CATS in SPACE guitarist comes ‘Full Circle’ with reissue

The band CATS in SPACE have been enjoying some much-deserved success over the past year; comprising guys who have been around the block as it were, their collective experience and musical craft has seen them gain favour with rock fans quite quickly. Now the fan base has been delving back into the members’ respective pasts, and there have been many requests for a reissue of ‘Full Circle’, an album released by CATS founder member Greg Hart ten years ago under the band name ‘Hartless’. I treated myself to a copy at the time of the original release, and gave it a good write-up on my old MySpace blog, likening it to a bygone era when rock bands such as Thin Lizzy were seen on TV shows frequently, especially the anarchic Saturday morning show ‘Tiswas’!

At the time of that album, Greg had just ended a decade-long stint as one of two guitarists in long-established tribute band Limehouse Lizzy; this album makes plain his deep admiration for Lynott and company from the get-go with a pose featuring Greg in a Thin Lizzy t-shirt. There is strong Lizzy influence throughout the record, although he and the band (comprising guitarist Marty Wells, bassist/vocalist Ray Edmunds, drummer Michael van Dell as well as Greg himself on lead guitar and vocals) were able to produce an album of songs that recalled the golden era of 70s rock, without outright copying it.  They did include one Lizzy cover (‘Romeo & The Lonely Girl’), further emphasising their admiration of the Irish rockers.

Following this record he went on to work once more with his old band Moritz and eventually formed an act (which also includes present CATS keyboardist Andy Stewart) celebrating the pop hits of the 1970s, with male and female singers, and playing live a broad selection of hit songs from artists of many differing styles. Originally titled ‘The Jackie Generation’, it became known as ‘Supersonic 70s Show’ or ‘Solid Gold 70s Show’ and continues to tour the UK regularly.

Back to ‘Hartless’, and the reissue of ‘Full Circle’ will be available from the beginning of February and is strictly limited to 100 copies. The album will only be available as a physical CD; no downloads, no streaming, so if you want one, be quick!  Recommended for fans of 1970s styled pop-rock; to register interest, contact Greg directly.

Screenshot-2018-1-31 Greg Hart

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FMrGregHart%2Fposts%2F10211186659078724&width=500

Advertisements

Caught Live: Novacrow (with Primyl Vinyl, Gil Guillermo) Jacaranda club Liverpool, 26th January 2018

I only spotted this gig listed at the beginning of the week, it was made all the more attractive, seeing as it was not only in town but with free admission! The Jacaranda is a well-known bar and live venue in the centre of Liverpool, they host bands in a small basement room which probably holds about 100 at the absolute most. Headlining were local outfit Novacrow, a band I’ve seen on two previous occasions who play hard rock/Metal with wild abandon.  The other two acts on the bill were young acts who are studying at LIPA, neither of whom I had any prior knowledge of, and first up was Gil Guillermo. Not Spanish or Latin American as might have been surmised from that name, but an Israeli who has been in the city for two years. His brand of folky rock was pleasant, if a little gentle at first, but he and his band soon started to cut loose with some particularly tasty playing from (Geddy Lee lookalike) Zak Langford-Do, and even a nifty bass solo from Chris Jones (who didn’t look like Geddy despite playing the four-string!) Their short set ended with a vastly reworked cover of Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’, once again showcasing Zak’s impressive lead guitar.

Gil Guillermo at Jacaranda Liverpool

Gil Guillermo at Jacaranda Liverpool

Next up were Primyl Vinyl, a quartet fronted by lanky singer/guitarist Matt Bankhurst (who, keeping the lookalike theme going, made me think of a younger, taller, and right-handed Luke Morley – mainly because of his slightly unkempt fair hair!). These guys were a harder-rocking outfit than I’d anticipated, and they also had a good lead guitarist in Will Dorey. During their second number, the frontman lost the A string of his guitar but soldiered on to the end of the song. Following this he was about to hand vocal over to drummer Nahum Matthews (who was already providing substantial backing vocals) while he changed string on this small stage, but he was helped out by Gil Guillermo who loaned his own guitar for the remainder of the band’s set. They also gave a good account of themselves and even had yours truly nodding the head in approval during their last (heavier) number!

