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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Monday 31st March
Just a quick plug for a charity gig that takes place next month. My old muckers Chariot are joining three other bands (Love My Crime, 3AM and The Ed Hudson Band) to raise cash for a fellow rocker, Graham Barnell, who's suffering with leukaemia and in search of a bone marrow donor. It's at The Phoenix in London's Cavendish Square on April 10. I'll be there.
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Sunday 30th March
Ho-hum, yesterday's 0-0 stalemate with Blackpool was pretty dull. Palace's loan players all made an impact, for various reasons. Borrowed from Wet Sham and Chelski respectively till the season's end, Kyel Reid and Scott Sinclair both looked useful though Nathan Ashton (from Fulham) was so far out of his depth that Warnock correctly removed him early to prevent embarrassment.
Post-game I zoomed across London to join a threadbare crowd at the Underworld in Camden. Though Classic Rock's insistence that the band's 'I Love You' is "the debut album of the year" is somewhat over-zealous, Big Linda are certainly an excellent new group of note. Confusion with stage times meant that I missed some of their set, but I will check them out as headliners as soon as possible. Sadly, I was left underwhelmed and unmoved by Gentleman's Pistols. A few extra punters had wandered in by the time the Tokyo Dragons arrived to close proceedings, though if a third-full Underworld is all they can manage on a Saturday night, severe question marks must be raised against the band's long-term future. It pains me to say this as the Dragons are good fellas with a handful of good tunes, but no amount of beery bonhomie disguises the fact that genuine star quality is thin on the ground.
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Saturday 29th March
The final of the acts for this summer's Sweden Rock Festival are out, and I'm so glad the flights are booked. The Poodles and Sweet Savage are among the last additions, joining a mouth-watering line-up that already includes Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Poison, Triumph, Whitesnake, Ace Frehley, Ratt, Tesla, Sebastian Bach, Hanoi Rocks, the Hensley & Lawton Band, Derringer, Carcass, At The Gates and Dare reunions, Lizzy Borden, Blue Öyster Cult, Sir Lord Baltimore, Fastway, Gotthard, Shakin' Street... Phew... June can't come quickly enough...
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Friday 28th March
I'm a mega-fan of Norwegian black metal band Emperor, whose sound over the course of four full-length studio albums evolved from a primitive, terrifying, misanthropic roar to something infintely more focussed and challenging (check out their 2001 swansong 'Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise' for proof). After Emperor's surprise reunion in 2005/06, frontman/muti-instrumentalist Ihsahn released a debut solo album called 'The Adversary' that brilliantly combined black metal, progressive rock and symphonic metal elements. So I was more thrilled to attend yesterday's playback session of a new Ihsahn disc called 'angL' that arrives via Candlelight Records on May 26.
Described by the man himself as "a natural progression from 'The Adversary', but with a somewhat heavier touch", 'angL' is indeed a first-class follow-up. Its nine tracks were consistently strong, but special attention will inevitably fall on 'Unhealer', which features a guest appearance from Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth. Though disappointed by a fade-out that seemed premature, the song is a stunning collision of two of metal's biggest and most consistently interesting talents. When Ihsahn agreed to field a few questions, I asked whether there might be some sort of tour. He refused to rule out the possibility, but as a contented family man didn't seem especially enthused by the prospect (partly, he explained, because the idea of being obligated to fill out the set with Emperor songs is a turn-off). Shame.
High-tailing it from Islington into the West End, Nightwish were already two songs into their set by the time I reached the Astoria. I used my VIP pass to stand right at the front of balcony in an area reserved for guests (a few feet away from Hermam Li of DragonForce, to be precise). From this vantage point, the view and sound were as utterly breathtaking as the response of the fans. The band must've been overjoyed at such a vindication of their enforced line-up change.
Completing a great day, Fopp Records was still open as I headed home, and I happily picked up producer Tony Visconti's autobiography Bowie, Bolan And The Brooklyn Boy plus a couple of solo CDs from Adrian Belew (of King Crimson fame) for less than the price of a pint apiece - well, significantly less than you'd pay in the Astoria anyway!
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Thursday 27th March
Last night was taken up by Nightwish's second gig (of three) at London's Astoria. Save for the fact that it lasted for just 85 minutes, it was spectacular. Anette Olzon is a very different animal to Tarja Turunen, but as I'm becoming tired of pointing out to people, Nightwish had no alternative than to shed Turunen if they were to continue. And as Tarja is the absolute best at what she does, they had to try something a little different with last disc, 'Dark Passion Play'. In my own opinion, and also according to just about everyone I spoke to afterwards, that goal was achieved. I guess the real measure of their success will be how many people go back and see them next time. Anyway, I'll probably check 'em out again tonight. Here's the set-list: 'Bye Bye Beautiful', 'Dark Chest Of Wonders', 'Whoever Brings The Night', 'The Siren', 'Amaranth', 'The Poet And The Pendulum', 'Dead To The World', 'The Islander', 'Last Of The Wilds', 'Sahara', 'Nemo' and encores of 'Wishmaster' and 'Wish I Had An Angel'.
Post-show I had a couple of quick drinkies in the Crobar, just around the corner from the Astoria, then picked up a bottle of foul (but very cold) Hock wine as liquid sustenance for England's friendly international with France. Decided by a penalty, the 1-0 defeat was probably a fair result; the national side still has a long way to go.
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Monday 24th March
What the frick's going on with Velvet Revolver? A few nights ago singer Scott Weiland informed a crowd in Glasgow that they were watching the band's final bout of roadwork. Now Weiland and drummer Matt Sorum are laying into one another like there's no tomorrow. "Unfortunately, some people in this business don't realize how great of a life they have," reckons Sorum, pointedly referring to his band's singer. Now, according to Weiland, the drummer is "too immature to have a real relationship, let alone children." On Radio 1, guitarist Slash has just said: "Well, let's put it this way — this is not Velvet Revolver's last tour." It doesn't take Einstein to figure out that the band will be replacing Weiland when he disappears for imminent the Stone Temple Pilots reunion. Wonder who'll get the job? Much as I'm a an of STP's 'Purple' album, I always thought Sebastian Bach should've got the job anyway...
Oh, hang on - R.E.M.'s future is also in doubt. That pretentious asswipe Michael Stipe has just been on the telly saying that if the band's new album doesn't sell, they'll consider chucking in the towel. HOORAY... NOBODY BUY IT! The vile R.E.M. deserve to die in a horrible, painful and drawn-out gardening accident of some sort.
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Sunday 23rd March
With the clock ticking towards the final whistle it had looked as though Palace were destined to lose 2-1 to relegation candidates Sheffield Wednesday. So when Matt Lawrence lobbed the ball home in the third minute of stoppage time to rescue a priceless away point for the Eagles, a bit of a party began here at Ling Towers. I know 'cos I've just cleared away the empties. The play-off dream lives on (just about)...
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Saturday 22nd March
Abysmal weather having scuppered the plan to visit our caravan for the bank holiday weekend, last night I headed across London to the Barfly for a gig by Pearl Aday, Meat Loaf's daughter. Pearl's sound is said to be "in the vein of Janis Joplin, Aerosmith and all great hard rock, blues-filled artists", but with her full-length album still six months away from release it was tough to know what to expect. Maybe that'd explain the sparse turnout? Whatever, the fact that Aday's fiancee, Anthrax's Scott Ian, was playing rhythm guitar in her band was more than enough of an attraction for yours truly.
Pearl has been quoted as saying: "There is no real female rock anymore. I will be the chick to bring it back." For me, however, the 45-minute performance flitted between isolated moments of greatness such as 'Nobody' and the merely passable. Those covers of 'Nutbush City Limits' and 'Cherry Bomb' by the Runaways both rocked, but I will reserve judgement until September, when the Joe Barresi (Tool/QOTSA)-produced album which, besides Ian, features cameos from Ted Nugent and Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, finally hits the racks.
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Friday 21st March
I've never been particularly fond of the French, though find myself agreeing with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, who recently hailed the debut album from Gallic melodic-proggers Demians as "a must for everyone that appreciates the art of epic and ambitious 21st century rock music". Said eight-song disc, 'Building An Empire' (due via Inside Out on May 19), is quite superb, ebbing and flowing with beauteous majesty.
Here's some unexpected though extremely welcome news: Lita Ford is set for a comeback. The former Runaways guitarist/singer, who retired from music to become a full-time mum, has been confirmed for this summer's Rocklahoma Festival. "Close My Eyes - Kiss Me Deadly - can't forget the leather pants!" says Lita in a statetment. Er... no, nor can I.

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Wednesday 19th March
So glad that I ventured over to the 100 Club last night. My pal Jerry Ewing has been making all the right noises about The Storys for quite a while, and his praise for Swansea's answer to The Eagles (cough... splutter...) turns out to be well directed. Quite a crowd had gathered to watch the country-rock sextet, who are about to drop their second album, 'Town Beyond The Trees'. Their delightfully mellifluous songs are rooted in acoustic retro-rock, spiced up by well-placed bursts of electric geetar (notably during the epic 'So Long') and unobtrusive keyboard touches, but what really elevates them from the norm is their sensational four-part harmonies. Having already gigged with Elton John at his own personal request, The Storys can be seen and heard in the new movie The Bank Job. I can't recommend them highly enough. Here's what they played.
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Monday 17th March
The subject of 'Phoenix', Asia's new album (due April 11 via Frontiers Records), has fuelled some heated debate over at the the melodicrock.com forum. Like all Asia followers, I too had sky-high expectations of the first studio album in 25 years to feature the band's four original members, but find myself sharing some of those misgivings. 'Phoenix' boasts some quality material, notably during its first half, but the wishy-washy likes of 'Parallel Worlds', 'Wish I'd Known All Along', 'Orchard Of Mines' and the woeful 'Over and Over' let the side down badly. And as for 'Heroine', well... it sounds like Wetton and Downes programmed 'The Smile Has Left Your Eyes' into a computer, punched a few buttons and left the machine to write a sequel. The album certainly improves with repeated spins, but didn't the classic Asia albums offer a more instant form of gratification? They did for me, at least...
Anyway, last night I went to see Asia at Shepherds Bush Empire. The idea of the band playing each other's pre-Asia material still underwhelms me. And if they insist upon doing so, couldn't '...Crimson King' have been swapped for something from King Crimson's 'Red', or 'Fanfare...' for another ELP standard like 'Pirates'? However, when Asia played Asia songs, they were excellent. Previewing just two tunes from 'Phoenix', they made what I felt were the right choices - 'Never Again' and 'An Extraordinary Life', the songs that open and close the record. John Wetton looked fit 'n' healthy and sang marvellously, though it's still disconcerting to see the owlish Steve Howe throwing uncomfortable rock star shapes in a pair of OAP slacks he might've borrowed from a local librarian. Here's the set-list: 'Daylight', 'Only Time Will Tell', 'Wildest Dreams', 'Never Again', 'Roundabout', 'Time Again', 'Cutting It Fine' (outro part only), 'Clap', 'The Smile Has Left Your Eyes', 'Ride Easy', 'Voice Of America', 'Open Your Eyes', 'Fanfare For The Common Man', 'Without You', 'An Extraordinary Life', 'In The Court Of The Crimson King', 'Video Killed The Radio Star', 'The Heat Goes On' (including drum solo), 'Heat Of The Moment', 'Don't Cry' and 'Sole Survivor'.
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Sunday 16th March
Yesterday's improved second-half performance brought Crystal Palace three precious points against basement side Barnsley, a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory ensuring the Eagles leapfrogged above Clowntown Pathetic in the table. And with my second team, Leyton Orient, stuffing Scumwall 1-0 away from home to reignite their own play-off chances, all seems rosy with the world this fine Sunday morning.
