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Tamworth Bands History : 1988 : December

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox – A-Lyve and Lickin’
LyveKRAZE play their Christmas Party show on Sunday night – their first under there all-new name.

Due to the fact that there is an aceeed band called Kraze, our metal heroes (and heroines) have changed their monicker to Lyve. According to the band they could have fought to keep their original name but felt it would have been a waste of valuable resources as a very important time in the band’s history.

Sunday’s Arts Centre show looks set once again to bring hordes of metal fans through the doors. Kraze have already started well in the poll (if you vote for them as Lyve it will still count!) and they hope to make many more friends with the release on the night of a new demo ‘Lyve in Session’.

The band are more committed than ever and are determined to follow the Wolfies to LA and megabucks so if you want to cheer them to that worthy aim then the place to get your charming persons on Sunday night is the Tamworth Arts Centre.

The Town is packed with big metal fans and what we have here is a big talented metal band so the two of you oughta get together on Sunday night methinks and rock yer proverbial socks off.

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox – Eye-lashing!
Pete WrightSpiral Eye – Tamworth Arts Centre
Still wondering who to vote for in the poll? Still looking for a gig of the year? Well, howzabout this my chummy-wummys? For this exciting journey into electric avenue rates as one of the very best shows these tired old eyes have witnessed this year. It was Spiral Eye’s magnus opus, a trip into sound and vision which ranks leagues ahead of the rest of ‘em. It was the show with everything. An intoxicating atmosphere, an amazingly sharp and edgy sound and a power that when unleashed to its full booming brilliances caused the whole audience to suffer from wipeout symptoms. The thing that stood out above all was the sheer quality of the songs. Spiral Eye have become extremely consistent and original songwriters and toons such as ‘Uncertainty’, ‘Sentinel’ and ‘Flight Double Zero to Obvlivion’ are major success stories of their own. ‘Uncertainty’ particularly stood out as a classic psycho-pop, a song that would make an outstanding single and one that almost ranks in my book alongside the immortal thrash and brash of ‘Sentinel’. Only sadness of the night was that this would be Rem’s last show, but that apart there was nothing – and I mean NOTHING – I could find to criticise Spiral Eye about. They have perfected the live act superbly now and the early day ramblings have been replaced by a set, a look and a sound which means Spiral Eye should not be supporting anyone at the moment. A Tamworth’s Pink Floyd on Fish, Spiral Eye are an ever-improving and never=predictable group who look set to get bigger and bigger in 1989. And if they could just get ‘Uncertainty’ out on vinyl, I feel that they could trip the light fantastic throughout this blighted nation. In the words of that brat pack movie, this show was some kind of wonderful.


Fetch Eddie – Cod Club (Birmingham)
On a night like this, you realise just how special a band like Fetch Eddie really are. From the riotous joy-funk of ‘Mean Tin ‘O Beans’ to the melancholy whirlpool of ‘No Good For Love’ from the sight of Pod (looking all the world like a Hovis advert reject, overcome with Crocodile tears) to Aaron and Lucy’s hilarious manic Chuck Berryisms from influences as diverse as Rem and Blondie, the Railway Children and Bacharach to the ecstatic original exclamation of ‘Too Much To Ask For’ from the whispers to the screams, from the cradle to the grave, from Birmingham’s COD club to the Hollywood Bowl. Do not be surprised for this is no paradox of Fetch Eddie. Quite simply (and for them this was average) they knock the spots off other bands.


Incidentally Lee did not say knock the ‘spots’ off but you know what he means…

The First Conspiracy – Tamworth Arts Centre
Maybe it was a bit unfair this. A new line-up, a new name, a new set and I guess you expect almost a new band. Which of course you don’t get so you feel deflated. But make no mistake this IS the First Conspiracy (or rather the Second Conspiracy) and the new ingredient perhaps was missing from one or two mid-year shows was enthusiasm. Faced with a big crowd and a big sense of occasion, Lisa led the boys in a speedy onslaught through a set of newies, oldies and cover versions alike. The new songs sounded stronger and a little more progressive while the older numbers were given a new and refreshing strength with ‘blood and roses’ stealing the whole show for ‘em and the sizzling ‘Passions Burning’ enjoying a second wind that earned it a very enthusiastic response. I wasn’t too sure about the cover versions though. Surely it would have been better to play covers that were written for a female singer rather than a male one, because Eddie Cochran and Feargal Sharkey are hardly ideal vocalists for a booking young lady to follow. Still like most of the set the covers went down well and the general post-show impression was that The First Conspiracy are now back on course and all the more confident for it. Simon Harvey made an excellent Arts Centre debut and the band as a whole emerged from this testing show with their hopes realised and their reputations enhanced. Still the same band of course but with an added ingredient of newly-found cocktail hope ‘n’ ambition. The passion is definitely burning again.


