Friday 29 June 2012

Retro Man Blog Night with TV Smith at The Railway Southend-on-Sea June 22nd

TV Smith by Paul Hughes
The second Retro Man Blog night in conjunction with Podrophenia and new joint-promoter Southend Punk web-site, at The Railway in Southend-on-Sea was, I'm pleased to report, another wildly successful, rowdy and fun-packed evening. It only ground to a halt well after 1am when the last orders bell was tolled and unwilling punters were politely asked to get down off the stage, remove pint glasses from tops of heads and stop dancing. Yes, it must have been a good one as joint promoter and Radio Podrophenia DJ, Dave Collins, was up to his usual party trick of balancing various alcoholic beverages on the top of his head! Following the great night with The Len Price 3  back in March, it was a real pleasure to be back at The Railway again and thanks to my local joint-promoters Dave Collins and Ian Pile, both from Radio Podrophenia and Southend Punk web-site's Steve Pegrum, there was a superb turn-out of what has proved to be the coolest and friendliest bunch of locals any pub and venue could wish for. Steve Pegrum had organized a great merchandise stall, not only displaying CD's and T-Shirts of the acts playing on the night, but also various local fanzines and CD's from his own band The Machines and record label Angels In Exile. We also had posters and postcards from Retro Man Blog's favourite designer, Sophie Lo, and subject of the latest Retrosonic Podcast, David Apps, with his excellent "East London Photography" book. Also in attendance was Gaye Black  (Advert), with her amazing jewellry, bottle top brooches and keyrings, which were eagerly snapped up very early into the procedings.

Photo by Paul Hughes
The Railway's owners, Fi Jacobs and Dave Dulake, have created a wonderful place, and they should be applauded for supporting a wide range of eclectic, mainly local, musical talent. They are constantly putting on a wide selection of gigs and events, film screenings and comedy show-cases, often free of charge. The excellent staff at The Railway serve some lovely, well-priced beers with a smile and I was suddenly reminded of those great beer adverts "Carlsberg don't do the perfect pub and music venue"...but if they did, The Railway would be it! Even local Southend legend, Wilko Johnson, has taken to turning up for impromptu jam sessions on the occasional lunch time. Much to the surprise of Dave Collins, who unexpectedly got roped in to accompany Wilko on bass while he was trying to finish up his lunch recently. You can read all about how this came about and see some photos of the jam session on Dave's excellent Planet Mondo Blog.

Andy J Gallagher by Paul Hughes
Andy J Gallagher kicked off the evening's entertainment with a three piece line-up featuring bassist Paul Hill and drummer Lee Andrews, who also plays for Bif Bam Pow! who supported The Len Price 3 at our previous Railway gig. Andy played a blistering set of his barbed and bittersweet songs with their catchy choruses and spiky guitar riffs. There's a touch of the Buzzcocks and Wedding Present in the slightly cynical, world weary despite-it-all romantic subject matter of Andy's lyrics and that is channelled perfectly into the music. The songs rattle along at breakneck speed, sometimes threatening to burst out of control. Songs such as "The Heretic" and "Something Else" are crammed full of melodic touches so it's a shame that The Railway's PA is not exactly the best, as some of the vocals were a bit muffled, but there is no doubting that Andy J Gallagher is a live act to watch out for. He plays a cover of Ramones "Judy Is A Punk" and a selection of great tracks from his Roman Jugg produced album "Helicopter Dolphin Submarine", one of the strongest debuts I have heard in a very long time.

The somewhat precarious PA actually fell over at the end of the set, unfortunately right on the back of someones head. Luckily, after a sit down, the guy was OK and, what's more, as if to cement the coolness of The Railway's clientele, he did manage to avoid spilling one drop of his pint, which was quite remarkable, all things considered!

Dick York by Paul Hughes
Next up is Dick York, another local musician now probably much better known on the Continent due to his German-based band Cryssis in which he is joined by another Southender, Vom Ritchie. Vom is probably better known to us in the UK as the drummer from Dr & The Medics, but he is now living in Germany and playing for hugely popular stadium Punks, Die Toten Hosen. Cryssis were formed by Dick and Vom to rekindle some songs they wrote together over twenty years ago and tonight, Dick treats us to an acoustic run through of some excellent tracks from their album "Simple Men". He also plays a couple of songs, "Fair Fight" and their debut single, "School Days", from his original Mod Revival band Sta-Prest which go down very well with the crowd. Dick's an engaging performer and gamely gets the audience to join in some call-and-response singing on his faultless, should be a classic, "Could It Be". It was good to see Dick playing these songs and hopefully he will come over to the UK with Cryssis in the near future. You can listen to Dick chatting to me in our latest special edition Retrosonic Podcast, where he talks about his career from Sta-Prest to the present day, including how he got back together with Vom to form Cryssis.

TV Smith by Eric Waring
Then it's the turn of TV Smith, the legendary voice of The Adverts, The Explorers and Cheap but now performing as a solo acoustic artist with a string of excellent albums to his name. The Adverts were one of the very first bands caught up in that early London Punk Rock explosion, playing the Roxy Club and releasing one of the greatest debut albums of all time, not just of the Punk period, in "Crossing The Red Sea with The Adverts". The band also appeared on Top Of The Pops with the anthemic single "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" but unfortunately split up following the shambolic situation surrounding their second, much maligned, album "Cast Of Thousands". After The Adverts, TV has forged a successful solo career inspired by the advice of his friend, the poet Attila The Stockbroker who suggested - following attempts to work in a band format with The Explorers and Cheap - to just head out on his own, alone with an acoustic guitar. So, that's how we see TV tonight at The Railway, armed with his trusty acoustic he launches into a great set peppered with songs from all areas of his career. He is now not afraid to embrace his Adverts material, despite once refusing to play any of the songs for over 10 years, so we get some hidden gems like "We Who Wait" to the rousing singalong classics such as "No Time To Be 21" which see the wildy appreciative crowd going crazy!

TV Smith by Paul Hughes
The depth of his solo material is apparent as he treats us to some delights such as my personal favourite "You Saved My Life Then Ruined It", a version of which can be heard on our very special edition Retrosonic Podcast interview and live session. Considering TV himself was already questioning the validity of the Punk Rock "movement" he saw around him as early as his debut album with songs like "Safety In Numbers", he has certainly taken Punk's more positive attributes to heart. The creative D.I.Y ideals and desire to communicate is apparent, as is his burning mistrust of the corporate and capitalist ways of the world of today. Songs such as "Clone Town" and "It's Expensive Being Poor" rail against the lack of social progress and injustices around him. However, the thing is with TV Smith is, it's not a po-faced diatribe - the songs are often joyous with witty and biting lyrics such as "Complaints Department" from latest album "Coming Into Land". He sings the songs with real power and emotion, eyes shut and sinews straining - but after each songs he breaks into a huge grin as the chords fade and the audience respond warmly to his positive and life-affirming message.  We get "Tomahawk Cruise" from The Explorers thanks to a hopeful request shouted out from the audience, and "Lord's Prayer" from his days in Cheap, but actually written for Lords Of The New Church. Then it's "One Chord Wonders" and of course "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" and it's over, leaving a very happy and enthusiastic audience. He even had someone stage-diving, apparently a first for him at a UK acoustic show! Hopefully, the recent Punk Britannia programmes on BBC4 along with Jamie Palmer's excellent documentary "We Who Wait" will inspire people to check out all of TV Smith's albums further, including a re-evaluation of that "difficult" second album "Cast of Thousands" maybe...

Radio Podrophenia's Piley & Mondo by Paul Hughes
Things don't stop there however, as Radio Podrophenia DJ's Mondo and Piley, crank up the gramophone and spin some wonderful tunes to get everyone dancing. They have a knack of incorporating some classic Soul stompers with Punk and Psychedelia to brilliant effect. An eclectic and totally original mix, especially with their little trademark of dropping in some long lost TV theme tune for good measure. It works, people dance, people laugh and The Railway rocks to their fine selection of  feel-good sounds.

I would sincerely like to thank Fi and Dave and staff at The Railway and my joint promoter pals Dave & Ian and Steve PegrumTV Smith, Dick York, Andy J Gallagher with Lee Andrews and Paul Hill for the superb music. Gaye, Sophie Lo, David Apps for helping to stock the merchandise stall with your quality works of Art. All the people who helped me out with promotions and support and all The Railway clientele and those that travelled to be there. Thanks to photographers Sophie Lo, Paul Hughes and Eric Waring and to Uli and Klaus from the TV Smith web-site.
Gaye Advert, "Iggy" and Steve Pegrum of Southend Punk web-site by Steve Worrall
A happy crowd by Paul Hughes
TV Smith tuning up by Sophie Lo
TV Smith meeting his public at the Merch Stall by Paul Hughes
Check out our special TV Smith Edition Retrosonic Podcast below. An hour long Episode where TV takes us through his career, from his pre-Adverts days in Sleaze to The Roxy and bang up to date with his new album "Coming Into Land". This also includes a four song exclusive live session.


