Marc Almond: Birmingham Symphony Hall
Gig 41: 28 September 2012
Sunday, 30 September 2012
Monday, 24 September 2012
Sunday, 5 August 2012
|John Lydon Rolling his R's|
3 August 2012 - Gig 36 of 2012
A week later and another legend to watch, how would John Lydon's performance with PIL compare to Morrissey?
The first obvious difference was the fact I could see Lydon close up, which was brilliant, but given it wasn't the main venue in Wolverhampton, but the Wulfren (capacity of roughly 1,100), the draw for this legend was obviously not quite the same.
The Band kicked off the first song, with John doing his typical rolling of r's, launching into This is not a love song, with lyric sheet illuminated before him. After each song was a familiar routine with a gargle of Martell Cognac to be spat into a big dustbin. The arctic coat was then removed, still plenty of hiking gear worn.
There wasn't much banter to be seen inbetween the songs, nothing commenting on the Olympics and the pogoing punks in the opening ceremony, a brief confirmation that the band weren't Florence and the Machine - check - and that we had managed to let the smoking ban laws be passed when he wasn't looking living like he does in LA. This allowed a reckless law breaking fag break (behind the curtains).
The first thing that struck me from the set was that the songs would be getting an airing, at about 2 hours that would be getting on for 8 minutes a song, especially as there wasn't a great deal of banter. The songs (with 2 exceptions) were largely a really solid rhythm from the bass and drums, with interspersed Guitar and lyrics from Lydon that were described pretty well on twitter by @christoff3000 as 'a trapped animal screaming into the urban wasteland of Wolverhampton', really apt, and yes not Florence and the Machine at all.
The songs didn't pull a huge reaction from the audience, as noted by Lydon 'Come on Wolves is that all you got' and my mind did wander a little at times. It was one such wander that took me to think how much the ageing Lydon looks like the fast show's 'Mark Williams' (Suits you sir). An actor who I will always have an affection for because of his portrayal of a Brummie in an advert in the early 90's which was probably the first time I had heard a Brummie accent on the box and caused all my mates at Uni to come up to me and amusingly say 'we wanna be together' for a term or so.
When Lydon went off for the encore he gee'd up the crowd, noting he was off for a fag break, hand to ear, the audience responded then, the cheers and he was back. Included within the encore was the difference in the set, when Rise started, a massive cheer went up, the song sparkled, and had some real real power to it, the sing along 'anger is an energy' moment was quality, not quite so the pogoing chap in the red T shirt taking all and sundry with him, and that was a real hi-light. Streets ahead of everything that had gone before it.
The gig finished with Open Up, again a quality tune, with a couple of fake ends into the bargain, a couple of bows and Lydon and Co were off, there had been some interesting bits, a guitar solo with a childs illuminated windmill, (not quite Hendrix playing behind his head) and the news that the guitarist was back from an eye op earlier in the day, which was much appreciated.
Its interesting how limited Lydon's comments were compared to Morrissey's, not really being particularly contentious, its amazing to think how he terrorised the authorities / establishment in '77, but then Morrissey's pet topics, vegetarianism aside, didn't really seem to cause anyone to do anything but smile a wry smile and note 'typical Moz' .
So to sum it up
Good value for money? to see a legend that close yes........
and for this song, yes...........
Setlist taken from here
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Gig 34 of 2012: 28 July 2012
Leaping straight into the main event for Morrissey yesterday, I have to come clean, I feel a bit of a fraud. Morrissey was Mrs P's idol not mine, and I used to give my house mate at Uni dogs abuse for liking the Smiths despite my music choices at that time being very questionable.
However I have seen the light in later years, driven by seeing him live and also the return to form album 'You are the Quarry' which dominated the ipod a few years back. So with Morrissey not being my reason for living, and having seen a lot of gigs this year, what did I think - well he's first class, he draws opinions, and he is unique.
