Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Thursday 30th June
Makes mental note to self: Must buy some new underwear today. Why? Well, last night Y&T rocked the Mean Fiddler with what will undoubtedly be one of the finest gigs of 2005. Apart from a short set with Whitesnake two years ago, the Bay Area melodic hard rockers hadn't played the UK since a spot at Donington in 1984. So they were keen to pull out all the stops. In fact, they were even better than the last time we saw them. Their 105-minute set was a veritable treasure trove that left the audience simply drooling with pleasure. How about the following for size: 'Open Fire', 'Straight Through The Heart', 'Black Tiger', 'Dirty Girl', 'Lipstick And Leather', 'Beautiful Dreamer', 'Hurricane', 'Winds Of Change', 'Contagious' (excerpt), 'Squeeze', 'Rescue Me', 'Barroom Boogie', 'Knock You Out' (excerpt), 'I'll Cry For You', 'Summertime Girls', 'Meanstreak', a glorious 'I Believe In You' and an encore of 'Forever'? Dave Meniketti told me the band's plan is to come back annually from now on, which is quite brilliant news.
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Tuesday 28th June
Rose Tattoo played the Mean Fiddler last night. At first I suspected it might be a disaster. Having seemingly consumed his own weight in booze, bleary-eyed frontman Angry Anderson ranted and raved incoherently between the opening songs, and I got the impression he didn't want to be with us. But gradually the red mist subsided and the Aussie band got down to serious business with 'One Of The Boys', 'The Butcher And Fast Eddy', 'Rock 'N' Roll Outlaw', 'Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock 'N' Roll'), 'Rock 'N' Roll Is King' and many, many more. Not known for their lengthy sets, the encores just kept on coming; almost half an hour of the buggers! 'Astra Wally', 'Suicide City', 'Scarred For Life' and a sweat-drenched 'We Can't Be Beaten' taking them to almost two hours onstage. Unbelievable.
And talking of invincibility (which I just was with 'We Won't Be Beaten' - how's that for a tenuous link?!), it's a subject that I hope will apply to Palace next season. I've been trying not to pay too much attention to the footie transfer speculation. So long as the Eagles keep the basis of our squad and manager we should bounce right back up again. As for Everton's cheeky bid for our striker, it's nice to see CPFC chairman Simon Jordan insisting that £6m "wouldn't buy one of Andy Johnson's trainers." Attaboy.
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27th June 2005
Wow! Caught an amazing show from Gotthard - or as Mrs L likes to call 'em, 'Goatherd' - at the Garage last night. The Swiss band had been away from 13 years but showed no sign of being put off by a small attendance, their vibrant, sometimes jubilant set falling just 15 minutes short of the two-hour mark. Like a younger version of David Coverdale, Steve Lee is without doubt one of the finest singers out there, and Goatherd... er, Gotthard, have a catalogue that simply drips with quality. Besides covers of Joe South's 'Hush' (best known as a Deep Purple song) and 'Mighty Quinn' by Manfred Mann, we got most of the new 'Lipservice' album ('All We Are', 'Dream On', 'I've Seen An Angel Cry', 'Said And Done', 'I Wonder', 'I'm Alive', 'The Other Side Of Me', 'Cupid's Arrow') and a smouldering rendition of debut album sizzler 'Firedance', plus 'Top Of The World', 'One Life, One Soul', 'Let It Be', 'Fist In Your Face' and 'Mountain Mama' among others.
Encores comprised the quality balladry of 'Heaven' and super-hooky, almost Glitter-groove rock of 'Lift You Up', 'Anytime Anywhere' sending us all home tired and sporting silly grins.
Oh yeah, some cool news for melodic hard rock connoisseurs; former Shark Island/Bernie Tormé bassist Chris Heilmann was present, and he revealed that Shark Island's classic line-up - completed by vocalist Richard Black, guitarist Spencer Sercombe and drummer Greg Ellis - has agreed to make a reunion album. A group thoroughly ahead of their time, as proven by the silky durability of 1989's 'Law Of The Order', that's a prospect to savour.

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Saturday 25th June
The Mean Fiddler was about a third full for last night's gig by Snowy White & The White Flames. Backed by a watertight line-up that included one-time Jeff Beck cohorts Richard Bailey (drums) and Max Middleton (keyboards), the ex-Thin Lizzy/Pink Floyd guitarist played an enjoyable 95-minute set of fluid, heartfelt blues-rock, but for reasons best known to himself omitted his one and only solo Top Ten hit, 1983's 'Bird Of Paradise'. Given that we had to endure an eight-and-a-half minute solo/improv spot from ponytailed bassist Walter Latupeirissa, the oversight was pretty galling.
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Thursday 23rd June
Yesterday evening I attended a playback of the splendid new Arch Enemy album, 'Doomsday Machine'. The 11-song CD (due through Century Media on August 22) continues the metamorphosis begun with 2001's 'Wages of Sin' and 2003's 'Anthems Of Rebellion'. Michael and Christopher Amott have plastered the project with more red-hot guitar shredding than ever before, while Daniel Erlandson's drumming is to his usual stellar standard. It's an album that should easily seduce fans of Judas Priest and Megadeth - if they can come to terms with Angela Gossow's growled vocals. For such a notoriously conservative group of people, that's a pretty big 'if'. Given their underground roots, the band have taken quite a risk making a record as commercial as 'Doomsday Machine'; I sincerely hope it pays off for them.
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Tuesday 21st June
Spiritual Beggars rolled into town last night, with impeccable timing as their latest appearance in the UK happened to coincide with Jerry Ewing's 40th, and also the birthday of my pal Hugh Gilmour, celebrated bassist of Pig Iron and designer of record sleeves for Iron Maiden, Status Quo, Black Sabbath and Motörhead among many others. Gotta admit, the Swedish band's new album 'Demons' doesn't quite move me the way their last one 'On Fire' did back in 2002, but they have real groove and feel, effortlessly tapping into the classic sounds of the 70s. Plus you simply have to applaud a singer who gets as hammered as JB does. Last night the sometime Grand Magus frontman even announced to the crowd mid-song that he was off to the dressing room to syphon the python. What class. A splendid almost ten-minute version 'Euphoria' closed thing in fine style, Per Wiberg's keyboards complementing Michael Amott's exceptional work on the Flying V.
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Monday 20th June
Last night saw the long-awaited return of Mötley Crüe to London. Alas, with Wembley Arena being renovated they played the Pavilion, a huge, cavernous tent. I was right at the very back, but the sound wasn't as bad as I'd been led to believe and the video screen at least made all of Vince Neil's chins clearly visible. It quickly became obvious that Neil's voice is past its best, which explains why he left so much of the singing to a very forgiving crowd. Limited to permutations of the words 'fuck', 'shit', 'fucking', 'bad-ass' and 'motherfucker' his stage patter soon began to grate. All credit to the impossibly frail-looking Mick Mars for lasting the duration and the band for a well-chosen set, however. They spent almost two hours onstage, devoting the show's first half to early material like 'Shout At The Devil', 'Too Fast For Love', 'Ten Seconds To Love', 'Red Hot', 'Looks That Kill' and 'Live Wire'.
After the interval - yeah, Mötley do intervals now! - focus shifted to their middle and latter years, kicking off with 'Girls Girls Girls', 'Wild Side', an excellent 'Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)', 'Primal Scream' and many, many more. The crowd lapped up every minute of the tittycam, save for the well-endowed blonde who gave Tommy Lee the finger when asked for a quick flash ("I'll show you my dick," he bargained gamely). It was also nice to hear Nikki Six namechecking all the London bands he grew up enjoying; including Slade (from Wolverhampton), The Sweet (Andy Scott is Welsh!) and Mott The Hoople (Ian Hunter is a Shrewsbury boy!). At encore time the Crüe were joined by Sixx's son Gunnar for 'Helter Skelter', a song made famous by yet another London band called The Beatles (just kidding, Nikki), plus a somewhat out-of-place rendition of 'Anarchy In The UK'.

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Sunday 19th June
Yesterday was one of twin delights; a glorious Hammersmith show from Styx and Australia's humiliating five-wicket defeat to, er... Bangladesh. There was also the hilarity of my Classic Rock pal Dave Reynolds being mistaken in the pub for the singer from Black Lace (that's the 'Agadoo' variety, not the Maryann Scandiffo-fronted US mob). We got almost two hours from Styx, who were back in the UK since the first time since 1981. I really, really enjoyed the show but met several frustrated by the inclusionm of five songs from the new album of covers, 'Big Bang Theory'. Equally surprisingly, there was just a solitary choice ('One With Everything') from the impressive 'Cyclorama' album. Frustratingly, the band mopped up 18 songs including many of their best-known ('Mademoiselle', 'Heavy Metal Poisoning', 'Sing For The Day', 'Great White Hope', 'Borrowed Time', 'Superstars', 'Mr Roboto' and 'Rocking The Paradise') in a bizarre medley. If only for the fact that he isn't Dennis DeYoung, I hadn't expected to like new keyboard player Lawrence Gowan, but the shy, retiring (ho ho ho) Canadian did a fine job, even on 'Come Sail Away'. Other pomp-rock gems included were 'Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)', 'The Grand Illusion', 'Lorelei', 'Lady', 'Too Much Time On My Hands', 'Snowblind', 'Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)', 'Miss America', 'Renegade'. Many of these latter tunes featured original bassist John Panozzo, who looked surprisingly well and happy given his deteriorating health. For me, though, 'Crystal Ball', initially performed alone by Tommy Shaw, was the real goosebumps moment.
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Friday 17th June
It's incredible that Motörhead have now existed for 30 years, and Lemmy for almost twice that long. The former fact was celebrated at the Hammersmith Apollo last night via an anniversary gig that also featured Saxon and Girlschool. I say 'celebrated', for although it was enjoyable enough, the band seemed put off by the presence of DVD cameras and a single special guest, buxom Meldrum vocalist Moa Holmsten, joined in the fun. And unless I'm mistaken only an additional song, '(We Are) The Road Crew', swelled the exact same set that they performed here back in November. Motörhead and Girlschool, along with In Flames, will be back again at the Apollo in a matter of months. Let's hope for a few more fireworks then.
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Wednesday June 15th
I'm hopelessly addicted. Bunged the new Avenged Sevenfold album, 'City Of Evil', onto the discman during the tube journey to the Golden Gods awards a few days ago, and now I can't stop playing the bloody thing. I really enjoyed the Californian band's last album, 2003's 'Waking The Fallen', but their major label debut (and third in total) respresents a humungous step upwards. The songs, the singing, the playing, the colourful, wall-of-sound production... everything about it is first-class. Check out the audio and video clips at the band's website.
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Tuesday 14th June
Finally got around to scanning in my pix of the Maiden trip to Reykjavik (see June 8th entry).
Last night was Metal Hammer's third annual Golden Gods awards, which tookplace at the Astoria. There were live sets from Trivium, Shadows Fall and Bullet For My Valentine, with Anthrax's reunited 'Persistence Of Time' line-up topping the bill. I'd been given the task of looking after LacunaCoil, whose co-vocalist Cristina Scabbia was presenting an award, so I caught only bits of the live entertainment, completely missing a short set from Nightwish. With so many people crammed together on a blistering hotevening, it was all rather hetic. But apart from Zakk Wylde going AWOL (he was located in a pub in time to present a new guitar shredder award in honour of Dimebag Darrell to Herman Li from Dragonforce), events went surprisingly smoothly. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath were present to accept another honour for their sideboards, as was Lemmy. Glenn Hughes and his good pal Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers were also honoured guests. And Nicko 'Trolley Dolly' McBrain represented the Iron Maiden camp. To the shame of the crowd, Ville Valo of HIM was pelted when he went up to collect his prize, but retained his dignity. The Lostprophets were, too, but they're Welsh so they deserved it. The event concluded with four songs from Anthrax - 'Got The Time', 'Caught In Mosh' and 'Indians', with Brian Fall from Shadows Fall joining them for a final stomp through Pantera's 'A New Level'. I'll be honest, it was too short and I really missed John Bush.
Then it was on to the Marquee for the after-show bash. Much-o alcohol was consumed, which is always the signal for several of the Thunder chaps to arrive. Together we debated the sheer unlikelihood of Michael Jackson being proven innocent (boo! hiss!), and England thrashing Australia at cricket (hurrah and huzzah!). Harry James and I spoke of Palace's relegation like two pissed-up old saddos who should know better. I had a brief chat with Tuomas Holopainen from Nightwish, who was in a deep and decidedly foreigh sounding dialogue with Stratovarius singer Timo Kotipelto. That band's keyboard player, Jens Johansson had also been consuming vast quantities of booze (whilst interviewing him earlier he had cradled a bottle of something that looked disturbingly like paintstripper), and when Jens began bellowing at the top of his voice in a bizarre impersonation of a moose, I figured it was time to sneak out or become involved in a session that I'd regret the following morning. Yes, I know I'm a lightweight these days.
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Monday 13th June
I'm still a-quiver following last night's Kansas show at Shepherd's Bush Empire. The US pomp-rock group's first official visit since 1979 (though they did play some behind-closed-doors shows for American servicemen in 1988) was both well-attended and rapturously received. My only quibble would be the length of the set; a somewhat miserly 95 minutes. In a way it was understandable, as it's fairly common knowledge that Steve Walsh's voice has been erratic in recent years. However, Messrs Ewing, Shilton and myself looked on and listened in spellbound rapture as the band shoehorned in most of their finest moments, including 'Paradox', 'Miracles Out Of Nowhere', 'Icarus (Borne On Wings Of Steel)', 'Song For America', 'The Wall', 'Point Of Know Return', 'Portrait (He Knew)', 'Dust In The Wind' and of course 'Carry On Wayward Son'. Most unexpected of all, we even got the full version of 'Magnum Opus', from 1976's must-own 'Leftoverture' album. Wow.
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Sunday 12th June
Listen! Can you hear the patter of tiny feet (or claws) in the Ling household? Our chicken, Dolly, has finally hatched some of her eggs. The kids christened the first few of her fluffily furry offspring - Petal, Cheep, Rainbow, Roxy and Squash (the latter because Dolly had sat on him for longer than the rest; we resisted the temptation to call him Krusher) - three guesses who came up with the final choice of Scrumpy?!
Gosh, I must be starved of footie. Last night I tuned into England's third and final group match of the women's European Championships. It was a relief to see that anything the nation's men's team are capable of, our ladies can do equally well. During the past week we've seen them score a thrilling last-minute winner, then concede two goals in the final 10 minutes to lose 2-1. Last night's 0-1 reverse against a dismal Swedish team was so pitiful as to be almost laughable. I've seen headless chickens (don't say a word to Scrumpy!) that are capable of playing the game with far more technical understanding and finesse.
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Wednesday 8th June
Jesus, I'm knackered. Just got back from a whirlwind overnight trip to Reykjavik in Iceland with Iron Maiden (that's not something you get to type every day!). Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, who these days has a parallel career as an airline pilot, was behind the joystick of Flight 666, a Boeing 757 full of 192 Maiden nutters that had each paid around £320 to witness a show at the 15,000-capacity Egilshollin. With no new album to promote, the band have been playing songs from their first four albums only. For older Maiden fans like myself, the 100-minute set is a treat. If you're going to the Reading or Leeds Festival next month and don't want to ruin the surprise then look away now... should you want to know what's in store then check out the following: 'Murders In The Rue Morgue', 'Another Life', 'Prowler', 'The Trooper', 'Remember Tomorrow', 'Where Eagles Dare', 'Run To The Hills', 'Revelations', 'Wrathchild', 'Die With Your Boots On', 'Phantom Of The Opera', 'The Number Of The Beast', 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' and 'Iron Maiden'. Encores consisted of 'Running Free', 'Drifter' and 'Sanctuary'. Given some of the comments from the stage, the choice of songs made the band feel as nostalgic as the crowd, many of whom were way to young to have seen these vintage songs performed live.
Given the contrasting fortunes of our football clubs, Maiden bassist and West 'Am nut Steve Harris was very, very pleased to see me. When he heard I was outside the dressing room, there was a roar of "Get 'im in 'ere... NOW!". The banter was a bit lively for a while, but hopefully all friendly. Harry blathered on and on about how Wet Sham had been robbed by the referee in the first play-off final - what utter bollocks. I responded by wishing 'em good luck in staying up, but politely doubting their ability to do so. I guess we'll see who's right.
The trip was huge fun, though. Drummer Nicko McBrain was also on board Flight 666, even doubling up as a trolley dolly for a while. And Dickinson kept us all entertained during the three-hour journey, the cabin erupting with delight each time he flicked on the intercom and chirruped: "Hello, it's Brucey up front here; if you look down to your left there's an excellent view of 22 Acacia Avenue...". I'll post some pix when the film's developed.
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Monday 6th June
Finally seen it, we have. Very good, it is. Enjoyed it a lot, I did... the little Lings, too. Ooops... slipped into Yoda-speak for a moment or two there. What I'm trying to say is that we finally checked out Star Wars Episode 3: The Revenge Of The Sith. With a simplified storyline - this time it's just plain good versus evil - and plenty of battles and special effects, the till now terminally dull prequel series has finally managed to justify its existence. The next movie I mustn't miss is the League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse. Can't wait for that.
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Sunday 5th June
Yesterday evening I accepted a kind offer from my pal Malcolm Dome to visit TotalRock Radio, where James 'JY' Young of Styx was due for an interview. Although we'd spoken several times on the phone, I'd never met actually JY, who was friendly and talkative (especially off mic!). It seems that Chuck Panozzo will be making some special guest appearances on the band's upcoming British tour, their first shows here since the 'Paradise Theatre' trek way back in 1981. It's also likely that Hurricane Party will be doing the honours as support act. Hurrah!
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Saturday 4th June
Somehow managed to squeeze in two gigs last night. Firstly, Jackdaw4 played a highly enjoyable showcase at the Borderline. The vehicle of one-time Wildhearts sideman Willie Dowling, one of rock's most talented underachievers, they've got some truly amazing songs (check out soundclips and gushing reviews at: www.jackdaw4.com). I predict they'll go far, but then I also said that about Willie's former groups The Grip, Cat People and Honeycrack. A fellow critic has called them "the greatest band in England at this time", so maybe I'm not barking up the wrong tree.
Afterwards it was straight around the corner to the Astoria for Zakk Wylde and Black label Society. Gotta admit, I was gobsmacked at the size of the sold-out crowd, and also their hugely vociferous reaction. Obviously, Wylde is an awesome guitar player but it's something of a long shot to expect him to step away from the shadow of Ozzy Osbourne. This show made it clear that Zakk not only has the capability to do so, he may already have achieved it.
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Friday 3rd June
Having picked up the band's albums from cut-out bins for the past few years, I was recently asked by Classic Rock to interview Gene Loves Jezebel. To cut a long story short, there are now two versions of the Welsh group, both fronted by feuding twin brothers. Last night I went to the 100 Club to catch the US-based incarnation, led by vocalist Michael Aston. It was a surreal yet compelling experience. The audience's pitiful size was in direct disproportion to the worship of their heroes. No sooner had GLJ begun playing than rotund, impossibly boozed-up female goths raced to the front of the stage to flirt with Michael. Some cried openly as he sang, others did that silly wavy-handed dance so beloved of goths. Aston, for his part, flirted outrageously with two lager-swilling ladies that I think had come down from Manchester, his interaction with them gradually taking over both song introductions and the show in general. At times one almost felt like shouting: "Guys... get a room!".
Having finished the set proper, GLJ played 45 minutes of encores, events descending into what was less a concert and more of a shambolic and probably very poorly paid rehearsal session. Aston invited girls he fancied onto the stage to sing backing vocals, their boyfriends taking pix on mobile phones. One of the Manchester girls attached herself to Aston's leg, the other mounted the stage and almost fell into the drumkit. In the end, the gig didn't so much come to an end as break down into a series of not-so-private conversations (unintentionally amplified by the microphone) about who was shagging who, whose condoms were being used, and where the deed would be taking place. All gigs should be like this... Rawkk'n'rawllll!!