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PDF - Volcano Publishing
HAPPENING NO.7 • JUNE 2011 • FREE
BLACK ANGELS
LITTLE BARRIE
NEWS • REVIEWS • STYLE
WIN
2
A FUNK SOUL
BROTHER LIVE
Dennis Coffey, the Detroit guitarist, is best
known as part of the Motown record label
house band The Funk Brothers. Try counting the
hits he has played and you’ll be up half the
night. He also hit solo payday with the
instrumental ‘Scorpio’ from 1971 that sold a
staggering one million plus copies. Fast-forward
to today and his self-titled studio album is one
fuzzy psychedelic soul experience and rightly
receiving critical plaudits the world over. So The
Barbican in East London has got him over on
June 27th for a one-off night of R&B, funk and
northern soul anthems. The show will also
feature Alice Russell, Mayer Hawthorne and
more special guests still to be announced.
Tickets are £12.50-25 so book now to see the
man strut his funky stuff!
GOING FOR GOLD
STEVE WORRAL returns from Sweden after witnessing
THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES blaze through their first
two landmark albums in their entirety.
VETIVER TOUR
OUR SHORES
Their beautifully summery new album The
Errant Charm is out this month on Bella
Union, and California’s finest Vetiver are in
the UK to promote it. Andy Cabic and his
cohorts have produced a janglesome affair
on this their fifth outing, so they should
provide some suitable sunshine pop
moments for you to saviour. The tour starts in
Brighton at the Komedia on the 28th, then
hits London’s XOYO (29th), Reading, South
Street Arts Centre (30th), Liverpool, Mojo
(July 1st), Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club
(3rd), Manchester, Band On The Wall (5th),
and wrap things up at Nottingham Glee Club
on the 6th. Tickets from the usual outlets.
Swedish psychedelic rockers, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, have finally released their first
‘Best Of...’ compilation entitled Golden Greats No. 1, out now on Akashic Records. Hopefully
there is a clue in the title, as, although it does feature their best-known singles such as
‘Sister Surround’ and ‘Bigtime’, they will need a Volume 2 to tie up the glaring omissions of
classics like ‘Mantra Slider’ and ‘Black Star’. Narrowing down a single disc track-list from a
back catalogue so packed full of quality songs was always going to be difficult.
I caught the band in May playing two stunning shows at the beautiful Slussens Pensionat
on the island of Orust in Sweden on May 20th and 21st, where they played their debut
album Welcome To The Infant Freebase and then the second Extended Revelation in their
entirety to an ecstatic audience.
They’ll return to the Pensionat on July 6th and 7th when they will play breakthrough
album Behind The Music and then Origin Vol. 1.
Although their profile has been relatively low-key in the UK SOOL do make the
occasional appearance here, such as at the recent Record Store Day Event where they
played at Rough Trade East in London followed by a short set at nearby club 93 Feet East.
Hopefully it won’t be too long until the band returns to our shores and treat us to their awe
inspiring live shows. In the meantime, if you are curious about their music then pick up a
copy of Golden Greats No.1 as a taster.
However, while you’re in the record store I’d grab the rest of their albums too because as
good as the compilation is, you are sure to be desperate to hear more.
3
SPREADING THE GOSPEL...
Following the release of Phosphene Dream the Texan
psychedelic flag wavers THE BLACK ANGELS are a name
on everyone’s lips. PHIL ISTINE caught up with singer
Alex Maas to talk over Zombies, hauntings and Bin Laden.
Happening: Phosphene Dream has been
rapturously received by critics here in
Europe. Why do you think this album, your
third, has hit harder than those first two?
Alex Maas: Well we are evolving as people
4
and as a band. It would be ideal for our
music to have the biggest reach possible. We
worked with a producer this time around who
helped us be all we could be without joining
the army.
H: Dave Sardy is such a great producer.
What did he teach you about approaching
music in those recording sessions?
AM: He took us to Napal for a month and
we studied the sound of the local peoples
and culture.
H: Were your influences different for this
record than the first two?
AM: Yes, some of the same but also
different. Our influences are in the 100s of
thousands. Where should I start? Zombies,
Kool Keith, Willie Nelson, Troggs, Bjm,
Beefhart, Oliver Sacks...etc
H: Tell me the story behind ‘Haunting At
1300 McKinley’.
AM: Murders had taken place in our old
home before we moved in, unbeknowest to
us. Some people in the band saw and heard
strange things. I never did, but just wrote the
lyrics based on the personal accounts that
took place while we lived there. The song has
taken on new societal meanings and many
new interpretations.
H: Any more plans to back up Roky at
shows?
AM: It is up to him, we are here for him but
at the moment we don’t plan on having any
plans to back him up.
H: Why did you start your own psychedelic
festival?
AM: We wanted to bring all the amazing
artists we meet while touring and all the
amazing artists we had been turned on to
together to throw a festival in our home town.
The city of Austin needs to know what is going
on in the psychedelic music community. No
one else was doing it, so we decided to.
H: What’s next for the band?
AM: Make more music, go to Japan, go to
Australia. We are currently writing a new
record, and plan on releasing it when we see
proof of Bin Laden’s body.
The single ‘Haunting At 1300 McKinley’ and
Phosgene Nightmare (limited edition Bsides collection on white 10” vinyl) are
both out now on Blue Horizon. The Black
Angels play their first Australian dates at
the end of June and are back in the UK to
play The End Of The Road Festival in
September. NB: Bin Laden’s body has been
found!
5
LITTLE
BIG
MAN
A return to the bosom of their musical Godfather Edwyn
Collins sparked a creative resurgence in London garageblues-soul trio LITTLE BARRIE.
PHIL ISTINE met the trio at The 100 Club to discover how
they came back from the abyss and to get the lowdown on
their triumphant new album King Of The Waves
Happening: So what’s going down with the
new record?
Barrie Cadogen: We started it quite a while
ago, thanks to the generosity of Edywn
Collins and his wife Grace and Seb the
engineer. We were just recording around their
schedule really. We started recording in early
2010 and did a few days, then there were
quite a lot of gaps: maybe Edwin was doing
his own stuff or producing other people or
on tour. But we really wanted to work there.
Five or six of the tracks were mixed by Shaun
Lee, who does stuff with The Ping Pong
Orchestra. This is a guy who Virgil had
worked with before, he’s an artist and a
producer.
Virgil Howe: A singer-songwriter as well. I
knew he’d be good for mixing the rest of the
album. We were stuck at the end waiting,
and the plan b turned out to be a really
good idea. He was just perfect really. So we’ll
definitely be working with him in the future.
H: Were you going to get Edwyn to do it?
BC: He mixed half of it but then he ran out
of time because he was busy with his own
album coming out. We could have hung on,
but we thought we needed to get it out now,
so Virgil got in touch with Shaun. He was
really sympathetic to the way we did it at
Edwyn’s. He had the right equipment to
make it sound like a cohesive record and
brought it all together.
H: What prompted the return to Edwyn?
BC: I think we had such a good time doing
the first album there, and it was such a good
studio. In a way we were spoilt straight away
because the first time we went into a proper
studio it was a studio as good as Edwyn’s.
You get into a false sense of security, you
think all studios are gonna be that good and
the environment’s going to be the same –
and it just wasn’t. I think we liked the way
they break the rules and don’t do things too
conventionally. They have a lot of interesting
gear and the right microphones and the right
desk to get the sounds that we want. The
working atmosphere in there is really good,
and to have it on your doorstep in London
was perfect.
H: The album is so well-produced, really
thought about.
BC: We had been using a rehearsal space
up in Wood Green that Virgil has a share in.
He has some experience at engineering and
recording anyway. We can make better
quality demos where we could explain a bit
more about what we were after as well. We
had thrown around arrangement ideas
around amongst ourselves whilst we were
doing that, so when we went in we didn’t
really have to change any of that stuff.
H: So what were the songs that were
influencing you while writing the album, what
was the vibe you were going for?
BC: I think it’s the combination of all the
things we are into really. I was going back to
some records I hadn’t listened to for a long
time. I was digging out a lot of records that I
got when I first got into playing the guitar:
bands like Spacemen 3 and some of the
groups from that time that were in my
sister’s record collection. Also, there was the
more explosive guitar instrumental sound,
things like Link Wray, and from Louis things
like The Cramps and The Greenhornes. The
13th Floor Elevators, Dion... a lot of stuff.
VH: There was definitely that Dick Dale heavy
surf thing that influenced the single. When I first
joined we were jamming in their old studio and
coming up with loads of ideas. I remember
‘Money And Paper’, just working on that. It’s
been quite a big process writing these songs.
The initial riffs are there straight away but
refining the arrangements has been fun. Along
the way we’ve pulled different influences, like
‘Tip It Over’ definitely had a Can influence that
we all wanted. Then if Lewis says, “This has got
to be a bit more glam-y”, we do it.
LW: There are good things about certain
kinds of music.
PI: You’re all quite keen collectors of music,
aren’t you? You DJ...
VH: I do in Camden every Friday and
Saturday night. I should be employed by the
Camden council as an entertainer and
subsidised! I’m always searching for music.
King Of The Waves is out now on Bumpman
7
David Preston decided to design authentic ’60s
Chelsea boots after he and many of his musician
friends (David is a musician too) were finding it
incredibly hard to acquire the right footwear –
shoddy boots can be found online and the high
street, but they’re either too pointy, poor quality or
just wrong all round. As a result of this David has
designed and manufactured three different styles
in six finishes of the finest leather and suede.
Happy customers have described them as “the
perfect Chelsea boot”. The subtly pointed toe is not
too winkle picker and gives the whole design a
classy look like the footwear our musical heroes
and icons wore in the mid-late ’60s. Despite only
being in business a few months, David can count
James Williamson, guitarist for Iggy & The Stooges,
Steve Cradock and members of Primal Scream,
Little Barrie and Wolf People among his customers.
8
A CUBAN
KICK
win a pair of david preston boots
To win a gorgeous pair of David
Preston black boots, just answer
this simple question:
“Which member of the Stooges
wears David’s boots?”
Send your answer to:
[email protected]
Write PRESTON in the subject line.
Closing date 30 June 2011
davidprestonshoes.blogspot.com
SAT 25
june
LONDON
Timebox (back to the future)
8pm-2am Strongroom, 120-124 Curtain
road, London. EC2A 3SQ
Dj’s Dr Robert + guests spin sublime
psych/soul/funk/rock/garage & rnb
blasts down the groovy cellar club!
www.newuntouchables.com
FRIDAY 17
MONDAY 27
LONDON
The Moons launch party. The Borderline,
16 Manette Street W1D 4AR. 7pm, £10
LONDON
Dennis Coffey with Alice Russell, Mayer
Hawthorne and more special guests
Barbican Hall 19.30 £12.50
SATURDAY 18
LONDON
The Chemistry Set first UK show in 20
years by neo-psych legends. The Garage,
Highbury Corner N5 1RD. £12/15
LONDON
A Little Mixed Up Alldayer
Organised by Mod fanzine Double
Breasted. Modus, The Laynes, Aunt Nelly,
The Mynd Set, RT3 and The Nite Tones
Fiddlers Elbow, Camden.
LONDON
Mousetrap R&B Allnighter
Orleans 259 Seven Sisters Rd, Finsbury
Park, London N4 2DD. Quality 60s Club
Soul, Ska, Motown, R&B, Blues and
Boogaloo
july
SAT 9
LONDON
Mousetrap Allnighter
Orleans 259 Seven Sisters Rd, Finsbury
Park, London N4 2DD
Primest Garage/Freakbeat and Psych on
the planet! DJ’s Dr Robert & guests £8
b4 midnight/£10 after
WED 27
LONDON
Stax! feat Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn
(Blues Brothers/Booker T & The MG’s) &
Vocalist Eddie Floyd perform Stax hit
records! @ 229 the Venue, 229 Great
Portland Street, London W1W 5PN
Tickets www.229thevenue.co.uk
THUR 28-SUN 31
EDINBURGH
The Big Stramash
The Poets, The Higher State, The
Wildebeests, The Masonics.
www.thebigstramash.org
August
4/5/6/7
GIJON, SPAIN
17th Euro Yeye Mod/60’s Festival
Live bands, International DJ’s, Allnighters, Scooter Runs, Vintage Market
www.newuntouchables.com
SAT 13
NOTTINGHAM
The Fabulous HOOCHIE COOCHIE CLUB
Jack Rabbit Slim live on stage, with DJs
spinnin’ authentic Rhythm & Blues,
Rockabilly, Mambo Bop and Shakin’
Sleaze. Spanky Van Dykes Funhouse &
Eatery, 17 Goldsmith Street, Nottingham,
NG1 5JT 9pm - 3am, £10
26/27/28
BRIGHTON
Brighton Mod Weekender
Live bands, DJs, Scooter Run, Vintage
market. All eve events @ Komedia,
Gardiner St. Free Lunchtime events @
The Volks (opp Brighton Pier)
www.newuntouchables.com
september
FRI 16 - SUN 18
NOTTINGHAM
The Blast Off! Festival
www.blastoff-festival.co.uk
october
FRI 7 - SUN 9
GLASGOW
Double Sight Festival
Hidden Masters, Les Bof
facebook.com/doublesightweekender
21/22/23
BIRMINGHAM
Supersonic Festival Electric Wizard,
ZU93, Zombi, Fire!, Secret Chiefs 3,
Eternal Tapestry, Antilles
http://www.supersonicfestival.com
Shindig! Happening! is published monthly by Volcano Publishing.
Editorial team: Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills, Phil Istine, Richard S Jones, Slim Smith.
Contributors: Grahame Bent, Alan Brown, Lenny Helsing, Kris Needs, Darius Drewe
Shimon, Gary von Tersch, Adrian Whittaker, Steve Worral.
Design: Slim Smith.
Subscribe at www.happening-magazine.com
Subscribe to Shindig! at www.shindig-magazine.com
Subscriptions queries: [email protected]
9
Edited by Richard S Jones
THE WICKED WHISPERS
The Dark Delights Of The Wicked Whispers
Electone Records
On the evidence of
this wonderful debut,
Liverpool group The
Wicked Whispers can
be deemed one of
Great Britain’s most
overtly psychedelicsounding and exciting new pop groups to
have emerged in many a pink moon. A
quartet of songs all composed by Michael
Murphy, who also contributes charmingly
affected vocals, and is partly responsible for
the group’s strident guitar chime.
Lead off track ‘Amanda Lavender’ has
been getting lots of online hits due to a
sumptuous, slightly surreal video shot in a
garden maze in Snowdonia, Wales. The Dark
Delights Of… hits all the right spots and
should have you in aural ecstasy in under a
minute flat. Tremendously rich organ notes
penetrate through everything else in the mix
so as to be clear as a bell, yet thankfully, and
surprisingly so, this is not to the detriment of
any other instrument being played.
‘Flying Round In Circles’ and ‘Odyssey Mile’
are at once playful, but seriously cool too. The
group’s many strengths are fully utilised here;
the melodious-harmonious axis and the
slightly odd, out there adjunct befitting of a
group unashamed of their psychedelic fancies.
As such these cuts give the clearest indication
of the group’s intentions, and potential, and
can perhaps give listeners the most value for
their money, psychedelically speaking.
Lenny Helsing
COLIN STETSON
beyond anything resembling the conventional
range of the instrument on what is effectively a
virtuoso solo showcase that sits comfortably
alongside the wilder explorations of Sun Ra’s
horn section, Albert Ayler or even the fluid six
string explorations of Jimi Hendrix.
