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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

You need to be in it to win it.

A couple of competitions have appeared on the radar that may be of interest to readers.

First up is The Godfathers.

Vote, vote, VOTE for your favourite track on our 'A Big Bad Beautiful Noise' album & win a signed copy of our new, limited edition 10 inch EP!!
It's election time & we want to find out from YOU what your favourite 3 tracks on 'A Big Bad Beautiful Noise' are!!
Just list your top 3 tracks in order of preference (for example 1- Defibrillator 2 - Feedbacking 3 - Till My Heart Stops Beating) & we will select one answer at random & send out a signed copy of our new,4 track 'A Big Bad Beautiful EP' to the lucky winner!!
So, the track you select as your first choice would get 3 points, your 2nd choice would get 2 points & 3rd choice 1 point & then we calculate your overall favourite track from closes at Midnight on Saturday 3rd June & we will announce YOUR best track & the winner of the signed EP on Monday 5th June!!

The prospective candidates are:
A Big Bad Beautiful Noise
Till My Heart Stops Beating
You Don't Love Me
Poor Boy's Son
One Good Reason
Miss America
She's Mine
Let's Get Higher
You And Me Against The World
Every vote counts!! So let's hear from you...
You can buy the LIMITED EDITION 180g LP & CD of 'A Big Bad Beautiful Noise' & the LIMITED EDITION , 4 track 10 inch 'A Big Bad Beautiful EP' NOW from the band's official website...

Jump over to their facebook page here to enter.

And over on the Absolute Radio site you can win tickets to see Jeff Lynne's ELO if that is more your thing.

You can enter here.

Friends who were in attendance when they last toured described it as a once in a lifetime experience.

They were wrong as here they are again.

So all that is left to say is good luck, and enjoy the prizes if you win.

* Reservoir Droogs is not associated with either competitions and all details are provided from the original source.

Staying in #4 with Fist Fight and Twin Peaks;The Return

Fist Fight

With jobs on the line, and emotions running high at the end of term, it all boils down to the typecast ill tempered Ice Cube to settle his differences with colleague Charlie Day (It’s always sunny in Philadelphia) by challenging him to a fight after school.
That’s it all in a nutshell, but for such a bare bones story it carries as much slapstick comedy and quick fire lines as you can handle.
Add in that the schools pupils are indulging in prank day as the backdrop to the clock ticking on the forthcoming fight, and what is served up is a movie that is reminiscent of National Lampoons Animal House paired with the more modern movies of Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Anchorman).
It not big, nor is it clever, but sometimes there is no real need for it to be.
Fist Fight is simply the tickling of the ribs with blunt fingers and doesn’t pretend to be anything more cerebral than that.
It’s obvious, it’s in your face, and it is funny.
Jillian Bell deserves a mention for her scene stealing role as the most inappropriate teacher that has ever made an appearance on stage or screen. Miss Jean Brodie she is not.

So of you want something challenging this is not what you are looking for, but if you want to kick back and relax and let out a guffaw or two then look no further.

Twin Peaks; The Return.

One episode in and it is as baffling as expected, but maybe too baffling.
What’s going on?
Who knows!
Maybe all the pieces will fall into place as it progresses, or maybe not.
As a fan of the original series I will not be alone in having high expectations, but this is a worrying continuation of the series as it felt like it was trying too hard to challenge the audience.
If the intent of Lynch was to leave everyone discombobulated then someone pat that man on the back.
That’s a job well done.
If on the other hand it was an exercise in laying the groundwork for a story to unfold then it was far too fractured and disjointed to work.
Critics have of course been unwilling to skewer this sacred cow of television with barbed reviews, and when reading their take on the debut it can appear that they are studiously avoiding admitting to the possibility that the emperor has no clothes on, but let’s not pretend that at this moment in time we got a flash of arse and it wasn’t pretty.

Fingers crossed that something as magical as the original series can be revealed over time, but only cross your fingers as holding your breath waiting for the magic might not be the best idea you could have. 

It's pure murder being a Murderburger.

Below is a message from The Murderburgers.

We had what could be called an absolute disaster driving back from Belgium at the weekend there and we are pretty much screwed.
A deer came out of nowhere when we were on our way back to the ferry port.
Apart from being shaken up we're all okay, but the car is a mess, we're financially ruined and we ended up stuck at a hotel in Belgium for a couple of days. Didn't see this coming at all and we're all mentally buggered.
Currently on our way to Calais to get a ferry back without the car and then we're getting trains back home. We've tried to add everything up and we're looking at losing a couple of grand in total at least. It may be time to take a little break and figure out what to do after this.
I'm going to sell some of my stuff online soon and also see about putting together some sort of acoustic rammy in Edinburgh next month to see if we can claw some money back. I'm not expecting us to be bailed out or anything and hate even posting about it, but I just knocked a bunch of money off our merch on if anyone is interested. You can also now download our entire discography for less than a tenner as well. You can pay more if you feel like it, but you can also totally not do that if you don't want to.
Any sales will be much appreciated and will definitely help. Even just sharing this would help.
Sorry for even posting about it. My brain mind hurts a lot.
If you know the band, or have simply followed their career, then you will also know it isn't in their nature to ask for help, or in colloquial terms 'hawners'.
That they have felt the need to put this out there means that it really is time to rally round and help them out.
They aren't even asking for a hand out, but instead are looking to generate the cash from giving people something in return.

Starting off with downloading their back catalogue would be a start.

You know what to do.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Monday Reviews #3 featuring The Dead Daisies, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Stephen Pearcy, The Red Eyes, Bash and Pop, Trongate Rum Riots

The Dead Daises – Live and Louder.

