Daily news and reviews of gigs bars clubs restaurants product launches films theatre fashion shows books art galleries hotels competitions interesting places to visit ...and much more!
News and Reviews: March 30, 2017
Thursday 30 March 2017.
Happy Birthday to Eric Clapton who is 72 today.
Happy Birthday to Radio 2 dj Johnnie Walker who is 72 today.
Wednesday 29 March 2017.
SUNNY AFTERNOON live at The New Wimbledon Theatre,London SW19.
Winner of the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Sunny Afternoon is an irresistible musical with slick theatricality and ingenious storytelling at its heart. It tells the captivating tale of how one of Britain’s greatest bands, The Kinks, rose to stardom.
Featuring over a dozen of their Iconic hits.
It got loads of great five and four star reviews when it was in The West End.
It had a two year run in The West End from Oct 2014 to Oct 2016 and is now on a full nationwide tour.
I went to the big party at The Cafe De Paris after the opening night but for some reason I never got along
to see the musical itself.Guests at the party included Ray Davies and Tony Banks (Genesis).
The show tonight is on for 2 hours 30 mins over two sets of 75 mins each.
There are are no scenery changes as such as the band equipment stays at the rear of the stage.
We have a stage extension which is unusual for a musical but it works well.
We have several male and female dancers for some songs.
It starts with the boys growing up in Muswell Hill and getting their first record contact in the early 1960s,
dealing with dodgy managers and getting banned from America after their first tour there.
You forget how much in-fighting there was was between Dave Davies and the other band members.
The actor who plays Dave Davies steals the show with loads of crazy rock n roll antics.
Some songs were played twice....an acoustic version and an electric version.
The crowd were all up singing and dancing for the last 10 mins.
A really great enjoyable evening.
Tracks played tonight included...
You Really Got Me
Dead End Street
A Well Respected Man
Dedicated Follower Of Fashion
Stop Your Sobbing
I Go To Sleep
This Time Tomorrow
All Day And All Of The Night
Set Me Free
It is at Wimbledon until Saturday 01 April 2017 then continues it's nationwide tour.
www.sunnyafternoonthemusical.comCheck their website for more info on tour dates and to buy tickets.
I saw The Kinks with Ray & Dave in 1978,1993 and 1994 but they have not played together
for around 20 years.I also have seen Ray Davies solo several times and as i was at Dave Davies
first UK show in a decade a couple of years ago at The Barbican.
Tuesday 28 March 2017...I went to two events tonight...
6pm to 8.15pm
RYDGES HOTEL - Open House Showcase - 61 Gloucester Road,London SW7.
Rydges Hotels & Resorts is an Australian hotel chain who currently operate 37 hotels across Australia,
New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
They are showcasing their cosy bar,restaurant,rooms,gym and meeting rooms in this four star hotel.
The location is two minutes from the tube station and 10 mins to The Royal Albert Hall.
At 8pm there was the business card raffle for three nice prizes but alas i was not a winner.
I had some lovely complimentary Espresso Martinis and there was also prosecco,wines,beers,
burgers and canapés for the 100 guests.
www.rydges.co.ukVisit the Rydges Hotel website here for more info.
8.45pm to 11pm
DSTRKT - YOSHIAKI - Restaurant Launch Party - 9 Rupert Street,London W1.
The Pan-Asian restaurant and bar is set on very attractive split level surroundings offering a wide range of dishes and drinks.
Over 200 folks here at this massive DSTRKT club venue that is very lively.
A few photographers outside the venue to photo glammed up girls including Bianca Gasgoine,
Holly Rickwood,Kayleigh Norris and Naomi Isted.
We have some performance artists dressed up as Angels and there is a dj playing tunes.
Complimentary choice of three different cocktails,prosecco,wines,beers and canapés.
www.dstrkt-London.comVisit the DSTRKT website for more info.
Tuesday 28 March 2017.
Punk songs given opera 'makeover'.
Classic punk tracks have been given a makeover by some of Britain's best known opera singers and musicians. Favourites by The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Buzzcocks have been covered by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a 13 track album, The Anarchy Arias which is released on 09 June 2017.
Sex Pistols bass player Glen Matlock is involved with it.
Matlock reveals the album was inspired by his string quartet version of Pistol’s track Pretty Vacant which he recorded in 2015.
He says: “About a year and a half ago I got involved with doing Pretty Vacant with a string quartet. I really enjoyed it.
Monday 27 March 2017.
MARIO LANZA 'The Best of Everything' DVD released today.
Mario Lanza was the most famous tenor the world had ever known. His voice was big and powerful, rich and golden, with a dazzling top that thrilled everyone. The greatest tenors of the modern era Pavarotti, Carreras, Domingo and Bocelli all trace their inspiration back to Lanza. Trained for a career on the opera stage, Lanza instead became the first true crossover artist when MGM made him a matinee idol during the 1950s with box office hits such as The Toast of New Orleans, The Great Caruso, and Because You re Mine. A superstar before the word was even coined, Lanza s recordings of The Loveliest Night of the Year, Because You're Mine, and his signature ballad, Be My Love sold in their millions. Mario Lanza had it all: a voice blessed by God, Italian good looks and a passionate zest for life. But within ten years, the star that glowed so brightly had burned itself out. Lanza s sudden passing in 1959 at age thirty-eight was one of the first tragic deaths of the modern pop and rock era a precursor of what was to come for many great artists battling to live with fame and its darker side. Lanza was a film and recording star supreme, but the most dramatic role he ever played was that of Mario Lanza himself. It was a life of fame and passion, incredible successes and incomprehensible tragedies. And it was played to a soundtrack of one of the most beautiful singing voices ever heard. This is the story of the great Mario Lanza.
