Tag Archives: rock gig

rock gig

Sweet at Orchard Theatre, Dartford 22/11/15

Sweet are a melodic hard rock band who play catchy, well-written rock songs with beautifully vocalised harmonies. But some rock fans are a bit snobby about Sweet because Sweet are glam rock and glam rock is not for serious rock fans. Well what a lot of nonsense that is. For sheer musical professionalism, tuneful melodiousness and unforgettable songs, there are few rock bands to match Sweet.

The tour is billed as Finale. “But let’s make one thing absolutely clear,” says guitarist Andy Scott. “No way is this the fucking finale.” Phew, they almost had me worried there. But as Scott, stalwart of the band since 1970, tells the Dartford audience tonight, he’s not really qualified to do anything else.

The current Sweet line-up (guitarist Andy Scott, drummer Bruce Bisland, vocalist/bass player Pete Lincoln and Tony O’Hora on keyboards, guitar and vocals) have been together since 2011. And they’ve proved themselves to be one of the most durable and easily the best line-up of Sweet since the days of the classic Connoly-Scott-Tucker-Priest formation back in the 1970s. Musical talent oozes out of every pore, even though they are a man down down tonight. Drummer Bisland has been ordered to rest for a month by doctors due to muscle fatigue. Sweet’s stage manager, Adam, has gamely filled the drum stool at the eleventh hour. And while there are some truly awful experiences of “roadie gallantly stepping up at the last minute” in rock history there are also some very good ones, too, and tonight is the latter. He does a great job, knowing both the band and the songs like the back of his hand.

I’v seen Sweet many times, of course. But so many of the things I want from a Sweet concert are there in spades tonight. There is a riotous version of Action, a hard-rocking version of Hellraiser, a majestic version of Love Is Like Oxygen (dedicated to Brian Connoly, Mick Tucker and the people of Paris), a pounding version of Wig Wam Bam, an anthemic version of Fox on the Run and, as befits two of the best songs ever written in the history of British popular music, spectacular versions of Blockbuster and Balroom Blitz. But there’s more, too: more well-crafted melodic hard rock in the form of brand new song Defender, a beautiful acoustic version of Lady Starlight. And this is followed by more acoustic delights as the early pre-glam rock bubblegum-era material (Co Co, Poppa Joe and Funny Funny) is given new life by being given the stripped-down, seated, guitar and vocals treatment. The Sweet goes all Bob Dylan as you will – but it works!

If you are a fan of melodic hard rock but have hitherto denied yourself the chance of seeing Sweet. Get over yourself. You are missing out. This band are brilliant. Go and see them!

Setlist:
Action
New York Groove
Hellraiser
Peppermint Twist
Defender
Lady Starlight
Co Co
Poppa Joe
Teenage Rampage
Wig Wam Bam
Little Willy
Love Is Like Oxygen
Fox On The Run
Blockbuster
Ballroom Blitz

http://www.thesweet.com/

2015-11-24 21.27.23 (1)

Previous review: Sweet at Bilston

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Slade at White Rock Theatre, Hastings 14/11/15

Tonight was my twenty-third Slade concert. After seeing them three times as a teenager in the early 80s the band abruptly stopped touring. But since guitarist Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell revived the band in the early 90s, sans Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, I’ve see them most years since. Yes, I miss Holder’s unmistakeable voice. Yes, I miss Lea’s musical dexterity. And yes, I miss the combined songwriting talent of the two of them which produced all of the big hits but isn’t producing any new ones. But going to a modern-day Slade gig means I don’t miss out on hearing those wonderful songs being performed live still. And it means I don’t get to miss out on the sheer, unadulterated, wacky, crazily eccentric sense of fun you get from a Slade gig.

The set-list has hardly changed much in the last twenty years but it’s great to be punching our hands in the air to Gudbuy T’ Jane, throwing toilet rolls across the stage during Mama Weer All Crazee Now, applauding Dave Hill showing off his“superyob” guitar during Get Down and Get With It, swaying along to Everyday and My Oh My and jumping up and down with wild deranged abandon to Cum On Feel The Noize.