The band members of The Dead Daisies have been there, done it, bought the t-shirt, and then done it again, and again, and again.
A list of the bands individual achievements is something that most would consider as Walter Mitty-esque, but everything written on it is true.
Between them they have played in the biggest rock and roll acts going, and they have not just graced the biggest stages of the world, but commanded them.
In essence they are a super group, but being a super group does not necessarily mean that all the talent brought to the table will work well together.
For every artistic idea that sounds good on paper there are plenty of examples of them not being something that transfers over into real life, but when they do, when all the pieces fit together, when the flow is in full effect, then what you get is a blast of magic right in the face.
And that’s what Live and Louder is. A total blast of honest rock and roll that sounds like every drunken trashy night out that was accompanied by loud guitars and dodgy ideas that seemed like a good idea at the time.
It’s the soundtrack to the night you tell people that you would rather forget, but you privately don’t.
It’s the sonic equivalent of a roll of a dice, a slug of a bottle, and an inappropriate comment to the wrong person who just might be right one for the night.
Rock and roll should be big, and at times it should be a decadent anthem extolling the virtues of everything we are told isn’t good for us, and the Dead Daisies know this.
You just bring your ass to a show and they will bring the party.
This album proves that.


Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin

I can't be the only one that is out of step with Frank Carter.
Yeah I can see the appeal, but I just don’t think he is as good as he is touted as.
I thought that with Gallows, continued to think it with Pure Love, and with the Rattlesnakes I’ve yet to hear anything that shakes the apathy from my ears.
It’s all just so forgettable, nothing sticks.   
His live performances are allegedly where it is at and maybe that’s true, but so far I’ve only experienced him through being subjected to the studio material, and it is dullsville UK so far.
Forgive me, but is there light at the end of this tunnel?

The reputation is of being the saviour of punk rock, but I’m just not getting it. When is he going to deliver on all the promise?
Each to there own, and all that jazz, It's all subjective I hear you cry, but nay, nay, thrice nay, it's so far not for me.
Frank Carter is not the golden child with a spiky Westwood crown on.
He’s at most a passable distraction while we wait for the good stuff to come along, and every track on Modern Ruin just seems to support that view.
He can sing, but someone write a tune for him please.

Stephen Pearcy – Smash

Confession time. The only time that I was at a RATT show was when they opened for Ozzy Osbourne on his Ultimate Sin tour.
That was back in 1986 and I was still a teenager.
It’s a fond memory, and truth be told I was pretty ambivalent about seeing Ozzy as I had already ticked him off the bucket list a few times and was becoming weary of his coke years performances.
I was there to see RATT and I expected to be entertained and I was.
However then life got in the way and my attention on RATT wavered.
It's the usual story of kids, a mortgage and such.
I won't bore you.
Over the intervening years all I have known about them is that there have been multiple line up changes and court visits as members argued over the name, all if this gleaned from casual glances at interviews and headlines of rock websites, but personal memories and background information aside it was a pleasant surprise to see Stephen Pearcy return with a solo album.
He has always had the chops when it comes to being a quality front man and on Smash he ably shows that he hasn’t missed a step in the intervening years when my attention was elsewhere.
There are tracks that are reminiscent of RATT, but also his pre RATT days in Arcade, but SMASH is not a RATT album.
Far from it.
Pearcy has stretched himself and delivered an album that covers far more ground than just revisiting past glories would have.
By raising the ghost of influences such as Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith on this he has showcased his talents to his best advantage and there is literally nothing on display that could be criticised.
This is as strong as any album that will grace the rock play lists of the world right now.
With RATT recently getting back together it would be a shame if this release was overshadowed as it is deserving of some wild plaudits from the rock community.


The Red Eyes – Man and Boy.

While those in punk circles continue to complain that there is nothing of worth out there anymore it is becoming increasingly difficult not to roll the eyes before going off on a rant about how they really should get out more, and maybe even check out bands like The Red Eyes.
With Man and Boy being their fourth full length studio release they are yet to deliver anything that could be considered lacklustre.
This is a band that has been raised on a diet of all the big bands in the scene and most definitely take their lead from the best that punk provided.
The sound of Stiff Little Fingers, the Clash and Buzzcocks proliferate, but the band have also taken a slight deviation from previous outings as there is a shift towards some more mature reflective song writing.
Not that they haven’t dabbled before, and it is to be expected as these guys aren’t in their first flush of youth, but this sounds like a watershed album when consideration is given to a track such as Remember My Name.
It’s far less Oi Oi Oi and far more the result of listening to too much of the Beach Boys, and who would complain about that?
Then No More Tears For Daddy, an anti war anthem, hammers the point home as it is awash with a lush string arrangement, and even an angelic refrain from a child makes an appearance.
The fire and fury of past releases may be slowly making way for a more nuanced approach to punk, but this is still a punk album from a punk band, and yet again it has to be said, as with every release, those who don’t know who The Red Eyes are should rectify that.

Yet another very credible release from them, and yet again it comes as no surprise.

Bash and Pop – Anything Could Happen

If you are a sucker for rootsy Stones styles country-esque rock then Crash and Pop are for you.
Spawning from The Replacements in 1992 with Tommy Stinson at the helm the band recorded one album, disbanded and now here we have Tommy revisiting the name and giving us, Anything Could Happen, and in many ways it could.
If he’s lying he’s flying.
It’s more mature Stinson we hear here, and the song writing reflects his experiences.
From being in one of the most critically acclaimed bands of yesteryear to one of the notorious when he lent his talents to Guns and Roses, he has certainly paid his dues, and now he is sharing his world according to Stinson gospel with us.
And it’s good.
Very good.
Replacement fans will enjoy basking in the afterglow of his embracing his past, but those with a penchant for a bit of Gram Parsons and how he influenced The Rolling Stones will find a great deal to smile about when sitting back and letting this wash over them too.

Trongate Rum Riots - Hymns of the Deep

When the majority hear the term folk music they often jump to thinking about guys in Arran knit sweaters and beards sitting in the corner of a bar lamenting the loss of their one true love, and they don’t necessarily give head space to bands such as the Pogue, or even consider Nick Caves Murder Ballads album as folk, and yet it is both the Pogues and Nick Cave that are more closely aligned to what the Trongates Rum Riots do.
Punk rock sea shanties about death and loss, country styled gypsy meanderings, and odes to drink, drink, and more drink, is the order of the day.
It’s a heady mix.
More akin to a Buckfast bomb than a shandy, and that is exactly as it should be.
The world needs more drunken debauchery and morning after paranoia just to keep everyone on their toes and the Trongate Rum Riots are here to make sure you get that.
Imagine if Johnny Depp  and Shane McGowan decided to have a baby.  
Well that’s Hymns Of The Deep.

So aye, run this one up the mast and salute it with a shot of rum. 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Happy Birthday John Fogerty.

The legendary voice of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty, celebrates his birthday today.
Currently touring a Creedence set, he is still bringing crowds to their feet and impressing music fans across the world.
It is our fervent wish that at some point he can be ticked off a personal bucket lists of artists that must be seen before I die.
There's not many left, but he is up there.
Meanwhile, until that day, it is a fact that there is not a week goes by that a Creedence song, or something from the equally critically acclaimed solo career, does not get played here in Droog towers.

To celebrate his birthday it would be easy to throw all manner of songs at you from his hugely credible back catalogue, but instead of delving into his own recordings here instead is a short playlist of tracks by artists and bands that he has influenced.



Friday, 26 May 2017

KISS tickets competition - Hydro (Glasgow)

You wanted the best competition, you got the best competition.
The HOTTEST competition in the world.
It's KISS tickets,

Yeah that's right. You heard right. We have a pair of KISS tickets for the Hydro in Glasgow tomorrow night, and they could be yours.

All you have to do is go to the Reservoir Droogs facebook page here, and then look for the Reservoir Droog playlist on Spotify and then message the page (The Facebook page) telling us who the fourth artist featured is.

You got that?

The tickets will have to be collected in person tomorrow due to time constraints.

So to make that clear the winner must be able to meet in Glasgow tomorrow.

Best option would be at the Hard Rock Cafe pre show KISS party.

Winner announced at 5pm tonight.

Well that escalated quickly

It’s a funny old world.
Funny as in peculiar rather than in any laugh out loud sense.
Unless that is you are laughing at the absurdity of it all.

On a daily basis we see people getting very upset about things that really aren’t worth bothering about, or to be frank it is usually about it something that isn’t any of their business.
Examples are everywhere.
Is there a month that passes where we don’t see some 50+ punk pushing himself towards an aneurism because Primark are selling a Ramones t-shirt?
(And yes it is predominantly men.)
Is that really something to rage about though?
James Hetfield of Metallica recently said he doesn’t give a fuck who wears one of his bands t-shirts.  
He’s obviously making a buck from the sales, but the attitude is still one that some people could consider adopting.
Why give a fuck?
Can you imagine someone getting angry about the colour of the gloves that another person was wearing?
That wouldn’t be thought of as normal, but it’s not that far removed from the anger directed at kids wearing a Ramones t-shirt that we see all too often.

And more recently there is the beard hate that has become so common that it is creeping up on Primark t-shirt hate on the inside lane as the go to rant subject for some.
And I don’t use the term hate lightly either.
When did facial hair become such a red rag to the reactionary bulls?
Fuckin' hipster this and fuckin' hipster that, and unsurprisingly it usually comes from those who think that Sartorial Elegance is the name of a racehorse that is running in the 2.30 at Cheltenham.
I have a beard, and to be honest about it I don’t care if you don’t.
I genuinely don’t walk down the street and privately rage at the smooth chinned people that pass.
If I did I would go and see a doctor.

And it would be disingenuous to claim that it is all just a joke and people need to get a sense of humour.
It would belittle something that is actually a problem in our society.
To call it just a joke is the rhetoric of the bully.
The trending term for this is gaslighting.
That’s not to say that humour doesn’t have its place, but there’s a huge difference between having a sharp dig at a mate who will take it in the spirit intended, and give it back as good as they get, and taking a photograph of a stranger and posting it on social media with a less than witty comment designed to attract a mob response.
The latter is just bullshit, and it's hurtful.

And the thing is that if we consider that this type of behaviour exists on a scale then we have to accept that it is on the same one as racism, homophobia, and a whole list of other views that defy rationality.
Some will say that it is at one end of that scale and the others are at the extremist end, but what is the difference between a kid getting punched in the mouth for being gay, black or muslim and one being punched in the mouth for offending someone’s warped fashion views?
At the end of the day it is still the same fat lip they all have.
And in response to claims that it doesn’t really go further than that, and victims of racist and homophobic assaults can be subjected to far worse, then just cast your mind back to the murder of Sophie Lancaster.  

And yes I'm linking the slagging off of people on facebook with an actual murder because it is all part of that wider problem. 


It’s actually astounding that very often the worst offenders are not even teenagers, but adults who really should know better, and it begs the question why they don’t.

What was it that happened to them to instil this sort of negativity that bubbles over into rants at total strangers on facebook and twitter.
Or on some occasions rises up and spills out at taxi ranks and in bars where some unsuspecting random individual ends us subjected to what should simply be called a hate crime?

Would describing it as a hate crime be considered going too far?
Or is it just uncomfortable to take that on board while thinking about personal behaviour.
I get that.
It’s not easy to frame it as such when maybe a few days ago you were indulging in it, but it is possible to simply sit back and think about it for a second or two, be open up to a bit of regret when you realize that you wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of it, and then learns from it and move on.

This was written after seeing in quick succession two posts on facebook.

One was the photograph of someone on a bus who was clearly minding their own business and were unaware of being photographed.
They weren’t conventional looking and certainly weren’t making an attempt to follow any current fashion trends, but they hadn’t asked for their photograph to be secretly taken and shared with the intent of them to being the butt of jokes by people they don’t know.

The other was relating to the Manchester terrorist attack and framed around the send them home knee jerk reactions.

Both were specific reaction to other people looking different.
(The latter focussed on everyone that wears a burka and failed to accept that those wearing them are all different people. Some will be training to be doctors, others will be looking forward to starting their first job, and there is no end to who they all are. All unique, and the vast majority having no intent to hurt anyone else.)

So in closing it is just left to be said that just a tiny bit of consideration about how our actions can impact on others can make a world of difference, and if writing this encourages anyone to take that moment to think about that then it was worthwhile putting it out there.

Be the difference you want in the world.

And if there is anyone reading who feels that they are the bearing the brunt of small minded comments from people, well all I can say is take some pride in not being them.
Life could be worse. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Elton John - Fan made video competition winners.

Elton John is known for not biting his tongue, and again he has let loose at Cannes about the quality of the current music scene by referring to his generation as artists, and by doing so clearly making a distinction between what they did as art and what the stars of today do as less than art.
Within what the mainstream has to offer there are few over the age of thirty that would pick a fight with him about this distinction, unless it was to draw attention to a few notable exceptions, but it wasn't all an acidic swipe at the industry, because while expressing this view, he was also revealing the winners of his fan made video competition.
Winners that he had unstinting praise for, and it was very obvious why.
In the sections of animation, choreography and live action, the results are pretty astounding.

Especially the interpretation of Rocket Man as a refugee story.

As the songs Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer, and Benny and the Jets were released prior to the video age and MTV coming along here are the winners for you in all their glory for you to check out.


Going Out #3 with King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword and The Howlin Wolf

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

I toyed with a few comments to share about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and the main one that I kept coming back to was that it is a frustrating movie.
Frustrating as there is a great film in there trying to get out, but ultimately it just comes in as barely a good one.

There’s nothing wrong with the cast, the story is all there, and the effects are well executed, but for some reason it is exceptionally disjointed.
Scenes simply don’t appear to flow into each other. 
They all work as stand alone pieces, but together it is as if gears are clumsily being changed with everyone wincing as they grind. 

As the end credits roll it is apparent why the film hasn’t exactly done the business in the US as it is doubtful that there will be many who have sat through it that then went on to recommend it to others.

To focus on a few positives though, as said, there is nothing wrong with the performances put in by the cast.
Charlie Hunnam is a solid lead, and it was a nice touch to see him reunited with his Queer as Folk co-star Aidan Gillen with them both appearing to relish their scenes together.
Hunnam could be quite the leading man, but this is not the vehicle that will get him there.
And of course Jude Law doesn’t put a foot wrong as Vortigern, the power hungry evil uncle of Arthur, but who realistically expected him to as he could play this sort of character with his eyes closed and both hands tied behind his back? 
Eric Bana plays a small part as Uther Pendragon, a bit more than a cameo, but not a lot more to be frank.
Similar to Jude Law no one would consider that he would call his part in, and he doesn’t. 
The supporting cast all do a very fine job, but the lack of anything meaty for the women to get their teeth into is something that will no doubt be picked up on.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the cameo from David Beckham, but mentioning it is all that it is worth.
The dialogue at times is quite snappy and will raise a wry smile, but over all Guy Ritchie had better start thinking about his next move as Hollywood isn’t that forgiving.
He could do with a hit sooner rather than later, but then again maybe he went into King Arthur thinking that and this is what we got.
He did come back from Swept Away, and here’s hoping he can do it again, but the drawing board looks as if it has to be revisited because this one misses as many times as it hits.

The Howlin Wolf.

The Howlin Wolf, situated on Bath Street in Glasgow, has been my go to recommendation for anyone who asks about eating out options in the city for a number of months now.
With the name Howlin Wolf it will be no surprise to anyone that it's a blues bar, but putting the blues theme aside for a moment and focussing on the food, it’s a fact that anyone venturing in will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of what they have on their menu.

What is on offer may not immediately stand out when perusing the menu, as most meals listed are the usual suspects for bars, but it is the little twists and the quality that elevate what they are providing from the standard to the exceptional. 
A good example is their fish and chips.
Nothing too exciting about that I hear you say, but the batter is perfection, the fish light, and I have no idea how they do it but Howlin Wolf have raised the making of mushy peas to an art form.
Who would have thought that creamy mushy peas could be a palette stunner?
And yet it is.

Similarly their range of burgers could be considered to be similar to what is on offer throughout the city, - especially as there is currently what appears to be a quirky burger bar on every corner - but quietly and confidently Howlin Wolf could give any of them a run for their money, and then leave them trailing.

If the point had to be summed up then it would be that the kitchen deals in providing additional little touches that separate them from their peers.
Everything is that little bit different from what is expected, but it is these unexpected addition that allows them to stand out from the competition. 
Even better is that they aren’t looking to charge you separately for every little thing between the bun so what it says on the menu is what you pay and there are no additional charges awaiting when the bill comes.
Everyone loves that don’t they?
That sneaky little extra pound fifty for a slice of gherkin? 
Well have no fear as that’s not what Howlin Wolf are all about.
Instead they are your friendly neighbourhood bar that plays cool music and incidentally also punches way above its weight when it comes to the food they are dishing up.

A definite must visit in our opinion, and they staff are pretty cool too. 
Seek it out. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Steve Ignorant's Slice of Life tour dates.

Steve Ignorant's Slice of Life are gigging again.
And the news that he is doing another full UK tour should bring a smile to the face of the staunchest punk curmudgeon.
Crass fans will no doubt be digging out their black anarchist uniform, the one that separates them from all those conforming sheep, but without any hint of sarcasm it has to be said that this party isn't just for them, and anyone who is looking for a night of top quality entertained need look no further.
Forget any notion of grabbing a ticket for one of the shows being akin to jumping aboard a nostalgia train as Steve only pays lip service to the past from a solid position in the present.
This is not Crass: the return, this is all together something else.
If Crass was the evolutionary stage of flopping about on land for the first time then Slice of Life is when we get to growing some arms and legs.
And as the venues on the tour lean towards the smaller side then consider that a bonus as the intimacy will provide a greater degree of engagement between artist and audience.
Relevance for 2017 will be considered, but let's not beat about the bush here as Slice of Life are more relevant right now than a Sleaford Mods t-shirt at a Corbyn rally.
And you can take that the capitalist scum outlet that looks after your money.
Click on the image to enlarge it to get the dates. Website

Staying in #3 with Snatch and Night School (Jack Reacher)


