Gig Review – Cauldronated – Queen of Hoxton – 20th Dec 2014

Gig Review – Cauldronated – Queen of Hoxton – 20th Dec 2014


The planets line up, heralding the time of Winter solstice.
The Sun, seemingly, standing stock still.
Way down (way on down) below, underground, beneath the surface, something is astir…

Ruse – The Bank Job…

…Just a few metres more drilling.
Yes that’s it about there.
Now drill upwards.
And we should land Square in the centre of the vault…
WTF this is a pub in Hoxton, a whole half a kilometre to the North and East!
F**in’ Sat Nav!
Oh well, since we’re here we may as well have a drink, what you having KiB?
But wait…
Distant drums…
Blimey, Cauldronated are playing in the cellar!
And they are playing beyond their skins!
The bank job can wait…

Gist – Let there be Drummers…

Dave and Eva Drums

Cauldronated kick off with the excellent iBossa, the sound for the backing is good tonight – with solid lows and rich mids topped with just the right amount of high end shimmeriness. Although, the PA is struggling just a smidge with the live instruments, there being a touch of sibilance on the voice and not enough compression on the snare (meaning some of the quieter dynamics do not cut through quite enough), this is a minor niggle, as overall the goods are well and truly delivered.

Dave project

Having seen them a few times now it is interesting to observe that, in such a setting, they are quickly attracting more and more interest. In a flash the dance-floor fills, which speaks volumes for the broad appeal of their sound (and provides the perfect alibi). Which, whilst retaining a punky techno edge, clearly displays their commercial potential in this nightclub setting.

Dave and Eva lines

The punters are quickly gathering around forming into a healthy crowd. The infectious single Buy This Thing is next, executed with precision and just a smattering of menace. Audience engaged, bodies and heads rhythmically giving their approval. A healthy applause reinforces this.

Eva gaze

It becomes apparent with the super catchy Ring of Khan that the material seems to be evolving at each gig, which is no mean feat when playing with a techno backing. Rapturous appreciation and the crowd continues to swell, clouds of dry ice engulf us as they deliver Inside My Mind.

Eva and Dave Motion

Now although I can be particular at times and not always easy to please, certain things are always guaranteed to tick the box; clouds and trains for example… More clouds of dry ice greet my current favourite Raymond Zane which has a heavy train influence both rhythmically and in its subject matter, as well as being catchier than a clutch of catchy things. Boxes ticked!

The dark/light strains of Though in Hell follow with its super hook appealing to what now feels like a very cosy crowd situation again reinforced by noticibly increased levels of appreciation.

Eva voices her appreciation back at us before they kick off with the dramatic soundtrack and syncopated rhythms of closing number In this World – Experience above authority within this world…

Eva Drum

With Eva Menon, to these ears (incredible as it may seem), there is something ever so slightly evocative of Grace Jones; in her vocal delivery and similarly more than just a hint of danger in her stage presence.

While Dave Barbarossa (who is simply one of the best drummers to walk the planet (imesho)), hangs his beats with deeply focussed precision and fluidity.

Dave Drums

The sound seems to be evolving before our very ears.

Evolution in action!

Catch them while you can!



Epilogue – Did you bring the Stockings?

Now back underground to finish what was started before what came after…

Photos Courtesy of: Natalie Loera (Solo shots) and Francesca Shashkova (Duo shots).

Thanks to all involved.

Apologies for errors and ommisions.


Three Line Gig Review – Fields of The Nephilim Shepherds Bush Empire 5th Dec 2014

Three Line Gig Review – Fields of The Nephilim Shepherds Bush Empire 5th Dec 2014

As the temperature plummeted to bone gnawing temperatures, the mist slowly lifted and the clouds parted to reveal – The Moon in all her glorious Fullness…

For tonight…

Yes, Tonight is The Night…

The planetary alignment is right.

A teeming crowd

Amassed in a black shroud.

On a chilly Friday evening in the vicinity of Shepherds Bush Green…

The dark wanderer’s footsteps echoed on the pavement as he followed the lonesome trail…

Taking brief comfort in the safety in number of those who were awaiting the messenger’s arrival.

Soon enough he was joined by KiB. And although there was no sign of The Dark Angel his presence was anticipated (As Mrs Dark Angel had texted to say they were running late).

That night a pact was made, written in blood, the challenge was laid down – review tonight’s gig in Three lines.

After enquiring as to whether three sentences was allowable, concession was granted!!!

So here goes…

The first act were unannounced but a respectable amount of noise was generated by this unnamed guitar and drum duo.

Next up, Beanie Top Teenybop pop/rock outfit Him, had a whole horde of hers heaping hitherto unheard of levels of adulation upon them for the duration of their (lengthy) set.

Neph 1

As for Fields of The Nephilim, we witnessed a stunning, seriously structured atmospheric/theatrical display from artistes and audience alike, absolutely awesome!



Thanks to all involved.

Apologies for Errors and Omissions (but it is a three line review!).

Words on the bench for the main review: Hat, Shades, Flour, Dry Ice, Strobe.

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Dark Angel.

