Hotel Tivoli, Carvoeiro, Algarve
See comments. My previous 2 attempts at posting failed, so it’s see comments or I give up
It made me think..
Can you guess what it is yet? Yeh, see comments
The Institute, Birmingham
Grump up first. This gig was originally billed to start at 6:30pm, then changed to 8:00. Finally, after two hours of rather sweet but definitely time-filling deck-bothering from two sixth-formers Leftfield took the stage at five past ten. Actually, rather sweetly Neil Barnes came on and shook their hands at the conclusion of their set, as if they were either his son and his mate or someone on work experience whose project was really quite good.
On with Leftfield. For the first twenty minutes we had engineer behind laptop, Neil Barnes behind various mikes and a live percussionist. They tore through mostly stuff from the new album, half-hidden behind translucent screens onto which we got the regulation animations compulsory for all live techno acts. I have to say this section was amazing – hard, fast and loud. The tension dropped (perhaps it had to) for a section in which @retropath2 referred-to MC Cheshire Cat and then Ofei provided some vocals. For the rest of the set the ‘best club in the world ever’ atmosphere was restored. Bass came up through the floor, percussion was crisp, and everyone generally thought they » Continue Reading.
The Half Moon, Putney, London UK
I was wondering how he’d manage playing on such a small stage, as the last time I’d seen him it was a proper extravaganza with a trumpeter, Chinese instrumentalists, guest vocalists and guitarists… I need not have worried. What we got was the core band of Wobble on bass and percussion, Marc Layton-Bennett on drums and percussion, Martin Chung on guitar, George King on keyboards and Jamie Crossley taking care of samples, keyboards and pre-programmed wotnots. Mr W. has a 6-CD retrospective box set just released. He played a good varied selection from it, including Visions Of You, Public Image, Becoming More Like God, Poptones, How Much Are They?, Sea-Side Special, New Mexico Dub, Java (Augustus Pablo cover), Theme from Midnight Cowboy (John Barry), a Reggae version of Theme from “The Sweeney” (Harry South), Liquidator (Harry Johnson), Theme from Get Carter (Roy Budd) and Take Five (Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond). Mr W. had an unfortunate bass malfunction during “Liquidator” but quickly switched to his spare without interrupting the flow. He was in very good humour and the band were totally shit-hot, especially Marc L-B and George K. Phenomenally good players all. » Continue Reading.
The Stables, Milton Keynes
In the Autumn of 1972, I was not yet 16, and Wishbone Ash announced a British tour. I had seen them twice already. They were my band. Argus was the soundtrack of my life and I scoured the dates in the NME, looking for Guildford Civic Hall. In vain. There were no other dates close by (amazing to look back and think how little we travelled to gigs back then) and I was distraught. Over the next few days I hatched a plan.
So, on the next Saturday, I walked the 2 miles into town and positioned myself on the steps of Guildford Library, armed with a big notepad, a couple of pens, and a plastic bag in case it rained, and the pad got wet. At around 9.30am, I approached a tall, long-haired guy, in an ex-RAF greatcoat. “Excuse me,” I said, very nervously. He turned and looked me up and down. “Yes, mate,” he said. “Um, I’m doing a petition. Erm, Wishbone Ash aren’t coming to the Civic on their next tour and I want to get enough signatures to make them change their mind.” He looked at me for » Continue Reading.
Astor Theatre, Perth, Western Australia
Let me put my cards on the table. If I had to rush into a burning building to rescue some treasured possessions, the first thing I’d grab would be those early Mahavishnu Orchestra LPs. Well, after the Beatles and Zappa records, of course. And one of the twins, obviously. That’s how much John McLaughlin means to me.
The last time I saw McLaughlin live was in 1975 at the Royal Albert Hall in London with the second incarnation of Mahavishnu featuring Jean Luc Ponty on violin. That was 40 years ago but the maestro has lost nothing in the interim.
With time signatures so complex they might as well have been hieroglyphics transcribed from the wall of a pyramid and guitar solos so intricate they would have left Yngwie Malmsteen scratching his head in disbelief, this was definitely music for grown-ups.
