Thursday, October 31, 2002

Eastenders 1 Home & Away 0

Another day, another Sound City gig.

Judging by last night's Rock City display, openers Hoggboy are four scruffy oiks from Sheffield who seem to have a grossly misplaced sense of belief in their own talents. They hint at The Strokes without ever coming within range, and only the mildly likeable 'Don't Get Lost' emerges from their trashy set unscathed.

Whereas... The Libertines are four scruffy oiks from London Town and, for the first few songs at least, it seems it's the press hype machine which has the grossly misplaced sense of belief in their talents. Musically they ARE The Jam on bad speed (sometimes a bad thing, sometimes good - most notably with the final two songs 'Boys In The Band' and 'I Get Along'), and in Pete Doherty and Carl Barat they have two very watchable frontmen who create a very real frisson of unpredictability and unprofessionalism on stage.

Then, The Vines. I'd seen them at Glastonbury in the summer, where I'd concluded they're good but inevitably fall well short of the hype. And this time? What to say about a band about whom everything has been said? Hmm. Well, Craig Nicholls has a good voice. Hamish Rosser has his cymbals set abnormally high. 'Get Free' is a great single. Ho hum. Oh, and last night they were REALLY FUCKING BORING. The set went Vaguely Punky Song For The Kids followed by Meandering Beatlesy Stoned Pop Song For The Oldies followed by Vaguely Punky Song For The Kids followed by... well, you get the picture. Was I the only person who dreaded the reappearance of Ryan Griffith and his electric acoustic guitar? Apart from 'Get Free', the only songs worthy of passing interest were 'Sun Child', the cover of 'Miss Jackson' and encore-closer '1969'. Craig Nicholls was, for the most part, an unengaging bawling hairball and any onstage antics seemed like going through the motions. And to think I spotted Hamish Rosser picking up tips on how to do the whole rock thing at the Queens Of The Stone Age gig the previous night. You boys are just lucky Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan et al weren't still around, or they'd have kicked your sorry asses right back over to Kangaroo Country.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

School of hard rocks

Rock City and those who worship at the altar of Rock were shaken to the bottom of the soul by last night's Sound City triple bill, and what a bill it was.

First to test out everyone's eardrums were Vendetta Red - little-known over here, but destined to make big waves I think. Caught them at the Leeds festival when they played to a nearly empty tent, but they impressed. Well, on this second showing, they're pretty good but not exactly life-changing. A few good songs ('Por Vida' for a start), but the nagging feeling persists that they're a major label A&R man's idea of At The Drive-In carefully grown in a petri dish in some laboratory ie they've got the ferocity, afros and microphone-chucking antics, but not the on-edge angular brilliance of El Paso's finest.

In such exuberant company Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were always going to seem slightly out of place. For me, the album has some great songs around which the other fair-to-middling tracks are arranged, and that's what their live set is like. Only during 'Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N' Roll?' and the new track which closed the set did they REALLY get pulses racing. Glowering, posturing, mushroom haircuts and black clothing are a good start but can only get them so far (ie as far as lacing up The Jesus And Mary Chain's boots), especially when they avoid playing the album's masterpiece 'Awake'.

It was left to Queens Of The Stone Age to rock us to within an inch of our lives. It's a sound all of their own - heavy hard rock and punk stretched out into trancy hypnotic grooves with the downright weird ('Monsters In The Parasol', 'Leg Of Lamb') and odd near-pop song (witness the chorus of 'Gonna Leave You') thrown into the mixer every now and again. 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer', 'The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret' and 'No-One Knows' are without a doubt three of the best singles of the millenium, and when they can blow minds and THEN wheel out the dark enigma that is ex Screaming Tree Mark Lanegan for tracks like 'Hangin' Tree' and the simply amazing 'A Song For The Dead', you know they're quite an incredible proposition. What they don't do for me on record (am I the only person who thinks Rated R doesn't do them any justice?), they certainly make up for in the flesh.

A love / hate relationship

It's sad that it's come to this, but buying NME has become an embarrassment, something to be ashamed of, swiftly placed in a carrier bag and whisked away from prying eyes. This week is perhaps the final straw - the 'cool' list, an exercise in self-abasement which sees supposedly the best mainstream music publication descending even further towards the depths plumbed by Melody Maker shortly before its messy demise. It's becoming one big fucking corporate comic. And yet, with all this fantastic music currently appearing on the horizon every single week, I JUST CAN'T STOP BUYING IT. It makes me feel very dirty though. Far less wholesome than Everett True's Careless Talk Costs Lives.
Kiev roasted

Another excellent Newcastle performance of resolve and determination in the Champions' League last night, resulting in a fine win over Kiev - and all after losing both central defenders to injury and going a goal down. Special mentions for Shearer for leading from the front, and for Jenas for looking increasingly assured in a key role. Apart from the odd aberration (see Blackburn away, Chelsea away), this team packed with young talent really is giving us some cause for pride. Long may it continue, and hopefully on into the second phase of the competition.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Skif serves up something special in Southsea

It was an absolute pleasure to attend the Vanity Project's second oDD/eVEN night upstairs at the Horseshoe in Southsea on Saturday night.

qhixldekx kicked things off, proving to be the missing link between ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Joy Division, Squarepusher, Nine Inch Nails and synth pop. Anyone who hadn't realised such a link had even been missing received a valuable education from the likes of 'Everytime I Brush My Teeth The Gums Bleed Profusely', 'Top 10 Lists Are Ruining Our Hindsight' and the particularly unhinged 'Burn, Witch, Burn!'

In these terms, the appearance of Reinhardt represented a return to some kind of sanity. Great tracks like 'Romans' and 'Background Noise', both of which appear on an EP I picked up after the show, showcase Dave Jones's wonderful vocals and a real songwriting talent far too assured for the loveably grotty confines of the venue. There's something of the Super Furry Animals about them, if you ask me.

Veteran rabble-rousers Red Letter Day brought things to a close with their scabby punk, and, judging by the crowd response to songs like 'Rain', the recent loss of guitarist and bassist has done little to dampen local enthusiasm and support. Indeed, the new material, written with two members of Thirst onboard, has seen them resigned to Zip Records. Ade and his motley crew don't exactly light my fire, I admit, but it was good to see the godfathers of the local scene still going strong, given their unstinting support for new talent and the respect they accordingly command.

So, "Nice one"'s going out to Leon, Skif, Dave Jones and all those who made the night one to remember. Details of future oDD/eVEN ventures here.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Kill all pigeons

Ever wondered where surrealism and rock music meet? Have a peek at this and laugh. I particularly like Jonny Greenwood's concept for the next Radiohead album.
A league of their own - no Argument

Only one thing could have made me forsake the chance to watch Newcastle beat Juventus, and that was the legendary Fugazi's rescheduled Nottingham gig. It had been a long wait since the original dates were postponed back in June, and an even longer wait since I last saw them in May 1999 at the Ball Room in Nottingham, not knowing any of their stuff. Kinda appropriate that the last band I'd seen in the main room at Rock City were The Hives, whose debt to Fugazi's Dischord buddies The Make-Up, not to mention Rocket From The Crypt, has been almost entirely ignored in the mainstream music media.

So, the support acts. First up were Twinkie – not bad. Three things to recommend them: 1. They sounded somewhere between Ikara Colt and bass-centric oddballs Billy Mahonie. 2. They have a song called ‘Dickhead’. 3. Their bassist has evidently decided that there just aren’t enough pencil moustaches and brown jumper-and-jacket combinations in rock these days. I have to agree.

Next, the infamous – locally, at least – Wolves (Of Greece!), who I last saw warming up and melting down for …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead two years ago. How to describe them? Well, how’s about ‘a sheer spastic noise attack with a schizophrenic Roddy Woomble-alike on vocals and a fundamental and alarming disregard for any conventional notions of structure or rhythm that makes Shellac and Les Savy Fav’s The Cat And The Cobra sound like easy listening’? “And is this a good thing?”, I hear you cry. Well, not really, no.

