Not Live

A couple of years ago I chose to get rid of my Sky TV subscription and that felt good. No more of my money would be going to any Rupert Murdoch entity. Around that time I also bought a FreeSat decoder so that I could record live TV shows onto a hard drive. I don’t record that many TV shows and ultimately the box is largely used for steaming content to the television rather than used the TV itself, the Blu-Ray player, the PS4 or the Apple TV. It’s kinda ridiculous how many things that are connected to the TV.

About a week ago the FreeSat box was reporting that it wasn’t getting any satellite signal. That was a little weird but I think I just turned the box off and on again and it seemed fine. Then, over the weekend, it dropped the signal, only thought one cable was connected [there are two] and wouldn’t find any signal. Whether this was a problem with the box, cables, dish or LNB I have no idea. The dish has been up for longer than I have lived in this house. The LNB was new when I upgraded to Sky HD a long time ago and the cables snake their way around the house and get bumped around a lot because I moved the TV room from close to the dish to the other end of the house a long time ago. I’ve never had any problem with satellite signal before.

I pondered the time and effort and cost in trying to work out where the fault was. I could get a signal detector from eBay for about £20 and use this to see if the box is at fault. I could hook up the old Sky box and see if that was getting a signal. After that I would probably have to pay someone to come and check the cables and LNB. I thought about this and decided that actually I don’t watch any real live television. Over ninety percent of the content I watch is streamed or already recorded onto the HDD in the box. There isn’t a huge amount of live TV I’m interested in.

After a little thought I decided I’d just remove the FreeSat box and get a streaming device so that I didn’t have to use the PS4 all the time for watching moving pictures and sound on the TV. I did try the TV built in apps but they are quite old and while the TV is almost “smart” it’s not that smart and the performance might not be that good. Also, I don’t think the sound output would be brilliant via the ARC.

Having looked around the various streaming devices I could have bought an Amazon stick thing but I don’t want any Alexa stuff in the house. This abode is definitely a “Hey Google” home, I didn’t want to add even more confusion. I also wanted to be able to have a remote control with the device for other people to use. I didn’t want the device to be Google voice activated, I wanted a decent UI and control system.

These criteria essentially led me to the Roku stick. I don’t need 4K streaming and so the £25 device was suitable. Looking online it supports all the services that I use with the exception of NFL Gamepass and Eurosport. I’m happy to stick with Gamepass on the PS4 and Eurosport is only need for one weekend each year when the LMP1 cars are racing around their spiritual home.

Yesterday evening I removed the FreeSat box, although I had some wiring issues as I’d forgotten where the power cables went in AV corner and I did need to move all the devices around. There is very limited space in AV corner and you definitely need your aluminium foil hat going anywhere near there! The Roku device was easy to plug in and works really well. I’m impressed with it as the device is cheap, simple and works as expected. Maybe one day I’ll go 4K but this would require me to upgrade the PlayStation as well and I’m not ready for that level of investment.

Yesterday I managed to get all my services logged in and now I am set up. All of my viewing content is now delivered via the ADSL connection and I’m now slightly fearful for an internet outage. It is good to have a high bandwidth though. There is a slim possiblity that I will write about this again in the future to indicate how it’s going with no live connection. I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine without it but my parents might struggle when they visit [a very small concern].

3TEETH – Electrowerkz

Yesterday I definitely wasn’t on a road trip and I definitely tweeted this.

In reality I was on a fast train into London town. I had just completed a live range at MGS and got changed quickly to see the LA band 3Teeth at Electrowerkz, that lovely quiet, beautiful little venue in The Angel.

The support band were called Creepiing. They were a bit shit really. They had one good song and another one that was borderline OK.


Unfortunately for them, Creepiing, just weren’t that good. The crowd gave them a good reception though.

The headline band were next and for just over an hour they played a solid set. The music is dark, slow and menacing. It’s a very good blend of heavy chugging riffs with keyboards and sampled sounds. The vocals, although distorted, are clear and understandable.


There are a couple of things I want to mention though. Most of the songs are heavy and slow so there weren’t really any upbeat songs to get your dancing shoes moving. I know slow is their style but overall the evening needed some bounce. It’s always seemed important to me that bands look like they are having fun and can enjoy the moment. 3Teeth managed that well. The little chats in between songs were personalised and friendly with plenty of smiling from the lead singer. The guitarist was a pretty happy chap too. The keyboardists didn’t really raise their faces much, but perhaps that’s because they are keyboardists.

The gig was rated 6 on a scale of something.

Before the encore the crowd were doing what seems to be an industry standard now of chatting “one more song”. I find this really irritating. Why stop at one more song? Why not ask for a whole album? “We want more” seems a more appropriate chant to make, thereby not limiting the band to just one more song.

My favourite encore chant was “We want Moore” when I saw Gary Moore back in the day.

