Friday, 30 June 2017

ELOBF Gig Guide #28: Q3 2017

#1,290: Summer into Autumn 2017 means that once again it's "Time" for the latest elobeatlesforever (elobf) Quarterly Gig Guide #28 to be published! Please find a list of selected gigs below (with more to follow when confirmed) between Saturday 1st July and Saturday 30th September during Q3 2017 (plus individual artist links) for you to peruse thus:

Saturday 1st July
Jeff Lynne's ELO @ The KCOM Stadium, Hull
Tickets from £35.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Quill @ The Core Theatre, Solihull
Tickets: £18.00 each (*plus booking fee)

The ELO Experience @ Conkers Ampitheatre, Derbyshire
Tickets: £24.50 each (*plus booking fee)

Jim Onslow @ The Cleveland Arms, Wolverhampton
Free entry

Friday 7th July
The ELO Experience @ Forum Theatre, Malvern, Worcestershire
Tickets: £23.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 8th July
Explosive Light Orchestra @ The Diamond, Sutton-in-Ashfield
Tickets: £7.50 each (advance) or £9.00 each (door)

Sunday 9th July
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers @ Hyde Park, London
Tickets from £65.50 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 14th July
Bryan Adams @ Sixfields Stadium, Worcester
Tickets: from £49.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 15th July

The Steve Gibbons Band @ The Blue Piano Bar, Birmingham
Tickets: £10.00 each (advance) or £12.00 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

Saturday 22nd July
Quill @ Warton Music Festival, Tamworth
Tickets: £10.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Wednesday 26th July
Pete Kent @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: £7.00 each (advance) or £9.00 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

Saturday 29th July

Rebecca Downes supporting Magnum @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: £22.50 each (advance) or £24.50 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

Friday 4th August

The Naked Beatles @ The Robin 2, Bilston
Tickets: £10.00 each (advance) or £12.00 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

The Red Sun Band ft. John Kerton @ The Feathers Inn, Lichfield

Free entry

Saturday 5th August

Regina Spektor @  The Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Tickets: from £30.50 each (*plus booking fee)

Sunday 6th August
The Orchestra @ Rewind North, Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire
Tickets: £59.50 each (*plus booking fee)

The Jim Ramsey Band & ELO Light Years @ The Kings Arms Hotel, Abergavenny
Tickets: £10.00 each

Friday 25th August

The Trevor Burton Band @ The Queen's Head, Wolverley
Free entry

Sunday 27th August
ELOquence (Guy Young) @ Sunnyside Inn, Nuneaton (5:00PM)
Free entry

Friday 1st September

The ELO Encounter @ The Roadhouse, Birmingham
Tickets: £7.00 each (advance) or £8.00 each (door)

Saturday 2nd September
Explosive Light Orchestra @ The Globe, Cardiff
Tickets: £14.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Sunday 3rd September

The Trembling Wilburys @ One Kew Road, London
Tickets: £12.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Thursday 7th September
The ELO Experience @ The Core Theatre, Solihull
Tickets: £22.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Barry Steele in The Roy Orbison Story @ The Lyceum Theatre, Crewe
Tickets: £23.50 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 8th September
The ELO Experience @ The Core Theatre, Solihull
Tickets: £22.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Explosive Light Orchestra @ Walmley Club, Sutton Coldfield
Tickets: £14.00 each (*plus 10% booking fee)

Saturday 9th September
Barry Steele in The Roy Orbison Story @ The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury
Tickets: from £21.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 16th September

ELO Again @ The Civic Theatre Hall, Stourport-on-Severn
Tickets: from £24.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Sunday 17th September

Dave Collison's Black & White Night Revisited @ The Half Moon, Putney
Tickets: £12.00 each (*plus booking fee)

Friday 22nd September

ELO Again @ The Plaza Cinema & Variety Theatre, Stockport
Tickets: £24.20 each (*plus booking fee)

Saturday 23rd September

The ELO Encounter @ The Marr's Bar, Worcester
Tickets: £8 each (advance) or £10 each (door)(*plus booking fee)

