Monday, May 19, 2014

Back in the garage - sonically speaking

This is Pete Townshend's 69th birthday - with rumours of a new Who album and tour this is definitely something to celebrate, as is the 20th anniversary edition of 'Definitely Maybe' by Oasis which is released today. They're still a band that split the jury (click here to read what a couple of my, er, 'professional acquaintances' think of them, and to hear my thoughts on what turned out to be one of their last gigs - so far...) but love 'em or hate 'em you still can't ignore them. For what my opinion is worth theirs is one of the great debut albums of all time, and if I ever write a song that's half as good as 'Slide Away' then I'll be very happy indeed.

Before last weekend's Serbian adventure I managed to catch a couple of gigs in good old London Town :-

On Tuesday (May 6th if you're taking notes - incidentally if you are taking notes then why are you taking notes?!?) I got a teatime phone call from Dave Ruffy asking me if I'd like to see The Sonics at Koko that very evening. There's only one answer to that isn't there... I met up with him in Camden Town at 8.30, and by the time we'd had a drink on the venue's roof garden it was time to find a vantage point for the show. The Sonics were a band that I remember by reputation a long time before I actually heard a note from them - they were often referred to as 'prototype punk' and 'the ultimate garage band' and photos showed them to be a brooding and menacing bunch, which was more-or-less the way they were reputed to sound. Given their influence on many-a punk it was fitting that they were introduced by Glen Matlock; after a slightly strange delay as they all ambled on and leisurely picked up their respective instruments they careered into 'Cinderella' and what followed was a veritable masterclass in out-and-out rock 'n' roll. Larry Parypa's guitar sounded magnificent as he hacked out primal riffs and slashing chords (even if he himself looked a little bewildered at times!) and drummer Dusty Watson had the mighty Mr. Ruffy voicing his approval throughout, which has to be a good thing if you think about it. A cracking evening, as was the next night at The 12 Bar Club when the garage theme continued as The Fallen Leaves continued their 'first-Wednesday-of-every-month' residency. Support this time came from The Len Price 3, who I've been trying to get to see for quite some time - I've been following their movements via the always-excellent 'Retro Man' blog (which incidentally has just published this review of Captain Sensible's birthday gig - thanks Steve!) and their splendid latest album 'Nobody Knows' has rarely been my turntable lately. (Ok, it's really a CD player, but that doesn't sound as good does it?!?) I'm pleased to say that they didn't disappoint - to say that they look distinctive is something of an understatement, with their red and blue striped blazers, white shirts and black trousers combining to create a technicolour spectacle that perfectly complemented the explosive power (pop) of their material. So many great bands have emerged from the so-called Medway Scene (The Prisoners and The Milkshakes being probably the best known, but there are many others) and judging by this performance The Len Price 3 are worthy successors to all of those bands. So great was their performance that I don't mind admitting that I wasn't sure how The Fallen Leaves were going to follow them, but as always they were absolutely superb. Their next 12 Bar Club gig is on June 4th, and they're at The 100 Club with Eight Rounds Rapid and Back To Zero on Sunday 22nd June - now there's an evening I'm really looking forward too!

Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks returned to The Paddington Packet Boat in Cowley on Saturday for a show that started quietly (it was Cup Final day and as you might expect a lot of people had gone out to watch the match and then gone home early) but turned out to be ok in the end. Al asked me if I'd like to go to the jam night in Edgware tonight, but much as enjoy playing and seeing some of the people there I've made the (ahem!) momentous decision not to go - to be honest I've had enough of the snide comments and the insults, which saddens me as I say I like to go along and play. Hmmm... then again Ruts D.C. play VegFest in Bristol this Saturday followed by an appearance at Strummercamp on Sunday - I really must stop letting loud-mouthed nobodies and idiots at jam nights upset me mustn't I?

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