A Driving Instructor's Blog

Music

Now hold on a minute. I was not a big fan of Demis Roussos’ solo career. That wasn’t my kind of music. Ever. But he was a bona fide mega-star when I was growing up, and a lot of people bought his records. However, I recently became aware of a late-60s prog-rock outfit called Aphrodite’s Child, who were a bit before my time, and I was surprised to hear – at least, I thought I’d heard, then went home and looked it up – that their line-up included Roussos.Demis Roussos

So with that, it is sad to hear that Demis died yesterday.

I was also surprised to discover that Aphrodite’s Child included Vangelis (of Chariots of Fire fame). He said on hearing of Roussos’ death:

As for me, I keep those special memories that we share together those early days and I wish you to be happy wherever you are.

Aphrodite’s Child are worth looking up, as this video shows (remember: it’s from the late-60s/early-70s, so make allowances for choice of clothing and general hirsuteness).

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This is becoming an annual event! My mate from Leeds is a big fan, so I go with him each time they tour – which in Quo’s case is pretty much all year round.Parfitt and Rossi - Leeds 2014

The support was Chas & Dave. I have a lot of respect for them as musicians, but they are not my cup of tea. My mate’s wife was less diplomatic: she hates them! Her face when they started “Rabbit” was a picture.Francis Rossi 2014

The Quo set list was something like this:

  • Caroline
  • Something ’bout You Baby I Like
  • Rain
  • Paper Plane
  • Little Lady
  • Hold You Back
  • Beginning of the End
  • Blue Eyed Lady
  • What You’re Proposing / Down the Dustpipe / Wild Side of Life / Railroad
  • Big Fat Mama
  • The Oriental
  • Creepin’ Up on You
  • Oh Baby
  • In the Army Now
  • Drum Solo (The Caveman)
  • Roll Over Lay Down
  • Down Down
  • Whatever You Want
  • Rockin’ All Over the World

Encore:

  • Burning Bridges (On and Off and on Again)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Music / Bye Bye Johnny

Rick Parfitt 2014

Once again, newer bands should take note. Although Quo songs tend to be relatively short and radio-friendly, you were looking at a playing time of well over an hour (based on album track lengths).

You’ve also got to allow for the fact that both Rossi and Parfitt are in their mid-60s, and both have been ill at times in the last couple of years. In fact, this time around they looked fitter and happier than I have seen them since I’ve been attending their gigs.

A very enjoyable way to end the musical year from my perspective. Oh, and I used the same car park as for the Slash gig and got in and out without any fuss.

At the moment, the next gig I’m going to isn’t until March next year.

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Still a little behind with these updates, but on 29 November I went to see Slash with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators at the Leeds Arena.

I saw Slash last year in Nottingham and it was a great show.It was notable that he had a great support band – The Treatment – who are making a name for themselves in their own right. Well, this time around there were two support bands. The first was an Australian four-piece called Twenty Two Hundred, who were good.Twenty Two Hundred

Even better, though, were California Breed. I’ve been hearing a lot of these on Planet Rock – they’re a “supergroup” consisting of Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, and Andrew Watt.California Breed's Glenn Hughes

Glenn Hughes played with Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, and was also a member of Black Country Communion (whom I never got to see before they split). I guess it was only fitting that they ended their set with the Deep Purple song Burn. Guitarist, Andrew Watt, was a revelation.

Myles Kennedy 2014

Slash and Myles Kennedy were on fire, though. The set list was as follows:

  • You’re a Lie
  • Nightrain
  • Standing in the Sun
  • Avalon
  • Back from Cali
  • Withered Delilah
  • You Could Be Mine
  • Ghost
  • Doctor Alibi
  • Out Ta Get Me
  • Wicked Stone
  • Beneath the Savage Sun
  • Mr. Brownstone
  • Rocket Queen
  • Bent to Fly
  • World on Fire
  • Anastasia
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine
  • Slither

Encore:

  • Paradise City

Slash at Leeds Arena 2014Newer bands (like The Pretty Reckless, mentioned previously) should take note. Here we have 20 songs with an average timing of over 4 minutes, so a minimum playing time of 80 minutes. Add to that the various Slash solos – including one that was 10 minutes or more – and you have value for money… with knobs on.

It’s funny when you think about it. Slash pisses around playing solos, and lesser bands piss around doing absolutely nothing between songs. Slash was polished, that’s for sure.

The Arena was taking no prisoners that night, either. They were doing body scans outside, and they’d obviously confiscated some very unusual items (including half bottles of whisky). I decided to take my camera in in full view, and they didn’t give a damn – they were more interested in the signal my business card wallet was giving on the hand scanner!

Oh, yeah. And this was my first visit to the Leeds Arena since the Edward Street/UKCPS car park scam I was involved in about a year ago. This time I used another car park a short distance away from the arena and was in and out with no delays whatsoever. And parking only cost £5.

A great night. The only hiccup was that I got home at 1.30am and had to get up again at 5.00am to pick a pupil up at 6.30am for an 8.10am test. I’d told him he’d better bloody pass getting me up at that time. Fortunately, he did.

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I’m a bit late mentioning this, but I went to see The Pretty Reckless at Rock City a few weeks ago (17 November, to be precise).

I saw them a few years ago at the Leeds O2, where they were supporting Evanescence. I’d had them on my tour alerts and snapped up tickets as soon as they went on sale. I did the same thing this time.The Pretty Reckless - Taylor Momsen

It is a bit difficult to describe this. On the one hand, the music was excellent. However, there simply wasn’t enough of it! The set list, shown below, consisted of a mere 11 songs. The encore was just one song.

  • Follow Me Down
  • Since You’re Gone
  • Sweet Things
  • Miss Nothing
  • House on a Hill
  • Dear Sister
  • Absolution
  • Why’d You Bring a Shotgun to the Party
  • Make Me Wanna Die
  • Heaven Knows
  • Going to Hell

Encore:

  • Fucked Up World

You could forgive the paucity of material when they were supporting in 2011 after only a single album having been released. After all, they only formed in 2009. But another two years down the line, and after graduating to headline status… well, I’m not so sure. Not being a hard rock band in the true sense the average length of each of their songs is around three minutes, so with that set list you’re looking at little over half an hour’s worth of music. And yet somehow they managed to stretch it to almost an hour and a half. And I said “almost”.

Unfortunately, they still haven’t polished their performance, and the rawness that was evident when they supported Evanescence was still there. You see, support bands are usually crammed in at the front of the stage – in front of the already-installed equipment of the main act. For that reason you can forgive the cramped performances that result. But if you’re the headline act yourself, then the audience expects a little more. There was a huge gap between each song which merely emphasised this unpolished product.

Having said that, the audience was predominantly young and female, and I doubt that they knew what they should be expecting. The screams of “we love you Taylor” probably illustrate that better than anything.

Personally, I did enjoy the show. There just wasn’t enough of it to go around, and you could see it being spread thinly on purpose.

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Here’s a brilliant story from Scotland. Susan and Carl Smith had just been married and a band was playing at their reception. At the same hotel, Roger Daltrey was staying prior to The Who’s gig in Glasgow. He heard the music, went in to congratulate the couple, then did a song with the band.Roger Daltrey gate-crashes wedding in Scotland

No one could believe it, and the married couple say it is something they will remember for the rest of their lives.

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According to this Classic Rock interview it doesn’t look like Rush will be touring in 2015 at the moment. It’s not definite that they won’t, but the fact that they’ve not decided yet is. Something is going to happen, that’s certain. It’s just a matter of when. Geddy also talks of “itching” to get back to the studio and record a new Rush album, and he says Alex feels the same way. Geddy Lee of Rush

Incidentally, my R40 Boxed Set arrived today, It’s a beautifully packaged product and I’m looking forward to some quiet time to go through the 10 DVDs it contains.

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Mine’s already on pre-order from the Rush Backstage Club. There will be an R40 boxed set released in November, featuring over two hours of unseen footage and a couple of never-before heard songs from the early days.

I am convinced this is a precursor to the announcement of an R40 world tour in 2015.

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A few people have found the blog on this search term in the last few days. I wasn’t sure why until I checked, but it’s because episode 11 of the documentary “Metal Evolution” is being shown, and all three members of Rush are interviewed in it (which is an achievement on the part of the producers and Sam Dunn, since Neil Peart doesn’t do many interviews, and he is very forthcoming in this one).Rush trio

Actually, you can buy this highly acclaimed documentary series on DVD and Blu-ray, and it is really worth having if you’re into rock music.

