The Stranglers Hampton Pool 6th July 2018

The Stranglers Hampton Pool 6th July 2018

In more recent reviews, we’ve dispensed with the waffling pre-amble in an attempt to get down and get on with it and this is the case with this review also. However, in the interest of completeness and adhering to the bind of duty. At least a marginal attempt to piss off the grammar checking tool in this fangled word processor thingamajig (would you believe the spell checker corrected that? No not that! Thingamajig!), needs to be made in order to preserve the abstract soft focus first glance appearance of this here site etc Etc EiTC…

Besides, it wouldn’t be right to just go straight in without any hello or how do you do? Would it?

So…

Down to business…

Family business!

There’s a lot been written about The Stranglers (even done a bit of that me-self – EiTC). And, whilst trying not to cover too much old ground, there are certain things worth repeating. Not the least of which is; the relationship of this band with themselves and their fans and the relationship of the fans with themselves and the band. And it’s been said before but clichés exist for a reason, usually because they hold more than a modicum of reality about them and not least in this case vis a vis the Family in Black. Just like every family has its ups and downs there is almost always some way of finding a middle ground or acceptance. It is generally the perception of YT that, on the whole, in the words of The Ramones, ‘we’re a happy family’. And isn’t that something worth striving for?

And just as with kith and kin, there are comings and goings. In which light a recent going has had a profound effect on the FiB i.e. the shock bereavement of Uber-fan Rob Owen. The King of collectors, Rob was known to many and the band themselves. Having been fortunate enough to make acquaintance with Rob on a number of occasions, I was struck with an impression. That was, behind all of the outer layers, such as his unerring dedication to the band, his passion for collecting Stranglers records and memorabilia, Peroni lager, strong wit and dry sense of humour, his undying love for and loyalty to his family. Behind all of this, at his very foundation if you will, was a generous, genuine, good natured soul, that touched people’s lives. A sad loss for the whole family!

What better send off for some of those who knew him (a little or a lot), than to commemorate him at a Stranglers gig?

A Beautiful July day gave way to a balmy evening and a capacity crowd gathered into the grounds of Hampton Pool for The Stranglers.

Waltzinblack of course heralded their imminent arrival and they kicked off firing on all four with an opening salvo of 5 minutes with Grip bringing up the rear.

A great festival style set list tonight full of classics, hits and crowd pleasers. The crowd lapped up every last morsel. The mighty Bear Cage still holding its own and proving its worth. 12” mix of Peaches with extended opening bass line.
And the following highlights:

1 JJ offered up his pick to the young pre-teen lad hanging off the barrier in front of him, he and his brother also received Jim’s sticks.
2 Baz paid heartfelt tribute to Rob Owen as he dedicated Walk on By to his memory, Poignant!

Fly Straight Sir!

Over…

Gig Review – The Stranglers Glive Guildford – 260318

Dispensing with the normal preamble on matters temporal, lest it become an almost perfunctory obligation… Besides, last I remember Mr Bloogs was in possession of the sugar tongs and using them to great effect. Both current and previous ramblings about time and other matters aside, let us begin at that place, which after all else is considered, we shall call the beginning or possibly the start, the outset, the get go, on your marks etc Etc EiTC…

The Stranglers/Therapy Glive Guildford 26th March 2018

Now much as I like to get out on tour, probably as much as the next Stranglers obsessive… Sometimes events conspire to reduce the possibility of such aspirations. Such has been the case with the Definitive Tour and yours truly. All of which makes the one date that I (did) do even more crucial.

In fact, it is my experience that this focus or one pointed awareness if you will, served to sharpen the senses and make this event appear greater than the sum of it’s whole (not bad for a Monday night in Guildford as they and in fact almost everybody else seems to say, so it must be true).

You can please some of the people…

With The Stranglers having such a vast back catalogue to draw from, it must make for a difficult job to narrow down the song selection to a 90-minute (or thereabouts) set. Personally, I think they do a great job of mixing it up. Also, with this being the only show for me this tour, (my) perceived experience of some of the material usually taken for granted was somehow more tangible and heightened. For example, on Peaches the quality of the musical structure and timelessness of this song really hit home. And the instrumental section of Walk on By was perfection in itself.