Sight 'n' Sound @ The Nest, Hednesford
Free entry

Sunday 24th September

The Trevor Burton Band @ The Grapes, Stafford
Free entry

Jeff Lynne's ELO After a stint with classic Birmingham bands The Idle Race and The Move, Jeff Lynne co-founded The Electric Light Orchestra in 1971, one of the most successful groups of the seventies and eighties. Multiple hit singles and best selling albums followed making Jeff's anthemic ELO songs some of the most loved and recognisable of the last four decades. Jeff went on to a successful solo career and worked with many of his musical heroes including Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, Del Shannon and The Everly Brothers. He also found time to co-found the ultimate 'supergroup' in The Traveling Wilburys, who included pals Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Roy Orbison in their ranks. Find out what the driving force and creative mind behind ELO is currently up to via his official web site thus:

Roy Wood The co-founder of The Move and ELO and the founder of Wizzard, The Helicopters et al will [hopefully] be on the road again during 2017! Find out where to see Dr. Roy Wood and what he is up to with his Rock 'n' Roll Band via his official web site thus:

The Orchestra Former members of ELO and ELO Part II: Mik Kaminski, Louis Clark, Eric Troyer, Parthenon Huxley, Glen Burtnik and Gordon Townsend continue to tour the world extensively. Find out where to see them via their official web site thus:

Quill Legendary Midlands Celtic tinged Americana rockers Quill, led by the incomparable Joy Strachan-Brain, have built up an impressive live reputation over a four decade span and now feature Tony Kelsey and Abby Brant in their ranks. Find out where to see them via their official web site thus:

The Trevor Burton Band A co-founding member of The Move, Trevor Burton can be found performing regularly at various venues in the Midlands with his fantastic band. Find out where on their web site thus:

The ELO Experience Based in Hull, The ELO Experience deservedly won the National UK Tribute Awards in 2013 and they continue to faithfully reproduce classic Electric Light Orchestra hits (and more) live. Find out where to see them now via their official web site thus:

ELO Again Based in South Wales, ELO Again are now spreading their wings across the UK to faithfully recreate live those ELO hits we all know and love. Find out where to see them now via their official web site thus:

Explosive Light Orchestra Not only an ELO tribute act but an original, independent artiste in their own right, The Explosive Light Orchestra - also known as Symphonika - have reproduced the exciting works of ELO at packed theatres and live music venues all around Europe. Find out where to see them now via their official web site thus:

ELO Light Years A new ELO tribute band and another from South Wales, ELO Light Years are headed up by Jim Ramsey alongside Mike 'Chas' Holcombe, Gaelle Favre, Sarah Waycott, Richard Watson, Robin Davey and Claire Brewster with Angharad and Rhiannon Griffiths. Find out where to see them now via their official web site thus:

The ELO Encounter Another new ELO tribute band, this time from Essex, The ELO Encounter feature Simon Rownes and three members of his family: Jack, Max and Henry alongside Martin Donald, Jasmine Ali and Simon Dove. Find out where to see them now via their official web site thus:

The Trembling Wilburys One of two world class UK based Traveling Wilburys' tribute bands, The Trembling Wilburys were founded by drummer Dave Stark in 2010 and feature Dave Collison as Roy Orbison and Glen Knowler as George Harrison performing Wilburys and solo classics to rave reviews. The septet also feature top guitarist Dzal Martin, Andy McNish, Marko Laver and Howard Robin. Find out where to see them now via their official web site thus:

The Big O & The Traveling Wilburys Tribute Show One of two world class UK based Traveling Wilburys' tribute bands, The Big O & The Traveling Wilburys Tribute Show are a multi-talented group featuring Paul Hopkins as Roy Orbison performing Wilburys and solo classics to rave reviews. The sextet is completed by Richard Gibson, Owen James, Aubrey Robinson, Matt Gaffiney and Andrew Whittaker. Find out where to see them now via their official web site thus:

The artistes and shows listed above are recommended by Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf)This listing is not exhaustive. Please contact elobf should you wish events to be considered for the above roster. It'll be nice to see you at some of the above gigs for a chat!