In the nicest, friendliest, most good-natured way the whole place was pretty much going crazee. Everyone, that is, apart from two gents on the front row who complained bitterly throughout the concert about people dancing about, jumping up and down and waving their arms in the air. I don’t think they quite got the whole Slade concert business. Never mind, they were gone before the band came back on for Merry Xmas Everybody. A month too early? No way! I don’t put together Slade’s winter tour schedules but mid-November is surely near enough to Christmas for the crowd to be singing along to the greatest Christmas song ever made.

For fifty years Dave and Don have been playing together now. Let’s toast them.

Setlist:
Gudbuy T’ Jane
Lock Up Your Daughters
Take Me Bak ‘Ome
Look Wot You Dun
Everyday
Coz I Luv You
Run Run Away
Far Far Away
My Baby Left Me
Mama Weer All Crazee Now
Get Down and Get With It
My Oh My
Cum On Feel The Noize
Merry Xmas Everybody

http://www.slade.uk.com/

dave hill hastings

Photo credit: Dave Kemp

Previous Reviews:
Slade at Giant of Rock, Minehead
Merry Xmas Everybody

Snakecharmer at O2 Academy Islington 13/11/15

Bluesy heavy rock fronted by ex-Deep Purple vocalist, David Coverdale, Whitesnake in the late70s/early 80s were utterly brilliant. One of the first rock albums I ever bought as a teenager was Ready an’ Willing. Whitesnake evolved into something quite different but the early vintage of Whitesnake was always the one I was most interested in. Ex-Whitesnake members, guitarist Micky Moody and bassist Neil Murray, are keeping the flame alive with Snakecharmer, playing a mix of Whitesnake classics and newer material in that similar melodic, bluesy heavy rock similar vein.

The Whitesnake veterans have teamed up with ex-Wishbone Ash guitarist, Laurie Wisefield; the son of Rick Wakeman and keyboard supremo in his own right, Adam Wakeman; and Thunder drummer, Harry James. They are joined by vocalist Chris Ousey who handles the David Coverdale material perfectly, yet resisting the temptation of becoming a Coverdale trinute act.

I’ve seen another former Whitesnake member, Bernie Marsden, perform solo on several occassions and it’s nothing less than an absolute joy. But while Marsden’s shows these days duly celebrate the Whitesnake legacy there is a real emphasis on the slower blues that is his love and passion. A Snakecharmer gig, however, is more in the spirit of the heavy rocking nature of early Whitesnake, with the added bonus of a top-class lead vocalist and, of course, Micky Moody’s irreplacebale slide guitar playing. And anyone who thinks that an extended drums and slide guitar solo spot is a tad self-indulgent and over the top needs to het along to a Snakecharmer gig to see just how good this can be.

There’s some great new material. But, more than anything it’s those old Whitesnake numbers we are at this gig for. And how glorious it is singing along to Ready an’ Willing, Here I Go Again and Fool For Your Loving. I was 15 again, deftly manouevering myself to the very front row at Donington with my mate Gareth. The simple, life-affirming, communal joy of live rock music.

So how devastating it was getting home after the gig and finding out about the terrible events in Paris: other rock fans, like me, just wanting to enjoy the simple pleasures of a night out at a live gig. But tragically, unlike those of us at the Islington Academy tonight, many of them never coming home. I was reminded immediately of the emotive words of another of David Coverdale’s erstwhile colleagues, Glenn Hughes. Only a couple of weeks earlier on the final night of his UK tour Hughes spoke emotively and passionately about the beauty of music and its ability to break down barriers and bring people together, even when there is so much hate in the world. Terrorism will not stop that.

