London Gig Guide 29th Jan – 4th Feb Maximo Park, Stabbing A Dead Horse, John Otway

Seven days, seven great gigs, seven great venues. Well, technically I’ve only been to six of the seven personally, but I’m sure the Finsbury is loverly too.

Hidden Cameras / Melissa Laveaux – Bush Hall Wednesday 29th January

Canadian indie pop band The Hidden Cameras bring their gay church folk music to the Bush Hall.

They were part of the best live gig I have ever seen, supporting Broken Social Scene at a festerval of Canadian indie music in Vevey, Switzerland, organised by the Canadian government for Reasons Unknown To Me.

The vid to their recent single Gay Goth Scene is excellent btw, as is the tune.

Rachael Dadd / Ichi – Green Note, Camden Thursday 30th January

Experimental folk multi-instrumentalist Rachael Dadd splits her time between Japan and England, constantly touring, constantly writing, skipping from one fleetingly romantic show to another- whether it be a church in England, a gallery in Japan or atop a mountain in Switzerland.

Her recordings are often born from late nights at home plugged into her 4-track.

When she’s not playing, she’s sewing album sleeves and record bags – a true DIY artist in every sense of the word.

Her time in Japan has had a great impact on her sound, and this influence is most apparent in the songs on her recent album Bite The Mountain.

Rachae is supported by her husband Ichi, and by that I don’t mean he pays all the bills, I mean he will be playing some songs before she comes on.

John Otway – The Ivy House, Nunhead, Friday 31st January

The Ivy House in Nunhead is London’s first co-operatively owned pub, which makes them worthy of your custom straight away.

Even better than that, rock’n’roll’s most talented failure John Otway is playing.

This clip from the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1977 is nothing short of genius.

Cat Bear Tree – The Finsbury, Saturday 1st February

Named after a kick-ass cat and a cowardly bear (and for all we know, an even-tempered oak), Cat Bear Tree have got … something about them for sure.

This is the launch of their debut single “Spces In Between” following on from the “Let’s Share Hearts” EP. Sweet and tuneful to begin with but builds brilliantly.

Stabbing A Dead Horse Tour – Slight Return – Barfly, Camden, Sunday 2nd February

A few months ago three superb new prog-rock bands Knifeworld, The Fierce & The Dead and Trojan Horse set out on a UK tour under the banner “Stabbing A Dead Horse”, the banner title coming from a conflation of the three bands’ names. And possibly, lots of beer.

Billed as “Stabbing A Dead Horse – Slight Return” this one-off London date promises to be the first great live gig of 2014.

Here’s the vlog from the previous tour. And as always at a Sunday gig in Camden, you can spend the day in Regent’s Park or dahn the markets. Or in bed, it’s up to you, whatever.

Maximo Park – Sebright Arms, Monday 3rd February

Indie faves Maximo Park descend upon us once again to tour their new album “Too Much Information”. Sounds a LOT like it was made in 1981, which is just fine and dandy by this old punk.

Stealing Dan & Don – Bulls Head, Barnes, Tuesday 4h February

Excellent to see the new owners of legendary jazz/blues music pub the Bulls Head are maintaining the tradition, seemingly with quite a few of the regular acts retaining their regular slots – Alan Price and the Humphrey Lyttleton Big Band later in the month and on Tuesday, the best Steely Dan tribute band you’re likely to hear.

Hope you can still get a curry delivered to the front bar from the Thai restaurant next door, mind.

Gotta be something in there for everybody, surely? See you dahn the front !

Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here Far Too Dear

“And did we tell you the name of the game, boy?  We call it ‘riding the gravy train’”

That line is from “Have A Cigar”, the track that opens Side Two of Pink Floyd’s 1975 masterpiece “Wish You Were Here”.

Welcome to the machine. The nostalgia machine. In time for the Christmas market, Pink Floyd are releasing re-mastered versions of all their albums, including five-disc “Immersion Editions” of the two best, and best-loved, “Dark Side Of The Moon” and “Wish You Were Here”

There’s some great music here, but I’d hazard a guess that ninety percent of the people who are going to buy these overpriced reissues already have the albums.

You do not, emphatically  not need the new remixed, remastered editions. You especially do not need the new Immersion edition of Wish You Were Here.

You’ve already GOT Wish You Were Here.

