LCD Soundsystem, Joe Goddard at The Warehouse Project, Manchester 17/09/2017

LCD Soundsystem prove that their comeback isn’t a fickle effort with smash show at The Warehouse Project. Jack Cinnamond has the words. 

“That’s how it starts…” frontman James Murphy graciously exclaims during the band’s final song of tonight’s two hour hit-filled set on the band’s second Warehouse Project show this weekend. 

The scene was set from walking into the air-raid shelter turned car park turned Victoria Warehouse to the sounds selected by opening DJ Shit Robot who plays between sets with his dance mixes. 

It’s a calm atmosphere to be honest, everybody seems set for James Murphy & co. while they catch a drink and chat during Shit Robot

Joe Goddard, photography courtesy of The Warehouse Project.

The night gets warmer with a under anticipated support slot by Hot Chip‘s Joe Goddard. Let’s be fair, despite being a Hot Chip fan I wasn’t necessarily expecting much from Goddard‘s solo set but he blew the room away with his part-live-part-DJ set. 

Joe gave us a solid forty five minutes of tracks from his solo albums and most specifically his latest effort Electric Lines, which gained a “album of the year” chant from some attendees. 

Coming up to just past 9pm, Murphy & co. waltz on stage before cracking open with “Get Innocuous!“. Since their comeback, LCD Soundsystem have been keen to show their no longer their “Shut Up and Play The Hits” selves, tonight they show that from the moment they walk on.

After saying “hello” in James Murphy‘s loveable way, he introduces us to the band before delving into the set with fan-favourite “I Can Change” quickly followed by “Call The Police“, off the band’s return album American Dream. Noting the album, the band’s first songs since their inevitable return go down like a storm tonight, each brilliantly landing. 

LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang, photography courtesy of The Warehouse Project.

Which is no surprise, LCD Soundsystem have always been a beloved band by their fans. They’d do anything for Murphy, and to  pay them back of sorts he’s never played it slow on new material. 

Over the next hour, they smash-out wall-to-wall classics from the punky “Yr City’s A Sucker” to “Yeah” and we’ve never seen a band so on-fire. The band inform us that they’ll take a short-break “to pee” after a few songs. 

…and so they run down, leading with the new sarcastic anthem “Tonite“, still beautiful “Someone Great” backed with “Home” before bowing out with the now rarity “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down“, which they didn’t play the night before. 

The haunting, adoring song became LCD’s mainstay balled in the streaming world following their farewell concert and still brings emotion, even to those who have never visited the city in question. 

The band take their well deserved break, as hilariously “Spanish Flea” plays in the back. It’s minutes and they’re back. 

The band play one final song from their new album, the brilliant “Emotional Haircut” before their final two. 

Once again, LCD shows what they’re made of and it’s not a cliche thought that the band are back and “making waves” so to speak. The truth is, they are as relevant today as they’ve been since “Losing My Edge“. They didn’t stop being relevant when they stopped being a band. 

Thus they show us once again that they are relevant by hitting us with calm-before-storm hit “Dance Yrself Clean” which becomes a throbbing, quite-pummelling number. 

LCD Soundsystem, photography courtesy of The Warehouse Project.

It’s damaging, quite marvlous and what we wanted from the band. Finally, we get “All My Friends” which becomes a free-for-all dance party that actually leads to Murphy yelling “wow” to his band mates. The crowd came for them, and they gave everything. You can’t fault the band’s performance, especially tonight. 

Words by Jack Cinnamond, all photography courtesy of The Warehouse Project

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For One Night Only – Dave Gilmour: Live at Pompeii – Review

On the 13th September 2017, cinemas around the UK and many more around the world hosted the only cinematic performance of Dave Gilmour: Live in Pompeii, the film of a concert by the legendary Pink Floyd guitarist and his band, which took place in the ancient amphitheatre of Pompeii on the 7th July 2016.
Gilmour’s concert was the first public event to take place there since 789 AD although Pink Floyd played in the amphitheatre (with no audience) in 1971 for Adrien Maben’s film Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii.

Unlike Maben’s film, which was shot in daylight over the course of a week with no lighting effects, no audience and no stage, the new film, directed by Gavin Elder showed no such restraint. Dave Gilmour’s full stage show with lights fireworks, lasers and a huge circular screen showing animations were captured by cameras all around and above the amphitheatre and across the city. 

Elder’s brilliant direction picked out musicians and their instruments from all angles to ensure that every aspect of the performance was brought to the cinema audience. The sound quality was also excellent and although Elder’s film is artistically nowhere near as ambitious as its predecessor, it was entirely successful in transporting the cinema audience into that amphitheatre.