When Fugazi finally emerged, they seemed almost disarmingly relaxed. Guy Picciotto confessed it was the first time in the band’s 16 year history that he wasn’t wearing trainers on stage, but his shoes got so uncomfortable he took them off and asked for some size 9s to be thrown up. They later taking time to sign a card that Ian MacKaye joked would be appearing on Ebay today. When they laid into ‘Guilt-Free Fall’, it suddenly struck me that I haven’t listened to them for ages. It’s been a few months now that my obsession with In On The Kill Taker subsided. What’s incredible is that, with a back catalogue like theirs, it was the newest material that took their performance from the really good to the absolutely brilliant. A fantastic ‘Smallpox Champion’ aside, it was ‘Full Disclosure’, ‘Epic Problem’ and ‘The Argument’ that made the night so special. They are in every possible way – sonically, politically, inspirationally, ethically - a Very Important Band.

The new Dischord retrospective should be a compulsory purchase – check out the Dischord family for yourself.
This is the news

Revealing to see today that who the most important person in the news is depends on whether you're reading a broadsheet or a tabloid. The papers are very neatly split between Estelle Morris and John Leslie. Can you guess which one the tabloids are most interested in?
It's a kind of magic

At last! A goal for Newcastle in Europe (albeit thanks to that clown Buffon)! And, what's more a victory to savour, the first over Juventus by any team this season! I'm sure I wasn't alone in my intense irritation at the London-centric media's attempts to write us off before this game - did you actually WATCH our first three games, lads? Apart from the odd period in the Kiev game, we hadn't been outclassed and with a bit of luck would have beaten Feyenoord and got a draw in Turin (had Shearer's header been recognised as legitimate). But yesterday: well, richly deserved. 110% ... hearts on sleeves ... passion and energy ... Titus Bramble and Andy O'Brien taking on Del Piero - Davids v Goliath anyone? But the young lads came up trumps - the emphasis more on 'diamonds' than 'rough' for a change. Now all we need is our mercurial Mr Robert to come up with the goal that's long overdue given the number of excellent chances he's missed already this season.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Technoproblems: The Revenge

No sooner does my blog seem to have righted itself, than all my archives disappear into the cyberether. Sigh. Life would be so much easier if I wasn't a committed Luddite.
Quote of the day

"Someone said to me, when I was a journalist, 'The important bits to read in newspapers are the white bits'" - David Icke
Let's get ready to rumble

If you, like me, count yourself a fan of rock 'n' roll music and find yourself in the vicinity of Nottingham for the next few months, boy are you in for a treat courtesy of those lovely people at Night With No Name - just check out their website. And if you're too lazy to even do that, well here's what us East Midlanders have got coming our way:
23rd Oct, Rock City: FUGAZI
29th Oct, Boat Club: THE DATSUNS + MCLUSKY (sold out)
31st Oct, Boat Club: SIX BY SEVEN (sold out)
8th Nov, Boat Club: GIRLS VS BOYS + ENON
19th Nov, Social: J MASCIS (acoustic show)
8th Dec, Social: RADIO 4 + THE FAINT
11th Dec, Social: THE APES
And that's just the NWNN gigs - add in visits by Death In Vegas, Queens Of The Stone Age, Doves, The Coral, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Streets and The Vines (all part of Radio 1's Sound City event) plus Sparta, The Flaming Lips and The D4 and it's going to be a very loud and very expensive few months...

Monday, October 21, 2002

Feel good hits of the 21st October

In honour of that man Bjortomt:

1. 'Glasshouse Tarot' - Sparta
2. 'Lack Of Communication' - The Von Bondies
3. 'Dy-Na-Mi-Tee' - Ms Dynamite
4. 'Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N' Roll' - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
5. 'In Metal' - Low
6. 'Round Round' - Sugababes
7. 'Dreaming Of You' - The Coral
8. 'Do You Realise??' - The Flaming Lips
9. 'You Make Me Nervous' - The Icarus Line
10. 'Kick Out The Jams' - The MC5
Bend over for Jesus

While on campus the other day I got presented with a small purple flyer advertising this website. Do I look like the sort of person that wants to buy religious literature? It really boiled my piss - Christianity's marketing men out on the hunt for the student demographic. What I resent is the fact that what is relentlessly and shamelessly dressed up as life-changing, or life-affirming, or redeeming, is actually just plain old-fashioned cashlust. Fuck spiritual values, salvation and mercy, it's a commercial enterprise. They are right about one thing, though - there is a god. Called mammon.

