Category Archives: Gigs

Pere Ubu & Variety Lights

Pere Ubu Rescue Rooms 01

Im sure I’ve said this before, but sometimes when you pays your money for ticket, even if its a random whim, there’s a good chance it will be worth it. Case in point this evening.  A few months ago, with nothing on the horizon I checked the diary for the Rescue Rooms and notice Pere Ubu. I last saw them in the mid eighties, somewhere in London, probably around the time ‘Waiting for Mary’ came out. I had cassettes of Dub Housing & The Tenement Years. It was probably cool to be into them. They where the american art rock band that were that little bit more obscure than Talking Heads or Television. Even though their albums had go to anthemic tracks, they hid them well in amongst strangeness and impenetrability.

Before I went out this evening I looked at a few recent performances on You Tube and had a read around This quote seems to sum them up quite well.

“Pere Ubu is not now nor has it ever been a viable commercial venture. We won’t sleep on floors, we won’t tour endlessly and we’re embarrassed by self-promotion. Add to that a laissez-faire attitude to the mechanics of career advancement and a demanding artistic agenda and you’ve got a recipe for real failure. That has been our one significant success to this date: we are the longest-lasting, most disastrous commercial outfit to ever appear in rock ‘n’ roll. No one can come close to matching our loss to longevity ratio.” – David Thomas

Here is one of their recent performances.

David Thomas is the main and central point of the band. He seems tired, belligerent, and has the bearing of  a man who would like a nice sit down and glass of wine (all of which I sympathise with). He must also be creatively driven and at ease with his place in the real world. In the real world Pere Ubu sold billions of albums, only through accidental laziness did they stop being in the global pop charts for around about 76 minutes.  They personally gave Jon Bon Jovi his first leg up the ladder, invented auto tuners so that Cher, Britteny & Bieber could achieve what they did. Following on from tonights discrete personal invite gig at the Rescue Rooms they will open a seven night residency at Wembley which is of course sold out. But thats in the real world and as he pointed out, this is just a dream. He’s the only one who has to suffer wakefulness. Just…

Pere Ubu Rescue Rooms 02

Here they are with their multi billion selling tune from 1986…..

So there you have it. I’ll confess that I knew vaguely about 3 or 4 songs. They didnt play Mary or Final Solution (the latter probably due to some meat head shouting “Play ‘Sonic Reduction’!”…. if you are going to shout out requests, at least get the name of the song right), but it doesn’t matter. It was an utterly beguiling hour & half and I hope they sold a bucket of merch’ and enjoyed the atmosphere. And I hope David gets a nap and lie in tomorrow. He’s been at this for the better part of 40 years and life in the real world is hard.

David Thomas - Pere Ubu

I have to also mention the support. I’d not noticed that there would be another band on and arrived shortly after they had started. Variety Lights are unknown to me but had a presence and uniqueness that made me put my hand in my pocket and buy the CD. They reminded me of all the things i had been trying to achieve in my recent musical day trips. Except of course they had some skill and ability. According to the CD Variety Lights are David Baker & Will MacLean-Keys. Those who know will know that David Baker was the original singer in Mercury Rev. Once I’ve heard the CD ‘Central Flow’ I’ll tell you more, but it was exceptional. This is their single.

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WTATDR & Il Sogno Del Marinaio

WTATDR Cookie Jar

Some times you know something is likely to be good. The stars align, the the augers mutter in agreement.

I saw //We tHrEE aND tHe DeAtH tattle // a year or so ago supporting Josh T. Pearson. They are a local (well Leicester) three piece combo. All primal drums, crashing guitar, twisted blues, hollered vocals…. and theremin …played with maracas. How could that not work.

I follow their FaceBook page and a few weeks ago they posted their appearance at the the Cookie Jar supporting Il Sogno Del Marinaio. The venue is a tiny basement, maybe 100 capacity and listening to the soundcheck from upstairs in the bar it promised to be a dangerous sonic experience. WTHATDR played for about 40 minutes, a tight set, really controlled noise and more certain in their ability then I remember.

Here is one of the highlights of the set.

I don’t know their names, they are a mystery. Perhaps how it should be. Hit and run music that hangs around like an unexpected dream.

WTATDR Cookie Jar 2

Il Sogno Del Marinaio also trade in dreams. Playing Coltrane before coming on stage should have been a clue. With bass, guitar and drums, and given Mike Watts history in the Minutemen, the Missingman and as bass player in the resurrected Stooges the flying jazz of the set was an unexpected aspect. The set included all the songs from the album “La Busta Gialla”. This is more of a song cycle or tone poem than a rock record. It has echoes of Western soundtracks, mariachi, percussive euro jazz and edgy proto grunge. Other than Watt the band is guitarist Stefano Pilla and drummer Andrea Balfi. Both are exceptional skilled. This so evidently a project they have all contributed equally towards.

Mike Watt Cookie Jar

This is the song ‘The Tiger Princess’. Its representative of the record, this with Watt telling a mariners recollection of dream.

Mike Watt is a legend. I last saw him chomping a stogie and playing with J Mascis & the Fog (probably the loudest thing I have ever witnessed). He played with Sonic Youth, fIREHOSE and half a dozen of his own bands. He has a long slow drawl and probably isn’t averse to the odd brewskis or finger of bourbon. You wouldn’t mess. A big man and a big personality.

Mike Watt Cookie Jar2

The gig was the penultimate date on a tour that has covered must of Europe. Definitely one of the most original and interesting gigs I’ve seen in a long time. Catch up with the album.

Here’s a brief live performance and an interview with Watts.

 

And finally this because its great……

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Ian McCulloch

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On Thursday 22nd Ian McCulloch played at the The Rescue Rooms, probably my favourite venue in Nottingham. I bought a ticket on a bit of a whim a week or so ago. I haven’t listened to Echo & the Bunnymen for ages and although I liked a lot of their songs I went without expectation. I probably have a romanticised memory of the mid eighties when we wore long second hand coats and ex-army trousers and listen to Bauhaus, the Bunnymen, the Smiths, and Danse Society.

As a mouthy Liverpool lad, McCulloch always got press for his attitude but mainly the band made some iconic records. From Crocodiles to Ocean Rain and Evergreen they had drum machines, choppy guitars, swagger and Morrisonesque poetry.

McCulloch was assisted by Ian Brodie on guitar and bits and pieces. Ian had laryngitis and growled out a great selection of Bunnymen songs and covers including…… Rescue, Bring On The Dancing Horses, Seven Seas, All My Colours, Killing Moon, Villiers Terrace, Walk on the Wildside, Sorrow, and plenty more I can’t recall.

Here is a video of McCulloch & Brodie at the Union Chaple performing Rescue which was the sound they open with on Thursday.

There was a support act for the evening, a young singer going by the name of Gallery 47. All I could pick up was that he was from Nottingham and had listened to a lot of Dylan. The latter had done him a lot of good as he was a pretty accomplished finger picker and his original songs had an original use of language. He started with ‘Girl from the North Country‘ which is a good place to begin. He also gave away a box full of Cd’s and vinyl albums which is an interesting strategy.

I’ve since found the clip below which explains a little more. He is definitely a talented guy and I hope he gets more exposure. He obviously works hard at his craft.

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Quite pleased with the photo above. It’s a little low res as its cropped a lot but quite characterful. Gallery 47 has a MySpace page which is here.

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The Psychedelic Furs

The Psychedelic Furs – Nottingham, Rock City – July 6th 2012

Back in the 80’s I was a big fan of the Furs. The first four albums The Psychedelic Furs, Talk Talk Talk, Forever Now & Mirror Moves got a lot of play in cars, flats & personal cassette players. Shocking to do the math and notice this was 30 years ago.

I never saw them live during this period but they had a good following and went fairly orbital when John Hughes used ‘Pretty in Pink’ as the basis for a film. Other than that particular song they didn’t get any real chart success and never quite reached the popularity achieved by the Simple Minds at around the same time (or U2 who couldn’t have been far behind).

When I noticed a month or so ago that they were to play the eternally sticky (not a criticism, its part of the character) Rock City in Nottingham it had to be a yes.

Here’s ‘President Gas’ filmed by me using Super8 on iPhone (yes, it’s meant to look like this, it’s retro)

The venue looked a little empty when I arrived but once at the front and with the crowd surging in it felt far more comfortable and well attended.

