Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Matus- Espejismos II (EI 047)

Matus is an off shoot of the original Don Juan Matus from Peru that released some really cool rocking records some years back. This release (on CD) features 10 tracks. The opening is a great track with new drums recorded in 2021 from the album Visiones Paganas (2008).. Polarias from the debut album in 2007 remixed with new drums and theremin sounds really great… UmBral is interestingly a mono track and has a special sound for sure but it is ok… Summerland also with new drums rocks!!! Misquamacus is a dark and heavy one but the chorus vocals give it a really different vibe..  This also has new drums. The final track is Adiós Affallenau, dedicated to Gerardo Manuel Rojas Rodó and Fernado Vial Cabailero!!! I guess…  Very cool track and a totally different vibe than most of the record.   This is a really cool album with a remixing of 5 tracks, as well as 2 early version tracks and what appear to be at least one unreleased track (Rocky Black, which is a quite experimental sound collage of sorts). A very nice package with a printed sleeve (rare to see in a CD) with archive pictures of the band and the other side a picture of all the releases by Don Juan Matus and Matus.. 

Datura 4- Neanderthal Jam (Alive Records)

5th album from the Australian rocks, Datura 4 and another bunch of classic rock with a bluesy feel and footstomping grooves like the opening track, Going Back!  They are still fronted by charismatic leader, Dom Mariani on the vocals and guitar.  I like the great mix of fun, catchy songs but they all have the hard rock edge and they are not scared to take a long guitar solo or other instrumental sections in all the songs. Secret Society keeps the good time music rolling in a slightly slower bit more straightforward rock and roll number but still footstomping good. Open the Line is the first track to feature that classic rock organ driven track.  It has a nice spaced out ending section which I really liked. Bad Times, sounds like a lot of the bands other older tracks. This one features a piano line to compliment the song and a bit of slide guitar. Black Speakers is a slower track and love the vibe and cool wah guitar solo.. Great track and something to mix it up a bit! The title track is an instrumental with a different sound for the album and they throw a bit of harmonica in as well. Was not that much of a cool jam though but a cool song. Hold my Life is an acoustic and harmonica driven track about the state of information in the world.  A Worried Man´s boogie tells a current story but boogies on!!!  Digging my own Grave is returns to where the album began with an upbeat rocker with a cool organ jam in the middle.  One of the most rocking songs on the album. Fish Fry slows it down with a slow groove with the organ playing a nice supporting role.  Drive by Island closes out the album with another acoustic track. Reminds me of the 70s like Little Feat, Allmans, etc… Another cool album but not that many new ideas. Band sticks with their tried and true way of constructing songs, vocal parts, choruses… If it works.. 

Fans of Gin Lady, Blackberry Smoke should dig this band…

Sons of Adam- Saturday´s Sons (The Complete Recordings 1964-66) (High Moon Records HMR013)

Sons of Adam was a short lived group that featured Randy Holden (Blue Cheer) and Craig Tarwater later playing in LOVE. Some of the guys also played in a surf band called Fender IV and some of those tracks are also included at the very end.  I have never heard any of this material.  There are all the tracks from the 3 singles the band released and then about 30mins of live material that is all unreleased.  This shows the more raw like Mr Sun, reminds me of early Pretty Things, Animals (no organ in this band). They also do a version of the THEM song, Gloria! Having a bit of jam. Your a better man that I (Yardbirds) is a really good version as well. The CD comes with a big booklet with a full history and interviews with some of the guys including Randy Holden. The end section is an article about a woman who used to book shows for them from the Fender IV days thru Sons of Adam days and travel with the band, etc…   You can hear the roots of some more hard rocking sound than what was happening in CA at the time but certainly Pretty Things, Animals, Kinks, had some as heavy or heavier riffs than these..  Anyway, I enjoyed hearing this….  Check it out… Nice package..

Warren Zevon- Every Album, Every Song by Peter Gallagher (Sonic Bond Publishing)

I have to say I only really know his song, Werwolves of London but this was a quite interesting book.  He was clearly a very talented artist who was admired by a lot of people as virtually every one of his albums had famous people producing or playing on them from Jackson Brown, Neil Young, David Lindley, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, David Gilmour, Chick Corea, Jerry Garcia, REM, Dwight Yoakim, Bob Dylan, Don Felder, George Clinton, Joe Walsh, Anton Fig, Tony Levin, and many more…. 

HIs career had major ups and downs from being well respected song writer and having a few hits to albums that did not even chart at all.  He battled alcohol for many years, sex addiction but died at age 56 of a lung disorder usually related to being exposed to asbestos.  Peter does a very good job of charting through all the albums and detailing what was going on his life that lead up to the set of songs that was recorded.  He is also critical enough but not too critical to point out the best things and also the worst things. 

HIs first recordings were in the mid 60s and his first solo album in 1970. It was not until 1976, his 2nd album would come out and then this is when things started to happen for him, mostly because Jackson Browne really believed in him and got him record contacts in the 70s and the 80s. He was good friends with David Letterman and some famous Hollywood people as well.  A very well balanced book. I learned a lot.  Well done.. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Iron Maiden and Within Temptation (also Airbourne) 31/07/2022- Nacional Estádio, Lisboa, Portugal

This was a very tough experience going to this concert at the old national Stadium.  It was 4 train stops from our hotel, which was not bad but a long 25 min to the stadium area and then some quite steep stairs with no rails up into the forest where we had to enter the stadium for our ticket area. Airborne stared at 18 or so so we missed them completely.  We were very tired and thirsty. It was 38C today…  We had already finished our bottle of water. They let you bring in the water bottle without the top but there were no places to fill it it anywhere!!!  They did not let you bring in water and there is no access to water except for buying it!  In the upper level where everyone who was in the stands (10,000??), there were 6 stands to buy drinks with 2 people working in each.  The cue was at least 100 people and you had to wait an hr or more to get any kind of drink.  I managed to say my wife was passing out, we both nearly were due to the heat and got two small bottles of water from a medic.  That had to last us the next 4 hrs since it was impossible to get any liquids… Totally fucked up.. They had way more places for drinks down on the field but our ticket did not allow you to do down to the field..  This was fucked.. The food was just a nightmare as well as they had one line to get to buy the food, cue in the next line to pick up the food and they sold no drinks.. Totally fucked up. Never going to this place again.. It is Portugal, so I guess I should not be that surprised that they have not been able to figure out an organized way to do anything.  I still love this country...

Stage was massive.  Within Temptation is not at all our kind of music. Melodic power metal with new age pad keys or choir keys, operatic vocals (she is awesome) and no instrumental solos at all hardly.  I was really bored.. The audience up front really were into it but around us, I think most people felt the same.  I was quite shocked that the tour shirts were 40€!! I guess it has been way too long since I had been to a huge show like this. I make shirts for my band and I know they pay no more than about 5€ for these shirts when they print them in such bulk.  Maybe it is 7 now with inflation..

Anyway, the change over was very fast.. 30mins and Iron Maiden (saw them first time in June 1981!!) are back on stage in front of me….   They opened with 3 songs from the new album (which I really liked a lot) and 2 of the 3 were great songs. They struggled with the sound a bit to start. You could not hear Steve Harris at all and the drums were super boomy.  They did not let WT use the screens (which were pretty small) but I loved the way that the soundman boosted the guitar solo a few db and every guitar solo was up on the screen for the entire solo. They did not film the drummer or Bruce when the guitar solos were on. This is the way it should be. None of this superfast camera change ever 2-3 seconds like on Rockplaast (fucking terrible).. Awesome video..  Anyway, the set changed from medieval Japan to a church like for Revelations and the next long batch of songs. The set list was the same the entire tour but besides the lame Blood Brothers and Fear of the Dark (never liked this song), the set was cool… Sign of the Cross, Flight of Icarus, Hallowed be they Name, The band play so good still. Steve harris used to run all over the place but he stays in the same part of the strange most of the concert. Mick Jagger is more active for sure. Bruce is all over and Janick is jumping around in his part of the stage with rare ventures to the middle. Dave stays hidden in his far left corner of the stage. We could only see him when he was on the screen from where we were on the left side. Nico still plays well but with no power anymore. I miss that aggression in the drums.. it feels a bit off to me the light hitting.  Hey, the guy is 74 years old and still has to work hard. 

