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Special showing...This is Our Generation calling at the Dickens Friday September 24th by Tony Beesley
starring The Violet May and co-starring Spiders
special guest stars.... a special guest star Ian Deakin
supporting cast at the bar and near the front
may contain some scenes of un-politically correct nature and may cause offence to some non-smokers and anti Rock n' Roll lobby groups
There was a real rock n' roll show last Friday at the Rotherham Live at Dickens venue... no corporate arena herdes and programme grabbers... rude and pig ignorant security staff, over-priced beer and being treat like fucking numbers and visa card receipts... no NONE OF THAT!!! as The Violet May... todays' greatest live band on the go are in town at a no fancy trimmings great little venue and bar... aided and abetted by a trio of young and talented lads called Spiders.... and another set of earnest musicians called Jo Klaxon!!!
Jo Klaxon kick off the show, well trained and determined to impress all... good things may come of 'em.
Spiders follow on with a set of their very best self-penned numbers and their crowd pleaser 'That's entertainment' in the middle, just right for a Friday night bash! Their confidence grows after three numbers and the crowd start to respond... 'Everytime you look at me', 'Start to lose control' and Romance is how tragic this is' join their most vibrant and exciting composition 'Dangerously close to what I want'... this is how it should be... we love it!!!
The Violet May are also keenly anticiptated... I have been counting the days down for this gig and these two bands and I know some others who have been doing likewise...
Singer Chris probes his space... he needs to know what is around him... it may not remain depending which way it all goes.... then the show begins: This is Rock n' Roll calling... don't contemplate ignoring it: it's here, its in yer face and it means having a great time... the outside world and all of their rules don't count in here... we don't care!!!! if you don't like the buzz, don't press the button... and you know if anyone says different its all lies... 'Jennifer lies' infact...
A gang of us understand all of this: some look on with unsurety... some just wanna be entertained... its every great thing about live music though... its here tonight... its unpredictable and fun and performed with a rare intensity...a rush, a high and a wall of melodic sound... if it passes through you and you don't get it... you may not recover: you may need electric shock treatment.... and what a drummer they have!
Watching The Violet May and their live set may get you wet, may encourage you to let go of your inhibitions and kick out the posing value of looking your best on a Friday night out... it may well disrupt your expectations...??? we don't know? its all here, ready to be embraced... take it on board, bring these songs into your life, kiss the attitude and feel free of 2010 and its ongoing bondage of rules and fears... this is the Violet May calling... kicking down the door, don't bother replacing it as the shows ready to roll further... the credits may be running but the movie has only just begun!!!
Spiders: Rotherham Live at Dickens - September 9th 2010
review by Tony Beesley
It's Thursday night at the Dickens, and three aspiring bands provide us with a night of modern Rock n' Roll with a variety of influences.... and its well worth making the effort to attend as well. The names of the first two bands escaped me, but I was impressed with their enthusiastic sets... the openers reminding me of a punked up early Cure and some great tunes to boot.... the middle band being a decent post Arctic Monkeys inspired Indie style band, but still well worth catching. Well done to the Dickens venue for riding the storm and keeping things moving ahead for live music.
Headliners on this 'Hang the DJ' Indie showcase night are Spiders, and judging on how they are progressing in musical confidence and stage presence, they won't be long in hitting bigger things!... they bloody well deserve to, that's for sure.
Spiders are a three piece combo in the greatest tradition of The Jam, taking some of that said band's power and songwriting craft and remoulding their style and sound, along with other influences, into something unmistakingly very much their own. A cover of 'That's Entertainment' is performed more out of the sheer joy of playing it rather than any obvious plans of wearing their influences on their sleeves. These points aside the show is all their own... Spiders have energy, style and a unique knack of creating quirky little nifty tunes... they tell stories within their songs, they can rock out with the best of them 'Dangerously close to what I want' (cheers guys for playing my fave tune of yours) but they can also take the pace down a little: 'Everytime you look at me' is another one of my faves and is home to a tune that lingers on long after first hearing it. Watching a Spiders set is a joy and I have no criticisms to throw their way at all. I can't wait to catch 'em again in a week or so, infact I am counting down the days. With these guys, The Violet May, the Monicans, Twisted Wheel, along with a handful of other promising bands, the future looks bright for Rock n' Roll, great tunes played live by the creators and all outer packaging removed... leaving some extremely tasty ingredients to devour: with classic mod sensibilities, flavours of Punk, Indie and the best of the sounds throughout Rock's illustrious past all thrown into the melting pot to create something NEW!!! now that is something dangerously close to what we want and need!
The Violet May/The Tivoli/The Monicans, Sheffield Boardwalk - August 14th 2010 Review by Tony Beesley
It amazes, disturbs and frustrates me how, in this world of Cowell and X Factor pop star wannabees and our nation's so-called search for talent, that bands such as these on show tonight can go even a week without being signed up!
Sheffield's unsigned night for three quid... what a bargain!
