To mark almost 40 years since the release of their second studio album and their biggest hit single, 4AD post-punks Modern English performed the entirety of ‘After The Snow’ in track order to an online audience. The album was also streamed to the US where the band’s main fanbase resides.

Original members Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar), Michael Conroy (bass), Stephen Walker (keyboards) also did an interview backstage at the O2 talking through the recording process at the famous Rockfield studios where the album was recorded under the supervision of producer Hugh Jones. They spoke about the pastoral influence on the album as well as some of the experimental recording techniques used to create the unique sound the record captures.

The band began with opening tracks ‘Someone’s Calling’ and ‘Life In the Gladhouse’; the latter saw the band use a dancier early ‘80s sound that involved them experimenting in the studio with new instrumentation such as the Lexicon Echo. The end of side one also brought ‘Dawn Chorus’, which contained the lyrics about “white stallions” that inspired 4AD sleeve artist Vaughan Oliver’s artwork.

Modern English then switched over to side two and performed their best known song, ‘I Melt With You’, the only track on the album that Grey said he didn’t have to shout on and which contained the jangly guitar sound and catchy hooks that helped the album sell over 500,000 copies. Similarly with eponymous track ‘After The Snow’, the lighter pop sound captured the pastoral sunshine that made the band so popular on the West Coast. The band also played ‘Carry Me Down’, which was the first time they have ever played it live.

26/09/20: Modern English @ Indigo at The O2, London.

© Ayisha Khan.


Launching their long awaited eleventh studio album, ‘ACR Loco’, dance-funk post-punks A Certain Ratio played a live studio session of the entire tracklist as part of a virtual ‘Evening With A Certain Ratio’, which also included a fan’s Q&A and a 90-minute long DJ set.

This was the band’s first performance without backing singer Denise Johnson, who sadly passed away prior to the album’s release date. The band respectfully marked her absence using an extra microphone with her scarf and tambourine tied to the stand, and an artist’s portrait of the singer hung on the wall.


With original member and lead singer Jez Kerr (bass) at the helm, ACR began on their single ‘Friends Around Us’, which was released as a 7” format, before moving onto ‘Bouncy Bouncy’, featuring Denise’s recorded vocals. Following their performance of ‘Yo Yo Gi’, the band’s other founding members Donald Johnson (drums) and Martin Moscrop (guitar, keyboards) took over on melodic and electronic vocals for ‘Supafreak’.

ACR were joined for ‘Get A Grip’ by Maria Uzor of tribal-punk duo and fellow Mute contemporaries, Sink Ya Teeth, and then performed their second and main single, ‘Berlin’. After playing the last song of the album, the band ended their set by dedicating it to Denise.

In another part of the online stream, Martin and Jez DJ’d a 90-minute set of the band’s own material as well as taking inspiration from a host of other artists including mixes of songs by Deli Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra and Andrew Weatherall.


25/09/20: A Certain Ratio @ Hope Mill Studios, Manchester.

© Ayisha Khan.


Playing a rare London show and their first in nine years, the Anglo-Dutch psych-rock trio celebrated their 40th anniversary and the release of their 45th studio album, ‘Angel In The Detail’. Founding members Edward Ka-Spel (vocal, keyboards) and Phil Knight (keyboards, electronics) were joined by Eric Drost (guitars).

The show saw them perform from the new record released last year, beginning on the prog-rock ‘Maid To Measure’ and opening track, the clattering ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’, with the barefooted Ka-Spel whirling to the music. They continued with more of the new album with ‘Itchycoo Shark’ and final track ‘Red Flag’, that trailed out on Knight’s electronic effects.

The Pink Dots then moved onto older material from the early ’90s with the trancing spring sound of ‘Disturbance’ from their album ‘The Maria Dimension’, and the harpsicordian ‘Just A Lifetime’ from ‘The Crushed Velvet Apocalypse’.

They ended their show on a shortened down version of ‘Andromedia Suite’ from ‘Chemical Playschool 8’, with a heavier guitar rock chorus, and an encore that saw a return to ‘The Crushed Velvet Apocaypse’, with ‘Hellsville’.