It’s currently looking like Snatch, the tv show inspired by the Guy Ritchie movie, has dropped under the radar, but it’s a hidden gem, and maybe a future cult hit.
Geezer porn describes it to a cup of rosie lee, all gangster hard men re-imagined in a modern day London and it works well.
Again the small screen is allowing a premise to be expanded on, and again it works perfectly.
Visually it has Guy Ritchie written all over it, but he is only credited as the source for the material, but if he has had a hand in it then obviously he prefers to remain in the shadows rather than advertise his presence.
Never fear though as over all it is the culmination of a certain type of English drama that owes a debt to The Krays, The Sweeney, Brit Pop and even a tiny bit of Minder.
The young leads of Luke Pasqualino, Lucien Laviscount, who comes back strong after The Bye Bye Man, and Rupert Grint (Yes it’s him) are very watchable as they find their feet in the world of organized crime, and with Dougray Scott and Marc Warren (Green Street) weighing in to flesh out the cast what we have is a rock solid show that packs a punch.
So why is it not being touted as one to watch?
The answer is probably rooted in a poor advertising campaign, and the quality of so many other shows that are screening at the moment.
Right now it is taking something special to rise to the top, and while Snatch is one that should, and possibly still could, it isn’t at the moment.
Maybe you could do yourself a favour and rectify that.

A quality televisual delight that features some sharp dialogue, plenty of action, and ecstasy taking strip club visiting Hasidic Jews is that is your thing too.

Night School – Lee Child (Jack Reacher #21)

Lee Child has never felt the need to continue his Jack Reacher series of books chronologically, and it isn’t unusual to join his iconic character in an adventure from the past, but with his latest he hasn’t just jumped back to touch base with a younger Reacher, but partially reinvented the character by casting him as a team player.
Well as team player in the sense that he is more dependent on others than we have come to expect.
Who knew he could play well with others?
It’s not a huge leap away from the character that so many have grown to love, but an interesting departure nonetheless.
In this he is back in Europe and working steadily towards bringing to Reacher style justice an adversary that is plucked from the modern world.
It’s all eastern terrorism and western machinations.
An outing that ultimately delivers more of an espionage thriller than some will have expected, but it is a deftly delivered one.
The type of fan that would be happy reading a regurgitated version of the debut again and again doesn’t appear to be too pleased with this instalment, but you can’t please everyone all the time, and it is doubtful that Child’s or his character would give a shit anyway.

With a collection of the short stories just released on hardback it could be a while before Reacher #22 is with us, but the series is still going strong and again with Night School there’s no sign of the ball being dropped. 

Ppppppp pick up a podcast.

The world of podcasts had up until a year ago partially past me by.
There were a few toe dipping exercises.
A Buddy Holly documentary filled the bus journey to work, similarly another on Joe Strummer, but in general podcast land was a foreign country and I was a stranger to its shores.
That was until around six months ago when I found an app called Podcast Addict.
To call it a podcast search engine would be a disservice as it is so much more.
It's the door to another world.
You can download it from Amazon and then it does everything else for you.
Since I downloaded it I have been frequently listening to shows.
Recommendations would be the Kevin Smith Smodcast, Scroobius Pips Distraction Pieces, The Dana Gould Hour, This Day in Music Radio, Gill and Roscoes Bodacious Horror Podcast, Criminal, and The Penguin Podcast, but they are just scratching the surface.
Type in mountain goats and you might get the option of north facing, or south facing, to choose from.
The world really is your oyster.
Ideal for travelling you can download a few, slip your headphones on and fellow commuters just fade away.
Brilliant if you are a bit misanthropic like me.
It's not even 9am and I've already devoured a three episode documentary on Bowie's time in Berlin.
In a world where we want entertainment 24/7 then podcasts are delivering in spades.
Podcast Addict info here.
You can thank me later for the tip.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

All revved up and somewhere to go.

Can there be too much rock for Glasgow fans?
Of course not would be the roar in response.
They have proven time and again that they can roll with whatever is thrown at them.
So apart from KISS and The Dives in the Hydro we have Ducati offering up two days of quality acts for the discerning fans listening pleasure.
Featuring Jools and Dante of Gun, Mason Hill, The Amorettes and Stevie Nimmo.
Details are on the poster.
Click on that bad boy to enlarge it.

Will David Bowie rise like Lazarus for Twin Peaks:The Return?

Is is possible that David Bowie is about to return to Twin Peaks as FBI agent Philip Jeffries?

The rumour mill is being cracked up, and the little matter of David Bowie having left us doesn't seem to matter.

To give a bit of background the character appeared very briefly in 'Fire Walk With Me' and has already been name dropped in Twin Peaks;The Return in the present tense.

So is it something that could happen?

Well the answer is of course it could as the technology is there to do a Lazarus on actors as we have all seen in Star Wars:Rogue One.
Although David Lynch doesn't necessarily have to go to those lengths to feature David Bowie because he was alive when filming was taking place.
Twin Peaks production ran from September 2015 to April 2016 with his passing falling on January 2016.
It would be easy to claim that he would have been too busy with Blackstar, but that was also shrouded in secrecy and would it be too much of a leap to think that the same deal would also apply to Twin Peaks.
It was reported that he was scheduled to be on set and then that was cancelled for reasons unknown, but was it?
Has the Starman left another surprise for us?
Who knows, but things could get interesting., Maybe The Return has more meanings that we thought.

Manchester terror attack - Contact details for support.

With the events from last night no longer just confusing breaking news, but instead a confirmed terrorist attack, the UK is left reeling at what is an affront to civilized behaviour.
Now in the aftermath of this abomination there will be many views shared about why this happened, and what the reaction should be.
As an entertainment blog we shall refrain from adding to that, and simply ask that if it is in any way possible for anyone to assist with reuniting people attending the concert with their loved ones that you do so.
It can be as simple as lending a mobile phone to a scared and traumatized person who was there to allow them to register themselves as safe.
Or sharing this emergency number set up especially to deal with enquiries.
0161 856 9400
And please do add any other official contact details in the comments section.

Thank you.
Love and compassion to all.

Friday interview on a Tuesday. It's Duncan Reid and the Big Heads.