Looking for all the world like George Martin’s slightly younger brother, the silver haired McLaughlin produced unbelievable sounds from his Paul Reed Smith guitar. With the incredible Étienne M’Bappé on bass (playing in gloves!), Gary Husband doubling on keyboards and drums and Ranjit Barot on drums, the band » Continue Reading.
The Works, Sowerby Bridge
I have not seen Nic jones for nearly forty years and after the car crash in 1982 thought that I would never see him perform again.He had played a few festivals, but this was the chance to see him in a one-off concert this year in a folk club. I thought I wouldn’t be able to go as I’m awaiting an operation, so I was glad it was delayed as I may not have been able to see this. I imagined that there may be tears, which there was, however it was mostly tears of laughter, there is a rapport between the two, with much gentle rib taking, and the occasional muffed note which brought forth much hilarity. Nic no longer plays guitar as he says he knows what to do, unfortunately his right hand can’t physically do it, but Joe’s playing makes up for that. Nic has to read the words as he sings and maybe the voice isn’t as strong as it was, but just to be there and see him perform again was wonderful. As our Cheshire feline chum said “ I was worried that it could have turned » Continue Reading.
Broadway Cinema, Letchworth
It’s a performance of ”The Wall” interspersed with Roger making a road trip from Blighty across France where he visits the first World War grave of his Grandfather, eventually arriving at the Anzio/Monte Cassino war memorial where his father died in action. The massive stage show and concert with crack band features the likes of our Rog alongside Snowy White, Dave Kilminster and GE Smith on guitars. The Waters’ pipes are in good form, and there’s a “Dave” replacement for second vocals and a spot of reinforcement on the odd high note. Fair enough. He’s never struck me as an especially charismatic bloke but he fronts the ensemble really well and it must have been a hell of a moment for him personally. Guitar nerds will appreciate Snowy using a Dave Gilmore Stratocaster model – surely a (possibly personal) not so mute tribute to the man it now appears to take 3 top players to replace? The band recreate the album as superbly as you’d expect. The lighting, images and overall show is mind boggling and it must have been quite an occasion to be there. The menacing fascistic uniforms and many of » Continue Reading.
The Capital Centre
On stage at 8.25pm, support act London by Night have been around for years, some would say mediaeval or beyond, but still manage to move with the times with some cracking new material that rises above the noise – statuesque, imposing, structural and soulful.
The headliner, Cancer Research Shine Walk, are comparatively new on the scene but have made an impact drawing huge audiences around the country and making an impact on the science uni circuit. As funding cuts hit, there’s a agit-political element too – this bunch have depth and influence. Tonight there were 17,000 performers hitting the streets. Some were in it for the long haul marathon, others signed up for the shorter 13 mile set. What we were treated to was an expansive performance, full of achievement, virtuosity and graft. The light show was impressive. As a collective, the audience became one with both stage and performers illuminated by radio controlled LED wrist bands, garish clothing and face paint as the capital’s pavements were glazed by rubber soles.
At four and three-quarter hours this was a long show. The sound of Welsh folk singing marked a downbeat first 80 minutes, » Continue Reading.
Radio City Music Hall, New York
Let’s start by getting this off my chest first. I’m only sat in Radio Bloody City in that Bloody New York aren’t I? !!!!!
So the lights dim and the plush stage curtain parts slightly to allow a besuited Colin Meloy to stroll onto the stage with his acoustic guitar and we are straight into the whimsey and then onto the absurd with The Apology Song followed by My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist. Next up is the poetic Crane Wife during which the curtain rises to reveal the band in front of the familiar quilt style backdrop. The macabre Leslie Anne Levine follows and then (with a dedication to the Pope) we have the humour of Billy Liar (‘the second dirtiest song I’ve ever written’). So there you have it. The bases that define the wide ranging ouvre of Portland’s very own and very wonderful The Decemberists are swiftly covered.
Just how broad their canon of work is can be demonstrated by what they leave out in a set that has almost totally changed in the last two months of the summer tour of North America. No room » Continue Reading.
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI
Opener William Tyler playing his trademark solo guitar with effects pedals, dials, knobs, feedback loops. Not a great show to watch but close your eyes and the atmosphere works well. Wilco stated with the new album – straight through, no introductions. The songs working even better live than on the album. Then its off to the greatest hits – picking mainly for the last 4 albums – this is the Wilco of sonicscapes – ballads turning into crunching guitar solos – and back to the ballad. The final encore is “acoustic” – a mini drum kit, banjos, steel guitars. Misundertood working really well – and finishing with Shot in the Arm – and the whole audience chanting “something in my veins – bloodier than blood”
A majority of male , middle aged that you would expect but a good sprinkling of young student types – this is a college town.
It made me think..
Damn they are good musicians- i was expecting the guitar of Nels Kline to impress but the drumming – wow – never seen such “expressive” drumming. A band at the very top of their game
“I’M DEAD, Yorkshire you’ve been alive” enthuses a sweaty John Lydon. I’m all for hot and sweaty gigs, but It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, in here tonight. “Where do you think you are, on a cruise liner!” chuckles John after the punky stabs of Double Trouble and Know Now. The former, the first new punk anthem about a broken toilet seat, but whilst John can’t flush, this song works so well. P.I.L’s performance is testament to the crowd, who keep taking the tablets and don’t jump off board the H.M.S Fibbers. The cooler, dubby, Deeper Waters is some relief and one of many great moments. Bells clang above Scotty’s deep bass groove , the always brilliant Lu Edmonds creates an apocalyptic layer of guitar textures, whilst we’re held steady in the swelling expanse of sound by no nonsense drummer Bruce Smith. Although their are little bits of keyboard backing, instrumentally P.I.L. are a brilliant sounding trio, with deep walls of sound. It’s a shame the lighting (or lack of) does little to help keep our mind off the heat which reaches boiling point during the hypnotic Corporate. It’s an angry, murderous moment from new » Continue Reading.
The Rainbow, Birmingham
Sweet Baboo is an unlikely pop singer. The name is a vehicle for Stephen Black, a short Welshman with a 1940s hair cut and ‘sensible’ clothing. He looks like a teacher, but he writes some of the most interesting pop songs I’ve heard in a while – think Divine Comedy meets the Super Furry Animals and you’ll be getting close.
The band is well rehearsed, though the sound’s a little muddy. Each song gets a short intro – “This is a mid-paced rocker”‘, ” This is a song about electronic library systems”, and if Sweet Baboo never seems entirely comfortable on stage, the tunes are strong enough to keep you engaged. If you liked him already then you’ll enjoy this, and if he’s new, you’d probably want to chat to him afterwards at the merch stall (he runs that too) and perhaps pick up a CD.
About 50 people tops, hipster males brandishing their e-cigs, and female offbeat indie types. All very well behaved.
It made me think..
While it probably won’t help his bank balance any, sometimes it’s more fun for your favourite artists to stay small.
Caravan Music Club ,Oakleigh, Melbourne
I deliberately titled the review thus because it wasn’t a tribute show. No lookalikes, no Satisfaction or Paint it Black etc. These guys and a few others including Tim Rogers( ex You Am I ) have been putting on shows covering variuous Stones albums since the 40th anniversary of their Kooyong concerts in 1973 and the false start fort the recent Stones tour. From memory they’ve done Black and Blue, Goats Head, Sticky Fingers, Ya Yas and Exile -so the drug period in the main. Tonight it was Some Girl’s turn. The key players are Nick Barker formerly of Melbourne band The Reptiles and local hot shot guitarist Shane O’Mara on lead.The rhythm section were great with the drummer playing a small kit just like Charlie. O’Mara had to be cajoled a bit to let it rip but did so in due course and Barker adopts just enough of Mick’s mannerisms to make it amusing without turning it tribute…” I am using every fibre of muscle in my body to not do the full Mick “he says. They opened with a 2 man acoustic set- Love in Vain, No Expectations, Wild » Continue Reading.
Leicester Square Theatre, London
Adam Carolla, though he would strenously deny it, is something of a Renaissance Man; a Los Angeles native who couldn’t quite hack it as a ceramics major in community college becomes a master carpenter, boxing instructor, zoo radio sidekick, creator and presenter of The Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel, West Coast replacement for Howard Stern and, eventually, one of the first US comics to efficiently monetize podcasting. Oh yeah, he also writes and directs feature films and races vintage cars in what little spare time is left. A little like Elvis, Carolla’s never played outside the States so an appearance in London brought the Fun Facilitation Officer and me over to Perfidious Albion to drink in the Ace Man live.
A show of two halves, Adam first brought on an irascible Rich Hall to run through some robust, but tender ruminations on family life and, after the intermission, introduced the delightful Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone of The Zombies to chat about their fabulous career and listen to some new, really rather good material from the band. Many laughs and a few awkward moments were had: classic Carolla, in essence. A response » Continue Reading.
Kentish Town Forum
I have no idea what drew me to this mash-up between one band I knew little about and another I was largely ambivalent. Such is the draw of F.F.S. – Franz Ferdinand Sparks. The project intrigued me, but I had no idea how their album of literate bonkers pop was going grab me over the summer.
Fast forward to early autumn, some horrible news, a couple of beers and a stonking hot pork bap in the Southampton Arms up the road and I was ready for some escapism.
The support act, Pure Beauty, veered between some good grooves and anonymous noise. I’ve seen worse, but there was nothing to make me raid the merch desk. And then at 9pm FFS hit the stage with. Starting with ‘Johnny Delusional’ and ending with ‘Collaborations Don’t Work’, the intervening hour and forty minutes flew past as they delivered tracks from the album interspersed with hits from each band, deftly delivered and razor sharp. What’s more, is they really appeared to gel with Russell Mael and Alex Kapranos’ vocals complementing each other well. Ron Mael’s deadpan demeanour was matched by FF’s drummer and bassist. As a » Continue Reading.
Hastily arranged substitute gig as I had to cancel my coming weekend gig in Birmingham due to an overseas business trip. First time at the Lowry and have to say it is a splendid venue. The night started with a support slot from The Rails which was positively wonderful. Their first album was good but patchy but live they are a different proposition. Harmony vocals were excellent despite Kami apparently under the weather. They later joined Richard for the opening number of his set and James Walbourne is an astonishingly good guitar player and very much the pretender to Richards throne. Would love to see them do a full set together- hopefully something for the future. On to Richard’s set and was surprised that bass duties were performed by Davey Farragher and not Taras Prodaniuk. Now he really is an Imposter although he fitted in very well. Crowd were subdued until 1952VBL which as usual got the loudest cheer of the night. Personal favourite was Never give it up with its sinewy bass/drum intro and Salford Sunday. We also got a rare Meet on the Ledge and For the shame of doing wrong. Michael » Continue Reading.
Bush Hall, London
This was like falling asleep and waking up inside her wonderful 2015 album “On Your Own Love Again”. With a broad sweep of red velvet curtain as a backdrop, there was a Lynchian dreamlike quality to the set-up which suited Jessica’s uniquely mannered vocal and guitar-picking style to a tee.
Entrancing is perhaps the word most often used to describe her music. Indeed, the spell woven by her songs in this live framework proved even more hypnotic than the studio recording. Opening the evening with the haunting “Wrong Hand”, Miss Pratt never hurried her performance. The softly swirling “Moon Dude” had an even slower lilt than on the album.
“Strange Melody”, “Back, Baby” [which included an impromptu audience rendition of the opening line, “Sometimes I pray for the rain”] and “I’ve Got a Feeling” combined to bring the regular set to a marginally more uptempo close before “Titles Under Pressure”, from her debut album, and a new number [I think], “Fortuna”, formed an understated encore.
Jessica was charmingly tangible throughout, asking the desk if they could fix her reverb glitch and telling her audience she felt a little ill, offering her » Continue Reading.
