Wednesday 25 July 2012

East of Underground - Hell Below

I nipped into Monorail Music on Monday after work. The weather was typical of summer 2012 in Glasgow, chucking it with with rain. I was in the mood for some solace, flicking through records and cd's to see what I could find before I went off to get soaked playing five-a-sides.

I hadn't really gone in to buy anything in particular, however I don't tend to leave Monrail empty handed when I go in.

I immediately picked up 'Searching for the Sugarman' the soundtrack to a new documentary coming out about some fans searching for obscure 60's artist Sixto Rodriguez. His music has long been out of print and I am only aware of the song 'Sugarman' (check the song below) through an excellent compilation album I own by David Holmes. I decided to buy latest Spiritualized album 'Sweet Heart, Sweet Light' after someone had posted the video for the single 'Hey Jane' online. I browsed through the latest released and then alphabetically, discovering LCD Soundsystems 45.33 that I had never bought, it was only £3.99. I'll hopefully get around to blogging about them later.

I moved to the soul and funk section and my eyes were immediately drawn to a boxset that I had read about at the start of the year; East of Underground - Hell Below.
I knew I was buying it there and then. I had previously spoken to Russell in Mono about it and he had promised they would get it in. Well here it was.
The features I had read about the boxset were fascinating. The armed forces have long recognised that entertaining the troops is central to keeping on-going campaigns on an even keel. In 1971, the US army went a step further, using bands (East of Underground, SOAP, The Black Seeds and The Sound Trek) of serving soldiers both to entertain and as a recruitment tool. For the bands, it was also a way of avoiding being sent to Vietnam.
This fact makes you think of the songs and lyrics in a new way. 
Imagine being a young soldier and SOAP (with a female on lead vocals) singing The Beatles 'Ticket To Ride' . The vocals are a lot sadder than the original version.
I think I'm gonna be sad, I think it's today. 
The boy that's driving me mad is going away.
SOAP also do a beautiful reading of 'You've Got A Friend'
If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds and that old north wind should begin to blow,
The recordings are rough and ready, taken from old vinyl records as the masters are long lost. Only one surviving member of the groups (Lewis Hitt from East of Underground) came forward during the painstaking research, so the music and the period surrounding the performances remains shrouded in mystery.
The only (known) surviving picture of East of Underground
East of Underground are a bit more down and dirty than SOAP (no pun intended). Their own highlights include a stunning song called Smiling Faces Sometimes (listen below) and a gorgeous take on I Love You For All Seasons by The Fuzz.
The third CD (or record if you go for the vinyl package) is split between The Black Seeds and The Sound Trek and this is the only music that was actually released at the time.  The Black Seeds open with 'Go Outside In The Rain', slow soulful and jazzy. Quite beautiful. It does sound like some live applause has been dubbed on top of it...or maybe the audience were really just that polite. The set continues in a laid back manner, stoned soul. 'Ain't No Sunshine' is a highlight.
Sound Trek's set is also live, probably a little more MOR smoochy soul than the other bands. 
 The boxset comes with a brilliant replica poster
This is a tremendous boxset, full of mystery, intrigue and great music. I would highly recommend checking it out if you like 60's music, soul, funk or even a bit of garage or psych. 10/10 to Now Again Records for this discovery, release and the stunning packaging and artwork.
The complete tracklisting (vinyl edition)
LP 1: EAST OF UNDERGROUND A1. Higher A2. Smiling Faces A3. Hell Below A4. People Get Ready A5. Getting Over B1. Bet'ya Never Lose My Love / California Dreamer B2. Popcorn / Santana B3. I Love You B4. Java Girl B5. Walk On By LP 2: SOAP A1. I Just Want To Celebrate A2. Yo've Got A Friend A3. Southern Man A4. Medley : Will The Circle Be Unbroken / I Don't A5. Know How To Love Him A6. Ticket To Ride B1. I Feel The Earth Move B2. Uncle Albert B3. Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves B4. Never My Love B5. Walk Away B6. Get Together LP 3: THE BLACK SEEDS A1. Go Outside In The Rain A2. Ain't No Sunshine A3. Black Magic Woman A4. Do Your Thing A5. Backstabbers THE SOUND TREK - B1. Intro (Kool And The Gang) B2. Walking In The Rain B3. Backstabbers B4. Coldest Day Of My Life B5. If Loving You Is Wrong B6. I Love Everything About You

