Tag Archives: Gig Reviews

Alice Cooper still has the Goth, Glam, and Morbid Magic at 69

Gig Review: Alice Cooper at Manchester Arena, 15 Nov 2017

Alice Cooper proves he still has it at 69. Goth, glam, and morbid magic.

Coming to the end of the UK part of his Spend the Night with Alice Cooper tour, the band made a stop at the Manchester Arena, to give an energetic performance to a dedicated fan base, warmed up by magnificent performances by The Tubes and The Mission. Rarely would I even mention the support band(s), but these guys warmed the crowd up so much, they were steaming hot for Alice.


Opening with ‘Brutal Planet’, Alice Cooper owned the night from the moment he strutted on to the stage, to the celebration of ‘School’s Out’ which closed the show with bubbles, balloons and confetti. Having seen Alice Cooper in London for his special Halloween show in 2011, there were certainly fewer gothic theatrics involved in this arena performance, with a focus on the music and the technical staging of the set, but not at the expense of the show. The oversized Frankenstein puppet made an appearance, as did the guillotine and cold Ethel, but this show brought something that the London 2011 didn’t, and that was the lighting – it was marvellously lit, with crisp and intended direction, bringing another dimension to the show, the likes of which I have not seen in the last few years of going to gigs.


As you would expect from an Alice Cooper show, the hits poured out in droves, with ‘Poison’ bringing the first wave of intense audience interaction, along with ‘I Love the Dead’. However, the final part of the evening was the highlight for many of the oldest Alice Cooper fans as the original Alice Cooper band took to the stage to perform the final five tracks of the night which included ‘I’m Eighteen’ and ‘Billion Dollar Babies’. The stadium was filled with an vigour rarely experienced, as the roughness of the 1970s screamed through the speakers of the stadium, demolishing the cleanliness of the previous songs performed by Alice Cooper’s current band, who, it is certainly worth pointing out, had a massive amount of talent between them, performing phenomenal solos throughout the night.


To complete the Alice Cooper experience, the merchandise stands were heaving with a variety of clothing and accessories, and served a consistent bombardment of fans wanting to preserve their night, but certainly not for a cheap price, with the t-shirts costing £30.00, the hoodie costing £70.00, and the official Alice Cooper teddy bear costing a massive £25.00. But this is THE Alice Cooper, and we must be true to ourselves as to how much longer he will be able to continue to perform at this level – though truth be told, he didn’t look like he was going to be slowing down any time soon and will most likely still be performing from beyond the grave!


Spend the Night with Alice Cooper Set List:

  • Spend the Night intro
  • Brutal Planet
  • Under My Wheels
  • Lost in America
  • Pain
  • Department of Youth
  • The World Needs Guts
  • Woman of Mass Distraction
  • Guitar Solo
    (Nita Strauss)
  • Poison
  • Halo of Flies
  • Drum and Bass solo
  • Feed My Frankenstein
  • Cold Ethyl
  • Only Women Bleed
  • Paranoiac Personality
  • Ballad of Dwight Fry
  • Killer
  • I Love the Dead
  • I’m Eighteen
    (with original Alice Cooper Band)
  • Billion Dollar Babies
    (with original Alice Cooper Band)
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
    (with original Alice Cooper Band)
  • Muscle of Love
    (with original Alice Cooper Band)
  • School’s Out
    (with original & current Alice Cooper Band)



An Exhilarating and Intimate Evening of British Rock with Bush

Gig Review: Bush at The Waterfront, Norwich , 23 September 2017

An exhilarating and intimate evening of front row British rock.

Check out Gig Photography: Bush at The Waterfront, Norwich, 23 Sept 2017 for more photographs

Over twenty-five years Bush have released seven studio albums and have been described as alternative rock, grunge, post-grunge, and hard rock, and although lead-singer, Gavin Rossdale, descended from the British rock scene of the 90s, Bush has been but a whisper here in comparison to North America, where they achieved top chart spots for the majority of the 90s. Bush took a hiatus after the release of Golden State (2001). However, In 2010, the band reformed and released The Sea of Memories, touring with Nickelback in 2012. Finally, after many years away from the UK, Bush returned as part of their European Tour, and they didn’t disappoint.

