Celebrating four decades of existence, The Damned were on a special UK tour commemorating the milestone, which saw a live incarnation of their 1976 debut album, ‘Damned Damned Damned’, including their first single ‘New Rose’, both of which are also marking their 40th anniversaries this year.

The night began with support from Pauline Murray’s Penetration, who this year also celebrate their 40th anniversary, performing from their newest studio album, ‘Resolution’, released after almost as long and a selection from their classic collection of punk hits, such as ‘Don’t Dictate’ and Buzzcocks cover ‘Nostalgia’. They played a short set, unfortunately without their current drummer, John Maher (Buzzcocks/The Invisible Girls).


And then with founding members vocalist Dave Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible at the helm, The Damned quickly cancelled out the cheesy entrance music with their version of “righteous indignation”, launching into opening single ‘Neat Neat Neat’ and continuing on in track order with ‘Fan Club’. They skipped ‘Born To Kill’, delayed to later in the set, instead going straight into the moody trudge of ‘Feel The Pain’.

the-damnedThe band played their debut single and the first punk rock single ever recorded, ‘New Rose’, before doing the remainder of the album, ending on Stooges ‘1970’ cover, ‘I Feel Alright’. After they completed the set in just over half an hour, there was a breather, before they embarked on the rest of the setlist featuring a retrospective mix of songs from their vast catalogue over the years.

Keyboard player Monty Oxymoron introduced the second set with his church organ, setting the tone for the opening track of 1985 gothic album ‘Phantasmagoria’, ‘Street Of Dreams’. Trumpet player, Chris Coull, joined the band for five songs including parts in ‘Grimly Fiendish’ and 1986 cover hit ‘Eloise’, sandwiched between songs taken from their 1982 album ‘Strawberries’, which featured consistently in the set. They ended on their third album, ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’, with ‘Anti-Pope’, finalising the set on both parts of ‘Smash It Up’.

the-damned-1For the encore, the Captain sang a solo of ‘Life Goes On’ before Vanian rejoined to perform the band’s rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’, ending their spectacular anniversary show on a return to ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ with ‘Melody Lee’ and ‘Noise Noise Noise’. The Damned provided a lengthy night of instrumental nail-on-the-head sonics, impressionable stage presence, silliness and attitude demonstrating that 40 years of punk rock is still running through their veins.

26/11/16: The Damned + Penetration @ O2 Academy Brixton, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.






On their ‘A Very British Synthesizer Group’ UK and European tour, electronic synthpop pioneers The Human League performed a setlist of tracks to promote last month’s release of their four-disc anthology of the same name, ahead of celebrating their 40th anniversary next year.

Opening the set on influential and stark track, ‘Being Boiled’, original frontman Philip Oakey entered the stage alone, standing infront of a screen playing film footage of war: as on previous tours, the band fully utilised visuals to enhance their arty synthpop image as well as undergoing several costume changes throughout the course of the evening.

the-human-league-1The most prominent album to feature in the setlist was ‘Dare’, from which they performed their second song of the night, the stripped down ‘Sound Of The Crowd’, for which The Human League backing vocalists Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall joined Oakey onstage (symbollically in accordance with it being the band’s first track to contain female vocals); the song synchronised with a background video showing faces of political figures warping into animal faces (or in Donald Trump’s case, a baboon’s arse).

They diverted to their latest album, 2011’s ‘Credo’, with Japanese synth track ‘Sky’, also on the anthology, for which the top part of the screen was lifted to reveal an upper level to the stage on which the backing band were situated, on guitar, keytar, electronic drums and synthesiser. With Oakey exercising about the stage and climbing the stairs to the upper level, they played 1990 single ‘Soundtrack To A Generation’ and then returned to ‘Dare’ with the two-note chorded ‘Seconds’, before doing one of the only songs in the setlist that didn’t feature on an album, ‘(Keep Feeling) Fascination’.

Further tracks from ‘Dare’ arrived in the form of 1981 single ‘Love Action (I Believe In Love)’ and chart topping hit ‘Don’t You Want Me’. For the encore, The Human League also played from the ‘Dare’ album with the estranged flute sound and thickly pasted keys of ‘The Things Dreams Are Made Of’ and ended the night on a cover of Oakey and Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 commercially successful single ‘Together In Electric Dreams’.

