Wednesday 31 July 2013

La Fleur Fatale featuring Ebbot Lundberg: New single "Beautiful Stranger" released August 16th

Swedish band La Fleur Fatale release a new single “Beautiful Stranger” featuring guest vocals by Ebbot Lundberg from The Soundtrack of Our Lives on August 16th. The single will be released on Killer Cobra Records digitally worldwide but also as a limited edition 7” vinyl of just 250 copies with “Beautiful Stranger” on one side and “How Long Is Too Long” on the other. The new single will be exclusively available for download before the release with the help from leading UK based music magazine Classic Rock, where they will offer it for free to their newsletter subscribers. The 7" vinyl can be pre-ordered through Sound Pollution Records. Here's a little teaser video clip... 

The B-side “How Long Is Too Long” was written by Duncan Faure (Rabbit, Bay City Rollers) who the band met while shooting their documentary road trip "The Second Wave", which was shot in California last year. In Spring 2012 La Fleur Fatale embarked on an intense two week journey to and through California, when they played with legendary Psych musicians and met people who were part of making the 60's into what it later became, such as James Lowe (Electric Prunes), Patrick Campbell-Lyons (the original Nirvana), Mark Weitz (Strawberry Alarm Clock), Sal Valentino (Beau Brummels) and Karl Belknap (The Seeds). Throughout the movie they try to connect the past with the present, both musically and politically and ask what is the difference between then and now?

Since the release of their debut album in 2007, La Fleur Fatale have gone on to release another album and two digital EP’s, played live on national Swedish TV on Nyhetsmorgon on TV4 and the Swedish press have proclaimed that they are "The best kept musical secret we have got." They have also had their music in a major TV channel launch in Sweden (TV4 Sport) and reached over 200 million people in a variety of syncs (Discovery, Six Flags, American Airlines etc.) and toured the UK, US, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Norway. The band have done a handful of shows with Ebbot Lundberg, one of which was recorded and aired on Sweden’s biggest station P3 in 2011. 

Here's the trailer to the "The Second Wave" movie...check it out...

You can find out more about the band and the movie at La Fleur Fatale official web-site.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Introducing: The Big Nothing

Tokyo based American Ex-Pats, The Big Nothing, have just released their debut self-titled album on their own label and it's well worth getting hold of. The band are Rob Gray, Jim Stellato, Scott VanDusen and Kurt Schussler and the album was recorded and mixed by The Big Nothing in Tokyo over 2012-2013. Drums and bass were recorded by Jyuna Yamamoto at his studio in Tokyo with Cover Concept and Art from Andrew Keith Murray and Layout by Rob Gray. The eight songs are diverse and packed full of great melodic twists and turns. My picks from the album are the opening number "Love Love Love" which has that laconic drawl that reminds me of Dinosaur Jr or Buffalo Tom with a great guitar break that cuts right through the track. The band share lead vocals and this gives the album a diverse sound, as do the impressively intertwining guitars that weave through the perfectly constructed songs. "New World" is an uptempo rocker that has a great crunching guitar intro. "No Wonder" is underpinned by some neat piano, kind of like The Hold Steady, with some majestic backing vocals that elevate the chorus to one of those stick-in-your-head-for-days ear-worms that burrows it's way into your mind, you won't forget it in a hurry, it's an excellent song. "Nobody Else" is a slow burner that suddenly erupts into a crazed guitar riff and haunting chorus that conjures up Nirvana or Sonic Youth. "Trainsong" is a nice summery slice of Power Pop and pretty much sums up the overall feel-good factor of The Big Nothing.

Here's a great video filmed in Tokyo for the track "Used To"...

You can buy the album from the Big Nothing's Bandcamp page and keep up to date on gigs and news by "liking" their official Facebook page.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Charlie Harper & Captain Sensible "Too Much Reality" E.P.

Time & Matter Records will release a brand new E.P. from legendary Punk Rockers - Charlie Harper from the U.K. Subs and The Damned's Captain Sensible - called "Too Much Reality" tomorrow, July 29th. The E.P. features seventeen minutes of mind-bending Space Rock and Psychedelic guitars, with four excellent new songs written by Charlie, "Too Much Reality", "Space Virgins", "Human Traffic" and "Kamera".

Recorded at Dean Van Jones' Oscillate Recordings on the South Downs and Charlie and The Captain explore the musical influences of their youth from The Pink Fairies to Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd via Hawkwind and beyond. The E.P. is released on CD single and 7" vinyl, with a suitably psychedelic splatter pattern and limited to 250 hand numbered copies.

