Having seen a Dogs d’Amour show in Sheffield go not-so-smoothly last year, I have had my doubts about them ever since. Was it a one-off disaster? Are all their shows best endured with a gallon of alcohol to soothe the blow? Well I am glad to say that their return, although with different band members this time, was surprisingly good. This show at the Corporation in Sheffield and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell have been sorely overlooked due to the exciting return of classic line-up next year, which is a shame as The Dogs d’Amour pulled out all the stops, the band seemed to be enjoying themselves and they really put that into the gig - I have never seen Tyla bounding about a stage so much before.
The gig was advertised to include the entirety of fan favourite In The Dynamite Jet Saloon and the acoustic followup A Graveyard of Empty Bottles. The entirety of Graveyard was played which is surprising, as there were a few songs missed from Dynamite - not a problem as I don’t think anyone was really expecting to hear everything from both albums but I would have expected them to favour Dynamite over Graveyard, such as most fans do, but this is probably lesson one of Dogs d’amour fandom - don’t expect the obvious. The show started, as any Dogs d’amour show should, with the thunderous introduction to Last Bandit, and the band eventually wound their way to a whole section of Graveyard songs (including Angel, So Once Was I, Bullet Proof Poet & When the Dream Has Gone). Having never heard them live before, it was refreshing to listen to electric versions of these songs, bit I’m afraid to say quite a few audience members may have been bored or restless with the drop in tempo as so many there were talking the whole way through the Graveyard section. Whether that is a reflection on the band, songs or the general atmosphere of the show…it is hard to decide.
Although I have said you shouldn’t expect the obvious from a Dogs d’Amour show, there is always something you can count on hearing: a good few sing-a-long songs. Billy Two Rivers, How Come it Never Rains, I Don’t Want You to Go, Heroine or The State I’m In, the Dogs d’Amour pulled out plenty of catchy songs from the back catalogue. Some songs have been changed, revamped perhaps, to suit Tyla’s current singing style, but none have been changed for the worst.
With the new year comes an old line-up, if this matches the quality of the Sheffield show or outdoes it, we shall we have to see…
Whippz Crow of The Burning Crows tells us all about The Burning Crows’ exciting new PledgeMusic campaign and the Autumun/Winter tour with The Quireboys…
LTMDTT: The band has just launched a PledgeMusic campaign for your new album: what inspired you to do so?
Whippz: Well it really came down to the fans to be honest. PledgeMusic has essentially blown the whole game wide open and given fans the power to help musicians and bands achieve their goals by helping to fund whatever project they’re currently working on without the need for any label backing. That’s why it really made sense to us to put what we love in the hands of the people who love it as much as we do, whilst still being able to stay true, real and honest to ourselves and everyone that’s backed us from the start… Recording in the way that we do can be expensive business and this is where a lot of bands fall down as it’s so easy for things to fall apart when there’s no cash coming in. We’ve been offered record deals in the past where they would have helped with recording, but the problem was that they wanted to completely change our sound & image and essentially turn us into something that we’re not, so it kind of defied the point of us recording the album at all if you’re no longer the band that people loved in the first place. People have been asking for a full album for ages now and this seemed like the best way to get it done and keep those who want it in the loop and in control.
What can fans expect from the new album, will it be in the same direction as the “Never Had it So Good” ep or something different?
For better or worse we just sound like we do, so it’s unlikely we’ll be going down a “Sounds of The Andes Pan Flute” route to be honest. Whether that’s good or bad is all down to the listener I suppose haha? Aside from the usual influences you’d expect from a Rock n’ Roll band though, we all listen to very different things so there’s a lot of different flavours in there but if you liked the EP, you’re going to love the album and although naturally we’ve evolved as band since “Never Had It So Good”, it’s still us. It still sounds like us. It still has the same sentiments as us. We’re not going to pretend we spend every night out on Sunset Strip because the reality is that we live in a fairly quiet part of England. We won’t however pretend that we’re angels that your mum would be pleased to have round for dinner… It’s just good time, Saturday night, party music. If that’s your thing, come get involved!
What is the most exciting thing about writing and recording new music?
