P.I.L – The Assembly, Leamington Spa

I saw P.I.L in June this year at the O2 in Oxford, I was underwhelmed, partly my fault as I was a bit under the weather, but it also felt like a lackluster performance to me. Despite this, I bought tickets for local venue, The Assembly, and went last night. It was an entirely different experience. From the first note to the last everything was on point.

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One thing I have come to realise is that an Iphone is possibly the worst camera you can use at a gig as it seems to spend most of the time focusing, and you have to take the picture in the split second it is focused before it goes on another focusing cycle of blurry, blurrier, blurry, a nanosecond of sharp (ish) and then off again on the blurry cycle. There were people in from of me with Android phones and their images loo

I managed to stand at the front, off to one side but I had a brilliant view and plenty of space among the 600 or so people who were there, capacity being 1000. The band took to the stage and launched into a blistering version of Albatross, with Lydon seeming so much more energised than at the Oxford gig, and the sound quality was better as well (and the temperature, the O2 is bloody hot). This is the link to my previous update The Beat/P.I.L – O2 Academy, Oxford

I took a little video, not much as my battery was running very low but it gives a taster at least:

The Set List was something like this:

Albatross
Double Trouble
Know Now
This Is Not a Love Song
Deeper Water
Corporate
Death Disco
The One
The Body
Warrior
I’m Not Satisfied
Religion
Rise
Open Up / Shoom

Don’t hold me to it though as I wasn’t writing it down at the time.

All in all it was a really good gig, although audience participation was a bit lacking, the fault of the audience rather than the band as we were all a bit old to be honest as clapping along for more than 30 seconds made our arthritis flare up. I did something that could be loosely identified as dancing, some might called it swaying and head nodding, I call it dancing, and I sang along quite a bit.

img_3992Oh, I also bought some overly expensive merchandise, a mug, for a £10 note. I would have bought a T-Shirt that said ‘T-Shirt’ on it, but I was £5 short, so a mug had to do. In case you weren’t aware, this whole concept comes from a P.I.L album called ‘Album’, which in CD form was called ‘Compact Disc’ and in cassette form was called ‘Cassette’, all in the same font and colour scheme. It’s the album from which the single ‘Rise’ was taken, which was quite a hit back in 1986

This merchandise doesn’t seem to be on the official web site so maybe it’s tour only, which would be nice, although I’d still quite like that T-Shirt.

Well that’s annoying

About once a month I have a look at what’s on at my local music venue, this is it:leamington-assembly-4

Although those carpets make you feel like you are wearing velcro shoes now, they are so sticky, anyway, it’s The Assembly in Leamington Spa, a really good venue that holds about 1000 standing souls and  bit less if they put the seats out. So there I was having a look through and if I see a new band I’ll have a listen to them to see if it sounds like something I might want to go and see live. This time I saw ‘Three Trapped Tigers’ were playing, never heard of them but I really liked what I listened to, very much my sort of thing, post-rock-electronic might be one way to classify it, if you had to.

That was yesterday, today I decided to buy a ticket, only to discover it’s the same night Public Image are playing, for which I already have a ticket. It’s at the same venue but they have a smaller space downstairs called the ‘Zephyr Lounge’. I’m really very disappointed now as I had started to get quite excited about it.

It would have been very much like the video below, ah well, maybe I can sneak in for a bit when there isn’t anybody looking.

Rapture – Record Store- Witney, Oxfordshire.

There are 2 record stores within around 20 minutes drive of where I work. This is the first of them that I’ve visited, in Witney, Oxfordshire. It’s in a sort of shopping arcade and the vinyl is all upstairs, which is a bigger square footage than the downstairs. I spent about 30 minutes there but still managed to dig through a lot of albums.

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I am all for stores selling vinyl, which should be obvious by now, but was disappointed. I found 5 albums in all this lot that I thought about buying. One was a re-issue of Phallus Dei by Amon Düül for £8.00, but the cover was absolutely knackered. The other 4 were jazz albums, in a section marked ‘Un-priced Jazz – Ask at the counter for details’. I almost did, but based on the prices of some of the priced Jazz albums in another section I decided against it as I really didn’t think they were going to be at a price I was prepared to pay, which wasn’t much at all. Perhaps I should have inquired, but I didn’t want them enough to bother.

