Traffic signals blink yellow because there is no traffic to regulate. Darkened church doorways shelter homeless men in ragged socks. Construction vehicles rust in the abandoned roadwork. The library and the Red Cross building are boarded up and vandalized. Vampires roam the streets (probably).
Detroit is dying. Or so it would appear.
To get to The Loving Touch, you must drive south on Woodward, past the Fox Theatre and Comerica Park, past the now-defunct Magic Stick, past empty buildings and weeded lots and broken glass and graffiti, until you pass, fittingly, a large cemetery. And then you are in Ferndale, which, while not technically Detroit, is close enough.
The ghost town aura of downtown Detroit, however, has vanished. The Mediterranean restaurant we go to is positively bustling, and the bars near The Loving Touch (itself a former massage parlour) are renovated and graffiti-free. Gentrification is in full effect.
The show is sold out, and more than half of the patrons in the bar sport black Magic-Markered Xs on the backs of their hands. (Many of them wear Hawaiian shirts like the lead singer is sometimes wont to do.) The other patrons drink tall cans of PBR, the cheapest beer they have. (I drive vodka and water, because I am a grown-up who is concerned about her caloric intake.)
Australian band Dune Rats warmed up the enthusiastic underaged crowd with their hyper garage/pop/rock and roll, including a cover of Blister in the Sun with half the lyrics omitted in favour of indiscernible mumbling.
And then the stage went dark and the lightbulb eyes lit up in the giant papier-maché-head replicas of the band members and FIDLAR came on and the place went fucking mental. I had seen the band twice before in Toronto, so I knew what to expect, but I did not expect such chaos from a bunch of kids whose illegal pre-show buzz must surely have worn off by that point. They jumped around like wild things, they shouted and sang, they surfed the crowd, they took their sweat-soaked t-shirts off and lost their cell phones in the frenzy.
There is something about attending a live rock show that no shaky iPhone video or post-show review can ever capture, which is why it's important to just GO, man. You can never truly know what you've missed: the jostling that will result in bruises the next day, the smell of furtive joint-smoking, the shared smiles when the band plays that song that you love that they never play, the feel of other people's sweat on your own bare skin (okay, I can probably do without that last one).
I have never believed in the dire predictions of the death of rock and roll. Rock and roll will never die. Its power might ebb and flow, but as long as there are teenagers, there will be angst. And as long as there is angst, there will be the need for rock and roll.
Last night at the FIDLAR show, the youth of America gave me hope for the future. For the future of kids raised on technology who showed me that it IS possible for them to put their phones down and live in the moment, for the future of Detroit, that dying city with the possibility of revival in its embers, and for the future of rock and roll.
gone and done it again.Last year I
wrote a feature for this website about Bernie Torme which included a positive review of his
album ‘Flowers & Dirt’ and a glowing write-up of his show from the
accompanying tour.It was testament to
the man’s confidence that 20 songs were included on that album and that a bunch
of them were played live amongst the expected ‘hits’ and back catalogue
tracksthat someone who has been in the
game as long as Torme has, is expected to play.
tracks on ‘Flowers & Dirt’ were well received by the loyal fans, who
enjoyed the depth and breadth of music on offer.This time around though Bernie and band
(completed by bassist extrordinairre Chris Heilman and powerhouse drummer Ian
Harris) have opted for a slightly shorter and more focussed set of material
that still manages to cover a lot of ground musically. The resulting 12 songs
are every bit as rewarding as the previous album, and demonstrate that this is one
of the finest power trios on the scene right now.
Torme coaxes such tones from his battered Strat is anyone’s guess.It’s a very distinct style and sound, and
whilst there is nothing new in rock n roll and therefore some easy reference
points can be made (‘Stagestruck’ era Rory Gallagher, Hendrix at his most
direct…) it needs to be said that Bernie Torme’s take on the blues-rock
blueprint is as unique as anyone elses these days, and moreso than most.
Pig’, ‘Better Days’ and ‘Snake in the Garden’ carry on where tracks like ‘Party
Town’ left off on the previous album – heavy boogierockwith supersonic lead guitar licks all over it.‘1985 (Keeper of the Flame)’, ‘Better Days’
and ‘On Fire’ provide some more mid-paced counterbalance, the latter in
particular has a chorus that will stick in your head after one listen.Track 6 ‘Flow’ has a slightly psychedelic
vibe, veering between laid-back verses and heavy riffing, ‘Into the Sun’
sustains the vibe and gets almost grungey in places, then we’re back into
fast-paced boogie rock with ‘Pain’. There’s some acoustic slide guitar and
overdriven harmonica in the intro to ‘Steady Roller Blues’ which then kicks
into the sort of tight-but-loose stompin’ beat and groove that Led Zep used to
do so well.‘Miles to Babylon’ and
‘Party’s Over’ are two more slower numbers, each with epic guitar solos.
