Wednesday, 14 June 2017

24/4/2017 Johnny Thunders Tribute Night @ Mau Mau Bar

I find myself out on a Monday night for the second week in a row, but there is a good reason. I'm at Mau Mau Bar for a Johnny Thunders tribute night. The venue is small, but rather cool. It's free to get in and although there is no real ale you can get a bottle of beer for £2.50 or a large can of cider for a a little more. The crowd are as cool as the venue and it's surprisingly busy for a Monday. At least half of those present appear to be musicians. and quite a few of them end up getting up to play on the venue's small stage. Among those present is Peter Perrett from the Only Ones - who was keen to get up to sing 'Chinese Rocks', but apparently a drummer who knew the song well enough couldn't be found in the room.

There is a sort of 'house band' playing when I arrive. They don't seem to have any connection to the late Johnny Thunders but they are rather good and I warm to them to the extent of being interested in seeing them again some time - if only I could remember their name....

Among those taking to the stage is the familiar figure of Dave Renegade - looking not unlike his cousin 'Alabana Country Joe' who I saw only last week. Dave plays a short solo acoustic set including the Thunders classic 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory'.
Another familiar figure to hit the stage is Nigel formerly of the Gasoline Queens but now the Kult 45's - he makes a glorious racket with his new Gretch semi.
Yet another very familiar figure takes to the stage in the form of former Cock Sparrer and current Bermondsey Joyriders guitarist Gary Lammin - a big fan of the New York Dolls and Heartbreakers frontman tonight pay's tribute to - in fact his band have recorded a song on one of their albums called 'Johnny Thunders Was A Human Being'.
The evening draws to a close a bit earlier than I expected - probably due to it being a Monday night. It's been a good night though, and although this has been my first visit to Mau Mau Bar I'm sure it won't be the last.

Monday, 12 June 2017

17/4/2017 Country Joe Renegade @ The Lamb

I've never been to The Lamb on Holloway Road before, although I've heard some good things about it. It's got plenty of character and gives the impression that it probably has an interesting past. Real ale at reasonable prices is always a bonus! Some places appear larger on the inside than they look on the outside - this place seems the opposite. Weird. It's not that busy on a Monday night, but tucked away in the back part of the pub I find Country Joe Renegade playing a solo acoustic set. 

If he looks a bit like well known North London musician Dave Renegade that's because he's his cousin from Alabama. ;-) His badly behaved cousin. Not a million miles away from Howling Willie Cunt - but without all the swearing! Country Joe turns out a set of mostly original songs to a small but select crowd. His songs are interesting and heartfelt. It's a nice relaxed atmosphere and the staff at the pub seem friendly and genuinely enthusiastic about the place - I shall return in the future....

Friday, 5 May 2017

11/4/2017 Duncan Reid & the Big Heads + Spizzenergi @ The Black Heart

As regular readers will have noticed, I've not been getting out to gigs much this year - times are hard and I'm having to be very selective. There are a lot of gigs that I normally wouldn't have missed that I have actually had to miss over the last few months. Even if they are free or cheap tickets I still have to factor in transport and booze costs. However, the tickets for this show at the Black Heart are only £8 - £9 with online booking fee from MusicGlue. Not all venues/booking agencies rip you off these days. I save on transport costs (and travelling time) tonight by going on the bike - there is a handy motorcycle parking bay directly outside the venue. OK so I can't have a drink, but I wouldn't have drunk in the venue at their prices anyway - I'd have gone to BrewDog a few yards up the street instead - also expensive but nicer and more 'bang-for-your-buck' on strength. Going on the bike I won't drink at all so that's more money saved, and I get down there in half the time it would take on the train.

It's a really strong bill for only £8, but unfortunately I don't make it down there in time to see the excellent Role Models - having a day job isn't conducive to seeing the first band on the bill on week nights. Next on the bill is Spizzenergi. Although I sometimes see Spizz himself at punk gigs around town and I still own an original 7" vinyl copy of the hit single 'Where's Captain Kirk?' I have never actually seen Spizzenergi live. Until now.
I am expecting a bit of a 'one song wonder' of a set featuring the hit single and nothing else of substance. It turns out rather better than I was expecting and is actually quite an entertaining show. I'd forgotten that there was also a lesser single called 'Soldier Soldier' with a cover of Roxy Music's 'Virginia Plain' on the B-side - both songs feature in the set. Also played is the surprisingly good single from 2014 'City Of Eyes'. Spizz himself is a bit of a caricature - sending himself up a bit as a larger-than-life figure. He is an engaging and entertaining frontman though, and I find myself quite enjoying the set.
The current Spizzenergi band is actually rather good - particularly the rhythm section featuring a terrific drummer and a monster bass sound provided by Ben from The Fiascos. Luca from The DeRellas also provides rock 'n' roll lead guitar. This band is good fun!