But what about the review?…

Having landed in the charmed hamlet of Guildford along with Bruv and Neph#2 we rendezvoused in India with Guildford Lil at a very busy but equally efficient Moloncho. Suitable sustenance consumed we went on to Glive where we encountered once more the drunken staircase and a full house of eager punters ready for the entertainment in black.

We caught the last couple of numbers of support act Therapy and they came across and went down well.

Suddenly the venue was crammed to the gunnels as the lights dimmed, Waltzinblack ensued and Bosh! Cufew! Fantastic opener, they nailed it. Ooh cool video and light show…

Both band and crowd appeared in good form and made for a most enjoyable evening. Highlights, the whole lot of course but to Narrow it down somewhat: Curfew, Harry, WoB, Bear Cage (clearly a live classic and hopefully a new mainstay for the set – anthemic crowd pleaser on the chorus front), Relentless, JLNOE and more…

Watertight…

New song Water stood up well, having already seen/heard a few of the social media clips, it was even better live. Interesting rhythmically (is this 6/8?) and melodically, it’ll be great to see how it evolves. There were some interesting guitar licks toward the end of the intro, it would be nice to hear these explored further or perhaps developed in to a mid-section encompassing or nodding at the outro… but once again further rambling, in short fab! Please let’s have more new stuff played live.

Time playing its tricks again we were at the point of bone-liquefying bass which could only mean NMH and subsequent home time!

Tip top…

Over…

Words and Images: EiTC.

Bonus:

The Damned Manchester Academy 31st January 2018

Guest Review – The Damned Manchester Academy 31st Jan 2018

Due to Indian excursions and other committments, EiTC is yet to catch up with the Damned on their Evil Spirits Tour, hopefully this will change next week when they roll into the big smoke...

In the meantime sit back and enjoy a review from the Manchester gig from our guest: Greatkudu.

Well Well Well... Captain Kudu reporting from Sunny Madchester 
(or was, as back in suburbs now). Down to brass tack's...

I haven’t seen The Damned since 2007, just been concentrating on “The Stranglers” to my musical loss, More about that in a bit. Support was the brilliant “Slim Jim Phantom” from The Straycats (just in case you didn’t know) his three piece band took us through a very enjoyable Rockabilly master class from 20.00-20.30, lots of “Straycat” songs with other classics thrown in like “Cmon Everybody” etc, a really enjoyable set from the slim one, rock on!


Moving on at 21.14 the intro tune started on the PA in preparation for “The Damned” and it was “Mars” which is part of “Holst” planets suite, this was also used by “The Stranglers” as their intro on the 1987 tour how strange.”The Damned” came on with a very atmospheric start with dry ice, really setting the scene, Dave Vanian’s mic stand lit up in fluorescent green, really cool. They came on stage to a big cheer, Dave Vanian came on last.


They kicked off with one of my fav songs of theirs “Wait For The Blackout” (from “The Black Album) a great start to a great gig and that’s being understated, as it was possibly one of the best gigs I have ever been to? From the first song it was just pure class from a band who are better than ever as a live band, they then played 3 more from “The Black Album” including one of my all time favs “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” a song giving full rein to Dave Vanian’s goth image and persona.


Before I go on, great to see Paul Gray back on bass and a great Madchester welcome he received on the first song with a pint of beer launched his way by some lovely person, luckily he seemed to dodge most of it but personally I would have smashed the bass over the beer throwers head (Waste of a good bass – eitc), it’s 2018 not 1976, yes years ago “The Damned” encouraged stuff like this, maybe the offender was stuck in a time warp? But Mr Gray being the professional that he is, just played on regardless.


The rest of the set was made up of songs from “Machine Gun Etiquette”,”Damned Damned Damned” and “Strawberries” including “Gun Fury” which isn’t played that much? I don’t think (I think 2010 was the last time I heard it live, eitc). There were also a few from “Phantasmagoria”, “Street of Dreams” and “shadow of love”. Also, 3 songs were played from the upcoming album “Evil Spirit’s” including the rather good new single (Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow – EiTC) plus “Evil Spirits” and “Devil in Disguise” (not a cover of The Elvis song) these other two were a bit faster than the single and sounded really high quality, for these two other songs the crew brought on a “Tablet” with the lyrics on, he didn’t need that for the new single “Standing on The Edge of Tomorrow” really love this song, it’s a grower and live the bass was far more meaty and while we’re talking Bass, a mention must go out to “Paul Gray” a fantastic Bass player, you could tell that the band were very happy to have him back, he was interacting a lot with the good Captain, not slagging “Stu West” the previous Bass Player but “Paul Gray” is one of the finest Bass players around, a great trebly sound but with light and shade too, he seemed to be enjoying being back (even though his hearing is shot to pieces,he uses a lot of protection to keep what he has left).


