Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Unthanks do Robert and Antony

A message from Rachel and Becky Unthank:

The Unthanks: the music of
Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons

“I am flattered and mystified! Their voices are so pure.” Antony Hegarty
“I love the idea. It makes me happy just thinking about it” Robert Wyatt

December 8th and 9th 2010
The Union Chapel, London
Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN
www.the-unthanks.com www.qujunktions.com

7pm Tickets £15 adv
www.ticketweb.co.uk www.unionchapel.org.uk

On the tide of three beguiling albums to date and countless tingle-inducing live shows, The Unthanks (formerly Rachel Unthanks & The Winterset) have become the unassailable key voices of contemporary UK folk. For two nights only, Northumbria sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank and their band take two of the most adventurous songbooks of the last half-century and, in the true spirit of the idiom they honour with such vitality, paint them in vivid new colours across the Union Chapel. The special pre-Christmas concerts will feature a set of Robert Wyatt music and a set of Antony & The Johnsons songs, either side of an interval.

“It’s just a whim really, though we’ve thinking about it for a few years now,” says The Unthanks pianist and producer Adrian McNally. “We don’t intend it to be a major artistic accomplishment or statement.. we’re just looking forward to becoming even more intimate and fascinated by music that we love and respect. It means the world to us to have their blessing and approval. We’ve got a bit of a nerve associating ourselves with such beautiful men, but it’s the music and words we want to learn from and share with other people. Maybe it’s not possible to perform without ego, but Robert and Antony exclude so much commitment and integrity in their music, their conversation with the human condition seems entirely selfless to me. There is never a spare note played or one struck to impress. They appear entirely consumed with the search for beauty and truth in a way that nourishes our anthropological souls and reflects how we feel about folk music in its broadest sense.”

These unsentimental young storytellers outside of time have long found kindred energies in the proudly maverick English soul of Robert Wyatt, and this was finely evidenced on their heaven-sent cover of his “Sea Song”, one of the real jewels of Mercury Music Prize nominated second album “The Bairns” and regarded by Wyatt as the finest interpretation by another artist of his songs. Robert does not perform live, so bravely, with Robert's blessing, The Unthanks will cherry pick from his indefinable and peerless repertoire to a live set they hope to do justice. Similarly, hearts have been hauled out of open mouths by The Unthanks stunning duet rendition of Antony’s “For Today I Am A Boy”, still as yet unrecorded.

The Unthanks, like Robert and Antony, aspire to the timeless energies and beauty that can be conveyed/released in a song. These two essential occasions see unlikely musical bloodlines flow ever clearer and more direct, as The Unthanks continue to fashion unlikely folk standards from across the idiosyncratic landscape of modern leftfield songcraft.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Buffy Sainte-Marie - 'Darling, Don't Cry'

Some mighty powwow singing and dancing in this video and is that Red Bull behind Buffy? I remember seeing Buffy singing this in Belleville, Ontario, a few years ago and the whole hall erupted with powwow singing from the Native Americans - to be surrounded by powwow was an amazing experience.

'Into The Woods' at Regent's Park

After being rained off the first time, we went back to the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre to see 'Into The Woods' on Friday night and guess what? No rain! Phew! And what better place to see 'Into The Woods' than in an open air amphitheatre at night with a backdrop of tall trees surrounded my miles of trees and parkland?

The set is made up of four levels of walkways build between the tree branches on three sides and the audience on the fourth side. The lighting was well thought through and executed, sometimes focusing on the actors and other times lighting up the trees swaying in the breeze. The sound worked well, too, and just as well since it's a musical.

We're introduced to the characters who are all from fairy tales, princes and a witch, Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood and all the rest. They all have to go into the woods for some reason or other, the woods taking them out of their ordinary lives and adding menace and adventure, for good and bad. The first half tells the stories we're used to with Cinderella meeting her prince, Little Red Riding Hood escaping the wolf, the ugly old witch becoming beautiful again, Jack escaping the giant and the Baker and his wife lifting the spell that kept them childless. The second half then explores the consequences of what happens in the first part, like the princes becoming bored with their respective wives, Cinderella leaving the palace because, after all, she's not really a princess and, worst of all, the giant's wife (voiced by Judi Dench) visiting the kingdom seeking revenge on Jack. Death and mayhem ensue when you follow stories through to their logical (or illogical) conclusions.