If You Want Blood You’ve Got It [live] – AC/DC

Holy Shit!

This album has been with me throughout most of my life and I still rate it as one of the best albums I have ever heard. Blow Up Your Video came out in 1988 and the singles were released before then in the wonder-year of 1987. so, you love AC/DC and start looking up old albums. Then, the excitement that there are thirteen albums is palpable.

This is a best of the first few albums, and it fucking rocks. They hadn’t even released Highway To Hell yet and all the songs on here rock.

This album has healed me emotionally when I have felt broken. It has calmed me when I have been un-calm and it has restored me to who I am on many occasion. SR once told me to go and listen to “If You Want Blood”, it’ll make you happier. That was somewhere in the early 90s and I hadn’t realised its effect was so obvious.

I had to re-purchase this on music cassette because I had listened to my first version of this so many times the tape had stretched in places and it made the music sound wrong.

I’ve bought this on CD since. And then I ripped that to save onto an MP3 player. Then I used the CD to rip to a higher specification and it is now on the NAS Drive.

After you’ve listened to this a lot you can hear the smiles in the band, you recognise every note, you can imagine where they are on stage and what they are doing there.

For many years I had only seen the front of this album, the rear cover wasn’t part of the tape version I had. When I saw the back cover I wasn’t disappointed.

Front Cover
Front Cover
Back Cover
Back Cover

I dare you to find a song on this album that can be considered weak. I dare you.

Front Line Assembly – The Garage

I went to watch Front Line Assembly at the Garage in Highbury. It was a venue I’d not been to before and a band I hadn’t seen before either. The company I was keeping was delightful, although I did accidentally miss a tube stop. Started with drinks at the Porterhouse and then went on to Highbury and Islington.

The venue was nice and small-medium sized. Bigger than the Underworld but smaller than Brixton Academy. The sound was good and the drinks prices seemed reasonable to me. There was only one main area and it was pretty hot in the room (it was a hot day outside too). There didn’t seem to be any form of air-conditioning which was a bit of a shame (the Underworld beats you there!).

First band on were (as far as I can tell) iVardensphere. I really liked them, probably not enough to buy any of their stuff but enough to watch and enjoy. Heavy electronic music. Pretty good, nice and upbeat too.

Second band were Haujobb. Their songs were probably better crafted than the first band but their pace was a bit slower and I didn’t like it as much. They were still pretty good at the music they make though.

Headline act were Front Line Assembly. The latest album is more electronic than some I have heard and a bit slower. They were very good and had a live drummer, which is becoming more important to me as I watch more of these EBM bands. Quite clearly they were the best band last night and it was good to tick them off my list. I probably wouldn’t see them again, I think I’d rather take a punt on an unknown band and see what happens (much like my restaurant-food-choice policy).

Overall, a very enjoyable evening.

Front Line Assembly
Front Line Assembly

Decade of Aggression – Slayer

This review is easy to write.

I first got this album on double music cassette in about 1992. I had seen Slayer as part of the “Clash of the Titans” tour at Wembley Arena and really liked them. They recorded the video to “War Ensemble” at that particular concert. I think that some of the songs on this album were recorded at that exact gig that I saw. The tape version has since been supplemented by a CD version and finally an MP3 version on the NAS drive.

This is an AWESOME album.

If you only buy one thrash metal album then it had better be this one and then in all honesty you only need to play the first song as it covers all needs of guitar based turn-on.

My favourite songs on this album are (and I don’t apologise for the length of the list):

  • Hell Awaits
  • War Ensemble
  • South of Heaven
  • Raining Blood
  • Dead Skin Mask
  • Seasons in the Abyss
  • Mandatory Suicide
  • Angel of Death
  • Hallowed Point
  • Blood Red
  • Postmortem
  • Chemical Warfare

The atmosphere conveyed by these disks is brilliant. You can only find one better live album out there (Live After Death). This puts all others to shame. Get it. Play it. LOUD.

Beast From The East – Dokken

Mark Hodges persuaded me to buy this album shortly after my sixteenth or seventeenth birthday. I had some record vouchers and wanted new vinyl. I’d only been into decent music for a short while and so it was important to make the correct choices.

This is a gatefold live album recorded in Japan. The cover illustration is a picture of a whole back tattoo. I really like the sound of a four piece band when the guitar does a solo. I like hearing the rhythm section keep the beat going while the guitarist just goes off on one. The sound of this album is perfect.

When I bought this on CD it didn’t come with my favourite song, “Sleepless Nights” and I’m a bit annoyed about that. For the last twenty five years the middle section of that song has stuck in my brain. George Lynch’s guitar makes an awesome screeching sound and it has sent shivers down my spine since around 1988.

My highlights on this album are:

  • Unchain The Night
  • Kiss Of Death
  • Mr Scary
  • It’s Not Love

Mr O would say this is an album of pure cockrock and he wouldn’t be wrong. The 1980s produced some great sounding bands and I’ve spent quite a bit of time and money buying proper versions of the albums friends had taped for me.

AC/DC Live – AC/DC

As music is quite a large part of my life and the things I like to do I thought I would start a series of communications extolling my thoughts on the albums I own. I am only going to cover albums, no CD singles or anything like that, I wouldn’t want this to be an unmanageable project!
All of the albums listed in this section are currently on my iPhone. There are some that are not and I might get around to writing about them one day but not in the next while. My iPhone informs me there are currently 444 albums in my library, but some of those contain single songs, again, I will only cover whole albums I have bought.

AC/DC Live – AC/DC

This live album was recorded at the 1991 Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park. I bought this album because I was there in the crowd with my sister. It was a great concert. AC/DC were (and still are) a fantastic live band.
This recording was the first live recording of AC/DC since “If You Want Blood” with Bon Scott on vocals. I think it would be fair to say that this recording of AC/DC has become iconic. The twin CD pack included 23 songs and proved that AC/DC were masters of the universe. Hearing “For Those About To Rock” with 21 real guns going off in the background gives a real sense of what the concert was like. This album gives a sense of the peak power of AC/DC. It was the tour to support “The Razor’s Edge” album and finally AC/DC had returned to the good form that was missing for a bit of the 1980s.

Personal highlights from this album have to be:

  • Sin City
  • Jailbreak
  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  • High Voltage
  • T.N.T.

It’s great to hear newer versions of these classics. It puts a real energy back into the songs. Oh, and it reminds me of a great day in the summer of ’91!

One Night

Over the last week I have “borrowed” the soundtrack to the Megadeth live DVD recorded in Buenos Aires – That One Night. Once the soundtrack was ripped I had to separate out the tracks so I could import the files into iTunes. This was rather fun and I enjoyed using Audacity.

This process is now complete and I have a lovely album on my iPhone of Megadeth live. I have to say that the energy and quality of the music is brilliant. It really makes me want to listen to the original songs again.

There were some issues. The orignal rip was rather quiet and I had to try and increase that within iTunes. Also I cut the tracks without always listening to them and I had two which had some acoustic impovisation in front (which would make sense watching the DVD but not when listening to the soundtrack) so I have gone back to my original recording and re-cut those tracks. Going to import them back into iTunes and onto my phone tonight. Love it all. :-)

Bands I have seen

This is a memory test. Trying to list the bands I have seen live. I guess this page will be edited as I remember the hazy days of long ago before children.

1st Concert
Iron Maiden (support: White Dwarf) 10 December 1988, Wembley Arena

After that:
AC/DC, Wembley Arena, Donington, Wembley Stadium
Aesthetic Perfection, The Underworld
Alice in Chains, Cambridge Corn Exchange twice, Download ’13
Asking Alexandria, Wembley Arena
Bon Jovi, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium, Twickenham
Bullet For My Valentine, Wembley Arena
Combichrist, Wembley Arena
Dan Reed Network, Wembley Arena
Diamond Head, Milton Keynes Bowl
Elvis Presley (kind of), Wembley Arena
Evile, Brixton Academy
Faith No More, Wembley Stadium
Gary Moore, Wembley Arena
Great White, Wembley Arena
Guns ‘n’ Roses, Wembley Stadium twice and Milton Keynes Bowl
Iron Maiden, Cambridge Corn Exchange twice and Earls Court
Jose Gonzalez, Shepherds Bush Empire
Killing Joke, O2 Academy Islington
King’s X, Wembley Arena
KMFDM, O2 Academy Islington
Level 42 (the shame), Wembley Arena
Lostprophets, Brixton Academy
Madonna, Wembley Stadium
Megadeth, Wembley Arena, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Milton Keynes Bowl, Brixton Academy
Metallica, Wembley Arena, Earls Court, Donington, Milton Keynes Bowl
Ministry, Brixton Academy
Motley Crüe, Wembley Arena, Donington
Nine Inch Nails, Wembley Stadium, Brixton Academy
Prince, Earls Court
Peter Green – Chatham Theatre
Queensryche, Donington
Rammstein, Wembley Arena
Senser, Portsmouth somewhere, Underworld
Skid Row, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium
Slayer, Wembley Arena Earls Court
Suicidal Tendencies, Wembley Area
Testament, Wembley Arena, KoKo
The Almighty, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Milton Keynes Bowl
The Black Crowes, Donington, Brixton Academy
The Darkness, Wembley Arena
Treponem Pal, O2 Academy Islington
Ugly Kid Joe, Wembley Stadium
UK Subs, The Square
Van Halen, Wembley Stadium
Wat Tyler, The Square
White Lion, Wembley Arena
Winger, The Astoria
Wolfsbane, Cambridge Corn Exchange twice, The Marquee
Yngwie Malmsteen, Shepherds Bush Empire

For the Download 2013 list click here.