Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Bermondsey Joyriders at the 100 Club on New Years Day

Gary Lammin and his Bermondsey Joyriders join the Vibrators, Johnny Throttle and Spizz at the 100 Club to pay homage to The Roxy.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Gig frenzy in the run-up to Christmas

The run-up to Christmas often presages a fall-off in the number of gigs, even in a town this big. This year however it looks crazy and I reckon I’m going to chalk up at least another six before the ‘big day’ and that’s without thinking about the Folks’ Xmas Party tomorrow with James Hunter.

One of the best shows of last year was The War On Drugs at The Windmill; it was actually a double-header with the Bowerbirds but we were delayed so long that we missed them. It was one of those packed-out Windmill shows and luckily Tim Perry let me stand behind the DJ booth on the grounds that it had been my birthday the day before. Their singer also performs as Kurt Vile And The Violators, has an album out on Matador, and is at The Lexington on Tuesday. In support are the wondrous Wolf People who’ve signed to Jagjaguwar and have Tidings, an album of (relatively) historic recordings, released in February.

Wednesday sees the End Of The Road Xmas bash at Cargo. End Of The Road is just the best festival going; great size, great site, great booking policy. I’ve been three times, and we already have our tickets for next year. One of the surprises of the festival, because a late addition, was Josh T Pearson. As the mainman of Lift To Experience he was responsible for one of the best, though already neglected, albums of the last decade; The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads. This should be a splendid bash and a damn good gig.

Danny And The Champs nights are not to missed. Aside from never knowing what you’re going to get from Mr Wilson or who’s going to play with him, you always get good undercards. Last month there was Ben Thomas, this time there’s The Moon Music Orchestra, and new Loose stablemates and sometime Champs Trevor Moss And Hannah Lou whose forthcoming album he produced.

Saturday is What’s Cookin’ and I’m not supposed to say who’s playing but they did make a ‘staggering, blistering, primal, screaming rock’n’roll record...just louder than the rest and better than the rest. A mighty garage rock attack coruscating in its dragging-up-from-the-roots frenzy. Basic in both brevity and lo-fi simplicity; not to mention the sheer noise’. How many bands like that are there around, let alone in London?

Sunday’s a day off and then Monday and Tuseday are McNiff nights, and from his mailout:

Two very special gigs with the guys from Modena City Ramblers, coming all the way from Italy ( the clue's in the title! )

21st Dec @12 bar club, Denmark street, LONDON WC2 8.00pm til 11.00pm £6

I'll do a solo set as well as with the Ramblers ( we call ourselves
Narrow Men ) Also we're very lucky to have DAN RAZA and TRAILHEAD, alt
country from Berlin Uk debut, plus EMIT BLOCH, if i can track him down in

The following night, 22nd, we'll be at Filthy MacNasty's Whisky Cafe ( 68
amwell street, Kings Cross/Angel where we'll be joined by ALAN TYLER and ANDY HANK DOG. Starts at 7.30pm

Come to both - look forward to seeing you.

Trent Miller was going to be playing at Filthy’s but now he’s flying to Italy on the 21st so he won’t be around.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Green Pajamas and boatclub weekend shows

Give me money I want to go to these gigs. Matt Piucci's new band boatclub and The Green Pajamas - except the Manzanita show which is just boatclub:

4 Dec 2009 21:00 Kelly’s Olympian, Portland, Oregon
5 Dec 2009 13:00 Music Millenium, Portland, Oregon (In Store)
5 Dec 2009 21:00 Lo Fi Performance Gallery, Seattle, Washington
6 Dec 2009 20:00 San Dune Pub, Manzanita, Oregon

Nikki Sudden in Holborn Library

Now this is a very strange thing. As some of you will know I spend a lot more time than is healthy in Holborn Library. An establishment standing as a classic example of the destruction wrought over the last thirty years by central and local government on the once-admirable British public library. And as such you can often find very interesting books being given the heave-ho.

Yesterday morning I walked in to find a near-perfect hardback copy of Stanley Booth's Rythm Oil on the booksale. I remarked on this to the librarian who'd put it there and grabbed it. I have a very nice copy already that Mike Hart got for me from his brother a decade or so ago but I had no doubt that I'd find a deserving home for this one.

