Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Sunday, 27 September 2009
I haven't seen it advertised anywhere other than Amazon at the moment, but that's a start. When it's available in Poly's online shop, I'll buy it from there.
There's a great interview with Poly Styrene in this month's Record Collector - her name's on the front cover even though it's only a two-pager. It says that, "She gets by on disability benefits..." which is just so wrong. She says she made bad deals with her music but, the number of times 'Germfree Adolescents' has been re-released she ought to have something more financially than being reliant on benefits. This is POLY STYRENE we're talking about.
The article ends with a quote from Poly: "Some people have made lots of money out of music but I haven't. I made bad deals but I didn't know at the time; I just signed things. I could make a lot of money from live work but my health is no longer up to it. I hope the new CD and DVD do well, but money isn't everything and I've got a legacy of work. I'm still considered cool and hip and people remember the name Poly Styrene." You bet they do!
The track listing for the live CD is below, with most of those songs also being on the DVD. I'm *so* looking forward to watching the DVD - I was there! C'mon people - buy it when it's released.
|1. Oh Bondage Up Yours!|
|3. Obsessed With You|
|4. Warrior In Woolworths|
|5. Crystal Clear|
|6. Lets Submerge|
|7. I Am A Cliché|
|8. I Cant Do Anything|
|11. Genetic Engineering|
|12. Highly Inflammable|
|13. I Live Off You|
|14. I Am A Poseur|
|15. Germ Free Adolescents|
|16. Junk Food Junkie|
|17. Bloody War|
|19. The Day The World Turned Day-Glo|
|20. Encore - Oh Bondage Up Yours!|
Saturday, 26 September 2009
After what can only be considered as a tiring and shit day it was very relaxing to sit back and be entertained. Al walked on and started talking about his baby, his wife, his toddler son and all the problems and delights they bring. He was very good in a wry, observational humour kind of way, no belly laffs but lots of chuckles and recognisising the scenarios he mentioned. He played up his Mexican heritage, which is probably more amusing in Amercia than here. He has a nice dry wit that went down very well.
After a short break, on came Janeane, resplendent in body stocking, baggy vest and denim hotpants, a rather odd stage outfit but her ongoing monologue soon diverted us away from her fashion sensibilities. She told us about her life, her most personal moments and, most importantly, her love of puppies that proves she's not a cold, wooden bitch. I understand her love of puppies.
She was great fun, talking about her alcohol intake as simply living a full and rewarding life. She didn't hold back on coming forward, hygiene issues, sweaty bollocks, anti-depressants, immigration at Heathrow and, um, puppies.
I enjoyed both Al and Janeane and woud be happy to see either again.
Of course, being a Friday, the journey home was hideous, but that's another story ...
Thursday, 24 September 2009
The London date is 30 January at Shepherd's Bush which gives me a terrible dilemma - seated upstairs or standing downstairs? I haven't stood in Shepherd's Bush for a few years since that race of people - Tall People - seem to love standing in front of me so I don't see a thing on stage. I need to think about this carefully.
With thanks to David for the alert!
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Whenever I've got a *day* ahead of me (use whatever expletive fits best) I play this song to cheer me up and get me in the right mood and then my workplace magically transforms into a Funplex. All I need is a diet pill to make it complete. I invariably think of seeing the B-52's at the Roundhouse last year and Fred madly paddling his canoe away from the rock lobster. Mad but inspired. I *love* the B-52's.
Now, where did I put that diet pill for tomorrow?
Do yourself a favour and listen to something a bit different - pop on over to Amazon or iTunes and download the ep. Favourites at the moment are 'Listen To The Cars' and 'Dionysus Ain't Afraid'. I hope he comes over to play some shows to promote the new record.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Heidi might not have been an original 'Babe, but she's been in the group for longer than Siobhan or Mutya so, after Keisha, she has every right to the name.
What happens with the new album? Will it be re-recorded? New artwork? New videos? The thing I find most strange is that Keisha's departure coincides with the recruitment of Jade. Something's obviously been up for a while to have a replacement all sorted out and, presumably, contracted.