It’s also worth pointing out that an R40 boxed set is planned for later this year featuring 6 discs and lots of bonus material as well as their recent (post-hiatus) performances. I’ll be getting it, that’s for sure!

Correction: There is a new show, Classic Albums 4, featuring Rush and their albums 2112 and Moving Pictures. Again, Neil is included prominently, along with Alex and Geddy. The show was originally aired in the US in 2010, but it has taken this long to come over here!

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Regular readers will know that I enjoy going to live music gigs. One of the best smaller venues is Nottingham’s Rock City, which in the past has hosted the likes of David Bowie, Nirvana, U2, REM, Ozzy Osbourne, Oasis, and Blur. I’ve seen Gary Moore there a couple of times, along with The Darkness, Haim, Courtney Love, Steel Panther, Hawkwind, Black Star Riders, and Primal Scream. At the attached Rescue Rooms I’ve seen John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett, Evarose, CJD, and Mostly Autumn. There have been a few others.Rock City, Nottingham

A story came in on the newsfeeds about a club in Manchester – several around the country, in fact – which might face losing its licence because of complaints by people living in nearby flats about the noise. When I did a bit of searching, I found that Rock City had had the same problem back in 2004, where it was forced to spend £250,000 on new soundproofing because people who had moved in nearby had started whingeing about “the noise”.

The club had already opposed planning permission for the flats on the grounds that they were too close and were bound to be affected by noise, but since Nottingham City Council is run by money-grabbing idiots of the first order the flats were built, people who were too stupid to guess what might happen moved in, and… well, Rock City had to spend a quarter of a million on a new roof after the complaints started. At the time all this happened, Nottingham City Council “declined” to speak with the BBC.Night & Day Club, Manchester

Night & Day in Manchester is now going through the same unfortunate experience. Their plight is somewhat worse than the one Rock City went through, as the flats are in the building next door and adjoin the venue. Furthermore, although the venue is a successful business, it appears to be smaller than Rock City and probably couldn’t afford to shell out the money needed (scaled up to 2014 prices, and given the extreme proximity of the complainants) to address the problem.

Night & Day argue that it is not fair that someone can move next to a venue that has been open for 23 years and potentially bring about its closure.

And they’re right. Manchester City Council is likely to revoke their licence, having decided that there IS a noise nuisance.

“We’ve done what we do for over 20 years and nothing has changed,” the venue’s promoter Gareth Butterworth insists.

“There’s no new system. Nothing has been turned up or turned down. Why would we? Music too loud doesn’t sound good anyway.

“If a person wants to live in the city centre, there are things that go with that and noise is one of them.

“Venues are suffering up and down the country. Most of them are small businesses and they don’t really have the finances to fight this kind of thing, and they end up losing their business.”

Councils up and down the country are run by idiots. That’s the real problem. They insist on building “premium” accommodation in central locations where there is automatically going to be an issue with something or other. And the clowns who buy these properties really should do their homework, because you don’t need a degree to work out that you aren’t going to get a quiet life if you move in next to a bloody nightclub.

Delving into it further, it seems that the flats weren’t built properly – probably to save money – and the issue of noise transference is connected with inadequate soundproofing in those.Boileroom, Guildford

The story also reports other problems around the country. The Boileroom in Guildford is subject to a hearing in September. The Fleece in Bristol, which has been in existence for 32 years, opposed the conversion of an office block into flats because it was worried about a “deluge of complaints” (although Bristol Council appears to have addressed this with demands for soundproofing measures – even though the people who move in will probably still complain). The Blind Tiger and Freebutt in Brighton and the 200 Club in Newport, Gwent have already closed because of noise issues, and Le Pub – also in Newport – is trying to raise £10,000 for a new soundproofed roof after being issued a noise abatement warning.

The Music Venue Trust has been set up to lobby for a change in the law.

The Music Venue Trust wants the UK to adopt the “agent of change principle”, whereby the person responsible for a change in the circumstances must deal with the consequences.

So if someone builds a block of flats next to a venue that is not otherwise causing a nuisance, it will be down to the developer to pay for soundproofing. If a club turns the volume up, it is their problem.

This makes perfect sense. And I would add that the local council should also be included in that, inasmuch as if they’re stupid and greedy enough to grant planning permission for these locations, then they should be held partly responsible for any problems – prospectively or retrospectively – experienced by existing businesses..

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