WISH YOU WERE HERE: ALICE COOPER LIVE IN LONDON!

Horror-glam legend Alice Cooper returned to London last month with Detroit pal Wayne Kramer’s MC50 and the UK’s own men in black, The Stranglers in tow. Vive LeRock‘s Paula Frost was there…

The O2 Arena was overrun by shock rock fans dressed in black head to toe with black eye makeup, celebrating the original glam goth Alice Cooper, ‘Ol’ Black Eyes’! And for the return of Cooper to the UK, rock royalty turned out including Bobbie Gillespie of Primal Scream and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, ready for their masterclass in mayhem.  Cooper was supported by a stellar line-up of MC50 and The Stranglers.

Proto punks MC50 opened the show, 50 years on from MC5’s debut album ‘Kick Out the Jams’ with the iconic guitarist Wayne Kramer, a close friend of Cooper’s who’s gigged with him since way back in Detroit in the ‘60s. The line-up also included Faith No More bassist Billy Gould, Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden, Brendan Canty of Fugazi, Marcus Durant of Zen Guerrilla and Don Was from funk band Was (Not Was). The band opened with ‘Ramblin’ Rose’ and rolled out the hits including the essential ‘Kick Out The Jams’. They played with full on energy and brought spirit to their set which got the crowd going early. MC50 flaunted their 50th Anniversary black banner stating ‘1968 – 2018’.

Next, The Stranglers stepped up their banner game with a huge backdrop of a dirty crumbling sewer, we’re amongst the rats now. Original members JJ Burnel and keyboard/organist Dave Greenfield played their slick whirling riffs almost effortlessly. Opening with ‘Toiler On The Sea’, they gave the audience a hits set including the classic ‘Golden Brown’ and ‘Peaches’. Frontman Baz changed the words of ‘Peaches’ to “I can think of a lot worse places to be like in a room full of people with black eyes.” And jeered at an audience member “Did you paint your eyes on the way over here from work?”

Soon enough it was time for the main event. The room turned to black and as everyone began to cheer in anticipation of Cooper’s appearance, a snarling character vocal played out like the beginning of a horror movie. The opening sounds of ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ beam out of the stage and a curtain dropped to reveal a haunted castle reaching across the stage. Cooper’s five-piece band take charge and we’re in for the ride. A ten-foot-tall ghoul emerges from behind the castle tower and charges for Cooper, but two castle guards capture it and bring it back to its cage. Throughout the performance there’s a lot of horror theatrics including a giant baby covered in blood running around the stage, two girls being murdered and a zombie widow in a wedding dress dancing around.

Cooper goes from evil ringmaster to straight jacketed madman and is even decapitated onstage – which looks impressively real. Stand out songs of the night are ‘I’m Eighteen’, ‘Dead Babies’ and the finale ‘Schools Out’. At the end of the show hundreds of giant purple balloons drop from the ceiling onto the audience below and make for an incredible wow moment. You’ll never see another show like it.

Paula Frost

Pic © Dod Morrison

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UP WITH THE ROOSTER!

Now in its fifth year, the Red Rooster Festival has shaped up from humble beginnings to be THE go-to weekend for rock’n’roll, blues and roots music . Vive Le Rock donned its dungarees to check it out….

RED ROOSTER FESTIVAL
EUSTON HALL, SUFFOLK

With a track record of good weather, Red Rooster is something of a rarity in the UK calendar. Better not jinx it! It’s also one of the easiest on the eye, when it comes to locations, situated in the grounds of Euston Hall on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, by wood and river. Moreover, it’s compactness means you don’t waste time and energy slogging everywhere, can easily find your mates and are generally in with a good chance of making it back to your tent before passing out.

Kicking off on the Thursday evening, just as most people are arriving, the mainstage offers a low-key bill of mellow country rock, headlined by Philadelphia’s Low Cut Connie, trading in a weird concoction of garage rock through a Queen filter.

The following morning, though, the fest sets off in earnest with London’s long-serving Cajun aces Joli Blon, who do an amazing job of shaking the masses out of their torpor. The day takes shape approvingly via the many-headed Cash-style country-punk of The Johnsons, ZZ Top-channelling newcomer Sam Morrow and Texan golden boy Jarrod Dickinson, who takes time to salute homestate legend Doug Sahm with a terrific cover of ‘I’m Glad For Your Sake’.

After a Prosecco-and-veggie-burrito break, Vive Le Rock returns to the mainstage for another of Texas’s finest sons, Dale Watson. Single-handedly saving country music one truckin’ song at a time, Dale’s on fine form, the crowd quickly getting into singalong mode on ‘I Lie When I Drink’ (“…and I drink a lot!”). Ever the consummate pro, Dale takes some beating, although Nick Lowe gives it a good go. Since teaming up with LA’s masked instrumental surf band Los Straightjackets, the Godfather of Pub has been reinvigorated: delivering an elementary ‘greatest hits’ set, rockin’ recent single ‘Tokyo Bay’ is as good as anything the great man’s ever done.

By Saturday both stages – and the sun’s rays – are getting into their stride, so we slap on the lotion to enjoy sets on the Little Red Rooster acoustic stage from fast-rising skateboarder-cum-country-blues-picker, Yorkshire’s own Serious Sam Barrett – drawing one of the biggest crowds of the weekend – and the country’n’rockabilly of The Haystingers, unphased by a mid-set power failure.

Over on the mainstage, it’s Euro-tastic with youthful French rockabillies Howlin’ Jaws delivering a blistering set, closely followed by Switzerland’s Powersolo and the homegrown Oh! Gunquit, featuring the finest hula-hooping, trumpet-blowing frontwoman of the festival.

East Londoner Errol Linton has been a reliable draw on the London scene for many years, so it’s great to watch him deliver a crowd-pleasing mid-afternoon set of his reggae-infused blues. He’s definitely deserving of bigger things. So too, Cedric Burnside: grandson of the legendary R.L. who kickstarted the noughties punk-blues scene, he delivered a blistering set, backed only by a hard-hitting drummer with an infectious beat. The two even swapped places at one point!