I don't know what's really been happening behind the scenes and I don't want to know. The Sugababes have produced some fantastic pop music over the years and long may they do so.
Farewell Keisha, I look forward to hearing what you do next.
The interview is only available on the BBC iPlayer for another few days so take a listen while you can. Click here and scroll in to about 1:29 minutes and listen for the next 20 minutes. It's lovely to hear Buffy chatting and laughing - well done Aled on a good interview without falling into the trap of the same old questions.
Monday, 21 September 2009
Stunned? I'll say I was. My colleagues obviously haven't seen me dance. And (let's face it) they won't. I share this in the interests of social science.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
There was a full bill of world music but it was the Village I was interested in, that fusion of old and new, of traditional English folk and world music, with sitars and bhangra beats alongside fiddles and guitars that creates a most interesting and imaginative sound. Musicians on stage included Eliza Carthy, Billy Bragg, Martin Carthy, Sheila Chandra and Chris Wood amongst others, no Benjamin Zephaniah, sadly, but I suppose his nine minute re-telling of the traditional 'Tam Lyn' set in clubland is probably too long for a 45 minute set...
The set opened with Martin Carthy singing 'John Barleycorn' before morphing into 'England Half English' when Billy Bragg walked on stage in his pearly king suit to take the lead vocal with the lovely line, 'As a fine example of your Essex man, I'm well familiar with the Hindustan'. That set the tone for the rest of the set, swapping lead vocals between the singers with a mix of songs from their first album and new songs presumably to be included in the new album. I was particularly taken with a song sung by the most lovely Eliza Carthy about a spaceman. Eliza was a bundle of bouncing energy, smiling and laughing with the crowd, fiddling one moment and singing the next, never still.
The highlight for me was 'Cold Haily Rainy Night', the massive duet between Eliza and Chris Wood with every instrument you can think of weighing in at some point, with sitar and fiddles and drums rising and falling creating a wall of sound to lift up the vocals. This was the first song I ever heard by the Imagined Village, on Jools Holland in 2008, a dramatic performance that was ably repeated live on stage in front of me. It got a great cheer from the crowd and much 'woohing' from me.
Billy Bragg came back on stage to sing 'Hard Times Of Old England Retold' that signalled the end of the set, but there was one more song. The biggest surprise of the evening came with the last song, introduced by Martin Carthy as an old traditional song that we'd all know and he began to slowly strum the opening chords. I thought, 'that sounds familiar...' and when he started to sing a big ole grin spread across my face as he and the Village began playing a slow acoustic version of that old traditional folk song, 'Cum On Feel The Noize' by the mighty SLADE! Sing along? O yes, I did! This was meant to be a big sing-along ending but it was, unfortunately, obvious that half the crowd had no idea what the song was (the standards of music education in this country are sadly rather poor) but that's their loss. I thought it was a great ending and sent me away happy and grinning.
We didn't stay for the top of the bill, Khaled, and just as well since, no sooner had we walked over Tower Bridge than the heavens opened and the traditional London rain pelted down as we walked along the south side of the Thames to London Bridge station for a train home.
The only downside to the evening was the awful catering and drinks tent - when will I ever learn? - with it's half-hour queue, badly arranged serving and luke-warm vegie sausage in a bun with a bit of limp salad - fair turned my stomach (luckily there was a handy bin nearby). It would have made more sense to get some ye olde traditional chips outside the Tower rather than believing what the blurb said about food inside. Next time (if there is a next time) I'll take my own food and drink.
But, all told, it was great evening, finally seeing Eliza Carthy again all big and bold and bouncing up there on the stage, seeing and hearing the marvelous 'Cold Haily Rainy Night' and the surprise of 'Cum On Feel The Noize'. A night to remember, indeed.
Friday, 18 September 2009
I missed the first act but was there in time to see The Leisure Society, a seven-piece band that seemed to revolve around the two lads fronting it (they were the only one's to speak and, in any case had the same hair and skinny trousers). I couldn't quite decide if I liked them or not, although there were some nice sounding songs they sounded a bit over-produced and American. I think there's a new record coming out so I might experiment.
