Gig Review – The Stranglers Guildford – 14th March 2016

Gig Review – The Stranglers
Guildford 14th March 2016

drum

Oh Guildford Lil…

Spinning in ever decreasing circles, wheels within wheels in perpetual motion, spiralling infinitely inward, I eventually found myself on Level 9 of the multi-story in Guildford…

In the very next bay were SiB and Will, we walked out to street level where we encountered none other than Guildford Lil! Taking advantage of this situation we made our way to the delightful Rose Valley restaurant for a spot of pre-gig sustenance.

Fed and watered, a mild panic began to set in as realisation dawned as to the potential lack of a car key in the vicinity of jacket pocket. Calmly re-traced footsteps eventually located it (via the restaurant) back to the car park in the ignition where it had been left…

Normal service resumed it was onward to G-live, the destination for the annual Stranglers home-coming gig.

Whilst sages in black have wisely philosophised that you don’t need to drink to have a good time, navigating the drunken staircase at G-live could lead one to suggest that, having abstained from the grog, if you want to remember what it feels like to be sloshed this will suffice! etc ETC EiTC…

From whence we made our way to a packed bar with muffled sounds indicating that The Alarm’s set was in progress. We procured some refreshments, caught up with Mr and Mrs C and friends and before we knew it – we knew it was – 5 minutes to stage time – thanks to the G-live tannoy announcement – most civilised!…

We made our way in to the main hall and gravitated toward the stage where we encountered many of the usual suspects in waiting…

Gig Review

JJ

Waltzinblack and away we go…

The band delivered Black and White with fire and precision. Highlights again being experiencing the album played in its entirety while highlighting both In The Shadows and Enough Time for the skill and perfection of execution.

dave1

A burst of colour and Grip saw them sail through the second part of the set. Walk on By never failing to please and the excellent Princess of The Streets just out there!

The sound tonight was spot on!

baz

In past years the crowd in Guildford, while always most appreciative, have been more focused on watching and listening than dancing but tonight a good few are up for it! The mosh vortex dragged me in where I found myself alongside Raymond and a fairly good natured bunch. The band seemed to notice the increase in activity and in turn feed off the extra-liveliness of the crowd tonight (which Baz alluded to at the end of the set).

jim

Encores were a little thin on the ground being light by two or so numbers compared with Brixton but that’s no complaint really after a performance delivered so well! And besides, who wouldn’t take the chance to clock off early of a Monday when it presents itself?

Over…

Words: Matthew Elvis Brown.
Pictures: Andy Miller.

Bonus:

baz and dave jj1 jj dave baz jj baz jj baz 1 in the shadow dave

Gig Review – The Stranglers – Straighten Out – London 11th March 2016

Black Friday

To Be a Pilgrim…

MiB

So that time of year has come around again already!
The black clad disciples and pilgrims descend upon the holy shrine known as The Hope and Anchor in Sunny Islington North London.

Once more the focus shines on the pre-gig social – this is not just a gig/go see the band play for an hour or two type affair! This is devotees, fanatics, family and friends making the best of a day out with that hour or two at the end of the day being the icing on the cake! etc ETC EiTC

This particular pilgrim stopped off at Euston en route to pop into the delightful Diwana on Drummond Street to partake of their magnificent buffet lunch at just £6.95 a head.

Fully loaded then continuing on, arriving at the H&A in a thrice to find family, friends and many a disciple in wait for the event.

Straighten Out Pre-Gig:

so3

And so we shy away from the dazzling sunlight of London’s early attempt at spring and head down in to the depths of the darkness for the show…

It’s been said before – but to hear Straighten Out play their super authentic Stranglers tribute in this auspicious venue (an important part of the bands early history) is just more than a bit special.

Close your eyes and think of 1977

so14

It’s as close as one can get to the real thing. Time travel indeed! And to add to the air of authenticity there are one or two of the Stranglers more famous fans around today; in the shape of some Finchley Boys and a Stranglers percussionist.

The audience respond with enthusiasm as Waltzinblack oozes through the speakers and the band strike up into Tank. Shaggy jokes that they’re going to do something novel and play through the whole of the Black and White album but they do no such thing and deliver up a set of classic Stranglers tunes, many of which won’t be played by the MiB themselves later the very same evening.

so17

The crowd lap up every last drop of the musical magnificence and magnificent it is in its authenticity, as they dance, sing along, close their eyes and nod their heads or just stand awe-struck!

I take my place early on near the front in a prime spot for the aural cleansing. I loved the whole lot but if I had to choose a highlight it would have to be Bear Cage as it was just absolutely superb with the whole crowd singing along and chanting on the GMBH! Then of course The Men in Black comes a very close whisker distant second, utterly sublime!

so18

Before long we’re back upstairs continuing the social with fans from far and wide, one of the furthest travelled of whom would have to be Nice and Sleazy who made the journey from Florida!

so5

A few drinks then we poured ourselves through a hole in the pavement to take the subterranean express to Brixton Town. Along the way TBC entertains the whole carriage with his one man punk rock karaoke juke box show and before we knew where we were, we were there… Brixton that is!

No Room at the Inn…

We made our way along to the Beehive only to find there was no room at the inn but persistence eventually paid off and we were granted access. After a bit more chin-wagging with a few more familiars we paid our respects to the Bowie shrine before throwing a U-ie and heading on to the venue…

Not far outside of where, we encounter some unfortunate souls who were denied access in spite of being on a certain bassists guess list! We stand around and chat and offer moral support before eventually making our way into a very packed out Brixton Academy.

Gig Review

Dave1

Having not been here for some years I was immediately struck by the internal architecture and how the rake of the flooring afforded an excellent view of the stage from almost everywhere one chose to stand on the ground floor. Nice!

We arrived in time for the penultimate song and a half from The Alarm who, while not everyone’s cup of tea, sounded pretty good and were giving it all from what we saw of their performance. And, importantly, the crowd were lapping it up and hemmed in for the support band which also finds in their favour.

JJ

I spied Pidge, Alex and Greg and went to say hello… Just then Waltzinblack signalled the arrival of the MiB and the crowd went bananas as they struck into Tank.

From out of nowhere TBC ploughed a furrow down to the barrier where he duly safely delivered one Bellainblack, then Mr and Mrs C joined us and I went from innocent bystander to psychotic hippy in one fell swoop as Mr C engaged bulldozer mode and dragged one and all into the moshpit! A lively hot and sweaty couple of hours of jumping, dancing, singing followed – as the MiB tore through Black and White and more.

Baz

And it all made sense. The capacity crowd seemed to love every minute of it. Any concerns as to whether the casual punter would get it seemed insignificant as everyone seemed up for Black and White and beyond.

Once more the stage set was magnificent and on second live hearing Enough Time hit the spot! No mean feat to pull this one off live with all its intricate timing and what have you! The album sounded magnificent.

Jim

Then Grip and the stage exploding into colour signalled the beginning of the second part of this evening’s set.

Walk on By captivated once more. And tonight we had 5 minutes added to the set. Dead Ringer, Nuke, IFLAW and the awesome Princess were highlights for me along with the encore number Go Buddy Go which JJ introduced as being ‘Real Pub Rock!’

All too soon were off out once more into the cold London evening to wend our ways home. Hopping on to a carriage at Brixton tube I realised I was surrounded by almost exactly the same good folks with whom I’d shared the journey here previously in the afternoon.

The Stranglers on Tour, so much more than just a bunch of gigs!

Over…

Words: Matthew (EiTC) Brown.
Pictures and Videos: David (Toiler on The Sea) Kidd.

