Author: Simon Jay

The dB’s: Taking Liberties At The Hope & Anchor 1981

In the early 1980s after the punk revolution had being taken over by New Wave, New Romantics and in America by the Second British Invasion. In a slight reversal of this along came a small number of bands from the New York City who wanted to do something more grittier, urgent and more DIY and wanted to do it in Britain. These included The dB’s, RayBeats, Fleshtones, Bush Tetras, Bongos, and Polyrock. In fact all of these bands were put on a plane and delivered to London to appear in a showcase that was put together by Ruth Polsky, who a booker and...

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LeeFest The Neverland 2017 Photography

The sun shone over The Neverland as LeeFest welcomed a colourful crowd of mermaids, pirates and lost boys as well as internationally renowned and local up and coming artists for the 2017 incarnation. Friday headliner Jake Bugg closed the ever ethereal Bangerang stage with a diverse mix of folk love songs and pop anthems. Special guests Wild Beasts showcased their astounding vocal range with fan favourites and new tracks from their latest album Boy King. Earlier in the day Aussie born Berlin based Parcels brought their their funk-pop feel good tracks to the sun soaked John Darlings Farm, performing...

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Live: Joy Festival @ Groombridge Place

Joy Festival is held in the amazing grounds and woodlands of Groombridge Place which is set near the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. If you are a parent you would probably know this location with its giant swings hanging from the trees hidden on the trails in the woods, the large pirate ship in the adventure playground, the enormous boardwalk, boat rides along the serene wooded river and picnics with the peacocks in the formal gardens. In essence, the festival is aimed at its regular visitors from far and wide. When arriving, you are warmly greeted by box-office staff...

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Rock Media: Albert Man, Live At St Pancras Old Church

Our good friend Albert Man called me and said “I wanted to let you know that I’ve just finished putting together an eleven-track live album, Live At St Pancras Old Church which was recorded during the EP launch of Nothing Of Nothing Much back in February 2017.” He also told me that “It features songs from last years studio album Cheap Suit (a brilliant! album) and the more recent Nothing Of Nothing Much. The album also features a previously unreleased track Groundhog Day which is being offered as an instant gratification download with any iTunes pre-order. The album is already available for pre-order on...

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Feature: Israel Nash, On the Lower East Side, There Was A Bar.

When I met Israel Nash he had just finished building his own recording studio on his ranch near Austin, Texas with his great friend and musical confidante Eric Swanson.  After a meeting of minds discussing his new album Israel Nash’s Silver Season we took a stroll down from the Loose Music offices, past Ladbroke Grove to one of London’s oldest and most enigmatic markets Portobello Road. Israel Nash has been making music for a while now. His large following in Europe, particularly in Holland and Belgium, where some of his largest concerts and early record sale successes have been, helps...

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Rock Show: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers BST 2017

Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park announces Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers for the final night of an incredible 2017 series of events. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers will perform a rare UK gig in the world’s greatest outdoor venue, armed with a career of classic hits and a reputation as one of the greatest musicians of the past 40 years.  The gig will celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. Their only European date of 2017, this will be just the second time Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers have come to the UK in 18 years. The band’s last visit in 2012 included a headlining appearance at...

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Live: Kongos @ Islington Academy, London.

American rhythm specialists Kongos brought their mighty and fascinating sound to London. On the day after the US presidential election in which Donald J Trump was chosen as the 45th President of the USA, they rocked into town in a shocked state. They are all brothers and share the family name, Kongos. In their stage shows the band are happy to include their many influences whether it be kwaito dance from South Africa or qawwali from Pakistan and their music does take in a lot of global styles and beats. It is easy to make comparisons with others who have done...

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Bat Out Of Hell, The Musical & Meat Loaf.

In the 1970’s Jim Steinman wrote a musical that was presented in workshop in Washington D.C.  Jim had always intended these songs to be theatrical and a larger than life opus. When he met Meat Loaf the opportunity to realise the “rock and roll dream”.. came true. Many of the songs written by Steinman at this time went on to appear on the album by Meat Loaf entitled Bat Out Of Hell which became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 50 million copies worldwide. 16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out Of Hell II: Back...

