Catl (Horseshoe Tavern – January 31st)
Coming Home To The Shoe….

Every now and again, a gig comes along that you want to happen immediately, but on the night, you never want it to stop, this was one of those nights. We arrived ridiculously early for the show, just to get a spot for the evening, that’s how keen we were to see CATL and Bella Clava on the same bill in the Horseshoe.

Before we get the main event however, there is the little matter of the first band, The Cool Hands, who consist of Luke James (Guitar/Voxs), TY Hudecki (Bass/Vox), Sally Cinnamon (Drums) and on the night, Leland Whitty on saxophone. Some serious power drumming ran through their first song ‘Mighty Mighty Man’, while a great bass riff introduced ‘Passerby’, with both songs featuring strong vocals all round. The latest single ‘Poor Boys Night’, a slightly slower jam with more harmonies was next and had a really nice mid-song change up. ‘Watusi’ opened with a great Bass/Drum beat and progressed with an old R&B feel that incorporated a nice sax solo, before ‘Hopscotch’ and ‘Villain’ saw the band revert into a three piece power line up.
A cover of Mos Def’s 1999 song ‘Hip Hop’ was delivered with some brilliant drumming, followed by their last single ‘Smoke Break’ and a drinking song ‘Blue Line’. The band went back to a trio for ‘Marijuana Cigarette’ and ended their set with ‘Birds’ and a final rap song. Although they describe themselves as a ‘Garage Rock’ band, we’d suggest that there is more to The Cool Hands than that description, get to see them when you can.

Syn Brit Rating 3/5


Website: The Cool Hands
Twitter: @coolhands4life
You Tube: Devil's Collector

We’ve been fortunate enough to have seen Bella Clava before and we’ve never walked away disappointed. The line-up of Caitlin Dacey (Keys/Vox), Steve Suttie (Guitars/Vox), Scott Hannigan (Bass/Vox) and Jody Brumell (Drums) played a set mostly drawn from their most recent album releases ‘Medicine for Melancholy’ and ‘Holy Crow’. Launching straight into a full on aural assault with a great guitar break for ‘Loose Screw’, the pattern was set for the rest of the night. Highlights from the rest of the set included the a driving delivery of ‘A Face Only A Mother Could Love’, which led into the title track from the latest album ‘Medicine for Melancholy’, a truly cranked up tune with seriously impressive vocals. The great vocal delivery was also evident during ‘Amnesty/Amnesia’ and the harmonies during ‘Broken Spirit’, which also featured some spacy lead guitar.

By the time ‘Food For Cannibals’, another very pacy song, was played, the band were on fire and they then powered their way through the Sabbaathesque ‘Waste Not, Want Not’. A new song was also played, showing that Bella Clava are not resting on their laurels, but are clearly transitioning as they grow and develop, which was evidenced by Caitlyn’s change from being Keys based to playing guitar for the middle section of the set. In short, Bella Clava are a tremendous rock band with a growing back catalogue and the new material prove they have the flexibility to both develop and survive, neither of which are easy.

Syn Brit Rating 4/5


Website: Bella Clava
Twitter: @bellaclavaband
You Tube: Loose Screw

Next up were Invasions, a five piece consisting of Alex, Brian, Matt, Brian and Ara who delivered a set mostly reminiscent of a soundtrack to a 1960’s spy movie. Opening with an apology from the lead singer who was nursing 30 stitches in his face they went straight into ‘No Darkness’, which has a funk dance ability to it from the start. ‘Black Lagoon’ was next with its rasping trumpet and this was followed by ‘Cursed Comfort’ with keys, guitar reverb and more trumpet added to the mix. A riff drawn from the Joy Division handbook introduced a very Brit Rock ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and a quiet trumpet opening led into ‘Ballad of The Faithful’. A slower tune ‘Lovingly’ was next with a groovy Doors feel before storming into ‘Remind Me Why’. Great harmonies flowed throughout ‘So Long Love’ before a new song ‘All I Want To Do’ was played, leaving us to hear the set close with ‘New Night’. Overall the Invasions played a very solid set, with some stunning work completed on Trumpet. We’d like to see them again, this time sans stitches.

Syn Brit Rating 3/5


Website: Invasions
Twitter: @invasionsmusic

With all of the subtlety of someone trying to get your attention by punching you in the face, catl powered straight into ‘Lamplight The Way’ with the crowd immediately moving to the front of the Horseshoe to celebrate the band’s success.’Resistance Place’ then followed ‘Chicken Walk’, with the former full of understated harmonica by Pete Ross and Sarah’s beautiful strong vocals shining through, a true gem. Dancing then broke out during ‘Caroline’, which was prefaced by a story about internet porn and increased with a trip back to their first album with ‘Hey! Hey!’, which retained a deep groove that could be turned into a serious dance hall burner. Jamie sat down for ‘Shakin’ House Blues’ but the pace and the dancing didn’t stop as the Horseshoe got hotter and sweatier… A new song, albeit a cover, ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ was next with some really nice slide guitar, it didn’t look out of place in the set and was followed by a superb delivery of ‘Gateway Blues’ with its tribute to Bo Diddley. ‘Gotta Thing For U’ featured a great solo vocal from Sarah, driving harmonica support from Pete Ross and Jamie’s tremendous guitar work.

It was time for a monster, let’s be absolutely clear here, when we say that ‘Gold Tooth Shine’ is a monster of a song, it is not just a blues tribute, but the future state, just saying, go listen. The great hook and story line that is ‘FU Blues’ was next with an upbeat cover of an Ike Turner song ‘You Can’t Blame Me’ next. Their last tune was ‘Hold My Body Down’ from the latest album with its pulsating rhythm, which left the crowd shouting for more and it came in the form of a barnstorming rendition of ‘Workin’ Mans Soul’, with Jamie’s superb guitar, wailing harmonica and impassioned vocals, a perfect ending if one was needed. Some people are born to work in offices, others with machinery, catl were born to be on stage playing their music to dancing, hot and sweaty audience. Now where’s that shower?

Syn Brit Rating 5/5


Website: catl
Twitter: @c_a_t_l
You Tube: Gold Tooth Shine

Until the next time……… The Moose
Bella Clava - Horseshoe Tavern - 31-01-2015

Bella Clava

CATL - Horseshoe Tavern - 31-01-2015


The Invasions - Horseshoe Tavern - 31-01-2015

The Invasions

The Cool Hands - Horseshoe Tavern - 31-01-2015

The Cool Hands

All photos reproduced by kind permission of