Thursday, 23 March 2017

Graham Day & The Forefathers + The Len Price 3: Paul Slattery photos from the Medway Weekender at The 100 Club

Graham Day & The Forefathers photographed by Paul Slattery
The Medway Weekender at the 100 Club saw some of the now legendary area's biggest names performing over three nights. Friday saw the return of The Claim with a special guest appearance by Jim Riley from Wipeout (and now head of Ranscombe Studios) along with ex-Dentists guitarist Bob Collins and his new band The Full Nelson. Also on the bill were Theatre Royal who will be releasing a new album "...and Then It Fell Out of My Head" on March 31st. Unfortunately we couldn't make the Friday but we were there on the Saturday to witness Graham Day & The Forefathers and The Len Price 3. The Forefathers played a slightly different set to usual, after all they do have an absolutely huge back catalogue of classics to pick from. They kicked off with The Prime Movers scathing "Good Things" and took in early Prisoners tracks such as "Don't Call My Name" and "Till The Morning Light" as well as lots of classics such as "Reaching My Head", "Melanie" and "Whenever I'm Gone" along with a couple of Gaolers tracks and of course a heavy dose of The Solarflares including "Sucking Out My Insides", "You Want Blood" and "Can't Get You Out of My Mind". They threw in the (recently) rarely played "I Just Wanna Be Bad" a cover of Fire's Freakbeat classic "Father's Name Is Dad" and "I Drink The Ocean" which morphed into "Hush". They ended the set with a raucous run through of the Ramones "Glad To See You Go" and left a very satisfied audience baying for more. 

Graham Day & The Forefathers photographed by Paul Slattery
Graham Day & The Forefathers photographed by Paul Slattery
Graham Day & The Forefathers photographed by Paul Slattery
Before that, The Len Price 3 opened proceedings to a nicely packed club and played a great selection of tracks that took in oldies including "Dorolia" and "Lai Ha Lam" as well as some of their singalong classics like "Rentacrowd", "Billy Mason" and "Pictures". They also treated us to a couple of really promising new songs entitled "Ride On Coat Tails" and "Man In The Woods" which will hopefully appear on the band's forthcoming fifth album. This will be the follow up to the critically acclaimed "Nobody Knows", which they are currently mixing and preparing for mastering for a vinyl release. Of course we will keep you updated on news of the official release date as soon as we have it and even better, we may have an exclusive new track or two to play on Retrosonic Podcast

The Len Price 3 photographed by Paul Slattery
The Len Price 3 photographed by Paul Slattery
The Len Price 3 photographed by Paul Slattery
Thanks to Paul Slattery for the excellent photographs, all pics copyright Paul Slattery 2017. For more photos of the Saturday and Sunday night, which featured Russ Wilkins (from The Milkshakes and more...) and The Mindreaders, The Galileo 7 and The Masonics - please visit the Retro Man Blog Facebook page, hit "like" if you are not already following, and check out our Photo Albums.

The Len Price 3 photographed by Paul Slattery

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 26: "You Sing Badly, But No One Cares, You Are Elvis"


Welcome to Episode 26 of Retrosonic Podcast. Steve from Retro Man Blog and rock photographer Paul Slattery with the usual eclectic mix of Psych, Punk, Power Pop, Mod, Indie and well...just good old fashioned Rock 'n' Roll. Plus waffle and chat about Paul's forthcoming photo book on The Skids and working with Mark E Smith and The Fall. There's music and reports on recent gigs with Michael Head, The Fall, The Blue Aeroplanes and lots of brand new releases including The Past Tense, The Fallen Leaves, John Hoyles, French Boutik, TV Eye and an EXCLUSIVE track from 5 Billion In Diamonds - an amazing collaboration featuring Garbage drummer and 'Nevermind' producer Butch Vig, James Grillo, Andy Spaceland, Ebbot Lundberg, Damian O'Neill and various members of Spiritualized, Massive Attack and others! There's oldies from Shack, The Bit 'A Sweet, Johnny Thunders, Tours and Manufactured Romance...Enjoy! 



The Bit 'A Sweet "Out of Sight Out of Mind" 1967 MGM Single.


The Blue Aeroplanes "Elvis Festival" taken from the new album "Welcome, Stranger!" Review of the Islington Academy gig on January 21st can be found in the Blog archive here.


French Boutik "Le Casse" taken from the current album "Front Pop". Review of the Retro Man Blog Night featuring Paul Slattery photographs of French Boutik can be found here.

French Boutik photographed by Paul Slattery
Five Billion In Diamonds "Broken Wing" exclusive track featuring Ebbot Lundberg on vocals from the forthcoming debut album to be released by 100% Records on July 14th. Paul Slattery photographs from recording sessions with Ebbot at Press Play Studios can be found here.

