Sunday, August 13, 2006

Many thanks to Martin Percival for rustling this up in spite of his "on tour" status...
The Cramps - Lokerse Feesten - Lokeren Belgium - Weds Aug 9 2006

Many towns and cities in Belgium and the Netherlands have an annual festival, often subsidised by their local authorities. Can you imagine that?! The 32nd annual such festival in Lokeren in the Flanders region of northern Belgium this year featured the double headlining bill of The Cramps plus Bauhaus....all for 10 Euros! Remarkable value for money and it proved to be a very well organised and fun event.

I arrived in Belgium earlier in the day and headed to Antwerp by train to meet Dirk "Ungawa" Roeyen in his home town. Dirk is a hardcore Cramps afficianado and even wrote a book on the band back in 1996. He and I then headed out on the short drive to Lokeren with 2 of his pals.

The festival site holds 15,000 and, although not sold out, there must have been close to that number present by the time the Cramps hit the stage around 9pm. I've only ever seen the band play at a festival once before, Reading in 1990, and it was strange seeing them play in the light! As had been rumoured prior to the gig Lux has dyed his hair a sandy blonde colour and he's also lost a bit of weight since their last European visit back in September 2003. He was on very fine form, as were Chopper and Bill Bateman, and both Lux and Ivy were actually looking younger than they did 3 years ago. They must have a picture up in their attic somewhere!

The set opened with "The Mad Daddy" and was swiftly followed by "Rock on the Moon". Lux was stalking around the stage and clearly enjoying himself. His first quip for the crowd was "You come - they give me wine!" and before long he was slurping down his favourite red wine straight out of the bottle. As usual though a fair amount was spilt.

Jake from the Lords of Altamont was spotted stage side and it was good to see this long time Cramps fanatic working with the band again.

By the time "Caveman" was completed the first mike stand had gone to meet its maker and wine bottle number one was empty. "Let's Get Fucked Up" followed and Lux was well on the way to working himself up into the frenzy that we've all grown to love from a Cramps show. He made his way down to the pit in front of the stage and the TV cameras filming the festival for the stage side screens picked out a happy looking Dirk in the front row.

At the close of "Dames, Booze, Chains and Boots" Lux's PVC trousers were slashed and gaping, just in time for "TV Set". "That's a GOOD song!" was Lux's assessment of the classic from the first album, and I don't think anyone present would have disputed his opinion.

"Psychotic Reaction" saw some great harp playing and much rolling around on stage as the sun went down. The set closed with "Wrong Way Ticket" and the final song was introduced as "some bad advice straight from hell"
before going into "Tear it Up". There was no encore so the set did close in a rather frustrating fashion for long time fans. Only 50 minutes and everyone wanting more. However it was great to see that a lot of people at the festival, mainly there to see Bauhaus, had clearly really enjoyed what was, probably for the majority present, their first Cramps show. For a band to still be so hot live 30 years into their career is incredible. This was likely just as well as Bauhaus later had equipment problems and consequently only played 12 songs. They also gave a more than passable impression of a band falling apart in public..... but let's not dwell on that.

At the end of the evening I decided to pass on the local delicacy - horse meat sausages - and headed back instead to Antwerp a very happy Cramps fan greatly looking forward to the London gig the following week where maybe we'll be treated to some new songs and I'm sure a longer set. I also suspect that night will see Lux in a more "traditional" state of frenzy by the end of the show!

Just for the record the set list was:

The Mad Daddy
Rock on the Moon
The Way I Walk
Hanky Panky
Hang Up
Fissure of Rolando
Papa Satan Sang Louie
Big Black Witchcraft Rock
It Thing Hard On
Let's get Fucked up
Dames Booze Chains & Boots
TV Set
Psychotic Reaction
Wrong Way Ticket
Tear it Up

Martin (LOTC member 610.....oooops - that was 25 years ago!)
Wayne County - At The Trucks (Munster LP).

What with Jayne County bein' in the news this very moment, it seems like as good a time as any to hip you to this explosive new footlong of archive material.
Truth be told, I've always thought of Wayne/Jayne as a fun "concept", rather than something I'd listen to on a regular basis. The only exception bein' the fab Things Your Mother Never Told You LP that, thanks to an amazin' David Cunningham production sounds as psychedelic as any Electric Prunes disc you'd care to mention.
This new LP however, firmly implants County's stake in the mid 70s pre-punk settings. Side one is a live set recorded in jan. 1974 while he was under contract with Bowie's Mainmam company. Somewhere halfway 'tween the New York Dolls and Lou Reed's Rock & Roll Animal without really touchin' either's majesty (good as it is tho'). But flip this disc over and there's a stellar take on the Yardbirds' Putty (again from 1974) plus wild, undated, early takes of Fucked By The Devil and Prostitute With A Parachute. To round things off, there's an early 80s version of Max's Kansas City, where, in the artist round-up, Jayne mentions everybody from Von Lmo to Madonna! Great stuff! Now roll on the long lost set that County apparently recorded for ESP way back when...
Ugly Things #24.