Blue Street Raiders – Tamworth Arts Centre
Didn’t see a big amount of this because it all sounded like Big rock and big guitars to me and that isn’t very Big in my book. So I took my Big frame to my Big house and watched my Big Spitting Image on my Big video recorder leaving them with their Big axe sound. Did I make a Big mistake? I dunno, you tell me.


Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
THE BIG SKY, who as we reported last week, are a new band looking for a singer and a bassist have sent another creepy letter with a contact number for those who want to join them.

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
Fetch Eddie have been confirmed to play the Sonic Noise event on Thursday December 22 at the Arts Centre. They will join Emma Gibbs plus two other as yet unnamed bands. The following night (Friday Dec 23), A5 will team up with the Space Seeds and The First Conspiracy.

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
The very, very very famous Samantha Law has at last found a band to join. The world’s most persistent singer has teamed up with the rejuvenated Macoys.

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
Engine, Roma and First Conspiracy are set to team up at Lichfield Enots on December 9 for a special FOD promotions show. Tickets are a mere £2.

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
If you want to enter the TSB contest which Catch 23 did so well in last year you can find out more by picking up entry forms from any branch of the TSB bank. It is open to bands still based at school or in Sixth Form colleges.

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
A new band called What’s This Head Down Mindless Boogie About Nothing are on the lookout for a female singer and drummer. Influences are early Sisters, the Mary Chain and the Cocteau Twins. If this sounds interesting…Incidentally the band almost out-creeped The Big Sky they described MUSICBOX as brilliant. Such taste!

Tamworth Herald - 02/12/88
Musicbox - SNIPS
Never Say Die are in action at the New Swan, Atherstone on December 8.

Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Arts Centre

The Space Seeds
Lord Nelson, Derby

Catch 23
Faraday’s Nightclub

The Space Seeds
White Horse, Oadby

Never Say Die
New Swan, Atherstone

First Conspiracy

Enots, Lichfield

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – Sheer Style
DHSS – The Clark Gable Demo
Caption: DHSS – some kind of demoIT is no fluke that DHSS’s first demo outsold virtually every other local product released this year.

At the tavern, at the Festival and at the band’s infrequent concerts there was a clamour for the tape which surprised even that most optimistic of optimists – Reginald ‘Rikk’ Quay.

The public it seems had fallen for DHSS in a big way. The unique personalities of the four people involved was perfectly mirrored by a sound which belies accurate comparisons and invites exciting superlatives.

DHSS – The Clark Gable DemoAnd if the love affair started with that first tape, believe me it will grow to a raging passion after this three piece masterpiece.

What we have here is a very original and very powerful three track demo which shows DHSS exactly for what they are – a punk band dragged screaming and dancing into the electronic Eighties. First up is the magical ‘Clark Gable’ a song which features another of those dynamic John Reeman guitar riffs and a toooon just bursting with charisma – and musical stamina. But it is the vocal that really hits you on this one. Steady Eddie is his usual melodic and unconventional self but Anice’s chorus work is a major and majestic surprise. From her old more peaceful days Anice has now discovered some hitherto unsuggested guts and power and her Pauline Murray soundalike vocal here is quite magnificent. She sings a chorus which I guarantee you will all be humming very shortly and if you want to sing rather than hum then here is the MUSICBOX Smash hits choral lyric…

“The last thing that you saw was a bitter Clark Gable, dragging on a cigarette and lapping up the girlies. The last thing that you saw was a pouting Vivien Leigh, spinning on her heals and looking oh! So wonderful!”

Got that? Right remember ir because believe me after hearing this a few times you will be singing it. Loudly.

Following Clark Gable comes the short snappy ‘Money God’. Ed’s best Clash-like lyric of the tape. It is a timely attack on the evils of capitalism and consumerism (which attacks the most cynical of us at this time of year) and makes its point in a sneering, leering way and with a backdrop of tight, crunching sound. Bit of politics eh! Love it!

