Bill Pritchard

To mark their 15th anniversary, Hamburg-based indie label Tapete Records put on a special weekend hosted by The Lexington to celebrate some of its current roster talent, which included ’80s indie-pop artists Bill Pritchard and The Monochrome Set.

Opening for The Monochrome Set was singer-songwriter Bill Pritchard, who has released two albums on the label to date following a decade-long absence from the scene: 2014’s ‘Trip To The Coast’ and 2016’s ‘Mother Town Hall’. He began his set on 1991 single, ‘Number Five’, moving to the more recent Tapete releases, selecting from his first album on the label with ‘Almerend Road’.

Playing alongside Mike Rhead on electric guitar in a very stripped down affair, Pritchard then went onto his latest Tapete album release, ‘Heaven’ and ‘Mont St. Michel’, which conjured up a mellow surreality, soon contrasted by the slick upbeat single ‘Saturn & Co.’

He harkened back to 1989 with much older material, performing from the French singer Étienne Daho’s produced album ‘Three Months, Three Weeks & Two Days’ – also remastered as a duet on Daho’s 2016 album – doing a great rendition of ‘Sometimes’ and the jangly licks and chords of ‘Tommy & Co.’

Pritchard finished his half-hour set on 2014 Tapete single, ‘Yeah Yeah Girl’, in what was a brief glimpse into his tour de force songmanship and latest work as part of the Tapete family, which continues a journey of personal lyrical insight and refreshing acoustic melodies.

19/11/17: Bill Pritchard @ The Lexington, London.

Photo © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


The ProfessionalsLaunching their new album 40 years to the release day of The Sex Pistols’ infamous record ‘Never Mind The Bollocks…’, entitled ‘What In The World’, Paul Cook and Steve Jones’ spin-off band played a special anniversary and album launch show, the band now formed of Tom Spencer on vocals (The Men They Couldn’t Hang) and guitarist Chris McCormack (3 Colours Red). It was their first new recorded material under the band name in 35 years.

The Professionals opened on ‘Payola’ before playing from their guest contributory new album with ‘Good Man Down’ and then the classic anthem ‘Join The Professionals’. They returned to the new record with ‘Rewind’, a song about memory loss, and ‘Take Me Now’, a track about social media.

Throughout the setlist, the band alternated old tracks with the new ones, playing choral songs such as ‘1-2-3’. They finished the set with more new tracks including a tribute to Lemmy and David Bowie, ‘Going Going Gone’, the recorded version of which contained Jones’s brilliant heavy metal guitar riffs.

The band finished their launch show on a return to their classic material, playing ‘Kick Down The Doors’, with its jagged zigzag guitar and Sex Pistols cover ‘Silly Thing’. Their encore featured two more Pistols covers, ‘Bodies’ and ‘Pretty Vacant’, on which they ended the night. Unfortunately, Spencer’s voice wasn’t suited to the songs but it seemed inappropriate for the two occasions the band were marking not to include them.

28/10/17: The Professionals @ The Garage, London.

Photo © Andy Pearson.

© Ayisha Khan.


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Marking the band’s 40th anniversary this year and following the release of two 7″ singles containing re-recorded demos and covers, Penetration were on a nationwide tour to celebrate reaching their big milestone.

Entering on their new album’s ‘Instrumantra’ introduction, original members frontwoman Pauline Murray and bass player Rob Blamire, joined by guitarists Paul Harvey and Steve Wallace, opened on the new re-recorded demos, ‘Into The Future, ‘Duty Free Technology’ and ‘Race Against Time’, which was a refreshing start to the setlist and originally featured on their official 1979 bootleg, ‘Race Against Time’.

They then played chronologically from their releases, beginning with their classic 1977 debut single ‘Don’t Dictate’, as well as other tracks selected from their debut album, ‘Moving Targets’. Murray also explained that the band were on a learning curve in the early days when they couldn’t play well so would borrow songs such as Patti Smith’s ‘Free Money’ and Buzzcocks’ ‘Nostalgia’, which they then performed.

Penetration moved onto their second studio album, released shortly before they disbanded, ‘Coming Up For Air’, playing a few songs from that record including ‘Shout Above The Noise’, which recently featured on a BBC documentary about Chris Packham, a long-standing fan of the band to whom Murray attributed the song.

For the final chronological episode of their anniversary show, Penetration performed from their newest album, ‘Resolution’, released 15 years after they reformed, which they have toured extensively since its release. They also did their two new covers, Buzzcocks’ ‘I Don’t Mind’ and The Flamin’ Groovies’ ‘Shake Some Action’, both of which were recorded with the drum sound of original Buzzcocks drummer John Maher when he was briefly in the band.

Penetration finished their show on an encore of ‘She Is The Slave’. Unfortunately, the night didn’t come together like an anniversary show due to a disjointed set and the venue lacking a full audience, but huge credit was due to the band for still sounding great after 40 years and for their fresh-sounding releases.

26/10/17: Penetration @ O2 Academy Islington, London.

Photos © The Carouser.

© Ayisha Khan.


Marc AlmondIn his 60th year, Marc Almond releases his 23rd studio album, ‘Shadows And Reflections’, which he played live at a two and a half hour-long show at London’s Southbank. It was split into two sets, the first mainly containing songs from the new album and the second taken from a broader sprectrum of his career.

Equipped with a backing orchestra who began performing the introduction to the new album, ‘Overture’, Almond walked onstage to sing his energetic eponymous opening track, ‘Shadows And Reflections, which was given more life over the recorded version by the backing choir and brass instrumentals, with the singer typically not hitting the top notes.

After comically spitting into a cup due to a phlegm problem, Almond headed into the next song on the album, Billy Fury cover ‘I’m Lost Without You’. He then sang the stripped down ‘Not For Me’, with Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s Neal X on guitar, and catchy Burt Bacharach composition ‘Blue On Blue’. He also introduced his single-to-be, ‘Embers’, co-written with Christopher Braide, performing it after taking another gob in the cup.

Marc Almond 1The new album came to an end with the last track on the record, ‘No One To Say Goodnight To’ – although weaker it was conducted by The Tyburn Tree’s John Harle – and film score ‘Interlude’ by Timi Yuro, which Almond had put off recording until now. He then harkened back to his last album of covers, ‘Stardom Road’, playing David Bowie’s ‘The London Boys’.

For the second set, Almond introduced Martin Watkins on piano for Jacques Brel cover ‘If You Go Away’, which he recorded with Marc and The Mambas in 1982, and his live 1993 single ‘What Makes A Man A Man’; the latter seeing him thump the piano in frustration 50 years on from the decriminalisation of homosexuality, stating he was still a “criminal”. Significantly, he did a duet with one of his male backing singers for ‘Winter Sun’ from 2015’s ‘The Velvet Trail’, an album which continued to feature with ‘Earthly’.

After tributing his old schoolmates from his pre-Soft Cell days of bedroom compositions, Almond performed 1995 single ‘Child Star’ which lit up the venue that up to that point had been so composed from poignant songs, and thereafter transformed the atmosphere, paving the way for Soft Cell dance hit ‘Torch’ and ‘Tenement Symphony’ singles ‘Jacky’ and ‘My Hand Over My Heart’. He finished the set spectacularly with his backing vocalists on ‘I Got To Find Me Somebody’, with a sample of ‘Tainted Love’ also thrown in. It was a brilliant performance of Almond’s tributes to classic songs over the years, showcasing both his bold and intimate personas.

03/10/17: Marc Almond @ Royal Festival Hall, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


The Zombies

Playing their second studio album, ‘Odessey And Oracle’, live for the very last time, The Zombies celebrated 50 years of recording it at Abbey Road Studios in 1967, playing the album in full at a special anniversary show. The 21st century reincarnation of the band did the first set, with Colin Blunstone (vocals), Rod Argent (vocals, keyboards), Jim Rodford (bass), Steve Rodford (drums) and Tom Toomey (guitar).

The band opened on the 1965 B-side, ‘I Love You’, playing songs ahead of the ‘Odessey And Oracle’ second set of the show, which were significant to the band. They played two newer songs, ‘Moving On’ and the bluesy ‘Edge Of The Rainbow’, from their most recent album release, ‘Still Got That Hunger’, displaying their need for ongoing creativity decades after the original classics.

The band then returned to 1965 with their debut UK and US albums, ‘Begin Here’/’The Zombies’, with songs they have always played live in their sets, including single ‘She’s Coming Home’, US hit single ‘Tell Her No’ and covers ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me/Bring It On Home To Me’.

The Zombies also played from their members’ solo and side projects, with Argent introducing his band Argent’s ‘Hold Your Head Up’, composed mainly of organ-led instrumental, before bringing the first set to an end on one of their biggest hits, debut 1964 single ‘She’s Not There’.

The Zombies 1After the interval, the band performed their 1968 album ‘Odessey And Oracle’ in its entirety, with original members Chris White (bass) and Hugh Grundy (drums) joining Blunstone and Argent onstage. A voiceover introduced the album as a bittersweet experience: “the disappointing release, the breakup of a band, a surprise chart-topping hit that came one year too late and a 50-year rediscovery of generations of new fans…”.

The set began with side one of the record: Argent’s ‘Care Of Cell 44’, going onto White’s ‘Brief Candles’. Side two included ‘I Want Her, She Wants Me’ and ended on ‘Time Of The Season’; unfortunately the latter became a hit over a year after the band had split. The show ended with a final encore of ‘She’s Not There’, performed by all surviving original members. Although this is the last time The Zombies are touring the album, if anniversaries are anything they like to celebrate, then the band’s 60th next year will be something to look forward to.

29/09/17: The Zombies @ London Palladium.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


More than a decade since they last worked and played together, singer-songwriting duo Liam McKahey and Davey Ray Moor celebrated the release of their new studio album, ‘CousteauX’, with a special album launch show, released under the amended name they’ve rechristened themselves with for their new musical adventure.

CousteauX began on their eponymous debut album, with ‘Your Day Will Come’, then straight into the new record with brand new single, ‘The Innermost Light’: a dirtier, darker concoction that the band worked on with The Libertines’ Carl Barat, and sung by a singer who brilliantly personifies that sound.

They also played from their second album, ‘Sirena’, with indie-pop song ‘Talking To Myself’ before performing their famous hit, ‘The Last Good Day Of The Year’; Moor simultaneously playing on both keyboard and trumpet. Opening new album track, ‘Memory Is A Weapon’ continued the record’s darker theme and EP title track, ‘BURMA’, featured more of Moor’s distinctive brass sounds.

For their encore, McKahey sang ‘Last Secret Of The Sea’ from ‘Sirena’; its wavering guitar noises stirring up a maritime eeriness. The band also did a slowed down version of ‘I Wish You Were Her’, finishing their very short but sweet show on Leonard Cohen cover ‘So Long Marianne’.

Although CousteauX are exploring newer territory in their current record with its darker, grittier sound, they still retain the summery melodies and golden soundwash that was so important in defining their first record: happily it’s still the same Cousteau.

19/09/17: CousteauX @ The 100 Club, London.

© Ayisha Khan.


Front Line Assembly

Following their return to touring again together last year, electro-industrial duo Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber did a host of European tour dates ahead of the upcoming release of a new studio album.

Their setlist began on one of their most classic albums, 1990’s ‘Caustic Grip’, with the album’s first listed track ‘Resist’, before the band played the futuristic sounds of ‘Neologic Spasm’ off ‘Hard Wired’.

