Friday, 30 May 2014

29/10/2008 - Part 3. Shush @ Punk. And a nutter...

SubjectShush @ Punk

So after The Berettas and Brijitte West & The Desperate Hopefuls we come to the final band of the evening - the rather more familiar Shush.

This band are always excellent, and tonight is no exception although the sound mix isn't great.

Shush throw themselves wholeheartedly into a high energy set of tuneful pop/rock songs. 

Tonight sees the very welcome return to the band of former AntiProduct drummer Simon - without doubt the most powerful drummer of the various ones to have passed through this band.

There is no doubt this is top quality stuff from a band who play really well together.

It's good to see this band playing to a fairly full room. It's certainly what they deserve, and as usual they go down very well all the people in the room who are new to the band.

The evening ends on a weird note for me - I seem to become a nutter magnet!  There is a drunk girl who is obviously on the pull.  After chatting up a couple of my friends she homes in on me - she is obviously seriously deranged!  To add insult to injury - I'm her third choice.  She's acting like she know's me - so I'm wondering if maybe we have met sometime before when I've been the worse for wear? So I ask her "Do I know you?" - to which she replies "Does it matter?!" Well yes, it does actually. She starts coming on to me big time. I'm backing away, but she's following me - until I end up backed against a sofa. She is determined to dance with me - wether I like it or not! Blatent is not the word! Not only does she start rubbing herself up against me, but she even tries to dry screw me!  By now all my friends in the room are watching - and they are pissing themselves! I'm looking over mental bird's shoulder and franticly waving 'HELP ME!' at my friends - and of course they find this even more hilarious! Needless to say, no one comes to my rescue - they are all finding this far too entertaining! Things are looking increasingly desperate as I search for a way out without actually being deliberately rude. Suddenly, mental bird is distracted for a moment by something - I run for it! By the time she notices I have vanished I am hiding behind a pillar - where I stay until it's safe. I hide behind the pillar flanked by Craig and Dave (both highly amused!) for about ten minutes - I want to go to the toilet but am worried I might get ambushed on the way! I manage to evade mental drunk bird for about half an hour, and then (much to my relief) I hear she has been carried out of the club. I resolve not to leave for some time afterwards in case she recovers and leaps out at me from a Soho alleyway on my way home. Fortunately, I manage to make my escape safely later on... Oh well, although it was a scary experience for me - at least I managed to provide a great deal of amusement for all my friends who were watching! 

29/10/2008 - Part 2. Brijitte West & the Desperate Hopefuls @ Punk

SubjectBrijitte West & the Desperate Hopefuls @ Punk

So after discovering a good new band I'd never heard of earlier this evening, it's time to see some people I actually know a bit about - even though I've not seen this actual band before.

Some of you will recognise some of these people! Brijitte West is best known for fronting those punkers from the Big Apple New York Loose, but these days she is living in London and has recruited Richie and Keef from Kitty Hudson  for her new band.

The new band are called Brijitte West & The Desperate Hopefuls and the music is along fairly similar lines to New York Loose.

The songs are virtually all new ones Brijitte has written now she is feeling ready to do music again.

You may also recognise Keef (above) from his own band Dead Identities

I don't think Richie Hudson would have take much talking into joining a band with someone who's earlier material was so strongly influenced by the late Johnny Thunders - especially as Kitty Hudson have been known to play the odd Heartbreakers cover. Brijitte and the boys turn out a strong set of songs, and you wouldn't think this is a new band playing songs they've only just learnt!

A cover of Cheap Trick's 'Surrender' is thrown in towards the end of the set - this goes down a storm! The sharp and tuneful set is rounded off by a rousing version of the New York Loose number 'Bitch' - probably their best (and most Johnny Thunders influenced) song. This is certainly a band I'm looking forward to seeing again. 

29/10/2008 - Part 1. The Berettas @ Punk

SubjectThe Berettas @ Punk

I'm here to see Shush and Brijitte West with her new band and don't know who else is on the bill when I arrive. Punk isn't a venue I am keen on - I seem to have been spending far too much time recently going to places with shite bars and creepy toilet attendants, and this is another one.  The evening doesn't get off to a good start when I find that the only beer they have on tap (poncey overpriced lager) is off. I am reduced to drinking bottled Magners - which is weak and watery enough before the bar staff start chucking ice in the glass to dilute it.  Needless to say, it's at west end rip-off prices so I decide not to drink much. This will have the added benefit of cutting down visits to the toilet and it's annoying attendants as well as saving money. However, it not all bad.

The all girl band playing when I arrive turn out to be rather good.

I have no idea this band is, but I find out later that they are The Berettas.

They are quite a lively band, and I'm glad to got here early enough to see them.

The Berettas certainly get the evening off to a fine start, and it's looking to be a good bill of female fronted rock bands...

27/10/2008 Stonewall Noise Orchestra & Disarm in Islington

SubjectStonewall Noise Orchestra & Disarm in Islington

Monday night at Islington Bar Academy - a nice little venue apart from the Carling Bar, but you can't have everything I guess. Cavalar are on first - well played but very generic retro metal.

Bloody hell - it's Disarm again!

There is no escape from these marauding northern glam-punks as they cross another London club venue off their 'Played there' list.

They continue to get better each time I see them - in fact the mix is so good tonight that I've never heard them sound so good. They manage to get through their set without destroying the drumkit this time - in fact apart from Brad's guitar strap coming off nothing seems to go wrong for once!

As Disarm continue their no-holds-barred assault on the capital I am puzzled by the presence of a rug on lead guitarist Jamie's side of the stage? It's not very 'punk rock' - are they going soft?

Tonight's headliners are Stonewall Noise Orchestra. These Swedish stoners are new to me, but I'm certainly glad to discover them. I also discover the reason for the rug on the stage - a guitarist with bare feet!

