Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thunder - Friday 21st December - Manchester Academy

Off up north for what is becoming an annual trip for Thunder's Xmas party. Thankfully the band have heeded their public and moved on from the dreadful Rock City in Nottingham and this was our first visit to the Manchester Academy. And what a difference! A venue which you could get into easily. A venue where the audience all have a clear line of site to the stage (height permitting!). A venue with ample bar staff to server everyone quickly (and at fair prices). Toilets that you could get into with out a massive queue. And a large friendly crowd without a crush. If Carlsberg did venues...
The show itself started a little slowly. I know the band want to mix things up (after all there's a CD or 2 to come from this), but a start including obscure tracks from the pretty average "The Thrill Of It All" album had some punters scratching their heads somewhat! Things livened up a bit with "Low Life In High Places" and from there on in a good time was had by all. Sad to say we didn't recognise a Deep Purple cover - "Might Just Take Your Life", but and excellent "Jet" and "Hammer To Fall" were spot on.

The band seemed to be enjoying themselves and I can't help wondering if the 2013 tour with Journey and Whitesnake may jolt them out of retirement once again. In any case, there are rumours of the Xmas shows continuing but changing venue each year. I hear Brighton is very nice in December and gives the opportunity for a few Quadrophenia covers! Bell Boy!

Stand Up
The Moment Of Truth
Does It Feel Like Love?
Weather With You
This Forgotten Town
Don't Wait Up
I'll Be Waiting
It's Another Day
Low Life In High Places
Amy's On The Run
Backstreet Symphony
The Devil Made Me Do It
Until My Dying Day
Might Just Take Your Life
Isn't It Time
River Of Pain
On The Radio
Hammer To Fall
Love Walked In
Dirty Love
Born To Run
I Love You More Than Rock 'N' Roll
I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thin Lizzy / Quireboys - Monday 17th December - Shepherd's Bush Empire

Third gig in 4 days for me and off to the Shepherd's Bush Empire. We are here primarily for the Quireboys who are support, but also taking a first ever look at Thin Lizzy who are supposedly on the last night of their "farewell tour". Yeah, we've all heard that before.

The Quireboys were good - a fairly safe set - and Spike worked hard to engage with the pretty sparse crowd. Looking forward to a new album and shows in 2013.

Thin Lizzy's crowd had swelled slightly (maybe 2/3 capacity on the floor and a reasonable filled level 1 seating). Setlist was predictably greatest hits based and whilst Phil Lynott is generally regarded as "irreplaceable", Ricky Warwick and the rest of the plectrum flinging band were good fun. I may be tempted if and when they tour again.

Setlists (subject to confirmation!)
Tramps And Thieves
There She Goes Again
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Roses & Rings
Whippin' Boy
Mona Lisa Smiled
Hey You
Mother Mary
This Is Rock And Roll
7 O'Clock

Are You Ready
Don't Believe A Word
Killer On The Loose
Dancing In The Moonlight (It's Caught Me in It's Spotlight)
Waiting For An Alibi
Angel Of Death
Still In Love With You
Whiskey In The Jar
Cowboy Song
The Boys Are Back In Town
Black Rose

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin - Saturday 15th December - Borderline, London

Dan Baird - Borderline night 2
Night 2 of 2 and a similar position on the floor. Despite my words yesterday, the set wasn't quite as different as you may have expected, but the show of hands from the audience suggested around a 25% "return rate". Few will have left disapointed after another top notch perfomance.

Same again next year please!

Dixie Beauxderaunt
Open All Night
L'il Bit
Crooked Smile
Fall On Me
Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Lazy Monday
Railroad Steel
1000 Promises
Don't Pass Me By
Two For Tuesday (inc Hey, Tonight / Proud Mary)
I Dunno
Julie & Lucky
I Love You Period
On My Way
She Dug Me Up
Sheila (inc I Wanna Be Sedated)
All Over But The Cryin'
Dan Takes 5

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin - Friday 14th December - Borderline, London

Dan Baird - Borderline night 1
The first of 2 nights of Dan Baird & Homemade Sin at the Borderline. Going both nights you ask? Of course! Why? Because tomorrow will almost certainly be a completely different set.

Those "veterans" of this seemingly now annual double headers will know what to expect. A hot sweaty venue, loud rock 'n' roll and a great time. This didn't disapoint and it was actually a little more comfortable on the floor than normal.

Well Enough Alone
I Dunno
Crooked Smile
Nights of Mystery (inc Get It On)
1000 Promises
Julie & Lucky
I Love You Period
I Want You Bad
Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Two For Tuesday (inc Hey, Tonight / Proud Mary)
Dunk 'n' Dine
She Dug Me Up
Worse For Wear & Tear
All Over But The Cryin'
Dan Takes 5
Younger Face
Railroad Steel
Sheila (inc Do You Wanna Dance)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Status Quo - Monday 10th December - Brighton Centre

Status Quo - Quofestive Tour 2012 - Brighton Centre
A Monday night and a solo trip down to the Brighton Centre for Quo. I would've gone for next week at the O2 in London had it not been for the fact that tickets are already booked for the PDC Darts World Championship at the Ally Pally.

None of more Quo-fan mates would join us on the basis that: a) it's a Monday Night. b) it's down in Brighton. c) they'll play that Christmas nonsense again, won't they? d) Why haven't they got a top-bill support act? and e) I'll save my cash for the reunion next year.

So, despite the fact it was the worst night of the week for a gig, I decided to go rather than miss out. I too was rather unsure about the choice of "Eddie and the Hot Rods" as support, but they played a competent set, albeit to a very reserved, seated audience. The 2 covers at the end, Gloria and Born To Be Wild fited in well with the rest of the set. I'll look out for them if they play the Half Moon again, but suspect they were punching above their weight in an arena setting like this.

Speaking of the arena, there were a fair few empty seats - especially at the sides. I guess that means that many shared the view of my mates and gave this a miss.

So, the show itself. Well I enjoyed it - indeed the first 9 songs or so were amongst the best selection I've seen the guys play for a while. I could live without the middle bit of the set (except Living on an Island which I like), but I don't agree with the abuse that the band get on their own site message board from people who say it's a "disgrace" that they play "Marguerita Time" etc and they'll never go again. Get a life! If you don't like a song, go to the bar when it's on! How can one or two songs ruin a gig where you like the other 20? What nonsense! I also quite enjoyed longer versions of some of the songs than previously and a bit of a mix and match of some of the medley material.

What I would say though, is that the close to the main set is becoming very predictable and really does need a shakeup. Recent years have seen the band whizz through an encore as if they can't wait to escape, but I anticipated a couple of changes this time around.

That said, with hindsight, I should have skipped the encore to get the early train home (the danger of keeping the setlist secret from myself!). Still I did get to hear part of "It's Christmas Time" live for the first time. Shame there was no "Don't Waste My Time" (there was in Europe), but I'm now really looking forward to the reunion shows in March.

Paper Plane
Hold You Back
Mystery Song
Rock 'n' Roll 'n' You
Beginning Of The End
What You're Proposing / Down The Dustpipe / Wild Side Of Life / Railroad / Again And Again
Big Fat Mama
The Oriental
Creepin' Up On You
Marguerita Time
Living On An Island
In The Army Now
Drum Solo / The Killer
Roll Over Lay Down
Down Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over The World

Walking In A Winter Wonderland / Rocking Around The Christmas Tree / It's Christmas Time
Burning Bridges

Friday, November 30, 2012

Magnum - Thursday 29th November - Islington Academy

Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin keep the nightlight burning
A trip to Islington for the 2nd week running, this time to the Academy to see Magnum. The backstreets of Islington appear be a haven for attractive Eastern European bar staff and this was again the case this evening.

We made sure however, that we arrived in good time at the venue (last time Magnum were here it was so packed we barely got through the door) and secured our regular spot for this venue on the right hand side with a decent view. The setlist for this door has been absolutely static and at first glance may appear slightly biased toward newer material, but from first song to last, the band were at their captivating best. It helps that their last couple of albums have been top notch too.

Bob Catley continures to enthrall the audience with the enthusiasm of a man have his age (and full credit for the first time I have ever heard the words "Come on Islington!"), whilst Tony Clarkin's guitar playing is first rate and seemingly effortless. Add in the wonderful Harry James, Mark Stanway and Al Barrow and this is a top rate band. We were slightly puzzled with what could be needed on Mark Stanways laptop/Mac Airbook - not sure they use too much in the way of pre-recorded loops, but whatever issues the roadie was trying to sort didn't appear to affect the sound.

Predictable highlights were "Les Morts Dansant", "The Spirit" and "Vigilante" plus a relatively rare outing for "Day Of No Trust". Cracking stuff.

Richard and I were speculating that over the course of 25 years of watching Magnum, we have never heard them play a cover version live. Not withstanding that they did things like "Runaway Sue" earlier in their career, what other bands of stature can you say that for? A colleague put forward Bad Sabbath as a possibility - if anyone knows of any more or can correct us re: Magnum, I'd be interested to hear!