At half eight the lights went out and from the black came a 5 minute lady scouse voiced list of things that are not particularly pleasant.....'poll tax, apartheid, John Lennon's murder, death of the rain forest, red necks........' and on came Moz, to the centre of the stage with Band in their trade mark now 'We hate William and Kate' T shirts for a bow. Being up in the gods, it was amazing to see the surge of the crowd running right the way front to back on his appearance and he was away.
Kicking off with burst of You Have Killed Me, Everyday Is Like Sunday, You're The One For Me, Fatty (a particular favourite of me and Mrs P) and the phenomenal How Soon Is Now? there was no way that the faithful were not going to be over the moon, twitter was proclaiming it the best live experience people had ever had although for me the sound quality of sheds this size is lacking somewhat.
Morrissey was also quick to get the quips out on his pet subjects, such as
'You'll notice I wasn't invited to the opening ceremony of the Olympics as my smile was judged to be too sincere'
'Well done on surviving that moronic jubilee, when will we be rid of that family'
'I was in Tel Aviv recently where I was given the key to the city, Manchester Council have given me nothing'
This wasn't to everyone's delight with the chap across the aisle from me standing up shouting shut up and just sing and waving certain hand gestures at various points, and whilst I don't agree with everything that comes from his mouth, he is consistent and has an opinion which is very rare in the music world these days.
Songs continued to come thick and fast, some I knew, some I didn't, regular shirt changes, one launched into the mosh pit causing a frenzy, the mic lent to the crowd to provide thoughts, which didn't last long, arms reaching out to the devoted, introducing the band. An engaging performance.
Meat is Murder - backed by a film inviting us to 'meet our meat' will no doubt have converted a few more people to vegetarianism and per twitter brought tears from sections of the crowd.
The exception in the band to wearing the 'Will & Kate' T's was the extremely bouncy guitarist, who from a long way back I thought was a young lady but turns out to be Boz Boorer in drag, made me smile anyway when I realised.
After a couple of hours we were treated to an encore of Smith song Still Ill and he was gone, with a bow. Overall a really enjoyable gig, not life changing, not the best Moz gig I've seen, but all round great entertainment.
A bit bizarre though was the support act, regularly I'll come out of a gig having bought the supports album/single but Kristeen Young is definitely an acquired taste. Appearing from the darkness in the corner of the stage behind a madly used piano she sounded like a really loud and spikey Kate Bush to me, and not that easy to get into at all, other songs were sung to a backing tape with visuals, but no, not for me.
The other standout from Moz is the merchandise, well thought through and this was the best T I'd seen for ages:
Set list from here
- (Frankie Valli cover)
Sunday, 22 July 2012
Gig 33 Friday 20 July 2012:
After a week of stress and crap at work I woke knackered on Friday, a long day at work and not in the right frame of mind really for a gig, but luckily caffeine'd up I made the way to Wolverhampton. Made slightly more challenging by the police closing the only road I knew into the town centre I pottered through housing estates, hoping to see the metropolis ahead, which finally appeared.
Delayed I got into the venue at a trot to a jolly big doorman who stamped my hand to tell me I had missed most of the first band, luckily I had 3 songs left to enjoy of local band Silhouettes whose 3 songs were a bit of a mixed bag, but really impressive was the falsetto on the penultimate song by the guitarist / singer, which worked great with 2 sets of keyboards either side. Baldy keyboarder on the right was very much into the gig, bouncing rave stylee whilst playing and interjecting inbetween tracks to fill with a very deep voice explaining why he wasn't allowed usually to chat. Other lasting impression was the random haircut of the singer, shaved at the sides, clump of hair on top and straggly fringe. I hope the start of the set had more falsetto singing in it, as Puressence style that really stuck out.
A pint of 'wife beater' and I was feeling pretty excited about the next band, Sylver Tongue, the venue had filled up a little more, so roughly a third full to see the new incarnation of former Ash, Nightnurse, KT Tunstell band and solo performer Charlotte Hatherley take to the stage. To be fair when I read about this support to School of Seven Bells it was a no brainer to book up.