The world's finest music publication returns with 208 jam-packed pages of arcane knowledge. Obviously way to much to digest in one or two sittings, but what I did read so far is up to the magazine usual high standards.
While the Mojos of this world can't seem to get past the handful of big names and have sucked these bands/artists dry of just about any life juice left in their respective corpses, Ugly Things, time and time again, comes up with vital information on the left-overs and footnotes of rock & roll's history.
The Bush, Flamin' groovies, Rubber City Rebels and Willie Alexander are just a few of the acts to appear in this issue. It also good to note that the contents seem to get more varied with each issue (excludin' the one reviewer who's journeys into different musical settings seem mainly inspired by the will to be offensive and/or eccentric) But with excellent writers like David Laing, Jeff Jarema, Doug Sheppard and the Stax-man himself aboard it's easy to overlook such minor quibbles. Get it straight from the source at
Flamin' Groovies - At Full Speed, the complete Sire recordings (Rhino 2CD).

Released about two moths ago, and yet I still have to see the first mention of this in any publication (digital or otherwise). Heck, I couldn't even locate it on Rhino's own website!
I really hope all you NBT readers are familiar with the contents of these discs; some of the most powerful/touching rock & roll music ever. Shake Some Action, You Tore Me Down, I Saw Her, I Can't Hide, Take Me Back etc, etc... This is the stuff of legend, timeless beauty and (insert favorite adjective here)...
Forget the similar, but shoddy three CD set that came out last year. This is the way us fans always wanted it to appear. Handled by those who actually understand; Sound produced by Bill Inglot, package design by Phil Smee and (2002) liner notes by the late Greg Shaw who out did himself putting the band's saga in proper perspective.
Absolutely mandatory... (and if Rhino doesn't want to sell it, just head for Amazon)
Been getting to grips with the JD King and The Coachmen thing entitled AMERICAN MERCURY and tis a mercurial beast to be sure. Just released on Ecstatic Peace, this is mood swing music that works at all volumes. It's swinging frequencies work equally enthrallingly as ambient Sunday am background textures and also unfathomably loud. And with the moods swinging pendulously you'll hear shards of Velvets and T. Rexian garageisms amongst the shimmering backdrops of crisp, burning tones. The polar opposite of noodling awaits anybody with ears open to something other than yer usual ramalama fare. there's a depth and soul displayed here that makes me wish they were on the bill for that Sonic Youth fest in December where The Stooges and DKT/MC5 will be going HiDeHi on the audiences collective ass. Now if these folks were playing, I'd be down there like mud on a pig. Read more about it at Blog to Comm. Get it in the UK from Volcanic Tongue.
A hot August (Saturday) night in Malmö ... captured by the very Rev. Lennart Persson!

Info via E-mole... I think the exclamations are warranted in this instance...

"From: Jayne County and THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS

Date: Aug 10, 2006 9:21 PM

As many of you have probably already heard, CREEP Gene Simmons has stolen my band*s name and given to his son Nick Simmons! This is a dispicable act of greed and disgusting contempt! To not only me as a person, but as a Glam/Punk Pioneer and Trans artist! And quite frankly it is a tremendous INSULT to the entire PUNK WORLD!!! I thought up the name myself back in 1977 and have been recording and touring with this name since way back then!!! I have ALWAYS been WAYNE/JAYNE COUNTY AND THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS!!! And my first LP was called THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS. Everyone in the Punk world and othere knows that!! In fact I have a gig in London on Oct. the 28 with the DAMNED and I am billed as JAYNE COUNTY AND THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS! IT IS MY NAME!!!!! Creepy Mean Gene has even gone and copywrited my for himself!!! I will try to fight the best I can but Mean Gene is RICH and has top lawyers!!! He will try to shoot me down, like a dog!!! SO, I NEED YOU... ALL MY FRIENDS AND FANS TO HELP ME FIGHT THIS GREAT INJUSTICE!!! Do absolutely ANYTHING you can and can thinkk of to harrass and protest to Gene Simmons, that awful show called I think the Family Jewels or something!!! Also - protest to A&E TV station. Calll them. email them. fax them. harrass them and let them know that they are NOT GOING TO GET AWAY WITH IT!!! Here is some useful info about the show for you!!! The DIRECT PHONE NUMBER to the show is.... 323 468 2000. The company doing the show is called THE GREIF COMPANY .. A DAY WITH, INC,.. and their address is: 9233 W. Pico Blvd. .. Suite 218..... Los Angeles, Calif, 90035 Their num. is 310 385 1200 and the Fax. is 310 385 1207 ... OK TROOPS. MOBILIZE AND HELP ME FIGHT!! IF YOU LOVE ME AND MY MUSIC YOU WILL HELP ME!!!!!!!!! Love to you all. XXXXXXXX Jayne"