Reckless Yes is an independent label which, in their own words, sets out with a “focus on working ethically with artists”. In the past, they’ve released limited edition vinyl singles by Bivouac and Mower and their current roster includes Bluetones man Mark Morriss and relative newcomers, Fightmilk.
Always known for his self-depreciating humour, Mark Morriss has only been on stage for about thirty seconds before he plays down the fact that he’s released a new album in the last forty eight hours. “This afternoon, I’ll be playing some old songs…and some new ones”, he says, before pretending to be complaining audience members. Nobody is complaining, of course. Star Shaped is so often about welcome nostalgia, but Mark’s fourth release ‘Look Up’ is great and the fans have had nothing but praise for the new record, suggesting it’ll be The Bluetones front man’s most successful solo endeavour to date.
A maker of often undervalued and eclectic solo works, Bluetones frontman man Mark Morriss has a big cult following away from his “main career”. Over the past few years, he’s provided soundtracks for various David Walliams projects and released a brilliant covers album, ‘The Taste of Mark Morriss’, on which he puts his own stamp on artists as stylistically diverse as Madonna, Scott Walker and The Sisters of Mercy. [Watch Mark covering Sisters of Mercy in his living room here.]
For all Britpop fans, the annual Star Shaped Festival is the most exciting thing on the yearly calendar. Previous events have seen appearances from most of the Britpop greats, including Echobelly, Space, My Life Story and The Bluetones.
During the first half of 2018, it has felt as if Real Gone has been a semi-permanent resident at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We’ve seen fantastic gigs by The Wonder Stuff and Carter USM’s Jim Bob; an enjoyable and nostalgic performance from Skid Row; a solid offering from Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and a woeful car-crash from 80s melodic rock legends Night Ranger. Tonight, it’s the turn of The Bluetones – a fantastic band with strong ties to the days of Britpop.
First, though, we’re at The Defector’s Weld for a pre-gig drink with other fans. The pub’s wooden floor and fishy aroma gives the place a more traditional feel than the more popular nearby Brewdog (a venue with overpriced beer, an inconvenient lack of tables and an offensively smelly barman). It’s the perfect place for a gathering and a wonderful hour is spent. A new friendship is formed and other acquaintances made; so good to put faces to familiar Twitter handles.