Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Strypes - Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Gig Review:

Arriving late to the gig despite racing back from London (mainly due to accident on the M42) and having to reassemble the leads at the back of the TV and sky box following a carpet fitting (penance for a pass out) I had missed the Brum support act. The Slade rooms were packed with a very Moddish crowd raring to hear the Strypes, a band I had decided to come to see having listened to them interviewed on Cerys's show whilst walking down a beach in Barbados, not owning a jot by them, but knowing that they had put on a fantastic show.

I had my head down whilst waiting for them, glued to my iPhone whilst the condensation ran down the walls in a sweaty Slade Rooms, a cheer and they were on, straight into a blistering opening, one of the loudest rawest rock n roll openings I have ever heard. It just sounded of a bygone age, exactly what I imagine the crowd packed in in Hamburg to see the Beatles would have heard, or in the States surrounding Chuck Berry or Jerry Lee Lewis (but without the running off with 14 year old cousin stigmas).

I imagine its the sound of youth with an average age (if you believe wikipedia) of 15 and 16. It took a while to get used to a band who were comfortably young enough to be my kids, ironic as I will be heading to see in The Who a band who are old enough to be my parents tomorrow.

The band looked cool too, lead singer with Blues Brothers shades propping up a fringe, whipping out an incredibly well used harmonica, bass player, looking like a cool Weasley Brother playing the bass like a man possessed (none of the barely moving coolness from Temples bassist here), lead guitar with boy band cool, matching suit jackets, shirt and matching pocket square and drummer (probably cool looking but hidden from my vantage point so I will give him the benefit of the doubt).

  The set was a mixture of covers and original material, all delivered at blistering pace, delivering banter between tracks. A brief journey to see whether there were Wolves fans in the audience got a muted response, followed but 'well i guess we've got a mixed audience in tonight, some football fans and some Wolves fans' these youngsters have confidence and decent music taste paying tribute to Slade and Dave Hill (rather than the usual Sir Nod). Covers such as Judge a book by its cover (Bo Diddley) and See See Rider, probably close to the Animals interpretation of it.

And so an encore of Route 66 complete with McCartneyesq shouts and whoops from Twist and Shout and they were off after a frenetic hour of rock and roll. Off no doubt to a rider of pop and haribos, whilst the crowd with ears ringing were given free posters when they stepped outside the venue, I doubt Mrs P will let me put it up on my bedroom wall, but hey.

The final thought that I was struck by when walking to the car, was that's what Marty McFly was looking for when he wigged out on stage at the end of Back To The Future, both the sound and the reaction from an ecstatic crowd.

My favourite new band.......I think so far this week.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Daddy's Speeding

Brett Anderson looking on disapprovingly
There is nothing more frustrating than having an unannounced little brown envelope land on your mat, which then accuses you (usually very fairly) of speeding and giving you the options of a course or points and a fine. I've had this twice in the last 6 months, both times claiming I had ignored the first letter from them and that this was my final warning before they haul me off to court.

Now the cynic in me thinks that they just save on the stamp for the first one, never sending it out, and wind the offender up with the second. These chaser letters absolutely get me grumpy for the day. The last one was the worst, being done for travelling at 55 on the motorway when I apparently should have been doing 40. This was frustrating because having done the speed awareness course last October I had become very speed aware. I had realised that speeding places often only saves fractions of minutes of time, and the fuel efficiency is excellent otherwise. The course didn't even go on about speed killing particularly, it was very well pitched. So I had become quite evangelical about speed, I would tell people about the speed limit, 'did you know if there are street lights its 30 unless there are repeaters' explaining more, 'did you know that rural lanes are the most accident prone' etc etc.

My miles per gallon had increased 10% too - which given the price of fuel was quite a lot. Every time I was filling up I would think about the album I could buy with the saved £7.

Truth be told the speed awareness course was really useful, and everyone I have spoken too who has been has enjoyed it (they've not told me whether they changed their habits but they enjoyed it). What I found was that I could relax more at the wheel, pottering along the motorway would allow you to look round, check out what was going on. The 30 mph drive to work allowed a relax to think about the day ahead etc. Why didn't I realise this earlier....

I've only had one instance of being pulled over for speeding the rest have been flashing cameras. Stupidly it was after getting rid of my Beige Metro (rust bucket, 60 mph top speed) and getting a work car scheme car, a Peugeot 306, which was able to speed. On the way up to Mrs P's Mum's house I was not really focussed enjoying the freedom of an accelerator that did what it said on the tin and got pulled. The Copper wasn't impressed with my suggestion that it was the cars fault and that I hadn't noticed.

Again after a bad day at the office I came home grumpy grumpy grumpy and whistled past a speed camera I knew near home and flash it went. Bah. I took the mother in law to Shrewsbury too, good deed and boom got flashed. All suitably stressful experiences. Even when its not me its stressful, I got a letter informing me I had been done for speeding in Bognor Regis. Writing back I noted I had never even been there and had had to look the location up on the internet to find it, and I was in another part of the country at the time honest guv. But for a few weeks waiting for the letter back I was suitably stressed (turns out the reg inputted was a typo and it wasn't me).

So I am now slow and steady, fuel efficient and stress free.

Linking this to music though isn't hard, when your favourite band's Suede immediately you are drawn to Daddy's Speeding off the magnificent Dog Man Star album. A song about James Dean's demise. A haunting, theatrical song.

Here's what I found on the web about it.

On September 30, 1955 James Dean was driving his Porsche 550 Spyder on U.S. Route 466 (later State Route 46), when a black-and-white 1950 Ford Custom Tudor coupe, driven from the opposite direction, moved to take the fork onto State Route 41 and crossed into Dean's lane. The two cars hit almost head-on. The actor was rushed to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Contrary to reports of his speeding, the Highway Patrol officer who attended the crash said "the wreckage and the position of Dean's body indicated his speed was more like 55 mph (88 km/h)." Suede frontman Brett Anderson told about this story of a dream/fantasy about Dean' s death: "I was immersing myself in overtly clich├ęd Hollywood iconography at the time. I guess it was an extension of the isolation/ pornography themes where I saw people forming relationships with fantasy figures rather than real people; Our new communities were soap operas, our new friends were characters in American sit-coms."
Anderson told the Suede site about his singing on the track: "I wanted to give the vocal a Lennonesque quality, that magical dreamlike way he sang songs like 'Day In The Life' and 'Across The Universe,' which I thought would complement the phased, otherworldly tone of the music."

And here's a video for this non single, its from the lost in TV DVD collection - if there's one thing to say about Suede, they have always looked after their fans with the best extras, B Sides, fan club gigs etc ever.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Temples & Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs Gig Review Hare & Hounds.

Temples & Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs. 19 June 2013. Hare & Haounds Birmingham, Gig Review. 

Tonight was the my turn to see a couple of hotly tipped bands in the quality venue Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, a suburb of Brum with excellent musical heritage, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and the Stones all having played there possibly not in and amongst the cash converter and charity shops that now litter the high street.

It was the second time in seeing Charlie Boyer & the Voyeurs (great name) and third for Temples who had supported Suede, and both seem to be the darlings of 6 music. So whilst raring to see them when booking the tickets, a couple of work nights out and waking up at 6 in London that morning to get back for work meant I was jaded, and coupled with the heat and hay fever I wasn't in the best frame of mind.

Settling down with a revitalising San Miguel, the venue filled up as soon as the Voyeurs took to the stage. They looked suitably cool, singer/guitar 'Charlie' looking suspiciously like my mates cool little brother, but then I haven't seen him in a decade and I doubt being in his late 30's it's him. Drummer looked suitably modelled on Dave Grohl, keys, guitar and bass looking cool too, or perhaps it's just the kids all look cool now.

Second song in and the B side to the 7" I got last time 'Be Nice' gets an airing, it's a cracking glam rock stomper, complete with Bolanesque voice, sadly not to get the fake ending from the last gig or single (or to make their album, really??).

As the 30 minute set continued, the band that came most to mind was the Dandy Warhols, not so much the chirpy vodaphone advert but more the wider droney elements (in a good way I hasten to add). I got fascinated by the impact of the 2 middle band members in between Charlie and the keyboards, both able to contribute with the minimum of effort. Firstly the bassists rocking back and forth of his bass to the rhythm of the track, then secondly the guitarist, with black curtains, black shirt, black guitar, black trousers, no facial expression and minimal movement of hands. Neil Codling from Suede came to mind, it may have been he desire to save energy in the heat that caused the stance, but I doubt it.

The penultimate song is the quiet one, apparently, well just slow, with a Bowie style vocalising, smoke machines and shiny disco balls.

End of set and we (might) have been directed to the merch stand, but Charlie needs to enunciate better if he wants to sell his wares. Heading over to the back I was hit by the modern day issue of buying a 12 inch vinyl album being uncomfortable to stand with for the main act, so I didn't.....

After a stretch of smart phone surfing, the Temples came on for their 40 injure headline set. Again looking cool, guitarist looking like Noel Fielding, singer with a great Bolan hair cut and sparkly blouse. Again their appearance coincided with a flooding back of audience with suitably high enthusiasm for the darlings of the music blogs.

The set was cracking, every tune in their fleeting set hanging together well, the only slight mishap being perhaps the smoke machine placed on the speakers which launched dry ice head height onto the singer causing a speedy change in direction.

The gig was great but the stand out song was the last tune, recent single (Shelter Song) whether this is just familiarity or it's a classic I'm not sure but it's a cracking swirling slab of psychedelia that would grace any Austin Powers movie.

When they legged it, I took the plunge at the merch stall, finding out that talking to the Voyeurs enigmatic guitarist, and complimenting him on the set, plus buying an album and single meant that the face burst into a broad grin and some emotion was shown. Great stuff.

Leaving the hare & hounds in a balmy summers evening it was amazing the impact that vinyl, cracking bands and San Miguel has to produce a sunny disposition.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Wall of Sound A-Z: Garbage :Garbage

Wall of Sound A-Z: Garbage :Garbage

Garbage represented my first getting caught up live in the massive hype of Melody Maker and the NME as in 1995 Garbage arrived, having Nirvana producer Butch Vig in the band and strong female vocalist Shirley Manson. I got caught up in all of this and bought tickets to see them at Wolverhampton Civic Hall (best local venue I the West Midlands at the time).

The album starts with Supervixen which I can take or leave,  but then Queer is a fantastic tune, a single receiving huge airplay, I liked it because it felt like the outsider element of Suede fronted by a woman, what's not to like. Just when you think the song iswinding up after 2 minutes it leaps on with some more grungy guitars, confirming the Queerest of the Queer, Strangest of the Strange. Definitely a 5 star tune, Duh duh duh der duh, you can touch me if you want.

Next my favourite song on the album, Shirley showing how stroppy she is with the excellent only happy when it rains. Great tune, shouts out at you, again massive airplay, catchy title and probably why I bought the tickets, odd chorus though 'Pour your misery down on me'

So at the Civic Hall we had balcony seats and I had never seen the hall so rammed, everyone clammering to see Shirley and co, and missing the support I didn't have long to wait, it was electric with the mosh pit seeming to stretch for most of the length of the venue, that's what stuck with me most from the gig, this mass of humanity totalling hyped for a brilliant experience and a band raring to give it them.

Back to the album, 'As heaven is wide' takes the grungy baseline and sticks it over a beating drum machine and Shirley speaking huskily over the top very effectively. We slow down a bit with the marching 'Not my idea' again great song, Shirley's Scottish accent breaking through, it's always nicer to hear singers singing in the own accent.

I was lucky to get to see Garbage, as I had bought tickets to 2 gigs on consecutive nights, Garbage and the Bluetones, but working in Swindon on an away job, not having tickets on me and Pre the Internet era I got confused, I came back to Brum to go to Wolverhampton and found the Bluetones was actually the first of the 2 gigs and had happened the day before. I was gutted and this put me off the Bluetones for life, especially as I had to pay for my mates ticket too. Lucky for me that Garbage was so good.

The biggest Britpop moment for the album comes with Stupid Girl, which was a decent sized hit too, lots of AirPlay again, backed no doubt by various lovely formats of records, I seem to recall that Garbages packaging was impressive, furry cover on one I think. Stupid Girl hit number 4 in the charts in the UKwhen that meant something to me and was all over the TV chart shows.

Milk ends the album, a quieter relaxing end, their final single off the album, reworked with Tricky, showing what a big deal they were at the time, this is a quite haunting track, with the vocals 'Im waiting, I'm waiting for you' staying with you long after the single finishes.

I stayed following Garbage, really enjoying lots of the singles off less successful later albums but was most surprised when Shirley turned up as the key baddy in the Terminator Spin off TV series, the Sarah OConner Chronicles where she played one of the liquid metal terminators and was pretty effective as a cyborg!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Richard Herring Talking Cock in Derby!

Richard Herring in Derby. Talking Cock Review.

There is no better way to spend a Friday night than to spend it watching Richard Herring. I laughed out loud so much throughout the show, it was infectious, I started to get a head ache from it at one point. I expected it to be a good show, as it was the penultimate talking Cock show (before Leicester who got suitably dissed) and so Herring should have the show down to a fine art, especially as it was the second time he had toured the show. He had also been excellent the last 3 times I had seen him, so he had a lot to live up to

I was willing to give Richard the benefit of a couple of duff jokes anyway following a recent encounter. On bank holiday Monday I was in London with the family, saw him stood next to me o the tube platform and nudged Mrs P. We jumped on the same tube and the kids sat cutely at his feet while he played iPhone games. They were dead cute and Richard smiled sweetly at them, so he will get a lot of slack should he need it.

He didn't

The show was, as I mentioned, blisteringly funny from start to finish, a bizarre blend of well thought through views on the psyche of blokes, liberally sprinkled with knob jokes and toilet humour. Sitting there in anticipation of the show, flicking through the free program, always a nice Herring touch, we were treated to a themed penis playlist, lots of smiles began there and then in the audience.

Into the show and within the first 2 minutes he reeled off a load of metaphors for ones John Thomas, many of which were new to me. But as Herring noted having researched the tour for some time with an online questionnaire he has the most comprehensive list euphemisms on the planet, pink lighthouse beckoning into the rocks springs to mind.

The show revolved round the answers to the online survey, and is set to be the male equivalent of the Vagina Monologues, running for over an hour and a half with an interval. The subject matter shouldn't put people off, it's a well thought through subject, but unfortunately given the final show in tonight, you won't get to see it!

Unless you get to buy it on DVD, as at the end of the show Herring races to the foyer to greet the punters selling them the rather good Go Faster Stripe DVD's of his former shows. you can get them on line, but it's much more fun to have Richard Herring ask your name, then write with permanent pen the fastest squiggle of a non discernible signature ever.

So I left with a copy of 'What is love anyway' which I'd seen in Worcester last year, a book of Talking Cock from 10 years ago and several signatures.