Michael Halpin Journalism


Louder Than War: English Tapas by Sleaford Mods – Album Review



Sleaford Mods – English Tapas

(Rough Trade Records)


Available Now

Louder Than War’s Michael Halpin review the latest release by arguably the most important act in Britain.

It is unfair to say that Sleaford Mods first album for Rough Trade Records, and their ninth in total, is more of the same but while Jason Williamson is still angry at 21st Century Britain, ‘English Tapas’ picks up where 2015’s ‘Key Markets’ left off.  Please understand however that this is no bad thing.  This time round Williamson either mocks or is irritated by the following: Gym going fitness fanatics, hipsters, Boris Johnson, Ringo Starr, coke-heads, the Superdry clothing label, televisions in pubs, the NME and Philip Green.

Williamson’s outrageously prolific tirades do not necessarily become diluted but from a musical point of view, Sleaford Mods may be in danger of becoming predictable, mainly due to their stripped back approach.  One suspects however that Williamson and his musical counterpart Andrew Fearn are not concerned with the dangers of becoming predictable or diluted, they are simply needing to release this material and needing to rail at all that agitates them in post-Brexit Britain.  For starters, someone’s got to do it and for some inexplicable reason, it seems to be left to the 46-year-old Williamson; such is the lack of concern coming from the majority of musicians the right side of 30.

The fact Sleaford Mods create at such a prolific rate means that suddenly we have a band who hark back to the days when the likes of The Specials, The Jam and The Clash would write and release material relating to what was happening within Britain at that very moment – a part of British music that seems to have been lost as record labels consider marketing strategies ahead of creative relevance and art.

The Opening track on ‘English Tapas’, ‘Army Nights’, is a touch unsettling in a 1970s-Carry-On-film-kind-of-way as Williamson tells a Ray Davies/Damon Albarn-esque tale of what seems to be an army fitness instructor with a penchant for getting his muscles squeezed in his caravan at night.

‘Just Like We Do’ begins with Williamson mocking the pretentiousness of a certain type of musician, “I’m currently listening to rustic noise recorded in 1982 in the Black Forest in Germany” and appears to be a rant at an ex-punk who Williamson at least, deems to be a has-been.  “Punks not dead, well, it is now, or does no-one care about you?”

‘Moptop’ opens with the amusing line, “Do you mind? You biffed my nose” and does not sound a million miles away from Basil Brush before morphing into a Boris Johnson baiting outburst.  ‘Messy Anywhere’ takes a swipe at the stupidity of the weekend-coke-habit, “Lets spend another hundred quid on getting out of our trees” and “we get all messy anywhere, we go late.”  Williamson sneering at those coke-confident individuals he openly admits to being one of in the late 90s.

‘Snout’, the best song on the album, bemoans what sounds like a cocaine induced pyjama purchase before appearing enraged about the Superdry clothing label becoming “the armour of the working class!”

‘Drayton Manored’ is a tale of a stoned trip to the shops, “a trip to spar is like a trip to Mars!” while ‘Carlton Touts’ addresses the paranoia of British pubs being open all day and brainwashing its regulars with 24 hour BBC News.

‘Dull’ is disenchanted with Ringo Starr publicly stating that he voted for Brexit (granted he was never the brightest Beatle, but still…) before Williamson seethingly asks the listener to, “try scrolling down a website, the NME, without laughing“ and this line, mocking what was once arguably the centre piece of British alternative music, sums up the crux of ‘English Tapas’.  It seems that Williamson, like many, is exasperated, not only by life in Britain in 2017 but also by the demise of what were once vital elements of British culture.

‘English Tapas’ may not be the best album Sleaford Mods have produced but while they seem to be the only artists in Britain willing to speak out with passion about what is happening in the UK in 2017, it seems trivial to criticise them.

Sleaford Mods are on both Facebook and Twitter  They can also be found at their website


Words by Michael Halpin.  You can find more of Michael’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive.



Louder Than War: Little Fictions by Elbow – Album Review





Elbow – Little Fictions (Polydor Records)
Available now

Louder Than War’s Michael Halpin reviews Elbow’s first album in three years and its one of their best.

Elbow’s first album since 2014’s The Take Off And Landing Of Everything is an eyebrow raising affair. Yes, all of the elements of what makes Elbow so endearing are there; Guy Garvey’s soaring vocals, a slightly off the wall musical blend and those bittersweet lyrics that can draw both a smile and a tear in the same breath.

Little Fictions is the bands first album since the departure of drummer and founding member Richard Jupp, and the emphasis placed on drums on Little Fictions is testament to the importance of Jupp’s role within the band.

In a recent interview with Radio X, Guy Garvey described Jupp as ‘someone who can never be replaced’ and this is very much true. Keyboard player and producer Craig Potter sampled a selection of drummers and created his own drum-loops for Little Fictions rather than drafting in a super-sub to replace Jupp. It is surprising therefore how drum-heavy Little Fictions is. It would have been easy for Craig Potter to simply bury the drums in the mix or use a replacement without too much of a song-and-dance but instead Potter has stripped back the bands sound, made the drums a focal point and given the rhythm section at least, something of a hip-hop feel in parts.

The touching opener, Magnificent (She Says), written while Garvey was on honeymoon in Sardinia, is followed by the bands next single Gentle Storm and almost like the songs title suggests, it holds both a groove and a tranquillity at its core.

Trust The Sun is intriguing and mysterious in a similar vein to The Fix from 2008’s The Seldom Seen Kid and Garvey’s lyric, “An eye for an eye for an eye for an eye” is sinister and unsettling and touches on the paranoia of 21st century living.

Mark Potters guitar rarely comes to fore on Little Fictions but when it does on All Disco, his shimmering, pedal-tone riff is a welcoming noise which gives All Disco an uplifting, smile inducing feel and leaves you wondering, ‘Is this Elbow’s most uplifting album to date?’

The mix of drums, piano and very little else appears again on Firebrand and Angel and as Garvey delivers the unusual line, “Fella interstellar” one wonders if he’s had a quick peek in Alex Turner’s notebook; so Turner-esque is the delivery. That aside, one aspect of Firebrand And Angel that is all Garvey’s is his vocal delivery and as he grippingly reaches his upper register on Firebrand, it becomes clear that the UK has not produced many voices as distinctive and pure as Garvey’s in the last 20 years.

Described by Garvey as ‘being inspired by violence and negativity’, the strangely hypnotic K2 delivers the best lyrics on the album and if Alex Turner may have been channelled on Firebrand and Angel, then it’s just as likely that John Cooper Clarke has been channelled on K2.  “I’m from a land with an island status, makes us think that everyone hates us, maybe darling they do, but they haven’t met you” and as K2 carries on, “It’s full of blood, snot and teeth and the glory of no one” it becomes clear that this is by far the moodiest song on the album until, in true Elbow style, an element of hope is thrown in, “Yes I’m given to believing in love” Garvey croons and this, more than anything else, seems to be the crux of Little Fictions.  Yes, everything is a bit shit in the UK in 2017 but there should always be that element of hope to hold onto.

Elbow’s seventh studio album is not without its faults however and although the criticism is minor, Head for Supplies, as tranquil and soothing as it may be, does works less well in comparison to the rest of the album while Montparnasse suffers from being all too brief.  That aside, Little Fictions is the most beautiful album Elbow have made in years.

The albums title track segues into Kindling with a brief White Album style three-note-noodle to form a twelve-minute-and-forty-one-seconds ending. Do not fear though, the segue doesn’t grate, it isn’t free jazz and it isn’t repetitive.  The drums could belong to both The Velvet Underground and Massive Attack at the same time but the feeling is essentially that of a British kitchen sink drama.  This is without doubt the albums centre piece.  The strings are scratchy, the guitar off-kilter, it’s all intriguingly messy but with Garvey’s voice soaring at the centre it somehow works beautifully.

“The papers upside down, the radio’s in Chinese” Garvey laments during the title track as though he’s in some sort of bizarre cross between ‘Saturday Night And Sunday Morning’ and Jonathan Miller’s version of Alice In Wonderland but then, as the beautiful Kindling kicks in we hear what must be the most heart-warming set of lyrics ever written about a cramped train and a mobile phone.  “Fifty souls to a carriage, I’m trying hard to be ignored, then my telephone shakes into life and I see your name, and the wheat fields explode into gold either side of the train.”

A lovely guitar figure, a hint of band chat and it’s over.

Little Fictions on the whole, is enthralling and uplifting, spacious and bare, moving and life affirming. Sixteen years since their debut album and Elbow still haven’t made a bad one.  Losing a member after twenty-five-years could have signalled a stumble along their journey but instead they have managed to face Jupp’s departure head on. Somehow Elbow just never seem to fail.



Words by Michael Halpin.  You can find more of Michael’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive


Live Review: Louder Than War: James & The Charlatans. Echo Arena, Liverpool – 10th December 2016



James | The Charlatans

Echo Arena, Liverpool

10th December 2016

As two bands so strongly linked with the city of Manchester descended upon Liverpool’s Echo Arena, Louder Than War’s Michael Halpin went along to take it all in.

The Charlatans: Although some debate may have ensued regarding who should have been headlining this double header between James and The Charlatans, The Charlatans opening trio of songs argued a strong case to suggest that the running order was indeed incorrect.

