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Jackdaws – Debut gig – Mad Ferret

13 Aug

Venue: Mad Ferret    Date: 13 Aug 2011

After a summer alive with rain and little time for outdoors leisure activities, on such a rare sunny Saturday, four amazing bands include Jackdaws, Hummingbirds, Ratty Little Fingers and Pete Bentham &The Dinnerladies, gave us a special summer treat from four totally different styles, with as much opportunity to become an attractive combination. With a grand reputation around the Preston and surrounding areas it was difficult not to expect the great music coupled with a warm atmosphere at the Mad Ferret on the Saturday nights.

Making it to the Mad Ferret for their first gig, Preston’s band Jackdaws have a folk rock beat, well with a fine variety of musical elements, did well to set the mood for the gig tonight. Their folk inspired set was immediately what the crowd wanted, folk guitar and hearty vocal from lead singer Ste are perfectly along with their bassist Mike and drummer Tom, weaving through the touching melodies as they built different but great scenes according to their inspiring set in front of the crowds.

Playing a nine song set, the band began with the solo Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover) – a track by leading vocal Ste which had gained certain attention at the Ferret previously with a very lovely music box accompaniment. Well, forget you’re a member of the new or old crowds, you simply couldn’t resist the clear and delicate tinkling sound came from Ste’s music box, and his heartfelt vocals.

If the music box version cover was an “appetizer”, a feast for the crowds’ ears just got started.

Following on from Love Will Tear Us Apart, the band together played the  narrative The Great Northern which received a very good reaction from the listeners, they were cheering and shouting “Jackdaws!”. Following up were the crowds’ two favourites – Undertaker’s Daughter and, Sea Enemies which was the first time they’ve played as a full band, a positive hint of influences showed the vigor they brought to the increasing number of listeners was absolutely amazing. Then you have Cigarettes with stark lyrics and tunes seemed to tell you a heartfelt story which turned the crowds into the deep thoughts.

The Great Northern + Undertaker’s Daughter

Good Things Happen To Good People and Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game further increased the pace and volume at the Ferret, it’s a pleasure to watch a band when you feel there’re some real reasons for being there and some input into each track. Next, you simply cannot help smiling when Ste introduced the song Eulogy for Carrie Magee, as the room is full of a great friendly and sunny feel that was too good take the crowds to another consistently fun atmosphere created by the Jackdaws. It was probably concluded by seeing the crowd as one big happy family.

Good Things Happen To Good People + Eulogy for Carrie Magee

Obviously, Eulogy for Carrie Magee led to shouts of an encore, the set closed with Butterflies, Jackdaws performed the song with enjoyable and upbeat melodies, and the perfect ending to what was a quite impressive set.


Tonight, most songs on the band setlist are original “Jackdaws material”, which was very commendable, and this also shows that Jackdaws is a new but very promising band with potential to be Preston’s next “big folk rock act” which is worth of watching again. It was a good performance from the Jackdaws and we look forward to seeing their next gig.

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To download the tracks from Jackdaws for free, please click here for more details.

Heavy Fluid Addicts – Rock The Ship

8 Jun

Venue: The Ship Inn    Date: 4 Jun 2011

The Ship Inn is undoubtedly one of Preston’s homes of exciting live music, and the 3 awesome bands tonight Heavy Fluid Addicts, Just A Ride and Falter– typified exactly that. Organising by Rock On Promo and Hw Preston, the Ship’s new management now opens their doors to the metal community once again, which fairly attracted a lively clientele of audiences.

This most bodacious of gig of the night started by Falter and Just A Ride. The mixed ingredients of experimental rock, grunge and heavy metal were brought by Falter from Blackburn. The band is “a powerhouse of determination, adrenaline and intense energy that definitely shows they are ready to take on everything. Set to cause pandemonium and chaos wherever they set foot”, Falter is a band that is likely to be “a diamond in the rough for future localised musical events”. Chorley’s band Just A Ride were just formed 3 years ago with “a very strong D.I.Y attitude”, their songs were all written, recorded and produced by themselves, which exactly shows their ambition -“there is nothing they can’t do” as the band speaks.

With the venue going more and more packed, coming up was the astonishing Preston’s grunge band Heavy Fluid Addicts (HFA). Indeed they just missed out in a spot for RTR Unsigned 2011, but the first RTR event at The Ship were led by them this time.