Saturday 21 July 2012

Oasis live at Earls Court, 4th November 1995

I follow Alan McGee on twitter. Madman, genius, he was a guy who put out some of my all-time favourite records through Creation Records. My life would be quite a lot different without Alan, Creation or the bands he discovered, promoted and released.

Alan just tweeted a link to the entire first night of Oasis at Earls Court back in 1995. A seminal gig by the band. I'm watching it just now and they were just on it, totally on top of their game. 

Oasis came along at the right time for me. I saw them for the first time in April 1994, 3-months after I turned 18. They were supporting fellow Creation band The Boo Radleys and in a short set they blew them off the stage.

They were my band, especially for two glorious years from 94-96, I caught them quite a few times along the way; the Tramway, The Cathouse, an amazing show in a tent at T in the Park, the Barrowlands (twice as Liam walked off the first time), Ingliston Market, Sheffield Arena...culminating in a trip to see them at Knebworth with my mate Elliott. Somehow we blagged and bribed our way into the front VIP trip. Seeing Oasis with 125,000 people behind us was a buzz that still sends tingles down my spine.

The footage from the first night of their Earls Court shows probably captures them at their coolest. Liam just looks fantastic, great haircut, cool shirt and he makes a real rock star entrance. I've never seen another front man who can command so much attention. 

Noel bought all of the band a scooter for the shows!

Oasis, Liam and Noel, have their knockers. Any band that gets to be that size and has two brothers that like to talk so much is going to have people who knock them.

The footage below speaks for itself. Liam's voice is incredible, he was only 23 for this show. Anthem after anthem is belted out by a band on top of their game, completely tight as their chief, Noel Gallagher leads them through an exceptional performance.

The audience sing-a-long for 'Wonderwall' at 56 minutes in sends shivers down my spine. It was a song that captured the nation. I remember going for a night out in a rival town (Wishaw) and being totally wrecked with a couple of mates. We attracted some 'attention' from a group of lads as we walked up the street and they came over menacingly. I was wearing an Oasis tshirt and within seconds we were all singing 'Wonderwall' and being invited to a party!

Where were you while we were getting high?

Friday 20 July 2012

Midnight Lion and Galleries at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, 19th July 2012

Every summer, during the month of July when touring bands are on the festival circuit, King Tuts plays host to some of the hottest young unsigned (and signed) bands in Scotland. Going under the banner King Tuts Summer Nights, this is an opportunity for bands to grace the hallowed stage at one of Scotland's most famous venues and win some new fans and exposure.

Galleries are a band that I have put on a couple of times in the past, most recently supporting Vigo Thieves at Nice'n'Sleazys in February. When the Summer Nights line-up was announced I was keen to check on their progress and there was the added bonus that they were on the same bill as Midnight Lion who I had never seen before.

Tuts seemed strangely quiet both outside and in when I arrived at around 8.45pm. A crowd appeared from nowhere just in time for Galleries taking to the stage, in fact two of the band walked though the crowd to get there!

Within seconds Galleries had made their mark; sweeping synth sounds, guitars swooping and soaring and the unmistakable falsetto of singer David McAdam.

One of my favourite things about Galleries is that they know they are good but they are incedibly modest and even shy about it. There were several occasions last night when guitarist Ross Prentice just looked at David and smiled in astonishment at the notes and range that David reached with his voice.

Galleries music is epic, cinematic, totally widescreen. 'Darkness Coming'  was a highlight, pounding drums, chiming guitar and that voice. 