Featuring guest vocal appearances from
Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden and
recorded in single takes with no overdubs or
tape loops – just 20 mics positioned
throughout the studio, the signals from which
were later mixed by experimental ambient
composer Ben Frost – the end result is an
astounding tour de force that really does feel
like it inhabits a universe all of its own.
Grahame Bent
THE CUTE LEPERS
Adventure Time
Damaged Goods
The Cute Lepers were
formed in 2007 by
Steve E. Nix of The
Briefs, starting with
independent 45s
before unleashing
2008’s Can’t Stand
Modern Music, then ’09’s Smart
Accessories. The Seattle power-punk band
seem to have found their feet on this third
album, flaming on with an energy rarely
encountered these days, possibly fired up by
their most assured bunch of songs yet.
Another of the most immediately noticeable
elements is the group’s understanding of the
importance of backing vocals, an integral part of
accentuating the aural torrents of anyone from
the Stones to The Buzzcocks, whose blistering,
guitar-based attack echoes throughout. They’re
also not afraid to use brass, piano or organ to
further bolster their essential melodic edge.
Many current bands seem to mistake
histrionic squeaking for energy, but The Cute
Lepers go hell for leather throughout,
whipping up an often glorious punk-rock
racket, making their upcoming UK tour a
highly-attractive prospect.
Kris Needs
New History Warfare Vol 2: Judges
Constellation
THE CYNICS
So comprehensively
radical is Colin
Stetson’s idiosyncratic
approach to the
saxophone that it
virtually redefines the
term “experimental”.
Key to all this is the mind-scrambling range of
sounds and textures Stetson succeeds in
coaxing from his horn as he travels light years
Spinning Wheel Motel
10
have had in their armoury since they blasted off
back in the mid-80s. Jangle-spangle Byrd-like
guitars, vocals alternating betwixt sneery and
pleading and a few splenetic riffs and fuzztone
roars, all speed home the message that this is
an act fixated with ’60s garage-band cool.
Some attributes favoured by many later,
heavier post-psych era noisemakers have
also been deployed across numerous and
varied LP excursions through the years.
Opener ‘I Need More’ and closer ‘Junk’ make
for pretty good examples of their garagerock/punk stance, yet all too often unhealthy
alt-rock and REM-style moves are added to
the brew. The vocals especially are overly
bombastic but I was glad that the country
swagger of the title track and reflective
‘Gehenna’ were on hand to help save the day.
Lenny Helsing
DENNIS HOPPER CHOPPERS
Be Ready
DWink
When last heard
from, Ben Nicholls
was riding down that
lonesome highway,
’60s Vox Continental
bass pedal-to-themetal, as one-manband Dennis Hopper Choppers. That was
2008 and his self-released debut LP Chop,
with its rough-hewn rockabilly-meetsspaghetti-western vistas, was receiving
substantial airplay on 6music.
Three years later, DHC has swollen to an
eight-piece studio ensemble that includes
permanent players Nat Woodcock on Vox organ
and mandolinist John Greswell, along with
guests, Acoustic Ladyland’s Pete Wareham on
sax and members of The Bach Choir.
Recorded live in two days, follow-up Be
Ready tones down the rockabilly and instead
builds an overall gentler, more expansive
gothic-country soundscape, reminiscent of
The Willard Grant Conspiracy, as Nicholls’
velvet smooth baritone rises over reverbed
guitar and eerily haunting organ on standouts
like opener ‘Good To Me’, ‘Girl Walked Out Of
Town’ and ‘Long Trip Home’.
Alan Brown
Get Hip
A few key things strike
me upon first couple
of listens to The Cynics’
latest offering. There
are different
components that work
quite well in most
songs, tried and tested approaches the group
FIRE! WITH JIM O’ROURKE
Unreleased?
Rune Grammofon
Lurking in the no man’s land of Krautrock and
free jazz this first time collaboration between
experimental Swedish jazz three piece Fire!
and tireless audio adventurer Jim O’Rourke
(Gastr Del Sol, Sonic Youth) makes for
uncompromising
though ultimately
highly rewarding
listening. Comprising
four cryptically titled
tracks (ponder the
possible significance
of the following if you will – ‘Are You Both Still
Unreleased?’, ‘...Please, I Am Released’ and
‘By Whom And Why Am I Previously
Released?’) whose playing time stretches from
a little over three minutes to a mammoth 17
minutes, the album was recorded over two
clearly eventful days in Tokyo in September
2010. With the exception of the considerably
briefer and rather more impressionistic third
track these recordings are characterised by the
gradual and sustained building of power and
tension thanks to the winning combination of
sluggish grooves, an appetite for psychdrenched turmoil and a near relentless
cacophony of primal saxophonitis.
Grahame Bent
Screamadelica
extravaganza, along
with being in demand
for sessions by the
likes of Weller and
Morrissey, Barrie
Cadogan has still
found time since late 1999 to record and tour
with his own band, cooking up livewire shots of
garage-rock, R&B and funk-infused soul on
singles such as ‘Shrug Off Love’ and three
albums – 2005’s We Are Little Barrie, ’06’s
Stand Your Ground and now this latest set.