First two songs hit the venue were “quirky” Meme and Screamager (Cover) from HFA. I have to admit that since the moment the powerful and amazing sound of the screaming guitars, bass and drum came out, I knew their show would be explosive as expected from the beginning. Yes, you may have been blown away for thousands of times through the original version by Therapy?, but this cover by HFA would never let you down, neither. HFA was trying to make their show as a new execution of an old idea as usual. Obviously, the crowds did react to this accordingly – Indulging in according to the rise and fall of the band’s assault provoked by such a “grungey noise”, as well as, mesmerised by the influential dynamics and a bit effects-laden vocals made by lead singer Mark Humphreys.

Next up on the set were contagious Naked Japes and Glass Eye with strong elements, such as quirky noise, energetic progression, heavy metal, vocal imitations, plus the savage lyrics and vocals, were all tumbled with extraordinary proficiency. This, nevertheless, absolutely battered the crowd’s ears. The following sets with catchy or interesting names like One Man’s Cheese Is Another Man’s Cake, Suicide Song and Gay For Jesus allowed the show reach another climax, and their songs were definitely well received and enjoyable to the crowds.

After the transition, crowd favourite on the set George, You’re Annoying Me followed through loads of feedback to an ecstatic response. Tonight, the crowd seemed to discover some sort of intense enthusiasm again, reacting to each shout and feedback of the band, which in sequence made HFA even raucous and louder more than ever.

Closing tune was the mighty Monkey Pee, Monkey Poo to end such a superb night. The instrumental starts introducing till the turning point, suddenly changed to the perfect collision of distorted sound of guitar, bass and drum. Well again, if you look around the room at this point, unceasing rounds of applauses and cheers told everything that should be told.

For tonight, overall I would rate it 8/10.


17 Apr

For more information on previous and upcoming gigs see our Timeline on Dipity

Artist Heavy Fluid Addicts Date & Time 07 May at 8:00pm
Venue The Blue Room City Blackpool
Address 139 Church Street, Blackpool, FY1 3NX More info
Artist Subject 7 Date & Time Tuesday, 24 May at 8:00pm
Venue Grand Central City Manchester
Address 80 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH More info SUBJECT 7 Fight THE BATTLE OF BLOODSTOCK
Artist Subject 7 Date & Time Wednesday, 1 June at 8:00pm
Venue Hark to towler City Manchester
Address Manchester, Northwest BL8 4AA More info
Artist Subject 7 Date & Time Friday 24 June at 7:00pm
Venue Sleaford Town Fc City Sleaford
Address Eslaford Park/Boston Rd, Sleaford NG34 7ER More info

Ste Whiley+Jamie Brewer+Laura Bailey – Open Mic Night

23 Mar

Venue: Mad Ferret    Date: 23 Mar 2011

Steven Whiley

In my humble opinion, a good musician not only knows how to effectively arouse the audience’s feelings by excellent pieces of music,  but recognises the art of performing and the use of diverse instruments. This was done very well tonight by Steven Whiley of the Preston band Jackdaws with his guitar and definitely, his “Thee”- a little music box.

Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division Cover) on music box was the first one to shine on the stage. If you’ve ever heard an antique music box play, you will imagine how delightful the clear, delicate tinkling sounds can be from Steven’s Thee. Love Will Tear Us Apart has been covered by many artists, but this one done by Steven is indeed fresh and inspiring which finally led a creative combination of classic and novelty. Obviously, the strong reactions from the crowds show they want more music box. Not upstaged by Thee, Steven’s continued to give a performance to try and get the acknowledgement and recognition he deserves.

Love Will Tear Us Apart + Sea Enemies

Following up were emotional Sea Enemies and Dearly Departed, thanks to meaningful lyrics and attractive melodies, these two songs all together sound like telling the crowds two thought-provoking stories. Steven has always been trying to take new elements into his music for the audiences, and he had never played Sea Enemies and Dearly Departed to anyone before, but Steven simply let the singing do the talking. So, shouts of “one more” from the crowds made Steven played the crowds’ favorite – Undertakers Daughter to finish his performance today.

Dearly Departed + Undertaker’s Daughter

For an open mic, Steven definitely played and sang to his best. Full music box version of Love Will Tear Us Apart by Steven is available here. Nevertheless, Unsigned Acts / Preston strongly recommend to go and watch Steven and his band Jackdaws live, which should be pleasure to do so, they are actively looking for full gigs at the moment, anyone feel interested, please feel free to contact us.

