Tuesday, 14 June 2011


by Tim Stavrinou

Last year's Wake Up Woking gig was one of those moments that I'll be telling my children's grandchildren about, from the grave if necessary, and despite being told by Sam, the organiser, that Paul would 'definitely not' be putting in an appearance, I was still looking forward to it.

I saw From The Jam a couple of years and thought they put on a good show so I was looking forward to seeing them in a more intimate venue, which the HG Wells suite certainly was. Work commitments meant that unfortunately I missed Steve Brooks' slot which was a shame because I thought he was fantastic last year. The 5:16's were on next and I must admit I took the opportunity to visit the bar and have a pint or two to wind down. There were some nice framed pictures of Weller and TSC on display that were being raffled and I dutifully parted with a tenner for a couple of (losing) tickets.

The 5:16's finished their set and I made my way into the hall that was somewhat disappointingly quite empty. 20 minutes or so later the DJ faded out his song and the intro to 'Dream Time' started up. I glanced behind me and was still surprised to see the hall only half full. Bruce and the lads walked on to a loud cheer and picked up the song once the intro had finished.

Bruce looked as good as ever (and probably wearing one of his original Jam suits); Russell Hastings, the man who has one of the hardest jobs in the world, namely 'being' Paul Weller', looked relaxed and raring to go. The drummer I didn't know I'm afraid but I thought he did a great job and kept the two frontmen in check.

I've never been one for remembering setlists but after Dream Time came a wash of classic Jam - Thick As Thieves, Start, When Your Young and of course Bruce's songs, News Of The World and Smithers Jones.

The band were tight and well-rehearsed and, forgive me if I get sentimental, but Bruce's bass playing is simply the best I have ever heard. As a guitar geek I always pay attention to the playing and to watch his fingers blurring over the fretboard is a joy to behold. Russel's playing was as good as ever and eerily reminiscent of Weller's, even down to his fearful stance at the mic stand and his fondness for strumming higher up the guitar neck than usual; methinks he's watched 'Trans-Global Unity Express' more than once..

After a few tunes Russell announced that the album of new material would be available later in the year and the band eased into their single 'Later Day' followed by a couple of other new songs. These were fairly well received but it was evident that the audience was there to hear songs they knew and loved.

I kept looking over my shoulder, hoping to see a packed hall with sweaty energised faces but it never happened. I don't know if they sold all the tickets or simply played it safe with numbers but the atmosphere wasn't what I'd hoped for and I think the pockets of people dotted around were feeling the same. It was almost a brilliant gig but in the end felt like an okay one.

It's not often I leave a gig before the encore but I'd been on my feet since 7am and was feeling the strain so I slipped out as the crowd were just starting the usual chant of 'We are the mods'.

Oh well, there's always next year: 30 years since The Jam split. Come on you three - bury that damn hatchet and make a million middle-aged Mods relive their youth for one night only.

to follow Tim and Barry's photo's from the gig


CD release and review
'The real mod spirit has nothing to do with the scooter-riding, beach-fighting, lumpen mod lore. The best mods had the best record collections, the best wardrobes, the best bookshelves, the best minds. What else?'
- Kevin Pearce 'Something Beginning with O'

Monday, 13 June 2011

there's a saying that you should never meet your heroes because sometimes they'll let you down, although not a hero, the kinks music has always been part of my life right from that old scratched 7" pink pye labelled 'ape man' through to my mod revival years until now and seeing him for the first time last Friday (10th June).  maybe i should have left it at that, listening to his sounds via vinyl, cassette now cd and mp3?

maybe i expected more than i got, it wasn't bad it's just that cabaret sing-a-longs are not my bag and i didn't really pay £35 to watch aging women dance very badly and try to recreate a swinging 60's that in their mind they had, but in their lives never happened, i just wonder how many of fridays crowd had seen the kinks at their very peak. a crowd participation 'day-o' answer and reply was just crass, as was the time after time pointing the microphone at us to sing badly songs i'd rather have heard ray sing! then there was let's have a 'round of applause for', if we'd stayed long enough I'm sure they'd have got round to each member of the crowd. in also got vegas when ray returned to the stage for an encore by going along shaking the audiences hand, yes this was cabaret and all that comes with it! was i watching a ray davies tribute artist at a holiday park, felt like it at times.