This production was imbued with all the magic and wonder missing from 'The Tempest' at the Old Vic and I loved it. Using a runaway boy as the narrator is a great idea as the action takes place around him, with him half predicting what happens and half a helpless observer. I thought all the cast were excellent, with great voices and great timing. I loved Beverly Rudd as Little Red Riding Hood and her nemesis the Wolf, played by Michael Xavier (who also played the older prince) in a fun seduction scene prior to consuming his dinner in red. I loved the two princes, always rushing round a-hunting, sibling rivalry in their love-lives and the little jump they made before rushing off.

Hannah Waddingham was great as the Witch, menacing in the first half with her walking sticks and ugly face before transforming back into the beauty she was in her youth. I saw Hannah in 'A Little Night Music' at the Chocyy Factory a few years ago and her voice is as lovely as ever, tender and harsh by turns when she sings to Rapunzel.

I've also seen Jenna Russell before, in 'Sunday In The Park With George' at Studio 54 in New York, another Sondheim musical. She played the Baker's wife with some great comic flourishes as well as her excellent voice. Actually, I thought they all had excellent voices, perfect for their roles - a recording with this cast would be a great idea but, sadly, unlikely.

If you get the chance, go and see it. It's on for another couple of weeks (rain permitting) and you're unlikely to get the chance to see it in the woods again... There was a nice touch at the end when we finally learn that the Baker is ... well, I'll leave that for you to discover for yourself. Needless to say, I loved this production. Take a look at the clip below and then book your tickets.

The Dresden Dolls - 'Mein Herr'

To celebrate Amanda Palmer's 'Cabaret' in Boston, here are those punk cabaret raggamuffins, The Dresden Dolls, performing 'Mein Herr' four years ago at The Roundhouse. I was there y'know. O Yes.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

'Deathtrap' at the Noel Coward Theatre

Last night we went to see 'Deathtrap' at the Noel Coward Theatre with the ever-watchable Simon Russell Beale as the central character, a writer of plays in the thriller genre. And that is what 'Deathtrap' is, a thriller, but with an awful lot of comedy in there as well. Simon's sidekick in the other central role is Jonathan Groff from Americaford and a TV series called 'Glee'. Now, I haven't seen a single episode of 'Glee' so I've no idea what he's like but there was an inordinate amount of young women in the theatre squealing and, no doubt, wetting themselves in excitement at seeing their hero on stage. I had three of them sitting beside me so I felt their joy first-hand.

I've never seen the play before but have vague recollections of the film with Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve but I suspect I never saw the film all the way through. An ageing playwrite has run out of ideas and is sent a draft script by a former student that is a sure-fire Broadway hit. What can he possibly do except kill the student and claim the play as his own. I won't say any more to avoid spoiling the surprise (and I was more than surprised, I nearly jumped in shock) but the first half is very good with its plot twists and turns. The second half is less convincing since the major plot device was exposed in the first half and it rather spirals and bumps along rather than anything else. Especially the end - they need to do something to signal the play has ended so we can start clapping (it's still in preview so hopefully they'll fix that). Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it's a good night out.

Simon Russell Beale was, of course, excellent, with the right amount of comedy and menace. He certainly out-acted Jonathan Groff who seemed rather reactive and tentative to me - or maybe that's how he's supposed to play it? He had a really annoying habit of brushing his hair back from his face with his hands all the time - um, it's not that long y'know, it's not in your eyes and it looks very affected so stop it. The other roles were played by Claire Skinner (in an awful brown trouser-suit thing to date it in the '70s), Terry Beaver and the excellent Estelle Parsons as a generic European in America who happens to be psychic and predicts the rest of the play ... or does she? I thought she was great fun throughout.

Paul Smith - Tour and First Single

Important message from Paul Smith:

So, it comes to pass that I test the Wayne's World 2 theory of 'book the shows and they will come'. If you'd like to see me play the songs from Margins then have a look at the tour dates below. Tickets go on sale Thursday 26th August at 9am.

26th - Bodega, Nottingham (TICKETS)
27th - Brudenell, Leeds (TICKETS)
28th - Glee Club, Birmingham (TICKETS)
29th - Thekla, Bristol (TICKETS)

01st - Bush Hall, London (TICKETS)
2nd - Deaf Institute, Manchester (TICKETS)
3rd - Classic Grand, Glasgow (TICKETS)
4th - Sage 2, Gateshead (TICKETS)

I've been waiting to play these songs live for a while now so that should ensure an excitable performance although the songs will require a different execution to those of Maximo Park; less frenetic movement but no less emotion or commitment. You have been warned!