Jamie Brewer

Probably, some of you are enough with the roar of the daytime and want some music, well, in such an industry occupied with mainstream generic music with lyrics that couldn’t represent any implication or emotion, perhaps now you hope to go back to the basic and have a break, with a peace mind, and listen to some simple but really original, organic and refreshing things tonight, nevertheless, that is exactly what we got with Jamie Brewer at the Ferret.

First on was Songbird, a song written for Jamie’s friend – Our fascinating singer songwriter Katie Ryan. From the moment Jamie started to play, you cannot resist indulging yourself in the totally quiet and intimate atmosphere set out there. It’s a pure aspiration to play and enjoy this pleasant song, I would imagine myself sitting in my backyard on a relaxed and peaceful afternoon accompany with this Songbird. Next was also an interesting and engaging acoustic one called The First of Many, with fast rhythm and upbeat feeling, made it a perfect song to chill out the flippancy, and instead was all love and peace.


It’s the first time for Unsigned Acts / Preston to watch Jamie played solo without his band Defy The Sky. Well, we had seen quite a few amazing musicians played with a guitar that night, but no one played in the same way as Jamie, reminded me of the scenes when the musical prodigy played guitar in my favorite movie named August Rush.

Laura Bailey

Advent of Miss Laura Bailey with On your side and Zip it Up brought us some nice inoffensive music to listen to, that absolutely added luster to the show tonight and made the excited crowds even more enjoyed themselves.

Zip It Up

Three Unsigned Acts / Preston musicians played at the same night, same venue, well, hope could have more shows like this. For tonight, overall I would rate it 9/10.

RTR Unsigned Heat 1

4 Mar

Running as North West’s the biggest band battles, you may wonder how exactly prominent the competition held by RTR Unsigned is, but when you keep an eye on it, you will easily find massive fan votes and siginificant attention they’ve got for the past few months till now. Nevertheless, there’s only one winner tonight, with all 3 judges and the fans all voting for ‘March‘ as the winners of the 1st heat which see’s them rolling on heat 2.

RTR Unsigned Heat 1 just clearly shows how big, phenomenonal and amazing it is per se, which probably can be seen as one of the best nights in the local music scenes. This should definitely give attribute to the 4 top bands tonight, Defy The Sky, March, The Blackhand, Ides of March. Every band that walked onto the stage, kicked ass and ultimately won over the crowd.

The outset of the night we have Jamie Brewer and his band Defy The Sky. Not only the fascinating music they make, but thanks to their natural ability and arts of getting the audience going and everything, especially their charismatic vocalist, Rob Pocock, Unsigned Acts / Preston totally felt the spirit of the occasion caused by them. The audiences are jumping along with Rob. Obviously, appealing and yet influential Defy The Sky got loads of following that night, which consequently leaded the show to a new level. Meanwhile, Unsigned Acts / Preston musician Jamie Brewer and other band members definitely give their fully supports on the stage, make the band “like a 50 year relationship” .

Here’s the set list from Defy The Sky on RTR Unsigned Heat 1:

Retreat Escape Evacuate
Side With The Guilty
Shine For You
Need To Know
The Boy In The Mirror
Your Heart Will Be Defended

You can find their tracks at:

Next up was The Blackhand with a balsy furrow meltdown. Not too many fan bases on the scene that night, nevertheless, the crowd head-banged along to most of their songs, with each member showing their own current touch on tonight, plus their unique musical style and beat, and highly powerful grunge appeal, made them won the crowd’ loyal supports as well.

Followers are the amazing March, who absolutely blew away the crowds, with specialty and different touching choruses. The constantly explosive moments they brought us had clearly showed their undoubted talent to wow the audiences.

Finally, it’s incredible Ides of March that rock the night. They answered the challenges from previous bands with astonishing confidence. This, however, was embedded in individual styles from each band members. The riffs jumped around recklessly in their set make them another spotlight of the night.

Laura Bailey – Acoustic Soup

27 Feb

Venue: Mad Ferret    Date: 27 Feb 2011

As one of the most popular live music venues in Preston, this time The Mad Ferret invited Laura Bailey, Changing horses, and The Ratty Little Fingers to play for their Acoustic Soup, which is held every two weeks. Compared with the usual loud fare from wide range of bands, the three performers just brought us more reflective, memorable and quieter music to shine tonight.

