THEY’RE GONNA TAKE YOU ON…Get “ready to go” to Derby Hairy Dog February 25 and Bilston Robin June 24, for two thumping nights of speed ballads and electropunk decadence from the ever-enigmatic REPUBLICA

You just can’t keep Saffron down. Though her band’s hitmaking heyday may be long long ago, she keeps coming back with renewed energy and yet more live dates: truly, Republica [for ’tis they] are “the band that wouldn’t die”, to paraphrase Rock Follies, and in 2023, they’ve got even more joys in store for us. Who knows, they might even finally unleash the follow-up to that rather spiffing EP they brought out a few years before the world went all squiffy…

Best of all, though, the mid-90s electro-rock [and NOT Britpop, just to get that clear!!} gang are gracing us with not one but TWO Midlands dates this February: bouncing into Bilston Robin on Friday February 24 and then dancing into Derby Hairy Dog on Saturday February 25, they’ll be making sure that NOBODY gets left out. Better still, it’s a FULL original lineup, and you don’t get many of THOSE these days: if there’s a better way for we fortysomethings to relive our “halycon days” [sic] then I can’t think of one, and we at MM will almost definitely be there [although we can’t promise to look ‘drop dead gorgeous’, that particular skill having departed us LONG ago]

So why not join us? Hop onto the band’s official site at https://www.facebook.com/officialrepublica or the Hairy Dog events page at https://www.gigantic.com/90s-weekender-toploader-or-republica-tickets/the-hairy-dog/2023-02-24-19-30?fbclid=IwAR1t2wUvLqLZ1KMlfL3H65I2_-2bfSNSMWYzkCenxjU49ux and treat yourself: also, for those in the E-Mids who can’t get enough music of that era, there’s a special ‘2 for one’ ticket deal that allows you to book a specially-priced ticket for not only the Republica Derby show, but Toploader‘s appearance at the same venue the night before. Or, if they’re not your thang [they might not be, after all] you can still just purchase one for Saffy and the gang individually. Either way, however, it seems like a good deal to us- so take a tip from ‘rush hour with love’, and get on down there!! It’s bound to be ‘out of this world’…. NB: Doors 7PM, support from FAKERS and JOHN DOYLE BAND.

Raters potaters, schmindicators!!

DARIUS DREWE

Thee Editorius

‘CAN’T DECIDE’ what to do on Jan 25? Well, get yourself down to Birmingham Asylum for a hoist of the old BLACK FLAG! It’s a TV party alright, just don’t bring your own six-pack

YIKES!! Get ready to break some [metaphorical] heads, you lot, because in early 2023, for the very first time since the end of Cockdown, legendary Californian punk combo Black Flag- featuring founding guitarist Greg Ginn, 20-year-serving vocalist Mike Vallely and brave new recruits Harley Duggan and Charles Whiley – are booting their way back into the UK. And, best of al for us lot at MM, their seven-fate tour includes a stopoff at Birmingham Asylum on January 25. Exciting or wot?

Originally booked for Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill, but now moved to this FAR more sensible and central location, this will be the quartet’s first Midlands show since their appearance at Digbeth Mill in 2019: sadly, there’s still no sign of that long-waited new album on the horizon, but even so, the fact that the boys are finally back, brimming with trademark agression and STILL as punk as fuck after all these years is undoubtedly something to celebrate. From Rise Above to In My Head via My War, Modern Man and Nervous Breakdown, every song you’ll hear will be a seminal slab of 100% US proto-hardcore, shot through with the cry of free jazz, the sludge of dooooom metaaaaal [hence why they always play the bifplace of their beloved Sabbaf] and the wail of the blues: following the false start of 2013’s admittedly weak What The? album, the returning Vallely has once more proved himself to be a worthy frontman equal to Morris, Rollins and Cadena [sod Reyes, he was pants] and the Hermosa Beach noiseniks once more sound like a band with something to say.

