Wednesday, September 28, 2011

R.I.P. R.E.M. / T.O.T.P. / O.G.W.T etc

Well I for one was sad to hear that R.E.M. have decided to 'call it a day as a band'. I've not always liked their music but I've always liked them if you know what I mean - given their immense level of success they seem to me to have remained as independent as possible (always a good thing don't you think?) as well as supporting environmental and human rights causes (something that's often a controversial move particularly in the U.S.A.) and, let's not forget, producing some very good music. For what my opinion is worth I think Peter Buck is one of the great alternative rock guitarists - his anti-guitar-hero approach to playing (perhaps best summarised as 'do what's right for a song rather that what might make you look good') is something that a lot of musicians could learn from; Michael Stipe has always been a fabulously eccentric frontman as well as being a brilliantly original singer (not sure what some of those lyrics are about though!) while the original rhythm section of Mike Mills and Bill Berry are as good a combination as any that you care to name. Since Berry's departure due to illness in 1997 the band have perhaps struggled to reach their earlier heights (although I personally think that 'The Great Beyond' is as good a song as anything from their earlier catalogue) but they remained a classic live act, and as their comments on their website regarding their decision to disband confirm they're a band that will be missed in a rock music world that sadly often devoid of the kind of principals and intelligence that they had in abundance.

No gigs for me this weekend (and none next weekend either - bah!) which meant I was able to catch a typically splendid performance from The Good Old Boys at The General Elliot in Uxbridge on Friday evening. Alan, Pete and myself all agreed that The Rikardo Brothers should chase some more gigs (we haven't been able to get together through the summer due to us all having other work etc) so we're all going to get busy looking for gigs. I've also had time to catch a bit of music on the television - B.B.C. 4 have been re-showing episodes of 'Top Of The Pops' from 1976 over the last few months and I've seen as many of them as I can and apart from the odd appearance from the likes of T. Rex it's been as dreadful (make that dreadful) as you might think it would be. But this week it featured none other than Eddie And The Hot Rods whose barnstorming live performance of Bob Seger's 'Get Out Of Denver' was witnessed by your humble narrator back in the day. I witnessed it again on Thursday night and it was simply fantastic, and a portent of punkier times to come over the next couple of years. I really hope that they continue to show further programmes as some remarkable performances could well be on the horizon. And the same station also showed a compilation of 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' footage this weekend too, some bad, some good, all of it a priceless reminder of the role played by the show in giving many people their first television exposure. And if that wasn't enough 'Later... with Jools Holland' last night featured Wilko Johnson - yes, the King Of Canvey Island live in your own front room. If you missed it then here it is - and there's hopefully more from the great man and his cohorts on Friday evening's show! Maybe I should watch the telly more often!

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