Primyl Vinyl at Liverpool Jacaranda

Primyl Vinyl at Liverpool Jacaranda

When Novacrow took to the small stage here it was immediately obvious they were down a member – regular guitarist Jonyx has been suffering from the bug that has been going around, as explained by singer/guitarist Kitty. That meant they were to play as a trio; she would have to handle all guitar duties for this set. It mattered little – while she can provide enough guitar wallop on her own, she has bassist Freddy to help compensate. His bass sound is heavy, he doesn’t so much storm the stage as outright attack it. A real force of nature, if he isn’t pirouetting on the spot he is leaping about, sometimes jumping onto the floor and getting right up into punters’ faces! Underpinning all of that is Torben Schmidt-Hansen on the drums, hitting with power and fury. He and Freddy were so powerful that Kitty even managed to carry off performing one song without her own guitar (‘Criminal Mastermind’). Normally Jonyx would have been playing it, but they were able to pull that off as a ‘drum and bass’ number and still have it rock hard!

This band is a sensational live act, they have Kitty who provides glamour, hard rockin’ riffs and a sensual stage presence, contrasted with the tumultuous Freddy who is transformed once onstage from a nice guy into something resembling the Tasmanian Devil from the cartoons, only with a bass in hand! They have dates across the country and some international appearances too for 2018, if you like your live bands to be LIVE, they don’t get much livelier than Novacrow.

Gil Guillermo Music facebook page

Primyl Vinyl facebook page

Novacrow facebook page

4 - deserving

4 – Deserving

CD/DVD: Whitesnake ‘The Purple Tour – Live’ (Rhino Entertainment)


Sourced from a performance at the Genting Arena, Birmingham in December 2015 (a show which your correspondent attended), this live album and video captures the current incarnation of Whitesnake during their tour supporting ‘The Purple Album’, vocalist David Coverdale’s celebration of his time fronting Deep Purple.

The release is available in several formats, as is so often the case these days. Most will plump for either the CD/DVD or CD/Blu-Ray package (yours truly opted for the former), but for those who just want an audio memento of this concert it is available either as a standalone CD or on double vinyl LP.

Utilising a similar artwork theme as used on ‘The Purple Album’, the presentation here is beautiful. The familiar Whitesnake ‘amulet’ surrounded by that distinctive lettering is present and correct, only with the band members now depicted around that amulet. The purple marble effect on the cover is seductive, and will make a nice companion for the 2015 album, the tour programme (if you have it) or even the recent coffee-table book, if you had pockets deep enough to stretch to either edition!

David Coverdale acts as much as master of ceremonies as lead vocalist on this DVD, the video presentation makes sure it is as much about the players currently surrounding him as it is about himself; every member is given a good amount of screen time with individual camera shots for each. The cuts are rapid, similar to how it was done for the earlier ‘Live In The Still Of The Night’ DVD, and there are black and white shots frequently interspersed like in that production. That’s something I am not a massive fan of, but these are a little less jarring with the shots being not quite so ‘grainy’ this time. The director for this footage is Canadian Tyler Bourns, who also worked on the bonus promo video for ‘Burn’, released to YouTube at Christmas and included on this disc. The DVD picture is mostly crisp, but the sharp-eyed will notice some ‘artifacts’ in the picture which may or may not be down to visual effects used in post-production. For fans of a certain age, who remember watching bootleg VHS tapes of this band back in the 80s, it’s not a show-stopper compared to the tape dropouts we had to put up with in those days!

I was at this concert and reviewed it at the time for this blog, so I shan’t go into detail once again about the actual show. The band (guitarists Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach, bassist Michael Devin, keyboardist Michele Luppi and veteran drummer Tommy Aldridge) gave a splendid performance, allowing Coverdale to ham it up in front of this huge crowd as only he can. He sounds in good voice on this presentation, although even his most ardent fans will now concede he isn’t what he once was. He has chosen these players for their vocal as well as instrumental abilities; you see all of them providing strong vocal backing for the main man throughout, in particular Reb Beach and Michele Luppi.

Overall, it is a good value package, including a complete concert performance plus extras, in the form of the ‘Burn’ promo video, a short interview segment where Michael Devin quizzes Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach (with generous portions of humour), and some bonus audio, presented on the DVD or Blu-ray in stereo or 5.1.  When this tour came to the UK the band had limited time, as it was a co-headline tour with Def Leppard and so some of the songs performed in other countries were left out of the UK shows. That was a little disappointing I thought, as this was a unique tour in which Purple classics from Coverdale’s old days were revived, possibly for the only time. He has rectified that, at least in part with three songs not done on the UK tour included here (‘You Keep On Moving’, Lay Down Stay Down’, and ‘Stormbringer’ with the other track ‘Lotsanotes’ being a guitar duel between the two axemen). It isn’t made clear when these tracks were recorded, but I’d guess it came early on in the tour as ‘Lay Down Stay Down’ was only in the set for a few shows.  This is a carefully produced and lavishly presented set, and will no doubt prove popular with Coverdale’s loyal fans.

wstheprupletour

4 - deserving

4 – Deserving

 

Caught Live: Sari Schorr and The Engine Room, Citadel St Helens 20th January 2018

If you read that and are thinking ‘Sari who?’, so was I this time last month. I’d taken a look at the forthcoming gigs for the Citadel, a small but excellent venue in St Helens which often hosts some surprisingly big names, as well as having hosted many who have gone on to greater things. I came across the name Sari Schorr, and read the blurb about her blues-rock credentials. Then came the fabled ‘youtube test’, basically look her up on youtube and click the first result it gives. I found a track called, appropriately (!) ‘Ain’t Got No Money’ and liked what I heard instantly. It was old-school blues-rock with plenty of soul, and that voice (like a younger Tina Turner) promised much. That sealed it, and the date was duly pencilled into my 2018 diary. An actual, physical diary, picked up in the hope of averting the dreaded date clashes which blight my gig-going! Luckily, there was no clash of dates this night (at least, nothing in the local area which clashed!) so the ticket was booked.

Sari Schorr is a New Yorker who might have been new to me, but she has toured the UK before as an opening act for Walter Trout. Signed to Manhaton Records (the independent label that is home to King King) her album ‘Force of Nature’ featured some talented players including Walter Trout himself, as well as former Glenn Hughes keyboardist Anders Olinder. However her band for these dates featured some other names I was familiar with: bassist Mat Beable (from the Stevie Nimmo Trio) and keyboardist Bob Fridzema (last seen touring with Joanne Shaw Taylor, but best known as a member of King King until recently) were to feature, alongside drummer Roy Martin and guitarist Ash Wilson. I got into the Citadel shortly after doors opened, to find it almost deserted, and was therefore able to position myself right by the stage in this tiny room. Nearer stage time, a few more people did show up and so the fear of this being another of those ‘private’ gigs was soon alleviated.

The band came on at 8 sharp with little fanfare, and kicked things off in fine style with Ash Wilson leading the charge with that guitar. There was no support, so there would be a lengthy set performed with an interval. Much of the material was from the ‘Force of Nature’ album, with one or two choice covers thrown in. With players of this calibre backing her, even though myself and no doubt others present may not have known of this singer before, we certainly knew what to expect musically. It was just as anticipated, heavy blues-rock with emphasis on guitar, tasty Hammond from Bob Fridzema, powerful drumming from Roy Martin and dependable bass from Mat Beable. Topping all of that was Sari Schorr herself; a soulful vocalist delivering these songs with passion and power. She didn’t just stand there and sing either, her stage presence is graceful, even sensual and I am sure I spotted at least one ‘Tina shuffle’ in her movement about this stage. The audience greeted her warmly, and she looked pleased (and possibly relieved!) that people showed up to this gig, so soon after Christmas and for a singer who is still unknown to many. The band did get plenty of chance to jam, solos from both guitarist and keyboardist were plentiful but not overdone. A straight cover of Bad Company’s ‘Ready For Love’ came midway through this first set, and they closed that part of the show with a cover of blues standard ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’, aka the Diet Coke song (!)

sariashw

During the interval I earwigged an interesting chat between two punters and the gig photographer, he was regaling the guys about covering a gig by another, internationally renowned blues-rock musician whose ticket prices have skyrocketed in recent years, and whose London gig was half-full as a result (!) No such issues here, as this ticket was about a tenth of the cost of that asked by the aforementioned big star for his upcoming UK dates! When the band came back on, it was without the singer herself, at least for one number. She’d given Ash Wilson a spot to sing a track of his own with the band (‘Peace and Love’, which a bit of googling reveals is on his own solo album ‘Broken Machine’) and he impressed with both vocal and guitar during that number. That done, Sari Schorr returned, and delivered a radically reworked cover of another standard (‘Black Betty’) which, she told us, ended up on the album after her producer insisted.  The second set pretty much picked up where she left off, with more soulful bluesy rock, save for the jazzy ‘Ordinary Life’ which saw the whole band ease off the bombast in favour of gentle piano accompaniment. One more cover (Zeppelin’s ‘Rock n Roll’) followed before she closed with two more from her album, the aforementioned ‘Ain’t Got No Money’ and encore ‘Aunt Hazel’.

This was one of those ‘I was there’ gigs, the kind you want to see when an act is just breaking through. Sari Schorr has the voice and the personality to go a long way, and with this band behind her there’s no reason why she won’t do just that. When she comes around again it’ll be to many more people and I expect within a year she’ll be occupying territory currently held by Beth Hart and Joanne Shaw Taylor, she is without doubt in that class. Highly recommended.

Sari Schorr official site with upcoming dates

sset

4 - deserving

4 – Deserving

Vampires Rock: Ghost Train, The Auditorium Liverpool 14th January 2018

When you call yourself ‘Steve Steinman’, you’re making it pretty clear where your inspiration comes from. So it is with this former chef and restaurateur from Manchester, who first came to public attention on a TV talent show, before starting up his own act as a Meat Loaf tribute. From there, he has steadily evolved his act into the Vampires Rock show, a musical with heavy emphasis on the music part of ‘musical’. The storyline is minimal and serves to link into a succession of classic rock songs, all performed live with a band on the stage and with Steinman acting as a vampiric master of ceremonies. He has been doing the Vampires Rock tour for a number of years now, with a different theme each tour, and this year it was themed around a ghoulish ‘ghost train’. The evil Baron von Rockula (Steinman) and his sidekick Bosley the Janitor (John Evans) have set up a ghost train attraction in the hope of capturing the beautiful Roxy Honey-Box (Hayley Russell).

The show is performed with a lot of banter, almost like a Heavy Metal pantomime, as corny jokes are delivered as well as numerous ad-libs. In between all of that is some impressive playing from the live band, comprising of guitarists Jamie Hiscox and Henry Bird, drummer Pete Jean, bassist Mary Garner and keyboardist Andy Preston. The band are also dressed and made up in horror getup, adding to the atmosphere, with vocals taken either by Steinman himself, or his cast including dancers Victoria Jenkins and Sharlie Curtis, as well as Hayley Russell. Out to stop Baron von Rockula is the mysterious ‘Van Halensing’, a masked figure who also performs vocals on several songs. I shan’t reveal the actual ending, in case you get to see this production but suffice to say it all ends happily with a few more rousing rock classics to get the audience up on their feet.

It was all delivered in a humorous spirit, although everyone in the cast sings well and the band do a great job putting these classic songs across live. The show actually bore more of a resemblance to an Alice Cooper concert (a couple of his songs were performed on the night), with the dancers and assorted props, than it did to Meat Loaf or (Jim) Steinman, although again, a couple of their numbers made the set list. It isn’t thought-provoking or profound by any means, just straight-up fun and entertainment. But for a couple of F-bombs during the show, you could have brought the kids along (!) The audience comprised many rockers ‘of a certain age’, myself included, as well as some younger faces. They know what their audience want (a generous helping of live rock favourites) and they make sure we got plenty of that for our money.

The show was performed in the Auditorium, which is in the ‘other’ half of the ACC Liverpool complex which houses the Echo Arena. This is a part of the complex I’d not been in before, and it was an excellent venue for this kind of show. Resembling a civic theatre with a capacity from 800 to 1300 (the hall has two revolving ‘pods’ which can be used as extra seating for this theatre or separated as smaller meeting rooms), it has a gently sloping floor with extremely comfortable seats, plenty of room and good provision for disabled visitors. The row in front of me had several seats taken out so that wheelchair users could sit alongside their partners, while still allowing a good view of the stage for everybody. Although this part of the complex was designed with conventions and conferences in mind (there are numerous ‘breakout’ rooms surrounding this hall) it has been increasingly used for shows, branded as ‘The Auditorium by Echo Arena’. This venue would be eminently suitable for other touring shows I’ve seen, for example the Supersonic 70s show or Women in Rock, or it would suit a band such as King King perfectly.

In short, Vampires Rock is a fun night out whether or not you’re a hardened rocker, and is well worth a look when the show reaches your town.

For more information and dates for the rest of 2018 and into 2019, click here.

4 - deserving

4 – Deserving

2018 – bad start (goodbye Fast Eddie, Chris Tsangarides, Dolores O’Riordan)

2018 has barely got going and we’ve already lost some music greats. Last week the news broke that producer Chris Tsangarides had passed away aged 61, following a bout of pneumonia. Major names in the rock and metal fields including Thin Lizzy/Gary Moore, Anvil, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Y&T and Bruce Dickinson had all worked with him as producer, illustrating his standing in the genre. He also produced records for artists in other styles, including Japan, Joan Armatrading, Tom Jones and Depeche Mode, having had a long career in the industry.

That was soon followed by the even more saddening news that ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, the last of the classic Motörhead line-up still standing, had died at the age of 67, also while being treated for pneumonia. He joined Motörhead in 1976, having been recruited by founder Lemmy to play alongside then-incumbent guitarist Larry Wallis. However Wallis quit soon after, which left the trio of Lemmy, Fast Eddie and drummer Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor. The band’s hard and aggressive sound gained favour with both the punk and Metal crowds, while Lemmy would always insist that they played nothing more than ‘rock and roll’, they were nevertheless firmly pigeonholed as a Metal band, furthermore they were cited as influences by many Metal bands which came along after.  This was the line-up which made iconic albums such as ‘Overkill’, ‘Bomber’ and of course the album for which Motörhead will always be remembered, ‘Ace Of Spades’. At the start of the 1980s Motörhead were at their height, as their live album ‘No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith’ topped the UK album charts and they scored numerous hit singles.

It all started to go wrong in 1982, firstly over the production of the ‘Iron Fist’ album (Clarke had, reluctantly, stepped in as producer) which the band were dissatisfied with, then the final straw came when Lemmy opted to record with Wendy O. Williams and her band The Plasmatics, on a cover of Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand By Your Man’. Disagreeing with the decision, Eddie quit the band while they were on a US tour. His time with Motörhead had changed him from a moderate drinker into a hardened boozer and, having taken a break to recuperate, reappeared in 1983 with a new band, Fastway. This band was intended to feature former UFO bassist Pete Way (hence the name), but contractual obligations meant he could not take part. Their self-titled debut album was a success Stateside, and they released a follow-up (‘All Fired Up’, 1984) before the line-up splintered. He reappeared with a short-lived new Fastway line-up in 1986, most notably contributing the title track for the ‘Trick Or Treat’ film soundtrack album.  Despite landing a tour supporting AC/DC in the US, the band were unable to capitalise on earlier success.

He continued to record material, with a solo album (‘It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over’) featuring a guest appearance from Lemmy appearing in 1994. Fast Eddie made occasional guest appearances of his own at selected Motörhead shows, the last of which came in 2014 at Birmingham. He was planning a return to the studio and a possible collaboration with Toby Jepson (Little Angels/Wayward Sons) when he took ill. Fast Eddie will always be associated with Motörhead, although he spent only six years with the band and made much more material after leaving the band, it is that manic period from which numerous iconic albums came, that will be his legacy.

________________________________________________________________________________________

As I was putting this post together news broke of the passing of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan, aged just 46. The Irish band weren’t one I was a massive fan of, but that was still a shock, being so unexpected. She was in London to record new material, and there has been a stunned reaction to her passing. Best known for 1990s hits such as ‘Linger’ and ‘Zombie’, however to close this post I’ll link to their rendition of  ‘Cordell’. Written as a tribute to producer Denny Cordell (who signed the band), its lyric takes on added poignancy now. The song was covered by Delain some years later, and their singer Charlotte Wessels has posted her own tribute to Dolores O’Riordan, naming her as a primary influence.

charlotte-dor.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FOfficialCharlotteWessels%2Fposts%2F1680819998606576&width=500

New year, new awards, same old faces

It’s awards season at the moment, before long you’ll be bombarded with hype over the BRIT awards, then there’s the NME awards, and over the pond there’s the Grammys. Add to that a new ceremony, another excuse for back-slapping and media hype: The Global Awards. Needless to say the same old faces will be up for these gongs; your Sheerans, your Oras, your Sam Smiths, whoopdedooo…
But what’s significant about this ceremony (to be held at the Hammersmith Odeon on March 1st, or as they would insist on calling the place, Eventim Apollo) anyway?

If the name ‘Global’ doesn’t mean much to you, then you have heard of their stations. Global is a media conglomerate who own many of the commercial radio stations in the country. It is they who are responsible for Heart, Smooth and Capital FM, and if you’ve ever had to suffer even an hour of their output you already know this is going to be a vapid exercise. They also operate Radio X, as well as Classic FM and their model is to network much of their programming centrally across what were once ‘local’ stations, with only minimal output broadcast from the regions they supposedly serve. They and Bauer Radio have the commercial radio sector in the UK carved up between them, which goes a long way towards explaining why their output is so bland, and so repetitive. Global’s brands such as Heart are high-profile but the parent company isn’t just yet; presumably they are aiming to change all that starting with this bash.

Six of the categories are open to public vote, the rest are down to a ‘judging panel’ who will, they say, make their decision ‘with due care, consideration and weight given to a variety of factors’. That’s about as vague as you can get, and to be eligible for nomination an artist has to have been played ‘at least once’ on any Global station in the previous year. Given that the stations are all formatted tightly to a narrow playlist, one you can actually set your watch to (!) that doesn’t give many options. A quick look reveals the usual suspects: Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Rita Ora, Taylor Swift, Beyonce… such variety of choice! But wait, they’ve gone just a little edgy in nominating those Gallagher brothers (Liam is up for Best Male vocal, Noel is nominated for Best Group with High Flying Birds) and they’ve also put Stormzy in for Best Male. That covers all bases, right?

Oh wait, you want rock? By that you must mean indie, and there’s a category for that too. Indie to them means Catfish and the Bottlemen, the Killers, Florence + The Machine and Noel again; that’s sufficient for those rebels amongst you who want a bit of rock, isn’t it? I’m laughing myself silly just reading that list of nominations, they really must think the music scene in the UK begins and ends with the narrow selection Global decide is fit for the masses, as they sit in their cars on the M62 of a Monday morning in another traffic jam, or as they while away their days in their offices knowing that there’ll be a Sam Smith record, followed by a Taylor Swift one at precisely 2:45 and then they have the commercials urging you to check for having had PPI… give me strength!

