Monday, May 10, 2010

Ricky Warwick - York, Stereo, 13th April 2010
(pic of Ricky & Daniel Lucas by Rachel Hill)

'Don't know whether to believe in Johnny or Elvis
It's a tough decision when you're caught between Hell & breakfast' - Johnny Or Elvis

After last summer's pitiful turn out to see The Almighty leader with Supersuckers' Eddie Spaghetti, it came of scant surprise to see Manchester omitted from the tour schedule this Spring. Not to be waylaid by such vagaries off I trundled in suitably heroically stupidly inappropriate footwear to the tourist trap of York, little town of legend and walls to see the guy. In one of his many entertaining between song narrative snatches he expresses a certain irksome-ness about people always asking when The Almighty are gonna reform. Look, the man's solo stuff is leagues ahead of The Almighty, mixing their raucous sluice-gate battering rambunctious boogie as on Can't Wait For Tomorrow with deft reflective stories of personal and political trouble. There's much to delve into here for fans of myriad gospels of grease, grit and speed whether Motorhead, Nebraska-Springsteen, Steve Earle, Tyla or Social Distortion - fittingly he covers the latters Cash-companionable Ball And Chain with impressive local support Boss Caine (in another nice touch he also gets an audience member up to play a song with him after the guy told him he sings his daughter to sleep with it) - and alt.country heroes like The Jayhawks. Well-trod smooth grooves they may be but once again it's the honesty and grit, sincerity and soul that you don't simply sweat out that should be slaying far more than the old faithful here, sadly largely indulging him his solo stuff to hear Wild & Wonderful & Free & Easy. Resolutely unpretentious - no cod coarse-throated apron-string troubadour this - his introduction along the lines of 'My name's Ricky Warwick, I'm from Belfast and I'm here tonight to rock' should stand shoulder strong in stride with Johnny Cash's hallowed opening. His tale of writing W&W between shit-shrouded shifts on his dad's chicken farm, playing Hanoi Rocks stood facing the mirror and his dismissal of whinging writers having to get into a headspace instead of just feckin doing it ('even if you're doing the pots with one hand and holding the baby with the other...just do it') are told with such enthusiasm it's readily apparent Warwick's still a fan and such warmth should be winning over many more to the cause. Christ, he said before Ace Of Spades that Motorhead's Mr Kilmister should be PM...how about Warwick? Punching Thunder and closing rabble-rouser - a Sally McLennane for this decade of undoubted debacles no less - of Arms Of Belfast Town may demand it. For now, after last years BELFAST CONFETTI belter, we await what leading childhood heroes Thin Lizzy next year will do to his already uncontainable commitment.
Stu Gibson

Sparse whispers
Savatage - Still The Orchestra Plays On
Ear Music

This collection, as opposed to greatest hits - they disowned their first two albums - of the Eighties prog-metaller's should stand as the epitome of insipid, lifeless plodding deluges whose attempts at portentousness make ponderous seem absolutely scintillating. As fitting the age when it was de rigor to have an 'anthem' hailing the massing metal hordes who await in their tiny back bedrooms to rise up and so they unleash the sky-cracking call to arms of Power Of The Night. Then proceed to limply trudge through a morass of emasculating muso-meanderings that wouldn't sustain a termite never mind an army. There's non-ironic fist-clenching lumbering rhythms and sub Maiden riffing aplenty along with stilted Bruce Dickenson humdrum ham-dramatics that take tales of legions and venturing forth into the night (quite a frequent occurrence by all accounts) - and I'm sure a unicorn is mentioned somewhere too - far too seriously. Such that Ronnie James Dio would drool with amusement.
Stu Gibson
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