The big one: King Crimson plus heavy friends in a sold-out Dome. Light-prog fans were at the conference centre grooving to the Australian Dave (excuse me, David) Gilmour Show hearing and watching what sounded like the same heritage Floyd show. Fripp had collated 3 drummers (one doubling on keyboards), Tony Levin, Mel Collins, and Jakko Jakszyk, and while there were plenty of old tracks (three from “The Court of the Crimson King”, “Larks Tongues in Aspic”, “Easy Money”, “Red”, etc.), some these had not been played sometimes for 40-plus years. Minimal lighting, minimal amplification (but astonishing sound), and advice to sit back and just go with the music meant this felt a more adult event, and not just a re-living of smoke-filled afternoons in late-adolescent bedrooms. Intense, complicated music the way King Crimson fans like it flowed over the crowd, somewhere between heavy metal, chamber music, and psychedelic -progressive music. Two hours passed in minutes though Fripp had minimal engagement with the audience.
What do you think? Men of a certain age, blokes who looked like my accountant, many fathers and sons (saving long-suffering wives from a night of pain), and Tommy » Continue Reading.
The Cambridge Junction
I could feel the bass notes pulsing through my plastic glass. There is something ‘A T-Rex is approaching and it’s making my drink ripple’ about Mark Lanegan’s voice on record – live it’s even more Jurassic Park. His tone is often referred to as ‘gravelly’ but that doesn’t begin to do it justice. You feel it in your eyeballs, in your belly, and in the toes of your boots; it’s an elemental noise. At 6’5” tall, with the hair of Jon Bon Jovi (non-poodle era) and the face of Tom Waits’ better-looking brother, he’s an imposing sight, although skinnier than I expected. And he doesn’t fuck about. On stage, straight into the The Gravedigger’s Song (first line, “With pirhana teeth, I’ve been dreaming of you…”) and we were off. There’s little between-song chat, just a man on a mission, like a preacher sermonising at the gates of Hell, launching haunting song after song, intensity levels set to 11 and rising. It was a perfectly-paced set, placing the brooding brilliance of Hit The City and One Way Street early on, with his excellent band notching up the guitars and synths and beats mid-set (Riot » Continue Reading.
Hoxton Sq Bar & Kitchen
What an amazing night. Ryley and band mixed with the audience beforehand and were keen to continue afterwards. What a friendly guy he is. Support was Weather Station, a Canadian lady (playing solo guitar) who’d flown in that morning. She has the voice of an angel, with a touch of Joni Mitchell and Jerry Burns. Interesting songs without choruses. She played one song with Ryley’s band, which was especially superb. Must investigate further. Ryley and band played a new song to start with; like many of the set it was instrumental for the first few minutes as the band established a folky modal groove (what? – Ed.) before the song proper. Nice. Primrose Green was immense, teased out to about 15 extraordinary minutes. Pete Paphides was raving about it on Twitter afterwards. Hot. Ryley played a cover or two; If I Were A Carpenter, Cocaine, a Van song as the encore, I forget the title. But the band, upright bass, studious guitarist, keyboard player with goatee who played with his eyes closed, nervous looking drummer and Ryley himself took the music to another level. They were brilliant; I couldn’t stop smiling. » Continue Reading.
Oslo, Hackney, London.
I don’t think I have ever missed a London gig by L.A’s Dawes – I’m even going to their support slot for My Morning Jacket in a couple of weeks – but this was my first time at this venue. Stunning. Great bar and restaurant downstairs, decent sized room upstairs, with fantastic sound. I met @nogbad, who is wonderful company, for a pre-gig beer before we made our way upstairs.
With a new album out, the setlist was obviously skewed towards All Your Favourite Bands – no bad thing, as I think it is their best yet. I Can’t Think About That Now, Right On Time then If I Wanted Someone (from Nothing Is Wrong) and we were off to the races. The sound of the band is fuller than before, with the addition of touring guitarist Duane Betts (son of Dickey, so almost rock royalty.) This has freed Taylor Goldsmith up, so that he doesn’t feel like he’s almost carrying the sound, and he looks more relaxed for it. The older songs still sound fresh. They even went back as far as That Western Skyline from the first » Continue Reading.