Bombs Away? You must be happy with that?

Happy? I'm chuffing delirious! ;). As we were mixing it I was thinking; "This is bloody good, but will anyone agree with me?" Now the reaction has been ecstatic. Everyone is saying it's our best yet and the reviews have been magnificent.
That has made me very happy to say the least.

With it being your third album release in five years it’s not been a case of there being too long between new material coming out.
Do you find the process easy?

Yes and no. The writing process seems quite long winded. Being in a modern independent band means you have to do everything yourself because there's no record company to help. So, there's not just rehearsing and playing gigs although that takes a lot of time. There's also booking gigs and the whole process of marketing and releasing records, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bandcamp, the website ......... and so on.
It seems to take up all my time so that no "headspace" is left for writing songs. 
I don't mind because I enjoy all of it but it takes longer to write songs than it would have done way back when.
Recording is the easy part!

Could you release more than that though? If the solo workload was not so time consuming? I ask because often there are others factors that sometimes people don’t consider.
For instance Nick Cave once said that he could release albums more frequently, but Mute, his label, wouldn’t.
That would be a business decision. For others it is financial?

No. As I said before, it's all determined by how quickly I can write. As soon as I feel I have enough good songs for an album we push the button.

You have a firm control over your career. You currently self release, self promote and even book.
As you experienced the other side of that when in The Boys what is preferable?
Obviously one is less work, but also less autonomy?

One of the benefits of having a few years under the belt is experience. 
Someone once said of the film business; "no one knows anything". That's not strictly true of the music business, but I have a lot of experience and my opinion is as valid as anyone's. 
So, that is a preamble to saying that the best would be to keep control but be able to direct people to help.
For instance, you can always tell when bands have digital marketing agencies who take over their Facebook, twitter etc. The output is totally bland and characterless. 
I saw a tweet by a superstar from the punk days just recently which just said: "Retweet if you are coming to our gig at X venue on Y date" with a photo of the poster. 
How boring and corporate is that! 
You have to express your personality as much as you do with your songs. That isn't difficult if you are just being yourself. It is difficult if an office is doing it all as part of a roster of clients.
But with help there would be more time for writing.
Another example. Young bands on major labels who have a little success are pressured into coming up with another album after nine months or, they are told, new bands will come along and they will be forgotten. 
Now, you can't write an album that quickly so they are put with the same professional writer/producers as everyone else and so end up sounding the same as everyone else.
As it happens I want to try co-writing more than I have, but in my own time!
On the other hand, record companies have influence. It's taken us years to get onto the festival roster and we have no real mainstream media exposure. Record companies can use the influence of having a bigger artist on the roster to get openings for new ones. "Play this new band and you'll get an exclusive on that big one".
Like life. There are swings and roundabouts.

The band has consistently been Sophie and you, but other members appear to slip in and out as required.
Is this something that you are comfortable with?
Not that there is ever a quality issue, but maybe more so on a personal level.
Wouldn’t a solid band all committed to the one aim, of being a Big Head, be better?

Actually the last four years has been a quest to create a stable line up. 
It has just been very hard to achieve but, fingers crossed, I think we are there now. As you say, Sophie has been a constant for a long time now, Karen has been with us for over a year since Ciara became a mum and, although Nick is in a number of bands, he's committed to us. 
It's just great to not be changing all the time. Having said that it'll probably splinter again now! ( I hope not). Everyone is so great and the Big Heads is such a good platform they are bound to get offers. I just pray it doesn't take them away.

You do appear to be travelling around outside the UK to play frequently enough. From your point of view what are the pros and cons? What could we learn about promoting shows and hosting them here in the UK from these other countries, and what could they maybe learn from us?

Since the end of last year we are trying to play more in the UK, especially as we've had some great festival offers. There just seems to have been a "tick up" in the level of interest here that is really exciting.
When we play abroad we have to travel light. There's always the stressful fight with BA or EasyJet when they try to insist our guitars go in the hold. 
They get a mixture of fury, charm and crying from us to prevent the baggage handlers from having the chance to smash our gear up as they always do. 
Big Heads meets bureaucracy. So far we've won.
We are just back from Sweden though and will continue to play in Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, Spain, Ireland and, hopefully South America for as long as we are able to. 
We’d love to play the US again but the visas are a killer.
The biggest difference abroad is that you generally get treated better. There will often be food when you arrive for the soundcheck, dinner is laid on, drinks provided and accommodation. 
With most promoters in the UK, and you are one of the notable exceptions, you have to fend for yourself. Often you don’t get as much as a single beer. I'm not complaining but the difference in approach is stark.
Other than that, there isn't much difference really. Great promoters are heroes in my opinion. They usually do it based on a love of the music which they are vital to the cause of keeping it alive. Musicians can be difficult as well, especially if they have a sniff of success!

There have been some comments coming from the music industry about the impact on musicians touring. Do you foresee any problems?

There is one major problem already and one potential one on the horizon. Venues are being shut down by complaints from local residents. These residents often live in houses built after a venue has been open for years. 
Venues need to be protected. Having fun is noisy. Let's get the balance right. 
The potential one is that if, after Brexit, we in the UK require Europeans to have work visas for temporary jobs here then it seems likely that the EU, like in the US, will require musicians to have visas to play in Europe. 
I'm not commenting on whether that is right or wrong politically, it just seems likely to me. Like in the US and Australia, work visas always cost thousands of pounds so that will be the end of playing abroad. 
A loss of livelihood for us and a little bit of foreign revenue lost to the UK. You could say I'm keeping a keen eye on it.

Looking back over the last five years, the albums and tours, is there anything you think that you would do differently. We all learn from our experiences. What have you learnt that could be good advice for other musicians?

Learn everything you can about how the Internet works. 
There is science behind Spotify, Facebook, twitter etc. Go on courses, learn and do it yourself. 
Then concentrate on building up a live following by being as good as you can be and playing as much as you can. Spend any money you have on playing live, and making the best records and videos you can afford. 
Try to make personal connections with people who have followers like internet radio presenters and help them promote themselves. Help promoters and other bands do what they do. 
It's all about helping each other.
Don't waste money on PR companies and record pluggers. In general the mainstream media only want to know about people who are already famous or who once were.
It’s all quite DIY in the original spirit of punk!
Lastly, don't be a prick. Nobody likes a prick and it all comes around.

