Thursday, March 31, 2011
Couple of things this coming weekend...
Hamell On Trial April 1st at The Bay – 142 West Regent Street, G2 2RQ Glasgow.
THE GO-GO, 11th Birthday Bash Part 1, requests and old faves from the early days.. Saturday 2nd April, Upstairs @ Studio 24. 11pm til 3am. Free B4 11.30 £5/4 after that. DJ's Tall Paul & Big Gus play 60s mod, garage, soul, girl-groups and psychedelia.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
My thanks to Mr Duff for this report from Edinburgh last night. My thoughts on the JJR are known and to be honest, I never really got The Bellrays either but I never saw them and I won’t make it to Glasgow tonight. One thing I do know is that they shouldn’t be opening for these hokey sonic snake oil salesmen.
Without actually trying, I must have seen the Jim Jones Revue 9 or 10 times now - they've either been supporting someone I wanted to see or have been playing for free somewhere nearby - and I could never put my finger on exactly why there was such a fuss about them, or why I couldn't find it in me to care. Sure all the necessary ingredients are there, but despite repeated viewings and much benefit of the doubt all that volume and noise just doesn't communicate. Nearly every early review of the Revue namechecked Little Richard and the MC5. I have to say I never got the connection to the Five.
It took Mr Boyle's throwaway comment last night to expose what the real comparisons are. "It's like Spedding playing with Freddie 'Fingers' Lee" he said to me and in that instant it became clear - the JJR references are mid-70's rock'n'roll pastiche. They've a lot more in common with Crazy Cavan & The Rhythm Rockers or The Wild Angels or others of that breed than the 'oh-so-much-cooler' touchstones that usually get brought up. Add a wee dash of Slade Alive and you've got the JJR down. Exaggerated, overdone and soulless rehashes of historic high-points is what they deal in.
The Bellrays, who supported (!) the JJR last night despite being trumpeted as 'Aretha Franklin fronting the Stooges' are in truth a good deal more than a hodge-podge mix of the more obvious points of your record collection. They were the real stars last night. The real sweat and raw rock'n'roll that they brought to bear last night was a privilege to witness. Lisa started out a little shaky, the voice was all there but she seemed nervous. By the time they kicked into Sun Comes Down she's lost all self-consciousness and the whole band sound totally at ease. They close the show with Black Lightning, the album opener and despite calls for more, the DJ comes over the PA and it's over.
The Bellrays were triumphant. I believe that they're only doing Edinburgh and Glasgow before heading off to Europe. If you have the chance, I'd recommend you catch them at Tut's tonight. You can skip the headliners and still get home at a reasonable time too.
Monday, March 28, 2011
“Songs The Lord Taught Us” (200 copies in purple wax) and
“Psychedelic Jungle” (200 copies in green wax).
A crowd-pleasing black vinyl edition of each will also be available.
We’re nudging April here and several situations haven’t been resolved. The one saving grace this weekend was the screening of “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains”. Selected and intro’d by Ms Tara Quinn who also had these rather nifty commemorative badges made for attendees.
I guess I hadn’t seen it since the mid-80’s on video. Actually, I thought it was older than 1982 but the memory plays strange tricks when you get to be of my vintage. And not necessarily in a good way. But some night this week I will hunt out my copies of The Tubes records. For auld lang syne or whatever. What do you want from life anyway?
Ray Winstone looked positively Richard Jobson-esque and as for the band… jings.
Friends, Romans, countrymen! Lend us your ears as Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. returns to its last-Thursday-of-every-month residency at the always temperate Otto's Shrunken Head!
THURSDAY, MARCH 31st / OTTO'S SHRUNKEN HEAD / 538 East 14th Street (just west of Avenue B) in Manhattan / Two colossal shows, from 8pm sharp until 10pm / No cover!
Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co.
"Ballads, Boogies & Blues"
Sunday, March 27, 2011
I guess this Ray Davies Meltdown information is old news but maybe some of you haven’t seen it?