“Remarkable songwriting delivered with an assured stage presence of someone who’s been perfoming for decades, yet Laura is young, fresh and new and the exuberance in her bouncier more joyful songs is only matched by the wide-eyed melancholy of her deeper numbers.”

Opening the night we have Laura Bailey, who made it purely an audio-visual feast to listen and watch with only her keyboard and amazing voice. Laura performed a set of old but classic songs that the crowds are mostly familiar with, as well as, several fresh and new songs to give pleasant changes of atmosphere.

I Wish + Zip It Up + True Love

And Then I Cried + On Your Side

First on was the beautiful Look For Me, which simply took you to a deep fantasy and the messages it delivered were totally a heartbreaker. And then were I wish and Zip It Up, we turned to the audiences at that time, some were kept giving Laura rounds of applauses and looking forward to the next attention span, while some were dancing to each piece of enjoyable melodies. The sharp contrasts between True Love and Zip It Up perfectly demonstrates Laura’s thorough vocals and her excellent skills in gaining shorter attention span.

The following songs One More Chance, Thank You Hugh Heffner, As Happy As It Goes, and Holy smokers just lead to the high point of that night. Next up was smoky and jazzy Lonely blues, which UAP really agrees with what The Ark said, even “leaves Amy Winehouse in the dust”.

Finally, the performance was rounded off with vicious break-up song And then I cried and one more song requested by the audiences called On your side, both had a vein of melancholies in the lyrics, but when you ruminate on the ideas exploded, Laura is showing her good intensions for the future, no matter music or life.

There’re moments, nevertheless, you might have to admit those melodies haunted your minds constantly. Sometimes, you just can’t help keeping thinking about the songs you’re listening to, and the meanings and messages behind them. But before you really started to ponder on these, you might have been taken to other short explosions of ideas.

It’s the first time Unsigned Acts / Preston to watch Laura’s gig, but 11 short but sparklingly witty songs absolutely blew us away there.

Unsigned Acts / Preston is really looking forward to the next gig of Miss Laura Bailey.

Jackdaws – Open Mic Night

19 Jan

Jackdaws – Open Mic Night

Venue: Mad Ferret    Date: 19 Jan 2011

The Mad Ferret is one of the most popular live music venue’s in Preston. With a 180+ capacity, stage, lighting rig and sound system it is the perfect place for intimate gigs. The open mic, which is held every Wednesday, is ideal to sample some of the talent that the city has to offer.

The open mic on Wednesday 19th January was no exception. Notable highlights of the evening included ukulele comedy from Kris Ball, guitar singalongs from KrisYeates and looping pedal acoustics from Sheffield’s Graeme Baranyai.

Perhaps the biggest crowd drawer of the evening was for upcoming Preston band Jackdaws, who played under the name for the first time. Before the performance, Unsigned Acts / Preston talked with band members Ste (singer and guitarist), Tom (drummer) and Mike (bassist). They mentioned that they had regularly been playing the open mic to debut new songs and build up a following. They told me that the last time they played in December was last minute and due to missing drum kit parts they had to improvise songs. While they still enjoyed it, they were looking forward to performing their songs properly this time.

Put on the lighting, harmonica, guitar, drum and bass, here we go.  The first song was ‘Undertakers Daughter‘, which was one of the crowds favourites. The stark lyrics tell the story of a girl unable to be taken seriously by anyone, receiving “know it all” advice from her father, religion and partner. Next up was ‘Butterflies‘, which incited whoops of joy. The song was very upbeat and enjoyable. The band debuted new song ‘Good Things Happen to Good People’ next, leading to shouts of an encore. The open mic bands usually play three songs, but due to the crowds response they were shouted at to “keep playing” by the open mic’s promoter.

The band decided to play a couple of covers – a harmonica fuelled version of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ and a dub-country version of the Eurhythmic’s ‘Sweet Dreams.

“Bravo…” The short set seemed to win the band many new fans, several of whom came over to congratulate them. Jackdaws’ performance was genuinely a pleasure to watch, and for an open mic slot these three guys gave it their best! Unsigned Acts / Preston looks forward to seeing their first full gig.

Wanna see the Jackdaws again live?

For more latest gigs information and upcoming shows of Jackdaws, stay tuned with Unsigned Acts / Preston.

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