Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.
Tuesday July 30 2019
7:30PM doors -- music at 8:00PM
••• ALL AGES
$12 in advance / $15 at the door
Celebrity Mansions Tour
Post-grunge, Hard rock
-Matt Bigland, Michael Sheils and Jim Cratchley
-from the UK
-With the ink still drying on a deal with the legendary Parlophone Records, Dinosaur Pile-Up singer and guitarist Matt Bigland knows the platform is now there for him to showcase his talents as one of rock music’s finest songwriters. His band have long been talked of as one of British music’s most consistently exciting outfits. Now it’s time to prove it.
“What does success look like to us,” he asks. “That’s a good question…”
Matt takes his time before arriving at a conclusion. Then…
“Autonomy. The ability to make the music we love, for the people who love it.”
No fame? No fortune?
“No,” he replies, laughing. “Just the music.”
Matt Bigland knows all about the power of music, specifically the melodic fuzz of the grunge and indie rock records handed down to him by his older brother, growing up in a single parent family in west Yorkshire. He’s thinking of early Foo Fighters records. Nirvana. Weezer. Smashing Pumpkins. Rage Against The Machine. “Life changing sounds. The sort of music that makes you want to…”
He says nothing, but the look of excitement on his face speaks volumes about the emotions he’s attempting to convey.
Matt has been on a journey with music over half of his life. A journey that started life in his teenage bedroom. Posters on the walls. A battered old electric guitar resting against the door. So much flannel, checked cottons everywhere. And on his bed, a drumkit of sorts, fashioned out of boxes and “a plastic bag for a high-hat. It sort of made the same sound, sort of…”
It’s here that Matt wrote the early records by his band – of sorts – Dinosaur Pile-Up, named after a silly scene in Peter Jackson’s retelling of King Kong’s super-simian story in 2005, in which a load of dinosaurs literally pile up. It’s here he spent his time deconstructing the music made by his heroes, trying to understand how the songs they wrote worked and how they managed to make him feel like they did. Getting into the guts.
“The first time I wrote a riff that I liked,” he says, “I knew music was what I wanted to do. I wanted other people to feel like I did. Not that I could admit that to myself then…”
A skilled illustrator, Matt toyed with trying to make a career out of art. He even enrolled in an Art Foundation course in Leeds, though he dropped out before he had time to attend the first lesson. “I broke my mum’s heart,” he says sorrowfully. “I think that was the moment I realised that if I was going to do music, I had to make it work…” He laughs. “In lots of ways, that was when shit started to get real…”
And so Matt would paint his pictures, not on canvas, but in the music venues of Leeds. He found a bassist. He found a drummer. He found many bassists and drummers actually, rarely settling on a stable line-up. But people liked his band. Inspired by the can-do attitude of his hero Dave Grohl, he wasted little time in recording and releasing two albums; 2010’s Growing Pains and 2013’s Nature Nurture. They took him and Dinosaur-Pile Up across Europe with The Pixies, as well as sharing stages with the likes of Feeder, Royal Blood and Weezer. Dinosaur Pile-Up – and Matt’s ability to write songs best described as powerful lullabies; heavy rock songs dipped in sugar is another hot take – became many people’s favourite band, including drummer Mike Sheils.
“The first time I saw Mike play, he instantly became my favourite drummer,” says Matt. “He’s a bit younger than me, but he was so powerful, he looked amazing with his hair flying around. He reminded me of Dale Crover from The Melvins, one of my favourite drummers. When Mike joined, that’s when Dinosaur Pile-Up became a band, really – an actual band – and not just my thing…”
Matt and Mike became a powerful union. Festivals followed, radio airplay, a rabid fanbase, one built from the ground up. Because here’s what Mike and those who came to see the band knew; somewhere between leaving his bedroom and plugging into the amplifier that sat beside his drums every night, Matt Bigland had become one of British rock’s finest songwriters.
Matt sighs a weary sigh. It’s one he’s sighed many times before; in backstage rooms, warm beer fermenting by his side. In splitter vans. In graffiti-daubed rehearsal rooms. It’s a sigh familiar to an entire generation of British rock bands.