In fact, you’re unlikely- unless there’s another Adolescents or Dead Boys tour – to hear a finer slice of classic American punk [not that punk was ever ABOUT classicism, but you catch my drift] all year round this side of the Atlantic: so why not ‘let your fingers do the walking’ to either the band’s official website here: https://www.blackflagband.com/ or the Asylum site here: https://www.theasylumvenue.co.uk/events/black-flag-asylum-25th-jan/ and treat yourself? Tickets are a reasonable £25 advance, but they won’t go unsold for long, so slip RIGHT ON in now….

The Flag is once more flying at full mast – see you in the wrecking pit, albeit more likely “in spirit” than physically.

DARIUS DREWE

Thee Editorius

DOES ANYONE KNOW THE WAY..THERE’S GOT TO BE A WAY TO SKANK WITH BUSTER!! Get your skinhead moonstomping boots back on, as the annual festive BAD MANNERS/ MAX SPLODGE tour hits Nottingham Rock City December 22, Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill December 27, Stoke Underground December 29 and Leamington Assembly January 20

ALRIGHT YOU RUDE BOYS AND RUDE GALS!! It’s time for the annual Bad Manners / Max Splodge festive beano- well, in fact, it began on December the 1st, and has been going on ever since. Bugger me, it only seems like five minutes since the last one- I guess that’s a year in the life of the Midlands’ busiest music website for you…

And yes, in two weeks’ time, it finally hits our beloved region with an almighty wallop, moshing into Nottingham Rock City on December 22 – and before the year is out, it casts two more seasonal clouts at Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill on December 27 and Stoke Underground on December 29. There’s also another standalone date at Leamington Assembly on January 20 – but first of all, let’s get this year underway, and then we’ll see what the future has in store for the Special Brew crew and their mental mate Max [that’ll be Splodge, as ever providing sterling support]

Face it, it wouldn’t BE Christmas without Buster and the boys: at this time of year, we need the party atmosphere of full-on ska and bluebeat, fused with a little bit of good old punk rock, to bring a warm glow to our old cockles [whatever they are] And, having witnessed the great man in action before, we at MM know full well that he won’t stop bouncing until every pair of feet in the room is moving en masse with his merry madmen. Sod the soaps, THIS is what this time of year is all about – so, ignore those nanny state warnings, brave the wild winds, don yer porkpie ‘ats, put on your warmest parka and Harrington combo, and prepare to skank the night away. But not, of course, before you’ve bought a ticket for the show of your choice from https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/bad-manners Hurry, they’re starting to sell out already…

Prices range from £22 to £27.50, which we think is MORE than fair for a night of bouncing brouhaha from West Lahndahn’s finest- and there’s also an added attraction for Wolvo attendees in the shape of The Sound AKA, who will be commencing proceedings inna time-honoured Black Country stylee. And as far as we’re concerned, that just about clinches it- so don’t sit indoors and zip up, get out and lip up with the Can Can man! It’s just a feeling like no other…

Whether you’re a mod, a skin, a punk or a rocker, and for the very last time this year, we’ll see you down there. Merry Xmas, and a na na nu nu tu yu tu.

DARIUS DREWE

Thee Very Rude Editorius

BRUM UP AND SEE HIM, MAKE HIM SMILE… let’s sling it with STEVE HARLEY & COCKNEY REBEL in all their orchestral splendour at Birmingham Town Hall Dec 20

Those among you lucky enough to witness Steve Harley‘s stripped-down Acoustic tour earlier this year [which Midland Mania did, in bloody Redditch of all places] may remember the enigmatic songwriter’s announcement that just before Chrimbleplops a full Cockney Rebel tour – backed with full orchestra, choir and ten-piece ELECTRIC band – would follow. Jogging your memory at all? We thought so….

Well, guess what? He was neither joking nor lying. No, our Steven has ALWAYS been a man of his word – and to that end, a FULL electric Rebel trek has since been announced. Which, for the benefit of we Midlanders, includes not one but TWO regional dates, in the majestic surroundings of Cheltenham Town Hall Dec 19 and Birmingham Town Hall Dec 20. The latter of which is particularly significant for us lot at MM, as ’twas in this very venue that your humble scribe first witnessed the great man in action: thus, it only makes sense that almost 35 years on, we’re hoping to do so all over again.

As, more importantly, should YOU be. Because there is, was and always has only ever been one Steve Harley [though Bob Geldof had a fair crack at imitating him on the first two Rats albums, and Mike Scott’s copped a move or two] and as an artist now in his seventh decade of life, he deserves your full admiration, respect and appreciation. I mean, just look at that list of songs: from Sebastian, Judy Teen, Death TripCavaliers, Tumbling Down, Mr Soft, Make Me Smile, The Best Years Of Our Lives, Mr Raffles, It Wasn’t Me, Black Or White, Red Is A Mean Mean Colour, Love’s A Prima Donna, Compared With You, Roll The Dice and Riding The Waves to Freedom’s Prisoner, Ballerina, Promises, The Lighthouse, That’s My Life In Your Hands, A Friend For Life, Journey’s End and Two Thousand Years Ago, it’s a back catalogue most composers would kill for, and that’s just scratching the surface. And now, with full band, choir and orchestra in attendance [something Harley hasn’t done in the Midlands for a few years now] you’ve got an even greater chance of hearing most of them than ever before, alongside a dozen deep cuts, rarities and anecdotal treasures.

Indeed, for this very reason, tickets are going fast – which is why we suggest you head directly over to https://www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk/event/steve-harley-cockney-rebel-401157/ and https://bmusic.co.uk/events/steve-harley-cockney-rebel and grab yourself a ticket or two IMMEDIATELY. The Rebel, to paraphrase a classic album track from the 70s, may NOT be spaced out, hung up and wasted, but if you miss this, then you’re insane- and you’re caught in a fool’s game. Oh, no, look what you’ve done.

As the chill wind blows none of us any good, what better way could there be to spend an evening than in an historic building with a veteran legend STILL at the very peak of his powers? I can think of very few – or indeed a better end to a near-perfect year of music. See you down there – and don’t forget to tell Ruthy, Muriel and Loretta.

DARIUS DREWE

Thee Editorius

SWEET ENOUGH ALREADY? No, we can’t get enough of them either- which is why we’re so excited to see Andy Scott and his proto-Metal messiahs return to Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill December 17 and Nottingham Rock City December 18. It’s time to UNLOCK THE ROCK!!

THEY’RE BACK ALREADY!! Only a year since they last blitzed their hitz across the venues of the UK, kicking arse in the face of fear and reminding a terrified nation precisely how to rock the fuck out of a post-pandemic climate, the titanic force that is SWEET – led by guitarist, harmony vocalist and songwriter Andy Scott and featuring long-time collaborator Bruce Bisland [drums] alongside more recent recruits Paul Manzi [vocals, ex-Cats In Space/ Heavy Metal Kids/ Arena] and Lee Small [bass] – are on the road AGAIN. And they’re going to positively annihilate Midlands audiences at Northampton Roadmender December 9, Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill December 17 and Nottingham Rock City December 18, at all of which they’ll be opened for by no less a luminary than Terrorvision singer Tony Wright!!

Pioneering a sound that combined crushing riffs and progressive musicianship with soaring harmony vocals, sexual ambivalence, snarling aggression and pure pop melody, the ‘classic’ Sweet lineup of Scott [who replaced original guitarist Frank Torpey in 1969] Brian Connolly, Mick Tucker and Steve Priest bestrode the 1970s like some stackheeled leather-clad colossus. Releasing no less than SIX successive classic albums in a decade – Sweet Fanny Adams, Desolation Boulevard, Strung Up, Off The Record, Give Us A Wink and Level Headed – they [alongside their mates Slade] practically invented Glam Metal as we know it: before Queen, before Kiss, before Aerosmith, before Montrose or Cheap Trick and YEARS before Van Halen, Def Leppard or Motley Crue, there were these ‘four blokes from Ruislip’ [in truth hailing from as far apart as Wales and Scotland] showing everyone how it was done.

