Taxloss Lovers live at The Ferret

Taxloss Lovers play Convention Warm-up Gig

Taxloss Lovers gig advert
Taxloss Lovers gig advert

At the Mansun Convention I’m organising I’ll be performing with my own Mansun tribute act ‘Taxloss Lovers’.  We’ve been practicing hard over the last few months, and felt that we wanted to test out the set in front of a live audience.

I booked a night at The Ferret, and we played, supported by a solo set from lead singer Ric Birtill.

Ric Birtill opening the show with a highly entertaining solo set
Ric Birtill opening the show with a highly entertaining solo set

Despite the attendance of the stage invading ‘Preston Pete’ (one of Preston’s beloved locals who may as well have stepped out of that ‘Bounce by the Ounce’ video) we played to an otherwise enthusiastic crowd which included some die-hard Mansun fans.

I’ll not post the whole set list here (I want to retain some surprises for Convention ticket holders) though some highlights for me included Shotgun, Being a Girl and Taxloss.  I particularly loved playing Taxloss, it’s a song I used to play along with when I was practicing my playing as a 16 year old drummer!

Here’s a video, shot by Mat Birtill, of us performing Wide Open Space at the gig:

Simon 'Stove' Wright gets into character for the set
Simon ‘Stove’ Wright gets into character for the set

We had some great feedback on facebook after the show; Zvilnik‘s Bobby Gormley posted “Just been to see Taxloss Lovers play their Mansun Convention warm up gig. It was phenomenal, so many great Mansun songs that I thought I’d never see played live again. Cheers lads” whilst convention programme editor Kate Ressell posted “Taxloss Lovers were amazing tonight. Couldn’t fault it at all. Well done!”

Keith Roberts (who attended the gig wearing his own home-made Kleptomania T-Shirt) posted this review on the Mansun Convention facebook page:

TAXLO$$ LOVERS warm up gig.
Quick Review (Hopefully)

Its an outsider thing.

Cant make the Convention sadly so I was never going to miss this.
I Haven’t heard Mansun music sung live since I last saw them in 2002.

I only saw them twice and if I knew they would implode I would’ve been there for many many more gigs. Im sure you all agree.

I don’t know any real Mansun fans. It really is an outsider thing and I wasn’t expecting many people.
25-30 people I guess turned up at the Mad Ferret which was just about right.
I never saw anyone in a Mansun T- shirt though which made me feel very geeky considering I was wearing one (which I hand PAINTED!).

To the music…to hear Mansun tracks being played live…
It could never be real bad could it?
could it?

To be one of two or three cover acts you gotta do it right.

Did TAXL0$$ LOVERS do it right?

Yes, yes they did.
They were absolutely brilliant.
I was reallt gutted when they finished their set. I really would’ve listened to them all night.

Taxloss Lovers perform live at The Ferret

The set list was spot on. Taxloss was a high(er) point.
Steven Whittle (Chad) was exceptiona!l.
It really was fantastic. Ric aka Paul was a fantastic singer who did a great job reaching the highs of Paul Draper. Also he did a great warm up gig of his own material which went down very well. Hopefully he will do more in Chester.( With Preston Pete maybe?)

Andy Lyth on the drums was equally brilliant. Simon (Stove) Wright was Excellent also.

When you see these guys in Chester you will be blown away.

For me it was brilliant to hear our hard work come together, Ric really does a fantastic job of emulating Paul Draper on stage, and the set was fantastic fun to play.  Roll on August 23rd!


Nice Peter live in London

I think Nice Peter has played Preston more times than anywhere else in the UK.  My friend Ed first booked him for a gig upstairs at The Adelphi back in 2005 and since then Pete has returned each time he’s toured the UK.  As such, I’ve got to know him and even performed with him a few times.  He’s a great guy (as his name suggests) and one of the gentlemen behind the YouTube sensation ‘Epic Rap Battles of History‘.

Last year, in celebration of ERB Season 3 opener ‘Hitler vs Vader 3‘, I made Pete a couple of Star Wars figures which he loved (as you can see in this video), and I was keen to catch him on his latest tour.  Here are the figures, as posted on the ERB instagram channel.  The moustache on the Hitler figure was particularly tricky to paint!

However this year’s tour contained no Preston gig, and as I was unable to attend his Manchester show I decided to take a trip down to London to catch up with Pete, Ed and support band The Jackpot Golden Boys (also from Preston) as they played Bush Hall on July 19th.

The Jackpot Golden Boys going down a storm at Bush Hall.
The Jackpot Golden Boys going down a storm at Bush Hall.

The show was fantastic.  The Jackpots’ Jim and Alex have seemingly learned a heck of a lot since they’ve been touring the US with Pete and Dante (Pete’s drummer/beat-dropper).  The interaction Alex had with his audience from the very start was impressive, and the lads went down a storm in the packed venue.

Nice Peter’s performance was so entertaining; his well earned YouTube success meant that some of the audience members had come prepared (prompted by Pete on his facebook page), and before long attendees were being invited onto the stage to participate in their favourite rap battles.  He works hard to ensure that each member of the audience is engaged in the show, and he is effortlessly entertaining.  I’d not seen Dante before, and he’s an awesome drummer and also helped out with the rap battles if nerves got the better of some of the guest performers.

I had a great evening hanging out with everyone, if Nice Peter is playing anywhere near you, make sure you go out and see him!

Olly and Josh host The Ferret Open Mic


This is the third episode of the Open Ferret Podcast, which this week was hosted by Olly Taylor and Josh Murrison.  This episode also features performers Ric Birtill, Michael Webster, Charlotte Newman, David Shurr, Millie Weaver, Oliver, Lewis and myself (I performed my cover of Elvis Costello’s ‘Indoor Fireworks’ which you can hear 13 minutes into the above show).

If you use iTunes you can subscribe to the podcast by clicking here.

The Ferret Open Mic happens every Wednesday at The Ferret in Preston, like us on Facebook to keep up with who’s hosting next and email me if you are interested in hosting or performing yourself.

Jamie Brewer

Open Ferret Podcast, 09/07/14

Here’s another edition of the Open Ferret podcast.  Hosted by Drunk Girls and during a semi-important football match (which we silently screened whilst performers each took to the stage), the podcast features performances from  Josh Murrison, Michael Webster, Liam and Aimee, 1.21 Jigawatts, Olly Taylor, SFA, Marcus and Jordan, Artur Lozowski and Kev.

I played cajon for Artur (after being persuaded to do so in a drunken conversation at GlastonFerret).

If you use iTunes you can subscribe to the podcast by clicking here.

The Ferret Open Mic happens every Wednesday at The Ferret in Preston, like us on Facebook to keep up with who’s hosting next and email me if you are interested in hosting or performing yourself.

2014-06-05 21.49.10

Open Ferret Podcast, 02/07/14

Every Wednesday I work behind the mixing desk of The Ferret’s open mic night, and it’s my pleasure to see a variety of performers each week, as well as selecting the night’s guest host. Last night I recorded the sets from the mixing desk and have compiled the best performances of the night in this podcast which you can hear here:

If you use iTunes you can subscribe to the podcast by clicking here.

Last night my friend Liam Blake was due to host, however he contacted me in the afternoon to explain that he’d been up all night with what can best be described as ‘man-flu’ so wouldn’t be performing. So instead I hosted, opening up the night with my version of folk standard ‘Long Black Veil’, which you can hear on the recording above.

Also featured on this weeks show are Josh Murrison, Olly Taylor, Sam Weaver, Michael Webster, Drunk Girls, Charlotte Newman and Frank Patterson, who closed the night with some jazz tunes accompanied by yours truly on the Cahon.

The Ferret Open Mic happens every Wednesday at The Ferret in Preston, like us on Facebook to keep up with who’s hosting next and email me if you are interested in hosting or performing yourself.

Vic and Nick at Wigan Comic Con

Wigan Comic Con 2014

Last week I had the opportunity of helping out Nick with his table at Wigan Comic Con.  The event was well organised and definitely well attended!

