Category Archives: Nicky Reviews Rock

Live and in concert: FM, Europe and Foreigner in Nottingham

The Dream Line-Up: FM, Europe and Foreigner. Completely live and in person.

7 April 2014 marked another historic moment in the rock diary of Nicky Wells, author of romance with rock stars! Not only was I lucky enough to secure front-row balcony tickets for one of the best gigs of the year… but I also got to take my entire family. Yes, husband and kids. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. It’s almost like I’m bringing my love for rock full circle as it’s blossoming in the kids. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it was just beyond words to take the kids and see them enjoying themselves so much! But I’m getting ahead of myself here…

Now I know my boys are only seven and nine respectively, but they do love their rock music, and they had been begging for months to see a ‘real bona fide’ gig, especially one that would involve the band that plays “Tough It Out” (that would be FM) and the “Rocket Song” (otherwise known as “The Final Countdown”–yes, that would be Europe!). So when this opportunity in Nottingham offered itself with no age restriction for the venue… we jumped at it. And my goodness gracious me was a good time had by all!

First of all, we got the chance to meet up with the lovely Andie and Caroline Farren whom we had met at an FM gig in Nuneaton last year. I’m telling you, folks, rock friendships last a lifetime! We started the evening with a pizza dinner together and then were delighted that, by pure fluke, we even only sat a few rows apart from each other in the venue. Awesome stuff!

Wells and Farren families in the Royal Concert Hall...ready for the show!

Wells and Farren families in the Royal Concert Hall…ready for the show!

FM took the stage and owned it, playing as many classics and all-time favourites as was possible to ram into a forty-minute set. “Burning My Heart Down” practically burned the hall down, the fans loved it so much!

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Europe absolutely rocked. There really is no other way to describe the magic they performed last night. My boys were more or less out of their seats, and my little drummer was drumming along ferociously on the balustrade. When the band eventually closed with ‘Final Countdown’, everybody–and I mean everybody–in the entire hall was on their feet.

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In between sets, we managed to do a tiny little bit of hobnobbing with FM, introducing them to the next generation of their fans…


Foreigner was a new experience to me. As in, they are one of those bands that I’d always meant to see but never previously managed. Sadly, guitarist Mick Jones had been taken ill for the evening, but the show went on anyway, and the remaining band members did their music proud. Front man Kelly proved himself a star entertainer and had the crowd eating out of his hands. It was mind-blowing!

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And the all-round verdict? Let’s do this again soon!

Long live rock ‘n’ roll!

Everybody *Had* a Good Time–Interview with The Darkness!!

Happy Friday! I can’t believe where this week’s gone. Doesn’t time fly when you have a good time?

So Tuesday saw my interview with ultimate UK glam rock band, THE DARKNESS. Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham and Frankie Poullain took time out of their busy schedules to sit down with myself, Ed Wellman and Tom Stevens to be interviewed for Siren 107.3 FM. It was amazing and humbling to chat with these guys. They were relaxed and very friendly, funny, thoughtful, and just a little tongue-in-cheek at times. Exactly how you’d imagine an iconic rock band to be between lunch and sound check. If you happen to be reading this, guys, I just want to say “thank you” again. You rocked!


At The Engine Shed: Frankie, Dan, myself and Ed, scrutinising my interview crib sheet (or not, LOL). 🙂

This interview was on air on Wednesday and Thursday night ~ but if you missed it, you can tune in now, right now, right here:


As if this wasn’t exciting enough, I also had the gig to go to later that day!  And it was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Justin’s vocals as strong and unique as ever. Dan’s guitar playing extraordinary and breathtaking. Ed’s drumming powerful and mind-boggling. And Frankie’s bass playing bone-shaking and still-buzzing-in-my-head. The show had everything: Shrill riffs, stand-up comedy, handstands (you’ve got to see Justin’s leg-clapping to understand what I mean), crowd walking, awkward silences (Justin likes awkward silences, it appears), more comedy, audience participation, jump suits, a shiny bolero, and bobble hats. AWE-SOME.


Unfortunately, due to a technical hitch, my camera refused to take any photos, and my very ancient mobile wasn’t quite up to the task. To cap it all, I no longer have the lead to get photos off the mobile, so this… with apologies… is the best I can do. It’s my token, “I Was There” photo. And TBH, I was way too busy singing and rocking along to worry about taking photos.
So. Everybody Had a Good Time. I’m still reeling. What a week!

The Darkness very definitely rocks!

Rocking out with FM ~ Behind the Scenes at the Rockville Tour, March 2013

In this post, I’ll take you behind the scenes and in front of the stage with UK rockers, FM: sound check; the crew; the show; the interview; takedown; memories; farewell 

FM On Tour:
Behind the Scenes and In Front of The Stage, Nuneaton, 22 March 2013

It’s no secret that I love rock, and that I have a ‘thing’ for rock musicians. So you won’t be surprised to hear that I had the most amazing time at the most recent FM rock gig I attended. I had booked tickets for myself and OH months ago, and, on the spur of the moment, added the VIP package into the mix for both of us as well.  So I happily took possession of my VIP pass….

Today, I'm a VIP!

Today, I’m a VIP!

