Butlerism: How to Review a Gig

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Everyone who reads my live reviews always asks me the same thing; “Why do you still write these inane live reviews? Are you some kind of fucking moron?”. And well, whilst my mother asks a good question, I can’t hold onto these secrets any longer, so I’m going to tell you just how I go about reviewing a live gig, how you can, and how you can better enjoy your live experience. Or you can just tell me to fuck off. I’m pretty used to that.

Pre Gig

Gig day… it’s gig day. You’ve been thinking about this gig for months, days, weeks, seconds or not at all if you’ve totally forgotten about it. Why are we talking about this? This bares no impact on my review, apart from that time I went to see Royal Blood, forgot my ticket, had to run back, despite having the worst hangover ever. Got called handsome by a drunk woman, got handed a beer by a drunk woman, on the stipulation she could go on my shoulders, upon taking that beer, I smiled, said “Sure” and slipped into the moshpit.

The main takeaways from here are; do not forget your ticket, make empty promises to strangers, have a few beers, but not too many, to get you into a warm and cosy mood for the evening.

Pre Gig, But This Time, You’re in the Venue

I’m 24, 25 in two months. I still get very, very bored, very, very quickly and cannot stand around waiting, because that’s boring. At this point, it’s a good time to start playing up, loudly shitpost people and remind yourself of funny memes. Also best to enjoy this with another beer. Seriously, the standing around waiting between bands is the worst thing ever. Time moves much, much slower but you don’t want to sacrifice your spot in the crowd. Unless your friend, who is me, is 6’4″ and is the size of a household appliance, you can get through crowds pretty quickly. Sorry to everyone who’s stood behind me.

Support Band

Depending on who the support band is, I’ll either give them a shout out or not. Every band was a support band once, so it’s always a good place to find new bands to listen to, or even, for bigger marquee gigs, see a few of your favourite bands in once place. Like that time I saw Nothing But Thieves support Muse. That was great. The takeaway here? Everyone will break your fucking heart eventually. Sometimes however, I either miss the support bands because I’m in traffic, exceedingly lazy or drinking a beer. It’s just the way things work when you’re an adult.

The Actual Fucking Gig!

My favourite part! There’s nothing more exciting than the music cutting, the lights dimming and the scream as hundreds, maybe thousands of people all welcome their heroes for a thousand different reasons. If you’re reviewing a gig, it’s good to read the room; what’s the atmosphere like? Is the air heavy and full of anticipation, are the crowd really into it, or just a bunch of pretenders? If you’re into it too, the moshpit is always the best place to enjoy a gig.

Not when everyone tries their hand at it though, so you’re having to struggle to get an obese 50 year old named Keith up off the floor, despite the fact he’s made letcherous comments to all the girls in the venue, but the pit rules are the rules; no body down. Then he gets angry you creased his Ralph Lauren shirt. Keith sweetie, you’re at a hard rock gig, why are you dressed like you’re presenting the accounts to the board of directors? You dick. Stop it.

With that, if you see sexual harrasment at gigs, please alert your nearest security member, scary looking front man or take matters into your own hands and chin the bastard. Gigs should always be for love and peace, but performing an impromptu tooth extraction on a creep is always on the money.

Also, if you get chance, read the band’s mood. Are they having a good time, or are they wishing they’d never come to Birmingham? Birmingham crowds are really good actually, London crowds are a bit wanky, but so is everyone in London, so I guess the two go hand in hand. Manchester are a good laugh too, same with Liverpool. Basically if you go to a gig past the Watford gap you’re going to be mugged or unappreciated.

Don’t just list out a load of songs, list out your favourites, the new ones, where the passion was, what the crowd absolutely went bananas for and be critical if you have to. But the most important thing to remember is to let go, report live from the pit, use all five senses to enjoy the gig. Arcane Roots played their gig in the pitch black, but their ethereal, strobe based attack made them one of the best bands I’ve seen live.


Drink a lot of beer, see people you fucking hate, because who doesn’t love a hate fuck? I guess the same applies from the above. Let go, get a bit drunk, experience everything around you. The crowd can turn a bad gig into an amazing one, and vice versa. Comment on what else you did during the day or the week, how hungover you were, some of the weird and wacky folk you see around festivals.

