Anthrax, rock city, Nottingham, 13-2-17

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Originally i fancied the idea of doing a few dates on the tour. But because i had to wait around to see if i had any hospital appointments etc, i had to hold back. Unfortunately, a couple of shows sold out & it didn’t make sense to do what was available. In the long run, it was probably for the better as i’d got a dry cough a few days before the show & i wouldn’t have hacked it. Damn it bugs me sometimes that “my mind says yes, but my body says no”. Whatever…
Got to Notts mid afternoon & checked into Rooomzz. Then just chilled as doors were not till 7pm tonight. Later i met up with a mate & we went for a quick drink. I’d arranged it so he could get in early with me. About 15mins before doors, we go to check everything is set up correct. The same dickhead security guy was there as the TPR gig …” i’ve arranged for a bar stool & early entry..”. Him ” You need to contact the venue manager about that !” Typical confrontational attitude from him ! Me “I’ve already done that…” He shuts the door. He’s about as much use as a chocolate tea pot ! Undetered, i once again phone management. I get a very courteous reply & he says he’ll come down soon to take us in. Got up on balcony & a bar stool was no problem.
Right now, Anthrax are in a very good position. They’d took their time before a proper Euro tour & released a great new album. Announcing they were going to play all of their classic album “Among The Living” was another factor to the interest this tour is generating. Most of the venues seem to be selling out & they totally deserve it.
The first act was “The Raven Age”. I’ve seen them before & wasn’t really impressed tbh. Whilst there’s no denying their hearts are in it & they try to put on a show, i just don’t see anything different or unique about them & a bunch of similar small bands nowadays. Sorry. I think their strongest song is the last one they played tonight.

Pre-Anthrax a bunch of classic songs are played over the PA. It seemed like everyone was singing the chorus to “Run To The Hills”. The vibe in the room has gone up a lot.
The brief intro “Impaled” has a solemn & mournful sound to it. Almost like a funeral march. But tonight will be anything but that! It’s a celebration of all things Anthrax. Going straight into “A.I.R.” they set their agenda for the evening. It’s heavy as hell & the crowd is into it straight away.
“We are the warm up band for Anthrax by the way. We have no name, but we go by the name of something close to the band…whatever” (Scott is kinda laughing as Joey says this) “Hey, how ya all doing?” *cheers from crowd*. “This one is Medusa!”. An absolute classic to my ears. We’re then brought up to date with “Blood Eagle Wings” from the latest album “For All Kings”. This is such a huge ,huge song ! Probably the most epic song they’ve ever wrote. In the live arena things go to another level. I bloody love this song (no pun intended). There’s the usual crowd interaction as “Be All, End All” starts up. It feels like everyone in the place is singing the guitar/vocal part ” Woah-Woah-Woah” ( & how someone near me sounds so out of tune/time on this i have no clue lol). The main set finishes with “Breathing Lightning”. It’s another typical “Anthrax riff” sounding song.
During the interval, the stage set is changed around somewhat. There are now various raised areas on the stage. It just fits perfectly – a big show in a small(ish) room.
Lights go down again & the classic Blues Brothers intro starts up, going straight into “Among the Living”. Tonight they’re playing the full album, though not in the same sequence as the release. It’s like being transported back in time, yet the songs are still as vibrant today as they were back then.
I look down on the main floor during “Caught in a Mosh” & cannot help wishing i was in amongst it all. Looks like hella fun down there. It’s great to hear these old songs played tonight. During “I Am the Law” i remember seeing them at this very venue & i was on the main floor. It was pretty crazy down there ( As an aside, i also saw them in Leicester & Sheffield back in ’87. The covered “Living After Midnight” at both of those shows & Rock City got “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”)

It’s pretty cool to hear these next few songs ,which i think have not been played much over the years : “A Skeleton in the Closet, Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.), A.D.I. / Horror of It All”.
Charlie teases us by playing the drum intro to “Indians” a few times. The audience forms a circle pit & once again it’s like being in 1987 ! Classic stuff.

The show finishes with “Imitation of Life”. But of course, that cannot be all we’re getting ! They finally come back for another encore & truly finish with ” Antisocial” (A cover of the song by French band “Trust”).
What a night ! Just quality abound. THIS was the Anthrax tour we’ve been needing for years. I think they are now at their peak (but would love for them to prove me wrong).
It’s amazing when i think about seeing them open for Metallica around the UK back n ’86 & how their career has ebbed & flowed over the years. Truly an amazing live band.Β 
I quickly say goodbye to my mate & then walk the long distance (lol) to my hotel next door πŸ™‚ For whatever reason i don’t know, but, i had an awful nights sleep. Maybe it was the buzz of the gig or just some rubbish going around my head (there’s been a lot of that recently). Following morning i go down for the “Grab & Go” breakfast quite early & take it back to my room. When i finally decide to check out & take an earlier train than previously planned, i go for seconds at the “Grab & Go” πŸ˜‰

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Skunk Anansie , Pearl Harts, Brixton Academy, London 4-2-17

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Went down London a day before gig to meet up with some old school Skunk friends. (As ever, i stayed at “Hotel Rob” πŸ˜‰ ) Had a nice meal at Belgo, Soho. Great to catch up & as it wasn’t gig day, it was all nice & relaxed. πŸ™‚DSC09187Β DSC09188Faiz was quite brave trying a new dish

Before setting off to London, the wheels were in motion for me to get a balcony seat (my tix were standing) courtesy of Leigh. I’d contacted Stumpy & he said to either ask for him at stage door or give him a ring around 6.30. Well, that was the START of it all. When we were having the meal, Julia passed me a note.
Basically, she’d been in touch with Ace & had arranged for us to go in for soundcheck tomorrow as a nice surprise ! How cool was that of her?

