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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Friday 30th September
Last night I attended a terrific gig that in years to come will surely be spoken of in hushed tones. Dragonforce ended a three-show residency at the tiny Barfly and rocked the motherfuggin' place to its very foundations. Opening act Mendeed, a young hardcore-tinged metal band, were so good that I'm prepared to overlook their Scottish origins and offer them immediate 'honorary Englishmen' status. But Dragonforce, Jesus... Dragonforce. Those songs, the sextet's boundless, beer-fuelled energy... the audience and their plastic swords, maces and battleaxes - all squeezed into a venue the size of a large shoebox. Excuse me as I wipe away a tear.
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Thursday 29th September
It's always sad when one of your fave bands calls it a day. Truth told, I'd no idea that 3 Colours Red had decided to split till receiving an emailed invite from guitarist Chris McCormack to their final London show. Given my friendship with Chris (I've known him since his Forgodsake days), I've followed 3CR from their earliest days. I caught their debut show, opening for someone I now forget at the Garage in September 1995, looked on proudly as they opened for the Sex Pistols at Finsbury Park, and again at the Electric Ballroom in February 1999 when they were joined onstage by Steve Jones and Glen Matlock on 'Anarchy In The UK.
So last night was a bittersweet experience. It was pleasing to see Chris' brother, ex-Wildhearts bassist Danny McCormack, looking fit, healthy and motivated again after his much-publicised chemical problems, and playing a kick-ass support slot with the reunited The Yo-Yo's. 3 Colours Red have always been a silly bunch - guitarist Pete Vuckovic had shaved off his beard and put it up for sale at the merch stall; last thing I knew some silly sod had offered £36.24 for it. No accounting for taste. They played a concise hour of their best songs, sending a packed Islington Academy absolutely bonkers. Their biggest hit, Beautiful Day, was dedicated to Chef from South Park for keeping them out of the Top Ten in 1999, but the vibe was one of cheerful resignation. I, for one, will miss 3CR a lot.

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Wednesday 28th September
It's been so long since Palace played Sheffield Wednesday, I'd forgotten how vocal their fans can be. They're absolute loonies, but respect is due for the size of a midweek turnout, and the volume generated on behalf of a relegation-bound team. Last night's game finished 2-0 to the Eagles, the result lifting us into the Top 10 of the table. It's a start, at least.
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Tuesday 27th September
Mustn't type too loudly. Yes, I'm hungover again. Yesterday evening I went up to Sanctuary Records to discuss 'Reflections', a new two-CD anthology on Brummie hard rockers Shy that I've had a hand in assembling. After an amusing interview for the sleeve notes, vocalist Tony Mills, bassist Roy Davis and new keyboard player Joe Basketts joined the Sanctuary mob in the local boozer, several dry white wines resulting in my almighty headache. It was good to see the fellas again; Mr Mills is a still bit of a dry old stick but exceedingly good company. Took home a load of excellent releases, including a finished version of the Uriah Heep six-disc set 'Chapter And Verse'. It looks bloody excellent - well worth all the hard work in putting it together. Was chuffed to plug a gap by picking up the only Black Sabbath album I don't own on CD, the immortal 'Heaven And Hell', plus three interesting-looking re-issues from John Entwistle. Also pocketed Venom's four-CD box 'MMV', with a great sleeve essay from my old boozing buddy Malcolm Dome.
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Monday 26th September
What a 'kin excellent show I saw last night. For quite some time Nightwish have been one of my favourite bands, but their headlining performance at a sold-out Hammersmith Apollo took them to new levels of genius. The sound was amazing, the band played (and Tarja sang!) out of their skins, augmented an array of lasers, pyrotechnics and even two confetti cannons. They're planning to spend all of next year writing and recording a follow-up to the million-selling 'Once', but this was a show nobody will forget in a hurry.
My old mates Paradise Lost delivered an impressive opening spot, and thank God vocalist Nick Holmes hasn't cheered up any. "Good to see the place has filled up," he deadpanned, "just as we're finishing." I must find some time to post the story of my trip to Jerusalem with them on the 'Shades Of God' tour. One of my all-time favourite assignments.
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Sunday 25th September
Still fuming over Palace's feeble display against Preston yesterday. If we can't beat a team that only has nine men for the last 25 minutes, there's no way on this earth that we're good enough to be promoted - with or without the injured Andy Johnson. To top it all, I missed Clinton Morrison's injury time leveller in a bid to beat the queues for a ticket for the Crewe game. Bah. Sort it out, Dowie. You're supposed to be a deity.
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Saturday 24th September
What better way to end a gruelling week than a Budgie gig? Burke Shelley and chums were in deafeningly fine form at the Underworld last night. 'Napoleon Bona-Part One' and 'Part Two'... what a truly fabulous pair of songs. In fact, I'm off to play 1975's 'Bandolier' album right now.
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Thursday 22nd September
Yesterday involved a trip to the Borderline, one of my fave London venues, for the return of Leaf Hound a long-lost and quite wonderful doom-tinged hard rock band back from the dead after splitting up in 1971. The ever-improving Pig Iron warmed up the crowd nicely, before Pete French (who later fronted Atomic Rooster) and his revised line-up let rip with some enjoyable brand new material, intermingled with vintage gems like 'Freelance Friend', 'Stray' and a version of 'Growers Of Mushroom' that tempted Cathedral's Lee Dorrian to the front for a freak-out.
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Wednesday 21st September
It was back to Selhurst Park last night for Palace's slender victory over Coventry in the second round of the Coca Cola Cup. A somewhat dire game was turned by a stunning solo goal from substitute Marco Reich, a new arrival who's played for FC Cologne, Werder Bremen and, er, Derby County. With Andy Johnson injured and Clinton Morrison rested, it was a young, makeshift side. But I wonder how much longer Iain Dowie can possibly keep faith with hapless (and goalless) striker Wayne Andrews. Let's face it, Oliver Reed was not a teetotaller, Brian Johnson doesn't speak the Queen's English, Dawn French is not a bikini model, I am not a brain surgeon... Wayne Andrews is not a professional footballer. End of.
On a far more poigant note, former Damageplan/Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul has given a moving interview to Guitar Player magazine. It contains some fascinating comments regarding the much-mooted Pantera reunion ("if you were married to somebody for 15 or 16 years and they treated you the way we got treated, you don't go back to them"), and the senseless shooting of his brother Dimebag Darrell ("it's ruined my life and taken away so much joy and happiness from so many people. I guess what I'm trying to find is an answer for why this happened. There has to be an answer, and I hope it comes out someday"). Tellingly, Vinnie also adds: "Dime will live on forever, though, just like Jimi Hendrix and Randy Rhoads." Amen to that.
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Monday 19th September
Received an excellent album in today's post. Coheed And Cambria are an excellent nu-prog outfit from America, and the unfeasibly titled 'Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume 1. From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness' may well turn out to be among the best CDs of 2005. A hotch-potch of Rush, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Black Sabbath, it even has a song that sounds a little like the mighty It Bites. So good are the songs, it's almost possible to forgive them for being influenced by The Police (ugggh).
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Sunday 18th September
Palace lost to Cardiff City yesterday, though from the radio commentary our second half performance should have brought at least a draw. It's terrifying to think that we've not won an away game since Birmingham City - last October.
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Wednesday 14th September
What an amazing quote from Freddie Flintoff in the Evening Standard. In a 'refreshed' state after a 17-hour bender, England's hero was overheard stating: "The most exciting thing about winning the Ashes is that I'll be awarded the freedom of Preston, my home town. I can drive a flock of sheep through the town centre, drink for free in 64 pubs and get a lift home with the police when I'm inebriated. What more could you want?"
With the victory cheers of hundreds of thousands of cricket fans still ringing in my ears, it was away from Trafalgar Square and off to Palace's away game against Reading; the latest showdown with former manager/living deity Steve Coppell. Stevie's teams always play with passion, and with Andrew Johnson limping off just before half time after scoring an amazing equaliser, yet another last minute leakage condemned us to defeat. With a twice taken (and missed) penalty from the home side, it was certainly an exciting game, but I'm praying the injury to our shaven-headed talisman isn't serious. We looked pretty ropey without him.
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Tuesday 13th September
This morning I'm proud to be an Englishman. Mrs L and I were among the lucky 35,000-odd ticket holders to witness yesterday's climax of the Ashes Test Match series. What drama. Singing 'Jerusalem' was a stirring experience. It was great to remind Glenn McGrath of his prediction that the convicts would win the series 5-0 when he fielded in front of us at the boundary, but he took the abuse in good spirit. Despite a few scary moments when I feared it might go pear-shaped (dropped catches, toppling wickets, Bell's latest embarrassing innings), a heroic debut Test century from Kevin Pietersen secured a tense, hard-fought draw that saw the fabled Little Urn returning home. As I type this, I'm watching the team's victory parade. Pieterson has just boarded the open-top bus armed with a jug of evil-looking booze. A bleary-eyed Flintoff, who by all accounts has been up all night, still looks so paralytic that his breath alone would probably leave anyone unable to walk a straight line. Attaboys.
P.S. Dame Edna, Rolf Harris, Joe Mangle, Nicole Kidman, Angry Anderson, Robyn Doreian, John Farnham, Germaine Greer, Clive James, Harold Bishop... your lads took one hell of a beating!
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Sunday 11th September
Congrats to UFO's Pete Way for interrupting his latest Waysted tour to tie the knot to the lovely Rashida at the end of last week. Frankly, I'm amazed that he made it down the aisle at all given that Spike of The Quireboys was acting as his best man. Now there's a combination to strike mortal terror into barmen (and registrars) everywhere. Anyway, well done Pete.
Yesterday saw a fine 2-0 win for Palace over ex-Eagle Peter Taylor and his Hull City team. The game was fairly nondescript except for the goals, my most vivid recollection being the Jumbotron cutting away to show footage of torrential rain at The Oval. Obviously, delay to the Test Match only served to enhance England's chances of winning back the Ashes. Fittingly, it received the biggest cheer of the day!
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Saturday 10th September
For the second day in a row, I spent yesterday attempting to work but glued to the telly/radio coverage of the Test Match. By the end of play, the Aussies had their noses in front. Have been playing Status Quo's 'Rain', 'The Rain Song' by Led Zeppelin and quite a bit of Thunder in the hope that the good ol' English weather will play a part in this nail-biting climax, especially as Mrs L and I have tickets for the final day's play on Monday. (I knew that Puddle Of Mudd album would come in useful someday - now where did I put it?!).
Gov't Mule returned to London last night. Once again Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes and company provided some wonderful entertainment, save for a short interval spending three solid hours on the Mean Fiddler stage. It was great to hear them play 'Thorazine Shuffle', which they overlooked on their debut visit. Their encore, a rearranged version of 'All Along The Watchtower', was another quite magnificent moment. However, coming back just five months after their UK debut in April may have been premature. This crowd was smaller, and although the set was a good 20 minutes longer, some of the extended jamming became a little tiresome. That's just my own personal opinion, but I'm sure I wasn't the only one capable of living without the six-minute drum solo.
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Friday 9th September
Yesterday saw the start of THE BIGGIE. The Fifth Test in the Ashes series: England vs Australia, with the home side needing just (just?!) a draw to secure a glorious triumph. Sadly, because the Aussies already have the Ashes in their power, a tied game would be good enough for the convicts. In typical count-your-chickens-before-you-shoot-yourself-in-the-foot fashion, it's been leaked that England have booked Tragalgar Square for a victory celebration. How dumb and presumptious. At the end of the first day, it was pretty much neck and neck.
In the evening, I got the train up to the Mean Fiddler for a quite stupendous show from Swedish metal-progressives Opeth. I'd seen them six or seven times before, but this was the finest concert they've played in the capital to date. Guitarist/frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt was in charge of the sold-out crowd from the off, ignoring the blast furnace conditions and charming the Fiddler with some hilarious, self-mocking song intros as the newly expanded five-piece bewitched as all with a quite jaw-dropping performance. Following a pre-show interview, Åkerfeldt and I had a transpotter-like discussion about our mutual love of vinyl. Seems that the bugger's list is more extensive than my own. But then as we both agreed, there are far more harmful things that we could be addicted to.
