Saturday, 27 April 2013

Wall of sound A-Z: E : Elastica Elastica

Wall of sound A-Z: E : Elastica Elastica

Starting off with spiky guitar riffs Line Up must be the only debut song on record that kicks off with a song with what sounds to the untrained ear to be 'retching' all the way through, and despite this its a cracking tune. Onto Annie, and we are into a lively tune Britpop romp, over in 1:14 barely time to write a sentence.

Now connection is a TUNE as I believe the young folks say, this is the sort of tune that got me into Elastica at the time, amazingly I don't think I was aware that Justine, the lead singer and guitarist was ex Suede and had committed the cardinal sin of swapping Brett Anderson for Damon Albarn in the Beau stakes. How anyone can be cool enough to snag both of them lot I don't know, but very impressive. So rather than Elastica being listened to because of Suede links (step forward McAlmont & Butler) it was a favourite CD on merit.

Being released in 1995, it fell nicely in the era when I could go out with a paypacket and purchase the latest tunes, still having to eek out a bargain (starting on £9,000 pay with a first class degree!). The albums pretty instantly listenable to, punky songs, only 4 on the album stretching over 3 minutes in length, they don't overstay their welcome.

Not sure they were a band that Mrs P enjoyed but I did manage to drag her out to Digbeth Institute to see them, a venue that was to obtain for many years a magical nostalgia as Elastica were the only band I had seen there before it shut for a decade. It was a lovely old building, smoky to say the least and rammed with sweaty students. Tall sweaty students to be honest which meant that I was going to get an ear bending from Mrs P if I wasn't careful when the support band came on, as she couldn't see anything. However we were in luck,  not sure whether they were a recent invention or not but the drinks in the Institute came in the most robust plastic pint glasses ever, allowing the ever resourceful Mrs P to balance precariously on 2 for the gig, me chasing them round on the odd occasion a wobble got the better of her.

Support that day were also pretty special in Powder, Pearl Lowe's band. Its been quite interesting to read over the years about Pearl Lowe's exploits in show biz, in fact having just reminisced about her, I have now purchased her book 'All that glitters' on ebay for 99p, I reckon that will be interesting. But on the musical front Powder produced a couple of cracking tunes, Shave me and Aphrodisiac which have received regular spins over the years.

The main event is something I can't remember too much about, I bumped into my later best man (now nicknamed the shadow as he has vanished from view) sporting his Ultra cool John Travolta in Pulp Fiction haircut (he was a drummer in a band, Crystal Injection maybe??). Hadn't seen him for years so it was a good spot, and being seen at Elastica must have done my street cred some good. I do look back incredibly fondly on the gig there and would put the feeling right up there if you know what I mean.

In my opinion, the best song on the album though is Waking Up. Cd single (remember them, brilliant, all up in the loft) purchased to kick off my love of Elastica, helping them get to a respectable #13 in the charts. The funny thing is though that Elastica had to settle out of court with the Stranglers for plagiarising 'No more heroes' with this song. I thought this was a bit harsh given Britpop was the world of the plagiarising artist (step forward Oasis (Beatles) and Blur (Kinks)) but no it was good old Elastica.

Actually having listened to Vaseline, how much is that like Blondies La La La on Sunday girl, I believe the years of listening 6 music may have opened my ears a bit more to the plagiarising. Right I am going to go back to no more heroes (a song I love) to spot Waking up....... oh, 18 years its taken me to spot that. I'll get my coat. What's that you say, its Wire songs too that are ripped off.

Well despite the album now turning into an album of almost covers, I do have an amazing fondness for the album, and Waking Up is still a fantastic song. Coming to the penultimate tune, 'Never here' its a song about Brett and Justine's break up apparently, what will I glean from the lyrics, well, sounds like they were typical student types, too much curry, Brett's lyrics were a bit ropey (they didn't scan indeed) and sounds like that was the end.

Going forward Elastica waited a good 5 years to do a follow up, with a significantly changed line up, down to substance abuse, or not finding any more tunes to slightly tweak, and I saw them again at Wolverhampton before the break up. Justine's an artist or summink now. Elastica are just a blistering punk pop band I love.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Adam Ant Gig Review Leicester Academy 24 April 2013

Adam Ant: Leicester Academy 24 April 2013

I don't know quite what it is about Adam Ant, but his gigs are electric, it may be because of the 2 drummers, it may be because of the incredibly catchy tunes, it may be the swagger of Adam front and centre, it may be the foxy backing singer, it may be the warmth from the crowd but every gig is electric. That's 4 times now I have seen Adam Ant, crack through just short of 2 hours of blistering tunes, and every time I have come out of the gig on cloud 9.

