Monthly Archives: June 2016

Slambovian Circus of Dreams. Pocklington. 22.6.2016

Our first visit to the small (200 seats capacity) but very civilised Arts Centre.  The performers tonight are currently under the above name, although that could just be for this week! (Fans will be aware of their tendency to play with their name).

The familiar riff to ‘The Grand Slambovians’ starts proceedings, followed by ‘Lost Highway’, ‘Picture’,  ‘Very Unusual Head’ and ‘Pushing up Daisies’ (one of many requests).  As always, Joziah is very talkative and gives us some insight into their involvement with David Bowie before a version of ‘Life on Mars’ which he handles pretty well. (NB. Anybody thinking of doing it at a karaoke night, think again! You need a very good range) . There were some first-timers there, though not many, and they all had a good chuckle at the Johnny Cash/The Who intro to ‘I Wish’.

Another lengthy talk preceeds the title track from ‘Flapjacks from the Sky’, and his comments about the folkie ‘Step out of Time’ being in the vein of Jethro Tull and the Allman Brothers are spot on. A great first set, and they are off down to the merch table for the intermission.

The second set opens with ‘Windmills’, with their Salvador Dali song to follow. (Is it still available as a free download from their website?). The rockier ‘Moondog House’ and ‘Look Ma no hands’ are more from their ‘Flapjacks…’ record and when they announce ‘The Trans-Slambovian Bi-Polar Express’ as their last song it only seems like two minutes since the second set started. Daughter Alli leaves the merch table to play bass on the encore ‘Alligators’ and that is it for tonight.

We have loved this lot since we first saw them at the late, lamented Rhythm Festival. Tonight’s back drops were absolutely fantastic and new drummer Felipe put some real power into the performance (they have no bass player now).  Difficult to recommend a particular record to test the water with, but there is a free sampler download via their website, http://www.slambovia.com, so that is your next task as you are on the Internet at the moment!

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Atomic Rooster update

I previously posted a comment that pedants may criticise the current line-up, as the three people who played on the first LP are all dead.

I was of the understanding that while Carl Palmer (very much alive and outrageously youthful!) was in Atomic Rooster then, he didn’t actually play on the first LP.  There has been a number of views on my original post, which seemed strange. I tried to check on the veracity of my original comment. I found at least one site which said that Mr Palmer didn’t play on it, and was certainly a touring member. But there is also at least one review of the LP which comments on his drumming style!

So if I made a mistake, sorry.

Neil Young. Leeds O2 Arena. 10.6.2016.

We have been to the Arena before and been impressed with the design and organisation. Having recommended it to others, it is disappointing to have to start with a ‘negative’. Got there just after 7.00 pm, Laura Marling due on at 7.30.  We discovered our tickets had been ‘reassigned’ to another block so had to queue, again. So we ended up missing the start , and it was obvious many others did too. Not sold out, so move people into other seats which they hadn’t chosen? Then we got some old biddy on the end of our row (which we had to find in complete darkness) who said she wasn’t going to let us past!! Finally got seated and when Her Ladyship went out and back at the interval via the other direction, some other pillock moaned about her ‘coming late’!  So either we were put in a row of mentally disabled people who were without their carers or we were put among some old gits who were risking a short course of death.  And I won’t tell you where our seats were , but we had Zeus and Thor sitting behind us.*

Lights down, on time, and a couple of American hicks come out scattering some seeds (obviously not GM !).  The man comes on and opens with ‘After the Goldrush’ on the piano and harmonica. Zeus behind us knew when to cheer at the mention of ‘getting high’ and the altering of the lyrics to ’21st century’ (so it is not just our Transatlantic friends who do that!). Neil strapped on a 6-string acoustic for ‘Heart of gold’, ‘Comes a time’ and ‘Needle and the damage done’ then moved to the pump organ for ‘Mother Earth’.

Promise of the Real come out to join him, we hear him say ‘Hank’ to them and it is ‘ From Hank to Hendrix’. Set list? What set list! A wonderfully jaunty ‘Out on the weekend’ follows. ‘Unknown legend’ gets an airing, with a song next that I didn’t recognise (‘Wolf Moon’). Zeus and Thor behind us didn’t either, so they chatted all the way through. But, after all, they are immortals so boll*cks to the mere mortals around them who actually wanted to hear the man on stage.

It was time for the Gretsch White Falcon to come out, and things cranked up a bit for ‘Words’ and ‘Winterlong’.  Neil introduced the next song as one that they had never played, and we had never heard. Would I be nitpicking to suggest he put it back to bed? It was ‘fairly ordinary’, which of course would be ‘bloody good’ for anyone else. And it was from his first LP in 1968! ‘Walk on’ from ‘On the beach’ followed. I was never a fan of that LP, for me it was an ‘odds’n’sods’ affair,  although some think it a classic.

Just as I was thinking that there was a very slight lull, out came the sonic assassin that is ‘Black Top’. He strapped it on and launched into ‘Down by the river’. Things were now REALLY cranked up, and the end had the crowd on its feet. ‘Powderfinger’, ‘Cowgirl in the sand’, ‘Mansion on the hill’, ‘Love to burn’ and ‘Rockin’ in the free world’ brought back the memory of Crazy Horse, with the two Nelson boys taking no prisoners,  and they trooped off. They came back with the rarely played ‘When you dance I can really love’ and a final onslaught of ‘F**kin’ up’.

A really good performance, and very well paced.It was a long set packed with familiar songs.  I recognised most of the songs and I certainly don’t have everything he has done…I doubt if the man himself has! Mr Young was quite grumpy with some ‘advice’ from the audience when we last saw him ( see review from Newcastle exactly 3 years ago). He seemed happier this time, even saying incredulously ‘On this guitar?’ (the Gretsch) when somebody shouted for ‘Like a hurricane’.

Highly recommended.  Sorry about photos, we were sitting in a different post code to the stage.

*Apologies to those who are unfamiliar of the concept of ‘sitting in the gods’, ie miles in the air.4

Television. Leeds Irish Centre. 2.6.2016.

When I did my Long Ryders review, I mentioned Television being somehow lumped in with the Ramones and Talking Heads under the ‘punk’ banner in the 70s. Strangely enough at the Hope Festival one of our friends said ‘Television? Weren’t they a New York punk band?’ when I said we had tickets. Maybe he had read the sleeve notes for ‘The Blow Up’ where Tom Verlaine was seemingly ‘a man who  spent three solid years creating and playing the New York punk scene’. For the life of me, I can’t see it. Anyway…

For some reason, the date didn’t appear on Tom Verlaine/Television’s web-site, so I was a bit nervous in case the event was poorly attended. No worries, it was pretty full.  I suspect the vast majority had a copy of ‘Marquee Moon’, the debut LP masterpiece.

9.20 kick-off, and straight into a track from the afore-mentioned LP. In fact, just about all of the record was aired, with only one track not played. I won’t spoil things by telling you which! Second up was the excellent ‘1880 or so’ from their ‘reunion’ ‘Television’ record.

They fell into a very spaghetti Western mode at about half-time, Her Ladyship thought it was great. A couple of encores, and the gig finished with another offering from ‘Marquee Moon’.  So what of their 2nd LP ‘Adventure’, which could never equal its predecessor (King Crimson found a similar problem)? In fact, one of my favourites is ‘Glory’ from ‘Adventure’.  Well, if anyone’s only Television record is ‘Adventure’ they might just be in for a somewhat barren evening. Say no more.

The sound was very good, and Jimmy on guitar played as if he had been there all his life.  Even in their heyday, they never played sets that were very long, so something had to be rested. But they were great, and I can now cross them off my bucket list. So come on, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, get on a plane! And not just to London!

Sorry, no photos. Her ladyship tried with her phone, they were no good.  Try to get a listen to the ‘ Live at the Waldorf 29.6.78’ recording. It’s a belter! I think Fred Smith’s best friend must have been on the mixing desk, the bass is great.