Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Heaven 17 @ O2 Academy, Monday 29th October 2012



Two years after their last major tour which saw them revisiting their debut album Penthouse and Pavement Heaven 17 are back on the road showcasing its follow up, The Luxury Gap. Developing the sound they’d pioneered on their first release The Luxury Gap added an even more sophisticated soul sheen to the mix with impressive results. The band’s biggest selling album shifted over 300,000 copies in its first year of release and spawned the ruddy massive hit single Temptation. Of course they famously neglected to play that, or indeed any other of the tracks from the album live back in the day so, as with the Penthouse and Pavement tour, this is one of the first times that most of the audience will have heard them ‘au naturel’.

It’s kind of nice in a way knowing the majority of the set list before a gig starts and when you’ve been playing the album on and off for three decades (jeez, where does the time go eh?) hearing every track is pretty much like greeting an old friend. Kicking off with the marvellous Sheffield disco synth of Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry a suited and booted Gregory was in fine voice, clearly relishing the line “it’s time for a party, liberation for the nation”. Frankly it couldn’t be more appropriate for a country deep in the grip of recession could it eh? Crushed is a huge great sledgehammer of a track, clearly shaped by the band’s industrial hometown but benefitting from an upbeat soul ‘n’ funk feel at the same time. In fact if Chic came from Sheffield I reckon this is what they’d have sounded like. T’Freak anyone?

Listening to The Luxury Gap live it still sounds remarkably fresh. Perhaps, as with its predecessor, that’s partially down to the recent re-emergence of the 80’s synth sound by bands like Hot Chip but it’s also thanks to the sheer joyful exuberance of Gregory, Ware and female vocalist Billie Godfrey (she left it to the end of the show to reveal that she was actually born in Birmingham) who plays a huge role in these live gigs even ignoring her show stopping turn on Temptation. Yep, track 5 on the album is the one Heaven 17 song that pretty much everyone in the world knows and Billie vamped it up brilliantly this evening, playfully flirting with Gregory before casually sidling over to Marsh whilst belting it out like a woman possessed. 


It’s always going to be hard to match Carol Kenyon’s original vocal and perhaps it’s silly to compare the two. They’re a world apart but in different ways equally impressive, with Godfrey’s better trained vocal making a fine substitute for Kenyon’s more naturally soulful version.

As a 13 year old the lyrics of Come Live With Me had a totally different meaning to the one they have now. “I was 37 you were 17” sang Glenn with a slightly wistful look in his eye. When he first sang this lyric he was in his mid 20s and 37 must’ve seemed an age away. I guess it still does but both he and the majority of tonight’s audience are now looking back at it as it rapidly fades into the distance. Any misty eyes, greying hair and wrinkles were quickly forgotten though thanks to a lounge-tastic Lady Ice and Mr Hex, a song that Glenn admitted that they thought they’d never play live but which works really well, again partially down to Godfrey’s embellishments. After a suitably frantic We Live So Fast, far more relevant today than it was back in ’83 (as anyone who spent hours trying to load Hungry Horace Goes Skiing on a ZX Spectrum will recognise) the run through The Luxury Gap ended with The Best Kept Secret. It’s not one of their best known tracks but its easy listening vocal harmonies and understated melody show the more sophisticated side of Heaven 17 that perhaps many people just aren’t aware of. That’s actually the overwhelming feeling from this live reboot of The Luxury Gap. It was and is a remarkably sophisticated sounding album boldly attempting to address everything from the downtrodden workers’ lot in life (Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry) through to love, life and loss (Let Me Go, Come Live With Me and The Best Kept Secret)...satisfying both mind and booty at the same time. The fact that it sprang from what was a city in serious decline (as were most post industrial cities at the time) makes it even more remarkable. Pretty much all the tracks have been buffed up a tiny bit, benefitting from better technology and giving the odd nod to more modern beats, but for anyone who grew up with this album superglued in their Sony Walkman tonight was simply Heaven (17).

But wait a minute. There’s more. A lot more in fact. After a brief break to wipe the sweat from their brows (Ware impressively remained in a full suit for the whole set like some kind of Alfred Synth-cock) the band cut loose with an eclectic mix of tracks kicking off with Ware and Gregory duetting on the Human League’s desolate cover version of The Righteous Brothers You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. For the first time this evening Ware came out from behind his keyboard and joined Glenn centre stage. Gregory revealed at the end that it’s only the second time he’s ever done that whilst Ware noted that he last played the song in Birmingham with Phil Oakey 32 years ago but he’s “got a new boyfriend now”. Okay, so Glenn and Ware aren’t really an item but the closeness and friendship between the two was especially evident on this song. Bless ‘em. Again that made a huge difference to the feel of the show. Even after 30 plus years together they’re still clearly mates who actually enjoy playing live as opposed to bands who maybe do it to top up their pension funds.

(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang and a new more upbeat (house-y style keyboard and vocals in places) version of Geisha Boys and Temple Girls lifted the tempo again then it was back to the early days with a rare outing for early Heaven 17 single I’m Your Money. It’s as basic as the band ever got and closer to the minimalistic synth of early League. As if to underline this point they played a couple of pre-pop League tracks too, Growing A Baby and Being Boiled with a funky as hell (and one of the show’s highlights) Penthouse and Pavement sandwiched between them.


As an encore Glenn reprised his version of Associates’ Party Fears Two, here re-imagined as a funereal lament, entirely suitable given the tragic suicide of the band’s lead singer Billy Mackenzie (who worked with H17 on Music Of Quality & Distinction Volume One) back in 1997, a loss that’s still clearly very raw to him. 


