Monday, February 13, 2017

Welcome to Peter Clemon's Rock of Ages

This Post Remain's on top as an introduction to the site. Scroll below for the latest posts.

This Blogspot is part of the Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts Magazine) archive.

Hobo was a Coventry music magazine c 1973 - 75 and the archives of the magazine and Hobo workshop and the general music scene of the 70's was originally on Vox blogs c 2007 until recently. Vox closed and the site is being redeveloped and rearranged here - it's still in progress so bear with us.

This Blog
This Hobo blog spot in particular  is for Peter Clemon's Coventry music Scene articles for the Coventry Telegraph. Pete Clemons has a huge database of hundreds of gigs in Coventry from the 60's to the present. Both professional acts and local bands. He has had over 100 articles publish in the Coventry Telegraph which, on his request, we've collated here and  have linked them with further material from the Hobo magazine archives.


  • Early posts on here - if you scroll right down - are Pete's Rock of Ages Posts - gigs in Cov through the ages since the early 60's to present.
  • Later posts are about important music venues in the city and their history.
  • Other posts are about Coventry bands from the 60's onwards.

Pete Clemons and Trev Teasdel at  BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire January 2016

Links to the other Hobo Coventry Music Archive sites 
Coventry Music Scene from Hobo - This is the Hub to all the sites below

Hobo - Coventry Music Archives This is the main Blogspot for the Coventry Music Archives from Hobo Magazine with archive material from HoboMagazine and other Coventry music magazines, feature articles and other documentation. This site is still in development.

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club
The archives of the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club which was opened in 1955 by the Goons and where some of the Two Tone musicians started out and literary figures like Phillip Larkin and much more. many Coventry bands played the Umbrella in the late 60's and early 70's. It also housed Coventry's first Folk Club.

Coventry Folk Club Scene 1970's  
This is the Hobo site for Coventry's longstanding and thriving Folk and Acoustic scene. It covers both folk archives from the 70's and features on some of the contemporary singer songwriters out there now along with Pete Willow's history of Coventry Folk Scene and pdf versions of  his 70's Folks Magazine 1979 / 80. Top names like Rod Felton, Dave Bennett, Kristy Gallacher, Pauline (Vickers) Black, Roger Williamson, Sean Cannon and many more.

Coventry Gigs 1960 to Present (This blogspot in fact!).

Coventry Discos, Venues, Music shops and Agencies / Studios etc.
A steadily progressing blog for a variety of other aspects of Coventry's music scene - the DJ's, Discos, Venues, Arts fests, record shops, studios, music agencies etc etc..

Coventry Musicians Who's Who 
This blog has an A to Z of Coventry musicians. It's not yet complete (if ever!) but there are many names and their bands on already. I will come back to it when the A to Z of bands is complete and add in names not on. Meanwhile if you are not on it - and you should be - or your friends and their bands or if your info is incorrect - do let us know at

Hobo A to Z of Coventry Bands and Artists
Meanwhile a huge A to Z of Coventry bands and artists can be found (again in development) here


Big Big Train

Big Big Train
By Pete Clemons - another article written for but unpublished by the Coventry Telegraph.

The mid to late 1960s brought with it a genre of music that stretched, challenged and pushed, the then, existing music boundaries. Somehow, it became known as progressive rock and, amongst other things, it opened up a whole new world of musical invention and exploration.

Quite how, when and where progressive rock began is subject to much conjecture and debate. And this debate has been particularly prevalent since the dawn of the internet.

You could point to the time in July 1966 when Melody Maker proclaimed during a review of Pet Sounds when they posed the question ‘is this the most progressive album ever?’

You could even argue that it evolved when The Beatles began spending more time in the recording studio. And there are those who point to bands like The Moody Blues, Family and The Nice as the starting point.

And then there is a theory that all the previously mentioned strands came together as a kind of big bang effect that gave birth to King Crimson and their debut album ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’.

One thing that is for sure is that the term ‘progressive’ was frequently applied to music that was left of centre from the mid-1960s. It is also fair to mention that, back then, many differing bands were lumped into the progressive rock genre.

So big a beast progressive rock, or whatever you want to call it, became that, a few years’ later, bands such as Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes had taken the genre to a whole different level.

40 odd years on and with the benefit of hindsight, scholars of today, have I think tried to re-define the boundaries of what was, and what was not, progressive rock. But the above was how I saw it all through these eyes and heard it all through these ears.

The mid to late 1970s saw punk rock all but kill the genre off. But it never quite put the final stake through its heart and the very late 1970s and early 1980s saw the genre make a resurgence of sorts.

Having lapped up as much progressive rock as I could during the 1970s I was curious by this new wave of bands. I can still clearly see myself at the General Wolfe and Busters Nightclub attending gigs by Twelfth Night, IQ and Marillion. Sadly they were only memorable to me for the reasons around how totally unimpressed it all left me.

Maybe I was still hung over from the punk rock era which had just passed us by but to me this music, which clearly tried to hanker onto the past, had little or no bearing to those glorious days that had gone before. The reason being that, for me, it simply didn’t bring us anything that was new. Not to these ears at least.

For me, rather than reinvent and build it-self, this new incarnation of progressive rock made what I consider to be the fatal error of trying to somehow attach itself by creating some kind of a derivative.

Worse still and the truncated word ‘Prog’ began to enter the psyche. I had certainly never heard the term before. Maybe it had come across from the U.S. who knows. But with the clue being in the name ‘Progressive’, for me, it failed to.

As time went on, and for a variety of reasons, prog/progressive became a term of folly. So maligned did the genre become that by the 1990s bands that played ambitious rock music began to distance themselves away from this more modern take of progressive rock. Preferring instead to refer to the genre of music they were trying to perform as anything other than progressive.

However, prog lumbered on and, decades later, it appears to be in vogue once more. And one band that has hung their hat on the ‘prog’ label and, appears to be more than happy to be associated with it all, is called Big Big Train.

Big Big Train’s musical influences are from the past. And that cannot be denied. That said they are very very good at what they do. Their playing and their vocal harmonies are, at times, simply breath taking.

The band has been around for a quarter of a century and it has not been a straightforward and easy ride for them. But their fortunes have grown noticeably since 2009.

Big Big Train do not write music that is an exploration of life and death or parts of our world being transported to other galaxies or even adaptations of trips to the centre of the world. No, the subject matter is much more grounded than that. But the music is just as grand and majestic.

Instead the band create albums are made of mini period dramas from a bygone age. Stories passed from generation to generation. The songs are history lessons or field studies set out on vinyl or polycarbonate plastic depending on your mode of listening.

BBT are also adept at rediscovering old English words and create a song around them. And for their fans a new language develops.

And I must admit that after initially being indifferent with them at first I am finding myself more and more drawn to them to the point where I am actually enjoying their more recent output without actually being totally blown away by it all.

To their credit Big Big Train does have modern sensibilities. Away from their recorded output they appear to be very prudent in all they do. They do not tour the country, as tradition would see other bands. They tend, instead, to take over plush London venues for a weekend. They have threatened to tour nationally but that remains to be seen. To be fair though, over time, BBT have grown into an 8 piece, and with not all of the band members being resident in the UK, precise logistical planning would be required.

They are not frightened to make hay out of past recordings either. Rather than simply reissue albums due to a growing demand they will repackage them and throw in bonus tracks as the lure.

But at the end of it all it’s all down to the listener as to how much they want to be involved. The important thing is that Big Big Train is very enjoyable to listen to.

And it has taken me up to the hearing Big Big Train’s latest release, ‘Folklore’ to convince me that maybe now the shackles associated with being tagged as ‘prog’ have finally been removed. The genre does seem to be hip once more.

The band is currently working on a new album titled ‘Grimspound’, due for release later in 2017, and I freely admit to looking forward to hearing it.

Big Big Train website

Syd Arthur

Syd Arthur

by Pete Clemons (another recent article earmarked for the Coventry Telegraph but unpublished by them)
syd Arthur

Not a Coventry band but one of Pete Clemon's many articles for the Coventry paper.

Having had a long day at work I felt lethargic. I knew that one of my favourite bands of the moment ‘Syd Arthur’ were playing in Birmingham but it was difficult to get myself going again on this dark and damp November evening.

But drag myself out of the house I did and off and set off for Mama Roux’s. This was a new venue to me situated in the network of narrow roads set within the Digbeth area and where the railway line network looms large overhead. The layout inside Mama Roux’s was particularly impressive.

By way of introduction Syd Arthur were named after a character of a book but the spelling was amended slightly so that it became a sort of nod towards Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee. They are also based in the Kent area of the UK where, historically, many a fine band has been produced.

