Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Moot, Trees And The Slipway, Andy Hepburn and DJ Lambo at The Cabbage Patch Twickenham

The Moot at The Cabbage Patch Twickenham
The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham is a great little venue, there are drums hanging from the ceiling and the walls are plastered with posters and artwork that pays testament to the many luminaries of the local 1960's British Beat boom such as The Who, the Stones, The Yardbirds, Downliners Sect and the Artwoods. We are a mere (Rolling) stone's throw away from the legendary Eel Pie Island and it's a fitting location to see The Moot as they probably have a lot of these influences stored up in the locker. Although bassist Mark Leech and vocalist Nick Stone used to be in the 80's Paisley Psych band The Onlookers, they pretty much leave the the trippy stuff to one side with The Moot and concentrate on a sound as stripped down and back to basics as you can get. It's vocals, guitar, bass and drums and the songs are taut and short and owe as much to New Wave and Post-Punk acts such as The Flys, The Nerves and Subway Sect as they do to the 60's R'n'B bands that used to frequent the area. Tracks like "Reggie Bags" and "My Sister Brenda" are catchy as hell and my favourite "My Fixation" should be snapped by a record company with any sense and released as a single immediately. Drummer Philip Pinch keeps things ticking over nicely and singer Nick seems to be growing in confidence with each performance. He looks out into the audience and I don't take it personally when he announces "If you have hair, we say let it down" and then the drums kick in followed by a funky Mark Leech bass line and it's the extended intro to the brilliant "Let Your Hair Down" which highlights Dave Clark's guitar style perfectly. The Moot are going from strength to strength and hopefully they will be treating us to some new recorded music very soon!

The Moot at The Cabbage Patch Twickenham

It's not often that I like a band before I even hear them play a note but as soon as I saw that Trees And The Slipway's front-man Stephen Wood was wearing a Dukes of Stratosphear T-Shirt, I knew immediately I was going to be a big fan. Actually, there is something about XTC's mind expanding alter-ego running through T&TS's music, it's catchy but slightly discordant Psych Pop music that crosses continents and time zones. In fact in thirty minutes or so they take us on trip from the 60's West Coast with Stephen's impressive jangling 12-string guitar and some great three part harmonies from him, bassist Karl Sabino and guitarist and keyboard player Matthew Lees. Then "Psychedelic Evolution" clatters along at a fair pace and transports us to the Velvet Underground's downtown New York and then we're off on our magic carpet to Avebury and Stonehenge to wave hello to Julian Cope, in fact interestingly Julian's brother Joss once played bass in the band.

Trees & The Slipway at The Cabbage Patch Twickenham
Added into the mix is a healthy dose of challenging Lo-Fi Krautrock on "9:52 Thursday Morning" and the crunching heavy Blues riff intro to "I Need Her" grounds us firmly back in the local Twickenham and Eel Pie 1960's British Beat Boom. It's certainly an intriguing and highly original concoction. While I'm videoing a song someone nudges me and says "I hope you're filming the drummer..." Indeed Talya is our new favourite drummer, she certainly has an idiosyncratic style that appears to defy conventional timing but there's no doubting it is effective! Unfortunately, Trees And The Slipway don't have any records out yet, something I really hope they'll get round to rectifying as soon as possible. In the meantime I urge you to check out the band live as soon as possible.

Trees & The Slipway at The Cabbage Patch Twickenham

Andy Hepburn opened the night's proceedings, alone with an acoustic guitar he played a short but well received set of bittersweet songs crammed full of clever and witty lyrics. My personal highlight was the excellent "We Don't Talk" which you can hear a version of at his Soundcloud site here. I chatted to Andy afterwards and found out that he used to be in a Post-Punk band called Fractured with Dave and Philip from The Moot. He then moved to China where the sights, sounds and experiences inspired him to make Ambient and Trip-Hop music under the name An Di Yi.