Moving on they played their biggest hit “Eloise” a song where again “Dave Vanian” can show of his fantastic baritone voice.


The last song was of course “Smash it up” and they wen’t off about 22.45 and people started to leave… there was a quite a long wait but The band came back on and finished with “Jet Boy Jet Girl” with the Captain on lead vocals, great when you think it’s over and it’s not!


Now to sum up the only negatives were; of course my personal favs the beer throwers, About 3 or 4 pint’s seemed to be thrown, I just got a few drops,why waste good beer? or maybe the beer tasted of piss, still at least the audience mostly seemed ok, quite a few Mohicans at the front.


And now for the positives; possibly one of the best gigs I have ever seen, just fantastic,the whole band were firing on all cylinders. The Star of the show is “Dave Vanian” a totally unique character with one of the best voices in music ever in IMHO, the man is just so cool in his black frock coat and shades, a really theatrical performer, he stalks the stage like victorian spectre, then to compliment him you have the Captain a tacky dresser who is an amazing guitarist and has great banter with the crowd and is actually funny, great to hear him sing a couple of songs, on drums the power house drumming of “Pinch” but he also has the light touch, did some sublime tom and cymbal work, I’ve already mentioned “Paul Gray” and last but not least the barking “Monty Oxymoron” as mad as a hatter but a fine musician and lovely bloke. Sound was excellent too and also the stage set and lights, they create such a unique atmosphere, so in all a great night and, now I am going to get shot down here but I actually think “The Damned” are better live than “The Stranglers” these day’s, maybe it’s because I haven’t seen “The Damned” for a few years? But the set was more interesting, they didn’t play the obvious songs and they have the original singer, they also interact with the audience so well, it seems they actually appreciate the crowd, I know it’s a different style of music but i have to be honest I think they are better live at the present time. I know its sacrilege to say that on here (Tsk tsk! etc Etc EiTC), I will see “The Damned” again next week in shitty (Shoorlie knott eitc) “Southampton”.

I recommend “the Damned” just brilliant!

Capt Kudu back on ops in the suburbs,

Over and out.


Words: Greatkudu.

Images: Britta Hoppe.

Proof Reading: Rockula.

 

Gig Review Ruts DC Xmas Gig 100 Club 23 Dec 2017

It’s been a while.
And while it has been a while.
It’s been a good while.
Which leads us here…

We headed for India in the form of Govindas on Soho Street for tiffin.

Refreshed and rehydrated we stretched our legs across Oxford Street taking refuge at number 100. Inside we found the familiar interior, unchanged and untouched by time, a permanent, impervious encapsulated monument to live music, like a woolly mammoth preserved in amber…

Just then, the London Sewage Company took the stage and warmed up the crowd with gusto.

Shortly thereafter, it was the turn of Department S who took up the gauntlet and masterfully performed their art to all and sundry.

Meanwhile, while we’d been whiling away etc Etc EiTC…

Before we knew where we were, or probably after to be more accurate… It was Rutting time!

Ruts DC proceeded to entertain the gathered mass with skill and craft by the bucket load. A mixture of songs from the bands various incarnations all gratefully received with the same enthusiasm.

Kicking off with Vox Teardrop. The band were in good spirits (as ever) and delivered a tight set of finely crafted gems in their inimitable manner.

They made it seem like a stroll in the park, with a good mixture of light and dark.

The classic Ruts material sounded fab as both Segs and Leigh respectively did justice in honouring the legacy of Malcolm Owen and Paul Fox. And Ruffy did what Ruffy does with aplomb!

The Animal Now period got a look in tonight with the Superb Dangerous Minds, as relevant today as ever and we also had that period’s b-side in the form of Formula Eyes.

Mighty Soldier was mighty!

Peace Bomb was the Bomb!

