Archive: December 2006

December 31, 2006

30+31 Dec 2006.Riders On The Storm live at The Roundhouse,London.Quite a special event as The Doors with Jim Morrison played their only UK gigs at this venue in 1968 (38 years ago) and this was the first time they have been back to it. The band features Manzarek and Krieger as the 2 members of The Doors and The Cults Ian Astbury on vocals playing a mainly greatest hits set. Good idea to go to both gigs as they were pretty different.The first night was a 2 hour set but the second was 2 sets of 60 mins and 45 mins which meant 3 songs were left out but the party atmosphere was better as it was New Years Eve. Ian Astbury really looks the part as they tear into "Roadhouse Blues","Break On Through" , "Love Me Two Times" and "Five To One".A couple of songs were dragged out too much in the middle part of the set but then "People Are Strange" and "LA Woman" got things back on track.Great encores of "Riders On The Storm" and "Light My Fire". At midnight for the NYE show the crowd were covered in confetti and fireworks were set off as the band got the champers out but "People Are Strange" and "Riders On The Storm" were not played which was criminal really .Very good shows overall though ..... 31 Dec 2006.Night Of Treason live at The Dublin Castle,London.As the Riders gig on NYE was a late start i popped in to see this band from Gosport near Portsmouth who did a pukka 45 mins set of classics from the likes of Sex Pistols,Ramones, Clash,Damned,UK Subs and other punk rock gems. Check www.myspace.com/nightoftreason.......... ........ 28 Dec 2006.David Gest All Star Soul Spectacular live at Cadogan Hall,Chelsea,London.Three months ago David Gest was just Liza Minnellis ex hubby but after his showing on ITVs "Im A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here" the UK public have really taken to him.This was the first of four nights here at this lovely ex church venue which has been nicely refurbished.Basically we had 11 acts who were (all bar one) 1960s and 1970s soul stars.Each act did 1 to 5 songs of their best stuff and we ended up with a really good 3 hour show with a full house band behind them and David Gest introducing each act.Candi Staton did 3 inc "Youngs Hearts Run Free" and "Nights On Broadway" then The Stylistics did 5 inc "Betcha By Golly Wow" and "You Make Me Feel Brand New" then Freda Payne did 2 inc "Band Of Gold" then William Bell did a couple then Dorothy Moore did 2 inc a stunning "Misty Blue".Billy Paul did 3 inc "Me And Mrs Jones" then Martha Reeves And The Vandellas did a great and lively 4 songs "Heatwave","Jimmy Mack","Nowhere To Run " and off course "Dancing In The Street" then Carl Carlton did a song then Bonnie Tyler did a couple "Its A Heartache" and "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" then Deniece Williams did 3 inc "Free" and "Lets Hear It For The Boy" .Last on was Peabo Bryson who did 5 songs but i think Martha Reeves should have been headliner tonight.Only a couple of days after the sad death of soul legend James Brown it was great to see so many american soul greats on the same bill.Very enjoyable show. See aftershow page for this gig.................. 22+23 Dec 2006.Iron Maiden + Trivium live at Earls Court Arena,London.I went to both these huge shows that marked Maidens final nights of a 6 week European tour of arenas.I was looking forward to seeing Trivium as they have had a good year.The band are great musicians with loads of fast riffing but the growling vocals are not my cup of tea.They played a few tracks off their new album "Crusade" inc "Anthem(We Are The Fire). They have lots of songs with silly titles.Iron Maiden i have seen over 25 times since 1980 and most of those were fantastic shows but this was not one of them.Mainly because they played all their new album "A Matter Of Life And Death" for the first 80 mins of the show which only left 5 Maiden classics to fill up the 2 hours on stage.Bruce Dickenson was superb on vocals all night even though he looks more Jarvis Cocker than a rocker these days.The band are pulling every cliche rock guitar pose on stage.The new album is decent enough but not in this venue. The first night was made worse when for 20 mins the power cut out to a main cable fire backstage. The oldies at the end were all great "Fear Of The Dark","Iron Maiden"(with Eddie appearing from a huge tank) and encores of "2 Minutes To Midnight","The Evil That Men Do"(with Eddie on stage running amok) and "Hallowed Be Thy Name". The second show was better than the first show but hopefully they will back to golden oldies when they headline Donington Download Festival in June 2007 .................. 20 Dec 2006.Madness + Aggrolites live at Wembley Arena,London.Support band had a great name and their brand of ska from Los Angeles was a decent warm up for the main act.I have seen Madness over 15 times since i first saw them as a support band in 1979 and its great they can still sell out big venues like this.Of course this time of year is perfect for them as its party party time tonight. Lots of tough looking geezers here tonight in the crowd but its all about having a dance and a good time.Sticking to a mainly greatest hits 95 mins set inc "One Step Beyond","Prince Buster", "Embarressment","My Girl", and mega versions of "House Of Fun","Baggy Trousers","Our House", "It Must Be Love",and superb encores of "Madness" and "Night Boat To Cairo" with 30 of their friends and family dancing on stage. One of those bands who always do great shows. ....... 19 Dec 2006.Kasabian live at Earls Court Arena, London.Massive sold out show for some 18,000 punters.Lots of Oasis fans and footie fans here flinging pints of beer up in the air every 10 seconds all through the 90 mins set.The big songs like "Shoot The Runner" ,"Cutt Off" ,"Empire" and "Processed Beats" are all superb but they still have a few songs from both albums that are too average for huge arenas like this one.The band are full of dance rock swagger and the place erupts for encores of "Club Foot" and "L.S.F".The band called it their greatest show ever but they will probably say that again when they play Glastonbury in 2007.Yeah a very good show but not mega .... 