Saturday, 22 December 2012

Quick 2012 Gig Round Up

This year I was lucky enough to experience Killing Joke ignite ten fine Gatherings and White Hills bring their psychedelic whirlwind to five English towns. I also found great joy in the four Mission of Burma gigs I witnessed, as well as five Mugstar gigs, and was honoured to hear Uzeda play on three occasions. I saw all these fine bands twice: The Ex, Nomeansno, Shellac, Kogumaza, Acid Mothers Temple, Boris, Subhumans, Nightingales and the Stranglers. I also enjoyed great gigs from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Swans, the Dirty Three, Arbouretum, Mark Stewart, Pelican, Ministry, Lee Ranaldo, Glenn Jones, Helmet, Stephen Malkmus, That Fucking Tank, Bilge Pump, Ty Segall, Hookworms, Nope, Cowtown, XXL, The Necks, Konk Pack, James Blackshaw, TV Smith, Charles Hayward, Teeth of the Sea, Carlton Melton, Suzuki Junzo, Barn Owl, Ken Vandermark, Buzzcocks (with Howard Devoto), Hugh Cornwell and the Jim Jones Revue, amongst too many others to mention. The Manchester music scene was at its strongest for years, with so many great bands providing the only solid reason to live here. Here's to even greater rock action next year from Easter, Warm Widow, Day for Airstrikes, Yossarians, Desmadrados de Soldados Ventura, Plank!, Burnst, NASDAQ / FTSE 100, Bratan, Wode, Queer'd Science, Gnod, Last Harbour, Klaus Kinski, Irma Vep, Sex Hands, Hammers and the many other musicians who keep this city rockin'.

Thursday, 20 December 2012


End of another year so here is an incomplete list of the best albums I heard in 2012:

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! (greatest emotional impact)
Killing Joke - MMXII (this got the most plays by far, best lyrics and addictive tunes)
Swans- The Seer (an experimental rock masterpiece)
Mission of Burma - Unsound
Bob Mould - Silver Age
Mugstar - Axis
Lee Ranaldo - Between the Times and the Tides (and demos album too)
Dinosaur Jr - I Bet On Sky
Arbouretum / Hush Arbors - Aureola
Easter - Innocence Man
Ty Segall - Twins
White Hills - Fying on this Rock
Arbouretum - Covered in Leaves tour CDR
Bardo Pond - Yntra
Rangda - Formerly Extinct
The Dirty Three - Toward the Low Sun
Bailter Space -Strobosphere
Mark Stewart - The Politics of Envy
Plank! - Animalism
Unsane - Wreck
Last Harbour - Your Heart it Carries the Sound
Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Americana
Soap and Skin - Narrow
Mark Lanegan Band - Blues Funeral
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Meat and Bone
Gallon Drunk - The Road Gets Darker from Here
Minibeast - Look Don't Look
Ministry - Relapse
Firewater - International Orange
Sir Richard Bishiop and David Oliphant - Beyond All Defects
Hugh Cornwell - Totem and Taboo (demos)
Okkultokrati - Snakereigns
Carlton Melton - Photos of Photos
Thomas Koner - Nova Zemlya
Evan Caminiti - Dreamless Sleep
Jon Porras - Black Mesa
Giant Giant Sand - Tucson
Al Doum and the Faryds - Positive force
Nope - Revision
Thee Oh Sees - Putrifiers II
Jim Jones Revue - The Savage Heart
Windy and Carl - We Will Always Be
Calexico - Algiers
Guided By Voices - The Bears for Lunch
Guided By Voices - Class Clown Spots a UFO
Guided By Voices - Lets go Eat the Factory
Robert Pollard - Jack Sells the Cow
Eternal Tapestry - A World Out of Time
Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill
Gnod / Spit and Shine split
Mono - For My Parents
Camera - Radiate!
Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project - The Journey is Long
Aki Onda - South of the Border
Dead Rat Orchestra - The Guga Hunters of Ness
Turing Machine - What is the Meaning of What
Earth - Angels of Drakness, Demons of Light II
Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends (dumbest album title and worst cover)
Boris - Attention Please
Boris - New Album (best album cover)
Nightingales - No Love Lost
Malka Spigel - Every Day is Like the First Day
Black Dice - Mr Impossible
Too many Acid Mothers Temple albums to mention them all

3 CDR EPs by NASDAQ, Wode and Tribal Fighters

A CDR album by Stray Light - Bearing Feathers

Several 7" singles by Roger Miller, Dinosaur Jr, Kim Deal, Ty Segall, Retribution Gospel Choir, Obits, Gallon Drunk, Lost Cherees

Reissues by My Bloody Valentine, Codeine, Sugar, Bob Mould and the mighty Bitch Magnet (who all those who like Shellac and Slint must hear right now, OK?)

And an ultra-special mention for The Lost Tapes by Can which turned out as great as much of their best

I had a listen to a couple of songs Piccadilly Records album of the year (Goat) and was left thinking it just sounded like hippy dippy folk rock from 1973.

Monday, 17 December 2012

On the Road to Apocalypse

With the imminent end of the world as we know it nigh, there seemed no better time to hit the road and get as much rock action as possible. From the day the Dirty Three illuminated Manchester cathedral with vibrations infinitely better than the religion that tried to blind John Lydon, until a mere five day countdown to the Mayan poleshift I visited five cities and one south coast holiday camp and witnessed 109 performances from 93 bands. Now it's December 17th and they're all gone dead, except when you read this it probably won't be December 17th anymore and they will have all been resurrected by mad St John on a bad ergot trip to rock the world again in 2013

For those who rocked the nation, I salute you!

Zun Zun Egui, The Dirty Three
Medecine Bow, Hopper Propelled Electric, Bones Shake
Rife, Gaunt, Wode, Sump
Battery Face, Bratan, Queer'd Science, One Man Dance Party
unremarkable Preston band with silly horror masks, The Fall

Nephu Huzzband, Kogumaza, Uzeda (Nottingham)

Former Utopia, Uzeda, Bottomless Pit (London)

Arnold of Zea/The Ex with Xavier Charles, Jackdaw with Crowbar, Terrie Ex/Andy Moor/Mats Gustaffson two guitar and sax trio, Ken Vandermark solo, The Ex (London Cafe Oto, best atmosphere at any gig ever)

Shellac, Helen Money, Myownflag, Stnnng! , Oxbow, Uzeda, Scrawl, Turing Machine, Mono, Prinzhorn Dance School (Camber Sands)

The Cravats, Three Second Kiss, Kash (3 songs), Buke and Gase, Bottomless Pit, Arcwelder, Red Fang, Wire, Melt Banana, Kim Deal, Shannon Wright, Neurosis, KK Null solo, Zeni Geva (Camber Sands)

Rachel Grimes, Nina Nastasia, Bear Claw, The Membranes, Pinebender, Alix, Future of the Left (2 songs), Gay Witch Abortion (2 songs), Mission of Burma, Dead Rider, The Ex and Brass Unbound, Love in Elevator, Shellac (Camber Sands)

Cursor Minor, Future of the Left, Mission of Burma (Bristol)

Broken Arm, Bilge Pump, Mission of Burma (Leeds)

Joe Volk, Boris (Manchester)                    

Mission of Burma, including soundcheck with a cover of Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine" which didn't feature in the set, and a support band whose name I have forgotten in London

Hammers, Doctrines, Dauntless Elite, Throwing Stuff, Pure Graft, Arteries, Calvin Ball
The Dickies, The Damned
Applecore Electronic, Bratan   (eleven bands at three gigs in one day in Manchester)

Paper Town, Epic Problem, Subhumans

Micheal Newman (cello) and Paul Wheatley (double bass) performing "Sonata a Deux" by Jean Barriere and "Throughout" by Bill Frisell at the RNCM
Percussion duo Delia Stevens and Le Yu performing "Plato's Cave" by Casey Cangelosi and "Blue Motion" by Stephen Whibley at the RNCM

and later that day:
The Borealis Saxophone Quartet and an eleven piece string ensemble performing "Borealis (Into the Blue)" by Lucy Pankhurst and "Plan B" by Graham Fitkin

And later still that same day:
Wode, The Art of Burning Water and another great metalcore band

Then I returned to Bristol to see
Joe Volk and Boris again
Lost Cherees, Subhumans and another anarchopunk duo whose name I forgot

Then things got experimental at Dulcimer with a quartet of Semay Wu, Richard Harris, Dave Birchall and Kelly Jones, followed by Richard Scott and then Konk Pack

Die Hexen and Hammers in a comic shop

Yossarians, Paddy Steer, N. Racker at Shebeen festival

More statistics

I saw Mission of Burma 4 times (plus a soundcheck) and Uzeda 3 times.

I saw all of these bands twice:

The Ex
Joe Volk
Bottomless Pit

I visited these towns:

London (twice)
Camber Sands
Bristol (twice)

If I rewind back to 16/6 and make it a month (31 days) I can also include perfromances from Aki Onda, Supersilent with John Paul Jones, Sir Richard Bishop and Swans taking the total to 113 by 97 different bands, plus one soundcheck.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Welcome to my Nightmare Top Ten

I just returned from an extended version of the Shellac Nightmare Before Christmas. The Fall played the first Shellac curated All Tomorrow's Parties but not the one at the end of 2012, however I went to see them for the first time since the "Fall Heads Roll" era at Factory, Manchester the night before I headed off to Nottingham to see Uzeda, Kogumaza and Nephu Huzzband. I then travelled south to London for another Uzeda gig, supporting Bottomless Pit who like Uzeda had been invited by Shellac to play the three day event at Camber Sands. The next day I saw one for the best gigs I've ever heard, the Ex at Cafe Oto, supported by Ken Vandermark solo, a trio of Terry and Andy of the Ex on guitars and Mats Gustafsson on sax, Jackdaw with Crowbar and Arnold of the Ex playing Zea songs acompanied by Xavier Charles. Chairs got folded up and piled high in front of Ex guitarist Andy Moor, as the people wanted to dance!