At the Convention I recorded a chat with my sister for a short episode of our podcast Droppings Science:

One of the highlights of the day was chatting with Jeremy Bulloch, who is well known to Star Wars fans as the actor who portrayed Boba Fett.  I’ve met Jeremy a few times now, and as Nick’s table was positioned directly opposite his we had the chance for a pre-show chat.  He’s one of the most approachable of the Star Wars actors, and his long queue throughout the day was testament to that.

I also met Femi Taylor for the first time (who is also a delight to chat to) and picked up her autograph for my collection.


Mansun Convention in the Press

The Mansun Convention I’m organising is starting to pick up pace, as we approach the event on August 23rd.  Recently two articles have been written about the convention, which I’d like to share here.

The Chester Chronicle again reports on the event, detailing some of the activities I’m planning.
Chester Chronicle – Fans of indie band Mansun head to city

and Digital Spy has written about the debut Paul Draper solo track we’ll be premiering at the Convention.
Digital Spy – Paul Draper Solo Track to get Mansun Convention Premiere

This in particular is something I’m specifically looking forward to, along with many other Mansun fans; a Paul Draper solo project has been a long time coming, and I’m proud to think that I’ll be providing a suitable launch pad!

More information at the Mansun Convention Website.



Ultimaking some 3D Models

Wes, one of our games design students at Preston’s College, has created several digital designs for alien characters. As I have access to the College’s 3D printer we thought we’d see if we could print off some of these designs.

The printer I’ve been using is the Ultimaker Original which I’ve had fun with before… here’s my Tie Interceptor, which I downloaded from Thingiverse and painted with acrylics.

one of Wes' designs open in Cura, ready to print
one of Wes’ designs open in Cura, ready to print

So I took a few of the busts that Wes has created and loaded them into ‘Cura’ (the software that works with Ultimaker). I resized and added ‘support structures’ (as the printer builds from the bottom up, anything that overhangs must be supported) and sent the files to print.

One of the printed pieces, ready to be sanded and painted.
One of the printed pieces, ready to be sanded and painted.

The results were good! The pieces need sanding down, and I think Wes is going to paint them, but he was delighted at the opportunity to have a physical representation of his digital design.

Here are some further images of the Ultimaker Original in action, as well as some of the other designs I printed off and a timelapse of two of the pieces being built.

I’m really enjoying the opportunity to experiment with 3D printing; it’s fascinating to see the objects being printed and it’s interesting to see the sorts of things that are being created over at Thingiverse and other 3D file sharing sites.

Can you tell what it is yet?


“Theme for 19″ – a Dark Tower soundtrack

My former Johnny5thWheel&thecowards bandmate Richard Lomax is currently undergoing an ambitious project, in which he writes and records a tune per week for the whole of 2014.

For the 19th week it was thematically appropriate to begin work on a soundtrack for the ‘Dark Tower’ series of books by Stephen King.  Constant Readers know that the number 19 holds a special significance in those books.  Both ardent fans of this particular saga, a Dark Tower soundtrack is a project that Lomax and myself have discussed a number of times, so when I heard that he was going to be making a start my answer was simple… “not without me you’re not!”

He popped round one Saturday with the beginnings of ‘Theme for 19′, which forms a kind of overture to the soundtrack.  We discussed a few ideas, and listened to some Enrico Morricone, Roy Budd’s ‘Get Carter’ theme and (perhaps tellingly) Bernard Herrmann’s ‘Get Carter’ theme to get us in the mood, then set about recording some percussion.

bathroommusicIt’s strange trying to emulate a fantastical sprawling epic series featuring a desert wasteland whilst in one’s bathroom but we gave it our best shot; short of a mic stand I balanced my Samson C01 on the edge of my sink whilst I sat on the toilet to play the snare.

I played through the track three or four times on snare and various bits of percussion, and we relocated to the living room to edit and mix the track, which you can hear here:

I had a great laugh recording with Lomax once again, and look forward to creating more music with him, particularly if it takes place in the many worlds of Roland and his Ka Tet.

Find out more about Richard Lomax and his ’52′ project on his website here:

Website of musician, artist and creative fanboy Andy Lyth.