Andy Hepburn at The Cabbage Patch Twickenham
So, a thoroughly enjoyable night of free music courtesy of The Moot made even better with the addition of DJ Lambo spinning an eclectic mix of vinyl. I sincerely hope that they can make these regular events and if so please try and make it along, they deserve supporting. For more info on all the featured artists please click on the highlighted links above. There are lots more photos over at the Retro Man Blog Facebook page here and videos up on our YouTube Channel here.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The Galileo 7 "Tear Your Minds Wide Open!" New Album Out Now on Damaged Goods Records

2017 is proving to be a vintage year for new album releases, so much so that I’m dreading having to pick a "Best LP of the Year" for Retro Man Blog next month. Certainly one such contender for the top spot is "Tear Your Minds Wide Open!" by The Galileo 7 who have, in my opinion at least, just come up with their best work to date and it's certainly their most aptly titled. To me a great album is one where you can imagine every song being released as a stand-alone 7" Single and "Tear Your Minds Wide Open!" certainly delivers a shed-load of potential hits. I thought that "False Memory Lane" was always going to be hard to beat but obviously the band are on an upward trajectory, seemingly growing in confidence before our eyes with each new release. Whereas the overall sound and production of "False Memory Lane" concentrated on their 'Pop' sensibilities with acoustic guitars and keyboards prominent, "Tear Your Minds Wide Open!" is a raw and raucous beast of an album. It positively bursts and crackles with energy and in a strange way probably comes closer to capturing their on-stage sound even better than the 'live in the studio greatest hits' album "Live-o-Graphic".

The Galileo 7 Photographed at The Half Moon Putney by Paul Slattery
Allan Crockford is probably best known as a bassist from his sterling work with The Prisoners, James Taylor Quartet, The Prime Movers and The SolarFlares but with The Galileo 7 he is very much front and centre, handling the majority of songwriting duties along with lead vocals and guitar. I've always thought Allan was underrated as a six-string strummer despite being no stranger to the role. After all, he played guitar in The Stabilisers and Phaze and also appeared alongside Groovy Uncle's Glenn Prangnell in Goodchilde and "Tear Your Minds Wide Open" will hopefully encourage credit where it's due. The incendiary guitar riffs keep on coming throughout the album; just check out "One Lie at a Time", "Mystery Train" and particularly the stunning title track. Another surprise can be found with the blistering "The Habit Machine" which reminds me of a mash-up of Led Zeppelin’s "Rock ‘n’ Roll" meets "Black Dog". It's heavy man! But despite the occasional reference points they are really difficult to categorize and there's no doubting the band are very much an exciting and contemporary sounding outfit. The Galileo 7 are challenging our preconceptions and stretching the boundaries far beyond the garage with their inventive Psych Pop nuggets.

Allan Crockford Photographed at The Half Moon Putney by Paul Slattery
The Punky "Too Much Choice" clatters along at a fair pace powered by some superb organ riffs from Viv and the great songs just keep on coming. "Everything Keeps Coming Round Again" would be another sure fire hit in a parallel universe with its catchy ear-worm chorus. There's something about "Nobody Knows Anything" that makes me think if it was re-mixed into a kind of Burt Bacharach style that it would make an excellent James Bond theme. But it's "The Mask" that is the centre-piece of the album, a stand out track with so many twists and turns that it's almost a four and a half minute mini-opera. It starts off with a deceptively gentle acoustic guitar and an elastic bass riff from Paul Moss but then it suddenly bursts into life with Mole's quick-fire drums. In fact, some of Mole's drumming on the album is downright mind-blowing, probably the best he has ever committed to record and as the song crashes to its finale, you just want to stand up and applaud. All well and good as long as you're not listening to it on your headphones on a crowded commuter train!

The Galileo 7 Photographed at The Half Moon Putney by Paul Slattery

It's "The Girl in the Glass Case", the bonus track on the CD, that proves something of a departure for The Galileo 7. Whereas the band usually distill a host of melodic twists and turns into concise three or four minute songs, for once they totally ditch the 'Pop' part of their now almost trademarked Psych-Pop sound and delve into some seriously heavy Psychedelia. Here they stretch proceedings to over 10 dark and brooding minutes with a female voice narrating a story over a grinding, repetitive guitar riff. The song title might sound intriguingly familiar as apparently the lyrics were meant to appears in the sleeve notes for the debut album of the same name from Graham Day’s Senior Service. "Live for Yesterday" is a perfect pop song and the closest they get to "False Memory Lane" with it's simple yet catchy keyboard motif and prominent tambourine. Procrastination and nostalgia are the theme of the song and what with The Forefathers, and more recently our SolarFlares reunion shows taking up a lot of Allan's time at least now he can concentrate on what looks like a very bright future ahead with The Galileo 7.

You can hear "Cold Hearted Stowaway", the opening track from the new album in our latest episode of Retrosonic Podcast "The Easiest Person To Fool Is Yourself".

