Tag Archives: London

ALBUM OF WEEK 14: EASY TIGER

I’ve just realized I’m too late updating the album of the week. This time you can blame Easter and my 11-day holidays for it. Yesterday at the office I took a look at the wall calendar and discovered this is week 17!

I’ve been listening to much random stuff which makes a bit difficult to decide which album to talk about, especially because I’ve also been recovering some old ones such as Blues Funeral, Hearts & Arrows, Death & Joy and I’m still hooked to Earth Rocker and Clutch in general.

Finally I’ve chosen Easy Tiger as the album of the week.

easy tiger

For many it’s not one of his finest works, however this was the definite album which finally defined me as a diehard fan of the artist, together with the following EP released, Follow The Lights / Everybody Knows. Moreover, I buried the hatchet at the end of the same year both were released, 2007, when I attended a beautiful performance of Adams with The Cardinals at Hammersmith Apollo in London. The show lasted more than 2 hours and including the encore, they played 29 songs. Believe me, it was a great evening!

Another funny fact I’ve just remembered is that I didn’t buy this album, he #whocannotbenamed gave me this album, together with Neil Young’s After The Goldrush (one of my favorite of Young’s)as sort of, allow me to be cruel, a consolation prize when we (he) broke up, probably because he was feeling guilty, and on the other hand as a symbol of something we loved so much. It also made me realize I had to start my new collection of records because I was losing access to hundreds of CDs at that instant. Luckily I’m not the kind of person who hates and tries to avoid any kind of music which I might relate to my ex, otherwise I’d be fucked by now, which is not the case.

Sooooooo, yeah, let’s get back on track. Easy Tiger is actually a very easy listening work. I find it a good one to start with Ryan Adams if you haven’t done it yet. Short and simple songs, yet beautiful pieces, define this album. Acoustic guitars to fall in love with in These Girls. Neal Casal’s  adorable backing vocals in Oh My God, Whatever, Etc., again proving that Casal-Adams is one of my favorite musical tandems (can’t get enough!). The fantastic development f very evocative atmospheres thanks to the arrangements made with pedal steel parts and banjos in Tears of Gold or Pearls on a Strings.

And then, in capital letters I must remark Two, Everybody Knows  and a quite often forgotten pearl, Rip Off. I find its final part subtle magic with that killer piano in crescendo.

Easy Tiger is an album you can listen to any time, but for a more pleasant experience I suggest you listen to it in a nostalgic or a bit low mood. I don’t know, its songs bring relief o something like that. It has that dreamy thing that makes you sighto feel completely relaxed right after. And from time to time that mini emotional release cannot be bad for your health, don’t you think?

FU MANCHU VOWS RENEWED WITH THE ACTION IS GO!

Some months ago I told you about me attending Fu Manchu’s The Action is Go 15th anniversary show in London. Well, as it’s always been said, what’s worth enjoying takes its time to arrive, and once here, the pleasure it causes is very intense but too brief.

I purchased tickets for this show mentioned early March, and since then many things have occurred. The event took place on Saturday evening, and I’m already back home, relived after resting in my own bed (God bless!). 36 hours invested in London, just to see one of my favorite bands’ live show. Likely you think I’m nuts, and this has been an excess, a whim, but you know, this is the way I am, and this show was something I couldn’t miss, for many reasons, some of them personal, as to close a circle which started in London, in 1999. You can call it nostalgia for the good old times. I won’t disagree. As explained, my love for Fu Manchu started with this album.

Everything had been quietly arranged in advance, with my favorite gig flash trip partner, Verónica, who’s also devoted to the Orange County boys. A low cost stay in London for a couple of nights being Saturday the day to wander around. I’ll explain about meeting London later on, because I have many feelings which need to be processed first.

Saturday arrived and we spent most of the day walking and enjoying one of the coolest and most beautiful days I’ve ever remembered in the city. We’re not used to early scheduled shows and as the doors opening were announced at 6pm, we managed to be around early, so we could be told the actual hours and the name of the supporting band.