18 Dec 2006.Snow Patrol live at Wembley Arena, London.Its been an amazing year for this lot. Their album "Eyes Open" has been the top selling album in the UK in 2006 with over 1.2 million sold and they have got in the American charts. This was the first of two sell out shows here. They hardly look like rock stars but perhaps thats their appeal.They quietly do the business and leave the shouting to others.Most of their songs seem a bit average but they have got some mega anthems like "Chasing Cars","Set The Fire To The Third Bar" and "Run".The 90 mins ticked along nicely but they need a few more big songs for arena shows of this size 17 Dec 2006.George Michael live at Wembley Arena, London.Due to press reports of a possible Wham reunion for tonights last show of his 49 arena dates around Europe touts are selling tickets for 200 quid.Inside the venue the crowd are buzzing. Paul McCartney is sitting left of stage tonight. Again we end up 3 rows from the front with a superb view.Loads of great sogs again "Fast Love","Father Figure","Everything She Wants", "Faith","Im Your Man" and "Outside".His voice is on top form and the lyrics are still great. The huge screen behind him is visually brilliant. Tonights two sets lasted just over 2 hours. Everyone got excited for the encores but sadly there were no special guests .We get great versions of "Careless Whisper","Last Christmas" with fake snow and ticker tape falling on the crowd and a final "Freedom".While not in the Madonna league it was a mega show.Expect George to come back and play Wembley Stadium in the summer of 2007 ........... 16 Dec 2006.Status Quo live at Wembley Arena, London.Quo back at Wembley as part of their annual 6 week UK winter tour.Being of a certain age means i have seen Quo play live over 40 times since 1974 including many of those amazing shows at Hammy Odeon in the late70s/early80s .All of the crowd are here to have a few drinks and have some fun.Pretty much their usual 1 hour 45 mins set with mega tunes like "Caroline","Rain", some tracks from the recent album "Heavy Traffic" which they are still promoting,"Roll Over Lay Down","Down Down","Whatever You Want","The Party Aint Over Yet" and of course "Rocking All Over The World". The last encore "Bye Bye Johnny" finished off another great night with "The Quo".The band have just released a great dvd "Just Doin' It Live 2006". ........ 15 Dec 2006.George Michael live at Wembley Arena, London.The show i saw at Earls Court by George a couple of weeks ago was great but tonight was even better.Every seat sold and taken up and with the loudest Friday night "up for it" crowd. Again we are down the front in the 3rd row of the 100 floor seating area with an amazing view. A couple of slower songs have been cut from the set but its all superb stuff really.The mix of solo material and Wham hits goes down well. The monster stage production is visually fab. "Everything She Wants","Father Figure","I'm Your Man","Faith","Jesus To A Child" and mega encores of "Careless Whisper" and "Freedom" as the fake snow dropped from the ceiling.Overall on stage for 2 hours it was excellent and i will be back on Sunday to see if Andrew Ridgeley turns up for the promised Wham reunion.................. Thursday was another 2 gigs in one night.Talk about diverse Dragonforce then Lulu............. 14 Dec 2006.Dragonforce live at The Astoria, London. Dragonforce have had a good year with their current UK tour sold out. This was second of two nights at this venue.Their power metal leans heavily to Spinal Tap and Iron Maiden but they are better than expected.Their main guitarist has the fastest fingers i have seen for a while and the band look like they are having fun.They bring on a couple of scantily clad dancers which down well with this 99% male crowd.Melodic speed metal has never sounded so good .......then 11pm on to see Lulu play at The SPARKS Charity Ball at The Hilton Hotel ,Park Lane,London. Lulu and her band play a 60 mins set of original and cover tunes.She is aged 58 now and looks amazing for someone who has spent 40 years in music.She opened with "Relight My Fire" which she played again near the end of the set.Other good tunes were "Independence","The Man Who Sold The World", "I Dont Wanna Fight" and of course her mega hit "Shout" at the end.Good show Tuesday was another 2 gigs in one night.......... 12 Dec 2006. Ludacris + Sway live at The Cafe De Paris,London.Invite only party held by mobile phone company www.three.co.uk/3frontroom for 400 comp winners and press.All night free booze and food for everyone.One of the UKs top rappers Sway is up first .He does a really confident 30 mins full of fun filled lyrics and tunes like "Little Derek" and "This Is My Demo". The venue is really up for it by the time Ludacris hits the stage for a 50 mins set . Lots of swearing and rude lyrics from this grammy award nominated american rapper. The place erupted for "Stand Up" ,"Move Bitch" and "Whats Your Fantasy?" and eight scantily clad females were brought on for new single "Girls Gone Wild" .Very good club gig......... then a mad dash over to see Sugababes live at Battersea Park Evolution Arena for the Capital Radio Rocks Party.Band come on stage at 11.15pm. 45 mins greatest hits set that included "Round Round","Freak Like Me" ,"Ugly","Hole In The Head","Red Dress" and "Push The Button".The band play UK arenas in 2007.Good fun and the free booze was still flowing after the show along with djs until 1.30am.................. 11 Dec 2006.Will Young + Beverley Knight + Alexander O'Neal live at La Dolce Vita Ball, Old Billingsgate, London EC3.CLIC charity event where most of the 1000 punters have paid 800 a ticket for a 3 course meal ,live acts and 8 hours of free booze.Over the past few years they have had Sting and Lionel Richie but tonight the bill is more for the ladies really.Nice to see Alexander O'Neal sing 30 mins of his 1980s soul hits like "Fake" and "Criticize" then Beverley Knight did a decent 30 mins set inc "Shoulda Woulda" and "Come As You Are" .Headliner Will Young has far too many crap ballads these days and only a couple of songs stand out in his 60 mins set.At midnight Maxi Jazz from Faithless spins the