Category Archives: Live reviews

We see a couple of bands each month, apart from over the summer months where we see a couple of dozen. Here’s what we thought of them.

Electric Fanny. The Lion, Castleford. 09.03.2017

It is not often that we get back from a gig that I feel moved to do a review straight away. Tonight is an exception. Coming up to midnight and we have had the misfortune to witness this dross at the Lion.

Nearby Wetherspoons was full, many of whom were going to see this pile of sh*te. And. like us, they had seen the brilliant poster which seemed to imply that it was going to be a rock female trio. What did we get? A totally abysmal pub-rock male trio doing Jam, Joe Jackson etc. Absolutely brilliant marketing, we totally fell for it!!

‘Fake News’ ? Brilliant!  They were absolutely bloody awful, and I have to totally admire their absolute devotion to misinformation. We would be heartbroken if their van broke down… .

 

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Blue Oyster Cult. 02 Academy, Leeds. 26.02.2019

The tickets state that Doors Open 7.00pm. Did they?! No they bloody didn’t , which left dozens of people still outside when support act The Temperance Movement started. And we weren’t the only ones in the queue decidedly unchuffed.

Ther group started up in 2011 and had a regular mid-afternoon slot in lots of festivals, building up a good following. Maybe they should have kicked on a bit more by now, but this year Status Quo are supporting Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Rebel Motor Club are supporting Alice in Chains so they are in respectable company in supportland ( ‘Special Guests’ seems to be the preferred terminology}. Yes, they still have that Facesesque swagger and singer Phil Campbell is very animated with a good set of pipes. They got a well-deserved decent reception.

A pretty quick change-over and the lights are dimmed. The instrumental intro starts up, which I was told is from ‘Game of Thrones’ and BOC are straight into ‘Dr Music’. The sound is strangely quiet, but very good with the vocals clear. They go into CSNY vocal mode for the beginning of ‘Golden Age of Leather’ and it’s obvious there are quite a few in the audience who are going to more than one of the gigs on the tour.The intro to ‘Burnin’ For You’ gets a roar of approval, and it’s amazing that the remaining original frontmen Eric Bloom and Donald ‘Buck Darmer’ Roeser are well past 70 years old!

I was so pleased we didn’t go to the London or Newcastle gigs, where ‘Harvest Moon’ won the ‘People’s Vote’ versus ‘Shooting Shark’. The latter is a great song and I have always wanted to see them play it*. ‘Buck’s Boogie’ is still in the set, and ‘Then Came the Last Days of May’ has worn well considering it is from their debut LP. There are a couple of songs aimed at the fans who want a variation in the set before Her Ladyship’s favourite ‘Godzilla’.  Buck Dharma’s solo guitar spot precedes the timeless ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’. A couple of encores and it’s the end of a really good night.  Mssrs Bloom and Roeser know what side their New York begels are buttered on and (along with their three henchmen whose names sound like extras from The Sopranos) deliver a set filled with crowd favourites. Ticket price ok @£30, and we got a couple of dodgy t-shirts outside for £15 the pair (genuine ones were £25 each).  Beer prices extortionate, twice the price of the nearby Wetherspoons.

 

*Bit of trivia. American Idol judge Randy Jackson played bass on the original.

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Austin Gold. Duck and Drake. 09.02.2019.

I am always somewhat wary of advertising posters that some musical outfits put out. But I decided to check out Austin Gold on Youtube, prompted by the poster in the Gents’ in the DnD.  After listening to about 30 seconds of their ‘Before Dark Clouds’ lp, I was ironing my jeans ready for the bus into Leeds!

We arrived about 7.00pm, to be confronted by what seemed to be half of Pink Floyd’s stage equipment on the pub floor. But by 9.00 pm they had it all in place and done a soundcheck. We got chatting to keyboard man Russ, who told us it was their first gig as a four piece, the other guitarist had decided to go to Canada.

9.30pm and if any nerves were onstage, they were well-disguised. Singer/guitarist Dave has a great voice and is no slouch on guitar either. They played plenty of stuff from the afore-mentioned lp, and it’s half an hour before a cover song, namely ‘La Grange’.  The first set finished with ‘In a Broken Dream’ and Her Ladyship and I looked at each other absolutely gobsmacked.  It was one of those rare occasions when you get to see something just a bit bloody excellent!  Sadly we had to go for the last bus home but Austin Gold are definitely on our ‘must and will see again’  list.

