Monday, December 20, 2010

The Quireboys - Saturday 11th December - Forum, Kentish Town

Spike in typical pose
The last show of 2010 for me. Feeling a little bit under the weather after the previous days' pub crawl - so it was quite useful that I wasn't meeting Richard until later on Saturday evening. We went into the venue early to catch "The Dan Reed Network" who were OK, but I think Dan himself seemed to be enjoying their performance more than most of the audience! I'm certainly not tempted to pay money to see them at their own show. Whilst waiting between the acts I remembered that I'd seen the Quireboys here (when it was known as the "Town And Country Club") around 1990 - scary!

The venue was only half full, giving easy access to an excellent view a few rows back in our normal "front-left" position. Last time we saw the Quireboys they were doing an acoustic set and I was pleased to be able to grab a copy of the limted edition of 1000 signed double CDs from that mini-tour. Tonight was plugged in and, as normal, was a belter of a show. Starting with ""Hoochie Coochie Man" / "Mayfair", the band rocked through nearly all of their favourites in a 2 hr set. The 11:20 finish meant a late return home, but the show was well worth that. Perhaps not suprisingly I felt a lot better by the end than I had at the start. A great gig to finish the year!

Setlist (need confirmation please!)
Hoochie Coochie Man
Mayfair
C'mon
Man on the Loose
There She Goes Again
Tramps And Thieves
Mona Lisa Smiled
Roses And Rings
I Love This Dirty Town
Ode to You (Baby Just Walk)
The Finer Stuff
Lorraine Lorraine
Searching
This Is Rock 'N' Roll
Hey You
Whippin' Boy
Sweet Mary Ann
Misled
7 O'Clock
+
I Don't Love You Anymore
Sex Party

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Mods - Saturday 4th December - Half Moon, Putney

The snow and ice meant a late cancellation of what I had planned for Saturday, so I took the opportunity to pop down to Putney for the Mods, who were billed as performing The Who's Quadrophenia. Unfortunately, due to the drummer (Johnny Marter?) being indisposed, the short notice replacement didn't know all the material, so that didn't happen.
No matter - he knew a sufficient selection of other Who material to more than make up for that. Starting with A Legal Matter and moving through all sorts - Pictures of Lily, 5:15, The Kids Are Alright, Can't Explain, Substitute,  The Seeker, I'm A Boy, Summertime Blues and many more - the band were on excellent form. An interesting version of Young Man Blues segued the Jazzy style of Mose Alison's original with the Who's powerhouse version. I particularly enjoyed Pinball Wizard with the guitar intro played at the start and the "Elton John" piano solo played midway through by the excellent Mickey Simmonds.

There were a couple of non-Who tracks - Argent's Hold Your Head Up and Led Zeps Kashmir plus the Kingsmen's Louie Louie (from Quadrophenia) as an encore. Surprised it wasn't busier - blame the weather I guess, but a good night in the company of fantastic musicians.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jackie Lynton - Saturday 28th November - The Wheatsheaf, Parsons Green

Back to back gigs and off to Fulham for a couple of beers and a gig. Some nice German Pilsner in the Octoberfest Pub was followed by and outrageous £4.60 for a pint of Pilsner Urquell in the "Fulham Mitre" - that cannot be justified!

The Wheatsheaf had Estrella on draft - very nice and a comparative bargain (yeah, right) at £4. Luckily, the gig was free and Jackie and his band romped through 3 sets over a 2.5 hour period, playing their normal mix of rock and roll covers, blues, originals (Rock and Roll Whiskey Blues) and some old favourites (Rockin All Over The World / Caroline / Again and Again). Loved Jackie's comment during the Again and Again snippet - "I wrote this one.....").

Still not too sure why they were so far from "home turf" in Mid-Surrey, but a nice evening in a decent pub with good music. Rather scary that it's nearly 24 years since I first saw him in the Kings Head in Putney!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Apart From Rod - Saturday 27th November - Sutton United Boom Boom Club

Many years ago, long before inflicting his 5 "Great American Songbook" albums on the World, Mr Rod Stewart was one of the foremost Rock and Pop vocalists in the World. Post Faces, his 70's albums are rightfully noted for containing some classic material. Amongst the people who helped write and played on this material in both studio and on stage were Jim Cregan and Gary Grainger.

