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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Sunday 30th September
I’m bedraggled but home safely after a boozetastic weekend in great company. My first awayday of the 2012/’13 season saw Crystal Palace claiming all three points thanks during a physically contested game with Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium. Was the referee right to have awarded the Eagles a second half pen (duly despatched by Glenn Murray) as the ever-tricky Wilf Zaha was tackled by Zat Knight? Listen… nobody could deny that Zaha played for the spot-kick, but when the defender stuck out his leg he might as well have attached a Post It note saying: “Go on, trip me over”… what did he think was gonna happen? Cue CPFC’s first ever league triumph at Bolton. My host for the weekend, Marseille’s mega-Trotters fan Nige Roberts, was incredibly gracious and having sunk several pints of radioactive-looking cider prior to the match in a brilliant pub called the Scythe, we headed off to complete the job of getting royally shit-faced.
In having arranged to hook up with another local fella, ex-Spider rhythm guitarist/frontman Colin Harkness, at a Real Ale & Cider Festival at the Astley Bridge Cricket Club we were effectively signing a communal death warrant… and so it proved. Way too many cheap pints of something called Happy Daze flowed down the neck and we bonded further over cheering at Spurs’ fine victory at Old Trafford on the TV. When the beer fest’s live band failed to turn up, a tantalising few minutes were spent chewing over the idea putting together our own line-up... till I remembered that I don’t play drums, bass or indeed.. um... anything. Still that never held back Linda McCartney, did it?
The night gradually spiralled out of control. Plans to have attended a gig by Rich Davenport and Joe Matera at another public house called The Alma were… er… liquidated. Like the rest of our party, I was a disgusting wreck: Throughout the day I must have supped twenty pints of fermented apple juice. I wonder whether this fact had summat to do with Nige toppling ass over tit over in the Indian restaurant? So thank goodness for the hospitality of Mr Roberts and the luvvly fried breakfast cooked by his delightful other half Karen as I prepared to dash for my train at (ulp!) 9.23am. Frankly, I feel like I’ve been hit by an articulated lorry… why do I do it?? (Because it’s great fun… haha!).
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Saturday 29th September
After what had been largely a long, wet and bleak week I was determined to enjoy myself at last night’s gig from Romeo’s Daughter, attended in the company of partners in grime Andy Beare, Neil Pudney and Dave Craig.
Arriving at Bush hall just as the support act, Four Wheel Drive, where hitting the stage, the crowd was a trifle thin. There’s also a fairly large stylistic chasm between 4WD’s AC/DC-tinged boogie and the plush, shimmering melodic pop-rock of the headliners, but the openers tried their hardest and seemed to go down pretty well. For some reason the final song of their set, ‘Hammered Again’, was dedicated to yours truly. Boys… you can expect to hear from my solicitor.
The venue had filled nicely by the time that RD took to the stage, though sadly many of the subtleties of their sound were lost in iffy front-of-house mix. There were a few ‘faces’ on hand, including FM’s bassist Merv Goldsworthy (who ’fessed up to a state of extreme nervousness whilst watching his other half, Leigh Matty) and keysman Jem Davis, ex-Mama’s Boys bassist John McManus, Tank’s Cliff Evans and Quireboys bassist Dave Boyce, the latter of whom was celebrating his 55th birthday (hehehe… only kidding Boycie!).
The headliners’ set was based upon the newly released album ‘Rapture’, the likes of ‘Trippin’ Out’, ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘Lightning’ standing up well alongside golden oldies ‘Velvet Tongue’, ‘Don’t Break My Heart’, ‘Stay With Me Tonight’, and the ever-brilliant ‘I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night’ and ‘Heaven In The Back Seat’, the divine strains of which were apparently the cause of some ungainly dance moves from a person said to have matched my description. Save for such embarrassment (Christ, I hope there were no photos or videos!) it was an extremely pleasurable night.

Dave Ling Photo Gallery

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Thursday 27th September
A finished copy of Steve Harris’ ‘British Lion’ album has just arrived. There’s no mistaking that bass technique but the direction is... interesting. It’s nowhere near as proggy as had I hoped/expected. I wonder whether it’s going to be a grower? Time will tell…
Another record with more instant appeal is ‘Into Insignificance I Will Pale’, the new solo album from ex-IQ singer Paul Menel. What truly fantastic songs!! I am currently spinning this little beaut for the third time in two days; it’s a million miles light years away from the neo-prog of what Menel did with IQ. Think latterday Peter Gabriel (whose cohort Gav Managhan produced the album) crossed with hard rock, soul and various differing stands of music. There’s not a duff track on it!