I caught three of the four bands tonight... starting with the last four songs of The Manicans... their final three being the most impressive... a three piece with a girl bass player who make a superb wall of sound. Echoes of Joy Division can be heard in the mix and some other influences appear but these guys certainly have their own style and musical identity. I like them and want to hear more from them!
The Tivoli (named after that great symbol of Rotherham the Tivoli nightclub/Rotherham Utd's old social club) are powerful too. Their melting pot of electronic sounds and bold in yer face Rock music impress... they have energy and confidence, a little overtly Stereophonics on vocals... but strong all the same. Quality songs and inovative delivery are The Tivoli's forte and long may they continue and thrive.... get em signed up!
The Violet May! eager anticipation and excitement as I await their set... apparantly, so singer Chris tells me, this will be their last sheffield date for a good while, time to make the most of a very important and exciting Sheffield Rock n' Roll band. They don't dissapoint!
Their set is now fine-tuned, but not polished: the raw vibe is still there, the real experience of the best band in years can't be lost... The Violet May thrive in a live setting. Watching them perform is reafirming... it restores any dwindling faith in contempory music. This is Rock n' Roll in it's purest and most dangerous form. If you like to feel safe and belong to the PC thinking brigade get outa the fuckin' building!
The fag is lit, the suggestions of damage are evident...this experience is a drug and it runs through the veins relentlessly. 'This crowd', 'Teen Queen', 'Bright or Better' all whizz by. The feet are shaking, the pulse is racing... the buzz is at its peak... intoxicating and out of control!!!
Newly shaved head Chris McLure is our Rotten for the noughties... he doesn't care about the system... no recognition of the rules of 2010. He is in the finest Rock band in eons, why should he adhere to the pathetics of living carefully, fear of upsetting people or even the logistics of venue's rules and regulations... The Violet May have been banned from playing at certain places, they have fucked a few people off in their travels, but I can tell anyone willing to listen, we need this band very much. Don't even contemplate of letting them pass you by. Sign Sign Sign!!! and lads make your demands, don't sign yer names to the corporate rules and cons! You meean more than that. The word is out on the street!
'Spiders' Rawmarsh, The Star- August 8th 2010: Review by Tony Beesley
That's entertainment at the Star! A local music festival at the Rawmarsh Star- a venue worth giving a positive nod towards for earnestly trying to keep live music alive in the locality... and a new generation of young musicians called Spiders pick up the mantle of new wave injected Indie Rock.
Spiders take the outdoor stage around 4.45pm amidst a roster of other local Rock, acoustic, Metal and associated bands. I must confess it is this very band I have come along to see, having been more than impressed with their recent studio recordings and being keen to catch em live. A nervous start and a few technical hitches, sees them perform their second number twice. By their fourth song, however, the tempo is increased and with it their own confidence: they have only very recently trimmed down to a three piece and this, their first outing in their immediate area, and being outdoors, is a little bit of a trial for the band. Despite this, they deliver a good solid quick set and manage to display some great potential with positive signs of an individual musical and lyrical identity being clearly evident. There is a lot to look out for with this new band and I hold plenty of hope in their future.
Amongst their admirable collection of self compositions, they throw in a cover of Weller standard 'That's Entertainment'... a nice Sunday afternoon treat that sees more than a few watchers mouth the lyrics of the new wave folk classic. Some nice Rhythm and blues riffs are hooked together with the sounds of the band's take on modern Indie-Rock. I sorely miss my fave Spiders track 'Dangerously close to what I want', but a good vairied set list and a indication of some great musical progress on the cards make up for this. Myself and friend (and veteran gig goer) Nigel Lockwood both agree that the band have something good to offer and in all instances this band are certainly one to watch out for! An upcoming date at Rotherham's Live at Dickens in September will hopefully see them on the road to fulfilling these aspirations and you never know my fave song of theirs may make an appearance!!! Well done to the venue and all the bands and music lovers involved in this small but comendable event... Rock n' Roll is still alive and kicking in Rawmarsh! Keep a look out for Spiders creeping your way soon!
Public Image LTD Leeds O2 Academy July 23rd 2010: Review and photos by Andy Morton.
We all know John is skint, even after his jungle jaunt and his buttery persona seen in the ad breaks during Corrie, but he’s touring to make some filthy lucre to make a great big dirty album and on the strength of this gig it will be a corker!
On the back of five well received dates at the end of 2009, a brief European tour has been put together for the summer of 2010 including a couple of the obligatory festival appearances.
I fully expected the venue to be sold out, after all the man is a legend, is he not? Touts were selling tickets outside for a fiver which must hark back to early 80’s pricing. Looks like the recession is even hitting these enterprising scousers! I’d guess it was half full, maybe 1,200 punters there to see their idol, which, in my opinion is a bit of a poor turnout. Anarchy? Don’t think so, maybe apathy.
