Friday, November 28, 2008

Paul Weller And Friends In Brixton

Ok, so who has missed me then? Excuse the absence of anything blogwise recently, I've actually been busy for a change. Much to write about, including a visit from Beth from Books Etc! However, for my return it's the last 2 Paul Weller gigs of the year for All Mod Cons, both at the Brixton Academy in London.

I'm going to try and roll both nights into one post, so bear with me as things might get a little jumbled.

A little over a month ago I had a really nice email from a reader in the US saying that they were coming over to London to see Weller and would I mind giving her the lowdown about the area and about the general UK "way" of gigs. Needless to say, I was more than happy to do so and said that she was more than welcome to hang out with the Viking, Chickenfoot and myself whilst she was here*.

Waiting for the others I bumped into the young emailer in the queue, who shall now be known as TM, and I found out that she was only here for 3 days so that she could see 2 gigs! Now that's what I call dedication. And, as I've found with pretty much everyone at a Weller gig, she was a bloody lovely person.

All Mod Cons, TM, and The Viking (who looks like he's about to sneeze)

All Mod Cons, Chickenfoot, and The Viking (looking normal this time)

As usual, when I have standing tickets, I arrived fairly early so that I could get as close to the front as possible. Much as Weller tends to play smaller venues, there's just something extra when you're up against the barrier with nobody between you and the performance.

Before Weller arrived on stage, we were faced with the "warm-up" acts. Tuesday nights The Hosts were not my thing. Whilst the lead singer had a fairly good voice, the songs left me feeling flat and disinterested. And when he tried to crack a joke about it being a band members birthday and asked us all to sing Happy Birthday, things got worse. And judging by the reaction from the crowd, the request went down like a sack of the proverbial. Wednesday night however we had Little Barrie as a warm up, the lead singer having also been a guest guitarist at the recent BBC Sessions recording. I thought they were excellent, so much so I went out and purchased their album (which is good, although I prefer their live stuff).

With all 4 of us right at the front, and TM and I on the final night in the same places (does that even make sense?!), we were treated to 2 quite incredible gigs. As soon as Weller appeared on stage the crowd went nuts, everyone was really up for it. Including Weller himself. I've not seen him on stage as relaxed and so full of attitude, really feeding off the live-wire audience. The amount of energy pouring from him you would never have guessed he was finishing such an extensive tour that took in Europe, Australia, Japan, America, Canada and even South America.

Both nights had everything. Songs from The Jam, The Style Council, his solo career and even some Beatles numbers. Tuesday night was particularly good for me as he played Out Of The Sinking, Changingman, Wild Blue Yonder and All I Wanna Do (Is Be With You), which are 4 of my favorite live songs, within the first 6 of the evening. Before we were even a quarter of the way through the set I had almost lost my voice. By the end of the night I sounded like I had been eating chalk for a week. Would I have it any other way? Not on your life.

I also had a souvenir bonanza from both nights. I managed to bag myself setlists and 2 plectrums, both Wellers. Normally you have to battle with people at the end of the gig to get what you can, but Brixton served up a surprise in the shape of a security guy on the other side of the barrier. Weller had just played Push It Along, and with a sweep of his hand across the guitar strings, he threw the plectrum high in the air. It landed on the edge of the stage, feet away from me. Knowing which song had been played with the shiny piece of plastic meant I just had to have it. I managed to get the attention of the security guy, who I'm going to call Dave, and he slyly picked it up for me before the next song started. Kudos was his to revel in, glory was mine. Dave immediately became the most popular orange coat wearing man in the building, the entire front line trying to get him to pick up memorabilia for them. Instead, he calmly stood back and posed for a photo for us. Top lad!

Security Man Dave

All Mod Cons smug look. I own the plectrum. 'Ave It.

Wednesday night was almost an exact repeat. Only it was a different song. Dave was again on hand to provide the mobile arm in grabbing me the plectrum used to play Changingman. I think he just liked reveling in his new found popularity, can't say that I blame him. And I certainly wasn't complaining. I even managed to get Dave to grab a 2nd Wednesday night plectrum, again of Wellers, for the lovely TM. I couldn't have her come all the way from the US and go home without a decent souvenir. That's just not cricket.

