The Virginmarys, The Hyena Kill, The Forum, Tunbridge Wells 22-3-17

Β 

After a change to my original gig schedule, as i would be staying at Hotel Rob & he kindly offered me a ticket for Tunbridge Wells gig, i decided i just had to go to this one.
Rob drove via Cranbrook so he could visit his parents. It’s funny that after knowing Rob for so many years, this would be the first time i’m meeting his parents + “Betty”.Β Betty? You ask. Betty is the name for their Basset Hound rescue dog πŸ™‚ Despite Betty being a bit timid due to her previous owners, i think she took to me quickly. (As was proven when i wasn’t giving her any attention & she tapped my leg tried to jump up. Dogs have a good sense of the people to trust πŸ˜‰ ) After a nice cuppa & a brief chat, we were back on our way to Tunbridge Wells.
After my disapointment of the “improvements” made to The Borderline, i’m wondering how tonights venue will be, especially as i’m told it used to be a toilet !
We parked up behind the venue & there was a side door which was open. I couldn’t resist it & had a quick peak in the place. Yes, it is quite small, but i just had a good feeling about this one. Ally & Danny were up on stage still sorting the load in, but i didn’t want to impose myself.Β 

We went for a walk along the Pantiles. It’s a very nice area with lots of little quaint shops & a few bars/eateries. Eventually, we decided to go to The Opera…a Wetherspoons pub about 10mins walk away ! A walk that was uphill lol. This was one of the smartest Wethers i’ve ever been to. Very swish. We arranged to meet Eva there & it wasn’t long before she joined us.Β Β 

We had food & then went back to the town centre. Ended up in The Duke Of York pub. I sent Danny a txt to see if he wanted to join us. Whilst in there, Evas friend , Ira turned up along with her friend Andy (?). (A funny coincidence was that he plays drums in the band “Saint Agnes”. The main guy in the band is Jon Tufnell. He’s someone i’ve known since he had the band “Plastic Toys” years back. ) Others who joined us in the pub were Andy, Jill, Eric & Sonia. Of course, Danny joined as well.
Eventually we go to the venue. Rob had arranged for me to have a chair, so we went to the front of a small queue to sort that out. I had my chair at the front, at the side. Β It was an excellent view….well, to start off with lol. The travelling VMs family took their places at the front, centre & right side.
Tonight, i “got” The Hyena Kill much more than i did in London. I’m sure that the better view & sound played a big part in that. I still need to listen to them more though, before i decide yay or nay.
During their set, the venue got a bit busier. A shortish lass & her BF(?) stood just to the right of me. But i could still see the stage no problem. There was another chap with them & i noticed how he was gradually drifting to the left in front of me. Eventually from my seat all i could see was his back. I thought he was just plain ignorant. I mean, he’d obviously seen i was sat down. Eventually, i stood on the first step to the stage & said ” Well, i suppose i’ll just have to stand here to see the show”. He just grunted. He’d wound me up with his ignorance. I then said to him directly ” You don’t realise just how big you are, do ya? “. His reply was some B.S. like “yeah i’m used to it”. The lass realised what i was saying & she dropped back a bit & so did the big ignorant oaf ! Thank you to that young lady who realised there was a reason for me having that seat & basically helping to move the guy. I could now enjoy my night.

Soon enough the familiar intro of ” Feelin Good ” starts & the guys wander onto the stage. As with the other shows, they start proceedings with “Dead Mans Shoes” then go into “Halo In Her Silhouette”. I look to my right & see the front row full of smiles & chanting the ” Waho-o-oh’s ” towards the end of Halo.

Damn, it’s great to be a part of this,even if i’m not down there jumping around like the old days. The quality & dedication from the band to their craft is still as strong as ever. Plus seeing the crowd enjoying themselves, just makes me enjoy the time even more. “Portrait Of Red ” & “I Wanna Take You Home” just fly by. I’d imagine by now there’s not many in the room who haven’t already heard the new song “Sweet Loretta”. I bloody love it.When we get to “Into Dust”, once again i love seeing the front row enjoying themselves so much.

Once again, before playing “Moths To A Flame”, Ally caught me out. He explained how the VMs have been around for a while now & there are people who have been there since the beginning. “There are people who have followed us all over the UK & Europe….And there’s one guy in the room who’s sat right there, called Simon Clapham. He’s one incredible soul who’s smashing the fuck out of something himself..as well as us onstage…so er, this is to him, it’s called “Moths To A Flame”

I can so relate to the words of this song as i’m trying to hold on & trying to be strong fighting this shitty cancer. Every time i hear these words i cannot help but break down. It invokes the tears. (Around the 3 minute mark into the song, my camera wobbles a bit. The reason for this is that Eva has come over from the other side of the room & gave me the biggest tightest hug. She’s such a sweetheart). When the song finishes, both Jill & Sonia also gave me a hug. I’m proud to be part of the “VMs family” & have such great friends.
Time for another new one. “Sitting Ducks” & then we’re “Off To Another Land” πŸ˜‰ Tonight we get a change of set when Ally says : ” We’re gonna play you a song that we haven’t played all tour. And bearing in mind that Azdas hard as nails..this is his favourite song..This is called “Walk In My Shoes ”

(I’m sure the reference to Azda being hard as nails is with regard to him dealing swiftly withΒ the bloke who got up onstage the previous night in London. He was a big guy, but it didn’t stop wee Azda dealing with him. Respect to ya πŸ™‚ )
After “Through The Sky”, we get the usual closing songs of “Just A Ride & Ends Don’t Mend”.

Ally briefly introduces the new guy Ross (“He’s only been playing bass about a week” lol), thanks everyone for supporting them over the years & he says they’ll keep coming back if we keep coming back. “Please if you think tonight was worth more than ten pounds, help us out with the merch & make sure we can drive around & keep coming back. This is our last song…& we’ll see you guys…in about 10 minutes…This is Bang Bang Bang…”

Sure enough, about 10mins later, the guys come out to say goodbyes etc. Chatting with Danny i mention that later in the year i’m going to see Skunk Anansie at The Ritz, Manchester (Same venue where i i first met the VMs family). Looks like he could also be going to that one πŸ˜‰ Of course, the evening wouldn’t have been complete without the “end of tour” band photos (for some of us lol)

Β 

Eventually we all say our goodbyes & look forward to the next time we all meet. I’ll finish this with the alternate angle of Ally ,Eva & myself. I describe it as ” Eva radiating her love” πŸ˜‰Β Β (Yeah, ok, we know it’s the focusing from the other camera, but i prefer my description πŸ™‚ )

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

The Virginmarys, The Hyena Kill, @ The borderline, London, 21-3-17

Β Β Cheers to Gareth for giving me the setlist πŸ™‚

A while back i thought to myself “Next time i’m in London, i wanna visit The Shard”. Originally was gonna do this with Eva, but her studies kept her away. As luck would have it, another friend, Anette, was coming over from Norway to see the VMs, so we arranged to meet up & do the Shard. (Good thing also was that Eva would be at the Tunbridge Wells gig following day, so we still get that long overdue meet up)
Typically, my train was slightly delayed. Always happens with Hull Trains ! Whilst it was tight, still got to Shard only about 5mins late. Anette & Marco were waiting for me.
My ticket was a bargain at only Β£ 11.95 for myself & a carer (Would normally be Β£21.95). It was quite surprising how quick the lift shot up to level 69. After a while there, we went up to level 72 which is more open to the elements. We got lucky with the weather & saw some great views. For sure i’ll visit there again πŸ™‚

