Update (02/06/2016)

posted Feb 6, 2016, 8:28 AM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated Feb 6, 2016, 9:41 AM ]

Bedford Esquires, Bedfordshire (09 Oct 2015)
Pad Presents

Green Room, Welwyn Garden City (05 Dec 2015)

The Venue, Derby (05 Feb 2016)
Derby Live

The Lexington, London (12 Mar 2016)
Mute Elephant

Manchester Academy

Flawed is Beautiful on PledgeMusic

posted Dec 7, 2015, 7:11 PM by Vu Nguyen

You know I'm a huge S*M*A*S*H and love These Animal Men (TAM), so I was pretty excited to hear about the documentary Flawed Is Beautiful about the two band (and the whole "New Wave of New Wave" movement in the UK).

Even if you couldn't care less about punk music or NWONW, you should really appreciate the fact that the film reunited these two bands together under one bill to play at Heaven in London last 11 September 2015 (with TAM's first live show in 20 years!)

I have not seen the film, but I did live through it ... at least via Melody Maker and NME and buying all the singles I could get my hands on: S*M*A*S*H, These Animal Men, Compulsion, Elastica, Sleeper, etc. So I feel I know a little bit about the story of how it happened. Eventually some of these bands graduated to what is known as Britpop.

If you want to know more about S*M*A*S*H, check out this exclusive interview with singer/songwriter Ed Borrie from January 2015.

If you want to own Flawed Is Beautiful on DVD (sorry, no Bluray) the filmmaker has launched a PledgeMusic Campaign. If they don't reach their asking goal then the film will not be made available to the public to own. Typical of these UK-based projects, it seems expensive to buy and ship the U.S.A. ($43 for the standard boxset), but may be worth it if you are a diehard fan.

The boxset is limited to 1,000 copies. The 2 DVD set will include some commentary and TV and live show performances. It also includes two rarities CDs and a 48-page book.

I have about three months to decide what to get, but come January, I may just splash out and pay about $70 to get my name in the film. Since I'm somewhat gainfully employed, I will support the artists I love.

Note about the (new) artwork, I believe it is drawn by Sue Doe, in the style of the old S*M*A*S*H cover artwork and is a recreation of These Animal Men's (Come On Join) The High Society album. Of course, if you live in the USA, you may not recognize it, as we got a different cover, featuring Julian Hewings holding up boxing gloves with the American flag. I still have my copy (along with Taxi for These Animal Men and Too Sussed?) somewhere in one of 10 CD boxes in my basement.

S*M*A*S*H will be playing live at Gigantic Indie All Dayer Vol 3 in Manchester with headliner The Wonder Stuff on 28 May 2016.

These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H at Heaven, London (11 Sep 2015)

posted Sep 13, 2015, 4:35 PM by Vu Nguyen   [ updated Sep 13, 2015, 4:42 PM ]

Heaven, London (11 Sep 2015)
Flawed Is Beautiful
These Animal Men Setlist
  1. Sharp Kid
  2. Who's the Daddy Now?
  3. Empire Building
  4. Ambulance
  5. You're Always Right
  6. Riverboat Captain
  7. Light Emitting Electrical Wave
  8. Soul Around the World
  9. (This is the) Sound of the Youth
  10. Life Support Machine
  11. (You're Not My) Babylon
  12. Speeed King
  13. April 7th
  14. Too Sussed
Read More
Just a quick note on that S*M*A*S*H / NxtGen Split Single Launch, taking place 29 March 2014 at The Portland Arms in Cambridge. As I suspected, the lyrics …
photo: Jeff Pitcher
Two of the most popular New Wave of New Wave punk bands These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H recently played at Heaven in London on September 11th. This is TAM's first show in twenty years!

Wish we could have flown to London to see the show.

For more information, check out my interview with Ed from January 2015 and follow the band on FB and for archival purposes, see smash.weheartmusic.com.

Photographs courtesy of Jeff Pitcher.

Here is how they described the Flawed Is Beautiful documentary:

Flawed Is Beautiful is a film about two bands - These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H - who formed a scene swiftly dubbed by the press as the New Wave Of New Wave - the magnesium flash that, for better or worse, lit the way for Britpop.

Flawed Is Beautiful is also a story of media complicity and career hari kiri. It is about bold ideas, insatiable appetites and international travel. Cheap drugs and pre-destined failure. It is also about the British music industry spinning towards its final years of economic excess and Thatcher’s children biting back. It is about tight T-shirts, eyeliner and what happens when your fifteen minutes of fame runs out. It is a cautionary tale from which no-one learned any lessons.

Like all the best music documentaries, Flawed Is Beautiful is about heroic failure. These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H didn't have the right accents or connections. But they had the belief and they looked fantastic. They took their moment and made the most of it. And they changed people's lives in small towns out in the provinces, where the big bands didn't ever come to town and where their songs of aspiration and indulgence (TAM) and smalltown rage (S*M*A*S*H) inspired a whole generation of kids.

People always say about the Velvet Underground that everyone who saw them went on to start a band. In the case of These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H that might actually be true.....

If you live in Manchester, head over to the FabCafe at 2:30pm to see the film on September 19th.

These Animal Men at Heaven, London (11 September 2015)
photo: Jeff Pitcher

The Guardian: Cult heroes: S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men should have changed people's lives

posted Jul 28, 2015, 4:37 PM by Vu Nguyen

Cult heroes: S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men should have changed people's lives
by James Cook Tuesday 28 July 2015 06.00 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 28 July 2015 06.19 EDT

There is a wonderful moment in the trailer for Flawed is Beautiful – the forthcoming documentary about British bands S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men – in which the latter’s guitarist and spokesman, Hooligan, is asked why they’ve recently reformed. Four minutes later, after an impassioned, thoughtful response, he adds charmingly: “And that is my answer to your question, in a short sentence.” His fortysomething bandmates, sitting next to him, crack up.

Hooligan was always one of pop’s more accomplished orators. When he emerged from Brighton in 1993 as part of TAM – four mini-Richey Manics in smudged kohl, skinny-fit Lonsdale, Adidas T-shirts and tight white jeans – his interviews were a rare treat. Energised, inspiring, adversarial, Hooligan seemed to hate everything going – from dance music to crusties. Especially crusties. He had the soundbites (“Can a band unite like the Smiths? Maybe not, but it’s fucking well worth trying”), even a manifesto of commandments (No 7: Love is good, but not as good as a wank.)

And, of course, his band looked phenomenal. Yes, TAM knew their rock history and understood a group should be a gang: four horsemen. Four heroes. They also grasped that pop was about surfaces and ideas; that 10 minutes of visceral onstage excitement was worth two hours of dull-witted musicianship. Moreover, unhampered by a political conscience, they were spectacularly right for the mid-90s – ambitious, self-absorbed and hedonistic (the sleeve for their first single, Speed King, featured four bank notes in a plate of white powder, artwork that succeeded in getting them banned from a tour of school youth clubs). Musically they were prescient too, drawing from punk’s mod-glam seedbed: Small Faces, Mott, the Who. In any just world, These Animal Men would have been as big as Oasis.

[ Read more Cult heroes: S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men should have changed people's lives ]

Photos and videos of the Portland Arms, Cambridge (23 May 2015)

posted May 25, 2015, 10:51 PM by Vu Nguyen

Portland Arms, Cambridge (23 May 2015)

Ed at Portland Arms, Cambridge (23 May 2015)
from flickr.com
Additional photos (of all the bands on the bill) and videos of the Portland Arms, Cambridge gig over at:

S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men reunion this September 11th, 2015

posted May 24, 2015, 5:26 PM by Vu Nguyen

Heaven, London (11 Sep 2015)
Flawed Is Beautiful
Fri 11th September 2015 @ 6:30pm

Open to 14s and over (14 & 15's to be accompanied by an Adult 18+). Photo ID required.

These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H reunite for London show

Proto-Britpop punk legends These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H will reunite this Autumn, it has been announced.

The bands – who were part of the New Wave of New Wave scene – will reunite to play a show together at London’s Heaven on Friday 11th September. The gig will coincide with the release of ‘Flawed Is Beautiful’ – a documentary about the bands’ brief ascent to fame in 1994.

The original line up of These Animal Men have not played together since 1996.

Julian Hewings from These Animal Men said: “Catholic, atheist, flawed, conflict, Thatcher, Major, Blair…..the class of 94’s errant fuck ups return for one night only, 11th Sept. There’s a ghost in the house”.

Ed Borrie from S*M*A*S*H said: “Having taken a trip in the jungle and been attacked by a ferocious but beautiful tiger, I became unglued. I returned to the boat. Never get out of the boat”.

The bands became infamous for their sharp image and gigs that were “like mini riots in the back rooms of pubs”, before going on to play Top of the Pops and releasing a string of classic punk records.

S*M*A*S*H hit the peak of their notoriety in July ’94 when their single ‘(I Want To) Kill Somebody’ – which advocated the execution of the entire Conservative cabinet – landed in the Top 40. These Animal Men also hit the headlines the same year when MPs attempted to ban their tour.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday 26th March at 10am from TicketWeb and will cost £15.

More information about the film can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/flawedisbeautiful

Flawed is Beautiful teaser trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z47uhNiZxg

Esquires, Bedford (08 Jun 2012) review

posted Jan 31, 2015, 11:28 PM by Vu Nguyen

Bedford Esquires, Bedford (08 Jun 2012)
Roar Club and Club Biscuit
08.06.2012 Jim Bob, S*M*A*S*H, Midway Still - Esquires, Bedford
Last updated 24 September 2013 16:55 by theredpenguin

Despite being about 80 miles away from home, this was a line up I felt I couldn't miss. Jim Bob - Carter USM front man - supported by fellow 90s icons S*M*A*S*H and Midway Still.



Only the second time I have seen them live after catching them at the Portland Arms in Cambridge in March 2007. There's no website for the band, no fansites either now, so you need to keep your ear to the ground to see what they're up to.

I still rate the band's self-titled debut mini album from 1994 as an almost perfect selection of songs for an EP and I think all of them got an airing in their set including these two.

Update (02/01/2015)

posted Jan 31, 2015, 11:10 PM by Vu Nguyen

T in the Park, Scotland (30 Jul 1994)

S*M*A*S*H to play Portland Arms in Cambridge on 23 May 2015

posted Jan 25, 2015, 1:42 PM by Vu Nguyen

Portland Arms, Cambridge (23 May 2015)
More details later, but for now, mark your calendar for 23 May 2015 to see S*M*A*S*H live.

Check with theportlandarms.co.uk and event promoter repeatfanzine.co.uk for forthcoming details.

Update (01/25/2015)

posted Jan 25, 2015, 1:39 PM by Vu Nguyen

Water Rats, London (05 Feb 2005) 
Club Velocity

Metro, London (19 Feb 2005)
Tsunami Relief Week Event

Esquires, Bedford (09 Apr 2005)
Carbon Silicon

University of Surrey, London (21 May 2005)

Water Rats Theatre, London (04 Jun 2005)

Star & Garter, Manchester (15 Jul 2005)

Retro Bar, Manchester (Cancelled) (22 Jul 2005)
Club Indigo

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