Thursday, 28 January 2016

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Live Review: The Mission, Wembley Arena, 23rd March, 1990

Photo by Dave Clark

Shomeshing Missioning

Think of the MISSION and up springs the cliches, i.e. the dry ice, dark shades, swirling guitars, and doomy mystical lyrics inspired by something more than a six-pack. True enough there's no smoke without fire but peering through the dry-ice you'll find a little bit more to them than simply a bunch of Goth rockers from oop North.

Their latest platter Carved in Sand, whilst not including anything as transcendental as Beyond the Pale, does indicate a growing maturity and diversity in their music.

However the Mish get off to a leaden start. I suppose trying to warm up at the 'Barn' is akin to warming up in a morgue!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Ten Greatest Scottish Moments in Rock History

As in most things, Scotland has punched well above its weight in the world of rock music, but because rock is an "international language" with a mid-Atlantic twang, much of the Scottishness of Scottish rock gets lost in the mix. But once in a while, now and then, an unmistakable glint of Scottish grit breaks out and reminds people of the provenance of the talent on display. In honour of these electrifying, Scotchifying moments, here is my list of the top ten greatest Scottish moments in rock history in reverse order:

Friday, 15 January 2016


Hollywood Records have been picking up some class acts in America; CIRCLE OF SOUL being one of them. Their debut album Hands of Faith has brought then almost immediate recognition, but they aren[t into being categorized as Dirk Gently found out.

Joie Mastrokalos (right) keeping the funk at arm's length.


It's evening time in the UK, belting it down rain and particularly unpleasant. Joie Mastrakalos, joint vocalist and guitarist with CIRCLE OF SOUL is, however, sitting in an expensive hotel on the beautiful Catalina Island just a few miles off the Los Angeles shoreline, having a damn fine time by all accounts, and spilling the beans down the phone on his new baby, the intriguingly monickered CIRCLE OF SOUL. Quelling my feelings that perhaps I was in the wrong end of this business, it was time to get the tape rolling.

Sunday, 13 December 2015


Photo: Paul Smith
Hammersmith Odeon is "the best f**king venue in the world," and we, the witnesses of SAXON's 10th birthday extravaganza are "the best f**kin' audience in the world." We are told this so many times that it must be true, mustn't it? What is true is that the Hammy Odeon is synonymous with rock n' roll, and Saxon are masters of the art, and this being the aforementioned anniversary renders it a special occasion. But is all this pandering to the myth necessary?

Tonight we are given the works. All the cliches are here, and very well they done they are too! SAXON however are capable of more than this! This is show for show's sake. Give us the riffs for f**ks sake. Tonight we are being taken over the top to schmaltzville, when the fact is the music can more than stand up for itself!

Meanwhile back to the set. Heavy Metal Thunder roars through the smoke, all good driving bass and twin guitar stuff. The dynamics of the music work well, as on through the repertoire we roll. These guys know what they're doing.

Saturday, 5 December 2015


Having only seen the whirling dervish stage persona of NAKED TRUTH's demented vocalist Doug Watts, I was rather taken aback on meeting this incredibly laid back and charming being. Sprawled across a vast sofa and glued to MTV in their West London studio. Ever noticed how schizophrenia seems to strike down singers?!

With their first UK support tour under their belts, even though it was somewhat mismatched (DISNEYLAND AFTER DARK) I mean, come on whose idea was that?), and their hard-hitting first album Green With Rage, just released on Sony Music, it was time to get to grips with Doug and get the whys, wherefores, 'who the hell do you tour with next' lowdown on this far-out and fucked-up hardcore band.

Thursday, 26 November 2015


Caught in the Kross Fire

Gere's telling me the one about the guy who used to come into hospital with Barbie Doll heads stuck up his ass! No, it's not a joke. Just another anecdote-friendly piece of LA trivia. Gere Fennelly, the keyboardist, is "the sweetest," "most classically-trained," and, as she says herself, "The toughest bitch in the band." 

"You're the only bitch in this band," Eddie Kurdziel, the bearded guitarist snipes as we drive through London's Kings Cross en route from hotel to the venue in Islington. 
Is that a little tension I detect beneath the jovial banter between these two comparatively new band members? Along with Brian Reitzell (drums), they've only been in the band for the last two or three years

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Album Review: Biffy Clyro "Only Revolutions"

In these days of short attention spans and homogenized musical gunk, it's reassuring to see the Scottish alt-rockers get within touching distance of the rock summit without sugarcoating their uniquely restless and oddball sound.

Thursday, 22 October 2015


Critically acclaimed Canadian rockers MINDSTORM will be here touring through November and December, out to promote a strikingly powerful second album Back To Reality . Influenced by classic outfits of the seventies, like ZEPPELIN they also sometimes wonder into the more progressive movements offered by YES and GENESIS. Although described as Heavy Rock, they display a clever knowledge of rock music's more intricate past and become an act worthy of note.

Fronted by vocalist and principal writer Travis Mitchell, they are combining their influences with the individual blend of their own style. 

Sunday, 11 October 2015


Orit Arfa, Settler Slut for Greater Israel

Last year, following her now-infamous appearance on the VMAs, I weighed in on Miley Cyrus's pop-culture galvanizing antics, which could be summarized as a liberal indulgence in "retarded sexuality and bad poetry," as one notable critic of the legendary Brit-metal band Spinal Tap might have put it.

At the time, I was none-too-approving of the once-Miss Montana's full-on meth-whore act. But now I suppose I have to make something of an about-face, and give Miley her props. I assailed her lack of imagination in recapitulating yet again the all too familiar sexed-up, good-girl-gone-bad routine, but it seems that her last two videos have apparently had such a far-reaching effect that they now may alter the future of the Holy Land, perhaps even ushering in Armageddon and the End of Days, which might just endear her to the same evangelical Christian population in America that she alienated so badly by her performance at the VMAs.

Monday, 5 October 2015


This was one of the press images I received when doom rockers Cathedral played a few shows in Japan, back in 2011, a few months after the country was struck by a major earthquake.

Friday, 2 October 2015


Bloody typical! Kaiser Chief’s best album is their poorest selling. 2011’s Future Is Medieval was the band’s fourth album. In America it was entitled (oddly) Start the Revolution Without Me with changes in the songs selected and their running order. It seems that, behind the scenes, elements in the record company were shitting bricks. Or maybe this was just a record company ploy to sell two albums to every American fan.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Grand Avenue is still one of rock’s best kept secrets. It's hard to explain why a band that does what Coldplay does (that is, channel U2 and other '80s stadium rockers) but does it better is still so unknown.

Saturday, 12 September 2015



Fame may have been a long time a-coming for SOUL ASYLUM but having achieved worldwide success with their last album, they look set to build on it with their latest release Let Your Dim Light Shine!