Ray's Gigs

Daily news and reviews of gigs bars clubs restaurants product launches films theatre fashion shows books art galleries hotels competitions interesting places to visit ...and much more!

Sunday 05 May 2024.

Sunday 05 May 2024.
PINK MARTINI live at The Royal Albert Hall.
Pink Martini is an American band founded in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale in Portland, Oregon. Group members call it a little orchestra that crosses several styles, such as classical, latin, traditional pop, and jazz.
They have released over a dozen albums since 1997.
Pink Martini has sold over 3 million albums worldwide on their own independent label Heinz Records.
Music fashions come and go, but Pink Martini tick along nicely just doing their own thing.
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The venue is an impressive 95% sold tonight.
As expected , it was a smartly dressed older crowd.
They perform a long show of 2 hours 15 mins, over two sets of 60 mins and 75 mins.
Around a dozen musicians on stage tonight.
The Pink Martini show was truly all about Pink Martini, with founder and versatile and charismatic bandleader and pianist Thomas Lauderdale, the band’s first lead singer China Forbes and longtime guest vocalists Storm Large, Ari Shapiro, Edna Vasquez and Jimmie Herrod sensually sashaying and romping through some of their best known and most colorful tunes, sung infectiously and emotionally in an exotic kaleidoscope of multiple languages.
Their repertoire is wildly diverse. At one moment, you feel like you're in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and in the next moment, you're in a French music hall of the 1930s or in a Palazzo in Napoli. It's a bit like an urban musical travelogue.
The crowd got up to dance for a few songs,that included a full on conga , for the last song.
At the start of the second set , a couple of male fans were invited on stage for some hilarious audience participation .
Their big track from 2007 ' Hey Eugene!' was performed near the end of this enjoyable show.
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Saturday 04 May 2024....7pm to 10.30pm...
UBA at The Hart Hotel - press visit -
61-67 Great Eastern Street , London EC2.
The team behind Soho’s Sucre and the recently opened CLAP London, is bringing a new Pan-Asian dining concept to Shoreditch.
The 275 sqm space is located on Great Eastern Street and forms part of the Hart Shoreditch Hotel. It features a 105-cover restaurant plus a private dining room seating 12. Interiors by architecture and interior studio, Verhaal, take inspiration from the culture and mythology of Asia with a palette featuring the traditionally auspicious colours of red and gold. A statement marble bar, offering counter dining for up to 14, takes centre stage. Furniture includes red velvet banquettes and lava stone tabletops with antique mirrors, decorative lighting, illustrative artwork and Asian ceramics completing the vibrant picture.
At UBA, they embark on a sensory journey through the vibrant streets of Asia, seamlessly blending East London’s dynamic spirit with the exotic allure of Pan-Asian flavours.
Immerse yourself in an experience where plush interiors, innovative cocktails, and Pan-Asian street food creates a playground for the senses. Inspired by the rich heritage of Shoreditch, UBA is a celebration of authentic culture, where every dish and design detail tells a captivating story of craft.
With their playful yet sophisticated ambiance and a commitment to inclusive luxury, UBA invites you to belong— to indulge, to connect, and to discover the art of contemporary Asian dining.
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The DJ is spinning tracks in the foyer of this cool hotel.....we are given a perfect window table.
We are shown around their private dining spaces.
STARTERS
The starters were six small sharing plates , including
Korean Crispy Fried Chicken
Rock Shrimp Style Tempura
Angus Beef Cyoza
MAINS were also shared...
Yakinuku Beef Ribeye
Imperial Miso Black Cod
Ramen - Sea Bass
Taco - Artichoke and Avocado
DESSERT
Matcha Tiramisu
DRINKS
We had a bottle of sparking water and three cocktails each ....
Toki Whisky and Ginger Ale
Mango Infused Haku Vodka
Tarry Lapsang Souchong Infused Tequila
The service and presentation was top notch.
An excellent five star evening.
www.ubarrstaurant.com - Visit their website here.
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Friday 03 May 2024.

Friday 03 May 2024.
THE MEMBERS live at The 100 Club.
The Members play a special show to launch their new studio album ( their 8th) ' Greetings From Nowhere'....which features legendary bass player Guy Pratt on a couple of tracks......I have seen The Members around 20 times since 1978, when they supported Devo twice at Hammersmith Odeon.
Special guests are LOS SANTOS.
Los Santos feature members of the Ruts DC, The Saints, Members, Dangerous Measures..cadiz music Houseband, Richard England, Michael Bayliss, Lee Hegarty, James Sherry.
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Nice to see so many punk rockin' chums here.
Spizz Energi is here ...reminder that a couple of days later on Sunday 05 May ,he headlines The Punk Pile-Up Festival at The Purple Turtle in Reading which is FREE ENTRY.
LOS SANTOS on stage at 8.30pm for their 30 mins.
They played some good tracks, including 'On The Strip '(Vegas Baby) ' from their cd , and a great version of The Saints Top 40 hit from 1977 ' This Perfect Day ',
that they dedicated to Chris Bailey R.I.P.
THE MEMBERS on stage at 9.30pm for their 70 mins.
The Members played a nice mix of tracks from their 45 plus years career. They still have that reggae slant on a few songs which was great to hear.
We get the first ever live performance of their current single ' The Boy From Nowhere' early in the set , and later on we get plenty of older gems including ' Offshore Banking Business', ' Solitary Confinement,,'
' Working Girl',' their anthem ' Sound of The Suburbs',
' Muzak Machine', a nifty cover of John Holts ' Police In Helicopter' , ' Chelsea Nightclub' and encore of ' One Law'...a great show as always from The Members.
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Thursday 02 May 2024....5pm to 10.15pm ....
THE PELLIGON - launch party-
43 Bank Street , Canary Wharf, London E14.
Excellent evening to launch this new event space.
Over 300 guests here tonight.
The venue’s crowning feature is its twenty-seven-metre-high glass vaulted Main Hall. With a capacity of up to 750 guests, the uninterrupted space can be adapted to suit a number of occasions and configurations, including gigs , parties, weddings etc.
The Mezzanine level can host an extra 250 guests.
There was a stage , where we had a DJ , percussionist , sax player , electric violinist who all did short solo sets...then from 8.30pm for 60 mins , they csme together and were joined by male and female vocals for non-stop party hits that got folks dancing.
We made use of the fun photo booth .
Lots of complimentary drinks and food, including five different cocktails, wines, beers , bowl food , canapes and desserts.
Upstairs were two chefs tables of ten ,where they cook in front of you, so we had a 6.30pm 30 mins session for a delicious Vadouvan turbot , curry leaf potatoes and saffron...with a paired red wine.
See my Facebook page for photos and videos .
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Thursday 02 May 2024.
Sad news that guitar legend DUANE EDDY has died aged 86....i saw him supporting The Everly Brothers at Hammersmith Odeon in the 1980s, and headlining The Royal Festival Hall in 2010 and The Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2012.

Wednesday 01 May 2024.

Wednesday 01 May 2024.
I went to two events tonight.
6.15pm to 7pm.
JD MALAT GALLERY - private view - 30 Davies Street ,
Mayfair, London W1.
Around 100 folks at this cool gallery space.
'Above the Surface' is an exhibition by Australia based painter Michael Muir....on until 01 June.
Complimentary wines and beers for the guests .
then
7.30pm to 10pm.
LUCKY VOICE - launch party - The Sidings, Waterloo Station, London SE1.
Lucky Voice open another of their karaoke bars.
I went to the launch party for the Liverpool Street one last year....a 75 % female crowd here.
From nights out with friends to work dos, Lucky Voice is the perfect place to visit if you’re after something a little bit different. With several pods , each private karaoke room fits between 6-20 singers and provides touch screen technology, access to the ever growing catalogue of an impressive 10,000 plus songs (which include several different languages).
I had a go at two of my fave to sing along to which were ' Livin' On A Prayer' and ' Mr Brightside'.
Complimentary vodka cocktails, wines , beers and canapes for all the guests .
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Wednesday 01 May 2024.
ITV 1pm Loose Women
Punk rock icon JOHN LYDON is today's guest as he promotes his spoken word UK tour which starts today.
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Tuesday 30 April 2024.
TRAIN live at The Royal Albert Hall.
San Francisco pop-rock band are massive back home in America.
They have sold over 10 million albums worldwide.
Their 11 studio albums include one entirely based on Led Zeppelin covers.
Their big tracks include 'Hey ,Soul Sister', ' Drive By' and 'Drops of Jupiter'.
They are on a 30th anniversary world tour.
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The venue is fully sold out tonight.
Lots of middle aged folks.
Ilsey was on at 7.45pm for 30 mins , but missed her , as we opted to stay in the bar.
TRAIN arrived on stage at 8.45pm for their 1 hour 40 mins set. The floor seats were up from the start.
A nice light show , as it was being filmed,and the vocals and band sounded clear and fantastic .
The singer knows how to work the crowd perfectly.
He three several t-shirts into the crowd, and took photos of himself for fans at the front , and threw several beach balls out.
He said how he had walked past this venue over 200 times, and now finally they are playing here .
Catchy pop rock tunes had everybody singing along.
The big hits were played near the end , and one of the cover versions was a stunning note perfect version of 'Hotel California' with all the guitars soloing away.
A really good show...much better than expected
Full TRAIN setlist played tonight...
AM Gold
Calling All Angels
Get to Me
Save Me, San Francisco
Meet Virginia / The Joker ( Steve Miller Band snippet )
If It's Love
Bruises (with Ilsey)
Marry Me
When I Look to the Sky
Lose Control ( Teddy Swims cover)
Angel in Blue Jeans
Parachute
Play That Song
Long Yellow Dress
50 Ways to Say Goodbye
Hey, Soul Sister / Come and Get Your Love
Drive By / Hey Jude ( The Beatles snippet)
We Were Made for This
Hotel California ( Eagles cover)
Drops of Jupiter
Note: This show was recorded for a DVD
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Monday 29 April 2024...6.15pm to 9.30pm...
In The Spotlight: Conversation with MJ the Musical Star MYLES FROST at Kingsley Napley , 20 Bonhill Street , London EC2.
Social 4M and law firm Kingsley Napley are hosting.
Around 60 folks are here , and we are seated for the interview .
At 7.30pm the interview and Q & A with Myles Frost started and lasted for around an hour.
The 24 year old American was a good talker.
A full run through his life story , from as a young child doing Michael Jackson routines , along with other good and bad experiences in music and theatre.
There were video clips of him performing MJ routines, and he sung a few MJ snippets .
His mother was a big part of his life and career.
Myles is the winner of the 2022 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in MJ. He made history, becoming the youngest solo actor to ever win the award. He is a nominee for the 65th Annual Grammy Awards Best Musical Theater Album as principal vocalist for MJ’s cast album.
After the interview , he chatted to guests and posed for selfies
I was lucky to have seen Michael Jackson perform four times, and will soon get along to this musical.
MJ The Musical is on now at The Prince Edward Theatre.
Complimentary wines, beers , canapes and desserts.
P.S....Nothing was said about MJ private life.
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Sunday 28 April 2024.
This month the UK’s largest indoor arena will eventually open in Manchester. Called the Co-op Live, it apparently cost a whopping £365 million and has space for 23,500 gig-goers – vastly dwarfing London’s O2 Arena, which has a max capacity of 20,000
If you’re a Londoner looking enviously over at the swish new venue , well, we may have some exciting news. American entrepreneur Tim Leiweke – the guy behind the Co-op Live and owner of Oak View Group – has revealed that he wants to build ‘the greatest arena in the world’ in London....and the location he has is eye is.....Hammersmith..
Should be interesting to see how that progresses.

Saturday 27 April 2024

Saturday 27 April 2024.
THE MEN THEY COULDN'T HANG live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
TMTCH play a special 40th anniversary show n tour.
Founded in 1984, TMTCH gained a passionate national following with their uproarious and engaging style, coupled with keenly contemporary songs. Their 40-year career has been filled with much-loved music, a dedicated fan community and high-octane performances.
Their first ever show was supporting The Pogues.
I have seen them twice before , which were both at The Mean Fiddler , Harlesden in 1995 and 1998.
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Levels 2 and 3 are closed tonight ...so maybe 1200 here....but the stalls standing and Level 1 are packed.
Over 100 are on the guest list tonight.
An evening for folks who like The Pogues/The Levellers , so a lively Saturday night drinking crowd of middle aged folks.
SKINNY LISTER on stage at 7.45pm for 45 mins.
An ideal support act , as many know the lyrics to their songs, as they have their own fans down the front.
They have shared male and female vocals.
By the time Skinny Lister crash into 'Trouble on Oxford Street' there is complete delirium. The perfect mix of punk and folk, huge singalong chorus and accordion-driven joy.
They headline The Scala, Kings Cross in Dec 2024.
TMTCH arrived on stage at 9pm for their 90 mins.
If you know the band , then you will almost certainly be aware that Stefan Cush, heartbeat of The Men They Couldn’t Hang, was sadly taken from us in January 2021, plunging the band and their family of fans into mourning, but the band have opted to carry on in his memory , and are playing weekend gigs , all through 2024.
Their upbeat folk rock shanty sound soon got folks dancing lots down the front of the stalls.
Good to see TOM SPENCER on stage with them.
He replaced Steve Jones in The Professionals , which also featured Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook.
They announced they had called it a day a couple of weeks ago, without giving any reason.
Maybe one of the reasons is that Tom will be very busy playing shows with TMTCH all this year.
Highlights included 'Salutations' , 'Islands In The Rain', ' Ghosts Of Cable Street ' and 'The Colours'.
For the final encore track , they were joined by the support band and other friends.
Outro tape song over the pa was The Pogues ' Dirty Old Town'.... A very enjoyable show.
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Friday 26 April 2024.
JON PARDI live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
American country music singer Jon Pardi is heading out on his ‘Mr. Saturday Night Tour’, sharing his album of the same name, the follow up to 2019’s Heartache Medication.
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Pretty amazing how popular country music is these days in the UK, as tonight is another sell-out.
The cowboy hats and attire are everywhere tonight.
DILLON CARMICHAEL on stage at 8pm for 25 mins.
American country music singer-songwriter played some decent tracks from his two albums.
JON PARDI on stage at 9.05pm for 1 hour 45 mins.
Seven musicians on stage , including electric fiddle and pedal steel guitar, and all of them except the drummer are wearing cowboy hats .
He has his own personal security in the pit.
It is proper wholesome all ages country music.
Highlights included ' Mr Saturday Night', ' Dirt On My Boots ', ' Heartache Medication' , ' Heartache On The Dance Floor', ' Night Shift' and a couple of cover versions , ' Hot Legs' and ' You've Lost That Loving Feeling'...An enjoyable show.

Thursday 25 April 3024.

Thursday 25 April 2024
I went to two events tonight.
6pm to 7pm.
N.DASH - private view- Levy Gorvy Dayan Gallery,
35 Dover Street, Mayfair , London W1.
Lévy Gorvy Dayan has announced the relocation of their London space to 35 Dover Street in Mayfair, opening April 25th, 2024. The inaugural show will be a solo exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist N. Dash, her first UK solo show.
Around 70 or 80 guests at this cool space on the first floor of this stunning building.
Complimentary wines and beers for all the guests.
then
7.05pm to 10.30pm.
DIGITAL ART WEEK - closing party - 1 Hotel Mayfair,
3 Berkeley Street, Mayfair , London W1.
My first time at this luxury hotel that opened last year,
where rooms cost £500 plus a night.
Around 100 guests in their nice bar area, which has comfy sofas and chairs.
A DJ is playing tracks in the background .
Complimentary food and drinks included four different cocktails (including old fashioned), wines , beers and canapes.
1 Hotel Mayfair, just steps from London’s iconic Green Park, was built and refurbished from two existing buildings and reimagined to reduce CO2 emissions and accelerate sustainable practices throughout our operations. In addition to our live green walls, 1 Hotel Mayfair features 1,300 individual plants, shrubs and trees throughout its verdant grounds.
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Wednesday 24 April 2024.
GHOST FILES live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Experience the excitement of ghost hunting with the ghoul boys at this special screening of one of Ryan and Shane’s favourite episodes of Ghost Files, followed by a never-before-seen sneak peek of Season 3, and an exclusive Q & A session with the hosts themselves, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej.
Prepare to have your burning questions answered as the hosts take the stage to share behind-the-scenes stories, discuss their most memorable investigations, and maybe even talk to a ghost or two.
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Stalls seated tonight, and it is 1000 tix sold out.
Pretty much looks like a 75 % female crowd.
First set was 8pm for 45 mins.
They showed on the big screen, one of their fave previous YouTube /Podcast videos.
The show follows the standard ghost hunter show format, travelling to numerous haunted locations bringing along the standard recording equipment and spector finding gadgets, with more a means of light entertainment. This show has plenty of nerdy humour ,because of the hosts personalities.
Second set was 9.05pm for 1 hour 40 mins.
The two hosts and their producer have a chat about ghost hunting on stage.
We then have some ghost stories from the audience who had sent them in via the duos social media.
We then have a 30 mins Q & A with the audience.
The final 20 mins was a preview of Season 3.
An enjoyable enough evening.
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Wednesday 24 April 2024.
Happy Birthday to CAPTAIN SENSiBLE who is 70 today.Hard to believe this punk legend is now 70..
Do yourself a favour and play the videos of their two debut singles ' New Rose' and ' Neat Neat Neat'.
Happy Birthday to TONY VISCONTI who is 80 today.
Legendary music producer who has recorded David Bowie , Marc Bolan and many more.

Tuesday 23 April 2024.

Tuesday 23 April 2024.
LAINEY WILSON live at The Forum.
31 year old American female country music singer-songwriter plays the first of two sold out shows at this London venue on her UK tour.
Wilson has received seven Country Music Association Awards, including winning their top honour Entertainer of the Year in 2023. She has also received a Grammy Award and six Academy of Country Music Awards.
She will play tracks from her four studio albums.
Lainey played a staggering 162 shows in 2023.
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They say you’ve truly made it when your audience starts dressing like you. There was a sea of cowboy boots, stetsons, denim, fringe and, of course, flares as far as the eye could see. Hillbilly hippies were everywhere, such is the influence of Lainey Wilson, country music’s rising superstar.
What was also noticeable was the wide range of her audience: with a good gender balance, plus families with kids and younger couples alongside the usual diehard country music fans. The vibe felt celebratory and fun.
Sitting near me is Will Hodgkinson who is a journalist and author and the chief rock and pop critic for The Times newspaper and contributes to Mojo magazine.He has written for The Guardian,The Independent and Vogue.Hodgkinson presents the Sky Arts TV show Songbook, in which he interviews contemporary songwriters.
I missed the 30 mins support act - HARPER O'NEILL .
LAINEY WILSON and her all-male band arrived on stage at 9pm and played for 1 hour 40 mins.
A nice stage production with lots of lights.
She is a big name in America , so she can afford two personal security ...one in the pit and one side of stage.....to keep a close eye on her.
Lainey is a full on good ole wholesome long haired country girl, as she transports us to Southern America of rodeos, trucks and gasoline ,with her very distinctive country voice.
After 45 mins she sat by the edge of the stage and signed posters and album covers for the fans
Near the end of the main set Lainey did a neat cover of ' What's Up' by 4 Non Blondes , which went down well, and other highlights included ' Watermelon Sunshine', ' Wait In The Truck', ' Things A Man Oughta
Know ' and 'Heart Like A Truck '.
An enjoyable country music show.
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Monday 22 April 2024.
Blimey.....pure robbery.
£8.95 for a pint at the new venue in Manchester.
I hope there is a Wetherspoons nearby.
Punters awaiting the opening of Manchester's new £365million Co-op live arena this week have been left outraged and disgusted by a leaked bar menu that suggests the cost of a pint in the venue will be £8.95.
The arena, which was set to officially open with a Peter Kay gig, (both his shows there postponed by several days due to power issues), will have the largest maximum capacity of any UK venue indoors, capable of holding 23,500 people at a time.
That's slightly more than The 02 Arena in London.
This weekend at an official test event featuring Rick Astley, some fans were incensed after the venue cut 4000 tickets from the show at the last minute, leaving revelers stranded.
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Sunday 21 April 2024.
Top 10 Best Selling Albums in USA in 1981.
10) Back in Black – AC/DC (Atlantic)
9) Crimes of Passion – Pat Benatar (Chrysalis)
8) Moving Pictures – Rush (Mercury)
7) Escape – Journey (Columbia)
6) 4 – Foreigner (Atlantic)
5) The Jazz Singer (Orig. Soundtrack) – Neil Diamond (Capitol)
4) Double Fantasy – John Lennon / Yoko Ono (Geffen)
3) Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits (Liberty)
2) Paradise Theater – Styx (A&M)
1) Hi Infidelity – REO Speedwagon (Epic)

Saturday 20 April 2024.

Saturday 20 April 2024.
CYMANDE live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Cymande are a British funk group that was originally active in the early 1970s. The band name derives from a calypso word for "dove", which symbolises peace and love;"Dove" is also the title of one of their best-known songs. With a membership deriving from several Caribbean nations, Cymande were noted for an eclectic mix of funk, soul, reggae, rock, African music, calypso, and jazz that they called "nyah-rock". The band formed in 1971 and released three albums before disbanding in 1974. After gaining newfound popularity when their music was sampled by many notable rap artists, Cymande reformed in the 2010s.
They released their fifth album in 2015.
This show sold out a month in advance.
A five city tour of Europe...Berlin , Paris , Brussels ,
London and Amsterdam.
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A DJ playing jazz funk classics warmed the crowd up .
Nice to see him playing all vinyl.
The band are selling their albums here on vinyl.
The venue is rammed solid by the time the band arrived on stage.
CYMANDE arrived on stage at 9.10pm for 85 mins.
The nine piece band include keyboards, percussion and three man brass.
A mainly older middle aged white crowd here enjoying the smooth jazz funk with some head nodding and a bit of dancing.
The show grooved along nicely , and was enjoyable.
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WELCOME BACK BRIXTON ACADEMY.
Friday 19 April 2024.
Brixton Academy to host gigs again for the first time in over 16 months , since two were killed there in a crush in Dec 2022.
Nirvana UK on stage at 8pm for 70 mins .
The Smyths on stage at 9.40pm for 75 mins.
This is the first of two restricted capacity test events , with tribute bands...1700 here tonight.
Both bands played a good set of all the classics.
Both had a good light show , and plenty of moshing.
The venue looks stunning
They have spent £1.2 million on maintenance and improvements , including a new carpet on the stalls standing , brand new numbered reserved seats in the circle , plenty of painting etc.
Brixton Academy opened as a gig venue in 1983.
My first gig there was New Order in 1983.
I have seen over 200 great shows at this venue , including a five man Clash and U2 in 1984 , PiL in 1986, Wham in 1986, , Gary Glitter , Beastie Boys , Run DMC, ZZ Top, Black Crowes, Placebo , Soft Cell , Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, Manic Street Preachers, Libertines, Morrissey , Iggy Pop , Neil Young, Big Audio Dynamite , The Alarm, The Godfathers, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Pulp , The Cult ,
David Bowie and Tin Machine, INXS, Green Day, Rammstein, Stiff Little Fingers, The Ramones , The Damned, The Rolling Stones in 1995 , 3 x Iron Maiden in 2002 and all five SEX PISTOLS shows there in 2007.

Thursday 18 April 2024.

Thursday 18 April 2024....I went to two events today...
EXPERIENCE SALON PRIVÉ LONDON
www.salonprivelondon.com - Visit their website here for more info and to buy tickets
Salon Privé London: the ultimate luxury car event at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
For three days only from 18th to 20th April 2024, immerse yourself in the world of luxury cars – both classic and modern – and enjoy an unforgettable experience surrounded by automotive excellence.
At the heart of the event is the ‘Concours de Vente’ – a carefully curated selection of 75 rare historic automobiles, which are all for sale. From Aston Martins to rare and coveted Jaguars, this year’s Concours de Vente is a treasure trove of motoring marques.
Thursday...
11.15am Porsche 911 Turbo Cavalcade
11.45am Supercar and Manufacturers Parade
12.15pm Racing Heroes, A Future in Motorsport with Jodie Kidd
15.00pm Concours de Vente Parade
17.45pm Porsche 911 Turbo Grand Depart
This year, each day of Salon Privé London presents its own unique celebration with a gathering of Porsche 911s to kickstart the event on the first day. Next, it's the turn of McLaren to add further glamour & style to Ladies' Day by Boodles, PLUS the World's largest gathering of Aston Martin Valkyries. On Saturday, we welcome one of the UK's leading private members' club, Drivers Union. With each one presenting a display of 30 cars, it's another reason not to miss this fabulous event.
The venue is just 10 mins walk from Sloane Square tube station.
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The sunshine is out for the opening day today.
It is pretty much the opening day of The London Outdoor Summer Season of events .
Over 4000 guests are here , at this stunning location.
SHARLENE SPITERI from TEXAS was here
The classic cars and supercars are gleaming.
The cars sounded fantastic when started up.
Luxury brands are showcasing their wares.
A really enjoyable day out.
See my Facebook page for some videos and photos.
Press folks had some complimentary Pommery champers , wines , Pimm's and beers.
then
ANGELS OF THE NORTH at Shepherds Bush Empire.
The Angels of the North on a UK tour? Oh, uh-huh. Join Geordie drag superstars Ginger Johnson, Michael Marouli and Tomara Thomas for a heavenly brand-new live show.
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I can remember when drag shows were in the back room of dodgy pubs for 30 people , but these days it is big business , as this trio are playing 11 theatre shows in the UK , then 5 theatre shows in Australia .
There are over 1500 excitable folks here tonight
The show was on for 1 hour 45 mins over two sets of 60 mins and 45 mins.
A nice touch was they had a chap signing in the corner, and they are selling loads of merch.
As well as being pure entertainment from start to finish, there was a clear structure to proceedings, with the premise being that our three heroines are Alan's Angels, with the trio tasked by Alan Carr on the big screen , to find out the culprits behind the disappearances of Cheryl, Denise Welch and Charlotte Crosby and things unfolding in camp and captivating fashion as both the group numbers and solo routines fired on all cylinders.
Everything from Michael Jackson to Celine Dion and Catherine Tate's Bernie the nurse to Barbara Cartland were used as inspiration , while the group numbers included a nun themed Sisters are Doin' It for Themselves, a powerful take on Chicago's Cell Block Tango, including a change of lyrics to mention Geordie institution Greggs and the highlight, the queens' high energy star turn in Drag Race girl group banger Don't Ick My Yum.
Angels of the North was a show that ticks all the boxes. It has unreal costumes, local references aplenty, brilliant songs, fantastic staging and most importantly, an incredible cast, who, as well as oozing star quality, charm and personality, were clearly blown away by the wealth of support for them.
The evening evening with some line dancing , and the trio beating up their two male dancers who were were wearing Ant and Dec masks, while Let's Get Ready To Rumble eas played in the background , as Ant and Dec handed over the crown of Best Known Geordies to the trio.
A very enjoyable show.
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Wednesday 17 April 2024...6pm to 9pm..
BRIXTON ACADEMY - venue showcase.
Nice to be back on the buzzy Brixton area again.
Around 100 press folks here for this preview.
Brixton Academy has been closed for 16 months after two people died at a concert there in Dec 2022.
They have spent over a million pounds on giving it an
upgrade while it has been closed.
We got a full tour of the entire venue by the venue stage manager and an AMG chap.
It became a gig venue in 1983.
I saw New Order there in 1983.
I have been to over 100 shows there since then.
The entire circle has nice new individual seats.
There is a new carpet in the stalls standing area.
There is lots of extra CCTV.
There will be a full welfare team and more medics than before, and twice as many security.
The front area entry will be all cordoned off with barriers, and ticket goers will be told to walk around the venue , to join the queue at the back of the venue.
Lots of painting has been done, but overall the venue structure looks the same , including the backstage areas.
We went backstage , where one of the dressing rooms is named after KEITH FLINT from The Prodigy (R.I.P.)
We walked on the stage , and walked through the load in /load out doors at the rear middle of the stage, that The Sex Pistols used for their own stage entrance , when I saw all of their five shows there in 2007.
We get complimentary bottles of water, but no complimentary booze , even though the 13 venue bars are fully stocked and ready to go.
Brixton Academy first proper show , with a couple of tribute bands , with restricted numbers entry , after it's enforced break will be this Friday 19 April.
I will be there .

Tuesday 16 April 2024.

Tuesday 16 April 2024.
HOLLOW COVES live at The Forum.
Aussie indie folk group built around the talents of singer and songwriters Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins, Hollow Coves employ a rich amalgam of reflective lyrics, dynamic harmonies and earthy melodies.
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The show is not sold out, but it is very full.
GARRET KATO arrived on stage at 8pm for his 35 mins set. Born in Vancouver , Canada but now living in Byron Bay , Australia .( I was there for a few days around 20 years ago).
Known for his reflective musings on love, life and vices, singer-songwriter and platinum-award winning producer Garrett Kato’s unique style of folk-pop is catching fire around the globe. A string of powerful releases, has seen him get over 100 million worldwide streams.
His humour helped him go down well with the crowd.
HOLLOW COVES arrived on stage at 9.05pm for their 85 mins set.
Their amps are hidden by the pa , rather than the rear.
Four of them on stage, with two sharing the vocals.
Lots of nice , dreamy head-nodding songs performed.
The electric guitar came out near the end.
Tracks like ' On The Way', 'Coastline' and 'Milk & Honey' were highlights in a good show.
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Monday 15 April 2024...7pm to 10.30pm...
THE AUCTION at Christies, King Street, St James's, London SW1.
Celebrating over 40 years of Terrence Higgins Trust (AIDS Charity) as they showcase world-class auction lots by various artists .You'll also have the opportunity to bid on some amazing holidays and celebrity experiences. Terrence Higgins was the first named person to die of AIDS in the UK in 1982.
Terrence Higgins Trust is a British charity that campaigns about and provides services relating to HIV and sexual health. In particular, the charity aims to end the transmission of HIV in the UK; to support and empower people living with HIV, to eradicate stigma and discrimination around HIV, and to promote good sexual health (including safe sex).
I have been to this very nice event several times over the past decade. Most of the 400 guests (90 % gay men) have paid £100 to be here. A couple of celebrity faces are here , including LEEE JOHN from 1980s band Imagination, MARK-FRANCIS VANDELLI (Made In Chelsea TV) who have both been here before .
I asked Leee John about his upcoming gigs and he feels UK promoters don't promote Black British Acts as much as Black American Acts...a fair point.
Celebrity snapper DAVE BENETT was also here , telling us stories of Cannes and Monaco.
A female violinist was playing covers before and after the auction.
Complimentary prosecco and canapes until 8.30pm then there was a Spanish buffet after the auction , which was 8.15pm to 9.15pm.
Used to be champers and cocktails before COVID so sadly not as good as before , but still good.

Sunday 14 April 2024.

Sunday 14 April 2024.
P1 with MATT AND TOMMY live at
Shepherds Bush Empire.
Matt and Tommy are two diehard F1 fans, here to bring you all the latest news, reaction, predictions and opinions from the best sport in the world. From every strategy blunder, to spicy off-track controversies, they'll be keeping you up to speed.
Wonder what they will say about Christian Horner ?
I have been to the British F1 Grand Prix a few times , and also went to Monaco F1 Grand Prix over a decade ago.
I always watch the highlights on TV these days.
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Levels 2 and 3 are closed tonight, and it is stalls seated , so maybe 400 or 500 folks here.
Pretty good ticket sales when you think it's just a Podcast by two unknowns talking about Formula 1.
The 90 mins show was two sets of 45 mins each.
Surprising the high amount of young females here.
The girls seemed to like their geeky humour.
Many of the crowd are wearing F1 team colours
There is a big screen that is used off and on.
Two comfy chairs for the hosts to sit on.
They talked about the races this season ,and how the drivers were performing .
Some audience participation on stage.
An 11 year old called Oscar stole the show with his great knowledge of F1 and the drivers etc.
The second part of the second half consisted of audience questions to the pair.
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Saturday 13 April 2024.
THE HIVES live at Hammersmith Apollo.
This show sold out over a month ago.
The Hives have announced a UK and Ireland tour in spring 2024, culminating with a date at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on April 13th. The band will also release their highly anticipated new album The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons August 11th 2023 via FUGA.
It is twenty-five years since The Hives exploded around the world, with they stunning singles 'Main Offender ' and 'Hate To Say I Told You So'.
I have seen them several times including a low key club show at The Garage , North London in 2023 to promote the new album.
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The venue is rammed solid , sold out tonight.
Over 100 folks on the guest list , as after-party in the circle bar at 10.30pm...i popped in for 20 mins but no faces there , and the band were yet to turn up.
I ended up missing the 30 mins set by the support act - Bad Nerves.
THE HIVES arrived on stage at 9.05pm for their 85 mins set.
Appropriately, they strode out to the menacing horns of Chopin’s ‘Funeral March 3rd Movement’ in matching black-and-white, lightning bolt suits. Two roadies stood on either side of the stage and ceremoniously handed the guitarists their instruments. Instead of facing their adoring fans, however, they turned their backs and looked to the drummer, who launched into Bogus Operandi as neon lights flashed: HIVES. This is the opening track from new album, and while the album is considerably more varied than many of their previous efforts, the song is classic Hives – simple and ferocious. The crowd chanted the infectious pre-chorus ‘Like I said, Like I said, Like I said!’ as their enigmatic frontman – Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist – grabbed the microphone and told ‘anyone who considers themselves a part of everyone’ to scream. They launched straight into their classic early single 'Main Offender,' without taking a breath. It is just the second song but singer Pete is already in the pit , close up to the fans.
He pretty much does this every other song, and his non-stop stage banter is very entertaining.
" We have brought the sunshine from Sweden to London - You're Welcome"....he says.
Lots of moshing down the front stalls and over a dozen crowd- surfers .
Another highlight was early single ' Hate To Say I Told You So'.
The band certainly put a smile on everyone's faces.
It was a great show.
The show was filmed, so look out for that.
Full set list played by THE HIVES tonight...
Bogus Operandi
Main Offender
Take Back the Toys
Two Kinds of Trouble
Rigor Mortis Radio
Walk Idiot Walk
Good Samaritan
Go Right Ahead
Stick Up
Hate to Say I Told You So
Trapdoor Solution
I'm Alive
Bigger Hole to Fill
Try It Again
Countdown to Shutdown
Encore:
Come On!
Smoke & Mirrors
Tick Tick Boom (with band introductions)
Taped outro song - Nobody Does It Better - (Carly Simon song)

Friday 12 April 2024.

Friday 12 April 2024....6.50pm to 11.20pm...
VIVE LE ROCK AWARDS at The Islington Academy.
Feat SHAM 69 + RUTS DC + THEATRE OF HATE + TOYAH WILLCOX + JIM JONES + SAFFRON from REPUBLICA + CHRIS SPEDDING + CASINO STEEL + host BEKI BONDAGE and many more.
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I always look forward to this great music awards event.
Nice to see so many gig-going chums here.
There was a lot going on , as the bands played between the awards , so here goes.
THE VIVE LE ROCKERS house band did a fantastic job , as they backed different singers throughout .
They start with ALAN CLAYTON guesting ,then a couple of Pogues tracks , in tribute to Shane.
CASINO STEEL joined them for a couple, ' Thank God This Bar Is Closing' and The Boys classic ' Brickfield Nights'.
CHARLIE HARPER joined them for The UK Subs classic ' C.I.D', and Charlie was presented with a cake for his 80th birthday , which is next month .
A few awards were then given out...
NEAL X to CHRIS SPEDDING for Guitar Legend.
EUGENE VLR to GRADE 2 for Best New Band.
SPIKE to THE DAMNED for Album Of The Year.
Monty accepted it , but Dave and Captain not here .
RUTS DC to KIRK BRANDON for Voice of a Generation.
SAFFRON to TOYAH WILLCOX for The Icon Award .
Again BEKI BONDAGE, did a grand job of hosting .
THE VIVE LE ROCKERS came back for a few more songs...and it was superb to see CHRIS SPEDDING
play 'Silver Bullet' and his classic 'Motorbikin'.
SAFFRON performed a nifty ' Ready To Go'.
TOYAH performed her classic ' I Want To Be Free'.
EUGENE VLR joined them for the AC/DC classic 'Whole Lotta Rosie'. With his sleeveless jean jacket and hairstyle and voice , Eugene was Bon Scott.
BEKI BONDAGE sang a great ' Nutbush City Limits'.
JIM JONES sang a very lively' Kick Out The Jams'.
At 9.05pm THEATRE OF HATE played a six song 30 mins set inc neat versions of 'Do You Believe In The West World' and 'The Hop'.
At 9.55pm RUTS DC were on stage for 30 mins.
First they received Best Live Band Award from BARRY CAIN....they then performed a great five song set,
including ' Kill The Pain' ,'Jah War' and a nice surprise to see them joined by current The Who drummer ZAK STARKEY on guitar for stunning versions of ' In A Rut' and 'Babylons Burning' .
I saw bass playing legend NORMAN WATT-ROY here.
At 10.50pm SHAM 69 whizzed through a superb nine song 30 mins set....Jimmy Pursey on top form...
So many great songs that had the crowd singing loudly along to.
What Have We Got?
Tear Gas Eyes
I Don't Wanna
Borstal Breakout
That's Life
Angels With Dirty Faces
If The Kids Are United
Hersham Boys
Hurry Up Harry
Overall , another fantastic Vive Le Rock Awards.
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Thursday 11 April 2024....6.15pm to 8.30pm.....
GILBERT and GEORGE CENTRE - private view -
5a Heneage Street , London E1.
Celebrating a year since opening, we are thrilled to announce the second exhibition to take place at The Gilbert & George Centre will be Gilbert & George’s ‘LONDON PICTURES’ – opening 12 April 2024.
“London is the most important part of our inspiration. It is all that surrounds us. And so we have been able to include all this remarkable surface of thoughts and feeling that we find in these posters…” – Gilbert & George
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This was my first time to this gallery which is off Brick Lane.The area is buzzing , and The Jack The Ripper tours for the tourists are all over the place.
Decent weather, means we can stay outside in the courtyard of the gallery.
Over 100 guests here including GILBERT and GEORGE.
Also TRACEY EMIN, celebrity chef ANGELA HARTNETT who lives around the corner, PHILIP SALLON and performance artist PANDEMONIA who is 6' 6" in head to toe in black latex and heels.
Complimentary Jean - Noel Haton champers, gin & tonics and beers for all the guests

Wednesday 10 April 2024.

Wednesday 10 April 2024.
I went to two events tonight.
6.15pm to 8pm .
THE HOUSE OF FINE ART - private view - 11 Bruton Street , Mayfair, London W1.
HOFA Gallery and Fellowship AI platform daily.xyz announce the launch of "New Beginnings", a pioneering London exhibition that documents the evolution of AI artistry, weaving together the realities of AI, art and the human experience. In partnership with AI art curation and research experts, Crysalis, the exhibition will run from 11 - 30 April 2024...free entry...
This ground-breaking showcase will present 14 globally renowned AI artists, including Niceaunties, Sougwen Chung, Emily Xie and Elman Mansimov, who explore the profound implications of AI on art and human interaction. As well as other artists Kevin Abosch, Ivona Tau, Agoria, Gordon Cheung, Roope Rainisto, Crosslucid, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, Legio X, Sheldrick and Noper. Elio D’Anna, Co-founder of HOFA Gallery, elaborates, “With the emergence of new AI models and techniques, a profound technological evolution occurred in 2023.
"New Beginnings" captures the first major works conceived and produced in the post-transition period, juxtaposing them with early era AI creations of immense significance. It effectively narrates the evolution of AI-generated artistry while simultaneously redefining contemporary perceptions of art in the digital age.”
Over 100 guests here and a nice buzzy atmosphere.
Complimentary Charles de Fere champers for all.
then
JAMES BLUNT live at The Royal Albert Hall.
James plays the second of two sold out Royal Albert Hall shows on his UK tour.
He has released seven albums since 2004 and has sold over 20 million records worldwide.
A couple of years ago he bought a pub in Chelsea.
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The venue is totally rammed sold out.
A mixture , mainly of females and couples.
JAMES BLUNT and band arrived on stage at 9.10pm for their 95 mins set.
A nice stage production with big screens , mixing live footage and pre-recorded images, along with several huge lampshades.All the other shows on this tour are bigger arenas.
This was never meant to happen to James Blunt. The butt of music industry jokes following the release of his winsomely mushy and inescapable ballad You’re Beautiful in 2005, Blunt was destined to have – at best – a three-album career. But here he is, two decades and seven albums in, playing two long-sold out shows at London’s flagship Royal Albert Hall as part of the biggest-selling tour of his career, a tour that has taken in 15,000-capacity arenas across the UK and will visit similar-sized venues until it wraps in Australia in November.
James certainly knows how to work the crowd , as he thanks them after every song , and even ran through the crowd to the back of the venue and also got them to do a Mexico wave all through one of his songs.
The upbeat songs got the crowd dancing, and the ballads got them to sit down.
Plenty of radio friendly singalong tracks and hits.
A nice surprise to see him play a Slade cover .
A good show.
Full JAMES BLUNT setlist played tonight...
Beside You
Saving a Life
Wisemen
Carry You Home
All the Love That I Ever Needed
Dark Thought
Goodbye My Lover
The Girl That Never Was
High
Love Under Pressure
Postcards
I Won't Die With You
Coz I Luv You ( Slade cover)
You're Beautiful
Same Mistake
Stay the Night
OK (Robin Schulz cover)
Encore:
Monsters
Bonfire Heart
1973
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Tuesday 09 April 2024.
ENRICO BRIGNANO live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Enrico Brignano (now aged 57) is an Italian actor, playwright, comedian, presenter and writer.
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It is stalls seated tonight ,so 1200 capacity sold out.
It is all the Italian community here .
ENRICO BRIGNANO was on stage for an incredible 2 hours 45 mins set ...8.35pm to 11.20pm.
There is an 11pm curfew at this venue , but he must playing to the midnight curfew time in Italy.
There is a nice light production and piano , but the piano was only used a couple of times, as it was all comedy in Italian.
A couple of Italian girls i spoke to said " he was like a milder version of Ricky Gervais".
Enrico was talking and joking away non-stop.
The crowd loved it , but i was hoping for more musical numbers in the show.

Monday 08 April 2024.

Monday 08 April 2024....6.30pm to 9.30pm...
SHANGHAI NOIR - showcase - Old Westminster Fire Station, 4 Greycoat Place , Victoria, London SW1.
What happens when you inject a little piece of Chinatown into an old fire station in the rarely-visited territory between Westminster and Victoria? Shanghai Noir, that’s what.
A brand new opening, Shanghai Noir, with its deep teal walls and oriental iconography, transports you back to the achingly glamorous 1920s. An Indo-Chinese brasserie, your senses will spin around Asia as soon as you arrive. Not least because to get to Shanghai Noir on the lower floor, you first have to walk through Indian restaurant, Yaatra. Being led through a different restaurant into a subterranean secret makes Shanghai Noir feel tantalisingly 007.
We had a mix of soup , then shared plates , then mains with sides, then desserts and washed down by a bottle of red wine and a bottle of sparking water.
For anyone not familiar with Indo-Chinese dining – a food concept that is apparently taking the US by storm – it fuses Indian and Chinese (via Thailand, if our green papaya and mango salad was anything to go by), with a bent towards the traditional comfort food of Indian migrants. This translates as Chinese classics with an Indian twist: five-spiced beef with wild mushroom bao; paneer garlic cream with mushroom, and spatchcock chicken in a Glenmorangie fire sauce featuring the world’s hottest chilli, Bhot Jolakhiya.
Palettes readied, we savoured crackers with prawn pickle (it works!) before going in on black bean scallops, which were firm and juicy but in a sauce that was perhaps just five percent too sweet for yours truly. Luckily, the papaya salad, with its zingy lime freshness, was the perfect antidote. And the chilli paneer was dangerously addictive.
Next up, we were graced with short rib beef that disintegrated at the gentlest prod of a chopstick. My steamed sea bream was equally as tender and flavourful, thanks to a delicate filling of ginger and spring onion. Dots of crispy chilli oil created a wonderful texture contrast. A side dish of garlicky charred pak choi wedges made the perfect accompaniment.
We rounded off with lychee pannacotta, which rivalled the smoking dragon for dramatic presentation, and a surprisingly refreshing mango pudding, rich with sunshine and Asian sweetness. What a whistle stop tour of China to India, and everything in between.
Needless to say we had a fantastic three hours here.
Old Westminster Fire Station, 4 Greycoat Place, Westminster, London, SW1P 1SB
www.shanghainoir.com
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Saturday 06 April 2024.
COCK SPARRER live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Cock Sparrer are a band that have had their career in reverse, more popular now than at the height of punk.
They were part of the Oi Skinhead movement.
I have seen them a few times, including their last London show at The Roundhouse in Sept 2022.
Cock Sparrer have released several albums , and this is a special show for the release of their new album ' Hand On Heart'.
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Level 3 is closed , and Level 2 is half empty, but stalls and Level 1 are full. Maybe 1300 out of 2000 tix sold.
As expected the crowd is 90 per cent older males.
A very lively atmosphere as the bars are very busy.
COCK SPARRER are on stage for 1 hour 55 mins over two sets of 45 mins and 70 mins.
The band are all dressed head to toe in black.
The played a few tracks from the new album , and many of their classics which were in the second set
Lots of moshing and crowd surfing.
The footie type crowd are singing loudly along.
Great to see them play their anthem ' England Belongs To Me'.....a great show.
COCK SPARRER setlist highlights included....
Riot Squad
What's It Like To Be Old
Running Riot (debut single from 1977)
Because You're Young
Take 'em All
Where Are They Now?
England Belongs to Me
We're Coming Back

Friday 05 April 2024.

Friday 05 April 2024.
STAYING RELEVANT live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Sam Thompson and Pete Wicks take their chart-topping podcast Staying Relevant on tour. During the show, as well as learning first-hand about the perils and pitfalls of fame from two best friends in the industry, there will be plenty of interactive moments. Expect lots of laughs but mostly utter chaos as the boys look back at their careers and share their hopes and dreams.
The pair first met up a few years ago on Celebs Go Dating TV show .
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It is stalls seated tonight, and pretty full , so must be over 1000 folks here . Some 75 % of the crowd are excitable females under the age of 30 ,who are keeping the bar staff busy , and nipping into the mens loos as the female toilet queues are a bit lengthy.
The show is on for two sets of 50 mins.
There is a fully stocked bar on the side of Pete Wicks.
The first set is basically them showing video highlights of their careers on the big screen , and talking and joking about them , including when Sam Thompson won I'm A Celebrity and Pete Wicks flew out to Australia to meet him.
Good to see male and female signing for deaf at the front.SamThompson has the very upbeat personality , and Pete Wicks has the long haired rock star looks.
Second set had done audience participation as two pairs came on stage for ' The Seat of Shame'.
Then there was a Q & A session with the audience.
Finale of the night is special guest Barry( SHAUN WILLIAMSON ) from EastEnders , who comes on stage and the three of them and the crowd sing a rousing cover of ' Sweet Caroline'.
VICKY PATTTISON was seated in the stalls seats.
An enjoyable evening.
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Thursday 04 April 2024.
JOE BONAMASSA live at The Royal Albert Hall.
Joe plays the first of two shows at this venue.
Celebrated and award-winning blues rock guitarist and singer songwriter, Joe Bonamassa will be performing two UK exclusive concerts at the Hall.
Backed by a stellar band of legendary musicians, the setlist for this show will feature new songs alongside career-spanning favourite’s.
I have seen him a few times before at this venue.
Joe always seems to ask silly prices for tickets when he plays this venue....£70 for gallery standing up in the gods and £200 , £175 , £150 and £100 for seats plus booking fees...maybe there is struggle to sell tickets as there has been heavy advertising in all the papers in the run up to the shows .
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Several rows are unsold downstairs and only 75% sold up in the circle , half the boxes are unsold , but still pretty good considering the eye-watering high ticket prices.
We have a great view in those nice stalls swivel seats.
JOE BONAMASSA on stage at 7.30pm for two hours.
Taking to the stage to rapturous applause, Joe donned one of the guitars from his enormous collection and set the room alight straight away. His playing was slick, deadly accurate and exuded cool! This suit and shades wearing blues man owned every note of the sound, and every inch of the stage.
Pretty much every track had a stunning guitar solo.
His band and two female backing singers were also top notch .
It is 15 years since his first show at this iconic venue, and Joe said these two shows would be his 11th and 12th here.
The first encore was his classic ' Sloe Gin' which was dedicated to Bernie Marsden R.I.P. and the second encore was a superb version of ' Crossroads' .
A great show.

Tuesday 02 April 2024.

Tuesday 02 April 2024.
PAUL WELLER live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Paul Weller plays a special warm up show , that sold out pronto, prior to his UK tour.
I was lucky to see Paul fronting The Jam a few times, and have seen him with The Style Council and solo.
I was at the Hammersmith Apollo gig and party after at the venue to celebrate his 50th birthday.
Expect a two hour set , with a few Jam classics.
Hard to believe that Paul split up The Jam over 40 years ago , in 1982.
The Modfather has confirmed the release of a new album to celebrate his 66th year around the sun.
Paul Weller has announced the details of his new album 66, which will be released on 24th May 2024.
As its title suggests, the album will mark the legendary musician's 66th birthday on 25th May- dropping the day before.
An incredibly prolific songwriter , PW has released over 25 studio albums since the Jam debut.
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The venue is totally rammed solid sold out , with most of the crowd in their 50s and 60s.
Over 100 folks were on the guest list.
THE GOLDBORNS arrived on stage at 7.45pm for their 25 mins set of indie / punk/ reggae tunes.
Their new single 'Going Out' features Paul Weller on guitar....I saw them twice in 2020 , but they don't seem to have progressed much in the four years.
PAUL WELLER arrived on stage at 8.45pm for his two hours set....six musicians with Paul including Steve Craddick on guitar and the drums and drums/percussion each had a 6 on the front of the bass drum ...to make 66.
The disco glitterball was used a lot .
PW played a nice mix of material from his near 50 years of material ,including some new album tracks.
The second hour was livelier, and included two classics from The Jam, and many of his best tracks.
Always great to see this legend on stage.
Full PAUL WELLER setlist played night....
Rip the Pages Up
Nova
Cosmic Fringes
Soul Wandering
That Pleasure
All the Pictures on the Wall
Above the Clouds
Stanley Road
Glad Times
Village
Fat Pop
More
Hung Up
Shout to the Top! (The Style Council song)
Jumble Queen
Nothing
Dance With Me (With Leon Bailey)
That's Entertainment ( The Jam song)
Wild Wood
Friday Street
Start! (The Jam song)
Peacock Suit
Encore:
Headstart for Happiness (The Style Council song)
Old Father Tyme
Broken Stones
Mayfly
Rockets
Encore 2:
The Changingman
Porcelain Gods
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Monday 01 April 2024.
ZUCCHERO live at The Royal Albert Hall.
Zucchero plays the last of three shows at this venue.
68 year old Italian singer has sold over 60 million records.
His stage name is the Italian word for "sugar", as his elementary teacher used to call him.His music is largely inspired by gospel, soul, blues and rock music, and alternates between Italian ballads and more rhythmic R&B-boogie-like pieces.He is credited as the "father of Italian blues", introducing blues to the big stage in Italy.He is one of the few European blues artists who still enjoys great international success.
He has currently got an Italian vocals album out with Jack Savoretti.Jack will be joining him on stage at The Royal Albert Hall.
Zucchero has headlined the massive 80,000 San Siro stadium back home in Italy and headlines there again on 04 July 2024 , as part of this current world tour.
I saw Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at San Siro stadium in 2008.
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Easter Sunday i was indoors after i had a run of 10 gigs in 10 days before this gig.
Tonight's show was 75% unsold up in the circle, but the rest of the venue looks full.
Maybe he should have stuck to two nights here like he did in 2022 on his last London visit.
Mainly Italians here as expected
BILLY LOCKETT arrived on stage at 7.30pm for his 30 mins of keyboards based tracks , from his album , that he said was out on white vinyl.
ZUCCHERO arrived on stage at 8.30pm and played a nice long set of two hours 30 mins.
A nice big stage production that created a nice big sound as lots of lights and lots of musicians on stage , as Zucchero was backed by 11 of them including two drummers , two guitarists , three brass, two keyboards , bass and a superb female backing singer from the Cameroon, and after 90 mins we had a 10 piece choir join them for 30 mins.
As expected most of the tracks were in Italian , but a few were in English.
A little bit of chat in Italian and English.
Two big screens showing pre-recorded images.
One of the show’s standouts was “Miserere (Have Mercy),” a rendition of his celebrated recorded duet with his friend, the late opera giant Luciano Pavarotti. Augmenting this emotional rendering, visuals of Pavarotti and Zucchero singing together are displayed on a giant screen.
There was a mix of ballads and more uptempo songs , as his adoring crowd loved every minute of it.
He was a kinda Italian Joe Cocker.
He gave thanks to Eric Clapton for giving him a support slot on a European Tour at the start of his career, and to Paul Young for his help on that big breakthrough hit single.
Other highlights included a Korgis cover of' Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime' and the big hit
' Senza Una Donna (Without A Woman) with Jack Savoretti and for two cover songs ,the excellent female backing singer took over vocals for ' Nutbush City Limits' and ' Honky Tonk Train Blues' .
It was a very enjoyable show.
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Saturday 30 March 2024.
THE ROSE are a K-pop band from Seoul, South Korea.
They released their debut album 'Red' in 2019, after winning Most Promising Artist at the International K-Music Awards the year before, followed by 'Heal' in 2022 and 'Dual' in 2023.
The Rose will bring their Dawn To Dusk Tour across the UK and Europe in March 2024. This Wembley show is their only UK one.
In Feb 2023 they sold out The Forum on their last London visit.
I have seen several different K-pop acts , as they always put on a great visual show, but all of them sing to backing tapes, and
tonight we have a real live K-pop band .
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The K-pop phenomenon is taking over the UK and elsewhere.
The show is not sold out , but looks around 7000 tix sold.
Very impressive when you think it is 90 per cent excitable females under the age of 30 who have paid £85 , £75 , £65 plus booking fees.
THE ROSE are on stage at 8pm for their 1 hour 40 mins.
It is floor standing for this show.
The house lights go down and there is an amazing sight of several hundred of those K-pop light-stick globes all around the venue , that can change colour....at a cost of £40 each...yikes!
The four members of The Rose are in a line across the stage.
They use two big side screens for live footage , and the screen in the middle is used for pre-recorded images.
All the lyrics and stage chat is in English tonight.
The females sing all the lyrics loudly back at the band.
Many of the females here have made some signs for the band.
This one caught my eye " Finger Me Like Your Guitar"...hmmm.
Simple catchy pop lyrics,with many ballads .
They all play an instrument.
The show is slick and well rehearsed , along with confetti , dry ice plumes , some fireworks and streamers at the end.
Tracks like ' Time', 'Sorry' ' She's In The Rain ' and ' Wonder' ticked along nicely, and the visual show was really good.
The band gave out roses to the crowd at the very end.

Friday 29 March 2024.

Friday 29 March 2024.
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN live at The Roundhouse.
Scottish indie-rock legends play the first of two shows at this venue on their UK & European 40th anniversary tour .The Reid brothers will be promoting their 8th studio album ' Glasgow Eyes'. I saw them headline Brixton Academy in 1992, when the support band were......BLUR.
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The venue is only three quarters full tonight and my security chums said that the Saturday show is the same.
AIRCOOLED arrived on stage at 7.50pm for their 35 mins set
Some hypnotic rhythmic keyboard based tracks.
Five members in the band - 3 x f and 2 X m.
Aircooled released their second album, Eat The Gold on February 16th 2024 on the Music's Not Dead label.
JAMC on stage at 9pm for their 1 hour 45 mins set.
Hard to believe they are still going after 40 years considering all the arguments , fights , short sets and chaos that followed them back in their initial years.
Lots of backlighting and their usual fuzzy guitar sound.
Not much chat between songs apart from giving a shout out to an American fan who is in the front row every night on their European Tour and got attacked at their Edinburgh gig two days before , and got ejected along with the couple that started on him.
Highlights for me included ' Some Candy Talking' and ' Just Like Honey '. A good show.
Full JAMC setlist played tonight...
jamcod
April Skies
Head On
Far Gone and Out
All Things Pass
Chemical Animal
Girl 71 (with Riz Maslen)
Amputation
Cracking Up
Some Candy Talking
In a Hole
Sidewalking
Blues From a Gun
Nine Million Rainy Days
I Love Rock 'n' Roll
Sometimes Always ( with Jane Weaver)
Just Like Honey ( with Jane Weaver)
Encore:
Darklands
Taste of Cindy
I Hate Rock 'n' Roll
Reverence
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Thursday 28 March 2024.
GIPSY KINGS live at The Royal Albert Hall.
Known for melding traditional flamenco styles with Western pop and Latin rhythm, Grammy award winning band Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes.
They first captured the world’s imagination in 1987 with a self-titled album that became a genuine phenomenon, certified gold and platinum around the globe.
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You kinda forget how popular The Gipsy Kings are , as this iconic venue is totally rammed sold out tonight, even though seats near the stage are £100 each.
SHUTTERDOG arrived on stage at 7.30pm for his 30 mins.
Sounds like a band name , but it's him and his acoustic guitar.
He played a nice cover of ' Jealous Guy'.
GIPSY KINGS arrived on stage at 8.30pm for 1 hour 40 mins.
The Gipsy Kings have succeeded with a radically new approach to flamenco. They incorporated additional rhythms, most notably rumba and samba. Eight musicians on stage.
When all five guitarists are strumming frantically infectious flamenco style, it produces a unique wall of sound that is particularly effective.
Nino Baliardo took four or five breathtakingly fast solos in a jazz-influenced flamenco style that were real highlights.
The crowd were clapping and up dancing for the two big tracks at the end of the main set , ' Bamboleo' and ' Volare' and the final encore was a solo version of ' My Way' .A good show.

Wednesday 27 March 2024.

Wednesday 27 March 2024.
TAKING BACK SUNDAY live at The Forum.
Long Island New York Rockers are promoting their 8th studio album, called '152' that was released in 2023.
Their first album was released back in 2002.
The recent album is their first full-length LP in seven years, following on from 2016’s ‘Tidal Wave’.
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The venue is totally rammed sold out.
No surprise really , as they sold out Brixton Academy in 2022.
HIMALAYAS arrived on stage at 8pm for their 30 mins.
Welsh four piece rock band played a decent set, including a song co-written by AC/DCs BRIAN JOHNSON , titled 'V.O.V'.
The quartet’s latest banger, which goes by the name V.O.V, is described by the band as “a song of resistance and struggle against violence and suffering".
TAKING BACK SUNDAY arrived on stage at 9pm for their 85 mins set.
Have not seen TBS before and don't know much about them ,
apart from seeing their name on festival bills.
Lots of moshing and several crowd surfers tonight.
The dyed blonde haired singer , has a funny dance shuffle , but is rambling on too much between the songs , and the vocals seem a bit slurred , and drowned out by the band.
Early in their career they started off as a bit of an EMO rock band , but seem more straight rock these days.
The last two songs certainly were a highlight as the crowd erupted for ' Cute Without the 'E' (Cut From the Team)' and
' MakeDamnSure' ...overall a good show.
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Tuesday 26 March 2024.
THE STRANGLERS live at The Royal Albert Hall.
The Stranglers are playing another farewell tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
They were part of the punk movement of the late 70s but their musicianship and menace transcended the genre. They created their own unique sound and achieved over 25 Top 40 singles and 18 Top 40 albums, with their most recent release Dark Matters reaching number 4, their highest UK chart position since Feline in the early 80s and being acclaimed as their best in decades.
The Stranglers plan to make this milestone anniversary show extra special with two sets featuring songs from the band’s inception.
I have seen them around 20 times since when they supported Patti Smith at The Roundhouse on 17 May 1976 , which was the first major punk related gig in London.
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From playing pubs in 1974, then standing on the coat-tails of punk rock and new wave to playing a sold out show at The Royal Albert Hall in 2024......Pretty amazing really...
The older loyal Stranglers fans are out in force tonight.
Why have so many Stranglers fans got bald heads ?
The venue must be a bit wary of this crowd as the normal timid venue security are replaced by proper security - Show & Event.
It is standing on the RAH floor tonight.
THE STRANGLERS are on for a nice long 2 hours 15 mins over two sets of 55 mins and 80 mins .
Lots of backlighting and three huge chandeliers on stage.
Both sets are introduced by Japanese drummers performing .
Jean-Jacques Burnel (still looking good for age 72) , the only remaining original member, dedicated their third song of the night, The Raven, to Jet Black and Dave Greenfield, who stayed with the band until ill-health and death forced them out.
The Men in Black are hardly a punk band really , as their musicianship is top notch and the sound quality is perfect.
JJs rumbling bass is still pure quality.
Singer Baz asks " how is everyone in the boxes , with your Pimm's and cucumber sandwiches?" and the crowd cheers.
A nice mix of newer material and older classics.
I certainly prefer the older Hugh era classics.
Judging by the increased jumping around ,the fans also prefer the older tracks but still applaud all the newer songs.
A great gig.
Full setlist played by The Stranglers tonight...
FIRST SET
Just Like Nothing on Earth
Hallow to Our Men
The Raven ((Dedicated to Dave and Jet))
Baroque Bordello
North Winds
Genetix
Princess of the Streets
Breathe
Hanging Around
Down in the Sewer ( JJ wanders into the stalls side seats )
SECOND SET
Who Wants the World?
Duchess
Time to Die
Ships That Pass in the Night
Peaches
Threatened
Skin Deep
Always the Sun
Golden Brown
Relentless
5 Minutes
Lost Control
White Stallion
Something Better Change
Tank
Encore:
Go Buddy Go
No More Heroes

Monday 25 March 2024.

Monday 25 March 2024.
10cc live at The Royal Albert Hall.
Their run of mid-70s hits were bona fide, pop-literate, soft-prog gold.
They are touring to promote a massive 145-track, 14-disc, all the albums, plus single edits, B-sides and alternatives box set.
Still featuring original member Graham Gouldman.
I have seen them several times , with the first time when they headlined Hammersmith Odeon in 1975.
I also saw them in Aug 1976 when they were the main support to The Rolling Stones at Knebworth......above Lynryd Skynyrd.
This show is part of a massive world tour which includes their first tour of North America for 30 years , and a second UK leg of dates at the end of the year.
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Looks like a sold out show , but there is no gallery standing.
We have nice views, stalls swivel seats right of stage.
PAUL CANNING arrived on stage at 7.30pm for his 30 mins set.
Just him and his guitar playing tracks from his five albums.
He has had 40 million streams on Spotify.
His humour between songs certainly got him a few new fans.
10cc arrived on stage at 8.30pm for their two hour set.
Graham Goodmans current 10cc line-up features musicians who have played with many big artists when not touring with 10cc.
All their many great hit singles played, with highlights being ' I'm Not in Love' and a stunning acapella version of 'Donna'.
Great to see original.member KEVIN GODLEY join them for three songs.
When they left 10cc , Godley and Creme made some of the biggest videos for other artists in the 1980s.
A great show.
Full setlist played by 10cc tonight...
Intro track and video Son of Man (GG/06 song)
The Second Sitting for the Last Supper
Art for Art's Sake
Life Is a Minestrone
Good Morning Judge
The Dean and I
Clockwork Creep
Feel the Benefit
The Wall Street Shuffle
Floating in Heaven ( Graham Gouldman song)
The Things We Do for Love
Say the Word ( Hornal cover)
Silly Love
Somewhere in Hollywood ( with Kevin Godley on video)
Old Wild Men (with Kevin Godley)
Cry (Godley & Creme cover) (with Kevin Godley)
I'm Mandy Fly Me
I'm Not in Love ( followed by band introductions)
Dreadlock Holiday
Encore:
Donna ( A Capella)
Rubber Bullets ( with Kevin Godley)
Outro track song - Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell song)
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Sunday 24 March 2024.
ROGER DALTREY & FRIENDS live at The Royal Albert Hall.
This was the last of the seven TCT shows at this venue.
This was the fourth TCT show I have been to this week.
‘Ovation’ - A Celebration of 24 Years of Gigs For Teenage Cancer Trust' with Roger Daltrey, Kelly Jones, Robert Plant with Saving Grace, Eddie Vedder, Paul Weller.
The Who's Roger Daltrey has announced he will step down as curator of the annual Teenage Cancer Trust gigs, after this year's set of concerts.
The shows have been running at the Royal Albert Hall since 2000, raising more than £32m from ticket sales.
The series will end with a celebration of the series of shows.
Titled Ovation, the concert will feature Daltrey himself, accompanied by artists who helped establish the gigs as a fixture of the music calendar.
From 2025, the concerts will be overseen by a series of guest curators. Daltrey will continue as a Teenage Cancer Trust Honorary Patron
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Needless to say the venue is totally rammed sold out.
All the acts were pretty much in semi-acoustic mode.
Everyone used the big screen except Robert Plant.
Roger Daltrey introduced all the acts.
FIRST SET
PAUL WELLER arrived on stage at 7.05pm for 35 mins.
He was joined by Roger Daltrey for a Who song , and finished with a superb version of ' That's Entertainment'.
Gravity
Mayfly
A Man of Great Promise (The Style Council song)
Amongst Butterflies
Rockets
Wild Wood
So Sad About Us ( The Who cover) (with Roger Daltrey)
That's Entertainment ( The Jam song)
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KELLY JONES arrived on stage at 7.55pm for 25 mins.
Kelly never seems to age , as he played Stereophonics tracks.
He was without band, but joined by a steel guitar player.
Local Boy in the Photograph (Stereophonics song)
Maybe Tomorrow ( Stereophonics song)
You're My Star ( Stereophonics song)
Dakota ( Stereophonics song)
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SECOND SET
EDDIE VEDDER arrived on stage at 9pm for 30 mins.
He was mainly solo , but was joined by Glen Hansard.and Simon Townshend on some tracks.
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town ( Pearl Jam song)
Far Behind
She Asked Me ( Simon Townshend cover) (with Simon Townshend)
Society (Jerry Hannan cover) (with Glen Hansard)
My Father's Daughter ( Olivia Vedder, Eddie Vedder & Glen Hansard cover) (with Olivia Vedder)
Falling Slowly (The Swell Season cover) (with Glen Hansard)
Porch (Pearl Jam song)
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ROBERT PLANT WITH SAVING GRACE on at 9.35pm for 35 mins. Robert and Suzi Dian were superb as they shared vocals.
The Americana sound of Saving Grace was top notch.
Gospel Plow ( [traditional] cover)
As I Roved Out ( [traditional] cover)
Too Far From You (Nashville Cast cover)
Everybody's Song (Low cover)
Angel Dance (Los Lobos cover)
Friends (Led Zeppelin cover)
And We Bid You Goodnight ([traditional] cover)
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ROGER DALTREY and band on at 10.35pm for 35 mins.
Tonight was all about this legendary 80 year old and all the work he has done for Teenage Cancer Trust.
An excellent finale with all the artists on stage (except Paul Weller) for a stunning ' Baba O'Riley' .
Let My Love Open the Doorn (Pete Townshend cover)
Squeeze Box ( The Who song)
Giving It All Away (Leo Sayer cover)
The Way It Is (Simon Townshend cover) (vocal Simon Townshend)
After the Fire
Freedom Ride ( Taj Mahal cover)
Without Your Love
Baba O'Riley (The Who song) (with Robert Plant, Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard and Kelly Jones)
A standing ovation for Roger Daltrey at the end ..a fantastic evening.

Saturday 23 March 2024.

