Jacks Mannequin – Everything in Transit

Jacks Mannequin

Since University has wrapped up I haven’t been keeping up with any new music and Jacks Mannequin is one of the main reasons for this. They are the side project of the frontman of the californian punk outfit “Something Corporate” producing superb summer feelgood anthems just meant for the sunshine. Piano pop is the theme of Everything in Transit a concept album about settleing back in Los Angeles after hectic touring etc… But this piano pop with the excellent vocals is nothing which is going to break any new genres or spawn infinate copycats, neither have critics fighting over rights to create a new genre label, (see Kindie, indie music for kids and parents) Andrew McMahon knows his craft and peforms it with effortless ease. Track Highlights are the great “Mixed Tape”, Stacy’s mum vein “Miss Delaney”, the infinetly catchy “Dark Blue” and chilled anthem”La La Lie”. Oh did i mention that Tommy Lee drums on this album?A far cry from the Motley Crue and shows his versatility with the sticks.

Buy it, and relax in the summery atmospere of the california sounds of Jacks Mannequin.

They Ain’t Old, Just Older!

Have A Nice Day

Bon Jovi @ National Bowl, Milton Keynes,
June 11th 2006

Four years after the epic show Bon Jovi served up in 2002 to 95,000 in London’s Hyde Park, New Jerseys second sons arrive back in the UK and not without a bit of controversy. Wembley Stadium the originally proposed venue, as most will know has taken a turn for the worse, as the completion deadline was less reliable than a builders estimate. Due to some dodgy Aussie construction work and British political nonsense this will not be finished for the 2010 FA cup final let alone the 2007 date. So what does a band do when the historic venue you are about to open decides it not ready? You shift it an hour and a half up the M1 to Milton Keynes. What were they thinking!! that’s miles away from the original location. The gate on the day showed this, down from a 90,000 sell out at Wembley to a mere 45,00 at the National Bowl, Twickenham anyone? Na, too simple!

Anyways, despite the obvious problems as a dedicated follower I made the trip up with Rachel, one of my friends from Summit Camp 06 (Jingkei was sunning himself in Newquay, huh! A lousy excuse if you ask me). The Bowl itself is actually a really nice venue, really steeply banked edges make for good views all round and plenty of space to lounge and drink all day in the heat.

National Bowl
National Bowl @ Milton Keynes

First up on stage were a band called ‘Spin‘ who won a competition run by Virgin Radio. Personally I’d rather they didn’t, how they won was unfathomable to me. Their sound was mashed somewhere between a drunk Motley Crue and stoned Freddy Mercury on a vampiric mission to suck life from all who look upon them.

The first act to worthy their place on the line-up appears to the relief of the entire crowd. Canadian rockers Nickleback burst onto stage and awaken the crowd from it’s slumber (mainly due to Spin). Bursting through tracks from the last three albums Nickleback proved that they are a great outdoor rock band with scores of energy and whole hatful of unforgettable tracks. The pick of these were “Never Again”, “Too Bad” both taken from their breakthrough album Silver Side Up alongside more recent tracks “Someday” and “Photograph”. Am i forgetting one, a damn annoying AC/DC obsessed female…um, urr, BEAST! which lay behind us ensured that we didn’t. After every song, this infuriating individual would scream “How You Remind Me”!!! Yes love, we know, now shut up and give that growly masculine voice a rest!! Nickleback did a sterling job of rousing the crowd and raising morale ready for the headliners.

Nickleback raising the emotionlly drained.

As if they even need anyone supporting them, Bon Jovi casually stroll out to window shattering screams from the adoring fans and kick of the epic gig with a cover of “Rockin’ In The Free World” taken from their last live album “One Wild Night”. Not even at the grand old age of 44 Jon still looks a shaggy haired bundle of youth, either the magic of the make up artists were at full strength or he is just ageless. Richie Sambora on the other hand the rock veteran who has been rocking crowds around the globe for as long as I’ve been on the planet was looking his uber-cool self, and to crowd hilarity was also sporting a policeman’s helmet. Looks aside the early set was dominated with some great stadium tracks rock tracks such as “Captain Crash And The Beauty Queen From Mars”, “Have A Nice Day”, “Runaway” and “Sleep When I’m Dead”.

Richie Sambora

Where this show excelled was they know the fans favourite tracks and they played pretty much every one, these not being the pop classics but lesser known album tracks, which really had the crowd jumping. “Wild In The Streets”, “Raise Your Hands”, “Story Of My Life” being prime examples. The balladry had to come sooner or later and the versions played were superb, Richie Sambora taking vocal duties on “I’ll be There For You” was a master touch as I prefer Richies voice to Jons, go Figure?, but Jon took on the reworked version of “Always” from the “This Left Feel Right” Album, was the just because he just cant hit those high notes no more? or just laziness? Either way it was inspired.

Jon Bon Jovi

The acustomed two Encore’s didn’t disappoint either with renditions of the rock your socks “Last Man Standing” and “Bad Medicine” giving every last bit of energy these stadium veterans had. Still my favourite track “Blood on Blood” was played loud and true. “…But me, I’m just the singer of a long haired rock and roll band” Jon struck these vocals with a true honesty and a quick nod to Richie raised a smile on every face here this evening. Hell what a rock and roll band tho, 20 years and still going and I’m sure plastic surgery will ensure a few more decades will pass before we see the last of them.

Richie Sambora

Apologies for the poor photo quality, I’m a bit skint and cant afford ‘Gold Circle’ standing tickets, boo!

Can’t Get Enough of the Goo

Goo Goo Dolls @ Brixton Academy, Brixton, London
June 4th 2006


For this monumental occasion of a Goo Goo Dolls UK date I had rather different company than usual. Out was the too cool for school Mr Flowers and more than worth replacements of Chris Oh! and John. Getting there and back wasn’t as bad as expected from lil ol’ Canterbury, trains running ok and a cheeky pint kicked off the evening. After queuing round the entire block and down the high street we got in and took up positions downstairs, with it being an old theatre/cinema the sloping was great and anyone more than a 2 foot in front descended out of view, cracking.

First up were the non-inspiring Producers from Ireland. Plodding indie in the vein of Interpol with no real driving bass or inventive guitar got very samey after 2 or 3 tracks. One or two tracks stood out but nothing which really justified my arise from the comfortable lazing position on the floor. Still much better was to come.

The Goo Goo Dolls strolled onto to meet a deafening scream from the London crowd, seems the exile from the UK has only served to bait fans even more. Screams aimed mostly in the direction of lead singer “Johnny Rzeznik”, turned to roars pretty quick as they struck the first chords of “Stay With you” a guaranteed single from the new album “Let Love In”.


This was to be the order of the night, plugging the new release which I felt was their weakest to date. Still this taken into account you don’t realise just how damn catchy these tunes are till their blasted out live through a wall of speakers. Then you realise you actually know every lyric and are singing them like a obsessed fool (of which I don’t think I am, hehe). Songs such as title track “Let Love In”, “Feel The Silence” and the Supertramp cover “Give A Little Bit” classic examples of this. Not to disappoint mainstream pop fans the expected classics emerged with “Black Balloon”, “Name”, “Slide”, “Iris” and “Broadway” and disappointingly no “Sympathy”, “Acoustic 3#” or “Two Days in February”. Yet where this gig excelled for me was the part of Bassist Robbie Takac. His distinctive punk voice and roots shined clear here and added an air of fun and ballsy rock which is somewhat subdued in the loved up pop classics. Surprisingly Robbie tracks were aplenty with the superb double whammy of “Smash” and “Tucked Away” from the “Gutterflower” album, followed with older gems like “Burning Up” and “January Friend”, not forgetting the great track “Listen” from the New Release.

Robbie Takac

This was a gig which would not have been out of place in a much bigger arena which im sure they are accustom to in their homeland, the tracks where so big and grand the smallish academy seems to be filled to bursting with this great and accomplished band. Not forgetting I felt that people sitting back in the pub down the road would be able to hear the epic choruses and crowd exhilaration. I love this band and this has only wetted my appetite for more from this buffalo trio. They seem so at ease on stage and on a number of occasions crowd interactions raised many a laughs. Quote from John “We were on Top Of The Pops Today”, “It was great, we waited around for 6 hours to pretend to play our song”, “So you know, I started to Fuck around, mess about…” Classic! So all round a fantastic performance and I’m really hopeful for a return to the UK in the next decade or so.

Goo Goo Dolls

Movies to follow shortly!!