For the final act of the weekend, Vive was in a bit of a quandary, but sorely tempted by the soul-inspired space-rock of The Budos Band, we opted for the tried’n’tested Legendary Shackshakers on the Little Red Rooster stage. One of the most dynamic acts of the festival, it’s a shame they’re relegated to the smaller stage, but their fiery gothic-country-punk has zero airs and graces, quickly creating the atmosphere of the moshpit, frontman J.D. Wilkes risking life and limb (his, the band’s, the crowd’s) with his cavalier mic-stand antics. A brilliant punk-rock frontman, and quite possibly the only one armed with a banjo, Wilkes is a force of nature who deserves much wider fame.

The party kept rockin’ well into the night over on the Howlin’ Woods DJ stage, but totally spent from the Shackshakers, Vive (dis)gracefully retired. Out first Red Rooster successfully completed, we’ll definitely be back next year.

Red Rooster on Facebook


Pics by Ken Taylor

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LITTLE STEVEN ROCKS THE HARD ROCK CAFE!

Vive Le Rock recently hung out at London’s Hard Rock Cafe for Stevie Van Zandt’s live DJ set and radio broadcast of his Underground Garage Dance Party. The long-time member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and actor famous for The Sopranos series brought along his wife Maureen Van Zandt, who also plays his wife in The Sopranos.

A crowd of fans hoping to get their Van Zandt CDs and records signed gathered under the stage at the entrance of the Hard Rock. Van Zandt pulled up in a blacked-out 4×4 and entered through a side door to huge applause before grabbing the mic and opening his radio show with The Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations’.

The appearance comes off the back of the new album Summer Of Sorcery from Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, Little Steven’s first album of new material in 20 years. The band recently kicked off their live tour in May.

The show lasted two hours and featured Van Zandt’s usual mix of old school rock’n’roll embellished by his own stories as a fan and a performer. He took a break to meet everyone in the audience and spent a lot of time having pictures with fans.

Paula Frost

Pics © Hard Rock Café London

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY STUPIDO RECORDS!

Vive Le Rock visited Stupido Records 30th Anniversary party at Tavastia Club, Helsinki in late April to find out what makes this great Finnish record label tick.

Stupido Records was founded in 1988, and since then their empire has grown to include a record shop, a mail order service and a publishing company. They’ve signed 37 legendary Finnish  bands including Pelle Miljoona (pictured), Waltari, Tumppi Varonen (from Problems and Pelle Miljoona) and Villu Tamme / J.M.K.E.

This event was over two days and various Stupido Records artists performed, including  Finnish punk rock legends like Pelle Miljoona (Pelle Miljoona – singing and drums,  Tumppi Varonen, Veli-Pekka ‘Puka’ Oinonen – guitar). Pelle Miljoona is a pioneer in the Finnish punk rock scene. He recorded his first album in 1977 and the band line-up has changed over the years, hence most recognised names who played for the band over the years are Hanoi Rocks legends Andy McCoy on guitar and Sam Yaffa on bass.

On the night Pelle Miljoona played his hits like ‘Moottoritie On Kuuma’ (‘The Freeway Is Hot’), ‘Tahdon Rakastella Sinua’ (‘I Want To Make Love To You’).

Tumppi Varonen & Problems (Tumppi Varonen – singing, Heikki Hiekkasalmi – bass, Saska Ketonen – drums, Petri Peevo – guitar). Tumppi Vuorinen is a musician, writer and former municipal politician. Varonen made his first recording for Problems in the late 1970s.  Since then, he has been playing  on and off with Problems and Pelle Miljona’s bands. Tumppi Varonen &  Problems played ‘Katupoikia’ (‘Street Boys’), ‘Tiina On Punkkari’ (‘Tina Is Punk’) and the new single ‘Ihan Sama’ (‘What Ever’).

Tumppi Varonen & Problems

Pää Kii is a punk band founded in 2012. Soundi and Rumba magazines chose the band’s first album to be their 2012 album of the year. Pää Kii has also has been awarded in the Femma and Emma Gala. (Teemu Bergman – singing and guitar, Antti Leppäniemi – guitar, Vekku Vartiainen – bass, Heikki Laaksomies – drums) They played ‘Paskahousun Paluu’ (‘Return Of The Shitpants’), ‘Apinoiden Planeetalla’ (‘Planet Of Apes’) and ‘Sweet Home Kouvola’.


Pää Kii

All bands were really energetic and Stupido records can be proud of their long success in the music business as a independent record label.

For more information visit www.stupido.fi

Photos by Jari Flinck https://www.instagram.com/jariflinck.photography/

Text by Kati Brugnoli  www.katibrugnoli.com

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BEDLAM BREAKOUT Northampton Roadmender

Friday 15th March

With five great bands covering the whole spectrum of psychobilly, Friday evening at Bedlam is a cool way for the curious to check things out. Local band GOGO LOCO open proceedings and they’re an extremely likeable duo. Guitarist and vocalist Joe is like Chuck Berry with restless leg syndrome, pacing the stage like a student from The Ministry of Silly Walks. Original tunes like ‘Maraca GoGo’ and ‘GoGo Loco Twist’ capture the energy of the British R&B boom only cranked up to 11. Their energetic performance is well received and throws down the gauntlet for the whole weekend.

Rising to the challenge are THE X-MEN. They immediately evince a strong garage-rock influence: imagine The Stooges jamming with Them while imbibing hallucinogens. A superb swirling psychedelic sound hypnotises the audience as The X-Men pull out a cover of The Syndicate Of Sound’s ‘Little Girl’ along with their own classic ‘She’s A Witch’. Closing with a rendition of The 13th Floor Elevators ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ only endears them to the crowd further.

The aptly titled FRANTIC VERMIN are a pleasing amalgamation of of styles as rock’n’roll meets ska with a country twang. It’s no mean feat to blend different genres but Frantic Vermin pull it off effortlessly by underpinning their sound with a strong song sensibility. A trio who make a big noise they turn in a crowd pleasing set.

The ultimately silky voice from the coolest cat in town COLBERT HAMILTON brings his band to entertain Bedlam. Risqué without being rude, ‘Dirty Dog’ kicks his set off in fine style with Colbert working the stage like a pro and by the time we reach ‘Daddy Rolling Stone’ he has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Ably backed by his band the BAD BREED, ‘Rock Party’ turns the whole venue into a… rock party, and they bring a nice flavour to the evening.

Providing the missing link between rockabilly and psychobilly, RESTLESS hit the stage and immediately set the venue alight. ‘After Midnight’ is a definite highlight along with a high voltage version of Golden Earring’s ‘Radar Love’, a song they’ve now made their own. ‘Mercury Blues’ is performed with great abandon theirs is a nice set that ebbs and flows and ticks all the right boxes and provides a fitting culmination to the opening day.

Saturday 16th March

Opening Saturday are a late replacement on the bill: the GARBAGE BAGS. With a sound guaranteed to blast away any hangovers they remind me a little of The Cramps… only more hyped and amped. Drummer and vocalist swap slots for one song which, along with some neat changes in tempo, keeps things interesting. With a wall of distorted guitar and a hyperactive frontman it’s an entertaining start to the day.

ATI EDGE AND THE SHADOWBIRDS arrive from Hungary armed with an adrenaline charged brand of rock’n’roll. With songs about cars, girls and cannibals they can’t really go wrong. They plough through a crowdpleasing set of which ‘Rockabilly Boogie’ is a definite highlight.

Putting the psycho in psychobilly are Japan’s GIGANTIX who prove the scene is truly global. They turn in a fun-fuelled set and the crowd soon warms to their surf-tinged sound. A manic cover of The Animals’ ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ raises the level of insanity and they win the first encore of the day: ‘Space Song’.

THE ROCKETZ hit the stage like a well- oiled machine and treat the throng to a bawdy ‘I Want U Dead’ and an atmospheric ‘Before The Night’. Spawned from the fertile Los Angeles scene, they are part of the vanguard (along with NY’s Screamin’ Rebel Angels) who are taking rockabilly to a new audience. ‘Killing’ is a set highlight and the band should be on your radar.

The SURFIN’ WOMBATZ are always guaranteed to raise more than a smile and, like their South London counterparts The Gonads, they keep their tongue firmly in cheek. With a thirty-year history they’ve built up an impressive discography and they deliver a career spanning, best of set. ‘Bald Billy Boogie’ really rocks and the band relive their Klub Foot days with tracks from their debut album. They have a sound that incorporates different styles (like the ska-infused ‘Peter Cushing’) and they’ve finally written a surf song but in their own inimitable style: ‘Surfin’ South London’. ‘Lack of Beer’ initiates a huge sing-a-long before a raucous rendition of Bo Diddley’s ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover’ brings the afternoon to a fitting finale.

Berlin’s DAMAGE DONE BY WORMS are out of the trap like a greyhound chasing a hare and by second track ‘Beer’ they’ve won over any doubters and pulled the slackers in from the bar. ‘Tommyknockers’ from their debut album follows; each track is delivered with passion but ‘Butcher Of The Night’ is a definite highlight. They use catchy guitar lines to snare the listener as evidenced by a fiery ‘Gasoline’ and their cover of The Buzzcocks ‘Ever Fallen In Love?’ is a fitting tribute to Pete Shelley.

THE HANGMEN turn in a solid set but fail to really capture the crowd’s full attention. Thankfully, a period of recording inactivity has been broken and the new tracks debuted point to a bright future.

Now making their fourth appearance at Bedlam, the MILWAUKEE WILDMEN hit the stage and provide a master class in stagecraft. ‘March’ stomps like an army and ‘Get In The Pit’ is suitably raucous. Their sound really swings like a pendulum especially on ‘Die Alone’ while a rocked up cover of Dead Or Alive’s ‘(You Spin Me) Right Round (Like a Record)’ wins the crowd’s approval. They close their set with another cover, this time a warlike version of Stan Ridgeway’s ‘Camouflage’ which is segued with Matchbox’s ‘Midnight Dynamos’. Genius.

THE RICOCHETS are welcomed to the stage like old friends and a cover of ‘Brand New Cadillac’ only increases their standing as scene legends. ‘Paranoia’ follows along with the insanely catchy ‘I’m a Loser’. With no signs of slowing down, they hit us with an excellent version of Generation X’s ‘King Rocker’ and a fine rendition of ‘Woolly Bully’. ‘Black Magic Woman’ follows as the band turn in a well received set. ‘In Hell’ is a precursor to two well deserved encores which includes a delirious ‘Psycho’.

A tangible tension builds as we await NEKROMANTIX which is finally released when the band hit the stage. By second track ‘Night Nurse’, the entire venue is under their spell and the band turn in a set that proves why they’re undisputed headliners. Bathed in blood red light and with his trademark coffin-shaped double bass, vocalist Kim looks like a demented preacher and delivers a sermon in the shape of ‘Alice In Psycholand’ and ‘Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend’. ‘The Blood Cure’ raises the temperature and initiates some serious wrecking in the pit and there’s a real chemistry in the band and they perform with an obvious joy. In the live environment the band become infinitely heavier and they wouldn’t seem out of place at a metal festival. Waves of affection radiate between crowd and audience and Nekromantix are the perfect band at the witching hour. Miss them at your peril.

Sunday 17th March

Suited and booted, there’s a touch of The Meteors in THE MIGHTY INTERCEPTORS’ performance. Their set is a short, sharp shock and there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. New track ‘Danger In Every Curve’ points to a bright future.

The SPACE WASTERS deliver a fine slab of garage thrash which shows a definite Stooges influence. Opening shot ‘Action’ doesn’t take prisoners and neither does ‘I Don’t Like You’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’. They cap an enjoyable set with a rocket like X-Men cover.

Norfolk’s FAT’N’FURIOUS certainly know how to please a crowd which they do by covering ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ and ‘Monkey Man’. However they’ve got some cool original tunes like the mighty ‘King Of The Asylum’ which sits easily next to a rendition of The Meteors’ ‘I’m Insane’ (which they fuse with the Pistols’ ‘Pretty Vacant’). Closing with ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ means they won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

A late and welcome addition to the bill are Bedford-based HENRY & THE BLEEDERS. With a set largely debuting new material, ‘The Beast’ in particular stands out with its catchy guitar motif and signposts a majestic new record. Led by the hyperactive and effervescent Henry, the band deliver a turbocharged set and close with perennial favourite ‘(I Gotta) Rock On (For You)’ sees them bow out in style.