Gig Review – Hugh Cornwell, Hazel O’Connor, John Cooper Clarke – Electric Ballroom Camden Town – 4th December 2014.

Gig Review – Hugh Cornwell, Hazel O’Connor, John Cooper Clarke – Electric Ballroom Camden Town – 4th December 2014.

Ships Log: Acting Captain – Elvis in The Clouds.

Stardate: -308074.60045662103.

Following my temporary promotion in the light of The Captain being otherwise disposed, we assumed standard orbit around an inhabited Class M planet in the Terran System. Where I organised and headed up an away team to study the life forms therein.

We arrived to find a damp, dreary, dismal Thursday evening in Camden Town. After a quick reconnoitre we decided to transport back. However, due to a fluctuating build-up of Electro-magnetic interference affecting the operation of our transporters, our chief engineer pointed out that we may be stranded here indefinitely until this phenomenon subsided. So we made our best efforts to blend in…

Arriving at The Worlds End I joined SiB and Bjorn and before long we were in turn joined by Straightenout, Antro and Guildford Lil. After stopping off at the end of the pier for a cone of chips, we made our way to the Electric Ballroom. Where we met Mr & Mrs Bloggs and it was soon evident that there was a healthy turnout of The Family in Black.


Up first, John Cooper Clarke took the stage delivering a set of poems in his instantly recognizable Mancunian Cadence, punctuated with witty observances and sharp one liners. The audience lapped it up, being in the palm of his hand from first ‘til last!

Antro carried out a survey of the planets technological capabilities and was most encouraged with his findings which appeared to indicate an advanced pre-warp civilisation, adding that he wouldn’t mind one of their sound mixing desks for his collection.

Om Baby Om

Then Hazel O’Connor took the stage along with Claire Hirst Sax/backing vocals and Sarah Fisher Piano/backing vocals. Together this trio delivered a set which held us captive. Interlacing atmospheric sonic textures with material old and new including hits such as 8th Day and the delightful Will you. It is duly noted that the sound system of the Electric Ballroom did full justice to them, in providing a clear balanced mix with the piano, sax and voice crisp and clear at all times. And thirsty work it was for the crowd too. As, at the end of the set, a surge was seen heading in the direction of the bar.

Moments passed…

The dulcet tones of the Latin/demo mix of T&T brought forward a smile while simultaneously heralding the imminent arrival of His Hughness.


Kicking off with a blisteringly awesome Totem and Taboo, starkly contrasting the aforementioned version. Followed by Skin Deep which was not too troubled by a complete loss of FOH sound, although the ship was soon righted in time for a bright poppy Stuck in Daily Mail Land.

A brief pause for Hugh to enlighten us with an explanation of the concept of a Stranglers sandwich…

…before he goes on to tell us this next one is about a bloke from Essex (Manchester’s likely too) and delivers a great rendition of Dagenham Dave.

Up next another from T&T I Want One of Those, evocative of the Rainy day it’s lyrics describe. Then a valiant effort to perform Duchess without one of its ‘key’ components. Before swerving back to Hoover Dam (informing us of his Mothers wish to charge the going rate for this body of work now) and serving up the fine slice of pop that is Beat of My Heart (and Antro Nods in approval).


Next up in the Super-Club Hugh/MiB sandwich is the classic – Strange Little Girl, always a treat to hear Hugh sing this and credit to bass player Caz Campbell for her creative melodic bass foundation here, allowing Hugh the space he really needs to add some sparkling guitar work. All held together nicely by the drum work of Chris Bell.

Time Keeper

…Observation: – It’s nice that Hugh is happy performing The Stranglers material again. And it’s worth mentioning that the solo material in this set sits well alongside the classics and, in some cases, could be said to sound fresher and more urgent. The production of Totem & Taboo is totally based on live performance, with minimal or no overdubs. Subsequently, when this material is played live it represents a very close approximation of the recordings, notwithstanding changes of personnel (i.e. Caz/Steve) and progression of the songs themselves as they evolve. In contrast, while some of the classics stand up exceptionally well to the 3 piece treatment and almost always sound great with Hugh singing, others clearly have a keyboard sized hole in them with that particular missing elephant etc etc EiTC…

Then God is a Woman with its creamy bass followed up by Peaches and (for Bob) – is she trying to get out of Camden Town! And the excellent Gods, Guns and Gays with Chris once again taking a steady beat to the extreme while building his shed so hard it’s little wonder he hasn’t destabilised the core of the planet!

Up next Grip, which for me is one of the songs that doesn’t really work in this format, I’d have happily swapped this for the brilliant T&T Bad Vibrations (sadly missing tonight)!

Caz and Chris once again provide that solid platform for the master to perform with the great – A Street Called Carol, seguing niftily into a super punked-up version of set closer Straighten Out…



They return with the atmospheric Dead of Night. Which, in contrast to my prior ramblings, is Doorsy despite lacking the key ingredient, which it does excellently without (Thank you very much)!


Hugh then introduces a very special guest the Lithuanian (from Epsom) youtube artist Seethelittlenuclei (well known for her Stranglers covers) to duet with him for Souls. A brilliant moment, inspired and touching!

