Thursday, 28 May 2015

Hipsville Day 2: Giuda, Thee Jezebels & The Anomalys

Giuda photographed backstage at Hipsville by Paul Slattery
My Saturday afternoon started off with Thee Jezebels playing in the smaller Tiki-Bar next to the main Bisley Pavilion ballroom and they were a great tonic to pick me up and get me straight back into the swing of things again after the previous night's Hipsville fun and games. The last time I saw singer and guitarist Laura and bassist Letty they were playing in the Neasden Bees and Drummer Lois used to be in The Embrooks. The Embrooks also featured Mole who is now in The Galileo 7 and running the splendid State Records who have coincidentally just released Thee Jezebel's debut single on 7" vinyl. The band play both sides of the single today, a scorching rendition of "Black Book" and the frantic lovelorn "Cried Over You" which are both classic slices of high-tempo Garage R'n'B. 

Thee Jezebels - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Laura is an engaging front-person with a self-deprecating wit and she jokes around with the crowd and her band-mates. Letty is dressed in Rude Girl style, Fred Perry and Doctor Martens, and as she bends over to plug in a lead Laura comments "I bet you regret wearing a mini-skirt now..." Letty quips back "I regret nothing!" They are a band who straddle genres easily, whether it's the pre-Punk Canvey Island R'n'B sounds of Dr. Feelgood, a bit of early Kinks Mod or lots of raucous Garage Rock with a touch of Punk attitude, it's all there. A couple of stand-out songs include a cover of the Cryin' Shames "Let Me In" which highlights Laura's cool, sassy voice and "Just Ain't Worth The Time" which harks back to those great 1970's Suzi Quatro singles like "48 Crash" and "Can The Can", in fact there's also a slight hint of that early Glam sound about Thee Jezebels. A cover of The Flamin' Groovies' "Jumpin' In The Night", with the addition of some friends in the crowd joining in on maracas, was one of the highlights of a thoroughly enjoyable set. The show ends with a rough and ready version of the Dr. Feelgood classic "Going Back Home" and I was left thinking Thee Jezebels are a great band to make you smile and jump around and forget the hangover, perfect!

Andrews Surfers Deluxe entertain the Hipsville Crowd
The weather was so nice that Thee Andrews Surfers Deluxe shifted all their gear outside onto the Pavilion’s veranda and played an energetic alfresco set flanked by gyrating Go-Go dancers. They asked members of the crowd to pick out songs from their set-list which included covers of good-time instrumental classics such as "Comanche!", "Pipeline" and "Popcorn" and more.

The Anomalys take off - Photo by Paul Slattery
Saturday evening saw people really going to town with the Horror themed fancy-dress and there were some stunning, hilarious and occasionally quite gruesome costumes. I didn't catch the beginning of the Amsterdam based band The Anomalys set, but their brand of Punked-up Psychobilly slowly drew me in, “like The Cramps on speed” Mr A. told me afterwards and I'm not going to argue with that. The encore was something special, with the drummer playing the floor tom with maracas and main-man Bone on some superb harmonica. The set built to a wicked climax with all three band members in amongst the audience, yes even the drummer! Bone then climbed the P.A. stack before jumping back in the crowd again and ended up on the floor getting everyone to lie down too, some great showmanship, and then it all dissolved into one big glorious and chaotic noise!

Tenda of Giuda photographed by Paul Slattery
Giuda, the bovver-booted, denim clad Glam Punkers from Rome might have been a surprise choice for Hipsville but I was really glad to get the chance to see them again. After all, this was the band that we voted as our "Gig of the Year 2013" following their stunning show at an impossibly packed-out Buffalo Bar. The band, comprising Lorenzo and Michele on guitars, Danilo on bass and drummer Daniele took the stage and struck up the brilliant instrumental theme tune “Racey Roller” before the imposing and charismatic singer Tenda joins them and they it crank up into "Rave On".

Giuda photographed by Paul Slattery
Giuda photographed by Paul Slattery

The singles are all present and correct, "Teenage Rebel", "Yellow Dash" and my favourite "Get It Over" but it's the peerless football terrace rocker "Number 10" that tops the lot, a perfect blend of football anthem and Rock 'n' Roll. Then again pretty much every Giuda track could be a classic single in it's own right and wouldn't be out of place on an old  mid-70's Top of The Pops. One of my highlights was the memorable riffing and chorus of "Maybe It's All Over Now", which deserved much better than to be hidden away on a B-Side, but that only goes to prove that the quality of Giuda's songwriting means they are far from being purely a novelty Glam tribute act. "Wild Tiger Woman" sees dancer and Giuda fan Celia Formica leap on stage to join in on the fun, and who can blame her!

Giuda photographed by Paul Slattery
Giuda photographed by Paul Slattery
"Speak Louder", with its call and response chorus almost takes the roof off of Bisley Pavilion and the band leave an exhausted crowd baying for more. They encore with a cover of “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” with Lorenzo on lead vocals and then Tenda appears for a headlong rush through "Roll On" and that's it all over! I thought Giuda were a great choice by Mr A. as they were the perfect Saturday night party band with their singalong choruses, hand-claps and feet stomping and I can't wait to see the band play live again, hopefully very soon indeed.

Giuda photographed by Paul Slattery
Giuda's albums are available on beautifully designed and packaged vinyl from Damaged Goods Records. With thanks to Paul Slattery for the excellent photos. For more photos of Day 2 of Hipsville then please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you're not already following hit "Like" and "Get Notifications" for access to the photo album. There are also videos up on the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel, with more to be added over the next few days. Enjoy!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Hipsville Day 1: Les Grys Grys, Kinoco Hotel & Autoramas


Kinoco Hotel by Paul Slattery
Well, I must say that organizers Ade, Mr A, Alex and their team definitely surpassed themselves with this year’s spooktastic Horror themed Hipsville Weekender. We were treated to a wonderful three day event packed full of some stunning international live acts, DJs, Go-Go Dancers and much more besides. Luckily, the sun was out and this added to the cheerful party vibe and ensured that the outdoor activities, such as the vintage car and motorbike show (not to mention the drinking and socialising), could be thoroughly enjoyed in the lovely “Hi-De-Hi” style grounds of Bisley Pavilion.

Autoramas by Paul Slattery
Autoramas by Paul Slattery
Friday night couldn’t have been more International if they’d tried as we were treated to a trip round the globe with the Autoramas from Brazil, Kinoco Hotel from Japan and Les Grys Grys from the South of France. I heard before the show that the Autoramas have had a recent change of personnel, beefing up to a four-piece line-up, but as this was my first time to see them I can’t really say how this compares with what went before. But what I can say is that this new-look Autoramas is absolutely stunning – I mean I have a few of their albums, but nothing really prepared me for the sheer power of their live assault. Charismatic front-man Gabriel has the quiff and the twitchy energy of Joe Strummer and he plays his guitar fuzzed, phased and flanged almost out of recognition, blasting some seriously wired mutant Surf and Rock riffs. 

Autoramas by Paul Slattery
Autoramas by Paul Slattery
Erika, who has recently joined the band, doesn't stand still for a second, one minute she's going through a unique cheerleader routine, then robot dancing and the next she's joining in with the stunning Go-Go dancers Wanda De Lullabies and Dottie Gooseberry, who can't resist the band and leap on stage during "Abstrai" to freak-out in impressive style. Erika's busy, she plays rhythm guitar, keyboards, tambourine and sings too, in brief she's one of the stars of the whole weekend. Later on, well after the band's set she's still dancing away at the merchandise stall! Kicking off with the excellent "Mundo Moderno" then into a new track "Quando a Policia Chegar" which is my highlight of the set, a brilliantly catchy singalong, in fact it's so good they play it again for a well-deserved encore. The rhythm section of Fred and Melvin are pretty damn impressive and "Nada a Ver" is one big bludgeon over the head with an intensity that reminded me of Steve Albini's Big Black. 

Autoramas by Paul Slattery
Unfortunately "Abstrai" is the only track from my favourite album "Música Crocante" so I don't get to hear the rather wonderful "Tudo Bem", which I always felt was a song that the Pixies would have been proud to have written and put on "Doolittle". "Couldn't Care At All" is a rare excursion into English lyrics, it's a head-long piece of prime Power Punk Pop. Some more stand-out tracks for me included "Paciencia", "1,2,3,4" which sounded rather like The B-52's and "Jogos Olimpicos" which is a quirky Devo style instrumental that sees Erika rocking out with her guitar. Three more excellent brand new songs get an airing tonight, the manic Disco beat of "Kung Fu", then there is "O Que Que Você Quer" and "Jet To The Jungle" - all from their forthcoming album "O Futuro dos Autoramas", and yes, I think the future of the Autoramas is looking very bright indeed! 

Kinoco Hotel by Paul Slattery
Kinoco Hotel from Tokyo, were playing their first ever U.K. show with the help of a promising new booking Agency called "Bang The Noise", and what a show it was too! Drummer Fabianne, bassist Julietta and guitarist Isabelle take the stage all dressed in identical military inspired Hotel bell-hop costumes and started off playing an instrumental introduction before the alluring singer, songwriter and organ player Marianne appears and whips the crowd into a frenzy with her thigh-length boots and riding crop. I have not seen so many photographers fighting to get a spot at the front of a stage for ages. Kinoco Hotel play an energetic set crammed full of fuzzed-up organ driven Sixties inspired Garage Rock that goes down really well with the Hipsville crowd. At one point Marianne even gets on top of her organ and poses cat-like for a while and it's certainly a striking image that will live long in the memory! Rock photographer Paul Slattery was impressed to see such a great Japanese band over here as he has worked extensively over in Japan, touring with Stone Roses and Oasis and also working for the Japanese music magazine Rockin' On. Hopefully Bang The Noise Agency can get more talented Japanese bands over here soon. The band will be playing in London on Saturday May 23rd at the Dirty Water Club (the Rhythm Factory) along with the excellent Oh! Gunquit – we’ll be along to that and will be sure to report back on what promises to be another great night out.

Kinoco Hotel by Paul Slattery
Kinoco Hotel by Paul Slattery
Les Grys Grys were much, much better than I expected, they were tight and powerful and blew my head off the moment they took the stage. They had that early, raw Twickenham/Eel Pie Island R’n’B sound down to a tee and having recently seen The Others, local veterans of that original 1960's scene, Les Grys Grys were what I imagined The Others had sounded like back in the day. 

Les Grys Grys by Paul Slattery
Les Grys Grys channel an authentic sound that is far more early Blues and R'n'B based than Garage Rock. There are shades of The Downliners Sect, Pretty Things and The Flamin’ Groovies but it all sounds very fresh and exciting. In fact their opening few minutes were astounding, it sees the Guitarist on stage alone picking out a riff before being joined by the rest of the band and then suddenly kicking into life with a powerful cover of The Kinks' version of "Milk Cow Blues". 

Les Grys Grys by Paul Slattery
It was a raw and aggressive visual assault that reminded me of the very first time I saw The Soundtrack of Our Lives. To be honest, I wasn't aware of many songs in their set but I could pick out "You Said" by The Primitives", "Don't Mistreat Me" by Lightnin' Slim and their excellent State Records single "Hot Gully Wind". They are a great visual band, one minute the guitarist plays guitar with a drum stick and the next he is down playing amongst the crowd. The harmonica playing is also superb throughout and I am determined to find out more about this very promising band. Les Grys Grys have just released a brand new 7" vinyl single and it's out now on Dirty Water Records

Les Grys Grys by Paul Slattery
Les Grys Grys by Paul Slattery
With thanks to my Retro Man Blog colleague Paul Slattery for the photographs - Paul has worked with The Cramps, Flamin' Groovies, The Clash, Ramones, The Smiths and many more iconic bands over the years. Thanks to Mr A, Ade, Alex, Paul at Dirty Water Records, Fumie, Grant and Sue.

Les Grys Grys by Paul Slattery
For more photos of the Hipsville Weekend please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following, hit "Like" for access to the photo albums. Reports on Day 2 and Day 3 to follow soon...Finally don't forget our Retrosonic Podcast Hipsville Special...



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Graham Day & The Forefathers, The Len Price 3 & The Galileo 7 at The Retro Man Blog Night, The Half Moon Putney

Graham Day & The Forefathers - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Firstly, I’d like to say a big "cheers" and thank you to all those who came along to the Retro Man Blog Night at The Half Moon with Graham Day & The Forefathers, The Len Price 3 and The Galileo 7 on May 08th. Following the success of last year’s show there was always the danger that a repeat performance wouldn't live up to expectations but I’m sure you will agree that all three bands were on top form once again. The gig sold out well over a month in advance and apologies to anyone who couldn’t get tickets. If you don’t want to miss out on future Retro Man Blog gigs then don’t forget you can sign-up for email updates, follow us on Twitter or of course "Like" the Facebook page for advance notice of tickets before they go on general sale. Well, it’s always very difficult to review your own gigs so I’ll keep it brief and concentrate on sharing some photos of the night. 

The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
As the venue filled up so quickly after the doors opened and everyone was ready and raring to go we could get things off to an early start and give The Galileo 7 a slightly longer set than was planned. This was handy as they now have so many great tracks that the original allotted 30 minutes would not have been enough to fit them all in. The new line-up is now really hitting its stride and switching Mole from bass to drums was a stroke of genius as he is worth the entrance price alone with his flamboyant drumming style, which draws murmurs of appreciation from people around me. Allan moving to centre stage certainly improves the band’s dynamics and anyway, he certainly deserves his time in the spotlight after playing the staunch bass playing side-kick for so long. 

The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Allan's song-writing and guitar playing also demands more acclaim and thankfully the many excellent and positive reviews for the latest album "False Memory Lane" seem to be finally addressing this. New Bassist Paul Moss is also great to watch as he’s really immersed in the music and adds some nice melodic backing vocals along the way. Viv’s catchy keyboard runs are an integral part of The Galileo 7 sound and she also provides lead vocal duties on the joyful Power Pop rush of "Don’t Know What I’m Waiting For" and a cover of The Who’s "Tattoo". With a fair selection of tracks plucked from all three of their albums, including older favourites such as “Orangery Lane” and "Anne Hedonia", it is however both sides of the brand new single "One Lie At A Time" and "God of Gaps" which are played tonight, that prove Galileo 7 are going from strength to strength. 

The Len Price 3 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Len Price 3 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Len Price 3 took the stage minus their trademark blazers, I must admit it took a bit of getting used to, and slammed straight into "Nothing I Want" the B-Side of their new Record Store Day single which is a really powerful song that positively crackles and spits vitriol. We were then treated to another B-Side, a rare outing for the excellent melodic Garage Rocker "Dorolia" which was the flip to the band's very first single "Christian In The Desert". Despite my fears that the band's new casual look signaled a move to Alt. Country, I'm pleased to report that they are not ditching their classic and much-loved high-tempo energetic sound and reaching for the banjos and violins just yet! A storming version of "Pictures" and a manic, wired "Girl Like You" just ram the point home. 

The Len Price 3 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Len Price 3 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
But with the A-Side of the new single "Walking On Your Head" and "Mr Grey" The Len Price 3 prove that they are adept at writing slower melodic songs with lyrics that veer towards poignant vignettes of modern life in the style of Ray Davies. But of course we do love their noisy little numbers too and the speedy singalong thrashes of "My Grandad Jim" and "Billy Mason" see the crowd going positively wild. Highlights for me were "The Girl Who Became a Machine", and their anthemic signature song "Rentacrowd" and the brilliant "London Institute" which closes tonight's main set. The band encore with "Sailor's Sweetheart" and "Chinese Burn" which leave a very satisfied audience. 

Graham Day - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Allan Crockford - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Graham Day & The Forefathers are quite stunning tonight, armed with a mightily impressive back catalogue that deserves to be lauded amongst the very best in great British Rock music, the set list is crammed full of a prime selection of Prisoners, Gaolers, Solarflares and Prime Movers nuggets. Whether it’s The Gaolers "Begging You" with its crunching bass intro or the slashing chords of the Solarflares "You Want Blood", each song is just as eagerly devoured by the crowd as those more familiar Prisoners classics such as "Reaching My Head" or "Love Me Lies". 

Wolf Howard - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Graham Day - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
A rowdy, energetic but good natured "middle-aged mosh-pit" starts up with the crunching chords of "Be On Your Way" and didn’t let up until the very end. This time round there are some surprise additions to the set, including The Prisoners 1997 "come-back" single "Shine On Me" and the rare B-Side "Small". The band encored with a great version of "I Drink The Ocean" which segued into Deep Purple’s "Hush". This sparked off a stage invasion and some nifty impromptu Go-Go dancing by a couple of eager audience members.  Although The Forefathers was never really meant to be a long-term concern, there’s no doubting the chemistry between Graham, drummer Wolf and bassist Allan and we can but hope that the three of them continue to play together in some form or other for a lot longer. So, what do you think? Shall we do it all again next year…?

Graham Day & The Forefathers - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
With thanks to all three bands, Carrie, Abi, James and staff at the Half Moon, Eric Baconstrip for the superb poster design, Steven Tagg-Randall for the great videos, Alan May at Glory Boy Radio Show, Derek Rookley from Rookers Breakfast Show and Wayne Lundqvist-Ford at The Ice Cream Man Show for help with the promotion and anyone else who got involved along the way. Of course thanks to all the Retro Man Blog and Retrosonic Podcast followers, subscribers and "likers" and to those who come along and support live music at our gigs, it’s all very much appreciated! Don't forget our special Retrosonic Podcast with Graham, Wolf and Allan talking about their illustrious musical history from The Prisoners and The Daggermen to The Forefathers via working with Billy Childish, Planet, The Stabilisers and all the many and varied bands and line-ups along the way!



To see more photos of the night please head on over to the Retro Man Facebook page and, if you are not already following, hit "Like" and "Get Notifications" for access to the exclusive Photo Album. The whole event was filmed by video archivist Steven Tagg-Randall and you can catch up on full sets from all three bands at his YouTube channel here plus there are some videos up now at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel here.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

THE JACKETS, Speedball JR & The Shook-Ups! at Weirdsville

THE JACKETS at Weirdsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Going to so many gigs over the years, especially since starting up Retro Man Blog, I have been lucky enough to have seen some excellent bands play live. However, it’s pretty rare to see a band that blows your mind and kicks your ass so hard that you end up spiralling back in time, reducing you to a gibbering teenage fan-boy with stars in your eyes. Tonight I saw such a band and that band was THE JACKETS. The Switzerland and USA based band were over here to headline Weirdsville as a special treat for the club organizer, promoter and all-round good guy, Mr A, who was celebrating his birthday. Mr A had raved about the band to me during our recent chat for the Retrosonic Podcast “Hipsville” special promoting the upcoming Weirdsville spin-off weekender at Bisley Pavilion. I had heard a few songs and was pretty impressed but I was not really expecting the stunning, visceral impact of seeing the band play live. I was right at the front of the stage at the Fiddler’s Elbow, which was packed out with a capacity crowd of Weirdsville regulars, birthday well-wishers and gig-goers, and was well placed to get both barrels of THE JACKETS right in the chest. 

THE JACKETS at Weirdsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The band, all kitted out in black with a nifty removable white collar and tie ensemble, took the stage and blasted straight into a powerful grungey new song “Tricky” which reminded me a bit of Nirvana or The Muffs. Vocalist and guitarist Jackie, eyes hidden behind black and white checked shades, hair pulled back into a kind of Samurai top-knot, is one of the most charismatic performers I have seen in quite some time. One of my favourite tracks is up next, the catchy "Get Back With You" from their debut album "Stuck Inside", with bassist Samuel and drummer Chris adding those memorable backing vocals to the chorus. It’s really difficult to take your eyes off Jackie as she careers around the stage, high-kicking, leaping about and rolling on the floor, never missing a riff on her guitar. Eyes are quite the theme with THE JACKETS as Jackie removes her shades at the beginning of third song "Make You Mine" and reveals large painted-on Clockwork Orange style eye-lashes and a false eye painted on each of her lids, so when she blinks it really freaks you out. 

THE JACKETS at Weirdsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
"Sometimes Maybe", another new track is next and it's based around a cool bass riff, apparently they will be releasing their as yet untitled third album on Voodoo Rhythm Records later in the year and if all the songs are as good as those played tonight, then it will really be something special. During a raucous "Wasting My Time" from the latest album "Way Out" Jackie entices a girl from the crowd to get on stage and dance “it’s all in those hips…” she says, indeed they are a band that are made for dancing and jumping around to. Not to be outdone, Samuel and Chris are also all-action performers, both competing with Jackie for the crowd’s attention. The start of “Freak Out” sparks off a wild mosh-pit at the front and people and drinks go flying all over the place, someone is on the floor, then someone else is spread across the monitors, its chaotic and great fun at the same time. Suddenly, half way through a brilliant "Hang Up" Jackie leaps out into the crowd and is lifted up and carried across people’s heads, right to the back of the venue and back to the stage again, still strumming away furiously. Of course the band are called back for a well deserved encore and they power through "Escape" before ending with a manic "What We Gonna Do" and that's it, it's all over bar the shouting for more from a very happy crowd. The video archivist Steven Tagg-Randall, who was there to film the show, declares it “one of the best gigs ever!” and as he must average a good 3 or 4 gigs every week then who am I to argue…?!

THE JACKETS at Weirdsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The night kicked off with a cracking set by The Shook-Ups! who were certainly a great choice to get the party started. This was the first time I’d seen them and I was intrigued as just before they came on, a friend told me, “be warned, the singer wears a wig!” I didn't know what to make of that, I have their excellent album "Bad Reception" but it didn’t really prime me for what was to come. The Shook-Ups! are a strange band, they take the stage dressed all in black with matching roll neck sweaters and vocalist Dan Coyote wears a badly fitting Beatle wig, a large silver medallion and one black glove – a kind of tribute act to The Music Machine’s Sean Bonniwell I suppose. 

The Shook-Ups! at Weirdsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Dan's between-song antics are basically a comedy routine of exaggerated dancing, larking about and bantering with the audience, but that’s not to say that The Shook-Ups! are a mere parody. I don't want it to sound like they are the Barron Knights of the Garage Rock scene, for those that have the album will already know that they do have some bloody great songs, in particular "Second To None" and "Reason To Complain", both played in a quick-fire hit. But watching tonight, if I’m honest, it’s sometimes a bit disconcerting as the songs are played totally straight. At one point I’m left wondering, what if they ditched the act? Maybe they could be one of the best Garage bands around, but then again, there are a lot of those generic Garage bands around and only one Shook-Ups! When they play a rousing cover of the Bobby Fuller Four/Melba Moore classic “The Magic Touch” and everyone is dancing and singing along, the pontificating soon went out the window. Indeed, better just to stop analyzing it all and hop on board for the ride, join in the fun and get all Shook Up! During the last track, a version of "What'cha Gonna Do About It", the band ambush Mr A and he is presented with a birthday cake decorated with the "You Got Good Taste" logo.

Mr A gets his cake, and eats it...! Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Following The Shook-Ups! must be tough for any band, more so if you are an instrumental Surf band, which is exactly what Speedball JR are. So, although the gears did shift down a bit, at my age I was thankful for a bit of a breather. It was excellent to finally see the band and they played a great set of their fuzzed-up cinematic Rock ‘n’ Roll Surf songs that kept the dancing going, albeit in a slightly more civilized manner. Tonight the line-up comprised Scorchin' Sascha on guitar, the super-cool Alexandra Beat Girl on bass, Frantic Frank on drums and a saxophonist Johan temporarily replacing their usual organist, and if you like your Dick Dale, Link Wray, trashy B-Movie themes and Sixties Spy movie scores then Speedball JR are certainly a band worth watching out for.

Speedball JR at Weirdsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Speedball JR at Weirdsville - Photo by Retro Man Blog
Weirdsville is held at the Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden on the last Saturday of every month. Hipsville Weekender is at the Bisley Pavilion on Friday 15th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th of May and you can get more details on all the bands, DJ’s, Go-Go Dancers and other assorted fun and games at the Hipsville site here. To get you in the mood for the weekend don’t forget our Retrosonic Podcast “Hipsville Special” where I chat to Mr A about the story behind Weirdsville, Hipsville and his You Got Good Taste Podcast and we play tracks from a selection of bands appearing over the weekend including Kinoco Hotel, Giuda, Thee Jezebels, Oh! Gunquit and many more. You can listen and download the episode for free at our Soundcloud site or subscribe for free at the iTunes store.

THE JACKETS at Weirdsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
For more photos of the night please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and then hit "Like" if you're not already following, for access to the exclusive photo album.



Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Most & French Boutik at March of The Mods + "Causing A Scene" Compilation in Aid of Teenage Cancer Trust

The Most at March of The Mods - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
I caught French Boutik and The Most at the Fiddlers Elbow in Camden at one of the many March of The Mods live events that were arranged by Kate Ross-Kellam and her team of like-minded volunteers and organizers all across the country. Over the month of March they put on an astounding 37 events in various cities around the U.K. featuring 171 bands and 156 DJs, and then with the additional contributions from sponsors they hope to have raised over £100,000 in total for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Today's gig was compered by DJ Graham Lentz and he introduced Paris-based French Boutik who I had also seen the night before at Albert Cummings' Putney Club. Albert kindly helped the band out after their planned show in Birmingham was cancelled at the last minute and offered them a replacement gig. It was a really nice gesture that was really appreciated by those of us lucky enough to get the chance to see the band twice over the same weekend!

French Boutik - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
French Boutik were on top form despite being without their regular organ player, so vocalist Gabriela filled in the gaps on a borrowed keyboard. However, it didn't detract from a great performance and set full of the band's soulful French-Beat nuggets. Promoting an excellent new E.P. "Mieux Comme Ca", they now have a set that is packed full of tracks that could all be singles in their own right. The new E.P.'s title track, with guitarist Serge taking on most of the lead vocals, is an absolute classic and it stretches the band's sound to another dimension. The uptempo "Facile" from the "Ici Paris" E.P. really gets the crowd moving, as does their cover of the Madness track "Tiptoes".

French Boutik - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The band's rhythm section of Jean-Marc on bass and Zelda on drums, who also adds some excellent vocal harmonies, really allow the groove to flow, allowing Serge and Gabriela to add their magic into the mix. It was an excellent show and the band got a great reception, and if you missed out then they will be back in the UK for a gig at The Blue Beat Room in Brentwood on July 11th. Now please go out and get their new E.P. you really won't be disappointed!

The Most - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
I finally get to see The Most, despite liking the band for some time now, I'd never managed to catch one of their gigs. The band are from Umeå in Northern Sweden and the current line-up features Frans Perris on lead vocals and guitar, Magnus Kollberg on guitar and vocals, Mats Westin on drums and Martin Claesson on bass. They have also worked with Andy Bell from Ride and Oasis and ex-International Noise Conspiracy bassist Inge Johansson. Kicking off with the excellent "The Action" with its powerful, slashing guitar rhythm, The Most don't let up for a minute, they really are a great live band. Some of my personal highlights included "She's Nuts", a kind of Power Pop update on Chris Montez's "Let's Dance", the chiming guitars of "Bad Girl" and the Bo Diddley styled shuffle of "Sometime". But my favourite of the night was "Really Good" with it's strong Who influence as heard in Retrosonic Podcast Episode 17. The Most have the catchy punch of Power Pop and the raw R'n'B of Hamburg-era Beatles and their songs are stuffed full of harmonies and melodic guitar riffing. In fact they are just a great Rock 'n' Roll band, full stop. They end a storming and well received show with "I Don't Want It" and "I'm Not Your Man, two raucous slices of good time R'n'B.


The Most - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
March of The Mods have also released "Causing A Scene" an excellent 2 CD compilation that includes a great cross section of contemporary Mod related bands, many of which appeared at one of the MOTM gigs. Some of the bands that have appeared on Retro Man Blog and at our gigs and Retrosonic Podcast also feature - so we have The Len Price 3 and "Girl Who Became a Machine", The Past Tense with a raw version of their Ska'd up "Nervous" with the added bonus of a horn section, there's the terrace chorus stomp of The SuperMinx '70 and the Psych of The Mynd Set and The Kite Collectors. The compilation highlights the diversity in the scene from the straight ahead Mod revival, Jam influenced sounds of The Riot which are as much 70's New Wave, to the Soul of Button Up.

Then there's the Elvis Costello styled vocals and Dexy's horns of the Stone Foundation, which is one of my favourite tracks and the cool Jazzy instrumental swing of Berry Tweed & The Chasers. There are a few more established names - a Steve Marriott track, one from The Eyes and the legendary master of good time R'n'B, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band. Some more tracks that caught my ear included the Beatles harmonies of The Anydays "Tambourine" and then The Pepper Pots come in on a Shaft guitar riff and offer up a bit of classic thumping Motown style Soul. Mr Bridger smash in on a bass riff and show that the original Mod scene also incorporated the raw garage rock of early Kinks and The Who. Paradise's "Humans and Stars" features a nice vintage organ and fuzzed up Nuggets sound that really hits the spot and is a definite highlight. Heavyball bring a bit of Ska to the party with a vocalist that sounds a bit similar to Georgie Fame. You can order the download of "Causing A Scene" from the MOTM store here. For more information on next year's March of The Mods and their admirable work for Teenage Cancer Trust and how to get involved please check out the official web-site here.

The Most - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
For more photos of the gig please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" if you are not already following, for access to the exclusive photo album. You can also see videos of each band from the gig at the Retro Man Blog YouTube Channel here.