The first song Shellac played as they opened their return to All Tomorrow's Parties was "The End of Radio" in which Steve Albini sings, "Welcome to my top ten." So here is my top ten  of the 35 bands witnessed that weekend, having seen at least two songs from all bands performing:

1. The Ex and Brass Unbound
2. Mission of Burma
3. Uzeda
4. Shellac (twice)
5. Wire
6. Melt Banana (who would maybe rate higher had they not clashed with Wire, meaning I missed the first half of their set)
7. Nina Nastasia (who regrets eating valuable Twinkies and dislikes Snotsuckers)
8. Rachel Grimes
9. Scrawl
10. Turing Machine

None of these ten bands were new to me, but there were in fact 15 bands who played who I had never heard before. Only Alix, Buke and Gase, Bottomless Pit and Bear Claw made it into my top twenty...

11. Mono (marred by too much drunken babble)
12. Zeni Geva (preceded by a short KK Null noise set)
13. Shannon Wright (with full on rock trio)
14. Alix
15. Kim Deal (with funny fuck ups)
16. Buke and Gase (with Bob Weston on bass for one song)
17. Oxbow (with orchestral musicians)
18. Bottomless Pit
19. Bear Claw
20. The Membranes

The best song of the weekend was Rachel Grimes rendition of a song written by the late Jason Noble of her  band Rachel's, on which Shannon Wright sang. Here is a video of "Last Things Last"

The new songs played by the Ex suggest their next album will be their best one yet. Here they are catching shoes

Shellac had enough new songs to suggest that an album could maybe appear next year? My favourite one featured Steve screaming in an anguished manner. Here they are perfroming "Steady As She Goes" for the second time that festival.

And here's a new song they played twice which sounds rather like "In A Minute" slowed down

Wire have rewritten the lyrics for "Underwater Experiences" and Graham Lewis told me it was now known as "Attractive Space." I came it was so, I wanted to go see Melt Banana downstairs...

Melt Banana are now a duo of Yako and Agata and played a great fast cover of Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World."

The worst band were Kash, who put me in mind of a Lynyrd Skynard tribute with Eddie Vedder on vocals, and I endured them for three songs.

When it was over, I met Scrawl at the bus stop and sat next to Marcy Mays on the bus back to Rye railway station. I then travelled to Bristol for more Mission of Burma, and then to Leeds where they were supported by the ever wonderful Bilge Pump and Broken Arm. I also interviewed Mission of Burma before the Leeds gig.

Here they are at the Nightmare. I was right at the front on the Roger Miller side.

Monday, 12 November 2012

An Open Letter to Satan

Dear Lucifer, Lord of the Flies,

I don't get out to gigs as much as I should as I like to spend my evenings thinking of new and interesting ways in which to kiss your mighty stinkin' ass. If there is any chance of a bit of advertising revenue for my blog, so much the better. It really is a shame that your chosen representative on "Earth" the Anti-Christ Mitt Romney has failed to gain nominal control of the world's most grossly over-consuming and hypocritical nation. We (and when I write "we" I refer to myself, my drummer, and my valet for my sharpest of sharp suits) watched the US elections with immense fascination and when we saw that Muslim fanatic Obama win again, we knew it must be time for Armageddon.

We have followed your adventures on Radio 4 with great joy, and know you have demons at your command. Please send Scum Spawn and the rest of your vile hord to teach Obama a lesson. The sick people must pay to be sick, and the more the better as we all know it is money that makes the world go round, not gravity as proposed by that god fearing fool Isaac Newton-Bomb.

That peace loving war criminal Obama must be stopped before he taxes the rich! Please nuke his homeland Iran and return us quickly to the Dark Ages so that we can get on with the serious business of hoarding more Lovely Money instead of using it to facilitate barter, the purpose for which it was invented by that famous Dutch playboy Socrates in the thirteenth century.

Your unfaithful servant,

Ron McJobs

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Dead Sea Apes

Friday night: one of the many Manchester (and Stalybridge) based bands, the heavy instrumental psyche-rock trio Dead Sea Apes were kind enough to put me on the cheap entry list for their support of an old German experimental prog rock band called Agitation Free who turned out to be very good indeed, kind of like Pink Floyd immediately after Syd but way better. I was surprised that a bottle of ciderin NQ Live is less than four quid, at least there is one venue not intent on totally fleecing the drinkers! The Deaf Institute is charging a massively greedy £4.75 for a bottle of Weston's Wyldwood organic cider, and their "Trof cider" is actually Strongbow isn't it? Someoen should have a word with trading standards... Where do they think they are? Paris?

Hello to all the friends old and new who I met in the Castle afterwards. Hope the hangovers aren't too bad, especially Mr Chavez-Dawson.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Pere Ubu

Here is a new song from Pere Ubu sounding wonderful to me today

Ty Segall Deaf?

Ty Segall and Hookworms well and truly rocked the Deaf Institute last night ad a review will appear in All the Time whenever Mick Middles can get it together. The night before Al Doum ad the Faryds brought some gorgeous north Afican influenced psychedelia to Dulcimer, supported by a stripped down Desmadrados de Soldados Ventura and a rather too short set from Rapid Pig. Sadly Nick Mitchell told me it would be the last gig he is ever going to put on, so Fat Out or Buried Bones had better book one for his Twenty Guitars composition pronto!

Anyway when I first heard Ty Segall this was the song and I listened to it for around fifty minutes straight.

Way Better than Frazer King

Following Gentleman John Robb's hilarious proclamation that Frazer King are the best "up and coming" band in Manchester, here is an inevitably ever expanding list of Manchester rock bands who I consider to be way better than Frazer King. I saw Frazer King at the Night and Day 2012 new year bash and they weren't even the best band on the bill! They were completely upstaged by the Yossarians and solo guitarist bluesman Jim Adama was also more enjoyable.

How many of these better bands have you heard Mr Robb?


Queer'd Science

Warm Widow





Pine Barrens

Last Harbour



Gilded Palace of Sin

Stray Light

Our Man in the Bronze Age

Desmadrados de Soldados Ventura

Rapid Pig

Float Riverer

Hotpants Romance

No Womb

Irma Vep

Sex Hands

Klaus Kinski

Salford Media City

Stranger Son of WB




Day for Airstrikes

Hot Bone


Whole Voyald Infinite Light

Former Bullies

Dead Sea Apes

Claw the Thin Ice


Well Wisher

Bones Shake

Cherry Pips

Jesus Kneivel


Hopper Propelled Electric

Black Fiction

Factory Star

Heroin Diet

Revenge of the Psychotronic Man

Sea Man

Mr Heart

...although Gnod, Last Harbour, Lonelady, Stranger Son, Hotpants Romance and a few others could be considered to have come up already, whatever that means. The list will inevitably grow, and there are probably other bands I have not yet heard. For example Tim the drummer of Wode was amused by John Robb's comment, "A black metal band from Manchester, who'd have thought it?" There are in fact several others besides Wode, although I have yet to hear any of them.

How many records and/or CDs must a band sell to come up?

How many gigs must a band play to come up?

How big are the venue capacities for an up and come band?

What is their comeuppance?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

She Lives in an Airport

Robert P likes to travel for free. This is the best Guided by Voices song I've heard them since the 'classic' line up reconvened:

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Arbouretum were most pleased to be compared by me to Crazy Horse and Velvet Underground, obviously two massive influences on their inspiring songs. The quartet were on top form at Kraak Gallery, especially guitarist Dave Heumann, who seems to play with more intensity every time I see them. The songs with two drummers were also a weighty treat. I nabbed Dave's setlist so it can now be revealed that they played these songs:

Run Honey Run
Down by the Fall Line
Mohammed's Hex
All at Once the Turning Weather
World Split Open
New Scarab
Tonight's a Jewel
False Spring
Coming Out of the Fog

I thought it strange that I only knew two other people at this gig amongst gigs. Down on the street afterwards  met Kiki of No womb and we hit Manchester's finest pub The Castle for a late drinking session. In the pub were Jon and Tim from Rapid Pig and later on Arbouretum turned up and I had a drunken chat with Dave Heumann. It seems they would have played an encore if only we'd all made a bit more noise and shouted for one after the nine song set. The good news is that Thrill jockey will be releasing their new album next year, I think he said January.

Here is a stream of the John Martyn cover with which they started their set, from the tour CDR of mostly cover songs.

New Scarab was a highlight of the set and you can hear the studio version here

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Political Manifesto for the Anti-Capitalist Party

1. No nuclear power, all electricity to be generated by solar, wind, geothermal and tidal means.

2. All arms trading to be made illegal and all politicians who facilitated it such as Arseface Cameron to be put on trial for mass murder by proxy.

3. Tony Blair to be tried for war crimes and starting an illegal war.

4. All empty (second / tax break) homes to be reclaimed by the state and used to house the homeless.

5. Very high tax to be levied on aviation fuel, petrol and diesel.

6. Train and bus fares to be subsidised and drastically reduced.

7. Eating meat only allowed for those prepared to catch and kill the animals themselves.

8. Dairy industry to be phased out.

9. Tobacco to be banned, but cannabis and LSD to be made legal and available in measured dosages.

10. Close all concentration camps for the immigrants.

11. A total ban on all genetically modified foods and toxic additives such as tartrazine and aspartame.

12. All vivisection to be made illegal.

13. All corporations to be billed for the pollution and disease they cause.

14. Usury and all other numerous banking scams to be outlawed.

15. All credit card debts to be cancelled.

Our motto: Screw the economy, environment first!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Mugstar - Axis

The new Mugstar album AXIS crashed straight into my top ten albums of 2012 at No 4 or 5 (vs. Silver Age by Bob Mould) only beaten by godspeed, Killing Joke and of course Swans. Tangeria is such an uplifting song, sunny like Harmonia on Neu Autobahn (out-Planking Plank!), but why have they not played it at the gigs I've been to recently?

You can hear a stream of the whole album here


I very much enjoyed ORBIT at the Mill yesterday, esp. Gnod out-TGing the Gristle at the back of the Mill with strobes, globes and dry ice, and Queer'd Science with their hardcore hate disco at the Pint Pot. It was a magnificent event. Cheers to Bill for the free late night drinks and Chris and Neil of Gnod DJing and getting me up and dancing to Motorhead, Joy Division and Can!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Tanzanian Jackass

The Tanzanian jackass who has previously offered to attack me, have other people attack me, and tried to extort £150 off me, amongst other tedious puerile idiocy, informed me on Tuesday that I am "already dead" as I parodied her public dressing down of her pet parasite who she said for all in the house to hear was a "pathetic little man, in denial." That was very foolish because if indeed I am already dead I have nothing to lose by killing both of them. Fortunately I am not unsane enough to believe all the bullshit that leaks from the loudmouth of this psychopathic liar, so have done little else but reply to her pathetic taunting which was something like: "Ah, are you all alone with no one to talk to?" by informing the ignorant bitch that I was talking to her, and if I had no one to talk to at that particular time logically she did not exist. She had walked into a heavy curse.