Alela came on stage without any fuss with her friend on backing vocals, picked up her guitar and started playing, unassuming as ever. Then her dad came on to join her playing guitar and sometimes vocals, and again, a couple of songs later, on came her bassist and drummer, and that's how they left at the end of the show again, gradually leaving the stage so we ended up with Alela and friend on their own again. That was nice. Alela smiled a lot but seemed a bit shy, leaving some of the talking to her hippy bassist (who, from the poses he pulled on stage, seemed to think he was in Funkadelic).
Alela's songs are gentle and thoughtful, simple chords and simple words, often repeating lines, very relaxing. I love her voice, there's no artiface there at all, what you see and hear is what you get, she opens her mouth and a wonderful sound emerges, powerful and natural. Favourite songs included 'To Be Still', 'Dry Grass And Shadows', 'The Rifle', 'The Elder Trees', 'Lady Divine', 'Tatted Lace' and the lovely 'White As Diamonds'. Her final song in the encore was a new song - a brave thing to do for an encore - that she's releasing on 10" vinyl with her friend in October.
For the third time now, I can say it's been a pleasure to see Alela and hear her play her gentle songs live. If you get the chance to see her then don't miss her. She said that last night was her 93rd gig since February and she's off to the Continent today so I don't know when she'll be back, but I aim to be there.
Monday, 14 September 2009
Now, there's a lot of electro-pop out there at the moment but this sounds different. I can't quite put my finger on it but it may be that the 'Nanas are women with half a lifetime of experiences behind them, not girls picked from obscurity to front the latest trendy producer or dj. The 'Nanas have lived their songs, not just been given them, and that adds an extra something to the mix. The 'Nana-girls are a year younger than me but you'd never think it from the energy that sizzles in the grooves (if a download had grooves) and you can just tell that they didn't stand still for an instant while they were recording it (well, except for 'The Sound Of Silence').
Can you tell I like it?
I heard the 'Nana-lasses on the Jonathan Ross show on Saturday and they sounded on top form, giving back as much as they took from Ross. They've always been a bit feisty, up for a laugh and know what they want and good on them for that.
I pre-ordered the album on iTunes so I not only got the bonus track ('The Sound Of Silence') but I got a pre-order only track, 'Run To You' which is a great slice of pop. The oddity on the album is 'S S S Single Bed', the old Fox hit with the girls doing a very credible and breathy Noosha Fox sounding vocal. The only reason I can think of for covering it is they were looking for an old song to cover and went through their old singles and found it.
This really is a great record, not so much a reinvention of Bananarama, more of a natural progression. C'mon people, let's make it a great big hit - go and buy it now, or at least download a song or two. Well? Why are you reading this? Get downloading and then dance yourself silly!
The show is billed as 'Maximum Rhythm 'n' Blues: A NIght At The Flamingo' and features The Alan Price Set, Zoot Money, Bobby Tench, Chris Farlowe and Maggie Bell. Now there's a few names to conjour with. And the Cadogan is a nice venue.
It's just a shame I won't be going - I'm going to see the Divas of Motown that night at Hammersmith, the most wonderful Brenda Holloway and Chris Clark. And I'm in the front row (not that I'm showing off or anything).
If you're even slightly interested in music from that era why not go along and have some fun? Alan can guarantee that.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
I like it again but still get annoyed at the selfish antics of the son who wants to deny his parents lives to impress the right-wing father of his fiance. And why does the actor play almost the whole of the part with his hands on his hips? Doesn't he know what to do with his hands? The annoyance with him is more than made up for by the energetic dancers, Les Cagelles, who leap around and cavort across the stage and with each other, pulling poses, doing cartwheels and dangerous-looking splits (ouch). They were great. As were Roger and Philip in their lead roles. Philip has nicely grown into his role and made it his own, tirelessly flirting with the audience as the nightclub host. Roger confused me greatly, looking a bit like Divine when he's in drag and sounding like John Sargeant throughout - John Sargeant, I tell you! What's he doing on stage?
