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Madness and The Stranglers, Peel, Isle of Man, June 2007
After the normal b*ll*cks of 'security' at the fence (smuggled in a 24 pack of Tennants in my mate's wheelchair thingy) once in the tent the atmosphere was truly electric, local bands were warming the crowd up to fever pitch with some pretty good attempts at ska and reggae classics, good enough to get the bar busy, even at £3.50 a pint of luke warm p*sh. Considering there were 40,000+ bikers on the island for the TT a lot must have brought Fezes with them because the arena was awash with pork pie hats and Tommy Cooper impressionists. Crowd estimate was at 7000 by about 8 pm and, in a 10,000 capacity tent, it seemed more.
The Stranglers started with a raucous Five Minutes which segwayed effortlessly into Get A Grip On Yourself, always good for a sing song and a bit of a dance. The powerful set was continued with classics from the 80s including Nice 'n' Sleazy, Always the Sun and the great crowd pleaser Peaches with a nice twist when the question of a worse place to be was answered with "on an island with 40,000 f**king greasers" by JJ Burnel, to much applause. The men in black ended their encore with a storming rendition of Hangin' Around and the brilliant No More Heroes.
After the shortest of breaks the lights dimmed, a spotlight went to the centre stage to highlight some fool climbing the scaffold; but wait - he's holding a saxaphone and playing the thing!!! MADNESS ARRIVED. A puff of smoke and a blast of alto sax and we were off on a whirlwind of noise, from the opening shots of 'One Step Beyond'. I say shots because we were attacked from all sides with noise.
As they launched into 2000 decibels of House of Fun the marquee erupted into a sea of nutty boys and girls stomping to the rock steady beat. Hit after hit was hurled at us from their position on the high ground; Wings of a Dove, Embarrassment, My Girl, Tomorrow's Just Another Day and It must be love to end the first salvo from the masters of arena rock steady and a final full frontal attack by Lee Thompson on his weapon of choice, the sax, we were spent.
But no, it was not over, the first of two encores brought us Baggy Trousers, a surprise attack almost from behind as they snuck back in under cover of darkness. After a quick withdrawal to gather ammunition it was back to the affray and the coup de grace a ten minute rendition of Night Boat to Cairo along with the gathered forces of TC and chums with their fezes and many many pork pie hats being thrown in the air in surrender to the better men that were Suggs and his gang. Madness Sunday was over and we were left counting the casualties. CLASSIC.
Skrappey (member of our forum)
CENSORED, YSA YORKSHIRE INVASION, LEPTON 8TH JULY 2006
To say I was impressed with Censored at the YSA Invasion would be an understatement. Not only did these three teenagers headline what turned out to be quite a big event, they did it with quality, original songs and with no small amount of aplomb for lads of their tender years. And when you consider they played to a crowd the majority of whom seemed to prefer the support act of a one-man Madness tribute, their performance was all the more impressive. I'd never seen them before, but having stumbled across their website quite by accident and liking what I heard, I made the effort to attend this rally just to see them. As a very competent trio, what the lads have in abundance is talent and confidence but, like The Targets, remain very down to earth with it. Matt Henshaw and Nathan Clarke take turns with lead and backing vocals of equal strength, giving the band an early Jam-like quality, although their songs are all their own. All the while Chris Goring plays the perfect drummer; quietly getting on with the job at the back of the stage, banging out tight rhythms and complimenting Clarke's bass with neat fills. The whole set was a blast, rather than a breath, of fresh air in the muggy atmosphere of the marquee, but real stand-out numbers were the anthemic opener and surely single material, Get It On; All You Gotta Do Is Ask - great lyrics and a riffy hook that could give The Stands or The Coral a run for their money; and Your Eyes Are Made of Gold, with shades of Lynyrd Skynrd and West Coast Garage. The boys even threw in a couple of Mod covers, Heatwave and Shake! which they totally nailed. Don't keep your mouth shut about Censored, spread the word. They're going places.
THE WHO - BEAULIEU MARCH 3RD 2006
In a wonderful setting in the middle of the New Forest, Beaulieu House and its Estate has presided over many an auspicious occasion. With the arrival of the massive music machine that is The Who, it was a real case of venue and attraction in perfect harmony, aided and abetted by some balmy July weather.
