Sunday, May 31, 2015

C'mon, Let's Go: Girlschool rips through tour, set to unleash 'Guilty As Sin'

Girlschool's Kim McAuliffe. (All Cat Rose photos)

Andy, text; Cat Rose, photos

Getting down and dirty, and cranking out a plethora of raw, back-to-basics anthems.

That's what Kim McAuliffe and her hard rockin' Girlschool bandmates have on their agenda, some 37 years after starting up in London. The quartet's latest album, "Guilty As Sin," is No. 13 for the band and will be unleashed this summer on UDR Records.

The record features corkers like "Come, The Revolution" and "Take It Like a Band," which were part of the band's setlist when it rolled through Seattle to play Studio Seven last Thursday night. Other career-spanning songs that blasted through Girlschool's amps -- and no doubt left them smoking a bit -- were "C'mon Let's Go," "Hit and Run," "Never Say Never," "Screaming Blue Murder," "Watch Your Step," "Race with the Devil," "Emergency" and more.

Yes, McAuliffe (vocals, rhythm guitar), Denise Dufort (drums), Enid Williams (bass, vocals) and Jackie "Jax" Chambers (lead guitar) were hot as a torch on stop six of their North American tour with Sweden's Crucified Barbara.

"We're really happy about it, obviously. We weren't sure whether we were gonna be doing another studio album at all," McAuliffe said following the Seattle gig. "Before we knew it, there we were in recording with Chris Tsangarides, who we'd already recorded with in the '80s, so we knew him and everything. And there we were doing it all over again."

McAuliffe -- one of the band's original members along with Dufort and Williams -- chuckles when she thinks about lyrics for the new album.

"We go, 'What the hell are we gonna write about now?' You think you've written about everything really you think of, but there's always something to write about," she said as a fan asked her to sign a drum head (neither of them had a pen, but hopefully that was sorted later).

She continued: "'Revolution' is written about how people aren't satisfied in the world anymore with things. And, of course, when I wrote 'Take It Like a Band,' it's all about being on the road."

For the members of Girlschool, rock and roll is their lives, although McAuliffe is looking forward to getting in some gardening and playing with her four rescue rabbits on her half-acre abode this summer when she returns from tour.

"You don't really think about it, you just do it," McAuliffe said about rocking with Girlschool. "It's fun -- and what else would we do?"

Back to that garden ... "Funny enough, when I was having to write for the new album, yeah, I'd be sitting out in the garden going through stuff. We didn't get anything (inspiration) from the trees or anything. I'm not that hippy-ish."

About an hour before taking the stage in Seattle, McAuliffe stood to the side, arms folded, grinning and nodding her head as Crucified Barbara leveled the crowd.

"I must admit, obviously we started 37 years ago, we were expecting a lot more females to come up. It only seems to be now, 37 years later, that there's more. It's taken it's time, isn't it?" McAuliffe said.

On Crucified Barbara, she added: "I'm proud of them. I think they're brilliant. So they're all girls, they're just a bloody good band. It's a bit like people still thinking, cause it's such a novelty, you can't possibly have two girl bands playing... you know, there'd be a rivalry. But of course it's not. It's like saying Deep Purple/Black Sabbath on the same bill -- they're just different bands. They're all blokes, but they're just different bands ...we're all girls, we're different bands."

Original Girlschool lead guitarist/vocalist Kelly Johnson would have surely been standing by McAuliffe's side, digging the rock in Seattle.

Johnson died of cancer nearly eight years ago and her spirit remains with Girlschool.

"We still talk about her all the time and laugh about everything. We laugh about things we've done in the past. She's still very much with us," McAuliffe said with a smile.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Can't compete with The Rezillos

Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds. (All Cat Rose photos)

Andy, text; Cat Rose, photos

Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds are better than any dynamic duo on any planet.

C'mon... Fife strutting across the stage, giving her boots a workout while scowling and smiling at the crowd as the melodies spring forth into her microphone. That's badass.

And then you've got her partner in crime, Reynolds, swinging his body every which way, pointing at the punkers and grinning ear to ear while his gruff vocals fit perfectly side by side with Fife's.

That's The Rezillos for you. Kicking things off in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1976 and delivering their catchy and riveting tunes to Seattle's Studio Seven in 2015. They're still making it happen with a blend of the classics and a handful of infectious new songs that are, well, "Out of This World."

Also featuring Angel Paterson (drums), Chris Agnew (bass) and the rip-roaring Jim Brady (guitar), The Rezillos blasted through nine songs off the legendary "Can't Stand The Rezillos" album, including "Flying Saucer Attack," "Top of the Pops," "2000 A.D" and, of course, "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight."

Standouts from the new album "Zero" are "(Take Me to the) Groovy Room," "Animal" and the stunning "Nearly Human."

Other bands only wish they had songs this good.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds: Boss tuneage

Kid Congo Powers. (All Cat Rose photos)

When you're Kid Congo Powers, people do what you ask of them. Shake, sing, clap, etc. -- you want to be on board with what he's up to.

Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds got the crowd rolling and properly warmed up for The Rezillos on Friday at Studio Seven in Seattle.

It was a groovin' good time with these guys ... and the tunes even generated a slam pit. Now that's boss.

Kid Congo, a former member of The Gun Club, The Cramps and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, among others, simply shreds, as do his cohorts: Kiki Solis (bass), Mark Cisneros (guitar) and James Canty (drums).

Cat Rose photos:

Crowd's eyes open wide when All Eyes West blasts away in Seattle

Jeff Dean goes off. (All Cat Rose photos)

Andy text -- Cat Rose photos

Before All Eyes West hammered out its first chords, guitarist Jeff Dean stood at stage left, his hands and legs fidgeting a bit. It was a somewhat calm before the storm.

And then once the Chicago band's opening song kicked in, Dean was unleashed, leaping off the stage and becoming one with the crowd as vocalist/bassist Justin Miller and drummer Ronnie DiCola blasted away behind him. The small crowd stepped back and gave Dean room to rage, and he used the floor to his advantage -- running, jumping, head-shaking and arm-wielding his way through the band's ferocious set of indie/HC tunes that also packed a melodic punch.

All Eyes West is as tight a unit as you'll find today and they opened the crowd's eyes and gained some new followers during their set at The Kraken Bar & Lounge in Seattle on May 12 alongside Black Theory, Jonny and Mikey and Foxhole Norman.

Check this band out! That is all.