Tuesday, January 04, 2011


The Princess Pavilions, Falmouth, Cornwall


View: At the front.

Nearly two hours on stage playing some of the hits and a lot of the less known album tracks, The Damned were on fine form tonight.

Obviously the big hits, (Eloise, Smash It Up etc.), raised the audience`s vocal (phantom) chords, but the fanatics had something to sing about too with shots like `Nothing` from the latest Damned studio album, `So Who`s Paranoid?`.

The keyboards and bouncing figure of Monty Oxy Moron were more sidelined than previuos tours, but he came into his own with the crowd shouting his name on the more gothic tracks.

Captain Sensible, as ever the main spokesman of the band he founded over thirty years ago, did most of the introductions but even with the aid of a set list, forgot which song they were meant to be playing.

Typically chaotic, The Damned, fronted by one of the best baratone`s of his generation in the form of Dave Vanian, like to be swept up in the moment as much as their audience and tonight it was a wonderful celebration of punk rock and selfdeprecating good humour.

The Damned are at the top of their game at the moment. They are on fire.



The Princess Pavilions, Falmouth, Cornwall


View: At the edge of the moshpit.

Celebrating the twenty first anniversary of possibly their most successful album, The Wonderstuff roared into town and played a blinder from start to finish. Loud speakers vortexed a Stars on 45 history lesson which blasted the audience back to the heady days of `Hup` fever, when fiddles mixed with raw guitars and long hair on men was normal.

Of course we`ve all got older and less hursute since then, but the spirit remains strong as illustrated with the mosh pit in full, pounding flow and the loudest audience I`ve ever heard at this venue.

Miles Hunt and Malcolm Treece, the two surviving original Stuffies on stage, took the ecstatic audience through the original album peppered with hit singles such as `Don`t Let Me Down Gently` and `Golden Green` for the first hour and then doubled that with an hour of other band favorites, including the classic `Unbearable` with its catchline, `I didn`t like you very much when I first met you, and now I know you, I like you even less.`

Miles and Co. couldn`t help grinning like cats from a northern county as their voices were drowned out by the crowd`s own singing on `Size of a Cow`.

The Wonderstuff were then, and still are now, designed to make you happy. Job done tonight.

Best gig of the year so far.


Interview with Captain Sensible - 12th May 2010

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC MUCH? I do. I devour it. I`m a music fan. Thats how I started doing this really and it still gets me going when I meet my heroes, y`know? If I met Jagger or Bowie I wouldn`t bat an eyelid, but meeting Tony McFee from The Groundhogs was a great day I have to say.

ITS QUITE A DIFFERENT STYLE OF MUSIC Do you think so? D`ya know the further away from the seventies you get the less difference I can hear between the bluesy rock that was happening in the early seventies and glam and punk rock as well. I think the three, certainly the more you get away from the seventies, the more similarities those three styles have. I mean, you listen to Alvin Stardust `Red Dress` for example, thats not a million miles away from The Groundhogs really and its not a million miles away from The Stranglers or The Damned really.

I KNOW BOLAN WAS A BIG HERO OF YOURS Yeah, Bolan, you take a riff like `20th Century Boy`, y`know thats pretty raunchy, its all based on the blues y`know. I know its a cliche. Even punk rock - shock, horror!

DO YOU EVER LISTEN TO YOUR OWN MUSIC? Hahaha Only when we have to go out on tour and I have to re-learn the riffs.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR OWN SOLO STUFF, DO YOU EVER LISTEN TO THAT? Never, never at all. I mean once you`ve finished making a record I think you er, I don`t know about other people, but certainly the amount of sweat and termoil and palpatations that putting a record together entails, after that basically you want to move on. Haha. You know theres a certain amount of torment in putting an album together and thats why, dare I say it?, my records are quite good.

IS IT TRICKY TO GO OUT WITH THE DAMNED AND PLAYING STUFF FROM A NEW ALBUM THEN? Yeah, they take on a new life though playing them live. I thinks its two different disciplines; live and studio. Like you mentioned records that I may`ve bought in the past, I mean The Sweet for example. You listen to their records and then you see them live and they`re completely different everything really, different sound, different band. They were rough and ready live, but on record they were kind of well produced. Controlled.

WHATS THE BEST GIG YOU EVER SAW? Crikey, I can`t remember the year, but I remember being taken to see Queen at Lewisham Odeon by someone. I always say it was the best gig I`ve ever seen because it surprised me so much how brilliant a four piece band could be, how well they complimented each other. There was a fifth member of the group though; it was the roadie who had the job of looking after Freddie Mercury`s stick mic. Freddie would play the piano and then the mic would be there just out of the spotlight. The bloke would be there on the floor, on his back, holding the mic ready for Freddie to grab it and do the raunchy bit in the middle of Bohemian Rhapsody. It was amazingly choreographed, y`know? The mic holder was brilliant. The band were quite good as well, haha.

WHAT AGE WERE YOU THEN? I think I was in The Damned at the time. I wasn`t a fan of Queen y`know, but the further away (in time), you get from it the more you realise what an astonishingly great collection of tunes they had.

LIKE THE DAMNED, THEY HAD QUITE A FEW SONGWRITERS IN THE BAND Yeah, ususally the drummer comes along and says, "I`ve written a song, guys," and the band kind of hide their heads under the tables, but Roger Taylor (drummer with Queen) wrote one of their big hits didn`t he?


YOUR BEST SINCE `STRAWBERRIES`? Cheers. Yeah, `Strawberries` was the album we looked back to for self-inspiration, if you like, for Paranoid, because we tried to do a garagey thing y`know? Thats where we think punk came from anyway; The Seeds and The Electric Prunes, all that sort of stuff. When Lennie Kaye brought out those `Nuggets` albums they kick started a whole `garage` theme in Britian. Some of the bands were phenomenal weren`t they? Plasticland, bands like that, and it certainly influenced `Strawberries`. So with `Paranoid` we were trying to get back to a garage thing, y`know? Kind of lo-fi, but cracking songs and a bit of passion as well.

DAVE`S VOCALS ON THE NEW ALBUM ARE STUNNING Yeah, you go back to the eighties and listen to `Eloise`. I mean I can`t think of a better singer of his generation. From the first album (`Damned, Damned, Damned`), to the eighties he just developed this fantasic baritone and its just a real pleasure, I`m not being funny, I mean we`re not that kind of band that praise each other, its more of a dog eat dog kind of a band, but its really nice to write songs and hear him sing them you know? I go in and do the demo and I think, "Aww, weldone Cap, you`ve done a pretty good job on the vocals there. Lets see Vanian match that!" and he goes in the studio and he just transforms it. So its a pleasure to write tunes and have him sing them. I wonder if he thinks the same way when he writes a song and I play guitar? Haha! (his voice drops into a deep, Vanian impersonation) "...and then Captain comes along and ruins it." Haha!

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU`VE IMPROVED AS A MUSICIAN OVER THE YEARS? Well I`ll try anything, I`ll have a go at any instrument, but I don`t think I`m a virtuoso at any of them really. I think its nice when you pick up a new instrument you`ve never played before, like when we said lets get a sitar down the studio and we twanged away at it and we got a couple of really good songs out of it, (`Under The Floor Again`). I remember saying to the roadies, "Whatever you do, look after that sitar when you take it back," and they said, "Look Captain, look at this," and they were very proud of their work and they showed me. The sitar was strapped to the back of a Luton van and they said, "Look, thats not going to go anywhere," but they hadn`t strapped down the four by twelves (speaker cabinets), which were still on their wheels and as soon as they went round the first corner, they rolled and crashed into this sitar, smashing the bloody thing to smithereens. Imbeciles!

WHATS YOUR WORST HABIT? I squander my time playing computer games and I know you can really just wipe that time off your alotted period on the planet, its just meaningless, drivel. I just really like old, retro video games, y`know? I really like Donkey Kong and stuff like Daytona USA on the Sega Dreamcast. I`m really quite knowledgeable about all these old games like Quix. A lot of them have been re-invented on the mobile phones and its really nice to see them back because it doesn`t matter about the gorgeous graphics and stuff like that, its all about the game play at the end of the day. I really like the old Mario that came out on the Gameboy, the black and white one, thats sensational, and the music on it was brilliant on it as well, (starts singing a retro tune), thats how it went, oh no that was Tetrus. I do waste time, but then again when you`re sitting in the back of the van with the rest of the guys travelling to a gig, its a great way of kopping out of actually talking to them about the set list or, "...what happened in last night`s show when such and such went wrong?" "Hold on a second, I`m busy playing, erm `Breakout`."

