The ups, downs, in's and out's of two North East UK musical eclectricians.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Friday - Coldcut Live @ Sage - 21/04/06

How do . . .

Over the years I've seen Coldcut (and met them) many times - from the early 4 turntable days, through to now - a fully functioning 6 piece 21st century multimedia band.

Not thinking they would be on till late (in past experience) I turned up only to have missed the first few minutes. The dance floor area was packed, so I legged it up to the balcony to find plenty of nice comfy seats with a great view.

Mainstays matt Black and Jonathon More were on stage as usual surrounded by all manner of laptops, but I noticed some Pioneer DVJ decks as well as some other bits and bobs, triggering samples and acappella vocal videos (the Roots Manuva one of him in a cowboy hat for "True Skool" being one of the best/funniest in a Vic and Bob kind of way) and the usual crazy loops.

Matt and Jonathon were joined on stage by Mike Ladd and Juice Allem providing raps, and a couple of other vocalists from the "Sound Mirrors" album (sorry don't know their names !) giving the gig a very live feeling, rather than a couple of old fellas pressing buttons on a computer. Also joining the Coldcut ranks was Newcastle's own Raj Pannu, blending scratches and other instrumentation to the mix.

Highlight of the show for me was the computers breaking down at the start of "Everything's Under Control" and the rest of the team - freestyling and jamming while a techie fixed the problem. I have to applaud Mr. Black (pictured below) on keeping a fine rhythm going (by hand) and the rappers and co joining in - he personally kept that gig alive.

The only drawback being the gig was over too quickly (not like the 3 hour marathons of old), Matt mingled in the bar area afterwards which was nice and I had a quick word with him and we reminisced about the old NinjaTune HQ at clink street and shared a joke about unreserved standing as listed on the ticket.

So I toddled off with yet another notch on the Coldcut post, hoping to get a few more in years to come yet - here's hoping they still have the impetus to do it, embracing new technology as they go.

That's all for now . . .

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thursday - The Mighty Boosh Live - 16/03/06


I went to see the Mighty Boosh live at Newcastle's City hall last night - and it was magnificent !

I haven't laughed so much in ages - if you're a fan of the TV series, you wold be in stitches to their stage show.

Going back to their roots (the show started as in an upstairs room in a London pub), you can see why they were snapped up for Radio and TV - as the constant improv and riffing is very much their forte, one of my favourite lines being "Vince - I saw you sitting in a skip! Howard - I was doing performance art, Vince - So why were you crying ?!"

Based loosely around the 3 versions of the "Tundra" story (stage/radio/TV) also bringing nearly all the other characters that they play and with fine support from Naboo, Bollo and Bob Fossil and a guest appearance from the electro girls and some savvy scenery/props, Noel and Julian mesmerised a fairly rowdy audience.

I especially liked the fact that the Hitchiker, Rudy, Old Gregg and all the others were woven into the plot - however tedious the link !

I heard that they put a second date on at the City Hall and I can understand why. The TV series just seems to improve with age, as the second series surpassed the first easily. I just hope they don't fall into "The League Of Gentlemen" trap and make a third series that stinks (Sorry LOG).

If you get a chance to see them live - you won't be disappointed, if you can't - there's a great box set of the first two tv series on DVD, with some great extras ( a short film with Noel and Julian in) and not bad a price too (£21 in Fopp), so you have no excuse...


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wednesday - Go! Team Live - 22/02/06


A bunch of us went to see GO! Team at the Newcastle University last night (the proper one - not the old poly), which for anyone that has ever had the pleasure of seeing a band there, is an ordeal in itself. - situated in what can only be described as a "basement" in a Victorian building, which within half an hour seems to descend into a sauna of diabolical proportions.

We turned up after a few pre-gig sherry's to find it absolutely heaving... The small (single) bar at least four or five people deep, and not one of them over twenty.

There was a band playing as we pushed our way to the bar, but I have to be honest it was pretty bland. I was told it was two girls with guitars and a drum machine. Didn't catch their name.

We decided to try and find a spot that we could actually see the stage from and found a vantage point at the side (stage left for all you luvvies!) and waited for the Go! Team.

I have to admit, they were really tight, the whole band swapping instruments for each song, and although the recorded output is pretty shambolic (deliberately ?!) the live sound was spot-on.

It's not really my kind of music, as it mixes far too many elements of other genre's diluting the themes that I do like - hip hop, electro - with an indie mentality, and namely lots of guitars.

The [young] crowd did seem to dig it however, and within minutes, were stagediving and throbbing back and forward.

As there isn't a huge back catalogue of albums to rely on most of the album was performed, with the exception of one new song.

Belting out the big singles "Bottle Rocket" and "Lady Flash" towards the end, they finished the gig by hurling themselves into the crowd.

A really good performance, and well worth catching live, as I think this is the medium that their music works best. It also helps that they have a couple of really foxy female band members as well ;-)

That's all for now...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Monday - Fun Lovin' Criminals @ Carling - 05/03/06


Last night (Sunday)I went to see the "Fun Lovin' Criminals" at the Newcastle Carling.

Flint & Steel had performed a set the night before, and I'd then popped in to check the 4Hero DJ set - so I was knackered (as they say in the UK) having been up till about 3am Sunday morning.

I found a good vantage point on the main floor of the Carling and first up were "The Mitchell Brothers" - no not the knuckleheaded abused husbands that star in depressing BBC soap Eastenders... But the Mike Skinner assisted London Rap duo.

They present a form of UK hip hop which I recently saw Roots Manuva describe as "Geezer Rap" on a televison program.

