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.


Saturday, 21 January 2017

Ebbot Lundberg & The Indigo Children at The Garage Islington December 4th

Ebbot Lundberg & The Indigo Children at The Garage Islington - Photo by Paul Slattery
Ebbot Lundberg has been busy touring Europe and Scandinavia to promote his critically acclaimed debut album with his new band The Indigo Children entitled “For The Ages To Come” and now he's back in London to showcase the U.K. release. Despite being the front-man of not just one but two legendary Swedish bands, The Soundtrack of Our Lives and Union Carbide Productions, and a house-hold name in Sweden over here he is pretty much starting from scratch. He has to build up an audience again and he finds himself in front of a sparse but eager crowd Upstairs at The Garage in Islington as opposed to downstairs in the main venue where he tells us The Soundtrack of Our Lives once played in their prime. Following a powerful and well received set from support act The Galileo 7 (which you can read about here), Ebbot and the band appear in garish black and white face paint, it’s quite unnerving, almost like tribal war-paint. The swirling sounds of tonight's opening song “Psychomatum X2000” taken from The Soundtrack of Our Lives second album “Extended Revelations” and a sort of updated “2,000 Light Years From Home” is thoroughly mesmeric and a really nice surprise. In fact the general feel of the "For The Ages To Come" album reminds me of the more mellow Psychedelic textures of the "Extended Revelations" album mixed in with the orchestral arrangements of some of the tracks on their breakthrough "Behind The Music"

Ebbot Lundberg & The Indigo Children - Photo by Paul Slattery
Next up is the new album's title track and it's rich with Ebbot's familiar baritone, slowly builds to an epic climax that is probably as close to The Soundtrack of Our Lives as it gets. I sense a strong influence of Arthur Lee and Love not just on this track but running throughout the album, an influence that first became apparent on "Where's The Rock?" going back to TSOOL's farewell "Throw It To The Universe" with it’s Latino brass and flashes of flamenco guitar. This influence is even more apparent with the next song, a cover of the 1960’s Spanish band Los Pekenikes “Calling From Heaven”. Ebbot is a fired up front-man, someone who openly delights in provoking a reaction from his audience, often in a confrontational way if he doesn’t feel he is getting the kind of response he wants. Indeed tonight he spends a large part of the gig singing from down among the audience. Fans will probably recognise guitarist Billy Cervin as he has previously stood in for The Soundtrack of Our Lives guitarist Mattias Bärjed at a couple of shows before and his own band, Stockholm based Psych band Side Effects - who make up 4/5ths of The Indigo Children - often supported TSOOL. 

The Indigo Children (Ebbot's in the crowd!) - Photo by Paul Slattery
Drummer Hugo and Bassist Joacim are hidden at the back, the venue’s poorly positioned ceiling mounted speakers obstructing the view somewhat. I can sense the band are a bit subdued tonight probably down to tiredness from the long journey but Elias on the keyboards is his usual blur of energy, joining Ebbot at the front for a duet on Alice Cooper’s old 1960’s band Spiders Garage Rocker “Don’t Blow Your Mind”. The fifth member Rebecka from Those Dancing Days and The Hanged Man adds some intriguing textures on the guitar. They are all superb musicians sticking faithfully to the originals when called for or weaving their way along expertly following Ebbot’s lead and improvising as his often unpredictable mood dictates. Ebbot is very generous to his bandmates and indeed he acknowledged the importance his young charges in The Indigo Children have had on his new music in our Retrosonic Podcast interview which you can listen to here