"Jolly good," I said, "CEASE TO EXIST!"

Trick or Treat?

Halloween went off like fireworks at Kraak with Rapid Pig, the wild detuned guitar quintet Klaus Kinski and the heavy bass/drum duo 100% Beefcock and the Titsburster.

There were a couple of other recent gigs I neglected to mention earlier, both at the Mill. Last Harbour played their best one yet against a film backdrop, as did Queer'd Science at a free event, ably followed by Salford Media City who got the people movin' and groovin'

I think the Manchester music scene is at its healthiest in years right now.

Monday, 29 October 2012


Unpeeled was tiring but fun this Saturday, a tribute to the greatest DJ of the twentieth century, John Peel, with many bands who recorded sessions for the best show on British radio playing forty minute sets at boththe Night and Day and Gullivers. For me the highlights were the heavy psychedelic posse Anthroprophh, Telescopes and Mugstar, who unfortunately had to drop at least two numbers from their set due to keyboard collapse. Blue Orchids, John Hyatt and Groundhogs were also damn good, although I missed the start of Blue Orchids' set due to Yeah Yeah Yeah Noh, a quintessential Peel band whose every song was familiar from late nights listening with headphones under the covers. I spotted four ex members of The Fall, one of whom wasn't even playing!

Inca Babies and Pink Peg Slax played that good ol' rock'n'roll very well. A nice lady platted my hair after Mugstar played which was a new experience for me, hello Nina. I have written a much longer review for "All the Time" but you will have to pay to read that unless you are Rico who deserves a free copy for putting me on the guestlist.

Friday, 26 October 2012

TV Smith and Jim Jones Revue

I wrote a short review of the gig I saw recently by Britain's greatest protest singer TV Smith but rather than blog it I'll give it to Mick Middles to run in his new magazine All the Time, so you will have to buy it if you want to read that. I also reviewed Nightingales ( and Britain's greatest rock'n'roll band the Jim Jones Revue

Monday, 22 October 2012

Acid Mothers Temple and the Carefully Planned Festival

Carlton Melton's new album is a great psychedelic vortex of ecstasy so I tripped all the way to Liverpool to hear them support Acid Mothers Temple which turned out to be a good idea, as Carlton Melton live are way better than even that album suggests, and Acid Mothers were also at their very mind melting best. A big hello to Mimi and Marina two nice ladies from Hamburg, and a thank you to Stevie Eye for his free hotel service. The first band Barberos were also pretty crazy, two drummists and a keyboarder all dressed in grey body suits.

The next day I returned to witness the second Carefully Planned festivalwhich kicked off for me with the ever excellent Plank! who were sounding better than at the Liverpool Psych Fest. Day for Airstrikes proceeded to play a gig approximately ten times better than any I'd heard them play before, and Easter completely obliterated any doubts that they'd be at a loss with the departure of Danny Saul. Gavin has switched to guitar and his brother Richard is playing bass. Also on the first day I think Sex Hands were the best I'd heard them, and I enjoyed Claw the Thin Ice, Well Wisher and the final song of Jesus Knievel's set. Bilge Pump of course totally ruled. I liked their style, thank you very much.

The next day's most manic performance came from Queer'd Science, sounding like a jolly good blast of what Skin Graft records called "now wave" as a pun on "no wave" way before a Manchester gig promoter who puts on mostly pretty lame bands came up with the same idea, albeit for less appropriate music. Pine Barrens were vicious and heavy, Juffage was fun, Hunting Bears played beautiful folk, Burnst were as instumentally crucial as ever and Anaesthetics confessed to liking Blondie.

After a lovely intimate set from the trio Sleeping Dog in The Castle (best venue due to Old Rosie on tap) I tripped out to the Night and Day for a second even more fantastic dose of the Acid Mothers magic. Makoto Kawabata keeps getting better. How is this possible?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Dan Friel

This new track by Dan Friel sounds jolly and loud enough to obliterate the moronic chatter of the meathead security at the Shitworth Fart Gallery. Perhaps they should book him for the next gig?

Gods Pee

Well behead a fat pig of a Chancellor and shit down his chubby neck if the new album by godspeed you! BLACK EMPEROR isn't the most brilliant and inspirational music I have ever heard. It sounds like armies of angels descending to wage all out victorious apocalyptic war on usurous "free market" capitalism and all the hypocritical horrors it relentlessly perpetuates and then tries to brush under the carpet. With music like this on our side the 99% CAN'T LOSE!

Unsane and Suzuki Junzo

Today I've been having a blast of the new Unsane ( album "Wreck" on
which closes with a great cover of the Flipper classic "Ha Ha Ha."
It sounds like their best yet and the first song "Rats" (not a Sonic Youth or Syd Barrett cover) could be about my dirty dopey naybores Malicious Shitnagaff the Tanzanian loudmouth and pathetic ratfaced David Slobs-born, an alcoholic junkie who is on probation for robbing his mother in order to keep pumping himself full of toxic chemicals that shut down his vacuous mind. The song that sums up those two fools best though is "Thick As Thieves" by The Jam.

Last night I was enjoying some fantastic psychedelic improvisation from a hastily convened quartet of guitarists Nick "Golden Lab" Mitchell, Darren Adcock and Edwin "Sex Hands" Stevens with former Serf Tom Settle on drums.  When I asked him later what the name of the band was, Edwin decided then and there to call them Gaybus. The other former Serf Jon Collin played a quiet solo acoustic guitar improvisation which eventually grew manic with fast finger picking and was better than his support spot for Dylan Carlson the previous evening at Kraak Gallery. Next to enliven the upstairs room at Dulcimer in Chorlton were Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides, the dup of drummer Pascal Nichols and flutist Kelly Jane Jones, who played the best snake charmer rattles I've heard from them yet. The main event was Tokyo guitarist Suzuki Junzo, who finished his excellent set with a mighty mind levitating feedback blast feast. I considered it to be the best gig I've attended since Nomeansno finished their tour at Leeds Brudenell Social Club. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Hugh Cornwell

Hugh Cornwell and his trio were great last night in Manchester. They played two sets, the first being the new album, the second all of the No More Heroes album then Strange Little Girl for the encore. The new album sounds like his best since La Folie and I just hope the world has ENOUGH TIME left before the RISE OF THE ROBOTS causes the powers that be to inflict a CURFEW as they feel THREATENED. Then we can all learn to drive our very own TANK to SWEDEN!

If he plays Black and White all the way through I will move hell and high water to get to every damn gig!

Afterwards as a bonus I crossed the road to Kro Bar where they now have Old Rosie on tap, and witnessed the whole of Tribal Fighters album launch set.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Police Story

I left the Brudenell Social Club at around 11pm on Saturday the 6th of October with the intention of catching the 11.35pm train back to Manchester Piccadilly. I was cutting it fine, and ran into the station singing a song that summed up my situation, "Enough Time" the last song from the Stranglers' apocalyptic "Black and White" album. The exact words I sang were: "Have you got enough time? What when your face falls apart? Have you got enough time?"

This caused excitement and consternation for police officer number 6921, a slightly overweight man of Asian descent, who pursued me requesting that I stop and be told the error of my ways. When he caught up just before I got to the platform, I refused as I did not wish to miss my train and explained that it would be quite reasonable for him to walk very fast alongside me to deliver his words of wisdom. He instantly lied, informing me that I had been swearing on the station concourse and that children might have heard me and been shocked to the core of their being. As we all know children in Leeds like hanging around the station until midnight to prove that they won't turn into pumpkins. Even though they all swear like builders in the primary school playgrounds, it seemed to be the view of this defender of their morals that hearing a Stranglers song sung loud with no swearing would be a disaster for them worse than the end of all things.

The time wasting fool made me miss my train so after a quick piss in a generic chain pub that was closing at midnight I went in search of him to write down his number, so that I could complain about his trivial harrassment. Before finding him I took the opportunity to count all the children on the station, There were precisely zero. When I found him I requested that he repeat the words that had so offended him. He got very indignant at this and spluttered, " I don't see why I have to do that!" so I told him I didn't see why I had to bother talking to him anymore as I had his number. At this point a colleague of his, number 9226, started to get in on the lying act, claiming vociferously that I had been hanging around the station all evening. I would therefore like anyone who saw me at the Nomeansno gig to get in touch and verify my whereabouts that evening. I think I'll be able to rustle up a hell of a lot more witnesses than he can! I feel I should now pursue a complaint even if just for sheer comedy value. They wasted my time. So now I will try to waste theirs.

Ironically, since the next train was due at 2.26am, I was forced by the actions of 6921 to hang around for over two hours on the station and was therefore at risk of upsetting 9926 who loitered a while in my vicinity making notes as I listened to the radio and made some notes of my own. Several groups of very rowdy drunkards shouted their way across the concourse as I waited, but the police did nothing to stop them. Perhaps by this time of the evening they had found themsleves too understaffed due to the Tory scum austerity con (a scam on the poor to keep their paymasters the bankers rich).

Monday, 8 October 2012


Nomeansno are three older punks who put the young bloods to shame. I just saw them twice over the weekend. Liverpool Kazimier was great despite bassist Rob Wright's monitor problems which led to dropping at least one song from the set. The venue now has Old Rosie scrumpy on tap which is good news. The Leeds Brudenell gig was more fun than any Manchester gig since Killing Joke! Afterwards I got harrased by the police for singing a Stranglers song, took their numbers as they both lied, kissed by a drunk girl on the train, and the found a bottle of vodka near Anal Street.

Nomeansno came on to a remix of "The River" which they were selling on a 12" white vinyl butchery disc. In Leeds I also picked up the support band Beards album as they were much more my tea than the pop punkers in Liverpool. When I saw my friend Jenny on the door at Kazimier the first words I said were from a Undertones song: "You've got my number, why don't you use it?" as she had the numbers for the ripoff credit card sales that advertise at a one pound fee but really add £2.50. Lo and behold the encore included an Undertones song "Male Model," not only synchronous but very funny considering the aged appearance of the venerable Canadian trio. I avoided credit card cons for Leeds by asking the friendly T-shirt / record seller to put me on a list of people who can get into the gig come hell or high water, which was a good idea as Leeds sold out.

Set highlights for me were:

The Tower

Graveyard Shift

The River (full band version opening the set in Leeds for which I was right down the front)

The World Wasn't Built in a Day (spoiled in Liverpool by all the drunks shouting over it)

Cats, Sex and Nazis (which I think they only played in Leeds)

Oh No Bruno (Leeds only)

Ghosts of Time

Would We Be Alive? (Residents cover)

I'm an Asshole (dedicated by Rob to himself)

One song was presumably new as it was unfamiliar to me (Illuminate) and another fast one, possibly a cover, only played in Leeds, I also did not recognise.

Liverpool Psych Fest

My my there were a lot of pretty women at Liverpool Psych Fest!

I write a BIG THANK YOU to Jon Nash, the drummer of Hookworms for putting me on their cheap list.

Mugstar ruled as usual and I nabbed Jason Stoll's setlist at the end of their set:
Black Fountain
In Earth
Bethany Heart / Star

There was a mighty buzz about Dead Skeletons who did not dissappoint, and Hookworms played the best I've seen them yet (third time). The Lucid Dream were much improved since the first time I saw them a couple of years ago.

Two previously unfamiliar bands impressed me; Helicon and Ancient River.

The only low point was that more than half the people seemed to split before Plank! played which was a shame. The first gig I'd seen them do with new drummer Liam was predictably not on a par with the album launch, and I hope Dave's prog tendencies don't go too much further...

Friday, 5 October 2012


Following a quick souncloud search for Live Skull which threw up just one song (from the days before Thalia sang) I found a great set by Thalia which I was previously unaware of:

Amazing really that the song "Searchlight" hasn't been recorded for any of Thalia's better known albums. She just finished recording her new album which will be released by Thrill Jockey in March.

Thalia wrote this: ""Nature of Drones" was a homemade tour CD that we made for an Australian tour that we did. Super limited quantity , we sold the remainder through the Thrill Jockey website."

Monday, 1 October 2012

Sunday Morning Whiteout

The day after the mighty Mugstar conquered Liverpool Psychfest I rediscovered a tape of old John Peel sessions from the days when I was doing as little zoology as possible at university. In amongst the two Dinosaur Jr session, the first three Pixies sessions, a House of Love session and songs by Slint, Bailter Space, Snapper, the Cateran and half a Mudhoney track, was a very nice surprise indeed. I'd forgotten that the Live Skull session featured a brilliantly intenseley immense and otherwise unreleased song. I hadn't written the title on the inlay and so I have emailed former Live Skull singer Thalia Zedek to ask her if she can remember it.

A few days later after a little confusion, Thalia got back to me to inform me that ol' Uncle John P hadn't mentioned the name of the song as the band hadn't given it one.

"The song you are talking about has a chorus that goes something like " Look at you, wrapped up in your regrets, couldn't leave. Said you weren't finished yet, I think you I know what you're waiting for". I don't think it was ever recorded anywhere else and it probably didn't never had a name."

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Paradox of Abattoir Blues

Saturday was a busy day. I started out with a trip to King Bee Records ( where I bought two seven inch singles: A Place Called Home / Kick It to the Ground by PJ Harvey and Happy House / Drop Dead/Celebration by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Last stop was Age Concern where I swapped a brown piece of paper for a white book case. On Returning someone was shouting my name in the street. It was Tom Long of the band Easter and his girlfriend Laurn Bolger of the band Sea Man. Synchronously they were looking for a happy house, or more literally a place called home. Lauren told me I should make sure I check out the band Cherry Pip at her Paradox gig at Fuel in Mithington that evening, as she thought they bore some similarity to the music of the lovely Ms Harvey. They were well worth sticking around for after Songs for Walter and Sea Man had played, and their piano driven cover of Gary Numan's Are Friends Electric was nice.

Later I zoomed into the centre of the city on wheels and raided the Vinyl Exchange 50p bin. There wer also a couple of grea three quid promos that some cloth eared ignoramous at the eNMEy hadn't bothered to listen to:

"Formerly Extinct" by Rangda on
"Black Mesa" by Jon Porras on

However my primary reason for hitting the city was an all day free gig in the Castle Hotel and Gullivers just across the road of Oldham Street. There I witnessed eight great bands or solo musicians hopped up on the blues: The Bourbon Words, Rag and Bone, Hopper Propelled Electric, My Red Balloon, Cactus Knife, Bones Shake, Euchrid Eucrow and Jim Adama. The best of them was the highly Birthday Party influenced trio Bones Shake, whose frontman was akin to some apstate preacher delivering a hellfire rock'roll sermon.
I liked the skeletal art on the flyer done by this lady

Then I headed to Fuel where I made new friends with my lucky dip carry bag full of CDs I never want to listen to again.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Wodecults and Bootleggers

Baptists and Bootleggers are a record label who give away all releases for free. They gave everyone at Fat Out Fest a free tape featuring Mugstar, Charles Hayward and ten other bands who played that weekend. I grabbed a couple of extras upon my exit so if anyone needs one, ask me when you see me and I might give you one. The also compiled a five song LP or CDR with Go Lebanon (who played), VEI (who was there but didn't play), Borland, Stagger and Dafydd Jones all soundtracking the same clip from a 1930s film of Dante's Inferno.

Wode slaughtered all the other angry shouting man combos at Fat Out and were flogging a mighty barrage of a four song CDR for a mere two quid. If they have any left a couple of these is much better value than almost being able to afford a bottle of Weston's fine organic cider at the Night and Day. Findout more at

NASDAQ's two (very long instrumental) songs on their CDR released by are well worth more than a cider in one of Manchester's grossly overpriced venues (Lincoln Engine Shed and Leeds Brudenell charge £2.80 for cider), but only a little more. Buy copies for all your friends so that Ed and Dan can invest in food commodities trading in order to starve African children so that all the angry men have something worth shouting about at next year's Fat Out Fest.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Summer Fun

Over the summer these were my new music acquisitions on heavy rotation:

Swans - The Seer (despite helicopter glitch) promo
Swans - We Rose from your Bed with the Sun in Our Heads double live CD
Bob Mould - Silver Age (released October 1st) promo CDR
Plank! - Animalism LP
Can - The Lost Tapes triple CD in nice tape reel box
Lee Ranaldo - Between the Times and the Tides demos LP
Mark Stewart - The Politics of Envy CD
Kogumaza LP
Killing Joke - In Cythera / Penny Drops red vinyl 12"
Ministry - Relapse CD
Bailter Space - Strobosphere promo CD
XXL - Dude CD
Guided By Voices - Class Clown Spots a UFO promo CDR sold by eNMEy for five cigs?
Zaimph - Imagine Yourself Here LP
Plus Instruments - Feb-April 81 reissue LP

Some older releases I've been enjoying:

Enablers - Now You Can Answer My Prayers 10"
Jarboe - Mahakali CD
Office of Future Plans CD (ex Channels / Jawbox dude)
Ministry - Rio Grande Blood CD (Raven RIP)
Larsen and Friends - ABECEDA CD
Kimmo Pohjonen and Kronos Quartet - Uniko CD
Sunn O))) - Oracle double CD
Dumitrescu / Avram - Live in Israel CD
Joe Crow - Coincidence CD
REM - Reckoning double CD remastered reissue
The Jam - All Mod Cons remastered reissue CD

These new releases I liked but have only played once so far:

Seaming CD
Pontiak - Echo Ono CD
Malka Spigel - Every Day is like the first Day promo CD
Beauty Pagaent - tape in an bogroll tube from gig supporting Warm Widow
Jeffrey Lewis - A Turn in the Dream Songs promo CDR for a quid!
Guns or Knives - Can't Beat Him Can't Join Him CDR
Dan Sartain - Too Tough to Live promo Cd for a quid!
Gnarwolves - History is Bunk 6 song orange vinyl 7"
The Big Eyes Family Players and Friends - Folk Songs II CD
Barry Adamson - I Will Set You Free CD

The most recent thing I've been listening to is Evan Camaniti's ambient album on Thrill Jockey which is very nice.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

NASDAQ funded by Gay Whores

Nasdaq were on fine form as usual at the Gay Whores basement on the 29th day of August, celebrating the release of their new two song CDR EP with a performance that seemed all too short as usual. Before they went on there was some rap playing which prompted me to encapsulate the situation at hand in a rap of my own much to the amusement to everyone I rapped to:

"These guys ain't shit
  There's pennies on the floor
    I'm goin' upstairs to find me a whore"

I'm not really down with the gangster rap vernacular so I didn't need to rhyme ho with flo as this would have not adequately described what I had observed. Nasdaq quite literally are not shit, or I would not waste time and words on them. In fact Ed Troup the bassist plays in most of the best bands in Manchester now: Nasdaq, FTSE100, Burnst, Wode and Plank! Dan the guitarist plays in so many combinations they are into double figures.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Wode Conquer Fat at the Mill

I had a very good weekend at the Fat Out Fest, where I witnessed 32 performers bring the noise to two stages in Islington Mill. It was great that it was organised so that no bands played at the same time. The only downside was the obscene number of drunk people talking and shouting too loud whilst Jarboe was singing, with only a guitarist to accompany her. I think she might have even cut her set short becasue of it! Have some respect for the artsts and save your blather for after the gig loudmouths.

I nabbed Mugstar's setlist after they played a stormer and this was what was written:

Tech Knowl
Floatation Tank
Bethany Heart / Star

Here's a clip of Braitain's most psychedelic band in action

Here are the lucky seven bands I enjoyed most each day:

Saturday 25/8

1. Wode
2. Khuda
3. Jarboe
4. Alex Macarte
5. Queer'd Science
6. Arabrot
7. Klaus Kinski

Sunday 26/8

1. Mugstar
2. Charles Hayward
3. Kogumaza
4. Black Octagon
5. Apatt
6. Alex Tucker
7. Our Man in the Bronze Age

I guess if Jarboe had performed to a more respectful gathering or just been louder then I might have liked her best on Saturday. I certainly enjoyed the CD of hers I bought, "Mahakali." Kogumaza had only five copies of their excellent album on and I got one. I also bought the beautiful silver embossed one side etched Enablers 10" "Now You Can Answer My Prayers" from  both of whom make up two third of Black Octagon.

Read more about most of the bands at

Friday, 24 August 2012


The post office is "Modernising."
From my perspective this means:

They no longer deliver packages with CDs. These are either ALL lost or stolen.

They do not frank 90 per cent of stamps.

They deliver many letters to the wrong addresses.

I blame the Tory Scum Austerity Con.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Mission of Burma "Unsound" album review

Fire records seem to be signing great bands who used to be on Matador: Bardo Pond, Bailter Space and Mission of Burma. If you've never heard Mission of Burma before then this album probably isn't the best place to start. Have a listen to ‘That's When I Reach fo My Revolver’ from their debut album (or is it?) ‘Signals, Calls and Marches.' If you like that you'll like this as they have never really flagged on quality on any of their albums, however this one is a little different in that they've experimented a little with their sound. My only negative criticism is that at thirty-five minutes I could do with a bit more Burma. I guess I could just dig out my double vinyl 'Let There Be Burma' album (on Taang!) and listen to it for the millionth time to reaffirm that it actually exists. This album, released during their long hiatus is as good as any of their others and seems to be perpetually ignored by those who count albums; 'Unsound’ is described as their fifth studio album in the press release. Presumably they haven't counted 'Signals, Calls and Marches' as it was originally only six songs (but is now expanded to ten on remastered CD). They definitely haven't counted 'Let There Be Burma' which seems to get written out of history music journalists and press releases alike due to the crime of being mostly songs not released until after Mission of Burma spilt in 1983. I think the band might not be happy with the recordings which are purported to be demos, but they sound just fine to me. It's a shame as it includes some of their best songs, some of which also appeared on the live album 'The Horrible Truth About Burma' which I'd choose as my favourite from their first life (1979-83).

Partly inspired by hearing how vital Wire sounded third time around, Mission of Burma kicked into a second life which was perhaps more unexpected than any other contemporary bands on the US underground except Black Flag or Husker Du. Unlike those bands it wasn't animosity that led to dissolution, but guitarist Roger Miller's shot hearing. He always wears industrial ear protectors when they play, and the first time I saw them at All Tomorrow's Parties they had perspex barriers around the drum kit to shield him from Peter Prescott's exuberant barrage.
If you’re going to reform a legendary band, it’s important to enhance the legacy and not despoil it by being worse. Mission of Burma’s gigs showed they still had the fire if Roger’s ears could avoid burnout, and their aptly titled 2004 album ‘ONoffON’ confirmed they were if anything in better shape than before. Perhaps not surprising as Peter Prescott and relentlessly drummed and hollered in the excellent Volcano Suns before switching to guitar for Kustomized whilst Roger Miller pursued numerous quieter, more experimental avenues. Bassist Clint Conley was relatively dormant until he formed his tuneful Consonant with members of The New Year not long before the urge to be Burma took hold again. This was a very good thing, as the chemistry between these three musicians ignites much more explosive reactions than any of their other musical forays.

If I was pushed to choose a favourite Mission of Burma studio album I’d go for their second reformation triumph ‘The Obliterati.’ Their fourth album second time around, ‘Unsound’ shuffles the cards and opens some new avenues to keep them excited, exciting and engaged. I’d be quite happy for them to endlessly repeat their winning formulae, but clearly this would bore them and inevitably feed back into a less exhilarating musical ride. Bob Weston of Shellac, Rachel’s and Volcano Suns stepped into mysterious fourth member Martin Swope’s shoes in recent times and also produced ‘Unsound.’ They hadn’t used trumpet before, and since Bob played that instrument for Rachel’s (RIP Jason Noble) it was easy for him to blow a little brass seamlessly into the mix. Roger Miller wrote a couple of songs on bass rather than six string guitar and the first concise number ‘Dust Devil’ (which has nothing to do with the Butthole Surfers song of the same name) grew from an acoustic guitar improvisation. They also seem to have used a lot more effects on the vocals; on ‘This is Hi-Fi’ Roger sounds as if he’s singing underwater! If lyrical themes emerge one could be obsolete and retro technology, at least this is suggested by song titles ‘This is Hi-Fi’, ‘Second Television’, ‘7’s’ (old seven inch singles?) and ‘ADD in Unison’ (suggests analog/digital but probably is actually meant to be attention defecit disorder). The lyrics are far from obvious and are very intriguing. What are ‘Sectionals in Mourning’? I guess I’ll have to ask Peter Prescott one day! A couple of songs also namecheck something none of us can do without, except John S. Hall, because he’s different like that: water. If there’s a pop hit it’s the fifth song ‘Second Television’ sung almost inevitably by Clint, with a chorus of shouting Peters never far away. How does he always manage to sound like at least three singers at the same time? That song has sensibly been offered as a free download by Fire records so who needs radio DJs? Now Peel is dead they are mere obsolete censors superceded by the ever expanding internet. No one could possibly sing the line “Crashing through the waves” with more appropriate vigour than Peter Prescott (on ‘Part the Sea’). By the penultimate tune he’s not only seeing “Things that cannot be” but trying to refute ‘What They Tell Me’ which seems to be something about little green men. Meanwhile Roger Miller fell into the water but didn’t see no signs and told no one goodbye (‘FellĂ H2O’). By the next song ‘ADD in Unison’ he is rescued from drowning just in time to get everything back to front and end with ‘Opener’ falling over himself to demand, “Forget what you know!” Forget what you read and get all of Mission of Burma’s albums, even the ones they pretend don’t exist! Just don’t call this their fifth studio album while I’m around.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Manchester Deaf Institute August 3rd 2012

What really went on there? I only have these excerpts. By the time Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks appeared on stage in front of the avian wallpaper there was no room to move as the floor was packed tight. Sun Ra Arkestra sold out their gig at the Deaf Institute too but I'm certain there were fewer people there. Judging by his comments between songs Stephen Malkmus holds the Deaf Institute in high regard, and it has many good points as a venue. It's a pleasant room to be in when there's a lower body count and the sound is always good even though none of it is coming from the wall of blown stereo peakers that line the wall behind the bar. The problem was really that the band are popular enough to play larger venues so some fans will be left out or scalped by touts. They've played two more spacious venues, the Ritz and Academy 2, since their previous visit to the Deaf Institute. It's also distracting when people have to squeeze or shove past to bar or toilet, especially the bigger people, or when overly enthusiatic drunks start shouting in you ear like they're at a football match and try to dance like a lobotomized Bez, but fortunatey such incidents passed by quickly in my area. The heat had taken its toll on Stephen Malkmus' plain blue hirt which was soon drenched in sweat as the quartet bounced perkily through a set comprised largely of new songs which will presumably be on their next album. Most memorable of these was a song ending in a humourously short hyperspeed hardcore dash and a dark moody keyboard led song in the encore. Bearded drummer Jake Morris also got to sing lead on one of the encore songs, and another future favourite had the word "constellation" in the lyrics. One lucky heckler shouted for '1% of One' from 'Pig Lib' and bassist Joanna Bolme shouted back, "You got it!" just before they did it epic justice. The only 'Mirror Traffic' songs I recall were 'Tigers', 'Senator' and 'True Grief', the last of which got a few excited girls tying to move about before they politely realised that they couldn't and had to be content with a new dance, the tinned sardine. Stephen Malkmus dedicated one song to "All the Manchester musicians like Rod Stewart..." Luckily his Jicks play enough of that fine fine music for him not to have to concern himself with a career in comedy. Initially I thought they hadn't played any Pavement songs, but Tom Long of Easter was at the gig and pointed out correctly that the first encore number was "Speak, See, Remember," the song that gives fourth album "Terror Twilight" its title. I hadn't listened to that album in a long time, and that song also fit in very well with the Jicks' new materilal, thus it passed me by!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

That Fucking Tank

TFF quite metaphorically bulldozed Kraak Gallery last night! I love the amount of rhythmic noise they spew out with just drums and 6 string bass. They trashed Springsteen "Dancing in the Dark" with punk rock love hammers but we could all still see them due to the miracle of The Electric Light. The one man "Exile on Main Street" Guns or Knives played before them, sandwiched between two pop punk bands, Gnarwolves and Young Attenboroughs. No naybores complained and the police were not called.

The gig was put on by

Right now I am enjoying Ty Segall for the first time

Lee Ranaldo, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 7/6/2012

Approaching the Brudenell I mistakenly thought Lee Ranaldo had started very early but quickly realised it was the first support band who'd pretty much finished their set by the time I was inside. Close up they proved to be rather more bland and ordinary but having missed most of their set it seems unfair to pass judgement.

Next the experimental noise duo with the memorable name of the Piss Superstition leant over their tables of gadgets and summoned up a progressively louder continuously fluctuating dronescape. Julian Bradley used to be in Vibracathedral Orchestra, who I first saw supporting Borbetomagus in a Leeds pub. Two of them played on "Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style" on 'Murray Street' and made a album with Thurston Moore so there's a Sonic Youth connection. Sonic Youth also covered "I Was Right" by Saccharine Trust and the other Pisser had a Saccharine Trust T-shirt on. Their set might have been helped by a visual element either lights or film, as two blokes fiddling with knobs isn't much of a spectacle. Towards the end as the drone got heavier it began to remind me of the end of Sonic Youth's greatest Geffen album song "Mote," an approprate way to herald the man who sang it.

Lee's quartet had a short worrisome moment before they'd even struck a note as something wasn't working. Someone shouted to them to tell a joke but nothing funnier than a quick fix happened and we got to enjoy the first song "Off the Wall" which sounded all the more urgent after the wait. With Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley behind the kit it wasn't surprising that this was more of the fire and excitement of Sonic Youth than Thurston Moore's recent mellow dude shows. Bassist Irwin Menken and guitarist Alan Licht didn't move much, concentrating on playing but Lee cut loose some guitar swinging action when not singing. Irwin and Alan stood to my right facing the stage and Lee a little off to the left. The set was the whole of his recent album 'Between the times and the Tides,' although not in the same order, plus a very faithful cover of "Walk On" by Neil Young and the Talking Heads song "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel." The last song was "Genetic," a Sonic Youth song that was always too good for a B-side. I always though that and "Hendrix Necro" should have been on 'Dirty' instead of that daffy DC hardcore cover "Nic Fit" and "Creme Brulee" but now with that double CD remaster they are. People often ask me what was the best gig I've been to. That's impossible to say really, but the most exciting was probably the first time I saw Sonic Youth on the 'Daydream Nation' tour at Kilburn National, and this gig brought back flashes of that excitement, maybe because of the intimate friendly atmosphere of the venue, and perhaps because it was something new but familiar. Thurston Moore knows a cool scene when he experiences it and had highly recommended the Brudenell to Lee. It's a shame Lee didn't do a few more UK gigs, but he chose a great one for his only show outside London. Lee asked us all if we'd seen Thurston there in December and got a few shouts of "Yeah!" I'd seen him at Manchester Ritz and shouted, "You're better!"