Mr Ulf just sent me the link to the Record Store Day stuff... as if the world didn’t have to contend with landfill enough but there is the odd morsel here and there. If you’re out yonder and feel the need to have any of it then let me know and I’ll see what can be done to hook you up.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Leaving the fracas aside and the Blink fan commentary to the effect that the band sucks, “First World Manifesto” came out a week or so ago. In terms of packing a punch (oops), this is a tight wad of songs that don’t take themselves too seriously.
The dynamics take in the Weasel canon you (should) know and love and mix it up with a notion that’s not far from vintage Who in terms of high octane pop thrills. A dash but not so ramone-ic as The Riverdales with a Dickies vs Big Country via Fastbacks guitar harmonic and Barracudas snarl here and there. “Follow Your Leaders” kicks things off with lyrics that are likely to goad the haters from the get go. There’s no real let up after that so you’re either with them or you’re not.
The pace and inherent frequencies are pretty much what the doctor ordered. I don’t know what people expect from music anymore or if they even care. They’d rather piss about with a mobile phone or gab to their buds, preferably it would appear, using the former.
There are 14 songs on FWM, the killer for me being “Fortune Cookie” that includes the lyric “each day I’m just a little closer to forgetting then I’m reminded there will be no happy ending”. That one really hit a nerve. “Baby Talk” includes a section that I’m pretty sure is Ben lampooning a certain singer who I won’t/can’t mention because I don’t use language like that. “Come and See The Violence Inherent in The System” presumably seemed like a perfectly harmless song title at the time... (originally entitled "What? The Curtains??")
With the band handing in their collective resignation, the season finale on this is all a little early for my liking. The dust must settle of course but c’mon – this isn’t what the punk rock wars were fought for. For the towel to be thrown in at the first sign of soapy (bubble - trouble) surely? This fezbook piece by Joe King of The Queers is the only thing I can find that isn’t a pantywaist condemnation. Hopefully not so far down the road, something will happen to allow things to roll on forward again. Sometimes things escalate and spiral out of control. We’ve all been there I’m sure. If you haven’t then you’re a spotty oik that oughtta come back after some life experience.
Ben Weasel (Foster) is a stand up guy. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly or otherwise and I imagine that's why so many spineless divots are having a field day. Having admitted that he fucked up, the guy should be allowed to put this experience behind him. It’s unlikely that he’ll forget it so the sooner the whining ceases...
Meanwhile, it’s a wee bit early then to ponder whether 2012’s gathering will be renamed South by Screeching Weasel but you never know. Like MC Lars stated "Hot Topic is NOT punk rock".
Friday, March 25, 2011
I have never felt older (give or take) than I did during the sets by the two opening bands in London on Wednesday evening. Regurgitating several decades of what has already been reconstituted to death, this was the musical equivalent of turkey twizzlers or whatever. One of the members of Cymbals looked like Chesney from Coronation Street from where I was standing. The poster said something about the other act being called Prehistoric Penguins, if it’s the same group and they changed their name then change it back. I know I could google to validate that but I already burned way too much time experiencing their, er, music.
Openers, Echoes – all the good names are already taken. We know this but come on, “you’re ‘avin’ a giraffe” as the ex-Eastender says on the ad, that often plays in the breaks between Corrie, the one with “Sinbad” in it. A soundtrack for the impending Royal Wedding that was so horrendously generic that it’s quite possibly headed for the stratosphere.
Last time I was in this venue it was February 1991 or thereabouts, when Dave Alvin and The Allnighters played. The evening before the first Gulf War broke out my memory serves me like one of those wheels on fire. Or maybe that should read misfires.