…and used the first available opportunity to get photos taken with all of the band.  This is a fairly big deal to me, actually, because these are the first ‘Nicky with FM’ photos I have ever had in all the time I have known and loved this band. Don’t ask me why… it just seemed uncool (and impractical), as a teenager, to take a camera to gigs, so I never did.

20 years...and here's my first ever 'FM and Me' Gallery! From top left to right: Pete Jupp (drums); Jim Kirkpatrick (guitars); Jem Davis (keyboards); Steve Overland (The Voice);  Merv Goldsworthy (bass).

20 years…and here’s my first ever ‘FM and Me’ gallery! From top left to right: Pete Jupp (drums); Jim Kirkpatrick (guitars); Jem Davis (keyboards); Steve Overland (The Voice); Merv Goldsworthy (bass).

 Apparently, this gig was the smallest on the entire tour, or so I’m told. Nonetheless, it was an absolute blast, as I knew it would be. Grab a cuppa (or something stronger, if it’s late enough in the day) and let me entertain you by proxy.

Sound Check

The first perk of being a VIP was that we were allowed to attend the sound check, which meant that the ‘gig’ really started for me at 4 p.m. It was lovely to walk in and get a little wave from Pete and a smile from Steve as I lined up for my first “hey, look, I really was here” photo.

I am so here!

I am so here!

Listening to, and watching, the sound check, was a revelation. I had heard parts of a sound check before (both from inside and outside various venues, LOL), but I had never had the privilege of taking in the whole thing. The band went through instrument by instrument, starting with big, heavy bangs on the drums, working their way through guitars and bass, adding in the keyboard and finally focusing on the vocals, lead vocals first, then backing vocals too. The ubiquitous ‘one-two-one-two-two’ was heard over and over again, and other interesting bits of conversation flew our way as well.

“It’s floor 26, but there’s no mike on it.” (Pete and stage manager, Steve, figuring out why the drums weren’t coming through as planned.)

“Get me a bit of Jim in here, please.” (Merv, asking the sound man, Richard, to put more of Jim’s guitars and vocals through his ‘wedge’, the speaker right in front of the musician that allows him to hear what the rest of the band is playing.)

“It’s all top heavy with no body.” (Steve, asking the sound man to alter the way Steve’s voice got played back to him through his wedge.)

Instruments and vocals duly balanced, the band launched into short renditions of songs. The opening riffs for That Girl made me want to bop along instantly and I had to remind myself to be quiet. Closer To Heaven made me predictably weak at the knees, and Burning My Heart Down sounded as hot as ever except… half-way through the second line, Steve’s voice disappeared. Surprised, he tapped the microphone, joking, “You need this mike on, Richard.” Richard nodded and gave a thumbs up, looking busy. Alas, the mike stayed off in spite of his best efforts. In fact,  the sound desk went down. And stayed down!

I know it was a really stressful occasion for the band and the crew, but for a fan, it was absolutely mesmerizing to see these professionals work together calmly to solve the problem. Various options were explored, cables were being tweaked and replaced but in the end, a new sound desk was found (at extremely short notice ~ somebody worked miracles). The sound man had that new desk plugged in, wired and set up within a matter of minutes, and ready to continue the sound check within half an hour. You never appreciate, as a humble mortal, all the things that can go wrong behind the scenes and how much work and effort goes into the show. It was an eye-opener and, if you hadn’t been at the sound check, you would never have known that something had gone wrong just a mere couple of hours before the show. AWESOME result.



Whilst waiting for the new desk, there was little idleness ~ small wonder, with so much to do. Here’s Pete, making sure the drum kit is in tip top condition!

Well ~ they've got to be shiny for a polished performance! #loveit

Well ~ they’ve got to be shiny for a polished performance! #loveit

The Crew

Let’s take a moment to meet the crew. Really, without the crew, the tour wouldn’t happen and I am absolutely in awe of what these guys achieve. Here’s the chief sound man, Richard, who’s been with the band since 1994.

Richard, the sound man

Richard, the sound man

The view of the stage from the sounddesk

The view of the stage from the sound desk

Meet Ralf, the merchandiser. I was chatting to him before the show (bless those VIP tickets!) and soon discovered that he hails from Germany, just like yours truly. Not only that, but he’s also from Düsseldorf, a mere 20 minute drive from my hometown of Essen. Small world, right? It gets more interesting still. You see, Ralf is a massive FM fan but he’s not actually a roadie by profession. In his day job, he’s a company lawyer back in Germany. He came on tour because there was a vacancy for a merchandiser and he thought it sounded like great fun to take part. Thus he took a week’s holiday, packed his bags, waved goodbye to his wife and kids for a few days, and tried out the touring life style. “I’m absolutely loving every minute of it,” he said wryly when I asked him whether it was worth it. Go figure. (Now there’s an idea for my next holiday…)


Ralf, the merchandise man…all the way from Germany, because he loves it.

Here’s the man who, quite literally, makes sure the show goes on. Stage manager, Steve, is responsible for all equipment, for setting up and taking down (more on that later), for organizing the crew and ensuring that everything and everyone is where they need to be.

Stage Manager

Steve, the stage manager. “Because the show must go on.”

Sound check duly completed in the nick of time, two rousing support acts made sure we were all nicely warmed up and ready to rock. Well done to Vega and It Bites, you rocked!

