the red penguin

Steve Hackett – Regent Theatre, Ipswich

It’s still exciting to get a real ticket at a gig, even if it says “Unknown Customer”

My 8th Hackett gig (6th since I started watching him again in 2013, after a 25 year gap) and my 7th in Ipswich too. I’ll have to remember two things – don’t travel through Ipswich on a Tuesday in the rush hour; it took me nearly an hour from the outskirts until I took my place in the theatre. Also don’t be fooled by the Regent Car Park behind the theatre, which looks a lot bigger than it is – and it’s always full up when I get there. I ended up parking half a mile away.

I wasn’t planning on missing this gig even though I am currently enjoying my heaviest cold since before Covid times. I spoke to Steve a couple of weeks ago and for a guy who’s 72 he still has an amazing level of energy and enthusiasm. The first half of the set was a bunch of his solo songs – I knew all except the newest one, The Devil’s Cathedral, and it reminded me how good some of his solo albums are – on a par with music he was making with Genesis at that time.

As always with these shows, there was an interval, and I ran out into the night as quickly as I could; I hadn’t eaten because I’d got there so late. For a city centre Ipswich is amazingly devoid of people and places, but I managed to find someone who made me a football-ground-style burger, which I stuffed inside me with plenty of time to get back to my seat for the start of part 2.

The second half of the set was the whole of Foxtrot in its entirety – this tour, of course, celebrating the album’s 50th anniversary! The album does sound dated – but I still love it and still play it at home from time to time. Good to hear a couple more Genesis tracks in the encore too. Another consistently high Hackett performance – long may these continue.

    Set 1:

  • Ace Of Wands
  • The Devil’s Cathedral
  • Spectral Mornings
  • Every Day
  • A Tower Struck Down
  • Camino Royale
  • Shadow Of The Heirophant

    Set 2:

  • Watcher Of The Skies
  • Time Table
  • Get ‘Em Out By Friday
  • Can-Utility And The Coastliners
  • Horizons
  • Supper’s Ready


  • Firth Of Fifth
  • Los Endos/Slogans/Los Ends

Tuesday 4 October 2022, 31 views

Whatever happened to …?

I was looking at a 2006 incarnation of this blog which had a few links in the sidebar called “other good stuff to read”. Whatever happened to these music blogs? (Links to the dead sites not included).

  • Good Weather For Airstrikes – nothing there any more. Just a message saying “Error establishing a database connection”.
  • Like Flies On Sherbert – looks like it’s been taken over by an Indonesian scammer.
  • No Rock & Roll Fun – this one’s still there! Not very active these days though, just wakes up around Eurovision. The last post was in May 2021 and was about Liz Truss not knowing what she was talking about. How little we knew of what was to come …
  • Obscure Sound – this one is still here too and it’s busy! 7 posts yesterday alone. I don’t know any of the artists so I should probably check them out. There’s a staggering stat on the front page too … “Send us your music!  Our stats: 69,742 received, 3,181 approved (7.4%)”
  • Silence Is A Rhythm Too – still exists, but hasn’t been updated since December 2013.
  • Take Your Medicine – since redirected to another blog, Nothing But Green Lights – but should be nothing but red flags as it’s infected with malware.
  • The Torture Garden – this was a music blog, honest! But it’s now closed, saying “this blog is open to invited readers only”.
  • Unarocks – the blogspot this was hosted on has been taken over by a spammer.
  • Whatever’s Left – seems to still be alive, but a scripting error means that it fails to load.
Tuesday 4 October 2022, 148 views

Vero – Heather

I have been listening to a lot of female-fronted (not a genre) indie pop lately, but I’m just rediscovering/revisiting Vero’s excellent album Unsoothing Interior, which came out in May.

They’re a band from Stockholm and have nothing to do with the would-be social network of the same name. The discordant nature of some of their songwriting means they have more in common with Elastica than bands like the Sundays or the Darling Buds, but I love all of them so it’s really not a problem.

Just need to find out when they’re going to play a gig in the UK now, as info on their activities is a bit sparse to say the least.

I love the backdrop in the video here; reminds me of going into the shops in Romford in the 80s and 90s. Stacks of televisions all playing something different for some reason!

Monday 3 October 2022, 199 views

Thousand Yard Stare – Espirit du Corps

I’ve recently started to follow nothingelseon on Twitter. It’s fascinating as he’s currently putting up every NME and Melody Maker cutting from 1991 that he can find. Around that time I bought both papers and religiously read them from cover to cover. So I probably did read this interview with Thousand Yard Stare from June 1991 that he posted a couple of days ago:

Who would have thought that, over 31 years later, I’d be writing a blog talking about the band’s new single and album? They’ve been hard at work with new releases since they reformed in 2015. Here’s the video for new single Espirit du Corps – a new album, Earthanasia, is out on October 14 and you can buy it through the TYS webstore.

I’ve just remembered too that Earthanasia was the name of the Goodies Christmas Special in 1977 – one that scared the shit out of me and almost ruined my Christmas!

Friday 23 September 2022, 1343 views

Adwaith – Eto (live at Maes B)

Adwaith’s Bato Mato album is one of my favourites of the year, and Eto (Again) is one of the standout tracks on it.

This is their performance at Maes B – the world’s biggest contemporary Welsh language music festival and the little brother of the National Eisteddfod. It was held in Tregaron, Ceredigion from 2-8 August this year.

I’m very tempted to get tickets for next year’s event; Welsh language bands are getting better and better.

Thursday 22 September 2022, 1176 views

Jesus Jones: master criminals

Why does Jesus Jones tweeting about how to perfectly defraud hotel minibars fill me with such joy?

Monday 19 September 2022, 1403 views

Snow Coats – Anyway

A band from the Netherlands who have just released their second album, “If It Wasn’t Me, I Would’ve Called It Funny”, on the wonderful Alcopop! Records. I’ve been playing it a lot and it’s definitely going to end up in my top 5 for the year.

Glad I heard their music before I went on the internet, or I might have been put off. I Googled Snow Coats and the first review that came up referred to them as “emo indie alt-rockers”. They are NOT emo – the vocals are sweet and audible and they don’t do that stupid throat-screaming thing at all. You can’t just thrown a load of words and hope that people read it because they like one of them!

Sunday 18 September 2022, 1372 views

Salad – Plank

Sometimes you just have to post a song because you’d forgotten how good it is. The CD single this is taken from is still sitting in a box of many CD singles I have in my loft. I might not have heard this song in its original form for 25 years until today. So thank you to all those people who upload obscure B-sides to YouTube – it’s a valuable service when Spotify and other streaming services overlook complete discographies.

When Salad reformed in 2016 this was the first song they played – acoustically, just Marijne and Paul, at Antenna Studios in Crystal Palace. They’ve since played it a few times so I’m guessing it must be one of their favourites too.

Thursday 15 September 2022, 1646 views

Sink – Drainpipe Jane

I used to voraciously consume the music press every week from the late 80s to the mid 2000s, my knowledge backed up by visits to record shops and listening to shows such as Gary Crowley on GLR. So I am amazed I missed this band first time as they would have been right up my street. Literally. I lived in a flat on the A12 in Romford at that time.

Sink were from Ipswich and active between 1988 and 1991. This was a single they released in 1991 and is taken from their album Vega-Tables, which is available on Bandcamp. Singer Ed Wenn (I think Ed was the singer!) is now playing with a new band, Dealing With Damage.

I noticed that the album was recorded and mixed by Richard Hammerton between January 3rd-24th 1991 at Purple Studios, Great Yarmouth. Richard was the lead singer of another great East Anglian band from that time, Stare.

Tuesday 6 September 2022, 2001 views

Looks legit

Spam emails have been pretty dumb for years. It’s not necessarily accidental – the idea is that if you reply to a really stupid one, you’re ready to be duped for anything. But this?

The new president Mr Joe Biden, has signed to renew all your documents that is expired and deliver your ATM Card in package to you, and the only necessary money you have to pay is IMF international monetary fund to sign for the activation of your ATM card which is only $500 to avoid story or any more fee after, so you can use your card immediately you receive your ATM Card,so get back to us for more information and also make sure you send your information to us to avoid wrong delivering.

They’re only asking for personal details, and I’ve got a couple of ex-bosses I could sign up …

Tuesday 6 September 2022, 2048 views