BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Monday, January 29, 2007

STAY SICK: Launch party for Sick Note single

Okey dokey… this was a bit special. A ten-hour party to celebrate the launch of Sick Note’s new single ‘Phone in Sick’. It was a bit of a mini festival thing, but indoors. Now it is hard work to try to create a festival vibe in doors, I know, cos I have tried. At the end of the day, the promoter cannot create it, the crowd have top make it. And tonight it was like a gathering of everyone in Cardiff that had ever been to a festival, the whole place just felt, sounded, looked and smelled like a festival.

Missed Kilnaboy, so here is a photo of them at a proper festival

With a 4pm kick off, we were never going to catch the first few bands, which unfortunately meant we missed Kilnaboy. Although we did not see them, we are confident they would have been good.

The Physicists demonstrate sonic chemistry

We arrived just as Jesus Was A Gent were going off stage, so we had time to get to the bar and find our spot to catch the Physicists. What a glorious racket they make, good old-fashioned garage (that’s the Stooges type garage, not the more recent disco type garage… or indeed the place where you put your car). Rock’ n roll stripped to the bones, all excess baggage discarded to aid maximising the velocity, which is then used to pump as much noise as possible out of the amps and send it crashing around the historic venue. The vocals are then sent out chasing after the music, like an angry neighbour chasing kids out of the street. Only January, but these are certainly contenders for the 2007 end of year Peppermint Iguana New Discoveries chart.

Dr Les ties to heal Spooky John's inflated ball

As the Physicists departed, the Earth Doctor neatly slid Iggy Pop into the start of his ‘set’, if you can call 15 minutes a set, before funking us up with some dubby beats. All over before it started though, sadly.

Presley thankfully dont shut thier Cakehold for half an hour

Then came the much talked about Cakehole Presley who manage to defy even us to pigeon hole them and wander seamlessly from genre to genre mixing blues, country, folk and dub to eventually win over everyone in the room.

Cosmo shows off his new designer hoody

Then Cosmo brought his Cakehole on stage to sooth our savage breasts with some bed sit blues, plucking at our heartstrings and tickling our funny bones at the same time. Bless him.

Apologies, but the cider was starting to kick in now and I could not work out what moniker these boffins with laptops go by, but they did start to push the night towards the techno to come, some nice beats loosened up the groovin’ muscles.

"We're gonna be this big!"

And then, it was time for The Note. Somehow they manage to be funk, punk, dub, techno, blues and rock all at the same time, without really being any of them. You don’t know whether you should be pogoing or waving your hands in the air. They have a tribal feel to them that just grabs something primitive inside you and makes you just wanna shake your head and scream BLUUUUAAARRRGHHH!

The organic bass and drums, combined with the digital laptop beats and the crazed Beefheart style vocals make for a truly original sound that deserves to take the world by storm. Many bands deserve to be big but never make it, this lot however just fill you with the confidence to say that they are so good, they cant possibly not make it. (Help make that happen by going to here and downloading the new single)

Things calm down a bit then before Altern 8 take to the stage, bringing us some wicked phat old skool 808 style acid beats to get the dance floor shaking. Its back to my old gripe though, two dudes twiddling knobs is not a spectator sport. Who cares though, never mid the stage, just dance!

Eat Static look like they ought to Phone In Sick

To close the night the mighty Eat Static have been drafted in. They are one of the few bands I know that can actually make two dudes twiddling knobs worth watching. Their secret of longevity of course rests in the fact that they do not stick to one style, disappearing through loop holes in the space time continuum to travel from trance space to planet drum ‘n bass, then off to the moons around big beat world and eventually getting caught in area 51.

I LOVE Eat Static, I can think of no other dance outfit that could keep me entertained through a 3 hour set. Yet tonight, something is not quite right. Slowly it has to be admitted, no matter who hits the stage, if you follow Sick Note, you are going to look tame… even the mighty Static.