The Show

The venue went dark as the lights dimmed and the stage filled with smoke. The fans erupted into excited cheers but the band kept them waiting just that little bit longer to savour the anticipation. Drummer Pete was the first to emerge and swiftly installed himself behind his drum kit, a big smile on his face and drum sticks in hand. Next it was Steve’s turn to appear, followed swiftly by the rest of the band. Everybody took positions and the guitars launched into the opening chords for Tough Love, the opening song of new album Rockville. The crowd went wild…

Oh folks, it was amazing. There was instant atmosphere, the fans lapped it up, sang along, clapped, cheered and shouted. Steve‘s voice was as wonderful as ever, carrying strong and clear through the entire show and providing plenty of ‘go-weak’ moments. Jim‘s handiwork on the guitar was outstanding; in some of his solos his fingers were but a mere blur of movement. Merv was grooving at the bass, enjoying the occasional amble to the other side of the stage to hook up with Jim and also jamming with Jem during the keyboard moments. Through it all, Pete was tapping away at the drums, keeping the rhythm, providing the drumrolls and generally dancing in his seat. Honestly, FM is among the best live bands I have ever seen and they never disappoint. It was rocking awesome!

I was fairly close to the front, maybe two rows in, and I had a fabulous view of all the goings on on stage. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Apologies for the slightly misty effect on some of them ~ my little camera didn’t cope so well in the dark, especially when there was stage smoke. But you’ll get a feel for the great vibes that night…

That Girl.... will you ever let her go?

That Girl…. will you ever let her go?

Keeping the rhythm ~ perfectly!

Keeping the rhythm ~ perfectly!

One of Steve's mesmerizing voice moments. #IGoWeak

One of Steve’s mesmerizing voice moments. #IGoWeak

I wish I could show you just how fast Jim's fingers move!

I wish I could show you just how fast Jim’s fingers move!

Everybody's rocking.

Everybody’s rocking.

On the other side of midnight... (well, nearly)

On the other side of midnight… (well, nearly). Merv and Jem share a ‘key’ moment.

Last Encore... Don't Stop! (No, that's not the song, that's me saying it!)

Last Encore… Don’t Stop! (No ~ not the FM song, that’s just me saying it!)

The Interview

I promised you an interview, didn’t I? Well, of course I couldn’t resist the chance to take notes as I was chatting with the band, especially during the lull moments in the sound check. Here goes!

Nicky: What’s a typical day on tour for you?

Pete: Well, let’s see. We get up early…probably about 9 a.m., having gone to bed at around 4 a.m. We have breakfast and lots of coffee–lots!–before we pack and leave at about noon. Often, there’ll be phone interviews in the morning with various radio stations, or sometimes in-person interviews at the venue. You know, like this one. *smiles*. When we get to the venue, it’s very much a game of ‘hurry up and wait.’ There’s lots to do, but also lots of waiting around, as you can see. Normally a sound check wraps up after about an hour, and then we have time for dinner and a quick shower. Then it’s the show, meeting fans, taking down, going to bed–late–and… start the whole thing all over again.

Nicky: Do you ever take your families on tour?

Pete: Not really, not now. My little girl is nine so there’s school and all that. But she and my wife do usually come to our London shows, and my daughter really loves it. When we’re on the road, we speak on the phone as much as we can. It’s not so bad; this tour, for example, is only short, nine days in all. And we finish tomorrow.

Jem: *laughs* My daughter’s music tastes lie elsewhere, I’m afraid. But she does seem to think it’s quite cool what I do…

Nicky: What’s the biggest change in touring since your ‘first time round’ back in the 1980s and 1990s?

Pete: Digital mixing, without a doubt. It speeds up everything. With a digital desk, the sound man just has to press buttons to save settings and retrieve them again later.

Stage manager, Steve: Oh yeah, digital mixing is awesome. With an analogue desk, the sound man would usually have a dictaphone in his hand and when all the dials and buttons where in the right position, he’d dictate the levels to himself, left right, top down. So you’d hear, “4, 5, 7, 2, 3, 1” and it would go on and on. Now, with digital, he just hits ‘save’ and when he needs to get it back, all the dials and faders jump into the right places. It’s amazing.

Nicky: What’s the strangest or most unusual thing that’s ever happened to you on tour?

Pete: Oh, probably that tour bus turning over in 1992. We were fast asleep in our bunks, most of us, which turned out to be quite lucky. Andy (Barnett, then guitarist) was up, he wasn’t very well and he was moving about. Which was also very lucky because when the bus went off the road and turned over, Andy’s bunk took the full brunt of the crash. We later found weights from downstairs and all sorts of other stuff in the upstairs bunks, so it must have been one heck of a roll. But nobody was hurt!

Stage manager, Steve: Well, thankfully, nothing really bad has ever happened. Most things are fixable, but it’s when the show is ‘on’ that it can get a bit scary. FM were supporting Foreigner and Journey a while back. They were playing in front of 14,000 people, and there was a cable on the stage that wasn’t in the right position, and I was worried that somebody would slip and fall, so we had to scramble on to tape it down. But it’s all good!

Nicky: Tell me about writing songs and making albums. How does that all happen? Do you all turn up with ideas and say, let’s write a song today?