Fun with a capital F, the DEATH VALLEY SURFERS are a six-piece with a big sound. Plenty of brass and even some violin add a touch of brevity to their set but underneath the madness they’ve some great tunes like ‘She’s Not Home’. A cover of ‘Tequila’ evinces a real surf influence and their set is a riotous cornucopia of sight and sound. J.B. From the Space Wasters joins them for a frantic set closer ‘Johnny B. Goode’.

THE GRISWALDS open Sunday evening in suitably loopy fashion with a set that doesn’t waste a second. ‘Spasms’ really grooves as ‘Hooker’ and ‘Fright Night’ follow in quick succession. New track ‘Psychobilly Love Affair’ is set to the sound of Bad Manners’ ‘Skinhead Love Affair’ while ‘Crazy Jim’ brings a ska influence. A faithful cover of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ is well received before an encore of The Housemartins ‘Happy Hour’ brings thing to a conclusion in an appropriately surreal fashion.

With their heavy ska sound PADDLE CELL are something of a revelation. With a sound that’s heavily laden with brass they soon get the whole venue skanking. As you’d expect, ‘Waiting’ and ‘Montego Bay’ set the venue alight and Paddle Cell are rewarded with the biggest cheer of the evening.

After some tour tribulations and shenanigans, THE SURF RATS perform with a new drummer who only had 24 hours to learn a set – but you’d never guess. ‘Vampire Lover’ really rocks as does ‘Evil Girl’ and The Rats put their unique stamp on rock’n’roll. The adrenaline-infused ska of ‘Smash it Up’ adds some variety to their set and new track ‘It’s The End’ shows some real development. A well-deserved encore follows in the shape of ‘Welcome to Killafornia’.

BATMOBILE are worthy headliners and, as the first non-British band to perform at The Klub Foot they have a special relationship with the UK. Hitting the stage the band are like whirling dervishes and it’s obvious why they’ve stayed at the top of the game for 35 years and many would argue that new record ‘Brand New Blisters’ is a career highlight. Affection radiates between band and audience as they plough through a greatest hits set and with their back catalogue they can’t go wrong. Running close to curfew the band still manage to cram in all their well known tunes plus a few fan favourites ensuring nobody leaves disappointed.

Peter Dennis.

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HANDS OFF GRETEL

I WANT THE WORLD
(Puke Pop Records)

Riot grrrl on the loose in South Yorkshire

8/10

South Yorkshire has long been a plucky region. It has needed to be. Even its left leaning governments of the 1980s – which helped gain the whole area the moniker ‘The Peoples’ Republic of South Yorkshire’ – couldn’t stop Margaret Thatcher waving her malevolent wand and decimating the region’s coal industry. But it probably doesn’t matter one jot to Hands Off Gretel frontwoman Lauren Tate – she wasn’t even born. It was left to the likes of Saxon, Def Leppard and the Human League to provide the homegrown musical backdrop to the years of decline. But now there’s a new force of nature to be the voice of misfits, miscreants and nursery rhyme nightmares. Hands of Gretel were born in 2015. Inspired by the likes of Hole, The Distillers and Nirvana, this is acidic grunge-pop laced with South Yorkshire grit. Mental health, body image, loneliness – the topics covered aren’t for anyone having a bad day. Lauren Tate is a girl who has a lot to get off her chest and her cathartic release appears to be cooking up a true shitstorm in certain areas of music business who are naming Hands Off Gretel as a band to watch. I Want The World delivers vitriol and addictive sounds in equal measure. Album opener ‘Kiss Me Girl’ is music’s answer to a line of coke – you’re sucker-punched within seconds. But the title track is the killer tune and truly shows the quality of the band – hook-laden and instantly addictive, it is reminiscent of the very best of the band’s influences and more.

Neil Anderson

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POPLAR CONSENT!

Rising London street-punks EAST END BADOES launched their new album A Punk Rock Sound With An East End Beat last month – with a full supporting cast! – at London’s 100 Club. Vive Le Rock‘s Tony Ghirardi was there…

EAST END BADOES
The 100 Club, London
The 100 Club was the evening’s destination for Human Punk’s four band offering of East End Badoes, The Violators, Knock Off and Geoffrey OiCott, and there was the added attraction of it being the Badoes album release gig.
The evening kicked off with Yorkshire Cricket based Oi band, Geoffrey OiCott. Dressed in their obligatory cricket whites, they warmed up the 100 Club with their tongue-in-cheek renditions ‘Dawn Of The Dickie Birds’, ‘Robin Hood Was A Yorkshire Man’ and ‘Glory Glory Garry Thompson’, which was changed to ‘Glory Glory Eric Bristow’ in recognition of the darts player’s recent death.

Knock Off (left) were next up, a three piece from Watford with a couple of cracking albums and singles under their belts. They are an ultra-hardworking band and it really shows with their tight professional set which included crowd favourites ‘Are You Offended’, ‘Jack The Ripper’ and their terrace chant, ‘Football, Beer And Punk Rock’ which always goes down a storm.

UK82 returned to the 100 Club in the shape of The Violators (below). Having been back together since last year’s appearance at Rebellion, great things were expected of them. After overcoming some initial bass amp problems, they put in a blinding set of old favourites, with ‘Summer Of ‘81’ and ‘Gangland’ being the highlights. 

The stage was now set for the East End Badoes to make their first ever album launch. There was a large following for them, most of whom piled down the front of the stage to join in the fun. The majority of tracks, as expected, were from the new album, like ‘Poplar Boys’ and ‘Trouble On The Streets’, all were very well received by those in attendance. The band played at full tilt and at one point Mark’s snare drum broke; until a new one was found, a member of the audience offered his prosthetic leg to use! A great, fun evening which ended with a few of the crowd on stage adding vocals for ‘Trouble On The Streets’ and their cover of The Professionals ‘1-2-3’.
Tony Ghirardi

 

 

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X-MAN REMINISCES….