You can see more of Paul Hughes' excellent photographs of the night at his Flickr site. Eric Waring's great photography can be found at his elspics web-site and check Sophie Lo's web-site for her superb designs, including a wonderful Adverts poster.

Buzzcocks "Back To Front" live at Brixton Academy May 26th

I'm very late with these reviews as been busy concentrating on my gigs for TV Smith and The Members, but here's a little report and some photos of the Buzzcocks "Back To Front" gig at Brixton Academy. This was a music fan's dream concert - no rubbish support act, a classic line-up and a founding member returning for the first time. What a great concept. First of all the current Buzzcocks take the stage, the line-up still includes original members Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley along with Chris Remington and Danny Farrant. They play a set consisting of material recorded since their 1993 "come-back" album "Trade Test Transmissions". In fact, one of the tracks from that album, "Innocent" is a actually highlight of the whole evening for me, as is "Totally From The Heart" from the album "All Set". These albums easily match the classic line-up, they are strong with some songs that can stand beside their legendary "hits". I found "Modern" and "Buzzcocks" a bit disappointing as albums but they still each contain a handful of really strong stand-out tracks. Latest album "Flat Pack Philosophy", released in 2006, is however, a much stronger collection of songs, with a great powerful sound. The recent song-writing and singing duties are pretty much shared 50-50 between Diggle and Shelley these days, and newcomers to seeing the band live recently, and who remember Shelley to be the band's main front-man,  might be surprised that Diggle dominates procedings tonight. I think a fair percentage of the audience were there to see the classic line-up and Devoto but I am sure if they had thought the Buzzcocks had finished they can only have been impressed by some of the strong material of the new line-up.

Next up, it's the main act, and Diggle and Shelley are joined by drummer John Maher and super-cool bassist Steve Garvey. This is really what the crowd were waiting for and the band launch into a near perfect set-list of  classic songs from their first three albums "Another Music In A Different Kitchen", "Love Bites " and "A Different Kind of Tension". Then of course, there are those timeless, unbeatable 7" singles "Promises", "What Do I Get?" and "Ever Fallen In Love", the classics keep on coming. The crowd go crazy and as I'm trapped right at the front of the stage with bodies flying everywhere, they play "Sixteen Again" and I can't think of a more apt song for that moment in time!  The drumming of John Maher is particularly excellent, especially on "Pulsebeat", and Steve Garvey looks to be thoroughly enjoying this brief return to the spot-light. They end on a furious "Orgasm Addict" and leave to rapturous applause. Then it's the much anticipated "encore" and Howard Devoto appears to lead the band through the "Spiral Scratch E.P.". With a wry comment that the crowd should turn their hearing aids up a bit, he launches into "Breakdown", "Friends Of Mine", a brilliant "Time's Up" and of course "Boredom". There's a final chaotic cover of The Troggs' "I Can't Control Myself" and then it's all over and the exhausted and exhilarated audience file out, I am sure, totally satisfied.

So, hats off to the Buzzcocks for such a very special night. Here's some more photos of the gig:

Buzzcocks at Brixton
Pete Shelley
The "Classic" Buzzcocks line-up: Diggle, Maher, Garvey & Shelley
Steve Diggle
Howard Devoto appears for the "Spiral Scratch" E.P. encore

All Photographs copyright Steve Worrall Retro Man Blog 2012

Thursday 28 June 2012

The Jetsonics - new video for "New Romance"

The Jetsonics by Paul Slattery
The Jetsonics have finished their great new video for "New Romance", the lead track from their second E.P. somewhat cryptically entitled "Second Extended Player"...You can order copies from the band's web-site or even better, come along to The Half Moon in Putney this Saturday June 30th, where not only can you pick up a copy in person, but you will also be treated to a raucous night of Punk Rock, New Wave, and Acoustic Jukebox Punk with live sets from The Jetsonics, Monica & The Explosion - featuring UK Subs original "Warhead" riffing bassist Paul Slack - all headlined by that sound of the suburbs, The Members - now with the added bonus of legendary Damned drummer and Holy Grailhunter, Rat Scabies. Don't miss it...!

