Tag Archives: rock

A movie-themed Christmas party

I know the lads who play in the BibleCode Sundays, a really good Celtic rock band from west London. They are a great band and don’t get the recognition they deserve in terms of album sales, but if you go and see them in a pub you will be blown away – and will almost certainly come away as a convert, seeking out their stuff online.

Andy Nolan plays accordian in the band and he has recently written a movie called ‘Clan London’ based on gangland London, particularly in the Irish community. I haven’t read the script, but from what I can see of Andy’s comments online it looks like West Side Story with more violence, more Guinness, and with a bit of Goodfella’s chucked in for good measure.

Andy is already casting the movie and he has a director ready to work on the project, but he is still working on more funding and distribution for the project, so he has organised a big party in Hendon, north London, on Dec 11th.

Guests include Noel ‘Razor’ Smith, world-champion boxer Steve Collins, the director of the film, Stephen Patrick Kenny, and there will be a DJ slot by Tony Lundon of Liberty X. The BibleCode Sundays are going to play a live set as well so it looks like it will be a really good evening, and should focus a bit of attention on the forthcoming movie – both Steve Collins and Razor have agreed to take parts in the film!

The party takes place at the Claddagh Ring in Hendon. Details are all online here. I’m going to be there. Let me know if you plan on coming too!

Drums

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Live Aid is 25 today

Do you remember July 13, 1985?

Live Aid was the biggest concert of the time. A massive gig at Wembley stadium in London, mirrored in Philadelphia in the USA, and using satellite technology for broadcasters to jump between the gigs – amazing technology back then.

I was only a kid, but I remember watching most of the concert on TV. I remember it seemed quite chaotic, roadies and technicians all over the stage trying to keep the show going as mics failed or cables were pulled out of where they should be plugged in.

I remember being impressed that Phil Collins could play a gig in London and then fly on Concorde to the USA, to play another gig on the same day with Led Zeppelin – though that has gone down in history as one of their worst shows ever and I don’t think it’s featured on any of the official films of the event. Jet lag… or they just didn’t rehearse together much…

Status Quo seemed like the perfect opening act, three-cord rock. u2 became the global act they still are because of that day, and Queen revived a flagging career and were popular again until the premature death of Freddie Mercury, because they blew away all the other acts by involving every single fan in their act.

This gig was also special as it created the era of the charity concert. Now there is charity fatigue as rock concerts seem to be staged for all manner of good causes, but this one started the ball rolling.

Is it OK to throw bottles at artists?

In today’s edition of The Sun, Jane Moore argues that Morrissey was wrong to walk out of his concert in Liverpool last weekend. He had started the gig and was on to the second song when a bottle, thrown by an audience member, hit him in the face.

Morrissey walked off and never came back to complete the concert.

Moore claims that ‘in her day’ the Sex Pistols actively encouraged missiles, and when she once saw The Damned you could see saliva dripping from the face of Dave Vanian – and it was not his own saliva. Clearly Moore is a punk aficionado and believes that the artist should accept whatever the audience (literally) throws at them. She claims Morrissey protests too much.

But is it really acceptable anymore for an audience to behave like this?

Back in the days that Jane Moore talks about, Joe Strummer ended up with hepatitis after a fan gobbed in his face. Is that really the kind of concert atmosphere we should look on with rose-tinted glasses?

I remember once seeing Buzzcocks and witnessing a beer can narrowly missing the face of singer Pete Shelley. He stopped playing for a moment and asked everyone in the crowd who was thinking about throwing something at the band to ‘do it now so we get it over with’… hundreds, maybe thousands, of missiles suddenly rained upon the stage. Then the gig carried on… and there were no more beer cans lobbed at the band.

Because, in practical and rather obvious terms, it’s dangerous. The artist is usually facing lights and can’t see missiles as they approach. The crowd has an unfair advantage in targeting a singer on stage half-blinded by a number of spotlights. Most venues these days prevent glass from being brought inside or purchased, but a plastic beer bottle that’s mostly full weighs about half a kilo. Try getting someone to throw a half kilo weight at your face and see if it’s a laughing matter.

Add to that the fact that a concert stage is jammed full of electrical equipment and wires. It’s no fun for the roadies and engineers to try breaking up the show when all their equipment is covered in beer, water, and whatever else… and it may even be positively shocking. For a band lower down the food chain than Morrissey, that may be the only amplifier they can afford and to have someone chucking a pint of lager on it could be a financial disaster that messes up their next gig.

I understand Jane Moore’s sentiment, but I don’t think she has really thought it through. Or maybe she is commenting as someone who used to attend concerts and has not been to a gig in decades, so it would never affect her anyway.

Oasis RIP

So, on Friday, Noel Gallagher posted this message on his blog:

“It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.

Apologies to all the people who bought tickets for the shows in Paris, Konstanz and Milan.”

And now, Liam has taken off on holiday – along with Andy from the band. The newspapers see it as the genuine end of Oasis, a journey that started 16 years ago up in the north-west of England. Some commentators with connections to the band have suggested that the brothers have always had a fractious relationship, and this will be no different, but from the direct approach Noel has taken, and after listening to Noel a lot on the radio over the past couple of years talking about his work, I suspect this really is the end of the road for the band.

In much the same way as the rivalry of The Beatles and Rolling Stones created a musical dynamic for the 1960s, the interplay between rough working-class Northerners Oasis and university-educated Southerners Blur formed the bedrock for an entire music and art movement in the early 1990s – Britpop. The emergence of these bands, along with others such as Suede and Pulp, all at the same time created an enormous creative scene in the UK and I remember that even just as a fan, it felt as if the eyes of the world were all trained on what music would come from Britain next.

The impact of Oasis on rock and pop music cannot be understated. Yes, they themselves were heavily influenced by the writing partnership of Lennon and McCartney, but their first couple of albums helped to defined British music in the 1990s. Their third album in 1997, went on to be the fastest-selling album in British chart history, but it proved to be the beginning of a long fallow patch. In my own view, their output from 1997 to 2002 was ruined by the excess of too many Champagne Supernovae… and good old Charlie.

Many fans gave up on them – remembering them only for their Britpop classics, but once they settled into the new decade with a new line-up that focused on the two Gallagher brothers plus Gem Archer and Andy Bell, they created a new unit with shared writing responsibilities – though Noel always remained captain of the ship. From 2002 onwards, their output started becoming stronger and stronger – proving that as they matured, they could also improve.

Now, it seems Liam has not been able to apply himself to the life of a professional musician even after all this time – preferring the hotel-burning life of a rock star and model – thanks partly to his new clothing line. It’s a shame it had to come to this when they were creatively working so well together.

Noel will do well as a solo artist though. He is still writing well and he can focus more on the music itself if he can shed the concern that Liam will smash up his guitars at every gig.

Oasis in Coventry

I went to Coventry last night to see Oasis at the Ricoh Arena.

It was actually all thanks to the people at Ricoh, who had invited me to see the show and have a chat with them over dinner at the stadium. They had a very nice box where we could talk before the show started.

The traffic between London and Coventry was terrible. I was stuck on the M1 for ages, and the weather was atrocious during the journey. When I arrived I heard support band ‘The Enemy’ playing the last couple of songs of their set and fortunately by this time the sun had returned. I really like The Enemy, so it was a shame to miss their set… another time I guess.

Liam Gallagher looked very cool in his mod parka – he never took if off through the entire evening. Noel was on top form, the usual scrunched face, but when he is sober (as he usually is these days) he is an impressive guitarist. Since Gem and Andy arrived about 10 years ago Oasis have matured a lot. They share song-writing duties far more than in the early days and they are now a really impressive live act. I saw them back in the early days a few times and I never rated them as a live act. Throwing stuff at the crowd and swearing doesn’t count as entertainment, but now they are a class rock act and entering their 40s with a strong live following – able to sell out Wembley stadium this week 3 nights running. That’s 270,000 fans watching the band in London in one weekend.

They might not be shifting albums like they used to, but we are in a new era for music now. Bands with this kind of live following are going to keep going for years.