Front Line Assembly 1They went on to play from their last studio album, 2013’s ‘Echogenetic’; ‘Exhale’ ‘s marching electro beats and, for the first show on tour, from ‘Civilization’, performing the single on that album, ‘Vanished’; its synth soundscapes intercepted by Fulber’s cold keys and defined by Leah Randi’s overpowering vocals.

Front Line Assembly’s most acclaimed 1992 album ‘Tactical Neural Implant’ then featured with ‘Remorse’ and its palpitating techno beats, a song which Leeb dedicated to the band’s old label Third Mind records. They closed their main set on the dramatic gothic atmosphere of single ‘Prophecy’.

The band’s first encore consisted of a duo of ‘Tactical Neural Implant’ songs: ‘Gun’ and their best known single, ‘Mindphaser’, with Leeb coming back for a second encore to perform ‘Iceolate’ for nostalgic reasons as one of Leeb’s and Fulber’s earliest collaborations.

24/08/17: Front Line Assembly @ O2 Academy Islington, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Richie RamoneAhead of his appearance at this year’s Rebellion punk rock festival, Richie Ramone, the only singer-songwriting drummer of The Ramones, stopped off in London after a 404-mile trek from his last show in Edinburgh. And even though he hadn’t eaten or rested up since, he gave it his all, unfortunately to a rather lethargic audience very bare on the ground (due to attendance at Rebellion).

Together with his band formed of Ronnie Simmons (lead guitar, backing vocals), Clare Misstake (bass, backing vocals) and Ben Reagan (rhythm guitar, drums), Richie played through a setlist of songs taken from his latest album, ‘Cellophane’, released almost a year ago to the day, and his debut solo album, ‘Entitled’, with the rest of the set made up of Ramones tracks.

He began on drums for a collection of Ramones songs: ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement’ from the band’s debut album, his own song ‘Somebody Put Something In My Drink’ from 1986’s ‘Animal Boy’ and ‘Road To Ruin’ ‘s ‘I Just Want To Have Something To Do’. But, as a fledgling solo artist, he also played from his two solo albums, starting with the dark metal of ‘Better Than Me’ from his debut album.

Richie Ramone 1Richie then swapped his drumkit for vocals only, singing Ramones debut single ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ before moving onto his second solo album with ‘I Fix This’ and a metal cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy The Silence’, but was disappointed by the audience’s inability to amalgamate itself into the music. The band then played Ramones songs for the rest of the set, including Richie’s song ‘I’m Not Jesus’ – brilliantly rendered live with Simmons’ metal guitar – ‘I Wanna Be Well’ from 1977’s ‘Rocket To Russia’ and ‘Commando’ from The Ramones second studio album.

They ended the main set on Ramones’ single ‘Sheena Is A Punk Rocker’. With only a few minutes left before the early curfew, Richie also managed to fit in a few more songs, ending the show on Creedence Clearwater Revival cover ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain?’. Although there was a lack of his own solo material, the privilege of seeing one of the Ramones play the beats of some of the best known songs produced by one of the greatest punk rock bands of all time was something special.

04/08/17: Richie Ramone @ Underworld, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Glen MatlockPerforming for the first time with his new lineup of the band, Glen Matlock headlined a special charity gig in aid of Crohns and Colitis UK together with Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s Neal X (guitar), The Philistines’ Chris Musto (drums) and two Japanese additions on guitar and bass. The gig followed on a year after the band’s 40th anniversary show, but with Chris Spedding not present in the current lineup.

They began on ‘Open Mind’; a guitar medley of rock ‘n’ roll blues, continued in Philistines’ song ‘Burning Sound’ before the band returned to Matlock’s roots with punk classic, ‘God Save The Queen’, for which he encouraged the audience to join in. The pace slowed down for the dirty blues crawl of another Philistines track, ‘Idiot’.

Matlock then played “the most important punk song ever” with a cover version of the 1977 Richard Hell and The Voidoids infuential punk song ‘Blank Generation’ and the much covered Monkees’ track ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone’. He ended the show on The Sex Pistols’ ‘Pretty Vacant’ and ‘All Or Nothing’, for which both the audience were fully enthralled and singing along.

07/07/17: Glen Matlock and His All-Star Band @ The 100 Club, London.

Photo © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


On a night of punk from across the pond, Reagan Youth, JFA and The Weirdos, the latter two touring for the first time in Europe, performed a warm-up gig ahead of their appearances at this year’s “US Invasion” Rebellion festival in Blackpool. Following Fear’s cancellation of their European tour, the supporting bands from their London show joined Weirdos’ bill prior to their performances at Rebellion.

wp-1471812662398.jpgReagan Youth, back in London for the first time since 2009 and having undergone complete rejuvenation since, were only a shadow of the former band that played Underworld back then.

Paul Bakija aka ‘Cripple’, now the only remaining founding member, has recruited a brand new frontman (the latest in a long line of singers) who needed prompting and forgot the words to some songs, which were lost amongst an effort to shift the band’s image to a puerile hardcore style that discredits the lyrical complexity of Dave Insurgent’s original band. They did, however, succeed with ‘Heavy Metal Shuffle’, their frontman jumping off the stage and merging with the crowd.

wp-1471812843094.jpgUp next were Phoenix skate punks, JFA, playing for the first time in Europe and headed up by original members Brian Brandon (vocals/keyboard) and Don ‘Redondo’ Pendleton (guitar). They immediately captured the hardcore playing style, opening on ‘Danny Sargent’s Trucks’ which they performed as a music video in 2010. They moved onto ‘Johnny D’ from their debut album ‘Valley Of The Yakes’, Brandon pacing about the stage like a caged troll.