A very enjoyable 85 mins documentary which is split between footage of Mario along with interviews with
family members and the likes of Russell Watson,Lesley Garrett and Steve Hackett.
Monday 27 March 2017.
Sad news that Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium has shut up shop this past weekend.
Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium's meet on Saturday was its last one having been home
to the dogs since 1928.
The famous dog track will no longer host racing as it's levelled to make way for
AFC Wimbledon's new stadium.
During the stadium's 89-year history it became host to the sport's biggest race - the English Greyhound Derby.
It has been described as a working class cull and with Wimbledon closing the number of dog stadiums
in the capital has plummeted from 33 to none.
After the stadium is flattened, it will make way for AFC Wimbledon's return to Plough Lane, where they plan to build an 11,000-seater stadium on the land.
I went there a few times in the late 70s and early 80s as well as watching the dogs locally at White City Stadium.
Monday 27 March 2017.
Monday to Sunday this week The Teenage Cancer Trust Shows are at The Royal Albert Hall.
Since 2000, over 225 bands and artists have played for TCT at the Royal Albert Hall,
raising over £24 million for young people with cancer.
I have been to at least a couple of the shows each year it has been held.
ALDI, are sponsoring this year’s shows and as part of that they’re going to be matching text donations for the week!
This means that when you donate £5 by texting REACH to 70500 between 27 March – 2 April, Aldi will give another £5.
Sunday 26 March 2017
MIKE & THE MECHANICS + BEN MCKELVEY live at The Royal Albert Hall,London.
Mike & The Mechanics are coming towards the end of their massive six week UK tour.
They have had 7 Top 40 hits including a number two with 'The Living Years' in 1989.
They feature Mike Rutherford from Genesis on guitar and Andrew Roachford on vocals so expect
a couple of Genesis classics and the Roachford solo hit gem 'Cuddly Toy'.
I have seen Mike & The Mechanics several times since 1989.
I have seen Roachford a few times since 1988.
Mike & The Mechanics support Phil Collins + Blondie in the summer in Hyde Park on Friday 30 June.
We have great seats left of stage in those nice swivel seats here just a few feet from the stage.
BEN MCKELVEY arrives on stage at 7.30pm and plays for 35 mins.
Him and his mate ,both on acoustic guitar playing decent tracks from his debut album.
This type of crowd are all in on time so he is thankful he is playing to a full house.
MIKE & THE MECHANICS arrive on stage at 8.30pm and play a full two hour set.
A mainly greatest hits show with most of them played in the second half of the show.
Also a few new tracks from their upcoming album that is released on 07 April 2017.
A great thing about this band is they have two lead singers with Andrew Roachford the more soul sounding
and Tim Howar is the more rock sounding.They sing separate and together which works superb.
Their catchy sound is very BBC Radio 2 friendly.
Andrew Roachford sang a superb version of his own hit 'Cuddly Toy'.
We had a couple of Genesis classics as well.
The crowd were up and dancing for the last 30 mins.
The two songs in the encore 'The Living Years' and 'Word of Mouth' were a big highlight.
A great show.
Full setlist played tonight...
Are You Ready
Another Cup of Coffee
Save The World
The Best Is Yet To Come
Land of Confusion (Genesis cover)
Let Me Fly
Don't Know What Came Over Me
A Beggar on a Beach of Gold
Cuddly Toy (Roachford cover)
I Can't Dance (Genesis cover)
Over My Shoulder
All I Need Is a Miracle
The Living Years
Word of Mouth
Band introductions and solos
Sunday 26 March 2017.
Happy Birthday to Steven Tyler from Aerosmith who is 69 today.
Happy Birthday to Diana Ross who is 73 today.
Saturday 25 March 2017.
STARMAN - The David Bowie Story live at The Beck Theatre,Hayes,Middx.
Michael King is David Bowie for this tribute show.
Around 400 tickets sold out of 600 capacity at this cosy all seated tiered venue.
It is a two hour show over two sets of 60 mins each.
There is a big screen showing mainly pictures of David Bowie and a few videos.
We have five musicians backing Bowie who sounded really good.
Bowie had five costume changes and the 80s pastel period suit worked best for him.
At times he looked and acted more like Martin Fry than David Bowie.
It was pretty much a greatest hits collection of Bowie classics tonight.
The crowd are all singing along and some are up and dancing.
Perhaps the show was not as top notch a tribute like Sex Pistols Experience or TRextasy
but really great to hear all those Bowie gems again.
An enjoyable show.
Full setlist played tonight...
Ashes To Ashes
Sound And Vision
Loving The Alien
Life On Mars
Hang Onto Yourself
Drive In Saturday
The Man Who Sold The World
This Is Not America
All The Young Dudes
The Jean Genie
www.bowiestarman.comCheck their website for more info and future tour dates.
March 2017 update....Plans to create a huge lightning bolt memorial to David Bowie in South London
have been scrapped after a crowdfunding campaign fell short of its target.
The 9m (30ft) tall red and blue statue, dubbed the ZiggyZag, was proposed for middle of Brixton, Bowie's birthplace.
The campaign needed to raise £900,000 but had gathered £50,000 in pledges by its four-week deadline,
so no funds will be taken from people.
Saturday 25 March 2017.
Happy Birthday to ELTON JOHN who is 70 today.
Sir Elton John is holding a massive party in Los Angeles.
Elton John celebrated his 50th birthday at a lavish party at Hammersmith Palais.
I was one of the many fans outside waiting to watch Elton arrive at it back in 1997.
There had been much speculation about what the extrovert singer would wear
But when his giant white truck finally arrived, the crowd knew that he wasn't going to disappoint.
But on the night, nobody could have anticipated the opulence and absurdity of his final selection.
Stunned party goers looked on in amazement as Elton and his entourage stepped out of their vehicle.
