Sunday, 21 April 2019

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing ... But Are Responsible For A Lot Of People Having A Good Time

I had not intention of blogging this gig, but ....

I met with a great guy John , bassist with Urban Commandos, who had never seen The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (who I will refer to as The Men for the rest of the post), caught up briefly with Daniel Dunlavey main man of Impossible Gears and not for the first time wanted to see the support act Louise Distras.

There's a few short videos on my Instagram Channel around here

So here goes, it was a great night.

Louise Distras:

Louise is from Yorkshire (Wakefield) and I had heard a couple of songs from here excellent "Street Revolution" EP, the first of which was "Poor Man" (How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?) originally composed by Blind Alfred Reed in 1929 (Louise told me about this)  which I had first heard from a Ry Cooder live album although it appeared on his 1970 eponymous album and I got into him when "Bop Til You Drop" (the first ever digital recorded mainstream rock album) came out, but I digress.

She came on stage unannounced and her voice and guitar just signifies extreme presence, she engaged with the crowd and got them singing , stamping and clapping on cue. She played for thirty five minutes and played "Poor Man" and then Solidarity" which is a mash up of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" and Little Steven's "Solidarity", and apparently Little Steven was most impressed with it. Louise's  song is absolutely excellent  although I had bought the eP before she started.

I chatted with her after (although didn't recognise her at first as I started say how excellent Louise Distras had been). She is someone I definitely need to listen to more and if you do get the chance to see her, just do it.

Also she is friends with Ryan Harvey who I featured in my last Woody Guthrie post on SevenDaysIn here.

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing:

The Men. Simply came on being them selves and rabble roused the crowd. They are just a totally amazing live experience combining mental , comic timing , banter , great musicianship and funny comedy with a social conscience as well as teaching you a bit of history. As I have previously said as sort of cross between Anthrax and Chas 'n' Dave with some Music Hall and Stand Up Comedy and Social Commentary thrown in. The night just flies by and your mood is always enhanced by seeing them, they are far better live than on record, in my opinion, but you cannot bottle the magic they bring to the stage. This was the final gig of their tenth Anniversary tour but they can go on for many more decades in my humble opinion.

Another great gig and looking forward to next time.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Thirtieth Century Man - Scott Walker Has Left

Scott Walker died yesterday, a true artist. I've written about him on my main blog here, but really need to just post something to remember him by.

The documentary Thirtieth Century Man gives a great insight into him , and when he finally appears you are expecting someone awkward, reclusive and difficult but he was engaging and articulate. The film is available in the UK on Youtube here

He was always driven from his early teens, as Scott Engel, but most people will know him as a member of The Walker Brothers, none of them called Walker and they weren't brothers.

After The Walker Brothers ended he became more withdrawn and released albums sporadically and they became more and more challenging for the listener. You are talking as far out as some Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, The Fall and Aphex Twin but nowhere near these artists.

When you listen to solo sixties performances  including covers of Jacques Brel you maybe had an inkling that this was not your standard entertainer and with "Climate of the Hunter" with several songs or pieces referred to as their number he had departed the mainstream.

The albums "The Drift" , "Tilt"and "Bish Bosh" took you further out somewhere where we had never been and when I heard "Brando" the opener from "Soused", his collaboration with Sunn O))) , I thought what the hell is this but was mesmerised by it.

Scott Walker was hardly prolific, and once he had completed an album he listened to it ince to make sure it was what he wanted, then he never revisited it. So I will leave you with "Brando" and "Jackie" both wonderful and essential.

Scott Walker a true artist.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Nightmares and Kings

The first Trash Shack of the 2019 resurrection featured two excellent bands, The Shakin' Nightmares and The Kings of Hong Kong. .

The Trash Shack Universe has it's own music and images. Surf, Link Wray, ReVerb , all the Billies from Rocka to Psycho , some Western Swing, Mariachi , Rock and Roll and Punk Energy an a very impressive Garage. It has a current home at The Doll at The Black Bull but can be found further afield at The Cluny and maybe Scotland, London and further west .

I must make a mention of the amazing Art Installation outside The Doll At The Black Bull featuring various punk icons which you can see here. I spoke to the artists who , apart from being very talented were engagingly pleasant.

Immaculate quiffs, Gibson Guitars, Masks and Tattoos are always not very far from what might be be seen as the Trash Shack core.

So here we go:

The Shaking Nightmares

Starting their set with the brooding instrumentation of "(I've Got) The Shakin' Nightmares" (effectively their signature song) before the vocals appeared , then following up immediately with "Unbelievin'" (you can see my Youtube take here). The sound improved as they went along they looked the part introducing many different styles.

Their penultimate song was a stunning version of Little Richard's "Keep A Knockin'" which I caught a minute of on my phone and you can see here.

If the night had finished there it would have been worth it but there was more to come......

The Kings of Hong Kong

The first full masked band I've seen since The Coyotemen (who are prime Trash Shack beef) ,  and the Kings of Hong Kong carry a huge stage presence,  and a double bass , tattoos , masks and a sound channeling Link Wray, Robert Gordon with mohicans, hats, menace and style. I caught a song called "Empire of Love" here but have been impressed by a lot of the videos on their Youtube Channel.

Soall in all an excellent Trash Shack night.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Lux Lives At The Black Bull

...well to be more accurate The Doll at The Black Bull in Gateshead. There have been quite a few of these excellent afternoon gigs both here and The Cluny 2 where lots of local musicians form band sor the day to remember various great garage bands from the sixties and the seventies.

Today was (again) The Cramps with Lux Interior and Poison Ivy and while anyone brought up on a diet of X-Factor, Commercial Local Radio and the last twenty years of Radio One would not appreciate the excellent agressive raw coolness on display at these gigs.

Like The Stooges, Iggy Pop and Link Wray the sound is both challenging and fun with raw psychobilly rhythms fueled by whatever fills your particular glass.

This was four hours of sound, half a dozen bands for a mere five pounds and to be quite honest, and one of the sets was worth that. I'm dovetailing this post with the Forbidden Dicks take on "Human Fly" and Poison IVs interpretation of "She Like Heroin To Me" . There's also so instagram videos here. as well as details of the rest of the bands and upcomping Trash Shack dates.

Trash Shack has been resurrected so make a date for future gigs in the piece of toilet roll you call your diary, next one up on 23rd March.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Peter Buzzcock Shelley

This week we unexpectedly lost Pete Shelley and there are been a lot of respectfully posting and a lot of suddenly crawling out the woodwork tributes and love like when anyone passes on.

It's possible that the Buzzcocks kicked off the Manchester punk scene, I remember Shelley with his half a Woolworths guitar proving that anyone could do it. They took this further with the self produced and distributed "Spiral Scratch" EP.  The was the true spirit of Independence and it sickens me when I hear of some new "Indie" band have signed to a label to produce their first record. The thing is now, with digital distribution, it is far easier to self produce and publish than it was in the mid seventies. There was no internet or home computers then.

Shelley was there from the start and I didn't realise that their original drummer was Mick Singleton (no relation).  Their original single came out on their own "New Hormones" print but they signed to United Artists for their first album, and the single "Orgasm Addict" which the BBC refused to play at the time.

Shelley came up with one of the greatest riffs ever which appeared in the Buzzcock's "Lipstick" but was used by Howard Devoto for Magazine's debut single "Shot By Both Sides".

They were responsible for inviting the Sex Pistols to play the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, a gig that everyone was at, apparently. I think I saw both bands at the Lodestar at Ribchester, and later saw The Buzzcocks at the King George's Hall in Blackburn. I arrived after a darts match and the bouncers tried to confiscate my darts and belt, so I took em back to the car (the confiscated stuff was just being piled up). Then was amazed they were selling drinks in glasses, bottles and cans which idiots were chucking at the stage as well as gobbing at the band and at one point Shelley threatened to walk off. I didn't blame him, but the band played a full set and encore.

I then saw them at Newcastle UNi and the final time I saw them was a cracking set at the Mouth of Tyne Festival.

Pete Shelley wrote some amazing pop and produced some great solo albums and his second album "XL1" contained computer graphics for the ZX Spectrum that played in time with the music. As there's a Youtube take on that I'll include it below, but I am including a great video for my favourite Buzzcocks song "Why Can't I Touch It" absolutely perfect Shelley.

Friday, 9 November 2018

A Thousand Yard Stare In The House of Love

In the early nineties I became aware of an excellent band called Thousand Yard Stare. Their music was full of jangly and impressive guitar motifs and titles that were often two words melded together like "Wideshire" or "Seasonstream". Eventually after two albums and several EPs they split but their music stayed with me.

Post millenium I started tracking down their music, the two albums and all their EPs (just in CD format), Ebay was instrumental in me tracking this stuff down.

So to the gig, first of all The Boilershop is remarkably pleasant and extremely clean, even in the toilets, absolutely pristine unlike say The Riverside or The O2. All the staff were excellent and sparkling water was available for £2.50 a bottle which was good.

House of Love:

I'll start of with the headliners House of Love who most people had come to see, and they were absolutely excellent drifting from subdued to noise as and when required. They opened with "Christine" the opener from their debut album , which is what they were touring. Unusually their second album has the same eponymous name as the first and contains the excellent "Shine On". Here's a minute of "Christine" that I caught on Instagram.

Thousand Yard Stare:

Due to issues with public transport I arrived at the Boilershop ate ten to eight, doors opened at seven thirty so I thought I wouldn't miss anything. I was wrong, as I was walking up the road Thousand Yard Stare were playing probably my favourite of the their songs, the great parent / child narrative "Version of Me".

The sound of the band in the Biolershop was excellent with drums, guitar and vocals all coming over brilliantly,  Apparently "0-0 After Extra Time" isn't about football, but we got "Comeuppance" (still relevant today, "Seasonstream" and "Wideshire" as well as a few I missed the titles of, but the sound was excellent the jangly guitar motifs came through loud and clear. Click on the links to get an instagram minute of the songs that I caught.

After the gig I spoke with Stephen (vox) and Dominic (drums) who were exteremely affable and seemed to have really enjoyed what, in my opinion was an absolutely brilliant gig, everything that I expected. They said they hadn't included any new material as this was a greatest hits tour, but the new stuff more that stands up with the old material and does sound great. You can hear the new stuff on the "Live at Electric Studios" and their latest two EPs.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

And The Star and Shadow Too

Last night I visited the Star and Shadow for a Celebration of the life of Craig Puranen Wilson / Sheena Revolta. It is a wonderful space and a lot of work has gone into getting this ready. I wasn't sure want to expect but you get a wonderful welcome and there is a labyrinth of corridors and rooms and places to explore.

There were a lot of people and the main performance hall / bar was decorated with gittery stars and pink flamingoes (I don't know if that was a refernce to the divinely trashy John Waters / Divine film, probably). Incidentally John Waters appeared in the last episode of The Blacklist that I watched in a hilarious section with James Spader discussing clothes at a suit fitting.

The corridor to the venue was a redisplay of Craig's Garageland , images of female musicians, from last year.

Anyway the music playing included Gram Parsons and The Beach Boys and we were introduced The Mush described as dark folk music and featuring some wonderful playing and amazingly atmospheric songs. The spirit of Craig / Sheena hovered in the form of Divine Trash movies featuring lots of gratuitous nudity causing lots of laughter among the crowd  and band. I can't find anything about The Mush, maybe it's one of those unsearchable terms.

It was like when I saw the Japanses noiseniks Xaviers supporting  Wire. They were selling Tea Towels and Pillow Cases but know CDs but said they had stuff online. I couldn't find anything.

My friend Hedley post a link to the Mush website here  and they have been going for around twenty years. The website is comprejhensive with details of members, albums and music and well worth visiting as they are an amazing musical collective.

So I will include the video I took from last night so you can see the venue and hear the band. I definitely want to see more of them.

Next was Nathalie Stern , who was backing singin in The Mush with friends. Here music was electronic based with some awesome vocalising, and off course more Divine Trash on the screen, but I think here music would have been beautifully served by "The Wicker Man" or "A Field In England".

There were roller skaters, drag queens, some amazing costumes and lots of love in there but I had to leave at ten as the final collective sang their take on Blondie's "Heart of Glass" and the evening was just getiing going, but I would not have been an enhancement to the dancefloor.

There were DJ sets and dancing through to two AM and a truly wonderful event and get together heralded the return of the Star and Shadow, and veritable jewel to our wonderful home in Newcastle.