On a similar note, I was interested to read about that tele-evangelist cunt Jerry Falwell's latest efforts to improve interracial relations and religious tolerance: apparently, the prophet Mohammed was a "terrorist". No doubt he's too busy wiping his arse with fifty dollar bills to notice that people are now being killed in India as a result of his comments.

Friday, October 18, 2002


Apologies, that link to the 'TV Go Home' website should have been this.
Television schedulers are bastards

Why is it that TV these days is wall-to-wall shit? Until, that is, you're desperate to get some work done. Like last night, for instance. I take a quick break to laugh at such wholesome subjects as parental bullying and death by auto-asphyxiation (yes, I was watching 'League Of Gentlemen') and then find myself rooted to the same spot on the sofa for a couple of hours.

First of all, 'Question Time' - it really doesn't come any better than pitting Peter Tatchell against the pretty face of the Daily Mail incarnate, Ann Widdecombe. They didn't agree on much. What I find remarkable is that someone who no doubt thinks that legalised abortion is an abomination is in fact unwittingly by her very existence one of its most persuasive apologists. Her incredible insistence that racism no longer exists within English football reminded me of the proverbial ostrich burying its head in the sand. If only she was as good looking.

Then, a return to the comedy - a bit of 'Scrubs' (to someone who thinks that disembowelling would be too good for the characters of 'Friends', this is pleasantly surprisingly entertaining) and 'TV Go Home' the TV version (check out the website here). Particularly great were 'Daily Mail Island', nostalgia show satire 'I Love Then' and 'I Am Simon Doyle', a documentary following one Simon Doyle who was trying to rebuild his life ten years after suffering public humiliation and social ostracism for shagging a mallard in a car park for a drunken bet.

All good harmless family fun.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Words of wisdom

A classic quote from Murray Walker, surely the only person in sport to rival our very own Sir Bobby Robson for the pronouncement of absolute gibberish and genius in equal measures: "He's actually got a very well-adjusted personality. He's got a chip on both shoulders."

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Nurse! The straightjacket, please!

Oh my god I think I really am cracking up. I found myself watching 'Wipeout' with Bob Monkhouse today - not a particularly uncommon or noteworthy occurence, you might say. But I found his jokes GENUINELY AMUSING. Christ. Sample 'gag': "We had a painter round our house. He spilled a couple of tins of paint and my wife went into hysterics. I would have thought that if you're in his line of work you should have better control of your emulsions". And another: "Popeye's been around for ages. He still enjoys his spinach, but he hasn't been near olives for years". Please, (as Come once sang) shoot me now.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Thought for the day

The Web is a weapon of mass distraction.
The Daily Mail is the root of all evil

Just been browsing Olav's blog, where, in one posting, he seems to imply that Richard Littlejohn is the most odious journalist around. Sorry, but any of the Mail's snivelling sneering columnists would be higher on my Fourth Estate Hit-List. Yes, I'm looking at YOU, Lynda LeePotter. And YOU, Simon Heffer.

Also noticed that Olav has taken offence to my referring to his blog as "mildly amusing". Apparently, this is damning with faint praise. Well, how's about I praise you with faint damning instead, then, Olav? Your blog "has a tendency towards wilful self-indulgence" and you're "a bit of a twat". Happy now?
Get your mind messed with

If you, like me, want to follow the advice of that titan among goth-metal bands, Disturbed, and "get down with the sickness", can I suggest you visit the Lair of the Crab of Ineffable Wisdom? This site is a portal into the head of one Joel Veitch, who, judging by the contents of this site, is almost certainly a severely psychologically disturbed individual. May I personally recommend the animations called 'Punk Kittens' and 'Destiny's Child'? Thank you. Just don't blame me when you laugh like a nutter and find yourself in a padded room, arms strapped behind your back, being fed through a straw.
Oi! Publications deserving of your attention

Losers: do yourself a favour and check out the Vanity Project for top-quality musinews, reviews and features. The fanzine itself might be small, but it's perfectly formed. Size doesn't matter, it's what you do with it that counts. Anyone in the vicinity of Portsmouth (for that is from whence this fine publication emerges approximately monthly), get your lil' indie arse down to the Horseshoe pub for 7.30pm for the Vanity Project affiliated gig night oDD/eVEN #2, entry a mere £2. There you can thrill to one-man noise wave Qhixldekx (aka my good friend Mr Leon Tricker), swoon to Reinhardt (ex-Screeper man Dave Jones's new project) and holler along to Red Letter Day (belligerent pub-punk).