The rock star's incredible eight foot high eighteenth century outfit came complete with a giant silver wig
and a sweeping silver brocade coat and a 15-foot feather train.
It took several assistants to help Elton inside the party, where he sat on a huge velvet throne.
Thursday 23 March 2017...I went to two events tonight...
6pm to 8.30pm
LAMBORGHINI PROSECCO - launch party - Gran Cafe,34 - 36 Hans Crescent,Knightsbridge,London SW3.
Around 150 guests are at this classy Italian venue next to Harrods that gets very lively tonight.
GQ Editor Dylan Jones is here amongst a very Italian crowd.
Parked outside the venue are three great looking Lamborghini cars.
There is a catwalk here which was used for a male fashion show.
A dj is playing tunes in the background.
Complimentary Lamborghini prosecco along with canapés and a cheese station for all guests.
9pm to 11pm
MERCEDES-BENZ x M.I.A. - launch party - Store Studios,180 The Strand,London WC2.
Mercedes-Benz launched “Generation Now, Generation Next” — a new fashion campaign and series by
filmmaker Luke Gilford.
British rapper M.I.A., rapper Tommy Genesis, and a shiny new Concept EQ star in the first installment of the three-part series, with the other two coming later in the year. Each installment explores the brand’s core values and electric vehicle strategy.
Always a big crowd at this venue as there must be over 300 fashion folks here including M.I.A.
Also here were Oliver Proudlock, Reggie Yates, Vanessa White, Siobhan Bell, Conor Maynard, Pips Taylor and Alistair Guy.
Vancouver born ,Atlanta based female rapper Tommy Genesis performed a 30 mins set with backing tapes.
They had a fun photo booth from www.megabooth.com here and a dj played tunes either side of the live set.
Complimentary prosecco,a choice of three cocktails including Rye Manhattan's,wines,beers and a buffet.
Wednesday. 22 March 2017.
MARC ALMOND + THE FLICKS live at The Roundhouse,London.
Marc is promoting his new album ' Hits and Pieces ' a two-CD summary that includes solo material,
Soft Cell and miscellaneous collaborations.
Marc Almond has had over ten Top 40 hits both with Soft Cell and as a solo artist.
This current UK tour celebrates Marc Almond’s 60th birthday year.
I have seen Soft Cell and Marc Almond solo a few times each over the past 35 years.
THE FLICKS arrived on stage at 7.40pm and played for around 30 mins.
They are a scantily clad all female trio who play shouty Brit pop rock.
They are pretty basic in their playing but they play their own instruments (guitar,bass,drums)
which is more than can be said for most other young all girl groups.
They played a cover of 'Stop Your Sobbing'.
They got the gig as they have the same management as Marc Almond which is no doubt
why they came on stage for a couple of songs in Marc's set.
MARC ALMOND arrives on stage at 8.30pm and plays for 1 hour 50 mins.
His band included two female backing vocalists and guitarist Neil X who was in Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
We had a nice big screen showing videos and pre-recorded images.
There were two disco glitter balls...one above the stage and one above floor standing area.
Marc played a fantastic setlist that covered all aspects of his career.
Marc is full of on stage charisma.
His loyal fans are singing along to all of the songs.
In previous tours he has kept Soft Cell hits to a minimum but for this tour he said he would be playing them.
Great to hear old those classic Soft Cell classics again.
Marc is a quality artist who has carved his own path performing music he likes rather than chasing
the easier option of commercial returns.
A great show.
Some of the highlights played included...
Adored and Explored
Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart (Gene Pitney cover)(number one hit in 1989 for Marc and Gene)
The Days of Pearly Spencer (David McWilliams cover)
Torch (Soft Cell song)
Jacky (Jacques Brel cover)
Bedsitter (Soft Cell song)
Tainted Love (Gloria Jones cover) (with Wigan Northern Soul video from the 70s)(number one hit in 1981)
Where Did Our Love Go? ( The Supremes cover)
Memorabilia (Soft Cell song)
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (Soft Cell song)
Wednesday 22 March 2017.
A lone terrorist has returned to London to create carnage this afternoon around 3pm.
I suppose it was just a matter of time that it would happen again.
Five dead including a policeman and the attacker himself.
I always felt that Houses of Parliament gate was an easy target as politicians cars would come and go
all the time and some of the police manning it appear not to be armed.
The policeman should not have been in a situation to be stabbed at this location.
They should all have been armed and shot him on the spot as the attacker came towards them.
They should have a double gate with an area between so one gate is always closed.
Thoughts are with the family and friends of the dead and many injured.
Odd thing was i was due to go to Westminster tube and walk across Westminster Bridge around 6pm
that same night for a showcase near The London Eye for an hour before the Marc Almond gig.
I was told this was postponed an hour after the attack as the whole area was in lockdown.
Tuesday 21 March 2017.
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS - press/vip night - Dominion Theatre ,London W1.
The Blue Carpet is rolled out for the celebrities arriving for the gathered photographers.
It is a totally buzzy atmosphere before the show at this large theatre that holds around 2000.
Brian May from Queen was here with his actress wife Anita Dobson.
Hollywood actress Salma Hayek was among a plethora of VIPs for the greatly anticipated An American in Paris press night at the Dominion Theatre. Elizabeth Hurley arrived arm in arm with friend and legendary fashion designer Valentino and her son Damien, where they were joined by Prince Michael of Kent and Lord Frederick Windsor at the Waldorf Astoria following the performance. Acclaimed director Christopher Wheeldon welcomed guests including Arlene Phillips, Nigel Lythgoe, Simon Russell Beale, Samantha Barks, Harriet Thorpe, Sophie Winkleman, Anthony Andrews and Tina Hobley.