13/12/16: The Human League @ Royal Festival Hall, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



the-raincoats-angel-olsen-1To commemorate Rough Trade’s 40th anniversary, The Raincoats, formed of co-founding members Ana da Silva and Gina Birch, did a collaboration show with folk and indie rock singer-songwriter Angel Olsen and her band.

They opened their set on a Patti Smith cover, ‘Because The Night’, sang by Olsen, moving onto The Raincoats’ debut 1979 studio album with ‘The Void’, also sang by Olsen, which began on a violin and slow bass introduction later sped up by da Silva’s guitar and shortly bouncing drum beats.

Being a collaboration, The Raincoats performed some of Olsen’s own songs, including ‘Forgiven/Forgotten’ from her second studio album, ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’. It was then a switch to brand new Raincoats’ material with ‘Feminist Song’; rumbling distortive waves accompanying Birch’s punchy narrative.

They returned to Olsen’s second studio album with country march ‘Hi Five’ before more Raincoats’ material, performing ‘No Love’ to a backing track with shrill violin parts. Olsen’s country folk single ‘Sweet Dreams’ showcased her distinct wavering octaves.

the-raincoats-angel-olsen-2The room then lit up with the light specks of the Islington Assembly Hall’s disco ball for new Raincoats’ song ‘Disco Ball’, followed by another called ‘Pussy Riot’ – a feminist industrial rap for the 21st Century. They closed their main set on The Kinks’ ‘Lola’, featured on the A-side of The Raincoats’ eponymous debut album.

They played Olsen’s ‘Not Gonna Kill You’ and The Raincoats’ first single ‘Fairytale In The Supermarket’ for the encore on which they ended the night. A well harmonised evening that captured both raw, feminine punk identity and powerful but traditional country infusion. It’s now a case of watch this space for a Raincoats new album inclusive of their new material and a full set of UK tour dates.

03/11/16: The Raincoats + Angel Olsen @ Islington Assembly Hall, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.





Celebrating their 40th anniversary, Buzzcocks were on their ‘Buzzcocks 40’ tour, featuring a selection of single and album material spanning their four-decade history, largely amassing in the early part of that period, the whole duration of which Pete Shelley (guitar, vocals) and Steve Diggle (guitar, backing vocals) have remained steadfast members.

They began with a track from their very first record: ‘Boredom’ from the band’s 1976 ‘Spiral Scratch’ EP, albeit sung by original vocalist Howard Devoto on the record. Pete Shelley took over vocals after Devoto’s departure from the band, himself and Diggle not quite managing the speed of the somg but commenting on the noise meter restrictions the last time his band played Roundhouse.

Then moving forward in time to their 1978 debut album, ‘Another Music In Another buzzcocks-1Kitchen’, playing ‘Fast Cars’ and third single ‘I Don’t Mind’, followed soon after by ‘Autonomy’ and the epically instrumental fourth single ‘Moving Away From The Pulsebeat’. Diggle’s experimentals abraded against Shelley’s rhythm guitar in ‘Love Bites’ track, ‘Nothing Left’.

They closed their main set on another single, with 1979 ‘You Say You Don’t Love Me’ and a contrasting return to the rough and ready ‘Spiral Scratch’ with ‘Time’s Up’, sang by Shelley better than its companion track had been at the start of the night.

Buzzcocks returned to stage for their encore of four 1977-79 singles that they cut their teeth on: ‘What Do I Get?’, ‘Orgasm Addict’, ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’ and finishing their show on an enlongated version of ‘Harmony In My Head’, with Diggle leading audience participation in the chorus and featuring his “corporate train” political ramblings.

21/10/16: Buzzcocks @ Roundhouse, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



the-mission-1To mark their 30th anniversary and the release of their new album, The Mission played their first extensive tour since 2011, sharing the stage with Peter Murphy and still with their original lineup of Wayne Hussey (guitar, vocals), Simon Hinkler (guitar) and Craig Adams (bass, vocals), in addition to Mike Kelly (drums) and Evi Vine, who provided backing vocals in parts of the set.

