Sonification & Melody

Note: to any Academics who are disappointed that there is no ‘sonification’ here, have a browse anyway…….

Can’t beat a good night out.

A good band.

Here’s some good bands……

Kevin Ayres

Kevin Ayres used to live in Ibiza & pop over when he felt like playing, which wasn’t that often. Long John Baldry was on fine form that night but was ‘doomed’ to the club circuit. Kevin had the legendary guitarist, Ollie Halsall, with him for this tour and it was a great concert.

bohemian & English, perhaps....
bohemian & English, perhaps….

They played ‘Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes’ of which I have a prized demo copy. Guess I was lucky to have been there.

Kevin Ayres & Long John Bawldry 74


Robin Trower

Robin, once of Procul Harum, was by now a very loud, very heavy player, with very long guitar instrumentals, similar to Hendrix, according to all & sundry. My ears were ringing for days.

Guitar-god? God, what a racket!
Guitar-god? God, what a racket!

If I remember he had two goes at this date, because he arrived for one and there was no Mandala Band/gear there. Maybe I’m confusing it with Rory Gallagher, who played an acoustic concert, when his equipment failed to show. What a trouper.


Robin Trower 75



A-ha! Something unusual.

The Naughty Rhythms Tour, where three bands took it in turns to headline.

Part of the Rock Against Racism stance taken by musicians, when God (Clapton) made a ridiculous statement about Britain and ethnicity, this tour launched a number of major careers and extinguished one in particular.

Dr. Feelgood did well out of this sojourn, but more on them later.

jumpers & scarves!
jumpers & scarves!

Kokomo headlined this night and blew everyone away. Reminiscent of deep soul with a hint of funk, they smoothly astonished the audience with jazzy panache and sheer class. Their first album still makes for an amazing listen. By the time the 2nd came out other bands were poaching their talented musicians.

They happened to be on CBS, the same label as Dylan at the time.

By chance they were in invited to accompany him on a session in New York.

After one failed take, Dylan said he didn’t think the singing was going right, whereupon Big Jim, one of the guitarists, espoused, “Didn’t know you could sing anyway!” Instantly sacked.

Not sure if it’s true, but it’s a great yarn.


Kokomo, etc 75

Kokomo – it ain’t cool to be cool no more!




Playing to a respectably-sized audience in their hometown (a year later they would be gods – Mr. Blue Sky, indeed), they played a concept-album, El Dorado, in its entirety before launching into some favourites.

the album, now not that well-known...
the album, now not that well-known…

It’s always great to catch someone just before it happens, so that you don’t get the knobheads in the audience. Showdown is one of Lennon’s favourite tunes (on which Jeff Lynne borrows Bolan’s Gibson Firebird) and Ma Ma Belle was one of mine (on which he borrowed Bolan himself). Interesting group.

Didn’t get the Spaceship period at all.


ELO 75



Perhaps The Naz were just too heavy for this time and never got massive commercial success. Uncompromising and full-on, I’m sure they’d have played the same if there was noone there. There weren’t that many, but so what….


Nazareth 75


too loud for you, madam?
too loud for you, madam?


Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson

and then something special happens…….

Bowie & The Spiders collapse……..

Mick & Woody on tour
Mick & Woody on tour

Ronson joins Mott the Hoople for a couple of weeks until they decide to buy Xmas prezzies rather than commit to a future. Ronno wants out, so he and Ian form a mutually-affectionate band. They tour in the Spring of 1975 and I catch them in Bristol, with a bunch of session men, including Blue Weaver on piano.

the showman
the showman

What a show! Ronson is on fire.

Hunter-Ronson 75

Most of Hunter’s solo album is featured, while Mick avoids the weaker material of his and concentrates on blowing the cobwebs off some Mott classics too. Someone somewhere must have a tape of this tour. * Of all the stuff I’ve collected over the years, this is the one I miss the most. Boy, could he play guitar-ah!