Nothing sells out anymore but this show did and it’s a testament to Matt and Kim’s unique thrash pop sensibilities that the place was packed to the rafters. This is without conventional support ala magazine hype and airplay on what passes for radio these days. It was perhaps the most rapturous response I’ve ever seen an act get down there. They even kick off with “Yea Yeah” these days so you’ll get some idea about the energy levels by close of play. Such boisterosity is only fitting for the wall to wall anthems and “Northeast” might slow things down a little but the way it builds is nothing short of stadium-mungous. “Sidewalks” finally gets a UK release next week but I’ll be damned if this audience wasn’t entirely conversant with the new material already.
These positive vibrations are at odds with what is sanctioned by NME type quangos. This might mean that it takes a little longer to infiltrate an actual audience here in Blighty where people seem to depend on being spoon fed but the medicine will go down, I’m certain of that.
They were supposed to go see Screeching Weasel in Austin last Friday night and for one reason and another couldn’t go. Kim told me that she’d heard that Ben had hit someone and that the gig came to an end. And sure enough, when I got home there's all this stuff about what happened that has turned into a feeding frenzy. Not having been there, I’m not qualified to comment but I don’t recognise the Ben Weasel monster that’s being painted in cyberspace.
I did think about being flippant. That I might try to deflate it by chalking it up to equal opportunity but of course no-one can condone hitting women of either sex. Reading the “punk rock” commentary that follows the Jim DeRogatis report is pretty sickening but ultimately typical of how the cyber-bush telegraph works. Violence never got anybody anyplace and I’m sure that no-one regrets the situation more than Ben does at this point in time.
Don’t let any of this colour your enjoyment of “First World Manifesto” though, more about which later.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Apparently I saw 35 films at the weekend. By the name it got to yesterday evening and the more prog sections of the Nosferatu soundtrack I was definitely struggling. I kept semi-lucid by trying to figure out whether the last time I saw it the tinting wasn’t something I could recall. And still can’t.
Anyway, the first Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema (to use its full title) was quite the blast. It took a certain amount of stamina and at one point yesterday afternoon I was yay close to bunking off but somehow didn’t. Of course, seeing these old films in a place they would have played first time out makes for a special atmosphere. The Hippodrome is unfettered from normal time and space and I hope that can continue. Everybody that visits it that can will return so I’m sure there’s an excel spreadsheet that can predict exactly when they might have a full house for every screening.
It’s odd because the film that I was going to bump turned out to remind me of Blood Feast. There was definitely a touch of Fuad to the limping convict but there’s no way HGL could have seen this amateur Scots film called “Hair” surely?
The score was composed and performed by kids from local schools. It indicates the chasm between what kids are taught and what is considered education nowadays. With the benefit of hindsight, I might have stuck in a bit better if I’d been confronted with film and music or it’s likely I would have found some other means of veering off the tracks and ending up in this deep rut that I occupy.
The way this country has been sold down the river quite probably presents a slew of new ways of falling through the cracks. Staring down the barrel of being surplus to requirements at any given time, these are just cold hard facts.
In other news, I’ll be in London for a few hours, Wednesday into Thursday for the Matt & Kim blitzkrieg. These two do all their own stunts just like those heroes of yesteryear. In the days before CGI when fakery was at least creative.
Not looking forward to the clocks going forward this weekend. No sir. No madam. I am not.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
The world really is unravelling. I saw an interview with Gadaffi’s son on Channel 4 that was more Sacha Baron Cohen than Borat himself. Unbelievable. Spoof characters that would have been unbelievable on TV and movies are playing out some kind of doomsday scenario in real life. It would be worrying if it wasn’t so matter of fact stupid. Yes I have got that round the right way. Just. Maybe?
Word from SXSW is that the interweb is over. Too true. We’re only a few years away from getting chipped and wired into whatever the grid the overseers see fit to plug us into. In the interim, your “device” will fulfil the same function. It seems like most people might have to be surgically removed from their own particular homing device such is the urge to stare at it all the time. I understand the limited appeal of them being useful to impart actual information. Such a thing could even be a lifeline in certain situations but not walking down the street not watching where you’re going.
