Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Meilyr Jones @ The Bullingdon, Cowley Road, Oxford

Five weeks from witnessing Meilyr's appearance at EOTR Festival which included a prolonged 'death' fall followed by countless rounds of band introductions (five in all). Including the sight of one stockinged foot with a large hole in it, we are back again but in the very intimate surrounds of The Bullingdon on Oxford's Cowley Road.
A shortish set over 75 minutes long which run through the usual set numbers by in a different order than before. Meilyr and band constantly swooped instruments, a bloke behind me saying 'Genius, sheer genius' all the time, which we could not contradict, constant time changes within the songs, different melodies also adding to the mix, somewhat reminded me of prog rock back in the 70s (which it wasn;t) and just a performer who clearly enjoys his art.
This being the last gig of their current tour it ended on a high note that wont be forgotten in a long time. Meilyr, his bass and lead guitarists armed with violins ventured into the audience, stood right next to us as everybody gathered around and performed the last number acapella with the drummer playing the flugelhorn 'last post ish' behind us still on the stage. (have you ever seen a drummer blowing the horn and drumming at the same time, well this guy did)
Superb. A quick chat afterwards reminding him of his hole in the sock venture . Well done Meilyr for being unique. (catch him if you get a chance) We went home smiling

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

EOTR Festival 2016

6th visit to EOTR and the early forebodings about lineup and weather came to fruition over a damp weekend at the begining of September. Changes were also noted, there appeared to be more here this year then ever before. Has it been increased I dont know but those car parks were very full. And merchenise too. Gone were the Nick Rhodes and Jacknife posters and in comes merchendise, tea towels, mugs, simple bags, tee shirts, and other stuff I have just simply forgotten.
Added to which, carton animals, the bear thefox and the badger were still there but Slyvan scenes with Human–animal hybrids riding on the backs of four legged creatures. So much so that either side of The Woods Stage had been dressed with mirrored scenes. Although this could have done with some better lighting.
To reinforce the settings there were the performers and never before has such a line up of animal related names been present. In the end there were 10 with Stealing Sheep coming in as a last minute substitute for Omar Souleyman. Namely  and in no particular order Animal Collective, Bats for Lashes, Stealing Sheep, Cat People, Cat's Eyes, Goat, Dr Dog, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizards, LionLimbs, Tiger Cats. Add to that both Savages and Local Natives and you wonder if a theme is developing.
The weather certainly spoilt the whole  weekend, but fortunately the site stood up to it. A little mud at a couple of locations but no more than an inch deep at worst. The Garden Stage which had its grass cut short was in rather poor condition by the end, but otherwise we were lucky.

A couple of themes developed with performances and these are reflected in my awards.

Best Performance
Without doubt Savages, Savages and Savages. Breathtaking performance late on Friday afternoon. The sight of Jehnny Beth walking and singing on top of the audience was pure theatre, but their whole performance just outshined everybody else. They have come a long way since we saw them at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles a couple of years back

National (Welsh) Treasure
Meilyr Jones. A great entertaining performance including appearing to die as he fell off the stage before walking up and down in the pit in front of the stage where last year the peacocks strolled. His rapport with the audience a lesson for all.

Bass Playing.
And four women grabbed the attention,
Ayse Hassan of Savages
Emily Lansley of Stealing Sheep
Naomi Griffin of Martha
And the girl from Meilyr Jones's band who name I forget which is appalling given he gave her 5 separate credits from the pit.

Guitar Playing
Gemma Thompson of Savages. The sheer orchestral sound that she produces is gob smackingly brilliant. A real talent.

Fay Milton of Savages, Dynamite and she is so small, puts most drummers to shame.
Noah Lennox of Animal Collective. He just powered away behind the three other upfront members. The dias his kit was set on was just rocking away underneath him so much so I was waiting for it to collapse.

Other notables
Whitney, Martha, Goat (too much running around by the singers though) Broken Social Scene, (what a line up with at one point two bass players playing, bit of a mush of sound)

The complete Sunday afternoon line up so well compared, I had tears in my eyes, by Katie Mulgrew.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Exhibitionism @ The Saatchi Gallery, King's Road, London.

First rate exhibition of the Rolling Stones. So much to see and hear and with the mini mixing desks, so much to play with.
And to finish up with 3D glasses on, for a live video of them doing Satisfaction in Argentina, even better than seeing them live.
Enjoyed the display of various Keith Richard's guitars and the artwork and the costumes and the big stadium stage design and the Martin Scorsese interview and the.....
And what a location, close to where they all lived together in their very early years in Edith Grove, the reproduction that comes very early bringing smiles to everyone's faces.
I would say catch it if you can but it finishes in a weeks time.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Georgia O'Keeffe @ Tate Modern, London

A decent exhibition featuring some of, but not all, of her most well known works.Along with the stylised plants/sexual body parts the heavily abstracted works were great, but there was a lot of minor works that did not hold my attention at all.
What I did learn was she friends with my favourite photographer, Ansel Adams and a couple of his prints were on display. One of my favourites being Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico was on display, but this one took my eye, quite small no more than 100mm wide, it is of O'Keeffe and Orville Cox. Shot from low down, the definition of the clouds in the background and the creases in their faces are a highlight of the composition.
However an enlightening visit with the addition of visiting Herzog and Murren's extension which I nearly worked on but didnt.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Roisin Murphy @ The Globe Theatre, London

https://youtu.be/en_1uFSqttY and https://youtu.be/B3PmWqp7NUw
First and Foremost, I have a new favourite venue. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on London’s South Bank is it. For those who are standing in the pit, it is open to the elements, but on this clear blue sky of a summer evening it just does not matter. Those sitting in the tired galleries that surround the roofed stage and pit have a modicum of cover above under the circular thatched roof, they have some cover, but the prevailing wind would surely bring any inclement weather onto their laps. Nevertheless, its intimate, The various bars outside of the auditorium (other than the pub) line the external gathering area which overlooks The Thames with St Pauls over on the North Bank opposite. Could there be a better setting, I hardly think so.
So along with Mornington Crescent’s Koko (a winter location) and EOTR’s Garden Stage with its Toucans flying overhead and peacocks strolling around in front of the stage, The Globe now joins that short list. Must look out for more.
So this gig, The Globe’s first ever venture, must be considered to be a notable success. Not only for the fact that it was nearly a rammed full house with the layers of balconies being all full and only the two wing areas to the stage with views restricted to the backsides of the performers left empty but for the performance from Roisin Murphy herself and not to be forgotten, her band..
And the performance?
It started off with a DJ set by Lauren Lerverne, it started off rather tamely but then as the crowd gathered she played out a number of classic 80’s popular disco hits which went down very well with the crowd. Set ended, a very short break, dry ice, some track played, band comes in and opens up with RM coming on in costume.
Whilst possessing Hairless Toys after seeing her on Jools Holland’s ‘Later..’ it had only been heard a track at a time when it came up on random so had a reasonable idea as to what it would sound like as certainy was not disappointed on that front. What I did not expect init is frequency, was the costume changes, she out gaga’d Lady Gaga. Changing, and swapping various items of clothing and masks mid songs, occasionally going back stage to have a full change. I did love the entrance, coming on looking like a cross between Elizabeth I and Margaret Thatcher with a brown leather handbag swinging from her arm. Then there was the construction worker, yellow hi-vis jacket, blue helmet with three flashing LEDs on top and waving around a bunch of yellow plastic ‘do not enter’ site tapes rather like a mass of serpents. And on it went.
Unfortunately for us on our side of the stage she performed mainly to the other side so all the different aides we partially missed out on apart from one notable occasion which I was fortunate to capture on video when literally she towered over and somewhat thrust her crutch region towards me.
So what must have been a two hour set, the gay boys up in the balconies dancing away was amusing given the location, what would the bard have thought about that. RM starting one particular song with the soliloquy ‘To be or not to be’ and there were a number of other Shakespearian references. Amusing to see the various Globe attendants enjoying themselves and dancing along as did all of the audience.
Forever More
Dirty Monkey
Dear Miami
Tight Sweater
Tatty Narja
Gone Fishing
Evil Eyes
House of Glass
Ten Miles High
Ancora tu


Pure Pleasure Seeker

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Jason Bourne

You have to admire the way Peter Greengrass puts these Bourne films together. Full use of hand held cameras and the incessant cut cut cut of editing. Four major set pieces connected to the four main location of Athens, London, Berlin and finally Las Vegas, with the impressive action taken from central Athens in and around their parliament building the best of all. London, in the form of Paddington Basin, a bit of a damp squib with short distances seeming to take an eternity to get to. Berlin likewise set within the yet developed areas to the south east of the city.
The finale in Las Vegas was just like a console game although at times, shuddering crashes did depict real violence with one memorable ‘snow ploughing’ crash sequence quite shocking in its initial brutality.

Damon has little to say (could have covered one sheet of A4) other than act as an enforcer, most of the dialogue being given to others, Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander in particular. TLJ face looking like a knarled piece of olive tree bark.


But ultimately, all rather predicable, and with an ending that leaves it open for a sequel.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

St Paul and the Broken Bones @ KOKO Mornington Crescent, London

Nearly two years after I first saw them at EOTR Festival, so when the chance to see them again at my favourite venue KOKO in London's Mornington Crescent, the tickets were soon purchased. A mixed audience of young and old were all in a relaxed mood started to fill the venue, many gathered on the outside terrace overlooking the southern start of Camden High Street, and for us a quick drink outside the Lyttleton Arms opposite overlooking the whole scene.
The magic wand search outside failed to flag up I was carrying two cameras which was a blessed relief and inside, with the surprisingly good Yola Carter sounding like Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes warming up the not sold out crowd.
 Made our way down to the stage level and secured a good location near the front. It began to fill up and looking back up at the three levels of stepped balconies, so did the auditorium. To a musical fanfare the Broken Bones came onto stage, plugged in and started up with Paul Janeway walking onstage after a minute or two to a tumultuous applause.
And what a show they gave. So good to hear a horn section in a band, just adds to the depth and gives so much more of a funkier sound.
Janeway strides around the front of the stage like the preacher he could so easily have become, clambering up on the wings rather precariously and singing (or is that hollering) his lungs out. A sort of white man's James Brown.
Three encores, including John Lennon's I want you, and it was all over. Everybody was beaming at the end knowing that they had just witnessed one great live act.
Two videos made, including two of the encores, Early Number and Encore