Gig day. We arranged to meet mid afternoon. Myself & Rob went to a bar in Brixton as he needed food. The Greggs sausage roll i had was enough for me πŸ™‚ From there went to the Academy. As expected, the majority of the Italian Skunk Army were already queued up. Rob asks me ” Do you know any of them?” My reply “Yeah a couple” πŸ˜‰ So went over to greet everyone. (Funny thing Rob said to me later in the day ; “I thought you said you only know a couple of them? Everyone was coming up & greeting you !” ). After that we started to walk to stage door. Who was walking towards us? Skin ! “Ello Simon! How are you? “. We had a brief chat about how everything’s going. Before she left, asked me if we were sorted to get in etc. Told her i’ve got Stumpys number & we’re just waiting for Julia & Nadine to arrive. Skin said she wouldn’t be long & if we’re still outside when she gets back, she’d walk us in. Off she trotts to meet the Italian Skunk Army at top of the road, before going on her errand.

Julia & Nadine were running a bit late so myself & Rob decided to wait for them. Then, who should come walking along? Erika !. We had a nice chat. She keeps up on my postings on FB & i told her the latest. Such a nice person. She soon went back in the venue & we continued to wait for the girls. Anyways, skin came back & said “I’ll take you in so you can get passes etc”. For a brief moment there, i was even wearing skins AAA laminate πŸ˜‰ We got passes from Stumpy, were showed the route through to front of house, then went back outside. By this time Julia & Nadine had arrived & were hanging with Leigh & Stumpy. Heard they were struggling with the internet connection for the FB live thing. After a short while, we all went back in & the girls got their passes. Whilst waiting, Mark walks by. He didn’t recognize me to start off lol We saw Ace & he said to go catering for a coffee or whatever, so we did just that. Later he joined us & we had a good old chat. A funny thing ; when he came into catering, he asked “Where’s Simon?!!” I was getting a coffee & pretty much stood right next to him! ( “…that bright yellow t-shirt doesn’t stand out enough..”) Then Cass popped in (From earlier comment “….when we’re in London, most of us go home for a while. Cass is the one who’s usually the last to get here…”). Already, the day has been super special & it’s about to get even better : we go through to watch the soundcheck.
They have a massive & impressive production with them this time. Great big video screens & some pretty special lighting. I’d go so far as to say it’s their best yet. (I’m pretty sure they wont be able to fit the production into all of the dates on the tour). The guys start jamming a few bits & it’s soon noticable there’s a problem with the bass sound. This is quickly sorted & they start playing songs. Whilst they’re deciding what to play next, totally unexpected, skin says ” You know what? Simon can choose ” (Fortunately i’m not so bumbling as when Ally of the Virginmarys asked similar question when he did a solo gig in Peterborough lol). I shout back ” Intellectualise !”. Cass then quips back “…i gave you a clue Simon!..” (he’d been running through the intro).Β DSC09216

https://www.facebook.com/simon.clapham.3/videos/10208201686215251/

Unfortunately it sounds rubbish as used my mobile phone to record it.
Later on, skin asked what else i’d like to hear! Anyone who knows me will know my fave Skunk song is “Charlie Big Potato”. But i couldn’t really expect them to do that. So i suggested ” 100 Ways “. I also love that song & it was a small payback from me to Julia for arranging this day (“100 Ways To Be A Good Girl” is Julias fave song).
Another really great moment during the soundcheck was when they played “I Will Break You”. Erika joins on this. Both her & skin have a “vocal duel” singing how they will break each other lol. But the best is that you can see what fun they’re having together. Huge smiles & skin getting a bit cheeking kicking Eris bum a couple of times πŸ™‚ DSC09229 DSC09225Also played during soundcheck were “Cheap Honesty” & ” Without You” + others.
Soon enough, the soundcheck is over & we decide to go find another place for food. The crowd/queue has grown significantly by now. Walking along i see a few friends who were not there earlier. One of which was Aliyah who doesn’t live that far from me. She took a selfie of us which i’m sharing.Β aliyas selfieΒ The others had got a bit ahead of me as i was gassing a bit. When i caught up, Julia said ” Did you see Laura?!?” Me “What? Where was she?” . I had to go back & see her, shes a great lass from Italy. I’ve Known her since the Skunk reunion at Water Rats in 2009. I was filming those gigs & gave her my ticket so she could get in (A bunch of people came over for the show even though it was sold out. I’ll always help/share where i can). We had a brief chat & then i had to catch up (again! lol) with the others.
Must confess, it did feel a little strange to be leaving the venue at that time & also knowing i didn’t need to worry about getting back in later. But at the same time, i just cannot queue up for hours like i used to as i just get tired due to the illness nowadays.
We went to a nice place called Cabana. I had “Guava-cue Chicken”. Flame grilled skewers ; “Sweet & fruity tropical barbecued chicken”. Was just the right amount.
We had a nice chat about how cool the day had already been & Julia said to me a couple of times ” Just relax! You don’t need to worry about missing anything”. Personally, i don’t think i was fretting much anyway πŸ˜‰

Myself & Rob leave the girls as we wanted to see the opening act “Pearl Harts”. Why is it there’s always a jobsworth security guy?! Trying to get to out seats he said ” You need the silver bracelet to go to seats”. We only had Access All Areas duh ! He wouldn’t listen so we went back to production office. Stumpy wasn’t about but a chap in there said ” Go via downstairs standing & take main stairs up. Should avoid the guy”. We tried that & guess what ? We came out at same place lol. Amazing thing was, Mr Jobsworth had a totally different attitude. Eventually he walked along the seats & found 2 with ” Reserved Clapham ” & he let us in…without the silver bracelet ! Dickhead ! ( I later see Leigh & even she had trouble with the guy & had to get silver bracelets)Β DSC09235
The two girls from Pearl Harts played a similar set to the other times i’ve seen them open for bands (Garbage etc). Dare i say it ? The song “Hit The Bottle” is already becoming a classic to me. Given the earlier circumstances, it’s hardly surprising πŸ˜‰ The two girls fill out their sound with some guitar loops/tapes which makes it all sound much bigger. The overall sound is a dirty rock n roll kinda thing. Their set flew by & i realised i’d not took hardly any photos & no videos at all. That’s a shame :-(. This is about the only one:DSC09237Β So to the mighty Skunk Anansie ! Lights go down, there’s cheers from crowd, white spotlights spinning around to start, which then turn to red & finally just one red spotlight on stage pointing upwards. Yes, it’s for the coolest dude in rock n roll, Mr Cass Lewis. He comes over & plays his intro to “And Here I Stand”. Such a timeless classic. Down comes the back drop, to reveal tonights massive production. When skin comes on stage you can hear the crowd volume just shoot up. Nope, it’s not enough she gestures πŸ™‚
Bloody great start i’d say.

After that, they go straight into “Intellectualise My Blackness”. On “Because of You”, Marks hitting those drums so hard. Skin really has powerful vocals on this. Dare i say it? Mark was on fire tonight…DSC09251

Next it’s the fun n games with Erika as they duel on the vocals. Whilst not as fun/unique as during the soundcheck, it’s still bloody great. I guess the smiles on the faces give that away.
“Twisted (Everyday Hurts)” has always been a fave live song of mine. Gawd knows how many times over the years i’ve been jumping around during that one. It does feel strange for me sometimes. I mean, i used to always be down the front, getting in the thick of it all. But i just cant nowadays….

Next we get “My Ugly Boy”. To me, probably their most poppy sounding song. Following it with “Weak” & “Hedonism” redeems them though πŸ˜‰DSC09256DSC09268
It’s funny how an old songs lyrics can still relate to the times of now. For instance, with all the B.S. from Trump nowadays, you could be forgiven for thinking “We Don’t Need Who You Think You Are” was written towards him. Following that with “Yes It’s Fucking Political” , there could be a message in there ?
During “Little Baby Swastikkka”, skin does the now expected visit into the crowd. Though tonight, there seems more members of the audience who DON’T get down when she asks them to. Either way, it’s still a great song to finish the set with. I see my mates Nom & Liz in this clip. Again, sorry we couldn’t get to meet this time mate.

When they come back for the encore, skinny has a right old rant about Brexit. “Fuck Brexit ! Me & my family are going nowhere! I’m British ! ” She doesn’t mince her words. Total respect to her.

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A couple more modern songs follow & i’m then surprised they play “Charlie Big Potato “. I still will always prefer it to be played as an encore as the intro is a great build up to the song. Personal opinions aside, i’ll love that song where ever they put it in the set list. It’s just fantastic.

They come back for one more song “100 Ways to Be a Good Girl” & that’s it for the night. And what a night it was !
We go downstairs to meet Julia & Nadine before we all go up to the after show. (A little secret; i struggled with those stairs this time. My energy levels were depleted, even though i watched the show from seating). Damn that place was super busy as well ! Fortunately, Rob spotted a couple of settees that were available so we went there. It was all catching up with me tbh. Whilst sat there, Cass made his way over & sat on the back of settee whilst we had quite a deep chat (It’s the first time all the Skunk people have seen me since the proverbial shit hit the fan). As ever, he was charmed away by some young lady with drinks πŸ˜‰ But for me, we had a nice catch up. Eventually, i decide i’ve had enough & we try make our way through the throng. Skin is holding court with the Italians again & we continue by.( Julia later on ” Simon i’m impressed you passed by her” πŸ˜‰ ) I quickly had to have a word with Ace, to thank him for arranging the day. Final photo of the day/night was this :Β DSC09283

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The Wildhearts, The Main Grains, Massive Wagons, Rock city, Nottingham 27-1-17

Scans0751Β 2017 wildhearts posterBeen really looking forward to this one as it’s a one-off UK gig where they will play ” Fishing For Luckies ” (I suspect it’s also being taken as a warm up for the Japanese shows coming up where they will do the same). It was a bit touch & go if i’d make it as earlier in the week i got my MRI results & for a second time, my brain tumor had grown. Fortunately, i didn’t have to restart my chemo this day (as they wanted) & we agreed to restart next week.

As ever, i took the train to Nottingham. Only this time i was meeting a friend from London who’d never been to Rock City before. We both stayed at same hotel “Rooomzzz” which is right next door to Rock City. Once again, it was early doors @RC. After numerous phone calls, i was hoping tonight would be some what better than the Pretty Reckless debacle of getting in ! We turned up about 20mins early & all ran smooth. Only slight downer was the balcony wasn’t open. But i still got my bar stool under the stairs.
First band tonight is “The Main Grains “. I’ve not seen them before & all i know about them is that Danny McCormack is the main guy ! Obviously, with his Wildhearts past, i’m expecting something interesting. Tonight, Danny is playing the show sat on a seat (In case you didn’t know, in 2016 he suffered an aneurysm & further complications meant he had to have his leg amputated at the knee). He does look as though he feels at home up there. DSC09140Β They kick off with “Unscrewed”, which is also the first song on their debut album “Don’t Believe Everything You Think”(or is it an EP as only 7 songs & clocks in around 20mins). Straight away there’s a good vibe in the room. They continue with “Happy Round Here”. This really has a Wildhearts kinda sound to it. Very upbeat. Next we get “Spend Your Money”. This has a lovely deep bass intro to it. The song’s maybe a bit basic, but it rocks nicely.
“I’d Rather Be In California” is another “happy” sounding song. Again, a very Wildhearts kinda vibe to it.

A couple of drum hits & a familiar sounding guitar riff & they’re playing a cover of The Undertones”Teenage Kicks”. (Gosh that takes me back to my youth! Think i got a 7″ on green vinyl back in the day. Or was it “Jimmy Jimmy” i got ? Old age…). I think they played about 4 more songs after that. It was great to see Danny with a big smile up there. Overall, a great start to tonights proceedings.

