Gig Review: @WilkoJohnson at @CambridgeCornEx , 14th October 2016


There’s very little I can say about a Wilko Johnson gig that hasn’t already been said in the majority of reviews. We all know he’s returned from the brink, against all the odds, and is still going strong. We all know what an incredible musician and songwriter he is, both with Dr Feelgood and as a solo artist. We all know that his loyal band members Norman Watt-Roy and Dylan Howe have been chosen because they are faultless, have impressive stage presence and are exciting to listen to. I don’t really need to tell you any of that though, do I.


Sometimes, though, even knowing all of the details like those above can’t prepare you for attending a gig which culminates in everything being resolved in your mind, where you feel perfectly relaxed to be yourself and like you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

First off, he selected a wonderful support act in the shape of Aaron Keylock, a young Blues Prog Rock guitarist and singer with his trusty bassist and drummer by his side.


I was blown away by this guy – he is seriously worth checking out. Here’s his new single “Against the Grain”:


Wilko with his wild duck walk, wild eyes and even wilder guitar playing, Norman’s bass solos that make you shiver both inside and out and Howe’s bombastic, full-bodied beat tightly melded together to form a musical force that got people rising from their seats to move every muscle, pore and follicle. A good old boogie-woogie to classic blues and rock n’ roll, and all is right with the world.


Video by Alien Outback on YouTube:

Until next time, “Bye Bye…”!


Gig Review: Jean Michel Jarre, Birmingham, 8th October 2016 @jeanmicheljarre @Bcardarena

I had been waiting for that night since I was 10 years old. That was the last time I saw Jean Michel Jarre live, at one of his two Destination Docklands gigs in London on 8th October 1988. Exactly 28 years later to the very day, I was getting to see him again, this time at Birmingham Barclaycard Arena.

At last, the time came, and commencing with “The Heart of Noise”, the sound of electronica expanded to fill every square millimetre of that arena.


My 13-year-old daughter was immediately transfixed by the light themes, and was suitably impressed with both the creative, scientific patterns produced, and the stories told with lights and lasers. Considering she’s not an easy girl to please, I breathed a sigh of relief that she was to enjoy this gig as much as I would!

JMJ told us quite early on that he was glad to be starting his tour in the UK – he went on to say that this is his second home, with or without Brexit. He then performed his collaboration with Edward Snowden from 2015, entitled “Exit”. I love the haphazard drum beat in this tune, and of course what Snowden says mid-track… “What may not have value to you today may have value to an entire population, an entire people, an entire way of life tomorrow, and if you don’t stand up for it I will.”

Looking around me, there was a constant joint nodding of heads and dancing in seats going on. Just one guy in row 11 was losing his inhibitions to the music from the start. I like that guy.

It wasn’t long, though, before JMJ invited us to get up, dance and enjoy ourselves. He also requested that security relax for once… that was sadly largely ignored. However, there was suddenly a festival atmosphere – people flocked to the floor instead of staying in their seats, and it was an absolute joy to be part of that.


Even now, it feels like he is ahead of his time, but don’t forget that he was doing this 40 years ago and it sounded equally as good then, if not better, as no-one had approached music in quite the same way before.


Jean Michel Jarre’s music is nothing short of euphoric. Many people consider electronica tunes to all be the same, but he is no one trick pony – he continues to explore style and genre with flair and passion, and the result is an infectious gathering of unforgettable tunes.

Another recent collaboration was with Pet Shop Boys and is entitled “Brick England”, which almost conceals its poetic lyrics under the music. A stunning track, and such a pleasure to hear it live.

Of course, old favourites weren’t forgotten, and to the entire crowd’s delight, JMJ performed “Oxygѐne” 2, 4 & 8 and “Équinoxe” 4 & 7. He then finished off by treating us to a wonderful surprise – new track “Oxygѐne 17”! This is to be on the upcoming album which will be released in December to mark 40 years since “Oxygѐne” was released.

Jean Michel Jarre finished off the evening with “Stardust”, which he produced with Armin van Buuren in 2015. This is a superb collaboration and proves that classic electronica can be melded with the more modern. The perfect end to a dreamy, magical evening.


Gig Review: Ugly Kid Joe, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, 7th October 2016 @UglyKidJoeBand @RescueRooms

The first time I saw Ugly Kid Joe, they were supporting Bon Jovi at Wembley Stadium on June 24th 1995. The image of Whitfield Crane climbing up the scaffold tower is my lasting memory of that entire show. The 16 year old me liked that rebellious act a lot!