Really though, you’ve just wasted your time, yet again reading another one of my articles. Sorry.

Step Down, Eddie: A Tribute

by Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Apologies, apologies for those of you who were expecting a column last week. I know there’s probably one of you, two of you maybe. I’m probably just going to give up soon. Do you want an excuse? Sure. Sadness, and an inability to find the right words to justify this column in such a short space of time. However, one week has passed, and there’s an ability to now put into digital print just what the passing of “Fast” Eddie Clarke means to me, and the wider music community.

With Eddie‘s tragic passing at just the age of 67, this now means that the ‘classic’ Motorhead line up is no longer of this earth. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve dropped the edgy r/atheism side to my personality, I don’t really care what people believe as long as they’re good & righteous in their actions, and taken a wider view as to what happens to us when we die. Whilst I don’t know what happens when we die, I do hope, wherever the Three Amigos have ended up, there’s a bottomless bar, a stack of Marshalls and some er… ‘nasal decongestants’ to paraphrase Philthy Animal.

Image result for eddie clarke

But with his passing last Wednesday, the last connection to some of the most influential rock ‘n’ roll records in the world was finally closed, to an outpouring of love & sadness from the people who inspired him most. Despite the fact he hadn’t played with Motorhead since 1982, his lightning riffs & screaming solos laid the blueprint for some of the biggest bands in the world, including Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth. Whilst Lemmy will forever be remembered as the beating heart & snarled face of MotorheadEddie should forever be remembered as the soul of Motorhead. “Fast” by name, “Fast” by nature, he contributed to the full-frontal speed based attack that made Overkill, Bomber Ace of Spades so good and why they’re still widely regarded as some of the band’s best works, despite all being on the cusp of 40 years old.

Which says it all, considering that he spent considerably more time out of Motorhead than in Motorhead, both he and Philthy Animal are still held in such high regard, not just because of their raw talent, but because as a trio, they were, and still are a formidable combination. 50% of early Motorhead was the music, the other 50% was because they looked & sounded like biker pirates from outer space, who’d steal your wallet, your girlfriend & your heart in the same one hour set. If someone wanted to dress up as a rockstar for the evening, you’d just need to show them a photo of late 70s Motorhead and be done with it. That was and still is rock ‘n’ roll. But there was no posing involved, that’s how they genuinely dressed, cool as ice as they played red-hot music.

However, it’s not like Eddie left Motorhead in 1982 and then just disappeared after falling out with the band over recording with The Plasmatics; or being pushed out of the band largely by Philthy, depending on which version of events you believe although no member was available for comment on this via ouija board. After leaving, he formed his own hard rock, heavy metal express Fastway. Was this just a way of keeping himself busy? Absolutely not. In the eighties alone, Fastway released five full-length studio albums, each bottling the essence of heavy rock itself; fast, loose and unforgiving. Had glam rock risen to prominence in the mid-Eighties, history may remember Fastway a bit more kindly, but music nowadays is all about finding those hidden gems. Go and stick Fastway and All Fired Up on, you’ll be pleasantly delighted. It’s not quite Motorhead, but it’s still got that roll-in-the hay filth to it.


With Lemmy’s passing just over two years ago, which I’m still not fully over, the death of Philthy a few weeks prior and now Eddie, it’s terribly sad that the creators of some of the finest rock and roll albums ever have now passed on. Eddie made sporadic appearances here and there with Motorhead, one of which I missed because I was on holiday with my awful, horrible, nasty girlfriend at the time, and every time he climbed on stage, he was greeted as if he never left. Every fan in that audience, even the ones born years after he left Motorhead recognised and understood Eddie‘s contribution to the rich tapestry that was those first five records, plus No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith, still one of the finest live records out there.

So with this, after booking out an entire column to pay tribute to you, all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you, Edward Allan Clarke, for playing a huge part in writing some of my favourite albums, for inspiring some of my favourite bands, and for forever creating a white-hot rock & roll aesthetic.

The Butler Year In Review: 2017

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

CW: Mentions of rape, suicide.

Ah, 2017. If 2016 was anthropomorphized as the celebrity Grim Reaper, surely this year will be anthropomorphized as a celebrity rapist. Whilst we should always focus on the positives of anything, it’s hard to ignore that sexual abuse, misogyny and homophobia is still rife within the music industry, with many of our once-loved bands & artists being chucked into the ‘cancelled’ bin, because they’re abusive pieces of shit who’ve ruined more than a few lives. In other news, does anybody want to buy a signed Nothing But Thieves record?

This year also became the year that the barriers came down on mental health, and it was okay to not be okay. Musicians canceled tours and took a step back from the limelight, purely because mentally, they weren’t 100% fit, which was met with rounded understanding & solidarity with our heroes. Mental illness has also become a larger theme of modern music, with the demons that follow us being talked about more fluidly than ever before. Sadly, whilst we took many steps forward with our mental health, we sadly stumbled as within a short period, we lost the emphatic Chris Cornell and the legendary Chester Bennington, both to suicide.

Whilst the death of any of our favourite musicians will leave a hole in us, Chester’s death hurt me more than anything. Largely because just week’s prior, I’d gotten a free ticket to see Linkin Park in Birmingham. I showed up an hour late (Thanks, Eurowings), with muddled expectations because it’d been so long since I’d listened to Linkin Park, but as soon as I got there, I remembered that voice, that face, the man who soundtracked so many of our angsty teen years, almost as if he was frozen in time, an immortal that would guide so many angsty teenagers through confusing times. By the end of the show I was blown away, and on the flight the day after, was filling my ears with Linkin Park – it was so good to have them back in my life, but little did I know, weeks later, I’d have been one of the last people to see him perform live.


It hurt a lot, to be honest. Same with Chris Cornell, two premier musicians, lost in their prime because of a disgusting illness. We’re talking about it, but not enough, and it’s killing us.

From a personal point of view, this year’s been about the marquee gigs. Kicking off the year with Black Sabbath, it was beyond belief. Despite the fact that all three are on the cusp of seventy, they were all in fine form, proving why they’re the heavy metal genesis. It was also a good year for young blood, especially for metalcore as I saw both Bury Tomorrow and While She Sleeps tear it up. Not exactly the newest kids on the block, but definitely torchbearers for the future. In fact, I don’t think I saw a bad gig this year, apart from Liam Gallagher at Glastonbury. I also got to see Radiohead headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, which is everything you think it is, and then some. It was a fantastic weekend with my best friends, as it always is, and is always the highlight of my year. The Prodigy closed off this year’s run of amazing gigs, showing that despite they’ve been together for nearly thirty years, they’ve still got the venom that helped soundtrack the jilted generation.


It was also a year of pushing myself musically, stretching my bass playing chops to new limits, occasionally pottering about in bands, but to no avail currently. I think the time’s come to self-produce some solo stuff in 2018, programme some drums, make sure that we’re overstocked on riffs next year. I think playing in a band is the best thing in the world: the camaraderie, the beer, the laughs, it’s a really good way to boost yourself.

I’m also buoyed by the future of rock and roll. Anyone who says it’s dead just isn’t selling records like they used to, but when I listen to the absolute plethora of new music out there, how the fuck can you even wobble? This year I’ve heard strong releases from Creeper, Royal Blood, While She Sleeps, Enter Shikari, Wolf Alice, Nachtexenpunx, Treeherder, PVRIS, Arcane Roots AND Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes (remind me who I missed) with bands like Dorothy, Broken Hands, Beartooth, Bury Tomorrow and Blackfoxxes showing plenty of potential for the future. I’ve also broadened my hip-hop tastes in 2017, with Brockhampton and Kung Fu Kenny himself being my stars of 2017. I’ve always been into rap, hip-hop and largely grime, but I truly believe that they’re the next breed of ‘rockstars’. Fuck what the Mail says, Stormzy is a role model; a humble guy who’s honest and open about who he is, and a hell of an artist to boot. They’ll try to drag a black boy with a joint down all they like, we, the many, know that’s complete bullshit.