Bonus:

Pics and Vids from Toiler:

JJ1 Dave brixton socrowd so15 alex so pidge so4 socrow2

Pics from EiTC:

apres2 cr cr1 cr2 cr3 cr4 cr5 cr6 cr7 cr8 cr9 cr10 cr11 cr12 cr13 diwana so so1 so2 so3 so4 so5 so6 so7 so8 so9 so10 so11 so12so13 so14 apres1

Gig Review – The Stranglers – The Vex – Glasgow 5th March 2016

Bonnie Scotland – There and back again – Just!

MiB2

Outbound

Waking bleary eyed in not so sunny South West London, the travellers hitched up their wagon and headed way out west…

Stopping off at a staging post saloon for herbal tea and armed escort to Heathrow!
Where Sib saw us safely aboard the express to Glasgow…

Pre-Gig

Landing in Sunny Scotland we made our way to the delightful 13th Note.

vex

Here we took in a spot of this fabulous establishment’s fine nutritious fayre.

c03

Then heading down to the cellar where a posse of friendly faces from near and far were gathered to enjoy the pre-gig from Local band The Vex…

v02

…who delivered a fine set comprising a selection of Punk Rock and New Wave classics interspersed with their own expertly crafted original material. Top stuff and highly recommended.

Social

We made our way back to the hotel for a spot of rejuvenating Siesta time before heading off out to the pre-gig social…

k1

…On which note philosophers have ruminated on the importance of the pre-gig social – which is indeed a fascinating concept both experientially and conversationally… Leading some to muse that one day in the future ‘this’ is all that there will be… On this occasion we briefly had the pleasure of the company of Lord Alias who has this practise down to a fine art… All things must pass – existing (as we do and all of time does) as a brief flickering moment in the vast unfolding universe… We have one of the greatest bands on the planet with a hoard of fanatical followers resembling and referred to as the Family in Black… Let’s make the most of it while we can! etc ETC EiTC…

k2

Off to a Crystal Palace packed to the gunnels with a great chunk of the aforementioned Fans in Black gathered in anticipation of the imminent Stranglers performance. Following a brief stop off at the Laurieston and a quick Namaste to the Nepalese gentleman, that was exactly what occurred! A Stranglers performance that is!

Gig Review

Arriving inside a packed O2 we set up camp near the mixing desk an unusual move but necessary when knackered! This also afforded a completely different perspective sonically and visually.

bazdave

Settling just in time for the opening bars of Waltzinblack and to witness the sell-out crowd show their appreciation for The Men in Black…

Black and White

Taking the stage The Stranglers ploughed their way through the entire Black and White album with barely a breath or pause between. The monochrome stage set neatly reflecting the stark juxtaposition of the Black and White theme, most effectively.

Jimjj

Highlights for this part of the set to these ears being the whole album but of course if forced to choose – Dave’s excellent crooning on Do You Wanna closely followed by In The Shadows and Sweden.

At this point, being my first date of the tour I’m still too stunned by Enough Time to have formulated an opinion!…

Part Two

Then…
BOOM!

Jimjj2

The lights kicked in to colour and the sound took off with the mighty Grip, a really effective contrast away from the first part of the set giving way to the perma-classic Walk on By, as the band coolly executed the remainder of the set which comprised a mix of classics and hits, old and new.

There followed a bit of banter and mutual appreciation as Baz informed the house that Glasgow was always the highlight of the tour and he doesn’t just say this line at every town…

bazdave3

Highlights part two for EiTC were WoB, (Dave Fave) Dead Ringer, The magnificent Princess of The Streets and Go Buddy Go.

Most notably absent: Stranglers in no Golden Brown Horror Shock!

…A brave move, which didn’t seem to bother the casual punter too much, as they lapped up the other assorted classics and hits.

Observances from afar…

Located as we were in a slightly elevated position toward the back of the venue afforded a unique new perspective (for EiTC)… Most interesting was the phenomenon of witnessing the crowd as a whole responding to the performance. During the more energetic and well known songs they would move and mosh about strongly. In some of the more up-tempo numbers they would respond with a gusto which would plateau out to a more sustainable pace quite quickly. While with some of the newer material and lesser known older material they would appear quite motionless. Yet the response at the end of each song was always rousingly appreciative. etc ETC EiTC

Afterwards we went for a spot of Curry before escorting Antro back to his motor vehicle then making our way back to the hotel.

Homeward

The next day we shared a taxi to the airport with evonx, where we enjoyed his company and that of a few more FiB before a lost passport panic and making it aboard our flight home by the skin of our teeth after a mad dash across the whole of the departure area.

The charming air hostess advised us to take a moment to remind ourselves that we’re really sexy! And before we knew it we were out on the tarmac at Heathrow where SiB collected us and delivered us safely back to our carriage…

Over…

Words and Pictures: Matthew Elvis Brown.

Bonus:

Stranglers:

Mib3bnw MiB jjbazdave Jimjj1 bazdave4 bazdave2 bazdave1

The Vex:

v4 v3 v03 v2 v01 v00 crowd c7 c00

Misc:

Laurie k3 K air1 air

Gig review – The Damned – The Featherz – The Vanguards – O2 Islington and On A Train 20-12-15.

Gig Review(s) – The Damned/The Featherz – O2 Islington and The Vanguards – On A Train – 20-12-15

Clarity…

After a brief sojourn in India with SiB, Kali and Arl, Zob and Bowie, Dibdab and EiTC, we moved on toward the bright open spaces of Angel, where we were joined by Lefty.

And onward, here tonight as we were, for a seasonal do – courtesy of our old Muckers and Croydon’s finest – The Damned.

Arriving at the venue for this evening’s celebrations, the fab O2 in Islington, we were hastily ushered inside past the waiting crowd – due to the fact that two of our number held in their possession the sacred device of queue jumping.

Inside we set up camp at the bar by the side of the stage where soon our numbers were swelled by Mr and Mrs Bloggs, Domestos, Pidge and Streatham Mick among others.

featherz2

Just then our attention was drawn by an irresistible siren call, in the shape of the excellent support act – The Featherz. Like a breath of fresh air from the 1970’s this Punky Glam trio delivered a well-crafted blend of original material (punctuated by two well-chosen covers) with attitude and style.

danie

Guitarist/Vocalist Danie has the air of A Lass Insane about her appearance and performance wise, demonstrating some impressive chops on the guitar while simultaneously delivering a very strong vocal line (with hint or two of the late great Poly Styrene about her voice). Bassist/Vocalist Alice compliments Danie perfectly with solid playing/singing/harmonies coupled with her almost acrobatic stage presence – dropping back into a most impressive back arch mid-song while wielding/playing a bass guitar and not skipping a beat. These two front Women complement each other perfectly sparking off each other whilst anchored by the solid beats of drummer Dazzle.

alice

When was the last time you had sex? No I’m not asking you… That’s a title from their original material that sticks in one’s mind for some strange reason, along with two strong covers in the shape of 20th Century Boy and Don’t Dictate! Catch them live soon!

Then…

…before we knew what was going on – it was – Croydon Calling…

The Damned….

DV1

After some initial tech problems with the guitar…

Clarity…

The sound was crystal clear in the O2 tonight a decent sized venue for getting up close and personal while affording a good view from all angles. The clarity really can’t be underplayed – as every element was audible – particularly the keyboards, bass and bv/harmonies, which often times can get lost/overwhelmed in some of the more cavernous venues (such as the Roundhouse for example) etc Etc EiTC…

dam

The capacity crowd were right behind the band from the off – Moshing/Pogoing, Head-banging, Howling/Singing along and hanging on every note.

