Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #9

Come in, number 9!  Yes, it’s another night of spinning 45s and boozing – a ritual I like to call Singles Night.  Because I play 7″ singles, obviously.  There’s an ever growing stack of 45 rpm singles and I need to deal with them.  This is the latest session.

Starting off with Elvis, as is now tradition, what other wonders will we hear?

  1. Elvis Presley – “Always On My Mind” / “Separate Ways”
  2. Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Happy House” / “Drop Dead” / “Celebration”
  3. Albert King – “The Very Thought of You” / “I Get Evil”
  4. Queen – “Los Palabras De Amor (The Words of Love” / “Cool Cat”
  5. ABBA – “The Winner Takes It All” / “Elaine”
  6. Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street” / “Big Change in the Weather”
  7. Bryan Ferry – “The Price of Love” / “Shame, Shame, Shame” / “Heart On My Sleeve” / “Its Only Love”
  8. The Steve Miller Band – “Abracadabra” / “Never Say No”
  9. The Rolling Stones – “The Last Time” / “Play with Fire”
  10. Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” / “Girl Get Ahold of Yourself”
  11. Donovan & Jeff Beck Group – “Barabajagal” / “Trudi”
  12. The Kyriakos – “More Greek Themes: Syneeta Platia” / “Mia Fora Monaha Ftani” / “Moraxia” / “Iliachtida”
  13. Boney M – “Rasputin” / “Never Change Lovers in the Middle of the Night”
  14. Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass – “The Lonely Bull” / “Acapulco 1922”
  15. Yardbirds – “For Your Love” / “Got to Hurry”
  16. Billie Jo Spears – “Blanket on the Ground” / “Come on Home”
  17. Tony Bennett – “(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco” / “Candy Kisses”
  18. Geordie – “She’s a Teaser” / “We’re Alright Now”
  19. Neil – “Hole in My Shoe” / “Hurdy Gurdy Mushroom Man”
  20. Talk Talk – “Life’s What You Make It” / “Life’s What You Make It (Live)”
  21. The Art of Noise featuring Duane Eddy – “Peter Gunn” / “Something Always Happens”
  22. The B-52’s – “Roam” / “Whammy Kiss (Live)” / “Dance This Mess Around (Live)”
  23. Bobby Vinton – “Blue Velvet” / “Blue on Blue”

Wow, another eclectic bunch of tracks there!  Points of particular interest include Geordie, who feature (of course) the legendary Brian Johnson in his pre-AC/DC days.  And yes, that is Neil, alias Nigel Planer, from the Young Ones.

Several genres covered there and a fine evening’s listen.  More soon!

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #5

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 4th December 2015

Unlike the last event, I didn’t have a theme for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night this time around.  Just some tunes I fancied playing.  I hadn’t even decided exactly what they would be till the show was on.

For anyone still uninitiated, the night is hosted in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, North Wales.  There are two turntables and each participant gets to play 15 minutes of whatever music they want, vinyl only.

I had myself a couple of beers and rattled out this selection:

Motorhead – Ace of Spades

When you buy your first Motorhead album, you know you’ve entered the world of grown up music.  Big, nasty unapologetic rocking grown up music.  A song that never gets old, I was introduced to “Ace of Spades” when the band performed it on the classic “University Challenge” episode of The Young Ones.  It’s just a non-stop, joyous racket that simply will not stop or slow down for anyone.  Absolute perfection.  I played this in memory of drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, who sadly passed away recently.

The Vapors – Turning Japanese

A New Wave/Punk Rock classic, I was donated the brilliant “Turning Japanese” by a friend.  Thank you, Simon.  It was supposed to be part of a tribute set that I’m still working on.  It was going to be hard to follow up the adrenaline rush of the previous song, The Vapors pulled it off here though.  A great power pop song that kept the pace of the set nicely.

Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene

A slight fast forward to the late 1980’s for this next track.  The first track on Dinosaur Jr.’s album “Bug”, this track nicely covers the appeal of early American alternative rock.  Born out of punk and hardcore, with one foot in old Black Sabbath and one in jangly pop; Dinosaur Jr. constantly delight.  Reminds me of my skateboarding youth.

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

I couldn’t decide which track to play last, so I let the audience choose the album.  The Beastie Boys “Ill Communication” won hands down, and I chose “Sabotage” as the track to play.  Another unrelenting monster of a song, “Sabotage” has a funky groove delivered with a rocking style.  Again, a song I never tire of.  Plus the Spike Jonze video, with it’s 70’s cop show homage, is a work of genius.  It’s been over twenty years and I still want to dress up and play Sabotage Cops for a day.

My buddy Adam strode up to the decks next, and delivered another fine set.  It went something like this:

  • Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
  • The Blasters – I’m Shakin’
  • Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
  • DJ Kool – Let Me Clear My Throat

Four top songs from Adam there, the Queen track was a load of fun and had me doing my world renowned Freddie Mercury impression.  It was nice to hear a modern song on vinyl too, with the Ronson/Mars number.

Great night, great songs – well done all on another fine evening’s entertainment.  I’m currently stumped what to play next time.  I’ll work on it.

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.

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.

Another Damned Gig Review

DamnedCHThe Damned

Thursday 17th September 2015

The Live Rooms, Chester

Hello, chums!  How about another review of a musical concert?  How about another review of a Damned musical concert?  Very well, off we go…

It was my birthday on Saturday, so it was very kind of The Damned to play a gig on Thursday night for me.  They are my favourite band, after all.  Not many bands would go to all the trouble of playing for their number one fan in a nearby locale.  I don’t know who invited all the other people who turned up, mind – wasn’t me.  I hardly knew any of them.

The Damned sold out The Live Rooms in Chester, which is pretty impressive.  The place was packed out with all manner of discerning music fans, and by golly those punk rock chaps put on a hell of a good show.

From the moment Captain Sensible uttered the immortal phrase “Ladies and Gentlemen, ‘Ow do”, I knew it would be a blinder.  Straight off into “Love Song”, a rollicking locomotive of a song all about trainspotting.  Then it was “Machine Gun Ettiquette” and “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today” – top tunes all, and the running order gave something of a clue as how things would develop set wise.

The evening was an almost chronological journey to the centre of the Damned, with tracks following from the Black Album, through Strawberries and onto their later 80’s catalogue.  Until they messed that plan up by going back to the start with the always excellent “New Rose” and “Neat Neat Neat”.  I defied my OCD and enjoyed the travelling back through time regardless.

The band were on excellent form, Dave Vanian in fine voice and Sensible throwing some amazing guitar noises around (“Ignite” is always mental).  Pinch on drums and Stu on bass are in control and drive the machine ever onward.  Monty was, of course, his usual crazy and lovable self; always entertaining and adding an extra dimension with his keyboard skills.

A couple of “firsts” for me tonight – I’ve never heard “Alone Again Or” performed live, or the totally amazing “Nasty”.  This song was one of my earliest experiences of The Damned, when they roared through it on the Young Ones.  Relegated to a B-side and rarely cropping up on compilations, I’d given up on hearing this one in the flesh.  “Nasty” was dedicated to previous bass player Bryn Merrick, who had died recently.

Throw in another appearance of “Stranger on the Town” (see my last Damned review for how big a deal this is) and the song that kick started the whole fandom thing from my point of view, “Eloise”, and it was a quality set list.  Not to mention punk rock classics such as “Disco Man” and “Smash It Up” – what a result!

Any complaints?  Well there was no “Plan 9 Channel 7”, which is absolutely criminal.  Nothing from the two most recent albums either, which is a bit worrying – there’s some great tunes on those records.  The Live Rooms is a brilliant venue, but they seem a bit keen to send people home when they could’ve made a few quid more at the bar, if they’d kept it open half an hour.  Strange.

All in all though, it was a fantastic night.  The Damned threw me a very nice birthday party and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Wonder if they’re free same time next year?

Here’s The Damned’s website: http://www.officialdamned.com/

The Live Rooms web site is here.

You can read the set list for this gig here.

Here’s a link to my previous review of The Damned live: click me

R.I.P. Bryn Merrick