All change in the DORJA camp; farewell Holly and welcome Sarah Michelle

Almost a year to the day since DORJA announced themselves with their track ‘Fire’, they have now had a change to the line-up. Founding guitarist Holly Henderson announced her departure last month, as her own solo career is set for lift-off. She has plans to play live with her new band, and with a new EP imminent and an album in the can for release later in the year she perhaps felt that she could no longer give her all to DORJA. With dates of their own booked for July, the remaining quartet (guitarist Rosie Botterill, drummer Anna Mylee, bass player Becky Baldwin, plus LA-based lead singer Aiym Almas) conducted an online search for a new guitarist, and they have today announced their new member.

Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, new six-stringer Sarah Michelle has several years’ experience touring the UK and Europe, most recently with tribute act ‘The Magic of Michael Jackson’. Her guitar influences include Eddie van Halen, Gary Moore, Jimi Hendrix and Paul Kossoff, and she maintains a channel on YouTube with over 1.2million views at the time of writing. She appears to be a natural fit for this band, and I was hoping to get to a show or two in order to see for myself what she will bring to the party. However I shall be out of action for most of July having sustained a fractured ankle (following a recent gig, note not during it!) therefore I cannot travel to any of the scheduled dates. Beyond disappointed at that, since I know the other four members well and would no doubt enjoy their set, but it will have to be another time.

The dates for DORJA’s upcoming tour are listed below, if a show is reachable I recommend attending, since the band members can only come together at irregular intervals (singer Aiym Almas is based in LA, with Sarah Michelle in Dublin and the other girls all based in England).

For further information please see the band’s Facebook page.

DORJA UK dates July 2017
Lastly, here is a clip of Sarah Michelle herself from her youtube channel:

DORJA guitarist Sarah Michelle

DORJA guitarist Sarah Michelle

Caught Live: The Strypes, Arts Club Liverpool 9th June 2017

The crowd who showed at the Arts Club for this gig by Irish retro-rockers The Strypes were clearly still in election mode, coming the day after the UK General Election which saw a clean sweep of seats in Liverpool taken by the Labour Party. Chants of ‘Oh, Je-re-my Cor-byn!’ rang out frequently, and were given plenty of encouragement by support act, Man & The Echo. Frontman Gaz Roberts made his own feelings abundantly clear, both between songs and during them, with his anti-Tory tirades going over well with this crowd. Their music was reasonably typical indie-rock fare, with emphasis on organ more than guitar, but their singer did stand out with his crooner-type vocal.

The Strypes were touring in support of a still-unreleased at the time third album (it came out around a week after this date), ‘Spitting Image’. Still barely in their twenties, this band are already veterans of the live scene, having performed in their native Republic of Ireland since their early teens. Their energetic live set included several new tracks from ‘Spitting Image’, but there were enough favourites there to please their followers. Live, they play HARD and have an intensity that many Metal bands would envy. The crowd on the floor responded in kind, with frequent moshpits throughout their set (yours truly anticipated this, and stood further back on the terrace-like area which still afforded a clear view of the stage!) There were still plenty of pro-Corbyn shouts during their set, and guitarist Josh McClorey acknowledged that while reminding the crowd that it wasn’t their election to get involved in! He played some killer leads and even threw in a snippet of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cowboy Song’ at one point.

The Strypes at Liverpool Arts Club

The Strypes at Liverpool Arts Club

The main MC duties came not from frontman Ross Farrelly (looking cool in shades, a natty suit and a snazzy yellow and black striped (Stryped?) Telecaster guitar, but bassist Pete O’Hanlon. It was the bassist who handled most of the crowd interaction, getting them to jump, clap, or even just encourage them to go wild. They needed little encouragement! At the back, drummer Evan Walsh looked sharp, with a fifties-style haircut and loud jacket, he was immense behind the kit but must have been hot in that get up!

This band have had some critical pastings but have won themselves not just fans their own age, but many older ones who remember the likes of Dr Feelgood. The Feelgoods plus many others of their era are obvious inspirations to these young lads. They’re the real deal, a no-nonsense hard-driving four-piece who are already on their way to becoming huge thanks to their live performance.  I don’t think I’ve seen such an intense live act since early Airbourne, that’s how hard their delivery is. Seeing this group while they’re still playing small venues such as the Arts Club is thus highly recommended.

