Monday 28 November 2011

Punk & Beyond - Gaye Advert curated Art Exhibition Launch Night Nov 24th at The Signal Gallery

Gaye Advert
I was lucky enough to go to the launch night of the new "Punk & Beyond" exhibition curated by Gaye Advert, the iconic bassist with The Adverts. The Exhibition features artwork by various musicians, DJ's and artists involved in Punk Rock through the years and whilst, some pieces might be more a case of enthusiasm over natural artistic talent, the standard throughout is very high. Gaye Advert herself was also extremely pleasant and her superb artwork sold out in minutes, you can see why she deserves to be curating the Exhibition.

An unexpected highlight for me were Ray Gange's colourful and vibrant triology of quotes from Chinatown, Goodfellas and The Clash's "Clash City Rockers". Ray Gange was the star of The Clash movie "Rude Boy" which, along with Quadrophenia, pretty much informed my teenage years. Ray was in attendance and was extremely friendly, willing to talk about his experiences with The Clash as well as his artwork and DJing.
Ray Gange in front of "Wiseguys"
I had a nice chat to photographer Ray Stevenson too who was exhibiting some of his early Punk photographs such as a very early Adam & The Ants photo and a great portrait of Gaye Advert. Also there on the night were Grant Hart from Husker Du, Don Letts, photographer Jill Furmanovsky, author of '77 Sulphate Strip Barry Cain, Dave Collins from Podrophenia, Jenny from The Priscillas and Shanne Bradley from the Nipple Erectors amongst others.

Photographer Ray Stevenson

I managed to talk to Billy Childish, who was also very pleasant and interesting about his fellow Medway-ites The Len Price 3 and Ranscombe studios. As I left the gallery I was dazzled by a cheerful bundle of energy with a bright shock of blonde hair and flourescent emblazoned outfit proclaiming Spizz Energi. Yes, the singer of one of my all time favourite post-punk songs "Where's Captain Kirk?", a classic single if ever there was one. Spizz was great fun posing for photos and it was a real pleasure to finally meet him. Other artwork on display included works by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Robert Pollard from Guided By Voices who contributed three excellent pieces, Jamie Reid's classic "Rock & Roll Swindle" collage and one of my favourite pieces on the night, "Dog in Aldridge Road Villas" by The Clash's bassist Paul Simonon. I'd been to see an exhibition of Paul's Spain influenced artwork previously in a very posh Mayfair gallery so was already aware of his talents. 
Spizz with Gary Loveridge

But it was those interesting surprises that were the real pleasure of the night, as I mentioned Ray Gange's artwork but also there was a really great wall mounted sculpture called "Mick Jones Guitar With Life Mask" by Alabama 3's Nick Reynolds and nice portraits of Poly Styrene by Chris Bell from The Briefs. The Exhibition was actually a fitting tribute to Poly Styrene who so tragically passed away earlier this year and there were some additional portraits of Poly by Knox and Charlie Harper as well as photographs by Ian Dickson. The news about Poly was made even sadder as she had just released a fanatasic new album "Generation Indigo" that was getting critical acclaim and putting her back in the fore-front of music again where she deserves to be. 

Gaye Advert Artwork
It is also touching to think of Ari Up who also passed away at tragically young age at a time when she had also released a great new Slits album. It was nice to see both Ari and Poly  paid tribute to in the art and photography on display. Other notable exhibitors included Michael Davis from the MC5, Penny Rimbaud with some very striking pieces, Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo, Marco Pirroni from Adam & The Ants/The Wolfmen and Jowe Head from the Swell Maps. I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the gallery to catch the exhibition before it ends and sincerely hope that this becomes an even more regular event.

The Exhibition is being held until December 17th at The Signal Gallery at 32 Paul Street London EC2A 4LB

Here are some more of my photos from the launch night.

The Signal Gallery

Robert Pollard from Guided By Voices

Jamie Reid

Artwork by Michael Davis of The MC5

Poly Styrene by Chris Bell of The Briefs
Self Portrait by Marco Pirroni

Artwork by Jowe Head of Swell Maps
Paul Simonon "Dog in Alridge Villas"

Artwork by Penny Rimbaud
Artwork by Robyn Hitchcock
The Adverts by Jill Furmanovsky
The packed out Signal Gallery
Gaye Advert in front of her artwork

All Photos by Steve Worrall - Many thanks to Gaye Advert and Chris from Signal Gallery

Sunday 27 November 2011

The Frowning Clouds & The Len Price 3 The Blues Kitchen Camden Nov 25th

Fantastic gig on Friday night at a packed out Blues Kitchen with The Len Price 3 and Australian band The Frowning Clouds, who were over for their first show in the U.K. First up were the Medway Delta's finest, The Len Price 3, who stormed through a selection of their perfectly formed garage pop nuggets. One catchy hook filled track after another, the only pause being when an enthusiastic young lady took to the stage to dance along and remove her clothing...The band has that kind of effect I guess! Highlight tonight was new track "Praying Mantis" and the last encore, the wrestling and Big Daddy tribute "Shirley Crabtree"...the best live band around at the moment, no contest, "Easy...Easy...!" Here are some photos of their set:

 The Frowning Clouds took the stage full of enthusiasm and for a band so young, they oozed confidence and cool. Their songs are retro masterpieces with plenty of catchy guitar riffs, reminding me of The Standells and early bluesy Stones. They also bring to mind Billy Childish's Milkshakes and The Brian Jonestown Massacre with their authentic vintage Sixities sound. I spoke briefly to some of the band before their set, lovely guys too, so I wish them good luck on their European adventures and recommend you check out their excellent album "Listen Closelier". In the meantine here's the opening song of their very first U.K. performance!



The Len Price 3 will play at The Bull & Gate in Kentish Town on Friday December 09th

The Frowning Clouds will be in France for dates in Montpellier on December 01st, Dijon on the 02nd and Paris on the 03rd. They will then play the Purple Weekend in Leon, Spain on December 04th.

Video and all photos by Steve Worrall

Friday 25 November 2011

Song of The Day: Wild Flag "Romance"

Wild Flag are a band comprising members of Sleater-Kinney and Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, amongst others, and they have a great new album "Wild Flag" out now on Merge records. Here's a great video featuring my "song of the day"- "Romance"

WILD FLAG is a Portland and Washington DC based quartet consisting of Carrie Brownstein, Mary Timony, Rebecca Cole, and Janet Weiss. The members of WILD FLAG have played in numerous and notable bands, including but not limited to: Helium, The Minders, Croissant Cocktail, Feeble Knees, Quasi, Dogz, Sleater-Kinney, The Consortium, Asia, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.Brownstein and Weiss were in Sleater-Kinney and toured with Timony's band Helium on numerous occasions. Brownstein and Timony played in a side project called The Spells. Rebecca Cole's Portland-based band The Minders was a frequent opener for Sleater-Kinney. Weiss and Cole play together in The Shadow Mortons. If someone drew a visual representation illustrating the ways in which all indie bands are interconnected, the four musicians who make up WILD FLAG would be in the same, tiny sphere. Eventually, they figured it out; it's more exciting to simply join musical forces than it is to make sense of this paragraph.

Apt adjectives for describing the band's music: wild. Also: flaggy.

Here's a video trailer for the new album...

Thursday 24 November 2011

The Primevals play Jeffrey Lee Pierce at Glasgow Mono Dec 23rd

A Winter Initiative Benefit Fundraiser - Night Shelter for rough sleepers over Xmas and New Year.
Featuring The Primevals, Sleepy Eyes Nelson and Reverse Cowgirls playing the songs of Jeffrey Lee Pierce from The Gun Club and related music. 

Friday December 23rd at Mono, 12 Kings Court, Glasgow G1 5RB from 9pm
Entrance from a minimum of £3.00 donation.

Monday 21 November 2011

Paris: Music Location Photo Archive #2

I like to do a bit of Rock 'n' Roll tourism when I'm travelling, visit various music related landmarks, venues, shrines, album cover and photo locations amongst other things. It's all very well immersing yourself in musuems and galleries, I like that too, but every now and then I just want to have a break and see where Sid stabbed Nancy (allegedly...), where Dave Davies stuck a knitting needle through his amp or which ancient Neolithic burial mound Julian Cope used as a recording studio. I'm fascinated, not just by music history, but the geography too, I've gazed at the beautiful ceiling paintings of the Sistine Chapel but I've also seen the graffiti covered walls of CBGB's, no prizes for guessing  which had the most profound effect on me...!

Here's some landmarks from a couple of recent trips to Paris, if you have any similar Rock tourist tales then please send them in, I would love to feature your favourites too.

Serge Gainsbourg doll in a store in a Gallery in Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
 Probably first on most music fan's itinerary in Paris will be a visit to Père Lachaise Cemetery, to see Jim Morrison's grave. Sadly, the famous bust of Morrison that was once on the grave has gone, long since stolen by some over zealous fan and the grave is pretty unassuming now. Morrison died in a Paris apartment in 1971 but I still think it a bit strange that he was not buried in California as The Doors always seemed so synonymous with the place.

