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In Memoriam

Posted on March 11, 2009 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (45)

During the morning of Thursday 5th March 2009, Johnithin Christ, vocalist of San Franciscan Hardcore band CODE OF HONOR, died. His immune system had remained weak due to steroids and chemotherapy prescribed to combat a brain tumour diagnosed in 2008. Although he beat that, he did not survive more recent complications resulting from an attack of pneumonia.

Christ was born in 1958 and on beating the tumour he wrote on his Myspace page, "Nice to be alive for a few thousand years more; life is to live."

CODE OF HONOR was birthed after the short-lived SICK PLEASURE broke up. CODE OF HONOR released its records on Subterranean Records - the label run by the band's guitarist, Michael Fox, starting with a split album with older SICK PLEASURE recordings and the 7" 'What Are We Gonna Do?' both of which saw light of day in 1982.

The same year, what has arguably become the band's most widely recognized track, 'What Price Will You Pay?' appeared on the classic 'Not So Quiet On The Western Front' compilation, released by Alternative Tentacles. The band's sole album, 'Beware The Savage Jaw' was released in 1984. It was just as the final mix-down was completed that the band decided to split up.

Subterranean has issued 'Complete Studio Recordings 1982-1984', a comprehensive document of the band's short existence.

"Be fighting still" was a CODE OF HONOR motto, and Christ made it count until the end.

Condolences to those who knew him.

In Memoriam

Posted on February 6, 2009 at 2:06 AM Comments comments (0)

 

On Wednesday, 4th February 2009, Lux Interior - co-founder and lead vocalist of THE CRAMPS - died at Glendale Memorial Hospital in California. The cause of death was related to a previously existing heart condition. Reports state Interior - real name Erick Lee Purkhiser - as being either 60 or 62 years of age; Billboard magazine’s website states he was born in Stow, Ohio on 21st October 1948.

Interior (who took his name from a car ad) founded THE CRAMPS in 1973 after meeting his wife, Kristy Wallace - who would mutate into the band’s guitarist, Poison Ivy - in Sacramento, California in 1972. Following a move to New York in 1975, the band was soon a staple of the fledgling New York Punk scene as it welded a love of horror b-movies and sexual depravity with the raw intensity of Punk and lo-fi scuzzy Garage Rockabilly.

Interior was a commanding front man: pale, tall and gaunt. He’d usually appear shirtless with black hair and tiny, low-slung black pants as he crawled, writhed and howled his way across the stage. With the addition of Bryan Gregory (later Kid Congo Powers who was eventually followed by, in a live capacity only, Mike Metoff of THE PAGANS) THE CRAMPS created a trashy, duelling guitar sound that was played in front of a minimalist, animal beat which literally stripped the corpse of rock ‘n’ roll naked and transformed it into a psychotic, ignominious glorification of trash culture.

Since releasing the debut EP, ‘Gravest Hits’ in 1979 (which compiled the two previously self-released 7"s), the band recorded a total of 13 studio albums culminating with the 2003-released ‘Fiends Of Dope Island’. Interior and Ivy were the only constant members of the band which was still touring with its flamboyant, fetishistic live show until as recently as November 2008 with jaunts across both Europe and the U.S.

Among the band’s litany of infamous shows was a notorious concert for patients of a Californian mental institution - the Napa State Mental Hospital - in 1978. Grainy black and white footage of this surreal show abound on You Tube. Other notable appearances include a Halloween episode of Beverly Hills 90210, a performance of ‘Tear It Up’ from the 1980 film, ‘URGH! A Music War’ and even the video of ‘Bikini Girls With Machine Guns’ drawing rave reviews from Beavis and Butt-head.

In 1987, rumours that proved to be false circulated about Interior’s death due to a Heroin overdose. "At first, I thought it was kind of funny, but then it started to give me a creepy feeling," the singer told the Los Angeles Times. "We sell a lot of records, but somehow just hearing that you've sold so many records doesn't hit you quite as much as when a lot of people call you up and are obviously really broken-up because you've died."

The general consensus from critics and fans alike is that the early 80s period of the band proved to be its peak with the release of the debut album ‘Songs The Lord Taught Us’ and its follow-up ‘Psychedelic Jungle’. Other notable efforts must require the mention of ‘Smell The Female’ and the 1987 live album - one that highlighted us here in New Zealand - ‘Rockin n Reelin In Auckland New Zealand’. The band even has a spot in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame via a shattered bass drum through which Interior had forced his head.

He is survived by Wallace, his wife of 37 years. A statement from THE CRAMPS' media representatives reads: "Lux has been an inspiration and influence to millions of artists and fans around the world. He and wife Poison Ivy's contributions with THE CRAMPS have had an immeasurable impact on modern music. He is a rare icon who will be missed dearly."

Stay sick Lux... Music in general needs more like you.

In Memoriam

Posted on January 7, 2009 at 2:55 AM Comments comments (0)


On Tuesday 6th January 2009, Ron Asheton, guitarist of THE STOOGES - whose raw sound helped inspire the first generation of Punk musicians - died. He was 60.
Asheton was found at his Ann Arbor home early Tuesday morning by police officers after they were called by an associate who had not heard from him in several days, said city police Sgt. Brad Hill. There were no signs of foul play, and the death appeared to be of natural causes.
Asheton was born on 17th July, 1948 in Washington, D.C. He moved to Ann Arbor - along with his mother and brother (and co-founder of THE STOOGES) Scott - soon after the death of his father on 31st December 1963.
It was here he would meet one Jim Osterberg and the birth of what was THE prototype band of Punk Rock was formed. Asheton's pummeling, distorted guitar on songs like 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' and 'T.V. Eye' was a hallmark of the group's sound. His "technically adept but also beautifully raw" style was heavily influenced by free jazz and created "beauty out of noise," said Brian Cogan, a Punk-music historian at Molloy College on New York's Long Island.
"He invents the template for Punk-rock guitar," Cogan said. "He's the one who allows Johnny Ramone and the guys in the Dictators to play the way they do."
Asheton recorded three albums with THE STOOGES, although for the third - the mind-melting 'Raw Power' - he was relegated to playing bass thanks in no small part to IGGY POP and the appearance of James Williamson.
Following THE STOOGES split, Asheton played guitar for bands including the NEW ORDER, NEW RACE, DARK CARNIVAL and, most importantly, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS that featured Ann Arbor, Detroit Rock City rival Michael Davis formerly of MC5.
In 2003, Asheston reunited with the rest of THE STOOGES and a new album, 'The Weirdness' was released in 2007. The band toured from here, including an incendiary stadium show at Sydney, Australia's Big Day Out Festival that I was fortunate enough to witness.
In the wake of Asheton's passing, comments from big names and small have flooded in. Former band mate, the irrepressible IGGY POP named Ron Asheton as, "my best friend" while a band statement said, "For all that knew him behind the facade of Mr. Cool & Quirky, he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well even if they did not. As a musician Ron was The Guitar God, idol to follow and inspire others. That is how he will be remembered by people who had a great pleasure to work with him, learn from him and share good and bad times with him."
Russ Gibb, who owned Detroit's legendary Grande Ballroom and gave THE STOOGES its first major show there in 1968, said Asheton was a gentleman in all of their dealings.
"Wherever he is today, it's a better place because he's there," Gibb said Tuesday. "He was a gentleman musician. The musicland that you and I live in has lost something today and wherever musicians go, they're better today because he's there."
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine cited Asheton as the 29th greatest guitarist of all-time (the phonies - just shows what they know! Asheton could tear apart any piece of Clapton with a single chord). 2009 sees THE STOOGES short listed again for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
I need not say that the band's induction, with specific credence given to Ron Asheton, should not even be in doubt.
Ron is survived by his sister Kathy and his brother Scott 'Rock Action', who is THE STOOGES' drummer.

In Memoriam

Posted on November 3, 2008 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Frank Navetta
2008

On Friday 31 October, 2008 after becoming ill over the course of a few days, Frank Navetta, one of the founding members of legendary So. Cal Punk band, THE DESCENDENTS, passed away. As I write, no precise details of the man's passing are available.
Along with drummer Bill Stevenson and bassist Tony Lombardo, Navetta founded the Manhattan Beach-based band in 1978. It is reputed that Navetta gave the band its moniker. This trio recorded the band's first release - the 1979 released 7" 'Ride The Wild' (which, for the unacquainted collector, can be found on the CD release of 'Bonus Fat'). Soon after the release of the single, a vocalist, one Milo Aukerman, was recruited.
The rest is history...
In 1981, the 'Fat' EP was released followed the following year by what remains the definitive and quintessential DESCENDENTS album, the classic 'Milo Goes To College'. It's often stated that this was THE album that invented the Pop-Punk genre - although that title, even in hindsight, severly diminishes the album's power. It's a classic of the era - uncompromising yet melodic - a voice for every geek Punker ever since.
From memory Navetta played on the 'I Don't Want To Grow Up' album (my copy is back in the UK and all I can find via the web is that Navetta's replacement, Ray Cooper, plied the six-string duties).
In 2002, Navetta rejoined Tony Lombardo and Bill Stevenson for a kind of DESCENDENTS reunion at ALL's Stockage fest in Fort Collins, Colorado where the group played songs from the pre-Milo lineup including 'Ride The Wild' and 'It's A Hectic World'.
Navetta remained a member of the band for six years, eventually moving north to Oregon to become a full-time fisherman - indeed it was Navetta that penned the 'DENTS fishing-themed song, 'Mr. Bass' on 'The Fat EP'.
Little more is known as I write of the man's passing. Please feel free to post information as and when it appears.