With hardly a break to stop pogoing (now THERE was a dance) we are into the sprightly and gritty ‘If I Had My Way’ which is pure and simple punk rock in the Rezillos mode. It trundles along with ever-mounting power and has an irritatingly catchy chorus and another corking tune.

It all ends far to quickly for my liking and it brings home the point that you have just heard three DHSS songs, plus loads of garbled between songs samples in seven glorious minutes. What else I ask can you do in seven minutes which is as much fun? You can see one twelfth of a game of soccer, listen to one tenth of a Pink floyd song or watch one eighth of the Waltons. Frankly my dear there is only one option.

Get down the DHSS office, claim your benefit and be transported into seven minutes of modern day punk, electro style. Wot joyz.


By the way Rikk, I think I ought to get a pint for writing a whole DHSS review without comparing you to my beloved Sigue, Sigue Sputnik!!!

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – Lyve and well ‘ard
LYVE – Tamworth Arts Centre
Still reeling from the shock of seeing Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis named sports personality of the year, I arrived at the Arts Centre to get another shock. The almighty Kraze replaced by a very odd bunch called Lyve, playing precisely the same songs with the same style, the same suss and the same people. Tim Latham’s still the best musician in town. Mitch is maturing rapidly as a frontman and Bev and Kaz’s red leather trousers were as tasteful as ever… Great band, very silly name.


Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
SCREAM DREAM’s popular drummer Duane Grant has surprisingly parted company with the group.

The band are thought to have recruited a new sticksman and a result of the change this Sunday’s proposed Arts Centre concert has been postponed.

Scream Dream’s future plans include a possible tour of Scotland in the New Year as well as dates at many other major British cities.

As for Duance, the hugely likeable drummer is now looking for a new band to team up with. If you need an enthusiastic…

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
A5, who have been hard at work in the studio of late, are hoping to release a greatest hits compilation very shortly. The band have compiled an 11 track selection from their past hectic few years which trades under the title of ‘From Then until When’. Hopefully we will have this with us shortly and we may have one to give away in a special competition.

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Catch 23 have been back in the studio this week working on their excellent new single track ‘Catch This’…had to be cancelled due to a double booking with an Acid House disco. I can’t help feeling Nuneaton people got the worse of the two deals myself.

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
I am delighted to say that Dance Stance are now back in action following the sad death of their manager ray Sheasby. At their first comeback show the Stance boys gave an excellent account for themselves at Sheffield Poly where they were supporting no less than, Showaddywaddy.

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
Hopes are high that Wolfsbane will be back for a few days over Christmas. Steve Mad Dog Danger rang me up last week to say that the band were hoping to get back for a few days and they were hoping to play Birmingham Goldwyns on December 27. So far all the group have managed to lay down in the studio is the drum tracks (and that’s taken weeks)but they all sounded extremely excited about the overall sound and direction that Rick Rubin is taking them in. Worst bit of the whole call was when Steve complained that they had only had TWO days of rain the six months they had been there. Los Angeles 1 Fazeley 0 methinks.

Tamworth Herald - 09/12/88
Musicbox – SNIPS
The line-up for the ‘Placid House’ show at the Arts Centre on Thursday December 22 continues to grow. Emma Gibbs and Fetch Eddie will team up with Indie pop faves Psychedelicatessen as well as the new band featuring Neil Jones (and I think Samantha Law) – The Believers. A fifth band will be added and to give it a real Christmas feel, a local music personality will act as Santa.

Space Seeds
Scream Dream
Tamworth Arts Centre

King Woderick and the Yogots
Tamworth Arts Centre

Sigue Sigue Sputnik

Stourbridge Town Hall

Tamworth Herald - 16/12/88
Musicbox – Sputnik joy for DHSS
Dynamic DHSS will tonight (Friday) play a dream concert as support act for the almighty Sigue Sigue Sputnik.Dynamic DHSS will tonight (Friday) play a dream concert as support act for the almighty Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

The four piece anarcho-pensioners will be in action tonight at Stourbridge Town Hall in support of the world famous Sputnik crew.

