Ealing Blues Festval,Sunday 21st July, with Nick Lowe headlining.
Open, Norwich, and Union Chapel, London
What a difference a lighting rig can make.
I have loved Thea Gilmore’s music for most of the couple of decades that she has been releasing superb, occasionally dipping to merely very good, albums and always catch a gig on each tour as well as buying every album in the week of release. This time The Light and I plumped for a train and Travelodge trip to Norwich rather a school night visit to London and the chosen show, at Open, fell on the day of release of Small World Turning.
Matt Owens, formerly of Noah and the Whale, played a short but amiable opening set before reappearing on electric bass with Thea’s band, along side Katriona Gilmore, no relation, on a variety of stringed instruments (right handed fiddle but left handed mandolin oddly enough) and Thea’s musical and life partner Nigel Stonier. At times the bass dominated the acoustic guitars, and I wondered about the lack of drums.
The performance was highly enjoyable with plenty of songs from the new record and a smattering of old favourites, notably a couple from 2001s Rules for Jokers, but … It » Continue Reading.
The King Crimson CD with the new issue of Mojo is really very splendid, and I write as someone who has always found them easier to admire than enjoy on my infrequest previous encounters. The track listing is in the link below (the first track is missing its ‘Schizoid’ rather than some unreleased obscurity).
Rock City is a 1973 rockumentary which I confess I have never seen, but with input from various Stones, Floyds, and Whos and footage of Hendrix, Otis, Ike and Tina and so it has to be worth a look. ‘Vintage film footage from the hey-day of the London’s rock and roll scene. Interviews with rock artists and London’s hippies and flower children.’ says IMDB.
Friday evening, 10pm, Talking Pictures TV (Freeview Channel 81).
If the Afterword has a patron act it must surely be Richard Thompson. Even the fact that there are cloth-eared fools among us who dispute his brilliance fosters discussion and so is in keeping with the ethos of the site.
Today he reaches 70 years of age, and as anyone who has seen the trio format band recently will attest he can still rip up a stage with the best of them. I like to think that some people who haven’t been keeping up think that buying a ticket for an elderly ex-Fairporter will guarantee an evening of mellow acoustic folkiness. Those same people presumably stumble out two hours later with fixed, glazed expressions and whistling ears. He can deliver masterful mellow acoustic folkiness too of course, and I would be hard pressed to pick which version of his show to see if I was given a straight choice.
We spend a lot of time here celebrating the greats once they have gone, but here’s the chance to share your favourites from one of the all time best while he is still giving superb performances on record and stage.
Nothing to add other than this is a very sad start to Monday morning.
What does it sound like?:
I have already written rather gushingly about the Heartworn Highways gig at the Betsey Trotwood last weekend, and one of the highlights of a gig full of great moments was discovering Louis Brennan, an Irish, London based songwriter.
I ordered his album from his Bandcamp page (on CD, because I’m old fashioned like that) straight afterwards and have had it on repeat play every since. I honestly can’t remember the last time an album made such an instant impression on me to the extent that nothing else musical is quite hitting the spot at the moment. There is no justice when someone of Brennan’s skills is so obscure when others of no noticeable talent draw a huge audience (what scientists refer to as the Sheeran Paradox).
The first thing which will strike first-time listeners is the voice, a deep baritone which sweeps lower to huge dramatic effect when necessary. It put me in mind of Johnny Cash or Lee Hazelwood, and the video I posted under the Heartworn Highways review drew a comparison to Jake Thackray, throw in a hint of John Grant too with a suggestion of Leonard Cohen and you’ll be » Continue Reading.
The Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon, London
I may already have seen my favourite gig of the year and it’s only February.
A night filled with song, musicianship and love saw 12 musicians crammed into the tiny upstairs room of the Betsey Trotwood in Farringdon, as well as the lucky 30 or so paying audience members they managed to squeeze in as well. I say paying, but at a tenner a ticket I reckon the entrance fee must just have covered the cost of the room, mics and camera. I can’t believe the singers were doing this for anything other than the love of the music, and the couple of bottles of Jack Daniels which circulated freely among them.
The musicians involved were [deep breath] Partick Ralla, Michele Stodart, Louis Brennan, Felix Holt, Zak Hobbs (Richard Thompson’s grandson, fact fans), Ren Harvieu, Romeo Stodart, Laura Tenschert, Angie Gannon (making three out of four Magic Numbers on the bill) Robert Chaney, Naomi Larsson and Joe Harvey-White (the evening’s organiser). Before the event I had wondered how they were going to get that many people on and off stage, even allowing for the 3 hours scheduled. In the event » Continue Reading.