although i don't expect a recreation or an exact copy of a song live, i at least expect them to be close to the originals, a blues intro to 'you really got me' didn't work, this is a garage classic and needs an edge that these polished session musicians couldn't give it.
then there was the trawl through the kinks 70's back catalogue, where beyond their peak they entered the world of very poor AOR. we were also treated to several songs from ray's, rather average, solo canon, albums that let's be honest the majority have never brought.

almost all the classics where wheeled out in some form or another, but maybe missing was the surprise we got the inevitable rather too much! it was like listening to one of those mfp (music for pleasure) albums that proudly announces 're-recorded by the original artist', always rather badly. at times it sounded like those late 70's mono recorded songs from the sixties in recreated stereo, this was recreated ray davies. maybe like brian wilson and the wondermints, davies needs to re-allign himself with a younger version or versions of himself? maybe band members who will have some in-put rather than just playing the way ray wants it?

it rather had the feel of one of those 60's revival acts that only have one or two of the original members, this was the kinks with just the lead singer.

the highlights were an accoustic 'days' that went into a more electric version, 'waterloo sunset' to a point until ruined by another 'sing-a-long'.

it was great to hear the writer interpret his words, the maestro on the stage, maybe in another time i'd have thought this was what i wanted to see, i wanted to see and hear the artist reach another peak, or at least valiantly try to, there was no danger or high wire act here! nothing close to the edge! all rather tame and safe. 

 "Davies seemed wholly at ease plundering his Kinks songbook. While also taking in poignant selections from 2007’s solo effort, Working Man’s CafĂ©, he revisited one vintage hit after another, with a singalongjeu d’esprit.
Here, uniquely, were some of the finest tunes of the Sixties, at close quarters, with peerless sound, not in some godforsaken stadium, and delivered with warmth. Culminating with Waterloo Sunset (which was just occurring outside), You Really Got Me and Lola, the show was an unmitigated joy.

"No doubt the humour of hearing the entire audience shout out the refrain to I'm Not Like Everybody Else - the archetypal Kinks outsider song - wasn't lost on him. Davies has always preferred to exist on the margins, but little could match the embrace of the crowd for the peerless closing run of songs - Waterloo Sunset, You Really Got Me, Days and Lola."

Saturday, 11 June 2011

fast and furious rock night

miles kane, edinburgh, 18th may, 2011

ian shillinglaw, get's live and sweaty!

    So here we are at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh to see Miles Kane. Recently rebuilt after a major fire this great venue,hidden away just round the corner from Edinburgh Castle,is looking good. Hand stamped to prove i'm over 18 ( !!! ) it's down the stairs to the relatively small room which holds about 800 standing. After a slight refreshment at the bar i can see the place rapidly filling and there is great excitement from a crowd of mainly 20 somethings with a sprinkling of,shall we say,older rockers.
    Davey Horne from Falkirk supported and was realy good and is well worth a listen if you get a chance and went down well with everyone.
    Miles Kane was astonishing but short clocking in at 47 minutes ! Absolutley non stop from the start he played most of his new album Colour of the Trap  with highlights being Rearrange and Mr Fantasy for me but i got the feeling everyone was waiting for Inhaler which duly came along and was greeted with much shouting and rioting. It was a boistress crowd after this but only one person ( that i know off ! ) was escorted out which is not bad for this kind of gig and thta was mainly due to the falling down juice.
    No sooner started than finished with no encore even though it was wanted and out into the night. Well worth going to see for a fast and furious rock night.

and now for something completely different.....good rockin' tonight with

lunchtime jam at the ray davies curated meltdown festival, rock n'rolling on the south bank!

some of the cool modernists amongst the blog cats are probably repulsed by the fact that an out and out rock-a-billy combo is appearing amongst these pages.

