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Saturday 26 April 2014

Metcalfe & The Fornicators - Nice & Sleazy 25/04/14 (Glasgow)

I fully expected the Metcalfe and the Fornicators gig to be good, but saying it was simply good doesn't come close to describing the experience.
Great falls short to.
You would have to start grabbing at fantastic, or magical, just as a jumping off point before showering ever more hysterical plaudits their way.
To call the show good would be akin to looking at Everest and saying it’s big.

I’m never sure what it is that elevates a live performance from an enjoyable one that impresses to the level of delivering something a bit more intangible, something that is felt in the gut, heart, and mind.
It’s not linked to a chord structure or a clever quip from a front man, but probably more to do with a balance that is achieved between performer and audience.
A symbiotic relationship connecting perfectly in a sequence of moments caught in time.
That of course sound a tad poncey, but I'm open to hearing anything else that expands on what it is that makes a great show a partially indescribable joy.

With a back catalogue to dip into that most song writers would offer up a limb for, Martin and his band were quite happy to dip in at different points throughout the years and deliver a bit of something for everyone.
There are of course the Goodbye McKenzie hardcore whose needs were comfortably met, but if anyone jumped on board late in the day with Isa And the Filthy Tongues then they would have been more than happy with the set to, but it was on the Angelfish material that I was most surprised.
I’ve only ever heard it played with Shirley Manson taking the vocal lead, and my thinking that they were really just an extension of Goodbye Mr McKenzie with a vocalist change was supported by hearing Martin sing on King of the World and Mummy Can’t drive.
There’s something comfortable about how he shapes the words, and the songs sound as if they have come home when he reveals them to the audience.  
Similarly the song Normal Boy from Five didn’t sound any less fantastic as a solo outing rather than duet.

It ended up as a blatant truism that regardless of how recordings were made in the past, with it either being Martin, Shirley or Stacey, taking the lead on vocals that Martin has a clear affinity with the material and has no problem at all in pushing it out there passionately.   

Most refreshing aspect of the evening was the lack of any sort of nostalgia frenzy.
Very often their can be lulls in a set when the artists move a step away from the most familiar material they have, but Martin and the Fornicators very easily bucked that trend.

I'm sticking this show on the very small list of gigs that I have in my head where I really do mean it when I say ‘you had to be there’.
No matter how much praise I heap on Martin and the Fornicators it will fall short on conveying the reality.

For me, this is why I keep engaged with live music.


And to celebrate it here's some videos.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Sick Puppies - King Tuts Wah Wah Hut 23/04/14 (Glasgow)

Rank Berry may currently be a man down, and the infamous five may now be the fearsome four for the moment, but with vocalist Jamie filling the vacant guitarist spot the train most definitely kept-a-rolling.
With this, their first appearance at King Tuts, they did however seem to be a strange addition to the bill.
Strange because while all three acts are rock bands, the Rank Berry boys exist on the opposite end of the spectrum from both The Feud and Sick Puppies.
While the headliners, and tour support, have pop influenced hardcore and industrial leanings it was Rank Berry who were very obviously flying the flag for a more traditional sound.
A sound that while bereft of samples, whistles and bells was warmly embraced by the crowd in attendance going by the reaction they received.
It’s a testament to their abilities as a band that they can win fans over from cold, and that’s not something that should be overlooked, and neither should the talent and experience that has taken them to the cusp of stepping up a rung.
A quality studio release and some more appropriate supports could very well see them hitting the ground running sooner than some are expecting.
Quite simply put the performance hinted again at what could be within their grasp if they manage to position themselves in the right place at the right time.

Manchester noiseniks The Feud are a very different band as mentioned.
They are walking on a tightrope and carefully balancing themselves above some very disparate scenes.
There are elements of the industrial-lite post hardcore material that is so beloved of the likes of Kerrang readers, hints of industrial noise that could draw comparisons to NIN if Trent Reznor was aiming to have his music played on the dreaded 4Music, and an attempt to hold it all together with a mainstream dance sound.
It really shouldn't work at all, but mid set they hit their stride and managed to hold it all together in a way that would probably draw the attention of someone who was looking to have a band to appear in a club scene of their latest teen vamp masterpiece.
Of course that could be taken as a negative, but I'm happy to leave the musical snob at the door and accept that while the band might not deliver much of what I am interested in, they are very good at delivering within the remit of what they are aiming for.
I wouldn't be surprised if they managed to carve a niche in the alternative teen market for themselves.
If that’s their intent then it’s achievable.
Probably a move stateside would be beneficial.