You can buy "Too Much Reality" from Time and Matter, and when you're there don't forget to have a browse around their excellent web-site. Originally set up as an impressively comprehensive U.K. Subs resource it has expanded to include Time & Matter Recordings set up as a 'not for profit company' in February 2010, putting out previously un-released or no longer available U.K. Subs material with all the proceeds going to charity. These charitable causes are personally chosen by legendary Subs front man Charlie Harper, and have included individuals, the people directly affected by the Japanese Tsunami & Earthquake in March 2011 and at present the RNLI. Upwards of £5,000 has been raised so far...In May 2012 they launched a subsidiary label called Time & Matter Records to deal with commercial ventures, the first of which was the Urban Dogs' fabulous acoustic album ‘Bonefield’, released in August 2012 and already featured in the Blog here.

Thanks to Rob Cook and Mark Chadderton from Time and Matter.

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 9: "I'm Going Crazy, Need a Shot of You"

Our brand new bumper edition Retrosonic Podcast Episode 9 is out now and available to listen to or download for free at our Soundcloud site. In this Episode, Steve from Retro Man Blog, Adam from The Jetsonics and Rock Photographer Paul Slattery play an eclectic mix of obscurities and hidden gems, brand new tracks and overlooked classics from the worlds of Punk Rock, Psych, Soul, Power Pop, New Wave and Garage Rock. There's also the usual cocktail of waffle, news and reports on our various music related exploits old and new...

In Episode 9 we kick off with a thundering Garage Rock number from The WitchDoktors and follow this with a track from The Travellers - the Britanny based Swedish and Italian duo - with a suitably retro track from their latest single. Paul and Adam pick two obscure Scottish Punk tracks from The Valves and PVC2, who feature a certain Midge Ure in his post-Slik, pre-Rich Kids and Ultravox Punk phase. There's a brand new track from Californian star-gazers Vela Eyes and an unreleased demo of raw and primal R'n'B from The Killer B's featuring ex-Screaming Blue Messiahs Chris Thompson.

Adam trawls his Soul collection for a foot stomping track from The Performers and there's a track from the latest album by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds. Two Power Pop classics from ex-Boys bassist Duncan Reid and Plummet Airlines are followed by a rare Psych number from Rupert's People. Adam gives us the latest run down on The Jetsonics and we hear an unreleased track from their forthcoming E.P.  Paul talks about his time spent with The Flamin' Groovies at their recent London shows and what is what like meeting up with the band after over 30 years. Then we discuss the Retro Man Blog gig for Thee Spivs new album launch party at The Half Moon and the various luminaries who were in the crowd that night. Finally there's news about our next Retro Man Blog night at The Half Moon on October 25th with The Len Price 3. We hope you enjoy the Podcast...!

Friday 26 July 2013

Duncan Reid & The Big Heads live at The 12 Bar Club July 20th

Duncan Reid live at the 12 Bar Club - Photo by Paul Slattery
So, it was back up to the 12 Bar Club again which is fast becoming our favourite venue and hang-out in London, this time to see a solo show by Duncan Reid, the bassist from The Boys. Duncan is promoting his excellent new album “Little Big Head”, which effortlessly continues on from The Boys impressive legacy of timeless melodic song-writing, packed full of harmonies and memorable choruses. It really is one of those perfect albums – from the sequencing of the songs, the depth and strength of the song-writing, the overall sound and punch of the production and the great cover art photography by David Apps, who has already featured on the Blog and Retrosonic Podcast in his own right. The whole package is faultless and I was looking forward to hearing the songs live.

The Feathers with added Spizz - Photo by Paul Slattery
Support on the night came from The Feathers, who feature Danie on guitar and vocals, decked out with spiky red hair and a union jack tailcoat jacket, looking like an extra from Derek Jarman’s “Jubilee”. Dazzle is on drums and multi-coloured haired Molly, none other than Spizz’s daughter on bass and vocals, and they kicked up a great Glam-Punk racket. It was fun and raw and featured a stage invasion for a sing-along “When Was the Last Time You Had Sex” and then an appearance from Molly's proud dad Spizz, who joined the band for a rendition of Spizzenergi's classic “Amnesia". The Feathers are a really enjoyable band and well worth checking out.  

