Brewtown #22: The Red Monroes

Marilyn never posed like this from left to right: Fitton, Alexander, Dolman and Woods

Marilyn never posed like this from left to right: Fitton, Woods, Dolman and Holmes (Alexander unpictured, sorry!)

As we continue on through our jaunt through the acts of Brewtown, we today look at a band that had another identity through the noughties, but have reformed in a more modest sense. Boop-boop-be-do, it’s The Red Monroes!

Philip Fitton (Lead vocals, Guitar), Sean Alexander (Lead Guitar, B Vox), Rob Dolman (Drums, B Vox), Damien Woods (Keys, Synth, B Vox) and David Holmes (Bass, B Vox) make up this five piece that go back longer than the small time they’ve been around as the Ruby Marilyns!

Although starting the RMs just last year, Fitton has led with another band called The Risks who made a big impact themselves in the scene since they formed nearly a decade ago. Let’s take a look at that history up till now shall we?

Just watch out for Fitton along the way. He get's very hungry!

Just watch out for Fitton along the way. He get’s very hungry!

Just to clarify, this is still an article on The Red Monroes, so I’ll keep The Risks’ stuff as brief as I can, but to start, Fitton formed The Risks back in 2005 with Alexander, Holmes and a drummer by the name of Kev until eventually getting replaced by Dolman. Kev everybody!

Originally, they were a covers band under the pretense of securing gigs but after a couple of bookings, they started writing their own material and as Dolman came in, they were performed a Fantastik 4 hybrid set of covers and originals.

Their style of music was hard indie and punk from the main musicians and with an Elvis Costello-esque vocal performance tinged with some Bryan Ferry-like vibrato from Fitton.

Vibrating so hard he may as well have DualShock printed on his body! 2:07 onwards in particular!

Highlights for The Risks included a TV appearance on Sky Sports (Kitten Pyramid level fame here!), support slots for Little Man Tate, The Futureheads and The Rascals and a gig at the 2007 Glastonbudget. Also, they performed at Liverpool’s world famous venue The Cavern Club which Fitton and Dolman were hugely proud of being big Beatles fans.

Over a successful couple of years and some well-received gigs in Nottingham and Manchester’s O2 Academy, things fizzled out for The Risks and so they decided to call it quits in 2009.

However, in 2012, Fitton, Dolman and Holmes thought it would be nice to start performing again, but a new identity was needed. And this is where the story of The Red Monroes begins!

Finally, I've been waiting ages for you to get going with that!

Finally, I’ve been waiting ages for you to get going with that!

Though they would begin writing and rehearsals around about November 2012 and through the Winter/Spring of 2013, they wouldn’t get their first official gig until June where they started out in big style, at the Victoria Inn in Derby, a regular place for The Risks to perform.

Woods was added to the line-up on synth to further develop the sound of TRM as well as some new show slots, including a return to the Wetmore Whistle (Risks popular venue again) and performing at mini festival Hilton Party in the Park in July.

Ashby’s BUNKA venue was also on the cards for July, a venue where hip hop legend Grandmaster Flash played with Jacob ‘Jaws’ Wilshaw of Raptorial!

Why am I showing this pic? Because it's awesome and I can! MWAHAHA!!

Why am I showing this pic? Because it’s awesome and I can! MWAHAHA!!

But on topic of the article, the Autumn saw more promotion of their debut EP and two more gigs at The Vic with the first being a headlining gig on top of solo local talent in October and the second supporting The Vibe and Get Cubs in November.

Before finishing their EP, they added one last lead guitar layer provided by Alexander who made the band a quintet in December. After a private demo amongst friends and family was given a thumbs up, they looked to release the EP in Spring 2014.

Sure enough, they did release their debut self titled EP on April 4th for release on iTunes, Google Play and physical release for gigs. To further promote the EP, they decided to reach further afield than Burton. Say…Canada…yeah that’ll do!

Yep, sure I’m not stereotyping here eh?

They were actually promoted twice on Canadian radio stations! One of them being 103.7FM CFBU Brock University Student Radio in Ontario (rolls right off the tongue eh?) in April and CISM 89.3 French Canadian radio in May!

With further gigs in the pipeline including one supporting Star From Ivy at the Whistle in mid-May, TRM will know doubt be looking to gain back that old attention-grabbing fire back from their days as The Risks. I’d say they’re on their way.

Still, regardless of this journey, what about the material? Well I’m glad you asked that. The evolution of the sound from Risks to Reds has been an interesting one and in some ways for the better so…

Come on then! Bored first person drummer is bored!

Come on then! Bored first person drummer is bored!

Their music from their Risks days did seem more raw in the sense it was more rooted in punk than anything else. Songs like Change Your Ways from their rough demos did sound like a heavier Elvis Costello number!

But with the Monroes, there’s power there, but it seems more heartfelt and romantic as well as the production being more slick and polished. Not to it’s detriment, it’s just an observation.

Songs like Don’t Waste Your Shadow and Take My Hand seem much more romantic, optimistic and catchy pop rock numbers than the punk sounds of previous times but…they are romantic, optimistic and catchy so there’s a big upside to the style change.

The first of two recommended tracks is Information was put up as a free download on their Soundcloud as a preview for their EP and it was a pretty good call.

It displays the upbeat Indie melodies that came with their style change including harmonic guitar riffs and the synth/piano featured on the whole EP that adds to the happy nature.

The lyrics are also a consistency with their new sound, with romantic themes such as a new woman coming into your life that was miserable before and the ‘Information’ being the facts needed to be heard by the singer to get him out of the slump he’s in. You can listen to it above.

The second of these tracks, Light of the Corner, is even more happy and joyous than the previous song! It’s quite the feat, but it will leave you with a bigger smile on your face!

The jangly guitars, the melodic piano, brisk drum beat and vivacious vibrato vocals (say that 5 times fast!) make it an essential gateway into the sound of TRM.

You say the words that make it all seem right

Can’t understand why I blame it on myself….

Where the light is a corner we found!

Fitton sings about that special place in private where you can just make out with your partner and not have to care about anyone around you looking. No smooth jazz needed, just happy Indie sing-alongs! If you care to check it out for yourself, by all means do so!

In conclusion, The Red Monroes/Fitton and co have definitely shifted in tone from what they were nearly ten years ago, but I’d say it’s a refreshing change. A much more upbeat approach to counter the anger in certain musical facets is always refreshing, at least to me. Either way, this has been Brewtown Music serving you a hearty brew of Midlands tunes!

The Reds’ stuff





The Risks’ Unsigned page:

The Risks’ Myspace:

The Red Monroes 2

Brewtown #17: The Arcadians

Arcadians on Fire from left to right: Petch, Cavanagh, Alton, Lenaghan

Arcadians on Fire from left to right: Petch, Cavanagh, Alton, Lenaghan

Continuing from last week’s subject of a young act who’ve only been around for about a year or so, these lads have only been gigging for barely a year but are looking like a promising addition to Brewtown. Put a coin in the slot and start up The Arcadians!

Jamie Cavanagh (lead vocals, lead guitar), Ed Petch (rhythm guitar), Jack Lenaghan (bass) and Dan Alton (drums) look to be a promising new foursome in the same vein of Mario’s Nicotine Parlour who formed around the same time MNP started officially gigging. Coincidence? I THINK…so.

Though they have yet to put on facepaint like Mr Knight here so they're not EXACTLY alike!

Though they have yet to put on facepaint like Mr Knight here so they’re not EXACTLY alike!

With Petch and Alton having been playing music since they were kids and Lenaghan and Cavanagh finding the bass and guitar along the way, half the band and the other half come from two different musical journeys but eventually found themselves performing together as The Arcadians as of March 2013.

Cavanagh, coming down from Doncaster was looking to perform original music but didn’t have much luck with most wanting to go the cover band route. Thinking “just grab the first person with an instrument”, Cavanagh met Alton playing a trombone (band member doubles as a brass player…NO MORE MNP COMPARISONS MR BREWTOWN!) and they clicked very well when talking about music.

Petch and Alton already knew each other and decided that the band they had been talking about forming for a while needed a singer/songwriter, guitarist and bassist. After bringing Lenaghan in for an audition, they decided that’s the one for the band and formed in late Spring of 2013 after waiting on Lenaghan to confirm his place in the band.

But the wait was worth it for this Photoshop job!

But the wait was worth it for this Photoshop job!

Their first gig took place at the Wetmore Whistle in July 2013 supporting Phoenix Salvation and The Decade Runners which not only gave them a decent starting audience but also allowed themselves to be on the bill with two of Burton’s prime music acts.

After racking up some more gigs and mini festival spots in Leicester and Milton Keynes, they scored their first headline gig back at the Whistle at the end of August being supported by Joy & Ali and Mario’s Nicotine Parlour.

Come October, after a stint of Derby and Leicester gigs in September, the band released their first single or maybe double in this case Catch Your Breath/Dirty Savannah on the 11th under Trap 6 Records, the same label that released Get Cubs’ album To The Mountains and Canada EP.

To finish off the month, they supported Phoenix Salvation’s EP launch on the 25th and the next day were on the bill for the Derbyshire ExFest festival for Derbyshire Music Explorer Scouts where they were very well-received by the young audience.

Finger mask=well-received! Scouts code of honour Section 8 Par 3

Finger mask=well-received! Music Scouts code of honour Section 8 Par 3

In December, Cavanagh returned to his hometown of Doncaster to perform with The Arcadians at the Toast bar (with a nice glass of milk, I mean White Russian!) and The Empire in Swadlincote along with Genziani’s Jukebox to promote Trap 6 Records.

Going into 2014, they’re set to perform at the Less Than Three festival taking place at The Victoria Inn in April, which will feature not only MNP, but also Nottingham-based House of Thieves and Sheffield indie sensations The Sherlocks.

As a relatively new band, this writer apologizes for the smaller amount of information on this band than for other bands, but give them time and they will fulfil their Arcadian heritage and one day usher their goat god Pan to perform a busting pipe solo alongside them!

If you could also bring Bill Hicks with you, that would also be appreciated Randy Pan!

But nevertheless, how does their music fare? As I have just put above, their name derives not from video game arcades (yes I put an VG arcade-related pun in the opening paragraph. Sue me!), but from the Greek land of Arcadia where the legend of the rustic, cheeky music god Pan originates. Their music does give off a certain air of that.

The music of the Arcadians can cite influences vocally from Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg to bring in a punk-ish vibe (Beer Goggles On) to the affair and musically shows shades of The Smiths to provide the alternative-ey vibe (Savannah). Yes, I just said alternative-ey! Wot mate? WOT!?

It is quite impressive to see this band be as well-received as they have around the Midlands and, of course, their songs are to thank for that. One song in particular of theirs I recommend would be Catch Your Breath.

The song immediately takes off strong with punk rock chords and Cavanagh brings in his flair for writing a song with a story by showing us how he shows a girl a good time and how he makes her ‘catch her breath’ through him being such a gentleman.

It’s not the most conventional way to go in the punk rock direction but it’s at least a good contrast from how damning and angry the genre can be which makes for a good contrast.

Even though their back catalogue of this band isn’t large yet, what they’ve provided so far is pretty promising and is an interesting preview for whatever EPs will come. Check them out and see.

Do it! Goat boy is watching you!

Do it! Goat boy is watching you!

So that’s The Arcadians, another rock quartet that have established themselves pretty quickly in the Brewtown scene with a satisfying taste of what is to come. Whether they’ll be as big as say, Star From Ivy is another story, but only time will tell. Until that time comes, this has been Brewtown Music serving you another fine brew of Midlands tunes.

Arcadians’ stuff

Official Website:






The Arcadians band