SICK NOTE PERFORMING GIMMIE DAT HARP (Live at the walkabout Cardiff)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

DONT FORGET TO BE SICK: Down load Sick Note's new single

Don't forget it's national phone in sick day on Monday 29th January, ring your boss and tell him you aint coming in, then download the new SICK NOTE single, PHONE IN SICK

NB: Create your own cassette cover here

Saturday, January 27, 2007

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE: Chomsky and Paul Murphy land at Iguana HQ

There is nothing like the prospect of a new CD to get us rushing over to the sorting office first thing in the morning. This morning we were up with the lark and over to Blackwood with our little card from the postman eager to hear the new Paul Murphy album, The Trip.

When we got there though, we had a bit of a surprise, it was not the anticipated CD but three books by Noam Chomsky, ‘The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many’, ‘What Uncle Sam Really Wants’ and ‘Secrets, Lies and Democracy’.. all part of a gift subscription to Red Pepper magazine bought for me by Secret Squirrel… all hail the Squirrel, she knows the way to a mans heart.

So there I was, sat back at HQ leafing through my new Chomskys, deciding which one to read first, and today’s post arrived.. and you guessed it, Paul Murphy landed.

I first came across Murphy through a mix that SAT put me on to on Beatonic site. When I heard that he had released an album of his own stuff I had to hunt it down, it was impossible to find in the shops but I eventually tracked it down through the net.

‘The Trip’ is a brilliant blend of jazzy soulful beats that sound straight outta the 60’s but with a hint of seasoning from around the world to bring it bang up to date to create a slice of acid jazz of the finest calibre. This has a nice organic feel to it and you would be forgiven for thinking it was put together by a full band, not a DJ/Producer, with minimal use of ‘proper’ instruments. It is a lot more laid back than we had expected, but that is no problem because after only a few plays this has already earned the status of being one of the coolest releases on the overflowing CD shelves here at Iguana HQ. SMOKING!

Me and Chomsky ready for a night of chilling to Paul Murphy

GUESS WHO'S BACK: S.A.T. back in action

After months of inactivity (probably something to do with extending the family) S.A.T. has been up dating his blog again, not to mention doin' a bit of mixing.

His new 'mix tape', Tunes For Jack is available to download, featuring the likes of DJ Shadow, the late great james brown and lemon Jelly. KEEP IT UP SON!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

SHAKE OF THOSE WINTER BLUES; Go to Sick Note party then phone in sick!

It’s only January, but this week sees what may well turn out to be the Welsh musical event of the year.

This Sunday (28TH) sees an amazing line up of bands DJs and all-round entertainment geezers arriving for a 10 HOUR musical extravaganza in the Coal Exchange, Cardiff.

The event features psy-trance/break beat/drum ‘n bass legends EAT STATIC; old-skool ravers ALTERN 8; local nu-skool ravers ACID CASUALS; the one and only, soon to be massive, post nu-rave disco sluts SICK NOTE; psycho garage punks THE PHYSICISTS; anarcho diddly punk core heroes KILNABOY and many more, all held together by compares like one man cult COSMO; and DJS such as the mighty EARTHDOCTOR. Miss it and regret it, it is going to be LEGEND!

And if you are not up to going to work after raving till 2am on a Sunday, why not phone in sick and buy SICK NOTE’S new single PHONE IN SICK, which will be released on Monday to help you shake off the blues on what is scientifically proven to be the most depressing day of the year. Cant face going outdoors to buy it? No worries, download it from … go on, get it to number one, it is about time there was something sick at the top of the charts.

For more info go to tantrumpartyheads.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

"FAN BAN, AND YOU STILL CANT WIN" City back to winning ways in empty Wolves stadium


Today, City were away to Wolves. Now I don’t normally blog about games I don’t go to, I am sure you get bored with my ramblings about the ones I do go to, but this one was a little out of the ordinary. NO City fans were allowed!

