I was at a Damned concert the other day – great fun. My feeling about concerts by heritage acts these days is that the audiences are becoming warmer with each other, and it’s becoming like we are a regimental reunion for our grandfathers. There is the shared experience, the passing of time, the continued love of a particular act, the recognition of particular moments, the characters who emerge (Jonno, who has seen The Damned over 1000 times)… Hawkwind gigs are similarly communal as are ‘Ver Maiden. Is it that people have given up on cool at last? Not that it is easy to be cool without without a trendy barnett, carrying at least 30 spare lbs of lovingly acquired gut, and a slight wish for the gig to be over by a time which means you can be in bed by midnight.
This place sometimes makes me feel there has been no change in 40 years. In music, of course, but also in the personalities. Tigs is the cool clever gorgeous girl everyone is in love with but too shy to ask out (she’d be very kind in her rejections making her even more loved); Beany is lighting farts and has a large collection of comedy records; RobC is the first one to be experimenting with herbal substances and seems to be in on a cosmic secret we are only reaching for; SteveT is a preternatural solid source of common sense and good taste. Black Celebration looks askance at the retro musical taste with pity and amusement, I am Roland Browning in a wig. Have I got this right? Are there other roles that naturally emerge?
I am starting to feel the time has passed for big bands and big crowds of pensioners and their phone-fiddling junior relatives to try to relive the excitement of seeing these bands 40 years ago. The reforming Of Genesis 11 years ago was as underwhelming as you might think, going by the footage. Peter Gabriel’s work ethic has decently reduced somewhat (I think it was all over after the “Passion” soundtrack), and Steve Hackett has a variety of ways to get the last juice from the orange. So many artists haven’t really been effective in decades – what has Jimmy page delivered likewise in the last 40 years? Floyd’s last decent album was “Animals”. Just how long do you keep flogging a dead horse before you know it’s over?
I have mixed feelings about The Moody Blues. Love “Days of Future Past” and some of the hits, but they could be painfully safe (Justin Hayward’s bouffant, etc.). Nevertheless, their cheese factor was high, and to me that is a good thing. Plus, and it’s a big one, flutes play a major part in a lot of music I enjoy.
I’ve been dying of this bloody awful flu and fell into a YouTube strand of old “Wheeltappers and Shunters” episodes. The sghow was set in a fake northern working men’s club with lots of variety turns who then seemed elderly but now look younger than most of us on this blog. It was endlessly fascinating, wierd, archaic, and sometimes downright sinister (the Krankies would have me on the phone to the social services now).
with alvin stardust and cyril smith on the judging panel here, it really underlines why we liked punk rock and jethro tull. This life was NOT going to be a option.
“Bands and genres that were scorned and laughable by rock snobs and the hip cognoscenti then are not the bands that are scorned and laughable by rock snobs and the hip cognoscenti now.” Discuss. Use both sides of the exam paper, with worked examples. The most egregious examples are to be named and shamed.
I’ll start: not until Steven Wells in the NME did they stop being such jerks about metal and hard rock.
It is my sad duty to inform you that DikMik (Michael Davies) of Hawkwind has genuinely been “Born to Go” and passed onto the next plane.
Hawkwind’s tour in May was a treat for fans, with them supporting themselves as an unplugged act, This CD has both the more familiar trippy bikerdelic space rock (I will use “bikerdelic” until it is officially adopted) and some of the earlier acoustic set, a mellow section which was rather more enjoyable than I expected, being personally generally suspicious of acoustically style rock. They left “psi power” off this disc, but you can’t have everything. The album was recorded at the spiritual home of the 70s London Underground, the Camden Roundhouse, where Hawkwind last played in 1977, doubtless at an “all-dayer”. Camden has lost the alternative edge it once had (Compendium Books, etc) for a depressing mix of gentrification and student tat, but Hawkwind did their best to bring it back for the evening, and probably played better and with better gear (no snickering, hopheads) than back in the day.
Soon we are back with the more familiar swirling synths, echoed vocals, recited science fiction-poems, stentorian chords and riffage, with hypnotic jams bringing on flashback moments for some listeners. Those jams … anyone who met “Julie” back in the day, will most likely remember her if they listen to » Continue Reading.
The Doobie Brothers supplied a hits-filled, good humoured set that got a much stronger reaction than I expected, and even had Bill Payne (Little Feat) on keyboards (sadly, no “Day at the Dog Races”). The Steely Dan set was a tad truncated, but given that, as stellar as one might expect, thrilling a sold-out 20k seater. A lot of tracks from”Aja” and “Gaucho”, which suited me. Expensive lighting provided big looks and is probably necessary in a hall such as this. Sound remarkably good bar a trombone mike not switched on during a solo, and the band tighter than a gnat’s chuff. Donald Fagen seemed to be enjoying himself; maybe he’ll be back sooner. I’d like to see a solo band gig with more of his solo material at a smaller venue, e.g. the Royal Albert Hall.
