Cats Playlist

Cats!  I love ’em!

They’re crazy, cute, playful and lovable.  They’re agile and graceful and beautiful.  But most of all, they are loyal little companions who, despite their reputation, are full of affection.

To honour my furry feline friends – past, present and future – I collated another one of my themed playlists.  This collection of songs all have a connection to cats in some way, and create an eclectic compilation that crosses categories.

You can compile a similar list, and I hope you and your cat enjoy!

  1. Mongo Santamaria – “El Pussy Cat”
  2. The Cure – “Love Cats”
  3. Johnny Cash – “Mean Eyed Cat”
  4. Barney Kessel – “Something for Cat”
  5. The Presidents of the United States of America – “Kitty”
  6. The James Taylor Quartet – “Faster Pussycat”
  7. Stray Cats – “Stray Cat Strut”
  8. Hanna-Barbera – “Top Cat (Main Title)”
  9. Howlin’ Wolf – “I Ain’t Superstitious”
  10. Tom Jones – “What’s Ne w Pussycat?”
  11. Marty Paich – “The Cat”

    My cat, Jenna

  12. Ted Nugent – “Cat Scratch Fever”
  13. Primus – “Tommy the Cat”
  14. Jacknife Lee – “Here Kitty Kitty”
  15. Rolling Stones – “Stray Cat Blues”
  16. Pete Moore & His Orchestra – “Cat Walk”
  17. Alice Cooper – “Gutter Cat vs. The Jets”
  18. Beyonce – “Kitty Kat”
  19. Hanna Barbera – “Top Cat (Underscore)”
  20. Devo – “Pink Pussy Cat”
  21. Danzig – “Wicked Pussycat”
  22. Celia Vaz/Friends from Rio – “Francisco Cat”
  23. Roni Size – “Mad Cat”
  24. R.E.M. – “Star Me Kitten”

Bonus points if you know why the Howlin’ Wolf track is included…

Sadly, I forgot to add Nina Simone’s “Feline Good” to the list…

Till next time: ciao, cat lovers!

Gym Playlist #1

Have you been hitting the gym since the start of the year?  Punishing yourself with cardio and weights as you fight to shed those extra pounds that attached themselves limpet-like over the festive season?

I’ve been slaughtering the gym since the start of the year, but then I always do.  Not that it seems to do any good.

Whilst I’m there, pummelling away at the flab in a vain attempt to get in shape, I need some tunes to motivate me.  The music in the gym is usually dancey disco stuff, which is fine if you’re dancing, but when I’m working out I need something a bit more aggressive.

Albums by various bands get a regular spin, but I also made this iPod playlist to help me focus like a Viking ransacking a monastery.  Sometimes I’m so amped I feel like I could run through the wall, rather than just plodding on the treadmill.

You could do worse than to listen to this cacophony yourself.

  1. Rocket From The Crypt – “Pushed”
  2. Audioslave – “Cochise”
  3. Big Chief – “Lion’s Mouth”
  4. Metallica – “Die Die My Darling”
  5. Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”
  6. Rage Against the Machine – “Guerrilla Radio”
  7. Anthrax – “Only”
  8. Corrosion of Conformity – “Heaven’s Not Overflowing”
  9. Pantera – “Fucking Hostile”
  10. The Cult – “Rise”
  11. Probot – “Shake Your Blood”
  12. Suicidal Tendencies – “War Inside My Head”
  13. Beastie Boys – “Sabotage”

There you go: 47 minutes of energetic, in your face music to psyche you up and get you in the mood to destroy. GO!!!

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #9

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 4th November 2016

It was great to be back in Mold for another Bring Your Own Vinyl Night.  It’s been a long time since the last evening in the Queen’s Head, with summer holidays and whatnot getting in the way – so it was good to see the familiar faces and crank out some tunes.

The usual rules applied: each person got 15 minutes on the decks to play whatever they liked, genre free – vinyl only!