She looked futuristic and launched into the first song Creatures, which my first impression was of an electronic Kate Bush, high praise indeed. The songs were rattled through, lots of asking for 'more drums, not backing!' from the band. After two or three tunes I noticed the styling on the two ladies flanking Charlotte on keyboards and bass which was a bit Blue Peter, normal attire which was enhanced with 2 clip on fringes fixed to the shoulders, not quite as rock star as Charlotte but kind of fitted in. Probably the best support band I have seen in a long time and hopefully an album will come out soon. It's the first time that I've seen a stylised band in a long long time, probably since the hives, and in this world of infinite choice it was great to see, having picked up Bowie's Ziggy Stardust LP this week, you can see that a choice in image can really last the test of time, although I'm not expecting to be holding my commemoration of this band in 40 years, but who knows..... Really brave move from Charlotte but one well worth it. Last song of the set was a real highlight. Not sure of the title but it was superb, a building up with catchy chorus intense Charlotte of keyboards and guitar. Tried looking through the Youtube vids and still none the wiser.
Onto the main event, the School of Seven Bells or SVIIB to give them their handy moniker, another band from New York turning up in the back end of nowhere looking a little shell shocked. Central members being the incredibly beautifully haired chap Benjamin Curtis (see pic above for proof) and the Egyptian Bob and ear ring sporting Alejandra Deheza. They came on to a whooping crowd, who looking round looked a proper muso audience, I felt at home, and I imagine most of those present will have come across SVIIB (I think more bands should have abbreviations like this) on 6 Music.
Songs cracked along, Alejandra combining her voice with harmonies from the keyboard player and songs building and building, when she was on guitar the blur of bangles on her right hand worked. For the hour they were on, I was pretty transfixed, songs (I think) were spread from the 3 albums to date and the set hung together well, support band Sylver Tongue had tweeted they were playing with the 'Lush' SVIIB and that's a good way to describe things, the vocals really are lush. A highlight for me was the opener for the new album Ghostory, The Night which is a cracking tune and has me bopping around on a regular basis. It was pretty difficult not to get caught up and bop in the gig and from looking around the audience, there looked to be quite a few whose default mode was not bop, myself included being caught up in the moment.
Another highlight was the Eighties feeling Scavenger, starting with a great bass drum booming, with dreamy lyrics circling with the Chorus of
to make you feel loved
to make you feel wanted
to make you feel fireto make you feel like
This was followed by ILU from the second album, which takes a while to get going then, when its really embedded in your head it starts reinforcing the 'I want you to know that I loved you' over and over hypnotically. SVIIB are definitely a band you want on the side of good in the world, filling my mind with hypnotically evil messages would not be the way forward, as by the end of the gig I would probably have done anything Alejandra had told me.
Wrapping up the band played the again brilliant 6 minutes of Low times, another 'tune' as you may say, listening to it now again, you just can't stop moving to this band....
After what felt like no time for the encore they were off with a brief 'Thank you guys so much, sorry we haven't been here ever, this is the last one' and disappeared..........another favourite new band........BOOM!
Many thanks to whoever put this on youtube from Friday - as you can see - hypnotic, beautiful voice and far too good hair from Benjamin!
Saturday, 7 July 2012
Sunday, 1 July 2012
Gig 32 - 26 June 2012
An interesting gig to choose here, I'd fancied coming along to see Terri Clark when I was browsing the listings of the Glee Club and saw her photo on her Roots & Wings album, which looked like Temperance Brennan from Bones in a white cowboy hat. This was followed by the slightest of elements of research (looking up a video, getting Dirty Girl and thinking this sounds pretty good and lodging the concert in the mind).
A few weeks later and England had just come through a thrilling match with Sweden, victoriously, I had come through with my mate numerous pints of San Miguel victoriously and we had debated the pluses and minuses of Woy's england team completely. We got onto music, I said that Terri was playing at the Glee club in a weeks time, then that evening the tickets were booked.
Around rolled tuesday, a full on day at work and I hadn't given much thought to the gig, met my mate and we descended to the Chinese quarter. A leisurely tea watching the world go by in the sunshine having a ploughmans. Lovely bar maid from Spain seemed very disappointed to receive the feedback that the Cheese wasn't the greatest (crumbly white) in a Ploughman's lunch, but both of us had to say the Cajun Chips were first class.
Into the Glee club, a venue I have waxed lyrical about in the past, and seated waiting for the gig. It was then, via smart phone that we did our research. We found out the support (Dan Whitehouse) that Terri had been out jogging the canals in Birmingham, had received a number of hit singles in Canada, had had quite a number of albums, and duh duh duh....was older than both of us (just in my mates case, comfortably for me). This would be interesting to reconcile.
At quarter to we had the gravelly voiced announcer running through the rules and reg's, he always brings to mind the jazz bloke from the fast show.....'NICE' and on came Dan Whitehouse. Interesting chap, incredibly softly spoken and played for the first few songs, and then got a bit more into the banter with the crowd, confidence grew he complemented us on being obviously good music followers as we had sought out Terri and warmed us up nicely by getting us to sing along to one of the tunes. A shameless plug or two about the bargain of album plus 3 ep's for £15 (to own his whole back catalogue). He also had cracking lyrics to listen to and had a few heckles from people who had followed him from Manchester. Overall a bit softly softly and breathy for my liking but good tunes and engaging with the audience.
A refill of drinks and we were waiting for the main event, the lights dimmed, then really dimmed, then really really dimmed, spot light on the stage, 2 guitars and a table and on walked Terri Clark. Dressed as above in the black and white photo above, definitely American, incredibly warm and decidedly one of the most pleasing on the eye singers I have seen for a while. First song rattled through, no pause before the next, straight into it and the only notice that it was a new song was the 'thank you' which cued applause from the audience. After the second tune, there was more banter between songs, we heard about the joys of getting around the UK by train (with only a tour manager for support), going for a jog around the Birmingham Canal's (I could see students so I thought I wouldn't get mugged), the ruining it all by having a Blue Cheese Burger (the lady enjoys her food and doesn't want to, or need to be a waif), the challenging issues and emotional types of relationship she has, and the poignant retelling of her Mom losing her life to cancer a couple of years ago inspiring a song or two.
She was clearly a little put off by the all seater audience at the Glee Club, I can imagine that her shows can get pretty raucous with a whooping and a hollering, which is difficult in an all seater comedy venue.
Then half way through and on came the white cowboy hat, sounds like its got a bit of a cult following, but in place looked the part. We also got a life story, the idolising of country music singers making her an outsider at school, in Canada and her Mom taking her to Nashville, the working in bars, the singers she emulated, the singing for tips all brilliant stuff, and mainly in the telling, you had to be there, each tale would have an instrumental backing track keeping it pacing along, lots of self deprecation in there, bursting into Adele's 'There's a fire' and the comment of what an export she is. All of this was done with a big beaming smile, we were all having fun.
We were treated to a great little medley of songs that inspired Terri, from the Grand Ole Opry - (well chuffed to have been there in Nashville myself, took me back), and the impression of Johnny Cash (blokes voice and all).
A nice heckle came in the tale of the song which she said she had written when she was 25 (last week shouts my mate!) and by the end of the gig I had fallen in love with country music again, not sure when I will see some more but I have to say that the show was, in the words of Terri herself 'Brilliant' her new favourite word to replace awesome. A couple of the standouts for me,
This was an amusing tune cracking lyrics that brought a smile to everyones faces and finishing on the following was brilliant, before I hadn't heard of Terri and wasn't a fan, now in my top 5 country artists of all time, who says you can't be swayed by a white cowboy hat.