We love every part of the writing and recording process but getting out there and playing it live has to be the most rewarding for us. It’s always really cool to sit around in a studio for weeks on end putting songs together, getting things tight and sounding like they do in your head then hearing it all come together back on tape but it’s when you get up on stage and play them to a crowd that the magic really happens. It’s really cliché but there really is nothing better than hearing people singing your song back at you with everyone getting off on each other’s buzz. That’s what make the show; it’s the combination of the music, the atmosphere and most importantly… the people.
Where do you usually gather song writing inspiration? What is your usual song writing process?
That depends on who you ask! Normally though I’ll have the song written and have in my head how it’s meant to sound. Then I’ll spend a while trying to communicate how it’s meant to go, usually unsuccessfully, using noises and charade style actions until after a period of time someone suggests what I was actually trying to say in the first place and we get there in the end… Our drummer cant see colours or hear notes though so that can make things a little tricky. Seriously though there’s a lot of cool ideas from everyone and the mix of styles and influences just fit together and make it all sound like us. As far as inspiration goes, I never really set our to write a song, I just wait for an idea or a line or a melody to pop into my head, then if I’m still singing it at the end of the day, I’ll write a song around it and hopefully have something other people catch hook on to too. As for subject matter, we’re not kidding ourselves into thinking we’re changing society with our music. We know nothing about politics or anything like that so we keep our true to who we are what we know about… If you want to put a stamp on it, Chris put it quite eloquently when he said all the songs were about “Girls, Booze and Girls with Booze”
The PledgeMusic campaign is already a good percentage complete. What does this kind of support mean to you and the rest of the band?
It’s incredible and it’s gone beyond what we expected, even at this early stage. A lot of people have put it down to the band but as much as we appreciate the compliment, I think it’s all down to the fans. Without them, we’re just 4 guys playing songs together and as we’ve always said we are so so lucky to have such a dedicated fan base and as with most of things we do, we can’t do it without them. That’s the main reason we’ve tried to make the Pledge as rewarding for the people who pre-order the album as it is for us and given people the opportunity to get involved with the band in ways that weren’t possible before and really give them the option to get their hands on something special (One of a kind merch, secret gigs, personal acoustic shows, studio holidays) in return for their hard earned money, as believe me, we know just how tight it is at the moment… Since we released the “Never Had It So Good” EP things have gone from strength to strength and a lot of that can be attributed to all the fans new and old who get behind us without fail every single time we announce . If any of you are reading this – Thank you all so much, we love you all!
You are about to start another tour of the UK, this time as special guests to The Quireboys which must be really exciting. What do you think fans of The Quireboys are going to make of The Burning Crows?
Can’t wait for this! I’ve always loved The Quireboys and they’re still in my top 5 bands of all time, so to be able to watch them every night is a winner for me… Even now, live, they put most acts to shame, they’ve got excellent songs and they’re all great guys too. The cool thing about both bands is that we’re all about putting on a show, getting the crowd involved and having a good time, so all things being well it should be a party from start to finish! The response we’ve had from their fans so far has been great and whether they’ve checked us out because we’re on tour, through our lovely Manager Matt (Goom – Drummer of the Quireboys) or Keith (Weir – Keys in The Quireboys and played on The Burning Crows’ “Time”) everyone seems to be really into what we’re doing and just get what we’re about, so it’s going to be really cool for us to go out there and re-connect with all the friends and fans we made on the last tour as well as meeting a load of new ones on this tour. We’ll be at the bar 10 mins after we finish, so come say hi for a drink… or two ;)
The tour also includes a slot at the Hard Rock Hell festival in Wales. Have you played anything similar before and how is it going to differ to the rest of the tour?
We’ve played festivals before which have all been great but we’ve never had the privilege and pleasure of sharing a bill with so many bands of this calibre. I mean, Electric Boys, Sebastian Bach, Buckcherry…. The list goes on and these are all bands that have all had a massive influence on us, so it’s a huge buzz to be a part of it and also to have been one of the first bands confirmed and announced, so in the that respect it’s going to be slightly different to the rest of the tour but as far as our show goes… it’s the same rules every night. 100% of us 100% of the time. No excuses, no regrets. If there’s people who want to see us, then they get all of us, no questions asked. It’s been a while since we’ve been on the road so unless something drastic happens in the form of someone losing a limb, every show’s going to be electric!
