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 18 December 2022.

18 Dec 2022 - RONNIE BIGGS passed away nine years ago today. I went to his book launch a couple of years before his death. 17 Nov 2011....11am to 3.30pm. Press conference and party for the updated version of Ronnie Biggs autobiography "Odd Man Out,The Last Straw" at Shoreditch House,London E16. Ronnie Biggs and his son Michael attended. The original book came out in 1994 but this updated version has around 200 extra pages.There are loads of tv crews and photographers here.Later on friends and family would arrive.Ronnie is wheeled in looking very frail.He cannot talk but understands you and answers back via a spellboard or hand gestures.His son Michael and Ronnies good friend Chris Pickard who helped him with the book are the ones that answer the press questions. I asked Ronnie "did he enjoy recording with two members of The Sex Pistols back in 1978".He gave me a smile and a thumbs up which was quite touching. After most of the press had left more friends and family turned up inc Nick Reynolds(son of Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds) and Gaz Mayall.A nice lunch was laid on and the freebie wines and beers were flowing.The press chairs were taken away and it became more relaxed.Ronnie was cuddling any women here he could get his arms around.ITV host Fiona Phillips was very chatty with him as her own dad had similiar ill health. We had some proper Hells Angels here from UK,Sweden and Brazil.Everyone got a free copy of the book and Ronnie signed loads of them.I got mine signed and got a couple of photos with him.I also got my "The Biggest Blow-A Punk Prayer" signed.Ronnie with Cook n Jones on that one. Despite Ronnie being in a wheelchair and not being able to talk he clearly enjoyed himself.He was here for well over three hours which was pretty amazing. A couple of photos of the event are on my Facebook page. -------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- Saturday 17 December 2022. FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM live at Shepherds Bush Empire. FOTN are are a goth rock band from Stevenage , who formed back in 1984. They released five studio albums, but the last one was in 2005. Fields of the Nephilim's initial sound incorporated elements of hard rock, gothic rock, heavy pmetal and psychedelic rock, and comprised a bass- and guitar-driven sound underpinned by Carl McCoy's growled vocals. Lyrically, the band incorporated themes concerning magic (specifically chaos magic), the Cthulhu Mythos, the Sumerian religion, and the works of Aleister Crowley. The band had a "dust and death" image, associated with characters from Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns and often wore cowboy dusters with a weather-beaten look during photoshoots. This weather-beaten look was attained by dusting themselves down with, by their own admission, Mother's Pride flour.This also proved problematic for the band as in May 1988, Nottinghamshire Police detained the band whilst a suspect substance was tested for drugs. This was later determined to be nothing but flour from the stage set. They still have two original members in the line-up, including singer Carl McCoy. Oddly i have never seen them live before. Support comes from post-punk outfit THE MEMBRANES who are fronted by John Robb who looks after the Louder Than War music website, and is often a talking head on punk documentaries. I saw them play a sweaty show in a small room at The Rebellion Festival, Blackpool in August 2022. --------- Level 3 is closed tonight as unsold, but the other levels are all full. Lots of loyal goth- rock fans have turned up in their mainly black clothing attire. THE MEMBRANES arrive on stage at 8pm for their 45 mins set. Singer John Robb with Mohican haircut prowls the front of stage with his menacing bass playing. A good set by them FOTN arrive on stage at 9.15pm for their 85 mins set. The band still wear their black clothing with pride, along with their black cowboy hats. When FOTN hit the stage the stalls standing area is really rammed shoulder to shoulder. This soon turns into a moshing frenzy in the front few rows. They have a nice sound, but the dark and moody vocals are a bit too muffled for me. Some tracks are several minutes long , due to some nice guitar workouts. An enjoyable enough show. Full setlist played by FOTN played tonight... Endemoniada The Watchman Phobia Moonchild Chord of Souls Shiva Celebrate Love Under Will Last Exit for the Lost Encore: Preacher Man Blue Water Dawnrazor ---------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------- Friday 16 December 2022. JAMIE CULLUM live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Jamie Cullum (now aged 43) is an English jazz-pop singer, so ngwriter and radio presenter. Although primarily a vocalist and pianist, he also accompanies himself on other instruments, including guitar and drums. He has recorded nine studio albums, three compilation albums, one live album. Since April 2010, he has presented a weekly Tuesday evening jazz show on BBC Radio 2. Jamie has sold over 10 million albums over the past 20 odd years. He will showcasing his current ninth studio album "The Pianoman at Christmas". I have seen Jamie play a couple of short sets at events, but this will be the first time I have seen his full headline show. -------- This one-off show is fully sold out , and is much livelier than expected. JAMIE CULLUM & his big band arrive on stage at 8pm and play for 1 hour 50 mins. For most songs there are around 20 musicians on stage when you include a 13 piece brass orchestra , three backing singers and all the band members. Jamie mixes being behind the piano, as well as being front stage , while another musician takes over the piano duties. We have plenty of Christmas fairy lights arranged as Christmas trees behind the stage. The setlist comprised well known Christmas cover versions, and Jamie's own Christmas and solo songs. Jamie certainly knows how to work the crowd. Midway through, Jamie sings "In The Bleak Midwinter" to a fan from the pit, who is in the front row middle. After an hour , Jamie gets everyone up and dancing , to create a great atmosphere. Highlights included his take on Nina Simone's "Sinnerman" and his own "Mixtape". An enjoyable show. The Guardian newspaper gave the show a glowing five star review.