To drum up support for the tour I'm going to dip my solo toes into the world of the single and put out Our Lady Of Lourdes on November 1st, a toe-tapper and a grower, I'm told by my pals. On the 7inch vinyl, there's a new song based on a guitar loop, called, cunningly, Loop For Becca. Digital customers will get my version of the Arthur Russell classic, A Little Lost, which consists of just my voice and the first recorded example of my inexpert bass-playing.

You can pre-order the album here from
Amazon. Spread the word, people - I'm coming to a town near (ish) you!


Naturally, I shall be at Bush Hall, probably at the back near the piano, but there will be lots of 'wooh!' and 'yay!' sounds coming from that corner of the Hall as well as loud clapping. I am looking forward to the album immensely and keep playing the freebie song, 'North Atlantic Drift' - if the rest of the album is anything like this song I will be very happy indeed.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

'Grace Of My Heart' at The NFT

This evening Chris took me to see 'Grace Of My Heart' at the National Film Theatre (or BFI Southbank as it tries to be called). I've never seen it before but know it's sort of based vaguely on the life of Carole King in the '60s up to the release of 'Tapestry' - or 'Grace of my Heart' as it was called in the film.

I enjoyed it even though it threw in every possible '60s pop cliche imaginable, sex and drugs and rock n roll - well, pop. Lots of different hair styles and clothes, musical styles. It makes a valid attempt at demonstrating the massive social change that happened in one particular decade but it didn't really follow through in how social attitudes changed - the main character was as liberal in 1960 as she was in 1970 so there was no growth or development, only a shortening of the dress and more thigh on show. And, on the men, more hair.

I quite liked one of the themes of the film, to pair songwriters from the '60s with songwriters from the '90s, like Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach. They make such a more interesting sound than if it had been a '60s set.

If you get the chance, go and see it. It's well worth a couple of hours of your life. And, because it's at the NFT there are no pre-film adverts! A bonus in anyone's book.

Our Lady J and Her Gospel for the Godless

On Thursday night we went to see Our Lady J in her new show, 'Gospel for the Godless', supported by her London Train-To-Kill Choir (aka the London Show Choir). As a self-confessed post-transsexual pre-Android princess she has the stage presence she needs to carry a show but, more, she has the sheer talent to produce the goods and make us live in her world of the gospel electric. She was magnificent and held the audience in her hand from the first song.

She came on stage and sat behind a baby grand with chunky church candles adding a glow to the proceedings, Mac and electronic keyboard within reach and two microphones to electrify her voice for some of the songs. After a couple of songs she started chatting to us and the choir came on for the first of their several visits. Timing was perfect and the choir added both a lustiness and an ethereal quality to the music and performance - Our Lady J has worked with them before and I was most impressed. The only downside came at what should have been half time and Our Lady stayed on stage to play and conduct the choir's solo song since their leader was off - that meant she didn't have the chance to go off and change into her second half frock.

I liked listening to her stories of growing up in a family that only had records of classical music and pre-1960 show tunes and how her older brother was made to shoot his CDs when their parents discovered them. How she organised Boob-Aid to raise money for her (impressive) new boobs with help from the Scissor Sisters and Dolly Parton amongst a host of others. How she ran away from home at the age of 16 the only way she knew how - by getting a college scholarship. Most entertaining!

Of course, with Our Lady J, it's the music that comes first and it was great to finally hear her singing the songs from her EP live as well as the totally infectious and camp, 'Pink Prada Purse'. I loved 'Picture Of A Man' and '1, 2, 3, 4 Train To Kill' (with everyone joining in on the chorus). My jaw dropped audibly with a mighty *thunk* when I recognised the opening sequence to Buffy Sainte-Marie's 'Little Wheel Spin And Spin' played quickly. I sort of expected it to then morph into another song but no, Our Lady played the song right through in High Disco style, turning it into an infectious disco classic - and, you know what? It worked! It was astonishing to hear an acoustic song transformed in her careful hands into a mighty disco stomper. I was amazed. Another favourite was 'Hurt' from her new album with the Choir joining in and building the song into a touching, magnificent, sonic edifice. I loved it.

After the show we joined the queue to say hello and get a signed copy of the EP (a doubler of the original EP plus both versions of 'Pink Prada Purse'). When my turn came I had to mention 'Little Wheel' and Our Lady seemed delighted that I'd recognised it and liked it and then she went on to say that Buffy Sainte-Marie had started producing dance music like 'No No Keshagesh' and we were off and running talking about Buffy. It's nice to meet another enthusiastic fan. And, best of all, her disco version of 'Little Wheel' *will* be on her new album. I can't wait.

