Dreams (Keep Me Alive)

Posted on 21st April 2011

On Saturday, 2nd April 2011, the Superficials played their first gig at The Hawthorns Social Club in Rubery. After being stuck in the studio recording their debut album for several months, it was great to actually hear the songs that Pete had been telling everyone about.

Attended by friends and family, the gig was primarily a private gig in celebration of fellow Jellyhead Craig's 40th birthday. As such, it was a very supportive audience, not that it was hard to win anyone over. The songs are very infecious, the playing was top notch and the performance from the whole band was solid.

The band consist of Martyn Terry on vocals & sax, Trevor Flowers on lead guitar, dB on drums, Cheese on rhythm guitar and Pete Spoz on bass, keyboards & backing vocals. Despite being a new band, the collective members have a wealth of previous experience under their belts, and although it might have been their first gig, you could easily be forgiven for thinking they've been playing together for several years.

Running through the complete album, as well as several unrecorded songs, the band settled into a groove quickly, and took us on a tour of aural delights. Their sound, although very indie/rock in nature has some mod and classic rock influences too, which suits the current climate of interest for indie bands at the moment. Songs like Emergency and The Truth highlight the band's foot-tapping rythmic grooves, Pushing Daises and Futureday bring out a more jangly-pop sound, while songs such as Dreams (Keep Me Alive) show off the band's more soulful side. Although I can't hear specific influences, there are parts that remind me of bands like The Mighty Lemon Drops or The Trashcan Sinatras, and even The Jam. All in all a great mix of tunes and well worth checking out.

My thanks to Pete for the setlist:

Eye Of The Storm
Spinning Song
Pushing Daises
Dreams (Keep Me Alive)
The Truth
Nostalgia Lies
If You Think About It
All The People
Two Thousand Days
28000 Miles

For more details on the band, visit the Superficials page on Reverbnation or follow the Superficials on Facebook. The album, Surface, is out now, and with more gigs lined up, you'd be wise to see them now before the NIA and world wide tours beckon.

Check out more photos from the gig:

This is part one of Craig's 40th Birthday Bash. Part two with The Festival Experience will appear soon.

File Under: gigs / music / photography / superficials

Walk In My Shoes

Posted on 15th April 2011

I first met Paul Menel back in 1985, when he joined IQ. It was at the old Marquee Club on Wardor Street in London, and ended up being a great night. Last year was the first time I'd seen him for several years, having hid himself away from the limelight. It was great news to hear he was back with a new band and a new album.

The album, Three Sides To Every Story, is awaiting release, although if you were at any of Paul's gigs earlier this year, you hopefully bought one of the 5-track samplers. The new band has been working on the songs, and since the original recordings, the live performances have taken on a life of their own.

Paul and the band will be supporting Khaliq next week at the O2 Academy Birmingham on Friday 22nd April, and have busy rehearsing for the gig. With the departure of John Jowitt, the band have been breaking in new boy Steve Swift to the new live set. With the Khaliq gig being a support slot, the set will maiinly focus on the forthcoming album, but they'll still be something to keep the iQ fans interested too.

The rehearsals themselves went really well, with smiles all round by the end of the night. It was also great to hear Luke guesting on backing vocals, as he did on the original recordings :)

After looking back through the photos, I really am going to have a start a photo collection entitled 'The Many Faces of Bill Devey'. I used to think it was only guitarists that practised gurning during guitar solos, but Bill was putting every guitarist to shame the other night ;)

Expect more photos from the gig after next week.

File Under: gigs / menel / music

Loose Change

Posted on 1st April 2011

Many years ago I wrote a set of scripts and modules that together formed a way for me to access eBay internationally. I frequently bought records from the UK, US, Germany and Australia, so those were the plugins that I focused on, but the intention was to allow more to interface to other eBay sites. I even did a presentation at YAPC::Europe in 2004, called The Perl Auctioneer, which explained my progress.

As part of the currency calculations and conversion, I used the same site that eBay themselves were using, XE.com. As I became more involved in other projects, and my international eBay buying declined, my efforts to finish and release the Perl Auctioneer waned. However, I was still using the currency conversion module, so released it as a stand-alone package. In time this became Finance::Currency::Convert::XE.

Although I have occasionally updated the module, I no longer use it. However, others still do. XE.com themselves are very protective of their data, understandably, and are very resistent to screen scrapers. Even though their own terms of use allow for personal use, and do not explicitly say screen scrapers are prohibited, they do make accessing the data from the command line very difficult. They have very recently upgraded their website with further measures to prevent automated tools scraping their data.

As I no longer use the module, I feel I have two choices. Pass on the distribution to someone else, who does want to invest time and effort on the module, or to abandon the module and distribution and remove it from CPAN. As the module does not currently work with the latest XE.com site, unless someone does come forward I plan to remove the distribution from CPAN by the end of the month.

If you would like to take over the module, please email me (barbie@cpan.org) and let me know your PAUSE ID. I'll then put the wheels in motion to give you maintainer/author permissions.

File Under: modules / opensource / perl

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