Thus far, and I write this fully aware of the fact that it’s waggling something delicate in the face of fate, this has been the week of good reviews. First it was for Slender Threads, which you may also read about here, and then for Negotiating the Jacobean Printed Book. It’s a good enough feeling to know someone’s actually read your words, but when they say nice things about them too … well, it makes for a better afternoon.
This week, I had the pleasure of two concerts to review – the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and the Guitar Masters. No prizes for guessing which one sucked. Yup. You call yourself the Guitar Masters and you’d better tear the house down. I suspect the review I posted will attract the ire of several internet geeks, but just so you guys and girls know, I really know what the fuck I’m talking about when it comes to guitar playing, and no, I’m not jealous. Continue reading
It appears that there is something oddly energising about Parkinson’s Disease. Both Alan Fairburn and Colleen Henderson-Heywood, the organiser and compere of last week’s Shakefest respectively, are bundles of energy. It’s certainly no mean feat to get seven acts together for an evening of great music, sell over 200 tickets, raise two and a half thousand pounds and get the whole shebang to run on time. From the moment Colleen took to the stage to kick off the evening by sharing her story, to the moment a rather dazed Alan was dragged onto the stage and treated to a standing ovation after Easter Street’s rousing encore, the assembled hordes at Duns volunteer hall were royally entertained by a series of acts from the dauntingly young Missing Myla through to the gig-hardened Easter Street. Continue reading
Right then, I’m utterly confused. This evening I saw Gary Numan (Are Friends in Electric Cars) at the Dome, and well … it got me thinking about the lines which could be crossed when it comes to live performance. I’m still not sure whether Gary crossed them or simply stamped all over them.
Reviews are tough little babies. Especially when you desperately want to talk about one particular issue but pretty much know you can’t. This not because you’ll get pilloried, but because you suspect that it would seem rather odd to many. Last night I went to see Mel C, mainly through curiosity, in order to review the gig. This is what I wrote: Continue reading
[first published 28th March 2012]
Last night I went to a concert at the Brighton Dome. It was the Waterboys, ostensibly flogging the new album, An Appointment with Mr Yeats. Now, the album is pretty good, and Mike Scott’s free interpretation of Yeats’ poetry creates something a little more than the sum of all its parts. His cherry-picking of lines from various poems may offend the purist, but in many ways is close to the spirit of Yeats’ own work, as he played wild and loose with Ireland’s mythic past. Continue reading
Suzanne Vega is an odd one, and no mistake. Her audience, however, are perhaps odder. The gush of middle class appreciation which met her as she trotted out onto the stage of the Brighton Dome was almost embarrassing. We, the audience, waited as she bowed, adjusted her mic, picked up a black disc and transformed it into a top hat. Jauntily placed on her head, the hat played hommage to Marlene Dietrich, the subject of the first song, Marlene on the Wall. Continue reading
[First published 26th Jan 2012]
Richard Durrant is a local classical guitarist currently on tour promoting his album The Number 26 to Paraguay, a homage to Paraguayan composer/guitarist Augustin Barrios, or Mangoré as he’s known in his native land. The concert is more like ‘An evening with …’ than what one normally expects from a classical guitarist, as the barefooted Durrant stands up and wonders about after each tune, sharing anecdotes and snatches of the composer’s history as he introduces the next one. His between-tune persona was a cross between Gryff Rhys Jones and Alfie Moon, which seemed to tickle most of the audience. Continue reading