Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Week in pop November 28th 2006

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) - The England cricket side's woeful start to its Ashes defence has prompted pop star Elton John to cancel plans to see his team at the Gabba Test match here, a report said. The singer, a favourite of England captain Andrew Flintoff, had been expected to attend the match as he is in Australia for a concert tour beginning in Brisbane Sunday. But Australian Associated Press reported John's cricket plans had been stumped by England's failure to stop the Australians dominating the first two days.

- Talk about fair-weather fans!! That’s typically fucking English – we don’t win, we don’t even want to stay and watch!! Wasn’t it funny how suddenly everyone turned into massive cricket fans overnight when England suddenly won the Ashes last year, then they all turn off just as quickly once we start to suck again! I’m surprised the England team didn’t send someone to poison the food on his rider….

Elton John has been struck by a bout of nausea during a concert in Australia and told the audience after briefly leaving the stage he had gone to "chunder in the toilet". The British star left the stage about two hours into his first concert of an Australian tour in Brisbane, and was gone for about five minutes.

- Hahahahahaha!!! Serves the fucker right! Funnily enough, listening to Elton’s music has always made me want to “chunder in the toilet” as soon as it comes on the radio, so I’d expect that years of performing would have built him up a resistance to the nauseating effects of his fuck-awful primadonna piano nightmares. Obviously not. Let’s see if the catering teams on the remaining Australian dates can upstage this – I would love to read about Elton having to bolt from stage mid-way through ‘Candle in the Wind’ because he’s "got the turtle’s heed" after some dodgy sausage rolls backstage!!

LONDON (Reuters) - Irish boy band Westlife were the surprise winners of a high-profile battle to top the album charts on Sunday, beating Oasis, the Beatles and U2 to the top spot. Westlife's collection of covers, "The Love Album", outsold greatest hits albums from Oasis and U2 as well as the similarly named "Love", a medley of remixed Beatles songs, the Official UK Charts Company said. The four albums were all released this week in anticipation of strong sales ahead of Christmas, with many industry observers expecting Oasis's "Stop The Clocks" to top the pile. In the end Oasis had to be content with second place, ahead of the Beatles at number three and "U218 Singles" from U2 at number four.

- You can tell we're in the run up to Xmas when one look at the album charts reveals nothing but bloody greatest hits compilations - aside from the ones mentioned above, the rest of the top ten features the best of Jamiroquai, the best of Girls Aloud, the best of the Sugababes, the best of George Michael (AGAIN)....you have to get down to number nine to find anything 'original' (and there we're talking about Razorlight so it's probably debatable how accurate a term that it for their material....). See, the reason we get hit with a fucking avalanche of these 'greatest hits' things prior to the mad rush to buy Xmas presents for everyone is that they make the ideal gift for someone you don't really give two tosses about but feel obliged to buy a present for. So he liked that Jamiroquai song with the sliding floor video? Greatest Hits!! So your little sister spent her pocket money on one CD single by the Sugababes a couple of years ago? Greatest Hits!! So you happen to know one of the five or six people who actually liked anything George Michael released since his last career synopsis? Greatest Hits!!! Fuck it, what's the point of even promoting a new record in November/December if all the record shops want to pedal is tired old compilation albums? And while I'm not necessarily opposed to people like Jamiroquai sticking out a best of fifteen years into their career, it seems a bit rich for every pop group who can manage to make it to three albums to systematically throw out a best of like they were the Grateful fucking Dead or something. The best of Girls Aloud??? We're hardly talking about an act that's spent years redefining its sound are we? Does nobody make fucking record tokens anymore????

Regarding the top end of the chart, it is a rare day that I actually applaud the chart success of those fucking singing potatoes Westlife, but at least they were the only act in contention for the number one slot who weren't peddling a best of - having said that, their record is another bunch of cheesy old granny ballads, all of which are covers. But while I used to hate these guys with a passion, I suppose they've just been around for long enough for me to accept the fact that their neutered, hospital radio piss-drizzle will continue topping charts for years to come whether I like it or not. One request though - whoever comes up with their songs, could you maybe write the next one with a few more of those emotional walk-towards-the-audience key changes at the end? I want to see exactly how far these guys can come off their stools before the fall off the front of the stage...

Lily Allen has launched a scathing attack on the NME, accusing the UK music magazine's editor of being an "arrogant prick".
The pop star posted a blistering statement on her MySpace this week, in the aftermath of their annual "Cool List".
According to Allen, NME's editor Conor McNicholas had planned to run a cover featuring a number of the female members of the pop community that scored well in their poll.
However, they are understood to have ditched the cover, which featured the list's winner, Beth Ditto from The Gossip, in favour of a piece on Muse.

In response, Allen ranted about the decision to have "another f*cking Muse cover", before going ballistic at McNicholas' comments that "you can still rock a crowd when you're wearing stilettos."
"I mean how f*cking patronising. Is that all we are, stilleto wearing people, is that all he could say, that we brought a 'new energy' to the music scene," Lily questioned.
"Don't make me sick, we've a
lways been here you arrogant prick, this was your chance to actually show you meant it. And instead you put Muse on the cover.
"Cause you thought that your readers might not buy a magazine with an overweight lesbian and a not particularly attractive looking me, on the front.

- I wouldn't normally expect myself to come down on the side of a mockney rich kid like Lily Allen in an argument, but I have to say yay to her on this one. This whole 'cool list' idea is typical of the fucking NME - the writers pretty much function along the same lines as 14 year old schoolgirls who cover their bedroom walls with posters of the latest pin-up and then rip them all down six months later claiming that they totally hate him and never even liked him in the first place anyway. But this year it appears that they consciously tried to distance themselves from the trivial nature of such an exercise by making the completely token gesture of voting an 18 stone lesbian punk singer as their 'coolest of the cool'. Great! Makes a change from the identikit scuffed trainer indie bands that generally end up in the list.