‘Weirdo’ recalled just what The Charlatans do best – playing the underdog and coming out on top. ‘North Country Boy’ is such a crowd pleaser that it was never likely to fail while ‘Just When You’re Thinking Things Over’ grooved along defiantly giving the impression, for the moment at least, that the core of what makes The Charlatans great is still very much intact. Further to this, ‘Just When You’re Thinking Things Over’ was sung with such purpose by the seemingly ageless Tim Burgess, that despite nervous breakdowns, drug abuse, financial embezzlement, jail sentences and the untimely death of two key members, The Charlatans really do appear to be indestructible. Moving into ‘So Oh’ from last years ‘Modern Nature’ album lost the audiences attention however, while ‘Blackened Blue Eyes’ and ‘Let The Good Times Be Never Ending’ did not do enough to win them back, in spite of Tim Burgess’ efforts.

Like ‘North Country Boy’, ‘One To Another’ and ‘The Only One I Know’ were only ever going to gain a positive reaction and of the bands newer material, ‘Come Home Baby’, which followed, faired the strongest.

Following ‘Come Home Baby’, Tim Booth and Andy Diagram from James joined The Charlatans onstage. It was all big hugs, big grins and backslapping before Tim Burgess introduced the number they were about to perform as being “by four lads from Liverpool who shook the world”. One instantly knew that this was not going to be a Beatles cover, that would be too easy. Instead, the audience was treated to a version of Echo and The Bunnymen’s ‘Rescue’ which disappointingly seemed to be enjoyed far more by those on stage rather than the audience. As ‘Rescue’ briefly morphed into The Doors ‘L.A. Woman’, much was won back and at this point The Charlatans created the most musically powerful moment of their set. Typically concluding with their usually anthemic ‘Sproston Green’, this performance appeared to be slightly lethargic and it felt, to a degree, like the band were going through the motions. Closing your set with the same song for pretty much the last twenty-five years may well do that though.

One of The Charlatans strengths has always been their ability to win over an audience that has not been solely theirs, and despite such a promising start, that strength did not appear to be there this evening.

James: Aside from Tim Booth’s bizarrely oversized pants, the first thought when he opened his mouth at the Echo Arena was, ‘now there is a fella who can really sing!’ Contemporaries such as Tim Burgess, Ian Brown, Shaun Ryder or Tom Hingley have never come close to the vocal talent of Tim Booth and from the off it is clear that a) James have always been slightly different from other bands of their generation and b) there is absolutely no question whatsoever as to who should be headlining tonight’s gig.

Tim Booth’s vocals simply soared over the audience during ‘Waltzing Along’ and the immediate feeling is that watching an older and wiser James is a beautiful, uplifting and life-affirming experience.

Tim Booth’s zen-like demeanor contradicts his still wonderful dance moves, whilst he carries a grin that cannot help but give off genuine good vibes. When all of these factors are in place, James are pretty much untouchable as a live band.

Following ‘Waltzing Along’ and a superb ‘To My Surprise’, Tim Booth decided that the aptly named ‘Surfer’s Song’ was the ideal opportunity for him to indulge in a good old crowd surf. The strangest part of the whole thing was not that the fact that the 56-year-old can still carry off such a feat, but the fact that he can do it whilst still managing to sing perfectly in tune.

An extremely powerful ‘Ring The Bells’ showed that none of Tim Booth’s vocal prowess has left him. Just as they would time and again tonight, James showed how an exceptional pop/indie-rock band can make thousands of people feel like all is right with the world. Even if it is just for ninety minutes.
The subject matter of ‘Moving On’, addressing the death of Tim Booth’s mother in 2012, would appear to be far removed from making an audience feel like all is right with the world, but as he articulated his feeling that ‘death is like a birth and can be truly beautiful’ the sincerity of his delivery won his audience over. The fact that Booth’s band mates appeared to be keeping a watchful eye on him while he explained ‘Moving On’ only added further weight to the performance and even though he appeared to be communicating some very personal emotions to the audience, Booth appeared to be completely at one while doing so. He certainly seems to be a man comfortable in his own skin. A beautifully executed stripped down version of ‘She’s A Star’ followed, while ‘Johnny Yen’ from 1986’s ‘Stutter’ brought a tear to a fair few eyes.

‘Born Of Frustration’, without Tim Booth and Andy Diagram going walk-about within the audience would have been enough to lift the spirit of any crowd, but as Booth repeatedly cropped up over one side of the arena whilst Diagram the other, the audience (the majority of which were forty-plus) were sent into something of a frenzy.
‘Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)’ and the anthemic ‘Come Home’ both proved that Tim Booth still has the moves and as the clock ticked by, Booth showed nothing to suggest he was running out of the energy required to perform in the manner he does; his youthful exuberance seemingly years away from leaving him.

Like ‘She’s A Star’, a stripped back ‘Just Like Fred Astaire’ worked wonderfully and began James’ encore in fine style. Tim Burgess joined Booth and company for ‘Laid’ even though it was not one hundred percent clear whether or not he knew all of the words, before ‘Sometimes’ became one huge crowd sing-a-long.

Bravely, James ended their set with this years ‘Nothing But Love’ single and managed to pull it off majestically. The heart, soul, emotion, verve and vigour that James communicated tonight meant that in many ways ‘Nothing But Love’ was the perfect ending to a breathtaking set.

It is not at all overboard to say that the performance James gave tonight was not only a celebration of music but also a celebration of life itself.



Words by Michael Halpin. You can find more of Michael’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive

Portrait shot of Tim Booth by Robin Linton, crowd shot by Tina



Album Review for Louder Than War: Hamburg Demonstrations by Peter Doherty



Peter Doherty – Hamburg Demonstrations



Out Now

Peter Doherty, as he is known these days, releases his first solo album in seven years. Is the talent still there? Louder Than War’s Michael Halpin finds out.


Recorded in his Hamburg studio, one would have thought (or hoped) that the prospect of a more level headed Peter Doherty recording an album in one of Europe's most exciting cities could not possibly fail, and although Peter Doherty has not failed exactly, ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ has not really triumphed either.

The days when the indie community gushed over a half-arsed acoustic Doherty number are over. It was once endearing; now it’s just a bit boring. Although any kind hearted person will be glad that we no longer listen with the concern that the man may not actually make it all the way through the song, at least when he sounded like he meant it, we were willing the guy to keep it together. On ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ the main problem is that Peter Doherty sounds like his heart isn’t really in it.

Opening number ‘Kolly Kiber’ suffers from having backing vocals that do not appear to fully fit, while ‘Birdcage’ makes you wonder, if Peter Doherty sounds that lethargic that he cannot seem to muster the energy to sing or play properly, why should anybody want to listen properly. The slurred vocal delivery is nowhere near as engaging as when one of British music’s once brightest hopes is on form and willing to sing his heart out.

Lyrically he is still capable of hitting the spot. Lines like “you’re too pretty and I’m too clever” show that the light hasn’t completely gone out but again that glimmer of hope makes ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ all the more frustrating.

Much of the problem is ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ incoherent and erratic nature. Some numbers sound half-baked while others, namely ‘Hell To Pay At The Gates Of Heaven’ and ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ sound beautifully complete, and when you are reminded just how good Peter Doherty can be, it leaves you feeling short changed when he does not quite hit the mark he is known to be capable of.

The call to arms that is ‘Hell To Pay At The Gates Of Heaven’ with the wonderful lyric “Come on boys you gotta choose your weapon, J-45 or AK47”, pleads for the young to form bands rather than join the army and is classic Doherty. ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’ (first version) is also Doherty at his best but quite why we need to hear two versions of the number on such a short album is something of a puzzle.

‘Oily Boker’, ‘A Spy In The House of Love’ and ‘She is Far’ also fair well but the Amy Winehouse tribute in the shape of ‘Flags Of The Old Regime’, however personal it may be to Peter Doherty himself, is simply not an endearing number and it’s not even that the subject matter is painful, it’s more the delivery of the song.

‘Down For The Outing’, aside from a pretty messy guitar solo, passes without much incident, as does ‘The Whole World Is Our Playground’. Did a Libertines song ever pass without incident? Not that I recall.

It goes without saying that Peter Doherty can do better than this. It sounds like he just needs to care enough to do so.

Words by Michael Halpin. You can find more of Michael’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive


Album Review: Louder Than War – Blue & Lonesome by The Rolling Stones



Blue and Lonesome: The Rolling Stones

(Polydor Records)


Released 2nd December 2016

Fifty-two years after the release of their debut, the Rolling Stones career appears have come full circle. Michael Halpin gives his opinion.


Just as their eponymous debut was in 1964, ‘Blue and Lonesome’ in 2016 is an album of blues covers. Recorded in just under two weeks, the only genuine difference between their eponymous debut and ‘Blue and Lonesome’ is that 52 years ago they sounded like young pretenders whereas today they sound like the mythical blues men that they always set out to emulate.

What strikes about ‘Blue and Lonesome’ initially is just how well Mick Jagger plays harmonica. Set aside the showbiz pomp and years of questionable stage attire and marvel at the fact that behind the facade stands a musician who really does know how to play, what is often forgotten to be, his chosen instrument. Each solo, of which there are several, is mesmerising and while it may be glaringly obvious to point out, what is also striking about ‘Blue and Lonesome’ is the fact that the Rolling Stones really know how to play the blues.

