Something for the Weekend

I wonder if bands like The Knack are sick to death of their big hit and wish people would play one of their other songs for a change. Or are they just grateful for the money it probably still brings them?

This was their only hit in the UK and they were derided by the rock press as retro rockers cynically jumping on the “New Wave” bandwagon by putting on skinny ties. That may or not have been true but this was a cracking single and this is a great performance of it.

Something for The Weekend

Blisteringly good this. One of my favourite singles of the Punk/New Wave era (though Graham Parker was neither of those things really) and probably doesn’t get the notice it deserves.

Something for the Weekend

Never thought I’d use the words “Toto” and “rocks” in the same sentence but this really does.

I bought this single when it came out in 1978, I know I probably should have been buying something by The Clash instead but we can’t all be so hip in our early teens.

Something for the Weekend

Another surprising bit of trivia I just discovered is that Marc Bolan plays guitar on the studio version of this.

I always loved this big riff monster. ELO were heavier in their early days. They also wore more capes.

Something for the Weekend

Controversial though they still were when they became famous, this early live footage makes you realize Frankie actually toned their act down.

I Love Your Live Action

I saw Wolf Alice again last week, that’s the second time this year. Don’t think I’ve seen the same band twice in one year since my early 20s, next I’ll be putting their posters on my bedroom wall and taping their live sessions off the radio. The kids still do that, right?

In the five months since the previous gig the London foursome have put out an album and done a shitload of touring, and as a result seem to be gaining an audience here in the States. Back in March I saw them in a small room in front of about 100 people, but this time the space was bigger and packed with, I guess, about 500 punters — not exactly a football stadium crowd but the vibe was very different too. Instead of merely curious onlookers, most of the crowd seemed to be partisan fans judging by the way they cheered and sang along to the songs. Nice to see that the band’s old-fashioned graft is paying off – as long as they don’t get too big, I don’t actually want to see them in a football stadium.

Having a bigger, enthusiastic crowd really helped the performance and they were even better than the first time. Good though they are at more gentle songs like “Swallowtail” (which they played live for the first time in the States), it’s on big riff monsters like “You’re A Germ” that they can really blow the roof off. If I was the sort of person who used the word “rock” as a verb I would do so. I left with the kind of happily satisfied buzz you only get from booze, sex, and great concerts.

Here’s some dodgy-quality video what I shot myself. I don’t think Jonathan Demme has anything to worry about.

Something for the Weekend

The Pretenders were my favourite band in 1979 when this was filmed, even more than The Jam I think. I have a photo of me in my bedroom circa that year and there are three posters of them on the wall, and readers of this blog will know all about the massive crush I had on Chrissie Hynde, even writing letters to Smash Hits in her defense.

I was lucky enough to see the original line-up live in 1980 (with UB40 and Tenpole Tudor supporting) and I will carry the sight of Chrissie swaggering around stage in leather trousers until my dying day. The rest of the band were pretty good too as you can tell from this performance. Decided to post the entire show as it’s all great.

I Love Your Live Action

On Sunday night I braved a snow storm (another bloody one) to go and see Wolf Alice play live on their very first US tour. My motivation being that one day they might be famous, arena-playing rock stars and I can bore people to death by smugly telling the story of how I once saw them in a tiny club in front of about 100 people.

They should become famous if there’s any justice (though we all know there often isn’t): they have the songs, the riffs, and judging by the performance I saw, can do the business live too. For a band that has yet to put out it’s first album (finally arriving this June) they have the chops of a more seasoned outfit, though one still young and keen enough to have a good time onstage and act like they think rocking out in a band is like the greatest thing ever.

A good-size crowd turned up considering the weather and Wolf Alice’s low profile in the States, and right from the opening “Fluffy” to the closing “Moaning Lisa Smile” they made us all very glad that we had trudged through the snow to see them. The songs off the new album sounded great too. My only gripe is that they didn’t play an encore.

I did have a go at filming some video myself this time and captured about two minutes of them doing their rifftastic new single “Giant Peach” before deciding I’d rather just enjoy the concert without that bother.

That one drove the crowd nuts and literally had the floor shaking, but the lovely “Blush” was my favourite song of the evening. Here they are playing it the night before in New York.

If you’re interested there’s a recording of the whole gig here.

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com





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