Sunday, 30 December 2012

Lord Rochester Sets Sail In The Schooner

Didnt expect to be writing this post , but my friends Dave and Julie Campbell have taken over The Schooner in Gateshead and last night was the first gig featuring the excellent Lord Rochester. I'd seen Lord Rochester at the Central Bar (then under the tenure of Mr Campbell) on the recommendation of someone or otrh , and he's one striking dude with his Bo Diddley sound and custom square guitar, backed by the equally excellent Lady Muck on bass and Siberian Tim on Maracas driven drums (something you don't see every day) . There's a few tracks from the night on my youtube channel here

Lord Rochester's website is here with all the details of how they came into existence, plus the albums and singles available , though you can grab a copy of the excellent Hey Here. I also noticed the Mods and Rockers EP here and the only download I could find is Deathbed.

Needless to say the venue is excellent and the setlist was just one good song after another mixing originals with Bod Diddly and Chuck Berry classics such as Almost Grown.

If you get a chance to see them , do not miss them,

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Half Man Total Genius

In 2003 Half Man Half Biscuit played the Cluny . The gig was sold out but I blagged tickets from the then manager of the place Dave Campbell . I thought it may be my only chance to see them . Theres a review of mine here. A year later they were back at Northumbria University , two gigs in 12 months I was beeing spoilt.

Then they were back again on 15th November 2012 at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. Half Man Half Biscuit may seem to be like any other band but they are not. The support band I think were Lovecraft , the sort of band HMHB take with a spoon of salt, Anyway eventually they came on , the mosh pit was packed as the band opended with The Light At The End of The Tunnel.

Nigel Blackwell was looking more than a little like General Zod, as the band powered through song after brilliant song from there huge back catalog until eventually finishing and returning for the encore opening with a cover of The Beatles' Help with Nigel on his custom caravan guitar.The songs they played run into a blur but "Fuckin' 'ell It's Fred Titmus" , "Everythings AOR" , "National Site Day" , "99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd", "Joy Division Oven Gloves" were in there much to the crowds delight. The whole band were awesome as always and the banter scouse , laconic and funny. Incidentally when they came on Nigel asked if they won the jackpot on Pointless which we had been watching before going to the gig.

Anyway this a band you MUST always see if you have the chance , as Andy Kershaw reckons , the greatest British folk band , always domumenting what is current in society these days.

Also its the first time I've seen the merchandise stand as packed after the gig as it was before the gig . A brilliant night again , thanks to the band,

There website will all the details , T-shirts and merchandise and free sessions including the indisesible "Brampton Live" is here.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Summertyne 2012

Again we have had excellent weather and excellent music for the Summertyne Festival of Musical Americana . The big guns appeared in Hall One and numebred among them John Hiatt , Wanda Jackson and Dr John.

In the Sage itself there were lots of displays and exhibibition , then amazing , in my mind , were Geoff Marston's Suitcases Full Of Blues , truly original works of art.

The Jumpin' Hot Stage stage was home to some amazing performances , of which I saw three , interluded by the Hot Dog Eating Competiting and The Central Gateshead overseen by Dave Campbell . The winner took the golden Dog with 11 in the alloted ten minutes , with a couple of creditable ten , but nowhere near the world record 69 !! .

Anyway back to the musical acts I caught:

  • Errol Linton , and excellent blues harpist with a superb backing band , and a great voice. Well so good that I made sure I got hold of his CD "Mama Said" from the stall next to the stage.
  • Interlude for Hot Dog Competition at The Central
  • Mary Jean Lewis & The Starlight Boys were next up , a well turned out Western Swing style combo , sparking some inpressive dancing among the crowd. I find this type of music a little sedate but I was way in the minority in this crowd . Very well received.
  • Finally the band I had come to see , the Swiss Zydeco influenced Mama Rosin. As expected they played a storming sent giving their washboard and triangle plenty of hammer. "La Pistolet" appeared as the penultimate song in their main set , before the band were recalled for an encore.
A wonderful finish to a wonderful day. My CD colletion and general well being extended by the experience !!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Mouth of Tyne Festival - 2012

The omens for this year's Mouth of Tyne Festival didn't bode too well. The street entertainment in previous years had been reducing , this year's headliners wer Heaven 17 , not my idea of a headliner and the cost of tickets for the Sunday gig was now £10 a ticket and £5 for children. Added to that the weather in the run up had been mostly torrential rain.

Then .....

Sunday morning glorious sunshine ,  great start to rhe day. Arriving in Tynemouth I found  I'd missed The Undertones  , Richard Hawley , The Wanted & McFly and the Festival actually started on Thursday , but I didnt have the cash or time to see the other act, and some of tem I would rather not see!!

Lots of street entertainment and the weather stayed good . Two highlights were a couple of weird cycly taxis for children which were going down very well. The trad jazz stage att the entrance to the Priory is still there and the crowd in front fairly rammed. Always well attended.

Tickets for the Sunday were sold out like last year , and so on to the Priory having missed the openers The Caffrey Brothers. So this is how it went:

  • Rossi Noise : Loud Rage Against The Machine lite band and an excellent opener for me , would see them again.
  • Yes Sir Boss : Bristol based ska band , who had driven up that morning , who had excellent rhythm but no memorable tunes until the last two numbers which got the crowd up and was a big tick as far as I was concerned displaying Klezmer influences as well as their Nu Ska sound.
  • The South : or The Beautiful South sans Paul Heaton. Surprisingly excellent with an excellent Paul Heaton lookalike / sound alike . Every song was instantly recognisable , and they even included a cover of Cass Elliot's "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" , overall the best band of the afternoon.
  • Heaven 17 : The problem with Heaven 17 is that most peopl eonly remember Temptation , and while there were odd songs I remembered such as "Fascist Groove Thing" and "Crushed By The Wheels of Industry" , the band were fighting against adverse weather and some dodgy material, and , as Bob said , a keyboard player (Martin Ware) who should have been working in a library!. Finally came a storming version of "Temptation" and if the set had consisted of songs this good it would have been brilliant , but it was still worth waiting for. They finished to rapturous applause and then dropped the bombshell ... "We're going to play another song!!" . "How?"  "You haven't got another song" .  What we were forgetting was that Martin Ware had a hand in writing the Human League's best ever song "Being Boiled" , and they topped "Temptation" with that. Those two songs were worth the entry fee but we got the rest as well.

So another brilliant final day for the Mouth Of Tyne Festival.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Cult of Hoult's Yard

This weekend I attended one of the best day's music I have seen in ages. The Hoult's Yard Cult Festival  provided some amazing stuff. Three stages , one outdoor , one in Warehouse 34 and one in a garage provided some excellent music. I'm. just going to list what I saw as I missed a lot just becasue of the high quality of everything on offer.

I got there via a Q1 bus , but the place is not very well signposted, but once in there noticed that there werent too many people around , the advertising and local coverage had not been too heavy to say the least. The Yard was dominated by a huge fairground ride surrounded by fairgound junk food stalls mixed with quality sellers such a Safari Burgers , Juniper's Pantry , Idlehands Cup Cakes and an excellent organic cafe who's name slips my mind but sold their coffee in mugs with a 50p deposit. As Kirsty poited out it was Beat Root cafe , brilliant !!

The Music Outdoor Stage:
  • Yesterdays Kids - Excellent Festival openers . Started with a listenable song displaying local influences and included the Neil Diamond penned "I'm A Believer" in their set.
  • Victory Mansions - another excellent set "Fifty Words" was my favourite song and they were giving away copies of their excellent ep "Corridors" available here.

Garage Stage:
  • Matinee were and excellent Franz Ferdinand a like eastern european sounding band.