I think however it may be the memories evoked from the songs. Tonight I went with one of my oldest mates (not old old, but I have known him since the first day of school) and in between songs we were reliving the memories that the songs evoked, listening to the albums in our bedrooms, taping albums off record players whilst being incredibly quiet (and having a Mum shouting did we want a drink on tape) the listening to Lady surreptitiously due to its lyrics commenting on a naked lady.

A great memory was of the old C90 that my Dad got me with Friend or Foe on it, sadly it had Shaking Stevens on the other side, but I can still recite every word on the album. My mate also recalled the gatefold sleeve he had with Adams ankle looking deformed as it was on the fold.

Tonight's gig was littered with a sprinkling of the new songs, with most sitting very well, particularly the Bob Dylanesque Cool Zombie. Pretty impressive for a guy who must be comfortably in his 50's at least.

Going back to the Burundi Drumming, why hasn't Anyone else done anything like this over the years, it's so powerful, really enjoyed the Prince Charming with both drummers stood up, 2 big gong sticks in hand going dum der dum der, dum der dum der......

Couple of encores, roof raised, a rocking cover of Get it on(bang a gong), acoustic sing along to Prince Charmings, 'Dont you ever, don't you ever, lower yourself forgetting all your standards'

Early start for the gig meant I missed support band New Killer Shoes but the charms of my mate obtained a signed CD from them, each so I will relive their set at my leisure.

Georgie Girl
Walking back to the car, my mate confirmed this was one of the best gigs he has ever seen, and he's seen some legendary gigs like Stone Roses at Spike Island. Final comment, its funny to see backing singer Georgie Girl in the flesh knowing that she was the cause indirectly of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross's Radio shows (she being the focus of Sach's gate, his granddaughter), anyway I blame the outraged daily mail readers for that one, 'Outraged from Surbiton, they should be sacked, hung, drawn and quartered'.

I would recommend Adam Ant to anyone, no one at this gig, of any age, left without a smile on their faces, the highlight for me, Ant Invasion - I have always loved the tension in that track, brought out tonight by Adam & guitar playing the chords throughout.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Here comes the sun - what a difference 2 years make!

I will always be a marathon Runner!

Its funny this morning as I get ready for my little sisters wedding, its a very different Sunday to what the pair of us were up to 2 years ago when we were currently trudging around the London Marathon course wondering why on earth we had signed on for such a mad enterprise. 

Funnily enough today I am chuffed to bits to see the Sun outside, weddings are always a little challenging in the drizzle or even worse snow, but contrast this to 24 months ago, the hottest day of the year bought disaster to many marathon runners plans. So to mark my sisters Wedding and our not running I am going to reference my favourite Beatles tune for the day, and consider its contrasts.

and this is what it felt like to run a marathon if anyone wonders! My post from 2 years ago:

It's now Monday afternoon, and my legs are beginning to seize up as todays dose of Ibuprofen wares off. While the marathon is (painfully) fresh in my memory I thought I would jot down the gory details, and also to reflect on what I will take away (which seems to be this years buzz word).

So I completed the marathon, and it was bloody hard. The weather yesterday was glorious, for everyone spectating. The view from the runner was that I could have done with a little more of the glorious weather being saved for when I had the opportunity to enjoy it, the bank holiday weekends spring to mind.

The experience was really interesting, went down to London early on Saturday, registered at Excel and went round their exhibition of all things running related, this got me all the more excited for the following day's event, listening to motivational speakers galore. Afternoon was a bit of pottering round London, enjoying international record store day and cursing my blackberries slow internet access as I followed Birmingham's excellent victory over Sunderland. In the evening I got together my final preparations, realised it was going to be sunny and so had to decide whether to wear my running vest or my running top, rather than both. Top won out as the vest was a little snug and when I tried it on the outcome was a little camp for my liking. It was probably a good job as writing my name on my running vest with a permanent marker left the vest with a decidedly hallucinogenic effect when trying it on, and then when I tried to wash the smell off it turned out that the permanent pen was anything but (the Hilton sink had a very black tide mark as a result). So the decision was set, I was running in an old Blues shirt, I had a good meal of Pizza to stock up on carbs and went to bed suitably nervous but excited.

And then yesterday, the day of the Marathon, everyone in London seemed to be wandering around with red virgin plastic bags, and we congregated at the starting point. Due to my pessimism when signing up 6 months ago, my starting position on the grid was at the back, right at the back, I started running next to Brian the snail from the magic roundabout, a fire engine and an 8 foot tall pink nurse called Rob.

9:45 came and off we set, I knew that it was warm, so I set a pace for myself with my lovely new Nike plus watch that was slower than my half marathon paces, to try to take this into account and spent a few miles taking in the atmosphere, I could feel it getting hotter, but I kept thinking that was fine as I had put in the miles in training, was taking it relatively easy and drinking at each drinks station. However at about 10 miles I realised that perhaps the heat was going to be quite a big factor for someone carrying a decent amount of timber! I had been sweating quite a bit, and the joy of sweat laced with suntan cream stinging my eyes must have made me look like I had begun crying very early in the race, but I carried on, and getting to tower bridge at half way was a real boost - having to run less than I had run already is normally a massive psychological boost for me, but in this instance it was not the greatest, as I just felt knackered. In fact I felt really empty, as if I had burnt up all the fuel in my body, so I had a little panic for half a mile, and came up with a plan.

I then started running at the side of the course and grabbed any good sources of nourishment offered from the crowd that I could. I have never been so over the moon to see a small child handing out jelly babies or an old dear with her bowl of opal fruits. Funnily enough this, coupled with the handing out of 'lucozade gel packs' (basically this seems to be refresher sweets in gel format) gave me a renewed lease of life and I continued for another few miles, having slowed my pace accordingly.

Until mile 17, I turned a bend and felt a squelch in my foot, which I knew from experience was a blow out (or great big blister exploding). So I was now knackered and in pain, and decided to slow the pace down, well I didn't, my body suggested I might want to. I passed a young lad handing out jaffa cakes, and was reminded of a recent Dave Gorman piece on his radio about what was the right way to eat them, (separating the orange bit and letting it dissolve, or full moon, half moon, total eclipse) the answer I found was ram it into my mouth as quickly as possible, barely stopping to chew.

I was now playing mind games with myself, as the need to walk a bit in between running kicked in at about 19 miles, games like walk this song and then start running, or walk until a mile marker and then run the next mile, it was challenging to say the least. In addition I had some merry battles with the 8 foot tall nurse Rob, a couple of Rhino's, a chap covered in poppies, a tiger and a bloke dressed in pink with a tutu and a bucket. It may sound stupid, but when walking and passed by any of the above it does spur one into action, slow action I will grant you, but action non the less.

And then I was in the final 3 miles, which I ran all of, and it was tough, my mind flicked to loads of different things, but quite often to the huge amount of sponsorship from people and how I wanted to do people proud in that respect, I reckon so far I am at about £2.5k in sponsorship money which exceeded what the Miscarriage association expected, and which has made me feel really humbled by the support.

Into the last mile, then 800 yards, 600 yards, 400 yards, turn the corner, game face on, 385 yards, smiling at the first official photographer, 200 yards, arms aloft for the next 100 yards and in arms raised triumphantly (having checked that on either side there was noone who would make me look stupid in my official photo, I am not ashamed to admit that I ran significantly faster on that element of the run because of the bloke wholly atired in pink with a pink bucket and tu tu mincing down the mall, and the chance that he would be in my official photo.) My time, 5 hours and 8 minutes, the longest 5 hours and 8 minutes of my life, and most painful.

and it was over, I was handed my medal, got my bag, slumped to the ground and then ate everything edible that they provided. I called Claire (Mrs P) and got an excited Dylan and Evie shouting 'well done daddy down the phone' (they had watched the coverage running round the lounge in circuits Dylan being me, Evie being Auntie Lynny (my sister who some of you know who also ran, and ran a good steady pace throughout, she ran the perfect marathon in my opinion! )

Me and Lyn went to her charity get together after, had some pasta and a well received sports massage, well received by me, I think that the masseur would have been less than enamoured to have a less than fragrant brummie struggling to get onto the massage table. Onto the train to come home, which was a little painful (steps at Euston anyone) I cracked open a warm can of London Pride - not my drink of choice, but one of the nicest alcoholic drinks I can ever remember after my recent abstinence.

I dutifully updated my facebook page to let my friends know I was alive and then was inundated and personally overwhelmed by the response, so many people said such nice things that I began walking very tall (although with more of a John Wayne gait due to blisters and stiffness) and wishing that I could have had those people around the course for the last 13 or so miles for support. This has continued, today at work everyone had stopped and asked me how things went, lots of praise, and the inevitable question, have you been bitten by the bug, and the answer to that is no. Thats it, its been a long road since I started training (2 years) and 16 weeks of full on training, giving up time with the family (and drinking) so I have achieved my ambition, raised a money for charity and have a warm glow.

So I am a marathon runner, and always will be.

