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LTW newsletter 63


We are in the helter skelter of autumnal gig frenzy which reaches its high water mark in October/November before xmas applies the schmaltz and steals away our culture for a few barren weeks of holly and folly! Still we get a couple of months of wild abandon and here in Manchester the city has come alight with endless gigs. With up to 50 venues in the city centre some nights have several bands you want to see on all at once - this a relatively recent phenomena and one that seems to swim agains the national tide of struggling venues and one that needs to be taken full advantage of!

With my ears freshly battered by a recent run of gigs I am typing to you whilst getting into my ancient threads and darkly dusty outfit for tonight’s gig which will be a visit to Manchester Academy for The Sisters Of Mercy. Typical of that idiosyncratic post punk period I have no idea what to expect from the band whose record releases ceased decades ago and yet have become so influential.

Their fantastically awkward journey since then has seen them refuse to release any records and hide their live show in endless dry ice and often even drier sonics. They can be spell binding though and that’s part of the intrigue.

The Sisters have been on tour and the band or more accurately Andrew Eldritch remain a riddle wrapped in a mystery surrounded by an enigma with their live gigs pulling you into a web of intrigue and a shadowy world that teases you. There are moments of blinding genius, there are new songs that will never be recorded and there are shivers of sublime brilliance that are handed to you on their terms. It’s a fascinating watch and a long way away from the bombastic smash and grab of veteran band greatest hits tours. (Opens in a new window)

In the past week its been a real world on the dark side with a stunning gig from Death Cult who summoned up the shamanic from Ian Astbury and the guitar quicksilver from Billy Duffy for one of the gigs of the year. The band sounded stunning - they were vibrant, other worldly and out there and a prime time example of the possibilities of rock ’n’ roll. Everyone was stood there going ‘wow!’ and the question is where do the band go from here! Will this relight the creative fire in the Cult? (Opens in a new window)

Vibrant music culture is at the heart and soul of our operation and the night before we were representing at Bob Vylan who now sound even mightier live. It’s a measure of not just their song writing nous but just how good the new tech is that a laptop/vocals and drum kit can sound this live and this vibrant. The Ritz in Manchester was shaking to the full on sonics that rumbled with a full on bottom end adding a pulverising power for for Bobbie Vylan’s drums to add to and Bob Vylan to deliver his charismatic state of the nation address. It was challenging. It was enthralling and it was an in your face state of the nation address that worked because they back it up with anthemic thoroughly modern songs that are a bricolage of punk and grime. (Opens in a new window)

Somehow in the middle of all this I made a quick trip to Prague to a great venue called Meet Factory to talk all things Goth around my book, ‘The Art Of Darkness - The History Of Goth’ at an event where Stephen O’Malley from Sunn O))) headlined with a stunning set of one chord drone guitar that was hypnotic and Deb Googe played the debut gig of her new project Da Googie. (Opens in a new window)

We are sad to hear of the death of Mars Williams, the saxophone player with the Waitresses in the early ’80s and then with the Psychedelic Furs, who has died at the age 68. Williams had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer a year ago. (Opens in a new window)

The Leeds post punk scene is one of the key scenes int hat musical period and yet the least documented so it was great to run this article that is the best we have have ever read on the city’s idiosyncratic and game changing post punk scene. If only the author of this piece would turn it into a book! (Opens in a new window)

Possibly the mightiest mainstream-ish rock band on the planet right now, Queens Of The Stone Age have somehow managed to combine arena level bigness with a nimble inventiveness that sees their music constantly shapeshift and yet never too far from its core constituent parts. They also somehow combine a deft pop touch with a nimble funkiness and a high DB guitar explosiveness. Bands come and go yet the Queens remain at the top of their game as their recent jaunt around the UK proved. (Opens in a new window)

Twenty years in and it seems like everyone is finally catching up with Glasgow garage punk band The Hedrons. Our reviewer was blown away ‘more infectious than Covid and a whole lot more fun. LTW wants to know where they’ve been hiding.’ (Opens in a new window)

In punk lore it seemed like the one reformation that was beyond any rhyme or reason was The Damned. With a revolving door of members it seemed impossible to pin down the key players into one room. Yet finally drummer extraordinaire Rat Scabies this week reentered the orbit of the band and there was much rejoicing from generations of fans. Anyone saw those original line up shows a year ago with the classic line up of the first two albums with Rat on drums would testify there is a certain magic and infernal energy about Mr. Scabies adding his drums to the classic band. He truly is one of the great drummers and the chemistry now feels complete with him back in the band - a tour has been announced and creaking old punk bone fingers are crossed for some recording! (Opens in a new window)

They often say that the worst thing about Bob Dylan are his super fans and whilst they can ruin Bob for many people they don't always besmirch the erratic brilliance of the gravel voiced one. With a career more mysterious than The Sisters Of Mercy, Dylan gives you what he wants on his own terms and it can miss or it can hit. When he is on his best then there is something glorious like from his legendary Budokan performances. In 1978 Bob Dylan launched his first world tour since his shape-shifting exploits in the mid 60’s when he went electric, and this was originally captured in a double live album recorded at two shows in Japan early in the tour. 45 years on we finally get to hear these two shows in full via The Complete Budokan 1978 and Ian Corbridge is on hand for Louder Than War to absorb every last refrain as Dylan delivers a package of hits in a grandiose fashion that seemingly many were not ready for. (Opens in a new window)

American singer/songwriter Melanie Martinez brings her new Trilogy show to the Apollo, all gold and glitter, but will the crybabies enjoy a new concept, a new character, a retelling of her rebirth? MK Bennett pops along to find out, on the first of two sold-out shows in Manchester, where she performs Portals her third studio album, and selected songs from all three albums. (Opens in a new window)

On my travels I often get new bands thrusting their wares into my hands.

Sometimes you get a gem.

Dutty Coat is an electronic solo project from Keele university whose demo included the gloriously named   ‘I Can't Find Her Clitoris’. A title like that is going to get you interested of course but the music was a perfect match - a confessional song with a slice of humour but with pulsating electronics - already a lot of promise very early on - this could well be one to watch. (Opens in a new window)

One of the classic bands back in the punk wars were X Ray Spex. Everyone in that world knows their debut album and brief flurry of classic singles which were brilliant enough to assure the late lead singer Poly Styrene an iconic status. Lesser known though is their follow up album, Conscious Consumer, which even if lacks some of the punk rock urgency of the debut packs many punches with another set of great songs with, of course, brilliant lyrics. The album has finally been repackaged and is a timely reminder of the brilliant creativity that managed to briefly reignite before Poly disappeared off the scene for several years. (Opens in a new window)


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