UNDER THE BIG BLACK SUN: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF L.A. PUNK
John Doe with Tom DeSavia and friends
(Da Capo)
8/10
First things first: John Doe is by no means the main author of this book. Founder and bassist of long-serving L.A. punks X (who even named their first album in the city’s honour), Doe is well placed to comment on the times, which he does with a dry, beatnik flair. But his scattered entries are slim, allowing a cast of musos, journos and other scenesters to contribute the real meat’n’potatoes. The best essays come from The Go-Gos’ Jane Wiedlin, then a wet-behind-the-ears student, enjoying this new explosion of music, drugs and sex while living in notorious punk apartment block, The Canterbury; and Mike Watt’s tale of the Minutemen, three plaid-shirted teenagers from the wrong side of the tracks. Elsewhere Robert Lopez (aka El Vez) comments from both the gay and Latino perspectives, while the Blasters’ Dave Alvin is the pragmatic rock’n’roller. A dark cloud descends with the arrival of the violent, male-dominated hardcore scene. Henry Rollins’ own view is typically that of the wide-eyed fan, but the arrogance and aggression of T.S.O.L’s Jack Grisham speaks volumes.
Gerry Ranson

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VIVE LE JOCK!

Last weekend, Vive Le Rock went north of the border to co-promote a show at Broadcast in Glasgow featuring three of Scotland’s finest up’n’coming punk bands. Neil Hodge was there to review the proceedings….

Take a Saturday night in Glasgow, a NYC record label, add three of Scotland’s premier punk bands, an intimate venue full of enthusiastic punters and you have the recipe for a superb night out. This was a hotly anticipated sold-out gig, with people travelling some distances to attend (Dublin, England, North of Scotland). They were most definitely not disappointed.

Tarbeach Records label-mates ReAction, Heavy Drapes and The Zips came together to provide a high octane, hundred-mile-an-hour punk rock romp. The running order had been kept under wraps beforehand to ensure maximum attendance for all bands and the ploy worked. The venue was rammed and the atmosphere was palpable as Airdrie’s peerless ReAction kicked things off in vigorous style with a selection of tracks from their debut album and recent EP. Opening up with ‘Dead Boy Racer’ the pace started at break-neck speed and didn’t let up throughout the set. The now familiar songs in the set were bolstered by some raucous new material including ‘Kamikaze Baby’, a song about Debbie Juvenile from the original Bromley Contingent, and closed with audience choice, their energetic version of External Menace’s ‘Someday’. By the time they left the stage packed-out venue was now a veritable sweatbox.

HD Kiss 3

There was no time wasted between bands and shortly after ReAction exited stage left it was the turn of Edinburgh’s Heavy Drapes. The band took to the stage with frontman De Liberate making his now familiar declaration “We’re Heavy Drapes and we are punk rock,” before launching into their musical manifesto with ‘Number 1’. Fresh from a triumphant gig on Rebellion’s main stage, this was the first gig for ex-Scars guitarist, Paul Research. He has certainly brought a new vibrancy to the band who were on blistering form. It was a colossal assault on the senses from start to finish. The set included all the now standard Drapes tracks – ‘Into the Blue’, ‘Janie’ – with the crowd in great voice too, especially on tracks like ‘Let’s Free The Working Class’ and set closer ‘(I Wanna Be) Maladjusted’, every song going down a storm with the partisan crowd.

Zips 3

It was down to seminal Glasgow punk legends The Zips to close proceedings. We were treated to a career-spanning set starting with the topical ‘Hear, Hear’ and ‘Thin Blue Line’ from the latest album. The tempo of the evening was kept up with the likes of the high-spirited celebration of ’40 Years of Punk Rock’ and the first live outing for older song ‘Take Me Down’, which features on Gary Crowley’s upcoming punk and new wave compilation, through to set closer, early single ‘Don’t Get Pushed Around’, The Zips jolted the already exuberant crowd into another level of euphoria, the resultant jubilation saw the night ending with a stage invasion.

With new songs, imminent albums and forthcoming gigs a-plenty from all three bands, the future looks dazzling for Scottish punk. If you haven’t already done so, seek them all out – or stay at home staring at your navel, the choice is yours.

Neil Hodge

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LIVE REVIEWS EXTRA!

Because Vive Le Rock mag is crowded with great live reviews, we sometimes can’t get them all in!

So here’s a couple of extra reviews for yer…..

LAST GREAT DREAMERS
THE WHEATSHEAF, OXFORD

The LAST GREAT DREAMERS arrive in Oxford at the arse end of a nationwide tour in support of their latest release, the aurally agreeable pledge music, fan-funded ‘Transmissions From Oblivion’. Although struggling with man-flu the band deliver an energetic, heel kicking, Beechams assisted full throttle performance. Dressed in an array of hats, scarves, spotty shirts with obligatory black waistcoats, the band are Dickensian visual vagabonds and if ever a group sounded like they looked it’s the LGD. Set and album opener ‘Oblivion Kids’ initially suffers from streaky vocals due to said illness but front man Valentine digs deep and delivers a performance which grows in stature the longer he continues. Single ‘Glitterball Apocalypse’ avoids turning into the Euro 96 anthem ‘Three Lions’ by a goalpost and ‘Ashtray Eyes’ sees lead guitarist Slyder take over the singing duties. A finale of ‘Last Great Dreamers’ and the smash and grab closer ‘Dope School’ complete a spirited sixty minutes of Snot, Rattle and Roll.
Guy Shankland

FROM THE JAM
SUB 89 READING

FROM THE JAM open with a top ten treble of ‘Modern World’, ‘Strange Town’ and ‘Beat Surrender’ it’s a win win scenario that opens the nostalgic vocal floodgates. A rousing ‘Butterfly Collector’, ‘Down In a Tube Station’ and ‘That’s Entertainment’ are all given early set-list outings. Bruce Foxton confidently handles singing duties on ‘David Watts’, ‘Smithers Jones’ and ‘News Of The World’. ‘Going Underground’, ‘A Town Called Malice’ and ‘Start’ simply demonstrate the pure unadulterated song writing genius of a youthful Paul Weller. FTJ deliver these songs with energy, passion and breathe life into this timeless body of work. The songs all remain vital and provide an incisive snapshot of Thatcher’s Britain in the early eighties through the eyes of a young disaffected suburban male. A double finale of ’In The City’ and ’Eton Riffles’ puts the final cherry on a celebratory, Jam packed night. Twenty songs in ninety sing-a-long minutes, most sung word for word by the sold out, smiling, Sub89 crowd. That’s entertainment.
Guy Shankland

 

 

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RADIO BIRDMAN, THE WAREHOUSE, FALKIRK

Legendary Australian proto-punks Radio Birdman finally arrived in Scotland, almost forty years after their last thwarted attempt.

