Monday, July 17, 2017

Lee Aaron - Sunday 16th July - Underworld, Camden

Tonight a new record for me. Longest gap between me seeing an artist again now goes to Lee Aaron - a month short of 30 years! Having seen the Canadian songstress at the 1987 Reading Rock Festival (and very much enjoyed her set), it has taken this long to get another chance to see her again. In the meantime, she has released a number of CDs - including venturing into Jazz based material, but has recently return to her hard rock roots.

And I for one am glad she has. Vocally an excellent set, aided and abetted by decent musicians - this was a really fun evening. From the powerful opener from the new album - "Fire and Gasoline" through the classic Powerline and via a Deep Purple cover ("Mistreated"), this was rock and blues at its finest. The only disappointment was that the venue was only half full - possibly the normal "Sunday Night in London" syndrome - and a lack of a few classics from her eponymous album (I would have loved to hear "Number One" & "Only Human")

Lee appeared after the show, graciously chatting with fans, signing CDs and having photos taken. Her career appears to be on an upwards curve and with a couple of excellent tracks from the next album previewed here, hopefully it will be a much shorter gap until I see her again.

Tom Boy
Hands On
Rock Candy
Fire and Gasoline
Diamond Baby
Powerline / Lady Of The Darkest Night
I'm A Woman
Baby Go Round
Some Girls Do
Sex With Love
Whatcha Do To My Body
Barely Holdin' On
Metal Queen
Hot To Be Rocked

As you know, I don't normally record or post video, but here's 2 minutes of "Powerline" from the show. (Visuals heavily compressed to meet Blogger's upload limit). Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Brian Setzer - Tuesday 11th July - Forum, Kentish Town

Brian Setzer plays a solo show in Kentish Town. Nearly a faux paux by me as I almost wore a Ben Sherman "target" T-Shirt. I may not have got out alive with the packed house wearing altogether different styles and fashion! As it was, the torrential rain outside meant there were some very soggy "cats" inside.

Still, an enjoyable show - very busy on the floor (think it was sold out as it was the only UK date) and a decent amount of Stray Cats material to keep the very casual fan (me!) happy.

Brian's guitar playing was excellent - as were the rest of the band. We did speculate on where else a double bass player can find employment these days - especially as Imelda May seems to have changed musical direction.

Go cats go!

Put Your Cat Clothes On
Rumble in Brighton
Vinyl Records
Stray Cat Strut
Nothing is a Sure Thing, Baby
Stiletto Cool
Cry Baby
'49 Mercury Blues
Drive Like Lightning
Slow Down / Folsom Prison Blues
Gene and Eddie
Blue Moon of Kentucky (Instrumental)
Runaway Boys
Jump, Jive an' Wail
Fishnet Stockings
Let's Shake
Sleep Walk
Rock This Town

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ian Hunter - Wednesday 29th June - Student Central (ULU)

The fantastic Mr Hunter - coming around again quickly on tour - and a new venue for me at the Student Bar / Hall of the University of London. As you might expect, it was pretty cramped on the floor. What you might not expect was the outrageous £6 for a beer - they are taking advantage of the audience demographic somewhat!

Ian was in fine voice and a decent choice of setlist made for a very enjoyable evening, even if the people near us decided that the quiet ballad of "Irene Wilde" was a perfect time to have a chat. The 2 girls from the support act added pleasant backing vocals to "I Wish I Was Your Mother" and the excellent Rant Band complemented Ian as always.

A really enjoyable evening.

That's When The Trouble Starts
Once Bitten Twice Shy 
Fatally Flawed
When I'm President
The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nuthin' but the Truth 
Just Another Night
Fingers Crossed
All American Alien Boy
Irene Wilde
All the Way From Memphis
Roll Away the Stone
I Wish I Was Your Mother
23A, Swan Hill
Sweet Jane 
Long Time
Life / All the Young Dudes / Goodnight Irene

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin - Monday 19th June - Boom Boom Club, Sutton Utd FC

A Monday night - never the best time for a gig, but this is one of my favourite artists and kind enough to play 15 minutes from home! Therefore on a very warm summer evening it was off to an indoor gig.

Unfortunately the venue was not as packed as the band deserve, but predictably we got a hot and sweaty romp through a mixture of Dan's material from across the years. I do get what he says about "New Is Good", but feel like the older material (especially Georgia Satellites stuff with which he made his name) is relegated slightly too much into the set and I would be among the minority who see him enough to recognise the more obscure material. Certainly by the number of GS T shirts in the crowd, and the fact that it's a venue he hasn't played before, I would have thought a few more well known older songs would have been appropriate.

That said, it was nice to hear Warner E Hodges take the vocals for "Don't Pass Me By".

Dan is legendary for cutting from the set any songs that are requested from the crowd. I am considering using this to my advantage next time I see him by calling for those I don't want to hear!

Anyway, all this is being slightly picky. As is usually the case, this was a great evening of Rock N Roll in suburbia and the merchandise stall seemed to be doing good business afterwards. Come back soon Dan.

Setlist anyone please?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rhino's Revenge - Friday 12th May - 100 Club, London

Rhino's Revenge (Rhino is Status Quo's bassist) at the famous 100 club on Oxford Street. Rhino gave us the normal mix of Quo tracks (some co-written by him) and a selection from the 1st and 2nd Rhino's Revenge albums. The latter isn't his best work in my view, but the live show is always good fun. Could have done with being able to hear his chat in between songs a bit clearer, but even though the backing band was without the normal family members, the music was loud and clear. Unlike the red lighting which ruined all attempts at a decent bit of photography! He seemed to be enjoying himself as we even got an unscheduled second encore of "Roll Over Beethoven". On the basis the band needed to work out keys and rhythm, I guess this had not been rehearsed!

Setlist (approximate!)
My Name Is Stan
Belavista Man 
Two Way Traffic 
Busy Doing Nothin'
Get Out of Denver 
Obstruction Day 
Spend Spend Spend
Mine All Mine
Bad News 
Paper Plane 
Jam Side Down 
Roll Over Beethoven

Friday, May 12, 2017

Elio Pace - Thursday 11th May - Epsom Playhouse

Elio Pace plays a local show at the Epsom Playhouse Theatre. This is the third time I've seen his interpretation of the Billy Joel songbook and as previously, the songs are performed with skill and passion plus some interesting background on how they were written and musical influences. It's obvious that Elio is a huge Billy Joel fan and his solid band (including current Queen touring bassist, Neil Fairclough) complement the excellent piano work nicely. Well worth the short trip.

Prelude/Angry Young Man
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
My Life
This Night
The Longest Time
And So It Goes
Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)
New York State of Mind
Root Beer Rag
She's Always A Woman
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
Goodnight Saigon
Captain Jack
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
She's Got A Way
An Innocent Man
Just the Way You Are
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)
We Didn't Start the Fire
The River of Dreams
Tell Her About It
Uptown Girl
You May Be Right
Piano Man

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fire & Water - Saturday 29th April - Raynes Park Tavern

A local show for the excellent Free / Bad Company / Led Zeppelin tribute and a venue I had not visited before.

Personally I could have done with the set having more Bad Co and less Zeppelin, but it was an enjoyable evening. The lead guitarist was particular impressive. It just proves once again that there are some really talented musicians out there and good quality local shows to go to without spending a fortune.

I liked the venue and will look to return soon. Check the the band out too if this is your kind of music, although their online presence is lacking somewhat.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Quireboys - Sunday 23rd April - Islington O2 Academy

More Quireboys and an electric show in Islington. Spike and the boys seem to favour Sunday nights in the capital - assume the venues are cheap then!

Decided to skip the ridiculous number of support acts (please stick to one maximum) and the venue was pleasantly busy enough without being packed. Only downside was not being able to get a phone signal or WiFi to enable the O2 2 for 1 Tubourg offer!

Show was good - with a slight change of set from recently. Loads of old favourites and a vocal audience. A real surprise with Black Mariah being in the encore too.

Twisted Love
Too Much of a Good Thing
There She Goes Again
Gracie B
This Is Rock 'N' Roll
Mona Lisa Smiled
Breaking Rocks
Tramps & Thieves
Hey You
I Don't Love You Anymore
Roses & Rings
Sweet Mary Ann
7 O'Clock
I Love This Dirty Town
White Trash Blues
Black Mariah
Sex Party (with support bands)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Who - Wednesday 12th April - Birmingham Barclaycard Arena

I had not been to Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena since December 2008 when it was the NIA and Elton John described it as the worst venue acoustically he had ever played in. It seems to have been spruced up a bit since then and is set in a nicely regenerated part of Birmingham alongside the canals.

The day hadn't got off to the best start with it taking four and a quarter hours to navigate the 140 miles to the venue. However, after a brisk pizza in Coast 2 Coast, we grabbed our seats. As the show had been moved from last year (when it was due to be at the NEC), we knew we were in the front row on the side tier, but were slightly further back that anticipated. This didn't really matter as the view was excellent, but the legroom very limited! I chose not to go to the bar as the queues for a beer (and the gents!) were massive!

Still, what a difference from the Royal Albert Hall. This was brilliant; much better sound, band clearly enjoying themselves (last night of the tour) and Townshend on exceptional form. Loads of guitar crunching and soloing - even a "knee slide" in Won't Get Fooled Again - who would know he was in his seventies. Likewise Daltrey, back to form vocally with a great performance. I really can't describe how uplifting this was after the disappointment of the other week. The lighting, sound and videos where top notch too.

The only dip was the turgid "Join Together". We got a rare "Relay" at the end - strange choice to finish (very hardcore!), but I was particularly pleased to hear "Bargain" and "You Better You Bet"

Fantastic stuff! Now who wants to give me a few thousand dollars for their Vegas residency?!

I Can't Explain
The Seeker
Who Are You
I Can See for Miles
My Generation
Join Together
It's a Boy
The Acid Queen
I'm Free
Amazing Journey
Pinball Wizard
See Me, Feel Me
You Better You Bet
I'm One
The Rock
Love, Reign O'er Me
Baba O'Riley
Won't Get Fooled Again

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Who - Thursday 30th March - Royal Albert Hall

What a treat - Thunder and the Who in the same week. And as a bonus, TCT stalwart Noel Gallagher was added as a late support.

His acoustic set was a mixed bag. A few non-descript solo (HFB) songs and four Oasis classics including the dodgiest version of Wonderwall I've heard. If you are going to write one of pop's all time classic sing-a-long songs, why change it so that it has different emphasis and is much worse than it was? Leave that to Bob Dylan! The set was saved by a back-on-track version of "Don't Look Back In Anger" to finish.

Anyway, the premise for the headliners would be that this would be the World premier of "Tommy" - played acoustically. It turns out that the band felt that they couldn't make this work, so we got "Tommy" - electric!

Now I don't like to be critical of one of my favourite bands and one of the greatest of all time, but his was one of the weakest shows I've seen them do. Pete Townshend seemed pretty grumpy (I suspect he was finding it harder than normal playing a challenging set that hadn't been done for years [1989]), the sound volume was wildly inadequate (the mere thought of being able to be 20 yards from the stage for the Who and be able to talk at normal volume to your neighbour seems unthinkable) and the audience pretty static.

Still, at least we got the often dropped "Sally Simpson" and a few greatest hits afterwards, but this seemed cut short. Apparently the intro to "Welcome" was played for the first time since 1969 by those in the know! But there was definitely something lacking. I'm at Birmingham in a few weeks with a different set promised - let's see how that goes!