5 Billion In Diamonds photographed by Paul Slattery
Shack "Dragonfly" taken from the 1995 album "Waterpistol". Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band will release their debut album "Adios Senor Pussycat" on Violette Records later this year. Review of Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band at St. George's Hall Liverpool last December can be found in the Blog archive here. Photos and videos of Michael Head at The Social on January 25th can be found in the Blog archive here.

Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The Past Tense "Never Enough" new self released limited edition 7" vinyl single available now, for more information check out the band's Facebook page here.

The Past Tense photographed by Paul Slattery
TV Eye "Repartee" taken from the limited edition red vinyl album "TV Eye 1977-1978" to be released by Seventeen Records. The album can be pre-ordered from Easy Action Records here.


The Skids "Circus Games" 1980 single. Paul Slattery & Ronnie Gurr's Skids photo book will be available at the merchandise stall on the band's forthcoming 40th anniversary tour. For dates and ticket info please check out The Skids official web-site here.


Tours "Tourist Information" 1979 Virgin Records single, can be found on the compilation album "Album of The Year (That Never Was)".


The Fall "Wolf Kidult Man" taken from the 2008 album "Imperial Wax Solvent". Photos from the Southampton Engine Rooms gig on January 27th can be found in the Blog archive here.

The Fall at Southampton - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Johnny Thunders "Leave Me Alone" taken from the Remarquable Records release of "Real Times" E.P. available from the label here.


John Hoyles "Talking About You" taken from the brand new album "Night Flight" available from Crusher Records here.

John Hoyles - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The Fallen Leaves "Funny World" taken from the new album "What We've All Been Waiting For" available at the band's regular Minimum R'n'B Club nights at The Hope & Anchor In Islington or from the band's on-line store here.


Manufactured Romance "Time of My Life" 1980 single on Fresh Records. The band's vocalist Nina Spencer is starting up a new musical project entitled Stella and there is a crowd funding page here
R.I.P Nick Medlin.


Retrosonic Podcast has a valid PRS licence. You can subscribe for free on iTunes, Mixcloud or at our official archive at Soundcloud.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Fall & Bo Ningen - Photos from Southampton Engine Rooms Friday January 27th

The Fall at Southampton Engine Rooms - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The last time I saw The Fall was at a rather shambolic show in Stockholm - Mark E Smith was in a foul mood and the amp-fiddling, annoying his band-mates and constant walking off stage wound everyone up. At one point he got himself trapped Eric Morecambe style in the curtains behind the stage and then proceeded to sing the encore from back in the dressing room. Before that I saw them at the Islington Academy where we were bombarded with the cut-up video DJ Safi Sniper as support, a seemingly endless and hideous nails-scraping-down-blackboards aural and visual assault that drove grown men to try and scale the barriers to inflict actual bodily harm on the culprit as bottles and glasses and foul-mouthed invective rained down on the stage. It's something that still haunts my dreams to this day. I was fearing another similar performance but tonight there was no such shenanigans - first of all what we got was a brilliant and surprisingly high profile support act in the Japanese Psychedelic guitar band Bo Ningen who went down really well with the crowd. 

Bo Ningen - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Bo Ningen - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The Fall took the stage promptly and launched into "Wolf Kidult Man" one of only three songs I was to recognise all night, its searing Stooges style riff almost lifting the tin roof off the venue. Mark looked well and I am sure I saw him smile once but that might have been a trick of the light. The amp-fiddling was kept to a bare minimum and I must admit that on one occasion I found myself thinking, "hey, that actually sounds better..!" What followed was a set of mostly new and unrecorded material and it was all pretty intense full-on hypnotic driving stuff. Here's some photos of the gig...

The Fall at Southampton Engine Rooms - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The Fall at Southampton Engine Rooms - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The Fall at Southampton Engine Rooms - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog

Bo Ningen - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Bo Ningen - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
For more information on The Fall please check out their excellent website and archive here and Bo-Ningen can be found at their official Facebook page here.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Michael Head at The Social January 25th - Photos & Videos from the Shack Front-Man's Recent London Show

Michael Head at The Social - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Ex-Shack and Pale Fountains front-man Michael Head took a break from his current outfit The Red Elastic Band to make a solo acoustic appearance at the Heavenly Social in London and it was yet another stunning show from one of the U.K.'s most underrated songwriters. The Social was packed to the rafters with tickets selling out in minutes and for those of us lucky to find a vantage point we were treated to an intimate performance full of Mick's usual self-deprecating good humour and of course, loads of those great songs. The set-list was another intriguing crawl through the immense back catalogue with some nice suprises such as "Al's Vacation" rubbing shoulders with classics like "Comedy" and "Streets of Kenny". A couple more new songs made their debut live appearances and as previously mentioned in my feature on the St. George's Hall Liverpool show, they promise that the forthcoming Red Elastic Band album "Adios Senor Pussycat" will be something very special.

Michael Head at The Social - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Michael Head at The Social - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Here's a video of "Mood of The Morning"



Michael Head at The Social - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
Michael Head at The Social - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
And another video of "Stranger", for more please check out our Retro Man Blog YouTube Channel.



"Adios Senor Pussycat " will be released on Violette Records mid-2017.

Friday, 27 January 2017

The Blue Aeroplanes - New Album "Welcome, Stranger!" and Live at The Islington Academy January 21st with Ian McNabb

The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
So, The Blue Aeroplanes are back! Well, I say back but I suppose they have never really been away, it just feels like it such is the full-on fanfare surrounding the release of their superb new album “Welcome, Stranger!”. Armed not only with their strongest set of songs since the classic double whammy of “Swagger” and “Beatsongs” in their early ‘90’s prime, they also seem to have landed a dream PR company, Prescription, to represent the album. Abundant radio sessions and interviews have been complemented by glowing reviews in everything from The Guardian, Uncut and Mojo to seemingly every music web-site and Blog under the sun. The band are also out and about on a U.K. Tour to promote the album and I was chuffed to bits as I hadn’t seen them play since back in 2011 and surely that’s way too long for a fix of the Aeroplanes’ very special live experience. However, my initial excitement was dampened when I saw their choice of London venue, the dreaded O2 Islington Academy. Now, I had promised never to go back there again, but then it is The Blue Aeroplanes. Anyway, it’s a Saturday night but then the Academy announce a ridiculous curfew of 10pm. It just makes me thankful that The Blue Aeroplanes have their hearts in the right place with their taking over of the running of The Fleece in their Bristol hometown as we desperately need more decent small venues run by people who care about live music.

Ian McNabb at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
With doors opening at 7pm they push out the surprisingly high profile support of ex-Icicle Works frontman Ian McNabb to an almost empty hall at 7:20pm. Luckily, the Aeroplanes have generously allocated him an hour and the numbers quickly swell so by the end of his set he has a large, raucous and receptive crowd singing along. At the front, one guy in particular is giving it his all terribly loudly and terribly out of key, so terribly in fact that Ian suddenly stops playing mid-song to ask us “just who the hell is that?” and people standing nearby gleefully point out the unashamed culprit. It’s a classic moment and causes a lot of laughs. There’s a shout to play something from his new album and Ian quips, “Ah, didn’t you know, there isn’t a new album, I made it up. So I’d just like to say thanks to those who pledged their money but I’m disappearing off to Thailand”. It’s great to hear the Icicle Works classics “Evangeline”, “Hollow Horse” and “Understanding Jane” again and there’s such a great reaction that Ian confesses “I always heard that London audiences were a bunch of c*nts, but you lot are alright!” He’s not only in fine humour but fine voice too and I regret not following up on his solo career after the Icicle Works split, something I will be quickly rectifying.

The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Suddenly there’s that familiar whooshing of jet engines through the P.A. and The Blue Aeroplanes appear. There’s been yet another line-up change since I last saw them back in 2011 at The Borderline (which you can read about here by the way) and I had a thought that the Aeroplanes are rather like a football team who may lose the bulk of their squad every transfer window but manage to keep hold of their star striker up front, loyal centre half at the back and the tricky enigmatic flair player on the wing, in other words they still have front-man Gerard Langley, brother Paul on the drums and dancer Wojtek Dmochowski remaining. So, despite languishing in the lower leagues for a while they can still be relied upon to deliver a result when it counts and they have certainly delivered with the new album "Welcome, Stranger!" as is proven when they launch straight into the excellent new single “Dead Tree! Dead Tree!”. Unfortunately the sound is atrocious, the thud of a ridiculously badly mixed bass and bass drum pretty much obliterates everything. Next up is the old favourite “Yr Own World” from “Beatsongs” and again the muddy sounds means that the usual intricate Aeroplanes guitar work is all but hidden in a syrupy mess. I’m right down the front, some other people around me are moaning about the sound too but luckily things do improve and as the good-natured pushing, shoving and singing along gets increasingly rowdy I’ve all but forgotten where I am and I’m determined not to let the Academy ruin another evening. 

The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
“This is not an exercise in nostalgia” front-man Gerard Langley warns us before glancing at the already perspiring dancer Wojtek standing at his side, “this is just exercise”. Indeed, despite a fair few of us in the audience getting out of breath just from nodding our heads up and down in time to the music, quite remarkably Wojtek does not let up throughout the whole one and a half hour set. Gerard quips “Wojtek will be releasing a fitness DVD soon!” In fact his intriguing mix of gymnastic, aerobic and balletic movement have been as much a signature of The Blue Aeroplanes over the years as Gerard’s ever present shades and their quest to cram as many guitarists as possible on stage at the same time. Wojtek is so important to the general feel of The Blue Aeroplanes that he even gate-crashed the band’s recent Marc Riley session prompting the DJ to comment “if you ever wondered what a man dancing on the radio looks like, that was it!” 

