Rock

Return of the Frantic Four: Status Quo, Wembley Arena 17/03/2013

As I mentioned in my previous post I was going to try and get tickets to see Status Quo, Reunion Tour. Boy am I glad I did.

I’ve been going to see Quo now for the best part of 15 years. This was my first time seeing the original line up. It was by far the best show I have seen. Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt seem to be energised by the return of the engine room of the band. Drums (John Coghlan) and Bass (Alan Lancaster)

Set List:

1. Junior’s Wailing
2. Backwater
3. Just Take Me
4. Is There a Better Way
5. In My Chair
6. Blue Eyed Lady
7. Little Lady
8. Most of the Time
9. (April), Spring, Summer and Wednesdays
10. Railroad
11. Oh Baby
12. Forty-Five Hundred Times
13. Rain
14. Big Fat Mama
15. Down Down
16. Roadhouse Blues

Encore:
17. Don’t Waste My Time
18. Bye Bye Johnny

If you know your Quo. That is an old school rip-snorting Rock set list, this was the original band. No keyboard distractions, no midsection of the gig where they play a few off the new album. This was a thank you to all those fans who have been following the band for even longer than I. No space for some of the more radio friendly songs here.

Quo “Oh yes, Rockin All Over the World, Right?”

Well yes, but this showed they are so much more. Musicianship, talent and a level of “good time” you don’t get anywhere else.

Quo_Rain

The support band for the evening do deserve a special mention. The Treatment, arrive to the stage accompanied by “Land of Hope and Glory” then proceed to announce every 80’s hair metal song in a mock American style. The lead singer seems to have chosen his stage persona by mixing David Lee Roth, 80’s Jon Bon Jovi, Sebastian Bach and Axl Rose up in a blender. Every song was preceded by a shrill “Come On!” as if he had his bollocks caught in the aforementioned kitchen device. Once you got over that, and accepted them for them. Not bad for support!

The atmosphere was superb once the Frantic Four hit the stage. Nuff and Spud (Lancaster and Coghlan) greeted like returning heroes, with the usually dominant vocals of Francis Rossi taking a back seat until In My Chair. Time flew by. This morning I ache, so it must have been good!!

Another special mention goes out to Barry, a guy who had travelled from Yorkshire to see the show. He was taken ill, shortly after the end of the gig. So we had to wait whilst he received treatment as he was in our row. This had a good outcome as Barry walked away and we were able to see the stage being taken down. Rockin and Techy. If you end up reading this Barry hope you are OK.

QUO_AfterShow

The gig I went to is available to purchase here as an Audio download and it will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in September.

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(28DW) Whatever You Want

Following on from The Resident Weebles great piece on musical preference I have a confession. Well I say that, but it shouldn’t be a confession. I should be proud, I am a fan of one of the most successful music acts in British history. However they are spoken of in hushed voices even in bone-fide music circles. This band have appeared more times on Top of the Pops (the once flagship BBC music show) than any other, they opened Live Aid in 1985, to a huge worldwide audience. They have had top ten UK singles and albums for the best part of 40 years. Their live shows are polished but have a uniquely raw quality. If they were American they would be held in high esteem, ala Aerosmith.

They are British. They are straight forward. They are Status Quo.

The frantic four, the original line up of the band, are touring this year for the first time in 30 years. I am waiting to hear back from Wembley box office to see if I have tickets. Fingers crossed. Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan. Proprietors of unashamed foot to the floor blues based rock!

Now I like, Hendrix, Floyd and I have been even known to get the Led out. But I have a special place in my heart for Quo. They are my band, the first I saw live. Some may think that this devalues any musical opinion I hold. They are wrong. Francis Rossi once said “Our fans go and see other bands, AC/DC, Metallica, U2 but apparently they turn into wankers when they come to see us.” That is how Quo are viewed, rock lite.

Maybe this is because of the perceived simplicity of the songs the old joke that Quo only use three chords. A perception that Quo themselves parodied for the title of a recent album “In Search of the Fourth Chord” maybe it is also the band’s willingness not to take themselves too seriously that has led perception too. Yes there have been plenty of PR faux pas over the years, namely taking Radio 1 to court and the mid to late 1990’s cover album phase. 3 albums, (Don’t Stop, Riffs and Famous in the Last Century) all contained hardly any Quo penned songs.

All of Quo’s mid 70’s albums are classics. That should be spoken about in the same sentences as Led Zepellin vol 1 or even Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon. Instead they have become a guilty pleasure, mentioned along with cruise liner acts like Chesney Hawks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Quo are as musically intricate as Floyd, but like Floyd they are good at what they do, unlike Floyd they are still doing it.

Quo are the reason I have my hair long and my guitar (that I can’t play) is a Fender Tele (well the cheaper Mexican version.) Whilst they may frustrate me with the same set list tour after tour or the lack of willing to release acoustic material, maybe I am expecting too much. If you however want a band who you can go see and have a great time, with songs that even the most avid listener of 1xtra will know (almost by osmosis) Quo are your band. Hurry before they retire and leave space for another bland-o-band on their labels books.


Please check out the work of my 28DW Comrades at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium 

Sophie Rocks

We have all had one of those work conversations that turn into semi-rants. After all work throws people together who often have nothing in common with each other. People whom without the common desire for money you would never meet. Some of those people you wish, quite simply, they would fuck off and die. Others you get on well with in spite of or maybe in part, because of the differences and the banter that comes out of gentle conflict!
The following is an except from an email that was the result of one of those conflicts.

It began a little like this: “Rock people are hostile and defensive when it comes to music”

My reply follows:

The reason why rock folk are a trifle harsh on mass market music lovers is a lot to do with airplay in the UK.

Pop music is force fed to anyone who wants to listen to the radio, take Reading, England as a locality.

We have:
Heart FM (a non-local, local radio franchise) Output, Chart music (excluding metal, rock)
Reading 107 (Local radio) Output, Chart music (excluding metal, rock) and chart stuff from 90’s,80’s
Kiss 100FM (depending on where you are in Reading) Output (Urban, Garage R&B)
CapitalFM, Chart music (excluding metal, rock)
Radio1 (National) Chart music (excluding metal, rock unless you stay up until 1am on a Friday, when there is “The Rock Show”)
Radio2 Middle of the road stuff
Radio3 Classical
Absolute Radio: Celebrities play Coldplay.

I have evidence for the exclusion of rock/metal:

Metallica’s most recent studio album went to Number 1 in the UK album chart. Airplay.. virtually zip
Gaga latest goes to number one.. played to death
X factor, goes to number one.. terminal saturation!!

Where is the space for balls out rock? No-where
No space for blues, motown, folk, country, electronica, anything pre-1960.. no-where. (Digital radio has two rock radio stations)
Yet we have 5 chart based choices. This doesn’t breed varied choice in music, there are so many good things (of all genres) that never get heard because of this. You say you don’t like rock, well that’s ok but Pink Floyd for example is extremely different from Aerosmith, who are different from Black Sabbath etc etc

Sorry it’s gone a little blog like this hasn’t it. I told you not to get me started on music. This by the way is in no way trying to sway you, but a window into my world of being bombarded with something you hate every single day!

Rock on!

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At the time of writing Sophie still has misinformed musical tastes, it is an affliction that is widespread. Fellow sufferers of Cowells Disease and the irish counterpart Walshism, need help. Please give generously.