Pete: Well… yes and no. We all write bits here and there, music, lyrics, you know Steve writes a lot of the lyrics, but Merv and I also do a lot of writing. Sometimes we bring them all together, like you say, and sometimes they just kinda happen when we are together. We do a lot of recording in my home studio now to try things out and for demos. It’s amazing what you can do with a modern home studio, a lot depends on the power of the computer and the processor. But anyway, we then take the files to a studio and take it from there. It’s quite different from before, much faster and a lot easier.

Steve: We always, always over-record. For Rockville, we had, like, twenty songs. You can’t put twenty songs on an album, so we picked the eleven that seemed to us to make a good mix, you know, harder stuff and ballads and all that. You want a nice balance on an album. After Rockville, we had so much material left that when the pledges worked out, we decided to bring out the other tracks on Rockville 2.

Nicky: What’s the best thing about being a rock star?

Pete: *laughs* Oooh… well, let’s see. Probably playing music you love to people who also love it.

Merv: Being on the road and making music. I really look forward to the festivals later this year! We’re doing the Hi Rock at the Loreley in Germany in June, and we’re going to be playing with Whitesnake and Europe ~ it’s gonna be fantastic!

Steve: *laughs* Best thing about being a rock star? You should ask one! *laughs again* No seriously, the best thing is making music and playing it to the fans. It’s always interesting and a bit nerve-wracking when you bring out a new album. Will the fans like it? Will they like the balance on the album? *shrugs and smiles* They seem to, so that’s cool.

Nicky: Any favourite songs?

Pete: On Rockville, probably Story of My Life.

Steve: Yeah, Story of My Life, because it’s a beautiful ballad, and also Crosstown Train.

Nicky: Who inspires you? What do you listen to?

Pete: Oh gosh, that’s a question. I listen to a lot of stuff on Spotify, I like checking out new things. Right now, I listen to a lot of Imogen Heap and Bon Iver. Oh, and the last concert I went to was probably James Morrison!

Nicky: Thank you all so much for chatting with me tonight, it’s been absolutely amazing! 🙂

Take Down

With the show over and the last of the encores completed; with hands duly shaken and final waves for the whole crowd accomplished, eventually the lights came back on and immediately the take-down began. This is another thing that I kind of knew but never really had seen in action (usually being far too busy trying to figure out a way backstage or waiting for autographs!). This time, I had a chance to watch as the crew undertook the take-down mere minutes after the end of the show. Evidently, there were clearly-assigned roles as somebody worked on the keyboards, somebody else on drums and guitars, and so on. The sheer speed was astounding. Take a look at these pictures from top left to right and then down. All of this happened in about thirty minutes and the stage was practically clear, with equipment neatly packed and ready to go, before we even had to leave. It’s like a well-oiled machine.

The crew springs into action...

The crew springs into action…

Job well done, guys!

Memories, and more memories

Another great thing about the VIP tix was the chance to meet other FM fans and have a little chat. Thus my OH and I bumped into Andrew and Caroline. In a reverse of our own dynamic, it’s Andrew who’s the huge fan and Caroline who’s started coming along as a result ~ and loving it. Andrew was on the lookout for venue posters to be signed and found a couple for himself. Sadly, the only other remaining poster was stuck to the wall with wall-paper glue and wouldn’t come off in one piece even despite our joint best efforts.

Meet Andrew and Caroline!

Meet Andrew and Caroline!

Imagine my surprise and delight when, after the show, Andrew handed me one his precious trophies to get my own autographs. Initially, I thought he’d managed to find another one but no, it was one of his. “I have so many autographs already,” he simply smiled. “And I don’t really need two of these, so you have one, go on.”

All autographed, all for me. *Happy Dance*

All autographed, all for me. *Happy Dance*

Andrew, you are a rock star. Thank you so much ~ you totally know how much this means. I really hope to see you and Caroline again at the next gig!!

Last but not least, I managed to beg a copy of the set list ~ this one is from Pete’s drum kit, how cool is that?!

Yay! My very own copy of this show's set list -- this one having been Pete's!!

Yay! My very own copy of this show’s set list — this one having been Pete’s!!

Farewell, until next time!

And that, as they say, was that. A truly memorable FM gig that began for me at around 4 p.m. finally had to draw to a close at just before midnight. Needless to say, we took one last photo of everyone…

FM and the VIPs!

FM and the VIPs!

I had an amazing time, and I am still buzzing! If you get the feeling I’m just a little star-struck, even though I’m no longer a teenager… If you get the impression that there might just be the teensiest residual crush there on the band and the music… well, then you’re beginning to understand why I write the books I write, and how I write them.

Congrats to the Band!

Last but not least, I wanted to offer a huge congrats to this outstanding band. I just had word that Rockville entered the UK Rock Album Chart at #6 ~ yippeeeeh! Let’s hope it stays there and climbs, climbs, climbs.


And here’s a flavour of what this amazing band actually sounds like. It’s a favourite song so if you follow Music Monday, you might have seen it already… 🙂


Copyright: All photos by Nicky Wells.

Under The Sun

It’s Music Monday!
And I’ve added a nifty logo for the feature…

[Logo Back Soon]

So what have I got for you today?  Well let’s see!  Today I have a feature that was inspired by Joanna Gawn of The Lazuli Portals blog… and you’ll have to visit the ‘Bio‘ Page to find out why!