Here is a 'live in the studio' video of the track 'Pain':
If you love hard rock music then there is a good chance that you already know the work of Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell.Since first making his mark in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the likes of Hotline, Angel Street, 720, and The Torpedos, Bucket’s CV reads like a ‘who’s who’ of British rock, including albums and tours with Bad Company, Humble Pie, Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden’s ‘Entire Population of Hackney’ and ‘ASAP’ projects, Samson, Phil Hilbourne Band, and the solo work of Spike from the (London) Quireboys.As if that wasn’t enough, Bucket also found time to write one of Iron Maiden’s best known b-sides ‘Reach Out’ which can be found on the flipside of the Wasted Years single.
Over the last 10 years he has played with The Jones Gang with Kenney Jones (The
Faces/The Who), Rick Wills
(Foreigner/Bad Company), Robert Hart
(Bad Company), Jim Stapely, Josh Phillips
(Procul Harum) and performed shows alongside Ronnie Wood, Jeff Beck, Queen’s Roger Taylor and many more.
Ever the journeyman guitar slinger, Bucket has also frequently
guested with pals such as The (London)
Quireboys, Thunder, Tytan, Mick
Ralphs, Joan Ov Arc and just last week Warner
E Hodges from Jason & The Scorchers/Dan Baird’s Home Made Sin.
So, it is more than likely that if you are reading
this you’ll have something in your music collection that Bucket has been
involved with or could be connected to within 6 degrees of separation!
Having released his own solo album a few years ago,
‘Guitars, Beers, & Tears’, Bucket has most recently announced a new project
‘Buckets Rebel Hearts’ (see photo below) with whom he plans to crowd-source a new album ’20 Good
Summers’ (see the www.pledgemusic.com/bucketsrebelheartfor
Hearing that the band includes a reunion with former 720/Torpedos drummer and songwriter Paul ‘Taff’ Edwards I was keen to find out more and did a quick Q&A:
Alex: Can you
give us any insight into the styles of music and lyrical themes of the material
that you are working on with this album? And how will the music compare to any
of your previous work?
Bucket: This album will be very much guitar
based.Writing it with Taff has been a
blast, we are both influenced by Springsteen, Georgia Satellites, the Newer Kid
Rock stuff so, throw in a bit of AC DC too. Lyrics are important to us both
and, although not too specific, about our loves , lives and experiences.
previous album ‘Bucket & Co’ was an album including many guests and you
revisited some of your own back catalogue, for example, a re-recording of the
song ‘Reach Out’ which was an Iron Maiden b-side that you wrote in the
mid-80s. This time around you seem to be going for a ‘band’
approach? Will there be any guests on it?
Bucket: This is definitely a BAND. I thoroughly
enjoyed the freedom of the last record with all the guests etc. I had a problem
trying to tour that record, promoters, radio etc asking will Adrian etc be on
the tour? Obviously not as everybody was touring the world with their acts.
Alex: Why did
you decide to experiment with the Pledge route this time around?
Bucket: Pledge has worked for some other artists I
know....involving music fans through pre-ordering helps build a fanbase,
especially for a new act.
Alex: You have
your own signature model guitar now. Are you using them on the new album?
Bucket: Oh yes, I have always loved the P90 style of
pickup..huge sounding which will suit this record perfectly.
drummer Paul ‘Taff’ Edwards is one of your old pals from the 1980s – you were
in the bands 720 and The Torpedos together. Any plans to resurrect any of
Bucket: Yes, we are gonna re-work 2 songs that were
favourites of ours back from those days 'CUSTOMISED CAR' we have a BBC
recording of that produced by BUFFIN of MOTT THE HOOPLE & featuring the Q
TIPS brass section. Also,' ANIMAL BEAT' from the 720 days
Alex: Any plans
to tour? If so, where?
Bucket: Yes, we would like to tour but also, cherry
pick some shows opening for bigger shows with a captive audience as BUCKETS
REBEL HEART is a new band.
Hey, if you want to be reviewed by Sleazegrinder, contact him at Sleazegrinder@gmail.com
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Read Flash Metal Suicide at the Team Rock website!