Duncan and Anna - Photo by Paul Slattery
Duncan Reid took to the tiny 12 Bar stage, and slammed into the great “Montevideo” from the new album, it’s clear from the start that Duncan has lost none of his trademark energy as he leaps around the stage, slinging his bass around, he looks remarkably youthful. It is then into “TCP”, The Boys tribute to the Ramones and the trusty remedy to acne. “She’s a Handful” is taken from the “Mattless Boys” album that Duncan did with Honest John Plain. They called it that as a joke because all The Boys played on it apart from Matt Dangerfield. Two more excellent songs from the new “Little Big Head” album follow “Aren’t Women Wonderful” and “Thinking”, which with its rumbling slow bass build up and clever word-play is one of the night’s highlights. The band then give a sprightly work-out to The Undertones “Teenage Kicks”, with guitarist Alex Gold taking over on lead vocals and the song fits in perfectly with the night’s set-list. “Too Late” the piano led ballad follows and then Alex is back on lead vocals to sing one of his own songs “Oh Roisin”, released under the band name Darling Boy, it’s a nice gesture by Duncan and the song is warmly received. “I’m fed up with telling everyone that Alex is not my son” Duncan quips, and there is no denying there is a resemblance, not only in appearance, but in the quality song-writing stakes too. 

Alex and Duncan - Photo by Paul Slattery
I think Duncan has assembled a great band around him, and there is undoubted chemistry amongst them all, but in particular with Alex as they trade riffs and synchronised guitar-hero leaps and poses, it’s very entertaining. I knew that Alex performed as a singer-songwriter in his own right and also continues the fine work laid down by the now sadly defunct Word Magazine by promoting “Word In Your Ear” gigs and events for ex-Magazine subscribers, along with the magazine’s founders David Hepworth and Mark Ellen. I asked Duncan about the rest of the band and he explained, “Tom, the drummer is a young school friend of Alex and they grew up together in Redditch. Guitarist Anna, I met in Germany, she was in a band with Vom Richie from Die Toten Hosen called Wet Dog. Tom is allergic to vegetables, Alex is a vegetarian and Anna doesn't do milk or nuts. Promoters all over Europe are pulling their hair out when asked to feed us..!” They are a multi-talented bunch – Anna is also an excellent guitarist, a supercool presence to Duncan’s left, who takes over on bass when Duncan plays the keyboards and then Alex also covers on keyboards – in fact, Tom’s the only one who doesn’t swap instruments throughout the gig! It’s great to see a solo artist performing, not just with a backing band, but as a band, if you get my drift, and this becomes apparent on the great track “Kelly’s Gone Insane”, which tonight surpasses the already pretty-damn-near-perfect recorded version. Alex takes over lead vocals again for a rabble-rousing sing-along of arguably, The Boys finest moment, “Brickfield Nights” before we have a bit of a breather with “All Fall Down”. 

Alex, Duncan, Anna and Tom - Photo by Paul Slattery
Another great rocker from the new album, “77” follows, and then there is a trio of classic Boys numbers to end the set, “I Don’t Care”, “Box Number” and a fantastic “First Time”, which sparks off mass outbreaks of air-guitar and singing from the crowd….great stuff! Of course, following such an excellent performance there are calls for an encore and we are treated to “Gotta Call Simone” from the new album, which you can also hear on our new Retrosonic Podcast, The Boys’ “Terminal Love” which morphs into “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and it's list of Rock 'n' Roll casualties. Then to cap it all, a rowdy finale of The Yobs comedy Punk classic “The Worm Song” and “Sick On You” which was a Boys track originally performed way back when they were The Hollywood Brats. What an excellent show, packed full of so many memorable songs and a superb energetic performance from Duncan Reid and his band, The Big Heads – the buzz around the 12 Bar and the smiles on the crowd’s faces afterwards were certainly testament to that. 

Duncan Reid at the 12 Bar Club - Photo by Paul Slattery
With thanks to Paul Slattery for the great photos - you can see more photos by heading over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hitting "Like", for access to the Photo Album. For more info, news and updates please check out Duncan Reid's official web-site, Alex Gold's Darling Boy web-site and The Feathers Facebook page. You can hear a track from Duncan Reid's excellent new album "Little Big Head" in our brand new Episode 8 of Retrosonic Podcast below:

Saturday 20 July 2013

Dirt Royal: "That Isn't Me" / "North Street"...New Single and Tour Dates

Dirt Royal have just released their brand new new single "That Isn't Me"/"North Street" and it's the first of two singles to be released this month. Recorded at Gatehouse studios by Andy Rowland, the double singles plus two B-sides will be available on CD and online. The band will head off on tour starting July 31st and taking in dates at Brighton, Chichester, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Leeds, Wakefield, Cawley, Bristol, Oxford and then ending up back in their home-town of Brighton again. Dirt Royal are a great young band, and well worth catching live, you can see a review, video and photographs from their 12 Bar show supporting TV Smith on the Blog here.

Dirt Royal at The 12 Bar - Photo by Steve Worrall
For more info on how to order the single, check out the Dirt Royal Facebook page.

Friday 19 July 2013

Jonny Cola & The A-Grades to headline "Naked & Wired: Bowie & Beyond" at The Archway Tavern August 03rd

Heidi Heelz (currently of The Priscillas and The Retro Bar, formerly of Dice Club, Proxy Music, GlamRacket, The Guillotines), Joe Pop (Wild Thing) and DJ Sonic Medusa (The Lexington, Suffragette City) bring you a riotous party night, NAKED & WIRED. Celebrating not only all things Bowie but also the great man's legacy and influence. NAKED & WIRED unites glam, punk, disco, trash, performance art and gender-bending fabulousness all under one roof!  With live music from:
glam-punk darlings JONNY COLA & THE A-GRADES and the splendid CHARLES HOWL, plus Bowie-themed drag cabaret from TRINDY ET SES CHIENNES DES DIAMANDES! Also, BARBARA ANDROID will be beaming down to Earth specially...and there will be plenty of other exciting secret surprise guest appearances too. Add to that the chance to win free shots and set it all against the exotically kitsch Tiki Club and you've got yourself a winning formula for a night to remember!

Club name: NAKED & WIRED: Bowie And Beyond...
Date: Saturday 3rd August 2013
Opening times: 9pm - 4am
Venue: The Tiki Club @ The Archway Tavern
Acts: Jonny Cola & The A-Grades + Charles Howl + Trindy + Heidi Heelz + Joe Pop + Sonic Medusa + Barbara Android
Entry: £5/£4 advance from We Got Tickets

Tuesday 16 July 2013

New Retrosonic Podcast: "Sparks - Part 1: The Halfnelson Years" with original Sparks drummer Harley Feinstein + his latest band Crash 74

In this very special Edition of Retrosonic Podcast we are very pleased to welcome Harley Feinstein, the original drummer with Sparks. Harley appeared on the band's first two Bearsville Records albums "Halfnelson/Sparks" and "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing" back in the early Seventies, and this is his very own fascinating story about the formative years of one of Rock music's most innovative, independent and enduring bands. In Part 1, Harley talks about these early years, when Russell Mael first called in response to his "Musicians wanted" ad in a local record store. At the time of Harley's audition the band were originally known as Halfnelson, and he tells us of his first impressions of the Mael brothers and their music. Along the way we discover the importance of the mysterious Harold Zellman, and the equally exotically named Earle Mankey. We learn about the percussive tricks on the band's very first bootleg demo album, who were The Three Minute Earwash and which of the brothers was a rather macho sporty guy when Harley first met him, a wasn't Russell...!

Harley on stage with Crash 74 - Photo by Paul Slattery
Harley was over in the U.K. with his current side-project Crash 74, for a one-off gig at our favourite London venue, The 12 Bar Club, on Denmark Street. Crash 74 feature Harley on drums, Nicky Forbes from The Revillos on vocals and guitar, Stevie Savage from The Roadholders, Alien Sex Fiend and Danielle Dax's band on lead guitar, Dexy D'Angelo from The Stone Foundation on trumpet, Dr Who comic book illustrator Lee Sullivan on sax, Paul Jensen on bass and Harley's wife, Michelle, on vocals. Harley explains how this unlikely, eclectic (and Trans-Atlantic) bunch got together to form Crash 74 and put on one of the best gigs of the year so far. You can read a review of the gig along with some excellent and exclusive Paul Slattery Photos here...

Harley drumming with Crash 74 at The 12 Bar Club - Photo by Paul Slattery
You can download the first episode for free at our Retrosonic Podcast Soundcloud site.