The Members with Rat Scabies + The Jetsonics + Monica & The Explosion live at The Half Moon June 30th

Here's a reminder that Retro Man Promotions has put together another superb line-up for Part 2 of a double hit of Punk Rock Legends gigs. Following hot on the heels of our fantastic gig at The Railway in Southend last Friday with TV Smith, this is sure to be another great night.

The Members, now with The Damned's legendary drummer Rat Scabies, will be headlining The Half Moon on June 30th along with Monica & The Explosion who feature original U.K. Subs bassist, Paul Slack and Swedish singer songwriter Monica Welander. Completing the line-up will be The Jetsonics who bring their New Wave Power Pop to the party.

Tickets for this gig can be pre-ordered from the Half Moon web-site HERE.

The Half Moon Putney, 93 Lower Richmond Road, London SW15 1EU - Tel: 0208 780 9383

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 3: TV Smith special

TV Smith live at the Retrosonic HQ - Photo Steve Worrall
TV Smith, the legendary voice of The Adverts and hugely respected solo performer, joins us (Steve from Retro Man Blog, Rock photographer Paul Slattery and Adam from The Jetsonics) in this brand new special edition of the Retrosonic Podcast,  to discuss his influential career and play an exclusive four song acoustic session.

TV takes us on a journey from his early gigs on the edge of Dartmoor with Sleaze to moving up to London with Gaye Advert and playing the Roxy with The Adverts at the very beginning of the Punk Rock explosion. He then brings us right up to date with the release of his latest album "Coming Into Land" and the publication of his excellent "Punk Rock Tour Diaries", "Volume 1: Getting There" and "Volume 2: How To Feel Human", which cover his adventures as a travelling solo performer armed only with a guitar, a suitcase and an emergency sandwich. This special Edition of the Podcast  is soundtracked by a choice of prime Adverts, Explorers, Cheap and solo material and we were also very honoured to be treated to an exclusive and intimate acoustic session of four songs, live in the Retrosonic HQ. 

Photographer Paul Slattery first saw The Adverts at The Nashville in 1977 and here he meets up with TV Smith for the first time in over 30 years. Paul discusses the impact of seeing the band in those early days of the Punk Rock explosion, and chats about his experiences of being caught up right at the front of a rather scary crowd. On the right is one of Paul's great photos of Gaye Advert taken backstage at The Nashville. Paul also talks about the scene in more depth in Part 2 of his story which can be found on the Retrosonic Podcast Soundcloud site HERE

For more information on our TV Smith gig at the Railway Hotel in Southend-on-Sea on June 22nd please click the gig poster on the right or visit the Railway Hotel's web-site. For other tour dates, merchandise and news please check out the excellent TV web-site which is a really great resource for fans, including a Forum  and lots of interesting archive material to browse such as interviews and set lists from many gigs.

Many thanks to TV Smith for a thoroughly entertaining and inspiring evening, we really appreciate it. And thanks also to Paul Slattery for contributing the great Gaye Advert at The Nashville Photo.

Monday 18 June 2012

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 3 Bonus Track: Dick York of Cryssis with Photographer and Artist David Apps

I met up with Dick York, from Cryssis and Photographer and Artist David Apps, recently for a special edition of the Retrosonic Podcast. Dick will be appearing at the Retro Man Blog Gig with TV Smith at The Railway in Southend-on-Sea on June 22nd, along with Andy J Gallagher and Radio Podrophenia DJ's Piley & Mondo. We talk about his early days in the Mod Revival band Sta-Prest and then how he resurrected his next band as Cryssis with Vom Ritchie (Dr. & The Medics, Die Toten Hosen), after over 20 years. Cryssis have a superb album out on Drumming Monkey Records called ”Simple Men”, which is packed full of tight and powerfully melodic rockers. Dick will be kicking things off at 8pm on Friday 22nd so make sure you arrive early so not to miss anything. Dick will be appearing solo and will treat us to acoustic renditions of some of his extremely tuneful and catchy songs from the album such as "Words", "London" and hopefully, my favourite "Could It Be". Cryssis are currently recording a new album.

Check out more information on Dick York and his band at the Cryssis web-site and you can also order merchandise including the latest album ”Simple Men” from Drumming Monkey Records.

Dick York (top) and Vom Ritchie in Cryssis - Photos by David Apps

Then next up on the Podcast, David Apps chats about his excellent "East London Photography" book, which charts the huge changes to the surrounding neighbourhoods around the development area of the new Olympics site. His images capture an East End and Cockney culture that is slowly being overshadowed, first by the Docklands developments and now the Olympic village. David also talks about his artwork and photography and how he ended up playing in a band with a founder member of the Sex Pistols..! Hopefully David will be bringing some copies of the book along on Friday for sale, so please be sure to check out the merchandise stand.

David Apps' East London Photography Book (top) and "Cowgirls" artwork

David Apps' Artwork and Photography can be found at his Artificial Designs site, where you can also order copies of the superb "East London Photography" book, which is well worth getting hold of.

Here's the Podcast, I hope you enjoy it. Sorry about the background noise, but trying to find a quiet place on a Saturday afternoon in Camden proved quite a tough task, I hope it doesn't spoil the enjoyment too much!


Many thanks to David Apps and Dick York for taking the time to chat to me, it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and I really appreciate their patience and good humour.

Sunday 17 June 2012

Mattias Hellberg to release new album...

Photo by Josefine Larsson
Mattias Hellberg is currently recording in Silence Studios with his new line-up, The Fur Heads, which includes bassist Nikke Ström from Nationalteatern, working on tracks for a quick follow up to his excellent "High In The Lowlands" album. The demo songs I have listened to are some of the strongest material I have heard from Hellberg so far. They seem to be back to ensemble pieces rather than the more introverted solo-orientated "Lowlands" album. "Minor Me" is a loose and funky number which is split by a squall of guitar feedback. "Heart" would make a great single with it's fuzzed up organ sound and stabbing rhythm. There's a similar sound to the raw psychedelic groove that he captured so perfectly on the White Moose album "Out Of The Frying Pan". "Wait For The Morning" is another perfect single in-the-making with it's bongo led percussion and gospel backing vocals, a wonderful chorus and soulful guitar riff. This is shaping up to be Mattias Hellberg's defining album and I can't wait for the finished product to be released.

Cover Art - Alan Forbes
If you are waiting impatiently for the new album, and haven't yet done so, don't forget to get hold of a copy of the excellent current record, High In The Lowlands (Kning Disk Records). Described as "Sad Souled Songs of Scandinavian Despair", it's the beautiful result of a week stuck in a cabin in the woodlands following a boost from friend, co-songwriter and producer Mattias Areskog to get back into the soundscapes of sadness he handles so well. This fusion of nostalgic Swedish woodland folk songs and a somewhat rootsy approach to the ancient troubadour tradition -  whose lineage Hellberg's music clearly represents - be it with Hederos & Hellberg, Healing Hand or Mattias Hellberg & The White Moose. The songs are tainted in the darker shades of blue, bringing to mind psychedelic junkies like David Crosby, Skip Spence and British acid casualty Syd Barrett.

Mattias Hellberg & Nikke Ström - Photo by Josefine Larsson
Mattias Hellberg will play the Peace & Love Festival in Borlänge, Sweden on June 29th and Liseberg, Gothenburg on August 01st. Check the Tour Dates page on the web-site for further news.

Photo by Josefine Larsson

Mattias DJ nights at Moozy Moozy at Pusterviksbaren in Gothenburg every third Tuesday.

Photo by Jonas Kernell

Here is the video for the current single "Oh No" taken from "High In The Lowlands" album.

With sincere thanks to Mattias Hellberg for the Jonas Kernell Photo and to Josefine Larsson for contributing the excellent live photos. You can check out more of Josefine's great photography by visiting her own Blog HERE.

The Stone Roses "Third Coming" Exhibition Opening Night

Photo by Paul Slattery
Legendary music photographers, Kevin Cummins, Paul Slattery and Ian Tilton, collaborate for the first time in an extraordinary exhibition of photography and memorabilia to celebrate the generation-defining ‘Madchester’ band, The Stone Roses

In celebration of their long awaited comeback this summer, Whiteleys Shopping Centre is bringing the Manchester scene defined by the Roses to the heart of London in an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia from the classic line-up.

This unique exhibition documents the band’s rapid ascent from the small club scene in Manchester to arenas in Japan and their legendary Spike Island concert. All the key moments of their career are illustrated: on the road, live on stage, in the studio and formal (yet somehow still very informal) portrait sessions with three legendary photographers who had intimate and exclusive access.
Curator Dave Brolan has brought together renowned photographers Ian Tilton, Kevin Cummins and Paul Slattery, who will exhibit over 70 images of The Stone Roses under one roof, “These three photographers have between them captured pretty much every major artist of the last 30 years, many as they were still unknown or emerging. Each photographer has a distinct style but a similar honest, photojournalistic approach, showing subjects as they really are and creating iconic images that stand the test of time.  Together, they helped shape the image of The Stone Roses.”