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Do$ch. The Lion, Castleford. 08.02.2019

It is the year 2019 and a glance at the Do$ch website, http://www.dosch-uk.com, will show you that Do$ch was born in 1999. so a double decade of Do$ch is upon us.

The crowd in the Lion is not exactly enormous, which means more room for us. ‘I Can Tell’ gets proceedings off to a great start and is quickly followed by a sizeable chunk of prime Dr Feelgood fillets (Wilko era). Wilko’s solo classic ‘Dr Dupree’ is in the mix too as is The Pirates’ ‘Please Don’t Touch’. Their own compositions would slot in nicely on any Feelgoods lp though and they finish their first set with Screaming Lord Sutch’s wonderful  ‘Jack the Ripper’.

Fag time for Ian and Andy, then Ian straps on his open-tuned Gibson for their own ‘Bonneville Blues’ and ‘Back in the Night’.  Sadly. the last bus home was imminent but not before their tremendous version of ‘Werewolves of London’ had brought a smile to the faces of us all.

So in an era when ‘music’ seems to be something performed by talent show hopefuls to fill Simon Cowell’s hipster trouser pockets, it is a privilege to actually see real musicians plying their excellent trade. Andy and Ian (with a range of rhythm sectioners) have been coming up and down the M1 for 20 years. For the money? Hardly…they just love the job and the music.

We have been Dr Feelgood fans since the Wilko days and it occurs to me that if either Do$ch or the current line-up of Dr Feelgood (who also started in  1999) were to play the complete live ‘Stupidity’ lp, both of us would probably plump for Do$ch.  What more  can I say?

 

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Dan Stuart. Northern Guitars. Leeds. 24.11.2018

After a couple of years since he was in The Library, His Danship featured in Leeds again, this time in the even smaller Northern Guitars. Promoter John Keenan told me there had only been 30 advance tickets sold so there was no danger of a long queue at the bar…especially at a tenner for two pints!!

Dan and his sidekick Tom Heyman turned up, travelling very light. It wouldn’t be the genuine article if his first words weren’t to moan, but, it WAS bloody cold! He and Tom loosened up with Lou Reed’s ‘Vicious’ and Tom was left to give us some of his own songs. And bloody good he was. He ended up with a tremendous take on Woody Guthrie’s ‘Vigilante Man’ and Mr S entered the fray. He has another lp in his Marlowe Billings series out, and there was plenty from it, including ‘Joke’s on Me’, ‘Day William Holden Died’, ‘Last Century Blues’ and ‘Tucson’. His previous lp got a representation via the likes of the lengthy ‘Gringo go Home’ and it wasn’t until the end of the set that his songs from the late-lamented Green on Red were featured. ‘Hair of the Dog’, ‘Cheap Wine’ and (acknowledging Her Ladyship’s beer-drenched pleas) ‘Keith Can’t Read’. It’s one of my favourites and well in the running for the best opening track ever to an lp (‘Here Come the Snakes).

A Tom H song to finish and we dashed off to catch the last bus. A memorable two hours, even without many of the GOR songs which have featured heavily over the solo years ( ’16 Ways’, ‘Zombie for Love’. ‘Morning Blue’. ‘Time Ain’t Nothing’, ‘You Couldn’t Get Arrested ‘ were all absent). But I had a bath the following day and listened to them on one of those new-fangled cassette thingies while singing along.

Dan has a great stage manner. He even LOOKS  like he has just been given a 100 hours community service sentence and has been told it is delivering newspapers in Hartlepool.  A cracking songwriter, it beggars belief that there were only a few dozen in the venue and there will be a thousand times that amount watching Ed Sheeran in a vast shed somewhere soon.

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The Prowlers. The Grove, Leeds. 10.11.2018

Spice Girls reform! Big Deal!  Westlife reform! Big Deal! The Prowlers reform! Now this IS a big f**kin deal!   Yes, five years after they last played, West Yorkshire’s finest are back, in the tiny Grove. We were there at 6.30pm and there were a dozen Prowlerphiles already waiting in anticipation.