And talking of moves to the US, Sick Puppies haven’t done too badly by relocating there from Australia.
Elsewhere their success has taken them too much larger venues than King Tuts, but while the UK are playing catch up at the moment this tour could change all that.
With attention on the band initially coming from their song ‘All the same’ being used as part of the free hugs internet campaign they certainly seized the day and maximised on that opportunity in a way that other acts could learn from.
Since then they have released some solid material that has eclipsed their foot in the door track, and with current album Connect they have moved forward yet another step.
This incremental growth of the band has been welcomed by the fans, if not the critics, but as the band begin to build up some steam in their live set it was nice to see that the focus wasn't on pleasing the critics, but instead on creating an inclusive experience for the band and fans to enjoy.
It’s this foundation stone that they keep their feet firmly planted on that will maintain interest in them as the bands career progresses.
Critics can come and go, but real fans are worth their weight in gold.
It’s good to see a band that so blatantly gets that.
As for Glasgow it was a case of Sick Puppies sized the city up, stepped into the ring and left victorious.

As someone who was aware of a handful of tracks and casually impressed with them I left with the opinion that I had just seen a great band who aren't ever going to be seen as one that enjoyed a momentary moment in the sun, as these guys aren't going anywhere soon.

Monday 21 April 2014

Origins of The Dowling Poole

I'm skint, genuinely pot less, which is the gentlemanly way of saying I haven't got a pot to piss in.
That's not going to stop me pledging for the Downing Poole album though as I am only the sale of an internal organ, or one of my offspring, away from securing the funds to make the purchase of this little gem a reality.
Now I could wax lyrically about what is on offer, but instead I will share the bromance of the year footage with you, and I fully expect that grown men will swoon. ladies ovaries will explode, and children will be left to fend for themselves as their parents abandon them to a feral life on a sink estate just so that they can devote their lives to following the Dowling Poole path to a glorious new dawn, but not the golden type with the nazi connections as that would just be wrong.

Sell your soul here, er I mean pledge.



On facebook I am a member of a group entitled ‘Glasgow Apollo’.
It’s unashamedly nostalgic and leans heavily towards reminiscing about the rock acts that played the hallowed venue.
There’s not a great deal of discussions that gathers any pace if the original post is about one of the middle of the road bands/performers who took to the stage, and the punk years seem to sit uncomfortably next to the rock legends, but it is what it is.
The majority hold sway and the majority worship in denim and leather at the carved bone alter of the great Gods of RAWK.
If the likes of Alex Harvey, Bon Scott and Robert Plant are the legendary behemoths who carry the weight of the world Atlas like on their shoulders for you then it’s a comfortable page on social media to pull a bar stool up at.

I visit it daily and enjoy much of what is posted, but in the last few days the demise of Rock Radio - who’s sinking under the waves of on-air mediocrity may have taken the rock DJ legend that is Tom Russell with it - has set the cat among the pigeons.
Calls for support have been plentiful and discussions about the need for a dedicated rock radio station have sprung up.
In the main they have all been positive, but then there was the sharing of an article from the Guardian newspaper written by a journalist called Kevin McKenna, and if I am honest it’s the sort of thing that hurts my eyes.
If you took the hair out of my arse that is causing me a great deal of consternation and put it under a microscope then this article may well be laser etched onto it.

While the intent seems to be to laud the efforts of Tom Russell, and assist with a campaign to draw attention to the ‘end of days’ scenario for rock music on the airways, what really comes across strongly is the grumblings of a man who has reached a period in his life where he has decided that the best of pretty much everything only existed in his formative years, and anything else that flourished outside that era can be filled away under S for Shite.  

In the article Muse, Biffy Clyro, The Smiths, Franz Ferdinand and even Chatty Man Alan Carr all get slapped down as if their musical output, and Alan breathing, is directly responsible for everything negative that has ever happened to rock music.