On the downside, they never got quite enough recognition for their efforts at the time, largely thanks to the A-sides of their singles being predominantly penned by bubblegum supremos Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn- but those who knew…knew. In fact, much like the few people who originally picked up on the Velvet Underground, Stooges or MC5, it’s pretty fair to say that pretty much everyone who actually flipped a Sweet 45 onto its B-side or played an entire album went on to form a band of their own afterwards: whether they turned out to be Quiet Riot, Krokus, the aforementioned Lepps or Iron Maiden, they all began here. As a unit, Scott and the boys truly had something none of the others had: and though 50 years on, times have changed, fashions have come and gone, and Connolly, Tucker and Priest have all departed this realm, the current lineup still possesses that indefinable something.

What’s more, ever since they opened for their old mucker Richie Blackmore on his Rainbow reunion tour some time ago, they’ve been firmly back on track sales wise- out of the clubs and once more into the halls, theatres and civic centres where they’ve always belonged, blowing away audiences in their hundreds and thousands. With a set comprised of one-third hits, one-third album tracks and one-third recent compositions, they’re capable of delivering 90 nightly minutes of unstoppable live power: however, rather than sitting listening to me droning on about it, why not find out for yourself? In short, buy a bloody ticket HERE: https://www.thesweet.com/Dates/ and come and see THE best hard rock show in town. For the serious headbanger or the glammie who knows their stuff, there’s no better way to end the year.

They may have released a song called Done Me Wrong Alright – but trust us, you’ll do yourselves wrong if you miss this, and you’ll be the rock n roll disgrace. Sweet as a fucking nut, mate….

DARIUS DREWE

Thee Editorius

TAKE THEM ALIVE!! There are strangers in our towns once more- and they don’t come much stranger than SPEAR OF DESTINY, spinning the wheel at Nottingham Rescue Rooms on December 13

It’s Christmas in Harlan County- and, indeed, all over the UK. So, what could be more festive than an extensive trek around the clubs and pubs from post-punk/goth/classic rock overlords SPEAR OF DESTINY?

Formed out of the ashes of the seminal Theatre Of Hate, and still led today by Gretsch-toting frontman and post punk style icon Kirk Brandon [also holder of the world record for the most unchanged hairstyle in rock’n’roll history] SOD [as they’re often colloquially known] have now been a relentless force both on the road and in the studio for FORTY YEARS. In that time, they have released sixteen near-faultless studio albums, the most recent of which is this year’s Ghost Population: with the current lineup fleshed out by former Dollface guitarist Adrian Portas [a member for well over a decade] and ex- Mission bassist Craig Adams, they’re not just ‘Brandon’s boys’ anymore. but a veritable alt-rock supergroup, and as MM can confirm after seeing them at Birmingham Hare & Hounds in 2019, their live shows still kick SERIOUS arse. With a vengeance.

And this year, they’re being extra-generous by bringing not one but FIVE dates to our region, celebrating their ruby anniversary by stomping into Birmingham Asylum November 24, Stoke Underground November 29, Derby Hairy Dog December 3, Nuneaton Queens Hall December 4 and Nottingham Rescue Rooms December 13. Which, dare we add, forms only part of a full 17-date headlining run across the entire UK, followed [after a well-deserved break] by an even longer Spring troll round the halls and theatres in the company of their old pals Big Country! Blimey! Talk about full-on Celt-rock overload, with a full cmpliment of lumberjack shirts and several pairs of ‘hard times’-style clodhopper boots at the ready [only joking, they haven’t worn those for years]

All apparel aside, though, we at MM do strongly recommend you catch them up-close and personal, playing a full set in intimate surroundings: it’s one of our two ‘tours of the month’ for December [the other being Steve Harley‘s concert-hall shows] and with “the price you pay” for all dates an EXTREMELY reasonable one, it truly is a “once in a lifetime” [see what we did there?] offer that won’t take the “mickey” out of the band’s loyal fanbase. The ticket link is here: https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/spear-of-destiny – so throw your one eyed Jacks down on the table and get a load of Kirk’s Works!!

