Saturday, February 14, 2009

Somebody Once Told Me Lux Interior Was Crazy, But I'm Not Too Sure About That

The news of Lux Interior's recent passing is unfortunate, but the great thing is that his contribution to rock music will live on.

The man who first gave us the buzz, buzz, buzz in "Human Fly" was always an oddball, but an enigmatic oddball who was a great entertainer.

A video tape on YouTube documents the time when The Cramps gave a free concert for mental patients at the California State Mental Hospital in Napa, California on June 13, 1978.

"We drove 3,000 miles to play for you people," said Lux to the mental patients.

Continued Lux, "Somebody told me you people were crazy, but I'm not so sure about that."

Only The Cramps would take it to the extreme in a mental institution. It's kind of like when Johnny Cash took his music to Folsom Prison.

Does this mean Poison Ivy might be going solo?

We hope so.

Butchering 'This Charming Man' Is Hard To Do (But Morrissey's Gotta Do It)

It pains me to say it but, I've had enough of Morrissey. He's past his sell-by date. I'm sincerely sorry to have to admit this, but I can only handle so many of his solo albums.

His recent performance on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross TV show was evident that the sun has long stopped shining on his solo works. Once treated and hailed as a god, the Mancunian has been running on empty for the last 5 years. The first few solo albums were okay, but none of his solo work has ever been up to scratch with the songs he co-wrote with the great Johnny Marr of The Smiths.

Morrissey's new album sees him holding a baby. How controversial!

The singer now looks like a middle aged bloke performing in the local pub. On the Jonathan Ross Show he butchered a live version of "This Charming Man" with a band that we on par with a local bar band.

One can't help but compare Morrissey's ill-fated solo works with that of John Lydon, when the latter continued with a bastardised version of PiL. Lydon's Live in Tokyo PiL album saw our opinionated glove-puppet performing with a really dreary rock and roll bar band.

Can't Lydon and Morrissey understand that they were NEVER the only ingredient to their original success?

It's like Mick Jagger going solo without Keith Richards (or vice versa).

How soon is now?

Oh, just about when The Smiths called it a day.

And on that note, here's the magic that made The Smiths that special something in their heyday (Les Miserables). . .

Magazine and Howard Devoto; Still Sitting Pretty On The Permafrost

North London, Kentish Town, Friday 13th February 2009. The ticket touts are out in full force trying to buy spare tickets for Magazine's first London concert together since 1980.

Howard Devoto (vocals), Dave Formula (keyboards), Barry Adamson (bass) and John Doyle (drums) - the four original members from Magazine, and new guitarist 'Noko' are back in London to perform their second concert in 29 years (the night before they played a warm up show in Oxford).

The scene is intense; the 2,750 capacity venue is so packed to the gills, people are left standing in the aisles on the second floor. You can feel the tension in the air. A few minutes before the band take to the stage the warm up intermission music consists of Simple Minds' 'I Travel' and David Bowie's 'Low' instrumental 'Speed of Life'.

The moment when Magazine walk on stage, the crowd goes nuts. The applause lasts for 3 minutes. Devoto walks out sporting a white dinner jacket, knee length trousers and slip on running shoes. He looks like a cross between Lex Luthor, Otto Preminger and Humpty Dumpty (I saw this in the nicest sense). His stage persona has mellowed but the drama still prevails. The crowd is in awe, and rightfully so.

The one hour and fifteen minute set is short but to the point and doesn't dissapoint. The song choices are eclectic. The band perform songs from their 1978 debut album 'Real Life'. The hypnotise the audience with 'Definite Gaze', 'The Light Pours Out Of Me', and they work the crowd into a frenzy with 'Shot By Both Sides'.

While the concert continues, you can't help but wonder why Magazine didn't reform sooner. The evocative 'Parade' calms the crowd with a sense of mystery as Devoto sings "It's so hot in here, what are they trying to hatch."

And now that Howard's "out of touch with anger," - anything is possible.

The band continue their aural assault with songs from the 'Secondhand Daylight' album with the infectious full-throttle rendition of 'Rhythm of Cruelty', as song which Devoto pays tribute to the late guitarist John McGeoch, who died in 2004. The concert rolls on with more songs from 'Daylight' including 'I Wanted Your Heart' and the menacing 'Permafrost'.

Surprisingly, the band performed songs from their underrated 1980 album 'The Correct Use Of Soap', kicking off with a frenzied, energetic version of 'Because Your Frightened, then straight into 'Model Worker', 'You Never Knew Me', 'I Want To Burn Again' and the ever-popular 'A Song From Under The Floorboards'.

The band return for their first encore with an ominous version of the Sly and the Family Stone 'Thank You (Faletin Me Be Mice Elf Again)'. A standing ovation ensues, the band leave the stage, and return for a second encore with the Captain Beefhart classic 'I Love You, You Big Dummy'.

Barry Adamson is like the rock of the band with pulsating bass heavy rhythms, while Dave Formula sets the pace and setting with magnificent keyboard textures and melodies. Devoto prances around the stage like he owns it but is oblivious to the trappings of rock and roll cliches.

The concert is a testament to a band that meant more than the sum of their parts. Their contribution to music has been missed by many, and so, as you can well imagine, seeing Magazine perform for the first time in almost 30 years, was an unforgettable experience for all.

The band bow to the enthusiastic crowd.

The lights go down to the sound of Simple Minds' 'Themes For Great Cities'. The crowd empties out on to the street.

The rest is history.