"Sparks - Part 2: The Bearsville Records Years" is coming soon on Retrosonic...and this takes in the recording of their first album with Todd Rundgren and the classic "A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing". We then follow Harley and the band on their very first visit to the U.K. a country that embraced Sparks and where they made their second home. Harley takes us right up to the time that Island Records stepped in and signed the band and things wouldn't be quite the same again...

Crash 74 (L/R) Harley, Paul, Dexy, Nicky, Michelle, Stevie and Lee - Photo courtesy Paul Jensen
With many thanks to Harley for his enthusiasm and cooperation, it's very much appreciated.

Saturday 13 July 2013

Thee Spivs Album Launch Party at The Half Moon Putney June 29th with The Fallen Leaves and The Past Tense

Thee Spivs with Ian from Damaged Goods Records by Steve Worrall
Well, despite having to compete with Glastonbury, Hard Rock Calling, Weirdsville and The Tall Boys gigs - not to mention the sun finally making an appearance and the fact that the District Line branch to Putney was closed due to someone under a train...we were all really pleased with the turn-out at The Half Moon. So, a big "Thank You" to all who came along to help celebrate the launch of Thee Spivs brand new, and thoroughly splendid, album "The Crowd and The Sounds". The evening started off with another fine performance from The Past Tense, who debuted a couple of great new songs including "What's Coming Next?" and the forthcoming single "Remember The Days", which in particular promises to be a classic amongst The Past Tense's already impressive collection of prime Garage Rock/Mod nuggets alongside their crowd-pleasers such as "Wolfman" and "My Baby".

The Past Tense (L/R) Andy, Warren and Ken - Photo by Paul Slattery
Tonight, The Fallen Leaves played probably the best gig I have seen from the band and they attacked their songs with a real energy and commitment. The band really seem to have taken to the Half Moon, where the larger stage and excellent sound bring out the best in both their performance and their songs. And what songs they have! Rob Symmons hammering his guitar to wring every last ounce of noise from the instrument, his erratic and staccato style is not only a joy to hear but mesmerising to watch. Rob Green relishes the Half Moon stage too and the front-man puts on a consummate show - foot on the monitor, he leans into the crowd and espouses The Fallen Leaves philosophy, "we play simple songs for complex people", he tells us and the band launch into another one of their perfectly formed tracks. Rob, resplendent in tweed and cravat looks every inch the English gent and his tea ceremony, sipping tea poured from a thermos flask as the band thunder along around him, is one of the best pieces of Rock theatrics I have ever seen. The rhythm section just get better every time too, Bill on drums concentrating away at the back as he powers round his kit and bassist Matthew, in his velvet smoking jacket and that enigmatic smile, not only plays some impressive spidery bass lines but also plays a mean harmonica. The crowd responded to the superb performance and demanded an encore and we were then treated to a scorching version of "Trouble" and that was it, all over unfortunately, but the Leaves left the stage to a resounding ovation.

The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Paul Slattery
We had run a couple of competitions in the build up to the show and I could present the "Spot Thee Spivs Flyer" winner Janine and the "Button Badge Luck Dip" winner - who was from Brazil but I didn't catch her name, sorry - with their prizes of a signed copy of the vinyl version of "The Crowd and The Sounds" and signed CDs from each of The Past Tense and The Fallen Leaves, which seemed to go down very well with the lucky pair. Thee Spivs had just returned from a recent tour of Germany, Holland and Belgium so they were tight and full of energy, well they needed to be to take on the challenge laid down by The Fallen Leaves. They put on a great show - playing a mix of songs from their excellent new album "The Crowd and The Sounds", which has already received some rave reviews in Q and Shindig! magazines and some old favourites from their previous two albums "Black and White Memories" and "Taped Up". One of the set's highlights was when they played "Mickey Pearce Waved Goodbye" from the new album, the moving farewell to previous bassist Dan May. It was even more special as Dan was actually in the crowd too, and he seemed quite touched by the sentiment. Then, Ben instigated another competition asking me to to judge the best dancer. The field was very quickly narrowed down to Ian, the Damaged Goods Records boss, who competed with Rock Photographer Paul Slattery for the coveted title. I had to give it to Paul, as he juggled his camera, taking photos at the same time as throwing some impressive shapes on the dance floor. At one point, Bassist Daniel jumped off the stage and continued playing as he weaved through the crowd, it was a great moment - and those that were nearly flattened by his bass could get their own back, gesticulating along to "Flicking V's"! It was a thoroughly enjoyable set from Thee Spivs, and it was impressive just how great the new songs from "The Crowd and The Sounds" fitted in.

