Analog Bombs Go Bang on a Friday Night in Clayton

Live Review Mermaid's Flannel

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Black Feathered Feet, Analog Bombs and Young Loves. Mermaid's Flannel at Fiddler's Three, Bradford

"Its rocking on The Fiddlers on a Friday night" the singer shouts.

Black Feathered Feet are pub rock pure n' simple and very simple they are too wailing between verses and noodling on guitars. It is rough and ready rock but that is no bad thing on a Friday night in a suburban pub a stones throw from the suburban house this writer grew up in Clayton - a typical suburb of Bradford.

The criterion for gigs in walking distance aside Black Feathered Feet do growling Chris Cornell style rock decently and are worth your attention if that is your bag. If it isn't your bag then take a look just to see how much the drummer looks like the one from Lost who was also a Hobbit.

Not at all like a Hobbit is Ben of Analog Bombs. Standing at least seven foot tall - perhaps - he is as striking as he is charming fronting the band with a warm, rambling presence. "Good evening we're the Analog Bombs", he says "We've had a drink."

Analog Bombs mix musical styles but are mostly indie ska - if such a genre exists, perhaps they just look indie and play ska - and are a a blast. Ben's lyrics are based in being a local of Bradford - in parts at least - and at times can be touching and have a ring of truth. His delivery is rare and enjoyable. He rapidly fires Yorkshireisms spinning the odd tale of being unlucky in love around the Wool City.

Charming, enjoyable, and probably the best band you will see on a Friday night in Clayton. Hancock - the song about long flattened club Tumblers - is worth the admission alone. It is indie disco as tragic love affair and nudges the Analog Bombs past The Pigeon Detectives Test as in "Why is one more popular than the other?"

Young Loves come on with an "hilarious" joke about knife crime and an opening number that sounds a bit too The Libertines for its own good.

As a band they are well regarded and five minutes into their set the five yards in front of the pub corner dubbed a stage is peopled with young things dancing but something about the band seems as like it has been seen before.

Perhaps it is the contrast to the innovate Analog Bombs or perhaps it is the fact that Young Loves come behind the likes of White Light Parade and The Swing Movement in Bradford's canon of bands making this kind of sound. Indeed they lack the drive of the former and the spark of the latter.

The kids love them though and they finish the night well.

The night - Mermaid's Flannel Presents - deserves applause too for the attempt to put on good music for the drinking crowd. More power to them.

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, July 18th, 2009

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17 Responses to “Analog Bombs Go Bang on a Friday Night in Clayton”

  1. Ria Wood Says:

    Yes, I’ll second the hurrah for a “proper” Indie music night outside of the city centre – and obviously conveniently for us – on our doorstep.

    The best thing about Black Feathered Feet is their name. I like it a lot. I had no concept of them beyond their name before seeing them and to discover that they throughly plough the Pearl Jam/ Audioslave/ Soundgarden-y furrow, came as rather a surprise. I’m quite partial to their obvious influences and thought they did a passable interpretation of that scratchy rock noise although were in no danger of producing their own “Cochise” or “Corduroy” and as such, they will remain a pub rock band…although if The Dharma can play the Cockpit, perhaps Black Feathered Feet shouldn’t be banished to the pub circuit…

    Analog Bombs are probably not likely to break out of the Bradford scene either and I think that suits them well – not in a “they’re crap” way but because they’re cosy in their local band niche and obviously use Bradford for lyrical inspiration so it makes sense to stay where the audience will get the most out of them. However, the crowd was rather sparse that wasn’t comprised of the young “WAGs” and friends of the 3 bands and because of the youthfulness, the Tumblers reference was mostly lost. Since I’ve last seen Analog Bombs, they have collected a brass player and this addition to their noise renders it more faithful to their ska/ 2-tone influence…Analog Bombs always give engaging performances and they’re rather a treasure of the Bradford music scene, I feel.