PS Another "Ling" point easily collected.

All The Dreamers
When We Were Younger
Blood Red Laughter
Wild Angels
Brand New Morning
How Far Jerusalem
The Flood
Les Morts Dansant
The Spirit
Dance Of The Black Tattoo
All My Bridges
All England's Eyes
Kingdom Of Madness
See How They Fall
Rockin' Chair
Days Of No Trust

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Doro - Tuesday 20th of November - The Garage, Islington

Ms Pesch
Off to the Garage in Islington for some German rock!

This was preceded by a long pub crawl - sadly all non-alcoholic for me, but including some excellent darts!

Arriving perfectly 5 mins before showtime we took our place in a 2/3 full venue and scored an expected 'Ling alert' point.

Having previously seen Doro supporting Saxon, I still didn't know too much material, but it was all solid enough apart from the outrageously long drum solo which was painful. The front of the venue pretty much dispersed to the loos for this part of the show. There must be a campaign online to ban these surely - if so, sign me up!

Anyway the rest of the show was enough to make me probably look out for a best of Warlock CD sometime soon. Raise your fist in the air London!
I Rule The Ruins
Burning The Witches
Fight For Rock
The Night Of The Warlock
True As Steel
Raise Your Fist In The Air
Für Immer
Metal Racer
Earthshaker Rock
Wacken Hymne (We are the Metalheads)
Metal Tango
Breaking The Law
All We Are
Love Me In Black
East Meets West

Friday, November 16, 2012

Brian May with Kerry Ellis - Thursday 15th November - The Hawth, Crawley

Kerry Ellis & Brian May
A trip to suburbia to see the Queen guitarist with stage star Kerry Ellis in Crawley.

The evening started with a couple of games of darts in Three Bridges and included a nice 180 with some "pub darts" in one venue and a stunning 13 dart 501 finish (my best ever) in "The Moonraker". We then cut through some sports fields and made our way to the Hawth, which I'd bizarrely thought was going to be the same venue I'd seen Status Quo at 10 years ago (Wrong! - that was the Crawley Leisure Centre)

In a seated and very quiet auditorium the mainly acoustic show presented a selection of Queen hits and other songs in aid of The Born Free Foundation. It was quite strange (with no real atmosphere whilst the songs were playing) and a strictly enforced "no photo" policy.

A local youth choir joined for the last 5 songs and they were perfectly pleasant (although Richard was horrified they needed a crib sheet for "We Are The Champions"!)
It was nice to see Brian playing in a venue like this (and for a good cause) but I look forward to seeing him on his own playing some more rock material soon. Kerry's vocals are pleasant enough but somewhat limit the style of material they can play.
Born Free
Butterfly (Somethings That Glitter)
I Who Have Nothing
Dust In The Wind
I Can See You Kissing Me
Somebody to Love
Nothing Really Has Changed
Life is Real (Song for Lennon)
The Way We Were
Love of My Life
I'm Not That Girl
No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young)
Last Horizon (Electric Guitar version)
I Can't Be Your Friend 
We Will Rock You
We Are the Champions
In The Bleak Midwinter
Born Free
Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Born Free Foundation Website

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Slade / Sweet - Friday 9th November - Guildford G-Live

The 2012 version of Slade
A double header on a Friday at the new G-Live venue in Guildford. After a pint or two by the riverside we headed to the venue which is quite an upgrade compared to the old Civic Hall.

First up were Sweet who include original guitarist Andy Scott. The band played a set sticking mainly to hits and their new album which is covers-based. They were better than I expected, so much so that I bought couple of CDs at the interval and got them signed.
Headliners were a band calling themselves Slade. Original members Dave Hill and Don Powell treating us to around 75 minutes of prime 70s rock. Whilst it still takes a few songs to get over the singer's rasping vocals, the show settles down into a mass sing-a-long. A relatively early finish enabled us to get a direct train home and it was a really nice evening.

