Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Kaiser Chiefs - NME Rock and Roll Riot Tour
The NME/Kaiser Chiefs have put on a third night at Brixton and I managed to get tickets. Result. I missed the first two dates when they went on sale last friday and was considering how much I'd have to shell out on ebay for tickets.
Speaking of the NME, this weeks issue is a corker. Interviews with Kele, The Rakes and FRanz Ferdinand.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Why We Don't Want Bloc Party To Win The Mecury
The nominations for this year's Mercury Music Prize have been anounced, and they include Coldplay, Maximo Park, Kaiser Chiefs, Hard-Fi and Bloc Party.
Regular readers will know that we love The Kaisers, Hard-Fi, The Magic Numbers and Bloc Party, and for this reason we don't want them to win.
I know it sounds cruel but The Mercury prize is a curse and every band or artist that has ever won it has, at best sturggled under the pressure to produce a follow up, and at worse never produced another record again.
Think of the previous winners: Badly Drawn Boy, Pulp, Portishead, Roni Size, Ms Dynamite, erm, M People, all of them cursed. Ok so the jury is out on Franz Ferdinand, maybe they'll be the exception that proves the rule.
Perhaps the best thing is to be nominated. Lots of exposure = lots of album sales to people who only buy records that get reviewed in the Sunday supliments.
So, I hope the judges go for The Go! Team - they have all the credentials for a Mercury win and (without being too cruel) we won't missthem if they disappear without a trace.
James Blunt - Number One
It was pretty apparent at Glastonbury that James Blunt now has a sizable fanbase of (mostly) teenage girls.
This week his current single, You're Beautiful, went to Number 1 after 7 weeks on the chart. Not many record do this these days - they tend to peak on the first week after release and then quickly sink and disapper out of the chart.
And as a double bonus, his album, Back To Bedlam, is at Number 1 in the album chart.
Full story on NME.com
Monday, July 11, 2005
Well, Glastonbury never fails to surprise. This year the surprise was a spectacular thunderstorm that woke us up on Friday followed by several streams running through our campsite. Naturally being hardy, experienced campers we had camped uphill, but for parts of Friday we were effectively cut off from the stages, firstly by the rivers, and then by the fire brigade whilst they attempted to pump water off site.
The weather also meant that we didn’t get to see The Dead 60s as there was no power at The Other stage on Friday morning. We also missed the sets by Babyshambles and Bloc Party as we couldn’t get to the Other Stage – we did manage to hear these bands from our tent, and both bands sounded great.
The first band/artist of the weekend we actually managed to see was Martha Wainwright, who I suppose is our find of the festival, as she was the only person we saw all weekend that we hadn’t really seen before. We really made up for it by managing to catch her 4 other times across the weekend (mostly by accident, but also supporting her brother on Sunday). Bar far the best set we saw her play was on the Guardian Lounge stage – very intimate and without a backing band. I think I actually prefer her to her brother – less operatic and more country – I guess you could compare her to Ryan Adams.
We also managed to catch sets by Nine Black Alps and Maximo Park during the day on Friday. NBA were great, a really good festival set to a packed John Peel Stage. Maximo Park were OK, but nothing special in comparison.
Friday night we decided to camp out at The Pyramid stage to see The Killers and The White Stripes. Everyone I’ve spoken too seemed to think the Killers were the better band on the night and that the White Stripes were aloof, dull and only interested in playing to their fans. I guess this can be put down to The Killers set being in effect a greatest hits set, whereas The White Stripes played all of the less immediate tracks from Get Behind Me Satan, stubborn buggers that they are. Perhaps Jack and Meg would have been better headlining The Other stage with Fatboy Slim on the Pyramid. For me they were great – but then I’m a fan so, they were playing to me! If I have one criticism it’s that they didn’t play Take, Take, Take from the new album, which is a shame as it’s my favorite at the moment.
There weren’t actually many band that we wanted to see on Saturday, so I think the first band we saw was The Coral, followed by The Kaiser Chiefs. The Kaisers are so suited to the big festival slot on the Pyramid with Ricky interacting with the crowd on almost a 1-to-1 basis. We were sitting with friends way back for their set trying to take the weight off our aching legs (it really takes it out of you trudging through the mud. But even half a mile back up the field they still look and sound great – definite Friday night headliners in 2007.
Saturday night we got along to see New Order and Coldplay. The Manc lads played a great, greatest hits set – very little material from their new record but lots of old stuff and Joy Division songs. They even played World In Motion with (retired ?) comedian Keith Allan doing an average version of the John Barns Rap.
I really wanted Coldplay to play an average set, so I could say Average Album + Average Glasters set = Band That Lost It. Unfortunately tonight is no repeat of last year’s average Oasis set – Coldplay really are a great live band. Square One and White Shadows come alive and rock and even Speed of Sound is lifted from it’s sub Clocks depths. Even Chris Martins cheesy remarks and off the cuff lyrics about the mud, which are pretty cringe worthy don’t distract from the show. The real test is our friends who don’t like / have never liked Coldplay come away stating how impressed they are. Job done.
Sunday daytime we’re pretty free to wander around. We catch part of Martha Wainwrights set on the Other stage and then head to see James Blunt on the Pyramid. What a difference six months makes. The marketing budget Chrysalis records have thrown at Back To Bedlam appear to have paid off – and not even the constant bombardment of his tracks in between bands on the Pyramid all weekend has put people off. James now has groupies – judging by the ones we’ve seen he is a pin up for 16yr old girls – go James. His set is OK, not bad but once again – it’s the solo version of No Bravery, with just James playing piano and singing that stands out. Just like every other time we’ve seen him this song, played solo is enough to make everyone anywhere near the Pyramid stage hold their breath. James – take a tip from us – play more tracks solo.