Rockers such as first single ‘Surf Hell’ bristle
with chops and vitality, venturing into smoky
blues on ‘Now We Are Nowhere’. In effect, it’s a
continuation of the age-old tradition of ace
session musicians venting their own creative
urges out of someone else’s shadow, although
these other projects inevitably feed into the
creation; with Barrie’s pedigree the results can
only be solid and reliable.
Kris Needs
THE LAST HURRAH!!
MARC CARROLL
Spiritual Non-Believers
In Silence
Rune Grammofon
One Little Indian
The Last Hurrah!!
arrives as the latest
addition to the
already extensive CV
of Bergen’s prolific
resident musical
activist HP
Gundersen. Curiously the raison d’etre
behind The Last Hurrah!! project apparently
came about when HP chanced upon
Stephen Stills’ “secret” guitar tuning as used
on Crosby Stills & Nash’s ‘Suite: Judy Blue
Eyes’. Partnered by fellow Bergen native
singer Heidi Goodbye and with the duo
backed by a pool of supplementary
musicians the three track Spiritual Non
Believers opens with a reworking of
Norwegian outfit Oriental Sunshine’s breezy
1970 opus ‘Mother Nature’ only for things to
take a considerably darker twist on the epic
30 minute ‘The Ballad Of Billy And Lilly’
before finally coming full circle on ‘Melodi
Grand Prix 63’ which is intriguingly described
as “an unlikely but sweet mix of bossa nova,
surf music and Steve Reich”. File under the
vibrant sub genre that currently is West
Coast Norwegian folk psych.
Grahame Bent
With a brand new
album project in the
works for One Little
Indian as well as
having his prolific
back catalogue
readied for reissue,
this 12 track career retrospective will not only
please long-time fans but serve as an
exemplary entry point for those unfamiliar with
the legendary Irishman’s arresting amalgam of
rock, punk, country and blues along with
occasional doses of super-charged harmony
pop. His shaman-like, emotionally fraught
vocals (often recalling either Dylan or
Donovan), scrappy folk-rock guitar work (check
out a vigorous, Richard Thompson-influenced
recall of the traditional ‘Matty Groves’) and
enormous talent as a songwriter really makes
one wonder about his lack of commercial
breakthrough. Favourites range from the
philosophical ‘Press On’, a lushly arranged
prayer titled ‘Against My Will’, the stately yet
shimmering and transcendent ‘In Agreement
With Reality’ and the pair of wistful, dream-like
instrumentals that bookend affairs.
Gary von Tersch
LITTLE BARRIE
SEBASTIAN ROACHFORD/
PAMELIA KURSTIN
King Of The Waves
Ouch Evil Slow Hop
Non Deluxe/Bumpman
Currently playing guitar on Primal Scream’s
Slowfoot Records
Now for a head to head with a difference. In
the red corner behind
the traps Sebastian
Roachford of Polar
Bear and Acoustic
Ladyland fame and in
the blue corner on
Theremin Pamelia
Kurstin famed for her work with David Byrne,
John Zorn and Foetus and reckoned by none
other than Bob Moog as the woman who has
done most to take the Theremin into new
unexplored territory. Setting out to explore
the outer limits of the known audio/groove
spectrum almost inevitably the sound of the
Theremin in full flight brings to mind echoes
of the iconic ’50s sci-fi film soundtracks
where the instrument was so memorably
showcased but there’s also a fair amount of
Delia Derbyshire & The BBC Radiophonic
Workshop style, other worldliness and
Krautock inspired free form risk-taking about
the Roachford/ Kurstin tag team that makes
their partnership so mesmerising and
compelling. Set the controls for the heart of
the freak out…
Grahame Bent
THE TRAVELLING BAND
Screaming Is Something
Cooking Vinyl
After impressing us
back in 2008 with
their debut Under The
Pavement,
Manchester’s The
Travelling Band,
through their finely
tuned understanding of CSNY fashioned
harmonies would have had to turn in a
shockingly poor follow-up to halve our
interests. Unsurprisingly, Screaming Is
Something equals, if not betters its
exceptional predecessor. The exquisitely warm
melody of ‘Sundial’ puts them firmly in league
with The Fleet Foxes by way of sunshine and
affecting folk pop swells of solidarity. A
singalong number (the most instant of many
here) that should ring absolutely true for
festival-goers this summer. Interestingly too,
underneath all their authentic folk and
country ways, there’s a clear approval for their
Manchurian indie heritage, which runs
seamlessly alongside genuine and delightful
songs and studiously explored forays into the
mountains of America (‘One Dime Blues’) and
states of the West (‘Screaming Is Something’).
Powered by the sort of instruments and
positive outlooks we know and love you’d have
to be missing a heartbeat not to care.
Richard S Jones
11
Fleet Foxes
PRIMAVERA SOUND 2011,
BARCELONA
If our big brother Shindig! serves to
document an appreciation of those that have
gone before then let it be noted right here,
right now that Happening is geared toward
the ambitions of those on the horizon.
It’s no secret that Primavera Sound,
Barcelona’s most happening festival has in
recent years provided festival-goers with
some inspired – nay, legendary –
performances from artists old and new, but
this year set the bar for everyone else to
reach.
