Saturday, January 30, 2016

BluesClub- Eel Pie Club, Twickenham, UK 1/28/16

This was the first concert of the year for Sue and me. I had always wanted to go to a show at the Eel Pie club, a quite famous rhythm and blues place from the 60s in Twickenham, UK. They only do shows at this place every other Thursday. We arrived about 25mins before they start the show at 21 and got a beer. No real English beers at all on tap or in the fridge, a shame.

The Blues Club is made up of a lot of local guys including the drummer and keyboard player from Dire Straits (Guy Fletcher and Danny Cummings), William Topley (The Blessing) on vocals, Robbie McIntosh (Pretenders, Paul McCartney) on guitar, Peter Hope-Evans (Pete Townshend) on harmonicas and jews harp.  Alan Rogan played the bass.

The place was about 60% full and pretty packed around the upper floor of the bar. There were some young kids that were totally into it but overall it was an over 60 crowd!! The band played two sets of about an hour each, mixing blues classics with a few originals. The first set was mostly all short tracks 3-4mins long and not a lot of smiling and joking around but the 2nd set opened up with a Canned Heat track and that got the place really going and they had a lot more fun with this set and did a lot more solos on all the instruments. Guy also played a lot of lap steel and fewer keyboards. Peter was very dominant on the harmonica though, sometimes too much. Just one song with out massive harmonica for every moment would have been nice.  Great version of the classic song called 44..  It was a fun night and a few local stars showed up like Pete French (Leafhound) and Mick Avery (The Kinks) as well. Fun night… All pictures by Jennifer Noble. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pothead-Huxley’s, Berlin Jan 15-16th, 2015

 It has been 5 years since Sue and I came to stay with my friend Silvana to see Pothead and interview the band. Berlin is usually quite cold in January so Sue decided not to come this time. Sure enough it is -2C and some snow on the ground. The Friday show is not sold out but the Saturday show is.  The band released the Jackpot album since the last time we saw them and Pottersville as well. I guess they will play some new songs and probably different sets each night. We will see.

Silvana and I arrived about 10mins before the show was to begin. She saw some of her friends and I ran into Helmut (Berlin Record Dealer). I had a foto pass so I could take some pictures during the first 3 songs. They were actually not caring so I could take anytime I wanted but I took mainly only shot from the first 3 songs. The stage was pretty cool and they had a few movies now and then. This was the first time for me to see them with the new drummer Robert. The band was all dressed in matching shiny suits. Brad’s was a bit too baggy and he looked like Andy Warhol in Charlie Chaplin pants with a Les Paul! It was a new fresh set from 5 years ago including some songs from the latest record, Jackpot and quite a few from Pottersville  as well but they went through the classics like Funkenbus, Henry and Mabel, I’m a Sinner (Which causes the lady next to me to cry), Black War, Chess, Indian Song, etc..  I just love this band. Great grooves, great songs… they were clearly having a really good time even though Jeff and Brad keep their distance, only crossing the front of the drum riser a few times. Biggest smiles were the small mistakes.. I think they played about 2hrs. The place was ¾ full. The show tomorrow night is sold out.

Approx. Set List (I have the list and it has 39 tracks but I know for sure they did not play all these in this order)

Trouble With Pothead Intro, Burnin’ Blue, Rock Child, Stand. Stadium, Satisfied, Wild Weed, Tacoma. Fire, New Chapter, C’Mon, Constantinople, Chess, James, Rock On, Allison, I’m a Sinner too, Bombay, Funkenbus, Emotion of the Potion, Toxic Fluid, Remember, You should Try that, Black War, Rock Satellite, Frame in your Mind, Could not Deal, Tiagiato, Henry and Mabel, Indian Song

We hung out for a while and had a backstage pass to meet the band. There was about 25 people crammed into a small room and a lot of smoking. I could not hang out in there so stood in the hall way with the security guy waiting for them to come out. Siggi (their Manager) told me Jeff was in the hall so I went out and chatted with him after he finished talking with some fans.  We eventually got to the real backstage and I met Brad. We had a great time talking and he was in a super political mood, so we talked a lot about the USA and the election, etc..  At the end of the night we made a personal bet for 1€ to meet next year at this time to see who was right about the next president!   It was about 2:30 when Silvana and I left. She had hung out a lot with Markus and his girlfriend. Markus, played drums with Pothead many many years ago and has been a long term friend of the band.  It was a great night..
Show 2