[ Edit - I gather the Saturday TCT Who show at the RAH was a huge improvement ]

Setlist - Noel Gallagher
Everybody's on the Run
If I Had a Gun... 
Half the World Away 
AKA... What a Life! 
Don't Look Back in Anger 

Setlist - The Who
I Can't Explain
It's a Boy 
Amazing Journey
Eyesight to the Blind 
Cousin Kevin 
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It's Alright? 
Fiddle About 
Pinball Wizard
Go to the Mirror! 
There's a Doctor 
Tommy Can You Hear Me? 
Smash the Mirror 
I'm Free 
Miracle Cure 
Sally Simpson 
Tommy's Holiday Camp 
We're Not Gonna Take It 
Won't Get Fooled Again
Join Together
Baba O'Riley
Who Are You

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thunder - Tuesday 28th March - Hammersmith Apollo

Luke Morley and Ben Matthews
One of Britain's top rock bands in one of the World's great venues - what's not to like? Well, the venue name of course - I'm not going to call it the Eventim Apollo.

Regular readers of the blog would have known exactly where to find us in the venue (to within a couple of metres) and Danny and the boys were on excellent form. Their new album, "Rip It Up" has been a bit of a slow burner for me - especially after the fantastic "Wonder Days" predecessor. It is growing on me a bit and the new songs worked well in a live setting.

The normally excellent Lynne Jackaman appeared for some background wailing in the encore on "She Likes the Cocaine" and unfortunately it was wailing - her fantastic vocals not really shown to their best ability in my opinion.

So like pretty much every Thunder show I've been to, this was really good. It just didn't quite feel as much fun as normal for some reason. Can't quite put my finger on why.

[ Edit - Subsequent Christmas show(s) added in Wolverhampton - yay! ]

No One Gets Out Alive
The Enemy Inside
River of Pain
Resurrection Day
Right From the Start
Backstreet Symphony
Higher Ground
In Another Life
The Thing I Want
Don't Wait For Me
Rip It Up
Love Walked In
I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Roll
Wonder Days
She Likes the Cocaine 
Dirty Love

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Black Star Riders - Friday 17th March - Kentish Town Forum

I primarily went along to this on the basis that Rich was going, the tickets were quite good value and Gun were supporting - who I'd not seen before (certainly in this incarnation). In the event a secondary support was added, pushing Gun down to 3rd on the bill, which was a bit of a pain (shorter set, earlier start etc).

Still, they were OK. Having gone through several vocalists it turns out that the founder member and bass player is now on singing duties. He was fine and the set was pretty decent - even my pet hate "Word Up" sounded bearable.

The other support band were not bad either, but I can't remember their name. The Black Star Riders seem to be shifting away from their Thin Lizzy history and only "The Boys Are Back In Time" was covered here. You would have thought St. Patrick's Day would have yielded "Whiskey In The Jar"! Still, they are a decent rock band and vocalist Ricky Warwick has a fantastic voice. I enjoyed their set despite not knowing the songs, which is a bit of a theme for my recent visits to the Forum (or the "Town & Country" as I prefer to call it!)

Setlist - Gun
Let It Shine
Word Up! 
Don't Say It's Over
Better Days
She Knows
Steal Your Fire
Shame On You

Setlist - Black Star Riders
Heavy Fire
The Killer Instinct
Dancing With the Wrong Girl
Hey Judas
When the Night Comes In
Cold War Love
All Hell Breaks Loose
The Boys Are Back in Town
Hoodoo Voodoo
Who Rides the Tiger
Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
Testify or Say Goodbye
Kingdom of the Lost
Bound for Glory
Finest Hour

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Creedence Clearwater Review - Friday 10th March - Boom Boom Club, Sutton

With no February shows, this was my first gig in ages and a decent tribute act to the fine music of Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty. Thought the singer was really good - he'd be an excellent fit in the current incarnation of Slade. And for a casual fan of CCR and JF, they played pretty much everything I expected to hear.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Quireboys - Saturday 28th January - Bedford Esquires

It's Griff's birthday celebration in Bedford where the Quireboys are "Keeping Rock And Roll Alive" with an electric show in his home town. It turns out to be an epic adventure.