Saturday 23 March 2024.
MR .BIG live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Mr.Big bring their ' The Big Finish' 2023/2024 World Tour to the UK....last year the band played 11 sold out nights at the famous Budokan Arena in Tokyo, as the band are huge over there.
Mr. Big is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1988. Still featuring three original members Though primarily a hard rock band, they are also known for softer songs. Their songs are often marked by strong vocals and vocal harmonies. Their hits include "To Be with You" (a number-one single in 15 countries in 1992) and "Just Take My Heart".
They will play their second album 'Lean Into It ' in full , which includes their mega selling hit single ' To Be With You'.
Another band who are saying this is their last UK tour.
I have seen them six times before ,with the last time being at this same venue in 2017.
Including two times when they supported Aerosmith at Wembley Arena in 1993, when Aerosmith had a comeback,
after the went very quiet in the early 1980s.
Aerosmith multi-platinum release, Permanent Vacation (1987), saw them regaining their previous level of popularity In the late 1980s and 1990s, the band won numerous awards for music from the multi-platinum albums Pump (1989) and Get a Grip (1993).
Last minute update from Mr. Big....
Earlier today (Friday, March 22),Eric Martin took to his social media to write: "Hey fine folks, Eric here .. So after these last couple shows with my voice going in and out and struggling to keep it together (I'm not gonna get into it ..wear and tear, work overload, voodoo doll curses etc.) I had a crazy idea that could work. I'm bringing out my dear friend and singer Michele Luppi (WHITESNAKE) to join me on stage on these next two shows so I can get my strength back. We'll duet on most of the tunes including the album.
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Tonight's show is fully sold out.
Mr.Big are "Big in Japan" so plenty of Japanese here.
JARED JAMES NICHOLS on stage at 7.45pm for 30 mins.
Jared James Nichols (age 35 ) is an American blues-rock guitarist and singer from East Troy, Wisconsin, best known for his high-energy "pick-less" electric guitar playing technique. He is rarely seen playing without his signature single-pickup Epiphone Les Paul Custom P90 nick-named Old Glory or his vintage original 1953 Gibson Les Paul nick-named Ole Red. He fronts a power trio under his name, rooted in the early 1970s hard-rock vein of Cream and Mountain. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jared looks and style reminded me of Ted Nugent .
He cuts an imposing figure with upper arms the size of tree trunks and a body frame that wouldn't be out of place in the world's strongest man competition.
The trio played a good set of tracks.
I had seen them before in 2017 at Ramblin' Man Festival.
MR.BIG arrived on stage at 8.50pm and played for 1 hour 55 mins.
Despite his vocal struggles, Eric Martin is giving it 100% , and his vocal help is standing by the drum kit , hehind him.
The band are top notch musicians , with both Paul Gilbert (lead guitar ) and Billy Sheehan ( bass guitar), both having full solos.
It is obvious that Billy, Paul and new drummer Nick D'Virgilio are massively empathetic towards their singer's struggles, and they cover for him as much as possible. The choruses of most tracks are provided by their harmonious tones.
Their big hits 'Just Take My Heart' and 'To Be With You' were highlights and there were a few nice covers in the set.
A great show.
Full MR. BIG setlist played tonight....
Intro tape song - Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones song)
Addicted to That Rush
Take Cover
Price You Gotta Pay
LEAN INTO IT album ...
Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)
Alive and Kickin'
Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
CDFF-Lucky This Time ( Jeff Paris cover)
Voodoo Kiss
Never Say Never
Just Take My Heart
My Kinda Woman
A Little Too Loose
Road to Ruin
To Be With You
Wild World ( Cat Stevens cover)
Guitar Solo (with snippets of 'Theme from Rocky', 'The Whole World´s Gonna Know' and 'Nothing But Love')
Colorado Bulldog
Bass Solo
Shy Boy ( Talas cover)
30 Days in the Hole (Humble Pie cover)
Good Lovin' (The Olympics cover) (Band swaps instruments, with Billy Sheehan on vocals)
Baba O'Riley ( The Who cover)
Note: Michele Luppi provided additional vocals throughout due to Eric Martin's illness
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Friday 22 March 2024.
LUKAS GRAHAM live at Shepherds Bush Empire .
Lukas Graham is a Danish pop band featuring lead vocalist Lukas Forchhammer.The band released Lukas Graham, their first album, with labels Copenhagen Records and Then We Take The World in 2012.The album peaked at number one on the Danish charts. Their second album was released in 2015.and earned international attention with singles like "Mama Said" and "7 Years", the latter of which topped the singles charts in many major music markets, including the UK .
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Lukas Graham recently unveiled his long-awaited full length album 4 (The Pink Album) via Warner.
This London show is the last date on their UK tour.
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The show is totally sold out.
Mainly English folks here, but there were some Danish
Quite a few families with young children.
ROZZI and her guitarist arrived on stage at 8pm for 35 mins.
ROZZI is American singer -songwriter with a great voice.
She played tracks from her two albums and an Abba cover of ' Dancing Queen'.
LUKAS GRAHAM arrived on stage at 8pm for their 80 mins set.
The name sounds like an American country music act, but they are a five piece band, including keyboards.
All the tracks are in English , catchy pop soul.
The band are as surprised as I am, that they have sold out this 2000 capacity venue.
The singer takes his shirt off for the last three songs.
The last song of the night is their big UK number one hit singles ' 7 Years'.
Overall the show ticked along nicely.

Friday 22 March 2024.

Thursday 21 March 2024.
An excellent triple bill of classic rock bands.
​JUDAS PRIEST live at Wembley Arena.
with special guests SAXON and URIAH HEEP.
This is the last date on their six date UK tour.
Judas Priest new album ' Invincible Shield ' is out for the tour.
The metal icons’ 19th album entered the UK charts at Number 2. It was only kept off the top spot by Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine.
Previously, Priest‘s best UK chart showing was with 1980’s British Steel, which reached No.4. The band’s last album, 2018’s Firepower, reached No.5.
I have seen all three bands many times since the 1970s.
I have seen Judas Priest around 20 times , with the first time in 1977 at The New Victoria Theatre , and including when they supported KISS in Chicago Sept 1979
I have seen Saxon around 25 times , with the first time in 1979 when they supported Motorhead at Hammersmith Odeon.
I have seen Uriah Heep around a dozen times , with the first time in 1974 when they headlined Hammersmith Odeon.
I got Mick Box guitar pick that night, which was the first ever guitar pick I got from a well known musician.
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It is not sold out tonight, but pretty much 90% full.
We have great seats , right of stage in Block N6.
The Who long time manager BILL CURBISHLEY is sitting in the row in front of us.
Now aged 82, he is a music biz legend.
Curbishley started his career in the music business in 1971 at Track Records, managing tours for The Who and other artists such as Thunderclap Newman, Golden Earring and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.Curbishley produced The Who's film Tommy, the prison movie McVicar and also the film Buddy's Song, all starring The Who's Roger Daltrey. As their manager he persuaded Robert Plant and Jimmy Page to team up together for their mid 1990s tour.
He also managed Judas Priest at one stage of their career.
URIAH HEEP arrived on stage at 6.40pm for their 35 mins set.
Original member Mick Box on guitar is still there at age 76.
A short set , which included their best songs at the end.
Full URIAH HEEP setlist played tonight...
Save Me Tonight
Grazed by Heaven
Rainbow Demon
Hurricane
Free 'n' Easy
Gypsy
Easy Livin'
SAXON arrived on stage at 7.40pm for their 65 mins set.
Saxon played a great set mixing a few new album tracks with the big anthems , although a shorter set than normal meant a few biggies not played. ' 747 (Strangers in tge Night)',
'Wheels of Steel' and ' Princess of the Night' were mega.
Oddly singer Biff said this was the first time they had played here, as in 1980 they were due to support Rainbow here but a moody Richie Blackmore told his team to turn them away.
That night Richie had a fight with his own band , which resulted in no encore and the crowd caused £10k worth of damage.
Full SAXON setlist played tonight...
Hell, Fire and Damnation
Motorcycle Man
Sacrifice
There's Something in Roswell
And the Bands Played On
Power and the Glory
Madame Guillotine
Heavy Metal Thunder
Dallas 1 PM (Crowd choice over Crusader and Strong Arm Of The Law)
747 (Strangers in the Night)
Denim & Leather
Wheels of Steel
Princess of the Night
JUDAS PRIEST arrived on stage at 9.20pm for their 95 mins.
All three bands have loads of lights, but only Judas Priest as the headliners have the full monty stage production with use of the big screen mixing live footage and pre-recorder footage.
Rob Halford is now aged 72, but can still hit those high note screams , as he parades around the stage looking like Grandad from Only Fools and Horses due to his long grey beard.
He wears a succession of long coats throughout the set.
A few new album tracks and lots of Priest classic anthems.
You can see the show is performed to perfection each night.
Great to see ex guitarist Glenn Tipton’s come on for the last two songs only after his Parkinson’s diagnosis and subsequent retirement.
The show was a visual and aural treat .
A great evening of three classic rock bands.
Full JUDAS PRIEST setlist played tonight...
Panic Attack
You've Got Another Thing Comin'
Breaking the Law
Rapid Fire
Sword of Damocles
Love Bites
Saints in Hell
Crown of Horns
Turbo Lover
Invincible Shield
Sinner
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
(Fleetwood Mac cover)
Painkiller
Encore:
The Hellion
Electric Eye
Hell Bent for Leather (Rob arrives on his motorbike)
Metal Gods ( with Glenn Tipton)
Living After Midnight ( with Glenn Tipton)

Thursday 21 March 2024.

Wednesday 20 March 2024.
THE WHO with orchestra + SQUEEZE live at The Royal Albert Hall.
This was show number three of the seven TCT RAH shows .
I am back to see this great double bill for the second time.
I am again 9pm position stalls swivel seating.
Great to be at a gig again with mainly older folks like myself.
The big screen is still there for both bands tonight
SQUEEZE again on stage at 7.10pm for their 60 mins set.
They really do live up to the title of ' special guests' as they whizzed through their excellent same set of songs as Monday that have great lyrics....finishing with a mega 'Cool For Cats'.
THE WHO were on stage at 8.55pm for two hours.
Again ,split into three sets...
Band and orchestra
Band only
Band and orchestra
Watching Roger Daltrey giving it 100% at the age of 80 is pretty incredible to watch. We do have a slight change to setlist as opening song ' I Can't Explain' is dropped , and replaced by ' The Punk and the Godfather' with EDDIE VEDDER and Roger sharing the vocals.
Less jokey jibes from Pete Townshend tonight .
Another totally excellent show from these rock legends.
THE WHO full setlist tonight...
WITH BAND AND ORCHESTRA
Overture
1921
Amazing Journey
Sparks
The Acid Queen
Pinball Wizard
We're Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You
BAND ONLY
The Kids Are Alright
Substitute
My Generation
Cry If You Want
You Better You Bet
Won't Get Fooled Again
Behind Blue Eyes (acoustic with strings)
WITH BAND AND ORCHESTRA
The Punk and the Godfather (with Eddie Vedder)
I'm One
5.15
The Rock
Love, Reign O'er Me ( followed by band introductions)
Baba O'Riley
At the end of the show I go for a wander upstairs to the Level 1 area and boxes and I hump into and say a quick hello to legendary live music booking agent Rod MacSween ( The Who , Pearl Jam and many more) , and with him is The Who long time manager Bill Curbishley.
EDDIE VEDDER comes out of their box with his personal security , and I blurt out " see you at Tottenham" , and his mind does a double check then remembers it is that huge stadium that Pearl Jam are playing on 29 June....and we fist pump each other.

Tuesday 19 March 2024.

Tuesday 19 March 2024 - Royal Albert Hall.
The legendary Night Of Comedy will be back at the Hall with host Kevin Bridges, sets from Rob Beckett, Paul Chowdhry, Joe Lycett, Joanne McNally and Seann Walsh.
Special headline guest announced on the day was JOHN BISHOP.
I have seen Kevin Bridges headline Hammersmith Apollo.
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Like last night the venue is totally packed solid.
Folks behind the stage in the choir seats ,can only see the backs of the acts and cannot see the big screen.
I have a nice view in stalls swivel seats 9pm position again.
The comedy show was pretty much two hours over two sets .
Again lots of talk about Teenage Cancer Trust between sets.
Hard-hitting videos on the big screen, and the parade of TCT teenagers , who got a full standing ovation.
Basically all the acts performed for between 10 and 20 mins.
Kevin Bridges was the host , and got the most minutes on stage....He was very funny.
Paul Chowdhry was also excellent , and all the others had some funny routines....an enjoyable evening of comedy.
Sad to hear that seven teenagers every day , get told they have cancer...Text RAH to 70085 to donate £10.
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Monday 18 March 2024.
THE WHO with orchestra + SQUEEZE live at The Royal Albert Hall.
Teenage Cancer Trust is back! The Royal Albert Hall has been hosting concerts in aid of the charity since 2000, with the biggest names in music and comedy coming together each year to raise money to help young people face the chaos of cancer.
I have been to at least one show , every year since the start.
When these shows arrive ROGER DALTREY will be aged 80 ,and PETE TOWNSHEND will be aged 78.
I have seen The Who around 30 times since Dec 1975 , when they headlined two shows at Hammersmith Odeon.
I have seen Squeeze around 20 times since March 1978, when they supported Eddie & The Hot Rods at The Lyceum.
Also many solo shows by Squeeze members.
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The venue is fully sold out , despite ticket prices of £75 to £175.
I have a great stalls view , at the 9pm position.
A great surprise to see in my row was actor
ERIC McCORMACK From TV series Will & Grace who is starring in a London theatre show from next week...also nearby was GUY PRATT who is bass player with David Gilmour and Nick Mason.
SQUEEZE arrived on stage at 7.10pm for their 60 mins set.
Seven members on stage including two keyboards.
The drummer and percussionist sounded amazing.
Lots of their great hits played with top notch lyrics.
Not much chat as they whizzed through the tracks.
A great light show, and a fantastic set.
Full SQUEEZE setlist played tonight...
Take Me I'm Yours
Hourglass
Up the Junction
Here Comes That Feeling
What Have They Done?
Labelled With Love
Another Nail in My Heart
Vanity Fair
Slap & Tickle
Electric Trains
Goodbye Girl
Annie Get Your Gun
Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)
Tempted
Cool for Cats
THE WHO with orchestra arrived on stage at 9pm for their two hour set....the orchestra has around 30 members , and when the strings and brass are at full tilt , they sounds amazing.
In the middle , there was a section where it was only the band .
Zak Starkey drums seemed to be less thunderous than Squeeze as not to deafen Roger Daltrey in front of him.
Roger sounds great , and is still twirling his microphone....and Pete is still making jokey sarcastic jibes like " I have some very sad news to tell you, Roger is going to play guitar on this one".
So many classics played in a totally stunning excellent show.
Has to go down as the best gig of this year so far.
Full setlist performed by THE WHO tonight...
I Can't Explain
WITH ORCHESTRA AND BAND
Overture
Amazing Journey
Sparks
Pinball Wizard
We're Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You
Eminence Front
BAND ONLY
The Kids Are Alright
You Better You Bet
Substitute
My Generation
Cry If You Want
Won't Get Fooled Again
Behind Blue Eyes (acoustic with strings)
WITH ORCHESTRA AND BAND
The Real Me
I'm One
5:15
The Rock
Love, Reign O'er Me ( followed by band introductions)
Baba O'Riley
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Throughout the show there were mentions of Teenage Cancer Trust on the big screen and on stage , and several patients took to the stage to get a standing ovation.

Sunday 17 March 2024.

