Author: Ben Hughes

Photography: Marc McGarraraghy

 

Recently signed to Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records label, Ryan Hamilton and his newly renamed band The Harlequin Ghosts are an exciting proposition, facing exciting times.

Recently announcing they would be knocking the headline tours on the head for a while to concentrate on other opportunities, I didn’t think I would be catching them for a while here in the UK. Yet, here they are on a high profile tour opening for Welsh legends The Alarm, which should hopefully widen their appeal to larger audiences than they have been reaching in recent times. It seems the image change and the name change is no coincidence, as this band is stepping things up to the big league.

 

There’s a glint of something different in Ryan Hamilton’s eyes tonight. A new sense of determination and seriousness to his delivery.  There’s less of the between-song jokes and banter, although he is still obsessed about learning new English swear words.

Whether it’s the matching sharp suits and the heavier (yet still catchy) material, I don’t know, but this bunch of musicians seem more cohesive now, more like dare I say it…a band.

Faced with an over-loud and dodgy sound mix and an audience unfamiliar with their material, Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts are up against it tonight and they rise to the challenge. When a band are up against the wall with something to prove, when they have to fight for attention, that is when a band are at their best.

So out of the relative comfort zone of a room of people who will sing along to your mighty fine power pop ditties, the band reel off song after song to a small but growing crowd of The Alarm fans, sipping their beers waiting for their heroes. Maybe tonight, just a few of those fans may have found a new band to check out in the morning.

It’s a good job Ryan and the guys have the songs then.  ‘Karaoke With No Crowd’ with it’s over cool “whoo hoo’s”,  the sublime power pop of ‘Records and Needles’ and the following ‘Medicine’ should be enough to reel in even the staidest of observers.

Ryan, his hair in plaits and wide-brimmed hat, making him look like some spaghetti western preacher leading his congregation. He uses his hands to gesture as he addresses the audience, whether playing the guitar or just in control of the mic. The Tom Petty like drawl of ‘Never Should Have Moved To LA’ is mighty fine as always, they then transport us back to Texas with the country twang of ‘Oh My God’.

Introducing final song ‘Freak Flag’ Ryan tells us he is the living proof there are second chances, that it is possible to get a second chance at the rock ‘n’ roll dream. Tonight’s performance is a testament to a rock ‘n’ roll survivor and long may he keep returning to our shores. A sublime set from the probably the best support band you will see this year or next.

Now, Mike Peters is a true survivor and a legendary rock ‘n’ roll talent. He may not be as famous or as revered as Bono or Springsteen, but he has the songs, the road-weary years of experience and the passionate fan base to match.

I guess I’d call myself a casual fan of The Alarm, and I’ve never seen them live, so tonight is a truly monumental experience for me, as I never imagined they would be this good.

This live incarnation of The Alarm, with Mike Peters on vocals and acoustic, his wife Jules on keyboards, longtime Alarm guitarist come bassist James Stevenson and drummer Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard is as good as it gets.

Anthem follows anthem tonight as Peters and the gang dig deep into the 35 years plus back catalogue to deliver a set that will satisfy even the most casual of fans. From opener ‘Blaze Of Glory’ to main set closer ’68 Guns’, it’s a masterclass of rousing, alternative rock ‘n’ roll. From the ’80s, through the ’90s and beyond, all bases are covered.

 

Peters has free reign of the stage as the rest of the band are pretty much rooted to the spot. I’ve never seen any frontman use 3 vocals mics for a performance. The only advantage I can see if for the vocalist to reach every corner of the venue, so as not to be confined to one spot due to him being the sole guitar player. Fair play, he uses it to its full advantage, switching between left, right and centre stage at will during songs.

It’s an energetic and passionate performance as the man plays to his crowd, and The Alarm fans are as passionate as it gets. Being down the front, I witness it firsthand; 2 ladies of a certain age next to me sing and dance together having the best night of their lives, a middle aged gent in a suit jacket is reliving his youth, precariously swinging from the railing with one hand and punching the air and pointing at his hero as he mouths the words to the anthems of his youth.

This is nostalgia at its finest, people. There are no teenagers here, we are all of a certain age, gathered together to hear the songs that transport us back to a time that was simpler, better and much more fun than most of us have now. True escapism, am I right or am I wrong?

I would usually argue that no one wants to hear new songs at this sort of show, but The Alarm do have new songs and they ain’t too shabby to be fair. ‘Beautiful’ fits the bill nicely and 2 new songs bookend ‘Strength’ come encore time. ‘Neutral’ and ‘Two Rivers’ are as good as it gets and rightly deserves a place amongst the classics.

The feel of a stadium show in a small local venue, you can’t beat the power of rock ‘n’ roll old or new. Two excellent world-class bands in my local venue and certainly one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.

Buy The Alarm ‘Equals’ Here

Love Hope And Strength Foundation 

Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our favourite bands at RPM HQ The Alarm release a new video from the ‘Equals‘ album appropriately named ‘Transatlantic’.

Spending most of this year Crisscrossing across the Atlantic Peters and the band found time to shoot a promo video looking out over the Manhatten skyline.

Before the years out you can catch the band playing in the UK and US and as special guests, they have Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts along for what should be unmissable run of shows.

November
Wed  28th  ULU. London
Thur 29th Wedgwood Rooms Portsmouth
December
Sat 1st Arts Club, Liverpool
Sun 2nd O2 Academy 2,  Birmingham
Wed 5th Sub 89, Reading
Thur 6th Brudenell, Leeds
Fri 7th Liquid Room, Edinburgh

 

Follow The Alarm:

http://thealarm.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheOfficialA…

https://www.instagram.com/thealarm/

https://twitter.com/thealarm

Whilst we’re here we’d like to point you in the direction of an incredible charity – Love Hope & Strength. if you do one thing after reading this news it should be to click here and get over to the site where incredible work is done, even Ozzy got involved with LH&S

Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts
release debut single 
Bottoms Up (Here’s To Goodbye)
19th October 
UK tour  
& video for their cover of ‘Straight Up’

 

 

The tour starts in Leeds at Brudenell Social Club on Wednesday 10th October and culminates with a show at the Camden Assembly Room in Camden on Friday 19th October.
Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts have just signed to Wicked Cool Records and they have been working with the legendary Stevie Van Zandt. The band are proud to announce the first single with the new label Bottoms Up (Here’s To Goodbye) on 19th October. Released as a limited edition pink vinyl 7”, the B side is a swaggering cover of Paula Abdul’s 80s smash Straight Up.
In 2017 Ryan and the band reaped critical acclaim with debut album ‘The Devil’s In The Detail’ – under their previous name ‘Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors’. Singles ‘Heavy Heart’ and ‘Smarter’ received heavy radio play and were each voted Classic Rock magazine’s ‘Track of the Week’, as well as their Ginger Wildheart collaboration and Samaritans charity single, ‘F**k You Brain’.
Having already achieved Steven Van Zandt’s ‘Coolest Song In The World’ thrice on his ‘Underground Garage’ radio show, Little Steven recently heralded Ryan as ‘hope for the future’ – holding him up with such luminaries as Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl and Bille Joe Armstrong.
Speaking of the video to accompany ‘Straight Up’, Ryan says:
“I wanted something fun and quirky, something that looks like the 80s threw-up on a music video! In making it we limited the technology to old school 80s/90s effects – we’re super happy how it turned out.”

Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts / Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers 
The Bottoms Up UK Tour dates
October
Wed 10th Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Thur 11th Voodoo Rooms (the Speakeasy room) Edinburgh
Fri 12th Think Tank Underground, Newcastle
Sat 13th MFN, Nottingham
Sun 14th Night & Day Cafe, Manchester
Tue 16th Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
Wed 17th  Fuel, Cardiff
Thur 18th Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
Fri 19th Camden Assembly, London
If you miss the chance or just need another fix of the band then they head back to the UK for a support slot to The Alarm.
The Alarm and Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts UK tour dates
November
Wed  28th  ULU. London
Thur 29th Wedgwood Rooms Portsmouth
December
Sat 1st Arts Club, Liverpool
Sun 2nd O2 Academy 2,  Birmingham
Wed 5th Sub 89, Reading
Thur 6th Brudenell, Leeds
Fri 7th Liquid Room, Edinburgh

“a spiral scratch
gave me my life back
a vinyl solution
ended my confusion
I heard a voice in the noise pollution” – Mike Peters

Since the beginning of Rock and Roll, the 45 has been an integral part of a bands arsenal. Maybe in 2018, it’s not quite the marketing tool it once was back in the 50’s, 60’s and beyond and bands no longer sell hundreds of thousands of the beautiful seven-inch plastic circles.  There are however many different ways of letting people know you have a few new tunes available or you might (like me) still be in love with the vinyl single. Here at RPM, we’re going to celebrate the little beggars and let you know what is available in our regular roundup and what’s been on rotation on our deathdecks.

What better place to start than with a good friend and his debut 7″.

Craggy Collyde – Sorry Now (Self Released)

With a two-track release being the format of choice Craggy gets down to business with a pair of fantastic slices of power pop that are infectious and memorable.  ‘Sorry Now’ is also featured in the video link below and can be ordered off the Bandcamp site. The lead track is a measured catchy number that has a great power pop feel with some indie undertones sort of Buffalo Tom territory whilst the more sprightly B-side ‘Go Ahead And Break Me’ is a song with a foot in the cowpunk of the Supersuckers but more pop savvy and Craggy manages to rinse out a great guitar break as well.  Very infectious and well worth checking out.

 

 

 

Lana Loveland – Strange Charms (Hound Gawd!)

Fuzztones – Garage Rock – psychedelic retro freak out we fuckin’ love it here at RPM.Lana Loveland has the credentials and chops worthy of joining our little club of seven-inch plastic lovers. Being Organist with The Fuzztones as well as being a member of the Music Machine and fronting her own band Loveland certainly keeps her busy and out of mischief ‘Strange Charms’ is the A-Side whilst ‘Web Of Sound’ back things up on the flip side.

Maybe leaving a seven-year gap is quite some time between releases but some things are worth waiting for.  Fuzzed out guitars and 60’s pop being the main ingredients here what’s not to like? Over on the other side its hammer time (no not the rapper in the daft trousers but Hammer Horror)  its a spooky garage rock mash up and with a modern twist its great to hear someone doing something new with something they have had for years. Anyways Hound Gawd Don’t do bad records we know that much so go investigate and get some fantastic new music in your head just click the link.

 

 

Muck & The Mires – Hashtag Loneliness (Rum Bar Records) 

Muck and the Mires’ official video for ‘#Loneliness’ from the EP MUCKUS MAXIMUS, available on Rumbar Records: Its power poppin’ baby but has the honking Hammond as well as the classic Rickenbacker twang.  You don’t need me to tell you about Rum Bar Records bands and how good they are and Muck are no exception. For latest Muck and the Mires tour dates, go to Website

Poison Boys – Poppin’ Eyes (Bandcamp)

Oh Boy, you just knew that this was going to rock and fucking roll right outta the speakers and sure enough within the first bar I know that I’m having this bad boy.  Poison Boys are mainlining Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers and some Chuck Berry and a whole bunch of other golden oldies and along with their brothers from another mother in Crazy Squeeze and countless other great bands they are just nailing it on ‘Bustin Out’ and they shine up the brass knuckles on the altogether more bruising ‘Run And Hide’ that taps into Stiv and his Dead Boys for some down and dirty punk rock and I love it.  don’t walk on by brothers and sisters this is the bomb! Now get on with an album before it ends in tears –  Poison Boys are killing it – again! Facebook

Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam – ‘Meatloaf To The Camera’ (By The Time It Gets Dark Records)

(pre-order here) The second single from the soon to be released album ‘Black Cowboy’ its all loud guitars and chiming melody like a collision between Teenage Fanclub and The Lemonheads SFL have amassed over a hundred songs and show no sign of stopping just yet so until November 9th this will more than do to pass the time. You can catch the band around the UK  in November 02 Nov – The Lanes – Bristol
03 Nov – Sunflower Lounge – Birmingham
04 Nov – The Castle – Manchester
05 Nov – Wharf Chambers – Leeds
08 Nov – The Portland Arms – Cambridge
09 Nov – Rough Trade – Nottingham
11 Nov – Old Blue Last, London

Gino And the Goons ‘She Was Crushed’ (Slovenly Records)

A heady mix of The Ramones and some Lo-Fi  X-Ray Spex this has some great loose saxophone playing whilst ‘Got Messed Up’ is a thrash around whilst pissed out of your head kinda tune.  There’s no autotune and no overdubs. ‘Wrong Side Of The Cigarette’ is all hocked up on late 70’s lower east side smash and grab punk rock and we love it and so would a youthful Richard Hell. Finishing up with ‘Early Retirement’ just about kicks over the toms and bass drum and takes out the mic stand as well before running off down the street before the cops turn up.  Rock and fucking roll alright! Awesome ‘n snotty – Buy It

 

 

 

Les Lullies – ‘7 am’ (Slovenly Records) Oh boy oh boy, it’s like Jerry Lee hooking up with Chuck Berry and snorting two tonnes of amphetamines before laying down this barnstormer.  Flip it over and you’ve got the cocksure swagger of ‘Dog Food’ that’s like the Dolls rockin’ out with Angus with a healthy amount of Iggy attitude. Doing France proud and doing it fuckin’ loud!  What a great 45. Here

 

 

 

 

 

The Cavemen -Burn Out For Love (Dirty Water Records/Mandinga Records)  Oh fuck if having an album released in 2018 isn’t enough and some sporadic live action the purveyors of filthy low down and wild ‘n’ dirty garage punk are back in the house with a 7″ slab of frantic rock ‘n’ roll in the shape of ‘Burn Out For Love’ the b side is no hiding place for a shrinking violet because if anything the craziness is turned up a notch on ‘Dancing On The Razors Edge’ and what a beautiful racket it is too.  Click the link to sample these exotic fruits and then pick up a copy its a banger!

Bandcamp

 

Well, folks, there’s got to be something in there for everyone unless Black Metal is your thing? Worry not we’ll regularly round up singles here and if a black metal band has something to offer then we’ll cover it.  Forty-Five RPM indeed.