Thee Spivs (L/R) Ben, Steve and Daniel - Photo by Paul Slattery
DJ Jeff Munday and David Ayling kept the mood going as the party moved into the main bar, and it became apparent that the crowd on the night included a pretty cool selection of musicians in their own right. In fact, the crowd at The Half Moon was liberally sprinkled with Alternative stardust as there were members from some great bands present, such as Adam from The Jetsonics, Paul from The SuperMinx '70, Dale from The Electric Eyes, Mauro and Jonny from Jonny Cola and The A-Grades, Chris Thompson from The Screaming Blue Messiahs and the drummer in his current band The Killer B's, David Morgan Mathias, Mark from The Onlookers, who's now in The Transients, and there were also some visitors from Sweden, Hans and Liselott and Wayne Lundqvist-Ford from the Gothenburg based Ice Cream Man Blog. Here are some more of Paul Slattery's excellent Photos...

Andy from The Past Tense - Photo by Paul Slattery
The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Paul Slattery
Rob Green of The Fallen Leaves - by Paul Slattery
Thee Spivs - Photo by Paul Slattery
Thee Spivs - Photo by Paul Slattery
So once again I'd like to thank everyone for coming out and for the great support and feedback on the night and the music, it makes it all worthwhile! Of course I'd also like to thank all the bands, Jeff and David for the DJing, Carrie, Abbie and James at The Half Moon, Adam for the gig flyer and Paul for the photos. For more pics of all the bands and the After Show party, head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" to access the exclusive Photo Album.

The next Retro Man Blog night at The Half Moon will be on Friday October 25th with headliners The Len Price 3 joined by The Fallen Leaves and The Past Tense. The last one we did with this line-up at the Half Moon back in December was very close to a sell-out, so book early to avoid disappointment, as they say! Links to the event page and ticket details will follow very soon...

Monday 8 July 2013

The Flamin' Groovies at The Scala Kings Cross July 02nd - Exclusive Paul Slattery Photographs

The Flamin' Goovies outside the Scala - Photo by Paul Slattery

The Flamin' Groovies legendary 1971-80 line-up featuring Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson, and George Alexander were back in the U.K. after more than 30 years, and they followed up their appearance at the Hard Rock Calling Festival with their very own headline show at the Scala Kings Cross on Tuesday. Along with Victor Penalosa on drums, and Matthew Fisher from Procol Harum on Hammond Organ, the band took the stage to a rapturous welcome from the crowd, which was a mix of die-hard Groovies fans who had waited a very long time to see a gig from the band on British soil again, and those who were there for the first time to see a genuinely influential and legendary band in action. They open with "Let Me Rock" and then it's into their famed cover of Freddy Cannon's raw Rockabilly classic "Tallahassee Lassie", which sees super-cool bassist George Alexander swinging his hips and grooving away as the crowd get warmed up and sing along. 

The Flamin' Groovies warm up backstage - Photo by Paul Slattery
The chiming guitar intro to "You Tore Me Down" showcases the great interplay between Cyril and Chris, and it's one of my highlights of the night, with it's Big Star style harmonies, it's a track that Teenage Fanclub would be proud to have written. But it's the next number, the Byrds' fantastic "Feel A Whole Lot Better", which probably points the way to the Flamin' Groovies heart best of all. The shared vocals and harmonies and the intricate guitar lines just seem to capture that late Sixties Californian vibe perfectly, and the smiles from band and audience alike light up the Scala.

George, Cyril, Victor and Chris - Photo by Paul Slattery
Chris handles most of the lead vocals and he cheerfully engages the crowd with a mix of jokes and banter delivered in a hybrid Scottish, Scouse and American accent. Cyril totters about on high-heeled Chelsea boots, spinning out some great riffs from his classic Plexiglass Dan Armstrong guitar. The rhythm section of new drummer Victor Penalosa and the aforementioned George Alexander on bass, keep things tight and danceable - and again I've got to single out George as he grooves and grins, it's a great performance. Matthew Fisher's Hammond was sometimes swamped, but when it soared out of the rather poor Scala sound mix, it added a wonderful texture to the storming Rhythm and Blues that The Groovies were treating us to.