tunes in the basement nightclub area. There are few faces here like Peter Stringfellow, Lee Ryan,Caprice,Eddy Jordan, Neil Morrissey, Sophie Anderton,Barry McGuigan but man of the night was Eastenders star Ross Kemp who chatted for ages about his love of punk rock ,was in great spirits,had a boogie and stayed until the 3am finish which is rare for any celeb to do. A great bash overall ...... Wanna see a cool picture ?? Go on to the site www.gettyimages.com and click on entertainment and enter picture code 72764757.Increase picture size and second from left wearing glasses is yours truly at Babyshambles Selfridges gig...... 09 Dec 2006. Placebo + Archie Bronson Outfit live at Wembley Arena ,London.Support had a sax player but were pretty average overall.Placebo are on a short UK tour of arenas and tonight is sold out.The first part of the set is mainly drawn from their recent album "Meds" .Brian Molko still looks great with very short hair.It gets much better when the hits kick in like "Every You Every Me","Special Needs","Without You I'm Nothing","Special K" and "The Bitter End".The upfront bass playing is superb until some dickhead gets on the stage and pushes the bass amp over that messes the sound up for a couple of songs.Great encores of Kate Bush"Running Up That Hill","Taste In Men"(top marks to Brians female guitar tech who worked her nuts off all night but even more so during this song) and a final "Twenty Years".No time tonight for some gems like "Nancy Boy" or "Teenage Angst" but still a very good show ............... 08 Dec 2006.Glen Matlock live at Filthy Macnastys,London EC1.Another short notice packed acoustic gig by this Sex Pistols legend.Nice to be up close for this hour set.Great songs like "Burning Sounds","God Save The Queen","Sad Meal For One","Idiot","Yeah Right","Steppin Stone" and all the pub singing "Pretty Vacant".A great little gig ................ 07 Dec 2006.Babyshambles + Holloways live at Hammersmith Apollo, London.After the fun and games of this afternoons event its proper gig time.Support Holloways are basically a 3rd rate Babyshambles but the crowd like them.Amazingly Babyshambles arrive on stage dead on time which catches out hundreds in the bar and foyer areas. They are much better than expected.For 80 mins their loyal fans show real devotion similiar to that like when Morrissey plays .Every 30 seconds someone tries to jump on stage and touch Pete. The stalls is a heaving mess of bodies as we view it from front row of the balcony ."The Blinding" and "Killamangiro "are both stunning. Scarves ,hats,t.shirts as well as bottles of beer rain on to the stage non stop.Pete is full of charisma as his lanky frame wanders the stage. "Fuck Forever" is superb as is the encore of "Albion".At the end Pete chucks his guitar into the crowd that causes not one but two fights.The first between fans all wanting it then the security got the guitar back and the crowd turned on the security .It was just like being at a punk rock gig in 1976.Great stuff. See aftershow page for this gig................ 07 Dec 2006.Babyshambles live at Selfridges, London W.1. 12.30pm to 3.30pm .One off event in this famous store for Manchester based clothing company Gio-Goi.Some 400 guests and comp winners in the 7th floor car park.We are in the pre show hospitality on the 3rd floor which is the area usually reserved for the exclusive personal shopping team here .Sex Pistol Paul Cook and rocker Bryan Adams are hanging out with the band. Surprise,surprise Pete Doherty is late as usual. Babyshambles take the stage just before 2pm and play 4 songs "The Blinding","Killamangiro", "Delivery" and "Albion".There is a real buzz here but its over far too quickly .Bryam Adams is a proper photographer so is shooting loads so check www.bryanadams.com and www.sex-pistols.net in a few days for photos.After the show we say hello to Pete and the others in hospitality and he signed stuff and posed for photos.Love him or loathe him Pete Doherty is pure rock n roll................... Billy Idol has a new album out today (04 Dec 2006).Its a 17 track album called "Happy Holidays " and features Billys distinctive vocals over gems like "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" ,"Winter Wonderland" and "Jingle Bell Rock". I have 2 copies to win .Questions = Which punk band was Billy the singer of? and what was the title of his latest album? Send answers to ray@raysgigs.com before Friday 8 Dec 2006.Good luck.The winners were Billy from East Acton and Mark from Bishops Stortford

December 03, 2006

Looks like Muse will be the first band to play a show at the new Wembley Stadium on 16 June 2007 ........ 02 Dec 2006.Buzzcocks live at The Kentish Town Forum,London. Punk legends on another UK tour to celebrate their 30 year career.Tonight they played 2 sets of 50 mins and 60 mins which is the longest show i have ever seen by any punk band. First set had some songs from latest album "Flat-Pack Philosophy" and other rarely played tracks from all their albums but it was a bit average. The second set was full of the classics and got the crowd jumping with gems like "Love You More","What Do I Get?","Times Up","Autonomy", "Promises","Boredom","Ever Fallen In Love With Someone","Harmony In My Head" and my fave tune by them "Orgasm Addict".Very brave of them to play a long set but they cant really do no wrong in my eyes.Very good.See aftershow page......... 01 Dec 2006.Human League live at Shepherds Bush Empire,London.Back again for their annual tour The Human League were one of the best 1980s acts with their perfect synth pop dance sound.The stage set is all white which they have been using the last 5 years and the setlist is mainly the greatest hits set they have played for the last 5 years.There are loads of catchy tunes played like "Love Action","Louise","Mirror Man","Open Your Heart","The Lebanon","Human","Sound Of The Crowd","Fascination","Tell Me When" and of course the perfect "Dont You Want Me".Great encore of disco anthem "Electric Dreams".Very good 90 mins set that always goes down well.Phil Oakey still doing the vocals and both the girl singers are still looking fab.A good one................... November was a great month as i went to 23 live music events including 3 major awards shows (Classic Rock ,UK Hall Of Fame and World Music) .. 