Thanks for all of your support, it really has meant a lot to me.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Wall of sound A-Z: Daisy Chainsaw Eleventeen

Purchased for $3.99 probably on BOGOF
Wall of sound A-Z D Daisy Chainsaw: Eleventeen

What do you get mixing Bubblegum pop with a deranged mind, well I think it's Daisy Chainsaw. I first came into contact with Daisy Chainsaw at Uni in Liverpool, they were on my favourite weekly post pub show the word. The debut song was a blistering sing called 'Love your Money' as mentioned a Bubblegum Pop with an incredibly grungy bass coming through, as you can see below.

This was in the days of vinyl and 12 inch singles, which usually would have extended mixes on so imagine my disappointment when the 12inch mix was the same as the single, clocking in at less than 3 minutes. But the cover art is, a work of art.

This was probably the moment I moved away from pop and closer to Indie, I see huge similarities in this song to songs by Transvision Vamp and yet it is grungy and mental too. The enthusiasm for this album also drove me and Baggy from my house to go into Liverpool to see Daisy Chainsaw in concert in a little club. I don't remember too much about it, the club was very dark, down stairs and felt like a cellar. We went in pottered around, had a couple of pints and then found a small paper sign stating gig cancelled. We left pretty sharpish as we were well out of our comfort zone.

Looking at the album, it's got a label from the states, a bargain bucket purchase from one of the trips to America where, Pre kids I would drag Mrs P to local record shops in whichever city we went to, grabbing pages of the equivalent of the yellow pages and free music magazines to find them. The one year I got that many Britpop failed CDs (Britpop not being as huge in the US) in bargain buckets I had to jettison the cases to avoid excess luggage costs.

This CD didn't get much of an airing though, a quick play years back showed there wasn't anything quite like Love your Money and it sat on the shelf, so playing it back again has been like investigating a new CD.

It's quite an interesting album, I feel insane being quite interesting with mumbled insane lyrics, a few other album tracks feeling like Bjork singing, the odd ticks and chirps in the lyrics. Katie Jane Garside the singer being a really unusual grubby looking singer, with per Wikipedia live performances consisting of

The band's live performances were noted for their wild histrionics, often featuring Garside onstage drilling doll heads and drinking juice from baby bottles.

Probably a good job I didn't see them live in the darkened cellar, I would have been scarred for life.

Listening to 'Love your Money' does bring back memories, as this was played a lot a lot at Uni, on numerous mix tapes, on the boom box in my room. Plus this arrived when me and Mrs P started courting, as such the Wierd bells in either ears, left to right, the grungy bass takes me right back to the serenaded 'Love you Clairey, Love you Neily' duetting we would be doing to the song, it's brings a smile to my face. The other striking part is when the song comes up to the pause followed by 'gadadangererdang duh derdangdangderanger' superb.

The rest of the album has some other poppy bits and other deranged bits, nothing getting anywhere near the brilliance of Love Your Money.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

On this day in history: Sea Of Bees at the Hare & Hounds

Now, it may not sound a long time ago, but it feels a long time ago, this was pre the Olympics, and towards the start of my year of gigs that was to be 2012 (57 you know) no chance of getting that number of passes out this year. Anyway, I did write about the Sea of Bees Gig, and they are a band I am very fond of. Its interesting the following the Support Stealing Sheep have garnered in the last 12 months, I see they are one of the acts picked for Liverpools equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize - what a difference a year makes.

Anyway, here's what I thought then (cue the swirly lines and time shift that comes from Waynes World and other such comedy shows).

A See of Bees who were out of this world or at least off this planet:

So another trip to the Hare and Hounds who turn out to be the tardiest venue I have come across, as arriving 20 past the advertised doors opening time there was just closed doors up stairs with a couple of people stood patiently outside shrugging sheepishly waiting for the sound check to finish, suited me so I had a jar, a bit of a chat and cleared some emails.

When we got in, there were a number of nice little tables with red jars and candles, very nice. A quick chat to the soundman about what time were the bands yielded the reply of ooh don't know, I should find out. So I settled down at a little table (result) and awaited the first band. Dust motes, a local band representing a nice nervous quiet chap sitting on a stool acoustic guitar in hand with no eye contact and apologetic banter between songs and a bass player who smiled a bit but stroked his bass in the most gentle manner I have ever seen. Pleasant banter between songs and not a bad little set, there is a place in the world for head phones and 'Nervous Rock' copyright 2012.