Probably because the play has been going for some time now, they've started ad-libbing in places and that brings a bit of freshness to the play and dialogue. They don't go too far, but the little jokes are well worth it. Whether it'll be the same with John Barrowman or not, I couldn't say. I enjoyed it!
Amanda came on stage and stood to the left of her keyboard, wearing her 'curtain' coat (that coat has hugged me, y'know), and proceeded to sing a song totally unaccompanied, no piano and no microphone, just her powerful and emotive voice filling the space of the chapel, sounding folky in nature. I didn't recognise the song but was very impressed with her voice. Then, off came the coat to reveal her black and white dress and she sat down to bang out 'Astronaut' and we were off...!
Tonight was more planned and professional, with Amanda actually having a plan for the show. Once again, it was a mix of solo and Dresden Dolls songs with a few covers thrown in for good measure. She did a Jason Webley song I didn't know and 'Look, Mummy, No Hands' from Fascinating Aida. She also played a Bach sequence since she's been learning how to read music (sounded good to me) and she accompanied Neil Gaiman singing 'Our Souls' (arse holes) and Polly Scattergood singing 'Puff The Magic Dragon'.
Amanda visited her Dresden past with two songs she rarely plays, 'Bank Of Boston Beauty Queen' and 'Boston' which I don't think I've seen her play before. She also looked to the future with 'The Bed Song', a new song she played live on the Jonathan Ross Show on Radio 2 this morning and which is excellent, with beautiful piano passages and touching lyrics that mean it will be a firm favourite that needs to be recorded and released with all due haste.
Favourites tonight were 'Ampersand' and 'The Point Of It All' (of course), 'Delilah' (a great song but I have the version with Lene Lovitch stuck in my head and Polly Scattergood ain't no Lene), 'Oasis' with the hand-clapping and Amanda telling us we're all going to hell, and the manic 'Runs In The Family'. For the encore she again stood at the front of the stage and sang unaccompanied into the space of the chapel, a song I didn't know but which seemed to affect Amanda since, as she turned away from the audience, I saw her wiping tears from her eyes (the benefit and curse of side seats). She then sat down and played 'The Point Of It All' as a final song.
After 'Oasis', that should have closed the show, we had the auction of the painting that had been started on Friday night on the stage behind Amanda. It raised £450 (not bad) but from where I was sitting, I couldn't quite make out what it was meant to be.
After the show we joined the queue to meet and sign stuff and, after about 40 minutes we were in front of Herself and Mr Gaiman when, who should appear but Polly Scattergood saying 'sorry' and all that, but her and her troupe are off, so we stood while they all said ta-ra and did kissy. Then Neil Gaiman said 'you're the gentlemen from the Alan Cumming show' and Amanda pointed to the 'Ampersand' badge underneath my 'Punk Cabaret Is Freedom' badge on my lapel (a badge for every occasion, that's me). Amanda signed our 'Who Killed...' DVDs while Neil asked if we were going to the show tomorrow at midnight to which Chris replied, 'no, not on a school night'. It was lovely to meet Amanda again and Neil certainly has a good memory, but Amanda seemed tired to me and maybe a show at midnight on Sunday isn't a good idea.
Still, Amanda was on top form tonight, a song in her repertoire for every eventuality and a performance to match. What we need is a new record and a live DVD please. Pretty please?
Saturday, 12 September 2009
The film, 'All The Years Of Trying' is being screened as part of the Raindance film festival on 4 October (tickets go on sale on 15 September). I hope this film brings him a new audience. Good luck!
After consulting with various people I took the sage advice of Paul over a glass of red wine and a pint of Moretti beer the other night, which was to wait for them to announce a second Brixton gig when the first one sold out. Well, obviously! Why didn't I think of that? The tickets went on pre-sale yesterday and full sale today and I gritted my teeth and girded my loins and, at lunchtime, started refreshing the tickets page waiting for a second gig to be announced, but nothing changed. Naturally, the second gig is announced after I leave work and I get the email when I'm sitting waiting for Amanda Palmer to take the stage. Sigh. Just my luck.
Luckily, Chris secured tickets on his return from the theatre and I will be seeing the mightly PiL as a Christmas treat! Yay!
Friday, 11 September 2009
I missed most of Polly Scattergood, the support act, so don't really have anything to say about her other than her voice seemed a bit lost and echo-y in the church but whether that was her, the equipment or the venue, I couldn't say. Amanda also sounded a bit echo-y - I wonder if it was because I was in the balcony which opened up cubic acres of space up into the vaulted roof.
Amanda came on shortly after 8.30pm and scooted round the back of the pulpit to play on the big church organ (oo-er) and then came to the front of the stage to take her place behind her Kurtweil piano and launched into 'Missed Me' and 'Astronaut'. That set the tone for the rest of the show, a mix of Dresden Dolls songs and songs from 'Who Killed...', a nice mix and a timely reminder that Amanda has been around for a while and has a great catalogue of songs to choose from when playing live. She admitted to not really having a set list for the show and invited requests a couple of times. She also forgot the tune and words to songs a few times - she blamed being in a church for the problems. There was also an artist on stage behind her, painting throughout the show - it'll be finished tomorrow night.
Favourites in the main set were the lovely 'Ampersand', 'Runs In The Family', 'Mandy Goes To Med School', 'Sex Changes', and 'Blake Says'. Amanda also played a duet with Polly Scattergood (who stood in the balcony behind the stage) in the rather odd shape of 'Puff The Magic Dragon' followed by 'Delilah' with Polly's drummer (who did his best but he's no Brian Viglione) and then got Polly and her band on stage to finish off with 'Oasis', a great way to finish the show on a high. Amanda introduced it by saying, 'We're all going to hell...'.
Much clapping and stomping later, Amanda appeared on the balcony to sing 'Makin' Whoopie' with her ukelele and then went back to the stage for a lovely version of 'The Point Of It All' before finishing with 'Half Jack' (the echoing vocals really worked in this song). A spectacular way to end!
So, that's show one over, and I have tomorrow to look forward to...
Thursday, 10 September 2009
We'll start the webcast around 10PM GMT (5PM EST) at partyontheinternet.com We'll show off the items and give them names like, "Leeds United chorus girl costume" and "Oasis pregnancy test" then we'll tell you what exactly they are (i.e. "Amanda wore this in the video for 'Coin-Operated Boy'")...then we'll start the bidding.
You will place your bids by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line AUCTION ITEM NAME - BID. For example, if I wanted to bid $200 for the pregnancy kit, I'd put "OASIS PREGNANCY KIT - $200" in the subject line. All bids are in US dollars and if you win, please be prepared to pay via PayPal as soon as the auction closes. Please do not bid unless you are serious and can pay upon the end of the webchat.
As bids come in, we'll update you on the webcast and via Twitter as to the current high bid. When we're about to close an item, we'll let you know what the high bid live on the air so that you can try to beat it. Should a bidding war commence, we'll go back and forth and count down from five 'till no more bids come in. All winners will be announced via the webcast and Twitter with first name and last initial as well as the winning bid amount.
Amanda will sign and personalize any of the items we auction off (but we'll sort that out once bidding is closed).
This is a new thing for all of us, so we'll be working out the kinks as we go along... Again, you can watch at partyontheinternet.com and send bids to email@example.com
Love, Team AFP
P.S. We're hoping there's gonna be some wine...it wouldn't be a webcast without wine, right?
See you there? Hmmm maybe I'd better get some wine...
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
I was pleased by the turn-out for the signing even thought I wasn't able to meet Miss Palmer. Still, I'm seeing her at Union Chapel in a couple of days, so I'm happy.
Monday, 7 September 2009
Now, I'm not one to get excited over trifles (unless it's a proper one) but you need to know that Public Image Limited are getting back together and touring in December - what a grand Christmas present I thought, and then I saw when they were playing London... the same day as I already have tickets for the Pet Show Boys Christmas show at the O2. Can you imagine the colour of my language on seeing that? And I can't go to Manchester because I'm seeing Ray Davies that night. O what to do ...?
Pop on over to the new PiL site for details.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
I know they haven't really been 'away' as such - I saw them a few years ago doing a promo thing with the Scissor Sisters and it was a little bit fab to be waved at by Keren from the second floor windows of The Forum while we queued to get in. I downloaded the single this morning and am playing it non-stop. The album is out on 14 September so I think that'll be another one to invest in with my pocket money. September's going to be an expensive month...
Welcome back, 'Nanas, I hope this is a big success!
Saturday, 5 September 2009
When we got there we headed for the bar since there was some time to kill and while chatting who should come up to the bar near us but Geri Hallewell with her petite posse. Geri looked well but I thought the time of the tartan miniskirt had passed.
Alan's show is about two hours with an interval and he started very energetically by opening with Cyndi Lauper's 'Shine' since he worked with her a few years ago on Broadway. And that set the tone for the evening, with some chat about his experiences over the past ten years and a song related in some way to what he's been talking about. He's got a nice singing voice and it's nice to hear a Scots burr underneath some of the lyrics and phrasing. It's also nice to just hear him talk and waiting for the revelation of where he's subtley taken us before he reaches the next song.
He had a seven-piece band as well as his musical director on piano, and three members of the band were born in the year he made his West End debut so he not so subtley commented on their ages throughout the show in the manner of a man coming to terms with the sudden onslaught of age. Still, he looks good on it.
He's an accomplished raconteur with a story for every situation and we got a goodly selection last night - how he wanted to get citizenship to vote for Obama but it came through three days after the election, his trip to Dollywood, playing various shows with big names, onsets of nerves, his marriage to his boyfriend, meeting Mika, his friend Graham Norton... you name it, it was in there somewhere. I enjoyed it, I liked hearing his tales.
Of the songs, I'd single out three: 'Next To Me' about waking up in the morning to see his husband so he knows everything is all right, including the chorus that says something like 'holidays, the British kind lying on a beach and drinking too much, not the American kind that involve religion and is not fun' (or something like that). He sang 'Mein Herr' from 'Cabaret' a surprise choice dedicated to Natasha Richardson who died earlier this year, with Alan singing it in a moody Glasweigan way. I'd also single out 'Unexpressed' a tender love song after which he said we needed more same-sex love songs. The comedy songs included a Victoria Wood song and a lovely one about the 'Latte Boy'.
He was great fun and I'd happily see him again. The current show is only on for another couple of nights so see it if you can. You might not be lucky enough to see Amanda Palmer, of course ...
On came the band, her usual trio of backing singers and then on strode Beverley, wreathed in smiles, waving at the crowd and then launched into the music. The band were tight and the singers a fun occasional foil for Bev striding round the stage, throwing her head back and giving it some heavy lung action, pointing and high kicking, the woman was tiring to watch but a fantastic sight. She looked like she was having the time of her life up there on stage and giving us her full "100%" which is the title of the new album.
The set was a mix of oldies and newies from the new record, a setlist to please everyone and remind us what a great back catalogue she has. 'Made It Back' and 'Flavour Of The Old School' got us off to a great start, a great extended moody, blues version of 'Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda', and an extended version of 'Piece Of My Heart' (always best live) with Bev giving it some heavy rock vocals and throwing herself round the stage. She also gave us the perennial favourite 'Gold' and a version of the Bee Gees' 'Too Much Heaven'.
The new songs were really excellent, fit right in with the rest of the set but sounding fresh and new. There's the new single (out on Monday), 'Beautiful Night', the great 'Soul Survivor' (which Bev said summed up her feelings over the past 15 years of her career) and what I think is my new favourite, 'In Your Shoes' with the great message of 'get a life and make it work'. I'm looking forward to hearing the album versions of these songs. The encore was, of course, 'Come As You Are' with some great funky guitar-work with flashes of Shaftesque riffing which sounded great.
Beverley has a great voice, a lovely personality, some excellent songs and she never gives less than 100% in her shows so it's a bit of a puzzle why she isn't bigger. She certainly sent me home happy and sweaty after her show at the ICA, and looking forward to the new record. Maybe this will be the record that does it for her. And this time I brought my camera ...