Also here were Nicky Haslam, Daisy Lowe,Elaine Paige and Patricia Hodge.
A nice surprise to see Leslie Caron who played the lead role alongside Gene Kelly in the 1951 film.
They gave a standing ovation for the cast, which stars Jane Asher, Julian Forsyth, David Seadon-Young and Ashley Day.
The show was on for around 2 hours 10 mins over two sets.
Christopher Wheeldon’s theatrical revival of An American in Paris,
is based on the 1951 Academy Award-winning Hollywood film starring Gene Kelly, is a riot of colour
and movement,with irresistible dance routines and an eclectic range of Gershwin classics.
The musical includes the classic hit songs "I Got Rhythm", "'S Wonderful" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me".
The musical is set in Paris and tells the story of Jerry Mulligan, an American GI trying to make it as a painter
in post-war Paris.
The scenery changes were dazzling,very slick,very colourful and very detailed.
Loads of fantastic dance scenes mixing ballet and modern dance.
Many funny moments with a lot of it based on 'lost in translation' type humour.
Robert Fairchild from The New York Ballet is simply a stunningly graceful dancer.
Jane Asher ( a girlfriend of Paul McCartney in the 1960s) still looks and acts fantastic.
There are many references in the Academy Award-winning film “La La Land” to "An American in Paris".
A hugely enjoyable visually superb musical and dance show and you must get along to see it.
They have reduced price tickets until 31 March and it runs until 30 Sept.
www.anamericaninparisthemusical.co.ukVisit their website for more info and to buy tickets.
10.30pm to 2.15am
AFTER-PARTY at The Waldorf Hilton Hotel,Aldwych,London WC2.
A massive crowd of 1000 guests here at this lavish party in this luxury five star hotel.
I have been to after-party events here for 500 folks but never this many.
They have opened all three side rooms as well as the main floor area.
In the centre of the floor is a huge ice sculpture of The Eiffel Tower.
Most of the cast and celebs turn up here including Brian May but i don't think
Liz Hurley and Valentino turned up here.
At midnight the dj gets all the folks dancing in one of the rooms.
All guests enjoyed complimentary prosecco,vodka Martinis,wines,beers along with five different bowl food
dishes including roast duck,canapés and desserts.
We stayed until the end as it was totally buzzing.
It has got some rave reviews from this opening night...
The Guardian - 5 stars
The Stage - 5 stars
What's On Stage - 5 stars
The Standard - 4 stars
The Telegraph - 4 stars
Metro - 4 stars
Monday 20 March 2017...6.30pm to 8.45pm...
Bonhams Spring Sales - private view - Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street,London W1.
Over 200 guests here at this well know gallery.
Over 50 paintings are on display here.
The auction for them is on Wednesday afternoon.
There was a silent auction and raffle tonight to raise monies for MARIE CURIE charity.
They provide care and support for people living with any terminal illness, and their families.
Last year they cared for over 40000 people across the UK.
Complimentary prosecco,Sipsmith gin cocktails,wines and hot & cold canapés for all guests.
www.mariecurie.org.ukVisit the Marie Curie website here for more info.
www.bonhams.comVisit the Bonhams website here for more info.
Monday 20 March 2017.
Happy Birthday to Dame Vera Lynn who reaches the grand old age of 100 today.
The forces sweetheart had some great wartime songs including 'We'll Meet Again'
Pink Floyd makes reference to this song and the performer in "Vera", a song from their album The Wall: "Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?/Remember how she said that we would meet again some sunny day?". A short clip of "We'll Meet Again" can also be heard at the beginning of the first track on the Pink Floyd album Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81.
On the last Sex Pistols world tour of 2007/2008 the intro they used before coming on stage was
'There'll Always Be An England' by Vera Lynn.
The BBC documentary at the weekend featured Paul McCartney speaking highly of her and how
The Beatles supported her once in their early days.
Her singing career started way back in the 1930s and Vera Lynn is also notable for being the only artist to have a chart span on the British single and album charts reaching from the chart's inception to the 21st century – in 1952 having three singles in the first ever singles chart, compiled by New Musical Express, and having a No. 1 album with We'll Meet Again – The Very Best of Vera Lynn in Sept 2009...aged 92.
Monday 20 March 2017.
Nick Mason in '£3m skid'.
Pink Floyd musician Nick Mason crashed his McLaren F1 GTR yesterday while on a demo lap at Goodwood. The £3m sports car hit a bank at the circuit's St Mary's corner but Mason, 73, was not hurt in the low-speed accident.
A massive Pink Floyd exhibition is coming up soon at the V & A Museum in May.
Saturday 18 March 2017.
ARW live at Hammersmith Apollo,London.
ARW play the first of two shows at Hammersmith Apollo.
Three members of Yes play together for the first time since 1990.
Jon Anderson,Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman.
They will joined by a bass player and a drummer to play a full set of Yes songs.
While Rick is associated with the '70s "prog era" of the band (which saw YES become a worldwide stadium headliner) and Trevor associated with the '80s "pop era" of the band (which furthered the band's popularity - including the band's biggest chart success), Jon is the bridge between both factions as he was a member of both eras.
I have seen Yes a few times over the years with different line-ups.
I don't even like Yes that much but i went to see them first time at QPRs Loftus Road stadium in 1975.
In the 1970s i was much more interested in glam rock and punk rock bands
than prog rock bands like Yes and ELP.
Rick Wakeman has promised to wear his massive stage capes from the 1970s.
Rick Wakeman like Jimmy Page played on many tracks in the the 1960s as a session musician.
His early sessions included playing on "Space Oddity", among others, for David Bowie and songs by
T. Rex, Elton John, and Cat Stevens.
Adam Wakeman (Rick's son) played keyboards and guitar off-stage for Black Sabbath on their recent tour.