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Next it’s “Massive Wagons “. Again, a band i don’t think i’ve seen before. I loved the intro they used : “Rock And Roll Preacher” by Slade. Actually, as the night went along, it dawned on me that Baz sounded a lot like Noddy Holder with his vocal style. The band have been around a few years & i’m surprised i’ve somehow missed them. Over all, to me, they have a great classic British rock sound. I’d like to see them again. They dedicated a song to Rick Parfitt,namely, “Back To The Stack” :


So to the headliners, The Wildhearts. This was a pretty last minute gig,tagged on after the rescheduled Manchester gig. It will be a special one as they’re playing “Fishing For Luckies”. I suspect they’re also treating Rock City as a “warm-up” for the Japan shows where they’re playing FFL. When the lights went down the fantastic crowd/family started singing & it was marvelous. Before even hitting the stage,the Wildhearts totally owned Rock City . “Inglorious” really kicked things off nicely. After that, the familiar intro to “Sick of Drugs” had the crowd sounding even louder & Gingers smiles getting bigger. It must be such a rush to have an audience “woah-whoah-ing” like that.
Before “Schizophonic” Ginger thanks everyone for coming down to this special show. He says how it’s “..great to play an album 20 years after you made it & it’s fucking wierd”.
He also says he “…can’t believe it that both Danny McCormack & me are still alive!”. Again, its bloody brilliant how the audience sing along with the guitar at the beginning.

This is such a fuckin great night already ! There’s quite a few fun, or funny moments, moments during the show. It’s cool when Ginger mentions that “…some people think that Dunc got treated badly in Manchester. So throw some money up on stage for him ! ” He quickly realises what he’s let himself in for & says “Notes! Paper money” as a barrage of coins hit the stage ! So funny πŸ™‚ (According to what Dunc has since posted online, he got Β£17.50)
Another fun moment was after “Soul Searching on the Planet Earth (Different Kind of Love)”. Ginger said something like “…we did something yesterday which was really fuckin freaky so we’re gonna try it again tonight. We want you all to click your fingers “. DSC09177Β DSC09178That was an interesting way to start the next song “Do the Channel Bop”.
We get another 3 or so songs before it’s encore time.

A chair being brought onstage signals the return of Danny McCormack. He stays there for the rest of the night.
First encore song is the ever powerful crowd pleaser ” Suckerpunch”. Unfortunately it seems that Dannys equipment isn’t quite set up as he’d like. It’s till “My Baby Is a Headfuck” that it’s sorted out. A great version of the song is played & the audience seems so loud shouting “Headfuck.Headfuck…” Love it πŸ™‚
For “Geordie in Wonderland” C.J. gets the crowd waving their arms & everyone joins in singing. This is the definition of a community spirit for a band. Everyone sings at the top of their voices (& sometimes are louder than the band!). The last songs of the night are “I Wanna Go Where the People Go” , “29 x the Pain” & the quirky little thing which Rich sings ; “Duck Song”. It’s lovely to see Mr Poole & C.J. hug Danny afterwards. Ginger makes sure everyone stays to pose for a photo or two by Trudi before leaving.
A fantastic night with smiles all around. My only small dissapointment was that i didn’t manage to get an event T-shirt as they’d all sold out.

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Tyketto, Romeos Daughter, rescue rooms, Nottingham 22-1-17

Scans0746Β IMAG0514I took a later train than usual as it was a much quicker journey. Checked into “Rooomzz” hotel & had a little relaxation before going to the venue. After the total clusterfuck with entry at rock city a couple of days back, i phone Rescue Rooms to arrange everything again….& try make sure no one pinches my stool like what happened at the last gig here ! Whilst waiting to be sorted out, i bumped into Rob Maher. Hadn’t seen him in ages. Was just about to have a chat with him & security said i could go in. Tonight it was a much smoother entry πŸ˜‰ Got the spot i wanted & the bar stool was in place.

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About 30mins after doors, the lights go down & it’s the familiar sounds over the PA as the intro to “Heaven in the Back Seat”. The band are right on it. Hard to believe this song is so “old”. As with most of they’re songs, there’s a timeless quality to them. Oh, just need to point out that they have a stand in bassist as Ed Poole is away doing his other gig with Bonnie Tyler in New Zealand. Next up we get “Attracted to the Animal” (from the 2nd album ” Delectable”). 3rd song, from 3rd album is “Touch” This is quite interesting. Did they do it deliberately or was it just the way it happened to be albums 1,2,3, ? Not that it matters, it’s all great stuff. Next we get another from the album titled “Spin”. This time it’s the song “Radio”. It’s great to see everyone up on stage really enjoying themselves. Whilst the audience isn’t exactly jumping around like crazy (you don’t get that at RD shows) they are very appreciative. I see a couple of lasses, a few people back, who are really into it dancin away. That’s good to see.
It’s now time for a bit more audience participation during ” Bittersweet. ”

There’s only about 4 more songs left & they just seem to fly by. These last songs are “Alive” , “Inside Out”, the super emotional “I Cry Myself To Sleep” & finally ” Wild Child “.
Not long back i saw “Heart” at a couple of UK shows & forgot that they had covered ” Wild Child “. They play it slightly different, but of course, it’s Romeos Daughters song & cannot be topped πŸ˜‰

So that was a very nice warm up to this evening πŸ™‚DSC09087

After a while it’s time for Tyketto. Tonights show was a rearranged date from last year (as was the whole UK tour). Considering it was a Sunday, there was a fantastic turn out. Just goes to show that if you have a quality line up people will come. During the intro tape, something that stood out to me (apart from the classic music clips) was when the narrator said something along the lines of “…..switch your phones to camera mode….”. I thought that was pretty cool, as i take that as they’re accepting the fact that so many people nowadays will not only take photos, but also record short clips. (Oh how times have changed since i snuck my video camera into Rock City back in ’95 & filmed their gig secretly πŸ˜‰ ) I guess some of the crowd have been doing this for a while as the guys directly on both my left & right seemed to film the whole show of their Panny TZ cameras πŸ˜‰
Tyketto kick off with, er… ” Kick Like A Mule ” πŸ˜‰ After that, Chris plays the memorable riff to “Wings” & Danny asks ” …Nottingham are you ready to sing?..” But of course we were ! Hey it’s Nottingham & a pretty much full house.

