19 min read

Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

Early doors once again has me scuttling, beetle like to Nottingham once again. Rock City, the East Midlands favoured venue is hosting a night with the mighty Terrorvision, a party night to be sure.

On the undercard we have Brighton’s Bar Stool Preachers, a band that I have yet to catch live, so let’s get into this Seven-piece from the South coast.

I’ve been told that the electric energy of a Bar Stool Preachers gig is like a jolt to the system. And it’s clear from the moment the Brighton-based ska-punk band hit the stage, that this is not going to be an ordinary night. The venue buzzes with sound of repeated snare slams from ‘Whibbs’ on the drum kit, and as the first notes of “Choose My Friends” fill the air, the crowd erupts in cheers.

The six-piece ensemble, led by the charismatic TJ McFaull, immediately establishes a connection with the audience. McFaull’s stage presence is magnetic, and his vocals cut through the air with a raw intensity that demands attention. The band’s tight instrumentation, featuring Karl ‘Bungle’ Jeffery on bass, Alex D Hay on keyboards, Karl Smith, and Tom Gibbs on guitars, Alexander ‘Whibbs’ Whibley-Conway on drums, provides the perfect backdrop for McFaull’s impassioned delivery.

As “Choose My Friends” gives way to “One Fool Down,” the crowd is asked what they do when someone falls in the Mosh Pit, “pick them up” shouts the crowd as one, “That’s what we’re about replies McFall, before the bouncing congregation get caught in a whirlwind of ska-infused punk goodness. The band, skanking and dancing without a care in the world display their ability to seamlessly blend punk aggression with ska rhythms creates a dynamic sound that keeps the audience hooked from start to finish.

One of the standout moments of the night comes with “Love The Love” a standout track from their latest album, “Above The Static.”.

As the setlist unfolds, the band effortlessly transitions between high-octane punk tracks like “Flatlined” and ska-infused anthems like “8-6days (All Broken Hearts).” Each song is delivered with an infectious energy that is impossible to resist. The seamless fusion of keys, guitars, and McFaull’s commanding vocals creates a sonic landscape that is both exhilarating and thought-provoking.

Amidst the upbeat tempo and infectious hooks, Bar Stool Preachers don’t shy away from addressing socio-political issues, their scathing critiques of the state of the world, resonates fully with the like-minded audience. McFaull’s lyrics are delivered with a sense of urgency, urging the crowd to reflect on the world around them. It’s a powerful moment of punk-rock activism, a reminder that music can be a platform for social commentary.

As the set draws to a close with the anthemic, sing-along, “Bar Stool Preachers,” the venue is a sea of bouncing bodies. The song’s anthemic chorus becomes a rallying cry, and the crowd echoes every word back to the band. It’s a powerful moment of unity, a testament to the connection between the Bar Stool Preachers and their fans, new and old in tonight. The room is filled with a sense of camaraderie, as if everyone present is part of a musical movement with a shared purpose, a perfect blend of ska rhythms and punk attitude that leaves a lasting impression.

The aftermath of a Bar Stool Preachers gig, wow, there’s a lingering sense of euphoria and inspiration. The band’s ability to combine infectious melodies with meaningful lyrics creates an experience that goes beyond the typical concert. It’s a celebration of music as a force for connection and change, and as the crowd feverishly wait for the headliners, the echoes of ska-punk rebellion linger in the air.

The band clear the stage, the crowd hustle and bustle, some off to the merch, some to the bar to replenish their spilt drinks, some off to make way for more, many are keeping their place ready for fun and games with the headliners.

Terrorvision, a band hailing from Bradford, England, emerged onto the alternative rock scene in the late 1980s, injecting a dose of infectious energy and quirky charm into the music landscape. Formed in 1987 as the Spoilt Bratz, in Keighley, West Yorkshire, but have been based in Bradford since 1991, when the band changed its name to Terrorvision and had all moved there. The band consists of Tony Wright (vocals), Mark Yates (guitar), Leigh Marklew (bass), Milton Evans (keys/trumpet/BV’s), Chris Bussey (drums), Liz Mitchell (Saxophone), Nick Hughes (Horns), with their unique blend of rock, punk, and pop making them stand out in the vibrant UK music scene.

The early ’90s marked Terrorvision’s breakthrough, with the release of their debut album “Formaldehyde” in 1992. However, it was their sophomore effort, “How to Make Friends and Influence People” (1994), that catapulted them to mainstream success. The album featured the hit single “Oblivion,” which showcased the band’s knack for crafting catchy and memorable tunes.

Their music is characterised by its upbeat and often humorous approach, reflecting a playful spirit that endeared them to fans. Tracks like “Tequila,” “Alice What’s the Matter,” and “Josephine” from subsequent albums further solidified their reputation as a band that could seamlessly blend humour with musical prowess.

Throughout their career, Terrorvision have demonstrated a keen song-writing ability, with lyrics that often touched on everyday experiences and the lighter side of life. Their music was a refreshing departure from the grunge-dominated sound of the era, offering a more light-hearted and accessible alternative.

The band continued to release albums throughout the ’90s and into the 2000s, including “Regular Urban Survivors” (1996), “Shaving Peaches” (1998), “B Sides & Rarities” (2005), “Super Delux” (2011) and Party Over Here.. Live In London (2019) to name a few. Each album showcased their evolving sound while maintaining the infectious energy that defined their early hits.

Terrorvision’s live performances are known for their high-energy and entertaining nature, with Tony Wright’s charismatic stage presence complementing the band’s dynamic sound. Their ability to connect with audiences on a personal level contributed to their enduring popularity.

While the mainstream spotlight may have dimmed in later years, Terrorvision remained a beloved fixture in the alternative rock scene. Their influence can be heard in the music of subsequent generations of bands who embraced a similar fusion of rock, punk, and pop elements.

As the crowd’s frenzy reached its peak, Tony Wright strutted onto the stage, can raised high in a salute to the fans’ frenzied cheers. The 30th Anniversary extravaganza with Terrorvision! kicks off with an explosion of energy with the iconic “Discotheque Wreck”( How To Make Friends And Influence People, 1994), this set the tone for a wild celebration of three decades of rock and roll. The stage was shrouded in smoke, building anticipation for what was about to unfold.

The infectious energy continued with “New Policy One”(Formaldehyde,1993, the debut album). The sound was flawless, and the atmosphere was electrifying amidst the swirling smoke that added to the overall rock concert mystique.

“Stop The Bus” (How To Win Friends and Influence People, 1994), saw Tony rocking out in his pink suit, while Mark delivered killer guitar poses and Leigh leapt into the air amidst the smoke-filled atmosphere. The infectious party vibe carried on with “American TV,” one from the 3 track EP from 1993.

“Tequila”(Shaving Peaches, 1998), had the entire venue singing along to this fan favourite, creating a moment of pure unity. The Horns of Nick Hughes and Liz Mitchel, lost in the fog continued to add extra depth to the night of which no Terrorvision show would be without. The vibe persisted with “Alice, What’s the Matter,”(How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1994), where the crowd bounced along, light in their loafers, singing their hearts out, immersed in the infectious energy of both these epic songs.

“Some People Say”( How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1994) continued the high-energy performance with Tony’s vocals shining through, while “Jason” took the audience on a sonic journey back to the first album, both in sound and meaning. “Fists of Fury” (Good To Go, 2001) and “111 Wishes” (Shaving Peaches, 1998), showcased the versatility of the band, with each song delivering a unique and memorable party experience, especially “Fists” with its made up lyric section, adding a comical moment that just show cased the bands fun element.

The party atmosphere continued to soar with “Celebrity Hit List,” (Regular Urban Survivors, 1996) and “Problem Solved” (Formaldehyde, 1993), both these songs, yet again, transported the fans back in time with its distinctive sound and the unmistakable vocals of Tony.

“Easy”(Regular Urban Survivors, 1996), kept the momentum alive with its infectious vibe, driven by the thundering bass line of Leigh Marklew and the captivating keys of Milton Evans. “If I Was There”, from the same album, garnered a massive crowd reaction, proving the timeless appeal of this hit from the past.

“Bad Actress,” another from 1996, “Don’t Shoot My Dog,” from the debut album of 1993 along with “Pretend My Best Friend” from the 1994, sophomore album, continued to captivate the audience, each song a testament to the band’s enduring appeal. “My House” (1993), and “Middleman” (1994), both prompted enthusiastic crowd reactions, building up the anticipation for the epic set closer, “D’ya Wanna Go Faster?” the second one from “Good To Go” (2001) and a classic end to the set.

The crowd once again erupted in cheers and shouts, and the band quickly returned to deliver the final, knockout blow with a quick encore starting off with the rocking, feeling good, “This Drinking Will Kill Me,” with its distinctive Ceilidh vibe (B Sides & Rarities, 2005), keeping the party alive, and then reaching its climax with “Perseverance,” from ‘ Regular Urban Survivors’, this raucous finish to the night shaking Rock City down the road into another postcode.

Despite the hiatus in the mid-2000s, the band have reunited, and have continued to delight fans with new material and live performances that maintained the same sense of fun that characterized their early years, Terrorvision’s history is a testament to their ability to inject fun into the alternative rock genre, leaving an indelible mark on the UK music scene with their catchy tunes, humorous lyrics, and spirited performances.

Even the made-up lyrics couldn’t detract during “Fist of Fury” from the infectious, fun-filled atmosphere of this 30th-anniversary celebration. The band proved, once again, why they are masters of the stage, and loved by fans old and new. Bradford’s home coming show is going to be a killer night, if Rock City was anything to go by, you can’t say fairer than that. Now where’s the “Tequila”!

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