Support act The Fuckin’ Godoys kicked things off with an explosive set that demonstrated their love of 70s Brit-punk. Art and Steve have backed Birdman guitarist Deniz Tek on various tours and releases, but even as a stripped-down duo of drums and guitar, the twins generated enough energy to power the national grid.

The headliners opened with the atmospheric ‘Crying Sun’ before barrelling into ‘Smith & Wesson Blues’, guitarist Dave Kettley locking in seamlessly with bass legend Jim Dickson and the propulsive drumming of Nik Rieth.

Frontman Rob Younger was in fine voice and good humour, joking with the audience before the band tipped into a molten ‘Descent into the Maelstrom’.  The dapper Pip Hoyle showcased his keyboard skills on a rapturously received ‘Man with Golden Helmet’, while Deniz Tek gave us a masterclass in his influential guitar style.  The guitarist’s wife, photographer Anne Tek, kindly supplied the live shot for this review.

We got a slew of classics- ‘What Gives’, ‘i-94’, ‘Do the Pop’, ‘Aloha, Steve and Danno’, ‘More Fun’ and ‘New Race’, plus a surprise cover of Magazine’s ‘Shot by Both Sides’. ‘Anglo Girl Desire’ and ‘Alone in the Endzone’ were particular highlights, while an incandescent ‘Hand of Law’ included a snippet of The Chantays’ ‘Pipeline’.

This was an inspired performance by Australia’s finest- fingers crossed we won’t have to wait another forty years for a return visit.

Gus Ironside

Pic by Anne Tek

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ALTERNATIVE FESTIVALS EXTRA!

Planning on going to any festivals this summer? JC Carroll of THE MEMBERS gives his views on some of the alternatives…..

 

THE BEST FESTIVALS IN ENGLAND (that you have never heard of)

SOMETHING ELSE, BLANK GENERATION and GLASTONWICK

I have just played three of the best festivals in England. And most of you will not have heard of them. There was no blanket coverage on BBC about them, there was not be articles in the national press about them. Later on in the year I should be heading off to play Rebellion in Blackpool and later still the great British Alternative Festival in Skegness

Skegness, Blackpool – smug southerners amongst you may chuckle. Sticks of rock, fish and chips, caravans, northerners on holiday, Butlins, how quaint.

Coldplay will not be playing or Kanye West or Adele or Jack Garrett or Sam Smith or Busted. You will not get an NME tent that comprises of people performing on a laptop.

You will get The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, The Damned, The Members and scores of younger bands like Knock Off, alt-rock, reggae, rockabilly, pirate shanties, folk music and every form of authentic music indigenous to these isles. People will travel from Australia, America, Berlin to attend because these are the biggest celebrations of alternative culture in the world.

These events will be largely ignored by the media and will sell out. The clue is in the name of the last festival, the word ‘alternative’.

In the 70s, the festival at Worthy Farm was alternative. It had David Bowie, Gong, Hawkind freaky hippie bands. Before punk we didn’t want pop, we wanted alternative music. John Peel championed it and punk grew out of it.

Three weeks ago we played at SOMETHING ELSE in Duns Tew, a completely solar powered festival in a field in idyllic Oxfordshire, organised by the legendary Gail Something Else. Gail is a Queen of the Alt scene, a scarlet-haired Tattooed Bodicea in a van. Her festival in Oxfordshire is totally off the grid: water from a well, solar-powered with wood fire pizza. It has travellers, punks, lawyers, doctors, civil servants and plenty of disabled people. Veterans of the Battle of the Beanfield, young punks, dreadlocked pirates – they are all there and they love my band The Members.

A week later we were celebrating 40 years of punk in a squatted building in Tottenham with a massive line up of punk bands old and new. Veterans of the 77 scene and younger acts. Audience age from 16 to 60. A squatted building, vegetarian food… Was this some sort of retro 70s themed party? No, this was BLANK GENERATION, London in 2016 where punk is not a retrospective token programme on Radio 2 or an exhibition at the photographers gallery. Where punk is a viable alternative to the soup of talent show cannon-fodder and landfill castrati-electronica pumped out of BBC and the commercial stations. Where punk is the antithesis of the commercial pouting narcissists that inhabit the front page of iTunes and the Google-owned Internet like a massive Westfield shopping centre in the sky hovering forever in our periphery vision

There’s that word again, the nemesis of alternative, ‘commercial’.

The third festival took place in a farm in a hollow in the South Downs, a more politicised bunch, double-decker buses ferrying people from Shoreham, Worthing and Brighton, men and women, taking their children to their first festival. Eighty different types of independent ales, ciders and perrys. No queues for overloaded chemical toilets here, it is largely run by a gentleman poet called Attila the Stockbroker with his hands firmly on the artistic tiller and the cheque book he promptly paid me with. A guest of mine and the veteran of many Readings and Bestivals cheerfully messaged me and said it was the best festival she had ever been to.

Many people only go to one festival a year and choose one with the most acts because it represents value for money. They try and make the best of the Syrian refugee camp accommodation and toilet conditions these large events with their corporate sponsors and the illusion of overpriced glamping offer. What they get is an official beer, more acts than they could consume in a month and hours of massive dehumanising queues in and out of the premises – a sort of Dystopian Babylon, a Hell on Earth, The Somme with Borough Market Vietnamese street food, Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran.

In Blackpool everybody stays in B & B and shits in a proper toilet. In Skegness you get a holiday apartment thrown in with cable TVs. There are no wellies, mud, chemical loos. Fish and chips, steaks and beer in a glass. Oh, and a roof.

Oh, and the other thing about alt festivals is they feed the band give you tons of beer tokens and pay you!

Bring it on !

With the exception of John Giddings’ Isle of Wight, the main festivals are punk-free zones preferring 80s and 90s revival acts to the cultural authenticity and grit of our generation .

Something Else, Blank Generation and Glastonwick are independent festivals run by brave people who champion the alternative, Vive Le Rock, Vive le Difference!

JC

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THE DAMNED: ACADEMY IS THE LIFE FOR ME!

THE DAMNED celebrated the festive season with low-key show at the O2 Academy, Islington in London on 20 December. Our man Andy Zel was there….

