Thursday, 31 July 2014

16/5/2010 David R Black & Shush @ The Gaff

SubjectDavid R Black & Shush @ The Gaff

I've been reading about David R Black in Bubblegum Slut fanzine for several years, but have yet to catch a live set from this Manchester crew. Until tonight.

It seems to take the band a couple of songs to get warmed up, but they are good when they get going.

David himself is certainly a unique and slightly edgy character who really throws himself into his performance with a passion rarely seen amongst the fake 'sleaze' bands who I often see at this venue.

The songs are good and the vocals quite distinctive - marking this out as a band who stand apart from any 'scene' and certainly worth catching if you get the chance next time they are in town.

Shush are always a quality live act, and tonight's show is no exception.

This venue seems to suit the band well and they always sound good here, although the sound isn't as heavy as their recent gig at Islington Acacemy 2.

There are a few newer songs entering their set now as their debut album approaches - their EP is worth picking up while you still can.

With yet another new drummer recently added, Shush are a solid and professional live act who deserve to take the next step up the ladder. In fact the band's latest drummer is more of a 'metal' player than any since the famous Simon 'Gonk' and really propels the band towards a harder tighter sound - definitely a good addition to the band.

Towards the end of the set it's 'audience participation' time. With Shush this involves Milena (who appears to suffer from Tourettes!) inviting everyone to give 'the finger' and join in the chorus of 'Fuck You!'. The crowd at The Gaff don't need much encouragement to join in!

The set draws to a close, but the audience is still asking for more - so the band throw in a quick crowd pleaser with their cover of Blondie's 'Call Me' - which always goes down well! 
PS: This really cool little venue is now closed.

15/5/2010 MS Charity gig @ The Gaff

SubjectMS Charity gig @ The Gaff

This is a bargain day out at The Gaff - a charity all dayer in aid of the MS Society. Around 8 bands for a fiver! And there's free food thrown in as well - you can't go wrong really!  Unfortunately, Saturday's being what they are I don't get there till the evening to catch the last few bands.

The Little Pictures are a new name to me, but their funky and soulful set makes a refreshing change from the sort of bands I see most of the time.

Next is Stereo Juggernaut, who are also promoting this event themselves.

They play to a noticably bigger crowd than any of the other bands I see.

Frontman Ben has to play the gig sitting down as he has managed to break his foot in a 'bizarre gardening accident'. Yes really. In spite of this handicap this is probably the most intense Stereo Juggernaut show I have seen.

It ends with a stage invasion - not the first time this has happened at one of this band's shows at The Gaff.

Last band of the event is the ever rocking Zen Motel.

This band haven't been seen much in London this year, but a new album in in the pipeline so I expect we'll be seeing more of them when it's in the can.

Frontman Lee seems to be much more at ease with a six string guitar in his hands now, instead of the bass he was playing until last year.

It's interesting to watch this band evolve into the formidable rock 'n' roll beast it has become, although they rocked hard even in their earliest days. 

PS: It was a pretty successful event and a lot of money was raised for the MS Society - well done to Stereo Juggernaut who organised the whole thing. 
PS: Sadly this venue has closed.

13/5/2010 - Part 2. The Dogbones @ the Dublin Castle

SubjectThe Dogbones @ the Dublin Castle
PostedDate5/13/2010 after things running later than planned at the Water Rats, I manage to make it to the Dublin Castle in time to catch about half of the Dogbones set. I'm less than pleased to find the 7.3% Weston's cider I was looking forward to quaffing is off.  Fortunately, there are some acceptable real ale substitutes though. 

The sharpest cheekbones in rock prowl the stage while jagged and crunchy chords rip from Crispin's speakers.

Nomi is manic as ever, and there is always an element of danger present.

Instruments are swapped round and Crispin takes his turn on lead vocals.

Dogbones shows tend to be unpredictable, and this one is no exception - with Nomi finishing the set wearing rather less than when she started!

Next up is a Japanese band who look like they might be interesting.

Sharply dressed and with expensive looking 'pop star' haircuts the Dethkats blast out a lively far eastern interpretation of rock 'n' roll. Certainly worth seeing, and as I have come to expect from Japanese musicians very tight and precise players - but not so much in the way of memorable songs.

It was a busy night, but for once I managed to leave the Dublin Castle in time to catch the tube, and actually got home at a reasonable time.

13/5/2010 - Part 1. The Cut Outs @ the Water Rats

SubjectThe Cut Outs @ the Water Rats

I'm off to a couple of gigs in one night again. First I'm going to the Water Rats to see the Cut Outs.

I haven't seen them for about a year now and I was thinking they had split up. Actually, their drummer had left and gone back to Scotland - but they have finally found a new drummer and now they are back.

The chemistry of the band has changed as they now have a male drummer - he seems pretty good though. As well as a new drummer, the band also have a load of new songs.

The interplay between Stevie and Jess on vocals is still there, and this is one of the things that makes this very lively band stand out.

Some of the songs might be new, but the style of music is much the same - catchy bouncy pop/rock songs with a slight punk edge along with some harder rock influences. If you liked this band before then I'm sure you'll still like them now. 

The band went on later than expected, so I have to rush off to Camden as soon as they finish if I want to make my second gig of the night...

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

12/5/2010 KISS @ Wembley Arena (lots of pictures)

SubjectKISS @ Wembley Arena (lots of pictures)

Although I've never been much of a Kiss fan, and never bought any of their stuff,
this is a gig I've really been looking forward to! There were a handful of Kiss
songs I liked in the past, but they were one of those bands like Europe who I
thought I'd never like enough to buy an album by... However, after hearing a few
songs from their recent 'Sonic Boom' album on the radio I liked them enough to
buy the CD. Rather to my surprise I now find one of my favourite albums of the
last year is by Kiss

I'd never have considered buying a ticket to see them on the strength of their back
catalogue, but the band's latest album and their reputation for putting on amazing
live shows has finally persuaded me to go and see them for the first time. Kiss
don't play in the UK very often so I thought this was too good to miss.

At £40 I thought the ticket price was surprisingly reasonable, bearing in mind how
much their show must cost to put on - especially compared to the fucking
outrageous prices Aerosmith are charging!  How ironic that a band who wrote
a song called 'Eat The Rich' now only play for the rich...

So, after a bit of a 'North Circular Nightmare' (my own fault for missing my turning
due to being in the wrong lane even though I'd done the journey enough times
before) and worrying about being late, I parked the motor in a 'secret' free parking
place a few minutes walk from the venue and got in with a few minutes to spare. 

The venue didn't look that full at first - this was the second date to go on sale after
the first sold out, but it filled up quite a bit when the band started. Things got off to
an impressive start with three of the band being delivered to the stage by a
platform that rose from behind the drum riser and passed over the top of it in an
arc before depositing our heroes at the front of the stage. Unfortunately, I didn't
have my camera ready in time to capture this bit. 

It was a spectacular arrival though, and things continued that way for the next
couple of hours.

I was expecting a good show, and I certainly wasn't disappointed!

The sound quality was surprisingly good for this venue and it's notorious 'giant
bathroom' acoustics - someone did a really good job putting this PA system
together and getting a good sound mix. If only other artists could do the same in
these big venues - it goes to show, it is possible.

My pictures are of more variable quality than usual as I've just got a new camera
to replace my old falling to bits (literally!) one and I haven't got used to it yet. 

However, I took quite a few pictures and seemed to have more half decent ones
than I expected so I might as well stick the best (or least worst) them up here for
your edification.

I can't help wondering how much Gene's tongue must ache by the end of a show
as he is constantly doing this!

The pictures aren't great, but at least I think they manage to capture at least
some of the atmosphere and give an idea of what a spectacular show it was.

And it was spectacular! Band members go flying up into the air onto platforms.

Kiss have some good songs, if not as good as the classics of Led Zeppelin,
AC/DC, or Thin Lizzy, and they are only average as musicians - but they do know
how to put on a show!

In fact I can safely say visually this was the best show I've ever seen - by anyone!

More than once. the drum riser is 'rocket propelled' into the air.

It really was an amazing show and I enjoyed every minute of it! 

I was hoping to hear more than the two or three songs they played from their
current album - especially as it was billed as the 'Sonic Boom Tour'. However,
the show was so spectacular that it made up for any minor niggles about the
setlist. I though the Motley Crue show at Hammersmith was the best I'd ever
seen for pyro, but Kiss just surpassed it!

Apart from that, as you'd imagine it was pretty much a 'Greatest Hits' set. One
(of many) highlights was Paul's corny setpiece where he said how much he loved
being on stage, but sometimes likes to be out in the crowd - but he felt it was rude
to go out into the audience unless he was 'invited'. Cue a cliched 'panto' but where
he got the crowd to shout out and 'invite' him. Of course they didn't shout loud
enough the first time... So after he is satisfied the audience have 'invited' him loudly
enough a device on a wire magically appears in front of him. He climbs on with his
guitar and is whisked out over the crowd towards the back of the arena where a
platform has just raised itself. The platform slowly revolves as he performs the song
from out in the crowd.

Needless to say, this dramatic setpiece goes down a storm! .

The confetti cannons get deployed towards the end of the set.

After over an hour and a half of non-stop action and drama, the set appears to
come to an end. Of course, everybody is expecting an encore. The band don't
keep us waiting long. Paul says they are going to give us 'value for money' and
give us the longest encore we have ever seen! And indeed they do as they play
for about another half an hour.

The confetti cannons burst into action again. They have been reloaded before the
encore and seem to have an unlimited supply of ammunition!

Before long, the floor and also the crowd are covered in a layer of what appears to
be small pieces of fag paper.

The encore finally finishes with even more fireworks. I have to say this show
really did give amazing value for money - for £40 the band played for well over
two hours and a huge amount of money must have been spent on all the flames,
fireworks, the many stage props and moving platforms, wires flying band
members around, confetti cannons, etc. As far as I'm concerned the ticket was
worth every penny!

This is one of those shows where you leave feeling you have been thoroughlyentertained.  Just like the Alice Cooper gig I went to last year, I can say that
even if you aren't a huge fan of the music I highly recommend going just because
it's such a good show. Even if you're deaf - you can't fail to enjoy it. Like with
Alice Cooper, I don't leave the gig thinking I'm going to go out and buy all the
old albums, but I do leave convinced I'll definitely be buying a ticket next time the
show comes to town! An absolutely top night's entertainment!