After Kick, they go straight into ” Wings “. Such a classic & mighty fine vocals from the crowd. No holding up, we get another timeless classic ” Rescue Me “. Man, only 3 songs in & the night is on fire already. Judging by the smiles on stage, the guys are having a fantastic time.
About midway through tonights set they crank out “Dig In Deep” followed by the amazing “Standing Alone” . It’s astounding that after all these years Danny sounds as good as he ever has done.

DSC09087There’s only another 5 or so songs before the end of the set. They finish the main set with “Love To Love”.
Of course, there’s been a song missing tonight & it has to be the encore as it just defines Tyketto. Yup, you guessed it, “Forever Young”. What a great night out it’s been.DSC09128

True to their word, both bands came out afterwards for chats & photos. You don’t have to pay extra for that unlike some bands. (Though of course it’s cool if the punters buy some merchandise as it all makes a difference πŸ˜‰ )

I go downstairs to briefly meet/chat with Leigh & Craig. Walking up to Leigh, it’s so nice she says ” Simon ! I saw online you were coming “. Again, it’s nice when someone you’ve admired for years says something nice like “…it’s good to see you’re still going to gigs despite what you’ve had to put up with..”. That means the world to me, thank you. Both Leigh & Craig seem taken aback when i show them where i had my brain biopsy done. We were talking about gigs at the same time & i said in my lifetime i’ve been to over 900 shows. Craig kinda misheard me & thought i’d had that many operations ! Leigh soon put him right though πŸ˜‰
All in all, it was a great night out. Two quality bands for a very reasonable ticket price. These kind of gigs are so much better than arena shows as far as i’m concerned.

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Pretty Reckless, Cruel Knives, Rock City, Nottingham, 19-1-17

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I’d been looking forward to this one for a while. Not only the gig, but a chance to spend a little time with someone. Unfortunately, the latter plans fell apart.”The System” seems to do that sometimes. Can be so frustrating… So anyway, i decided to not go too early as i’d only end up spending money around Nottingham!

I was very curious how the support act “The Cruel Knives” would be. If you’re not aware, they are a new band formed by a couple of the guys from “Heavens Basement” (what a great band they were) namely ; Sid Glover & Rob Ellershaw . The band is completed by Tom Harris & Al Junior. They’ve obviously got some good connections in the business as they are now opening for The Pretty Reckless all around the UK/Europe.
Upon arrival at Rock City, i noticed they hadn’t posted the times for the night. Also, they’d not put out the barriers. Immediately, i thought something wasn’t quite right.
There wasn’t a queuing system, it was a mess. Some people had paid extra to be VIPs. What they were supposed to get for that was EARLY ENTRY + a poster. (Ah yes, i remember doing VIP for TPR which included a photo with the band…which didn’t happen. But hey they’ve got your money & when you try arguing , well it’s pointless…).
So, as there was no info being given out, there were quite a few punters who were not impressed. From a personal point of view it was getting really hard for me to stand outside for so long. I eventually had to sit on the steps. But the biggest annoyance was one of the RC security guys! When one of the VIPs tried asking him a question, he said something like ” Calm down !”. Erm no mate, YOU are the one that needs to calm down & LISTEN to the people who have paid to see the show. He was basically a bully. Totally ignorant & showed no compassion what so ever. The problem was that the band were very slow with soundcheck so doors just kept getting pushed back. I understand if security are not getting good info, they are in an awkward place. But as an example of how differently some security deal with this, later on, the HEAD of security came out & said something like “….they’ve told us they’re going to be a while…”. He then said “….i interpret that as it will be a long time….”. He was calm & collected as he told this message, unlike the arrogant twat from earlier on. Good vs bad eh? I won’t even bother mentioning about the whole early entry & bar stool for disabled people like myself & the others….
The only good thing(s) to come of the delays was i saw an old mate who i’d not seen since around the time of my seizure & also got chatting to a couple who’d traveled from Mablethorpe area. (Hello if you’re reading this !) When we finally got in, i helped them by showing where to go & also got them a bar stool.
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So first up it’s “The Cruel Knives” . First song everything just seemed too loud & had a poor mix (maybe they didn’t get a line check due to TPR taking so long?). As they went along, it did improve. It’s good to see that Sid hasn’t changed & is still the show-off in the band πŸ™‚ (That’s meant in a nice way. He knows when the cameras are on him & hes a fantastic guitarist). I was unsure if it really was Rob Ellershaw up there ! The new “Liam Gallagher” hair style totally threw me πŸ™‚ Hearing everything for the first time is always hard to take in. Overall, i thought there were some good songs & it’s all very upbeat. There’s potential as, to me, they don’t sound like most of the typical young bands. It’s more solid rock. I wanna see them again.

The sound of “Hells Bells” & various other classics are played over the PA before The Pretty Reckless take to the stage. The guys just casually walk on & start playing, then Taylor comes on. The screams from the girls in the crowd are very loud ! As ever, Ms Momsen is sassy wearing her long leather coat. I don’t care what anyone says, this really is the Taylor Momsen show.DSC09014Β Tonight we get songs from the past few albums, starting with old favorites “Follow Me Down ” & ” Since You’re Gone “. As i don’t have the latest album, i didn’t know what to expect from the new stuff. “Oh My God ” is typical TPR with a barrage of drums. By now either the sound is getting better or i’m just getting used to it ! Interestingly, the next song, “Hangman”, is something very different for TPR. It’s nice to see the variety going on in that song. One of the biggest problems tonight are the long silences between songs. It kinda kills things. Blaming it on the jet lag is a cheap get out clause.

Ah cant beat a bit of classic TPR! Great vocals from rock city crowd πŸ™‚
Tonights show features a bunch of songs from the latest album “Who You Selling For “. There are way too many silences between songs. A few problems with equipment ( “….my mic stand keeps falling over….hired gear haha…”) & a general lack of flow. Jet lag eh ?! I don’t think they reached their stride tbh.DSC09029

Towards the end of the set they play ” Living In The Storm” & that was the most animated we saw Taylor tonight.

Of course, all that buggering about & delayed doors has the knock on effect because there’s a curfew of 10pm tonight. Yep, you guessed it, the club/disco is from then. So a few songs must have been dropped from their set. Even though their set was officially over, the crowd kept shouting for an encore. When the house lights went up, there were certainly a few “Boos” in the crowd. I hope they bring their game next time so we don’t feel so cheated….DSC09063

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Delain , Paradiso, Amsterdam 10-12-16

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“At trip to Amsterdam including an insight into the snoring techniques of my mates ”
This one will be more about the time in Amsterdam than the gig review…..
We booked this some time back & for a change, we decided to travel via ferry. Plan was to have a few days in Amsterdam & visit various places old & new. The journey started on Thursday & it seemed only right to visit the Wetherspoons in Louth as it’s “Curry night”. There was some disapointment amongst our group as the meal wasn’t up to the standards we were expecting. After Andy G. getting replacement WARM rice & then the lass asking if we were happy or not, we all got free coffees πŸ™‚ Afterwards we drove up to Hull to catch the ferry. (I think maybe the last time i took a ferry might have been back in ’99 going to Rock Am Ring in Germany). It was a very smooth overnight sailing, but i really suffered a lack of sleep due to the “3 part non-harmony” of my mates SNORING ! After enduring it a while, i could easily work out WHO was doing the snoring by the different sounds they made (sad?) I’ll leave it at this: One had a very deep gutteral snore, one a “breath through the mouth” snore & the other a nasal snore with a kind of “wimpering” sound on breathing out ! God knows what or who he was dreaming about πŸ˜‰ ( I guess we all snore & i’m supposedly no exception! My mate Rob says i was super loud when we went to Angelfish in Glasgow. Of course, i knew nothing of it,but the others did,as is always the case lol) It was a l-o-n-g night but at least once we get to our hotel i’ll be able to sleep as only sharing room with one of the guys….famous last words eh πŸ˜‰
Over the next days we planned to visit various places in the Dam. Some we’d been to before & others were new. Andy T. was very organised having brought a map on which he placed stickers indicating locations to visit πŸ˜‰Andy Ts map

First day we tried a pancake house. The guys were impressed, but i wasn’t. Around midday we checked into our hotel. http://www.backstagehotel.com/en I last stayed here when over for Garbage gig. A nice reasonably priced place located very close to Melkweg/Paradiso.

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Andy queues up a day early ;-)Then it was off for more exploring visiting places like Cafe Gollum & an early evening meal at a Nepalese restaurant. After the disappointment with the pancakes, this place was great !DSC08743DSC08748

I confess, by this time i was so damn knackered, that i decided to go hotel & try get some sleep. Couldn’t believe it! It sounded like above our room they were moving furniture & were generally very noisy. Then i realised our room was directly below the bar area! If you ever stay here, make sure you don’t have room 002 !! In the end i couldn’t stand it anymore & about 3am i went to reception to tell them we need to change rooms. ( Remember i’ve been awake since Thursday evening & it’s now the early hours of Saturday morning ! ) The chap was very nice about it & i moved to a bigger 3 bed room. Funny thing was, later i found out Andy didn’t even realise i’d left the room & came back to collect my bags later! (Can’t say i appreciated the msg from someone at 8am though…shoulda looked & realised sleep was needed !)

Gig Day : Once up, we wandered off to find the nearby bar to indulge in their apple pie + cream on top (Or as they call it “Slagroom”, which i still find hilarious as i’m English)Β DSC08759
Myself & the two Andys then went to another bar ” Cafe Chris”. We were the first in as they were just opening up at 3pm. Apparently the place dates back to 1624.
Later we went to Cafe Gollum again & finally went to a steakhouse for grub. Before going to meet Rob & everyone, i went to check on the early entry time at Paradiso.
Oh yes, need to explain that : My good friend Jan fell on the stairs when we were all at the Garbage show. The venue/management later arranged for him to have guest list places for future gigs. He offered me these,but as i said to him, they are for him. So i asked if maybe he could arrange something with regards to myself & Kristina getting in early as with my condition (brain turmors), this often happens in the UK. Sure enough, Jan sorted it out very quickly with Bram. All i needed to do was go to side door & ask for Rob who is the manager. Rob couldn’t have been more helpful & professional about it all. I explained where we’d like to sit on balcony & he even said i could take a couple more in with me! I don’t abuse the system & by not offering the places to others no ones nose was put out of joint ( ” Hey! Why you chose them instead of me?! “). We arranged to come back about 15mins before doors opened. Outside in the queue i met old friends from Bulgaria ; Venelin, Ned & Kristina (another one). Of course, Benoit was also there πŸ™‚ We then went to Cafe Kooper on Leidseplein to meet up with all the others which included Jim, Diana, Rob, Michel & (a nice surprise) Anne πŸ™‚ Hugs all round, lotsa laughs etc. 6.45 we went back to Paradiso & left the rest boozing away.
Getting closer to the venue, we realised they’d already opened doors! Reason being cos it was raining. How nice of them….wouldn’t happen in the UK πŸ˜‰ Rob had reserved the seats for us, but they were not quite where we wanted to be. ” No problem! Go where you want “. So we moved along another 7 or so seats as it was a better angle to view from. The venue soon started filling up (was sold out). I sent txt to Andy to say there was one seat next to me if he could get there soon. But they were staying in the Irish bar till queue died down. Of course, they ended up on the top balcony. Around same time i got txt from Benoit saying he was on balcony left side. Didn’t take him that long to realise there was that seat next to me. (Snooze/booze & you lose Andy lol )
Tonight was a special gig celebrating 10 years since they released their debut album “Lucidity”. What better way to celebrate than playing one of THE best venues in the world, the “Church of Rock”, Paradiso, Amsterdam & filming it all for posterity?!! Many fans travelled from all over the world for this one.
After the intro tape, they go straight into “Hands Of Gold” from their latest album “Moonbathers” (I confess i’ve not got the album yet lol). It was a bit of a shock that they had the singer from “Arch Enemy”, Alissa White-Gluz join them on first song of the evening (She later also joined during “The Tragedy of the Commons”). But that was setting us up for an evening with quite a few guests & old band members joining them. The song finished with confetti cannons firing over the stage into the crowd. Already we have plenty of bang for buck πŸ˜‰ Next it’s ” Suckerpunch” (again off “Moonbathers”. Maybe i should get the album πŸ˜‰ ). I knew this one after seeing the video back in February…phew πŸ™‚ What ?! Another one from same album? This time “The Glory & The Scum”. Gimmie something i know !! Finally, the big hitter “Get the Devil Out of Me” is aired. Bloody love it. (No coincedence it’s one of my fave Delain songs). The crowd is really into this one πŸ™‚
During “Hurricane” confetti is dropped from the ceiling. Made for a nice effect.
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There then followed a very heavy version of “April Rain”. I love the synchronized headbanging from the guitarists at the beginning…