The Wednesday night even threw up an unexpected guest appearance from Carleen Anderson, who had previously provided backing vocals for Wellers Stanley Road and Heavy Soul albums, providing more vocals for People Get Ready and Come Together (which was so outstanding, I'm not even going to try and find the words to explain it). Her voice is absolutely fantastic and really provides another dimension.

The only dampener was the montage of images from Vietnam and 9/11 that is projected on the screen during Whirlpools End. Does it shock and hit the desired target? More than likely. But it also brings the crowd down a few notches. So much so that I didn't look at it the 2nd night, and found something a little kinder on the eye to look at. Fortunately Weller's encores were so good, we all left with huge smiles on our faces.

This year I've amassed 14 Paul Weller performances, each one has been special in its own way. I've met some excellent people from all over the world and everyone has played a part in making each gig unique. Brixton was something different altogether. Not only were the brilliant people from PWBF there (although I didn't get to see them for too long this time unfortunately), but I had 2 of my closest friends there, I had fantastic company for the 2nd night, the venue was top drawer, the crowd were on form and Weller gave a performance that will survive as one of my all time favorites.

I would like to say a special thanks to all those at PWBF, for a great many things. Especially Sakura and Woodcutter, you're both great.

I've now got an extensive break from Weller gigs. He's taking a break thank god, I can't afford anymore! Although I'm very much looking forward to seeing Oasis in January. Plectrums and setlists from there? I doubt it. But I'll have a damn good sing-along!

All Mod Cons "Wella Brella"...thanks to TopMod for this!

Tuesday nights setlist, plectrum and ticket!

Wednesday nights setlist, plectrum and ticket!

Motley Crew

As a side note...all of the photos on here were edited in some way by All Mod Cons and are the property of All Mod Cons. If you want to use them, please do so but ask first. Or at least drop a link in to here as a nod. Cheers!

Please also take a look at the new Song Of The Week...Little Barrie and Pay To Join. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

*You can't have Americans wandering around the city on their own, you never know what might happen (joke!).

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Mystery Of The Missing Words

I was coming home from work the other night, rain bouncing off the tarmac in front of me as I pulled up to a set of traffic lights on Little Steed. I balanced the bike nicely, not having to put my feet down as I waited for the lights to change to green. The man on the rather expensive looking road bike had been following behind me for a few streets, not managing to overtake me because I was able to take the rather more rugged route through the London traffic, jumping off curbs to avoid the lake sized puddles that had formed because our sewer system can't take anymore than 8 litres of water. Which is beyond stupid when you consider how much it rains in this sodden country.

The lights turned green, and because I've got a sprightly gear ratio, I shot off up over the bridge. Coming down the other side of the crest of the bridge, the flash racer man belted past me at a rate of knots. As he went past he looked over his shoulder at me and shouted "Nice *mumble mumble* back there mate". I couldn't make out the whole sentence because my earphones were funneling the sweet liquid of The Jam and English Rose into my brain. Flash cycling man had sounded genuine in what he said...there was no trace of sarcasm or anger in his voice. As I carried on down the road I tried to imagine what those missing words were. Could he have been referring to my wet weather control of Little Steed? Or the poise that was evident at the lights? Was it really sarcastic, only said in an utter dead pan way, and he was highlighting my blatant disregard for public safety by hopping the curb to avoid the otherwise inevitable watery deluge? Or could he have been referring to the striking wet line of water and grease that was splattered up my jeans and over my back in a perfect line with the back wheel?

Or was he simply pointing out that there was some nice roadkill back there and that as I looked like a damp hillbilly he thought that I may have been interested in knowing in case I wanted it for dinner later on.

I doubt I'll ever know.

Because of this line of thought, I can't remember any of the rest of my journey home. It's a wonder that I made it back at all really.