Kick-off time and they are straight into the high octane ‘Crawlin’ up my Spine’. And it’s 1987 in The Eagle on North Street all over again. OK, so this is the post-2000 line-up featuring Andy Prowler and Andy Dawson, with John and Kevin as the rhythm section but there is no coasting along. A couple of Pirates songs reveal Andy D’s love of Mick Green and the first set ends with ‘Absolutely Sweet Marie’ a la Jason and the Scorchers. There is also their great take of the Screaming Blue Messiahs’  ‘I Want Up’.

The second set starts out with another SBM song ‘Sweet Water Pools’ and then it is back to their 1987 lp for ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’. Our favourite Prowlers track,’Absinthe’, was included  and the rest of the set was packed with stuff familiar to the audience…see set list courtesy of John. (NB There were some deviations from the intended set).

A couple of encores ‘I Can Tell’ and ‘Checkin’ on my Baby’ from the Dr Feelgood catalogue plus the brilliant ‘People Who Died’ (Jim Carroll) and they eventually managed to sit down.

A couple of minor musical blips plus the occasional sound problem but the crowd didn’t give a Donald Duck. (Can there ever be a ‘crowd’ in the Grove, it is so small? You couldn’t have fitted in anybody’s pet hamster if it had turned up late though). The Prowlers confirmed their status as a Yorkshire National Treasure (sorry Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, you will have to wait a while. So will The Grumbleweeds!). They have a charity gig lined up on the 24th at The Library, so anybody who missed tonight has another chance to see them (if Andy P has got his breath back!). Pass it on!

(See also review from the Duck and Drake, December 2012)

 

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Wishbone Ash. The Arc, Stockton-on-Tees, 30.10.2018

It has been some years since we last saw Wishbone Ash. We both thought at the time that they seemed to be ‘coasting’, but recent unanimous approval to the introduction of Mark Abrahams on guitar made us think again.

First up for a 45 minute set of bluesy rock is Felix Rabin. The young French guitarist has a bass and drums in tow and includes ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Voodoo Chile’ in a mainly originals set. A decent reception from an attentive audience. Apart from, unfortunately, three blokes who talked all the way through. They got so ridiculously loud during the main attraction that we had to move. Why do these people f**king come? Why don’t they go outside to talk? Why weren’t they f**king strangled at birth?

So Mr Powell and Co come on and are straight in to ‘Blind Eye’, with Martin Turner’s composition ‘Come in from the Rain’ in hot pursuit. The more recent ‘Deep Blues’ was a good example of how they are up a couple of notches from last time. No, a LOT of notches. ‘Way down South’ featured Mark on a great and economical solo, perfectly illustrating the ‘fewer is bluer, more is a bore’ ethos re the number of notes per second on the fretboard.

Mr Powell introduces Mark as the one who ‘kicks my ass every night’. And as David Crosby sings ‘It’s been a long time coming…’!! ‘Lifeline’ from ‘Just Testing’ is a fans’ favourite and it precedes a healthy chunk of ‘Argus’, namely ‘The King Will Come’, ‘Warrior’, ‘Throw down the Sword’ and the only acoustic number ‘Leaf and Stream’.

‘F.U.B.B.’ has been in the set for a long time and a heavy blast on Mark’s Strat heralds the arrival of ‘Standing in the Rain’. ‘Jailbait’, ‘Sometime World’ and ‘Blowin’ Free’ bring the main set to a close and the crowd bring them back for one of their best post-Ted songs ‘Persephone’. But not before some sound problems which AP doesn’t get fased by.

So, a very good night. They have changed the set around from the pre-UK gigs and seem keen to change at least one song every night. No ‘Phoenix’,no ‘Living Proof’ and not a lot from their last studio lp.

Mr Powell certainly seems to have refound his mojo, due in no small part to the change to a much more animated guitar partner.  Tomorrow’s gig in Mark’s home town should be a stormer.

Re Mark’s joining, does anybody out there know why Mr Manninen seemed to ‘leave’, almost without warning? According to his web-site ‘he became the main songwriter’. Is this true and, if so, was it a factor in his departure? Mmmm…

The latest in the live ‘Roadworks’ series is selling in bucketloads at the gigs. The first to feature Mark, it’s pretty good.

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