Never Mind The Butter...

Posted on October 3, 2008 at 5:41 PM Comments comments (0)

...Here's the Country Life

Yeah - hard to believe huh? Once the 'Most Feared Man In Britain' has now become a TV ad star promoting Country Life Butter (see footage below).  Here's how The Guardian reported on it:

One-time punk pin-up and sometime anarchist John Lydon has mellowed further into middle age by starring in a £5m TV campaign for Country Life butter. The campaign marks the first time the 52-year-old has appeared in a TV commercial.
"People know I only do things that I want to or that I believe in and I have to do it my way," said Lydon on deciding to appear in the TV ad.
"I've never done anything like this before and never thought I would, but this Country Life ad was made for me and I couldn't resist the opportunity."
It seems a far cry from 1977, when the punk movement was riding a crest of popularity and Lydon and the Sex Pistols caused outrage by releasing God Save the Queen during the week of the Queen's silver jubilee.  The anti-royal song was a hit but outraged traditionalists, so much so that Lydon was reportedly attacked in the street.
The Country Life advert cashes in on Lydon's standing as a British icon, albeit of the nihilistic variety.
He is seen wearing a tweed suit and gallivanting around the countryside, suggesting reasons why he might prefer Country Life, before settling on the fact that the Dairy Crest-owned brand simply tastes better.
"It's not about Great Britain, it's about Great Butter," runs the slogan.
The ad, created by WPP agency Grey London, appears on ITV during the Pride of Britain Awards.
In recent years Lydon has led a quiet life, gaining attention in 2006 by competing in I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, in which he was pecked by a group of ostriches before remaining true to his anarchist roots by walking out before the final.
By appearing in the advert Lydon might be courting a new controversy. Dairy Crest has just announced that it is seeking job cuts and could close its Nottingham dairy.

Punk Fucking Rock hey John?  5 Million?? I wonder how those Dairy Crest employees feel about you, "Doing things that you want to do." Lydon really has become a caricature of Punk Rock - no wonder Punk today is but a marketing trend with so-called 'Icons' such as Johnny Rotten denigrates himself to such standards.
I guess there is a positive though - you see how great that toast looks?
Ever get the feeling you've been cheated (again)?

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Show Time!!

Posted on September 22, 2008 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (2)