No support needed for these guys, so the crowd milled around to some muted dub-reggae until John strode onto the stage complete with full bottle of brandy “It’s purely medicinal, or maybe it isn’t!” he cackled and winked at the audience. Let’s face it, the guy is now 54 and doesn’t need to justify his self to anybody, in fact he never has, even as a fledgling Sex Pistol. He was a bit croaky when addressing his audience but the brandy must have done its job because he could still wail and warble like a 20 year old.
So on with the hits, This Is Not A Love Song opened the set in true manic fashion then segued into Poptones with Death Disco and Albatross all following in quick succession.
With such a large body of work to pick from he tended to stick to the earlier stuff which made the band what it still is to many and that’s ground breaking and revolutionary. An awesome version of Tie Me to the Length of That complete with John acting out the words in a Playschool style was played along with a mental vocal & bass version of Four Enclosed Walls. Songs only a madman would dare to perform live but if he’s got the guts to do it that’s all to the good for his listeners.
After a while he started to have some banter between the songs “How are you tonight, my lovely Yorkshire puddings!” He even held out the mike stand for sing-along choruses, now would the old John Lydon have done that? Still the king of the putdowns as well, “I don’t do requests mate, I’m playing two solid hours for you and in my book that’s fucking good value.” Yes, he’s “just a chap from Finsbury Park, out for a lark” who seems to be loving his new lease of life as a national treasure.
There followed a great version of Bags from ‘Album’ and they also played Warrior, complete with anti-establishment intro rant, which were the only real nods to his later work. He also dropped in Psychopath which was the title track to his 1997 solo album and is as much as a PiL song as you’re likely to find.
The band must be praised for being such a tight unit; Lu Edmunds is just a superb instrumentalist along with Bruce Smith and Scott Firth proving to be a really accomplished rhythm section. Religion closed the set with bass so heavy it hurt!
After a quick fag break, Public Image, Rise (didn’t we just love the sing-along chorus) and a bass heavy Open Up brought the show to a close.
So that was a solid two hours and fifteen minutes to be precise Mr Lydon – ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? We robbed you John; you were worth double the money!
The Violet May - Rotherham Live at Dickens May 28th 2010 Review by Tony Beesley: Photos by Live at Dickens.
"I have seen the future of Rock n' Roll" - Dave Spencer
It happens every few years: something inspires a band to emerge out of the vacuum of mediocrity and slice through the world of Rock n' Roll and present a new slant on the whole idium of performance and entertainment! Jerry Lee Lewis, The Who, Hendrix, Sex Pistols, The Smiths, Oasis.... The Violet May! "We were being told that guitar bands are on the way out" declares singer Chris McLure to me prior to the bands set: sounds familiar don't it?
So what sets The Violet May aside from the countless array of modern GUITAR!!! bands around in 2010? Infact its not that guitar bands are on the way out its a case of quantity over quality and originality with many of the cast of thousands in Indie Boot camp! The Violet May stand out like a beacon of hope, defiance, Punk Rock attitude and an amazing penchant for cutting razor sharp tunes! Fag in hand, mike stand as a weapon Chris McLure oozes attitude and Rock n Roll carefree indifference to the rules of modern society and PC ridiculousness! "We just wanna get onstage play some fucking Rock n' Roll' and then Fuck off!" Yeah bring it fucking on!!!!
A set of tunes that instantly enter your musical world including debut single (out this week) 'Bright or Better' are ignited with all the excitement and buzz of the live experience: The Violet May can play too: they have an amazing drummer who feeds the rhythm with a captivating style, the guitarist - Jono How - looks pissed off and this is better than any cheesy Indie Pop boy smiles/put on frown or the obligitary guitar hero with a fringe. It adds to the alure! But despite the strange effect of seeing the best new band in eons performing to a crowd divided between genuine fans, the curious and the converted and another half of typical Friday night townies, The Violet May deliver and impress magnificently. Didn't the Sex Pistols perform to early small crowds of long hairs back in mid 76? As my friend Barry Thurman said to me "Look around, don't these people realise what an event they are experiencing" or words to that effect! It was something like that, a sense that something special was amidst. The young Indie gunslingers tonight realised this, the older Punk vets did and by the end of the year everyone else will too: Go and pay a visit to the onstage Record shop of the Violet May: catch em while you can at eye level, when you can dodge the microphone wire spinning past your ear as McLure charges into you and the rest of the intimate venue crowd. It won't feel the same at the Sheffield Arena following their second album release... guitar bands on the way out Ha Ha bloody Ha!!! this one are heading your way... embrace them and feel the buzz!
The Sex Pistols experience - Rotherham Live at Dickens May 15th 2010. Review by Tony Beesley. Photos: Live Dickens.
Punk'sgreatest Rock n' Roll tribute!
Ask any of my mates - I don't do tribute bands!! I appreciate the art of the tribute band, the time spent emulating the concerned act and I respect the enjoyment people get out of them. I mean, some of the ones doing the rounds are better than the originals. They have the bands act, sound, look and attitude perfected and can outdo their idols on many counts. One problem though? They are not that band!
