At last we can get back to music after the distractions of football. For our English warriors the Euros was the usual agony but just more prolonged by getting to the final but at least we got an England that wasn’t a graft to support! The fallout after the defeat has been interesting - the backlash against the racist minority has been heartening at least.
But a least we can now concentrate on more important matters - music. There has been announcements and it looks like gigs will return from July 19th and we asked if our readers were ready for this brave new world and the reactions were pretty varied.
For months it seems that thousands of football fans were somehow allowed to watch their sport whilst we still wait and hope venues are open next week or have to make do with lockdown gigs. We went to see such an affair at the biannual Manchester International Festival. It was great to be back in the cavernous Manchester GMEX - the former railway station and now exhibition space that perfectly reflected Damon Albarn’s presentation of his upcoming solo album.
We also even managed to go to a music event - Un-Convention was held in Manchester at the Ritz and it was great to see people in the fruity smelling old venue again. A socially distanced crowd were sat in chairs five feet apart spread across the venue whilst the interviews and panels were held on the stage.
It was a curious yet stimulating atmosphere but the Ritz made for a perfect backdrop. Nearly 100 years old and still with its sprung dance floor intact the Ritz has long been a Manchester institution. The sold out event covered many bases and concerns in the music world from streaming to Brexit and included a great and switched on seek from Manchester mayor Andy Burnham as well as LTW boss John Robb doing two in-conversations- one with Ed O’Brien and one with Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai which we will be posting up here soon.
It’s been another busy week here - Louder Than War is one of many fronts we are fighting on! I’ve spent a few days in Stroud in meetings with Ecotricty about my Green Britain Academy project where we plan to train up to 700,000 apprentices in green and Eco apprenticeships (http://www.greenbritainacademy.com) It’s a massive project but one that is totally needed. If the UK is going to get cleaner and greener it should be done in a practical way - a way that benefits everybody by not only creating work for people but also creating a cleaner world that we can still enjoy! And a world that music can play a key part in - by cleaning its own act up whilst still retaining its power to shock, thrill and mesmerise - the new clean world is necessary but doesn't have to be dull and earnest!
In the touch and go environment of the pandemic, festivals are blinking back into life. It’s a real gamble with the insurance not being favourable but we have to carry on as best we can. Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool announced a one day version of the normal four day event and its bill that celebrates its now 25 year history and is selling fast.
The Go-Gos were always an interesting proposition - the most successful all women rock band of all time were birthed in the wild west off the late seventies LA punk scene and were on the same circuit as the Germs and early Black Flag. Somehow they found a classic pop touch and the hits flowed. The band’s debut album, Beauty and the Beat, was released on July 8, 1981. Its 40th anniversary is a momentous occasion marked by the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, bringing the Go-Go’s full circle. Our American correspondent, Audrey J Golden has written a beautifully written appreciation plus interviews with the band and an in-depth piece that really gets to the core of what this album is about and also managed to interview them a well.
Brian Setzer put the rock into rockabilly and has been bopping that quiff for decades now. Maybe this style of music suits veteran status but Brian’s exquisite guitar playing, swaggering sense of style and song writing nous serves him well on this track that also comes supercharged with its own infernal energy.
Out of the blue classic indie band Boo Radleys have reformed. The much loved Liverpool band have suddenly returned out of the ether after 23 years. The new line up may not include main songwriter Martin Carr but the rest of the band are there - which way will they go is the intriguing question - will this be the earlier Sonic Youth tinged noise adventurers or the Britpop surfers or a mix between the two?
John Robb interviewed Erica Nockalls about her wonderful new single and upcoming album. Erica is the former Wonder Stuff violin player whose startling single and accompanying video is full of drama and emotion - a dark yet captivating affair built around an enthralling harmonium drone and her emotion drenched vocal and violin. It all comes complete with an ever idiosyncratic and brilliant bass line from the brilliant guest, Jah Wobble. In the interview she explains her new life in Paris and the creative process that sees her third solo album make a big jump into being her best yet. Intriguing stuff.
The Lovely Eggs have long been LTW favourites. The Lancaster based duo have been building a big following with their psychedelic tinged DIY punk rock and their cheeky wonk songs deserve their life and have brilliantly been embraced that sees them getting more and more popular. They have some unlikely champions as well, One James Osterburg better known as Iggy Pop has been playing them on his 6music radio show and now sings on their new single with his distinctive croon croak adding a counterpoint to their Eggy genius.
Acoustic Pines is the brainchild of Chris Bridgett and his fellow DIY bandits who have come up with a plan to fuck the rules and go bandit with a secret gig in the woods in Levenshulme. We decided to take a road trip to witness a special night that brought together a bunch of beautiful people gagging for some live music that Boris and his Eton mates are intent on destroying. Think again you goons. Wayne AF Carey has it covered…
It’s always strange to see your youth turn into history not your own youth of course but its very sound track/. What was once thrilling and vibrant and in the chaos of the moment is now like a tombstone of history but often in a great way! It’s good to see the punk rock warlords and warriors who still survive and thrive. Rat Scabies doesn't seems to be taking it too easy and whilst getting ready for the reformed Damned tour he’s been back in the studio and reunited with the producer of the first Damned album, Nick Lowe for a one of charity Band project, the Spammed which re-unites producer Nick Lowe and drummer Rat Scabies for the first time since 77’s rampaging Damned Damned Damned.