Punk icon Jordan gets wonderful send-off in Brighton
THE OFFICIAL JORDAN MEMORIAL MEMORIAL CHARITY CONCERT – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 29.5.22
The word “icon” is often used rather lightly, but it truly applies to Pamela Rooke, better known as Jordan Mooney. The image of the former assistant at Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s SEX boutique in the Kings Road will forever be associated with punk rock, and her boldly outrageous and uncompromising fashion sense blazed a trail for generations that followed.
In more recent times, Jordan became a familiar face on the Brighton area music scene, frequently attending gigs with an infectious enthusiasm and a broad minded curiosity that endeared her to everyone she met. A friend to the Brighton and Hove News team, she was the partner of our editor Nick, so her sad death in April was something very close and personal indeed.
In conjunction with Black Rabbit Productions, Nick has organised a Memorial Charity Concert at the Concorde 2 in Brighton, featuring specially selected acts who either were friends of Jordan’s or produced music that she loved. The proceeds from this all-day event are going to two causes that were special to her: Cats Protection and the Music Venue Trust.
There’s a glossy souvenir programme, and stalls selling specially produced merchandise. A big screen is displaying a rolling slideshow featuring many of her stunningly outrageous looks and scenes from her colourful and varied life. Many of the patrons attending today have dressed up in their finest Jordan-inspired punk fashion in tribute.
John Robb is today’s compère. Vocalist of The Membranes and Goldblade, he is also well known as a journalist and the editor of Louder Than War magazine, and interviewed Jordan at promotional events for her ‘Defying Gravity’ autobiography.
Whether speaking or writing, John always exhibits a seemingly effortless concise eloquence that I could only ever aspire to. Introducing the first band, he comes across like Shakespeare’s Mark Antony in a Mohawk.
“Jordan’s life is about a lot of things but music was very key to it. Lots of very different bands, so lend us your ears…”
The act being introduced are Fruity Water, a guitar and synth duo playing a dreamy sort of electro-pop. Comprising Adam on guitar and Smalan on keyboards, they were friends of Jordan, and Nick tells us she last caught them at The Green Door Store last August. Adam plays a Strat and is wearing a T-shirt with an amusing ‘Give Quiche A Chance’ motif. Smalan has a ‘tash and a smock, and operates an array of small black boxes, including a Novation control surface and a tiny Yamaha synth from which he’s wrangling some impressive pitch bends. Adam’s languid vocal wafts over shimmering guitar and synth arpeggios that are eventually supplemented by juddering electronic bass. It’s all rather pleasant.
‘Water The Plants’ is touchingly dedicated to Jordan, and has a bit of an eastern vibe, with the jangling guitar following some interesting scale patterns. Smalan takes the lead vocal for ‘1, 2, 3, 4’. He wants the mic off the stand to perform a bit, but is constrained by an unhelpfully short cable. Fortunately there’s a skittering playout of sequenced electronics during which he regales us with some appropriately freaky dancing. Final number ‘Bye Bye Me’ is particularly mesmeric, with lovely wailing lead over an increasingly hypnotic groove. Fruity Water have proved very refreshing indeed, an excellent start to proceedings.
Fruity Water setlist: ‘Sometimes’, ‘Water The Plants’, ‘1,2,3,4’, ‘Bye Bye Me’
Next up are Monakis, a local trio playing a particularly lively and urgent sort of modern post-punk. Jordan had seen them several times, initially at The Rossi Bar in early 2020. When I’ve caught them it’s usually been in smaller and sweatier venues than this, but the lads seem perfectly at home on a larger stage. As usual, vocalist and bassist James is shirtless from the start, and his mop of curly hair shakes vigorously as he hurls a furious snarl down the mic.
Guitarist Aaron and drummer Joe are slightly more modestly attired in dark vests, but clearly psyched up for an energetic workout on their respective instruments. It all gets very lively very quickly. If you haven’t come across Monakis before, imagine IDLES in their more intense moments and you won’t be far off. It’s absolutely roaring.
