Forgive the slightly shaky start, let her build up a full head of steam. Glorious.
Cherry Hinton Park, Cambs
I think this was the nicest festival I have been to, including my first visit here, 5 years ago. A belated report, the time needed to collect my thoughts eaten by too abrupt a return to work, and I know ‘nice’ verges now on a code for twee, but, skip that thought, nice it was. Civilised, good music, good food ‘n’ fluids, good company. Good weather, even, missing the downpours besetting the midlands on the day of arrival. Tent duly up, off I plodded to explore, swiftly finding @jorrox and losing my programme, in that order. My thursday order was kicked off well by the Rails, a lively electric set by Kami Thompson and James Walbourne, in demand guitarist for the Pretenders and Edwyn Collins amongst others, and their band. I had time for a bit of Sam Sweeney and his WW1 fiddle, aided by a number of familiar folkie friends, like Jack Rutter. But my dance card was already marked for Rura, the scottish band of the moment: bagpipes, fiddle, guitar and bodhran, the latter doubling on flute, with the piper equally adept on atmospheric keyboard. I like » Continue Reading.
Eldest, I believe, of the Neville Brothers.
Festival, that is. Anyone going? Great AW heavy line up this year, from RT to Lucinda, via Graham Nash, Calexico and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Even some folk music from time to time. I know @steveT is going. I also have it on good authority that @thecheshirecat isn’t, as there is a clash in his programme. Any @jorrox this year? Any of the fenland massive? Mini mingle? I am sure Steve and I will be clashing pewter tankards and putting fingers in ears (our own), as we plan which discs not to lend and share.
Interesting old/usual discussion over on our “sister site’, I know seen by many of those who keep an eye on both camps. Starting off with a request/roll call for the AW names of the FB posters, as a reminder, so in too has snuck the reasons why those who left here, never to return, had done so, raising the boring and the divisive as reasons. Sure, that’s fine, but having 2 “rival” versions, one there, one here, isn’t that divisive? And by spreading the content, doesn’t that dilute also the worth of either? Somehow seems daft. I understand/understood the point of a presence on FB in the great drupal fiasco of whenever, and it can still be handy for alerting other outages. Just saying, as I said over there……….
Yup, when a name goes up like this it can mean but one thing, and it does. Mac Rebbenack has left the building, at 77. I was privileged to see him twice, once in NY (and in my 3 top gigs just the other day’s post), then again at Warwick Arts a couple of years back. Not so keen on his scary gris-gris entry to fame as his later guardian of N’Awlins traditions, but a fabulous performer and I have some wonderful recordings to remember him by.
Hammersmith Odeon, that London
Wow. I mean Wow!. Sod that, I mean WOW!!!! I am still reeling. Shows like this a few and far between, this feeling more akin to a religious experience, entering as an interested acolyte, leaving positively evangelical. As a latecomer to DCD, via, first, the solo records of singer extraordinaire, Lisa Gerrard, and, secondly, the records of Brendan Perry, no slouch himself in the vocal department. And I have picked up some of their later stuff, including last years terrific ‘Dionysus’, where they provide the missing link between Banco de Gaia and his source material, organica/dance, if you will. But this tour was not, apparently and emphatically, to showcase that but to air the lesser known alleys of their 28 year, on and off, existence. The UK got but 2 dates in this ‘Life and Works, 1980 – 2019’ world tour, both at Hammy Odeon, last night and again tonight. Both sold out. A fairly blank stage forms the set up, with several keyboards and many percussion kits, including an orthodox ensemble, midline at the back. At the front the stage seemed split, stage left, between the hammered dulcimer of Gerrard, and » Continue Reading.
The Roundhouse, that London
Well this was fun! A full 42 years since I last darkened their doors, here was I back in the drizzle of Chalk Farm Road, queuing up with more eager elders than a post office on pension day. And hasn’t it polished up well? No sooner inside than a tap on the shoulder, and it was @philpirrip, each of us gagging for a pint. After a brief check of our credentials, concerts seen and records heard, in we went to catch McNally Waters. Strange, I thought, that the support group for a Pink Floyd offshoot, if I can call them that, should contain a Waters, and, of course, it was indeed the son of Rog. Quite the wrong band for this evening, they weren’t bad, playing a very Band like set of songs, ragged harmonies and tinkling piano. Only an incongruous drum solo reminded us we were in dinosaur territory. So much for nepotism, they played perhaps 30 minutes, and, in another setting, outside, mid-afternoon at a festival, I think they would go down as well as a pint in the sunshine. A short break and momentous music, all feedback and 60s » Continue Reading.
Clearly in an effort to detract from the hamper availing my posts confer, here’s a little combo I have just chanced upon, one that might appeal here, thinking of @niallb amongst others. Allman Betts Band, with the sons of Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley. And a decent racket they make too. Devon Allman has a track record with his own band and with the Royal Southern Brotherhood, his earlier amalgam of the Allman/Neville bros family trees, and the boy Betts, confusingly (if understandably) called Duane, has been live guitarist with Dawes in recent years. What price they mysteriously somewhere/sometime appear on a bill with Tedeschi-Trucks Band and make a surprise coalescence?
OK, arguably a shameless bid to drum up ears for my new favourites, Bear’s Den, but don’t you love a bit of maraschino trumpet? And, yes, I mean mariachi, before you correct me, but Mrs Path seems unable to ever recall the right name, always calling it this. I used to be frightened of trumpet, associating it always with the 60s production of pop groups on TOTP, drowning out any sound the supposed band were playing, usually Dave Dee, Beaky, Mick and Tich. And I didn’t like jazz, which to me then meant Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball, especially when they put that way-wah device on the end. I think I slowly got it in the pairing with other brass is soul and R&B, with the Caledonia Soul Orchestra first making a trumpet solo seem bearable. Dick Cuthell, playing alongside Rico Rodrigues on trombone, which, oddly, I have always loved, on all those Specials single made another leap into my credibility consciousness. Next the judicious parping of Chumbawamba and the floodgates were open. But I particularly came to love the pure choral tone of the maraschino style, hoovering up the Calexico catalogue. Hell, I am now a sucker for those » Continue Reading.
Rock City, Nottingham
I remain, I feel, in a minority here, a sole figure occasionally banging on about this band. and now, on the cusp of their 4th full length recording, here was the opportunity to catch them live, so very glad it was taken. Strange, I would think their brand and style catnip to our increasing and increasingly grizzled ranks, they taking the cream of 1980s “big music” and drawing it into a credible new century focus. Originally a trio, now a duo, the band is from London, yet is undoubtedly a celtic band, the sound and the phrasing of the lyrics unmistakably of their forbears. (Bear’s Den. Bearsden. In Glasgow. Geddit?) Chock full of the chiming anthemic stylisations of Big Country, U2, early Waterboys and, yes, even Simple Minds, heavy on the chorus pedal and lots of harmonics, the songs all have a wry yearning feel of a life just escaping ones grasp or hold upon. But, with the addition of a folk application of banjo, as an occasional lead instrument, definitely not bluegrass/country banjo: think the banjo in Del Amitri, and the genius of occasional mariachi trumpet, and the sound is whole. I » Continue Reading.
Or, alternatively, show me you 12 inches. Remixes and remodels is my ask, in anticipation of a road trip next week with the boy (my son). We are driving to Sweden, to where he is going to live. He has asked his old dad to make sure of a decent playlist, and, being a well brought up young fella, has a wide and eclectic cast in musics. Our itinerary is Harwich – Amsterdam – Bremen – Odense – Malmo (via Copenhagen). Then, after a day or 2 in Swedens most southern, I speed home via Munster, Antwerp and Calais for the chunnel. So, please: 1. Post your favourite 2. Any advice about these cities duly taken. To start, here’s mine.
https://youtu.be/KlnhRQ6DsV0Video can’t be loaded: Frankie goes to Hollywood – Power of Love – Rob Searle remix (https://youtu.be/KlnhRQ6DsV0)
O2 Academy 2, B’ham.
I suppose my expectations were never set too high, given Evan Dando’s reputation, and, on that basis, I got my moneys worth. Overall I liked it, despite the chaotic and seeming unrehearsedness of the show, the atrocious sound balance and the often cluelessness as to what he was actually playing. (His? Mine? The band? The soundman? A little, perhaps, of each.) Yet, every so often, and tantalisingly randomly, the clouds parted and a song would emerge in an eye blinking fragile beauty. One such was the opener, Speed of the Sound of Loneliness, the sole contribution from Varshons 2, the release thereof being purportedly the rationale of the tour. Dando’s agreeable tenor has deepened a little, with the country-rock jangle of the band pitched just as you would imagine how Dando would tackle this standard, and I drew a sigh of relief. But this was clearly the lull, as there followed a storm of short and squally songs, some recognisable and some not, mainly emanating from the early Lemonheads songbook, guitars all ramped up to 11, feedback screeching, whether or not invited, both probably. Where discernible, memory kicked in to sweeten the » Continue Reading.
OK, none of my biz, but did anyone else get this ringing endorsement for Nancy Covey’s tours in their inboxes recently, courtesy her (ex) husband? Given how she writes about him, is it premature to think they are back together again? Or is this part of an expensive legal requirement on his behalf. Does it matter? Probably not a bit. I have always hankered for a place on one of her jaunts, this included, but the bucks sadly don’t stretch…
I’m in Glasgow for a long w/e, principally to catch the NiteWorks showcase gig at the iconic Barrowlands tonight. Whilst the city is a wee bit smarter than the last time I was here, in probably the 90s, fewer wobbly men on street corners, the Barras seems astonishingly run down and sad, not that it was ever remotely spruce and sprightly. Anyhow, in the taxi up to the Finnieston for tea last night, we dipped into the southside to avoid the traffic, and I suddenly noticed a name I recalled, the Laurieston, a perennial name in the post of the great late James Bla(a)st. Here’s a swally to ya, Big Man!
Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham
Well I wasn’t originally going to review this show, feeling it might prove even a bit too niche for the AW f***ies, few as we seem to be. But I couldn’t let it lie, not after listening to their superb and imaginatively titled 3rd album, III, purchased for a princely tenner at the gig. So peel back your senses or pass on the other side, oblivious in your ignorance. I first came across two of this trio, Tom Moore and Archie Churchill-Moss, fiddle and melodeon respectively, a year ago, they being (new) members of Jim Moray’s False Lights, reviewed here a year ago. (Look it up!) Some years before, in 2011, in conjunction with Jack Rutter, they had won the 2011 Folk on 2 Young Artists of the Year, producing a couple of well received albums, I and II, before diversifying into other work, both musical and breadwinning alike. Now they are back in this original format, still looking improbably young to my ancient eyes. So to the concert. The Kitchen Garden Cafe is tiny, seats crammed into the tiny space, ahead of a small ground level stage area. Tonight, » Continue Reading.
So, as 2018 folded with the death of Dr Hook’s Ray Sawyer, so 2019 opens with the Captain, who died yesterday. Otherwise known as Daryl Dragon, he was a 7os sideman with the Beach Boys, which, for me, gave his schmaltzy hit some credibility. And yes, Tenille was by his side.
Amongst the presents from my beloved Mrs Path came a new Sonos speaker. So, delighted, and in good faith I came to add it. Update, came the instruct. Lo and behold, no longer was my laptop, where the system lies, able to add a new speaker. This was now only available thru the app for a phone. I added the app. No longer supporting, came the reply. As in, get a new phone. What bollox and enough to want me to bin the gift. This seems akin to having a household toilet flush only amenable thru’ the windscreen wiper lever of your car. If the car is an up to date model, What is the point of Sonos deleting the system based ability to add in favour or remote, other than to prop the ailing phone business? I hate the modern world.
