Just Dandy


A significant chunk of my music history has been spent on whatever constitutes a local scene where I live.

While this blog concerns itself with ticketed shows of a certain level, there’s a whole back story of pubs, clubs and halls where fledgling bands cut their teeth.

In many ways Sound City encourages the next step up from that level by providing the stages on which bands and artists can get on a bill that is being headlined by much, much bigger names.

So on the Saturday of the two-day event it was nice to be able to get two significant elements of what had made my local gig going so special back together.

Dandy Warhols

My friend Tony who moved to America more than 20 years ago introduced himself to me at a regular band night he helped run back in the day by wandering over and saying `I believe you like Mantronix’.

He gets back irregularly and was home on family business for a week. Having seen that Sleaford Mods were playing the festival, he was desperate to see them as he lives in North Carolina and demanding UK outfits chronicling everyday life on East Midlands council estates don’t tend to play there much. Me and the other more regularly mentioned Tony agreed to meet him there.

Now a mutual friend from back in those early days just happens to be Sound City boss Dave Pichilingi who cut his promotional teeth putting on gigs and indie nights in our home town and who was in bands at the same time American Tony ( as we’ll call him) was playing keyboards for some other local hopefuls.

They spotted each other on the Saturday night just after the Mods’ set and despite the obvious distractions of running a festival for thousands of people, Dave was good enough to take him backstage to greet the Mods.

It was a nice moment to end a really enjoyable Saturday where Sugarmen, Georgia and Band of Skulls had stood out.

We could have stayed for Catfish and the Bottlemen but it’s the sort of thing I’ve heard many times before and, while they’re good at it, I don’t need to hear it again.

Sunday, I thought, was even better despite lacking 20-year reunions.

Hanging around the main stage once again was worth it for fine sets by Neon Waltz,  Shura – who I think we’ll be hearing a lot more of – and Dandy Warhols who provided the impetus before local heroes Circa Waves and The Coral.

It’s a pity that both their sets were interrupted by a power outage,  but in fairness it didn’t detract from a terrific weekend of boss sounds, big crowds and excellent weather.






Wittering on – and on

Aaaah nostalgia. It’s not, as the old joke goes, what it used to be.

At one time you liked  a band, the band split up and that was it. You retained a few good memories, played the records occasionally and moved on.

But now you can’t move for revivals, reconciliations and reunions. Whether bands were good, bad or indifferent.

The whole `touring an album on its anniversary’ movement has also helped revive a few stalled careers.

As a fickle human being I choose to approve of some and not of others.

The Stone Roses – not interested.

Ash – where do I get a ticket?

And so on…

As long as it looks like a bit of fun and hasn’t been heralded as a Second Coming (ahem), I don’t mind.

Which is how I came to be in the William Aston Hall in Wrexham watching the Inspiral Carpets and Shed Seven in what would have been, admittedly, a mid-table double bill even back in the day.

But I have nothing against either. I know most of the words to at least half a dozen songs by both. It’s nearly Christmas. I didn’t have to drive. It was all good.

And in the spirit of my criteria for approving of these things, it was genuinely a lot of fun.

I’d have always had the Carpets pegged as the bigger band and even Clint Boon admitted that two decades previously the Sheds had opened for them.

Undeterred they merrily rattled off a good chunk of their singles collection starting with Joe and dedicating Saturn V to new British astronaut Tim Peake.

They didn’t do Caravan which I’ve always loved, but they only had 45 minutes so they weren’t all going to get an airing.

Shed Seven moseyed on half an hour later and were actually better than I ever remember them being.

Now that could be because they play the kind of stuff I like and I don’t hear as much of it these days, so when I do, I like it more than I should, if that makes sense.

One of our party suggested Rick Witter might not have eaten since we last saw them as he has retained his whip thin frame, and he did look in remarkably good shape.

Cruelly it was also considered that he might be secreting a picture of me in his attic which is going to seed at a much faster rate and sparing him the inevitable ravages of time.

Opening up with She Left Me  on Friday, they then banged out a number of Britpop/old TFI Friday era standards like Going for Gold, Getting Better, Chasing Rainbows and Speakeasy.


The sound was filled out nicely by a brass section which gave them some added punch and helped replicate the sound they had unveiled on A Maximum High way back when.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable night out for the over 35s.