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 30-June-2017

Monday, 26 June 2017

Caught Live (4): Jeff Lynne's ELO @ Wembley 24/06/17

#1,289: Just under a year ago, whilst basking in the afterglow of a phenomenal performance at Glastonbury, fans of ELO were thrilled to hear the news that Jeff Lynne's ELO were to land at London's iconic Wembley Stadium for one glorious June night. Since then, elobeatlesforever (elobf) has been counting down the days to Saturday 24th June as the anticipation and excitement for the concert mounted in the wake of their April induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Ably supported by The Shires and Keane's Tom Chaplin on impressive solo duty, Jeff Lynne's ELO took their places on stage to the familiar sight and sound of rain and thunder to herald the first notes of "Concerto For A Rainy Day" and 'new' opener "Standin' In The Rain" (replacing last years "Tightrope"). The absence of the much missed Richard Tandy meant that Marcus Byrne again stepped up on piano and vocoder duties with Jeff promising the return of his right hand man on "the next leg of the tour".
There's now an air of familiarity about Jeff's touring troupe of thirteen in 2017 and that on stage bond - much marshalled by ace Musical Director Mike Stevens - meant that they had as much fun on stage as the 70,000+ folks watching them, under a what could only be described as a marvellous re-imagination of the spaceship insert that graced the inside sleeve of many thousands of copies of the classic "Out Of The Blue" 2LP some forty (40) years earlier upon a stage design that was literally out of this world.
A radical set list change was also confirmed following on from their Sheffield date three days earlier with four songs from the 2015 song roster including "Secret Messages" moved aside to accommodate a healthy influx of 'new' numbers including "Handle With Care", "Xanadu", "Ma Ma Ma Belle", "Last Train To London", "Do Ya" and "Twilight". All those song changes meant that those assembled got to see and hear an extended set of twenty three ELO classics in 110 minutes of sonic and visual excellence in perhaps the most atmospheric if not stratospheric of gigs thanks to the pre-show announcement that the show was being filmed for a future Blu-ray and DVD release, most likely in time to be included at the top of many a Christmas present list.
The beaming smiles and frequent breaking out into song of the throngs ensured that this electric light fantastic concert, lauded as one of the gigs of the year, more than lived up to its billing. Many a review has doubtless already been written and published about ELO's latest Wembley spectacular but, for me, this was a truly sublime experience - and sure to propel their #1 multi-platinum selling "All Over The World" compilation back up the album charts!
It was truly momentous for this writer to hear Jeff deliver the vocals for "Twilight", "Handle With Care", "Do Ya", "Last Train To London" and "Ma Ma Ma Belle" for the first time, having listened to them as records for years! On such a night as this was, it's difficult to choose a fave but if you pushed me, I'd have to say that "Standin' In The Rain", "Ma Ma Ma Belle", "Do Ya" and "Twilight" were special. Yours Truly KJS did miss "Secret Messages" though, for obvious reasons. May the next ELO tour also be as dramatic, entertaining and wonderful as this one with perhaps a song too from (of course) "Secret Messages" and "Balance Of Power" to top it off ...
Jeff Lynne's ELO performed: "Standin' In The Rain" ~ "Evil Woman" ~ "All Over The World" ~ "Showdown" ~ "Livin' Thing" ~ "Do Ya" ~ "When I Was A Boy" ~ "Handle With Care" ~ "Last Train To London" ~ "Xanadu" ~ "Rockaria!" ~ "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" ~ "10538 Overture" ~ "Prologue/Twilight" ~ "Ma Ma Ma Belle" ~ "Shine A Little Love" ~ "Wild West Hero" ~ "Sweet Talkin' Woman" ~ "Telephone Line" ~ "Turn To Stone" ~ "Don't Bring Me Down" ~ "Mr. Blue Sky" ~ "Roll Over Beethoven"
Jeff Lynne's ELO were: Jeff Lynne (Lead vocals/guitars) ~ Mike Stevens (Musical Director)(Guitars/vocals) ~ Milton McDonald (Guitars/vocals) ~ Lee Pomeroy (Bass/vocals) ~ Donavan Hepburn (Drums) ~ Marcus Byrne (Piano/keyboards/vocoder) ~ Bernie Smith (Keyboards) ~ Jo Webb (Keyboards) ~ Iain Hornal (Backing vocals/guitars) ~ Melanie Lewis McDonald (Backing vocals) ~ Rosie Langley (Violin) ~ Amy Langley (Cello) ~ Jess Cox (Cello)

Find out what Jeff Lynne's ELO are up to by visiting their official website via this link thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Jeff Lynne's ELO to those enlightened folks who love ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, 'Brum Beat', The Idle Race, The Traveling Wilburys, The Move, The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 26-June-2017

Friday, 23 June 2017

Jeff Lynne's ELO: Next Stop Wembley!