FLAG DAY 2008
Featuring - NEWTOWN KINGS - RED FLAG 77 - TV SMITH - LONDON - WASHOUT

Steamboat Tavern, Ipswich, UK 30th August 2008

This is the only regular, annual Punk Festival in Ipswich and it revolves around the town's premier Punkers - RED FLAG 77. Besides the bands that play in the evening, there is a Pop/Punk quiz in the afternoon, lots of quality veggie food, raffles, lucky dips and the general air of fun, good times and choicest Punk Rock all housed in the most Punk-friendly boozer in Ippo. Can't go wrong...
...Except I did!! I missed WASHOUTS. I did make it for most of LONDON's set though. LONDON was an original '77 band but one that passed me by. The band's original incarnation included Jon Moss on drums who went onto play with the DAMNED and, ultimately, Culture Club (yep - with Boy George). I recall the band's version of 'Friday On My Mind' and the 'Summer Of Love' single, but beyond that my knowledge is sadly lacking. The band played a good set punctuated with lots of powerful guitars, adventurous songs and strong vocals. Sure, they looked like they had indulged in more after-show parties than Captain Sensible but the tunes were energetic, snappy and contained enough bite to warrant LONDON a place on any contemporary Punk Rock bill.
After LONDON, it was time to evacuate to the beer garden for an always-enjoyable, ever-reliable performance by what could be the most consistently impressive performer from the '77 era - former ADVERT, TV SMITH. It's debatable as to whether he has ever released a poor record be it in any of his bands or as a solo performer and, having seen the man live many times, I can never recall a show in which TV has failed to impressive and, even more importantly, has never given anything less than 100%. Here, in the beer garden with his trusty acoustic, the classic songs just flowed - 'One Chord Wonders', 'Tomahawk Cruise', 'The Lion And The Lamb', 'Generation Y', 'No Time To Be 21', 'Not In My Name' and a splattering of songs from the recent album 'In The Arms Of My Enemy'. For 'Runaway Train Driver' the ubiquitous Ippo conga-line formed, with ANTIDOTE's vocalist Huib acting as the engine, trailing the ever increasing conga around the pub and through the loos. Of course, afterward there was a stage invasion before TV got back to bashing out the classics. As ever, a great performance, great songs, spot on political commentary and great fun.
One of the best aspects of Flag Day is catching up with faces old and new. By the end of TV's set, the Guinness was kicking in, tongues were loosened and, as I stood back a little to savour some of the scenes before I headed back to New Zealand a mere three days later, I saw lots of smiles, lots of laughing and lots of friendly faces. There is also a sense of a Punk Community - something all too often lost at such events in today's sanitised Punk Rock world. There were stalls, zine sellers, literature - a genuine sense of sharing information and resources. Flag Day always has such a positive vibe about it - a testament to the guys of RF77.
As my Guinness had evaporated once more, I noticed the beer garden had emptied a little and RED FLAG 77 walking the boards of the stage back in the Steamboat. FLAG was down one member - guitarist Mickey Trenter was on his honeymoon - so main guitarist Kev had a stereo set-up and the band sounded tight, punchy and so fucking vital. All the usual favourites were there, delivered with flair and panache that few can match. Something that is special about RF77 is vocalist Rikki and his injection of humour and humility into proceedings. This was no exception with Rikki providing wiliness and presence throughout. Huib joined the band for a blast through UNDERTONES' classic 'Teenage Kicks', a CLASH cover closed the set and, once again, it was a case of "job done" for the FLAG.
The Guinness and incendiary performance of RF77 left me rather nonplussed at the Ska of headliners NEWTOWN KINGS. I've never been one to appreciate Ska - and this was no different. It was a very-SPECIALS influenced sound (including a cover of 'Monkey Man' played as the band's second song - maybe peaking too early I thought), the band looked good (especially the dreads of the keyboard and bass players), the crowd danced, skanked and enjoyed - but I bailed after about 7 songs. It's not for me - I wanted to hear something with a little more venom.
Looking back, I was thoroughly glad I made this FLAG DAY - one of the best I can remember in fact. Sure, the reason for me being in the UK at the time was quite overbearing, but this is quite an event and having been at the very first RF77 show some 15 or so years ago, it was a pleasure to go back to NZ with the likes of 'As I Fall' and 'Time Has Been Called' ringing in my ears.

Newtown Kings
Red Flag 77
TV Smith
London
Washouts

Show Time!

Posted on September 1, 2008 at 2:06 AM Comments comments (0)

ANTI-FLAG - CANCER BATS - BLACK LUNGS
Colchester Arts Centre, UK - Tuesday 19th August 2008