The sad passing four years ago (almost to the day) of John Entwhistle, means that nowadays talented bass player, Pino Palladino has to fill the boots left by the former Who genial bass man. The opening rumblings of "Can't Explain", showed all too apparently that something is definitely different about The Who these days. It was the first time I'd seen them without John, and they do miss him; more so in fact, than they miss Keith Moon, as Zak Starkey is such a great facsimile of Keith anyway. Pino Palladino is an extremely gifted bass player, but he's just a bass player. John was much more than that, and I didn't realise just what an integral part of the sound he was until last night.
It was a good set, with a couple of newbie's thrown in; but the power that Roger Daltrey needs in his voice, to express the anger and angst that Townshends earlier songs require; so that they convey the kind of feelings he was feeling when he wrote them, are sadly becoming harder for Rogers voice to interpret as he once did. And although for a man in his early sixties, Daltrey still has a good voice; it now lacks a certain cutting edge. And so the main majority of the set didn't sound like The Who as we know and love. Sure, everyone sang along, and enjoyed it, but there has always been a further level to understanding how The Who play, which shone through during the "Tommy" encore, that brought the band to life, and ironically had the least input from Daltrey.
The show itself wasn't too loud, in fact it blended in quite nicely with the surroundings and the clientele, most of who, have either grown up with the band, or are listening to them for the first time. There were also those, who are not real Who fans, but are just there because it's a nice evening out, and The Who are meant to be cool. They stood out with their collapsible chairs and picnic hampers, a fairly recent addition to live music, that I find quite insulting at a premium rock 'n' roll show.
At the end, it was an evening of reflection; because I don't think we'll ever see them or their like together again. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong, but for me, it was the marking of the end of an era. This Who fan writes with a tear in his eye, but thankful for being shown such an Amazing Journey.
See photos of Grasp at Skegness - May 2006
THE GIFT, LIVERPOOL BARFLY, APRIL 7TH 2006 (PLUS SUPPORT)
There were two support bands but I'm afraid I didn't watch the first one, wasn't my cup of char at all, all long hair and dreadful scruffiness, sorry. The second support did encourage more people into the main room however, The Coronations are a young group who, while seeming to draw inspiration from the Graham Coxon end of lively guitar pop, appealed to the largely older audience who may have drawn comparisons to Revival Mod bands such as Squire. Find out more at www.thecoronation.tk
The main event of the evening was of course The Gift, with the eagerly awaited return of Rick Buckler. While initial attention was naturally focussed on Buckler, it soon swung to Russell Hastings on lead vocal/guitar as his energy, verve and crowd interaction almost made the onlooker forget just what an iconic figure was sitting behind the drum kit. Dave Moore, Hastings' former Maximum High bandmate, was a rock on bass, and provided strong harmonies on backing vocals. Highlights for me were the bouncing bassline of To Be Someone, and Hastings' excellent solo acoustic rendition of English Rose, but the night ultimately belonged to Buckler. Hearing the man himself play the machine-gun fills of Start!, a thunderous solo in the middle-eight of Tubestation, and, well, all of Funeral Pyre, was awesome. But the goosebump moment of the night had to be watching him singing along to the opening bars of That's Entertainment, clearly loving every minute, before launching into his kit for the second half of the classic. I for one can't wait for the new original material, and I'll be scanning the fixture lists for the next gig. See photos at the gig
SCARLET BLUE, LLANDUDNO PRE-SEASON RALLY, MARCH 25TH 2006
I'd heard a lot about Scarlet Blue recently, all of it good, so I was really looking forward to seeing them for myself at Llandudno. And I have to say, they didn't disappoint. I'll admit to a slight feeling of dread when I heard the opening chords of The Real Me to begin their set, not because I don't love the song - I do - but I know how some people feel about cover bands at rallies and I didn't want them switching off to the lads straight away. Luckily, the crowd took to them quickly, largely due to the lead singer's Ricky Wilson-like stage presence and general joie de vivre (ahem), but mostly because these young Mods (let's face it, that's what they are) are bloody good at what they do. Absolutely nailing covers of Spencer Davis Group and Small Faces classics (in fact the best SF covers I've heard since Caine at the IOW) and clearly enjoying themselves doing it, I could see punters turning to each other and nodding enthusiastically all around me. The clincher for me was when the lead singer got the crowd to sing along to one of the band's original songs like it was an old favourite, even though they'd never heard it before. Scarlet Blue are playing several rallies this year, so please, see them on my recommendation. And if you go looking for them on the interweb, they're from Scotland, they're not the Scarlet Blue from London.
BAD MANNERS AT DER ROSENHOF, OSNABRUCK
FRIDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2005.
Please forgive me if this is all a bit old hat to all you geezers out there who have seen Buster and the band live before, but it was my first time.
I was giving 'Sixth Sense', the Forces newspaper, my usual quick scan over, when I saw that Bad Manners were playing a gig in Osnabruck, less than an hour from where I live in Gutersloh. I quickly e mailed my local Scooter Boy, Si Brunskill, and asked if anybody was going to the gig, and he informed me that about six people were going, and meeting up with some of the crowd from Paderborn.
Off we went, but because it was a German Bank Holiday weekend, the traffic was bad on the autobahn, so we had to take the scenic route. This threw all our timings for meeting up with Big Ted and the Paderborn crew. "So what?" you might ask. Well, Ted had the tickets, so we couldn't even get into the bar at Der Rosenhof to wait for him there. A quick mobile call sorted out a new meeting place, and we retired to the nearest Bar for a couple of quick ones.
Ted soon turned up, and it was off to the gig. Unfortunately, the delay meant that we missed most of the support band, who were a bunch of very talented German youngsters. I didn't catch their name, but just managed to hear the end of their last number, and their encore which was an extended, really tight version of the the Symarip classic 'Skinhead Moon Stomp'. It was a shame that we missed them, but they had obviously gone down a storm with the mixed Brit and German audience, because the place was already hotter than a hot hothouse.
I was surprised to see a wide variety of German ska fans, not just the skins, (who have a bad reputation for extreme right wing political views), all enjoying themselves, along with a good helping of Brits stationed over here with the Army.
After the sound check, Bad Manners ran on to the stage and started to kick ass from the word 'go'. We had a good spec, near the back, but high enough up to see everything. This wasn't good enough for Big Ted, who found us all space next to the stage, and even a friendly security man, who took all our coats and stored them safely in the wings. The man himself took the stage, clad in the obligatory leopard skin suit, and ripped straight into 'This is Ska'. There followed a set which was absolutely brilliant, with all the Manners classics. Before long, the heat of the venue got to Buster, who stripped off the suit to reveal his Bermudas and T Shirt underneath. The whole place was skanking away by now, and there was a heart stopping moment when Big Ted bumped into the biggest skinhead I have ever seen, German or otherwise. The German turned round quickly, but Ted, who bears more than a passing resemblance to the Buster of old, grinned, stuck his tongue out and was grabbed in a big bear hug by the German who carried on dancing with him. Panic over!
The band got better and better, and who could fail to be impressed by musicians capable of ska-ing up tunes as diverse as Andy Williams' "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", and Deep Purple's "Black Night"! After a non-stop hour's performance, Manners blasted into an encore, with a German crowd-diving several times to round off the entertainment.
As Buster left the stage, I was able to get him to autograph my CD, which topped the night off for me. As I said earlier, this was my first time live at Bad Manners, so those of you who have been before will know what I'm trying to say. If you haven't seen them before - do it! The streamlined version of Buster is still a top class showman, worth every penny, or Euro in our case.
See some Ocean Colour Scene photos taken at Blackpool's Winter Gardens sound check on Sat 13 Aug '05
VARIOUS BANDS, RUN TO THE SHIRES RALLY, 24th and 25th June 2005
I left it a bit late to decide whether or not to attend the Shires and hadn't really studied the running order for the live entertainment. So, when the man on the mic announced the first band of the Friday night, Grasp, I was made up. I've seen Grasp play a few times in Southend supporting Who's Who and enjoyed it, but that was a couple of years ago. A Mod influenced band who favour crunching power chords and choppy riffs (demonstrated by their choice of covers - The Seeker, All Day and All of the Night, Song of a Baker) but they are definitely not a covers band. The majority of the set comprises of original material which is a brave move at a rally where audiences tend to want to hear all their old favourites. Highlights have to be Sittin In The Back Room, Get It On (reminiscent of the OCS classic Get Away, only slightly more up-tempo) and the lively Time To Go, which is scheduled to be released in August as the first Grasp single. They seem to be popping up all over the place at the moment, recently enjoying some limelight through their involvement in the Mod Aid 20 project, so if I were you I'd get along to see them sooner rather than later before they hit the big time and start charging more realistic entry prices! Pay them a visit via our links page, but see them live to fully appreciate the impact. I'll be at the Ryde Theatre gig during the Isle Of Wight Rally for sure.
Top of the bill for Friday was contemporary punk outfit Cheapskates . Their timing was perfect, taking full advantage of a crowd of mostly scooterboy types who'd done their level best not to openly admit they'd enjoyed Grasp, and were now well under the influence and ready to jump about a bit. I like punk, but I'm not a huge punk fan, even so I know a good Clash cover when I hear one, so if you're having a do that doesn't cater for prissy Mods like me, you could do a helluva lot worse than to book Cheapskates.
Saturday afternoon was set to be a drab affair with cold temperatures and a leaden sky not doing anything to improve my hangover, so to find a band risking fatal electrocution to play al fresco for us was another nice
surprise. This time it was Performance, a five piece with a very professional RnB/indie, guitar based sound that deserved a better venue than stuck between the burger wagons and the bogs. They took the opposite approach to Grasp and played mostly covers, punctuated with a few of their own numbers, but given that it was an afternoon set (complete with jaded audience) this was probably a wise move. Not that the original songs were poor, far from it; I'll be frank and say sometimes my heart sinks when a band says "this next song is one of our own" but Performance's songs sit very comfortably indeed alongside their covers of The Who, Stereophonics, Oasis, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, The Beatles, The Strokes et al. I would like to be more specific, but to their credit, they played for what must have been over two hours barely pausing for breath, and after a while I had trouble remembering what they'd done. Note to self - I must take more notes. Roy's vocals, while often verging on the Liam Gallagher, are more versatile, and can be applied to songs I don't think said City fan would cope with. I got hold of a four-track CD after the gig, which has a more melodic, West Coast (California, not Blackpool) feel, but with a live set like this one, I hope Performance get to play a main do at a rally soon and who knows, maybe even allowed indoors.
This is the point where I should be providing a review for Orange Street but, and I apologise profusely to fans and to the band themselves, but during their Saturday night stint I was busy taking pictures of happy smiling faces for our photos page (and drinking six cans of wife beater which didn't help) so all I can say is that they were a very good Ska and 2-Tone covers band who really got the drunken masses bouncing around with all the usual suspects in their set. Highly recommended.
It just remains for me to say this to The Rolling Clones that headlined on Saturday - you are a very good Rolling Stones tribute band. I have seen The Stones, and you do excellent work. But you DO NOT need to do that Phil Cornwell comedy Mick Jagger thing and you can DEFINITELY lose the wigs. Your music speaks for itself, it is professional and very well performed. Please don't waste yourself with the Grumbleweeds act.
Overall VFM* did an excellent job with the entertainment for the Shires this year, I'd give them 8 out of 10. Hopefully they realised though that if there's more people outside when the main act of the weekend's playing inside it wasn't just the heat that made them evacuate. Here's to next year VFM*, you've set the bar pretty high.
THE TARGETS , THE CAVERN, LIVERPOOL 6th MAY 2005
I, like everyone else in The Cavern, was there to see The Jamm with support from the Paul Weller Connexion. What I wasn't expecting was the added bonus of another, undisclosed support band. When you're standing in a music venue, and a man you've never met before comes up to you and says "Cracking little support band on tonight. They're called The Targets. They're from Winsford. They're thirteen", what else can you do but raise your eyebrows and wait for them to start? On the three lads came, looking like a cross between McFly and Hanson to, I have to say, one or two more raised eyebrows. Fortunately, unlike the two aforementioned "bands", The Targets aren't shit. They launched into a 45 minute set consisting entirely of their own material (apart from one cover) with a raw, youthful naivety that made you wish you were a teenager again with floppy hair. With surprisingly mature vocals and appropriate energy, the teen angst growled through, and the fresh-faced bass player knew just how to work a crowd in for The Jamm with Foxton-esque leaping scissor kicks and arm twirling. I have to admit, watching the kid on the drums fling his mop-top about in front of an illuminated wall emblazoned with the words THE CAVERN, had a strangely portentous feel about it. Don't be fooled by the band's name though, they probably won't appeal to the Mods out there. If I said the only cover they played was a Green Day song, that should give you an idea of the kind of music they put out. As well as pubs and music venues, The Targets will be playing at the Burton Brewers Rally this year, so if you're going I recommend you give them a chance, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. There now follows a short public information broadcast on behalf of The Targets party (thanks Paul):
"The Targets where formed by Conrad Ellis, Sam Bell & Jess Whitmore in January 2004. At the time Conrad and Sam where only 12 with Jess being the adult of the group at 13! From the start the boys aim was to develop and play original music, whilst learning from the masters of the past. Conrad is the driving force within the group, writing and arranging some 20 songs over the last year.
The Targets played their first gig in March 2004 supporting another local band Laurel Canyon Boulevard at the Knights Grange pub in Winsford, Cheshire and were an instant hit with the regulars. Since then The Targets have played at open-mic nights, music festivals, and regular pub and club bookings throughout the last year.
One such gig was at the DeBees Music Pub as support to The Jamm. The Targets went down a storm both with the crowd and The Jamm themselves, so much so they have repeatedly asked the Targets to support them at various venues throughout the year.
The Targets will continue to develop their unique brand of Punk, Ska, and Rock as they grow themselves, but you must admit they are very exciting to see and listen to even at 13/14 years old.
The Targets are currently working with Dave Shelton of Cheshire Sound Productions which will culminate in them releasing their first album later this year."
http://www.thetargets.co.uk. See the link 'Gig Dates' on our home page to see their forthcoming gigs.
OCEAN COLOUR SCENE, THE ACADEMY - 2nd MARCH 2005 (Photos)
Utterly utterly brilliant. I haven't been to a gig this good since October 2003 at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend when I saw, er, oh yeah, Ocean Colour Scene. Concentrated mostly on songs from the new album (Hyperactive flerblahblerblamlamabler as I think Simon put it), which were all played without the aid of strings or brass but lacked absolutely nothing and were all superb. Just two songs from North Atlantic Drift which, fortunately, were my two favourites I Just Need Myself and the eponymous titular track, plus quite a few oldies (like a few of us in a large crowd of very young looking students). Highlights were: well, everything, but the encore was fantastic starting with Foxy's perfect, a capella Robin Hood and ending with an apt version of Day Tripper that blew Liam & Noel's attempt out of the water. Hoping to go again in Manchester it was that good. The Scene The Scene The Scene The Scene The Scene....
"Liverpool was great, it's like being in a different world; the bars and the hotels stay open til, like six in the morning. The people there are more rock'n'roll than any band!"
Steve Cradock, on Liverpool's April 2nd gig.
Thanks to Scootering Magazine.
ALL MOD CONS, THE ARCHERS, WIRRAL - 4th MARCH 2005 (Photos)
WHO'S WHO, THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA, WIRRAL - 22nd JANUARY 2005
This was a big night for me, the band I've been travelling to see for years finally on my patch! I was excited, but also nervous in case there was a poor crowd. I needn't have worried, because the good people of the Wirral (and probably some of the rough ones too) did us all proud by packing in to The Hotel California for this, Who's Who's first ever gig on that remote peninsula. The lads were playing for a reduced rate in order to get a footing in the area, which was their first gamble. Their second was playing a set that was more geared towards to connoisseur, with less of the crowd-pleasing hits and Quadrophenia numbers, and more of the less famous stuff. But I have to say that both gambles paid off. I've been dying to see them do "A Quick One", and this time they pulled it off with perfect precision. And even though I'm not much of a Tommy fan, Amazing Journey and Sparks were astounding, with Mooney mesmerising the uninitiated onlookers with his blurring arms. The performance was so great that Greg the gaffer from The Archers came blustering up to the front during the five minute break in a desperate attempt to book the band for his place. Let's hope this is the first of many successful visits to, and warm welcomes from, the Wirral for Who's Who.
Keith Moon? Look again. Who's Who must be seen (and heard) to be believed.
ALL MOD CONS, THE ARCHERS, WIRRAL - 6th NOVEMBER 2004
It was a miserable night outside, putting a downer on many people’s bonfire parties, but things were already looking lively at The Archers by 8.30pm. A great big pub not far from Bromborough Rake train station, The Archers has been very tastefully refurbished by the current gaffer Greg. Between him and his mate Mazza, they managed to coax All Mod Cons all the way over from Hull for this gig. Even from early doors, it was nice to see so many young Mods, as well as more mature types and their partners, sporting scooter badges and T-shirts. By the time the band came on well after 9pm, the place was heaving with well-oiled punters. All Mod Cons, as the name suggests, is a Jam tribute band, and we know there’s plenty of those on the circuit. Regulars to this site will know I’m not a huge Jam fan, but I’ll always go and see a band like this just for the craic, and that’s exactly what we got. The band is a three-piece and they dress in suitable attire, but they don’t go out of their way to do Weller/Foxton/Buckler impressions, they just bang out Jam classics with great gusto and obvious enjoyment. If the band members are enjoying themselves, it tends to rub off on the audience, and I think anyone that was there will agree with me. I won’t list everything that was played, as anyone that’s seen a Jam tribute will already know, but it was good to hear a cover (of the cover) of The Small Faces Get Yourself Together early on in the set. All in all, the band’s verve and enthusiasm made for a brilliant night. My old friend Jack D helped a little bit too. If you’re a purist, go and see The Jamm. If you want a bloody good night out, see All Mod Cons.
WHO'S WHO, THE MOSES GATE, SUNDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2004
Who's Who at the Moses Gate photos
MOJO FILTER, THE MERSEY CLIPPER, FRIDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2004
I actually first saw Mojo Filter the previous Friday at The Slaughterhouse, but thanks to my old friend JDN Diet-Coke I was unable to provide an accurate review. I could remember enough though to know that I wanted to see them again, so this gig at the pub next door to Tranmere Rovers FC was just the job, despite the best efforts of the female contingent of the clientele to drown them out with their gasbagging. Mojo Filter are a three-piece consisting of (sorry if I get this wrong, I’m crap with names) Pete on lead guitar/vocals, the other Pete on bass and Paul on drums. They specialise in rock and blues classics, from BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Thin Lizzy et al along with RnB versions of numbers like The Beatles’ Get Back, and Eddie Cochran’s Somethin’ Else. Pete’s slide guitar is absolutely excellent, and the other Pete does exactly what a rock and blues bass player should; provides solid, apparently effortless depth to the band’s sound. Paul’s drumming is refreshingly uncomplicated, but as you watch you can easily imagine him at home behind a much bigger kit. How he makes so much noise on Deep Purple’s Black Knight with just one high and one floor tom I haven’t quite worked out yet. Highlights of the set are Voodoo Child (one of the great intros of all time I reckon), Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle, Big Boss Man’s High Healed Sneakers, The Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen In Love, Dick Dale’s Misirlou (which makes everyone smile) and, I’m pleased to say, one of their own compositions You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. The first time I saw them they even indulged me with My Generation for their encore, because they’d heard there were a few Mods about. Pete delivers all the songs with obvious enjoyment which is always nice to see, and all three members of the band are top blokes, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. This is probably the best rock and blues three-piece I’ve heard that isn’t The Hamsters, so if you get a chance to see them take it. A link to their elusive website is in the pipeline, once we can find it.
THE JAMM / WHO'S WHO, RYDE THEATRE, SUN 29th AUGUST 2004
I'd only seen The Jamm once before this, at The Pensby Hotel in Wirral. The Pen is a big, imposing pub, but is nevertheless a pub, and the atmosphere in there was terrific. In contrast, the Ryde Theatre is a bigger venue which, despite The Jamm's faultless set, didn't quite seem to get going for them. Personally, I felt they just weren't loud enough. The guitar certainly wasn't. Maybe they were taking it easier than usual, as straight after the gig they were driving up to Liverpool to appear at the Mathew Street Festival the next day so hats off to them for that. Whatever, The Jamm are still by far and away the best Jam tribute on the circuit, I've got a ticket to see them this Saturday (11th Sep) at the Barfly in Liverpool, and I can't wait because in a smaller venue it's going to be a belter. Especially as they'll once again be double heading with the one and only Who's Who. I went to the Ryde Theatre with Paul and Stig from the Trident Trojans SC, and we'd all like to thank Gary from the band for getting the tickets for this sell-out for us. Stig had seen The Who recently at the NEC, but missed Who's Who when they cancelled a date at Cannock, so was looking forward to this. I think he'll agree they surpassed themselves. I've lost count of how many times I've seen Who's Who, but this was one of the best gigs I can remember in a long time. The usual set was thundered through with amazing verve, despite a brief stage invasion and utter gobsh*te security staff plainly unprepared for dealing with a crowd of scooterists going mental in front of them. It was also bloody hot in there, so thanks to the bloke that knocked that girl's full glass of icy Vodka Kick all up my back. No individual songs stuck out for me this time, they were all equally good, but I must say I always enjoy It's Not True when they do it. Once again, really looking forward to seeing the lads again in Liverpool on the 11th, this time with Tom (from Mohair) standing in on vocals. Gary, Matt, Terry, where's your bloody entries in our guestbook?
WHO'S FACES, GOLDIES BAR, RYDE, SAT 28th AUGUST 2004
Sadly, I was elsewhere for the first half of this gig by Who's Faces, the nom de plume taken on by Dan's People when performing their Who and Small Faces tribute, and judging by the enthusiastic crowd I'd missed a lot of good stuff. What I did experience though were the last few covers of great songs by those two bands, performed excellently. Perhaps not with the attention to detail of a band like Who's Who, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Who's Faces appeal to a wider audience. Dan doesn't play drums like Moony, who has his unique style, but he is tighter, and his sharp rolls and fills across his kit bring a new dimension to the old classic hits much in the way Zak Starkey did when he joined the real deal. The bass playing and vocals are truly excellent. I was kindly given a copy of the Dan's People CD after the gig which consists of a wider range of Mod/Soul/Scooterist sounds, and it's very good, but it doesn't come close to seeing the band live, which some of you may have done the following weekend at Mersea Island. Dan's People performed at Goldies again the following night, this time playing their full set. I was at the Who's Who/The Jamm gig at the Ryde Theatre (see review above), so again I missed it, but if it helps, Glen from Cannock was there and he said Dan's People were one of the best bands he's ever seen. They hail from Maidenhead and play in that area quite often, but please check their website via our links page for details of other gigs. Dan, where's the entry in our guestbook?
VARIOUS BANDS, CAMBER SANDS SCOOTER RALLY 2-3 JULY 2004
I hope no one went to Camber this year on my recommendation, because it was a disappointment compared to last year. On the Friday night the first band was Intensified, summed up by one onlooker when he said "these are The Lighthouse Family of Ska". They were followed by Rinaldi Sings who, despite all the recent hype in Scootering, went down like a cup of cold sick. It seems you have to make sacrifices in the vocalist department in order to get one that can also play the trombone. Okay, they were proficient enough, but not as good as the singer thinks they are, and he needs to know that a seasoned rally-going crowd need more than pointless Michael Caine quotes in between songs to win them over. The main act was Selecter, who showed their pedigree with a very professional set, but Pauline Black must be mad if she thinks she can invite a big fat scooterist onto the stage and expect him not to say anything into the mic.
Saturday night's entertainment kicked off with The Cool Jerks, who earned their right to be there by winning the Battle of the Bands at Hemsby last year. They did a really enjoyable set comprising of popular R and B songs (Rinaldi take note) and although the singer's vocal range isn't huge, he doesn't think he's something he's not (Rinaldi, I hope you're paying attention) and he can play a mean harmonica. Unfortunately, the evening then took a swift dive when the second band Ready Steady Go took over. I have to say I felt quite sorry for the guitarist, bass player and drummer, because they work well together, but they've got what is possibly the worst singer I've ever heard in a band getting paid for a gig. He can't hit a note, let a lone hold one. As I walked away from the stage in disgust as he murdered yet another of my favourite songs, I passed about twenty geezers singing along who were all better than him. Surely there must be someone in the Kent area better than this bloke. As for the headline band of the rally, all I can say is thank god for The Undertones. As a fan of theirs since I was a kid, I was really looking forward to seeing them, and they didn't disappoint. The guy they've got in to replace Fergal Sharkey sounds a lot like him and, if you stood at the back and you'd had a few pints, doesn't look all that different either. They played with all the confidence of a band with years in the business, without putting a foot wrong. Thank you The Undertones. And thank you for the drumsticks, that made my weekend.
Chelmsford Scooter Club: last year you had The Goldmaster Allstars, Snake Davis And The Suspicions, Mohair, Who's Who and, on a fantastic Sunday night which, if I remember correctly, was packed out, Columbo. All fantastic. What happened this year? Did you blow your budget on The Undertones? Because apart from them and probably The Cool Jerks I quite frankly feel disappointed to have completed a round trip of 638 miles on a scooter for just two nights and the bands you provided.
WHO'S WHO, THE MOSES GATE, BOLTON, SUNDAY 30TH MAY 2004
I've seen the lads dozens of times over the last four years, at lots of different venues, but I have to say The Moses Gate has an ambience all of its own. The first time visitor shouldn't be daunted, as initial impressions can often be wrong, a fact that Moony, himself will endorse. Yes, it's a little rough at the edges (and in the middle for that matter) but once inside, soak up the friendly atmosphere. The Bolton crowd reminded me of the clientele at scooter rallies, lots of scary looking people who are all cracking, salt of the earth folks when you get to know them. The band themselves love playing this venue because its small size adds to, rather than detracts from, the feel of the gig.
The set itself took the familiar running order, starting with Heaven and Hell and I Can't Explain, and continuing with the staples from the 60s, Quadrophenia and Tommy, including the newly added Amazing Journey. Highlights for me were the Who's Next trio of Baba O'Reilly, Behind Blue Eyes and Won't Get Fooled Again, and The Seeker which, apart from being just a great song to hear live, sounds so much better when your support band haven't already done it before you come on. (Grasp, you know who you are).
Gary's mic twirling seems to have reached a peak just as he's leaving the band, typical, and Terry surprised a few of us by almost showing some emotion when someone knocked his mic over. Moony, as ever, never fails to impress, and Pete's finale guitar smashing went down a treat. We stuck it out right in front of the amps for as long as we could, but once we moved to one side we not only gave our ears a rest but also found we had a better view, particularly of Matt's magic fingers!
THE BAND WITH NO NAME
On Friday night (28th May 2004) I saw The Band With No Name at The Slaughterhouse in Fenwick Street, Liverpool. Performing polished cover versions of classic 60s, 70s and Britpop hits from bands like The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Lynrd Skynrd, Stereophonics and Oasis, this easy going four-piece was instantly likeable. Not only was the set very suitable for a scootering-type audience (albeit the more Moddy end of the scale), the lads do themselves no harm whatsoever by not being up their own arse like some bands (despite the fact that a large number of the clientele were still after-work drinkers more interested in chatting each other up).
I'd thoroughly recommend them, particularly for that rally/rideout/do afternoon slot to really get the mood going. Unfortunately they haven't got a website yet so it looks like it's a case of check local press for details. I gave the lads the address for this site, so fellas if you're reading this and you want to email me your gig list, I might be able to help you out.
Once again Friday night (4th May 2004) found me in The Slaughterhouse to see what the live band had to offer, and again I wasn't disappointed. This time it was the turn of The Key, another local band made up of very accomplished session musicians with, as I was to find out at the end of the night, some impressive names to drop on their CVs. It's the collective experience of the band members that allows them to do such an eclectic set without putting a foot wrong. Moments that stick in the mind in particular were Free's Alright Now, with an outstanding drum solo, Lynrd Skynrd's Sweet Home Alabama, where half the band had a fag on without disturbing the ash from the end, and an excellent rendition of Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes. Although the set wasn't always to my taste (I hate that Mary's Prayer song), it's clear that The Key are good enough to tailor a set to suit any audience, and there was still plenty there to make me smile. Especially when I asked for Teenage Kicks, and got told "everyone does Teenage Kicks, how about something by Weller instead?" and we got You Do Something To Me. Very slick.
To finish off, I'll just say there must be many bands out there who'd love to have a vocalist as good as the one in The Key, and many bands who'd love to have a lead guitarist as the one in The Key. The good thing about The Key is, they're one and the same person. His name's John. Check out The Key if you can.