Having said all that I wouldn’t even begin to compare Syd Arthur with any of those previously mentioned luminaries. This band is unique in that they have created and ploughed their own musical furrow.

Syd Arthur is made up of Liam Magill - guitar and vocals, Joel Magill – bass, Josh Magill – drums and Raven Bush – violin, keyboards and guitar. Previous drummer, Fred Rother who was present at my two previous Syd experiences, has sadly had to leave the band due to health issues relating to the ear.

A change of drummer, to most bands, would have been a big deal. But the beating heart of the Syd’s appearing to have adapted well. And, after all, the new drummer Josh is the brother to the bass player Joel.

The gig itself was a showcase for the bands wonderful new album ‘Apricity’ – the yearning for April – which was appropriate given how I felt earlier in the evening. They performed tracks such as ‘No Peace’, ‘Coal Mine’, ‘Portal’ and of course the album’s title track.

The Syd’s also find the time to delve back in time to their back catalogue by way of ‘Hometown Blues’, ‘Ode to the Summer’, ‘Autograph’ and many others.

Previous albums have seen Syd Arthur being completely self-produced. At their record labels suggestion ‘Apricity’ is the first album where the band have worked with a nominated producer.

It was a strange new experience for them. The whole thing was totally alien. But they were totally open to it and it seems to have paid off as Apricity has been a total success.

On almost every song the Syd’s get the opportunity to cut loose and display their dexterity of instrumentation. The rhythms being played are almost jazz like at times. Very free form, but all within a rock music framework.

On record the Syd’s sound composed and structured. No such thing in a live environment as they cut loose. One of the things I enjoy most about this band is that they do not perform their songs verbatim. There is certainly room for expression and improvisation. And that does indeed bring a smile to the face.

You get very little chat from the stage, the band preferring instead, to let their music do the talking for them. Liam Magill certainly comes across as a pleasant but modest front man. I did notice that Raven Bush flits constantly between guitar and keyboard occasionally appearing from beneath his huge mop of hair sporting a broad smile. And it was the kind of knowing smile that you only produce when you are on top of your game. Clearly the band was really enjoying things.

Like a breath of fresh air, Syd Arthur write elaborate tunes in a very unique style when viewed against what the mass market has to offer today. And from initially feeling lethargic at the beginning of the evening my spirits had certainly been lifted by the end of it.

By the end of it all I was so glad I made the effort to get to this gig.

The Syd’s music is incredibly refreshing. They band are tight, the sound they create is soulful and it is very swayable. Simply, they put in an absolutely tremendous shift this particular evening and I felt all the better for it.

Pete Clemons


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dark - Round the Edges - Review by Pete Clemons

Dark - Round the Edges - Review by Pete Clemons

A Kenilworth record shop recently acquired a copy of one of the rarest pieces of vinyl currently out there. I must stress however that the 12 inch L.P. in question is not being stored in the shop. And I assume it will be up for sale at a specialised auction house.

The L.P. in question was originally titled ‘Dark Round the Edges’ and was recorded at SIS Studios Northampton by a local rock band called Dark between July 9th and 13th 1972. It was released slightly later that same year.

Dark Round the Edges’ was never actually released officially. It was produced as a private pressing which was recorded by a band that had been trying to get that all important deal for around 4 years but to no avail. Such was the quality of the music around at the time a lot of extraordinary talent went under the radar.

But Dark were a very good band and all involved knew it. They had a large local following and rather than run the risk of splitting with nothing to show for it they wanted something to remember for all their efforts.

The original LP was issued as limited pressing of around 32 copies. A further run of 32 copies was pressed and released early 1973. Breaking those numbers down I believe that 12 copies came with gatefold colour sleeve and booklet, 8 copies with black & white gatefold sleeve and the remainder with single black & white sleeve. They were handed out to band members and their then girlfriends. Any remaining records were sent on to record companies or sold on for around £3 per copy.

Putting to one side for a while, the value of an original copy of what is today referred to as ‘Round the Edges’, the album itself is a genuinely glorious example of the adventurous style of rock music that was freely available during the early 1970s. And, given the status of the record, I think makes the Dark story a curious one.

Dark were formed by guitarist Steve Giles and school friend Bruce Duncan who also played guitar. As the band formed they settled on Charlie Hiams as the drummer with Bruce moving to bass and vocals. This would have been around 1968.

1970 saw Dark introduce keyboard player Martin Moloney. Soon after, Bruce Duncan left, and Steve Giles took on the vocals. Carl Bush was brought in on bass.

Sometime later drummer Charlie Hiams left and he was replaced by Clive Thorneycroft. Soon after that both Martin Moloney and Carl Bush left Ron Johnson came in on bass and band reverted back to a three piece once more. And that’s how it remained till mid-1972.

Martin Weaver, who appears on the album, only joined Dark in May 1972 just prior to the recording sessions. Martin had previously been with another Northampton band called Wicked Lady. Dark would eventually split during November 1972

Apart from the ‘Round the Edges’ album, studio recordings exist of most of the various line up’s mentioned above. The results vary dramatically in quality but a lot of what is listenable is very good and gives the listener a real taste of what Dark were all about,

After going their own ways and getting involved in other projects the ‘Round the Edges’ line up would reconvene when, out of the blue, interest in their album started kicking off during the 1990s.

A specialist record company got in touch with the Dark in 1991 to tell them that their 1972 private release was now worth a small fortune to collectors of rare vinyl. After negotiations, the record company subsequently reissued ‘Round the Edges’ on vinyl and CD. All of a sudden a new generation of music listeners, including myself, were introduced to the band.
Buoyed on by the records relative new found success the band members decided to get back together to see if they could still play. Not only could they still play but they found themselves writing new material. And this activity gave rise to a second album.

Casting his mind back to the early 1990s Steve Giles remembers ‘We had amassed a tidy sum from licensing the rights to several entrepreneurs around the world to release ‘Round the Edges’ in various formats, so the obvious thing to do with the proceeds was to record another album. Some of the tracks for this new project were recorded first at Outrider Studios in Northampton, but it closed down before we got any further, so we then went too Far Heath in Guilsborough to do the rest’.

The songs themselves, for the second album, titled ‘Anonymous Days’, had, as mentioned, been written specifically for the new album. Some were written during the intervening years between the first and second albums. And some of them actually dated right back to just after the ‘Round the Edges’ sessions.

The band was, understandably and justifiably, proud of ‘Anonymous Days’. It was yet another fantastic release. Particularly when you consider that there is 20 years between these albums.

Live gigs, during the last 40 odd years, have been less common than coming across an original copy of the album. Dark did gig around the Northamptonshire area, and sometimes beyond, in the very early days but over the last 40 years there has only been a handful of dates.

If I was to attempt to describe the music of Dark I would say it is like a patchwork quilt of guitar playing. A single Dark track does not contain just one guitar piece. You quite often get several all different and all tastefully woven together into the fabric of the song. It really is unique stuff.

For those who cannot afford to bid on the original L.P. excellent CD copies of both ‘Round the Edges’ which contains some extra tracks and a re-mastered version of ‘Anonymous Days’ can be purchased for the more modest sum of almost £7 each, which includes postage, via the following website:

Dark's Steve Giles talking about the sale....

The £25,000 Album A little over 44 years ago, I was sitting at the dining table in my parents' lounge, gluing a 12"x12" piece of white card to the inside of the back of a plain white record sleeve. These had mounted on to them 4 photographs - 2 colour and 2 black & white - which I had printed myself. I had also printed 9 8"x8" black and white photos on to Lightweight paper that I had copied from photographs I had printed previously and hand written on them the lyrics to 6 of my compositions. The copied photos each had a ½" white strip down the left hand side, except the last one which was back to front compared to the rest. This one had its white strip on the right hand side. The white strips gave me space to staple all 9 photos together to create a booklet. I then took my pride and joy, a 12" black vinyl LP, which contained recordings of those songs - 3 per side, not banded - on which were red labels with black type, and carefully, with it in its polylined inner sleeve, placed it into the card sleeve along with the booklet. I closed the gatefold cover and gazed, with not an insignificant amount of pride, at the package I had created. My Band DARK's first album - Dark Round The Edges. I had absolutely no inkling that some 44 years later that same album would sell for £25,000. Over this weekend, Peter Hassan of Kenilworth Records, who had acquired that album about 2 months ago, messaged me to tell me it had been sold. Ever since it had been announced that it was for sale, Peter would wake up each morning to dozens of emails from all over the World asking for details of the album and how much it was selling for.

He hadn't put a price on it but very soon he was getting offers of over £20,000. I went to see the album and was not surprised at those offers. It was in immaculate condition with virtually no wear & tear on either the LP, Inner, Booklet or Sleeve. Apart from a little bit of ageing of the photos, it was very much as I had last seen it. I found it quite emotional! Peter had decided that he wasn't going to auction it until the New Year. Still the offers came in and started to approach £30,000. Then one day last week, a private collector with whom they had dealt in the past, came in to their shop having arranged for the record to be there so he could examine it. So impressed with the quality was he that he offered them £25,000 there and then. Peter had to discuss this with his business partners. With so much at stake it wasn't a decision he wanted to make on his own. He knew that, with time, he could send out countless emails to all the other interested parties and start some kind of auction. They all knew that if they did this the offers could rise much further. But here was a guy they knew and liked, who could pay for it immediately and take it away with him, making it a much easier transaction than Peter had anticipated, and so, as both he and his partners were desperate for the album to remain in the UK, without too much hesitation, they agreed the sale. Don't ask me who bought it - I don't know! The buyer wishes to remain anonymous - and I, for one, don't blame him! The photo is of this month's Record Collector magazine which includes an article about how I created the sleeves for this album. To see photos of the actual £25,000 album - click the link below.

The original rear cover - now universally recognised as the fron cover — at Kenilworth Records.

Pink Floyd - The Early Years 1965-1972

PINK FLOYD - The Early Years 1965-1972
By Pete Clemons

Fans of Pink Floyd will, no doubt, already be aware that during July 2016 it was announced that a major new work. ‘The Early Years 1965-1972’ was being made available in the form of a box set. The collection will be made up of 27 CD’s and DVD that contain outtakes and live recordings.

They may have already noticed, with some dismay, how much this box set was going to set them back. But if, like me, you cannot justify stumping up a king’s ransom for this collection then all is not lost. 2017 will see the set broken down and sold in smaller chunks thus enabling fans, not able to afford the box set, of having the chance of getting to hear almost all the music being made available.

The comprehensive 27 disc box set appears to have been split into 7 individual book-style volumes, featuring much previously unreleased material. It contains rarely heard tracks, BBC Radio Sessions, remixes, outtakes and alternative versions spread over an incredible 11 hours, 45 minutes of music. There is also film made up of around 130 tracks along with live and TV performance in over 14 hours of audio-visual material.

The content also includes over 20 unreleased songs, more than 7 hours of previously unreleased live audio and over 5 hours of rare concert footage, along with 5 meticulously produced 7" singles in replica sleeves, collectible memorabilia, feature films and new sound mixes.

Previously unreleased tracks include 1967's ‘Vegetable Man’ and ‘In The Beechwoods’ which have been mixed for the first time specifically for this release.
Pink Floyd - Vegetable Man (BBC 6) from ThinkFloyd61 on Vimeo.

In The Beechwoods’ or ‘Down In The Beechwoods’ is a Syd Barrett original recorded by the Pink Floyd during the ‘Saucerful of Secrets’ sessions during October 1967. These are the same sessions that yielded ‘Jugband Blues’, ‘Remember a Day’ and ‘Vegetable Man’. They were all recorded at De Lane Lea studios and not the normal Abbey Road studios.

Although a great deal of Pink Floyd fans will already have poorly bootlegged copies of some of the material being made officially available, somebody somewhere has certainly delved deep into the bands vast music archive to produce this deluxe package.

Breaking the 7 individual books down further they are titled and themed as follows:

1965-1967 – CAMBRIDGE ST/ATION – includes unreleased material from pre-EMI contract like Vegetable Man and an unreleased concert performance from 1967 in Stockholm.

1968 – GERMIN/ATION – explores Pink Floyd following Syd Barrett’s departure at a time when the band are trying to find their feet and sound.

1969 – DRAMATIS/ATION – The Man and The Journey content is covered here.

1970 – DEVI/ATION – Zabriskie Point material covered here.

1971 – REVERBER/ATION – pre Dark Side of the Moon from Nothing to Return of the Son of Nothing.

1972 – OBFUSC/ATION – live at Pompeii and recording Obscured by Clouds in France covered here.

BONUS – CONTINU/ATION (Exclusive to ‘The Early Years 1965-1972’ box set) – material includes 3 feature films: ‘The Committee’, ‘More’ and ‘La Vallée’

So just to emphasise, each of the ‘/ation’ sets as listed above will be released separately at some point in 2017 all except for Contin/uation which is exclusive to the box set.

For those that can’t wait for the individual sets to be released there is a taster 2 CD set was released earlier in November. And judging by the fact that it has reached the top 20 albums, there is still considerable interest in Pink Floyd.

Titled CRE/ATION this set contains, not only re-mastered versions of tunes like See Emily Play and Arnold Lane, but also introduces fans to tracks like The Embryo which was only played live but never released officially. Studio recordings of this track only ever made available on compilation albums. It also introduces the listener to the music Pink Floyd was scored to write for the film Zabriskie Point.

The Early Years 1965-1972 will give fans of the band, new and old, the opportunity to hear the evolution of the band and witness their part in cultural revolutions from their earliest recordings and studio sessions to the years prior to the release of The Dark Side of the Moon, one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

The price of this lavish box set is in excess of £350 while the 2 CD taster set CRE/ATION is around £10. As for the individual sets due for release next year, I have no idea as to how much they will be. And the excitement doesn’t just end there. Oh no.

Following on from a recent and, very successful exhibition that centred on David Bowie, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will play host to a spectacular exhibition of Pink Floyd’s history. It is called The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains.
Visitors will have the unique opportunity to experience never-before-seen classic Pink Floyd concert footage and a custom-designed laser light show and features contributions from all living members of the band.

Tickets for this, I understand, cost £20-£24 and the exhibition runs from 13th May 2017 to 1st October 2017.

European Bands by Pete Clemons

Pete Clemons - Owing to changes at the Coventry Telegraph, it's looking unlikely that the newspaper will be publishing anymore of Pete's articles,which is a shame but Pete has send a few that were earmarked for the paper - and this is the first - on European Bands.

With the UK about to trigger article 50 please find for your enjoyment the 150th music related article I have fired at the Coventry Telegraph.

As Great Britain begins the process of saying goodbye to Europe it is, I think, worth reflecting on some of the wonderful music Europe has given us over recent years.

Of course everyone will have their own memories and examples from a plethora of musical genres that currently exist and that Europe has offered us. As such this list is far from definitive. Instead it is simply a selection of bands that I have been alerted to, or have stumbled across, during the last 25 years or so. And all of it has originated from different corners of Europe.

How Brexit affects visiting bands and artists in general, in terms of touring, remains to be seen. But a good few of those listed below have already graced our shores. Several of them have already appeared locally at the Assembly in Leamington among other venues up and down the country.

Music, by and large, tends to be internet led nowadays. Without the backing of labels, bands and artists now have to work incredibly hard to build an audience and to self-promote. As such many cottage industries have sprung up and continue to develop and flourish. But the internet has also given us the opportunity of making overseas music, thankfully, a lot easier to access. So feel free to stop by at these bands websites where, more often than not, samples are to be found.

What has Europe ever done for us?. Well, it has provided us with some amazing music. And whats more they have taken the trouble to sing in English. So in no particular order…………

Anekdoten are a band from Sweden, comprised of guitarist/vocalist Nicklas Barker, cellist/keyboardist Anna Sofi Dahlberg, bassist/vocalist Jan Erik Liljeström and drummer Peter Nordins. Anekdoten are notable for the use of the Mellotron and their heavy sound dominated by a pounding bass guitar. This band do not release albums prolifically, 6 studio albums in 25 years, but those they do issue are of a particularly high standard.

Nosound – Began as solo project by Giancarlo Erra who was born in Rome during 1978. Giancarlo was, and continues to be responsible for composing, playing, producing and engineering his own music. As the music began to become more popular the demand for live performance grew. And so a band was assembled. A high point for Giancarlo and Nosound was when they were invited to play at the prestigious Starmus Festival on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands of Spain. This performance was later released as an album titled ‘Teide 2390’.

Kingston Wall – was a rock group from Helsinki, Finland who formed in 1987 and who were heavily influenced by the best of what the 60s offered. They consisted of Petri Walli, guitars and lead vocals, Jukka Jvlli on bass and backing vocals and Sami Kuoppamaki on drums and percussion. Walli took the most active role in the band. He formed the group, composed most of the songs and wrote all the lyrics. He was also Kingston Wall's producer and manager and ran the band's record label. They released a superb trilogy of albums between 1992 and 1994 that were rock based but also contained eastern rhythms.

Airbag – are a four piece from Oslo, Norway. When hearing Airbag, the thing that hits you most is the tone of guitarist Bjorn Riis. His playing is, at times, simply off the scale. But that doesn’t mean that they are a one trick pony. In order to deliver his dynamics Bjorn needs to be equally supported by top class musicians. The bands lyrics are as diverse as focusing on the less glamorous aspects of humankind through to how we, as people, are programmed to perform. Airbag has recently released their fourth album which has been described as a sonic journey of lush soundscapes and arrangements.

My Brother the Wind – If you have an interest in improvised music then Sweden’s My Brother the Wind might just be for you. My Brother the Wind are effectively a collective, only coming together for meaningful sessions. The band is made up of members from the following Swedish bands: Anekdoten, Makajodama and Magnolia. They have released three albums of instrumental, improvised rock music of which at least two of the records entered the Swedish music charts.

Riverside – are from Warsaw, Poland and were formed in 2001. Riverside’s music is a more refined and atmospheric version of heavy rock. During this period they have released seven studio albums and a clutch of EP’s. And with each release their reputation has spread further around the globe. Disaster struck the band during February 2016 when guitarist Piotr Grudzinski suddenly passed away. Although recently announcing that the band will continue as a trio, such was Piotr’s presence, I can’t help thinking that the long term future of the band is uncertain.

Opeth – A far cry from the extreme metal band they began as. On Opeth’s more recent diverse music, lead singer Mikael Akerfeldt said ‘I don't see the point of playing in a band and going just one way when you can do everything. It would be impossible for us to play just death metal; that is our roots, but we are now a mishmash of everything, and not purists to any form of music’. The band has recently released its twelfth studio album.
Lunatic Soul – is, in essence, a solo project focused on the visions and talents of the bass player and vocalist from Riverside: Mariusz Duda. Rock music combines with soundscapes as Mariuz examines his alter ego. A fifth album from these highly original sessions is currently being worked on.

Gazpacho – are one of Norway’s premier art rock bands. They have released a series of critically acclaimed concept albums. The themes to these being as broad based as a book written by French author Antoine Saint-Exupéry's "Wind, Sand and Stars" to the ‘the mad ramblings left behind by an unknown tenant in an apartment in Prague’. The word ambitious doesn’t even come close when trying to describe Gazpacho.

The Black Noodle Project - were formed during 2001 in Paris by singer Jérémie Grima. Then, along with the help of a childhood friend, Bertrand Pinsac, Grima created the B-Smile Records label that will release the majority of the group's albums. The band became particular popular in Poland. And after a tour of this country several band members left. The bands last release came during 2013 and little has been heard of them since.

Iamthemorning – OK so this duo are not strictly from Europe. Pianist Gleb Kolyadin and Marjana Semkina hail from St Petersburg in Russia. Since bursting onto the music scene with their self-titled debut album in 2012 they have continued to impress. What is striking about their music are the distinctive vocals and the haunting way it is delivered. Iamthemorning have just recently been awarded ‘album of the year’ for their third album ‘Lighthouse’.

Katatonia – Another extreme Swedish metal band whose style, over time, has evolved into a more mellow sound. The band, formed in Stockholm during 1991, by Jonas Renske and Anders Nystrom have released ten studio albums. More recently Jonas collaborated with Bruce Soord to produce the wonderful ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ album.

Nine Stones Close – Not so much a band but rather the talents of guitarist Adrian Jones who surrounds himself with other talented musicians when the songs are there to be delivered. Adrian has relocated to the Netherlands and the project name refers to a ring of stones to be found in Derbyshire - although only four of the stones still exist. Adrian has been responsible for releasing several dramatic and attention grabbing albums.
I have read too many books to ever consider myself as being a writer, although if I try hard, who knows. But I do enjoy putting these articles together. And I hope you enjoy them too.

Pete Clemons says:- My thanks, once more, goes to the Coventry Telegraph for allowing me the privilege of the space they allow me. And thanks to all the bands and artists whose talents have made my journey through life all the more enjoyable. Without you all there would be none of these articles and a lot less joy in the world. Editor's note (Actually this wasn't published by the Coventry Telegraph and only appears here! However, they have published so many of Pete 's articles,I've left his note as a thank you)

Monday, January 9, 2017