What’s next for Duncan Reid and the Big Heads?

We carry on not being pricks! We have some great shows coming up. 
Really looking forward to paying all the people back who lobbied Rebellion to have us there (Saturday afternoon in the Opera House - don't miss it). 
Plus a few other great festival dates like Undercover at Margate in September, Skegness in October, Jessheim in Norway in August, Camden Rocks and Wychwood at the beginning of June.
Sorry to all the promoters whose gigs I haven't mentioned. Just too many. Look at to see everything. The never ending tour goes on!

And of course we have been looking forward to your return to Glasgow. This time in NiceNSleazy so it isn’t far for you to join the patrons upstairs to dance to ABBA. Does Glasgow hold fond memories for you? Playing the Apollo with The Ramones in particular?

It's always great in Glasgow. The last time at Audio was part of the tour where things seemed to turn a corner for us. The reaction was incredible. 
I'm really looking forward to NiceNSleazy. Heavy Drapes are great and we are relying on everyone who was at Audio to bring their mates. 
As you say, we can pop into the guilty pleasures disco after and bop to Black Sabbath and Sheena Easton. What a combination!
That Ramones tour was mad. Imagine hanging out with Joey Ramone every night! And didn't the Apollo have a sky high stage? 
Had to be careful not to go careering toward it at top speed. 
We'd been told if Glasgow audiences didn't like you, you wouldn’t get out alive. They loved us so I'm still here all these years later!

Monday, 22 May 2017

Mondays reviews #3 Featuring Heavy Tiger, The Dives, Afghan Whigs and Cyanide Pills

Heavy Tiger – Glitter.

Heavy Tiger man!
They’ve got more stomp than Godzilla on the rampage, they’re as trashy as a New York Dolls after party, and certainly as glam as a seventies episode of top of the pops.
Glitter sounds like Josie and the Pussycats brought up on a diet of The Sweet during the day and Max’s Kansas City at night.
The Runaways for Generation Z?
You better believe it.
Throw in some Hanoi Rocks, Hellacopters and Cheap Trick and it’s a recipe for a glitter bomb.
Light the fuse and step back because when this goes off it will start the party to end all parties.
Do you like a bit of sugar with your rock and roll sir?
No problem. There’s enough sprinkled throughout Glitter that after ingesting it you will be screaming at the ADHD kid to keep up.
Not that any of this should give the impression that the album is lightweight.
It’s not.
It’s solid from start to finish. A quality rock and roll album that never considers for a moment that it needs to pander to trends.
Guitar bands are coming back; I would bet my hat on it, and I love my hat.
Suzi Quatro must have felt a disturbance in the force when Glitter was released.

The Dives - Everybody’s Talkin’

They say that there is nothing new in the world. Everything is a rehash of something that has come before, and all artists can do is breathe new life into a mixed bag of what they can pilfer from the past.
There may be some truth to that, but who cares when New York power pop quintet The Dives are the band dipping into their broad influences and coming up with the Everybody’s Talkin’ ep.
One minute they sound like Stiff records revivalists, and you know what they say about that ‘if it ain’t Stiff, it ain’t worth a fuck’ and then the next it is The Knack filtered through the punk pop of the nineties.
And let’s not ignore the tip of the hat to Cheap Trick too.
These boys ain’t slacking.
As introductions go then this ep is as fine a place to start as any.
With so much good music surfacing at the moment it is difficult to elevate one particular act to the top of the list that you should check out, but The Dives would be in the top five.


Afghan Whigs - In Spades

Over the course of seven previous studio albums the Afghan Whigs have never stood still. Every release has seen the band evolving.
And now with In Spades they have moved fractionally forward again.
The brass and orchestration paired with some sublime guitar work is a heady mix, but with the increasingly more mature sounding vocals of Gregg Dulli the album just goes off the charts.
It’s as ambitious as anything that they have conjured into existence during their thirty and a bit year career.
Tight and lean the band is cementing a reputation as being one of the greatest survivors from the alt rock scene of the late eighties and early nineties.
No one sits Afghan Whigs in the corner baby.
They were never easily categorized, never a band that could be slipped into a genre box
Instead they had to be forced into the box while kicking and screaming and clawing to get back out.
And now they have reached the point that they have left behind any attempts to try to limit them with a genre tag.
They are the Afghan Whigs.
No more, no less, and instantly recognisable as such. They are the kings of their self made scene, the singular entity in their soulful rock universe.
This is without a shadow of a doubt a masterful career high.
Where to go next from In Spades though? That is the question

Cyanide Pills – Sliced and Diced

The band must be getting tired of Buzzcocks references by now, but it is difficult not to name drop the legends in the same breath.
Mainly because it is so obvious that it’s Cyanide Pills who are next in line for that melodic punk rock throne.
In fact ‘Oi, Shelley, Diggle. Move your arses. It’s time to pass the baton on.’
Let’s not beat about the bush here.
And let’s not ignore the references to The Boys in what the band do too.
On I don’t remember it sounds like a spiky rendition of a Boys classic with the added bonus of it being a socially conscious anthem for the times.
That’s not the only track to slap back at the current state of play in the world, but no one should consider for a second that the band are devolving into the stereotype of the anti establishment punk band as they are definitely not relinquishing their tightly held grip on a melody and a hook.
Snotty and defiant and a must have for any self respecting malcontent with a song in their heart sums up Sliced and Diced.
You want a punk rock contender for 2017? Then look no further.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A post about posters - Get your free Duncan Reid and the Big Heads, Heavy Drapes and 3 Minute Heroes poster here.

Click to enlarge image
Promoting is a tough game. A very tough game.

That fact sometimes gets lost in all of the debates surrounding how to get people to engage with the hard hit club level music scene.

It is especially tough for the amateur promoter who does it for the love of music rather than any financial gain.

