Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

Sunday 13th April
Were there a shred of justice, CPFC supremo Tony Pulis would be hailed as the Premier League’s manager of the year. Yesterday’s 1-0 victory over Aston Vanilla was not only Palace’s third consecutive victory but the club has kept a clean sheet throughout that timeframe, scoring five goals in reply. Having leapfrogged their opponents Palace now occupy 12th place in the table, a cushion of seven points above the dreaded trapdoor. Survival is by no means a certainty though some bookies are no longer accepting wagers on the matter. But do you know what most annoys me? You go out to buy the Sunday papers and their reports are all about Villa being sucked into relegation scrap, with barely a mention of the team that actually won the friggin’ game. Journos? They’re all scum!
Following a long, long, long, long day of imbibing, Saturday night was spent at the White Horse pub in Selhurst where a surprise birthday party was thrown for my good friend Paul Newcomb by his better half Rita. It’s a measure of the man that various members of our usual going-going clique – take a bow David Boyce, Noel Buckley, Kevin Nixon and Terri Weston – would dare to brave the supposed horror of South London’s suburbs to celebrate the occasion. It was quite a night… eldest lad Eddie has revealed that he escorted me to my bed after we had watched Match Of The Day, cheering like loonies as Jason Puncheon’s shot cannoned in off the inside of the post. Oh, the shame… hehe.
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Saturday 12th April
Oh bugger, here’s another example of those wanky gig clashes. All of the following bands are set to play in London on Weds July 9: Extreme (at the Forum), Sebastian Bach (in Islington) and Vain (at the Camden Underworld). Grrrrrrrr! How stupid is that? It’s the worst example of schedule collisions that I can recall since we were forced to decide between The Brotherhood Of Man, Dawn, Julio Iglesias, the Wombles and John Denver back in ’74. Hahaha.
Anyway, it’s a *huge* day for my beloved Crystal Palace FC, who this afternoon are set to take on the Benteke-less Aston Vanilla at Fortress Selhurst. The sun is shining. Time for a quick park run and shower, and a bottle of wine to calm the nerves before leaving. We’ve already beaten our opponents at Vanilla Park earlier this season… Three wins in a row, maybe? We can do this!!!! COYP!
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Friday 11th April
As another frantic week draws to a close I’m busy compiling the gig guide for the May issue of Classic Rock’s sister magazine, Blues. My listening material includes Little Feat’s ‘Live In Holland 1976’, an excellent CD+DVD two-disc set from Eagle Vision, and a double-CD of ‘The Best Of Wilko Johnson’. Crank up dat volume!
Of course, the first three albums from Led Zeppelin are to be re-issued on June 2, each re-mastered by Jimmy Page and containing a host of unreleased companion audio. Check out the official trailer.
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Thursday 10th April
Last night I was among a sold out crowd for Halestorm’s gig at the Forum in Kentish Town. I’d enjoyed seeing the female-fronted Pennsylvanian band twice before – once with Shinedown at the Roundhouse and also opening for Alter Bridge at Wembley – but never experienced them as headliners. Their show was excellent. Led by 29-year-old singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale, they are really catching on popularity-wise, especially with females… I can’t recall the last time I heard anywhere near as much girlie screaming at a rock concert.
No wonder: Hale certainly ticks all of the necessary boxes. She’s smart and able to get a crowd behind her from the very first note to the last. She’s also talented, sharing guitar duties equally with Joe Hottinger and tinkling the piano during the haunting ballad ‘Breathe In’ in addition to possessing an emotive, powerful voice. In a musical sense she’s well educated, crooning Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gold Dust Woman’ mid-show and screaming down the walls during a great remake of ‘Dissident Aggressor’ by Judas Priest (when they played with Shinedown she offered a great acapella rendition of Heart’s ‘Crazy On You’). Clad in killer heels, leggings and sporting a pair of shades that were thrown into the crowd two numbers in, she’s also smoking hot in a visual sense, though unlike Taylor Momsen from The Pretty Reckless, who makes a point of rubbing her sexuality in your face at every available opportunity, Hale prefers to infer things with a degree of subtlety.
