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New Model Army Live

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Chester Live Rooms, Chester, 19 November 2019

Back in 1999 I attended a 10 day music festival in Ireland in county Cork. It was held in a wonderful place called Liss Ard and attended by hundreds of the most dedicated and serious Irish music fans. To give you a flavour of the festival’s quality it included John Cale, Nick Cave, Pulp, John Martyn, Bernard Butler, Bonny Prince Billy, Japan’s wonderful Cornelius, Handsome Family, Mark Eitzel, Afro Celt Sound System, Arab Strap, Drugstore and many more. It was here I met Justin Sullivan who performed several solo acoustic shows. Sullivan attended with his partner Joolz who was there for the literary segment of the festival and read her opwn prose. It was a very special event and I got to like and respect Sullivan a lot but, until now, have never witnessed a performance by his band New Model Army.

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The Chester Live Rooms is the city’s best rock venue by a country mile and of late has featured some excellent talent. Now this is very handy as it’s my home town so when New Model Army came to town, I quickly put my hand up… But first on tonight’s venue is a band I did not know. Headsticks hail from Stoke On Trent in Staffordshire so this venue cpould be loosely described as local.

Band Members

Andrew Tranter (vocals, harmonica)
Steve Dunn (guitar, backing vocals)
Nick Bayes (bass, backing vocals)
Tom Carter (drums)

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It’s the first time I’ve attended The Live Rooms to find a long line of punters waiting to enter the venue. It then struck me that Headsticks may have brought along many of its loyal fans and as their show started (without ceremony) the ruckus that ensued proved that this was the case. Tranter exploded out of the blocks and continued to display a rare passion and enthusiasm. Steve Dunn was superb on electric and acoustic guitars while the bass section provided a floor-shaking, solid foundation. I am not familiar with the band’s music but loved the political and special musical themes underpinned by powerful melodies. Midway through the set and Tranter recited the most beautiful and heartfelt poem exploring despair and hope. The fans’ enthusiasm built through the show and included some pretty skilful backing vocals…I was deeply impressed by the band’s performance and frankly could not think of a better folk/punk/rock warm-up act for the feature band.

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Setlist

Mississippi’s Burning
Flatline Town
Cold, Grey English Skies
Dying For A Lie
When
What If They’re Right?
Out Of Fashion
Paper Flowers
My Own War

Headsticks Biography

Formed in 2012 Headsticks have developed their own brand of Revolutionary Punk Roots Rock’n'Roll, through constant gigging which has seen their profile continually rise alongside the growth of a fanatical fan base.

Supports with bands as varied as The Wildhearts, Lindisfarne, Spear Of Destiny, Buzzcocks, and Ferocious Dog have seen their music cross over genre barriers and has been received with the same enthusiasm and passion that they themselves produce in their live shows… honest and raw social commentary delivered with a wry sense of humour, uplifting and always giving 100%.

The release of their third studio album KEPT IN THE DARK in March 2019 has been received with favourable reviews from pillars of both the punk rock and folk worlds, as the band continues to cement it’s reputation for crowd pleasing, genre crossing, passion infused live performances.

Fast becoming festival favourites, Headsticks continue their crusade to say it like it is and were delighted to be one of just a handful of bands asked to play two sets at 2018’s Rebellion Punk Rock Festival, playing full electric and almost acoustic sets to thunderous receptions and look forward to a busy schedule for Summer and Autumn 2019.

Hard hitting, emotive, yet infectious songs and melodies a-plenty have seen the band grow from being an afternoon band to a headliner at many grass roots festivals, and sub headliner at larger events too, as well as playing endless benefits, events, line ups and headline shows of their own… KEPT IN THE DARK already appears to be propelling the band to new heights, and the band have every intention of capitalising on these early signs of success as they aim to reach new audiences with their very unique blend of Punk, Folk, Roots and Ska.

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