Setlist:
Guilty as Charged
A Little Rock & Roll
Ready an’ Willing
Accident Prone
Falling Leaves
Ain’t Gonna Cry No More
Nothing to Lose
Crying in the Rain
Moody’s Blues (slide guitar & drums solo spot)
Slow an’ Easy
My Angel
Here I Go Again
Fool for Your Loving

http://www.snakecharmer.org/

2015-11-13 20.30.59

Glenn Hughes at The Electric Ballroom 1/11/15

In my professional life I once played a small part in the successful campaign to help save Camden Town’s Electric Ballroom from demolition. So ten years on, at a time when so many venues have closed, it feels good to be standing in this legendary place waiting for the even more legendary Glenn Hughes to take the stage. Tonight’s gig in Camden is the final night of a solo world tour that features Doug Aldrich on guitar and Pontus Engborg on drums.

I’ve been a fan of Deep Purple virtually as long as I’ve been a fan of rock music. And although I’ve always loved the Gillan-fronted Mark 2 era albums I also love the output of Mark 3 era Deep Purple, too. And what made those albums particularly distinctive, had much to do with the influence of a certain Mr Glenn Hughes who brought his pitch-perfect harmony vocals and inventive funked-up bass playing to the party.

But whereas, post-Deep Purple, the other Mark 2/Mark 3 members all found gainful employment in three of the biggest heavy rock bands of the time, namely Rainbow, Whitesnake and Gillan, Glenn Hughes seemed to be left to one side a little. Of course, he continued gigging and recording in various projects. But, arguably, it wasn’t until the arrival of Black Country Communion, a 21st century take on the old early-70s “super-group” concept, did he really have a project to match the significance of his Purple days. Like every supergroup before it, Black Country Communion eventually fell apart but was superceded by yet another supergroup, California Breed, one that also ended up going the same way. So Hughes is back touring as a solo artist and tells the audience tonight that’s absolutely the way he intends to keep it from now on.

Few artists look as joyous to be on stage as Glenn Hughes or as appreciative of the audience. He genuinely looked like he was enjoying every single minute. After starting with a suitably heavy version of Stormbringer, the set tonight took us through songs from various stages of his long career. Deep Purple, of course, but also Trapeze, Hughes-Thrall and, more recently, Black Country Communion – as well as highlights from his solo career.

Mistreated was a definite highlight of the evening for me and I suspect , judging by the reaction from the crowd, for much of the audience, too. And much as I’m exited at the thought of seeing the modern-day line-up of Deep Purple next month, I doubt we will see anything as majestic, soul-filled or dazzlingly, spine-tinglingly, emotionally brilliant as what we witnessed with Mistreated tonight. The latter-day Deep Purple have practically disowned the Mark 3 material and it doesn’t appear in any of the band’s setlists. So let’s be thankful Glenn Hughes is helping to keep this music alive. And so magnificently he does it, too. Arguably, his voice is holding up better than either of the two front-men most associated with Deep Purple, Ian Gillan and David Coverdale. And he certainly hits all the high notes so beautifully.

One final observation. I don’t think it was just my imagination but the crowd did seem slightly more ethnically diverse than at many similar rock gigs I’ve seen recently. Hughes’ funk-influenced bass-playing and soulful vocals always marked him out as someone who could reach out beyond the archetypal white male rock fan. And given how much he talks of the healing power of music I suspect that this would please Mr Hughes greatly.

“Thanks for coming out and supporting this guy,” said guitarist, Doug Aldrich towards the end. “One of rock’s treasures.” Indeed he is.

Setlist:
Stormbringer
Orion
Way Back to the Bone
Touch My Life
First Step of Love
Sail Away
Good To Be Bad
Mistreated
Can’t Stop the Flood
One Last Soul
Soul Mover
Black Country
Burn

http://www.glennhughes.com/homenews.html

2015-11-01 22.33.59

Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 31/10/15

It’s 1981 and the band Gillan, fronted by former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan, created a ripple of excitement amongst the teenage rock fans at my school when they burst into the charts with a cover of New Orleans. One of the things that seemed to make this far more than just a heavied-up version of an old rock ‘n’ roll number was the guitarist, Bernie Tormé. He looked like a punk, acted like a hippy, sounded like Hendrix and seemed different from anyone around in rock and metal at the time.