Is there anything you would like to add?
Just want to once again say a massive thank you to everyone who’s supported us and a special thank you to all who have put their hard earned money, regardless of how much, into recording the album. We don’t take any of it for granted and we really do appreciate all the love and dedication. There’s a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon too, so keep them peepers peeping and if we don’t see you before, we’ll see you on the road with The Quireboys this Winter!
The 15th of October saw the release of The Jim Jones Revue’s third album, “The Savage Heart”, and as with its predecessors it truly stands out from anything else released around the same time, seeing the band take a more experimental route instead of solely being loud (and by ‘loud’ I mean ‘LOUD’) as they are known for.
The Savage Heart kicks off with lead single “It’s Gotta Be About Me”, which will be stuck in your head for days with its ferocious rhythm - a song that sounds great in any setting from a live show to blaring out of your mp3 player’s headphones. A few other tracks on the album are reminiscent if the in-your-face up-to-eleven style, such as “Catastrophe” and “Where Da Money Go?” (inspired by the August riots in London last year) which both pulse with attitude.
The Jim Jones Revue have expanded their sound with a few “quiet” and stripped down songs, such as “Seven Times Around the Sun” which is basically percussion and call-and-response vocals. “Chain Gang” is another example of a new direction, with piano that plays every vertebrae in your spine and whirring guitar, it really creates a chilling atmosphere and soundscape. “In and Out of Harm’s Way” has to be the highlight of the album, it has dark undertones but will still have you struggling to keep from moving along with its smooth infectious groove - much akin to the incendiary “Cement Mixer” from their debut.
The biggest surprise of the album has to be the final track “Midnight Oceans and the Savage Heart”, which closes the record with a bit of a gentle ebb - it’s a ghostly echo of a lost love ballad that would easily belong playing through an old wireless radio. Its eerie reverb and softer lyrics prove that the ‘Revue isn’t just a one dimensional band: they can play really energetic shows but they can still also write a diverse group of songs that work incredibly well together.
The Savage Heart is out now, and you can hear some of the songs in their Southend video (Part 1, 2 & 3).
You may have noticed the return of the popular TV show The X Factor (whether you like it or not, someone is bound to have mentioned it to you). The show has been described as a talent show, a singing competition, but it is hard to believe it to be either. As with most Top 40 acts, the way the artists look sells more records (or should I say .mp3 downloads?) than the music itself. If looks don’t cut it, you’re out - or you will have some sort of “bad reputation” to get your name and music out there instead. Same rules apply for the X Factor. The live shows have just begun and it is hard to believe that acts such as District3, Union J and Rylan Clark have made it so far past many other auditionees who had much better singing voices - the show is meant to be a talent show and singing competition after all.
Although ratings have dropped (from a total of 14.1 million views in 2010 to 12.3 million views in 2011), The X Factor still remains very popular and is showing no signs of going away too soon. With such a large number of people tuning in every week, what effect will this have on the musical scene? How will it affect the direction of future artists? If the show had an impact on the rock scene, we would be done for. Anybody remember the pipes on Joseph Whelan (the guy who sang Whole Lotta Love)? With a powerful voice like that, he would have done incredibly well on a true singing competition, but instead he didn’t make it past the second (televised) stage of the competition. It seems the producers of The X Factor are dead against anything remotely rock, which does make it surprising that the wild hair Melanie Masson has made it so far - maybe with her Janis Joplin “hippy” influences she is seen as more of a “kooky” character than musician with a seriously good ’70s rock voice.
I don’t want to see The X Factor banned - at most it is slightly entertaining on a slow Saturday - but I do wish it wouldn’t encourage the idea of celebrity and fame for nothing. Years ago, you had to do something great to become widely reknown, such as charity work, a medical or science discovery, climbing Mt Everest, etc. Now the celebrity world is full of “nobodies” who become “somebody” overnight via channels such as Big Brother and The X Factor. The X Factor seems to attract the purely fame hungry, although I have noticed that the producers are going more for “we love music and we work hard” scripted lines for the contestants. Why should these people have more success than the hard working musicians of the Toilet Circuit, open mic nighters at your local pub or a fantastic one man band busker in the street? The X Factor and all it represents is killing good music and struggling musicians’ careers. Say no the The X Factor!