It’s the weekend of the Silent Film Festival at the Bo’ness Hippodrome. Heading back in time but paying 6 quid a gallon for petrol. I wonder how this compares to the price in Japan where a large chunk of the country is experiencing the onset of Armageddon? The horse and cart will be making a comeback if it keeps up and teams of cyclists will be employed to keep cinema screens flickering. Or do they even do that in these days of digital projection? Anyway, I think the program is largely made up of proper reels so pedal power seems like the way to go. I was at a thing called “An Escape From Reality” this afternoon where a film that was made for the opening of the refurb’ed cinema screened and there was a discussion about the history of the place and the work itself. It was really great. Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon at all.
In other news, I was thrilled/humbled to get a note from Laura Chilton about Mike’s piece on Alex yesterday. Felt like I was doing something right for the first time in ages. I’m sure it’ll all tumble back downhill from here...
Thursday, March 17, 2011
It’s exactly a year since Alex Chilton died. My thanks to Rich Lustre who had the presence of mind to suggest to Mike that you folks may care to read it. I think that you would.
I first encountered Alex Chilton in 1977. A long-time semi-obsessive fan of his former band Big Star, through some kind of reckless audacity or sheer dumb luck, I managed to secure an interview shortly after his “relocation” to NYC. Moments after our introduction, he requested my astrological sign. I reckon I passed the test, because, inexplicably, we connected instantly and developed a friendship that would last decades.
Much has been written and conjectured about Alex, of course, often depicting him as, among other things, “obstinate,” “quirky,” “difficult,” “idiosyncratic,” etc. But the Alex Chilton I knew was the basically polite, intelligent, funny, generous guy who happened to be spiked by a pretty serious dose of creative genius.
Complex, yes, strange, sometimes, intense, absolutely, honest, to a fault, a man who did not suffer fools gladly, you bet. But I simply viewed Alex as a person who behaved with very little pretense. He was, without apology, who and what he was.
During the course of the relationship, we shared many laughs, joints and lawn mowing ceremonies, we engaged in long conversations covering numerous diverse topics, including his deep historical interests, Katrina, the virtues of The Cramps, The Byrds, KC and the Sunshine Band, Clarence Darrow, the mystery of female as well as stuff like Walker Texas Ranger, college basketball and why the drum solo should never stop.
The last few years, I was fortunate to see him frequently, in Philadelphia, in New Orleans and in Brooklyn, where Big Star gave their final performance. Ironically the only occasion I ever witnessed the band and the last time I saw Alex alive.
Memories remain, of course, too many to recount, but some moments persist: hanging with Charlie Feathers in Memphis, dawn at Lux and Ivy’s apartment, motel blues when Alex would almost absentmindedly haul out a guitar and serenade with snippets of John Dowland, Ray Davies and Texas Whiskey. I also recall the Diet Coke, card reading Chinatown dinners with my daughters, with Guantanamera on the airwaves and Paris Hilton in the news, and fragile, enchanted guitar/flute baroque duets with his lover Laura and Gram Parsons gravesite in the fog and mist in New Orleans...
I’m not much given to things spiritual or mystical nonetheless…
St. Patrick’s Day 2010, listening to Like Flies on Sherbet, thinking of him, I felt him about…
Later, my daughter delivered the awful news…”you better sit down…Alex died…”
As always, the music resonates, providing comfort and solace. Still, there are those times when I realize that we’ll never hear that lazy, liquid drawl again or see that sly, crooked smile. And the sadness sets in.
When I finally remember Alex Chilton, he will be one of those few, rare individuals with whom I shared a remarkable bond that neither time nor distance could shake.
And I’ll know just how very goddamn groovy it was to have known him and call him my friend.
michael j. ferguson
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I did kind of hold out hope that I could go to the Matt & Kim show in London next week a clobbering bill from the car service, MOT and having spruced up the bunker a bit the coffers are a tad low. This is in fact an understatement. I guess it was worth doing but I’m not altogether comfortable with the result. I’m not complaining just stating a fact. I haven't ruled out the M&K scene altogether just yet thanks to some twelfth hour encouragement.