Poignant stuff. You can’t finish a Heaven 17 show with a tear in your eye though can you eh? Time to roll out Temptation again, this time a “Birmingham nightclub version”, according to Glenn. Beginning with a bit of a Balearic beat and Godfrey reaching notes only audible to dogs with hearing aids the crowd whip themselves into the kind of frenzy that only the middle aged on a rare night out can muster. After a bit of a Love to Love You Baby mash up the song got back on the track and, for the next 5 minutes, the room was full of teenagers again. With a night as much fun as this one they can lead me into temptation any time they want...  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jo Dunne RIP

Sad news reached Baron Towers yesterday about the death on Friday of Fuzzbox's Jo Dunne who passed away apparently only six weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. She was just 43. Fuzzbox remain an hugely underrated group. During their brief career they released two radically different albums, the scuzzy punk classic Bostin' Steve Austin and the glossy pop hit Big Bang. Only a year or so ago three of the original four members (including Jo) reunited for a national tour and new single, I'm guessing this was only planned to be a temporary thing as it seemed to fizzle out as quickly as it began. Why do Fuzzbox matter? Well let's face it there was a distinct dearth of spunky female only bands in the world back in 1985 (it's not a lot better these days) and Fuzzbox all too briefly readdressed the balance a little. Plus they released some pretty great tunes along the way. Some might diss their radical makeover from DIY punk teens to glossy pop queens but hell, it worked eh? Here's a selection of their best bits. RIP Jo.





Okay, this is them after the makeover...deep breath...





Here's one of their last releases, an impressive cover of Yoko Ono's Walking On Thin Ice offers an intriguing glimpse into what might have been if they'd stayed together...



...and finally this single from the aborted third album rock things up a little more...it reached the dizzy heights of number 100 in the charts...yes, I know...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Seth Lakeman @ Town Hall Birmingham, Thursday 26th October 2012



It’s been 7 years since folk fiddle poster boy SethLakeman first plucked the g-strings of his many female fans, going on to release four more albums after his Mercury nominated breakthrough Kitty Jay and regularly wowing festival audiences across the country. This current tour’s in support of his latest release Tales From The Barrel House and it’s pretty much business as usual. Opening with an almost We Will Rock You style drumbeat the set kicks off with More Than Money, a typically meaty Lakeman number. Dry ice washes over the stage, there’s moody lighting and the hearts of several hundred ladies of a certain age are sent a fluttering. Seth’s not the first folkie to flirt with the rockier side of things of course and whilst it’s unlikely to get the crowd making devil’s horns or banging the bejesus out of their skulls it’s the kind of energy that a gig like this really needs to get started...especially at the unusually early time of 7.30 (no support act tonight). 

The set’s split into two halves, overall act one’s a little more restrained, plucking several more tracks from the newbie and introducing co-vocalist Lisbee Stainton, who’s rapidly becoming a bit of star in her own right. The addition of a female vocal softened the sound nicely, balancing the testosterone that’s often literally spilling out of Lakeman and his band, enabling more of the slower, ballad style numbers to be played more effectively. Whether the fans want more ballads was difficult to tell although the applause seemed noticeably louder after the livelier numbers. Stainton undoubtedly contributed to some of the best moments from the first half though with a beautiful version of The Sender (off Tales From The Barrel House) particularly standing out. It takes a fair few songs before Seth whips it out...steady ladies...his fiddle that is, but once it’s out that's when his real...wanky marketing speak ahoy...USP shines through and whether he’s in full flow or just plucking out some simple notes as on pre break homage to the art of the cider maker, Apple Of His Eye, that’s when the show really comes to life.

The second half of the set is much more of a greatest hits selection kicking off with firm fan favourite The Bold Knight, ably backed by percussion maestro the permanently smiling Cormac Byrne. Lisbee returns for a haunting run through The White Hare before the tempo shifts up several gears with Blood Red Sky, the stage stained a deep dark red as the dry ice machine goes into overdrive. I reckon it would make an interesting cover for a genuine rock band or perhaps even a collaboration? After teaming up with Birmingham rap outfit Moorish Delta 7 a few years back I’d half hoped Seth would perhaps mix things up a little and songs like this could offer intriguing possibilities to break out of the folk scene a little more. Just a thought. Setting Of The Sun gets the post drink interval crowd up and clapping for the first time thanks in part to an impressively groovy double bass solo from Ben Nicholls. Predictably the biggest cheers of the night though were reserved for the pairing of Lady Of The Sea and, yes, the biggie...Kitty Jay. 


These are pure, unadulterated Lakeman, full on furious fiddling and an equally up for it crowd clapping along until their hands fell off. Yes, literally.

The encore included an awesome howdown showdown with Lakeman and a now be-banjoed Nicholls doing their very best to set their respective instruments on fire on Blood and Copper and a roof raising Race To Be King.

Seth's at an interesting stage in his career, seemingly settled into his role as folk’s fiddler in chief and darn good he is at it too but he’s got a passion and energy that frankly deserves to be heard by a much more diverse audience. If that requires some deviation from the folk scene, a la Imagined Village or some of Eliza Carthy’s poppier moments, then perhaps it’s worth a try eh?    

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sparks @ HMV Institute, Tuesday 23rd October 2012



Now celebrating an incredible 41 years together Sparks (essentially brothers Ron and Russell Mael) have been hailed as an influence on everyone from Kurt Cobain to Duran Duran and The Pixies (let’s face it, Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys based their entire acts on them too). It’s unusual enough for a group to make it to their fifth decade but even rarer still for them to be producing decent work too, witness exhibit A, their rather fine last album 2009’s The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman, which the duo are ambitiously planning to transform into a full length movie and stage show. Makes most other bands seem positively slack in comparison eh? It’s this continuing quest to, as Ron later put it this evening “Keep pushing the envelope” that seems to be behind this latest tour, Two Hands, One Mouth, a stripped back chance to see “Sparks in the nude”. We can thank Russ for that particular mental image.

The show opens with Ron ambling on, settling himself behind the piano to a rapturous reception and then playing an instrumental medley of tracks. Nearly four decades on from that iconic wide eyed Hitler ‘tached image on Top Of The Pops he’s still a striking presence, seemingly belonging to a different time and place to the rest of us. Whilst he remains pretty static for the majority of the show younger bro, Russ, just can’t keep still. In fact you’d be hard pushed to find a lead singer with more energy. Bounding on stage in a pair of three quarter length trousers, striped socks and a tweedy looking jacket he’s prone to skipping around like an irrepressible elf or new born baby lamb. Let us remind ourselves here...this dude’s an OAP.

The set itself was a mix of greatest hits and album cuts spanning most of the band’s career, kicking off with Hospitality On Parade from 1975’s Indiscreet album. Russ’s voice appears to be as strong as ever which is pretty impressive considering the high notes that he constantly has to reach in pretty much every song. I guess he’s not a smoker eh? Fast forwarding to 2008’s Hello Young Lovers for the track Metaphors illustrated just how successfully the Mael’s have managed to retain their creative standards and quality. It’s every bit as strong as the stuff they were producing during their most popular phase in the 70s and, like many of their best known tracks, it’s all about the opposite S-E-X. Yes, girls and sex seem to be a bit of an obsession for the Maels who, according to the interweb, have never married. There is actually something curiously asexual about both of them, not in a creepy, blow up doll kind of way but more in a ‘we’ve got better things to do’ sort of vibe. Messy business, sex.

After an impressive selection of excerpts from their opera The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman (Ron comically donned a black beret for this bit), Russell romped through procrastinator’s anthem Dick Around. It’s actually something of a mini opera itself (who knows, maybe that’s where the Bergman idea came from?), catchy, clever and, hell, it’s got to be said, FUN, all at the same time, which pretty much sums up much of Sparks output over the decades.

Predictably This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us got the biggest cheer of the night, even if it wasn’t the one that most suited the stripped back format the best. Nearly 40 years after Ron came up with that naggingly insistent keyboard motif and Russ warbled operatically over the top it’s still one of the most exciting moments in pop. To have a track that should be showing real signs of middle aged spread but that’s still as fresh and energetic as a horny teen is pretty remarkable. If you looked hard enough you’d have caught a glimpse of a smile from Ron as the crowd applauded wildly at the end, just a glimpse mind you.
As much as I enjoyed the hits it was nice to become reacquainted with some lesser known gems too, especially the next couple of tracks The Rhythm Thief and a remarkably jaunty I’m A Suburban Homeboy replete with Russ acting out little bits of the song (something he charmingly did throughout the set in fact). Capped off with When Do I Get To Sing My Way the main set was over but they soon returned for Number One Song In Heaven and Beat The Clock, two tracks that were pretty sparse in their original forms so closer to tonight’s versions. Listening to these numbers again it’s pretty clear, no Sparks, no Hot Chip et al. It’s a simple as that. When Russ moved behind the keyboard during Beat The Clock it could only mean one thing. Yes. The Ron dance. For a man who barely moves a muscle throughout the set the sight of him dancing away like a flapper on speed is a little like seeing Stephen Hawking break dancing. “Ladies and gentlemen the hardest working man in show business” acknowledged Russ wryly.


Bringing things right up to date, and highlighting the point made earlier about the band still coming up with the goods, the show closed with new single Two Hands, One Mouth. The fact that it’s been written with this tour in mind ensured it suited the simple keyboard and vocal set up perfectly and Russ’ innuendo packed delivery of the words “to satisfy you” were worthy of a Carry On movie. Brilliant.

Singing over, Ron and Russ remained on stage a moment to reveal that they’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Birmingham and Brummies in general. In fact they arguably owe a lot of their success to Erdington’s (a Birmingham suburb) very own Muff Winwood who invited them over to the UK and produced This Town... for them at a time when most of the world was curiously disinterested. Now there’s a little known fact eh? Touchingly Ron (not known for being he chattiest man in the world) finally delivered some heartfelt thanks to us, the audience, for giving them such a great reception. Awwwww bless him. No Ron, the pleasure was all ours. Sparks. The number one band in heaven...or on earth for that matter.  


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NME Generation Next Tour ft Howler / Cast of Cheers / Gross Magic @ HMV Institute, Monday 22nd October 2012



Whilst the paper based version of NME now sells fewer copies than the Justin Lee Collins Good Times Guide to Relationships it seems that their website’s now the world’s biggest standalone music portal with 7 million users a month...yes, that’s a whole 2,000 more readers than The Hearing Aid...ahem. Of course all that’s infinitesimally small when you compare it to the number of hits that videos of small children doing something nauseating on You Tube get but still, not bad eh?

Given this NME still clearly has a place in the hearts and minds of a significant number of music fans around the world so tours like this should be rammed, right? Sadly not. This gig was demoted from the Institute’s mid size venue to its smallest one and even this seemed a little empty by the time opening band Gross Magic came onstage. Whatever the reason for the low attendance people missed a treat. The initial signs weren’t encouraging though. Gross Magic’s lead singer seems to have gone all out to wear possibly the worst outfit ever seen, black school type shoes, white socks, what looked like his little sister’s pyjama bottoms and a charity shop t-shirt. Still, this ain’t a fashion show right? What counts is the music and Gross Magic were surprisingly good. Jaw droppingly good in fact. 


Lead singer Sam McGarrigle has the kind of trippy, teenage girl meets science nerd kind of vocal that makes Girls’ ex-vocalist Christopher Owens seem overtly macho. Musically the band plays an intriguing hybrid of grunge, glamrock, shoegaze and prog with some surprisingly sophisticated chord progressions in there, no doubt honed though many long dark nights playing along to Frank Zappa albums in their bedrooms. Put these two disparate elements together and you’ve got something that’s heavy enough for old hippies and rockers to love, but with the added lyrical and vocals twists that will appeal to the pale and interesting young folk. Thought my head my explode when they played this at the end (the video really doesn't do them justice)...


It really shouldn’t work, but dammit it does. Magic.   

Next up Irish math rockers The Cast Of Cheers who’ve fused the complex skittering sounds of bands like Foals to more of an anthemic indie sound resulting in tracks like the endlessly addictive Family, the inevitable highlight of the set. 


“Best drummer everrrrrr” cried out someone in the crowd in their best Comic Book Guy impression after the band’s octopus on steroids like sticksman had meatily beaten a couple of songs to death. I wouldn’t argue with that. Well I could, but he’d probably just drum my skull into dust.  

