Tag Archives: britpop

Dodgy at The Carlisle, Hastings (Fat Tuesday headliners 28/2/17)

“Are you sure this is actually England? Are you in the Euro-zone here?” asks Dodgy front-man, Nigel Clark, as he surveys the Fat Tuesday crowd in The Carlisle pub on Hastings seafront for their third gig of the evening.

Indeed, there is something unique about Hastings as far as music is concerned, and not something most of us would expect to find in England. In my quarter of a century being based in London I had the joy of attending some very memorable gigs. But never could I stroll along to my local and expect to find a top-ranking act from the Britpop era performing a gig in the pub – and for free!

Now in it’s ninth year, Hastings Fat Tuesday ( a long weekend of endless gigs and celebrations) has been been building a formidable reputation. The grand finale night, Fat Tuesday itself, saw 24 bands play 3 gigs each across 12 different venues venues. Unfortunate timetabling on my part, before I’d got fully acclimatised to Hastings’ seemingly never-ending calendar of events, meant I had a long-standing engagement doing a talk at the White Rock Hotel on the same evening. But as soon as I was finished I was able to hotfoot it down the road to see Dodgy do their third and final performance of the evening.

Always a welcome part of the 90s Britpop scene when guitar-based, accessible tunes were back in vogue and back in the charts, Dodgy made some catchy, memorable, era-defining songs. Having reformed a decade ago, they were clearly loving being part of Hastings Fat Tuesday. And the crowd were clearly loving having them there, too. It might have been a freezing cold February 2017 outside. But inside the Carlisle, with the late thirty-somethings and forty-somethings dancing away as the likes of Staying Out For The Summer, So Let Me Go Far and Good Enough rang out, the sun was beating down and it was Glastonbury 1997 all over again.

Dodgy, it’s good to have you back and it was good to have you around for Fat Tuesday.

http://www.dodgyology.com/

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Ocean Colour Scene at Hammersmith Apollo 12/12/16

I’ve long admired Ocean Colour Scene but never actually seen the full band live before. I have seen lead singer, Simon Fowler, do a nice, intimate, laid-back acoustic set once. But tonight he is, rightly, in full-on rock star mode so it’s up to Paul Weller to do the nice, intimate, laid-back acoustic set in a lovely and unexpected surprise as support act. One of the joys about gig-going in London is that you do often get nice little surprises like this. (See my post on the Dave Davies gig in Islington this time last year when Ray decided to join his brother for an encore, for example.)

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It’s 20 years this year since Ocean Colour Scene’s Moseley Shoals album came out and to mark the anniversary the band are doing a short tour performing it in full. I’d love to be able to say I first became aware of them when they were an obscure band starting out but like, I suspect, many, many people Ocean Colour Scene only came on to my attention when the brilliantly memorable ‘Riverboat Song’ (the opening track on this album) was used by Chris Evans each week in his TFI Friday Show.

Mosley Shoals (a West Midlands-inspired pun on the famous Muscle Shoals studios in the States) is definitely one of the strongest albums emerging out of the mid-90s Britpop era. Before they get cracking with Moseley Shoals, however, they reel off a version of The Beatles’ Day Tripper’ that gets the audience nicely warmed up. Then, beginning with ‘The Riverboat Song’ it’s off for a glorious ride, track by track through Mosley Shoals.

A few years ago the whole ‘band-performs-album-in-full’ routine was in danger of getting massively over-done. But for truly iconic albums like this it’s definitely something worth seeing. Moseley Shoals is one of those albums that contains so many memorable songs that it’s more like a “best of” compilation of band classic than just another regular studio album. Unforgettable songs like the aforementioned ‘The Riverboat Song’, ‘The Day We Caught The Train’ and ‘The Circle’ have the entire venue on their feet and that continues throughout the whole performance (even though, for some reason, the Apollo decided to set up the venue as an all-seater tonight, rather than pull the moveable seating out which they often do for many big bands).

Fowler’s voice is as strong as ever and Steve Cradock really gives it some welly on lead guitar, with some nice solos. With three of the four of the original line-up still with the band, it gives the performance some genuine authenticity. Paul Weller returns to the stage again for ‘The Circle’ – one of the tracks on which he performed on the original album.

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The crowd sing along with each track and once the band are done with the album they continue with a well-chosen selection of band classics, including an emotional communal sing-along to ‘Profit In Peace’.

As the previous generation of rock icons fill the obituary pages on an almost daily basis it’s now up to the Britpop generation to start assuming some of their imperial majesty in celebrating our rock history. Ocean Colour Scene have certainly risen to that challenge tonight.

Setlist:
Day Tripper
The Riverboat Song
The Day We Caught the Train
The Circle
Lining Your Pockets
Fleeting Mind
40 Past Midnight
One for the Road
It’s My Shadow
Policemen & Pirates
The Downstream
You’ve Got It Bad
Get Away
Foxy’s Folk Faced
This Day Should Last Forever
Better Day
Profit in Peace
So Low
Get Blown Away
Travellers Tune
Robin Hood
Hundred Mile High City

http://oceancolourscene.com/homepage/

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Vangoffey at The Social, London 14/3/16

Few who were following popular music in the mid 90s will forget Supergrass bursting on to the Britpop scene with Alright. But the band were always a multi-faceted animal. And since they split in 2010 lead vocalist, Gaz Coombes, has clearly carried the flame for the more reflective, soulful side of Supergrass into his deservedly well-received solo career. And the loud, spiky more punkish side of the band looks to have been taken on into bass-player Mick Quinn’s post-Supergrass outfit, the DB Band. But what then of the quirky, zany, wacky, britpoppy side of Supergrass? The side of Supergrass that most of us came across first before we were even aware of any other Well step forward Danny Goffey. The erstwhile Supergrass drummer has re-emerged as the frontman for Vangoffey. And after a short tour in support of their debut album last year, Goffey and the band are back with a handful of dates showcasing their brand of chirpy, humorous indie pop-rock.