Our Lady J has been at the Soho Theatre for two weeks and is now off to Ireland before heading home to America to finish her record. Hopefully she'll be back when the record is released so watch out for her next shows - you must go to see her, you might be surprised but you won't be disappointed. I'll be there.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Cee Lo Green - 'Fuck You'

The new song from Cee Lo is pretty damn fab - yes, I know, I'm shocked at the language as well but I'll sure I'll get over it. Clever words and a killer tune - go on, have a listen!

Curved Air - 'Back Street Luv'

My latest obsession is Sonja Kristina and Curved Air. I recall Curved Air's hit, 'Back Street Luv', from 1971 (I think they only had the one hit) with its mysterious, throbbing sound fronted by the exotic Sonja. Sonja was also in the London production of 'Hair' in which she played the role of love-lorn Crissy.

I've been listening to 'Back Street Luv' and am delighted to learn that Sonja didn't just vanish when Curved Air split in the mid-70s, but continued making music and, indeed, touring. Curved Air have got back together as well. I will delve further...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Rain Stops Play In The Woods

Tonight I went to my first ever event in the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in, um, Regent's Park. We were there to see Sondheim's 'Into The Woods' in what you'd think was the perfect setting, an open air stage surrounded by the trees and wildlife of the park. Unfortunately, 'open air' means 'no roof'.

I'd previously seen 'Into The Woods' at the Landor Theatre in Clapham so it was nice to see it on a much larger stage with a much larger budget thrown at it. Heading to the bar at half-time I had to admit I was thoroughly enjoying it, some great singing and acting, nice gothic costumes, nice multi-level set and the two Princes reminded me of Zaphod Beeblebrox from 'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy'.

The second half started and then I felt a spot of rain. O no. I went into denial that it was starting to rain and then the heavens opened. The two Princes were in the middle of their big song and gamely continued, after which they received great applause. Then the voice of god told them to leave the stage and us, the audience, to head for shelter in the bar. And then told to leave since the rain was in for the night. We can exchange tickets for another performance so I've emailed the theatre a list of dates I can make so here's hoping for good tickets.

Here's a photo of the climbing-frame stage with the crew spreading plastic sheeting to protect the ground.

Monday, 16 August 2010


Over the weekend I finally got to see 'Inception', of which a lot seems to have been written and lots of money made. I'm in two minds (or, if you've seen the film, maybe several).

It's an interesting idea that someone can go into your dreams and steal your thoughts or, alternatively, go in and plant new thoughts. There was a nice stab at trying to illustrate the mechanics of this to make it believable but it left too much unexplained for my liking - if you're going to explain then do it properly or not at all. I also wasn't convinced by some of the characters - why were they involved in this? how were they involved? why did they care about each other? or not as the case might be. It felt like a sketch rather than a portrait.

Some of the special effects were great, like bending Paris back over on itself and the crumbling cityscape being eroded by the sea at the ultimate depth of the dream. Others were less convincing, like the bad guys shooting out all the windows of the minibus they were travelling in and yet missed hitting anyone. Is that likely? And the penultimate sequence of a James Bond-esque snow scene was a little bit over the top, particularly how all these dreamers suddenly become trained commandos. I know it's a dream, but, c'mon.

All in all it's enjoyable bunkum and a fun way to spend a couple of hours but not something I'd necessarily want to see again.

Friday, 13 August 2010

SLADE - Rare & Unseen

"Weeeeeeellllllllllll everybodyyyyyyyyy, let your hair dooooowwwwn" as the mighty Sir Noddy Holder sang nearly 40 years ago.

It seems like there's a new SLADE DVD due out in September, 'SLADE Rare & Unseen'. I have no information about the DVD other than it's released on 20 September and I'll be buying it. I sort of assume it's a collection of videos and non-standard TV appearances from the UK and Germany, but that's a guess on my part.

I'm saving up my pocket money even as I type....

Thursday, 12 August 2010

What Would You Do?

Michael Buerk has an occasional series of programmes on Radio 4 called 'The Choice'. I've heard it a few times and never been too impressed. It's about people who have to make difficult decisions - hence the programme's name - which are often projected as life changing but, as I say, they've never really touched me. Until this morning.

Today's programme was about the decisions made by Heather Pratten who watched her husband die from Huntington's Chorea, a degenerative disease that slowly, over years, robs the body of muscular control. Her husband was diagnosed with it in his 30s and died. It's hereditary so she watched her five children waiting to see if any of them would have it and two of her sons started showing signs of the disease in their 30s, just like their father.