Fast forward just over 21 years to 7th October 2016, my second time of seeing them is at a comparably tiny venue, Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, and I’m getting up close and personal instead of watching from what seemed like miles away all those years ago.

I arrived just in time to catch Mr Shiraz, the first support act. They were a suitable combination of noisy, brash, bass-heavy in places tunes accompanied by a very smiley singer who knew how to work an audience. Met to appreciative applause, these lads and girl from Huddersfield were an energising opener.


Up next was Tim McMillan. It was just him, an acoustic guitar, and a penchant for making that weird noise caused by slapping your cheek whilst your mouth is open. He’s an Aussie who precedes the songs by tells far-fetched tales in a deadpan voice – you could almost be forgiven for believing what he says, he sounds that convincing. He had the audience in stitches and simultaneously in awe of the music he was playing. He’s really very clever. I’d like to see him again sometime.


When Ugly Kid Joe took to the stage, it was to a thrilled crowd – to say they were enthusiastic in their applause is something of an understatement!


Starting out with an intro, the band minus Crane entered the stage – I must say, Shannon Larkin was dressed (in?!)appropriately in just his underpants for a hot, sweaty night on stage playing drums – you can never un-see some things! Cordell Crockett strutted around the stage with attitude, all the while wielding his excellent bass like a weapon, always ready to attack.


From the very first song, Neighbor (which I noticed was spelt with a U on their set list – boring fact for you there), Crane & co had their audience in the palm of their hand. The room erupted in collective voice, and at points all I could see was hair as a sea of heads was nodding vigorously.


The guys proceeded through a set of consistently popular songs from back in the day – Jesus Rode a Harley, C.U.S.T., Panhandlin’ Prince, Goddamn Devil and Milkman’s Son all made appearances.


Highlights of the set included Crane watching the crowd as they sang Cats in the Cradle at an incredibly high volume setting, hearing So Damn Cool (my favourite UKJ track) and the fitting inclusion of a song we all love, Ace of Spades by Motörhead.

Of course, they ended somewhat predictably with Everything About You, but if they did anything else it would have been disappointing, I think!


The overriding sense I’m left with from this gig is that Ugly Kid Joe are incredibly grateful that people are still turning out to see them all these years later, and that they are enjoying every minute of being so close to their adoring public. This is something that is far more apparent to me in a smaller venue, where expressions and actions can be seen far more easily. An absolute pleasure to witness.


Reblogged: Aladdinsane (Bowie tribute act) review by Music and Mayhem.

On the Friday just past I went to see a David Bowie Tribute Band called Aladdinsane. Here is the set list: After All Five Years Starman Boys Keep Swinging Golden Years Life On Mars Moonage Daydream Drive In Saturday Look Back In Anger China Girl Queen Bitch Rock N Roll Suicide Diamond Dogs Ashes […]

via Review on Aladdinsane – David Bowie Tribute Band — musicandmayhem

Album Review: Soviet Films – “Cetacean”@sovietfilmsband #NewMusic #MusicIsEverything

It’s been over two years since Soviet Films released their debut album, “Victory Songs”. At last they’re back with their second album, “Cetacean” (definition: an aquatic, mainly marine mammal eg a whale or dolphin).

In the past couple of years or so, these guys seem to have been working on a stronger sound. They’ve also had a bit of a band re-shuffle, with Andy now on bass and Lee on guitar.

The album kicks off with a lovely, dynamic instrumental track, “The Flow” – it made me think they’d had a serious change of direction, until the next tune commenced…

“Kraken” brings the mix of brash, occasionally nu-metal style vocals and layered melody that is so reminiscent of the previous record. I’m listening on an afternoon overtaken by a particularly impressive thunderstorm, and it fits the mood perfectly.

Next up is “Barrow, AK”. This song provides a multitude of contrasting sounds which enthral the ears and vocal harmonies galore. I love this band’s penchant for what they describe as random time signatures – that’s not easy to pull off, but to me it sounds excellent.

Soviet Films 1

“Brace Position” is a bit more of a tough sell, but is guitar rich and has a tight sound. I like the little guitar nuances about half way through the track, but for me the rest of the album demonstrates more complexities which I think suit their sound more.

The penultimate song, “Loomings”, is one of those songs that pleasantly washes over the listener. It has a more mellow feel than the rest of the album, despite the heavier elements of the tune.

Instrumental track “The Ebb” completes the album beautifully and accurately showcases what Soviet Films are all about. It also leaves an impression that there is much more to come.

Soviet Films

With just the right levels of wandering into new territory and staying in a familiar place, I’m looking forward to hearing what they do during the next moves in their journey.