Dave’s performance was electric tonight, he had the whole stage covered, looking dapper in his 3-piece (and subsequent shedding of layers) while his green up-light ensured some spooky atmosphere, especially when coupled with the fiery/hellish – yellow/orange/red stage-lighting. His voice was silky smooth throughout and he engaged and teased audience and band members alike. Awesome!

cap1

The Captain’s years spent on the South Coast are really beginning to show – bedecked as he was tonight in a Sailors uniform. He shrugged off the tech/tuning problems with his kit, righted his vessel, delivered some stonking guitar work and crooned like a good ‘un. Like Dave he was darting all over the place from one side of the stage to the other and also baiting the crowd for good measure in his own peculiar way.

mon1

Monty appeared focussed on his work tonight and provided top notch melodic musing throughout, as well as coming centre stage and moshing madly at one point. Stu’s bass work was faultless and along with Pinch’s drums provided the perfect foundation for a Damned good shindig!

davestu

The set was superb tonight! (Although with this bands back catalogue how can it fail to be?) Kicking off with an awesome Wait For The Blackout they then swerved into a fab Fan Club before popping into the wonderful History of The World. Grimly fiendish next replete with Kazoo Trumpet solo from DV (wasn’t this later in the set on Alone Again Or??? etc Etc EiTC…), brilliant! The perma-awesome Stranger on The Town was introduced by Captain with a bit of history about not being welcome at hotels and the like in the early days.

green

Then it was a trio from MGE in the shape of Love Song, Second Time Around and Just Can’t Be Happy Today. Dave paid homage to his favourite horror actor Vincent Price as he introduced a spine tingling 13th Floor. Then the pace was upped again for the excellent Ignite. No loss of momentum as they delivered a mighty Eloise (always a real treasure live).

davelo

A mention for 60’s garage bands specifically Arthur Lee and Love as they struck up into Alone Again Or. A shout to Eddie Cochran’s influence came from the Captain as he introduced the eternal highlight of Neat Neat Neat, at the end of which Dave disappeared off stage. Dave’s exit saw Santa’s arrival just in time for the seasonal favourite – There Ain’t No Sanity Clause, which rounded out the main set nicely.

san2

Encore time and EiTC is one happy bunny as they do the business with the charming Under The Floor Again. Then it is Dave’s audience participation time as he gets one willing chap from the audience to utter the immortal introduction to New Rose ‘Is she really going out with him?

davcap1

Keeping up the pace with Nasty before throwing in their ‘other’ Christmas song…

capcha

The Turkey song sees them joined onstage by a chap known as Turkey (the inspiration for the song). The legendary Charlie Harper joins in holding up a poster of Monty’s artwork of a Turkey. They are then joined by the lovely Gaye Advert who was holding up Monty’s Rhino poster, in time for the second verse. Brilliantly surreal!

gay

Before we knew it, it was time to Smash It Up and then, it was… Over…

Or was it…

Well no it wasn’t, as the Captain continued in the party spirit with an acapella rendition of Happy Talk concluding in a scatological scoobie doobie kind of way.

Then it was over…

Or was it…

Outside at the Merch Stall we encountered the delightful Greet and then rubbed shoulders with The Captain himself, who along with Pidge, used all his will power to not talk about footie and instead chatted about Groundhogs, guitars and stuff. Perfect!

Over…

…Or was it?

Clarity…

Croydon Calling 2.0.

As we wound or way home Dibdab and me found ourselves riding that midnight train…

Well okay, it was actually the 11.47 to Caterham but close enough! We boarded carriage number four where we were drawn as a moth to the flame by some damn fine bluegrass picking. There we found ourselves taking a prime spot next to Jack Baker and Chris Lord (Mandolin and Banjo respectively) Croydon’s finest Bluegrass band – The Vanguards.

van

We were with them just three short stops but they treated us to Old Ebenezer Scrooge, Pike County Breakdown and Flint Hill Special. Brilliant! Must catch the full band soon!

Over… (Really!)

Words: EiTC

Photos: EiTC and Dibdab

Bonus Damned:

san3 san1 san mon kaz gaychaDV4 DV3 DV2 DV davcap damned dam1 capndave1 Cap capndave

 

Bonus Featherz:

featherz3 featherz1feathchaosfeatherz

Bonus Vanguards:

Bonus Crowd:

bro CharlKarl cro cro1 cro2 cro3 cro4 dibelv  kali

Bonus Pre and Post Gig:

gang feet set andyw

rhino pidge pidcap elvcap

Gig Review – Theatre of Hate – Spizzenergi – London – 6th Dec 2015.

Gig Review – Theatre of Hate – Spizzenergi – The Garage Highbury and Islington 6th Dec 2015.

Going to have to be brief on this one, so here goes…

Time travel…

Trans-dimensional portal from South to North London via some levitation in India…

Meet up with Dibdab and Sibofdibdab. Then…

Did we see Dennis Pennis on the way in to the Garage to catch Spizz etc Etc EiTC?…

tohfull

It was bloody loud!

tohsaxvocbas

It was bloody good!

toh3

…Ok got five minutes, so to expand a little:-

spizz

Spizz entertained in his unique style with the solid support of his trusty backing band, treating us to plenty of classics culminating in Where’s Captain Kirk? Followed by an encore of Virginia Plain.

spizzenergi

Theatre of Hate were brilliant but the sound was too loud to really do justice to the finer points of some of their material. Kirk Brandon’s voice was impeccable and we were entertained with a plethora of great material comprising most of the early singles and some newer material which sat comfortably well alongside.

toh2

The band were dynamic and had the stage well and truly covered while engaging the audience. Stand-in drummer Chris Bell pounded his kit through the floor in his own inimitable way. The crowd were lively. We didn’t get Conquistador. The encore was Westworld.

tohbas

It was awesome and just a tad and a half too loud!

Over…

Words: EiTC.
Photos: Dibdab and EiTC.

Extra:

toh toh bass2 tohguisax tohsax spizzbass spizzdrumspizzguit tohdrutohgui

Wonky Bus V – The Stranglers/FiB in Holland Nov 20/21 2015.

Wonky Bus V – The Stranglers/FiB in Holland Nov 20/21 2015.

eff mib8

Where to start…
Well the start itself would be as good a place as any…
But wait; let us backtrack a bit…

Prologue…

Thursday

A dark wet Thursday afternoon somewhere in the South of London, Tooting to be precise, Sree Krishna South Indian Restaurant to focus in a little more. Zoom in on three diners quietly partaking of nourishment:

Bella: “There’s a spare place on Wonky, you up for it?”

A glance passes around the table as the three mutually arrive at the tacit understanding that this could work.

Dibdab: “Well I’m not working tomorrow, so no reason why not!”

EiTC: “All it would take is two phone calls!”

Two phone calls later and it all started happening for the Wonky Stowaway. A mad dash hither and thither saw suitcases packed, passports collected and canines (Russel, Dougal and Rugal) temporarily rehoused. Then four hours kip before the journeys start.

Chapter One.

Friday.

Four hours Later…

Taxi to Victoria Station to meet up with 70 or so similarly obsessed souls to board the Wonky Bus and begin the journey to Holland

Spirits were high even at wtf o’ clock as we wound our way through the emerging dawn light to Dover, stopping off in the heart of Kent en-route to collect more Wonkyites.

A slow pass through Boarder Control (not hindered in any way by the fact that EiTC looks nothing like his passport photo, seriously nothing like! etc, Etc, EiTC) saw us miss our scheduled ferry and go out on the following one. A smooth outbound crossing saw FiB in every corner of the boat. A few of us headed out on to deck for fresh air (Diesel fumes and cigarette smoke in the main) where Missy Lou and Dibdab compared notes on stowaway technique.

In the blink of an eye (seemingly) we were back on the bus, winding from Calais through Belgium to eventually arrive at the beautiful Southern Netherlands city of Eindhoven. Check in was quick at the charming Best Western Hotel, where we were also joined by the North Dutch Posse – Evonx and Mirjam, who were staying at the same hotel. Off to the hotel room for a quick freshen up then out to the delightful Indiaas Restaurant Tajmahal Eindhoven for sustenance before heading back to the hotel in time for the 7pm Wonky departure to the gig.