David Hepworth posted this in his Twitter feed earlier to mark the 51st anniversary of the release of Astral Weeks (Yes, I know. I was surprised too.)
God knows why but the decision was taken to allow the release to written by an overexcited schoolboy virgin who is incapapable of writing a sentence without including a mention of what he imagines sex to be, and tempts the lucky potential buyer with the promise that it will ‘attack your senses like the sudden sniff of a whore’s knickers.’
There’s more …but … but … no! Go now! I must rest and I would be alone.
(Release, in more senses than one, in the comments.)
A Matter of Life and Death was on BBC2 this afternoon, so of course I watched it. That makes perfect sense because it is the best film ever made, but less sense considering I already own 3 (maybe more) copies, I must have seen it at least 10 times, and last time I looked it was on YouTube and I could have watched it any time I wanted to even if I didn’t have a hard copy.
Is there anything that you will watch when it was broadcast even when you don’t need to wait? A film that will stop you in your tracks as you channel hop despite having a copy on a shelf a few feet away?
It’s a chilly morning here in the UK and I couldn’t decide what to play to put a spring in my step on the walk to work. I put the iPod classic on shuffle and up popped Jackie Leven, subject of much admiration here this week. I wasn’t really surprised. iPods are psychic like that.
This made me think that we haven’t had a randomiser thread for a while, so here we go. Usual rules apply – set your device of choice to play tracks in a random order and let us know what the first 5 are. No cheeky editing to make your playlist look cool or we’ll know.
Mine took it’s lead from Jackie Leven and delivered an exclusively male list of tracks in a singer-writer vein, all very Mojo.
1) Gomez – Devil Will Ride 2) Elvis Costello and Steve Nieve – Why Can’t a Man Stand Alone? 3) Roger McGuinn – Lover of the Bayou 4) Richard Thompson – Dad’s Gonna Kill Me (NPR live session) 5) Pulp – Help the Aged
I was in a local Poundland today, rummaging through the end of season mulled-wine-scented candles, tinsel door decorations and so on when I found a stack of LP cover frames (black plastic frame with glass). Not a pound, not 50p, but just 25 of your puny human pence each. Fill your boots.
Year: 2018 Director: David Soutar
I don’t suppose that many of the Massive were Brosettes in their youth, which is a shame. Not because of the music, mercifully little of which appears in this jaw-dropping programme, but because it might mean that you have missed out on one of the TV highlights of the year. Fear not, it’s on iPlayer, which is where I saw it during the dire Christmas Day TV schedules after seeing what a stir it was creating on Twitter.
For those of you who have managed to suppress the memory, twin brothers Luke (drums) and Matt (vocals) were the heart of one of the biggest boy bands of the 80s. They went their separate ways, and although they have adapted to the ageing process in very different styles they are of course still twins. To help you tell which is which it might be useful to remember that Matt is the one with the rug. Now they are to reunite for a show at the O2 and the cameras are in tow, presenting documentary footage without narration nor captions, leaving the brothers’ words and actions to tell the story.
These days both live in California. » Continue Reading.
The tree is always up around my place, though the baubles and angel are seasonal. The tree is practically through the ceiling these days. So I’ve showed you mine now you us yours.
The Halcyon Gallery, 144-146 New Bond Street, London
This show will probably be old news to the more on-the-ball Bob-cats among us, but I confess I might never have heard about it if I hadn’t seen mentions on Penn’s (of Penn and Teller) Twitter feed. Consider this my alert for anyone else who would regret missing it if I hadn’t written about it on here. You’re welcome.
This exhibition at the Halcyon Gallery gathers several dozen hand-written Bob Dylan Lyrics, each of them accompanied by a pencil sketch by Bob, along with several of his acrylic on-the-road paintings and, this came as a surprise to me, some examples of his ironwork. The selection is broadly greatest hits, and I don’t think there are any lyrics here which will be unfamiliar to the casual admirer. The more trainspotterish fan will delight in reading every word and spotting subtle changes to lines, the rest of us can just enjoy the art and juxtapositions of word and image.
Regarding the art, there is no doubt Dylan can draw. Time and again I found myself enjoying the fold in a piece of clothing or the flow of a limb » Continue Reading.
Live stream from Shrewsbury Folk Festival just about to begin on YouTube.
How long have the web goblins been waiting for us to pick up on that?
… for the irrepressible Afterword lyric / pun instinct to do its stuff.
Jarvis and Candida from Pulp go head to head with Bez and Rowetta from the Happy Mondays on Bargain Hunt. (Story picked up from the Accidental Partridge Twitter feed.)
The schools round here break up tomorrow, which fires the starting gun on peak holiday season. What do you have planned?