Mick in his element
Mick in his element


  • What do you know?! By a total fluke I’ve been in touch with someone who did collect these shows. I now have several UK & American dates (some full shows) of this extraordinary band.


Paul Kossoff & Back Street Crawler


Sometimes there’s a show sometimes it’s bigger than that……an event. An ominous event.

This was such an occasion.

in a sobre moment...
in a sobre moment…

It should have been a straightforward superb rock concert, a solid Back Street Crawler gig. However, Kossoff turns up worse for wear – off his trolley. He couldn’t even tune his guitar and, at one point, in frustration, hurls it the length of the stage, while we all watch in stunned silence. The singer sits over the edge of the stage patiently, waiting to see if anything will happen, while the organist plays, “I do like to be beside the seaside.”

It’s very surreal. Twenty minutes pass. The audience is remarkably patient.

After all, Kossoff is rock royalty. They realise this is no ordinary night. Humour fills the air and some of it clearly irritates Kossoff who hurls mic stands around in desperation for a solution to his mental anxiety. The others on stage are in real danger of his violent outbursts and we witness sidesteps better suited to a rugby field.

Twenty-five minutes lapse. Looks like a no-show.

Then, seemingly, out of nowhere, he finds an instrument which he’s comfortable with.

He starts playing. The band rush to their stations and join in. It’s good. Very good.

And then we get The Hunter. The place erupts.

Paul Kossoff 75

We manage about 45 minutes before curfew. It was worth it.

Probably the last people to get something from him.

within a week he’s gone……..

Died on a plane journey to America. What a waste of talent.

[If you get a chance listen to the John Martyn concerts, with him on tow]

* Dog Soldier support – Miller Anderson’s outfit.

Outstanding set. Marc must have thought the same.

Next time he toured he was playing guitar for T Rex.


Barry White & Love Unlimited

What’s this? A Walrus in a penguin-outfit fronting a full orchestra at Villa Park?

Is this a Terry Gilliam film?

man-monster voice
man-monster voice

No, it’s the Love Unlimited Orchestra, conducted by Barry White, complete with failing microphones, false starts and female singers with unfeasibly large chests (resembling a melon-hurling competition). And I’m in the stands!


Barry White 75


Andy Fairweather-Low

Wide-eyed & legless…………….

Andy Fairweather-Low 75

Andy is brilliant in concert. He’s been around forever and is still doing the rounds.

He had a great band here and was enjoying something of a career-revival. Excellent stuff!

la booga rooga!
la booga rooga!



Dr. Feelgood

R & B at its frantic best, with a much bigger following of mainly ‘knobheads’ than when they did the Naughty Rhythms Tour. Perhaps the notion of headlining had affected the performance. Whatever. The support were the stars here and were awesome. Can’t believe G.T Moore didn’t have much greater success. I bet nobody’s even heard of them.


Dr Feelgood



The big story is, of course, from now. Wilko was diagnosed with a terminal illness and did a farewell tour. Very sad. Until it was discovered that his cancer was a mis-diagnosis and he appears to be ok. What a turnaround! Unfortunately, Lee is no longer having sex with the stage or jacking off his microphone. The band still tours, apparently, but without any of their important players. What a joke!


Wilco & Brilleaux at it.......
Wilco & Brilleaux at it…….


Linda Lewis


Linda Lewis 75


A true artist with a magnificent vocal range. Great band too. Linda played with all the UK greats and is still performing at small (jazz) venues today. ‘Not A Little Girl Anymore’ is one of the great albums of the mid-70s. Buy it!


not a little girl anymore.....
not a little girl anymore…..


Labi Siffre was great fun, too.




Fox made some great pop songs, catchy and simple. But in live performance their front man (woman), Noosha, often was forced to take a back seat to some bloke who insisted on fronting the band. Since noone had seen him or expected this, it made the whole spectacle a disaster. It may have been the writer/producer of the hits, but it destroyed the atmosphere, confused the audience and wrecked the whole enterprise. Noosha seemed baffled by the whole debacle. Bizarre experience.