Finally, all the way from Minneapolis, Howler, proclaimed by NME as the third best new band of 2011 and fronted by 21 year old Jordan Gatesmith, who also made their 50 coolest people list. That’s a lot of cool to live up to. Perhaps Jordan was feeling the pressure as he quickly announced that he was feeling sick and might vomit all over the front row. Cool. Given the coolness surrounding the band they’ve attracted a small but enthusiastic group of fans, all looking for this generation’s Ramones / Strokes / Libertines all of whom have clearly influenced Gatesmith and co. In fact Howler have even gone as far as covering the Libs Up The Bracket which they steadfastly refused to play this evening despite increasingly desperate requests from one or two well lubricated members of the audience. What they did run through at a fair old pace though were just over half a dozen garage / surf rock tinged tracks kicking off with one of their slower numbers, Back To The Grave, and ending chaotically with their biggest hit to date, Back Of Your Neck. At times Jordan seems a little perplexed especially when it came to communicating with the audience. “Where can I buy spray paint from?” he asked mid set. Someone helpfully shouted out “Halfords”. Jordan looked puzzled ”Wholefoods?” A suggestion that he go to B&Q didn’t get through either. “Black Lagoon?” Hmmm, maybe it’s the Brummie accent. I guess looking a little perplexed is cool though eh? As the set wore on the crowd got livelier culminating in a fair percentage of them spilling over the barriers to join the band onstage, much to the annoyance of the security dude who rapidly disappeared under a sea of teenage (and one or two middle aged) bodies. There are worse ways to go I guess. Some of the band actively encouraged this anarchy, swapping places with the crowd and joining the few remaining audience members on the dancefloor in a gloriously messy end to a hugely enjoyable gig. Howler might just be another in a long line of skinny young dudes with attitude but they pull it off better than most. Cool.  


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Semi Regular New Music Roundup


Oh dear...the old inbox has got out of control again. I blame Jimmy Savile. Anyway, on with the show, stuff to do, people to offend etc etc...first up it’s Wild Beasts...hang on...what’s this...Wild SWIM you say? Hmmm...okay, bearing an uncanny similarity to Wild Beasts, Wild Swim’s debut single, Echo, is a fine slice of Associate’s –ish prog pomp pop.


Next up Pseudo Nippon. First time I read this I thought they were called Pseudo Nipple...shows what’s on my mind most of the time eh? Anyway, the Nippon’s new one is a curious mix of Japanese electro madness and Scroobius Pip meets TV On The Radio style rap attack. Apparently some of the band got arrested shooting the video too, good on ‘em... 


If Kings of Leon weren’t such whiny bitches they might sound this good. Stick some of The Broken Needles in your ears people (NB: not literally, not recommended...unless you’re Cheryl Cole, in which case go right ahead).


Finally for this episode Birmingham’s very own TheTraps release their rather splendid second single Moving Pictures on November 19th. Building on a motorik beat the song’s got a bit of an Editors feel in places but with more of an upbeat indie anthem vibe that pretty much guarantees it’ll lodge itself in your brain after just one listen. Anyone who lives in Brum can enjoy trying to spot all the video locations too. A sticky bun for everyone who gets them all right (Disclaimer: I'm not buying you sticky buns, what do you think, I'm made of money? Oy vey...)

Random Bohannon



Years ago, before the interweb, I used to buy plenty of random records without having the foggiest idea what they were purely to get that 'new music' fix. It's something I do less often now, probably a good job too  as the hit rate of good vs ohhhhh so bad stuff was pretty lousy. For old time's sake I took a punt at a record fair a couple of weeks ago though and came up with this little mellow disco funk gem. Actually I'm pretty sure I'd heard it before somewhere but hadn't a scooby doo who'd recorded it. Hamilton Bohannon I salute you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sparks...next week...live in Birmingham!

Yes, just a few days to go now until the marvellous Mael brothers play Birmingham (HMV Institute, Tuesday 23rd October) for the first time in...well...centuries probably. In the unlikely event that you don't know who they are and what they've done here are a trio of hits. Awesome.







...and here's a little teaser of their brand new track too!



Tickets here. Frankly unmissable.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oxjam Brum Takeover, Saturday 13th October various venues



There’s definitely something in the air you know...and it’s not just the supergrade skunk that the dude on the bus is always sparking up. Nope, slowly but surely Birmingham’s actually becoming (whisper it) cool. I know, I know, that’s not what we do here in...ahem...B-Town...but, whether it’s Mr Birds Vintage Emporium (which opened on the same day as this year’s Oxjam), the ever growing range of local lifestyle magazines or the independent pubs and clubs spring up all over the place this City’s slowly but surely waking up to its potential at last.

Oxjam Brum’s a great opportunity to catch up with some of the musical gems on offer as well as – just as importantly – raising some much needed dosh for those less fortunate than us...Mancunians for instance. My own personal Oxjam odyssey (there were gigs all over the place for 12 hours or so) kicked off with Keziasoul in the Symphony Hall Bar. Kezia Johnson’s been singing all her life (“since I came out” she once admitted in an interview...must’ve given the midwife a surprise eh?) but it’s the past two or three years that’s seen her step out into the limelight a little more. Thank the lord too. There’s an ease to her vocal that marks her out as something pretty special and, with some classy neo-soul, nu jazz style tunes it’s an ear tingling package. Any young female jazz/soul vocalist inevitably draws comparisons with La Winehouse (it’s the law, okay?) and there is a slight similarity there in the odd elongated word or two but there’s a power and an innate sassiness too that’s all her own. Good jazz / soul vocalists are relatively easy to find, great ones ain’t. Kezia Johnson belongs firmly in that more elusive group.

From a relative newcomer to some absolute beginners. Cannon Street only debuted at last month’s Moseley Folk Festival, immediately earning them the kind of gushing praise generally reserved for visiting deities. They deserve it though. Sisters Nadi and Rukaiyah sing with the kind of harmony that would make angels green with envy. They’ve got some equally sweet tunes too with instantly catchy choruses like the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” bit in one of the set’s many highlights, St Marys View. Lovely stuff.

Leaving the Symphony Hall it was time to abandon dry land altogether and head down to a canal boat to catch Paul Murphy, lead singer of The Destroyers and general living legend. In fact as well as abandoning dry land reality rapidly faded away from view too as Murphy span fantastical tales about everlasting mice, magical budgerigars called Tweedledeedeedee and Oscar Wilde replete with authentic sounding impersonations (not that anyone alive knows what he sounded like...unless they’re an everlasting mouse). Stripped of the musical accompaniment that normally comes with this stuff gave you chance to focus on the lyrics and Paul’s unique vocal delivery, a mix of beat poet hipness and Irish blarney. Sitting there, rocking gently just a few feet away from the great man was a magical experience. If you were blessed with eternal life spending a century or two with this dude would still leave you wanting more.    

Off to a rammed Island Bar for Killing Fields Of Ontario or Editors Of Leon if you’re looking for a convenient pigeon hole to stick ‘em in. It’s a pleasing combination though, nailing Tom from Editors slightly ominous indie vocal to more of a country tinged rock sound. Impressively foot tapping.

After an Oxjam cocktail...hic...it was time for Anushka...aka Anna Palmer...aka Little Palm...aka the girl out of Tantrums. Palmer’s been playing in Birmingham under various guises for a few years now. Whatever the name she’s been consistently impressive though, transforming from a seemingly fragile creature into a hurricane voiced keyboard battering whirlwind of emotion as soon as she sets foot on stage. With the recent addition of a drummer, Seth, to back her up she’s moving in a jazzier direction now, stirring comparisons with the 80s Bad Day celebrating Carmel McCourt. There’s no recorded material from this new incarnation yet but on the strength of this performance – in particular her magnum opus in waiting The Wasp Factory – it’ll be well worth the wait.  

A strap on reel to reel tape recorder, a huge 80s video camera, a melon on a piece of string...altogether now...“these are a few of my favourite things”, well, they are in the hands of the gloriously eccentric Tom Peel. Like Anna Palmer Tom’s also been knocking around for a while, slowly building up a cult following for his unique brand of oddball anthems like the fate tempting Sometimes I Want Bad Things To Happen (sung along with particular gusto by tonight’s crowd) and Brumcentric love song I Love It In The Town Hall When You Give Me A Squeeze. Who else would challenge an audience member to an impromptu conker fight mid song...or pull out a melon on a string to tip the balance in their favour? Exactly. You don’t get that from Justin Beiber eh? As mad as a box of Baumgartners but just as addictive to watch. Simply a national treasure.

Last up local wordsmith made good and Smethwick spitmeister par excellence Polarbear. Midlander’s have a pretty god rep when it comes to the written word with MC Big Willie Shakespeare and Jazzy J R R Tolkien both penning the odd hit or two. More recently there’s been a burgeoning spoken word scene driven in no small part by the lovely Jodi Anne Bickley (who sadly suffered a stroke last year and is still on the slow road to recovery...love n’hugs). Polarbear was one of her inspirations and, despite moving to London a while back (cue good natured boos from the locals) this set kept it real, from the typically self deprecating Brummie putdown of My City Ain’t Pretty through to the adolescent fumblings of Jessica...funny, moving and...the older you get...at times painfully poignant.  

Oxjam Brum, you did us proud.    

Friday, October 12, 2012

(Mr) Birds the word...



Okay, aside from music I have a bit of a fetish. Nothing to do with rubber, whipped cream and car batteries...not any more anyway...nope I have a bit of a thing for ‘vintage stuff’. I’ve always liked old things, which is handy since I’m rapidly turning into one, but my forays into the world of vintage fashion are relatively recent. Having grown a silly moustache, hell...it filled the time after being made redundant way back in 2009 (blimey, how time flies when you’re having fun) the old jeans, t-shirt and hoodie combo that I’d been rocking for a while just didn’t look right. So I splashed out on a Harris Tweed jacket. Oh boy. That stuff’s addictive.  Look at what it's done to Vic Reeves...


Did you know it’s all hand spun by virgins in heaven...or something like that. Well, that led on to a bit of a splurge on waistcoats, old dress shirts, brogues, hats, silk scarves etc etc. If that makes me sound like Rockerfeller you couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot of this stuff is ridiculously cheap considering the quality and if you don’t mind that fact that the previous owner may well now be pushing up the daisies you can dress like a lord (albeit a slightly dishevelled one) on the wages of a pizza delivery boy. There is a point to all this. Tomorrow Birmingham sees the opening of a brand new Vintage Emporium. Yes. An Emporium no less. Named Mr Birds Emporium it’s located at the old Custard Factory (yes...the old Birds Custard Factory) in Digbeth and, on top of permanent traders there are going to be oodles of stalls each Saturday stuffed full of enough vintage loveliness to make Tim Wonnacott wet himself. The whole thing opens tomorrow at 10.30am and the organisers are promising all kinds of jollity. Be there or be very, very square. 

   

God Damn - Fought In The Mirror



You know that sound that goes on inside your head when your boss is bawling at you for no good reason, or when someone pushes in front of you in a queue or any time Cheryl Cole appears on TV...yes, that noise, that boiling rage that makes you want to rip the heads off chickens (just me...oh...ok), well, that's pretty much the sound of God Damn's new single Fought In The Mirror. With guitars that sound like they're being tortured to death, drums by Demolitions R Us and a psychotic organist all underpinning some truly layrnx shredding vocals it's 3 minutes 22 seconds of the dirtiest, rockiest, freakiest noise around. And...I love it. Do yourself a favour, turn up your speakers and crank it out...don't matter where you are...school, work, operating theatre...just do it. Thank you.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Michelle Shocked @ The Hare & Hounds, Wednesday 10th October 2012



It must be incredibly tempting when you find fame...or fame finds you...to wrap your lips around Mammon’s todger (does Mammon have a todger...hmmm...probably) and suck for all you’re worth. Gigs for dictators, advertising campaigns for vivisectionists, tours supporting Coldplay...you can see the appeal. Mucho filthy lucre, even more FAME...more filthy lucre etc repeat until you drown under mountains of dosh.  Happily there are artists who reject the streets paved with gold and instead choose to wander down the alleyways of controversy and Michelle Shocked’s right up there with the best of them. Arrested way back in 1984 for demonstrating against corporations who sought to buy favours from political powers she...and they for that matter...are still at it today and our ‘chelle was last banged up as recently as November 2011 during the Occupy protests. Her recording career’s been pretty unconventional too, kicking off with the Campfire Tapes which were literally recorded on a Sony Walkman around a campfire one night then initially released without her permission.