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Wednesday 26th September
It might be time to open a can of Top Deck this evening! Geoff Barton’s Facebook page just broke the news that Classic Rock’s spin-off AOR mag will be making its long-awaited return in December!
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Tuesday 25th September
According to a terse yet unmissably rancorous exchange on Twitter, Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa are both “ready to move on” after the apparent dissolution of Black Country Communion. Read the story here. How sad…
So John Terry has retired from playing for England, claiming that his position had been made “untenable” before an FA hearing. Terry might have won 78 caps but I cheer his exit from the Three Lions set-up in the loudest manner possible. As my friend Steve Goldby has just pointed out over at his Facebook page (sorry for the steal Steve), defending this vile, conceited specimen by pointing out that he was great player for England is a little like stating that Peter Sutcliffe was a great lorry driver.
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Monday 24th September
‘I Am Anonymous’, the full-length debut from Headspace, will be among my favourite albums of 2012. Last night at the Borderline the UK-based prog-metal five-piece, who feature members past and present of It Bites, Yes, Threshold, Ozzy and Steve Hackett’s solo bands and many more, served up a show to match the immense potential of that album, which Prog magazine had hailed as being among “the most engaging and exciting” releases since the title’s inception three years ago. Damian Wilson is without doubt one of the best frontmen outside the Premier League and Adam Wakeman’s keys were outstanding but it was the rich, moody tone of Australian-born guitarist Pete Rinadli, formerly of Justin Hawkins’ post-Darkness troupe Hot Leg, that really served to bowl me over. The various band members have incredibly overloaded schedules but it would be great to see Headspace out there and gigging and again for too long – preferably on a major support tour. They certainly deserve it. Meanwhile, here’s the set-list: ‘Stalled Armageddon’, ‘Fall Of America’, ‘Soldier’, ‘Die With A Bullet’, ‘In Hell’s Name’, ‘Daddy Fucking Loves You’, ‘Invasion’ and ‘The Big Day’.
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Sunday 23rd September
What an absolutely brilliant comeback!!! Crystal Palace were 2-0 down to the vile Cardiff at H-T, but thanks to a hat-trick from Glenn Murray the game finished 3-2 to the Eagles. Now **that’s** why I’m an Eagle till I die!!!
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Saturday 22nd September
For yours truly, the self-titled debut from Flying Colors – the supergroup featuring members past and present of Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic, Kansas and Deep Purple – was among the most pleasant surprises of 2012. When my friend Nick Shilton and I gained entry to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, we were taken aback to note there were some empty seats. What the heck?!
Beardfish were making their first appearance on these shores since May 2008 when they opened for Ritual and The Tangent at London’s Underworld. I’m a big fan of the Swedish neo-proggers, especially their twin conceptual discs ‘Sleeping In Traffic’ (released in 2007 and ’08) but the band’s new, heavier direction seems to have put off some fans and when Rikard Sjöblom’s first death growl of the night materialized midway through ‘Destined Solitaire’, the set began to appear somewhat misjudged.
It’s pretty amazing to think that during the last two years Mike Portnoy has recorded eight studio albums and gigged with 12 different bands or projects. However, the ‘X’ factor within Flying Colors is Casey McPherson. Hailing from the alternative rock band Alpha Rev, the 33-year-old’s appointment allows the group to fulfill a bold mission statement via the teaming of “virtuoso musicians and a pop singer to make new-fashioned music the old-fashioned way.” Besides wielding an excellent voice, McPherson is brave enough to strap on a guitar and play back-up to the formidable Steve Morse. With just one album from which to chose, each band member revisited a song from their catalogue. Sadly, London didn’t get the additional encore of Purple’s ‘Space Truckin' ’ enjoyed by Dutch fans 24 hours earlier but the show’s combination of pop-rock melody and the majesty of prog is impossible to resist. Here’s the set-list: ‘Blue Ocean’, ‘Shoulda Coulda Woulda’, ‘Love Is What I'm Waiting For’, ‘Can’t Find A Way’ (Endochine cover), ‘The Storm’, ‘Odyssey’ (Dixie Dregs cover), ‘Forever In A Daze’, ‘Better Than Walking Away’, ‘Kayla’, Bass Solo, ‘Fool In My Heart’, ‘Repentance’ (Dream Theater cover), ‘June’ (Spock’s Beard cover), ‘All Falls Down’, ‘Everything Changes’ and an encore of ‘Infinite Fire’.
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Friday 21st September
Having enjoyed the couple of tunes that she sang at last weekend’s Sunflower Jam, I was more than happy to join an intimate, enthusiastic crowd at London’s Gibson Guitar Studios for some free beer during the launch of Sandi Thom’s fourth solo album. Besides being the girlfriend of Joe Bonamassa, the Scottish singer-songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player is probably best known for her throwaway 2006 pop hit ‘I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)’. Produced in Nashville by none other than Rich Robinson and featuring contributions from a stellar backing band comprising Black Crowes guitarist Rich, plus fellow Crowes alumni Audley Freed (guitar) and Steve Gorman (drums) and Rolling Stones sax player Bobby Keys, ‘Flesh And Blood’ is a far less frivolous record.
Thom took to the stage revealing that the previous week had been the best of her life so far, thanks largely to having been told that he was “the real deal" by certain fellow artists at the Albert Hall. Backed by a tidy five-piece band, some of whom had been with her for more than a decade, Sandi went on to prove it, too. The sassy ‘Help Me’ got the crowd on her side from the off, while the album’s title cut began introspectively before building gradually into a full-bodied rocker. Performed with just voice and guitar, her attempt at a “non-cheesy” love song called ‘I Love You Like A Lunatic’ (presumably inspired by JB), was sung superbly and the last song of the night, ‘Lay Your Burden Down’ (which also closes the record), saw the return of the full band, sending the audience home – or in the cases of myself, Andy Beare and Noel Buckley down the road to the Crobar – with smiles plastered across their faces.
And how about this for a spooky co-incidence. You’ve spent a big chunk of the day writing about the many virtues of Free, and then suddenly you realise that Andy Fraser, the genius that co-wrote and played bass on ‘All Right Now’, ‘Fire & Water’, ‘The Stealer’, ‘Be My Friend’, ‘Little Bit Of Love’ and many more, is grooving away in the crowd a few feet in front of you. You’ve gotta have your photo taken with him, right? Take a peek here.
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Thursday 20th September
I’ve just had a very entertaining chat with Bruce Dickinson for the Classic Rock news pages as Iron Maiden are unveiled as headliners of the Saturday night of Download 2013. Bruce was extremely chirpy. “Did you go to the Sunflower Jam?” he asked. “Wasn’t [Lancastrian opera-pop crossover artist] Alfie Boe brilliant?”
Anyway, I can’t wait to see Maiden’s current show, which of course is based upon a live concert video filmed in Birmingham during the ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’ tour. This will be the fifth time that Maiden have headlined at Donington Park – Monsters Of Rock (1988 and ’92) and the Download Festivals (2003 and ’07) – placing them ahead of such rivals as AC/DC and Metallica, who have only achieved the same feat four times, followed by Kiss, Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Aerosmith (twice), also Black Sabbath twice (excluding Ozzfests). You’ve gotta agree, that’s some pretty exclusive company.
Took me a while to blag a copy but I’m absolutely loving the new album from Ian ’Untah, ‘When I’m President’. Ian is still the coolest 73-year-old in rock ‘n’ roll. Check out the album’s title song.
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Wednesday 19th September
Am still feeling sick as the proverbial parrot after an evening under the floodlights at Selhurst. Such was Palace’s domination of the game that last night’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Florist felt more like a defeat. Having been reduced to ten men, the visitors had a solitary shot on target: What a kick in the teeth!
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Tuesday 18th September
Given the negativity currently emanating from the Black Country Communion camp, I’m both pleased and slightly shocked by the announcement of a one-off UK gig. I shall be wending my way to Wolverhampton on January 5 for what’s being described by those in the know a ‘make-or-break’ appearance.
Oh, look what’s pinged into the ‘in’ box, one of the most preposterously titled emails I’ve ever received: “Heavy metal star Yngwie Malmsteen to visit the House of Commons”. Maybe the Yng will deign to suggest a few useful pointers to revive the UK’s failing economy? Coming soon: the eminent academic Alex Van Halen hosts a seminar on Evolution versus Creationism.
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Monday 17th September
Monsewer Beare and myself braved Sunday night public transport to visit the Royal Albert Hall, where Jacky Paice (wife of Deep Purple drummer Ian) had arranged an excellent cast for the sixth annual Sunflower Jam, a charity event that aims to alleviate the suffering of cancer victims. Coming so soon after the death of Jon Lord, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when vocalist Steve Balsamo and violinist Anna Phoebe collaborated on an emotional version of ‘Pictured Within’, backed by a collage of vintage photos. The house band, which saw former Whitesnake guitarist displaying his full box of tricks, was superb. As a long-time fan of Uli Jon Roth, it was great to see the former Scorpions/Electric Sun guitarist play such a prominent role. Uli deadpanned “it might get louder” before launching into the Scorps classic ‘Sails Of Charon’ (and by golly he was right!), returning later to romp through Cream’s ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ with Level 42’s Mark King on bass/vocals.
Things really picked up during the show’s second half, Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson opening his segment with a version of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Emerald’ (still with Uli on guitar), followed by ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ by The ’Oo. Incredibly, Brucie was then joined by Ian Paice, John Paul Jones and Brian May for Purple’s ‘Black Night’, with keys supplied by Brian Auger. Alice Cooper’s short set featured cameos from Brian May and Uli (again), before most of the cast took a curtain call for ‘Smoke On The ‘Water’, with JPJ banging away on a cowbell… fantastic!!
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Sunday 16th September
Well, I survived the second week of my running course. Decided to stick my natural jogging pace instead of trying to keep up with the younger runners, and by golly it paid dividends. My legs had ached to kingdom come after the first week… this time not even a twinge.
With no Saturday afternoon game for the mighty Eagles, I sat at my desk and reviewed a batch of records for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer. Was extremely impressed by the newies from Kamelot (‘Silverthorn’), Ten (‘Heresy And Creed’), Impera (‘Legacy Of Life’) and Neal Morse (‘Momentum’), though sadly Dokken’s somewhat lacklustre ‘Broken Bones’ pales badly in comparison.
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Saturday 15th September
A fantastic time was had by one and all at Kip Winger’s one-man show in London. I’ve been a huge fan of Winger (the band) since their first self-titled album, released in those halcyon pre-grunge days of 1988. Among the biggest thrills of my career was receiving a call from the Kipmeister in which he proposed I should write the liner notes for Rhino Records’ anthology ‘The Very Best Of Winger’ back in 2001. The way that Winger’s name has been maligned by Beavis & Butt-head and Metallica is nothing less than a travesty and there’s no way I’d have missed the gig at the Borderline. But there was a problem. The show clashed with Crystal Palace’s televised away game against Clowntown Pathetic. Aaaaaarg! Decided to try and avoid the result, then dash home and watch it on the Sky+ with a kebab and a bottle of cold wine.
The show was excellent. Armed with a dry and self deprecating wit, Kip is a very funny host and his performance took in most of Winger (the band’s) best tunes, including my own personal favourite, the exquisite ‘Under One Condition’, plus a smattering of solo material. The set-list ran as follows: ‘Cross’, ‘Easy Come Easy Go’, ‘Who’s The One’, ‘Steam’, ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’, ‘Blind Revolution Mad’, ‘Free’, ‘Miles Away’, ‘Hungry’, ‘Rainbow In The Rose’, ‘Under One Condition’, ‘Can’t Get Enuff’, ‘Deal With The Devil’, ‘Down Incognito’, ‘Nothing’, ‘Every Story Told’, ‘Spell I’m Under’, ‘Madalaine’, ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. There’s a big chunk of quality YouTube footage here.
My pre-game ‘no spoilers’ plea appeared to have worked. Then, on the train from Charing Cross back to Catford I reactivated my BlackBerry and received a Facebook notification email signalling a message from my friend Ian McClaren that started with the words: “good w...”. Those nine characters threw me into turmoil! Was Ian congratulating me upon a fine local derby victory, or had he been listening to his fave Uriah Heep album and, ahem, taken himself in hand?! Aaaaaaarg! Luckily, although the second option cannot also be ruled out, Palace **did** secure bragging rights over their neighbours with a wonderfully taken goal from South African international Kagisho Dikgacoi. Palace’s first triumph in the league at The Valley since 1968 (ulp!) sent me to bed a very happy man.
