Friday, December 29, 2006

James Brown - I Feel Good

James Brown R.I.P

I couldn’t let the passing of Mr Brown pass without adding my humble tribute. I was lucky enough to see him a couple of years ago at Glastonbury. He must’ve been around 70 by then and, whilst he couldn’t be compared to the unstoppable force of nature that he was in his earlier years, he had more funk in his little finger than most of the other acts that he shared the stage with. Now, at last, the hardest working man in showbusiness can take a well deserved rest.

Creatively bankrupt...

Okay. So it’s the holiday season. I can’t be arsed to prise myself out of the chair. After all, ITV are showing Back to the Future and Jurassic Park I, II and III on three consecutive days…genius. Therefore I have no gigs to write about. My d’etre doesn’t have a raison. I can’t just stick another video from You Tube on here. Too easy. And I ain’t gonna bore you with the minutiae of my life…went shopping, met Hank, picked my nose…you know the sort of thing. So instead I am going to bore you with my poorly researched, factually inaccurate thoughts on the state of the music business and creativity in general at the end of 2006. I make no apologies for the sweeping generalisations and crackpot theories that are contained herein. If you’re bored enough to read it, I’m bored enough to write it.

A few little things prompted this outpouring. Beanos Records (a legendary record shop in Croydon is closing its doors after 40 years), Reddingtons (a kind of Birmingham equivalent) shut down a month or so ago, Tower Records has just gone bust and HMV recently announced a drop in sales of 40% in just two months.

Then, browsing my local Tesco (I know how to live eh?) I came across a number of Mastercuts compilations. Mastercuts is/was a pretty good series of compilations of classic tracks covering soul, funk, blues, hip hop etc, all in their original forms (no shitty edits or pointless mixes). Each one was a triple album, containing 30 tracks. How much? Go on…take a guess. £2.84. I’ll say that again in bold. £2.84. Now, of course these are ‘old’ tracks. You could argue that the music business has already had its pound of flesh from this material, but £2.84? For someone who can remember buying 7 inch singles back in 1980 for £1.15 that’s a pretty shocking sum of money.

So what I hear you cry. The big record companies have had their day. They’ve ripped us off for far too long. Let’s hear it for people power! Okay. I agree…sort of. I’m sitting here listening to a mix by The Kleptones. It’s brilliant. A collection of some of the best tracks of 2006. The cost? Bugger all. Free. Gratis. Buy none, get one free. 100% extra free. I can sit here all day (and believe me, sometimes I very nearly do) listening to and downloading music to my heart’s content. But it’s not just the music that’s free. Do you know how many music blogs there are out there? No, neither do I…but the point is that there’s loads of them. Many, like this one for example, aren’t much cop. But there’s some seriously good stuff out there. Out of habit I still buy NME for £1.99 a week. The journalism is generally pretty poor now, it’s sort of moved to fill some of the gaps left by Smash Hits. There are lonely hearts ads, glossy posters of the poppermost stars, pictures of readers posing with ‘celebs’…even a lot of the reviews end up being nothing more than childish name calling and cheap shots against bands that aren’t considered cool enough. Compare this with something like Fluxblog or Headphonesex for example. Good, entertaining reads, loads of great info and the chance to download tracks for zilch. Locally I’ve been drawn to the Silver Footed Gig Slut (her words, not mine) who handily lists many of the gigs in Birmingham over the next week or so and even rates the acts concerned by listening to their tracks on MySpace. RussL writes reviews that are far more comprehensive than anything you’d find in NME and Pete Ashton’s site is a goldmine of information on music, art, the ‘net in general…

In pretty much every case bloggers blog in their own free time. They don’t get paid. We don’t pay to read them. Looking ahead, where does this leave so called professional journalists? What will happen to all of the magazines on the shelves? Will people continue to fork out money for books? What about DVD’s? Why bother buying or renting stuff when you can get it for free or at very little cost from the comfort of your own home? It’s a scary thought but it seems to me that creativity is becoming something that many of us just take for granted…it’s just there and because we’re now getting comfortable with ‘free’ access, that’s going to be the norm in the future. Photo libraries like I-stock photo now sell high quality pictures that you can use for anything from advertising to album covers for just a few dollars. You Tube doesn’t charge anything to watch a dazzling array of videos (I’m talking here about the music stuff, not mall rats miming to Hit Me Baby One More Time).

I’m not complaining. In fact I’m in hog heaven. I’m not one of those old bastards who pines for the days when you could only buy vinyl or tape at vastly inflated prices. The Internet will be the greatest media and communications tool ever created. I worship at the alter of Mr Blueyonder. However, imagine for a moment a world where a crack team of rich plumbers decided to do plumbing jobs for free…for ever. All of the other plumbers would have to find something else to do. Unemployment city ahoy. This is, for me, the nightmare scenario (not the plumbers bit obviously….I’m doing the analogy thing). A world in which creative people can earn a living being creative is a great thing. It sure as hell beats stacking butters and fats in Somerfield on the Isle of Wight (don’t ask), but who the hell is going to pay them (us) to do it in the future? Will kids in 2010 bother buying CD’s or paying £7.97 to download an album? Won’t many of them just get their musical and literary kicks for free and spend the rest of their dosh on crack?

Anyway…just a thought.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ultra Modern Nursery Rhyme Promo

I just love this. I did back in 1990-ish and still do. Jerry Sadowitz in the video, Terry Hall, the lovely Blair Booth...pop perfection. Why Terry Hall hasn't had hit after hit will be a mystery that I'll take to the grave.

I should be so sucky, sucky, sucky, sucky...

My Space sucks. Buffering, unexpected errors, connecting...jeez, what is this 1982? Can someone not do a better job? Anyone? Please?

Fyfe Dangerfield / er...someone else but I can't remember his name... / Godfrey Salter and His Invisible Ducks Glee Club Sunday 17th December 2006

Bit of a last minute jobbie this one, and a bit odd it was too. I'm starting to seriously dislike the Glee Club. Nothing wrong with the line-ups, staff, sound or even the overpriced drinks. No, the real bug bear is the bloody seating. You're crammed in like freakin' sardines on bum numbing makes the whole thing like a School Assembly. Aaagggghhh. Rant over.