It was a lively and at times amusing set - getting audience participation going by getting the crowd to 'diss' each other as they (play) fought on stage - "F*ck Tony / F*ck Teddy".

I've read some derogatory articles about these boys, being accused of selling out to a white audience by wearing "Casual" gear, but each to their own. I enjoyed them, especially the touching sentiment behind the track "Routine Check" - where V signs were flicked and the notion of having sex with our fine British police force was suggested...

Next up the FLC...

At this point the ground floor of the academy was heaving. To the strains of the "Rocky" theme tune (not the Eye of The Tiger mind - the other one) - the boys came out.

Huey, as always resplendent in a 3 piece pinstripe suit, and co. went through their entire back catalogue with grace and ease.

Now I have to make a confession here... I'm not a massive fan (not that I don't like them either) so I wasn't familiar with all the songs performed - but the ones I knew were great, and the crowd certainly enjoyed it.

I stayed away from the traditional "Mosh Pit" area - but the whole ground floor seemed to be jumping up and down. There were some nightclub bouncer types on one side of me who seemed to be in tampoline training - and some really roedy jackasses next to them, throwing beer and lit cigarettes around (I suppose that goes with the territory)...

Huey is a great frontman - and seemed to positively revel in the adoration of the crowd (who kept chanting his name) and had an anecode or a story for every song - "Fast" on keyboards providing comedy sound effects.

Having seen them live, I can see that this is the best medium for the FLC, I haven't noticed them graze the charts for a while now (not that the charts really have any influence in this day and age) and they really are worth going to see. I would however, make sure that you've had a few beers and you're up for a party (Sunday nights for me being a school-night).

That's all for now, catch you soon...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunday - 4Hero @ Better Days - 05/03/06


After a great Flint & Steel set at The Forth - We decided to check out 4Hero at the other rooms - host by Tony Morales's "Better Days" night.

Being aging hip-hoppers who also dabbled in the UK Hardcore/Breakbeat scene, and in the mid 90's Jungle/Drum n' Bass movement - this was absolute bliss, and we spent the evening jogging on the spot.

Marc (Mac) can certainly mix a record together, and not just of the same genre, he effortlessly went from Nu-Jazz to broken beats, and then breaks without dropping a beat.

Definitely one of the best nights we've been to in a while, the quality of tunes enhanced by the great MC'ing, and a comedy part of the evening, when some unknown girl got behind the decks and started warblingg (not necessarily in tune) giving us all a good laugh in the process.

I have all (I think) of the 4Hero albums, and would love to see them perform with a full band - but until then - this is the next best thing, and as a stand-alone DJ night was great.

The club was almost full, and the crowd was buzzing...

Good on yer Marc - come back soon !!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Monday - Keb Darge Returns - 06/02/06

Hey up,

After a cracking Flint & Steel DJ set at the Forth, Keb Darge returned to the Better Days @ the Other Rooms.

Playing his usual set of 60's and 70's funk, with a bit chat inbetween.

It was a bit too soon after the last appearence of the Scottish funkateer in my opinion, but it was full of happy people dancing.

Funniest part of the night was when the music had to stop - due to some burly bouncers starting to throw folk out, and Mr Darge letting loose a verbal barrage on the evils of "f**king house music" !

Just a quickie today - catch you soon...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday - Hey lets catch up... - 03/02/06

Hi there.

Happy New (if very belated) Year, hope Christmas was great for you.

The ol' blog hasn't been updated for a good while due to various reasons - hopefully this well get back to normal asap.

First of back to December last year with a Doves review.

Doves at the new(ish) Carling Academy, a change of venue for them in Newcastle as previously they've played the Arena (supporting) and the poly twice (okay - Northumbria University).
Feeling old after a night DJ'ing on Saturday, I decided for a change I'd sit at a gig rather than stand at the back worrying about my poor old knees.

My seat was quite good (three rows from the front) and I settled in...
The support act limped on and played a fairly forgettable set, they didn't say anything between songs, so I don't know who they were or where they were from. I was glad to see the back of them.

Doves came onstage to a trademark moody intro soundtrack, and got stuck in. They started the second song "Pounding" and disaster struck with a completely out of tune guitar. Regular readers (there are some out there) will remember the debarcle the last time they played and lo and behold same song different problem (see

So a quick guitar change later and they were back on track, the crowd below us on the balcony jumping furiously up and down.

I read an article in the paper about the Doves not progressing and playing the same size venues, well that may be the case, but everytime I see them they're more polished and they're certainly spending money on lights and visuals.

So all in all a stomping gig, rounded off by a hilarious back projected movie that sees the band going backstage, getting into a limo, going for a pint in a pub driving back and then coming on stage for a finale - "There goes the fear" being the last song.

With only three albums (missing out the b-sides and remix compilations) there seems to be a wide choice of material for them to do, and to be honest, I'm missing some of the songs from the first album and "Spaceface" the first ever Sub-Sub release. Obviously this was a doing it for the album sales tour - with no new merchandise or material to offer.

Back up to speed then...

"Flint & Steel" have been playing crazy busy sets since new year, we're now featured in the website "The DJ List" ( and if you can - vote for us.

There's talk of us doing some other venues soon, so we'll keep you posted.

There's been plenty of sneaker buying action recently with me venturing into the world of Ebay. However I've yet to win an auction - I prefer the hunt of going to the various outlets and searching through the deadstock to find that elusive pair of kicks, there's something to be said about real life shopping, where you can pick the product up, rather than looking at a ropey picture and hoping for the best.

So here's a little taster of some Christmas presents - thanks to Dot & Sue for these...

That's all for now - promise to update soon with some new info.