Arriving on stage to a famous piece of classical music, the band immediately flung themselves into the 19-song setlist, beginning with ‘Beyond The Pale’, Hussey nursing a cold, and continuing the set on Neil Young’s ‘Like A Hurricane’. Hussey questioned sound problems before launching into ‘Naked And Savage’, with its stepped guitar riff.

the-mission-2They also performed from their new album, ‘Another Fall From Grace’, released last month, with ‘Blood On The Road’. The build-up vibrato of Hinkler’s A.C.: Zemaitis dominated in ‘Like A Child’ before the gothic ode ‘Severina’; Hussey once again remarking on sound issues at the end of the song concerning Vine’s vocals.

The band returned to their new album with ‘Met-Amor-Phosis’, featuring Hinkler’s distinct hammer-ons and pull-offs, the third and final new track of the night. They then arrived towards the end of their main set on gothic power ballad ‘Tower Of Strength’.

There were two encores, the first beginning on an acoustic duet of ‘Black Mountain Mist’, sang by Hussey and Vine. The second encore contained an instrumental from ‘Wake (RSV)’ with guest guitarist Rob Holliday (Marilyn Manson/Gary Numan) joining the band onstage. And then finally a couple of predicatable hits and a burst of confetti falling from above to end their sold-out show.


08/10/16: The Mission @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



For the first time this year, Mike Watt returned to the UK, this time as one third of Il Sogno Del Marinaio (Italian for ‘The Sailor’s Dream’) alongside Stephano Pilia and Andrea Belfi, on the band’s European tour of their second album ‘Canto Secondo’, delivering a total of 32 dates across the continent.

They began their set on ‘Il Sogno Del Fienile’, with its springy country blues guitar and crashing percussion, before the more complete and melodic ‘Partisan Song’. The funky ‘Sailor Blues’ followed, transforming halfway through its duration into a river of free flowing blues-jazz fusion rock. ‘Nanos’ Waltz’ saw Watt do vocals accompanied by Pilia’s flamenco guitar.

‘Funanori Jig’ featured Watt’s cranky bass riff and Belfi’s jingly percussion, finishing with Pilia’s ice-cream truck guitar. They moved onto the chaotic ‘Us In Their Land’, with its spider-crawling-up-the-drain guitar scale and a difficult to decipher song end. Belfi’s ‘Auslander’ followed, which he performed the vocals for in amongst metallic keytone guitar.

The band then played the interrupted ska composition ‘Stucazz?!!’, with Watt thanking the audience before finishing their main set on ‘Punkinhed Ahoy’. Il Sogno Del Marinaio owes its foundation to the string craftsmanship of Pilia, who created a whirring stream of noise rock in last song ‘Zoom’, providing the encore. A whole of separate parts that comes together so well.

07/10/16: Mike Watt + Il Sogno Del Marinaio @ O2 Academy2 Islington, London.

© Ayisha Khan.



peter-hookPlaying the 1987 and 1988 New Order and Joy Division albums, both titled ‘Substance’, Peter Hook + The Light performed live for the first time back-to-back sets of tracks taken from the two compilation releases.

The first set featured the New Order release, the band – formed of Hook’s son Jack Bates (bass), David Potts (guitar/vocals), Andy Poole (keyboards) and Paul Kehoe (drums) – beginning with the soft glow of ‘Lonesome Tonight’ and leading onto the chiming guitar of the epic ‘Ceremony’.

The richocheting beats and twang of ‘Everything’s Gone Green’ and ‘Temptation’ were followed by ‘Blue Monday’, bringing New Order’s dance electronica ideals to fruition, the latter with its combination of electro beats, techno keyboard, synth, guitar and crashing drum brackets, and Hook’s irregular drum machine bashings.

Throughout the set Hook alternated between vocals and playing bass, moving from centre to stage left and right. They played the synthwave highs of ‘Thieves Like Us’ and ‘The Perfect Kiss’, the latter with its Joy Division signature guitar and clattering percussion. They ended the first set on the upbeat ‘True Faith’ and ‘1963’.

peter-hook-1After a short interval, the band proceeded to play Joy Division’s ‘Substance’, starting with ‘No Love Lost’. The estranged guitar riffs of ‘Komakino’ were succeeded by the acridity of ‘Warsaw’ and the hysterical ‘Leaders Of Men’. They then showcased the staccato pluckings of ‘Digital’.

Futher Joy Division staples such as ‘Transmission’, with its wirey guitar interludes, and the clatter of ‘She’s Lost Control’, continued to highlight the stripped-back contrast against the previous bass dominated New Order set. They finished their show on ‘Atmosphere’ and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, the former dedicated to the later Manchester post-punk legend Alan Wise and the latter to the band’s frontman Ian Curtis.

17/09/16: Peter Hook + The Light @ O2 Forum, London.

Photos © Mark L Hill.

© Ayisha Khan.




ruts-dc-1To mark the release this month of their first studio album in 35 years, Ruts DC, with founding members bass guitarist John ‘Segs’ Jennings and drummer David Duffy, did a special launch show for their fans, who helped fund the album ‘Music Must Destroy’ through PledgeMusic.

The band began with ‘West One (Shine On Me)’ and the reggae jam ‘Mighty Soldier’, moving onto their debut 1979 album, ‘The Crack’, with ‘S.U.S’ and ‘It Was Cold’, the latter of which they dedicated to the band’s original vocalist, the late Malcolm Owen.

They then consecutively played most of the songs from their new more alternative album, including ‘Soft City Lights’ (which saw guitarist Leigh Heggarty switch down to a Les Paul Junior) and the accompanying mantra single release of the same name, ‘Music Must Destroy’, the video of which features vocals from Ruts fan Henry Rollins, a flashback to their charity performance alongside him in 2007.

ruts-dc-21979 single ‘Jah War’ brought further lashings of reggae dub to the set, which the band dedicated to their original guitarist and founding member Paul Fox, who passed away in 2007. Their newest recruit, David D’Andrade, played guitar alongside Heggarty for parts of the set that featured the new album.

They performed their single ‘Psychic Attack, released earlier this year, with its ‘New Rose’ reminiscent strained guitar and punk drum beats, returning to their old material with 1980 single ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’ and their second single and debut album track ‘Babylon’s Burning’.

The launch show ended on their debut 1979 single ‘In A Rut’ (threaded with ‘Human Punk’) seeing the audience drowning out the chorus. Despite computer programming issues on a few of the new tracks their live performance was unmarred and the new tracks themselves were well delivered for their first-ever airing.

16/09/16: Ruts DC @ Underworld, London.

Photos © Iain McLauchlan

© Ayisha Khan.




The band arrived on stage – their first time at The 100 Club since 2009 – to the opening track ‘Instrumantra’ from their first studio album in 36 years, ‘Resolution’, released last October, before beginning the long delve into their four-decade existence to a warm welcome at the sold-out show.

Without their second guitarist Paul Harvey (replaced by Andy Jennings), frontwoman Pauline Murray and her band played the album mostly in track order, with their new songs ‘Betrayed!’ and single ‘Just Drifting’ featured alongside previous 7″ singles ‘Guilty’ and ‘Sea Song’, before returning again to the new tracks, including their principal single, ‘Beat Goes On’.

The older part of the set then began, with ‘Movement’ and the monolithic Buzzcocks cover ‘Nostalgia’. The ensuing drone of ‘Silent Community’ descended straight into the build up to the band’s frenzied 1977 single, ‘Don’t Dictate’, both songs seeing audience participation.


Guitarist Steve Wallace, the star of the night, perhaps to make up for Harvey’s absence, exerted himself even more than before as witnessed in ‘Firing Squad’, while Murray riddled the audience with her philosophies and thanked the fans for their support over the years.

The band played an encore that included ‘Stone Heroes’ and ended the night on a return to their new album with ‘Calm Before The Storm’, bringing to an end their year-long promotional tour of ‘Resolution’.

19/08/16: Penetration @ The 100 Club, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Honing in on 40 years of punk rock, 999 with its original members Guy Days (guitar) and Pablo Labritain (drums) headed up by the energetic Nick Cash (lead vocals/guitar), began the night with 1980 classic ‘Inside Out’ from their third studio album ‘The Biggest Prize In Sport’.

Cash reminisced about the band’s survival since 1977 despite the BBC’s claims that punk rock wouldn’t last before playing ‘Hit Me’ with its choking guitar riffs and 1978 single ‘Feeling Alright With The Crew’.

B-side ‘Titanic (My Over) Reaction’ from their eponymous debut album featured some jiving ska while Cash performed his perverted, gritty vocals and wolf howls in ‘Lil Red Riding Hood’ from 1981 album ‘Concrete’.


Cash then related the story of how Labritain’s label Labritain records took on EMI and sold more records than them over a three-week period. They went on to play Labritain’s own song, ‘Last Breathe’, featured on their latest album ‘Death In Soho’.

They wound down the evening on 1977 track ‘Emergency’, with its jarring bass drone pulsating throughout the song, and ‘Nasty Nasty’, finishing the encore on ‘I’m Alive’; Cash as always integrating the audience to singalong. Three-chord dance music at its finest.

02/07/16: 999 @ The Dublin Castle, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



MelvinsBeginning their set screetching out the American national album, Melvins ensued to cause the venue to vibrate on the dark industrial experimentation of ‘Eye Flys’ with its piano key bass, wire twanging, knife-on-glass guitar and out-of-sync crashing drums and rolls.

The band formed of Washington-born King Buzzo (lead vocals/guitar) and Dale Crover (drums) with newer member Steve Shane Mcdonald (bass) of hardcore punk supergroup OFF!, having recently released their new album ‘Basses Loaded’, descended into noisy chaos before clearing into a cover of Kiss’s ‘Deuce’ followed by 1994 track ‘Queen’. King Buzzo’s windy guitar then steeped its way through ‘National Hamster’.

After doing a collection of covers by Malfunshun, Green River and Red Kross (McDonald’s other band), the set ground down for ‘Mr. Rip Off’, from 2012 album ‘Freak Puke’, and then the gallop of Alice Cooper’s ‘Halo of Flies’ provided melodic relief with its drum-led instrumental and hungry riffs.

The run-in of songs moved onto the trudge of ‘The Bloated Pope’, with its addictive stripped-to-a-beat sidestepping interludes. Yet the mergeance and continuation of tracks towards the end of the show that sounded very similar did nothing for the variety of the set nor did Melvins promote much of the new album.

However, ‘Night Goat’, with its impending tidal wave of sound spilling off tensive blocks refreshed the palette as the band ended without an encore on their mockery of the Edward Meeker composition ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ from their latest album, before bowing out.

19/06/16: Melvins @ KOKO, London.

© Ayisha Khan.



Adam Ant

Victorious theme music beckoned before the curtain shielding the stage dropped…revealing Adam Ant and his posse, consisting of Will Crewdson (guitar), Tom Edwards (guitar), Joe Holweger (bass) and two platform mounted Burundi drummers Andy Woodard and Jola, who delivered for the first time in its entirety and in sequence the No. 2 chart topping second Adam and The Ants album, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’.

The band, on their 14-date sold-out tour, wasted no time before they had the audience singing along to the first and second tracks, ‘Dog Eat Dog’ and ‘Antmusic’. ‘Feed Me To The Lions’ was the first song in the set that witnessed the arrival of Ant’s heavy rock sound through highly disciplined, synchronised heavy drumming, a brilliant touch that stole away any associated pop puerility and continued through the night.

By the time he had played the flagship track, Ant was clearly enjoying milking the audience’s applause by standing face on and absorbing the oncoming wall of sound in-between songs. But it wasn’t until he had completed the first set on ‘Don’t Be Square’ and ‘The Human Beings’ that he finally greeted them.

Adam Ant

The second set of the night consisted of what Ant described as songs from around the same era, before and after the 1980 release of ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’, essentially the crowd pleasing hits that included his solo work, beginning with the explosive Ants tune ‘Beat My Guest’.

Favourite yodelling anthem ‘Stand And Deliver’ saw the stage light up with flashing red highway beacons as Ant posed cross-armed on the edge. He played guitar for ‘Cartrouble’ before a rare and excellent rendition of his ‘Friend or Foe’ track ‘Desperate But Not Serious’. Ant also related a story of his residing in a small flat in Earls Court that inspired Ants song ‘Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face)’, where he had watched a science fiction film featuring a giant ‘omelette monster’ on his black and white TV.

The band ended the second set on ‘Antmusic’ B-side ‘Fall In’ and ‘Prince Charming’, with the encore featuring a cover of Ant inspiration Marc Bolan’s ‘Get It On’, finalising a grand 28-song setlist on ‘Physical’. The success of the night laid firmly on the shoulders of the symmetrical Burundi drummers and their retrieval of ‘take no prisoners’ heavy rocking from the brink of Ant’s poptastic persona.

10/06/16: Adam Ant @ O2 Academy Brixton, London.

Photo © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



peter-murphy-1Beginning the show on ‘Cascade’ and ‘Indigo Eyes’, Peter Murphy, recently returned from his Stateside tour, revelled in the relief of a stripped down, part-acoustic set, with references to the late David Bowie throughout, including a tribute cover of the ‘Hunky Dory’ track, ‘The Bewlay Brothers’.

Murphy, who was singing and playing the acoustic guitar sitting down for parts of the set, performed alongside Emilio DiZefalo on electric violin, who fleshed out the instrumental of ‘A Strange Kind Of Love’, before the beating drum and tambourine of ‘King Volcano’ began a series of Bauhaus songs, featuring ‘Kingdom’s Coming’ and ‘Silent Hedges’. Murphy returned to his solo work with the long-wave synth of ‘Gaslit’ and his most recent single, ‘Lion’, from his 2014 studio album of the same name.

The band played more from the Bauhaus catalogue with the slow, whirring introduction of ‘Three Shadows Part I’, which funnelled into the bone-chilling wail of ‘Hollow Hills’. Murphy performed an experimental mix with ‘She’s In Parties’, ending the song on a Jamaican dub mashup. He brought the main set to a finish on more Bauhaus in the way of ‘Severance’, with its degenerating riffs.

Murphy played just one song for the encore in tribute to his hero and inspiration David Bowie, ‘Ziggy Stardust’, a track he’s impersonated in many of his live performances over the years and his own person tribute to ‘the black star’.



18/05/16: Peter Murphy @ O2 Academy Islington, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.







The Fall

On the last night of their four-night residency at The Garage following the February release of their EP, ‘Wise Ol’ Man’, The Fall played a one-hour set consisting of tracks taken from their most recent releases, with the majority of the set list derived from their last album, ‘Sub-Lingual Tablet’.

They opened on ‘My Door Is Never’ from ‘Reformation Post TLC’; its whirring guitar drives serving as an introduction before Mark E. Smith arrived onstage to perform his unintelligible murmurings, unusually smartly made-up in a grape coloured shirt. The new electronic sound that characterises their latest album then took over, evident in ‘Venice With The Girls’; unfortunately an overlong track that became too repetitive with its monocellular bashings.

The Fall 1The heavy rock sound of ‘Tuff Life Boogie’ was one of the earliest tracks in the set. ‘Wolf Kidult Man’, from 2008 album ‘Imperial Wax Solvent’, interrupted a steady flow of songs from the latest album and EP. The title track ‘Wise Ol’ Man’ from the EP was crudely sang by Elena Poulou, with Smith handing the microphone to a fan to singalong to the chorus.

They then played two further tracks from ‘Sub-Lingual Tablet’ that typify their electronic, imprintable guitar riffs, ‘Autochip 2014-2016’ and ‘Facebook Troll’, before grinding to a halt on the slacky ‘Pledge’. The Fall’s new material continues to enthrall with its live personification and a new generation of guitar noise and lyrics that resound with past and present.

28/04/16: The Fall @ The Garage, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.






To commemorate reaching their 40-year mark, Chelsea embarked on a 29-date 40th anniversary tour, playing their second date of the tour in London, a rare occurrence and their first show in the capital since January. The only letdown was a slightly poor turnout and the missing James Stevenson, although early member of the band Nic Austin played guitar.

They began with a selection of street anthems from their first two albums, ‘Chelsea’ and ‘Evacuate’, which included ‘Twelve Men’, ‘Come On’ and ‘How Do You Know’, moving onto ‘I’m On Fire’, with its tangy guitar wind-downs, and the B-side of their 1977 debut single, ‘The Loner’; Gene October displaying his scat singing style in the latter.

Tracks off their heavily featured second album continued with ‘Running Free’ and ‘War Across The Nation’, with newer material played from their latest albeit weaker album, ‘Saturday Night Sunday Morning’, in the way of ‘Johnny Has No Respect’.

Chelsea 1

Unfortunately, they didn’t play ‘High Rise Living’ but finished the main set on 1978 single, ‘Urban Kids’, drawn out to include an instrumental and vocal interlude, with its B-side having featured earlier in the set. They ended the evening on a five-song encore, in part played without October, consisting of flagship song ‘Evacuate’ and finishing predicatably on 1977 debut single, ‘Right To Work’.

23/04/16: Chelsea @ The Garage, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



The Monochrome Set

Formed of founding vocalist/guitarist Bid and bassist Andy Warren (Lester Square having left in 2014) aside keyboardist John Paul Moran and drummer Steve Brummell, The Monochrome Set are in the midst of recording their next studio album following on from their most recent records, ‘Spaces Everywhere’, ‘Super Plastic City’ and ‘Platinum Coils’, which they focused at least half of the set list on.

However, the other half of the set was formed of their older compositions, beginning with ‘The Jet Set Junta’ and the band’s first B-side ‘Alphaville’, Bid joking about his poor recall of how to the play some of the songs, evidently reliant on music notes. They returned to their latest album with ‘Iceman’ and ‘Rain Check’, heavier on the organ and electronic effects, before the galloping military drum beats of ‘LSD’.

Bid dedicated ‘Reach For Your Gun’ to their former drummer, the late Nicholas Weslowski, a song they hadn’t played in 20 years and a demo of which features on their latest compilation album, ‘Volume, Contrast, Brilliance: Unreleased & Rare Volume 2’ as well as Volume 1 of the same title.

They also played from their third album ‘Eligible Bachelors’ with garaje o muerte latinised satanic hymn ‘The Devil Rides Out’ and their 1980 debut album ‘Strange Boutique’ with ‘Love Goes Down The Drain’.

The Monochrome Set 1The band were joined onstage for the encore by a stand-in member to play maracas for 1979 single ‘Eine Symphonie Des Grauens’. Breaking with tradition, they remained onstage prior to the encore, which saw them perform two of their well known 1979 tracks, ‘The Monochrome Set’ and ‘He’s Frank’, the latter with Brummell’s Scabies-style precision drumming.

04/03/16: The Monochrome Set @ The 100 Club, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Barry Adamson

Promoting the release of his 10th studio album, ‘Know Where To Run’, Barry Adamson delivered a live set featuring almost every track from the new record with a selection also taken from his last three albums ‘I Will Set You Free’, ‘Back To The Cat’ and ‘Stranger On The Sofa’.

He cracked open with the latest record, playing ‘Up In The Air’ and film noir soundtrack ‘Cine City’; the latter a sleazy blues fusion accompanied by organ whirlwinds and Adamson’s sexy stage shuffles.

2006 track ‘You Sold Your Dreams’ showed the contrast of Adamson’s dark vocals and juddering contralto piano keys against melodic returns, with the afterthoughts of John McGeoch guitar strains. Adamson then returned to the new album, playing keyboard for folk track ‘Come Away’ and the softly soulful, organ infused ‘Claw And Wing’.

Prog-jazz song ‘Mr Greed’ had whistling organ symphonies and mystical instrumental build, while the suave Adamson displayed his expansive vocal repertoire in ‘Civilization’; a Bob Dylan-styled blues tale.

Barry Adamson 1After reminiscing with the audience about the time he had seen David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust tour as a 14-year-old, Adamson’s encore featured his 1998 single ‘Jazz Devil’; a special version he mashed up in tribute to the musician, with its stripped down drum machine suono; a little mangled if anything. He finished the second encore on Sly & The Family Stone cover ‘Thank you (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)’, a welcome stretch back to his days in Magazine.

03/03/16: Barry Adamson @ Islington Assembly Hall, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.