Godfrey Salter (aka Al from The Courtesy Group) kicked things off in fine form by annoying most of the audience who clearly weren't expecting a poetry set from a slightly mad Brummie. As a Courtesy Group fan I loved it, sure it takes some thought and getting in to but judging by the cheers when he announced his last poem most of my fellow audience members would disagree (I guess none of them know he's Fyfe's brother either). The next act was fine. Yes, I've forgotten his happens sometimes, especially at my age. I'm 92 you know.

This was Fyfe's first solo gig. Away from his fellow Guillemots (who delivered one of my gigs of the year a few months back) he was clearly a little nervous and the fact that he had his back to the audience for most of the set didn't help to establish the kind of rapport that you look for in a great gig. That being said, the voice and passion was a strong as ever. Perhaps a guest slot or two from other artists to break up the set a little (and give Fyfe someone to bounce off) might make for a more rounded experience in the future (can you tell I'm being diplomatic...good).

No pictures 'cos my knees were rammed up round my ears thanks to the generous leg room afforded by Messrs Glee and Club. Grrrrrr.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Billy Bragg / Get cape. Wear cape. Fly. Birmingham Academy Wednesday 13th December 2006

I've been a bit of a Billy Bragg fan for...a number of years (yes I know I'm old) but for some strange reason I'd never got to see him live. He plays Glasto most years but he's normally in the Acoustic Tent which is rammed full of men with beards drinking scrumpy. So I was rather looking forward to tonight. GC.WC.F. (far snappier don't you think?) got things off to a flying start with a set that was half Sam with his guitar and half a bloke on drums and a bloke with a trumpet. He's got a lot more oooommmph on stage than he has on record/CD/download (delete as applicable) and the drummer added an almost Drum and Bass vibe to a few tracks. In some ways GC.WC.F. is/are the Billy Bragg of the 21st Century. But then that would mean that Billy was no longer relevent and, judging by his performance tonight, that couldn't be further from the truth. One man and his guitar. No more, no less. Kicking off with 'Sexuality' (which represented the birth of a poppier Billy back in the early 90's) the whole set was littered with the classics plus a couple of new tracks from next year's new album. In between Billy chatted about this and that offering little insights into his life which, coming from most performers might seem a little odd (often there were gaps of several minutes in between songs), but tonight it just felt right. Inevitably, as tonight was part of the Hope Not Hate tour, there was strong political edge, given extra poignency by the closure of the Peugeot factory earlier that day. In fact some of the workers who had been made redundant were there collecting signatures to stop the loss of what's left of our manufacturing industry. Music and politics have, at times in the past, gone hand in hand. Today, few musicians, or any of us for that matter, bother. Of course this is all wrong. But perhaps what we lack are enigmatic speakers who genuinely believe in justice, rather than voting themselves a 66% pay rise. Then again, perhaps most of us are too busy voting for Celebrity ASBO Dancing Hairdresser to vote for politicians. Good grief, I'm turning into Ben Elton. The point I'm very clumsily trying to make is that Billy Bragg works. You trust him. You believe in him. As a person as well as a perfomer. And that's a talent that's all too rare these days.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Band - Don't Do It

Okay, I'll even up the score. One weird video for one 'cool' video. Just watched The Last Waltz (one of the great music docs, directed by Martin Scorcese) so here's The Band.

Why? I don't know why. Maybe it's the drag queen in me coming out...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Misty's Big Adventure / ZX Spectrum Orchestra Glee Club Birmingham Wednesday 6th December 2006

Jingle Bells indeed. With the time of Yule fast approaching the lovely BBC gifted us with a freebie gig at the Glee Club, during which they recorded a show for The Freak Zone (6 Music) hosted by Staurt Maconie. Actually it was less of a gig and more of an old school Radio One roadshow in parts with some character called The Professor delivering a 'lecture' on Serge Gainsbourg, supported by lovely clips of the old devil himself perving over young girls.

In terms of live music the ZX Spectrum Orchestra kicked things off in typically freakish style. Part of the Modified Toy Orchestra, Mike in Mono and other ecentric, electric 'groups', they make music using, yes, you've guessed, it Commodore 64's. No. I jest. ZX Spectrums. I'm so old that I actually had a ZX Spectrum, 16K as I recall. The only sounds mine made was some kind of fax noise whilst I sat and waited 15 minutes for Hungry Horace Goes Skiing to load from a tape...a tape I tells ya...only to get to the last 10 seconds for the whole thing to crash. But I digress (emotionally scarred, moi?). The Orchestra (two blokes in reality) are actually very good. It's strange how 'computer' music still sounds like something from the future, even though it ain't. A kind of Dr Who of the music world...

Anyway, next up, and finally, we were treated to a short but sweet set by the magnificent Misty's Big Adventure. I keep trying to remember when I first saw them. At The Flapper & Firkin back in the late '90's I think, when Erotic Volvo wore a Doctor's coat with surgical gloves stuck on it. If you haven't seen them, that last statement won't make any sense. Good. Shame on you. They are one of the greatest groups in British music, up there with the Bonzos, Pulp and Haysi Fantazee...have you ever heard John Wayne is Big Leggy? A sizable chunk of the audience was frugging (it's like dancing, only fruggier) like mad tonight to a set that, as ever, was strewn, nay littered (it's happening again, I've come over all Frankie Howerd...I had to be very careful how I typed that) with classic songs. I still love The Wising Up Song most of all, mainly 'cos it sounds like a cross between Frank Zappa, German Caberet and a bus full of brass instruments falling off a cliff. It ends with a tale of a man who tries to move a mountain using a spoon. I won't spoil the pay off line for you, but it beats the hell out of 'lil Chris any day (aww bless I can hear you saying, leave him won't...he scares me...and his new record sounds like a bastardised version of The Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen in Love).

Anyway, to cut a long rambling review short, Misty's were excellent as ever, as you can all hear by listening to The Freak Zone, BBC 6 Music (some new fangled digital thing) on Sunday 10th December..sometime...I don't know when...what do you think this is, the freakin' Radio Times?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Men Women and Children / Kill The Arcade / Montana Birmingham Barfly Saturday December 2nd 2006

Wow. Top 10 gigs of all time alert. Woo woo the cops. This was a seriously special gig.

Montana (yet another fantastic local band) kicked off things by playing a set that wouldn't have been out of place at Woodstock. They have a long haired guitarist who might just be one of the best I've ever seen in 18 years of gig going, a vocalist that combines a bit of Anthony from the Chili Peppers, a bit of Robert Plant from the Zep, a touch of Jagger and his own phrasing that somehow seems like a natural development of all the above. If this band were around in 1974 they would be flying the globe in their own jets.