Jeff Lynne's ELO @ Sheffield (Photograph courtesy of Kevin Wells)
#1,288: The Jeff Lynne's ELO spaceship will be landing at the world famous Wembley Stadium in less than 48 hours and elobeatlesforever (elobf) will, of course, be there. By now, most folks will be aware that the 23 song set list from their Sheffield gig on Wednesday 21st June radically changed from that performed in Birmingham last June with four (4) songs dropped and no less than eight (8) songs added.

Yours Truly KJS has decided not to publish the song roster from Sheffield or the above noted changes so as to not spoil the surprise for those going to the show at Wembley on Saturday 24th June and/or Glasgow on Wednesday 28th June and/or Hull on Saturday 1st July. What elobf can say is that the London concert may include more songs and that a familiar ELO icon will make a return.

Yours Truly KJS will be nestled amongst the rows in Block B4 and it would be nice to meet some of the lovely people who perchance occasionally to visit (or even) read elobeatlesforever (elobf)Please say "Hi!" if you bump into me! An elobf review of the events at Wembley will be published by Monday (26th) latest.

Jeff Lynne's ELO: June 2017 Wembley Date + Ticket Details
Heading for the Light: UK Dates Beckon for Wilbury Trio
Support in the Universe: Tom Chaplin & The Shires
Jeff Lynne's ELO: One Week to Wembley!

Regarding Richard Tandy

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Jeff Lynne's ELO live at Sheffield, London, Glasgow and Hull to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Traveling Wilburys, The Beatles and related artistes. See you there?

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 23-June-2017

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Regarding Richard Tandy

#1,287: The initials RT to most folks these days mean 'retweet' but to followers of the Electric Light Orchestra they refer to Richard Tandy, the keyboard maestro who has been at the side of Jeff Lynne for well over four decades. His absence from ELO's recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame [RRHOF] induction in New York left many fans wondering as to the reason for Richard's non-attendance, particularly as no news has been forthcoming from 'official' channels since.
Recent photos from the Jeff Lynne's ELO practice sessions and even the odd picture from Chris Evan's Dine 'n' Disco fundraiser for BBC Children Need, held last Saturday (17th June) at Chewton Glen in Hampshire (not too far from their rehearsal studio in South East London) do not show RT in his familiar position by the side of Jeff. It therefore seems reasonable (without speculating) to consider the strong possibility that Richard may well not feature during the forthcoming quartet of EJLO dates at Sheffield, London, Glasgow and Hull.
Whilst elobeatlesforever (elobf) and the 70,000 fans expected at Wembley Stadium on Saturday would dearly love to see RT on stage, if he is indeed not there (for whatever the reason), Yours Truly KJS would like to wish Richard all the very best for the future, hoping that he'll be back alongside Jeff in the ELO spaceship soon.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 20-June-2017

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Jeff Lynne's ELO: One Week to Wembley!

#1,286: Yours Truly KJS and elobeatlesforever (elobf) have been quietly counting down the days to the appearance of Jeff Lynne's ELO and friends at London's iconic Wembley Stadium on Saturday 24th June and their trio of dates in Sheffield, Glasgow and Hull via elobf @ Twitter for almost a year now so it was reassuring to (finally) collect the tickets for the Wembley show this morning, just seven days before what is likely to be one of the gigs of the year.

Jeff Lynne's ELO will, of course, be joined by Tom Chaplin (of Keane fame) for all four dates with The Shires also on the bill at Wembley and Hull for the 2017 leg of the "Alone In The Universe" UK tour. Whilst special unannounced guests might be revealed during the tour, we should not expect to see Jeff's Wilbury brothers Tom Petty and Bob Dylan as they are both currently on tour in the United States and/or Canada.
Yours Truly KJS (and by extension elobf) will be there too, nestled amongst the rows in Block B4. It would be nice to meet some of the lovely people who perchance occasionally to visit (or even) read elobeatlesforever (elobf). Please say "Hi!" if you bump into me! See you there?