Planty arrived mid motes and ensured we shared a nice romantic table with more premium than cooking lager, and on came the next band, Stealing Sheep, three potentially students from Liverpool, central mouthier one playing stand up drums, flanked by guitarist and keyboards (who turned out to be from Lichfield but an honorary scouse). They then started sharing out the banter playing quirky songs with odd instruments thrown in. Lots of track from the forthcoming album were played, with the 3rd track on the set list the stand out, I think it was one word starting with an M when I spoke to the guitarist, but who knows.

There was an awkward moment when 2 young ladies decided to stand in front of the romantic table. I plucked up courage, tapped on the shoulder, mentioned the view and they moved, sadly in front of Planty, but a bit more staring into the backs of their necks and they took the hit and wandered off.

The 2 lasting memories were the hey nonny now electric song, and a finale using one of the best sounding instruments I have ever seen, which I believe the technical term is a 'brilliantly circly click click Wooden thing'

To the main event and on came Sea of Bees, who had been lingering in the audience and by the CDs for the first 2 bands shouting encouragement quirkily.

Song one, and on came Jules and support guitarist amber, this first song was pretty average and the singers pained face led this to feel like it would be a long night, but then on came a long haired guitarist and a geeky drummer, and the sound was filled out. It's hard to Pigeon hole the sound to a genre, with quirky little noises picking out of the end of the songs. A bit of country coming out too, a bit of California, just ace.

The blokes turned out to have been picked up post flight to the UK in Kent, and a jet lagged 13 hour practice session.

SOB then filled the stage and the songs, each being previewed by a discussion about where the inspiration from the song came from, from a weirdly distracted mind and lots of 'you know's when if I'm honest all the audience probably didn't. 

Lots of songs with one word titles, and a cover of 'leaving on a jet plane' which was flagged I think of the song of her life story, based on looking jealously on her brothers happiness in his relationship. Amber was also a real star of the show too, great banter including various small animal noises,

Huge warmth to SOB came back from the audience, and not a small amount from the fact that the was a heartfelt joy of having returned to Brum where they have enjoyed a couple of gigs previously, and 2 sets of friends in the audience for the Californians.

It was also a great touch that SOB were selling a hand made live CD, screen printed cover, which having listened to on the way home ally captured the feel, particular a slight banter before the first song, the stand out Gnomes.

All topped off with a McDonalds with voucher on way home.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wall of Sound A-Z: Catatonia: Way Beyond Blue

Wall of Sound Part 3: C Catatonia Way Beyond Blue

Looking back to 1996 I'm not sure what drew me to buying Catatonia's Way Beyond Blue. I don't remember  why I bought it, I have a funny feeling I had visited the (relatively) short lived Tower Records store in Brum and wanted to buy something. Wandering around I do remember picking up the album and deciding to chance my arm on it. Being a geek I did use to write down the tunes I used to buy and I have found that I bought it on the 9th Jan 1997, paying the princely sum of £11.99 and buying it with the Goya Dress album (Nude Records, Suede support £5.99) and a Nut CD single for 99p of Scream. This was a Thursday so would have been a lunch hour potter down to the shops rummaging through the racks to find tunes that I enjoy.
Looking in the book, I see that 10 days later I bought Beck's Odelay, which was relevant because the 2 albums formed a tape that spent a number of months in the car stereo of my old Beige Metro. The car below wasn't mine, but looks a lot better than mine. This was my first car when I joined my first job out of Uni and considered my unreliable mini was not reliable enough. 

This was not a lovely car but paid for itself thousands of times over in mileage allowances. I remember one Christmas spent defrosting the engine with a hairdryer at Mrs P's house up North when I had forgotten to put any antifreeze in it and snow and ice froze it solid. Sadly when it did get defrosted all the pipes had burst so it was off to scrap yards to replace them.
My car was not this lovely
On another occasion driving home we could smell petrol, so pulling to the side of the road we could see it being pumped into the engine from a hose. Called the AA van but rather than wait I found that turning the hose upside down solved the problem, so we were away again.

The tape used to get played every journey to work for a few months in the winter. On one such journey to a client in Telford, I parked at the gate house in the cold to sign in, and thinking it was really cold I would leave the engine (and heater) running. Sadly I also locked the door which was a good habit to be in and went inside. Coming back to the car I searched all over for the keys and then saw them in the ignition. Another call out for the AA and an easy morning for everyone at work as all our files were locked in my car belching out fumes at the gate house. I also used to have great fun on frozen nights in Telford, working late, trying to start the car, having a flat battery and then trying to jumpstart it myself by pushing it down a hill, jumping in and bump starting it in second gear.

The album is a really mellow album in parts, really uplifting in parts, sing along in parts and the high point for me is 'You've Got a Lot to answer for' (track 4) and the refrain 'but baby I love you'. Looking back its quite surprising what an impact this had on me, or at least my record buying and how long I would be chancing my arm on Cerys' wares. 

I really enjoyed Catatonia for a couple of reasons, firstly Cerys Matthews the lead singer has one of the most distinctive singing voices I have ever come across, its between her and Nene Persson from the Cardigans for my favourite singer of all time. Secondly they were not massive at this stage and as a result I had them as my own band under the radar, something that I really enjoyed. That was to change with the first 2 singles off the next album, I am the Mob (a Mark and Lard record of the Week when they did the Breakfast show) and Mulder and Skully, anthemic sing along with X files tie in, in the middle of Brit Pop and Catatonia's star shone for their 15 minutes of fame.

I got to see them in one of the most value packed gigs ever, Steve Lamacq put on a gig with co-headliners Travis and up and coming support Idlewild, at Birmingham Irish Centre £8 25 March 1998 - Brilliant.

Continuing to listen to the album whilst writing this, there is quite a mixture of songs, lots of showcasing of Cerys lyrics, she cowrote all the songs. Particularly enjoying the end of For Tinkerbell with the La La La La La La and strings and brass at the end.

There were a number of follow up albums, Cerys solo albums, celebrity big brother, 6 Music DJ, ongoing gigs, albums and even childrens books which I have signed by Cerys for my kids. All of which I followed with great interest, but Way Beyond Blue will always have a fond place in my heart.

So to wrap up I will just include my favourite tune:

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Getting on the Chain week 2

Getting on the Chain week 2

After a first week of failure, to get on the chain, and to even have come up with songs I thought were better than those chosen by R&M, it was time to focus.

To recap the challenge, as I have listened to Radcliffe & Maconie, on listen again for all the time they have been on 6 music, the overnight drunken answer machine is the only way I can interact with them, offering up my suggestion for the next link on the Chain overnight.

So I will choose my link, phone it in, and then will compare to the song selected (assuming its not mine) whoever has the best song gets a point, and I get to choose the best song.

The rules of the chain, great song, can't have been chosen before, any sort of link, don't have the same link as before....

Week 2 and funnily enough I didn't get on the chain, but this was how it ran, I missed the weekend link having too much fun, then:

Linking into 3617: Pink Floyd - Bike, now I couldn't do Bike, so had to do something on Pink Floyd, then I had a brain wave, Floyd on Food, Keith Floyd's excellent cookery show from the 70's gave me a link to any other acts on food, Food Records, and the mighty Blur.

Blur have been on the chain a lot, The Universal, There's no other way, Beetlebum, Park life, Music is my radar, Tender, Girls & Boys, Song 2, Coffee & Tv, Charmless Man, Tracy Jacks, For tomorrow, This is a low, No distance left to run, Out of time, Sweet song, Country house, Chemical World, To the end, She's so high, end of the century....

But not long lost single Pop Scene - boom, I know Maconie loves this tune and he's on his own this week,

But no, a guy called Gerald, Voodoo Ray won out, as Bike mentions Gerald. Good song, but I claim victory for a brilliant link today.

Next up, linking onto 3620 Black Grapes Kelly's Heroes:

Googling the film Kelly's Heroes, it stars Clint Eastwood, which was a song by Gorillaz (but it's already gone on the chain) as have most of the singles by Gorillaz, except 19-2000 which was my link.

They actually went with a Songs that have the same name as a film and New Order, Thieves Like Us.

Good New Order track, but not a classic in my mind, not as good as 19-2000, so I am on a roll, 2 nil for the week.

Then linking to 3623 Hot Butter - Pop Corn:

Couldn't have a Hot link, so it was PopCorn, and boom, what else do you have at a cinema with pop corn, often in a meal deal, Cola, and Cola Boys song Seven ways to Love. Janet Lee Grace singing on the number 8 single in 1991 teaming up with St Etienne.

What beat me - Junior Walker & the Allstars - Pucker up Buttercup

Fair play, that's as good as Cola Boy, so let's call it a score draw.

So for this week I win 2.5 to 0.5.

And running total new leader, I am winning 4:3

Tom Hingley (Former Inspiral Carpets Front Man) at Woody's Gig Review

A last minute (surprising) pass out was obtained to attend a Friday night Gig, in Hednesford to see Tom Hingley. Always good to go somewhere new, always good to start the weekend with a gig so I was well up for this especially as Bob was driving (Bob is an alias, he was christened that on my stag do to avoid confusion with me, although we had not had any confusion in the previous 20+ years we have been mates, seemed a good idea at the time).

Arriving at the venue, it was a real eye opener, I have been to some holes of venues (step forward Derby Venue, Leicester Sound House) but this jumps out as the other end of the scale. A small privately owned (since 2011) well loved venue. The decor is brilliant, iconic pictures of music stars (Aretha Franklin, Elvis, John Lennon, Hendrix) all up in graffiti subway style pictures. The place is bright and the mixture of people there span all ages, even down to the 8 year olds playing pool in the corner with their Dads. The venue exudes friendliness, the bar staff very attentive, smiley security on the door, and both of us have agreed we can't wait to go back, probably in May to see Dodgy. Here's the website for Woody's Music Bar , final thoughts, its how you would want the room in your house where your tunes are to look, and reminds me of where the Bananasplits used to hang out in their 70's kids TV programme (definitely in a good way). I can't enthuse more about the venue.

The gig was incredibly good value, £4 on the door (£3 advance!) and as one slightly drunken welsh man explained you can pass out and in as many times as you want with the hand stamp, so if you go out 4 times then its only a £1 a go.

We missed Klasside arriving late, which was a shame, especially as my mate messaged me on facebook as they are his mates, but Jon Hubbard sat down on stool and played a decent set, (Jon Hubbard of the Two'n'eights I find through some internet searching). Good set, really enjoyed it, really struggled with the banter between songs though. Now being a Brummie I should be ok with this, but I need Google Translate to develop an app for this in due course. But he was good enough for me to be wanting to search them out further.

Jon at a previous visit to Woody's
After a little while Waiting for Susan came on, Vocals & Guitar (red hair and braces), Small violinist lass and chap with mandolin(?). They cracked off into the first song which was one of the highlights of the night. Not for the reasons they would have wanted as it was clear everyone had a verse to sing, the lasses turn came and no sound came out her mic. They tried further, circling around the tune waiting panicked, then idea, lass moves over to vocalists mic, but sadly its about a foot to high cue comical jumping to the mic (a simple angling down Liam Gallagher style would have been cooler). They gave up on this and swapped to another vocalist. End of the song I'm sure the lass was over the moon with the vocalist announcing she hadn't turned the mic on. Perhaps she is Susan, and waiting for her to come in on the verse is where they got their names from.

Waiting for Susan were not Bob's cup of tea but my tastes have mellowed over the years (even to the extent that I don't leave a gig when I see a violin) and the set was good, interspersed with covers (Madness Must Be Love and finishing on a cracking version of Mumford and Sons Little Lion Man who they owe a reasonable resemblance to musically by their own admission). Good local band (judging by the family members in the audience and the dates at their website). Again worth another look WEBSITE 

And onto the main attraction, an older version of the man I saw in 1992 at my first Indie gig (Inspiral Carpets at Liverpool Royal Court). On with an electric acoustic guitar, asking for the lights to be dimmed to spare people who may want to take photos of him. He launched into 3 songs delivered with huge amounts of passion, knowing that the promise early of some Inspirals songs later in the set would give him the opportunity to cover his newer stuff. Good tunes real passion going in, the subject of one being his focus, new daughter Mabel, the next being a song about the record industry, not a wholly positive experience judging from the lyrics. Looking forward to his book to find out more that he sold at the end of the gig.

Then onto a number of crowd pleasers, but played in a Delta Blues style (think your particularly cool Jack White as this jumped to mind for me) Saturn 5, This is how it feels both replacing Clint Boon's keyboard solos with sing along noises. Then a cover of James sit down, welsh man above sitting on the floor, Spirals fan getting onto the stage to sit down, swiftly ushered away by Tom. The song segueing into take another little piece of my heart. Then back to the Spirals with Dragging me down, a Craig David cover, guitar sounding very Bon Jovi dead or alive esque (steel guitar) to start with, plectrum stuck to forehead, another trick playing the guitar with lager in hand. Then onto Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz Guitar disguarded, backed by Tom and Crowd clapping above heads, finishing up the set using the hole in guitar to echo noise around - here's a man who's thought about his craft when solo / acoustic.

Really enjoyable gig, Tom keen to sell his merchandise understandably at the end and I was very happy to come away with his book and a double album of his solo stuff, read all about it here . Nice to see him also encouraging me to keep supporting the Spirals in their current line up and recounting memories of Clint throwing banana skins into the audience at Royal Court in the past.

Great Venue, Great Value, Great Support, Great Songs, Great Bloke, as Tony the Tiger would say their GRRRRRRREEEEEEEETTTTTTTT at Woody's.

As Tom would like Photo darkened

Here's a feel for Tom in Action.