Ebbot Lundberg & The Indigo Children - Photo by Paul Slattery
They play the Union Carbide classic “Golden Age” which is often cited as the bridge between their raucous Stooges influenced Punk Rock and The Soundtrack of Our Lives more expansive Psychedelic sound. Union Carbide Productions were pretty much unknown in the U.K. at the time but were taken to heart by America’s hip underground scene with such luminaries as Jello Biafra, Sonic Youth, Kurt Cobain and Steve Albini pronouncing themselves as fans. However, Ebbot was getting increasingly influenced by 60’s American West Coast Psychedelia, in particular Love and The Byrds and also the British Freakbeat of early Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and he decided to split UCP and form The Soundtrack of Our Lives to reflect these broader influences. "I See Forever" might have a few familiar strains to it and that is because it is an old song originally written by Ebbot with his original TSOOL and UCP colleague Björn Olsson. "Backdrop People" the lead track from the "Homo Futurus" E.P. is an absolute delight and possibly the best song that Ebbot has written. It's a classic that will stand up alongside any favourite from the TSOOL or Union Carbide Productions back catalogue. “Second Life Replay”, “To Be Continued” and crunching versions of Union Carbide’s “Chameleon Ride” and “Glad To Have You Back” mean that this show is far more wired and out-there than at our Retro Man Blog night at The Half Moon last June which ended up as a emotional Midsummer love-in with encores of two Soundtrack of Our Lives songs “You Are The Beginning” and “The Passover”. Tonight Ebbot ditches such niceties and hammers out a rarely played “Mantra Slider” as an encore, again most of which is performed from among the audience. Hopefully if Ebbot can get some good record company support and distribution in the U.K. for “For The Ages To Come” it won’t be long before he is back but this time playing the main venue downstairs at The Garage again. 

Ebbot Lundberg & The Indigo Children - Photo by Paul Slattery
You can listen to or download our Retrosonic Podcast special with Ebbot below:



Check out the Retrosonic Podcast archive at Soundcloud or subscribe at iTunes for our other Soundtrack of Our Lives related Episodes featuring in-depth interviews with Mattias Bärjed, Ian Person and Fredrik Sandsten. For up-to-date news visit Ebbot's Facebook page here and don't forget The Soundtrack of Our Lives Fan's Group where you can share your memories, photos and other memorabilia as well as keep up to date with all the ex-band members current activities. Thanks to Paul Slattery for the photographs as credited.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band at St. George’s Hall Liverpool, Sunday December 11th 2016

Photo Copyright John Johnson
Mick Head does like to play gigs in unusual places. He's played in churches, venues threatened with closure such as The Florrie in Liverpool and even in cafés like Leaf on Bold Street and it’s these special one-off gigs that tend to mean more to fans than shows in run-of-the-mill music venues. A great example of this is tonight where he’s performing to a capacity crowd of just over 500 people in the stunningly beautiful neoclassical St. George’s Hall in Liverpool with his current project. After Shack decided to take a break Mick didn’t head off on the typical solo career but instead appeared with a new band, The Red Elastic Band to be precise. Mick explains that this is a cooperative of like-minded people with a fluid line-up that has indeed expanded since I last saw them play at the Islington Assembly Hall back in early 2016. Tonight there’s a choir, a grand piano and flute along with the trumpets and cello and the surroundings suit the lush orchestral arrangements of Mick’s music perfectly. Rather than just churn out the “greatest hits” Mick is taking the opportunity to revisit hidden gems and rarely played album tracks from all stages of his career, often reworking them with different arrangements or instrumentation. That’s not to say this is purely a nostalgia trip, far from it as The Red Elastic Band have already released one excellent E.P. “Artorius Revisited” and a 7” Single “Velvets in The Dark” and will release their debut album sometime in 2017. This new fluidity and open minded attitude makes going to Mick’s gigs nowadays unpredictable and exciting and it must also surely keep things as interesting for him and the band as it does for us, their audience. 