Two years ago a bunch of Wolves ‘fans’ attacked a bunch of families getting back on the Cardiff busses after the game, City fans responded by giving the wolves a bit of a kicking. Last year, the police decided to clear the bar at half time by wading in with batons and truncheons, hospitalising several city fans. An official investigation was set up which found that the police were at fault and of the 17 arrested, only some geezer that threw a pie was eventually charged. This season Wolves came to Cardiff and kicked off, ripping seats out and throwing them at the home fans. The result of all this? Cardiff banned from Wolves!

The banning flew in the face of logic, but despite protestations from Cardiff City FC, the Cardiff City Supporters Club, the Cardiff and Valley RAMs, the Football Supporters Federation, various MPs and AMs… and even Wolves fans themselves, the ban stayed.

Plans were put in motion for a demonstration in Wolverhampton city centre and one bunch of City fans hired an airship to fly over the stadium and beat the ban. Unfortunately the high winds put pay to the airship idea, but the protest went ahead, despite draconian measures by the West Midlands Police at 9am. The demo attracted fans from Cardiff, Wolves, Stoke, Spurs, Arsenal and many others. The worry is that this could be seen as the thin end of the wedge and other clubs could try it on, which would be a disaster for football.

Meanwhile, back at the stadium… Cardiff directors refused to sit in the directors box and the City team came out and ran over to applaud the empty away end. This was the perfect occasion for city to end their goal drought and knock up their first win for 14 games. Revenge is sweet.

All eyes are now on the Wolves v West Brom derby this weekend, if there is any agro between these fierce rivals many City fans will be shouting from the roof tops about victimisation and there will be cries of “you don’t know what you’re doing”.

for footage from Valley Rams Tv of the protest....

Part one

Part two

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"FOUR NIL, AND YOU STILL CAN'T SING": Boring boring Tottenaham

The Bargoed boys looking excited

After the sterling performance against Spurs in Ninan Park, we set off on the RAMs bus with a little bit of hope of a classic cup upset in the replay. The trip started off well with lots of ‘socialising’ going down on the bus, as only the RAMs know how. It started to go down hill when we reached the M25.

Police ensure our safety, to the extent of even following us into the toilets!

Because of the shenanigans in Cardiff, draconian measures were imposed by the forces of law and order to, as one copper put it, “ensure our safety”. First off, we could not buy tickets, we had to buy a voucher which had to be exchanged for a ticket at the services. This is designed to stop people travelling by train and encourage people to travel by bus. Once tickets were exchanged, we had a police escort into White Heart Lane and were shunted straight into the ground where we could savour the delights of p*ssy lager… which quickly ran out.

City hit the back of the net... shame it was disallowed

We hung around for a while then headed up to our seats. As usual City fans were singing their hearts out, drowning out any mutterings coming from the home end. The singing and smiling continued 27 minutes into the game, till spurs banged in three in about 10 minutes. The Spurs fans woke up for a moment but went back to sleep, then after the shock of the goals flying in City fans perked up again and chants of “Three nil, and you still wont sing” echoed around the ground.

"Shall we sing a song for you?"

Half time was a bit dismal, with the bar closed and any hopes of an upset well and truly dashed, but back to our seats for the second half and City’s instrumental version of ‘Men of Harlech’ (which is basically ‘Da da da – da dada’) kicked off and seemed to go on for about half an hour without stopping. Spurs looked on in amazement, ‘What on earth are these people doing?’ was written across their faces. Almost everyone in the city end joined in, mainly because there was nothing to entertain us on the pitch; it was hard to believe this was the same team that was top of the league only a few weeks ago… or even the same team that gave Spurs a run for their money ten days earlier.

The fourth goal by substitute Defoe (how can you compete with a team that has players like that on the bench?) was neither here nor there, it was all over before half time.