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Live: Together The People Festival Review

Together The People, set in Preston Park, Brighton, seems an apt name for a festival created by local people for local people. The organising commitee involves housing trusts, arts centres and creatives from around the region. So how on earth does a festival like this end up with cast of rock music royality. A line up that features Brian Wilson, Nathaniel Rateliff and Suede seems somehow juxtaposed to the fete and fair style layout of the site. Set apart from some others by the ecology and sustainability message, to enforce this organisers encourage walking and alternative transport to this non camping festival.  Together...

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Live: LeeFest Presents: The Neverland @ John Darlings Farm.

LeeFest Presents: The Neverland, is a new and exciting venture for Lee Denny and his pals. Believe it or not this is the Tenth Anniversary of LeeFest, and let me tell you there have been some changes and all of them good. Gone is the total DIY ethos of previous festivals replaced by well thought out and inventively designed play areas for all ages. Take your choice from Mermaids Lagoon with its DJ booths, Rainbow Lounge and hot tubs, Skull Ridge with the small indie stage, pirates, outdoor dance area, comedy tents and 8-bit games rooms or into the...

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Live: Graham Nash @ G Live Guildford.

Planes, boats and trains…and bus stops, the chances are that Graham Nash knows a tune or two about them or he has probably written one and we heard about them all tonight. At G Live in Guildford he demonstrated his human side, he showed us a part of himself that was emotional and poetic, stoic and romantic as he showed off his new album and awesome back catalogue. Produced by Shane Fontayne, who accompanied Graham on guitar, This Path Tonight is his first album of new material in fourteen years. It covers reflection and transition by a performer whose career,...

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Interview: Shuggie Otis, This Charming Man.

Shuggie Otis Interview Once there was a man who, while really no more than a boy, took the world of blues and soul by storm. That was in late 1960s and early 1970s. He made three great albums with some of the hottest musicians around and then disappeared from view. Shuggie Otis Portrait (Simon Jay Price) I met him at an art deco hotel, just off the Euston Road and over a glass of water our conversation started. He is in a good mood because the night before at Koko, a venue in London, Shuggie Otis and the band...

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Feature: Bror Forsgren. Solo Narcissus.

Bror Forsgren (The Lionheart Brothers, Jaga Jazzist, Silence The Foe) is making his solo debut at the age of thirty-four and he doesn’t go easy on anything. As the title on the great art deco-inspired cover indicates at first sight, Narcissus is a grandiose and uncompromising piece of pop music. The album’s theme is centered on the big questions. Lost love, innocence and faith in God are all important elements in the universe Bror Forsgren has created for Narcissus. The arrangements are grandiose and intricate. Despite its “wall of sound” approach and several prominent musical guests (Lars Horntveth, Mathias...

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Live: Edgar Winter Band @ Koko, London.

Edgar Winter Live at Koko in London. In the early 1970s there were several bands and musicians from North America that were bought to the attention of British music lovers by Radio Luxembourg and a television show called The Old Grey Whistle Test. Along with artists like Todd Rundgren, Joe Walsh and Frank Zappa there stood out an album, initially for its striking cover but later for its content, called They Only Come Out At Night by The Edgar Winter Group. I don’t think you were considered cool if you did not have this or one of the preceding...

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Rock Media: From The Deep. Nick Marsh & Katherine Blake.

From The Deep will release their haunting self-titled debut album through Bellissima Records on 30th October 2015. The album was written and recorded over several years by musical and life partners Katharine Blake (Miranda Sex Garden, Mediaeval Baebes) and Nick Marsh (Flesh for Lulu, The Urban Voodoo Machine) and produced by Katharine. It features performances from several artists who will be well known to fans of Katharine’s and Nick’s previous work and spans a variety of musical styles. The album journeys through the sparse, esoteric landscape of The Lovers through the lush and sensual Siren Song, the filthy arabesque...

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Live: Rickie Lee Jones @ Islington Assembly Hall

Rickie Lee Jones @ Islington Assembly Hall “How come I’m not a big shot?” Rickie Lee Jones states in a recent interview. In the 1980s she wrote and performed some of the nations best loved albums from Pirates, The Magazine, Flying Cowboys and the eponymous Rickie Lee Jones. Her and Tom Waits were lovers and the world was at her feet. In the 1990s she continued to make good albums but as a record deal with Geffen ended so it seemed did the songwriting ability. In the last eighteen months she has been working on a new crowdfunded album...

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Live Review: The Lemonheads @ Indigo, London.

The Lemonheads at Indigo 02. There is no pomp or ceremony about Evan Dando and the Lemonheads tonight, they even come on stage when the background music is playing and catch the operator off guard. “Turn the music off” he shouts and then “turn the music back on” he jests. A quick tune up and wham straight into Hospital, Down About It, & Tenderfoot all played in that familiar jerky style and loud. After a breakneck start Evan slows things down a little with a cover from the Vershons album New Mexico which he gets to display his deepening...

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Interview: Nils Lofgren. Powerful, Intimate & Emotional.

Nils Lofgren Interview. Passionate, Intimate & Emotional. Nils Lofgren has flipped in front of 100,000 people supporting The Who, ran joint headline tours with Tom Petty, at eighteen years old he played piano with Neil Young and has been guitar sideman for thirty years as part of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. With a new UK tour coming up throughout October and November 2015 and memories of forty-seven years on the road there was a lot to get through. I asked about 6 questions in a forty minute interview. Nils is just so alert and his recall tack sharp...

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Live: Forgotten Fields Festival Review

First impressions do count and when you walk over the hill and down the dip to see the inaugural Forgotten Fields festival laid out before you it all looks very promising. The site is inviting and has an old time travelling circus feel to it as you enter. Acrobats, jugglers, yoga tents and a mad children’s unicycle area help to add to the hippy carefree atmosphere. A lot of festivals claim a country atmosphere but this small capacity event really is in the middle of an area of outstanding natural beauty. Eridge Park is part of the beautiful Ashdown...

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Live: The Tubes @ Clapham Grand, London.

“A baby’s arm holding an apple” shouts back the crowd to Fee Waybill’s quiz master question What Do You Want From Life?  at The Tubes’ 40th anniversary tour concert in the Clapham Grand Theatre. He is impressed that everyone knows the words so well. This gig is tremendous and The Tubes’ singer is a magnificent showman who maintains a high level of infectious audience interaction throughout. In private detective (Sam Spade) guise the shows opens with the Lee Hazelwood song This Town, but of course Fee is not singing about London, as he adds a few parody lyrics of...

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Live: Kid Creole & The Coconuts @ Clapham Grand

First there was a party and then there was a party! Kid Creole & the Coconuts stopped by at the historic newly refurbished Clapham Grand in South London to bring some, samba, rumba, salsa and glamour to this intimate venue. August Darnell (Kid Creole) bought his family along for support with the band Stony Browder Jnr featuring two of his sons (Lorne Ashley & Dario) and taking the name from his late brother and one-time Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band cohort. To the chimes of Day-O the full band enters and strikes up in full swing mode ready for the...

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Live: Fields Of The Nephilim @ The Empire.

Fields Of Nephilim celebrated 30 years of goth darkness with two sold-out shows at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire at the end of December 2014. Not at all what I expected. In fact they delivered one of the shows of that year. Carl McCoy has developed a Hollywood interpretation of his band, with characters appearing out of the murky mist as post apocalyptic drifters, where the image and brand of FOTN is just as important as the music. Carl McCoy, embraced the look totally with shades, hat, long-dust-drawn coat and warrior boots and looked like he had arrived from the...

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Nils Lofgren @ Tunbridge Wells Assembly.

It seems the good people of Tunbridge Wells are well informed. Nils Lofgren played to a packed hall at the Assembly Theatre. I had seen a version of this show a few years ago and it was good then. Tonight Nils blows the socks off that. The sound, electronics and most of all his playing is superb. Is there anyone out there who can make a guitar sing like Nils Lofgren. The set list on this tour changes from night to night, selected from about 40 base songs and then chosen on the tour bus before they hit the...

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Live: Roddy Frame @ The Barbican.