The Barfly in Camden probably had never seen so many Wildhearts or “I pledged” t shirts than on the night of the double Ginger Wildheart (and friends) shows. People had travelled from all over the country (and maybe beyond) for these one (or should I say two?) of a kind request-only sets, with set lists chosen via a Facebook poll weeks earlier. The first show began late, but with two beats into the set opener “Mazel Tov Cocktail”, any crowd restlessness was soon forgotten amidst that catchy chorus.
Amongst the more obvious requests such as “Miles Away Girl”, “Geordie in Wonderland” and “Just in Lust”, both sets included some rather unexpected songs: who ever would have thought that “Urge” (from The Wildhearts’ 1997 noisy masterpiece “Endless Nameless”) or “Jackson Whites” (from The Wildhearts’ final album “Chutzpah” which was a modern twist on the well-loved Wildhearts sound) would sound so good semi-acoustically? Generally, both sets comprised of great song after great song, but I am still a little confused as to how “Casino Bay” got in the top requests. I guess that song is more popular than previously thought (if not by much).
If you see the word “acoustic” and instantly think “boring”, you need to get yourself down to a Ginger Wildheart acoustic show sometime, as they are anything but quiet and boring. One of the things you expect from this kind of show is the “witty banter” and the two Camden shows were no exception: an audience member got everyone singing “Tie Me Kangaroo Down” (none other than that mad Rolf Harris song), ‘Random’ Jon Poole “amazed” the audience with “Making Plans for Nigel” and the crazy “The Forgotten Land”, anyone shouting requests was heartily told to f**k off by those stood around them, Ginger told a tale or two of the old unruly Wildhearts days, people began a shaky rendition of “Kumbaya My Lord”, which somehow ended up with Chris Catalyst borrowing a hat from someone in the audience which was later dubbed “a gay fedora” (whatever that means is up to interpretation). As with plenty of Ginger shows in the past (and many more in the future), things did wander away from the straight and narrow at times.
The two acoustic shows at the Barfly may be the last of their kind for a while, as it seems Ginger is headed for a heavier sound once again with his latest Pledge Music project - “The Frankenstein Effect” (once again an incredibly fast seller, beating “555%” by a long shot). If you want to catch some of the madness, the band are supporting Slash on his tour this week around the UK and there is set to be a full tour in the Spring!
The Quireboys have announced the final dates for their Autumun/Winter tour this year, with special guests The Burning Crows. If you haven’t managed to see either band live yet, get yourself down to one of the following shows!
Newcastle - The Cluny - November 13th Grimsby - The Yardbirds - November 14th Wolverhampton - SLADE Rooms - November 25th York - The Duchess - November 28th Glasgow - The Garage - November 29th Norwich - The Waterfront - December 13th Bedford - Esquires -December 14th Sheffield - The Corporation - December 15th Leicester - The Musician - December 16th
(all photos are from the show the following day at the KOKO in Camden)
The atmosphere at the Manchester Academy 2 was a seemingly impossible mixture of laid back and excited right before BUSH took to the stage. The night’s support act, Bluebell, had set the evening up nicely with their mix of glistening pop and reverberating percussion and synth. If you check them out, expect super catchy melodies as they are fronted by the daughter of the late Davy Jones - the man behind the Monkees’ great songs.
As the opening notes of “Machinehead” rang out, Manchester came to life. BUSH’s live sound set-up isn’t as loud as other rock gigs I’ve been to, you can hear every voice in the room alongside their music - and I am glad to tell you that the vast majority of voices were singing along to every last song. Most in attendance were aged around 30 and above, a lot of whom had seen the band in its last incarnation before the split in 2002, and there are quite a few people who make comparisons between now and then. Naturally so, but the band is much more tight and focused now and every song is delivered with a metaphorical punch - besides the slower numbers. The set included a good number of fan favourites, from “Greedy Fly” to “Glycerine”, “Comedown” to “The Chemicals Between Us” - the band kept true to the originals, much to the relief of many long time fans in attendance that night.
Alongside the fan favourites, the set included a few songs from the latest album “The Sea of Memories” such as “All My Life” and “The Afterlife”. Adding to the mix, the band began their encore with two covers, “Breathe” (Pink Floyd) and perhaps one of the highlights of the night, “Come Together” (The Beatles). With its famous groove and with Rossdale really “feeling” the song, on his knees with his eyes closed, you’d be hard pressed to find someone in the room who didn’t enjoy Bush’s version of The Beatles’ classic. Even if you don’t really like The Beatles, you should look up this cover online somewhere at your nearest convenience.
Although the gig had quite a relaxed feeling to it, the audience really livened up when Rossdale stepped over to the barrier to play a few guitar solos to the crowd. People were clamouring to get closer, to put their hands on his guitar - one person touched the wrong place on the strings and reduced a guitar solo to an embarrassed silence. But mistakes make every show unique!
After the show at Manchester I can only hope that Bush do not leave it so long before playing more dates here, and when they do…make sure you do not miss the opportunity to see this band live.
There is always a happy atmosphere around Eagles of Death Metal shows, and the gig at the Angel Academy (as the o2 in Islington is known to locals and regulars) was no exception. All the early queuers were given free alcohol before the show by frontman Jesse Hughes and his girlfriend Tuesday, and although I’m aware (and I’m sure many readers are aware too) that bands are given lots & lots of free booze (and some of Eagles of Death Metal don’t drink!), it was still a kind gesture and much appreciated by those who had a cheeky can or two under the glaring eyes of the two or three security cameras in the area.
Inside the cheerful atmosphere continued as the opening act of the night, the Australian duo Jackson Firebird, warmed up the crowd with their energetic garage rock. The guitar/vocal and drums/vocal began with a throbbing beat, with the use of a box/lid centre stage as a percussive tool. Why use a box when there is a perfectly good drum kit right behind you? Well, it added to the overall affect of their down to earth, to the roots, their groove filled sound. If you dont see this band the next time they come over, you will be missing out!
Second act of the night was The Virginmarys. I’ve heard lots of great things about this band, they seem to be on their way up, but I’m sad to say I was a bit underwhelmed. These guys have supported some noticeable names in the past, so I was expecting something a bit in your face, but they didn’t provide in that department. There was some very British swearing and a lot of noisy tracks, but nothing seemed to stand out. A few people in the audience were intrigued by sight of a gong next to the kit, but when it was played it hardly added any significant affect to the music at all and was lost in the sea of loud guitars.
The venue was pretty much packed by the time Eagles of Death Metal took to the stage (it was a sell out show and lots of fans had to fork out extra for tickets from touts outside or eBay). The set was a mixture of tonnes of Eagles hits and favourites, a bit of Boots Electric and a few covers for Jesse Hughes’ idols.
From the very first note of opener Bad Dream Mama, Eagles had owned the crowd. Every cheer and “Amen!” was delivered on time and without question. Even if you aren’t religious in any shape or form you’ll be buying into what was being preached…good time rocknroll with hints of the Californian sun and the Bible Belt’s most exaggerated preacher sermons thrown in for good measure.
The encore of the show featured a very special guest in the form of Rat Scabies, legendary drummer of The Damned, for a cover of New Rose. Quite a nice surprise for any punk fan don’t you think? If that isn’t your cup of tea, Jesse also did a solo cover of the Rolling Stones classic of “Brown Sugar” in dedication to the band Green Day (who were also there on the day).
From your Whorehoppin’ to your Secret Plans, I’m sure Eagles could do no wrong - every song encited a frenzy of dancing and plenty of singing from the audience, Eagles are 100% good time music thats for sure.
If you are looking for an exciting new band, then look no further than Dead Echoes from Edinburgh!
Dead Echoes have recently released their debut ep “Daybreak” independently. With every track you can hear how passionate each musician is about their craft - there is no sloppy playing or half hearted composition to be found. The EP does have a slight aggression to it at times, but this comes through as raw passion more than anything else. The result of this mixture is four solid tracks of progressive hard rock, sometimes sweet-edged (such as opener “Starlight”) but packed with kick-ass riffs and vocals!