I have seen a few of these tribute bands, though very rarely go out of my way to go and see them. I have seen some Jam ones (the best Jam tribute band being From the Jam and I even had a problem with them the first time I saw them), also ska ones and do you know I really can't remember the rest. Thats how interested I am in watching some band apeing their musical heroes. So why did I come along and see the Sex Pistols experience and what did they do for me?
I was curious I have to admit. The name Sex Pistols always registers some interest. I had also heard very good things about them too. But, I still expected to come and see a third rate caricature of Punks most revered band... another Rock n 'Roll swindle perhaps?
I got to the venue as Tenpole Tudor was singing 'Friggin' in the Riggin' at the end of his set. 'Here we go' I thought 'The Swindle is alive and well'. Old Malcolm R.I.P would have been proud. Around 11pm the Sex Pistols experience came on with 'Pretty Vacant'. They looked superb. They sounded exactly as I would imagine the real Sex Pistols would have done, including the obligitary bum notes from Sid. Like no other tribute band has done before... I was hooked.
All the Bollocks and all the singles and b-sides followed 'No feelings', 'Holidays in the Sun', 'Submission', 'Liar', 'Problems', 'I wanna be me', 'Seventeen' and so on. Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious never let up that this was not the real thing. Their actions, look and even their voices were totally accurate - 'Get off our fuckin' stage you wankers' snarled Sid in perfect Kid junkie drawl at the fellas attempting a stage invasion - whilst the ever dependable Jonesy (My fave Pistol by the way) and Cookie provide the wall of Pistols sound down to a tee. The crowd were transfixed and the authenticity of the show was lent a further bonus with the aggressive throng of pogoers at the front who shoved, banged and threw themselves around at each other like only the Sex Pistols music can instigate. I really can't say a bad thing about this tribute to a great iconic band who sadly only truly shone their torch for little over a year or so but still capture the imagination and wonder of music fans world-wide 30 odd years on. For a hour or so we were taken back, Tardis-like, to a vintage 1977 Sex Pistols set and it was a fantastic experience.
Some sound problems with the vocals now and again only added even further to the replication of a genuine anarchic Pistols show. The two anthems 'God save the Queen' and 'Anarchy in the UK' were saved for the encore which followed a show closing Stooges classic 'No Fun' which coincidently was lots of fun. The set was complete, the experience fulfilled; all in attendance completely won over. The only dissapointment was that they then went on to Punk cabaret with renditions of the Sid singles 'Something Else', 'C'mon Everybody' and 'My way'... these were the disposable end of the act and I could have managed without... even so they were played solidly and pleased the crowd no end. 1977 Punk authenticity slipped that bit too far, though, when we were treat to a rabble rousing version of 'Swords of a thousand men' with Ed Tudor Pole and the Pistols. By this time the buzz had subsided for me: but I had swallowed the whole show and never spat any of it back out. So tribute bands? I still feel the same about em... but on this occasion I was mesmerised as though it was the real thing and thats probably the greatest tribute you can pay to a tribute band! Ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Not tonight I didn't!!!
The Lurkers/X-Rippers - Rotherham Live at Dickens April 2010. Review by Tony Beesley.
This venue is coming on from strength to strength and finally we have now got a stable regular venue in Rotherham: let's hope the gig going crowd continue to support it and keep the live action going, otherwise we are screwed!
Tonight is a double bill of Punk action. It should have been 999 headlining (sadly a band members parent was seriously ill) and 80's locals Springheel'd Jack were booked to return to the stage for a last bash at the Rock n' Roll dream, but they unfortunately had to pull out too. A shame on both counts and this could have marred the prospects of a great night, but with two of the best Punk bands on the gig going circuit to man the stage, we weren't gonna be let down.
First up are the X-Rippers... Barnsley's top Punk band who have been around since 1978 and know how to combine a nifty tune with the energy of Punk and the comedy of their lyricism and humorously observant songs. I always enjoy the X-Rippers: they are as down to earth as you can get as musicians and hold no pretences whatsoever. You have to hand it to them, they are talented, know their way around a great melody and never take themselves too seriously. Quite possible one of the best Punk bands this area has produced. Long may they perform!
Headliners tonight then are The Lurkers. This is their second visit to the town. They played a blistering set over at the no.10 last year. Led by 1977 member Arturo Bassick, one of the most genuine good guys you are ever likely to meet in music circles, the Lurkers set consists of old classics 'I don't need to tell her', 'Freak show', 'Cyanide' etc and a healthy mix of new songs that mythologise icons such as Dirty Harry ('Go ahead Punk make my day') and even Punk itself on some songs. like the X-Rippers before them the Lurkers themselves don't take matters too seriously and they are all the more enjoyable for it. If any other band tried to pull off what the Lurkers do - minus original singer and original songwriter/guitarist - it just wouldn't work. I have to be honest before I saw them a couple of years ago, I myself had my reservations. But when the band perform- all qualms about that sort of stuff go straight out of the window. The Lurkers are a good time Rock n' Roll band that play snotty short and tune-packed Punk. If you fancy a dose of Saturday night Rock n' Roll thrills some time and the Lurkers are in town... go and catch em play, they won't dissapoint. Long live the Lurkers!!!
Penetration/Stiff Little Fingers - Sheffield Plug March 20th. Review by Tony Beesley
I am gonna be perfectly honest here, and I am sorry if I happen to upset any SLF obsessives, I came to this gig with the sole purpose of seeing Penetration... who to my mind are one of the very best, and most special, of all the many reformed Punk bands doing the rounds nowadays: most of which turn up to reinforce their pentions at the annual Punkstock festival in Blackpool. To be truthful, I love Penetration: their 2 albums and set of singles have prime place in my collection and their new songs are quality stuff too. Like a fair number of Punk kids back in the day, I also had a special thing for the gorgeous Pauline Murray: though I never realised how small she really is, until I saw her stood chatting at the bar: but that just adds to her cute level statistics as well.... ok teenage infactuations aside, lets get down to tonights music on show.
The sound of Penetration never was typical Punk by numbers, only their debut 45 'Don't dictate' (energetically performed here tonight) displaying any nods to Punk Rock 1977 style, and the songs lyrics hinted at an independent determination and spirit of non-conformity to Punks party line anyway. Taking the sounds of their musical heroes (Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, the influences of free-form jazzy funk structures and even the very unhip Steely Dan) Penetration intergrated them with the attitudes of the new wave merging into a new musical identity of their own: and in every instance a level of musical profficensy that stood well above most of the Punk bands. This never comes across as overpolished or too stylised, rather as a sweet untarnished collage of musical bliss!
Most of Penetration's classics were performed tonight; 'Danger Signs', the punk sensuality of 'Come into the Open', 'Silent Community (one of my personal faves), 'Shout above the Noise' and their much loved cover versions 'Nostalgia' (Buzzcocks) and the sublime 'Free Money (Patti Smith). Some promising new tracks were aired too. The band were recieved well and in my opinion, based on musical merit alone, should really have been the headliners. Which brings me to the case of Punk's anthemic 'punches in the air' t-shirt flogging Fingers of stiff-likeness!
Stiff Little Fingers play the Plug regularly, they tour regularly and they work hard at pleasing an aging Punk nostalgic crowd of blokes who like their Punk to the point, sloganised and easily recognisable and who maybe would have loved the Clash to have stayed with the sound of 'Give em enough Rope' for the length of their career: nowt wrong with that, if its what you want. All quite harmless and stirring stuff and you get more tahn your money's worth on these counts ... not for me though!
Tonight, I remembered why I had been so bored and unmoved by SLF's performance at the Sheffield Lyceum many years ago... I had been greatly impressed by their Top Rank gigs and their 1981 'Go for it' tour date at the Polytechnic, greatly endeared myself to their first run of singles and their debut LP always a much cared for record, but found the Lyceum gig and tonights set a case of obvious crowd pleasing rock n' roll served up far too bussiness like and over professional: unlike Penetration's earlier set which was accomplished, interesting and inspirational!
The opening 'Wasted Life' was lapped up as was all the standards 'At the Edge', 'Barbed Wire Love', 'It doesen't make it alright' (The Specials classic) etc, but it was their 1981 single 'Silver lining' that I enjoyed the most; the song bringing back happy memories of a teenage Punk love affair with a SLF loving lass... soppy stuff indeed... nostalgic, warms the heart and all that, but my most enjoyable moment of SLF's set. Not long after that song, my very good pal Dave Spencer... after a short but not unexpected rant about how SLF do not remotely move him, departed to go and see the 2010 rock n' roll of The Violet May up the road. I vacated and popped over to the 02 Academy to see old Post-Punk faves Artery.
Artery - Sheffield 02 Academy March 20th. Review by Tony Beesley.
'Unbalanced at the 02'
Why this Sheffield band have never been lauded with worldwide acclaim and the same kind of respect Joy Division recieve is a complete mystery to me!
Artery are unique, their sound is unique, mesmerising, charismatic and inventive; their songs performed live achieve a life all of their own and outshine their recorded partners.
Artery are the sound of Sheffield personified: a mirror to its individuality and sense of self depreciation: a perfect representative of the steel city - grey, layered,creative and 'Unbalanced'!
Singer Mark Gouldthorpe is as visual as ever tonight, the band just as channeled as every other time I have ever seen them perform. Artery are worth more than a thousand indie guitar band hopefuls tuning into the stadium pop/punk of Green Day etc and they are also the ideal antidote to contemporary pop music.... feel sick with the state of the corporate star system of today's music world? taste the sounds of Artery... the precription and wake up call to revive and inspire the conception of individualism.... like I say Artery are unique!
