I’m often pondering just what an insane beast the Pterodactyl was - for millions of years they flapped and screeched across our skies like giant gilded gliders crossed with bad tempered gimlet eyed bats - what caused such an immense creation! Just how insane nature was at this point in time populating the planet with bizarre and screechingly off kilter creatures and anyone with an atom of imagination must be hypnotised by their beautiful oddness.
In many ways the dinosaurs of rock also hypnotise with their longevity and brilliance. Once in our fleeting youth we would sneer at the audacity of bands like the Rolling Stones for daring to hang out on stages in their late twenties but old age creeps up on all of us like lichen on a crumbling wall and the culture that once seemed to daringly modern and parent baiting becomes deeply embedded in the very fabric of our nation.
Fortunately many of the bands some of us grew up were restless enough to keep an eye on the future and somehow never date. Last week New Order were the perfect example of this when playing their largest ever headline show to 35 000 people in Manchester. It was an audaciously brilliant set that embraced the band’s roots from Joy Division to somewhere ten years in the future and made me think that the band were the perfect quintessential Manchester band and that their huge skyline set matched the city’s own audacious new image.https://louderthanwar.com/new-order-heaton-park-live-review/
Fellow longevity merchants are The Sisters Of Mercy who have carved a very different career from the same sort of post punk building blocks. Wrongly labelled the band were not really the Goth uber fathers of the media spinning but more likely a dark and melancholic post punk that was closer to New Order, Joy Division and the Bunnymen than the Batcave brethren they were lumped in with. Their frontman, the high IQ Andrew Eldritch, always liked to call it the M62 sound and I like that term. There was definitely and defiantly a stubborn independence and melancholic troubling at the heart of all the best northern post punk - the Sisters were just the rock end of it albietly with a drum machine and a whiff of the shivering genius of Suicide - the band - to their muse. Every now and the band flit back into view like last week when they played three shows at the Roundhouse with a greatest hits set but also remarkably with new songs which they will never record and release in their stubborn end game of not releasing a new album for decades.
It’s nearly 30 years after their last release and they have no intention of getting into the trenches of chart warfare and it’s this mystery that intrigues. Andrew is an enigma wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in cloak of high IQ contradictions and then wrapped up in more enigma and then shrouded by the eternal dry ice machine.https://louderthanwar.com/the-sisters-of-mercy-roundhouse-London-live-review/
Loud Women fest is proof that we don’t just type about old bands - we have no hip filter as a LTW and these elder states person types are always embraced by us but we like the whiff of the cordite of newer bands and Loud Women fest is fill of them. Music festivals are coming back after a long pandemic hiatus, and it’s a most excellent reality. Yet many organisers still exclude women-fronted bands as gender biases creep into the minds and practices of those planning live gigs - Loud Women fest bucks this trend…https://louderthanwar.com/loud-women-fest-5-festival-preview-interview-18-sept-2021-london-w1w/
Another celebration of cultural icons takes place in person this Sunday - with a clutch of interesting bands taking to the stage to celebrate the legendary Radio Lancs DJ - Steve Barker. Steve is the John Peel that you may not have heard of outside gods own county. His show pioneered reggae, dub, electro and hip hop as well as the usual noisy post punk and punk rock - this is great ground breaking radio that has been loved for decades, so of course the BBC have cut down its number of transmissions instead of celebrating the fact that one of ther most cutting edge radio shows is beamed out of their studio in the 4000 holes of Blackburn Lancashire.
Anyway you must go to the gig and shout Steve’s name very loudly and make him feel our love for his genuinely brilliant and ground breaking broadcasting. You can win a couple of tickets for the concert from here...https://louderthanwar.com/on-the-wire-celebration/
New Madchester band Afflecks Palace have their debut album out in a few weeks and it’s a stone cold classic. They obviously started off enthralled by the Stone Roses but crossed it with a love of the DIY spice of Fugazi. Their determination and graft and flowering songwriting talent has seen them on the brink of breaking through whilst bucking the trends - always the best place for any band. They have single handedly recorded an album that looks and feel like it’s from the endless summer of baggy - 1989 but somehow they have updated it to the now and write brilliant songs that drip melody and guitars - they are going to be massive.https://louderthanwar.com/new-band-afflecks-palace-revisit-classic-manc-baggydelia-for-the-21st-century/
Bob Dylan is like a gravel voiced museum exhibit with a back catalogue of endless gems that signpost the post war history of America like missives from a poet par excellence.
Springtime In New York is yet another collection of jewels to emerge from the treasure trove of Bob Dylan’s extensive archives, through the ongoing gift that is the Bootleg Series. This time it’s focused on the period from 1980 to 1985, covering rehearsals, live recordings, out-takes, alternative takes and mixes from Shot Of Love, Infidels and Empire Burlesque. Ian Corbridge dives in for Louder Than War and finds renewed enthusiasm from this reappraisal of this somewhat under-rated period of Dylan’s career.https://louderthanwar.com/bob-Dylan-springtime-in-new-york-the-bootleg-series-vol-16-1980-1985-album-review/
Wayne Carey caught up with Manc music royalty Mark Burgess who is back with purpose and an arsenal of classic songs from Middleton’s best ever band The Chameleons. A night of nostalgia with some solid support from a Cold Water Swimmer and rising new talent Tom J Johnson.https://louderthanwar.com/mark-burgess-cold-water-swimmers-tom-j-johnson-night-n-day-Manchester-live-review/
Powering it’s way to the top 5 and their highest chart position for decades the Stranglers Dark Matters is also their best album since the glory years - we argue that its the equal of those ground breaking early records here.https://louderthanwar.com/the-stranglers-dark-matters/
Teenage Fan Club are old faithfuls - full of the elixir of melody and perfect guitar songs about love and life and death - its great to have them back like an old friend, a fine whisky or a comfy old cardigan. The band remain melodic perfect and its great that they still deliver their perfect guitar pop like nothing like a raging pandemic or an eternal war happened in the interim. They are song writing masterclass sodding perfect with an affable charm that is wonderful to immersed in.https://louderthanwar.com/teenage-fanclub-manchester-academy-2-live-review/
Richard is a our Usenet Euro traveller - there is abeles a cutting edge musical festival or conference the he misses as he traverses the Euro mainland looking for the next band that will change your life. Last week he was in Bratislava for Sharpe petal and dissevered a whole host of strange scarring creatures under the rocks as he reports back here…https://louderthanwar.com/sharpe-festival-2021-live-review/