There were a number of poignant moments, like when she said she knew her elder son had it when he sent her a shop-bought birthday card since he always sent hand-drawn cards and she knew that meant he was losing muscle control. He tried to starve himself to death to avoid the worst of the degeneration and then swallowed a wad of heroin while she held his hand since he didn't want to die alone. When he was clearly on his way out she held a pillow over his face to help him leave. She was put on trial for murder but eventually was released on a lesser charge of aiding suicide.

Her other son was in a specialist home as he gradually degenerated to the extent that he was bed-ridden and couldn't sufficiently control his throat muscles to swallow. The choice was to either transfer him to a hospital to feed him through tubes, a strange environment in which he would lie staring at the ceiling, unable to communicate or do anything, or stay where he was and die. She left him in the home he'd lived in for so many years and let him go. You can find out more about Heather's story on the Dignity in Dying website.

Can you imagine having to make those kinds of decisions? What would you do?

Monday, 9 August 2010

'Legally Blonde' at The Savoy Theatre

On Saturday night we went to see 'Legally Blonde' at the Savoy Theatre with Derek and Tracy on one of their occasional perambulations to London. I quite like the film - the first time I saw it I thought it was a piece of fluff; the second time I saw it I thought it was a nice piece of fluff that has its moments. I'd not seen the play before so it was a good opportunity to see a new musical.

We got there just in time to pick up tickets and then descend the 75 steps across several staircases to go down into the bowels of the earth under the Savoy Hotel to the stalls of the theatre. Amazingly, the stalls bar was shut (I suppose they make enough on the ticket prices to not miss the price of a few beers) so we took our seats in the ornate theatre and waited for the curtain to rise... which it did, on pink. There was a lot of pink in this show.

The story is remarkably faithful to the first film, the story of Elle Woods losing her love to Harvard Law School, following him there and taking on a big case which she eventually wins. Except it's full of song and dance routines, of course. I have to say that the music and songs aren't particularly memorable - sitting here typing, I can't remember a single song. I wasn't impressed on the night either and didn't fork out for the cast recording, often a telling sign for me. But, as with the film, I enjoyed it, a piece of feel-good fluff with some good performances (if not good songs) and I loved the 'Greek chorus' that followed our heroine around and popped up every now and then for a song and dance spectacular.

The undoubted star of the show is Sheridan Smith who I last saw in the Choccy Factory's revival of 'Little Shop of Horrors' and who impressed me by crying, unaided, on stage during one song. She has a great presence and good stage voice and what I can only think of as a cheeky stage presence - you know she's there and you know she's teasing you in some unfathomable way. I like her.

Of course, most people (including me) will know Sheridan from her telly roles in 'The Royale Family' and 'Two Pints Of Lager', just as we all know Peter Davison as Doctor Who from the '8os and Jill Halfpenny from 'EastEnders' and 'Strictly Come Dancing'. I was pleasantly surprise by Peter Davison who played the law professor who fancies Elle, surprised by both his presence on stage and his singing voice (I use the word advisedly). And I thought Jill was excellent as Elle's hairdresser friend, great singing and dancing, never dropped the accent and brought some real pathos and light to the part. Jill is a local girl made good so it's mandatory to like her, especially with such a heart-warming performance.

All in all, I enjoyed the show, very slick and professional (as you'd expect) with some nice performances. Being built in the bowels of London in the 1880s means there's not much space downstairs in the bar or corridors but they give good measures of red wine so that's okay. It's not a show I'd go back to see again and again, but I'm pleased I've seen it.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Paul Smith Solo - 'Margins'

The major news today is that Paul Smith of the mighty Maximo Park is releasing a solo record on 11 October. Duncan released his a couple of years ago so now it's Paul's turn. And this is how he announced it in the Maximo mailer today:

I'm just having my mind expanded by Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders in my living room and I thought it was time to spill the beans about an album I've been making. It's called 'Margins' and it's out on the 11th of October on Billingham Records. At the moment, I am running Billingham Records but you may recall it as the label that released Maximo Park's first ever red vinyl and it's a fluctuating, idealistic entity that any member of the band can utilise for our own ends.

I started the LP around 4 years ago with my pal Andrew Hodson in his bedroom in Newcastle, just as a way to get songs on tape since he lived around the corner. He moved house twice, ending up in Manchester, meaning the record took a little longer to finish! Andy plays the drums while I play the guitar, and he also added some atmospheric touches using his electronic box of tricks. About halfway though I realised it was sounding like an album and once I'd recorded enough songs I asked the talented David Brewis of Field Music to play the bass, and was rather chuffed when he accepted.