The earned the prestigious show when a ‘friend’ of the band sent a tape to the Sputnik suggesting that DHSS would make an ideal support band for them. Lo and behold, Sigue Sigue Sputnik responded and asked DHSS to join them tonight (Friday) on their only Midland show of their current tour. The ‘dream’ date will be particularly exciting for DHSS members Rikk Quay and John Reeman who along with a certain MUSICBOX Editor were due to go to the concert as spectators anyway. Now they will all be able to do so without worrying about tickets! DHSS are hoping loads of Tamworth fans will make their way to Stourbridge tonight but if you can’t make it hen don’t worry. For the band are in action at the Tamworth Arts Centre on Sunday night along with three other big fun bands. The DHSS will be supported by rockabilliy sex bombs Stench, the exceedingly odd King Woderick and the reformed yackettay-yak crew The Soil Brothers.

Together the line up represents what Catch 23’s boys regard as one of my most ift-repeated descriptions – ‘one of the shows of the year’.

Musicbox – Sputnik joy for DHSSFor once however surely even those Atherstone cynics will agree with this description. Headliners DHSS are doing marvellously well in the poll because of their highly-loveable and very distinctive electronic punk ROK and every one of their shows to date has been somewhat of an ‘event’. Sunday will be their first ever Arts Centre headliner and so they are warning everyone to get ready for something special.

Mr. Rikk ‘I’m Not Nearly As old A Everyone Thinks I Am’ Quay takes up the story. What will DHSS be like then granddad?

“The business,” he didn’t say.

DHSS top Sunday’s night’s tree but beneath it are three equally interesting branches. King Woderick have emerged at the tail end of this year as one of the area’s oddest creations. The sound can best be summed up as yugamuliwoogick music and the only band that can possibly be described as soundalikes are The Very Odd Band Who Don’t Exist At All. Get the picture? They are odd kinda fish.

Far from odd however are Stench – Tamworth’s very own Bros. The group, three healthy young males, with short haircuts (just like Bros) play hard rockabilly muzak full of vile lyrics and yukky images (just like Bros). They have a committed following (just like Bros), a distinctive apparel (just like Bros) and good songs (totally and utterly unlike Bros). They represent Big Fun.

The final act of a wicked foursome are also subscribers to the doctrine of Big Fun-isms. The Soil Brothers are a yeh-hah band unlike anyone else in the known (and possibly unknown) world full of strange instruments and unforgettable looney tunes. This is the second time they have been part of the scene and according to singer Steve ‘Elvis is Alive’ MacNamee things are as good as ever…

“We are now a six piece combo, complete with double basses and the like. Our songs are now full of wonderful sexist things like girls, trains and Newcastle Brown ale and as far as I am concerned we are gonna blow those old fogeys from DHSS off the stage. Real music is going to shine over computerised claptrap!”

I don’t need to beseech you to get along on Sunday cos everyone reading this is cool enough already to realise that you just cannot miss this show. It will be the ideal pre-Christmas present for anyone who wants to be humming and smiling after leaving a concert.

And, if you can get your butt along to Stourbridge tonight then you will be able to sample one of the biggest and best nights our local scene will ever have had.

STOP PRESS. Stench have been band from playing on Sunday.

Just in case you’re confused this week’s dates are – tonight (Friday) DHSS and Sigue Sigue Sputnik at Stourbridge, Sunday – DHSS/SoilBrothers/Stench/King Woderick at the Arts Centre and Thursday night Emma Gibbs/Fetch Eddie/Psychedelicatessen and The Believers at the Arts Centre.

Tamworth Herald - 16/12/88
Musicbox – Placid house anyone?
Emma GibbsTamworth Arts Centre comes alive again on Thursday night when five local bands indulge in some ‘Placid House’ noises…

Established local faves Fetch Eddie, Emma Gibbs and the Ferocious Apaches will team up with new Indie boys Psychedelicatessen and debut-makers The Believers.

The gig which trades under the name of ‘The Placid House’ show has been put together by loveable Lee Revelle of Emma Gibbs who thinks that the show will have something for everyone.

For pure pop fans it will be your first chance in quite some time to catch Fetch Eddie, a band who have been gaining ever increasing radio and newspaper coverage and who are said to be far better these days now they have former Musical Youth drummer Brendon behind the skins. The band are keenly looking forward to this Christmas show and they are sure to go down a storm with their large army of local supporters from both Tamworth and Atherstone.

