Sunday, 30 October 2016

FEMFORCE 176 is here! Look out for the debut of my new character!

Femforce issue 176 is now available, and this latest 80 page delight is absolutely jam-packed with new stories featuring the Federal Emergency Missions Force.

This issue, alongside the main feature story and tales from truly gifted creators, contains THREE stories that I had an absolute blast scripting.

These consist of the STARDUST tales 'Where Vengeance Hides' and 'The Distant Horde' which feature the return of Traxis, the villain from my first Femforce story from last year, plus a new SHE-CAT story which is a very special moment for me in my career - the introduction of a brand new vigilante.

Her name (or is it her title?) is VIOLET SHADOW, and even she's not sure which side she's on. You can find her first ever appearance in 'Beware The Violet Shadow'. Please do check it out!

As with my previous stories for AC Comics, these three have been a pleasure to write and AC have been a joy to converse with. It's all about the characters and the story and taking the reader to some unexpected places. More stories to come!

FEMFORCE 176 from AC Comics

Review - Luxury Stranger / In Isolation / The Jan Doyle Band – The Chameleon Arts Cafe, Nottingham

Luxury Stranger / In Isolation / The Jan Doyle Band
The Chameleon Arts Cafe, Nottingham 
September 30th, 2016

Okay, this gig happened a month ago, so I do apologise to the bands for taking a while to get this up! 

It's been far too long since my wife and I last caught the wonderful Luxury Stranger live, and when this triple-bill of musical delights came along, we had to be there. We hadn't been to the Chameleon Arts Cafe before, despite having lived in Nottingham for seven and a half years. A marvellous secret venue right in Market Square, it houses a friendly bar and an upstairs gig room, which was pleasingly lo-fi and intimate. The perfect setting for that night's entertainment.

The Jan Doyle Band were new to us, and while it took a while for their set to grab us, they did win back the audience by their final few songs. Offering a mix of dark synthpop and early Goth, the duo put a lot into their performance which helped to draw the audience in. With a mix that did leave a little to be desired and a few glitches here and there it wasn't a perfect set, however it was plain to see their belief in their material and persona. Compelling by the end. A good start to the evening.

In Isolation have been on my radar for years, but our paths never crossed until tonight. This had me kicking myself, as they were fantastic. Mixing elements of The Cure, The Smiths and Joy Division into one beautiful melancholic pop entity, the band gave a wonderful performance of guitar-driven dark indie taken from their formidable back catalogue as well as the current album, 'A Certain Fractal Light'.

The trio have a beautifully synchronised sound and awareness of each other as musicians which hooked us from the first song. The material has been crafted perfectly, peaks and valleys vying for attention amongst the instantly memorable choruses. An incredible set by a band that truly left us agape with awe. Fantastic.

Luxury Stranger had their work cut out for them, but enigmatic frontman Simon York and focused bassist Jake Hampson (currently without a live drummer) faced that challenge head-on and ensured the audience was given the perfect ending to a splendid evening. Despite playing as a duo at present, the sound was full and immediate, the two musicians illuminated only by a spotlight at the side of the stage. This left them as glowing silhouettes, and along with the stark imagery projected behind them gave the music the perfect visual accompaniment.

Their emotive blend of post-punk, dark indie and alternative rock is topped off perfectly by Simon's full-bodied voice and his engaging stage presence. Over a set which included songs such as 'Paradise Untouched', the hauntingly beautiful 'Dreaming Our Lives Away', the compelling 'Ripple' and the rousing dark pop of current single 'When The Lady Takes The Blame', Luxury Stranger turned an intimate gig in a room over a greetings card shop into an engrossing moment of monochromatic performance art.

At £6 for all three bands, it was fantastic value. CDs were bought. Friends were made. We left happy, chatting animatedly about the quality of the evening, striding out for a taxi and promising to see those bands again as soon as possible. Now that's should say it all.