Musically speaking, Gilmour’s seven-piece piece band and three singers gave the kind of slick, professional performance that we have come to expect. If you need you music to be anarchic, angry and unpredictable then perhaps Gilmour is not for you. If, however, you appreciate a tight, driven band and inspirational musicianship, then this band then Dave Gilmour’s band ticks all those boxes. Gilmour’s signature guitar playing lived up to all expectations and on those songs where his 71-year-old voice has begun to struggle, he is happy to share vocals with other band members.

The track listing generally reflects the list for the rest of Gilmour’s 2016 tour with a mixture of classic Pink Floyd tracks and his solo work including tracks from the 2016 album Rattle That Lock. The only track that survived from the earlier film was One of the Days.

The newer material is always going to suffer by comparison to the classic tracks from Pink Floyd’s long and illustrious career but they come across well in this film, largely because of the performance of the musicians. “Rattle that Lock” and “What Do You Want From Me” were received enthusiastically in the amphitheatre but felt very much like an hors d’euvre.

As the evening progressed, Pink Floyd classics began to come thick and fast. “Wish You Were Here“, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, “Run Like Hell” and “The Great Gig in the Sky” were all performed perfectly before a glorious finale of “Time” and “Comfortably Numb“.

Neither the concert nor the film provided any surprises. There were no guest appearances or revelations from the stage. It was a straightforward concert film, but a very good one that delivered as both a concert and a film.

The CD, DVD, vinyl and box-set all go on sale on the 19th September. They won’t provide the experience of being in the cinema (which certainly felt like an occasion) but hopefully they will come close.

The Jesus and Mary Chain Play O2 Academy Next Week

Legendary Scottish alternative rockers The Jesus and Mary Chain are set to play the O2 Academy next week.

The band will play the O2 Academy on Thursday September 21st in support of their first album in 19 years Amputation

The welcomed return album from the band was produced by Killing Joke‘s Youth. The band will also be supported by hotly-tipped locals Sugarmen

Photography by Mel Butler.

Interview with CJ Ramone

CJ Ramone played The Magnet earlier this month and beforehand, SFN‘s Pip Johnson had a little chat with the legendary Ramone.

SFN – You’ve just released your third solo album American Beauty and and it’s gotten a lot of great reviews around the board. While the Ramones have been disbanded for 22 years this year, do you think it’s on your shoulders to carry the Ramones legacy?

CJ – “I guess in some ways I feel like its my responsibility to kinda carry it on, i really came back to playing music because after the band retired there was so much negative stuff said about them in books and movies it bothered me that there legacy seem to be reduced to a soap opera y’know and the only way i could change that would be to get out and remind people what made the Ramones great.”

SFN – To give an image of what they where actually like?

CJ – “Yeah yeah, because I mean being in the business as long as I have I’ve met a lot of bands that are assholes and its just like every other part of the population and the guys weren’t represented fairly I think there was a lot of opinions put out there but my interactions with them where on a daily bases, I feel like I know them probably better than most. so everybody kind of has there opinion but i feel like mine was a little bit more objective.”

SFN – How do you think the Ramones legacy lives up today?

CJ – “There music I think y’know, kind of speaks for itself that people still wanna listen to it and wanna hear it. I think there as classic as your gonna get y’know, they where one of a kind.”

SFN – Like they where the godfathers of punk-rock?

CJ – “Yup, exactly y’know all the things you’ve heard before but the music is great, i still listen to it myself.”

SFN – Your new record American Beauty has some brilliant backing talent on it, what was it like working with The Adolescent‘s Steve Soto and members of The Street Dogs?

Steve and I have been friends for a long time we did, I played this thing together for a lil’ while, I played in his band 22 Jacks on one one tour back in ’99, he’s great to work with, he’s a professional, he’s unbelievably talented, he’s got a great voice, great song writing skills so he’s a real good, really good guy to have around.”

Pete Sosa from The Street Dogs is 100% pro, he just comes in and busts it out, not a lot of rehearsing goes on he’s y’know he’s just a real solid drummer plus the great thing about both guys is there both great guys and i get along with both of them well.” 

“That’s one good thing about being in the biz this long is that I get to work with people I like and thats kinda how , I try to surround myself with people I like.”

SFN – The album features your heartfelt dedication to Tommy Ramone, what’s your favorite memory of Tommy?

