Thursday, 25 February 2010

Live Review: Europe Invade Bournemouth

Long Hair? Check. Leather Jacket? Check. It’s the final countdown…

It seems to be a case of quality, not quantity, in regards to the crowd who have turned out to see Swedish metal band Europe. Although not very impressive in number, the fans certainly look the part, and walking into Bournemouth’s O2 Academy is like travelling back to the 80’s - and there isn’t a flux capacitor in sight.

Support act Diamond Head provide an impressive opening to the show, proving just why metal Gods Metallica count them as one of their influences. The band, who supported the likes of Iron Maiden and AC/DC back in the day, play to arena standard with their Bon Jovi-esque glam metal. Front man Nick Tart, is definitely a housewives favourite. Kitted out in his tight t-shirt and jeans he manages to get the small percentage of females in the audience moving with an erotically-charged cover of Fever. He has the Steve Tyler strut down to a fine art and, despite his slightly cringe-worthy ‘dad-at-a-wedding’ air guitar, manages to leave the crowd chanting for more. It’s hard to see why this band hasn’t been more successful.

Europe’s set also showcases some of that good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll with tracks from their surprisingly extensive back-catalogue. Considered by many to be a ‘one-hit wonder’, the band has in fact released eight studio albums, with the most recent - Last Look At Eden - hitting the shops in September last year. The band are clearly very experienced and put on a polished performance, enjoying every minute of their return to the spotlight. Lead singer, Joey Tempest’s enthusiasm appears to rub off on the audience, sparking mass swaying and a sing-a-long to classic power ballad ‘Carrie’. But of course, it is that iconic synth intro that the majority of the crowd have been waiting for. The huge international success of The Final Countdown has been both a blessing and a curse for the band, but they appear to appreciate its reception in the encore all the same.

Unfortunately Europe’s retro 80’s sound only seems to appeal to a niche market and their failure to attract younger fans means that the band is unlikely to relive their past success. But if some classic, and slightly cheesy, metal is what you’re after, then this is the show for you.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Wire-ettes tackle... Fashion

From the bell-bottoms of the 70’s to the neon of the 90’s, each fashion trend has run its cycle and is coming back round to get you.

The 70’s philosophy of ‘bigger is better’ saw many sporting platform shoes and the dreaded perm, whilst the 80’s were all about shoulder pads too wide to fit through doors.

During the 90’s, bare skin was all the rage with crop tops and string vests. The Spice Girls era also saw the trend for overalls and scrunchies, which moved onto the glam sequins and recycled ‘vintage’ outfits of the noughties.

Fashion Faux Pas

Sagging/ Low Riding: Do you know how to wear trousers my love? It’s to cover up the gifts God gave us. The lower your belt gets the closer you are to exposing the very assets that your trousers were designed to cover.

Caps worn sideways: Really? Are you are gangster? Do you have hoes? No? Then maybe you should try wearing your hat properly!

Black and Brown: Apparently this looks really bad. We were unaware of this until recently. Looks like we are going to have to rethink some of our outfits, but we reckon it’s not as bad as some make out.

Bling: Unless you are the king or a Lord Mayor, you do not deserve to have that amount of gold hanging about your person, be it fake or not. Keep it to a minimum and for goodness sake no medallions!

Visible Panty Lines: Now, sometimes this can’t be helped. We have all had those moments where we buy a lovely outfit, try it on and discover to our horror that going commando might be the only option. Even so ladies, if you choose to wear a thong, it doesn’t have to be round your waist, you don’t want to look like a bloody beef joint.

Underwear worn as Outerwear: Superman has a lot to answer for! We have never tried on a see through top and not bought a cami to go underneath. Try and leave a little more to the imagination.

Ankle Bashers: Good old ankle bashers, the quintessential school boy error. Tie in white socks and you couldn’t make a worse fashion faux pas. It has been done with style, for example the likes of Fearne Cotton. We love to hate her but the woman can’t half pull off some snazzy outfits! But don’t just throw on any pair of baggy trousers or you’ll look like a clown.

Hareem Pants: Great if you are going to a fancy dress party as Aladdin. All you need now is the magic carpet.

Ugg Boots: Surely these are just glorified slippers? Why not accessorise with a duvet and teddy bear?

Crocs: Should only be worn by small children or the mentally ill.

Recently a new trend has spread across the country. Today we are faced with the dilemma of leggings vs jeggings. Girls have decided it’s ok to wear leggings with only a waist length top. Is it acceptable to expose your backside in tight fitting spandex? The latest Facebook group ‘Stop wearing leggings as trousers!’ seems to disagree.

Anne Chaisty – course leader of BA(Hons) Fashion at the Arts Institute – says, “Celebrity culture has a lot to answer for. People wear things because they see someone else wearing it and it just spirals. For example, Cheryl Cole can wear wet look leggings and soon they are everywhere”.

So does she think they can be worn without coverage? “Call in the fashion police! There is an ‘anything goes’ attitude to fashion. People don’t consider it can be offensive but jeggings certainly didn’t come from the catwalk.”

The Wire-ettes asked the students of Bournemouth University ‘leggings vs jeggings’ and their views on whether they should be worn as trousers…

Ben Woodley, 20, Leisure Marketing 2nd year:


“Leggings with t-shirts? Why not?”

Tim Heap, 19, Multi-Media Journalism 1st year:

I don’t really know/care

“It is not the best look really is it. My flat mate wears leggings but she wears tops to cover them. It depends on your figure. If you can get away with it and you don’t mind the guys looking it is ok. Jeggings are kind of imposters really aren’t they?

Anthony, Product Design 1st year:


“The more skin the better.”

Chrissie Curtis, 18, Business Studies 1st year:

Jeggings – because they look more like jeans because it doesn’t pick up on the tightness as much.

“I don’t think leggings as trousers are that flattering but it is not that offensive.

Danielle Butler, 22, Retail Management final year:


“I personally think they shouldn’t be worn as trousers. They look nicer with a long top or a dress because you can practically see you arse. I suppose they look alright if you are really tiny but they look nicer if you wear something over the top.”

Louisa Fisher, 18, Costume Design AUCB 1st year:


“Some people, when they are super skinny they look ok. But I think you should look at your size and judge them from there. I don’t really wear jeggings – perhaps because I am a bit scared of them, but each to their own.

Jasper Van Den Bosch, 18, Foundation Graphic Design AUCB, 1st year:


“I think they are quite exposing if not worn with a long top but I don’t really mind its up to the individual person. Jeggings – I hate them!

Jamie Glasse, 19, Computer Animation, 1st Year:


“It’s too obvious, I don’t like it!”

By The Wire-ettes (Sarah Hartland, Joanna Stass and Hannah Sweetnam)

Interview: Rocking In The Name Of Rage Against The Machine

Tribute acts have become so much more than the classic Elvis impersonator. These days many have a fan base of their own with the likes of The Bootleg Beatles and ABBA tribute Bjorn Again proving hugely popular. If you can overlook the cheesy names – Fred Zeppelin, AC/DShe and No Way Sis are just a few that spring to mind – then the tribute act fulfils a purpose for those who are not fortunate enough to be able to see their favourite performers live.

Know Your Enemy, Bournemouth’s local Rage Against The Machine tribute act, do just that. With the increasingly popular RATM’s gigs becoming few and far between, the band - made up of Jim Larcombe on vocals, Grant Stevens on bass, Steve Mowbray on guitar and Ian Shuff on drums – were simply responding to demand when they formed three years ago. ‘We used to be a general covers band but we played a lot of Rage tracks. Everyone used to tell to us we should start a Rage tribute act so we went for it,’ explains Steve.

The guys haven’t always played the music of other artists. Starting out in ‘a crappy little band’ when they were kids, the guys began writing songs for fun but decided covering other people’s music was the way forward. ‘Obviously the main advantage of being in a tribute band is that you don’t have to sit down and right a load of material because it’s already written for you,’ says Steve.

Another benefit for this group of mates is that the band allows them to leave their day-jobs of construction worker, garage owner, full-time dad and mature student for a night and become their idols. It is very much a case of ‘builder by day, rock star by night’. Nevertheless, this advanced production of Stars In Their Eyes also comes with some added pressure, as Steve adds, ‘Obviously people expect you to be exactly like that band, so if you’re not then they leave disappointed.’

Needless to say, the guys are pleased about Rage Against The Machine’s Christmas Number 1. Jim remembers hearing Rage for the first time when he was 12 years old ‘I’d never heard anything like it, but when I played it to other people they didn’t like it. Now, 20 years on it’s taken off. It’s brilliant.’ Before adding, somewhat sarcastically, ‘But I do think Simon Cowell is really cool. Everything he touches turns to gold. If I could dance in front of him I would’. The chart success of ‘Killing In The Name’ has also had other benefits for the band ‘I’d say most of our shows coming up are a result of it. People are definitely more interested,’ adds Ian.

Being huge Rage fans, the guys have seen their idols perform live on several occasions. But, unless you count Grant’s insistence that Rage front man Zack de la Rocha rode past them on a push bike in Portugal, they have never had the chance to meet them face to face. ‘We’re probably not allowed to meet them, it would cause some sort of quantum flux disruption or something - a little black hole would open up,’ jokes Steve. When asked if there is any other band they would like to be a tribute act for Jim grins ‘Probably Kylie Minogue, the Wombles or Rick Astley’ before launching into an impressive rendition of ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

Before beginning their pre-show ritual of beer and Jack Daniels, the band, who list ‘No Shelter’ and ‘Bullet In The Head’ amongst their favourite Rage tracks to play, remember the last time they rocked The Old Fire Station. ‘It was exactly one year ago to the day,’ says Ian ‘But tonight’s sound is much better. I seem to remember the sound check went on for nearly an hour and a half last year’.

When the band take to the stage it’s evident that the audience don’t quite know how to react to a tribute act and many look a little embarrassed to be there. But a few songs in, the music starts to take over and the band bring The Old Fire Station to life with energy by the bucket load. Front man Jim, a fan of audience participation, regularly hands the microphone over to the front row giving Rage fans the rare chance to scream their favourite bands politically opinionated lyrics through the speakers. An experience which would be near impossible at a RATM gig these days.

By the end of the show the mosh pit is in full swing and a supercharged version of Killing In The Name leaves the crowd cheering for an encore. In true rock star style Jim ends the set by crowd surfing to the bar and the audience are left with no doubt that Know Your Enemy are the next best thing to their Californian heroes.