But wait, who's that on the cover? That's right, it's fucking Muse again - how diverse is that? I mean, I like Muse as much as the next man, but when you're making out like you're flying the flag for diversity in rock music, why not put your money where your fucking mouth is and stick Beth on the cover? The Gossip might make music that sounds like fucking Bis with the amps turned up louder, but if we're going for token gestures then at least make a proper go of it - it's all too easy to witter on about equality in the letters page section like a bunch of sixth form politics students, but when it comes to sticking your magazine on the racks with a lesbian salad dodger on the cover, you go back on your principles pretty fucking sharpish! WIMPS!! This reminds me of how NME and Melody Maker used to bang on about the Wu Tang Clan in the mid 90s but still refused to put them on the cover (even when they were top of the album charts) because they were scared of losing readers amongst their white indie kid fanbase - Lily was absolutely right to call this guy out for being a pussy, and even more so for pointing out his toe-curlingly patronising comments after the list came out. And while we're on the subject of Lily, I totally would - ballgowns and trainers, podgy neck and dangly earrings, too much make up and nice shiny white teeth...Plus, I think her music's pretty cool. She seems like bit of a pain in the arse, but given the chance I reckon I could teach her some manners. NME can chew on my balls if they don't want to put her on the cover. "W*nkers" indeed!!

OASIS star Noel Gallagher has told soldiers wounded in Iraq to stop moaning about it. The singer, who is originally from Burnage, said Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to go to war was an "almighty cock-up". But he blasted troops who claim compensation for injuries suffered on the frontline. "You get a million people walking through Hyde Park - 'Don't send the troops and all that'," he told The Sun. "The troops want to go. All they want to do is fight! They're soldiers. They're loving it, until they get shot - then they're claiming compensation. "If you're bothered about getting shot - here's a thing - don't join the Army."

- After the somewhat incendiary reaction to my recent post on squaddie arse-firework experiments, I will refrain from commenting on Noel’s outburst (but check out the raging debate in the comments section – I’ve never had so many posts!!). Let’s just say that Noel is good at slagging stuff off, especially when he has a new album to promote with no unreleased material on it (this is just one of his many comments in the press leading up to the release of ‘Stop the Clocks’ – the guy was taking pot shots at pretty much anything that crossed his radar. And it still didn’t get to number one!). My favourite snippets of Noelosophy are when he referred to current era Jack White as ‘Zorro on doughnuts’, and the bit on the ‘Wibbling Rivalry’ CD where he compares Liam to ‘some fucking Scouse schlepper’ for getting deported from Holland for starting a fight on the ferry and missing Oasis’ gig there. Splendid stuff! Keep sticking that boot in Mr Gallagher!

Monday, November 27, 2006

State of the metal world

I recently had the opportunity to peruse a copy of the popular rock music journal ‘Kerrang’ on a flight back to Paris, and to be quite honest I was profoundly shocked by what I discovered. The young people of today are clearly being warped by this music and its inherent lack of moral fibre, outrageous fashion and all-round promotion of all that is unseemly and irreverent. And not only that, they are also listening to some bloody dreadful music made by a bunch of gawky looking bastards with an appalling choice in hair products. It’s a fucking disgrace.

So, at the risk of sounding a little old and out of touch with 'the scene', let’s casually deconstruct the movers and shakers of today from the perspective of a wizened old hack like myself (and anyway, Kerrang has always been composed of 10% decent bands and 90% unlistenable toss or hopelessly watered down versions of the aforementioned 10% - today’s situation is no different from that of years gone by, the vast majority of metal bands have pretty much always SUCKED and so it is perfectly alright to rip on them).

Skinny hardcore kiddies

Listen, I'm not exactly the world's fattest person and I like to think that I know how to dress my size, so skinny fit stuff is fine by me. But there is a limit to how emaciated you can look before it all just starts to get a bit uncomfy to behold. Case in point is the gentleman pictured here, a certain William Beckett from rock ensemble The Academy Is....(no, that's not a typing error, that is their real shitty name). Did this fucker just recover from a particularly stiff dose of amoebic dysentry? Because otherwise he'd better have a decent excuse for being so fucking scrawny! I've seen more meat on a fucking cocktail sausage!! Since when did it become so cool to look like your parents kept you locked in the cellar fed solely on steamed fucking celery for your whole childhood??? I haven't heard this guy's music, but for some reason I don't think anorexic vegan hardcore is going to be my cup of tea. Scrawny fucking freak!!

Tenacious D

ENOUGH with all the hilarious 'mock metal' parodies OK?? As if it weren't enough having watching Jack Black play pretty much exactly the same fat, sweaty, antisocial loser in EVERY SINGLE FILM HE DOES (OK, he had a token normal role in 'King Kong' but that's pretty much it), we now have to deal with him and some guy who looks like Frank Black's uglier brother trot out 'humorous' musical versions of the same tired old joke that wasn't funny in the first place.
OK Jack, you were pretty good in 'High Fidelity' but everything after that has pretty much been a systematic rehash of your one good role with the same wide-eyed-getting-all-excited-about-Iron Maiden-with-your-gut-hanging-over-your-jeans jokes repeated ad nauseum. HAHAHAHAHA OK I GET IT, CAN WE PLEASE STOP NOW???

And is if his films and various award ceremony presenting jobs weren't enough, we now get to sit through another album of rib-tickling 'comedy metal' targeted at the kind of fucking dweeb that needs MTV to tell him what is and isn't funny via months and months of advertising saturation and cleverly placed cameos (à la Jackass, South Park etc....). Listen Jacky boy, the whole geeky rocker comedy thing got hammered into the ground about fifteen years back with 'Bill & Ted', 'Wayne's World', 'Beavis & Butthead' etc, although the subtle difference between the aforementioned examples and your excruciating predictable skits on the perils of the modern rocker is that the originals were actually FUNNY. You, on the other hand, are a fucking one trick pony whose fifteen minutes are rapidly ticking away before you get consigned to the vaults of 'comedy hopelessly tied to its era' along with Red Dwarf, Newman & Baddiel and that bloody Bo Selecta programme (oh sorry, I'm a couple of years too early there). Now fuck off somewhere else, and take your shit jokes and sizeable gut with you!!

Fat Goth hogs

I was not familiar with the band 'Aiden' who currently seem to be plastered all over the pages of the teeny metal press due to the fact that they all wear eyeliner and pose lying in coffins, but I chanced upon some photos of them whilst thumbing through Kerrang and I felt really quite queasy. Listen you lardballs, if you absolutely have to be hideously overweight and don't want to spend your life being a fucking roadie, there are certain ways of dressing which will allow you to slip in without looking like a total doofus. Death metal was practically invented for guys your size, so you could hide behind a humungous drumkit wearing a pair of sweaty black knee shorts and a sleeveless Crowbar top - what NOT to do is trowel on black Hot Topic make-up and dress in tight goth gear that makes you look like Good Charlotte's fatter older brothers!! Did you c*nts eat the support act or what?? Granted, your singer can just about pull off the goth look but the rest of you look like weebles in black nail polish! If you want to dress like goths, lay off the fucking cheeseburgers for a couple of weeks OK!!! I can just about handle porky goth girls, who can generally layer themselves in sashes and velvet cloaks in order to look halfway attractive, but there's no excuse for the guys to not learn how to dress their size too. Kids these days, they're either all skin and bones or fucking black-clad tyre stacks - what ever happened to all the normal sized people eh???

British ‘metal’

Americans eh? Who do they think they are? They come out with some of the greatest musical groups of modern times, bring 'em over here to tour and then get narked when we come up with our own piss-weak version of the original and act like it's even better! What a sauce!!
OK, we would not have had The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Jesus & Mary Chain and countless others if Brits hadn't re-appropriated Yank musical advances and manipulated them to our own ends, but on the whole they have their music and 90% of the time they do it better than anyone else. ESPECIALLY when we're talking about anything that gets into the pages of Kerrang.


They gave us : Guns 'n' Roses
We gave them : Thunder

They gave us : Rage Against the Machine
We gave them : One Minute Silence

They gave us : Nirvana
We gave them : Bush

They gave us : Pixies
We gave them : Feeder

Do you want me to continue?

The trend continues even today, with half-baked chancers like Bullet for my Valentine reaping huge amounts of press space for no other reason than that they're a British act trying to pull the same moves as their American influences. I saw Lostprophets a couple of years back and while they weren't totally bad, their singer even kept the fake Yank accent for the between song banter - does that not seem a little forced to some of you? Most of us in the UK are perpetually banging on about how totally bitchin' our music is (and always has been since the dawn of time), and whilst I would defend that point of view in certain circumstances, when we're talking about rock it's often a better idea to keep schtum.

Crap Tats

When I was a kid, those of us who wanted to ape the look of their rock star of choice grew their hair a bit, bought some second-hand dog-chewed flannel and started a shite covers band playing 'Polly', 'Today' and other less challenging staples from the grunge archives. A couple of years later, kids started sprouting whiteboy dreads, wearing oversized jeans à la Kriss Kross and getting a stud planted right in the middle of their chin for some fucking reason. Either way, they were looks you could easily ditch from one day to the next (such as the day before a job interview) and slip back into the normal world. But nowadays, these young whippersnappers have to go one better and get covered in all manner of indecipherable scrawlings - and I'm not just talking about some subtle cartoon thing on the small of your back, I mean full on yakuza arm tattoos and LA gang neck pieces. What the fuck is wrong with you people??? Just - hold this thought - suppose that your tuneless garage 'punk' group hits the skids and you suddenly decide that you might want to enter regular employment....that Chinese Dragon crawling out of your shirt collar is going to be the thing to swing the interview board isn't it? "Well Judy, that last guy had some pretty good references but I feel that we could use a reformed skate-punk bass player with '25 TA LIFE' tattooed across his knuckles on the front desk, don't you?" The same goes for flesh tunnels, scarification and any piercings outside of standard earrings and nose studs. Either go the whole hog and run away to join the fucking circus or just try to look like normal member of the human race, OK? You don't look like a rock star, you look like a FUCKING IDIOT.

Naff 90s hangovers

I had the pleasure of experiencing the 90s in their entirety within close distance of a stereo, and thus got to take in the many musical wonders of that decade. I was exposed to many fascinating, creative artists in the realms of rock such as Faith No More, Carcass, Wildhearts, Therapy?, L7, Soundgarden etc....Look back on the era now and there are numerous examples of truly timeless records and hugely influential bands.
So who survived the dawning of the new millennium? The most mediocre, piss-weak, soul-less, tailored-to-MTV standards commercial cocksnot along the lines of Green Day, Foo Fighters, the Chilis etc....These guys make music with about as much risk factor as the latest fucking Simon Cowell project - what was once the underground has now turned into the sort of bland, anaemic porridge that only sounds in its place when piped through the speakers in B&Q between adverts for half-price wallpaper! How come these guys are only playing 80,000 capacity venues now that they're churning out stodgy, soundalike concept albums which wouldn't sound out of place on children's TV? I'm not saying that I automatically hold it against bands when they do well, but these guys have stuck to the most basic template of powerchords, lavish MTV videos and celebrity address books in order to reap in the maximum profits - do not tell me these guys are genuine rock stars any more than fucking Robbie Williams is. Green Day have always been a gawky bunch of adolescents playing sickly sweet pop punk, the Chilis stopped rocking about fifteen years ago and Dave Grohl fully admits that he only keeps Foo Fighters going to pay the fucking mortgage - why are these guys still on magazine covers? Are we that short on interesting new bands?

