Monday, January 07, 2013

In mod we trust

Mod has been in the news a lot lately, with Bradley Wiggins getting a knighthood in the wake of his success at last year's Olympic Games. (Apparently he was at the Pete Townshend book signing back in October but I didn't see him. Mind you, I wasn't looking for him!) For many mod hasn't really ever gone away, as is evidenced by events such as The Mods Mayday 2013 weekend at The Alley Club in Cambridge this coming May. The Saturday night line up includes Back To Zero whose single 'Your Side Of Heaven' is a well-thought-of artefact from the late '70s mod revival that occurred around the time of the 'Quadrophenia' film when bands like The Chords, Secret Affair and The Purple Hearts all appeared in the shadow of The Jam. So why am I telling you this? Well all things being equal (which of course they very rarely are!) I shall be playing guitar for the afore-mentioned BTZ alongside original members Sam Burnett on guitar and vocals (he's currently in Department S) and Andy Moore on drums who plays alongside me in The Flying Squad. I'm really looking forward to this - I've been listening to their album 'It's All Relative' rather a lot lately (well, I've got songs to learn!) and there's some great stuff on there. And I must say that I liked a lot of the other music from the same time (my brother played the 'Mods Mayday '79' album to death back in the day) as well as being a fan of the clothes and the general look too. Still it'll be good to try something a bit different - there's a meeting / initial rehearsal planned for later this month so we'll see how it all goes but I'm optimistic that it'll be a great thing to be involved in.

Staying with the mod theme (if a little tenuously) my first gig of the year as a spectator took place on Friday when I went back to Tropic At Ruislip to see Who's Who. I never saw The Who play with Keith Moon (I was too young - honest!) but I'm reliably informed by many who did (and indeed by no lesser person than Peter 'Dougal' Butler, Moonie's driver and assistant for many years) that the drummer in Who's Who is the nearest that any of us will see these days. He certainly seems to me to have got it right both musically and visually, which puts Who's Who in a position to be as authentic tribute to the original band that anyone is ever likely to be. I could pick holes in it all but there's no point - what they do they do very well indeed, and you can't ask for much more than that can you? Well, I don't think that you can.

My first appearance on 2013 with a guitar in my hand was at the first-Sunday-of-the-month open mic night at The Swan in Iver last night, and a very enjoyable evening it was too. John the organiser sang a few songs as did Big Al Reed, Les Payne played some solo acoustic originals, and we all wished that there were a few more people there. Still it's the first one of the year so hopefully it'll all pick up a bit for next month's February 3rd date.

And it's my first 'proper' gig of the year this coming Friday when The Upper Cut return to The Admiral Nelson in Twickenham. That should be a good night - sadly the rest of January and the whole of February are worryingly quiet at the moment. Time to get out and look for some gigs then...

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