Kill The Arcade had a hard act to follow and didn't quite blow me away as much. But it was still a strong, powerful set and on any other night they would've made more of an impression.

Which leaves Men Women and Children. After hearing Lightning Strikes Twice in New York and Dance in My Blood last year I knew they were a cut above most other bands around. The album backed this up. But live...well I can't think of anyone else who could top them. Every single member of this band puts 100% into their performance. They obviously know their musical stuff (I'm sure I caught the bass player tuning up to Money by Pink Floyd! Good choice fella) and have managed to create a kind of funk/disco/rock/metal/rap hybrid of music that puts some of the best moments from the past 40 years of music into a big blender, adds loads of other great new ingredients and serves it up piping hot.

If I'm starting to sound like a teenager who's just been to his first gig rather than a 36 year old bloke who's been gigging for half his life then that's how this band makes you feel. I defy anyone not to love them. If they played this music all over the world it would stop wars, cure disease and make people dance in the streets. It's THAT good. We had the good fortune to meet the after the gig and, to top it all, they're bloody nice people who genuinely seemed to enjoy meeting fans and appreciated everyone who came out to see them. Pretty much every second was a highlight, but respect due to a band that don's hard hats with miners lights on them then leads a conga through the crowd.

Hopefully there may be the chance to interview the band in the future - watch this space - in the meantime go out and tell your friends, buy the record, become their friend on My Space, go see them live...they will restore your faith in humanity.

Captain / Polytechnic / Envy & Other Sins Birmingham Barfly Friday 1st December 2006

If ever a line up was arse about face, this was it. Local boys Envy & Other Sins simply blew the socks off both Polytechnic and Captain. This was the third time that I'd seen them and they have developed into a truly brilliant live band with clever, grown up lyrics, catchy choruses and oodles of energy. I love 'em! If ever a band deserved to break out of the nefarious 'Best Midlands' scene (nice one NME, now fuck off and patronise someone else) Envy & Other Sins should be it.

I don't really know what to say about Polytechnic. Nothing wrong with their vaguely West Coast vocal stylings and gentle melodies (they kept reminding me of that band that sang Santa Cruz you're not that far...The Thrills...thank you Google) but I couldn't detect anything about them that justified this week's NME single of the week (if you're detecting a little anti-NME sentiment you're most perceptive. It's still the best weekly music paper 'cos it's the only bloody one left. But it's now full of ads for mobile 'phone wallpaper - whatever the chuff that may be - and lonely hearts. I have a terrible feeling it's going to go - in the words of Smash Hits - 'down the dumper' before too long).

Headliners Captain were also ok. Frontline (which has been rereleased more times than a 17 year old with an asbo) was delivered competantly, but that's not what music is all about is it? A little like Deacon Blue, without the songs or Scottish anger shining through (listen to Dignity, then listen to Frontline and tell me I'm wrong...go on, I defy you). The keyboard player, Clare, annoyed me from the outset by pulling a hissy fit about her vocals not being high enough in her ear piece. Real bands don't need ear the following night's headliners showed...

The Rumble Strips / The Answering Machine Birmingham Bar Academy Wednesday 29th November 2006

This week (or four days to be precise) has seen an orgy of live music, some good, some not so good so I'll keep these brief.

First up The Answering Machine from Manchester. Quality, gentle Indie pop with a dark but romantic heart. Hints of New Order in places. One to watch for 2007.

Next, and finally (this was a two band bill - I demand three bands grrrrrrrr), The Rumble Strips. Why they aren't yet on Top of The Pops every week...oh bugger that's gone hasn't it...anyway, the point is that The Rumble Strips produce the kind of music that there's just too little of these days. You got a lot of it in the late 70's and early 80's, music with real instruments to the fore, bags of soul (even if it was highly polished - step forward ABC, Heaven 17, Blue Ronda a la Turk and oodles of others) and lyrics that seem to mean something. Live they're even better than on record, I never saw Dexy's in their heyday (and I imagine they were a different kind of power), but reviews that link The Rumble Strips with Kevin Rowland's crew would seem to be pretty close to the mark. Given that Dexy's were widely acknowledged to be one of the live acts of their era, that's a pretty good compliment. Oh Creole and Motorcycle were personal highlights but, in truth, every song was delivered with passion, balls and a little ingredient the music fairy calls X. If their debut album (out May 2007) doesn't tip them into the big time I'll eat Charlie's hat.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Jeffrey Lewis Band / Kate Goes / Deadly Long Legs / Lets Wrestle Birmingham Bar Academy Saturday 25th November 2006

Okay, get a load of this. Four great bands. Four! Saturday night. In Birmingham. How much? Go on...nope, not even close...£5! A fiver! You can't buy a Mars Bar (other snacks are available) for less than a fiver these days. Well, you get the picture. George Michael charges £100 to see him at the NEC (the most soul destroying venue in the world) and trades on past glories, these spunky youngsters sweat it out for your delight for a fiver. I doff my cap.

Lets Wrestle - Indeed, why not? Listen to their rough demos on My Space and you won't get the how good this three piece were in the flesh. Showing more ambition than a lot of bands (lyrically speaking...who else name checks Charles Mingus in a track these days). The Wrestle are what's great about music these days. Eclectic. Energetic. And proof that, despite Celebrity Fame Jungle Beach Brain Surgery Factor, music is alive and well.

Deadly Long Legs - Crazy name, garage rock heaven. As Childish as Billy and the Buffs, but looking like they're fronted by a 70's footie star, DLL could belong to any decade from the 50's onwards. I love garage rock. It's uncomplicated, unpretentious and untainted by much of the thick layers of gloss that's slapped on to a lot of 'modern' tracks and Deadly Long Legs do the genre as well as any band I've seen.

Kate Goes - I have a soft spot for Kate Goes. Having witnessed and enthusiastically reviewed thier very first gig I've left it a good while before seeing them again and am delighted to announce that they've retained the same sense of innocence that I loved about them then. That's not to say that they haven't developed. Vocally and musically they seemed stronger (as you'd expect after more gigs) and their guitarist has transformed from someone who looked a little like a geography teacher into a rock god (good work fella). Boom Shadilak is, I'm convinced, a number 1 record in waiting (you can listen to the rough demo at their My Space site, but live it's 100 x better). They're getting rave reviews from better scribes than me and, if they get the break they deserve, they will follow Misty's into the bigger, wider world and...who knows...