After the game I was expecting us to be kept in for half an hour, so I was a little surprised that we were let out of the ground straight away. It merely meant that we were kept standing in the street for an hour though. Lat time we were up there, 4 years ago in the Carling Cup, the police had walked us through a park to get back to our buses, at which point we were subjected to bricks flying out of the dark from Spurs fans lurking in the dark. This time there would be no repeat and we were eventually marched two miles in a different direction ‘protected’ by hundreds of coppers carrying shields with batons drawn. No doubt they will say it was for our own protection, but pushing people around and shouting ‘keep moving ya Welsh bastards’ hardly backs up that line. The last time I saw that many coppers in one place was the G8 in Scotland, it was well and truly over the top.

The usual escort out of town was impressive, with the voucher business forcing people on to busses we had 30+ busses winging their way through north London with all traffic stopped to clear the way for us. Eventually we pulled into the services to sort out ‘refreshments’ and plodded on back to the valleys telling our selves “its only the FA cup, it’s the league that is important”, but if they don’t pull their fingers out, we are going to have problems there as well!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A MORE WORTHY BLOG: Far more interesting than a cider blog

Colin, AKA Cod, of the The Powersteppers, has started a new blog, Blogging is a Healing Force. It is in the early stages, but you can download a podcast of Colin spinning some very weird dub tracks, including some very unexpected TV theme tunes dubbed up.


I dont think there are enough blogs out there, so i have set up another one, it is dedicated to CIDER! I need to get out more!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Glastonbury Festival, love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it. After not missing one for 20 years I finally decided to kick the habit in 2005. The presence of the corporate sponsors like Orange, fascist security, Fort Knox security fencing, watchtowers, CCTV, the involvement of the Mean Fiddler, the BBC all over the place and much more, have all contributed to making the festival a plastic imitation of its anarchic former self.
It has to be said though, despite all the mass-produced novelty foam hats and millets camping stalls, if you know where to look that special festival spirit can still be found hiding in a bender somewhere. I am undecided as to whether or not I will be going back this year, probably not, but for those of you that have decided you are going you can expect unprecedented ticket security. Tickets will have passport photos on to prevent touting and you have to register during February to simply be eligible to buy a ticket in the first place! For more details, go to the Glastonbury website.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Grange End is electric for this clash with the big boys

The FA cup is always a distraction from the important thing, the league, but on times can provide a good day out. Last year we travelled away to Arsenal, today we were hosts to Tottenham Hotspurs. It always had the potential to be an interesting game, and on the day it turned into a great day out.

I was on the platform to get the train into town nice and early. Had a bit of a laugh on the train with some old faces from the past, remembering antics from trips in the 80s. Then a swift jar in a pub by the station with some lads from up the valley then went for a cracking Chinese meal with some comrades from the union.

When we arrived at the ground the atmosphere was electric; a capacity crowd in full voice anticipating a re-run of the legendary victory over Leeds when they were sitting on top of the Premiership. Kick off was not until 4pm so it was getting dark and the rain was lashing the ground. The hair was standing up on the back of my neck as the Grange End Orchestra started off their concert.

City putting Spurs goal underpressure throughout game

City of late seem to have lost the fire they had at the beginning of the season, so I was apprehensive as the ball was first kicked, but it was not long before we could see that this was not going to be a walk in the park for the Premiership team. For 90 minutes the two teams battled against each other with the ball constantly moving from end to end, only to end in a goalless draw, but the prospect of a trip to the big smoke.

Talking of big smoke, during the second half some Spurs ‘lads’ decided they wanted to have a go and started rucking with the old bill in an attempt to get on the pitch. While this was kicking off someone on the Grange decided to light up a distress flare. It created a brilliant atmosphere on the Grange, I could feel the hair standing up on the back of my neck, just like being at a European game, but with hindsight, it was a bit of a dull thing to do. There is now a mini manhunt on for the guy and it looks like when they catch him he will be banned for life. Again city will be branded as mindless hooligans for the action of one person, and the fact that it was Spurs that actually kicked off will be relegated to a postscript. All in all, the whole thing is a storm in a tea cup becasue nothing really happened

One thing that cannot be taken away though, is the fact that City had the better of Spurs and we are starting to look hot again.




