Archive for the ‘Live Music’ Category
1. So I have a huge soft spot for Baz Luhrmann films. I’ve heard people niggling at his adaptation of The Great Gatsby, someone saying they walked out after ten minutes, but I loved it. The party scenes were visually breathtaking, made me feel like I am missing glittery ticker tape in life. The casting was perfect for the characters, Mulligan and DiCaprio as Daisy and Gatsby especially. It stuck close to the original book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The soundtrack was perhaps a little too much vanity from Jay-Z.
2. The much talked about Parquet Courts played London’s historic The 100 Club last Sunday. Without getting drawn into the whole “is guitar music dead?” question what I will say is it was great to see a band who didn’t look like a Top Man advert, over groomed and too stiff for movement. There was a kid alone (he really was a kid, around 16) right at the front looking like he’d just discovered the greatest band of all time. Eyes unblinking, mouthing every word, rapt with attention. I love seeing that look on people.
3. I always get sucked into these “great summer read” books (I admit it, I even read Dan Brown). I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in about two days, staying up until the early hours to get to the end. It’s surprising and full of twists without over complicating the plot. I predict a film adaption will follow by the end of the year.
4. Field Day was utter brilliance on Saturday. Perfect weather, great company for the day and some real standout performances from the likes of How To Dress Well, Kurt Vile, Animal Collective and Bat for Lashes. I’ll opt to put a track of hers on here because it was the last crystal clear memory I have. Things after that got a bit gin hazy. The best day of 2013 so far, by far.
5. Lastly a new track this week from bare-footed, natty haired Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Better Days.
The bands I’ll be aiming to see at Field Day this Saturday in a mixtape (I distinctly remember writing last years sitting in a park in the sunshine). Although, from my present mood I am considering rounding off the day watching John Cooper Clarke so I should have added poetry and spoken word into my list. With a cider in my hand, the smell of petrichor in the air and dirt on my knees. I do get goosebumps over that first festival of the year feeling.
You can play my mixtape on YouTube.
1. Polica live wasn’t quite what I was expecting but by singer Channy Leaneagh’s own admission she was finding herself ”out of sorts and nervous” at Shepherds Bush Empire this Thursday. But when I’m sat with a rum and coke next to amazing friends watching live music then I’m always going to be blissfully happy. Especially as Wandering Star means a great deal to my closest friend who was there with me. Also epic double drummers are always a treat to watch.
2. I read my first Ray Bradbury book this week and can feel a new obsession coming on. Something Wicked This Way Comes made me miss tube stops, read under the duvet and utterly fired my imagination. For any bookworm who has been as rubbish as I at discovering him treat yourself this weekend. His writing is poetry at times light and in love and at others dark and gothic.
3. Adam Buxton’s BUG is something I instinctively knew I would adore before ever getting the opportunity to see it. Tuesday at Leicester Square Odeon I laughed more in those three hours than the entire month. I’ve since realised that when people have asked what BUG is I can’t do it justice with my summaries. “So he reads YouTube comments out…” is met with strange looks as I elaborate. So just go, laugh and still be smiling about it days later. To quote one enthusiastic Bowie fan mentioned “He is the tasty egg of my breakfast glory”.
4. The BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere played all last week. I don’t listen to audiobooks and only ever listen to 6 Music so this initially felt slightly odd for my brain. But I was soon lost in London Below as an amazing cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Sophie Okonedo, James McAvoy, Bernard Cribbins and Natalie Dormer to name a smattering). I’m not sure how long it will be on iPlayer for but turn off the lights and listen to it, Dirk Maggs has done a tremendous job and the music featured is stunning.
5. Finally Wilton’s Music Hall will get its own blog post at some point down the line as it is thoroughly deserving of its own limelight. I visited on Saturday for the historical tour and a quirky, borderline immersive, theatre production of The Great Gatsby followed after. This grand but crumbly music hall hidden away between Whitechapel and Shadwell epitomizes why London is such a great historical city, much like Dennis Severs’ house in Spitafields. I am booked in for a further two events so expect a fuller more detailed post soon.
1. Just to start this Sunday by making you all feel old, it’s been thirteen years since Sugababes released their debut album with the original line up we now see reunited as Mutya Keisha Siobhan (wondering how much of an argument it was over the order of their names appearing given reputations). With a lot a help from Dev Hynes this reworking of Kendrick Lamar’s Lay Down In Swimming Pools appeared this week.
2. I’m not entirely sure how David Bowie managed to keep this sudden album release hushed up for so long but credit to all involved for doing so in an age where rumours and album leaks are all too common place. As I type this news that The Next Day is number one in the charts have just popped up on my Twitter feed. It’s a great album, it will never be Space Oddity or the Labyrinth Soundtrack (what can I say, that was my era. And I never want to find out how much padding was down there when he played Jareth).
3. Helen and I had goosebumps throughout Jessie Ware’s entire set on Thursday night at Shepherds Bush Empire, and tears in our eyes at some points. One of my favourite albums of 2012 almost doesn’t do her justice live as her voice is so purely powerful and heartfelt. Taking In Water and Wildest Moments particularly emotive. When she was joined on stage by Goldsmith Vocal Ensemble for No To Love (mixed in with snippets of Madonna’s I Want You) I can’t recall a better live moment in recent history. Utterly brilliant, insanely talented and to all appearances a bloody lovely and unassuming personality.
4. I have a huge soft spot for the Jungle Book, it’s the first film I ever saw at the cinema with my Dad so the songs hold a special place in my heart. AlunaGeorge covered I Wanna Be Like You for Radio 1 this week along with new single Attracting Flies.
5. Not even David Bowie can eclipse John Grant this week. Genius second album with the same snide humor as Queen of Denmark but this time set to more beats. I would recommend buying Pale Green Ghosts over any album this week and it’s worth taking time to read this frank interview in The Guardian.
1. The extremely generous 6 Music put on another set of free gigs at Maida Vale Studios and I was lucky enough to be front row with Jo for Richard Hawley on Valentines day (unlucky with camera’s picking up geeky side profile whoops and clapping shots). I loved the acerbic wit and cynicism from Hawley as much as I enjoyed watching him perform. All his albums hold a special place in my heart and it was perfect to finally see him live in such an intimate setting. Photo’s from the session on my Flickr.
2. Everyone I know adored Silver Linings Playbook, so like the book snob I am I decided to read the original book by Matthew Quick first. It’s a beautiful read, full of charming flaws and beautiful intimate moments. I would highly recommend it. I watched the film shortly after finishing it. The credits should read “really loosely based on the book”. Even small but significant moments in the book were eradicated or changed for no reason I could grasp (like a song choice which has important narrative attached to it for example). I would advise anyone to read the original and ditch the film.
3. After stumbling into the John Peel tent during Glastonbury 2011 and being hypnotised by Darwin Deez live I have been itching to see him again. He was in my top 5 at Glastonbury that year, a unique performer. Last week at Heaven (to a remarkably young audience, or I’m getting terribly old) he immediately transported me back to a very happy place. Who doesn’t love insane but tightly choreographed dance routines littered through their gig!
4. Vic Reeves has an art exhibition at The Strand Gallery called Hot Valve Leak: Visual Ramblings of Vic Reeves. And it is a ramble. At times bonkers and at other times classic seaside scenes. It shows there is more depth to him than what we grew up with on TV. The exhibition is free and worth a visit for inspiration and giggles.
5. On the day Foals third album Holy Fire was released I was lucky enough to be wedged in front of the tiny stage at Rough Trade East with friends to watch them perform live. The new songs sound gigantic live, like no room can contain them. It was also beautiful to hear Spanish Sahara at the end of the set. Adore this band deeply, and My Number has to rival any song as an “it’s over” anthem.
I do not have a decisive enough personality to make definitive lists so just off the top of my head this year…
Has been soundtracked by albums from Crybaby, The Maccabees, Friends, Wild Nothing, Mystery Jets, Mary Epworth, Beach House, Zulu Winter, Kindness, How To Dress Well, Hot Chip, Sharon Van Etten, Sleigh Bells, Polica, Toy, The Futureheads, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Grimes, Grizzly Bear, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Jessie Ware, Bat for Lashes and Perfume Genius. I wasn’t blown away by Alt-J (someone had to not be).
I can count the amount of times I went to the cinema on one hand but adored all the films. The Hobbit, Avengers Assemble, Moonrise Kingdom. Most of all I loved Beasts of the Southern Wild and Searching for Sugar Man.
It seems to be a year where I’ve mainly read David Sedaris. However, Anna Richardson’s Little Gods would be my book of the year. Stunning debut novel. After reading Virginia Woolf, A Room Of Ones Own I am determined to work my way through the rest of her books next year.
It’s been a year where I finally got to see Mystery Jets live, and at the Royal Festival Hall with someone who’s support has been unwavering this year. There’s been Gigs where I’ve been with my parents and created cherished memories, gigs of sitting in Hoxton basements and leaning over Heaven’s balcony. Drunk gigs, sober gigs, gigs that have moved me to tears or where I’ve come away with aching feet from dancing so much.
Above all these things it’s mainly been all about London 2012 for me. I hope I am forever changed by the Olympics and Paralympics. It made me kinder, motivated, deliriously happy and proud to be British. Actually, proud to just be a human being. This Public Enemy song will forever serve as a reminder.
It’s been a year of pesky Tinnitus, goodbyes and job changes. It’s been a year where friendships have sprang out of the unlikeliest of places and where I will never underestimate the kindness of strangers. At times you have overwhelmed me with your support and general brilliance (I know some of you read this blog, most of you will never even know you made a difference).
Of course there’s plenty of things I didn’t get round to in 2012. Like swimming round all of London Lido’s, having tea with Ian Hislop, learning how to ride a bike or shaking Robert Jay QC by the hand.
It’s been a year where I’ve decided bravery is one of the most important qualities you can possess. A year of remembering I can breathe underwater.
2012. In equal measures I’m glad to see it gone and reluctant to let it go.
Here’s to 2013. Happy New Year. ♥
NB: Huge thanks to Pete at Flush The Fashion for putting up with my contributions for another year. To Pub Diaries for letting me waffle on in a Q&A. The ever energetic and tireless Dan Thompson for printing my pop up shop piece. To Darren Hayman for letting me talk about my love of swimming and to The Guardian for printing my ‘Six Songs Of Me‘. To Tim for having me on Resonance Radio. And to everyone who reads this. Cheers.
Not a peep of a Christmas song despite the fact it’s December, I shan’t punish you all yet…
1. The partnership of Hot Chip and Peter Serafinowicz continue their artistic relationship as he directs a third music video for them. Don’t Deny Your Heart was released this week. Spot the controversial refused handshake at the start of the Football match and try and work out where it will go from there.
2. Anyone sauntering past a book shop recently would have spotted The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Joasson as it seems to be in every window I pass by. Lovable characters from one unique imagination. Highly recommended read, would make a good stocking filler for a book-worm.
3. Finally got to see Mystery Jets live this week. Five albums in and somehow they’ve always alluded me but it was worth the wait to see them headline the Royal Festival Hall. Beautiful set taking us to sunrise through to a full moon, birds fluttering across the desert scene of their Radlands. Appearances from a gospel choir and Laura Marling to name a few. I was still grinning two days later from this gig.
5. Apart from Mystery Jets the song I’ve had most on repeat this week is Local Natives with this beautiful track Breakers. I’ve added them to my Glastonbury wish list.
Two weeks rolled into one (less time to blog now my boss sits next to me as opposed to another country).
1. Villagers released their video for Nothing Arrived earlier in the week, the second from their yet to be released album Awayland (countdown to January 14th ticks by slowly). A day in the life of Terence Bliss. A bleak video for a beautiful song.
2. Beak Street is lit up in a far better way than any bog standard Christmas decorations could achieve. Open until January Gods Own Junkyard exhibits and sells pieces from Chris Bracey’s collection spanning three decades. His work is instantly recognisable, even if you don’t know his name. His pieces have been used in Vogue shoots and Martin Creed. Londoner’s may recognise him from The Breakfast Club and MC Motors in Dalston. Also, the heat from all the bulbs make it toasty warm if you need a quick warm up.
3. Florence Welch ceases the bohemian ballerina act for a bit of gritty acting with Dark Knight Rises actor Ben Mendelsohn in her video for Lover to Lover. Hazily shot and refreshing to see a different tone to her videos.
4. I have a soft spot for The Killers (along with my Mum and 6 Music’s Shaun Keaveny) and I went along to seem them at the 02 last weekend with the one I am related to. Whatever your opinions may be they are a great band live and no snobbishness when deciding the set list. Five tracks from Hot fuss in total. Don’t pretend that you didn’t love that album.
5. The new Caitlin Rose song, No One To Call, is instantly warming. You can listen to it on The Line of Best Fit site here.
I am settling into a new, very busy, job and haven’t found much time to blog of late. However, I woke up extra early to draft this. Mainly because of the two gigs I’ve been to this week, possibly the best I’ve been to all year.
1. The Foals return and I’ve had their track Inhaler on repeat an unhealthy amount of times this week. More dirt and bass than the wistful crisp beauty of tracks on Total Life Forever. February feels like a torturous amount of time to wait for the album. Yannis is genius. Can’t wait to see them at The Royal Albert Hall in 2013.
2. We stood utterly speechless, crammed shoulder to shoulder at XOYO on Monday night to watch Tom Krell (a.k.a How To Dress Well). My immediate reaction was “I bet Prince creams his pants listening to this album” and I stand by that. Live it is almost impossible to grasp how he hits those notes, my brain kept on nudging me to say “he’s actually doing that, that’s him”, this unassuming polite character. The atmosphere he creates is stunning. The crowd reaction to his a capella encore was like nothing I’ve ever heard before.
3. I am back working within walking distance of the best burritos in London, this makes me extremely happy. By far the most successful hangover cure I’ve stumbled over and frankly would pay good money for one right now for that reason. If you ever get a chance check out Daddy Donkey’s on Leather Lane Market.
4. My second gig of this week was Adam Bainbridge (a.k.a. Kindness) at Heaven. I blogged about it the moment I got home so if you missed that post you can read it here. It sums up all that seeing him live means to me, and his album will definitely end up in my top 5 this year.
5. The Rolling Stones have (sort of) arrived on Carnaby Street in London. Christmas Decorations made out of gold records glinting in the light to celebrate 50 years of the band. There’s also a little pop up shop opened perfect for Christmas stocking fillers. Items thankfully reasonably priced. One More Shot was released this week.
I have a new favourite author, there’s a new Rolling Stones track floating across the airwaves, I visited Bedlam and I danced my socks off at a gig. Not a bad week all in all…
1. This week LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up And Play The Hits was released on DVD. Despite my love of music I’m rarely a fan of live DVDs but this is so much more than standard concert footage. It’s emotional and will serve as a comfort blanket for fans now that LCD have called it a day. I suggest watching it drunk with friends, setting off confetti cannons in your living room while fighting back the tears. Just typing this makes me feel sad. I was at their last ever UK gig, had I been at their last ever gig I’d have been a dancing mess.
2. If I wasn’t in the middle of a frantic job hunt I’d have bought up every David Sedaris book this week after reading When You Are Engulfed In Flames. I have done myself a great literary injustice in only just discovering him and feel like the world has been keeping a secret from me (especially as most of my friends seem to have known about him for years). If you want to smile and laugh at the turn of every page seek him out.
3. Any man who can pull off a full tasselled cape with shoulder embellishments without once breaking into even a smirk is impressive. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs was fabulous at Shepherds Bush Empire this week. Plenty of glittery string and ticker tape being fired at the crowd, fantastic light show and euphoric music made it feel a bit NYE.
4. Steve Lazarides Minotaur exhibition under the Old Vic Tunnels last year was a London highlight. This year he has created Bedlam for free and it was equally bonkers and brilliant. Eerie, playful, sad, relaxing (yes, relaxing. Lying under Doug Foster’s hypnotic video installation yet again my highlight). Photo’s from the evening are on my Flickr page.
5. The Rolling Stones graced the world with a new track called Doom and Gloom this week, which raises my expectations of them being at Glastonbury even higher. I asked Twitter what they thought of it, my favourite response was “it’s OK, they’ve done better”. Like everyone was going to think “Oh yeah, completely forgot about Street Fighting Man, Angie, Paint It Black… What was I thinking!” Of course they’ve done better, that’s not the point. The point is it’s not bad at all, and how amazing that they all still want to record together after all these years? Pipe down naysayers.