Tormé was soon gone from Gillan and, after a very brief sojourn with Ozzy Osbourne, he formed his own band and started hitting the smaller venues circuit. That’s where I first caught him live. And in similar types of venues now, he’s still out there gigging as well as recording. Hot on the success of his crowd-funded Flowers & Dirt double album last year, he’s used the crowd-funding formula once again and has a brand new album to promote, Blackheart.

First, though, he opens with a storming version of Wild West, the standout track from one of his early solo albums, Electric Gypsies. He has a really strong band in Chris Heilmann (bass) and Ian Harris (drums percussion) and the power trio format suits Torme’s style of music perfectly. Well, of course, why wouldn’t it? The fuzzy feedback-laden guitar is combined with well-written, accessible tunes and vocals that give an honesty and meaning to the lyrics. From the same era, the excellent Turn Out The Lights also gets an outing. It’s not just about nostalgia, though, and songs from both last year’s Flowers and Dirt album and this year’s Blackheart both feature prominently. It’s not all blistering hard rock, either. As on the recent albums there’s some lighter, bluesier, folkier moments, including Flow from the new album and the excellent Spirit Road from Flowers and Dirt..

Soon, however, we are nearing the end with an explosive set of Gillan songs, including the one that got me hooked on Tormé’s guitar-playing in the first place, New Orleans. At the very end of the set, friend of the band and the man who first helped Torme get the crowd-funding venture off the ground, Peter Cook, joined the band for an encore after pledging to “buy” a guitar solo as part of the crowd-funding appeal. In a big arena gig with big corporate sponsors this could sound like the tackiest thing in the world. In a small intimate venue of this size, however, it’s genuinely fun and there is no doubting Cook’s evident passion both for Tormé’s music itself and for helping him secure a viable recording career in this challenging era for the music industry. Indeed, compared to the old record company model, the crowd-funding approach has allowed Tormé to connect very directly with fans and even re-connect to those, like me, who had fallen by the wayside and previously lost touch with Tormé’s career.

A mention, also, for the Bordeline. While numerous other live venues in the West End have closed their doors, this 300-capacity venue has held its open now for over 20 years, always with a stirling line-up of acts throughout the year and the perfect setting for Bernie Tormé tonight.

Setlist:
Wild West
Bullet in the Brain
Blood Run Cold
Turn Out the Lights
Pain Song
Flow
Star
Dirt
Spirit Road
Stoneship
Rocky Road
Can’t Beat
Trouble
New Orleans
No Easy Way
Party’s Over

http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/

2015-10-31 20.49.40

Previous review: Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 2014

Richard Thompson at Royal Festival Hall 20/9/15

With countrified acoustic folk from his daughter, Kami, and son-in-law, James Walborne, forming the excellent support act The Rails (“nepotism gets you everywhere” quips Richard Thompson as the two take the stage once more to accompany Thompson for his first song), That’s Enough, a track from the Thompson clan’s recent “family album” kicks off tonight’s Richard Thompson performance. It shows that even several decades into his career, he is still writing really memorable songs. However, the acoustically driven start soon gives way to a full throttle electric performance. Thompson is joined by drummer, Michael Jerome, and Davey Faragher on bass, both excellent and hugely energetic musicians.

Much as I enjoyed his solo acoustic tour last year, Thompson is one of those guitarists who is equally brilliant and equally entertaining whether he’s playing acoustic or electric. The power trio format works well for Thompson’s material (they even do a brilliant version of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Hey Joe as an encore to prove just how much of a power trio they really are) and we get a nice mix of songs, old and new. The great thing about Thompson is that, in spite of his technical brilliance on the guitar, it’s never just about virtuoso wizardry. His undoubted skill as a songwriter means he’s always able to deliver memorable tunes and meaningful lyrics as well as incredible guitar playing.

The band leave the stage at one point, leaving Thompson on his own to do a lovely Meet on the Ledge. A song that Thompson wrote when he was just 17, I’ve seen it performed many times by Fairport Convention as their traditional set-closer. But it’s a nice change seeing it performed as an understated heartfelt ballad rather than the anthemic communal sing-along that it’s normally associated with these days. After a similar acoustic performance of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning it’s back to more from the electric trio: old classics like Wall of Death and new material like Guitar Heroes.

It says a lot for Thompson’s versatility as a performer that regardless of whether it’s a folky laid-back acoustic set or a rocking all-out electric set, I’ve never come away from a Richard Thompson gig feeling anything less than fully satisfied.

Setlist:
That’s Enough (with The Rails)
All Buttoned Up
Sally B
Broken Doll
For Shame of Doing Wrong
Hard on Me
Meet on the Ledge
1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Beatnik Walking
Al Bowlly’s in Heaven
Guitar Heroes
Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?
I’ll Never Give It Up
Wall of Death
If Love Whispers Your Name
Hey Joe
Tear Stained Letter
She Never Could Resist a Winding Road
Fork in the Road
Take a Heart

http://www.richardthompson-music.com/

2015-09-22 18.41.16

Previous review: Richard Thompson at Folk by the Oak

AC/DC at Wembley Stadium 4/7/15

“Rock is dead” pronounced Kiss’s Gene Simmons, never a man to hold back on his opinions. But that would seem a highly difficult concept to explain to anyone seeing 80,000 people flooding into Wembley Stadium for AC/DC on this hot July evening.

Of course, Simmons was talking about the rock bands of the future, but more of that later.

Five years since their last world tour ended and five years since they last played in Britain, the band’s recent well-publicised problems (founder Malcolm Young tragically forced into retirement by dementia and drummer, Phil Rudd, removed from the band following court appearances on a range of charges including murder threats) have done nothing to dim the level of interest and excitement in this latest tour.

And what a memorable night this has turned out to be. For a gig this size the sound is utterly brilliant, helped I am sure by the huge wall of Marshall Amps neatly stacked up across the back of the otherwise Spartan stage. Stevie Young, replacing Malcolm, delivers the grinding trademark guitar sound made famous by his absent uncle; while Chris Slade, back with the band after an absence of two decades, is a hugely powerful drummer ensuring he and bassist, Cliff Williams, provide an unrelenting rhythm throughout the evening. Vocalist, Brian Johnson, is in excellent form for a man of his age and Angus Young’s lead guitar is as spellbinding as ever.

It’s the songs, though, that really make AC/DC the band that it is.  They begin the show with the title track of their 2014 album, Rock or Bust, and return to the album for two other songs later on. But apart from those,  together with Thunderstruck from their 1990 album, Razor’s Edge, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Train from 2008’s Black Ice (their first 100% bona-fide classic song since For Those About To Rock in my view) ; the setlist is not dramatically different from when I saw them for the first time, 34 years ago, aged 15. But that is precisely what I and everyone else present want. A gloriously good-natured capacity crowd at Wembley Stadium sing along to classic after classic: Back in Black, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap; High Voltage, You Shook Me all Night Long; TNT, Whole Lotta Rosie…

The two hours whizz by and a following a spectacular version of Let There Be Rock and a lengthy guitar solo that’s still as manic as anything I ever saw from Angus Young thirty-odd  years ago, the crowds are calling for an encore and the band return to the stage for an unmissable Highway to Hell and a spectacular For Those About to Rock, complete with canon gun fire and pyrotechnics.

While rock music has undergone many different permutations, adaptations and reinventions since rock ‘n’ roll first came on the scene, apart from the increase in power and volume, AC/DC’s songs and riffs have not really deviated from that basic musical template that was set for rock ‘n’ roll back in the mid-fifties.  This must have played a major part in the band’s success and longevity, playing songs that are accessible, instantly recognisable and that can be sung along to in a way that most heavy rock or metal bands could only dream of.

And when AC/DC finally stop playing, these 80,000 people here tonight (representing a very healthy mix of male and female fans and a hugely varied range of age groups from teens upwards) are they all going to give up on live rock music altogether? I very much doubt it. Rock is very much alive and AC/DC, themselves, are playing a big part in ensuring it will long outlive them.