Of all the Punk bands that signed to a major label, few have faced such a furore as ANTI-FLAG did when the dollars of RCA were waved. The band's anti-capitalist, non-conformist message suddenly seemed a mockery. Yet, the band has retained its lyrical stance and political objective. Yes, I have been critical of the band with suggestions of 'Career Punks', but both albums the band has released on RCA have been outspoken and as angry as any the band has released. Furthermore, the Arts Centre in Colchester is far from a 'major-label' venue and, at this show, ANTI-FLAG worked with Atticus to help provide clothing for the Emmaus charity that aims to give the homeless a chance to rebuild their lives within the local community.
I only saw a couple of songs by BLACK LUNGS. They were OK, pretty tough sounding but in one ear and outta the other stuff - mainly because I hooked up with one Jack Flag, RED FLAG 77 roadcrew member and all round good guy who I had not seen in many years.
At the previous night's show in London, Canada's CANCER BATS never got to play for whatever reason. Lucky London!! From the outset, the band played garbled Metal bollocks that occasionally approached a PRONG style power but relied on way too many redundant Metal cliches that had me alternatively cringing, laughing and ultimately yawning. "COME ON COLCHESTER!!! I WANNA SEE ANY MOTHERFUCKERS WITH HAIR OVER THE COLLAR MOTHERFUCKING HEADBANGING!!!" yelled the singer at one stage. Then he screamed something about motherfuckers again, jumped in the crowd (a portion of which had obviously turned up to see these darlings of the Kerrang scene as they were wildly headbanging and moshing [that still the correct term?] throughout) and the band lurched into a sound akin to a cement mixer mating with a demon with a personality disorder. Absolutely terrible - did I mention the word of choice for the 'vocalist' was motherfucker? I'm actually surprised I could understand what he was saying considering the vocals resembled a mountain gorilla with its nuts dangling in an acid bath.
And so ANTI-FLAG. After the sound of feaces being forcibly expelled through a hairy headbanger's arsehole that was CANCER BATS, anything would have been an improvement. Kicking in with 'War Sucks, Let's Party', AF made its intentions clear and never let up - well, except when vocalist/guitarist Justin Sane's amp blew. It was a solid set, much of it obviously stemming from the recent 'Bright Lights Of America' album. Unfortunately, from memory, the entire 'A New Kind Of Army' album was ignored. Standouts included 'Underground Network', 'Emigre', a cracking 'Culture Revolution', the obligatory sing-a-long that is 'Die For The Government' and, surprisingly, set highlight 'Hymn For The Dead'. A cover of 'I Fought The Law' added some fun while additional percussion from bassist/ vocalist Chris #2 and others added to the dynamic of the show itself.
A guy from Emmaus got on stage to speak about their work also. Amidst so many say-nothing bands, it was good to hear some commentary from an organisation outside of the band. Both Justin and Chris #2 were in fine outspoken form about many ills of society also. Additionally, there was free literature available from the likes of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Does anyone else remember when literature (be it zines or free info) was readily available at shows? In this day and age where so-called Punk Bands play in-stores at fucking Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets, it was great to see material freely available that did not promote the band per se, but causes the band believe in and which kick AGAINST something. I'm not too sure how much of the socio-political message was taken on by the crowd, but the clarity of AF's manifesto did not make the message incoherent.
The houselights went up and, rather than go backstage and consume any meticulously requested rider, the band hopped down off the stage and mingled just as bands SHOULD do. I left impressed and AF had regained a great deal of some much-lost dignity.

In Memoriam

Posted on August 30, 2008 at 3:14 AM Comments comments (0)

Steve Foley
1959- 2008

During the weekend of 23 August 2008, Steve Foley, drummer for the Minneapolis band THE REPLACEMENTS during its final year (1990-91), died from an apparent accidental drug overdose of prescription medication. He was found at his Minneapolis home by some co-workers on Monday 25 August when he did not show up for his job as a car salesman. He was aged 49.
Although he had only been in THE 'MATS for one year, he valued the experience, telling biographer Jim Walsh, "It will always be a treasure in my mind." He toured with the band until its final show on 4 July 1991 at Chicago's Grant Park. Foley had been sober for 15 years following the whirlwind of being a REPLACEMENT, but struggled with anxiety and depression in recent years.
After THE 'MATS, Foley and his brother, Kevin, joined 'MATS bassist Tommy Stinson in his band BASH & POP, which released the 1993 album, 'Friday Night Is Killing Me', on Sire/Reprise Records.
Prior to joining Stinson and frontman Paul Westerberg in THE 'MATS after original drummer Chris Mars bowed out, Foley performed with local rock stalwart Curtiss A for a decade. Some of the other Twin Cities bands he drummed with include Wheelo, Snaps, Bang Zoom, Trailer Trash, Things That Fall Down and the Suprees.
Foley grew up in the Hopkins area of Minneapolis with a tight-knit crew of six siblings, all of whom were music nuts, his sister said. His late father "grouched" about Steve wanting to play the drums professionally until the day he played with THE 'MATS at the Orpheum Theatre.
"Dad couldn't have been happier, and neither could Steve," Colleen said.

In Memoriam

Posted on August 22, 2008 at 2:22 AM Comments comments (0)