The band ensued to hit the surf with ‘Baja’, one of their instrumental-only tracks also featured on ‘Valley Of The Yakes’. Their tracks differ from traditional hardcore punk with Redondo’s creative guitar parts intercepting the fast pace and incoherent vocals.

wp-1471812765122.jpgThey succeeded to play War cover ‘Lowrider’, with bass player Corey Stretz doing a sexy shimmy to the funky beat. They also played ‘We Know You Suck’ and ‘Beach Blanket Bongout’ from 1981 debut EP ‘Blantant Localism’ all inside a short half-hour stage time that made them more worthy of headlining.

wp-1471813041771.jpgWeirdos, also playing for the first time in Europe and centred around the Denney brothers, John and Dix, lived up to their name wearing their mismatched stage clothes. With no introductions, they threw themselves into ‘It Means Nothing’, John Denney (vocals) performing in a 60s garage style befitting for a band that emerged in 1975 as an afterthought to the hippy movement but who were quickly dubbed as punk by their fans.

They played 1985 garage single ‘Life Of Crime’ with its raw guitar gratings before performing ‘Happy People’, both featured on the band’s 1978 EP ‘Destroy All Music’. They continued to play from the same record with unashamed rock ‘n’ roll blues track, ‘Jungle Rock’, after which Dix broke his guitar string and Weirdos’ 1978 bass player and Wall Of Voodoo member, Bruce Moreland, who rejoined this year, bragged to the audience about them being one the earliest punk bands to play Rebellion festival.

wp-1471813004752.jpgThey played politically current ‘Fort USA’ before going straight into 1978 second single ‘We Got The Neutron Bomb’ followed soon after by its B-side, Dickies-inspiring ‘Solitary Confinement’. They ended the night on an encore of the western themed ‘The Hideout’, a song covered in 2013 by LA contemporaries Symbol Six on their self-titled album release. Although slightly out of wack with the rest of the night, Weirdos, as an early punk band on the West Coast scene, appropriately summated proceedings.

04/08/16: Reagan Youth, JFA + Weirdos @ Underworld, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Mancunian post-punk funk band A Certain Ratio, formed of Jez Kerr (vocals, bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar, trumpet, percussion), Donald Johnson (drums, bass), Tony Quigley (soprano saxophone, percussion) and Liam Mullan (keyboards), played a rare show in London, with talks of the release of their first studio album since 2008’s ‘Mind Made Up’.

A Certain Ratio 1The band began with ‘Sounds Like Something Dirty’ from their fourth studio album ‘I’d Like To See You Again’; a funky jazz song dominated by Quiqley’s soprano sax. They then played early single, ‘Do The Du (Casse)’, stomping dancey post-punk, similar sounding to Gang Of Four. They also performed another of their early singles, ‘Flight’, featuring Mullan’s electronic effects and Moscrop’s tingling guitar.

A Certain Ratio 2Kerr mentioned the remixes they had been doing in the studio, their first new material since their ninth studio album, of which the title track, ‘Mind Made Up’, they then played, with backing vocals from Denise Johnson. Contrast was brought by ‘Rialto’, which retained the cold Manchester post-punk sound typical of the spawn of so many bands of their time.

ACR included their 1989 album, ‘Good Together’, the recorded track of the same name featuring guest vocals by contemporaries Bernard Sumner and Shaun Ryder, with their live performance sampling The Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations’. They ended the main set on dance funk single ‘Shack Up’.

A Certain Ratio 3For the encore, Donald Johnson exchanged his drum set to do slap bass for ‘Knife Slits Water’, a playing style that influenced future bands that adopted the funk element into their music, such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band then transformed the venue into a Rio carnival atmosphere to end the night on, doing ‘Si Fermir O Grido’, with plenty of whistleblowing and instrument swapping.

24/06/17: A Certain Ratio @ 229 The Venue, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


The SkidsCommemorating their 40th anniversary, the Scottish post-punk rockers have come out of hiding to deliver their first shows in seven years, touring nationwide outside of Scotland which they have not done since they split up 35 years ago.

The band, formed of original vocalist Richard Jobson, guitarist Bruce Watson, original bassist Bill Simpson and drummer Mike Baillie, opened on their second album, ‘Days In Europa’, with ‘Animation’, featuring the quintissentially Scottish guitar sound of original Skids guitarist Stuart Adamson, who died in 2001, recreated live by Watson.

It was then onto their 1979 debut studio album, ‘Scared To Dance’ with the rock anthems of ‘Of One Skin’ and ‘Melancholy Soldiers’, Jobson providing a history of the band in between songs, stating that they wrote them about “our generation without a choice” and that they could change that with “a little bit of music, a little bit of gusto and some terrible dancing”, with him doing his jogging dance routine throughout.

The band reverted back to their second album with ‘Working For The Yankee Dollar’ before performing their third single, ‘The Saints Are Coming’, famously covered in 2006 by U2 and Green Day. Jobson continued, “The Skids songs were anthemic, had big choruses full of hope…they never hid away from the big issues”.

He then introduced ‘Scared To Dance’ by stating, “We didn’t just want to be another 100mph punk band…we wanted to have a bit more elegance than that”, which he attributed the inspiration of to band founder Adamson. They also played their first ever record, ‘Charles’, from the ‘Skids’ EP release, which had a slight Sex Pistols feel to the vocals.

The remainder of the main set was taken from their third studio album, 1980’s ‘The Absolute Game’, before ending it on two of their 1979 singles ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Into The Valley’, the former of which Jobson said was his favourite to perform on tour. Their encore debuted a new song, ‘A World On Fire’, appearing on their forthcoming studio album release, ‘Burning Cities’, due to be their first in over 35 years. They ended the night on a repeat of ‘Of One Skin’.

16/06/17: The Skids @ Roundhouse, London.

© Ayisha Khan.


Following the release earlier this year of his latest studio album, ‘Rock N Roll Consciousness’, Thurston Moore’s band returned to tour in promotion of the new record, playing his hometown of London.

They opened on a new single also released earlier this year, ‘Cease Fire’; a brash guitar song the band debuted two years prior. They juxtaposed this with the soft tiptoeing and warm trills of ‘Turn On’, taken from the new album and also debuted previously.

The band then went straight into ‘Feedback Jam’, which was exactly that: an eerie, creaky, whining of guitar noise which, as usual, saw Moore right up against the amp. They also played ‘Speak To The Wild’, from 2014’s ‘The Best Day’.

Moore soon returned to the new album, playing most of the remaining tracks, including ‘Aphrodite’, which fed into a guitar wailing interlude. He dedicated the rock ‘n’ roll track ‘Exalted’ to the recently passed Anita Pallenberg.

The band did two encores, featuring a new untitled song never played live before that had a thick, heavily layered sound with a country twist and finished on ‘Ono Soul’ from their debut album, ‘Psychic Hearts’.

15/06/17: The Thurston Moore Group @ Scala, London.

© Ayisha Khan.


The Membranes 1Headed by Goldblade frontman John Robb, The Membranes made one of their rare live appearances at this year’s festival, playing the same setlist from previous shows.

The band opened their short set on ‘The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Protons Of Pure White Light’ from their last studio album, ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’, which formed most of the setlist; a chaotic noisiness bludgeoning to a climax. They then moved onto ‘Dark Energy’ also from their last album, with Robb’s reverberating basslines.

The Membranes 2Robb humorously explained the amp making a crackling noise due to faulty equipment as the recreation of the sound of the Big Bang before playing ‘Black Is The Colour’; its rhythmic bass almost overcome by the strength of guitar noise. Robb’s basslines continued in the slow crawl of ‘The Hum Of The Universe’, with them ending the set on ‘Myths And Legends’.

03/06/17: Camden Rocks Festival – The Membranes @ Dingwalls, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



The ProfessionalsTo coincide with the 40th anniversary of ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, post-Pistols band The Professionals are due to release their first studio album, ‘What In The World’, after 35 years on 27th October through PledgeMusic.

Since their reform in 2015 without founding member Steve Jones, the band has been fronted by vocalist and guitarist Tom Spencer (The Men They Couldn’t Hang), original bass player Paul Myers and Pistols drummer Paul Cook, now with Chris McCormack (3 Colours Red) on guitar for their live rendition.

The band performed from their old material but also tried out a couple of the new tracks from the forthcoming release, opening on their 1980 debut single, ‘Just Another Dream’, and then playing catchy new song ‘Good Man Down’, which Spencer dedicated to Cook and his bad leg.

The Professionals 1They also played the 1981 anthemic single ‘Join The Professionals’; puerile but forcefully charged. They then turned to their other single of the same year, ‘Little Boys In Blue’, McCormack’s wild guitar riffs and solos featured throughout.

The Professionals, who ‘arranged’ to have women’s knickers thrown at them during their set (by guys not girls), debuted a second new song from the upcoming album, ‘Take Me Down’, about Facebook obsession. They ended their set on ‘Kick Down The Doors’ from their only studio album, ‘I Didn’t See It Coming’, and Sex Pistols cover ‘Silly Thing’.

03/06/17: Camden Rocks Festival – The Professionals @ Electric Ballroom, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Skinny PuppyCanadian electro-industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy delivered a short European tour, entitled ‘Down The SocioPath Too’, featuring a rare London date, their first since 2010. The band’s core duo of Nivek Ogre (vocals) and cEvin Key (synthesiser, bass) were joined by their touring members Matthew Setzer (guitar) and Justin Bennett (drums).

As usual, the band made use of theatrical visuals and stage props, wearing dark masks and costumes to enhance their performance. They opened on ‘Jahya’ from ‘The Process’, which served as an instrumental introduction before vocalist Ogre appeared onstage wearing a customised mummy costume singing ‘Dogshit’ from ‘VIVIsectVI’.

Skinny Puppy 1The beat picked up for ‘Rabies’ tracks ‘Fascist Jock Itch’, for which a triangular screen projected video footage for the remainder of the set, and the album’s single ‘Tin Omen’, the latter of which was intercepted by a noisy interlude. There was also a minotaur character injecting Ogre with oversized syringes filled with fake blood and flourescent dye, his dosages constantly being adjusted throughout the night.

Skinny Puppy then played ‘Curcible’ with Key’s dark synth tempo change before the power pump of ‘Village’ and the scuttling techno beats of debut studio album track, ‘The Choke’, which fizzled out to 1990 single ‘Worlock’. They ended the main set on another debut track ‘Assimilate’, returning for a two-song encore, which didn’t quite fit with the end of the main set but continued their selection of older material.

30/05/17: Skinny Puppy @ O2 Forum, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Adam AntOn his ‘Anthems: The Singles Tour’, Adam Ant, together with his posse of Will Crewdson (guitar), Tom Edwards (guitar), Joe Holweger (bass), Andy Woodard (drums) and Jola (drums), performed the A-sides as well as the B-sides spanning his career both with the Ants and as a solo icon, playing the jukebox classics alongside songs not featured on tour in recent years.

They opened on Adam And The Ants’ song, ‘Beat My Guest’, but also performed a lot from Ant’s solo work throughout the night, such as ‘Apollo 9’ and chart hit ‘Friend Or Foe’, playing from less live frequented albums like ‘Manners & Physique’, with ‘Room At The Top’. They also played the Ants’ 1978 debut single, acoustic ballad ‘Young Parisians’.

Rarely played solo discography also featured in the setlist, this time from the 1983 ‘Strip’ album, with ‘Puss ‘N Boots’ and ‘Strip’, the latter of which saw Ant remove his jacket, stripping down to his band T-shirt. As usual he also played guitar for some songs including ‘Prince Charming’, stating that his live rendition of ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ always sounded different everytime it was performed. He finished the main set on harmonica for ‘B-side Baby’ and delivering the classic hit ‘Stand And Deliver’.

Adam Ant 1When the band returned, they played ‘Lady’, the B-side of the earlier featured Ants’ debut single, going straight into the ‘Antmusic’ B-side, ‘Fall In’. They ended on traditional setlist number, ‘Physical (You’re So)’. Unfortunately, the poor acoustics of the venue didn’t do justice to the usual sound of the band, but Ant’s bold performance made up for this.

24/05/17: Adam Ant @ Watford Colosseum.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Red Sun RevivalRed Sun Revival’s gothic alternative rock provided support for ChameleonsVox. Lead singer and guitarist Rob Leydon was joined by his band, with the exception of drummer Simon Rippin, who was out on account of an injury.

The band used backing instead, layered with vivacious violin in ‘Running From The Dawn’ and Leydon’s princely vocals. They also played ‘Fade In Time’, Leydon’s vocal strength coming across the synth-like violin, finishing their set on ‘Mistakes’.

Their first tour since the death of their original drummer John Lever earlier this year, sole remaining original member Mark Burgess’ (bass) ChameleonsVox performed ‘Chapter 2’ of their ‘Magical Mystery’ Tour, playing songs chosen by their fans from their entire back catalogue. They began with ‘Swamp Thing’, moving on a few songs later to ‘Monkeyland’, from their 1983 debut album, ‘Script Of The Bridge’.

ChameleonsVoxThe band, made up of Chris Oliver (guitar), Neil Dwerryhouse (guitar) and Yves Altana (drums), also played ‘Looking Inwardly’, with its alternating keyboard-like guitar chimes, and ‘Thursday’s Child’, which summated the sound of ’80s Mancunian post-punk. The summery steel drum guitar of ‘Tears’ followed, from their 1986 album ‘Strange Times’.

ChameleonsVox also sampled covers inserted into two songs in the setlist, ‘All The Lonely People’ by The Beatles during a lengthy verson of ‘Soul In Isolation’ and Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ during ‘Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In)’. They ended their show on the first track of their first album, the dark punk of ‘Don’t Fall’.

20/05/17: ChameleonsVox + Red Sun Revival @ O2 Academy Islington, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


WireCelebrating their 40th anniversary this year, Wire have released their 15th studio album, ‘Silver/Lead’, to mark the occasion. They also did a two-night residency at The Garage with setlists that mostly contained more recent songs from their last four studio albums, showcasing their refusal to wallow in nostalgia.

The band opened on ‘Boiling Boy’ before playing the new album songs, which featured throughout the set, beginning with flagship track ‘Diamonds In Cups’ and ‘This Time’, the latter sung by bass player Graham Lewis whose vocals are more abundant on the new release. They then performed from their 40-year-old debut album, ‘Pink Flag”s succinctly satisfying ‘Three Girl Rumba’, however, it was a very brief visit signalled by the remainder of the setlist being considerably younger and Lewis’s sour faced reaction to someone in the audience crying out for ‘Outdoor Miner’.

If there was any hint at nostalgia it was when Wire inserted their 2000 EP ‘The Third Day’ with ‘Art Of Persistence (1st Draft)’, a release that coincided with their 1999 reform and rehashed some of their earliest tracks. They once again returned to their latest albums with ‘Red Barked Trees’ from 2011’s ‘Red Barked Tree’; a rarer song to be included on the setlist in the recent years since its release.

Wire 1The band also played from their eponymous 2015 studio album, with ‘Split Your Ends’; a more typical Wire sound that has a pace mirrored in ‘Short Elevated Period’ from the latest release, which followed shortly after. There was another rarity in the form of ‘Over Theirs’ from 1987’s ‘The Ideal Copy’, which saw Matt Simms (guitar) contributing extensive feedback and whammy effects. They came back for an encore that featured another track from that album, ‘Ahead’, returning to more recent material on which to end the show. Wire may have aged 40 years but at least they have something to show for it.

04/05/17: Wire @ The Garage, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Cubanate“It’s time to change into something strange…time to mutate, time to cubate…time to see it all through the mosaic eyes…” Spoken by Marc Heal as he introduced Cubanate’s ‘Brutalism’ set, their first shows in 18 years to promote the recent release of their compilation album, ‘Brutalism’.

Together with co-founding member, guitarist Phil Barry, vocalist and frontman Heal performed songs on the release which were taken from their first three albums, beginning their set on 1996’s, ‘Barbarossa’ with ‘Lord Of The Flies’. For the first time the band made use of visuals in the way of a video accompaniment to each song throughout the set.

They played their most well known songs included on ‘Brutalism’, such as from their debut album, ‘Antimatter’, with the crumbling beats of 1993 single ‘Body Burn’ and their second album ‘Cyberia’ with the techno snap of ‘Hatesong’. The band also played from their fourth contrasting and less appealing breakbeat album, ‘Interference’, with Barry’s grungy guitar riffs a highlight of ‘The Horsetrader’.

Heal then returned to their debut album with ‘Autonomy’; Barry’s distorted in-out riffs keeping pace with the track. After doing more of their breakbeat phase from ‘Interference’, they ended the main set on the hyper mechanical punch of 1994 single ‘Oxyacetalene’, the final impact in an explosive night to welcome the industrial crossover pioneers back to the live circuit.

Cubanate @ O2 Academy Islington, London.

Photo © Simon Topp.

© Ayisha Khan.



Barry AdamsonTo promote the recent release of his EP, ‘Love Sick Dick’, Barry Adamson delivered a one-man show with the use of backing tracks to showcase the new songs and solo perform from his previous albums, in what was a rare, intimate, stripped down and electrifying performance.

He began the night rapping to ‘Still I Rise’ before throwing all his weight into the first track on the new EP, ‘I Got Clothes’; a crashing keyboard song inspired by Nina Simone. Adamson then donned an electric guitar for ‘The Beaten Side Of Town’ from 2008 album ‘Back To The Cat’.