See you down there.

DARIUS DREWE

Thee Editorius

THE PERFECT PRESCRIPTION…if you’re suffering from a case of the ‘old trouble’, then DR FEELGOOD will see you at Derby Flowerpot December 10 and Leicester Musician December 17

AND they’re back yet again. Winter snows call, Jack Frost bites…and so what could be a better remedy for the December blues than the return of the UK’s premier maximum R’n’B boogie outfit? In 2022, a Dr Feelgood Xmas tour is as traditional as mince pie, turkey and port…and with two Midlands dates on the horizon, it’s just as much fun for we at MM and our fellow nutters.

With a now-settled lineup of Kevin Morris, Phil Mitchell and a returning Gordon Russell [all of whom first joined the late great Mr Brilleaux’s blues caravan in 1983] and Robert Kane [a fixture at the mikestand since 1999] the Feelgoods are currently hitting a late-career peak: there’s also a new album just around the corner [their first in nearly 20 years!!] and with a set stuffed with such classics as She Does It Right, Roxette, Milk And Alcohol, Down At The Doctors, Back In The Night, Keep It Out Of Sight and a dozen others plus new single Damned If I Do, they still provide some of THE best value for money entertainment in rock n roll today. Cynics will continue to sneer, of course, but they’re just jealous: the fact of the matter is, there’s still nothing quite as raw, in-your-face and vicious as the Essex boys [and their Geordie frontman] at full throttle, and even now, their proto-punk pub energy still puts most other classic blues acts [except Climax, whose smooth funky sound is a different thang entirely] to shame.

Moreover, with the ‘Feelgood Band’ now retired and Wilko Johnson having tragically left us last month, who else is there left to do this properly? All the correct medicines, tinctures and unguents are safely contained within this practitioner of physick’s little Gladstone bag, and in steady supply – so why not head on down to http://www.rawpromo.co.uk and/or https://www.seetickets.com/event/dr-feelgood/the-flowerpot/2290167 and purchase an over-the-counter treatment that’s guaranteed to put colour back in your cheeks? For a mere £15, you know it makes sense, MOY SAAAAAAAHN…..

Be seeing you,

DARIUS DREWE

Thee Editorius

NB: Leicester is sold aaaaaht, so either ‘ed over to Derby OR check for returns.

BANG BANG SHOOT SHOOT!! Hold your fire, it’s only classic Scooots rockers GUN- bringing Better Days to Nuneaton Queens Hall on December 2. Word…

Oi!! Crazy you!! What are YOU doing on December 2?

Well, if you’re not doing anything, why not mosey on down to that grooviest of venues, Nuneaton Queens Hall – where Glaswegian-Italian rock n rollers Gun will be making their long-overdue return to the West Midlands in support of their new stripped-down album The Calton Songs.

Named after the suburb in which they were raised [and indeed still live] the album was borne, like so many recordings in the last two years, out of the band’s frustration with the pandemic and subsequent Cockdown. The inability to get out and perform left brothers Dante Gizzi [originally the band’s bassist, then their lead vocalist since 2010] and Guliiano Gizzi [lead guitar] frustrated, and so to lift their spirits, the duo began jamming on several of their most popular hits and compositions for nothing but sheer pleasure: thus was the spark of an idea born, and, once they were finally “allowed” to reconnect with the other three members, that idea became a reality.

Flash forward two years, and it’s become not only a reality but a full album- one which reworks several of their best known tracks and anthems such as Better Days, Money, Higher Ground, Don’t Say It’s Over, Shame On You, Steal Your Fire and their biggest smash, their cover of Cameo’s Word Up, into laid-back stripped down versions that emphasise both the mood and the melody over any amount of hard rock riffage. There’s even a revision of Crazy You which sounds closer to their original vision than the Andrew Farriss-sterilised cut that charted in 1997, and a brand new electric track in the shape of Backstreet Brothers: a whole album of fresh material will follow in 2023, but for now, the Barrowland boys are just looking forward to getting out there and getting back into the stride of sharing some gallus rock n roll with their fans and friends. And that’ll pure be you lot, by the way. Think of it as a privilege: basically, one of Britain’s most successful and enduring melodic rock acts are having a full tour rehearsal, and you’re invited to watch!! For, of course, a moderate fee of £30.

