30 Mar 2007
A Tribute to Billy Mackenzie 
Wednesday 28 March
Shepherd's Bush Empire

Mower kicked proceedings at this charity tribute gig. Only caught the end of the set but they were ok in a shouty, thrashy kinda way.

Subterraneans, for one night only renamed Goldilocks and the Five Bears, followed. They played one number on their own before Christine Beveridge took over on lead vocals.

Then Paul Haig was introduced by the singer. When asked where he had been, Haig said (just off-mic) 'time travelling' or something like that. He took a moment to tune up and admitted that he was 'a bit out of practice'.

Haig sang and played guitar on what he said was a favourite Josef K song of Billy's 'Kinda Funny'. Then they played 'Something Good', another favourite song. of Billy's. During this song Haig managed to inadvertently unplug his guitar. He recovered the situation by quipping "How cool was that!". He was in good voice and, seemingly, spirit but it was a shame he didn't play a bit longer.

Next up were ex-ZTT labelmates Andrew Poppy and Claudia Brücken (piano and voice). They covered 'Running Up That Hill' and 'In Dreams' with Poppy's beautiful piano arrangements complemented by Brücken's stunning voice.

There was then a short interlude when they screened a film about the Sound Seekers charity which helps deaf children in deprived countries.

The break turned out to also be an opportunity for Claudia to change her dress and to reappear with Onetwo alongside Paul Humphreys. After one unknown Onetwo song (an uptempo disco number) they covered Country Club by the Associates before ending with Propaganda's 'Duel'.

Electric Soft Parade (from Brighton, England) played a rather lengthier set. No further details available (Ed. "You're fired").

British Electric Foundation played their first ever gig, only a mere 25 years in their existence. With the help of guest female backing singer from Heaven 17 they did an incredible Mackenzie track called ‘Free’ that he sang on BEF's second album. Then they launched into H17's 'Let Me Go'. Lead singer Glenn Gregory still has a remarkably powerful voice and he introduced a reworked 'Temptation' (based on the orignal demo) with Claudia on vocals.

BEF finished with a stunning 'Party Fears Two' in a special slow version. Glenn Gregory said that they had wondered why no-one had chosen to do the song. And then they realised it was because "the arrangement was insane"! Hence the slowed down version which really worked well and got a huge cheer.

Apollo 440 were the last act to record with Billy Mackenzie. They hadn't played live in 7 years (had they split up during this time?) but they were a pretty tight unit. They did a cover of 'William It Was Really Nothing', the Smiths' song supposedly about Billy Mackenzie, unplugged style. They finished with the last song they worked on with Billy.

All in, a good night for a worthy cause. Happy Birthday Billy!

Big Cerysmatic shouts out to Iain, Bunny, John, Alan and Mark. Thanks to Paul for the corrections.

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A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

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