And so on to the headliners. I've seen this band several times now and really enjoyed their shows.
Duncan Reid and the Big Heads are here to promote their forthcoming album Bombs Away.
Duncan & Co. are proving to be quite prolific as 'Bombs Away' will be their third album - and it doesn't seem long since the first was out. This is a a very good live band, but what impressed me straight from the start was the quality of the songwriting. Duncan Reid learned his trade as the bass player in first generation UK punk band The Boys. Some of that band's songs still feature in his current band's set, and they certainly deserve to be - not for nothing were The Boys known as 'the Beatles of punk'. They had great really catchy pop tunes with a dirty punk edge. 'Honest' John Plain' the Boys main singer/guitarist is present at tonight's show.  Also present is Andrew Matheson from the infamous Hollywood Brats - I nearly ran him over with my motorcycle outside earlier. Accidentally obviously.
The venue is pretty full by the time Duncan & Co. hit the stage - I believe it is by then a sold out show. I doubt anyone goes home disappointed as the band are on top form - I've yet to see them do a less than excellent show. There is a bit of a change in the lineup tonight as the second guitar position is taken by Nick Hughes of the Role Models - doing double duty tonight as his main band opened tonight's show. Last time I saw the band Mauro Venegas formerly of Jonny Cola & The A-Grades was in that position, but as he has since joined The Godfathers I suspect he isn't available much of the time. The dynamic Sophie K Powers continues to raise her guitar game, and I suspect she could now carry the show on her own - but some bands are just better with two guitars.
The band really get the crowd going with their lively performance and catchy pop/punk songs. Material from the band's first couple of albums makes up the bulk of the set, but there are also one or two songs from the new album, including the title track 'Bombs Away' - well this is an album promo show!
The atmosphere is terrific in this intimate venue, and it gets even better towards the end of the show when some vintage punk classics from The Boys get played - 'First Time', and the Hollywood Brats 'Sick On You' as covered by The Boys on their first album. I was hoping Andrew Matheson might step up to sing the latter like he did with this band at a show at The Lexington a couple of years ago, but the former Hollywood Brats frontman apparently chooses not to on this occasion - maybe he is keeping his powder dry as there might be some form of activity in the pipeline from his old band... All in all it's been a great Tuesday night out - yes, I said Tuesday. This proves there is a still a hardcore of undeground music fans who aren't afraid to go out on a 'school night'. Long may it continue.

Monday, 1 May 2017

31/3/2017 JoanOvArc & Syteria @ Big Red

Sorry it's taken me a month to get this published - I've been having a lot of computer problems, and I also managed to lose all the pictures I took on the night! I knew I'd downloaded them off my phone and digicam, but after spending ages searching hard drives and multiple flash drives I couldn't find them anywhere - I've been living in PC chaos this year and after various attempts to install new operating systems (and failing) plus endless backing up and formatting hard drives and swapping in/out various hardware trying to make things work it's been tough trying to get anything done. I eventually found the pictures, but but they were pretty poor quality due to the venue lighting and smoke machine, plus due to the aforementioned tech problems I don't currently have any decent photo editing software installed on my PC to tidy them up a bit so I had to use them 'as is'. Yes, I know there are crap - but you should see all the ones I didn't use!