A super stonking and urgent Sleazy almost makes Tank seem a little tame by comparison (almost!).


Then Hazel, Sarah and Claire join in for the finale performance of Hanging Around, executed in a fine manner both vocally and musically with a super solo from Mr C.

Brilliant Stuff!

Just then, the atmosphere cleared enough for our ship to get a transporter lock and beam us out of there!

N.B. at this point Lord London pondered as to if Elvis had technically left the building but as he was in fact beamed out, this has become a matter of philosophical debate among temporal historians of the period(s).


Thanks to all involved. Apologies for errors and omissions.

Photos courtesy of Andy Miller (Thank you very much Sir!)…



Gig Review – Jona Lewie – The Half Moon Putney – Tue 18 Nov 2014

Gig Review – Jona Lewie – The Half Moon Putney – Tue 18 Nov 2014.

After much activity in the time streams this week I’m finally able to begin transmission of this current broadcast…

Whilst on a recent mission to study the historical development of the modern Loom and its inadvertent contribution to warp drive technology, something unusual occurred! At just around half past the industrial revolution, I found myself inexplicably transported to 21st Century London. Materialising near a Public House in Putney of a Tuesday evening…

That it turned out to be one of my favourite local music establishments, was a stroke of luck! As further luck would have it, I was transported here in time to catch a performance by none other than Jona Lewie.

jona 6

I was rather hoping to catch Mr Lewie at the Poly Fest earlier this year (2014) in October but it wasn’t to be (probably yet another sugar tong misalignment!), so I was glad that tonight it was to be!

Upon entering the venue, I thought I’d once again been translocated, as this didn’t appear to be the Half Moon as I remembered. No, it was more reminiscent of say Ronnie Scots for example, with tables and chairs filling the space around the stage. As it happened, this turned out to be yet another stroke of luck because (as many of you temporal wanderers may be aware) all of this time travel has been catching up with me a bit of late. So it was most welcome to take the weight off me plates and relax for an evening’s entertainment.

And that’s exactly what we got.

I took a spare seat at one of the front tables where I joined some hard-core Brett Marvin and The Thunderbolts fans. The stage was set – with an Accordion, a Keyboard and a Drum kit…


Kicking off with the reggae-ish styling of Shaggy Raggy, followed with the Blues of Begging Woman, the sound was spot on. Jona himself put me in mind of a Loom operator, weaving sonic textures on his keyboard, all the while his foot keeping time with the invisible pedals. Each musical offering was interwoven with entertaining anecdotal threads which gave a consistency to the whole show. We heard tales from JL’s travels and musical adventures, while taking in such subjects as the Music Business, John Lennon and European politics (not too seriously though!). Leading nicely to the excellent Hallelujah Europa.

Weaving through – The boogie of Going Round The World, the super catchy/super tricky finger work of Heart Skips Beat, the instrumental Rearranging The Deckchairs on The Titanic, the poppy On The Road to the rockin’ I’m Ready.

Jona donned his accordion for a quick romp through Seaside Shuffle and an improv rendition of that Xmas song.


Back at The Keys for a blast through Beurocrats. The sound tonight was remarkably full for a duo, with JL’s Voice, Keyboard and Accordion in fine form. Skilfully backed up by his talented drummer Damo Waters’ superb/subtle percussive accompaniment and backing vocals.


At times there was a slight balance issue with the keyboards where the more electronic sounds had a very pronounced bass end which, when contrasted with the piano sound made it seem a little thin by comparison. Which is a minor issue really as overall the sound was superb.

Jona Lewie’s material and his presentation of it, is possessed of a quirky offbeat quality, with his unusual use of melody and vocal delivery. All of which still manages to sound fresh despite Mr Lewie’s years in the biz, it also makes perfect sense when viewed in light of his time at Stiff Records as part of the New Wave movement. Tonight we get a mix of styles from New Wave to Pop to Boogie to Rock and Roll and more besides. Alluding back to the aforementioned years in the biz, JL makes it all look really easy and comes across as one who really enjoys performing, both feeding off and genuinely grateful for the audience response.


After a short break (not much of a break for JL as it turns out he spent most of it talking with the audience), we were treated to Stop The Cavalry in full, including audience participation, I find this one of the few perennial Xmas hits that I actually enjoy listening to (along with fellow ex-Stiffers – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s wonderful Fairytale of New York)! Followed by an impromptu history lesson leading on to Big Bill Broonzy’s Get Back. Exit Stage Left.



Of course we get the excellent You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties. Which shows off JL’s keyboard skills nicely, I’d always thought that this was sequenced but it’s clearly almost all played live! Brilliant! And we danced in a new way with a super extended Jam to the musical section.

Then Shake, Rattle and Roll and it was all over.

A quick exit was made, what with it being a School night and there being a pile of homework to feed the dog etc etc EiTC…


More Weaving/Time crossover ideas that the dog ate:

Warp loom

Flying shuttle

Power Loom

Lewie Loom…


Gig Reflections – Heaven 17/Blancmange – The Forum Kentish Town 13th Nov 2014.