Β Β Β 

We then went for a quick drink in the nearby “Bunch Of Grapes ” bar. Time was getting on & Marco had to leave, so, myself & Anette headed towards the city centre nearer to The Borderline. Had a quick look & there were a couple of people already queued up ! The guy thought he’d got the wrong place till we confirmed he was correct….if a tad early πŸ˜‰ We then went to my usual stomping ground ; The Montague Pyke. It was very busy. Finally, we went & met up with Rob at The Royal George. Me? At 3 different pubs in one day? With my reputation? πŸ˜‰
There was a decent queue forming at The Borderline, amongst which were a few of the “VMs family”. But as it was my first time going into the referbed Borderline, i needed to get sorted out with security etc. They were very helpful on the doors & we were soon inside. I couldn’t hardly believe how they’d changed the venue. Yes, it had got a bit shabby over the years so was really in need of a lick of paint. But i didn’t understand how they would take away the raised area & have a totally flat floor. (Well, i did actually as it probably increases the capacity of the venue). If you’re in a wheel chair, i’d advise you to not bother visiting this venue. I had a seat which they’d originally placed on that flat floor on the right. Ridiculous ! Didn’t want to see the backs of the crowd. I moved it to the only place where it was slightly higher, but a pillar partially blocked the view.
I’d never seen The Hyena Kill before tonight,so was interested to see how they’d be. There’s no denying they were both giving it their all. But with a combination of poor viewing & a rough sound i wasn’t very impressed . Sorry. (Maybe it’ll be better tomorrow night in Tunbridge Wells?)
During the course of the night i met a bunch of the VMs family including Eric, Sonia, Andy, Jill & Jim. Still yet to meet/chat with both Glyn & Jody who were also there. Sure it will happen in the future πŸ™‚
The venue got quite busy & i noticed a couple of “Tourists” (A phrase i picked up from Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. At their gigs, if there was someone who didn’t look like a typical Twisted Sister fan, he’d call them “Tourists”. Most times, by the end of the set they were either “converted” or left early haha). I think they were just there to get drunk etc.
As previously on the tour, Virginmarys kicked off with “Dead Mans Shoes” before going straight into “Halo In Her Silhouette”. The crowd was into the show straight away. As the VMs played pretty much the same set each night, i won’t bother listing every song.
Ally introduced the next song by saying “We are Virginmarys from the North !”. He had a right smile on his face whilst saying that. He’s proud of his roots for sure πŸ™‚

The more i hear “Sweet Loretta” in the live enviroment, the more i love the song. In fact, all the new songs sound great.
After “Running For My Life “, we got a bonus song tonight, namely, “Push The Pedal”

Sometime during the night, it kinda kicked off a bit in the crowd (the “tourists”? ). Also , during “Ends Don’t Mend” (i think) someone got a little over excited & stumbled onto the stage. He was a BIG mofo, but wee Gareth aka “Azda”, soon saw it & totally owned the guy getting him off stage promtly ! Respect to you sir πŸ™‚
We’re now at encore time & they come back playing the usual finish of “Motherless Land” & “Bang Bang Bang”. Before BBB, Ally has a little rant about Trump & Brexit also saying that “…we wanna spread some love. Don’t let them fuckers win!”. He asks if everyone has enjoyed themselves & says they’ll return if we do. Of course we will mate. He also asks if we thought the night was worth Β£12.50 (what a fookin bargain in this day & age when some bands want Β£100 to see em i a stadium & you’d end up watching the tv screens) then please buy a t-shirt or other merch. I think many people don’t realise how important it is to support the band this way, as they’re certainly not “well off” & the passion for their art will only take them so far.

Afterwards, the security are quick to try get everyone out of the venue. I honestly didn’t understand that because, as far as i’m aware, there was no “club night” afterwards & it probably lost the VMs sales of their merch. We said our goodbyes & went for a swift drink in Montague Pyke again before going back to Robs.
Overall, a great day/night but i doubt i’ll visit Borderline again due to sight lines & the lighting in there.
Tomorrow we’re off to Tunbridge Wells πŸ™‚

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

The Virginmarys, Cut The Heroics, Rock City basement, Nottingham, 15-3-17

I had a last minute (as in they phoned the day before!) consultation with my Oncologist before setting off for Nottingham. Had been awaiting results of my last M.R.I. As expected, the tumor had once again grown. From now on i’ll be having MRIs every two months.
I’d been looking forward to this gig but was really unsure how i’d cope, as previously when they played the Basement i’d always be down the front. With a low stage, viewing from the back would be rubbish. So i thought i’d try it from down on the barrier. Didn’t even bother asking for a stool.
Train journey was fine, checked into “Roomzz”, then went for some food. Afterwards, back to the hotel to chill. Was meant to be meeting Danny before the gig, but it fell through due to the interviews they were doing. A funny thing before going in, i had someone ask me if i worked at Rock City. Been a while since that happened lol
Once inside, i went front left & kinda hung onto the barrier. After a while, my old mate Nigel Natrass came over & we had a good catch up. Hadn’t seen him in ages. More regular faces turned up, namely Rachel, Andy, Jill & then Fi Stimpson.
The support act were a local band, ” Cut The Heroics “. Apparently it was a last minute thing they got the gig. They were ok, but tbh i was just waiting for the headliners.
I noticed they had a video camera at the back of the room. Turns out they were gonna stream it live. (Thought to myself ” I wonder how much of the band will that show ?)

Eventually the VMs came on kicking off with old classics “Dead Man’s Shoes” , “Halo in Her Silhouette” & “Portrait of Red”. The new guy, Ross, had some sound issues to start off. This was first time i’d seen him with the VMs & i was very impressed with his performance. Pretty damn tight & he coped with said sound issues very well.Β 
Whenever they play “I Wanna Take You Home”, i always think of a certain young lady who i’d like to…haha no clues πŸ™‚
Next we get the first new song which was recently uploaded to VMs page. ” Sweet Loretta ” is the first of 3 new songs tonight. It’s very powerful in the live environment. It has that distinctive Virginmarys sound.

More classic stuff follows “For You My Love” , “Running for My Life” & ” Into Dust “. We’re about half way through the show now & everything is just flowing on stage. My VMs friends near me all have huge smiles on their faces…well, that’s not when they’re singing all the words at the top of their voices πŸ˜‰ The room has come alive.
Next up it’s “Falling Down ” Just look at that sweat pooring off Ally πŸ˜‰

Nowadays i find that listening to “Moths to a Flame” always brings tears to my eyes. I can so relate to this song after my shitty 2016. I’m still holding on…
We then get another new song ” Sitting Ducks “. From my position, i could see it listed on the setlist clearly, but, for whatever reason, i keep thinking “Shitting Ducks” ! Yeah, i’m strange i know lol. Another new song that has the typical VMs spirit to it. We’re then transported ” Off To Another Land” . Again,classic stuff.
The last new song of the night was ” Through The Sky “. It has a very “bouncy” beginning. A nice song with a great part for a sing a long towards the end. The band are bollock tight with the finish. Spot on.


The adrenaline rush continues with a frantic version of “Just a Ride ” Then the main set finishes with the immense sounding “Ends Don’t Mend”.
They encore with “Motherless Land” & “Bang Bang Bang”.

A good night for sure. I’m quite proud of myself for making it through the gig without dropping back. But it also made me realise, i cannot really do that again. As the phrase goes “My mind says yes,but my body says no” πŸ˜‰
A couple of other things about the night : Ally said they will record more songs & release eps before a full on album. There was an incident on the right side of crowd where some dickhead was getting over rough. Security eventually intervened. (From what i read online late, the bloke was not only kicked out,but, the police were involved also). Oh yeah, totally forgot i met another lad who i randomly met at gigs a few years back , James Chamberlain. Nice to catch up mate !
Finally, because they had the crappy disco/club night on afterwards, security were really pushing to clear everyone out. So it was all a bit rushed for anyone who wanted to quickly meet the guys from the band. I was stood with Rachel, waiting for Andy & Jill when an old guy asked Rachel if i was her husband ! So funny πŸ™‚ Upon leaving the venue, i couldn’t believe how many kids were queued up to get in ! Said my goodbyes to my friends & was soon back at my hotel…for yet another sleepless night. Roll on The Borderline gig πŸ˜‰

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

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

Scans0747

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˜‰

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

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

00981a

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.

DSC09272

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

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

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.

DSC09160
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.

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

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.

DSC09069
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.

DSC09133Β DSC09134

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

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

Scans0750Β Β DSC08999

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.
I got my fave spot on balcony so was reasonably happy.Β DSC09003

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

Share
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+