Thursday 29 March 2012

Retro Man/Podrophenia night - The Railway Hotel, Southend with The Len Price 3, Bif Bam Pow! & Podrophenia Roadshow March 17th

The Railway in action - Photo by Paul Slattery
I'd just like to say a big "Thank You" to all those involved in helping to ensure the gig at The Railway Hotel in Southend on Saturday March 17th was such a big success. I really appreciate all who turned up to make it a hugely enjoyable night. The Railway really is an excellent place, a beautifully designed late Victorian tavern that looks stunning when darkness falls as the candlelight gives it a wonderfully warm atmosphere. There is a great selection of international beers and real ales on tap and the Staff are very friendly and more importantly, know how to pull a good pint too! In fact the only problem being, it isn't my "local"! 

Photo by Paul Hughes
Owners Fi and Dave are doing a fantastic job in promoting local music and arts, with events spread across the bar and upstairs venue pretty much 7 days a week. If that's not enough there are also various quiz nights, comedy shows and film screenings too. I'm not sure how Dave and Fi find the time and energy to cram so much into The Railway, but it's certainly inspiring that there are people out there willing to put in so much to promote local arts and music. The night's events got off to a storming start with Canvey Island's excellent Bif Bam Pow!

Bif Bam Pow! by Steve Worrall
The band's logo boasts the tag-line "Maximum Beat & Soul", and they certainly deliver on all fronts with a good time set full of Mod, Soul and Garage Rock cover versions. However, they are by no means purely a party tribute act, far from it! All the band are great musicians and the Hammond organ adds a real authentic feel. 

The songs they cover are not just the obvious picks either and show - not just a fan's, but a musician's - appreciation and respect for the music they play. It makes me wonder what they could do if they turned their hand to original material...! Bif Bam Pow! have quite an enthusiastic crowd behind them and soon everyone was dancing and singing along, it really set the perfect tone for the evening ahead. I'd recommend you trying to catch the band live if they play near you, you'll be guaranteed a great time that's for sure.
Neil Fromow by TheDimLocator

Next up, attentions were drawn to the other end of the bar and The Len Price 3 took to the stage to deliver a flawless set of their melodic garage pop nuggets. The only slight problem being the stage they took too was rather small and high, so it limited the usually hyper-active antics of Vocalist/Guitarist, Glenn Page. 

At times he was bursting to leap from the stage but the lack of space, meant that Drummer and backing Vocalist, Neil Fromow, was pushed centre stage. This actually worked out well, as Neil's harmonies and Keith Moon style are an integral part of The Len Price 3 sound and visuals. 

Super-cool Bassist, Steve Huggins, threw his bass around with no regard for health 'n' safety and it made for an exciting spectacle. The band encored with a traditional rendition of their tribute to Big Daddy, "Shirley Crabtree", or as Glenn introduced it, a song about "the days of yore, when wrestling was about fat, middle aged men in tights".   

Dave 'Mondo' Collins - by Paul Hughes
The night was by no means over though, as Radio Podrophenia DJ's Mondo and Piley took over and played a superb floor shaking selection of Soul, Psychedelia and stomping dance tracks. They also threw in the occasional weird cover version, French Ye-Ye number and kitsch TV theme just to keep everyone guessing. So the night had to come to an end sometime but many of us would have stayed on until the early hours of the morning if they had their way! 

So, I'd really like to thank first of all - Fi, Dave and the Staff at The Railway, Lee, Warren, Jay and Bif Bam Pow! Dave and Ian from Radio Podrophenia, The Len Price 3, Photographers Paul Slattery, Paul Hughes and TheDimLocator, Drakeygirl for the great review on The Word Magazine web-site. Those that travelled - Lee, Francis, Simon, Phil Pirrip, Mayumi, Yasuko, Mark Underwood and Mr & Mrs Drakeygirl plus Glenda and all the friendly locals and Railway regulars that made us out-of-towners so welcome. We're already plotting up a return fixture so watch this space...!