Jim Morrison's grave, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
Jim Morrison graffiti, Pont Alexandre III, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
Père Lachaise is also where you can find the grave of the Little Sparrow, Edith Piaf. I recently saw the fantastic movie "La Vie En Rose" about her troubled upbringing and sad demise, it's well worth watching, especially for the remarkable portrayal of Piaf by Marion Cotillard. Piaf's life was remarkably bleak, abandoned by her father to live in a brothel run by her mother, she was raised by kindly prostitutes, who nursed her through terrible health problems including temporary blindness at one point. She sang for money on the streets of Pigalle and was spotted by a nightclub owner to perform in front of wealthy clients, a nightclub owner who was later to be murdered by gangsters. Piaf's life continued with a catalogue of unremitting darkness, her only daughter died of meningitis aged only 2 years old and her true love, boxer Marcel Cerdan, died in a plane crash. After being involved in a car crash herself she became addicted to pain-killers and alcohol and died from cancer at just 47. It is a remarkable story, but despite it all she grew to become one of France's most revered musical icons.

Edith Piaf's Grave, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
My personal quest to visit Serge Gainsbourg's grave in the Montparnasse cemetery was finally realised last month. I'd already visited his house on Rue Verneuil, which you can read a report on here, but was disappointed to find the cemetery closed. I had to go back and made sure I got my timings right this time and it was well worth the trip. Montparnasse is a beautifully kept cemetery, and it is full of graves and shrines of some serious cultural heavyweights such as Guy de Maupassant, Simone de Beauvoir, Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett and Jean-Paul Sartre. I find it quite fitting, if some might say ironic, that Serge is buried amongst such illustrious company. He has, in his own irrerevant and anarchic way, made probably just as much impact on French popular culture.

Serge Gainsbourg's grave, Montparnasse cemetery, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
 The grave is covered in interesting bits and pieces, from cigarettes, to drawings and photos and strangely enough, a full cabbage - in tribute to his concept album  "L' Homme À Tête de Chou" or The Man with the Cabbage Head.

Serge Gainsbourg's grave, Montparnasse cemetery, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
I've already featured a previous trip to Serge's grafitti strewn house here, but it's always worth another visit to see how the daubings have changed. Still no news on the muted plans to open the place up as a museum.

Serge Gainsbourg's house on Rue de Verneuil, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
Le Grand Rex is a beautiful Art deco venue built in 1931 and located on the Boulevard Poissonnière. Wilco and Noel Gallagher, amongst others, will be playing gigs here in 2012.

Le Grand Rex, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
 I'm not a huge fan of classical music, but one composer that really struck me when I was playing in my Junior School's orchestra (before that nasty Punk Rock took hold of me...) was Erik Satie. I just fell for the minimalist piano scores such as the "Gymnopedies" and "Gnossienne" pieces. You can hear his influence on music by Japan, David Sylvian, Gary Numan and Sweden's Hederos & Hellberg. Satie was actually born in the beautiful harbour town of Honfleur in Normandy (where there is now a musuem) but moved to Montmartre in the 1880's.
Erik Satie's House, Montmartre, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
Erik Satie's House, Montmartre, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
 Abbesses, the beautiful little square at the foot of Montmartre is the inspiration, title and location of this brilliant video for a classic slice of instrumental Mod/Soul from DC Fontana. Here's a photo of the Abbesses Metro station featured in the film which you can enjoy below...

Montmartre is also the location of a famous photo-shoot of The Smiths by Paul Slattery, Paul travelled with the band in December 1984 for their gig at the Parc des Expositions. I re-traced their steps, taking in the very smart area just below the Sacre Coeur including the Rue Giradon, Rue de L'Abreuvoir and the Place des Quarte Freres Casadesus. These photos and more can be found in Paul's superb book "The Smiths, The Early Years" published by Omnibus Press.

The Smiths in Montmartre, Paris - Photo courtesy of Paul Slattery
Montmartre, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Smiths in Montmartre, Paris - Photo courtesy of Paul Slattery

Montmartre, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall

The Smiths in Montmartre, Paris - Photo courtesy of Paul Slattery

Montmartre, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Smiths in Montmartre, Paris - Photo courtesy of Paul Slattery
Montmartre, Paris - Photo by Steve Worrall
If you have any photos of music related landmarks then please send them in and I'll include them on the Blog.