THE WONDER BEERS / PLUS 10 DAMAGE / AND NOW WE’RE EVEN at The Cave, Addlestone

THE WONDER BEERS / PLUS 10 DAMAGE / AND NOW WE’RE EVEN, Thursday 30th June 2016 at The Cave, Addlestone

A stripped down And Now We’re Even started the night with a lot of humour and a set of acoustic led songs. Really quite a gentle introduction to proceedings but great fun. Made me wonder how they’d sound as a full band.

And Now We're Even

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GARBAGE – The Troxy London, Live review

GARBAGE / THE PEARL HARTS Monday 13th June 2016 at The Troxy, London

It was as recently as December that Garbage were in London headlining a show so tonight, just six months later, was a taking something of a punt for them to fill the wonderful art deco grandeur of The Troxy. Arriving as the doors opened at 7pm any fears of a sparse crowd are allayed with the queue stretching all the way round the block. Inside it’s already busy as support act for Garbage’s ‘Strange Little Birds’ tour The Pearl Harts take to the stage. A duo of just guitar, drums and vocals they still kick out an almighty rock sound. Proper stomping grungy riffs and vocals they utilised guitar loops to fill out their sound and judging by the reaction at the end of their set won over a new set of fans.

The Pearl Harts

The Pearl Harts

The Pearl Harts at The Troxy

The Pearl Harts, proper slow rock grunge.

Appearing out of the darkness Garbage arrive on stage with the bare minimum of light and barely move for their opener ‘Sometimes’ – the first cut off their recently released sixth album ‘Strange Little Birds”. Stripped down and bare it’s full of atmosphere and followed up by ‘Empty’ as it is on the album before the band go right back to the beginning for ‘Stupid Girl”. Shirley, Duke and Steve (sadly Butch could not make the gig tonight for medical reasons) carefully and deliberately crank up the gears. From here onwards it’s a set full of their best known standards until “Even Though Our Love is Doomed’ kicks off the encore. Shirley has much to say tonight from explaining how nervous she gets every tine she plays London (self doubt the flip side of her perceived confidence) to a heartfelt speech for the victims of the Pulse Club in Orlando. She confides in us that the band have told her she goes on too long at times but no one is complaining. It’s all from the heart and explains why the connection between the band and their fans runs so deep. It’s why they keep coming back, after a career of twenty plus years and just half a year since their last epic London performance. A blistering ‘Why Do You Love Me’ sums everything up before ‘Cherry Lips’ closes the evening with the entire Troxy theatre lit up with glitter ball style lighting. An amazing night by a band a quarter down but still at the top of their powers.

Shirley Manson

Shirley Manson

Garbage at The Troxy

Garbage at The Troxy

Garbage at The Troxy

Garbage at The Troxy

Garbage closing out their set

Garbage closing out their set

Another triumphant performance garnered the band rave reviews

Another triumphant performance garnered the band universal rave reviews

OI POLLOI / FLOWERS OF FLESH AND BLOOD / ACTIVE SLAUGHTER – Tchances

OI POLLOI / FLOWERS OF FLESH AND BLOOD / ACTIVE SLAUGHTER – Friday June 10th, T-Chances, Tottenham

Last year comedian Mark Thomas along with Flowers Of Flesh and Blood and Oi Polloi pulled off a pretty audacious gig on the banks of the River Thames in the heart of Central London. Trespass on the Beach highlighted the trend to privatise public spaces, restricting access that was once free and determining what can happen in any given location. Through a combination of cheek, the authority of a hi-vis jacket and a great deal of behind the scenes hard work and organisation a straight up punk gig was played out to those in the know and a bunch of bemused but open minded Saturday South Bank strollers. A second gig along similar lines is planned and tonight was set up to organise funds to help with the costs of the next event.

Active Slaughter, London based Anti Fascist Vegan punks, split up back in 2010 having been around for most of the previous decade. It’s been a full six years since their last gig but they’re back now and they’re still angry at the same subjects. HLS may be rebranding as Envigo following their merger but changing the name won’t hide the abuse of animals that they carry out. It’s good to see Active Slaughter back and actively calling it as it is with a bunch of hard hitting songs about an array of causes.

Active Slaughter

Active Slaughter

Active Slaughter

Active Slaughter

Flowers of Flesh and Blood hit the stage with a no nonsense straight up thrash out. All rapid fire drumming, sub metal riffing and angry in your face punk vocals they get the crowd going with some violent slamming going on down the front that only quietens down when more bodies join in. The band themselves though never let up in their ferocity with a set full of hard hitters.

Flowers Of Flesh and Blood

Flowers Of Flesh and Blood

Flowers of Flesh and Blood

Flowers Of Flesh And Blood

I first got into contact with Oi Polloi and in particular Deek Allen over thirty years ago after a postal interview for my fanzine Crisispoint turned into a gig at the William Morris, and then another and then pretty much the end of me as a promoter at the Robey. One of the most outspoken bands of the time nothing has diminished Deek’s anger in the intervening years and it was great to catch up with him for a bit before they were due on stage.

Things get lively the moment they start. Every song has a direct unambiguous message from the classic ‘Nuclear Waste’ to the more recent ‘The Face (kicking you in the face)’. They dedicate ‘Let The Boots Do The Talking’ to all anti fascists whatever level they operate at whether that be delivering a swift kick from a vegan boot or designing an antifa poster. Their new album Saorsa (more of which on a later post) is raided for a slew of memorable songs – ‘Let’s Go’, ‘Metal Detector’ being a couple of stand outs. The Queen comes in for special attention, this being the date of one (!) of her birthdays. The route one chorus of “Queen Elizabeth, Fuck You” being a fitting tribute for a little old lady who’s “amazingly” managed to get to 90 by simply having the best of everything her entire  life. There’s plenty of audience participation throughout, singalongs and air guitar on stage during ‘Don’t Burn The Witch’. It’s been a great night and I can’t help feel a little disappointed that Oi Polloi are not playing the Beach when it happens again this year. Their lack of inclusion though makes perfect sense – last years gig was so special to just copy it would never be as good. Better try something a little different with a new set of bands and if it comes off again it’ll be another brilliant reminder of what is possible when you just plain ignore the rules that have been set.

Deek, Oi POlloi

Deek, Oi Polloi – using a kids book to illustrate how we’re told from a young age what our relationship with the Police should be like.

Oi Polloi Prog Oi

The power of Prog Oi even results in levitation.

Oi Polloi air guitar heroes

Oi Polloi’s air guitar stage invasion during ‘Don’t Burn The Witch, Burn The Rich’

Blank Generation Festival – Sunday

BLANK GENERATION FESTIVAL – 999 / THE OUTCASTS / THE LURKERS / THE MEMBERS / MICK OTOOLE / CANDY AND THE DEAD / DEADLOCK UK / DESPERATE MEASURES / MURDABALL Sunday 29th May at T-Chances, Tottenham

Photos from Sunday night of the Blank Generation Festival

Desperate Measures

Desperate Measures

The Members

The Members

Deadlock UK

Deadlock UK

The Lurkers

The Lurkers

Murdaball

Murdaball

Candy and the Dead

Candy & The Dead

Candy & The Dead

Candy & The Dead

The Outcasts

The Outcasts

Mick O'Toole

Mick O’Toole

999

999

RUTS DC – Psychic Attack

It’s not usual that I’d comment on a single song – well, never really – but this is a bit special. The Ruts are easily in my top 5 favourite bands and most of that is based on the bright incendiary flame they lit up until 1980. I’ve recently been impressed by Ruts DC live performances and now there is something new to get excited about. The first proper rocking track in decades – and it’s a corker. Channeling old Ruts with an updated sound, enlisting John Howard for the cover (the artist behind some of the bands early singles) it’s a real surprise and bodes well for the album ‘Music Must Destroy’.

 

 

THE LONDON POLICE / SCOTT LISTFIELD at Stolen Space

THE LONDON POLICE – ALL AT SEA, SCOTT LISTFIELD – AN AMERICAN ASTRONAUT IN LONDON (Stolen Space Gallery)

Stolen Space is currently displaying The London Police’s ‘All At Sea’ show. TLP raise the bar with every show they do and this is no exception. Exquisitely drawn with indelible ink on Brussels linen the work features both plain colour backgrounds and this time more detailed back scenes in acrylic than previously seen. On until 29th May at Stolen Space its one of those exhibitions that makes me think I should get a better paying job. Stunning work.