firstly, let me give you a history lesson, not that i think you need one or will benefit from my lay man's knowledge of the roots of the modernist culture, but take it from me, alot has been written, re-written and manipulated to fit an image.

most of the mid-60's mod bands would have grown up listening to, learning from and playing out and out rock n'roll. the beatles early albums are a mix of their current (at the time) influences and music they played in the cavern and in hamburg as the savage young beatles! the kinks, the small faces, the who and them all included rock n'roll standards in their sets, some longer than others (the who - summertime blues).

which brings us nicely to the caezars. 

i don't profess to be even the smallest knowledge of rock n'roll, rock-a-billy or 50's music fans but i hope that i do know good happening music whatever the genre. the caezars are exactly that, a very good, jiving, rock n'roll band.

as the first band of ray davies meltdown festival they played a difficult lunchtime crowd of the familiar, the curious and the passing. but they played with menace and skill, with a vibe about them. we could have been a load of teddy boys, not many of us were, the caezars owned this festival hall lunch time.

it's a joy to see a young band play with an attitude and enjoyment of their art form. the singer scanned the audience looking for victims, his delivery screamed 'are you paying attention', the guitarist reigned you in with his rock n'roll ray gun chords not allowing your attention to deviate, the drummer played with a precision beat, keeping the combo close and tight (and boy are they tight!), then there's the bass player, traditional stand up, thumping to the core of the songs.

for the joyous three quarters of an hour they took to the stage for, not once did the pace drop, you had to remind yourself it was actually lunchtime and at the end the majority would disappear back to their metropolis desk bound existences.

the caezars are no one trick revivalist band, they're way too young for that, this is their references brought bang up to date with a sharpness and reverence to the modern world!

they look the part, definately sound the part, check them out for yourself, but leave your parka and prejudices at home!

good music is good music!

rave on!

A Trivial Pursuit is out now!


the brights - mixtape


Animal Nitrate - Suede
I love Suede's stuff dearly but it's particularly the intensity of the band's sound on the early albums that does it for me. Between Bernard Butler's guitar playing and Brett Anderson's lyrics and vocals, there's this real undercurrent of tension in their writing, which I think is what makes this song such a riveting listen! 

I'm A Cuckoo - Belle and Sebastian

This one reminds me of James (The Brights) djing in Japan, so has a fond place in my heart for that reason alone but also it's just such a fun, feel good track. Belle & Seb are a great band and continue that knack Scotland has of producing great indie bands!

Mr Tambourine Man - The Byrds

The undeniable poetry in Bob Dylan's writing and the harmony of mid sixties Byrds, in a way makes for the perfect combination!



The Style Council - Headstart For Happiness

For me, one of Mr Weller’s finest ever songs.

Giant Crab - E.S.P.

2 mins 31 of relentless psych. Fantastic!

The Pale Fountains - Reach

In my humble opinion, Mick Head is one of the greatest songwriters this country has ever produced.


The Kinks – Tired Of Waiting For You
Really great Kinks track. It’s just over two minutes but it’s got the lot for me!  Particularly love this footage with the moving drum riser. Have to get myself one of them!  

Teenage Fanclub – Sparky’s Dream
My favourite Teenage Fanclub song from my favourite Teenage Fanclub album.
What more can I say?!!? Amazing!

Merry Clayton – Gimme Shelter
One of my favourite cover versions. A timeless song and possibly for me the stand-out Stones track, but this version is just amazing. Superb vocal and absolutely love the brass that powers through it.


The Stone Roses - The Sun Still Shines
I could have gone for one of the Roses' many anthems but wanted to draw people's attention to this cracking unreleased demo that surfaced on the net a while ago. Enjoy!

The Smiths - Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
I can't choose a favourite Smiths song but picked this one for its fantastic live rendition.

Shack - Oscar
Matt introduced this one to me in the tour-van last October and it's been on my stereo pretty constantly sinc then. I love the way it explodes into the middle-eight