You get the sense that if Fleetwood Mac fell short of selling out the Hydro by three tickets then someone should bring Kevin the head of Alex Kapranos on a silver platter.
In some weird way that most of us can’t understand his asking everyone to Take Him Out was probably the butterfly flapping its wings leading to those empty seats in the Hydro so many years later.
In fact when Alex sang ‘Take Me Out’ Kevin may have taken him at his word and started looking for a comfy spot on the grassy knoll.
I can imagine that right now in the alternative universe that McKenna has created there is an Angus Young doppelgänger wondering if it was Morrissey singing Vicar in a tutu, or Simon and co headlining at Wembley, that was the catalyst for Malcolm’s illness.
The whole article is supposed to be about one thing, but that then just becomes a thin veneer painted over McKenna conjuring up Dylan Thomas for a rock influenced karaoke take on ‘Do not go gently into that good night’, with them both downing jagers and slurring through the ‘Rage, rage against the dying of the night’ line as the barman shouts ‘Time Gentlemen, please.’

It’s not the issues with the end of Rock Radio as people knew it that I have a problem with.
In fact I am fully supportive of anyone looking to push Real Radio to reconsider, but I just think it can be done without leaving the likes of MUSE, Biffy Clyro, Franz Ferdinand, The Smiths, and even the Chatty Man, as collateral damage in the war of words that has ensued.

As a reader of the Guardian I am also left wondering if anyone actually checks the CiF articles anymore.
I really did think that I was going to read an article about the stations decision to axe Rock Radio rather than an extract from ‘the world according to McKenna.’
The whole tone of it was more suited to a curmudgeon pontificating in his local the age old ‘everything was better when I was a lad’ shtick that we have all heard more times than we probably care to mention.

And now that I have managed to get that off my chest I'm away to warm up the old wax cylinder so I can listen to ‘Things aint what the used to be’ by the legendary blues singer Miss Ann Thrope.

Meanwhile you may want to listen to the 'fey' Franz Ferdinand.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Record Store Day 2014 - the pros and the CONS

With record store day slipping into the rear view mirror it seems like it is now time to pick over the carcass of the event.

This year seems to have been about the most contentious ever.

The first negative issue to float to the surface was the WTF missive from the independent labels who found that they couldn't get any of their acts out there for RSD as the major labels had the very few pressing plants left fully booked to accommodate a slew of reissues.
As it could be argued that the whole concept of the day was to create a lifeline to be thrown to the independent stores - and labels - who kept the faith and were sinking below the surface a few years ago, this seemed like the boot of capitalism striking a blow to the chin of the good guys.
PR wise it wasn't ever going to be a RSD that set off with its best foot forward.  

Then off the back of that the releases for the year were revealed.

With CDs and cassettes rubbing shoulders with the vinyl quite a few people were left scratching their heads in bemusement as the major labels looked to use the day to breathe some new life into the back catalogues of their big guns.

Was this really what it was supposed to be about?

There’s another three hundred and sixty four days that Sony could have slipped the Aerosmith albums out on after all.

How about the 1Direction picture disc single?

Expressing concern about the involvement of the teenyboppers favourite could open the door to the dreaded allegation of being a music snob, but personally I have no issue with people listening to whatever they want to regardless of age or how manufactured the material is, but I do still have reservations about the inclusion of an item that is little more than a piece of merchandise created to exploit kids.
If we ask ourselves how many of the little tykes have access to a turntable then an honest answer would be probably very few.

I stood in a line with a couple before me, and a gaggle behind me, who I would argue strongly will never ever be music fans.
If others heard the conversations that were conducted then any argument that the 1D single could be the gateway drug that would lead to young teens being addicted to the collecting of vinyl would have been quashed right there and then.

Once again it seems to be the inclusion of this, and more, has less to do with drawing attention to the last shops standing, the independent labels, or the niche market of vinyl collecting, and more to do with the lining of pockets, and not those of the record store owners either.
Of course this is a pay day for them, and one that may ease them through all of those days when they have three people wander in with only one buying anything, but I do wonder how much they made off the ten pounds price tag on the 1D single and how many each shop had.
Let’s say it was a pound and they had six.
They sell them all but it’s hasn't covered the minimum wage requirement of their assistant, and sales still have a long way to go to touch utilities, rates and taxation etc.

The addition of 1D to RSD doesn't sound that wonderful now does it?

Was this the moment when RSD jumped the shark?

Maybe if there was some sort of criteria that the industry had to meet then there would be less contention though.
No reissues unless the original was of a very limited run and never seen the light of day on CD, or the new version is remastered, has additional bonus tracks and a little something else is added to make it worth the fans while to buy yet another copy of a release that they already have.

That doesn't seem to be too much to ask for does it?

How about some positive discrimination with the major labels only being allowed to put out a percentage of the over all releases for RSD so that the playing field could be levelled a bit?

Once again it all seems to be about creating an inclusive balance to redress things.
If left to the majors to call the shots that’s not going to happen, but the people behind RSD don’t really have the clout to dictate anything to them suppose.

It all just seems to smack of the usual absorption of a good idea into the mainstream for it then to be watered down and exploited.
Pretty sad really when you think about it.

Then finally there were the usual cries of loathing for those who bought releases to sell on.

Even the night before RSD ebay had sellers upping limited edition 2014 record store day releases and it doesn't take a degree in rocket science to know that these people have access to stores.
It’s unquestionably tough for a fan of an artist to queue for hours to pick up a limited release with money they have salted away only to find it’s already been snapped up by someone who is running home to let their fingers dance on the keyboard as they offer it up to the highest bidder.
With much of the material out there already priced at the limits of what we can afford this is just another nail in the coffin for the already disillusioned.  

I’m ultimately left in a quandary over the whole debacle to be honest.
I regularly visit record stores and spend, spend, spend, and while I don’t personally need a day dedicated to the selling of vinyl, I do want to continue to support an idea that maintains the spotlight on the stores and will ensure their survival, but with every year that passes the concept seems to be becoming less focussed on the stores, indie labels and artists and instead is disappointingly returning to shine its light on the majors who don’t need the help regardless of how loudly they shout about being poverty stricken.

It feels like if it continues on this path that the negatives will ultimately outweigh the positives.

Guess all we can do is sit back and wait for 2015 and see if they celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Jonas Brothers.

Until then I will console myself with this RSD purchase I made.

The Wildhearts - ABC - 14/04/14 (Glasgow)

While Ginger Wildheart continues to release music at an unparalleled rate through his pledge campaigns I have been left as a fan financially destitute and a little bit worried that I am at times doing little more than funding vanity pieces.
In conversations I find myself more frequently saying aloud that sometimes less is more.
The litmus test on this is that initially not many agreed, but of late more are airing the same view in a piecemeal fashion.
Even now with the newly purchased Albion spinning away I’m not getting the sense of all killer and no filler, although that may come.
However of his recent sonic outings I couldn’t really find one negative point to highlight about the Hey! Hello! project that he completed with Victoria Liedke.
The melodic power pop, pop punk, pop-tastic album is pretty much one that hits every button for me. So it was a fantastic bonus when it was announced that they would be opening for the Wildhearts.
My heart sang.
Build up of expectations be damned as I just knew it would be good, and it was.
Ginger unsurprisingly maintained the centre stage position as for many he is the draw, but he only held it physically as the lead was left to Victoria to take, and as a front woman she had it all nailed down.
They powered through their set at breakneck speed with Victoria building up an easy rapport with the audience that must surely dictate that the support will be there for a follow up release to their debut.
The hint that this may be on the cards was the inclusion of a new song that matched the quality of everything else in the set.
With Gingers involvement it is doubtful that the band will have to start at the bottom rung in playing live and they can jump straight to good sized venues, and if that’s the case then I could very well be front and centre.

Following Hey!Hello! were the Finnish curveball thrown by Ginger that was the Von Hertzen Brothers.
It would be fair to say that they are a good band, a very good band with some progressive rock leanings, and it would also be fair to say that they are deserving of an audience, but not a Wildhearts one.
Song after song the lost the interest of the audience and that was tough to watch.
If they opened for the classic Brit rock band Magnum and they would have had the crowd eating out of their hand, add them to a bill with Helloween and not one person attending would have had a complaint - and I suspect they would have done a roaring trade in merch - but the inclusion on this bill was similar to shoe horning 1Direction onto a stage at Download between Killswitch Engage and Bring Me the Horizon.
While they will have picked up some fans from the tour in the main they weren’t what the majority would have been looking for.
It’s a good move to haul a band out on the road in support that will challenge the perceptions of an audience, but in doing so it has to be accepted that it can be a bit hit and miss with this being more miss than hit.

