It’s tinsel tonsil time - that time of year for grotty grottos and Kate plastic trees!Everywhere you go you hear the dusty old Christmas standards treacle-ing out of sound systems and shopping centres. It’s that weird mix of schmaltzy old standards and the 1974 forever mix and match of songs that freeze frame xmas forever in that long lost year Was 1974 the high water mark of modern Christmas? a time when the modern world and the olde world were merged in a Christmas tryst that we have found impossible to break away from?
Despite this there has been plenty of other music action the past week as everyone tries to cram in what’s left of the year into those faltering last few weeks of heads down no nonsense mindless boogie.
James are on an arena waltz which, as ever, they have sold out with hardly anyone noticing. This jaunt they are ably supported by the Happy Mondays who they have played with way back in the pre baggy wars. James remain a huge, yet curiously, invisible band. Why is this? In the pantheon of Mancunian pop they barely make the top 20 lists but their sets are like a jukebox of swirling anthemic treats and all huge hits. Tim Booth remains enigmatic and charismatic presence and they have regular top 3 albums. The band are also still creating and an fire - their recent album was a critical and commercial success and our reviewer feels that this is a band at the top of their game. The Happy Mondays are also great value jukebox and deliver a slick set of generation Wonk soundtrack anthems.https://louderthanwar.com/james-happy-mondays-ao-arena-manchester-live-review/
Its that time of the year when we are forced to look back and decide in frantic arguments and much hoo hah just what the Albums Of The Year are. Typically of these eclectic times it’s hard to find a consensus but between all the writers we found a great cross section and a snapshot of the years musical adventures in LTW’s album’s of the year 2021…https://louderthanwar.com/louder-than-war-albums-of-the-year-2021/
Can have now became one of the classic bands and a firm part of the rich rock CANon that they themselves would probably reject. I met Holger Czukay once and he was a gem - a huge Elvis and rock n roll fan who loved sky then band, Gold Blade. Can’s music was so fluid and ever changing that a live album would be a perfect release and this collection from Brighton in 1975 is another adventure into their unique and polychromic polyrhythmic world of wonder.https://louderthanwar.com/can-live-in-brighton-1975-album-review/
Like James, Waterboys, plough their own furrow just beyond the mainstream glare. They may not be quite arena like the Manchester band but their presence can be felt in so many bands who have used them as a primary influence over the years. This exquisite box set serves as a companion set or follow up to the Fisherman’s Blues box set from a few years ago . It is a must have for fans of The Waterboys, whether they be completists or just have a love for the music of Mike Scott and Co.https://louderthanwar.com/the-waterboys-the-magnificent-seven-album-review/
The seventies was the time of gargantuan mad behaviour in rock roll and excess set to 11/10. No band better summed up this era than Led Zeppelin and no book has better summed it up than Hammer of the Gods tome written by the band’s wild tour manager, Richard Cole. He was probably crazier and larger than life than the band which took some doing and his book was a dead cert manifesto for anyone in rock roll. Its wildfire prose would even affect the way you wrote whether it was about The Cult or Bogshed. Richard Cole himself remarkably survived that lunatic era but sadly died this week at 75 years old.https://louderthanwar.com/richard-cole-former-led-zeppelin-tour-manager-rip/
The Beatles ‘Get Back’ doc series has been an utterly fascinating microscopic fly on the wall examination of the most important of all bands in their final throes. As the band try and put a new album together in one month out of thin air their personal dynamic and relationships are pushed to the brink. It’s remarkable that with such high stakes and high pressure that they manage to make the album at all and also play out the legendary gig on the roof of Apple. The three part doc is stunning and easily justifies its length and sparked the following 10 thoughts on the Beatles.https://louderthanwar.com/10-thoughts-on-the-beatles-get-back/
Noisy and thrilling, Hands off Gretal have been making a name for themselves on the live circuit for a couple of hears. Their shows are a dayglo life affirming riot and you should know about them…https://louderthanwar.com/hands-off-gretel-brudenell-social-club-leeds-live-review-2/
We were sad to report the death of Martin Wright from the wonderful dayglo Madchester era pop pioneers Intastella…https://louderthanwar.com/martin-wright-intastella-laugh-rip/
And also Charlie Keigher of King Of The Slumshttps://louderthanwar.com/charlie-keigher-king-of-the-slums-rip/
Venues are the lifeblood of rock n roll and also part of the fabric of any town and city. It’s almost beyond belief now that in 2021 someone can move into a city centre and complain about the noise but this has happened yet again to Manchester’s much loved Night and Day. The complainant had moved into the city centre during lockdown and somehow thought that the eerie silence was the true soundscape of a famously bustling modern city. God knows how they thought this and god knows how ONE person who is that out of touch with modern life can make a complaint and threaten the closure of one venue loved by thousands - it’s not just the naivity that is shocking but also the selfishness! The campaign to keep the venue open has stated and all details are below.https://louderthanwar.com/manchesters-night-and-day-venue-served-noise-abatement-notice-sign-petition-now/