A couple of bars of ‘Everything Zen’ and the crowd go insane. Bush started as they meant to go on. This is old skool rock, with a fundamentally old skool crowd. There was expectancy, there was high energy, there were super-fans and there were father’s introducing their teenage kids to the vocals of Gavin Rossdale, and the talents of Chris Traynor, Corey Britz, and Robin Goodridge. Rossdale’s ability to engage the audience brought another dimension to the show in Norwich, UK. The Waterfront is a small all-standing venue, with a capacity of 700, in the city centre, and is often a disappointing venue for big noise artists and bands, but not even the poor acoustics of the place could hold back the incredible sound of Bush.

The seventh studio album, Black and White Rainbows, is a rare record of outstanding tracks from the start to the finish, telling a story of heartache (residue from his marriage/divorce from Gwen Stefani), and political turmoil that we are faced with at the moment, most notably the refugee crisis and global warming. Singing along with the new tracks were just as enthralling as the old stuff, and as it was such an intimate gig, Rossdale was able to see the passion of the crowd, throwing a smile directly to those of us at the front who were belting out the lyrics to ‘Nurse’ and ‘Lost in You’.

After teasing some of the front row by walking down by the railings, Rossdale jumped into the crowd half way through ‘Little Things’ in a dramatic reworking of the track. The crowd lost it, cheering, screaming, filming, taking photos, and most noticeably touching the frontman. The venue was electric. And if that wasn’t personal enough, after fuelling the fire with ‘Machinehead’, Rossdale sang an incredible rendition of ‘The One I Love’, up close and personal with several of the female fans in the front row.

One of the best gigs I’ve been to this year, came to a close on ‘Comedown’, but as the song says, ‘I don’t wanna come back down from this cloud’. Many of the fans, myself included, came home high on the music and covered in Rossdales sweat, hoping that they don’t leave it so long to return.

Bush, Black and White Rainbows Tour, Set List:

  • Everything Zen
    (Sixteen Stone)
  • Testosterone
    (Sixteen Stone)
  • The Beat of Your Heat
    (Black and White Rainbows)
  • The Chemicals Between Us
    (The Science of Things)
  • Mad Love
    (Black and White Rainbows)
  • Greedy Fly
    (Razorblade Suitcase)
  • Nurse
    (Black and White Rainbows)
  • The People that we Love
    (Golden State)
  • Swallowed
    (Razorblade Suitcase)
  • Sky Turns Day Glo
    (Black and White Rainbows)
  • Peace-s
    (Black and White Rainbows)
  • Little Things
    (Sixteen Stone)


  • Machinehead
    (Sixteen Stone)
  • The One I Love
  • Glycerine
    (Sixteen Stone)
  • Comedown
    (Sixteen Stone)

This Time It’s Personal with John Cooper Clarke & Hugh Cornwell

Gig Review: John Cooper Clarke & Hugh Cornwell at the Waterfront, Norwich, 25 November 2017

Mancunian Poets, 50’s and 60’s classics, and the legend which is Hugh Cornwell in an intimate performance in Norwich, UK. 

The Waterfront, Norwich hasn’t exactly been my favourite venue to see live performances as of late, due to the poor sound. The last gig, The Buzzcocks, I had serious hearing problems for over a week, with the vocals of Pete Shelley drowned by the volume of the band.


Saint Anthony – Saint Anthony
Please come around.
Something is lost that can’t be found

Talk to me of Albion Anderton and art
The arndale
Alan Turing
Acid House
Alexandra Park

Bez the Buzzcocks bouncing bombs
The beautiful Busby Babes
Cancer Christies Catholicism
Crack and Curt Cocaine

– Mike Garry

The cheeky Northern accent of Mike Garry projected perfectly across the open room, a dedicated and intimate group, up for more than the average turn out when the warm up act takes to the stage. Laughter, heart felt applause, and genuine admiration for Mike’s talent. He is a genius with his words, in his ability to capture the North, but he’s something else, something special, when he performs. He spoke of a place that I haven’t thought of for a long time. He spoke of the North. Although I’m originally from Staffordshire, the culture of Manchester infects the surrounding areas, it seeps in, it influences. We are proud of what was birthed from Manchester’s music scene.

Needless to say we were warmed up for a northern legend, or two. First purchase of the night Men’s Mournings by Mike Garry, dedicated, and signed by the man himself.

