Monday, October 28, 2013
The Del Lords long anticipated return to this side of the pond is now underway and the inaugural show in Newcastle on Saturday night was a stone gas. As the band exploded into a muscular lollup through “Jumpin’ In The Night” it was clear that the room may not be big enough to contain such expurgated rock’n’roll thrills.
Mixing back catalogue with material from the recent "Elvis Club" release, it was all over way too quickly. How many bands do you wish would play longer? Not bloody many.
So here we are hanging on the intersection of The Bobby Fuller Four and Crazy Horse. Blazing guitars, a bigger than big beat and a bass undertow to bolster the whole glorious shebang. Oh yeah, and songs. Remember those? Scott Kempner was/is the heart and soul of The Dictators. Never forget that. Without him, The Dictators are Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom. So despite the sadness of what’s going on with all that, The Del Lords have a new lease on life.
Cultural differences such as Sharpies and marker pens notwithstanding, Newcastle has always been a rockin’ town and this was rockin’ time. (All hail Tyneside’s 16 Forever). They recognise greatness down there and by the time Roscoe delivered the hymn that is “Judas Kiss” over a Creedence-esque rumble then the game was in the proverbial bag.
The Cluny 2’s bijou theatre vibe was perhaps a little polite for the occasion on Saturday. By the time they get to Spain then the dance floor ante action is likely to be raised substantially. “I Play The Drums” was pretty much perfect and it seemed as though the roof might cave in such was the mightiness. Frank Funaro is one hell of a pounder and Steve Almaas does a fine job now that Manny is gone. His days in Beat Rodeo are likewise from the days when Americana was called Roots Rock.
If they’re anywhere near where you are then you have to go and get some of this most righteous, practically religious experience. Let’s leave the best definition of what we witnessed to a Del Lords fan that just checked out...
"Nothing beats two guitars, bass & drums." - Lou Reed
All of the show dates are here, Spain, London, Germany and Sweden... take a look and cut along!
Sunday, October 27, 2013
RIP – Lou Reed
I’ll get to last night’s storming Del Lords show in Newcastle a bit later. I was talking to Scott and Frank about Lou and how he was a great supporter of the band. To come home and find out he’d died was a shocker. Though he never made a record I liked for years, Lou was a huge influence on me. In fact, his was the first and only fan club I ever joined.
The Rock’n’Roll Animal tour show in Glasgow was one of the best things I ever saw. Years later I would discover that my dear friend, Lady Miriam Linna had attended a Lou show in Glasgow I was also at when she and her sister visited Blighty for the first time. I like to imagine the were sitting just in front of where I was but anyways...
Of course the Velvets stuff was great but when they got back together, I couldn’t listen to them for years. I felt they’d diddled the legacy in much the same way as I feel The Stooges are doing.
But “Berlin” is one of the greatest records ever made. It never fails to destroy me. The fact that he went on to play those terrible headless guitars was his perogative but his body of work contains some astonishingly heart-rending stuff. Mi amigo Stewart Cruickshank had an amazing experience making a documentary for Radio 2 about him during which time the famed curmudgeon really came through and I believe created something magical.
So this news is devastating. It marks another landmark of my formative years leaving the theatre. The line “I’m gonna stop wasting my time” from "Sad Song" is ringing in my head and it makes me wonder how the hell long I’ve got. The life-affirming nature of the show we just saw in Newcastle and the need to hang out with friends at every opportunity suddenly takes on even greater importance.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Saw something on facebook at lunchtime stating “Grangemouth to close”. Of course it referred to the petrochemical plant where the union trubb has been used as a smokescreen to ram through something that a corporation hell bent on a get out clause has been handed as a star prize. The people whose livelihoods it impacts on are the cannon fodder as Wee Alec and his entourage flail at long defunct windmills. It’s a sad indictment on the struggle to survive. The town itself has been “closed” for years and I’d be interested to find out exactly how many actual local people work there.
It will also exponentially affects other businesses and households. The puppeteers must be fucking delirious with glee right about now. This could also well even have an effect on my “property” so maybe that long threatened ebay shop ain’t too far away. Or that one way ticket to Espana or wherever. All joshing apart, I imagine that The Proclaimers are working on a new verse, adding “Grangemooth” to their list of “no mores”.
Whatever happens next will depend on how far the stage management of the soap opera politics is prepared to go. It could get pretty far-fetched as people’s lives disintegrate. Divide and conquer has long been the order of the day and things are poised to take a turn for the decidedly uglier. I’m referring to the scumbags that orchestrated this who are so minted as to be constructed of stuff so Teflon-coated that it’s actually scary. At this rate, the whole of Scotland could well be closed by next September ahead of the big fire sale that is “indie”-pendence.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
In my capacity as agent for the Madrid Tourist Authority, I think the next stage is a one way ticket.