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Thursday 8th September
For fear of lapsing into an apopleptic rage, I won't comment on England's shameful World Cup qualifier defeat against Northern Ireland last night. However, considering I missed out on three killer gigs - Driver By Truckers at the Garage, Nile and Hate Eternal at Koko and Skid Row at the Electric Ballroom - to sit at home and drink myself stupid watching such an abhorrent spectacle, well... words almost fail me. My only pleasure was watching Iain 'God' Dowie as a BBC pundit, losing his cool to leap around the studio as David Healy struck the winner.
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Monday 5th September
A great weekend concluded with last night's visit to the Astoria. Within Temptation were the headliners, Cathedral supplying an all too brief (27 minutes?!) opening set. Within Temptation didn't exactly play a marathon show either, but Sharon den Adel's voice is truly stellar, and their 75 minutes housed some wonderful songs. Nice version of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill', too. My biggest concern was the cropped hair and wildly exaggerated shape-throwing of the male members of the band. I'm aware that den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt are a romantic item, but there were moments when WT's presentation seemed... well, how can I put this?... a bit on the gay side.
P.S. Can't wait to hear 'Aerial', Kate Bush's first new studio album in 12 years, on November 7.
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Saturday 3rd September
Gosh... ain't the human body an amazing creation? This morning I got home from Iron Maiden's after-show party just as my two boys came down for breakfast, and after checking the emails and a quick doze in the chair I was ready to commence drinking again in preparation for England's World Cup qualifier against Wales (later won in unconvincing fashion by a solitary goal). The Maiden show was akin to a religious experience. Having secured front balcony seats (proceeds benefitting MS-stricken ex-drummer Clive Burr, I happily shelled out my £60), gazing down onto the stage and at the riotious crowd before them at times felt like being perched on the rim of an erupting Krakatoa. In all my years of visiting Hammersmith Odeon - my first gig there was Whitesnake in 1979 - I'd never heard a crowd anywhere near as noisy. And I'm sure I wasn't alone in being emotionally choked when Burr was wheeled out onto the stage towards the show's end. I applaud his bravery, and Maiden's loyalty. Wisely, there was no addressing of the Ozzfest debacle from the stage, in fact when Bruce Dickinson accidentally incited boos by mentioning the band's jaunt to America, he just as quickly silenced them. And afterwards, all was harmonious at the post-show soiree. Respect goes to guitarist Adrian Smith, the last Maiden-ite left standing at the bar (well, perched precariously against it) as the sun rose on a new day.
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Friday 2nd September
As the music industry grows ever more respectable, lunchtime press receptions appear to be dying out. F**k it, if you've just finished your contribution to a new issue and want to blow off a little steam then a visit to the Borderline to hear Hawkwind's new album, 'Take Me To Your Leader', and the guzzling of some freebie white wine is just what the doctor ordered.
That's exactly what I did yesterday, and better still the band even got up to perform a few numbers!
Heading home I dropped into Fopp Records at Leicester Square, a store that often has a good selection of cheapo CDs. In my inebriated state I picked up David Bowie's 'Reality' and 'Lifeblood' by the Manic Street Preachers for £3 apiece. Bowie's album is listenable yet unexciting, but with the latter I might as well have deposited three pound coins straight down the drain. Can there be a more tired, dirge-like and desperately middle-aged band anywhere in the country?
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Thursday 1st September
The British climate generates much amusement, but I'd rather live here than anywhere else in the world. It's incredibly sad to switch on the news and see people still being rescued from the roofs of their houses in New Orleans - four days after the deluge caused by Hurricane Katrina. And they're the lucky ones; with a possible deathcount of thousands and no electricity or food, plus 20,000 sheltering in the city's Superdome stadium, the situation is getting worse. Some say New Orleans will never recover, though at the very least it'll take many months to restore power and hygene. Having visisted this most charistmatic of cities twice - with George Thorogood & The Destroyers in 1999 and in the company of Ted Nugent two years later - I can only express my sympathy. Also to House Of Lords keyboard player Gregg Giuffria, who only 12 months or so after his studio was destroyed by fire saw his Biloxi Hard Rock Casino flattened by the hurricane. And when one considers the 1,000 people crushed to death in yesterday's Baghdad religious stampede... well, I'm lucky that my biggest concern is whether I'll finish my Magnum sleeve notes on time.