    The Young Loves were somewhat of a disappointment. They are indeed young and come on stage with a swagger threatening to knife “anyone that goes for a fag in the next 30 minutes”…ha and indeed ha. Well that sets their attitude up for the night and they do a good job of believing their own hype as they move through some plodding indie noises. A string is lost and an interval ensues…perhaps the second half will be more attention grabbing? In the meantime we’re treated to an unprovoked diatribe about the people of Milton Keynes. Fortunately the audience isn’t listening and so there is no gratification for the cringy attempt at humour that only left a bad taste to me. This combined with the knifing “gag” at the start only serves to put me off them regardless of their music. Which, thankfully, is more derivative indie dirge. But as the review says, the young ‘uns don’t care and by now are well lubricated and will dance to mostly anything…

    So whilst I can’t say we made any marvellous new discoveries tonight, it was good to revisit Analog Bombs and I feel sure we’ll be back to further Mermaid’s Flannel nights…

  2. Lisa Says:

    I was too at Mermaids flannel and was pleasently suprised by the level of talent the bands had, especaily the young loves. I think they may have been misjudged slightly to say the least. Not sure about what the comment about ‘wags’ were but they were a few pretty girls there i suppose thinking about it but making comments on peoples looks sounds bitter and isnt really very much about the music!

  3. thomas binns Says:


    Im the singer from the young loves. This is not a bitter reply, we are fine with bad reviews as much as we are with good ones, however, there are a few points I d like to discuss.

    Its a bit dismissive of you to say ‘the kids dont care’. The kids have always cared, surely you know this, youth has always been at the fore of music and this is for a reason. If they didn’t care then they wouldn’t have turned up in the pouring rain and sat and waited for three hours until they could get their dancing shoes on. If they didn’t care then would they not have been with all the other kids down in town, in tokyos indie room perhaps? We personally didn’t know any of the young crowd that was in but your crowd is increasingly smart and should be treat with respect.

    As for the joke about stabbing the smokers, well that was a joke you see, not to be taken too seriously. If you think that one was bad you should have heard the one about the elephant we did the week before.

    I m really not bothered you wern’t that into the band, you can’t please everyone, however i do feel you have been slightly one dimentional. Yes we are indie, but that doesn’t mean its the same old. Our opening track is a bit libertines but so what, we like them, its a celebration of what we are into. We then like to move away from that as the set continues, taking in a whole other scope of sound, tracks such as bullet at a shield, lose your mind destroy your wallet and last time have about as much to do with ‘libertines indie’ as banjo playing has to do with fashion modeling and its a shame you missed it. I cant help but feel this review is based on our attitude and audience rather than our music, but maybe thats because I know how great we are, how hard we work and how dedicated we are.

    Glad you liked Mermaids flannel presents, its the young loves that are behind that so at least we pleased you in some way! Hope to see you at the next night where we have Freyed Knot, Johnny the Firth and The Rudiments. The Young Loves can be mext seen live at The Cockpit Leeds on the 1st of August.


  4. Nathan Says:

    Hmmmm well it was a very sparsely populated night. A little worried about the bias in this article. I enjoyed all the bands performances, but if fingers are to be pointed at the young loves for poor humour, the analog bombs could probably do with practising there songs as much as their forced inane banter between songs.

  5. Michael Wood Says:

    Thanks for popping by and thanks for leaving a comment. I hope that all reviews and all talking about bands helps the local scene.

    One thing. The kids don’t care comment is in the context of “the kids don’t have the same concerns I do and want to dance” and not the kids don’t matter.

    Anyroadup good luck in the future for you and your band – wouldn’t question the energy and practice you put in – and good luck with the Cockpit.

  6. Mermaid's Flannel Presents... Says:

    Thanks for your comments on our night. We feel it’s filling a void for the people of Clayton who want to see live bands in their local area, and as it’s a great place to drink with a vast choice of pubs- it’s a good night for anyone living in and around Bradford.

    We’d of liked a bigger crowd on Friday but I think the weather was against us! We don’t want the night to be aimed at a particular age group and we don’t market it in such a way that will put certain people off. It really is just about the music and if the young ones want to dance who are we to stop them 🙂

    Thanks again and for details about our next events please take a look at our Facebook page.