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Anyone who knows the Folds canon would have been hoping for a cocksure volley of nerd/genius chamber pop but fearing a piano concerto. Their hopes were fulfilled, their fears tempered by a pair of mesmering tours de force from the six-piece [string trio, wind trio] ensemble yMusic, who as well as opening each half also backed the main man.
Of course he’s a slightly arrogant shit. We know, he knows. But he’s also a four-eyed, mop-headed short-arse crammed to bursting with a talent for classy tunes and sassy tales, plus an impressive array of skills on the keys. If you’ve listened to his records and found that the plink-plonk grows wearisome after a few songs, you should know that the live setting is the proper way to consume his stuff. His voice, which can sound a little flat [in the dull sense, not the “off” sense] on the studio material, is really quite wonderful in the, er… flesh. And the addition of viola, cello, French horn, sax, flute etc brings a further dimension.
Folds used this night to show off a rack of new ditties in a promising trailer for his » Continue Reading.
Skeppsholmen, Stockholm (Sweden)
I’m no fan of Van, in fact I don’t own any of his albums (bar a dreadful cheap collection of demos that my sister bought in a charity shop for me). I didn’t even know he plays the saxophone until he stepped onto the stage and started blowing into one. I wouldn’t say that I’ve now been converted, but thanks to some heavenly intervention a few songs into this festival gig it turned into one of the most memorable and entertaining gigs I’ve ever attended, and this without Van doing his Colin H-impersonation! It didn’t start very promising, some pretty bland jazzy numbers had the audience clapping politely, before things got a little better when he trotted out some hits. Still, the right mood wasn’t there. Not on stage, not in front of it. But then: “Hey where did we go, days when the rains came…” sang Mr Morrison, and in that exact moment the skies opened and showered us with gigantic cold, cold raindrops. After Saturday’s hot, cloud-free sunfest and a mostly sunny (but not so cloud-free) Sunday afternoon, suddenly it was pouring down like a waterfall. And this changed the mood » Continue Reading.
The Soup Kitchen, Manchester
Micachu & The Shapes are an interesting proposition. They’re about to release their 3rd studio LP but Mica Levi herself also has a parallel career which includes some delightfully weird solo work and also a Bafta nominated film soundtrack. The forthcoming LP ‘ Good Sad Happy Bad’ is also getting some radio play – so I suspect a combination of these different interests has brought loads of people out on a rainy, humid Tuesday evening to hear the three-piece combo play some quite off-kilter art rock. On stage The Shapes are just Mica on guitar and vocals, keyboard player Raisa Khan playing oddly dischordant but instantly catchy riffs (occasionally with her fists) and tireless drummer Marc Pell who switches deftly between hypnotic Krautrock, Glitterbeat and Rockabilly and occasional tempo-shifts as the music dictates. They make an extraordindary noise for a 3 piece, and Mica can whip up quite a growl. It’s hard to describe what they sound like – at times I’m reminded of the tub-thumping Fall circa ‘Totally Wired’, Mica has knack for the breathless guitar riffs of early XTC or The Pop Group » Continue Reading.
The Forum is a curious venue, called thus because of the statues of roman senators up in the wings.The venue has been a theatre and not so long ago was a Pentecostalist Revival Centre – talking in tongues and everything. Potentially appropriate for Adams who is prone to stoner raves and ranting.
But first Jenny Lewis formerly of Rilo Kiley. I didn’t know her stuff- only that she was good. you know how it is -just sort of passed me by but tonight I was impressed. I’ve since researched the back catalogue and this show was more alt country than the pop of her previous band or even her latest Adams produced album. She’s confident, friendly and a great voice. The band is split along gender lines and the mixer even has the stage divided boys/ girls. Good vocals, good playing, good songs. The highlight was the closer – an acapella version of Acid Tongue. Great show and for a support a real treat. I’ve never liked Ryan Adams. so what am I doing at the gig you ask. Well, a lot of credible people are big fans ,including Afterword alumni, the reviews of » Continue Reading.