So, slide on over to the band’s official sales page here: https://www.gunofficial.co.uk/tour and then, once you’ve parted with the requisite moolah, head down to not-so-sunny Nunny for an evening of Britrock [now there’s a term you haven’t heard in a while] bliss. Hurry, though, while stocks last: almost all the venues on this jaunt are considerably smaller than the band are generally used to playing, and as a result, tickets are disappearing off the shelves faster than a Celtic free kick. As for us at MM, we’re just having difficulty believing that this great band we first saw supporting Leppard in 1992 are still here- but following many lineup changes, they are, and we hope you’ll join us on the night in celebrating that fact. As Alice once sang: pull the trigger, they get bigger, then they’re lots of fun…they’re your Gun!!

See ye doon there,

DARIUS “OCH AYE THE” DREWE

NB: No, they WON’T be playing Race With The Devil- that’s the other Gun, the one from the 60s with the Gurvitz brothers, one of whom later wrote a classic. In an attic.

NBB: If you’re heading back to Brum via Coleshill and Water Orton, the last train is 23 15: for Tamworth it’s 23 14, for Leicester it’s the even earlier 23 02, for Atherstone it’s the LUDICROUSLY early 22 58, for Hinckley it’s the STUPIDLY early 22 51 [I’d walk it if I were you, it’s only 5 miles] or if you’re heading back to Cov via Bedworth, there’s one at the slightly later hour of 23.22. ONE DAY, somebody will put some proper rail services on around that area- but for now, let’s not chance it. Especially with the greedy leftie bastards striking every week!! Rock oot- DD

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Edit”BANG BANG SHOOT SHOOT!! Hold your fire, it’s only classic Scooots rockers GUN- bringing Better Days to Nuneaton Queens Hall on December 2. Word…”

HEY HUGH, DON’T WATCH DAT….[groan] Aye, ’tis the long-awaited return of post-punk tunesmith supreme HUGH CORNWELL, whose extensive UK tour includes three Midlands shows concluding at Derby Venue November 27

At 73 years of age, former Stranglers frontman Hugh Cornwell is something of a national treasure: granted, he no longer plays the same venues as his erstwhile bandmates, but he still makes sensationally brilliant albums and gets to perform them [alongside several classics from his previous combo’s back catalogue] in up-close, intimate and personal settings to legions of devoted fans. Which obviously includes all of us at MM.

And now, as the ominous chill of winter falls ‘pon us, the North London-born maverick is set to return once again- this time with his highly anticipated tenth solo work Moments of Madness. You thought his previous collection, Monster, was great? This is even better. Yep, it’s really that good- and it’s also available to pre-order from www.hughcornwell.com at a more than reasonable price. For those wanting further encouragement, the official link to the song Red Rose can be found at https://lnk.to/HC-RedRose : see, we told you so!!

More importantly, to dovetail with said album, our grumpy genius has also lined up a 21-date nationwide UK tour, running all the way from November 4 to December 3, 2022: tickets for all shows are available via www.hughcornwell.com and www.thegigcartel.com, and naturally, we at MM wish to draw your particular attention to the local dates, which this year are at Lincoln Platform November 18, Bilston Robin November 26 and Derby Venue November 27. Yay, lo and verily, you read that last bit right- he’s coming to OUR town!!!

Already widely acclaimed prior to its release, Moments of Madness heralds yet another watershed in Mr C’s illustrious career by being the first of his albums to be entirely produced, performed and arranged by the man himself, handling ALL instruments and vocals: it also finds him flexing his musical muscles with a stripped down, offbeat, reverberating sixties vibe redolent of such heroes as Serge Gainsbourg, Scott Walker, Ray Davies, Pete Townshend, Joe Meek, Lou Reed and even Noel Harrison, making it vocally and lyrically a career-best.

Yes, the punk sneer is still there, but essentially, this is the sort of candid and honest album a rock n roll musician in his 70s should be making: given that it’s also possibly the most significant recording of his latterday career, he’s justly proud of it, and thus it’s only right that he should promote it so extensively across the nation. So why not show your appreciation by purchasing a ticket from either of the above links for the show of your choice? You never know, it could turn out to be the best decision you’ve made all year. 

As the man himself says in a rueful observation of our current climate: “Looking like the fog’s gonna finally clear, switch on all the lights at the end of the pier, tidy up your makeup and shampoo your hair, have a little party but nobody’s there.” Prove the old roue wrong by showing him your support. Hugh know Hugh want to!!

See Hugh down there,

DARIUS DRHUGH

Thee Editorius

NB: All dates listed below.

THIS IS THE MIDLAND WORLD!! Set the house ablaze [not literally] with FROM THE JAM at Coventry Empire November 25 and Nottingham Rock City November 26 – and remember to bring your operator’s manual for special guests THE BUZZCOCKS

It’s that time of year again- in other words, the pre-Christmas gigging season, which can only mean that From The Jam, featuring original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton, are once more out on the road for their annual festive round-up of the country’s theatres, halls and large clubs.

Having performed his former band’s material to devoted audiences for the last 16 years [and released two new studio albums into the bargain, with a third finally on the way in 2023] Foxton knows only too well the pleasure he brings to millions of people worldwide: at the end of the day, if his old mate P.W. won’t do it, somebody’s got to, and who better than the bloke with the coolest hair in the band AND one of the most influential bass sounds in post-punk rock? Completed by the excellent Russell Hastings on guitar and vocals and powerhouse drummer Mike Randon [OK, it’s a shame that Rick isn’t involved anymore, but there you go] up at the back, the trio are unmissable force: sure, they know full well that they’ll never be ‘The Jam’ per se, but they’re as close as it’s ever going to fucking get, and a live show in their company STILL captures the essence of the Woking-class heroes at their rawest, loudest and Mod-est. Which is of course PRECISELY what you want- and precisely why MM insist you see them as soon as possible.

Especially as this year, their special guests are none other than Manc punk-pop originators The Buzzcocks!! In 2022, Steve Diggle’s gang have done precisely what their old mates the Stranglers did the year before – ie, come back from the tragic death of a key member with a new lineup and a new album [Sonics In The Soul] that shows them to be stronger than ever – and they can’t wait to get out there and prove it to you, so why not show your faith by purchasing a ticket and catching not one but TWO ’77 legends in action? In classically generous fashion, there are not one but THREE regional dates to choose from, at Cheltenham Town Hall November 18Coventry HMV Empire November 25 and Nottingham Rock City November 26: the tickets are available at https://www.fromthejamofficial.com/tour and https://www.buzzcocks.com/events , and that’s only the FIRST leg, with the Spring run continuing onto Birmingham Town Hall Mar 31 and Leamington Assembly April 13 as part of an entire nationwide trek. They may be a bunch of Southerners and Northerners, but they certainly care about their Midland fanbase!! And with an average price of £35-38 a ticket including fees, you CAN’T say you’re not getting value for money.

So, whaddya say? As the old song goes: “Rushed my pony to the record shop, shower with a badger while I shave a sheep, on down to Tesco’s for a pint of Queers, me and Trevor made a weasel sneer…DRY STONE WALL NOW!!” Well, alright, OK, it DOESN’T go like that, although one of the staff at QUAD thinks it does. But as we’re in the Midlands, the dry-stone walling does make perfect sense: and so does the thought of a night with these chaps.

So see you “in the city” of your choice, and don’t be “sitting around at home”

DARIUS DREWE

Thee Editorius