Fast Forward (hmmmm...anyone under the age of 30 probably won’t recall the ‘joy’ of having to fast forward a tape) a quarter of a century or so and her gigs still retain that glorious sense of intimacy and spontaneity. After gamely trying to get us to all agree upon and sing a Birmingham folk song (does such a thing exist? I guess it did at one time but whatever it was it’s now sadly long lost) the best someone could come up with was UB40’s Red Red Wine. It’s all part of Shocked’s Folkeoke concept which opens up all the shows on her current tour, the thinking being that the community that sings together sticks together, particularly important during the tough times...and let’s face it these are. It broke the ice nicely though leading into a crowd pleasing run through some well loved Shocked classics including Anchorage, Memories Of East Texas and Graffiti Limbo, a song inspired by the death of Michael Stewart, a young black graffiti artist way back in the 80s (basically he was murdered by the police). Just in case any of us were naive enough to think that such dodgy dealings were stamped out when ol’ Obama came to power she highlighted the current case of Bradley Manning, the whistle blower who revealed some of the US army’s less impressive moments. His reward? Indefinite incarceration in, according to Shocked, some pretty inhuman conditions. Perhaps surprisingly it turns out that Shocked’s no fan of Obama. She’s not got a lot of time for Romney either, wisely figuring that they’re both nothing more than mere puppets anyway.


If all this makes the gig sound about as much fun as box set of Party Political Broadcasts relax, it wasn’t. Like our own St Billy Bragg Shocked has a knack of opening our eyes to the less palatable aspects of society without sending us to sleep. In Shocked’s case it’s her self-deprecating charm and Texan hillbilly drawl that helps the medicine go down and, with the vast majority of the audience clearly more disciples than mere fans, it all went down a treat. She’s as honest as they come too. After a brief intermission (the show lasted over 2 hours) she chatted openly about her current relationship with artist David Willardson. They’ve been together for years following Michelle’s “disastrous” marriage to US journalist Bart Bull. It seems that, despite being loved and in love, Willardson won’t “put a ring on it” and Shocked calmly reflected that his repeated failure to propose might lead to the end of the relationship. It’s a little surprising that she views marriage so seriously but then again maybe you can take the girl outta small town America but not small town America outta the girl eh? 


Aside from group therapy part two focussed on Shocked’s latest project (in collaboration with the marriage-phobic Mr Willardson), Indelible Women. As the title implies it’s a series of portraits – paintings and songs – about women who’ve made a lasting impression on the world. Tonight Michelle unveiled Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, Frida Kahlo and herself (also she failed to sing her own song). It’s perhaps been easy to view Shocked as nothing more than another protest singer, albeit a pretty good one, but these new songs reveal a surprising degree of musical savviness and an innate ability to capture the essence of the subject just as effectively as Willardson’s paintings. The Holiday tune cleverly referenced her theme song, Strange Fruit, the Monroe track had a little of that boopoopadoop-ness that Marilyn used in I Just Want To Be Loved By You and Kahlo’s track captured the tempestuous love affair between her and husband Diego Rivera. Tonight the tunes were just backed by piano and guitar but you can imagine how they’d sound more fleshed out. It could well be the album that makes an equally indelible mark on her career.

New stuff over with there was time for a little more politics and economics, now ain’t the place to go over it but all you really need to know is that the ‘system’s’ as rotten as two week old dead cat in the middle of a Texan heatwave...and ultimately it’s just as likely to survive. Scary stuff eh? The last quarter of the show was request time, with Fogtown, VFD, Winter Wheat, Patch Eye and Meg and On The Greener Side all getting a well appreciated airing. One enthusiastic soul demanded Anchorage...again...and ‘chelle obliged. The crowd soon took over vocal duties though, “You don’t need me” she hollered. Given the obvious love in the room though she couldn’t be more wrong. There was an encore...and boy...what an encore. Moving into the middle of the crowd she sang Steve Goodman’s searing anti war anthem The Ballad Of Penny Evans unaccompanied, her voice a mix of rage, pain and raw power...as devastating a vocal performance as I think I’ve ever heard. ‘Chelle Shocked? You bet. 

PS: By popular demand here's a video...well, more sound than anything else...of the aforementioned Ballad. My pleasure...


video



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Goodnight Lenin’s Cautionary Tale



Are you sitting comfortably? Right, then I’ll begin...once upon a time...oh alright...maybe the idea of you sitting on my knee whilst I read you a story is all a bit Jimmy Saville eh? Anyway, as a bit of a taster for their hotly anticipated debut album (due out next year) Goodnight Lenin release a new single, A Cautionary Tale, through Static Caravan on October 29th. Mastered by John Wood (he’s worked with Nico, Nick Drake and Laughing Lennie Cohen amongst others) it’s a prime slice of Lenin featuring their trademark harmonies, emotionally worldly wise lyrics and nu folk leanings. It’s backed by the equally strong After All We Never Change That Much that you can watch here in its more buck naked, stripped back form.


The band’s been building a great live reputation at festivals and gigs across the country over the past couple of years picking up some impressive reviews along the way. With the frankly mind blowing success of other young folk bands (Mumford & Sons latest album’s the biggest selling release in both the UK and US this year) you wouldn't bet against 2013 being a particularly good year for them. Catch ‘em while you can when they support Dry The River on a couple of dates at the end of the month before heading out on their own tour in November. As is traditional now they also play a hometown Christmas show in Birmingham Cathedral on December 1st (it always sells out so if you want to go book yesterday, okay?). 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

This weekend...Oxjam Brum!


Yep this weekend, Saturday October 13th, sees the annual Oxjam Brum Takeover Event, during which a whole bunch of lovely performers play venues across the city to raise dosh for Oxfam (Oxfam...Oxjam...see what they did there?). With 12 hours of live music, comedy and spoken word from 40 artists across 7 venues there’s a huge range of stuff going on so whatever your taste you’ll find something to love. Well, if you’re after some Christian Acid Techno you might struggle a little but that’s probably your own fault eh? Anyway, get thee over to here for t’wristbands (just £10 in advance) or just turn up on the day and throw money at Team Oxjam Brum (paper money only obviously...those pound coins can sting a bit).

The full line up’s at the Oxjam Brum website but here’s just a trio of treats:


This weekend Paul’s telling stories on a barge moored in the Gas Street Basin...Paul Murphy...telling stories...on a BARGE...awesome.



Tom Peel’s a huge talent and the sooner the rest of the world wakes up and...er...smells him...the better. Catch him at The Sunflower Lounge.


Artful Fall inspired post punk truth n’venom from former Miss Hallewell frontman Miles Perhower (possibly not his real name...), he’ll be kicking against the pricks at the Victoria. 

PS: Even if you can't make the whole day/night some venues are operating a 'pay what you can' system so you can pop in, catch some tunes, empty your wallets and still get home in time for Strictly Come Dancing! 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Prepare to be Shocked...



...Michelle Shocked that is. Yes, the Alt Folk legend's touring the UK at the moment and playing at the Hare and Hounds this Wednesday. Unlike a lot of artists Shocked's kept it real over the years and just last October she was arrested for taking part in the Occupy Los Angeles protest. You go girl...sock it to 'da man' etc etc. I can think of worse places to occupy but there we go. In fact if anyone would like me to occupy somewhere warm and sunny please let me know. Anyway, if you've not seen her before you're in for a treat. Her gigs retain that intimate camp fire vibe that she first made her name with back in the 80s and she's got an enviable back catalogue to dip into. Like this little beauty...



...and this one...



...you get the idea. Tickets available from our chums at World Unlimited (while you're there check out their other gigs too...always got some good stuff on).

Friday, October 05, 2012

Yes...it's another Semi Regular New Music Round up...


Hello dear reader, how’s tricks? Looking good! Actually you look a little tired, been overdoing it again? Still you’re only young once eh? I’d make the most of it if I were you, eat, drink and be merry, well as merry as you can get these days without someone wittering on about liver damage. Good grief, on the one hand the Government’s moaning that we’re all living too long and telling us we’ve got to work until we’re 147 and on the other they want us to stop smoking, drinking, eating, shagging...anything that’s remotely enjoyable in fact. Here’s a new idea...free fags n’booze for anyone who wants ‘em...then anyone who wants to pop their clogs at 37’s free to do so. Voila...what pension crisis. Hmmm...think I might run for Prime Minister...  

Anyway, on with la musica! I do like a good concept behind an album so anyone who comes up with the idea of a greatest hits collection from an imaginary Greek instrumental band of the 60s and 70s gets my vote. That’s the back story dreamt up by Anglo Greek musician Andy Dragazis and, if this track from his imaginary band The Scantharies, is anything to go by it’ll be an oddball freakbeat classic. Air balalaika anyone?


A big slab of progressive house from Raized ByWolves next, hell, it’s the weekend. I fully intend to “lose all control” too, well as much as you can whilst watching the opening episode of Strictly Come Dancing anyway. I’m sooooo street.


Little Boots covers Bronski Beat for another one of those Ministry of Sound Uncovered albums. Surprisingly good...


This chilled out beauty from Aluna George has been playing on 6 Music for a few weeks now but I’ve no idea if it’s seeped out anywhere else. Classy...


Finally, back to the old skool with a track that I’ve been listening to again for the first time in ages...so it’s sort of new...ish. Propaganda’s Duel still sounds amazing three decades or so after its release and now the voice behind the music, Claudia Brucken, is back out on tour for the first time in a squillion years. Check local press for details! Oh right...there ain’t any is there...it’s all internet this, Arsebook that these days. Sigh...I remember when a Curly Wurly was 3p etc etc...drones on for several hours...

    

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

See Young Runaways for FREE!



Young Runaways play a free gig at The Yardbird this Sunday (October 7th). Yes...FREE! If you’ve not seen ‘em before you’re in for a treat, watch the video above for a quick blast of one of my personal favourites. Support comes from the hotly tipped Jacob Banks, St Malo and Darsh

For more info check out our chums at Birmingham Promoters...while you're at it take a look at their listings for the next few months too. Some awesome gigs lined up there...did you catch Savages (they play The Rainbow in Brum on November 6th) on Jools Holland last night? Me like...



Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Wooden Horse...back in the saddle



One of the unexpected highlights of the recent Moseley Folk Festival was Wooden Horse, a duo from Worcester specialising in the kind of tunes you’d expect to hear on the banks of the Mississippi rather than the River Severn. Their fine debut album, What Comes Around, is out now but for an instant introduction to the band their brand new EP’s the perfect to start. Speaking of perfect starts it kicks off with the jaunty You’re In My Heart, a deceptively simple love song that’s as sweet as cotton candy. One for you lovers out there. Next track, He Was A Friend Of Mine has a more country blues feel, with lead vocalist Jamie’s voice audibly cracking with emotion in places whilst the other half of the partnership, Ben, adds some truly authentic southern sounding harp. It’s a measure of their collective skills that this stuff really sounds like it’s from the US, not always an easy trick to pull off. Fans of Seasick Steve will lap up Mean Old Frisco for instance, it's a steel guitar driven belter that rattles along like a runaway train. Boy, you can almost taste the moonshine this dude’s knocking back to drown his sorrows. Last track, Lonesome River, finds the Horse in more reflective mood (moonshine will do that to you) mulling over the loss of a women. Hell, it happens. Where would Country and Blues be without break ups eh? From love to loss, this EP’s got it covered with top notch playing and some equally fine vocal performances. This is one horse, wooden or otherwise, that’s well worth backing. 

Wooden Horse support Joan Armatrading on her tour in October/November and play an intimate gig at the Kings Heath's  Kitchen Garden CafĂ© on Sunday 18th November. 

Monday, October 01, 2012

Marc Almond / Baby Dee @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Friday 28th September 2012



As I always feel compelled to point out every time I post anything about Marc Almond he’s the only artist I’ve stuck with through thick and thin ever since getting into Soft Cell way, way back in 1981 (good grief...) and then reconnecting with him via his solo stuff around the Stories of Johnny album (1985). Marc was my first proper gig too, in 1988 at The Powerhouse, still one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. In the intervening years I’ve seen him play some great shows (12 Years of Tears in Nottingham 1992 for instance) and, sad to say, some stinkers (New Alexandra Theatre 2009). Clearly the near fatal motorcycle crash that he suffered in 2004 had an impact on his ability to perform to his full potential for a while and it’s frankly a miracle that he’s made such an amazing recovery. Allowances can obviously be made for the odd forgotten lyric then. My problem with some of his more recent shows though has been a tendency to camp things up a little too much, changing the lyrics to Mother Fist for example (“when I’m downtown in Birmingham” at the last show I was at...no...for the love of all things holy...please don’t do that). Plus, it has to be said, some of the musicians that he’s worked with on the live shows have, to me at least, seemed a little...well...lacklustre. That’s a huge shame. Look at footage of the recent Meltdown show (in which he played the whole of the Marc and the Mambas classic Torment and Toreros with an orchestra) and it’s clear to see what a difference a really good band can make. So then...the big question...would tonight go in the box marked ‘great Almond shows’ or would it join the pile of ‘oh dear, not again’?