The Galileo 7 have two London shows lined up, they will be playing at Nambucca on December 01st with The Embrooks and The Len Price 3 and then they will support the legendary Fuzztones at the 100 Club on January 25th next year. "Tear Your Minds Wide Open!" has been released on Damaged Goods Records as a special limited edition vinyl version which comes packaged along with a CD (featuring bonus track "The Girl In The Glass Case") and a download code, so all your audiophile bases are covered. For details on how to order the album, and for further information and news, please check out the band's web-site here.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 28: "The Easiest Person To Fool Is Yourself" Out Now!

Podcover - Hipsville Go-Go Girls Photographed by Zig Criscuolo
Retrosonic Podcast Episode 28 "The Easiest Person To Fool Is Yourself" is out now on Soundcloud & iTunes. In a decidedly non-retro Retrosonic episode we take a look at some of the new music that's found it's way to the Retro Man Blog over the past few months. We've got a great Hammond organ instrumental intro from French trio Gerry Bright & The Stokers, a song from Joss Cope's debut solo album and the opening track from The Galileo 7's forthcoming album "Tear Your Minds Wide Open". King Salami & The Cumberland 3 give us the great "Pineapple Mama" and we pick a song from Oh! Gunquit's excellent "Lightning Likes Me" LP. The Jack Cades are a kind of Garage Rock 'supergroup' featuring members of The Baron Four, Missing Souls, The Masonics and The Embrooks and there's a song from their "Music For Children" album. Talking of The Embrooks, they were on the bill at our recent sold-out reunion shows for The SolarFlares and there's one of the highlights of their set, the current single "Nightmare". Also on the bill were King Mojo who went down a storm and there's a song from their debut album too. Parsley from The SolarFlares also plays Hammond in The Mynd Set who have a new E.P. out now and we choose one side of a superb new 7" single from Jetstream Pony. Glenn Prangnell's Groovy Uncle have just released arguably their best album so far and we state the case with a great song featuring Suzi Chunk on vocals. We play the new split single in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust featuring cover versions of two Jam classics given a French twist by Popincourt & French Boutik and there's a track from The Kite Collectors new album "Shockerwick 135". Another superb night at Weirdsville introduced us to The No-Things from Edinburgh and the Spanish band Las Aspiradoras and to finish off there's the brand new single from Ebbot Lundberg & The Indigo Children. I hope you enjoy the great music in this episode, if you do please check out the highlighted links above for more info on the bands! Retrosonic Podcast has a valid PRS certificate. Podcover photo of the Hipsville Go-Go Girls courtesy of Zig Criscuolo at ZigPix.

Listen in/download at our Soundcloud page here:

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The SolarFlares 13th and 14th October at The Water Rats with Special Guests The Fallen Leaves, King Mojo, The Embrooks and DJ Lee Grimshaw

The SolarFlares photographed by Paul Slattery
I'd like to thank everyone that came along to our Retro Man Blog presents The SolarFlares reunion shows at The Water Rats, I really appreciate all the fantastic feedback and comments which goes to show you all seemed to enjoy it as much as we did! Amy Kilroy-Buck kindly contributed her thoughts on the weekend. "When the tickets have sold out before the poster is even printed, you know it's going to be a bit of a special gig. Originally a one off to coincide with the vinyl reissue of three albums on Damaged Goods, the gig quickly became a two off in order to meet the apparently insatiable demand of fans and tickets flew out at a pace that makes this Retro Man Blog's fastest selling event so far. I went to both nights (as one does) and it really was pretty spectacular. Friday night began with an excellent set from DJ Lee Grimshaw before The Fallen Leaves took to the stage. The Fallen Leaves ('no jeans, no t-shirts, no cover versions') are always a joy to watch, with their punchy, catchy songs and unashamedly theatrical delivery. You'll find no wasted notes or excessive noodling here, just good, old fashioned, tweed clad garage punk.

The Fallen Leaves photographed by Paul Slattery
Rob Symmons of The Fallen Leaves photographed by Paul Slattery
I've never seen The Solarflares live before (I was 18 when they split up and only just starting to develop any kind of taste in music), but I've been a regular at Forefathers gigs for quite some time now and, like many of the audience, I was interested to see just how different an all SF's set would be, and if the addition of the Hammond really made much difference overall. Right from the first song it became apparent that it really, really does. The squirly, wailing chords add another layer of sound to an already powerful mix, and it also meant we got treated to the instrumentals Lunar Girl, Moonshine of Your Love, Angel Interceptor, and my absolute favourite, Girl in a Briefcase. With an extensive back catalogue to choose from, the choice of songs on Friday night veered from the poignant (Mary) to the witty (Feet the Wrong Way Round) through to the downright groovy instrumentals via the occasional audience singalong (Miles Away).