Soviet Films are:

Mud – Vocals/Guitar
Lee – Guitar/Vocals
Peter – Drums/Vocals
Andy – Bass

You can buy the album on Bandcamp or iTunes and follow the band’s goings on using Twitter and Facebook.

Album Review: Hey! Hello! – “Hey! Hello! Too!”@HeyHelloBand

Hey! Hello! is one of the ever prolific Ginger Wildheart’s musical projects. By no means a one trick pony, with this band Ginger focuses on spirited, lively power pop-rock. Their eponymous debut album displayed this perfectly, and they’re now following up with album number two, “Hey! Hello! Too!”, due for release on 23rd September on the Round Records label*.

The band themselves have this to say about their musical offerings…

‘Music is the sound of feelings, and we are all the creators of our own feelings – positive or negative. Hey! Hello! choose to be positive, therefore our music reflects that intention. This is the sound of joy.’

Hey Hello 2

The album kicks off with “All Around the World”. Catchy from the onset, I have a feeling this song is going to be doing the rounds in my head for quite some time to come…! Feverish energy and rising vocals make this the most rousing, uplifting tune on the album and gets you into the zone for what is to come.

Hey! Hello! have the ability to make a cheerful song out of negativity, confusion and unhappiness. “This Ain’t Love”, “Can’t Stand You (Hurting Me) and “Let’s Get Emotional” all do exactly that, and I’m sure those lyrics will resonate with many people – I can certainly identify with it from past relationships!

The relentless vim and verve continues throughout the whole album – the alternative, erm, romance of “Glass of Champagne”, the brilliantly humorous “Kids” (“creepy little motherfuckers”) and the uncontainable “Forever Young” (which caused the inevitable head nod) all link faultlessly together, and lead perfectly into the latter half of the album.

“Loud and Fucking Clear” is, for me, the front-runner of the album. The vocals are strongest on this song, and we are treated to striding guitar riffs and determined, throbbing drums galore. I entirely agree with the sentiment within the lyrics, too – “so hold on tight, we’re getting through my dear”.

Hey Hello 1 - Copy

The next two tracks, “History of Lovers” and “Body Parts” provide an unsullied, spunky and provoking lead up to the end of the album, and keeps the listeners’ attention at a point when it can so easily drift off.

“Perfect” is the ideal album closer, as it makes you want the album to carry on, thereby encouraging you to press play and start it all over again… I was more than happy to do exactly that!

This isn’t a grower of an album; it’s already fully formed. I just hope it retains its appeal and doesn’t become a fader – it’s certainly going to be on my personal playlist for the foreseeable future!

Hey! Hello! is – Ai (drums/vocals) – the calm one, Toshi (bass) – the resourceful one, The Rev (lead guitar) – the cool one and Ginger (rhythm guitar/vocals) – the wise one.

Hey! Hello! Too!  track listing:

  1. All Around the World
  2. This Ain’t Love
  3. Glass of Champagne
  4. Kids
  5. Forever Young
  6. Loud and Fucking Clear
  7. Can’t Stand You (Hurting Me)
  8. Let’s Get Emotional
  9. A History of Lovers
  10. Body Parts
  11. Perfect

To pre-order Hey! Hello! Too! go to Round Records on PledgeMusic.

*About Round Records Records:

Round Records Records is the new record label from Ginger Wildheart – a home for Hey! Hello!, Mutation, live albums and DVDs from The Wildhearts and more. It’s arguably Ginger’s most ambitious project to date; moving from stand-alone individual releases to a fully-fledged record label.

PledgeMusic is proud to be partnering with Ginger and Round Records Records for fans to pre-order new releases and access a host of extra and exclusive offers.

Ginger and PledgeMusic have history. In August 2011, Ginger launched his Triple Album Project via PledgeMusic. The pitch was to record a 30-song triple album and the campaign met with immediate success, hitting 100% of the funding target within six hours of launching. The resulting album released in 2012 in single and triple album format was a huge success for Ginger and won him the Classic Rock magazine ‘Event of the Year’ award. Subsequent projects with PledgeMusic have delivered equally stunning results; the last one being a book entitled ‘Songs & Words’, which featured archive photos and the stories behind Ginger’s songs as only Ginger could tell them.

To start things off, the Round Records Records releases include the following;

  • The Wildhearts – PHUQ Live (out now )
  • Hey Hello – Hey! Hello! Too! (release 23rd September)
  • Ginger Wildheart– Solo Album Boxset(date tbc)
  • Mutation – Mutation III album (date tbc)

EP Review: Robert Hunter – “Outta My Mind”

It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I’m listening to a new EP that dropped onto my doormat this week. This is “Outta My Mind”, the debut EP from Robert Hunter, an American singer-songwriter from Danville, Pennsylvania, USA.

Robert Hunter EP cover

The title track is first on the EP. It’s also my favourite out of the five songs on offer here. It’s something of a cross between Ryan Adams and The Ravines. A fetching, wistful tune with glossy production, Hunter’s melancholic lyrics are kept in check by their brevity. “Outta My Mind” is successfully hard-wiring into my brain after a single listen.

“Wasted and sober” is a little bit Cat Stevens, a little bit Ronan Keating. It’s pleasant, kind sounding and melodic. Hunter shows here that he is capable of conveying emotion in his delivery, which adds a much-needed weight to this otherwise rather sombre song.

Next up we have “365”, which is full to the brim with tried and tested chord progressions, enhanced with some lovely little dynamic rock accents. It very slightly reminds me of Dancing in the Dark by Springsteen, and this is no bad thing.

The penultimate song, “Carbon”, is by far the most emotive song on the record – it sounds like there’s some pedal steel guitar going on, which adds to the sentimental feeling. I feel that it could do with a rise in energy at some point during the song, but it is nevertheless an endearing and graceful inclusion.

Robert Hunter 1

Rounding off the EP is “On That Road”, a deferential, easy on the ears tune with an extremely catchy hook and rousing chorus. For me, it would be perfect if he could embrace his gravelly vocal and imbue a little come-hitherness. I can easily imagine this being Hunter’s anthem and have visions of audiences singing along at the tops of their voices.

This EP is by no means perfect, but Hunter takes the proven formula of the sensitive singer/songwriter and injects new life into it by making catchy, radio friendly songs that actually have some meaning and substance.

Robert Hunter

He has produced thoughtful arrangements that include both acoustic and electric guitars and Hammond organ. I’d like to hear him do some more upbeat songs and to get that distorted guitar rocking occasionally. Overall, though, this is a charming and welcoming EP which gives a suitable insight into Hunter’s style and way of thinking. I look forward to hearing what happens next…

You can buy “Outta My Mind” on iTunes and follow Robert on Facebook.

Gig Review: @FLAGband at @TheUnderworld , Camden, 2nd August 2016

Channel 3

CH3 are something special. The crowd knew it, I very quickly realised it. They had an especially rabid little group of fans standing front and centre, one of whom was invited onto stage for “You Make Me Feel Cheap”, for which they needed “a woman to sing this one”, much to her great delight – that was definitely a moment for her to treasure! These guys have shamefully never been on my radar, but I’m SO glad they are now.

A Wilhelm Scream

A Wilhelm Scream were almost a sporting event, such was the feverish movement onstage coupled with all of them wearing shorts and sweating it out like warthogs. Meanwhile the crowd were turning their “hardcore pop” music (yeah, that’s a thing now) into a contact sport. Incidentally, bassist Brian J. Johnson is INCREDIBLE. He made moves on that bass that are so sexual they should probably be illegal, whilst simultaneously producing the most immense sound. Damn good!


Stephen Egerton is quite the most ferocious rhythm guitarist I have ever seen. His perspex guitar sheened with sweat as he slashed and burned his way through segue after segue with all the fire & skill of Johnny Ramone on Angel Dust.

You know the age old tale of the quiet kid at the back of class causing the most trouble? With Bill Stevenson, it’s a case of the quiet fella at the back of the stage making the most noise. He’d give any Punk drummer a run for their money – I can’t imagine what would happen if he actually chose to hit those drums using the full force of his muscles! He hit the mark with every single beat. On. The. Money.

Half way through his vocal onslaught, Keith Morris quite rightly stopped proceedings when some idiot decided to spit on him – he was suitably scathing in response, to the sounds of an approving audience. Making his moody way through the rest of the set, it later transpired that he wasn’t feeling too hot – he fooled us all, giving us what we wanted – a boisterous, agitative, inebriating performance.

Dez Cadena spent the evening eyeballing those who were analysing every move FLAG made – which was pretty much everyone in that hot, sweaty room. The coolest of the cool, he effortlessly ambled through all 23 songs in front of a few hundred people whose high expectations were very much met.

If you want the ultimate in bass guitar shred, Chuck Dukowski is your man. My god, that man can work that bass (< understatement!). If he’d have played any harder, I reckon he’d have obliterated that instrument. He later also proved he’s a thoroughly good man by chatting away to me post-gig and offering me a beer – who was I to refuse?!