You can check out a superb set of atmospheric photos of the night on Paul Hughes' Flickr site. In the meantime here are a selection of more photos:

Ian "Piley" Pile - by Paul Hughes

Bif Bam Pow! by Paul Hughes

The Len Price 3 by TheDimLocator

Bif Bam Pow! by Paul Hughes
The Len Price 3 by Paul Slattery
Thanks to Paul Slattery, Paul Hughes and TheDimLocator for the great photographs.

You can read reports on the evening by Drakeygirl here on The Word Magazine web-site and here on Planet Mondo Blog.

Please kindly click the highlighted links throughout the feature to find out more. Cheers! Steve

Sunday 25 March 2012

The Len Price 3 live at The Railway Hotel Southend-on-Sea March 17th review contributed by Carolyn Drake

The Len Price 3 live at The Railway - Photo by Paul Slattery
A canvas print of Wilko Johnson hanging on the wall of the Railway Hotel glared balefully over at The Len Price 3 as they blasted through their set. By the end, I imagined I could detect a twinkle in his eye. These guys don't mess about. They do old-fashioned, sixties-soaked power pop, and they do it with gusto. Resplendently sweaty in blue and red boating blazers, the trio wasted no time detonating their foot-stomping riffs and catchy choruses. Rammed onto a tiny stage, with no fancy frills like stagelights, this was a lesson in how to take charge of a raucous pub venue: crank it up with a walloping beat, some splendid harmonies, and the look of a gang having fun. Highlights were the Kinks-a-like Mr Grey and You Tell Lies, both from their 13 track 31 minute album, Pictures. Shaking a leg continued when Piley and Mondo took charge of the decks for a live DJ set of the kind of funky nuggets they play every Tuesday on their Chance Radio show, the mighty Podrophenia. The Railway Hotel is a snap, crackle and popping live venue with friendly, lively locals. 

--- This review by Carolyn Drake originally appeared on The Word Magazine web-site ---

The Len Price 3 live at The Railway - Photo by Paul Slattery
The Len Price 3 live at The Railway - Photo by Paul Slattery
Thanks to Carolyn Drake for letting us publish her review from The Word Magazine web-site, Carolyn also does her own Blog called "A Drake's Progress", so please have a look.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

News: Retro Festival 2012 at White Waltham Airfield, Maidenhead, Berkshire - August 10th-12th

There is a hot vintage festival kid on the block called Retro Festival (no relation…!). The line up has been announced and tickets are now on sale. The event will be held at White Waltham Airfield, Maidenhead, Berkshire from the 10th to the 12th August 2012.

The Festival promises an authentic experience including three live music and entertainment stages, some of the very best acts in UK vintage and Rock 'n' Roll, hundreds of classic and vintage cars, caravans, military vehicles and steam engines, plus live flying displays and The Wall of Death.

There will be a large selection of vintage traders selling some of the very best the UK has to offer in vintage and Rock ‘n’ Roll clothing and home wear, craft sellers, artisans and local produce sellers. Retro Festival 2012 will attract a wonderful mix of vintage lovers, Forties enthusiasts, Rockabillys, Mods, Hepcats, Lindy-hoppers, Boppers and Jivers as well as the general public along with hundreds of classic and vintage automobile owners and enthusiasts. 

There will be three stages including a homage to the Ricky Tick, the famous and influential 1960s Rhythm & Blues club which was host to many culturally important acts such as The Rolling Stones, The Who and Georgie Fame. Each stage will feature a full line up of exciting acts over 3 days and nights with music that has been carefully selected and curated by experts in this area including Molly Marriott, daughter of Steve Marriott of The Small Faces and Martin Fuggles the original Ricky Tick DJ. Martin played vinyl on decks placed inside a converted “Golden Piano” which will be remembered by Ricky Tick Fans and recreated for the event. Confirmed Acts include The Jim Jones Revue, The Jets and original Ricky Tick regular Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band.

Tickets are now on sale HERE with weekend tickets priced at £50 for adults and £34 for young adults between 12-16 years.  A family camping pitch costs only £30 for up to 6 people, children up to and including 11 years old go free and day tickets are also available.