Post Script: Always nice to get a bit of feedback:

lovely review that thanks x

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

On this day in history: #3 The bride is Pretty in Pink

Psychedelic Furs House Of Blues Anaheim
10 April 2001 Los Angeles

I'm enjoying looking back in history, brings back some quite fantastic memories. Going back 12 years ago me and Mrs P were on our honeymoon, choosing our favourite holiday destination, America and more specifically Anaheim in LA.

Pre kids the US was our regular haunt for holidays, a lucky position to be in but 2 incomes, not tied to school holidays want that we could visit the States regularly. Our enthusiasm piqued by a first trip to Vegas on a last minute trip (booked in a Travel Agent that day to go) for £199 with car thrown in. That was a bargain, and in that week we drove to LA.

But in 2001 wanting to tie in other things I loved along with the honeymoon I checked out the local gig listings and found our favourite restaurant also put on live gigs, our favourite restaurant being the House of Blues. The House of Blues is a small chain which we always sought out. Founded back in 1992, the first House of Blues was originally financed by Dan Aykroyd,AerosmithPaul ShafferRiver PhoenixJames Belushi and Harvard University among others, and its cool. While we were there we got to see the band Psychedelic Furs. Bit disappointing that the week before Brummie favourites Duran Duran had played, as did my favourite Spice Girl Sporty but I wasn't going to be able to change the wedding dates.

House of Blues Anaheim

I can't mention the House of Blues without mentioning the Calamari starter, this is by a million miles my favourite meal, when sharing this with Mrs P we get to play the game of sorting the baby calamari out into those smaller ones with all the legs attached (for me) and those you can't tell are the little baby squids (Mrs P's).

So to the gig itself, this was a year of a big reunion for the Furs, shamefully me and Mrs P didn't know anything more than the obvious Pretty in Pink which came through in the encore, the rest of the gig was very much a good old fashioned indie music romp, the crowd well up for the gig, enjoying singing along to various songs. This was however more about the experience, the lovely LA weather, the cracking venue, decor all based around Southern Blues and then honeymoon gigging overseas.

Searching the net, there are a couple of reviews such as the following:

The Build up: from here

March 7, 2001 – Reforming after 10 years, the Psychedelic Furs are gearing up for a spring tour beginning March 23rd through May 13th. Featuring founding members Richard Butler, Tim Butler and John Ashton, the Furs will perform all their favorites, and some new songs that they intend to record immediately after the tour.
During the Furs first tenure (1978-1991) the group garnered a vast following for their music's unpredictable mix of punk rock, poetic lyricism and rhythmic hooks. Fronted by vocalist Richard Butler, the Furs became one of the more riveting musical forces to come out of the post-punk, new-wave era. The band charted big hits with "Love My Way," "Heaven," "The Ghost In You," and of course "Pretty In Pink," which accelerated the Furs ascendancy to the pop mainstream when the group recorded a new version for the John Hughes' 1986 film of the same name.
After twelve years of recording and touring and with seven studio albums under their belt, Richard, Tim and John became tired of being the Psychedelic Furs and in 1991 decide to go their own ways. "It was very amicable," say Richard Butler, "There just weren't any surprises left, so we moved on."
While Richard Butler was working on material for a solo project, he got together with Tim to do some writing which gave rise to the Psychedelic Furs second coming. "When Tim saw all the songs I had, he asked about doing another Furs' record and then our manager called about doing some shows -- so it seemed like the time was right," explains Butler. "Because we're not exactly sure what to expect from ourselves or the audience, the whole idea of being in the Psychedelic Furs is exciting again."

and the gig itself: LA Times Review

Happy endings are rare, while loneliness and misery are all too plentiful, a fact of life that helps explain the success of the Psychedelic Furs' reunion tour.
Anyone who so much as hummed a note in the early '80s is back plying the nostalgia circuit, yet this British new wave band's sold-out show Tuesday at Anaheim's House of Blues only intermittently felt dated, mixing new material with old.
That's because Furs singer-songwriter Richard Butler spent most of his time then--and now--delving into the timeless questions of what happens when love doesn't work out, when the heart seems fated to be a lonely hunter.
Such Furs' pop-radio staples as "Love My Way" and "Pretty in Pink" still sound fairly good, perhaps because they weren't dripping with the now-anachronistic synthesizer sounds of that time.
Further, Butler--joined in the quintet by original members Tim Butler on bass and John Ashton on guitar--has lost none of his magnetism as a Bowie-esque singer and front man.

One of the best flyers for a gig listing I have seen (Spot Duran and Mel C)