Sunday 17 March 2024.
THE PIXIES live at The Forum.
American alternative rock legends ,who formed back in 1986, play the second of three sold out Forums, as part of their World Tour.
The Pixies will perform two of their hugely acclaimed albums: the 1990-released Bossanova and 1991's Trompe Le Monde! In the main set, and an encore of their most well known songs.
I have seen The Pixies a few times before with the first time being at Hammersmith Odeon in 1990.
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We have a nice view from the side of the mixing desk.
THE PALE WHITE arrived on stage 8pm for their 30 mins set.
This trio are creating a big stir in their Newcastle hometown.
All three have Dave Grohl type hair to shake as they play.
Their good alt-rock set finished with the drummer standing on top of his drum stool for 'Medicine'.
THE PIXIES arrived on stage at 9pm for their 1 hour 45 mins set. They have a backdrop of their logo, and four circular balls that start off as map of the world globes, then giant eyes.
Lots of nifty indie-guitar playing, and the band’s brand of punky, indie, noisy alternative rock is still as great as ever.
Lots of dancing in the front rows of the stalls standing.
Not much talking between the many songs played.
Only downside was the encore of hits , where they seem to change and swop around each night.
We get ' Caribou' tonight but not 'Debaser', 'Where Is My Mind', 'Here Comes Your Man' or 'Monkey Gone To Heaven' .
So for me , a really good show , but would have preferred a couple more of the big classics during the encore .
Full PIXIES setlist played tonight...
BOSSANOVA album
Cecilia Ann (The Surftones cover)
Rock Music
Velouria
Allison
Is She Weird
Ana
All Over the World
Dig for Fire
Down to the Well
The Happening
Blown Away
Hang Wire
Stormy Weather
Havalina
TROMPE LE MONDE album
Trompe le Monde
Planet of Sound
Alec Eiffel
The Sad Punk
Head On ( The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)
U-Mass
Palace of the Brine
Letter to Memphis
Bird Dream of the Olympus Mons
Space (I Believe In)
Subbacultcha
Distance Equals Rate Times Time
Lovely Day
Motorway to Roswell
The Navajo Know
Encore:
Vegas Suite
Wave of Mutilation ( UK Surf)
Nimrod's Son
Caribou
Outro Tape Song - Streams of Whiskey (The Pogues song)
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Very sad news.
Musician STEVE HARLEY has died of cancer aged 73.
The singer, who performed as part of Cockney Rebel, was touring up until January 2024, but was forced to cancel dates after being diagnosed with cancer.
He “passed away peacefully” at his Suffolk home on Sunday morning with his family by his side, according to his daughter Greta.
I saw Steve Harley with Cockney Rebel and solo over a dozen times with the first time in April 1975 at Hammersmith Odeon when ' Come Up and See Me' was number one.
Support act were SAILOR.
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Saturday 16 March 2024.
THE PINEAPPLE THIEF live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
The Pineapple Thief are a British prog-rock band, started by Bruce Soord in 1999 in Somerset, England.
They have released over a dozen studio albums.
Their 2024 release is titled ' It Leads To This'.
This show is the last on their 20 date UK & European Tour.
I have seen them three times before at this venue in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
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Level 3 is closed , but Levels 1 and 2 seats are full as this older crowd prefer to sit , rather than stand....maybe 1200 folks here.
RANDY McSTINE arrived on stage at 7.45pm for his 30 mins set....Just him and his acoustic guitar, and some proggy sounds from his keyboard.
A huge pictured curtain comes down in time for the headliners
THE PINEAPPLE THIEF arrived on stage at 8.35pm for their 1 hour 50 mins set. The five piece band including keyboards all arrive on stage wearing simple black t-shirts. They are all great musicians. The addition of brilliant drummer Gavin Harrison, from not one but two legendary progressive rock bands in Porcupine Tree and King Crimson, has made a quantum leap in quality and reputation. I do not know any of their songs, but they sound best when they rock out, rather than the slower ones. A good show with perfect sound quality , and the crowd loved it.

Friday 15 March 2024.

Friday 15 March 2024.
THE PHARCYDE and LORDS OF THE UNDERGROUND live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Formed in 1989 in Los Angeles, legendary old school rap group The Pharcyde are back on the road with their influential witty lyricism and jazz style production.
Joining The Pharcyde will be hip-hop trio The Lords of the Underground, made up of Mr. Funke, DoItAll Dupré and DJ Lord Jazz and most remembered in connection with the golden age of hip hop.
The pair are playing a UK & European Tour before heading home to America for a tour there.
I saw The Pharcyde play a sold out show at The Forum in 1996..
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A very lively hip-hop atmosphere tonight, at this near sell-out show.
The stalls standing area is totally rammed solid.
Reminds me of all those great shows I saw in the late 1980s, when hip-hop first came to the UK with Public Enemy , Run DMC ,Beastie Boys. LL Cool J etc.
Mainly a 75% white crowd , with ages 20s to 50s.
It is pretty much a three hour non-stop show , as when acts not on stage , there were DJs playing hip-hop tunes.
LORDS OF THE UNDERGROUND arrived on stage at 8.50pm for their 60 mins set.
Both headliners had a DJ or DJs at the back spinning their backing tracks. The Lords did a good lively set.
THE PHARCYDE arrived on stage at 9.55pm for their 60 mins set.The Pharcyde did a good lively set.
Very nice to be at a hip-hop show again.
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Thursday 14 March 2024....i went to two events tonight...
6.30pm to 8.15pm
JESS ALLEN - private view - Unit Gallery ,3 Hanover Square, Mayfair, London W1.
Jess Allen’s first solo exhibition with Unit considers space, time and the inevitable transformation of present into past. This Is Now captures a series of fleeting moments in which shadows and figures overlap to represent the ephemeral and indistinct. The exhibition presents a series of paintings in which details are kept to a minimum.
It is on for the next month...free entry.
Complimentary whiskey cocktails and gin cocktails for all .
then
8.30pm to 11.15pm
THREE SHEETS SOHO - launch party - 13 Manette Street , London W1.
They've been very popular in Dalston, and now Three Sheets are to open their second bar, this time in Soho. Run by Max and Noel Venning, the original is viewed as one of the best bars in town, and you'll also have seen Max's cocktails in many of the city's best new restaurants, like the recently opened Pearly Queen.
Three Sheets Soho is on Manette Street, part of Soho that's seen a huge amount of change over the last year thanks to the Elizabeth Line works, with the new bar just around the corner from new openings like Daroco and Milk Beach.
The original Dalston cocktail bar is noticeably compact so this Soho space is a little bigger (although they're still referring to the space as "cosy") and the biggest difference is that their Soho bar will be an all-day affair, with coffees and pastries on offer in the morning.
But the cocktails are where it's really at.
They'll also have a small wine list and a food menu that's been put together by ex-Lyle’s chef and butcher William Blank. On that, you'll find salt beef sandwiches, croquettes, triple-cooked chips and fresh oysters.
And when summer finally returns, they'll have some space outside for alfresco drinks. All in all, it's a very promising new addition to Soho.
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No signs outside, so it feels like a private members club.
It is in the same street where The Borderline venue was,
and The Crow Bar rock bar , which is now a Simmons Bar.
Venue is full and buzzy, as maybe only holds 50 folks max.
We managed to squeeze in , at a corner table by the bar.
Lots of nice complimentary drinks and food including
Billicart -Salmon champers , four different cocktails , salt beef sandwiches and triple-cooked chips.
Well worth a visit when in the Tottenham Court Road area.

Wednesday 13 March 2024.

Wednesday 13 March 2024.
GIANT ROOKS live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
German indie-rock band Giant Rooks tour their second full-length album, How Have You Been?, the follow-on to their 2020 debut, Rookery, that peaked at Number 3 on the German Album Charts.
Their story is anchored in the live show, having built up a worldwide loyal following, and garnered hundreds and millions of views across breakout hits such as “Wild Stare”( official video has over 4 million views on YouTube) and selling out shows across Germany, North America, and Europe.
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Level 3 is closed and Level 2 is half empty, so must be around 1200 / 1300 folks here as the stalls standing is rammed full.
Two thirds are females under the age of 30.
ANDREW CUSHIN and band are on at 8pm for 30 mins.
I saw Andrew at this venue in Dec 2022 , when he was touted as hotly tipped , where he was the support act.
15 months later and he is still supporting at the same venue.
However, he did sell out a hometown gig at Newcastle City Hall in 2023, and headlines a North American club tour in April.
Noel Gallagher produced and performed on his third single, Where's My Family Gone, which appeared later that year. Shortly after, Andrew was signed to Pete Doherty's Strap Originals, which issued his debut EP, You Don't Belong.
Andrew has also secured support slots for some huge names in music, including Paul Weller and Jake Bugg.
He played a good 30 mins set of indie-rock tracks.
GIANT ROOKS arrived on stage at 9pm for their 90 mins.
The five piece band include keyboards.
A nice bouncy indie-rock-pop sound.
They remind me of a German version of The 1975.
All the lyrics and stage banter are in English.
The singer says " we have dreamed of playing this iconic venue for many years".
In the middle of the show the great singer sang a song from Level 1 , and the show had to be stopped for a medical incident in the front stalls.
" Wings”, “Bedroom Exile”, “Pink Skies”, and “Fight Club” – major songs off the latest album – all turned up before the brilliant “Somebody Like You” ended the main set on the night, before the encore.
However, what makes Giant Rooks one of those rare bands with stadium potential is how they pull off their show. They know how to charm their fans, and their singer is a truly amazing and charismatic frontman.
The show ends with an encore and their two major hits, “Wild Stare” with the singer dancing in the stalls standing crowd , and “Watershed”, and i honestly don’t see anything stopping Giant Rooks from being the next big German music export.
A really good show.
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Tuesday 12 March 2024...6pm to 9.30pm...
Taste of PATA showcase -
Huckster London, 4 Kingdom Street, Paddington , London W2.
Taste of PATA aims to give attendees exactly that – a ‘taste’ of what your customers can experience in the diverse destinations of the Asia Pacific region. Set up like a fair, our suppliers will be offering you food & drink tastings, Thai massage, quizzes, games with spot prizes + lots more!
Those showcasing......
Taiwan Tourism Board
AAT Kings
Tourism Australia
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
Singapore Airlines
Journey Beyond, Australia
Qantas
Red Elephant Reps (client list here)
Equator Learning
Thai Airways
Malaysia Airlines
InterContinental Bali Resort
Minor Hotels
Bandara Hotels & Resorts
Great Journeys New Zealand
Explore Central North Island
Aqua Expeditions
Prizes in the business card draw...
The following prizes are up for grabs:
8 nights in Thailand at Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok, Bayphere Hotel Pattaya & Pimalai Koh Lanta
£200 voucher from Tourism Authority of Thailand
‘Experience Rottnest’ package 2 people from Journey Beyond
1 adult fare on Great Journeys NZ Signature Spectacular South Tour
2 nights in Bangkok at Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok
2 nights in Bali at InterContinental Bali Resort
A dinner set from Taiwan Tourism
A bottle of Aussie fizz from AAT Kings
£50 shopping voucher from Outrigger
Qantas goodybag & voucher
Malaysia Airlines goodybag
Aesop gift set from Tourism Australia
Aqua Expeditions goodie bag
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Around 150 guests here in this area of Paddington that has had a full regeneration recently .
We chat to most of the stands.
I have been to Australia , Thailand and Taiwan and would love to get back to them all one day.
Sadly none of the three of us won anything in the prize draw.
Complimentary Guinness , wines, beers , full size cheeseburgers , slices of pizza and canapes
A guests got a goodie bag of small items from the various stands here .

Monday 11 March 2024.

Monday 11 March 2024...6.45pm to 10.15pm...
THE MURPHIA LIST - Sea Containers, London SE1.
In the run-up to St Patrick's Day, Hot Dinners website proudly present their 10th annual Murphia List, in association with Bord Bia, showcasing the Irish talent contributing to the creativity of London's food and drink scene.
This hotel and venue is situated next to The OXO building.
Stunning views of the River Thames at night.
Around 150 guests here, including many on the list like chef Richard Corrigan, The Savoy Hotel head butler Sean Davoren and the team from that great pub The Devonshire Arms in Denman Street, London W1.
At 7.15pm The MURPHIA LIST was announced in the big screens , and kept repeating throughout the evening.
Irish music playing in the background , inc Thin Lizzy.
Lots of complimentary Irish food & drinks, inc bowl food , canapes , Donegal oysters and desserts .
Drinks included Guinness, Five Farms Irish Creme , Boatyard Vodka and Gin Martinis and Doren Vineyards wines.
All guests got a goodie bag on departure that included a 700ml bottle of Five Farms Irish Creme (from Cork).
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Sunday 10 March 2024...10 pm to 3 am....
The 96th OSCARS - private screening - Dorchester Hotel ,
Mayfair , London W1.
Always nice to be at this famous five star hotel.
Around 200 folks here watching the awards on the big screens
in the various rooms used here tonight.
Comfy sofas and chairs for all.
It is the same ITV showing , as if you were at home.
The awards were on from 11pm to 2.30am.
Very entertaining and as expected Oppenheimer won Best Film and Best Director.
We have complimentary Espresso Martinis , wines , beers ,
canapes and Krispy Kreme donuts.
At 1.45 am the bacon rolls and Bloody Mary's came out.
An excellent event.
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Very sad news that legendary live music promoter and venue owner VINCE POWER has passed away aged 76.
He started off with The Mean Fiddler, Harlesden in the 1980s and in the 1990s he owned several London venues.
In the early 1990s Vince Power gave me a gold card for several years until 2000 where I got guest list for all his venues and outdoor events which included The Sex Pistols in Finsbury Park in 1996.

Saturday 09 March 2024.

Saturday 09 March 2024.
BRAINSTORM live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Latvian pop-rock band BrainStorm (Prāta Vētra) are coming to the UK to perform songs from their several studio albums.
Not to be confused with the German power metal band with the same name.
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Level 3 is closed but the other levels are full, so maybe 1500 are here, with mainly Lavian folks who are living in London.
Lots of very attractive females here tonight.
There seems to be a lot of drinking by this crowd.
BRAINSTORM arrived on stage at 8.35pm and played for two hours.
Seven musicians on stage, including a female percussionist.
The song lyrics are all in Latvian, apart from one of two.
Simple catchy pop-rock , with a nice mix of dancier tracks and ballads that got the crowd all swaying.
The singer looks like a young Jim Kerr.
He did a good job of creating a great atmosphere.
The crowd loved it , and although it was a foreign language ,the show ticked along nicely.
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Friday 08 March 2024.
JARLATH REGAN live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Following millions of downloads and views on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram Jarlath Regan’s epic new standup comedy show “Yer Man” has landed. Ireland’s favourite ‘Irishman Abroad’ is back after appearances on Tonight At The Palladium (ITV), Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC) and Goggle Box (Channel 4).
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Level 3 is closed tonight , and Level 2 is near empty ,and it is stalls seats so maybe just 500 here.
NEIL O'ROURKE arrived on stage at 7.30pm for his 20 mins.
JARLETH REGAN arrived on stage at 9.10pm for his 75 mins.
The crowd is pretty much half Irish half English.
Great to hear two Irish voices on stage tonight , as my parents are Irish and 75% of my relatives live over in Ireland.
The first act ticked along ok, and the headliner was great.
Just a stool , table and pint of Guinness was his stage set-up.
He is very pleased to be playing this historic venue, and tells the crowd that Charlie Chaplin and The Wogan Show were here.
Lots of jokes related to being back in Ireland....really good.