This had all the makings of a good night - and it certainly didn't disappoint! This show is the London date of the 'Women That Rock Tour' that is currently heading round the UK featuring these two excellent bands. Two great bands playing in a rock bar in Holloway Road, free admission, and beer at reasonable(ish) prices - what's not to like? Big Red has been a popular watering hole with rockers for many years now, but in more recent times it has also taken steps towards becoming a live music venue as well. Not every night, or even every week, but live ROCK bands now appear here fairly regularly - something which goes down very well with the bar's regular clientelle.
Tonight features Syteria playing their second ever London show. The first was at the top end of Holloway Road at the former Archway Tavern, and now they move to a point near the middle - before maybe eventually working their way down to The Garage at the other end of Holloway Road? And maybe even further on the other side of Highbury Corner to the larger Islington Academy one day? But tonight finds them playing in a far more suitable venue compared to their first London show, and to a much bigger crowd.
They seem to thrive in this venue and are definitely playing to the right sort of crowd. Even though the band are based in Leeds and have hardly played in London at all there are quite a lot of people already wearing Syteria T-shirts - and the merch stand ensures there are even more being worn by the end of the evening. This band are obviously doing something right!
Girlschool lead guitarist Jackie Chambers started this band back in her home town oop North a couple of years ago. Girlschool are still going, but they tend to have a lot of downtime between festival appearances and recording new stuff so Jax wanted to keep busy and get out there playing - so Syteria were born. The band are all good players and performers - bassist Keira is in demmand and has recently been on a UK tour with Australian girl rockers Tequila Mockingbird standing in for their usual bass player who couldn't make it to the UK.
This new band is noticeably heavier and more 'metal' than Jackie's 'day job' band, although Girlschool are no lightweights as far as hard rock bands go. Syteria are more heavy in both image and sound, but Jackie's punk rock roots show through when the band throw in a cover of the Ramones classic 'Rockaway Beach'. Apart from this it's pretty much original material all the way and there are some good catchy tunes in there. The band are already getting people singing along to their own songs like 'Sheeple', 'Hypocrite', and 'Revolution' from their forthcoming album 'Rant-O-Bot'. Syteria are all good musicians and have great stage presence so it's an entertaining show that makes you want to see them again.
The 'Women that rock' theme for these band's current tour (we'll turn a blind eye to Syteria's male drummer - although he does a good job) continues with tonight's other band the always excellent JoanOvArc. Like the previous band they have drawn quite a crowd tonight if the amount of JoanOvArc T-shirts in the audience is anything to go by.
This is a band who always deliver. With their debut album just released and airplay on Planet Rock radio plus being featured on Hard Rock Hell Radio recently things are really starting to look up for them. Anyone who has seen these girls play live will tell you this is long overdue! The Album's title track and biker anthem 'Ride Of Your Life' is a strong early part of the band's set, but there is even better to come....
In London tonight the band have found themselves in the right venue with the right crowd - a large bar full of rockers who want to rock out big time on a Friday night. This is exactly what happens. JoanOvArc are highly experienced performers who absolutely thrive on a crowd like this. They have brought a load of their own fans to Big Red tonight for their first visit here, but they also have no trouble winning over a lot of people who have never seen them before and many regulars who have probably never heard of them - this band are really in their element tonight.

As the band know they are playing to a rock crowd they pull out all the stops tonight - they are on fire! As well as the full-on out and out rockers this band are so good at like 'Live Rock & Roll', 'White Trash' and 'Seeds Of Summer' the band still show their more pop/commercial side with songs like recent single 'Dragon In The Sky' plus the very melodic 'Running Away' and 'Five Years'. I look round when they are playing newish song 'Work' from the album and this song which to me has a rather Katrina & The Waves 'Walking On Sunshine' feel has most of the people in the room bouncing up and down even though they have probably never heard it before - the band are creating a terrific atmosphere!

As there are only two bands on the bill tonight JoanOvArc have the chance to play a much longer set than usual - they play for over an hour and by no means use up all the original songs in their repertoire they have built up over the years - they have some great songs which they don't play anymore as they have to make room for the newer stuff. Tonight they have time to play virtually their entire new album plus a few other bits and pieces. The long awaited album 'Ride Of Your Life' is a great showcase of the bands varied strengths - from out and out hard rockers, to ballads and more commercial 'pop' sounding songs - all well crafted and played. But it's the rockers that really reach and and grab you - this is where the band's real passion lies and also where they really shine as an amazing live act! There isn't really any need to play any covers tonight as they have already won the crowd over with the strength their own songs, but they know throwing in 'Ace Of Spades' towards the end will go down a storm in this venue - and it does. To finish the show and also really whip this rock loving crowd into a frenzy they finish with 'Freebird'. I have seen many bands cover this song over the years - most of them very good - but no one can touch the JoanOvArc version of this song. They play it not because it's a known crowd-pleaser and will win an audience over or get them a repeat booking - they play it because they absolutely love playing it. And it shows. The sheer passion and love the band show for this song when they perform it really is something special and genuinely exciting - it really is an amazing climax to the show and the feeling they put into the song and the feeling it generates in those watching is something I have very rarely felt.
It's been a great night out and didn't cost much either - free admission and only £1.50 each way for transport. Both the bands were terrific and I hope to see them again soon, although I expect I'll have to pay to see them next time. Sorry there weren't more pictures - especially of JoanOvArc (and in particular the lovely Debbie on drums and Laura on guitar) but most were far too poor quality to use.