If this had happened to you, what words would you have used to fill in the missing ones?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

All Mod Cons National TV Debut

Sounds rather grand doesn't it? wasn't. The BBC Sessions was broadcast last night (and will probably be available on the BBC iPlayer for those of you in the UK) and I appeared in the middle of the screen for about 0.429 of a second during Eaton Rifles. To be honest I was fairly happy that I wasn't shown more, I really hate being on camera. Although, a small appearance was most satisfying. Sakura was front and centre, and appeared more than once, shaking her booty!

Can't wait to get a copy of the gig on DVD, it was great reliving the evening. I'm also hoping that some kind soul puts the version of Wild Wood on YouTube as it is utterly outstanding, and I'd love to post it up for all to see.

I also made my return to XFM this week and managed to get 4 of the 5 questions right on the Random Question Generator segment of Rick Shaw's show. The question I got wrong...Do Reindeer's like bananas? Apparently they do. We live and learn right. I also learnt that Tom Selleck was the original choice to play Indiana Jones ahead of Harrison Ford. As Rick said, Indiana with a tash just doesn't fit. We also swapped stories of the famous people we met. Obviously I told him of meeting Weller, whilst he met Paul McCartney. I win. Just.

In just over a week I'm off to Brixton for the last 2 nights of Weller's tour which will bring this years gigfest to a close. Plans for gigs next year are already underway. As I posted before, I'm off to Germany to see Oasis in January and there's a potential visit to see Weller in April. I'm not going to give anymore details on this one because it's stupid far away, both in time and in location and I'm not sure that my finances will allow such extravagance. But you never know, I may win the lottery in the meantime. I could also find the Moon in my jacket pocket. Chances of either happening are fairly similar.

I'm also trying to broaden my musical horizons. Ciaran has sent me a list of some hipperty hopperty tracks to listen to and thinks that there may well be something in the list that I'll like. I'm keeping an open mind....

Another "Stat" update. I'm amazed at some of the search terms that lead people over here.

1. My Wet Knickers Pictures
2. Hairy Assed White Women - This is just gross. No matter what way you look at it.
3. White Wet Nickers You Tube - Spell it properly and you may have more success...
4. How To Kiss A Hairy Woman All Over - Wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG!!!
5. Drunk Wet My Knickers - Begs the question, why did you give your underwear to a drunk in the first place?

To all these people, try adjusting your search term. Replace the word "knickers" with "panties". Knickers is more used in the UK, and the grand old US of A is where the majority of porn comes from. Panties is much more widely used over there. Just trying to help you weirdo losers out!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Racist Content - Be Warned

One of my more eye catching titles don't you think? I've wanted to do a post about this for some time, only I've never really known how to approach it. I think things like racism and religion are very hard subjects to address at the best of times. I could give my religious views, but because there are so many varieties of what people believe in, I would inevitably say something that another person wouldn't agree with. And I'm all about not making enemies.

Anyway here goes.

I have a Yahoo! email account and when you go onto their homepage there's this little box in the middle containing the most recent headlines for your choice of current affairs, entertainment and sport. Obviously top of my list is the sport section. Today I saw THIS story about former Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso being gracious to the new Champion, Lewis Hamilton (congrats Lewis by the way, BBC Sports Personality of the Year wrapped up then). Now with the Yahoo! Eurosport stories you are able to leave comments at the bottom, which I think is a great idea as it lets people have an intelligent debate about whatever has happened. Unfortunately it seems that there aren't that many intelligent people out there, who are now free to express their rather childish, moronic, closet minded attitudes and subject the rest of us to it. Bearing in mind this is about 2 guys being polite to each other, I find it incredibly ironic that someone can leave a comment like this....

"Don't get taken in by Monkey tricks!!! Monkey Blood & all Indians come from the same family tree line!!! They talk smoothly but within them lies different intentions & motives!!! Ask any Japanese who have done business with Indians with Monkey Blood & they tell you how they got cheated every time by these DEVILS with Monkey Blood!!! Do not be deceived by Monkey Blood's words for it's as cunning as it's Indian counterparts!!! If you see an Indian & a poisonous Cobra, kill the Indian because the Indian is more dangerous than the Cobra!!! It's a fact!!!"

