Tuesday, August 9, 2011


A weekend of clean, stain, polyurethane, paint and repeat. Dirty, boring and hot. I'm tired before I begin. More decisions are being made that only add to the cost of the bathroom renovation project. By next weekend I can no longer delay the inevitable and will be forced begin the process of taking out working fixtures, effectively putting the bathroom out of service, something else I dread.

But the weekend evenings are devoted to fun and relaxation with a series of concerts beginning Friday night and ending on Sunday at sunset.

First up was the Sex Pistols performing a show at the Lesser free Trade Hall on Manchester, UK on June 4, 1976. This was early in their career when they traveled outside London to spread the word of the changing winds of rock and roll. Good recording of this seminal movement.

From Clinton Heylin's book "Babylon's Burning, From Punk to Grunge”:

The Bands were less happy to discover that provincial punks thought spitting was a gesture of solidarity: 'obviously believing that [it] was the correct behavior at a Grundy rock-gig', as Silverton reported. At the Circus, Matlock told the crowd halfway through to stop gobbing, or they were leaving. It seemed to work for a while, but as he says, "Perhaps there'd been some kind of guidelines written in the music papers by then. If you're stuck in the provinces, what do you have to go on?'

Another writes:

Google the words "Sex Pistols Lesser Free Trade Hall 1976", or simply "4 June 1976", and you can use the resultant 22,600,000 pieces of information to piece together a crudely helpful history of a) Manchester music, b) the birth of indie music and c) the "greatest gig of all time" that "changed music forever". The fact that if you Google the additional words "swear I was there" you come across more details about that than the Sex Pistols' performance emphasizes the show's reputation. Not least because – and this has become an integral element in the ensuing mythologising of the gig – there weren't that many people who'd bought the 60p ticket, but thousands now claim they did. Those who like to nourish the legend favour an estimate of around 40; other less romantic minds suggest a number closer to 100.

I was there. I was a witness, although not enough of one to notice at the time that what was taking place was "history". I had no idea I would talk and write about the gig for what is turning out to be the rest of my life, finding new ways to point out that the evening was something of a revelation because it instantly suggested that a) there were other people interested in music who made you feel, think and want to do or be something radical or individual, b) you could make music without the usual support systems of London record companies, promoters and showbiz managers, and c) here was an exciting way to assassinate Emerson Lake and Palmer, who indifferently perpetuated various demoralising forms of alienation, elitism, pomposity and complacency.

I'd gone on my 19-year-old own. I'm not sure what I actually recall or what I filled in using data acquired later as the gig was talked up into legend. We, the yokel audience, were scruffy, isolated avant garde music fans motivated to constantly search out new music. Many audience members have since become well known. So well known it appears now that the show was attended by a host of rock celebrities – members of Joy Division, New Order, the Fall, the Smiths, A Certain Ratio, Ludus, Simply Red, Buzzcocks, Magazine, the producer Martin Hannett. It was, in fact, attended by unassuming nonentities drawn to the gig from within a 20-mile radius of Manchester city centre perhaps because they were extremely frustrated by their stranded nonentity status, and craving purpose

Read it all here:

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Next up this Friday night, before I was overcome with a need for sleep was Sid Vicious performing a show at Max's Kansas in New York City on September 7, 1978. This was the second set performed this evening.  He performed at this location several times in the late summer/early fall before his life completely unraveled leading to his eventual, some say inevitable death. A fairly good recording that I thoroughly enjoyed.

This is the review of the September 7 gig by Charles M Young, from Rolling Stone:

‘[T]he audience was primed and rowdy when Sid Vicious hit the stage. Backed by drummer Jerry Nolan and bassist Arthur Kane, both formerly of the New York Dolls, and guitarists Mick Jones of the Clash and Steve Dior of Nolans’ new band, the Idols, Vicious was resplendent in black leather and chains. His chest wasn’t shredded with red scars, nor were his arms covered with bandages, as they were on the Sex Pistols’ American tour. The thirty-five-minute set included such tunes as the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” and Sinatra’s “My Way” (Sid’s current single). No longer playing bass, as he had with the Pistols, Vicious projected a slightly awe-struck air as he sang in the face of the frantically bouncing crowd, so that you wondered who was the audience and who was the performer. If Sid Vicious had not been Sid Vicious, the people would have given him the same treatment [a pelted barrage of crumpled menus] they gave [support band] Tracx. The difference was that Vicious has always insisted on his own talentlessness, presenting it as a challenge to anyone with a craving to be looked at onstage. If anyone wanted moves, they could watch Jones, who combined some interesting running around with inordinately sincere sweating. Nolan, Kane and Dior also played with phenomenal energy. For the perfect encore, Vicious sang the words to “Baby Take a Chance With Me” off a lyric sheet. The crowd cheered so long afterward that the security guards had to drag them out. It was a small glimpse of a grand farce that was the Pistols, reviving fond memories and making me wish I had memories of the Dolls to revive’

‘It just goes to prove what i’ve always believed. Rock’n'roll was dead as an art form because the poster boy couldn’t play a fucking note, which in a way was kinda perfect’ – Jimmy Zero, Dead Boy, from No One Is Innocent

Read it all here:

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Saturday night found me outside again, wondering when the neighbors were going to complain about the loud music going on well past midnight.  I popped in the CD and listened to an excellent soundboard recording of Billy Idol doing a show in Costa Mesa, CA in 1990. Billy got his start back in the days of 1976 when he and others in the "Bromley contingent" of musicians from the large suburban town in south east London formed a band that was inspired by the Sex Pistols and the fast evolving punk scene sweeping London at the time. Billy was originally invited to become part of Siousixe's band but dropped out within a week to become a member of another band, quickly rising to become its leading member. Great show not too far out from when he was a top performer on the charts.

Download it here:

Wanting to try something different I pulled out a band who's albums I often listen to while driving on road trips, but not in concert format.  Here's an excellent FM Broadcast recording of Red Hot Chili Peppers performing live in Hamburg in April 24, 2006, one show on their  2006-2007 Stadium Arcadium concert tour in support of their album Stadium Arcadium.

Wikipedia describes them as:

Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American funk rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1983. The group's musical style fuses traditional funk with elements of other genres, including punk and psychedelic rock. The band consists of founding members, Michael "Flea" Balzary (bass) and Anthony Kiedis (vocals, alongside longtime drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.

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Similar to last weekend, after a day sweating on the bathroom project, I cleaned up and went to a westward overlook to watch the setting sun, while smoking a cigar and listening to Amy Winehouse.  This time it was Live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam on February 8, 2007.  This is a really good soundboard recording, its got that 60's motown vibe, nice horn section and the the sound is incredible.

Written by Chris DeLine on April 2, 2007 in New Music -

"One of the things that recently came to mind when considering the eventual lash-back surrounding British delight Amy Winehouse was the line “It’s only rock ‘n roll, but I like it.” After all, sure, it’s only post diva sophista-pop, but I like it. Hearing Amy’s throaty muck her way through the crowd banter from this show compared to her elegant, timeless voice is honestly stunning and something that I’m presuming is twice as shocking when hearing it live amidst a sea of fans watching her a half dozen or so cocktails into her set. I remember first watching the video for “Rehab” expecting something far from what I saw, and ultimately being disappointed by it. I wanted nothing more than to hate her story, her songs and her look but ultimately I found myself sympathetic to all of the above."

Read it here:http://www.culturebully.com/amy-winehouse-live-in-paradiso-amsterdam

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