There are first love memories…

Moreover, I’m bringing you a song that takes me right back, and I mean right back, in time.  First love, first boyfriend, first foreign holiday in the sun without parents.  A fourteen hour drive in the car from Essen, Germany, to Capbreton, France.  Driving through the night to arrive in the blazing sunshine at 10 am in the morning.  And always, always that song:  Under The Sun by Dare.  For some reason, it encapsulates the entire holiday.  The haunting voice, the guitars, the piano all fitted the atmosphere and the mood.

Recognising that even at the time, we nonetheless thought we were immune to the lyrics, that our love would last forever.  Alas, we were too young, it was too soon, and a few years later, it was all gone.  Prophetic words indeed, in places!

…and double starstruck memories!

Amazingly, I did have the good fortune of having a beer with the guys from Dare once.  Yes, indeed, my claim to fame!

They were supporting German rockers Warlock (fronted by Doro Pesch!) in the Grugahalle in my native Essen, and they were fantastic.  In actual fact, my then boyfriend (he of the first-love-memorable-France-trip) and I had gone to see Dare rather than Warlock, and we were at a bit of a loose end when Dare’s act finished.  So we loitered at the back of the hall, my boyfriend focusing on the stage (obviously–what male wouldn’t, with Doro up there?), me being bored.  I was keenly clutching the drumstick thrown out by James Ross and very casually (and quite unexpectedly) caught by me, yes me!

And then… Dare just wandered by, heading downstairs to the open bar. Of course I went straight after them.  And thus we ended up having a beer and a chat, me clutching my drumstick in one hand and my plastic mug of beer in the other. Oh happy days!

Without further ado, I give you the lyrics and the video…  If you like it, remember to honour the artist by buying the music through the appropriate channel. Thank you! 🙂

Under The Sun by Dare

Nothing lasts forever
Especially the things you always wanted to
See the reddened sky
I long to be there where the eagles used to fly

Methods to their madness
Or so they say before they throw away the key
Is there anyone there
Won’t you open the stairways for me

Under the sun
Where can we run
Under the sun
Where has love gone

Hear the deafening silence
While slowly losing all control of what you do
Chance would be a fine thing
A momentary loss of all thoughts

Holding back the fear
They point the finger every minute of the day
Doesn’t anyone care
Won’t they open the stairway for me

Nothing lasts forever
Especially the things you always wanted to
See the reddened sky
I long to be there where the eagles used to fly

Methods to their madness
Or so they say brfore they throw away the sky
Doesn’t anyone care
Won’t they open the stairways for me

Do you have a first-love, first-holiday mood song that takes you right back? I’d love to hear about it! xx Rock on!


It’s Music Monday here on Nicky’s blog and today I’m bringing you a real classic.  I’m posting no other than the first single I ever bought! It was a proper single, for those of you who remember the shiny black vinyl 45rpm plastic disks you used to get in traditional style record shops.

The motivation: a crush
I was thirteen and I bought it the day after a party at a friend’s house, where I had been asked to dance to (yes, you guessed it) just this song by the boy on whom I had a big crush.  It was a heavenly moment, and I tried to prolong the exprience by obtaining the music the very next day.  I wasn’t really into music then; I was just awakening to it, shall we say.  So I didn’t have a clue what or who I was looking for, and I had been too embarrassed the previous night to show up my complete ignorance and ask.

Instead, I opted for making a bit of an idiot out of myself in front of a complete stranger in the record shop.  I sang bits of the song to him.  Luckily it was very high in the charts, so he recognised it despite my subpar performance.

The fascination: the story in the lyrics!
Having got it home, I put in on play non-stop for something like three weeks.  Why’s that, you ask?  Well, it wasn’t just to do with having shared a dance with my crush.  The lyrics drew me in and didn’t let me go.  This is where it all started, my obsession with lyrics!  Anyway, here it is… I hope you enjoy.  The sentiment of the song is eternal, I feel, even though the actual historical circumstances have (thankfully) changed dramatically.

The insight: rock meets classic
Last but not least, I frequently rant on about how rock music and classical music aren’t actually a million miles apart. I often cite Verdi’s Requiem as a case in point, but consider this! Russians uses the Romance theme from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev! Just for the love it, I attach a link for the theme as well… and you can see how amazingly skilfully Sting used this music in his own work. Rock on!

Russians by Sting

In Europe and America, there’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Russians love their children too

PS: I feel I ought to say “thank you” to Sting here for teaching me invaluable phrases. You would not believe the surprise on my English teacher’s face when, challenged during a class discussion, I offered a nonchalant, “Well, I don’t subscribe to this point of view.” 🙂

Here’s the vid:


And here’s the Romance theme from the Lieutenant Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Prokofiev. It’s very quiet, so listen carefully… 🙂

So, hand on heart: what do you feel when you hear this song? Does it give you goosebumps?

The Whole of the Moon

Remember The Waterboys?  That classic, The Whole of the Moon?  It’s one of my favourite songs, always there, often played, occasionally left in a mental drawer for a few months. Fantastic lyrics, of course!

It all came back to me after a lovely chat with the amazing Yasmin Selena, who reminded me of this much-loved favourite.  It’s been playing in my head on and off ever since, having plenty of poignant memories attached to it for me… not least one of the first dates with my now husband in a dingy little pub in Stockwell, London.

So ring in Music Monday!  Take a look at these lyrics and have a listen to the song (video below). I’ve highlighted my favourite bit for you in bold font–tell me, which part of these lyrics captures your imagination?  And do you have a special song that takes you right back in time, ten, fifteen years even, evoking feelings so real as though they’d only just happened?

The Whole of the Moon

I pictured a rainbow, you held it in your hands
I had flashes but you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years while you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

You were there in the turnstiles with the wind at your heels
You stretched for the starts and you know how it feels
To reach too high, too far, too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded while you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth, you cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley, you saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
And you swooned
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

With a torch in your pocket and the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder and you know how it feels
To get too high, too far, too soon
You saw the whole of the moon, the whole of the moon, hey yeah

Unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers and tenements, wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags, ferryboats, scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision underneath the stars

Yes, you climbed on the ladder with the wind in your sails
You came like a comet, blazing your trail
Too high, too far, too soon
You saw the whole of the moon


Waiting to Happen

So I couldn’t sleep last night; you all know I’m a bit of an insomniac by now.  But it was a happy kind of not sleeping, and then it started raining.  The raindrops were fair lashing against the window, and I got that snuggly, dry, comfort feeling of being safe and warm under my duvet.

And as always, without fail, that sensation brought on a recollection of snippets of one of my all-time favourite songs.  That song has stayed with me since I was 18 or 19, so that makes it a classic in my eyes.  It is a beautiful song with some of the most expressive lyrics I have come ever across.  It is suffusing me with a lovely feeling of happiness and anticipation, and as it suits my mood and my life so perfectly at the moment, I thought I’d share.  Read through the lyrics first and then scroll down to watch a live performance. Do take the time to listen to the whole song, you won’t regret it, I promise! 🙂
And then, tell me about your special song–I’d love to hear about it!

Marillion: Waiting to Happen

I lie awake at night
Listening to you sleeping
I hear the darkness breathe
And the rain against the window
After all this time
Cynical and jaded
All the stones are diamonds
All the blues are faded

Everything I’ve been through
All I’ve seen and heard
Spend so much of my life
In the spiritual third world
But you came and brought the rain here

Something waiting to happen
Something learning to fly
We can talk without talking
From inside to inside
I have waited to feel this
For the whole of my life

We took ourselves apart
We talked about our faces
You said you didn’t like yours
I said I disagree
I keep the pieces separate
I clutch them in my coat
A jigsaw of an angel I can do when I feel low

From emptiness and dryness
The famine of our days
I watch the heavens open
Wash it all away
You came and brought the rain here

Something waiting to happen
Something learning to fly
On the edge of exploding
Something wild and alive
Something waiting to happen
Any time that you like I have waited to feel this
For the whole of my life


Nicky Reviews Rock presents: THE HUSH Video Debut

Only a few short weeks ago, it was my tremendous pleasure to introduce you to THE HUSH right here on Nicky Reviews Rock.  You may recall that there was talk of an upcoming video for a new song…  Well, here it is in all its splendid glory!!  Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think! Rock on 🙂 xx


The Soda Shop Exclusive: New Iron Claw Song, Free Download

Remember the first ever feature of Nicky Reviews Rock, featuring IronClaw? (Remind yourself here: Well–the guys have a new single, complete with video! Check it out!!

The Soda Shop

The Soda Shop is proud to present to you, a new song from Iron Claw featuring their new vocalist Gary Hair. The track named “Final Hours” is available for streaming and free download for 24 hours (ending 11:59 3/15/2012). You can also see an exclusive video below.


IRON CLAW – A Different Game


From 1969 to 1974 Scottish Heavy Rock band Iron Claw plowed across theUK, blasting out relentlessly heavy doom-laden, heavy blues rock.  In and out of the recording studios, the band never officially released an album, but the bulk of their recorded output finally saw the light of day in 2009, released as a self-titled CD by Rockadrome. 35 years had passed since their last recording, but it was as if time had stood still. 2009 found a hungry audience, salivating at the heavy riffs and earthshaking rock that was Iron Claw. Stunned by the overwhelming…

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Nicky Reviews Rock Proudly Presents: THE HUSH

Welcome to the fifth edition of Nicky Reviews Rock, bringing you interviews and album reviews from rock bands around the world… with an extra special place for new and emerging talent.  Rock On!

Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome THE HUSH. If you’re looking for rock with a difference, something unique and amazing, look no further. In this feature, find an introduction to THE HUSH, kindly provided by the band itself; an album review written by yours truly (me!); and an interview. Grab a cuppa or something stronger, sit back, and enjoy. And for the really authentic experience, check out those links and have a listen while you read!


Original, fresh, infectious and in-charge, THE HUSH is a five piece rock band delivering pop sensibility combined with musical artistry and thought provoking lyrics filled with plenty of attitude.  Lead singer Jazmine Giovanni embodies rock & roll by commanding the stage with seductive allure while slicing the air with her astounding range and powerhouse voice.  Their music is bonafide hard rock yet doesn’t neglect dynamics.  “Our style has landed us in a unique spot,” explains Lee Landrum, lead guitarist and founder of the band. “Full of surprises, some of our songs start out with melodic innocence then, suddenly, full-blown energy takes over.”

THE HUSH was born in 2009 and immediately were off and running, throwing themselves into writing/ recording/debuting their EP, Scene of the Crime, while playing acclaimed Los Angeles venues such as The Viper Room, Troubadour, House of Blues and more.  With each show came more and more followers and buzz.

Individually the members of THE HUSH have been performing/writing/recording for years with notable artists including Gwen Stefani, KISS and Miley Cyrus.  Playing with various artists throughout the Country, they have also performed on The Tonight Show, The View, Good Morning America and at Coachella and SXSW.  While each member of THE HUSH stands on their own, together they are a force of nature.

Give it a minute. With more to come, THE HUSH tells Nicky Reviews Rock that the band is about to get louder:

***’Tip of the Tongue’, new single, now on iTunes. Link available at

***’Hold You Down’, new single, to be released early March.

***’Hold You Down’ video release event scheduled for March 30 at Key Club in Hollywood. Details about the show available soon at


When I downloaded this album, the first thing that struck me was the unusual cover.  No black background here, no ‘traditional’ rock images.  Instead, a soft-edged, white-and-grey picture of a woman’s face and hand, making the classic ‘hush’ gesture:  finger on lips.  It’s a very impactful image, universally recognised, and aptly captures the name of the band.  But what about the album title:  ‘Scene of the Crime’?  That would suggest violence, something bad that happened.  Why must we be quiet (Hush!) about it?  What kind of crime was being committed?

I rarely find myself quite so intrigued by an album cover, and with all the seeming contradictions going on, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect.  Well, what I got was strong, engaging rock with haunting melodies and tantalising beats.  Success!

The opening track, ‘So Hollywood’, instantly had me grooving.  After a powerful intro come clear, carrying vocals.  The instruments pull back a little to give me the full impact of that voice, but by the chorus, the band is rocking with strong riffs and a good beat.  The overall effect is… unexpected, distinctive and unique.  I like the way in which the vocals and guitar work together, echoing each other, continuing each other’s themes.  The next track, ‘Touch and Go’ has a gritty feel to it, and I mean that in a good way.  There are strong guitars and a powerful rhythm, and always that juxtaposition between an all-out chorus and the slightly gentler verses, where the emphasis is on the melody and the voice.  And so it continues; I am hooked!  ‘Queen of Sheba’ starts off hard and fast with instant sing-along value:  Kiss!  Kiss!  Kiss!  Half-way through, we are treated to another slower, seductive, lyrical moment with a beautiful melody.  This is my kind of music!  If you’re looking for a fantastic guitar intro, check out ‘Fire Lights the Way.’  My favourite track is possibly ‘See God Tonight’.  It has a lovely, rolling drum rhythm and a slightly bluesy undertone, but it’s particularly the lyrics that capture my attention here.

So let’s talk about lyrics.  Lyrics matter to me, greatly.  If I can’t connect to the lyrics, I can’t connect to the music.  In this regard, THE HUSH has two fabulous things going for it.  First of all, the vocals are clear and the lyrics can mostly be easily understood.  This is an instant winner for me.  And secondly, there are the lyrics themselves.  In my humble opinion, THE HUSH is tackling some slightly unusual subjects and each song tells a story.  There’s the lady of the night who has started to care about one particular man; but does he give a damn (Touch and Go)?  And there’s the unsure believer who’d like some certainty (See God Tonight).  These are lyrics that draw you in and get you thinking, and they’re married extremely well with the music that delivers and supports them.

THE HUSH, ‘Scene of the Crime’:  A distinctive, unique and engaging rock album featuring powerful vocals, great instrumentals and beautiful lyrics.  I thoroughly recommend listening!

But why not listen for yourself?  Follow these links to listen to SEE GOD TONIGHT or TOUCH AND GO.  Enjoy!


It is with tremendous delight that I introduce today my very special guest, THE HUSH!  Welcome to Nicky Reviews Rock!  I stumbled across you on Twitter and am delighted to meet you ‘in depth’ today.  As always, I’d love to find out about the people behind the music as well as the music itself.  You guys have very kindly offered to answer a few questions this here new fan has for you, so here goes… 

NRR:  First of all, I love the band history you sent me; that’s an impressive story!  I am wondering whether you might tell me a little bit more about how you met and how THE HUSH band was born? 

LL: I worked with Andrew, Blake and Greg on another project a few years back.  We always had a good vibe so when that project concluded (Dec. 08) we decided to continue together.   We played around with some new ideas and, after a couple months, started looking for a singer.  Blake brought in Jazmine one day and that was it.  We knew she was the perfect match.  The five of us have been running fast ever since.

NRR:  Congratulations on a fantastic album, ‘Scene of the Crime’.  Tell me a little about the dynamics behind making this album… is there a chief songwriter? 

JG: I write all the melodies and lyrics.  How I come to both of those varies from song to song.  Sometimes Lee will bring in a riff or a chord progression and the boys will mold it and arrange it into a byte that I can take home and write around.  Other times I have my ideas pretty well set and they write around them.  But the songs as a whole are really a group effort, each member contributing quite of bit creatively.

NRR:  Unusally, there is no title track as such… Yet ‘Scene of the Crime’ is picked up in ‘Fire Lights the Way’.  Would you like to tell us more about your album title, and the connection between the song and the album title (if there is one)? 

JG: You are right.  Scene of the Crime is a lyric in ‘Fire Lights the Way’, which was the first song we wrote as a band.  It was very fitting, this LP being the origin of our path together as a band, that it be named for a lyric in our first song.  Sort of “it started here.”

NRR:  Who did you all listen to (still listen to, perhaps) when you’re not making your own music?  Any particular influences or idols? 

LL:  If you asked every member is the band this question there would be a list of influences a mile long.  Music is our life, when not creating our own we listen to others, go to concerts and clubs – basically soak it in.  For me personally, any great guitar player in the zone is an inspiration.  I’ll leave it at that and let Jazmine share her specific favourites.

JG:  I grew up in a varied musical scene.  My dad was a jazz drummer and I spent 10 years in the Opera as a child so my taste and influences cover the spectrum; Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Puccini, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Whitney, NIN, Def Leppard, Dream Theater, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye all had a significant impact.  Right now I’m listening to Mutemath, Jane’s Addiction, Bon Iver, Scissor Sisters.

NRR:  As you might know from previous editions of NRR, lyrics matter to me.  Greatly!  Your lyrics are thoughtful and thought-provoking, and deal with quite different subject matters than one might perhaps expect of hard rock.  I’m thinking “Touch and Go”, I’m thinking “Queen of Sheba”.  Who’s in charge of lyrics?  And:  what comes first, the lyrics, or the music? 

JG:  I’m glad you are enjoying them.  It’s interesting—when I write alone, the music and lyrics seem to present themselves together, as though already married.  With the boys, they give me something musically to work with and I write to the vibe; what the chords are suggesting and what it seems to want to say.

NRR:  Why ‘The HUSH’?  Your music is anything but… is it that juxtaposition that intrigued you?  What’s the story here? 

JG:  I love the story of our name and I find that because it’s a total juxtaposition, I love it even more.  I come from a theatrical background.  Every show has a life of its own and a different personality.  But there is always a commonality to each performance.  As the house lights dim and the audience begins to settle in right before the start of the show, there is a moment of hush.  It’s a quiet shared by the audience and the players on stage that only lasts a second, but that is THE HUSH.  We thought it was apropos.

NRR: I daresay that ‘HUSH’ of anticipation is present even in a rock concert when the house lights go down… blink and you’ll miss it, but it is there, before the cheers erupt. Thanks for sharing, this is fascinating!

NRR:  What’s the most musically complex song you’ve ever made?  Do you all have a favourite song—and if so, which one and why?

LL:  ‘When the Night Comes’ is probably most complex.  The chords in the verse are a combination of both guitars and the bass—meaning, the three of us playing different lines to make up one chord progression.  My personal favourite is ‘See God’ because it reminds me of the experience of night surfing alone.  Right before paddling out, everything in the water and the air has a mysterious feel, just like the verse.  When catching the wave there is a powerful burst of energy, like the chorus.  The haunting drum beat is much like the adrenaline pumping through my heart.  That song is in my head almost every time I paddle out in the dark.

NRR:  Where do you see yourself going next?  Do you have plans for more albums?  Any plans for going global?

LL:  We really want to get out on the road.  Global, absolutely.  Since coming together we’ve been writing, recording and, with Hollywood in our backyard, playing local shows at the same time.  We are so lucky that ‘local’ includes great clubs like The Viper Room, House of Blues, The Troubadour, The Roxy—some of the greatest places to play on Earth.  We will always continue to write so, yes, more albums on the way.  We just released a single, ‘Tip of the Tongue;, and have two more coming in the next couple months—‘Hold You Down’ in March and ‘Hanging by a Thread’ in April.  We are putting the finishing touches on the video for ‘Hold You Down; and are going to debut that March 30 at Key Club in Hollywood.  This is our first video, big milestone to celebrate so we are really looking forward to this show.

NRR:  And finally!  In my rock star romance, Sophie’s Turn, rock singer Dan reassures Sophie that ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour.’  Would you mind sharing the weirdest, funniest, scariest or most bizarre thing that ever happened to THE HUSH on tour or during a show? 

JG:  I think Dan has it right.  Why break the code?

LL:  Agree, what happens on tour stays on tour.

NRR:  I guess I asked for that… 🙂 But now I really wonder what you guys get up to! XX

Thanks so much to Jazmine and Lee for your time and for sharing such fascinating insights.  I love the whole idea of ‘The Hush’ and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be listening out for it—and the band—and pointing it—and the band—out to anyone who cares to listen.  I wish you every success with your song launches, video launch party (how I wish I could be there) and future album.  And when you go global, I look forward to seeing you in the UK!! “Rock on…”

Visit THE HUSH on their website, follow THE HUSH on Twitter or on Facebook. Find sample tracks and more information about THE HUSH on Reverbnation.  And last but not least, you can get your copy of “Scene of the Crime” and all the new tracks on iTunes and CD baby.

A spot of housekeeping:  all information, photos and links used with artist’s permission.