Warehouse 34:
  •  The Generals - I'd heard them on Radio 6 and were the best band I'd heard so far , just more of the great stuff on the day.
  •  B>E>A>K> - MAd MAsked Mackem Jazz Rock Collective , Superb Stuff
  • The Sound of Guns - The revelation of the day , totally in tune with the Omen and If films running in the background. Future headliners somewhere and absolutely brilliant sound and stage presence.
  • King Charles - despite a lengthy soundcheck these are the best pop rock band since Adam and The Ants , their music as addictive as Abba and as eclectic as anyone you have heard and totally addictive . Buy the album , you wont stop playing it!!
  • Beth Jeans Houghton - Stunning platinum blonde hair , zombie make up , Can T- Shirts and songs about geometric shapes , what is not to like . Brilliant stuff.
  • The Fall - Headliners and tight as a drum , The Fall are The Fall , Mark E Smith his curmudgeonly masterful stage presence erratically sending the crowd wild.

A combination of  tight short set by high quality bands made this a superb memorable day for everyone there , and for everyone who wasn'y .... you don't know what you missed !!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Gabba Gabba Haway Haway

I dont usually review a band more than once , but saw the Rawmones for second time in Trillians last night with Bob and he loved em. He said he knew virtually every song within about twenty seconds. That was the genius of the Ramones , minimalist but every song different , pop music for punk rockers.

The Rawmones are Tynesides (and probably the worlds) finest Ramones Tribute band,

Powered by the hardest working man in the world Adas Pepper (graphic designer and drummer for the Reet Hot Chili Peppers and the Chestwigs as well as Wonky Chomp)  , they came to a grinding halt when just about to launch into "Beat On The Brat" , but with some solder and a little technical expertise they powered on through around 90 minutes of pure brilliant including the encores.

The Set
1234 - Ready To Go
These are a band you must see , weel aware that Ramones songs are like smarties , you cant eat just one you have to have the whole tume and while they may look the same there are a lot of different colours in there. Lots of favourites , as you can see from the setlist:

The Rawmones website is here so you can see and hear them , but it's best if you see them live. Catch them if you can

Saturday, 14 April 2012

I Was There ........ see Leah Goldie at The Cluny 2 on 12th April 2012. I'd been told she was in the same ballpark as Adele , and this was my first time at the venuw , very pleasant and civiliesd it is too.

Anyway after having a huge vegetarian Chilli at The Cluny which I only half finished , we ambled down to the venue and were treated to 45 minutes ove excellent Adele type songs . My only criticism was that there was little interaction with the crowd until she said the last song was for her slittle sister who'd almost thrown a tantrum because she couldn't come due to the age 18 restriction at the venue.

She finished her set and then was dragged back on stage to take applause ....... by Leah Goldie!!! It turned out the girl I thought I'd come to see was a 15 year old called Imogen Williams , all of a sudden my slight criticism fell into perspective. She was amazingly composed while performing and possibly coming to the last number made her feel a bit easier ,but a brilliant set worth the price of admission alone.

45 minites later Leah Goldie appeared on stages to perfrom songs from her new album. Leah is 26 I thingk , so half my age , and played an excellent set resulting in a lot of CD sales. She reminds me a little of Tori Amos , but with a piano style theat reminds me of Peter De Havilland and David Ackles , but she finished with an excellent gospel blues original  "Waiting For You". A couple of songs including "Silence" were accompanied by a guy called Peter on guitar , but all in all an excellent night with two wonderful talents .

Watch this space .....

Leah's Facebook page is here

This is  What's The Deal:

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Trash Shack: February 2012 - Jackhammers, Women In Revolt and Maximum Zeros

A couple of weeks back I revieved the Star and Shadow Barbarella gig featuring Women In Revolt but was disappointed to find no youtube footage of the band . This week I managed to miss the Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny new album launche at The Central , Gateshead thatnks to EMI's appaling (lack of) promotion , but did get to another excellent Trash Shack gathering.

Brian Coyteman's Collection
Featuring three bands for two quid , in the brilliant surroundings featuring , I believe, Brian Coyoteman's collection of trash memorabila in the wall cabinets , we were treated to three excellent bands , although no youtube footage is available for the Maximum Zeros and The Jackhammers , so you'll just have to take my word for it.

First up were the Maximum Zeros , loud thrashy punk the in the style of the legendary Saints , the also covered "River Deep, Mountain High" and an excellent version of Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac". Too loaud to record on my camera , but excellent nonetheless , well worth seeing if you get the chance.