THE DAMNED
THE FEATHERZ
O2 Academy Islington

The Featherz warm us up nicely with their punky glam fare comprising the melodic buzzsaw guitar, crunchy riffage and spirited vocals of frontwoman Danie Cox. In addition to catchy originals such as ‘When Was The Last Time You Had Sex’ and ‘Takes One To Know One’ we’re treated to covers of T Rex’s ’20th Century Boy’ and Penetration’s ‘Don’t Dictate’ which go down very nicely and more or less sum up where this lot are coming from musically.

About to enter their 40th year, The Damned’s vigour seems to increase with age. Launching straight into ‘Wait For The Blackout’, they proceed to wire us up with an electrifying set, drawn largely from their classic trio of late 70s/early 80s albums – ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’, ‘The Black Album’ and ‘Strawberries’. Aside from the inevitable (and essential) ‘New Rose’ and ‘Neat Neat Neat’, only ‘Fan Club’ survives from the first album, but there are nods to the more commercial mid 80s era in the form of ‘Grimly Fiendish’ as well as ‘Eloise’ and a particularly exquisite version of ‘Alone Again Or’ – dedicated to Arthur Lee.

Standouts tonight include ‘History Of The World (Part 1)’, ‘Love Song’, ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’, ‘Smash It Up’ and the aforementioned ‘New Rose’. With it being the festive season we also get ‘There Ain’t No Sanity Clause’ and ‘Turkey Song’, the latter featuring guest appearances from fellow travellers Charlie Harper and Gaye Advert.

The Captain thanks us “for putting up with us for the last 39 years”. It’s been our pleasure sir. Here’s looking forward to the Albert Hall in May for the 40th!

Andy Zel

 

Photo by Dod Morrison

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MANICS’ BIBLICAL RETURN IN EDINBURGH

MANIC STREET PREACHERS opened their The Holy Bible 20th Anniversary tour in Edinburgh last Saturday. Vive Le Rock’s Andrew Welsh was on the scene…

MANIC STREET PREACHERS / Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Few bands have enjoyed a relevance over the past quarter century like Manic Street Preachers.
Plenty have been around for at least as long and similarly prolific, like Killing Joke and Therapy?, but have long since ceased to puncture the public consciousness beyond a fervent, if limited, fanbase despite producing consistently excellent material. Then there are your Blue Nile types, those who pop up fleetingly with a new album every seven or eight years, take the critical plaudits and vanish again.

With 12 studio albums and the equivalent of at least another half dozen in assorted B-sides and rareties behind them since 1990, Manic Street Preachers have never been afraid of failure. Last year’s Futurology was a bold step into the realm of Krautrock, but surely their biggest gamble was 1994’s dark masterpiece The Holy Bible, a searing diatribe that covered subject matter such as anorexia, prostitution, the Holocaust, capital punishment and suicide with brutal honesty. Its principal lyric architect Richey Edwards went into meltdown post-Holy Bible and disappeared aged 27 in 1995, with his fate still unknown.

It is precisely because his childhood friends James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore subsequently went on to greater success that seeing them reconnect with Edwards’ uncompromising youthful lyrics in their mid-40s has an emotional significance for the band’s fans. The industrial rock opener ‘Yes’ set the tone at the Usher Hall, with the bouncing massed ranks firing back every word to the Welsh trio in their forces-style garb, the stage similarly bedecked in camouflage netting a la the band’s original Holy Bible tour 21 years ago.

Shafts of humour amid a set made up of such compellingly bleak material were inevitably few, but the chorus of pantomime boos that greeted mention of Margaret Thatcher in the haunting sample that pressaged the militaristic stomp of ‘Ifwhiteamerica…’ raised a smile from Bradfield. The rugged frontman clearly relishes the challenge of reproducing his astonishing guitar-and-vocals performance on the album, and in a century-old venue noted for faithful recitals the intricacies of such visceral tracks as ‘Archives Of Pain’, ‘Mausoleum’ and ‘Faster’ rightly came across as the technical achievements that they are.

The second half of the show was an enjoyable selection from the Manics’ bulky back catalogue. Bradfield went solo on a heartfelt acoustic rendition of ‘The Everlasting’, “something a little more touchy-feely” as he understatedly put it following the first hour’s confrontational content. By contrast, the Guns’n’Roses-like anthem ‘Condemned To Rock’n’Roll’ was a flashback to the original Generation Terrorists, all slogans and spraypaint, with Wire saying the song had never been played live by the four-piece because he and Edwards had been unable to learn it.

Futurology‘s ‘Walk Me To The Bridge’ stood up well beside MSP classics ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ and ‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’, while the leviathans ‘If You Tolerate This’ and ‘A Design For Life’ were delivered with feeling and intensity.

As the 20th anniversary of 1996’s Everything Must Go album approaches, speculation is rife that they might be about to embark on another themed tour next year. With the throng at Usher Hall made up of feather boa and mascara-wearing veterans and 20-somethings alike, all keen to grab a slice of thrilling ’90s celebration, there appears to be no shortage of demand. Certainly, if the trio handle their commercial breakthrough LP with the same reverence and total commitment as they showed to The Holy Bible then a must-see experience lies in prospect.

Andrew Welsh

http://www.manicstreetpreachers.com/

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ALBUM REVIEWS (JAN/FEB 2014)


2ND DISTRICT
WHAT’S INSIDE YOU!?
(Wanda)
Third full length from these German glam punks.
6/10

2nd District’s first two full-length platters may be familiar to some, as ‘Emotional Suicide’ (2006) and ‘Poverty Makes Angry’ (2009) were released through People Like You Records. For the uninitiated, 2nd District pump out a kind of glam-tinted ’77 punk that has flashes of early Manic Street Preachers coupled with the driving anthems of the Buzzcocks and Placebo-esque vocals. The emphasis is less on the indie sound of these comparisons here though, as tracks like ‘The Bourgeois Attitude’ have a glittery yet razor sharp stomp about them. ‘What’s Inside You!?’ does have a bit of filler here and there, but on the whole it carries some fine glam punk tunes in its grooves and its heady mix of old and new are blended seamlessly to create some highly listenable songs.
Miles Hackett

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ALBUM REVIEWS (JUL/AUG)

AIRBOURNE
BLACK DOG BARKING
(Roadrunner)
Aussie hard rockers kick out the jams on album three.
8/10

