Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Galileo 7, The Past Tense & The Mynd Set at The Fiddler's Elbow January 09th

The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
This was what I call a real Retro Man Blog line-up, three great bands who have all featured on the Blog and Retrosonic Podcast recently and, even better still it wasn't one of our promotions so I could relax and enjoy it! Kicking off the proceedings were The Mynd Set from Stevenage who I'd recently seen at the 12 Bar Club supporting The Fallen Leaves. The band feature Parsley on the Hammond organ and of course his ex-Solarflares colleague Allan Crockford was to appear later on with his own band The Galileo 7 and this prompted a brief daydream where the Solarflares get back together and play at one of my Half Moon shows...ah well, you never know, stranger things have happened!

The Mynd Set - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Mynd Set start off with the rousing "Come and Play With Me" the opening track of their debut album "Dreams, Schemes and Laser Beams" and play a great set crammed full of their soulful Freakbeat. They are different from a lot of their contemporaries in the Mod, Garage, Psych genre in that they seem to take more of their influences from bands like Traffic, Cream and Les Fleur de Lys and in Leon Hewitt, with his paisley Fender, they have a bit of an old-school guitar hero. Leon spins out some great riffs and solos and packs a powerful punch too, especially on "Tick Tock" which you can see at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel here. Lead vocalist Glyn also handles bass and he and drummer Chris lay down a real groove that allows Leon time and space, not only to riff all over, but also add whistles, harmonica and maracas too. The sound at the Fiddler's Elbow is good tonight so you can hear the great Hammond runs from Parsley clearly and he also takes over the lead vocals on the excellent "Our Time" from their "Mynd Set E.P." For me the set's highlight was a storming run through of "Miracle Maker" which we played in Episode 17 of Retrosonic Podcast and which has to be one of my favourite tracks from last year. When I first heard "Maharishi" with it's swirling Arabic intro leading into some crunching chords I was reminded of the The Soundtrack of Our Lives epic "Mantra Slider". After their set I asked about this and indeed Leon admitted to being a big fan of the Swedish Psychedelic Rockers, my admiration for the Mynd Set was cranked up a few more notches! 

Allan Crockford of The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Allan Crockford of The Galileo 7 is another Soundtrack of Our Lives fan but then again he can already do no wrong with me. As a key member of The Prisoners and The Solarflares, and of course now with Graham Day & The Forefathers, Allan has had a hand in some of my favourite records of all time and now with Galileo 7's "False Memory Lane", I can add that to the list too. Stepping into the limelight as main singer-songwriter and guitarist must have been pretty daunting when you have worked alongside someone such as Graham Day for so long, but with "False Memory Lane" Allan has built on all the good bits of the previous two G7 albums and packaged them up into a near perfect Psych-Pop classic. There's an undoubtedly English sensibility about Galileo 7, from Syd Barrett and the Beatles "Revolver", "The Who Sell Out" to Blur's "Modern Life Is Rubbish" and I keep getting drawn back to Julian Cope's first two solo albums "World Shut Your Mouth" and "Fried".

Mole (drums), Viv (keyboards) & Paul (bass) - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The band have had a change of line-up since I last saw them, drummer Russ is on tour with Secret Affair so Mole has switched to drums and Paul Moss has joined on bass. This change seems to have boosted the band's confidence and the on-stage energy was certainly infectious. Mole is a live-wire behind the drums, all Keith Moon rolls and fills and Paul jumps around all over the place, adding some melodic backing vocals into the mix too. Viv mostly plays her keyboards one handed, bashing away on a tambourine with the other hand. She sings the lead vocals on the glorious headlong rush of "Don't Know What I'm Waiting For", which is an unashamed Power Pop song in the vein of The Primitives. The band are already hard at work on new material and we get treated to both sides of the new single which will be out on Mole's very own State Records, and in "One Lie at a Time" they seem to have really captured the essence of the current line-up's energy perfectly.

Mole of The Galileo 7 (and State Records boss!) - Copyright Retro Man Blog
Allan wonders out loud if there will be a conflict of interests what with Mole being in the band and their label boss too! Tonight's set comprises a good cross section of tracks from all three Galileo 7 albums with older favourites such as "Anne Hedonia" from "Staring at The Sound" and the excellent "Orangery Lane" from "Are We Having Fun Yet?" rubbing shoulders with new material and a cover of The Who's "Tattoo" with Viv taking over lead vocals. My highlights of their show were probably the stand-alone single "Modern Love Affair" with it's fuzzed up guitar which comes over really well and "My Cover Is Blown" from the latest album, which starts off with a slow meandering keyboard riff before bursting into a catchy chorus that will stick in your head for days after.

The Past Tense - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
So it's Retro Man Blog's good friends The Past Tense up next and it's a shame that they don't go on until late as a lot of people had to leave to get their last trains. Unfortunately, they missed an excellent set from the band, who also had a change of line-up last year. At first I was a bit worried when it was announced that they were adding a second guitarist, I'm often wary of bands messing with a good formula as sometimes the chemistry can be lost. However, when the band played at our Retro Man Blog night back in October last year, I was blown away with the new sound. Similar to the Galileo 7, the change in line-up for both bands seems to have lifted the energy and confidence no end. In the past I've been a bit harsh on The Past Tense, it's just that on a couple of times I'd seen the band they seemed almost apologetic for getting on stage. While their self-effacing humour is of course refreshing, sometimes I wanted to see the band really smash it, to come out all all guns blazing, to make no apologies and just accept that they are damn great at what they do.

The Past Tense - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
However, nowadays they have no such problems and tonight was without doubt the best I have seen the band play, they were really tight and powerful and the songs really shone through. The good thing is that new guitarist Buzz doesn't overdo things, the balance is just right, there are some nice little touches, a bit of slide guitar here, some nice new riffs and controlled feedback added to those familiar classics but mainly he seems to have given lead vocalist and guitarist Andy, a real boost in confidence. It's been long acknowledged that The Past Tense have one of the best rhythm sections in all the current Garage Rock Mod scene, and bassist Ken and drummer Warren certainly excel tonight. The band play a good selection of new material and I was annoyed as I was messing around with my camera and couldn't record their opening number "Visions of Another World" as it was a real cracker and I can't wait to hear it again.

The Past Tense - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The good news is that the band are currently in the studio recording tracks for their new album, and if they can capture their live sound in the studio, something they seem to have had trouble with in the past, I am sure it will be a excellent record. Their danceable little nuggets of songs are a good mix of their various influences from 60's Garage Rock, to Soul, classic Punk Rock, New Wave and Mod Revival. Some new titles include "Just Keep Believing", "No Apologies" and "Heads Held High" and they are so good it makes up for the disappointment of having to miss out on some old favourites due to the time restraints. The last song "Throwing It All Away" is another new number and it was a great way to close the set and promises that this year will be good for The Past Tense.

The Mynd Set - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Mynd Set - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Galileo 7 - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Past Tense - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
For more photos of all three bands please head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and if you are not already following, click "Like" for access to the exclusive photo album. You can see some videos of the gig at the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel. Don't forget you can hear a Galileo 7 track in our special Graham Day & The Day Forefathers edition Retrosonic Podcast where Graham, Allan and Wolf look back on some of their various line-ups over the years, download free here.



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