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The feeling I had as I rooted through the albums was that most of the stock was made up of the parts of peoples collections that they were quite prepared to sell as they weren’t very good, or that a load of job lots had been bought up and there was nothing in them of much interest. I don’t want to sound overly negative, because conceptually it’s a nice shop, with a coffee bar, a seating area and a stage for in store performances, which is in the picture above, but for me, they don’t have the stock as yet. There was some to be fair, but the prices were too high for my blood, I can’t spend £40 on an Aphex Twin 12″ single, even if I want it, nor can I spend £18 on a Radiohead 12″ single when I know it’s available on line at £10. At the weekend I was talking to the owner of Seismic Records in Leamington Spa, one of my two local stores, about my willingness to pay a couple of £’s more than an online price as, when you take in to account P & P, it works out about the same, you are supporting a local business, and digging through piles of albums is fun! But £8 more is just too big a gap.

There was a small new vinyl section, but most of it was just a couple of £’s more than I would normally have to pay at my local store near home, so I left it, I would have been buying something just for the sake of buying something.

I did have a quick look through the 7″ singles, and there I found a lot that I would definitely have bought if the prices were lower. £8 for a single that is selling for £2.99 on Discogs, even with P & P is, again, too much of a gap.

I left with nothing, but I do wish them the very best of luck with it and, to be fair, if I’d had a bit more time maybe I would have found something I was prepared to pay an bit more for.

Leamington Record Fair 18/06/2016 – Part 1

Today was Leamington Record fair, which was quite busy as soon as it opened, probably because the Peace Festival was on just a short walk away. There were several new vendors, which is good, and I picked up a few bits and pieces from them. I spent relatively little but came away with rather a lot of records.

The first stall by the entrance door had a £1 crate and I did rather well out of that I think, at £1 each I got the following:

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My brother had this and I heard it a lot but I don’t think I ever had my own copy. It has a couple of gold stars stamped on the front so it may be a promo copy, I’ve no idea, I bought it for the songs not for any value it may or may not have. This copy is in nice vinyl condition but the cover is a bit tatty to be honest.

A1 The Steppes
A2 Time To Get Out
A3 Slogans
A4 Leaving
A5 Two Vamps As Guests
B1 Jacuzzi
B2 Hammer In The Sand
B3 The Toast
B4 The Show
B5 Sentimental Institution

 

Next up for a the princely sum of £1 was Live Stiffs. I remember this when it came out but never had a copy. It was basically a load of acts from the Stiff record label live. I don’t think this is the original release as it’s not on Stiff records but it doesn’t matter, to pick up these performances for so little money is good enough:

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Live LP taken from the “Stiffs Live Stiffs” Tour, recorded on the Rak Mobile at The University of East Anglia, Norwich, Leicester University and The Lyceum, London

Nick Lowe, Wreckless Eric and Larry Wallis are backed by a core group of tour musicians, including some members of The Attractions and The Blockheads. For example, Ian Dury plays drums for Wreckless Eric

On the last track, Ian Dury & The Blockheads are joined on stage by various other tour musicians. Track is credited to “All”.

A1 Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken In The Shop I Knew The Bride
A2 Nick Lowe’s Last Chicken In The Shop Let’s Eat
A3 Wreckless Eric & The New Rockets Semaphore Signals
A4 Wreckless Eric & The New Rockets Reconnez Cherie
A5 Larry Wallis’ Psychedelic Rowdies Police Car
B1 Elvis Costello & The Attractions I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
B2 Elvis Costello & The Attractions Miracle Man
B3 Ian Dury & The Blockheads* Wake Up And Make Love With Me
B4 Ian Dury & The Blockheads* Billericay Dickie
B5 –All Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘N’ Roll & Chaos

I bought 3 12″ singles the first two were £1 the last one was £2:

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I don’t care what anybody thinks, this is, in my opinion, one of the best pop singles ever released, I genuinely mean that.