New York Groove / Empire State Of Mind
The Six Teens
Wig Wam Bam / Little Willy
Teenage Rampage
You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
Love Is Like Oxygen / Fanfare For The Common Man
Fox On The Run
Ballroom Blitz

We'll Bring The House Down
Take Me Bak 'Ome
Far Far Away
Coz I Luv You
Run Runaway
The Bangin' Man
Gudbuy T'Jane
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Get Down And Get With It
My Oh My
Cum On Feel The Noize
Merry Xmas Everybody

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bryan Adams - Monday 29th October - Royal Albert Hall

Bryan Adams and his 'Bare Bones' tour finally reaches London. In the imposing surroundings at the Royal Albert Hall this show was being filmed for DVD and I'd managed to secure a half-decent seat on the floor without paying too exhorbitantly.
Musically it wasn't that different from previous shows on this extended tour (being entirely acoustic), but some of the anecdotes were very funny. This reminded me of previous occasions when I'd seen Bryan at this venue - most notably at the World Sport Awards (bizarrely introduced by Roger Moore & playing the same song twice) and in fine voice with the Who playing Quadrophenia.
It appeared I was the only person speaking English in the surrounding seats at this show, which goes to show what universal appeal Bryan has. I just hope the lady behind me singing does not come out on the DVD!!
Run To You
It's Only Love
Back To You
Here I Am
I'm Ready
This Time
Do I Have To Say The Words?
Can't Stop This Thing We Started
If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
Heat Of The Night
When the Night Comes
Not Romeo Not Juliet
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Cuts Like A Knife
18 Til I Die
Please Forgive Me
Summer Of '69
Walk On By
When You're Gone
The Right Place
I Can't Stop Loving You
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
You've Been A Friend To Me
Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?
I Still Miss You... A Little Bit
Straight From The Heart
All For Love

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ian Hunter - Friday 19th of October - Shepherd's Bush Empire

Mr Ian Hunter
Back to the Shepherd's Bush Empire for the second night running - this time standing on the floor. Whilst not full, a healthy crowd turned up to see Mr Hunter play a selection of material from his solo albums and some Mott The Hopple material as well. For man well into his 70s, his vocals are excellent and the band that he has assembled are very competent. Ian switched seamlessly between guitar and piano and the sonngs from his new album "When I'm President" mixed in well with the old classics.

To round off the evening it was no surprise at all to see his daughter Tracy and Mick Ralphs join the band for a rousing "All the Young Dudes". If it wasn't for the fact that we go away for the weekend tomorrow, I'd be back for the 3rd night running with Steve Miller.

Comfortable (Flyin' Scotsman)
Once Bitten Twice Shy
Fatally Flawed
Wash Us Away
Just The Way You Look Tonight
23A, Swan Hill
Irene Wilde (first part) / All The Way From Memphis
All American Alien Boy
Black Tears
Just Another Night
When I'm President
Roll Away The Stone
Michael Picasso
Sweet Jane
Girl From the Office (snippet)
Ta Shunka Witco (Crazy Horse)
The Moon Upstairs
Saturday Gigs / Life
All the Young Dudes

Friday, October 19, 2012

Scouting For Girls - Thursday 18th of October - Shepherd's Bush Empire

A seated engagement at the Shepherd's Bush Empire and I'd forgotten what a good view you get from the 1st tier. After a pleasant enough warmup act, Scouting For Girls hit the stage to great excitement from the crowd. Playing a mix of material from their first two albums as well as from the new one this was a pleasant if nit extraordinary show. Obviously the crowd reacted best to the old material and I'm glad to say a few favourites remain in the set - especially "I Wish I Was James Bond". It'll be interesting to see if the band can take their popularity to the next level.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cregan & Co - Saturday 29th September - Boom Boom Club, Sutton

Jim Cregan at the Boom Boom Club
Having lost most of the other ex-members of the Rod Stuart band, the band which used to be known as "Apart From Rod" are now called "Cregan and Co". They'd also lost drummer Harry James on Magnum duty for this show.

This was the first time I'd seen the new vocalist, Ben Mills. A former X-Factor finalist, it turns out you shouldn't hold this against him - he can really sing!

The standard 70's Rod standards were performed flawlessly, with a couple of surprises - notably Handbags and Gladrags plus a bonus Come Up And See Me (Make Me Smile) which was excellent (Jim Cregan had played the original guitar on this classic hit). Another fun night at the Boom Boom and a band well worth seeing!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Peckham Cowboys, Brijitte West, Gasoline Queens - Saturday 22nd September - Unicorn, Kentish Town

Brijitte West at the Unicorn
A trip to North London and a bit of Kentish Town we'd not visited before. A visit to a couple of pubs on the way was variable - one fairly hidous (The Gloucester Arms - full of flies!), one not bad (Torriano) - and one very nice (The Admiral Mann). A game of darts in the latter produced some very good scoring and even attracted an audience at one stage. Slightly annoyed I missed a double for a 14 dart leg which would have equalled my PB.

Anyway, the show was in the Unicorn - an imposing building with a number of stern looking doorstaff.  Once inside though, it seemed all that is good abour a decent Rock Pub. Good stage and viewing area, reasonably priced drinks and a friendly crowd. The bill for the show was similar to the one we saw a few months ago and there was no admission charge - hurray!