The London Police - All At Sea

The London Police ‘Sunnia And The Fisherman’s Orb’

The London Police - Limp Robot

The London Police – Limp Robot (Probably) Being Taken Out To Sea

TLP

The London Police ‘Tanksy Coming Home For Tea, Part 1’

Stolen Space Gallery

Three showstopping canvasses only just fit in the space – you’ll need a big home to display these centre pieces but they are utterly fantastic.

The London Police

The London Police ‘Minions Asking For Directions To Nearest Port’.

The London Police

The London Police ‘Walking A Lorse On A Beach’

Also on at Stolen Space at the same time is an exhibition by Scott Listfield. Entitled ‘An American Astronaut In London’ it feature photorealistic paintings of an astronaut placed in London scenes related to well known acts fro the 90’s ranging from Blur to the Spice Girls. It’s an interesting concept with populist appeal that’s produced some very eye catching art works.

Scott Listfield - Massive Attack

Scott Listfield – London Massive Attack

Scott Listfield - The Verve

Scott Listfield – London Verve

THE DAMNED – Royal Albert Hall

THE DAMNED 40th Annniversary, Friday 20th April 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall

Back in May ’77 The Damned’s manager Derek Block wrote to the Albert Hall to arrange gig for the band enclosing a copy of their recently released LP. The reply could have hardly been terser. The Secretary and Lettings manager refused the proposal as they were “not considered to be a suitable group”. Worse still they added “The record is here for your collection should you need it”. Ouch. Fast forward 39 years and it’s totally different story. Now in their 40th anniversary year the band have just about sold out the place and they and their fans (it was always the fans who were the real problem for the RHA to be fair) are very much welcome in this grandest of concert venues.

Channeling Phantom Of Opera, singer Dave enters not stage left but stage…above. He appears up on a balcony, swathed in a black cape and sporting a face mask and commandingly belts out the opening lines to ‘Nature’s Dark Passion’.

Dave Vanian, The Damned at the Royal Albert Hall

Dave Vanian makes a grand entrance at the Royal Albert Hall

The opening slew of songs give the game away, the band are working backwards from their newest material to their oldest and most famous. ‘Democracy’ from the bands 2001 album ‘Grave Disorder’ goes down very well but you get the feeling everyone is just pacing themselves just a little bit. There’s nearly three hours to go.

Captain Sensible, guitarist with The Damned

Captain Sensible in a sparkly jacket and his trademark red beret

Things really go up a notch by the time the tracks off ‘Phantasmagoria’ are reached. ‘Street Of Dreams’ has the crowd properly bouncing for the first time along with their surprise hit ‘Eloise’. Ending the first half of their set and only upping the ante higher are ‘Generals’ and the fittingly explosive ‘Ignite’ from Strawberries.

The Damned

The Damned

Returning after half an hour (to allow keyboard player Monty a ‘wee break’ according to the band’s Facebook update!) the rest of the set comprises a bunch of classics familiar to any Damned fan (Neat Neat Neat, Love Song, The History Of The World), some less well known (Limit Club once again dedicated to Malcom Owen of The Ruts) along with some real live rarities including ‘Life Goes On’. A storming rendition of their first single ‘New Rose’ ends their set and as the band walk off I can hear people around me asking ‘what’s left to play’?

Captain Sensible, the Damned

Playing guitar with a beer can

Captain Sensible playing slide with a beer can

The answer comes in the form of just one song, the seventeen minute orchestral epic of ‘Curtain Call’. Dave Vanian is joined on stage  by his daughter Emily who plays the violin part. Both decked in black angel wings it’s an inspired choice of song, so fitting for the venue and the moment. Once completed the entire band receive the audiences rapturous applause before departing with of course the Captain showing off his Crystal Palace shirt prior to their appearance at the FA Cup Final.