A1 Groove Is In The Heart (Meeting Of The Minds Mix)

Featuring – Bootsy*, Q-Tip

5:10
A2 Groove Is In The Heart (Peanut Butter Mix) 3:29
B1 What Is Love? (Holographic Goatee Mix) 4:10
B2 What Is Love? (Rainbow Beard Mix) 4:02

Anybody who may have read this blog for a while (there aren’t many of you!) will know that I love Grace Jones so when I saw something I’d never heard of which was really a bit odd and super cheap I really had no choice but to buy it. I have a really vague memory of something around this but it’s really hazy and I certainly never connected a vinyl release with it but the Sci-Fi channel had a ‘fright Night’ and Grace Jones was involved somehow. What I found was a 6 track 12″ releases by the Sci-Fi Channel with different versions of the track on it.

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1 Love Bites (7″ Fright Night Mix) 3:40
2 Love Bites (12 Dark Night Mix) 7:35
3 Love Bites (12″ Fright Night Mix) 8:21
4 Love Bites (12″ Deep Into The Night Mix) 6:40
5 Love Bites (7″ Fright Night Instrumental) 3:52
6 Love Bites (7″ Deep Into The Night Mix) 3:45

There’s an official video of it but embedding is disabled so there’s the one above. I added it to my collection on Discogs and it appears to be valued at £25, which is nice for me, though I have no intention of selling it.

The £2 12″ was another Grace Jones, I have the tracks already, but I loved the cover.

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The back cover is great as well. I’ll have to take a picture of it and post it at some point.

Also for £1 I picked up a Westworld album from 1987:

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A1 Where The Action Is
A2 Sonic Boom Boy
A3 Rockulator
A4 Psychotech
A5 Silver Mac
A6 Fly Westworld
B1 Ba-Na-Na-Bam-Boo
B2 Mix Me Up
B3 Injection 1-2-3
B4 Cheap ‘N’ Nasty
B5 Joy Rider
B6 Painkiller

I’m not sure why but I always liked them, and it is a fabulous cover. I always thought they were going to be bigger than they turned out to be and the fact that they named themselves after the film, which is one of my favourites, went some way to my rooting for them. Here is possibly their only real hit:

I then saw an album that I have seen being shown on lots of Youtube videos, Ricochet by Tangerine Dream. I heard them years ago, the father of the drummer of a band I was in had loads of them and there was one playing one night before practice when we went to pick him up. I didn’t like it and have given them no credence since that initial listening.

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Looking back I think there were two reasons why I didn’t connect with it, the first was that it just wasn’t my thing at the time and the other was, I think, that the album he was playing was a soundtrack to a film and nothing much happened, it seemed rather bland and dull to me. Regardless, I bought Ricochet and thought I’d give it a go. I’m glad I did. I’ve just listened to it and absolutely love it. Repetitive instrumentals? Yup, very much my thing nowadays. It will definitely get a lot more plays and I’ll look out for some more of their albums now. I must have passed over dozens of them by now but not anymore.

 

Next was ‘Naked’ by Talking Heads, it was £3.50 (as was Tangerine Dream above) and I’m trying to get sall the Talking Heads albums on vinyl so this was a must really. Especially at that price. I believe it was the last Studio album before they broke up.

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  1. “Blind” – 4:58
  2. “Mr. Jones” – 4:18
  3. “Totally Nude” – 4:10
  4. “Ruby Dear” – 3:48
  5. “(Nothing But) Flowers” – 5:31
  6. “The Democratic Circus” – 5:01
  7. “The Facts of Life” – 6:25
  8. “Mommy Daddy You and I” – 3:58
  9. “Big Daddy” – 5:37
  10. “Cool Water” – 5:10

The thing I have to point out is that I am still at the first stall, which, on the face of it, suggest I went vinyl buying crazy, but I didn’t, well, not too crazy anyway, I just found lots of things I liked straight away.