Produced by long time cohort Don Was, the album is worth its salt for the simple fact that it captures the essence of the Rolling Stones masterfully. Charlie’s snare cuts through wonderfully throughout, particularly on ‘Ride ‘Em On Down’, while Keith and Ronnie’s infinite love of playing the blues finds them on fine form as their celebrated art of weaving continues. Eric Clapton joins Keith and Ronnie on ‘Everybody Knows About My Good Thing’ and ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ but it really is Jagger who elevates the album towards something occasionally touching magic. Almost 55-years after he first tried, he now sounds something like an original blues troubadour.

For an individual who notoriously avoids looking back over his career, Jagger appears to be the member of the band enjoying ‘Blue and Lonesome’ the most and one would suspect that this is the reason why the album works as well as it does.

As Jagger hollers “Alright!” before the solo of ‘Just Like I Treat You’ he echoes his “Alright Keith, come on man!” calls from 1964’s ‘Little By Little’, bringing a smile to the face and suggesting that, although no doubt briefly, Mick Jagger really is back at home and while he is, everyone else appears to be right onboard.

Electric Chicago Blues is the crux of ‘Blue and Lonesome’ and the albums title track along with opener ‘Just a fool’, the strutting and sinister ‘All Of Your Love’ and album highlight ‘Hate To See You Go’ all manage to encapsulate the essence of everything the Stones do best.

Their version of Willie Dixon’s ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’, although fairing less well, does see Jagger hitting the higher register of his vocals in a manner not heard in years, while their cover of Jimmy Reed’s ‘Little Rain’ is slightly workmanlike.

All criticism of ‘Blue and Lonesome’ is relatively minor however as the Stones have recorded an album that is invigorating, exciting, sinister, dark, morose and uplifting all in the same breath, and although it is wise to not lose sight of the fact that this is a covers album, within ‘Blue and Lonesome’ there is evidence of everything that is captivating about the Rolling Stones.

For over forty years, rumours of the Stones calling it a day have circulated but if indeed ‘Blue and Lonesome’ does turns out to be their final recording, it is almost the perfect bookend to where it all began.


Words by Michael Halpin. You can find more of Michael’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive



Louder Than War: Live Review – Sleaford Mods – Academy, Manchester – 27th October 2016

Sleaford Mods

Manchester, Academy

27th October 2016

Britain’s most articulate and outspoken band came to Manchester last Thursday as part of their UK tour. Louder Than War’s Michael Halpin was there to take it all in.

The evening began with a DJ presumably being employed to carry out the wonderful job of winding the audience up. Prior to Sleaford Mods taking to the stage the gathered throng were treated to a selection of cheesy disco “classics”. ‘It’s Raining Men’, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, ‘Love Isn’t Always On Time’, ‘The Theme From Friends’…you get the picture. Some members of the audience simply didn’t seem to get the point or appreciate the juxtaposition however. Surely these people didn’t have to be reminded of the purpose behind Sleaford Mods, did they? Sleaford Mods are here to drag us away from the soulless, saccharin cheesy-pop fest that was awful in the 1980s and is just as awful now. They are here to rant and vent against all that is false, against all that is fake. They sing about the state of modern Britain and the state of modern popular culture. Sadly some boys, as well as some girls, in the audience did appear to ‘Just Wanna Have Fun’. That’s fine but those boys and girls are missing the point when it comes to Sleaford Mods.

Fortunately, the majority of the audience tonight do get the point. The evening was a gathering of the sub-culture tribes, each with their own reason for being there. You could spot Indie, Mod, punk, hip-hop, dance…you name it, it was there. The audience was reminiscent of a Glastonbury audience prior to the era when going to Glastonbury simply became the thing to do.

Singer Jason Williamson greeted the Manchester audience with the cry, “You fuckin’ know don’t you?!” and it genuinely felt like they did. Sleaford Mods are that band. The band you can believe in. The important band. The band who actually have something to say. Williamson delivers every single lyric like his life depends on it. Like a man who really could be possessed and this is exactly what 2016 needs. We need another Ian Curtis, Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten, Joe Strummer. Williamson is more than just a simple amalgamation of those who many of us see as heroes of the working classes. His stage persona hints at Ian Dury, Norman Wisdom, Richard III and Quasimodo. We get Dalek impersonations, Metal Mickey impersonations and impersonations of the robots from the cult 1980s ‘Smash Makes Mash’ adverts. Add to that random sheep noises, genuine wit and the odd blown raspberry and you’re beginning to get the picture.

As Williamson ranted through ‘I Can Tell’, ‘Take It’, ‘Faces’ and ‘Fizzy’ as well as new numbers ‘BHS’ and ‘T.C.R.’, his musical partner in crime Andrew Fearn nodded and bobbed his head along to his no frills laptop and was admirable in his honestly – he was basically pressing play and pressing stop and didn’t care who knew it.


Williamson mocks the debacle of the encore in modern entertainment but managed to wind himself back up instantly to spit out ‘Jobseeker’, ‘Tied up In Nottz’ and ‘Tweet Tweet Tweet’.

Sleaford Mods are a million miles away from the top ten of the UK singles chart. They’re a million miles away from a Brit Award but they say more about the UK and Britain in 2016 than any other artist living in Britain today.

Sleaford Mods are on both Facebook and Twitter They can also be found at their website

Words by Michael Halpin. You can find more of Michael’s writing on Louder Than War at his author’s archive.

Photos by Melanie Smith. More work by Mel on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Photography portfolio can be found here and Flickr



Louder Than War: Live Review – Daughter @ Manchester Academy – 24th October 2016




Academy, Manchester

24th October 2016

Louder Than War’s Michael Halpin watched Daughter live at the Academy in Manchester on Monday night. They are certainly masters of their craft.

Although Daughter’s laid-back, mesmeric style may not be to everyone’s taste, their intricate, well thought out music certainly lifted the boredom out of an autumnal Monday evening in Manchester. Their other-wordly musical creations taking the audience to an entirely different place. Clever lighting enhanced the reflective, introspective nature of Daughter who appear to be lovely people, humbled by the reactions they received from their Manchester audience. Granted they do not possess the fire or shot-in-the-arm that many say music needs right now but as escapism, Daughter definitely allow you to forget your surroundings.

Opening with ‘New Ways’ and ‘Numbers’ from this years ‘Not To Disappear’ album, Daughter received a warm reaction from their audience.

Singer Elena Torna’s vocals rode the wave of Igor Haefeli’s guitar lines beautifully and the additional musicians onstage served well in embellishing Daughter’s sound at the Academy. BBC 6 Music favourite ‘Alone/With You’ followed ‘Numbers’ before ‘How’ and ‘Tomorrow’ really set the mood.

Daughter’s debut album ‘If You Leave’ was represented well also. Numbers like ‘Winter’ and ‘Youth’ being greeted enthusiastically by the pleasant audience. ‘Mothers’ provided the most heart-felt and emotional moment of the evening with the lyrics being genuinely difficult to listen to on a level that strikes a chord instantly within the listener.

More than ever before there is room for the likes of Daughter in popular music. Fan favourites ‘Smother’ and Shallows’ gaining a reaction that reflected exactly this.

An enthusiastically received encore followed in the shape of ‘Medicine’ and ‘Fossa’ and those who care for what Daughter do appeared to go home both happy and content.



Louder Than War – 20th Anniversary of ‘Some Might Say’ reaching number 1


This week sees the 20th anniversary of Oasis achieving their first number one single ‘Some Might Say’. Not only was it the bands first number one, it was also the first number one under the banner known as Britpop.

Here Louder Than War take an in depth look at what was going on around the band at the time. Sacked drummers, Brit Awards, drink and drug fuelled arguments in the studio, writing classic pop songs, playing arena gigs and the beginnings of their rivalry with Blur.

February 1995. Oasis have just picked the Brit Award for Best Newcomer. Noel Gallagher doesn’t give the typical acceptance speech thanking the band’s manager, record label, stylist and life guru. Instead, he thanks the band’s mothers, the award presenter Ray Davies for influencing him and George Martin for producing The Beatles. This may not seem like a big deal in the first instance but considering the youth had, for years, been exposed to saccharin, lifeless speeches from artists they were unable to relate to, it seemed like a breath of fresh air.

Although Oasis were on amicable terms with Blur at this point, as the Brit Awards drew on during that February evening, members of the Oasis party began heckling Blur every time they returned to their table with yet another award (four awards in total over the course of the evening comprising of Best Album, Best Single, Best Band and Best Video). Liam Gallagher’s challenge would be thus, “Look me in the eye and tell me you deserve that award” according to Paolo Hewitt’s 1997 publication, ‘Getting High: The Story of Oasis’.

Former Oasis Press Officer at Creation Records Johnny Hopkins told Louder Than War recently, “There was banter both ways. With bands there’s always some rivalry. Neither band really had that much to do with each other. It wasn’t like they were good mates and all of a sudden they weren’t. They weren’t particularly in each others orbit.”

Liam’s challenge however need not have been so quarrelsome as elder brother Noel already had a plan put together that would gain Oasis their first number one single. A feat which, despite the accolades, Blur were yet to achieve. Indeed, before the Brit Awards had even taken place, Loco Studios in South Wales was booked for Oasis to record their next single. A single that Noel Gallagher was certain would reach the top spot in the UK charts.

Noel Gallagher told Q magazine in 2011 that ‘Some Might Say’ was planned as the follow up to their ‘Whatever’ single as early as June 1994. The idea for the song coming just as Noel made the move from Manchester to London. Noel leaving his long-term girlfriend Louise Jones behind after she had decided that she would prefer to stay in Manchester working for successful PR company, Red Alert, rather than moving southwards with Noel.

It was in a Chiswick bedsit, occupied by the MTV Europe VJ Rebecca Du Ruvo, that Noel began writing the song.

“The verses are quite deep” Noel continued to tell Q. “Some of them are about homeless people, and people who can’t always get what they want that’s why it’s, ‘Tell it to the man who lives in hell.’ So then I wanted something as deep and meaningful for the chorus but in the end I just gave up and thought, ‘F–it, I might as well just go with stupid stuff about fishes and dishes and dogs itching….As soon as I’d written ‘Some Might Say’ I was certain it would be a number one and I was right. I never had even the slightest doubt.”

Johnny Hopkins told Louder Than War about the first time he heard the song, “I’m pretty sure Noel played me a demo of it on cassette in a car somewhere. It sounded wicked and certainly stood out. It’s one of their greatest songs – the guitars, Liam’s vocals, the tune, the energy to it. It’s a great exciting rock ‘n’ roll tune.

“The quality of his song writing was unbelievable. Noel was incredibly prolific. Not only was there 'Definitely Maybe' but there was stuff like 'Acquiesce', 'Talk Tonight' and 'Half The World Away'. Those kind of quality tunes. Perhaps some of Noel’s finest song writing. It was extraordinary.”

Following Noel’s completion of the song, a demo was recorded at Maison Rouge studios in Fulham with the bands producer Owen Morris. Morris picks up the story on his website www.owenmorris.net, “We’d demoed ‘Some Might Say’ in Maison Rouge…the version from there was slow and heavy and dark…really quite cool in a Rolling Stones way.”

Then, in late February 1995, the band convened in Loco Studios, South Wales to record the master.

One would expect all to be well in the Oasis camp at this point yet issues regarding drummer Tony McCarroll’s playing abilities were a hot topic of conversation, mainly behind the scenes although occasionally also in public.

As far back August 1994, Liam was quoted as saying at a press conference leading up to Creation: Undrugged, an evening of acoustic performances played by those signed to Creation Records., “Our sets going to be great cos’ our drummers not doing it.”

Conversations had taken place over the following months between Owen Morris and Oasis manager Marcus Russell regarding the drumming issue. “The answer to the problem was uncomplicated. Tony needed some drumming lessons.”

In Paolo Hewitt’s ‘Getting High’ Owen Morris states, “Tony’s biggest problem was that he only had two beats. He’d shuffle on some songs or stomp on others and it wound the band up chronically because they couldn’t do anything other than that.”

Tony McCarroll’s drum tutor, Dave Larken told Paolo Hewitt that Tony McCarroll had ‘the ability to be a great drummer’ but on the eve of the ‘Some Might Say’ recording session, when Morris asked Tony McCarroll how the lessons were going, Tony’s response was, “I haven’t done any of them. I haven’t had time.” Morris recalls thinking, “Oh fuck, here we go.”

Morris continues, “The band set up, we spend the day doing lots of really good, slightly faster than the demo versions of the track. Noel is all hyped up. I edit the best bits together and we are happy. Then the rest of the band go to bed, but me and Noel stay up, have a few drinks.

“At some stage in the early hours we listen to the demo and decide that the new version we’d spent the whole day on is too fast. Noel wakes the band up, insists they get out of bed and come and re-record ‘Some Might Say’, but everyone better be fucking careful not to play it too fast.”

“We do ONE take and decide we’re all fucking geniuses and that we’ve definitely nailed the backing track. Next day, I wake up, hungover and hazy. Liam wants to sing. So Liam sings his lead vocal in two takes. Fucking on fire singing.”

Again Morris had reservations over the drumming, “The drums were all over the place, proper tragic bit of drumming on that track because it just loses it on the first chorus. So on the mix we had to try and hide the drums which, for a rocking track is very unfortunate.”

Noel, with Morris’s assistance, worked on the tracks overdubs and once they believed they were finished, played what they thought was the final mix to the rest of the band and a selection of hangers-on.

“On the demo we had this weird backwards guitar bit that we thought was a bit naff.” Morris told Paolo Hewitt, “Later on, when the track was played Liam completely exploded with rage, “You fuckin dickhead, you don’t know what you’re doing! Where’s the guitar bit?!”

“Get him out of here or I’ll fuckin’ kill him. I know what I’m doing!” Noel replied.

The younger Gallagher stormed off and the hangers on quickly followed. Noel then let off a bit of steam, threatened to sack Owen Morris if he sided with Liam and then a few hours later, decided that Liam may actually have had a point.

Noel then sat down to record a slightly different guitar part and both brothers had their honour restored. Liam thought that Noel had listened to his point of view, while Noel records something that he believed was even better that what Liam wanted in the first place. With that, the song was finally ready for release.

On 3 March, Oasis set out on a 3-week tour of the US. The cramped bus and overall cabin fever meant that the hostility towards Tony McCarroll intensified.

In Ian Robertson’s 1996 publication ‘Oasis: What’s The Story?’ the former Oasis Road Manager wrote of how the bands live sound engineer, original ‘Definitely Maybe’ producer (and old friend of Noel’s), Mark Coyle, often chatted late into the night about how McCarroll’s drumming was hindering the bands live performance. “The consensus was always the same,” said Robertson, “he had to go.”

McCarroll possibly furthered his unpopular position within the group by distancing himself from the band on tour. According to Robertson he would knock on Tony’s hotel room door ‘time and again’ with an extended invite from band members asking Tony if he wanted to join them in whatever they were doing that evening. Tony however filled the distance between him and the rest of the band by enthusiastically getting himself involved with a highly sexualized groupie called Elle from Florida.

“She did not exactly enjoy the respect of the rest of the gang,” wrote Robertson. “Given that her first meeting with Tony was consummated with great passion and she seemed to be totally crazy about him, you could see their point.”

Ironically, as Robertson tells, “a drum clinic that Tony had attended to try and improve his technical act was of the opinion that his problem stemmed from a lack of fitness!”

Although McCarroll now gained ridicule on the tour bus for his drumming abilities, his groupie-girlfriend, his hair and his clothes, he once confided in Robertson, ““I can hack it because I’m in the band. I am the drummer with this fuckin’ group. The rest of it is incidental’ He genuinely believed that that would always be the case. He never saw the hammer drop.”

Upon the band’s return to the UK a video shoot for ‘Some Might Say’ was arranged to take place in Chatley Heath, Surrey. The budget was set at £40,000 but on the morning of the shoot, Liam failed to show. After numerous calls to his hotel room Liam finally picked up and informed the band’s management, “The idea’s shit. I’m not having it”, Paolo Hewitt tells. Liam then hung up the phone. As a result, footage was cobbled together from the bands previous videos for ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’, ‘Whatever’, and the American video for ‘Supersonic’.

Two weeks later, on April 14 Oasis recorded an appearance on Channel 4’s ‘The White Room’ hosted by Mark Radcliffe. Strangely, the band did not play the soon to be released ‘Some Might Say’. Rumours of the band not being happy with their performance of the song surfaced at the time and the band opted instead for two of the EP’s other tracks, ‘Acquiesce’ and a wonderful ‘Talk Tonight’ featuring Paul Weller on both electric piano and backing vocals. The third number they played was ‘It’s Good To Be Free’ from the ‘Whatever’ EP.

Johnny Hopkins on the Talk Tonight performance: “That was a surreal beautiful moment and again it showed the quality of Noel’s song writing and the sophistication of it because every one had them down as just a rock ‘n’ roll band, making noise and partying but here was something that was beautiful, sophisticated, intimate, heartbreaking…heartbreakingly beautiful AND…to have Weller on there, Weller’s stamp of approval…It was a brilliant occasion.”

The atmosphere within the band was strained during the filming and according to Tony McCarroll’s, ‘Oasis: The Truth’ the abuse Tony had been receiving in the US carried on; “The shoot didn’t go as planned. The microphone that sat over my cymbal kept falling from its perch and halting the filming. Noel started to berate me as if I worked for Channel 4’s sound department. I told him to ram it.”

On the 22 April, the band were due to play their biggest gig to date, the 12,000 capacity Sheffield Arena. In the lead up to the show, two warm up gigs were planned. On April 17, they were due to play Southend Cliffs Pavilion and on the 20 April Le Bataclan in Paris.

A storming set at the Southend Cliffs Pavilion was filmed for posterity and released as concert video ‘Live By The Sea’ four months later. Paris, however, kicked up a storm of a very different kind.

The evening before the Le Bataclan gig in Paris, the band were out on the town. At one point during the evening, Tony and Elle ended up having a fight with each other in public, causing something of a scene. At a later date Liam told Paolo Hewitt how he spent much of his time dealing with incident in his own inimitable way.

“I was standing at the bar when this mad bird he (Tony) was seeing walked in and started fighting with him. He was down on the ground so I started eating these cherries and spitting the stones on him as he was rolling around.”

While Noel was in his hotel room putting the finishing touches to his latest composition, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, Tony and Elle’s argument took itself back to the hotel.

Tony McCarroll picks up the story, “You kept me awake last night. I don’t like you or your bird. Don’t make me sack you.” Is how the ex-drummer recalls a conversation that took place between him and Noel the following day.

“Noel had threatened to sack the entire band at some point over the previous 18 months” McCarroll tells. Sometimes behind closed doors, sometimes publicly via the press. As this was the case, McCarroll said that the threat had ‘lost its potency.’ “This time (though) there was real intent in his voice.”