Jim and Gary have formed "Apart From Rod" to showcase much of this classic material, joined by another couple of recognisable names - Robert Hart on Vocals (Ex Bad Company), Harry James on Drums (ex Thunder and currently Magnum), Pat Davey on Bass(ex Tom Robinson Band) and Keyboard wizard, Sam Tanner.

So lots of people we've seen before seprately and know are good. Unfortuately Gary Grainger wasn't available, but we were treated to another member of the Rod Stewart Band, Robin Le Mesurier stepping in at the last minute who was an excellent substitute.
There's no doubting the bands ability and in Robert Hart, they are lucky to have one of rock's finest vocalists (amazing that Bad Company ended up with 2 so good - with Paul Rodgers obviously the other). A great evening of 70's classics followed - with a few anocdotes thrown in, highlights being Cregan's solo in "I Was Only Joking", the Piano on Twisting The Night Away, You're In My Heart and a stomping "Stay With Me" (with Val from Bad Influence on additional vocals). I'll even forgive (just!) the inclusion of a drum solo (as it was Harry) and the amazing fact that Robert Hart didn't know the words to "Sailing".
A really good night out - will certainly look to see them again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Status Quo - Monday 15th November - Croydon Fairfield Halls

More Quo - this time in Croydon. Excellent seats (4th row, central) and another good show. A couple of changes from Southend, most noticably replacing "Junior's Wailing" with the excellent "Don't Waste My Time" for the encore. Much, much better than last year at the same venue!

Cheap Trick - Friday 12th November - Shepherds Bush Empire

After a short wander around Shepherds Bush, it was off to the Empire for my first show there for quite a while. Whilst not too busy when we arrived, come showtime the standing area was absolutely packed! Now I don't know much stuff by Cheap Trick - being here only by virtue of enjoying their support slot with Def leppard a few years back, but this was a really good show. In fact, probably the best headline show I've seen by an act whose material I don't really know!

Setlist below is from setlist.fm and I'm ashamed to admit, I didn't notice at the time the presence of a Wizzard cover in the encore!

Setlist
Oh, Candy
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Stiff Competition
Best Friend
Lookout
Tonight It's You
I Want You To Want Me
I Know What I Want
These Days
Wrong All Along
Smile
Anytime
Magical Mystery Tour
Cold Turkey
Sick Man of Europe
Closer, The Ballad of Burt and Linda
Surrender
+
Ain't That A Shame
Rock 'n' Roll Tonight
Dream Police

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Status Quo - Tuesday 9th November - Southend Cliffs Pavillion

The first night of the new "Quid Pro Quo" tour and it's off to "Sauffffend" in Essex. Past experience has shown it's better to go to the first show of the tour as you're more likely to hear some new material. Often the band will then decide it "doesn't fit" or "doesn't flow right" and go back to the same old set a night or 2 later.

A fastish train to Southend Central gave us a bit of time to explore a couple of hostelries - most were pretty much dead until we got the "Alex" who were IDing people on the door. I managed to blag my way in (maybe I look over 21?) and we found out why it was so popular - £1 for a bottle of Becks, £1.50 a pint of Stella - should have got their earlier! We also had a quick game of pool on possibily the worst table I can remember in the pub outside Westcliff station.

Onto the gig and in just in time for the opener - predictably "Caroline". Third song in was a nice surprise - the return of "Break The Rules". Best bits of the evening were the 2 previously unplayed songs - "Spinning Wheel Blues" in a medley and a full version of "For You" - 2 songs I never thought I'd hear live. Ricks vocals were better than I've heared for a while and Francis was on good form with his playing and banter. Even though in an ideal world there would have been a few more set changes, all in all a very enjoyable show.

