Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Cardiacs Manchester Academy 21st november

Here we are again, it has been nearly 3 years since I was last able to witness this most amazing band, and tonight would reaffirm how good this band is. With us tonight is a Cardiacs virgin, so who knows what she is expecting. Supporting the Cardiacs is former Cardiac, Jon Poole, with his band The Damn Filthy Whores.

Ballsy rock n roll with a Cardiacsy twist, entertain all those who wish to stand, sit or swim before them. Banter with ’Bernard Manning’ and a brief love affair with a large beard are but tiny interludes in these precedings. Jon’s tenure as focal point come to an end, but entertaining he was and always will be.

Of course we the fish, are here for the big ugly shark, and this huge swimming muscle must flex and twist the night away. The bass drum pounds with constant poundings, an introduction to what is to follow, and what follows will be remembered till our synapses cease their firing. This grand spectacle beholds the swaying pond, while a historial selection of musical interludes with smatterings of current offerings are welcomed with open hearts and minds. Highlights include Tarred & Feathered, Breakfast Line, Dive and RES.

Tim is his usual self, a duality of personas, headmaster and child, while his brother is a stoic as usual, with the occasional bow to the pond in recognition of appreciation. Karvus the animated, is well, animated. The new non-dancing girls don’t dance but bang drums and sing with aplomb. Bob, when you can see him, wears headphones with style, and his style works the room.

So comes the end, a little earlier that the set-list had planned for, but, well it doesn’t really matter, does it, for what came before is more than what we expected. So say goodbye to those funsters, hope to see you soon, maybe on one of those digital plastic disc things, if youtube is anything to go by.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Apes Fight Back Cellar Bar 17th November

Local bands for local people, in a local venue. Tonight its three bands for the price of none, as tonight there will be no charge to view what is going to take place, that is apart from maybe a section of frequencies that you are probably going to lose.

Band number one is Salacious, a four piece from Blackburn, who for a front man have a front woman, which for the rest of the band is a both an advantage and disadvantage, for no matter how good you are, you will go un-noticed, and no matter how bad you are you will still go un-noticed. All this being said what did they sound like, well, as my eyes where on the front woman, I cannot remember. Joking aside they were ok, kinda like Garbage, but not quite as edgy, some good tunes, but just a little bit samey.

Band number two, The Addiction, well you had to feel sorry for them. Apart from myself and they guy who came with me, I could count on one hand all the people who stayed around after Salacious to watch them. Very Muse-like in sound and structure, so much so they actually did a version of Hysteria, which was ok. Maybe the fact that they came from Wigan, and they are not known here in Blackburn, may have contributed to the lack of an audience, but hey, we all have to deal with those situations.

Band number three, Apes Fight Back, are the reason I dragged myself from my rather comfortable sofa. To brave such a shitty wet Saturday night, to have my senses assaulted by two crazed individuals, whose sound is like nothing before. Hardcore, thrash, punk, combined with slick showmanship produced a short set, but what a set, a thousand miles an hour, pounding animalistic drums combined with a Cliff Burton sounding bass, tick all the right boxes for me. Miss them at your peril.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Dream Theatre Blackburn KGH 11th November

What a coup, Dream Theater playing Blackburn, not that I am a great fan, but I do like what they do, and as they are playing in my home town, they have to be seen.

Supported by Symphony X, a good heads down rock outfit with some good tunes, the night kicks of with a bang. That is until mr security bastard informs me that the taking of photographs will not be allowed, and that they would be saying the same to everyone who attempts to take any illicit photographs all through the night, and true to their word they were.

Anyway, that would not spoil it for me, as Dream Theater make their way to the stage, obscured by a blackout curtain, into music filtered out and they were off. Tiny cameras have been discreetly placed around the stage and feed from these cameras are projected onto the rear of the stage for all to see, thus providing strange angles to view the band from. Some members play up to these cameras, while the others act as though they are not there.

Most of the songs they played tonight I knew, or rather I had heard before, but to ask be what they were called, my answer would comprise of a set of shrugged shoulders, but that does not matter, for they play with such precision, complex structures are executed with out the need for a safety net.

Two hours of this are lapped up by a most appreciative audience, but all good things have eventually to come to an end. We all spill out onto a cold Sunday evening in November, to discuss what we have seen and heard. All that remains is to head off home, which for me takes all of five minutes. Hurrah.

Sorry no pictures are available from me for this gig - thanks mr security bastard

Friday, 9 November 2007

Frank Sidebottom Blakeys KGH 9th November

Frank Sidebottom was playing in Blackburn, so of course a visit had to be made, for you cannot beat a bit of Frank. Yes his act has not changed in all the years I have known of him, but who cares. Little Frank, silly songs, audience participation, raffles, dressing up in silly costumes all are familiar, yet utterly bizarre, just try to describe his act to someone who has never seen it and you would struggle, that or they will look at you as though you have just grown a secong head, a head that could rival Franks.

But who cares, the room was full of people quite willing to sing along with his silly songs, play along with his silly games and ultimately to have your picture taken with the man himself. And yes I did.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Barcelona - November 2007

My good friend Michelle had a couple of bank holidays at the beginning of November, and so I had booked a few days off work, got myself a cheap flight to Barcelona, and stocked up on a few tastes from home. That being british bacon, lancashire cheese, bisto gravy and lancashire tea bags.

An early start meant a taxi to the airport, no delays and a stress free flight. This accomplished, a short wait for my baggage to reappear from behind the magic curtain followed, and finally emerging to a sunny morning in Barcelona. Michelle was there to meet me, greetings and blighties goodies exchanged, and then it was off to explore parts of the city I had never seen before.

First on the list was to climb the rather steep hill overlooking the city, board a funicular and finally arrive at Tibidabo, an ancient church with accompanying fairground. The church itself is quite magnificent, and for a small surcharge you can climb or rather be elevatorised to its uppermost reaches and take it the most breathtaking views of the city. Today and for all of the time I was there, the sun shone continuously, nothing like what I left behind in England.

Next day was to take the dogs for a good long walk in the surrounding countryside, discovering parts of Barcelona that you wouldn’t find on many tourist guides. For the evenings entertainment, traditional Spanish cuisine. This comprised of Calcots (a large sweet spring onion) and barbequed snails in rosemary and garlic sauce.

Saturday Michelle had her Belly dancing class, so for an hour I wandered around the town, taking a few snapshots. After class we met up with some of her classmates and meandered the local market. This evening it would be Japanese, sushi, sake, squid and sangria. Hmmmmmm.

Sunday again we took the dogs out for a rather long walk, discovering new sights to visit again, rounding off the evening with a wonderful home cooked meal and many hours of Guitar Hero.

Monday we both had flights to catch, Michelle having to go to China for work, and me to come home, and so we did, and so here endeth my visit to Barcelona.

Nighmare Visions - Cellar Bar

Nightmare Visions, Cellar Bar, September 7th 2007