Later in the day the same lady approached me with a copy of Mystery Train - an 1977 paperback in hardback library binding - a bit mottled as it had been there for thirty years. I wasn't initially so interested as I have a couple of copies of later editions and it's always in print, but I did flick through it to remind myself as to how different the original discography was. That was when I noticed the handwriting on the back endpapers.

Someone had transcribed the opening verse of 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix' and looking down it was Nikki Sudden, in Cologne, on the 11th November 1986. It's definitely Nikki's handwriting, and one would surmise it's a goodbye note to someone he'd met on tour and maybe left sleeping.

Curiously, judging by the date label, the book was only loaned from Holborn a few days before the 11th but then saw no further activity till early 1988. How it got back from Germany is a little mystery. But if I was guessing how it got there I would start by remarking that Holborn Library is very close to the old Creation office at 83 Clerkenwell Road and that Nikki was seldom without a book; I believe he was actually reading at a kitchen table when he died. So perhaps Nikki used the Creation address to join Holborn, borrowed Mystery Train, had read it by the time he got to Cologne, and thus left it as a valediction for his brief encounter.

That may be far off the mark, but it's a nice idea. Of poignancy to me personally is that on the 10th January 2006 Nikki, Bleddyn Butcher, and myself spent several hours together in The Apple Tree in Mount Pleasant, again very close to Holborn, doing the photos to accompany Phil Shoenfelt's interview with him that appeared in BoB 69. It was a very pleasant day and we talked around all sorts of things after the pictures were done. And it turned out to be the last time I ever saw him - so it seems to me a sign of some grace that a trace of him should now turn up again, unlooked for but where he might be expected, in that same location.

Kid Congo Powers at the 100 Club

Sunday night was down to the 100 Club to see Kid Congo And The Pink Monkey Birds. There was a touch of nostalgia involved - I'd used to run into Kid in the 80s in Gun Club and Bad Seeds days and I seem to recall us going to a Leonard Cohen show together. But I'd also heard the 2005 record Philosophy And Underwear and I'd read an excellent report of the Glasgow show.

It was a Dirty Water night with an undercard of The Crushers and King Salami and there was a fair old crowd with many familiar faces, and we all proceeded to have a jolly time. Kid and his band dress in mariachi suits and exude an appropriately sleazy glamour. The set kicked off with a definite tropical sway which didn't entirely transmit to the crowd; someone suggested to me the drums were plodding whereas it was more a case of an excellent rock drummer (Ron Miller) playing a little against his instincts.

For me pretty soon it was pretty good stuff. I'm intrigued to snag the new In The Red album Dracula Boots from which we heard songs like 'Hitchhiking'. There was a new song - possibly called 'My Other Life' and about Hollywood 1978 - to feature on one of series of five 7" singles projected for next year. Then a tribute to Lux Interior followed by 'I'm Cramped' and 'For The Love Of Ivy' along with a touch of 'Mother Earth'.

An excellent night and if you're in Europe plenty of time to catch the show as they're around till 20th December.

12.1 Stay Sick Club Brighton, UK
12.2 L'Alcatraz Roubaix, FR
12.3 L'Autre Club Nancy, FR
12.4 Queen Kong Neuchatel, FR
12.5 Hazelwood Studios Frankfurt, DE
12.6 Passenger Zu Zinc Besancon, FR
12.7 Deep Inside Dijon, FR
12.9 Le Chabada Angers, FR
12.10 LA2 (Primavera club fest) Barcelona, ES
12.11 Barreiro Rocks Festival Lisbon, PT
12.12 Wurlitzer Ballroom (Primavera Club fest) Madrid, ES
12.13 Le Rendemains qui chantent Tulle, FR
12.15 La Boule Noire Paris, FR
12.16 UBU Rennes, FR
12.17 L'Abordage Evreux, FR
12.18 La Nef Angouleme, FR
12.19 La TAF Montpellier, FR
12.20 Electric Christmas Gigors, FR