30 Nov 2006.Christina Aquilera + Nizlopi live at Wembley Arena, London. Nizlopi are the worst band i have seen for ages .They play their novelty hit "The JCB Song" but its all awful. A far too long wait of 60 mins between acts tonight but i must say Christina put on a great 95 mins set.A massive stage production that had 5 huge screens across the back of the venue,a dozen members in the band and 8 dancers not to mention Christinas saucy outfits which came to around 10 quick costume changes.Lots of dance routines and stuff going on visually.Christinas voice when she tried for the high notes was more of a scream and even when she was talking to the crowd you could not understand her that well. Some decent songs too like "Aint No Other Man", "What A Girl Wants","Welcome","Dirrty" and for "Nasty Naughty Boy" she pulled a young lad out of the crowd to tie him up and tease him.Also good was "Lady Marmalade" and encores of the ballad "Beautiful" and the uptempo "Brighter".A very good entertaining and very visual show. ....... 28 Nov 2006.The Killers live at Brixton Academy, London.They may only play clubs back home in USA but the UK loves The Killers.This was the last of 3 Brixton shows that sold out in 1 day (they also play Wembley Arena Feb 24 and 25 next year).Both their albums "Hot Fuss " and " Sams Town" have sold loads over here and this crowd are to ready to dance and bounce.A roadie lays bunches of flowers at the front of stage and then the curtain falls and the band get stuck in. Gems like "When You Were Young" and "Somebody Told Me" are played fairly early on then the 75 mins set slowed down a bit before rocking versions of "Smile Like You Mean It" and "Mr Brightside" . Great encores of "For Reasons Unknown" and "All These Things That Ive Done" .Their brand of synth rock was much better than expected and live they were very good ............ 27 Nov 2006. Tool live at Wembley Arena,London. Well i do not actually own any Tool albums and all i have seen of them are a couple of videos that have been shown on tv but a few friends have said they were really good.Anyway i was looking forward to the show but sadly it was a letdown. Tool are on stage for 1 hour 50 mins to promote latest album " 10,000 Days" but their heavy industrial metal rock is just pretty boring. They are all great musicians and the way the singer spends the entire set at the back of the stage next to the drummer so everyone can focus on the music is good but even when they brought out the lasers an hour into the set i still did not enjoy it.Too much muso twaddle ............ Sunday 26 Nov is the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest records of all time The Sex Pistols "Anarchy In The UK" .I bought it on its first day of release in 1976 ........ 25 Nov 2006.George Michael live at Earls Court Arena ,London. His first UK and European tour for some 15 years.This was first of a staggering 9 shows in London(4 here and 5 at Wembley Arena). The stage set is excellent with a huge screen from floor to ceiling behind George.I had a superb view 7 rows from front in Block A stalls seats with some 18,000 punters behind me.George on stage for 2 hours 10 mins over 2 sets. "Fast Love " and "Father Figure " were both good. He has none of Mick Jaggers energy as his set is a fast one,slow one ,fast one,slow one etc ."Everything She Wants" and "Star People " were good."Shoot The Dog " was great for the giant George Bush inflatable with a British Bulldog attached to its privates. "Faith " and "Jesus To A Child" and a mega "Im Your Man" were all really good as was " Outside". Great encores of "Careless Whisper" and "Freedom" finished a good show.Michael Jackson should take note.This is how you do a proper comeback.................. 24 Nov 2006.Primal Scream live at Hammersmith Apollo,London.This was the first of three London shows on this tour(also Brixton on Dec 1 and 2) which means the band are as popular as ever.Bobby G has a smart suit on as the band kick into their Rolling Stones based rock n roll. The first half of the 90 mins mins is good with the two female backing singers giving it a nice full sound.The band step up a gear for gems like "Jailbird", "Swastika Eyes" and rockin' versions of "Country Girl" and "Rocks" .Great encores of "Loaded " and "Moving On Up" sealed a good show............ The UKs top punk festival Rebellion (was Wasted) will happen in Blackpool 9 to 12 Aug 2007.Over 100 acts will be there.Tickets are only 60 quid up to Nov 30 and then 70 quid after.Book them on 02476 601678 .See you there 22 Nov 2006.Red Hot Chili Peppers live at the Camden Roundhouse,London.This was an invite only free gig for 2000 people for XFM Radio made up mainly from RHCP fan club members and XFM comp winners.Got a great view five rows from front. RHCP play a very tight set of 90 mins.They really have got a cool funky rock sound that tonight sounds perfect.Opening with "Cant Stop" and playing others like "Scar Tissue" and also the current single "Snow(hey oh)" and finishing with "Californication" and "Give It Away". There were 3 or 4 songs where they extended into funk rock jamming which was cool but that meant a couple of big songs like "Under The Bridge" were not played.RHCP are always great live . See aftershow page for this show................ 21 Nov 2006.Muse live at Wembley Arena,London. Muse really have been flying high over the last 2 or 3 years and tonight was the first night of 3 sold out shows at this venue.As promised the stage production is very impressive with loads of lights and neat video screen animation.The drummer appears from within a giant bulb ridden spaceship capsule which was all very Spinal Tap.Matt Bellamy really gets stuck into his guitar playing and often slides across the stage on his knees although his Thom Yorke singing style gets on my nerves a bit. The band have a really powerful big sound that sends the crowd wild .They play all the best tracks from their mega albums "Absolution" and "Black Holes And Revelations" in the 95 mins set.For the encores giant balloons are dished out. A very good show .................. 