Friday, December 11, 2009

Time to catch up with what I've been up to this week... We went to the wilds of Kentish Town to visit the Forum where the unstoppable New York Dolls were appearing. We had tickets for the first level seated area and as my eyes got used to the gloom - we had got there just as the support act were finishing - I saw that there were vast stretches of the padded bench seating which were empty. It was quite surprising - this was the New York Dolls people!They slouched on... David Johansen looking quite respectable in a suit and Sylvain Sylvain in his regulation leather cap, t-shirt and turned-up jeans. They were augmented by the ever-good Steve Conte on guitar and Sami Yaffa on bass with Brian Delaney on thundering drums! They launched into "Looking For A Kiss" then the title track of their new cd "Cause I Sez So" and followed this up quickly with "We're All In Love" which grew and grew into a wild rock squall with lights flashing and thunderous sound... it was a real rock gig!!They bounced into "Nobody Got No Bizness" and "Better Than You" from the new album and from their last album we got the two knockout tracks "Dance Like A Monkey" and "Get Away From Tommy" - yay! Needless to say we also got some of the songs that propelled them to success in the early 70s - "Pills", "Private World", and "Subway Train". Sylvain sang the opening verse and chorus of Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory" which David took up and led into "Lonely Planet Boy". The end came with "Trash" - both the glam thrash version and their newly-recorded reggae version - "Personality Crisis" and, my favorite song of theirs - the glorious "Jet Boy", one of The great songs of the 1970s. It's been a long time since David, Syl and their broken Doll mates - Billy, Johnny, Jerry and Arthur - burst onto the rock world with their bouffant hair, platform boots and tranny-hooker make-up. As they roared through "Jet Boy" I hoped a screen would drop with the footage of them performing the same song to be sneeringly called "mock rock" by Bob Harris. Maybe so Bob... but they are also fabulous. It's a shame they were at the Forum though where the sound is uniformly muddy.

On Sunday I went with Owen to see Alison Moyet at the
Festival Hall where she was promoting her recently released Best Of album.

La Moyet showed her fans something they had never seen before. Namely her waist. Wearing a figure-hugging long black dress she showed her new shapely self which doesn't appear to have affected her pipes.

Although a big fan when she was part of Yazoo I never really took to her as a solo artist although her early run of singles were good enough to make me add her first Best Of to my cds. It was interesting that the songs that showed some sonic variety of tone where the old Yazoo hits.

I know I should like her, she certainly fits the mould of singers I like but there is something about her that I simply cannot warm to. Is it that dreaded way she has of chewing off the last word in a line? The can't-be-arsed attitude on stage which I am sure most find endearing? I don't know.

I know one thing which pisses me off though about her. Now I will admit my favorite song from her back catalogue is INVISIBLE written by Lamont Dozier, without doubt one of the greatest writers of popular song. However her total dismissal of this song I find frustrating.

Her double standards toward this song is exemplified by her including it on her latest Best Of collection but her refusal to sing it live - and to go out of her way to say she isn't going to sing it - is perverse. Oh no Alison... sing us one of your recent meandering dirges but leave out this classic song which also gave you your biggest US hit. When she bored away about the fact that she would never sing the song I booed. She did however sing "Weak In The Presence Of Beauty" which is another song she said she usually refuses to sing. Which of course is another excellent pop song... written by someone else.

I don't know - maybe she looks upon "Invisible" as 'a woman as victim' song - but if this is so then why sing Jacques Brel's "If You Go Away" - the ultimate 'victim' song? Go fuckin' figure.

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