Archive for August, 2011
Here it is! The last short film I have done at university.
Directed by Jamie Reid
Produced by Will Preston
Camera by Ed Corrigan
Editing and continuity by Andy Prevett
Sound by All of us!
Carl Welch – Simon
Becki Short – Paris
Glenn Barr – Gus
Will Preston – George
Music by Joshua Buck
Poor frame rate in games these days is like hearing someone suffering from the plague. You just don’t hear about it anymore and you think that game developers would avoid having the FPS dive below anything that doesn’t flow as fast as reality. Well, the new Doom game looks to sacrifice its single-player frame rate slightly in favour of better looking gameplay.
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There are two types of World War two films: the ones that show you the explosive battle on the frontlines and the ones that show you the cloak and dagger sneakery from behind the scenes. With the former, the focus is on the tension and the difficult moral choices the characters must make in order vanquish the Nazi menace. From these themes, we see a good amount of character development and a lot of carefully worded conversations when confronted by a helmeted German soldier. The line between the Hollywood style blockbusting of Saving Private Ryan and the edge of you seat covert flicks like Inglourious Basterds must never be crossed. War of Resistance happily skips over this line and knocks everything off the shelves whilst it does it.
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Possibly one of the sunniest Sundays of the year. I came to the gig tonight with a glowing red face because I forgot to put on sun tan lotion, as usual. Lack of preparation was a theme for one of tonight’s bands, so I didn’t feel like I was completely alone. The results were very close and the crowd was very large throughout the rest of the night. It felt like it was the final, to be frank.
Join the Rising
Well, for the first band on, they didn’t sound too bad. Not that it was their sound they were playing. Think U2 covering The Cult in a shamelessly upbeat cookie cutter package that thinks it’s far more exciting than it actually is. Granted, the lead singer had a bit of confidence, talent and energy, but his demeanour was less of a rock star and more of a children’s entertainer trying too hard to appeal to the preteen demographic. This was made worse by too much talking in between songs. I’m all for the mid song chin wag, but half a minute later, I’m almost running up to the stage to shout into his ear to start playing; the irony of this being that I didn’t really like their music in the first place. It was pleasant and upbeat, but unoriginal yet dull at the same time. We’ll have to wait until Bono asks for their sound back before Join the Rising could look at going any further.
These were most regular looking band of the evening. I would say they were regular sounding too, but that would be cruel. Living up to their name, the band entered the stage as quietly as possible in a doomed effort to not be seen. After more than enough second of awkward staring, they kicked in with some formulaic punky rock that was too pop to be punk, but too punk to be pop. From the back, the lead singer looked like a bizarre cross between Charlie Brooker and a darts player. The banter was a bit on the bizarre side; when introducing themselves, the lead singer claimed that the band was from Portsmouth, despite saying this in the most northern accent you can afford. Then he started giving an itinerary of what he plans to do later. I was bewildered, you can be sure of that. Citizen Unknown spent the rest of the set playing some rather samey numbers that started off well, but sounded like the last song they just played. Not the most enjoyable band of the evening, but not the least enjoyable band….
Dead Man’s Dance
These were the least enjoyable band of the evening. The compere didn’t even get a chance to introduce them before they snuck onto the stage and started playing. After roughly half a minute of sloppy by-the-numbers indie rubbish, they pulled the brakes and stalled the entire set due to the drummer snapping his only pair of sticks. No, seriously; that was the reason. I would have used that window to exit the stage in shame, but oh no, it carried on after the most cringing minute all week. There was nothing to rescue here at all. It was like I had just repaired a car made out of cardboard in order to drive to my own execution. Dead Man’s Dance could act as a stark warning to other would be bands about preparation, composition and how to avoid burying your chances at ever playing a gig again. Dead Man’s Dance?! Dead Man Walking, more like.
After seeing that shambles before them, these guys seemed like they would have won the evening. In terms of instrumentation, there was nothing really wrong apart from the lead guitarist suddenly sounding like he was in a different band, but this didn’t happen enough to collapse the set. There was also a cheeky bit of dual guitar harmonisation. The band must have seen my Thin Lizzy t shirt and wanted to impress me on the fly. There were other moments like this where they wanted to show off their talent, but it often felt out of place in their songs. Still, they sounded alright. The problem is that these guys are all very talented technically, but they need to make more catchy songs before they could get a lot more gigs in. The minute that Guerilla Gorilla pen a few hooky numbers, we’ll have a band worthy of regular support, and maybe even a headline gig in a few years.
The Founders Of
This is the third time I’ve seen these guys and they have improved a lot. Still not my bag, but very tight and energetic. They had that poppy ska sound that doesn’t use trumpets, with moments of Radio 1 rock slid in to please the average punter. And it worked; the crowd got going and were shouting for an encore by the end of the set. It was pretty obvious that most of the people there were TFO fans, and it wasn’t just the phalanx of TFO t shirts that gave this away. The only thing that lets them down is that no song really stands out from the set. This didn’t stop them from winning the evening, however.
Role reversal in comedy is a fine technique. If done right, not only does it exaggerate the contrasting differences between the two people involved, it can also subtly hint at some surprising similarities. So when you sit down to watch a black comedy about a Jewish prisoner swapping their outfit with that of a Nazi officer, you start to wonder whether any similarities between the two can occur. In this case, it was all used for comic affect, despite being based in a dark time.
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Mid week is a brave time to host a local gig. As well as it being close to the end of the month where money supplies are low, most people have work in the morning or kids to look after. At the beginning of this showcase night, it felt like the entire crowd could fit into a crumbling outhouse. But thankfully, a barrage of hooting punters poured in after the first band. Bit unfair on the first guys on, but then again, efficient self promotion is the bread and butter of breaking through.
Possibly one of the hardest band names I’ve ever had to write down or pronounce. What does it mean anyway? Thankfully, the band were ultra quiet at the start of their set to allow me to ponder this name even more. That was their first problem; lack of banter and stage presence. I don’t want to lay into them for this, but it was cringingly awkward at times, like the lead singer had been unexpectedly teleported from his bathroom and was still getting used to the fact he was in a band. But that aside, he had a very good singing voice. It was possibly the best feature of the band. As a group they played very well, but the songs were a little mild. Kind of a like a pop indie song you play to lift you up from a bad mood. Some of their material kept me interested, despite being a bit poppy for my liking. Jaqunion are one to keep an eye on.
Now this had to be the youngest looking band of the entire night. It would have had to have been their first gig judging by how they played and how much they got the crowd going – which was not very well, I’m afraid. Not only did they feel rather sloppy in places, the songs just failed to get me going. They felt half finished and you could see the parts that they forgot to paint over. It was almost like they were so eager to get a gig that they didn’t give themselves more time to sort themselves out. They wanted to sound like an indie band that uses a lot of weird syncopated beats, but came across as a trio of kids who were trying to run before they could walk. Maybe they should give themselves a few months before they hit the stage again.
It was pretty evident from just before their set that this group of swaggering Arctic Monkey wannabe’s sold the most tickets for the evening. They were the most boisterous following I’ve ever seen at a showcase gig, and I saw a group of kids moshpitting to a Rage Against The Machine tribute act last year. The Harrassments played like they were on their 6th gig of the month. They had the confidence and the skill to make the crowd louder than they already were. Swagger would be the right term to use when describing the stage presence. They had the banter, they had the fans and they could write a good tune. The reason why this well played group didn’t win the competition? They were essentially an Arctic Monkey’s tribute band. Right down from the fast drum playing to the same chords used by the Radio 1 baiting indie plank spankers. These guys will go far as long as Arctic Monkeys stay in the charts.
I love it when a band has my attention from the start without acting like a gaggle of gits. Nomura calmly came on stage and exploded in a ball of crunchy rock. At first, I thought we had another tribute act on the go, but they started moving to an early 90’s sound. There were flecks of Led Zeppelin and Smash-era Offspring that almost turned them into an imitation, but they had a fresh take on it that set them apart from everyone else that evening. They were, by far, my favourite act of the evening and I cheered a little too loudly when they won. Nothing let them down during their set. They were very close to perfection. Stop what you’re doing right now and check them out.
Finished checking out Nomura? Good! Anyway, the last act of the evening fitted in with everyone else. Kizmit have been going for a while and they’re still playing as strong as ever. There sound is a bit too poppy for my liking, but it still had a good sound to it. After a while, the songs began to get a bit samey and I pretty much lost interest. There wasn’t much to look at on stage as it was just a crowd of well dressed guys standing still. Whether this was due to lack of space or lack of confidence, I couldn’t tell you. Kizmit are a well meaning band, but I think their sound is starting to show some serious crow feet.
And so ends a four day booze and culture odyssey with the next heat in the age old tradition of the Wedgewood Rooms Showcase. I was promised a fair selection of dirty rock, but alas, I didn’t get the call in time to refit myself with some leather and long hair. The night went pretty smoothly and Martin Hoare’s burnt pizza served as mascot for the entire evening. At no point did I attempt to eat it. Neither did the following acts.
It’s always the young band that starts off the night. I have to say there was a bit of promise at the start with these guys, but after a minute in, my ears started to twitch. Another minute passed and I realised that the reaction I was having was due to a subtle mistake with Platform Location: the singer was slightly flat in places. It does sound like I’m picking away at a couple of nits, but it almost ruined a few pleasant sounding emo slash alternative numbers from being as best as they could have been. There were other moments where they were slightly out of time and the mid song banter seemed to have been abandoned. But I have oodles of respect for them for training up a last minute bassist, as they so proudly announced. A seemingly inexperienced and mildly pleasant band with some potential.
Seriously, there should be a street named after this guy now. The most persistent man you’ll ever see wearing shorts and a tank top. Armed with a guitar and a foot drum, Grumpy Apples has always managed to produce more noise than a standard four piece. Belting out red raw blues to a gaggle of bewildered punters, there was no shame in this act whatsoever. All through the set, I kept wondering how thick the irony could be, and whether or not this was intended to be tongue in cheek. If this guy carries on any longer, a tank top wearing blues based cult will develop and I’ll be forced to talk sense everyone before they fulfil an apple based suicide ceremony…in Guildhall Square.
I got a red hot tip that there would be an Aussie style hard rock band on the cards for this evening, and I correctly guessed which one by name alone. Looking young enough to be ID’d at the bar, Velvetine toddled on to stage looking like a meek GCSE project, but ended up sounding like a top AC/DC tribute act. Ironically, that was their only downfall. Despite some ace sounding riffs performed almost perfectly, the whole thing was clichéd to the point that it was like hearing early Def Leppard playing in some kind of time warp. But in an endearing way, of course. The worst part of it was that, despite this blaring disadvantage, I couldn’t help but nod my head and get into their songs. After all this time trying to progress my music taste into the realms of absurdity and avant garde, I still have a raging soft spot for a bit of old school rock. Could someone please put these guys on again?
Within ten seconds, I had these guys summed up with a noise: an aroused gasp. I’m not into the whole powerful sounding emotional sound that modern alternative rock is saturated, but Forest Floors could have talked me into it without saying a word. They all looked like they had school in the morning, but played like they intended to come in late next morning. Not only did they play like a band that has been going for years, but they managed to swing over the hard to avoid pitfall of playing too many samey songs. I’m not kidding; each one still kept my attention going. They were obviously going to win by the time they finished their second song. I can really see these guys going far.
The Vortex Buzz
At first, I thought I wasn’t going to like these guys, but they started to warm up a fair bit after the first song rang out. A casual looking garage rock band that riffed their way through the set. They looked like the oldest band there, but played like they only just got together. They weren’t terrible, they just felt like they still needed to find their sound and build their stage presence. I still found myself jigging to a few songs before I realised that the riffs started to sound alike. They were still pretty good riffs, mind. Maybe with a bit more work and confidence, we’ll see an improved Vortex Buzz next year.
One day, the country will climb out of the recession. As the battered hand slaps down onto the ledge of the financial abyss it had just ascended, we’ll be allowed to have fun again without feeling guilty. Out of all the hedonistic luxuries that I’ll be entitled to, new gig nights in Pompey is one I’ll be looking forward to the most. We could get there sooner if we all pitch in and see more local bands, but that statement is a worn out platitude. So in brave times a new night is emerging at the Wedgewood Rooms and it deserved a few more punters, seeing as it was mostly top shelf acts and all for the price of a pint. Are times really that hard? Anyway, onto the bands.
Bare Your Scars
When a hard and heavy band are performing to a bare audience and still giving it 105%, it fills me with a sense of awkward respect. Despite poor numbers at the start of the night, Bare Your Scars were still playing like there were ten times as many people in the room. Late comers missed out on a slap up metal grill with enough angry vocals to fill up a death metal hospital. I’ve never seen a band so energetic whilst staring at a floor so empty. Some of the material started to blur into one long song, but with some fantastic rhythm and an aggressive stage presence, the guys managed to hold my attention for a good length of time. And considering that this really isn’t my sort of thing, the deserve a hard pat on the back. Think a young Pantera with a focus on bouncier beats. They deserve more than the first band slot, especially after the way they ploughed through the set. It was like watching a porn star in action, even though the cameras were off.
Costumes on stage are usually fun, even if the lead singer decide to go for the old clown phobia theme. Freakpit are a band who have enough dirt and raw to use, but need to focus on pimping out the riffage more and more. At times there was a soft Korn vibe going on, then all of a sudden a Motorhead-esque driving force would explode at my ears. Just when I was getting into this dish, the band snatch it away again like a fussy chef. Everyone on stage looked the part, but there seemed to be a slight lack of confidence that prevented them from enjoying their own songs. Also, there were moments where the band felt slightly out of time or the drums decided to stop for a bar or two. However, the lead singer did get into his clown guise very well and pretty much did the job. I really think that these guys should go a bit more psychobilly in the future. Don’t ask me why; just trust me on this one.
Ah Kodiak Jack. Yet again, they haven’t let me down. Scroll back to my other reviews of them if you want. I’m fine to wait….still here? Fine! I’ll fill you in. Basically, if you like your 90’s alternative rock launched at you from a catapult; then done the rock helmet and spread your ears. Tight, well structured and not bad to look at either, these guys are a sure favourite for anyone with a pulse. I swear these guys have been going for a long while now as it bloody well shows. Nailing each song down perfectly whilst swaggering the living daylights out the stage. It’s top rock seepage! Think of Pearl Jam jamming with a stoned Stone Temple Pilots and you might be somewhere close. Please see these guys whilst you can still see them at criminally low prices. It’s only a matter of time, people!
Hooray! It’s dirty hair-ish metal. My favourite if I’m in the mood for some leather and denim strutting. Toxic Shock make the 80’s look slightly dignified, which can be an achievement in itself, I suppose. The songs have the right attitude, even if they sound a bit light in places. But if you’re up for a bit of no nonsense rock and roll with a whiff of cocaine, these guys do the line just fine. One niggle I had was with the lead singer being a bit too static. I mean the guy just looked the part and had the dress sense that I would commit war crimes to achieve, but most of the time, he was standing angrily and I felt there could have been a bit more movement. But that’s just me; if I smell out an old school rock band and the lead singer has not got a guitar strapped to him, I expect running, the splits and anything else that could cause a mild heart attack. Keep an eye on these guys, though. And I really do mean that.
Just like an awesome band who make the one amazing album and don’t take the risk with the difficult second one, Australian developer Team Bondi are giving in its gun and badge. So maybe we’ll be assigning the case of the LA Noire sequel to another developer, eh?
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Every now and again, there comes a crime drama which mixes together a twisting plot with breathtaking delivery. The set up is brutally unleashed, the characters are defined with such pin sharp detail that you could imagine them existing in real life, and the ending is delivered like an explosive whirlwind of true justice. Not only this, but the general execution shows that a lot of mothering care was applied, as well as the cast slipping into the roles like a sexy second skin. All of these add up to what a truly good crime movie should be, and somehow As Blood Runs Deep missed all of them completely.
[Article continues on Flickering Myth]