Archive for Newcastle

An Evening of Ska-Punk in Newcastle

Posted in Concerts, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

Well, I’m back from my three days in Newcastle Upon Tyne and before I left, I did promise that if I saw any great bands at Newcastle’s premier rock club, Trillian’s, I would share the experience here. However, the American tourist in me has briefly taken over so before you get to read what great bands Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea were, you’re going to have to view my holiday snaps. Don’t worry, there aren’t many.

The view from my hotel room, It rained a lot on the first day

Great weather on Thursday. Here’s a view from the Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The bridge opens to let a boat go through

At first, it seemed the rain on the first night was too heavy and I wouldn’t make it past the pub across the road from my hotel room. The Blonde Barrel does do great food though. Thankfully, the Gods of Rock smiled on me and the rain slowed do to a fine spray so I was able to go into the city centre and get to Trillians. I discovered that the two named bands would be playing on the Thursday evening so I went down to the bar where I made another amazing discovery. Motorhead has a beer called Road Crew. Naturally, I had to try some and I can say that it’s very nice.

The next day, I made inquiries about Road Crew being available in shops. I was directed to one place that sold eccentric beers but the owner told me that the beer was massed produced and available in major supermarkets, not where I live. I made a further inquiry at the small supermarket but they didn’t sell it. However, one of the staff advised me to try a small shop in the train station grounds. So I went to a place called CentrAle and yes they did sell Road Crew. Then another surprise, right next to it was another beer called Anthrax War Vance and yes, it’s endorsed by Anthrax. Apparently some cases were left behind after their last UK tour and Bruce, the manager of CentrAle, got them. CentrAle is the only place in the UK where you can get Anthrax War Vance. So, I got lucky there.

Bruce with a can of Anthrax

Eventually, the big night came and I went off to Trillians to see Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea, two bands I knew absolutely nothing about. With nothing to expect, I had a very open mind to them when they came on stage. Faintest Idea took the stage first and that would begin my education. Before this particular evening, I had practically zero experience with ska. I offer no reason for this except it was something I never explored. That will change for sure. Getting back to Faintest Idea, listening to them, I have concluded that the Ramones will never have to go in the ska direction because that’s what this band sounded like. The Ramones playing ska. Every song was done in the ‘one, two, three go’ style that the Ramones made so famous during their career. However, Faintest Idea did it with horns. To that point, I’ve never heard such a tight brass section, fair dues to them. Of course, I can’t take anything away from the guitar, bass (also lead singer) and drums either and together they fused ska and punk very well. Songs I remember the most were “Bull in a China Shop” and “Youth” but all of the songs were played well and I was very much impressed.

Faintest Idea on stage

After a brief intermission where the keg of Road Crew ran dry, headliners Planet Smashers from Quebec, Canada took the stage. My first impression was that there was a Madness influence here. Not a surprise because many put forward the argument that Madness were one of the originators of ska. Madness or not, Planet Smashers stood well enough on their own. Plus, this band has a great sense of humour while on stage. Guitarist/lead singer Matt Collyer knew how to engage the crowd with his banter. However, it was definitely the music that was the main attraction. Not often does one get to see bands with two very tight brass sections on the same night but that’s what I saw. Songs that I remember most were “Life of the Party” and my personal favourite, “Super Orgy Porno Party.” You got to believe that anyone who comes out with a song with a title like that has to be very good and they were.

Planet Smashers

And from the other side

I left Trillians with a much better knowledge of ska music then I had two and a half hours earlier and I’m a much better person for it. But the night didn’t end there. Not feeling tired and knowing the Mrs 80sMetalman and our two granddaughters were asleep, I decided to hit another pub I knew was open later. I can’t remember the exact name, I had too many pints by then. While I was inside, both bands turned up and so I ended up drinking with them. That’s something that doesn’t happen to me every day. The members of both bands were great people and that rounded off a fantastic night.

Meeting up after hours

Next post: Toto- Isolation

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1502488199&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: The Kinks- Word of Mouth

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

In the waning months of 1984, I was hit by a sudden epiphany one day whilst I was watching MTV. The video for The Kinks’ first single, “Do It Again” from the 1984 “Word of Mouth” album came on and it hit. While many bands and genres in rock had come and gone, the Kinks were still going strong for twenty years. In fact, “Word of Mouth” was their 20th album! What helped was the fact that I really liked “Do It Again.” On Friday nights, after a heavy night’s partying, my friends and I would go to our favourite diner. Back in the day, diners had individual juke boxes in each both, so we would have to put on some tunes while we awaited our feasts. In the last months of 1984 and the first months of 85, “Do It Again” was constantly selected. Why not, it was a great song and still is.