The upside of the lull that the Von Hertzen Brothers provided was that The Wildhearts didn’t have to stand in the wings wondering how they were going to follow a headline slaying band and could simply saunter on and do their thing, and that’s exactly what they did.
It was nice to see Scott Sorry back in the line up as I’ve always enjoyed the punkier stage attitude he has brought to the band, but while I was enjoying myself there was a small voice whispering that it all seemed a bit Wildhearts by numbers.
While one support was an exercise in giving the audience something they didn’t want, this was a headline set made up of giving the audience exactly what they wanted, and maybe I was looking for another curveball with this one being Wildhearts shaped.  
Highlight was the introduction of Gingers son Taylor who along with Scott stormed his way through the classic People Who Are Dead by Jim Carroll before then hanging around to help out on Nexus Icon.

It’s very obvious that Ginger wants to keep the The Wildhearts as a separate entity from his outings as a solo act, but as the last Wildhearts release was the excellent Chutzpah! in 2009 it’s possibly time to step away from experimenting under his own name and take control at the helm of one of the best rock band that this country has seen and give us a new album that will provide fresh material for any future Wildhearts tours.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Sixth richest global economy and we have food banks for the working poor. (What is wrong with that sentence?)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
So said the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, and who could argue with that?

Everything we do has to start somewhere.
An idea blossoms into action and then we move forward incrementally until we realize the idea.
It doesn't matter if the initial thought is to ask someone if they want to go on a date with the intent being to kick start a relationship, or if it is a lateral thought that steers a quantum physicist in a direction that wasn’t previously considered leading us to understand the universe more.
Both have in common the same process.
That single step being taken that precedes the walk of a thousand miles.

So it was with this in mind that today, after I read the headlines about the rise in food bank use while we create ever more millionaires, that I thought that enough is enough.
There’s little point in raging on the world of social media and it is time to walk the walk as opposed to talking the talk, and as I decided that then my initial thought jumped to the point of action as I registered a petition on yougov.

I have since had confirmation of them receiving it and it will now take seven days to see if it meets the terms and conditions required for it to go live.

This is the petition here.

We, the undersigned, wish to draw the attention of the government to the ever increasing financial inequality that is being visited upon the citizens of this country.
While austerity measures have become an oft repeated mantra from the coalition we are now well aware that the implementation of those measures has had a disproportionate impact on those who are either unemployed, or are low wage earners.
As we are a small nation, and have the sixth largest economy in the world, we would like to hear a reasoned cross party debate in parliament on why there is a poverty issue at all.
We would also be interested in being made aware of what counter measures are under consideration to combat this growing inequality.
If this debate is not forthcoming, or falls short of providing a satisfactory response, then we respectfully ask for the Queen to initiate the dissolution of Parliament.

If, and I do stress the IF, it does go live then I will provide links to it and I would appreciate it if people who agree not only sign the petition, but also share it as far and wide as they can.

I am aware that some will ask themselves why should they sign it and others will consider it pointless, but what I would say to them is that those who are looking for assistance from food banks today could be you tomorrow.
The person who is close to losing their home due to circumstances out with their control could be your Father, Mother, Brother or Sister.
A few years from now it could be your Son or Daughter.

We really do need a cross party debate right now, and that debate has to be the first step on a journey of a thousand miles.
It’s time to act, and this is why I have petitioned the government.

I sincerely hope that enough of us feel the same way and this can be the beginning of our voices being heard.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Daniel Wylie and Neil Sturgeon - Harbour Arts Centre - 11/04/14 (Irvine)

Stripped down acoustic gigs should be an oasis of calm in many respects.
They should provide the opportunity for the audience to commune with the artist on a different level, a level that is free of any artifice and instead becomes one that simply allows the music to reveal itself in its nascent form.
The material outside the studio should be able to say here I am, this is me bereft of the make up and the glamorous attire that I wore.
This is my stark naked beauty revealed.

And while this is how it should be that doesn't necessarily mean that is what you will get when attending a stripped down show.

You may instead get a boozy trollop sitting on your left discussing very loudly such important issues as whether the platform shoes in New Look are better quality than the ones in Schuh, or a guy on your right who consumed eight pints prior to sitting down and is now squeezing past you every ten minutes to go to the toilet as he informs everyone within earshot that he is sorry but he needs to siphon the python……again.

