Meeking – ‘I Am Because We Are’ album review

Meeking album launch, at Moles Bath, 2017

When Jake Meeking kindly sent me his band’s album to review, he emphasized the need to remove all distractions, put on some headphones and turn it up really loud. I considered this to be the warbling self-indulgence of artistic passion, ignored it and began listening through my laptop speakers while I set about my daily chores.

40 seconds in I hit the pause button and started checking my diary for ‘chore-free’ time when I could listen to this album the way Jake had suggested, because so distracting and enticing were those opening few seconds, I wanted to make sure my full attention was given to it.

When the time came I plugged in my headphones, turned up the volume, sat back and listened to the alt-blues-jazz-rock of sonic-artistry . The opening few bars of ‘Bigger than me’ really draw the listener in, building with teasing picking and what I believe are background synth sounds, reaching an epic crescendo as the base, drums and Jake’s voice smash into the mix.

‘Bigger than me’ is a massive “Hey! We’re Meeking and this is what we do”. The track continually drops and peaks and develops with some overlapping layers. I listened to it a few times in succession and each time found something new to pique my interest. It’s over 5 minutes long, which some might say is a ballsy move for an opening track, but it needs to be, because there’s so much too it.

Theo Stevens from Meeking, at Moles, Bath 2017
Theo Stevens from Meeking

The audio quality of the album is fantastic too and makes me think that some serious effort went into the production.

I went to the launch at Moles and track 2 ‘Bury me’ had me grinning as I watched Jake unleashed some beautiful guitar work. It kicks in around the 2min mark and is just delightful, especially if you get to watch it being played.

Cassidy Jones of Tell The Hoi joined Meeking on stage for the third number, “I am because we are”, and the title of the album. Tell The Hoi are another fantastic Bath band and were one of two acts providing support on the night.

The song starts with a bit of pace, but soon slows and becomes more lyrically emotive. The lyrics suggest a feeling of the support you get from your family when you’re facing some of life’s trickier obstacles, possibly homage to the support many artists in the pursuit of success get from their families. It also sets the pace for the next few songs, which are more peaceful than the first few anthemic numbers.

‘204’ is a big contender for my favourite track on the album. It starts with some enchanting guitar noodling, not just from Jake, but latter on from Theo Stevens too, as he throws out volleys of superb base work. This track is flipping majestic!

Jake Meeking from Meeking, performing at Moles Bath, 2017
Jake Meeking

Track 5 ‘Better man’, again is a slower number, which has some nice soft picking and simple high hat and snare brush work. Jake’s vocals stop about halfway through and allow for some sultry guitar to slowly fade the track out, which provides a fantastic through line into track 6, where things start to pick up pace again.

‘New world’ is another teaser, which builds and then drops just before the crescendo, before building up again, something Meeking have clearly developed as a talent. That’s not to say other bands don’t do the same thing, but Meeking have perfected the tease. Using some gentle guitar riffs, Jake creates an appropriate otherworldly atmosphere, which interchanges with the fuller sound of the chorus.

‘This army’ has a similar opening atmospheric riff to ‘Bury me’, but that drops away and is replaced by some slight distortion on guitar and a return to the more anthemic sounds at the beginning of the album. This is the same for the following song, ‘Wheels’, where the distorted guitar is more evident and Jake really lets loose his laudable vocals.

There is a definite signature to this album, something any band should strive to achieve in their work. Like when you listen to Hendrix or Chili Peppers, there is a quality that immediately identifies who is playing.

The penultimate track, ‘It’s over when it’s over’ has a suitable air of summing up, with elements of a wandering serenade, mixed with a hint of sadness as you realize you’ve nearly reached the end of the album. It’s 6 minutes of evocative music that somehow creates a feeling of nostalgia for an album that you only started listening to half an hour ago.

In contrast the final track is very short and a bit somber, but no less beautiful than the rest of the album and is a nice way to close. However, that being said, at the album launch, Meeking did follow it with a far more upbeat number as a final song of the night.

The gig itself was excellent, with some fantastic performances by the opening acts Tell The Hoi and Newton Country, two bands I’m happy to recommend you see live as soon as possible.

Jake was right about how to listen to this, though I can’t condone listening to anything too loud, having no distractions, my headphones on and the volume turned right up really allowed me to fully embrace the creative skill that went into it.

In all, ‘I am because we are’ is a brilliantly crafted album. I may be wrong, but I sense that real thought and effort went into each track and the way the songs are put together is perfect. The musicianship from Jake, Theo and Glenn is exquisite and it was honestly a pleasure to review.

Written by @LordSkitch 

Thank you to Soul Media for the photos

Album launch 21 October 2017

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Pink Hotel at Komedia

Pink Hotel performing at Komedia, Bath, September 2017

The ‘Hef’, rest his soul, would have told you that sex sells. Everyone knows it and arguably, that’s what Pink Hotel were selling on stage at Komedia; a pulse-pounding, sweaty display of musical titillation.

They were supported by Five By Five, All That Glitters and Tell The Hoi, the first two of which unfortunately I missed, but I was lucky enough to review All That Glitters on a previous occasion and hopefully we’ll get to see Five By Five soon.

Tell The Hoi are a band who have been about in Bath for a while now, but I’d not seen yet. Boy, was I missing out. Initially, they looked run of the mill indie, but as soon as they started playing I realized there’s more to them .

Tell The Hoi performing on stage at Komedia in Bath in September 2017
Tell The Hoi

They describe themselves as “Experimenting with psychedelic sounds and alternative structures…” and have an ambition to create new indie rock. ‘Psychedelic’ often sets off a subtle alarm bells for me, as it’s proved to mean ‘rambling nonsense’ in the past. Yes, the psychedelic aspect was there, but it wasn’t nonsense and far from rambling; rather more part of a pallet of many themes, so many, it was difficult making an association, which is great. Clearly, they’re achieving their ambition.

At times, I heard essence of Blur, Billie Idol, The Verve and in one song an ever so slight hint of Bachman-Turner of all things. Honestly, I couldn’t possibly associate them with any one artist and perhaps that’s why I’m an instant fan, that and the nostalgic amalgam of 80’s and 90’s bands they seem to embody.

Their attitude was endearing too. Harry Page, the frontman, wandered the stage with the charming swagger of someone who is there by accident, but is going to enjoy themselves.

I’m really looking forward to seeing them supporting at Meeking’s album launch in October.

A short hiatus and Pink Hotel took up their headline spot.

Sam Gotley performing at Komedia, Bath, September 2017
Sam Gotley of Pink Hotel

Sam Gotley’s hair is verging on the majestic and his look is now that of a young Dave Grohl with some, not all of, the dress sense of Steve Tyler.


The first song, Neon Clouds, exploded with rock fuelled enthusiasm and shook the room, leaving no doubt that the night was going to end with a kick in the cochlea and it segued beautifully into So Long Farewell, an interesting title for only the second song of the set, but hell it was good.

Their music has hints of Springstein, a bit of Alice Cooper and at times even a little Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy, all brought forward for a 21st Century audience.

It had been a while since I’d seen them and their sound has transformed, in part I feel, thanks to the added piano and Korg which brought a new scope to the songs, which, in the aforementioned erotic fashion, built with a brooding passion towards a writhing (audience included), earth-shattering… You get the picture.

Sam Gotley fronting Pink Hotel at Komedia in Bath, in September 2017


Many of the songs seemed to have underlying themes of love and sexual encounters, some good, others dubious, like in the song ‘She doesn’t know’ and ‘Dressed in leather’.

Jamie Wales from Pink Hotel, performing at Komedia, Bath, in September 2017

They unleashed a couple of new tracks, including ‘Heaven’ and ‘My friend Mary’, the latter of which had a very pleasing reminiscent air of Green Day’s album “American Idiot”.

The crowd loved them, I loved them, what more can you ask for? Probably a record contract. Hopefully, that won’t be far off.

A final word about the venue. I have to hand it to Komedia, passed experiences of the sound quality at the venue had left me apprehensive about tonight’s gig, but they nailed it, with a fantastic sound mix and a lighting display that at times had me thinking I was in Tron. My faith is restored in this venue.

Written by @LordSkitch 

Reviewed on 27 September 2017

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Sam Green & The Midnight Heist @theoakBath

Sam Green & The Midnight Heist performing at The Royal Oak in Bath

The Christmas lull is done, the office parties are over, the students are back and we’re on the gig scene once more. Our first outing of the year was to The Royal Oak on Lower Bristol Road to see the brilliant Sam Green & The Midnight Heist.

The venue was packed; not difficult on a Friday night, but considering how long it was from everyone’s last payday it was impressive and testament to Sam’s ability to bring in a crowd.

Paul Hopkins playing double bass at The Royal Oak in Bath in January 2017

On this particular evening, ‘The Midnight Heist’ were replaced by a couple of more than able locals, including the ever-ebuliant Paul Hopkins, who showed a double bass is more than an instrument, it’s a dancing partner.


Sam utilizes a number of guitar techniques in his performances, some subtle others less so and more blisteringly fast and dexterous, but by far his best comes out when playing lap style and he showed this by dishing out a heap of swaggering blues-folk-roots concoctions. It was an auditory feast for the audience, hearing the blending of guitar and Sam’s soft yet rich vocals, with a peppering of double bass and percussion, all garnished with a helping of harmonica blasts.


Sam admitted this was a very rough and ready set, though you could hardly tell and to the audience it was proof of the quality of the musicians, as between songs he briefly informed the band of what they’d be playing next, whispering “…this one’s in A♭” as they began executing another flawless piece.

Some of the songs draw attention to themes like societal obsessions over capitalism, such as in the song “Money“, but without being at all preachy, where as others (most) are a bit more “Let’s get crazy and jump around”.

Sam Green performing at The Royal Oak in Bath

The only annoyance with the evening was that we missed the opening few songs, not by accident, but because past experiences have taught us The Royal Oak rarely start a gig at the advertised time.

That aside, it was a deft display of improvisational prowess on the part of the band and another inspirational performance from Sam Green. If you didn’t see them, don’t worry, you only have to wait till April to see Sam when he’s on tour. No more gigs till then unfortunately.

However, the release of his new solo album is imminent, so watch his page to see when. Even better than that though is the news that preparation has begun for a full band album following the April tour. So there’s a lot for fans to get excited about in the coming months.

Written by @LordSkitch 

Reviewed on 20 January 2017

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Matt Woosey performing at The Nest, Bath, December 2016

As Matt Woosey and his band assembled on stage at The Nest, I pondered on what I was about to hear. Considering how talented he is solo, I was bemused as to what need he had for a drummer, bass player, a lead guitarist and another fellow on piano and sporting an extra lead guitar?

Matt Woosey’s prolific gigging has garnered him many exquisite musical partnerships, resulting in different line-ups each time he’s visited Bath, but I’d never seen him perform with a full band. I expect it to be good, but how good?

The old crowd favorite Cruel Disposition was the first track out the gates and immediately it became clear what these extra musicians were bringing. I hadn’t thought Matt’s music could get any better than I’d heard in the past, but I was glad to be surprised. In fact, I was more than surprised, I was gobsmacked.

Matt Woosey singing British Blues, The Nest, Bath, 2016

Matt now lives in Germany and he’d brought three German friends on tour and roped in Dave Small, an old drumming friend. Even with the heavy compliment of Continental songsters, this was far from any EuroVision song entry.

Over the proceeding hour Matt’s ensemble disgorged a set which mesmerized the crowd. Yes, there was a fuller sound provided by the band, but there was more than that. The two additional guitarists nearly stole the show with their dueling and the piano, bass and drums really enriched Matt’s British Blues sound.

Many of the songs are written from the heart, stemming from Matt’s personal experiences and this emotive material was borne out in sometimes gritty, sometimes smooth songs which changed in tempo and mood, drawing the audience in and then exploding out. Matt’s slightly rusted vocals were still there, but this time backed by Dave who showed that his talents extend further than just percussive deftness.

Matt Woosey guitarPossibly the greatest sign of how hard Matt works is shown by his guitar, not necessarily his great playing, but by the actual worn area around the sound hole. This is clearly a man who will play till his dying day.

You might’ve been put off by The Nest‘s £8 entry fee for this gig, which when compared to other cheaper events would appear steep, but this was definitely a case of getting what you paid for and then some.

We have Max Webster, promoter for RMT Music Promotions to thank for this superb gig and yes, if you weren’t there you have indeed missed a truly spellbinding performance, but do not despair, because Matt returns to the UK in March 2017. Till then you will have to make do with listening to his music online. Black Smoke Rising definitely made one of the best encore numbers I’ve seen in a long time and probably left more than a few audience members feeling they’d experienced something exceptional.

Hopefully, with the right people taking notice, coupled with his unyielding dedication, Matt will go on to be one of the true greats of British music. People in years to come will say things like “Remember when we saw him play at The Nest?”.

Support for Matt Woosey was provided on the night by Luke De-Sciscio.

Written by @LordSkitch 

Reviewed on 15th December 2016

Photos courtesy of Jamie Worsfold

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