Emma Gibbs should also appeal to those pop-seekers. Their new atmosphere, though not quite one of wine and roses, is a lot more commercially orientated and their last demo was a cracker which ranked as one of the tapes of the year. They have discovered an all new pop senseability and when added to that essential Emma Gibbishness it will make them an interesting Christams spectacle. The Ferocious Apaches have also been added to the bill at the last moment and they (as you know) can be full of ‘fun’.

Joining these three on the bill are The Believers, a new band formed out of the embers of The Macoys and making their debut show. Sadly, rumours that they feature that almost legendary female singer Samantha Law have been denied but come Friday morning we may be a lot more knowledgeable about what this COMBO does have to offer.

Completing the Placid House collections are The Psychedelicatessen who made such an exciting appearance at the Arts Centre a few weeks ago. Their indie based sound is fast, loud and brash and leads to a host of differing comparisons – all I might add with pretty cool bands. They promise to be the hardest band of a pop-based line-up and their added aggression should give the show an extra ingredient.

With five bands of quality and other Christmas joys promised it should be a fun night out.

Don’t forget this show is on Thursday night (I know it’s a long tome until then but it will be worth the wait honest!) so destroy Thursday blues and enjoy a placid house Christmas cracker.

Tamworth Herald - 16/12/88
Musicbox - Wolfies return?
American superstar rock band Wolfsbane are due to return to Tamworth on Tuesday.

Although it was not confirmed at time of going to press the band were hoping to be back for a few days as of December 20 and already the police have been informed to keep the hordes of screaming girls back at Heathrow Airport.

According to Mad Dog Danger, who range again last week, the band’s first act will be to go into the Tavern in the Town and cleanse everyone of their sins now that the Wolfies have experienced tv evangelism in the States.

With statements like that the question is – do we really want them back?

King Woderick and the Yogots
Soil Brothers
Tamworth Arts Centre

The Space Seeds
Greyhound, Burntwood

Sonic Noise Happening
Emma Gibbs Loves Badges
Fetch Eddie
The Believers

Tamworth Arts Centre

Space Seeds
First Conspiracy

Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald - 23/12/88
Musicbox – Christmas spirit aplenty
TAMWORTH Arts Centre stages it’s VERY last Christmas party tonight (Friday).

Three bands are on offer for those who fancy some Christmas spirit (along with their Christmas spirits) and those on offer are A5, The Space Seeds and The First Conspiracy.

Headlining the show are much vaunted A5, who have scored very well in this year’s poll. The band who have been around for so long now they have just released an 11 track ‘greatest hits’ album (review to follow) see this as a fine end to a productive year for the six piece. They have played a host of gigs, had radio exposure and sessions in the Southern counties and are bristling with the same confidence that first brought the band together.

Alongside the established A5 are two oldish bands with newish elements. The First Conspiracy of course recently debuted their new drummer Simon Harvey and a jolly good time was had by all. They will clearly hope to repeat the splendid exercise tonight.

Completing the show are The Space Seeds. They will be making their first appearance since Julian Amos came in to replace former singer Martin Kelly and according to band spokesman Mark Mortimer, it should be an ‘interesting’ experience.

“We are not completely ready as yet to be honest but we felt we wanted to do the show,” he said. The three bands combined make for a very different and interesting...so make your way to the Arts Centre tonight.

I can’t say it will improve your Christmas hangover at all but I can say you will have BIG fun.

Tamworth Herald - 23/12/88
Musicbox – Gigs in brief…Gigs in brief
An amazing night and an amazing show. Despite all the ‘pre-match’ nerves, DHSS took to the stage bursting with confidence and enthusiasm. The noise they then produced ranks as their best gig ever as they rattled through their set with a speed and fluency that won over all the Sputnik followers. Edward ian Armchair was in brilliantly caustic mood, sneering and leering his way through a marvellous individual show and with Byfield, Reeman and Quay going a wee bit ‘ape’ the band produced a set they will find it hard to beat. Best tracks on the night were ‘The Money gods’ and the yummy ‘Oooh-ooh-ooh, la, la, la’ the two of which represent those fine diversions in the DHSS set – passion, politics and festive fun. Quite brilliant.