The Social is a long, narrow basement bar in London’s west end with a tiny, tiny stage at the far end. Indeed, it’s quite a cram getting Goffey, bass-player Drew McConnell (of Babyshambles), two guitarists and drummer, James Yates, on that stage. The band launch into Trials of a Modern Man, definitely one of the stand-out tracks from the album and probably the one that most closely channels the spirit of the hook-laden, slighly manic but instantly catchy Britpop-era Supergrass. I absolutely love it.

Race of Life – a funked-up Ian Drury-esque tale of the life of a sperm is less my cup of tea but the Ray Davies-esque Alfie Loves the Birds most certainly is. There’s plenty to enjoy here and Goffey is a witty and inventive songwriter who is more than capable of writing some catchy hooks. In this small but crowded venue the band are very well received. After working their way through all ten tracks on the album there are calls for an encore but that’s our lot. “We haven’t got any more songs yet,” explains Goffey.

I still hold out hope for a fully-fledged Supergrass reuinion at some point. But in the meantime it’s nice to see Danny Goffey come out from behind his drum kit and front a band. You wouldn’t want to see every drummer try this. But Danny Goffey pulls it off – the Phil Collins of Britpop…

Setlist
Trials of a Modern Man
Sucker
You, You, You
Alfie Loves The Birds
Race of Life
Beta Man
Episode
The No. 9
Phil’s Dummy
Spilt Milk

http://www.vangoffey.com/

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Rock: album review – Gaz Coombes ‘Matador’

Released in January 2015 I’ve come late to this but I’ve been following Gaz Coombes’ career pretty much since Supergrass burst on the Britpop scene with Alright in the mid 90s. Matador is Coombes’ third album outside Supergrass. The first, a covers album with Danny Goffey, released just before Supergrass called it a day, had the sound and feel of Supergrass in all but name. His next (and first solo album) Here Comes The Bombs, was a starker and more experimental affair, with Kratrock electronica influences clearly present. Matador continues in that vein to some degree but has a more mainstream feel to it. More accessible certainly but altogether a stronger album with stronger tunes.

It’s mature, quality songwriting. It is unmistakably Gaz Coombes, though, and listerners will recognise many of Coombes’ classic trademarks: reflective, sensitively delivered Bolanesque vocals leading up to frenzied, more manic delivery on the hook lines. Opening track Buffalo is a case in point and wouldn’t sound unfamiliar to anyone acquainted with some of the later era, more reflective Supergrass material. Detroit is another beatiful track in the same vein. The Girl Who Fell To earth with some gentle acoustic guitar, lush instrumentation and lovely vocals is another track I instantly warmed to.

This album is proof that the post-Supegrass Gaz Coombes is making a valid contribution to the UK music scene and it’s little wonder it’s been nominated for this year’s Mercury prize. Will I play Matador as much as play I Should Co-Co, In It For The Money or Life On Other Planets? Probably not. Will I play it lots? Absolutely.

Released: January 2015

http://www.gazcoombes.com/home/#SRhaijYRWdeqyA83.97

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Blur at Hyde Park 20/6/15

To say that much of the music of the 80s left me cold is something of an understatement. Even though it was the era I came of age in, exploring music and bands of earlier decades held much more appeal. But when Blur and Britpop appeared my appetite for new music and new bands was dramatically awakened, like hitting a second bout of teenager-dom. I’d just started Uni in my late 20s as a mature student and Parklife was rarely off the juke box in the Goldsmiths college bar in 94.

And two decades later Blur are going strong and headlining Hyde Park once again, something they have done more than any other band according to the official blurb for this summer’s series of gigs in the Royal Park. And having seen them here in 2009 for their fantastically received reunion it’s good to be seeing them again. Unlike 2009, however, Blur have a new album to promote and they open with Go Out from this year’s The Magic Whip. Imagery from the album cover (featuring a big Mr Whippy) dominated the graphics on the big screen and they even have an ice-cream van on stage with Damon Albarn handing out cornets to hungry punters at the front. They play five songs from the new album tonight. It’s a strong album with strong tunes but the sound and feel is unmistakably Blur and they fit in well to the overall set. That not to say, however, there’s not a huge selection of classic Blur that everyone can sing along to, including There’s No Other Way, Beetlebum, Tender, Song 2, This is a Low and, of course, Parklife, with Phil Daniels coming on stage to reprise his famous spoken commentary (and hand out a few ice-creams, too, of course…)

The crowd is hugely good natured and it’s very much a communal celebration in Hyde Park. These songs have stood the test of time and are rightly held in great affection, as are the band who play them. Blur helped give a much-needed shake-up to a dreary and uninspiring UK music scene twenty-odd years ago and the love for the band tonight is testimony as to why they have been so important. Now let’s hear it for a Supergrass reunion…

Setlist:

Go Out
There’s No Other Way
Lonesome Street
Badhead
Coffee & TV
Out of Time
Beetlebum
Thought I Was a Spaceman
Trimm Trabb
He Thought of Cars
End of a Century
I Broadcast
Trouble in the Message Centre
Tender
Parklife (with Phil Daniels)
Ong Ong
Song 2
To the End
This Is a Low
Stereotypes
Girls & Boys
For Tomorrow
The Universal

http://www.blur.co.uk/

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