Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Isle of Man... What The Bloody Hell's That All About Then?

Warning: It's not about pretty music.

Colon - About Four

Colon - Seven Days

Colon - Cherokee Buffalo

Colon - Smizzle

The Isle of Man... What the bloody hell's that all about then?
I moved here when I was about 15 and have managed to escape for a few years at a time every now and again, but I always seem to end up back here whether I like it or not.
It's certainly not the thriving nightlife consisting of great cinemas, music venues and great little pubs and friendly people that attracts me, to be honest I have no idea why I keep coming back.
But every now and then the Island will throw up a great little band, that if had been anywhere else on earth would have probably made it and be releasing records and playing to a different crowd every night.
But this being a tiny little insular incestuous (musically speaking of course) island most of the bands that are thrown up are of the shitty punky variety with not an ounce of anything special whatsoever, and are happy just plugging away playing to the same thirty or so people mainly consisting of their friends or other bands on the bill.
I have a feeling this post isn't going to make me to popular over here, but I guess it's the same in every small town in the world, most of the acts are crap, but there's the occasional spark of something a little different. But I'd say that even then those bands would have the advantage of just jumping in a van and heading down the motorway or whatever your major roads are called, over here the logistics of getting away and playing are such that you'd have to sell everything you own and mortgage your parents house on the sly just to get you all in a van and off the island.
Occasionally though a band will try and break free and Colon were one of them.

Phil Reynolds - Vox, Guitar
Nicky Smith - Bass, Vox
Selwyn Callister - Guitar
Colin Christian - Guitar

It was the late 80's and they were the first band I knew from this island to play in the UK, and not only that they were the first I knew of to get national radio play courtesy of the Late Great Mr.Peel. Who not only opened his show once with the words "Ladies and gentlemen, It appears there's something wrong with your radio" before launching into the bombastic adrenalin fueled 'Smizzle' (we were all crowded in a room waiting for him to play Colon, and were completely blown away that he started his show without his intro music and went straight into the track) but he liked them enough to do an interview with them and get them in for a session.
Sadly I can't find my copy of the shows they were played on... Lost in the many moves to and from the island I guess.

Anyway, Colon got away and played some gigs and got some reviews in the national music inkies, most of them understandingly comparing them to Big Black, that'll be the very loud guitars and drum machine then.
They also released a 12" that lead to none other than Jello Biafra writing to them (god knows how he got hold of a copy) and praising them, and also talking about the Isle of Man, I remember being incredibly impressed that he'd even heard of the Isle of Man, let alone write a letter saying how he liked the music. And to this day his handwritten letter is still framed in Phil's home.

Anyway, they split up in the very early 90's, all the airplay and reviews never really amounting to much, apart from many happy happy memories of being half deafened at so many of their brilliant gigs, they were stunningly loud.
They did their first gig in about 15 years a couple of months ago playing to a room full of people who hadn't even started playschool the last time they played live.
A couple of them were a little rounder around the edges and grayer, but bloody hell they were still great. And pretty much blew everyone away again.
But alas I think it might just have been a one off.
Some other Manx bands of note that could have and indeed should have made it bigger in the real world were Popstars, Ways of Stephen, Pilot V, the gregs, Rumanah, Nanaki amongst others. I might get round to writing about them at some stage, but for now download the Colon tracks, turn up the stereo and pretend it's the 80's again.

10 bonus music geek points for recognising where they lifted the Seven Days riff from.

Are there any great local bands from where you are that really should have been better known?

Buy - Nothing
Visit - Nowhere

Pitchfork love Ringo Deathstarr.
Read it here

Ringo Deathstarr are just about to go into the studio to finish off recording an EP featuring the reviewed track, and which will be released on SVC Records in the near future on CD and download.


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