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Jeff Lynne's ELO, Tom Chaplin and The Shires live at Sheffield, London, Glasgow and Hull to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Traveling WilburysThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 17-June-2017

Friday, 16 June 2017

ELO: The Burbank Years

#1,285: Between their two year tenure on EMI's Harvest Records imprint from 1971-73 and the beginning of their long association with Jet Records from 1975 onward, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) - and, of course, Wizzard - were signed to Warner Bros. Records in the UK. Yet their time on WB and its famous palm tree lined Burbank label marked something of a downturn in both of their fortunes. The botched exit of Wizzard from Harvest to Warner Bros. during the release of "I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday" in late 1973 quite probably cost it a place at the chart summit alongside Slade and was sadly a sign of things to come.

ELO had enjoyed reasonable album chart success in UK with Harvest with their first two albums reaching #32 and #35 and their first three singles "10538 Overture", "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Showdown" attaining #9, #6 and #12 respectively (The Move also charting regularly with "Tonight", "Chinatown" and "California Man"). However, the first ELO release on WB, the gatefolded "On The Third Day" (K56021) failed to chart with lone single "Ma Ma Ma Belle" (K16349) managing a modest #22 in the singles chart. Even more disappointing was the fact that their much cherished fourth album, their second Warner Bros. release: "Eldorado - A Symphony by The Electric Light Orchestra" (K56090) also failed to chart in their home country as did a foreshortened single edit of "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" (K16510).

Yet, whilst their chart performance here in the UK was stalling, the opposite could be said of their fortunes in the US as a Jeff Lynne led ELO reaped the benefit of the "Do It With The Light On" campaign, relentless touring and their staying with LA based United Artists Records during the same period. Indeed, both "On The Third Day" and "Eldorado" made the Billboard 100 (at #52 and #16), the latter earning ELO their first gold disc whilst the dreamy "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" peaked at an impressive #9 in the US Top 10. The contrast between their growing popularity in the States and their home audience being somewhat unappreciative was stark.

Hoping to build upon their growing reputation as a live act, ELO's concert at Long Beach Auditorium was recorded on Sunday 12th May 1974 and was intended to follow the release of "On The Third Day" but was deemed of insufficient quality to be released in the both the UK and US. "The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach)" did eventually find release in Germany via Warner Bros. (WB56058) becoming a much sought after import for avid ELO fans - including Yours Truly KJS! Interestingly, three tracks from the abandoned live LP: "10538 Overture", "Daybreaker" and "Showdown" ended up as the 'B' sides to "Evil Woman" (JET764), "Nightrider" (JET769) and "Strange Magic" (JET779), the trio of singles taken from "Face The Music" (JETLP11), after ELO had jumped label again here in the UK and Europe to Jet Records. A repackaged "The Night The Light Went On" finally saw official release in the UK in 1985 via Epic Records (EPC32700).
 Whilst the Ardens concentrated on ELO's American adventures and the rich rewards, their focus and commitment to Wizzard was seemingly inversely proportional. Despite that, Roy Wood still delivered hit singles in the UK before he too switched to Jet Records and found chart success as elusive as ELO had with Warner Brothers. Yet, even with Top 40 hits in "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic", it took until "A New World Record" in 1976 for ELO to fully find favour with the UK record buying public. If nothing else, ELO's commercial struggle on Warner Bros. served as a remarkable demonstration of the differing markets on either side of the Atlantic. The rest, they say, is history ...

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 16-June-2017

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Recommended: Moonraker (Gary Frenay)

#1,284: You may recall that Gary Frenay has been featured here on elobeatlesforever (elobf) not least due to his being a co-founding member of The Flashcubes as well as a renowned musician in his own right. Gary contacted Yours Truly KJS this week on the subject of his contribution to a new album of James Bond themed covers entitled "Bond, Bond Songs" compiled by Andrew Curry, the man who brought us "Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock" back in 2013.

And, after tackling the immense songbook of Roy Wood with his fellow Flashcubes in their 2012 long player "Sportin' Wood", Gary has now recorded a sublime version of "Moonraker" for the newly released Bond album which oozes the Traveling Wilburys sound with a dab of George Harrison, a touch of Roy Orbison and the production values of Jeff Lynne, thanks to fellow Flashcube Tommy Allen thus:

"Moonraker" by Gary Frenay and "Bond, Bond Songs" can purchased in digital or limited edition 2CD format via these links thus:

You may also enjoy reading these elobf articles featuring Gary Frenay thus:

REVIEW: SPORTIN' WOOD [The Flashcubes]

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "Moonraker" by Gary Frenay and "Bond, Bond Songs" to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat', The Traveling WilburysThe Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 10-June-2017

Friday, 9 June 2017

Vinyl Story: The ELO AA Side Singles

#1,283: Aside from coloured vinyl, picture discs and 10"/12" singles, one of the marketing techniques invented when single sales were king was the release of double 'AA' sided singles. Instead of the usual 'A' side backed by an obscure (or even familiar) 'B' side, casual record buyers and avid fans were treated to a double whammy making such releases attractive, particularly if they were following successful lead singles in promoting healthy album sales. It therefore came as no surprise to see Jet Records issue two 'AA' side singles in the UK when ELO were at their commercial peak.

Released as the fourth single from ELO's first UK #1 LP "Discovery" following the Top 10 trio of "Shine A Little Love" b/w "Jungle" (SJET144), "The Diary Of Horace Wimp" b/w "Down Home Town" (JET150) and "Don't Bring Me Down" b/w "Dreaming Of 4000" (JET153), the policy worked when "Confusion" and "Last Train To London" (JET166) were twinned together to peak at #8, confirming ELO as one of the biggest selling artistes of 1979, even challenging the supremacy of ABBA.
ELO's second 'AA' single came along following in the wake of their second #1 UK album "Time" in late 1981 in slightly different circumstances. Lead single "Hold On Tight" b/w "When Time Stood Still" (JET7011) was a smash hit peaking at #4 thanks partly to its then budget busting promo video. Both record company and fans both expected second single "Twilight" (JET7015) to also do well but were disappointed when it stalled at #30 despite being backed with the previously unreleased "Julie Don't Live Here". Jet duly rolled out "Ticket To The Moon" and "Here Is The News" (JET7018) as ELO's second 'AA' single (also as a highly desirable 12" picture disc), resulting in a significantly better chart placing of #24. Fourth single "The Way It's Meant To Be" b/w "Wishing" (JET7021) sadly failed to chart signalling the ebbing of ELO's stellar UK singles career.
Unofficial AA: "21st Century Man" was twinned with "Twilight" in France ...
Interestingly, "21st Century Man" and "Twilight" (JET808) were also paired together in France. Although not specifically described a 'AA' single on the sleeve or label, the release is essentially that although the run-out groove for "Twilight" does state "JET 808 B". One can only wonder what might have happened if "21st Century Man" had been released as a single in the UK, particularly as it is still regarded by many as Jeff Lynne's poignant tribute to John Lennon following his tragic death in November 1980.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 09-June-2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

Review: How Much More? (Ivory Tower Project)

The amazing art of Ed Unitsky adorns the sleeve for the new Ivory Tower Project album "How Much More?"
#1,282: It's been the best part of a decade while since Ivory Tower Project released their last album "Red Hot" (reviewed here by elobf back in 2012). Essentially the musical vehicle of NYC musicians Mark Regula and Tony Novarro (in lyrical liaison with the late Johnny Jace), their latest recording "How Much More?" really is a tour de force encompassing a variety of music styles around a core theme of classic American AOR.

There's an eighties flavour here with dance orientated mixes of five tracks from "Red Hot" including a phenomenal funky remix of "Burning" alongside nine new wonderfully crafted guitar driven songs, the majority of which are highly impressive rockers with a sprinkling of ballads plus the sublime instrumental "Surf Song" (see video below) and the rather funky "Woman Of The Times". At times you are listening to a reinvention of classic American rock before being taken on a journey back to the days of extended 12" remixes or an adventure through inspired guitar solos that shout out "Prog Rock!". Yet what has endeared me to this record is the way it combines those qualities under the umbrella of what is essentially a soft rock MOR album with added complexities crammed into almost seventy minutes.

"... an album ... that is a credit to their talent and creativity."

Highlights for me include the epic title track and opener "How Much More?" (replete with almost the last lyrics written by Jace before his passing in 2003), the anthemic "When Friends Become Lovers" (another example of Tony Novarro's excellent guitar licks), "Please Tell Me" (a showcase for Mark Regula's smooth, soulful vocals), the immensely likeable "Woman Of The Times" and (of course) "Surf Song" - a retro sixties instrumental yielding yet another musical surprise. "How Much More?" is a confirmation that the journey that Ivory Tower Project had made through multiple personal tragedies has been worth it. Both Mark Regula and Tony Novarro have put together an album to not only justify their faith in the project but also something that is a credit to their talent and creativity. "How Much More?" by Ivory Tower Project is released worldwide on Tuesday 6th June. A pleasure to listen to and review. (9/10)

Trax (68:02): [01] "How Much More?" (6:35) ~ [02] "The Ides Of March (Et Tu Brute?)" (7:21) ~ [03] "Gotcha" (Full Length Remix) (5:56) ~ [04] "Ring Around Rosie" (3:39) ~ [05] "Way Too Late" (Full Length Remix) (3:52) ~ [06] "Always" (4:52) ~ [07] "When Friends Become Lovers" (3:36) ~ [08] "Please Tell Me" (4:11) ~ [09] "Woman Of The Times" (5:03) ~ [10] "Burning" (Full Length Remix) (4:52) ~ [11] "Surf Song" (2:58) ~ [12] "You Can See It In My Eyes" (Remix) (4:13) ~ [13] "Le Dare Un Anillo A Rosi" (3:29) ~ [14] "My Name" (DJ Distortion Remix) (7:25)

Ivory Tower Project are: Mark Regula (Vox, keys, acoustic guitars, percussion, bass, drums) and Tony Novarro (Guitars, backing vox, bass, drums, percussion, engineering). You can find out more about Ivory Tower Project and/or buy "How Much More?" in CD and/or digital formats via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends "How Much More?" by Ivory Tower Project to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELOJeff LynneRoy WoodThe MoveThe Idle Race'Brum Beat'The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 05-June-2017

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Caught Live (15): The ELO Experience @ Leicester 02/06/17

#1,281: The ELO Experience embarked on their Summer tour at the classy and somewhat impressive 2,200 capacity De Montfort Hall in Leicester last night (Friday 2nd June) as a near full house were treated to an electric light fantastic journey through not only the hits but also a wonderful exposition of two thirds of ELO's iconic 1977 "Out Of The Blue" double album as the Hull based octet celebrated the 40th anniversary of its release in some style.

Andy Louis (once again on top form following his health scare), Steve Hemsley, Andy Lawson and their talented troupe have developed a show over the years that has ticked all the boxes for fans of the Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne, setting the standard for all ELO tribute bands. But after this gig their reputation was surely further enhanced if not into the stratosphere as they performed songs not only never heard before by Yours Truly KJS but also never played live ever by ELO themselves.

I had to pinch myself as I saw and heard "Night In The City", "Starlight" and "Believe Me Now" live for the first time alongside "Steppin' Out", "Across The Border", "Summer And Lightning" and "Standin' In The Rain" as well as those familiar OOTB hit singles. Add into the mix the fact that a good selection of ELO singles from "10538 Overture" to "When I Was A Boy" were also there and you were witness to as inspired a collection of ELO classics in twenty eight songs as could be squeezed into a set. I loved this concert - the venue too - and elobeatlesforever (elobf) heartily suggests that ELO fans and admirers go see The ELO Experience and their show, especially in its present format, if you are so able. (10/10)

The ELO Experience performed: "All Over The World", "Evil Woman", "Telephone Line", "The Diary Of Horace Wimp", "Shine A Little Love", "Starlight", "Xanadu", "Believe Me Now", "Steppin' Out", "Showdown", "When I Was A Boy", "Wild West Hero", "Confusion", "Livin' Thing" ~ Intermission ~ "Standin' In The Rain", "Sweet Talkin' Woman", "Summer And Lightning", "Across The Border", "Night In The City", "10538 Overture", "Turn To Stone", "Last Train To London", "Rock 'n' Roll Is King", "Rockaria!", "Hold On Tight", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Don't Bring Me Down", "Mr. Blue Sky"