Just about to dig into the new Screeching Weasel album that Ben kindly supplied in the event that amazon have put back their availability date. More about First World Manifesto in due course. Maybe it’ll help blow away the cobwebs? I guess if these guys can’t do that then it’s likely nothing will.
Hamell on Trial has some shows coming up in a couple of weeks. There’s Glasgow at a place called The Bay on April 1st. Anybody know anything about this venue? It’s in West Regent Street. An Edinburgh show is also said to be happening on April 2nd but I’ve no idea where yet. This will be his first time back since two stints over the Edinburgh Festival in recent years. Although he did open for Ana Difranco once but I can’t recall when that was.
Such is the fractious nature of my mindset.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Misadventure and grave errors of judgement aside, I don’t feel like I have the right to whinge about anything with what’s happening on the other side of the planet. So far, no-one anyone I know has been anything other than shaken but there’s all the other stuff and just dealing with the sheer scale of it.
The pacific rim does seem to be getting a kicking but I’m sure they don’t deserve it. I’m still juggling with the fact that I’ve lost the will to blog with any regular frequency. Largely as a result of a tremor that’s gone on in my own backyard with no sign of a positive outcome. I’m having doubts about this “time and wounds” business that I keep hearing about.
Anyways, I just remembered that Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby are bound for some shows in the likes of Austria, Germany and Switzerland so if you’re in any of these places, or near a venue then you should go.
Wed, Mar 16 - Verein PMK Innsbruck, AUSTRIA
Thu, Mar 17 - Kultur-Schranne Dachau, GERMANY
Fri, Mar 18 - Treibhaus Luzern, SWITZERLAND
Sat, Mar 19 - El Lokal Zurich, SWITZERLAND
Sun, Mar 20 - B-72 Vienna, AUSTRIA
Tue, Mar 22 - Kampnagel Hamburg, GERMANY
Wed, Mar 23 - Crystal Club Berlin, GERMANY
Fri, Mar 25 - Blau Mannheim, GERMANY
They just put their house on the market and if they could return from the tour to a bidding war on it then I'm sure they'd be very happy. And they truly deserve to be.
If the Mayans have got it right and the world is ready for the high jump in 2012 then we should all be giving it laldie like it was 1999 all over again. Personally I don’t feel much like it but by all means, fill your boots. And then there's the matter of tickets for the London Olympics going on sale, don't get me started on that.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
I’m going to try and keep this motor running. What the heck else do I have to do?
My mojo or muse (small m) or whatever it was that drove me is still on hiatus. However, things like what happened in Japan today or NZ a few weeks ago provide one aspect of a perspective.
So now that you’re here, then here’s some stuff to play with.
CJ Ramone is heading for Italy (Thanks Kjell)
Roy Trakin’s Knickart newsletter is always good reading.
Let’s see how the weekend shapes up...
A message frae Murray Ramone...
Howdy folks, just a wee reminder
THIS SATURDAY 12/3/2010
The Sexual Objects (featuring Davy Henderson)
Vic Godard & the Subway Sect
Then after that finishes, go out the door, turn left, turn left, turn right at the cross roads,
cross the road, pop down the first set of steps and you're in .... Henrys Cellar bar
appearing in this order onstage from 10:45
Monica and the Explosion (featuring Paul Slack)
SPECTORBULLETS (featuring Russell Burn)
Vic Godard & Subway Sect (just a couple of songs for fun)
Shock And Awe (featuring one or two mystery guests ....)
Robert King - OPIUM KITCHEN (featuring Jo Callis. And me. Just a short taster set for the forthcoming album)
Sam Barber and the Outcasts
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Monday, March 07, 2011
Hi to all the vinyl lovers...
the vinyl dealer is here again with more 7" pills for your ears!!!
A brand new 7inch slice packed in a special round sleeve
Yes!!! We are very proud to announce that we are going to release
two unreleased songs of one of your favourite bands...
IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC !!!
"Wail Baby Wail" (Kid Thomas)
"Fight It Back" (Accept)
Limited edition on vinyl with 4 diferent covers (see pics on the GHR blogspot).
300 copies in black vinyl (black cover; green cover)
300 copies in solid gold & red mix (gold cover, red cover) * Mailorder Only *
No more than 4 records of I.S.E. for each order...
Prices NEW Imperial State Electric 7"
Choose your vinyl (black or colour) and cover with your order...
Black: 1 x 7" = 7 Eur
Colour: 1 x 7" = 8 Eur
And another great live and loud recording of ADAM WEST...
Three great LIVE songs... they are not dead, they are aLIVE !!!
"Yr. Days Are Numbered, Motherfucker"
"Have Your Way With Me"
"Neat, Neat, Neat" (The Damned)
Limited edition on vinyl with 5 diferent covers that you can join and make a long poster (see pics on GHR Blogspot) 250 copies (100 black, 50 yellow, 50 white, 50 blue) * Mailorder Only *
No more than 5 records of ADAM WEST for each order...
Prices New ADAM WEST 7"
Choose your vinyl (black or colour) and cover with your order...
Black / Colour 1 x 7" = 8 Eur
You can add more GHR vinyls available to your order...
ORDER TO: email@example.com
Saturday, March 05, 2011
The legendary Kid Congo Powers, co-founder of the Gun Club, guitarist for The Cramps and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, will be releasing his new album with his group Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds this spring.
Titled Gorilla Rose, the album follows in the footsteps of the band’s 2009 Dracula Boots with more ram-charged boogaloo, sleazy psychedelia and Chicano garage rock. In The Red records is gearing up for the new album by releasing a series of oddball limited edition vinyl-only records by the band. The first of these releases dropped this week in the form of the “Five Greasy Pieces” subscription series.
This is a very limited edition (250 of each) series of five different singles each containing two brand new tracks. Starting in January, In The Red will be issuing one of these a month.
The fifth and final single in the series will come with a handsome box in which all five will be housed. The only way to obtain these singles is to buy a subscription on the In The Red website. In March In The Red will be issuing a live LP by the band titled Live At The Prom which will be another vinyl-only limited edition release available exclusively online and at live shows.
29.3. D – Berlin- White Trash
30.3. D - Frankfurt - Ponyhof
31.3. F - Lyon - Le Clacson
01.4. F - Montpellier - La Raf
02.4. F - Macon - Cave a Musique
03.4. F - Gigors - Gigors Electrique
04.4. F - Marseille - L'Embobineuse
05.4. CH - Geneve - L´Usine
06.4. F - Dijon - La Vapeur
07.4. F - Paris - Point Ephemere
08.4. F - Beauvais - L´Ouvre Boite
09.4. F - La Rocjhelle - La Sirene
10.4. F - Lorient - Le Galion
12.4. UK - Leeds - Brudnell Social Club
13.4. UK - Newcastle - The Cluny
14.4. UK - Glasgow – Optimo presents at Glasgow School Of Art
15.4. NI - Belfast – TBC
16.4. EI - Dublin – The Mercantile/Ubangi Stomp Club
17.4. EI - Cork - Crane Lane theatre
19.4. UK - Manchester - Deaf Institute
20.4. UK - London - 100 club
21.4. UK - Bristol / TBC
22.4. UK –Brighton – Green Room
23.4. SF - Helsinki - Bar Loose
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Haven’t really had time to gather my thoughts this past couple days but here are a couple of clips from the MM show on Saturday. A real triumph. Everyone involved gave it their all, so much heart and spirit and hard work to put together in the first instance but more than justified by the performance. The sound was great too which isn’t always the case in The Arches.
If you want more then head over here and take your pick.
The vibe in the room was tremendous and I really hope that they can somehow do it all again, all over the place. You need to experience this first hand.