Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Dogs D'Amour


Well would you Adam & Eve it?
 It's been over 20 years since I last clapped eyes on these fine upstanding young gentlemen! So you could have forgiven me for being giddier than mister giddy from giddy town on an exceedingly giddy day!!!
 Y'see, the Dogs D'Amour & me have a little bit of history. Right from the very first time I clapped eyes on 'em in 1983, yours truly was gripped beyond belief. I must have travelled to most of the toilets this sceptred isle has to offer, in order to get my doggy fix! This fair eve did indeed have the makings of quite an emotional little soiree.
Also with quite a similar agenda to mine was my gig buddy for the evening, the lovely Mandy. For she too is a seasoned campaigner when it comes to our shared love of the Dogs D'Amour, having seen 'em probably more times than myself!

 Though in slightly different time zones, we both kinda grew up with the Dogs. They were my first real love & it was an all encompassing passion!
Prior to their record deal, it seemed like no one in the world wanted to know 'em, I recall scouring the music rags every Wednesday for the slightest snippet of information or gig news. If they were playing & I was flush, I was on the National express coach to London, where I was carried off to a Jack Sparrowesque world for the best part of an hour. The chaos of some of those early shows was legendary. Tyla was a man who could out Iggy the Iggster, marry this with the swagger of their  beautiful rock'n'roll sound; a perfect foil for Tylas romantic poetry & you had a very heady brew indeed. Many nights spent huddled on freezing steps in Victoria coach station & not a moments regret!
 After all these years I still couldn't put my finger on what set these boys apart from the rest, until my old mate Mandy hit the nail firmly on the head! These cats were not your average cock rockers!   (None of that, 'oi darlin, come 'ere & squeeze my power bulge' cobblers!) The Dogs gave us romantic ballads, love songs & tales of the disenfranchised, beautiful loser! So that's how they used to attract so many beautiful girls to their shows!

To say we were excited prior to this show was something of an understatement. We'd seen the shots & the reports from rehearsals, shows in London & shows in Spain. My fluffy little swamp ducks, our appetites were positively saturated. However something deep inside stopped me from believing this was actually happening for real.
 Even when the chaps took to the boards & hit us front & centre with 'Last bandit', it was pretty hard to take in that this was actually happening. Oh don't get me wrong, Manders & me had grins from lug 'ole to lug 'ole, not dissimilar to an explosion in a piano factory. 
It wasn't until halfway (ish) through the set when they played 'how come it never rains' that the enormity of the situation hit me. I don't mind telling you, I was a bit on the emotional side. Safe to say I had a lump in my throat bigger than a witches beak!
The Dogs D'Amour suffice it to say, were not too shabby; not too shabby at all!!!! 
Tylas voice is a lot more gruff these days, bordering on the Tom Waits. Bam still has the same drumming style all arms & sticks a flailing. Great to see Jo Dog still using that legendary customised  Tele & Steve dependable as ever still having the on stage interplay with Tyla.
 As is to be expected from a band of their age, the wild on stage shennanigans are not what they used to be. I remember many years ago in a tiny Nottingham club, Tyla went belly surfing (several times) on a stage ankle deep in beer, shredding his belly in the process! However they more than made up for it with an exemplary degree of professionalism, tonight the sound was perfect & the Dogs were tighter than a gnats chuff!
 All those old songs sounded slick & fresh, having more than stood the test of time, blending in nicely with the new material.

What's more, they still look bloody great! 
 The scarves have got a little shorter & the waistcoats just a little smarter but they are unmistakably & undeniably, still, the Dogs D'Amour. 
 I don't know how long they were on stage, I can't remember the majority of songs they played but I do know that it only seemed to last a mere 5 minutes. I do hope they keep it together to play more shows & record more material, because I for one want more, tonight was just not enough!
 With that we were off up the M1 to leeds & the not so bright lights of Pontefract respectively.
 Now did that really happen? Boys; you'd better come back & do it all again just to make sure!!

 Chin chin!!

Saturday, 9 March 2013



A funny thing happened to me on the way to the forum.  Or at least while I was walking to the Brudenell!
 Y'know how it is when you're walking somewhere with a sense of purpose, all wrapped up in your own thoughts! 
 Having parked the jam jar up at my brothers place. I was building up a rare old head of steam as I made my way to watch SpizzEnergi play their first show in Leeds for many a yonker.
Thoughts went from wondering which of their old songs they'd play, to the actual name of the band & how much it reminds one of those 'Johnny come lately', sugar loaded energy drinks. 
Just as I was deciding how I would design & package this new mega bucks making brand, the perfect photo opportunity hit me front & centre, right between the eyes!
 There was I, faced with an army of promotional vans & trucks for a well known taurene & sugar laced drink, all with a huge oversized can of the same bovine perspiration laced product on the back. 
So ask yourself dear reader, did your old mate Flash reach for his camera & capture the moment like 'Cartier Bresson' would? DID HE BLOODY HELL!  He just stood there with his mouth wide open like some simple minded cretin! 
Maybe this could be setting a new precedent, where thoughts become fluid, become reality! So how come nothing ever happens when my mind conjures up images of scantily clad Valkyrian warrior goddesses with cleavage you could ski down?     Bugger!

How the hell do I follow that? Well I guess making amends by taking a few shots of SpizzEnergi would be a bloody good start!
I saw Spizz in Leeds over a thousand years ago but I think the last time I attended one of their shows was at Trent Poly in the mid 1880s , I say attended because I have little or no memory of the show. I was really, rather drunk! In fact I was so drunk I had to be carried back to the car!! It's a theory of mine that I do believe,  someone slipped a Mickey Finn into my drink!!!  Honest Guvnor!!

After my minor scuffle with the mindfuck police & the army of energy drink vehicles it was grand to get to the Brudenell & see my old mate Luca, guitarist with SpizzEnergi & the Derellas! 'Twas also grand to actually have a drink at a gig & not have to worry about driving.
In the venue, our man Spizz was meeting, greeting, pressing the flesh & posing for pictures for anyone who so desired.
 I've seen this guy in action at various venues in London & I have to report, his prowess when it comes to networking & pushing the good name of his band is absolutely second to none, nay it's legendary!!
But enough of my rambling & musings, it's 9.30 in the Brudenell; IT'S SHOWTIME!!

 Oh what a show these boys put on! 
From the moment they took to the stage we were spellbound.  As a unit, as a whole, they are totally visually compelling. Now this is what a band should look like! Hell, they make a photographers job so damn easy.
As the lights were dimmed the band struck up the opening salvo of 6000 crazy, setting the scenario for our Spizz to saunter on stage with a real 'couldn't care less' swagger whilst donning  a magnificent 'Cyrano de Bergerac' face mask!
The sound is a lot more guitar driven than days of yore, I guess it ought to be, there's two of  'em nowadays! It's quite incredible how those old songs seem to have been given a new French kiss of life, making them sound as good, if not better than they ever did.  "Mega city 3, European hero, soldier soldier, central park & spocks missing" to name but a few, were all given the freshened up Spizz treatment. Nicely polished off with fantastic covers of 'I fought the law', 'The model' & lest ye forget, the iconic 'Where's Captain Kirk'.
In his custom made Spizz stage garb, this fine handsome young fellow had the audience in the palm of his hand, throwing shapes 'a' plenty & making sterling use of  his finely honed stage craft. What a performer!
 My dears I have to report! I was knocked out, bowled over & rogered senseless (metaphorically speaking)  by this performance. I never expected them to be this good, shame on me! 
 A tip of the hat & a tug of the forelock must surely go to Mr John Keenan, a man who has been booking quality bands in Leeds for as long as I can remember & a good while before then, I'll wager. 

After a couple of jars with Luca & the boys 'twas time to wave farewell & with their instruments strapped to their backs they disappeared into the Leeds night.
 Make no bones my fluffy little swamp ducks, if SpizzEnergi are playing a town near you, get yourselves along, for thou shalt be thoroughly entertained!!

Chin chin!!