Lee gave a little speech about how much Talking Heads had inspired him when he first checked out bands in New York. Before "Shouts" he explained it had been inspired by the Stop Wall Street camps near where he lives in NYC. He showed us the picture on the back of his guitar which had been snaped at a riot in Canada that kicked off after that nation's team lost at ice hockey: a couple were rolling about in embrace whilst chaos erupted around them, a crowd behind a riot suited police agent too close to the foreground for comfort. The picture can also be seen on the insert of 'Between the Times and the Tides.' Lee said it had nothing to do with Stop Wall Street he liked it as a visual representation of peaceful protest.

I thought it a bit strange that people had been telling me Lee's album was like REM as I thought it was closer to Sonic Youth really. His Sonic Youth songs are always some of the best and if a compilation of all his songs from the Geffen years was released it'd be the best Sonic Youth album since the awesome 'Daydream Nation.' He revealed his true influences by covering Neil Young and Talking Heads and when he listed other New York bands who inspired him, such as Patti Smith I shouted, "Television!" to which he agreed. No mention of REM though! "Tomorrow Never Comes" is obviously a homage to the Beatles "Tomorrow Never Knows" and the Stones "Paint It Black" is lurking somewhere in the shadows of "Waiting On a Dream."

When "Fire Island (Phases)" caught out a few clappers with its false ending the band came in again and for a moment I thought they were playing "Lee #2," A song left off 'Goo' which really should at least have been a B-side! I prefer to call that song 'Displaced' and there I had displaced but I'd never noticed the similarity in the riffs listening to the album. "Stranded" is a fragile lovelorn song on the album but they played a full band arrangement which gave it more momentum than the skeletal recording. Although I thought the gig would sell out there were less people than at the Wire and Hot Snakes gigs at the same venue.

After the gig Lee signed albums and talked to the people. There was a vinyl reissue of an album by Plus Instruments, an idiosyncratic electronic trio Lee played noise guitar for prior to Sonic Youth and an album of demos for 'Between the Times and the Tides'. This grooves with the "Remember first thought best thought" lyric of "Genetic" but I prefer the finished album. Two songs are missing from the demos so presumably they were written later. They are played by a trio (no Alan Licht) and have a chunkier feel as if they haven't been played long enough to get the smoother flow of the album. Steve sounds as if he'd only just got the drum parts down, and there are a few lyric changes. I told Lee I thought it'd be great idea to put out instrumental versions of all the Sonic Youth albums and he said they were planning something similar; an instrumental album with string arrangements. He also told me they were working on a double disc remaster of 'Sister' with lots of extra material. They might even go so far as to remix it! I was incredulous at that as I think 'Sister' sounds great on vinyl, although the CD loses all the warmth. Steve was taking 'Washing Machine' cover style photos of T-shirts and snapped my red Hot Snakes T-shirt which I bought when they played the Budenell in December.

Before playing a magical "Xtina as I Knew Her" Lee explained the song was about people he'd known as a teenager and how they'd stayed in the same place and he'd moved on. He said he didn't know why that should be. Maybe it was because he followed his dreams?

This review initially appeared on

There is a great video of Lee's next gig at Primavera here

Friday, 15 June 2012

Lee Was Not Free

Well I like Lee Ranaldo enough to shell out thirty quid for his gig including train fare to Leeds, and it was well worth it. If I don't die first I'll write some more about it later. I know I haven't finished going on about Killing Joke but I never do!

Anyway I enjoyed these bands at gigs so far in June 2012:

Bratan duo rocking
Gnod getting psyched
before them, a man with a laptop whose name I forgot
Sunn O))) droning heavy
Bill and Ben the flowerpot men hiccuping at the Ritz
Cantaloupe getting the Fat Uncle people moving
FTSE 100
New Hips
Arts and Kraftwerk (don't tell Ralf and Florian)
Lee Ranaldo
The Piss Superstition
Kimmo Pohjonen's hilarious Accordian Wrestling
The Nightingales
Ted Chippington
No Womb

Shortest Tribute Band World Record

After Nightingales played Night and Day in the first week of June I was checking out the merchandise to help keep them alive a little and had the shocking revelation of Hotpants Romance first album "It's a Heatwave" in the one quid Big Print bargain bin. Lowri Hotpants bassist was standing next to me but she was more concerned with the cumbersome shape of the official Nightingales nail file. Had I thought faster I could have suggested that she sign the Heatwave bargains to help the Big Print lady free up some space under her bed. Nevermind, thanks to this incident I have now broken the world record for the World's Shortest Hotpants Romance Tribute Band in Existation. When I saw Kate hotpants drummer at the Night and Day between enjoyably noisy sets from Gnod and Bratan I sang a mutated "Stop Escaping" - 'Oh no, you're in the bargain bin!'

This amused Nick Float Riverer so much that then and there we duetted an extraordinary rendition of the new one line short Hotpants cover song "Stop Bargain Bin" and then promptly dissolved our record breaking acapella duo. Considering poor Jack White's tribulations over his shortest gig record breaking attempt, I fully expect the esteemed organ of the Guiness Book of Records to view our silly act as too trivial for inclusion. Whilst I magnanimously take this in my stride, I cannot vouch for Nick, he might well give the ghost of Roy Castle hell!

A weatherman observed, 'Now "It's A Heatwave" is in the bargain bin, we can expect the cold stormy summer to continue.'

Spot the Fugazi lyric I've plagiarised in this missive and win a free endless vacation in Fema Camp USA.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Summer Listening

These are the new albums I've been listening to recently. Most were out this year but a few could be from last year. They are in approxmate order of number of listens. I have listened to Killing Joke and Lee Ranaldo as much as all the others put together.The Mission of Burma album is released in July.

Killing Joke - MMXII
Lee Ranaldo - Between the Times and the Tides
White Hills - Frying on the Rock
White Hills - Oddity III: Basic Infromation CDR (sold on April tour)
Mission Of Burma - Unsound
Shipping News - One Less Heartless to Fear (live album)
Pelican - Ataraxis EP
Easter - Innocence Man
Gallon Drunk - The Road Gets Darker from Here
Dirty Three - Towards the Low Sun
The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project - The Journey is Long (covers of JLP/Gun Club songs)
Guided By Voices - Lets Go Eat the Factory
The Stranglers - Giants
Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, Oren Amabrchi - Imikuzushi
James Blackshaw - Love is the Plan the Plan is Death
Richard Knox and Frederic D. Oberland - The Rustle of the Stars
A Sun Amissa - Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep
Wode - Last Days 3 song tape
Dead Skeletons - Dead Magick
Dead Sea Apes - Astral House EP
Nightingales - No Love Lost
Jah Wobble and Keith Levene CDR EP
Ex Easter Island Head - Mallet Guitars One 12" EP
Smoke Faeries - Requiem 7" (Killing Joke cover)
Painted Caves - Not Here Not There tape
Gemma Ray- Island Fire
Vasco de Gama EP
Mina Tindle - Taranta
The Bersarin Quartet - II

Monday, 16 April 2012

This Will Destroy You / Moho 4.4.2012

I'd never so much as set foot in Moho Live before, let alone witnessed a rock conert there. I'd have gone to see the Slits when they played there but that clashed with my trip to Spain to see three Wire gigs. Moho is in a basement below arty farty boho market Afflecks Palace. The stage is too low and the bar stocks only horrible overcarbonated Strongbow and the moderately less repulsive Bulmers so I didn't bother drinking as I can only drink fruit based drinks and didn't feel like risking the wine. On the plus side the sound was good in most locations throughout the venue, even behind the staircase that almost completely blocks the view of the stage from the back half of the room! Detracting from the sound itself were numerous drunken fools who did not have enough respect for the music and those who came to listen to it to stop shouting and interrupting all the quieter momentum build ups with their inane banter. Towards the back of the room I wasn't going to complain if people talked, but after shifting position from stage right to stage left via the seating towards the back of the room and everywhere finding the music interrupted by tedious gabble, I finally lost it with one loudmouth near the front and shouted, "Shut the fuck up!" at her which did the trick and the rest of the gig was a little more enjoyable as a result.

Support band The Elijah didn't suffer from conversation overkill as ther music didn't have such drastic loud / quiet dynamics. I enjoyed their emo/metal hybrid tunes played against a film of daisies and oceans, but much prefered the lank haired evil hobgoblin vomit vocalist to the high pitched emo guitarist's singing. This Will Destroy You have no singer at all so maybe they needed an opening band with two singers to compensate! They were fairly static on stage, from the glimpses I caught, and one guitarist sat down the whole time. The view was obscured by bodies as the stage is way too low, so I spent the first half of the gig trying to work out how many guitarists and drummers were playing: one drummer, two guitarists and a baseball capped bassist. The bassist bobbed about a a bit and they had some nasty strobe lighting but really the visual side of their performance was not important, thus the low stage was not too much a detriment to the epic soundscapes they sculpted. I have no idea exactly which songs they played but I think they played the best part of their recent third album "Tunnel Blanket" if not the whole damn thing. They left an ambient drone humming when they left the stage for the first time walking through the crowd and shaking hands with the listeners, then returned one by one to lift the hum to a couple more elegant noise peaks. If you want comparisons I could throw out Godspeed You Black Emperor (whose first Manchester gig I helped put on), Explosions in the Sky (whose first Manchester gig I also co-promoted), Labradford (whose second Manchester gig I co-promoted) and most obviously perhaps, Mogwai (who I have seen many times). If This Will Destroy You keep running they will very likely be playing much bigger venues in future.