And of course, the biggest highlight of 2017 has been being a Blinkclyro writer. You’ve all taken me into your hearts and devices, and supported me, built me up and given me the fire to keep writing. It’s been so good to talk to you about new albums, some rowdy gigs and of course, my new weekly column. I can’t thank your founder, my god (I swear I didn’t add this – Ed), Liam Menzies for giving me a shot. From a shaky review of Green Light by Lorde, right up to launching a column, he’s been supporting, advising and keeping everything going. Also, shout out to my wonderful colleagues, it’s been a joy to edit your articles because I see such talent oozing from it.

In 2018, I hope that we’ll be able to let girls be musicians and enjoy gigs without the fear of being groped and that we never lose another brother or sister to suicide, that’s all. There’ll always be good music, good gigs, and rising stars, but we just need a safer environment for all of our friends. I wish you a happy new year, and I’ll be here, every week, like it or not.

Until I’m sacked.

Butlerisms: Death of the Christmas #1

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

This (like all of my columns that I’ve written, am currently writing and am yet to write) will likely be a walking contradiction, but fellow Blinkclyroers, I put it to you that the Christmas song is dying, or has even died. Take a look at your Christmas playlist, go on; I know you’ve got one. Look at your choice cuts; there’s not a single new classic on there, is there? Nobody in my view, since The Darkness wrote Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End), has actually gone out there and written a tip-top Christmas song. Sia has written & released a Christmas album, yes, but how many of her tracks slap like All I Want For Christmas Is You?

Sure, Michael Buble will grace us with a Christmas album now and then, but they’re just sultry, silky smooth covers that you can give to your mum on Christmas Day because you were sweating your tits off in HMV just 12 hours before because you’d forgotten to buy a present for her. But when was the last time you heard a truly great, original Christmas song? And I mean truly unbelievable, not something that’s half decent or a cover, an original that’s the theme song of that year’s Christmas.

While we’re talking about Buble, can we discuss this? The Christmas equivalent of “no homo”.

This isn’t really about the Christmas number one, though Simon Cowell’s policy of taking hopeful artists, milking them dry and destroying them has sort of sullied Christmas forever & has murdered the great race for Christmas number one, though that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Oh, look! Ed Sheeran. Great.

I don’t hate those who go on the X-Factor because they’re credible artists, but I hate the fact that some mediocre, middle of the road guy with stupid fucking t-shirts decides whether you’re a good singer or not, only for you to more or less be fucked over as soon as the winner is announced. Where’s Matt Cardle these days? Apparently, Ben Haenow won the 2014 season of the X-Factor, got to number one but this is the first I’ve heard of him. All good for the bottom line & buys Cowell another Rolls, I ‘spose. You either win or you get your dreams & self-esteem crushed on national television. Swings and roundabouts.

Oh, right, yeah, Christmas songs.

Sure, it’s largely a good way to make a bit of cash because if it’s good enough, your song will be listened to at least once a year. Noddy Holder, formerly of Slade and my fellow Blackcountryman hasn’t been with the band since the early 90s, yet still makes half a million pounds a year off Merry Xmas Everybody. And rightly so, it’s a tune. But all your favourite Christmas songs are likely older than you, and your parents were probably younger than you were when they first heard them. Last Christmas was written by Wham!,  who broke up in nineteen-eighty-fucking-six, and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day came out so long ago, Wizzard actually wrote it the day of Jesus’ second birthday.

We’ve already covered the topic of rock being dead, which it certainly isn’t, but the Christmas song is certainly on its last legs, and I’d argue that there’s not even a pulse anymore. One of my favourite new bands, Creeper, has brought out a Christmas EP, great, but there are no originals on it. I want to see We Wish You a Creeper Christmas, or Santa’s a Goth Punk, just something silly, unserious and plenty festive. Why have Metallica never written a Christmas song?

When’s Brockhampton’s Santauration dropping? Is everyone so fucking precious about their image that they’re too afraid to be seen as having fun?

Little Mix would be prime candidates to start a New Wave of British Christmas Songs because they’re highly relatable, aren’t afraid to have fun, and are exceedingly talented. But bar a cover of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), there’s been nothing from them! Nothing! Nobody’s picking up the mantle of writing a Christmas song that fucking slaps and then some.