He shrugs. “And yet there were times where we just thought, ‘there must be more than this…’”
Somewhere within a lean decade of British rock, Dinosaur Pile-Up arrived on a settled line-up with bassist Jim Cratchley, a friend of Matt’s of almost a decade. In 2015 the trio recorded and released their strongest collection of songs to date, third album Eleven Eleven. And yet the glass ceiling above them seemed to inch lower and lower. “We never set out to be the biggest band in the world,” says Matt. “I was much more interested in being the best. But it comes back to what I was saying about autonomy. We just wanted a platform to be able to do what we do… because I never stopped thinking, ‘we’re really good at this, and maybe these songs can make people’s lives better than they are…’”
Inspired by the colossal success of scene leaders Biffy Clyro (“a huge inspiration to us and every British rock band,” says Matt. “Bands aren’t supposed to break on their third record. The fact they showed that could be done was hugely inspiring to us…”), they kept on, trying to grow their following with each opportunity that presented itself to them, trying to turn the tide for band and for genre. “Just trying to keep the faith, but scared for what our lives would be if we’d come this far – two decades after starting – and then… just had to pack it all in…”
And then, days after Matt had come the closest he ever had to doing just that, news of the deal with Parlophone Records reached him. Turns out someone there had known that Matt Bigland was British rock’s best kept secret too. You’ll be pleased to learn that Matt’s mum isn’t so upset anymore.
“Does it feel like success?” he ponders. “Not really. It feels like now is where the hard work really starts…”
Matt is right. Now, with a powerhouse label behind them and all the support that entails, Dinosaur Pile-Up’s mission is to convince anyone who’ll listen, what those in the know knew all along. They’ll do this with new, fourth album Celebrity Mansions, a collection of songs that sizzle with big melodies, skewered through with raw, intoxicating emotion.
Songs like the chugging ‘Thrash Metal Cassette’, which explodes with evanescent joy even before the song arrives at its perfect pop chorus. Or ‘Back Foot’, which takes the slacker rock template and applies a coating of gonzo heavy metal, resulting in the most fun combination of guitar, bass and drums you’ve heard in an age. It means songs like ‘Pouring Gasoline’ (the biggest chorus you dare think of) and ‘Round The Bend’ (proof that you can always think bigger) are undeniable proof of Matt’s growing diversity as a songwriter. But it’s closer ‘Long Way Down’, which illustrates Matt’s talents in the most poignant way, being the prettiest, warmest, loveliest song he has perhaps ever committed to tape. Fittingly, it’s about his late father.
“That song is the first and only song to date that I've ever written about my dad,” says Matt of ‘Long Way Down’. “He died in a plane crash when I was eight. I'd never included it on a record before because it felt too personal, but I put it on this album because I wasn't sure if I'd get the chance again, and I always liked the idea of singing a song to him. I thought it only right that it close the record. I thought a lot about that when thinking about the tracklisting…”
Why ‘Celebrity Mansions’, Matt?
“It’s a reference to when we were on tour, questioning whether we’d wasted our lives doing this, wondering if we’d ever get a break,” smiles Matt, increasingly confident as he recalls a scenario now in his rear-view mirror. “I’d see what you’d call ‘Influencers’ on Instagram. Popstars making money from being attractive. People with seemingly nothing to say. And I’d just think, ‘surely there’s more to life than this. Surely people want more than this. Surely they want some substance. I mean, we’re talking about music. It matters…’”
Matt Bigland has always believed in music. Turns out that, ultimately, music always believed in him. Now, how about you?
-from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
-Lines still stretch around the block at clubs, warehouses, and theaters on a nightly basis worldwide. Amplifiers still blare out of suburban garages everywhere. Guitars, drums, and bass still translate the emotion and energy of a generation better than anything. No matter what prevailing opinion may be, rock music still maintains its foothold just behind the pop culture curtain—as if in the wings waiting to return.
BRKN LOVE carry on this tradition, while evolving it. Toronto singer and guitarist Justin Benlolo envisions a fresh future for the genre on the band’s 2019 full-length debut for Spinefarm Records produced by Joel Hamilton [Highly Suspect, Pretty Lights].