First up Almond’s favourite support act, Baby Dee. Glammed up tonight with Cyndi Lauper’s hair and squeezed precariously into a prom dress she’s one of the most remarkable performers you’re ever likely to see or hear. It’s that voice that gets me or, to be more accurate, those voices...you get at least five for the price of one...occasionally even in the same line of a song. There’s operatic Dee, salty sea dog Dee, great Aunt Dee, Tom Waits Dee, aging sheep Dee...remarkable. Personally I love her and tonight, seated behind a piano in the more up market surroundings of the Symphony Hall, the songs and that voice were simply stunning, from the honky tonk madness of The Only Bones That Show to the Weimer-ish insanity of The Early King. By the way Dee’s back story is crying out for movie treatment. Born a man, worked as an organist at a Catholic church in the Bronx, had a sex change, became a performance artist in Coney Island, worked as a tree surgeon, befriended Anthony Hegarty...and that’s just the stuff on Wikipedia. Now that’s a life.

Anyway, after the delightful Dee time for Marc and tonight we were promised a greatest hits set (this tour was supposed to promote an accompanying album but its release has been delayed until next year). On paper this looked like a mouth watering prospect, an update of arguably his finest live show 1992’s 12 Years Of Tears. Kicking off with a triumphant, celebratory The Stars We Are pretty much set the tone for the whole night. The (in)famous voice was in fine shape, he looked cool as a fresh from the fridge cucumber, the musicians had more oomph (yep, that’s a technical term), the sound was impressive and...oh deep joy...Almond kept the humour for the in between song chatty bits. The choice of material was top notch too, an Almond fan’s wet dream pretty much covering his whole career with a natural focus on his unbelievably fertile early period of 81 – 88 (during which time he released four studio albums with Soft Cell, two double albums with Marc and the Mambas, four solo albums (plus a live album) and three EP’s...phew!). After a moving Always, Almond touchingly dedicated his next song to a fan’s sister, Stephanie, who passed away recently. Singing the line “I fall to my knees” he did just that, clutching his fist to his heart in a rare but potent moment of theatricality. 

Some of the later material, especially the stuff from Enchanted, which sounded a touch overproduced on record benefitted hugely from the more stripped back set up this evening with The Desperate Hours and Waifs and Strays in particular both proving a revelation (although a touch of flamenco on the former wouldn't have been a bad idea). The old diva in him was well and truly back in action too with a much deserved outburst aimed at some people chatting through one of the quieter numbers and one or two latecomers disturbing the mood too. He had a few gripes about the lighting as well. Good to see that fire back in his belly. The mid set trio of tracks from Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters took me lurching back to my teens. Most people have an album that really means something to them and Fist is mine. I was 16 when it came out...always a difficult time for a young chap...and its incredibly atmospheric mix of music and lyrics were a window into some kind of exotic wonderland inhabited by “one legged crooks and Armenian cooks”. Tonight Ruby Red, Melancholy Rose and a gloriously debauched Mother Fist (Almond really gave it a...er...horny quality) recreated that world in a way that his more recent shows had (for me at least) singularly failed to do. You Have, from debut solo album Vermine in Ermine, was as bouncy as ever and as a moving tribute to the recently departed Andy Williams, Almond wheeled out his Happy Heart, kitsch as hell perhaps but all the more joyful for it (check out this You Tubers account for some more great live vids from the current tour by the way).



Someone shouted out for Sex Dwarf but Marc wisely declined “I can’t fit into those leather outfits now!” It’s unlikely he’ll ever revisit the seedier side of Soft Cell again but...ahem...at least we have the videos. Anyway, on to the undisputed highlight of the evening and Almond’s chance to show off his skills as an interpreter of the work of the late, great Jacques Brel with the pairing of If You Go Away and The Bulls. I’m not one for blubbing in public but the performance of If You Go Away this evening left me a little moist. It’s a devastating song anyway but the timing, emphasis on certain words and simple but effective gestures transformed it from mere performance to something far more emotionally compelling. Simply Brel-liant. The Bulls was equally impressive, with Almond almost pawing the ground as he sang, again a subtle thing but when the musical setting’s so stripped back (just Almond with Martin Watkins on piano) less is more. Loved the audience’s screams during the line “The moment of triumph when the girls shout and scream the name of their hero” by the way, perfect timing ladies...and one or two gents too I imagine.

After a quick tour Backstage and the obligatory Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart the first Soft Cell track of the evening reared its head with Where The Heart Is. One of the more neglected Cell singles it’s the perfect example of Almond’s twisted vision of suburbia, a theme that seemed to be something of an obsession for a while (see also Frustration, Seedy Films, Secret Life etc). Less 80s sounding this evening, with more of a 70s feel to the keyboards perhaps, it was followed by a pair of highly successful cover versions in The Days of Pearly Spencer (which reached the dizzy heights of number 4 in the UK charts) and Jacky (number 17 in the charts). Fittingly the night finished with something of a booty shaking (yes, my booty was indeed shaken...I apologise to anyone who got in the way of it) party atmosphere and a crowd pleasing run of Cell classics, Bedsitter, Tainted Love, What!, Say Hello Wave Goodbye and, fresh from Almond’s recent appearance at a T-Rex tribute show, Hot Love (Baby Dee really went for it on this one...you go girl!).  

I’ll admit it, I’d lost a little faith in Marc after the last few shows I’d seen but tonight it was well and truly restored. Admittedly I’d have liked a few more musicians up there, some strings and a bit of brass perhaps, and inevitably there were a few songs that I’d would’ve loved to have heard...no Tears Run Rings for instance, but you can’t fit a thirty year career into a two hour show eh? These are minor quibbles though, tonight was nothing less than a triumphant return to form. Here’s to the next 30 years.

Setlist: The Stars We Are / Always / Hand Over My Heart / The Desperate Hours / Waifs and Strays / Nijinsky Heart / Tenderness Is A Weakness / Ruby Red / Melancholy Rose / Mother Fist / You Have / Happy Heart / If You Go Away / The Bulls / Backstage / Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart / Where The Heart Is / Days Of Pearly Spencer / Jacky / Bedsitter / Tainted Love / What! / Say Hello Wave Goodbye / Hot Love (T-Rex cover)