Adam went for it first, here’s an over view of his varied and very enjoyable set:

  • Voice of the Beehive – I Think I Love You
  • Grandmaster Flash – Whitelines
  • Queen – One Vision
  • Willie Nelson – On the Road Again

I am so jealous of that Willie Nelson single!

Halloween had just been and gone a few days earlier, so I was still in a spooky mood.  This time, my set went like this:

Monster Magnet – See You in Hell

One of the many stand out tracks from Monster Magnet’s classic “Powertrip” album, this is acid drenched stoner rock at its finest.  The retro sound is augmented by a churning organ that whirls around as the bass chugs.  Psychedelic wonderment from Monster Magnet that sounds like a forgotten late 60’s gem.  I’ve owned the “Powertrip” album for many years on CD, but recently acquired the new vinyl re-issue.  Money well spent.  A truly great, under appreciated band.

Donovan – Season of the Witch

This fantastic song was featured in the Tim Burton movie Dark Shadows, a film I’m a huge fan of (though it appears not many other people are).  Whilst the previous song sounds like something from the sixties, this one is.  It’s a mellow groover that manages to wander out of hippy territory and sound somewhat sinister… Love this track, I felt it was a suitable jam for a Halloween inspired set.

The Damned – Plan 9 Channel 7

Ah, the Damned!  Where would a Halloween themed set be, without a tune from these punk rock proto-Goths?  One of my favourite bands, one of my favourite songs – from the indispensable “Machine Gun Etiquette” album.  Every home should own this!  The song is, of course, written about a viewing of Ed Wood‘s infamous “worst film ever made” – Plan 9 From Outer Space – on American horror channel 9.  Vampira, James Dean, Hollywood after dark – it’s all here in a perfect slice of rampaging pop punk.

The Misfits – American Nightmare

Finally, more horror punk from the masters themselves – the one and only Misfits.  On this track, Danzig and pals abandon the usual Ramones inspired turbo punk and offer up a ridiculously catchy rockabilly number.  Complete with handclaps and Danzig crooning more like Elvis than ever, this track sounds like a lost piece of 50’s nostalgia.  Classic stuff.

There we have it ladies and gentlemen – another great night in Mold!  Thanks to the guys from Halcyon Dreams and VOD music – and Dylan who helped out with an extra turntable!  More soon…

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD music website is here.

Scorpion Child – Gig Review

Scorpion Child + Jared James Nichols + The Bad Flowers

Tuesday 1st November 2016

The Live Rooms, Chester

Almost a year to the day since I last saw the mighty Scorpion Child rocking out, and in the same venue too.  This time the crowd numbers are down, but hell – it was a bleak Tuesday evening.  No excuse though – people should have been at the Live Rooms for this gig.

I just managed to catch the end of the first set, by UK band The Bad Flowers.  This three piece were all power and chunky riffs – think Motorhead menace with some ZZ Top rock in there.  Very appetising and well worth keeping an eye on.

Next up was Jared James Nichols, with his two bandmates, bringing us our second three piece of the night.  This American band play a fine blend of bluesy hard rock, delivered with a confident, killer attack.  Mountain were a fair comparison – they rocked out a crunching “Mississippi Queen” just to prove it.  Quality entertainment with a boogie groove!

The last time I saw Scorpion Child, they were here on tour with Crobot (another superb band).  Now with their second album – the extremely brilliant Acid Roulette – firmly under their belt, I was keen to witness these new rock’n’roll superstars-to-be again.

Scorpion Child deliver music that is well schooled in the classics of the past – Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple.  And like those bands they’re able to deliver monster rockers like “Liqour” and “She Sings, I Kill” along with some superbly epic moments that build beautifully (“Survives” and “Acid Roulette”).

