And I don’t mean fretwankery guitar solos, I mean using the guitar for sounds, for moods, for experience. There seems to be a momentum for largely solo guitar sonics that is a delight. In recent months I have seen Duke Garwood, Ryley Walker and heard/bought the excellent Justin Adams, all of whom seem to favour dense soundscapes over lookatme jiggery pokery. I think all this a renaissance of the instrument, as accomplished as the 60’s/70’s wizards, but without the diddle. Ain’t it great! P.S. Adams went to Eton 5 years ahead of Cameron, D.
Mama Roux’s, Digbeth
I have always rued my missing of the early RW gigs as a duo with Danny Thompson, so when this came up, I was in like a shot. This is the problem with artists who are world famous superstars in the Afterword, because the reality is always so slightly different. As I arrived at the venue, to be ticked off the list of 7 who had pre-ordered, I came to realise I am, as ever, following a niche taste. I think there were perhaps 20 people, stocky men in their prime, much as I, shuffling around in the somewhat bleak surroundings. First on, and already on stage, tuning up, was support, Bill Mackay, who has done some recordings with Ryley, and it was a fine line between the end of tuning and the start of his set. Solo electric guitar without vocal is a tough act to pull off, which I think he did. A bit reminiscent of a recent exposure to Duke Garwood, lots of echo and no shortage of volume, a power play of string plucking, picking and strumming, all sorts of styles incorporated in the same piece, from ragtime to » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Dragging many readers away from a reverie around a slumber party with the Moorer sibs, let me simply say one thing, ain’t it an appealing notion. But that’s not why I came. This is the record Carl and others commented upon some time ago, now out there in release-villa. and it is wonderful. All covers bar one, a harrowing Shelby penned lament to their witness of their parents mutual deaths, this cross genres between the Horrors to Nick Cave, Nirvana to Dylan, by way of current americana golden boy, Jason Isbell, and the Louvin Brothers, with a bit of Townes and Merle for good measure. Exquisitely produced by (that) Teddy Thompson, featuring, amongst others, Belmont Tench on swirling keys, Doug Pettibone, Lucinda’s go-to axeman, on guitars and his dad’s band rhythm section of Michael Jerome and Taras Prodaniuk. It is a delight, transcending their earlier individual forays into cover territory.
What does it all *mean*?
It means I flipping love these girls (women)
Goes well with…
Any of the folk they cover, and anything they have done alone.
Might suit people who like…
Loads of pre-publicity about this, surprised it hasn’t yet gauged a post here, but I sort of can guess why, the spirit for vicious trollfests being o so last year for the current AWer. I have just watched the 4 episodes back to back. I thought it in turn stunning and terrifying, believable and unbelievable, best TV of the year, despite the supposed sensitivities. I can thus fully expect it will not have necessarily appealed to some of our media guardians, small g. So I looked: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-4807862/CHRISTOPHER-STEVENS-reviews-Channel-4-s-State.html Am i alone in finding way more offence in the “review” than the programme could possibly offer? Or was that the point?
My hell having duly frozen over I found myself back, after a 15 year gap for my current final visit. 50 years of Fairport seemed a logical opportunity to catch those not already on the ledge, whilst they still can. And I wasn’t disappointed. True, a lot of the time I felt like Charlie Watts, years of, it seemed, hanging around as the flyover acts played, waiting for the next incarnation or variation of the theme to appear. As will become apparent. Arriving at midday on the thursday and there were still plots on field 5, handy both for the field and the Village: Cropredy has an all-encompassing fringe, whereby the 2pubs have their own roster of bands playing over the 3 days, there are stalls filling all available spaces selling festival clothes and records and every available outlet sets up selling breakfast: the school, the cricket club and the canoe club. And the church, which also had a coup, when Ashley Hutchings’s History of Fairport show played to a small throng on friday afternoon. So to the music. Thursday kicked off with a brief set from the acoustic incarnation of Fairport, the current 5 » Continue Reading.
The Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Well, I didn’t think I’d get to this, having had a throat op on saturday, but so glad I did, Chapman being an undoubted bucket list artist of mine, especially given his astonishing renaissance of the past few years. Kitchen Garden Cafe is small, nay, tiny: I counted the tightly crammed chairs as containing perhaps 80 grizzled souls. Chapman is 76 and so seemed many of his audience, creeping out from their Moseley boho attics under cover of dusk. And me. A gushing fanboy came on first, having twisted the promoters arm to play and was politely indulged. The contrast between his fresh face and designer haircut could not have been more extreme, Chapman ambling on in a tyre shop, sorry, “tire” shop, T shirt and baseball cap. First job was to ask the soundman to turn up his guitar, a battered looking acoustic six-string: “I like the sound of my guitar, I’m greedy”, he explained, “but my voice is shit.” The audience dissented, but slightly. Banging straight in with his trademark percussive and rolling picking, sort of John Fahey with tunes, it was a full five minutes, audience » Continue Reading.
Anyone going? Pint and a moan at the bar?
Town Hall, Birmingham
Those of long memory and patience might recall a plaintive post I put up on our predecessor, seeking advice around going to see this duo, afeard as I was of a lynching, on grounds of my gender. Assured, perhaps by Twang(othan) or Vulpes, maybe Steve T, there tonight incidentally, I brewed up my courage and waited this 9 years for their next tour. And I was not disappointed. Supported by Lucy Wainwright Roche, another Wainwright scion, she was charming, witty and self-deprecating. She could sing and play the guitar well too, but I can’t recall a hint of her songs. Even the ones from the record I have. And disarmingly and obviously her fathers daughter, Loudon in a wig being the look. Which is harsh as I warmed to her. Such is the role of a reviewer. A short gap and she was back, albeit alongside a fiddle player, very good, of chinese extraction and interesting hair, the two being the current band alongside Amy Ray (darker hair, lower registers) and Emily Saliers (fairer hair and the higher notes). I have their debut and a couple of others, so was anxious I may » Continue Reading.
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What’s all that about? Some late night blogging and, as I try to reply to @peanuts_malloy, this is my response. Repeatedly. Anyone else?
OK, I haven’t been in alone in the evening at this time of year for a number of years. But I am tonight, and BBC4 are playing the Pretenders. Shying from calling them a heritage act, irrespective of the clearly heritage audience, they have kicked off with all the hits. And, as @jack_the_biscuit would say, I would. Cracking band, with James Walbourne (the Rails) on geetar and a never more Captain Pugwashalike Martin Chambers on drums, i’m loving it! And you?
O2 Institute, Birmingham
At last, 3rd time lucky, I have got to see him, mishap and misfortune interfering during his last 2 trips. And what timing, hot on the heels of strong contender for 2017 album of the year, Gargoyle. First things first, arriving as I did half way through the support, a 2 piece on guitar and drums. Who is this, I asked those about me, too old to read the paper on the wall behind the bar. Nobody knew, but I liked the gothic(k) stuff, evoking the bastard love child of 90’s RT, Night Comes In, with ’67 Doors, The End, but with more distort. Of, course, it suddenly hit me, Duke Garwood, buddy of Lanegan, and it was indeed. Tip top stuff I will be investigating. A short gap and on comes the band, again with Garwood, this time on 2nd guitar, maracas and 2nd keyboards. (To be fair, Lanegan later introduced the whole band, but all I could hear was him clearing his throat.) I love Gargoyle and I love Gravediggers Blues, his last 2 releases in this sort of style, guitar heavy electronica, at least on record. Live it was much » Continue Reading.
Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham
Yup, it was a bit back, but, for reasons I will outlay, the plan had been a reprise this Friday in Derby, but it’s been cancelled. I’m on a bit of a Wobble bender of late, lit up by his magnificent guest appearance with Youth’s Dub Trees outfit at Bearded Theory at the Spring bank holiday w/e. True, the full onslaught of Dub Trees is a barely contained cacophony of drums, guitar, fiddles and pipes, noosed together by computersanddeckslectronica, but topped this night, and their last recording, or bottomed more appropriately, by the dubbiest bassmeister in christendom. Sometimes with 2 basses, when Youth could tear himself from a six string and his mac. I was already a Wobble fan of yore, having seen the original Invaders of the Heart back in the 90s, and bought the odd and end along his journey, free jazz weirdness with Evan Parker, english folk in dub style and collaborations with Bill Laswell and Eno, amongst others. So there I was, parking up outside the H&H at barely 8pm. And he’d already started. Just, but it seemed ever so early. With the first tune being » Continue Reading.
Town Hall, Birmingham
A mere 44 years on from when I saw them last, I and a load of folk of questionable age assembled to see how this particular band was weathering it’s half century. And the answer, notwithstanding only one original member still standing, is not half bad. And not entirely good, but getting there. Gary Brooker is, of course, the man, and, looking a bit like a Buster Merryweather a week or so into growing his beard, both in looks and demeanour, played a corker. His voice, surely up there amongst the great of UK rock vocalists, along with Cocker and Rodgers, is undiminished, higher notes and all, his piano tinkling more overt than on record. Kicking off with a track from the new album, Novum, all promised well, especially with the next song being a beautiful ‘Homburg’, for me a superior song to that song, see later. And so the first half, interspersing old with new. A particular highlight was ‘Strong as Samson’, the glorious back swirl of organ unmistakeable, even if Fisher begat Copping begat, currently Josh Phillips. Guitar, and apparently for decades is Geoff Whitehorn, erstwhile of Back Street Crawler and » Continue Reading.
Royal Albert Hall
Bear with me, I’m still shaking. Sometimes there are gigs that are just OK, sometimes they can be good, sometimes even great. Occasionally, just occasionally there comes one that is an epiphany. Dawes at Shrewsbury Folk was my last. This was another. And sure, the setting helps, but the assuredness with which Kiwanuka and band owned the venue was nothing short of stunning. Let’s skip the lacklustre and muddy sounding support. Knowing from umpteen reviews and youtubes how it would start, that anticipation and excitement was palpable. We were in the choir seats, behind the band, with a fabulous view of the stage being set. Bank of keyboards (5), drum kit, adjacent percussion kit, mini stage for backing vocals, mini stage for strings. Lights down. The strings and keyboards start and play the familiar opening to Cold Cold Heart, a cheer as a shadowy figure slopes on and hangs on his guitar for that perfect lick. As the song progresses so too are the rest of the band arriving, with, a nice touch, a bevy of teenage girls: some sort of choir, to add their swell to the orchestration of this 12 minute » Continue Reading.
The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham
Jings, but it’s been a while since I stepped out for some live, forgetting quite how much I delight and deplore the process. Thankfully this was more the former, a homecoming for the boys of Tuam to what is still one of the bigger cities in the west of Ireland. And by Paddy, they were out in force, all ages, shapes and sizes, mainly generous in all three parameters, at times the room reminiscent of the Craggy Island Farmers Dance. I962. And that was the mood set by the support, as if merseybeat had never happened, a world where all the bands are populated by Richard Hawley lookalikes. They and the ridiculously overpriced piss sold in thin plastic slop jars to refresh the audience provided the downside. Thankfully a brief yet all too long set ended and, just before half nine, on trouped the current six physicians, kicking straight off into a set of favourites, both old and, probably, brand new. With a newish record to promote I am sure some songs were new, but they all sounded familiar and the audience knew all the words, or seemed to. There is something » Continue Reading.
No, not a response to the (otherwise unnoticed by AW) Brits of yesterday, but an ask for folk to pitch in with the albums they didn’t get around to listening to last year. Just been listening to “This is Where I Live” by William Bell and it is every bit as good, better even, than the glowing reviews. If this clip doesn’t melt your ears, try his version of blues standard, Born Under a Bad Sign, which is just sheer blow other versions out the water phenomenal It could have pushed Michael Kiwanuka very close, IMHO, he being my number 1 at the end of year. So what is your later discovered glory?
Town Hall, Birmingham
First gig of the year and good to be out and about, despite the determined nip in the air. Missed my first train so missed the support. Spot on 8.30 and a six piece band ran on: keyboards, drums, double bass, cello, violin, guitar and synth, followed by Kenny, the elfin and eponymous King, beaming his wide-mouthed grin. A vaguely space theme inhabited the costumes, all silver leggings, NASA T shirts and, for the frontman, lots of glitter eyeliner. Nary a word and straight into You Just Want, the opener from unlikely hit album, 12 in theAW poll, the band just right for his organic motorik, a successful hybrid between fey(ish) folk and acceleratively drummed drones. 3 songs before a word, that being for introductions and a brief question around the love life status of the audience, involving a brief waltz with woman from the front row, conducted at the edge of the seating. Love Life the song followed, if anything more yearning yet propulsive than the original. The whole of Astronaut Meets Appleman followed, albeit in different order to the record, the otherwise somewhat indulgent Peter Rabbit Tea steering right over the » Continue Reading.
It says here, over here to the right of my writing, that Beany’s 2015 post about bread shops in Bolton is in the lead. Despite it being near 8 months since any comments were added. Do I detect nefarious forces? Veritable teams of, well, given the piece, muppets, tasked with viewing this on a daily basis? Will this start a trend in bringing back tumbleweed from our well of remembrance? There’s a chance for my Bastille review after all!
Another good man gone, erstwhile Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers guitarman, also of The Action, Mighty Baby, Savoy Brown to name a few. The Willis were my main band as a mid to late teen and I caught them a number of times, Stone being one character there amongst many, sporting a beret long before anyone else popular here. Lovely clipped tone in his playing, almost a jazz sound but his style unmistakeably of the blues. Play up, Martin at 1 min 25s in the clip
I ranted here yesterday about the tyranny of copyright fears for photos, arguing the logic for youtube to be similarly denied. Today I have you-tube size spaces in all the posts that had them, OK, with the URL present, but no auto-embed. Glitch or the hope you like our new direction?
What does it sound like?:
What does it sound like? Absobloodylutely stupendous, believe the hype. Really. There really is a reason why just about every critic in just about every sphere is saying this. Ok, so some of it is because it is so very very long since hopes lay undashed, but if ever a prodigal came good, this is it, kill the fattest calf in the land. Forget best since Some Girls, best since Stripped, this is the best since the 1964 EP The Pretty Things, which, apart from not being by them, gives the best idea of the sound they’re coming from. And, yes, stuff the pundits saying this needed Mick Taylor in, or even Brian, it’s Dick, with a D, Taylor that I would like to hear, back with the band he nearly joined. And Stu would have been good. Hopefully you are getting the feel this is no polished late 60s Blue Horizon fare, Mike Vernon would not have touched this garage band with a bargepole. This is the blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, even if the songs aren’t, rough and ready, raw and vibrant, grown men polishing their, um, brooms. Basic even, » Continue Reading.
As I was today doing my homework, the monthly skim through Unshod/Boho, I discovered a further, unheralded at least in England, untimely death, that of Shooglenifty front hurricane, Angus Grant, who quietly died last month “after a short illness”. Yes, Bro’ Cancer strikes again. Probably explains their non-appearance at Shrewsbury this summer. As this obit shows, he was quite a fella. Some malt will be belatedly supped the night. http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/14798254.Obituary___Angus_R_Grant__musician_and_member_of_Shooglenifty/
O2 Institute, Birmingham
Here’s the vibe, one of the coldest nights of the year, and there are 5 middle-aged men on stage, singing and strumming their hearts out on the cheeriest sounds this side of the Clyde Riviera. This late blooming, new album “Here” featuring in most of the 2016, best-of lists, is a delight, anything from that album segueing seamlessly with anything from before, interspersing old with new with abandon. Like a comfy winter coat, they instil a feel good whatever in their, um, fan club and tonight, Matthew, I was one of them. Kicking off aptly, Start Again, songs from nearly every stage of their 27 year existence were featured, Norman Blake unmistakably in charge, yet sharing and swapping singing duties with bassist Gerrard Love and guitarist Raymond McGinley. the 3 styles of songwriting impossible to differentiate, all a joyful jangle, a word I try to avoid. But can’t. With keyboard/sometimes more guitar and drums adding to the vocal swell, at times this smacked more of the Beach Boys or, particularly with some of the newer songs, C,S,N & Y, albeit ni a good way, if those bands had been brought up in Northern » Continue Reading.
Musing on the RS/RSs piece by Junior a week or so back, I got to thinking how much would I pay for a decent Stones ticket. Or anyone for that matter. And I am appreciating that it isn’t always the music that calls the tune, sometimes there being other tugs on our consciences to put on the glad rags and barefoot it into town, any town, and catch some live. (Hell, with a 2016 like it’s been, reaping grimly at our individual bucket lists of bands to see, names now impossible drawn through, there’s added pressure.) I used to see the Stones every tour for a while, 80s through 90s, up until the Voodoo Lounge tour, 1995, but it all got silly priced after that. Shame, as that was, for me, the best show I had experienced, the coalescence of better sound, and better preparation. (Knebworth, best for cred kudos, was pretty shite, I recall….) I still look at the prices, despite the increasingly derisive and/or sycophantic reviews, but nah. But still I wonder. So my question for youse is who would you consider paying over the odds to see and why?
o2 Academy, Birmingham
I was a wee bit nervous ahead of this, uncertain which version I would be seeing. So this tour advertises itself as celebrating 20 years, despite the Rev. D Wayne telling us it’s actually 19. (Or wiki saying 21) But that wasn’t the point, it was whether I was going to get the country blues bottleneck’n’harp gravelly vocals techno band or the annoying bloke talking cod american all over it. As it happened we had both, but the Rev D, for it is he, was restrained enough to be bearable, even amusing, once the image of Vic Reeves disappeared from my mind. After an energetic set by a reincarnation of my school, your school, any school’s 6th form band, playing similar material and the same covers, prompt on 9.20 out went the lights and on strode the 1st 7 of the 3 represented tonight, kicking straight in with a new song from Blues, their new LP, stylistically segueing straightaway into their trademark wail and stomp in a pleasing way, Larry Love sleazing the vocals in tandem with Harpo Strangelove’s, um, harp. Rev D then appeared with a brief epistle and they cantered through » Continue Reading.