Hackneyed ‘Classic Album’ sections

We all know that it's important to acknowledge the past and all that, but in this age of Myspace, Wikipedia and unlimited knowledge a mouse-click away, do we really need another feature on how great 'Reign in Blood' or 'Master of Puppets' are??? Are they so short on staff at Kerrang that they have to keep trotting out the same 'classic album' series that they've had on rotation for the last twenty fucking years??? Listen, anyone halfway interested in heavy metal is going to get someone to burn them these records anyway so can we just stop all the arse-kissing? Why not write about some real lost classics that people wouldn't come across so easily, like some early Consolidated, Suffocation, Godflesh etc...? And while I'm at it, skip 'Reign in Blood' and get the '91 live double instead if you want to get into Slayer - now THAT is some classic stuff.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Live - Unholy Alliance

Unholy Alliance #2 – Palais Omnisports de Bercy, Paris 7th November 2006

The idea behind touring multi-band packages like this is that fans get the chance to witness several different acts within the same genre without having to attend several different gigs in order to do so – the obvious drawback is that if there’s a band on the bill that you’re not interested in, you’ve still got to shell out for their set whilst you stand in the bar. No such danger exists with this year’s leg of the Unholy Alliance though, with the enticing prospect of six quality purveyors of the fine art of heavy metal making sure that the floor stays full while the beer and T-shirt stalls find themselves relatively unsolicited for most of the night. We’re also faced with a more cosmopolitan line-up than last time, with bands from Finland, Sweden, Canada, France and the US making up the tour’s roster, so clearly a most enriching evening is in store for all.

Upon entering the venue around half five in the afternoon, a suspicious rumbling from the main arena suggests that Canada’s Thine Eyes Bleed have already begun practicing their art. Sure enough, they are ploughing headfirst into a potent thrash/death attack by the time I get in there, and the appreciative crowds down at the front prove that it’s not too early in the day for a pit. Whilst their muscular riffery and guttural vocal onslaught does little to distinguish them from thousands of other North American acts on a similar ilk, it has to be said that these guys have their act wound tight enough to turn heads even when placed alongside their peers – they could have easily slacked off as the opening act playing to a half-empty venue, but once they hit their stride they appear comfortable enough playing this arena stage that you could almost believe they’re headlining the night. A delightful splattering of guts to start the proceedings.

A late addition to the bill due to their status as homecoming heroes (though when you’re talking about a band from the Basque country playing a gig in Paris, it’s hardly on their doorstep), France’s Gojira slot in nicely alongside the other acts to provide a hearty dose of bowel-quaking death metal. Their chosen genre often proves way too constrictive for most bands, but Gojira’s success stems from their choice to forge their own identity as laidback, eco-friendly headbangers with a potent death metal delivery that quakes the very foundations of the venue. I rejoin the assembled masses on the floor for the first time to experience all this, and once you’re down there it’s positively overwhelming to feel their earthquake death metal rumble out across the crowd like giant, tumbling waves of noise. DM bands often place all-out hair flailing enthusiasm over any kind of personality that might set themselves apart from the rest of the scene, but the nice thing about Gojira is that it’s precisely their status as outsiders which has seen them develop such a following, and tonight the crowd accords them a warm, grateful reception as the sole Gallic influence on this most international of events in the metal calendar. As the final vibrations fade from Bercy after their exit, the French can feel well-represented in tonight’s encounter.

We go back across the Atlantic now as Maryland’s Lamb of God hit the stage with their stadium-friendly mosh metal to an enthusiastic crowd - indeed, expectations are high for this relatively rare chance to witness the band on European soil, compounded by a series of essential releases and a sterling reputation as one of modern metal’s best live draws. However, with the bar set so high it was always going to be a case of do or die, and as the set progresses you start to feel the initial burst of energy generated by their arrival on stage gradually dissipate as they fail to pull the crowd into their slipstream. As natural inheritors to Pantera’s crown as kings of rootsy, black-hearted American metal, you expect the band to flatten the place with a relentless barrage of bovine brutality, but despite the odd moment of hair-flailing abandon from the guitar players you get the impression that the band are running on slightly low batteries. Whilst their records seem to be tailor made to soundtrack sweaty moshpit bedlam, tonight most of the material just disappears into the atmosphere without ever fully connecting – once or twice they hit the mark, most notably with ‘Now you’ve got something to die for’, but even a closing ‘Black Label’ (minus the fabled wall of death, tellingly) can’t stop this from ending in stalemate. Were they on too early? Were they all knackered? Did they get a couple of dodgy croissants on the rider? Whatever the reason behind tonight’s luke-warm showing, let’s hope they can come back another time and pave over the cracks like we were all expecting them to.

After an introduction to the soundtrack of background lounge music, Children of Bodom rip into ‘Silent Night, Bodom Night’ and it rapidly becomes apparent that they are in safer territory. The Finns’ brand of Euro-friendly melodic thrash sprinkled with various Nintendo synth noises proves an immediate hit amongst those who don’t know them already, whilst seasoned fans lap up the chance to go seriously bonkers down the front. Whilst other bands in their genre can come across as achingly morose, COB make it clear that they’re in this for a laugh with the OTT sparkle of their keyboard driven metal assault proving difficult to resist, and even those who find the whole thing a bit corny end up banging their heads by the end. The setlist covers their various studio albums evenly (although let’s face it, said records are all pretty interchangeable) and the overall vibe is one of over-bearing festivity. The only downside is frontman Alexi Laiho’s moronic stage banter – you get the impression that when this fellow was learning English, he opened the dictionary at ‘F’ and pretty much stopped there….

The competition for best entrance of the night has been in full sway since we began, and I think we can safely say when the ‘Night Rider’ theme music jack-knifes into In Flames’ frontal assault over a background of blue neon grid lighting, the race for the title has been comfortably won. What’s more, their set proves to be the night’s most entertaining and well-handled of the evening – being only vaguely familiar with their material, I chose to hang back for this one but soon wished I was on the floor hanging on every note like their considerable following front of stage. The Swedes are a classic example of what makes their countrymen so annoying – they manage to deliver the most potent, thrill-packed set of the evening without looking like they’re even going out of their way to do so. Frontman Anders Friden makes a refreshing change to his predecessors tonight, resisting the urge to pour forth obscenities and desperate requests for the crowd to shout louder or mosh more vigorously, and he cuts a fine figure as an amiable master of ceremonies in between bouts of screaming his dreadlocks off. The band crank out extracts from their considerable back catalogue (which I shall now be checking out more thoroughly) and the lighting rigs which they appear to have nicked from some Scandinavian gameshow only add to this wholly pleasant battering of the senses. If there’s any fault to their showing tonight, it’s that it’s TOO flawless – the poppy likes of ‘Cloud Connected’ lack the vitriol and violence of some of tonight’s other contenders, but it’s small beef in the face of what is otherwise tonight’s undisputed highlight.

Which of course means that leading lights Slayer are…..well, a little average to be perfectly honest. Of course, the metal overlords on average form are still a lot better than most of their peers firing on all cylinders, but once the standard ‘Disciple/War Ensemble’ opening couplet is dispatched to bouts of Tazmanian Devil style pit mayhem, we find ourselves like hungry beasts waiting for the next chunk of meat to be thrown in. Trouble is, instead of picking from the massive stockpile of choice cuts from their back catalogue, they choose to fling out nut cutlets in the shape of four tracks from average newie ‘Christ Illusion’ and the slower, creepier numbers from their standard setlist. OK, we would have felt a bit cheated without ‘South of Heaven’, but would anyone seriously complain if they didn’t trot out ‘Dead Skin Mask’ or ‘Mandatory Suicide’ for the nth time? Where’s all the fast shit? Granted, ‘Chemical Warfare’, ‘Raining Blood’ and the devilish boogie of ‘Die by the Sword’ give the assembled throng plenty to fling themselves around to, but overall you can’t help feeling that longtime fans are probably counting the number of favourites they didn’t hear tonight rather than the show’s highlights. The band’s decision to spend ages getting ready for the next song while Tom Araya grins at the crowd doesn’t do anything to add to the momentum, and you start to wonder what has happened to the relentless energy these guys produced when they graced the same stage two years ago. This writer witnessed perhaps the best gig of his miserable little life that night, and so perhaps tonight was always going to pale in comparison but you can’t help but think of the wasted potential from a band with the power to turn groups of civilised human beings into flailing masses of drooling lunatics with the drop of a powerchord. I remember getting spun 360° across a strobe-flickered slampit to ‘Angel of Death’ back in 2004 and feeling like the roof might cave in at any moment – tonight, Slayer would do well to spill people’s drinks halfway back in the crowd. It’s not a total letdown, but as we file out into the November evening air there’s a pervasive feeling that tonight’s final feast of metal was ever so slightly undercooked.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Week in pop (and politics) November 12th 2006

Sir Mick Jagger's father died on Saturday night at the age of 93, a spokesman for the singer said.

- Start of with a positive one this week. I have sung the Stones’ praises in the past for still being able to bust out classics despite their advancing age, but it is also common knowledge that Mick’s dad was at least partly responsible for keeping the guy healthy for so long. Apparently he was a sports teacher and he taught Mick how to keep in shape whilst touring the world in a shitstorm of sweaty rock ‘n’ roll bacchanalia, Herculean drug abuse, Brazilian love-children and all-out preaching of the Satanic gospel to whoever was there to watch. I’m not going to go over the highs and lows on the Stones’ career right now, but let’s just say that I saw Paul McCartney live a couple of years back and it was like some kind of lame Christian rock boyscout clap-along. In contrast to this, Mick and co still go out on stage and ROCK YO PUNY ASS every night of their tour. For this to be possible, someone had to train ‘em up and so I say raise a glass to Mick’s dad – clocking out at the age of 93 is pretty goddam rock ‘n’ roll too I reckon.

Liam Gallagher has blasted Pete Doherty and Keane singer Tom Chaplin over their recent stints in rehab.
The Oasis frontman called the pair "posh lightweights" for checking into The Priory for drug addiction.
He told The Sun: "None of us have ever been in The Priory, like all these little idiots today. They have one little line, they have one burn and they're all in rehab.
"That Pete Doherty is cabbaged already. And it's like, 'How old are you? Priory at 27 years of age? You idiot.' Posh boys can't take drugs, man. They're lightweights."

- To remain on the subject of rock ‘n’ roll health issues, I had to include this particular insight – we can always rely on Liam to cast the first stone in matters of rock star behaviour. But to be fair, the guy has a point – a cycle seems to have been established among younger British rock ensembles recently that runs as follows : ‘successful first album, intrusive tabloid attention, high profile relationship, second album stiffing bigtime, well-publicised stint in rehab, social re-integration as a ‘changed man’ (with Waterstones best-selling biography to follow)’.
As much as I admire these guys for wising up to the fact that they had a problem and getting treatment for it, there’s only so much sympathy you can have for someone like Justin Hawkins who goes to great lengths to point out in the press that his new single is about cocaine abuse, then ends up checking into the Priory to sort out his rampant coke addiction. I remember when Noel Gallagher was going through his coke phase circa ‘Be Here Now’, and got to the point where he noticed that it was affecting his work, so he just decided to call it a day and stopped. No massive media furore, just a bit of what we might call willpower – compare this to Pete Doherty, who seems to have pretty much based his entire career on getting trolleyed in full view of the media instead of actually making any semi-decent music, and you start to feel a little less sympathy for these guys when they go off the rails. I’m not belittling the problems of drug addiction, but we all know that showbiz stars have pretty unlimited access to stimulants of all kind – however, if you don’t want to turn into some junkie fuck-up, then use your brain and stop before you turn into a total cabbage. It’s like these guys see crashing and burning as a sure-fire way to rock stardom – nobody’s forcing them to get fucked out of their skull all the time, so if they do so then they don’t get any sympathy from me.
To go back to Liam’s viewpoint though, I like the idea of posho rock stars not being able to handle their drugs – you can imagine Liam lining up speedball shots on the bar of some Manc drug den and challenging these guys to keep up with him. ‘What yer doing convulsin’ on’t fookin floor! I didn’t feel owt! Let’s do another ‘un!’

Almost two-thirds of the British public support a move to extend the number of years musicians can receive royalties for their work, a survey suggests.
Currently, performers in the UK can receive payments for 50 years, at which point their work goes out of copyright.
But 62% of people polled by YouGov for the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) think UK artists should be protected for 95 years, as they are in the US.
They have found a vocal spokesperson in Sir Cliff Richard, whose debut hit, Move It, would go out of copyright in 2008 under current law.

- I think 50 years is a reasonable lapse of time between a song’s original release and the point where it becomes part of popular culture. I mean, chances are that people won’t even be listening to the original version of the song by the time the copyright runs out, so why not let the person who made it famous pick up the cheque? This is just the music business being lazy – every time they see themselves as losing out on a couple of dollars, they want the fucking law to step in and defend them. You might remember that the same question came up with Elvis recently when his earliest hits were coming up to the end of their copyright – what did his record company do? Whinge about losing out on cash and ask for the legal system to step in? No, they organised a re-issue campaign to give the fans some new shit and managed to cream in some last profits before the songs became public property. The only reason people like Cliff Richard are worried about this is because they know that a similar stunt wouldn’t work for them because nobody gives a toss about their earlier tunes these days.
Besides, most of the major rock successes of the 50s were mainstream (and almost uniquely white) artists re-appropriating more ‘ethnic’ types of music to cash-in on its success with the young. The original creators of this music got sweet FA in return for it most of the time, so it’s interesting that now we have old school white rock stars worrying about how much cash they can pull in to keep their family swimming pool heated all year round, we feel it’s time that the law should be changed. I say fuck these guys – they wouldn’t be so worried if they had put out quality stuff more recently that they could still claim royalties on, would they?

Two US students are suing a film studio claiming they were duped into appearing in spoof movie Borat starring Sacha Baron Cohen as a Kazakh journalist.
The unknown plaintiffs are seen making sexist and racist remarks in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Legal papers said the two men "engaged in behaviour that they otherwise would not have engaged in".

- The film comes out in France next week and I shall be looking forward to seeing these guys make fools of themselves on screen in front of a large audience. I love the way that Americans absolutely have to shift the blame onto someone else whenever something bad happens to them, especially when it’s blatantly their own fault. Basically, these knuckleheads got drunk on camera and then were unknowingly filmed making somewhat ill-advised remarks, and now the whole world is going to get to watch them do it and have a right laugh at them. Sounds fair enough to me! Listen, if you object to being caught on camera talking like a twat, perhaps you might want to re-evaluate your own views before getting rat-arsed and spouting off to some guy you’ve only just met. Are they suing the bar owner for serving them the booze that they presumably consumed prior to this bigoted tirade of wholeheartedly c*ntish remarks? Or perhaps they could sue their own parents for bringing them up with absolutely no fucking common sense? The reason Borat has been such a success so far (most notably in America itself) is that it exposes the side of people that they only show when they think nobody’s watching – which is sometimes not a showcase of their finest qualities. So should we overlook it when people start flinging racist, sexist, or otherwise unpleasant remarks around thinking that nobody’s watching? Should we fuck! These meatheads should be publicly exposed as fully paid-up members of the c*nt club in front of their peers, maybe it’ll teach them to shut their mouths and use their fucking brains in future!

A fireworks prank went horribly wrong for a young British soldier who tried to copy a stunt from Jackass: The Movie by setting off an explosive he had
inserted into his bottom.
The 22-year-old, who recently returned from duty in Iraq, suffered severe internal injuries, including a scorched colon, after the Black Cat Thunderbolt rocket
exploded inside him.
Grainy footage of the incident was captured on a mobile phone camera and shows a large bright flash shooting from the man’s rear end as onlookers cheer him on. A witness, 16-year-old Daniel Kassim, was quoted in The Times as saying: “There were around 40 of us at a bonfire on Dundas Road. ”After the fire had finished we were hanging around setting off fireworks. The lad was saying, ‘This is boring, what can we do?’ He then decided to put a rocket up his backside and set it off. ”Everyone was just laughing and didn’t believe he would do it but he pulled his trousers down, placed
the firework and someone lit it. “It exploded within a few seconds and he fell to the ground. No one thought he was hurt, we all thought it was hilarious. ”He stood up and walked for a few metres before stumbling and falling to the ground. There was blood
coming from his bum”.
A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents told The Times he was stunned at how stupid some people could be. ”It’s so unfortunate that someone is now paying the price for the misuse of fireworks. Let’s not forget these are explosives. They come with specific instructions about how they should be used.”