Ian Brown - Photo by Paul Slattery
The exhibition will provide a chance to re-live the high energy and passion that bands such as The Stone Roses ignited in the British music scene. As guitarist John Squire said at the Stone Roses reformation launch last year: “In some ways, it seems like 15 years ago was yesterday.”

(L-R) Paul Slattery, Kevin Cummins & Ian Tilton - Photo by Steve Worrall
The launch night of the exhibition was excellent, very well attended and organized with a superb selection of photographs by Retro Man Blog regular Paul Slattery, which included his fantastic shots of the band off stage in Japan and at the legendary Spike Island gig. Ian Tilton is probably best known for his Jackson Pollock inspired photo shoot, the Ian Brown "orange" picture and seated portraits of each band member. Kevin Cummins has a selection of his Paint Sessions with the band almost completely covered in colourful emulsion, one of which went on to become one of the most iconic NME covers of all time. You can also see Reni's paint splattered hat along with an interesting collection of memorabilia including artwork, set-lists, record covers. All three photographers were present, Paul Slattery proudly sporting his Len Price 3 T-Shirt.

Here are some photographs taken at the opening night launch party:

Stone Roses Memorabilia - Photo by Steve Worrall
Reni's hat - Photo by Paul Hughes
Ian Tilton - Photo by Paul Hughes
Photo by Paul Hughes
Stone Roses Memorabilia - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Gallery - Photo by Paul Hughes
Paul Slattery & Ian Tilton - Photo by Paul Hughes
Stone Roses Memorabilia - Photo by Steve Worrall
Paul Slattery, Kevin Cummins and Ian Tilton - Photo by Paul Hughes

The exhibition is now open to the public at The Space Gallery at Whiteleys in Bayswater, London W2 4YN and runs until August 12th. It's free so well worth a visit if you are in London. Limited edition signed and numbered prints along with other merchandise are available for sale at the gallery.

Many thanks to Paul Hughes for contributing the excellent photos of the launch night, you can check out a full set of his shots of the party at his Flickr site HERE. I'd also recommend you to check out Paul's other photos which include the extremely well received set of photos of the Retro Man Blog gig for The Len Price 3 at The Railway in Southend HERE

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Rock Photographer Paul Slattery on Retrosonic Podcast. Part 2 "The Punk Rock Years and being led astray by Lemmy..."

As we are poised to release Episode 3 of Retrosonic Podcast, which I am pleased to announce will be a TV Smith special edition, don't forget you can catch up with all our previous Episodes on the Retrosonic Podcast Soundcloud site. Our current Podcast is Part 2 of our feature and interview with legendary Rock Photographer Paul Slattery, where he talks about the impact of Punk Rock, The Ramones at the Rainbow, on stage with the Pistols, The Adverts, avoiding Richard Jobson's flailing limbs, Penetration, The Runaways, Elvis Costello, U.K. Subs, Johnny Thunders, meeting Paul Slack, Charlie Harper and the U.K. Subs 30 years later and being led astray by Lemmy...

Sign up to Soundcloud to download the Podcasts free of charge or email retromanblog'at' to register for our mailing list and request an MP3 version.

You can see a selection of Paul's superb photos of The Stone Roses now at Whiteleys in Bayswater, London. This is a joint exhibition "The Stone Roses, The Third Coming: The Definitive Exhibition", along with Ian Tilton and Kevin Cummins, and opens to the public today. We'll be featuring on the opening night in the next day or two. In a future Retrosonic Podcast episode, we'll talk to Paul about his time with The Stone Roses, including touring with the band in Japan and the now legendary Spike Island gig. One of Paul's photos has also been chosen to illustrate the posters, catalogue and flyers and the exhibition will also stock Paul's excellent books on those other famous Mancunians - The Smiths and Oasis.

Monday 4 June 2012

The Members + The Jetsonics at The Tropic Ruislip June 03rd

The Members - by Steve Worrall
I got a bit lost on the way to the venue, it actually turned out to be the social club of Wealdstone FC, overlooking the pitch and was a pretty impressive set-up. It reminded me of a good old-school working man's club but with a really decent stage, P.A. and lighting set up, good lay-out and well organised staff. The turn-out was impressive too, considering it was a Bank Holiday Sunday evening and there was apparently some big Event or other on in London earlier that day. Thanks to a local convenience store letting me check their A-Z, I made it just as The Jetsonics were powering through "Amazing" and the audience reaction was very positive. I think the band are a good match for The Members, with their West London sing-a-long New Wave numbers such as "White Capri" nestling alongside the Reggae influences on the excellent "Somewhere Else". The band are currently finishing off their third E.P. in the studio so keep an eye on the Blog or the band's web-site for news on the release date. New number "She Wolf" is based around a cool bass riff from Adam Donovan, and adds a different dimension to their sound. Another new one, "Chelsea Drugstore", which will feature on the new E.P. is fast becoming a favourite and tonight they end on the punch the air classic "New Romance", which has just been made into a superb "Minder-esque" video filmed in their local. It's well worth checking out. There was quite a queue of eager customers hoping to purchase the band's previous two E.P.s so things are certainly looking up for The Jetsonics.

The Jetsonics - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Members are now playing as a three piece with original "Members", guitarist JC Carroll and bassist Chris Payne joined by The Damned's legendary drummer Rat Scabies. This stripped down line-up serves the songs really well and adds a rawness to proceedings and the band look like they are having a lot of fun. The crowd are certainly having fun too as they are treated to a perfect set-list of hits, new album tracks and cover versions. "Soho-A-Go-Go" is superb, one of the highlights of the night, and the thrashing chords of "Chelsea Nightclub" brings to mind The Who's "My Generation", especially with the sudden instrumental break where Rat powers round his drum-kit, proving that he really is Punk Rock's very own Keith Moon. "New English Blues" from the excellent new album ”InGrrLand” has a huge chorus, it's a real "all join arms and raise your pints in the air" moment. It's a folk song for the modern age, and I could almost image it replacing Sinatra's "New York, New York" or "Auld Lang Syne" as the song to sing as a party draws to an end! 

Rat Scabies - by Steve Worrall
"Offshore Banking Business" and a storming version of "Solitary Confinement" sandwich their inventive reggae version of Kraftwerk's "The Model" from the "Uprhythm Downbeat" album, which spotlights Chris Payne's great bass playing. Another cover version, this time a raw run through of Bolan's "20th Century Boy" gets people moving. However, as much as I enjoy the rousing renditions of the classic Members tracks, it's actually new song "Bleak" that is the stand-out of the evening for me, a fantastic song with JC's cool little sixties style guitar riff. Of course "Sound Of The Suburbs" gets the biggest cheer of the evening, it's probably their defining song and the charismatic JC prefaces most of the songs with little anecdotes of life just outside London. These included working in a bank in the City and going home to an empty bed-sit to the joys of living near the Airfix model factory, wondering what life would be like to be part of the glittering scene in the capital. "Working Girl" keeps everyone singing along and they are called back for a well deserved encore, their powerful version of "Larry Wallis' "Police Car" and then it's all over. A thoroughly enjoyable evening, with band and audience all enjoying themselves and I'm now looking forward to the gig at The Half Moon on June 30th even more! Make sure you book your tickets in advance as I can see this one being a big hit and I would not want you to miss out on the fun!

You can get more info on the Half Moon gig on June 30th and book reduced rate advance tickets here. The line-up will be completed by The Jetsonics and Monica & The Explosion who feature original UK Subs bassist Paul Slack. For more information on The Members new album "InGrrLand" check out the earlier Retro Man Blog feature here. Check The Members web-site for news on future tour dates and merchandise.  JC has also just released a brand new album ”21st Century Blues”.  

This is out under the name Jay-Cee Carroll and available from Anglo-Centric Recordings, featuring a cast of Legendary Guitarists from all over the world via Internet collaborations.This is Jay-Cee's follow up to the critically acclaimed "New English Blues Volume 1". JC takes the English Blues Genre and extends it into the 21st Century adding Fat Synth Basses, Drum Loops, zithers, mandolins, Rap versions of Folk Songs, Punk Blues updates on Spoonfull, culminating in the Blues Prog oddyssy the 17 and a half minute "Voodoo Childe Surrey Boy Keytar man". As it says on the Cover this is not an album for Blues Purists, but it is another bold experiment from the Surrey Maverick.

All Photos Copyright Steve Worrall 2012