Cyril and Chris shake some action - Photo by Paul Slattery
Another track that stood out for me was "I Can't Hide" from the "Shake Some Action" album, which I absolutely loved, but the set-list contained enough of a cross section of material to keep everyone happy. "Don't You Lie To Me" and "Married Woman" build things up nicely to their two bona-fide Rock 'n' Roll classics, and probably the two tracks that the crowd wanted to hear most of all, "Slow Death" and then the brilliant "Shake Some Action", which saw the crowd going wild. "Teenage Head" and "Roll Over Beethoven" prolonged the partying and the atmosphere was amazing, such a great gig, more of a celebration really, of one of the most enduring Cult Rock bands of all time.

The Flamin' Groovies - Photo by Paul Slattery
Rock Photographer and regular Retro Man Blog contributor Paul Slattery, was of course there right at the front of the stage to document The Flamin' Groovies performance. As you may have seen on the Blog already, Paul took photos of the band's Spring 1978 U.K tour and has already shared with us some rare and unseen photos of those times here. Paul was also invited along to the band's rehearsals and you can see some photographs of the session here. As Paul is such a big Groovies fan, I thought I'd like to leave the last words to him to sum up the occasion perfectly.

"To see these blokes getting together again after more than 30 years, being backstage with them and watching them play such a great gig was quite momentous for me - I was almost in tears down the front of the gig watching them do justice to their great songs. Matthew Fisher's Hammond organ was mind blowing too. That's how much it meant to me. Anyway, for me being a massive Groovies fan it was like being in heaven as I didn't really think I would ever see them again. But they still have it - for me it was a brilliant gig."

Cyril and Chris - Photo by Paul Slattery
As a young Rock Photographer, Paul Slattery spent time with the band at Rockfield Studios and on their U.K. Spring Tour of 1978 and took some excellent photos of the band on and off stage. You can hear Paul talking about the influence of The Flamin' Groovies on his fledgling Rock Photographer career in our Retrosonic Podcast special episode here.

The whole band - George, Victor, Cyril, Chris and Matthew by Paul Slattery
All Photographs copyright Paul Slattery. With many thanks to Paul, Audrey Faine, Barry Simons and Simon Balme. Check out the Flamin' Groovies Facebook page for news and updates.

Monday 1 July 2013

The Flamin' Groovies: Exclusive Paul Slattery Photographs from their Storm Studio Rehearsal Session

The Flamin' Groovies rehearse, London June 2013 - Photo by Paul Slattery
Last Friday, Rock Photographer Paul Slattery went along to see The Flamin' Groovies rehearse for their long awaited UK gigs, and has kindly contributed a few words about the experience and some exclusive photos of the session. Paul hadn't seen the band since taking some of their photos back in 1978, you can see a selection of some of his rare and unseen photos on the Blog here.  

"It was a real privilege to be at Storm Rehearsal Studios in north London on Friday afternoon where the Flamin' Groovies have been preparing for their first UK gigs in over thirty years. Racing through their set list of classic songs like "Shake Some Action", "I Can't Hide" and "Slow Death", they sounded like they had just stepped off the plane in the spring of '78 let alone 35 years later in 2013. Cyril Jordan playing his vintage Dan Armstong Plexiglas guitar - the same one that's on the cover of "Teenage Head" - is a true guitar hero if ever there was one, together with Chris Wilson brilliantly producing that famed Groovies' "wall of sound". George Alexander bopping around the room picking out those mighty bass lines and drummer Victor Penalosa create what might be the best Groovies' rhythm section ever."

Matthew Fisher, London June 2013 - Photo by Paul Slattery
"A real highlight is the appearance of Matthew Fisher, the Procol Harum keyboard legend who has recently been collaborating with the band and whose subtle nuances on his Hammond organ add another superb layer to The Groovies sound.  His appearance at The Scala this Tuesday night cannot but help add to what is sure to be a great show, and after recent sold out tours in both the USA and Japan, the Groovies will be sure to make this a night to remember for Rock and Roll fans. This is one of the greatest live bands I have ever seen and if their superb performance at Hard Rock Calling festival on Sunday is anything to go by, Tuesday's show may be one of the gigs of the year." 
- Paul Slattery.

Cyril Jordan, London June 2013 - Photo by Paul Slattery
All Photos Copyright Paul Slattery 2013. 

The Flamin' Groovies will follow their appearance at yesterday's Hard Rock Calling Festival at The Olympic Park with a gig tomorrow, Tuesday July 02nd, at the Scala Kings Cross, which will be a gig that all Groovies fans will not want to miss. With many thanks to Paul Slattery.