Setlist:

Rock or Bust
Shoot to Thrill
Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
Back in Black
Play Ball
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Thunderstruck
High Voltage
Rock ‘n’ Roll Train
Hells Bells
Baptism by Fire
You Shook Me All Night Long
Sin City
Shot Down in Flames
Have a Drink on Me
T.N.T.
Whole Lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock
Highway to Hell
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

http://www.acdc.com/

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Status Quo – Aquostic at Hammersmith Apollo 26/4/15

Status Quo are a band that stopped worrying about critical acclaim and musical credibility long, long ago. After the band’s 70s/early 80s peak we’ve seen cringe-worthy covers albums, sing-along football songs, bizarre collaborations with the Beach Boys; in fact you name it, they’ve tried it. Even the well-received reunion of their classic 70s line-up in 2013  was immediately followed by a completely unfunny mafia comedy film set on a tropical island.

So the idea of a Status Quo acoustic album and tour could be dismissed as yet the latest undignified attempt in a long line of pointless gimmicks. Except that… the album was actually rather good. And following a strong reception to a one-off acoustic show at the Roundhouse last year, touring it was an inspired idea. More than simply strumming along to some old hits, however, the band took the trouble to create completely reworked arrangements for the album and they are replicated here tonight. The acoustic guitars and harmonica are complimented by a range of other instruments, including mandolin, accordion, viola, cello and violins. Joining the modern era line-up of Status Quo (Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Andrew Brown, John Edwards and new-boy Leon Cave) are an additional nine musicians as well as two female backing singers, all of whom, Rossi tells the crowd, played on the album.

Rather than the usual Quo gig, the elegant lighting, back drapes and stage full of seated musicians looks more like the setting for a 1950s dance band. The sound is still unmistakably Status Quo but the light and breezy arrangements and sensitive vocals show off the quality of the songwriting and bring out new depths to often familiar songs. A beautifully laid-back version of early 80s hit “Rock ‘n’ Roll” is a particular highlight and there are some lovely reworkings of earlier material like “Reason for Living”, now re-imagined as a folk-rock rock classic. Rain is given a makeover as a countrified acoustic blues and a classically-infused Mystery Song, with exquisitely catchy string accompaniment, is another highlight. Of course many of the best known classics are included, too, like Caroline, What Your Proposin’ and Down Down.

The set proper is finished with Whatever You Want and Rockin All Over the World, the acoustic treatments creating the perfect setting for a mighty communal sing-along. Thankfully the post 1983 material has been kept to a minimum in favour of earlier classics, but they encore with a nicely sensitive version of Rock ‘til You Drop. That is then followed by the gimmicky jig, Burning Bridges. It wouldn’t be my choice for a Quo encore but the crowd lap it up and you can forgive the band one lapse of good taste after such a stunning evening.

Setlist:
Break the Rules
Again and Again
Paper Plane
Mystery Song / Little Lady
Rock ‘n’ Roll
Caroline
What You’re Proposing
Softer Ride
Down Down
Pictures of Matchstick Men
Down the Dustpipe
All the Reasons
Reason for Living
Rollin’ Home
Don’t Drive My Car
Claudie
Rain
Marguerita Time
Nanana
Whatever You Want
Rockin’ All Over the World
Rock ’til You Drop
Burning Bridges (On and Off and on Again)

http://www.statusquo.co.uk/

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Previous Review: Status Quo Frantic Four reunion

The Who at The O2 23/3/15

As one after another of the renowned sixties beat groups hit their 50th anniversary it’s fair to say my adopted city of London did pretty well  in churning out what would be some of the biggest and most influential names ever:  The Stones, The Kinks, The Small Faces and, of course, The Who. So it seems entirely appropriate to be sitting in London’s largest and most prestigious music venue to be celebrating The Who’s anniversary fifty and a bit years after the release of their breakthrough single, I Can’t Explain. It would have been fifty years exactly but for Roger Daltrey’s bout of laryngitis last year.  But the o2 is full tonight and last night for the rescheduled dates.

The band, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey being supported by a strong cast of supporting musicians including Zak Starkey on drums begin, appropriately, with a brilliantly energetic  I Can’t Explain and proceed to rattle their way through the sort of classics that anyone with a Who Greatest Hits album would expect: Substitute,  Who are You, My Generation, Join Together, You Better You Bet and much more. Some suitably retro Mod-inspired 60s graphics accompany the band on the big screen throughout. We then begin to meander into the more experimental rock opera phase. Not the side of The Who I warm to the most but nevertheless it’s performed well, gives Townshend the chance to flex his creative muscles and Daltrey the chance to relax his vocal chords on a couple of numbers. It’s all finished off with a blistering Won’t Get Fooled Again.

“Hope I die before I get old” is the line that critics have always thrown at the two surviving members of The Who whenever they decide to take to the road. But in a strange and prophetic way the lyrics have turned out to be absolutely true. The post-war baby boomer generation have refused to become old, certainly in a way that any previous generation could possibly have recognised. Rock ‘n’ roll not only changed what it meant to be a teenager forever, it has also changed what it means to be a pensioner forever. Happy 50th The Who!

Setlist:

I Can’t Explain
Substitute
The Seeker
Who Are You
The Kids Are Alright
I Can See for Miles
Pictures of Lily
My Generation
Magic Bus
Behind Blue Eyes
Join Together You
Better You Bet
I’m One Love, Reign O’er Me
Eminence Front
So Sad About Us
A Quick One (While He’s Away)
Amazing Journey
Pinball Wizard
Sparks
See Me, Feel Me
Baba O’Riley
Won’t Get Fooled Again

http://thewho.com/

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Slam Cartel at New Cross Inn 15/3/15

This is a band that had been vaguely on my radar for some time, but a local gig just up the road for me in New Cross provides an easy opportunity to get better acquainted with the driving hard rock of Slam Cartel. And I’m pleased I did.

Formed in 2009 and releasing their debut album in 2011, this is a band that is well worth catching. There are some classic hard rock influences, some Seattle-style grunge influences and a powerful but melodic feel to their overall sound. It works well. Undergoing various line-up changes since their formation the band has now settled down to Gary Moffat (lead vocals), Damo Fawsett (lead guitar), Terence Warville (rhythm guitar), Mark Neudeck (bass) and Steve Campkin (drums).

The New Cross Inn, which I spent many nights in when I was a student over the road at Goldsmiths, has undergone something of a makeover since my student days. The big Victorian circular bar, which dominated half the pub and always made the experience of seeing a band or even the DJ an extremely cramped affair, is no more. This creates a lot more room in the pub. But does mean there’s now a lot more space to fill and, sadly, this Sunday night gig a very sparse affair. The band do not let this dampen their performance though. Charismatic and flamboyant frontman Gary Moffatt performs as if the band are playing to a packed house at the Hammersmith Apollo or taking the stage at Sonisphere. But rather than this all looking rather incongruous and a little ridiculous in a half-empty pub in New Cross, the band carry it off. Incredible energy (and volume!), strong songs, catchy choruses, driving guitars and powerful drumming – this is a band that should be playing to much bigger audiences than those of here tonight.

Opening with the wonderfully infectious Wishing Eye, the opening track of their debut album, they immediately command attention with a song that gets you enthusiastically nodding along as if you’ve known it for years.  Other songs in the set like Free Again and Vanishing Worlds exemplify that same energy. Lead vocalist Moffat picks up a semi acoustic guitar for the slower and more atmospheric Breathe, which is followed by an airing for the bands great new single Hypnotised. Less raw with more of a commercial feel it’s a good showcase for hopefully bringing the band to the attention of a wider audience. After a minor technical hiccup the set is finished off with another track from the original album, Sundown.

Although a disappointing turnout this was a great gig with incredible energy and the band are now firmly on my radar.

Setlist:

Wishing Eye
Free Again
Vanishing Worlds
Hold Me
Handful of Dreams
Breathe
Hypnotized
Sundown

http://www.slamcartel.com/wp/

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