I also had a very important target to accomplish, which was to purchase the limited re-edition of The Action is Go gatefold album, in red and blue vinyl. I HAD to have it, since I wanted it for so many years, and wouldn’t allow it to run out in front of my eyes. I’d feel miserable. So I had to make sure I could get it and keep things under strict control. After a beer at a pub nearby, with full of people watching soccer and long haired guys in rock-metal t-shirts likely to be also attending the show, we got in the venue.

I was frisked in a way I had to ask the security lady what she was looking for. She didn’t care about my camera, but opened and registered my wallet, looking for drugs (!!!). I couldn’t believe it.

Once in and after our visit to the merch stand, we were finally ready for the show. The Shrine, a Venice Beach trio, were the opening band. This punk-hard-heavy-metal-rock band, delivered several powerful tunes from his recently released album Primitive Blast, for half an hour, starting to warming up the audience, quite large, considering there was still an hour before Fu Manchu hit the stage. Their performance was really solid and the tunes were quite good. Wild riffs, very influenced by metal 70’s bands, and their song quite punk speed,  their formula is likely to hook many new fans during this tour, as they sounded very intense and fun, and songs were catchy. These young guys confessed being  pretty stoked for this  first time in Europe, and super honored to open for Scott Hill’s band.

Quarter past 8, Islington Academy sold out. Tony Alva’s aka The Action is Go skater’s anniversary design banner shining on top of the stage, everybody is nervous, we are in second row, in front of Brad Davis, the bass player, and we’re excited and hysterical.

It was kinda obvious the hit which would open the show, Evil Eye. In fact, they followed the correct track list, with no changes. The audience got crazy with Burning Road, Laserb’last and Strolling Astronomer, and I was delighted, singing and dancing nostop. Fortunately there was not massive mosh pit, as the last times I had seen them in Spain, and even though we received some shoves, it wasn’t too dramatic nor unbearable, and could remain in our current position for the whole show.

More fuzz and distortion than ever, Scott Hill and his poses, with his Fender Jaguar and his SSD classic see-through guitar, seemed to be really happy for being in London, as this is a very special city for them. Davis seemed more histrionic and funnier than usual, having Coronas all the time, Balch, as usual, playing his riffs in another planet, and, Oh God! Scott Reeder, the drummer (reminds me of Guy Pearce, by the way), playing sharp and accurate, yet with this groove, he was awesome. With the voice delay effect, the fuzz and other distort pedals beyond my knowledge, those slower tempo tunes, there were very lysergic moments creating a dreamy atmosphere. Some other times they were groove as Hell making audience dance merciless as if in a kind of celebration. So damn cool!

When they came back to stage to play the encore, we were all uncontrolled. Hill asked which songs we’d like them to play fo the night, and obviously we wanted all of them, but finally the winners were real Fu Manchu anthems: California Crossing, King of the Road, and the acid trip of Godzilla. What can I say? When the show was over, and the roadie guy attended my request of having Bob Balch’s set list (Hell Yeah!) I was plain and simply happy. I couldn’t care less about the rest of the world. I had seen Fu Manchu for the 9th time in my life and the show had been one of the most intense and fun I had enjoyed. The feeling of being in London, listening to The Action is Go songs, and then meeting Ben and Joe from Orange Goblin as it used to happen when I was living there, brought me back a familiar feeling as recovering those good old times I enjoyed in London 12-14 years ago. Time’s passed, but I had the same feelings and my mind was as fresh as young as back then. It was wonderful.

Thus, on Saturday I renewed my Fu Manchu fan vows for at least another 15 more years, and now it’s time to wait for a new album, said to be released next year, and the 15th anniversary of the wild King of the Road. In Spain? I don’t think so, the band seemed to lack motivation when playing if front of barely 100 people, and it’s justified they don’t feel like coming back here. Spain, musically speaking, and with pain in my heart, we get what we deserved, and sometimes even more.

Hail to Fu Manchu, one more time! Hope to see you soon, in London, Tokyo, LA… with you, anything goes, dear friends!

ALBUM OF WEEK 28 – BUCKCHERRY

The album of the week section is being a bit chaos lately. My apologies, I’ll try to update as quick as possible and get back into track.

Buckcherry’s self titled debut album is a very special one. I don’t listen to it entirely very often, nowadays, but there was a time I couldn’t live without it.

I got the picture. Spring 1999, my favorite London spot, The Intrepid Fox in Wardour St, drinking pints as if there was no tomorrow, and hard rock heating the atmosphere. You know, Skid Row, Mötley Crüe, some Guns n’ Roses…great vibes.

Those were the times of the rising hegemony of the Scandinavian punk rock movement, with Backyard Babies, The Hellacopters, Hardcore Superstar or my beloved Gluecifer, and really, there was a kind of hard rock spirit revival.

The Fox was the hottest rock pub back then, a place where you could see leather, leopard, tattoos, beards, punk, stoner, goth and heavy metal crowds. It was my second house, warm and smelly, and packed most of times.

On any random crazy evening, all of a sudden LIT UP caught my attention. What was that? It’s new, sounds powerful and the chorus, which immediately became a party anthem, repeating  “I Love the Cocaine, I Love the Cocaine, Mama Can’t You wait?”.

Buckcherry was top 1 in our narrow rockin’ world overnight. I purchased the CD at Virgin for 10.99 pounds. Still got that copy and the price sticker on it, ha! If you think about it, it was quite expensive 13 years ago. Guess UK has always been like that, but when working and earning their way, you don’t seem to notice. Buckcherry was played at any venue I used to hang out.

My only Reading Festival experience, in August 99, featured Backyard Babies followed by Buckcherry, among other bands. I attended these shows with my friend Cristina, and we hadn’t slept but for an hour, as we had one of these crazy Friday nights. In fact we were still under the influence and managed to enter a 1,5l bottle full of calimocho (red wine and coca-cola) in to the festival facilities. The moment with the guy at the entrance asking what was that and sniffing, unable to identify the drink, was hilarious. We saw both shows in first rows and a bunch of Australian guys took us under their protection and built a human barrier surrounding us, keeping us away from the horrible and violent mosh pits during the two shows. Gotta tell you they were very intense and were excellent. The experience was a blast, but after sweating the shit out of ourselves, and with the arrival of a massive hangover, we spent more than 3- hours resting, drinking beers and being entertained by freaks, lying in the grass. Josh Todd, the leader of Buckcherry passed by dressed in skater hardcore outfit, and we managed to say a quich hello to himAmazing memories.

It was frustrating coming home on holidays and notice that people in my hometown weren’t acquainted with Buckcherry. When my friend Tani listened to the album and had an immediate crush on it, she suggested my target was to spread the word at pubs and bars, so we’d be able to listen to Lit Up everything. Thus, my mission was to play my CD at every place I was having a beer. And it worked.

Bartenders were amazed by the power of this single, and I was introducing them to the band and other songs such as Lawless and Lulu or Dead Again. I used to write the name of the album, the band and the song all the time, and finally they invested in the album, and Tani and I could sing “I Love the Cocaine, I Love the Cocaine” 2-3 times every night the least. This is how I really learned about the power of word of mouth.

I don’t listen much to the rest of their albums because, unfortunately Buckcherry for me delivered one of the most powerful rock debut,  but weren’t able to keep the level and the intensity, despite Josh Todd’s vocals and their cool riffs. Nay, those 12 tracks were overwhelming and out of reach. I still vibe and yell whenever I listen to Crushed or Check Your Head. If you like hard rock, you MUST have this album.

OLYMPIC GAMES OPENING OR BACKBITING ON GLOBAL SCALE

Evidences of me getting older are confirmed when arranging a dinner at The Hellhouse with some friends with the purpose of watching the Olympic Games grand opening.

Yes, there was lots of fun, beer and burritos with jalapeños, and the staging orchestrated by the film director Danny Boyle was the excuse for the party, but at the end of the day we endured the entire 4 hours show on TV.

The stadium seemed The Shire, combined with Dickens’ Industrial Revolution kids, as if Oliver Twist came back from his tomb, Kenneth Brannagh looking like the Monopoly gentleman, the Queen Elisabeth and James Bond in action, Mr. Bean running…whatever. What we were really wating for was the countries teams parade. 205 to be accurate. I never thought so many countries participated, to be honest.

On one hand the amount of islands teams was overwhelming, a lot of countries I had never heard of before, Tonga, Palau, Tajikistan, Vanuato, Comoros…for example.

We all were a bit uneasy due to the scandal arisen due to the outrageous design of the sport apparel for the Spanish team,  entrusted to an Russian company, and as the ultimate masochistic experience, we had to watch our athletes in action. I think we were all looking for a general laugh, to confirm once again this stage of social discontent , and the hopeless and bankrupted status of the country, finally translated into vulgar and tasteless outfits.

I thought España, would turn up earlier, forgetting the name of the country is always translated into English, to Spain, thus we had to wait for 172 to see what we foresee as the moment of the shame.

In the meantime we had lots of fun, on one hand the four of us in my living room, and of course, with the rest of the world via Twitter.

More or less, here is the list of my highlights or collection of the immediate impressions:

Australia and New Zealand, jet-lag or drunk?

Belarus in white with red shirts. A bit excessive.

Bulgaria looking like pickpockets

Burkina Faso stunning hats and outfit

Cameron = Zamunda

Chad and Pet Shop Boys

Where is Comoros?

The Chinese standard bearer is huge

The Cuban Terminator aka Mijail Lopez scared the shit out of me

What’s the category the 3 female athletes from Cook islands compete for?

Czech Republic wearing willies. They’ve been said to be one of the coolest looking teams. I found them ridiculous.

Fading blue El Salvador shirts. Super cool!

Fiji athletes wearing nice skirts and Bee Gees 

Germany, the terrible pink and blue outfits and the old guy saluting nazi style with his left arm. What can I say? Considering this was an absolute #dealbreaker, I still had a laugh. Their supremacy in Europe makes them think of a new Reich?

Grenada and Jamaica, you can deny your current stoned condition.

Guam not Wham! Where’s George Michael?

Hungary, pain in the eyes, frightening standard bearer

Independent athletes having lots of fun

Kiribati and the flower crowns (Dude’s landlord style), with national flag uniforms

Leichtenstein posh class

Lesotho cone hats and robes

Liberia male robes, African Captain America

Mali athletes getting rid of non existing flies

Mauritania and their origami hats

Mexican colorful ponchos. Tacos and tequila missing

Micronesia shirts are beautiful

Palau and the Black Mozart standard bearer. Super fan!

Samoans eat gnus or wild boars

Senegal glows in the dark

Spain, female outfits were outrageous, especially the skirts, and the bags, flamenco fan inspired, terrible. Guys in black trousers were better. Pau Gasol is a huge dude. At least the ceremony apparel was more decent than the proper sports apparel.

Tuvalu standard bearer has previously fallen into party ornaments box

USA, Ralph Lauren and berets. Fuckin’ A! Absolute rockstars.

UK. Bowie’s Heroes soundtrack was the highlight of the night. Instead of the sobriety of British high class style, the Geordy ShoreLittle Britain side ruled, damaging our eyes with tacky golden tracksuits. There was a confusion and Stella McCartney, responsible for the sports apparel, was immediately criticized via Twitter. Her account community managers confirmed this wasn’t her fault.

The Shire hill tree ended up flagged surrounded, the cauldron looked beautiful and stunning, there were boring and endless speeches we didn’t care about, the Queen was caught several times taking a nap, and we didn’t have our Take That-Spice Girls-Tom Jones-Led Zeppelin dose, but the boring and overrated Arctic Monkeys, and Macca singing the super burnt Hey Jude. Is it so complicated to reach the Superbowl level every four years?

*** I know, friends. I can be a bitch sometimes