Have a look for yourself at the list of nominees, and barf! The safest, blandest, most corporate, most fluffy load of pap imaginable. Even the ‘indie’ isn’t really so; without wishing to rake over the coals of what ‘indie’ means yet again (it stopped meaning independently-produced and released music – regardless of style – a long time ago), only Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds out of all their nominees for ‘Best Indie’ is actually on an independent label. And he hasn’t been what you’d call ‘cutting-edge’ since about 1995 (or maybe he is, to Global execs!) It’s interesting that they still consider the Foo Fighters to be ‘indie’ too; a band so big that they sold out huge stadium dates inside an hour, and whose last album featured a guest appearance from one Paul McCartney. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other bands completely off Global’s radar, who can sell out tours with regularity, who actually do release their records on genuine independent labels, and who score well in those independent charts, that will never get recognised by these self-important, self-satisfied ‘gatekeepers’ who have taken it upon themselves to decide for the rest of us what is, and is not ‘relevant’. I mean of course ROCK bands, as in those who actually do play music with craft, with thought, with care but who might be the wrong side of 40, or they might be a bit too different from ‘the formula’ to fit in with the background music that Global dispense on a daily basis between their beloved PPI ads. Such bands might sell out venues up and down the UK, but for a regular gig-goer who goes to see rock bands frequently, who has co-workers who just accept this repetitive stream of tedium day after day on the workplace radio, just try telling them about anything else and the answer will always be ‘never heard of them’ – the implied subtext being, they mustn’t be any good then. It fair makes you want to reach for the nearest baseball bat…!

So I am scratching my head as to why we need yet another awards ceremony, of course *we* do not. It’s Global themselves who want to establish themselves, their stations are ubiquitous as it is but clearly they now want you to know who it is that is ‘delivering’ this garbage to your ears each day. The corporate speak in their ‘About’ page is enough to make you reach for the bucket; they claim that half the UK population tune in every week to their ‘media brands’ and now they’re boasting of a ‘world-class’ (THE most meaningless, vapid piece of high-falutin’ corporate-speak you will EVER encounter) phone app that will deliver to your smartphone every station they offer. Sign me up now (!)

No doubt this tedious event will be promoted relentlessly on Heart, Smooth, Capital, Radio X and probably the one local station they still have (XS Manchester, the one-time rock/metal station which was turned into a carbon copy of Radio X; ostensibly ‘owned’ by Communicorp UK now but broadcasts out of Global’s studio facilities, takes their news service, and participates in events such as the charity Make Some Noise – to all intents and purposes it remains a Global station).  If you are sick and tired of the same slop served up day after day, there isn’t much you can pick from as an alternative – Bauer’s stations have a similar ‘network’ programming strategy and their ‘local’ stations are all geared up to play the same generic pop tunes. Bauer do operate Planet Rock (the UK’s only ‘national’ station that caters for hard rock fans) but even that is tightly formatted much of the time and is in any case now limited in its coverage since its move to the Digital 2 DAB network, leaving out large swathes of the country.

Global claim they are ‘obsessed with radio, music, and entertainment’ in their blurb – I disagree, they are only interested in advertisers, celeb ‘gossip’, inane chatter and six or seven songs from major-label artists they can repeat over and over until your brain rots away. Maybe one day there’ll be a decent regulator who won’t let these and Bauer walk all over them, until that time comes I suggest CDs for the car or, if you have one of these new-fangled players with a USB port, make use of it!

The usual rubbish from Global

Meanwhile, for as long as I continue to attend gigs, buy records, I will continue to write about those artists your co-workers ‘have never heard of’. To sign out, here’s a track that is more than apt, from one such band who consistently sell out venues across the UK  whenever they play (parental advisory, yadda yadda!) 😀