Roddy Frame is back in the limelight. After bringing the High Land Hard Rain album to stages last year he has continued to develop a slick and down right witty show. His natural humour, quick retorts to the crowd and abundant self confidence are a strange juxtaposition to his years in the wilderness. That classic album has been the centre piece for some recent performances but at The Barbican the songs are mixed in with other hits and favourites. Oblivious starts the evening and Frame’s guitar playing is scintillating, his fingers as quick as ever. Ray in the front seats...

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Interview: Pauline Murray. Invisible Girl.

Pauline Murray is someone I have always wanted to meet and more-so after the release of her post Penetration break up album Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls. That album disapeared from view for a long long time and now almost 35 years later it gets a full digital remastered re-release. Disque du Crepuscule have added extra tracks, live sessions, photo’s and various limited edition sets…I got to talk to Pauline about the album recording sessions and what happened after. Why is the album Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls perceived as a great lost new wave album. It...

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Interview: Ward Thomas. Sister Country.

I recently talked to a new British duo who are being tipped for big things in Country music, Ward Thomas who are also one of the headline acts at this years Maverick Festival. The twin sisters grew up in London & Hampshire, spent time at an arts school in Surrey and rubbed noses with the great and good in Nashville, USA. Both assertive and dramatic in equal measure Lizzy and Catherine were fun to talk with. How did you start in country music? (Catherine) One of our cousins came to live with us when we were a lot younger,...

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Interview: Holly Williams. Blog, Sweat and Tears.

We caught up with Holly Williams before her Kings Place gig in London and managed to get a few answers to some questions about the new album and her life.  I guess that part of the key to Holly Williams’ success as a singer-songwriter is that it’s never been her mission to try and live up to the legacy cast by her famous and prolific father and grandfather – Hank Jr. and Sr., respectively – nor has she spent a lot of time trying to live it down. The new album The Highway finds the 31-year-old artist putting a...

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Live Review: Dum Dum Girls @ Scala

One thing is sure, Dee Dee Penny of Dum Dum Girls has an attitude. She is going to sing and play her songs her way, dress how she pleases and you had better like it or else. Opening with Mine Tonight from the End of Daze it is easy to spot some of her many influences on the band. The sauntering low light back to the audience style of Jesus and Mary Chain, the brash arrogance of Siouxsie Sioux and the pure selfless pop of Blondie. The set lasted for around 75 minutes, most of their songs are 3...

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Live: Todd Rundgren @ Shepherds Bush Empire London.

The electronic pioneer returns. With help from guitar maestro, journalist and educator Jesse Gresse and The Tubes drummer Prairie Prince, Todd Rundgren blew our minds with a perfectly choreographed live DJ performance. Synchronising his Reason 7, iPad and Rack Extensions to create an exciting visual and sound show with the most vivid and over-powering light-show I have seen for some time. Wearing  his State ski goggles and a diamond patterned shirt which picked up the luminance of ultra violet rays and made him look thinner and younger he opened the set with Imagination. This eight  minute song gave Todd...

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All Quiet Now: Jimmy Castor

Soul saxophonist and singer Jimmy Castor, one of the most sampled artists in music history, has died aged 71. The musician, who is credited with influencing many hip hop artists, died in a Las Vegas hospital, family members confirmed. His hits Just Begun and Troglodyte were sampled by many artists including Ice Cube and Usher. Kanye West used Castor’s I Just Wanna Stop on his track We Don’t Care, which featured on his debut album. Castor’s son Jimmy Castor Jr said the first few chords of It’s Just Begun are instantly recognisable. “No matter what country you’re in, no matter what language you speak, everyone knows it,” he said. A sample of the song was famously used in the breakdance battle scene in the 1983 movie Flashdance. Castor’s work has been sampled by other artists more than 3,000 times, the star’s son added. Dancer Richard Colon, professionally known as Crazy Legs, paid tribute to the star, saying “people have been impacted by him and don’t even know it”. The musician began his career for filling in for rock and roll singer Frankie Lymon when he was unable to perform with his band the Teenagers. The star soon went on to form his own group, Jimmy and the Juniors, who wrote and recorded the song I Promise to Remember, which was later also recorded by Lymon and the Teenagers in...

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