The reason for this is because the amateur promoter doesn't have the deep pockets that a major tour operator has.
Everything that is done in a promotional sense is very tightly budgeted.
It has to be.
And even with it all being done on this eye watering budget there is still no guarantee that an event will be a success.

It's great when it is, but if it isn't then the reality behind a poorly attended event can be that the amateur promoter is eating toast and savers spaghetti for a few weeks.

I know this to be true as I am that man.

And yet even with it all being such an uphill struggle that demands blood sweat and tears - and cash - I keep doing it.
I think Einstein was talking about amateur promoters when he defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, because like so many others I always just lick my wounds and return to the fray no matter how hard the hit was that I took.

It is insanity.

click to enlarge
There's no doubt about it, but at heart we do it because we consider it to be a positive thing.
We don't try and bring the bands to the public to make money from them, but instead are wanting to share our love of the music they create with more people.
In so many ways we are just the super fans going that extra mile.

So it is particularly hard to take when the efforts of an amateur promoter are sabotaged.

Sabotaged as in some individual taking down the posters distributed in Glasgow for the forthcoming Duncan Reid and the Big Heads to sell on ebay.

I was aware of this person selling posters of events that I have promoted in the past, and to be honest it wasn't an issue.
Far be it for me to stand in the way of their entrepreneurial endeavours.
The gigs were in the rear view mirror and my opinion was fill your boots mate.
Now I am less than impressed with their street smarts.
Removing the posters months before the event is factually hampering my attempts to get the word out on the streets.

As this is the case I would urge people not to buy these posters.
Post event then go ahead, but before it has taken place?
Well that's a different story.

I will quote another famous scientist now.
Newton said that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
And with that being the case here is my reaction.
If anyone wants a poster you can message me and I will email the image back and you can print it off on nice shiny gloss paper at a fraction of the cost of buying one from ebay.
Or if you want to wait until the night of the gig then I will have plenty with me that can be taken for free, although a donation to Westgap for each one would be appreciated, or swap a tin of food for one as part of their food drive.

Basically if you want one you can have one.

Please don't buy posters by independent amateur promoters before the event from this seller.

Thank you to Heavy Drapes for drawing this to my attention.

Update: The seller has responded to a message sent apologizing and has withdrawn the sale.
Apparently he was unaware the event was in the future.

I have responded to his reply 'and yet it has still been removed from where it was located defeating the purpose of it advertising the event. and of course you are selling others pre gig. You are making independent promoters jobs harder and impacting on the success of acts at the club level.

Friday, 19 May 2017

The premise of being innocent until proven guilty. The People V PWR BTTM

The premise of being innocent until proven guilty is one that has been readily embraced by people for many years.
It is a cornerstone of civilized behaviour.
And it’s little wonder that it has been so readily adopted by countries when they decide their laws, because to put it simply most of us can fundamentally understand that being blamed for something that we are innocent of is inherently wrong.
No one should carry the responsibility for a crime that they have not committed, nor participated at any level in.
So to ensure that this does not happen we require allegations to be backed up with evidence, eye witness accounts - and sometimes even the burden of proof can be accepted - before coming to a judgement.
However an allegation by one party about another of a crime being committed is not enough to warrant a guilty verdict. Even if true.
And that is as it should be.
It has to be, because in the words of William Blackstone "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer".
This need for proof of an allegation is something that is put in place to protect us all.
As an abstract concept some may well wish to debate the finer points, but if they were subjected to a false allegation, whether deliberate or not, then it is entirely likely that they would be fully supportive of the premise.

And yet with the social media platforms allowing anyone and everyone to add their weight to a discussion on the guilt of an individual after an allegation is made, it does seem that proof is often something that is considered non essential.
Guilt or innocence is decided on by a gut a feeling based on the third, fourth, or fifth hand words of another commentator.

To illustrate the point we can look at the recent furore surrounding the band PWR BTTM.
An allegation was made within a private group online that a band member was a sexual predator, and sexual abuser.
In the social media court you will be presumed....
This allegation was then carried by another party to the public via social media, with that then drawing media attention that provided such a negative perception of the band that they have since been dropped by their label, lost gigs, lost touring members, had videos pulled from Vevo and YouTube, and it looks highly possible that the end is nigh for them as a band.

And yet if this situation is considered rationally, what we have is one person has made an allegation, and through the involvement of others on social media a guilty verdict has been delivered.
Evidence and proof have been cast aside as unimportant as the people have spoken.
And of course the cost has been high for not just the target of the allegations, but also for others who are now considered as collateral damage of the storm.

So it really does need to be asked.
Is this really what we are now embracing as acceptable.
Is this another example of the death knell of the ideal of us all being innocent until we are proven guilty?

None of that is to say that the band member is innocent, and nothing written here should automatically be considered a defence of any individual, but more so it is the defence of a safeguard that protects us all.

Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until the evidence shows otherwise, but that basic right does not seem to have been extended to the band member in this instance.
Part of the allegations shared on social media touched on the band members father acting inappropriately at live shows towards young audience members.
Again an allegation, but even if there was evidence to support this, we must ask ourselves what is the connection between this and the main allegation?
What has the alleged behaviour of the father got to do with the son?
Similarly an image of the band member posing beside a swastika drawn in the sand on a beach was shared too.
Again, while distasteful, it has no relevance to the main allegation.
Imagine a court case and that allegation about his father, and that photograph being submitted as evidence.
How long would it take before a judge had them thrown out as irrelevant?

Again is any of that acceptable?

And again it must be stressed that no guilt or innocence is being attributed to anyone here.
In fact it could be said that the manner in which the allegation was made has ill served the needs of the individual who originally claimed to have been abused.

A tiny bit of empathy for all involved can go a long way. Maybe that is the lesson to be learnt here.

Just some food for thought.

For more background there is an article here, and you can read the bands statement surrounding this here.

For further reading a recommendation would be the Jon Ronson book ‘So you have been publicly shamed’ which is obviously available in all good book shops.

Advise and support for those who have suffered sexual abuse and rape can be found here.