Gig Review – Papa Shango, Anonymous and Dead Happy

On Saturday 28th October I was at The Giffard Arms Wolverhampton to see Papa Shango and supporting bands, Dead Happy and Anonymous. 

I’ve heard that The Giffard is the place to be on Halloween, and for a mere £2 to get in, this was promising to be a great night, especially knowing that Anonymous were in the line up.

A Halloween themed band called Dead Happy certainly kicked the evening off in style, demonstrating a completely abstract performance of rock/alternative music.

It was then time for one of my top 5 upcoming bands to rock the house. Anonymous put on an electrical performance as always, these guys have all the ingredients needed to become a successful rock band, looks, talent, charisma and determination.


Even though the frontman/vocalist Rob Baynes had been unwell, he put on a great show for the crowd. These guys have come a long way since I first saw them on a Facebook live feed, playing a pub in Burton-on-Trent.

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They will be supporting Ryder’s Creed at the 02 Academy 3 Birmingham on 9th December 2017 which I’m sure will be a great night, and I have no doubt that  Anonymous will help to kick the night off appropriately. Hayden Kirk (guitar), Steven (Herbie) Herbert (drums), Luke Lawley (bass) and Rob Baynes (vocals/guitar) certainly get the job done when it comes to putting on a show.

So, having rocked out with Anonymous, it was time for the widely talked about Papa Shango to make an appearance. To be perfectly honest, I had mixed feelings about this ‘act’, but kept an open mind as I’d never seen them before. They describe themselves as a circus rock act with mayhem and madness guaranteed to leave jaws dropped.


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Unfortunately, the only video footage I took of these guys will not upload, so apologies to anyone who wanted to see them. Well I can only describe the Papa Shango experience as unusual. I thought for a moment I’d had my drink spiked when I saw girls in sequinned hotpants humping hobby horses to the rhythm of the music. It was all a bit tongue in cheek, and I watched them perform a couple more of their tracks before leaving to the sound of ‘pissing on your wife’ being belted out. The room was full of people in full Halloween costume though, and I’m sure the night went well. Not sure if they came into watch Papa Shango, or whether it was just because the disco downstairs was packed out, but either way, a great night celebrated with major weirdness and rock music, you couldn’t ask for more. (Especially not for £2 entry)

For those of you who are now more curious than ever, here’s a link


Gig Rating: 4/5





Coming this week

This week I will be publishing the review of bands I’ve seen during the Halloween weekender. Anonymous, Naked Sunday and Buzzard to name just a few of them. There will be some awesome photos and videos to go with the feature of course, courtesy of Dave Briggs.

Also I’m currently reviewing a self titled album by a very talented guy called Jon Hartz Wild, which will be up over the next couple of days.

Later in the week I’ll be publishing my review of the newly released Buzzard album ‘Valium Gorillas’.

I’m still looking for bands to engage with and feature on The Rock Asylum, so if anything you see on my blog tickles your fancy, get in touch with me by filling out the contact page and I’ll be in touch.

Many thanks for supporting The Rock Asylum!


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I was so happy to be invited over to sunny Uttoxeter, to meet the 4 guys, better known as  Anonymous. Rob Baynes, Hayden Kirk, Luke Lawley, and Steven (Herbie) Herbert. These guys were everything I expected them to be, great fun, confident, extremely talented, driven, and enthusiastic to have me visit them.

First things first, a look at where they practice. A great little place in picturesque surroundings which was ideal for a few photographs. Cue Dave Briggs photography…… a tour of the grounds found quite a few great little backdrops for some cool photos.

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Once the photo shoot was over, it was time to see the Anonymous guys in action. What a privilege it was to get to see these guys perform. Even when practising they were awesome, and to make it even more special, you could see it written all over them that they absolutely love what they do!

If anyone reading this is wondering whether they should bother going to see these guys in action, I would most definitely recommend it. Not only do they all look great, but they sound great and they are so much fun! Definitely worth buying a ticket to see.


Then after watching these guys performing like pros, it was time for me to totally destroy their credibility by joining in! I was so bad I’m not even going to share most of the footage, but here’s a couple of the most successful bits. I have to say though, I totally enjoyed it. Poor Herbie had to have so much patience with me, bless him, as I have absolutely no rhythm at all! And well, Hayden and Rob were awesome teachers, apart from when Hayden told me off for having a lazy little finger LOL.


Q & A Session with Rob Baynes

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So, because I had used up so much of these guys’ time, I unfortunately missed out on the opportunity to interview them. However, I DID manage to get Mr Rob Baynes  to answer a few questions for me on behalf of the band, and it made for pretty interesting reading I have to say!








Who came up with the band name Anonymous and why?

It just kind of stuck really! Originally we started as a covers band playing pubs and small festivals, for our first show we didn’t actually have a name yet so when we were asked by the promoter what to write on the poster, we lazily said “just write ‘Anonymous'”, the rest is history. Understandably people mistake us for having affiliations with the online hacker group “Anonymous” This was completely unintentional, but it’s also quite nice when people come to our Facebook page looking for hackers and end up liking our music!