Hitting the city at full pelt on Friday night may have been a tactical mistake but that's the way it all shaped up. Maybe just taking the foot off the gas a tad may have set us up better for Saturday but when you’re in the eye of a storm like this, the last thing you’re thinking about is moderation. The locations that we found ourselves in were as follows Casa Parrondo, Templo Del Gato, Weirdo!, Wharf 73 and Wurlitzer. All 150% recommended with the NBT seal of approval if you’re in town.
Line and Andre at the excellent La Alegría (Happiness)
by Blanca Velasco Navarro.
by Blanca Velasco Navarro.
After that a wee siesta was in order before the show and all the fun stuff like sound check. The city was teeming with people and an attempt to partake of an Asturian joint was thwarted. Despite the best efforts of Corporal Laura to instill some discipline in the hapless waiter that was fighting a pretty valiant losing battle. She had an excellent Plan B that involved regular haunt Ovni and that provided the necessary croqueta action for the boozing to follow. From there to Wurli, just in time for Los Brackets – a fun punk combo from Valencia that have the Ramones end of Screeching Weaselness down pat. They just rattle it out in machine gun fashion, no pissing about. Bang. Bang. Bang. You don’t even notice the comedy Proclaimers type glasses they don when onstage. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. Particularly when it’s rattled out this well. They and their crew were very cool kids. Incidentally, in combing the net, I discovered that Brackets are teeth braces in Spain.
Potential wardrobe malfunction thwarted, The D’s took the stage and proceeded to wipe the floor with us. They just get better and better and even although I’m biased, this could well have been their best show in this hallowed hostelry yet. I hadn’t seen them do “Crush On You” before into the bargain. The hang out there afterwards was of the usual high standards and I thank Helena, Alvaro, Jorge and birthday boy Benito for throwing the bash that would colour much of the next day...
The band left horrendously early and I spent much of the day in a semi-coma until I met up with Sir Marco of Ghost Highway Industries. A wee bit later Inigo and I had a couple of beers and further croquetas but that was the extent of the festivities. As I wandered toward the hostal, my inner demons were battling with a modicum of sense. I wanted to go to Wharf to see Alvaro, and also to make a final 2013 pit stop at Wurlitzer but bottled it. Somehow I was back in my digs just a little after midnight. This was founded upon having an early breakfast and not wanting to go to the airport feeling any more miserable than I would at having to leave. Compounded by finding out that Jonathan and co would be in town just hours after I’d gone.
Them is the breaks though and one should be thankful for the blessing that is taking part in such malarkey. Upcoming shows by those Flamin Groovies and Redd Kross are tempting but I guess it’ll be a bit before I’m back. Three times this year is a pretty sound innings and I’d like to thank everyone that makes that possible spiritually and every which way. They know who they are.
My croqueta jones is in full swing. I wonder if they’re available on prescription anyplace?
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Weekends generally disappear fast but none more so than the one that just done gone. I must be getting real old because time truly is scooting by. Friday night saw Laura Cantrell return to Glasgow and captivate a rammed St Andrews On The Square. A very civilised venue about as far from being a honky tonk as you could possibly imagine. It was once a church. A wee bit of an echo provided a sound echo here and there but once that was sorted the whole thing soared. And it should be stated that there was no slouching up to that point either. The encore of Cowboy Jack Clement’s “Just Someone I Used To Know” was utterly spine-tingling. Try to catch a show as she heads south over the next couple of days.
The Nomads return to “the London” for the first time since – I think 2008 – all went swimmingly. Almost literally. And to keep up the water theme, the show was in a place called The Pipeline. A decent crowd made the scene and I have never been present at a sweatathon like that since The Ramones at The Barras in 1985. Them Dahlmanns made a whistle stop from MRC and I actually met someone from Moss that I didn’t know. The Hip Priests made the backline possible and I didn’t see either them of The Outbursts because I was too busy catching up with people I see all too seldom.
Essentially delivering the quality of rock action seldom seen outside of Spain, it turned out to be quite a night. Plus I heard “What’s Up With That?” on the jukebox and figured exactly that. Or did I dream that bit?
All of a sudden it was Sunday and time to head north again. A full English and a blether with Admiral Nick West of the good ship BOB sealed the deal. I don’t think I blogged about the most recent issue of that esteemed publication so if you haven’t grabbed one yet, do so here.
All in all, a very convivial weekend. The only thing that could have topped it would have been if those that couldn’t make it would have been there. They know who they are.
On Monday night I decided to make the jaunt into Glasgow for the launch of Sam Knee’s "A Scene In Between" book.
It was a palaver because train problems meant that a replacement bus service was involved. Never a plus point. Then when I got to town I got bloody soaked on the way to Mono. So things were being sent to try me. Once there however, things took a positive turn and I wish I could have spent another hour but couldn’t take any chances with the prospective ability of Scotrail to bugger things up. As it was it took 2 hours to get home and on a school night after the weekend I just had well, that’s not ideal but t'was a necessary schlepp.
And now it's practically Thursday, how exactly did that happen.