Gig Reflections – Heaven 17/Blancmange – The Forum Kentish Town 13th Nov 2014.

Okay, so I know it’s been a couple of weeks… but honestly does that really matter in the context of time and matters of a Japanese dish of vegetables or seafood that have been battered and deep fried – Jim?

Truth be known, I didn’t realise I was going to submit a review. For that matter, I didn’t realise I was even going to attend the gig until about an hour or so beforehand! That was when it all started to happen…

Whilst making preparation for Thursday night’s ritual/spiritual practise, suddenly the peace was broken by the beep of an incoming message on the communicat-o-con 3000. Even now the disruption had begun to set in. Closer inspection revealed a request from Kate in Black and White for my accompaniment to her attendance at an evening of electronic entertainment provided by Heaven 17 and Blancmange. In an instant the mind was awash with memories and melodies of a past evoked by reflections of these two Iconic purveyors of Synth Pop. Who was I to attempt the futility of resistance? In a blur of transcendental motion I found myself side by side with KiB&W at a prime site for viewing the imminent entertainment…

Just then, two lab technicians took the stage, we had begun to speculate that they maybe priming the technology for the oncoming act, when in fact it turned out that they were the oncoming act! I never imagined I might find myself at a Blancmange concert but find myself here I did. And gratefully so! The sound was crisp and clear with nice sonic textures and deep bass. I don’t know much about Blancmange but they sounded great tonight. Regardless of my lack of knowledge on the matter, the highly infectious hit Living on The Ceiling was one of the evening’s highlights.

Then Heaven 17 arrived, (Professor) Martyn Ware fired up the Synths – kicking off with The Human League number Circus of Death and then straight into the fantastic (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang. The Prof, Glen Gregory and their troupe then proceeded to deliver (most deftly) a set of new and old material. A lone guitar on a stand stood forlorn and awkwardly out of place amid the banks of synthesizers, leading one to speculate as to the relevance of its presence here tonight. When all of a sudden mid-set Glen Gregory picked the thing up and strummed a rendition of the (Human League) hit Don’t You Want Me?…

Sound wise Heaven 17’s mix was not as rich as Blancmange, with more focus on the middle range of frequencies and less on the bass. Which, to these ears made for a pretty accurate representation of the groups recorded output.

Singers Kelly Barnes and Rachel Mosleh name-checked the amazing, Angie Brown who was present in the audience tonight, before doing full justice to closing number and crowd-pleaser -Tempation.

Heaven 17 returned to the stage once more, starting their encore with a decent interpretation of the David Bowie number Boys Keep Swinging.

On the opposite side of the stage to the guitar, stood a strap-on synth in uneasy symmetry. I turned to KiB&W and we pondered on this when, just at that very moment, the said instrument was donned by the delightful Berenice Scott for final number, the excellent Being Boiled. Which led to a modern variant on an old cliché:–

It ain’t over ‘til the Blonde lady wears a Strap on!

Conclusion: Most entertaining – Thanks to KiB&W and all involved.


Gig Review – Billy Idol – Hammersmith Apollo 9th November 2014.

Gig Review – Billy Idol – Hammersmith Apollo 9th November 2014.

Once more a disruption to the space-time continuum has meant a (slight) delay in transmission. I could head back in time and transmit it then but given the nature of this particular problem it may fracture reality itself, causing parallel dimensions to converge and all manner of chaos to let loose. So for the sake of humanity, its best left well alone.

It is said that a journey of 9461 petametres begins with a single light-year and that time-travel warps the mind and widens the (event) horizon. Yet you can stay in your home galaxy and see the whole universe. With such nuggets of future-tea-wisdom in mind I fired up the sugar-tongs and headed for Fulham Palace Road in the late 1970s.

Passing TW Studios and The Greyhound en route, I somehow wound up in Thailand holed up with SiB and The Duke of Cornwall. A little later Kate in Black arrived in time for Tiffin. After sufficient sustenance we were joined by Audrey and Sandra in Black who left early to take up their positions on the Front Line. Then we made the company of some Southern Hemispherical Whippersnappers who were on good form in anticipation of the oncoming event.

Revived, refreshed and buoyed of spirit, we left the Duke behind and made our way to the place to which we were headed…

…but this was not 1978…

…an error with the tongmaster 2400 had caused the temporometer display to read out by minus 36 years…

…we were in fact in 2014…

…Well, when in Rome (Ok Hammersmith actually…)


Arriving at the Apollo there was a huge queue winding all the way around the adjacent street, up and around the venue and back again. KiB was trying to guide Liza in Green to our whereabouts and was eventually successful in this endeavour (after several attempts at circumnavigating the barriers). We briefly encountered Paul in Black on our way in but (alas) all attempts to locate Straightenout proved fruitless after searching high and low .

We took our place for optimum viewing and were joined by Simon in Black on the dot of commencement of entertainment.


After a little teasing to warm up the crowd and an atmospheric build-up from Steve Stevens they kicked off with ‘Postcards from the Past’ from the new album. Showing confidence in the newer material and rightly so.


