Friday, 30 December 2011


2011 afforded me a chance to see several of my favourite people live, picking out highlights is difficult.

Looking back I experienced my best gig of the year way on back in January. The 50th Anniversary and Final Night of the Jacqui and Bridie Folk Club at the Liverpool Philharmonic was phenomenal.

I can’t say I explored a lot of new music this year, just stuff that was new to me. The exception was Matt Stevens and The Fierce and The Dead whose output has been the soundtrack to most of my writing and other work on the computer.

Of course May saw the International Pop Overthrow in Liverpool. I adore this event. I get to be surrounded by some of my favourite musically talented people, all of whom are amazingly lovely as well. Roll on the 2012 event!

Events are already booked for next year (see the sidebar for my upcoming giggage) and hopefully I will be posting here more often too.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Festive Quo - 6th December 2011 Liverpool Arena.(Videos and link to photos)

Kim Wilde, Roy Wood, Status Quo all the one show. A fun way to end the year!
Sadly the Echo Arena really lives up to it's name which seriously affects the sound at times.
My photos from the gig can be seen at flickr here.

Kim Wilde - You Came

Roy Wood - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday!

Status Quo - Something 'Bout You Baby I Like & The Wanderer

Deep Purple 29th November Manchester Arena. (Pics and video)

The support was Cheap Trick who had the power switched off on them, presumably for over running.

Deep Purple were excellent, and the orchestra rounded out the sound very well, We had side seats so probably didn't get the full effect.

Click photo above to go to the flickr set for this gig.

Friday, 23 December 2011

An apology

I fell behind on my live reviews for the end of the end of the year I'm afraid. It was due to a combination of a stinking cold followed by being thrown headlong into the festive season.

I'll post photos and video from the Deep Purple and Status Quo gigs later and then it will be time for the ubiquitous end of year round up post.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Carl Palmer - Manchester Club Academy 26th November 2011.

Last time I was at the Academy the security couldn't be more helpful, however on this occasion they seemed to have very little patience and as I arrived at the venue had just turfed everyone out into the cold to queue up for half an hour. Not sure why the union bar wasn't open but it would have made a few bob before everyone went in. Then when we did get in we were left milling for a second not knowing which bit we were going to, which seemed to annoy the security people. Some actually signs to the different sections would be really handy you know!

Venue griping aside this was a really entertaining night. Me and gig buddy had a pint or two and browsed the merch stall before the show began. The merch seemed really reasonably priced. I forked out a mere £30 and came away with a t-shirt, a signed drum head and a pair of drumsticks.

The venue wasn't packed which made it possible to get a good way down towards the action. I'm usually slightly shorter that the rest of the audience so I'm used to a limited view at standing gigs.  Nobody pushed and nobody shoved, it was quite lovely.

Opening with the familiar "Welcome Back" section from Karn Evil  9 the set list moved through a selection of well known ELP pieces. The sound from trio was tremendous. Closing your eyes you would have been hard pushed to believe there was only a guitarist, bassist and drummer on that stage.  Paul Bielatowicz made some amazing sounds on his guitar, pulling the best "rock guitar" faces I've seen in a long time. And bass player  Simon Fitzpatrick was also superb, particularly during his bass solo bookended by "Take A Pebble"

Carl Palmer, as you would expect, was faultless on drums, and percussion and big old gongs! He really looked like he was having a ball up there on stage.

The tour is to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Pictures At An Exhibition. The band did their own version of the piece, which although obviously not exact (there is no keyboard player or vocalist) was an excellent piece of work of itself.

We didn't stick around to meet Carl afterwards, instead it was out into the chill November air to head home after a thoroughly entertaining night out.

With thanks to Paul Dean for the photos of the set list and my gig booty!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Yes - Manchester Apollo 13th November 2011

I just checked the date that the tickets for this show were purchased - 15th December! I think 11 months is probably the longest I have waited for a Christmas gift. Still, as far as I'm concerned it was worth the wait.

This was my second Yes concert. Both have featured "new boy" Benoit David.  First time it felt like he was trying to fill a Jon Anderson shaped hole, but this time was different - backed with a huge chunk of new material he appeared more confident and like he was trying to win the audience over.

The set list featured four tracks from the new album including the epic Fly From Here which I will come back to later.

The first new track bought about a minor evacuation to the toilets (I've seen this before at gigs, and they all end up running back to their seats because it's nearly always a popular one that follows a new one) which is a shame as that was the point that the whole thing really hit its stride.

On the whole I found the new material to be the real stand out moments in the set. Not that the rest was bad, far from it, but I just felt the new stuff was somewhat better.

Fly From Here was was captivating from beginning to end. So much so that you really didn't seem to notice how long the whole thing was. By the end I felt breathless from the drama of it all rather than exhausted from the length.

Throughout the concert I became quite enthralled by the choreography involved with Steve Howe's guitars.  The tech had the moves down to a fine art, moving the right instrument into place at the right time.

Let's get down to the highlights shall we - all personal opinion of course!

  • Second song in was Tempus Fugit. It's one of my favourites and it was pretty damn cool to get to see Geoff Downes playing on a track from the Drama album. (In fact the only downside of the gig was the we got Heart Of The Sunrise rather than Machine Messiah, not that Heart of The Sunrise was shabby in anyway.)
  • The afore mentioned Fly From Here, with added bonus points for a video guest appearance by Trevor Horn on the accompanying footage projected onto the screen behind the band. 
  • Into the Storm - another one off the new album which easily slotted into the set among the better known songs.
  • Geoff Downes on keytar. There was already a plethora of keyboards on stage, that's never enough right, so he strapped one across his chest. Made my day! 

The set list was fleshed out with plenty of classics tunes that wouldn't go amiss on a Best Of compilation, including Starship Trooper which is another personal favourite if you haven't gathered that from the name of this music blog.

After the obligatory encore of Roundabout it was off out into the night, clutching my new band  shirts, to get the coach back to Liverpool ready for work the next day. Both the to and from bus journeys on Monday featured Yes on the mp3 player.

Many thanks to Stephen for taking the photographs and letting me use them.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Five Songs (a recurring meme)

This is a recurring blog thing that does the rounds every now and again. Basically you list five songs that currently seem to inhabit your ear space. They don't have to be your favourite songs or even by your favourite artists. They are simply songs that currently rock your world, or have special meaning, attached to recent events or just persistant earworms thatplay in your head at inopportune moments.

Here's mine! If you do your own let me know where you've posted it so I can go and have a look.

Johnny And The Monorail - The Buggles
This is probably my favourite track on the album The Age Of Plastic. I like the simplistic line "oh my my you are so sci fi" because everything sci fi back then had a monorail! ;-)

And You And I (Alternate Version) - Yes
Available as a bonus track on the CD of Close To The Edge, this version never fails to send shivers of sheer joy down my spine. I can't quite put my finger on how it does it, but I'm glad it does.

Blinded By The Light - Manfred Man's Earth Band
A fairly simple song elevated to loftier proportions by the arrangement. It features of lots of my travel playlists.
Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins - Leonard Nimoy
A cash in on the popularity of Tolkien? It's about as Un-Spock as you can get and I quite like it, however it would be nice if it didn't burrow into my head quite so often!

Nightbus - Matt Stevens
The first track on the latest release from Matt Stevens grabs you straight away. To me it sounds like a modern reworking of a long lost classic TV show theme probably involving spies and pithy comments. Check out Matt's music at

Full credit goes to Tim at Where Worlds Collide who usually starts off the wave of Five Songs posts, I hope he doesn't mind me going first this time. My past Five Songs posts can be found in the archive at my music blog

Saturday, 22 October 2011

July? Really?

I do apologise for the lack of posts. Can't quite believe it's been as long as this since I've posted. Real life has obviously been getting in the way of music blogging.

There's a few gigs coming up for me in November - Yes, Carl Palmer and Deep Purple.
December sees Status Quo (with Roy Wood and Kim Wilde)and The Dogs D'Amour

Next year there's Ian Anderson and The Osmonds. So far!

Lots of posts rumbling...stay tuned.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Promoting this blog


I got some mini moocards to help promote this blog. I used some of my photos to make them look pretty.

With a bit of luck next time I order some I can add more photos from forthcoming adventures.

In the meantime, hopefully, there's some posts about CDs coming soon. It's nearly Beatle Week in Liverpool so preparations at work are keeping me from getting things written right now.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Yes–Fly From Here


The latest offering from the latest line up of Yes is already firmly impressed on my brain. Admittedly this is because a version of the title track was realised as a bonus on the reissue CD of the second Buggles album Adventures In Modern Recording.

The first thing that strikes me is how nice is it to hear Benoit David putting his own voice to the songs. Not that he doesn’t do that to the other Yes songs played in concert, but comparisons will always be made so it’s good to hear “his” voice if you understand what I mean.

The whole album has a very “Drama” feel about it for obvious reasons, and David’s voice is certainly similar to Horn’s. Having made that comparison the album also has a fresh feel to it.

The five part Fly From Here suite (six if you count the overture) is unmistakably the highlight of the disc. A modern take on classical pieces with recurring themes and a fairly epic feel. It manages to be a lengthy piece that not only has the full and rich arrangements you expect from both Yes and Trevor Horn but also has moments so catchy that they live on in your head after you’ve finished listening.

The first track after the suite (The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be) seems fairly ordinary, possibly simply in comparison with what has gone before. In fact a lot of what follows, although still expertly executed, is eclipsed by the suite. Hour Of Need is quite catchy with a modern folky feel and Into The Storm rounds the album off very well indeed.

I’m looking forward to hearing whatever gets played of this album on the tour when I see it in November. It already feels familiar and that’s only after two complete plays. I’m fairly sure it will get a few more airings on the media player between now and the gig, and afterwards obviously.

Just the CD

 CD with DVD (Making of Fly From Here)

 MP3 Download

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Five Songs–Mid summer edition


It’s quite simple – list five songs, preferably accompanied by a word or two explaining their significance.  Not your five greatest songs of all time, but five songs you’re really into at the moment in time.

As ever this was prompted by Tim at his blog over here!


Dreaming In The Sun – The Wombles

I’m in a very Wombles frame of mind, posts will follow as I go through the rereleases. As I’m writing this entry out in the garden and yesterday I did actually grab 40 winks out here in the sunshine, so it seems an apt tune to rattle around in my head in this weather.

Mr Blue Sky – ELO

Bit obvious I know, but this isn’t just because of the nice weather, it’s also because I had a dream where I rewrote all the lyrics, but the only bit I could remember when I woke up was “making solenoids for Rover”

Lady Luck – Honeybug (link leads to YouTube video)

This has been rattling around in my head since International Pop Overthrow Liverpool last May. Catching and made entirely of awesome, I find myself dancing to this one every now and again.

Absolute Beginners – David Bowie

This is a recurring visitor on the jukebox in my head. I adore the lyrics. “The rest can go to hell” 

A Glimpse Of Heaven – The Strawbs

The Strawbs are often the default choice when I need something to listen to on the bus to work. This is a fabulous folksy tune that carries me off and makes the daily hassles of travelling to work in a city slightly more bearable.


So there you go! If you have a go of posting this on your own blog/facebook/whatever – let me know in the comments so I can go and be nosey!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Roger Hodgson - Liverpool Philharmonic Hall May 2011

(I will confess to only knowing a few Supertramp songs when I decided to go along to this concert, what I knew I liked, and what I managed to find time to play before I went I also liked. Sounded like a win-win situation to me. Some good songs in one of my favourite venues...

I knew it was sold out, but I didn't realise quite how loud the audience could be. They sang along, applauded and whooped between songs all at a volume usually reserved for vast arena crowds. And that was great, you really should so your appreciation. However, when during the second part of the show a minority in the audience just talk loudly, shout and chant so the artist can't be heard and whistle continuously and inappropriately through out a song, I'd really rather not be in the same room as you.  I really felt for the poor stewards who were verbally abused when trying to get one bloke to get down off his mate's shoulders, and then had to scrabble on to the stage when the very same chap leaped on there and grabbed the microphone at the end of the gig.

The negative feelings I got due certain audience members were certainly pushed aside by the music though. Roger has a lovely voice, sadly the sound seemed to be adjusted for the ambient noise and ended up sounding like he was singing in a empty warehouse a lot of the time rather than it echoing beautifully around the Philharmonic Hall. Still I've been to gigs where the sound was worse.

The setlist seemed to satisfy the audience. Plenty of tunes that even the most casual of music fan would know, coupled with a good few that certainly pleased the person sat to my right, who was having a whale of a time.

Roger moved between a keyboard, the guitar and a grand piano depending on the song and his band were all excellent musicians.  Highlights for me were Take The Long Way Home, Hide In Your Shell, his version of Across The Universe (so refreshing for the obligatory Beatles cover not to be one of the usual suspects)  and Dreamer. All delivered with quiet display of modest talent. (That's to say he was modest about it.) He looked moved by the vast outpouring of affection for those in attendance, though he did have to quieten them down in order to be heard when he wanted to speak.

Just to redress the balance against the audience, for probably the first time ever at a gig, the bloke who was sat in front of me turned around and asked if he was blocking my view because he was taller than I was. He wasn't, but how nice and considerate.

So, the minority of "overly appreciative" - for want of a better euphemism - fans and those who were just down right rude and gabbed all the way through it, aside, it was a really good gig and will probably result in me investigating further into Supertramp and his solo stuff. 

Set list
(taken from the Roger Hodgson Official Face Book Page)
Take the Long Way Home
In Jeopardy
Hide in Your Shell
Lovers in the Wind
Easy Does It
Sister Moonshine
Breakfast in America
Along Came Mary
Soapbox Opera
The Logical Song
Child of Vision
Lord is it Mine
If Everyone Was Listening
Across the Universe
Know Who You Are
Don’t Leave Me Now
Fool’s Overture
Two of Us
Give a Little Bit
It’s Raining Again

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2011 - Quick round up of links.

International Pop Overthrow 2011 Bloggage -
Minty & The Beeb - includes reports from IPO London
Powerpop Review - more reports to come on this blog.

All my photos can be found in this flickr set
Cavern Photos on Facebook has several IPO photo albums

My videos.
Stephen's videos - he's currently uploading past IPO videos to this account too.
Beeb's videos - stay tuned.

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2011 Tuesday Part 2

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2011 ended with the Bongo Beat/Viper label night. This is always guaranteed to be a good night.

A notable absence was Ralph, head of the Bongo Beat label, but hopefully he'll be back again soon.

It was a pleasure to have the Plastic Heroes back at the Cavern. The set included songs from their Escape The Lower End album as well as a few new ones including their new single Fake Revolution which is available on itunes and amazon as a download.

The Boy

Oh okay, they also did Anne-Marie as Simon co-wrote the song.


After their set I nipped off to the loo but as I passed the band room I was taken in to say hello properly. I reminded them that by the time Dave Rave was to take to the stage it would be Stephen's birthday. I left them working out a special song for him.

In the mean time Mike Badger, founder member of the Las and had of the Viper Records label had taken to the stage with a fabulous set of rockabilly style songs. I particularly liked the one about being kidnapped by Big Foot.

Last on the bill was Mr Dave Rave, ably backed by The Plastic Heroes.

Can't Stop Shakin'

About three songs in they unleashed their surprise for Stephen's birthday - a version of, yup, you guessed it, Birthday by The Beatles. Not bad considering they dropped it into the set on the spur of the moment and none of them had played it before.


And for the second time that night we got Anne-Marie,'s IS just a good song!


DAve usually gets most of the audience to join him on stage but he'd got in trouble for doing that the night before so while he got a couple of people on stage for a rendition of I Saw Her Standing There, he came into the audience and joined us instead!

I Saw Her Standing There.

All too soon the event was over for another year and we were off into the night for a taxi home, knowing the next day brought the final round of fonds farewells till next year.

Monday, 30 May 2011

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2011 Tuesday Part 1

Last day of IPO, and the latest we stayed out all week.

Tuesday saw the second of the Bongo Beat/Viper label nights of 2011, but that wasn't due to start till 9.45pm. So after some food we nipped into the Cavern Pub to see The Flaming Moes. The guitarist/vocalist played barefoot - a brave move on a chilly night. I enjoyed the set and even purchased a CD. I hope they are back again as I missed their second set due to it clashing with Bongo Beat night. I hope they had a better audience in the club, as they deserved it. (Too many people trying to talk louder than the band in the pub.)

Venturing into the Club we caught the end of The Fallen Troubadours. They sounded interesting and worthy of further investigation. I was quite surprised to discover they were from Pennsylvania, they have a very English sound.

They were followed by Postcards From Places That Don't Exist, a band from Lincoln who had encouraged us to go and see them as they emerged from their first set at the Pub earlier in the evening.

As this is getting long and hour is getting late, I will cover the Bong Beat/Viper label Night in a separate post tomorrow.

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2011 Monday

Monday meant saying goodbye to Honeybug, but with promises to go and visit sooner rather than later.

I was in work all day and it was quite odd it not being a Bank Holiday. (The event has been on the Bank Holiday weekend for the last few years.)

Shortly after Honeybug left Dave Rave and The Plastic Heroes arrived! The lows and highs flow fast at IPO!
They were playing the first Bongo Beat night that evening but we were tired and probably would not have made it to the end so our foray into Cavern Club that day was brief.

After work we went off to watch Kelly's Heels in the club. I filmed more than just one song this time so here's a playlist of four tracks from the set. (I hope this works)

She Doesn't Know It's Wrong, Forget You, Same Mistake, Who's Been Cheating Who.

By the end of the set I was flagging but I did manage to catch a couple of tracks from The Suns (who we had seen earlier in the week as support to The Zombies which was a nice bonus.)

It would have been lovely to stay, but I had no energy and I knew that Tuesday was going to be a long night, so we were soon homeward bound.

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2011 Sunday

Sunday at IPO was pretty much an epic day. This is going to be a long post!

I took root in the Cavern around lunchtime where the day started with Bruise. I love Bruise. Isobel has a fabulous voice and I'd already bought the new CD - Little Victories - so I didn't have to wait till this event to get my mitts on it!

Stranger In You

Isobel did comment that she knew pretty much everyone in the room, so the audience was very appreciative. And for that time on a Sunday there was a good number of people in.

Following Bruise was a German band called Set Alight. They were very enthusiastic with a lead singer who was definitely easy on the eye. Sadly I don't remember much else about them as people were arriving etc...

Mini performed their first set of the day next. I'm am unashamedly biased and love Mini both as a band and as friends. I was quite pleased to share the experience with friends who had never seen them before. I think they were impressed (even when things went a little awry.) I made sure they left with CDs anyway!


After the opening number they performed all the songs on their Must Try Harder EP (the free CD mentioned in the video) and after a small bumble over a song we we shan't dwell on, they finished with an amazing rendition of Mr Blue Sky. (If I regret anything about this year's event it's that I didn't video it, but to be honest I was too busy enjoying it!)