Next up there’s another guest appearance. This time it’s Burton C. Bell from “Fear Factory”. He joins for “Where Is The Blood”. After this, there was an intermission which gave Charlotte time to change her outfit. Upon returning they played a great version of “We Are The Vultures”.
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During “Fire with Fire” there was a real cute moment where Charlotte got on her knees in front of Merel. From the angle i was looking from, even on her knees,she almost seemed the same height as Merel ! Funny & cute πŸ™‚
As previously mentioned, Alissa White-Gluz once again joined during “The Tragedy of the Commons”.
After another short intermission the band returned to the stage. Or rather, a “different” band returned ! Old band members,bass,guitar & drums, played “Sleepwalkers Dream”. That was pretty cool πŸ™‚

During “Your Body Is a Battleground”, i’m looking for where the backing vocals are coming from. Then realize they’re playing a video of Marco doing said vocals. I guess they couldn’t get all the guests they wanted tonight.
Another guest appearance was during “See Me in Shadow”, when Liv Kristine joined. There was also the addition of a cellist up at the back of stage.
The main set finished with “Pristine” & included another guest appearance (dunno who he was lol)
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Back for the encore & Charlotte has once again changed her outfit. It’s the white one she wore in the “We Are The Others” video (Though it’s only the top half for the super observant πŸ˜‰ ). A great version of “Mother Machine” was this first encore. I loved the audience participation for “Don’t Let Go”. The whole floor was jumping & shouting “Hey! Hey! Hey!”. Bloody loved it.
Of course, they had to finish with the obvious “We Are The Others”. A great finisher for a great night.
It’s funny, but at the time, i wasn’t as “into” the show as i should have been. A combination of lack of sleep & annoying people affected me big time. But upon reflection, i realise this was a top show. Pryro,smoke,costume changes,guest musicians & quality songs. The crowd was also just great. The fact that they were filming the show will be a great memory of a great night for sure.
Afterwards a bunch of us briefly went around the bars. Of course, i again turned in early in the hope of catching up on sleep πŸ˜‰

Morning arrived too quickly. We set off for a wander in search of a decent priced breakfast. Mr T. had already scoped out the place “Bagels & Beans”. Nice place & nice staff. Of the 3 different breakfasts, we all chose the “Good Morning” one (no coincidence it was the cheapest!) ” Good Morning breakfast please”. “Good Morning” *smiles* lol You had to be there πŸ˜‰ I can’t imagine what Mac would say if he saw the ” Power Breakfast” (Ok, i can. Insert inappropriate word). Take the napkin for later…
Afterwards, we split up,with Ady going to some museum/gallery & myself & the two Andys going to more refined areas πŸ˜‰ ( I obviously jest). Another quick visit to The Old Quarter. Looked like the cat hadn’t moved since yesterday!

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Finished the day with chips n mayo & last bar was ” In het Aepjen “, which was close to the bus pick up point. Of course, with us “checking in” to most places, we were stalked by Rob & Kristina as they popped in a few minutes before our departure πŸ˜‰ Nah, actually it was nice to briefly say goodbye till the next time πŸ™‚
Once on the ferry, i knew i wouldn’t get much/any sleep. So whilst the others rocked out to the house band (lol) i turned in early ! Was it a better nights sleep for me ? Lets just say i’ve never looked forward to being in my own bed !
To sum up the whole experience : “Would i travel via ferry again ?” Nope. Will always be flights/trains from now on. “Would you if it was different travelling companions?” . Again, nope. The journey takes too much time.
Upon reflection, over all, it was a decent enough break. Cool to meet old friends & a decent gig πŸ™‚

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Ally Dickaty (Virginmarys) Brewery Tap, Peterborough, 7-12-16