CJ – “I think what Tommy said about me at the Ramones induction into the [Rock and Roll] Hall of Fame, he was the only guy that even mentioned me, when the Ramones where inducted into the Hall of Fame and being that Tommy is the guy who really is the creator he came up with the look and the sound, told everyone what instrument they play, everything. He’s really the guy. so hearing him saying that was pretty darn impressive. That was and completey unexpected, I had no idea he was gonna mention me, so thats probably the best memory of Tommy.”

SFN – Do you remember the story of when Tommy read you the rules of the road? (No partying, no drinks, no drugs, no glue sniffing?)

CJ – “It’s funny by the time i got into the band there was no partying, there was no nothing. nobody in the band did anything, i was pretty much the only on, of course I had many a night that of partying myself y’know probably one of the funnest, best nights I’ve had was, we where shooting the video for “Substitute” and Lemmy [of Motörhead] was in the video and after the video shoot Lemmy and I, two young ladies went out and had a bit of a party together and we went back  to my hotel and continued the party there but that was probably one of the best nights of partying I had.”

SFN – You’ve been known to play some great Ramones deep cuts in your live sets, are there any Ramones songs this year that you’re playing for the first time or are you sticking with what you think works?

CJ – “We are doing “Sit In My Room” this year, we are doing “Swallow My Pride” and I’ve played them in the past but not in a long time. We are doing “Outsider“, I try to pull out some deep cuts especially from the periods that weren’t represented in the Ramones set. “Outsider” was off Subterranean Jungle I don’t think the Ramones played anything off that record, so I try to mix it up a little bit and most of them are my favourites so it feels good doing them.”

SFN – Your work with the Ramones revitalized the band for some of their best work. You were even responsible for “The Spider-Man Theme” cover on Mondo Bizarre, how did that come about? 

CJ – “I had, I was a big Tom Waits fan, I had wanted to, I had submitted a Tom Waits song for one of the records, I think it might Mondo Bizarro or something but Joey wasn’t a fan so second time around when we where lining up songs for the the last record I talked to Joey who had became a fan, a Tom Waits fan and I told Joey to submit the song because it carried more weight then I would vote for it and I knew Mark would vote for it so, we got it on the record.”

SFN – Finally a silly question, is punk rock dead?

CJ – “Is punk dead? not as long as I’m out playing it *laughs*  not in my personal opinion, y’know it’s probably like everything else watered down somewhat and kinda become cliched in some ways and what not but I think it’s still pretty solid, I still hear good punk bands coming out.”

“The scene defiantly has contracted, it was huge in the 90s but I’m of the opinion that punk-rock never really belonged in stadiums, it’s almost contradictory for punk rock to to be in stadiums but I like playing in the sized venues that I play, I feel like that’s more punk rock and it’s got nothing to do with the money that’s made or anything like that but the really punk rock spirit isn’t really, there can’t be that many people into it, most people just following the trend. It’s been put in there ears so much on the radio and everything else but I like punk, I like playing punk in the smaller places y’know 100-150 kids that’s a good size room you can really feel the difference in the energy too.”

SFN – It’s better to play to 500 hundred than 10,000 when the 500 know you and are there for the music.

CJ – “Yeah defiantly and I’ve done both, I’ve played big giant festivals. I always kinda found them boring y’know the crowd is 30 feet away from you, there’s daylight and I never really dug it.”

Interview conducted by Pip Johnson, Words by Jess Sharpe and edited by Jack Cinnamond. Special thanks to CJ Ramone and The Magnet.

The The Announce Live Comback For June 2018

The The have announced their first live performances in sixteen years to take place next June in Denmark and London.

The band have confirmed that they will preform for the first time since their farewell at David Bowie‘s Meltdown Festival in 2002 with two dates next year. 

The first is a headline appearance at the Heartland Festival in Denmark on June 1st and the other at the Royal Albert Hall on June 5th. 

Accompanying this will be a brand new three-album box set from the band. The box set contains three albums, The End Of The Day (featuring songs, interpretations and performances), The Inertia Variations (featuring poetry, soundscapes and spoken word), and finally Midnight to Midnight (with electronic scores, political commentaries and broadcasts).

The return follows on from The The‘s first release in fifteen years on Record Store Day earlier this year with “We Can’t Stop What’s Coming“, featuring former The The guitarist Johnny Marr.

Wife, Salt The Snail, Forever in Debt, Drop The Dumbulls 09/09/2017

Society of Losers bring a fiery bill to Drop The Dumbulls to celebrate the release of Wife‘s first label EP and we sent along Pip Johnson to catch the noise. 