Began this post in another strand, but it got me thinking. Any inveterate users of Airs’n’b out there? I confess to having used ’em a dozen times across the UK and once in Paris, usually with great success. (One dud) Many major cities are cracking down, however. Does anyone have experience in Manhattan/Brooklyn, Boston and New England? Still a viable option?
02 Institute3, Brum
Well this was a treat, a full 28 years from the last time around. And just down the road from where I saw ’em last time, the long gone Mr Bill’s Bier Keller. So how had the decades fared them? I’m no fan of the Institute, but this was in the 3rd room, even smaller than the Institute2, a bijou basement box with a capacity of maybe a couple of hundred. No queues, a walk straight in to a sauna of steaming mannus middleageicus. First on, and worth a shout, were the Stone Mountain Sinners, a rabble of rootsy rockers with more than a hint of cowpunk, minding me a little of the Tansads in their pre-Merry Hell prime, courtesy the male/female counterpoint vocals. A gap nearly sufficient for the solitary barman to serve the thirsty hordes and on marched the Men. 6 of them with the front line of Cush, Swill and Paul unsullied, on guitar/vocals, guitar/vocals and mandolin, augmented by lead electric, bass and drums. No fiddles or whistles this night, this was a pedal to the floor, full-on plugged in music. The bass and the brand new drummer made a » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
I’ll get to that, but there is something somehow here that reminds me of America, the HWNNHMs, in both the hirsute appearances, the ambience and , just, their backstory. Although rather than being U.S. airforce brats stranded in South Ruislip, these 3 young brits met in the Lebanon, all gainfully employed as language tutors. And, much as you wouldn’t think it, their homegrown acoustica found interest, they becoming, apparently, the new sound of the suburbs, Beirut style. Broadly folk, and avidly espousing electricity, with hints of of many a 60s and 70s celtic influence in evidence, Planxty being drawn to mind not infrequently. The vocals are sufficiently robust as to avid the risk of twee, their own songs mixing relatively seamlessly with the trio of trad. arrs. I feel there is probably some welsh blood coursing through the band, much of the material making reference to that land, though I won’t hold that against them. Indeed it is the principality that the record was made. At times peeks through the cadences of their adopted home in the middle east, showing the similarities rather than heightening the differences between ethnic musics. One criticism might be » Continue Reading.
The Robin 2, Bilston
I absolutely loved Midnight Mushrumps, me, rushing out to purchase it after hearing snippets on R4: first band to appear on all 4 BBC radio channels, they said, a bit of catnip pomposity for my indubitably then prog-pomp tastes. Bit of a Tubular Bells for mediaevalists would be a lazy way of putting it, or at least the side-long eponymous suite. (In truth I barely bothered with the other side.) So, when I got home for my lunch yesterday, and the yearly programme for this worldfamousinWolverhampton venue had dropped through the letterbox, and I spotted this band were playing there that same day. I was familiar they had reformed, and issued a new record, after a 41 year hiatus, surely a record in itself, so I duly felt it my duty to attend. The Robin I have visited a couple of times. It seems now to be a little down on its luck, though I read it has been taken over and money invested. I suspect the same might be true of the audience, perhaps minus the investment. Uncertain whether it was the carpet or the punters, but there was a distinct » Continue Reading.
Message in from his record company, big man’s died. Around forever, I guess I only really caught his later work, knowing this song only through cover versions, let alone his much much earlier work. The epitome of a slow swampy stew, his slur of a vocal was unmistakeable. Raise a glass tonight.
I somehow have caught wind of the Band of Love and their debut disc Folk Fever, where disco meets trad arr head on, uncertain if any survivors. Is this a monster or a monstrosity?