In need of inspiration? Tired of perspiration? Fire the imagination with 'Listen to the Lion' by Van Morrison; certainly one of The Man's greatest songs from my personal favourite Morrison album, St. Dominic's Preview (1972). Yes, three versions - take your pick or indulge in them all.
Original album version with interesting images (1972)
Van came close to topping the studio version with this live take from his supreme album, It's Too Late To Stop Now (1974).
Live ( recorded 1973)
Here's Van in 2008 showing he's still got it when he wants it. Take it where you find it.
Sunday, 8 December 2013
Saturday, 7 December 2013
|I've since lost my ticket but it looked like this|
About three weeks into my student life at Bangor University I attended the first of many (mostly forgotten) gigs at the students union building. Not a place I ever bothered to otherwise frequent very often but good for either seeing bands or playing gigs with our dodgy little combo. Most of the 'big' gigs were held in the refectory on Glanrafon Hill; on 18th October '79 the Buzzcocks visited with a band called Joy Division in the support role. Buzzcocks were promoting their third, relatively disappointing, album whilst JD had released their first album, Unknown Pleasures, in June. I'm not sure if I'd seen anything much of the band on TV before then (probably not, can't recall when the clip below was put out) but had read all about them in the press and heard 'Transmission' and 'She's Lost Control'. Expectations were quite high but what we actually got was stunning and slightly disturbing. Ian Curtis was in full-on hyperactive insect mode, whilst the look and sound of the whole band was like a great grey wall of stone behind which some secret lay. Sweat poured off the ceiling as the packed hall took all this in. All too soon, they were gone.
Friday, 6 December 2013
Me and the Devil Blues (2003)
I saw Dead Meadow, stoner rock merchants from Washington DC, twice inside a week back '03; they were supporting Super Furry Animals and I was a big fan of the Welsh combo back then. The first gig was in the splendour of a disused cinema somewhere in the nether regions of Newport. The venue was like a concrete barn with added piss but somehow suited the general air of ennui that constantly hovers over that particular South Wales town. Having downed a few beers, I roamed the empty spaces on the floor, bumping into a few friends along the way but the loud psychedelic drone coming from the stage was causing some sort of disconnect in my psyche, so conversations were brief and I'd be off on walkabout, soaking up the noise but not making all that much sense of it. Whatever, in these particular circumstances, it all kind of fitted the mood.
A few days later, with my old buddy Martyn, I crossed into England and caught the whole thing again. Sober and in the slightly more refined surroundings of the Bristol Colston Hall (only slightly), they just sounded like mud. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of them.
I'm wary of adding to the wall to wall coverage and pained liberal analysis that the death of Mr. Mandela is engendering today but I don't suppose my few words can add up to very much in the great scheme. We've already seen Cameron jumping on the tribute bandwagon: I wonder where he was during the days of anti-Apartheid protest? Slumming it with the Bullingdon Club up in Oxford? I only use our Prime Minister as one example of the handwringing we're going to get now - they'll all be at it - the BBC haven't talked about anything else on the news since last night. The world continues to be full of inequality but at least Nelson Mandela stood up more bravely for what he believed in than any other politician I could ever imagine. He was, without doubt, a great chap but not a saint. RIP, sir. The struggle to rid the world of madness goes on.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
Bachelor Kisses (1984)
There are not many gigs where I have walked out on the main act. I'm one of those who, no matter how bad things are, I usually stick it out to the bitter end. Its a bit like watching your team desperately try to scramble for an injury time equaliser even though you know it's not coming; you hold on to the final whistle and then regret the rush for the bus later. I will sheepishly admit that I did walk out of an Aztec Camera gig in 1984 even though I was very much into them and, in truth, they probably weren't all that bad that night. No, it was mainly because me and my mate were going through a phase when beer was even more important to us and these were still the days when last orders was called by 10.30 pm. Pretty sad, eh? In my defence, Roddy and the boys were promoting their second album, Knife, which wasn't a patch on High Land, Hard Rain and had the added disadvantage of being produced by Mark Knopfler.
Another reason for flouncing out on Mr. Frame's band (deduct points from us for being very near the front as well) may have been because the support act was Australia's finest, The Go-Betweens? How can anyone follow that? Mr. McLennan and Mr. Forster and co. had recently released the great Spring Hill Fair (1984) but whey were they still a 'support' band? Destined to be forever the bridesmaid, The Go-Betweens were absolute proof that there is no justice in this world. Totally wonderful.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Boogie (1976)
By 1976/77 I'd entered that very confused phase for genuine music lovers where we still had much love for our 'old school' hard, heavy and prog rock styles but also knew that the tide that was coming to sweep them away was oh so necessary and genuinely exciting. I believe it was sometime in early '77 that I took myself along to see prog rock behemoths, Rush, play in support of their album, A Farewell to Kings. I'm not going to deny it, this was a record I'd been enjoying greatly and had heard that the band had a good live reputation, so was looking forward to the smoke and mirrors of slightly right wing Canadian pomposity. Somewhat perversely, Rush were being supported on their schlep around the UK by pub rockers, the Tyla Gang, led by the mildly threatening presence of former Ducks Deluxe guitarist/vocalist, Sean Tyla. I don't recall their brand of back to basics boogie going down all that well but they made a few of us remember it was time to dump the flares and hair and get with the program. It wasn't long before the Rush collection was sent on its way to the second hand record shop.
Saturday, 30 November 2013
This is the first in an occasional series (not sure how many 'occasional series' I've started here but some may actually keep going one day) that feature the sounds of artists I have seen over the years in the role of 'support act'. I'm not going to claim I ever saw the Pistols supporting Bazooka Joe or The Beatles under the bill with Roy Orbison; most of the support bands I have happened to have caught in the past nigh-on 40 years have been largely indifferent, possibly best forgotten. However, I do sometimes wonder what ever became of the likes of Unicorn, Glenn Phillips, Erin McKeown, Pan Ram, Moon, The Questions etc. etc. and the very many others I have completely forgotten about. The truth is that, in the main, I couldn't wait for them to get off the stage. The role of the support artist can be a thankless task, having to put up with indifference or even outright hostility from an audience that really don't want them there at all but I have been fortunate to see a few memorable acts and even the some of the not so memorable have a place in my heart. First, to get us started in a positive manner, here's The Only Ones, who I saw supporting Television in 1978, with one of their best songs from their debut LP. What I most remember about them at that time was Peter Perrett's whole 'couldn't give a fuck' attitude, which actually did come over as pretty cool rather than arrogant. I suppose they had the tunes to back it up. Elegantly wasted.
No Peace for the Wicked (1978)
No Peace for the Wicked (1978)