The new immersion edition of Wish You Were Here costs £84.99. Let’s just put that out there. Thats fifteen notes short of a hundred pounds. For this you get three versions of the album – the original stereo mix, the Quadraphonic Mix, and the 5.1 Surround Mix.

No extra tracks, jams or outtakes from the sessions…

Plus you get two versions of a 1975 concert performance of the album, plus a selection of tacky collectibles that bear listing in full.

Two photo books. A scarf. Some marbles. Postcards. A replica gig ticket and backstage pass. And some cardboard drinks coasters.

Look, I know you love Pink Floyd.

You’re fifty, male and middle class. You were at school in the mid-seventies, when it was compulsory for middle-class boys to be into Pink Floyd.  And Yes. And King Crimson. And Genesis. Soul and reggae music was for the rough boys. Glam rock was for girls.

You love Pink Floyd, of course you do.

So do I. Wish You Were Here in particular. Its a lovely, warm, wistful album.

But you already have this music.

You  bought Wish You Were Here on the day it came out in 1975, in that black shrink-wrapped bag.

You had of course heard the album on Alan Freeman’s Radio One show the week before, and recorded it onto a C-60 cassette, which you played a lot

Later, when you got your first CD player, the first four CDs you bought (at sixteen pounds each) purchased in 1985 were – Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish you Were Here, Dare by the Human League (the wife likes them) and Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits.


If you have eighty-five quid to spare and you love Pink Floyd, there is a lot of music out there, in the same genre as Pink Floyd, that you may learn to love just as much:

Download Trojan Horse’s excellent album:

Trojan Horse are an up-and-coming band who describe their sound as “Prog Nouveau”. You can download their debut album here for £6.00:

Take your pick from the many records by The Pineapple Thief.

Basically the brainchild and project of Bruce Soord, these guys have been making prog-indie albums since 1999, building up a devoted following. Their latest album is “Someone Here Is Missing” and you can listen to bits of it  here.  In particular, check out the Storm Thorgerson album artwork. Admit it, Floydians, you’re interested!

Buy A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind

Amorphous Androgynous – formerly called the Future Sound Of London – these guys do killer mixes and compilations of old psychedelic gems mixed with some current stuff. This is the latest volume

“X And Y” – Coldplay

Yeah, I know you know all about Coldplay. But plenty of tracks on this album sound more like Pink Floyd than Pink Floyd did, at least after Roger Waters left. Its currently yours for less than four quid on Amazon.

Pink Floyd’s Soundtracks

The rest of Pink Floyd’s back catalogue. If you don’t already have all of this then why not fill in the gaps – for instance, the soundtrack albums. More? Obscured By Clouds? Roger Waters’ “Music From The Body”? Tonite Lets All Make Love In London? All worth your time. Except the last one, mind.

British Sea Power

British Sea Power’s “Man Of Aran” – British Sea Power are primarily an indie band. You may not like everything they do, but they wrote this new soundtrack to a 1934 film about islanders on Aran ekeing out a pre-modern lifestyle from the unforgiving land. Some of the long pieces in particular are very Floydian.

Go see a Pink Floyd Tribute Band

With half the original band no longer with us, and two of the three survivors no longer on speaking terms, a Floyd live reunion ain’t gonna happen – and if it does, it isn’t going to be any good. I mean, I watched the Live 8 performance on the telly and it was a bit ropey.

Think Floyd were one of the earliest and best Floyd tribute bands. Fourteen quid will get you in to see them playing at St Pauls Church in West London next week:

There are others, notably The Australian Pink Floyd. My personal favourite is a band called Interstellar Overdrive who I saw in Germany many years ago. They limit their selection to the Barrett / Waters led period – nothing after “Animals” except “Comfortably Numb”, which is just fine by me! You have to respect a semi-pro band who include a massive gong in their stage rig solely for “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”.

Just say “Yes” !

And finally, Floyd’s seventies prog contemporaries Yes are playing at Hammersmith Apollo next week, The difference is that Yes have been a working, breathing band ever since they began, barring the odd hiatus and many personnel changes, and they continue to produce new music to this day.

Tickets are £37.50 plus booking fee. Don’t even get me started on booking fees…

Now you may say that’s an outrageous price for a gig by a bunch of ageing prog-rockers. And you’d be right.

But it compares well with paying £84.99 for five versions of an album you already own several times over.

And… breathe. Breathe in the air.