Fox 75

Latecomers would have been lucky…..

where did it go wrong?
where did it go wrong?




John Cale


A legend. Here he is playing guitar and piano. Backed by the maestro session-player, Chris Spedding (Motorbiking?), who had done some great work with Bryan Ferry, and other top musicians, Cale produced a memorable set.

John Cale 75

John Cale, eh, with Chris Spedding on guitar & feedback!

piano, guitar, genitalia.....
piano, guitar, genitalia…..

He seemed to be wearing a kind of boiler-suit and he played his guitar with his penis dangling about while lying on his back on the piano. Cock-rock, anyone?


Bebop Deluxe

Bebop Deluxe play at the Students’ Union at Edgbaston, relying on material from Sunburst Finish, an awesome creation, but the sound is awful in the Union Hall, so I spend most of the evening in the bar opposite – you could still hear the band clearly from there.

Bill is a great guitarist, but this was a poor location.



Planxty played one of the Halls of Residence at Birmingham University sometime.

Not as famous as the Joy Division performance, by the sound of it.


Deaf School

Deaf School was interesting but I don’t remember the location at all……


Roxy Music


And then comes Roxy Music at Bingley Hall, celebrating their history and new album Siren. Pure class. They’d knicked some of the musicians from Kokomo by now !

Here’s the back cover of the Toronto bootleg…..



& the rear of the Lisner Auditorium, Washington




T. Rex [1976 version]

On drums……..Davey Lutton, of the 60s prog band, Eire Apparent…..What!!?

Backing singer……Tyrone Scott, from US soul band……et cetera……

Odd line-up. Gloria Jones on clavinet, Dino Dines (Steve Marriot) on keyboards and Steve Currie still about (just) on bass. The Lennie Macdonald Band were not amused.



Some are just concerts, others are events. This was a major event. Marc hadn’t toured since early 1974 and the crowds packed the Town Hall to the rafters. There were people up in the balcony waving huge flags as if it were The Kop. ‘The King Is Back’ one proclaimed.

Marc was in a strange mood. He appeared angrily-obsessed with his treatment by the music press. He interjected often with, “We proved the motherfuckers wrong, eh?”

Occasionally he’d raise his pint glass to toast the audience for coming. There were also many moments of humour and even self-deprecation. There was an audible gasp from the audience when, during his acoustic set, he nonchalantly said, “Some people think I’m a stuck-up cunt.”



Marc & Steve Currie
Marc & Steve Currie

The set comprised mainly 80 minutes of huge hits, including some never played before.

A couple of new songs were added, one of which would morph from “Funky London Childhood” to “Visions of Domino.” The encore, a funked-up version of ‘Get It On’ with oustanding lead guitar was the highlight of the night.

But after the chants of “Bolan! Bolan!” he smirked and mused, “And they all said I was finished.” You could cut the air with a knife.


Chris Farlowe

Chris Farlowe played Barbarella’s, the nightclub off Broad Street, which was to play host to many of the fledgling punk bands, through 1977 & 1978. Farlowe was brilliant and a live album was cut from this short tour, which is a testament to one of the greatest voices the UK has ever produced. The club bounced that night.


The Real Thing

edgbaston girls


How the local Teaching Training College got this gig I’ll never know, but this all-female college (outnumbered sexually that night!) certainly knew how to put on a show.

“You to me are everything! the sweetest thing I ever seen ! oh! Baby!”


Linda Lewis


Because…..why not?

Linda Lewis 76

Brilliant, again!


Procul Harum

Played an entire concept album type of set with projections to boot. Deadly serious.

whiter shade of pale.......
whiter shade of pale…….