Jeff Dope
            We arrived just into the concert and it was snowing a lot outside. The place was really full and much warmer than the night before. Brad and the guys looked the same and his voice was really great tonight.  The band played the same concert as the night before as far as I could tell except instead of ending with Indian Song, they came out and played two extra songs after Indian Song. Y Road was maybe one of them.  Anyway, we hung out and they were playing great classic rock through the PA, Stones, AC/DC, Golden Earring, ZZTop so there was still a party going on. I noticed Jeff just people watching from near the stage but behind the barrier so I went and chatted with him and then the owner of the Niagara bar, an old friend of the band (and Silvana also knows here well) came over. We talked about their new suits, etc..  Eventually we ended up at the backstage party, which seemed like fewer people on this night. I was able to get Brad to myself for about and hour and then Jeff came in and Robert the drummer) and then it was the whole band plus Silvana and Yvvone (?). Robert left pretty soon after, perhaps he could not follow the stoned conversation or did not find it very interesting. It was so fun to talk to these guys about the early history of the band (I want to write a book on them), their new studio, the band stating to do jam records,  the USA, marijuana, politics, religion.. Brad is quite well read but he also makes a lot of stuff up that is really far out, just to fuck with you (I hope)… a crazy storyteller….. what a blast.. We left at 3:30 in the morning…  So great to see the guys. Special thanks to Siggi their hard working manager. See you again next year... 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Top Albums for 2015

According to my list I have 141 releases from 2015 that I have on LP, CD, CD-R, or tape. I did not count 7” records. So I tried to pick 20 that I heard a lot of times of really got into a lot. They are not really in order from one to 20. Just a great list..

Fribytterdrømme- Labyrinths Farve (Tabu Records)
For me this was my favorite album from Denmark in 2015. A brilliant psychedelic rock album all sung in Danish.. Just great songs, nice laid back psychedelic vibe at times and other times more hard rocking and psyched out. The 12” they released later this year has one long Pink Floyd inspired track, which is also great… You can hear it below.

Black Space Riders- Refugeeum (Self Released)
This is the 3rd double LP I own by these German rockers and for sure my favorite. The band has just come up with a great set of psychedelic hard rock/metal classics. The title track is amazing. Reminds me of SEID sometimes.

Black Moon Circle- The Studio Jams Vol 1 (Space Rock Productions/Crispin’ Glover)
I played on this record so I knew what to expect but the sound on the vinyl was just so massive and we all played fucking great on these jams. This stuff still sounds so huge and inspired when I hear it.. Great record. Heavy psychedelic space blues!!

Blackberry Smoke- Holding all the Roses (Nuclear Blast)
Although the band is becoming more and more mainstream pop-country, I still love the songs that Charlie writes and this album just has some amazing songs like Woman in the Moon and Rock and Roll Again. I am hooked!

Motorhead- Bad Magic (UDR Music)
I have to say that I did not have very high expectations for this record but if you crank this one up loud, I have to say it blew me away. Lemmy’s voice is not so strong but Phil Campbell is the shit on this record. He just rips it up and has some totally killer guitar riffs… Micky Dee is Micky Dee and pounds the shit out of the kit.. Powerful stuff..

Datura4- Demon Blues (Alive Records)
This new Australian act on the Alive Records Label, is for sure on the best blues rock records of the year. Fantastic album. I really loved this one and it has some many killer songs. Reminds me a lot of Buffalo, their fellow countryman from the 70s, Grand Funk, Golden Grass….

Wo Fat- Live Juju (Fuzz Lab Records)
I was at this Wo Fat show live at Freak Valley and the band were great even though Kent’s voice was fucked. On this record they mix the vocal pretty low and the focus is on the great playing by the band! Let it Rip!

Seromonia- Kristalliarkki (Svart Records)
I have been following this band from Finland since the start and I was totally surprised how I got sucked into the great songs on this record. I can’t understand anything they sing (they have the lyrics in English this time!) but the strange psychedelic freak rock just speaks to me. Love this one.

Samal- Myrskyvarotus (Svart Records)Here is another record where I have no idea what they sing about but I just get hooked on the music. Their record II was amazing but I also love this one. Just amazing groove, singing and songs that take me back to the prog of the early 70s..

Pyramidal/Domo-Jams from the Sun (Lay Bare Records)
Two bands that I saw at Roadburn this year and both were great. This is a fantastic split album of new pretty jammed out stuff. Both bands deliver great sides of music of mostly instrumental spacey psychedelic rock music!