14:40, and it must be time for Hard-Fi on the John Peel stage, except it’s not because they’ve had to cancel due to serious illness of a relative. But all’s not lost because we wander past the Guardian lounge to find that Martha Wainwright is playing a solo set followed by our favourite London shouty boys The Rakes. And so we spend a very pleasant afternoon in the Guardian Lounge. Martha’s solo set is amazing and probably the point where I realize that she’s a cut above the rest of the singer songwriters and up there with Ryan Adams. Not even a dodgy P.A. can detract, and a couple of numbers with her brother Ruffy are our stand out moments of the festival.
If the Rakes were a girl they would have blossomed from a nervous swot into a vivacious party girl. All of the nerves that used to govern their set and make you wonder if they could stutter to the end of the set are gone. Instead we have buckets of confidence and a band who actually have Fun. Alan now engages with banter with the crowd and even engages in a game of cushion tennis with members of the lounge (which for the duration of this set turns into a moshpit).
Someone told us we had to see Jem, so we head off to the John Peel tent to check her out. Unfortunately, she’s not very good. Not so much Beth Orton, more Dido.
The rest of the evening we only want to see Primal Scream and Ryan Adams but Ryan has cancelled because of an ear infection. We pop along to see The Bravery, who are OK, but when the highlight of your set is the bass playing getting his kit off he have to question whether you’re doing the right thing.
We also get to see Rufus Wainwright who doesn’t impress as much as his sister – far too operatic.
Primal Scream are one our favorite festival bands – the headline set they played a couple of years ago on The Other stage was one of my favorite festival moments. Tonight’s Pyramid set is a bit strange. Bobby is trashed, more trashed than normal, and he set about the crowd abusing them as hippies and berating Kylie Minogue and Basement Jaxx. This winds people up, Annie shouting at him to Fuck Off. For me, this is what you expect from Bobby. What you don’t expect is for him to have this power cut and to be physically removed from the stage for over running and refusing to leave. Before he heads off, he asks us if we want to hear some Stone Roses numbers – the crowd go mental as Mani starts to play some Roses bass lines and Bobby tells us we’re about 15 years too late. Possibly a dig at the possibility of losing his bass player to a Stone Roses reunion.
And that’s it… almost. We decide to go and see Bright Eyes, and find that Connor is pissed and winging about equipment not working. We decide to leave after the 3rd song when he telss us to “slap out Visa and Mastercards together for John Peel. He’s since apologiesd for his remarks but it doesn’t matter, I don’t think I could be bothered to go and see him live again. We head off to see the end of Ian Brown’s set. It’s OK but nothing special, we manage to hear My Star and Fear. Apparently we miss him playing a few Stone Roses songs. One thing is certain – his singing voice really isn’t that good.
And so that's it, Glastonbury finished for 2005. Next yer we'll be off to Roskilde.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Eleven Bands In One Week
A couple of weeks ago, we decided to get into the mood for Glasters by seeing 11 bands in one week. Here’s a quick summary.
On Sunday we went to see Nine Black Alps who rocked the Barfly – I don’t think I’ve seen such a ferocious moshpit at the ‘fly. If you haven’t got your hands on their debut album then I recommend you search a copy out.
Support was from a band called Former Bullies, who hail from Manchester but sing with Jack White style American accents. Best avoided.
Photos of Nine Black Alps:
On Tuesday we were back at The Barfly to see Special Needs. Our friends have been telling us about this band for ages, but we’ve managed to miss their gigs at Nambucca on Holloway Rd. We seem to be the only people in North London who have missed them as everyone at this gig knows all of the words and seem to be on first name terms with the band. The tunes are incredibly catchy and we’ll be making a B-Line to see them at Glasters.
Support was from Crash Convention, who seem like nice fellas but don’t really add much to the Libertines formula; and American Minor who are like the band Stillwater from Almost Famous. For them the pinnacle of rock creativity occurred shortly after Led Zep replease Led Zep III.
Photos of Special Needs:
If it’s Wednesday then we must be at the Islington Academy for The Dead 60s. I’ve mentioned this band before but it’s worth reiterating – a band of youngsters who prefer the sounds of Dub, The Clash and The Specials to other rock sounds. They have a few psychedelic numbers to fit in with label mates The Coral, but really the dub-rock sounds is why we’ve come to see them and they don’t disappoint. A northern equivalent to Hard-Fi.
Support was from The Kooks, another Deltasonic band with a line in psychedelic garage rock. Not bad but I can’t see us going out of our way to see them.
Photos Of The Kooks:
Photos Of The Dead 60s:
Thursday’s gig is a short notice affair, we find out that Pure Reason Revolution are playing a gig to welcome new guitarist Jamie and it’s too much for us to resist. The Borderline isn’t the kind of place you expect “the new Floyd” to be playing but it’s our understanding that EMI (their label) have an understanding that allows them to hire the place at short notice. PRR actually play a pretty good gig with the new line up – now all we need is a few more records.
Unfortunately, the lager was flowing a little too freely and I’ve forgotten the names of the first 2 support bands. I do remember We Are Scientists because they are from NY and in our opinion th next band in the transatlantic garage rock arms race. We give them Bloc Party, they come back with this.
Photos Of We Are Engineers:
Photos Of Pure Reason Revolution: