This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling
will be updated daily - except after days of stress and nights of excess.
Monday 9th March
Actually, today I hate cricket. *Really* bloody hate it. England have been knocked out of the World Cup after an overnight defeat to Bangladesh, and the worst aspect of it all is that it's no real surprise. The team was eliminated in the group stages for the third time in five World Cups, but it's a new low for a nation that not too long ago was rated number one at all forms of the game. My old Metal Hammer editor Robyn Doreian will be pissing herself with laughter. What price we lose to Afghanistan in the last game, too??!! Not that I will be watching. I've had enough of this drivel.
Sunday 8th March
It's not every day that you go to see an Aussie-based pomp-AOR band – step forward White Widdow – performing in London and have a song from the connoisseur's favourite, Neil Kernon-produced Aviator album, dedicated to you. Released back in 1986, 'Frontline' is an all-time cult classic for those that like their music pink and fluffy. What an honour!
The night at the Underworld began with a high-quality set from Degreed. Welcomed by a small but enthusiastic group of fans, the Swedes deserved better. Interplay between keys and a rampaging guitar hinted at White Sister only with added bite, and a cover of Steve Perry's 'Captured By The Moment' fitted them like a glove alongside the likes of 'Black Cat' and 'Kill The Darkness', the latter from a to-be-recorded third album, potentially titled 'The Scam'.
Quite aside from having a stand-in lead singer, Night By Night were plagued by amplifier issues, spending a big chunk of their set as four-piece, as farts and splutters emanated from the corner of second guitarist Tom Daniel. It mattered little, as the likes of 'Time To Escape', 'Holding Onto Holding On' and 'This Is The Moment' reminded us why the band have caught the ear of Def Leppard's Rick Savage. A set-closing version of Aerosmurf's 'Love In An Elevator' was also well suited to their general slickness and great harmonies.
If NxN suffered technical gremlins, White Widdow experienced a full-blown technical meltdown yet somehow managed to escape from the wreckage unscathed. Incredibly, they were forced to play 'Change Of Passion' without guitarist Enzo Almanzi after a string broke and there was no replacement instrument at hand. Luckily, a mix of boozy good cheer, great songs – largely from their third album, 'Crossfire' – and an irrepressible nature carried them across the finishing line. As they encored with a version of Dokken's 'Unchain The Night' I got my second name-check of the evening when Jules Millis laughed: "I hope that Dave Ling doesn't say: 'they really fuckin' butchered that one'… we're doing this 'cos we love it". Relax guys, you didn't butcher anything!
Saturday 7th March
Regrettably, my Friday evening was spent at a place called Proud Camden – what a nest of smug, wanky, self important, fashion obsessed wankers. Rest assured it's a venue that I shall never visit again. The things we will do for rock 'n' roll, in this instance a gig by Stockport hard rockers Federal Charm, who turned in a very good though ultimately truncated set for an audience that really didn't deserve their effort. Watching bearded idiots in skinny jeans attempting to dance to hard rock is always comical, but the funniest and most tragic thing about the evening was the response to FC's only cover of the night, a rather splendid re-make of Led Zeppelin's 'Nobody's Fault But Mine'. Instead of heightening the mood, most of these fops put their hands in their pockets and began chatting among themselves. Quite what that said about Federal Charm and/or the evening I couldn't begin to speculate.
I picked up a copy of the Mirror on the night bus home. That useless twat Robbie Savage has a column in the sports section and the tag-line says: 'Mr Marmite, love him hate him, you can't ignore him'. So of course I threw it in the bin. Imagine my surprise, then, to later be informed that Savage is actually a fan of Classic Rock and recently Tweeted positively about a recent story that I'd written, with the words (in text-speak, naturally): "Gr8 Quo write up by Dave Ling. Palace fan 2". Though he had the barnet in his days as a player, I truly didn't see that one coming: the universe just gets stranger and stranger. But I wouldn't mind betting that Lilly Savage prefers Quo Lite to the Frantic Four... hehehe.
