Photos from Beyond the Bunker Launch Party: The Bands

Capping it off was the talent. Paul Sweeney compered like a tight trousered mean thing with a guitar fetish, followed by Ryan Brannon and Paul Rich (the Coldcallers) who played to the back of someone’s head – we will find that person. Straight in and at the exasperation of local residents and the exultation of the assembled masses came the audio blitzkrieg lullaby that are Duke of Marmalade – three lads from Milton Keynes on their first gig in London. To finish off the night, the lyrical and gutteral guitar strands that are Skyskratcher – headed by chief sound engineer Jude Benjamin – who brought everything to an astonishing crescendo and finished the night with a massive bang!! All round a top night and honestly too small a venue to contain these bands. So now its onwards – either a bigger venue or playing them each one gig at a time. Sadly, no images of Skyskratcher – not sure why but otherwise Imogen Banks captured the rest beautifully.

Paul Sweeney having a 'special man moment' on stage.


Coldcallers (Ryan Brannon and Paul Rich) get all accusational


Attack of the Big Hands: Ryan Brannon (of Cold Callers), Steve Penfold (Big hands) and Jeremiah O Connor (outside)


Last minute additions Duke of Marmalade scare the neighbours


Paul Sweeney meets a fan!

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Moon Launch: All systems go, only one injury

The Moon launch last night at the Square Pig in Holborn went exactly as expected – in that everyone had a great time, everyone had a wicked time, enjoyed the book, the music was monumental and someone was almost killed, the local head of the housing association came to see what the noise was about, the music didn’t work for a while, sound checks involved running between a basement and the main bar, the bar manager came close to losing her mind and there was a threat of anarchists. So standard stuff.

We may have got even more guests before it started as the pub was surrounded by Police vans due to repeats of 150 anarchists (of an estimated 400,000 protestors) moving through town smashing bank and business fronts. Both bands were later than expected, Coldcallers were late because Paul Rich couldn’t decide whether to wear a leotard or not. True. Sweeney called after he was meant to be there saying he was getting on the bus. At 6pm it was myself, Skyskratcher and the bar staff. Jude (of Skyskratchers running up and down the stairs attempting the first multi storey sound check as the sound board was in the basement and the music was in the top bar). Some lads who were passing came in for one quick pint but were just as quickly followed by a lovely family who were meeting someone at the same address who I felt I had to let in. This flurry of activity caused me to miss an old gentlemen who came in, bought a pint for himself and settled into one of the comfy chairs before I’d noticed he was there. At 5.30pm I had guests, none of whom were there for the party, almost no acts, no comic books, no float and the possibility of anarchists. It was shaping up strangely.

Eventually Stephen Du Toit (Costume Designer) and James Eaton (of Roughlee Films) turned up followed by writer Jo Stokes. So we were off, soon to be followed by Artist and possible wizard Simon Rogers, then rampant irritant and possible gypsy king Ben Guibirelli but I had no comic books to offer them for they were with Dan. And Dan was still in Greenwich struggling with a PC.

In attendance (shipping in by Bus) were Paul Sweeney who blew it all apart with some neat asides about myself and Dan and a brief song about Pandas to kick things off, before the Cold Callers took the stage and took the place apart in the silliest way possible. A distortion in the mikes and the close proximity of the bar meant they came over more ‘Tenacious D’ than ‘Flight of the Conchords’ but they still went over brilliantly. They blew us away with a rendition of the Moon theme tune – an amazing translation of the events of Moon 1 that will complement the project for a long time onwards.

Complaints came in thick and fast from the local residents who chose to move in above a pub – a lack of personal responsibility there I feel – and this was only heightened by the oncoming seismic beauty of the Duke of Marmalade, named after a famous horse and with at least as much thoroughbred they tore the place apart with flowing rock even my auntie Susan enjoyed.

As soon as the drums began in the sound check, the bar manager, who was a picture of cool all night, came close to losing her mind. With each additional soundcheck of Bass, lead guitar and vocals it became clear that the rest of block’d be aware of a party taking place. Hilariously, the head of the housing association paid us a visit about the noise however being a producer for Music and TV had to acknowledge they were very good but too loud.

Finally came Skyskratcher, filling in for the notably absent Damn Jammage (I assume they got another gig) finished the night beautifully with exactly the lyrical, guitar waxing and blazing I expected from seeing their work online. Finishing with a bit of flair, Jude Benjamin electrocuted himself towards the end of the set, sending himself reeling to the floor. Shaken up, buzzing a bit and offered a free pint he was sat down on a stall and refused, on basic human protection grounds, not to continue the set though he was determined to do so. That man is a machine. A little, brainy machine god with a penchant for massive guitar riffs.

Amps blew before the start and two of the support for Skyskratcher made a mad dash across town to Crouch End and back again to bring us what we needed to be back before Coldcaller’s set finished. At the start of the evening there was no sign of Dan as he was hunched over a PC at his flat in Greenwich desperately trying to get a DVD containing the Beyond the Bunker video wall film to render. He succeeded, only to be defeated by the in-house AV. But none of thsi made a difference it was an epic night and nothing it seemed could derail it thanks to the efforts of those involved and the brilliant guests.

I have to say a massive thanks to Jude Benjamin (for sound checking from the basement and finishing with such a pirouettic denouement), Paul Sweeney and Drummond Bowskill for the light entertainment, Cold Callers for their beautiful rendition of ‘is it gay’ and apologies for forcing them to cut their set short – I’m deliberately not referencing one of the absolute highlights of the evening as I will be mentioning on the photographic report over the next couple of days. Thanks to Duke of Marmalade for keeping the Head of the Housing Association oddly content and Skyskratcher for absolutely nailing the end of the evening with aplomb and great music. The stage is set for another… watch this space for details.

But special thanks has to go to our respective fiancees, without which, none of this would have taken place. Fi manned the desk and blocked any and all marauders from entering unless they smiled and paid a fiver and Tori has frankly put up with my obsession with Beyond the Bunker for far too many years, including a very late request (1pm on the day), while trying to complete A-level Exams with her students for a mike stand. Both are the light in our lives and if it all folded tomorrow I confidently predict we’d still be the happiest chaps in the world thanks to our beaus.

There is more news coming but its almost completely redundant without a visual or audio accompniment so you will have to wait a little longer updates on how the rest of it went. But needless to say it went brilliantly…. oh, and we sold quite a few comic books – exact figures aren’t in yet… far from being over though Moon 1 will be available from Monday on Mail Order so you can enjoy the Moony goodness in the comfort of your own home, ward, dormitory, cell, lighthouse, tent without the threat of electrocution.

Cheers,

Steve P

Moon Launch: T-Minus 1 Day


This is it. Effectively 24 hours before the biggest launch of a UK Comic book in recent years occurs!! Moon 1 in your hands at the door with eclectic, funny and frankly lavishly awesome acts playing live for your entertainment inside! What more can you ask for? Pictures of yourself with a Moon for a head? Yeah, I think we can pull that off? A great venue topped off with friendly staff and frankly (for London) very, very reasonable prices for drinks! We’re trying to make sure we do what we can to make your evening as top muvva luvvin’ poppin’ as possible because quite frankly, we is nothing without ye.

Its been a long old road but here we are – finally, we get to see some of you luvverly people getting to handle the goods we’ve been bleating on about. Following this its back to the drawing board to kick start the next installments of Fallen Heroes and Moon and some secret little projects we have tucked away somewhere. So we’re just gonna max it up fully like on the night before getting back to the grind to bring you yet more Moony / globe trotting hero adventure. Tuck that in your trousers and schmoke it.

So, collected below is all you need to know about the event taking place tomorrow night 6-11.30pm at the Square Pig, Holborn, WC1V 6NX (just next to the tube – staggering distance I assure you). IT PROMISES TO BE EPIC!!

Firstly Moon 1 itself. A book that has earned two very good reviews so far (hopefully with more coming soon). From new friend of the Bunker Joe Innes at the frankly amazing Goodcomicbooks.com ‘like if Blackadder had been made by HBO’ and from Geekplanetonline ‘Overall this is a very British book, from Dan Thompson’s script which winks at the reader without ever coming across as smug to Steve Penfold’s artwork which feels as British as 2000AD while having a distinct style of its own, Moon is a title to watch out for and deserves to become a breakout hit. If Beyond the Bunker can keep up this level of quality they have a bright future ahead of them.’

The Acts confirmed for tomorrow night are –
Mr Paul Sweeney he who puts Imp into impresario. He shall wrestle the various live acts like a Lion Tamer might control wild beasts for the audience’s delight. His way with the world will intrigue and harangue you, exposing your vulnerable mind to a smutty world almost certainly beyond your ken. He be the most unceremonious master of ceremonies imaginable – perfect for us I say!! Mr Paul Sweeney!!

The Coldcallers – player with the lyric, bender of the music. These guys will twist your love of music towards something darker, sexier and infinitely more looney. Flight of the Conchords but perhaps somehow with even less grip on the world around them – Ryan Brannon and Paul Rich will be introducing the Moon theme tune to your unsuspecting ears at an undisclosed time during what will be no doubt, an amazing set…
Following a brief interlude we will unleash Skyskratcher! An eclectic group that swings between diving melodies and hard walls of guitar sound to take you on a frankly awesome musical merry go round in which you might be sick… but you won’t care. Led by Jude Benjamin on lead vocals, the band play with the effects button of your soul with wild abandon! And I’m not just saying that…. (I might just be saying that…) but they are awesome – I just don’t know how to talk about music.
Damn Jammage will not be playing a set tomorrow night due to technical difficulties however they will be in attendance and propping up the bar – if you have any memorabilia might be a good chance to sign them up.

… and finally, purely as a surprise guest we have one of the greatest villains in comic book history present at the gig. Having heard that the Beyond the Bunker wagon had rolled into town he stopped skinning the cat and rode along town on a teenager’s bike (leaving said childer in the gutter with a broad smile on his face…. Ladies and gentlemen…. I am pleased to announce THE JOKER will be in attendance tomorrow night to see what he can see. The Riddler will be refused entry… (THIS IS NOT A JOKE, IRONICALLY, THE JOKER WILL BE IN THE BUILDING ON THE NIGHT).

So mix that in a cocked hat and then we tell you its all for a fivers entry. What do you say to that (I say we undercharged but what are you going to do). Consider Saturday night a thank you for joining us on a journey to the MOON (maybe not back!)

To sign off we will I think use a section of Joe Inne’s excellent review from last week… ‘In this day an age, there aren’t many reasons why you can’t think big, and it’s nice to remember that comics are only as restricted as the creators imagination… something you probably won’t need to worry about with Moon, because the sky is nowhere near the limit.’

Moon Launch: T-Minus 2 Days

With two days to go until the massive launch night for Beyond the Bunker and more importantly Moon 1 I can now announce that we’ve had another review in and its a great one. So much so that they contacted us straight back and requested an interview (which Dan was filling out pretty much all day today and will be available online very soon). How’s this sound….?

‘Overall this is a very British book, from Dan Thompson’s script which winks at the reader without ever coming across as smug to Steve Penfold’s artwork which feels as British as 2000AD while having a distinct style of its own, Moon is a title to watch out for and deserves to become a breakout hit. If Beyond the Bunker can keep up this level of quality they have a very bright future ahead of them…’ In a word, natch!!

Moon 1 will be available with every £5 entry to the Beyond the Bunker / Moon 1 Launch night at the Square Pig in Holborn, WC1V 6NX accompanied by some of the finest comedic and musical acts we could find! If the comedy musical acts of Paul Sweeney and Cold Callers doesn’t elevate your canoe (and frankly that’s massively unlikely) then Sktyskratcher’ll burn your socks right off! We’ve literally covered all ear bases.

Vibrant and poignant, alternative rockers Skyskratcher are nothing if not eclectic. They’ve re-invented the ‘power-trio’, with experimentation at the heart of the band sending him reeling adventurously towards new ideas and new ways of both writing and listening to music (sometmes simultaneously, so if front man Jude Benjamin gets a funny look on his face half way through a section he might be thinking of another way to come at it.
With a dynamic rhythm section they lay the foundations for a harmonic wall of guitar driven songs with colourful melodies, fusing a comprehensive array of influences to something uniquely their own!
Prep your earlobes for audio trips through delicate, whispered melodies, upbeat grooves, flat-out punk skin smashing and Mars Volta-esque guitar lunacy, a level of diversity which have seen them backing a broad range of other bands! A use of live vocal effects and carefully structured arrangements does not stop this band from tearing up the stage every time they play. They are manic, toneful and great to listen to and their playing at the Beyond the Bunker event whether you’re there or not. So it’d be a shame if you miss ’em!

The band’s debut EP, ‘Hearts & Vices’ is available now. Check out Skyskratcher.com for further details!!

Moon Launch: T-Minus 3 Days

Thought this’d be a good time to introduce some of the acts that will be available to you at the Beyond the Bunker / Moon Launch. Firstly Mr Paul Sweeney, Impressario, musician, comedian, lady-like buffoon there is no way to anticipate what type of hair Mr Sweeney will appear with or what filthy monkey-slur might launch from his impassioned silly mouth. A shameless self-publicist with delusions of politeness, Paul Sweeney is perhaps one of the most impressive improvisational wits and whip crack smart tongues on the circuit right now. With a deft collection of silly hats and a penchant for silly noises as well as a tight grip on light humour you know that having Mr Paul Sweeney as your master of ceremonies’ll give your night a sparkle… and a suspicious smear.
The inimitable comedy stylings of Mr Paul Sweeney will now be running the show… … followed by the offbeat musical comedy outpourings of messrs Brannon and Rich a.k.a the Cold Callers. Eclectic buffoonery of the most lyrical order with songs such as the heartfelt ‘Is it Gay..?’, the culturally aware ‘Posh’ and the poignant lunacy of ‘Sheffield Confessions’ topped off with the ‘Generic James Bond Themes’ and the first public play of the new ‘Moon’ theme tune.
Follow both acts on ColdCallers on Myspace and the only page I could find that advertised Mr Sweeney

Ryan Brannon (of Cold Callers) is a true gent and friend to the Bunker. Not only penning the tune Moon but his lady Imogen Banks will be moving about with a camera capturing the entire thing for posterity. Poor old Paul Rich (the other half of the Cold Callers) has effectively met us once and is literally doing this as a favour to Ryan. Can’t tell you enough how awesomely funny their tunes are so find out for yourself on the links above.

Or turn up to the Beyond the Bunker / Moon Launch on 26th March (Saturday – 3 days from now) and collect your free copy of Moon to boot.

Moon Launch T-Minus 4

Still a fair bit to arrange before the big gig on Saturday night. Meeting with Jude Benjamin of Skyskratcher tomorrow afternoon to scout the venue (that’s right man) and the Cold callers might put their heads round the door for a swift pint if I’m lucky. The design of badges seems to be a running theme at present. Who wants badges!!! Yeah, you do. I’m not gonna throw up a bucket load of stuff today – frankly you can talk too much – except to say – 4 MORE DAYS TO GO! Good time keeping the least of the services available here at Beyond the Bunker!!

Click for details of BTB's new comic

Moon Launch T-Minus 5


Okay – with 5 more days to go and thought we’d try out a new flyer/poster for the Moon/Beyond the Bunker launch. In 4 days time the Square Pig in Holborn will be lit up and ignited with the launch of Beyond the Bunker’s flagship title; Moon! As you already know the first review is in from Goodcomics.com and frankly we’re proud to say the response is excellent.

To grab your copy head over to the Square Pig, right next to Holborn Station on Saturday and pay £5 at the door or sign up for guest list at Paypal ensuring you a reserve signed copy and definite entry. We have added an extra act to the proceedings as well with the inimitable Skyskratcher who are helping us rig up too.

Add Skyskratcher to the already massive line-up of the comedy music duo Cold Callers and the Damn Jammage as well as musical and comedy interludes from friend to the Bunker, general global influence and Panda lover Paul Sweeney running the evening as well as a signed and numbered copy of Moon and we are offering you a massive night for a mere £5 entry.

It’s been a long road to get to this point and we have to thank everyone that has got us to this stage – namely Ivanna Matilla, Benjamin Morgan, Paul Wade, Stuart Gould (UKomics) as well as all the bands and folks who have offered their help in putting this all together and all those who’ve shown interest in all this so far – Joe Innes for his amazing review – Sas Stewart for finding us a sound engineer and Jude Benjamin from Skyskratcher for stepping in at short notice. Finally, BTH Architects for funding the first run of books, our parents and long suffering fiancees – and your good selves. Where the fuck would we be without you….?

So see you on Saturday night after 6. Turn up equipped with Ha ha bones, dancing boots and telescopes. More details on the event over the next few days….