Aboard the bus, spirits were once again high but in a certain corner on the back seat a mild panic set in, as realisation dawned that we had forgotten our gig tickets, in an almost identical incident to that of Lille last year. A quiet word with our great leader Mr Carne saw the problem resolved and minds put at ease (many thanks Sir O!). Then it was into the venue for tonight’s proceedings the legendary (honestly!) Effenaar.

A spacious capacious venue with a high ceiling that could have reasonably led to some concern over sound issues/echo etc… But this was not to be the case!

Eff NMV1

Up first Limburg natives No Man’s Valley took the stage with their patented blend of ‘energetic organ rock inspired by the record collection of their parents’. My guess is that their parents were at some time big fans of The Doors! And thank goodness for that!

Eff NMV4

The first number kicked off with a strong vocal, almost acapella but for a sparse rhythmic accompaniment, impressing the crowd immediately with superb vocal chops and atmosphere.

The band then took us on their musical journey backed up with their punchy drums and melodic guitar, keyboard and bass work. The sound in the Effenaar tonight was crystal clear and amazing.

Eff NMV6

While it would be unfair to just compare NMV with The Doors, it’s not a bad frame of reference to start with. This is a young band that is unapologetically inspired by the past while being also very much of the present with the energy, performance and creative power they bring to the show.

Not to be missed! Excellent!

We were now at escape velocity rocketing towards Strangling time…

eff mib6

Waltzinblack and they’re off…

With a set beginning not dissimilarly to the summer shows we get 7 stonking barnstormers comprising; Toiler, Straighten Out, Grip, I’ve Been Wild, Curfew, Relentless and Sleazy. With barely a chance to take a breath before we get an extended mellow section not unlike that of The Ruby Tour: Golden Brown, Always The Sun, (then a change of guitars for) Midnight Summer Dream/European Female!

eff mib1

Then it’s back to the electric for Baz as they slowly build the atmosphere back up with the awesome Freedom is Insane. Following this with crowd pleaser Time To Die, before coming back up to full speed with the pair of stonkers Norfolk Coast and I Feel Like A Wog. Two more classic hits in the shape of Skin Deep and Peaches before coming back up to the Mk4 – 3 eras with Time Was Once On My Side and Lost Control respectively. Duchess and No More Heroes and they’re done!

eff mib7

Back on for the encore with All Day and All of The Night followed by Tank and then it’s Goodnight Eindhoven!

That’s the set-list sorted, what about the performance?

eff mib4

Well the Stranglers themselves were on top form giving a performance of their usual high calibre, which saw them playing out of their skins. Dave was grinning madly and clearly enjoying himself as were JJ, Baz and Jim. The sound again was absolutely spot on, with all elements being clear and well balanced. The crowd were hanging on every note/beat.

The Wonkyites and many other non-wonky travellers were making the most of the moment and partying/pogoing/moshing/crowd-surfing like their lives depended on it (maybe something to do with Wonky Virgin Mohawk Dave being at large?), all in a good natured spirited manner. The locals were most welcoming to the visiting tribes as well as joining in with the fun and once again it was really great to be in this fantastic country! Of the surfers, Geordie Keith went over the top of the barrier and face planted with there being no-one there to catch him! Baz looked on concerned (as according to Pam, he was out cold for a while) and leaned over to see if he was okay, just then Keith regained consciousness rose up and planted a smacker on the top of Baz’s Bonce.

Then apres gig the house DJ spun many an Old School Punk/New Wave/Ska tune, which kept all and sundry happy right up until pumpkin time. After which it was back on the bus to the hotel, while some opted to stay on in the centre. Stories of all night drinking and revelry into the small hours came back in various reports. And some of these reports were evidenced by means of physical manifestation the following morning. Others opted for calmer pursuits such as meditation/levitation.

Chapter 2.

Saturday.

A bright start to the day in Eindhoven saw us up in time for breakfast, sustenance gratefully received following the previous night’s candle burning. The breakfast hall was buzzing with chatter about the previous night, the upcoming day, the sights of Eindhoven and even The Sons of The Desert…

The early blue skies had given way to rain and before long it was all aboard the Wonky Bus – destination Leiden. We sailed the old Black River for a smooth crossing, taking in such sights as windmills and dykes and maybe even the odd hill (which may actually have been a heap of soil on a building site), although the biggest reaction (incorporating whoops, cheers and pleas to turn right!) was reserved for the Heineken factory.

Before long we arrived at our hotel the charming IBIS Leiden Centre, opposite Leiden Centraal Railway Station, on what was a chilly, bright/showery afternoon. After dropping off bags, stopping off for tea and admiring windmills and Rainbows, a stroll in to town was next on the agenda. Taking in Music shops, restaurants, pubs and more, we scoped out the preferred venue for tonight’s dinner before heading back to base. Here we encountered more travellers in the shape of Lucy, Rio and Tom at the check-in desk and Mully and Kev around and about there somewhere too.

Then it was off to the delightful Selera Anda Indonesian restaurant for a dinner of flavoursome delights before returning to base to get gig-ready. By now the weather had deteriorated somewhat to a sleety chill.

7pm. saw us gather in reception for the march down to the venue en masse. Several splintered off along the way into various pubs and the like. Arriving at the venue, some opted to go straight in while others opted to see a little more of Leiden.

A small group of us gathered at the pub around the corner from the venue, where we were joined at times by many a gig bound traveller, stopping off to say hello or get some (dodgy) directions. One suave looking chap opted to join/charm us for a while and this dapper chappie turned out to be none other than Jezz Prenton, good to see you Sir! Sir Jason Apollo also turned up and stopped for a wee natter.

Feeling the bite of the chill weather and not wanting to miss the support act we made our way to the venue, Gebr. De Nobel, a smaller venue than last night comprising a square shaped dancefloor surrounded on three sides by three levels of balconies and on the fourth side by the stage itself, a very nice space indeed!

Arriving, as we did, in time to catch most of the set from tonight’s support act No Man’s Valley…

What?

Yes!

No Man’s Valley…

lei nmv4

Another blistering set and by now the band could feel the love from the immigrants as lead singer Jasper Hesselink talked to the crowd in English and referenced The Stranglers quite a bit.

The sound was not as clear tonight as it had been in Eindhoven but it was still sounding great and went down a storm with the crowd.

lei nmv5

Having the opportunity to see this band for a second consecutive night was a privilege indeed and underlined the already winning first impression with more proof of their quality as they delivered another solid performance. Fab stuff!

Another friendly Dutch audience tonight, stood shoulder to shoulder and side by side with the slightly bonkers Wonkers and other assorted tourists. Among them there were a few familiar faces in Black; Anna-Bunny, Dominique, Marcel, Jacqueline and Jan.

Just then…

The lights dimmed and…

lei mib1

Waltzinblack, Toiler, Straighten Out, Grip, I’ve Been Wild, Curfew, Relentless, Nice n Sleazy, Golden Brown, Always The Sun, Midnight Summers Dream, European Female, Freedom is Insane, Time to Die, Norfolk Coast, I Feel Like a Wog, Skin Deep, Peaches, Time Was Once On My Side, Lost Control, Duchess and No More Heroes rounded out the main set. (Try saying that in one breath… “That!”… Alright smartarse! etc Etc EiTC)

lei mib16

Then,

Walk on By (Sublime), All Day and All of The Night (Most I’ve ever enjoyed this one) and Tank!

lei mib15

The MiB were on fine form tonight for this, the end of their European tour. While the sound was not as clear as last night’s, it was still superb and Baz, Dave, Jim and JJ delivered the goods most convincingly with style, panache and just a little dash of menace.

lei mib14

At the end of the set the band took bows and came forward to thank and shake hands with the crowd, a nice touch!