20 Nov 2006.Slayer + In Flames live at Brixton Academy,London.This was a 5 band thrash metal package but we missed the first 3 bands.In Flames headlined Hammersmith Apollo a year ago. They had some great riffs but the vocal style was not to my liking.Finished off well with "Take This Life" and "My Sweet Shadow". I am not a big thrash metal fan but some bands deserve a bit of respect and thats what Slayer are due after 20 years of playing this type of music..I have seen them half a dozen times since 1987 but tonight is easily the best.A great lightshow with superfast guitar riffs and reunited with their amazing drummer Dave Lombardo means they go down a storm. The sweaty moshpit here is mental all night. The vocals are still not to my taste but tunes like "Mandatory Suicide","Raining Blood" and "Angel Of Death" are highlights of the 70 mins set.Better than expected................. 18 Nov 2006.Thunder live at Oxford New Theatre. This famous old venue used to be called The Apollo and it reminds me of Shepherds Bush Empire with stalls seating.Not that anyone stayed in their seats for Thunders sellout show here. From the very start its good time rock and roll as "Backstreet Symphony " goes down a storm. Lots of tracks have a lovely blues rock feel. Danny on vocals is great at getting the crowd involved and Lukes guitar playing is on top form. They play some great tracks from their new album "Robert Johnsons Tombstone" inc "Dirty Room", "A Million Faces" and new single out on Dec 4 "The Devil Made Me Do It".The Stones influenced "I Love You More Than Rock And Roll" from a couple of years ago is a real corker. The 1 hour 45 mins set is finished off with a stunning "Dirty Love".Thunder still rock. Thunder play The Forum in London on Wed 22 Nov. tickets are 22.50 from 0870 400 0688 . more info on the band check www.thunderonline.com See aftershow page for this gig.................. 17 Nov 2006.W.A.S.P. live at The Astoria ,London. Nice to see a near full house for these 1980s rockers.The singers microphone is amazing.Its a giant pogo stick but with chopper bars and skull and cross bones and steps where he can climb on it and sway from from side to side. The band themselves all look like its still 1988. Always a band with too many average rock songs to anything more than second division they do have a few decent tunes like "L.O.V.E. Machine","Wild Child" and "I Wanna Be Someboby" and the 75 mins set is finished off with "Blind In Texas".Ok gig but nothing special........... 16 Nov 2006.Glen Matlock live at The White Horse, High Wycombe,Bucks. A 30 mile drive up the A40 to see this Sex Pistols legend in a nice cosy pub.Glen does a really good 60 mins set starting with "Burning Sounds" and others like "Yeah Right","Sad Meal For One" and the crowd really sing loudly along to "God Save The Queen" , "Steppin' Stone","Pretty Vacant " and the superb encores of "All Or Nothing " and "Anarchy In The UK".Very good ............. 15 Nov 2006.World Music Awards At Earls Court Arena,London.Well this year its moved from its usual home in Monaco but i still knew it would be a third rate event.A big crowd of maybe 10,000 are here mainly for Michael Jacksons first stage appearence in the UK for 10 years. It starts very impressive with Beyonce and the stage production is truly awesome.(She also plays another great track later on).From there it goes a bit dodgy as it becomes more of a Fashion Rocks event for the MTV crowd with models and fashion designers giving out awards like Paris Hilton,Lindsay Lohan,Elle McPherson, Jade Jagger,Peaches Geldof, Rachel Hunter and even Katie Smith (Jordan) and Peter Andre.Those that played a song inc Enya, Faithless,Rhianna,Nelly Furtado,Katie Melua and acts from Russia,Italy and the Middle East. Thankfully during the breaks we are in the 500 strong VIP section to the right of the stage knocking back the free cocktails and canopes a couple of tables away from Paris Hilton. At the end was the main event.Michael Jackson accepts an award for "Thriller" the biggest selling album ever with a mega 104 million sales. (i thought it was more nearer 60 million???). He gives a decent speech and then the "Thriller" music starts up but its american singer Chris Brown who sings .After 50 children come on stage dressed in t shirts and a backing tape of "We Are The World" starts up.Michael Jackson comes on and mumbles 3 or 4 lines as the children do all the singing.He throws his jacket out to the crowd and shakes a few hands but its a total letdown.All he had to do was give one song 100% and that would have done the job but instead he blew it and even a lot of his own fans jeered and booed him. See aftershow page for this event............ 14 Nov 2006.UK Music Hall Of Fame Awards At Alexandra Palace, North London.Massive event to induct 8 major names this year.6.30pm champers and canopes then 8pm awards start.Bon Jovi and Sir George Martin are in VIP block Row A and we are directly behind in VIP block Row 4 with a superb view of it all .Soul legend James Brown gets an award and plays one song then Led Zep get an award which is picked up by Jimmy Page and Wolfmother play "Communication Breakdown" then Rod Stewart gets an award which is picked up by James Morrison who sings a Rod song.David Gilmour presents Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson with an award and Brian plays "God Only Knows" and "Good Vibrations" .All the acts sounded mega. Bon Jovi pick up an award and easily have the most fans here.They play 3 songs "You Give Love A Bad Name","Wanted Dead Or Alive " and "Its My Life".Dusty Springfield wins one and Patti Labelle sings one and Joss Stone sings one.Joss looks amazing as she walks into the crowd.Beyonce hands Prince his award but sadly he does not play.Sir George Martin picks up the final award and a 30 piece orchestra ,20 piece gospel choir and Johnny Borrell,Roger Taylor,Corrine Bailey Rae and Jose Gonzales play a 3 song medley of lesser known Beatles tracks.A great night. See aftershow page for this event............... 13 Nov 2006.Flaming Lips + Midlake live at Hammersmith Apollo,London.Midlake are hotly tipped for big things but their take on 1970s soft rock is a bit dreary for me even though songs like "Roscoe" are pretty good.What an amazing visual treat Flaming Lips are live. From the start singer Wayne Coyne bounces over the heads of the crowd in a giant balloon as 100 other giant balloons are pushed into the crowd and there are over 20 people on stage in fancy dress costumes,there are disco glitter balls, confetti cannons,lasers,a giant screen ,streamers and more and its just like a New Years Eve Party. There is so much fun and joy here tonight as they play their psychedelic indie pop .Plenty of superb songs in the 1 hour 45 mins set like "Yoshemi The Pink Robots","The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song","She Dont Use Jelly","Do You Realize?" and a mad encore of "Bohemian Rhapsody".You really have to see this band live .A great show. ......... 12 Nov 2006.Brian Wilson live at The Adelphi Theatre,London.One off UK show that sold out in less than an hour.Tonight they play the classic "Pet Sounds" album for the last time in the UK. I saw a few of those amazing Brian Wilson shows at The Royal Festival Hall so its nice to see him in this rarely used for gigs theatre that currently has a production of Evita running. Brian and his excellent band take the stage at 7.30pm prompt for 2 sets lasting 2 hours 10 mins. First set started quietly . "Do It Again","In My Room","I Get Around" then a mega "California Girls","Marcella" and "Good Vibrations".Second set had all of "Pet Sounds" with gems like " Wouldnt It Be Nice","Sloop John B" and "God Only Knows".The encores were stunning "Help Me Rhonda","Barbara Ann","Surfin Usa ","Fun Fun Fun" and the beautiful "Love And Mercy" .A great show but not as good as Royal Festival Hall shows. See aftershow page for this gig............... 11 Nov 2006.Bruce Springsteen And The Seeger Sessions Band live at Wembley Arena,London. Back again in the UK after the shows a few months ago.Bruce and his amazing 16 piece band (his wife stayed at home for this tour) somehow turn the venue into a bar room gig atmosphere for 2 hours 25 mins.They played all the album and most of the tracks were stretched out a bit with fiddles,steel guitar and brass all over the place.Great tunes like "Oh Mary Dont You Weep","My Oklahoma Home". Only a couple of solo tracks tonight inc "Devils And Dust" then rousing versions of "Mrs McGrath","Jacobs Ladder" and "Pay Me My Mother Down" .Bruce mentioned he was at Fridays Lucinda Williams gig at Shepherds Bush Empire so it seems pretty certain he will be at Nils Lofgrens gig at the same venue on Monday.While it was not as good as a gig by Bruce And The E Street Band it was still very good and Bruce was on top form . ......... 10 Nov 2006.Paul Simon live at Wembley Arena, London.Not the best place for this American legend to play.There is no video screens and no big stage production but its clear that the focus is on a top quality band with two drummers. For over 2 hours they played a nice mix of old and new Paul Simon with a few Simon And Garfunkel. Best were "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover","Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard" ,"Loves Me Like A Rock","Graceland","Cecelia","Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes".They played a few off the new album "Surprise" inc "Father And Daughter" Encores got the crowd up and on their feet for "You Can Call Me Al","Still Crazy After All These Years","Mrs Robinson","Bridge Over Troubled Water,"Late In The Evening","Boxer" and "Homeward Bound".Not a very visual show but Pauls voice is still great and the songs are pure class and the band were stunning all night. See aftershow page for this show................ Status Quo have a great DVD out this week called "Just Doin' It Live In Birmingham 2006" .They start their UK Winter tour next week which includes a London show at Wembley Arena on Dec 16 ....... 08 Nov 2006.Cliff Richard live at Wembley Arena, London.This was show number four of five at this venue for the Peter Pan of pop who has been making music for nearly 50 years since his first hit way back in 1958.I have seen him a few times before but it still feels a bit odd mixed in with all the grannies and his loyal female fans. Two sets and on stage for 2 hours 30 mins meant there was lots of old ,new and borrowed songs. He looks great for his age and tells plenty of good stories like recording in Abbey Roads Studio 2 in the 1960s in the Beatles era.A nice big stage production with 8 dancers.Best songs in the first set were "Hey Mr Dream Maker","Miss You Nights" ,"Devil Woman","The Young Ones" and "We Dont Talk Anymore". Needless to say there were a lot of pretty average tracks and the less said about his new album of duets the better. "Wired For Sound" was really good.For the encore i had been informed that Queen guitarist Brian May and The Shadows drummer Brian Bennett would turn up and true enough they joined him on stage and played his first hit,the now guitar laden "Move It" twice as its to be used as a video for use in 2007.Cliff Richard may not be that cool but hes a living legend and it was a decent night out in the end ...... 07 Nov 2006.Inxs live at Shepherds Bush Empire, London.This was the last of their 3 sell out shows at this venue.Where as last weeks radio show crowd was a bit laid back the atmosphere tonight is much more rocking from the start as the band tear into "Suicide Blonde" ,"Mystify Me" and "Disappear".It still amazes me how confident new singer JD Fortune is as he struts and prowls the stage.The tracks from the new album "Switch" are real growers with "Never Let You Go " and new single "Pretty Vegas" both going down superb tonight.The whole venue is on its feet for "Need You Tonight" and "What You Need" . The band still have that great funk rock sound with lashings of guitar and cool sax playing. The 90 mins set is finished off in great style with "New Sensation","Never Tear Us Apart" and "Dont Change".An excellent show .See aftershow page for this gig.... Inxs return for a full UK tour in June 2007 which includes a London show at Hammersmith Apollo on Thursday 21 June .Buy tickets on 0870 735 5000 with further info on www.inxs.com............. 06 Nov 2006.Classic Rock Music Awards at The Langham Hotel ,London.7pm to midnight .Not the biggest of the many music awards shows but loads of my fave classic rock heroes are here.Around 250 seated (3 course meal and booze) and 20 standing(booze only).Those here to give or take an award included Alice Cooper, Brian May and Roger Taylor(Queen),Saxon,Thunder, David Coverdale(Whitesnake),Jaz Coleman(Killing Joke),Bruce Dickenson and Adrian Smith(Iron Maiden),Ronnie James Dio, Frankie Miller ,Scott Gorham(Thin Lizzy )and Philomena Lynott(Phils lovely mum),Jeff Beck,Chris Squire(Yes),Tim Rice, Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs(Mott The Hoople), Sensational Alex Harvey Band ,Glenn Hughes and new bands The Answer and Roadster.Also here were all the main promoters and booking agents etc like Harvey Goldsmith,Rod MacSween,Neil Warnock,Rod Smallwood,Ross Halfin,Geoff Barton,Steve Guest and comedian Justin Lee Collins.Most of them at the end were very friendly and chatty ,best were Ian Hunter , Jeff Beck ,all the boys from Sensational Alex Harvey Band,The Answer ,Harvey Goldsmith.Only David Coverdale was really flexing his ego here. Excellent evening.See aftershow page for this. Alice Cooper won the main award "Living Legend" ......... Thursday was yet another day i went to 2 gigs. 02 Nov 2006.7pm.Inxs live at Cafe De Paris, London.Invite only gig for 400 comp winners and media for Capitol Gold Radio .Everyone seemed pretty horrified when Inxs announced a couple of years ago they would hold a reality show to find a new lead singer.The winner was JD Fortune. However it seems the public chose the right one. Inxs played a 75 mins set of decent tracks from their new album "Switch" but it was the oldies everybody wanted.The new singer had a healthy amount of nervous energy as he jumped up on the stage monitors and climbed into the balcony. "Disappear","Taste It","Need You Tonight","What You Need" ,"Devil Inside","New Sensation " and "Never Tear Us Apart" all went down very well. The new boy did a good job................... 02 Nov 2006.9.30pm.Glen Matlock live at The Boogaloo,Highgate,London.Sex Pistol legend plays another 60 mins acoustic set to a packed house. Loads of great songs from Rich Kids ,Sex Pistols and solo material like "Burning Sounds","Piece Of The Action","God Save The Queen","Sad Meal For One","Whose Side Are You On?" and "Pretty Vacant" .A great gig and some good singing from the crowd.Propped up at the bar all night was Pogues legend Shane McGowan who was in great form and invited the whole pub to come to his Brixton shows in December.............. 01 Nov 2006.The Answer live at The Mean Fiddler, London.This is the 4th time i have seen this great blues rock act.This was the last date of a month UK tour and the place is packed.Their sound is firmly in the Robert Plant/Humble Pie/ Black Crowes area and they just rock. A 65 mins set focusing on tracks from their debut album "Rise" like "Never Too Late " and "Under The Sky".They will get bigger for sure.......... Out this week is a must buy box set of Clash singles all with original artwork ............. 31 Oct 2006.7pm to 9pm Faithless launch party for new album "To All New Arrivals" at The Big Chill House ,Kings Cross,London.Along with The Prodigy this lot are the best live dance band out there.The band are all here to introduce it and they have insisted SONY put 4000 quid behind the bar for free booze and pizza "as its always nice to have a drink to music". The album sounds great and comes out on Nov 27. ....Then a mad dash up the road to watch Lordi live at The Kentish Town Forum,London.They are the Finnish rockers who won Eurovision earlier in the year.They arrive on stage in their over the top costumes with a great gothic castle and giant bats stage production.For 75 mins they are just total fun.The lyrics are basic but its a non stop fireworks,explosions,fire cannons and confetti party that rivals KISS and the venue is packed out on this Halloween evening.Most of their songs are from their album "The Arockalypz" and they encore with their Euro hit "Hard Rock Hallelujah".I had a smile on my face the entire evening Well this time last year i went to The Q Awards in the afternoon and a Deep Purple secret gig at The Hard Rock Cafe in the evening so read on for two music events this year on the same day ......... 30 Oct 2006.Noon to 5pm The Q Awards live at The Grosvenor House Hotel ,Park Lane , London.This was the 20th anniversay of the music mag and as usual a massive amount of musicians were here to present or accept awards.U2,Oasis(not Liam), The Who, Razorlight,Kooks,Girls Aloud,Take That, Kasabian,Manic Street Preachers,Smokey Robinson, Faithless,Gnarls Barkley,Aha,Paul Weller,Arctic Monkeys,Muse,Peter Gabriel,John Cale,Sugababes, Jamelia,Boy George,Amy Winehouse,Jeff Lynne, Orson,Primal Scream,Ross Halfin,Moby,Tim Burton, Corinne Bailey Rae,Jay Kay,Russell Brand,Michael Eavis.Those who got a standing ovation were Smokey Robinson,U2,Oasis and The Who.The event was hosted like last year by Jonathan Ross who was very funny indeed.Some 500 guests were seated for a 3 course meal and drinks and 50 standing guests had a cold buffet and drinks. A quality event for sure then off to the official aftershow party at Paper in Regent Street from 5.30pm to 7pm for more cocktails and canopes.Jay Kay was the only face here as bands like Razorlight had their own parties at The Met Bar with other acts on their label......... 7.30pm to midnight.Harvey Goldsmith Tribute Dinner at The Grosvenor House Hotel ,Park Lane, London.A massive event to celebrate the career of the UKs top music promoter. Needless to say i have been to loads of concerts that Harvey Goldsmith has promoted from all those 1970s shows like Bruce Springsteen at Ham Odeon to Live Aid and Live 8 which he also promoted. 3 course dinner and drinks for over 1000 guests who included Roger Daltrey,Phil Manzernera, Mike Rutherford,Chris Rea,Feargal Sharkey,Chris Tarrant,Paul Gambachini,Mica Paris,Bernie Ecclestone and loads of music biz people.Loads of nice video tributes from the likes of Bob Geldof and Bruce Springsteen .Harvey himself gave a 30 mins speech on the highlights of his career then Status Quo played four songs inc "Rockin All Over The World" and "Whatever You Want".A great night for a real rock n roll legend who has done so much for promoting quality live music events for the last 40 years and who still finds time to do loads of charity work for The Teenage Cancer Trust and Nordoff Robbins. ......... 28 Oct 2006.Damned + Sham 69 + Angelic Upstarts + Anti Nowhere League live at Shepherds Bush Empire,London.A great line up of punk bands all on the same bill.Up first we watch Anti Nowhere League .As usual they are a bit third rate but "So What" and "Streets Of London" are good.Next its Angelic Upstarts whose singer Mensi is still in prison so its a bit of a con really however "Teenage Warning","Last Night Another Soldier" "Who Killed Liddle Towers" and "I'm An Upstart" are sung well by the replacement singer. Its not a good idea to put a band like Sham 69 on as a support band because tonight they were better than the Damned.Too many catchy pop punk gems here that got the crowd dancing and singing like "Angels With Dirty Faces","Ulster Boy","Borstal Breakout","If The Kids Are United","Hersham Boys" and "Hurry Up Harry" although their version of "White Riot" tonight was crap.The Damned played a mix of old and new in their set like "New Rose","Love Song ","Rabid Over You ","Jet Boy Jet Girl" and "Ignite " but they suffered a bit from dodgy sound and a very tired crowd.Encore of "Smash It Up " was superb but overall their show at Blackpool Punk Festival in August was a lot better.Sham 69 won tonight............... 27 Oct 2006.New Order + Maximo Park live at Wembley Arena ,London.Support act Maximo Park sold out Brixton Academy a month ago.They played a nice set of jerky indie pop with a singer that really gets into it. "Apply Some Pressure" was excellent. New Order played for 1 hour 50 mins and were superb.An amazing start as they played a bunch of Joy Division classics "Shes Lost Control","Shadowplay","Transmission","Love Will Tear Us Apart" and "Atmosphere".Then it was loads of New Order singles like "Ceremony","Temptation" and "Blue Monday " which really got the crowd dancing.Peter Hook was great on bass.Bernard on vocals danced like my dad in places though. Encore included a super"True Faith". A pounding dance beat made for a great gig............... 26 Oct 2006.The Good The Bad And The Queen live at The Roundhouse, London.So here i am back at this venue where i saw so many great shows in the 1970s(type in roundhouse in my venue search). This was the second of five shows for the series BBC Electric Proms. With a band feat Damon Albarn (Blur)and Paul Simonon (The Clash)they have sold all 2000 tickets without anyone ever hearing anything they have done .Pretty amazing. This was their first ever proper gig after a couple of low key secret gigs in the run up to this.Its great to see Paul playing bass again after some 20 years away and he still sounds fab.The band play for 60 mins and its all new material with nothing from previous bands.They stopped a couple of songs midway and the whole thing was a bit too loose and hardly exciting.It kind of felt more a rehearsal than a proper gig with some gentle ska and dub thrown in.All in all a bit of a letdown but maybe it will be better when they have a full series of dates next year. See aftershow page for this gig.............. 25 Oct 2006.All Saints + DJ Don Letts live at Shepherds Bush Pavillion,London.This was an invite only event for 400 comp winners and media for mobile phone company 3FrontRoom.All night free booze and food went down a treat .All Saints played a 6 song set lasting 25 mins.Again they admitted they were a bit nervous but settled down after a couple of songs.They all look great. Most tracks were from comeback album "Studio 1" but also played mega hit "Pure Shores" .Liam from Oasis was there to support his Mrs.It will be fun watching All Saints battle it out with Girls Aloud and Sugababes in the future.A decent night. ...... 23 Oct 2006.New York Dolls + All Saints + Tim Finn + Howling Bells live at Koko,London for TV Recording of Channel 4s "The Album Chart Show". All four bands played three songs each.First on were All Saints .This was their first gig after splitting a few years ago.They looked a little nervous but its good to see them back.Next up were up and coming indie stars Howling Bells who had a neat mix of female vocals and stunning guitar playing. Ex Crowded House Tim Finn was totally boring.We were only here for one act really anyway.The New York Dolls again looked and sounded fab as they played "Gimme Luv And Turn On The Light","Dancing On The Lip Of A Volcano" and new single "Dance Like A Monkey" Only 3 songs but totally worth it................ 22 Oct 2006.New York Dolls + Towers Of London + Glen Matlock And The Philistines live at the Kentish Town Forum,London.I was really looking forward to this evening .Things started great as i got to venue at 5pm to pick up my Access All Areas pass and saw all three bands do their soundchecks.All of them did 3 or 4 numbers. The gig proper started with Glen Matlock And The Philstines who played 8 Philistines tracks that rocked.Glens voice sounded great and the twin guitars rocked.They finished with "Piece Of The Action" and " White Knuckle Ride" (i helped set the bands equipment up before the set and moved it off the stage at the end which was how i got my AAA pass).Next up The Towers Of London who were lively on stage and look the part but their songs need to be stronger.The New York Dolls were simply stunning.For 90 mins they were the coolest band in the world.David Johansen on vocals was superb.They played 8 songs off their brilliant new album "One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This " which is a must buy album if you have not got it.The setlist was "Looking For A Kiss ","Puss n Boots","We're All In Love","Piece Of My Heart","Private World ", "Fishnets And Cigarettes","Punishing World","Plenty Of Music","Pills","Dancing On The Lip Of A Volcano","You Cant Put Your Arms Around A Memory","Gimme Luv","Dance Like A Monkey", "Trash","Jet Boy" and mega encores of "Personality Crisis" and " Gotta Get Away From Tommy".It was a fantastic show .See aftershow page for this gig ..........