patti smith - The I-94 Bar
40th Anniversary Agents of Fortune Live 2016 - Blue Oyster Cult (Frontiers Records)
And you’re asking, Why? And possibly with good reason. For starters, it’s 2020 and that makes the anniversary four years late, right? And surely these guys aren’t still going?
They are - albeit with just two original members. Australia was lucky enough to host them a few years ago. The last studio album was “Curse of the Hidden Mirror” 19 years ago (and it was pretty good.) There’s even a new studio record pending. This live celebration is a valid addition to the BOC catalogue, even if most of the appeal will be for rusted-on fans.
Photo by Steve Gullick
Top Ten things I enjoyed in 2017, in no particular order and randomly numbered:
5. Tenebrous Liar - The Cut (Album)
I have faith Tenebrous Liar can save us from the Indie-pocolypse. I don’t know how to describe this album - the sounds and mood is as wonderfully textural and emotive as frontman Steve Gullick’s photographs (which he is better known for). Highlights “Alienation”, “Lowlands”, “Swing For Me”... all of it. Bandcamp.
4. Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun (Album)
This entry is more for Chelsea Wolfe’s catalogue than just this one album. I was late on the uptake and only discovered her music this year. Albums “Abyss” and “Unknown Rooms” have been on repeat, though Hiss Spun also has plenty of charms too. Website. Listen on Spotify.
1. My increasing exploration of soul music and samples.
2. My increasing discovery of unknown female artists throughout history.
3. Cable Ties
5. River Rocks
6. Lolling Stones
7. That female rapper Kate
8. Deaths... Malcolm, Prince, David...
9. Alice Cooper
10. Dancing in my own living room and sitting in front of my system.
11. HITS Bandcamp
12. All my friends' bands who gigged all year, put stuff out and all my friends who helped it happen. Friends at gigs.
Blondie and her session men plus Clem Burke (obscured). Dean Ertl photo
I come at this review as a fan. Since 1976 (earlier if you count the Dolls and the Velvets), I have been enamoured of that New York New Wave sound. It's a broad church. Suicide could thrash synthesizers and Television could probe the stratosphere with spiralling lead guitar lines. The Ramones could make dumb look smart.
The Talking Heads sounded nothing like the Heartbreakers. The Fast sounded nothing link Mink DeVille. But the scene was still recognisable as a whole.
Blondie lived in the spotlight of eternal summer despite spending a lifetime dodging sun rays. You could be walking through the Lower East Side, see a boy you liked and say hello. Even if you found yourself charged with solicitation, everything would be all right because you are young, beautiful and in love.
Steve Lorkin photo
More than a decade ago, I was sitting in a Sydney pub with a beer after a Bob Dylan concert. I was amidst Dylan fans, including Jenny Kee, the ’60s fashion icon, “OZ” magazine figure and Buddhist. Jenny is a deep thinker and was peeling back layers on the Dylan show we had both witnessed. She turned to me in mid-conversation and asked a question I won’t forget.
“Do you think Dylan is deeply spiritual and has soul consciousness on stage?”
My answer after much thought was: “I can’t answer that, as I believe Bob lived many lifetimes and always felt he was guarded on that level, except in his born-again phase. That said, his songs are from the heart and mostly from his mind.”
Jenny responded. “I saw Lou Reed last year. I believe he does, as he is on that journey.”
“I can’t say that about Bob or even Lou Reed. But after seeing Patti Smith live, I believe she does and that it comes from a very deep realm, in fact one could call it soul consciousness.”
That was my answer all those years ago that night in Haymarket. I've always believed Patti is indeed a special performer.