  7. joseph young love Says:

    yo, its joe from the young loves, (the brilliant diatribe about the god awful milton keynes) its fair to say you formed a massive amount of your article on things happening when music weren’t being played which is all well and good, except for the fact you are supposedly a music critic. hmm. the analog bombs were brilliant and i do hope they break out of bradford and the black featherd feet for that matter, if only because we’d get away from provincial knobs who think we should bow gracefully and thank the four people sat at the back rather than warm to and integrate the throng of very beautiful crowd(if a little young, who am i to judge even glitter made brilliant songs) tell you what,come to another gig i’l say hello on stage thats it, i’l work on my monologue so its perfect and we’ll play music that has no influence. would that be cool?? i only ask because we put your review on our myspace and it is just making people laugh, my band included. oasis, beatles, stones, bob dylan, bob marley, elvis, every rapper ever- they were dead polite and greeted the crowd with a warm shalom every gig dint they?? oh wait, nope they greeted the crowd with something that was relevant to their generation, which by the tone and distaste of your review i’m guessing you are not our target market. but hey ho how bitter am i?? let the “kids” decide.

  8. Michael Wood Says:

    Thanks for the comment Joe.

    I’m probably not from your “target market” because I remember when bands wouldn’t even know the phrase “target markets” or if they did they would not admit to it. Seriously though I don’t think you should bow gracefully, be polite or thank anybody but I think you should (and probably will) find a sound that is more of your own.

    Thanks for reading.

  9. joe Says:

    a sound our own? so the songs you heard were that borrowed? we lifted em straight off i tunes and played em for you that night? or perhaps we showed our influences on our sleeve, played a style of music that appeals to both us and our audience, and if that doesn’t please people like you then nothing will, but can you tell me a band that have their own sound please? because im lost, it just seems a short cut to dismissing musicians, without actually giving any credit for songwriting, bob dylan is revered as one of the greatest songwriters in our lifetimes and has gone on record many times saying he borrowed the ideas for songs, and sometimes the lyrics from elsewhere, yet when an aspiring band does it they need to search for their own sound? its a hypocritical attitude like that that keeps music in the shit its in. progression comes from influences, and running with ideas that sometimes have already been explored, but we are at base an indie band, which i think is the key word here, because you seem to have it in for our style rather than our substance. but growth comes from moving forward so taking your comments on board and being as articulate as my bradfordian education will allow, thanks for the critique. and politely feck yourself.

  10. Michael Wood Says:

    Where does one start? I’m not one of those people who enjoys the bad reviews more than the good and you have some nice bandmates who I don’t care to have a go at but you asked my opinion so here it is.

    Yes, you need to find your own sound. No band is without influences and influences are no bad thing but my problem with Young Loves is that the influences were too narrow and too obvious.

    Now I’m not sure who you would say those influences were but to me I felt like I was watching a mix of The Libertines with Babyshambles and a dash of Dirty Pretty Things thrown in which is to say that the influences worn on the sleeve were not broad enough to keep me interested. It was not like you were trying to fuse African drums and New York folk or British indie with Chicago dance. You were playing in a shallow pool of other indie bands and that is fine – it was enjoyable enough for most and I thought it was well done – but after twenty odd years of listening to exactly the sort of boys with jangling guitar music you play I need something more than The Libertines meet Razorlight to be that interested because frankly if I want to hear something that derivative twice I’ll go home and put on Up The Bracket not listen to a copy of a copy of a copy.

    Dylan does admit to where his influences come from and they are a wide range of music, poetry and art very few of them are another “American folk singer.”

    Put it another way: You know what happens when generations of cousins marry? That is, in my opinion, what keeps music in the shit (if it is in the shit at all) and you could do with looking outside your family of other indie musicians whom you wear so proudly on your sleeves and introduce some new genes into the pool.

    Nothing against your style of music – I’ve spent most of my life listening to it – and nothing against you but I paid my money to go to the gig and the review was what I thought. Write it off as a character flaw on my part if you want, whatever gets you through the night, or take it as feedback or ignore it. I was unimpressed but then again I’ve seen the type of thing Young Loves play done before and better so if your ambitions go beyond playing to your mates on Friday nights in pubs then you might want to try throw something new into the mix.

    Don’t feel you have to though. You might sell billions of records to your target market and go on to getting pissy with NME journalists who dare not bow to the musical genius of coming off like a Libertines tribute act complete with identikit “arrogant singer” but that is not anything I’m interested in. I go to gigs to see something different and if you look through this site you’ll see I’m fulsome of praise when I find it and tend not to say much when I don’t but that Friday I saw a faded copy and a singer who took a stab – if you pardon the pun – at arrogant rock star but came off as sulky fourteen year old. I was unimpressed.

    Finally, my Bradfordian education came before yours and while I’m not saying it was any better they did at least tell us how to spell “fuck” correctly.

  11. joe Says:

    right then i best get some african delta blues up on the old ghetto blaster then? i’d gladly throw some folk in there apart from it’d be a bit daft someone from the industrial north of england in 2009 playing folk music twinged with afro beats, indie music has like it or not become the pop music of our generation. my generation not yours, yours is a snobby elitist generation that thinks anything after the smiths is derivitive shite, we arnt saying we’re re-inventing wheels here, we are crafting songs which people can connect with, people who feel like for some people they’ll never really be on a level, some people will always be that bit better, and you know what ? people do get it, they do react to the set, and they do get up and dance, the crowd (albeit sparse) on friday consisted of exactly three people i knew, the rest were there for other bands or just a night out, and they all got up and danced for us. we don’t have the fantastic power and drive of other bands and according to you we don’t even have any ideas of our own, but we do have an ability to connect with people who are worth connecting with, i’m not questioning your worth as a person i’m simply stating you ain’t got that much worth. feck is what my old friend in cork says, its old celtic for fook, which is yorkshire for fack, which is cockney for fuck which is what educated souls like yourself would say. i tell you what when i look at the charts and see experimental jazz and hardcore trance folk at number one i’l contemplate changing genres until then i’l stick a thick stick of indie in my ears every chance i get. if its been twenty years of tiring bands maybe you should put down the notepad and pick up the pipe and slippers?? because plenty of people are out there willing to get on with it. How old are you? because it kind of becomes an issue of if any of this is relevant if i’m sparking debates left right and bang up the middle with the cast of “last of the summer wine” compo is no fan of music just tin baths on wheels. would you rather be riding a bath down a hill??

  12. Michael Wood Says:

    You know those real laugh out loud moments? The real ones where you can’t stop a laugh coming out? Well I got one of them from “indie music is is the pop music of our generation not yours.” For the record I don’t think that every band after The Smiths are derivative I just think that your band are.

    The Swing Movement – for example – are a Bradford band around your level and your age but manage to not come over like they are playing covers and the Analog Bombs can take a word of criticism without throwing an embarrassing tantrum.

    You know if you were to read the review (again, or at all maybe) you would see that it says explicitly that people danced and had a good night with a decent crowd. You do what you do reasonably but what you do is as you say “a thick stick of indie” and nothing else. It is indie influenced by indie. It is music that eats itself.

    You have an interesting idea on connecting with people – if you do then that is great, if not you scream like a spoilt child and start saying that those who do not agree are “not worth connecting with” and “ain’t got that much worth”. The Last Of The Summer Wine thing is almost as funny as your “any one who goes outside will be knifed” joke. Perhaps a career in stand up comedy should beckon in which you come on and tell some Peter Kaye jokes with enough altered that you can pass them off as your own and then get all sulky and start throwing around insults with anyone who does not laugh. I exaggerate.

    It is a curious world you live in Joe and ultimately I’m glad to be “separated by a generation” as you say (I’m 35 but it is my birthday soon) because I like there to be clear blue water between me and thee. You talk about “target markets” and sticking with indie because it is popular and would do well in the charts as if music is a commercial thing, a FMCG, something to shift units.

    I don’t know (or care) if that is because of my age but frankly I don’t like my music so soulless and so much about selling rather than creating. Even this outraged, egotistical attitude of yours – complete a disregard for capitalisation which is, like, just sooo corporate isn’t it? – is a constructed copy of something tired and old and boring.

    I like bands who put their hearts into creating something personal to them not people who worry about how many units it would sell. There are loads of people your age in Bradford who make music that is personal and has nothing to do with radio friendly unit shifters so to be honest I don’t think we are separated by age, just by attitude.

    You are right though, generic, tired indie pop sells bucket loads and you are making sure you stay so close to that that you are never in danger of creating anything that interesting except to fourteen year old girls who have never heard those obvious influences and so you are able to pass off your pastiche as creativity.

    Good luck to you. I wish you all the best with it – you could be the new Scouting For Girls – but I no matter how much you put the bottom lip out you can’t argue someone into liking your band’s music and I reserve the right to say that I was not entertained and that I have heard it all before, and better.

  13. joe Says:

    first off its kay, ive got all the dvds and am learning the lines for the next gig, secondly whats wrong with fourteen year old girls?? they’re great dancers and have fantastic taste in music, scouting for girls? hardly fella, if we are copying anyone its not them elvis is dead, which is good because he’d be gutted that your such a bitter person, i do think i remember saying at the time that there is a boring set at the fiddlers sat moping near the bar, i even said to tommy that i reckon its someone doin a review/ hatchet job. I am spitting the dummy because we are creating music that i feel is very good i wouldn’t go on stage and play it otherwise, if you feel its been done before then i’m sorry to have bothered, and yes i want to sell music, why wouldn’t i?? what a fantastically redundant attitude to music that would be “it’s about the music , man” yeah its also about paying bills for studios and rehearsal space. and making some on top to buy our fourteen year old fans drugs and booze. do the swing movement not want a career from music? or is it just about the music?? by the way cockpit gig went fucking mint. i even finished by taking my pants off. and the fourteen year olds lapped it up.

  14. Ria Wood Says:

    That’s interesting image you paint there of “14-year olds lapping it up” – careful! Still if they were ever so thrilled by the idea of your pants removal, perhaps it was because it provided a more memorable end to the evening than the music that preceded it. Perhaps jack in the music altogether and concentrate on creating the UKs first male stripping troupe for the under-18s market…that’s certainly a niche to exploit!

    Anyhow, just you have the right to produce and publicly broadcast your musical endeavours, if entry is charged to watch it then that gives the audience a particular right to reply and critique if they so wish. It’s just the way of life that you can’t please all the people all the time and if you’re to go as far as you’d like to in this industry, you’re going to have to grow thicker skin than this. Surely more of your time should be spent beloveldly crafting your music than spent attempting to argue the toss in an extended fashion on here, weeks after the event has occurred. We’ve moved on, it’s about time you do too.

  15. Michael Wood Says:

    I think we can probably draw this to a close now. I’m glad the Cockpit gig went well – good to see Bradford band doing well – and I’m glad you’re earning a decent amount out of what you do but I still did not like it over much.

    You seem to have decided you want to play music aimed squarely at one bunch of people – that “target audience” of yours – and think that you can make a career out of that. That is great for you but it is not really any more interesting to me than what anyone else does to earn a crust.

    You look at your music as a career rather than anything creative and hopefully will be rewarded for it. I’m sure the music world is crying out to shove a few more quid into landfill indie and you certainly have the persistence needed although to get somewhere but if I were you I’d probably be a bit more thick skinned and a little less dismissive.

    I was not one of the “boring set” at the bar but I remember the people you mean and I’m sure they are eager to see you again after your description. They seemed like regular guys to me but then again I don’t think so rigidly in terms if target markets so I’ve no reason to dismiss them.

    Nor indeed to I have the need to summon up the spirit of dead rock stars to pass comment. For the record I don’t think Elvis would give a toss about either of us but he would probably think the Swing Movement were interesting, which they are. I don’t know how they think about things by the way because I’ve never met them but they are a good example of a band in Bradford who play similar venues to you who can do what you do better.

    Ultimately I’m not sure what point you are trying to make in this extended toys out of the pram.

    You admirably defend your right to be derivative, to make music that will interest only those fourteen year olds we talk about being in your target market, to treat your music not as an art but as a business and to make a career out of it rather than treat it as a way to express anything interesting, to make anything distinctive, to do anything different.

    You defend that and I don’t argue with you – good luck to you

    What I can’t understand though is that after you have set yourself up to make derivative, uninteresting, targeted, commercial, unit shifting, radio friendly music why you think people are going to be interested? Bit like the people who make High School Musical wondering why they are not packing anyone over 12.

  16. joe Says:

    I just listened to swing movement…dead good. probably the best band i’ve ever heard.

  17. thomas binns Says:

    Hi its me again 🙂 The singer from the young Loves.
    I can’t believe all this has been going on without me knowing, blimey. I didn’t really have time to read it all, I got the highlights though ‘faded copy of a singer came off as a sulky 14 year old’ hehehehehe
    Well done all round I d say
    Peace, now wheres me crack pipe? Kate?! KAAAAAAAAAAATE, you seen me crack pipe or what?