In spite of our darts delay we were still in time to see the Gasoline Queens whose rock and roll set included the Stone's "Dead Flowers". In fact the set was very similar to last time, but sound quality a bit better. All in all, quite enjoyable.

Brijitte West was next - and playing an electric set for the first time we've seen her. Catchy songs, excellent vocals and a decent backing band. Really enjoyed her set and were able to tell her so afterwards during a brief chat.

The Peckham Cowboys were on last and despite the biggest crowd, were probably the weakest of the 3 acts on the night. Songs were OK despite a few technical difficulties, but another really short show (35 mins?) left us wondering if they simply don't have much material to play or just can't be bothered. It's hard to see how they will grow their fan base persuing this strategy - indeed nearly all of the audience we recognised from previous shows at the 12 Bar Club and Catscratch Fever.

A quick pint of Estrella on the way back for the last southbound Northern Line concluded a good night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cold Chisel - Wednesday 11th July - Shepherd's Bush Empire

After a brave decision to meet in one of the errr.. most traditional pubs in London - The Stewart Arms (a mere stones throw from the Westfield Shopping centre) - average age of clientale 60+, we moved for a nice couple of Bitburgers in the The Bull - once of the nicest shopping centre pubs I know.
Having ascertained stage times and decided to give the support a miss, we turnd up at about 8:50pm for the 9:00pm start. This is where the problems started. 2 of us had remembered our tickets and 2 hadn't! (guess who the gig regulars are!). Anyway, this meant I had to go into "dad" mode, explaining to the nice girl in the ticket office what fools my friends were (...insert your own Australian abuse here...) and she very kindly did some checks and issued 2 passes. Beyond the call of duty, so thank you Shepherd's Bush Empire (and apologies to those in the queue behind picking up tickets).

So, we missed the first 2 songs, but the venue wasn';t sold out, so got a reasonable view in our normal spot by the left hand bar. Double beers were promptly supplied by he who forgot the tickets and we enjoyed the rest of the show. I found it a bit wierd as I know much more Jimmy Barnes solo material than Cold Chisel, but it all seemed well received by the predominently Aussie crowd. Ian Moss sang vocals on some tracks - he's certainly a bit less "shouty" than Mr Barnes, but Jimmy seems to get the better songs. Khe Sanh was a predictible highlight.

Anyway, after the show we decamped to the Walkabout (groan...) for a pint of Snakebite (double groan...). They at least had the decency to close at 11 (why?), so if was on to O'Neills for a nightcap of a lager variety. The normal bus combination home worked well, so a 1:30am bedtime could have been much worse.
Standing on the Outside
Cheap Wine
No Plans
HQ 454 Monroe
Saturday Night
Forever Now
Yakuza Girls
My Baby
Rising Sun
Summer Moon
All For You
You Got Nothing I Want
Merry Go Round
Flame trees
Khe Sanh
Bow River
When The War Is Over
Four Walls
Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Status Quo - Tuesday 3rd July - Kew Gardens

You know what you are going to get from a Quo Summer ""festival". A slightly shortened version of last years set, a great night out and rain!

Somehow, only the support band - the Straits - got the the rain. Pretty heavy it was at times too. They were pretty good (it's all Dire Straits covers), but a little self indulgent in places. They may well have done Money for Nothing and Walk of Life before we arrived, but it would have been nice to have heard those.

Anyway, we got down the front for Quo - having declined the £5 a pint Honey Dew (note to brewers - insteade of having a slogan "If you like lager, try Honey Dew", how about a radical "If you like lager, sell lager FFS!"

A solid set as always with Francis on good form moaning about noise restrictions and overhead planes on a regular basis. A solid 8/10 from the boys.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Peckham Cowboys - Wednesday 20th June - 12 Bar Club, Soho

Supported by Brijitte West and the Gasoline Queens

Brijitte West - Excellent
Gasoline Queens - Pretty good (with Texas Terri)
Peckham Cowboys - Good, but way too short (20 minute set - taking the P... as headliners.)