The sound tonight was crisp and clear and the synchronised light show very impressive. The band gave an outstanding performance. And Billy Idol himself was truly in command and didn’t really let up for the best part of 2 hours.


They delivered a well-structured set comprised mainly of solo material with a few Gen X songs thrown in for good measure (Dancing With Myself, King Rocker and Ready Steady Go). There was a good pace with slower numbers offsetting the more up-tempo ones. The showmanship was most impressive with the whole band getting their moment in the spotlight; From the Rock-solid drumming of Erik Eldenius, the Rock-steady bass/versatile backing vocals of Stephen McGrath and the cool, calm, collected keyboard control centre of Paul Trudeau, to the consistently cool chops of Rhythm Guitarist Billy Morrison and the insanely talented guitar ramblings of Steve Stevens who took us on a wild ride to anywhere from Flamenco through Ring Modulated madness to high octane Rock and everywhere between.


Then of course there’s Billy himself, still giving it his all. He’s got the whole stage covered with his sneering punk rock ninja moves. At times it seems like he’s stretched his range a little vocally but this is clearly down to how much of himself he’s giving over to the show, an awesome performer. Not bad for an old Geezer! Between songs he reflects about being a Londoner and the local area. In some numbers he still picks up the guitar and at times the interplay between the three guitars was really quite imaginative and never overbearing.

BI Epi

Billy’s new album was well represented tonight including the awesome title track – Kings And Queens of The Underground. It must be said that it really is a great record and well worth checking out!


The hits, of course, were delivered much to the crowds delight. A sell-out crowd, who lapped up every beat and syllable, were comprised of a wide range of ages and backgrounds, reflecting the global appeal Mr Idol has attained as a solo artist.


All too soon it was over and time for bed…


Is he punk or isn’t he? Etc etc Eitc…

It doesn’t really matter! But…

…Billy was there right at the start of the punk thing; on the sofa with the Pistols during the Grundy Affair (as part of the Bromley Contingent), he was at the cutting edge of Punk Rock, playing and developing his craft with bands such as Chelsea before forming Generation X. Whose song writing talent was immediately clear, their output being well structured – musically, sharp and witty – lyrically and delivered with style and precision.

It’s clear that this talent then continued into Billy’s solo career with consistent hits and success. And while his output may have been more ‘Pop’ there is an undeniable, underlying edge that comes from his Punk pedigree. Even during the Gen X years there was a clear progression with the song writing as the band became more musically mature which led some back then to claim they’d ‘Sold Out’. Their loss!

For what it’s worth, thoroughbred Punk IM(not so)HO!

**************************Rant over********************

Conclusion… Awesome! Catch him if you can…


Photos Courtesy of Andy Miller.



Gig Review – Ruts DC, Evil Blizzard, The Duel…

Ruts DC, Evil Blizzard, The Duel – The Garage Islington – 25th October 2014.

Another Space/Time anomaly type thingy caused SiB and Myself to randomly appear in North London on a Saturday afternoon (Islington to be precise). We bumped into Straightenout who along with Leigh from The Ruts was searching for a place to eat. A little later we saw Segs and Ruffy perambulating along Essex Road taking in the restorative scenery and air. And I could’ve sworn we saw Jet from UK Subs leaving the Garage.

Ravenette and FdN apparently took a right turn and found India to be closed for refurbishment. Eventually we congregated in Wetherspoons for Chips and drinks while the rift in time healed itself. Fed and watered we made our way to The Garage early so as not to miss any of the acts tonight…

Occasionally you attend a gig that becomes a moment crystallised in time. A classic! Well tonight was one of those occasions; a moment that will become firmly embedded in the Amber of Rock History! A bold statement? Maybe! But I’ll tell you something. Nights like this don’t come along too often!


The Duel benefitted from the decent (new) sound system in the Garage tonight. The sound was clear with a good balance giving all elements of their finely crafted Punky Pop a decent representation.


This was all nicely knitted together by some nifty drum work. The band were buoyant and Tara worked the stage well, keeping the audience engaged. Great stuff!

Next up… Evil Blizzard, wow!


The bastard child of Hawkwind and early Devo! Freaky masked lunatics, it was said that all that was missing were the chainsaws… Scratch that! This lot don’t need chainsaws. They look like a bad dream consisting of Slasher Movie/70’s Dr Who Baddies (think animated mannequins meet Jason, for a rough idea). So they’ve got the image thing in spades…


But that’s not to detract from the sound. I’m as fond of the low frequencies as the next music lover, including dual bass sound but quadruple shouldn’t work, should it? With EB it does and how…

The sound is layered slowly building to a hypnotic compelling groove. Each bass having a slightly different tonal texture which somehow helps distinguish it in the mix. With the lead bassist (I’ll call him that even though they were sharing taking lead occasionally) clearly having lighter strings on the top to give a credible lead style cut with the applied wah/phase/delay type effects! Not forgetting (equally importantly!) the Drummer/Lead vocalist.


What can you say, four Bassists and a singing drummer, then a guest musician at the end being another Bassist making for a grand total of five, inspired! Then there was The Mop Guy! Surreal! It’s a freak show! It’s pure genius! It’s theatre! Very entertaining!

This band don’t hand out sweets at the end of the set they hand out basses. One came my way but the chap standing behind me insisted that it was his… who am I to argue?…


Subsequently (after, literally coming down from the ceiling) the lead bassist then handed me his instrument which was hooked up to a plethora of psychedelic effects and before I knew it there I was playing the closing solo with said bassist back on stage operating the pedals. Surreal! And EiTC’s only appearance of the year so far (not including The Meditation Sessions, Weddings and other social functions!)… Blink (or go for a pee break) and you would’ve missed it (although I’m sure someone has captured it on video)!

In a flash we were at the Main Event – Enter stage Left – Ruts DC.


Kicking off with Mighty Soldier sounding crisp and clear. Naturally, it goes without saying that the band are on form but tonight it seems like they’ve taken things up a gear.

Leigh is in the zone from the off (and well he should be, surely it’s to be expected given he’s playing with the rock solid/super tight Rhythm Section provided by Segs and Ruffy – who, in my book, are the Sly and Robbie of Punk). After a blistering Solo in Mirror Smashed from the Animal Now album, Segs jokes to Leigh about him being careful not to peak too soon! No chance, he’s on it all night!


Up next Backbiter, followed by It Was Cold; all top stuff, sounding great even if the bass is  a tiny bit low in the mix.

Back to Animal Now for No Time To Kill, then disaster strikes on the opening bars of Sus when Segs loses output from his bass…


The irony of following a band with 5 basses was not lost on them…

But like the consummate pro’s they are, it was all water off a ducks back as they just got on with it and improvised (including what, according to Ruffy was the bands first drum solo!) until the bass was back. And boy was the bass back. It sounded great before it melted down but now it was stonking at least a 7 on the Richter scale!


This is a band deserving of all the clichés I can throw their way – Firing on all cylinders, a well-oiled machine. Etc etc EiTC…

Another from AN up next the superb Dangerous Minds as relevant now as it was 30 years ago, the pace is a little slower on this one tonight which really suits the song allowing the dynamics and atmosphere to really come across.


Then it’s down a notch in a Rub-a-dub Style, with the poignant Love In Vain followed up by Jah Wars. Faultless! Superb!

A surprise airing of Different View sounds fresh and fantastic and goes down well. Let’s face it; Animal Now was a great album which despite coming at a difficult time for the band, still managed to harness their abundant creative potential.

Back up a notch and we are treated to the classics; Staring At The Rude Boys, West One and Babylon’s Burning (complete with extended faux intro a ’la improv reggae jam/New Rose).

In keeping with the earlier sighting – Jet from the Subs joined the band on stage for an extended/inspired In a Rut. Brilliant!


The awesome Something That I Said and the superb Society get another well-deserved airing and then it’s all over.


The earlier temporal anomaly gave one last twitch culminating in an extra hour’s kip which was most welcome after such a great gig! Thanks to Ruts DC and everyone involved for a top night of entertainment.



Cauldronated/The Cesarians – Shacklewell Arms – 19th Oct 2014 – Gig Review.

Cauldronated/The Cesarians – Shacklewell Arms – 19th Oct 2014 – Gig Review.



Well actually it was last Sunday!

That’s the funny thing about Time Travel… It’s not long before temporal alignment disruption kicks in, leaving one impervious to the perception of lateral temporal echoes… and whatever that means!

Which brings us (less than neatly) back to last Sunday…

Leaving rather late to make journey across the great South/North divide of our fair Capital. And Public Transport being what it is. Arrival was much sooner than originally anticipated. Which afforded this traveller some time to explore charmed Hamlet of Dalston, before the anticipated arrival of gig-companion KiB.

Hunger necessitated a diversion in the way of what passed for nutritional intake in this locale. Suitably revived we beat a path to the back hall of The Shacklewell Arms Public House (Which, one imagines, has all the qualities of a hollow in the ground which had formed naturally by the weathering of rock). We had arrived in time to hear the closing bars of opening band Heman Sheman and thus lack sufficient information to impart their story herein.

Before long, Cauldronated took to the stage and entertained us with their Dark Punky Drum Led Techno. Having been fortunate enough to hear their latest EP beforehand, one had an idea of what was to come. But there was more. Clearly the studio process (as is often the case) had not fully captured the energy that can be conveyed by Cauldronated in a Live situation.

The Drums!… The Drums!… And then some! This is like – The Drummers Revenge!


With the advent of modern music technology the first musician to be replaced by machine was the Drummer and others would soon follow… However Cauldronated have turned the tables they are drummers who have replaced the rest of the band with triggered multitrack layers of fat Analog synth sounds. Very effectively! The synths sounded great coming through the PA tonight; putting images in mind of early synth pioneers while still retaining a modern edge.

Married to this are Frontwoman Eva’s sloganistic poetic chanting and edgy stage presence. Eva is clearly an accomplished drummer with her sharply timed rhythms complimenting the sound most effectively. Eva is joined on stage by Master Drummer – Dave Barbarossa who still displays his mastery of Tribal Rhythms alongside clever and subtle Dance/Trance/Techno ‘Drum-lickery’.


Tonight their recorded songs had an extra edge and rawness in this live setting. Great stuff!

Before we knew it, time had caught up with us once more and we were checking times of last trains but KiB calculated that we may just have time to catch a few numbers of headline act The Cesarians.


Glad we did Too! As they presented richly sharp/shifting sonic textures afforded by their superb line-up of multi-instrumentalists. Echoes of Tom Waits, The Fall and Leonard Cohen among many others. A mental note being made to definitely follow this lot up. They serenaded us with the superb ‘Just Fuck Off!’ And then we had to!



Dalston Today

No pineapples were harmed in the making…

Straighten Out – A Tribute to The Stranglers – Gig Review

Straighten Out – A Tribute to The Stranglers – Gig Review –

Hope & Anchor Islington – 26th September 2014.

Once more it seems like time may have gotten the better of us… I put it down to the Dog cocking it’s leg on the hyperdrive of the Time and Inter-dimensional Travelling Spaceship (TITS) and fusing the Antler Stabilising Sprocket with the Temporal Offset Sugar-tong Housing, causing all manner of chaos (not least of which the perceived delay of this transmission)!

After replacing the parts and a quick retune and calibration procedure on the Carpet-beater Random Access Particulator and Pickled Egg Regenerator it was on to business…

Met up with SiB at a pre-arranged destination in India. Where we partook of stale Papadums and slightly fresher Starters whilst awaiting (… and awaiting for ’em!) the eventual arrival of Domestos, Guildford Lil and FdN. Suitably fed and watered we wound our way up Downer Street or was that down Upper Street… En Route G’Lil and Domestos dragged me off down a side Street and demanded guidance and demonstration in the execution of some ancient Yogic rituals which I tried unsuccessfully to defer… Serious calamity narrowly avoided, we caught up with Sib and FdN and arrived at the Hope & Anchor to a warm greeting from the gathered Family in Black. Again we partook of refreshment, largely without anomalous incident (Disappearing/Reappearing Pineapple aside).

Before long Shaggy shepherded us down to the cellar for the evening’s entertainment. A ripple of excitement ran through the crowd as Waltzinblack burst from the PA and the band kicked off with a blistering 1-2 of Burning Up Time and Ugly. No punches were pulled tonight as there was barely a Rizzla’s width between the opening numbers. Continuing with a superb selection of MK1 classics the set-list tonight was absolutely stunning!

shaggy and mickey p

Straighten Out are a band firing on all cylinders and tonight was no exception with a tightly executed super-sharp sound. Close your eyes and it could’ve been 77, 78, 79 or 80. The crowd were (rightly) lapping it up and I couldn’t resist getting down to the front for a bit of a boogie. Sir Burn was seen getting his groove on to a masterful Goodbye Toulouse (but not Walk on By, which, apparently, was not part of the set).

phil no change

Shaggy and Phil had a good bit of banter with the crowd and were both in fine voice. Shaggy’s bass (neither Fender P nor Shuker) had exceptional growl tonight, awesome! Similarly Phil’s Tele and rig provided the necessary guitar bite. Drummer Micky P pounded most powerfully and also was the recipient of some Jet Black style appreciation in the form of a chant. While Keyboard wizard Mick was on form both instrumentally and vocally.


Phil did a string on one of his Tele’s but his spare had a broken nut forcing him to change a string on the fly. I took this opportunity to nip upstairs to the bar then came back down to find the band improvising Peasant in The Big Shitty whilst Phil readied his Axe. Huge Bonus (meaning we got 3 Dave songs in tonight’s set with that, plus the equally superb Dead Ringer and Genetix)!

set 1

We heard seldom played classics such as Ice and the brilliant Shah Shah A Go Go. It’d be great if The Stranglers themselves could include numbers such as these in their shows occasionally.

Set 2

People travelled far and wide to make it to the gig tonight which is a reflection of; the dedication of the FiB, the quality of Straighten Out and the historical importance of The Hope & Anchor to The Stranglers story.

The band finished with an encore of London Lady and Tank. Then Shaggy announced that they would be back with a Matinee performance to coincide with The Stranglers London (Roundhouse) appearance on 6th March. Definitely one for the diaries!

Conclusion: Top Notch!


Gig Review – Polyfest 4th/5th October 2014.

Polyfest 4th/5th October 2014. Half Moon Putney.

Charity Concerts for Teenage Cancer Trust – Honouring the memory of Poly Styrene.

Investigation into Reports of Paranormal Activity in Putney: CLASSIFIED.

Part 1 – Sat 4th Oct. After reports of recent Paranormal Activity in Putney, operatives were deployed in the region of Upper Richmond Road. The epicentre was quickly identified to be a local hostelry known as The Half Moon.

Agent EiTC Reports that:

“Although I arrived in good time it would appear that it may have been later than imagined. Amongst other phenomena, time itself was proving to be fluid and unpredictable. Upon arrival at precisely a smidge after 8pm a combo known as The Shakespearos were already well into their set producing a selection of musical archaeological artefacts from the early to mid Punkaceous period. (The Shakespearos would appear again numerous times tonight culminating in a stellar rendition of Turning Japanese!)

Enquiries with a young lady in the area of the bar yielded the information that proceedings had begun early and this was the 17th such act! To which was quickly added that she was just kidding and that not much had been missed although it had in fact all begun around 7.15…

It was difficult to remain grounded in the here and now. Those who were here were not and those who weren’t here were… Indeed this was a trend that would continue through the weekend!

Adam Masterson then made an appearance in the format of one man and his guitar. Which included some X-ray Spex covers interspersed with some original material and a Clash cover…”

Levitation was then witnessed and appeared to emanate from the vicinity of the stage whilst occupied by Judy Tzuke. Who, along with her guitar accompanist delivered a trio of songs culminating in the beautiful Stay With Me ‘Til Dawn. Indeed a mixture of sweet vocal harmony and dextrous complimentary guitar picking raised the roof by several feet where it hovered for some time thereafter.

Bizarrely the appearance of none other than Anita Harris on stage with Sham 69 was startling evidence of these phenomena. However, the very trans-dimensional nature of this aside, it was a spectacle to behold and indeed one of (if not the) highlight(s) of the whole weekend! Anita’s performance of the Poly song I Live Off You was most aurally soothing and probably represented the most sensitive and effective tribute to Poly to be witnessed. Which feels as surreal for me to type as it is for you to hear/read!


Saffron Sprackling then took to the stage with The Shakespearos much to the delight of the gathered mass delivering more Poly-penned joy.

Rounding out of the evening’s proceedings and bringing Space Vessel Poly into dock was the responsibility of Doctor & The Medics who handled this task admirably while the crowd lapped up their set including a cover of You Spin Me Round. Apologies were made for lack of preparation/rehearsal prior to the execution of Germ Free Adolescents (although they were necessary! It did not deter the enjoyment…) Before the final number a poet friend of Poly (whose name unfortunately escapes me) gave a recital of a wonderful poem about Poly, which ended and now she is with The Spirit In The Sky, seguing neatly into the concluding number for the evening. Once more Anita Harris graced the stage with her presence (and particularly impressive necklace twirling dance moves)…

…then as quickly as we were there we were not!”


Part 2 – Sun 5th Oct. Following yesterday’s initial investigation, EiTC recruited SiB to assist in another fact finding mission…

“Once more disruption to space, time and gravity (possibly not helped by trying to fit an infinite amount of Sunday dinner into a finite space!), seemingly caused confusion as to when was now and how was then… Thusly missing the first hour or so, we settled down to make sense of what remained.

Coventry’s Pretty Rascals made a well-crafted pop sound that belied their seemingly tender years (including a tribute to Poly).

The Homosexuals delivered a set of high quality punky quirkiness with frontman Bruno being suitably attired with a Day-Glo top while celebrating Poly Styrene.

JC Carroll of The Members gave an acoustic rendition of some punk songs including Sound of The Suburbs and was joined onstage by his Daughter Irma for Germ Free Adolescents.

Then Jerico put in an impressive unannounced performance which included singer Mark Shaw auctioning off his shirt for the charity.

There was a fine vocal rendition of The Day The World Turned Day-Glo (from Sarah Dee?) which the backing track didn’t quite live up to.

The Duel deftly delivered a short set of their trademark brand of Punk/Pop which also included a medley of X-ray Spex favourites.

John Ottway treated the audience to his hit Cor Baby That’s Really Free plus two more. Most entertaining!

Neville Staple lifted the roof a couple of inches further with a rousing Monkey Man (backed up by The Carnabys).

Angie Brown who turned up too late for her scheduled spot the previous night was (thankfully) sandwiched in to tonight’s bill where she mesmerized all present with a stunning display of vocal prowess. When it was discovered that her backing track was not functioning Angie shrugged it off like a true professional and delivered a staggering A Capella performance.

Headline act Ruts DC took the stage and the place erupted… Kicking off with the more recent Mighty Soldier they proceeded to deliver a short sweet set which included Staring at The Rude Boys, No Time to Kill and Sus. Ruffy announced that they wouldn’t bother with all that encore malarkey and would just stay onstage and play out the songs… A reggaefied jam led into the intro to New Rose which was a setup for a blistering Babylon’s Burning. This was backed up with a superb rendition of In A Rut with the middle section neatly interspersed with a Rock ‘n’ Roll medley including Shakin’ All Over and nods to others before coming back to a rousing ending. Ruts DC once more proving what a tight unit they are. A magnificent finale!


Then it was all over, with thousands raised for charity. The roof eventually rejoined the main building and the surveyors could find no evidence of any lasting effects.

A Misty Moon and Shooting Stars were later seen overhead which may have been evidence of spaceship Poly heading back out into the Cosmos.”

In summary a great weekends entertainment with a friendly vibe at a fantastic venue. Apologies for errors and omissions.




Click here for Polyfest  review