Monthly Archives: March 2013

Half asleep half awake

Well look what’s turned up! Some unheard of film footage of Henry Cow at The Manor during recording sessions for ‘Unrest’. This film also features Kevin Coyne, and (as mentioned in a Hatfield & The North song) the Manor Mobile, though how it ever got anywhere to do its recordings is a miracle!

Henry Cow at The Manor

The title of this post is the name of the main piece Henry Cow play in this clip.

henry cow manor

Magma – 40th Anniversary Concerts

Le Casino de Paris 12 – 14th February 2009

Here is a review wot I wrote that was destined for the aborted Ork Alarm! # 30. I thought that now we are up and running as a blog it might be nice to reminisce a little:

I’ve been pretty fortunate over my 51 years on this planet. I’ve generally fallen “butter side up”, been in the right place at the right time career wise and from a musical perspective, even though I wasn’t blessed with any creative genes, I have had the pleasure to have witnessed “The Greatest Band on Earth”, Magma and Christian Vander, perform on a scattering of occasions over a period spanning four decades.

I was lucky enough to see Magma a couple of times in London “first time around” during the 70′s. Had accrued enough spare cash to finance some concerts in London of Offering (billed as Magma!) in 1988/89.Witnessed the 30 year celebrations at Le Trianon, Paris in 2000, the Retrospective 4 weeks at Le Triton in 2005 and now this! The 40 year Anniversary Concerts at Le Casino de Paris. Luckily my day job didn’t clash in anyway with this historic occasion, so with tickets in hand, well … waiting for pick up (hopefully) at the box office, we were off to Paris.

I say “we” as I was about to break the unwritten rule. Actually it is a written rule, from a 70′s review of a Magma concert. “Never bring your girlfriend to a Magma concert” was the advice. It’s like an 11th commandment. The one they missed out. We’ve been to loads of concerts, not my choices, but thanks to her, I’ve been exposed to an abundance of great bands that I would never have given the time of day to otherwise. However, whilst her musical bent is far removed from MOR, Magma are no small step for man or woman kind. They are the musical equivalent of Marmite. You either love them or hate them, or possibly don’t persevere long enough to acquire the taste. So here we go, February 14th (Valentine’s Day) in Paris, what more could a girl ask for? Well instead of a top quality meal, a bottle of bubbly, a walk up the Champs Elysees and a whiz up the old Tower, it’s turn left at the Red Light District, down La Rue De Clichy and a romantic evening watching Christian Vander beat seven bells of shit out of his drum kit! Fortunately, things went better than I could have possibly imagined and whilst Jeannie didn’t at any time rush off to the Magma concession shop to but a K.A. t-shirt, as the three days unfolded she “got it”. Most people don’t.
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Picchio dal Pozzo

I just keep coming back to this band, and particularly their album Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi. It’s got a journalistic feel; it seems to capture a moment or rather moments from real people’s lives. It has that in common with the utterly different Bookends album by Paul Simon. I am sure I am the first person to compare those two sources in print! It also has wonderful music which explores ideas that might come from Canterbury or Zappa, but which are uniquely PDP. If you haven’t heard this album, I strongly recommend you give it at least three serious listens,

The horse that talks – Trojan Horse interview

TH coverAnd we don’t mean Mister Ed! The environs of Manchester are producing some fascinating new music. Cyril Snear, A Greater Horror and more are active, but a definite fave at Interesting Alternative Towers is Trojan Horse. An eponymous album and the ‘Fire’ EP have excited and elicited interest in the alt-prog world and a chance to see them in Manchester (March 8th 2013 at The Ruby Lounge) recently was not to be missed. They played the first set ahead of the fascinating Moulettes, and the legend who is Arthur Brown, who at 70 years old has still got the voice and wow factor that stunned people back in the late 60’s. He’s still the best dancer in rock music as well!! Anyway, Trojan Horse took to the stage with a new piece, and followed up with more familiar titles such as ‘Fire’ , ‘Disciplining The Reserve Army’ and ‘Mr Engels Says’. They were, as expected excellent – a fine half hour set packed with energy, complex passages, a slight funk interlude (which they explain in the interview) and a few Yo Ho Ho’s, all of which were played with a surgeons precision and great enthusiasm.

Eden, Guy, Nick and Loz were kind enough to invite me for a conversation for this blog which we reproduce below. The quality isn’t pristine, and the dressing room door opens to the strains of Moulettes on more than one occasion, but this is the chat we had about their music and beyond. Exciting news about a new album is contained within!

You can hear the interview from this DROPBOX link. You can either play it on-site, or right click the player and download the file.

If you don’t know their music, a visit to the Trojan Horse Bandcamp page is a must!


Other useful links:

TH @ MOSI video from the ManchesterMuseum of science and Industry.

TH Blog page

TH blog interview

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