Live at the El Mocambo

NEWS: Coney Hatch to play entire debut album at El Mocambo – 40th anniversary

Be there December 29 in Toronto! From there, the Hatch is off to the UK to open for Steve Harris’ British Lion!

#1015: Vis-a-Vis-a-Vous

RECORD STORE TALES #1015: Vis-a-Vis-a-Vous

As a kid, I had heard of Coney Hatch but never particularly paid attention.  MuchMusic rarely included their tunes on the Pepsi Power Hour for unknown reasons.  I probably heard “Hey Operator” but nothing else by the band.  Timing was not in their favour with me.  I wasn’t even into heavy rock yet when their first two albums came out.  No wonder they passed me by.  By the time I dove head-first into rock music on December 26 1984, I had already missed most of their career.  Ironically though, Coney Hatch did have a song on the metal album that I heard that day, which was Masters of Metal II and “Hey Operator”.

Fast forward to summer 1990, and a hot “new” singer was making waves on MuchMusic.  I didn’t really know who this Andy Curran guy was, but my best friend Bob loved his song “No Tattoos”.  Bob was pretty anti-tattoo and felt that the coolest way was to have clean skin.  He really identified with Andy’s lyrics. “No tattoos, gotta stay cool, my mama never raised no fool.”

Personally speaking I loved Motley Crue and their tattoo sleeves.  I didn’t identify with “No Tattoos” the way Bob did.  “I didn’t listen…I was scarred for life.  And I couldn’t just stop at one!”  That whole “scarred for life” line was one Bob really liked.  It was a good song and I liked it, but it didn’t resonate with me like it did with Bob.  So again, this Andy Curran guy slipped out of my mind when the single was over.

Decades passed and in 2019, Deke messaged me.  Deke is a massive Andy and Coney fan.  “Mikey!  Coney Hatch have a live album up for pre-order.  Signed limited edition.  You better get in on it man.”  I decided it was time to finally take the plunge with Coney Hatch, and I’m glad I did.  Live at the El Mocambo is one of my favourite live albums now!  And I got in on the ground floor with it, limited signed copy:  19 of 300.

But then Deke upped the ante.  He hooked up Andy Curran for a live video interview with us.  At this point I had to cram so I bought all the Rock Candy reissues of the Coney Hatch albums, and the self-titled Andy Curran.  The “No Tattoos” record, as he calls it.  Interview prep is serious business, and I did the best I could in the given amount of time.  But I didn’t want to fake it.  When I found myself vis-a-vis with Andy Curran, I fessed up.  I was new.  I was a Coney Hatch rookie who had done his best crash course in a band that I was growing to love.

And Andy was so cool about it.  In fact he came back two more times to complete our chat and answer every question we had.

Better late than never — check out Andy and some Coney hatch today.

My Top Ten Coney Hatch tunes:

1. She’s Gone

2. Marseilles (cover)

3. First Time for Everything

4. Blown Away

5. Stand Up

6. Don’t Say Make Me

7. Hey Operator

8. Monkey Bars

9. We Got the Night

10. No Sleep Tonight

 

REVIEW: Coney Hatch – Live at the El Mocambo (2021 limited edition)

CONEY HATCH – Live at the El Mocambo (2021 limited numbered & autographed edition)

It only took four decades, but like a fine Chardonnay, time made it just parfait.  Coney Hatch’s first live album, recorded back in October 2020 at the legendary El Mocambo is, in a word:  perfect.

First, let’s define “perfect”.  “Perfect” doesn’t mean “exactly like the studio versions”.  Not when we’re talking about live albums.  It means there’s an exciting vibe, great songs, top-notch performances, and a band that sounds like they’re out for blood.  Coney sound as if there was no pressure — but they delivered their best anyway.

Four albums, 15 tracks, over an hour of tunes.  Live at the El Mocambo represents the entire career of Coney Hatch, including all your favourites like “Stand Up”, “Devil’s Deck”, “Monkey Bars”, and “Hey Operator”.  A couple great tunes from Coney Hatch Four (like “Marseilles”) prove that the Hatch lost nothing when they reunited a few years back.  While everyone will have their own highlights, “Wrong Side of Town” absolutely smokes.  The album is paced perfectly with more contemplative tunes like “She’s Gone” balanced out by bangers like “Boys Club”.  Lots of songs about “girls gone bad”, according to Carl.

Andy Curran discusses Live at the El Mocambo

The on-stage banter by Andy Curran and Carl Dixon is warm and humorous.  It’s clear that they appreciate where they are in their careers now, fortunate to have this amazing second run.  In the back, drummer Dave “Thumper” Ketchum gives us an idea of how he earned that nickname.  But let’s not forget the newest member, guitarist Sean Kelly, who proves why he is one of the most in-demand players you’re likely to hear these days.  His ripping licks on this record are hair raising.

Another strength is that these guys have lost nothing in terms of vocal abilities.  It’s all there.  How Carl hits the notes he does, is actually unknown to modern science.  Andy Curran has just as much expression as ever, the ying the Carl’s yang.  When the band sing together on a big chorus, it’s arena-ready.

The first 100 copies came signed by all four members, and with a Coney Hatch can cooler!  If that’s not an invitation to get your buzz on with this great album, I don’t know what is.  It’s done in true bootleg style:  plain white cover, with logo stamped on the front, and plain white labels on the records.  The track listing is on a separate insert.   The non-limited version is available for you to purchase so get on that right now!

5/5 stars