Ronnie Drew
1934 - 2008

On 16 August 2008, Ronnie Drew - vocalist, guitarist and founder of Irish Folk band THE DUBLINERS - passed away peacefully at Dublin's St. Vincent's Private Hospital, aged 73, after a lengthy battle with Cancer.
His connection with Punk is tenuous, but the premise behind THE DUBLINERS echoed a certain Punk attitude. Instead of the Clancy Brothers' bouncy melodies and neat sweaters, THE DUBLINERS - lead by Drew's vocal that has been described as sounding like coal being crushed under a door and/or a bullfrog with a hangover - grew out of Guinness-soaked backroom sessions at O'Donoghue's Pub in their namesake city.
THE DUBLINERS formed out of the remnants of the Ronnie Drew Group in 1962. On St Patrick's Day 1967, the band released 'Seven Drunken Nights' with Ronnie singing. Although it was banned by Irish authorities, the pirate station Radio Caroline gave the song airtime leading to sales of 40,000 copies and Drew's first appearance on BBC's Top of the Pops. With an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in the States, the group was established on the international stage.
In 2006 Ronnie recalled, "We had a party which started in 1962 and ended about 1970! A lot of drinking went on, a bit too much at times but in fairness, we managed somehow to keep it kind of even keel." He left THE DUBLINERS in 1974 and released two solo albums before rejoining the group in 1979.
After the end of the band in 1995, he pursued his solo career again and became a frequent collaborator. Among those he recorded with was THE POGUES on a cracking version of 'Irish Rover' recorded for THE DUBLINERS' 25th Anniversary becoming the band's first Top 10 hit. Drew recently recorded with Boston Punks the DROPKICK MURPHYS, lending his snarling baritone to 'Flannigan's Ball' from the band's 'The Meanest of Times' CD.
In 2006, Drew underwent treatment for throat cancer. He suffered a further blow when his wife Deirdre died after a short battle with cancer in June 2007. He is survived by his two children, Cliona and Phelim.
In January 2008 surviving members of THE DUBLINERS along with members of U2, Sinead O'Connor, Bob Geldof, CHRISTY MOORE and SHANE MacGOWAN wrote and recorded 'The Ballad of Ronnie Drew'. The song, which paid tribute to Drew's influence on Irish music and culture, topped the Irish singles charts and proceeds benefited the Irish Cancer Society.
"Build you a statue on St. Stephen's Green, no fairer monument ere to be seen," went the lyrics, "the statue of Ronnie Drew holding the hand of a girl with her hair in a black velvet band."

Show Time!

Posted on August 10, 2008 at 2:47 AM Comments comments (0)

EVAN DANDO
Colchester Arts Centre, UK - 2nd August 2008


One of the most enjoyable aspects of gig going in the UK is the ready availability of good Guinness. The pub we visited before heading to the venue - The Hole In The Wall I think it was - was no exception. The decidedly choice quality of the Guinness, and some even better conversation, prevented us seeing the start of the fella who opened the event. He was dreary to the point of sobriety, mumbled what few words were said and had the general personality of a postage stamp. I heard hints of Al Stewart in what he did - that's to say contemporary folk stylings. The extra Guinness in the pub was certainly the highlight of Mr. Jejune's set.
Is it really SIXTEEN years since THE LEMONHEADS released 'It's A Shame About Ray' and - even more scarily - TWENTY since 'Lick'? Making matters worse, Dando himself is still a good looking dude who no doubt has many millions of gurls swooning over him - not that I am jealous... the bastard.
He doesn't sound much different either - his voice still embodies that blissed out slacker rock sound coupled with an unerring sense of melody and melancholy.
His set kicked of with virtually the entire 'It's A Shame About Ray' album - dunno if he was trying to plug the stella re-issue of the album that Rhino Recs has released (if so, maybe he should have mentioned it?) - and probably to the detriment of the show. 'Confetti' and 'My Drug Buddy' were particularly effective in this format which was not acoustic as such as Dando played his faithful Gibson SG (occasionally with a bit of distortion too) throughout the show. From the '...Ray' blitz we got selected moments from various other LEMONHEADS albums with the most memorable moments being 'Half The Time' from 'Lovey', a stella 'A Circle Of One' from 'Lick' (I kinda recall 'Mallo Cap' getting an airing too - but the Guinness made me a little hazy come the end) and an upbeat take on the single 'Into Your Arms'.
As great as the '...Ray' stuff was, Dando had played most of his trump cards way too early and for the final 30 minutes of his set he just seemed to drone on in the same monotone style that we had already heard - but minus the quality. He himself said very little between songs and what was said was the archetypal slacker mumble. There was some kinda bizarre spoken reference to, "old Punk bands ADVERTS, USERS and RUTS". May be he was trying to appear 'cool' to the amassed Indie throng - but let's be honest - mentioning the RUTS is not being overly elitist or eclectic!
Eventually Dando wandered off with an apathy that mirrored the previous 30 minutes of sounds, the house lights came on and off we headed home pretty much nonplussed by Dando's attempt to be Paul Westerberg-lite. Post-show conversation revealed that the previous night's show in Norwich was not as good as this was - shit - was that the yearly Insomniac's outing??


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