Barry AdamsonHe did an acoustic version from last year’s ‘Know Where To Run’, with the noir ‘Cine City’, providing contrast by returning to electric with jagged, noisy rock track ‘Destination’ from his 2012 album ‘I Will Set You Free’. Adamson entertained the crowd throughout the night, joking about doing his EP using only his iPhone, on which he then skillfully played guitar for new song ‘Sweet Misery’.

The remainder of the set was performed vocally without instrumentation, with Adamson not even picking up his signature bass until the last song of the main set, the electronic ‘One Hot Mess’, also from the EP release.

The final song of the night during the encore also saw Adamson plucking his springy bass for ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me’, harkening back to his days as one-fifth of post-punk icons Magazine (with guitarist Noko in the audience). Raw musicianship and craze with Adamson’s comedic touch made it one of the best shows this year.

27/04/17: Barry Adamson @ MOTH Club, London.

Photos © Peter Tainsh 2017.

© Ayisha Khan.



Willow RobinsonHot new acoustic folk rock act Willow Robinson was on support for part of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s UK tour, following the release of his EP ‘Ocean Blue’ last year. He played a set beginning on ‘Fallen Times’, then folk blues song ‘Stones’ and the monumental ‘Open Our Eyes’, the latter two showcasing Robinson’s superb electric acoustic fingerwork. Unfortunately, he deserved a much better reception than he was given.

To promote their first album in 19 years, The Jesus and Mary Chain performed new songs from ‘Damage And Joy’, beginning with the record’s opening track ‘Amputation’, giving it a heavier rock sound for its live rendition. Original members, brothers Jim Reid (vocals) and William Reid (guitar) form the soul of the band along with Scott Von Ryper (guitar), Mark Crozer (bass) and Brian Young (drums).

The Jesus and Mary ChainThe band played more extensively from their back catalogue, starting with the melodically golden single ‘April Skies’ from their second album, ‘Darklands’, and then the chaotic noise single ‘Far Gone And Out’, They also performed their 1989 hit single, ‘Blues From A Gun’, before returning to their new album with the duet ‘Always Sad’, with accompanying female vocals and William’s Thurston Moore sounding guitar, which further features in ‘Mood Rider’, also from the new album.

They played from their debut and most significant album, ‘Psychocandy’, with the noisy guitar of ‘The Hardest Walk’, ending the main set on another hit single, 1992’s ‘Reverence’, doing an extended version for a duration of almost 10 minutes.

The Jesus and Mary Chain returned for an encore mainly consisting of songs taken from ‘Psychocandy’, making up for its absence in the main set, including noise pop tracks ‘Just Like Honey’ and ‘Taste Of Cindy’. They ground the show down on another track from the new album, ‘War On Peace’, which they then played sped up to end the night on.

05/04/17: The Jesus and Mary Chain + Willow Robinson @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Jilted JohnIn his only appearance of the year, Graham Fellows aka Jilted John performed his teenage punk ditties with a band formed of Steve (guitar), Andy (bass), Martin (drums) and Claire (backing vocals) ahead of his 40th anniversary tour next year.

He opened with the happy, upbeat ‘Going Steady’, singing about his then girlfriend, Sharon Smedley, one of many characters that form the subjects of his stories. He moved onto his time working as a paper boy in ‘Paper Boy’. Sharon, the subject of his earlier song, cheats on him with another boy in ‘Birthday’, displaying the fickleness of the character he portrays, leading to him singing the lyrics of the aftermath: “all alone, in my bedroom, with my chips, feeling sad.”

Jilted John 1Jilted John sang about misbehaving as a schoolboy around his school teacher ‘Mrs Pickory’, finishing his short set on the eponymous one-hit-wonder record, ‘Jilted John’, about his girlfriend Julie leaving him for another man called Gordon. The encore featured newer and similarly un-PC song ‘Keira Knightley’, before Fellows resorted to another performance of ‘Jilted John’ to end the night on.

29/03/17: Jilted John @ The 100 Club, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Modern English 1To mark the recent release of the first album they’ve recorded with their original members in three decades, ’80s post-punks Modern English played a set of their oldest songs with a filling of tracks taken from the new record, ‘Take Me To The Trees’, featuring four out of five of the band’s original cast: Robbie Grey (vocals/percussion), Mick Conroy (bass), Gary McDowell (guitar) and Steve Walker (keyboards/synthesiser).

They opened on their 1981 debut album, ‘Mesh & Lace’, which formed most of the set; the radio transmission of ’16 Days’ was followed by the punchy ‘Swans On Glass’. They also played three consecutive tracks from last month’s ‘Take Me To The Trees’ release, beginning on ‘Sweet Revenge’, featuring Walker’s crazy keyboard effects, and then title track, ‘Trees’, with both its Wire and Joy Division guitar sounds and synth atmospherics.

Modern English 2The band progressed briefly onto their second album with ‘After The Snow’, from the record of the same name. They then resumed with ‘Mesh & Lace’ for the remainder of the main set, by which time the atmosphere had livened, with Walker’s dark Bauhaus synth inserted into ‘A Viable Commercial’. The band ended the main set on their third single, 1980’s ‘Gathering Dust’; the gutsy synth and crashing cymbals giving it an astronomical feel.

They finished the evening on more tracks from ‘After The Snow’, coming back for a second encore to perform their hit single, 1982’s ‘I Melt With You’. The night recreated part of Modern English’s early day taming of wild and out-of-control sounds, the chaos before calm, which they demonstrated live playing the album that displayed this most vividly.

08/03/17: Modern English @ The 100 Club, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



slaughter-the-dogsFollowing the release last year of their latest studio album, ‘Vicious’, Slaughter and The Dogs played two consecutive nights at The 100 Club, their first time performing the new material in London and the first show they’ve ever played at the venue. Founding members Wayne Barrett (vocals/percussion) and Mick Rossi (guitar) have remained the core of the band since 1975, having recruited a new rhythm section in the way of Mark Reback (bass) and Dan Graziano (drums).