Details to follow

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Little Angels - Monday 4th June - Oxford O2 Academy

So, approximately 19 years after I last saw them, the Little Angels are back! Primarily reforming for the Download Festival, this warm-up show wasn't ideally situated, but Rich and I gambled on being able to get home via a route involving the Oxford Tube and the District Line via Notting Hill, thus narrowly aoiding the need for several nightbuses.
The Cowley Road area of Oxford isn't the best, so we headed to the City Centre for a couple of beers first - including a stop in my favourite Oxford pub, The Turf Tavern. A walk to the venue involved a successful (for me!) game of Bar Billiards and a snack from the local Tesco's.
The venue was pretty busy. Knowing it would be loud, I was trialling my new "acoustic earphones" which turned out to be a little too efficient. The show itself was good and most of the old favourites got an airing including my favourite - "I Was Not Wrong". Sadly a shortish set couldn't find any room for covers - I'd been hoping for an "England Rocks" or "Won't Get Fooled Again". I've got to be honest though and suggest that good as the show was, it didn't quite match the anticipation for me that preceded it. Hopefully the band will continue though and I'll get another chance to evaluate soon.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Quireboys - Thursday 3rd May - Borderline, London

A Thursday night at the Borderline - a great venue to see a band like this, but arguably slightly too small as it will invariable be sold out which makes it slightly uncomfortable and a real "mission" to make it to the gents at the back of the venue and back to a spot on the floor.

Guitarist Paul G and Spike were spotted at the Pillars of Hercules pre-show and we were quite surprised to see Spike with no drink in hand.

We got into the venue early to see Irish guitarist Pat McManus - ex Mama Boys - of whom I have a cople of dusty singles. He was pretty good, albeit a little self indulgent at times, but his Gary Moore tribute  Belfast Boy was excellent. Pat would also return later to add fiddle to half a dozen or so songs in the Quirboys set.

The Quireboys were predictably good. Spike pretending he was drinking diet coke (unlikely it would appear), but he did seem reasonably sober, with not too much inappropriate rambling between songs. Despite a couple of old favourites missing, it was good to have a mixed up set and to be honest, whatever they play will go down a storm in a small venue like this. Another good night out!
Tramps & Thieves
There She Goes Again
Hey You
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Roses & Rings
White Trash Blues
One For The Road
Last Time
Mona Lisa Smiled
This Is Rock 'n' Roll
Mother Mary
Sweet Mary Anne
7 O'Clock
I Don't Love You Anymore
Dirty Town

Monday, April 09, 2012

All Right Now - Sunday 8th April - Half Moon, Putney

When we booked this, the show was meant to be "4 Bills and A Ben" featuring Quo's John Edwards. Not sure what happened thereafter, but it turned into a show from lead man Johnny Warman's other projects - All Right Now (a tribute to Free and Bad Company). Just as well we like both of those bands!

Unfortunately, we seemed keener than most. A sparse crowd (50-60 tops!) meant the venue appeared nearly empty. Thankfully, this didn't stop the band putting on a really solid show.

Jeff Rich (ex Quo) was on drums - I'd forgotten how short he was! The guarist did a pretty good job, especially when covering on those songs where the original had multiple guitars or keyboards. Highlights for me were "Movin' On", "Wishing Well" and the encore - "The Hunter". All in all, a nice evening of good music (as always with Johnny), but I have my doubts as to whether there's an ample audience for the band to carry on playing shows in this form. I hope I'm wrong!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Catscratch Fever - Saturday 31st March - White Lion, Streatham

Tyla J Pallas
An unusual one this. An unprecedented trip to Streatham for a show in aid of a local cats charity and a children's charity. A lengthy "all day" event, we decided to get there a bit later to concentrate on the 3 headline acts.

First, a quick check out of the pubs Streatham High Street had to offer. Most were absolutely fine (despite a £5 pint, yep really, of Moretti in our first stop). Gastropub prices gone mad! The backstreet option we found was a little more wierd. I can only assume the "all-day bender" is alive and well in some parts of town!

Into the White Lion, which is a decent enough old fashioned pub with the gig suprisingly in the front area overlooked by massive windows. By no means full, but a healthy enough crowd was in by the time we turned up, checked our names were on the list (always nice when they are!) and handed over our catfood donation!

Our first act was Brijitte West who I'd never heard of, doing an acoustic set. Turns out she is the singer from NY Loose and was really good. Despite not knowing any of the songs, her half hour set flew by. After quite a long gap, the band we'd really come for, The Peckham Cowboys, were on. Featuring ex-Quireboy Guy Bailey on guitar, this is not a photogenic band! That matters not, when they play some good quality bar room blues and rock though. A solid show, but only about 25 mins worth which was a shame. Hopefully they'll do some of their own shows soon.

Headline act was Tyla from Dogs D'Amour. For me, this was the surprise of the evening. In his 90 minute acoustic set, I didn't know any of the songs (unfortunately no "Satellite Kid"!), but it was enthralling. A mixture of soft heartfelt ballards and some punchy rock numbers all played expertly whilst sipping on various drinks (Guiness, Red Wine etc) between songs. As Richard and I left, we commented how that will be tough to beat as the value gig of the year!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Roger Daltrey - Wednesday 28th March - Royal Albert Hall

"Who Are You"? Royal Albert Hall - view from the Gods

Our annual pilgramage to the Royal Albert Hall in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust Charity. Their excellent work is supported by a series of gigs each year arranged by Roger Daltrey. Much as we'd liked to have gone to see Paul McCartney a few days later, the prices were a bit out of reach, so instead we went for the opening night to see Roger himself, albeit from slightly long range in the circle! there had been much press debate leading up to the show around debenture holders flogging their seats for huge profits and although there were some retricted view seats left empty, it was a pretty good turnout for the Who frontman and "friends".

Thumbnail of Kelly Jones and Ron Wood from
 A 2 song acoustic set from Mr Daltrey started proceedings (pretty average in my opinion), including "Freedom" before the first of the "special" guests appeared - Paul Freeman who did 1 song. A brief (early!) interlude was followed by Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics, who I really enjoyed. One highlight was Ron Wood joining him for an excellent Faces "Ooh La La" - outrageously predicted by me at the start of the evening!

Another break and then it was time for Paul Weller. By many accounts, his live performances can be a bit hit or miss, depending on what songs he chooses to play. Here, I thought the mix of well known and new was about right and his brief acoustic set was enjoyable.

Another break and it was time for the main attraction - Roger Daltrey's electric set. Without Simon Townshend on guitar for a change and with no sign of Pete either, he ripped through a range of Who classics interupted only by more guests. First up was Scottish songstress Amy MacDonald who did the 2 of the 3 songs of hers I have (!) and a popular cover of Springsteens "Born To Run". I was impressed. She was quickly followed by Steve Winwood, who's "Higher Ground" has never struck me as a classic song. I was clearly in the minority on that one as most of the crowd got to their feet for an extended version. I much preferred the next song, the Spencer Davis classic "Gimme Some Lovin'" and by then the party was in full swing. Ron Wood and Kelly Jones returned later for a slight chaotic "Baba O'Riley" after a slightly self indulgent "Young Man Blues", but there was little to complain about. Roger's traditional solo show closers bought the evening to an end. A good evening for an excellent cause.

Setlist (Daltrey Electric)
Who Are You
The Kids Are Alright
Behind Blue Eyes
Mr Rock and Roll - Amy MacDonald
This Is The Life - Amy MacDonald
Born To Run - Amy MacDonald
Higher Love - Steve Winwood
Gimme Some Lovin' - Steve Winwood
Pinball Wizard
I Can See For Miles
Won't Get Fooled Again
Young Man Blues
Baba O Riley
Without Your Love

Blue, Red and Grey

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Union / The Answer – Thursday 15th March – Camden Electric Ballroom

Luke & Peter from The Union
Regular readers (if there are any!) will know that I like both of these bands. After watching Man Utd’s particularly poor display against Bilbao on TV, we trundled in to fairly busy venue and got our normal “spot” to watch the first band of this “double header”. I’m pleased to report that The Union were on top form, concentrating on the heavier elements of their 2 albums so far. It struck me for the first time about their “glam” influences, during Glitter-esq drum and bass on “Obsession” and Slade like chorus on “Black Monday” – “Hell Fire Fury, Stomping Your Feet”. Brilliant stuff.

The Answer
As you know my views on the Answer sway from them being an excellent band (they are), but not quite having the songs to go with the talent. This appears partially mitigated against by their new album “Revival” which is a step up from the disappointing “Everyday Demons” in my view. Much new material was played here and it sounded good. We did laugh though at singer Cormack’s crowd surfing – he didn’t get as far as he had done in the tiny Borderline. We (somewhat unkindly!) speculated that he seems to have put on few pounds since then.

So all in all an excellent double bill. Only slight disappointment was that none of the local pubs were serving at 11pm on a Thursday – what is going on with our City?

Oh, and there was an unconfirmed "Ling Alert" !

Setlist: The Union
Watch The River Flow
Black Gold
Blame It On Tupelo
Step Up To The Plate
The Remedy
Cut The Line
Easy Street
Black Monday
Siren's Song

Setlist: The Answer
New Day Rising
Under The Sky
Vida (I Want You)
Faith Gone Down
Come Follow Me
Nowhere Freeway
Too Far Gone
One More Revival
Evil Man
Waste Your Tears

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Simon Townshend – Wednesday 7th March – Eel Pie Club, Twickenham

A “limited number of tickets” were available for the official launch party for Simon’s new album and Richard and I snared a couple when they became available. Our search for a pub in the vicinity with a dartboard proved to be in vain, so we had to settle for the entertainment of seeing Stevenage take the lead against Spurs and Lionel Messi’s first 2 of is historic 5 goals in a Champions League game.