Thursday 07 March 2024.

Thursday 07 March 2024....I went to three events.
6pm to 7pm.
Two gallery private views in the same street.
5 Cork Street, Mayfair, London W1.
9 Cork Street , Mayfair , London W1.
Lots of cool art folks moving between this galleries area.
Nice surprise to see PRINCESS EUGENIE mooching here.
Complimentary wines and beers for all the guests.
then
7.05pm to 8.15pm.
Private view - Gazelle Art House - 39 Dover Street London W1.
Harold Cohen, Refactoring (1966-74),
Exhibition: 8 March — 11 May 2024
A preview of Refactoring (1966-74), a solo exhibition exploring transitional work from 1966 to 1974 by represented artist Harold Cohen. The exhibition coincides with a major exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art (on view until 19 May 2024). Refactoring (1966-74) showcases Cohen’s practice in the years preceding and inaugural to his creation of AARON—the pre-eminent computer programme designed to create art autonomously.
Complimentary wines and beers for all the guests.
then
10pm to 12pm.
Opening night VIP/press after-party at Soho Place, London W1.
My first time at this venue that opened in 2022 and was the first new theatre built in the West End in 50 years.
It is on the site of the sadly missed Astoria.
The party is for around 200 folks in the top floor terrace bar ,
which overlooks The Outernet across the road.
A nice buzzy mix of black and white folks, including some well known faces , Charleen White, Dr Ranj Singh and Angie Le Mar.
There is a DJ playing dance tracks.
Complimentary Rum cocktails wines beers and a full Caribbean food buffet including Jerk Chicken.
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For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy returns to London’s West End Garrick Theatre in 2024 following three previously sold-out runs.
Father figures and fashion tips. Lost loves and jollof rice. African empires and illicit sex. Good days and bad days. Six young Black men meet for group therapy, and let their hearts – and imaginations – run wild.
Inspired by Ntozake Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf’, For Black Boys…  is located on the threshold of joyful fantasy and brutal reality: a world of music, movement, storytelling and verse – where six men clash and connect in a desperate bid for survival.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
‘a powerful and deeply moving meditation on Black masculinity and Black life in Britain’
The Guardian
Following sold-out runs at the Apollo Theatre, Royal Court Theatre and New Diorama Theatre, Ryan Calais Cameron’s Olivier Award-nominated, multi award-winning For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy returns to the West End for a limited 9 week run at the Garrick Theatre.
BOOK ONLINE NOW
BOOKING NUMBER
0330 333 4811
Booking
Thursday 29 February – Saturday 4 May, 2024
Tickets From
£15
Prices include a £1.50 restoration levy.
Show Times
Monday – Saturday, 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday, 2.30pm
Running Time
Approx 2hrs 10 mins including interval
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Wednesday 06 March 2024.
QUEEN EXTRAVAGANZA live at Hammersmith Apollo.
Queen Extravaganza, the official Queen tribute band produced by Roger Taylor and Brian May, returns to the UK in 2024,
following their triumphant 2023 tour.
The band formed in 2012, and band members are hand-picked by Roger Taylor.
I have seen the real Queen with their three singers many times over the years (Freddie Mercury + Paul Rodgers + Adam Lambert).
I saw Freddie with Queen a dozen times including my first ever gig at this venue in 1973 when Queen supported Mott The Hoople and also their legendary Live Aid gig at Wembley 1985.
Pretty amazing that some tribute bands can play this big venue
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It's not sold out tonight, but the venue is pretty full.
I have a great stalls seat , 10 rows from the stage , dead centre.
The show was on for 1 hour 45 mins for two sets of 50 mins and 55 mins.
There are six musicians on stage , including two male singers who share the vocals.....the drummer also sang three songs.
There is a huge Queen logo hanging behind them.
Lots of lights ,but there are no images of Freddie tonight.
The guitarist is playing a Brian May type guitar.
The show is 22 Queen classics, one after the other.
The crowd are singing loudly along and dancing too.
Of course the singers are not in the league as Freddie Mercury or Adam Lambert , but it was still very enjoyable.
Full setlist played tonight....
Intro music - MONTREAL THUNDER
FIRST SET
We Will Rock You (Fast)
Tie Your Mother Down
Somebody to Love
Under Pressure
I'm in Love With My Car
You're My Best Friend
Killer Queen
These Are the Days of Our Lives
Now I'm Here
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
I Want It All
SECOND SET
A Kind of Magic
Hammer to Fall
Don't Stop Me Now
Who Wants to Live Forever
Fat Bottomed Girls
I Want to Break Free
Another One Bites the Dust
Radio Ga Ga
Bohemian Rhapsody
Encore:
We Will Rock You (reprise)
We Are the Champions

Monday 04 March 2024.

Monday 04 March 2024.
SOOSHI MANGO live at Shepherds Bush Empire.
Sooshi Mango is an Australian comedy troupe founded in 2015.
The group consists of two brothers, Joe and Carlo Salanitri, and their best friend, Andrew Manfre. Sooshi Mango is best known for their comedy skits, acts, videos, series and live shows, paying homage to their experiences growing up in an Italian family, and around Italians, Greeks, Croats, and other ethnic cultures living in Australia.
The comedic influences of the group include Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Benny Hill and many more. Being most strongly inspired by their European ancestry, their content is commonly rooted in humorously depicting the Italian and Greek ethnic and cultural diaspora and their role in Australian society, and its racial prejudice and social mechanisms of the modern-day world.
This is the first of two shows at this venue.
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It is stalls seated tonight , pretty full but not sold out.
Maybe 800 tix sold out of the 1000 capacity.
Mainly Aussies here, but also Italians and English .
The show was on for two hours over two sets.
There is a big screen to show some of their video clips.
Brothers Joe and Carlo Salanitri along with best friend, Andrew Manfre created Sooshi Mango to honour and keep the memory alive of their parents as well as the European immigrants of the 50’s and 60’s. Coming to a new country not knowing the language and trying to establish a new life makes for lots of challenging and funny stories. The lads from Sooshi Mango have taken all those and rolled them into one funny comedy show in Off The Boat!
All the well-loved characters made an appearance. How can you not love Sam, Vince and Johnny? We go back in time, forty years ago to learn how the three paesano’s met and became friends. Going back in time to also meet the young Greeks Stavros, Tasso and Kosta and the three ‘bella’s’ Carmela, Angela and Guiseppina was also hilarious. The animated black and white silent films have all the comedy vibes of a Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin skit. Sooshi Mango have perfected the art of slapstick comedy and it highlights their comedic timing and abilities.
The show takes us from yester-year to today where we find out what the characters, after a lifetime in Australia, are up to in 2022. There are court room dramas, crazy fiss and tsip shop (Fish and Chip Shop) antics as well as trying to get a bird cage up a tree. Oh, and tomatoes. There’s always an argument about who has the biggest tomatoes in their garden!
The highlights for me were their two comedy lyrics and dance routines for Bon Jovi's 'Livin' On A Prayer' at the end of the first set , and a Jersey Boys aka The Greasy Boys making an appearance. They sing parody of classic songs like Left Home and Mum Cried (Big Girls Don’t Cry by The Four Seasons) and Frankie Valli’s Oh What A Night (Marrying a Skip).
The Sooshi Mango lads have created Off The Boat with music, lights and slapstick into a well-crafted comedy show. They’ve taken their life experiences and turned them into hilarious sketches.
An enjoyable show.
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Saturday 02 March 2024....6.30pm to 9pm...
THE LANSDOWNE CLUB - showcase - 9 Fitzmaurice Place, Mayfair , London W1.
With a rich heritage dating back to 1763, The Lansdowne Club re-imagined itself as a leading private members’ club in 1935 and has welcomed men and women with equal status ever since. An eclectic mix of the historic and the contemporary, the Club boasts stylish décor and exquisite art, underpinned by seamless service provided by our knowledgeable team who will always go that extra mile.
Standing discreetly at the south-west corner of London's Berkeley Square,
The Lansdowne Club is ideally located in the heart of London's West End.
The Club offers a friendly, welcoming and lively social scene. With wine tastings and gourmet evenings; art, music and cultural events; balls and parties as well as networking events, you’ll never be short of wonderful activities to attend.
With a diverse range of food and drink options – from the elegant Art-Deco Dining Room and our al fresco Courtyard, to the historical but contemporary Round Room Cocktail Bar – we have a destination for every occasion.
We also offer a variety of active interest groups, from the arts, debating and singing, to dancing, gardening and bridge. There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy at the Club.
It also has over 50 rooms for overnight stays.
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Walked past this venue hundreds of times of the years, but this is my first visit back since 2014 , when I went to a book launch.
Like a Tardis, it is massive once you get inside the doors.
There is a violinist playing tunes in the background.
There are half a dozen upmarket fashion stands showcasing.
Including made to measure suits, nice ball gowns and Macaro of Whitcomb Street who supply singer Gregory Porter with his luxury bow ties.
Complimentary Collet champers , mojitos , Hindleap English Sparkling Wine and canapes.

Friday 01 March 2024.

Friday 01 March 2024.
RENEE RAPP live at Hammersmith Apollo.
Reneé Rapp ( age 24 ) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. Rapp gained recognition for starring as Regina George in the Broadway musical Mean Girls (2019–2020).
She released her debut album ' Snow Angel' in 2023.
It reached number 7 in the UK album charts.
RENEE is on a 12 date UK & Euro Your.
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It is stalls standing tonight and 5000 tickets sold out.
Pretty much 80% or more females here under the age of 30.
TOWA BIRD and band arrived on stage at 7.30pm for 30 mins.
The guitar playing talents of Towa Bird were first discovered by many during the lockdown years, when the young musician would regularly showcase her tasty lead chops (and handsome guitar collection) while improvising over the top of an assortment of hip-hop, pop, and R&B tunes on TikTok.
She channels a bit of Hendrix in her look and playing attitude.
A really good set inc a rockin cover of Blur ' Song 2 ' .
SEKOU and band arrived on stage at 8.15pm for 30 mins.
Sekou is a British singer-songwriter born in Leicester but now based across London and Los Angeles. At the age just 16, he attracted the interest of record labels after a video of him performing in a car park went viral, signing eventually to Universal across both Island and Republic Records.
A nice soulful voice in a set that included covers of Eurythmics ' Sweet Dreams ' and Adele's ' Someone Like You' .
RENEE RAPP and band on stage at 9.35pm for 80 mins
Several of the girls here are wearing a t-shirt from her merch stand that says ' GOOD TITS GOOD HEART".
The females here are singing loudly along to every song.
They hang on to every word , when Renee speaks between songs.
There is a big screen showing pre-recorded digital images.
The set included a nice cover of The Cranberries ' Linger'.
The encore of ' Snow Angel' had confetti fired over the stalls.
An enjoyable show.
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Thursday 29 February 2024....I went to three events.
6.15pm to 7.15pm.
DAVID BOWIE – A LONDON DAY - private view.
Fitzrovia Chapel , 2 Pearson Square, London W1.
A new exhibition of photographs by Kevin Davies
The Fitzrovia Chapel is proud to announce a new exhibition of photographs title DAVID BOWIE – A LONDON DAY by Kevin Davies, capturing David Bowie over the course of a single day in 1992, which will open on 1st March and run until 20th March 2024 as part of The Fitzrovia Chapel’s Cultural Programme. The exhibition is free and you don’t need to book.
DAVID BOWIE – A LONDON DAY is curated by journalist, author, cultural historian and Bowie fan, Dylan Jones.
This stunning chapel dates back to 1891 , and is set in the middle of some expensive looking newish blocks of flats.
Nice to Clash bass playing legend PAUL SIMONON here.
I got a photo with him.
KEVIN DAVIES and DYLAN JONES are here.
Dylan Jones had made The Standard paper bold front page and contents much more interesting since he took over.
You can buy merch here of what's on display.
Postcards £1
Posters £10
Catalog £15
Complimentary prosecco and wines for all the guests.
I was lucky to have seen David Bowie on stage 15 times with the first time back in 1976 at Wembley Arena on the 'Young Americans' tour.
then
7.30pm to 9.15pm.
RICHARD JAMES - Grand re-opening store party ,
19 Clifford Street , Mayfair , London W1.
Savile Row tailoring brand Richard James has unveiled the £2 million refurbishment of its store at 19 Clifford Street, opposite its store at 29 Savile Row, reimagined as ‘The House of Richard James’ - "a three-storey temple to beautifully crafted ready-to-wear and bespoke tailoring".
The 2,500 sq ft store, which is in a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse, was previously home to Richard James Bespoke and the label’s made-to-measure tailoring at ground level. But the new vastly expanded space has been "elevated into an entire Richard James experience" with ready-to-wear, bespoke, special projects, exclusive limited-editions and one-offs only available in-store.
There is a DJ playing tracks upstairs.
Complimentary English sparkling wines, gin cocktails and canapes....nice to see that the sparkling wine was called BRITPOP which is produced by Alex James from BLUR.
then
9.45pm to 12.pm.
THE ALCHEMIST - opening launch party - 52 Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria , London SW1.
The Alchemist is set to continue its expansion plans into 2024 with the opening of its sixth London venue.
The Classic Cocktail Competition finalist has secured a site in Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria, which sits opposite Victoria station.
Following a £1.8m fit out of the 4,858 sq ft venue, the space will be more geared towards the brand's late-night offering, with particular attention given to the lighting as the day transitions to evening.
Lots of comfy velvet seating here.
The venue has the feel of a late night cocktail bar club vibe , as Thurs, Fri , Sat it is open to midnight.
We missed the canapes but there is a full complimentary bar including Moet champers and over a dozen different cocktails.