White Waltham Airfield, Waltham Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 3NJ - Tel: 01628 823 272

Tuesday 13 March 2012

News: David Apps East London Photography Exhibition & Book Launch, Stratford Circus, London from March 23rd - April 25th

David Apps East London Photography Exhibition and Book Launch - March 23rd to April 25th 2012
@ Stratford Circus, Theatre Square, Stratford, London E15 1BX

Mon-Fri 10am-4pm (for weekend and evening opening contact the gallery on 0844 357 2625)
Stratford Circus is easily accessible via Stratford Underground and Main-Line Station. 

If you cannot make it to the Book launch or Exhibition, East End & East London Photography by David Apps will be available from March 22nd from Amazon.

You can also check more of David's excellent photographs of the East End here along with other Artwork and Photography at his Artificial Designs web-site.

Sunday 11 March 2012

News: The Monochrome Set new album "Platinum Coils" + Tour Dates

"Platinum Coils" album cover designed by Lester Square
After a seventeen-year absence, The Monochrome Set return with their new CD, "Platinum Coils", the band's tenth studio album, and the long awaited follow up to 1995's "Trinity Road". Realising success from the outset with their first single "Alphaville" back in 1979, The Monochrome Set were one of the first wave of ‘post-punk’ bands. A sixteen-year career followed, with memorable singles, "Eine Symphonie des Grauens", "The Monochrome Set", "The Jet Set Junta", "Jacob’s Ladder" and a whole bunch of classic LPs, "Strange Boutique", "Love Zombies", "Eligible Bachelors" and "Lost Weekend" (to name but a few), along the way.

Right from the beginning, the band earned a solid reputation as purveyors of fine pop, gaining praise from ‘80s contemporaries such as Morrissey and Edwyn Collins. Importantly, in later years, this praise has continued with artists such as Franz Ferdinand, the Divine Comedy and Graham Coxon, all citing the band as a key influence on their own work. The Monochrome Set sound has often been described as ‘timeless’, and that alone explains why, over the years, the band has continued gaining admirers.

The new twelve track CD, "Platinum Coils", possesses all the hallmarks of a classic work, and for those already acquainted with the bands back catalogue, it will contain a warming familiarity, but, that said, more importantly, it shows that the band are both unafraid to break new ground and not prepared to trade on past accolade alone. Lyrically, The Monochrome Set have always been known for their witty and observant prose. ‘Platinum Coils’ is no different in this respect. Although perhaps just a touch more personal, largely focusing upon singer Bid’s recovery from a very serious illness. That said, it’s not a collection of melancholic, morbid or self-reflective ramblings it's much more, a witty, yet occasionally poignant, collection of snatched personal thoughts, born at a time of great duress. In short, all one might expect from Bid, albeit with a slight lyrical twist of the surgeon's knife. With "Platinum Coils", The Monochrome Set retain their ‘trade mark’ sound, whilst also, excitingly, advancing it into new areas. For those encountering the group for the first time, "Platinum Coils" will offer a rich treasure trove of pop gems, and will perhaps just as excitingly, point the uninitiated listener towards the bands rich back catalogue.

The album is due for release on Disquo Bleu Records on April 01st and the track listing is "Hip Kitten Spinning Chrome", "I Can't Control My Feet", "Waiting For Alberto", "On My Balcony", "Free Free Free", "Mein Kapitan", "Cauchemar", "They Call Me Silence", "Les Cowboys", "Streams", "I'm Happy To Be Here" & "Brush With Death".

Tour Dates

06/04/12 - Stereo, Glasgow, UK
07/04/12 - Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, UK
08/04/12 - The Duchess, York, UK
09/04/12 - Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, UK
10/04/12 - Band on the Wall, Manchester, UK
11/04/12 - Buffalo Bar, Cardiff, UK
12/04/12 - The Green Door Store, Brighton, UK
13/04/12 - The Greystones, Sheffield, UK
14/04/12 - The Thunderbolt, Bristol, UK
16/04/12 - King Georg, Cologne, Germany
17/04/12 - Club Schocken, Stuttgart, Germany
18/04/12 - Hirsch, Nürnberg, Germany
19/04/12 - Fundbureau, Hamburg, Germany
29/04/12 - Dingwalls, London, UK
12/05/12 - Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival @ Docker's Club, Belfast, UK
19/05/12 - Music Hall, Barcelona, Spain
04/08/12 - Rebellion Festival, Blackpool, UK

You can read a review of last June's Monochrome Set gig at Dingwalls in the Blog Archive HERE.