They started out with ‘Into You Like A Train’ which was a good move and with such a great back catalogue they couldn’t  go far wrong. According to Setlist.FM the rest of the show went like this;

Encore:

Richard Butler’s voice has barely changed and is still snarly and guttural. He always bore comparisons to both Bowie & Lydon but throughout this set he was very bouncy (literally)and cheerful, obviously enjoying himself. Brother Tim on bass looked like the original version of Nicky Wire prowling around and generally playing the crowd, mouthing the words and looming over the front row. Mars Williams kept the original Furs sound together with great sax playing, full of squeals & squawks and some occasional pretty clarinet work. The band these days consists of Richard Butler (vocals), Tim Butler (bass), Rich Good (guitar), Mars Williams (saxophone), Amanda Kramer (keyboards), and Paul Garisto (drums).

With recent tours in the states and more coming in Europe they are getting good reviews everywhere. They aren’t trying to promote any new music so far but they play so well together you would hope that they made it into the studio again.

Here’s another video shot by MetalheadSince1968 who was on the other side of the stage. I started to film this but the general exuberance incited by the song bounced me out of touch.

The main members of the band (like the majority of the audience) must be into their 50’s now and I can’t decide if it’s embarrassing or heartening to see that kind of moshy behaviour, especially to songs like ‘Imitation of Christ’. I would have been in my early twenties when I first found the Furs and would have not just forgiven but probably found meaning and life context in many of the lyrics. Many are lost romantic, failed love songs, party crazy, and a little social comment (was Rockets Ronnie Reagan ‘President Gas’?) straight from art school and not what you could call culturally deep. They are though visual songs and broad & illustrative but, they are just a band and these are just rock songs. The audience still had a lot of love for them, singing riotously to every chorus and lapping up the slightly clichéd but stylishly performed mime / interpretive figures Butler added to the lyrics. He pulled pirouettes, goose steps, crucifixions, that hugging/kissing girlfriend thing seen from behind and crazy in brain/twirly fingers. I wonder if these are still taught in drama schools.

Butler reminded me of an old art school tutor I knew a long time ago. He has a lot of ‘been around’ cool going for him. He takes the songs seriously but perhaps not himself so much so as he maybe once did. He dresses well as well, very European. It was great to see him (and the rest of the band) so plainly enjoying themselves and giving their all to such a wonderful set of songs.

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(The Death Of) Six By Seven – Live

I’m really late with this as I meant to post it two weeks ago.

On the 16th of May Chris Olley & band (James Flower – bass ,Pete Stevenson – keys & Martin Cooper – guitar) played through the recent album ‘(The Death Of) Six By Seven’ at the Maze in Nottingham.

I’ve posted previously about Chris & Six By Seven and I have a lot of admiration for Chris’s music. This was the first time I’ve seen him play (other than YouTube) and it was well worth it.

Here’s a rehearsal from Chris’s blog.

Chris is a dynamic performer and his Martin did a good job of keeping its strings on through the set.

Here’s the opening track ‘The Writing On The Wall’ from the album…..

More about the music here and you can buy a digital version album on Bandcamp.

I took quite a few pictures but I’m still playing with some of them. I’ll post some more here when they get where they are going.

Here’s one of the songs ‘Chain’ from first (The Death Of) Six By Seven EP

The band are playing at the The Hope And Anchor in Islington, London on Friday the 13th of July. I hope it goes well for them. Support live music, go see them.

Here’s one more song. This from the second EP. It’s called ‘Just Give Me Love’

 

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Beginning to see the Light

Number One: Don’t go out on a School Night

Number Two: Plan ahead and don’t spend most of the day in the car clocking up a few hundred miles whilst having a house party for 13 kids and an equal number of adults

Number Three: Don’t trust the weather to fit in with your plans

So after a long hot day I wasn’t desperately keen to go out but it all turned out well.

Peter Hook & the Light are currently touring Unknown Pleasures the first Joy Division album. After his divorce from Barny Albrect-Sumner he has taken Revenge on the road but having seen the Light I can understand his desire to tour the JD back catalogue.

It has undoubtedly moved on but they are such a great bunch of songs and the band have really cracked the sound with sharp metallic electric guitars, the drum beat of Stephen Morris and even the studio effects that Martin Hannett added to the albums.


Hooky obviously enjoys himself and whilst he is known for his low slung bass playing he now commendably fronts the vocals as well. He has almost the same baritone as the late Ian Curtis but with a little more guttural growl. He also employs a stunt bassist who I think he said was his son, presumably Jack Hook. He did a great job of filling the old boots and when they both played they worked really well together.

They played not only the whole of Unknown Pleasures but earlier Warsaw songs, Ceremony, Isolation (which was excellent) and the big finishers Transmission & Love Will Tear Us Apart.

It was heartening to see younger twenty somethings getting mashed by 50somethings at the front of the stage, rucking & slamming, fists punching the air, elbows cracking ribs, just like the old days.

I stayed on the balcony, no fool me. I’ve been punched in the mosh pit before thanks.

Having more t-shirts than I can wear when I hit the merch desk I managed to get the last signed copy (narrowly body swerving a couple trying to decide whether to buy it now or later, ha!) of Hooky’s book ‘Hacienda: How not to run a Club’ (printed on something similar to paper??!)and an EP ‘1102 2011’ with ‘Atmosphere’ ‘New Dawn Fades’ & ‘Insight’ featuring Rowetta from the Happy Mondays & ‘X-factor’.

In some ways the gig could come over as a very good covers band set and perhaps there isn’t quite the depth or emotional range that as an old JD fan I attach to the music. But they played it with such commitment and the audience responded so positively that it was a really enjoyable event. Hook has contributed a unique sound to some really great records over a 30+ year career and if these shows keep the music of Joy Division out there then it’s a good thing.

I picked up a leaflet for a further show in Manchester where they are playing all of ‘Still’ which should be a good show.

He’s got the spirit and he certainly hasn’t lost the feeling.

I am now going to watch 24 Hour Party People

This is from the EP – Atmosphere featuring Rowena – It’s really quite good.

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Dinosaur Jr

This evenings post is based on pure self-indulgence. Low impact comment backed up with enthusiasm for subject.

Before proceeding, please press play…….

I’ve mentioned before my admiration for J Mascis & Dinosaur Jr. Having seen DJ four or five times and J & the Fog once, they rate with the best of up lifting live music experiences. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mahler’s Symphony of 1000, Kate Bush singing with Peter Gabriel, John Martyn marginally sober….. J Mascis on a good night with viable amplification can step up to the plate and physically move you elsewhere.

The last time I saw J was for  a gig supporting the release of ‘Beyond’. That was excellent but prior to that was a Fog gig at the Boat Club in West Bridgford, in support of ‘The Light’. Probably the loudest experience ever. A million watts of volume in a room the size of my office. A cigar chomping Mike Watt, George Berz blew the doors off the joint and had my ears spinning for days.

J is one of the most elemental forces of guitar nature and in my view is up there with Peter Green, Jimi, Santana, McLaughlin and John Martyn.

So here’s a whole load of J fun. Lou Barlow @LouBarlow announced on Twitter that Dinosaur are recording a new album which I can’t wait for. I so hope they tour it in the UK and do more than three gigs. I would happily promote a Nottingham gig and I know the local wildlife would turn out to see these guys.

I strongly suggest you hit the iTunes store, search the NPR podcasts for Dinosaur Jr at the 9.30 Club in Washington. In mArch theres a DVD of the gig and it is twisting. Songs from the entire period ‘Repulsion’ through to ‘Over It’.

Speaking of which……..

Here’s one more.  ‘Feel The Pain’ live from 2007….

And for no other reason than gratiitous file sharing, a full live show. A brilliant audience recording from less than a month ago. Sorry to the original source for going all MP3 but this is about coverage not purism. Original links available on request. Excellent sound and a typically genius performance. Just remember, three blokes, analog tech, massive voltage…..

Dinosaur Jr
Grand Central
Miami, FL
January 23, 2012

Setlist:

01. tuning/intro
02. Thumb
03. The Lung
04. Budge
05. They Always Come
06. No Bones
07. noodling/banter
08. Little Fury Things
09. Out There
10. Feel The Pain
11. Kracked
12. Freak Scene
13. Forget The Swan
14. encore break
15. In A Jar
16. Just Like Heaven
17. Mountain Man

Don’t be subtle. Turn it up.

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Six By Seven – Up Dated

Without wishing to embarrass any body (Chris Olley for example), I’d like to bring your attention to Six By Seven if it hasn’t been bought for that purpose before.

A few weeks ago I read a Guardian article about the death of Britpop or some such thing. It might have been this about ‘Guitar Music’ or this about the low sales of Rock as opposed to Pop.

More journo twitter, really. I don’t honestly care about Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and High Flying Birds & Twitchy Eye.

Our little island has contributed more than most to proper music and not all of it needs chart ranks and arena tours.

Shamefully up until about a year ago I had never heard of Six By Seven. It happened like this .

(Insert that wiggly effect that happens just before flash back scenes in the final reveal of TV crime capers)

In my day job that shall remain nameless, I fielded an inquiry from a chap in a bat cave who had been commissioned to display his recent photographic project. ’92 Stadiums’ featured a number of pictures (I forget how many) of UK football grounds. Shot in real analog black & white he had toured the country on a motorbike and photographer all of venues whilst unused. There are virtually no people in any of the shots and in some cases the stadia are only just visible between rows of terraced houses. Whilst I confess to not giving fig or other dried fruit about football I couldn’t help bit admire the concept, intent & execution of the project. The exhibition eventually went into Derby Museum and has toured at least in part elsewhere since.

Some while after the event I got into conversation with the guy about mutual interests, photography, music etc when he drops into the conversation that he’s sold several thousand albums and been on the John Peel show on a bunch of occasions.  Weird. Slightly unexpected.

Turns out Chris Olley is the main chap in critically acclaimed Nottingham based band Six By Seven. Nottingham hasn’t contributed massively to the musical landscape (unless you count the mound Paper Lace are buried under, could be worse, could be Black Lace) but 6/7 definitely gave it a good go.

Here’s an interview from 2000 or there about’s…

As well as being a unique talent Chris runs a great blog, his own record company (SNSM), has a studio in Nottingham and produces music for other artists. I’ll name drop here Julian Cope whose brother I vaguely knew of forever ago in Tamworth.  There’s a man who needs more attention.

Spend some time here. There’s no point me copy pasting what you can find pre baked.

I strongly recommend The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen By Proxy and the most recent release The Death Of Six By Seven (the ‘Nebraska’ album) In fact everything I’ve heard so far is impressive and worth some time.

Here’s a song from the Munchausen…

….and here’s a video from 2008….

Check any You Tube and you’ll see great comments. The band (?) are playing live  soon hopefully so I’ll be getting a ‘T’ and digging out my AC/DC cut off.

Here’s another blog by Chris and I would definitely advocate you try ‘I Can Make You Sick’ which is a strange listening experience and not something you want to explain to the kids when you are on the school run. Believe me….

Tell your friends. Bring back guitar bands. Sorry I was late to the party…..

UP DATE 11/02/12

There’s a Valentines Special now available at http://sixbyseven.bandcamp.com  Four really good songs on a pay what you like  transaction. Love analog, dig in with troops….

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Sparklehorse Live

Evenin’ All

I hope this finds some ears.

I thought that Sparklehorse ROIO’s where as rare as Sparklehorse droppings but thanks a recent reactivation of my D’a’D account I found three. This is a lush French FM from around the time of “It’s A Wonderful Life’. It’s wonderful and melancholic.

It was so sad that Mark Linkous took a shot gun to his heart. I hope his last unreleased album surfaces eventually. Everything he did was touched with wonder.

Sparklehorse
La Cigale – Paris
October 15th 2001
FM – France Inter

Setlist
———–
1-Wonderful life
2- Apple Bed
3- Sea of teeth
4- Piano Fire
5- Eyepennies
6- Saturday
7- Weird Sisters
8- Sunshine
9- Morning hollow
10- Ghost in the sky
11- Yellow birds
12- Pig
13- Devil’s new
14- Homecoming Queen
———–
Total : 63min

Broadcast on french radio France Inter on Bernard Lenoir’s program.

Sparklehorse – La Cigale – Paris

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The Light Pours Out Of Me (Update)

I’m not totally happy with this but it’s a start. A combination of original photography, Photoshop, app tech and my new toy – the Wacom Bamboo drawing tablet. The source pictures are of Howard Devoto with Magazine at the Plug in Sheffield. Everything else is scribble.

Much more the come.

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Here’s an update to the above post. A little bit further down the page is a review of the Magazine show at the Plug in Sheffield (which was really very good). …..and just to prove it, here it is in full.

Setlist:

1. Intro
2. Definitive Gaze
3. Give Me Everything
4. Motorcade
5. Happening In English
6. The Worst Of Progress
7. A Song From Under The Floorboards
8. Philadelphia
9 Parade
10. Rhythm of Cruelty
11. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
12. Holy Dotage
13. Permafrost
14. The Light Pours Out Of Me
15. -Crowd-
16. Final Analysis Waltz
17 Band Introductions
18. Shot By Both Sides
19. -Crowd-
20. I Love You Big Dummy

MAGAZINE – The Plug, Sheffield 09/11/11

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