What else really surprised me about this is that it was only the 4th comment left about the article. No banter even leads up to it, it's just smack, right there in your face.

You can also give each comment a "Thumbs Up" or a "Thumbs Down". Needless to say I gave it a Thumbs Down, and it got reported as abuse. I think it's disgusting that there are people out there that a) believe this shit and b) are allowed to express their view to so many people. I was told a reason as to why these comments can't all be moderated, but I can't remember it. But I think it's a shame that they aren't all checked. The concept of being able to leave comments on news articles is brilliant, there's great potential for a decent debate and to be able to leave your constructive view. It's just a shame there are people out there that are abusing it in this way.

The fact that there were also 8 Thumbs Up's on that comment was a little disturbing. However, there's a flip side to that. Several people after this comment expressed their disgust at it too and also reported it as abuse. There were also 88 Thumbs Down's. Yeah, 10% agreed. But, I bet that's a lot less than there would have been 30, or 20, or even 10 years ago. I find that reassuring. That at least we're going in the right direction.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hot News Just In

I'm off to see Ze German sisters in January in Dusseldorf. Excellent!

Oh, and we'll be seeing Oasis. Ave it! *insert bow legged monkey man walk here whilst sticking out chin with attitude*

Expect a full run down of the trip after the 19th of January 2009!

And now to show exactly what Noel Gallagher can achieve when he puts his mind to it (not that I'm still rather miffed as to the general blandness of the new album) here's a video of him singing The Masterplan on MTV Unplugged. Outstanding.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cough Me A Mixture

I've found my Mojo, but he's currently being rather uncooperative. The bastard. I think he's just disappointed with the new Oasis album and is sulking. The Doctor has prescribed more Ball Hanging music, to be taken at least 3 times a day, for about 2 weeks.

Anyway, onto more pressing matters. First I would like to thank those for guest posting. You all did a rather fantastic job and I'm most grateful. Maybe next time some of you others will join in?! Even those of you that are lurking behind the scenes. Don't be afraid, you can't get it wrong. Unless you post a Celine Dion video of course.

Back to the stats post again. Ever since this was posted I'm having an obscene amount of people searching for "". Really, I've no idea why. Firstly, if you know the url you want to go to, why type the damn thing into Google? Secondly, you won't find any answers here! The name of my old blog, or more specifically the url, was as far as I'm concerned is completely different. What's on that website anyway? I haven't the guts to type it in just in case it's something awful.

Also getting a lot of searches for "Beatfillings". Mostly by people in Turkey. Again, no idea what this/these are but if someone would care to let me in on it, then I might just do a post about it to help you out. Again, this isn't a place at the moment that you'll find answers, but if it's interesting then that could all change.

I would also like to say that my thoughts are with my friend Ted (and his family) because his Nan passed away yesterday. Much sad news. Chin up buddy.

Subsequently I won't be going to the Paul Weller gig on Monday night in Dublin. However, I do now have tickets for the final night in Brixton (as well as the 2nd night). This will be the end of the European tour, so I'm hoping that it's going to be rather special. Although with Oasis now on tour, it's unlikely and unfortunate that Noel Gallagher will not be joining in on stage like the last time.

In honour of this, and to keep up the recent trend of Weller videos on here *cough cough* I'm adding this YouTube effort. It's Noel Gallagher singing To Be Someone by The Jam (from the album All Mod Cons no less!). The original is fantastic, but I really love this version too. It's also All Mod Cons Song Of The Week.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Walls Come Tumbling Down (Hopefully)

I have to say that I feel very lucky, and slightly nervous, writing this guest post for the mighty AMC. He might claim that he's lost his mojo, but I'd suggest that even a mojo-less AMC is the better of 90% of other bloggers.

With that in mind I've decided to tackle a subject outside those that are normally covered here (though not entirely as you'll see), but it's one that will undoubtedly affect us more than just about anything else. I'm talking of course about what Jonathan Ross will do next. Sorry, I mean who wakes up on Wednesday morning as President of the USA.

I realise that the Obama-McCain election has probably been one of the most written about in the history of modern democracies, but I still feel it's worth talking about: I also realise how dangerous mentioning race or politics can be online as I recently wrote about an occasion when posting about these things went terribly wrong, but I'd like to think the readers of AMC are open to a bit of adult discussion.

It was whilst reading an excellent analysis of both candidates in yesterday's Observer that I realised quite how much this election matters, and quite how much I care about the result. It made me think about how it has often been somehow trendy to mock the US: its culture, its people and its institutions. Certainly, the way in which many in this country and around the world seemed to display schadenfreude after the events of Septemmber 2001, or were willing to line up with the sort of extremists they would normally throw their copy of The Guardian* at, just so long as it allowed them to oppose Bush Jr, left a nasty taste in the mouth. But I often think that this attitude comes out of a mixture of jealousy & disappointment.

Jealousy, in the same way you secretly envy your cooler younger sibling: they might be headstrong and rather naive, but at the end of the day, they always know what's hot before you do. And let's be honest, how many things that you hold dear originated in the US? I listen to rock, funk, jazz, soul & hip hop - all American inventions. I love the fact that the British have so regularly managed to add their own flavour to these genres, but at the end of the day, we're only improvising with an American recipe.

Disappointment because underneath it all, we want America to be all that it aims to be. Anyone who watches as much West Wing as I do will know the feeling that often comes when watching it: if only Jed Bartlet was real, if only the last 8 years were just a bad dream. But he's not, and they weren't. Which is why I'm hoping so strongly for an Obama win: if nothing else, whilst we Brits may love acting superior, we've never managed to get someone with dark skin and a funny sounding name anywhere near Number 10.

And it seems I'm not alone in my desire. A website set-up by an acquaintance of mine encourages the citizens of the world who don't live in the US to cast their vote, as this is probably the one election which truly impacts every single country on the planet. At the moment it's showing the world desperate for an Obama landslide. I doubt it will be that clear-cut, but for all those of us who honestly want the US to at least attempt to live-up to its own standards, I hope he wakes up on Wednesday with someone calling him Mr President.

Of course this being All Mod Cons, it wouldnt be right if I didn't end with a video, and so I give you the mighty Weller from his (in my opinion) highly under-rated Style Council days with a track which has a very apt name: here's hoping Obama can be like the horns of Jericho.

*I should add that I'm card carrying Guardian reader myself.

Wall image by seier+seier+seier on flickr

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The One Where I Talk About Hot English Boys

So AMC put out a call for guest bloggers, and since he’s totally my blog crush (he volunteered for the job, honest!) I oh-so-generously offered.

But let’s face it, I have one of the girliest blogs ever, so if you’re wanting a post about my own “Little Steed” or Paul Weller, or home improvement? Yeah, totally not today my dears.

I’m thinking a post something along the lines of: Why British men are so much hotter than Canadian men. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Reason # 1: You know Shakespeare? Totally like “Man of the Millenium.” He can make a girl all swoony just with this words.

Reason #2: Jude Law. Colin Firth. Alan Rickman. Gary Oldman.

Reason # 3: Like Harry Potter could have done his magic anywhere else!

Reason #4: How many royal Canadian guys are there?

Reason # 5: Charlie Chaplin. Legend. Hilarious. Enough said.

Reason # 6: James Bond. Shaken not stirred. And there must be something about him since all the Bond-girls seem so willing to do his bidding. And c’mon- anything with Sean Connery - Puuurrr….

Reason # 7: King Arthur. Oh yeah – he totally pulled the sword out of that stone. (Did that just sound dirty?)

Reason # 8: As much as Hugh Grant might have his misdemeanors – I do love him for this:

Reason #9: Mmmm Davy...

Reason #10: