Live Review and Film: ‘My Life Story’ and Mark Ronson and the Business Intl at London Abbey Road – 25th November 2010

By on Wednesday, 8th December 2010 at 2:00 pm

Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to probably the most famous recording studios in the world. Abbey Road opened up both of its main studios for the red carpet premiere of ‘Epic’, a short film by Ridley Scott Associates, Channel 4, American Express and Mark Ronson and the Business Intl. The evening started swimmingly with a champagne reception in the wonderful studio 2. Canapés came thick and fast, we decided the chili beef ones and the mini fish and chips were the most desirable by far. For the record; if anyone ever offers you a mozzarella risotto ball….avoid it at all costs! It was great to spend some proper time in such a fantastic room seeped in so much musical history, you can imagine any superstar from the past 40 years walking down the staircase from the control room at any second.

Once we’d had 40 minutes’ gorging time, it was time to head into studio 1 for the screening of ‘Epic’. Rick Edwards off the TV and the film’s director, Toby Dye, introduced the film. The film started from a project called ‘My Live Story’ to uncover the best music experience. Members of the public were asked to go out and film an ‘experience’ at a live gig of their choice, then 21 finalists were chosen, and their pieces were featured in the film. If I’m totally honest the film was a bit of an anti-climax and it had undertones of corporate brand experience throughout. Unless I fell asleep for the majority of the film (which I didn’t) hardly any of the footage seemed to make the final cut of ‘Epic’. There were some great stories unearthed: one guy who proposed to his girlfriend onstage at Wembley Stadium, and another guy who hopped onstage and played drums for Paramore, but a very limited amount of this footage was in the film, which I found strange. I mean, the film looked great and was put together well; it just needed some more substance I thought. Once the film finished, DJ Ali B spun some tunes whilst the stage was set for Mark Ronson and his Business Intl.

After a few more glasses of ‘plonk’, it was time for Mark Ronson to hit the stage. The most exciting aspect of this gig for me was the expectation of top notch sound, being at Abbey Road and all! The band came onstage looking pensive, almost uncomfortable I thought. I put it down to the crowd maybe being smaller than they are used to playing to. All of Mark Ronson’s branding was in place and the stage looked pretty cool, although I did think at times it looked a bit like Dracula with his disciples of drummers.

Ronson opened with an instrumental track from the new album, ‘Record Collection’. I didn’t care so much for this rendition but it was a nice way to start the show. Next was the cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, which went down an absolute storm. Different to the earlier funked out, brass-influenced version Ronson used to perform, this had an altogether lo-fi and dancehall vibe to it. The drum sound was fantastic, and Abbey Road started to come to life.

Next tune in the set was the world-famous ‘Ooo Wee’ from Ronson’s debut album’Here Comes the Fuzz’. It sounded great but the tones of Nate Dogg, Ghostface Killah and Saigon were missed, but Q-Tip nailed his rapping duties well on his own. I suppose this is to be expected of projects of this nature, as people can’t always be at every gig for obvious reasons.

Now it was time for ex-Pipettes singer Rose Elinor Dougall to leave her synth post and deliver the Kaiser Chiefs‘ ‘Oh My God’. This is when I felt the gig really changed and the band and audience finally seemed to gel, mainly down to Rose’s sexy moves and the fact it felt like she was seducing everyone in the room, but it was nice to have such a strong figure and sultry voice to latch onto, it gave the real place a lift.

80’s synths and fat beats led the band into ‘California’. I really picked up on the vocal on this tune and the bass sound was amazing. I later found out that it was ex-Jamiroquai bass player, Steve Zender…figures!

Then it was time for ‘Bang Bang Bang’, the big single from the recently released album. This time vocal duties were undertaken by MNDR and Q-Tip. Once again Q-Tip eased his way through all his vocal/rap parts like the true legend that he is, and MNDR with her quirky unusual voice brought a new dynamic to the show, and it was nice to see her and Q-Tip react with each other.

Mike Snow then entered the stage to sing many tracks from the new album, one of my favourites being ‘Somebody To Love Me’, and what a vocalist he is. He really complimented the tropical back beat of this one, and never missed a note. He has a big beard too, I like big beards!

Then we were in for a real surprise. Mark Ronson and the Business Intl were joined onstage by Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon and Jay Taylor, to sing on the title track for the album, ‘Record Collection’. It’s a great tune, Mark did alot of work on Duran Duran’s latest album with them.

For the last song of the night, it was probably the most well known of all Mark Ronson’s covers, ‘Valerie’ by the Zutons. Ronson’s pal Taria was invited onstage to sing this beauty, made so famous by Amy Winehouse. Taria was dressed in a gold Christmas jumper and enormous bangle earrings. It was a great surprise as I have never heard this song sung so well.

And with that, the night came to a close. Overall, I was really impressed and it was such a great experience to witness one of the most famous producers in the world perform at the best known recording studio in the world. I do think the nature of Ronson’s live shows can mean the crowd don’t feel as involved as they could be. The gig took a good half an hour to get going, as soon as a vocalist took the stage for a length of time the audience immediately had someone to latch onto. Anyway, I’m off to chase Rose from the Pipettes….she’s awesome!!

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