Posts Tagged ‘Live Music’
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.
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’ve seen Kindness once already this year at Field Day. I went more nuts than I ever imagined I would, I adored his album World, You Need A Change Of Mind from the moment I heard it but I never imagined just how insanely energetic these songs would be live. Adam Bainbridge does not stop dancing, tonight decked in a gold lame shirt, baseball cap and skin tight jeans. He also throws in covers from Luniz, Womack & Womack, Anita Baker, Pointer Sisters, Aaliyah. As well as his own sampling of Trouble Funk and The Replacements.
Shortly after Field Day a few changes happened in my life and when I was going through a bit of an emotional shut down my lovely friend Priyam sent me the link to his track House.
Hearing it live tonight felt like an arrow to the heart. But a really bloody good arrow, like I’d been speared by those girls on Roxy Music’s Flesh and Blood album cover. A jolt to remind me I’m in a really good place right now, something Priyam was probably trying to make me see would happen. Kindness himself mentioned how he realised the true meaning of this song when he was singing it to the eight year old boy who appeared in the video. Also that in Berlin today a famous DJ was playing this to his bride on their wedding day as his promise to her.
A handful of my friends are having a bit of a rough time of it at the moment. I guess I just wanted to drunkenly blog that it will get better. Listen to this song to help you on the way. ♥
The Letter R Mixtape.
Looking at the final ten I have so many memories of seeing these artists live. If rumours are to be believed then I may well be adding The Rolling Stones to that list at Glastonbury next year, a life’s dream achieved.
Roxy Music with a bunch of Mods at Isle of Wight Festival, R.E.M under the stars (honestly, that night is rather hazy, I know it ended with fireworks). Rufus Wainwright at Kenwood House, surrounded my middle-class picnics while we swigged cans of red stripe grinning at Helena Bonham-Carter. The Rakes at the 100 Club, ending in a very odd conversation with lead singer Alan Donohoe that still puzzles me to this day.
This was a tough one, aside from having to pick one track from some of the artists back catalogues featured I had a long list. Some of the artists I painfully left out including Randy Newman, The Raveonettes, Rod Stewart, Rebel MC and Rilo kiley.
- The Rakes – We Are All Animals
- Richard Hawley – Down In The Woods
- The Rolling Stones – Miss You
- Roisin Murphy – Let Me Know
- Roxy Music – Oh Yeah
- R. Dean Taylor – There’s A Ghost In My House
- Rodriguez – Sugar Man
- Radiohead – High And Dry
- R.E.M. – Uberlin
- Rufus Wainwright – Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk
Lots of amazing music, coffee and one night of non stop laughter…
1. Still laughing a week later, every now and again something Rob Delaney said during his sold out shows at Soho Theatre makes me break out into grins and giggles. When he returns next year do go see him (I will be again). I have no words that will give him justice. He is hysterical, charming and I wish more comedians approached jokes about women they way he does. Bravo. A million times bravo.
2. I got to review the insanely amazing SBTRKT (pronounced Subtract for those that have been living in the stars or working on an underwater scientific base) for the equally brilliant Flush The Fashion this week. You can read my review here.
3. What I love about Natasha Khan, Bat for Lashes, is how artistic and stylised her music videos are, you can instantly feel that a lot of love and attention has gone into the production. Whether there’s a tinge of Donnie Darko as she cycles through deserted streets with animals in hoodies or the sadness of a drag queen prowling the stage. In All Your Gold she is resplendent in moody monochrome, moon snapping at her fingertips as the tides turn.
4. As 2012 draws to its close (and where have these days gone, too fast again my friends) the race for album of the year is on and Kindness has never left my top 5 since it’s release. This week, thanks to 6 Music Live I was reminded just how brilliant Adam Bainbridge and his band are. They were my stand out act at Field Day. You can watch this weeks session here. I guarantee it will bring you a world of joy.
5. I had a lovely Saturday morning in Soho, deeply involved in an exciting writing project. The scene was set in Foxcroft & Ginger. As my addiction to coffee grows (this is what happens when you cut down on alcohol) I shun chains and seek gems like this. A cheaper and higher quality cup of coffee served by warm and lively personalities. Food served ranges from cocoa rich brownies, dainty apricot pastries to chunky slabs of aubergine and doorstep oozing, dripping toasties. I also like that they sound like Roald Dahl characters. Find them on Berwick Street.
I alluded briefly on my blog this Sunday to two teenage girls we met at the Hot Chip iTunes festival. They were in front of us in the queue and immediately started chatting away. At first we just talked about their love of Madness, how much they liked the tattoo behind my ear, cars (of which I am brilliantly ignorant, that’s Lucy’s department) and make-up. The usual topics I’d expect to cover with two sixteen year-old’s (apart from Madness, that threw me). They also couldn’t get over how old I was. I told them I was 33 (it turns out I am not 33 at all. I am in fact 34 and at some point over the past couple of years I have accidentally been lying about my age. That’s another story I’m still trying to get my head around).
This may also go some way to explaining why at one point I found myself screaming “I don’t even know if you kids think high-fives are cool any more but I’m giving you one anyway”. They humoured me with part pity and part bemusement.
Conversation soon moved on to truancy, let down dads and getting into fights. That’s when, in my drunken state, I imagined a cape falling from the skies and wrapping round my shoulders. I must be a responsible and inspirational person in a queue for a very brilliant band. They had to endure lectures about why they shouldn’t fancy Chris Brown, that if they keep on getting into fights how they need to join a boxing club like Nicola Adams, drugs, careers, school. I covered it all in a breathless whirlwind before the band started, each time something they said gave me cause for concern. We just danced non-stop after that, pausing only for me to give them horrendously middle-aged nods and winks every time boys their age walked past.
I was so determined to make some small impression on these girls, some little dent that come Monday morning they’ll decide not to bunk off school after all that I didn’t really take into consideration some of the things they were saying to me. When I told them I had a date soon they grabbed me by the shoulders and told me not to sleep with boys on the first night with furrowed brows and a stern pout, it was the most serious I’d seen them all night. When one of them said she had an audition for a talent show she turned to me and said ”It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out, life carries on doesn’t it? You just keep putting one foot in front of the other”. Wise words from one so young.
Followed by the other one grinning at me, pointing at Hot Chip and saying “I like the beats”, North Face jacket pulled up over her head, Nike Blazers keeping perfect time. I am in love with that simple sentence. All my music reviews now will have that ode to her, even folk music. I like the beats.
You know, I told someone about these girls and they told me they’re probably already a lost cause. I’m not so sure. After all they burst into song during Hot Chip covering Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere and with huge grins said “We love Stevie Nicks”.