The ELO Experience were: Andy Louis (Lead vocals/guitar), Steve Hemsley (Keyboards/vocals), Pete Smith (Bass guitar/vocals), Jan Christiansen (Lead guitar/vocals), Tony Lawson (Drums), Liz Stacey (Violin), Clare Little (Cello/Twitter*) and Alex Marshall (Cello)

The ELO Experience continue to tour the UK extensively and you can view all their Tour Dates, sign their Guest Book and find out what they are currently up to via their official sites thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends The ELO Experience to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, The Move, Roy Wood, The Idle Race, The Beatles, 'Brum Beat' and all related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 03-June-2017

Friday, 2 June 2017

Caught Live (5): Stand Up & Rock! @ Wolverhampton 01/06/17

#1,280: Yours Truly KJS took a second look at the 2017 version of Stand Up & Rock! alongside my good friend (and leading light in elobf recommended The 286) Spencer Hannabuss as Jasper Carrott and Bev Bevan rock and rolled into Wolverhampton's iconic Grand Theatre last night (Thursday 1st June).

Whereas the songs were the same as per the show in Telford (see elobf review here), a full house and a polished performance both by legendary comedian Jasper Carrott and best pal Bev Bevan with his most excellent musical troupe ensured another hugely entertaining night of laughter and some superb renditions of classics largely from the Sixties and Seventies. Stand Up & Rock! is truly a show that you can watch again and again yet still leave with a smile on your face after having a great time - even if your 6' 4" frames cannot squeeze into somewhat limited legroom! Needless to say, there's plenty in this show to please fans of ELO and The Beatles.
It was also great to see Spencer meet one of his musical heroes in Bev Bevan after the show whereupon you can be assured that Bev was more than adequately congratulated re: his recent RRHOF award (once again, many thanx to Musical Director Tony Kelsey). There are still plenty of Stand Up & Rock! shows for you to consider going to see during 2017 and 2018 thus:

Malvern Forum Theatre (Wednesday 21st to Friday 23rd June)
Shrewsbury Theatre Severn (Monday 26th to Wednesday 28th June)
Shanklin Theatre (*now Wednesday 7th March 2018*)
Weymouth Pavilion Theatre (*now Thursday 8th March 2018*)
Poole Lighthouse Theatre (*now Friday 9th March 2018*)
Southend Cliffs Pavilion (*now Tuesday 13th March 2018*)
King's Lynn Corn Exchange (*now Friday 16th March 2018*)
Llandudno Theatre Cymru (*now Sunday 25th March 2018*)
Buxton Opera House (*now Monday 26th March 2018*)
Torquay Princess Theatre (*now Wednesday 28th March 2018*)
Great Yarmouth Britannia Pier Theatre (*now Saturday 31st March 2018*)
Basingstoke Anvil Theatre (*now Friday 6th April 2018*)
Northampton Royal & Derngate Theatre (*now Saturday 7th April 2018*)
High Wycombe Swan Theatre (*now Sunday 8th April 2018*)
Lichfield Garrick Theatre (*now Wednesday 11th to Saturday 14th April 2018*)
Chesterfield Winding Wheel (*now Tuesday 17th April 2018*)
Chatham Brook & Central Theatre (*now Thursday 19th April 2018*)
Guildford G Live Theatre (*now Saturday 21st April 2018*)
St. Albans Arena (*now Tuesday 24th April 2018*)
Peterborough East of England Arena (*now Saturday 28th April 2018*)
Southampton Mayflower Theatre (*now Sunday 29th April 2018*)
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (*now Monday 7th May 2018*)
Clacton Princess Theatre (*now Friday 11th May 2018*)

elobeatlesforever (elobf) usually include a set list within our gig reviews but on this occasion we've decided to keep you in suspense to encourage you to go see the show (where it's not already sold out) so as to not spoil the theatrical pleasure of later attendees. Stand Up & Rock! in 2017 featured Jasper Carrott, Bev BevanPhil Tree, Tony Kelsey, Abby Brant, Geoff Turton and Suzi Woo. Find out more about Stand Up & Rock! via these links thus:

elobeatlesforever (elobf) recommends Stand Up & Rock! to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO, Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO [and related] Universe ... KJS ... 02-June-2017