I plan to meet Rich at Kings Cross to watch Arsenal thrash Southampton on TV and the "helpful" Thameslink staff in the ticket office refuse to sell me a "from boundary zone..." ticket for Richard as he is not with me and I don't have the travelcard part of his ticket. This leads to a "discussion" where I point out that all I need to do is to "go round again" and show my ticket to buy the same thing again. I am told this is "illegal!". As there are only 2 desks open and would be easily spotted, we wait until later to get the other ticket, thus almost missing the train.

And the train. 5 coaches (inc 2 first class). No seats. Thank you East Midland Trains, so we stand all the way to Bedford. At least it's quick and funnily enough when the inspector checks our tickets and passes, they are correct.

We have enough time for a game of darts in a town centre pub and a visit to the surprisingly spacious Wetherspoons. And then onto Esquires where we are puzzled by the fact that the Quireboys are not in the room we saw them previously. Instead, they are upstairs and in a larger hall. And it's pretty busy. Still, we got to the bar and got a half decent spot. The electric show was really good, Spike and the band on good form and (relatively) sober. The crowd were not. I had the best part of 2 full beers spilt over the lower half of me (to be fair, the culprits were very apologetic). Despite that, the gig was enjoyable.

We knew that the downside of being 55 miles from home was that we'd probably have to miss the encore to get the last train. We'd double checked the last one (23:27) with the (more helpful) lady at the Bedford Ticket office. Technology these days means that you can check the running before you leave. 15 minutes before the encore it was "on time". 5 minutes before "delayed" with an eta 33 mins later. There was also a previously undocumented Thameslink "chugger" at 23:40 which was not on the ticket office list.

We stayed for the encore whilst tweeting EMT to see if the train would actually run. We were told it would, but now it would be 45 mins late. Previous experience suggests that when things are that late (and still not moving) they often turn to "cancelled"! So a quick dash for the "chugger" and a slow "all stations" trip back to St Pancras (we got in 2 mins after the late arrival as it turns out, but at least had several seats and toilet facilities!).

And on to St Pancras. London has recently added a "night tube" on the Victoria and Northern lines for Friday and Saturday Nights. So there is no excuse at an International Station for the entrances to all tubes to be boarded up. As relative locals we were able to guess that the entrances in nearby Kings Cross may be open (they were), but why on earth no signs telling the people with suitcases trying to navigate around St Pancras that? Tube was efficient, but very busy on the Northern Line from Stockwell.

I say goodbye to Richard at Morden and wait for a 93 bus. the Countdown board says "18 minutes" - grrr. 25 minutes later it says "16 minutes". FFS! The bus eventually arrives 45 minutes later after the World's most frequent night bus (the N155) had arrived 6 times!

I had thought when I saw the 18 minutes not moving that an "Uber" cab was a good option (£7.50 and 3 mins away), but as my phone was down to 1% battery I had no confidence that it would stay on long enough to confirm the booking, identify the cab or be called by the driver.

So, eventually I get in at 2:45 am - three and a quarter hours to travel 55 miles. That's the price for "Keeping Rock And Roll Alive". Welcome to transport in Britain folks!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Joanne Shaw Taylor - Friday 27th January - Shepherds Bush Empire

My first show of 2017 and it's on the first floor of the Shepherds Bush Empire for Joanne Shaw Taylor. For reasons I'm not quite certain of the Empire nearly always make the first floor unreserved which means you have to get there early for a seat or a standing view from the side above the floor. We opted for the latter, which meant getting a decent view of the support band - who's name I have instantly forgotten. Shame as they were actually pretty good.

JST and her minimalist backing band appeared - good to see the old tradition of Guitarist and Bass play standing on rugs being kept (!) and it was a really high quality show. Mainly showcasing the excellent "Wild" album, the vocals were clear and the playing of the highest order. Joanne goes from strength to strength and my guess is the next time she plays here the upper tiers will be open.

Dyin' to Know
Nothing to Lose
No Reason to Stay
Jump That Train
Diamonds in the Dirt
Tried, Tested & True
Watch 'em Burn
Time Has Come
Wanna Be My Lover
Ready to Roll
Wild Is the Wind
Tied & Bound
Going Home

An enthusiastic (and more thorough) review of the show is here