There’s also a thinly disguised darkness about the bands sound, not exactly doomy but much more in the vein of 80’s bands like the Mission and the Sisters of Mercy.  At their most bombastic, Scorpion Child are reminiscent of The Cult (from whence they claimed their name).  Apologies for endless musical comparisons – but this band really have some classic style that merits a bigger fan base.  Throw in some Danzig and Soundgarden and you’ve got a list of some of my favourite bands.

A great deal of the set is from the new album, showing justified confidence on the bands part.  Songs like “My Woman in Black” and “I Might Be Your Man” are thundering hard rock compositions that are classics in the making.

A great gig, shame about the low attendance (and the lack of merch!) – but brilliantly infectious modern hard rock.  I’m off for fish’n’chips.

The Scorpion Child website is here.

You can find Scorpion Child, Jared James Nichols and the Bad Flowers on Facebook.

The Live Rooms website is here.

 scorpion-child

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #4

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 2nd October 2015

For this month’s Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, I decided to have a theme for my set.  Although it was only early in the month of October, I decided to opt for a Halloween theme.  My music choices would have a horror element, or something dark and macabre.

If you’re not familiar with vinyl night, here’s the basic outline:

  • Hosted in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, turn up and play a fifteen minute set of songs – vinyl only, no CD’s, mp3s, tapes or anything else.
  • Put your name on the list and wait your turn, have a few drinks, listen to the collection of tunes played by other vinyl fans.
  • There are two turntables plus mixing equipment to play your set, plus assistance if you need technical help.

Adam was first up tonight, his set list went as follows:

  • Amen Corner – (If Paradise is) Half As Nice
  • Los Lobos – C’mon Let’s Go
  • Jim Steinman – Surf’s Up
  • Guns’n’Roses – You Could Be Mine

Then it was my turn…

Bobby “Boris” PIckett and the Crypt-Kickers – Monster Mash

What better way to start than with this ghoulish classic?  I found this album a few months ago in a charity shop, and couldn’t believe my luck.  It was only a couple of quid, and worth the investment even though I don’t usually spend more than a pound!  This is of course the sixties gem that sound checks various monsters, with Pickett impersonating Karloff (and Lugosi too).  It’s great fun and essential for any Halloween party!

The Damned – Nasty

The first time I ever heard the Damned was when “Eloise” got to number 3 in the charts.  The second time was this fast paced, tongue in cheek ode to horror movies, on the brilliant Young Ones horror spoof episode “Nasty”.  The Damned appear and play this song in the Young Ones’ kitchen.  I was hooked straight away, saved up some money and bought an album with both tracks on it.  Given the exposure this song had, it constantly amazes me that “Nasty” was relegated to a B-side and hardly ever shows up on Damned compilation albums.  I’ve seen the band live more times than any other, but only saw this song performed for the first time a few weeks ago!  Anyway, the Damned are another essential for a Halloween theme.  Still a great song.

Danzig – Sistinas

Although not a horror related song as such, I couldn’t resist the chance to play something by the Dark Lord of rock himself, Danzig.  Instead of a more obvious bone rattling heavy rock number, I chose this incredible ballad that was hidden away on Danzig III: How the Gods Kill.  Glenn shows off his great vocal abilities here on a song that is more Roy Orbison than Black Sabbath.  Appropriately dark and wind swept, this is a morose beauty of a song.

The Misfits – Vampira

To be honest, I was spoiled for choices for a horror theme, there are tons of songs I could’ve played.  Despite risking a Glenn Danzig overdose, I just had to spin a Misfits song.  This band took the horror punk template established by the Damned, the Ramones and the Cramps and ran with it, off into a creepy cemetery populated by every 1950’s B-movie monster ever.  “Walk Among Us” is one of my favourite albums ever, and this short sharp song dedicated to proto Goth babe Vampira is one of their best.

So there you have it – another triumphant evening for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night.  There were old songs, new songs, obscure and obvious songs.  There’s always something to make you go away and research another band, that’s the beauty of these nights.  My personal favourite was hearing “Gut Feeling” by Devo!  Already looking forward to the next one.  A theme?  We’ll see…

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all of the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Lordi Gig Review

Lordi + Hollywood Groupies + Dirty Passion

Friday 3rd April 2015

The Live Rooms, Chester

One thing’s for sure: when the Live Rooms say “doors open at 7pm”, make sure you get in there on time.  I was having a cheeky pint in Kash up the road, so missed the start of the first set tonight.  I arrived about 7.20pm and the first band were already on.

Dirty Passion were that first band, and I’m happy to report that they were pretty damn good.  Hailing from Sweden, this gang of greasy deviants sounded somewhere between Motorhead and Sonic Temple-era Cult.  A confident start to the night.

Next up on our international smorgasbord of rock was Hollywood Groupies, all the way from Italy.  The fact that there were two females in the band (one on vocals, one guitar) is one reason why this band stood out.  Female equality is all very good, and not a novelty in this case – the whole band threw out a quality set.  Again it’s straight up rock’n’roll, and I sensed a slight Danzig influence with big, sing along choruses in abundance.  Nice work. LORDI_on_Tour_Force_One_2015_Masters_of_Rock_CZ

Finally, our main course tonight is a Finnish dish – the Eurovision slaying Monsters of Rock known as Lordi.  I’ll never forget watching the Eurovision song contest in 2006, and the moment when Finland’s entry appeared on stage.  Fully kitted out in monster outifts, the band made jaws drop across the world and rightfully stole the event.

Tonight at the Live Rooms isn’t much different – Lordi appear on stage and drag the audience in to their bizarre horror rock world.  Complete with lights, foam guns, confetti, additional (monster mask wearing) dancers and more, it’s an unrelenting show that is pure, spectacular fun.

I have a couple of Lordi albums, but know only about a quarter of the songs played tonight.  No matter – I was quite surprised even the songs I wasn’t familiar with were listenable, catchy, enjoyable.  “Hard Rock Hallelujah” is played third song in, but there’s no indication of Lordi giving away their ace card too soon, there’s plenty of thrills to be served up.

Like seeing Alice Cooper, there’s a sense of theatrics with Lordi’s show.  It all adds up to a visual treat as well as a musical one.  Highly entertaining, and very hard rocking.  Hallelujah!!!

The Live Rooms website is here.  Keep an eye open for more great gigs coming soon!

The Lordi website is here.

The Misfits – Gig Review

The Misfits

Thursday 26th July 2014

The Live Rooms, Chester

Way back in 1988, as a young skateboarding rapscallion, I bought a vinyl copy of The Misfits album “Walk Among Us“.  I’d heard Metallica’s cover of “Last Caress” and decided to invest in some tunes by the group.  It was a gamble – I had no idea what the rest of their music sounded like.  Neither “Last Caress” nor “Green Hell” were featured on that particular platter.  Nevertheless, I decided to hand over my saved up dinner money to try it out, after some deliberation.

That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  “Walk Among Us” is, quite simply, one of the best records ever, of any genre.  Any initial trepidation I had was annihilated as soon as the furious pace and sing along vocals were heard.  My ears were opened.  It didn’t hurt that all the songs were about cheesy old B-movies, either.

So imagine my delight when I heard that The Misfits would be playing in Chester, only a few miles from home.  One of my favourite bands ever, so close – there was no way this gig was going to be missed.  I bought tickets immediately.

OK, so Jerry Only is the only (see what I did there?) original member performing under The Misfits name.  No Glenn Danzig, no Doyle.  Even though I’m a huge Danzig fan, I wasn’t going to be precious.  This was a momentous opportunity. images

Besides, there’s Dez Cadena on guitar, who has a fine punk rock pedigree from his time in Black Flag.

So disbelievers be damned, The Misfits gig was on!

I missed the support band though.  Sorry.

The Live Rooms was previously a comedy venue, now it’s showing bands.  It’s a cool venue and worth keeping an eye on to see who to expect.  On this night, the place was absolutely packed out with all manner of black clad loons, anticipating the arrival of the legendary Misfits.  I certainly felt excitement in the air.  Everyone seemed to be hyped up for this gig, me included.  After all, a band like The Misfits playing in these parts is pretty much unheard of.

So the band arrive on stage and are welcomed like all conquering heroes.  As I was stood there, I couldn’t really believe I was experiencing this in person.  The Misfits – here and now, churning out monster hit after hit.  I’m sure others felt the same.

They start with some great tracks from the most recent album, “The Devil’s Rain“.  We also get a smattering of songs from the 90’s era of the band, with “Scream!” a real stand out.  I dig these Graves era tunes, and most of them hold up really well, even against the old Danzig classics.  Only does a fine job of howling out the vocals whilst thundering along on the bass too.

Those old tracks certainly bring a smile though.  “She”, “Bullet” and “Where Eagles Dare” practically tear the roof of the place.  But when we get to gems from “Walk Among Us“, I’m as happy as Bela Lugosi on 31st October.  “Vampira” is probably my favourite Misfits song, so a treat to hear that.  We also get “Hatebreeders”, “Astro Zombies”, “20 Eyes” – the list goes on. Misfits-promo13c

In fact it’s amazing how much material the band get through.  They play a nearly two hour set, and bombard the audience with song after song.  There’s barely a breather between each track.  The Misfits play fast and intense.  All credit to drummer Eric Arce – the Devil knows how he keeps up the relentless pace.  The audience respond with slam dancing/mosh pit craziness like I’ve not witnesses for many a long year.  It will be interesting to see whether the management have second thoughts about booking similar bands in future…

Our only down side  this evening is the sound, which isn’t the best.  From Jerry’s side of the room, where I’m standing, the guitars at the opposite side are frequently lost.  Cadena’s vocals are largely inaudible.  There was a story going round that Dez was suffering with a throat infection, hence why we get a roadie singing the (very good) Black Flag cover.  When we can hear Dez, he’s great.  Still, seems to me like there was some issue sound wise here, though.

The Misfits are exactly what I expected, and that’s fine by me.  From the dry ice enveloped opening, through raucous punk rock and over the top delivery, this is what I paid my money for.  More than just delivering the goods though, The Misfits were genuinely exciting to see.  I’ve seen novelty bands before and while they were fun, they were nothing like this.  This isn’t a tribute band, it’s a well honed, obliterating machine.  It drags us through all eras of The Misfits’ revered history and leaves you grateful to have been a part of it.

Absolutely phenomenal.  Thank you Jerry, Dez and Eric.  Long live The Misfits!

Please check out the Live Rooms soon – if they’re going to support bands like this, you need to support them!

The Misfits web page is here.

The Live Rooms web page is here.

Elvis Lives!

What if… Elvis Presley hadn’t died in 1977?

Another great thing about the White Bear in Mancot is that they have live music on Saturday nights.  Whether it’s a full band or a lone artist, there’s usually some entertainment on.  And very good they are too.

One night I witnessed an Elvis tribute night, which was excellent.  Andy Wright was the performer, and he put on a great show.  Two sets of classics from the King, complete with jump suit outfit and giant lit up Elvis back drop.  He had the voice and mannerisms dialled, not being afraid to stay in character with his between song banter.  Brilliant fun.

Another section of the performance intrigued me.  For the encore, Andy sang several songs that Elvis hadn’t actually performed*.  The reason that they hadn’t been covered by the King was that they were, for the most part, songs written after his death.  Thus, we were regaled by songs such as Purple Rain and Folsom Prison Blues.  A fantastic idea – very different and thought provoking. 2013-11-30 22.52.14

It got me thinking.  What if Elvis Presley hadn’t died on August 16th 1977?

What if, in an alternate reality, Elvis had lived on?  Maybe the 1980’s would have been a barren patch creatively.  Perhaps a half hearted come back tour, a residency in Las Vegas.  Perhaps the Elvis show would run to parody and be devoid of both true spectacle and triumph.

Perhaps in the 1990s, Rick Rubin would have decided to record something stripped back, honest and gritty with Elvis?  To put the King back on his throne and return him to his glorious past?  Used contemporary songs to showcase the immense talent that this fallen icon still possessed?  Remind us all why we loved Elvis in the first place, and what a force to be reckoned with he still was?

Something vaguely similar happened in the 90’s with Elvis’ contemporary Johnny Cash.  In another dimension, would the King have recovered his cool in the same way?

This thought led me to create the playlist below.  Twelve songs by newer artists that I think would have been fantastic for Elvis to cover.

Just imagine: Elvis Presley – and his recent Rubin produced comeback album “American Recordings: Long Live the King”.

  1. “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaak)
  2. “American Nightmare” (The Misfits)
  3. “Mama Said” (Metallica)
  4. “Crazy in Love” (Beyonce)
  5. “You Shook Me All Night Long” (AC/DC)
  6. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (U2)
  7. “Blood and Tears” (Danzig)
  8. “When the Going Gets Tough” (Billy OCean)
  9. “Mystify” (INXS)
  10. “Stranger on the Town” (The Damned)
  11. “Mysterious Ways” (U2)
  12. “Hip to be Square” (Huey Lewis & The News)

Some of those choices may not be obvious, if you’re not familiar with the bands.  Take my word for it, Elvis singing Misfits and Danzig songs would be awesome.  Glenn Danzig reminds me of Presley anyway, a lot of the time.  And The King’s voice would be perfect for The Damned and Metallica tracks.

Disagree with my song choices?  Have more ideas for songs for Elvis?  Leave a comment and let me know.

You can visit Andy Wright’s Facebook page here.  Get in touch and book him.

Volbeat – Gig Review

Volbeat + Support

Friday 18th October 2013

Manchester Academy

OK, so I should’ve posted this gig review a while ago – Hallowe’en Horror Fest got in the way.  I apologise.  Better late than never.

My buddies and I went to the magical land of Manchester, to see Volbeat.  The weather was terrible – non stop rain – as befits Mancunia.  It always rains there.  Every time I’ve been, ever.

I missed the first support band, but arrived just as Iced Earth were beginning their set.  I’d heard of the band, but never listened to them – so wasn’t sure what to expect.  I thought they were death metal, I was wrong.  I thought they were European, they’re American.  They were better than I expected, more trad metal (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest) with some 80’s thrash (Testament, Megadeth) along for the ride.  Another comparison I can make is Black Label Society.  Overall, I was impressed with their crunching attack and will look out to purchase some recorded material.

Before Volbeat take the stage at the Academy, they treat us to some Motorhead.  An apt intro tape, as much like Lemmy’s crew, we are dealing with a heavy band who make no secret of their love for good old rock’n’roll.  “Born to Raise Hell” thunders from the PA until Volbeat erupt into live action – and we’re off.

Volbeat are an interesting concept.  Undeniably they are a heavy rock/metal band, yet they embrace the past unlike many others.  Thus we are given a cheeky rendition of “Ring of Fire” and a rocked up “I Only Want to be With You”, to garnish the rockabilly twangs of their original  material.  To be honest, it’s nothing that Glenn Danzig hasn’t already done, but there’s something great about hearing current metal’s DNA being exposed that makes this band thoroughly enjoyable.

In the audience, you can spot the odd dude with a quiff alongside the usual metal uniforms, not to mention a couple of girls in Bettie Page styled attire.  Very cool.  And definite visual evidence that here, rock has come full circle.

My only problem with this gig is that I don’t know the music well enough.  I have three albums by Volbeat, and they’re great – but to really get the benefit of this gig I should have done more homework.  Not that the songs don’t work if you’re not familiar with them – I just wish I’d taken more time to get under their skin.  Then this would’ve been a legendary gig, not just a great one.