Monday 5 March 2012

Down In The Basement Radio Show - 60's & 70's Soul, Funk and Rock 'n' Roll with your host, Alan Powell

On "Down In The Basement" you can expect to hear soul classics from the 60's and 70's interspersed with lesser known R&B, Funk, Rock and Roll, Northern, New Breed and Independent Soul. Your host, Alan Powell has been listening to 50's, 60's & 70's music for longer than he can remember.

He started listening to straight ahead rhythm and blues and slowly morphed into an obsession with soul and funk. When he's not driving you to work every morning on the London Underground, you can find Alan searching high and low for the rarest funkiest records.

You may even hear Alan slip in the odd gospel record, which just goes to prove that whilst the devil has most of the best tunes...He doesn't have them all..!

Listen to the show every Wednesday from 6pm GMT at  EN5 Radio or download Alan's Podcasts from his Podomatic site.

News: Monica & The Explosion French & German Tour Dates

Monica & The Explosion - Photo by Paul Slattery
Monica & The Explosion, featuring Swedish vocalist/guitarist, guitarist Monica Welander and ex-UK Subs bassist Paul Slack, will be in Jigsaw Studios, Peterborough next week, recording tracks for their new album.

Then, mid-march they will head off on a tour taking in shows in Germany and France, more dates are to be confirmed so please keep a check on their web-site for up to date news. The band are also confirmed to play Blackpool's Rebellion Festival in August. 

Mar. 15th Wageni, Bochum, Germany
Mar. 16th Freak show, Essen, Germany
Mar. 18th Yoko Mono, Hamburg, Germany

April-May French tour: (more dates TBC)

Apr. 6th Café du Theatre, Dinan, France
Apr. 7th Le Galion, Lorient, France
Apr. 8th Les Valseuses, Lannion, France
Apr. 12th Le Dynamo, Nantes, France
Apr. 13th Mondo Bizarro, Rennes, France
Apr. 17th Le Chat Noir, Angouleme, France
Apr. 19th Houses Of Parliament Bar, Bordeaux, France
Apr. 20th Zic Zinc Bar, Limoges, France
Apr. 21st Le Baraka, Clermont-Ferrand, France
Apr. 27th Café du Boulevard, Melle, France
Apr. 28th 5ème Avenue, Orléans, France
Apr. 29th Les Combustibles, Paris, France
May. 11th L'Antidote, Bordeaux, France
May. 12th Le Houlala Rock bar, Bergerac, France
Jun. 1st Korrigans, Trémentines, France

Aug. 2-5th Rebellion Festival, Blackpool, UK

Check the Monica & The Explosion label on the right of the Blog for more info, review & photos.

Saturday 3 March 2012

News: Mick Jones' Rock & Roll Public Library at Subway Gallery, Joe Strummer Subway, Edgware Road, London March 09th-31st

Clash memorabilia from the Chelsea Space exhibition 2009 - Photo by Steve Worrall
 Mick Jones' amazing collection of The Clash, B.A.D and cool Rock & Roll and Pop Culture memorabilia, is back on public display at Subway Gallery, Joe Strummer subway, Edgware Road, London March 09th-31st.

101'ers Poster from the Chelsea Space Exhibition 2009 - Photo by Steve Worrall
 Intended by Mick to be a permanent reference library for use by both the local and international community, it comprises, ‘a personal, cultural and social history of our times, and through that it extends beyond the local to the global.’ The collection features a huge array of rare and interesting memorabilia from The Clash days, including hand-written notes, stage clothes, flight cases and gig posters. There are also many pieces from Big Audio Dynamite alongside various movie posters, comic books and pop culture items.

"Hello Mick, It's Joe. Okay I give up, you win. Call me, Love, Joe" - Photo by Steve Worrall
I'd been along to see the collection when it was exhibited at the Chelsea Space Gallery back in 2009, here are some more of my photos of the items on display.

Catalogue of the Chelsea Space Exhibition 2009

 You can find more information on the excellent Strummerville site.

All photos by Steve Worrall