It was an odd Manchester gig in that I saw no one I knew there, and as far as I could tell no one who went to the recent Helmet, NASDAQ and Killing Joke gigs in Manchester also went to this one, except me. I'd have thought This Will Destroy You would have appealed to a lot of people ho like NASDAQ at least but maybe they were all skint!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Pelican Rock

Not content with swallowing pigeons on youtube, Pelican came back to Manchester to rock Ruby Lounge last night with some heavy riffing worth going deaf for. Support bands the Blacklisters, a Leeds in Skin Graft / Shellac vein, and a much more Pelican-like riff rock majestic monolith opening from Bleaklow who I think are from Sheffield. I also managed to catch the best part of an enjoyable set from the Roller Trio at Matt and Phred's jazz club round the corner afterwards.

If you are lucky enough to be going to Roadburn in Tilburg this weekend, after you've had a blast of Killing Joke and Michael Gira later today whilst I get ambient with Little Red Rabbit in Salford Holy Trinity, make sure you catch Pelican and Manchester's excellent psycheout mutants Gnod who played the longest set I've seen them do yet at a free bonfire party at Islington Mill a few days ago.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Gig Acceleration

Too much real life to finish writing about much of it with gigs from

Helmet & Fighting With Wire
This Will Destroy You & The Elijah
DBH with the blues
Dracula Lewis, No Womb & some other noisemakers
Volcano the Bear with Kelly's as yet unnamed evil ambient trio & Dave Birchall's chaos

I have written a review of This Will Destroy You
but as yet do not have enough time to type it up!

There seem to be at least three good gigs happening in Manchester on the eleventh, the day Killing Joke start their European tour in Amsterdam, unless we get hit by an asteroid first of course!


The Birds and Animals do not count money or time
We should KILL TIME
Shut it down

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Manchester Depthcharge

On the tenth day of March MMXII I descended from Tea's highrise flat and made my way past Sheffield Corporation to Rare and Racy Records where I bought three compact discs:

Daniel Menche "Flaming Tongues"

Lee Ranaldo, Glen Hall & William Hooker "Oasis of Whispers"

Philip Jeck "An Ark for the Listener"

I dined at the excellent Blue Moon vegetarian cafe in the shadow of the cathedral then listened to "Laugh? I Nearly Bought One!" on my headphones whilst taking the most scenic trip of the tour thus far, across Snake Pass to Manchester. The sun went down to "Sun Goes Down."

Bus times were slow enough to make me miss the Crying Spell for the second night running, but I quickly recommended the Icarus Line as 'worth a listen if you like the Stooges' to my old friend John who I found lurking near the stage. The singer struts about bare chested with a suit jacket on which prompted a naughty Lancashire heckler to demand he got his trousers off too! He did not comply as he doesn't understand our olde englische accents.

After more Stooges homage I ran into Dingo the tall mohican Fire Dances veteran at the bar and amused him by singing a bit of "Butcher" as I charged into the throng. He used to sign off his emails with a lyric from "Tension" : 'Let Nothing Be Fantasy.' Lo and behold, Killing Joke played an extraordinary rendition of that very song for just one night only in his home town! Most of this gig seems to have been recorded in camera and is up on youtube but you don't get the real atmosfear from that, just a diminished seventh...

Time sped on and familar faces appeared and vanished back into the Gathering... soon the familar pumping disco beat of "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer was blasting from the PA heralding an imminent arrival, and my friend Jenny appeared in the usual location of prime excellence (close in front of Geordie's amp) so I proceeded to babble to her about the adventures on the road so far. Before we knew it we found ourselves slap bang in the middle of a "European Super State" speeding away from Kali Yuga as the "Sun Goes Down," twisting and turning in "Rapture" as "Unspeakable" demons were vanquished from our Matrix. Our dancing was wildest for "Bloodpsort" and "Depthcharge" which undoubtedly reached their zenith. I looked at Youth as he shouted his heart out and thought he was going to fucking explode!

Well that's only about half of it.
I am out of NET TIME so must complete this

Ixchel In Cythera

I've seen you in Madrid
In a rainbow far away from here

I'm grateful

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sheffield Sun Goes Down

I missed my Express National connection and had to fork out another twenty quid for a megabus coach to reach Sheffield with Enough Time! However, I had a good feeling about the deal and it did indeed pay off well. Halfway through my journey north I snagged the best seat at the front on the top deck and took in the sloping industrial approach to the city blasting "Absolute Dissent" as loud as possible. "The Great Cull" caught the attention of another Gatherer who sat across the aisle from me and when we'd arrived In Excelsis we spoke about the Londod gig and many other things. This was a longtime Gatherer called Tea who works as an asbestos stripper and had been wardancing since1980. He invited me to stay at his flat which was only a five minute walk from the venue, Corporation. On the wall of his kitchen was a photo of two Absent Friends, Dean and Glenroy who'd also been to early Killing Joke gigs. Dean died choking on vomit in a police cell and Glenroy died of sickle cell anaemia after a misdiagnosis.

We made our way out of the highrise across the dual carriageway to the Corporation only to find the gig sold out! As neither of us had bought advance tickets, this became a minor obstacle to eliminate as we made our way to the Fire Dances. A nearby pub was packed with Gatherers and I quickly did a recce telling my tale to several friendly drinkers. Eventually a tall fellow in a Dwarves T-shirt whose name I have now sadly forgotten had a spare ticket and sold it to me for the same amount he's paid for it. I contuinued to try to find a ticket for Tea with no luck and eventually left to see the Icarus Line, after getting to get to know a veritable army of Sheffield Gatherers! Time was marching on, tick, tick Chop, Chop! I wanted to get a bit more Iggy worship from "The Cocaine Kid" and his dirty stooges so left Tea outside and he eventually got a ticket just five minutes before Killing Joke took over the "European Super State."

The gig was jam packed towards the middle bit quite movable down the front due to many late arrivals and a narrow shape. The strobe lights were a bit wild and from "SUN GOES DOWN" I knew what this was for: to be forever in this moment! A rabid version of the tribal twilight anthem led into wild "Rapture" surely the most uplifting piece of music ever composed! If this is your new age, I say OK to CHANGE! I ran into old friend Lisa Gannon at the bar but had to rush off into the awesome onslaught of the "Poleshift" and inevitably also encountered Jon Chapman in a trip barwards. There was sadly no encore, as Jaz was reported to be to sick to even stand up let alone bellow a requiem after such a fierce and energetic show. Some Gatherers took their childish frustartions at the situation out by hurling empty plastic cups at the heads of girls leaning on the stage. I told all who would listen to calm down as they'd just had a great gig and for all they know someone in the band might just have died!

Out on the streets it was strange to see the show: lots of young 'uns queuing to get into Corporation as the Gathering departed, so they could make a disco mating money mountain. I made Tea laugh by singing "The Hum" to the bemused children as we marched to a pub with his good friend Jimmy, where another inevitably inferior band were strutting their stuff.

The next day Tea had a nice surprise for me. He dug out an old Killing Joke bootleg tape he'd recorded at their Sheffield Top Rank gig in 1985. Not only was it the best quality audience recording of Killing Joke I'd ever heard, he'd recorded all the intro music and the soundcheck too! The soundcheck was particularly interesting, consisting of more repetitive riffing instrumental versions of SUN GOES DOWN, Requiem and Kings and Queens. He told me he'd never copied this excellent old tape for anyone else as he didn't want bootleggers making money off it. I thought it would make a fantastic official bootleg release and mentioned this to Jon Chapman later in Newcastle. Tea was planning to digitise the tape, so hopefully something can be sorted out in the future.

Lonelady Interview

Check out the latest edition of online zine Perfect Sound Forever if you would like to read an interview I did a while ago with Lonelady:

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Love Like London Blood

On the morning of the Killing Joke London Gathering, the Today Radio 4 broadcast announced news of a solar storm...

The Roundhouse gig must've been the biggest venue of the Killing Joke tour and was certainly the most visually impressive, with two screens of rapidfire images of dystopian, primitive, majestic nightmares created by their old album sleeve artist Mike Coles. Check out the youtube videos which were being extensively made by every Gatherer and his dog. I usually try not to shove people when I dance, but made an exception for the man who'd been alternately blocking my views of Jaz and Youth with his mobile and barreled right into him when they played "Unspeakable." The rest of the crowd seemed to agree and shoved right back away from the stage. Then I spotted my friend Ding/o former bassist of The Fall, PJ Harvey, Black Francis, Bobbie Peru and Kin mohawking unspeakably near the centre front and bounced around for a bit, discovering the sound to be much improved on the Youth side... things had sounded a little tinny near Geordie for the first few songs. The first familar face I encountered was Michael from Mannheim during the Crying Spell's set. I made the mistake of buying some expensive vile wine with which I had to drink more than a pint of water to swill down and was feeling too weak to stand while the Icarus Line were vociferouly heckled by impatient Gatherers, so retreated to the edges where I sat next to a pretty lady who I got talking to with complaints about the wine quality. Her name was Viktoria and she'd traveled all the way from Sweden for the gig! "Unspeakable" was my gig highlight, that tribal drum pattern energising us away from Tory Workfare concentration camp Tesco bullshit. The new song "Fema Camp" had the most grim visuals, of no future cages and barbed wire, as nightmarish as "What's This For...!" What's this for? Inspiration to carry on the battle against the corporate greedmongers and their pathetic attempts to enslave us all on the wheel of docile time wasting labour. The encore was a bit special, as they launched into celebratory extended renditions of "Requiem" and "Wardance" followed by the very best "Love Like Blood" for their homecoming triumph. Jaz looked like the happiest man on the planet after they played that!

Afterwards I found myself drinking cider in the Barfly, where Killing Joke had played the gig for Jester with numerous Gatherers from not just London but all over the world! Towards the end of the evening I ran into my old friend Johnno from Liverpool Scene of the Crime Records, a now defunct should that fueled my ears with Dischord, Blast First and SST in the early nineties. I hadn't seen him for years, and he is now managing the Darkness at

The next day I woke at 5am, and watched "The Empire Strikes Back" as it was the DVD already in the player. Then up north to Sheffield, via the Camden Excahnge where I bagged Elvis Costello's "Armed Forces" and The Fall "Bend Sinister" for a mere quid each on CD and the triple disc "Twenty Years of Dischord" compilation. No sign of Killing Joke album promos though...

Francis Massacre

Considering the immolation of a silly Yorkshire lady who probably just wanted to get to WORK on time to support cancerous planet raping economic growth, isn't it rather lame that just one Labour MP appears to be calling for the resignation of Minister for Petrol Panic Francis Maudlin?

Surely they should now be launching an investigation into criminal negligence relating to his comments about the strike that isn't happening?

Fat chance, they haven't even put that war criminal Tory Bliar on trial.

Still it brightens my day to imagine Tories on fire. Which one would you douse in top grade stolen Iraqi petrol and immolate?

Actually one would not require the gasoline, as they are all so greasy already!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Two Last Harbours & Mark Stewart

Since Wobbling, I've had one day off gigging, and been to see Last Harbour twice at Band on the Wall and in Preston and returned to Ruby Lounge to witness Mark Stewart's band who are way better than the Pop Group! What a shame the gig was so underpopulated.

Norwich Floodsport 6.3

I'd never visited Norwich before. I once tried to hitch there for a Fugazi gig but gave up when I got as far as Nottingham too late to continue, and that was where they were playing the next day. Almost a couple of decades later I finally made it there for Killing Joke. It seems a pleasant place, with a cathedral which I visited the morning after the gig and a castle which I'd have explored if I'd had time. What a shame it'll flood when the ice caps melt, along with London, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Portsmouth. I made it to the Waterfront just after Seattle band the Crying Spell had begun their goth rock set. Their most memorable song is the one where the dead walk. I enjoyed them and the Icarus Line more than in Bristol. The Icarus Line sound like 90% Stooges tribute, even with one song that sounds like "Dirt" with different words, but if you like the Stooges what's the problem with that? I got myself psyched up by hollering "In Excelsis" in the resonating acoustics of the stairwell between first floor toilet and ground floor bar which had the Gatherers in the bar laughing when I marched through. I spoke to several friendly people before the gig whose names I never found out but maybe we will meet again at futute Gatherings? Hello to Michael from Mannheim, who I spoke to because he had a Kiling Joke T-shirt I'd never seen before, Andrew who I'd met the night before in Bristol and the tall fellow with glasses and Specials T-shirt who was really going for it most of the gig getting enraptured. Youth was displaying greater levels of hygeine then back in the bad old days and had changed costume since Bristol, now he resembled a mutant cyberpunk holocaust survivor, not the sort of style the corporate elect will allow at their planned Fema Camps. I had my 'fuck off' finger waving moves down for "Fema Camp" which sounded even more desperately ferocious than the night before. First they scapegoated the youth and we said nothing. Then they locked up the Geordies and we said nothing. Then they chained up all the lovers of free jazz and made them listen to Ken Clark lecturing in semi-senile injustice. Then there were only old ladies left to complain and when they wrote to the Daily Mail demanding a little descency they found they were ignored as the papers were all owned by corporate elect who want us to WORK for cancerous growth of planetery armageddon. I think this was the gig where Jaz said, "2012? Youth's the optimistic one; he thinks there'll be a nuclear war!" although that might've been Bristol. As far as I recall the set differed from Bristol in that they dropped "In Cythera" and "This World Hell" in favour of "Requiem" and "Wardance." The Waterfront was a more compact and atmospheric venue than Bristol Academy and the cider flowed fast. The healing power of Killing Joke enables my slow gut to drink like a fish! I met Jon Chapman and Geordie Jim and his friend Kev after the feedback faded and they told me their train had been cacelled due to a death on the line. No such troubles with a fortnightly National Express Primobile go everywhere ticket. I was motoring back to Bristol to see the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion as Killing Joke were taking a day off to prepare for London. Before I left I had time to discover a doodad in memory of a Sheriff Coleman of Norwich in the cathedral, which also boasts a massive organ.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Clocks Turn Backwards to Bristol 5.3

Before Killing Joke's Bristol gig I positioned myself in the location which would in less than half a hour become the best place on the planet to stand: a few bodies back from Geordie's amp. Stood next to me was a thin blond haired girl who looked about half my age, who I turned to and said, "You look about half my age!" She told me she was twenty years old (slightly younger than half my age) and that this was the second time she'd been to a Killing Joke gig. The first time her father had taken her to see them at a festival and she'd thought they were awesome. Funnily synchronously enough the third song in the set "In Cythera" was dedicated to all Killing Joke's dad's who are now all dead, and then was never played again for the remainder of the British tour. Even though we spoke for a while before the music / ritual started, I neglected to ask this young lady's name. I told her about how Killing Joke always have a healing effect on me if I'm feeling run down and made my standard comment about standing close to the guitar amp with which I opened this report. I was surprised they opened with "European Super State" and raised my glass, waiting for the real fire to start with "Sun Goes Down" as tribal and primal as ever it was. "Rapture" got the Gathering fired up as if it were "Pssyche" and another surprise was the resurrection of "Chop-Chop" sounding massive and relevant to these times of the Con-Dem butchery socio-economic agenda. A bigger surpise was that they didn't play "Wardance," the first time this has happened at any of the many Gatherings I've attended. Paul brought his "Unspeakable" circling drums home where the always should have been, spellbinding and mesmeric. He hardly moves as he plays, the eye in the hurricane, opposed to the Jaz's enraged stomping exorcisms. Geordie surveys the Gathering like a general inspecting his troops, swaying head snakelike as he chimes the greatest noise a guitar has yet made. The new songs such as the epic Poleshift, nightmarish Fema Camp and especially the manic Corporate Elect suggested the new album is going to be one of their best. Primobile sounds oddly like Gary Numan, filtered through the Joke of course. I ran into some old familiar faces after the last feedback squalls died, longtime hardcore Gatherers Jon Chapman and Anthoni Adamiak who I'd meet again later in the tour. Went for a drink aftewards with Gatherers Geordie Jim and Paul Richardson and a flock of other Gatherers including a woman I recognised from Wire's December gig in Cardiff. Six British troops were slaughtered like cattle for nothing in Afghanistan that day. If we're all in this together then why haven't Diceman Cameron's legs been blasted off yet?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wobble Monopoly

Everyone I spoke to told me I'd be silly to miss Wobble and Levene and that was my feeling too, even though the Stranglers are in the best shape I've ever heard them these days. They started proceedings with an amusing interview conducted by John Robb, who would later do a passable Lydon impression. Wobble recalled an acid tripping drummer on space invaders and explained why Brian Eno is a cunt. With that all made clear, Keith Levene had a few acerbic words and for some reason stared at me as if he was Spanish as he walked on stage. Wobble said he wanted to show us all a bass line and this was the low key way of starting the gig with a very long Poptones. Their drummer was most able and that trio would have been enough really, but they also had a trumpeter which added a bit of colour. Slightly more superflouous were the vocals. I think the second number Memories was the best and that might be partly because I think they did an instrumental take of that powehouse groove, extending it on and on and on and on and on. Robb was a much better frontman than matey boy from Northside who Wobble invited to sing a charisma free Public Image. It didn't matter though, as the bass carried it and when the line about "Not a game of monopoly" spewed forth I chucked a wad of torn up fake money in the air for Lydon's lawyers who tried to stop this gig. They finished with Annalisa, with Robb totally wired and giving the mike to some fans whose enthusiasm was in dastic excesto their talent. They also played Graveyard but didn't do Chant, Socialist, Caeering or Albatross.

Tickets were £14 in advance.
£20 on the door.
Not a game of monopoly?

Glitch Leak / Fopp Colony Collapse

I am currently listening to Glitch from the new Killing Joke album on youtube.
Already had a listen to Corporate Elect, All Hallows Eve and Colony Collapse which all sound excellent.
No need to buy the album then, thanks to journalists sharing.
Better than the one who sold a copy to Vinyl Exchange!
I went to Probe Records, Picadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, fopp and HMV in search of the In Cythera single on Monday 25/3 but none of them had it. Fopp assured me that CD singles no longer exist and that I would have to pay for a download. If that's their attitude no wonder they're going out of business!

Someone must be doing press for Killing Joke!

It is easy to get it all for free without bothering with them anyway these days!
May the farce be with you!

Does the Spinefam record label actually have distribution?

Picadilly said they couldn't get hold of the single or the album on vinyl but at least said they'd have the CD on Monday if the world lasts that long.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

NASDAQ Turn to Red

On returning to Manchester I was marching home listening to Psyche when a voice started calling: turn around! I searched through my possessions until I found the piece of paper on which I'd scrawled a message from my friend Dan the guitarist dBh. I changed direction and reached the Bay Horse to an Unspeakable soundtrack (every direction leading to the same place) where Dan's excellent instrumental band NASDAQ was playing, just in time for their set. Yesterday was the beginning of Indian new year. On my way here I cursed George Osbourne to the sound of Butcher, and the sign for Demesne Road had been painted blood red.

Napolean Pig Tory Osburn him say:
"Four legs good, one leg better!"

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Corporate Elect Lost Power

Can a curse be a blessing in disguise?

The worst moment of the Killing Joke tour was certainly when the power blew in Glasgow halfway throught my favourite new song Corporate Elect. I met a Gatherer called Stefan in Victoria House Hotel the next day and he had taken a setlist which confirmed that they'd planned to play the same songs as in Manchester. The word was that electricity supply had disconnected to several buildings in the immediate area of the venue, which meant the Joke had to abandon The Wait, Psyche, Requiem, Wardance and Love Like Blood.

However I later considered that the song on which the power went down was significant.THE CORPORATE ELECT LOST POWERGlasgow is in my opinion the most anti-authority city on this island, so maybe this is a
premonition of

This afternoon I went to Nottingham Castle and did a ritual to accelerate the end of the
Age of Greed.

POrtsmouth POleshift

I had never been to a gig in Portsmouth before, and walked along the seafront to the Pyramids. Passing a hovercraft landing the song became alive: the vehicle was making the drone that heralds
a song that was dropped from the set that night, never to return.
I marked out the points before the Joke erupted and as I stopped to sip cider Youth walked into the Pyramids and said hello. The sound was excellent and what the Gathering lacked in number that night they more than made up for in enthusiasm. The Joke rewarded their friends from the southern Extremities of the country by returning for an encore of Requiem and Wardance which were at their most incendiery. There is footage of these songs on youtube. Earlier in the gig Jaz had a short rant about the navy being a bunch of mugs. I'd picked up some army recruitment leaflets at the Stranglers gig in Lincoln Engine Shed the night before, and wardanced by tearing them up and throwing them in the air. After the gig I met a woman of liberty called Kelly, which is an Irish word for war.