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.

Heavy, Loud, Gothic and Looking Great

I noticed Bad Pollyanna were playing Newcastle's Think Tank? again so was determined not to miss them again, and £11 to see a band you want to see is not too expensive except ......

This gig was being promoted in conjunction with Novacrow and Sick'n'Beautiful (details here) which I didn't realise were other bands on the bill, I though they may have just been promoters, but it turned out instead of one band worth seeing I saw three amazing bands.

Novacrow were first up and though the bowler hatted lead guitarist cum judderman (Jonyx) was an amazing visual sight, and Kitty the singer had an excellent voice as well astoting an excellent guitar and suitable gothic front lady attire, very black and white.

The rhythm section of Federico and Torben kept it tight and heavy. I did video on song "Mantra" but  the sheer heaviness and small venue plus my camera knowledge resulted in unlistenable footage, but luckily I bought their "Black Syrup" EP from Kitty which means I ca list their names and listen to them properly. Another band on the "see again list".

I managed to find a promo video for "Fight The  Horde" so turn it up and you have some idea of what to expect.

Bad Pollyanna were next up and this is the third time I have seen them, you can check out their youtube channel here, again steeped in Goth and Horror and similar to Novacrow, so that is two bands to satisfy dark musical tastes, although they are both great fun and very approachable. Aad again I was not disappointed but Bad Pollyanna were even louder and heavier than Novacrow.

They are great supporters of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which is another reason to support them.Please visit the site to find out more.

I could have left after either of these bands and not felt short changed.

Finally we got Sick'n'Beatiful. The price of the ticket included a download of their latest album so I knew what to expect, but as well as their music you get a visual feast as well, with incredible costumes and back drops . Probably one on the most impressive bands I've seen at the venue and the experience reminds me a little of GOAT with their impressive visual display.

Every band was worth the admission fee alone, so check all of these out at  your earliest convenience.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

How Much Pop Can You Have?

It's Iggy Pop's 71st birthday and my friend Brian along with three other people hosted an "Iggy and the Stooges, Shambolic KO Tribute Afternoon"and truly wonderful it was. The revers running order for the afternoon was:


..and every band was absolutely brilliant. I managed to have quick chats and hugs with Lynn and Dave, Sheila , Barbara, Jonathan, Sarah, and met a wonderful singer called Stephanie and though we have been Facebook friends for yeans for the very first time spoke to Caroline.

So this was a great afternoon for catching up with friends, although when I got there the door was locked, though that was soon rectified.

I was surprised to see quite a few family groups there and the kids loved the bands and were active in the mosh pit.

Each band played three songs and was surprised to see Ziggy and The Germans using pedal steel as the guitar part of the band.

Although everything was excellent I loved Ruby and The Shakin' Stooges take on "No Fun" and Ziggy and The Germans take on "Funtime" so they are the ones I'll include here but you can see all my Youtube posts from today here and my Instagram posts here. I must apologise for the sound quality, I think it was a bit loud for my my Wilefox phone to deal with but you get  the idea.

Looking forward to the next afternoon gig, it was awesome.