During the previous night at Eindhoven Baz had asked the Dutch what they thought of the Mad English crowd which while getting a good reaction also provoked a bit of a backlash from the non-English Wonkyites and travellers. This was taken into consideration tonight as Baz made amends and then he and JJ took delivery of Scottish and Welsh flags amid much mirth and merriment before bursting into an impromptu rendition of The Bonny Banks O’ Loch Lomond. Superb!

lei mib8

The crowd were once again lively and up for it with some creative surfing, at one point TBC must have been aloft for at least a couple of minutes!

On Peaches the night before in Eindhoven ‘worse places to be’ culminated in ‘Down in The Sewer or even Inside Barry Spooners Mind’ whereas tonight Baz refined it to the more poetic couplet ‘Down in The Sewer or sharing a bunk with Barry Spooner…’ Gold!

A few stayed on for more drinks and dancing at the venue before heading out to pubs and bars for shenanigans lasting well into the wee small hours, in spite of the 9.30 am departure time the following morning (which in some cases turned out to be in an hour or so!). While others again dispersed here and there. We once again opted for Levitation! Top night!

Chapter Three.

Sunday.

The 9:30 am departure time saw us rising early in time to make breakfast before the off. A lot of the crowd were looking well and truly shell-shocked and somewhat lived in this morning, having been partying for the best part of two days now.

We said our goodbyes to those that were staying on and those going back by other methods. Campbell was flying back and hoping to make it home in time to catch Hugh Cornwell in Oran Mor.

All aboard the bus for the long drive back to Calais. Talk of closed borders at Belgium leading to possible delays didn’t materialise as we made it through to British Passport Control at Calais in good time. Once again EiTC’s dissimilarity to his passport caused some mirth/concern and I duly informed the lovely immigration officer that her fiver was in the post! In contrast to getting a later ferry on the way out, we got an earlier one on the way back, which was nice…

A spot of lunch and then a stroll around deck saw us catching up with FiB from one end of the boat to the other, and then spending the last part of the cruise on the aft deck before disembarking back in Dover. A striking and persistent sunset welcomed us back to Blighty as we crossed the Kent country side where we spotted these strange protrusions emanating up from the ground (hills).

London traffic saw our drivers improvising a little by diverting from the A2 on to the South Circular, allowing us to take in the sights of Sunny SE London (or home as Pidge would call it!); the uninitiated grabbed their purses a little tighter!

Before we knew it, we were back to civilisation (or South West London as it is known) as the bus pulled up to its final destination Victoria. A few farewells and we all went our separate ways, some home, some to the nearest pub etc Etc EiTC…

Epilogue.

It’s now several days after and the senses are just beginning to return to their normal level of dysfunction. It’s been a fantastic, euphoric and at times emotional journey!

So to sum up a fab weekend in even fabber company!

Huge heartfelt thanks must go to The Stranglers and Owen and Jacquie Carne. (Without whom!).

Over…

Words: EiTC.

Photos: EiTC and Dibdab.

Bonus:

Day 1:

Eff NMV5 Eff NMV3 Eff NMV2 eff mib5 eff mib3 eff mib2 eff aud14 eff aud13 eff aud12 eff aud11 eff aud10 eff aud9 eff aud8 eff aud7 eff aud6 eff aud5 eff aud4 eff aud3 Eff aud2 Eff aud1 eff vonx mir Eff vonx mir baz Eff tone Eff dichrislou Eff Bus Blo eff bunny lou Eff Bella Eff Antler waiting out used motor out raffle out Owen bus out mick bella out bauble out aft deck out

Day 2:

window shop bella lei nmv2 Lei nmv1 lei nmv5 Lei mib17 lei mib13 lei mib11 Lei mib7 lei mib6 lei mib5 Lei mib 10 Lei Mark Kev lei bow lei aud113 lei aud24 lei aud23 lei aud22 lei aud21 lei aud20 lei aud16 lei aud15 lei aud2 lei aud4 Lei aud6 lei aud12 lei aud8 Geb Jezz lei aud 14 dutch mountain lei aud7lei aud19   Lei aud18

Day 3:

home cheers Home Cath Henry dover dover sunset danny Bac Mark bac hen Dan Bac Davy bac big thing coming dan

Triple Review – Hugh Cornwell – Acoustic – Union Chapel, Islington – 2-11-15.

Blimey! here we go again…
Not unlike, your London Bobbies and Buses…
You wait for what could conceivably be called an eternity for a review…
Then three come along at once…
It never rains but it pours etc Etc EiTC…
Oh well, here goes…

Ladies first!

Hugh Cornwell – Union Chapel – 2-11-15.

A small article in The Times on Monday 2nd November said that Christians who are vocal about their faith are more likely to put their acquaintances off God than attract them to find out more about Jesus… Don’t mention the religious tracts and stick a gig on in a church and those with their own true belief will come… Even on a Monday!

hugh bw3

The Hugh faithful know that you cannot convert with talk but on a foggy night in Islington the voice was there to speak for itself. But as it was a foggy Monday unsurprisingly the chapel wasn’t as full as it had been two years ago on a chilly Saturday. There was plenty of room on the pews meaning that everyone must have been able to get a good view towards the pulpit.

There was also an abundance of heating. Maybe even too much heat which combined with a hot chocolate and a Tunnock’s teacake (available from the handy kiosk at the back of the hall) could have been soporific but the hard seating counteracted any tendency to nod off.

Added to this were the excellent acoustics that let Hugh’s voice ring out. There were ten Stranglers songs performed before a half hour interval. Hugh started with Strange Little Girl, the first song penned as The Stranglers, and then followed with a song and anecdotes from each album up to Dreamtime.

hugh bw

A few sharp intakes of breath at the omission of 10 as people headed to the bar, tea bar or to the usher’s ice cream tray. Hugh, however, did have a plan and came back with Break of Dawn from Wolf, placing it neatly in chronological order before Man of the Earth. He then played a song from each of his subsequent solo albums finishing with a look to the future (and hints that an album is due next year) in the form of one of his newest songs, La Grande Dame.

hugh bw 9

Difficult to pick a favourite from the selection played. Second Coming followed by Tramp was very special. In trying to write other highlights I more or less find myself typing out the set list in its entirety. Outside Tokyo, Black Hair Black Eyes Black Suit, Beat of My Heart, and Never Say Goodbye.

To mention that I would have preferred a different track from T&T to the one played (I Want One of Those, which I find a bit of a dirge) is a minor quibble and one that was rectified by the addition of Gods, Guns and Gays in the encore. The only track that didn’t work for me was Dagenham Dave. When I last saw Hugh play an electric set at Weyfest in September this was the track that I least enjoyed then too. For me it needs keyboards, no other substitute is acceptable.

hugh bw 8

By Hugh’s charming admission, following a few botched chords, he is a singer first and foremost and only took up the guitar to accompany himself. Did I mention his voice? It was spot on in the chapel. No point preaching to the unconverted but anyone who fell in love with the Stranglers based on any of the first ten albums really should experience hearing them sung by the original voice. Acoustic gigs might not be the answer to everyone’s prayers but this was the best that I’ve heard from Hugh.

Praise be. Go in peace.

Over…

Words: Gill Baglady.
Photos: EiTC.

Legends Next…

Hugh Cornwell The Union Chapel Islington Monday 2nd November.