Thankfully the evening’s entertainment in the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine was more of the former than the latter, and instead of artist and audience mutually struggling through the set it was a sublime pleasure to witness Daniel Wylie steadily, comfortably, and somewhat casually, work through many highlights from his solo career, his time with Cosmic Rough Riders, and a few covers.

Unlike the last show in the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow this outing was far less a homecoming and more akin to seeing Daniel perform a set that was casually put together with him feeling relaxed enough to swap it about, drop songs, add others at a whim, and in general give Neil Sturgeon, who accompanied him, a solid test in keeping up - although it was a test that he past with flying colours as nothing seems to phase the man.

Of course some may be looking to hop aboard the nostalgia train when artists like Daniel perform, but that would be missing the point if all they were wanting to hear was some blasts from their own pasts as success and talent are not mutually exclusive.
Going to see Daniel now highlights that post Cosmic Rough Riders the quality didn't dip, and rather it steadily rose to a point that he can now sit back knowing that there is a fan base out there who put the music rather than fashionable trends first.

So with material from Ramshackle Beauty, and his latest release ‘Fake your own death’, sitting side by side with what for some are the more recognisable songs from his Cosmic Rough Riders period he provided us with a finely balanced set that would please a fan, and highlight to others that he hasn't let the grass grow under his feet since the last time they may have dipped into what he is doing.

On a night that was brimming with highlights, some that are worth mentioning are the covers of Rain by The Beatles, Randy Scouse Git by the Monkees and the now familiar take on REM’s The One I Love, but eclipsing them very slightly was the anecdotal stories that Daniel shares where he reveals how his own songs came about, and in doing so opens himself up to be seen as a music fan at heart.

Currently available is his self released Fake Your Own Death album that can be found here, and very soon there is a limited reissue of Panorama coming out with the first 100 being on blue vinyl. You can keep up to date with that here.

Saturday 5 April 2014

The Bones of JR Jones - Reliable the Unreliable (Promo EP)

When is enough ever enough?
I asked that question a few days ago.
To put it into context it was about purchasing vinyl.
The truth is that at some point someone somewhere should put a hand on my wrist as I reach for my wallet and say no, but the acquiring of vinyl, CDs and more really isn't about securing possessions as it may appear from the outside looking in.
What I am really doing is filling a need to hear more music, a very basic and unquenchable need to fill my head with sounds.
Blaise Pascal, the French physicist, mathematician, inventor and philosopher said in the 1600’s that ‘there is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person’ and this led to the more populist claim of their being something missing in us all that can only be filled with faith.
Apparently it is a unique space that nothing else fits into.
I've searched my heart and that hole doesn't appear to exist, but one for music does, and this music shaped hole seems to be a bottomless pit.
It is because of this that every single day I find something new that is a salve for my ears, something that tames the savage beast that dwells within.
When people ask me how I apparently seem to be able to find new quality acts to listen to the answer is a rather simple one.
I don’t wait for the songs to come to me and instead I seek them out.

It was in this way that the paths of ‘The Bones of JR Jones’ and mine crossed.

Currently to be found in Brooklyn he is creating music that is as far removed from the sound of New York City as you could imagine.
Instead the tracks he has compiled together for his promotional release ‘Reliable the unreliable’ are four songs that sound like a historical snapshot of the US as a whole.
On ‘Ticket Home’ it’s the cotton fields plaintively calling out the story tellers last moments on earth as he wants to be taken from this life and delivered to another where peace can be found.
Then, as with most samplers, the flow is disrupted as instead of carrying on with the theme he slips into ‘Sweet Tooth Boogie’, a song that has an invigorating jazz/swing heart while at the same time has an echo of the Queens of the Stone Age hit ‘No One Knows’ skulking in the folds of its zoot suit.
Okay that’s a difficult to imagine, but instead of dismissing it you really should just delve in and hear it for yourself.
After that you may think that you have managed to gat a handle on where JR Jones is coming from, but then he slips in from another angle with ‘St James’ Bed’, a track that conjures up the image of a time travelling Antony Hegarty who has slipped back decades in the blink of an eye to play the blues.
Finally ‘Damn the Wind’ is the traditional sound of American folk that similar to those that precedes it doesn't wallow in the past, and rather evocatively brings an echo from it into the present.