“When I first thought about starting a band, it needed all of the elements of rock ‘n’ roll that I respond to—big guitars, big drums, and big vocals,” he explains. “I didn’t want it to be too complex. It had to be something everybody could digest in a short and sweet format. It’s alternative, but it’s also heavy. I try to get right to the point. There are so many of these kids still showing up to shows and moshing to real rock music. That’s refreshing. There’s still a place for something authentic. That’s what I want to provide.”
Born and raised in Canada, Justin cut his teeth by obsessing over the likes of Soundgarden and Led Zeppelin in his youth, while learning how to write music. With the advent of bands such as Royal Blood and Highly Suspect, he recognized the potential for a “different kind of band—that’s not too macho and slick, but edgy enough for the punks.” Justin started tracking demos for BRKN LOVE and shortly after determined that Joel Hamilton was the perfect producer. Joel responded to the tracks by inviting him to Brooklyn to record at Studio G. Together, they cut the 13 tracks that would comprise the album as the band landed a deal with Spinefarm Records after a New York showcase.
Recorded live to tape in the studio, the sound preserves “a raw, real, and alive” feeling in the riffing tempered by “relatable and emotional lyrics.”
Now, the first single “Shot Down” hinges on thick guitars before Justin’s howling takes hold. It seesaws between dirty blues verses and a skyscraping refrain as he chants, “Landslide, shaking the crowd…Shot down in the bottom of a valley!”
Written at the infamous Mate’s Studio in North Hollywood, CA, it captures all of the seedy, glorious grit of the San Fernando Valley.
“It’s got a lot of sexual innuendos,” he goes on. “On the contrary, it can be interpreted as a massive disaster song. There’s a landslide shaking the ground, and we’re in the middle of the valley. The world’s ending as we’re playing away. You could also interpret as about a girl.”
The airy harmonies and syncopated riffs of “I Can’t Lie” take dead aim at West Coast fakery and “friends who stabbed me in the back for no reason” with a hypnotic and heartfelt chorus. Everything culminates on “In Your Hands,” which slides from a clean intro towards a wall of fuzz and his most impressive vocal performance. The latter serves as “an ode to life that we’re going to ride the universe’s wave without worrying.”
In the end, BRKN LOVE represent a new era for rock music that’s as powerful as it is emotional.
“The name represents who I am,” Justin leaves off. “You can honestly be a hopeless romantic and play tough music. Most of the lyrics deal with love and loss. That’s the vibe. You can share your feelings and still rock your face off at the end of the day. It’s what I’m going to do.”
Mother Feather, Father Feather,
Rookie Feather, Tipsy Feather, Jew Feather
-from San Francisco, CA
-The legend of Leather Feather was born in a residential district of West London between St. John's Wood and Kilburnfall in December, 2074. With a duct tape-strewn electronic keyboard called an Optigan (optical organ), he began writing an innovative body of progressive instrumental music called Pelle Piuma, an ode to a loved one who had gone missing in early 1971. All material was recorded using a top loading Revox tape recorder to eight 60-minute cassette tapes. On the evening of December 13, 2023, Lance Eric was awakened by the stench of smoke. Soon the Worsley Hotel was engulfed in the worst fire London had seen in years. The Worsley Hotel fire was started intentionally. Lance was found the next morning, duct tape from his Optigan reportedly stretched across his eyes and mouth, presumably in an effort to shield himself from exposure. He did not survive. Miraculously, PellePiuma was mostly undamaged. The tapes were given to his only known relatives in 1967.
Their album, ‘The Feather Has Landed’ was recorded in 1976 by Nicolas Pencil at Function 8 studios. The band is heavily influenced by the superstructure and what’s wrong. In 2009 a documentary was made attempting to decipher the time traveling and recording process of the band. The film is one of only two known interviews with any of the band members and sheds some light on the ins and outs of being a multi-chronological act. Mother Feather, Father Feather, Rookie Feather, Tipsy Feather, Jew Feather