Friday, January 05, 2007

HEALING OF THE NATION: Earth Doctor sends sonic prescription

The Earthdoctor carrying out some healing in his surgery

A very cool and almost unexpected package arrived at Iguana HQ today, a Dj mix by Mid Wales DJ guru The Earth Doctor.

I first met the Doctor (AKA Dr Funkenstien AKA Les) over ten years ago, back when the Peppermint Iguana was first born. The mighty Zion Train went out of their way to put us in touch with each other, knowing that we both lived in Wales and had similar interests. Since then we have probably only met about 30 times (completely random guess) but we have always hit it off. The dude is a true gentleman.

When I first met him he was DJing, together with his friend Gini Wade, under the guise of Dr Funkenstien. The name had to change after a while and he became The Earth Doctor. Not only does he DJ, at festivals, clubs and parties all over the UK, but he also runs the Dragon Collective “a voluntary organisation based in mid-Wales, interested in all aspects of the music scene and related Visual & Performance Arts; responsibilities include event organisation and promotion, workshop organisation”. The only time I have actually made an effort to get to an event that he had put on was when he put on a couple of shows by the now sadly demised Electric Groove Temple, but he has been putting on some pretty wicked shows by big names on the scene tucked away in the Mid Wales mountains where just about no-one else would ever think of putting on gigs.

Despite me not making as much of an effort as I should to get to his gigs, we meet up anyway because he just seems to get booked for events that I go to anyway, Shambala Festival, Workhouse Festival, the Green Fields area of Glastonbury and Zion Train gigs to name just a few. He is due to be DJing in Cardiff for the Sick Note 12 hour ‘Phone in Sick’ party at the end of this month.

We have always kept in touch but since my ventures into My Space recently, there has been a slight upsurge in communication. He recently offered to send me a mix CD. I jumped at the chance, I love those funky, dubby, global, jazzy, chilled out techno beats he transmits. He warned me it would take a while so I resigned my self for a bit of a wait.

Then yesterday, about a week after he had offered, I got home from work to find a card from the postie telling me I had a package that was too big for the letterbox waiting for me. Now I normally wait till after work the following day to pick these sorts of things up, but decided to head over before work so I could have a listen to the disc while I was sat in the rush hour traffic into Cardiff.

The postie spent ages trying to find where it had been put and when he eventually found it my eyes popped out of my head. Not the Jiffy bag I had been expecting, but a f@ckin' big box! Polystyrene packing flew everywhere as I ripped into it eager to see what was inside. Not one disc, but TEN of the f@ckers… and one of them was a double! What a dude this man Earthdoctor is!

I was blocking the entrance to the sorting office so I did not have time to mess about, I just chucked on ‘Riverbed’, a chilled out mix, and headed straight for the ‘diff. As I was heading down the A470 I could feel myself being transported to Café Tango in Glastonbury, I could taste the vegan organic carrot cake and smell the bud. I was gutted to find that the traffic was light and I did not get stuck in any traffic jams; bloody typical.

Not had a chance to listen to them all yet, but hidden amongst the new, exciting and exotic sounding band names like Noiseshaper, Dr Rubberfunk, Rasboras Dub tribe and Twilight Circus, there are a few familiar names like Juno Reactor, Plump DJs, Gregory Isaacs, Kava Kava and, of course, Zion Train; so I think I can work out that there are themes, like a chill out discs, dub discs, funky discs, Asian beat disc and banging trance disc. I am dribbling just thinking about it all.

As it happens I am off up to Mid Wales next week on business. I will make a point of slapping the volume up to 11 as I head through the mountains in tribute to the legend that is Les. Even after the revolution and we are living in a secular non-hierarchical utopia, I will make sure he is crowned king of the DJ gods.