This band don't look too cool, but they sound great! They play really well and have a heavy stoner groove vibe. There's a lot of heavy riffing going on and they remind me a lot of Fu Manchu, with maybe a bit of Queens Of The Stone Age mixed in. A good singer too - instead of the usual screaming and shouting from most bands of a heavier persuasion these days.

It's not often that I see a band 'cold' knowing nothing about them and get into their sound straight away, but I was impressed enough with the noise they made to go straight to the merch stand after the gig to buy their album. It's rather good too. 

26/10/2008 Men & Gods @ The Constitution

SubjectMen & Gods @ The Constitution

A bit of an odd night this, but not a bad one at all. The Constitution in Camden is celebrating it's 150th anniversary and is putting on an evening of live music. I like this pub - not only is a reasonably unspoiled by modern standards but it serves by far the best pint I've had at a music venue for a very long time! A pint of Broadside is only £3 - what venue can match that? It's free to get in as well, although as the place is packed I should imagine the bar takings were very healthy.

I arrive to find the lovely Nadia from Men & Gods is performing a solo set - it's nice to hear her sing as well as demonstrating her piano skills.  I find the place is full of local musos, and some of them will be performing later. This includes Yvonne & Huw formerly of The Vamps.

That bass player looks familiar from somewhere...

I enjoy their set, and am pleased to hear an old Vamps song included with their new stuff. If I remember correctly their new band is called The Loveless.

Before Men & Gods come on there are one or two other bands. Yvonne & Huw played a shortish set of a probably less than half an hour, but the next act is a soul singer who seems to play for well over an hour. To be fair, she is rather good and obviously has quite a following - but I think the reason she was allowed to go on for so long was because she is related to the pub management...

It's getting quite late by the time Men & Gods get to perform.

They give a classy performance as usual, although they are not at their best crammed into the tiny space available. Normally the bands play in the downstairs bar at this pub, but for some reason it's all happening in the main bar tonight. I have a look downstairs at one point to see what's happening and find a bunch of men dressed as pirates dancing to a DJ playing The Who! 

However, there is fun to be had in the main bar, and people dancing to Men & Gods as well!

That bass player is back again, and Nadia makes her second appearance of the night.

There's a good variety of music with something to please most people, and the atmosphere is good as well - it's almost like a private party. It makes a nice change to be able to enjoy fine real ales and good music in Camden without being ripped off! 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

23/10/2008 Zen Motel, Disarm & Adam Bomb @ Paradise City

SubjectZen Motel, Disarm & Adam Bomb @ Paradise City

I'm at Soho sleazepit Madame JoJo's for the monthly Paradise City club. I'll get the venue rant out of the way first: The bar here is shit - not only is it overpriced, but they don't even stock anything that I actually want to drink.  Then there is the gents toilet - it wouldn't matter so much that it's tiny if you didn't trip over one of those creepy and annoying toilet attendants as you go through the door.  No one likes these fuckers and they aren't appropriate for a rock club.  The door charge is a bit steep too - I could see a similar bill at Bar Monsta or the Purple Turtle for quite a bit less. That said, apart from those (easily remedied)  points this isn't a bad venue at all.

The ever rocking Zen Motel are on first. But hey, what's this?

It's Zen Motel Jim, but not as we know it. Now there are five of them! I can remember when there were only three people in the band.

A new bass player has been added to the band, leaving Lee to sing lead vocals without a guitar in his hands.

It seems a bit weird at first, but not in a bad way. The new guy Dan seems to know what he's doing though and is a dynamic performer.

It takes a bit of getting used to seeing the band like this, but Lee seems to adapt well and by the end of the show he looks like he's enjoying himself!

Apparently the reason for the changes in the lineup is that Alex the lead guitarist is moving to Brighton so won't be available for a lot of the gigs from now on. Tonight's show with Lee on just vocals is a bit of an experiment to try out the flexibility of the new lineup and from now on Lee will usually be on guitar instead of bass. The future is looking interesting for this band. 

Next up we have the Mexborough Marauders Disarm. They never fail to deliver the goods.

This band have appeared on the London club scene quite a few times recently and continue to get better every time I see them.

These northern noise merchants seem to have declared war on drumkits tonight - not content with destroying a drum skin earlier, bassist Noddy manages to stop the show by falling into the drumkit towards the end of the set. He protests that he's not even drunk for once!

After Disarm we get Dear Superstar. This lot seem quite an anti-climax after the previous two bands and don't sound anything like as tight and together.

Last act of the night is Adam Bomb. I was less than impressed the previous time I saw this lot when they supported Hanoi Rocks at the Electric Ballroom - I didn't think they lived up to the hype at all on that occasion and the guitarist's fretboard skills seemed average at best and were overshadowed by all the pyro and lights.

Tonight I think he plays far better and I find the show quite entertaining, although he relies more on dazzling people with flash technique than actual technical excellence.

It would have been more impressive for a 'headline' act if they didn't rely so heavily on all the covers in the set - I have heard bands in pubs do far more convincing versions of AC/DC songs, and the Bullet Boys take on 'Riff Raff' leaves Adam Bomb for dead. 

Unfortunately I had to leave before the end of the set - as did many other people.  I think the night could have been better planned - a lot of people had already left  at 12.15 when I headed off to catch my last tube. Having midweek shows finish so late is not a good thing as most people have last trains to catch and have  to be up early for work in the morning.  Other London venues manage to put four bands on midweek and have the last band finish well before midnight... I was looking forward to seeing the much vaunted M.O.B. girls perform. I assumed beforehand that they would be performing in the intervals between bands, but when I left after midnight there was still no sign of them.  There can't have been many people still left in the club by whatever time they eventually strutted onto the stage...