For us there is no pressing reason to seek out the sun this year. A local weather page confirms that my corner of Essex has had no rain for 31 days, and a grand total of 1.1mm in the last 50. Perhaps the kids breaking up will act as the traditional invitation to the rain gods?
We usually go away in the last week of June, which covers The Light’s birthday, but her daughter’s graduation last week took priority. Much as I like Manchester it’s not what you would call an exotic holiday. (A wonderful week though – Apart from the highlight of the graduation there was a show in London to start, Squeeze at Brentwood Festival to finish, a 100 plane RAF flypast straight over my house in between, then the finals of Wimbledon and the World Cup to round things off).
We have just booked, literally this evening, to go to Dubrovnik at the start of October too, which I’m already looking forward to. Apart from the obvious Game of Thrones sites (we have a terrific » Continue Reading.
My current mattress, a cheap Silentnight which has given sterling service for a decade, is showing signs of sag and will soon be retired. I have a mind to go for memory foam, or memory foam / spring combo this time round, and as I’m in better financial shape than a decade ago don’t mind making an investment in something which will bring comfort for years.
Does anyone have experience of Eve, Kaspar and so on (you know the ones – the mattresses which seem to sponsor every podcast with promises of special offers and discount codes). Perhaps you’re chosen brand of memory foam developed amnesia after 6 months, or the spring in you summer mattress began to fall by the time winter came around.
Front runner at the moment is probably the Hypnos mattress which Premier Inn use (I’m actually typing this sitting on one, ready to check out as soon as the unfamiliar water falling from the sky eases up). As always I’ve found the Peremier Inn beds wonderfully comfortable with just the right degree of give. Any thoughts to share?
Today is Bob Dylan’s birthday. I don’t consider myself a serious Bob Cat, but even so dozens of songs of his are part of my psyche, and go to the very heart of why I loved music and song in the first place. Once every couple of years I fall into a Bob Dylan (the) rabbit hole, where something clicks and I listen to almost nothing else for a month or so. Then the mood passes, and I may not play a whole album for many months after.
An odd aspect of my fandom is that I didn’t catch on to Dylan until I was about 30. I had the idea that he was somehow ‘difficult’, and didn’t really explore. Then a couple of CDs of Dylan covers issued as cover-mounts on Uncut got stuck on repeat play at mine. Once the songs sank in I looked for the originals and I was away.
It’s hard to pick an absolute favourite, so for no other reason than that today Bob reaches the age of 77, here is 7 Days. Your picks, for whatever reason and whatever level of fandom, welcome.
Tate Modern, London
If you have any interest in twentieth century art at all you will already have seen several reviews of this show, which will almost universally rave about its brilliance. You might have found yourself thinking that the reviewers were getting a bit carried away, that it couldn’t be as good as all that. You would have been wrong.
The Tate has gathered together 9 rooms of works from a single crucial year of Picasso’s life, a point when he in danger of becoming yesterday’s man in the art world and becoming regarded as bourgeois. Symptomatic of this comfortable position in the establishment, along with his chauffeur and his apartment on the Champs-Élysées, is that 1932 was also the year of his first retrospective (a rarity for a living artist then). This has allowed for the inclusion of a 10th room of works from before 1932 which were part of that exhibition. His reputation, at least based on his earlier output, may have been secure, but inside he was raging.
It is a truism that we should not allow the life of the artist to cloud our opinions of the art, a trope which » Continue Reading.
I’m watching Match of the Day and finding myself wondering when ‘assists’ became a feature of of play which are counted and listed alongside a player’s goals. I also find myself wondering when ‘assist’ became a noun.
It was probably explained in the same email, but I’ve had a lot on recently.
Author:Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrence
If I walked into the Afterword clubhouse, tapped on a wine glass with a teaspoon as a request for your collective silence and attention, then declaimed ‘Polish a floor, put a rug on it … ?’ I would expect to be deafened by the chorused reply, ‘You might as well set a man trap!!!’ Many of us around here are of that generation, the ones who’s formative years were the 70s. And what a very strange set of years they were for the impressionable young mind.
That strangeness is the subject of this vast celebration of the dark side of 70s pop culture. Scarred for Life is only available online; you can download an ebook for the bargaintastic price of £5.99 but I recommend you stump up £16.99 for the print edition. It’s a brick of a book, more than 700 densely printed pages of essays on topics from Pan Books of Horror Stories (no childhood holiday trip in my dad’s Cortina was complete for me without one of these) to When Animals Attack! movies (bees, bears, aardvarks, it really didn’t matter so long as a group of campers could be suitably imperilled by wildlife).