And honourable mention to:
It was Cold, In A Rut, Babylon’s Burning, Backbiter, Sus, West One, Love in Vain, Jah War, Music Must Destroy, Psychic Attack etc Etc EiTC…

Before we knew it, we were back out in the West End night preparing for our next Indian adventure prior to descending to the depths and avoiding the chunky puddles on the night tube…

Over…
EiTC.

Gig Revew – The Stranglers, The Damned, SLF, Green Day, The Hives – BST Hyde Park – 010717

So, a little scene setting…

…An outdoor concert in Hyde Park in the summer with The Stranglers and The Damned on the same bill…

Count me in!

Tickets purchased.

But of course, that’s only half the story…

And talking of halves, my better one and her progeny were in as keen enthusiasts of headline act Green Day. Sweet!

Then a last-minute addition to the bill Stiff Little Fingers. Fab!

As the days drew us closer to the event, information started to trickle down about who would be playing on which stage at what time etc. A little further research revealed that we would not be able to take our own food or drinks, which for me put a little damper on things (being locked in as a captive audience and being at the mercy of the vendors of whatever over-priced (slop) refreshments may or may not be on offer). Then there were the emails from the promoters about upgrading our tickets to various levels of VIP tickets at extortionate amounts. Urgh! The shine began to wear off a little for me. (However, this was only to be temporary!) I began to feel a little less enthused at the prospect of being a captive participant at an event where the entertainment I was really looking forward to seeing were playing short sets, if I could get anywhere near them, while the rest of it had me less than enthused…

Flash forwards in time to the day itself:

After a Saturday morning of catching up with chores for me and removals and deliveries for DiBDaB, we made our way by train and tube to Bond Street and took a slow stroll to Hyde Park on a fine Summers Day. We ate our lunch on the grass then proceeded to enter through the peasant’s entrance.

So far so good, smiley happy people including the gate staff and security. More friendly faces all around as we made our way toward the front of the main stage in time for Stiff Little Fingers, only to be met by an obstruction in the form of a barrier, this far and no farther it seemed. The masses had settled for this while the people at the front in the fenced off area stretched their legs for a decent view. Then a chance conversation with a friendly marshal brought to our attention that anyone could get down to the front if they got there before all the passes were handed out. So, that’s what we did. Which afforded us a good vantage point from which to view SLF and The Damned. The day got a little better.

Stiff Little Fingers took to the main stage kicking off with the mighty Suspect Device and somehow managed to shoe-horn; Just Fade Away, At The Edge, Nobodies Heroes, Roots Radicals and Rockers, Barbed Wire Love, Strummerville, Tin Soldiers and Alternative Ulster – or thereabouts in to a half hour (methinks Jake Burns might know a thing or two about sugar tongs and time travel). So, the long and short of it was that they were bloody superb and warmed up the crowd – young and old alike – very well.

A short break and then Croydon’s finest took to the stage – The Damned in fine fettle; what with the Captain all upright and on his own two feet, the freshly shorn DV all vampiric, dapper and cool, Stu ready to inspect tickets in his BR garb, Pinch the picture of cool with slicked hair and shades and the descriptively defiant Monty brilliantly being Monty! A quick how do and down to business with a stonking set opener in the form of Love Song. A quick mention to the Young Ones and it’s Nasty great energy. Staying with the N’s next for Neat Neat Neat which was nice!

Then a sideways tangent as an extra mic is brought on stage and they’re joined by the trumpet player (Chris Coull?) for Grimly Fiendish, superb. And he stays on for fine rendition of Eloise, which has the crowd pleased.

Into overdrive for performance and crowd participation next as we’re treated to the slice of brilliance that is Ignite – oh whoah oh oh!…

Back on with the trumpet for Alone Again Or – Fab! (Another great choice as far as I’m concerned although that’s two covers in what is a short set but along with GF these songs do of course represent three hit singles, personally when I saw the trumpet was present I was really hoping for Twisted Nerve but that’s just being extra picky etc Etc EiTC)

The stage craft was immaculate as Captain played a blinder and insulted one and all in his usual jovial manner. Dave glided from side to side covering the whole stage while holding the crowd in the palm of his hand. Pinch and Stu were rock solid and cool. While Monty did what Monty does.