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Saturday 15th March
Though I've collected all of their records so far and thoroughly enjoyed an interview at the start of the campaign for the current 'The Bedlam In Goliath' disc, until last night I'd never seen The Mars Volta onstage before. It was well worth the wait. The former At The Drive-In pair of frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez played for two and three-quarter hours, rounding up (I think) just ten songs in that time. Their sound is a combination of heavy metal, prog-rock, space-jazz, prog-fusion and psychedelic acid-rock influences, so it's no surprise that so many Rush fans seem to have adopted them. A 26-minute version of 'Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus' saw Bixler-Zavala squealing in a voice as high as the king of helium-charged hystetrics, Geddy Lee, Rodriguez-Lopez also getting to perform several lengthy guitar soliloquies. They seemed to lose momentum a little towards the middle, but at times the band's genre-defying, like-it-or-lump-it, lemon-squeezing antics reminded me of Santana, Van der Graaf Genator, Led Zeppelin and so many other bands from the 1970s. Here's the night's actual setlist, though the final three songs were not aired, most likely due to the venue's 11pm curfew.
P.S. Jobsworth Of The Week award goes to the Brixton Academy employee that told me: "You can't chew gum in here" before the concert began, bringing out the rule book to verify his point. Please re-arrange these words: 'Life, a, insignificant, get, twat, you, little'.
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Friday 14th March
Last night's Childline Rocks charity concert at the IndigO2... er, rocked. Like all good gala events, I came away from it counting myself a fan of a band I'd never really known too much about - The Zombies. Keyboard player Rod Argent is a man whose music I'm extremely familiar with, but I don't own anything by singer Colin Blunstone. I'll be spending some of the coming weekend seeking out a reasonably priced copy of their 1967 album 'Odessey And Oracle', a sumptuous 'Time Of The Season' being one of the evening's real highspots. It was a bit special to see Russ Ballard return from the wilderness to participate in a mini-reunion of Argent for a rendition of 'Hold Your Head Up'. Elsewhere, Thunder's Luke Morley performed Deep Purple's 'Mistreated' and 'Might Just Take Your Life' with Glenn Hughes and Ian Paice. Thunder's Danny Bowes shared vocals with Hughes on the latter. Fish seemed to be experiencing a few voices troubles during his annoyingly short slot (The Big Man sounded much better on a version of SAHB's 'Faith Healer' during the final run-in that also saw Ballard return to sing 'Since You Been Gone'). Three members of Marillion - Steve Hogarth, Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas - also interrupted the recording of the band's 15th album to play a short unplugged set that included a movingly stark take on Rare Bird's 'Sympathy'. Before a grand finale in which everyone joined in 'With A Little Help From My Friends', the event was graced by Roger Daltrey who belted out a couple of songs and forgot he was due to finish with The Who's 'Behind Blue Eyes'. Daltrey was almost outside the venue before being dragged back in again, blaming the incident on what might politely be termed a 'senior moment'. "Don't worry, it'll come to you all before too long," he joked.
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Thursday 13th March
Last night was spent glued to Sky Sports as Palace made the difficult away trip to West Bromwich Albion. I feared the worst when Kevin Phillips flipped the ball over Speroni to give the Baggies the lead after 30 minutes, but according to former Eagles legend Jon Salako, who was covering proceedings for Sky, Palace's equaliser - a first senior goal for 17-year-old Norbury-born academy protégé Victor Moses, followed by a flamboyant somersault in front of the visting supporters - was well deserved. In fact, Salako actually claimed "only one team will win it" as Palace dominated proceedings before a late rally from WBA. The much-prized point, secured away from home against the division's best team, moves CPFC back into play-off contention once more. Phew.
P.S. Just received the latest three releases from Krescendo Records, including 'Sweet Revenge' by Robin George/Glenn Hughes, the Pat Travers Band's 'Crash And Burn', and an album I've always wanted on CD, 'Hot Tonight', the 1984 debut from Lionheart. Used to hang around with the self-styled 'NWOBHM supegroup' quite a lot during my days as a pimply fanzine writer; I might even have been with them in the rehearsal room on the day that 'Towers Of Silver' was written. All these years later, Kevin Beamish's production is way too elaborate and Chad Brown (who later entered the Eurovision Song Contest!) is guilty of some over-singing, though the songs remain bloody marvellous.
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Wednesday 12th March
Do you recall the e-petition to get Lemmy Kilmister a knighthood? Well, I just received an email response from 10 Downing Street. Presumably, it came from Gordon Brown, who I know for certain is a huge fan of Uriah Heep. However, there's no need for the Lemster to invest in a suit and tie anytime soon. "Lemmy's achievements in music are well known and respected. It is easy to see why so many people want to see his record formally recognised. This is underlined by the hundreds of people who have signed the e-petition," says the relevant website posting. So far so good, eh? However, the message ends with the terse summation: "Your support has been carefully noted." What the fugg does that mean?! Politicians... doncha just hate the way they sit on the fence?!?
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Sunday 9th March
Please don't drop any paperclips or rustle that Sunday newspaper too loudly. Some of us are badly hung over. The drinking began well in advance of Palace's hugely welcome victory over Colchester United, continuing long into the night after Finnish madmen Children Of Bodom had worked their neo-classical magic on a sold-out Astoria. I've been a huge COB fan since the band's 'Hatebreeder' album back in 1999, so it's great to see them doing so well for themselves. As with the Symphony X gig two nights earlier the front-of-house mix was terrible, but two tracks aired from the forthcoming 'Blooddrunk' album (the title cut and 'Tie My Rope') were welcomed like old favourites by the fans. It was good to hear them revive 'Children Of Decadence' (from 2001's 'Follow The Reaper'), too.
Leaving my usual spot in the balcony for a mid-show toilet break/drinks top-up, who should be hovering in the bar but Saxon's Biff Byford? "That's not a Barnsley shirt", Mr Byford correctly observed upon spotting my Centenary CPFC garb. Barnsley had knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup earlier that evening, so I offered him my hearty congratulations - it's always been a trait of mine to support the underdog. My liver fits that same category this morning, following an ill-advised jaunt to Bodom's after-show party at the Intrepid Fox.
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Saturday 8th March
Woo-hoo! The latest two releases from Rock Candy Records are here. Michael Bolton's 'Everybody's Crazy' was, of course, a landmark in the genre of melodic hard rock. And yet I'm even more excited to acquire Romeo's Daughter's self-titled debut on CD at last. Though 'Heaven In The Backseat', 'Don't Break My Heart' and 'Wild Child' are all long overdue their spaces on the iPod, I'd actually forgotten how consistently strong 'Romeo's Daughter' is. Maybe that's because during the vinyl era I had to keep dashing off for a cold shower every time Leigh Matty purred the line: "I don't care where we go/Or what we do/Just wanna do it with you... do it with you" during the sublime 'I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night'.
Starkly contrasting the frustration of the previous day's Symphony X gig, last night it was an absolute joy to see Hanoi Rocks laying waste to the Astoria 2. There are few more watchable frontmen around than the gravel-voiced, bug-eyed, endearingly hyperactive Michael Monroe. Bidding farewell to departing drummer Lacu on the last night of their European tour, the Finns' 95-minute, 22-song performance was loaded in favour of current disc 'Street Poetry' but still rounded up most of their definitive tunes. Quite simply, if you've never seen Hanoi Rocks before then you're missing out on something very special. This is what they played: 'Fumblefoot And Busy Bee', 'Hypermobile', 'Malibu Beach', 'Street Poetry', 'Highwired', 'Day Later Dollar Short', 'Bad News', 'Power Of Persuasion', 'Teenage Revolution', 'High School', 'Fashion', 'Back To Mystery City', 'This One's For Rock 'N' Roll', 'People Like Me', 'Don't You Ever Leave Me', 'Tragedy', 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams', 'Oriental Beat', 'Powertrip', 'Motorvatin'', 'Taxi Driver' and 'Up Around The Bend'.
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Friday 7th March
Ever have one of these days when all that you touch turns to shit? As we're closing the latest issue of Classic Rock it wasn't the most convenient of days to have locked myself out of my office. Then at lunchtime I slashed my thumb on a tin of beans, right at the joint, where it always takes aeons to heal. Heading up to town for the Symphony X gig, my usual train from Catford Bridge was cancelled. To top it all, despite the sign outside the Astoria stating that support band Epica were due onstage at 7.15pm, the Dutchmen (and woman!) were already into their stride by the time I entered the Astoria at around 7.05 - for Christ's sake! Nothing to do with my foul mood, Epica just weren't very good on this occasion, mainly due to flame-haired singer Simone Simons recovering from a 'flu bug.
After tremendous support slots with Stratovarius and Dream Theater, I'd been dying to see Symphony X headline at last. Sadly, they were hampered by a dismally inadequate sound. From my position in the balcony - pretty much the same place that I always stand - it took nine songs for Michael Romeo's guitar to soar and caress the way the records do. The last half an hour of the show proved what Symphony X are really capable of, but by then I'd written off the evening along with the rest of a wretched day. The best part came when Russell Allen asked the crowd in his best Brian Blessed-style roar: "Are you not entertained?!" Sadly, not on this occasion. But here's what they played: 'Set The World On Fire', 'Domination', 'The Serpent's Kiss', 'Masquerade', 'Paradise Lost', 'Through The Looking Glass (Pts 1-3)', 'Inferno (Unleash The Fire)', 'Smoke And Mirrors', 'Sea of Lies', 'Revelation', 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy Part VII - Paradise Regained', 'Immigrant Song'/'Eve Of Seduction', 'Out Of The Ashes and 'Of Sins And Shadows'.
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Thursday 6th March
Lovingly produced by Trevor Horn of Yes/Buggles fame, 'This Is Hazelville' was among my fave platters of '06. Last night the London-based band responsible, Captain, made a low-key stop at the 100-capacity Soho Revue Bar as part of a gentle run-in towards the summer unveiling of a follow-up disc, to be titled 'Distraction'. Given the show's intimate location - odd that it took place so soon after the death of owner Paul Raymond (that's the porn king variety; not UFO's keyboard/rhythm guitar maestro), there were a few comments from the stage about pole-dancing and "sweaty crotches". Alongside old favouries 'Glorious' and 'Broke', several of its selections were previewed, including first single 'Keep An Open Mind' (due on April 14), 'Echoes Of Fashion' and 'Animal'. I loved 'em all! The voices of guitarist Rik Flynn and keyboard player Clare Szembek still gell to absolute swoonsome perfection, and at encore time the band returned for an excellent cover of The Cure's 'Love Song'. Looking forward to saluting the Captain again very soon, and here's the set-list: 'Little Echoes', 'Broke', 'Keep An Open Mind', 'Animal', 'This Heart', 'The Gamble', 'Build A Life', 'Safe Harbour', 'Motto', 'Glorious', 'Love Song' and 'Lost The Bottle'.
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Wednesday 5th March
So, disappointingly, Palace failed to beat Cardiff City. Six points from home clashes with the Sheepshaggers (last night) and relegation-threatened Colchester United (this coming Saturday) would've thrust the club right back into play-off contention, but despite a late second half rally from the Eagles, and Clinton Morrison missing an unmarked header from a Ben Watson corner that Stevie Wonder would've had no trouble burying, the game petered out goalless. Looks like it's mid-table mediocrity again this term and another season in the Fizzy Pop League next year. Sigh...
En route to freezing cold Selhurst Park I began leafing through The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies And My Life With Styx, the autobiography of that band's former bassist Chuck Panozzo. Inspired by Phil Ashcroft's excellent review of the book in the latest Fireworks magazine I'd contacted Panozzo to request a copy for Classic Rock. Though he still sometimes appears with Styx, Panozzo was diagnosed with the AIDS virus in 1998 and spends much of his time as an activist for gay rights. Besides delving onto his musical career - you cannot sniff at sales of 54 million albums, or the fact that Styx were the first band to achieve four consecutive triple-platinum albums - the book also catalogues the pain and confusion that Chuck felt during four decades in the closet, ensconsed in the testosterone-charged world of hard rock, before finally informing his band-mates of his sexual orientation.
As Panozzo explained in his covering email: "A gay rocker raised in an era of female groupies and macho man ideology gave me a unique opportunity to expose a side of myself that I had kept hidden. Hopefully it will continue to inspire people, no matter what their orientation, to be themselves."
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Tuesday 4th March
After a quiet period loadsa good gigs are on the way. Last night I went to the Water Rats, a small venue down the road from King's Cross station, to check out Ginger's acoustic show. Actually, I don't know whether 'acoustic', 'unplugged' or whatever are accurate descriptions - put it this way, there was no drummer and the arrangements were pretty stripped down, though there were also some moments of typical raucousness. The oddest thing of all was that the set's first half was incredibly structured. The tracks were all inter-linked and the normally talkative Ginger didn't even address the crowd until (I think) nine songs had zipped by. From there onwards, though, it felt as though things were being made up on the spot. Bemused and delighted punters were invited up to bang away on various percussive instruments and Ginger tried (unsuccessfully, in the instance of Ace Frehley's 'New York Groove', which nobody in the crowd knew!) to throw in a few covers. Nowhere else on earth are you ever likely to hear a medley of crooner classic 'Moon River' and the Wildhearts' own 'Loveshit'. Great fun.
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Monday 3rd March
RIP Jeff Healey. As well as experiencing his live show several times, I had the pleasure of interviewing the blind Canadian guitarist last February, whilst he was recuperating from surgery for the cancer that killed him at the tender age of 41. Despite having been given a list of things that were supposedly 'off limits', Healey ended up discussing just about everything I wanted him to, including the allegation that he had turned his back on the blues, only returning to the style that had made his name to underwrite the music - traditional jazz - that he really wished to play? "I suppose so," admitted Jeff. "That may be a disappointment to some, but fuck it. As long as we trot out three or four of Healey Band staples from 20 years ago, I can usually get away with what I want. We're just having fun with music; we're the quintessential bar band." Healey's now gone to a better place, and he can jam there with whoever he darned well likes.
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Sunday 2nd March
A few emails have enquired whether, besides penning the sleeve notes, I was responsible for compiling the new Status Quo anthology, 'Rock Legends'. The answer is in the negative. In fact, I only saw a finished copy of said album yesterday morning. Had I assembled the track listing I'd have used the 'Rocking All Over The World' version of 'Can't Give You More' (as opposed to the one from 'Rock 'Til You Drop'), and of course the full, unedited take of 'The Mystery Song'. But it's not a bad l'il compilation. Thanks to Matt Read at Universal for kindly sending the whole set of the 'Rock Legends' releases, completed by Dio, Skynyrd, Free, the Allmans, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Mötley Crüe.
Still basking in the relief of Palace's 1-0 win at Preston North End, a victory that revives feint hopes of reaching the play-offs, I spent this morning at a record fair. The bus journey to Orpington was spent absorbing 'The Scarecrow', a spendid concept album from Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet's side-project Avantasia that features cameos from Alice Cooper, Rudolf Schenker, Bob Catley, Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen and many more. It's only March, admittedly, but 'The Scarecrow' is my album of the year so far.
Returned to Catford weighed down by a slab o'vinyl, including 'Guilty Until Proven Insane' by Aussie band Skyhooks (featuring the original version of 'Women In Uniform', as covered by Iron Maiden), a couple of classic Renaissance discs from the 70s, some obscure jazz-rock and the Average White Band's 1977 double-live 'Person To Person'.

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Saturday March 1
Can it really be March already?! Here's this month's Playlist and YouTube.