‘Diseases’ is a new song, to me at least, with a lyric topically focused on the excesses and misbehaviour of our elected representatives. Aaron takes the lead vocal while James supplies some impressive backing grunts. ‘Rich’ is a stand out number, driven by a particularly infectious two-note riff and punctuated by stunningly effective stops. James delivers the catchy “sort it out” vocal refrain in his most menacing drawl, and I’m getting goosebumps. ‘Screw Loose’ is due to be the next single, and Aaron is sufficiently enraptured thrashing out its punky rhythm to attempt a slightly alarming leap onto the drum riser that looks like it might test the unit’s load bearing capability. It wobbles slightly, but maintains its integrity, and the Monakis juggernaut motors on. If you get a chance to catch them live, I strongly recommend that you do.
Monakis setlist: ‘Driptease’, ‘Disease’, ‘Rich’, ‘Fake News’, ‘Screw Loose’, “Untitled New Tune”‘, ‘White Rabbit’
Johnny Moped with Captain Sensible
Old school punk doesn’t come much more old school than Johnny Moped. Formed in Croydon back in the 1970s, Captain Sensible of The Damned featured in an early lineup, and he’s here today on guitar as a special guest. Vocalist Johnny (aka Paul Halford) is wearing his trademark leather biker jacket, and is flanked by the Captain and longtime collaborators Slimy Toad, also on guitar, and Jacko Pistorious on bass.
Marty Love is behind the kit. There’s nothing too fancy here, just good old rock’n’roll, and the crowd is loving it. The band are tight, and there are impressively crisp stops in ‘Panic Button’ for little flurries of bass and guitar. Johnny is locked in too, slightly flat of where you might reasonably expect the vocal melody to be. This technique, which gives a charmingly amateurish impression, has provided an illustrious run as a much loved cult artist, so don’t be expecting it to change anytime soon.
A cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Little Queenie’ gives Captain Sensible a solid base to embellish with some tasty lead guitar on his trademark SG. The familiar opening riff of early single ‘Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby’ ushers in that absolute classic, and there’s much hilarity when Johnny unleashes the dramatic countdown intro to ‘Hell Razor’ when the band were expecting to play ‘Groovy Ruby’.
The Captain is looking particularly cool and adding star quality to the proceedings, along with some humour. “Much as we love Jordan, we can’t really dedicate any of these songs to her…” There are peals of laughter from the crowd. We continue with the obviously controversial ‘Incendiary Device’, and another old favourite, ‘Hard Loving Man’, before concluding with a rousing cover of Eddie Cochran’s ‘Something Else’.
Johnny Moped setlist: ‘V.D. Boiler’, ‘Panic Button’, ‘Little Queenie’, ‘Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby’, ‘Groovy Ruby’, ‘Hell Razor’, ‘Incendiary Device’, ‘Hard Lovin’ Man’, ‘Somethin’ Else’
(A full nine hours actually concentrating might be pushing the limits of my age-addled attention span, so I’m taking a break and will hand over to Mark Kelly for the next couple of acts).
The Pink Diamond Revue with Neal X
The Pink Diamond Revue were formed in 2015 by guitarist Tim Lane and drummer Rob Courtman Stock. They are notionally fronted by a mannequin which goes by the name of Acid Dol. Throughout the show she is constantly being dressed and re-dressed by a man called Maud Kipper who shuffles on stage looking as if he’s trying to be inconspicuous, which is something he spectacularly fails to achieve.
At a couple of points in the set they are joined by a scantily clad female dancer going by the name of Helene de Joie who adds a degree of probably intentionally seedy glamour to proceedings. Four days after tonight’s event, Helene went on to perform a tribute/interpretation piece of Amyl Nitrate (Jordan Mooney’s lead role)’ ‘Rule Britannia’ from Derek Jarman’s 1978 film; ‘Jubilee’ which was having a special Jubilee screening in London at the Rio Cinema.
The Pink Diamond Revue have an EP entitled ‘We Don’t Play Rock ‘n’ Roll‘ which is a very apt title as their music certainly isn’t rock ‘n’ roll in the traditional sense. It clearly owes a great debt to Sigue Sigue Sputnik (indeed, former Sigue Sigue man Neal X joins them for the finale of their set). It is futuristic in a particularly mid 1980s kind of way.
However, the music is only part of the performance. There is a lot of visual entertainment to take in as well. This is very much performance art more than a live gig, and challenges any preconceptions that an audience may have. The Pink Diamond Revue offer entertainment for the mind and body.
The Pink Diamond Revue setlist: ‘New Kind Of Life’, ‘Miss Lonely Hearts’, ‘The Fuzz Guitar’, ‘Milkshake’, ‘At The Discotheque’, ‘Go Go Girl’, ‘Love Missile F1-11’
Bootleg Blondie with Gary Valentine
Having seen the real Blondie a few times I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this tribute band. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Their renditions of the songs are very faithful to the originals (despite not having a keyboard player) and the actual song selections are excellent. Jordan was a friend of the band, and vocalist Debbie Harris wears what looks like a garment made from bin liners emblazoned with the legend: “God save our queen Jordan Mooney 1955-2022”
Set starter ‘Atomic’ immediately energises the crowd, and they don’t stop dancing for the rest of the set. There seems to be a bias towards Blondie’s earliest material which is absolutely fine by me. ‘One Way Or Another’ gets a good pummelling from the band. After Debbie leaves the stage for a costume change, the song’s coda is purposefully accelerated massively, the boys clearly having fun while Debbie is away. Debbie returns for ‘Denis’ which is a particular highlight. It is a day that isn’t short on highlights, another one being when Bootleg Blondie are joined by former Blondie bassist Gary Valentine. Valentine wasn’t Blondie’s original bassist, that was Fred Smith, who left in 1975 to join Television. Gary Valentine joined Blondie in Spring 1975 and left in 1977, just as the band were starting to achieve some substantial recognition.
Today, Gary isn’t playing bass but is on guitar. He plays the final three songs of the set, starting with ‘X Offender’ which he co-wrote with Debbie Harry. Next up is ‘(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear’, which is a Valentine composition. Gary says that he hasn’t played these songs for over forty years. Well, all I can say is that he must have been practising very hard in recent times! The final song of the set is ‘Get It On’ by T Rex, which Blondie used to play live in the mid-late 1970s. It concludes with a snippet of the same band’s ’20th Century Boy’.
This has been an extraordinarily enjoyable set, with Gary Valentine’s presence (dear!) being the icing on the cake. I can honestly say that having seen Blondie in the past few weeks, that Bootleg Blondie are a more than acceptable substitute for the real thing. Indeed, they are a particularly good facsimile of the young Blondie. Well worth shelling out your hard-earned cash to see!
Bootleg Blondie setlist: ‘Atomic’, ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, ‘One Way Or Another’, ‘Denis’, ‘X Offender’, ‘(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear’, ‘Get It On’
(Mark Kelly now hands back review duty to Richie Nice for the remainder of the day).
AK/DK are an electro-punk duo whom Jordan saw and liked when they played at Chalk last October. The two black-clad players are Ed, house right in a baseball cap, and Gee beside him, sporting a ‘tash. Both have a rack of electronic gizmos, control surfaces and effects units beside them, and each player has a fairly minimalist acoustic drum kit with kick, snare, and a few cymbals. Ed’s is badged with a hand-drawn logo. Much as I like electronic music, in a live setting I often find I’m missing the visceral thrill and physicality of watching someone grooving hard on an instrument. AK/DK bridge that gap perfectly, unleashing rapidly skittering electronic rhythms that couldn’t be played in the traditional way, then joining in by giving the twin drum kits a proper pounding. The results are spectacularly good.
They open with ‘Maxwell’s Waves’, which starts off as juddering electronica reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder. Ed is working the electronic boxes while Gee starts adding a bit of drums and some heavily processed vocal embellishments. It’s a proper trip, steadily building into something compellingly mesmeric. The intensity mounts to a state of frenzy, and by the end both players are whacking their drums with gusto, somehow managing to all stop in unison with the burbling electronics.
There’s a comedy moment as Gee tries to address the crowd, stabbing at the many effects pedals looking for a combination that will permit discernible speech. “I can’t turn the delay off,” he confesses, sounding like he’s trapped in a grain silo, which raises quite a laugh. ‘Kosmiche #1’ starts off with a pleasantly bleepy Kraftwerk vibe, then gets gradually more freaky and intense, with Ed hurling heavily processed screams through a retro Tannoy-style mic on a curly lead, the sort of thing you might have used with a CB radio before we had the internet to share gossip on. ‘Battersea’ has a crazy fairground vibe that sounds like the sort of naggingly insistent background music on old computer games. Final number ‘Morphology’ thunders off on a hypnotic Krautrock journey over a manically urgent motorik beat, and now I’m utterly lost in music. When my consciousness returns, both players are standing on their drums in a triumphant pose, and the crowd are roaring their approval. I think I may have a new favourite band, for the moment at least.
AK/DK setlist: ‘Maxwell’s Waves’, ‘‘Kosmiche #1’/’Motorik Improv’, ‘Battersea’, ‘Morphology’
Next up are local heroes and rapidly rising stars DITZ, another band that were favourites of Jordan in recent times. A five-piece, they play an angry and powerful sort of post-punk with astonishing energy. Their debut album came out digitally in March, and personally I’m eagerly awaiting the vinyl release later in the summer.
Vocalist Cal has a pretty, androgynous look, and is flanked by guitarists Jack and Anton, who between them are generating an unearthly effects-laden howl. Bassist Caleb occasionally breaks up his bass chord thrash to rain hammer blows from his clenched fist onto his instrument. Drummer Sam is an absolute powerhouse, thumping the kit with delicately finessed brute force. The stand holding his ride cymbal has yielded to the onslaught before the end of opening number ‘he he’.
This is another band I’m used to seeing in smaller venues, but they seem quite at home here. During the angular and urgent ‘Gayboy’, Cal drops off the high stage into the photographers’ pit, and is quickly over the barrier and mingling with the audience. Returning via the same route is more tricky, with the singer crouched like a cat contemplating a challenging leap. It’s quite a gap to the stage, but Cal makes it safely back with an impressively agile bound.
‘Ded Würst’ is punctuated with violent bursts of extreme guitar noise, and the relatively delicate hi-hat intro to ‘Role Model’ soon gives way to another primal roar. ‘Summer Of The Shark’ is excellent, gliding effortlessly over an awkward sounding rhythm, and ‘Three’ is super heavy. They save the best for last with ‘No Thanks I’m Full’, whose brisk groove expands into an enormous and utterly sublime instrumental playout. Cal sits on the drum riser while the guitars get busy. They are soon soaring stratospherically, while Sam is battering the kit into oblivion. Long since shirtless, he stands with arms aloft at the conclusion, looking for all the world like a victorious boxer. Technically, this set was a knock-out.
DITZ setlist: ‘hehe’, ‘Two’, ‘Seeking Arrangement’, ‘Gayboy’ ‘Ded Wurst’ ‘Role Model’ ‘Summer Of The Shark’ ‘Three’ ‘No Thanks, I’m Full’
The band that accompanies vocalist Spizz on his extravagantly theatrical punky sci-fi exploits has gone by many names in the past. More recently it has reverted to Spizzenergi, under which ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’ was originally released at the end of 1979. That was the first single to top the UK Indie Charts when they were introduced in early 1980, and is widely regarded as a punk classic.
Spizz always put a huge amount of planning and effort in his performances, and shared his extensive packing list online in advance of this gig. There is a prop or costume item for every eventually, and he certainly cuts a dash in his futuristic red and black outfit, with neon specs, alarming face makeup, finger covers that light up, and a dot matrix belt screen flashing the band name. The band are going for it too, carrying on the red and black theme. Guitarist Luca looks like he comes from a future with a 1960s garage psych vibe, whilst bassist Ben is clearly an emissary from the world of rock. Phil is a whirling dervish on guitar, making frequent forays onto the bass bins to strike poses in his PVC trousers and military cap. Drummer Alan thunders around the kit, nodding a shock of spiky bleached hair.
For all the performance pomp, Spizz has excellent songs too. I love the glam stomp and mass backing vocals of ‘Shallow End’ and the surveillance paranoia of ‘City Of Eyes’. I’m not alone either, as there are some extremely dedicated fans around me who are excitedly clamouring to collect printed cards that Spizz is trying to throw into the audience. Their aerodynamic profile makes traversing the void of the photographers’ pit quite a challenge. Spizz has a Ukrainian flag about his person, which he whips out for the briskly punky ‘European Heroes’. There’s a stompy marching rhythm on ‘Here Come The Machines’ and the whole band are striking cool poses.
The light up fingers are hurled into the excited crowd during ‘Red And Black’, with Spizz finding alternative amusement from a laser pointer he handily had in his pocket. It must have taken a while to get dressed today, as Spizz also has American and Russian flags stuffed into his pants. The big reveal comes, appropriately enough, during ‘Soldier Soldier’. There’s a mass sing-along to ‘Clocks Are Big’, and then everything suddenly gets pretty crazy as the familiar riff of ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’ strikes up. It’s by far the most vigorous mosh of the whole event so far, and continues unabated through a faster-than-you’d-expect cover of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’. This was excellent fun, and felt very much like a headline set.
‘6000 Crazy’, ‘Shallow End’, ‘City Of Eyes’, ‘European Heroes’, ‘Mega City 3’, ‘Valentine’s Day’ (David Bowie cover), ‘Here Come The Machines’, ‘Red & Black’, ‘Soldier Soldier’, ‘Virginia Plain’ (Roxy Music cover), ‘Clocks Are Big’, ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’,’ The Model’ (Kraftwerk cover)
I’m rather looking forward to seeing The Monochrome Set. Although they’ve been back gigging regularly since about 2010, the last time I caught them would have been in the early 1980s. Post-punk in the classic sense, they have a strong connection to Jordan via Adam and the Ants, whom Jordan briefly managed in the 1970s.
Vocalist Bid was in a band called The B-Sides with Stuart Goddard (later Adam Ant) and long-serving bassist Andy Warren was also in an early Ants lineup. The current band also features Mike Urban on drums and Athen Ayren on keyboards. They open with their eponymously titled ‘The Monochrome Set (I Presume)’, guitar jangling over thumping drums. Bid looks pretty good these days, like a reincarnation of Lou Reed. The coolness quotient is restored by him swigging red wine straight from the bottle between songs.
It’s a strong start to the set with two further classic numbers, ‘The Jet Set Junta’ and the beautiful angular groove of ‘Alphaville’. I’d forgotten the tremendous variety of influences that can be felt in this band’s music. There’s a weird jazzy bit with accompanying cowbell in ‘The Ruling Class’. The more recent ‘Mrs Robot’ is artily reminiscent of XTC, while ‘Jack’ has a garage psych feel, and ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ is a crazy sort of country-and-gospel-tinged rock’n’roll.
Starting ‘Eine Symphonie Des Grauens’, there’s some technical difficulty with Bid’s guitar, which is a shame. After trying different combinations of leads and amps, we get back under way. Bid has a song specially for the occasion, which he performs solo. ‘Goodbye Jordan’ is a lovely gesture, and really very moving. The set concludes with the urgent garage psych groove of ‘He’s Frank’, and I’m enjoying a bit of a dance. I’d forgotten how much I liked this band, and it’s been a real treat to see them again.
The Monochrome Set setlist: ‘The Monochrome Set (I Presume)’, ‘The Jet Set Junta’, ‘Alphaville’, ‘The Ruling Class’, ‘Mrs Robot’, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, ‘Jack’, ‘The Mating Game’, ‘Love Goes Down The Drain’, ‘Eine Symphonie Des Grauens’, ‘Goodbye Jordan/Goodbye Joe’, ‘He’s Frank’
Next up is Jamie Perrett, the son of Peter Perrett from The Only Ones. Jamie is an experienced player and has a respectable music career of his own. He takes the stage accompanied by Russ on bass, Elliot on guitar, and Chris on drums. Jamie has a bright red jacket to match his Strat, and is absolutely fizzing with energy. Opener ‘Outlier’ is a lively stomp with a rather nice ascending guitar run. ‘Doe Eyed Disaster’ has a languid psych feel, but culminates in a massive wig out, with some stunning guitar work from Jamie, who is hurling himself around the stage with wild abandon.
There’s a stabbing rhythm and an insistent groove on ‘Love 6 Ft Under’. Busy bass introduces the manic ‘I Got It Wrong’, and the brief set culminates with the relentless throb and howling psych of ‘We Were Born To Suffer’. Like everyone else, I’ve spent most of it wondering if Jamie’s dad is going to come on and join in, but this is clearly a separate showcase for Jamie’s own impressive songwriting and playing.
Jamie Perrett setlist: ‘Outlier’, ‘Lionshare’, ‘Doe-Eyed Disaster’, ‘Love 6 Ft Under’, ‘Got It Wrong’ ‘Age Of Reason’
There’s a brief pause to reset the stage, and it’s clear that the last act of the evening will be a separate performance by the legendary Peter Perrett, the guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Only Ones, whose ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ single is widely regarded as an all-time classic. It’s something of a family affair, with Peter in his dark shades flanked by sons Jamie on guitar and Peter junior on bass. Chris, who was playing drums for Jamie’s band, is back behind the kit. Once again, Jamie is doing a fantastic job on guitar, using an e-bow for some serious sustain at one point, and turning in blistering solos. Steve Hands, who has previously worked with Peter, takes over on drums after a few numbers.
Introducing ‘Hard To Say No’, Peter recalls how he dedicated it to Jordan at a previous gig at this venue, and makes a poignantly touching speech.
“Tonight she’s in our hearts and our memories. She was a really beautiful person. She wasn’t scary and angry like the famous photograph of her, but she enjoyed shocking people.”
There’s an excellent cover of The Kinks’ ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’, which seems to fit this theme perfectly. Of course, what everyone’s waiting to hear is that classic single, which when it comes is a few minutes of utter bliss. Jamie handles the iconic lead guitar run with aplomb. We have yet another change of drummer as Lauren Moon, who usually plays keyboards in Peter’s band, comes on to provide some stand up drumming with mallets, in the style of Mo Tucker, for an excellent rendition of the Velvet Underground’s ‘What Goes On?’ to round off the set.
Peter Perrett setlist: ‘Kill A Franco Spy’, ‘Secret Taliban Wife’, ‘Mixed Up Confucius’, ‘From Here To Eternity’, ‘Hard To Say No’, ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’ The Kinks cover), ‘Another Girl Another Planet’, ‘What Goes On’ (Velvet Underground cover)
In addition to the bands performing live, there were also three DJ sets during the event. These were DJ Gremlin (from 2pm to 5pm), Timmy DeRella (5pm to 8pm) and Simon Price and Jayney BlamBlam (from 8pm to 11pm).
It’s been a splendid day’s entertainment in memory of a special, unique and deeply loved person, raising money for two worthy causes that were very dear to her.
In loving memory of Jordan Mooney.
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T’was a good afternoon and evening, a good vibe all day. Special mention to Spizz who nailed it and Johnnny Moped made me laugh as usual. A nice tribute to Jordan.