Gig Reviews…

The Soapgirls at O’Riley’s (Hull) 05.09.2019

Independent Review from: The Phantom Gig Critic

O’Riley’s Beverley Road Hull Thursday 5th September 2019

Thursday night at O’Riley’s on Hull’s Beverley Road. This is a large, independent venue run by Darren Bunting. Darren is working hard to make this a very friendly, relaxed venue that offers a range of events and special nights to suit all tastes.

First band of the night was the Huddersfield ‘Deluxe Garage Blues’ trio, Knuckle. This band just never disappoint. They played all their own mixed bag of gems including Cash & Carry, Meet Me at the Station, Jar Head, Ejector Seat and Spilt Milk all introduced with Yorkshire wit and humour by frontman Jonny Firth. Also, they’ve some great videos on YouTube

Whilst listening to Knuckle it struck me what a giant sound they create in every sense; strong clear vocals, cleverly constructed songs with a range of emotional and social context, as well as excellent musicianship. You could pay a lot more to see a bigger name band supported by a big crew and a host of specialist tour equipment, but there’s no guarantee that they would sound, play and entertain any more than Knuckle. I thoroughly recommend catching them live when they’re playing near you next, you won’t be disappointed.

Next up was Hull’s own Cats That Bark, who gave an awesome performance to the home crowd. The melodic three piece are getting sharper and sharper with every performance and the quality of sound they are producing is phenomenal. This very accomplished trio continue to play tight and just keep getting stronger. The Cat’s looked at home at O’Rileys and gave an excellent set which included a new song dedicated to their favourite venue, simply called O’Rileys. Also included in their set was their own material such as Wasted, Keep My Jumper, Irrelevance, Safe to Say. Cats That Bark finished with a rousing cover of The Offspring’s All I Want.

Final band of a night of trios, was French born: via South Africa sisters (plus a drummer, who is a man and probably not related), The SoapGirls. The girls describe their sound as revolt rock, which translated as a mixture of bouncy but intense almost pop-like tunes combined with a thrash/punk rebellious onslaught. The performance had everyone’s attention from the first instance. Two very slender, attractive, blond near naked French girls is going to. What soon became apparent was that this wasn’t a ‘look at me’ type of performance. The girls demonstrated that they are very accomplished musicians and performers. Their stage craft and presence was far more than their looks. The girls gave a very polished performance and the combination of Camille Debray’s (Millie) acrobatic bass playing and amazingly strong vocals throughout, mixed with Noemie Debray’s (Mie) excellent lead guitar whilst bopping along to the beat and interacting very positively with the audience meant that you quickly forgot the girls were fairly short on wardrobe for the show. No seriously you did!

The performance was interlaced with very succinct but assertively delivered political messages regarding such issues as governments’ manipulation of the masses through fear and control, conformity, rights of the individual, persecution, animal rights and veganism. The girls also lightened the mood with their wicked sense of humour which appeared to take the crowd by surprise at times.

Their repertoire included some excellent sounds and the performance started with some softer punk numbers such as Johnny Rotten, Society’s Rejects, Chains and One Way Street. The mood of the performance quickly became darker and heavier with songs such as Bitter, Drown, In the Name of God and My Development. The SoapGirl’s performance remained tight and engaging until the very last song.

It would be easy to brand The SoapGirls as a gimmick act, but they are far from that. Their act is original, they work very hard on stage and play their set with massive energy and pace. They’re definitely worth a listen and I know that they regularly end up on The Codfather’s weekly podcast playlist.

It was a really entertaining night at O’Riley’s and it’s worth mentioning that the sound and lighting, in the safe hands of Darren Bunting, remained excellent through all the performances.

An Evening with The Codfather – Gig Review

Independent Review from: The Phantom Gig Critic / photos by Jay Mack Facebook instagram

This was the first organised event from the creators of the excellent ‘The Codfather Podcast’ and a natural development for a show that, in the words of Darran ‘The Codfather’ Jubb, is on a mission to throw a spotlight on unsigned acts and pay homage to bands that play under the mainstream radar.


