Wednesday, February 25, 2004
This week's NME has its traditional 'Open Letter', which, this week, rails against how predictable the Brits were. Glad to see that they agree with me. Maybe they read this blog ;-)
We're off to two gigs this week. Tomorrow night is The Zutons and about 5 other bands at Electrowerks, which promises to be fun; and The Buff Medways with their regular gig at The Boston Arms, which I always enjoy - not least because I can walk home after the gig!
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
I've decided that I like metal…again. After my first encounter with metal and erm, soft rock, in my teenage years I gave up metal for the wonders of indie.
Well now I’ve decided that I like metal again. Two things have changed this:
1/ Funeral For A Friend. I’ve heard a couple of tracks from Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation and I really like it. In particular I’ve heard different versions of “She Drove Me to Daytime Television2, (the live version on the NME awards CD from a couple of weeks ago is particularly good) and its got me. Good lyrical hooks, great guitars and drumming. I think I’m going to enjoy FFAF, mainly because they are not American Sportz Metal (Yes, I’m talking to you Mr F Durst).
2/ Someone at work leant me a real gem of death metal – Wages Of Sin by Arch Enemy. This is real Metal for Men, sung by a Woman who sounds like a Man. So that’s clear then?!? Example lyric, from Ravenous, “I will be/ the carnivorous Jesus/ I need your blood/ I need your flesh.” - so nice easy listening lyrics there! The whole album has some of the best drumming I’ve ever heard. And what is so surprising is that, yes this is metal, but it is really catchy, almost poppy and I found myself returning for a second and a third listen.
So that’s it. I’ve managed to avoid Limp Bizkit (Behind Blue Eyes – my arse), ignore Puddle Of Mudd and laughed openly at Nickleback, but FFAF and Arch Enemy have got me all excited about rock again.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
The Brits are…. Predictable
It’s that time of year again – Brits time – the time when all over opinionated muso’s go into a blind rage in front of their televisions. And yes, I am one of them.
Last night saw 2 gongs for Dido, three for The Darkness and a splattering of awards for other very safe, very predictable artists. So far so dull, but then what was I expecting. The Brits are an annual slap on the back for The Industry and a way to reward the bands who have made a tidy sum for their paymasters. Dido – best single, best female artist – was the saviour of the record industry last year selling shed loads of singles and albums and used as a proof that file sharing can be stopped.
The Darkness have come a long way since opening Glastonbury last year. How apt that our top comedy band win best album award for their comedy record at the comedy awards. As a boss I once had would say “Its horses for courses.” The Brits are the mainstream. They’re for people who buy two albums a year and like nice safe Music. People who think Busted really are the best breakthrough artist; that The Darkness are “rock”; and Jamie Cullum is Jazz.
For those of us who spend too much time and money on music the Brits are a joke. “Our” bands get nominations but very rarely win. Dizzy Rascal should have won Best Male artist; Out of the short list, Blur’s Think Tank, was won of the most interesting and enjoyable records of last year. But then “our” bands never win. And when they do it’s usually because we’ve fixed it – remember when Belle And Sebastian won Best Newcomer because the band’s people made damn sure that all the fans new about the internet vote and that they voted.
So, the Brits are a good thing. They are a way to tell whether you are still interested in and passionate about music or whether you like Dido.
Monday, February 09, 2004
New blog and I suppose I should explain the reasons behind this. I’m a muso and I’m from London. I spend an inordinate amount of time and money buying records, downloading bootlegs (that’s the live recordings type of bootlegs Mr RIAA/BPI lawyer) and going to gigs. I also, occasionally play in band, but that is another story and another web site.
What do I have to show for this? A pile of gig tickets arranged into a nice piece of art on my wall; A shelf full of CDs and another couple of shelves of vinyl ; an 80GB hard drive that is almost full of MP3; and quite a few thoughts and opinions about music- most of which are complete dros, but I thought I might try to write these down as they may be of amusement to others.
I’ve been a reader of the music mags (NME, X-Ray, Select [anybody remember that one?]) since I was a teenager, but this is my first attempt to write stuff down, so it might be a bit crap.