They opened their set on one of the new tracks from their last album, ‘Trust’, which reflected their adoption of a heavier rock sound, something prominent in their more recent releases. New York Dolls’ cover, ‘Who Are The Mystery Girls?’, brought back the band’s glam roots before they played their debut B-side single, ‘The Bitch’.

slaughter-the-dogs-6Under halfway through the setlist, the drummer’s bass drum pedal needed to be replaced, which saw a short break in the set while Barrett humoured the audience. They especially adapted a version of ‘Hell In New York’ as “Hell In London”, a track reminiscent of The Stooge’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’. Barrett then donned a guitar for a special acoustic track from the new album, ‘Maybe If We Followed The Devil’, which also showcased Rossi’s superb guitar skills.

The band returned to their early records, with ‘Do It Dog Style’ song ‘I’m Mad’ and popular third single ‘Dame To Blame’, the former of which saw Barrett remove his hat to reveal his shocking blue hair and enact crazy man antics. They ended their main set on debut single ‘Cranked Up Really High’. Barrett and Rossi then introduced their special guest, Tony James (Generation X, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Carbon/Silicon) who played bass with the band for their encore of Generation X cover ‘Ready Steady Go’ and ‘Where Have All The Bootboys Gone?’ to end the night on.

10/02/17: Slaughter and The Dogs @ The 100 Club, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



gbh-1The band opened a 26-song setlist on ‘Unique’, playing their Birmingham brand of three-chord street punk, with members Colin Abrahall and his co-founder Colin ‘Jock’ Blythe (guitar), and Shaky Stevens (bass) replacing Ross Lomas for one night only.

They embarked on 1981 release ‘Leather, Bristles, Studs and Acne’, beginning with the racing chords of ‘Lycanthropy’, the only song in punk about werewolves, which preceded ‘State Executioner’, which Abrahall mistakingly dedicated to current President “Bush”. The plucky guitar and percussion intro to ‘Generals’ was followed by Jock’s trademark guitar trills in ‘Freak’, before they played punk classic, ‘Alcohol’.

Colin spoke about turning over the piece of vinyl (‘Sick Boy’) when they played B-side ‘Slit Your Own Throat’. He went on to state that the band first played The 100 Club in 1981. 1983 studio album ‘City Baby’s Revenge’ then featured, such as ‘Drugs Party In 526’ with its psychobilly garage guitar and the dry, salty riff of ‘Diplomatic Immunity’, providing much needed variation to many of the similar sounding three-chorded songs.

They performed a cover of The Stooges’ ‘1970’, ending the night on ‘Maniac’ and new, unrecorded song ‘Momentum’, which they first played at last year’s Resolution festival.


13/01/17: GBH @ The 100 Club, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



subhumans-2Anarcho West Country Wessexers, Subhumans, led by frontman Dick Lucas and with their other early members Bruce Treasure (guitar) and Trotsky (drums), played a Wednesday night slot as part of the ‘Resolution festival’ punk gig series.

They opened on ‘Apathy’ and ‘Joe Public’, the latter with Phil Bryant’s loose, springy basswork, which continued in ‘Nothing I Can Do’. Lucas commentated on the subjects of his lyrics inbetween songs, saying ‘Internal Riot’ was about having an inner debate about the positives and negatives of moral dilemnas, the song symbolically containing alternating guitar and bass riffs.

Lucas also honed in on the political events of 2016 with Brexit and the US election, by talking about anti-establishment movements also being led by “racist, fucking assholes or xenophobic weird fuckers”, leading into the defiance of ‘No’ before they performed a song not tested on animals with ‘Evolution’ and the playful riffs of debut album track ‘New Age’.

Lucas sang an improvised rhyme after arriving back onstage for the encore, which featured ‘Work-Rest-Play-Die’ and ‘Subvert City’. The band ended the night on 1982 single ‘Religious Wars’.


11/01/17: Subhumans @ The 100 Club, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


the-boysTo celebrate their 40th year, The Boys played a special anniversary show for the second night of Resolution punk festival 2017, selling out the legendary venue. The band, formed of original founding members Casino Steel (keyboard), Honest John Plain (guitar) and Matt Dangerfield (guitar), performed a retrospective set of songs taken from across all their studio albums to date, including their 2014 album, ‘Punk Rock Menopause’, released 33 years after their last.

The band started their set with some technical issues, which were sorted out by the time they reached third song ‘Terminal Love’. They played from their last studio album with ‘1976’ and then took several steps backwards decades earlier to their fourth and second albums ‘Boys Only’ and ‘Alternative Chartbusters’ with Dangerfield’s ‘Weekend’ and Plain’s ‘USI’.

There were more tracks from the new album to follow with a 37-year jump back to their eponymous debut album, now celebrating its 40th year, such as ‘Cop Cars’, with Plain’s hammer-ons and pull-offs, and debut B-side single, ‘Soda Pressing’, this year also commemorating its 40th anniversary. Throughout the set, Jack Black, the band’s original drummer, played tambourine to almost complete the 40th anniversary lineup, unfortunately no longer physically fit to play drums.

The band harkened back to Steel’s days in glam rock and protopunk band, Hollywood Brats, with The Boys’ cover of his and Andrew Matheson’s ‘Tumble With Me’, which he opened on despite playing with a broken shoulder. They then brought their main set to a close with a triplet of early singles: their debut single ‘I Don’t Care’, third single ‘Brickfield Nights’ and second single ‘First Time’. Their encore featured another Hollywood Brats’ track, ‘Sick On You’, on which they ended their first and last show of the year.

06/01/17: The Boys @ The 100 Club, London.

Photo © 2017 Matthew Gaved.

© Ayisha Khan.