The Taskers

The Taskers

Hogs from Hell – as featured on the new album Rat Residence.

In early 2012 Jack Tasker was offered a support slot for a local band, he accepted, but asked his sister, SBT, to back him up on him on drums, having grown tired of playing his folky tunes. SBT accepted, on the basis of making riches beyond her wildest dreams and with the strict condition that they write new songs and don’t play any of Jack’s ‘fruity acoustic ones.’ The gig went well, Sophie made very few riches off it, but they continued to play as a band anyway.

After incredible lengths of creative brainstorming they settled on, The Taskers, as a band name. They recorded their first album ‘Not to be played or tested’ in the summer of 2012 and worked with local film makers to create a short Wes Anderson inspired film based around the lead track from the album, ‘Catherine.’

Throughout the summer they played gigs across the country, culminating in a fantastic home turf gig at the Sugarmill in Stoke.

Through the autumn of 2013 they recorded two albums, the fully acoustic ‘Jamhead’ and the girthy rock ‘Snuggles?’

During this period they continued to work with the film makers behind the Catherine video to create a short documentary about being a family in a band, their musical inspirations and their obsession with dinosaurs. The resulting film Taskersaurus was released in 2013 along with their fourth album, ‘No Shit, Just Shoes.’

Since then they have gigged extensively, from dance hall balconies in Nottingham, to dingy basements in Birmingham, to twee timber pubs in York.

Their fifth album Rat Residence was released in February 2014 and is a darker album which mixes both the acoustic and rock sides of the band.

SBT has yet to make any riches from the band.

Stubblemelt

The Flapper Birmingham 17th May 2014.

Good things are always worth waiting for and with ‘Gypaetus Barbatus’ having finally arrived after being eighteen months in loving creation, the wait has certainly been worth it.

Stubblemelt’s planned album launch has pretty much been a weekend long event, with The Flapper in Birmingham being host for both of the two consecutive nights. Tonight’s event see’s Stubblemelt’s support coming in the guise of Chris Thompson, Brothers Of Caedmon and The Two ‘n’ Eights, so a lot to look forward to for sure!

With a perfectly sunny Saturday having already created the mood to relax, kick back and enjoy some good music, acoustic act Chris Thompson was a great choice to start this evening off. With his fresh sounding acoustic style, Chris’s six song set included a few sparkling gems such as ‘Susie (Out Of Range)’ and ‘Someday’ and both of these can be found over on Chris’s SoundCloud page.

Chris Thompson

Next up tonight and ready to get The Flapper grooving were the Redditch based band, Brothers Of Caedmon. Without any doubt at all, there is a strong folk rock influence in their music and the slick banjo picking fingers of Chris Slater really does give The Brothers Of Caedmon a niche of their own. Their set tonight gave us a great chance to hear many of their original tracks which also included their newly released video for ‘Run Away Train’, which you can get a peek at over on their website.

Brothers Of Caedmon

Another change in musical direction tonight was brought about for our enjoyment by the charismatic Two ‘n’ Eights, who really do stand their ground when it comes to making that indie vibe happen. You gotta love the personality of this band and their music and clearly many did, as the audience didn’t hesitate in putting down their beer and start dancing. A top set from the Two ‘n’ Eights and a band to make a point of seeing first chance you get.

THE TWO N EIGHTS

Our headliners for this evening, Stubblemelt, are a band that I’ve greatly admired for quite some time now, as they have always managed to creatively combined their many influences with their own original individuality and boy, do Stubblemelt own their sound with true passion. I first came across them back in 2011 when their EP ‘The Search’ blew me away and you can check out my review from back then here.

Kyle Perry - Stubblemelt

As original and as inspiring as I’d previously thought Stubblemelt to be back then, the new album ‘Gypaetus Barbatus’ takes them one step further down the path of sheer genius. This album shows how their songwriting ability has grown full to brimming, with an abundance of striking detail that has more twists and grooves to it than the mind can anticipate, and one thing for sure – this album is born to fly!

David Ashford - Stubblemelt

With this being their second night of the weekend long celebration of the album’s release, Stubblemelt were on top notch form and raring to go – not even the savage heat on stage was going to hold them back.

Tom Marshall - Stubblemelt

This performance was the first time I’d seen Amy Collins at the synth and what a perfect match she is for this band as my oh my, she is one seriously talented young lady!

Amy Collins - Stubblemelt

Set list tonight included: 1. The March 2. Hold Me 3. Uberloader 4. Can’t Be True 5. Don’t Know 6. Welcome Back 7. Last Good Few 8. Follow The Fallen 9. Heaven 10. Only A Kiss 11. Riding Waves 12. Man Vs Venus 13. Tears 14. Journeyman. Encore was: 1. Evil Insane and 2. See Your Lovers.

I have to say that Stubblemelt seem stronger and sound greater than ever and ‘Gypaetus Barbatus’ is one amazing album you simply have to own. The band have created something quite special here and with my newly purchased copy of said CD clasped tightly in my little paws, I am sure I am going to be listening to this for quite some time to come!

Words and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Red Dragon Cartel

With Support From Syron Vanes and Jupiter Falls.

The Rescue Rooms Nottingham 7th June 2014.

On the gig guide page for the Rescue Rooms, tonight’s support acts remained as tbc, so it was a great surprise, when we got to the venue and there was in fact two support acts performing! First up, all the way from Leeds were Jupiter Falls. This was a first time encounter but I doubt it will be the last! This band is as diverse as they come, fans of early GnR’s, Shinedown and Avenge Sevenfold should definitely check these guys out. Although still in its infancy as only formed in 2013, they haven’t been lazy, not by a long shot. The bands debut album, “Revolution” is due to hit the streets any day now and I’m sure it will hit the ground running, what with the bands extensive tour schedule planned around of its release. Clearly being given a slot as one of Red Dragon Cartel’s main support bands, has helped to give this band a massive boost and boy it shows.

Lead singer James clearly wears his “Hart” on his sleeve but like the headline act, this bands strength lies in the superb guitar playing abilities of their lead guitarist Deano. When a guitar solo was in full flow, we, the public, couldn’t help but stop and admire the mans abilities, even the band couldn’t help but watch in ore as Deano went off on one. In doing so, he and the rest of the band did an awesome job of entertaining us throughout their set. Sure as hell beats watching Britain’s Got Talent, on that thing called a TV! Unlike that show and the hapless half wits that appear on it, this band actually have playing ability and plenty of talent to support it! I’m really looking forward to the bands debut album and will be getting a copy on its release!

Danny Backhouse - Jupitar Falls

Swedish Heavy metal, courtesy of Syron Vanes on the menu next, washed down with a few ales, to get us in the mood! Unknown to me, but these guys have been around for the best part of 30 years!!! Hailed as one of the pioneering bands of the NWOBHM era back in the day, these guys have had countless reviews and interviews in the press, along with many appearances at prestigious music festivals, but above all, they have sold many copies of their albums over the years. Their latest album “Evil Redux” has been kicking up a bit of a storm since its release in 2013. Thanks to the support and strength of that album, it has help to secure them a slot on this tour with the legend Jake E Lee, so that being said, they must have something about them that’s worth sticking around and listening to, no?

Anders Sellborn - Syron Vanes

Yes, tonight’s set was a powerful and rocking affair that really helped to set a precedent for the main act. With no BS, these guys ripped through a blistering set, with minimal fuss but with maximum professionalism, that we could hold our horns and beers high too!

Rimbert Vahlstroem - Syron Vanes

The comment “HE’S BACK” rang loud and clear tonight! Actually classically trained in piano, Jake E Lee is one of the all time great guitarist of our generation, yet, by in large, he’s self taught, which is an inspiration in its self and gives me hope in my own quest to learn to play the guitar! Having grown up listening and supporting bands like Black Sabbath, Lee’s biggest claim to fame is being Ozzy Osbourne’s lead guitarist during the mid 80’s which must have been a real honour. Credited as one of the writers for Ozzy’s double platinum selling album, “Bark at the Moon”, Lee has surely written himself into the history books for sure. Do you remember that really annoying, yet totally addictive computer game Guitar Hero? Well, if it wasn’t for people like Jake E Lee, that game would never of existed, as he truly is a guitar rock god and has helped to inspire many a great guitar player during his time, with his distinctive and unique style of guitar playing, Lee is ranked highly amongst his peers and adored by many a music fan!

Jake E. Lee - Red Dragon Cartel

Now in the band “Jake E Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel” and touring the world again, it’s easy to see Lee’s musical preferences shining through on this bands self titled debut album, which is phenomenal by the way! Tonight, mostly featured Jake ripping out many killer guitar solos and producing a barrage of guitar trickery, while the rest of the band provided Lee with a heavy undertone of metal blues.

Ah, yes, the rest of the band, I almost forgot about them in my haze of hysteria! On bass, we have the uber-cool, Santana look-a-like, Ronnie Mancuso, complete with his blue suede loafers and hat, this cat is a real dude. He seemingly relished playing along side Lee and the rest of the band and consistently showed emotions of complete joy and admiration during Lee’s solos. He did a sterling job throughout the set and gave us a show of his own, complete with a bass solo which was admirable. His constant, thunderous bass tones kept our hearts beating in time – that’s for certain, aswell as participated in some on-stage wrestling matches with Lee, which were comical!

Ronnie Mancuso - Red Dragon Cartel

On drums, we have the young, boisterous and energetic Jonas Fairley, who did a phenomenal job maintaining a continuous beat throughout Lee’s solo’s. He showed real passion and determination and gave his all throughout the set, which was great to see. Lastly, of course, we have lead vocalist Darren James Smith, who is a real character and great front man. He has the looks of Slash, yet he has the dance moves, made famous by Axel Rose, you know, that head swaying from side to side thing he does, very funny!

Humour ran throughout tonight’s set, courtesy of Darren, who interacted very well with the “comedians” in the crowd. Other than Lee’s truly inspiring guitar playing, which was the main attraction, by a country mile, Darren provided us with some memorable moments of his own!

DJ Smith - Red Dragon Cartel

Moments like, cooling himself down against a wall during one of Lee’s solos, as it was bloody hot in the Rescue Rooms tonight. Getting pissed off with continuously asking the sound guy to turn his monitors down, then back up again, when he finally lost it and threw his mic away, only to lose it completely and end up searching the stage for it again. (All in good humour, I might add, he wasn’t being a diva) My personal favourite moment, of which there were several, was how well Darren played up to the camera, which only enhanced my photographing experience, I just wish more bands had the showmanship of these guys!

Red Dragon Cartel

I can’t stress enough how, if you’re a guitar fan, you should see this band play live. I know their UK tour dates are few and far between, but you can catch them playing Download this year and I know many of you are going, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to be both amazed and entertained at the same time!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)