You’re always in for a treat when Society of Losers organise an event and this time it was no different. With a launch party for Wife’s new EP Cake Ahead and Forever In Debt and Salt The Snail as Support it really was a great party. 

Forever in Debt, photography by Pip Johnson.

Going into Drop The Dumbulls you did not know who the opening act was going to be as
the members of Salt The Snail and Forever in Debt were going to flip a coin to decide who
would play first, Salt The Snail won, so Forever In Debt were first. They brought their dark
grunge style which was a nice match way to open the night and got us ready for the night.  

Salt The Snail, photography by Pip Johnson.

Next up was obviously Salt The Snail. They brought their usual larger than life set, with
frontman Krystian running around while pumping out their punk sound. Much like many
other salt the snail sets, the set list was completely random with Krystian throwing paper
aeroplanes into the audience with song titles written on them. Salt The Snail are always a
joy to watch no matter what as they bring a type of joy to shows which not many other bands do.  

Wife, photography by Pip Johnson.

Finally it was time for the main act, Wife! Wife are one of our cities best up and coming
band. Playing a set mixed with songs from their EP Cake Ahead and other songs not
included on it, they had the audience hooked from start to finish with everyone in the
audience of all ages enjoying the pure noise/grunge they were witnessing. Their set was an
amazing experience and prove that the city is never short of fresh talent around any corner. 

Words and photography by Pip Johnson.

Manchester Psych Fest, 02/09/2017

Backed with his a mid-1980s Canon loaded with film, a low ISO rating with long exposure times and colour flash, and a notepad, Liam Moody stepped into the psychedelic world of Manchester Psych Fest.

“Psychedelia” is one of those terms that for the most part has not aged well- the immediate image that comes to mind is that of the aged hippy still decked out in paisley and corduroy, brain synapses fried from overuse of hallucinogenics. However, over the past few years, the style and idea of psychedelic has had something of a reevaluation and rebirth, with several nascent acts taking cues from all points within the psyche spectrum. The Manchester Psych Festival is a celebration of this, taking places across 3 venues within the Northern Quarter.

(Note- the perils of undertaking a multi-venue festival job solo. Not every band could be seen- some sacrifices had to be made, unfortunately, and the main idea was to keep relatively balanced between the three venues- it was a shame, as I would have liked to have seen Flamingods but they clashed with the main stage headline act.)

1st Element- Night & Day Cafe

Legendary indie venue, able to shrug off even the most strongly-worded neighbour noise complaints, is where the day begins.

Venue DJs- Bleached (who receive 10 points for playing “The Seeming And The Meaning” by Stereolab, and a further 10 for The ByrdsFeel A Whole Lot Better“)

The festival openers are an almost perfect encapsulation of the new wave of psyche acts at the moment, Freakout Honey. With a mixture of jangling 12-string guitars, powerful Joplin-esque vocals and warm analogue keys, Freakout Honey had the crowd on-side from the very start with a mixture of late 60s pop- hitting many of the genre’s cornerstones on the way. fuzzed-out spacey jams spiralling ever outwards, a two-chord structure built on the continuous tension and release. The set, while short, was eaten up by the crowd- everything one would want to set the scene for the day.

Freakout Honey, photography by Liam Moody.
A guitarist wearing a shining white monk’s robe and headdress. A singer clad in torn-apart, reappropriated scraps of cloth. A bass guitarist obscured by a headscarf and mirrored sunglasses. On appearance alone, it would seen that with new band, Mother, we have entered the more avant-garde end of the psyche spectrum. 

Mother, photography by Liam Moody.

Opening with nothing more than a soft synthetic drone and gentle voice, Mother initially seem to inhabit the same plane of existence as Velvet Underground’s ‘Sunday Morning’. The otherworldly calmness doesn’t last as electronically-assisted tribal drumming and sound manipulations swirling underneath plaintive vocals and vaguely Eastern guitar figures shine through the sea of noise, like a distant tribe’s temple hidden within a jungle, abandoning civilisation with nothing more than a supply of LSD and musical instruments. A little bit of audience participation came about with the use of bubbles, which added to the freewheeling spirit of Mother- behind the claustrophobic sound collages and dark tribal patterns, there was a sense of innocence and playfulness.

Mother, photography by Liam Moody.

Night & Day started off strong and seemed to get even busier during the second half of Mother’s set, but at this time, we head underground…

2nd Element- Soup Kitchen

A venue literally underground, underneath it’s namesake, Soup Kitchen already had a different atmosphere to Night & Day. Perhaps it was the lack of natural light, but the acts here were louder, more brazen, more aggressive than before.

 Venue DJs- Beat Chics (who receive minus 15 points for playing the awful 1991 remix of “Think“. Sorry, but no.)

Taking the stage as were riot grrrl act Pink Kink were not a type of artist that would be associated with a psychedelia festival. A fired-up, propulsive outfit doling out sub-2-minute bursts of razor-sharp kinetic energy- garage punk backed with Chicano and surf styles (lots of Dick Dale-style guitar workouts and clattering surf-rock beats), the band were pretty much non-stop on stage. 

Pink Kink, photography by Liam Moody.

The word of the day for the would be ‘tight’- close harmonies occasionally descending into shouting and wiry guitar riffs needling through their songs, Pink Kink may not have been psych, but far more important than any stylistic viewpoint, they were fun.

Pink Kink, photography by Liam Moody.
Evil Blizzard have established themselves as something of a cult act, with fans such as Mark E. Smith and John Robb, they took to the stage with a huge support. The drum-and-bass act (literally- they are a band composed of 5 bass guitarists and a drummer) took to the stage, masked and costumed, to venomous boos and fingers from the crowd- and of course, they gave back. What can only been described as a sonic onslaught followed- two of the bass’ taking the place of severely downtuned guitars, Evil Blizzard are a mixture of heavy stoner rock with dub reggae influences- think Kyuss covering Hawkwind after a night of listening to PiL’s Metal Box on repeat. 

Evil Blizzard, photography by Liam Moody.

Underneath the aggression (both musically and as a theatrical act), there’s a keen sense of melody and countermelody as the twin leads intertwine with one another to an almost liquid degree. The use of a customised theremin made from a doll’s head- yet another gimmick within the band’s arsenal of gimmicks- allowed even more crowd interaction as it was passed through the front row, by now a state of complete chaos- a whirling frenzied mass of humanity- as the music gradually devolved into pure noise. Intense. Very intense. The perfect antithesis to the preconceived notions that psychedelic is a peace-and-love style and mentality.

Evil Blizzard, photography by Liam Moody.

3rd Element- Band On The Wall

The main stage for the Psych Fest, Band On The Wall has had a long, varied history as a live music venue in the city. A much larger stage and capacity than either Night & Day or Soup Kitchen, but still just as intimate.

Venue DJs- Electric Jug (who receive 10 points for playing “Ghost Rider” by Suicide…but minus 20 points for playing a snippet of “V-2 Schneider” by David Bowie for only the briefest of moments as a transition between two songs. Don’t dangle the carrot, guys!) 

The Telescopes are an interesting band- the halfway point between Cocteau Twins-style dreampop and harder-edged shoegazing. Building up from the get-go via a looped piece of feedback and effect-laded guitar, encircling and melting into itself. 

The Telescopes, photography by Liam Moody.

Repetitive propulsive drums accompany layers of noise, washing over and around the crowd, as wordless vocals slowly mutate from sighs and whispers into screams, echoing into the infinite and growing to face-melting volume…or more accurately, face-splitting, as singer Stephen Lawrie accidentally pulled the microphone stand apart and smashing the mic into his mouth, losing the tooth and a little blood in the process but never missing a step. 

The Telescopes, photography by Liam Moody.

As well as tracks from their first two classic albums, The Telescopes played material from their latest LP, As Light Return, which showed than even after 30 years, they are still a force to be reckoned with- with hypnotic drones that almost cause mind to start picking out melodies that are not there, and Kevin Shields-inspired feedback assaults eventually forgoing anything even remotely resembling a song- paring down to cymbals, looping white noise and the deeply-buried screams of a soul trapped in music, yearning to be free.

The stage was set for the main event of the festival, the angular art-pop of Teleman, playing deceptively simple danceable indiepop with hidden depths courtesy of electronic elements- robotic pulses augmenting post-disco four-to-the-floor drums underneath crystalline guitars- each element working with machinelike precision, designed for dancefloors.

Teleman, photography by Liam Moody.

The psychedelia elements kept to a relative minimum, at times manifesting itself in extended jam sequences (such as in the song “Dropout“), stretching out like an empty desert highway for miles. The audience- possibly still somewhat frazzled by The Telescopes blistering set- lapped up this change of pace and style, and made Teleman incredibly welcome- so much that during their finale, “Not In Control“, singer/guitarist Thomas Sanders couldn’t help himself from leaping into the crowd, still playing guitar, while the rest of band looked on, grinning all the while. A perfect, upbeat end to the day.

Words and photography by Liam Moody. You can see more of Liam‘s work here.