Sunday, December 05, 2004

Martin Percival coming at you barely functioning after 2 Rezillos gigs and driving 750 miles in the last 48 hours...

The first Rezillos gigs in 21 months were both terrific. Was all the travelling worth it? Definitely! The action started on Friday morning with me picking up the 4 US fans who had journeyed over for the dates (Kitty, Tony & Justin from NYC and Andrew from Chicago) from the 3 different flights they were coming in on at Heathrow. What could have been a disaster from a co-ordination viewpoint actually clicked - much though I hate them, what would we do without mobile phones at times like that?! So by 12.30 we were on the road heading up the M1 to Newcastle.

A journey that should have taken 6 hours max ended up taking over 8 due to heavy traffic and some pretty crap driving conditions. The lights of Newcastle were therefore a very welcome sight as we eventually drove over the Tyne bridges and into Jesmond where the gig was to take place in Archer's, a local music pub. The gig had deliberately been kept low key with billings of "Mystery Action" on for several weeks and "Insangel" on the local promoter's poster with a 1977 vintage Rezillos live photo for artwork. Clearly the locals had figured it all out though, word had spread and 200 tickets had already been sold for the 150 capacity venue a few days before the gig - oh boy!

I'll not spoil the surprise for the people seeing them in Scotland soon by saying too much about the evenings set but, suffice to say, the 5 very strong new songs plus the cover of Edwin Starr's "25 miles" went down very well as did the appearance of the Pretty Thing's "Rosalyn" in a Rezillos set for the first time since 1977!

The Newcastle gig did suffer from a poor pa, a very over sold venue and, by their own admittance a slightly under rehearsed band but it was still a terrific night and I don't think anyone there will have been disappointed. I met a local guy called Steve who told me he'd been waiting 26 years for the gig!

So the next morning it was up and out to head back to London for the show at the LA2/Mean Fiddler/whatever they call the venue now. Fortunately the journey was straight forward, with even time to sample the delights of the "Selectadisc" record store in Nottingham on the way!

The gig wasn't quite sold out but, on a Saturday night ("there's sure gonna be a fight"....we'll come on to that later!) that also saw the Undertones headlining at the much smaller Garage venue in Highbury just a few miles away, it was a very decent turn out and the venue must have been at least 80% full to capacity. The audience was surprisingly wild by London standards with much crowd surfing and at least 4 or 5 stage invaders, including one guy who Eugene rode like a horse during "Destination Venus" and another who Eugene used as a "demonstration prop" to punctuate the second encore of "Head Kicked in Tonight" - ouch! A wild, wild night! The set was also changed around quite a bit from Newcastle and saw the welcome reappearance of "No". The rough edges of the previous show had been smoothed out at soundcheck and the band were on top form.

Anyone going to Sheffield tonight or the Scottish dates in 2 weeks time should prepare themselves for a real treat! Be sure to take some of your christmas pressie cash with you too as there's a very nice line in t-shirts and other stuff on Willy's merch stall.

So what does the future hold? A recent Radio Clyde session and interview with Billy Sloan should be broadcast very soon and 2005 will see the release of this session together with the bands 2 John Peel sessions from 1977 and 1978 on the Damaged Goods label under the billing of "Rezillos Radio Times". Next year will also see a return visit to the US for another tour following on from the successes of the bands 2002 trip.

Anyone who's a fan of high energy live shows in a rocky/poppy/punk style will still love the Rezillos!
Some time ago now I brought THE BAMBI MOLESTERS Sonic Bullets album to your attention. Not your average bunch of instro toting folks by any stretch of the wildest imagination. And now it seems that the world will be able to catch on to this Eastern European phenomenon, because they’re getting ready to play all over Europe and beyond when Warners unleash their wares upon the world. But who are they? Well go do your homework. I'll try to describe what they sound like but words can’t exactly do their angle on cinematic instrumental music justice. There’s a sense of isolation which infuses the end product with a hybrid vigour lost on many a mere “surf combo”. Those who interfere with the little woodland creature swing and then some.

