Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Oh No Not Stereo and Joel Pack and the Pops at The Bell in Ticehurst

I’m not one for sharing the ins and outs of my personal life with the entire world wide web (hence my avoidance of that proliferation of bullshit known as facebook), but I feel a little sharing is needed to justify my blogging absence of late, and to explain exactly how Oh No Not Stereo and Joel Pack and the Pops came to be playing at a quaint pub in Ticehurst called The Bell…

On 8th December, the boy and I finally took the plunge and got married. If I’m totally honest I don’t like weddings much, they tend to make me a bit nauseous (to say I have a low cringe threshold is an understatement, and all that hearts and flowers stuff?! Hell no), so it took us a long time to decide how to tie the knot in a non-vomit inducing way. We considered eloping, but eventually decided we wanted something small and un-pretentious, with no formalities – any notions of speeches, head tables and first dances were culled immediately. All we needed were good friends, good food, and most importantly good music. We needed some damn good music.

So with one little (somewhat ambitious!) email back in October, the wheels were set in motion for one of our favourite bands, Oh No Not Stereo, to travel from America to play at our party. What we ended up with wasn’t ONNS exactly, but four very talented musicians, Skyler, Joel, Ryan and Rob. Which loosely translated meant a large dose of ONNS and a generous side helping of Joel Pack and the Pops.

We first discovered ONNS on tour with one of my all-time favourite bands, Bayside, in 2008, and we were overwhelmed by their talent, enthusiasm and the fact that they were genuinely nice guys. Their 003 album is still one of the most played on my iPod and is a fine example of their blend of rock and pop and their knack for writing some incredibly memorable lyrics and melodies. (They scored bonus points for the awesome T-shirts too – a rare band that don’t seem to think that all women are strangely square-shaped!)

Joel Pack and the Pops were new to us, but on Skyler’s recommendation we listened to one song and were instantly smitten. So before we knew it these four musicians had hopped on a plane and were assembled in the upstairs room of The Bell. They managed to take the equipment that we had hurriedly cobbled together (a mishmash of amps, generously donated drum kit and a hilariously retro Casio keyboard), and sound nothing short of amazing. (Lesson to all other bands who have managed to sound average in venues like Brixton Academy; you really have no excuse…)

The guys tore through a ONNS setlist that included Hurricanes and All You before returning after a short cake break (even I believe in cake at weddings!) for Joel Pack and the Pops, of which my personal highlight had to be New York City. It was a truly unforgettable night.

I’m not going to say any more as I think that’s quite enough sharing for one day, so I’ll skip the music descriptions and comparisons and leave you with two videos. That way you can find out for yourself exactly why this night was so special. If you like what you see then there are more videos to be found on YouTube and albums that are well worth digging out.

But for now all I can say is a heartfelt thank you to Skyler, Joel, Ryan and Rob, for taking a chance on two total strangers, travelling 3,000 miles to the middle of nowhere, and totally rocking the tits off Ticehurst. It won’t be forgotten.

Ps. No more personal stuff next week I promise… and belated reviews to come from Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson, and Ben Folds Five
© Rock & Runway

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