So, after four decades the Damned have finally played the Royal Albert Hall and it’s been a triumph. Something tells me that had they played 39 years ago things might have been quite different and they may never have been invited back. Maybe the Secretary and Lettings Manager had a point after all….

The Damned - Curtain Call with wings

The Damned Curtain Call

The Damned at the Royal Albert Hall

The Damned at the Royal Albert Hall

UK SUBS – Ziezo Album Launch, Nuneaton

UK SUBS – ‘Ziezo’ Album launch gig, Monday 2nd May 2016 at Queens Hall, Nuneaton

Champagne at the door, commemorative badges for those who had bought their tickets on pledge and a bunch of die hard Subs fans from all over the place making the trip to Queens Hall in Nuneaton meant that this was never going to be a run of the mill gig. Billed as the launch party for Ziezo, the bands 26th and final release in their A-Z album offering there was plenty for all to celebrate and a whole evening set aside to do just that.

UK SUBS - Nuneaton Ziezo album launch

Taking to the stage for the first of three sets Charlie Harper started the evening off playing acoustic versions of UK Subs classics on his own.With a little time to reminisce about each song before playing it he shared with the crowd the story behind one of their most famous Top Of The pop moments – ‘Stranglehold’. Turns out it was about a thirteen year old girl called Bonita who was keen on Pete Davies, the Subs drummer on many of their top 40 singles. Charlie joked that she’s probably about fifty now – which would make her one of the younger ones attending this gig! Jamie Oliver came out to join in on a guitar and finally a uke for the remainder of the opening set, sitting on a resplendent custom made drum stool and really filling out the sound on the songs. The crowd played their part too, joining in with the singing, building up a great atmosphere with those on both sides of the stage barriers clearly enjoying themselves.
UK Subs acoustic set
Charlie and Jamie
When the full band arrive for the start of their set it’s the turn of the most stable line up in the bands history. Guitarist Jet and bassist Alvin Gibbs have both put in long stints in the group and along with Jamie have contributed fully on their recent output. Material from the last four albums makes up the whole of this really strong section with a dozen modern classics including ‘Hell Is Other People’, ‘Monkeys’, ‘Suicidal Girl’ and ‘Sick Velveteen’. Already a firm fan favourite ‘Banksy’ is so recent Charlie has to occasionally look down to remind himself of the lyrics. It’s got that classic UK Subs hook, the sort of simple guitar lead that makes ‘New York State Police’ such a staple of their gigs. A rather ambitious request from the crowd for a Prince cover meets with incredulity from the band. Charlie is un-phased though and says whilst he might like a couple of his songs (1999 and Little Red Corvette) he really liked the fact that Prince put his money where his mouth is in his Minneapolis home, ensuring there was not just a big venue for bands to play but a 200 capacity hall as well – frequented by many punk bands over the years.
Charlie Harper
Charlie Harper
Alvin Gibbs
Alvin Gibbs
UK Subs singalong
The crowd were on top form too!
Coming out for the final session the band ripped through tracks off the album that started it all – Another Kind Of Blues. ‘Young Criminals’, ‘Kicks’, ‘Rockers’ and ‘TV Blues’ rolled back the years and were followed by more classic album tracks (‘Endangered Species’, ‘Emotional Blackmail’) before it was the turn of the singles. You probably know the rest ‘ Warhead’ (Charlie thanked the crowd for one of the best sing alongs ever), ‘Stranglehold’, ‘Teenage’ – which led to some very broad smiles on the faces of the crowd as they sang along to every word, and ‘Tomorrow’s Girls’ all sounded fresh and energetic. Of course the band came back for an encore, Topped and tailed by ‘CID’ and ‘New York State Police’ the final section left everyone in the hall knowing they had witnessed something special. Not because they’d heard these songs live – they’d surely all seen them before. No, there was something else going on, a real celebration. It had taken nearly 40 years to get to this point and here we all were at what felt like the climax. Both the band and the crowd in mutual admiration – but of course it’s not the end at all. Just a milestone passed. The band will continue to play and even record more singles, EP’s whatever – but don’t expect them to start another alphabet series!
UK Subs
UK Subs - Nuneaton
Charlie Harper
UK Subs Ziezo Album