Thursday, 14 August 2014

Official Music Video: Pigsty – Bayside

This is the new video for Pigsty from Bayside's latest album Cult. And yes, they play some dodgeball. There's not much more I need to say, just watch and enjoy!


Monday, 11 August 2014

Time: Tattoo Art Today at Somerset House

I made the most of Saturday morning's beautiful weather by getting up early and heading to Somerset House to see Time: Tattoo Art Today – yet another fantastic exhibition with free admission. It comprises work by 70 of the world's most influential tattoo artists, each commissioned to create a unique piece of work on the theme of 'Time', using any medium they liked apart from their usual canvas – skin.

Tattoo art has a fascinating history, reportedly dating back to Neolithic times. In western society it has evolved from something that was typically associated with the lower and even criminal classes, to an integral part of contemporary culture, so it's great to see some of the tattoo world's finest being recognised in this way.

© Kurt Wiscombe

I was immediately struck by just how incredibly talented these artists are. It’s easy to forget that first and foremost they are just that, artists. Tattooing is their chosen profession but, while they might spend the majority of their time creating art on the human body, they can also produce oil paintings to rival those in the National Gallery and interpret a brief like 'Time' with unrivalled creativity.

Naturally the theme lends itself to ideas of life and death, and many iconic symbols prevalent in the tattoo world are utilised, from skulls and clocks, to flower blossoms and the female form. The materials used are diverse and include various types of painting, bronze sculpture and mixed media pieces.

Many well-known names have contributed to the exhibition, including Don Ed Hardy, Mr Cartoon and my personal favourites Ami James and Chris Garver (Miami Ink anyone?), and while it would be hard to pick out favourites, here are a few I particularly wanted to mention.

© Rose Hardy

Rouge by Rose Hardy
This is such a beautiful interpretation of the theme, with the constant life-cycle of flowers represented in acrylic and watercolour, from buds and blossoms to the wilted petals. I love how the vibrant colours in the roses contrast with the monochrome shades of the classic pin-up girl’s eye makeup. The composition and execution are equally impressive.

© Chris Garver

Indigo Dragons by Chris Garver
The body is a natural canvas for a tattoo artist and I love that Chris Garver chose to illustrate a mannequin in this way. The use of blue on white for Chinese dragons is very reminiscent of the country's traditional blue and white porcelain, dating back to the 9th century.

© Shawn Barber
Kim Saigh at work, with Jamie Kompon by Shawn Barber
Kim Saigh chose to illustrate girlfriend (and fellow tattoo artist) Kim Saigh at work on former professional hockey player Jamie Kompon. Barber spent years documenting contemporary tattoo culture before picking up the tattoo machine himself, and he taught drawing and painting at art schools for over a decade. The multiple representations of Kim and Jamie illustrate the passing of time in what, as anyone with a tattoo will know, can often be a very lengthy process!

© Alex Binnie

Self Portrait by Alex Binnie
Tattoo artist and printmaker, Alex Binnie, has been tattooing since the 80s and established one of the first custom tattoo shops in London. I love this graphic self portrait showing both the inside and outside of himself in two distinct halves. Such a simple but effective piece.

Time: Tattoo Art Today is a fantastic exhibition and well worth a visit. I would have liked a bit of information about the thought process behind each piece, because it's something that always interests me, however, as I have come to expect from Somerset House, it is an incredibly well thought out exhibition. Tattoos tend to divide opinion (possibly because like all art forms, their creators range considerably in terms of talent), so an exhibition like this is a fantastic reminder of the abilities of the cream of the crop – creative, innovative and bound to leave an impression.

Time: Tattoo Art Today is at the Embankment Galleries, South Wing at Somerset House until 5 October 2014. For more information visit

A beautiful sunny morning at Somerset House

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Tigercub at The Social, Soho

One of the best things about living in London, or any major city for that matter, is that you never have to travel far to get to a good gig. If a band is touring the UK they are inevitably going to wind up in London and, equally, there are plenty of lesser-known bands playing venues all over the city.

Another great thing is that there is something to do on any night of the week. (When you have previously lived somewhere that resembles a ghost town from Sunday to Thursday this is very much appreciated.) So to spend your Wednesday evening in the company of Tigercub and not even have to pay a penny for the privilege is pretty darn great!

As you might remember, I stumbled across Tigercub just over a year ago when they were supporting Dinosaur Pile-Up at The Hope in Brighton. It was one of those rare occasions that we arrived in time to catch the support act and were very impressed. I've tried to see them a few times since and for one reason or another it just hasn't happened, but last Wednesday they were at The Social in Soho.

The Brighton three-piece have a heavily grunge-inspired sound fused with just the tiniest hint of pop. Growing up in the nineties they list a catalogue of great bands as influential to their work – Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Weezer – as well as a wider range including John Lennon and The Monks. Being a nineties kid too I'm a sucker for grunge and in my opinion they capture the best parts without sounding dated or overly nostalgic; it's different and new but still comfortingly familiar.

Musical talent aside, there is something immediately likeable about Tigercub. They have stage presence without having to try too hard, they seem like the kind of guys you could happily drink beer and talk music with and, most importantly, they seem genuine – you can always tell when the music comes first for a band and not the image.

The Social is a pretty small venue but the sound is good and Tigercub put on a solid show. Despite being a week night, the crowd that turned out clearly enjoyed the set and, best of all, the band played with the same commitment that many reserve for a much larger audience. My personal highlight was Centerfold, a song that perfectly captures exactly why I love Tigercub.

With so many bands emerging from Brighton it's pretty hard to stand out from the crowd, but I hope Tigercub's hard work and perseverance pays off. Although I enjoyed seeing them in such an intimate venue yet again, I feel slightly maternal towards these guys and nothing would make me more proud than seeing them play to the size of crowd they deserve.

This is their debut single Blue Blood, produced by Tom Dalgety and Dinosaur Pile-Up's Matt Bigland. You can also check out  Centerfold here.
© Rock & Runway

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