I had a brief word with David before the show and he confirmed they have been (and still are) hard at work recording and things are going well. I really hope someone picks up on this band. They stand out and let their music and talents speak for themselves.

Midnight Lion drew a bigger crowd. Signed to Island but essentially given their own label, the band have also been hard at work in the studio. 

Midnight Lion made full use of the Tuts soundsystem. Two drummers, a celloist, bass, and plenty of synths. The sound was huge and also slightly difficult to describe. If I said the vocals were quite Celtic at times, I mean the accent shines through and also hints of traditional music. However Midnight Lion are far from traditional.

I'm probably not making much sense here!

The two core members of the band linked well, one reminded me of Emle Hirsh from the film Into The Wild - one for the girls!

Anyway, I really enjoyed their set. 'I Will Be King' drew a great response from their fans and understandably so. As a newcomer to the band I didn't know the song names, I just stood and enjoyed it.

I look forward to seeing them again and hearing the results of their time in the studio.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

10 things I love about LCD Soundsystem

If I was asked to name my favourite band or artist since the dawn of the new century then it would probably be LCD Soundsystem. I fell for them in quite a big way.

Ahead of the UK cinema release for the documentary ‘Shut Up And Play The Hits’ about their last show, I jotted down 10 things I love about LCD Soundsystem.

10 things I love about LCD Soundsystem;

  1. James Murphy  
James Murphy is LCD Soundsystem. There is no doubt about that, however Murphy is also very clever in the way he gets a group of like minded people around him, all pulling in the direction(s) he wants to go. And Murphy does like to go off on various tangents – Songwriter, producer, co-owner of DFA Records, DJ, writing scores for films…

Murphy is one of these people that are just naturally cool. He doesn’t need to try; he likes all the right music, he has a fantastic ear for music and he creates and releases outstanding music.

  1. The label – DFA Records
The melting pot of musical influences that Murphy is into is reflected beautifully by LCD Soundsystem and via the vehicle he uses to release his music. DFA is one of those labels that you can mention to someone who is into their music and their ears will prick up, they will be interested to know what they are releasing as it tends to be different from anything else and quality with it.

  1. The taste
Listen to Murphy’s Fabric Live.36 compilation with Pat Mahoney (drums). His taste is impeccable. For the track-listing visit

  1. Losing My Edge
As debut singles go, this is definitely up there with the best of them. I’ve already mentioned Murphy’s influences and taste and he rhymes them off on this incredible debut. It is funny, hip and happening, as Murphy talks about how he was into all the cool music before anyone else although he is worried about the younger kids coming up behind them. Described by Murphy in The Guardian as "an eight-minute, laugh-out-loud funny dissection of cool over a dirty electronic beat"

Get a geeky list of all the artists mentioned HERE

I used to work in the record store.
I had everything before anyone.
I was there in the Paradise Garage DJ booth with Larry Levan.
I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes.
I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988.

But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
And they're actually really, really nice. 