Very mixed in age and with plenty of women. A few too many shiny happy people types for us sport-hating snarky hipster types who like to claim Steely Dan for their own. Their “dancing” was a bit of an irritation given a fair few had dodgy knees and so not sitting was not an option; » Continue Reading.
I wonder if the shift away from “edgy” violence in the arts and media will be paralleled by a similar shift from ‘edgy’ sex in the arts and media; it must be 40 years since Mapplethorpe argued you could skewer art pretensions by making it pornographic (see his biography). Then there was the Cosey Fan Tutti/ GPO exhibition at the ?ICA which also sought to deconstruct/ challenge/ [enter your post-modern buzz-word here] sex and pornography. Fashionistas eventually got it, Jeff Koons, his missus, all those photo essays of the fetish and s&m world, Madonna’s “Sex” book (oh those amusing transgressions she played with), Terry Richardson, porn as a norm, and the hiding in plain sight of sexual predators (I see Max Clifford and Weinstein as reflecting similar phenomena). I’m all for sex, and all for it being represented in an honest manner to accommodate a wide variety of orientations and preferences. Can this be done in a better way than currently? Discuss.
This is a rather nice article about our louche hipster fantasy friends which i think mostly nails their appeal (and why others may not get it).
I’m glad someone has pointed the “actors are not geniuses” thing out. Very few modern actors/ actresses appear to me more than a decorative chassis able to remember lines, and as such are soon to be superseded by CGI. I recall reading that Sir John Geilgud had no idea about the Shakespeare he was acting, but he gave it some drama and hoped it worked. I reckon the intellectualising of acting and music raised the art from the more honest “artisan”. Many of our musical heroes become increasingly disappointing the more we learn about their views, and therr atre very few real geniuses – most are a case of right place, right time, right producer, can play/ sing/ dance at bit. There are equally talented folks undiscovered or around at the wrong time for their oeuvre. Furthermore, the idea that our favourite entertainers emerge out of a free market of talent has to be understood in the context of the entertainment industry, and it’s less charming side of movers and shakers, some of whom were as sexually exploitative as Weinstein, so can open out or thwart talent at it’s earliest point. Discuss.
Nantwich Civic Hall
A full playthrough of “Power In the Darkness” 40 years on from “2-4-6-8 Motorway” at 1.30pm in the afternoon in Nantwich Civic Hall, rock n’ roll capital of Cheshire? Yes please. In th efirst bloom of PC amidst punk orthodoxy, the Tom Robinson Band were a basically unreconstructed rock band with plenty of riffage and strong Hammond Organ singing songs with political lyrics that helped stop the rise of Thatcherism (see what i did there?). Now 67, Tom Robinson plus excellent side men played a pretty straight run-through of everything they recorded before 1978 (I missed “I’m All Right, Jack”) plus the album, Tom going at it like a dog with a bag of hot chips, and clearly enjoying himself, if sometimes puffed-out by the frenetic pace. A few songs had slightly updated lyrics which avoided the obvious (Trump, Brexit, UKIP, Corbyn) for slightly broader humanist sensibilities, which i think was a good decision given how cliched it would have been to name the usual suspects. One thing; to me, “Martin”, a music hall paen to idiot delinquents, could be dropped: hitting someone in the face with a cloakroom stool, nicking cars, joyriding, » Continue Reading.
Have other folks hoping to attend this received their tickets yet? We haven’t.
Also, should we try to engineer a mingle at this event? i will have junior and the only teenage girl – my daughter, sauceboxes – in the audience with me.
Again, please advise.
I quite like a lot of Lou Reed’s post-Velvets output (I find the Velvets deeply over-rated, though am aware there are other views available). What I find interesting is the free pass his edgy, reformed junkie shtick gives to behaving like an insufferable tool. Did anyone ever stand up to him and give him a lesson in humility? This article has some interesting observations. I suspect he tried to dominate his conversation with Havel, as he didn’t want to be told how important Zappa and the mothers were for independent thinkers behind the Iron Curtain. Behind an opiate curtain you don’t really give a crap about anything except you habit. Lou, then his cheerleaders Lester Bangs and Nick Kent pretty much made being “elegantly wasted” junkies hip (heroic wingman, Keith Richards, who at least laughs at himself). I hope they are proud.
The discussions of a lack of women on music mag covers reminds me of what I am sure is not an original observation; the women of punk/ post-punk opened up music the way a bit of ramalama didn’t; The Slits, Siouxie, X-Ray Spex, Rezillos, Penetration, Laura Logic … I can listen to any of these still; I find blokey punk all a bit lumpen. These days I find PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp, and St Vincent more interesting than hip indie sausage fests (and I like sausages). I’ve never been one for positive discrimination and approved quotas; I simply find these acts better.