Top marks for the theme tonight too. Kate Goes tin foil...

Jeffrey Lewis Band - Seen Jeff loads of times and hope to keep doing so. He is unique. As a solo artist he is the very definition of 'anti folk' (if there is such a thing), but with brother Jack he is capable of rocking out to a quite impressive degree. No Creeping Brain tonight, but we did get the Hand and History Of Communism in China. Sublime. Each time I've seen him the crowd gets bigger, his guitar gets more battered and the drawings that illustrate some of the songs become more dog eared. If you haven't yet witnessed one of his shows you've missed out on one of the most special musicians/artists around. It's as simple as that.

All this for a fiver! That's why Mums go to, I have no idea why I wrote that either.

Bromheads Jacket / Oxford Glamour Models Birmingham Barfly Wednesday 22nd November 2006

Hola! Naughty Baron has been neglecting his duties again. Tut tut. This blogging business takes ages though. I don't just dash this off in a quick five minutes you know...each word is torn from my soul like...oh who am I trying to kid?

Oxford Glamour Models - floppy fringed Suede-y in places but a lot harder...grrrrrr...Horrors-esque if you will...and who are you to argue? Listen to 'Kick Out the Grams' and you'll get flashes of early Bowie too. Go on...there..told you you would.

Bromheads Jacket - I knew this would be a moshy moshy kind of gig and the Jackets provided the perfect soundtrack for my well deserved battering at the hands, feet and heads of 'the kids'. If the bruises on my rib cage are anything to go by, if was a damn fine gig. As with most gigs that I go to, the majority of the people at the front knew every word. I, being a musical whore, knew snatches (stop snickering at the back), but they're such a damn catchy band that familiarity probably doesn't make much difference. I particularly liked their promise not to play Golden Arches and What, If's and Maybe's " 'cos they're shit"...only to play both tracks straight afterwards. Rock, and indeed, roll.

Will they become the 'next Arctic Monkeys' as predicted on this very site in March / April (well not this one, The Hearing Aid Mk1 - RIP)? Who knows. But they're one Jacket that you need to try on (who needs NME eh? This is gold, solid gold).

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dufus / Mr Bones & the Dreamers, Jug of Ale, Sunday 12th November 2006

Sunday gigs...wrong, wrong, wrong.

Dufus...right, right, right.

But first, and it was their first, Mr Bones & the Dreamers debuted tonight and put on a strong performance. Their lead singer reminded me a little of...wait for it... Roy Orbison. Yes, I know. Maybe it was just me. They have a kind of country/folk sound, a little Decemberists in parts.

Dufus (one lead singer, the bearded wonder that is Seth, and an ever changing band that sometimes extends to nearly 20 people but tonight numbered a more compact 4) have been around for quite a while now and were/are part of what is known as anti-folk (a little folk, a little punk, a little art house/experimental know the kind of thing). Their live shows are legendary and full of the kind of childlike wonder that you just don't think exists anymore. They've just released a truly special album, The Last Classed Blast, on Birmingham's very own Iron Man Records. It's the kind of eclectic album that John Peel would rave over. A mix of sublime folky loveliness and Zappa-esque 'what the chuff...' moments. Put it on your Christmas list (and everyone else's) and you won't be disappointed. Tutu (probably one of my favourite tracks of the year) is worth the price of admission on its own.

Anyway, back to the gig. Seth had a charming female vocalist / foil tonight who was as brilliant to watch as Seth (and that's saying something). A lot of the music of Dufus really comes alive...well...when it's, with a formidable back catalogue to delve into it was a bloody great gig. Classics Underwear and Wee Ma Woo got an airing, as did the aforementioned Tutu. Sadly a number of the crowd were there for the local opening act and many had melted away before the end. Their loss.

Reading the liner notes of the new Dufus album and in after a very brief chat with Seth I kind of get the feeling that he is a little disheartened with the relative lack of success of a band that should really be playing much, much bigger venues and selling bucket loads of CD's. Let's hope the new album does just that.

As an aside, I had a chat with the female vocalist too (I always find appraoching a band a little odd, particularly at my age when I'm often old enough to be their dad...but, if I've enjoyed the gig, I'm kind of compelled to). It turns out she's a waitress in New York when she's not singing with the band. I sort of had it in my head that they would all be full time Dufi. It's just another reminder that some of the best and most talented people aren't to be found in enormo-domes like the NEC, but working in diners and singing in boozers like the Jug. In the vernacular of our American cousins...'it's kinda cool, but it kinda sucks at the same time'.

Anyway, enough already. Please buy the album. Here (look, how easy can I make it!)

I thank you.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Luke Haines / Lisa Lindley Jones Birmingham Bar Academy Wednesday 8th November 2006

Wasn't sure what to expect tonight. Knew we'd be in an acoustic kind of place - and we were. Opener Lisa Lindley Jones had a smokey sort of voice that made you want to drink a bottle of Shiraz and puff on a big fat Havana whilst fanning yourself with a dog eared copy of Down and Out in London and Paris by George Orwell. Gentle, but good.

Saw Luke Haines back in the day (early 90's) supporting The The according to Lady Baron. Loved the 'big' single Lenny Valentino and the soundtrack to Christy Malry...but haven't followed Luke's career as much as it probably deserved to be followed. That's the problem with being a musical whore. If you like one band, or indeed, 'scene' it's quite easy to keep up. If you're into anything from The Big Bang to Phil Ochs, The Associates to Frank Zappa or System of a Down to Bessie Smith...(yes my i-pod has a serious identity crisis) it's a tricky business.I'm sure the last time I saw a picture of Mr Haines he was a fairly skinny kind of chap with blonde hair. Tonight he had morphed into that bloke from the Thin Blue Line and Four Weddings and a Funeral (no, not Rowen Atkinson, the other one, with the receding hairline who marries one of the know). This has nothing to do with the music of course, but he does look rather different.

As an acoustic set I felt that some of the songs suffered a little and his vocal delivery (more a kind of menacing whisper) really benefits from having some backing (either other musicians or vocalists). He is also rather well read. So if you're not up on everything from child killers to Marxist theory some of the meaning of the songs can be lost a little. But, that being said, I rather enjoyed the set and , for an artist who once jumped off a 15ft wall (breaking both legs) just to get off finishing a US tour, he seemed to enjoy himself too. Luke Haines - demented genius who deserves far more success than he gets but is probably quite happy where he is.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Gossip / Comanechi / Panther Birmingham Barfly Thursday 2nd November 2006

November, as Moz so wisely pointed out some years ago, spawned a monster. Thus this November sees a monsterous number of gigs (see what I did there?) all tempting me like sirens of sound (no, I've not been drinking). Anyway, on to the review of the first gig of the month. Opener Panther was a delight. A bloke who sounds a bit like Har Mar Superstar trapped in a lift with Justin Timberlake and Jeff Buckley. He did lots of cool / mental dancing too and is an electropop star waiting to happen. Watch his latest video here you mutha.

Comanechi were up next and had a cool Japanese girl drummer (vocals) and male geeeetar player (Peter Hook style shapes) thing going on. In love Japanese girl vocalists. They could sing a shopping list and make it sound and look cool. Don't know her name but it was her birthday tonight and someone had got her some Cava as a pressie...aaahhh bless. If you can like the whole Japanese garage thing as much as I do, check 'em out.

Right. The main event. The. G to the O to the S to the S to the I to the P. Lead singer Beth has been getting so pretty good press this year and I can see why. There are few frontwomen with as much spunk (as it were) as Beth, vocally she could easily out Janis Ms Joplin and she struts some pretty funky stuff all over the stage. Towards the end she climbed over the barriers and danced amongst us mere mortals. I always like bands that do that. TOUCH YOUR PEOPLE...we won't bite...well maybe one ot two of us will...

Lady Baron - who was less than convinced with Panther and Comanechi - loved The Gossip, as did the rest of the crowd. An outspoken lesbian of generous proportions, it makes a real change to see someone like Beth making the pages of NME (naked no less). Perhaps there is hope for the world after all. In a year of outstanding gigs, this has to go down as one of the best. Southern tinged, blues garage rock heaven. Lets hope The Gossip spreads...(oohh, now come on, that's clever right? Oh, okay then, please yourselves).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Long Blondes / 1990s / Monkey Swallows the Universe Birmingham Academy 2 Saturday 28th October 2006

Early gig tonight as Saturdays see the Academy host Ramshackle - a club night thingy for troubled teens, pervy old men and glue sniffers. So the first band came on at the ungodly hour of 6.45. ..barely time for a £3.20 pint of watered down Strongbow (thanks Mr Carling Academy, you really are spoiling us). Monkey Swallows the Universe is a name that conjures up some kind of 60's psychadelic cult group. The Monkey's were, in fact, more acousticy (well how would you spell it?) and mellow than that. As with many opening bands the majority of the audience weren't as receptive as they should've been...which was a shame as they had some gentle, but impressively catchy, tunes. Download Florence from their website and see what I mean...

Gentle isn't a word that you would use to describe 1990s. They had a real 80's rock group thing going on. I think they scared some of The Long Blondes fans a bit at first but, by the end of the set, the applause has lifted from a gentle appreciation to more of a 'woohoo' with a coupled of added 'yeahs'. They couldn't help reminding me of The Knack a little bit. Which, as they sang 'My Sharona' (a classic is ever there was one) was no bad thing. In fact the more I listen to them the more I like them...

The main event then. The Long Blondes. Unknown to me the drummer is from Stourbridge and his dad (I think) was just behind me, next to the bass players mum. Which made it all feel a bit like a school play. But I'm being picky (naughty Baron). On record The Long Blondes must be one of the bands of the year. Once and Never Again and Giddy Stratospheres are bloody ace and they didn't fail to hit the spot (several spots in fact) tonight. No encore, but I kind of like that. Come on, do your thang, then leave. None of this on/off crap. We're not fooled and it ain't a frickin panto.

Overall a good night, but I rarely feel particularly knocked out by gigs at the Academy or Academy 2 these days (due to the venue, not the bands). But then, so soon after the audio orgasm that was Coldrice, what could possibly compete? Answers on a postcard please...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Second Sun apology!

Look back a couple of reviews and you'll see a mention of a band that I called Second Son Rising. Thanks to a combination of old age and booze I got their name wrong (that explains why I couldn't find them on the interweb!).

Check out their My Space site now for some cracking toons.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Misty's Big Adventure 'Fashion Parade' feat Noddy Holder

Genius. Sheer genius.

Coldrice 5th Birthday Party Saturday 21st October 2006 Somewhere in Birmingham...with loads of bands...loads...seriously...

(pictured above, Mr Dan Sartain ladies and gentleman)

Read the previous post and you'll know I have a hangover. That's what you get for OD'ing on JD and cokes...still you're only young once...and I was once.

Anyway Coldrice, for the uneducated, is a kind of club night that features some of the best bands in the world, bands who most people have never heard of...shame, shame, thrice shame (my god I'm turning into Frankie Howard).

It used to be held in the Bar Academy (little venue in Brum, one of the better places to see live music) but it's now moved to an industrial park in the arse end of Digbeth (place that Birmingham City Council is trying to turn into a kind of Camden - artsy and all that - but is still full of industrial units and rats).

You have to register on the Coldrice website then get an invite before you can go along, we've been to quite a few of the Bar Academy nights but this was the first time we'd gone along to the newly named Coldrice Underground (it's actually on the first floor but I guess Coldrice First Floor didn't sound so good). I'm's the drink...anyway it has to be the most bizarre but endearing venue that I've ever been to. Imagine a party in someone's house - two small rooms where the bands play, a narrow corridor where people hang out and a bar that serves JD...all night long...JD...I think I may be'm ok...and you're just about there. Tonight there were a load of great bands. Sticking with my hangover driven minimal reviews...

Coptor - space addled rock n' soul monsters with a robot who run the whole Coldrice shebang and should be famous 'cos they're ace.

The Grease Monkeys - Glaswegian blues rockers with a mental male lead vocalist (v. entertaining and powerful female vocalist who plays a mean harmonica (it won't do the washing up or buy anyone a drink at the end of the night...boom boom - good grief now I'm Basil Brush...).

The Sugars - seriously brilliant band from Leeds with a deeply sexy lady and very cool gent who reminded me a bit of The White Stripes - only better (and I happen to love The White Stripes). Totally '50's they make the kind of music you imagine James Dean would've shagged Marilyn to.
The Dexateens - Deep south Gods of Leon, the real deal.

Dan Sartain - God I love this guy, from his pencil thin 'tache down his 5ft somthing frame to his little boots. Again a heavy '50's flavour with music that reminds me a little of the Them track Baby Please Don't Go . Walk Among the Cobras was a real highlight in a set sprinkled with them. The fact that - due to the intimate venue - I was standing literally 2ft away from him made it all slightly surreal, in a good way though. Buy his album please...THIS MAN NEEDS TO BE HEARD BY MORE PEOPLE!!!

Swampmeat - drummer from The Big Bang's side project. Surprisingly strong vocals, short set, but very promising.

The Big Bang - One of the many Birmingham bands poised to make it, The Big Bang are loud, trashy and pack enough swagger to see them make the front cover of NME (before it finally turns up its toes like every other music paper has). I've seen them loads of times before and they just get better and better. If Joe Strummer were alive, and in a band, it would be The Big Bang.

So, several JD's later, we stumbled out into the early hours of Sunday morning and back to reality. But, for a few hours, life was just one big house party. Viva Coldrice.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Vincent Vincent and The Villains / Hafdis Huld / Second Son Rising Jug Of Ale 16th October 2006

The Baron has a hangover...nothing to do with this gig...blame the good people of Coldrice...hell YEAH! So let's keep this short and sweet. I will adopt a technique used by the venerable Mr H, here goes:

Hafdis Huld - Icelandic pop queen in waiting, vocals as sweet as sugar, lyrics as dark as a dark room is to a blind man. Majestic. Listen to Ski Jumper and you'll fall in love.

Second Son Rising (can't find a link or any mention of them that's rock n'roll) - Brummie rock/metal group who rocked as rockingly as Ozzie on a rocking horse.

Vincent Villain and the Villains - 50's tinged rock-pop-abilly who's just signed to EMI. Oodles of energy, bags of cool and lashings of 'winkle pickers'. Stonkingly good.

There. Short and sweet!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Everybody else is doing it...

At the risk of being the untrendiest old bastard in the world (since when has that stopped me eh?), here is a video...from You Tube...of The Horrors...oh how last season...

the horrors - sheena is a parasite

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A PTV3 last!

For some strange reason this wonderful blogger thingy wouldn't let me post any pictures from the amazing PTV3 gig...until now! Here is a picture - singular - as it doesn't like me posting more than one. Maybe I've gone over my limit...not for the first time.

It's black and white too, classy eh? (the picture...not my limit)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

PTV3 / Pram / The Courtesy Group Birmingham Barfly Friday 6th October 2006

No new update for two weeks...aaaagghhh...naughty Baron, where does the time go? Well I have man flu, the ongoing demolition of Baron Towers and other nonesense to blame. So there. Anway, I am going to take you on a journey. A journey that goes back to the mid 80's. A time before t'net. A time when exploring the vast musical landscape meant getting off your arse and trapsing round record shops or fairs and punting your hard earned cash on stuff you'd never heard before. It was a simpler time (cue violins and sepia tinted film) when you'd use one band's influences and collaborations to give you a new band to explore. Thus, via a thing for all things Marc Almond, I entered the world of a certain Mr Genesis P.Orridge. The more I got to know about him the more splendid he became. I won't attempt to try to do him justice here, but there's a good write up on him on Wikipedia. Suffice to say that, amongst many other highlights, he has been a respected artist, invented Industrial music, studied undr William Burroughs, played a leading role in Acid House music, started a cult (of sorts) and been hounded out of the UK by a media witchhunt lead by Channel 4. As I say, a splendid character. Back in my dim and distant student days I nearly saw him (and Psychic TV) live, but as none of my fellow students felt like going to see someone who decided to name himself after a type of breakfast cereal, I didn't go. Then he fled the country and has remained an infrequent visitor to the UK ever since (even though the accusations of satanism that forced him to leave in the '90's were long since dropped).

His latest art project is himself and his good lady wife, Lady Jaye. The idea is that he wants to look like her...and vice versa. It's a pandrogeny thing. He already has the boobs, lips, hair and eyes. Now this may freak most people out. Big time. Personally I think it's utterly fantastic. As indeed was this whole evening.

Openers The Courtesy Group (from dear old Brum) have the whole shouty man thing that make The Fall so charming down to a fine art. They also have a wonderful Chinese guitarist, Hidehiko, who's musical ability acts as a wonderful counterpoint to the often slightly shambolic vocal delivery - this is all good. Lead singerAl Hutchins is also a poet and the whole set was interspersed with ramblings about the number 11 bus and the like. Brilliant, unique and set to get even better.

Pram were up next. According to Mike from Swordfish (Birmingham's number one record emporium) they've been around for about 20 years. And he knows his music. They reminded me a little of Stereolab and Broadcast, but with a bit more wibbliness...and a theramin. As I've said before, every band needs a...yes you know because you've been paying attention haven't you? Cool. With a capital C. And L.

Okay, as you can imagine from the start of this review I was sort of looking forward to the next band. In fact I had waited 20 years for this. They were due to play last year at the Summersonic festival in Birmingham but there was a bomb scare...a bomb scare I tell you...I was not a happy puppy. As with anything that you look forward to, I was also a little apprehensive. Would it be any good? Would Mrs Baron run out screaming in terror? Would the rest of the audience turn out to be devil worshipping nut jobs? Stay tuned when the review that time forget returns after a short break...

...that's better. It builds the tension doesn't it? PTV 3 came on like a band with business to do. That's always a good sign. Then Mr P.Orridge entered, stage left. A vision in camo tights, black bra and nice little jacket. Opener Black Cat featured much meeowing and was, dare I say it catchy. As was 90% of the rest of the 1 hour 30 minutes set. Genesis was using a kind of theramin ring sort of thing, with which he 'played' the audience. The closer it gets to you or any 'hard' object the higher the pitch. The acid test? Even Mrs B jigged about a bit. Now that's praise indeed. Granted the music and lyrics aren't likely to get your average James Blunt fan moist, but then that's the point. This is music and performance for people who like to be challenged a little as well as entertained. The gig finished and Mrs B went off to powder her nose. I, harbouring a secret desire to meet Mr P. O, loitered around the dressing room door looking shifty. I'd met the bass player Alice and stood next to the lovely Mrs P.O, but had kind of given up when Markus, the keyboard player spotted me, had a quick chat and invited me into the inner sanctum. So, in we went, opening the door to come face to face with Gen him/herself. Surreal. They say you should never meet your heroes / heroines, but it's never been anything but a pleasure for me. Gen was charming. Despite being pestered by a sweet but slightly drunk character who had met Gen the night before, got him/her to sign his chest and had the signature tattooed on the following day - I kid you not dear reader - he was a delight and chatted to us for a good 10 minutes or so. Highlights? Admitting that his/her gold teeth had cost $30,000, confiding that, since the boob job, more women had hit on him than ever before because he was 'exotic' and bashing his boobs against Mrs B's (they're quite bouncy she says). He came across like a dear old Aunt, or a mixture of Quentin Crisp, John Lydon and Kenneth Williams...just super company.

He is a national treasure and should be Knighted / Damed as soon as possible. Arise Sir / Dame Genesis Breyer P. Orridge that's what I say. Thanks to Gen and the crew for making us feel so welcome and giving us a damn fine evening. There, that's a review and a half. I'm going for a lie down now.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Pipettes / The Hot Puppies Birmingham Academy 2 Wednesday 20th September 2006

Hmmm sweaty. This gig had sold out a while back so it was always going to be a bit moist...and so it proved. Got there a bit later than normal so we lost out on our front row by the speakers spot, but got close enough to perv...sorry...enjoy the sounds of The Hot Puppies. They were as good as the last time we saw them (supporting The Grates), with lead singer (insert lead singers name here if you know it) sounding even more Marianne Faithful in parts. Plus they have a Theramin. All good bands need a Theramin.

I love The Pipettes. They are like all the best girl bands of the 60's - 80's wrapped up in polka dot. Vocally much stronger than I'd expected (and with a solid real life band behind them) they were bloody good fun. And that's what music should be all about (unless you're feeling all depressed and which case you probably want a spot of Leonard Cohen or, if you really want to end it all, Coldplay). The fact that they are the 'prettiest girls you've ever met' (their words) kind of helps too.

Anyway, no pictures of the gig. Instead (drum roll please) an actual set list...used by the band...that I nicked off the stage. Ha!

PS: The links on this blog are to the band sites...not My Space...cos My Space keeps giving me viruses and therefore sucks (for today anyway).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Space you are spoiling us...

New albums from Scissor Sisters and The Rapture are currently available to listen ripping...honest...on My Space. Hurrah!! Although they usually vanish again in a matter of hours. Boooo. Wasn't sure about Ta Dah when I first heard it but it's a bit of a grower pop pickers. Sounds even more like Elton John on speed than the first album. Not that Elton John has ever been on speed...

(The picture was taken in Chicago last year by the way...'cos I don't have any pictures of Scissor Sisters or The Rapture...but it's sort of American isn't it? Oh alright, please yourselves).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Destroyers...again! Birmingham Artsfest 10th September 2006

Okay. Last time I mention The Destroyers for a while...I promise. This was the third time that I'd seen them in a week and they just seem to get better and better. This isn't really a review though...just an excuse to post a couple of pictures that aren't too bad by my modest standards.

The whole Birmingham Artsfest thingy seemed pretty good on the whole. Not that I got to see much of it. It's all just a bit too much, if you know what I mean. You spend so long deciding what to go and see next that you end up jacking it all in and going to Weatherspoons for a pint of Weston's Organic Cider (see I'm trying this product placement malarky to try and get loadsa freebies...think anyone will notice? neither).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Destroyers vs Mitchell and Kenyon Curzon Street Station, Eastside (aiiieee!) Saturday 9th September 2006

Having been captivated by the mighty The Destroyers at last weeks Folk Festival (yes I know I didn't mention them but I was saving it up for this entry so there...anorak) I was cock a hoop (yes my cock was never more 'a hoop') to discover that they were going to be soundtracking some old movies as part of the Birmingham Artsfest. For the uninitiated, The Destroyers are a 14 (I think) piece band that play a variety of instruments in a style that could be called Eastern European gypsy folk - so I will. They're not as punky as yer Gogol Bordello, but just as up beat and life affirming (can't you just tell I'm writing this on a Sunday afternoon?). Anywho, they were, once again, utterly brilliant. Playing aong to silent movies can't, I guess, be easy but they were pretty faultless and gave you a feeling for just how much fun the early movie houses must have been.

I'm off to catch their Artsfest set this afternoon and will try to take some more crappy pictures that won't do them any justice. In the meantime the shot above comes from my seminal master work "Crappy Shots of the Moseley Folk Festival Volume One". Hurrah!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Moseley Folk Festival Moseley Park 2nd / 3rd September 2006

All together now..."Alllllllll around my hat". Yes, yet another foray into Folk for the good Baron. This time a whole two days of it and by heaven it threw up some pretty incredible performances. It was the first Moseley Folk Festival ever, but the organisation was spot on (except the scrumpy kept running out, but maybe that was a good thing).

I won't bore you with a list of all the artists who performed (you can find this for yourselves right here you lazy tinkers) but there are a few that scream out to be mentioned. So, here we go:

Pentangle, fronted by Jacqui McShee, were one of those bands I'd heard about but never really listened to. She has a remarkable voice, just what you want a folk voice to sound like (if that makes any sense) and they were, for me, one of the highlights of Day One.

Andy Votel. Genius DJ, loves his music and a bloody nice bloke to boot.

Seth Lakeman. Mrs Baron wouldn't forgive me if I didn't mention him, but he really is bloody good (that's a photo of Seth in action at he beginning of this piece by the way. Artistic or crap - you decide).

Nick Harper was possibly the finest guitarist I have ever seen. Ever. He played his guitar with his teeth, the side of the stage and even changed a string...whilst still playing and singing. Beat that Jimi. Vocally he reminded me a little of Phil Ochs, an unsung Folk legend who should really be up there with Bob Dylan in my books. If you get the chance to see him live you simply must.

Which is a nice link into another must see...The Toy Hearts. Fronted by sisters Hannah and Sophia they're a remarkable bluegrass band that really deserve to make it big. Fans of the Be Good Tanyas will be in heaven...but then so should anybody who just loves great music. The whole band are brilliant musicians, including the sisters' dad who plays a mean slide guitar and banjo (and who was in the Jerry Lewis film too by the way....see, educational and informative). Bags of energy and the kind of close harmonies that you can only get to hear once in a blue(grass) moon made this a really special performance. Debut album "If the Blues Should Come Calling" is out soon. Buy it and you'll be thanking me forever.

Last, but by no means least, Vijay Kishore who played just a few songs on the Acoustic Stage. You know those voices that suddenly make the hairs on your neck stand up, someone like Jeff Buckley or Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (legendary Qawwali singer) for example, well Vijay is right up there. During the last song he played, Freedom, he held on to the most beautiful note for what seemed like forever. And I kind of wish it had been. In a world full of Blunts, it's time someone like Vijay really got the exposure they deserve. You can make your own mind up when he plays the Birmingham Glee club in on October 27th (check his My Space site for other dates).

So that's it, in a nutshell. I pretty much enjoyed all of the acts, but these were, for me, the highlights.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Michael Franti & Spearhead Birmingham Academy 2 31st August 2006

No support on this one...which was a little strange...but as ever the towering form of Mr F more than made up for it. Michael Franti is possibly one of the greatest live performers around and one of the few men capable of getting my good self to believe in the peace, love and understanding stuff that my cold, hard cynical heart normally rejects. In fact, if Mr F were made President of the US of A, I'm fairly sure he could inspire the millions of nutters who are all busy trying to blow each other up with increasingly devious devices to sit down and spark up a phat one.

Back to the music. Needless to say we were treated to a number of old faves as well as tracks from the new album. No 'Freaky People' sadly, but then, after a two hour set that saw Mr F sweat his own body weight several times over we can forgive him that. New album 'Yell Fire' is, unsurprisingly, all about the Gulf war and Michael has been touring Iraq (brave man) to find out, in the words of his spiritual godfather, Mr Marvin Gaye, what's going on. The gist of his findings is that it's all a bit of a mess and that we should get the hell outta there quick smart. I'd love to believe that this would work and that everyone would get on. And, during the gig, for a few minutes you sort of feel that everyone would. Which is as good a review of Mr F's performance as you could ever wish for.

For the uninitiated track down a copy of Spearhead's seminal work (urrgggh messy) Stay Human, one of the great 'lost' albums of all time.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Grates / The Hot Puppies Birmingham Bar Academy 27th August

The Hot Puppies. Think late 70's new wave mixed with a little classic Jarvis Cocker and more than a dash of Marianne Faithful. Oh, they've got a theramin too! Bloody good live band with Becky (lead vocals) and Beth (keyboard/backing vocals/theramin) working particularly well together on harmonies. Hot puppies too...

I'd heard The Grates a few months ago on ye olde listening post at ye even older HMV and fell in love with them straight away. 19 20 20 out Yeahs anything the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (a band that they've been compared with) have ever Yeahed. But could they be just as (bad journo trick ahoy) grate live? Well, this has to go down as one of the best gigs I've ever been yes in a word. Lead singer Patience has clearly done a deal with the devil. How anyone can dance none stop and sing like a beautiful banshee at the same time is beyond me. The energy this woman has is amazing (amazing grate...huh...that's much better). Covering most of the tracks from their debut album this Aussie trio deserve to be the biggest band in the world! Ever! Godamn it they're good...just listen...see. If music be the food of love, I'll have Sukkafish and Chips please (this is an album reference, I've not gone mad).

Jeffrey Lewis / NY Howl / Faceometer Jug of Ale 24th August 2006

The Jug of Ale delivered yet another healthy dose of Anti Folk with a bill that opened with the oddly named Faceometer. I'd not seen Mr Ometer (or Will Tattersdill as he is also known) before and know very little about him but he proved most entertaining. At times he appears to be mixing folk with sci fi but does it in a way that avoids any nerdy stuff. Vocally he's like Dylan who can sing (ooh cutting) and is yet another folk influenced artist who deserves to be heard. Now! Have a listen or else.

Next up were New York Howl a newish (formed last year in New York) band fronted by the Geldolfian Andrew Katz (pictured to the left). More jazzy/soully (not really a word that is it?) than Anti Folk they possess a truly awesome sax player who looks like he's been nicked from the E Street Band. In my mind they sum up New York better than a million Strokes (the band not the medical condition...good grief that would be nasty). Judge fer yerself motherfudders.

Finally the man himself...Mrrrrrrrrrrr Jefffffffffffffreyyyyy 'Anti Folk Godhead' Lewwwwissss. As understated as cheese on toast, but just as satisfying, Jeff was on his own tonight after touring with his bro and band earlier in the year. So we got to experience the full stripped back charm of 'Creeping Brain', 'The History of Communism in China' and 'The Red Hand' replete with paper based video. This man is a star. I've said it once and I'll say it again. This man is a star (there, told you I would). If you haven't fallen for him yet, today's the day.

Cud Birmingham Academy 2 16th August 2006

90's indie, don't you just love it? Well, judging by the gathering of men of a certain (ahem) age, quite a few of us do. For the uninitiated, Cud were / are a classic indie band from Leeds packed full of funky toons and a vocalist who sounded a little bit like Barry White's younger (and funkier) brother. Like most great bands they were pretty much ignored back in the day and scored a few low chart placings at a time when faceless dance acts were getting to number one with 'We're all going to Ibiza A Yabba Dabba Doo'. However they inspired a mighty loyal fanbase and copies of their finest work 'Leggy Mambo' kept fetching silly money on ebay, indicating that it 'Cud' be time for a comeback (yes I know, I'm sorry, I can't help it).

A brief national tour was arranged et's like 1991 all over again. And it really was. For a band that's been away well over a decade they seemed pretty damn fresh and full of spunk (in a good way, not in a Tory MP caught in the back of a black cab with a rent boy kind of way). The nearly hits were duly delivered (with the exception of the mighty Through The Roof) and the crowd got hot and sweaty (nothing to do with the dancing, that's just what middle age men do).

Whether we'll see any new material from them is a moo-t point...(see you've missed this haven't you?).

That didn't last long....

Well, after a very brief retirement The Hearing Aid is BACK! BACK!! BACK!!!

I guess I just enjoyed posting random rubbish about music a little too much and hey...there are only 6,487,432 other music blogs out there...oh wait, make that 6,487, 6,487,435...oh balls.

Anywho, we've got a lot to catch up on so it's time for gig round up (just imagine some funky music at this point...a bit like John Craven's Newsround or maybe the theme from Starsky and Hutch...hmmm yes that's better...or maybe a mix of the two...John Craven and Hutch...oh good grief).