As the yearly Hugh Cornwell Autumn Tour rolls into town, it is always a gamble as to what it is going to be; a full band tour or Hugh alone on his tod with an Acoustic Guitar. I am a big fan of His electric gigs, last year’s gig at The Brighton Concorde 2 was one of the best times I have ever seen him. I thought he was going to follow it through as he has been electric for most of the year. But this year it was an acoustic tour (these seem to becoming a thing of the norm in recent years). The Times I have seen him acoustic are 2006 Telford, 2008 Ronnie Scott’s, 2012 Bush Hall and 2013 Sale. So my 25th Hugh Gig will be at The Union Chapel a venue I have never been to before. Before the gig I had a Great time meeting fellow Burning Up Time Forumster John Cooper and his girlfriend Lynsey in the Legendary Hope and Anchor. A couple more people turned up of whose names escape me. At 7.30 me, John, Lynsey and co make our way to The Union Chapel. Inside is Matt Brown, Graham Flowers, Gill, Bill and Kat, time to take our seats!

Hugh3

Hugh comes on promptly at 8pm. Dressed in a suit that looks tailor made for him. He thanks everyone for coming and tells the Audience what to expect, a set of two halves – one from his Strangler days and one from his solo days…

He straps on his guitar and tells us a story about the first song The Stranglers ever wrote with Biochemist friend from Sweden Hans Wärmling, of course it was the brilliant Strange Little Girl. He spoke of his time in Sweden and Johnny Sox and said it was like his school of rock.

hugh2

He then goes into Grip from Rattus Norvegicus, Dagenham Dave from No More Heroes, and the brilliant Outside Tokyo from Black and white. This is the first time I have ever heard him do this. Stories are told very quickly and The Raven Story was that the record company, wanted to fly a band member to Japan, First Class to approve a new hologram 3D sleeve. So Hugh flew from The UK to Japan, First Class. Outside a limousine was waiting for him to take him to the Japanese studio. He had a look at the sleeve and said “Yeah that looks alright” and went back to England. They wouldn’t do that these days as it would cost a fortune. The song played from the raven was Duchess. Onto the Stranglers Darkest period The Meninblack, Hugh got put in Pentonville prison for possession of Drugs. In Prison the only thing to read was the Bible. So Hugh Read it and when he came out started to work with JJ on the next album The Gospel according to the Meninblack. Of which the record company did not like, naughty Stranglers as Hugh Said impersonating someone from the record company “There are no hit singles on this record go back and make another”. A big surprise was in store for us in the shape of Second Coming my favourite of the gig.

Next up Hugh says “So the record company says – the next album there has to be a smash hit or you’re finished, finito! So we come up with Golden Brown, and that was a massive smash hit. But the important thing is to follow up one smash hit with another. The record company and me wanted to release Tramp. Brilliant I thought, two smash hits in a row that I wrote y’know I was more than pleased, but we went away and came back and JJ persuaded the band to release La Folie a song in French, that didn’t do very well at all” Tramp is played next.

hugh

The Stranglers leave Emi Hugh says, Every Mistake Imaginable as they are known by the band and move to CBS (Epic, which he also joked was English Product Ignored Completely! etc Etc EiTC) in 1982 and in 1983 they release Feline off which Hugh plays Never Say Goodbye, then No Mercy From Aural Sculpture and Always the Sun from Dreamtime follow which ends the first half of the set.

The second half of the set Hugh comes on and says “in 1990 I took a walk from The Stranglers, did various collaboration albums, but while I was still in the stranglers I released a solo album called Wolf and here’s a song from it Break of dawn”. (After which Hugh then played Man of the earth from 10, his last record with The Stranglers… etc Etc EiTC).

The solo Hugh set list I thought was a bit predictable (IMO) as he is usually more adventurous with it. First Bus to Babylon followed from the Wired album, my favourite of his solo set, from Guilty – Black Hair, Black eyes Black suit. Then from HIFI we get Lay back on me Pal, from Hooverdam Beat of my Heart, from Totem and Taboo I Want One of Those.

Hugh then says to follow the trend of releasing a solo album once every 4 years he has got the songs ready and is on the ball and plays a new song La Grande Dame. That finishes the second set.

hughtograph

Hugh comes on for the encore and explains there is a DVD called Anthology on sale from the acoustic tour in 2013 recorded at Aberdeen. On it there is a number for a competition to win a poster that Hugh found in his loft for the charity cricket match – The Stranglers VS the Media at Paddington in 1979. He will be doing a draw at the end of the tour so keep hold of it. One Burning Desire from Guilty, Gods Guns and Gays from Totem and Taboo, and he finishes of with the mariachi version of Golden Brown. At the end of the gig I buy the DVD and compilation album The Fall and Rise of Hugh Cornwell and the single Under her spell CD2. I have a little chat with Hugh. Matt, Graham, Gill and See The Little Nuclei. Then it is time to make our way home. There is a strike on apparently. But I get home before midnight. Another good night out seeing Hugh!

pidge and JC

Over…

Words and Photos: The Legendary Pigeon.

And finally your old mucker EiTC…

Gig Review – Hugh Cornwell – Union Chapel Islington – 2nd Nov 2015.

In the Pews with Hugh…

Sunday saw a real Pea-souper which kind of set us up for a gloomy Monday in foggy ol’ London Town. What with it being a school night and all, there just wasn’t that much to get excited about…

…Wait! Scratch that!

The sugar-tongs were set to cross the River Thames (the River Thames is cold!) and head through the central London evening rush into the wilds of the North (Islington to be precise) to spend an evening at church…

hugh bw 7

I stopped off en-route at the delightful Diwana in Drummond Street Euston for some nourishing sustenance, before getting back in the race with the other rats and eventually arriving at Union Chapel to meet up with Lil, Lefty and Andyw. Inside the church the flock had turned out en Masse, a healthy congregation indeed for a miserable Monday evening in November – including; Pigeon, Bat and Kill, Mike Aboud, MonikaJ (aka seethelittlenuclei) and Nell, Aldinblack and the Pharbours to name a few. The faithful gathered around the alter filling the pews in anticipation. And tonight the sermon was being delivered by none other than Hugh Cornwell!

hugh bw 6

Around the dot of 8ish the lights dimmed, the crowd buzzed and Hugh took the stage, where he proceeded to take control of the Sugar Tongs guiding us on a journey through time spanning some 40 plus years.

Kicking off with “the first song The Stranglers ever wrote” Strange Little Girl, Hugh then proceeded to weave his way through every record from both his Stranglers days and his Solo career. Choosing one song to represent each release, he interspersed these with tales and good humoured banter relating to each of these periods. Hugh comes across as warm, sincere, and funny while displaying a hint of humility and genuine appreciation towards the audience.

hugh bw 5

The set tonight was totally different to the previous acoustic tour in 2013, with some nice surprises. Highlights for me being too numerous but special mention to Second Coming, Outside Tokyo, Grip and Tramp from the Stranglers canon and Under Her Spell, Lay Back on Me Pal, Beat of My Heart and maybe, or maybe not, One Burning Desire (which according to Guilford Lil – Lefty said Pidge told him to tell her was definitely probably in the set, although I’m sure OBD was in there somewhere – etc Etc EiTC!).

hugh bw 4

Observation… While we’re on the subject of Hugh’s acoustic gigs, in my review of last year’s Electric performance at the Electric Ballroom, I mentioned that songs like Duchess and Grip didn’t seem to particularly work without the keyboards, while others like Straighten Out and Sleazy were on fire. Not so tonight! Grip was slowed down a little and with Hugh’s strong-arm strumming sounded perfect with an air of Velvet Underground about it. Duchess too was Top Drawer! etc Etc EiTC…

hugh bw 2

The sound tonight was great, with the acoustic sounding silky smooth in this large chapel (much better than the sound of two years ago). Hugh took a few false starts in his stride while joking with the crowd. While the melodic picking on his more intricate solo material was a sonic tonic for the lug holes! And the voice! Oh the voice! Despite appearing a little under the weather and chugging lozenges like no-ones business, it’s always a delight to hear Hugh sing and tonight was no exception.