We wanted to get in relatively early as support was provided by Mollie Marriott, who as a quick Youtube search will show you, has a very impressive voice. According to Rich, the phrase I used on the night – “I’ve checked her out on Youtube” – sounds dodgy and could mean something else entirely! In any case, she and her band were as good as I’d hoped, playing mainly original material but finishing with an alternative take on a rock and roll number (unfortunately the title escapes me!)

So onto Simon’s set. We secured a good view outside the “dressing rooms” at the side of the stage and were treated to an extended set. An early surprise was a version of the early Who track – “I’m The Face”. From there there was a mix of new material (all pretty good), some old classics (especially good version of “The Way It Is”) and his brother’s “Going Mobile”. Slightly surprised that there were no guests (Roger Daltrey had shown up for 4 songs a few shows earlier), but all in all a good evening. Unfortunately the CDs for signing sold out before we got a chance to grab one, but at least that meant we got a civilised train home.

Electric Friend
Something New
I’m The Face
There’s A Girl
Come Back
Making Waves
She Asked Me
Anyway She Moves
Make It
Bed of Roses
Looking Out Looking In
Still Love
Going Mobile
Forever And A Day
The Way It Is (Solo Acoustic)
Twenty To Eleven
The Dirty Jobs
I'm The Answer

Sunday, February 12, 2012

American Anthems Featuring John Parr - Tuesday 7th February - New Wimbledon Theatre

Purely by chance I noticed an advert for this online. Having enjoyed Mr Parr's support slots at the Borderline and Hammersmith over the last couple of years, it looked a good oportunity to see him, albeit in the confines of a stage production.

That production basically involved a particularly thin plot used as an excuse to perform classic American rock songs. The performances ranged from OK to actually pretty good - the guy playing the preacher (Rob Castell) was particularly entertaining and Rebecca Kelly was probably the pick of the female vocalists. A more than competent live band ensures that the numerous tunes played (Bon Jovi, Springsteen, Eagles, Journey, Guns 'N' Roses, Elvis etc) were well received. The blokes in the audience were also rewarded with an attractive quartet of dancers/backing singers who as well as performing well, seemed to appear in skimpier and skimpier outfits as the night went on.

So, good music, thin plot - where does Mr Parr fit in? Errr, well he didn't really. They basically stopped the play so that he could appear in some sort of "guest spot". He then churned through "Naughty Naughty" with the band and "Coming to Wimbledon" & "Oh Well" acoustically before a predictable (but excellent) "St. Elmo's Fire" back with the band. He did appear later in the encore, but it was clear that his name is only on the show to sell a few more tickets (and sell a few copies of his new CD afterwards). So, if you'd come only expecting to hear a lot of John Parr material you'd have left disapointed. Let's hope for a solo tour soon and regard this show for what it was - a bit of fun and a vehicle for some classic songs.

We retired to Wetherspoons Pub afterwards and were joined by pretty much the entire cast (minus Mr Parr). Regrettably the dancers were more appropriately dressed by then!

Official American Anthems Site
Picture above taken from publicity photos on Real Radio XS

Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Evening with Danny And Ben From Thunder - Friday 20th January - Bush Hall, Shepherd's Bush

So, my last show of 2011 was Thunder, the first of 2012 is two members of the same band - singer Danny Bowes and guitarist (and occasional keyboardist) Ben Matthews. At an intimate Bush Hall, the emphasis was as much on storytelling as music. Indeed only 10 songs in 2 and a half hours showed that it wasn't even a 50-50 split.

The stories were entertaining - covering Thunder's life on the road and trips to Japan, Germany and a number of festivals. The music was pretty much acoustic and featured only 3 Thunder songs including a pleasant piano-based "A Better Man". The other covers were a little hit and miss ("hit" for the Who's Squeeze Box, "miss" for Chuck Berry's Nadine). For the final song of the evening - Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love", the boys were joined by Danny's daughter Lucy on vocals and despite looking nervous, she performed very well.

So all in all a good fun evening, but not a show which you would choose to go to more than once on a tour.

A Better Man
See My Baby Walking
Squeeze Box
She's Not You
Interlude / I'm One (Acoustic Guitar only)
Like a Satellite
Make You feel My Love