Allan Crockford of The SolarFlares photographed by Paul Slattery
Graham Day & Wolf Howard of The SolarFlares photographed by Paul Slattery
The Solarflares really do have something for everyone, and the multiple encores on Friday night definitely gave the impression that the band were enjoying themselves too. One gig down, one to go, or, as Allan joked, 'thank you for coming to our rehearsal for tomorrow'. I've never been to see the same band in the same venue on two consecutive nights before, but on Saturday we shook off our hangovers and piled back into the Water Rats, ready for some more. Saturday's line up gave us two support bands, the first of whom, King Mojo, had made the 500 mile round trip from the frozen north beyond the wall (all right, Middlesbrough) to kick things off for a second night of music. I've seen King Mojo before on their home turf, and as a live band they really are dynamite, combining sharp, spiky song writing with class musicianship. Their EP Ironstoned is on my 'to be reviewed' stack, so more on them soon. Definitely ones to watch, and a great start to the night.

King Mojo - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The Embrooks - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
My nearest and dearest will be well acquainted with my tendency to keep banging on about how much I love The Embrooks, but I can honestly say that this band alone would be worth the trip down to London, and if you haven't seen them yet, I urge you to do so. Their stage performances have a manic energy that make them captivating to watch, and their songs will rattle around in your head long after the gig is over. Saturday was already off to a great start, and it was time for more Solarflares. With one or two small changes to the set the band seemed a little more relaxed than the previous night, and soon got into their stride. The Water Rats is a fairly cosy venue, but I decided to fight my way down to the front, and it was well worth the effort.

Wolf Howard of The SolarFlares photographed by Paul Slattery
As on the previous night the sound was full and vibrant, but there was an extra veneer of confidence there and definitely no clues that this was a band that hadn't played together for a long time. The long established team of Graham Day, Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard seem to have a collective sixth sense that we're used to seeing with The Forefathers, but the addition of Parsley on Hammond organ really did elevate this band to something pretty extraordinary. His playing is subtle and empathetic, and supports the guitar rather than fighting it. He's a snappy dresser too, and I hope we see him on stage again at another Retroman night in the future.

Parsley of The SolarFlares photographed by Paul Slattery
The Solarflares always talk about their band with great fondness, and Saturday's gig really did have the feel of a group of friends who were having a great time. The songs still sound new and fresh, and there's obviously some real affection from the audience. As the band came to the end of their final song, Graham leant his Gretsch Black Panther against his Vox and left the stage to a fanfare of self induced feedback. Allan dutifully switched off the amp as the band exited stage right to riotous cheers. The final encore of Father's Name Is Dad marked the end of a triumphant reformation for The Solarflares, and whether they do it again, or it remains a two off, it was a spectacular couple of nights for a few hundred people in Kings Cross." - AKB October 2017

Graham Day of The SolarFlares photographed by Paul Slattery
With thanks to Amy for the great review and to Paul Slattery for his superb photos as always. You can see more photos of all the bands over the two nights at the Retro Man Blog Facebook page here and some videos over at our YouTube channel here. There's also a great review of the Friday night show over on the always excellent Monkey Picks Blog which can be found here.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Stag & Jon Auer at The Islington October 03rd 2017: The Return of Steve Mack from That Petrol Emotion

Stag at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
That Petrol Emotion just weren't made for the times, they were ahead of them and I was pretty devastated when they called it a day following the release of arguably their best album "Fireproof". Intelligent, fiercely political and musically innovative their songs were however always packed full of melody and they were a real inspiration. Despite one well received but ultimately short-lived reunion there didn't seem much hope that it would lead to any new material when front-man Steve Mack returned permanently to his native Seattle. Luckily for us fans, the rest of that final Petrols line-up, Ciaran McLaughlin, Raymond Gorman, Damian O'Neill and Brendan Kelly, reconvened with the stunning album "Anima Rising" under the name of The Everlasting Yeah. The guys decided against trying to replace Steve, instead Raymond and Ciaran took over the main vocal duties with all four contributing harmonies and they forged ahead with a set of completely new material.