Top Stuff!

Over…

Words and Photos: EiTC.

Bonus:

stln hugh 2

Click for Animation
Click for Animation

gang head hugh blue hugh 3d gang foot

Guest Review – Peter Hook & The Light – Manchester Academy – 30-10-15

Mr T Brings us this…

Peter Hook & the Light …. Manchestaaa Eh Eh Eh? or is it A A A?

Every now and then one of those gigs comes up that you know is going to be special and that you know that you have to be at! Back in February I was made aware of a certain night in Manchester in Leafy October…

Peter Hook – YES!

Closer in its entirety YES YES!

Unknown Pleasures in its entirety YES YES YES!

Live in Manchester the home of Joy Division YES YES YES YES!

Pic 1

Tickets went on sale rather bizarrely at 1730 on 19th February and by 1732 I was the happy owner of 4 tickets and just the small matter of the summer to pass…

As they do, the summer came and went over 2 days in June and here we were on Halloween Eve. Leaving the balmy climes of Costa del Coventry at 1300 I was somehow manoeuvred into the passenger seat of Shazzers street Ka , regrettably not topless , to begin our journey to the sunshiiiinnnneeee in Manchestaaa . The very helpful man on Sat Nav kept us amused through the journey insisting that the journey was on the whole via A roads and more A roads . We passed through some delightful little villages the highlights being Shazzer shouting out Tittensore (unfortunately this was the village name not a request from Sharon for me to rub them better , Im sure if we were topless it would have been much different)! . Later on we passed through Marton and saw a beautiful church, anyway culture over…

Pic 2 Pic 3

Some 3 ½ Hours later on arrival at our destination we safely parked the Shazzer Mobile in a street conveniently located near to the venue and linked up with compatriots for the evening Willie and Tracey Williams , sadly this meant walking past the now defunct Jabez Cleggs (Home of many a fine soiree) continuing round the corner where we took up our alfresco seating in the KRO bar and watched the student population walk buy , a few beers and a very enjoyable Pork Schnitzel later we ventured to other side of road and joined a smallish queue at the venue noting fellow MIB Scott Howieson at the head of the queue. Doors opened promptly and we took our positions with Sharon and Tracey managing centre barrier spots.

We had found out earlier in the day that we were going to have a support act , despite the length of the PHATL set and at 1930 El Tel Eleven took the stage , a strange American Duo who based their all instrumental act on layering of sound and repeated loops . Although mostly respectful the audience were not entirely overawed by this performance, very obviously being there for the main act.

Pic 4

My gig buddy for the evening Willie Williams then got into a deep and meaningful Joy Division based dialogue with a Liverpudlian fan who was so stereotypically scouse every sentence starting Eh Eh Eh Dat Peter Hook…

Pic 5

A quick transition on stage and Peter Hook and the light walked the boards and we were treated to a New Order opening mini set, starting off with the wonderful Ceremony, Age of Consent, Love Vigilantes, Your Silent Face, True Faith, Temptation before the final track The Perfect Kiss. The sound was spot on even in our position and Mr Hook and many more were beginning to build up a head of steam.

Pic 6 Pic 7

A brief 5 minute break followed before returning to the stage for the first of the 2 JD Albums. Breaking chronological order they commenced with Closer, the audience lapping up every moment of it. Hooky’s voice works with the JD catalogue far better than with the New Order stuff, highlights for me were Isolation and Heart and soul. Ably accompanied by Jack Bates (Hooky’s Son ) on bass , David Potts (Guitar) Paul Kehoe (Drums) and Andy Poole (Keys). Closer was sadly over all to quickly but we were only half way through the evening and had Unknown Pleasures to look forward to.

Pic 8

Another 5 minute break, obviously not enough for Hooky to change his sweat drenched T – Shirt before the band reappeared for the original Joy Division Album Unknown Pleasures. Commencing with Disorder seamlessly running through to the final track I Remember Nothing. Personal highlight here was the middle section of New Dawn Fades, She’s Lost Control and Shadowlands . The crowd by this stage were totally in awe of the performance still wanting more and we were not disappointed.

Pic 9

A final 5 minute break before the last section of the gig which sent the audience into raptures comprising of Atmosphere , Warsaw , Transmission and Love Will Tear us apart at which stage some lucky fan (?) became the benefactor of Hooky’s sweat ridden T Shirt . Warsaw being my favourite track of the night!

2320 the gig was over, the crowd were buzzing and reminiscing on what they had just witnessed, time to briefly meet Alex Owen, Alex’s Dad (Mark) and one of Hooky’s crew who I had met in Leamington earlier this year.

Pic 10

Dodging the dodgy T shirt wheeler dealers we had a brief chat with Janet Taylor albeit through one of the magic busses steamy windows before repositioning myself in the shazzer mobile for a much quicker journey home , most of it singing Love , Love will tear us apart again.

So October ending the way it started with a Hooky Gig , November is here and its nearly time to get Wonky!

Special thanks to Shazzer , my gig companion and dedicated driver?
Thank you Peter Hook! Almost 3 hours of music you didn’t disappoint!

Pic 11 Pic 12

Over…

Words: Mr T.

Photos: Mr T and Shazzer.

Review – Ruts DC/UK Feds – The Bullingdon Oxford – Laurel and Hardy – Vue Fulham – 25-10-15.

Gig Review – Ruts DC/UK Feds – The Bullingdon Oxford – 25-10-15.

Laurel and Hardy Revival – Vue Fulham Broadway.

Having primed the Sugar Tongs for Oxford, Diddie in Black and Blue (DiBaB) and yours truly (EiTC) set off to Way Out West departing as we were from The South…

The South of What Sir?

The South of London…

Apologies to Mr Broad but somehow along the way we ended up having fun in South West Six…

The year was 1937 and Laurel and Hardy were playing at the Vue cinema in Fulham Broadway. Where (apres subtle yogic activity of an inverted nature…) we enjoyed the delightful pairing of Way Out West and Towed in a Hole on the Silver Screen. Much Mirth, Merriment and Tittering followed (Guaranteed, naturally!) setting up a kind of theme for the day…

Laurel and Hardy

After having caught up with Stan and Ollie we set the controls for the Car Park known as the A40 and gently rolled in the general direction of Oxford…

Getting near we ventured to turn on The Sat Nav which said left a bit, left a bit more and fire…

Duly arrived we ventured forth in search of nourishment, stopping off en route for a quick hello and how do with a Rut and a UK Fed, we eventually found ourselves sampling the contemporary Indian Cuisine at the delightful Malikas. Fed and watered to a most satisfactory standard we ventured back towards The Bullingdon, the venue for tonight’s gig. Firstly stopping off at the café bar section, before heading in to the venue proper to catch the show, where we caught up with none other than Shazzer and Mr T…

uk feds

Up first the UK Feds did their stuff ever more convincingly, appearing at ease and in control throughout. The crowd showed them appreciation as they cranked out the Punkish/Rocky/Ska-ish tones of their set, which came across really well, both sonically and visually in this cool venue. Before we knew it, it was all over and they were giving the audience and Ruts DC their sincere appreciation and gratitude, a nice touch (and the first underlining of the end of tour feeling in the air for tonight’s gig).

Ruts Dc

In a thrice, it was time for the main event as Ruts DC took to the stage and kicked off with Surprise. Having heard this toward the beginning of the tour in Guildford, then again in London, there was a familiarity about it now. At the same time there was also a sense of progression as it sounded and felt somewhat tighter and more polished (as Mr Miller alluded to in his South Coast Special – can’t wait for the new album).