Old classics pumped from the speakers like a radio station DJ’d by Dr John Cooper Clarke himself, it proving to be very difficult not to start dancing, or at least stiffly moving, somewhat in time to the music. More people wandered in, having missed one of the best warm up acts I’ve seen. Then I noticed a man standing next to me holding a signed LP. Off I ran like a kid to a candy store. I returned with one signed LP. A short wait later the legends that are Hugh Cornwell (of The Stranglers) and Dr. John Cooper Clarke, walked on stage, very casually and almost like we all knew one another.

This Time It’s Personal

And boom, we go straight into It’s only make believe. Dr. John Cooper Clarke has this amazing tone to his voice. Different music keys evoke different emotions, and Dr. John Cooper Clarke’s voice does that. The tone evokes emotions that are routed deep. You can really feel what he says. Way down yonder in New Orleans, and we’re transported, This time it’s personal.

Spanish Harlem was a treat, but I have to admit, I was gearing up to my favourite track, Johnny, Remember Me – there was silence, and then a whirling of wind. Dr. John Cooper Clarke walked a few steps to his left and smiled a smile that lit up the room, a smile that showed a mischievous side. The strumming took me to the Wild West, with cowboys and vast deserts, and that tone of Dr. John Cooper Clarke echoed inside my body, then they brought us down again with Macarthur Park. At this point Dr. John Cooper Clarke is fully engaging with this intimate group, enjoying the admiration that is palpable, and also spinning in a bit of comedy.

She’s a woman gets everyone moving again, including a guy in a long beige trench coat, grey beard and longish messy grey hair, who seemed familiar with a polite smile when he caught my eye. Donna and Jezebel continue our journey back in time, and then they pull it out of the bag again with Love Potion No. 9. With only one song to go, and having watched them on stage for a little over 30 minutes, we were content should the night end there. Sweeter than you closed the show, and what a delight it was.

The fans called for an encore, and Hugh Cornwell and band, returned. We got another treat. About half an hour of Cornwell songs and The Stranglers songs, with an amazing rendition of Walk on By. That man knows how to play the guitar. He’s a perfectionist, ensuring that the sound was always the best it could be, calling in the stage hand when needed.

How could this night get any better?

Dr. John Cooper Clarke walks back on stage as the band start playing the tune for I wanna be yours. At this point I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. Anybody who knows us, who came to our wedding, knows we had this read out in our service. It was the source of much humour, discussion and memories on what was the best day of my life. The show was concluded with a couple of Dr. John Cooper Clarke’s poems and then a few duets with Hugh Cornwell, singing No More Heroes and (Get a) grip on yourself, which were just fantastic.

They say their final goodbyes, and I was straight over to the merchandise stand asking the guy to reserve a signed CD for me whilst I popped to the money stealing cash machine in the venue, you know the ones that charge you for using it…I ran back across the floor and watched the guy sell the last signed CD. My heart sank. He turned to me, recognised me and from under a cardboard box flap he pulled out the CD. I beamed, asked for a T-Shirt for my hubby, and we left the venue high on Hugh Cornwell and Dr. John Cooper Clarke. Quite frankly, I have only been to a small handful of gigs where that has happened.

And so I have found I miss my home. I miss the hills. I miss the people of the Northern lands.

And she taught me that the more I read the more I see
The more I see the more I know
The more I know the more I grow
The more I grow the more I am
And I would give the world and all its riches
To simply hold that woman’s hand one more time
And say thanks
– Mike Garry


  • It’s Only Make Believe
    (Conway Twitty cover)
  • Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
    (Henry Creamer cover)
  • Spanish Harlem
    (Ben E. King cover)
  • Johnny Remember Me
    (John Leyton cover)
  • MacArthur Park
    (Jimmy Webb cover)
  • She’s a Woman
  • Donna
    (Ritchie Valens cover)
  • Jezebel
  • Love Potion No. 9
    (The Clovers cover)
  • Sweeter Than You
  • Black Hair Black Eyes Black Suit
    (Hugh Cornwell cover)
  • Nice ‘n’ Sleazy
    (The Stranglers cover)
  • Stuck in Daily Mail Land
    (Hugh Cornwell cover)
  • Walk On By
    (Dionne Warwick cover)
  • I Wanna Be Yours
  • 36 Hours
  • No More Heroes
    (The Stranglers cover)
  • (Get a) Grip (On Yourself)
    (The Stranglers cover)
  • Hanging Around
    (The Stranglers cover)