Another fine Pompey-based publication ahoy! If post-hardcore, post-rock and post-punk is your bag (and I know it's mine), you NEED Evil Powers Of Rock 'N' Roll in your life. OK, so what is the most recent issue (I think) took 13 months to compile, but includes interview features with such luminaries as Oneida, Nebula, the sadly-missed Bluetip and the wonderful Icarus Line, plus a Kids Near Water tour diary. The reviews section too bears witness to some extraordinarily good taste: featured bands include: Trail Of Dead, Les Savy Fav, Enon, Fugazi, A Silver Mt Zion, Burning Airlines, The Pattern, The Mars Volta, The White Stripes, Rival Schools, Billy Mahonie, Unwound, The Fall, Bright Eyes, Mogwai, Silver Jews, The Fall, The Melvins, Sparta... Email Richie at and let the Evil Powers into your head and heart, for just £1 and an SAE.
The, er, dream team

Howard Wilkinson and Steve Cotterill - magic. I don't know about George W wanting to bomb Iraq back to the Stone Age, but that's where Bob Murray wants to take the Mackems, if these appointments are anything to go by.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002


My blog currently seems to be suffering from some technoproblems, but, to borrow from Alan Partridge esq, techno notice - hopefully I should have worked out how to sort it soon. In the meantime, though, I'm afraid I'm unable to compensate by putting up any audio clips of 'Sophisticated Saxophone Woman' by Norwich-based band Dark Phase.

You've got to feel sorry for Peter Reid - and not just cos he looks like an ape. He takes those red-and-white inbreds far further than they've got any right to expect, and then at the first sign that they might be (at last) getting vertigo and accepting the near-inevitability of a return to their natural level (ie midtable First Division; trips to Grimsby, Reading and Brighton etc etc) the tossers give the boot to the one person who might be able to stave it off for another season. Well done lads, really have to applaud your stupidity. What are you going to do now? Get in that whinging bastard O'Leary? He'll jump ship as soon as he finds out what he's got to work with, that there's no £60million pot of cash to be emptied, and that he's trying to entertain the most miserable bunch of cunts around. There really is nothing better than watching other people, most particularly Sunderland, fail.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Slightly concerned...

Er, I'm slightly concerned that several people seem to have found their way to my blog by, ahem, entering 'Stuart Lubbock' into Google. Why does everyone have to have such unsavoury interests? Well, now that I'm back on the subject, I might as well mention the cover of the latest issue of 'Private Eye' - someone saying to Barrymore, "How did the man die?", and him replying, "Buggered if I know"...

I suppose bad taste really is back with a vengeance now anyway, what with the return of both 'League Of Gentlemen' and 'The Office'. While watching the former might be frequently stomach-churning, watching the latter is downright painful. But hey - there really are people like that in the world! Well, in Slough. And I never, ever want to be one of them.

My god the Sparta album is ace - At The Drive-In minus the awkwardness and plus the big fucking tunes. And don't even dare to consider not checking the Von Bondies out - like Jack White with a bee in his underpants. I know what you're going to say - more churnings from the big fat media hype machine, and, yeah, you've got to stay discerning. But you know what? When what's being churned out is (on the whole) this damn good, you should just go ahead and enjoy it. LOUDLY.
Slightly concerned...

Erm, I'm a bit worried that several people seem to have found their way to my blog by, ahem, entering 'Stuart Lubbock' into Google. Why does everyone have to have such unsavoury interests? Well, now that I'm back on the subject, I might as well mention the cover of the latest issue of 'Private Eye' - someone asking Barrymore, "How did the man die?" and Barrymore replying, "Buggered if I know"...