No doubt about it.
Very much so.
Damn straight.

So all that is left for me to do is provide a link where you can join me in some appreciation for The Bone of JR Jones.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Hey Ho Glasgow - Joey Ramone Tribute

The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood sign, Route 66 and stars on pavements are just some of the iconic images that jump into our heads when we think about the good ol’ US of A.
Or it is for most of the population here in the UK.
For me it’s a little bit different and on my personal flights of fancy the land of our colonial cousins is filled with juke joints, teenage hops, and rock and roll.
It’s one where the roads are filled with shark-finned cars, where kids drink in malt shops and at night watch b-movies at the drive in.
It’s a romanticized view and one I expect others of a certain age will share with me.
It’s not strictly a dream world that is rooted in the fifties though.
Within that stereotypical framework it’s easy for me to slip in the Doors kicking about in the desert tripping on peyote, the MC5 storming a stage as the cops fire smoke bombs into crowds of students, and no one would bat an eye at a junkies body being lifted from the pavement outside of CBGBs.
My surreal potpourri is in all honesty not one that could be easily transferred over here, and most definitely wouldn’t sit comfortably in Glasgow, but for one night only a bit of that magic is coming to town.
Why is that I hear you ask?
Well on the 19th of April in River (Old Barfly) they will be hosting a night in honour of a man who is about as American as Mom’s apple pie, and that man is of course Joey Ramone.
It’s all for a good cause to as the night will also incorporate a fundraisers for ‘The Glasgow Roller Derby Irn Bruisers' who are looking to raise some cash to help cover their costs for there trip to Indianapolis where they will compete in the Spring Roll.
So if some live bands playing the songs of Da Brudders, dj sets of CBBGS era punk, and ladies who Alice Cooper may or may not have been referencing when he sang Under My Wheels kicking about demanding money from you is something that tickles your fancy then it’s happening, and all for a fiver.

If you are lucky I might even show you my Ramones tat, but only for a donation to the ladies.
Facebook event invite page.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Bob Wayne - Back in the Camper.

With a burst of fiddle Bob Wayne is back.
And the bad boy hillbilly outlaw who upset so many the last time that he toured the UK with his un-pc ‘fuck you and your mother to’ attitude doesn't appear to have mellowed any as he kicks off with the country punk infused Sam Tucker.
A song that takes on The Devil Goes Down to Georgia and mixes it with Caves murder ballad ‘Stagger Lee’ and comes out the other side stronger and more muscle bound.
Then with 20 miles to Juarez he effortlessly side steps being boxed in and takes it down a few notches while revealing that under the bluster, leather, and truckers cap there beats the heart of a country star in the making.
Not a rock and roller, but a bona fide country star as he delivers a traditional sounding duet a la Kris and Dolly, although in this instance it’s Elizabeth Cook acting as the foil to Bob.
From there on in the opening two tracks set the pace for Back to the Camper as in turn Bob leans heavily with one foot in the country camp and then another in something that is a bit darker and has a bit more of an edge to it.
Dope Train is a good example of this as the music and delivery is strictly country and the lyrics are far more biting, and then with Evangeline we can easily imagine that if he had dipped to the level of a baritone delivery then it could be a Cash classic.
Often when artists try and straddle two camps - as we can hear on this - it’s more common for them to end up with material that doesn't manage to satisfy anyone, but there are always exceptions to the rule and this is less a case of snatching success from the jaws of defeat and more a glorious punk rooted middle fingered salute at those who want to bag and tag Bob as one thing or another.
A prime example of this is when just as you think that you are getting to grips with the direction he’s hell for leather off in another with Granuaile, a song that is nothing more or less than Leonard Cohen doing the gypsy waltz in grand style.
It’s a bit of a schizophrenic mix over all, and there’s no real denying of that, but there’s so much character in its grooves creating a common thread that it all hangs solidly together as a body of work.
After a few days of letting it sink in, this, his third full length release reveals itself as his coming of age album.
There’s not many doing it like Bob just now and like a vintage bottle of wine it sounds like the material has reached a point that the cork should be pulled on it.

Although if you agree then you have to remember that the Bob Wayne etiquette demands that you will have to do it with your teeth and swig it from the bottle.

Bob will be playing Glasgow on the 6th of July.
Tickets here.