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Friday 14th September
I’m extremely proud to have received finished copies of Spider’s ‘The Complete Anthology’ and the re-master of ‘Kitsch’ by the Heavy Metal Kids. Merseyside boogie-heads Spider were rightly pissed off by a shoddy re-release campaign conducted by a previous label that shall go nameless... compiled from the original masters (unlike the 2007 editions which were sourced from vinyl) this four-disc set, which includes a first official release of their March 1986 swansong ‘Raise The Banner’, does them proud. It would be fantastic if Spider could be persuaded to undertake some sort of reunion. Both albums are available from Lemon Recordings and feature my sleeve notes.
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Thursday 13th September
For the past week I’ve been spinning a promo copy of an excellent blues-rock album by an English guitarist/singer called Bex Marshall. ‘House Of Mercy’ is her third release, and it’s a sassy, slinky, hugely enjoyable piece of work (the Devonshire native was once memorably described as sounding like “Bonnie Raitt and Led Zep jamming in an everglade moonshine joint”). So the chance to see her perform live and sink a few jars at an album launch party in an upstairs bar at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club was a bit of a no-brainer. The album’s standout cut, ‘Bite Me’, was dedicated to “all the Vampires here tonight”… no wonder, it really should appear in a future episode of True Blood. But there was plenty more where that came from; ‘House Of Mercy’ was built upon an irresistible gospel-flavoured chorus and the jazzier but hypnotic groove of ‘Rattlesnake’ was spiced up by some wicked slide guitar and a set of bourbon-soaked vocals to die for. This gal will go far.
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Wednesday 12th September
I’ve been familiarising myself with Classic Rock’s Fan Pack of ‘Re-Machined’, the tribute album to Deep Purple’s classic album ‘Machine Head’. Besides some Q&A interviews with the participants (including my own interviews with Matt Sorum and Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach), the package contains some great music. Metallica’s version of ‘When A Blind Man Cries’ is pretty cool, ditto ‘Space Truckin’’ by Iron Maiden (Bruce Dickinson admits that ‘WABMC’ had been Maiden’s first choice, but Lars and company beat them to the punch). Zakk Wylde and Black label Society offer a nice, slowed down reworking of ‘Pictures Of Home’ and, at the other end of the spectrum, Glenn Hughes, Steve Vai and Chad Smith of the Peppers have outdone themselves with a frenetic rendition of ‘Highway Star’. The latter impressed me so much that I emailed GH to enquire whether it had been recorded whilst he was pissed off and angry after a Wolves home defeat. He replied: “Haha! Nope it was pre-season, vox were done three days after Lordy passed: Vai’s insanity gave me the nod to head for Saturn…” Check out this link. Oh, and the least said about The Flaming Lips’ version of ‘Smoke Of The Water’ the better… those pretentious wankers should be hung, drawn and quartered.
Last night’s international result of England 1 Ukraine 1 was a big disappointment. After the visitors took the lead against the run of play with am unstoppable wonder strike from Yevhen Konoplianka, England deserved the point that they took from the game, but till Lampard’s well-taken 86th minute penalty I was beginning to lose hope that they’d get it. One small crumb of consolation: The team at least stuck to Hodgson’s game plan and refrained from resorting to hoofing the ball in the air.
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Tuesday 11th September
Feeling a little groggy after staying up till gone 2am to watch Andy Murray’s epic five-set US Open men’s final victory over Novak Djokovic. What a game of tennis!! After racing into a two-set lead Murray’s legs appeared to turn to porridge and Djokovic came back strongly. The writing on the wall seemed unmistakable. How on earth Murray summed up the inner strength to take control of the deciding set is a complete and utter mystery. Britain finally has a Grand Slam winner after 76 years. It’s official: Andy Murray is an honorary Englishman!
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Monday 10th September
There are far, far worse ways of starting one’s week than phone interviews with Rick Parfitt, Francis Rossi and John Coghlan (Alan Lancaster to follow). Besides his now ritual mickey-taking of my coiffure (Him: “You still got long hair?” Me: “Yes… just about”. Him: “You lucky wanker.”), Mr Rossi actually complimented me on my seemingly improving interview technique; “I like the way you phrased that question… you’re getting more and more showbiz these days, aren’t you?” Sarcastic git. Take a peek at the trailer to the forthcoming Hello Quo! movie here.
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Sunday 9th September
How did you fill your Saturday morning? Mine was spent sweating buckets whilst running around my local park as part of a six week fitness course. The fact that week #1 took place baked in blistering sunshine probably didn’t help, but the tuition – how to warm up and down, tips on posture, etc – was really useful and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’m guessing that I was the second eldest of the attendees, but also the second fittest! :o))
To celebrate the above, also what looks likely to be the final weekend of the UK’s summer, I decided to take a little ‘me time’ with a tour of the record stores in central London. Didn’t have a great deal of luck, to be honest. Despite my extensive vinyl and CD collection there is still lots of stuff that I’d love to buy; I’m just unwilling to pay the sometimes scandalous prices that are being asked. My new vinyl additions included ‘Grown Up Children’, an LP by the US soft-rockers Orleans that was co-produced by David Hungate of Toto fame, an album by the Atlanta Rhythm Section that I’d never even seen before called ‘Quinella’, a mint condition anthology of The Mamas & Papas (I always loved the song ‘California Dreamin’’) and, purely because it was produced by and features guests keys from Sir Russell of Ballard, a 1975 platter from a rather less than macho-looking trio called New World.
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Saturday 8th September
I’m still uncertain of how much encouragement to derive from the result of the national side’s first World Cup qualifying fixture: Moldova 0 England 5. Roy’s new-look Three Lions cruised past their opponents with ease – just as they should; Moldova are ranked 141st in the world. However, in pure spectacle terms the match was a lot of fun. Relative novices Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both performed well and Frank Lampard’s nod-in for the second goal was pure class, though Tuesday night’s clash with Ukraine at Wembley will pose a far sterner test.
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Friday 7th September
Last night was spent at BAFTA HQ on Piccadilly, no less, where a preview of a new DVD about Freddie Mercury took place, preceded and followed by wine and canapés in The Gallery (how frightfully posh does that sound??!!). Believe me, my pals Sara Harding, Mark Taylor, Dave Boyce and Tim Jones did our best to drag things into the gutter. Oddly enough, there were lots of comedians present – step forward Charlie Higson, Matt Berry, David Baddiel, Bob Mortimer and Noel Fielding. Oh, and Mark Taylor’s tailor…!! Talking of Monsewer Taylor, I wonder whether he remembers asking Jacky Smith from the Queen fan club whether she shagged any of the band??!!
As part of an introductory speech, from the stage Queen manager Jim Beach revealed how when Mercury was on his deathbed, Freddie made him promise: “You can do anything with my life, my image, my music… but just don’t make me boring”. Directed by Rhys Thomas, the Queen fan that broke Mastermind’s record points total whilst answering questions on his favourite band, The Great Pretender does no such thing. I’ll be honest: I haven't heard Freddie’s opera album and almost certainly never will, but as celebration of the man and his colourful life this film is wonderful. Check out the trailer here.
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Thursday 6th September
Currently spinning my favourite Girlschool album, the vastly underrated ‘Play Dirty’ from 1983. The band’s Kim McAuliffe once told me about working with its producers Noddy Holder and Jim Lea from Slade, who tried (in vain!) to ban them from the pub: “Noddy was the only person I’ve ever seen to literally drink himself under the table. And as he sat there underneath, this hand would come up and start feeling around for his drink.” Well, we’ve all done it... er, haven’t we?!
How nice. Not completely sure of the politics involved in the sharing of this, but I’ve just received a short but very sweet email from Wishbone Ash’s Andy Powell – “I enjoyed your piece on the Ash boys’ reunion [see Diary, Sept 1]. It was amazing to see photos of them all together after all these years” – but keeping it to myself seemed a little churlish.
Just received my copy of Classic Rock’s new editorial fan pack for the Lynyrd Skynyrd album, ‘Last Of A Dying Breed’. Plenty to read! I am really looking forward to the extensive Q&As with Gary Rossington, Johnny Van Zant and, especially, Rickey Medlocke.
Btw, look out for this month’s amendments to the YouTube and Playlist pages.
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Wednesday 5th September
Yay! Just secured my ticket(s) for the premiere of the Hello Quo movie which takes place on October 22. Monsewer Andy Sneap will be my swigging partner for the evening concerned… should be fun!
