Tuesday, July 24, 2018

'Felicitations on the anniversary of the commencement of your journeys around the sun'

...and what a splendid night the second anniversary party for Ruislip's Sounds Of The Suburbs record shop turned out to be, with excellent sets from The Witchdoktors and Religion Equals Decay (aka RED) alongside a show from Punky Reggae Party which saw your humble narrator reunited with an old friend. Back in the 1980s The Price played several gigs with a fine band from the Acton area called 1926 - I'd not seen any of them for the best part of 30 years so it was great to discover that their singer / guitarist John now plays in Punky Reggae Party. I was invited by bassist Chris to join the band 'for a few songs' when I met him back in April at Ruts D.C.'s Balcombe gig - somehow over the last couple of weeks this progressed to 'why don't you do the whole show?' Well why not indeed? So I did - which means that as well as sharing the stage with my old mate John I also got to play 'Up Against The Wall' with Tom Robinson Band keyboard maestro Ian Parker (he was in the band, he didn't just suddenly appear there!) among other highlights. Which reminds me - I also joined The Witchdoktors for their encore of the Damned classic 'Neat Neat Neat' which, as I'd already played it with PRP, meant that I got to play the same song with two different bands on the same night. Weird!

Talking of splendid nights Sunday just gone saw Sylvain Sylvain play The Dublin Castle in Camden Town. Like all sensible people I'm a big New York Dolls fan, and I'm pleased to report that the man himself was in fine form, promoting his new book 'There's No Bones In Ice Cream' with some great stories from the rock 'n' roll frontline and an acoustic set of Dolls classics and more. But some of the most memorable moments for your humble narrator were away from the stage - I went over to say hello to Gaye Advert and found myself being introduced to Bobby Gillespie and Thurston Moore. I'd just finished talking to them when I got a cheery wave from Damian O'Neill of The Undertones. The things I type here sometimes eh? And did Thurston Moore really say that he liked The Price? Yes, incredibly, he did. As I say, weird - and getting weirder!

Anyway it's my birthday today. I know that some people don't like having birthdays but I really like them, especially given the rather basic alternative... I often find that I get a bit introspective at this time of year, and reading through this posting I do seem to be looking back more than I'm looking forward... ah well - it's only once a year. At at the same time every year. Hopefully. 
I called Price merch man East earlier (it'd be difficult to him call later and be able to comment on it here if you think about it!) about meeting up tonight - his opening line was so brilliant that I've shamelessly stolen it for the title of this posting. And I've got 'Torn And Frayed' by The Rolling Stones playing in the background at the moment - 'just as long as the guitar plays'... see what I mean? Introspective. 

Hmm... time for a drink, or two, I think - don't you?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Poster Boy

Well the reaction to next year's Ruts D.C. '40 Years Of The Crack' tour has been little short of amazing. Shows have been added in Dublin and Belfast (oh yes!) and I'm told that tickets are already selling well - exciting times!
Your humble narrator next to
the frankly enormous poster.
Well it is, isn't it?

One of the venues on said tour is The Ritz in Manchester, scene of the first 'reformed - Ruts D.C.' show way back in November 2011. You can read how I felt about it at the time here if you like - we've come a long way since then but it's always a pleasure to return to The Ritz and indeed to Manchester, which we did a couple of Saturdays ago when we appeared at the North West Calling festival. Since we were on at the very civilised time of 5.30 pm and backline was provided we decided to travel up and back by train - somewhat inevitably the journey up involved a bottle of wine (or two!) meaning that when we arrived at The Ritz spirits were (literally!) high. We were pleased to discover that we were using a previously-unknown-to-us club under the stage as a dressing room area, which was a good deal cooler than the hotter-than-hell auditorium where Dirt Box Disco were roaring through their set to the approval of all concerned. With Penetration on before us there was a chance for me to say hello to a few people before returning backstage to get ready for our show. And what a show it was - despite the soaring temperature we played a powerful 45 minute set which went down splendidly well and which set us up for our return next year. After watching most of the Peter And The Test Tube Babies show it was time for our taxi back to the station just over 4 hours after we'd arrived - although there was time for your humble narrator to grab a quick pic next to the frankly enormous promotional poster for the afore-mentioned February gig. And talking of frankly enormous promotional items - click here to see a promo film for the tour on YouTube. As I say, exciting times.

Last Friday (July 6th if you're counting) I saw The Stranglers in the somewhat unlikely setting of Hampton Pool. Well, I say unlikely - it seems that they put gigs on there regularly throughout the summer, so hopefully we'll find ourselves there one day. Support came from Jawbone whose versions of songs by the likes of Little Feat and Stephen Stills were at home in the perhaps rather middle class surroundings of an outdoor swimming pool but seemed somewhat incongruous next to The Men In Black. Talking of whom - I guess that when you see a band play 20-odd nights in a row on tour but still want to go to a show they must be something special, and The Stranglers certainly fall into that category. Talking to them afterwards they seemed unhappy with their efforts but it all sounded good where I was.

The next night Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks played The Three Wishes in Edgware. It's a familiar haunt for the band but I hadn't been there for a while - as England had won their World Cup quarter final against Sweden only a couple of hours earlier we arrived to scenes of alcoholic devastation on a scale rarely witnessed; Chris returned on keyboards after being absent through illness, Bob depped for an ailing Dave on drums and you got the feeling that we could have played almost anything and most people there still wouldn't have noticed that we were on the same planet as them, let alone in the same room. Maybe we weren't? And last night the band journeyed up to St. Albans for a show at The Farmers Boy, an excellent little venue where with Howard Tibble on drums and my old mate Johnny Squirrel on bass we gave a spirited performance to an appreciative audience. I've not been able to play with the band much lately due to other things happening but will be out and about with them over the next couple of weeks. Our gig at The Three Steps in Cowley on the 21st July is the nearest one to my birthday - it is, shall we say, a 'lively' venue, so that should be a good night, as should tomorrow night when it's the Sounds Of The Suburbs record shop's second anniversary party - but more about that next time...