The explosion in Christmas songs can be loosely correlated to the rise of Top of the Pops because back in t’day, every band and their dog would be clamouring for a spot on that show, and an a-grade Christmas song would guarantee you a spot on the show. Secondly, Slade were one of the original glam rock bands, and glam rock was a genre that didn’t necessarily take itself too seriously and wasn’t afraid to be silly. That follows right up to The Darkness, who are a glam rock band who don’t necessarily take themselves too seriously. This obviously could descend into a theory that grunge killed glam, and Kurt Cobain killed Christmas, but let’s leave that piece of tin-foil hattery for the Info Wars wankers.

Of course, all of our favourite Christmas songs were first seeded into our ears when we were young, and attach happy memories to that, but I’m writing this and you’re reading this because we love good music, unobjectively. I get that there’s the issue of being typecast as the ones who did the Christmas song, but The Darkness did okay. Slade, too.

Don’t just half arse a song, stick some jingly bells on it & call it a Christmas song. Go all out, wear spandex for the video and get Santa to fucking dab until he tears his rotator cuff. Don’t worry about your poker face & credibility as artists, because you’ll be routinely loved for starting a new wave of Christmas songs. Every Christmas, you’ll be added to playlists with cries of “this is a banger” as pre-drinks, office parties & Christmas mornings are soundtracked by you.

What’s to lose? Nothing. What’s to gain? Immortality.

Butlerisms: Rock is Alive

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Every now and then, usually around album release time, some rent-a-dad like Noel Gallagher or Tom Meighan from Kasabian will come out and declare that rock and roll is dead” and that they’re going to “save guitar music”. Further to this, some rent-an-arsehole like Gene Simmons will come out for no good reason, the most likely reason being he’s bored, and spout some shite like there’s “no good bands” anymore, and that he’s waiting for another KISS.

It happened this year, with Kasabian widely touting that their latest offering, For Crying Out Loud, would “save guitar music”. Sounds like a pretty tasty concept if you ask me. Guitar music’s in such a state that this album’s gonna change everything? Lay it on me sugar!

However, this quote is merely a concept. Because For Crying Out Loud left many crying out loud at how underwhelming this album was. By no stretch was it a bad album, but to herald it at the saviour of guitar music was nothing but pure bluster & bullshit.


The saviours of guitar music (apparently).


Further to this, guitar music is just FINE, sweeties. Now, there’s some truth to these statements, because rightly so, rock & roll ain’t what it used to be. But if you go back to the genesis, rock & roll was Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, the Beatles, hell, even Cliff Richard & the Shadows. These guys were the pioneers of rock & roll, but rock & roll has evolved from there to hard rock, heavy metal, punk, thrash metal, grunge, hardcore, post-hardcore, emo, metalcore, deathcore, thrashcore, core-core, electronic rock, doom metal, death metal, alt-rock, folk rock, pop punk, Brit rock, dad rock, crust punk.

If anything, the problem with rock & roll these days is that there are too many guitar bands out there, meaning it’s hard for a band to cut through the noise to become superstars. Back in the day, all you had to do was have the right haircut & be able to play a few chords and boom – you’re the Beatles. That’s not to do them a disservice, they were at the very start of rock, and we ALL have them to thank for our favourite bands being here today. But in today’s day and age, four lads with guitars would struggle to hit those heights.

But is that such a problem? Not really as there’s a bustling scene, with a new band wriggling into your ears on a near-weekly basis. Take a look at some of the bands who’ve released debut albums in the last three years; in one of my playlists alone, names off the top of my head include Black Foxxes, Creeper, PVRIS, Broken Hands, Dorothy, Highly Suspect, Wolf Alice, Treeherder – the list is fucking exhaustless. Bit of a stretch here considering his tenure in rock, but take a look at Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes. Together for three years with two sublime albums, touring halls, academies and institutes across the land. And if we went back to 2010 as the threshold, the list would be chunkier than Eddie Hall’s biceps.


New bands like Wolf Alice have kept the guitar music light lit – no help needed.


I’m literally just naming my own personal examples here, but I’m sure you could name ten off the top of your head as well. Go write them down, send them to me, send them to bands like Kasabian and tell those fuckers that rock isn’t dead, you’re just not slinging albums like you used to.

The biggest contradiction, in this columnist’s humble & largely incorrect opinion, to the “rock is dead” trope is, like ’em, love ’em or hate ’em, Royal Blood. Just look at them. In four short years, they’ve gone from Brighton open mic night nobodies to global rock superstars. They’ve come off the back of a sell-out UK arena tour and two albums out of two to reach number one in the charts. Their heavy rock riff charges are positioning them as the torchbearers for the future of rock and roll. I’m biased towards them, yes, but even on paper, they are one of the most promising bands out there to join the immortals. I know some of you will stick your tongue out at that prospect, but in terms of a health check, rock is in the pink.

One identifiable gripe could be that pop music is bigger than rock music but the problem there is that “pop” has always been big because it’s more accessible than anything else out there. Can we all appreciate a screaming Jimmy Page solo? No. Can we all appreciate a catchy Little Mix tune? Fuck yes. Ed Sheeran is so bland that vanilla ice cream burns his tongue, but his brand of endless, nameless guitar playing is crafted for everyone, from the still-hip parents to people who exclusively have missionary sex whilst watching The X-Factor.

But what message does this send when people such as Gene Simmons, Serge Pizzorno, Justin Hawkins & Noel Gallagher say that there’s no good music out there anymore & rock is dead? There are kids out there who’ve picked up a guitar in their name, only to be told “Sorry kids, there’s nothing out there for you. Go home, become an accountant instead“. Bands instead should be doing a Metallica: inviting bands to come and snatch their crown. We need to encourage young bands to be Metallica, to be Led Zep, to be Oasis, to be Kasabian, but better than they could ever be. “Rock is dead” should be replaced with “Rock is yours, if you think you’re hard enough“.

Scott Ian of Anthrax recently shared that opinion that there wasn’t much out there, as they were currently touring with Code Orange: yeno, the band who released their first album in 2014, and their second album Forever, released this year is f u c k i n g G r a m m y n o m i n a t e d. Maybe his comments were twisted out of context but if I was in a young band, out on tour with a veteran band who then told the press that there are no good bands out there, I’d pack up my equipment and go home. Next plane home, sorry Scott, you said that we’re not good enough.

Image result for code orange
Note: if you haven’t listened to Code Orange then get your act together.


Never will I question any band that goes out there to plant their flag in the ground, but big bands should be encouraging them to push forwards, inspiring the passion within them. There are no free lunches in the music business, but our rock & roll elders could be doing more to invite the youth to lunch. The bands that put the work in, play every show they possibly can & promote themselves like billy-o will always rise to the top, if they’re good enough because that’s what always happens. The bands that go into the business to pose and claim they’re “saving guitar music” will inevitably die. Because they’ve spent so much time talking about what’s so wrong with music today, they haven’t bothered thinking about what to do to improve it.

Streaming is also decried by the elders, sometimes under the guise that it doesn’t help young bands. Perhaps not compared to selling records straight up, but in the age of “radio killed the riff” and “rock is dead“, it helps thriving bands bypass getting their rock sound onto the airwaves, because they can get their music out by word of mouth, social media and a good old-fashioned flyer drop. If they’re good enough, their mates tell their other mates, other mates to other mates & before you know it, they’re on Spotify’s discover weekly.

Spotify gives risk-free music exploration. For just £9.99 a month, I can check out hundreds and hundreds of new bands without having to buy a record. But with that, if they’re good enough, I’ll buy the record, the vinyl, the t-shirt, the countless gig tickets and become a long term investor in that band. Bands might not make as much money initially at less than a penny a stream, but their worldwide reach could make them bigger than if they’d relied on radio play & record company support. Crap bands will forever die on their feet, good bands will forever have loyal fans. Doesn’t matter what the year is, what the platform is and who the rent-a-gob is, good bands will always have loyal followings.

Small gigs are forever the genesis of a new band, and I think we’re all guilty of not going enough, but there’s no finer pleasure than heading down to a sticky little club to see a band playing for their bus fare home. No faking, no bullshit, just a group of friends playing their hearts out. But that’s happening every day of every week in nearly every town. Rehearsal studios rattle as young bands figure out the finer points of their killer riffs. If rock & roll was dead, we’d be all congregating in an arena to watch some no-name band on the downswing of their career blast out their greatest hits and be met with stony faces when the new songs are played.

Kasabian are currently touring the United Kingdom.