Abandon Ship! – Get Blazed

Abandon Ship! are from Basingstoke. It’s worth letting that sink in for a moment. When you’re grumbling about your lot in lockdown at least you’re not having to spend it in a town in which the most interesting thing is the collection of decorated roundabouts on the ring road. I jest of course – I’m sure that Basingstoke really does have much to appeal.

Abandon Ship! mention in their press release that they draw fresh inspiration from the Australian sounds of Ocean Alley and Sticky Fingers. They’re not the only band I’ve seen recently that have cited Sticky Fingers as an influence. I had no idea when I saw Sticky Fingers live back in 2014 at a free gig at Leicester’s Cookie (review here) that I was in the company of future legends. Admittedly, they were pretty great though – and I wish I’d committed more of that gig to memory.

I called it back then. Sticky Fingers’ sound seemed pretty wrapped up in weed culture. And you could be forgiven for thinking that the recent single from Abandon Ship! ‘Get Blazed’ was inhaling from that same pot if you’re the sort that takes song titles in isolation. “Yeah normally it would mean that,“, says lead guitarist, Jordan Baggs, when I ask about the reference. “Although In this case it’s more the notion of getting away from the mundane, releasing yourself from the slog of a life of 9-5.“.

It is a stonker of a track for sure. It’s a tune all about friendship – about going away with a group of best mates on holiday and loving every minute that you spend in their company. It beautifully captures that feeling you sometimes get when sitting in a pub garden with a large gang of friends and laughing so much that it hurts. It’s the Zoom call that you never want to leave because you feel so at ease with the other people on it. 

Musically, Abandon Ship! have delivered a track with all sorts of indie shimmer. The laidback vibe glistens throughout but that doesn’t mean that the earworm of a chorus won’t stridently march forward and lodge itself in your head before the day is done. 

And ‘Get Blazed’ probably hits home harder than ever right now because our opportunity to get away from the mundane with friends we love is so scarce. That will change though and when it does, the resulting party will surely be wild. 

Yep – even in Basingstoke.

Sticky Fingers – The Cookie

Australia – I’m 100% convinced that one day when I decide to properly travel you’ll be high on my list.

I knew this before we had the British Invasion. It’s a slow burner of an invasion. Tokes get in the way. But, it’s no coincidence that my first ever blog post on Sonic Breakfast, when I was learning how to do this, was about Jagwar Ma.

And since then, I’ve effused about Courtney Barnett and Australian BBQ’s.

Tonight, I was invited to one venue in Leicester that might convince me to stay here longer than I probably should. Tinny, the venue owner at The Cookie is developing a place that Leicester should love. In the last couple of years, this venue has morphed, expanded and changed. It once specialised in stand up comedy and whilst that’s still a money maker for this enterprise, it now has space and ambition for the jokes to be a supporting actor.

A new 300 capacity venue opens soon next door to the current establishment under the Cookie’s management. This is exciting beyond belief and should further cement Leicester’s growing reputation on the touring map.

It was a free show tonight. I wish people were charged. A free gig hardens people. You know how fucking great the band are but you’re reticent to cheer, dance or unfold your arms because you’ve invested no dosh in it. Sticky Fingers were the band. Hailing from Sydney, they put on a show that was worth a fiver of anybody’s money. I suspect that in Australia, they could charge a whole lot more again.

Sticky Fingers specialise in a sort of laddish rock reggae. It’s a sound that’s probably born out of smoking a bit too much weed whilst listening to Hendrix and Marley. Amidst a stage of guitars (and keys & drums), shaggy hair and moustaches so dated that they’re incredibly cool, Sticky Fingers gave us 45 minutes of laidback, slacker swagger. To call it slacker isn’t to say that there wasn’t energy and effort on display here though because there was in abundance. No, this is a band that could give you three part harmonies without labouring the fact that this is what they were doing. This is a band that could sweat loads on stage but still look chilled. This is a band that should never be confused with the Rolling Stones tribute act that go by the same name. 

Uncomplicated cool. Music with confidence but without arsey, artistic pretense. When should I book my flight to Oz?