Sunday, July 09, 2006

Paul Di'Anno - The Classics
The Maiden Years

OK, what we have here is the singer of the greatest heavy metal band of them all, singing all the key tracks that made that band great. The thing is has he pulled it of? Well quite frankly, yes and then some. The only criticism I would have is the track order, and that is because having listened to the first maiden album for the last 25 years you get used to what comes next (that’s a real bone of contention with cd remaster as they decided to shove sanctuary on as track 2 grrrr) . Still Paul is in fine voice, and has a variety of musicians that keep faithful to the maiden sound. Actually Paul has a very good way of getting backing bands, he just goes on tour with an Iron Maiden tribute bands as his backing band!

This CD is strictly limited and you can only get it from Paul’s web site, but if you are a fan at all of any of the early Maiden recordings then you should really grab a copy of this before Steve Harris comes running for the royalties! (As I notice his name is absent from the CD cover as is any copyright information!!!!)

Roger O'Donnell
The Truth In Me

The first thing to strike you about this cd is the stunning packageing and artwork much as roger has embraced the modern technology of things like I tunes he has also made the hard product something very unique to.

Roger was a member of 2 of the most important bands of my lifetime, that being The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and The Thompson twins, though he spent the last 20 odd years with the odd break for good behaviour as a member of The Cure.

So what we have here is a labour of love turned into a full album, he was commissioned to compose a piece if music for the Moog film that came out last year the while track was to be written and recorded using just a Moog (in this case a Moog Voyager) . The Moog is normally thought of as a lead instrument or used for fat bass sounds, roger has put in a lot of attention to detail and used it for not just melodies but has made percussive sounds and given you the impression t at your in a lab with about 4 boffins all in white coats pressing buttons (I am of course thinking of footage I’ve seen of Kraftwerk in the mid 70s). The album starts with My Days, this album really benefits from being played through a good hifi as It has a large sonic width, the bass notes are really deep and the high sweeps are well really high! You cound call this track sci fi music, its not a million miles away from an old John Keeting lp I have from the 70s (minus the orchestra).The next track is one of a couple that are graced with the vocals of Erin Lang, best way to describe her is in the post All About Eve Cranes/Slowdive style and is sung in a very percussive style, the whole album has a very percussive feel even though there isn’t any drums on it, this I guess this is another reason why its not a normal album, its fair to say that it’s a groundbreaker as Ive not ever heard of any album that’s been written entirely on I electronic instrument (other than zappas Synclavia) and its not like a midi workstation , every sound has to be set up to be just right before recording. Well it’s a winner as the title track shows an almost haunting track that would grace the closing credits of any good film as long as it has a meaningful end.

Not with out you, If you shoved drums and guitars could sound like one of Rogers former bands, it would be interesting to see this one in that situation. Listening to the next few tracks I can see the drum and bass brigade getting hold of this and turning it into dance tracks, it has all the elements for it, This Grey Morning is a rather Jazzy number again with a percussive bass line, knowing roger is a big fan of the likes of Jan hammer and Herbie Hancock it does come through on this one. Tired of all this another one graced with Erins vocals and is probably the most likely contender for a single release should there be one from this album, and Is one id really like to hear with maybe some light percussion added. Last track and so I close My eyes, is tipping his had to the boffins in Germany, and why not.

This is a really good album, If you like electronic, Ambient or even Goth music, then I think you are going to like this an awful lot.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Who Tour Review of 3 Dates

So first show of the season for me was Ashton Gate in Bristol, I have been to so many good gigs in this city over the years so was well up for this one. The first band to take the stage were Never The Bride, now you may remember the singer of this band appearing on the TV programme Faking It when a choir girl became a rock chick! Anyway there is no faulting this lot a tight bunch of seasoned pros doing basically Janis Joplin type rock music, they were very good, unlike the Zutons that followed, who basically bored me to tears, bar the last song an improvisation that was OK.

The Zutons

After the Zutons played I had a keen eye on the stage, and my mate Clinton popped on stage with his little camera making an item for points west (he did an item the day before on Rabbit with a very tenuous link to the south west in that he lives in Taunton! Lucky sod got to go to Bray Studios too grrrrrr :) )

Mr Clinton Rogers!

Now the big question was will they be as good as when I saw them at the Albert Hall in 2004 ? Answer no, they were better! Pino has really fitted in well, and Zak is just amazing. The Who played a set of hits as Pete felt it was better for the summer gigs rather than playing Wire and Glass (according to hid diary) a Pity as I really wanted to hear it, that being said we did get to hear 1 new song 'Mike Post' and its a real rocker, the story is basically that Mike Post wrote many a well known theme tune, and when you hear it its a kind of a reassuring feeling, a bit like when you hear Corrie or Emmerdale 'Everything all right' the highlight though for me was hearing The Seeker and a totally brilliant rendition of Lets See Action where it starts off as an acoustic number then the band join in.

The Who in Bristol 28th June 2006

The next Show is Hyde Park, where I also saw Roger Waters I will do a separate post for that.

So In Hyde Park its a VERY hot day, I bumped into my mate Simon who owns a local garage and is also a Drummer who once was in a band with Kirk Brandon of Spear of Destiny, I also walked past Liam Gallagher (well I’m 99% sure it was him!). Now the big question was what exactly was Jeremy Clarkson doing with a Crew shirt on carrying gear and pretending he knows what he is doing? I think it may appear on Top Gear soon!

Before the band com on I saw Ross Halfin on the stage, Ross is one of the best if not the best rock photographer in the world, he also did all the photos for the tour programme and has the best blog on the internet.

Mr Ross Halfin

The Who’s set was a corker, the atmosphere was brilliant too, loads of water being sloshed around as it was such a hot day, Pete did Drowned as his solo spot, great rendition, and the back projections, well they were something else. Here are some photos.

After last nights fantastic show it was off to the edge of the new forrest and to Beaulieu I haven't been here since I was a kid, I got there around 2 and had a look around, It cost £15 which I thought was a bit pricey to be honest. Saw some nice cars inc this one

I also got to wander past the back stage area, where they do In the Attic for this is the van!

I said hello to some chap that looked official afterwards I did wonder if it was Bill Curbishley I also very briefly talked to Mikey Cuthbert who is part of the In The Attic team and I showed him one of the Hyde park photos he seamed impressed.

anyhow, they were kicking everyone out at 5pm then re opening the doors at 6 for the gig, I was wondering around when I heard some noises from the stage, so I had a look and the Who’s crew were testing the gear, I didn't think that the Who would be there as on the Newsnight feature ( I think) they said that there crew dies the sound check, but it was interesting to watch, and hear some of the loops too. so I left around 4.15 and went to the car, then what do I hear, only The Who going through Behind Blue Eyes, shit I though, how do I get back in? so I had an Idea, I did actually need to the loo, so I went back in with my receipt and asked if I could, they said yes, excellent and I legged it to the front of the stage where they were running though Who Are You (I think, I cant remember now !!!) I snapped this photo.

So on to the gig, I got to more or less the front of the queue and this time I was determined to get to the front, met some nice people from Southampton, though some jocks decided it would be ok to push in. as soon as my ticket was checked I legged it, and got the the front exactly where I wanted to be just in front of Pete.

Support was the Casbar Club, this is Simon Townshend, Bruce Foxton and Mark Brzezicki (Mark needs no introduction from me as being a member of Arthur’s band from time to time), Casbar rocked big time, real good 80s alt rock sound really enjoyed it here are some pics.

Right on to the main event, there was something really magical about tonight, you really had a fealing that you were part of it, maybe it was because I was so close and that I had been to 2 other shows. The Who came on and they did rock big time! Best if the 3 I reckon, Roger though had a problem and a valid one, he doesn’t get on with smoke/dry ice etc and has specified that it is not to be used, so the lighting people start pumping dry ice on the stage, he’s not happy and tells them so. He walks off and Pete has some banter with the audience over this.

Mr Kibblewhite was Pete and Rogers headmaster at school!

Anyhow Roger comes back and they blast through, great set, Pete's solo spot was 'Im One' tonight.

The rest of the photos go like this

And so came the end of a brilliant gig, but for me one more thing tipped off a brilliant few days, this man Alan Rogan

Was packing up Pete kit, and I called over and said can I have a Plectrum (as Pete dropped most of them) and after a bit of nagging he threw a few over and I got one, this just finished off the trip perfectly thanks Alan :)

To sum up the Who are the greatest live rock band in the world, nobody can even get close and I'm looking forward to maybe going to Americia around the time of my birthday to see them again.

Thank you Pete, Roger, Pino, Zak, Simon and John.

Matthew North 6th July 2006