Tag Archives: Rescue Rooms

Yet another Annual Review of 2015

Really, I’m not big on lists, music criticism, reflection or history. Yet for some perverse reason I’ve posted Annual Best of posts pretty much since I started this blogging thing. The main reason being it compensates for poor memory. In doing this list I had to check my calendar and a pocket of receipts to verify what I’ve done over the last 12 months. Shocking isn’t it, age is catching up with me, living in the moment is the only option.

This years version is split over live & recorded. I’ve not included any musical purchases of music not released this year (unless indicated or where I’ve cheated). I’ve also cut back on the critique in relation to the recorded stuff, theres column inches of that self absorption out there. Lists and best off are just examples of the bubble that the commentator lives in, my aim if any above aid-memoire is to guide you dear reader to somethings that may have not burst your bubble. Also, don’t look for chronology or ratings, I’m not responsible enough for that. So, lets start with gigs, these chronologically listed.

British Sea Power - Derby Theatre

Jan 10th – British Sea Power – Derby Theatre

More intrigue than fandom. This was the tour where they played with a Brass Band. I only really knew their first two albums which I recall liking. The concept worked well when it gelled but I did find some of the orchestrated parts shoe horned in. Worth a look though.

J Mascis - The Rescue Rooms 2015

Jan 16th – J Mascis – Rescue Rooms

Slacker Prince of Shred. I’ve seen him a dozen times but never solo. A great way to start the year especially as it wasn’t that packed and I got to stand front & centre. He played a great selection of tunes from his not insubstantial song book. The treat though was up close view of his loop building on the fly. I would always jump at a chance to see J.

JAMC - Rock City

Feb 22nd – JAMC – Rock City

The first time I’ve seen these. Like many bands they were on a ‘play x album back to back’ Rock City was absolutely rammed and the sound was monstrous as you’d expect as they slowly pushed past 11. The album was Psycho Candy which to be fair is a great album, the first half of the show was best of the rest which I think I preferred.

Hookworms - Rescue Rooms

March 22nd – Hookworms – Rescue Rooms

These Sheffield boys share a label with some local bands so have played here before. They work on the long near drone punctuated by great melodies and a flying vocalist. Definitely worth a visit and really enjoyable event.

Wire - rescue Rooms

April 22nd – Wire – Rescue Rooms

Another band that I’ve enjoyed over the years but never seen live. This was a standout surprise of a gig. They played almost entirely new material and it held my attention throughout. They walk their own groove, a little like Hookworms with long limited chord songs but great dynamic and masterful sonics. A highlight of the year.

Nick Cave - RCH Nottingham

April 30th – Nick Cave – RCH

This came with a lot of loaded expectation. One of my favourite artists who I’ve seen several times over the years. The last time he played the Royal Concert Hall was on another ‘Nick Cave’ solo tour with the proto Grinderman line up. That was ‘intimate’. This was expansive. A near full Bad Seeds line up, lots of pretty lights and long long show. Cave is the king of stage craft, interacting with the audience, chatty light and full of jokes. And the songs are immense and played to perfection. Not just gig of the year but in the list of best evers.

Grey Hairs

June 19th – Prolapse / Grey Hairs – The Maze

I was attracted to this by the support band, local grunge paddlers Grey Hairs. They released their debut LP this year which is jolly excellent. They gave good gig on the small stage in the Maze. I think I missed Prolapse first time around. A post MBV/Curve/Slowdive shoe gaze band with added regional kitchen sink drama. It was good.

Ex Easter Island Heads

July 25th – Ex-Easter Island Heads – BoHunk Inst

I missed these when they played in 2014 so was keen to make sure to see them this time around. They play electric guitars, lain flat and in odd tunings by variously hitting them with batons & sticks. Invariably long tunes building on rhythm and repetition. It’s very hypnotic especially in a small gallery venue when you are standing at arms length from the performers. Look them up on Bandcamp. Worth a listen I guarantee.

Mike Watt

Sept 10th – CUZ – The Maze

CUZ are Sam Dook and ace of bass Mike Watt. Again great to see them in a small venue like the Maze and managed to chat with Mike a little before the gig. They played a hybrid pop, rock, world music set. Very diverse and quite unlike the album they had recently produced when played live. Watt is a master though and worth seeing in any setting. Apparently the last time he played Nottingham was with J Mascis & the Fog which I saw. Forever ago.

King Crimson BSH

Sept 14th – King Crimson – Birmingham Symphony Hall

Another gig proceeded by huge anticipation. KC don’t tour often and hadn’t played in the UK for several years. Now a seven piece band with three drummers and decades of incredible complex music to draw from. Unlike Cave they have no interaction with the audience. A pre-recorded message from band leader Fripp with a request to not take pictures before the band come out immaculately dressed in dark suits. Expertly rehearsed they played songs from their 50 year history including devastating versions of ‘Starlesss’ and ’21st Century Schizoid Man’. World class genius.