Sigue Sigue Sputnik…Stourbridge
I had always loved this band – and now a few more Tamworthians, I suspect will a few more Tamworthians will do likewise. For as well as proving themselves a great live act. SSS proved themselves to be quite wonderful people and all of us that witnessed this show are going to be Sputnik bores for a long time. Their set was short, snappy and hugely enjoyable with one newie in particular ‘Raise Crazy’ being a potential number one if ever I heard one. Oldies like ‘Love Missile; and ‘Sex Bomb Boogie’ were equally dazzling but for all their rocking ability it is the personality of the band that we will all remember for long after this gig. They treated us all with amazing respect and friendship to such an extent that they even let me (and remember I’m a fan) introduce them on stage as well as allow us to do a video interview before the gig. We have all got our Sputnik claims to fame but mine was that in a game of soccer with the group before the gig Martin Degville blasted the ball right into my jingle bells and almost floored me. Famous or what?

King Woderick…Arts Centre
The best set yet from Tamworth’s new studo-pseudo rockers. It all sounded a lot more commercial than in previous concerts as if the band are taking a positive step in the direction of understandable conventionality! A couple of tracks stood out, the eerily atmospheric ‘Philosopher’ and my old fave ‘Mind Disease’ which had a real cutting, crucial edge.

Soil Bros…Arts CentreSoil Bros…Arts Centre
One of the most popular returns to the live stage I’ve ever witnessed in tamworth. The reaction afforded Steve’s country hillbilly’s was near ecstatic at the end and it seems the Town has been crying out for something daffy and delicious as this for oh so long. After initial sound teething problems (understandable when you see what they’re playing) the set got stronger and stronger and by the end No-ONE wanted the band to leave. ‘I Love My Fruit’, ‘Temperance Train’ and of course the cover of the wunderbar ‘Devil in Disguise’ were notable highlights, but my favourite of all was the jolly jape of ‘Old Time Religion’. Well if it’s good enough for my old mother it’s good enough for me! Clickety-click.

DHSS…Arts Centre
For some reason, the combined elements of DHSS were miffed after this show. Those horrible techno-problems had spliced the set around a bit but what the band should have heard is the adulation the REAL set did receive. A large and very enthusiastic crowd cheered DHSS at every turn and with the band’s merchandise selling quicker than earplugs at a Marillion gig, the band proved once and for all that fro some strange reason Tamworth loves ‘em. The bits of the set that worked, worked very well indeed with ‘The Money Gods’ again a highlight and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ as its vile, vicious best. And even though I never got to sing Oooh-Ooooh’ as I was promised. I came out from the gig with a big grin on my face. A terribly good band this. Yes, terrible!

All reviews by SAM HOLLIDAY

The Space Seeds
Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Herald - 30/12/88
Musicbox - DHSS claim their benefit!

Caption: 1st. DHSS

1st. DHSS – top local band, six different songs chosen as top song, three different gigs in top 20 concerts – one amazing year!
2nd. CATCH 23…runners-up in local band, top local song, three concerts in top 20 gigs.
3rd. WOLFSBANE – third local band BUT first national band. Second top local concert, eighth top local song and third top single. Best poll yet, hardly surprising!

ELECTRO PUNKS DHSS have been chosen as the MUSICBOX band of the year in the closest ever finish in our five years of competition.

Rikk’s relics just pipped Atherstone kings Catch 23 with the final days post providing the necessary votes to claim a victory by the equivalent of just five points.

For both bands there will be satisfaction in knowing that they have a huge percentage of the local market and there will also be pleasure for third place Wolfsbane. For despite only, finishing third in the local section they won the national band stakes and took the third best single in what was easily their best poll to date.

As usual hundreds of you took part in this year’s battle with ‘surprises’ and changes right until the last moment. Here is a summary of what YOU saw and heard as the pick of 1988…

BEST LOCAL BANDIn the end it was DHSS by a smidgen but how well they have earned their award. As was apparent at their last Arts Centre show the band have now got a huge cult following and such was their potential world beating appeal that of the 200 plus tapes sent in for the recent Sputnik support slot, the band were deemed to have produced the best one of the lot. Their mixture of anarchic humour and bile politics has made them the perfect punk band for the electronic age and this new boost will give them the spur to go for even greater things in 1989.

Catch 23 will also take much joy from their result. Although they will feel disappointed not to have won overall they can stay safe in the knowledge that their appeal is widespread and well beyond their Atherstone environs. Their marvellous song ‘Hangin’ On’ was the undoubted tune of the year while their increased profile and personality has made them a hugely exciting prospect for ’89. As for Wolfsban, well what can we say about those chaps. They have had a brilliant ’89 (’88 – Ed.) as reflected by this years poll with the band doing extremely well in every section and showing they earn the respect of music lovers of all genres and not just yer-metal heads.