Having got that out of their system they proceeded to conclude with an entirely new set of rock ‘n roll which went on for ages, annoying the manager of the theatre. The lights were turned on to point out that curfew was being breached, but to no avail as these seasoned-pros continued to bash out one classy song after another. Hilarious!

procul harum 77


a paler shade of orange.....
a paler shade of orange…..



Barry White [inside]

Barry must have learned from his earlier experiences of the inclement British climate and stayed indoors this time. He clung to his grand piano more this time and enjoyed a warm reception from a confusing demographic for the music papers.

Barry White 77

Grunt & Growling interspersed with orchestral melodies make for an arresting experience.

Try explaining this to a Rihanna fan.


T.Rex & The Damned


The Cosmic Punk introduces the Upstarts…….

The Damned release the 1st punk single. Bolan invites them on tour.

local flyer
local flyer

These flyers appeared at bus-stops everywhere.

you can call somebody Captain.........
you can call somebody Captain………


Marc spent much of 76 & 77 with new wave musicians in clubs and bars. It was no surprise he would get involved with them.


Dandy in the Underworld
Dandy in the Underworld

This time he put together a powerhouse of a rock band.

Tony Newman (Sounds Incorporated) & Herbie Flowers formed a tight rhythm section. Both had done the Diamond Dogs Tour for Bowie in 74. Miller Anderson (recently of Dog Soldier and before that Keef Hartley) took on duties of second guitar. Dino Dines was still on keyboards. This meant that there was an ultra-professional set of musicians backing Marc.

trex 77


a little piece of history………..

Here’s the boys…………….

keep it stiff!
keep it stiff!

The Damned started on the Stiff label. What could go wrong?



still getting it on!
still getting it on!

This pic was taken from the Dandy In The Underworld Tour, a slick, loud production which surprised the press and audiences alike. Marc won over the doubters. The solos were restrained but explosive. All was well again.

the vampires are right!
the vampires are right!

Here’s Dave Vanian impersonating Count Alucard. What a voice! How ironic that the Captain would move from bass and become one of the finest progressive lead guitarists on his beloved SG.

Loved it when Rat Scabies set fire to his drum kit for the finale and kicked them everywhere, only for Marc to suggest they play an an encore. Great to see him sheepishly rebuilding the drums in full view of the audience! Happy Days.


Eddie & the Hot Rods

Featuring Paul Gray on Bass who would go on to join the Damned and lose his hearing!

Paul does sterling work representing rock and talking to college students about the business. He’s even been to Crosskeys to speak.



The Rods were brilliant live, one of the best. They took to the New Wave with aplomb, being the well-tuned pub-circuit band That knew how to deliver. Do Anything You Wanna Do!


ably ‘supported’ ???? by Radio Stars

Elvis is dead..........boring.....
Elvis is dead……….boring…..

Radio Stars were fronted by the legendary Andy Ellison of John’s Children. He liked to perform acrobatics on stage and off. Always picked on a girl in the audience to sit next to and chat, saying, ” Know what I Like about you? You got Bad Breath!” Then he would leg as quickly as possible to the stage, before the girlfriend’s bloke could deck him.

And so the pretence of the New Wave continued, as many old rockers found a way to exploit their hankerings for fame and fortune. Geldof himself was a journalist for the NME.


The Brothers Johnson


This got the building shaking. What a band!

Brothers Johnson

Probably on a par with Bootsy for playing and delivering, but hard to to rival the Rubberband in terms of fame. Many in the UK will have heard of neither. Heathens!

funking about....
funking about….



Deniece Williams


I just want to break free.


Deniece Williams


A No. 1 hit with weird jazz chords. What a band this was. Suited and top notch jazz players.


i just got to be free.........
i just got to be free………

No slouches this lot. Audience-slayers.

Went to a soul concert and didn’t find it……..






The University circuit……halls of residence, that is…….


The Motors

Back home to the Valleys & a surprise.

The Memo in Newbridge has got a good concert on. The Stute started to build a reputation for enjoyable Sunday nights. Good enthusiastic knowlegeable crowds.

Even Dire Straights turned up there. Glad I missed that.

The Motors had a hit. Then they played the Stute. Couldn’t make it up. Fun.


The Kursall Flyers

Birmingham University

Who could forget the moustache?

The Kurzalls were a great pub band.

Kursall Flyers…….& The Cortinas (Bristol punk).

The Cortinas (check out the mod-morphing on wiki). Oh dear!


Millie Jackson


Now for some smut!

Good clean dirty fun………..feelin’ bitchy?

Millie Jackson & Gonzalez

Millie Jackson is a legend. She loves to talk dirty. Monologuing on all aspects of sexual pleasure, she’s the musical equivalent of an orgasm on speed.


get on down and party?
get on down and party?

Going down? You bet?

Disgusting! Chicken ‘n chips cabaret?

Dildo & Knickers more like.



Talking Heads

Then a very strange story, almost identical to the one Eno tells in his book.

hey, where's the audience?
hey, where’s the audience?

I’m in Barbarellas in Birmingham, downstairs at a birthday party, where we’re playing stacks of soul music. Hundreds down there. I pop upstairs for a pint and there’s a band on stage. There’s me, the barman, the manger of the club and a bloke remonstrating wildly with the aforementioned manager. He’s the manager of the band on the stage. The band are called Talking Heads. So I stay and watch the band perform their set to the 4 of us! It’s bizarre.

At that time Barbarellas could swing from a club packed with the local West-Indian contingents to a punk night with The Police or Blondie. Talking Heads were unlucky, a mix up with the bookings causing the confusion.

Eno says there were few in the audience when he had his epiphany with the band.

Beat this, Brian!


Brass Construction

Another night at Barbarella’s. But a packed house this time for the American legends.

Hold on to your hard hats!
Hold on to your hard hats!

Plastic Copies of construction site hard hats were given to punters, bright yellow with the Brass Construction logo embossed on them. I don’t think many made it home.

A sweaty mess of a funked-up funkathon!

What a mix! Funky bass which shook the walls, punctuated by stabs of brass and winding guitar solos. Another act whose live performances can’t be replicated by recordings, though many are regarded as classics.

A stadium act in a nightclub. Privileged.



Another University gig, probably a hall, pre-dating Joy Division by several moons.




What tales this lot could tell! From the Crickets to the Fab Four…….beans were spilled.

They were all session blokes with a mixed and varied pedigree.




Geoff was a local, based in Hollywood (Birmingham, that is). I think he lived up a long road which was a bit winding.

Of course, Mel got his rewards, when, years later, he became the drummer for Simple Minds at their peak in the mid-80s.

Great bunch of lads.


Steel Pulse & The Suburban Studs


Another bunch of locals, who actually had a fair degree of success, especially with ‘Handsworth Revolution.’

Now for some politics!

Rock against Racism (RAR).

Continuing the Eric Clapton theme, many bands form different ethnic backgrounds supported the campaign against racism. So, reggae bands joined forces with punk. That’s how so much reggae appeared in new wave music. The Clash would play it. The Police embodied it. Some evenings there was bound to be friction.

Birmingham University Students’ Union


Top reggae act Steel Pulse (from Handsworth, Birmingham)

awesome band this.......
awesome band this…….

Steel Pulse were awesome and won the crowd over easily.

And…co-starring, the Suburban Studs…….

Steel Pulse & Suburban Studs

With a Special Guest Appearance from…….my mate, Bernie.

Bernie was a devoted Northern Soul connoisseur and number one anti-fan of all punks, was on duty at the bar, where he worked occasionally for a few quid. He chased the lead singer up the speaker scaffolding after exchanging words and lobbing the glasses he’d been collecting at him. I still have an excellent photo of Bernie marching into the wintery waters of Blackpool with a piece of driftwood and chanting some Estonian/Latvian anti-Nazi stuff!

The Studs were lucky.

and from the article above………

the Punks from Birmingham, the Suburban Studs…….

the only way is up!
the only way is up!

They actually once headlined with the Clash in support, but they ran into one too many like Bernie. Iron bars and larynx, I believe……nasty.




Unfortunately, this lot was shite. There was a big crowd.

There’d been a very big hit – Boogie Nights!

But it was clear they had little or no experience of playing live.

No idea whatsoever.


Very quickly I got bored.


Of course, years later the very same artist gets involved with Michael Jackson.

Even bigger success follows. I can spot them a mile off.


Bootsy’s Rubber Band



History. Again.

Funkadelic! Parliament? Clinton?

Bootsy & Raydio

This is more like it.

“Can I Play?”

This was the motto at this time. And could they?

gotta be funkin'kiddin'
gotta be funkin’kiddin’

No doubt someone will call this Glam Rock.

The outfits may have been a distraction, but the music was something else.

The lead bass actually made the Odeon shake. It was unbelievable.

Again, recordings only tell part of the story. Made Heatwave look like……Heatwave.


Ray Parker supported. Top session man in Hollywood. Nice band too.



B.B. King


Talking of legends……….

Here’s another.

Caught him and his band at Bristol.


One to treasure, since he didn’t tour the UK that often and with such a large band. He brought a full brass section to augment the sound. Great show with many classics.

BBKing 85

Watched this one with my mate, Dino, the star of another blog. He likes his blues.


Alice Cooper


and another legend returned from alcoholism & despair, with a robot in tow…….

The front of the Odeon had a sign up.

“The Legendary Alice Cooper”

It was scarcely believable. Everyone thought he’d gone for good. He’d been seriously addicted.

But here he was. Nobody expected the show to be this good, though.

The Nightmare Returns......
The Nightmare Returns……

and returned for good.


Here’s a steroid freak on guitar………….

ace player Kane Roberts
ace player Kane Roberts

The magic formula. Ace guitarist/showman & quality material.



and with a guitar doubling as rocket-launcher!

machine-gun etiquette?
machine-gun etiquette?

Alice Cooper’s shows are full of humour and self-parody.

The latest illusion with the giant robot was sensational.

‘Teenage Frankenstein’ brought the house down.

Get a copy of the video of this show!




and from legends to those who aspire to be………..



Most of the ticket stubs in Birmingham (above) had the seat number, U1, where I liked to sit. Even if I didn’t have that ticket I would gravitate there. Could have been an interesting name for a band that…….U1.

It would never have caught on, would it?


So, U2 (odd name that) became stadium-fillers. They’d made some great music, War & The Unforgettable Fire. More out of curiosity than anything else we all piled into a GT and took off for the NEC. Nightmare. The band looked like ants in the distance and Bono excelled at being a self-important clown. What to do?

It was someone’s birthday, so we debunked to the bar downstairs and with jacket potatoes and baked beans and crates of ale we had a party, with U2 providing the background music from a suitably-safe distance. What a great party it was!

Soon we were joined by other afficianados of the ‘earlier U2 incarnation.’ Someone who’d seen them at a club in Leeds joined us. “What’s happened to this lot? That’s a shower of shit up there? All that preening and razz. They were great in a club!”

And so on.

So, U2 become megastars. Shame about that.

Still occasionally pulling rabbits out of hats, but mostly………….


anyone seen my personality?
anyone seen my personality?



David Bowie


Bowie returns to art and begins the slow process of destroying the star he’s created.

My mate said of the album, Outside, “There’s not one track on it I can play on the radio!”

Sound. That wasn’t the case, though, really. ‘I Have Not Been To Oxford Town’ was an obvious single, catchy and rhythmic. But Bowie wasn’t going to fall for that one.

