Thursday, July 14, 2005

From Alien Snatch HQ: "Get down on the git down"! Spread the news, after the successful debut album the GHETTO WAYS are ready to perform their second bash of which we are damn proud here. Solid Brown is a soul trash rock´n´roll deathbeam album full of nitty-gritty, dirty soul and and proto-punk rawk titles by our favourite Brooklyn, NYC crime family. Their constant switching of the lead vocals, their luv & fights makes the live show an experience of the anarchic GHETTO WAYS adventure. What is this three piece all about? Treated like outcasts in their hometown, the old world celebrate them as a hot act right on their first tour in 2004. Entertainment-madman Harry Warwick III on the drums alone draw enuff attention with his raucous bashing breaking ranks drumming. Not able to sit tight for a minute it´s his boundless energy and filthy punk rock vocals delivering the steam. On the opposite, Captain Shane Konen got the talent to do an outstanding job on the bass, responsible for the undeniable rhythm. Again he´s the mastermind getting the merits for recording/producing this album. Yes, THIS is a blackly, yet brown garage rock record in its primal sense! The gospel-fervour, the roaring guitars, the stunning soul lead vocals and heartful screams is Jenna Young. The way she sings and rocks her way through "Say Yeah" and "Get Up" is pure class. On Solid Brown she takes the Solomon Burke classic "Home in Your Heart" to a new level. Suspected of poaching in the STAX records box, getting OBLIVIANS, STOOGES, CRIME, DEAD BOYS on the one and DIRTBOMBS, BELLRAYS references on the other hand it´s not possible to steer the GHETTO WAYS too far in any direction, which solely speaks for them. Witness the raw power making the audience sweat like galley slaves, listen to "Way Too Late" and imagine sold out clubs in late august! Those who've shared time with slick soul men and women with polished shoes and Austin Powers behavior might check their friends and rather bang on the trash cans with the wild ones. It´s a kick in the balls. It´s naked and real. See european tourdates below, GHETTO WAYS rampaging thru your city in September 2005. Be there as often as you can and change undies with the band! A US tour is planned for 2006, for those who not believe yet. Suprisingly professional video of the new dance in town "The Na Na" is available for download! Check out the black dude jamming with the band! Find out some more of Harry´s multiple personalities! Wonder why Jenna still isn´t on the album cover! LP is on 180g vinyl, first couple hundred come with a large poster.
2nd Primitive Festival, The Waterfront, Rotterdam – recollections by Lenny Helsing

Thursday 30 June

I missed the first group to appear, Fury 161, from Rotterdam, as we were still getiin' it together to get ourselves down to the Waterfront so I can't tell yez anything cept that in the photo in the programme they wear black, one has on a single black glove and they cite The Monks, The Standells, and Miracle Workers as an inspiration…

The Unchayned are a ramshackle, garage-a-holic type group with cool girl lead guitar player, and a diminutive dynamo of a drummer called Graham who takes care of the bulk of lead vocals/screams. They're from around the Wiltshire area of England, and what they lacked in finesse they made up for in snot-encrusted ineptitude. Amongst other things they did 'Wildman' of The Tamrons fame. Once their set ended it was outside for some much needed fresh air…and fresh beer …and to catch up with some old pals that were here somewhere.

Then came The Rapiers…well, our hearts went out to them as they’ve just experienced the tragic death of their rhythm guitar player, and his wife, in a horrific road accident earlier in the month in London when their motorbike was in collision with a learner-driver in a car…anyway they gallantly got themselves a stand-in and gave the show as a tribute. Well-executed renditions of Shadows’ material and other instro’s was the main order of the day, and their best moment, for me, was a cover of the old Johnny Sandon and the Remo Four vocal track 'Lies'.

The Phantom Surfers were the final act of the first night, a masked surf combo from San Francisco with the esteemed Russell Quan (Mummies, Flakes, Bobby Teens…) on drums. Mucho twang was in evidence here, and a lot of humour to boot. Three-quarters of the way into the set, Mr Quan chucked his sticks for a go at being the singer…Jeeeeez! no disrespect to the other guys, but this stole the show no contest, with pure maniacal romps through The Shakers' awesome beat stomper 'Break It All', 'Cara-Lin', complete with floor-tom out front and 'Don't You Just Know It', Russell going all over the shop, flailing his arms and demolishing mic stands in his wake. The crowd were now just putty in their hands and shakin' and flakin' for all they were worth…proceedings ended with a fine surf-o-rama version of 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker'; the first in a mini-series of '66 into '77 style proclamations this event heralded as we shall see… Of course the party didn't end there as there was much merriment and dancing to be found on the floor and over at the café, and outside on the entrance walkway too, yeah! Though there were some (hello Viking man Jens from Copenhagen) that were dissing this whole first night as piss-weak bloody surf music with not enough testicles.