I must say this pleases my dark heart. That this rag exists and “The Word” doesn’t is a travesty of what is true and good in the world. It was mostly a singularly boring read, and I’m not sure if it’s focus on Woodstock-friendly singer songwriters then dull American bands playing catch up with UK indie made it any better. it is about as interesting as the freesheet NME (is that still going?). Then there are the legendary album reviews…
I was looking forward to this gig, and wasn’t disappointed. Moved from outside “The Custard Factory” (?selective appeal issue?), we were faced with a packed and hot O2 and a stage with several 10-foot high inflatable mushrooms dotted around the stage and venue. It was that kind of gig. Public Service Broadcasting (the other PSB?) delivered a lively and enjoyable set, and are sort of where Kraftwerk, Hawkwind, and Neu! meet with an old style Human League presentation of wry and evocative films and PSB clips of mining, factories, and the Soviet space programme, performed by a bunch of post graduates and a hip Jason Rees-Mogg. I liked them, and venture we will hear more of them. The Flaming Lips are a kind of modern psychedelic/ non-symphonic progressive band with some ravey elements. The visuals were tremendous, and confirm my view that a few bits of kit and imagination produce something better than Roger Waters in an enormodome. Lots of inflatables, confetti, smoke cannons, psychedelic lighting,etc. Theyn did bits from “Yoshi…”, “Yeah Yeah Yeah”, a cover of “Space Oddity” from inside a zorb-ball… Some nice synth work and a sense of humour and ridiculousness » Continue Reading.
I grudgingly accept it is not “my” music. Anyone can like anything, and go to the same gigs as you. One has the false reassurance that ‘you’ get it, and they are a poser/ lost/ etc. I read that George Osbourne attended an NWA concert in the 1980s, and yesterday’s Times revealed nice Tory Matthew Parris attended the Lyseum in the late 70s withex-Culture Secretary John Whittingdale to see the Angelic Upstarts and 999. I am sure the Massive can report a wide variety of disconcertingly wrong persons at gigs they have attended, or have heard claimed.
Anyone who has smoked a jazz woodbine in the past 5 years is invited to participate in this study by one of my students. Please post on to your other social networks so we can sample a good range of hop-heads and test whether the student’s lovingly developed theories are supported by evidence or not.
As well as the usual (Brian Wilson, Syd, etc.), a I am approaching The Massive for links to pop and rock performers (and the rest) who have formally diagnosed mental disorder.not a subjective diagnosis based on what you think (I.e. someone is a wierd or obnoxious so must be psychotic or psychopathic).
In the long run, this content will help add something to a chapter I am planning to write on the therapeutic value of performing for an entertainer or musician with vulnerability to mental disorder. I will post more when there is more to say.
I wasn’t aware of this until recently. I can’t think of a better way to justify learning German. This is quality retro stuff for those who like their Irwin Allen, Danger Man, Man from Uncle, and general cult TV. If anyone knows where to get a subtiltles file, i’d be very appreciative. The West Germans also made some good science fiction shows (e.g., “Space Police”).
After a lifetime thinking this guy was MOR schlock, I have found he is more good AOR schlock, and there isn’t anything worong with that. Loads more hits and that you’d imagine, tunes, a good range of styles, and a variety of melodies that to me place him up there with early 10cc and Supertramp – clever pop. It’s been quite a revelation to me, but I like my prejudices being falsified. Views of the Massive?
Corbyn has shown himself utterly out of touch with public sensibilities in his dated handwaving and wrong headedness about terrorism. As well as blaming the victim (didn’t know leftists were allowed to do that), the Coptic Christians murdered in Egypt today were not knowingly involved in a war against Islam. Apocalyptic death cults don’t need parody socialists encouraging them. My family (some of whom were from that way a few generations ago) tell me that the Middle East used to be able to rub along with each other reasonably well for centuries until then rise of militant Islam. It is not my impression that the British working man is prejudiced. In fact the opposite: they work with anyone who mucks in and grafts. But they definitely lack sympathy for terrorism of the kind done by Islamists and the IRA. They also have an enviable short tolerance for middle-class lefty do-gooders preaching at them. they get enough of that at school, work, and on the news. I suspect he has jumped the shark just as he might have been moving on up. OOAA.
Expensive week for me; the boy and my youngest are both big fans, so we’ll be going to the Birmingham show together.
makes me think there needs to be a secret AW sign to spot contributors from here at gigs, etc. Greatcoat, gatefold Groundhogs album and fishing hat? Better not; most gigs i go to look pretty much like that.