You guys are so young, but your performances are so polished. What’s your secret to reaching such a high standard so quickly?

The secret is a shared, burning hatred for each other. In all seriousness though we’ve known each other since school, we have nearly murdered each other multiple times but before we were bandmates we were friends anyway. Practice is key really, individually or all together, it doesn’t matter as long as you know where your parts sit in conjunction with everyone else.

Whose idea was it to form a band, and how did you guys find each other?

Again, school. I’m pretty sure it was Luke’s idea to form a band initially, we all just went along with it at the time because we thought It’d be a laugh, we had no idea it’d lead to recording and touring and all that jazz.

What musical influences do you guys have?

It’s a weird little mesh of influences really, Hayden and Luke are very much into their classic Rock, Guns n’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, etc. and I think these are the shared influences for all of us. Herbie likes Nu-Metal and slightly heavier stuff, Breaking Benjamin for example. Personally I’m really into modern metal, the proper heavy stuff. It’s interesting to see how it all melds together when we write music, in the past it’s lead to toss-ups between a super-heavy breakdown or a three minute atmospheric ‘November Rain’ style guitar solo.

What day jobs do you do?

I work in retail, I have two jobs in two different clothes shops, which makes me an easy target for banter, but then again I don’t work in Card Factory like Hayden does so it could be worse. Luke lifts heavy things and tells people where to park at an auctioneers, and Herbie currently has the most credible job out of all of us working for JCB.

Will you be releasing an album any time soon?

Hmmm. The idea of an album is floating around in the future, we’re working on a little something at the moment, we figure after we’ve worked as hard as we can on this we will hopefully be able to get the groundworks in for a larger release.

Dish the dirt on each other……do you have any nicknames you can share with me? Also any annoying/bad habits?

We have several nicknames for each other, but our individual names in our band group chat are the best examples; Bender boy, Volatile, Pecker and Salty Baynes, obviously I’m Salty Baynes but I’ll leave you to figure out the rest, the names are best left with the stories behind them untold!

You guys must have quite a large ‘fan-girl’ base………….. How does this affect you with your private lives? Are you in relationships? If so it must be quite hard?

Do we? Where?! We’re all currently in relationships so it doesn’t really occur to us I guess!

What is your greatest achievement to date as a band?

To date, probably opening Keele University’s Karnage rock festival ahead of Mallory Knox. Words can’t describe the atmosphere in the room, it was like we were on another planet, so much energy and enthusiasm, and with that size stage we were able to jump around like a bunch of crazies.

So, if you had to nominate one band member to come to the Rock Asylum for an ‘in-the-chair’ interview………….who would it be and why?

If it were up to me I’d nominate either Hayden or Luke. Hayden just for sheer sarcastic brilliance, and Luke in the hope that he’d make a tit of himself. I don’t know if they’d nominate me or Herbie, rampant cynicsm and lack of common sense doesn’t usually make for a good face-to-face interview.

If you could choose any famous musician, who would you add as your fifth member of Anonymous? (choose one person each)

Hayden would go for Jimmy Page without a doubt, when he’s not playing the guitar he’s usually drooling and getting excited over Led Zeppelin in some form or other. Luke would probably go for Billy Sheehan of the Winery Dogs, that man crush is a big one, Luke even bought his signature bass overdrive! I’d most likely go for Sam Carter of Architects, or some other really heavy screaming vocalist, just to annoy the others to be honest. Herbie’s honest answer to this question is “I quite like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I don’t know, Will Smith rapping or something?”

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Gig Review – Uttoxeter Rocks @ The Old Star

The Old Star

The Old Star Pub, is a traditional pub, that serves cask ales as well as traditional lagers/ciders etc.  The Pub houses live entertainment in the beer garden and inside during the winter on a Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday 15th July 2017, The Old Star hosted the Uttoxeter Rocks gig.

The event was run and promoted by Mark from Crackin’ Snapin’ Promotions, along with Erica, who is the Landlady of The Old Star.  Also playing a big part in the organisation of the event were Andy Hartshorne, who arranged the bands and ran the stage, and Andy and Ray, the sound techs from Audio Difference.

I was told by a number of band members that Andy Hartsorne had worked his butt off to support artists during the preparation and run up to this event, and that it was much appreciated.

I have to say that everyone who was involved in this event, should be very proud of themselves and of the successful night which was a product of their blood, sweat and tears.

On arrival at the Old Star, I found parking easy to find which was a bonus, more or less right in front of the pub itself set in the centre of the town which was very picturesque. First impressions told me this was a sleepy little place, however I was soon to find out that Uttoxeter was very much alive.

This quaint old pub beckoned me to go in….. I could already hear music being played so was eager to see who was on stage.

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