Day Two, Friday 1 July

Things kicked off with the record fayre in the early afternoon and live entertainment in the café by way of Dutch garage 3-piece ET Explore Me, apparently they were cool and fierce, but again we weren't around to catch them. Also at the café were The Hare-Kee-Rees from Germany, I must admit I didn't actually see these guys either, but I heard some of their set from a distance… First on in the hall were Norway's The Indikation. Expectations were running high. I love their singles - having not heard the LP until after I got home - but have to say I was somewhat underwhelmed by their live show. They have all the correct gear, vintage clothes etc, but it just seemed like they didn’t utilise what they had to gain the maximum advantage - way too timid, and too close to stuff like The Prisoners for my liking…hey, they weren't bad, it's just that they didn't float my boat as much as I thought they woulda done. But their singles are real strong…and the LP ain't half bad either, having given it an initial spin once I got home.

The Thanes were onstage next and since I play in the group I cannot say anything with any objectivity, except that I'd guess we were the first group to salute the late, and very great Wally Tax, lead singer of the finest Dutch '60s combo, the Outsiders, who died a couple of months back. As we (Angus and I especially) have been big fans for nigh on 22 years, he/they have been a great inspiration to us, so of course we were gonna do something; we were always gonna do 'Touch' anyway as it featured on our first EP as The Thanes way back in early '87, but we also decided to play CQ LP fave 'You're Everything On Earth' as our special tribute. As we were in Rotterdam we played a bunch of other Dutch beat covers too, surprise surprise.

The Masonics, who comprise ex-Milkshakers Mick Hampshire on git/vox, and Bruce 'Lord of the bish, bash, bosh' Brand on drums, alongside Wildebeests bass man John Gibbs, took the stage after us and let fly with a barrage of keenly felt rhythmic beat-punkers, the first few of which I only heard, but didn't see, as I was still recharging the old batteries back in the dressing room, miles from the stage…Anyway I finally made my way to the hall after their first coupla numbers and could see that the Masonics were without their famed aprons, but were nevertheless cavorting about onstage like the ne'er do wells they are. 'I'm Your Conscience Baby' was maybe one of the best, or was it ‘Silently By Night’ (?), huh, can’t remember, probably too smashed by now…but they sure excelled themselves by covering The Damned's cooler than cool 'New Rose' at the end. A few of us were beginning to make our way towards the exit just then to grab more beer, but could only stand near the stairs, rooted to the spot goin - wow! Phew, it's bleedin' hot in here man, gotta get out again…and get some…fresh air…ahh that's better!!!

I'd never seen King Khan and the Shrines before, KK himself is from Canada, but they are all based in Germany. They are a big band ensemble of rollicking soul-beat with brass, played out with just a tinge of garage-psych grooviness here and there to give it that extra edge. Unbelievably, they encored with a neat cover of The Saints' perennial favourite 'Know Your Product', Excellent stuff indeed let me say. Lucy Dee's Angels and the International Go-Go Go-Go Girl Galore ably assisted in the visual department throughout most of the evening.

The final day’s action began again with the record fayre…and then in the café in the early evening, where Dutch group The Stilettos played while folks like me were still wandering around the flea market looking for small round black things and drinking beer with pals, yeah I know, how lame, but so what! I think it was around then that folks like Erik Meinen were blasting out some vinyl 7”s to anyone listening inside the café. Then came the main Primitive organiser Dave Andriese’s crazy beat outfit The Nederbietels, who were holding court for, get this, a garage karaoke session. They started off playing a few cool tunes in their own right with Dave on vocals and guitar. The Haigs’ ‘Where To Run’ got things off to a great start, before the lists of songs went round the packed audience so they could pick their fave and get up and do their thing, which many folks did. Q65, Het and The Motions, alongside renditions of ‘Have Love Will Travel’ were belted out in earnest by punters and crazies alike…then legendary Outsiders guitar player Ronnie Splinter joined the group for a thrashing ‘Won’t You Listen’, closely followed by another legend, The Zipps’ frontman Philip Elzerman, who of course did ‘Kicks and Chicks’ complete with his solo on the flute. Both Ronnie and Philip contributed greatly to the upbeat vibe that was by now whirring around the café and outside…then Jeff ‘Monoman’ Connolly arrived and shook up the place even more with a furious ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’. All this and the main hall event hadn’t even kicked off yet. After Nederbietel Dave came offstage and got himself refreshed, we exchanged bottles of spirits (Isle of Jura Whisky from Scotland for Zeer Oude Korenwijn from Holland) and some choice 7”s. After a salutary dram it was off to have dinner at the backstage area with Dave and his wife. As luck would have it, The Lyres’ Jeff was already lurking there drinking iced coffee, so he joined us too which was great for me as I’d not spoken face-to-face with him in years. He was on fine form, with lots of humourous anecdotes and vinyl tales.

Swedish beatsters The Dee Rangers were the first band of the night – these days the group features renowned Londoner Parsley (from Dutronc) on organ/vocals. He likes a bit of the limelight does Parsley, so he got changed into his groovy stage togs during the first number. Already releasing two LPs with former singer, the group now have a relatively new frontman Per (and maybe even a new drummer too?) joining stalwarts Nicke on guitar and Johnny on bass/vocals – remember The Maryland Cookies anyone? It’s the first time I’ve seen their live show, and it has to be said that The Dee Rangers created a real tangible buzz at this event with their tough, yet soulful garage-beat style. I can’t remember any song titles but I can tell you that, to me at least, they sounded much fuller and actually much stronger than on their records.

I’d never heard of The Cool Jerks before, from Germany, but from what I caught of their set, the last 5 songs or so, they had a rockin’ beat sound and a shouty, energetic lead singer who also played guitar, and got the crowd jumping along with them. Can’t remember now if it was these guys or The Dee Rangers that did a version of The Golden Ear-rings’ classic debut LP mover ‘No Need To Worry’ but whoever it was has class.

To be honest with you, I’d never even heard of The Black Lips from USA either, even though they seem to be gaining a lot of attention with the record buying public. Anyroad, they were next on and, I guess, the most different, not to mention the youngest, of all the combos who were booked for this 2nd Primitive festival. Not strictly garage or beat, they play modern age rock’n’roll with nods to Pebbles and BFTG ‘60s style, and have riffs and vocal melodies that recall some of the 2nd wave of UK punk-into-new wave groups…and then they have this big fuzz-out attack that sounds like a collision between The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Von Bondies (yeah I know they played last year and it is kinda lazy journalism to say so but…) and maybe in parts something like, I dunno Sonic Youth or similar, due to an unnerving rumbling, a sub-sonic bass heavy undercurrent that made you prick up your ears and take notice. There were a few dissenters within the audience but I and a lot of others dug them quite a bit. Certainly way better than Strokes, Vines and their horrible ilk.

I probably shoulda stayed where I was but I went back outside for a swim in the air and more beer and…and shockingly missed the first song of the much anticipated headliners The Lyres. As I descended into the hall they were already into ‘Don’t Give It Up Now’. I later learned that they started off, unbelievably, with the other side of that astonishing debut 45 ‘How Do You Know?’ OUCH! Imagine missing that, me a fan too! I thought they woulda kept that one for later. Anyway, there was no turning back now, and there would be plenty more killer cuts to come for sure, as these LYRES were definitely and most defiantly ON FYRE! Vocalist/organist/tambourine smasher Jeff ‘PokoMonomaniac’ Connolly was joined by the group as they were during their 1983-86 heyday, Dan McCormack on guitar, Rick Coraccio on bass/vocals and one of the best and most solid drummers, the astounding Paul Murphy. The last time I had seen them like this was here in Holland over 20 years ago. As then, they were really ultra-special now, attacking their classics with pure verve and an undying rock’n’roll passion. Obvious highlights had to be ‘Don’t Give It Up Now’, ‘Help You Ann’ with its urgent tremolo-driven rhythm; the feel-good frug of ‘Soapy’, ‘I Really Want You Right Now’, and ‘No Reason To Complain’. These merged effortlessly with cool renditions of Mal and the Primitives’ ‘Every Minute Of Every Day’, and The Stoics’ ‘Enough Of What I Need’, to say nothing of the magical double-whammy of Swiss beat kings The Sevens’ ‘Seven’ and ‘Talk About Her’…and by way of a tribute to their long-time friend and collaborator, the recently deceased Wally Tax - who was booked to play a set with The Lyres - they did ‘Touch’, bringing on Outsiders guitar hero Ronnie Splinter in the process and lifting the crowd even higher. But, like all great things, it seemed like it was all over far too quickly. Thankfully the group came back on for an encore of ‘She Pays The Rent’, but alas, no ‘You Won’t Be Sad Anymore’, or ‘The Only Thing’, or ‘Teach Me To Forget You’. No matter, this show will definitely go down as one of the best live shows I’ve seen in years, and one which bodes well for the future of primitive rock’n’roll.

The rest of the night was spent in a haze of stumbling around, drinking beer, talking to all and sundry, catching snatches of dee-jays Tony the Tyger Sanchez, and Primitive Dave blasting out garage and psych-beat faves as I wandered thru the big hall…and trying not to think about the 10 O’clock hotel reception curfew The Thanes had to meet to get to Amsterdam Schipol airport to make our flight home.

Whatta great rock’n’roll bash…and if you’re reading this: thanks Dave, Charlie, and all at the Waterfront for making this such a cool and happening event!