Monday, 14 November 2016

Calypso Rose @ Jazz Cafe, Camden, London.

First and foremost, a thank you to Cerys Matthews on 6 Music  as hearing her interview with Calypso Rose and listening to her perform two live songs, took us some thirty odd hours later to see her for real.
What a great lady! Frail yes but in front of a mike, with a great band behind her, this was something else. Her zest for performing and singing was infectious, and the audience just loved it.
This was up tempo, jazz rocky calypso music. yet again, what a difference a horn section makes! Only a two piece, trumpet or trombone and sax, but the way it pushes the song along just cannot be replicated by a guitar based band.
She was rude (funny rude), flirtatious, political, and just pure feisty.
We loved it and went away with a big smile on our faces. Just wished we had come across her when we went to Sunday School in Tobago a couple of years ago.
Many thanks, Calypso Rose, for a great evening.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Ade Edmondson: Bits of Me Are Falling Apart @Soho Theatre

Quickly becoming our favourite venue, two weeks after seeing Richard Gadd, we are back at the Soho Theatre to see Ade Edmonson perform a one man monologue lasting for a solid 60 minutes.
A bitter sweet story of a man looking back at his life following the separation with his partner and 2 year old son.
Touching performance by Ade showing that he has become an actor to be reckoned with. How he remembered that dialogue is beyond me.
Finally, a big mention for the inventive stage set, simple to a degree, but well used to illuminate the act that was evolving below.
Yet again, if you get a chance, go and see.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

P J Harvey @ Brixton Academy, London

I will let the links below bear testament at what a great gig this was, but a few observations first.
I said to my partner about five songs into the set, its a Rock Opera for a Brave New World, with PJ Harvey playing the Pixie Queen with her nine musicians as her commanders.
Highly appropriate that on Halloween, they should be all dressed in black and only black and there was certainly a bit of the Gothic in the performance.
Finally, it was so good to hear a performance that was not driven along by the drummer. It featured percussion heavily, but not the constant bass drum thump, the zing zing of the hi hat, and the crashing of cymbals.
As one of the reviewers below said, PJ Harvey is a class act.

The Guardian  NME  FT  Telegraph

Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Girl on the Train

Reasonable psycho-thriller with Emily Blunt on form again. Mash up of timelines in the first half added unnecessarily to the story and it became rather obvious who the real villain was.
Nevertheless, decent film with a number of interview style face on shots of the protagonists gave it an edge above the mainstream.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Monkey See, Monkey Do, Richard Gadd @ Soho Theatre London

What can I say, was it a total act, and therefore utterly convincing, or was it for real, and therefore rather heartfelt. Yes we all laughed, and to keep running on a treadmill for nigh on an hour is certainly very impressive whist keeping up the comedic effect, Richard Gadd, you were convincing which ever it was. This is certainly not the sort of entertainment you often come across/ever come across and very much worth going to.
Utterly enjoyed, go if you have a chance.

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.