  1. Percussion and cowbells
James Murphy made cowbells cool - fact. The integration of live percussion and electronica created something special. Listening back, particularly to the early stuff, it sounds live, but did they laythe electronica stuff down first and then play the percussion on top? Or vice-versa? Or is it live? Who cares, it sounds fantastic. 
Incredibly I couldn't find a picture of James Murphy playing a cowbell. I only looked for 2-minutes right enough!
  1. All My Friends
Time Magazine made it song of the year and said the songs “straightforward repetition of the same guitar, keyboard and bass lines, combined with lyrics about life without regret, and life with all kinds of regrets pays off with a punch about what we lose as we get older."
Can I put it any better than that? Probably not, it just comes in and grooves on so many different levels. I love the lyrics about checking the charts, the sun coming up and still wanting to stay out and everything leading to the emotional climax when Murphy chants;
 Where are your friends tonight? Where are your friends tonight? If I could see all my friends tonight If I could see all my friends tonight If I could see all my friends tonight If I could see all my friends tonight
Extra cool points for the brilliant cover version by Franz Ferdinand for a b-side.
  1. The variety 
 Garage band rock, electronic wig outs, funk, punk, crooners..... Murphy and LCD Soundsystem adapt to any style with ease. In short, anything goes and everything flows.
  1. Perfect timing – 2002-2011
Murphy mentioned in several interviews, particularly around the release of the last albumthat he though LCD Soundsystem would ‘make three albums and that’s it’. He stayed true to his words. Three albums, some one-off singles/EP’s, touring the world…He had poured an incredible amount of time and energy into his artistic vision and it worked…perfectly. So why ruin it? He didn’t. 9-years and he was out of there, leaving a brilliant legacy behind; all 3 albums are excellent from start to finish, there are the non-album singles, the track for Nike... If only other bands knew how to quit at the right time.
  1. Live
I caught LCD Soundsystem live a number of times. The first time was at the Barrowlands supporting 2ManyDj’s/Soulwax. It was a messy and memorable night. Then at Benicassim in 2005 they came on at something like 3 in the morning and blew my mind.
The last time I caught them at the Barrowlands was even better. They were on fire, Murphy at the front but to the right, a massive bank of synths and keys at the back, everyone playing with huge smiles on their faces. An incredible performance full of heart, soul, energy and enthusiasm.
  1. The End...? / Shut Up And Play The Hits
Not many bands/artists know when to end. LCD Soundsystem have done it perfectly, allowing just a touch of nostalgia with the 'Shut Up And Play The Hits' documentary. 
It looks like it was an incredible show.

Monday 16 July 2012

Rick Redbeard/Adam Stafford split 7-inch, Gerry Loves Records

So I'd been home for an hour tonight before my wife said 'What have you been buying now?' before she handed a package over. The answer was a t-shirt from Gerry Loves Records and a split 7-inch package containing their most recent release (no.9) Rick Redbead & Adam Stafford and an earlier release that I don't have in my wee Gerry Loves collection by (no.2) Trapped In Kansas and Yahweh.

me breathing in!

Gerry Loves Records could be described as a boutique record label based in Edinburgh, specialising in bringing artists together for split 7-inch singles or 12-inch EP's. I can't remember how I discovered them but I bought their first release and I was then involved through Miaoux Miaoux in their third release, also buying their Paws/Lady North release.

So it is a busy and productive label and owner Andy Lobban clearly has excellent taste in music (Paws have signed to Fat Cat and Miaoux Miaoux to Chemikal for example) and art (the packaging is always fantastic).

I have mentioned Adam Stafford a few times on this blog and his offering of 'Vanishing Tanks' for this split 7-inch is one of the best things (or at least my favourite) I have heard from him. 

The guitar riff sounds pretty familiar and it is really bugging me as to what it sounds like. Adam lays down beats over the guitar and then layers his voice to great effect. The section/chorus/mantra 'won't let you walk away, won't let you walk away, out of here now' is glorious.

Adam is a prolific and talented artist, check out his Wiseblood Industries website to discover his back catalogue. I would highly recommend last years 'Build A Harbour Immediately' album to start with.

I had no idea who Rick Redbeard was when I bought this as I ordered it on the strength of Adam.    It turns out that Rick is the lead singer of The Phantom Band, who are a band I can appreciate but can't get into at all.

I didn't have any problems getting into 'Now We're Dancing' though. The guitar riff is softly picked out over some gentle percussion. Rick's voice is stunning, lifting the song at all the right times. This is one of the most beautiful lyrics of the year for me.

I would love to say your name, if only for the sound

Some bubbling electronica is spliced into the song in the perfect way, as is some melodica. This song just sounds timeless. It is ripe for a film.

If you order the 7-inch it comes with 2 bonus tracks as well! I haven't got to them yet as I keep playing the record!

The Yahweh and Trapped In Kansas 7-inch comes in a handmade fabric sleeve with polaroids stuck on by the bands themselves.

'Make Me Stop' by Yahweh is brilliant. It reminds me of acts like the Postal Service. The vocals are put through some kind of effects, the synths bubble, there is some gentle glockenspiel...its all quite psychedelic in a modern way. I love this. The vocal melody just flows superbly.

So there you go - some new music and a brilliant little label run by someone who, like me, is also madly in love with Teenage Fanclub. Check it all out via the links in this blog.

'Towerblock' by Trapped In Kansas is all chiming guitars and very Scottish sounding vocals. It takes a while to get going and when it does the hook is hammered home.

Fall down, this is like love and I feel lost

There are 2 bonus tracks available via download with this release as well, I'll leave them for you to check out yourself.

So there you go - some new music and a brilliant little label run by someone who, like me, is also madly in love with Teenage Fanclub. Check it all out via the links in this blog.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Vigo Thieves, BBC Introducing Tent, T in the Park 2012

‘Hear the truth in my voice, with the songs that we sing’ – Hearbeats, Vigo Thieves

It’s always a pleasure watching a band on top form; smashing it, a gig that will live long in the memory, exciting fans new and old. On Sunday I watched Vigo Thieves play the BBC Introducing Tent at T in the Park and they blew me away.

The progress of the band during the first 6-months of the year has been nothing short of staggering. It started with a headline slot at Tuts in January and it has continued with sold out shows in Sleazys and the Art School, trips to London, YouTube videos that are approaching 100,000 views, the Stag And Dagger Festival, radio play, excellent reviews… was all building up to yesterday and the band didn’t disappoint.

Ten minutes before the Vigo’s took to the stage, I helped hand out 200 glow sticks to the crowd. The band did this for the first time at Sleazys in February to celebrate Gordon’s (bass) birthday and they transformed a dark dingy basement (no offence to Sleazys) into a festival style atmosphere. We repeated the trick at the Art School in May and again yesterday. It is becoming something of a trademark for special Vigo’s shows.

The lights dimmed and Vigo Thieves appeared on a stage bathed in red light, glowsticks were being held aloft or twirled above peoples heads as the opening chords of ‘Blood Red’ came crashing in. Vigo Thieves were clearly up for it and had spent the morning locked in practice to ensure they were at peak condition for T. With the audience singing the guitar riff back at them the band lifted it up another notch, if that was somehow possible.

The stabbing synths of ‘Love Is Dead’ and the epic chorus spirited the crowd away from the muddy swamp outside as people jumped in time to the beats.

‘Steal Your Heart (Pt II)’ is probably my favourite Vigo’s song, it certainly contains my favourite lyric of 2012. The song builds into a crashing crescendo and the band were joined on stage by the gorgeous Madaleine Pritchard to assist on the huge ‘woah, oh, oh, woah, oh oh oh’ chorus at the end. Chris Gorman on keyboards and synths assisted throughout the night, just adding to their already massive sound.

You’re looking for the love to heal the pain from all the scars, 
so just live for the moment and you’ll shine like the stars

It was euphoric, only introduced to the bands set at the end of May as it was very much created in the studio, however with Chris and Maddy guesting with the band, they nailed it live. The keyboard riff sounded huge and as bassist Gordon Phipps raised his hands in the air, the vast majority of the crowd followed suit. Perfect for a festival.

‘She’s On Fire’ kicked in, sounding like it should be blasting out from the main stage rather than the BBC Introducing Tent which was rammed to the seams.

It’s burning inside, this feeling so strong

‘Steal Your Heart’ got the place bouncing, the circular guitar riff sitting so well alongside another huge chorus and Stevie (vocals) got the crowd to sing along with the ‘Woah-oh, oh oh oh – woah-oh, oh oh oh’ section at the end.

Stay young in your heart and young in your mind

Someone threw a Scottish football top up on stage with the number 12 and T in the Park on it. Stevie took off his jacket and put it on to huge cheers before the final song ‘Heartbeats’, the song of the set and the song of the festival as it has been used on the T in the Park website since the line-up announcement in February, earning the band loads of new fans and they were there to bounce and sing-a-long yesterday. Chris’ live piano riff was great, it is a song that I imagine Chris Martin from Coldplay wouldn’t mind having in his cannon of festival/stadium anthems.

Check out this incredible fan footage;

Hear the truth in my voice, with the songs that we sing
I started this blog with the above lyric, lifted from ‘Heartbeats’. In many ways it portrays the strength of Vigo Thieves. They wear their hearts and influences on their sleeves, the lyrics are straight from the soul and sung from the bottom of the heart, they offer reflection but with a strong sense of purpose, desire and ambition.Scotland needs a band like this. Everyone needs a band like this. A band with heart and soul. Vigo Thieves.

Friday 6 July 2012

Churches, Art School, Glasgow, 5th July 2012

Last night I headed into town for what some were describing as 'the hottest gig in Glasgow since Franz Ferdinand'. It was certainly hot in the basement of the Art School - to sauna like proportions. The gig in question was the 'debut' gig by the band Churches.

There was a real sense of anticipation in the crowd in the build up to the band taking the stage at 9.30pm, quite incredible considering they have only made one song available online, they certainly have a lot more up their sleeves. You can check out 'Lies' via the bands soundcloud page. It has already amassed over 15,000 plays at the time of writing, largely thanks to being featured on The Guardian's New Band of the Day feature.

The band consist of Iain Cook, Martin Doherty and the pop pixie princess Lauren Mayberry. All have been in bands previously (Aerogramme, Twilight Sad and Blue Sky Archives) (or still are), quite how long they stay in them is another question all together.

Churches (brilliant name - why has no-one thought of that before) have clearly been hard at work in the studio and their management have clearly working contacts and a and r all over. The guestlist for the gig well outnumbered the amount of actual tickets on sale, this was a showcase.

Being a showcase, the band showed off their skills to the delight of the inquisitive crowd. The opening song was an absolute gem, total pop that Kylie would be delighted to snap up. The sound was crystal clear, the best I have heard in the Art School, the bands decision to hire the venue out the day before to perfect the sound certainly paid off. Lauren's vocals were excellent and she looked the part with glitter and facepaint down one side of her face, younger bloggers would probably say Marina and the Diamonds, I would say Ziggy Stardust.

Photo lifted from the Popcop's facebook page - thanks

I usually write a review after seeing a band. Truth be told that from the back of the crowd I could barely see a thing other than the bobbing of heads and the occasional glimpse of Lauren when she stepped up on to the monitors at the front.

The second song was also a belter, apologies for not knowing the names of them. The band, or Lauren, barely spoke on stage, communicating through their well crafted and polished pop. Lauren did thank everyone for coming and say 'we're not shit'. Which was a bit of an understatement. The lighting glimmered in time with the music, it wasn't just the music that was polished, it was the all round show and experience.

Influences - well pop music in all shapes and forms, from the pure pop of (modern) Kylie and her bank of songwriters and producers to the likes of Grimes and at times I heard a little bit of Liz Fraser and the Cocteau Twins in there.

pic lifted from twitter

I think I can safely say that I will be featuring Churches again on this blog and I am sure that you will hear a lot about them. 

5 things I like about Churches;

  1. The name - conjuring up images of people coming together, singing together and in this case; rejoicing in pop
  2. The sound - I love pop music in all shapes and forms. So do Churches. Last nights show highlighted that they have more than a few hit singles in the making. Soaring and epic synths and keyboards, this is pop made for the radio but with enough of a twist to appeal to the more left-field indie crowd as well. 
  3. Lauren Mayberry - a pixie pop princess in the making, looking good, sounding good and sassy with it. 
  4. The management - as a 'budding' manager myself I really admire the way the band and management have gone about this, building that sense of anticipation, keeping quite a bit back but releasing enough to gain interest and curiosity.
  5. They confidence - They pulled it off last night. It isn't easy by any manner of means to get people up from London and the Scottish music crowd eating out of your hand. Churches did that and they didn't let them down.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Stone Roses, Heaton Park, Manchester, Sunday 1st July 2012, review

It is now two days after the Stone Roses 3rd and final show at Heaton Park and I am still piecing together the various fragments of my mind after it was completely blown apart. The Roses nailed it…and then some, it was an exceptional performance.

I travelled down to Manchester by train on the Saturday with good friends Derek and Phil. Phil is my lucky mascot, he got me a ticket for the European Cup Final in Barcelona in 1999 and came up with the goods again for the Roses. The train journey went pretty smoothly, helped by a few beers and chat about music and football. We went for a couple in the Northern in the excellent Northern Quarter area near Manchester City Centre and then met up with my brothers friends Alan and Gareth. My brother was to have a full house for the weekend.

My brother Ross has actually seen the Roses back in 1994, travelling down to Sheffield Arena, he also went to Heaton Park on the Friday with friends and described the event and the atmosphere as incredible.

A quick tram out to Sale and then a taxi and we arrived at my brothers to crack open some more beers and get some tunes on. Neil and John were still there from Friday night, Neil would end up staying on the Saturday to continue partying and John ended up staying to the Monday and getting a ticket for Sunday night as well. My brothers place was turned into a B&B for the weekend!

On to the main event though…

After a later night than expected, Sunday morning into early afternoon was pretty chilled before the beers were cracked open and the tunes went on; some excellent mixes by GregWilson and A Skillz. Taxis were booked for 5.30pm, we couldn’t be bothered going into and out of Manchester City Centre as reports from Friday consisted of horrendous queues for buses/trams.

The sun was shining as we arrived, the smiles on our faces got wider with every step as we entered the park which was vast and beautiful. Reports of bar queues over an hour long from Friday night (eventually leading to one bar being over-turned) seemed to have been sorted as Phil’s mate Cheese met us with loads of beer saying he had only queued for 10-minutes. The Wailers provided the perfect mellow soundtrack to the early evening sunshine as we got into the mood. Plan B was pretty sh*t in my opinion, not that any of us cared as we were only there for one band, support was irrelevant.

A line check interrupted the music being played over the PA before it was cranked up and before we knew it The Supremes ‘Stoned Love’ was blaring out and then the Roses took to the stage for a rapturous reception. I’d been to see them at Amsterdam a couple of weeks previously and I could barely believe my eyes and ears, finally getting to see and hear them in the flesh and up close at that. Now, along with the rest of the crowd, I was ready to party and celebrate the exceptional music this band has created.

The bass from Adored kicked in, Reni came in with some high-hat action and then John’s soaring guitar riff took it to another level, the crowd sang along to bass and guitar, it was quite something! Brown patrolled the stage and the closing crescendo ‘I wanna, I wanna, I wanna be adored, I wanna, I wanna, I gotta be adored’ sounded brilliant.
©Richard Johson/ NME/ IPC Media ©Richard Johnson/ NME/ IPC Media
We didn’t make it into pit 1 but positioned ourselves strategically in front of a big speaker stand at the front of the second section, the sound was exceptional throughout. I was pleasantly surprised.
19.05.1985: The Stone Roses live at Lilla Marquee, Stockholm, in Sweden.
Mersey Paradise sprung into action, that crystal clear guitar riff sounded better than ever, pure pop perfection with Brown’s bubblegum-esque ‘Oh Yeah’ before the final chorus belted out by 70,000 people getting lost in music. Brown barely spoke throughout the gig but he did say ‘Brothers and sisters, brothers and sisters, if you see someone go down please pick them up’, recognising the mayhem being created at the front of the stage.
(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister slowed things down a bit before ‘Sally Cinnamon’ continued where ‘Mersey Paradise’ had left off with the band jamming on at the end 12-inch style. The run of Where Angels Play, Shoot You Down and Bye Bye Badman was glorious, really highlighting the beautiful chemistry between Mani, Reni and Squire, their playing was exquisite throughout, gentle tones, fluid grooves, all sprinkled with some magic from Squire’s guitar.
Ten Storey Love Song was incredible, it didn’t quite bring tears to my eyes as it did in Amsterdam, but I was hugging mates and punching the sky, euphoric. Standing Here was gorgeous, the closing section just highlighting what a special band this was. I can’t remember what song it was after, but at one point Brown said something like ‘they can really play these lads.’ I had to agree with Ian and turned to my mate Phil to comment on the gentle grooves being coaxed out of the bass and guitar, Reni all over his kit but with purpose, it was glorious.
I should be safe forever, in your arms
I should be safe forever, in your arms
Fools Gold was off the scale, an absolute revelation, starting with a loose jam before breaking into the funk riff that showed off Mani and Reni’s talents to their full. It was extended in epic fashion, the tightness of the rhythm section allowing Squire to let rip with his full arsenal of effects, riffs and tricks on guitar. It was mind blowing, pure ecstasy. A psych funk attack. Something’s Burning was looser, acid jazz from the planet Mars, really trippy but still with some funk vibes in there.
The closing run of songs took everyone off on a trip that they didn’t want to end (see setlist below) starting with Waterfall with the band jamming on at the end, eventually arriving at Don’t Stop and I couldn’t help thinking when the hook was sung ‘please don’t stop’.
Don’t stop, isn’t it funny how you shine
Love Spreads sounded a lot more free flowing than it did in Amsterdam and Brown repeated his rap from the 'dam as the band jammed on at the end. Made of Stone received one of the best receptions of the night and the chorus was sung louder than any other, Brown’s vocals were particularly good, backed by 70,000 singers. Quintessential Roses. 
This Is The One was my personal highlight from Amsterdam and it blew me away again on the Sunday at Heaton Park. Going from quiet to loud but with a style and grace that other bands can only dream about.
This is the one, this is the one, she’s waiting for
The band roared through She Bangs The Drums in double quick time, the band coming together to peak for 3-minutes of pure pop. Smiles all round in the audience and on stage, this really was a total celebration and the Roses had pulled it off big time. The camera cut to Mani at one point and he looked pretty f**ked (causing some people around me to burst out laughing) and gloriously so, enjoying himself as much as the crowd. At one point he turned his bass round to reveal Man United, met with noticeably more cheers than boos.
Elizabeth My Dear was short and bittersweet, Brown clearly voicing his opposition to the throne in his introduction and then in verse before the pounding drums of I Am The Resurrection were joined by bass and guitar, the trio locked in a groove before Brown came in to lead his congregation through verse after blissful verse before a truly euphoric chorus. People around me were pogo-ing, jumping, dancing, singing, crying, laughing, grinning, smiling, hugging and generally having one of the best nights of their life, many experiencing a night they hadn’t even dared to dream would happen.
The band embraced on stage like many were in the audience, pats on the back, a group hug, saluting the crowd to huge cheers. Brown was the last to leave, acknowledging the crowd, knowing his band had smashed it in absolutely epic fashion as fireworks exploded over our heads to the soundtrack of Marley's 'Redemption Song'.
The resurrection of the Roses has brought people together, old friends, families, fans of the band. In troubled times it is good (and rare) to have someone or something to truly believe in, something to look forward to, to dream about. Who knows what the future holds for the Roses, they have a new record deal, there are hushed whispers of psychedelic pop demos and on the basis of their performances and ticket sales so far, every promoter in town is going to want to put them on. Incidentally Michael and Emily Eavis were down to see them, they are surely a shoe-in for Glastonbury next year.
For now, I am going to bask in the glory of having seen my favourite band of all-time twice in a matter of weeks. Who knows what will happen once this tour ends, you can imagine that party hardened and Primal Scream tour veteran Mani will want to keep it going, Reni hasn't toured for a couple of decades bar the odd gig with his band The Rub, quite what he makes of it will be very interesting indeed and have Squire and Brown patched up for good?
Who knows, who cares, live for the moment, enjoy it while it lasts.