Setlist
Caroline
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like
Break The Rules
Mean Girl
Softer Ride
4500 Times
Rain
Beginning Of The End
Medley: Mystery Song / Railroad / Spinning Wheel Blues / Wild Side Of Life / Rollin' Home / Again & Again / Slow Train
The Oriental
Creepin' Up On You
For You
In The Army Now
"Killer" - Drum Solo
Paper Plane
Roll Over Lay Down
Down Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over The World
+
Junior's Wailing
Rock & Roll Music / Bye Bye Johnny

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The 80's Rocked! - Friday 5th November - Epsom Playhouse Theatre

I wasn't sure whether to include this in the Blog - after all it's a theatre show rather than a gig as such. That said, it's all music and when we booked up we were expecting Harry from Thunder to be on drums. A shame then that some sort of contractual dispute meant all the band members were changed without explanation at the last minute!

We started in the Wetherspoons in Epsom (and were the oldest people there by some margin). We were then pleasantly surprised to find a nice bar in the theatre - and drinks were allowed in the venue. Just as well!

So, the show? H'mmm. Well it was certainly "entertaining" - if not always for the right reasons. The band was acceptable, the 3 vocalists (sharing mic duties) were OK - in fact "Wardi" (from Oliver/Dawson Saxon) was good - and I saw him years ago in Shy! However, what made us keep laughing out loud was how the other 2 clearly didn't know the words for most of the rock classics they were singing. Despite referring to song sheets on the stage and cries like "Everybody knows this one...", they clearly didn't! If they can't get the right words to "Summer of '69" or "Hammer To Fall" or even standard Bon Jovi stuff, then why play them?

If you were being picky (I am!), then there were a good 4 or 5 songs from the 70's too! All in all, the smallish (100?) crowd were entertained, but the band need to invest in a "Rock Classics of the 80's" songbook for Christmas!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Elton John – Thursday 28th October - Roundhouse, Chalk Farm

There are pros and cons to the BBC Electric Proms shows. The obvious pros are to see superstar artists in a relative intimate venue and an affordable price. The cons are getting the tickets (although I've been quite lucky there) and the phaff of having to go and collect a wristband earlier in the day and then turn up for the show later (at least that does hinder the touting trade a bit). There's also the fact that the artists are encouraged to branch out and do something different from their normal show - that's sometimes good and sometimes bad.
In this case Elton started with a selection of lesser played hits in which "Burn Down The Mission" and "Tiny Dancer" were highlights. Special guest was Leon Russell (who was on much better form - make that sound quality - than a few months ago) and he played a few solo numbers before Elton mentioned the dreaded words "He's the hard part for the audience - the new album in it's entirety". Now to be fair, the album isn't bad - but 3-4 highlights was surely the way to go!

Alongside, we got 2 other guests:- "Plan B" to duet on "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" - and absolutely murdered it. I can't recall seeing live a worse vocal performance for years - and I'm including Johnny Burrell in that! Much more pleasant was "Rumer" duetting with Leon.

Best bit of the night for me was a stunning "Your Song" from Elton. A song we've all heard hundreds of times, but it was transfixing. So a mixed bag all in all - have to say, I very much agree with the sentiments echoed at this link:-
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8096296/Elton-John-BBC-Electric-Proms-review.html

and this has some fair comments too:-
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/oct/29/elton-john-review


Setlist
1.Burn Down The Mission
2.Levon
3.Tiny Dancer
4.Ballad Of A Well Known Gun
5.I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (with Plan B)
6.Delta Lady
7.A Song For You
8.This Masquerade (with Rumer)
9.If It Wasn't For Bad
10.Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes
11.Hey Ahab
12.Gone to Shiloh
13.Jimmy Rogers Dream
14.There's No Tomorrow
15.Monkey Suit
16.The Best Part of the Day
17.A Dream Come True
18.I Should Have Sent Roses
19.When Love is Dying
20.Hearts Have Turned to Stone
21.Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody)
22.The Hands of Angels
23.Tightrope
24.Prince of Peace/Out In The Woods
25.Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms
26.Stranger In A Strange Land
27.Your Song
28.Take Me To The Pilot
29.Sad Songs Say So Much
30.The Bitch Is Back
+
31.?

Sheryl Crow – Thursday 21st October, Borderline

Now, I was really looking forward to this. A tiny venue for a star of Ms Crow’s nature – and her first return to the Borderline since her 1994 UK debut. After the annoyance of no physical ticket delivery, we turned up early to “collect” a handstamp to get us in. We got a good central spot about 3 yds from the stage and the venue filled quickly as the Roadies appeared to re-tune every guitar 3 or 4 times. Just after 8:30 it was showtime.

Now I haven’t purchased Sheryl’s latest CD – 100 Miles from Memphis and on this showing it’s going to have to be in the cheap end of the bargain bins before I do. Song after song of endless Jazz/Funk solos. One or two would be fine, but did each song really have to last twice as long as it needed too? The occasional hit or oldie was thrown in, but these seemed understated in the main. I have no problem with an artist wishing to showcase their new material or using the talents of their band (all of whom could certainly perform), but as Richard said on the way out – how “p****d off would we have been if we’d spent 45 quid to sit at the back of Wembley / Hammersmith / wherever and listen to that”. It was a fair observation. Sheryl herself came across well and seemed to enjoy it – but a quick look around saw several bored looking faces. Only saved by the venue and our closeness to the stage it was not a patch on previous times I’ve seen her.

Setlist
Our Love is Fading
A Change Would Do You Good
Eye to Eye
100 Miles From Memphis
Can't Cry Anymore
Summer Day
My Favorite Mistake
Sign Your Name
Improvised Guitar (Doyle Bramhall)
Long Road
Everyday Is A Winding Road
Roses
All I Wanna Do (with Mike Rowe)
Peaceful
+
I Shall Believe

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bryan Adams – Saturday 16th October – Ipswich Regent

So, acoustic shows are in, aren’t they! The Bare Bones tour continues to avoid London, so up to Ipswich with Mrs B for Bry. Nice venue – surprisingly strict security (4 ejections and a camera paranoia!), but an enjoyable show. Highlights for me were Jealousy (first time heard live for me!), Lonely Nights, a “proper” Summer of ’69, Not Romeo Not Juliet and The Right Place. An engaging evening all round.

Setlist to follow.

[Generic picture from www.bryanadams.com]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ian Hunter – Sunday 10th October – Union Chapel, Highbury & Islington

New venue for me (save for the failed gatecrashing attempt a while back!). The Church that is the Union Chapel hosted an acoustic evening (although in reality it was only partially acoustic) from the Mott The Hopple frontman with a small orchestra for some parts. It was OK, but the first hour or so dragged a bit. Ian again played a fair amount of newish and lesser known songs – not a problem, but the mix wasn’t quite right for me. It didn't help that the quality of sound was pretty awful too (a complaint I heard serveral others making on the way out) and when he spoke between songs I couldn't make out what was said.

An emotional Michael Picasso and predictable All The Way From Memphis / All The Young Dudes rounded things off and we had the bonus of another “Ross Halfin” spot! He scores 5 points whereas regulars like Dave Ling are probably a 1 point spot!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Who Convention – Sunday 3rd October – Dingwalls, Camden

Having really enjoyed the last convention a few years ago at Bush Hall, I was looking forward to this. As it turned out, it was OK, but not especially enthralling. We got to see Thunderclap Newman (Mr Newman himself appears… errrr… slightly eccentric!) with Josh Townshend (Simon’s son, Pete’s Nephew) on guitar. We then went “down the front” for the Wholigans who were good (although not quite as good as previously), but we left before the end as we were fearing of the tube strike making things difficult. Maybe it was because I was tired after the night before, but I couldn’t get too excited about the whole thing which was unfortunately sparsely attended. Shame there were no members of the Who making a surprise appearance this time around.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Union – Saturday 2nd October – Relentless Garage, Highbury & Islington

This had to be the wettest day of the year!! Torrential showers (and no Victoria Line) meant I was drenched by the time I met Richard in the Hen & Chickens for a pint of Paulaner. The heavy rain continued and that stopped us from roaming too far before going to the venue.

The venue was half to two-thirds full which enabled us to get a nice spot about 7-8yds from the stage. The moment we got in I spotted journalist Dave Ling (he seems to be at most gigs I go to !!) and Quireboys guitarist Paul Guerin who I assume was with his son. Also spotted Cheam resident and rock photographer extraordinaire, Ross Halfin a bit later.

Whilst the Unions’ set hasn’t changed much over the last year (not surprising as they only have one album!), they are definitely getting better and better and the songs sound good after more plays. I especially enjoyed Black Monday, This Time Next Year and Easy Street. My early reservations are easing, although if I had one (minor) complaint it is that singer Peter Shoulder’s style slightly over-emphasises on elongating the words at the end of each line. After the normal finish of Proud Mary, we headed outside. Unbelievably the rain was even heavier. We ran 10 yds to the bus stop, sheltered under a shop cover and got the bus to Angel. By the time I got home (a 3 minute walk from the bus stop at the other end!) I was literally soaked to the skin!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Union - Wednesday 22nd September - Gibson Guitar Studio, London

Another week, another limited audience show. As a purchaser of the "Collector's Edition" of The Union's debut CD, I was invited (alongside the other 99 purchasers and a few competition winners) to a unique "warmup show" by the Union. Promoted by "Planet Rock Radio", the venue was the Gibson Guitar Studio in "Noho".

By the nature of the invitation list, a large pecentage of the audience were attending on their own and didn't know anyone. 90% were blokes, so it was quite strange in the pub beforehand trying to work out who was going or who was waiting for mates / girlfriend etc.

This strange scenario was relaxed slightly by the provision of free beer (thanks very much), but unfortunately it soon ran out !! The band went through a brisk 45 minute set (supposedly licensing restrictions prevented any longer) and were in the best form I've seen them. Once again, a fair few more punters could have been squeezed in if necessary. I chatted with a guy called Russ from the Midlands and we spent a few pints afterwards in the Pub putting the world to rights on Classic Rock and Football - good to meet you.

Looking forward to the full show in 10 days time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Francis Rossi - Wednesday 15th September - St Luke's Church, London

An exciting Wednesday night in St Lukes Church on Old Street. The Quo frontman has hired the venue from the LSO for a tiny gathering of fans and media (limited to 200 people) for a run though of his recent solo set for a DVD/CD recording.

Phil and I were able to stroll via the venue to meet Richard in the "Old Fountain" near Old Street tube where, unusually, we all sampled different beer (Bitburger for me, Peroni for Phil & Paulaner for Richard). After suitable refreshment we ventured to the venue to collect wristbands (subsequently unchecked!) and check out the cafe bar for more beer and in Phil's case, cake!

The venue itself was really nice, although could eaily have accomodated double the crowd if required. The sparseness ensured we were able to get a really good position and excellent view. Rossi and his band went through almost the same set as we saw in London in the summer and although it wasn't bad, it lacked the excitement or buzz of the earlier show. The band made a view mistakes, Francis forgot some words and we fully expected the encore to contain a repeat of a few of the songs which hadn't gone so well. That didn't happen, so I'll be interested to see if the DVD/CD do actually appear and if so, whether they are overdubbed. I read a comment on the Quo message board suggesting that Francis himself was a bit disapointed by their own performance.

So all in all, good, but not as good as last time.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Hamsters - Friday 6th August - Earls Court (Great British Beer Festival)

Off to the Great British Beer Festival tonight where The Hamsters are providing the musical entertainment. We chose this night on the basis that a) it's Friday! and b) they looked far and away the best of the music acts on. They've played the Boom Boom club in Sutton a fair few times, but I've never seen them. Should be some Bluesy Rock with ZZ Top and Hendrix covers thrown in.

Well, sure enough - that's how it turned out. The Hamsters were OK - their guitarist who goes by the name of "Slim" was quite impressive, but for a show like this I maintain that you need an emphasis on material that non-fans will know. Whilst I quite like ZZ Top and can take or leave Hendrix material, I'm not sure the same can be said for most of those in attendance. The original material was listenable too, but not enough to make me want to pay to see the band again. What was obvious (and despite the instrument swapping during the last number, "Sharp Dressed Man"), was despite the competance of the bassist and drummer, they really looked a "one man band". I don't mean any disrespect by that, it's just how it came across.

Anyway, the beer festival itself was OK. It suffered (as normal) from excessive queues - especially around the "Biere Sans Frontier" section (ie Pilsners / Lagers / Specialist Imports etc) and at up to £4.20 a pint was not cheap. The "Golden Beer" winner (whatever it was called!) from Nottingham was pleasant enough, but when you have to wait 15-20 mins to get served for each drink it does take away the fun somewhat.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Leon Russell - Tuesday 3rd August - Jazz Cafe, Camden

A trip to the Jazz Cafe to see Leon Russell - an artist who has the "legendary" tag pinned to him and is likely to aquire more UK prominence in the near future when his duets album with Elton John comes out. Suprisingly, there was absolutely no mention of that collaboration during the 80 minute set (straight through - no encore) of Southern bluesy guitar and piano with a bit of storytelling thrown in for good measure.

Starting with his most recognisable song, Delta Lady, the sound and vocals weren't great, but did improve. You have to say, that whilst his piano playing was good, the vocals were that of a 68 year old. A fair few cover versions were thrown in later which kept things enjoyable, but this was a pleasant if not outstanding evening. In summary, I'm glad I've seen him - but suspect this will be a one-off for me.

Set (Included)
Delta Lady
Hummingbird

A Song For You
Wild Horses
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Georgia On My Mind
Jumping Jack Flash / Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Medley)
Great Balls Of Fire / Roll Over Beethoven (Medley)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dan Baird - Sunday 4th July - Borderline, London

A "double header" today - Twenty20 Cricket at the Oval (Surrey losing badly to Middlesex) and Mr Baird at a hot, sweaty and packed Borderline. And combined with a few "new" pubs too, a very pleasant afternoon and evening.

You know what you are going to get with Dan and his Homemade Sin band and they were on good form as always with a selection of solo, band and Georgia Satellites material. Only downside was once you went to the gents or the bar, you couldn't get back to near the stage! Somewhere a bit bigger next time would be good!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Mods - Saturday 26th June - Half Moon, Putney

A trip to Putney for one of our regular bands - the Mods. A good selection of the normal covers with emphasis tonight on The Who which was good. Singer Johnny Warman promised a full version of Quadrophenia on the next visit - that will be worth a listen!

Cher - Wednesday 23rd June - Caesars Palace Forum, Las Vegas

"Ladies and Gentlemen"... Cher!

Yes, yes - Cher. Not my normal thing of course, but this is Vegas! In the cheap seats (a "bargain" $90 plus the obligitory US "convenience charge), Cher's multi-million pound extravanganza wasn't quite what I'd expected. Rather than purely a concert, this was a collection of mini-plays / muscials acted out to Cher singing backed by a live band who played mainly in the wings.

There were a few surprises - she opened with U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and included Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" (last heard a few weeks ago by Mr Rossi!). What was no surprise was the costume change after every song. Unfortunately this led to much too much video footage which did detract somewhat from the actual show. In all, she probably only actually sang on less than a dozen songs. All in all a 7/10 for me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bachman & Turner - Sunday 6th June - Relentless Garage, Islington

Randy Bachman and Frank Turner together in London for the first time in about 34 years. So, why was the Relentless Garage (stupid name!) so empty? Seriously, there can't have been more than 200 people - stunned!
Well, they missed a decent gig. I've never seen either of these before and I'm notparticular familiar with much Bachman Turner Overdrive material beyond "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" and "Takin' Care of Business", but I did enjoy the majority of what was played. I've heard Mr Bachman sometimes isn't the most sociable of musicians, but he was on good form here. Hope they come back soon!

Setlist:
Let It Ride
Rock Is My Life
Hold Back The Water
Hey You
Moonlight Rider
Looking Out For #1
Not Fragile
Stayed Awake All Night/American Woman (Medley)
Four Wheel Drive
Slave To The Rhythm
Blue Collar
Sledgehammer
Rollin’ Along
Takin' Care Of Business
+
Roll On Down The Highway
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Francis Rossi - Sunday 16th May - Her Majesty's Theatre, London

OK, hands up all those who thought this was going to be an evening of pleasant, but dullish country-tinged pop tunes from "that bloke from Status Quo". Wrong!

It's fair to say that those in our group (all Quo fans) were treating this with a bit of trepidation. We needn't have worried. From the opening bars of a bluesy "Caroline", the audience were on their feet and the excellent band reeled through a selection of material from Rossi's new solo offering "One Step At A Time" and Quo obscurities. The real joy was hearing those delights which Quo never or rarely play. I've moaned often enough about their static setlist and yet here is who many believe to me the main architect of that policy, delivery a great selection. It just shows what can be done when some thought is given to it. Of course, it helps when the band are as solid as they were here.... Rossi jnr on one guitar and the annoyingly good Freddie Edwards on another perfectly complementing FR himself (well, I'm guessing he helped teach them both to play!).

All in all well above expectations and probably more enjoyable as a result than some of the times I've seen Quo. Let's hope there is more to come!

Setlist
Caroline
Claudie
All We Really Want To Do (Polly)
You'll Come Round
Crazy For You
Old Time Rock 'N' Roll
Strike Like Lightning
Tallulah's Waiting
Here I Go
Tongue Tied
Blessed Are The Meek
My Little Heartbreaker
Electric Arena
One Step At A Time
Marguerita Time
Rolling Down The Road
Diggin' Burt Bacharach
Sleeping On The Job
Twenty Wild Horses
Can't Give You More
+
Don't Waste My Time

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Band of Skulls - Friday 14th May - Electric Ballroom, Camden

Well, well well - another new London venue for me (yes, yes, I know the Electric Ballroom has been around for years - I've just never been here). Richard signed me up for this one based on the debut CD which he then lent to me. First play - not impressed. Second play, ditto. Forced myself into a third play and it wasn't improving - hopefully it would be better live I thought.


Anyway, liked the venue and got a good spot fairly near the front. As showtime arrived, the place was heaving with a relatively young audience. The band came on and did their stuff and the crowd was enthusiastic. Set was only an hour and a bit. As we shuffled out at te end, Richard asked me what I thought. "A fair reflection of the CD" was my reply!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Belinda Carlisle - Tuesday 4th May - Jazz Cafe, Camden

Went with Mrs B for this one and sat up in the restaurant overlooking the stage. Very civilised and an excellent view away from the crush below. Food wasn't bad either!
 
This was another acoustic evening and Ms Carlisle perfomed a good selection including most of her solo and Go Go's hits. It was really rather good. The band had to walk past our table to get to and from the stage - Di couldn't believe how attractive Belinda remains at 51.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Ian Hunter - Sunday 2nd May - Barbican Centre

'allo, 'allo, 'allo, 'allo!

New venue - very posh! Mr Hunter played material almost exclusively from his last 3 albums for the first hour, which by his own admission sold a handful of copies. Still, there were some good tunes none the less.

Things livened up a bit for the encore with the predictable Mott The Hoople material ("All The Way From Memphis" remains a personal favourite) and the even more predictable guests - daughter Tracey and Mick Ralphs. A decent evening.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Quireboys - Friday 23rd March - Jazz Cafe, Camden

Having arrived at an absolutely packed Jazz Cafe (late as it turned out and missed the first 4 songs), we squeeezed to the back for an eveing of Acoustic Quireboys. Yep, that's right - acoustic! Many have expressed doubts on how that would work based on the loudness and excitement of their normal shows, but augmented by numerous musicians, it did. What was wierd was how Spike would slur and ramble his way through song intros and then sing them perfectly in tune. How does that work?

We stood near Luke Morley and Peter Shoulder (from the Union who we saw earlier in the week). Afterwards had a decent chat with Luke in ther bar who, as always, game across as a very genuine and likeable guy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Union - Wednesday 21st March - O2 Academy, Islington

A 2nd London outing for the Union and not suprisingly (as their first album isn't out yet), the set was broadly simlar to the show at the end of last year. I'm still not quite convinced that the material is as strong as recent Thunder stuff, although it's probably not fair to make direct comparisions. I shall reserve judgement for now.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bad Company - Saturday 10th April - Brighton Centre

A Saturday by the sea for the reformed Bad Company and an epic journey due to "trains being replaced by buses between Three Bridges and Brighton". Joy!

Support came from Aerosmith's Joe Perry and his band and for once it was a support act well worth seeing as he ripped through material from his new album and some bluesey classics plus a version of "Walk This Way".

As for the main act, Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs (in danger of becoming my most seen musician of the year!) and Simon Kirke were aumented by a band including Heart's Howard Leese. The set was basically the greatest hits, although perhaps suprisingly, no Free material was played. Sound and lights were good and Mr Perry even returned to help out on "Rock And Roll Fantasy". All was done and dusted for us to enjoy a "Polish" pint on the way back to the station for the "replacement bus service" back to Three Bridges. Home by about 1:45am - lovely!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Who - Tuesday 30th March - Royal Albert Hall

Another year and and another week of shows at the Royal Albert Hall in Aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust (of which Roger Daltrey is a Patron). We went for the "cheap" seats up in the "Gods", but had a decent 2nd row seat to the side. This gave a reasonable view for the Who's performance of Quadrophenia (played in full for the first time in ages). Sound was good and we got a couple of special guests in the form of the singer from Kasabian (Tom Meighan) as the Ace Face and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam).


A good performance all in all, only slightly marred by the complete lack of encore. For the money paid, I think the crowd would have been justified in expecting one. Subsequent comments from Roger may have suggested that his voice wasn't really up to extra songs on the night.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Scouting For Girls - Thursday 11th February - Scala, London

No gigs in January, so this was my first one of 2010. And a new venue for me too. Not quite sure how I'm managed to avoid the Scala for so long, but I was quite impressed. I was also impressed by Scouting For Girls, whose brand of catchy pop songs seesm set to continue into their second album, some of which was showcased here. A lively and packed audience seemed to lap it up. I particularly enjoyed the traditional "Bond" cover - Live and Let Die which followed "I wish I was James Bond"!

Anyone got the setlist?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Best and Worst 2009

My annual look back over the year from a "best of" and "worst of" perspective of the 31 gigs seen during 2009

Best Gig 2009
1: AC/DC- O2
Classic set and a great view on the first night

2: Quireboys - Sheffield O2 Academy
Great band playing a great album in its entirety.

3: Per Gessle - Islington O2 Academy
No, O2 aren't sponsoring this! Classic set with all the hits you could ask for.

Honourable mentions to Thunder and Mott The Hoople at Hammersmith and Quo at Brighton.


Most Disappointing Gig 2009
1: The Answer - Dingwalls
By no means awful, just not as entertaining as most of the other shows this year, hence the reason I decided to skip their December date

I can't really describe any of the others as disappointing - Again , the quality has been really good. That's probably down to me being very selective and refusing to pay ridiculous money for the likes of Bon Jovi, Tina Turner, The Eagles etc

Best Venue 2009
1: Hammersmith Apollo
2: Indigo2
Same as last year then!

Worst Venue 2009
1: O2 Arena
2: Wembley Arena

Good in 2009
1: Another decline in drunks at gigs. Maybe the recession is kicking in on people's drinking habits.
2: Small gigs - this year has re-affirmed that there is fun to be had seeing less well known artists in smaller (and cheaper!) intimate venues.
3: Quality. Pretty much all the gigs have been enjoyable this year.

Bad In 2009
1: Prices for some major artists still over £100 for a decent seat. No thanks!
2: Tfl / Tubelines incompetance on the Jubilee Line meaning regular no trains to the O2.
3: Drink prices at venues. Outrageous in many cases (Yes, Hammersmith & O2 - that's you)
4: Merchandise. Besides a programme for Bryan Adams and "show-only" Thunder, Mott The Hoople and Quireboys CDs, I can't remember buying any again this year. Prices are too high and the quality just isn't tempting enough.
5: Support bands. Once upon a time, I would always make the point of seeing the support band. Now I rarely bother unless it's a name I know and like. That's probably my loss, but there's a lot of very average acts out there.

Enjoy 2010 and get out there and listen to some live music!