Saturday, 14 August 2010
The Black Seeds - Shepherd Bush Empire 2/10/2009
The Black Seeds are not very well known in the UK and with a crowd of mainly people from New Zealand this is reflected quite obviously. Nonetheless their set injects a bit of sunshine into a cold October day. It is a fusion of dub, funk and soul, with highlights of the evening including 'Cool Me Down', 'Take Your Chances' and 'Slingshot'. They may not be a well known band, but everyone inside the Empire is dancing the night away, maybe they are a gem best kept quiet anyway.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
The Old Vic Tunnels' doors are opened for the first time tonight, and it is the Villagers who play the first gig there. The tunnels are located underneath Waterloo station. It's a pretty cool venue with a sort of eerie atmosphere.
Tonight is actually the first time I've ever seen Villagers play as a band and not just a solo acoustic set, and this does not fail to disappoint. It becomes a more lively, and unified set. A more eclectically appealing personna, especially reflected in 'Ship of Promises'. Certainly, tonight Conor O'Brien has justified his Mercury music prize nomination, and this venue has opened on a high.
I've seen Plan B many a time live. However, this was pre-Strickland Banks. This was when Plan B was an edgy, unique, rough diamond. A gritty hip-hop kid, telling stories with an acoustic guitar. His debut 'Who Needs Actions When You Got Words' moulded my growing up, coming out when I was 16, 4 years ago! That was, and still is an album I loved, and I always enjoyed seeing Plan B live.
Fast forward a few years, and Ben Drew has been completely rebranded as some kind of male Amy Winehouse, and the fact that he's trying to release a hip-hop version of Strickland Banks, reflects how awkward he looked on stage tonight. Of course the crowd, was not purely his fanbase, through the free ticket draw, but still Plan B has never been the charismatic showman, and I think it is mistaken that he is some kind of long lost member of Take That..despite dressing like one. Essentially, his voice seemed to struggle throughout his set. I did think it was generally an ok show, but there were some points I was bored, probably albums tracks that have never appealed to me. The best track was the almost cult classic 'Charmaine' from his debut, Plan B at his best. Unfortunately tonight he relied too heavily on Faith SFX, an unbelievable beat boxer, but at the end of the day I came to see Plan B, and maybe he has evolved beyond no return. And a drum and bass remix of Seal's Kiss From A Rose will NEVER be cool!
Paul McCartney, Crowded House, Crosby, Stills and Nash
This is the second time in six months that I have had the honour of seeing Sir Paul McCartney live, and there is one thing for sure: this man does not know how to disappoint! It is one of the hottest days this year, and England are knocked out of the World Cup by Germany, but this can not dampen anyones spirits as McCartney delivers a career spanning set including Beatles classics, and his big hits. It is endless singing along, and many seem in awe of him. For him, dare I say it, it's almost effortless, he is a true performer, and to have seem him twice is an absolute honour.
Printed in Label.
A week today, most of us will be recovering from end of term antics, and if it’s not recovery from the tenth and last Dub-boro, I can assure you that you would have majorly missed out. In anticipation of one of the biggest night’s that the union has ever seen, I offer you a preview of one of the rooms, Room 3, which will be in JCs.
This room is going to be the place to be for the Autonomic showcase, led by the curators of this movement, dBridge and Instra:mental. This is quite new on the scene where by abstract broken beats are mixed with a drum and bass tempo with dubstep elements. A fresh and innovative sound. It is not as fast with a slowdown in tempo, embracing the mid-90s drum and bass’ musicality. This was debuted on a CD that dBridge and Instra:mental collaborated together on for Fabriclive which paved the way for their new sound to be introduced.
Below, I have outlined who’s going to be playing in Room 3, and what to expect. So, for those who have already got their tickets this is what you lucky people have in store, and for those still not sure about going, here is a chance to get to know who you can see, and why you should go and buy ticket pronto:
dBridge takes a minimalistic take on high speed breaks. He is a regular at Fabric, and co-curator of the self-titled Autonomic.
Check him out in advance on: http://www.myspace.com/exitrecords
Like dBridge, Instra:mental is also Fabric favourite, and both are leading this new sound, promoting tracks with less BPM.
Ramadanman has followed a similar style and beat of music, shown through his mix on Dubstep Allstars Vol. 7.