That night was one of outrageous energy levels and rage verging on insanity – there was no pause for breath or thought, and certainly no time to think about the amount of bruises which would later make themselves known.

An unpredictable, dysfunctional yet immensely zestful and exhilirating night was had by all those present. Anyone who doubts the existence of Punk Rock needs to go and watch FLAG. Pronto.

Review on Dusty Springfield


So I am writing about a two songs by Dusty Springfield.

The first song is Son of a preacher man:

It is a very catchy song with a chorus that you can’t help but sing along to and a very up-lifting beat that will make you feel happy at any time and will make you want to dance to.

My other choice of song is I only want to be with you:

This is a very happy song the makes you feel like dancimg and singing long to. You will be happy as soon as you listen to this song because it has a good vibe. This song has a good beat and the tune and the lyrics are very bright and lovely.

This is a link to a playlist of Dusty Springfield songs:

I hope you like this music and will listen to it whenever you feel down.

View original post

Festival Review: Buckfest 2016 @info_buckfest

I had been looking forward to Buckfest for weeks. I was slightly disappointed that due to responsibilities that go along with being an adult I couldn’t be there from the beginning, but it meant that when I arrived at 2.30pm the festival was already in full swing, with the sun shining, people enjoying their first drinks of the day and kids enjoying the various amusements laid on for them (especially the BUCKFEST colouring boards! Genius idea!).

The first band I managed to catch were The Goodges, something of a spinoff from Soulweaver as the latter take a break. Performing well-known covers by bands such as Iron Maiden and Jet, and a fair amount of Soulweaver favourites for their regular followers. I love that they got out into the crowd and that they were clearly enjoying themselves – that kind of passion from a band is truly infectious.


Hollowstar were, for me, one of the strongest bands of the day and I hope to see them much further up the bill in the future.


They are amazingly polished, and they absolutely knew how to work that crowd to everyone’s advantage. I loved taking photos of them as they were interesting, fun, photogenic and varied – they made my job very easy! I’ll definitely be looking these guys up and seeing them again.

Other levels of entertainment to fit every genre were provided across the three stages, from Dale Taylor with his relaxed country/indie rock vibe…


to the summery alternative calypso of Easydread…


to Big Lou’s Cradle of Sound and their good old fashioned jive music…


and everything in between. Each of the bands who played appealed to decent sized groups of the attendees, and there were always plenty of people watching, dancing and cheering appropriately.

In the ten or so minutes before The Expletives took to the stage as the penultimate band, there was a sense of anticipation and with it the gathering of a much larger crowd. Seeing a lot of folk with 70s punk rock t-shirts on was something of a harbinger for what was to follow once the band kicked in their set.


The Expletives are a niche band, offering a grandiloquent blend of late seventies punk and new wave fare. Frontman Sean Dunleavy even acts and behaves like Jonny Rotten, and grabs the crowd by the scruff of the neck whilst his tight as a tick band deal out a constant barrage of razor sharp punk standards.


Guitarist Richard Mackman has a ferocious sound and a never ending arsenal of poses; punk rock is a state of mind, and this man knows it.



16 year old Vincent Mackie on the bass looks cool as fuck, wielding his Fender Precision with the panache of Dee Dee Ramone, for one so young he already has the look and the prowess well in place.


The Expletives tease, insult and entice the crowd for 55 minutes; the spirit of 1977 is truly alive here this evening.


Even contemplating attempting a Queen tribute band demands particular skills, and a certain look and likeness.


Rock Q managed to pull it off, with an excellent Freddie impersonator, and a more than adequate Brian May, who not only had the guitar and the amp tone, but also the curly hair and curly guitar lead.


The rhythm section, however, sagged a little – the bassist called in plenty of bum notes and the drummer was no Roger Taylor, sounding rather wooden and unfeeling with his delivery at times. Overall, though, this kind of high level tribute covers act is a tall order, and they more than got away with it.

It’s worth noting that the singer was drafted in at very short notice when the usual guy was taken ill. He’d never met the rest of the band before, and the fact that he slotted in so flawlessly and without arousing suspicion is to be applauded.


The highlight for me was pulling off “Bohemian Rhapsody”, to the delight of an all ages and eclectic crowd – it’s not an easy song to produce live, and this lot nailed it. Nicely done.


All in all, Buckfest is at a mere £5 serious value for money family entertainment, perfectly and creatively organised and a heck of a lot of fun. I can’t wait until 2017!