Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pictures at an exhibition

Bob Gruen is a name that is synonymous with rock music photography. Last Thursday evening I found myself at The Huntingdon Gallery in Shoreditch at an exhibition of said photos, and very good it was too. (Incidentally you may well be wondering how on Earth a herbert like myself got invited to a gathering such as this? Simple - Dave Ruffy was drumming in the band that played at the after show party. There is rarely mystery in life is there?) Myself and Segs (accompanied by Vivien of Holloway and her friends) arrived to find things in full swing and the walls adorned with some of the most iconic rock photos of them all. The man himself was in attendance (I managed a quick hello and got a nod in return) as were various other luminaries (including Martin Chambers and Jim Jones - oh yes!) and with a free bar the atmosphere was predictably jovial. Unsurprisingly people started to leave when the bar closed - most made their way around the corner to The Ace Hotel (although we found ourselves in the nearby Dragon Bar for a wee while) where Walter Lure led a band that also featured Neil from The Montecristos through a set of Johnny Thunders songs and rock 'n' roll standards. Their raucous rough-around-the-edges show (which featured a guest appearance by Marc Almond singing 'Brand New Cadillac') went down well with all concerned, after which I was obliged to leave at some speed to get a tube train home. As I made my way towards Liverpool Street Station I was accosted by a rough-looking chap asking for money 'to get some heroin, anything, even a few pence would help'. Such is life that I ran for it, albeit with 'Chinese Rocks' ringing in my ears. And did I really bump into Kate Moss on the stairs? Yes, incredibly, I did.

With no gig of my own on Friday night I found myself doing what I often do in this situation - going to watch another band play. And what better place to go than Tropic At Ruislip? It's always a good venue to support methinks, and it was excellent to see it so full when I arrived. ELO Again were the featured act, and I was intrigued to see how they would fare, as The Electric Light Orchestra material features some very complex arrangements. I'm pleased to say that they sounded very good indeed, and the sold out crowd loved them from the first song to the last. Personally I prefer the earlier songs ('Ma-Ma-Ma Belle' being a particular favourite) but there's no denying the excellence of Jeff Lynne's songwriting. And you forget just how many hits they had don't you? 

Two gigs from Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks this weekend, the first of which was at The Halfway House in Rickmansworth. I'd not played with the band for what felt like ages - it was actually less than a month, but as I say it seemed a lot longer - so I spent a bit of time revising the material, and I'm glad that I did as there are more than enough twists and turns in the songs to catch you out if you don't know them. It was a good gig although it's not the easiest place to play - there's not a lot of room, and you can't play too loud (never a good prospect!) but overall I think we didn't do a bad job, with the only downside being a drunk fella who kept wanting to try my hat on. Silly boy.
The next afternoon we returned to Ye Olde George in Colnbrook for a show that I for one thought was much better than the previous evening's effort - The Upper Cut are back there on Saturday 1st November which should hopefully also be a good night, as should this coming Saturday's 12 Bar Club gig by The London Sewage Company. Well, that should be good if last night's rehearsal is anything to go by... and then my friends, Ruts D.C. play in London - but more about that next time.

No comments: