Sunday, 29 December 2013
Monday, 14 October 2013
My gig buddy for this adventure was my best friend Ellie. We grabbed some food and swift pint and headed off to the Arena nice and early. It was quite lucky we did as the lady on the door scanned the ticket and told us we were being upgraded. We had cheap seats at the back of the lower part of the Arena, but all of those had been covered over and we were upgraded to a block closer to the stage. I'm assuming that it didn't sell out and we were moved so we weren't all sprawled out all over the place.
Opening with Carry On/Questions, it was so lovely to hear these guys singing. The harmonies are lovely, particularly from Graham and David with Stephen Stills adding a more edgy vocal lessening the softness. (But in a good way)
Military Madness followed and then came a bit of heckling from the audience, mostly aimed at Crosby not being loud enough. (The sound was perfectly fine, so I've no idea what they were on about.) One of the responses from the stage was simply to "listen louder!" So we did!
Two more classics were followed by a Crosby and Nash tune called Lay Me Down.
The song that got the audience on their feet in appreciation down on the floor of the arena was Bluebird. I guess there was a few Buffalo Springfield fans in that night! Super version.
A trio of new songs followed this - Crosby's being the strongest (from an album due out in February) and Nash's being the weakest. It was still good, but I tend to find a lot of these nostalgia trip type songs sound the same to me. Stills dedicated his to his wife as it was her birthday.
Before launching into a rather sublime Deja Vu, Crosby informed us that his role in the band was to "write the weird sh*t"
Stills then powered us into the interval will a full on audience participation version of Love The One Your With.
Part two brought us Helplessly Hoping and Just A Song Before I Go.
I am always in two minds about Guinnevere. A lot of the time I find myself skipping it, but then sometimes when I'm listening in the dark with the good headphones it becomes a song that I can get lost in.
Treetop Flyer sounded pretty awesome and obviously pleased the Stephen Stills fan in the audience.
A short interlude of What Are Their Names was followed by another new song called Burning For The Buddha about Tibetan monks setting fire to themselves in protest.
Ellie had to leave after this in order to catch her coach home. From this point on my time was limited too. It was getting late, I had a lift back and to leave them hanging around outside till the very end wouldn't have been very nice. It was a bit hard to enjoy the last two song I was able to stay for as I was clock watching then. As the final notes of Our House died away I made for the door and headed home.
Sadly I missed some of the tunes I enjoy hearing live the most, which are the last three songs before the encore and I can only imagine that the audience fully appreciate For What It's Worth.
I hope I get another to chance to see them, for various reasons it had been twenty years since I saw them last.
Unedited Photo Set
Cropped and Edited Photos
Sunday, 1 September 2013
Produced by Mark Ronson the track bounces along quite merrily, sounding a bit like a throwaway b-side from the early eighties. It's quite catchy, the harmonies are nice and it contains elements that many are describing as Beatle-esque. Personally I think it's more like Pet Sounds/Smile era Beach Boys in places than the Beatles and it lacks a killer middle-eight to enhance it's catchiness (something I don't feel I've heard since the days of Flaming Pie) but it's a jolly good tune and if the rest of the album follows these lines it will be worth a listen or two.
Saturday, 31 August 2013
It's being organised by family members and all the proceeds will go to the Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation set up by his daughters to help look after Davy's horses after his untimely death. It promises to be a very special event for Davy's fans.
You can find out more about the event by clicking here.
And you can find out more about the DJEMF by clicking here.
Additional Info - Just found out that The Shorty Blackwells will be performing at the event. Visit their facebook page by clicking here.
Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Tuesday, 6 August 2013
The stories between the songs didn't sound laboured, they flowed from him showing he was happy to share them with us all, though maybe he needs to work on some of his jokes.
Other stand out moments - breaking briefly into One Love after his reggae version of Time and Word and the audience singing along, America, Your Move/All Good People with audience participation, getting everyone on their feet for Roundabout, needing a prompt when he forgot the words of And You And I, and a cracking rendition of the Beatles' A Day In The Life on ukulele.
Click here for all my photos from the night.
The YouTube playlist below features Sweet Dreams, One Love, Flight Of The Moorglade, I'll Find My Way Home, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, You Got The Light, And You And I, talking about seeing the Beatles, Turn Of The Century, A Day In The Life and Wondrous Stories.
Friday, 26 July 2013
I have already played this album more than Dave's last album Live With What You Know and I am extremely biased about the opening track of that one!
Ashtray Makeup is a mix of punky, power-poppy tunes and sweet melodic pieces, though emphasis is on the former. Personal favourites are A Little Messed Up and Long Way To Go, both reminiscent of the late, great Ramones. If you were in the audience for Dave's IPO gigs in the UK you would have been treated to a live version of the gently melodic Wake Up Song, another album highlight.
Here's the video for Gini's Still Trying
Download Ashtray Makeup from Amazon
I should confess that I bought this album because I know Ramage, it's not a genre I would necessarily go in search of although I have a few friends who will play me tracks when we hang out. Having said that, I'm glad I bought it because I genuinely think it's a cracking album.
I don't enough about the genre to make comparisons to help prospective listeners decide whether to take a punt or not, so just follow the links below and make up your own minds.
The sound on this album feels so bloody epic. The production is multi-dimensional and spot on for balancing the driving rhythm with the powering guitars and the strong vocals.
I'm guessing that in the ambient/prog metal genre there's not much talk of hooks but buried in the production layers are riffs and hooks that you find yourself listening out for on later listens.
The clarity of the vocals stands out throughout the album as does the obvious professionalism of the musicians and producer. But this doesn't make it too clinical, the sound is emotional and epic and powerful.
It ended up on heavy rotation on my mp3 player for the journeys to and from work for about two weeks after I downloaded it, and still gets plenty of play.
Download Feel the Waves from Amazon
The distinctive vocals and groovy harmonies evoke the spirit of the best bits of the 60s garage band sound, but with better production. The layers of production hide subtle hooks and riffs which burrow into the psyche and attach the songs to the memory, demanding your attention in the most pleasant of ways.
Things to listen out for -
- The fab guitar sound on Bad Penny Overture, an instrumental track that sounds like a modern take on a classic film or TV theme that you can't quite put your finger on.
- Horns adding a subtle punch in the background of A Better Place
- Haunting mellotron and strings adding extra dimensions to Sunday Driving South
- The harmonies on As Above So Below.
Official Web Site
Review of Bad Penny Opera by Minty & The Beeb
Buy Bad Penny Opera on CD from Amazon
Download Bad Penny Opera from Amazon
Sunday, 30 June 2013
Venue: RNCM, Manchester
Gig Buddy : Phil
A few years ago as I was embarking on my first adventures into prog I asked my friend Phil where I should start with VDGG and his initial response was to note that I really was serious about prog then. After that I became distracted by other prog bands old and new but would still revisit VDGG occasionally so when the opportunity arose (and the hotel bill for the Cheltenham trip came to a lot less than I thought it would) I handed over my hard earned cash to Phil for a ticket to see them live.
Not a penny of that ticket money was wasted. I really enjoyed the concert. The band looked so ordinary on the stage that you could have passed them on the street and not realised but the sound they made was extraordinary. Every note was well executed and every song perfectly structured.
The undoubted highlight was A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers which was welcomed warmly by the appreciative audience and applauded loudly when completely.
The show lasted just under 2 hours with no interval and the set list was eight songs long. However no song felt uncomfortably long and you really didn't notice the passage of time. What was strange was emerging from a gig and it still being light outside.
Thursday, 20 June 2013
Venue: Centaur, Cheltenham
Gig Buddies: Phil (both nights), Alex (second night)
Previously I'd only seen Rick on a solo show so didn't really know what to expect from a bigger show. After an interesting day (see my personal blog) my gig buddy, Phil, and I got into the venue in plenty of time to hang around in the bar for a little while. Here Phil bumped into a couple of people that he had met at the Gloucester show the day before. This led to my favourite moment at prog gigs with Phil,
Anyway, that's all by the by really. On to the show. There was an orchestra, a choir and the English Rock Ensemble on the stage. It was just big enough to house them all. The orchestra tuning elicited applause from wags in the audience on the first night, but they got the last laugh when, on the second night, the lead violin took a little bow at the end of the tuning.
The sound on the first night took a while to get properly balanced, a problem that was solved by the second half and certainly gone by the second night. Lengthy pieces such as vast chunks of The Myths And Legends of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table in the first half and the same of Journey To The Centre of the Earth in the second half were neatly balanced with shorter tunes like After The Ball and Gone But Not Forgotten. The
Highlights for me included a beautiful choral version of Morning Has Broken (arranged for David Croft's memorial service), the medley of Help and Eleanor Rigby arranged in the style of Saint Saens and Prokofiev respectively (the former with a plaintive vocal from Ashley Holt which adds another dimension to the song), Catherine Howard from The Six Wives of Henry VIII and the Journey and Arthur excerpts.
The music was punctuated with introductions and explanations from Rick, at least one of which I hadn't heard or read before. Not that I mind the same stories, it's all in the timing and he's a funny guy and good story teller.
Both evenings were rounded off by a version of the Yes song Starship Trooper, culminating in Wurm. Of course Starship Trooper looms large in the legend of this blog. (It's where I got its title from.)
Now I am looking forward to the opportunity to see a full production of Journey To The Centre of The Earth next year.
Huge thanks to Phil for organising all the tickets and logistics as well as getting a programme signed for me at the Wakeman with Wakeman with Wakeman and Wakeman event in Gloucester on the Saturday.
Full set of unedited photos from both nights on flickr here.
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
The Revolver Tour involves a giant wheel with songs, jackpots and jokers listed on there. (The jackpots lead to a run of about three songs on the given theme and the jokers mean the spinner gets to pick anything on the wheel.) Audience members come on stage, spin the wheel and then remain on stage, either sat at a lounge bar or dancing in the go-go cage, for the duration of their songs. It's a great format. Everyone feels involved and there's a party atmosphere for the whole night.
The idea is that large chunks of the set list is left to random chance, but there's a heck of a lot of cheating going on, still as the man himself said "If you can't cheat in Liverpool, where can you cheat?"
A liberal smattering of hits and old favourites are usually required to keep an audience happy, and the show delivered not only these but a few other delights too.
Highlights then -
- First and foremost, if there's a theremin on stage, I'm a happy girl!
- Any song that ended with a strong vocal delivered without the aid of a microphone. This venue is amazing for sound and Elvis utilised this to great effect throughout the night.
- Girl's Talk in the middle of the "Girl" jackpot spin
- Watching the Detectives ending with Elvis walking through the audience, out the back of the hall and ending up on the balcony amongst the audience up there singing Almost Blue.
- Tramp The Dirt Down (for personal reasons this made me a little over emotional, but this is not the time or place for the whys and wherefores of that.)
- The powerful finale of Pump It Up and (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love And Understanding with the audience on their feet and dancing away.
I came away feeling elated and joyful, and that I had had a bloody good time. What more can you ask for?
Set list and other information here. (Elvis Costello Wiki page)
My photos from the show on flickr.
Friday, 24 May 2013
As the madness of International Pop Overthrow Liverpool subsides it's time to get ready for June's musical adventures. These include Elvis Costello, a couple of Rick Wakeman gigs and Van Der Graaf Generator.
I also have a bunch of stuff to review from a couple of IPO bands,so hopefully there will be a bit of something for everyone.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
The first one features Mark Foley on vocals for a lovely cover of Brian Wilson's Love And Mercy
And the second one is The Girl From Southport which they played for the first time yesterday.
It was a fun-filled set including the world debut of a song called The Girl From Southport. Chris, the drummer, heard the song for the first time via Mark's phone in the band room moments before they went on stage!
Dave has a new CD out and played a new track from that too. Expect a review as soon as I've had time to catch up with things.
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Saturday, 18 May 2013
Up until Friday morning I had seen two different three piece line ups, a four piece version of the band and a mighty seven piece Honeybug. Friday was meant to be a five piece line up, but things fell through at the very last minute so it was power trio of keyboards, drums and guitar. I doubt most people in the audience could tell that there had been such little rehearsal time in this format. I certainly wouldn't have guessed if I hadn't been told.
Oodles of old favourites, where I have come to know the acoustic versions so well over the years that when the backing vocals weren't there it was momentarily disorientating. A new song- yay! And cracking cover of Badfinger's No Matter What. (You can't beat a bit of Badfinger, let's face it!) Fabulous!
Friday, 17 May 2013
If I can get a connection in the Cavern Club later I may post here direct from there later on. I'll only have my phone with me tonight so I apologise in advance for spelling mistakes etc... Big fingers on a little keyboard.
I have been trying to get emailing photos to the blog directly from my camera to work but alas it seems that it's not a very good function. (If I recall there's usually a massive delay with emailed posts on blogger)
Thursday, 16 May 2013
I skipped day two of International Pop Overthrow Liverpool to go and see Rockshow at the pictures.
This Wings Live footage looms large in my fandom and has done since my first Beatles convention in 1990. Bootleg videos did the rounds of all the penpals getting paler and fuzzier which each copy and then even worse with rewinding favourite bits to watch over and over. There are so many things that we still inject into conversations or do at gigs that stem from this footage.
On the face of it it seems economically silly to pay a tenner to see something once that you can buy on DVD soon for about the same price and that you have already seen a million times, but it was great to see it on a big screen with a bunch of like minded people.
They have remastered the footage, although there's only so much you can do with 70s footage shot in based light with odd focussing problem, and the sound. The sound is fantastic, the instrumentation is clear and you hear things you never noticed as much before such as the sexy bassline for Let Me Roll It.
This is Wings at their peak live performance. The group dynamics mean that Paul isn't the only person to take on lead vocalist duty and I really do feel that Paul is better as part of group rather than as an artist with a backing band. The joy of playing is apparent throughout Rockshow, from everyone on the stage. It also made me realise how much Linda is missed. In the newly recorded introduction to the cinematic release Paul comments that she was very much the cheerleader of the band encouraging the audience to participate and clap along.
The set list is pretty damn perfect -a reasonable smattering of Beatles tunes including a frantic version of Lady Madonna but no Hey Jude, no Let It Be - and all cracking selection of Wings songs including Silly Love Songs which was the latest single release around the time of these shows. The final encore of Soily was worth the cinema ticket alone!
There's no fireworks, no fancy screens, in fact the light show was fairly basic by comparison to other shows of the era, so it was all about the music and that is just as it should be.
And now I'm off to preorder the DVD and gets the beers in for the inevitable Rockshow evening with my mates!
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
I had spotted this band on the schedule and thought the name sounded brilliant so wanted to go along and see what they sounded like. I wasn't disappointed. They were brilliantly loud and simply rocked the pub. Erring towards the heavier side of powerpop the songs drove home their hooks with gusto. I was very tempted to stay out for their second set in the Cavern Club later in the evening. I picked up a free CD so expect comments on then when I get around to playing all my IPO booty after the event is over.
Here's some links!
Official Facebook Page
Official MySpace Page
And here's a video!
There's another video here.
The tickets for the show were obviously printed in advance and stated no support, however upon arrival at the Philharmonic I was quite pleased to discover that Anne-Marie Helder was opening the show. An unexpected treat. Her set was acoustic, her voice filled the hall magnificently and she was received very warmly by those that were in their seats. I assume a lot of those who hadn't entered the auditorium straight away were still queuing at the Merchandise stall to get things signed by Steve Hackett. It was quite a queue when we took our seats about quarter of an hour before the start of the support.
The main feature was excellent. The band are great. Steve makes it all look very easy while remaining passionate about the music and it looked like they all had a whale of a time on stage. I loved it. Nad Sylvan was dramatic, whimsical and thoroughly entertaining throughout. Everything about the show felt spot on. The audience reaction was positive and it just felt good to be there. Quite often I would find myself drifting off, not through boredom, but just off with the music for a while before gently coming back to reality.
The visual aspects of the show, the lights, the screens and the four huge anglepoise lamps enhanced the experience rather than dominated it as can sometimes happen. It was all a pleasant experience that has made me realise that I need to play the Genesis Revisited 2 album a little more often and I should really just book a couple of days off work to listen to some of the original albums and take them all in properly.
Link to concert photos on flickr.
Friday, 10 May 2013
Over the years I have made some amazing friends at this event and eagerly await their arrival in Liverpool every May. There are some notable people not attending this year and they will be missed, but that won't spoil the fun.
For more details about International Pop Overthrow visit the official site with information about the events in the USA, Canada and London.
Instead of flooding this blog with lots of short posts from the event I have set up a tumblr account here, but I will be posting stuff here too, and I recommend keeping an eye on Minty And The Beeb Go Gigging for regular updates too!
Norman Kelsey - On The Rebound
The former Rush Hour Soul front man moves from tunes that make you boogie to slow, soulful seductive numbers with ease on this release. It's nice and easy to listen to, but you wouldn't file it under easy listening. It reminds me a lot of 70s soul offerings. The songs feel comfortable and familiar quite quickly and it's almost impossible not to tap your foot or nod along to tracks like So Sophisticated or Huckleberry Finn. If comparisons have to be made I would plump for a mixture of the essences of Prince and Smokey Robinson with the commercial air of The Stylistics.
Special mention must be made of the track "Supermodels With Gatling Guns" A title with a lot of promise that doesn't disappoint!
Norman Kelsey is appearing at the IPO Liverpool event on Thursday May 16th at 5.45 in The Cavern Pub, and on Friday May 17th at 5pm on the back stage at the Cavern Club (get there early for that one and check out Honeybug as well who are on before him!)
More International Pop Overthrow Liverpool teasers and goodies later!
Saturday, 23 March 2013
Anyway, Frontiers Records posted this EPK on youtube yesterday to introduce Sam Coulson who is replacing Steve Howe on guitar.