Sunday, December 07, 2014

'I am the DJ, I am what I play...'

Two master musicians left the building within 48 hours of each other this week, both of whom shared among other things the distinction of having played with The Rolling Stones at the same time. Bobby Keys is perhaps best known for his immortal saxophone solo on 'Brown Sugar' but he contributed much more that that to The Stones and indeed the music world in general - that's him on 'Whatever Gets You Through The Night' by John Lennon for instance. He also achieved the near-impossible task of being too wild to tour with Mick, Keef and the boys if the story involving a young lady and a bath full of champagne is to be believed, which is about as rock 'n'roll as you can get if you think about it. And keyboard king Ian McLagan played on some of the greatest records ever made with The Small Faces in The 60s and The Faces in The 70s - highlights are many and varied, but I for one can't really imagine rock music without, say, 'Tin Soldier' and 'Stay With Me'. Or 'All Or Nothing' and 'Cindy Incidentally'. Or 'Here Comes The Nice' and 'Pool Hall Richard' Or... or... or...
Both men leave the World a lesser place for their passing.

In the meantime your humble narrator made his DJ-ing debut on Friday evening, at The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston. The night was a cancer research fund raiser organised by Idle Fret Records supremo Darren Brooker, and included performances from Johnny Moped, Ye Nuns and Fire Dept as well as a DJ set from Jowe Head. I don't mind admitting that I was quite nervous about the whole affair, but in the event it turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Darren is himself a very good DJ, and he gave me a fair bit of much-needed advice along with an excellent tutorial on how to use the CD decks at the venue - although I had the odd 'what does this fader do?!?' moment overall I was pleased with my efforts.

What did I play? I thought you'd never ask...

'Shake Some Action' - The Flamin' Groovies
'Foxhole' - Television
'Blank Generation' - Richard Hell and The Void-Oids
'Beginning To See The Light' - The Velvet Underground
'Is Vic There?' - Department S
'I Can See For Miles' - The Who 
This was supposed to have been 'Tomahawk Cruise' by T.V. Smith's Explorers, but I, er, pushed the wrong button, or something...
Yes - it's really me!
'The Dreams Of Children' - The Jam
'Harmony In My Head' - The Buzzcocks
'Shot By Both Sides' - Magazine
'Tomahawk Cruise' - T.V. Smith's Explorers 
Ah, that's better...

- at which point Fire Dept took to the stage for a splendid set. Jowe Head then set the scene for Ye Nuns, an all girl band playing songs by garage legends The Monks (and very entertaining they were too) before it was my turn again...

'I Wanna Be Free' - The Rings
'Keys To Your Heart' - The 101'ers
'Citadel' - The Rolling Stones
'Looking At You' - The MC5
'1970' - The Stooges

The audience were then spared the fourth selection of my somewhat bizarre 'original versions of songs covered by The Damned' section of the evening (any guesses what the next song would have been? It was 'Ballroom Blitz' by The Sweet - 5 points if you got that one, and have another 5 points if you spotted the three tracks that were released on Chiswick Records, Johnny Moped's label back in the day...) as Jowe returned with 'Click Clack' by Captain Beefheart and I took up my place in the audience to await the mighty Johnny Moped. Well I thought that was what I was doing - I was minding my own business queueing up at the bar when Darren asked me if I'd draw the raffle. Well if someone asks you to do that the only possible answer has to be  along the lines of 'of course I will', not least because I'd never drawn a raffle before either! Excellent! And Johnny Moped were tremendous, with the man himself as unhinged as ever and the band sounding on top form. A highly enjoyable evening all round.

What with all this Ruts D.C. lark (we're in Milton Keynes on Thursday and Norwich on Friday this week) that's been going on lately I've missed a fair few Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks gigs; my good friend Pete has been playing with them in my absence, and from what I've heard he's been doing a fine job. I returned to the band last night for a show at The Dolphin in Uxbridge. It was great to see the boys in the band again, and the show itself was good fun with Al giving it everything and the audience lapping it up. I've another 'how-does-this-song-go-again?' gig this Sunday when The Upper Cut return to Ye Olde George in Colnbrook, and the night before that I'm depping with Department S supporting The Members at The 229 Club - better get back to learning some songs... again...

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