This was a fantastic band. Peter Shwarz was in charge of all the midi-arrangements and multi-track sampling. He became a major TV & Film soundtrack specialist. Here he programmed all the weird shit. Mike Garson was back on piano & keyboards and would become a touring fixture. He’s a genius. Reeves Gabrels played unbelievably-crazy lead guitar and generally provided the avant-garde flashes required. Gail-Anne Dorsey on bass became another fixture. Zach Alford also toured on Sterling Campbell’s behalf and stayed for a couple of years.

‘What a Fantastic Santa’s Cap’ is the bootleg to go to for this show. Recorded on DAT, it provides a window into Bowie’s creative genius which was shining again, after the awful mid-80s shit of Glass Spider & Serious Moonlight. Thumbs up to Tin Machine!

This was a great set, with a Brechtian-type theatrical backdrop. Opening with the magnificent ‘The Motel’ and closing with the epic ‘Moonage Daydream’ it was inexorably-brilliant.

Morrissey opened here, before he did a runner a couple of nights later in Scotland. His band were good, but he’s such a dick. Now he supports Weinstein & Brexshit, or something.

Some people think the Smiths produced the greatest album of all time.

I think he’s the biggest let-down of a generation. File under “Gallagher & Ringo.”



Mary-Chapin Carpenter

A legend of ‘country’ music apparently. But no sign of country here, apart from the occasional syllabic drawl. An outstanding pianist and excellent cellist embellished this ‘genre-free’ set. Consequently, Carpenter finds herself in a cultural vacuum of sorts. A genius, though.


Alice Cooper

Newport Centre

Brutal Planet Tour 2000 (Get the dvd!)

Another tour. Another band. Same whirlwind awesome performance. Pure class.

Taking on issues of terrorism, climate change and insanity, Alice Cooper is entertainment with a big E. The audience love the old favourites and the rehashed ‘My Generation.’

The biggest cheer comes when he parades his American flag for ‘Elected’ but flips it to reveal the Welsh Dragon on the reverse side. What a card.



Stiff Little Fingers


Fantastic as usual.


The Police

Reunion Tour 2006,

Cardiff Millennium Stadium


That couldn’t have been my ticket – it was twice that!

What is that all about? Used to be 60p or £1.00. The sting….

Lost the plot.

Great to see Andy Summers enjoying himself. Deserves a pension pot after the number of careers he’s had! Played the same set everywhere, all over the globe.


The Buzzcocks

The Railway Club !!!!!!

Maindee, Newport

Fond memories of being at the bar chatting to my mate, Trev, when they launch into his favourite and he peels away from the bar jumping about furiously.


The Damned

The Point, Cardiff

At one show the Damned had three bass-players on stage simultaneously. They just happened to be in the audience. The Captain wouldn’t let an opportunity like that up. I’m sure it was this gig. Anyway the support were an acoustic band and their versions of psychedelic rock were hilarious.

The Damned rip it up every time. Never a dull moment.

Acquired a red beret here, too. I’m sure………


Stiff Little Fingers



The Damned


On your marks! Get ready!





The Captain, in full progressive phantasmagorian flow, on his SG.

Arguably one of the finest lead guitarists around.




Ian McCulloch

supported by Rob Lear (& Liz) & Johnny Maus

Couldn’t believe Rob was the support here. Had a chat to him & Liz before he did a short set. Liz used to teach Trev’s daughter piano. Small world. Rob wasn’t totally convinced he remembered the Bunnymen, if at all. That was quite funny.

Mr. Maus was awesome. His trumpet-player announced their arrival from the public balcony opposite the stage, which took many punters by surprise. Nice convivial atmosphere.

Could Mac do something about that?


Ian Broudie assisted on second guitar, as Mac abused himself, other musicians, the audience and some of his tunes. Great fun, though he was too pissed, pissed off to sign his book for me. So, I’m £20 to the good.

Terry turned up there, too, with his daughter, but minus a pint. Like me he had to drive. All the local musicians seemed to have turned up and Terry knew them all. “Hi, James,” he said, as he spotted him standing next to Trev.

Enjoyed the Lou Reed & Bowie covers. What a trooper. Liked “Arthur” also.

Ian Broudie’s a nice bloke. His missus enjoyed chatting to my mate, Trev, about Newcastle. She kept singing “Fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine, fog on the Tyne is all mine.” Must have cheered him up, no end.


The Damned

Millenium Club, Cardiff

Wittily-named (but badly-spelled), since it’s near the stadium, which is now not called the ‘Millennium.’

This was our 3rd trip to see the Damned in Cardiff.

A pokey but modern club with a small stage with little headroom above the performers.

Poor Charlie Harper discovered this when he leapt up and threw his can of lager up. He hit his head on the ceiling and the can smashed all over him.

We missed the last bit of the encore, coz we had a train to catch. When we got to the platform, it said platform X. I asked a guard where the hell Platform X was. He laughed and pointed down a corridor. “Down there! It’s a bus!”

A truly awful end to the night.





Ben Watt

Clwb Ifor Bach, October 2014

The “Hendra” Tour

Ben had released his first solo album for years and promoted it by touring a huge number of small venues. Great intimate experience. Played guitars and electric piano.



Must have been at least 50 of us. Met the great guitarist, Stevie Johnson there.


That’s Bernard Butler, above, formerly of Suede, providing the backing. He produced a subtle semi-experimental sound for the fantastic new songs.

There’s the two of them, joined by a drummer.

The lovely Meadowlark supported. Hope they’re well.


The Rob Lear Band

Stute, Blackwood

Home ground for Rob and the band who are sensational live. For some reason they are happy to be associated with ‘Folk’ as a genre. Like Mary-Chapin the music really defies classification.

Played a number of well-known (to his following) songs from his excellent first album and several from the then-pending second. That, too, was outstanding. Rob’s probably going to go down as one of the most remarkable local talents to remain unknown to the masses.

What a band!

Phil Cooper

Phil’s a great lad. Recently went pro. Writes good tunes and has now invested in a modest home studio. Neat.

Above….one half of Tom Crow (no relation to Sheryll)

Loves a pint, Terry. He’s too modest by half. You should hear his brilliant debut, ‘Lifelines.’

Rob Lear

The Newport Folk Festival

No! Not that one…..Bassaleg, near Newport, Gwent.

Here we go again. Rob keeps flirting with these legends. Supporting none other than the great Harvey Andrews, he nonchalantly reels off another superb short set with his band.


You can see Liz here (accordion) and Brett (guitar). Rob’s not gesturing to me but the sound man.

Harvey Andrews

Newport Folk Festival

My uncle had his album ‘Writer of Songs.’ I’d never heard of him. The album was played by a who’s-who of top session-players from the UK at that time (early 70s). Ralph McTell & Rick Wakeman are just two of the players. It’s a brilliant record.

On the record there’s a controversial song about Northern Ireland which was banned. No wonder Harvey struggled to sell. There’s another called ‘Hey Sandy.’ I never knew what it was about. I’d just finished reading Chrissie Hynde’s biography ‘Reckless.’ In it is an anecdote of her visit to her brother’s university where a riot ensued. The state sent in a young brigade to quell it. They had rifles. They used them. On the students. Chrissie was there and witnessed a young girl being shot to death. Her name? Sandy.

I’m sure Harvey’s not read her biography. I bet Chrissie’s never heard of Harvey.

It was only when I ordered a new copy of the album on CD (I’d lost my vinyl album) that I knew this was the very same Sandy. How? Because Harvey had now added sleeve-notes to his songs!

It would be great to get them to do a duet of that.

Here’s a chipper Harvey, in his youthful 70s. Has an easy-going natural affinity with the audience. Even has a website for ordering signed CDs. He hates stupidity.


Who’s this bloke below? Keeps popping up!


Ah….the legend that is Terry! Minus a pint again. A worrying trend………….







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