If you’re curious as to who will keep Aussie rock alive and kicking once AC/DC and Rose Tattoo are gone then Airbourne are the answer. Imbued with that true gang mentality that makes their influences so exhilarating, they’re the real deal. They live for rock, booze, women and cars, with opener ‘Ready To Rock’ setting the tone. Foot stomping riffs, massive guitar solos and a truly relentless tempo give the record punch and passion. Highlights include the anthemic ‘Firepower’, ‘Live It Up’ and building ‘Back In The Game’, with choruses as big as the riffs. The title track has a darker, underdog edge, while the sleazy ‘Woman Like That’ and Metallica-esque ‘Hungry’ show some slight changes from the winning formula. But overall, ‘Black Dog Barking’ is straight-up, good time, beer and sweat-soaked rock music, in true Aussie style. Play very loud.
John Truman
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ALBUM REVIEWS

NEW ALBUMS

ADMIRAL SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVELL
DON’T HEAR IT… FEAR IT!
(Rise Above)
Hastings three-piece take you on a mind-melting prog/hard rock trip.
8/10

Heavily influenced by the likes of Budgie, Sabbath and Quo, this trio, named after a 17th century English naval commander, lead the listener on a mighty adventure with their mighty debut full-length. With Johnny Gorilla’s gritty, half-shouted, half-sung vocals and massively fuzzed out guitar, Louis Comfort-Wiggett’s wandering bass lines and Bill Darlington’s thundering drum work, this is a big step up from their EP, ‘Return To Zero’. With riffs and raw delivery on the album highlights, including blistering opener ‘Mark Of The Beast’ and the ominous ‘Scratchin And Sniffin’ – the latter of which is very short by their standards at just (!) five minutes. Dirty, lowdown and bursting with a love for their influences, this is a hefty debut that deserves to be played, loud. Hear it… and fear it.
John Truman

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RANCID & COCK SPARRER / PiL


RANCID
COCK SPARRER
SAN FRANCISO WARFIELD

SAN Francisco, California: world renowned for Alcatraz, glorious sunshine and the Golden Gate Bridge. However on the 23rd and 24th of March, The Warfield was to hold the punk rock birthday party of the year! As American punk rockers Rancid and English Oi! legends Cock Sparrer celebrate their respective 20th and 40th anniversaries in style.
From the moment of sound check both bands were equally as excited to play together as they exchange merchandise, beers and laughs with not a frown in sight. By gig time the atmosphere was electric as the people cram this once-abandoned theatre to its full capacity as both shows are sold out.
As the lights dim the crowd roar with excitement as boots stomp and beer flies across the ceiling, Cock Sparrer enter with a siren sounding ‘Riot Squad’. Even a crowded karaoke bar multiplied by ten could not compare to this crowd singing every word, as the echo of chanting bounces the walls throughout the set.
Beating through tracks such as ‘Working’, ‘Teenage Heart/Droogs Don’t Run’ & ‘AU’ the boys from ‘Sparrer showed their younger counterparts and headliners Rancid how it was done. With Cock Sparrer having the classic equation of sing-a-long hooks and catchy riffs it would be difficult for the band to disappoint as they close their set with ‘England Belongs To Me’ and ‘We’re Coming Back’ with two thousand American voices helping out on the choruses.
However, the party didn’t stop there. Rancid, the punk rock ska chart toppers, turn in an explosive set, opening with ‘Radio’ followed by the infamous ‘Roots Radicals’ and throwing the crowd into a frenzy as the floor becomes a dance floor.
From there they dropped into ‘Last One To Die’, a poetic, fast-hitting punk song taken from the latest album, which you can’t help but nod your head to and barrelling through other songs such as ‘Old Friend’,‘ Blood Clot’ and ‘Maxwell Murder’.
Near the end Skinhead Rob of the Transplants made a brief but fantastic appearance, joining in on ‘Red Hot Moon’, proving his voice is still powerful and strong. Ending the set Rancid closed with ‘Tenderloin’ and ‘Ruby Soho’, two of their most loved and well-known songs, finishing off a fantastic set in fine style.
Throughout the two nights both bands tweaked their sets to give the audience a different flavour, so the crowd didn’t see the same show twice, but included the classics the fans wanted to hear.
On the closing show Rancid paid respect to Cock Sparrer, inviting them back onto the stage where both bands sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to each other.
A celebration of the highest order.

Words/Photos: Sam Bruce


PUBLIC IMAGE LTD
LONDON HEAVEN

WITH the dents in his public goodwill still fresh over those recent episodes of buttery buffoonery, John Lydon’s return to the musical arena ─ with a PIL line-up that could hardly be described as ‘classic’ ─ has been greeted with some trepidation. Certainly the 2012 PIL, which retains guitarist Lu Edmonds and drummer Bruce Smith from the band’s late eighties incarnation, has its vices. Self-indulgence being one of them; with a set that runs well over the two-hour mark, PIL could comfortably have trimmed off forty minutes or so and probably been better for it. I would guess this failing stems from the organisation’s head, since Lydon ─ blowing snot from each nostril as he works the room like some council estate Arthur Askey ─ clearly relishes the spotlight, and seems intent in squeezing the most out of it.
Beefing aside though, there are points at which PIL are undeniably stunning. Bruce Smith and bassist Scott Firth are amply capable of reproducing that claustrophobic strain of earthquake dub that characterised the band at its most inventive. Edmonds ─ who looks as if he’s spent his time since PIL’s 1992 split splicing together unlikely combinations of stringed instruments on a desert island ─ summons up an impressive atonal squall. Over these foundations Lydon snarls and keens his way through choice moments from the PIL catalogue. There are moments of pure magnificence; few could argue with the very real sense of anger and betrayal packed into the iconoclastic ‘Religion’ or the accusatory ‘Albatross’, and the feeling of loss which Lydon still injects into ‘Death Disco’ is staggering. While the jury’s still out on the new material showcased tonight, top notch renditions of such milestones as ‘Rise’ and ‘This Is Not A Love Song’, and an unexpected encore of 1993’s Leftfield collaboration ‘Open Up’, ensure there is little call for the much-rumoured stagebound butter-pelting, which significantly did not materialise.
So that’s the contemporary Lydon then; bloody-minded, infuriating, and, quite frequently, brilliant. He could be wrong. He could be right.

Hugh Gulland

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