Muso-bable
The thoughts and ocassional ramblings of a 30-something muso.
Hello, I’m a muso. I'm one of those guys you see digging around the racks of vinyl in London's backstreet record shops. I'm not addicted, I can give it up whenever I want. I just need to find that limited edition 7" single that the NME made single of the week. Maybe you've bumped into me in the queue for the bar at The Academy or The Astoria. There are thousands of us in London - I've seen all the regular faces in the record shops and at the gigs.

This blog is my attempt to write about the records that I love, the gigs I've been to and, well, anything else to do with music. Hopefully you'll find something here that makes you nod in agreement or rant in disagreement or maybe even laugh.
Thursday, March 31, 2005
 
Doves @ Brixton Academy
Last night we were back in Brixton, this time to see Doves play the first of two nights at the south London cavern.

Things started off a little shaky, with Pounding sounding flat and a little lacking. It wasn't until new song, Black And White Town, that things start to warm up. Perhaps Jimi and the boys were a little nervous; he's worried that we're not "connecting" mainly because they are about a metre back from the front of the stage to make room for a film crew. Jimi really shouldn't worry - from where we were standing, about 10 rows from the front, Doves are treated with a reverence that other bands could only dream of. After the band finish playing The Last Broadcast the crowd continue to sing the melody back to band, which seems to touch Jimi and Jez.

I have a colleague at work who asserts that Doves have 2 types of song, the pounding type song, or the one that starts quiet and gets loud. Essentially this is true, and the 11 new tracks on Some Cities don't do much to persuade you otherwise. But within these templates they do have some interesting and very catchy songs.

Support was from The Magic Numbers, who we've now seen twice in the last couple of months. They're an OK band but there's just something I'm not sure about - essentially they're a bunch of hippies making nice songs for nice people. They're not ready to hold a venue as big as Brixton and some of their gentle melodies are lost somewhere past the first couple of rows.

The Little Flames / The Dead 60s @ The 100 Club
I sold my Dead 60s tickets to a friend from work. He's usually into main stream bands so I was a little worried what he would make of a skuzzy little club gig. I need'nt have worried - he loved both bands and has said that he'll go out and buy The Dead 60s album when it comes out in May. My work here is done.

 
Glastonbury Tickets - The Rules
The URL for booking on Sunday is: http://www.aloud.com/glastonbury/

The rules for booking (ripped from the above site) are as follows:


In order to give everyone the maximum opportunity of purchasing a ticket for this year's festival, please take the time to familiarise yourself with this year's Glastonbury ticket booking conditions.

The key rules for UK residents (retained from 2004) are as follows:

All orders must be placed with a debit card, credit card orders will be refused
Only two tickets can be ordered per debit card
The full address of both ticket holders (not the card holder if different) must be entered at the time of booking
New for 2005

Ticket holders will need to produce photo ID to confirm that they are the ticket holder named on the ticket when they arrive at the festival site. All tickets will be personalised and checks will be made at the gates comparing the information printed on the ticket with approved ID. If the ID does not match the information on the ticket you will be refused access to the Festival.
Every ticket holder will be required to present their personalised ticket, along with one of the following forms of ID - a new photo style driving licence, or a government approved photo ID bearing the PASS hologram, such as the CitizenCard. You can apply for a free CitizenCard on-line through this link www.citizencard.com/glastonbury, by downloading the application form or by calling 0870 240 1221.
Applications for a CitizenCard must be received no later than Thursday 2nd June to guarantee delivery prior to the festival. Applications received after this date may be subject to special delivery charges, please call CitizenCard for further details.

Ticket bookers should also be aware that
Car Parking and Camper Van access tickets must be purchases in advance of your arrival at the festival site. They can be booked while you are making your festival admission ticket purchase
Children aged 12 and under do not require a ticket but must be accompanied by an adult
All UK addressed bookings purchased via the overseas booking page will be cancelled
Customers who wish to pay by cheque and those who do not wish to book online should call the official Glastonbury booking line, 0870 165 2005
Please not that Glastonbury 2005 tickets are not available on the usual Aloud.com booking line 0870 998 8888.


Which all seem pretty fair. Let's just hope their website can take the strain.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005
 
Another Reason To String Johnathan King Up
The man seems to have no shame. And to add insult to injury I found out today that he wrote (if that's the right word for it) Who Let The Dogs Out. Surely enough to lock him up in Broadmoor and throw away the key.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005
 
Distasteful
Does anyone else find the whole Jonathan King thing a bit distastful? He really doesn't appear to have repented or seen the error of his ways. I mean for fuck's sake, a new single on the day he gets released from prison. And how did it get recorded? Do Britain's prisons now come equiped with recording studios these days? Let's hope the fact that he is on the child protection register will keep him away from Top of the Pops.