Next month in New York on 07 April---Four years after their own induction, Rush are to welcome
fellow proggers Yes into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
I get inside the venue and have a mooch about...the upstairs is half unsold tonight...
Faces here included Steve Hackett ex Genesis and the guitar & bass players from Marillion.
ARW are on stage for 2 hours 20 mins over two sets of 55 mins and 85 mins.
The band arrive on stage and the first thing you notice is Rick Wakeman on the right who
is surrounded by a dozen different types of keyboards and wearing one of his famous capes.
The band have a nice backdrop that works well with the lighting.
Singer Jon Anderson is short of height so he is standing on a six inch platform for most of the show.
Rick Wakeman towers over everyone else in the band when they take their bows.
The first set is really good with some nice vocals from Jon Anderson and some nice band harmonies
and did not feel too Prog at all and the overall sound quality was just right.
The first hour of the second set Prog rock hell for me as the band got stuck into technical showmanship
(muso twaddle) and long songs 'The Fish' and 'Awaken' bored me silly and actually gave me a headache.
This is why punk rock came along and kicked their arses out of town back in 1976.
They mentioned the sad passing of their bass player Chris Squire in June 2015.
The last two songs of the night were their most popular which were their 80s hit 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart'
and encore of 'Roundabout' with all the crowd standing at this all seated event.
Perhaps i just prefer their pop rock era to their Prog rock era.
One of those shows with good bits and boring bits.
Cinema (Yes cover)
Perpetual Change (Yes cover)
Hold On (Yes cover)
I've Seen All Good People (Yes cover)
Lift Me Up (Yes cover)
And You and I (Yes cover)
Rhythm of Love (Yes cover)
The Meeting (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe cover)
Heart of the Sunrise (Yes cover)
Changes (Yes cover)
Long Distance Runaround (Yes cover)
The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (Yes cover)
Awaken (Yes cover)
Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes cover)
Roundabout (Yes cover)
Saturday 18 March 2017.
Very sad news that rock & roll legend CHUCK BERRY has died at the grand old age of 90.
Chuck Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and music featuring guitar solos and showmanship that were a major influence on subsequent rock music.
I saw him live around 10 times with the first time being in 1975 at Hammersmith Odeon
and the most recent time at The 100 Club in 2008 where he played a low key club gig where tickets were £125 each.
Friday 17 March 2017.
Depeche Mode album launch gig live on the internet.
It's Depeche Mode live in a @streetgigs concert on Twitter in full HD. The band is taking the stage at Berlin's Funkhaus for this one-of-a-kind show to launch their new album "Spirit", dropping this Friday, 3/17.
Tune in and turn up. It's happening on streetgigs.Twitter.com 7pm in the UK and 8pm CET.
They played a set of old and new tracks in the hour long set which was good to watch.
The stream was perfect quality with multi-cameras and no cutting out etc.
I would imagine they will put it up on YouTube at some time.
Friday 17 March 2017.
BBC4 at 10.30pm is showing a documentary on UK Country stars The Shires 'New Country'.
The Shires are the UK’s most successful Country act - 2 GOLD ALBUMS IN 12 MONTHS –
Second album ‘My Universe’ certified Gold alongside debut ‘Brave’.
This means they have both sold over 100,000 copies each.
The UK country scene has become really popular over the past couple of years.
Thursday 16 March 2017...I went to three events tonight...
6.45pm to 7.55pm
JIM MARSHALL 'JAZZ FESTIVAL' - book launch party - LEICA, Bruton Place,London W1.
Legendary American photographer whose heyday period was in the 1960s and 1970s.
The book and photos on display are from American Jazz Festivals in the 1960s.
He then moved on to more well known music names.
Around 70 guests here in this quality brand camera store.
Classic rock photographer ROSS HALFIN is here so i presume he owns a couple of Leica cameras.
Jim Marshall and Leica Camera are synonymous.
Jim bought his first Leica in 1959, this purchase lead to a lifelong fascination with the iconic image maker and to a private collection of over 50 Leica pieces including various M bodies and Leicavit lenses.
Every time Jim walked out of his front door, he reached for a Leica to put on his shoulder. It was a ritual he performed every day of his life. Every iconic photograph Jim took was captured with his Leica camera. As he once said, “it’s never been just a job, it’s been my life”. Jim used his much-loved Leica cameras until his death in 2010.
His photos of 1960s and 1970s musicians, taken both on stage and off without any direction or posing, were possible because of the exceptional access musicians allowed him. His pictures of The Beatles,Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, the Allman Brothers, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, Guns N' Roses and Santana "helped define their subjects as well as rock ’n’ roll photography itself."
He was hired by Atlantic Records and Columbia Records to photograph their musical artists. His photos appeared on the covers of over 500 albums and even more were published in Rolling Stone.
He photographed Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival, and Johnny Cash at San Quentin.
Jazz sounds being played here in the background.
They were selling the book here for £45.
The exhibition is on until 28 March 2017.
Complimentary wines,beers and canapés for all guests.
www.leica-storemayfair.co.ukVisit the LEICA website here for more info.
8pm to 9pm
JEROME DREYFUSS - Spring / Summer 2017 collection launch party - 22 Berkeley Square,London W1.
French designer who focuses on very cool mens & women's leather bags and leather accessories.
Around 100 folks here with a dj playing sounds in the background.
Complimentary Cattier champers and canapés for all guests.
All guests got a goodie bag on departure.
www.jerome-dreyfuss.comVisit the JEROME DREYFUSS website here for more info.
9.30pm to 11.45pm
ANOTHER MOTHER'S SON - film premiere after-party - Cafe De Paris,3 Coventry Street,London W1.
This was the party after the film premiere that was held in Leicester Square earlier.
Over 300 folks are here at this venue a couple of minutes walk from where the film was shown.
WWII drama Another Mother's Son, cast members Ronan Keating, Jenny Seagrove and Julian Kostov are here to celebrate the release of the film in aid of military charities Mane Chance, Armed Forces Fund, The Royal British Legion, War Child, Everton in the Community and Help for Heroes. Others here included Christopher Biggins,Tallia Storm, Jasmine Walia,
Tony Blackburn, Vanessa Feltz, Ben Ofoedu, Sophie Skelton, Sam Callahan and Chloe Paige.
Heavyweight boxer Tony Bellow is here who beat David Haye a couple of weeks ago.
Also here was the films producer and Everton F.C. co-owner Bill Kenwright.
One of those events were there was more food than booze.
The drinks were just wines and soft drinks but there were tables everywhere for a full buffet dinner for all.
Beef Stroganoff,Roast Moroccan Lamb,Salmon Teriyaki,Wild Mushroom Risotto,sides and desserts.
Thursday 16 March 2017.
The Kinks‘ Ray Davies was knighted by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace today.
It was announced in the New Year Honours List that Davies would receive a knighthood for services to the arts.
Davies, who previously received a CBE from the Queen in 2004, said at the time: “Initially I felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed but after thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write.”
Ray looked a bit frail on tv today when he was interviewed in the Palace grounds.
Wednesday 15 March 2017...6.30pm to 8.30pm...
THE BEATLES UNSEEN - private view - Proud Gallery, Kings Road,Chelsea,London SW3.
I felt totally whacked out today from the midnight gig finish by Nigel Kennedy last night which
left me getting home after 1am.
Over 100 folks here in this smallish gallery with great photos over the two floors.
Around 50 photographs are here and most are on sale for £1000 each.
Nice surprise to see HUGH CORNWELL here who is still having a successful solo career after leaving
The Stranglers in 1990.I have seen him many times live with The Stranglers and solo.
We chatted about gigs at The Roundhouse in the 70s where The Stranglers were the support act
for Patti Smith and The Ramones.I told him I bumped into Roundhouse promoter from back then
John Curd last week and he was well pleased he is still active.
He chatted about the American tour he did with Glen Matlock and Clem Burke.
Hugh was a total gent...
Photographer David Magnus bore witness to some of the Beatles greatest moments and the set of previously unseen photographs, which were taken at the world famous EMI Studio 1 in Abbey Road, offer a fascinating and candid insight into The Beatles during a historic time.
In 1963, at the age of 19, David Magnus was invited to photograph the band, who were relatively unknown at the time, during a concert at Stowe School.
This early work with the group allowed him unprecedented access throughout their rise to fame and, as such, his portfolio is chocked full of rare and unique images.Paul and John at rehearsals.
The broadcast was the world’s first live, international, satellite television production.
The photographer’s close relationship with the band and their publicist, Tony Barrow, granted him exclusive access to record a pivotal moment in their career 50 years ago – on the weekend of June 24 and June 25 1967, when The Beatles recorded their song ‘All you need is Love’ for the first time during a live broadcast for the BBC’s Our World.
The broadcast was the world’s first live, international, satellite television production and reached over 400million people across the globe.
David’s collection of wonderfully frank photographs feature images of the band relaxing backstage away from the recording studio, enjoying cigarette breaks and even chilling out with Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones.
Complimentary presecco for all guests.
www.hughcornwell.comVisit the Hugh Cornwell website here for more info
www.proudgalleries.co.ukVisit the Proud Galleries website here for more info.
Tuesday 14 March 2017...I went to three events today...
4.30pm to 6pm
CLEMENTINE COMMUNICATIONS - Brands showcase- 2nd floor,Heals ,Tottenham Court Road,London W1.
PR agency with a touch of Parisienne 'je ne sais quoi' are showcasing the clients they look after.
They look after French & UK brands.
There are around a dozen of them here at different stands at this upmarket household designer store.
All are giving out complimentary items from their range.
COINTREAU - Cointreau Fizz Cocktails
SUSHI SHOP - Upmarket French owned brand who have 88 outlets in France and 33 internationally
including three in prime locations in London.
They are the European leader in sushi creativity and delivery.
BERNARD MAGREZ - Luxury wines from Bordeaux...and wine tasting school...
EDGERTON PINK GIN - a choice of three nice cocktails...British...
STURIA - French caviar
CORKERS - Hand cooked British crisps
All guests got a goodie bag with items from all the brands.
www.clementinecom.comVisit the Clementine Communications website here for more info on the brands.
7pm to 9pm
IMAGINE MOSCOW - Private view - Design Museum ,Kensington High Street,London W8.
The exhibition explores what remained as the largely imaginary landscapes and phantoms of Moscow, the ideal Soviet capital, which never came into existence but which still haunts the city as we know it today.
Around 200 folks here including Sir Terence Conran whose restaurant is here and a random sighting of
politician Lord Peter Mandelson who was with Tony Blair in New Labour in the late 1990s.
The launch of the new Land Rover car at this venue a couple of weeks ago was a big lavish event
but tonight it is a much tamer event...more like a gallery event.
Complimentary wines,beers and nibbles for all guests.
www.designmuseum.orgVisit the Design Museum website here for more info and to buy tickets.
9.30pm to 11.55pm
NIGEL KENNEDY & FRIENDS live at The Royal Albert Hall,London.
Violinist with a punk rock attitude plays a special show at this venue with a full orchestra.
We are expecting a late finish as the venue website said 11.15pm finish and his Birmingham
show a couple of days earlier finished at 11.30pm.
Tonight was three sets with two intervals.
We missed the first set which was Nigel with the orchestra playing Bach & Vivaldi.
We came in during the second set where Nigel & orchestra were joined by
French violinist JEAN-LUC PONTY.