Hey Colossus - The Chameleon Arts Cafe

Oct 10th – Hey Colossus & Kogumaza – The Chameleon Arts Cafe

The Chameleon Arts Cafe has a performance space in the upstairs of an already small upstairs bar. They also have enough PA to put on a loud show in Rock City. Supporting were local hard drone (?) band Kogumaza (again, check Bandcamp, they are excellent) who use finely balanced analogue / retro effects with huge volume.
Hey Colossus release two albums this year and have rightly got them selves a lot of attention. Three guitarist, bass, vocals & drums, slow builds to roaring noise. There was paint falling from the ceilings at this one. Another stunning show and a must see band.

Sisters of Mercy - Rock City

Oct 15th – Sisters of Mercy – Rock City

From the distant 80’s Goth scene I couldn’t resist the pull of Andrew Eldridge and the current Sisters of Mercy. Rock City was again completely packed even though it was a early (7.30!) show. Barely visible through the dry ice Eldridge, two guitarists & Doktor Avalanche ripped through the hits. A dense mass of youngsters slammed and swayed their shoulder dancing girlfriends while I hid on the balcony. I hadn’t seen them since the late 80’s but they gave good gig. And of course closed with Temple of Love & This Corrosion.

The Space Lady

Oct 16th – Space Lady – The Chameleon

This was pure curiosity. The Space Lady (Susan) was a street performer from San Francisco who uses a Casio keyboard and a beguiling manner to re-interpret songs from the seventies mainly. A gig is like being introduced to an obscure mystic who has plainly discovered a level that you can’t quite imagine. Precious and as hard to nail down as smoke.

God Speed You Black Emperor

Oct 22nd – GSYBE – Warwick Arts Centre

From out of left field GSYBE announced a tiny handful of UK dates. Closest to me was Warwick Arts Centre which has been rebuilt since I was last there to see Bauhaus quite a few years ago. God Speed released a great album in the early part of the year which was essential a single 40min piece of music in four movements.
I arrived early and by immense fortitude managed to stand front and centre throughout. I had anticipated the kind of crushing volume used by Swans but it turned out they have a more user friendly approach. It was loud but clean and precise. Like King Crimson they avoid anything more than a quick wave hello and a nod of the head goodbye. In-between was tidal storm of music whipped up by musicians who knew each other intimately on stage. Unmissable performance which I won’t forget.

There was supposed to be one more but I ducked out due to frailness. Next up in 2016 is Bob Mould, ‘\w/’ as the kidz say.

Albums that crossed my horizon…..

So here’s a less than comprehensive list of albums I’ve enjoyed this year. To help you along I’ll include some YouTube videos (the only irritation being regional restrictions and future take down notices – get it while its hot I say).

No chronology here. Sorry. Probably available for academics out there.

Black Mass – Dumb Flesh

A recent find although this came out early in year. One of the guys from Fuck Buttons, I’m more with the noise than the groove. Side four of the vinyl is a long nameless ambient piece which is a stunner.

Hey Colossus – Black & Gold and Radio Static High

See above about their gigging. They put out two albums this year and I couldn’t choose between them. A cracking band with a signature sound. Nothing not to like. This from Blank & Gold.

Grey Hairs – Colossal Downer

Local vendors of post grunge Stooge noise. They have a knack with covers (Final Solution & Jump Into The Fire). This is from the album though. Honourable mention to Colossal Downer for an iconic cover image.

Pop Group – Citizen Zombie

From one of the standout gigs of 2014 to a great return to the studio in 2015. Mark Stewart and the Pop Group didn’t loose a beat from their 1980’s edgy punk funk conscious dance grooves. Immaculate.

BJM – Thingy Wingy & Musique de Film Imagine’

Always prolific (thats a dumb thing to say isn’t it) and always idiosyncratic and beyond the curve. Anton Newcombe gave us two BJM albums. Played the grooves off both of them.

BJM & Tess Parks – I Declare Nothing

Another Anton project from earlier in the year. This with Tess Parks who had appeared on the Musique de Film Imagine album. Absolute corker of an album. Tess growls through the project in the classic European ingenue style.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and other Distresses

Near gig of the year and near album of the year. Huge in scale but the result of tight personal connections in the band. This is the closing section of the album. Played live the entire piece was name Behemoth which is appropriate.

Rocket From The Tombs – Black Record

A surprise entry. Cult Cleveland progenitors of avant-rock came through with a new line up and finally put down some old songs. Given the age of these guys its a damn miracle. This might well be my album of the year. And of course David Thomas.

Sun Kil Moon – Universal Themes

After the sublime 2014 album Benji this came with a heap of expectation and TBH it didn’t fulfil on first listen. A couple of months on though it started to sink in. Kozalek had dug even deeper into his personal life and took pretty much himself and drummer Steve Shelly into an acoustic orchestral fantasy life.The songs change pace and the though train derails before jumping back with such intricate detail you can smell the food he mentions and feel the cold on the film set. It needs slow absorption.

Jeff Bridges – Sleeping Tapes

The Dude made a self help album for insomniacs. Yep. Pretty sure its great but I have no idea what happens at the end. If you want we can pretend to be crows.

Steve Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase

I had some appreciation of Wilson from his ‘Raven Songs’ album. For a short period I played the hell out of this. Through this I also found his long form drone albums. Admirable artist with a wide interest and substantial talent.

Courtney Barrett – Sometimes I Sit & Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Acres written about Courtney. Great album, you can see why she hit a groove. But what do I know…. I’m a phoney..

Wire – Wire

30 years at the forefront of obscurity and they can still put out a ground breaking album. At this rate in tens years they will be an overnight success. Seriously though, epic album and they use beautiful guitars.

Bjork – Vulnicura

Appearing on lists all over the place. Bjork’s lack of given fucks helps but this albums narrative of relationship fracture made it into something more human than some of her previous albums. I still can’t got Moto Crash out of my head though. The videos though….

Bob Dyan – Bootleg – The Cutting Edge

My first cheat. Yes its old but there where literally hundreds of unheard versions, sessions, breakdowns and sweepings on this. Bobcats three years of wild mercury sound. The full release needed something like 19 hours to absorb. More of a historical artefact than an album release.

Bob Dylan – Shadows in the Night

And on the other side of his career, confounding fans and critics, Bob puts out a album of Sinatra covers and shows with a pitch perfect lo-fi band & production that He Can Still Sing. This is utterly sublime……

David Gilmour – Rattle That Lock

When I first heard this it didn’t ‘grab me’ but after watching the BBC Making Of doc I was persuaded by its merits. Still enjoying it but still waiting for Comfortably Numb. This track is about encouraging young people to social insurrection so not a bad message. So Long Syd.

Keith Richards – Crosseyed Heart

The vampiric eternal life form and human riff Keef came back with a solo album. What I loved about this was the production. They had gone with studio ambience, it sounds like a band in a room, its primal, no flashy solos. The soul of rock’n’roll. Its just music, man….

Twelve – Houston V – Houston IV (HERACLEUM MANTEGAZZIANUM) – Houston We Are All Going To Die – NO_COUNTRY

The most prolific artist in the country came through with four full Twelve albums in 2015. These have accompanied me on numerous journeys, each has a different tone but mines the same electro Kraut Rock / Motorik mines of beat and groove. The penultimate frontier.

Miley Cyrus – ‘Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz’

This might be considered a surprise last entry. This album was fascinating in the same way that being given strange food when blindfold and trying to decide if you like it or not is fascinating. The feeling on the palette is uneasy but the gag reflex hasn’t kicked in so it must be OK? Still undecided but would definitely advise you don’t play it on the school run. You go girl….

So there you go. There are about half a dozen albums that have been recommended that I didn’t get to, Joanna Newson, Father John Misty, Public Service Broadcast, Jenny Hval, Low (which I’m sure I’d like) and also a bunch I tried but (shockingly) didn’t get.

Apologies to all who tried to guide but for the life of me I didn’t get…….

Jamie xx – In Colour

Panda Bear meets the Grim Reaper

Sufijan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

New Order – Music Complete

Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

I promise to try again unless some fool brings another record out in the mean time.

Seasons Greeting to you all and remember as Uncle Frank taught us ‘Music Is The Best’.


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Late in……

Peter Hook Rescue Rooms July 2014


This one is overdue and under cooked. In a rare event of two nights out in a row I caught a couple of great gigs last week.

Thursday was Peter Hook & the Light. Currently touring the early New Order albums Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies. I’ve played both of these to death in the past so have been really looking forward to these shows. Hooky doesn’t disappoint. The band seem to spend a lot of time on the road and are tight and enthusiastic. The Rescue Rooms has great sound for a small venue and even near the front it was not so loud as to be  distorted. Encouraging to see a large number of middle-aged chaps joshing at certain points as well.

Here’s a sample of it. It jumps around along with the crowd.

The following clip if from the next night in Holmfirth.

With the current kickball competition on-going they also did ‘World In Motion’ which seemed to get some enthused. For me the closing riot of ‘Temptation’ did the trick. Here’s a properly filmed version.

And then……

Brian Jonestown Massacre July 2014

The following night was the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Currently touring to promote their new album ‘Revelation’ . They are still a 5 guitarapocalypse of psych rock. The new album is a great thing and they mixed new and old material throughout the show. This is ‘The Devil May Care (Mom & Dad Don’t). This was filmed by the bloke standing next to me during the show.

Anton seemed in fairly decent humour and only stopped the band twice to whup them into shape.

This is a song from the new album, ‘Vad Hande Med Dem’. I believe its Swedish.

If you have an urge theres a demo version of the album here. Dig!



Blue vinyl! mmmmmmmmm……

Brian Jonestown Massacre - Revelation










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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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Ian McCulloch


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.


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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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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