The venue was upstairs in the welcoming Santiago Bar in Leeds city centre and the evening had a diverse mix of four acts that perfectly fit The Codfather’s mission ethos.


First up was Jon Penn from Hull with a solo acoustic set of pop punk favourites. Jon had the toughest job of the night as he had been drafted in at the last minute as another act had had to drop out and he was the first act on. Jon’s set included a number of bouncy Green Day, Blink 182, Bowling For Soup tracks to get the evening going. He also paid homage to Ryan Hamilton and The Harlequin Ghosts with his version of This Is the Sound. Jon included one of his own songs, the well-crafted One Last Piece.
I’m sure being the first act isn’t always an issue but the event had had to be planned and executed on a shoestring and there were a few issues with sound and lighting for the acts to contend with.
Jon’s personality, humility and warmth shone through and the audience were with him through the highs and lows of the technical issues. Jon’s performance got the evening off to a great start.


Next up was Hull melodic punk trio, Cats That Bark. They did a thumping set of hard, succinct, well executed tracks including: Fragmentation, Safe To Say, Would I Lie and Dammit. I particularly enjoyed the concise Keep My Jumper, a song guitarist Danny Roe said was inspired by a rapper he was listening to on a bus who was freestyling an ode to his ex. The rap contained the line ‘and you can keep my jumper.’
The Hull trio appeared to have the biggest issues with the sound but it was more an issue for how the band were hearing themselves. From in front of the stage they were tight and the sound was great.


Next up was the mighty Yorkshire outfit, Knuckle. Described as ‘Deluxe Garage Blues’ the Huddersfield trio played loud and gave a rousing performance. Knuckle have healthy support locally, but the quality of their writing, performance and song craft, will inevitably lead to them to a bigger cult following. Their set included the melodic gems Hand Grenade, Cash & Carry, My Girlfriend Is A Werewolf and Baby I’m a Dickhead. The lead vocalist, Jonny Firth introduced the emotional but cathartic, Meet Me at the Station, which was written about his cousin who sadly took his own life.
The set was a fine mixture of emotion, social commentary and humour. Knuckle was a brilliant addition to the evening. This event was aimed at promoting the diversity and skilled articulation of the art of bands and artists who are not heard on mainstream radio stations. Knuckle personify this.


The night closed with the brilliantly freaky Anglo-Italian electro-synth punk act, Bikini Death Race.
This was a real coup for an event like this. The trio are such a unique unit, both in sound and presence. The result is a loud, hard and fast fusion of heavy electronic and furious fun in orange boiler suits and animal ski masks. Their set included Rabbit Hole, Time Machine, Party Animals and Not Sorry. Singer, Gingerkat explained brilliantly the meaning of some of the songs, like, ‘this one’s
about some of the people in the office where we work, it’s called Fuck Off and Die’…I know that feeling well! The BDR’s finished with a cover of The Ramones, Blitzkreig Bop, followed by a stirring version of Depeche Mode’s Photographic.


All in all, this was a great attempt at a first time event for the organisers. Yes, it had some flaws, but this was an event organised by music fans, featuring performers who love what they do above the obsession of needing to obtain fame and celebrity status. I was speaking to Phil, the bassist from Cat’s That Bark and he was telling me that the band have the chance of a gig in Paris that he was excited about. From the discussion, it’s clear the band won’t get rich from the French gig and it may even end up costing them money, but the chance to stand in front of a new audience and experience that buzz made it all worthwhile.

Events like An Evening With The Codfather need to be supported and encouraged. It’s an excellent platform for new and niche acts to showcase their talents in a real-time, intimate and fully sensory setting. Things that are hard to get from a download or a minute or two of footage on Instagram, Facebook, etc.
The other important thing about this debut event was that the admission was £3.50. £3.50, it wouldn’t even buy you a drink in the Santiago Bar. £3.50 – which included a free CD, to see an eclectic mix of local and international talent in a live venue, that’s quite amazing. It’s more evidence of the organisers making the gig as accessible as possible for the pure love of music, well done The Codfather crew and I’m looking forward to the next event.