Stag at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Stag at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
It was clear this was a new band, not a nostalgia trip and the strength of the new songs proved that they didn't really need to return to past glories. I often wondered what happened to Steve Mack until I discovered he was still active musically and in a new band called Stag and the good news was that they were coming to London to play thanks to Mute Elephant, the promotion agency responsible for the Indie Daze festival. It was great to catch up with Raymond, Ciaran, Brendan and Damian who were all there to show their support and meet up with Steve again. Also, in attendance was the ever genial Buddy Ascott once of The Chords and now in The Fallen Leaves, a big fan of That Petrol Emotion and of course mates with Damian and The Undertones from back in the day.

Stag at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Stag at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Stag took the stage and burst straight into the superb double hit of "Pharaoh" and "Come On" from their latest album "Midtown Sizzler" and it was immediately obvious that Steve Mack has somehow defied the ageing process. He's as full of energy now as he was during his heyday with That Petrol Emotion and it was great to see his familiar dancing again, one big blur of flailing arms and legs. Guitarist John Randolph was not to be outdone, leaping and throwing shapes next to Steve, adding to their full-on visual assault. Ben London adds some neat lead guitar work but his Marshall amp is almost as big as the room and right down at the front of the stage it's like standing behind a fighter jet at take-off, I still can't hear properly! The excellent rhythm section comprising drummer Rob Dent and bassist Pete Everett keep everything grounded nicely, allowing Steve and the guitarists to do their stuff with wild abandon. Stag are a good-time, no nonsense Rock 'n' Roll band with their twin-guitars and soaring harmonies that takes in such influences as the Rolling Stones, Big Star and Cheap Trick. Sure, they could be called Power Pop but there's also a tinge of pounding Glam Rock on songs such as the excellent "Bedazzler". However, my favourite song of the set was the slightly more raw and punky "She + Me" which was damn powerful and reminded me of The Replacements.

Stag at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Stag at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The pace doesn't let up with songs such as the classic "These Times" and there's a nicely sleazy swagger to "Elegant Man" that recalls Paul Westerberg's solo work at his best. Teenage Fanclub get a name-check and on "Another Summer" you can sense their influence creeping in on the sunny harmonies. There's a bit of gentle ribbing about Steve's early 90's dreadlock hairstyle phase and he tells us that the locks are for sale at the merchandise stall. Yes, Stag are a band that make you smile, it's not just their uplifting music but they have a really great on-stage chemistry too and they look as though they are having as much fun as we are in the audience. So with both Stag and The Everlasting Yeah out there producing such exciting new music I think I can finally stop pining for a That Petrol Emotion reunion and just enjoy the here and now.

Stag at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Four-Fifths of That Petrol Emotion at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
It was also a big bonus that the support act was Jon Auer, singer, songwriter and guitarist with one of my favourite bands The Posies. Jon has also played in Big Star and has released solo albums and projects such as Dynamo Royale. It was just Jon and his guitar tonight and he treated us to a choice selection of songs from his musical career interspersed with some humorous anecdotes and good natured chat. There were also a couple of poignant moments too where he paid tribute to his old band mate Joe Skyward, Tom Petty and Grant Hart. In fact Jon played a moving rendition of "Green Eyes" from Hüsker Dü's "Flip Your Wig" album, always one of Hart's most beautiful compositions. Big Star's "Thirteen" was likened to the "Hallelujah" of Indie Rock which led to a shaggy dog story on the cultural misappropriation of the Leonard Cohen classic now ruined by Pop Idol and X-Factor contestants the world over. However, my highlight was The Posies "Dream All Day" which Jon told us was a big hit in France on its release, a fact that once saved them from a grilling by the French police apparently. It was a thoroughly enjoyable set and I was also chuffed to get my copies of "Frosting on The Beater" and "Amazing Disgrace" signed after the show!

Jon Auer at The Islington - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
For more information on Stag check their web-site here, Jon Auer can be found here and Mute Elephant Promotions are here. You can see more photos of the gig at the Retro Man Blog Facebook page here and there are some videos from both acts at the Retro Man YouTube channel over here. Don't forget our special That Petrol Emotion/The Everlasting Yeah Retrosonic Podcast episode with Raymond, Damian & Ciaran which is available to listen to or download for free below...

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Len Price 3 "Kentish Longtails" Album Launch Gig at Water Rats September 15th

The Len Price 3 at the Water Rats Kings Cross photographed by Paul Slattery
Our first Retro Man Blog Night at the Water Rats in Kings Cross since moving from the Half Moon in Putney was the sold-out launch party for The Len Price 3's new album "Kentish Longtails". Amy Kilroy-Buck reports back and Paul Slattery provides the photos... "The Water Rats in Kings Cross may be better known to some readers as The Pindar of Wakefield, famous for hosting Bob Dylan, The Pogues and numerous other big name acts and recognisable to fans of The Prisoners as the location for the band's now legendary appearance on The Tube in 1984. Since then it has undergone a name change and a facelift, and is a rather pleasant little pub with a back room that holds 200 people. It's a new location for Retro Man Blog to host one of their special gigs, which had sold out some weeks previously, as have their next two shows at the same venue for The SolarFlares. 

The Len Price 3 at the Water Rats Kings Cross photographed by Paul Slattery
The Len Price 3 at the Water Rats Kings Cross photographed by Paul Slattery
The Len Price 3 have always had a reputation for electrifying live shows, and as the promo for the gig had promised us 'unexpected sights, lights, sounds and guests' there was a good deal to live up to. DJ Dave Edwards took the place of a support band and after the doors opened at 8pm he had a good hour of tunes, with the back room lit by swirling psychedelic oil lamp projections. 'Unexpected sights' were amply provided by film projections onto a screen as we were treated to the quite staggering weirdness of "El Topo", a 1970 acid western (apparently that's a thing). The band arrived on stage shortly after 9pm, and opened with a blistering rendition of "Childish Words". The striped blazers of their early gigs are long gone, and have been replaced with some rather fetching dark red shirts, but the swaggering attitude and energy that sets them apart from many of their contemporaries remains unchanged. Obviously as an album launch the focus was always going to be on new songs, but there were plenty of old favourites mixed in too, with "My Grandad Jim" and "Pictures" appearing early on, much to the delight of the audience. 

The Len Price 3 at the Water Rats Kings Cross photographed by Paul Slattery
The Lennies are always an energetic band, but all three were particularly animated and did genuinely seem to be having a whale of a time. We didn't have to wait too long for the arrival of the promised special guest, none other than long term LP3 associate Graham Day, who joined the band on keyboards and guitar for a few songs (yes, apparently there is nothing he can't play) before sidling back into the wings to watch. In previous years its been very unusual to hear the band do their slower, gentler songs live, so it was good to hear the minimalist renditions of "Pocket Full of Watches" and "Letting You Down" before they stormed back into the rest of the set. I can't think of many gigs I've been to where everything has gone completely smoothly, and this was no exception; a broken kick drum pedal early on, Glen's Epiphone taking a nosedive onto his pedals and a brief scramble to get things working again before giving up on the pedal board entirely and going straight through the amp. Of such things is live music made, and the band approached these hiccoughs with good humour and some gentle banter before carrying on regardless. 

The Len Price 3 with Graham Day at the Water Rats Kings Cross photographed by Paul Slattery
A mix of old and new material rounded out the set, with singalong favourites "London Institute" and "Julia Jones" drawing a particularly enthusiastic response from the crowd. The band played for just short of two hours, no mean feat in a rather cosy venue, and were joined again by Graham Day for a cover of The Gaolers "Get Off My Track" before rounding off their encores with "Chinese Burn". The Len Price 3 occupy a strange place in today's live music scene; they dislike being labelled as Mod apparently (possibly another reason for the retirement of the blazers) and have never perhaps enjoyed the success and popularity fans feel they should, playing only a small number of gigs each year and remaining largely ignored by the music press. It's important to consider though that this may be exactly the way they want it, although as "Kentish Longtails" gathers momentum there are more reviews than ever springing up online, and dates already being advertised for gigs next year. Could this be the start of something bigger for The Len Price 3? As a fan, I hope so. All in all a fantastic gig from a band who just keep getting better". 
- Amy Kilroy Buck September 2017. 

