper Bell says:

“Sometimes perceptions of a “local” band can be deceiving. Are they a good band or are they good for a local band? Mr Nobody are hands down the best live band I have ever seen. Their sound can be described a product of their wide range of influences however at their core a superb songwriter in the form of James Brough. When they released their E.P. Sweeting it polarised opinion on message boards due to it not really sounding like anything that was around at the time. A sad loss that these guys are no longer playing gigs together.”

7. Tantrums – ‘If I Don’t Try’


JP White says:

“At present the city is a bit dry of real great songs in consistent supply, these don’t have one dud in their set, if they don’t get a deal then it agains shows (as with many acts on this list who didn’t get the break they deserved) that the industry is full of idiots without ears and only a liking for shit.”

6) Miss Halliwell – ‘Soilheaded’

Vitriolic blogger and musical performer, Jeff Stuka says:
“Powered by a musical polymath/borderline autistic with too much imagination and too much time on his hands, The Racists were one of my tips for the future before I’d even seen them live, thanks to one of the most astonishing catalogues of home recordings I’ve ever encountered. As the Racists, they performed a number of incendiary live shows before changing the name to Miss Halliwell in a fit of pique after being asked “are you really racist?” for the MILLIONTH FUCKING TIME! Apparently irony is a concept of limited distribution amongst gig goers. Personnel changes have been many over the years but the musical ambition and creativity of Matt “Miles Per Hower” remains constant and their profile continues to grow.”

5. Untitled Musical Project – ‘I Might Not Be Jimi Hendrix but at Least I’m Not Dead’

Untitled Musical Project

Head honcho at This is Tomorrow, Matt Beck says:

“Trying not to be biased when talking about Brum bands can be tough, but I feel with all the bands on this list I would go and buy their music regardless of where they were from. I first bought an UMP 7″ (in Brighton not knowing they were based in Brum) and loved them since. Shouty, screamy, often raucous and ramshackle with songs that were over in the blink of an eye. These were Brum’s best punk band and are sadly missed.”

4. Calories – ‘Drugged’


Sunset Cinema Club vocalist and bass player Greg Haines says:

“If you’ve never been in a crowd shouting “Everything is beautifuuUUL-IN-IIIITTTTSSS-OWN-WAY!” then you don’t know anything about Birmingham bands and need to sort it out ASAP. Calories are to this scene what Darth Vader is to Star Wars, there’s just something awesomely simple and intimidating about their current set of massive pop songs. Pete’s harmonic bass-chords and general beast-riff tendencies also make him the only fellow four-stringer in Brum to make me feel inadequate in the plank department.”

3. My Dad Hitla / I Am Zeitgeist – ‘Dopemine’

My Dad Hitla

Andy Roberts, editor of The Blue Whale Blog says:

“The ingenuity of Radiohead, the anger of The Clash, the awkwardness of Nirvana, the almost believable pseudo-mystique of The Beatles, a singer that may have believed he was Jesus at some point, a guitarist with a death-wish discharging himself from hospital with a broken back, a bassist that could smoke Bob Marley under the table and a drummer who was driven to near-insanity hanging around with the other three – My Dad Hitla were complete madness permanently on the verge of true genius.”

2. Sunset Cinema Club – ‘Trees’

Sunset Cinema Club

Pete Stanley from ThePlasticAshtray.co.uk says:

“It’s hard not to get excited about Sunset Cinema Club, awesome musicianship, quirky, individualistic approach to their own music and remind me so so much of The Minutemen. I think great bands all have the same way at looking at music and playing gigs. I’ve never seen them play a bad show or not smile while they are playing. They must be the only band I’ve seen who don’t take themselves too seriously!”

1. 35 Seconds – ‘Grudge Match’

35 Seconds - The greatest Birmingham band of the 2000's

Greg Haines says:
“I followed them as a fan and I played for them as a fan. You couldn’t find a more eclectic mix of characters in any band; it’s a miracle that they ever sat down and wrote anything together, but the end-result was obviously what 35 Seconds were all about. Not many bands can juggle “forward thinking”, “epic”, “heartfelt” and “choruses” without folding up into their own arse holes but 35 Seconds achieved just this with EVERY. SINGLE. SONG. The fact that they were never snapped up by a label of any kind is a good case for having the entire music industry sent to a concentration camp to keep them from spreading their idiot genes any further into the populace.”

A million thank yous to everyone who voted and contributed, please enjoy the mix and we promise to stop going on about it now.

See the full Top 100 countdown here.


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