Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thunder - Rock City, Nottingham - Wednesday 20th December

The Thunder Christmas Party. Brief summary - great show, crap venue (a third of the audience can't see the stage when it's this full). Please move it next year (ideally to London!!). Looking forward to the CD of the show.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Status Quo - Brighton Centre - Friday 15th December

An afternoon off work for a crawl of Brighton - very pleasant. Got to the venue early (didn't want to miss the start like at Croydon - hung around for ages!! Typical. Indeed they were so late, we had to leave during "Bye Bye Johnny" to get the last train!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Spike & Friends - Kingston Peel - Sunday 2nd December

Spike is Spike Gray, vocalist from the Quireboys. The "Friends" are basically the Quireboys and a different drummer !!

For those that don't know the "Peel", it is a slightly rough 'n' ready pub on the outskirts of Kingston-upon-Thames. However, it was perfect for a raucous and occassionally drunken evening of good time rock 'n' roll.

The evening had started well with Manchester United beating Middlesbro 2-1 at the Riverside (dive, what dive?) and we caught the X26 (ex-726 for those old enough) to Kingston. A quick phone call to the venue suggested that Spike wouldn't be on stage until 9.30, so we had a bit of time to kill, which was spent in the Fighting Cocks, Kingston Tup and the Honest Cabbage before finding the bar in the Peel.

Keith Weir, the keyboard player could be seen on the pool table, enjoying a couple of pre-show beers and this was the theme of the evening (it was the last night of their tour) - Spike as usual encouraging the audience to buy him a "pint of JD and Coke" constantly during the show!

As could have been predicted, the 9.30 turned into a 9.45 start!

Anyway, the music - Mainly based around Spikes "new" (well, recently released anyway) solo effort, the first part of the show was good enough, with a few ballads and a Frankie Miller cover. The end of the show (and several encores) was basically the best of the Quireboys and excellent.

Shame the crowd was so small (about 80ish?), but a good fun evening - band on until past 11.20, and good connections for us on the buses home.

Status Quo - Croydon Fairfield Halls - Wednesday 22nd November

Same as last night... except we got there on time!

Status Quo - Croydon Fairfield Halls - Tuesday 21st November

No suprises here (other than the start time which meant we missed the first 15 minutes!). Quo were loud and good. Setlist was as expected (still wish they'd swap it around a bit more), but everyone went home happy.

Thunder - Oxford New Theatre - Friday 18th November

Excellent. Front row seats, good sound, nice venue, nice city and a very late night!

Set list:
Backstreet Symphony
Dirty Dream
What a Beautiful Day
A Million Faces
Laughing On Judgement Day
Gimme Some Lovin'
Robert Johnson’s Tombstone
My Darkest Hour
River of Pain
The Devil Made Me Do It
Fade into the Sun
Love Walked In
I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Roll
+
You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down
A Better Man
Dirty Love

The Answer - Mean Fiddler - Wednesday 1st November

Went with Paul for his first viewing of this Irish band. I'd sold it to him on the promise of a mix of Led Zep, Free, Bad Company with a bit of AC/DC thrown in. Thankfully he agreed and we both enjoyed the show.

The Who, Roundhouse, Camden - Sunday 29th October

My first ever visit to the Roundhouse and (in the words of Mott The Hoople's "Saturday Gigs"), we did indeed float up there on a Sunday afternoon. With good reason too - a chance to see The Who, "up close and personal". Well that was the plan. As it turned out, the place was heaving and we had to put up with a spot about 2/3 of the way back. Still the venue is quite small, so still a good view. A relatively short set and no encore (no complaints though - tickets were cheap and this was part of the BBC Electric Proms series). Slightly deaf afterwards!

Dead Men Walking - Fairfield Halls - Sunday 22nd October

Empty ! (80 people?). Support from TV Smith (slightly paranoid?). DMW were their normal eclectic mix (I did enjoy Saturday Gigs - "and then we went to Croydon!"). Special guest was Johnny Moped - for the first stage appearance in 20 years. H'mmm, maybe he'd consider leaving it as long again.

Good show, wrong night, wrong venue!

Dan Baird - The Borderline - Friday 20th October

I'm writing this months after the event, but from what I can remember it was excellent!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Woodedz- The Orange (West Kensington) - Thursday 21st September

Took the opportunity for a bit of a crawl before getting to West Kensington, starting in the White Horse in Parson's Green. Then onto further establishments on the way via Fulham Broadway, including a dodgy game of darts (one throw, "100", - the next, "4") and a partial Pub Quiz where we didn't have time to stay for the end, but would have been near the top based on the first 3 rounds if we were playing for real...

Woodedz are John "Rhino" Edwards from Status Quo and his sons Max and Freddie. This low-key gig was not really supporting anything and was showcasing the "Rhino's Revenge" CD from a few years back and this it did pretty well.

Rhino's singing was better than I'd remembered and the boys guitars and drums were spot on. Wasn't sure about the "rap" halfway through, but there were good versions of Quo's "Obstruction Day" and "Paper Plane". The set finished with a tribute to the Brentford Striker, Lloyd Owusu... "the one and only" according the catchy song!

All good fun - shame only about 80 people turned up. Bit of a pain to get home from on a Thursday for us, but at least home not too much after midnight.

Next up, next month is Dan Baird... looking forward to that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Robbie Williams - Wembley Stadium - Tuesday 19th September

Wembley Stadium? - yeah right !! Moved to Milton Keynes Bowl... no siree bob, thank you very much! Refund promptly obtained.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"We Will Rock You" - Dominion Theatre - Tuesday 5th September

The 5th September would have been Freddie Mercury's 60th Birthday if he was still alive. This special perfomance of the Queen musical was its normal good fun (despite highly suspect plot!) and featured "special guests". Only a couple as it turned out, but I was able to increase my "chart acts seen" by McFly turning up for "Don't Stop Me Now".

For the encore, the expected appearance of Brian May and Roger Taylor gave us Bohemian Rhapsody, Love of My Life, Say It Isn't So (I know it's for a good cause, but I really don't rate this song) and The Show Must Go On.

I'm perhaps being greedy, but had hoped for a few more guests.. Still, what we saw was good and we spotted Spike Edney and Neil Murray in the house band... let's rock!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bad Influence - "The Windsor Castle" (Carshalton) - Saturday 2nd September

Hadn't known anything about this until Richard told me a day or 2 beforehand. Bad Influence normally feature Harry and Chris from Thunder and play a selection of original material and covers. Carshalton is only a brief train ride from home, so I met Richard there just after 9 and only missed 2 songs.

The pub itself (and clientale) is a real 70's throwback. Think "The Sweeney" and you are spot on. Lots of middle aged men in brown jackets with wide lapels and lots of smoke. No really... lots! We resisted all temptation to shout "You're Nicked!" and enjoyed the music. The vast majority of the music was originals (which we didn't know), but we were treated to a second encore with "I'd Rather Go Blind" and "Keep Your Hands To Yourself". No Chris on bass, but Harry was on good form. Good stuff overall.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Mods - Sutton United FC - Friday 1st September

First gig for a while and a nice Friday night 10 minute stroll from home. The Mods are always worth seeing - a collection of fine musicians who who may well have seen in the bands of famous artists on bigger stages.

Tonight, we got the lineup of Johnny Warman, Steve Byrd, Johnny Marter, Steve Barnacle and Spike Edney. This was actually a birthday bash for the promoter so we got the best of the Mods and 4 Bills and a Ben (their alta-ego). As the Mods they play covers of the 60's Rock and Britpop scene (think the Who, Small Faces, Kinks etc) and as the 4 Bills more a soulful sound (Tina Turner, Athur Conley, Robert Johnson, James Brown etc).

The highlight for me (as usual with these guys) was the extraordinary guitar playing of Steve Byrd - the guy is brilliant and makes it look amazingly easy. He used to be in Tina Turner's band and supposedly wrote the music for Baywatch (which of course, was why we all watched it!)

Only critisism was that the 4 bar staff were nowhere near enough to cope with the demand and so service was slow. Still, at least thanks to the new relaxed laws we could enjoy a pint in the Plough afterwards.

All in all an excellent 2 hours of great music - if you get the chance to see these guys, do !

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

SPAM!

Please feel free to add comments, but NOT if you are a spammer. I've had to restrict comments to registered users, to get rid of all the rubbish that was being "automatically" added to the posts.

No gigs planned for ages. Next due is "Rhino's Revenge" in the middle of October - must try and get something else sorted!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Jimmy Barnes - Carling Academy - Monday 7th August

Many moons ago I went into the Sydney branch of HMV and bought a selection of Jimmy Barnes CDs. When I went to pay, I got a smile from the cashier who asked if I "was off home for a bit of shouting?". Mr Barnes has that reputation as a bit of a gravel voiced belter. He can't be all bad though. It is estimated that 40% of all Australians own a Jimmy Barnes record and he had 7 consecutive number one albums there.

Anyway, this gig was at the Carling Academy, Islington (ex Marquee number 3) and - unsuprisingly - had been turned into a mini Oz convention. What I was more suprised at, was the level of drunkeness - for a Monday night! Many were struggling to stand at the start of the show and soon the Carling Academy had run out of - yes, you guessed it, Carling! Anyway, how can 95% of the Aussies be absolutely slaughtered, leap about all over the place with drinks in hand and never spill a drop?

So, the gig. Well, basically it was excellent. Loud, in tune, great atmosphere and some really good rock songs (and a few covers). 2 Special Guests (Roachford & Mica Paris) added to the evening as did the spectacle of the 2 punch ups on the floor (both caused purely by drunks). Really impressed by the bouncers - they got the right guys and quickly. One was so drunk, he was still trying to attack the 6ft 8" man mountain that was "escorting" him away - very foolish. My favourites were "Working Class Man", "No Second Prize" and the cover of "Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller".

All in all, a £17.50 bargain - shame I can't go to the 2nd night tonight!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Billy Joel - Wembley Arena - Wednesday 12th July

Now if it's rare I pay £75 +b/f for a ticket, it must be even rarer that I repeat the trick 2 days later! However, we managed to get seats in the 8th Row (moved up to 3rd a bit later in the show) and got to see everything close up. Sound was as good as you'll ever get for an arena show and there were a few setlist changes from Monday. All in all, just as well he only did 2 nights, otherwise I'd be broke!

Brilliant.

Setlist
Prelude/Angry Young Man
My Life
Everybody Loves You Now
Vienna
The Entertainer
The Ballad Of Billy The Kid
Just The Way You Are
Zanzibar
New York State Of Mind
The Downeaster "Alexa"
She's Always A Woman
Don't Ask Me Why
Allentown
Movin' Out
Keeping The Faith
Spanish Harlem/Stand By Me/An Innocent Man
Uptown Girl
The River Of Dreams
We Didn't Start The Fire
It's Still Rock'N'Roll To Me
You May Be Right

Only The Good Die Young
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
Piano Man

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Billy Joel - Wembley Arena - Monday 10th July

It's not often I pay £75 +b/f for a ticket and say it was good value, but this was brilliant. First shows in London for 14 years and worth every penny.

Setlist
Prelude/Angry Young Man
My Life
Everybody Loves You Now
The Entertainer
Just The Way You Are
Zanzibar
Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)
New York State Of Mind
The Downeaster "Alexa"
She's Always A Woman
Don't Ask Me Why
Allentown
Movin' Out
Keeping The Faith
Spanish Harlem/Stand By Me/An Innocent Man
Uptown Girl
The River Of Dreams
Highway To Hell (Chainsaw)
We Didn't Start The Fire
Big Shot
It's Still Rock'N'Roll To Me
You May Be Right

Only The Good Die Young
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
Piano Man

Friday, July 07, 2006

Status Quo - Epsom Racecourse - Thursday 6th July

For the 3rd year running, Quo play the "Epsom Live!" series of shows at the racecourse. They normally finish the sequence, but due to touring commitments, they are opening it this year. Maybe as a result, attendance is down. Rumour has it that there were around 20,000 last year - I'm guessing this was more 10-12,000. We got a good spot in the grandstand and after an unsuccessful evening betting wise, the band lifted our spirits.

Pretty much the normal "festival set" of recent years, but with "Hold You Back" and no "4500 times/Rain". Don't know if it was my imagination, but got the feeling that Rick's voice was being protected. Still got the 3 "Heavy Traffic" songs (Why?), but unlike last year, a later curfew and a full encore, including "Burning Bridges". I normally dislike that with a passion, but Francis appeared to be playing lead for the main tune (it's normally keyboards) and this improved it immensely. All over by 10.30 and a happy crowd drifted into the night.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Who - Hyde Park Calling - Sunday 2nd July

40,000 in a field? Not my idea of fun. Most of the other bands on the bill? Not my cup of tea. But the lure of the Who proved to much, and here I am, reluctantly at an outdoor festival. Arrived just in time to see Razorlight on the main stage and moved away ASAP - their singer cannot sing! Went instead to see Primal Scream on the "B" stage (in a tent!) and that was much better.

Not going to go into too much detail on the Who, other than to say they were excellent as always!

Oh, and the Bitburger in the Star was nice too. No sign of "Pogo Patterson" though.

PS Hello to my new "Pompey" friend I met on the last train back to Sutton. Nice to meet you and apologies for suggesting you may be a "skate" !! (Well, if you will insist that Fratton Park is "nice"...)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

John Fogerty - Hammersmith Apollo - Thursday 29th June

"And I like it, I like it, I like It, I like it, I la la la like it..." etc. John Fogerty is probably best known in the UK for being the writer of "Rockin' All Over The World", but in the rest of the World, he is known as the voice of Creedence Clearwater Revival. In this, his first British show in living memory, he ran through a near-perfect setlist (except for the absent "Almost Saturday Night") with great enthusiasm and a boysterous crowd (sporting, bizarrely an array of T Shirts including AC/DC and Pearl Jam) of all ages.

An excellent band, including Billy Burnett (last spotted with Fleetwood Mac) backed up an energetic performance from Mr Fogerty (who must be at least in his late 50's). Recommended!

PS if you got there late expecting to miss the support - there wasn't any! He came on at 8:10 and you could have easily missed half the show due to poor ticket information.

Def Leppard - Hammersmith Apollo - Sunday 18th June

Damn! A day after we got tickets for this, the Who announced a warm-up at the Brighton Centre. Bit of a dilema, but we'd paid for these tickets, I've not seen a full Def Leppard show before and I've seen the Who lots of times (and am going next month). So did we make the right choice?

Having discovered that OSP (bar in Fulham Palace Road) have outrageously stopped doing draft Budwar (orders from the brewery!), we got in fairly early and saw the main support, Cheap Trick. They were good fun - the guitarist changed his guitar after EVERY song (!) and it was suprising how many of the songs were recognisable. I may well be tempted to see them on their own.

Got down to the front for Def Leppard, a coupld of yeards back from the barrier, left-speaker. They opened with "Hellraiser" and continued with a reasonable setlist. unfortunately, bar "Hanging On The Telephone" (which I liked, and the rest of the audience seemed not to), the covers they chose of their latest album ("Yeah!") were the weaker ones IMHO. The fairly brief set concluded with the expected hits, Rocket, Animal, Pour Some Sugar etc, but for me there was something lacking. It was all very professional and well played (although Joe's voice sounded a bit ropey in places), but there was a gernal lack of spark or excitement. All in all, not bad, but given the same choice next time, I'm off to the Who!

Bon Jovi - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton - Friday 9th June

My first gig at St. Mary's having been there a number of times for football. Arrived just in time to catch the end of Nickelback who sounded OK. Our seats at the side provided a good view, albeit quite a way from the stage. Sound quality was suprisingly good and the show was a sell-out.

We got a good 2 hrs 20 from BJ and most enjoyable it was too. No matter what the rumours about JBJ's perceived obnoxiousness from some quarters, the guy does know how to put on a show and interact with the crowd. For me, "Runaway" was a highlight, especially as it was unexpected. Good stuff - indoors next time though please John!

Lightning Seeds - Camden Dingwalls - Wednesday 7th June

I've seen the Lightning Seeds a couple of times. The first, around 10 years ago, they were excellent. The last, at the Hammersmith Palais 6-7 years ago, they were truely awful - they played hardly anything I knew, sound quality was poor and the audience was bored. Tonight, I'm glad to say was closer to the first show. Supporting a new compliation, this was a collection of greatest hits and a few favourites thrown in, lapped up by a smallish crowd. 2 observations;- The female guitarist should lighten up a bit. You're in a band woman, playing to lots of people enjoying your music - a smile once in a blue moon wouldn't go amiss - enjoy it! Secondly, how many of the songs do sound very similar. I guess you could say that Mr Brodie has created a "sound" of his own.

So all in all, an enjoyable show - bit on the short side though at only just around an hour and ten minutes, but couldn't think of anything obvious they missed out (shame no "Likely Lads Theme" though!). Now, dare I risk it if they come 'round again?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bob Catley - The Underworld, Camden - Sunday 16th April

Ho hum, Camden again for the 3rd gig running. This time is the compact "Underworld", located, suprisingly enough, under the "World's End" pub. On the journey up, Richard reminded my of the last time we went to a Camden gig on an Easter Sunday. We assumed the last southbound tube would be a bit earlier than normal and so got to the station around 23:45. They had all gone! That had meant a triple night bus disaster getting home. Keen not to repeat that experience, we checked the timetable this time. 23:20 last tube. Very early, but at least we knew!

Crossed towards the venue to buy tickets and were a bit surprised to see a queue (it was around 19.15). So, off for a San Miguel in the Camden Tup at a bargain £3.40 a throw! After that, went back to the venue (which had now opened) to buy tickets. The £12 advance had become £15 "on the door" - that's a fair old markup really, but probably no worse that paying the booking fees if you booked early. Came to the conclusion we didn't fancy seeing the support, so set off on a mini pub crawl instead. Average price of a pint stayed well over the £3 mark - Camden residents must be rich! Cheapest was the exactly £3 pint of Becks in the Dublin Castle - another music venue where I'm yet to see a show. We were just too late to enter the "Easter egg painting competition" in another pub - damn!

Anyway - into the venue just before nine to be suprised by how quiet it was. I guess the numbers "56" and "57" on our tickets should have been a clue. Don't know if it was because it was an Easter Sunday or people just couldn't be bothered, but Mr Catley deserves much better support than the 100 or so souls here. Also, I think he'd be better off playing somewhere else in London (Barfly, 100 Club, Half-Moon Putney ?)

Anyway, enough of that. As we know from past experience, it doesn't matter if Bob is playing to 100 or 30,000 - he always gives his all and has one of the best voices in rock. Tonight we got a selection of highlights from his solo albums (including the new "Spirit of Man") and a couple of Magnum songs (Days of No Trust - done acoustically and Lonely Night). Some of the new songs are quite catchy (I've only played the album a couple of times) and there were a few favourites. Richard and I had a bet whereby we had to neck a quanity of beer if Bob uttered the word "Gandolf" - thankfully only 2 large swigs needed! (don't ask about this strange betting thing we do!).

All over by 22:25 and off to the Halfway House for a final pint and to watch some excellent VH2 videos leaving plenty of time for a relaxed tube journey home. Bob always puts on a great show - hopefully a few more people will make it next time.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Pretenders - Koko, Camden - Friday 7th April

Back to Camden, well Mornington Crescent actually (Richard still hasn't figured out the rules for the game of the same name) for a slice of the 80's. A brief crawl around a few dodgy pubs near Kings Cross first (including a "best of 5 darts match which I lost 1-3). We passed some very suspect places. "Massage offered - tourists welcome!" said one sign on a run-down establishment. I bet they are! - wonder how much people get fleeced for in there? Despite the distance, Richard wanted to walk to the venue - I suggested a bus. "There, it took 5 minutes" he panted when we arrived. I look at my watch - ahh - it's a mere 18 minutes of brisk walking since we left the last pub. I suggest he buys a watch.

Anyway, the Koko - a new venue for me. First impression - "Employ more bar staff !!". A new band too - I've been keen to see the Pretenders for a while, but never had the chance.

Got to a midway point on the floor - reasonable view. Band came on and were, well, how can I say, pleasant. I was expecting a bit more "attitude" to be honest, but Chrissie Hynde's distinctive voice kept things ticking over. Unfortunately, that's all that really continued. As expected, the show was being filmed for DVD (there seemed little other point for this "one off") and that will surely show a very static 30-something audience nodding politely with a bit of cheering after some songs. Now I know I'm falling into the "not really a fan, play the greatest hits" category, but I would like to have heared a bit more of the familiar stuff. At least we got "Brass In Pocket" and "Back on The Chain Gang" amongst others, but there was little to set the pulse racing.

Chrissie Hynde was good (she looks exactly the same as 25 years ago - at least from our distance), the rest of the band OK, but this really show lacked something. Richard has seen them 4-5 times and said that this was by far the most disapointing. 5/10 for me - I'm not sure I'll risk giving them aother go, which is a shame.

Finished off back at the "Somerston Coffee House", which we had passed on our epic walk earlier. Risked a pint of Red Stripe - I'm sure Mrs B suffered the snoring as a result later!
(http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/25/25936/Somerstown_Coffee_House/Euston)

Next up - Bob Catley at the Underworld on Easter Sunday.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Answer - Barfly, Camden - Wednesday 5th April

I saw the Answer support Deep Purple a few months back and thought they were good. Was sure Richard would like them too, so it was off to a new venue for me (after our office pub quiz where Richard was our "ringer").

The Barfly is a small dark room above a pub near Chalk Farm. As it happened we had plenty of time and I even got to have a brief chat with the singer outside on the stairs before they went on. He seemed a decent guy and was obvisously pleased that they were attracting punters who hadn't seen their own shows before.

Anyway, I thought they were really good - shame they were only on for about an hour, but it is a real mix of classic Free / Led Zepp etc in their sound, but with the individuality of their own songs. Impressed enough to buy both CD EPs, we headed home quite early. I'm sure I will see them again.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Who Convention - Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush - Saturday 1st May

Having just about woken up following last night's epic journey home, we were off again - this time to Shepherds Bush for the Who Convention. I don't mind admitting I'm always slightly nervous about the word "convention" - it instills fear of nerdy trainspotter types who want to swap lists on their top five all-time Who songs which have been played live on all continents etc. Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth - the crowd were just a group of genuine fans, here to meet each other and enjoy some tributes and the music.

We got there at 3.00pm - checked out the bar (of course) - £3.00 for a can of lager - h'mmm. Listened to "Irish Jack" telling stories about his time mingling with the Who in the 60's. Quite interesting for a while, but not the best sound to hear him.

Next up were "Who's Who", a tribute band I've seen a number of times. Here, they performed Quandrophenia in its entirety. Whilst that is a fine album (in the main), there are a couple of low points, and it did drag just a little bit. Still, the band were good and the drummer does a fine impersonation of Keith Moon.

We then used our "pass-outs" to pop down to the "Goldhawk" for a quick beer and to give my bad back a rest. Followed by a bit of food, we were back having just missed the start of Simon Townshend's set (with his band the Casbah Club). Simon was playing much of the stuff I'd heard him do recently at Balham and Twickenham, including the excellent, "oldie, but goodie", "The Way It Is".

Shortly after this, I feel a hand on my shoulder. I assume it is someone else returning after a visit to the bar / toilets, but as I step aside to let the person through I see he is a diminuative middle aged chap in glasses, carrying an overcoat and newspaper, looking more than familiar. "That doesn't half look like Roger Daltrey" I say to Richard. 10 seconds later, the swarming crowd and camera flashes confim I am right!

After another song or 2, Simon invites Roger on stage where he thanks us for our support (of the band and charity) and gives an update on the new Who album. It appears he doesn't understand the concept (who does?), but likes the music! Hope we do too. He needs to get back the Royal Albert Hall, so asks the crowd if there is anything else they want from him. "Sing us a song!" is the overwhelming reponse, which seems to suprise him! After discussion with Simon, he sings an excellent "Behind Blue Eyes" with newspaper tucked under his arm! "MORE!!", yell the crowd. Roger looks at his watch... "Sod it, OK!"... Simon suggests "Substitute" and this is delivered... awesome. Roger departs with "I'll send your regards to Pete" and our day is made.

Simon Townshend completes the set with the bizzarre "Sex Change" after which Richard and I spot "Gazza" (Gary Hurley, not Paul Gasgoigne!) and go to have a quick chat. He is hoarse (with either yelling or singing!).

We pop out for another few quick halves and some new pubs (I win at pool - Richard accuses me of cheating as he always does - presumably for potting more balls than him - again!) and return to see the final band of the night "The Wholigans". They hail from Florida and the singer sounds exactly like Roger Daltrey! My back is killing me by now, so I escape upstairs and grab a stool. Very impressed by the band, although they seem to have a bit of a problem with their bassist who is subjected to a few snide remarks and looks.

All over by half ten, so a quick dash to the 220 bus stop and back to Putney for the end of Match of The Day and a final beer in the "Larrick". Another tiring, but rewarding day.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tommy Vance Tribute - Royal Albert Hall - Friday 31st March

OK Let's Rock! A tribute to Tommy Vance, DJ most famed for his legendary "Friday Rock Show" on Radio 2, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Featuring the might of Judas Priest, The Scorpions, Ian Gillan & Friends and Boned, you would have thought that this would have been an instant sell-out. It wasn't! I suspect the £50+ price tag was a problem, and the advertising beforehand maybe wasn't the best, but it was nowhere near full. People in the choir seats were moved to better front-of house seats for "production reasons" (ie "we need to fill them up!") and the circle looked sparce. Anyway, this didn't bother us and we were lucky to have an excellent 5th Row view.

Decided against getting there for "Boned" (we checked out the "Gloucester" pub instead - not bad), so can't comment on them. We also went to the Queens Arms and DID see the legendary "three legged dog" (check out http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/65/6520/Queens_Arms/South_Kensington) to see what I'm on about!)

Mr Gillan & Friends were next and we were in plenty of time to see them. The band featured Harry James from Thunder and Dean Howard. Now I'm assuming he is the guy who used to be in T'Pau, but he looked very different, so if someone could confirm that, I'd be grateful. They played a selection of material, some of it OK, but at this sort of event you really don't want to be hearing the words "... and here's another one from my new album...". ZZzzzz. Still, "Black Night" finished things off and finally got the audience up and running.

Next up were The Scorpions, introduced by Bruce Dickinson. I saw them at Hammersmith last year and thought they were pretty good - here they were excellent! Lots to please the crowd and I managed to snaffle a drumstick (thanks Klaus!) and a plectrum (thanks Rudolph!). Richard even nabbed the setlist afterwards which showed that they played the following:-

1. COMING HOME
2. BAD BOYS RUNNING WILD
3. THE ZOO
4. LOVEDRIVE
5. WIND OF CHANGE
6. TEASE ME PLEASE ME
7. BLACKOUT
8. BIG CITY NIGHTS
9. ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE


After that excitment, Richard and I went off for a bit of "celeb" spotting around the venue (did I ever tell you about the time I met Archbishop Desmond Tutu here? No? Some other time then...), but with no joy. Dave, in the meantime, was chatting with his mate, photographer Ross Halfin (check out his excellent site and diary... http://www.rosshalfin.co.uk ). Ross is a fan of JP and the Scorpions and was working for the night - there are some comment on his diary.

Back just in time for Judas Priest. After a brief speech from promoter Harvey Goldsmith and a touching film about the work of the charity, they were introduced by Roger Daltrey "You all know what's coming next", and the band started. Rob Halford appeared 3/4 of the way through the first song and seemed on good form. "It's Friday night at the Royal Albert Hall and the the Priest is BACK!" he roared to much approval. A solid set (motorbike included!), running well over the alloted 45 mins meant the big get-together of all the bands for the final number, Take On The World, finished around 11.30. Dave scuttled off for his last train, complete with a set of back-stage passes in his pocket. Oi !!!

Our night was not quite over though. Outside the venue it was raining heavilly, so we jumped on a bus to Kensington High Street, A quick beer there and off to the tube for the 12.30 train... errr what train. OK then, the last train to Wimbledon, the 12.50... errr right! Finally turns up at 01.35! Home via nightbus about 02.45 - lovely! Texted Dave whilst we were on platform waiting for tube and he was already home (with the passes!).

Anyway, a good but expensive and tiring night out. Check out the charity website here:- https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/main/

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thunder – Hard Rock Cafe London – Wednesday 15th March

Sounded great – a free acoustic show by Thunder and a new venue for me – didn’t even know the Hard Rock had a basement music venue. Having missed out in the ballot for the 50 spaces on the guest list, the advice was “get there early” to have a chance of getting in. H’mmm – doors were at 7.00pm and I couldn’t leave work much before 5, so would that be early enough? The answer was a resounding “yes” – got to the venue at 5.35 and was 2nd (yes, 2nd!) in the queue! Well done to George for getting there first around 4.30, shame you had to stand for so long! Richard joined me about ten past six after I’d redirected countless tourists (invariably American!) to the resturant entrance at the front.

Suffice to say we got in easily (could have turned up at half eight and strolled in) and got a good viewing spot in this tiny venue. After a couple of outrageously priced pints of Fosters (£3.25), support band “The Rymes” took the stage. Pleasant enough acoustic guitar playing and singing from 2 twentysomething guys and a couple of catchy tunes. At 8.40, the band we’d really come to see took the stage and played the following set (all acoustic)

Stand Up
Amy's On The Run
I'm Dreaming Again
Higher Ground
River Of Pain
Low Life In High Places
Everybody Wants Her
I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Roll


The band were on good form (even though Danny made a few mistakes – e.g. expecting a guitar solo when there was a harmonica one etc – maybe he forgot it was acoustic). Ben and Luke got a bit confused as to who was doing lead vs rhythm in a few places, but ultimately this was a good fun 45 minutes worth of quality material. For those of you who didn’t bother going – you missed out. The audience certainly enjoyed themselves and we saw a few familiar faces (hello to “Blondie-girl” from Guildford!). Also apologies to Luke if you are missing a plectrum or two – I have one of them! Still not entirely sure what the point of the show was, or indeed what it was to promote, but I'm not complaining !! Show was followed by a mini-crawl around Shepherd’s Market and saw the end of the West Ham – Bolton Cup tie. All in all a nice evening.

Booked to see “The Answer” at Camden’s Barfly in a couple of weeks. Saw them support Deep Purple earlier this year and they were pretty good, so should be interesting. At last a good value show too - £6 is much more like it (as opposed to me refusing to pay £75 +b/f for the Eagles at Wembley).

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Upcoming Gigs

Reasonably quiet for a couple of weeks. Here are the shows I have lined up so far:-

Tommy Vance Tribute Night (Royal Albert Hall) - Features Judas Priest, Scorpions, Ian Gillan & Friends and Boned. This is part of the series of concerts for the excellent Teenage Cancer Trust (https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/main/). Got good seats (5 rows from front). A bit more than we wanted to pay, but should be good fun - hopefully a few guests (c'mon Roger, you know you want to!) - and it is for charity.

The Who Convention (Bush Hall, Shepherd's Bush) - A couple of Who tribute bands and the Casbah Club (feat Simon Townshend)

The Pretenders (Camden) - should be good, never seen them before.

John Fogerty (Hammersmith Apollo) - At last !! Been waiting to see him for years. Hope I'm not disapointed!

Bon Jovi (St Mary's, Southampton) - Not until June, got much better (and cheaper) seats than could have at yet-to-be-finished Wembley.

Robbie Williams (Wembley Stadium). It may be finished by September (?) and we'll be up in the "gods" on the last night.

Also, must get round to deciding whether to go to Bob Catley at the Camden Underworld at Easter.

I was thinking of going to see Gretchen Peters in Camden last week (on the off-chance Bryan Adams may show up), but got the date wrong and missed it. Never mind, he didn't show!

Considered buying Whitesnake tickets yesterday for Hammersmith, but decided £32.50 + rip-off Ticketmaster fees (making it over £40) made it a bit expensive, although I did enjoy last year's show.

Tony Jepson is playing a small gig in New Cross next month and I can't make it. Pity!

Now what I'm really waiting for are some Who dates (although the rumoured Hyde Park festival style show is not really my thing - intimate warm up show anyone?) and hopefully, some Billy Joel UK dates for the first time in over a decade once his US East Coast tour finishes. Oh, and if Bryan Adams gets closer to London than Norwich (!), I'll be up for that too.

Also, Status Quo seem to be likely to do Epsom Racecourse for the third year running in July, so that should be good.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Thunder - Hammersmith Carling Apollo - Saturday 4th February

What a difference! For Thunder, the same set (almost), a full crowd (downstairs only) and this was great! Everything seemed to flow better, sound was good - vocals and guitar excellent and what a great show. Strange how it sometimes works like that.

Toby Jepson seemed to be trying a bit too hard - his vocals were a bit dodgy - guitarist still hadn't has a reality check. But as I say the night belonged to Thunder - well done guys. A nice touch was the jam with the support bands on Elton's "Saturday Night's (Alright For Fighting)" (strangely Toby's guitarist was the only one missing - still in the dressing room admiring himself presumably) and an epic (18 minutes!) Dirty Love.

Classic Stuff!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Thunder - Brighton Dome - Friday 27th January

Another half day from work to allow an exploration of the establishments of Brighton. Had a pleasant crawl (in the snow !!) of the Kemptown area - all of which were new pubs for me. Some highly impressive pool playing was shown too.

First time for me at the Dome - very impressive venue - not so the bar prices - OUTRAGEOUS! Thankfully after the afternoon, we weren't too thirsty! Skipped the option of the first support - seen them when they were "Hurricane Party" - not bad, but not really my thing. Toby Jepson was good, with a set full of Little Angels material. Only annoyance was his guitarist. The word "tosser" springs to mind. How can someone fancy himself so much? The girls around us were in 2 camps - either laughing / fake vomiting or feeling very uncomfortable with his posturing and leering at them. Top tip - keep your shirt on and play the music! Oh, actually there was another annoyance. The 2 guys who thought it was acceptable to mosh into everyone around them for "Too Much Too Young" and knock half the crowd over (it wasn't as if there wasn't plenty of room). Anyway, Once another guy and I had errr.. educated them on their behaviour they calmed down a bit. Suffice to say, security were useless.

Next up Thunder. On paper, a decent set. In reality, something missing for me. I've seen Thunder a lot of times and they are always good. There was just something tonight that meant it was OK, but not great - couldn't put my finger on it why. Still - An Englishman On Holiday is always one of my favourites.

Last train to Croydon from Brighton (23.05) meant we have to leave "Dirty Love" mid-way through. 45 minutes in Croydon waiting for a connection meant a total journey home of nearly 3 hours - no fun!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Deep Purple - Astoria - Tuesday 17th January

My first live viewing of Deep Purple. Got in early for a change and witnessed that great rarity - a half decent support band. Called "The Answer", they may actually have a future ahead of them, with some Plantesq vocals and a hint of AC/DC in the sound. A couple of catchy songs too - new EP out soon apparently.

I was quite impressed by Deep Purple. However, a lot of the regular fans seemed upset at the amount of "new album" material and there was a fair bit of heckling. It probably didn't help that Ian Gillan clearly didn't know the words for the first few songs! Now one of the things that is always a bit of an issue is the set mix for new and old fans. The regulars are probably sick of the "hits" churned out year after year, but as a "newbie", I was delighted to hear Highway Star, Smoke On The Water and Black Night. Indeed, I'd have been happier too if they'd done Woman From Tokyo and Strange Kind of Woman, whereas for someone like Status Quo for example, I'd happily miss out some big hits, for some more "hardcore" classics.

Anyway, I was impressed by the musicianship of Deep Purple - especially Steve Morse. A couple of Amstels in the Tottenham (previously Soho's worst/smokiest pub?) rounded off a nice evening.