Transit Mafia runs the drum and bass night, Detonate in Nottingham. It is one of the biggest drum and bass nights in the Midlands, taking place in Stealth, Rock City and Rescue Rooms.
Check him out in advance: http://www.myspace.com/transitmafia
DJ Take runs a dubstep night in Nottingham’s Bodega called Basslaced, and is embraces the new scene of slower tempo tracks.
Senate is a Basslaced resident, and no stranger to dubstep night.
He adopts the production alias Trutek, so check him out on this: http://soundcloud.com/trutek
This is my first experience of Loughborough’s Freefest, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had many friends tell me I missed out last year, as they sunned themselves with a beer or two. However, this year there was rain. And a lot of it. This did not deter my enthusiasm for some local, free music, so I headed down on Sunday afternoon, and particularly enjoyed the Acoustic Stage. I in fact, stayed there until the stage was close. A favourite of mine was Womba, a solo female singer who closed the Acoustic Stage on Sunday evening. She played an acoustic set, including covers of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, which she added her own twist to, and had such a beautiful voice. There was also the DJ Stage, or Dub-boro’s double decker bus as I think it could be better named. With the now household name DJs in Loughborough Dub-Boro DJs, Pasquale and Samiad playing music, this was the place to be if you wanted to have a dance. And after a visit to the VK Tent, this was probably the case! On the Bank Holiday Monday, Sykes, a student band opened the Main Stage, the venue for the biggest crowds, and where you could ride on the fairground rides while watching a band. Inside the Student’s Union there was the Fringe Fest offering anything alternate, a popular location due to the weather. Overall, my first experience of Freefest has been enjoyable and will be returning year after year.
The Streets – Original Pirate Material Vs A Grand Don’t Come For Free
The Streets’ debut Original Pirate Material well outshines the rest of his work. ‘Turn The Page’ is quite possibly the best opening to an album ever. Skinner’s raw urban and garage beats with his mockney accent was so fresh on the scene back in 2002. ‘Weak Become Heroes’ is the ultimate garage club track, and makes me miss garage so much. A Grand Don’t Come For Free, a concept album, and probably one of the best ever made, is still remarkable in its garage sound, but lacks the edge, with Skinner perhaps even selling out to mainstream with ballad ‘Dry Your Eyes Mate’ even though it is a tune! The way music has progressed, means an album sounding like Original Pirate Material is a one off, and completely of its time.
The Killers – Hot Fuss Vs Sam’s Town
The Killers’ initial album Hot Fuss, burst them on to the scene with their unique use of synthesisers. Hot Fuss established The Killers as a credible band and provided the great sing along tracks such as ‘Mr Brightside’ and ‘Somebody Told Me’ but Sam’s Town offers so much more musically. So much for the difficult second album! The Killers’ breeze through their second with their sound growing with their sound offering such diversity on the album from ‘Bling (Confessions of a King)’ to downbeat ‘My List’, and ‘When You Were Young’ is quite possibly their best song to date. Sam’s Town is the most all rounded Killers album and provides a bit of everything, albeit being very polished. Hot Fuss is the raw and edgy debut that helped create the masterpiece that is Sam’s Town.
Admittedly, I kind of lost interest in The Futureheads after their first album, but tonight I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of their material. I still stand by 'Hounds of Love' and 'Decent Days and Nights' as my favourite songs by them, and they were the best performed tonight. But tracks such as 'The Beginning of the Twist' and 'Heartbeat Song' that I only vaguely knew, were so well received, and I could not help but really enjoy them. Ok, there was a bizarre new track 'Jupiter' which absolutely alienated a less than packed audience, but all in all it was a decent gig. I wouldn't rush to see them again, but I have definitely give their newer material a listen and a chance. They're decent.
There is nothing that gets me in the Christmas mood more than a gig. And what better than going to see someone with legend status! (And also the fact he has a Christmas song, that isn't half bad!!)
This is the first time I've seen Paul McCartney live, and I feared that I would be amongst a crowd of people mainly old enough to be my parents, but the diversity and age range was phenomenal within the crowd, reflecting the universal appeal of McCartney. The set list was hit after hit, pretty much perfect, and with a wealth of songs like that you would not expect any less. McCartney played for over two hours, and absolutely blew me away. What a Christmas!!