First up. A gig review of sorts.
NME Awards Tour 2004 – 07/02/2004 Brixton Academy
An early start for the first and only one of the NME gigs I’m attending this year. I usually make it to two or three of the week long series of gigs but a cancellation (Ryan Adams and his busted wrist) and an underwhelming line up mean that tonight’s the night.
First on Franz Ferdinand, looking like the C&A equivalent of Kraftwerk and sounding like the freshest thing since Joy Division they have the strut and swagger of a band who know they are destined for better things. Three years ago when I saw The Strokes play an NME show supporting And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead… you could see the same confidence. Two singles into their career and two days before the album comes out and they have the front third of the Academy jam packed with people singing along to the songs. This band aer the new Duran Duran and that is a good thing.
The Academy seemed to have fixed the problems with the bass that the NME mentioned in a previous live review – tonight the kick drum, well, kicks. Maybe t’NME brought their own PA along for the occasion, although probably not.
Next up, The Von Bondies. I Love The Von Bondies. I’ve seen them a couple of times before, when they supported The White Stripes on a couple of tours in 2001/2002. How things change, and the first heckle of the night is “Jack White Kicked Your Arse” from someone in crowd behind us. Whatever happened that night in Detroit, it doesn’t seem to have dented Jason’s confidence. He still falls around the stage making his guitar crunch and singing like Jim Morrison. The songs from the new record, Pawn Shoppe Heart and I’m going to enjoy listening to it when it arrives from Canada/Hong Kong/wherever this weeks grey import is coming from. The band finish by calling Franz Ferdinand and Mattie Safer from The Rapture on to the stage to sing and dance along to It Came From Japan, the stand out track from their debut album.
So far so good. Next on – The Rapture. It only take the roadies 20 minutes to turn round between bands – if only it was this speedy at every gig. By this point The Academy is rammed. I try and queue at the bar for another pint, but it’s ten deep at all of the bars and I really can’t be bothered to queue for half an hour for a pint of pish.
The Rapture are a band that have completely passed me by until really recently. I downloaded a couple of tracks from Echoes before Christmas and was very impressed. Then the Album was placed at Number 2 in the NME Christmas chart and I found it for £7.99 in the Virgin sale.
Things start of a little shaky. The sound is pretty shoddy (The vocals and guitar seem to be turned up so far that they are clipping) and the whole thing of Gabriel Andruzzi dancing like Bez at the front of the stage is a little un settling. However, as the set goes on I start to get into it. I love they way they play synth versions of their songs (I’ve only heard the guitar version of Olio, but the synth heavy version is great). The people around me are grooving like daemons and by the end of the set I’m grooving with them too. The Band play a brilliant version of their new (re released?) single Love Is All and we all go wild.
Funeral For A Friend. Tonight’s headliners are metal. By the time the Welsh metlers come on we’ve moved back towards the back. This looks like it may have been a very wise choice as during the first couple of songs the front half of the Academy becomes a moshpit with a constant stream of bodies in transit towards the security at the front of the stage.
In a previous life (OK, in my teenage years) I was into metal (Iron Maiden, Metallica etc) but these days the most metal I go is the Iron in my multi vitamins. So around about the 5th song we make the tactical decision to leave early and beet the rush for the tube. This is the first time I’ve left a gig early. I’ve been to gigs that have been finished early (Floyd at Earls Court because the seats collapsed comes to mind at the moment) but I’ve never left early of my own will. And we’re not the only ones. It looks like a lot of my Indie/Alternative brethren are leaving early – happy to have grooved with FF, The VB and The Rapture.
It’s not that FFAF are rubbish, far from it. I originally booked the tickets for the promise of the first 3 bands and FFAF were an unknown extra.
One last note to FFAF. You need to sort out your logo/T-shirt designs. There are far too many logos and designs. I’m sure they mean something, but it just looks far to confusing to a casual punter browsing the T-Shirt stall.
Franz Ferdinand look and sond great - going to be huge
The Von Bondies still rock
The Rapture are suprisingly good
FFAF - very metal, if you lke that kind of thing