We need this band to continue and maybe one day the world will get what runs through the veins of Artery's muse!
Lambrettas - Rotherham Dickens bar February 12th. Review by Tony Beesley
The Lambrettas had their five minutes of fame back in early 1980 with the Coasters Mod classic 'Poison Ivy'. A handful of singles and an album followed before the band ditched their scooters and Mod image and quickly dissapeared off the music scene. In 2008 the bands original singer Jez Bird sadly passed away. Tonight the Lambrettas returned to Rotherham after a lapse of 30 years (they played the Clifton Hall in 1980).
Tonight the Lambrettas played to a fair sized gathering of casual Mod inclined fans who lapped em up with a positive response. Their new wave pop, tinged with 'Who' like riffs and a cover of said bands 1971 rock 45 'Let's see action' went down well, though a few did remark that they weren't over impressed. To be fair to the band, they did try hard but personally I have to say, I was not swerved either way, being more ingrossed in conversation with old Mod mates than paying full attention to the band's set. The sounds from the stage served as a soundtrack to the night, more so than grabbing my attention. The atmosphere was good, and yet another commendable night put on by the guys at the Dickens bar, so it that sense the gig was a success, and I can't be no fairer than that!
UK Subs - 'Another kind of Barnsley blues' - Birdwell club (Barnsley) November 21st. Review by Andy Morton - Photos by Dean 'Beanz' Stables
Rotherham punk fans left on a wet but mild night to arrive in Birdwell on a freezing one! Mickclaren had worked his magic and we got in for free on Charlie Harper's guest list - result #1! The venue was Birdwell club which was far too big for a gig of this type but was a decent place all the same and with club price beer - result #2! We met up with old Rawmarsh punk Beanz and had a good time reminiscing. Great punk rock soundtrack for the night was provided by Charlie's CD's.
The always reliable X-Rippers came on stage and banged out Janie Jones which they played with passion. They ripped through their set with old faves like Richard Hillman, Trogladyte, Kill A Clown, 49 Bus & others going down well with the 150 or so people in the crowd. Last track was another Clash cover, English Civil War.
Original Subs Charlie Harper and Paul Slack
The UK Subs were sat amongst the crowd when their intro track - a punk version of Drunken Sailor started up and they made their way up onto the stage just as it finished. BIC was the first song and it went down a storm. This was a special gig because Paul Slack ("on lead bass") was back in the band so that made for 2 of the original line up. They ripped through most of Another Kind of Blues including I Couldn't Be You, Killer (much to Beanz delight) & Rocker and then did a few tracks off the next couple of albums. Can't recall them doing any later stuff. With the crowd favourites Warhead and Stranglehold played at full tilt the crowd were loving it. Encores were CID, Live In A Car, Blues (with Charlie getting the old harmonica out) and Disease. The band came back to do a rare second encore with Charlie showing his love for the classics and the band blasted out Strychnine by The Sonics.
The band then mingled with the crowd. Charlie was as approachable as ever and remains a really genuine guy who loves doing what he's doing. Hope I can say the same at his age! We bid farewell to Beanz and came home with smiles on our faces and spoke of looking forward to seeing the band in our hometown next June.
Vibrators - Rotherham Mondos/Dickens bar November 14th Review by Tony Beesley. Photos by Dean 'Beanz' Stables.
I always felt a little sorry for the Vibrators. They came into the world of Punk through the doors of the 100 club's first Punk rock festival in September 76, playing alongside the cream of the fledgling Punk scene. Back then they were a workhorse r&b band with plenty of energy and had the Punk label thrust at them by music writers such as Caroline Coon (who later dismissed them as bandwagon jumpers). Like Strummer, whilst paying his dues with his pre- Clash 101er's, the Vibrators quickly realised that the way forward was with the Punk Rock new wave, and there was certainly many more far more guilty bands clinging to the scene back then and afterwards. The Vibrators hold no pretenses: they are a damned good hard working Rock n' Roll band and give the paying customer more than their money's worth.
Their 33 year old career has seen them release a couple of poor early singles, quickly followed by a handfull of classic late 70's Punk anthems 'Baby Baby', 'Judy says', 'Automatic Lover' and two great albums 'Pure Mania' and 'V2: the latter almost breaking them into the big boys of Punk league with its classy mix of Punk/Metal New Wave Pop. Various splits and line up changes along with frequent criticism from the trendy Rock press have plagued their 33 years career and whilst Punk era greats such as the Slits, Magazine and Buzzcocks are almost unaminously applauded with praise from the music press, the Vibrators go almost un-noticed. Truly the black sheep of the New Wave even in 2009.
But! have no fear the Vibrators can still rock with the best of them. One thing that has always impressed me, even more than any of their studio recordings, is their live performances. The regular three piece line up of Knox, Eddie and Pete are joined by Members guitarist Nigel Bennett and perform a superb set of Punk rock. Some new tunes are played; but it's the classics that most are here to hear. First album songs 'Pure Mania', 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah', 'Into the Future', 'I need a slave', all of the classic singles and a neck tingling rendition of the Members 'Sound of the Suburbs' are frantically thrown at us, with barely a pause for breath between songs. Their near miss June 77 hit 'Baby Baby'(probably the first Punk ballad) is warmly recieved and so is V2 LP closing track 'Troops of Tomorrow'; which in recent years has inadvertantly become their anthem of sorts.
This night was a celebration of the last 33 years of UK Punk Rock; tieing in with the recent book release of 'Take it to the Limit' by my friend Neil Anderson and this sites very own 'Our Generation' book. Pleased to report that there were some faces from 'Our Generation's Punk past here: the fashion merchants of Punk's chequered past being long gone now. With a great supporting set from Rotherham's finest Punk spawned band 'Phil Murray and the Boys from Bury' topped off with the genuine rock n' roll thrills of the Vibes, there can't have been a better way of celebrating these last few decades of our Punk past (and future). This new Rock venue is soon to be formally re-christened as the Dickens bar, and though it may be a ironic twist of fate that back in 1977 Punk Rockers were actually officially banned from this very venue, it's plain to see that this is gonna be the place to come and see great gigs and have a great time in doing so. The occasional gate-crashing townies are now slowly being held in check and the Punks have taken over the asylum. It's taken 33 years but the Punks have finally won in Rotherham.
The Slits still 'Cut' it - Sheffield Corporation October 11th Review by Tony Beesley. Photos by Brian Damage
This is the first time, to my knowledge anyhow, that Punk/reggae inovaters The Slits have ever played an headlining gig in Sheffield - their previous sets being supports to the Clash and Buzzcocks at the Top Rank during Punks heyday. Their 1981 date at the Lyceum was cancelled and the band split not long afterwards. In recent times the band have reformed, recorded new songs, had a great book devoted to them, introduced new members and are now starting to receive the acclaim and respect they have waited so long to come their way.
I came tonight with an open mind and a sneaky feeling that this was going to be a good gig. I was wrong: It was outstanding! From the first sight of the enigmatic true spirit of Punk individualism - Ari Up - with her explosion of dreads and an eclectic mix of an accent, the stakes for an exciting and momentous gig were raised to the full. With fellow original member Tessa on bass and new members gracing the Corporation's stage we were informed that we were gonna be getting some Punk (a term Ari later requested definition of ... from us the audience and in return got a reply of YOU!) and some reggae. A Punky Reggae party in full control!
The set consisted of all of their singles from 'Man next door', 'Earthbeat' and the 1980 P-FUNK workout 'In the beginning there was Rhythm' to debut single and the most recognisably Slits-like number the Reggae/Ska infused 'Typical Girls' (during which the band were joined on stage with what we can suspect as being Slitettes - ok Slits fans... dressed typically in typical dress fare. Former John Peel session and 'Cut' faves 'New Town' (one of my personal faves), 'So tough' and 'Shoplifting' - with it's chant of 'Do a runner' were played along with almost everything else from the pre Giant Slits LP period. New tracks were also introduced and sound very promising. Infact I can't wait to get their new just released CD .
The crowd loved the girls, the Slits loved the vibe...we all swiftly became enchanted with the very presence and aura of this very special performance that should rightly go down as a classic gig. The sound was spot on too; the snappy reggae fueled drums and bass met with the occasional buzzsaw guitar outburst that would raise the tempo before returning to it's Jah roots and more than one journey to reggae dance hall flavoured sounds! The communication between audience and band was very warm and earthy...right to the roots of it. For me, I consider this band to be pure Punk: in attitude for sure, but in everything to do with them. There is a taste of anarchic friviolity and a real love for their influences here. The naturalistic approach to 'chorus' backing vocals comes over as so pure and unfettered by the hindrance of any singing lessons syndrome that its as much a part of all things Slits as the skanking and scratchy sounds of their guitar parts. The almost baroque sound of the vocal humming intro to 'Gayes' 'Grapevine' also reaches the parts other songs and bands cannot very often reach. Every song is played with true enthusiasm. This gig felt like something very special. I can tell you: it takes a lot to make me smile on a Sunday night at 10pm with the prospect of work in the morning, but the Slits certainly did! I can't wait see them again and I honestly can't recommend them highly enough. My gig of the year.
Vice Squad - Rotherham Mondos October 10th.Review by El Tone: Photos by Signorita Michael Hill.
I went along to this one in support of the new venue for Punk and Rock live music in Rotherham - Mondos bar: soon to be reverting back to its original guise of the Dickens bar as it was known back in its Heavy rock heyday of the 70's. The last time I saw Vice Squad was at the other end of town at the now long since demolished Clifton Hall at the tail end of 1981 and towards the end of my original first phase of Punk. I came tonight expecting to possibly be won over by some new direction from the band. Along with a few people I spoke to last night I was dissapointed as this was not to be.
On a starting positive note, soundcheck run through and first set number 'Out of Control' was impressive with a Ramones style - via a U.S.A West Coast Spectorish - feel: a fair stab at Punky Pop and a great opener. From there, all went downhill with a set of HM with crusty Punk packaging all blending into one. I can't say I hated the material; maybe even worse, it did nothing for me at all. First 45 'Last Rocker's (which I didn't like the first time around in 1980 preferring it's b-sides and follow up Ressurection e.p) was served up with some enthusiastic crowd response, whilst the remaining Punk/HM by numbers appeared to please a good number of the crowd, though not all.
Singer Beki Bondage looks extremely well and before and after the set mingled a little with fans, even participating in a bit of good natured banter with yours truly. I have to say though that I find it a little bit sad how some fans (but not all - one lass I know is the world's greatest Vice Squad fan and her love for Beki and her music truly shines) appear to sheepishly idolise the latter day Punk princess... showing signs of being in awe of actually being close to the good lady Bondage. One fella - clothes saturated in class of 81 Punk patches and looking like an outcast from the Texas chainsaw massacre family - was almost on his knees in the kind of adulation we used to have for the Pop stars of yesteryear that we loved before we saw the light with Punk Rock. This is a public service broadcast - 'Don't hold your musical heroes on a pedastal'.
So all in all, a success for the venues first night ... in as much as nothing notable went wrong - the potential for trouble, though, is one that needs addressing with the passing townies trying to break through for free etc. Three bands played and in all fairness - with good heart and intentions. As is usual with low key gigs and venues, the motivation remains genuine and I can respect and recognise that a real love of playing live and thrashing out no holds barred rock n' roll is the order of the day here. The atmosphere was light and quiet a few people seemed to be enjoying themselves. Personally I enjoyed the social gathering, but that was mostly all. I was bored back in 81 when I last saw the band - following a series of energetic previous gigs - and if I am going to be perfectly honest I was fairly bored in 2009; when the only really abiding good memory of the band is a handfull of those good gigs in 1981, a great John Peel session, a more than decent e.p (Ressurection) and tonight a good set opener 'Out of Control'. If Punk Rock is going to survive though, we need something more interesting than this. Give me the Lurkers anyday!
Here was our very first review.
Magazine tear out a page at the Plug in Sheffield!
Review by Tony Beesley 15/7/09
The last time Magazine played Sheffield was back in 1980 at the Polytechnic (with Bauhaus supporting). I was a fan back then but due to misleading circumstances, ended up missing the gig. 'Never mind' I thought at the time 'I will catch them next time' . Unfortunately Magazine split the following year and I missed my chance. Fortunately...last night the newly reformed Magazine (sadly minus original guitarist John McGeoch who passed away in 2003) they returned to the Steel City for a re-run of back issues of classic Magazine...and it was a cracker!
Following their sell out gigs earlier in the year in their native Manchester, the line up of original member and proto-Buzzcocks leader - vocalist 'Howard Devoto', fellow originals Dave Formula on keyboards and the master of Post-Punk bass playing Barry Adamson along with new page turners John Doyle on Drums and Noko on guitar appeared to a packed out and excitedly anticipative crowd at the Plug venue. At my friend Andy's damned good guess they kicked into proceedings with the 'newly re-evaluated Post-Punk classic 'The Light pours out of me'...and everything sounded just right! Infact nothing could have been better. Perfect is a very hard word to throw around, but it was very much something like that.
The crowd bayed the band on through a kind of 'what should have been greatest hits but weren't at the time but certainly hitting the right charts now' set...'Real life' regulars 'Motorcade', 'Parade', 'Definitive Gaze', Soap favourites 'Philadelphia', 'Because your Frightened' and one of the best 45's of 1980 'A song from under the Floorboards' hit the right spots as did Sly Stone cover 'Thank you for letting you be myself again' - to which Devoto thanked us the fans for encouragement, 'Sweet heart Contract' and the eternal 'Shot by Both sides'. .. During the latter Devoto came in on cue a little early following the middle section, but the band in a split second improvised superbly. The greatest Rock n'Roll 45 of 1978 as proclaimed by the NME back then still sounds like the greatest Rock n' Roll 45 of ... any year!
Its hard to imagine that 28 years have passed without the beauty, resonance and underlying bite of Magazine. Of the many re-united bands and reformed half tributes that are currently doing the rounds - of which there are many great ones but just as many not so great - this collective of pure musical talent and a timeless soundtrack are amongst the ones that rightly deserve all the accolades thrown their way... Two inspired encores including a great rendition of 1978 b-side 'I love you, big Dummy' brought the mid-weeks proceedings to an end... all good things have to end unfortunately: tonight was one of those special gigs which you just wish could continue for so much longer. Let's hope that the newly re-formed Magazine themselves continue to inspire and perform for much much longer. Now is as good a time as any to listen to some songs from 'Real Life' and onwards again. Lifes not so miserable as sin all of the time is it?