Following hot on the heels of Mini came Honeybug's second show of the festival.
By the end of the set Lady Luck had become my new favourite Honeybug song!

Lady Luck

Again I openly admit that I am biased but Honeybug just make me smile. They make the most beautiful sound and they are beautiful people to boot. I'll stop gushing about them now...honest!

I had to run back to the shop as Honeybug finished to let Stephen see the Mayflowers in the Cavern Club.

We were in the Cavern Pub by 6pm ready for Kelly's Heels. Fabulous set from Bob and co. I did film a song but there's a lot of coming and going of people as we were by the door of the venue.
Stay tuned for my post about Monday though as I filmed a number of songs then too. There's a new Kelly's Heels CD due out, so I'll be eager to get my hands on that! The highlight of this set, and again, something I wish I'd captured on video was impromptu backing vocals on Who's Been Cheating Who coming from Mini and Honeybug. Fabulous and very much in keeping with the mutual admiration between bands at this event.

A band called Radio Days were on before The Mayflowers took to the stage with their powerpop/Merseybeat stylings. The Mayflowers were out busking again on Church Street the following day.

And then it was time for the second of Mini's performances of the day. By now we were all in party mood - which is my excuse for being a tad hazy on the running order! I know that they nailed the tune they fluffed earlier, and did so with style and to rapturous applause from those that had been in the Cavern Club. There was a couple of Wings numbers - Jet and Live And Let Die. And they were joined on stage by Erin and Laura from Honeybug for a version of 9 to 5 which had a couple of people up dancing! However the apex of the show was a mighty mighty version of the Cee-lo Green song Forget You. Ni from Honeybug took to the drums and the hybrid "Minibug" just entertained the living daylights out of the audience with this -

Forget You

And with that it was time for goodbyes to Mini as they and we headed home, still buzzing from a brilliant day!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

In the meantime...

While I catch up and sort out photos and videos etc...please go to to read their International Pop Overthrow reports.

I should have updates soon, so much to catch up with! And so much new music to listen to as well!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2011 - so far!

I've not really seen as much of the event as normal so far this year mostly due to a cold and nipping off to see The Zombies.

But on Thursday I did sneak out of work to catch Helen and Mark aka Fun Of The Pier making their IPO debut. It was great to see Helen up on stage after so many IPOs as an audience member. The tunes were lovely and despite admitting to getting one song wrong the performance was fab. I think my favourite song from the set was the last one, Intolerence, all about people who talk through gigs. It definitely summed up a few concert going experiences for me!

After a quick trip back to the shop to deal with the end of the day rush it was back to the Cavern Pub to catch Richard Snow and The In-Laws. Due to a large German tour group causing us to stay behind I missed the start of the set but I did get to catch the new song Am I Really That Boring? I was feeling pretty rotten by then with my cold so made a sharp exit to dose myself up ready for Friday.

Friday was all about Honeybug. I'm very biased of course, but they are my friends and I hadn't seen them since July so I was very excited that they were visiting. I went for food before heading to the Cavern Pub. It was all smiles as we walked in! So awesome to see everyone! The set was marred by the knobheads in the corner by us gabbing all the way through. (I shot some video but one of the afore mentioned knobheads decided to join in and wave on camera! Grrr!)
Anyway, Ni and the girls were jolly good (I don't expect anything less to be honest) and I may have even sang along a wee bit to Open Up Your Eyes. The final song of the set Lady Luck had a very Stevie Wonder vibe to it. I'm off to see them again on Sunday, surprise surprise.

Following on from Honeybug were a band that my friend Phil described as the missing link between the Jam and Cream. (Make your own doughnut jokes!) The description wasn't wrong. And despite not really being a massive of either of the comparison bands I did rather enjoy Sonic Jewels. They certain had their own sartorial style and I'll be honest, if a guitarist is wearing eyeliner and a smattering of face glitter I'm going to at least have a look!

Also playing before I left for the evening were Susan Hedges and Jeremy. Both were crowd pleasers, in fact I couldn't see most of Jeremy's set as there were that many people in the pub by then, all quite mesmerised.