On which subject, New Rose next, stonkingly delivered by all concerned with Monty’s mighty moves impressing one and all!
Time for one more – Smash It Up. Smashing indeed!

And then they were gone with the big screens announcing that tickets for the 2018 UK Tour go on sale this Friday 7th July. Catch ‘em if you can folks!

Great to see them in this setting with a good crowd and all the trimmings – big screens etc…

We hung around for The Hives next. While I’d heard the name, they were somewhat of an unknown quantity for me. The stage was meticulously prepared and lines were checked. Then out they came in their impressive asymmetrical black and white outfits. Not really qualified to talk about their music which was very good – in a dual guitar driven rocky punky kind of way – but man what a show! Vocalist Per(?) was straight off the stage and into the crowd on the first number where he spent almost as much time as he did on stage (or so it seemed). The attitude and showmanship of the band was really in your face in a way that you couldn’t ignore, most effective! Crazy, dangerous, exciting and well worth catching live!

Then it was time for lunch and the anticipation of disappointment turned into pleasant surprise as we found there really were plenty of outlets to suit most dietary requirements.

Suitably fed and watered, we went and watched a bit of Rancid on the big screen which was worth a look before making our way to the other stage in time to catch the end of the set given by The Living End – very impressed – great musicians and super performers, shame we didn’t catch a little more.

We hung around this stage a little more and chatted to the like-minded souls gathered for the main event Then…

Waltzinblack signalled the arrival of The Stranglers, as we headed toward the front in time for the opening bars of 5 minutes super dooper!

And they kept the pace going with a perfect Grip before bringing it to steady cruise with Nice and Sleazy, menace O’ clock!

Relentless next and suddenly I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders…

…but then I looked up and saw that it was in fact Billy perched atop them enjoying an elevated view!

The crowd were the liveliest I’d seen all day for any act and this would hold true for the whole event!

But of course, then it was slow down – Golden Brown – flawlessly delivered with the crowd swaying along.

More menace in the shape of Peaches with worse places today being the United States of America.

The superb addition to this year’s set which is Bear Cage, long overdue until now but hopefully a stayer, as the crowd got right behind the chorus!

Then it was back up to speed for the home straight as they belted out a trio of classics and the crowd responded with gusto – Hanging Around, Something Better Change and Duchess.

All too soon it was bass bashing time which signalled the end, in the shape of closing number (a rousing) No More Heroes, one more mad mosh before our heroes exited stage left…

Over…

Or is it?

Well not quite!

It’d be rude of me not to say a thing or two about our hosts of the day – Green Day.

I made my way toward the front (and side-ish) and caught their full set and must say they were great!

It’s not a band I’m that familiar with and they weren’t high on my wish list of gigs to see. But credit where credit is due, they put on a cracking performance and had the audience in the palm of their hands. Taking Punk to the mainstream masses, in a kind of teeny bop Bay City Rollers for the modern age sort of way. I’m not intending to be negative or talk them down here, just making observations.

There were people of all ages from all walks of life really enjoying the show. And while that show was indubitably mainstream, it still came with a message, as front man Billie Joe Armstrong gave out plenty of sound bites in his interaction with the crowd – talking up the virtues of equality and freedom while putting down negative attitudes such as racism, sexism and homophobia. Putting down politics and even throwing in “F*ck Donald Trump”. Fair play that man!

Yes, it was poppy punk by numbers but it was catchy and brilliantly executed and the crowd participation was second to none as they brought people up on stage to sing and play guitar.

The bands energies did not waver for one second of the two hours or so of their set. Yes, it was mainstream but there was just a little bit of a feeling that they were rebelling from within, while delivering an energetic captivating set. Dare I say Superb?

Over…

Or is it?

Part Two…

So, I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of being part of a captive audience at the mercy of mainstream commercialism but thankfully it really turned out fine. All the staff I encountered were friendly and enthusiastic. The food outlets were great and not overly expensive. The entertainment was top notch. The setting was great. The audio-visuals were superb in terms of the sound and video system.

Oh, and the weather was really good too!

Over…

Words and images: Matthew Elvis Brown.

Bonus:

Guest Review – John Rossalls Glitter Band plus The Priscillas – Dublin Castle Camden 290417

John Rossall’s Glitter Band

Live at The Dublin Castle, Camden Town, London

 

Saturday 29 April 2017

 

A Report by PaulinLondon

 

18.45 GMT / 15.45 Zorg Time : I am escorted to the Transporter Module by the charming yet ageing, Tobias. Tobias is one of the last operative T-1000 androids who are soon to be replaced by the new T-2000 A Class. The technicians at Zorg have been unsuccessful, despite many attempts, to improve the battery life and power circuitry for the long serving T-1000 Class. Tobias is fully aware of this even though he knows his fate and those of the remaining T-1000 Class is sealed... 

 

As I lie down in the Transport Module, Tobias bows his head from behind the heavy Zorg glass door; his way of saying, “Bon Voyage”.

 

Seconds later, I am walking up Parkway in Camden towards the venue for tonight’s show; the wonderful Dublin Castle. Sporting my red Raven tshirt underneath my black leather jacket, I look down and nod approvingly at my still relatively new Dr Martens. This for them will be their second concert in a matter of a few weeks. 

 

The Dublin Castle is already busy with what promises to be a large and excited crowd for tonight’s Glitter Band performance. In no time at all, I am joined by Turkey Troter, Lou, Guildford Lil, Elvis in the Clouds, Nigel (Drum Major) and Streatham Mick. With glasses charged, we head outside to the front of the pub and take in the pleasant London evening. Whilst Nigel engages in a deep conversation with Spizz of Spizzenergi (good to see him again), I check out the fantastic number of people who are turning up tonight. There are punks, young and old, Glitter fans young and old, all mixing together and sipping away in great anticipation. One very tall chap arrives and he looks as though he is a retired City trader. He has a fairly long mane of hair and is wearing a fabulous knee length Glitter coat. As he steps into the pub, he turns to his wife/partner and says, in a most refined accent, “I wonder if they sell port of sherry here”. “I am sure they do”, she replies.  

 

There is a quite a delay before the door staff let the punters into the rear hall for the music to begin. We are at the head of the queue and take our places at the front of the stage; excellent vantage positions !

First up are the superb all female band, The Priscillas. Their sound is first class and we are taken on a sonic journey of power-pop, glam and indie-punk (perhaps a touch of The Cramps and B52s influence in there somewhere too etc Etc EiTC).  

These Holloway ladies put on a powerful and impressive show and receive much deserved applause from The Dublin Castle attendees.

 

I head stage left to the heaving bar and finally manage to return to position, Pinot Grigio supplies dutifully restored. It is time for the main act. To roars of adoration and approval, John Rossall and his Glitter Band take to the stage. The mighty “Rock ’n Roll Part I” opens proceedings and the crowd are loving it.

Everyone is dancing and smiling. I last saw The Glitter Band in the early 1980’s at The Venue in Victoria. That was a crazy evening but this is even better. We lap up every song and are taken along The Glitter Band memory lane with classics including “Angel Face”, “Goodbye My Love”, “Let’s Get Together Again, “Rock ’n Roll Part II” and “Just for You”. The energy of the band is fantastic, as is their engagement and banter with the crowd. Even John (Dave apparently – see comment from Jill below… EiTC) on bass smiles down and compliments me on my dancing to “Angel Face”. 

 

This is arguably one of the most nostalgic gigs I think I have ever been to. Hit after hit after hit and sadly, matters come to a conclusion with a barnstorming, almost punk/heavy metal version of, “Leader of the Gang”. Well worth the entry fee Gentlemen. Thank you from all of us. 

 

At 23.15 GMT / 20.15 Zorg Time, the heat sensor activates on my wrist chronograph; the signal that it is time to report back to the Mother Ship. I bid farewell to members of The FamilyinBlack and make my way back onto Parkway. Taking position as instructed by The Earl of Camden pub, I look up into the London night sky and see the faint green glimmer of the approaching Transporter Module. I will look forward to sharing with Tobias what an excellent evening I have just had on Planet Earth. 

 

Thank you to John Rossall’s Glitter Band and thank you to The Priscillas. “Magnifique”, as they say in the French General Elections. 

 

PiL, 1.5.17.


Over…
Words: Paul in London.
Pics: Missy Lou Antlers and EiTC.
Bonus:

Guest Review – The Monochrome Set – The Lexington – 080417

Stardate 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286...

 ...Today we beamed an away team down to a hostile planet in the Sol system.

 Headed up by Admiral PiL, for the most part they fitted right in!

 The following is a first hand account of the mission...

The Monochrome Set
Live at The Lexington, London, N1.

Saturday 8th April 2017

A report by PaulinLondon

I alight from Angel tube station at 18.45 GMT and into the fantastic sunshine enveloping Islington’s uber trendy, Upper Street. It is a beautiful Saturday evening; London at its best.

After a short stroll, I spot Elvis in the Clouds, Turkey Troter and Lou, each armed with a charged glass, standing outside The Angel pub. “Stranglers !” I cry from across the road and at the top of my voice as I go over to join these three members of the clan known as, The FamilyinBlack. It is very good to catch up again and we are soon joined by my old friend Nigel; a fine drummer who I have had the pleasure to be in a band with over many years and who is a hardened fan of The Monochrome Set.

In no time at all, the moment has come to partake of the five minute walk to tonight’s venue, The Lexington. We are now joined by Guildford Lil who makes up the final cog in the Stranglers presence at tonight’s concert (a little later we are joined by Streatham Mick but no sign of Hammer EiTC). On entering this fantastic old and vast pub, we have our hands stamped at the ticket desk and enjoy some more drinks and merriment outside in the wonderful warm London air. Support act, “The Bitter Springs” are already on stage and we miss their performance on this occasion.

The venue upstairs above the pub seems huge; reminiscent of the The Forum in Kentish Town but on a smaller scale. The Monochrome Set have a great crowd tonight including none other than Spizz from Spizzenergi. At 21.30 GMT, The Monochrome Set take to the stage to almighty applause. They launch into “Super Plastic City” which is then followed by my all time favourite, “Jet Set Junta”. Bid on guitar and lead vocals never seems to age. He is a cool frontman and seems genuinely touched by the great attendance at this evening’s show. To his left, the unflappable Andy Warren on bass who is dressed in black and whose nonchalant expression reminds me of one Jean-Jacques Burnel. His rolling bass lines are complimented by the excellent, almost Swiss clockwork, efficiency of Mike Urban on drums. Adding a layer of synths and organ, is the fantastic and bizarrely dressed keyboard player, Mr John Paul Moran. He is dressed in either a light grey jumpsuit or some form of late Victorian pyjamas; I can’t work out which.

There barely seems time to draw breath as the band play through a fine set of “post punk” material which includes great numbers of theirs such as “Ruling Class”, “Eine Symphonie”, “Cosmonaut” and “Waiting for Alberto”. As I have said already, it is great to see such a fine turnout for this band. I last saw The Monochrome Set two years ago at another venue close by called The Islington. Yet again, their loyal fans have come out in great and adoring number.

As with all good concerts, the finale arrives all too soon. You just want to hear more and more but alas, it is 23.00 GMT and that means, curfew time. We make our way downstairs and after a short Committee meeting, one of the shortest I can remember, my proposal to go next door for a curry and a debrief is agreed unanimously and with no dissenting votes.

The Monochrome Set look like they are here to stay. Formed in 1976, they have an energy and unique addictive sound.

Catch them if you can.

PiL, 10.4.17.

Over…

Photos: Missy Lou.

MIA: Hammer.

Bonus:

 

Gig Review – Lover – The Borderline London – 040417

Magical mystery to magic...

Under the auspices of the half-moon…

 …we were recently returned from a magical mysterious excursion through the misty Isle of Avalon. Being as we were, in possession of a newly acquired clarity and contentment never before experienced. And, as luck and or serendipity would have it, another magical adventure was just beginning to conclude its opening chapter…

For tonight’s experiment, the time dial was set to the heart of the 1980s for a little light entertainment… just then a mosquito flew in to the delicate machinery of the ST90 and tripped a circuit, triggering a malfunction which caused time and reality to splinter whilst creating a trans-dimensional overlap. These phenomena had the net effect of merging different timelines creating a new reality, which would all too soon appear as just normal - having replaced the old reality and as the memory of these events fade…

…what?

Precisely…

Suddenly we were in London’s West End in April of the year 2017.

Having not done so for a decade or two I popped in to the Borderline to see what was occurring…

Which was a stroke of luck as Lover were here for the launch of their new album Human Geography.

And jolly good it is too! Having been given a preview of this finely crafted jewel, the opportunity and desire presented itself with increasing frequency over the preceding week to hear it more…

A well-produced slice of modern pop/rock/electronica could possibly go some way towards describing this platter.

We’re probably all familiar with the Human urge to categorise things. A base psychological need to compare what we are experiencing now with what has gone before. In the case of Lover, I’ve recently heard such comparisons as Hazel O’Connor, Toyah, Blondie to name a few and to be fair I can see where they’re coming from. (To add a few to the mix myself, I can hear elements of 80’s synth pop going on in what is essentially a pop/rock band format (a feat in itself). With at times nods to Johnny Marr on Guitar etc Etc EiTC…)

But all of this is just a perception. To be specific, how I perceive what I experience with Lover. But all nods and comparisons aside, what Lover offer is a well presented modern slice of poppy rocky goodness, all art is inspired. And Lover’s art is inspirational and deserving of a listen.

Returning to clarity, it is here – with Vocals guitars and drums all present and polished while the synths and samples add layers of rich textures.

And, I hear you ask, how does this translate into the live environment?

Impressively well!

There is more of an edge in the live environment, as one would expect but it is true to the recordings at the same time.

Singer Sarah delivers the vocals with style and serenity. While she explores and experiments with the delivery and performance of the songs adding an extra something not captured in the recorded version. A striking and cool character indeed! Commanding the attention of the audience with her vocal talent, stage presence and innate photogenicity.

Drummer Jamie is on beat giving a head down no nonsense display of drum finery, drawing all the elements of the band to a unified whole. While Bassist Casper provides the low down with style and finesse.

Keyboardist Florence provides the afore-mentioned layers of electronic textures which emanate forth with a depth and range seemingly beyond that of the recorded medium. Guitarist James is another cool customer delivering the chops and more with apparent ease.

In short, they nailed it!

It was ear-worms a go go in there last night as the loop in my brain keeps reminding me – Fallen Famous, Somebody Somewhere, White Bears, Weekend Caligula, Self Destruct to name a few.

And judging by the enthusiastic response from a healthy turnout of friendly faces and enthusiasts, people are using their ears.

Use yours.

Pick up a copy of the album released this Friday.

Or catch them live.

Better still do both!

Over…

Words and Images: EiTC.

http://lover.band/

Extra:

Occupy Dublin Castle Camden – 23rd Feb 2017

Archaeologists recently working in the eastern wastelands have unearthed a rare artefact around the area of Antler Hill. It is believed that this artefact, a capsule, may contain the key to unlocking the great Cypher Columbidae…

After being blown by Doris then forced to go down…

…to clarify, it was a bit windy so the trains stopped running, thereby necessitating the need to take the tube instead...

The sugar tongs headed me in the direction of the end of the world, whereupon Guildford Lil was to be found somewhere around the middle east…

Eventually we wound our way to Dublin to witness a siege at the castle… Well it was more of an occupation.

Here we encountered a warm welcome from Mr Bloggs, PiL and assembled occupiers.

We were watching a Reindeer dancing on the table when all of a sudden sight, sound and other sensual stimuli informed us that Occupy had taken the stage.

And what an occupation it was, as they delivered a set of Punk and New Wave classics with a bit of Johnny Cash thrown in for good measure.

Dance and revelry was the order of things for the next half hour or so – the castle-dwellers joined together in song – and we were served a solid foundation of rhythmic delights from drummer Steve and bass player Paul who together created the perfect platform for guitarist Seamus to ply his skilful craft – these elements in combination systematically and sympathetically complimenting the apex i.e. that of frontman Steve Cooklin as he led the way through the set. A journey across time with a steady hand at the tiller.

All too soon it was all over as Lil, Bloggs and YT(EiTC) retired to and were joined at the bar by Paul, Raj and Maurice.

Here, among other things, there was talk of the great pilgrimages to Staines after the notorious Opal Mint decriminalisation act was passed there toward the end of the last century. Before we ourselves took pilgrimage to India where we found sustenance and good company at Namaste and we nattered until way past last tube time…

Taxi!

Over…

Words and Images: EiTC.

Video: Oliver Cooklin.

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