Over three days, every single soul in
attendance will single out their own
personal victors, and will no doubt have
more than 10 stories to tell. For us,
witnessing Happening favourites Moon Duo
and Wolf People revel in shooting the indie
elite with a lysergic injection of 1971 will
remain an unforgettable high in our mind’s
eye. Of the former, Ripley Johnson and
partner Sanae Yamada turned in a solid
performance on the Ray-Ban stage peddling
sounds anyone with (or indeed without) a
Spacemen 3 record could appreciate. The
first time this writer had seen them live in
light of new record Mazes, together they
retained the dense vibes of old only this
12
time around, programmed a new, userfriendliness that the crowd undoubtedly got
on tracks like ‘Mazes’ and set stealer
‘Fallout’. The latter of which saw Yamada
channelling Silver Apples through her
guttural organ play and Johnson losing
himself in danceable Neu! grooves.
British hopefuls Wolf People stole the
Saturday night, leaving an indelible mark in
the Catalonian dust. As dusk began to close
in the crowd were treated to a set, which
included an extended version of ‘Cotton
Strands’, ‘One By One From Dorney Reach’
and an outstanding outing of ‘Tiny Circles’
over the howls of locals in the crowd who
had clearly done their homework. Jack Sharp
and his band of merrymakers owned every
second in what must have been by all
accounts, something of an unreal situation
for them. So much so they even attempted a
20-minute version of ‘Banks Of Sweet
Dundee’, a track only ever played inside the
safety of four venue walls yet here, heralding
a triumphant stroke of confidence.
In stark contrast to the thrilling dirt and
the sweat of Moon Duo and Wolf People,
Fleet Foxes and Phosphorescent provided
ample West Coast folk-rock sounds to
audiences seeking a sunny soundtrack to
match the skies above. Fleet Foxes first ever
visit to Spain reaped an astounding
reception, rewarded with choral crowd
singalongs on ‘White Winter Hymnal’, and
faithful renditions of ‘Montezuma’ and
‘Battery Kinzie’ off new record Helplessness
Blues. Only Matthew Houck (AKA
Phosphorescent) turned in a better, more
authentic performance of this sort of ilk, with
‘The Mermaid Parade’ lingering as one of the
weekend’s most noteworthy “you had to be
there” moments.
Happening also returned with a memo,
carved in stone about the state of new
progressive-rock in Spain. Truly alive and
well, on the Pitchfork Stage, hailing from
Madrid, Toundra turned in a heavy
instrumental set as much indebted to the
stoner-rock riffage of Kyuss as the forward
thinking soundscapes of Mogwai and Isis. A
performance matched on a much smaller
scale by the experimental duo Les Aurs who
fed the crowd one Can-ism after another.
Who like most of the new bands that played,
saw no problem in wearing their
appreciations, the influence of those that
had gone before on their sleeves for all to
see. An all conquering weekend, to one day
be repeated? We’ll just have to look to the
horizon.
Richard S Jones
MIKE HERON / TREMBLING
BELLS
Queen Elizabeth Hall, May 30th
Poor pre-publicity saw Mike take the stage to a
barely quarter-full auditorium. He and his band
battled gamely on, overcoming both the sterility
of the venue and an appalling front-of-house
sound with a trio of 5,000 Spirits compositions
(‘Chinese White’, ‘Painting Box’ and ‘Hedgehog
Song’). His daughter and keyboard player,
Georgia Seddon, is growing in confidence as a
performer, bringing her own “Paths” to the set.
New member Nick Pym fleshed out the sound
with some considered electric violin lines, and T.
Bell Mike Hastings added some neat whistleplaying as well as acoustic guitar. The set
lurched up a gear with a joyful arrangement of
‘Douglas Traherne Harding’ and the obligatory
‘Log Cabin Home In The Sky’, after which the
rest of the T. Bells joined them for a glorious, a
capella ‘Sleepers Awaken’ in which Lavinia
Blackwall, in particular, sparkled. Alex Neilson
added suitably eclectic percussion for ‘Spirit
Beautiful’, and the joint set ended with a
complete version of ‘Cellular Song’, by the end
of which Mike was waving the mike-stand about
in true Rod Stewart fashion (well, almost).
The Trembling Bells have developed their
own very clear identity since I last saw them at
The Barbican’s ‘Cellular Songs’ event a couple
of years back; Lavinia in particular has worked
out how to pitch her classically trained vocals
so they blend into a strong ensemble sound.
As you may have guessed, Mike appeared
at the end to sing a full-throated ‘Feast Of
Stephen’ (the Bells’ Christmas single last year)
with the entire band and brass section. Despite
the unprepossessing start, a wonderful gig.
Adrian Whittaker
‘Porpoise Song’ was unforgettable.
From where we sat it was impossible to
really note the grey hair, wrinkles or thinning
hair of our protagonists. But the backdrop
served as far more than a mask or
distraction, it was there to remind us who we
were witnessing. It also mirrored how the
lads changed from precocious auditioned
scamps into bona fide counter culture heads
– hipsters who hung with Nicholson, Buckley,
Harrison, Zappa and co. Stoned eyes, wild
hair, beards and hippy threads!
So how was the music? It was nigh on
incredible, so much better than it should have
been. The songs (carefully selected by Davy
Jones of all people) featured golden oldies,
album highlights and obscurities (including
the Head material, which came across so very
well). Micky’s years in musicals have perhaps
added a certain degree of theatricality to his
voice – occasionally more West End London
theatre than West Coast US – yet it was still a
thing of beauty: honed, powerful and even
now so much in the vein of that distinctive
tenor of ’68. The only singer to match Tim
Buckley! His vocals on ‘Porpoise Song’ were
mesmerising. ‘Circle Sky’ lacked Nesmith, and
if anyone was not quite on par vocally it was
Peter Tork. He at least managed to sing all of
Nesmith’s material with a certain air of grace.
‘Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?’ shone
with group support and the talented backing
band got suitably psychedelic, as they did on
‘Can You Dig it?’– in which a belly dancer also
appeared on the stage. The highlight for me
was oddly enough Davy’s music hall number,
‘Daddy’s Song’, in which he donned tails and
performed a similarly choreographed dance
routine to the one in Head which was
screened behind him – this time with a girl
young enough to be his granddaughter!)
The supporting players were superb
throughout, only getting out of hand on a
rocked-up ‘Stepping Stone’ in which the
guitarist foolishly committed some OTT Vai-like
noodling. Otherwise they did for The Monkees
what The Wondermints have done, or perhaps
once did, for Brian Wilson. Rickenbackers
duelled with state of the art keyboards,
additional reeds, horns and harmonies ably
recreated the sounds of the records.
The two 39 song career-spanning sets
served The Monkees as “greats” rather than
the puppets they will eternally be perceived
as. It was awe-inspiring. Even ‘I Wanna Be
Free’, where Davy gave a rehearsed speech
about it being so suited to these awful
times, was impressive. The odd comic
interlude and Davy’s cabaret routines did
little to dampen the music and the all ages
crowd went wild. Deservedly so.
Maya, my seven-year-old daughter? She
absolutely loved it.
Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills
THE MONKEES’ 45TH
ANNIVERSARY TOUR
The Royal Albert Hall, London, May
19th.
Before the gig, my seven-year-old daughter
asked me if the girls in the audience would be
screaming (à la 1967). “I think not, sweetheart.
They’re all old now,” I explained. Yet on entering
the Albert Hall we were greeted by 20something music heads and slightly older retro
groovers, small children (so Maya wasn’t the
only one) and yes, dewy eyed baby boomers. A
few old girls even screamed for Davy too!
But what of the two and a half hour event?
First of all, hats off to Shindig! scribe Rachel
Lichtman (who of course penned our Head
epic last year) for the dazzling visual backdrop
she directed. This consisted of meticulously
chosen TV footage, stills and paraphernalia
synched to suit what the guys were playing.
13
JULY
Lexington, London, May 7th
Bloody hell, the throng is assembled in here
tonight to watch a band who never had a hit
single, never sold many albums during their
initial career, and most of whom never set
foot onstage again after they split, perform
onstage together for the first time since
1970.
Not that this is the first time this has
happened, of course – The Sonics, Stooges,
MC5, Velvets and Dolls never sold any
records in the UK the first time round either,
and in the last few years, every cult band of
the past, in particular the likes of Leaf
Hound, Comus, Heron and most recently
Incredible Hog, seems to have risen rather
spectacularly from the grave, along with a
glut of solo artists from the same period
(Vashti Bunyan, Nick Garrie, Mark Fry). But
even by those standards, this is special.
Mega special. As July take the stage in a
swelter of dry ice, flanked by a dancer
dressed as a perfect simulation of the
monster from the cover of their classic ’69
album, their floral jackets glinting in the
distance, it’s almost like watching potholers
who disappeared underground decades ago
emerge glinting into the spotlight, and they
are applauded accordingly.
Sure they’re rusty, sure they’re a little
nervous, and sure the line-up’s slightly
different – alongside original frontman Tom
14
Newman, guitarist Alan James, drummer
Chris Jackson and guitarist Pete Cook (who
wrote most of their album, but left before
getting the chance to play on it) we now
have Tom’s son Chris on lead guitar,
replacing the late Tony Duhig, and the
incredibly young Charlie Salvidge on
keyboards and percussion in place of the
errant Jon Field – but you wouldn’t want
them to sound perfect, would you? British
psych, no matter how lushly orchestrated or
beautifully harmonised, was never about that
– and all the better for it. The occasional flat
note or missed beat just makes it more
authentic, as that’s probably what they
sounded like when they started: the same
can also be said of the vocal phasing that
defined much of their early sound, still in
evidence tonight on the opening ‘My Clown’
and put to similar groundbreaking use on ‘A
Bird Lived’ and ‘You Missed It All’.
Thus, although this is very much a “now”
event, and not a nostalgia fest, the overall
impression is of seeing a brand new band,
almost like watching this music develop in
front of your eyes for the first time. Perhaps,
even though Newman himself followed a solo
career through the’ 70s and the ’80s into
folkier, proggier waters, the youthful invention
the individual members had in ’69, along
with a strident optimism, never left and
simply stored itself up over four ensuing
decades, waiting to be unleashed once more.
‘Jolly Mary’, ‘Hello To Me’ and ‘Friendly Man’,
all preceded by wry anecdotes that join the
future to the past, would seem to confirm
this, and the added surprise is that the new
numbers – in particular ‘Don’t Wake Me’ and
‘Linear Thinking’ retain those qualities. If they
did lean in any way towards the ’80s, then
it’s the ’80s of New Model Army, Husker Du
or The Church rather than anything cheeserock based. Both the UberMods and the
Dalston fashionista facisti are less than
impressed, but you’d expect that anyway.