The encores were The Trooper, Clansman, Run to the HIlls and Aces High.. The total show as about 100mins.  Probably 90mins of music with all the intros etc. Band was in great shape and Bruces sounded incredible considering he has been singing these songs nearly every other day for the last 2 months! Wow..  Still a great band 41 years later. It was a nice show. Good sound for a stadium and pretty damn loud. I enjoyed hearing these songs from my youth a lot. 

Set List: Senjutsu, Stratego, Writing on the Wall, Revelations, Blood Brothers, Sign of the Cross, Fear of the Dark, Flight of Icarus, Fear of the Dark, Hallowed be thy Name, Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden, The Trooper, Clansman, Run to the HIlls and Aces High.

Getting away from the stadium with 30,000 people was a nightmare.  Took us 90mins and we had to walk 5km before we could get to the train station.  There were no cabs. 100s of people in the same situation as us. Stadium is out of town.. 

Unifantinha Festival, Travancinha, Portugal Sat July 30th 2022

This is a local family festival with live music that is about 20mins from our house. The closest around our part of the world. They have not held the festival for 3 years, while they created a proper organisation, upgraded a lot of the facilities (although apparently not enough as there  was multiple power outages early in the day and loss of water as well). 

It all started at 14 with local singer songwriter, Garyon performing his all original material. I much prefer this to his covers, which is sadly, mostly what I hear him playing at the local markets and they are often not that good. Anyway, he had a lot of more interesting tracks including one where the music was very close to Redemption Song by bob Marley (which he often covers).  Hardly any people were were around  at this time as it was so fucking hot! 38C in the shade..  He did not get much response. 

They had a drum circle out in the area behind the main bar area next with about 15 people but it was so hot and there was hardly any shade, so not that many people could be bothered but they were for sure having fun. Local organizer, Nick was also trying to explain to people about the concept and how to think if it as an conversation and it is ok to pause and listen and play when you have something to say. Cool… good advice..

I Spy showed up around 15-16 to set up there gear some of which would also be used for the live jam session at 18.   They were starting to serve some food around 16 and pizzas at 17..   Cheese (goat), veggy or a chorizo… They had a cougette burger gyozas (3), falafel, brownies, and flapjacks..   The bar you could get lemonade, watermellonade, gin and tonic, beers (1€), fizzy orange drink (Sumol), sparking water, white wine and I think that was it. Free tap water!  

Larry Lush (local 90s UK record producer and DJ played tracks for a few hrs before the jam session. Mostly poppy electronic stuff disco, some funk, most of it is not my taste at all. Virtually no rock music. 

Larry Lush

The jam session had Rob on Drums, Larry on keys, Andy on Sax (all from I Spy), Rui on double bass, Nick on guitar and Carlos on djembe. Later a guy came and played jews harp and flutes.  A girl came up to do some singing but you never heard anything she sang. Pity.. Mike did not do a very good job on the sound.. Too stressed. Some of it was ok and other stuff not that great. A bit too much towards the piano jazz stuff that I Spy play as openings for their shows often. No real rocking going on at all  I was going to join but it was too hot and I did not like the idea of my synths in this heat. It was not good for them some weeks ago. 

Jam Session

Carlos Geometri (famous Brighton UK DJ) played some very cool dub and African music on the PA before I Spy started. Sounds was great for I Spy (Nick was working with Mike) but I was so tired from the heat and beers (only had 3 in 8 hrs) that I headed home. I would have liked to hear Carlos´s full set and there was another DJ (D.C) on after him..  Trance stuff, I think,

It was great to catch up with some friends and meet people again.. I guess there was about 120 people and at least 30 children. They had lots for them to do which was cool. Pool, sandbox, painting, drawing area, stuff for them to climb, a dance class, etc..  A good time by all. Pizzas were small but really good..