Fourth up were A5 who captured a huge vote and just missed out on third place by a couple of votes but made up for it by taking the second best song of the year and scoring well throughout the local concerts section. Fetch Eddie, Kraze, (Sorry, Lyve), Spiral Eye, The First Conspiracy and Scream Dream all received equally well deserved top ten positions with just one relative newie – Flowers in the Attic – gatecrashing that Top 20 section. The rest of the top 20 covered a nice cross-section of the local scene and beneath it came another 30 local bands of all shapes and sizes. I intended to list them all but space won’t allow it so I will leave all the bands who didn’t make the top 20 to ponder whether they are Tamworth’s 21st favourite act or their 47th. A pint of beer settles all chaps!

These sections were pretty reflective of the top 20 bands with DHSS proving to have the most all-round appeal with six of their songs voted for here. Elsewhere A5, Wolfsbane, Scream Dream, Catch 23 and Kraze also managed a duo of songs apiece in the top 20 with the ‘gatecrashers’ this time around being the mysterious Subculture who arrived from nowhere to hit the top 20. Will they go on to be bigger than the Beatles? Perhaps not but it may give the a belated Christams smile for hitting the top 20.

Wonderful news here. No not that the Stranglers came a marvellous 17th but that our own lovely Wolfsbane took the rest of the world to the cleaners to take the overall award. Well in fact they only beat U2 by four votes but let me tell you that having spoken to Bono he is HEARTBROKEN. His exact quote was ‘How Long, How Long Must We Sing This Song, Wolfsbane, bloody Wolfsbane!’ The man is in bits.

Oh dear, I did say when I launched the poll that I thought it had been a bad year and you’ve reflected that. I was delighted to see votes for the likes of The Waterboys, The Pet Shoppies, Wunderstuff, Morrissey and Aztec Camera, but I am open mouthed in shock at the fact that Bros came ninth in the LPs and Cliff came seventh in the singles. Just who reads this column I wonder? Is it all the young dudes or not? I think we should be told.

So conclusions? Well it was a good poll and I think more reflective than ever before. DHSS, Catch 23 and Wolfsbane can fill the Arts Centre and they have all taken the top three slots and the likes of Kraze, Fetch Eddie and Scream Dream also received the sort of hefty, loyal support that shows that they have a real foundation to work on next year. My final optimistic not to close a superb 1989 is the fact that there were 50 legitimate bands voted for in the local group section. The old bores may make the old complaints but this scene is alive and vibrant, a fact reflected by this here poll! The only bad thing about it all was we will have to listen to Quay ALL year now going on about being Tamworth’s most popular band.

Sadness and woe. Ta, Ta.

Report: Sam Holliday

Sam Holliday

Tamworth Herald - 30/12/88
Musicbox – The Sam Holliday Pick of 1988…
BEST BAND …Wolfsbane
BEST SONG…Hangin’ On (Catch 23)
BEST GIG…Tamworth Rock Festival
BEST SINGERS…Bayley cooke, Steve Webster, Martin Kelly, Pod, Paul Hanlon, Edward ian Armchair, Graham Harwood, Barry Fox, Pete Williams.
BEST BASSISTS – Neil Gordon, Pete Wright, Paul Bethel, Neil Sheasby, Daydo, Al Page, Jeff hateley, Mark Chapman, Nick Plant, Simon O’Connor
BEST GUITARISTS – Jase the Ace, John Reeman, Tim Latham, Ray Clenshaw, Nick Read, Kevin Briggs, Roger Moore, Steve Scott, Paul Keeton, Graham Walters, Pete Fulleylove
BEST DRUMMERS – Steve Danger, Jason Notman, Steve Hayes, Batman, Duane, Jom Pighand
BEST KEYBOARD PLAYERS - Rick Smith, Rikk Quay, Rem
SONGWRITERS – Wolfsbane, Spiral Eye, Catch 23, DHSS, Kevin Briggs, Brian Lacey, Fetch Eddie, Steve Scott
NEW BAND OF ’88 – DHSS, Scream Dream, Sa Sa, King Woderick
MOST IMPROVED BANDS – Emma Gibbs, The Searching
LIVE BANDS – Spiral Eye, Wolfsbane, Catch 23, DHSS
DEMOS OF THE YEAR – Catch 23, DHSS, The Space Seeds, Emma Gibbs, The Parade, Fetch Eddie, The Searching, The Tamworth Festival Album
LYRIC WRITERS – Edwardian ian Armchair, Spiral Eye, King Woderick
BEST KEPT LOCAL SECRET – Top indie band Birdland who hail from Kingsbury but want nothing to do with the local scene
BEST DRESSED PERSON – Paul ‘Wicked’ Hanlon
BEST DJ – Buttercup
BEST BYFIELD – Den, Shirl, Gaz and Anice
BEST CAT – Elvis Holliday
PERSONALITIES OF ’88 – Ray Sheasby, All of Wolfsbane plus Barbara and Brian Edwards, Edward ian Armchair, the entire Catch 23 crew especially Smiling Steven and Big Al, the Swiss family Byfield, Rocking Reeman and Queer Quay, Phyliss, Duane, Barry Fox, Daz, Pete, Jim and Rem, Paul and Neil, Lee Revelle, Stench, Mitch Michaels, Steve King, Trevor Mugglestone, Mick ‘I’m Always In Here Somewhere’ Fleming, JJ Burnel (Huh?), Eve, Samantha Law (hooray), Ollie Catley, the Woderix, Roger Moore and of course Mikhail Gorbachev for making it possible for me to still be writing MUSICBOX.

Local Bands

  1. DHSS
  2. Catch 23
  3. Wolfsbane
  4. A5
  5. Fetch Eddie
  6. Kraze
  7. Flowers in the Attic
  8. Spiral Eye
  9. The First Conspiracy
  10. Scream Dream
  11. Dance Stance
  12. Kubla Khan
  13. Rape in Yellow
  14. Emma Gibbs
  15. Space Seeds
  16. Shellshock
  17. Heavy Metal Thunder
  18. Sa Sa
  19. Stench
  20. King Woderick

National Band

  1. Wolfsbane
  2. U2
  3. INXS
  4. Transvision Vamp
  5. Wunderstuff
  6. Bros
  7. Pet Shop Boys
  8. The Cure
  9. The Primitives
  10. UB40
  11. Bon Jovi
  12. New Order
  13. New Model Army
  14. Erasure
  15. Iron Maiden
  16. Prince
  17. The Stranglers
  18. The Waterboys
  19. Wet Wet Wet
  20. That Petrol Emotion

Top Local Songs

  1. Hangin’ On – Catch 23
  2. Worth – A5
  3. Sweet Sixteen – DHSS
  4. Vicar’s Hand – DHSS
  5. Pagan Oceon – Flowers in the Attic
  6. Exposure – A5
  7. Catch This – Catch 23
  8. Loco – Wolfsbane
  9. Sweet N Sassy – Kraze
  10. Tumbledown - Subculture
  11. No good For Love – Fetch Eddie
  12. DHSS – DHSS
  13. Short, Sharp, Shock – Shellshock
  14. March Winds – Scream Dream
  15. Dreams - Scream Dream
  16. Mind Disease – King Woderick
  17. Dance ‘Til Dawn – Kraze
  18. Switchblade Love – Space Seeds
  19. Uncertainty – Spiral Eye
  20. Paint The Town red – Wolfsbane

Top Local Gigs

  1. Tamworth Rock Festival – Castle Grounds
  2. Wolfsbane Finale – Arts Centre
  3. Gig for Life Charity Show – Nuneaton
  4. Sonic Noise – Arts Centre
  5. True Grit/Catch 23 – Arts Centre
  6. A5 – Kings Head (Atherstone)
  7. Kraze – Arts Centre
  8. The Scum Ball – Assembly Rooms
  9. Catch 23 – Arts Centre
  10. DHSS – Arts Centre
  11. Fetch Eddie – Arts Centre
  12. Battle of the Bands Final – Arts Centre
  13. Catch 23 – Faradays
  14. Wolfsbane – Festival Show
  15. The Yogots – Arts Centre
  16. DHSS – Arts Centre
  17. Scream Dream – Arts Centre
  18. DHSS – Festival Show
  19. Spiral Eye – Arts Centre
  20. Festival Party – Arts Centre
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