Once Jeremy was done it was off for a cab home. Saturday was spent with my friends from Honeybug and Mini. There was shopping and sight-seeing and general hanging out. And as Sunday and Monday are going to be long IPO days, I was home in time for tea and Doctor Who in order to have a restful and decent night's sleep to bolster my stamina!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Zombies, Liverpool, 18th May 2011

zomb_02 This is The Zombies’ 50th Anniversary tour, and they are essentially touring a new album. But this doesn’t mean their amazing back catalogue was ignored in anyway.
In total they performed six tracks from the newly released Breathe Out Breathe In album, and they blended very well in the set list. Sometimes new material from older bands can seem to jar against the hits or drag a bit for the audience, but the strength of these new tracks was shown by the warm and appreciative reception they all received.
Beyond the new tracks the set was a pleasant mix of Zombies songs and “solo” projects. They performed six songs from the Odessey and Oracle album explaining all the artists influenced by the songs, including most recently Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters.zomb_11
Colin Blunstone relished performing his hit version of What Becomes of The Brokenhearted as well as his solo songs and an Alan Parsons Project track.
As much as I adore The Zombies stuff the highlight for me was the Argent tracks. Hold Your Head Up featured a glorious keyboard solo that went on for quite some time, and zomb_01 God Gave Rock And Roll To You is a fabulous way to end a gig. (Although they did squeeze in a version of Summertime afterwards – a nice mellow track to send the audience on their way in the night.)
I left armed with signed posters, the new CD (also signed – everything was pre-done before the show) and T-Shirt.
I hope they are back round again soon as it is always a pleasure to
see this band.

More photos on flickr here.
Official Zombies Site

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

International Pop Overthrow Liverpool 2011 has begun!

IPO Liverpool started yesterday. It runs right through to next Tuesday if you are in the area. The event is free, but there's a door charge levied by one of the venues at peak times over the weekend.
It's all happening at the Cavern Pub and Club on Mathew Street.

I'm easing into it all slowly this year, having to get up for work means I have to curtail the late nights.

I did pop down to the Cavern Pub after work yesterday (mostly for a chance to test the latest of my little video cameras) and caught Jack Mittleman's cover of the George Harrison song Give Me Love.

Mostly Autumn, Manchester 13th May 2011


ma_09 I am a relative newcomer to this band. It is thanks to my twitter friend Tim (check out his blog here) and my gig buddy Phil that I knew what I did of the band before I went to this concert.

I was basically armed with the knowledge of a few songs from the Pass The Clock compilation which I loved, and that the singer on those tracks was no longer with the band.

Arriving at the venue, we were told by the unusually helpful security man that he would find us in the bar when the doors were open upstairs as we wouldn’t need to queue due only around a 100 tickets being sold. However, judge by the number in there by about the third song there were plenty of people who bought tickets on the door.ma_03

Sometimes when you go to see a band that has a fan following you can feel a little isolated but I loved this audience. Everyone respected everyone else’s space and just enjoyed the music.

The band were fabulous. Olivia Sparnenn’s voice and stage presence is awesome. The blend of vocals across the board made for some very pleasurable sounds and the musicianship of the whole band was spot on! The sound was loud, but in no way distorted. ma_07 And Anne-Marie Helder’s flute work was faultless. More bands should had flautists in their line-up I reckon. It works surprising well within a rock band sound.

Confession time now, I’ve had to go searching for a set list to see what was played and the best I could come up with (after a minimal search, I confess) was a list for the night after in Leicester. Thankfully it jogged the memory a bit.

Lots of stuff from the new album Go Well Diamond Heart, all of which was greeted warmly by the appreciative audience. I had bought the CD before the gig began, that’s how confident I was I would enjoy it. Before the interval I was already eager to get it on the mp3 player! I could only afford the ordinary release, but the track from the special edition that they performed did tantalise and I almost considered going over budget and getting that instead. (In the end I was sensible, I have a lot of nights out this week and need to make the pennies stretch!)

The new songs blended in well with the older stuff. As I said I’m a novice with this band, but there seemed no noticeable difference between old and new. 

The date of the gig (Friday the 13th) didn’t go unmentioned, especially as before the second song the drum kit had to be gaffer taped into place, or their was a chance the drummer would end up in the audience by the third song. And at one point one of the amps switched itself off!

Highlights – Fading Colours, Go Well Diamond Heart and the “encore” (they never left the stage) of And When The War Is Over and Heroes Never Die.

In all they were onstage from around 8.15 right through to the venue curfew of 11pm, with a 20 minute break somewhere in the middle. That’s around two and half hours of quality entertainment for under £15! Brilliant! Especially as the band appeared to be having just as good a time as the audience. I can think of a few far more expensive concerts I’ve been to that were shorter and didn’t offer any form of audience engagement.


Mostly Autumn Official Site

Monday, 16 May 2011

Facebook Page

I've stated a Facebook page for this blog. 
Not quite sure what I'll do with it. Probably feed the blog posts to it and maybe link to photos or something. 
Anyway, if you're on facebook and fancy it, check it out by clicking here!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Solid Silver 60s Show 2011, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

I have skipped a couple of years of Solid Silver 60s shows for various reasons, but last night my best friend Ellie and I went along to the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for an evening of fun. Actually we started at the Philharmonic Pub for drinks with Toni from the Dakotas who is currently sitting in on keyboards with The Merseybeats. There was a fair amount of catching up to do as I'd not seen him for ages. I mustn't leave that long again!

Vanity Fare were on stage when we took our seats, we were just in time for Hitching A Ride. Vanity Fare provided the backing for all the solo artists on the bill. They are jolly good at it too.

Wayne Fontana took the stage in his white suit and cowboy hat. Still in fine voice he entertained the crowd in his own inimitable style. With classics like Um Um Um Um Um Um and Game Of Love we were already dancing in our seats and singing along.

Following Wayne was Chris Farlowe.  It had been a while since we'd seen him on a Manfreds tour. He still sounds great. The set list included Handbags and Gladrags, a rather nice new song the title of which escapes me right now and ended, of course, with Out Of Time. 

After the interval it was time for Dave Berry. Opening with Memphis Tennessee and working his way as only he can through a cover of ZZ Top's Give Me All Your Loving, Mama, Little Things (cue us joining in on the backing vocals) and The Crying Game he gave a great show. He even came back for a kind of encore, which was a version of the BeeGees' First of May. 

Next was Terry Sylvester who was in both the Escorts and the Hollies for a while. As a local lad he must have had a lot of family in judging from the reaction from the audience. Vanity Fare did a fabulous job of recreating the Hollies-esque harmonies for the set. 

The evening was rounded off by The Merseybeats. They very quickly had the crowd going and even had some up on their feet. By the end we were all on our feet actually! The band never fail to entertain. We got Wishin' And Hopin', a coupel of Everly Brothers tunes, Don't Turn Around, I Think of You, a version of Live and Let Die with pyros and strobe lights...and that was topped with a crowd pleasing rendition of Sorrow before they belted out a version of Hi Ho Silver Lining. 

The finale was Glad All Over with all the acts back on stage and the crowd clapping and stomping along. We had a fabulous night and it reminded us how much fun we have at these things. Personally I'm already eager to find out the line up for next year!

Full set of photos here at my flickr account.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Rick Wakeman - Pacific Road Arts Centre, Birkenhead

This was my first Rick Wakeman solo concert. I had seen a couple of DVDs so pretty much knew what to expect.

The format was simple. The stage was set with a piano and a microphone. Rick introduced each piece with an amusing anecdote before sitting at the piano. Lots of the stories are well known, but he does love telling them. In fact he seemed to be really enjoying himself up there.

His piano playing is quite something to watch. Luckily from where I was sat he didn't have his back completely to us and I found myself quite mesmerised by his technique.

Highlight were A Glimpse of Heaven, You And I/Wonderous Stories, Morning Has Broken, Dance of A Thousand Lights (karaoke version - he played over a recording of the orchestral bits.) and Catherine Howard which is rapidly becoming one of my favourite pieces of his music.

There was even audience participation. We all got to be birds on The Birdman of Alcatraz.

It was a fun evening all round, and really do hope the opportunity arises that I can go and see him again.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Five Songs


It’s quite simple – just list five songs you really into at the moment; not your five greatest songs of all time, but five songs you’ve been listening to a lot recently, for any given value of “Recently”. And give a few words explaining why.

Note - I have previously posted a Five Song thing here. But I didn’t look at it till I had finished this post.

Brandenburger – The Nice

I’ve just been reading about The Nice and filling in the gaps in my CD collection. This one particularly sticks in my head because for a few days before I acquired it on CD I had the Brandenburg Concerto playing over and over in my head (I think I’d heard it on a TV show or something.)

Friends Like These – T’Pau

It’s quite sad that this song as been applicable in my life at least twice. Still I currently don’t have any friends like these, I have fabulous, open-minded, caring, empathic friends of all kinds. And all praise to the powers that be that this is the case. Still like the song though and have done since the album came out.

Somebody Who Cares – Paul McCartney

I’ll admit it, I have a soft spot for the Tug Of War/Pipes Of Peace albums. This tune lives in my head and surfaces every now and again. Lyrically Paul captures the frustrations of life. It’s a simple analogy but effective. “Like somebody has taken the wheels off your car when you had somewhere to go” He couples this with the assurance that there’s “always someone somewhere, you should know by now there’s always somebody who cares” and he’s probably right!

Shoot To Thrill – AC/DC

The Iron Man 2 soundtrack is one that I often listen to on the way to work. It blows away the cobwebs as well as blocking out the general chatter that drives me insane at that time of day on that bus route – works on the journey back too!

My Resistance Is Low – Hoagy Carmichael

This tune is quite the earworm. And it’s well and truly stuck in my brain!

(stolen from here by the way.)

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Quick list of my forthcoming gigs.

20th March - Toyah in Liverpool
22nd April - Joe Brown in Liverpool
23rd April - Rick Wakeman in Birkenhead
13th May -  Mostly Autumn in Manchester
17th to 24th May - International Pop Overthrow Festival in Liverpool
29th May - Roger Hodgson in Liverpool
28th July - Iron Maiden in Manchester
13th November - Yes in Manchester

Also possibly 
The Zombies in Liverpool (I think that's on 18th May, but it depends if there's a scedule clash with anyone I want to see at IPO)
and I am still saving up for High Voltage in July.

The list will of course expand as the year progresses. 

Notable by their absence is Crosby And Nash (much as I think it will sound amazing in the Liverpool Philharmonic I couldn't justify the ticket price at the time), The Monkees (again I couldn't justify the ticket price as it included getting to Manchester because I really do not like the Liverpool Echo Arena as a venue) and Ringo Starr (far too expensive for what is on offer!)

Best Quote Ever!

"Progressive is an attitude rather than a genre, isn't it?"

This quote is from Matt Stevens in his recent interview with Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine.

I love it.

I occasionally sit and ponder the various musical genres and still can't even begin to understand them properly. I like all kinds of music, and I'm not keen on being pigeon holed due to whichever type of music I appear to listen to the most.

I remember when I first joined and someone I know in real life added me there. They seemed concerned that whatever system they use to compare you to your friend meant our compatibility was low. Hardly, we had other things in common other than music and I like my friends to have diverse tastes. This is how I get introduced to and am able to explore different music.

In simple terms, I like what I like. If that skews your impression of me in someway, I'm afraid that's your problem. So yes - I will happily listen to a couple of hours worth of prog and follow it with cheesy pop, then a bit of classical music, maybe something with a jazz feel, perhaps a touch of Rolf Harris followed by some battle metal or traditional folk.

And Matt Stevens' music is in that mix too. I find his work a fabulous soundtrack for winding down at the end of the day or for working on the computer. You can find lots of his music by clicking here and you can pay what you want for it too.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Jacqui & Bridie's Folk Club: 50th Year and Final Night - Liverpool Philharmonic 23rd January 2011

Some of you may know that I spend a lot of time in Liverpool, in fact I am there all week now I work full time in the city, going home at weekends. What you may not realise is why I first I fell for this city.  It wasn't due to the Beatles as many would suspect given that I am a fan and my day job involves them more than a fair bit.

My love affair with the city of Liverpool began with the songs my dad would sing to me as a child, and many of these would be songs performed by Jacqui & Bridie and The Spinners.  (Incidentally, I would go on to a deep appreciation of The Mersey Poets to further my affections for the city before finally proceeding to The Beatles.)

When it was first suggested that there was going to be a concert to celebrate Jacqui & Bridie's Folk Club I immediately knew that I wanted to be there and, more importantly, I wanted to take my dad. I didn't particularly need to know who was going to be on the bill, when the tickets went on sale seats were purchased near the front and dad's Christmas/Birthday was dutifully sorted. The tickets were a small price to pay for the musical grounding I had been given.

The night was fantastic. From the first song, Kilgary Mountain, the audience were in fine voice, and the joy in the venue was almost tangible. The folk club ideal was upheld throughout the night, if you knew the words - sing along, if you picked up the chorus - sing along! The songs were punctuated with "terrible" jokes from Jacqui which the audience would either giggle at or greet with a well meant groan.

Everyone had a good time, whether they were on stage or in the audience. We were all a part of it and it was such an amazing thing of which to be a part.

It's hard to pick out highlights when I enjoyed all it so very much. Perhaps the most enduring memory will be Jacqui almost crying with laughter at John Gorman's hilarious performance of Ten Whisky Bottles. Jacqui remained on stage for the entire duration of the concert either listening to or joining in with the acts as they came on stage.

The evening was to mark the end of the folk club, but Jacqui went to pains to point out that she herself was not retiring and would be still available should anyone want her to appear anywhere.

The evening ended with the assembled musicians and the audience singing The Leaving Of Liverpool, followed - after loud calls for more - by the lovely Wild Mountain Thyme.

I was honoured to be there, even more honoured to share it with very special people and still hold the joy of the evening in my heart when I think about it.

Link to an online version of the programme for the evening. - for background information and details of performers.

Kilgary Mountain.

The Leaving Of Liverpool.

Link to youtube playlist of videos from the evening (in no particular order)

Thank you to Stephen for the photos.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

My Top Ten Artists and Tracks of 2010

According to my profile.

Top Ten Artists of 2010
1  Yes
2  The Buggles
3  Emerson, Lake & Palmer
4  Huey Lewis & The News
5  Dolly Parton
6  Kirby Krackle
7  Asia
9  Strawbs
10 Mostly Autumn

Top Ten Tracks of 2010
1  The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star
2  Yes – Starship Trooper: Life Seeker (Single Version)
3  Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers – Islands in the Stream
4  Honeybug – Anything For You
5  Toto – Africa
6  Yes – Tempus Fugit
7  Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Nobody Loves You Like I Do
8  Dolly Parton – Here You Come Again
9  Dolly Parton – 9 To 5
10 Strawbs – Lay Down
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