Few of the quartet’s songs outlast the three minute mark and each is possessed of a fist-punching hook. Though an almost ten-minute drum solo from Lzzy’s brother Arejay represented a severe test of patience, I can only I agree with the late, great Ronnie James Dio (whose ‘Straight Through The Hart’ the band covered five songs in): Halestorm are firmly established among an elite group of acts capable of carrying the torch onwards for this style of music. Okay I’m not particularly sure that I’d still like to see Lzzy gone to seed at the age of fifty, complete with bingo wings and hair extensions, bawling out ‘You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing’, though it would be no less embarrassing that many other sights currently available to concertgoers of a certain age. Aired at the start of the encore, a brand new song titled ‘Mayhem’ from a soon-to-come third studio album screamed out the message in ten-foot letters: This band will be enormous. In some ways they already are. Here’s the set-list: ‘Miss The Misery’, ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’, ‘It’s Not You’, ‘Freak Like Me’, ‘Straight Through the Heart’, ‘You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing’, ‘Innocence’, ‘Don’t Know How To Stop’, ‘Rock Show’, ‘Gold Dust Woman’, ‘Break In’, ‘Familiar Taste Of Poison’, Drum Solo, ‘Dissident Aggressor’, ‘Mz Hyde’, ‘Daughters Of Darkness’ and ‘I Get Off’, followed by ‘Mayhem’, ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Here’s To Us’.
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Wednesday 9th April
Oh wow… I’ve spent the afternoon investigating an advance listening link to ‘Pale Communion’, the forthcoming album from Opeth (amusingly, the spellcheck just amended that to ‘Palace Communion’ – hahaha, force of habit or what?!). As expected, it’s little short of immense. Band leader Mikael Åkerfeldt has certainly achieved his goal of “doing something more melodic with this album”. It drops via Roadrunner Records on June 16, and unless you’re one of the final remaining diehards that wishes the Swedes still favoured growly death metal, it’s hard to consider anybody being disappointed.
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Tuesday 8th April
Following last night’s wonderful 5-1 annihilation at the hands of Tottenham, I wonder how Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole feels this morning. The midfielder recently gave a provocative interview in which he boasted: “If we [Sunderland] go down this season and Crystal Palace don’t, there’s something very wrong here.” All I can say in reply to that is… thanks very much for this season’s four points, you conceited, deluded asswipe. Enjoy life in the Championship.
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Monday 7th April
Here’s an interesting interview with Francis Rossi from the Irish Times, in which he confirms his own reasons for the Frantic Four having “run its thing”. I suppose I can understand his opinion, but that doesn’t mean I must like it. Haha.
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Sunday 6th April
What a cider-tastic night at Wedfest, the nuptials of the newly spliced Mr & Mrs Riddles. As arranged I met my partner in grime, Mark Taylor, at Liverpool Street station for the outward journey just as the Cardiff-Palace game kicked off. My innumerable anxious glances at the BlackBerry paid off as the Eagles took the lead and then doubled it. I’m happy to say that the game finished 3-0 to the away side – three absolutely priceless points for the men from SE25.
It was time to celebrate. The party was already underway as we bowled up at the Corn Exchange in Hertford. Indeed Stampede’s Reuben Archer was already in ad advanced state of refreshment, having spent the afternoon in the hotel bar making the most of cheap double shot with Gaskin’s Paul Gaskin – top work fellas! As we grabbed some drinks the live music began with a band that included the groom, Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell of Bad Company fame and ex-Tank drummer Mark Brabbs, who blitzed through the likes of ZZ Top’s ‘Gimme All Your Loving’, and ‘Working Class Man’ by Jimmy Barnes. As these things tend to do when you’ve a glass in your hand, time flew by. The NWOBHM band Desolation Angels arrived onstage for a very decent short set that previewed the first new material in 20 years, namely ‘The Sweeter The Meat’ and ‘Set The Spirit Free’, with Mr Riddles stepping up to join them for their final song, ‘Valhalla’.
Some nosebag seemed in order and following one of the hottest vindaloo curries I’ve enjoyed in many a long year it was time for some serious drinking. The final part of the evening was spent popping up the bar with Tino Troy of Paying Mantis, who has a great mine of rock ‘n’ roll stories, and the guitarist’s ‘better half’, Ash. Before long security were in ‘finish your drinks and get out of here’ mode. However, it had been a first-class evening and loath as I am to saying anything positive about the institution of matrimony, the bride and groom made a lovely couple. Here’s wishing them love, life and continued happiness.
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Saturday 5th April
Okay, a new web article details the five grounds with the best atmospheres in the Premier League. And guess which club came top? (*Blushes with pride!*) And WFT is this all about? Cardiff boss Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer reckons he will force ex-Palace star Wilfried Zaha to celebrate should he score against his former side in today’s relegation six pointer. Keep your Goddamned nose out of another individual’s business you no longer babyfaced Norwegian c**t. He ain’t even your player. COYP!!!
Sadly, I won’t be at today’s game as Mark Taylor and I are set to trek into the wilds of Harlow for the wedding for former Angel Witch and current Tytan man (mountain) Kevin Riddles to the delightful Julie Wickenden. A hotel has been booked for an overnight stay. Hospital release forms have been signed. All those TV programmes about wild behaviour in Essex? In the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, b-b-baby… you ain’t seen nuffink yet.
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Friday 4th April
Dave Ling OnlineAs you can see from this rather silly photograph my friend Mark Taylor and I experienced a basic arithmetic problem at last night’s launch party for ‘Homo Erraticus’, the new solo album from Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson: Too many beers and too few mouths!
It was a great evening, with Steven Wilson, Danny Cavanagh of Anathema and No Man’s Tim Bowness (who recently a signed a solo deal with Inside Out) all among a fairly large gathering at the Record Club in Camden. As the bottles of Beck’s flowed, Anderson was the subject of a typically lively audience Q&A, the course of which touched upon matters political, unusual handshakes and… er… rectal bowel cancer check-ups. A few short snippets of ‘Homo Erraticus’ were played amid the banter, and they sounded great. My friend Jerry Ewing of Prog magazine has heard the entire album and awarded hearty approval.
We have having such fun that wallets were produced after the bar tab expiration and (inevitably), Taylor and I ended up in a local pub for a final tincture or two. In the cold light of day, that was a pretty silly decision.
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Thursday 3th April
Just received a great email from Dante Bonutto at Spinefarm Records, asking whether I can review ‘Diamond In The Firepit', the new album from Finnish melodic rockers Brother Firetribe that feature Nightwish’s Emppu Vuorinen on guitar, in the new issue of Classic Rock. Dante and I have been acquainted for many, many years and he knows my Achilles’ heel all too well. “Is it just me or does the cover artwork look a little like a crystal palace?” he wrote, somewhat gamely. So my reply was perhaps inevitable: “Okay, let’s put them on the cover, then.” Hahaha. It’s a superb record, actually.
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Wednesday 2nd April
Not much to report as Classic Rock is on production deadline – I am reviewing a brand new Gotthard album that’s suitably entitled ‘Bang!’ as I type this; thankfully it’s much better than the group’s previous offering! – and my dad has just come out of hospital after a knee op, so Ling Towers is even busier than normal. The monthly Playlist updates are here and YouTube here.
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Tuesday 1st April
Eldest lad Eddie sat up in bed and roared: “Nooooooo!” when I woke him with the shock overnight news that ManUre have sacked Moyes and, distressingly, replaced him with Palace kingpin Tony Pulis. He was a little happier that Wilf Zaha is coming home to Selhurst Park as a sweetener for the deal. And then I reminded him of today’s date. After he calmed down the poor blighter laughed: “I am disowning you as my father!” What a brilliant wind-up…
What a strange night at the Hammersmith Apollo as the Frantic Four played the third and final of their London reunion shows. I was allotted almost the exact same seats as on Friday and Saturday, three rows back and with a glorious view of the stage. The set-list remained identical – obviously! – but with the venue less than sold out there was no way the atmosphere could touch the fever pitch of Saturday’s performance. Rossi was quite rightly annoyed by a persistent backline buzz that could be heard through the PA for a number or two, but the band played wonderfully well. There were broad smiles on the faces of all four band members when John Coghlan threw in a spontaneous mini-drum solo at the end of ‘Bye Bye Johnny’, and I won’t have been alone in experiencing extreme sadness as the final curtain bows were taken. Messrs Parfitt, Lancaster and Coghlan seemed reluctant to take their leave, finally doing so with arms around each others’ waists, but you knew that by the time they’d done so the evening’s other, less enthusiastic, participant would already have been in his cab and on the way home.
Incidentally, whilst arriving for the show Alan’s delightful wife Dayle introduced herself to me, smiling broadly whilst relaying that before they’d left Australia for the tour a doctor’s report had given the bassist the all-clear of multiple sclerosis… great news, I’m happy for them both.
And as if the well of emotions wasn’t already deep and complicated enough as my favourite band bade farewell, let’s just throw in the news that the news that West Ham had stuffed relegation rivals Sunderland by two goals to one up at the Stadium Of Shite. A wonderful Brucie bonus for all Palace fans. So I decided that I *would* have a wee post-gig drinkie after all.