Michael Head, Liverpool - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
However, despite this fresh approach, there are still reassuring nods to the past. Pale Fountains trumpet player Andy Diagram is a main stay in the Red Elastic Band and Pete Wilkinson, Mick’s bass playing side-kick from Shack, is a regular too. Unfortunately Pete doesn’t appear at the St. George’s Hall gig and his backing vocals and on-stage chemistry with Mick are missed a bit but they’ve drafted in an able replacement on the bass so the overall sound was not compromised. By the way, Pete has his own band, the excellent Aviator, who are well worth checking out. Mick looks remarkably fit and healthy these days, and is in particularly cheerful mood as he takes the stage. In between songs there’s lots of banter and in-jokes which is hardly surprising this being such a prestigious hometown show and the front row of seats are all reserved for friends and family. His daughter is in the best seat in the house, right in front of her dad and she must be his most enthusiastic fan too, getting up excitedly after one song to show him a framed black and white photo that someone had handed to her earlier. During gigs you often catch Mick off-guard with a huge grin on his face, totally caught up in the music around him and you can imagine if he weren’t singing he would be down at the front cheering on his own band! It’s moments like this and his lack of pretence that make Mick such a charming and inspirational performer. 

The Red Elastic Band, Liverpool - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The set-list is quite different to the Islington show where Mick delved deep into “The Magical World of The Strands” album but tonight that’s skipped completely and we are treated to an uplifting “I Know You Well” from Shack’s 1988 debut album “Zilch” as the opener and a choice selection of wonderful songs from the second album “Waterpistol”. In fact, a stripped back “Mood of The Morning” with Mick on acoustic guitar backed by some percussive bongos is one of the highlights of the evening. Mick is capable of writing some truly emotional and moving music that can bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat. It’s intelligent and involving songwriting with real depth and longevity, although a catchy melody is never allowed to stray too far away. Mick’s sister Joanne sings lead vocals on the beautifully haunting “Daniella” with Mick kneeling on the floor accompanying her with some impressive Flamenco guitar flourishes. More magical moments include the crowd singing along together on “Meant To Be” which sends a shiver down the spine and then there's the Psychedelic rush of “Streets of Kenny” which is simply mind-blowing tonight.

The Red Elastic Band, Liverpool - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
All these great songs are worked seamlessly into a set which also takes in “Newby Street” and “Cadiz” from “Artorius Revisited”, a cover of “Wild Mountain Thyme” and some new and unreleased material too. Mick ends the main set with “Comedy” one of the most perfect singles of any genre or any era and the upbeat “Newby Street” is so good it gets played again as the encore prompting people to finally get out of their seats to dance and show their appreciation. The Red Elastic Band will be releasing their debut album “Adios Señor Pussycat” on Violette Records in 2017 and talking of Violette, another thing Mick seems to have tightened up on since starting the Red Elastic Band is that old chestnut “artistic control”. It’s great that Mick has found kindred spirits in Matt who runs Violette Records, graphic designer Pascal Blua and photographer John Johnson, as all combine to make the Red Elastic Band releases, not just musically superb, but visually striking and very special indeed. In fact, everything from record covers to gig posters to badges, limited edition vinyl, postcard “box-sets” and T-shirts are all stunning and highly collectable. But reassuringly, and most importantly, among the new material are some songs that easily match Mick's most popular and well-loved classics, “Money”, “What’s The Difference?” and “Queen of All Saints” all sounded great and promise that “Adios Señor Pussycat” will be something quite special indeed. 


The review of Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band at The Islington Assembly Hall can be found in our Blog archive here. Violette Records is the exclusive home to Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band and you can check out their web-site here. Designer Pascal Blua’s excellent design work can be found at his own website here and the Liverpool based photographer John Johnson's stunning photos are here. The essential web-site and comprehensive Mick Head archive Shacknet is here. With thanks to Matt at Violette. More photographs of the gig can be found at the Retro Man Blog Facebook page here, please hit “Like” and “Get Notifications” if you are not already following.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Masonics, The Baron Four & Ye Nuns at The Lexington December 21st War Child Benefit

Ye Nuns - Photo Copyright Zigpix
Following on from our November Retro Man Blog Night, The Masonics and The Baron Four were once more sharing the same stage, this time at a benefit for the War Child charity organized by Ye Nuns who were on the bill too. A packed out Lexington also had the opportunity to participate in what must be the coolest raffle ever with prizes donated by State Records, Damaged Goods Records, Weirdsville, Dirty Water Records, Faber and Bloomsbury Publishing, photographer Jeff Pitcher and artwork by The Masonics and Miss Ludella Black. Probably the most unconventional prize was a customized triangular road sign showing a Nun digging up the road and the lucky winners had the pleasure of having to carry it all the way back to the Medway on the train! 

The Baron Four - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog


All three bands played great sets with The Baron Four in particular proving they are one of the most exciting live acts around and their new songs, in particular "Don't Need You Anymore" (which must surely be their next single!) promise that 2017 should be a very special year for them. Ye Nuns were frankly superb, on paper a tribute band to The Monks - always one of the most idiosyncratic and well, downright weird bands of the '60's Garage Rock scene - seems a strange idea. 

The Baron Four - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The fact that Ye Nuns are a seven piece all-girl band taking the stage in Nun's habits just makes it all the more bizarre yet for some reason it all falls into place perfectly! The Monks clanging, abrasive songs in a way pre-dated Krautrock and I can understand why The Fall's Mark E Smith is such a huge fan as they can sometimes be as irritating as they are addictive. Tonight Ye Nuns crank up the volume and blast us with ear-busting fuzz guitar and scathing electric banjo but sweeten it all with some impressive vocal harmonizing. It's probably the band's most accessible songs "We Do Wie Du" and "Oh How To Do Now" that go down the best with the crowd and on the last song a vitriolic "I Hate You" they are joined by a second bassist to really ramp up the action even more!

Ye Nuns - Photo Copyright Zigpix
Ye Nuns - Photo Copyright Zigpix
The Masonics with special guest Miss Ludella Black treat us to their usual entertaining set of good time Garage Rock 'n' Roll including some songs from their mighty fine new album "Obermann Rides Again". All in all a great night out in the build up to Xmas and all for a great cause too so please check out more details on the War Child charity if you have chance, their web-site is here.

The Masonics - Photo Copyright Zigpix
The Masonics & Miss Ludella Black - Photo Copyright Retro Man Blog
The Masonics & The Baron Four photos copyright Retro Man Blog. Ye Nuns photos courtesy (and copyright) Zigpix, please check out the Zigpix web-site here for more excellent live photography. For more photos of the gig please check out the Retro Man Blog Facebook page here. For videos please visit the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel. For full sets of all three bands then have a look at the Archivist of London YouTube channel. With thanks to Delia.

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Galileo 7 - "The Complete Live-O-Graphic Session" Vinyl Release + Paul Slattery Photographs from The Garage Islington


The Galileo 7 have released "The Complete Live-O-Graphic Session" on glorious vinyl featuring ten revved up, incendiary, "nearly live" versions of previously released songs...plus two tracks not featured on the CD! During the recording of the "Cruel Bird/Nowhere People" 45 (State Records THS—023) the band played a couple of older songs to warm up - and knew immediately that they had to commit the rest of their live set to tape for posterity. These versions crackle with almost uncontainable energy, and outstrip the originals for verve and intensity. The one-take vocals and harmonies were added later in a similarly pressured and time-limited session to preserve the intense feel of the tracking session. The result is this red hot "Live-O-Graphic" sampler of some of The Galileo 7’s best songs! You can order the album from The Galileo 7's official store here.



The band supported Ebbot Lundberg & The Indigo Children at The Garage Islington on December 4th where they played a well-received set bursting with energy and including a superb mind-turning new track handily titled "Turn Your Mind Inside Out"! Legendary Rock Photographer and Galileo 7 fan Paul Slattery was there to take some pics of the action...

The Galileo 7 photographed by Paul Slattery
The Galileo 7 photographed by Paul Slattery
The Galileo 7 photographed by Paul Slattery
The Galileo 7 photographed by Paul Slattery
Thanks to Paul Slattery for the photographs. All photos copyright Paul Slattery.