DO YOU KEEP A DIARY? No I don`t and I wish I had. I used to when I was a kid, in fact I`ve still got them all. I wrote a couple of tour diaries in The Damned, but afterwards I pretty much stopped, but the teenage years I`ve got. It might be interesting to go back and see the angst I was going through, (puts on a mopey, Neil from The Young Ones voice) "...nobody cares about me, yeah? They just want me to be canon fodder, the school`s career officer told me I should join the army or the police or something, but, y`know, I`m a pacifist." Haha, that`ll all be in there.

IF YOU WEREN`T A MUSICIAN, WHAT WOULD YOU BE? All I ever wanted to do was work on the railways and when I left school, this is the problem I had, I had a few `O` Levels. I had a couple of English `O` Levels, I had language and literature. When I joined the railways, my prefered occupation, they chucked me in an office. So I kept saying to them, "This is really not why I joined the railway company. I want to work on a station, I want to be a level crossing keeper, signals, anything like that. Even drive a train." But no, office it was and so I just walked out of the job when The Damned said, "We`re off to do some gigs." I don`t often think about this, but its all coming back to me now. I went off and did the gigs and never actually contacted the railways again, but they got in touch with me and said, "Come in and get your holiday money and your cards and all that stuff." So I went in, and this was a time when we had unions, and I had the union representative sitting next to me and the union rep was doing my case for me saying, "Look, Mr.Burns here was very upset because he didn`t want to work in an office and he wants you to transfer him to another department, preferably outdoors where he can do some train spotting at the same time." So they actually said, "Yes, okay. You can come back Mr.Burns, we`re terribly sorry, we didn`t listen to you." So I said, "But I`ve joined a band now, we`re in the newspapers, y`know `Punk Menace` and all that?" So it was all too late by then. I wonder if they`ve still got the job vacant for me if I wanna go back? I would`ve loved to work for the railways. I`m an evangelist for public transport. Its the first thing I do when I get to a new place. I used to keep the bar going all night, but these days I go to bed, get up in the morning, take the camera down the stations and take snaps of the locomotives, and this is everywhere around the world. I know about public transport systems, metros in all sorts of places like Tokyo, Osaka, San Francisco. I like the ones in Paris with their rubber tyres as they swoosh into the station. The ones in Osaka are fantastic because they go above, they`re on stilts some of them, they`ve got monorails that swoosh down and they go up the river. You think to yourself, `congestion?` - thats obviously a thing of the past if you put some of these monorails in. They`re so wonderful and sci-fi, they`re up above the shops and the houses and all that stuff. I imagine its not as expensive as tunneling either, so get your act together new prime minister, lets put some money into the transport system in this country. I doubt if that`ll happen, not with the country being as bankrupt as it is, allegedly.

WHATS HAPPENED WITH YOUR BLAH! PARTY? I decided not to stand at elections because the first past the post system is just redundant, theres no point is there? Hopefully Clegg, which I doubt if he will actually, but hopefully he`ll hold out for P.R. because that`ll be a fantastic thing for the country and democracy in general. Whoever you voted for, Lab, Lib or Con, you could put a cigarette paper between them on their policies. Theres no real choice there at all is there? They`re all war parties and they`re all `lets make cuts` ...blah, blah, blah. I might resurrect the Blah! party at some point, especially if they change the voting system. I think it`d be a great shot in the arse of democracy. At the moment, if you`ve got a different point of view, the likes of Murdoch and the other rags can just ignore you.

IS THE NATURE OF THE BAND AND YOUR OWN NICKNAME A BIT OF A BURDEN WHEN YOU WANT TO MAKE A SERIOUS POINT? No it doesn`t help, does it? I wish I`d chosen something else to be quite honest. When I was doing the Blah! thing, I remember one programme I was debating with Ed Vaizey from the Tories and he didn`t want to go on with me. He said, "No I can`t go on with Captain Sensible, its ridiculous." But the rest of my band imposed that name on me and its certainly opened doors for me. I recently did a film for The Guardian newspaper about train travel, so I`ve grown to love the name really. The thing about The Damned is that we`re not pompous. I find a lot of bands that believe their own hype, you can see it in their interviews. I cannot bear to read these rock stars opinions - they`re so self important. The things they say are just such garbage. Boring pompous twaddle. The Damned are just a bunch of blokes and I think we`ve survived because somehow theres some raw talent in there, but none of its choreographed, we`re not a slick unit. I think the people that come to see us know that anything could happen, I suppose.

BANDS MADE OF MUSIC FANS SURVIVE I don`t particularly buy a lot of new records these days or listen to the radio because some of its a bit depressing and I don`t like the sound of records that`ve been made with this garbage computer programme called ProTools. You can hear which records have been using ProTools, because they`re so perfect, theres no rough edges in there anymore, the drums in particular. You get the drummer in, you spend your time getting a nice drum sound and then at the end of the day, they correct all the drums so it could`ve been played by a machine in the first place. I just don`t see the point. These records that are made by these bands, you can tell, people like U2 some of these bands, you read about it in their interviews; they`ve been in with all their best ideas, they make an album and then they listen back to it and say, "No, No, No. Thats not good enough." Its not good enough? What they mean is that its not good enough to keep the brand at the top where it deserves to stay. Its all about corporate brand and garbage like that. So they scrap the album and I`m not saying this is in U2`s particular case, but I think I did read something like this about them, what happens is the producer goes away, gets ten or twelve of his favorite songs from other bands, then they go in, dissect them, steal the sounds, steal the chord structures but not exactly the same. I mean for God`s sake! I went to see Green Day, I took my kids along because they wanted to see them and they had a couple of their records and I had to walk out after four or five songs. I knew every riff, I knew where everything was stolen from and it was so absolutely blatant that I went in the bar and I was just nodding my head and there was another parent in there, so I mentioned what was wrong and they said, "Yeah, I totally agree. I`ve got all those records at home as well." The kids don`t know all these records so they`re taking them all at first hand as though its something new. Its not a new thing thats been created by passionate people, its people protecting the brand. Thats what I hear when I hear these bands, not just Green Day, because theres a lot of them. Oasis were a prime example of that. Absolutely disgraceful ! And Weller, he`s another one. Lets name names! I found myself standing at a bar the other day, The Zombies were playing at the Shepherds Bush Empire and Weller was standing next to me. We`ve been through a few things together, but I couldn`t say to him "Hi Paul, its great to see you" or anything, because I would`ve been a hypocrite.

WHAT WAS THE FIRST ALBUM YOU BOUGHT? The first album I bought was an absolutely sensational record by The Bee Gees it was called `The Bee Gees First` Funny thing is when people come round me house and say what was their first album I say, "I`ll play you a track from the first album I bought," and I play a track called `In my own time` from The Bee Gees first album and they go, "Wow. Thats rocking, who`s that?" and when I tell them its the Bee Gees they say, "Get out of it." Its a cracking record, full of mellotrons, harpsichords, its a really great psych/pop masterpiece and the people in the know out there on the internet who look for classic pop albums like `Pet Sounds` and `SF Sorrow`, they say its as good as them. I`ve still got the original vinyl copy, but I`ve also got a digital version. The first single I ever bought was `I`m a Moody Guy` by Shane Fenton, I wonder what happened to him? I mentioned that to Lemmy (Motorhead) the other day and he said, "Yeah, but can you name the B-side?" and I said, "Yep, `Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue`," and he said, "Yeah, its a great song Captain."

WHAT WAS THE LAST RECORD THAT YOU BOUGHT? The last record I bought was by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They`re a Brooklin, New York band. I don`t know the termanology, but I think they`re one of those band sthat gaze at their shoes a bit. It sounds a little bit Jesus and Mary Chain, but the songs are very cute and memorable. Its full of melodies basically but its `noise melody` that what I`d call it.

DO YOU COLLECT ANYBODY? I collect Stereolab. I`ve got everything they made. I like the way that every album they change their style a bit and everything they do is good for me. They kind of do this loungey stuff and theres lots of bleeps and mood noises, drones, droning guitars. Its a great little formula they`ve got.

YOU HAVE A FONDNESS FOR PSYCHODELIC MUSIC THEN? The thing is, The Pistols, The Clash and The Damned were all collecting records in the seventies and there was no punk to collect so the nearest to raunchy we had then was The Pink Fairies and in the states there was the MC5. Then The Stooges came along and The Ramones and changed everything. There was good music in the seventies before punk. Krautrock was phenominal, Neu, you can`t beat a bit of Neu.

YOU WORKED WITH JOEY RAMONE ON HIS LAST ALBUM DIDN`T YOU? Yeah, its a wonderful record as well, that should`ve been a monster hit y`know, `Wonderful World` is just fantastic. I worked on the song `Mr.Punchy` and he didn`t tell me he was ill, I had no idea. Maybe I would`ve done a better backing vocal for him if I`d known it would be his last thing. I did a ridiculous vocal on it, but thats what he wanted, he said, "Do something outrageous," so he came to the right man. He was such a lovely bloke though and an amazing voice. The wall of sound that The Ramones made, you needed quite a voice to cut through those guitars and Joey certainly had it.

We played a double headliner in Hammersmith with The Ramones back in the nineties and I remember walking into their dressing room to say hello and cor blimey, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. They were sitting as far away from each other as possible in the corners of the room and there was absolute silence. It was not a happy band. I think we know now about certain members nicking certain other members girlfriends. `The KKK Took My Baby Away` that sort of stuff. But there was no jollity going on there.

WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO RECORD WITH? I`d like to record with DJ Tsuyoshi, hes a Japanese techno merchant and you might think thats a bit strange, but I just like the beats that he does and I think theres a guitar/techno hybrid album in me that should be made at some point. I think theres good and bad in all forms of music like old Zappa says, you`ve just gotta find it. 80-90% of its garbage and you`ve just got to find the 10% good stuff and I`m sure theres even good country music ...although I haven`t found any yet. Well I suppose Johnny Cash, if he`s country then hes the cream isn`t he?

UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS? Being extremely rich. Its gotta be a bit of a disappointment not achieving that one. Having started out bog cleaning, I particularly wanted to earn a load of cash so I wouldn`t have to return to the lowest rung of the ladder in employment terms. Mind you theres probably worse jobs than cleaning bogs. When The Damned would play these venues in the states, these clubs that took three or four hundred people at a time and down the road would be these stadium full of like 70,000 screaming hair metal fans watching a band called Wasp or someone like that, and I`d think to myself "Thats gotta be the worst job in the world - sweeping up the dandruff off that stage after they`ve played."

WHY ARE THERE NO BOOKS ABOUT THE DAMNED? We`re not really an `art` band, we`re kind of more a `peoples` band and so people who write and people who are into film, like Don Letts, I don`t think that they see much here for them to latch onto. Theres a lot of great stories in The Damned, and theres a lot of interesting people playing currently, and in the past in The Damned with stories to tell. The fact that these stories haven`t been told is a bit of a shame. The problem with the film side of things is that our management over the years has been of the bread head persuasion generally who would go up to anybody holding a camera and say, "Look five hundred in the hand or otherwise don`t even bother unpacking it." Consequently theres not an awful lot of film of The Damned in the glory days when the band was literally on fire. Theres nothing to show of that period and theres absolutely stacks of The Clash and everybody else, which is a shame. But we`re still touring, so time isn`t over yet. Theres always `Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail` - its not actually about The Damned, but its bloody good fun.

RAT SCABIES RECENTLY SOLD AN OLD DAMNED FOUR BY TWELVE ON E-BAY Oh I say, I thought he was the drummer! How come he`s got all the bands equipment? Haha! It`d make a nice coffee table.

YOU WRITE SONGS ABOUT CORNWALL AND PLAY THERE REGULARLY, WHATS YOUR CONNECTION? Well personally, myself and Monty (Oxy Moron, keyboards in The Damned), just love Cornwall and Devon. Its a really special place. I like the beer and the cider, its fairly relaxed and I like the seaside. I like quaint English seaside towns. Dawlish is my favorite, but thats in Devon. I don`t have any family connections with the place, but I just discovered it once when I was doing a gig in Plymouth and the train went along the sea wall, y`know at Dawlish and Tynmouth and I thought crikey, I`ve gotta go back there and so I started going back there doing a bit of train spotting and I started exploring from there really. Dartmoor and then the North coast.

FAVORITE RECORD SHOP? I like Borderline in Brighton, its just absolutely full of great, great records. Hand picked kind of classics. They do a bit of everything really. Old RnB stuff, theres prog rock, punk, but its all the good stuff. Triffic. You`ll find David Axelrod in there, all sorts. I bought a record from there a couple of days ago. When you asked me what was the last record I bought, I lied to you. The last record I actually bought was from Borderline and it is a compilation of Peruvian lounge music called Gozalo and its, `...tropical Peruvian music of the 60s`.

DO YOU LISTEN TO A LOT OF WORLD MUSIC? I`ll tell you what, I don`t listen to much rock music these days, it doesn`t do it for me. I`ve had a lifetime of guitar riffs and stuff like that, I think I`ve heard them all. After you`ve heard The Groundhogs `Thank Christ For The Bomb` and Black Sabbath`s first couple of albums, what more do you need? Keep buying more guitar records? So I`m just looking at all other genres now. Theres still fresh music to be made. You know in the sixties when it went into heavy rock and then heavy rock morphed into glam and then punk and so on, but it seemed that music was always changing, there was always something new around the corner and I think theres still new things to be invented and I think maybe its by combining unlikely sounds.

WOULD YOU HAVE PREFERED YOUR TRAIN TO BE NAMED THE RAY BURNS INSTEAD OF THE CAPTAIN SENSIBLE? Oh no, its a good name, a sort of wacky superhero name. Theres only one Captain Sensible, or could you imagine how many ghastly show tunes would get to number one? No, but I`m more than happy with my train. theres a John Peel as well, I think and I know that the company was thinking of doing a Morrissey.

WHY DO THE SONGWRITING CREDITS ON THE DAMNED SEEM TO VARY BETWEEN SENSIBLE AND BURNS? That was down to the office, the publishers just randomly make those choices. I didn`t fill out any forms or anything.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE Well we`re touring in the summer because we found that when you tour in the winter and you keep all the windows shut in the van, when somebody gets a cold, you all get it. So the general idea is to tour in the summer when you don`t all get the flu. So summer tour, a few festivals and yeah, lifes quite nice really. Its not gonna make me a millionaire, but its a lot of fun. I`m pretty excited, I took delivery of an amplifier today and I`m really looking forward to firing it up and hearing what it sounds like really loud because it sounds great at home at low volumes, but it`ll sound better when its cranked up. I got a new Marshall ! Marshall are great though, just think how many records would not have sounded as good, or even have been made in the first place without Marshall. Its an absolutely sensational success story from this country and you know guitarists from America and all around the world want Marshall amps because they sound the best.

HAVE YOU BEEN INTO TOE RAG STUDIOS YET? Not yet, but Vanian picked me up about that, so yeah we might have a look at that, you can`t beat valves can you? I think it`d probably suit Dave`s voice quite well.


Thursday, October 01, 2009


Spike Hooper Memorial Gig

The Cookworthy, St.Austell (27th September)

It was a gathering of friends and family, a respectful reminder of days gone by. Ten years down the road and Spike Hooper can still draw a crowd. Anyone who was anyone in St.Austell came out on the afternoon and gathered at the Cookworthy to show their respect to the greatest Cornish musician that ever there was. He inspired so many other people to take up an instrument and play throughout his life that many owe their success to Mr.Hooper.

First up this afternoon were some jazz bands reflecting Spike`s love of that type of music, Gareth Menadue and Mark Bullen did a fine job with The Jumping Out Jazz Band, who included Pete Flaskett as a guest.

David Penhale and Jericho Road were a disappointment, but they were quickly followed by the loud Beaver and the rocking Templemonkey.

The highlight for me was going to be the return of the Buick Boys, but along strode the legendary Mr. Alan Ross to the stage. Ex-Flying Tiger, ex-Shades and ex-cellent performer. He took the audience on a professional journey with his stylish rock`n`roll singing, accompanied by Pete Berryman. Pulling faces and cracking jokes throughout, Alan Ross stole the show. Being the only survivor of Spike`s most successful bands to perform on the day, (although Mike Bunt was in attendence), it gave us all a taste of days gone by and what we were really missing.

I asked Liz, Spike`s sister, what she thought he would`ve made of this afternoon`s event and she replied with a huge grin, that he`d have both loved it and been amazed at the turnout.

The Buick Boys tore the place apart as expected, but after Mr.Ross` performance, everybody needed to up their game!

Best Sunday of the year!

Friday, December 12, 2008



The Cornish crowd consisted of a cornucopia of crusties back from the beanfields, in search of fiddle-led folk music, and they were not disappointed by The Levellers performance.
Old tracks and crowd pleasers from their thirty year career mixed seamlessly with new material from their latest critically acclaimed album `Tales From The Underground`.

Harking back to the early Clash in politics and sentiment, if not style, the band`s new material lends itself well to the live situation and tonight proved the point to perfection.

There is of course, no show without Punch, and many a flailing arm was indeed seen in the audience as in unison they joined with the band in the anthemic `One Way of Life` choruses, without a trace of irony in their voices.

`Joyful abandon` are two words to describe the evening, as the world was put to rights by a bunch of alcohol fuelled, soap dodging herberts in Truro.
No change there then.



The seventies are still alive in Cornwall, so bands like Wishbone Ash can always rustle up a crowd when they visit and tonight was no exception.
Like many of their fans, original members have fallen by the wayside over the years, but the spirit lives on in last surviving man standing, Andy Powell and his trusty Gibson Flying V guitar.
Surrounded by a younger band, Andy brought those damp student bedsit days back with note perfect versions of the classics, `Blowing Free` and `The King Will Come` to the delight of the hairy, and the not so hairy alike on this chilly autumnal evening.
Memories topped up, ancient tour shirts aired, and youth slightly recaptured, the crowd left happy in the knowledge that classic rock will endure as long as Wishbone Ash exist.


Mercury prize not withstanding, Elbow has had a long journey that seems to have been well below the radar for many in the audience tonight as early material is given muted applause whilst recent chart friendly and Glasto anthems get the sing-a-long treatment of the relieved ticket buyer. For the sensitive souls in the house tonight, the big, beardy bloke called Garvey pulled at the heartstrings with his silky smooth vocals on tracks such as `One Day Like This` and `The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver`.
This is the band that clearly has Coldplay and Radiohead in their sights and so perfection is the keyword of this unusual underdog still waiting for it`s day. They have the songs, they have the staying power and they certainly create an uplifting live experience.
Thom and Christopher had better up their game, its dog eat dog out here.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Get your shiters round this:
What the hell is this shit? - By Adam Puckey of The Gay Horses.
I moved house today. I'm back in Truro. After sorting through MOST of my things (A bit of washing needs to be done - i.e all my clothes), I decided to head down to Bunters for a pint of Cider.
Cider is the grease of wheels. It is the river of my dreams. It is the very cloud that fuels the rain of my content. Imagine my dismay to see, as I zoned in on the stage, that the blandest rock band ever created were pumping out perfectly timed, graceless, passionless pseudo-american super-pap to a crowd of bemused (possibly hypnotised) nodding bystanders.
Imagine it.
I had my hat cradled under my arm and I texted Gemma, my lassie, to inform her that I may just go back home again. Forget the cider.
I'm sorry. I am 'technically' a musician, and to be honest, I'm not very committed, or very good. I never practice. I can't be assed to arrange practices, gigs, shows, interviews, or anything. But if you put me on stage for an hour and a half with no microphone, no lights, no instruments, no band and no crowd, I'd STILL entertain more people than Even Nine did tonight.
You know that feeling you get when you lock the keys in the house and you know your landlord is away in corfu spending the rent that you can barely afford to pay? That's how it feels when I realise even nine are on the bill.
I once left in the middle of their soundcheck it was so soul destroyingly devoid of energy They just hit the bass drum for half an hour. The lead singer (can't be assed to learn his name) just ignores the crowd most of the time, with his back to the audience. He keeps doing some sort of royal wave (one surmises that this is an attempt to get the rest of the band to jam) while he stoops to drink his water.
WATER!!! FOr FuCk'S SAKE!!!WATER?????!!!!!
Who the fuck drinks water?Only Jack Black gets to drink water right? He's PAID his fucking dues.
There is a bit of bouncing about. The guitarist looks like that bouncer that shagged nancy off hollyoaks and the bass player may as well be the bass-tron 220 for all the fire and charisma he injected into the proceedings. The drummer is good. In the same way a click track is good.They all look at each other with embarrassed expressions on their faces, and when they did a little showy off bit each, they took turns one after the other, like it was a cbeebies rock show.
Believe it or not, they ruined a FEEDER song. How can you ruin a feeder song? Feeder write songs for eight year olds to learn to play on a the keyboard. (This is no slur against feeder. Feeder are wicked.) My point is that even nine sucked the life out of a song that was written as a celebration of the vacuous nature of pop music.
I HATE the fact that they play.
AND now I need a piss.
It could only get worse if my elvis blackout came to my house, deleted all my music, bluetoothed their ep or whatever, onto my phone, and set 'dat's kapital' as all of my contact ringtones, my main ringtone, my text message alert, and all seven of my alarms.
Actually, It could be worse.
I've got two phones.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008




Saturday, August 16, 2008



Heading tonight`s bill were the finest punk band of their era; Ireland`s own rebel-rousing Stiff Little Fingers! Much more in line with The Clash than The Pistols, SLF used punk music to voice their political opinions and frontman, Jake Burns hasn`t changed a bit - he berates the obvious George Bush to the delight of the crowd and yet has the wisdom of age to see the funny side of the band`s erratic career when he discusses the songs with the crowd.
Generally a middle-aged bloke`s audience with the odd `long suffering` thrown in, mixed with a healthy number of kids with good taste, the Pavilions was packed to the rafters and a sell out performance like this will hopefully bring the band back again, because I think this may have been the first time they`ve come this far down the country in their 4000 year existance.
So to the gig - it was a self confessed `greatest hits` package, due to the lack new stuff to flog us (to paraphrase Mr.Burns), but there`s nothing wrong with that as it gave us all an opportunity to sing as loudly as we could and not get any of the words wrong. So there was, `Strummerville`, `Tin Soldiers`, `Wasted Life`, `Nobody`s Heroes`, etc, each with introductions and stories surrounding them. There was `No Surrender` from the rarely heard `Flags and Emblems` album with the said message to "George W. Fuckwit", and amongst others The Specials` `It Doesn`t Make It Alright` and finishing with the obvious encore `Alternative Ulster`.
I could have listened to them play their whole back catalogue (including Tinderbox), and not been happier.
Stiff Little Fingers were and are still the best Irish punk band and I don`t think that you`ll find a more full-on, hard working band of the same pedigree anywhere in the world today. It was like the intervening years slipped away. What a night.
Punks not dead!

Pete Kliskey, Mike Kliskey and Jimmy Jewell, collectively `The Surgeons`, were first on tonight`s bill in what I think was an act of great kindness to another younger, (and less talented) local support band, but had no need to fear playing to the legendary `one man and a dog` audience as the place became filled almost the moment the first chord of opening number `Denabin Sun` rang out.
The last time I saw the band was also at The Pavilions a year ago supporting The Damned on The Surgeons second comeback gig and I`ve gotta say they`ve tightened up their performance until its a rigid (digit?) and taught experience. The audience sensed a worthy band and came streaming in to witness the local heroes pulling out the stops as they visibly swelled with pride before their own heroes backdrop and stage equipment.
Twelve anthems of punk heritage from as far back as 1977 were sprayed out at the crowd of revellers with such titles as `Cut The Cackle` and `Radio 1 Conspiracy`, "...written way back, when radio was really bad" (!)
It seemed a short set, but the band clearly wanted to see Stiff Little Fingers and so were keen to get the job done to join the crowd for the headliners appearance. The Surgeons have brought life back to their own career with performances like this and with these practitioners, you can be sure local punk rock is in safe hands.
Fuck BUPA - lets go public!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008




(Reviewed by Billy Idle)

This new band built from the ashes of Ska`d For Life is making some pretty impressive gigs in the short time they`ve been around; live on the local radio, The William Cookworthy pub and now the Brit. Not the headliners this time, (but probably for the last time), The Mighty Offbeats stole the show from the official stars by means of their cunning ska-fest beats that rocketed around the marquee and drew in a capacity crowd to dance their cotton socks off!

A massive write up in the local paper, (who sponsered the event), failed to mention that the landlord literally forced the band to encore well over their allotted time and thus annoyed the hell out of the band that was unfortunately to follow them.

This is music that you can`t ignore. Yes they do covers mixed in with their original material, but the audience wanted to hear the familiar songs too and being such great musicians, this lot can adapt their sets at the turn of a pork-pie hat to suit the crowd.

You like ska? You like smiling? ...You like The Mighty Offbeats then!