Sunday, May 30, 2010

Joe Bonamassa's triumphant London Hammersmith Apollo gig paves the way for Black Country Communion

Joe Bonamassa played his biggest concert ever at the London Hammersmith Apollo on Friday May 28th. 5,000 people were in awe.
The guitar slinger from Utica, New York, started playing Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix licks at the ripe age of eight, opened shows in the US for B.B. King at the age of 12, and John Lee Hooker at the age of 14. Now, at the age of 33, and having won Breakthrough Artist of the Year at last year's Classic Rock Awards, Bonamassa is championed by the likes of Eric Clapton, and makes Jeff Beck sound almost prehistoric.

Joe kicked off the festivities with The Ballad of John Henry, and continued to slay the audience song after song including Last Kiss, So Many Roads, So It's Like That, If Heartaches Were Nickels, Further Up the Road and Sloe Gin.

Last year, Slow Hand guested at Joe's Royal Albert Hall gig, but this year, Joe invited Jethro Tull's pied piper, Ian Anderson, to the stage to perform to Tull classics - New Day Yesterday and Locomotive Breath. The audience went wild.

Next up, Joe dipped back into the Ballad of John Henry album and performed Lonesome Road Blues and Happier Times, plus the Zepplinesque Jimmy Page dazzler Blue and Evil (the latter from Bonamassa's stunning new album Black Rock).
In 2009, Bonamassa played the London Royal Albert Hall to great critical acclaim, however, was was noticibly apparent at Friday's Hammersmith Apollo gig was that Joe has definitely veered into a heavier blues rock style that leaned more towards Jimmy Page than Clapton or Beck.

Ballad of John John Henry
Last Kiss
So Many Roads
So It's Like That
If Heartaches Were Nickels
Further On Up the Road
Sloe Gin
New Day Yesterday (feat - Ian Anderson)
Locomotive Breath (feat - Ian Anderson)
Lonesome Road Blues
Happier Times
Blue And Evil
Three Times A Fool (part VIDEO)
Blues Deluxe
Young Man Blues
Woke Up Dreaming
Django/ Mountain Time
Bird On A Wire
Just Got Paid

One wonders if Bonamassa's energetic and trippy heavy blues rock guitar direction will lead to Joe's next chapter in rock and roll history books with his new rock supergroup Black Country Communion with Jason Bonham, Derek Sherinian and Glenn Hughes.

Heaven 17 celebrate 30th Anniversary of Penthouse And Pavement

Sheffield-bred electronic pop group Heaven 17 recently announced they would embark on a nationwide UK tour in November to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their seminal 1980 debut album Penthouse And Pavement.

The band consisting of original founding members Martyn Ware (keyboards, vocals) and Glenn Gregory (lead vocals) recently performed a studio session with LaRoux for BBC 6 Music.

With a recent sold out tour of Germany earlier this year, and rave reviews of a recent H17 documentary that aired on BBC 2 Television entitled Heaven 17: The Making of Penthouse And Pavement, the band that was a spin off from the Human League, has suddenly re-captured the attention of the general public.

They were one of the first British electronic bands to mix synthesizer music with bass guitars, horns and strings. Although Penthouse And Pavement wasn't a commercial success in terms of sales, what it did generate was intense critical acclaim from the music press, in particular with the songs (We Don' Need) That Fascist Groove Thing and Let's All Make A Bomb.

Penthouse And Pavement was one of the first electronic music albums to combine political left wing lyrics with synthesized dance music. When Fascist Groove Thang was released, it was banned from British radio for having lyrics that were deemed too controversial. Now, thirty years later, the band's anti Thatcher sentiments seem to be relevant again, now that the conservative government is back in power.

What is interesting about the album is the consistency of the songs in both the lyrics and music. The album veers between electronic funk in the title track Penthouse And Pavement to radiant electronic synth classics like Geisha Boys and Temple Girls, Play To Win and I'm Your Money.

The recent BBC 2 documentary also revealed how Martyn Ware was kicked out of the band that he originally founded (the Human League), only to be awarded with a record contract of his own which led him to quickly form Heaven 17 (the name of the band was taken from the Anthony Burgess novel A Clockwork Orange... a band that was formed in 1980). If that's not ironic, what is?

Heaven 17 - November UK Tour:
The Story of Penthouse And Pavement: