From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘Live Music

Sunday Swoon. 17th November 2013.

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1. Tuesday evening we dolled up at the Roundhouse for Arcade Fire, The Reflektors. Red lipstick and a crown of black feathers round my head we were amongst people in outright fancy dress, face paints, mariachi band and sadly the downright dull (those rigid in their seats around us, not so much as twitching into a grin). The view from the seats was amazing, we danced regardless of the dullards & the choreographed crowd dancing to We Exist was utterly moving to behold. Beautiful evening and a good excuse to post their video from the YouTube awards recently.

Clet Abraham in London

Clet Abraham in London

2. Once Clet Abraham catches the corner of your eye it seems impossible not to notice his signs. Like those who haven’t walked along the road with their eyes fixed on their phones suddenly have a clarity of mind to keep their eyes peeled and look up, you will be rewarded. And every single one will make you smile secretly. He has truly caught my attention and heart, glad he has graced our London streets.

3. Indie guitar bands are very much nudging their way back to the forefront of the music scene (thanks to the likes of TOY, Tame Impala and Temples). All the T’s. The latter played Camden’s Electric Ballroom on Friday and were great to see live. Frontman James Edward Bagshaw looking like a man quietly confident and resplendent in glittering sequins.

Anthony Burrill.

Anthony Burrill.

4. The KK Outlet on Hoxton Square currently have an exhibition of Anthony Burrill’s work on, I Like It. What Is It? Most known for the above piece, created after he heard an elderly lady speaking to someone in a supermarket. Sound advice to live by.

5. TV is no longer an event, just one inane programme after the other with the occasional bit of brilliance dropped in (Luther, The Escape Artist, Misfits). In a week Doctor Who will celebrate its 50th anniversary and it will be a huge event, few programmes could create such excitement. And if you did miss it for some bizarre reason (and what a well-kept secret) watch the mini episode released this week. The Night of the Doctor. I dare you not to gasp, grin and go giddy.

Sunday Swoon. 10th November 2013.

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I’ve not blogged for a while. I was thinking today that a lot of the things I put up on my weekly round ups really inspire me (apart for food, that’s just a primal urge I guess). I’m genuinely grateful that music can move me to tears, books can transport me to another place and London never ever fails to impress and engage me. Anyway, it’s been a brilliant week.

1. I’ve had to try to limit the amount I watch the Spike Jonze directed live music video for Arcade Fire featuring Greta Gerwig. The song Afterlife is hugely emotive but I love how dance really adds to the sentiment behind this track. Frances Ha is definitely my favourite film this year and Great is perfection in this creative genius.

2. I’ve just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I barely put it down. Cleverly told story of an eccentric and brilliant mother told via traditional fiction interspersed with emails linking the characters together from an author responsible for the likes of Arrested Development and SNL.

3. I’m guilty of emerging from most gigs with the glow of alcohol rosy on my cheeks sighing “that was my gig of the year” on most occasions but Villagers at Heaven under the arches on Thursday really was utterly magical. I think it’s a modern indication of a bands brilliance live by the lack of mobile phones you see glowing in the crowd. I barely saw one, the audience rapt and attention focused on being in the moment.

Seventies advert on Platform 2

Seventies advert on Platform 2

4. Aldwych disused station tour only opens a handful of times a year and we were lucky enough to travel underground on a guided tour with London Transport Museum. Did you know not only did the station shelter thousands of Londoners during the war but also the Elgin Marbles and armed guards kept watch over the National Galleries collection? The station is a listed building, the history fascinating and has been used for films, shelter and drills during the Olympics last year if something was to go wrong with hundreds of people on the tubes. If you ever get the chance to do this don’t hesitate in booking up. More photos on my instagram.

Remnants of when Aldwych station was called The Strand

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Sunday Swoon. 25th August 2013.

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1. Anna Calvi is, for me, one of the strongest songwriters to appear in recent years. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her live twice and to those lucky enough to have tickets to see her at the beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall know that my jealousy runs deep and bitter. ‘Eliza’ is the first new track to surface from her second album ‘One Breathe’.

2. I read a book made for hipsters this week and I’m OK with it. Office Girl by Joe Meno is definitely one for the people of Dalston. People on bikes under the impression they’re the next big art movement. It has genuine charm and I found myself understanding and sympathising with characters I thought I would loathe.

3. I went to see Frances Ha on Monday and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since (my first visit to the tarted up Barbican cinema which is a gorgeous space and only £6.00 a ticket on Mondays). Directed by Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig plays Frances with a deadpan sincerity in the tale of a friendship moving into more grown up stages of life. But mainly I took away from the film that you need to be the happiest version of yourself possible in life. It was inspiring and I’d happily pay to see it again for that feeling.

4. Mikal Cronin’s MCII has been my summer soundtrack. He was spectacular at the Lexington and really hope there’s appetite for him to come back and tour the UK so more people get to see him live.

5. Finally, feels like autumn is almost at the doorstep in Mount Kimbie’s new video for ‘Home Recording’.

Don’t Stand Your Ground

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Over the past couple of years I’ve experienced, and been told many stories, of what I can best describe as bullying at gigs. Without exception it always involves people who are my age (thirty-five) and older, and a majority of the time it is men that behave this way. It’s also worth noting that I only ever see and hear about women being on the receiving end of this. During the day I am sure they are all utterly polite and hold a door open for a colleague, step aside when someone says excuse me. At gigs this all goes out the window.  Let me give you a few examples.

Recently at a Matt Berry gig a woman who I’d guess is in her late thirties was so incensed at a girl of about seventeen wanting to squeeze past just to take one photo that she screamed “obese bitch” at her and refused to move. At a polite girl young enough to be her daughter who made it clear it was just to take one photo and she’d be gone. Friends suffered men constantly, and on purpose, crushing into them at an Arcade Fire gig whilst being told to stop pushing them.

At Glastonbury I was told I wasn’t allowed to stand here by a man who was actually in front of me which I am still puzzling over. I had an experience so awful at a Battles gig with my friend Priyam that I still frown about it two years on. Men in their forties were stood behind us on the balcony. When I went to the bar they barely let me past, when I returned they formed a solid wall and refused to let me through despite the fact that I asked politely to get back to my friend, even strangers asked them to let me past and they refused. At the end of the night one of them pushed me in the back of the head with force. For no reason.

Last night at Public Service Broadcasting my bladder gave out after too many pints so I decided to run to the toilet. A relatively short dash in the intimate upstairs of the Lexington. Grown men crossed their arms and adopted a military stance. I had to squeeze through gaps a mouse would have problems getting through.

Let’s be clear. When you buy a gig ticket you are not paying to rent an exclusive square metre. I understand that views can be frustrating but I’m talking about scenario’s when someone is trying to dash to the bar quickly, not suddenly arriving on stilts in front of you.

Music is actually like a religion to me (without the wars). Going to see a band should be a shared experience, one of those oh so rare moments that you can look around at everyone and think “we’re all here for the same reason”. When the entire crowd sank to their knees during Foals singing Spanish Sahara at Glastonbury in anticipation of the song building up I felt like I utterly belonged. These were my people. Sadly there seems to be a growing minority of adults who seem to think they’ve paid for a private experience and are disgusted other humans are in the same room/under the same sky wanting to have fun. The only person’s night that’s being ruined is those guilty of behaving this way. They always look so miserable.

When an unstoppable force (my need for a pint or a wee) meets an immovable object (an adult refusing to budge even an inch to let me pass) chances are I will be tempted to lightly touch your back on my way back through to wipe a boogie on you. Karma is unkind. What can I say.

Written by Anon PA

July 18, 2013 at 10:57 am

Sunday Swoon. March 24th 2013

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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.

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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.

Sunday Swoon. March 17th. 2013

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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.

Sunday Swoon. February 17th 2013.

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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.

2012 Was…

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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.

The exhibitions this year have been the strongest since I’ve lived in London. From Charles Dickens writing desk at the London Museum to Grayson Perry at The British Museum.

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.

final collage

Sunday Swoon. December 2nd

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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.

Sunday Swoon. November 11th

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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.