Friday 6th March
Last night had something of a Scottish theme, as I started the evening with an unplugged three-song set from Gun, who were in town to set that ball rolling for a new studio album called 'Frantic'. Before a highly inebriated crowd at Bar Soho they ran through three of its selections – the title cut, 'One Wrong Turn' and 'Never Knew What I Had', followed by golden oldie 'Better days'. Former bass player Dante Gizzi is becoming more and more comfortable in his role as frontman, and I must say that the new material sounded rather splendid.
Pausing only for a deep fried Mars bar or three, I moved onto the Borderline for a first sighting of King King. Blues-rock with Bad Company and Whitesnake overtones, what's not to love (except the kilts)? Fresh from a well received tour supporting John Mayall the fast-rising quartet were making their central London debut as headliners, previewing tunes from a third album, 'Reaching For The Light', contents of which provided many of the evening's highlights, though my own favourite, the delicious 'A Long History Of Love', dates back to its award-winning predecessor 'Standing In The Shadows'.
And full marks for including a brilliant cover of Frankie Miller's 'Jealousy' during a performance that could and should go a long way towards elevating King King in the grand scheme of things. They certainly got an enthusiastic thumbs up from me. Try taking a look at this brilliant YouTube clip of 'A Long History Of Love' and maybe give then new album a listen.
Their set-list ran as follows: 'Hurricane', 'Don't You Get The Feeling (You've Been Had)', 'Wait On Time', 'More Than I Can Take', 'A Long History Of Love', 'You Stopped The Rain', 'Take My Hand', 'Jealousy', 'Waking Up', 'Stranger To Love', 'All Your Life', 'Old Love' and 'Let Love In'. (Thanks to John Bull for allowing me to use his great photograph of the show).
Thursday 5th March
Oh look... Oz-rock legends The Angels are to visit the Garage in London on June 3 as part of their 40th anniversary tour. David Gleeson of the Screaming Jets is their new singer, apparently, taking the place of the late Doc Neeson... rest assured, I'll be having a little bit of that!
Wednesday 4th March
How very disappointing that Palace lose last night to a late goal at Southampton, especially as Zaha hit the inside of a post during what was a very even game. But let's not forget that Saints were chasing the top four and the Eagles were devastated by injury and suspension. It shows how far we've come as a club in a relatively short amount of time. It also suggests that, based on that performance, the Saints flatter to deceive as Euro-worthy fodder.
By the way, Happy birthday to Chris Squire of Yes, born in London on this day in 1948. Here's one of my all-time fave photos, taken with another guy who knows his way around a bass guitar, at an Iron Maiden after-show party in 2006.
Tuesday 3rd March
Yippee, our free coach tickets for the trip to Stoke have arrived: a first awayday of this season for Eddie and I... really can't wait!
BTW, to the buffoon(s) who thought it would be a good idea for Starz and Night Ranger to play separate shows in London on the same night next week – FOAD! That is so, so frustrating.
Monday 2nd March
I'm grooving along to 'Goody 2 Shoes & The Filthy Beast', the newie from veteran US funk-rockers Mother's Finest. Sad to report there's a European tour in March and April, but no friggin' UK date...
Still on the subject of great music, I really like this song from Neonfly, one of the UK's most improved young metal acts.
Sunday 1st March
Watching the Cricket Word Cup game between Sri Lanka and England as I type, and I've a query: It's a question I've asked myself a hundred times before but 12 hours + on the ale demands a reprise: How on earth is that useless wanker Malinga allowed to bowl? Thank the Lord he seems to have eaten Meat Loaf (and his entire backing band) for breakfast! [Edit: Not that the handicap of Malinga's size would work in England's favour – we still lost the game. Grrrrr].
Anyway, what a beautiful day for a park run to ease away a nasty hangover - the longest one I've done for quite a while, in fact. The agenda reads as follows: Shower... the East Anglian derby... the rugby... a phone interview with Bob Young for the expanded Quo re-issues, and that I guess that could well be it for the day.
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