Lady Annabella of Jesmond
Lady Annabella and Photographer Friend
Women In Revolt
Next we had the excellent trans gender garage rock of Women In Revolt , featuring Sheena Ravolta in best Iron Lady two piece on vocals with matching hair and handbag , Staggering BeBearded Rosie Lea on guitar , Mitch "Male" Mitchellson on drums , and the lovely blonde bassist who'se name escapes me but will update this when I find out. Anyway they delivered an excelelnt entertaining set including numeraous Electric Chairs covers (or should that be "Electric Chair Covers) , no matter , a superb time was had by all , the band being augmented by the lovely Lady Annabella of Jesmond on dance !!

Jackhammers CD - Nice Stiff Pastiche
Finally we had the Glasgow Bawbags The Jackhammers , more high energy rock punk , again to loud for my camera to record , but I bought their CD "Give 'Em Enough Dope" and a tote bag as well. The CD is weel worth the investment , and the band , like everything tonight were superb.


The Trash Shack presentation are excellent and ludicrous value for money so get yourself down , and if you see ANY of the bands playing within striking distance get yourself down there!!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Stand Delivers

You know how in life you're always going to do something , visit somewhere , meet someone , well The Stand in Newcastle was getting like that with me . Anyway the catalysts for my eventual visit was that the brilliant John Scott was MCing a charity night in aid of Blood Red - a local Blood Cancer Charity.

I'd noticed the line up which turned out to be absolutely excellent , every act delivering a brilliant set.

The layout of the Stand is amazing , Restaurant / Bar area upstairs , with a huge outdoor area which is fine if you need a tab , but will be even better in summer. The stage is small , but comedians dont take up that much room since Bernard Manning passed away. Also there is a decent bar in the auditorium area.

We sat at the back , but my friends were horrified when I agreed to fill one of the empty front row tables. "They wont pick on you , I promise , they always go for the second row" the guy from The Stand promised . He lied. But it was an absolutely excellent night.

You sort of feel wrong saying one act is better than another, but Nick Cranston was a revelation , young , tall , be-hearing aided , bespectacled and bloody funny.

Simon Donald did a brilliant take on your street survey guy, Barry Twyford.

Nicola Mantalios-Lovett opened and harrased me much to everyones amusement , but she let me stroke her face before accusing me of being a pervert (cue huge guffaws).

Gavin Webster wrapped up proceedings with the longest set and much laughter. and all this book ended by John Scott!

There was an emotional presentation of a cheque for £12,704.27 , I think , which will help ne charity projects for Bright Red . The fundraisers have done an amazing job.

Anyway , The Stand should definitely be on your places to go list!!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Star and Shadow , Barbarella and Women In Revolt

Sometimes for a post you need to think about a headline , but my inauguration to the Star and Shadow an Friday night provided it's own .The Star and Shadow at Shieldfield is a setting for almost sixties style happening and fun nights . They may be film or bands or both . Seating includes tables , chairs , settees , the bar sells alcohol and chocolate and you are handily placed for The Tanners pub as well.

Friday night commenced with a showing of Barbarella , sixties Dino De Luarentis film with Jane Fonda's opening  outer space strip tease , a perfect curtain raiser for the night . Part of the fucn was wondering if the people in dresses were male or female , I reckon most were female and all looked the part.

The band were Women In Revolt , taking their name from the Paul Morrisey  1971 film  "Andy Warhol's Women In Revolt" featuring Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis . Essentially Wayne / Jayne County inspired garage rock fronted by a definite transvestite , and featuring a female guitarist who opened with and excellent brooding cover of Link Wray's  "Rumble" . Unfortunately I can't uncover any details of the band apart from they are playing Gateshead Central on 8th of February and curate a Susnday session at The Cumberland Arms. Anyway the songs I remember were "Are You A Girl or Are You A Boy?" and Wayne County's "Man Enought To Be A Woman" and "Fuck Off" plus a few others before reprising "Are You A Girl or Are You A Boy?" to close the set.

Will be back to the Star and Shadow soon and also checking out Women In Revolt , and next time will take my camera. A Wonderful Night!!