Black Rainbows- Hawkdope (Heavy Psych Sound Records)
The last Black rainbows record was amazing. I had high expectations for a record called Hawkdope and the band did not disappoint. The title track is amazing. I still wish they would stop trying to sound so much like Fu Manchu as they have so many great elements of their own to explore. Some of the tracks like Hawkdope and the Cosmic Picker are amazing.

Papir- Live at Roadburn (El Paraiso Records)
What can I say? This Danish group is amazing live and really inspiring to hear and watch. Nicklas is an amazing guitar player and when the band is having a great night, they are mind blowing. They had several great nights and these are the bands favorites. Awesome record.

Elder- Lore (Stickman Records)
US based Elder are back with another record. This is a band that just keep getting better and better. They have some elements that remind me of Motorpsycho on this great double vinyl. Great songs, great playing and awesome guitar parts.

White Hills- Walks for Motorists (Thrill Jocky)
I know there were a lot of people that were put off a bit by this record but here is a band that is doing their own thing and not just making the same record over and over again.  Their last one was my favorite studio album the band had made but I love the unique flavor of this one as well.

Øresund Space Collective- Different Creatures (Space Rock Productions)
Yes.. this is my own band but I am super proud of this double CD, triple vinyl LP. The music we made with members of Siena Root (ex), My brother the Wind, Tangle Edge, Agusa, Camper Van Beethoven… so inspired.. Check it out…

Domovoyd- Domovoyage (Svart)
Yet… Another fantastic and intense band from Finland. This one won me over not only with the trip voyage you get from hearing the entire record but for the amazing artwork and booklet that a lot of time and effort and thought was put into.. Intense trip.. probably the heaviest record on my list.

Nate Hall- Fear of Falling tape
This has come out on CD/LP by now but I got the original tape and have played this one many times. It is a lot like Nate’s work with US Christmas, much more than is solo album. Just dig his stuff.. Very real and personal and dark.

Gov’t Mule- Dark Side of the Mule
This was an amazing package of 2CDs and one live DVD of Gov’t Mule doing their take on Pink Floyd songs. Just fucking great… I have the Stoned side of the Mule (All Rolling Stones songs), The Dub side of the Mule as well but this one was the best. They also released Sco Mule but it was too much of the keyboard player Dr. Dan and not enough guitars for me.

Ozric Tentacles- Technicians of the Sacred
It has been some years since the Ozrics were back with a new album and this one takes the band even further into electronic music and further away from rock music but I think it is pretty brilliant. Sure, I wish they would strip it back down but they are doing a great job in their evolution and still making great music that is very multilayered and psychedelic.

Janne Westerlund- Marshland
Janne is best know as the guitarist in Circle and Plain Ride but I like this solo records as much as anything he does in the other bands. He just writes brilliant songs. The music is so stripped down, hobo guitar ballads for the lost souls of the world. Another great record..

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Taylor’s Universe- Across the Universe (Marvel of Beauty MOB026)

Robin Taylor’s group called Taylor’s Universe is back with a compilation of recent tracks from his last 2009-2015. They have been rearranged, partly re-recorded, remixed and remastered.  It is mostly the same cast of musicians as on most of the recent records with the noted addition of guitarist/synthesizer player Frank Cavalho (from the group Etcetera!) on 3 tracks. The CD starts off with Salon Bleu. This is one of three tracks from the Kind of Red 2012 record, including Firestone, the 2nd track. The sound production is very clear and modern and all members saxophone (Jacob Mygind), minimoog (Thomas Thor), guitar (John Sund) all take nice solos. Klaus Thrane is playing the drums on all tracks. Firestone has a particularily nice guitar solo by John and nice organ by Robin as well. Days Run like Horses and Fame is next and is reworked from the original 2009 recording called Artificial Joy. Days run like Horses features some very nice synthesizer playing at the beginning before the sax kicks in.  Fame is the first to feature Frank on guitar (right channel) and John (left channel). There is some really crazy synth stuff at the end of this track. Tortugas, reworked from the Kind of Red record starts with some really nice synth work . Robin plays all the instruments except the drums and minimoog. Mooncake and Haunted Yellow house are from the Return to Whatever CD sessions also from 2009 and again feature Frank on the guitar on Haunted Yellow House and some minimoog on Mooncake which closes out this CD. If you are a fan of Robin’s more recent works, then you will probably enjoy this quite a lot.  Great instrumental prog rock jazz stuff played by excellent musicians.