Mud Rock!

Who: Mud

Where: The Half Moon, Putney, London

When: December 24th 2017

Mud. Now there’s a name to conjure with. It’s only a few days since I was writing about another band from the Chinn / Chapman stable of the Seventies and now surprisingly I get to turn my attention to a second. I say surprisingly because Mud (in this format) have only played a handful gigs since their heyday. For the band this evening are led by original members, Rob Davis on lead guitar and Ray Stiles on bass and vocals.

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Pick ‘n’ mix

Who: Sweet

Where: Nell’s Jazz and Blues, Kensington, London

When: 15th December 2017

As we left the venue, some guy stopped us and asked us if the “Sweet – Sold Out” sign outside referred to that band from the seventies. Indeed, it did. But who exactly are Sweet or The Sweet (if you prefer). That would be a question that fans, critics and even the band themselves might have been asking for over 40 years.

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A (Nut) Cracker for Christmas

What: The Nutcracker

Who: Saltmine Trust

Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Hammersmith, London

When: 14th December 2017

This Christmas was Ravenscourt Arts’ 4th annual Christmas production and its most difficult to organise – simply because it was put into the theatre’s calendar very late and, because of that late organisation, then trying fill up the house for a free show for children when schools had so much already organised proved rather difficult, meaning a half full house. This for a show that deserved so much more but fortunately a heart-full of humour made this production a huge success.

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Steely Dan – Still a Power House

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Who: Steely Dan

What: The Bluesfest 2017

Where: o2, London

When: 29th October 2017

There is no way of not making mention of the absence in the line-up this week of what Donald Fagen referred to as the Steely Dan Organisation. Steely Dan from their very beginnings have been essentially a duo surrounded by other musicians. One half of that pair, the peerless Walter Becker passed away on the 3rd of September this year. Donald Fagen immediately announced his intention to continue to celebrate the songs he had composed with Mr Becker by continuing to perform with the current group of musicians who have become the Steely Dan band.

After having to cancel a series of solo dates with his own band, The Nightflyers, Mr Fagen has not been slow to keep that promise, meeting all of the Dan gigs that were already booked and if tonight was anything to judge by there is great, great potential for the future.

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Rockin’ Down the Highway

Who: The Doobie Brothers

What: BluesFest 2017

Where: o2 arena, Greenwich, London

When: 29th October 2017

Well, okay, it is a rather predictable title for a Doobie Brothers live review but I’m not going to be too hard on my self. After all, the Doobie Brothers are still, after all these years, most definitely rocking and they are on their way around Europe again so there is some travelling to be done.

The last time I saw the Doobie Brothers was on the very same night (29th October) 7 years ago, when they visited my home neighbourhood of Hammersmith. Tonight, it is a bigger show and they share billing with Steely Dan which was in my estimation a sublime coupling and I wasn’t wrong in my estimate.

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Not Q.P.R but Hippopotamus Heavy

Who: Sparks

Where: Shepherds Bush Empire, London

When: 27th September 2017

The boys in blue-and-white hoops are here but this is not Loftus Road and this is not Queens Park Rangers. But we are in West London. No, this is Sparks, some 45 years into their career returning to the city that they say is their second home.

Sparks are enjoying their second summer of critical or commercial success. Strike that. Perhaps their third or fourth.

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And a Wasted Youth is Better By Far Than a Wise and Productive Old Age…

Rock and Roll meets the Kids From Fame in the West End

What: Bat Out of Hell – The Musical

Who: Jim Steinman et al

Where: The Coliseum, London

When: July 2017

I remember everything! I remember everything as if it happened only yesterday…

About a life time ago I was playing football on the front lawn of my friend, Richard Chipchase. During a break in the game, he mentioned that his brother had seen a new band on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” the night before. He said that their name was “Meatloaf” and his brother said we ought to look out for them. Neither of us realised that Meat Loaf wasn’t a band but the singer.

Not long after, I picked up “Bat Out of Hell”. Then “Bad For Good” (composer Jim Steinman’s own album). Then “Dead Ringer” (remember buying that one in Casa Disco on the day it came out, assistant grumbling that she was fed up with taking the empty album sleeve back to the rack).

After that you realised that Meat relied on Steinman to come up with the songs to be at his peak. There was a long wait until “Bat Out of Hell II” and then another falling out between Steinman and Mr Loaf which surrounded “Bat Out of Hell III”.

There was a general deterioration in Meat Loaf’s health and voice and then another Meat Loaf / Steinman disc, “Braver Than We Are”.

And then there was “Bat Out of Hell – The musical” in Manchester and then it moved to London, the city where I live.

Musicals are not my thing – although I was in a touring musical once (that was years ago when I was young and foolish) so I decided to give this one a wide berth.

But then I was asked to go along and see the show and offer some comments prior to a possible transfer. So with some trepidation I decided to do just that.

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