Clowwns, Bullybones, Le Lizard Royale – the Talking Heads, Southampton – Live Review
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Live Review

Clowwns, Bullybones, Le Lizard Royale -the Talking Heads, Southampton   2/4/2016

Seeing as Ged Babey promoted this gig by two of his favourite bands, (Brightons Clowwns and the Isle of Wights Bullybones) and local heroes the Lizard,  to celebrate his and mate Tonys birthdays, instead of reviewing it himself he asked various friends and aquaintances if they would like to try their hand at it … and this is the result, a patchwork review of an incredible gig. 


Marco (Singer with Le Lizard Royale) the soundcheck Clowwns bassist Etienne started playing  Serge Gainsbourgs Melody Nelson which was surreal {Marco’s wife is French and they both love Serge} cos Aaron {guitarist with Bullybones} also loves Sixties French music too. It was like an immediate kinship and connection between all three bands on the bill…

.. in the green room I sat admiring Etiennes Paul Simonon-style white Levi’s. We talked about lyrics and I said I like to write about all the street people, weirdos, freaks of Southampton like Lou Reed did for New York City. Issa was warming-up in the corner, like a boxer, goin thru his raps.  Then Aaron bounded in, in full drag, make-up, furs and Bardot-style mini-dress,  Illy was running round with that massive smile on his face and Charlie looking as cool as a young Brian Jones.  It was like Warhols Factory and us and Clowwns, who are a bit older like us I guess,  had big smiles on our faces as if to say “Rock’n’roll will live-on if there are kids like Bullybones around!”


Kim Meddick ( poet/performer Techno Kim)
I have known Marco a long time and seen him go through up’s and downs …but when the Lizard Royale were onstage , once Issa and Marco teamed up (for the last two songs)  it lifted to another level and the place kicked off.  Big up to all the Music Heads that came out that night!


Songul Bekir
Last night I saw my old friend Issa Loyaan Farrah debut with Le Lizard Royale at Talking Heads in Southampton. This band took me back to my punk days, with echoes of the Clash haunting me.  Issa took the stage for the last two tracks and complemented their raw sound with his unique style of rap.  As he would say, it was Sick Maan!   So glad to have been there.

After Lizard Royale were the high energy Bullybones.  Raw like tequila on octane.  Their drummer was to die for, outside of djembe circles I have never seen such energy for a while.  Their lead guitar was trans and was kissing all the girls and the singer and bass player looked about 12 to me because I am that old!  They literally rocked with very little roll and I wish I had more energy to thrash about.  These youngsters are from the Isle of Wight, formerly known to me as the Pile O’ Shite because I thought nothing much happened there. How wrong I was! What a fantastic night.

Ian Canty
Le Lizard Royale? …they could have sounded a little bit like a Pink Fairies tribute band deciding suddenly to be Dreadzone? Bullybones seemed pretty exciting from where I was sat, but I think I enjoyed them more at the Alex, they were just an all action destruction crew tonight!


Clowwns, Bullybones, Le Lizard Royale – the Talking Heads, Southampton – Live Review
Bullybones Charlie and ‘Estella’


Paul Ward
I have to admit I have a particular penchant for 60’s garage punk, 80’s garage trash, psychobilly, rockabilly and all things wild and rocking…so when I first happened across BullyBones (in an underground vault in Southampton, aptly enough), I couldn’t believe my luck. Here was a young band playing a combination of all those musical genres, but with an added twist of originality that made them different enough to warrant further investigation.

An incendiary performance at the Alex last Christmas sealed it for me. And everytime I’ve seen them since, they just get better and better. And then there was their most recent performance at Talking Heads on Saturday. Honestly, I got face-ache from the massive fixed grin across my face during the whole shebang. Teetering at times between being slightly out of control and downright musical anarchy, I wondered if any of us would get out alive. Singer Charlie doesn’t so much as ramp things up slowly as dive straight in where most singers finish their sets. Guitarist Aaron, tonight appearing as the rather fetching Estella, is a sight to behold, more star quality oozing from his right finger than most bands muster in their entirety. And the rhythm section is, to put it politely, mental. Bassist Illy, prone to random shrieks and a manic stare that could probably stop a train in it’s tracks is a sight to behold. It’s bass playing Jim, but not as we know it. Finally there’s drummer Elliot, whose style is precisely what is required to underpin and drive the rest of the bands maniac idea of constitutes music. They’ve made three albums already people. It’s not the most fashionable of music but sooner or later their time will come. And those of us at The Talking Heads last Saturday can say we were there.

Clowwns, Bullybones, Le Lizard Royale – the Talking Heads, Southampton – Live Review
Charlie and ‘Estella’ from Bullybones by Adam Barnes


Richard Emery
The world is missing this band in their most dynamic early years, and the world will kick itself it it doesn’t get down to one of their gigs and catch the moment. Imagine if the Rolling Stones hadn’t made the breakthrough until 1970. Still a good band then, but you’d rather have seen them in the 60s, wouldn’t you?

If aliens visited our humble world tomorrow and you wanted to show them the sheer exhilaration of rock music at its most energetic you’d take them to a Bullybones gig. In a world where people are reduced to getting excited about bands who would have been mere support acts 25 years ago Bullybones are a breath of pre-industrial age fresh air. This is the good stuff.


Adrian Dolby
I missed the gig and I’m now one gutted fucking numpty.


Philip McCarthy

It took me an hour to find the New Talking Heads venue so I missed Southamptons answer to Fat White Family Le Lizard Royale….. I was not always a fan of Bullybones but after seeing them a few times I realised that I was witnessing a genuine Rock band. They are ridiculously young and play like their lives depended on it.

They play a sort of Iggy, Garage, R n B punky hybrid.  If they were older I would be concerned for their health with their vein popping , eye bulging performance they put in.

Now bearing in mind I was tired from the previous nights excitement I was very confused by the the sight of a “fit young bird” playing guitar in place of Aaron Lee. I had to calm myself down by telling myself “Phil shes younger than your daughter”. Imagine my horror when I walked into the Gents to realise it was Aaron in full drag. Good job I don’t drink anymore !

But that sums the band up; They just do what they want.  It’s so refreshing to see a band that “really mean it man” With so many young bands seeing it as a gap year career move.

Clowwns, Bullybones, Le Lizard Royale – the Talking Heads, Southampton – Live Review
Illy from Bullybones

Next up were Clowwns who were brilliant too, but I struggle to categorize them. They play this Art Pub Rock sound with a ridiculous amount of influences. Bowie, The Cramps, Roxy Music.  Clearly Renaissance Men using a lot of literary quotes.  For some reason they remind me of Burlesque a pre-Punk band.  Again like Bullybones they don’t come over as a bunch of careerists. A band that really love what they do and if their is any justice in the world, going places.  An absolutely mental evening. Great venue, well done to Jurassic Mark for helping Ged and Tony put it all together.

Bullybones backstage with two of Le Lizard Royale (in shades) by Adam Barnes
two of Le Lizard Royale (in shades) with Bullybones


Tony Keall
… I loved the sugar rush of Bullybones but it was the more refined and varied tastes of CLOWwNS that I found more satisfying.


Carl Davis
I was so looking forward to seeing Clowwns on Saturday and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact the gig seemed to be over in the blink of an eye which is surely testament to how much I was enjoying them both visually and sonically. I also very much enjoy a great looking pinstripe suit, where the stripes have good definition, you know? as oppose to weak, watery, tailor’s chalk stripes, so it was good that Miles Heathfield was wearing one of those.

Nellie W.

While it’s always a bonus when your favourite band is local and frequently plays in your home town, away gigs are always extra exciting. Southampton was always going to be a bit special. CLOWwNS open their set with ‘Idiot Bouncing’. This is a very special song for me, so special in fact that my will specifies that it’s played at my funeral. You see, this is the song that made me become a Clowwner. I’m going to confess a little secret now, it’s alright to do so because the CLOWwNS boys know this, but I haven’t always been CLOWwNS’ number 1 fan. I had actually seen them a number of times over about 18 months and always thought they were a great band, but one night two-and-a-half years ago halfway through the set they played ‘Idiot Bouncing’ and it was like the biggest slap in the face ever. That was the moment my obsession was born. Great music should reach your feet for dancing, your stomach for churning excitement, your brain for thought and your heart for love and that’s what CLOWwNS suddenly did for me.  They are a remarkable band and play with such an intense energy and passion. I’ve seen them play gigs to a handful of people, in rooms crammed with people desperate to get in, at bigger venues full of people, and at their biggest show, opening for Public Image Limited at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill to a room full of cynical, 50 something year old punks and win them over. However big or small the audience, they always play like their lives depend upon it.
What they always deliver is a set of such frantic pace that you in the audience cannot draw enough breath, and you wonder how they manage to find the breath to play and sing the songs. When they play in their home town Brighton, where they are well respected and loved, it is generally in front of a crowd who know them. It is a delight of mine to see people watch CLOWwNS live for the first time and ‘get it’. I was hoping for a lot of that in Southampton but the great thing was although there were many people present seeing them for the first time they had clearly been listening hard to the album. People knew the songs and were singing along, dancing, and had that wow, this band are amazing look on their faces. Such is the class of frontman Miles Heathfield he personally acknowledged and thanked those of us who had travelled over from Brighton for the gig.

Miles from Clowwns

It doesn’t really matter what is on the set list at a CLOWwNS gig because all the songs are brilliant and it’s impossible to pick out a favourite. The Southampton set was largely taken from their album, with a couple of newer songs and their cover of ‘Ghost Town’, which gets it completely right in making it sound both like their own song and better than the original. If I had to pick a highlight of the night it would be ‘Macho Bimbo’. This is a remarkable song especially when played live. Those moments from 3.57 minutes in when you slowly feel your chest being torn apart and then it builds and your heart is being pulled away from you and as the song fades you realise you are still just breathing but life will somehow never quite be the same. ‘Idiot Bouncing’ will be playing at my funeral but ‘Macho Bimbo’ is what I want to hear when I’m dying.

The encore is another excellent cover of ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’.  There is a massive grin on everyone’s faces and lots of people dancing. I think it’s fair to say that everyone there “got” CLOWwNS.


Three different types of high energy rock n roll band,  all nearly careering out of control – but not quite. A  lot of kinship, no ego’s, sweat, a little blood,  in a world painted grey it was as if the spirit of rock n roll came alive in a glorious and chaotic way. It was a great fucking night.


BULLYBONES at Talking Heads, Southampton, 2016. by deathtoyoutube


rev and thunders aka marc and aaron by AB
Marco (Lizard) and Aaron/Estella (Bullybones) doing their best impersonation of Marty Rev and Johnny Thunders

Compiled by Ged Babey ( with love and thanks to all.) All pictures by the brilliant Adam Barnes.

(note – Adam is bassplayer with Le Lizard Royale – hence only backstage shots of the other band members.)


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