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Rock & Pop

Album of the Month

June 1998
Drugstore: White Magic For Lovers

Drugstore's debut album bulldozered its way straight into our all time top ten. Thankfully, their follow up is right up there too. A little more accomplished, a lot more confident, still as amusing as ever. Click here

Rock & Pop Live

Bob Dylan : Wembley Arena October 1997

This was a special one-off European gig to promote his latest album: Time Out Of Mind. London is one of Bob's fave cities, and since his near-death experience earlier this year, he was clearly glad to be back. So happy in fact he continued to play on long after the feisty concert organisers at Wembley had switched the lights on in an attempt to end proceedings. Bob's retort hey man: "Everybody's gotta get stoned". The crowd clearly agreed, puffs of dense smoke spiralled through the air in response to his call to arms. A bit like the Vatican, where Bob recently played in front of the Pope.

Musically, Bob had gone country, his excellent backing band featuring double bass and Nashville style slide guitar. Strangely he only played a couple of tracks from the new album (his first with self-penned songs for seven years). Needless to say, Bob's children were just happy to be with their mentor one more time. His singing maybe a bit strained these days, his guitar picking flawed, but nobody hits the note as well with tracks like "Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again" and "Blind Willie McTell". A joy.

Johnny Cash

The Man in Black Unchained

Royal Albert Hall, 25 April 1997

"The Man in Black", Johnny Cash played Kensington's Royal Albert Hall on the London leg of his "Unchained" European tour.

Click here for pictures, report & profile!

Suede : The Roundhouse December 96

First we had Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler's Suede. Butler's departure could have signalled the end for the atmospheric and sometimes daring outfit. Anderson, pictured right, persevered, signed up young Richard Oakes as replacement lead guitarist and co-songwriter. The collaboration bore fruit in the shape of the "Coming Up" album, released in the summer.

Anderson appears centre-stage, launching the show with hits from the new album; Trash & Lazy moving on through more cuts from Coming Up and dipping into the Suede treasure trove with the blinding Animal Nitrate and Heroine kicking the crowd up into a cold turkey fever.

This is his gig, his band, his fans. But hey we like it that way don't we? Anyways, an eclectic gathering of The Beautiful Ones here in the Roundhouse, Camden, certainly approved.

Suede is Leather and Camp is Cool down by the Lock. Only Jarvis has the power to punch harder at the DISCO 2000.

Billy Bragg : The Forum December 96

Earlier this year Billy Bragg forged his comeback with new album William Blake. Mellowed slightly he is now back on the road in Britain after a 4 year absence taking care of his newborn son.

Billy would not be Billy without the political monologues and we were treated to many a discourse on both the perils of and need for a New Labour government. But this was not a changed Billy rather a one facing changing circumstances.

And so with the music, new realism has at least penetrated his willingness to pander to the fans demands for the old masters. We all shed a few wistful Levi Stubb Tears as we remembered the Saturday Boy on St Swithin's Day. Bragg may stand a solitary figure alone on stage clutching his six string, but he brings with him a battalion of clanging classics.

The new songs indicate something of a new range, though From Red to Blue and Upfield retain the right on crusade.

It is hard to imagine a man so at ease with both himself and his audience.

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