The songs are quite personal and sound different to The Park, so I decided to put it out under my own name and take full responsibility! Some of it is more acoustic and quiet but other parts are quite pop. I have no idea what people will make of it! I'm excited (and scared) about the whole affair but I should also say that Maximo Park is alive and kicking, as anyone who saw us over the past few months will attest. We're still writing new songs and looking forward to recording them soon, so I haven't 'gone solo' like George Michael when he left Wham, I've just made an album in my spare time that I wanted to share with y'all.

If you want to hear a song called 'North Atlantic Drift', then check out my new site http://www.paulsmithmusic.eu/ Yes, that's EU at the end - I'm a quintessential European, you know! I designed it myself and I've been doing it as a blog (just for mates) since January 1st this year, so you can scroll backwards to see posts about the things that interest me.

Feel free to 'join' me on Facebook and Twitter so that I can let you know if I'm playing a show or the like. These links should help in that respect.

I've just asked a few people to play in a live band with me, so live plans will be unveiled over the next few weeks and months.

And of course, I'd love you to pre-order the album. If you share this desire then click here for CD and Vinyl formats.

I'll try not to pester you via the Maximo Park mailing list, so if you'd like to sign up to my personal mailing list then you can do that in the top-right-hand corner of my website.

It feels a bit weird doing this on behalf of myself alone, but I won't be flying solo for too long...
Time to write out the words for the album sleeve (no typing this time).



Billingham Records? O yes, he's from Billingham, a town south of Newcastle that used to have an ice rink that I visited in the Forum before Paul was born. If you sign up to Paul's mailing list you get a free download, 'North Atlantic Drift' so head on over and do the clicky thing.

You will, of course, hear a lot more about this record in the coming months.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A Second Chance

If you're a long-time reader then you'll have read about one of my most disappointing gigs ever. If you're not, you can still read about it here.

Back in the mid-'70s, Steve Harley was one of my heroes and Cockney Rebel was, I thought at the time, one of the most original bands around. Obviously, lots of people had different views and they were, just as obviously, wrong. For some totally obscure reason, I never saw them live back in the day and only saw Steve for the first (and only) time in 2005. And yes, it was one of my most disappointing nights out ever. Not entirely down to Steve - his audience clearly sucks monkey bum - but in part it was also him. That night actually stopped me listening to his old records for a long time. No-one likes to see a hero fall and, in my eyes. he fell a long way.

This evening, for some reason, I really fancied listening to his first album with Cockney Rebel, 'The Human Menagerie', and it worked it's magic on me all over again. So I thought, 'wonder if he's on tour or anything...?' and lo and behold, he's playing Union Chapel at the end of November. And praise be, it's an acoustic set! So I've done the clicky thing and bought a ticket. I will go alone - I couldn't possibly force anyone to go with me after the last show of his I saw (and I *never* leave during the encore - except his show) - so I will brave it alone.

Please be good. Be excellent. Play the old songs and the new songs like God. Walk on water like at Crystal Palace again this one time. For me, please.

And let's face it, 'The Human Menagerie' is a really good album.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Message from Dave Hill

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Dave Hill of the mighty SLADE had had a mild stroke while on tour in Germany. Well, he's feeling a lot better now and posted the following message on Facebook:

Message from Dave Hill - To all the fans and friends I have, I would like to say I am deeply moved by the love and kind messages I have received by post and online from all over the world, it has really inspired me and I feel very positive. I am making a good recovery and look forward to seeing you all again when I return to the stage.
Love Dave

Y'know what I really like about this message? It's the sign off, 'Love Dave'. He's a big ole softy really, but it's nice to hear he's feeling better. A Lord of Noize will *always* be loved.

Take care Dave!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

'Hurt' by Our Lady J

Following my blog about Geo Wyeth (see below) I find myself blogging about the new single from Our Lady J, very appropriate since I was introduced to both artists by Justin Bond during his run at the Soho Theatre a couple of years ago with his show 'Lustre'.

'Hurt' is available through Bandcamp as well as Amazon and iTunes and is a taster for her first album, 'The Gospel Electric', due out later in the year. It's very hypnotic and addictive so give it a couple of spins on your virtual turntable.

Our Lady J is also giving us her 'Gospel for the Godless' show at The Soho Theatre over 9-21 August (get tickets here) and I'm looking forward to seeing her again. She's very tall, y'know, and an excellent pianist.