 
A few pieces of news
The NME are reporting that Babyshambles have had a good time in the studio and have somewhere near an album's worth of material. Every other Babyshambes/Libertines record seems to have been leaked in the form of demos onto the net a long way ahead of it's actual release date, so it should be too long before these make it out, probably via the official or unofficial websites.

Speaking of Babyshambles, has anyone noticed how much Patrick looks like Mackenzie Crook's character, Gareth, from the office:

Gareth
Patrick
(pictures courtesy of britishsitcom.co.uk and andrewkendal.com)

Art Brut have announced their biggest tour to date, timed to coincide with the release of their album, Bang Bang Rock And Roll.

Yesterday we heard the sad news about Paul Hester's apparent suicide. I’ve always had a soft spot for Crowded House and saw them several times in the 90s, both before and after Paul left the band – they were a really good band who usually played without a set list and allowed fans to suggest songs by throwing them up at the stage as paper darts. We’d like to pass on our respects to Paul’s widow Mardi.

Monday, March 28, 2005
 
Just One Week
Just one week until Glastonbury Tickets go on sale. The organisers are promising a smoother booking process, but I have my doubts. If you have ~1 million people trying to access a web site to but 120,000 tickets then there are always going to be problems.

By about midday next Sunday it will all be over and we'll know whether we're going to Glastonbury or whether we're making a change and heading off to Roskilde this year.

Ticket details for both festivals.
Glastonbury:
* Festival takes place 24th - 26th June
* Tickets will go on sale at 9am on Sunday April 3rd, 2005.
* Weekend tickets will cost £125.00 plus £4.00 booking fee and £4.00 postage and packing.
* Tickets will be made available for online sales through the website address www.aloud.com . You will be able go direct to the online ticket sales site. or by a link from the official Festival site www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk.
* Tickets will also be sold through the telephone ticket line 0870 165 2005. There is a queuing system for telephone sales, so be aware you will incur additional telephone charges at national call rate as you wait your turn.


Roskilde:
* Festival takes place from 30th June - 3rd July with warm ups from the 26th
* Tickets are on sale now at £110 plus booking fees from See Tickets or from festival organisers directly here

Friday, March 25, 2005
 
The Zutons @ Brixton Academy
The Zutons played a pretty good show at the Academy on Wednesday. I’m slowly coming to the realization that Brixton isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – it’s just too damn big and most bands struggle to fill the space. The Zutons did a pretty good job, but just felt a little stilted compared to the shows we’ve seen them play in smaller venues (does this sound too snobbish?). Anyway, I still reckon they are better live than on record. Tonight we were treated to one new song, You’ve Got a Friend, which has more than a lyrical relation to the Carole King song of the same name and hints at a possible new, more soulful sound for the Zutons second album.

Support is from the gimmicky, Misty’s Big Adventure, a nine piece who sound like all of the bad bits of Yellow Submarine; and The Stands, who were fêted by Noel Gallagher, and peddle the same plodding self indulgent dad-rock that Oasis seem to favor these days.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
 
Dead 60s Tickets For Sale
I've put some tickets for The Dead 60s on ebay, because I was stupid and double booked.

 
This is for Lovers
No, not another Pete/Babyshambles post.

Rather a plug for the new single, First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes, which is an achingly beautiful love song. What makes it even more special is that this is a happy Bright Eyes song (it only mentions death once), and they don't come along very often. The lo-fi quality of the recording and the breathiness of Conner's voice make this feel like a confessional phone call between lovers.

The B-Side, When The President Talks To God, shows that Conner can be angry as well as in love. Put the two together and you have a great single.

By the way, I picked up tickets for Babyshambles at Koko today. There you go, the obligatory Babyshambles reference - business as usuall.

Sunday, March 20, 2005
 
Babyshambles Cancel Another Gig
The NME have confirmed that tonights gig is off. I was really looking forward to seeing them play the Rhythm Factory :-(

 
Run To Her
Forgot to mention, The new single by The Five O'clock Heroes is out tomorrow.

 
The Duke of Clarence
We popped down to The Duke of Clarence last night for The Five O'clock Heroes. They played a storming show - the same set as Wednesday but a much better atmosphere. The rest of the evening was very strange and I'll try to explain as best I can.

First of all, The Duke of Clarence appears to be semi derelict and appears to be closed from the outside. As we walk up the door opens (in the same kind of way doors just swing open in bad horror films) and we are ushered inside. We later find out that there are doormen watching out of the blinds at either side of the door and that the door is locked the rest of the time. In affect we are at a lock-in. Apparently because the Clarence has had police visits for noise and disruption several times in the last couple of days.

We’re asked to cough up the entrance fee and then told there is no till at the bar so we have to buy raffle tickets which can then e exchanged at the bar for booze. Shortly afterwards some guys stands on the bar and starts shouting and laughing. It turns out that this is the new “landlord” and the kids working bend the bar were recruited this evening when they turned up for the gig. In exchange for looking bemused when asked for a Gin and Tonic they get free entry and free drinks.

The inside of the Clarence is as dilapidated as the outside with a hole in the floorboards near to the bar just big enough to loose your foot down into the cellar below.

There are supposed to be 4 acts on the bill : Pat Walden from Babyshamles, The Holloways, Junkbox and The Five O’clock Heroes. Show time rolls around and there is no sign of Pat. The Holloways take to the stage and are pretty good. They’re very young, obviously influenced by The Libertines, but with a leaning towards Quo like pub rock. They’re playing a free gig at Nambucca next Sunday if you want to get away from all the bloody chocolate eggs.

Junkbox are a 3 piece garage band, who could do with a bass player (hello!) but to tell you the truth I’m too busy watching the characters in the bar and keeping out of the way as fresh supplies of bottled Stella are shipped in by the “barstaff”.

Part way through Junbox’s set, Pat Walden turns up and is obviously completely wrecked. He has also brought his brother/roadie and a Marshall Amp the size of a small car – it’s obvious he’s not going to play an acoustic set. He disappears for the Heroes set, presumably to top up on whatever brew/powder he is on tonight. When he finally takes to the stage he can barely stand but that doesn’t stop him. He attempts 3 Babyshamles songs including The Man Who Came to Stay and Fuck Forever but it soon becomes apparent that despite being a fucking amazing guitarist he cannot sing or maybe is just too far gone to be able to string words together. The crowd try and help out as best they can but it is toe curlingly bad and I think Pat works it out and just disappears after the end of Fuck Forever, which is probably best because I’m not sure we could have gone on.

So we start to think about leaving but the Landlord says that his friends, a nine-piece from Luton, who’ve spent 3 hours in traffic are on next. We stay around to see them, they’re called something like the Future Funk Collective and start off sounding pretty good (in an Acid Jazz kind of way) before heading off into Reggae, which is when we make a dash for the (locked) front door.

I think that about covers it. I was pretty trashed by the end of the evening so some of the above may not be completely correct but it gives you an idea. A very bizarre evening. Tonight we’re off to see Babyshambles, that is if Pete has got his voice back.

Saturday, March 19, 2005
 
Five O’clock Heroes, Seeing Scarlet, Suburban Kids with Biblical Names @ Camden Barfly
Things we find out about tonight’s support band Suburban Kids with Biblical Names during the course of their set:
- They are Swedish and seem to have brought half of Stockholm to the Barfly
- They obviously own all of the records by Belle and Sebastian and Kings of Convenience. There are lots of songs about trees, cuckoos and asking girls to settle down and buy a nice flat with a mortgage.
- They don’t have a drummer (back line appears to be coming from a personal CD player) and they have rehearsed with their bass player on t’internet.
- We think this may only be their second gig with this bass player (they played the night before this gig at The Metro club) and I think it would be fair to say they are a little under rehearsed
- Despite (or maybe because) of all of the above they are very entertaining.

Entertaining isn’t a word I’d associated with the dull plodding indie rock of < ahref="http://www.seeingscarlet.com/">Seeing Scarlet. This bunch really think they are the mutts nuts but I can’t work out why. They have a bass player who looks like the missing link between Brian May and Rod Hull. The singer loves himself something rotten and probably thinks he is some kind of John Lydon character, but in fact reminds us of a young Kenneth Brannagh. AS for the music, well how about these sample lyrics:
“From my bedroom to your stadium we can all be aliens, if we want to.”
Truly one of the worst bands we have seen in a long time.

Which of course just makes The Five O’clock Heroes look and sound so much better. For those of you who haven’t seen them (or read one of my previous reviews) they look like the younger brothers of The Strokes and The Libertines and at times sound like both of these bands. But of course they have other influences, mainly The Clash, best demonstrated by (our) live favourites Anyone Home and White Girls. Tonight they play a storming set and I’m going to stick my neck out and say that The Heroes should e the next band to follow Bloc Party and cross over to the mainstream. We enjoyed them so much we’re going to see them again tonight at The Duke Of Clarence.

Click on the following thumbnails to see The Heroes:










Monday, March 07, 2005
 
Nine Black Alps
Just booked tickets for Nine Black Alps at The Garage. They look like Ride, sound like Nirvana and come from Manchester. If you're curious then they also have a new single out this week.

Thursday, March 03, 2005
 
Gig News

In case you hadn't heard, Coldplay tickets go on sale on Saturday. I'm off early on Saturday to travel for a stag do so I doubt I'll get tickets.

We were supposed to be goin to see Special Needs at Nambucca (which is about 5 minutes from our front door) tomorrow night, but Annie is still Ill so we'll have to play it by ear. The photos from the last time they played are really exciting.

The Five O'Clock Hereos are playing The Barfly on the 16th March. I love this band so I'm going to try and get down to see them.

And finally for this post, I've booked tickets for top new Kiwi band Marshmellow(sic), who may or may not contain one or more members of The Mutton Birds.


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