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Live Gig Video: Teitur plays ‘The Singer’ at Washington, DC’s Hamilton

 
By on Friday, 14th September 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur graced the Hamilton earlier this month. (Missed my review? You’re in luck. You can read it here.) I nabbed this video from the encore: ‘The Singer’, requested by yours truly. Enjoy it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kuLM7fTPnI[/youtube]

 

Jersey Live 2012 (Part 2)

 
By on Friday, 14th September 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Chase and Status were an act who I always saw as a bit of a ‘Pendulum lite’, but with the formers now disbanded and forgotten, it seems only right that the heirs to the festival drum and bass throne can now step up and grasp the opportunity.

And they did, playing a hit-laden set dripping with their signature electronic hooks to close out Saturday at Jersey Live 2012. The MCs whipped up the crowd into a frenzy, with mosh pits breaking out all over the relatively small crowd. They’re no longer DJs; they’re a full-on festival band, more then capable of turning a placid muddy field into a swirling, sweaty arena of noise.

To top of their festival credentials they even tore through roaring cover of Rage Against the Machine’s protest anthem ‘Killing in the Name Of’. The roof (or lack of thereof, so maybe the clouds…) was suitably raised.

The Sunday was more for the golden oldies in us, with legendary acts like Primal Scream, The Stranglers and Noel Gallagher gracing the Main Stage.

The short skirted booze swilling teens disappeared to be replaced by an army of mid-life crisis mums doing that embarrassing dance which you only normally find at those awkward family gatherings that never end well.

The first notable act of the day though were New Yorkers Friends, who are riding on the popularity wave of their Lucky Number debut album ‘Manifest!’ And obviously revelling in every minute of it.

The crowd at Jersey Live weren’t interested though, as their rollicking set was met by little more than sombre applause and the even more offensive sitting on rugs and drinking of Pimms.

Singles ‘Friend Crush’ and ‘I’m His Girl’ were fantastic in their delivery, but the mid-afternoon crowd were simply uninterested, it seems. Kudos to the band for pulling out the stops though, as even with the poor reception, the band gave it their all. (7/10)

The Stranglers provoked an altogether different reaction, with a wave of nostalgia coming over the stoic Jersey Live crowd. Baz Warne fronted the band and was simply awesome, even if at times he did come across more akin to a drunk, embarrassing dad crooning at a wedding.

The hits were all there though, in their aged splendour and fans young and old alike joined forces in their approval of these legends of the scene. (8/10)

Next up the big guns came out, Primal Scream, who are witnessing some sort revival, so much so that they supported the Stone Roses at Heaton Park. Bobby Gillespie marauded around the stage with youthful swagger, looking more like a 21st century Mick Jagger than the ageing rock icon.

They smashed through the highlights of their bulging back-catalogue. Gillespie was the highlight of the show though; he ran the stage with his rock and roll personality and certainly got the crowds rocks off.

To close the festival though, we went from born again legend to bonafide legend, in the form of Noel Gallagher. We can talk about his High Flying Birds, but this set was all about the man himself.

He strolled on stage; resplendent in his long coat at proceeded to show Jersey the set of their lives. He was cool, calm and collected. He even engaged in a bit of banter with the fans, rebuking a fan in a vest for asking for a Liam song. Why bother? He’s music royalty, sit back and enjoy the ride.

As for the spider he brought along in his guitar case… Best to ignore that.

 

Funeral Suits / September and October 2012 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 13th September 2012 at 5:00 pm
 

Dublin’s Funeral Suits will be touring the UK at the end of this month into October. Tickets are available now.

Saturday 29th September 2012 – Tunbridge Wells Forum
Monday 1st October 2012 – Cambridge Cornerhouse
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 – Southampton Cellars
Thursday 4th October 2012 – Bristol Start the Bus
Friday 5th October 2012 – Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
Sunday 7th October 2012 – Glasgow Nice N Sleazy
Tuesday 9th October 2012 – Middlesborough Mixtape
Wednesday 10th October 2012 – York Fibbers
Thursday 11th October 2012 – Wakefield Hop
Friday 12th October 2012 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Saturday 13th October 2012 – Newcastle Head of Steam
Monday 15th October 2012 – Cardiff Buffalo Bar
Wednesday 17th October 2012 – St. Albans Horn
Thursday 18th October 2012 – London Lexington

 

Jersey Live 2012 (Part 1)

 
By on Thursday, 13th September 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Jersey Live has carved a niche for itself in the echelons of the summer festival circuit, managing to showcase enormous talent from the mainland like The Prodigy, Kasabian and Noel Gallagher. Yet it still keeps its quaintness. Nestled in the North of the small Channel Island, it’s one of the festival circuit’s hidden gems.

Saturday saw the festival kick off at around midday, and revellers could not have asked for better conditions as the Royal Jersey fairground was bathed in glorious sunshine. Today was the turn of the youngsters, with Jersey’s under 18 population out in force around the site. It was expected though, with chart regulars Rizzle Kicks, Professor Green, Devlin, Maverick Sabre and drum and bass titans Chase and Status topping the bill.

First up of note on the Main Stage was Devlin, who has been thrust back into the mainstream eye after his collaboration with ginger haired songsmith Ed Sheeran on ‘Watchtower’ and leading up to the release of his new album ‘A Moving Picture’.

His set was an unsurprisingly aggressive set full of grimy beats and lyrical spitting. The crowd of youngsters received him well, but whether that was due to the vodka they’d slipped in via a hip flask was the mystery. (5/10)

Following the rather disappointing Devlin was always going to make the next act look marginally better than normal, and that was the case for Maverick Sabre (pictured at top).

The hits were out in full show as he flew through a virtual best of his back catalogue. Youngsters and the classic festival dads joined forces in showing their admiration for Sabre. He’s definitely made an impact on the festival circuit now, but whether he can keep it up is going to be the real challenge of character for the youngster. (7/10)

The most riotous reception of the daylight hours though was reserved for Brighton-based-duo Rizzle Kicks, who invited the audience to, yes, “do the hump”. What the hump is, that is difficult to describe, but from what I gathered, it involved 16-year old girls on shoulders crying at their heroes, heroes with an obvious shelf life I might add, as their live performance was lacking heavily.

The tunes were there and the crowd were obviously enjoying the two young MCs as they bounced around the stage, but the delivery was poor all over and wasn’t helped by the overly loud backing music. Maybe I’m showing my age here? God I’m only 20. (6/10)

The night built to a crescendo as rap-pop superstar Professor Green stepped up to the plate.

Unlike the previous acts, Green delivered a spectacular set, interacting with the crowd brilliantly and marauding around the stage with a huge presence. Fan favourite ‘Read All About It’ went down brilliantly as the entire Jersey Live crowd screamed the lyrics back at the rapper.

While older tracks ‘Just Be Good to Green’ (even with its Lily Allen backing track) and ‘I Need You Tonight’ provoked a riotous reaction from the amassed Jersey Live crowd, who at this point had abandoned all other stages to converge on the Main Stage for the day’s finale.

Stay turned for part 2 of John’s Jersey Live review, to post tomorrow.

 

Mercury Prize Shortlist 2012

 
By on Wednesday, 12th September 2012 at 6:23 pm
 

The shortlist for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2012 Albums of the Year were announced this evening by 6music presenter Lauren Laverne in a special ceremony at London’s Hospital Club. While some of the names on here are no surprise, with bookies predicting their odds for weeks, others seem to be a who’s who of the knife edge between mainstream and indie. And it just wouldn’t be the Mercury Prize nominations without a random jazz album mentioned. Let’s have a look at the nominees…

Not surprisingly to those in the indie blogosphere, Django Django‘s rhythmically dynamic self-titled debut received a nod. The band scored an American label contract this summer. Count on ‘Default’ and ‘Storm’ to get continued airplay all the way up to the night the winner is announced. (Read our coverage on the Djangos here.) So was alt-J‘s debut ‘An Awesome Wave’. I’m sure they expected it; why else would they have booked a tour for *next* May if they weren’t? If the sweaty club atmosphere I experienced on night 2 of the Great Escape this year seeing them (who were then followed by Django Django, I might add) is any indication, their album will be a frontrunner on many indie music fans’ lists.

Continuing with the debuts nominated, the singer/songwriter genre is well represented with entries from the female squeal-eliciting Ben Howard (‘Every Kingdom’), folk newcomer Sam Lee (‘Ground of Its Own’) and Michael Kiwanuka (‘Home Again’). Electro urban newcomer Jessie Ware, who Martin caught at Evolution, appears on the shortlist with her debut ‘Devotion’ released in mid-August. BBC Sound of 2012 nominee and Warner Brothers signee Lianne La Havas, who wowed crowds at the Great Escape and beyond, also received a nod for ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’ If she wins the gong in November, expect cheesy headlines using the album title for full effect.

Stalwarts of the Northern music scene have been rewarded with nominations as well. The forward thinking of Sunderland indie heroes Field Music‘s ‘Plumb’ released in February 2012 and Sheffield’s bequiffed guitar bandolero Richard Hawley‘s new psychedelic direction for ‘Standing at the Sky’s Edge’ were both recognised on the shortlist this year. The honour of this year’s wild card also goes to the North, via Leeds jazz rock band Roller Trio. Their self-titled album looks, from a distance, exactly like that of Stornoway‘s ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’. (Not kidding. Have a look here and compare.)

The Maccabees, having returned after 3 years with new album, ‘Given to the Wild’, also appear on the list, making us seriously wonder how groundbreaking this list can be, with so many ‘safe contenders’. Plan B‘s nomination for third album ‘Ill Manors’ is less dubious, especially in light of Ben Drew’s shedding some much needed light on human trafficking in his video for ‘Deepest Shame’. Good save, committee folks.

The winner of the 2012 Mercury Prize will be announced on Thursday, the 1st of November. In addition to the ceremony itself, there will be a unique ‘Albums of the Year Live’ gig series leading up to the big event. The series will see the shortlisted artists play very intimate gigs. Access to apply for tickets to these gigs will be extremely limited and only through signing up a special mailing list for alerts on these very gigs. Each successful applicant will have access to two tickets; a £5 donation to War Child is required at the time to secure each ticket, with Barclaycard matching every donation pound for pound for their cardholders who use their card when purchasing. Go here for more information.

 

Live Review: Ladyhawke with Computer Magic at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington DC – 10th September 2012

 
By on Wednesday, 12th September 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a great turnout for the Ladyhawke show in DC on Monday night. While the first album did pretty well here on the strength of the sheer danciness of its tracks, the rock ‘n’ roll direction Pip Brown decided to go in for second album ‘Anxiety’ didn’t lend itself automatically to stateside popularity, at least in my mind anyway. RNR shows always start late, so I was not surprised that we weren’t let into the performance space until a good 2 hours after the doors were supposed to be open. (Okay…) But it should be said that the transition between the four different acts – yes, four – was pretty quick. One man DJ / producer Lightwaves started off the evening with a short but beat heavy set, incorporating Florence and the Machine and an alternative, dancier version of Yeah Yeah Yeah‘s ‘Heads Will Roll’ in his mix.

It also appeared that both he and the next act, also local, had their own cheering sections. A one man singer / producer / dancer, Bernard Farley goes by the stage name of Outputmessage. Both Lightwaves and his appearances seemed odd to me – I mean, hasn’t the Ladyhawke sound been going away from dance? But this set, which involved Farley queueing up songs on his laptop, fiddling with buttons on a standalone sequencer and busting moves like Jacko in between singing his version of electro soul was pretty good. And I’ve just learned he’s 1/3 of local electronic act Volta Bureau. Sweet.

When it comes to art imitating life (as in my life), nothing would be weirder than Computer Magic, the project of Danielle “Danz” Johnson, a young 20-something blogger turned musician now living in the capital of everything so hipster these days, Brooklyn. On stage, Johnson looks like a doll that I used to have when I was small: blonde, with big hair and a cute dress. The music sounds very ’80s, and Johnson provides a disaffected vocal that at times makes her sound like a kindly android. But hey, the same could be said about Phil Oakey in some of Human League’s greatest hits, right? Though she relied heavily on her Macbook, the drumming firepower was provided live (thankfully) by Chris Egan, who’s basically a machine, pounding out the beats. Listen to ‘Moving Forward’ below.

I didn’t like ‘Anxiety’ very much. However, I wanted to give Pip Brown the benefit of the doubt, considering how much I adored her 2008 debut album. As if to cater to fans like myself, the Ladyhawke set was exactly half (eight songs each) ‘Ladyhawke’, half ‘Anxiety’. Brown appeared in a Ryan Adams t-shirt, patterned shirt and jeans, swelling with pride at all the hooting and hollering as she strapped on her guitar. She then commented drolly, “I didn’t know anyone knew me in Washington”. Evidently, they do. She and her touring band hammered out song after song, seemingly effortlessly moving from the electropop sound that first made her famous years ago to the newer, rockier songs that Brown has said is her way of tackling her Asperger’s syndrome head on.

While I still feel there are some lyrics that sound weird and emotionless coming out of Brown’s mouth (like the whole “I can’t pretend to hate you / ’cause I will always love you” of ‘Sunday Drive’, for one), it’s clear from her body language that she is much less guarded in front of audiences and feels more comfortable in her skin, which is a great thing. Ultimately though, it was the old favourites that garnered the best response. ‘Paris is Burning’ was demanded by various audience members multiple times, so much that Brown had to shout, “it’s coming. Wait!” The band’s parting blow of the evening was monster hit ‘My Delirium’, which briefly turned all of the crowd into a full-on dancing one. (See the video at the end of this post.)

One gripe: As someone who hasn’t seen Ladyhawke since September 2009, I felt kind of disappointed when the overzealous shouting of other punters spoiled the surprise for me. All I can assume is that they either had already seen her at the first show on this tour at New York’s Bowery Ballroom 2 nights earlier or had read the reviews from that show, as one man’s voice was booming for “White Rabbit!” and a pair of clearly pissed women in leather jackets loudly and impertinently asked between songs, “can you do a cover? What cover would you do if you could do any you wanted?” Even before she played it, I put two and two together and figured she’d be covering the Jefferson Airplane song. Would have been nice to have found out from the artist herself, but I guess with Le Internet, beggars can’t be choosers.

After the cut: Ladyhawke’s set list.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qFvPp1KUug[/youtube]

Continue reading Live Review: Ladyhawke with Computer Magic at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Washington DC – 10th September 2012

 
 
 

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