There will be more when I get to writing part 2 later.

Leamington Record Fair

I visited Leamington Spa’s Town Hall on Saturday to dig my way through heaps of vinyl at the record fair. There is plenty there if you are prepared to pay for it, but I’m generally not. I’m there to pick up bits and pieces as cheaply as possible. There are albums that I most certainly would like, but paying £25 or more for something that I may, not will, but may find cheaper elsewhere is not something I like to do. It will nag away at me and I will eventually find the same thing for half the price and then be annoyed at myself were I to have bought it, so the most I have ever payed for anything at a record fair is £8, and that was this Saturday. Here is what I bought (with the exception of Roots Manuva which was an RSD purchase), can you guess the £8 album?

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Isaac Hayes – Shaft is an original 1974 release, a double, and it plays very nicely, the cover is in good condition as well. I haven’t played either of the Art of Noise albums as yet but they look to be fine. The Cult – Electric is in very good condition and I have played it and it sounds really good. Soul II Soul I haven’t played yet, it appears to have the wrong inner sleeve though. Ooh Las Vegas by Deacon Blue looks like it has been well kept, it’s a double made up of B-Sides and suchlike. Black Sea by XTC is in good condition as is Slave to the Rhythm byu Grace Jones, which plays very well indeed. The only one that is not as good as I might hope is ‘My Kingdom’ by The Future Sound of London. It has a mark about the size of a thumbprint on side one and it really affects the playing quite badly. It is a 33 1/3, 12” single with an 11 minute track on side 1, which samples Ennio Moricone so it’s obviously good, Moricone makes everything better, but that mark really bothers me so I did a little research and ordered a record cleaning kit, to see if that can sort it out, it’s this one:

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It’s not expensive at £8.87 (an odd price) but hopefully it will go some way to reviving not just this 12” single, but several others I have that are showing their age. Here is the blurb on it:

“Vinyl Revival is the world’s safest and best vinyl record cleaning solution. Our alcohol free liquid has been designed by leading scientists to exact laboratory standards. Using lab grade ingredients and equipment, Vinyl Revival has been packaged in a dust free environment, ensuring the cleanest and safest solution for cleaning your vinyl record collection. Vinyl revival is the only 2 step product in the market – a necessity which none of the other ‘garage chemist’ suppliers of competing products are even aware of. Shockingly, other suppliers are openly admitting to using both distilled water AND alcohol in their products! Please avoid putting distilled water anywhere near your vinyl! Ask us, if you’d like to know why. There has been much debate over the years about which products are safe to use on vinyl records with many claiming that alcohol (or isopropyl alcohol) is perfectly safe to smear over your beloved vinyl record collection. We, and our research partners do not believe this to be the case. This is why Vinyl Revival is completely alcohol (or any alcohol substitute) FREE and is, ultimately, the only safe product to use on vinyl records. Also, many other products we’ve tried in the market will contain detergents or other soaping agents. These, again, should be avoided because they will leave behind microscopic deposits on your vinyl surface, which will affect sound quality, increase static and also, potentially, damage your stylus. Vinyl Revival is the product of choice for audio archiving specialists and DJs around the globe.”

I’ll post about the results after I’ve used it.

So which is the £8 album?

Exciting Record Store News!

Exciting record store news,  if you live near Leamington Spa, to be specific. One of our record stores has moved to new, larger premises, and has included a new room,’The Vinyl Room’. Set to open it’s doors for the first time tomorrow, I’ll be there!

www.facebook.com/HEADLeamingtonSpa/

Gary Numan Set List The Assembly, Leamington Spa – 2011-12-07

ThePleasurePrinciple1Back at the tail end of 2011 I went to see Gary Numan at The Assembly in Leamington Spa. It wasn’t until over half way through that it was announced that two of the band hadn’t turned up, I hadn’t really noticed the absence, so they’d done a pretty good job. There’s a video below from that gig that somebody took and below that is the set list for that night.