One thing the Kinks have always been so successful at during their tenure was to bend a little with music trends while at the same time, remaining The Kinks. On this album, their sound is definitely in the no man’s land between hard and progressive rock and I don’t mean this in any derisory way. I mean that track I have loved so much over the past three decades and opens the album is a good hard rock song. The next couple of tracks follow suit, although the title track is the harder one of the two which follow “Do It Again.” Then comes another really great track that is hot on the heels of my favourite track. “Living on a Thin Line” has both elements of hard and progressive rock. There’s a very catchy melody accented by keyboards but the guitars really crunch when required to do so. An added bonus for me back then and now is the political statement in the lyrics. Dave Davies wrote the song to convey his hatred of politicians with the insinuation that politics in Britain then hadn’t moved on much from England in the middle ages. I can see that as this album came out during the peak of the miner’s strike.

Following on are two very interesting rock songs in the form of “Sold Me Out” and “Massive Reductions.” The keyboards on the latter track are a bit of a paradox for me. In my mind, the Kinks’ 1983 single “Come Dancing” was the worst song they ever made. I know a lot of you probably don’t agree and that’s cool. Anyway, on “Massive Reductions,” the keyboards sound very similar to that song I don’t like very much. However, with the hard rock of the guitars, the keyboards work well on that song. “Guilty” is a straight forward rocker and the lyrics “Guilty until proven innocent” seemed to ring true for me at the time. Not that I was in any trouble with the law. “Too Hot” is a fun song that reminds me of the Kinks of old, not that they really changed that much over the years. It’s just a catchy vibe that makes you want to wiggle back and forth in your chair.

Another interesting song is “Missing Persons” which is the closest song to a ballad on the album. It is a slow song but the drums are done in military fashion and it does get harder when it needs to punctuate its point. “Summer’s Gone” is a cross between 1960s pop and heavy metal. Sounds weird I know but believe me, it works on here. Some good guitar work on here too. Maybe it was a summertime fun song for the 1980s. “Going Solo” is a good closer and I have always wondered about it. With the lyrics: “My little girl’s going solo” combined with the fact that the band members were parents, that it’s about a daughter who’s grown up and leaving the house. Just a thought, but you can’t fault the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Do It Again
  2. Word of Mouth
  3. Good Day
  4. Living on a Thin Line
  5. Sold Me Out
  6. Massive Reductions
  7. Guilty
  8. Too Hot
  9. Missing Persons
  10. Summer’s Gone
  11. Going Solo

The Kinks

Ray Davies- guitar, vocals, keyboards, harmonica

Dave Davies- guitars, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Living on a Thin Line” and “Guilty”

Jim Rodford- bass, backing vocals

Mick Avory- drums on “Missing Persons,” “Sold Me Out” and “Going Solo”

Bob Henrit- drums on all other tracks

Ian Gibbons- keyboards and backing vocals

Twenty years and the Kinks were still going strong as the “Word of Mouth” album certainly showed. Looking back, it amazes me just how much good rock was out there in the year so much metal was being aired.

Next post: There will be no post later on this week as I’m off to Newcastle Upon Tyne for a much needed break. However, I will go to Trillian’s and if I happen to see a good band or two whilst I’m there, you’ll read about it here.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1502046608&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Great Gig, I Just Happened to See

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2016 by 80smetalman

Last week, I happened to spend a few days in the great Northern English city of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Mrs 80smetalman really loves the place and goes every year but because of other commitments the previous years, this was the first time I went there in four years. First, I did attempt to go to the pub, The Broken Doll, which my good buddy 1537 recommended but it was too far away from my hotel and there were no Metro stations in that area. I did try. Therefore, I had to settle for Newcastle’s premiere rock pub, Trillian’s. I ventured there my first and last nights of my stay and I was definitely glad I went on the final night because I got to see two really cool bands.

This photo was taken four years ago. Trillian's still looks exactly like this. I didn't see the girl in the photo this time around.

This photo was taken four years ago. Trillian’s still looks exactly like this. I didn’t see the girl in the photo this time around.

The first band to hit the stage that night was a band called The Distorted. Now one could think that this band was trying to be like The Disturbed, especially when they played a cover of “Down With the Sickness” halfway through their set. However, I noticed a heavy influence of Black Sabbath in their music as well. The Distorted proved to be a very tightly knit quartet with all the tools necessary to go a lot further; a strong rhythm section, a guitarist who can shred and a good lead singer with some personality. He could connect with the audience, just a shame there weren’t more people there for him to connect to. On one song, he put a skull on his wrist and acted like it was doing the singing, cool, I thought. I really enjoyed this band.

Later that evening, I managed to catch up with the guitarist, a really cool chap, who told me that they nearly got to Bloodstock this year. They made it all the way to the regional semi-finals. Well with what I heard at Trillian’s I hope they go all the way in 2017.

The Distorted on stage.

The Distorted on stage.

Singing with the skull

Singing with the skull

In one of the fastest equipment changeovers I have ever witnessed, headliners, Twister were soon out on stage. While The Distorted wanted to pound your skull a bit, Twister were slightly more melodic but not less heavy. Furthermore, they already have an album out. “Trees” will be available for download on September 5th and from what I saw on stage, it too, will be worth it. Twister also fields four members but have two guitars, both of whom are capable of laying down a good solo. Listening to them, one could easily tell that their influences are more old school. The cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” kind of gave it away but their music can stand well on its own. While they make a good foursome, most of the attention was on the mop haired blonde lead singer. He definitely made himself known while Twister was on the stage. He along with the band, also impressed me this night and I loved how they closed the show with the AC/DC classic, “Whole Lotta Rosie.”

Twister on Stage

Twister on Stage

Twister rocking Trillian's

Twister rocking Trillian’s

Link for Twister: https://www.facebook.com/TwisterUK/

Link for The Distorted: https://www.facebook.com/TheDistorted/

Next post: Back to the great albums of 1983 with Thin Lizzy- Thunder and Lightning

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Gig Review

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2012 by 80smetalman

I apologise now if you were hoping to read about The Cars “Candy O” album, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until next post. See, I have spent the past four days on holiday in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North of England. My wife is in love with the city and I must say that I like it too. Here’s some piccies I took when I was on the open top doubledecker tour bus.

Gateshead Millenium Bridge

   The “New” Castle

On my last evening there, I did get to see a great gig at a pub in the centre of the city called Trillian’s. I had been there on my previous trip to Newcastle so I knew that it was a cool metal club. Furthermore, the manager remembered me from last year when I did a book signing there. Therefore, it’s only fair that I include a picture of Trillian’s and no the girl in the photo wasn’t intentional.

So I put out my two books and a good number of cards on a table close enough to the stage and waited for the festivities to begin. The first band out was a trio called Spook And the Ghouls. As with many opening bands, they had the misfortune of beginning their set in front of a half empty venue, but they managed to get the crowd that was there, including me, going.  They had a real catchy metal sound, at least I thought so and their masters of horror image shows a humourous side to them as well. However, I was very impressed with them and would love to hear more.

Spook and the Ghouls

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spook-and-the-Ghouls/136352206299

I must admit, when I see a horn section in what I think is supposed to be a metal or punk band, I get a little nervous. Sure, that might work for the Blues Brothers and I must say, it worked for the second band on the night, Victims of Circumstance. This five piece band which features a saxophone and a trumpet is a good sounding hard rock band. I was impressed with some of their originals, although I can’t remember any titles off hand and I really loved their version of the old Del Shannon hit, “Runaway.” Like the opener, they also kept me entertained throughout their entire set. Finishing off with a cover of “I Want You to Want Me” where the horns performed in place of the guitar solos was a masterstroke for them.

Victims of Circumstance

http://www.facebook.com/vocfb

Throughout the evening, I noticed this rather attractive young lady with great legs in Trillian’s. No, I didn’t go chat her up, I’m a married man, but if I had talked to her, I would have learned that she is the lead singer for the headliners on the evening, The Creepshow. Being headliners, they had plenty of merchandise on display making me wish I had more money so I could have bought one of their CDs. I also learned that they hail from Canada. They are another five piece band with a keyboard and the lead singer sometimes doubles on guitar. I found their sound very entertaining, a hard rock sound that is sometimes melodic. Their website describes them as country meets psycho punk and I can see that as well. What they did do is get the masses inside Trillian’s on their feet and rocking along with them from start to finish.

The Creepshow

http://www.thecreepshow.ca

I didn’t sell any copies of “Rock And Roll Children” on the night, but I really don’t care. I was treated to some cool music at a very metal venue in a really nice city. I think there is something with all three of the bands I saw on the evening and if you ever get the chance to check them out, you should. Saying that, The Creepshow has several CDs now out and available to buy on their website.

Next Post is definitely The Cars- Candy O

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London