The Len Price 3 with Graham Day at the Water Rats Kings Cross photographed by Paul Slattery
This feature first appeared on the Louder Than War web-site here. With thanks to Amy, Paul Slattery and Geb Babey. All photos copyright Paul Slattery.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Flamin' Groovies at Under The Bridge London September 21st - Review and Photos by Paul Slattery

The Flamin Groovies and Dave Edmunds at the Robin Hood pub in Monmouth January 1978. Left to right: Chris Wilson, Mike Wilhelm, Cyril Jordan, Dave Edmunds, Dave Wright & George Alexander. Photo by Paul Slattery.
I’ve been listening to The Flamin' Groovies now for 45 years. I first heard "Teenage Head" at a party in Cape Cod went out and bought the album (which I still have) and became a huge Groovies fan. I first met the the band at The Robin Hood pub in Monmouth in January 1978. They’d been recording the "Now" album at Rockfield Studios with the legendary Dave Edmunds and I ended up on the road with them in 1978 when they were promoting the album. The Groovies are Rock and Roll legends now – their jangling guitar based power pop has influenced new generations of rock musicians and they are back again on the road reborn with a new rhythm section and their first new album in 25 years "Fantastic Plastic" which seems to be garnering 5 star reviews everywhere. Original member George Alexander and drummer Victor Penalosa both appear to have parted company with the band despite featuring on the new album. I was sad to hear the news quite frankly as I had got to know them both well over the last few years since the Groovies reformation.

The Flamin' Groovies at Under The Bridge by Paul Slattery
Cyril Jordan of The Flamin' Groovies at Under The Bridge by Paul Slattery
The band's new rhythm section is Chris von Sneidern on bass guitar and Tony Sales on drums. Chris is a well-known San Francisco musician with several acclaimed albums and was the subject of the 2009 documentary "Why Isn’t Chris von Sneidern Famous?" Tony is the son of Tony Sales and nephew of Hunt Sales (who together formed the famous rhythm section in David Bowie’s band, Tin Machine, and recorded and toured with Iggy Pop and Todd Rundgren, among others). Have a listen to Iggy’s "Kill City" album. He’s also the grandson of the actor Tyrone Power. Well you would expect two guys with such great music credentials to do justice to a band like the Flamin' Groovies and that they do in spades. They are superb musicians and both add to the soaring vocal harmonies.

The Flamin' Groovies at Under The Bridge by Paul Slattery
Chris von Sneidern of The Flamin' Groovies at Under The Bridge by Paul Slattery
More than forty years down the road singing with the Groovies Chris Wilson still handles the lead vocals with true emotion in a set list that includes classics like "Tore Me Down", "Teenage Head" and "Shake Some Action". On the excellent Paul Revere and the Raiders cover "Hungry" Chris leaves the guitar on the stand, grabs the mike and gets down the front of the stage to belt out an amazing whiskey-fuelled vocal. The numbers from the new album sound great and get the proper Cyril and Chris jangly guitar duel treatment. "What The Hell’s Going On" is a cracker as is "I Want You Bad", Cyril still favouring his heavy-as-steel Dan Armstrong plexiglass guitar – Cyril loves this guitar – you can see it on the cover of their 1971 album "Teenage Head".

The Flamin' Groovies at Under The Bridge by Paul Slattery
Tony Sales of The Flamin' Groovies at Under The Bridge by Paul Slattery
I’m glad that there is now a fully fledged version of "Let Me Rock" on the new album. The only recording I had before was a version recorded in Cyril's front room as a demo for United Artists records which ended up on the "Grease" EP on Skydog records. "Let Me Rock" is the final song of the evening and it's a really great finale to an excellent performance. For me it’s always a treat to listen to this band and take their photos, they are true legends that just have Rock 'n' Roll oozing out of their pores. (Paul Slattery September 2017).

Present day line-up backstage at Under The Bridge: Chris Wilson, Cyril Jordan, Tony Sales, Chris von Sneidern
Chris Wilson with The Only One’s John Perry
You can get more information on The Flamin' Groovies and details on how to order their new album here. With thanks to Paul Slattery for the feature and excellent photos. Don't forget our special Retrosonic Podcast with Chris Wilson is available to listen/download for free here.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Las Aspiradoras & The No-Things at Weirdsville August 26th

Las Aspiradoras at Weirdsville - Photo © Retro Man Blog
I know it has become a bit of a standing joke that after every visit to Weirdsville I proclaim that I have just witnessed my new favourite band. But thanks to Mr A and Alexandra Beat Girl (and Ade when it comes round to their yearly Hipsville A-Go-Go Weekenders) I get the rare chance to see some superb acts from all corners of the globe, well, if globes had corners that is. Some I have seen before like Giuda and Les Kitschenette’s but it’s often the first chance I will get to see such a band play live. For example, I have seen The Revox and The Jackets from Switzerland, Autoramas from Brazil, Los Sustos and Viv & The Sect from Mexico, Kinoko Hotel, The Ladybugs and The Stompin’ Riff Raffs from Japan, The Satelliters from Germany, Messer Chups from Russia, Shupa from Spain and Johnny Mafia and Les Grys-Grys from France. I don't know how but they even managed to book Davros & The Deep Space Deviants all the way from the planet Skaro!