During the sound check for the evenings gig Noel and Tony clashed again. “As I passed (Noel) he gave me one of his ‘don’t even talk to me’ looks and I thought ‘fuck that’. I moved in front of him before he could start his sound check. He looked at me and said ‘What the fuck do you want?’ The look that came with the question was one of absolute dismissal. I moved within an inch of his face. I had finally lost it. ‘If you ever talk to me like that again, Noel, I’ll snap you in fucking two and throw you away. Do you understand?

“I stared at him without breaking eye contact. Silence. He looked back at me with his hooded cobra eyes cold. He then finally looked down at his finger tips and started to pick away. In the ensuing silence, I kicked the fire door open and strode out onto a cool Parisian boulevard.”

As Oasis left the stage that night after playing their set, their Parisian audience began chanting ‘Encore! Encore!’

Oasis weren’t ones for going back onstage at this point but as the band gathered backstage, Noel told Tony, ‘We’re doing an encore,’ “Bit fuckin’ odd” McCarroll recalls thinking. “It was a good night, but not worthy of an encore.”

Noel nodded Tony onstage. ‘“Supersonic”,’ he said. “He knew it was my favourite song to drum on. I started the intro and looked to the side stage. Noel stood tapping his foot to the beat. Three minutes is a long time in drumming. But that was the time I had before the band would eventually join me. It was my moment in the sun and would normally be a memory to cherish. For me, it was to prove bitter sweet…by the time the band joined in I realized that Noel was saying goodbye. He led the rest of the band onstage, staring directly at me. He took a long last pull of his cigarette and then flicked it over towards me. I watched as the cigarette landed and its glowing embers scattered and died by my bass drum. His confidence stemmed from the fact that he knew he had the power to eject me from the band.”

On Saturday 22 April, the day came for Oasis to play their first arena gig. Support came from Pulp and Ocean Colour Scene.

Johnny Hopkins described it as ‘a whirlwind week.’ “They started the week in Southend at the Pavillion, playing to about 1000, 2000 tops, whizzed to France, played at the Bataclan which is quite a legendary small venue in Paris, which half of England seemed to turn up to as well as half of Paris.

“They played two small shows and then about 10,000 people in Sheffield. It was a quite a weird week. One of rapid progression. In a way kind of an important period in that bands experience. Shifting gears again from being a big indie band to being an arena band. This was their first big headline show.”

The atmosphere in the Oasis camp should have been upbeat but as Tony McCarroll climbed onto the bands tour bus, he felt a more conspiratory mood in the air, “I walked onto our bus and made for the lounge area. As I arrived, I found Noel sitting there with Guigs and Marcus. They were huddled round the table and looked up, shocked at my sudden arrival. The atmosphere was strange, to say the least. Their muffled hello’s and sheepish looks gave a conspiratorial feel to it all. I took my seat upstairs and warmed myself for the biggest gig we had performed to date.”

The gig was a triumph. Liam, bizarrely, two songs into the set, tried talking to Noel during a guitar solo to ask why there is a massive gap between the stage and the audience. A few songs later Liam and Noel beckon the audience forward, telling fans to jump the barrier than had caused Liam so much confusion. Noel in later interviews likens it to the ‘scene of a revolution’.

Noel debuted ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ during his acoustic solo spot that night. The future was looking more that a little bright for the majority of the bands members.

Johnny Hopkins went on to tell Louder Than War how the move to large arena territory felt like a natural progression for the band rather than a giant leap;

“I think it was inevitable, in a lot off ways it was natural. They had such momentum at that time and their live shows were brilliant and there was so much love out there for the band amongst the public and the media. It was a natural progression but it was weird that in that particular week they did Southend and Paris in much much smaller venues but in the arc of their career, it made total sense.”

The following Monday (24 April) ‘Some Might Say’ was released. The NME named it single of the week. Terry Staunton stating, “OK so it’s no ‘Whatever’ but what is? Anybody would have difficulty following a record like that, but don’t let the recent brilliance of Oasis blind you to the charms of their new stuff. ‘Some Might Say’ is still one of the finest examples of pop music you’ll hear this year.

“What’s strangest about this song is that on the first couple of hearings you convince yourself there’s no hook, nothing go on at all. Then, a few hours later, you find yourself humming a tune that you genuinely can’t remember hearing before. It’s certainly a deceptive little fucker.”

On the Wednesday of that week Tony McCarroll, although he was not to know it yet, recorded his last public appearance with Oasis. It was on Top of The Pops which was due to be broadcast the following day. The show being presented by Chris Evans who was set to take over the Radio 1 breakfast show the follow week.

According to McCarroll, Noel was in a buoyant mood, “We’ve got a No.1 single. Add that to a No.1 album, a Brit Award, all-round critical acclaim and I suppose you could say we are doing all right”.

As the band sat backstage in their Top of The Pops dressing room waiting to record, McCarroll states that Noel was looking directly at him as he made this statement. “I wondered why he was being so friendly and positive. Liam was surprisingly quiet and subdued, as were the rest of the band.”

Following the Top of The Pops recording, Tony and Liam returned to Manchester. Driven by their ever-faithful friend known as ‘Big Un’, Tony tells how Liam, sat in the back seat of the car appeared to feel the need to tell Tony something. “I looked directly over my right shoulder at him as he stared silently out the window. Big Un’ maintained a steady speed. Suddenly, Liam said, ‘Tony.’‘What?’ I replied. He stared at me, his eyes alight, and made to open his mouth. He paused, though, and the light quickly died. ‘Nothing, it doesn’t matter,’ he mumbled and returned to focus on the English countryside flashing by. Something was definitely not right. I had a horrible feeling in my stomach.”

On Sunday the 30 April, BBC Radio 1 announced that ‘Some Might Say’ had entered the UK Singles chart at number one, knocking Take That’s ‘Back For Good’ from the top spot. On a week when Supergrass had entered the chart at number nine with ‘Lenny’ and Paul Weller had gone straight in the chart at number seven with ‘The Changingman’, it should have been a celebratory day all round for the country’s Britpop contingent.

It was far from celebratory though for the much maligned McCarroll, “The phone rang in my mother’s hallway. I answered. ‘Hiya, Tony, it’s Marcus,’in a soft Welsh accent. ‘Hiya, Marcus,’I said, as dread started to fill me. He continued. ‘Look, it’s not easy, this, but there is no other way to say it…You’re out of the band.’They were the words I had been waiting for.

“I suppose I managed to contain my immediate reaction. Marcus went on, ‘You know I tried to stop this. I tried to help. I’m sorry.’ Not as fuckin’ sorry as me. It would have been easy to have blown off at Marcus, but he was merely the messenger. And he had tried to help. I suppose I never really expected it to come from Noel anyway. I thanked Marcus for his time and understanding and asked what would happen next. ‘We’ll meet to discuss how the future should work out for all of us,’ he told me. ‘OK. No worries. Take care. Bye. Bye.’ I replied. There you go. It was that simple. Nice and clean, like we had agreed to meet for a pint and a sandwich. It had finally ended.”

In the ensuing weeks the only band members to contact Tony were Liam and Bonehead. “I didn’t know, Tony” said Bonehead during a nervous phone call ‘It’s a shock to me…If there’s anything I can do…”’ he awkwardly told Tony. “I couldn’t dislike him (Bonehead), as he was a good fella. And to be honest, there were occasions when he had tried to guide me about how to handle Noel. I wasn’t surprised to be the first.”

Newspaper reports initially stated that Tony and Liam had been involved in a fight with each other before the Paris gig, although the band did release a statement confirming that Tony McCarroll’s sacking was due to his drumming not being up to standard. As Liam Gallagher had already stated to Paolo Hewitt, the alleged fight had never actually taken place.

Noel Gallagher had first heard Tony McCarroll’s replacement Alan White playing drums whilst Oasis were camped in a London rehearsal room. White was working with a Creation records artist called Idha during this period when Noel over heard White’s playing and was apparently impressed by the clarity of his sound. According to Paolo Hewitt’s ‘Getting High’ Noel asked, “Who’s that drummer?” Noel then made a note of his name, later found out he was the brother of Steve White, Paul Weller’s long-serving percussionist, and kept him in mind for the day when Tony McCarroll was to eventually be sacked.

Following the departure of McCarroll, Noel Gallagher made the phone call to Alan White. Whether or not White was already lined up to replace McCarroll before he was even made aware that his drumming services were no longer required is a moot point mainly due to Alan White’s connections.

With barely any gigs and an album to work on over the next six weeks, it can be argued that there was a now-or-never feeling in the Oasis camp and had Alan White not been drafted in when he was, the quality of ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ may have suffered as a consequence.

On the 3 May Oasis recorded another Top of The Pops appearance, this time celebrating ‘Some Might Say’s’ number one status. With Alan White on drums, this was his first public appearance with the band. As the cameras rolled Bonehead stood encouraging White with a Northern Soul style clenched fist as the song was about to kick in. This was evidently a triumphant moment for the band as Noel, guitar held aloft, celebrated at the end of the song like Oasis had just won the FA Cup.

To celebrate the single reaching number one Meg Matthews, Noel’s girlfriend and sometime social event organizer, arranged a party in an establishment called the Mars Bar in London’s Covent Garden. Blur who were coming to the end of recording their ‘Parklife’ follow up, ‘The Great Escape’, went along to congratulate Oasis with their producer Stephen Street. Liam however, shocked both Stephen Street and Damon Albarn by, on several occasions during the evening, pointing his fingers into Albarn’s face and boasting, “Fuckin number one, fuckin number one.”

According to Stephen Street on the BBC’s ‘7 Ages Of Rock’ documentary, Damon Albarn was ‘quite taken aback’ by these gestures from Liam and the ever competitive Albarn told journalist John Harris in ‘The Last Party’ how he recalls thinking, “Ok…we’ll see”

“A few people wound them (Blur) up that night. Tells Johnny Hopkins. “It was inevitable. People were surprised when Damon and Alex walked in. Them and Oasis weren’t exactly mates. It appeared like they were trying to steal a bit of Oasis’ thunder. If you crash another band’s number one party and you’ve been mouthing off a little bit…you gonna get it aren’t you?”

Hopkins concludes, “The fact that Oasis beat Blur to getting a number one was more of a spur to Damon than anything Liam or anyone else said.”

That spur lead to the fuse being lit for the Roll With It Vs. Country House battle. That however, is very much another story.


Thanks to David Huggins www.oasis-recordinginfo.co.uk for invaluable information.

By Michael Halpin.


Feature: The Pretty Things for Louder Than War



Interview! The Pretty Things – a special feature ahead of the release of the band’s deluxe, career spanning box set, due out next week

With The Pretty Things about to release a deluxe, career spanning box set, due out on the 23rd of February, we present a special feature on the band which includes interviews with both Phil May and Dick Taylor. Michael Halpin takes up the story…

After celebrating 50 years since the release of their debut single Rosalyn, The Pretty Things release a major box set entitled Bouquets From a Cloudy Sky later this month.

Louder Than War recently spoke to founding members Phil May and Dick Taylor about the bands initial success, their struggles with record companies and sharing Abbey Road studios with both The  Beatles and Pink Floyd.

There was also the small matter of SF Sorrow.  An album ignored upon its release in 1968, it has since gone on to become one of the most widely celebrated and revered albums of the psychedelic era.


In 1962 Dick Taylor was accepted into the London Central School of Art.  As a result, he quit the little known blues band he was playing bass in at the time.  They were called The Rolling Stones.

While studying at the London Central School of Art, Dick Taylor met fellow student Phil May.  Phil had ambitions of being a singer while Dick was a guitarist rather than a bass player at heart.  Both huge Bo Diddley fans, they decided to form a band and name themselves The Pretty Things.

Taylor and May recruited Brian Pendleton on rhythm guitar, John Stax on bass and eventually the madcap symbol basher Viv Prince on drums.

A residency at London’s 100 Club soon gained them a solid reputation as hard-edged exponents of American rhythm and blues covering the likes of Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

At a time when the length of young men’s hair was a genuine talking point amongst Britain’s chattering classes, Phil May was busy cultivating what he would later claim to be ‘The Longest Hair In Britain.’  The great PR line was not without its problems however as the lead singer told Louder Than War recently, “I got beaten up by some angry boyfriends!  They took fuckin’ lumps out of the back of my head!”

If Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham had ambitions of molding the Stones into the very antithesis of The Beatles, then The Pretty Things ambition was to be dirtier, scruffier, raunchier and more threatening than the Rolling Stones.

These ambitions, over the course of the coming years however, did (to some degree) stall the progress of The Pretty Things and leave them with a reputation for being underachievers in comparison to contemporaries such as The Stones, The Kinks, The Yardbirds and Manfred Mann.

The Pretty Things debut single Rosalyn reached No. 41 in the UK charts in the summer of 1964, while its follow up Don’t Bring Me Down (see video below) gave them their first real success reaching number ten in October of the same year.

Following a well received, R’n’B based eponymous debut album; The Pretty Things output become a touch erratic.  After single Honey I Need hit number 13 in February 1965, the band failed to have another top 20 hit.  Their second album Get The Picture? released in December of the same year, showed a band who had rapidly become ill at ease with their musical identity.

Phil May: “In between the albums we were changing a lot, just by playing live and changing the way we played.  We got better at playing.  We became more capable.”

Sitting somewhere in between Thames-Delta-Blues and Soul, whilst also attempting to embrace elements of Folk-Rock, Get The Picture? portrayed a band wishing to move with the times and not be left behind on the British R‘n’B.

Following Get The Picture?, single Midnight to Six Man and Come See Me b-side LSD grew into counter-culture classics from 1966 onwards.  Although fans could be forgiven for finding it difficult to understand what The Pretty Things musical intentions actually were.  A cover of a Ray Davies penned number sounded good on paper but the tame A House In The Country only managed to limp to number 50 in the UK charts.  As much as The Pretty Things seemed to be holding the mantra of ‘never making two singles that sounded the same, it appeared that they were losing the hard edge that had initially made them so enticing.

By the time they released their third album, Emotions in April 1967, they were lost at sea.  The blame for the failure of Emotions however landed not only on the band but also on their record label, Fontana.

Fontana took the decision to hire producer Steve Rowlands whose previous track record consisted of working with bubblegum popsters Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch.  Fontana hoped that some of Rowlands hit-single-making-magic would rub off on The Pretty Things.

During an era when artists were dictating their ideas to record producers for the first time (rather than vice-versa) Steve Rowlands, who felt that the material on Emotions sounded empty, hired arranger Reg Tilsley to add strings and horns to the albums tracks.  The gesture may have been made in an attempt to bring The Pretty Things music back into line with their forward thinking contemporaries but no amount of strings or horns could disguise the fact that much of the material fell short of the mark in comparison with what was needed to have a hit album in the spring of 1967.

Knowing that Emotions was their final album with Fontana the band refrained from putting up too much of a fight against Tilsey’s arrangements and  reckoned that the sooner they could get out of their deal with the label, the better.

“We had such a bruising with the Emotions album,” Phil May told Louder Than War, “We had a kind of cowboy, Steve Rowlands (producing). Very strange bloke.  Then they got Reg Tilsley who plastered this brass and at that point, I was decimated.  I couldn’t believe what they were doing.  We were hi-jacked basically. It was time to get out and unless we finished that album, we wouldn’t have been free. It was almost like paying off a debt before you can move on but in the meantime we were evolving in the stuff we were doing, more experimental stuff, just waiting for a deal to come through.”

When ‘a deal’ did come through The Pretty Things signed to EMI Records.

Dick Taylor: “It was literally the end of our contract and rather than renegotiate with them we went on the market looking for someone else and Steve O’Rourke and Bryan Morrison (Pretty Things management) started talking to EMI.  Meanwhile we were in limbo and we thought, ‘Hey we can do stuff exactly as we want’ and we’d just acquired, while recording Emotions, John Povey and Wally Waller and consequently they were aboard with us.”

“We’d lost our rhythm guitarist literally! We went round his flat one day and he wasn’t there!  That was Brian Pendleton.  He literally just disappeared.  It was all very odd.  Then John Stax (bass) decided to immigrate to Australia, so we got John Povey and Wally Waller from The Fenmen.  They came aboard as keyboard player and bass player and harmony voices, and after doing some gigs with us so we thought ‘lets record some demos.’”


Following their move to EMI, Phil May privately began writing a short story, which eventually evolved into the concept of one Sebastian F Sorrow.

“I was writing a short story, funnily enough called Sgt Sorrow and I suppose we were looking at a way of not making 5-a-sides and 5-b-sides.  So you look at something like classical music, operas and things and you think, ‘Well this is something that goes from one side of the vinyl to the other, its a complete work, its not bits, a rag-tag of different bits…and all the different influences come in, all the different colours.’  That’s kind of where I started from and we worked on what I had with SF Sorrow…the short story…and it evolved on the floor at Abbey Road.”

Louder Than War: Obviously, the drug-culture at the time must have played an important part in the creation of SF Sorrow?

Phil: LSD did.  My God!  That was really incredibly important.  In terms of my lyrics and the images I had.  (they) wouldn’t have been there (without LSD). A little bit less obviously with Marijuana as well but it was so visual (acid) it was incredible.

I kind of look at some of the lyrics now, when we perform SF Sorrow and I go through them and I think ‘How on earth did I come up with it?’”


Through the bands links with EMI Records, The Pretty Things met a man whose record-production skills, would ensure that over time, they would become regarded as one of the most important acts of the 1960’s, rather than  British rhythm and blues also-rans.

In September of 1967, when the band eventually put pen to paper with EMI, Norman Smith (former Beatles recording engineer and early Pink Floyd Producer) expressed an interest in working with them.  The bands Manager Bryan Morrison set up a meeting and it was agreed that Smith would produce the group, albeit on a very small budget – even by EMI’s notoriously thrifty standards.

£3000 were set aside to cover everything linked to what would become SF Sorrow.  This included the albums sleeve design, photography and instrument hire.  The instrument ‘hire’ however usually took place when The Beatles, who were also working in EMI Studios at the time, had finished recording for the night.  This would leave Norman Smith free to discreetly borrow Ringo Starr’s bass drum or George Harrison’s sitar.

EMI studios was key to the recording process Phil May believes. “I don’t think we could have made that album for anybody else at the time, anywhere else.  Some people say ‘Why did we sign to EMI for two-and-a-half-grand?’ You know? A shitty advance and shitty money? We signed to Abbey Road and Norman Smith! EMI didn’t even come into the equation!  Unlimited studio time.  The money wasn’t important.  It was totally creative and selfish in some ways but because we felt we had something to say…We’d met Norman and he’d bought into the (SF Sorrow) idea.  He was working with the Floyd, and he’d done The Beatles and he was at this stage, I suppose, where he was thinking ‘fuck it…lets shoot for the moon!’”

In November 1967, the recording of SF Sorrow began.  It took 9 months, during which EMI Studios was also inhabited by Pink Floyd recording a Saucer of Secrets and the Beatles recording The White Album.

The Pretty Things 8-minutes plus creation, Defecting Grey, was the first piece of work they completed with Norman Smith and it was released as a single at the end of that month.  The band found Smith an inspiration.

Dick Taylor:  “He was so creative and very quickly became the ‘6th member of the band.’  He actually encouraged us to go further and further and we were all writing and giving input.  Wally was singing and writing and Povey was wrapped up in the new sounds.”

Phil May: “I mean, Brian (Morrison), when he heard Defecting Grey, thought we’d gone fuckin’ mad.  To him it was like career suicide.  I mean an eight-minute single?  I think he thought we’d gone completely potty.  Norman got it, Norman bought it.

We’d gone back to the underground and been adopted by the psychedelic scene and a lot of  things were going on.  We’d lost out pop star status and been embraced by the underground.  It was a great time for being stimulated by what other people were doing.  It was an exciting time.”

Sharing EMI Studios with The Beatles and Pink Floyd during such thrilling period brought The Pretty Things their share of musical admirers.  “Lennon always used to put his head around the door when he came in.” Phil May told Louder Than War. “That sounds happening man, fuckin’ great!’ He was really nice and of course the doors opened as you go up and down the corridor and you’d get a bit of The Beatles, a bit of the Floyd, as it was going on.  I remember being in the studio a few times when the Floyd were putting something down and it was a really exciting place to be.  It felt like the only place to be, at that time, in the world.  It was like a throbbing generator that was just pumping out the stuff.  Very, very exciting.  Very stimulating.”

Although, Defecting Grey failed to sell upon its release, it did serve to give the band a new confidence regarding what they could actually create in the studio.

Phil May: “We were all very excited but we still had to work because all of the EMI (contract) money was swallowed up in debts.  That’s one of the reasons why SF Sorrow took as long as it did…we had to go off and do five days in Germany or six days in Scandinavia or France or somewhere because we needed the money.

That was paying for us to go in the studio and also write and do a stupid film with Norman wisdom (What’s Good For The Goose) where we were off the set so much of the time that we wrote quite a lot of SF Sorrow up there while we were being made up and waiting to be called.  So that was good for us and we were being paid and fed and put up in a hotel.”

As the SF Sorrow concept developed and the ideas behind what bands could actually achieve musically stepped up a gear in the mid-60s, The Pretty Things could not help but be affected by the musical environment and counter culture of the period:

Dick Taylor: “SF Sorrow just seemed a fair enough thing to do at the time.  I always think there’s an inspiration for it in terms of the idea of a concept album.  With thing like  A Love Supreme, where you got a whole album where one side of it was completely one work.  I listened to that so many times.  That was definitely the theme song of when I was living in Kensington.”

Louder Than War: Do you recall what else you were listening to at the time?

Dick Taylor: “So many different things.  Otis Redding to Sun Ra.  The Doors, Buffalo Springfield.  My personal taste is a bit wide and I think all of us were like that and that really goes right back to Phil and I being at art college.  What everybody would do was bring their favourite records in and we would play them at lunch time and you’d have Jerry Lee (Lewis) and then there was the hipster who brought in Oxford Town and then there’d be the folkies who brought in Woody Guthrie and we all loved Smokestack Lightnin’.  So you got all these different things.  Trad-Jazz and everything”.

By the time we got to do SF Sorrow we were listening to musique-concrete and whatever.  Everything.  John was listening to his sitar and we were all hearing Indian music.

Although the creative melting pot between May, Taylor, Povey and Waller was in full flow, the occupier of the drum stool in The Pretty Things was once again proving to be a cause for concern.

Unfortunately, The Pretty Things held a history of employing slightly unhinged drummers.  ‘Skip’ Alan, who replaced legendary lunatic Viv Prince, suddenly decided without warning that he was going to drive to France in his Mini-Moke and descend upon Biarritz halfway through the recording sessions for SF Sorrow.  Sometime later, ‘Skip’ would eventually return to London with a young French girl who was unable to speak a word of ‘the queens’, nor could ‘Skip’ utter a word in French.

The band then hooked up with ‘Twink’ (John Adler), formerly the drummer with Tomorrow.  Beings broke they were unable to pay Twink for his work.  All that they could offer him was a share of the songwriting credits once the album had been released.  A decision which Phil May still regrets according to SF Sorrow’s 2003 CD reissue

“He was quite interested in money (Twink) as I recall and we were completely skint, so I agreed to give him a share of all the publishing on the album in return for him completing it with us.  It still really hurts me that those songs, which were all written before he even arrived, bear his name…He started out with only some of the song credits, but he ended up on all of them.  He and Wally absolutely hated each other, and it was never really a “match made in heaven”.  He wasn’t even with us a year.  There was a big “punch-up” on stage one night and the next gig Skip was back – he’s been there ever since.”

In February 1968 a second single, the double A-side, Talking About the Good Times / Walking Through My Dreams was released.  Both tracks were originally intended for SF Sorrow and although like Defecting Grey, Talking About The Good Times/Walking Through M y Dreams failed to make an impact upon the singles charts, they showed to those who cared that The Pretty Things were moving in a new musical direction.


As the band was recording their masterpiece, one of the most socially turbulent periods of the 20th century was in flight.  The Tet Offensive in Vietnam, violent anti-war demonstrations in London’s Grosvenor Square, the assassination of both Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy along with Race riots in Watts, Los Angeles.  Student demonstrations were taking place in West Germany and France, riots in Czechoslovakia, Enoch Powell made his ‘Rivers Of Blood’ speech and the London drug squad seized £1.5 million pounds worth of LSD.  The hippy dream that had seamed a true possibility only 12 months earlier was turning to dust.

The anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and topics surrounding those demonstrations should have placed SF Sorrow at the zeitgeist of popular culture upon its release in  December of 1968.  Themes such as the horrors of war and its mental effects certainly offered a more realistic viewpoint than The Beatles Revolution released in the same year.  However, like much in The Pretty Things career, they rarely received the acknowledgement they deserved.

From the album’s scene setting opener, SF Sorrow Is Born, right through to the gentle finality of Loneliest Person, SF Sorrow was an intricate creation made by a band who had finally managed to weave together dreamy psychedelia with a solid, if slightly warped version of British rhythm and blues. Baron Saturday, Bracelets Of Fingers and She Says Good Morning all attested to that and the fact that the album held a clear narrative to boot, surely made the album one of the most interesting creations of the period.

Following SF Sorrow’s completion, former art students May and Taylor were tasked with creating the albums artwork.  Once Phil May’s painting for the cover of the album was completed and the photography taken care of by Taylor, the album was ready for release.  Or so they thought…

Phil May:  “EMI weren’t giving us any budget and the day before it was about to be pressed up, EMI rang me and said, ‘There’s an awful lot of printing cost on this album gatefold.  Do you think it’s really important to have the story printed on the album?’ That’s how much they didn’t get it!  So we said ‘What do you mean?’ So EMI said ‘Can we just leave the story off?’ and we said, ‘No you can’t.’  So they said ‘It’s going to cost another £768 and if you’re prepared to pay for it, we’ll do it.’”

“They (EMI) took that off our future earnings.  They made us pay for the printing of the story – otherwise it would have just been lyrics and credits, which is what the whole fuckin’ point of it was.  Also, we’d already read the story to them!  We’d took them down to the boardroom in EMI, Norman read the story and we played the tape and EVERYBODY was there.  From publicity to the head honchos and marketing you know… We thought we’d convinced them what we were trying to do and then when they said ‘Can we leave the story off?’ You realise ‘Fuck…they didn’t get it at all!.’  That was a complete waste of time and when it came out we took the little ad saying ‘New Album by The Pretty Things – SF Sorrow.’  End of story.  That was a small ad in the Melody Maker.  They (EMI) didn’t get it at all.”

The lack of promotion and investment from EMI meant that SF Sorrow barely registered at all on the public’s radar.

Phil May: “If you’re bringing something new to the market place, you have to explain it.  If you put it out as just another Pretty Things album with no ‘Rock Opera’ on it.  Just a Pretty Things album…it just said ‘New Pretty Things Album – SF Sorrow’. And also they didn’t drive it like they drove The White Album.  We were well down the pecking order.”

Louder Than War: Were the band aware that there was the possibility that SF Sorrow might just not take off?

Phil May: “No.  I think we were stupid optimists.  We genuinely assumed that when people heard it, it would be enough.  The music would sell itself.  What we didn’t realise was that because nobody knew about it, not many people would hear it and what’s so interesting is that now, everybody that you meet got SF Sorrow on day one!  Like there’s enough copies out there for that to have happened! Really what happened was people got it 5, 10, 15, 20 years later and they heard it and then said, ‘oh God, I’ve heard this thing!”’

Like The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, SF Sorrow’s lack of commercial success cannot have been helped by the fact that it was released within weeks of three of the biggest albums of the era; The Beatles’ White Album, The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet and The Jimi Hendrix Experiences’ Electric Ladyland.  The late release of SF Sorrow in America (on Motown’s Rare Earth Subsidiary Label) also lead many to believe that The Who’s Tommy had been released first and that SF Sorrow was merely an album inspired by Pete Townshend’s own tale of war and seclusion.

A number of critics over the passage of time have also suggested that one reason behind the album’s lack of success was the depressing storyline.  However, while The Pretty Things did quietly run with their own storyline idea, The Who, and ultimately Pete Townshend, ran his story past several music journalists to establish what they did and did not like about his Tommy storyline.  Most famously, when learning that rock journalist Nick Cohn was a huge Pinball fan, Pete Townshend quickly wrote Pinball Wizard and shoehorned the Pinball theme into his story in preparation for a visit from Cohn who was due to hear some of the yet to be released tracks from Tommy.

Whilst describing The Who’s up and coming album to Beat Instrumental in February 1969 Townshend told the magazine, “Its fairly similar to the Pretty Things SF Sorrow, but a little tighter’.

Louder Than War: How do you feel about the Tommy link now?

Phil: Well that’s a bitter pill because it was totally Tamla Motown’s fault and at the time I was very friendly with Kit Lambert and Daltrey and even Townshend.  When we would meet at some sort of watering hole in London, they would say ‘When is SF Sorrow coming out in America?’  Tommy is coming out so-and-so….’ and I said ‘I can only pass that on’ but because Rare Earth (Tamla Motown’s Rock’ label) fucked up their launch, it meant it came about a month after Tommy and got slaughtered in America.  Absolutely creamed.

We had a lot of people coming back saying ‘We didn’t realise blah blah blah’ but the damage was done.  It was dead at birth.  They just tore into it saying it was ‘just a copy of Tommy and it was made 14 months before Tommy was completed.  That was a bitter pill, very painful.

The problem was, that Pete (Townshend), for years, was going round the world…and I’d go into a Canadian radio station who were saying, ‘We had your mate Pete saying how influenced he was by SF Sorrow and then suddenly, when we did the Abbey Road broadcast (1998) his attitude changed and it was almost like a solicitor had told him to write this letter to me saying, ‘I never heard SF Sorrow before we made Tommy’ which I know is a lie because Arthur (Brown) was there and people were there when he was playing it.  That’s what made it more bitter.”

While The Who won over the Woodstock crowd in August 1969 and finally cracked America through their thunderous live performances of Tommy, The Pretty Things, by comparison, were struggling to play SF Sorrow live at all.  Aside from an attempt at London’s Middle Earth Club in January 1969, where the band played to backing tracks in an evening billed as ‘The Pretty Things in Mime’ – The disparity between The Who and The Pretty Things was, at this point, vast.

Louder Than War: What did it feel like when you did the SF Sorrow in mime, was it strange?

P: “It was strange. Probably the only way we could take it onto stage then.  You know we didn’t even have the facilities that the Floyd had at the time.  We didn’t have the gear and it was impossible for us to  do it (live), you know Mellotron’s and the stuff we used in the studio.

When Tommy opened as a musical production in the West End in 1972 Phil May was invited to carry out a review of the performance, “I think it was for the Evening Standard who asked, ‘Do you want to do a critique on it and rubbish it?’ and I said, ‘No way, it’s a good album, there’s room for Tommy and SF Sorrow.  So I wouldn’t do it.  I said, ‘Good luck to them, I hope it goes well.’  The only bitterness was really with Tamla Motown for fuckin’ it up.”

A full performance of the SF Sorrow album was not to take place until a 30th anniversary gig at Abbey Road Studios in 1998. “

M: “Do you recall a point where you realised that SF Sorrow was beginning to get the recognition it deserved?”

P: “Things happened like it got voted as one of the top 100 albums in certain things.   There would be collectors collecting, I think Amazon added it into their top 100 and also it was selling.  We sold many more copies over the last 10, 12, 15 years than when it first came out.  We performed it live as a world internet broadcast, then we did the SF Sorrow live at the Festival Hall and that really started to gather momentum.  Basically a lot of people hearing it for the first time.”

Louder Than War: Younger generations?

P: Well, Dick and I were doing an MTV interview when we did the in-store HMV thing in Oxford Street with Kasabian and Serge (Pizzorno) was there getting ready for his stint.  Dick and I were sitting on the couch and Serge was standing watching the filming and Serge said, ‘Do you mind if I sit in on this because I’ve got something I want to say about the Pretty Things?  Kasabian thought they knew what a rock ‘n’ roll band had to be but when we heard SF Sorrow we tore up our idea of what we thought a rock ‘n’ roll band had to be and suddenly we realised you could have anything, any rhythms.  It completely changed our perspective about what Kasabian were going to be.’”

Louder Than War: How do you feel when you hear the album now?

Phil: “I’m still incredibly proud of the album, I think it’s an incredible piece of work and I don’t say that about many Pretty Things albums.  A lot of them, when you have to listen to them again because you’re re-learning the songs, I get twitchy and I think, ‘Why did we include that song?’ but with SF Sorrow its kind of set in stone.

It was good that it was a slow cooked meal because if we’d have had the money to go and do it in 3 months it wouldn’t have been the same album – so unfortunate things can work out to be to your benefit.

There’s a little bit of bitter sweet quality about it being brought home now.  It’s now getting the recognition it deserves and that’s certainly eased the initial pain.”

The Pretty Things 50th Anniversary Box Set ‘Bouquets From A Cloudy Sky’ is released on 23rd of February.


Official Pretty Things Website is here: theprettythings.net. They can also be found on Facebook.

All words by Michael Halpin. More from Michael can be found at his Louder Than War author’s archive.

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Ty Segall: Gorilla, Manchester – live review



Ty Segall: Gorilla, Manchester – live review

Ty Segall

Gorilla – Manchester

November 10 2014

Psych-rocker Ty Segall rolled in to Manchester earlier this week. Louder Than War’s Michael Halpin was there.

It was loud, it was exciting and it was exhilarating.  You could call it garage rock, psychedelic rock or glam rock.  It was done at a breakneck pace and ‘the kids’ enjoyed a good old stage-dive.  Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, you’d be right in saying it was the essence of what rock ‘n’ roll is all about but somehow it was all pretty repetitive and one-dimensional.

Yes, Ty Segall knows how to strangle a good noise out of a Les Paul and, yes, he’s got a good rock ‘n’ roll scream on him, but playing your new album (Manipulator) live, in almost exactly the same running order as on the album itself, is pretty dull.

For an artist who has always seemed to prides himself on change and variety during his career, it was surprising to get such a one-dimensional set list. Part of the problem seemed to be that, unlike the Manipulator album which ebbs and flows dynamically from start to finish, Segall performance of the songs tonight did not. The main problem seemed to be that he opted to use his Les Paul on every single track, with the noise level cranked right up, meaning that the appreciation of his music’s nuances simply could not be experienced.

But before we get to Ty’s we have the support band, The Movei Sta Junkies. Even though they don’t look like they should fit together as a band, their ramshackle aesthetic means that somehow they do. So thrown together do they appear to be that you can’t help but wonder what their story actually is.

Singer Stefano Isaia is an engaging figure. He’s definitely got his own thing going on – with just a hint of both Iggy and Nick Cave thrown in for good measure.

An inventive drummer in Caio Montoro who serves the music in a Mo Tucker style.

Their sound is a melting pot of Gypsy Punk, Garage, The Kinks and Television.

A gift for a melody and arrangements, Movie Star Junkies are a band who definitely know how to write a tune.

Definitely a unique band during a musical period lacking in individuality.

Following that entertaining and intriguing set, Segall had some in-joke telling buffoon going by the name of ‘Jimmy Longhorn’ introduce him and his band on stage. ‘Longhorn’, dressed in a cowboy hat and neckerchief and adopting a strange sort of hillbilly accent, quite unimaginatively pretended to be, of all things – a cowboy – and was banging on about being ‘saddle-sore.’  All supposedly in the name of entertainment.  The truth is it was anything but entertaining and put one in mind of a cheesy American college movie where some supposedly ‘funny guy’ gets up on stage and throws out a few one-liners that inevitably everyone is in on and ‘life’s just great!’

He gets heckled with the word ‘c***’ twice by the audience and then, as if he couldn’t get any worse, began asking “Who’s a United fan and who is a City fan in the audience tonight?”  Luckily, he got away with it.  Let’s just hope he doesn’t do the same thing next time Ty plays Glasgow.

Once ‘Longhorn’ left the stage Segall and his band, The Manipulators, began flying through the album.  All seemed well at first but after The Faker, the realization kicked in that we were going to hear the whole album in order here.  The heart sank, the audience tried to brave it and give him a chance but the damage was done.

Is there anything worse in rock ‘n’ roll than knowing what’s going to come next?

Ceasar and Finger were added to the set but were given similar treatment to much of the Manipulator album tonight.  Wave Goodbye and Slaughterhouse were welcomed closers to mainly because they were not one-hundred-per-cent expected but it was too late, the disappointment has already sank in.

If that primal rush of rock ‘n’ roll is all you’re after then great, were all after that sometimes.  If however, you’re after that primal rush but want the emotional peaks and troughs of rock ‘n’ roll as well, then probably don’t go and see Ty Segall’s latest incarnation on this tour.

Ty Segall can be found on his personal website: Ty-Segall.com, Facebook and he tweets as: @TySegall.

All words by Michael Halpin. More from Michael can be found at his Author’s Archive

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