Every piece seemed to be 10 to 15 mins each which included 'Cosmic Messenger'.
Nigel is now aged 60 but is still pretty madcap as ever as he fist pumps members of his band and orchestra
after every piece and jokes with the crowd in his very laid back scatty manner wearing an Aston Villa shirt.
Rock legend ROBERT PLANT from Led Zeppelin was advertised on the gig poster and he joined
Nigel & orchestra during the THIRD SET which started at 11pm...yes 11pm...
A few folks had departed but most are staying put to witness Robert Plant.
First Nigel and orchestra played a Jimi Hendrix cover of 'Little Wing'.
Then Robert Plant came on stage for around 25 mins from around 11.10pm.
He brought his guitarist with him and also his ex guitarist Doug Boyle who used to be in his band in the 1990s
and currently plays in Nigel Kennedy's band.
Robert actually is on for just two songs but they are both extended versions.
A cover of The Leaves/Jimi Hendrix 'Hey Joe' which was a great 10 mins with orchestra and vocals at full tilt.
Then we get Led Zep classic 'Kashmir' for a full 15 mins as Robert's vocals and Nigel's violin
bounced of each other to stunning effect along with superb backing from the band & orchestra.
Robert departed the stage and the band played another track for 10 mins or so.
Update from www.ledzepnews.com who have put both the tracks up on SoundCloud.
Plant joined Kennedy on stage after 11pm in London, and they launched into an extended cover of “Hey Joe.” Justin Adams and John Baggott, two members of Plant’s band The Sensational Space Shifters, joined them on stage for the song.
The second song played by Plant on Tuesday night was an extended cover of “Kashmir,” complete with a string section, guitar, drums, and Kennedy on violin. Plant introduced the song by mentioning that he worked with Kennedy in 1992 to record his “Fate of Nations” solo album.
Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis reported on Facebook that it was the first time that Plant has performed “Kashmir” since Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion performance, and it was also the first time he has performed it in full without Jimmy Page.
Tuesday 14 March 2017.
U2 former manager Paul McGuinness tells of staggering figures for U2 tour.
McGuinness, who was grilled by raconteur Ed Bicknell of Damage Management for ILMC’s traditional Breakfast Meeting, recalled U2’s ground-breaking 360° tour of 2009-11, which remains the highest-grossing tour of all time ($736.42 million).
“So when we put together that production – which was playing in the round in stadiums – it was extraordinarily expensive to do. We were $30-40 million into pre-production before the tour started. That tour grossed three quarters of a billion – 110 shows - the net of course was rather less.”
Famous for its four-legged structure dubbed The Claw, 360° was attended by 7.2m people across the globe. Elaborating on the astonishing scale of the presentation, McGuinness revealed that days off effectively cost $300,000. “There were 200 trucks. There were 400 people travelling – but 200 of them were drivers," he said. "It was great fun in a way but it was a bit of strain waking up each day thinking, Oh god, even though we’re not playing today, we’re spending $300,000.”
Tuesday 14 March 2017.
David Bowie is to be honoured with a set of 10 Royal Mail tribute stamps..OUT TODAY...
Six of the stamps will feature images of Bowie album covers: ‘Hunky Dory’, ‘Aladdin Sane’, “Heroes”,
'Let’s Dance’, ‘Earthling’ and ‘Blackstar’.
The remaining four stamps will feature images of Bowie performing live on different tours: 1972’s The Ziggy Stardust Tour, 1978’s The Stage Tour, 1983’s The Serious Moonlight Tour and 2004’s A Reality Tour.
The Beatles in 2010 and Pink Floyd in 2015 are the only previous music acts to be honoured with an entire “stamp issue” of this kind. Bowie is the first solo music artist to be honoured by Royal Mail in this way.
Dating back to 1860 and running between 14th to 17th March this year, the Cheltenham Festival is a National Hunt meeting with prize money second only to the Grand National at a total of £4.1 million.
It has an average attendance of 62,000 people per day.
It is being shown live on ITV each afternoon.
Monday 13 March 2017.
Original Y&T guitarist Joey Alves has sadly died at the age of 63.
The news was confirmed by Y&T leader Dave Meniketti, who paid tribute to his friend, calling him “one of the finest rock rhythm guitarists.”
Meniketti says in a statement: “It’s with great sadness that I write this today. Y&T's original rhythm guitarist, Joey Alves, passed away at the age of 63. He suffered from ulcerative colitis and other complications that led to his passing.
I saw him first play with Y & T when i saw all four of their shows supporting AC/DC at Hammersmith Odeon in 1982.
Sunday 12 March 2017.
LITA FORD + ROCK GODDESS live at The Academy,Islington,London.
Ex guitarist from 70s all-girl American band The Runaways plays a rare London show.
It ties in with her headline show at a rock festival in North Wales.
I saw The Runaways in the late 1976 when they first came over to London and i was hooked.
I saw Lita as a solo act when supporting Twisted Sister in 1984 and Bon Jovi in 1988.
Amazingly her show with Bon Jovi at Wembley Arena in 1988 was the last time she played London.
Her recent album 'Time Capsule' was released in April 2016 on Steamhammer/SPV, to coincide with the
publication of her soul baring autobiography, 'Living Like A Runaway: Lita Ford, A Memoir'.
Lita is now aged 58 and this is a hometown show as she was actually born in London
before her family moved to America.
Last year i saw Runaways singer Cherie Currie play her first London show for many years where Suzi Quatro
joined her on stage and hopefully Runaways other guitarist Joan Jett will come back to the UK soon.
I saw Rock Goddess twice in 1983 at Hammersmith Odeon when they supported Def Leppard and Fastway.
Whenever i come to this venue i always think did I really see KISS with full make-up and pyros here in 2010.
It seems hard to believe that KISS actually played here in this just 800 capacity venue.
ROCK GODDESS arrived on stage at 8pm and play for around 55 mins.
The UK all female rock trio play a good set mixing older tracks and some new tracks from their new
EP that is released in May.
At 9.30pm we had Lita's intro music which was the full version of Accept 'Balls To The Wall'.
At 9.35pm LITA FORD and her band arrived on stage and play for 85 mins.
Lita still looks amazing for her age with long blonde hair and a tight red catsuit.
It was pretty much an evening of old school hair metal late 1980s style.
Most of the best songs were played in the second half of the set.
The only Runaways track played was their best known track 'Cherry Bomb' which was mega.
Lita played one of The Sex Pistols more unknown songs 'Black Leather' which is an outtake from The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle sessions. The only Sex Pistols members involved in the recording were Steve Jones and Paul Cook, and for this reason some people consider it a song by The Professionals rather than by the Sex Pistols.
Truth is, 'Black Leather' was written and recorded after the Sex Pisols split but before The Professionals were formed.
No doubt she played it as she hung out with Steve and Paul in London in the late 1970s.
In her autobiography Lita said she had some errr "special cuddles" with Paul Cook back then.
Really good to see her playing live again.
Full setlist played tonight...
Gotta Let Go
Larger Than Life
The Bitch Is Back (Elton John cover)
Playing With Fire
Relentless (Preceded by a snippet of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child")
Living Like a Runaway
Can't Catch Me (Incl. Bobby Rock drum solo)
Back to the Cave
Falling In and Out of Love
Cherry Bomb (The Runaways song)
Black Leather (Sex Pistols cover)
Out for Blood
Close My Eyes Forever
Kiss Me Deadly
Sunday 12 March 2017.
Sad news that Joni Sledge from Sister Sledge has passed away.
Sledge and her sisters – who hailed from Philadelphia – formed Sister Sledge in 1971,
but had their first big success in 1979 with the smash hit 'We Are Family'.
The dance song became an anthem of unity and girl power.
The hit track was written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards.
Other hits included 'Lost in Music' and 'He's the Greatest Dancer'.
Rodgers offered condolences on Twitter, saying: “#RIPJoniSledge #WeAreFamily My heartfelt condolences to your family because they are my family too. We did something pretty amazing together.”
I saw them play a few times over the years including a headline show at Hammersmith Odeon in 1985.
Friday 10 March 2017.
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS + THEATRE OF HATE live at The Forum,London.
Northern Irish punk legends SLF play their annual March UK tour which this year is their 40th anniversary.
17 March 2017 is the 26th anniversary of their annual St. Patrick's Day shows at Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom.
Yes on this date for the last 26 years SLF have played in Glasgow.
They still feature two original members from 1977.
I have seen SLF around 20 times since 1978 when they were a support act.
In the second half of 1978, they toured with the Tom Robinson Band, and in 1979, they released their first album on the Rough Trade Label, Inflammable Material. The band signed a contract with Island Records, but it fell through, leaving the band to release the album on their existing label.Despite the album's independent release, it reached number 14 in the UK Albums Chart and reached Silver status, selling over 100,000 copies.Inflammable Material was the first album distributed by Rough Trade records, and the first independent album to chart in the UK.
I saw Theatre Of Hate in 1981 and 1982.
Theatre Of Hate singer Kirk Brandon i have also seen sing with The Pack,Spear Of Destiny and
Dead Men Walking.
A good turnout of mainly middle aged punk rockers here tonight.
Lots of folks here i know which is always nice.
I catch the last 20 mins of THEATRE OF HATE support set.
They feature a sax player which was quite unusual back in the day of post punk rock.
They finish their set with their best known track 'Do You Believe In The Westworld' which skimmed
the single charts at No 40 in 1982.
I watch Theatre Of Hate from the stalls standing but it is totally rammed sold out down here so i sneak
upstairs to the front circle for a great view in a nice comfy seat.
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS arrive on stage at 9.15pm and play for 1 hour 40 mins.
From the start the front stalls area is a heaving mass of bodies jumping around.
SLF are always great live but tonight they really are on fire.
They have some mega catchy punk tunes that are totally lethal when played live.
'Nobody's Hero' was an early fave with those great punk lyrics of
'Don't wanna be Nobody's Hero,don't wanna be Nobody's Star'.
The second half had loads of older gems with some nifty guitar riffs and lyrics.
They finish off with their debut album classic 'Alternative Ulster'.
An excellent show.
Full setlist played tonight...
Just Fade Away
My Dark Places
Safe as Houses
Each Dollar a Bullet
Guilty as Sin
At the Edge
Barbed Wire Love
The Roaring Boys
When We Were Young (a song Jake wrote after a boozy night with Phil Lynott)
Roots, Radicals, Rockers & Reggae
Johnny Was (Bob Marley & The Wailers cover)
Links I Like
Buy your concert tickets through Live Nation
toptable: London Restaurants
Official London Theatre
Long Tall Sally
Sex Pistols Experience
The Halkin Hotel-Belgravia
The Compleat Angler Hotel, Marlow, Bucks
Clothing at Tesco
Shepherds Bush Empire
Isle of Wight Festival
Classic Rock Bands
The UK's #1 Gig-Goer
In November 2008 the BBC confirmed me as the UK's number one gig-goer. The jacket was a gig-going prize from Q Magazine a few years ago. I do not wear it outside of the house let alone out to gigs!
Over 5,500 gigs now seen by me since 1973 covering all genres. I still go to over 100 gigs a year.
Party or event?
Let me plan it for you!
I know the best venues,the best catering and the best entertainment agencies to suit your budget whether its small drinks and canapes or something bigger. email@example.com