What brilliant timing. Just as I was thinking: ‘I need a holiday!’ those luvverly FM boys go and announce a new UK tour. Eight dates in May 2013, including a return to my fave London venue, Shepherd’s Bush Empire!! A few road trips coming on, I suspect!
And on a considerably less upbeat note: I just heard the new Richie Sambora album, ‘Aftermath Of The Lowdown’… despite my high hopes, what an audio turd!
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Tuesday 4th September
For my fourth gig in as many days I headed to central London and the Borderline where I’d agreed to take a peek at a band called the Burning Crows. Managed by Matt Goom of the Quireboys, the four-piece they play commercially inclined hard rock with cocky swagger and a veneer(-eal) of sleaze. Their YouTube song ‘Slow up, Get Down’, ‘You’re So Wrong’ and the cowbell-propelled, Poison-esque ‘You Me Tonight’ were the best of a pretty so-so bunch, if you want my true opinion. I’ll give ‘em another look in six months or so.
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Monday 3rd September
The indulgence of the previous 24 hours wasn’t conducive to leaving Catford for another gig, but No-Man are hardly just A.N. Other band. Thought I’d managed to reach Islington Assembly Hall in time for a solo set from Danny Cavanagh, but the queue to get in was so massive that I missed the first couple of songs. Anathema’s last two albums have been little short of monumental. Alone with just an acoustic guitar and an echo effects unit, Cavanagh perhaps felt a little naked in such an environment (“Where is my brother when you need him?”) but ‘Dreaming Light’ and ‘A Natural Disaster’ went down really well with the crowd and despite saying that he wouldn’t include his cover of Floyd’s ‘High Hopes’, the response was such that Danny ended the show by doing exactly that!
I was extremely impressed by the recently refurbished venue, though those ignorant twats chattering away noisily in the bar in the corner of the stalls were an annoyance. Tim Bowness arrived last, the six-piece band (including a violinist that resembled Father Jack Hackett) trotting onstage one by one. The band’s music is a majestic hybrid of prog, ambient and pop sounds, with rare yet decidedly fruitful forays into metal territory. One of the night’s best songs was the haunting ‘All The Blue Changes’, which summed up their gift of escalating gradually from an aching, sensual, insistent murmur to a thunderous climax. At times reminiscent of Bowie or (ulp!) Marc Almond, Bowness’ warm, expressive huskiness is simply magical. A brand new song called ‘Warm Up Man Forever’ added a semblance of urgency to the mix. Mostly, though, No-Man’s songs make you just want to shut one’s eyes, rock back and forth and savour their heady, delicious aroma.
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Sunday 2nd September
Ohhhhhhh, the relief! Yesterday’s 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday lifted Crystal Palace off the bottom of the Championship. The visitors had been on a 20-match unbeaten run, so the Eagles’ victory was all the more remarkable. Play like that for the rest of the season and Palace will be alrite.
Buoyed with the spirit of celebration I zoomed to meet Andy Beare for a cheeky half and then onto Big Red, where Four Wheel Drive were throwing a launch party for their new EP, ‘House On Fire’. The guys warmed up with a rather good covers set that included a tucker bag of AC/DC tunes (‘Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be’, ‘Highway To Hell’, ‘Shoot To Thrill’), Airbourne’s ‘Runnin’ Wild’, Mötley’s ‘Kickstart My Heart’, ‘Sweet Emotion’ by Aerosmurf and a rather unconvincing stab at GN’R’s ‘You Could Be Mine’ before returning to the stage in their own right. A full day’s boozing had really started to take its toll by this point, but the likes of ‘Ride It Like You Stole It’, ‘High Roller’, the Aerosmurf-like ‘Big Fat And Ugly’ and an encore of ‘Gettin’ Hammered Again’ set the place rocking. ’Twas a first-rate night out… well worth taking two night buses across town to get home.
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Saturday 1st September
The rain stayed away for yesterday’s Garden Party featuring Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, which took place up in Leighton Buzzard. Tantalisingly, I’d been promised “a few nice surprises” but I certainly didn’t expect guest appearances from ex-Wishbone members Ted Turner, Laurie Wisefield and… incredibly… Steve Upton. The reclusive Upton (pictured here with myself, his missus and my friend Mark Taylor on the right) is almost a Lord Lucan-style figure. It was great to wander round at a barbecue that took place after the show, acquiring some quotes from those that had performed. You can read the full story (including the set-list) here.

Dave Ling Photo Gallery