But it couldn’t end, of course, without
that song- and true to form, ‘Dandelion
Seeds’ is the lysergic, triple-headed monster
we all dreamed of. They play it twice in a row
– the second an extended, freakout,
improvised freeform jamming version –
because, again, that’s exactly what they
would have done back then. Jackson and
James, who know both when and how to
swirl and when to return to the groove, twist
and turn the song into myriad rhythmic
patterns – a mini rebirth of prog, and the
ubermods are loving it. Salvidge batters at
his keys and congas like the crazed lovechild
of Keith Emerson and Micky Finn, as the
whole room exploded in a flurry of colour.
The good news is there’s going to be more
of this. The even better news is that they’re
halfway through a new studio album, which
several labels have expressed interest in.
Darius Drewe Shimon
DONOVAN
Royal Albert Hall, June 3rd
Even the sublime can sometimes be
imperfect, and such an adjective could
definitely apply to the first half of Mr Leitch’s
eagerly awaited set tonight. The usual Albert
Hall sound problems – wrong shape for
decent acoustics – are evident from halfway
into opener ‘Catch The Wind’, performed, as
on the record, solo: as Danny Thompson
appears on double bass for ‘Colours’, and
the number of musicians steadily grows, so
do the difficulties.
Things aren’t helped by the fact that Don
seems not only a little nervous (don’t be
scared of us, duckie, we love you already!)
but in a hurry, singing ‘Wear Your Love Like
Heaven’ far too high, and delivering parts of
an otherwise beautiful ‘Sunny Goodge Street’
(with full orchestral backing) and ‘Epistle To
Dippy’ about two bars ahead of what
everyone else, including conductor John
Cameron, seems to be playing. This could
also be because, thanks to the perpetually
poor venue sound, what he’s hearing in his
monitors is two bars ahead, or it could be
because he’s in a hurry to get to the second
half – which is kind of why we’re all here –
but it would take more than mere glitches to
destroy the splendour of genre-defining
classics like ‘Mellow Yellow’, ‘Barabajagal’
and a thruddingly fuzz-heavy ‘Hurdy Gurdy
Man’, all of which, though seen as
lightweight at the time, are now revered for
the genre-defining cuts they are, literal audio
distillations of all aspects of “swinging”
counterculture.
But before them all came Sunshine
Superman – which, released in mid- 1966,
predates every other seminal work in the Brit
psych canon – The 500 Spirits, Sgt Pepper,
Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Satanic
Majesties – by at least a year. Put simply,
this magazine, and our entire lifestyles,
would be very different without it. And, after
a half-hour real ale refuelling interlude, we
are finally able to view it in full (or at least
the original 10 track US release, which is
chronologically definitive). Pointing out
highlights of such a transcendent,
monumental performance is an unenviable
task: everything, from Jimmy Page’s
appearance ’pon the title track, through the
“magic carpet” where Don, sitarist Shawn
Phillips (a major architect of all this) and
Candy John sit cross legged and
meditational for ‘The Fat Angel’ and ‘Ferris
Wheel’ , to the cocksure strut of ‘The Trip’
unto the use of REAL LIVE HARPSICHORDS
on ‘Legend Of A Girl Child Linda’ and the
grand finale ‘Celeste’, both of which moved
me to tears and almost had me searching
for my own princess, was perfect.
And talking of princesses, there she
finally was – Linda herself, the mystic muse
of the last 46 years of the minstrel’s life,
resplendent as ever in full hippy finery, with
son Donovan Leitch ( I shouted for Nancy
Boy’s ‘Johnny Chrome And Silver’) and his
own decidedly “phwoarrr” half-sister (also
narrating Don’s life story ‘twixt songs) also
present . This particular family, however,
extends beyond the stage, and as ‘Atlantis’,
which rivals Bowie’s ‘Memory Of A Free
Festival’ as the all-time wave-your-arms-inthe-air psych anthem, exploded into
climactic frenzy. I really felt, for the first time
in my misanthropic existence, like linking
arms with everyone simultaneously – but
merely to be here, and thus imbued with
such magic, was enough, reducing the
pointless encore reprises of ‘Sunshine’ and
‘Mellow’ (ruling out the chance of anything
from Cosmic Wheels or 7 Tease). After a
false start, the “Glasgow Herald” as he calls
himself, redeemed himself beyond
expectations: Dylan, bain of all lazy
journalistic comparisons and misnomers,
may have been the father of all poets but he
never sounded like this.
Andy Partridge once said in these very
pages that US psych is Vietnam, riots and
bad acid comedowns, whereas the UK strain
is gardens, tea, jelly and daffodils, and if this
is so, then Donovan is the real deal, with an
added side order of woods, castles and
ethereal pools, ever unchanging. After all the
years of naysaying and rhetoric, people have
finally, and without the benefit of any trend
or bandwagon, woken up to the genius that
is Donovan. Quite rightly.
Darius Drewe Shimon
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08/05/2011 16:29
DONOVAN • THE ELECTRIC PRUNES
THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL • much more
SHINDIG! QUARTERLY NO.2
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