29/02/20: The Legendary Pink Dots @ MOTH Club, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Damo Suzuki returned to The Lexington for a third time with a band made up of local sound carriers Sam Ayres (drums), Adam Cresswell aka Rodney Cromwell (electronics), Alice Hubble (keyboard), Matt Kelly (guitar), Rachel Kennedy (keyboard) and Kevin Toublant (bass).

They played two improvisational free flowing pieces that made up the whole 45-minute set, the first 30 minutes long and then a 15-minute encore. Suzuki began singing in a deep, gruff voice but later altered his vocal tones with the sound carriers corresponding in changing tempos, featuring heavy, funky drumming reminiscent of CAN’s Jaki Liebezeit’s and experimental electronics, music that is organically produced, largely unrehearsed and what Suzuki describes as ‘cooking a three-course meal’.

16/02/20: Damo Suzuki @ The Lexington, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Promoting the release of his new album, ‘Self Civil War’, released earlier this year, Julian Cope played an acoustic set containing material from both his solo and former band history, with his usual entertaining commentary inbetween songs.

He opened with ‘Soul Desert’, from his 1992 ‘Jehovahkill’ album, then moving onto his debut album and second single, ‘Greatness And Perfection Of Love’. Cope related of how, when he was nearing the end of his research for his 1998 book ‘The Modern Antiquarian’, he logged several species of psychedelic mushroom species found around Stongehenge, which he then turned into a humourous song about the ancients being high, ‘They Were On Hard Drugs’.

He also played several songs from his days as frontman of Liverpool post-punk band The Teardrop Explodes, with ‘Passionate Friend’ from their second album ‘Wilder’, later moving to keyboards to perform ‘The Great Dominions’ from the same album, featuring its constant bass drone. Cope then forwarded to his most recent solo album release, with ‘Immortal’, and then did the classic ‘Sunspots’ from second album ‘Fried’, with pedal guitar effects.

He ended his show with another Teardrops song, ‘Treason’, from their debut album, ‘Kilimanjaro’, staying onstage for his encore that ended on The Skellington Chronicles’ ‘Out Of My Mind On Dope And Speed’.

08/02/20: Julian Cope @ Barbican, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Promoting the release of his latest studio album release, ‘Chaos And A Dancing Star’, Marc Almond performed a show with the talented Hollywood based songwriter, record producer, singer and pianist, Chris Braide, with whom he last collaborated five years ago for his 2015 album, ‘The Velvet Trail’.

Almond, with his band (including Neal X on guitar and Chris Braide on keyboards) and backing choir, began with the new record, playing all tracks, beginning on the awakening ‘Black Sunrise’. moving onto ‘Dreaming Of Sea’ (featured in the 2017 film ‘Scales’), the retro ‘Hollywood Forever’ (inspired by a visit to the Hollywood Forever cemetery) and ‘Chaos’. He then introduced special guest Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) on the flute for ‘Lord Of Misrule’, which he recorded with him on the record.

To pay hommage to Jethro Tull, Almond and Anderson played ‘The Witch’s Promise’, a song that inspired Almond as a teenager. As a return favour, Anderson performed a Soft Cell cover, ‘Bedsitter’, before leaving the stage. Almond finished the first act on his new single ‘Slow Burn Love’, a pop song with hints of ’80s heritage and the last track on the album, the transcient ‘The Crow’s Eyes Have Turned Blue’, which closed the first part of the show.

For the second act, Chris Braide performed some of his own songs on piano forte with Almond singing, such as ‘Damn You’ (Lana Del Rey), as well from their album ‘The Velvet Trail’, with ‘Scar’ and its continuation ‘The Pain Of Never’. before Almond left Braide onstage on his own to sing ‘Kill And Run’, which he wrote for the 2013 film The Great Gatsby. Almond returned to do more vocals to Braide’s keys, including Soft Cell’s ‘Torch’ and Marc and The Mambas’ ‘Black Heart’ and more from ‘The Velvet Trail’ with ‘Winter Sun’ and ‘Zipped Black Leather Jacket’, which saw Braide move onto guitar.

The pair finished on two T-Rex songs, ‘Dandy In The Underworld’ and ‘Children Of The Revolution’ as well as two Soft Cell songs, ‘Tainted Love’ and ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’, for which Anderson returned to play flute for. Apart from Almond forgetting some of the lyrics for a couple of songs, the more than 2.5 hour long show did not leave much to be desired.

10/02/20: Marc Almond + Chris Braide @ Royal Festival Hall, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Arthur Brown put on two consecutive shows marking the culmination of his career as ‘the god of hellfire’, the first entitled ‘The Perspectives Of The Human Adventure’ and the second an album launch for his latest studio release, ‘Gypsy Voodoo’. Together with his band formed of Dan Smith (guitar, keyboards),  Jim Mortimore (bass, keyboards), Sam Walker (drums) and Angel Fallon (dancer), they put on a spectacular light projection show.

Arriving onstage wearing fluorescent facepaint and goggles singing ‘Bubbles’, Brown quickly launched into ‘Phoenix’, with its thundering funky drumbeats and creeping guitar. After the song, he went offstage to change costume while the band played interval music to which Fallon performed, a pattern that continued throughout the evening seeing multiple costume changes. Brown emerged again wearing a wizard sleeved black cloak and pagan horned helmet, which he wore for just one song before changing again.

He then did his 1968 single ‘Nightmare’, the first track on his debut album, ‘The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown’, wearing a feathered headdress and metallic red toga, performing further tracks off the same release, significantly ‘Fire’, his no.1 UK charting single, a pivotal address to the man who calls himself ‘the god of hellfire’.

Continuing with side one of the record, he moved onto ‘Come And Buy’, this time wearing a huge pair of upside-down golden angel wings, and also playing ‘Time’ and ‘Confusion’ donned in a dragon mask; a sequence that showed an audible contrast in the narrative’s bubbling organ keys and then beating hard drums.

Brown also featured one of his more recent albums, 2014’s ‘Zim Zam Zim’, singing beautifully to the haunting organ-fed ‘Touched By All’, with Fallon dressed in a white wedding dress. Brown said the night was a “multimedia attempt at all-round total theatre of body, mind and soul and whatever else you can think of….”, which he achieved through psychedelic screen projections and visual depths. For the encore and after a final costume change, he performed from his latest album, ‘Gypsy Voodoo’, with the title track, finishing the show on his 1967 debut single, ‘Devil’s Grip On Me’.

25/01/20: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown @ Nell’s, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.


Ahead of the release next month of his new studio album, ‘Ocean Blue Waves’, Jah Wobble and his backing band that are the Invaders Of The Heart played an intimate show at the famous jazz venue, doing some of their old and new material as well as a few PiL covers. The band consists of Martin Chung (guitar), George King (keyboards) and Martin Layton-Bennett (drums).

They began on ‘Ocean Blue Waves’ from the upcoming release, Wobble dressed in a white suit. He then did vocals for another new track, ‘Safe Passage’, before regressing back to ‘Metal Box’ with ‘Socialist’; its fast paced drum and bass beats transforming into the serenity of ‘Seven’.

Much of the setlist was familiar such as the band’s covers of Harry J All Star’s ‘The Liquidator’ (followed by a dub deconstructed version), roots reggaist Augustus Pablo’s ‘Java’ and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’ (Chung’s frenzied and often over-the-top guitar fretwork). Wobble also included his 1981 collaboration with Can’s Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit, ‘How Much Are They?’ before performing more PiL tracks in the way of ‘Public Image’ (plus dub version) and ‘Poptones’.

23/01/20: Jah Wobble  & The Invaders Of The Heart @ Jazz Cafe, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.



Opening this year’s Resolution festival, TV Smith and his band from Barcelona that are The Bored Teenagers did a traditional setlist, playing a mixture of Smith’s solo work and The Adverts cover hits, starting on ‘No Time To Be 21’, ‘My Place’ and continuing onto ‘Television’s Over’.

Smith also played from his solo albums, including ‘I Delete’ from the 2014 album of the same name and earlier material such as ‘The Lion & The Lamb’ from second solo album ‘March Of The Giants’. as well as The Explorer’s debut single, ‘Tomahawk Cruise’.

As always the band ended their show on more Adverts songs, with ‘Bombsite Boy’, ‘The Great British Mistake’ and ‘Gary Gilmour’s Eyes’ but also did an encore of ‘No Control’ from Smith’s latest album, ‘Land Of The Overdose’.

03/01/20: TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers @ The 100 Club, London.

Photo © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.