- Thanks to Eoin for sending this particular gem to me. It’s comforting to think that, since the dawn of time when the first forms of life slithered out from the ocean, we have arrived at the point in human evolution where someone’s first reaction to boredom is to STICK A LIT FIREWORK UP HIS OWN ARSE. Good fucking grief!!! I mean, I’ve heard some pretty shocking stuff about what off-duty squaddies get up by way of jocular pranks, but this has to be THE most unspeakably moronic act of intentional self-harm in the history of the human race! You’d think that once these guys come back from their little jaunt overseas exporting ‘democracy and civilisation’ to people of other races by driving a fucking tank over their houses, they would perhaps find it hard to adapt to life back home, but looking at chumps like this guy you’d be hard pressed to believe that the army weren’t handing out frontal lobotomies along with their fucking helmets!
I’m getting a bit sick of people jibbering on about the monumental sacrifice these guys are making to preserve our freedom when their off-duty behaviour would make the fucking PG Tips chimps look down their noses in disgust! When they’re not drooling over violent hardcore porn or wanking into each others’ food rations, these knuckle-scraping fucking trogs are trekking home for the weekend and beating up some poor bastard on the train for looking at them funny before they hit some smalltown nightclub ripped to the tits on alcopops and try to gang-rape some thirteen year old schoolgirl! There are plenty of other people doing indispensable jobs in society for scant recognition, often putting their own health at risk whilst doing so, yet at the end of the day they can still manage to behave like normal human beings rather than pea-brained, over-sexed primates with all the common sense of a fucking house brick!!! The worst thing is, this clown will probably be regaling his friends in the pub with the tale of the night he stuck a firework up his arse (although he’ll be standing up when he tells the story I wager), and his squaddie mates will probably be so impressed that they’ll probably try to go one better by sticking their heads in a fucking industrial meat grinder ‘for a bit of a laugh’. And these are the people who are supposed to be protecting our country???? The only way we’re going to beat an invading army with these fucking imbeciles is if we get them lagered up and drop them out of a plane over enemy territory with TNT stuffed up their arse and no fucking parachute!!!

I figured I would save my reaction to the Rumsfeld resignation ‘til last on this post, just because I think it would be a bit of a waste to just rattle of obscenities about how much I hate this guy. It kinda brings my general rancour into perspective when I can’t actually think of words to describe my dislike for one person, but I honestly cannot think of an appropriate way to describe this cold-hearted, war-mongering fucking bully or the impact of his actions on the state of the world we live in today. You can never trace widespread unpleasantness back to just one person so I’m not going to go down that particular road, but let’s just say that every time I have heard this scumbag bang on about how the US and its lapdogs need to carry on murdering innocent people to preserve freedom, or flash his patronising fucking grin at protesters whilst making out that he’s doing this for their own good even though they don’t realise it yet, I have had to repress the urge to plant my foot right into the image of his arrogant lizard-like face on my TV screen. We all know that his place will only be taken by someone equally unpleasant, but that doesn’t mean I’m not glad to see this c*nt step down in a hail of negative publicity for the Bush administration. I hope you’re happy now ‘Rummy’, and that you have fun watching from the swing chair on your front porch as the world you created continues to destroy itself thanks (in part at least) to your own poisonous influence.
Now, if you don’t mind, please fuck off and die.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

Hope you all had a lovely Halloween.
xxx John

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Week in pop October 26th 2006

Britney Spears has named her new son Jayden James Federline, according to reports.
Six weeks since the birth of the boy, mystery has continued to surround his name, with no official confirmation coming from the pop superstar.
However, it has now been claimed Britney and husband Kevin Federline filed the child's birth certificate at the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder's office yesterday.
The name on the official document, which was signed by the father, is apparently Jayden James Federline and not Sutton Pierce Federline, as had been claimed.

- An esteemed friend of mine lent me a book which compiles statistics for such topics as the names most commonly associated with a life of hopeless middle-America wage slavery, and whilst I don’t have it to hand right now, I would be willing to bet that ‘Jayden James’ is pretty fucking high on the list! You might as well stitch that into a petrol-pump shirt right now! As if that weren’t enough, not only will this poor little fucker be battling against the odds to rise above his blatant white-trash lineage, as soon as his parents’ careers hid the skids (clock’s ticking already), he’s going to be growing up in a tacky Hollywood mansion fallen into disrepute and dodging his failed white rapper of a father in his drunken rages, while his bloated plastic surgery disaster of a mother slouches on the couch scoffing Valium and watching footage of herself back in her glory days! This poor little c*nt doesn’t stand a chance!! Someone ought to do him a favour and smother him right now!!

