Singles Night at the Virtual Hot tub #27

I promised we’d revisit Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub for another Singles Night, so here we go! Another evening of playing 7 inch singles and having a few cocktails (or beers, or whatever you thirst for). There’s a massive pile of these 45 rpm records to get through, so prepare yourself!

As a quick recap for the uninitiated, I have a stack (or several) of singles that I haven’t played yet. Some have been gifts, some have been picked up – usually very cheaply – from record shops, record fairs, charity shops and carboot sales. The idea is to play through the stack of vinyl one at a time, A side the B side, and enjoy the tunes.

Now I present to you my latest playlist:

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Taste the Pain” / “Shoe Me Your Soul”
  2. The Stranglers – “European Female” / “Savage Breast”
  3. The Wee Papa Girl Rappers – “We Rule” / “Rebel Rap”
  4. Salt-n-Pepa – “Shake Your Thang” / “Spinderella’s Not a Fella”
  5. Vanilla Ice – “Ice Ice Baby” / “It’s a Party”
  6. Motley Crue – “Girls, Girls, Girls” / “Sumthin’ for Nothin'”
  7. Neil Pepper (Elvis) – “Stairway to Heaven” / “The Beatnix – “Stairway to Heaven”
  8. Sham 69 – “Hurry Up, Harry” / “No Entry”
  9. Kenny Everett – “Snot Rap” / “Snot Rap (Part 2)”
  10. The Turtles – “Happy Together” / “Like the Seasons”
  11. Aerosmith – “Janie’s Got a Gun” / “Voodoo Medicine Man”
  12. Don Fardon – “Indian Reservation” / “Hudson Bay”
  13. Cerrone – “Je Suis Music” / “Rocket in the Pocket”
  14. Marty Wilde – “It’s Been Nice” / “Bad Boy”
  15. Taja Seville – “Love is Contagious” / “Mama”
  16. B.A. Robertson & Maggie Bell – “Hold Me” / “Spring Greens”
  17. Fiddler’s Dram – “Daytrip to Bangor” / “The Flash Lad”
  18. Bob Geldof – “The Great Song of Indifference” / “Hotel 75”
  19. Gary Shearston – “I Get a Kick Out of You” / “Witnessing”
  20. Mr. Mister – “Kyrie” / “Kyrie (Extended)”

A note on disc number 7 above: Neil Pepper is an Elvis impersonator, and The Beatnix are a Beatles tribute band. On this record, both have covered the Led Zeppelin classic in the style of their inspirations.

The latter half of this playlist started to wander in to some strange, unknown territory – along with featuring some decidedly dodgy songs. A while back, I purchased a box of about 100 singles at a carboot sale for a fiver, quite a lot of which was quality music. Here though, some of the dregs have started to float to the surface.

It’s not all bad though, and there’s a fair spread of awesome tracks scattered through out the list to make it a fun listen. Plus a lot of variety too, from The Crue’s dumb party metal, to classic 60’s pop from the Turtles, 80’s pop with Mr. Mister and some great old school hip hop.

I’m favouring Sham 69 and The Stranglers as particularly fine songs. And of course the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which I bought because although the A side I have on an album, I wanted the B side to add to my collection.

Singles Nights are always a cool way to spend an evening. I’ll update you with another killer playlist soon.

Tragedy – Gig Review

Tragedy

Wednesday 9th March 2016

The Live Rooms, Chester

It’s my first gig of the year, and another visit to the ever reliable Live Rooms in Chester for some rock’n’roll.  I’ve had a few rockin’ parties at this venue, but this night was destined for greatness.  The exquisite Disco Metal of the one and only Tragedy was scheduled to set the sky on fire with dazzling party anthems.

Finding common ground between the opposing world of heavy metal and disco was never going to be an easy task.  They’re two genres of music that repel like the same sides of a magnet.  But with Tragedy, the water and oil can, and do, mix.  It’s a hard rockin’ combination of guitar and high pitched disco vocals in a totally crazy metal tribute to the Bee Gees (and beyond).

A heavy metal tribute to the Bee Gees is only the beginning, you see.  As well as Brothers Gibb classics like “Staying Alive” and “Night Fever”, their set is expanded to take in other disco and pop classics.  The mutated songs feature glimpses of riffs from Van Halen, Pantera and more.  One of my highlights was the ridiculously fun idea of warping the intro from Slayer’s “Raining Blood” into “It’s Raining Men”!

Part of the fun of this Tragedy gig was spotting chunks of recognisable metal riffs, and then being dumbfounded by how the band weave them into a late 70’s disco style.  The mash up is suitably gory too – these gruesome Frankensteins have no qualms when it comes to hacking limbs from one sweet pop track and stitching them maniacally to a heavy metal corpse.

With a light show and numerous skits introducing the songs (not to mention Lance the towel boy bumbling across the stage) it’s all very entertaining.  And professional, without being soulless.

For any metal fan with a sense of humour, Tragedy are well worth seeing.  You’ll have a hard time finding a more bonkers night out anywhere.  Great fun!

The Tragedy website is here.

The Live Rooms website is hereTragedy

Stipe – Live at Alexander’s

Stipe

Friday 24th April 2015

Alexander’s, Chester 

OK, so I know I’ve already written about this band once this year.  But I went to see them again, and I think a brief write-up is in order.

The last time we saw StipeR.E.M. tribute band extraordinaire – you may remember, was in Chester’s Live Rooms.  A larger venue than I’d seen them in previously.  It was a great gig.  This time around, we were back to Alexander’s, also in Chester, but a smaller, more intimate place.  How did the band fare?

Well Alexander’s is hardly a downgrade.  It’s a very cool, laid back venue with a positive vibe.  Though in this smaller room, the close proximity of the band really makes the experience a welcoming one.

The music sounds clear, sharp, immediate.  Stipe are not merely a carbon copy tribute band; even if I forget about the brilliant musicianship, they manage to accomplish much more than just replicate the music of R.E.M.  There’s a love for the original material that can really be heard in this venue, and makes the songs that bit more true and warm.

Unfortunately there’s no keyboards, so still no “Nightswimming” (sad face Mrs Platinum Al).  But the absolute total highlight for me is a sublime rendition of “Drive”, one of my favourite R.E.M. songs, delivered gracefully.  Blinding version of “Losing My Religion”, too.

Another fine gig from Stipe.  This band are authentic, sincere and able to create a genuine atmosphere.  Thank you.

The Alexander’s website is here.

Stipe’s Facebook page is here.

Stipe’s website is here.

Stipe – R.E.M. Tribute Gig Review

Stipe

Saturday 24th January 2015

The Live Rooms, Chester

The great thing about tribute bands is the ability to witness music by defunct groups that you wouldn’t otherwise get to hear. Unfortunately REM have ceased to exist, so an evening with Stipe goes some way to filling a void. As the premier REM tribute band, they offer up authentic, exciting versions of songs that, nowadays, you can only hear on your music player of choice.

I’ve seen Stipe a few times before, always at Alexander’s in Chester, which is a much smaller and intimate venue. So it was going to be interesting to see how they fared in a larger venue like the Live Rooms. There was no need to worry: Stipe performed brilliantly, bringing their versions of classic alt rock tunes to an eager audience.

The set was split into two sections, enabling the band to delve into the REM back catalogue and dig out gems from across their career. It says a lot that Stipe are able to entertain both the more casual fan and the die-hard aficionado like my mate; he sang along with every single line, no matter how obscure. Stipe1

Where this band succeeds is in the accuracy of the sound. Though the lead singer certainly looks the part, his voice is a fairly uncanny likeness of Michael Stipe’s. He may have the moves down to an impressive level, but the voice is what really works, especially on “Orange Crush” (with megaphone prop!) and “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” Stipe2

The other musicians also manage to create a brilliant rendition of the songs, fully convincing and delivered with confidence and enthusiasm. When they bring out a mandolin for “Losing My Religion”, it’s like welcoming an old friend who isn’t even on Facebook.

Any minus points?   Well “Shiny Happy People” has never been a favourite of mine, and it gets a rare turn in the spotlight tonight.   To be fair though, it’s a faithful version and I enjoyed it!  It would also be nice to see a live keyboard player added to the line up again, so we’ll get to hear classics like “Nightswimming”.

All in all, it’s another success for the Live Rooms. No disrespect to other venues, but it’s nice to see Stipe doing so well in this larger environment. Stipe did not fail to deliver: they can be relied on to accurately recreate the sound of REM and entertain an audience. Close your eyes, and it could almost be the real thing. And that’s how a tribute band should be, right?

Let’s hope they’re back soon.

Stipe’s Facebook page is here.

Stipe’s website is here.

The Live Rooms website is here.

Live Wire – AC/DC Tribute Gig Review

Live Wire

Friday 17th October 2014

The Tivoli, Buckley

Cast your minds back to mid-October.  I took a brief break from my Hallowe’en Horror Fest movie reviews and paid another visit to the Tivoli in Buckley for another night of rock’n’roll.

Performing this night were Live Wire – an AC/DC tribute band.  I’ve witnessed the real thing a few years back (at Milton Keynes Bowl on their Stiff Upper Lip tour, fact fans), but only the once.  Tickets for the real AC/DC are like centaur shit these days, so I was very happy to check out a tribute to the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world instead.

The thing with tribute bands is, they either sound like who they’re meant to be, or they look like their idols.  Not both.  Or in the case of bad tribute bands, they try to sound or look like the originals, and fail on both counts.

I am very happy to report however that Live Wire have got the full wish list sewn up.  Sewn up neatly on a denim jacket with all the patches on.

The act is split into two halves: first we see the Bon Scott years.  The set list includes classics from the era like “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “Riff Raff”, “Touch Too Much” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”.  It’s my all time fave “Highway to Hell”, though, that makes me grow horns and a tail and punch the air like a little metal demon.  Magic. livewire1

The Bon Scott-a-like is uncannily impressive in his role as the late, great hell raiser.  The voice is spot on.  The sound overall is impeccable, plus every song is a gem.

Next up we have the Brian Johnson years, which thunders in with “Rock’n’Roll Train” and simply does not stop.  Live Wire’s Brian not only possess the same forged-in-fire vocal chords, he moves the same too.  Wearing the trademark flat cap, Brian stalks the stage in typical hunched up form and belts out the rock.

The rock that is belted out includes “Back in Black”, “You Shook Me All Night Long” plus an absolutely dynamite version of “Thunderstruck”.

So the singers perform admirably.  The band, too, are top notch.   Though Live Wire’s Angus Young looks a lot taller, he’s got all the moves dialled – right down to mooning the audience.  Malcolm also looks perfect – strumming away, head nodding.  I couldn’t see the other guys though, sorry.

It was a truly electric night in the Tiv.  The place was packed tighter than Rosie’s bra and the punters loved it.  The encore saw Bon and Brian unite for “Let There Be Rock”.  Finally, Brian led the band through a raging “For Those About to Rock…”, complete with cannon fire.

Absolutely great fun.  I’d happily see Live Wire again any time.  High voltage rock’n’roll, indeed.

Visit Live Wire’s web page here.

Visit the Tivoli’s web page here.