The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Back to the gig and apart from the three aforementioned original members only guitarist Gerard Starkie is a familiar face from the last time I saw them back at the Borderline over six years ago. In fact this is actually the longest serving consecutive line-up, clocking up four and half years together. It shows in the immediate on-stage chemistry, there's great interplay between them, not just musically but loads of rock and roll posturing and posing, general leaping about and jumping off the drum riser. They all seem to be really enjoying themselves and it's mightily infectious. There’s Bec Jevons on guitar who wasn’t even born when the first Aeroplanes album was released. She's great, looks like she should be in an Indie band in her own right and in fact on further investigation I find out that she actually is, she fronts the trio IDestroy who are well worth checking out although they do make me feel a bit old. Her track “Skin” which she sings tonight reminds of the great Swedish all-girl band Sahara Hotnights and on the new album it seemed a bit out of place at first but then again I suppose the Aeroplanes were always throwing guitar pop nuggets into the mix such as Rodney Allen’s “Worry Beads” on the “Rough Music” album or the insanely catchy “Fun” which is played tonight as an encore and sung by spikey haired bassist Chris Sharp. 

The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Mike Youe is also on guitars and he's responsible for one of the night's most anticipated moments, yes, that stunning cascading guitar riff intro to the faultless "Jacket Hangs". But as Gerard mentioned earlier it's not just nostalgia tonight as they play all ten tracks from "Welcome, Stranger!" and they sound even better live with each one standing up against anything in their back catalogue. It’s not even the end of January but I’ve already penciled it in at number one in my “Retro Man Blog’s best albums of 2017” list to be published at the end of the year. "Walking Under Ladders For a Living", "Poetland" and "Retro Moon", these titles will all be fighting for space on your "Best of The Blue Aeroplanes" mix-tape soon believe me. However, “Elvis Festival” is my favourite track from the new album with its drum and cow-bell intro and stop-start guitar riff it’s a hilarious but slightly melancholic tale of a provincial Elvis impersonator heading off to strut his stuff at an Elvis convention. “There's a fat man walking in the rain, his jump-suit is getting stained” and then “his wife sewed on the sequins but he made the cape himself”, the lyrics are wonderful and the chorus is sublime - “You sing badly, but no one cares, you are Elvis!” Indeed…someone’s shoving into me down the front and I turn round to see an enthusiastic chap jumping about in full stick-on Elvis sideburns and shades – ah those crazy Aeroplanes fans eh?

The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
“Nothing Will Ever Happen in the Future” is a beautiful song that builds nicely on the refrain “Want to be wanted, need to be needed, love to be loved" and on first listen I thought “Sweet Like Chocolate” might well be the best song the Blue Aeroplanes have ever written, but then I found out they didn’t actually write it. It’s a cover version of some cheesy dance track or other, I couldn't listen to more than 20 seconds of the original but you would barely recognise it as the band have basically just taken the vocal melody and twisted into a classic Aeroplanes guitar riff. Of course we get the classic dance number "...And Stones" and for the encore another treat when the line-up is expanded further by the welcome appearance of original guitarist Nick Jacobs who also plays on the new album and there’s a frenetic run through of the Bob Dylan rarity “I Wanna Be Your Lover”. 

The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The band have always intrigued me as on one hand when I listen to them I imagine some of their music wouldn't be out of place on the soundtrack to movies like The Wicker Man or Witchfinder General, there's that pastoral, slightly spooky Englishness about them. But then they take a lot of influence from the New York scene of the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and Television and it makes them truly one of a kind. Talking of Television, there's the now traditional final number, Tom Verlaine's "Breakin' In My Heart" sees yet another guitarist join the fun and then a saxophonist jumps on stage too and there's absolute chaos. Bec gets down into the photographer's pit and then she's up on the barrier guitar held aloft above the crowd, goading us on even more as the song gradually falls apart to the sound of a huge and heartfelt ovation. It's bloody marvellous, what a night!

The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Blue Aeroplanes at Islington Academy - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
For more information and news on The Blue Aeroplanes and how to order "Welcome, Stranger!" you can check out their official web-site here. There's a great interview with Gerard in the always excellent "Write Wyatt" web-site here. You can see more photos from the gig at the Retro Man Blog Facebook page here. If you're not already following, please hit "Like" and "Get Notifications" for access to the photo album. There's also a couple of videos at our YouTube channel here.