Robbie Williams is heading for the top of the charts with his new album - but sales are significantly down on his last effort.
HMV's Gennaro Castaldo said: "If Robbie delivers his eighth UK solo number one, he will match David Bowie and go only two behind Elvis Presley. "It will also be his 11th number one in total if you include his success with Take That. It reaffirms Robbie's position as the UK's number one artist, and there's every chance he will match and then overtake Elvis's longstanding record with his future releases."
- Elvis, Bowie….Robbie Williams?? I don’t think so pal! Just because droves of shit-thick Jade Goody look-alikes went out and bought all your previous records so they could bellow the lyrics whilst staggering around with one stiletto on during a hen-night Reef binge does not make you a fucking musical maverick! I sometimes get the impression Robbie (or whoever his current songwriter/producer is) has been testing the limits of exactly how much crap he can serve up whilst still maintaining the same fanbase – naff Top Shop Oasis parodies, wannabe James Bond whiteboy rap, tenth-grade Sinatra rip-offs that wouldn’t be out of place on ‘Stars in their Eyes’, excruciatingly irritating Ian Dury pastiches, and that fucking ‘Angels’ song….somehow, his gormless fucking fans keep on coming back for more! This talentless fucking redcoat could trot out an album of acoustic arse-trumpet music that humorously references incest, paedophilia and third-world genocide and it would probably fly to the top of the fucking charts!!! There’s no limit to how much dung he can fill the racks of HMV with, his fanbase of knuckle-scraping 18-stone legal secretaries will be scrambling over each other to pay for the bloody thing!!

The Horrors have begun recording their new album, with Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs helping to produce.
Zinner, guitarist in the Karen O fronted New York punk stars, has revealed that he was recently in the studio with the Southend-based garage newcomers.

- Have you actually heard what these cack-arsed crimes against hairdressing sound like when they start to play??? Good c*nting grief!! I mean, we’ve all been told by our parents that the sound permeating our bedroom walls ‘just isn’t music’, but these guys take the fucking biscuit! I know you NME fashion types who get a record deal just for hanging around Camden in tight trousers don’t generally have the time to deal with such trivial things as learning to play your instruments, but c’mon, you could at least have made a bit more effort! These c*nts make Menswear sound like fucking Radiohead by comparison! They call this kind of music ‘garage’ precisely because it should generally be confined to the garage of some pasty home counties teenager once he’s persuaded his parents to park their BMW in the driveway! The Horrors indeed! You can imagine Colonel Kurtz picturing these muppets at the end of ‘Apocalypse Now’ when he’s on the verge of death – what was that, ‘The Horrors’? Or maybe in the director’s cut he’s actually saying ‘Who are this bunch of talentless faux-goth chancers? I must be in hell already!!’

A grocery store clerk is suing Green Day, claiming he wrote the song "American Idiot" almost 15 years ago.
Paul McPike filed the copyright infringement suit against the band in the US District Court, insisting he penned both the music and lyrics to the global hit in 1992.
He alleges the band ripped him off after he played the song at high school and a tape was then, somehow, passed onto the punk-pop stars.

- Oh do me a bloody favour! We all know any green-haired, greasy 13-year old Myspace dweeb could have written that song whilst waiting for his fucking nail varnish to dry! Three chords, fast drums and some clichéd lyrics about George Bush – it’s hardly fucking brain surgery is it? I can imagine this loser sat in front of his TV watching Billie Joe and co playing to 80,000 hicksville teenagers in black hoodies and seething with rage, thinking ‘that could have been me!’. Of course it could you twerp – the kind of musicians who end up playing in bands like Green Day are the sort of inbred, three-fingered cretins who turn to playing dork punk because they’re too stupid to even get a job flipping fucking burgers! It’s either that or sell themselves to medical research! OK so GD have come out on top but you can bet for every band like them that actually makes a few quid selling records, there are squillions who turn out to be total failures when their moronic ‘punk’ album of songs about the glories of drinking and wanking sells about three copies! And then they can’t even get hired golf caddying cos the manager takes one look at their neck tattoos and flings their worthless arse out the front door! Face it bub, it’s luck of the draw and nobody owes you anything just because you weren’t the one punkoid spermatozoa to fertilise the MTV egg! Besides, how did you write a song criticising a president that didn’t even get elected until eight years after you supposedly wrote it? Didn’t think about this one very long before calling your lawyer did you???

The tracklisting for the new U2 greatest hits album has been revealed by an unofficial website, according to reports.
The group's official site launched an online quiz last month, to promote the release of "U218", which features 16 old tracks and two new ones.

- Some people have too much fucking time on their hands. I bet some dork has created an XL table which figures out which of their crummy tracks are most likely to make the final cut for the soulless Xmas cash-in. Remember that Beautiful South best of from the 90’s that sold millions? The perfect Xmas present for someone you don’t really know! Mainly because it’s so fucking bland and inoffensive that they are pretty unlikely to object (at least to your face, but you can bet that the bastard thing will be in the racks of the local 2nd hand shop by New Year!). But still, we’d expect nothing less from that pretentious fucking windbag Bono and his merry horde of minstrels would we? Two separate best-ofs a couple of years back not enough to line your coffers is it?? And obviously, their clueless stadium-rock cattle following will shell out for this one even though they probably own most of it in several different versions already, cos there are a couple of fucking out-takes tagged on as ‘bonus tracks’ – including some half-arsed punk cover with none other than Green Day, currently playing the same round of 30 quid a ticket ice hockey arena venues that U2 regularly pass through to make another stop on their global cash crop world tour playing to crowds of estate agents, fat 30-something single mothers and the chronically fucking deaf! Don’t forget to stick out another DVD compilation of all your ‘greatest moments’ while you’re at it guys! All the more cash for those starving darkie babies! Oh wait, I forgot – most of the profits will either go to your vampiric record company or straight into your personal bank accounts – and get this, did you know Bono moved most of his assets out of Ireland to avoid paying such high tax on them, and then he starts laying into his government for not doing enough to combat third world debt!!! Of all the fucking cheek! Listen you miserly self-important sanctimonious streak of rock star spuzz, the least you can do is stump up your fucking income tax before harping on about feeding the c*nting starving!!! I hope someone poisons his fucking turkey, the greedy conniving old fuckwad!!