Sonic Bullets is fleshed out by Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Chris Eckman and Eduardo Martinez but its the band itself which makes it really tick. When you go to their site there are all kinds of audio and video clips for you to check out which endorse the fact that we’re dealing with something special here. Something that goes an extra couple yards. They’ve also made an album as THE STRANGE with The Walkabouts Chris Eckman which you can investigate on the site also. The moody and evocative “Nights of Forgotten Films” which provides something way beyond themes for imaginary westerns. There’s a sinewy slow burn to their music which stretches a broad canvas before you to pretty much give you free reign to let that mind of yours off the leash for a bit. So let’s hope they come and hit up places close to all of us. The merest chance that they might is enough to make me want 2005 to get its bahookie over here sooner rather than later.
Mr M. Percival Esq sent me a link to the LOWDOWN review of End of the Century but I think we've od'd on those for now. However, this Danish webzine is pretty good and there's a bunch of things on there for NBT readers to have a wee tootle aboot...

Looking for some Christmas Music that won't make you spew? Well our pal Jon Graboff has just the package for you in the shape of FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.

Hey troops... this (literally) just in from Brother Don in SF...


Subtitled How an Original Velvet Underground Acetate Wound Up in Portland
(And Could Be the Most Expensive Record in the World!)
Watched the Brian Wilson Smile documentary that David Leaf made about the reinvention of the piece that helped tip BW over the edge. It's very good and should warm the cockles of the very hardest heart. Clocking it also reminded me that I hadn't hepped you folks to Neo.

A NY-based project of Marc Silvert who was in The Revelons, responsible for the timeless (The Way You Touch) My Hand - as popularised by those Nomads. Anyways, not only is it a trip for Beach Boys enthusiasts, it also sounds like Todd Rundgren playing cream of Glasgow pop with a little TFC and a lot of Pearlfisherisms in there. Buy this one via CD Baby or contact Marc directly at to score a copy.

Talking about The Pearlfishers, their "A Sunflower At Christmas" finds Davie + Co in their own Winter Wonderland on Marina Records. A place where BW, Burt Bacharach and that Ennio Morricone geezer come together to make a sound that nearly only they (and Neo) can.
Playlist: It's been about two months so I figure it's about time for another playlist from this end. Been on a serious Flamin' Groovies bender once again, a re-occurring habit of course, with their Sire-era material gettin' the most frequent spins on the Hi-Fi. Too bad this material is currently hardly available in any decent format, with the Groovies' Greatest Grooves CD bein' a surrogate thingy at best as it omits such eternal faves like Take Me Back and Good Laugh Mun. It's such an obvious job for Rhino to put matters straight here, but maybe they're too busy compiling more Grateful Dead box-sets. Anyways, besides the above two, Between The Lines, I Can't Hide and You Tore Me Down round up my current Groovies top 5. More pop tunes; Chris Stamey - The Summer Sun, Chilton produced masterpiece that works especially well in these dark days before christmas. Pretenders - Stop Your Sobbing, their first and best, with Nick Lowe at the controls they turn this Ray Davies song into a big Spector-ish production job, easily one of the best girl group 45s of the 70s along w/ X-Offender. Bram Tchaikovsky - Sarah Smiles (original 45 version), a minor radio hit over here way back in the day that still blows me away every time I hear it, what ever happened to Bram?. Nomads - Crystal Ball, our Swedish friends at their poppiest , best spun back-to-back w/ the Ramones' Poison Heart. Dwight Twilley Band - Sincerely, genius 1975 psychedelic-pop masterpiece, backwards guitars 'n all. On to the other stuff; Turbines - Wah-Hey, pulled this out after hearin' the A-Bones version again on the recent 2CD set, way big soundin' twang w/ a chorus that's perfect to sing along to when drunk. Blues Explosion - Burn It Off, the perfect tune to get elderly Stones fans out of their self-inflicted coma, would have been a highlight on Exile On Main Street. 22-20s - Devil In Me (see below). Paladins - Follow Your Heart, these guys often get a bit too workman-like, but this early 45 is easily their finest moment. Unholy Trinity - Rise To The Occasion (mini LP), recommended by Mark Giddens in response to my last playlist, I scored a copy of this for 99 cents on eBay. When the Sid Presley Experience split all attention focused to the Godfathers, but the other remaining SPE members came up w/ this pretty solid, but completely overlooked, 6 track disc. Most of the material stems from the SPE setlist if memory serves me right and only suffers from a typically weak 80s production job. Good stuff tho' (thanks Mark!). More general, the followin' have been doin' the 33/45 rounds as well; James Brown, CCR, Boonaraaas, Poison 13, Carl Perkins (nothin' beats his country weepers on Sun!) and in tribute to the recently departed Errol Thompson such long standing reggae faves like Culture's Two Sevens Clash, the African Dub series and Prince Far I's Under Heavy Manners. That's it for this go 'round, more as it happens...