Monday, 17 April 2017

17/3/2017 The Garage Flowers @ Guns & Smoke

Regular readers may have noticed things have been a bit quiet here of late? Well the New Year often gets off to a slow start on the gigging front, and 2017 has been no different - if anything even quieter than normal. There just wasn't all that much going on in the first couple of months of the year. The other major factor is that I've been really skint! I just can't afford to go out much - bar prices at venues continue to go up at a far higher rate than my meagre earnings and my constant gig-going just wasn't sustainable... Therefore, I had to either stay in - or go to gigs that are cheap or free - meaning mostly just cover bands in local pubs. At least I get home quickly and cheaply and don't get ripped off at the bar. However, this tends to mean I only get to see cover bands as there hasn't been a scene locally for original bands for years. Not that I don't like seeing cover bands in local pubs too, as long as they are rockin'. Although most of them are good musicians it does get a bit 'same-old-same-old' though - a bit like listening to Absolute Classic Rock radio - which I don't BTW.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised recently to find something refreshingly different happening locally. My good friend Mr Dave Renegade tipped me off that there was a good band playing at a local venue. Guns & Smoke has a very dodgy reputation locally for a variety of reasons and normally only books cover bands playing pretty safe middle of the road material. However, this Friday night they had turned things over to an independent promoter booking original underground rock bands. I can't remember who the other acts on the bill were and I turned up later to see the last band on Mr Renegade's recommendation. I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes when you just see a band setting up something about them - their look or their general attitude and demeanour make you think they have something different about them and they will be worth checking out? This is one of those bands. The band in question were The Garage Flowers and I wasn't disappointed - they turned out to be really good.
This was a dirty sleazy rock 'n roll band with plenty of attitude - not the sort of thing you expect to find in Barnet these days. They had the look and the swagger that told you they are the real thing. This wasn't a band of kids jumping on the latest rock bandwagon trend - these guys meant it. Good catchy pop/rock/punk tunes too. They had a punk attitude mixed with a Stones/Johnny Thunders swagger - if you like the Libertines and early Manic Street Preachers then The Garage Flowers might be right up your street. I doubt you'll be lucky enough to see them in Barnet again, but they can often be found playing in and around Camden.

I have been to this venue quite a bit in the year or so since it opened, and have performed on that stage countless times but I have never seen a night like this as this venue. The vibe was quite different to what it normally is at Guns & Smoke. Normally the emphasis at this venue is on being an American style bar & grill and live music is secondary. For this night they had cleared away the tables and chairs in front to the stage to create more of a dancefloor - and it made all the difference! There was much more of a 'club' atmosphere and many more people were actually dancing than normal. It was a whole different vibe and a different and younger crowd than usual here - it was much more lively than it normally is. I'd love to see more nights like this at Guns & Smoke, but I'm not holding my breath.... This sort of thing encourages me and my friends to go to this venue more often - you could get a pint for only £2.95 as well. OK - it was only Coors Lite but at those prices you can't complain and although 'Lite' beers are little more than soft drinks is does quench your thirst.

PS: I've been to this place a couple of times recently and enjoyed being able to get a (admittedly not great quality) pint for only £2.95 - cheaper than Wetherspoons. However, on my last visit to Guns & Smoke I made a point of asking at the bar before ordering (I've been caught out before by their constantly changing prices) - what was the cheapest pint? It was suddenly £4! Be very careful and check the price before ordering anything here - even advertised prices can change at a moments notice and they often say they have 'no change' at the bar so you end up paying more than you expect! Beware....

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Great Southern Bandwagon

Now don't get me wrong - I don't hate Southern rock. A couple of Lynyrd Skynyrd albums can be found in my music collection. I like The Cadillac Three, Blackberry Smoke, Whiskey Myers, and Black Stone Cherry etc. OK, I realise the latter band ain't strictly 'Southern' but you know what I mean. But for several years now Planet Rock have been going a bit OTT in hyping all these bands, and with their constant (over)playing by the station all these bands start to sound the same after a while. They are all excellent musicians and have written some great songs, but it's all starting to sound a bit 'Southern-rock-by-numbers' to me - with songs being deliberately written to a formula for commercial rather than artistic reasons. It's like there is some sort of rulebook they all have to follow; You have to mention 'Southern' or 'the South' in every song - just to emphasise how really Southern you are - just in case anybody didn't notice.

Now it really seems to be getting to the stage of blatant bandwagon jumping. A singer from a well known screamy metalcore band leaves to front a more 'classic rock' sounding band, and then dumps them too and goes solo. He puts on a fake Southern USA accent and issues a country rock single about 'Driving his ass to Mexico' and drinking ice cold bottles of Bud. He was born and grew up in a village in Yorkshire. That's not even Southern England - it's in the North! Sorry - zero credibility there. How about 'Driving my arse to Cleethorpes' and 'Drinking a nice cold can of Sam Smiths'?

"Got my aviators and my cigarette lighter, my leather jacket, I'm a jet fighter"

Monday, 23 January 2017

17/12/2016 Ginger's Birthday Bash

Always one of the gig highlights of the year, Ginger's 2016 Birthday Bash was no exception. Held once again in Kentish Town's Forum venue the place was pretty full. This year the format was a little different; Instead of Ginger playing various instruments with a wide variety of guests tonight's bill consists of regular bands - two of which Ginger happens to be in.
Gigs on a Saturday should be easy for even a badly organised shower-o-shite like me to get to on time, but that thing called 'real life', work, and the need to go shopping to fill my empty fridge so I can eat the following day manage to get in the way - not helped by the fact that the venue doors open at 6.00 with the show starting soon after so all the acts on the bill can be crammed in. Consequently, I have to travel straight to the gig with no chance of being able to go to a nearby pub for beers beforehand. However, thanks to 'in flight refueling' I am somewhat less than sober when I arrive at the venue. Unfortunately, by this stage I have already missed the first two acts on the bill. I wasn't particularly bothered about opening band Elvana - apparently an Elvis/Nirvana tribute band. I kid you not! Actually, they might have been quite interesting as I really enjoyed seeing Ramones/Abba faux tribute band G.A.B.B.A a few years ago. I was more concerned about missing the Main Grains, but as I'd seen them a couple of times in 2016 anyway not seeing them wasn't the end of the world. I did find out later that Main Grains frontman Danny McCormack's former Yo-Yo's bandmate Tom Spencer joined the band on guitar for the final song - the Yo-Yo's 'Keepin' On Keepin' On'. I'd have liked to have seen that.

I am in the venue when The Dowling Poole are on stage, but unfortunately didn't really catch any of their very poppy tuneage due to constantly bumping into people I know and in most cases rarely see. This outfit are now a full band after starting off as a duo featuring ex-The Grip, Honeycrack, and one time Wildhearts keyboard player Willie Dowling and Cardiacs and Wildhearts bass player Jon 'Random' Poole. - and also Givvi Flynn on backing vocals.

The first band I actually did manage to see was Hey! Hello!.
This is the new Mk 2 lineup of the band as seen earlier in the year. Cat Southall is doing a fine job on vocals - allowing Ginger to take a step back from frontman duties (although he has never fronted this band) and concentrate on just being a guitar player and songwriter.
The rest of the band is unchanged and still features ex-Anti-Product and Ga Gas man Toshi on bass (above) and ex-Towers Of London and The Howling man the Rev (below) on guitar.
Hey! Hello! are great fun as a live act with loads of cracking tunes and plenty of action on stage.
The band have recently released their second album 'Hey! Hello! Too' which features a variety of lead singers - including Cat who is currently fronting the band and looking like she's loving every minute of it!
Hey! Hello!'s second album is a fine follow up to their critically acclaimed first one and features another bunch of well crafted pop/punk tunes. I look forward to seeing more of this band in 2017...

I had been looking forward to checking out Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind as I thought the frontman's previous act the Jim Jones Revue were a terrific old school dirty rock 'n' roll band. However, I manage to miss them for much the same reasons as The Dowling Poole....

And now for something completely different. Dirtbox Disco are back at this event after going down well with many of those in the crowd last year. I manage to catch some of their set. It's an entertaining mix of punk. metal, and 1970's glam rock - their brand of lunacy reminds me of The Damned in particular. I especially like their catchy anthem 'Lets Get Fucking Wasted'!

Last but definitely not least is the main act of the night - the 'Birthday Boy' returns to the stage to lead The Wildhearts through a crowdpleasing 'Greatest hits' style set also featuring some lesser known songs.
One thing that has greatly gladdened the hearts of most present is the very welcome return of original Wildhearts bassist Danny McCormack who joins the band for the encore songs. Few would have thought this was ever likely to happen as there has been a certain amount of bad blood between Danny and Ginger for various reasons since he left the band. Even Danny's new band the Main Grains being on the bill was unexpected, but obviously a lot of water has passed under the bridge and it's great to see these two on friendly terms again. Many didn't expect Danny to be able to make this gig (as well as his own band's recent tour) as a few months ago he had to have one leg amputated below the knee due to some ongoing health issues he's been suffering with over the last year or so. It's still too early for him to be fitted with an artificial leg, so he has to play the show sitting down - as he did with the Main Grains earlier in the evening. Danny seems to be in good spirits in spite of all this, and the fans are very glad to see him making this guest appearance with his old band.

Ginger himself appears to be in good form too, but it turns out later all is not so well....
As usual for a Wildhearts gig the atmosphere is terrific - a Wildhearts crowd can never be outsung! I meet old friends who have come from as far as Portugal, and even Australia just for this show - so everyone is determined to have a good time!
This band have a very rich back catalogue to pick from, and obviously they don't have enough time on stage at this show to dig too deep into the more obscure and rarely (if ever) heard rarities and B-sides - therefore it is of necessity a bit of a Greatest Hits type setlist - but no one is complaining!
We get many of the old favourites: 'Sick Of Drugs', 'Everlone', 'Weekend', 'Love You Til I don't', 'Nothing Ever Changes...' and some lesser known songs from later tears like 'The Revolution Will Be Televised' and 'Mazel Tov Cocktail' . However, as mentioned earlier - all is not well. Or more precisely, Ginger is not well. At one point he turns his back to the crowd - and I see him eject a stream of projectile vomit towards the back of the stage. Actually, there turns out to be quite a lot of puke over rest of the stage as well, and faithful but long-suffering roadie Dunc has the unenviable task of trying to mop it all up with towels - he's certainly earning his money tonight. But he always does.
However, trooper that he is Ginger decides the show must go on - and it does. All too soon it's encore time and we get hammered by the double-whammy of 'Suckerpunch' and 'My Baby Is A Headfuck' (always a popular for a crowd sing-a-long!) followed by Frank Turner appearing of stage to take lead vocals on 'I Wanna Go Where The People Go' - probably much to the ailing Ginger's relief! In spite of the Birthday Boy by this point feeling very under the weather it's a cracking climax to the night!
As ever, Ginger's Birthday Bash has been a terrific night! Due to there being seven bands on the bill and there being a lot to fit in the venue extended it's curfew from it's usual 11.00 to midnight. Consequently I am grateful to the new Night Tube service which I use for the first time - otherwise I might have struggled to get home without resorting to the dreaded Night Bus! I am relieved not to have to do that as I have been up and on the go since 5.20 in the morning...

Unfortunately, Ginger isn't feeling much better after the show and himself and Danny end up going to hospital together later - victims of the dreaded winter vomiting bug. This also causes the following night's end of Wildhearts tour show in Nottingham to be pulled at the last minute as Ginger isn't feeling up to it and doesn't want to disappoint the fans with a sub-standard show.

My rubbish pictures from this show are a mixture of phone and digicam efforts - if you want to see a load of really good professional quality photos from this gig then click on this link to go to the wonderful Trudi Knight's gig photography website.

PS: The Wildhearts postponed  end of tour show has since taken place in Nottingham, and there is a new Wildhearts album on the cards for 2017....

Sunday, 1 January 2017

10/12/2016 The Fiascos & The Kut @ Proud

I have to say that Proud isn't one of my favourite venues - mostly due to it's shit and vastly overpriced bar. However, this Saturday see's a strong bill there at a bargain price as part of a Camden Rocks Presents bill.
Unfortunately I had to work earlier, followed by other stuff like shopping as my fridge was empty. I was determined to get there to see The Fiascos as I've been wanting to see them for some time and missed them recently at their first gig in Camden. However, I arrive to find things are running a little late and Dedwardians are still playing.
I've enjoyed seeing this band a few times before, but in the very short part of their set that I catch tonight they seem a bit lacking in focus and direction compared to the previous times I'm seen them. In the past they've impressed me as a very good rock 'n' roll band. Either they are having an off night or I've missed the best stuff in their set tonight?

Next is the main band I've come to see. Formed from the ashes of the much missed Kitty Hudson this as a sort of South London punk 'n' roll supergroup.
The band have formed recently and have only played a handful of shows so far - this is the first one I've managed to get to.
I think it's fair to say that if you were a fan of Kitty Hudson then you'll like The Fiascos too. It's catchy pop/punk/rock 'n' roll along similar lines, played by a couple of the same people, but with all new songs
Some of you will recognise Richie from his days fronting Kitty Hudson, and previously the more glam/punk Glitterbug - as well as more recently playing bass with Brijitte West and the Desperate Hopefuls.
Actually, most of The Fiascos were also in Brijitte Wests most recent band, but it's good to see Richie back on six string duties where he belongs.
Fellow six stringer and singer Keef will also be familiar to many as the frontman from London pop/punkers Dead Identities.
And of course drummer Robin Guy will be familiar due to playing with - well, nearly everybody! Rachel Stamp, Sack Trick, Bruce Dickinson, TAT, AntiProduct, Lilygun, Maleficent, G.M.T., Tigertailz, and most recently Sham 69 to name just a few....
Bassist Ben has been seen playing with punk legends Spizzenergi.
As expected, The Fiascos turn out to be a lot of fun! The energy level is high and the attitude is intense! The songs are catchy and tuneful, as one would expect with this bands pedigree.
Personally, I wouldn't have minded hearing some Kitty Hudson tunes as well as the new ones - that band had loads of cracking songs and it's a shame to see them going to waste, but I guess The Fiascos want to emphasise that this is a new band. They are off to a strong start with songs like 'Built For Speed' though.
The band turn in a short sharp shock of a set of fast punky tuneful numbers that demonstrate that they are indeed 'built for speed' - I look forward to seeing more of them in 2017.

Next on the bill are Tigress, who don't make much of an impression on me to be honest.
Competent enough musicianship, but I can't remember any of their songs.
Next are Heel. Again, competent musicianship - a guitarist who sounds like he's into metal and has had lots of guitar lessons but looks like he want's to be in a hip-hop outfit or something? I don't get it.
The singer is very good, but looks like she's more interested in being a pop star than fronting a rock band. I can't remember any of their songs either. This could possibly have something to do with having virtually emptied both my hip flasks by this point though.... This is certainly a band who look nothing like they sound - you can make your own mind if if that's a good thing or not.
I gave them a chance, but the last two bands weren't my sort of thing at all - rather an anti-climax after The Fiascos and I would have probably given up and left if it wasn't for the final band of the night.
I saw The Kut for the first time a couple of months ago and quite enjoyed their set - I was pleased to find I hadn't missed them today as I feared they would be on earlier.
The band now seem to have a new bass player in place and she seems to fit in well.
There is more to frontgal Princess Maha than just vocals and rhythm guitar - she is an accomplished musician who can rip out a mean guitar solo when she feels like it.
Although things were running late The Kut made it worth hanging around until the end of the evening with their energetic grunge inspired grunge/pop rock. This band are fun and certainly worth seeing again.
Once again a Camden Rocks promoted show provided great value for money - £7 on the door (or only £5 advance) for this 'all-dayer' with 11 bands on the bill - it's just a shame I couldn't get there a few hours earlier 'cos there were some other bands on the bill I would have liked to have seen as well.