As a postscript, I got through this gig by staying clear of the pit but afterwards, having enjoyed a marvellous show, I managed to fracture my ankle walking back through the city to where I’d parked. Somehow I made it back to the car and was able to drive home again, but this has put me out of gig-going action for several weeks. Consequently, I have had to sit out several gigs I’d otherwise have seen and so this leg cannot heal quickly enough, I’m missing my fix! 😀

The Strypes Facebook page

4 - deserving

4 – Deserving

 

The 27 Club: A new and much-needed Liverpool venue

I found myself in the centre of Liverpool last night after finding out about not only a new venue, but that it was launching (officially) that evening with four bands, headlined by Glam Skanks, a Californian all-girl quartet about whom I knew little. However judging by the name and that at least two people in my Facebook list had already checked them out, it looked like it would be a good night out.

First challenge was to find the place: I knew it was on Victoria Street, but not exactly whereabouts. I actually walked the whole length of the street, going past it before retracing my steps and discovering that the venue was actually in the former L1 KTV karaoke bar on the corner of Peter Street; it even had the old sign outside still. Only on closer inspection did I spot the small ‘The 27 Club’ sign in the window. Having found the venue and furthermore, discovering it was free entry (!) I entered to find a small, dimly-lit room with the bar to the right as you go in, and the stage area (such as it was) to the left. A band was already on, it turned out to be a four-band bill. The main lighting was behind the performers – an array of multicoloured flourescent tubes. I suspect that this is a remnant from the place’s previous life, and the whole set up looked like it had only just been put together. I had no idea at the time, that it had!

The band playing were called Figures, formed in Liverpool but with personnel hailing from the Preston area. The set was grunge-inspired hard rock, their chief asset was singer Carrie who had a powerful voice. The next band up were St Helens crew Last Reserves, who were energetic with powerful bass lines and some enthusiastic jumping about from frontwoman Alice Nancy, not really my cup of tea to be completely honest. Following this came Novacrow, the only band on the bill I had prior knowledge of, having seen them last year also in Liverpool. A four-piece fronted by the purple-tressed Kitty, they’re a lively bunch. Kitty is singer/guitarist, something along the lines of Lzzy Hale but with a more expressive performance; when she puts the guitar down for a series of numbers mid-set she is all over the stage, occasionally off it and into the audience! Not to be outdone, bassist Federico ‘Freddy’ Spera is leaping about the place, all over the fittings,  out on the floor, and memorably running out into the street mid-song while continuing to play! His radio link makes that possible of course, he is totally untamed. Next to this, guitarist Jonyx’s own ventures off the stage seem gentle by comparison! The liveliest of live bands you’ll see, they are well worth checking out and play regularly in the area, as they are based in Merseyside.

I found out while the other bands were playing that Glam Skanks were actually playing a double-header this night; when doors opened at the 27 Club the girls were actually 35 miles up the road in Manchester, opening for veteran punkers The Skids at the o2 Ritz. They must have packed up in record time and shot down the M62 then, as they arrived just before Novacrow started their set. I’d not heard a note from them prior to their arrival on this stage, but they were exactly what I expected. Introduced by an older guy in a trilby (presumably their manager) they looked as expected too, glittery costumes and guitars aplenty. They opened with ‘G.L.A.M.’, with singer Ali Cat looking like a cheerleader, the song is a definite nod to that and got the punters in the mood. They beckoned us up to the stage and ran through a short set of hard rocking glam punk, played with humour. One of their songs, whose title is direct and to the point, shall we say (!) is a more profane take on the Beatles ‘Please Please Me’. (Get their album, you’ll soon identify the track in question!)

It was an enjoyable set of riff-heavy glam rock, watching them reminded me a little of London combo The Featherz but with a more Hollywood twist. I was amused to find their bassist was called Millie, and they have a song called ‘Bad Bitch’ – but the links to The SoapGirls (a South African sister act I have seen on several occasions, whose bassist is also called Mille) ended there. Ali Cat was an endearing frontwoman, easily getting this crowd clapping and singing along. Following their set, their manager was hawking their CD ‘Glitter City’ (featuring many of the songs played in the set) and so I treated myself to a copy.

All in all this was a successful launch night for a venue that this city has needed for some time. The people who run the place also offer rehearsal space for bands, and live music will be on offer most nights. I often travel even to see small gigs in venues such as this, and this place looks ideal for several bands from other parts of the country that I know. Only thing was, with the lighting minimal to non-existent, I didn’t take any pics of the proceedings so you’ll just have to content yourself with this snap of yours truly with three of the Glam Skanks! 🙂

glamskanksme

I wish the 27 Club every success with this venture and look forward to seeing many more up-and-coming bands play here.

4 - deserving

4 – Deserving

Facebook Pages:

The 27 Club

The Glam Skanks

Novacrow

Last Reserves

Figures