I had planned to go to the Virginmarys/Therapy? gig at Union Chapel in London. Everything was booked. Planned to meet Eva & we were gonna go around “Winter Wonderland” etc. But i had to cancel due to my chemo meds just made me real rough (having had 2 weeks where my bloods were rubbish, everything gets delayed/put back. I was quite depressed about it all really) But health is more important, so skipped the gig πŸ™
As luck would have it, i’d previously mentioned the gig in Peterborough to my niece, Alice. She had planned to go xmas shopping, so, needing my fix, i dropped her a message to see if she fancied doing the gig. ” Yes ! ” was the answer, so here we go πŸ™‚
The venue had been changed from Cherry Tree as it closed down! Probably a blessing in disguise as The Brewery Tap is more central & a great pub. (They even have their own micro-brewery). There’s a nice size side room, “The Tap Room “, where the gig was gonna be.
This tour is a great example of the humility of the guys. Making people aware of how others often cannot get the basics to survive. The idea of “People Help The People” is great. You make a food donation as your entry to the gig. (Or give them Β£5 on the door. We thought it’s lazy to just hand over a fiver, so went shopping)
Had a quick look in the Tap room, said a brief hello to Ally, then off we went for food. Leaving the place, saw Danny at the bar, so said hi .
After a little Xmas shopping with Alice, we went to get the food donations. Dropped em off back at the car, then went for our food. Guess where we went? Yup, easy with me, a Wetherspoons pub, “The Drapers Arms” πŸ˜‰
On way back to venue, we picked up our donations from the car & in we went. Bit early though as we were the first in ! Met ” Fi ” , who was organizing this event & had a nice chat. Alice was promoting herself to Fi very well πŸ˜‰ Then we went back into main room for drinks.
Eventually we go back in Tap Room. The support act was a guy called Richard Combault. Apparently, he used to be in a local band called “Midget”. I seem to recall the name from the early 90s. His set was pretty decent. Had some great little songs & good lyrics…especially about a divorce lol. Very entertaining. I think he must have brought a bunch of his mates with him as a few people left after his set.
Soon enough it was time for Ally to hit the stage. A funny thing; there was a big “dining room table ” on said stage. This had the keyboard on it ! Why ? well it appears they lost the proper keyboard stand (+ a mic stand) already on this tour ! Don’t forget the list guys πŸ˜‰
I love hearing these songs in the naked & raw versions. Really shows the emotion & you see what great lyrics they have. Tonight we get a bunch of the “classics” including “Walk In My Shoes” , “Lost Weekend”, “Motherless Land” , Moth To A Flame” , “Northern Sun “, “Cast The First Stone ” etc.
Ally , as ever, is very open & appreciative. Early on he mentioned about the whole “Food & Awareness” campaign on this tour. Apparently ” Fi “, who put on this event, was one of the first to sign up to the idea. Before “Lost Weekend”, he mentions this.

Later on, totally unexpected, Ally asks me which song i’d like to hear ! I had a total brain freeze ! After already hearing a bunch of great songs & getting totally drawn into it all, i just blurted out “…urm… Brother hold on…” (Moth To A Flame of course). Allys reply was ” I usually play this on the keyboard, but i’ll do it on guitar for you”. So, unique version on this tour πŸ™‚ Afterwards he mentions ” This guy has been following VMs around the UK for about 5-6 years or so & even saw us abroad?”. I say “Yeah, abroad on Skunk tour “. (I went to Porto,Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam..+ a few UK dates back in 2010)

An unexpected highlight also followed; “Northern Sun”. Brilliant stuff. The show is finished with “Cast The First Stone”.

Afterwards we briefly hang & get some photos. My niece Alice was VERY impressed with the show (first time seeing Ally, so will check out the VMs stuff)
Big thanks to Ally & Danny as always. Look forward to the gigs next year πŸ˜‰
Ok, this was somewhat rushed, as i’m off to Amsterdam for weekend. Just wanted to get it out there. Apologies for quality of video clips. Not enough light & my camera is for sure on its way out.

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Reckless Love, The Treatment, Rock city , Nottingham, 18-11-16

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It’s always cool when it’s possible to do “2-nighters” at places & this was the first of them (The second being Airbourne). I had hoped i wouldn’t be “alone” over the next days, but it didn’t quite work out for Tess as her sister was over. As is always the case, book early & the hotels etc are cheaper. I stayed at the Premier Inn Nottingham West, which is at the end of the tram line. A great little thing is if you’re going to an event in Nottingham, the tram ticket is only Β£2 return ! (Just have to show your gig ticket if there are inspectors checking) It worked well for me.
As luck would have it, an old neighbour from 30+ years ago(?) was also doing these gigs, so a nice chance to catch up.
I managed to get the early entry to Rock City & the chap had sorted out a bar stool for me. What surprised me was it wasn’t in the balcony, but under the stairs. Not that it bothered me as it’s still a great view from there. The surprise, especially after Reckless Loves last gig at RC, was they hadn’t sold enough tickets to open the balcony! It’s kinda cool to be in RC & the place is empty

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The opening act tonight were ” The Treatment “. I great bunch of lads who have a positive attitude & always put on a high energy show. I’ve seen them live a few times over the years. Their manager is Laurie Mansworth who used to me in the band ” Airrace” (If you’re older you may also remember the ’80s NWOBHM band ” More ” ). It’s cool to see him side stage really getting into the band :

As is always the case, the band get a great reaction from the crowd at Rock city.

Reckless Love are a band that are made for Rock City ! Of the 7 times they’ve played there, i’ve seen 5 of them (Started playing in the Basement & got too big for there). I do find it a little strange that it’s not a bigger audience tonight, especially as it’s one of only two shows in the UK (But saying that, the last couple of times they didn’t open the balcony)
The show starts with ” The Boys Are Back In Town” being played over the PA. It’s then straight into “Animal Attraction”. Oli briefly soaks up the affection from the crowd before they go into ” So Happy I Could Die “…with a huge scream from him at the start :

Next up it’s “Monster”. After that, Oli mentions Pepe & him being a Pretty Boy. Yup, we’re about to get the live debut of ” Pretty Boy Swagger ” πŸ™‚ It was pretty decent.
Then we get the double hitter of ” Beautiful Bomb” & “Badass”. There’s some good audience interaction/clapping during “Badass”.

The rest of the night it’s all about having a good time. The band seem as into it as the audience are. They encore with “We Are The Weekend” & the last song of the night is the classic ” Hot “. A great night out for sure.DSC08641
Afterwards we go to the The Gooseberry Bush pub where myself & Tim (the old neighbour) have a good catch up & he tells me his woes about recently splitting with his wife.Gooseberry bush afterwards
We eventually say our goodbyes & i take the tram back to my hotel, whilst Tim tries to figure out how to get to his hotel out Stapleford way !

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