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The Grey Lady Music Lounge, Thursday 29th December 2011

Headline Act: Cyrano

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Originally formed as a three piece back in 2001, indie rock band Cyrano soon became a foursome with the addition of lead guitarist, Karl Barton. From this moment on, their sound was born. With influences from bands like Pearl Jam and Elbow, Cyrano have crafted a unique blend of thoughtfully written songs, rock guitars and Tom Yorke-esque vocals resulting in a hugely melodic sound. The band are currently recording their second album in Assault and Battery Studios in London. Their first album "I, You, Us, Them" is available to buy on CD and iTunes. The band’s line up is Joe Ackerley on Vocals and guitar, Matt Wilson on drums, Tim Hubbard on bass and vocals, and Karl Barton on lead guitar.

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What started as a crazy idea in an attic space in September 2005 quickly became something beard-strokingly serious for four teenagers with delusions of grandeur. Mashed Potato, a musical alliance between two best friends, soon evolved into Icarus, and from the sweaty depths of boys’ bedrooms came a unique sound, a blend of their love for artists ranging from Radiohead to Robert Johnson and Focus to Foals.

The band continued to grow, through members gained and lost and through taking the ultimate step of committing their collective noise to tape, at that time using a cheap mic in those same bedrooms. But via tenuous familial connections this music, self-produced in every sense, found its way into the ears of a very appreciative listener and soon enough Icarus were invited into the studios of Blizzard Records for what proved to be a very successful trial.

Now signed, cravats were tightened and scotch sipped with a new found vigour, as the glory days beckoned. They changed their name once more to ZIGO, they matured in their approach to writing music and most crucially, they pored over their expansive catalogue from their four years together to choose only 12 songs with which to populate their debut album – only slightly ironically titled This Is How It Ends.

Initially in the running to be the Tunbridge Wells Forum’s house band (despite no one knowing who they were) ZIGO have moved on to playing venues around the country, in the slums of their separate university towns. They continue to push themselves, their potential as a band, and their presence both on stage and off.

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Alfie Noakes (from Sevenscore)

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With a sound described as 'Thom Yorke meets John Lennon', Tunbridge Wells based Sevenscore deliver a dynamic rock/pop sound brimming with edginess and thought provoking lyrics and melodies. Alfie Noakes, Mark Cooper and Martin Lucas formed the band in 2002. Following the recording of their album, 'Safe and Dry' in 2003, performances have included the Tunbridge Wells Forum, the 'Gazastock' festival, 'Music on the Meadow', and two consecutive nights at the 'Hop Farm Fireworks Extravaganza' (attended by over 10,000 each night!) In mid 2006 Sevenscore was joined by Ollie Nicholls and shortly afterwards the band won a place in the final of the kmfm battle of the bands. Following this, the song 'Smile' topped KMFM's local music chart and recieved airplay. Sevenscore gave a memorable headline performance at this year's 'Local & Live' festival and 2009 has seen the band expand to a 5 piece line up with Steve McCormack joining on Guitar/vocals and Paul Dunton on keys. Sevenscore are directing their focus on performing and recording new material which is due for release in the coming months.

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Darren Smallman

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Back in 1989 at the age of 15, Darren Smallman put down his keyboard, tuba and skateboard to start legendary Australian rock band Warped. The next three years saw him perform around Melbourne and Geelong with the likes of Bored!, Fugazi, 5,6,7,8’s and The Meanies, gathering a reputation for putting on a flat out live show finishing in a 15 minute noise sludge track Snufelupikus. Throughout these years the band produced all their own merchandise, recorded multiple demos sold at shows and were included on 3 compilations that were distributed worldwide, one that featured Darren’s track Dog Killer that was a live favourite.

In 1992 Darren left school and started a band Toad alongside Warped that featured members of Bored!, Tumbleweed and Fridge. Throughout this 2 year period Darren and School mates Jeremy Geddes & Glen Pearce had multiple exhibition spaces in old warehouses where they exhibited their art and promoted music events to coincide with the exhibitions. Toad disintegrated in 6 months and was the catalyst of what was to come musically. Toad breaking up and separating from Warped, he found himself wondering where to go. At this point he decided to follow new ground along the lines of idols Redd Kross, Dinosaur Jr and Buffalo Tom creating Thee Vinyl Creatures.

The band played alongside artists such as Spiderbait, Magic Dirt, The Dirty Three and Tumbleweed as well as playing Meredith Music Festival to 2000+ people. Recording an album, 8 inch EP and multiple demos until 1996 when he moved to Europe to travel.

On returning in 1999 he moved to Melbourne and formed The Sound Platform with past band mates Karl Inderberg and Simon Baird. The band took a more experimental line at this point incorporating strings, brass, electronics and samples to their shows and recordings. Even though the band toured Australia quite heavily it was mainly a recording project producing a demo album, a 7 inch EP and two CD EP’s. In 1999 Darren, Simon and Karl started the record label Low Transit Industries as a vehicle for their own releases. In 2003 the record label had started releasing/touring other artists such as The Essex Green, Trans Am, Royal City, Kim Salmon & The Surrealists, Black Mountain, Okkervil River and Of Montreal.

Whilst in the middle of recording their first full length album in 2005 the band found time restraints too difficult between work and the burgeoning label so decided to finish up the band to focus on LTI. Between 2003 and 2010 the label released nearly 100 releases and toured multiple artists in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

The label closed its doors in 2010 so Simon and Darren could focus on other interests with Darren building the back catalogue of most of his bands over the years which will end with The Sun & The Silver Anthology. The anthology is a collection of 6 releases, spanning nearly 20 years worth of material and ending in the final record that was never finished, The Sun & The Silver.

Darren has started performing again with material from the Anthology series.

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