Ruts green

The awesome Mighty Soldier next as the set began to follow a similar pattern from previous gigs in the tour. (The sound was spot on in The Bullingdon tonight, a venue which seemed to have something of the old Marquee in Wardour St about it in a good way, leading DiBaB to reminisce about seeing them there in 78/79 etc Etc EiTC…)

Ruffy Segs

The end of tour feeling came in to its own now with the Ruffy and Segs stand-up double act ensuring there was a good level of humorous between song shenanigans and goings on, which added nicely to the already comedic feel of the day started in London 78 years previously!

Dave

The set began to take a few twists and turns as It Was Cold was omitted to reappear later in the set. We were treated to a superb Different View, always a welcome addition. Dangerous Minds was on another level tonight with its slower tempo adding to the atmosphere of the song while Leigh’s guitar work excelled. On which note Leigh seemed to have thoroughly bedded in his new rig since its first outing in London two weeks ago, as the sound was spot on and he played out of his skin.

Leigh and Dino

The largely friendly crowd danced and grooved for most of the set, only at one point did they get a bit too lively (leaving one poor soul wounded) and Ruffy had stern words with them to rein them in, backed up in full by Segs, which thankfully did the trick!

Segs

The subtle reggae groove of Love in Vain was easily one of the (many) highlights of the evening with its seamless segue into Police and Thieves, pure class!

ruts DC

Once again a fine mix of Ruts/Ruts DC classics in with the recent and the brand new. (On which note, as previously stated re. Surprise – newer numbers Second Hand Child and Psychic Attack, really are shaping up well and fitting glove like alongside and amongst the older/established material!)

Encore time saw the band remaining on stage while they joked about their age and not being bothered with going off and coming back on again…

Segs Mikey

Then there were Five or maybe there were six… As Jon and Mikey from the UK Feds bolstered their numbers for a proper treatment of In A Rut and they were joined by an inflatable dinosaur.

leigh jon

A couple more numbers rounded out the encore finishing the night with a sterling Society, which may have seen DiBaB and EiTC dancing with the aforementioned dinosaur.

First class entertainment from a first class band who just seem to go from strength to strength…

And a couple of welcome glasses followed at the bar chatting with Lewis and Sara.

Top Band, Top Night, Top Venue etc Etc EiTC…

Over…

Words: EiTC.

UK Feds, UK Feds/Ruts DC and First 3 Ruts DC Photos: Sharon Williams.

Remaining Ruts DC Photos: Mark Taylor.

Bonus:

Shazzer:

Foxtrot Oscar Leigh Segs Leigh Leigh2 Matt Di Di No Saur Dino up high

Mr T:

Dave BW Dino Matt Di

Guest Review – Ruts DC – Psychic attack on the South Coast – Brighton/Southsea 21-22 Oct 2015

Ruts DC – Psychic attack on the South Coast…

Andy Miller brings us this from Brighton and Southsea…

Well, as many people who know me will testify, I do like my live music and a band that are very special to me are Ruts DC! Firstly because one of my best and oldest friends Leigh is the guitarist in this band but also because they are one of the best bands out there! I have seen this band on many occasions over these past few years and can honestly say they are an exceptional group who just get better and better. For my sins I never got to see The Ruts live which is something that I have always regretted. And apart from them being the local band along with the Lurkers my only contact back in the day (1979) was bumping into Malcolm Owen in Uxbridge town just after I had purchased Babylon’s Burning on 7 inch single and getting him to scribble his moniker on the picture cover (sadly I had this stolen along with a lot of my records at a party many years ago and although at the time I was probably fairly nonplussed about it – now it really eats at me and would be a prized possession if I still had it).

P2220727

Move forward a few years to the mid to late eighties and through Leigh I got to know Paul Fox who played in various bands like Choir Militia, Big Boys and the Dirty Strangers, so I had a sort of loose connection again and got to see Foxy play live quite a bit over the oncoming years. As Paul’s health deteriorated, Leigh, with Paul’s blessing, stepped into dep on gigs when the man himself couldn’t play. Sadly Foxy passed away a few years back and when Segs Jennings and Dave Ruffy were approached about doing a couple of gigs as Ruts DC, Leigh got the call and as they say the rest is history.

Brighton – Komedia 21st Oct:

Fast forward to Wednesday evening and the Komedia in Brighton for the second of Three South coast gigs on their Psychic Attack Tour. This is a first time at this venue for me and I was very impressed! Prior to the gig went I for a pint with Leigh in a Brighton boozer and we were joined by Simon from the Neurotics and Rupert from the Jim Jones Revue, where the conversation was obviously all about music. Then it was into the venue to catch the final few numbers from the UK Feds who are the support on this tour and a nice bunch of lads who play real music and hopefully will go far. It was good to catch up with quite a few familiar faces as always and a decent crowd was in situ as Segs, Dave and Leigh took to the stage at 9pm…

P2220991

The opening song of the set was a new song Surprise which is a great taster for the new album to be recorded when the band return from their Australia/New Zealand Tour next month. Next up Mighty Soldier from Rhythm Collision 2. Then the first visit to the Ruts back catalogue with Backbiter closely followed by It was Cold/Mirror Smashed with a stunning guitar solo from Leigh full of power and angst.

P2220753

The set as always is well balanced and back to back songs from Animal now – Dangerous Minds and No time to kill are up next , Second Hand Child is a powerful new song about abuse, this song just gets better and better and Seg’s vocal delivery on this is exceptional – he really spits out the lyrics. Love in vain is also an emotive song but on a different level and is dedicated to Malcolm ,Paul , and anybody that has lost somebody.

P2220965

Then the final salvo of the main set is launched with the anthemic West One followed by the new song and title track of the pending new album Psychic attack, two of the shortest songs in the set bar Society but boy do they hit the spot and nearly took the roof of the Komedia! We then get in quick succession Staring at the Rude boys, Jah War, Babylon’s Burning and a jaw dropping In a Rut to close the main set.

They left the stage to great applause but were soon back for a three song encore kicking off with a cover Brand new Cadillac, then Something That I Said and the shortest song in the whole of the Ruts/Ruts DC catalogue – Society to end what had been one of the best gigs I had seen this year along with their gig back at the 100 Club in January…

Southsea – The Wedgewood Rooms 22nd Oct:

Fast forward 24 Hours and I am now at another new venue for me – The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea. With the same format of visiting a pub with Leigh and friends for a couple of pints then into the venue for a few numbers from the support band before Ruts DC took the stage at the later time of 10pm.

P2220835

There was a decent crowd in who were well up for the gig and the band (which I didn’t think was possible) took it to a higher level than the previous night. It was exactly the same set as the night before which, if I had to choose, although very hard – the stand out tracks would be Mirror smashed, Love in Vain , Rude boys and an even more blistering version of In a Rut than the previous night (aided by Segs skipping over and flicking all Leigh’s switches etc to maximum).

P2220812

A brief exit and return back to stage for an extended encore to the previous night with, as Segs introduced it, the b side of our first single (and a storming) H-Eyes – a song which up until two weeks ago I had never seen played live and have now seen twice after hearing it at Boileroom in Guildford). This was followed by Brand New Cadillac, Something That I Said and a rip-roaring Society to round off a fantastic gig and the final song on the South Coast leg… What a gig! And if possible it did top the Brighton gig but only just and as back to back gigs go these two will take some beating in my eyes.

P2220791

As an overall summary of the past two gigs it is so refreshing to see a band who have such a revered legacy and could go out and play the Crack with singles and b-sides every night but this is not what this band is about – they want to move forward. New songs, ideas, plans etc and I applaud them for this. And long may they continue to do so and not rest on their laurels. I would like to thank Seg’s ,Dave and Leigh for these great gigs and end with this -Bring on the Psychic attack album HURRAH!

Over…

Words and Photos: Andy Miller.

Bonus Brighton:

P2220739 P2220683

Bonus Southsea:

P2230023 P2220947 P2220943 P2220923 P2220879