The No-Things at Weirdsville - Photo @ Retro Man Blog
The No-Things at Weirdsville - Photo @ Retro Man Blog
Tonight’s opening act The No-Things are in comparison, relatively local to Weirdsville in that they come from Edinburgh and they have a familiar vocalist, well not at first they don’t because he is missing when guitarist Alex, bassist Scott and drummer Calvin take to the stage and crank up the opening number. It’s Laurent from Les Bof! and he is in the crowd down at the front dancing away before suddenly leaping on stage to join in. With his impressive sideburns, Beatle-boots and stripey T-Shirt Laurent is the quintessential Garage Rock front-man. When he's not blasting out some superb harmonica he's dancing, spinning and leaping into the audience at every possible opportunity. 

The No-Things at Weirdsville - Photo @ Retro Man Blog
The No-Things at Weirdsville - Photo @ Retro Man Blog
Second song “Don’t Get On My Tits” is an absolute snotty-nosed Garage Rock classic and I keep finding myself rather embarrassingly singing it aloud in the office; it boasts an unbelievably catchy chorus and it has a rude word in it, what’s not to like? Likewise "Diamond Ring" and "Birds Flyin' Outta My Head", stand-out tracks on their "Here Come The No-Things" LP are insanely catchy and the brilliantly nagging guitar riff to "J'vais être Riche" gets lodged in your head for days after. While the rhythm section are impressively locked in tight there's a nice Punky edge to Alex's guitar that adds to a thrillingly unpredictable sound. It's raw Garage Rockin' R'n'B at it's best.

Las Aspiradoras at Weirdsville - Photo © Retro Man Blog
Las Aspiradoras at Weirdsville - Photo © Retro Man Blog
If I thought The No-Things were wired then I was in for a bigger shock with headlining act Las Aspiradoras who upped the fizzing energy levels to the max. They kicked off with the triple shot of "Malmete", "Para Ser Guay" and one of my favourites "Autodestrucción" without even so much as a 'hello' and proceeded to storm through a relentless set crammed with well over 20 more songs. Singer/Guitarist Chicho has one of those voices that is sometimes described as if he 'gargles with razor blades and gasoline' and he is a suitably energetic front-man. Like Laurent before him, Chicho seems to spend most of his time among the audience, either kneeling down slashing out some great riffs or even laying on his back spreadeagled on the floor. At one point, Mr A gets in on the act and strums Chicho's guitar enthusiastically as he lays there. Jungle Julia is an stunning visual foil to Chicho, she looks great and plays the organ with her elbows, knees and feet (you have to see it to believe it...) as well as the rather more conventional method. They also possess a great rhythm section featuring Juanjo on bass, who trades poses with Chicho and there's Oscar on drums, who leans precariously into his mic to add some backing vocal harmonies. 

Las Aspiradoras at Weirdsville - Photo © Retro Man Blog
Las Aspiradoras at Weirdsville - Photo © Retro Man Blog
Some of my personal highlights included "Ni Rastro De Polvo" and "Mi Adicción" which I would love to sing along to if my Spanish was any good; but all their songs have hooks that really do stick in your mind. They also play some choice cover versions such as Freddie Cannon’s “Palisades Park” and Los Macana’s excellent “Radio Go” that go down a storm on the night, as does Chubby Checker’s “Karate Monkey” which inspires some audience participation of accompanying monkey grunts and karate moves. I think I spent the whole set with a huge soppy grin plastered all over my face; they are that kind of band. You can’t help but smile and jump around, or in my case being an old git and rather shy, I can’t help but stand there, tap my feet and nod my head in time to the music. But believe me, inside I am jumping around like a loon! Weirdsville, you have done it yet again!

Las Aspiradoras at Weirdsville - Photo © Retro Man Blog
Las Aspiradoras at Weirdsville - Photo © Retro Man Blog
For more information on Las Aspiradoras check out their Facebook page here and The No-Things can be found at this link. Weirdsville happenings take place on the last Saturday of every month so if you want to be introduced to your new favourite band, check out their web-site here. More photos of the gig can be found at the Retro Man Facebook page here and there are some more videos of both bands at our Retro Man YouTube channel, along with many more Weirdsville acts.