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Tallinn Music Week 2019 Review

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Tallinn Music Week 2019 Review

Posted on 18 July 2019 by Marc Argent

We love Estonia and we love going back to it’s capital Tallinn for a dip in to the Baltic music scene. This year was our third consecutive visit to Tallinn Music Week and once again we’ve unearthed some muscial gems for your consideration.

Anna Kaneelina

Anna Kaneelina

Anna Kaneelina

Tallinn-based singer-songwriter Anna Pärnoja’s (wife of Neon Filler favourite Erki Pärnoja) unique brand of resonating pop was possibly the biggest surprise highlight of Tallin Music Week 2019, where she mesemerised crowds at the F-Hoone Muust Saal on the Saturday night. Her bewitching vocals coupled with expansive and dark soundscapes are reminiscent of the Florence Welch, PJ Harvey and Anna Calvi. We struggled to get in to the tiny venue but managed to enjoy the entire show side of stage as her spellbinding show captivated the room. We were also treated to an appearance from her husband Erki on guitars which added some wonderful new layers to her live show.

Molchat Doma

Molchat Doma

Molchat Doma

Molchat Doma frontman Yegor Shkutko has a touch of the (Future Islands) Samuel T. Herring’s about him and with his band sounding like a combination of Joy Division and Depeche Mode you can start to imagine their live show. A unique Post-soviet punk band from Belarus their music reeks of 80s punk with a darker edge that borders on industrial. Their minimalist drum machines and unsettling electronica gave the crowd in Kivi Paber Kaarid restaurant an unforgettable taste of a punk era that seems almost long forgotten.

Alex Kelman

Alex Kelman

Ever get that feeling when you first hear a piece of music and somehow it feels like you’ve been enjoying it all your life? You think it must be a cover of some old favourite and then you realise it’s brand new but somehow comfortingly familiar. Well Alex Kelman had us at ‘Rain’. Perhaps it’s the swirling, jangling ‘New Order-eque’ guitars or the beautiful female vocal lines that do it. Little known Siberian Alex Kelman performed twice at Tallinn Music Week 2019 and we were lucky enough to catch his warm up show at the Puant Bookshop where he performed Rain, alongside some of his new material comprising a wonderful blend of synths, guitar and captivating guest vocals.

Duo ruut

Duo Ruut are one of Estonia’s hottest prospects of 2019, after winning the 2018 Noorteband (Youth Band) competition last November. This win propelled the folk duo to a sea of festival bookings for 2019, the first being at this year’s Tallinn Music Week (TMW).

We first saw them playing in a telephone shop (yes this is the kind of venue you get at Tallin Music Week). The thing that first struck us was the beautifully symbiotic relationship between the female duo, as one carried the instrument they play (the Kannel – you might have to google this one) in to the venue and the other tuned it.

When it came to the time to perform they sat facing one another (like inuit throat singers). The large instrument across both their laps. They proceeded to both play the instrument at once, by a variety of plucking, using a drumstick, bow, and patting (Ben Howard styley). Instrumentally on its own this would be beautiful and innovative folk, but when the mesmerising vocals were added it left us enchanted.

The last song in their Tallinn Music Week set was “Tuule sõnad”, which means words of the wind perfectly encapsulated, not only them, but Estonia as a nation. A love of the past, traditions, culture, but also the innovativeness of the country, it’s people and hope for the future.

Puulup

The venue (Leila Bar) looked as if it hadn’t changed since the 1990’s, and the clientele upon our arrival, the same. As the hipsters, who normally proceeded to follow the festivals every step, were suddenly met by grandma’s enjoying a relaxing afternoon cup of tea.

When the two middle aged gentlemen (who make up Puulup) hit the stage you could be forgiven for thinking the clientele would match the music that was about to come, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

The duo, once dressed like a hasidic jew on his way home from the synagogue and the other not too dissimilar to Keith Harris, defined their style as Zombie folk. And, you can’t disagree when their songs included a love song about a wind turbine.

When you imagine that this was topped of with accompanying dance moves, you can understand why they were the first band of the weekend we saw (and on day three) that a crowd actively demanded an encore from.

Tautumeitas

Imagine the Corrs, but there are half a dozen of them, and there is no Jim in sight. And you will already have a good idea of the group. Not only visually were they as mesmerising as the Corrs in their traditional Latvian costumes, but musically too. Each playing one or more instruments (don’t worry, these included the violin).

The six women could well be likened to sirens that have attracted many sailors to their deaths over the centuries. And when singing the song Tautumeitas (yes the same as their name), which means a woman of marriageable age, it would have been very easy to have been drawn into their spell. And, we certainly were 😉

Words and pictures by Marc Argent.

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Joan as police woman – Nottingham Glee Club, 27 June 2019

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Joan as police woman – Nottingham Glee Club, 27 June 2019

Posted on 03 July 2019 by John Haylock

Thankfully it appears that Joan as police woman aka Joan Wasser, is finally getting the attention of the wider public. Long overdue it is too.

She currently has a career spanning three album compilation out at the moment called, very cleverly,  Joananthology.

Joan as a police woman

Joan as police woman

For over two decades this talented artist has beguiled listeners with a series of beautifully crafted albums. She creates songs with astute lyrics and often insidiously catchy tunes. Also she’s a contemporary soul singer with more attitude than you can shake an old Al Green shaped stick at.

Last year we caught her at the Greenman Festival where she shone like a small star in the Welsh drizzle. But tonight we’re in Nottingham’s lovely Glee Club for an intimate solo show.

Rollercoaster of a career

Joan as police woman has had a rollercoaster of a career. She started playing violin and piano for The Dambuilders, Black Beetle and Those Bastard Souls.

In addition, she found herself circulating in exalted musical circles with such luminaries as Jeff Buckley, Anthony and the Johnsons, Elliot Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse, David Sylvian and a list of artists as long as the long black dress she was wearing tonight. She went solo in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since.

Tonight we get an emotional, riveting and often visceral solo performance.

She takes to the stage after fire alarms had inadvertently been set off by presumably the storm front of dry ice that wouldn’t have been out of place at a Metallica gig.

To loud applause she silently takes her seat at a grand piano and dives straight into my absolute favourite song of hers, To be lonely, it just destroys me –  a love song so sad that you know from that mournful melody it will probably end in heartache, and man, there’s a lot of heartache in the room tonight, most of it coming from the stage.

How can she follow that ? With ease and aplomb, she continues with an entrancing and sublime Wonderful.

IMG_9757

There is still no acknowledgement of the audience, but eventually as she makes her way to her pink Telecaster and is more forthcoming. A humble soul of few words she lets the music do the talking.

So she gracefully flits between piano and guitar, which she plays with tenderness and ease. We get What a World, Human Condition, The Magic and one of the best covers I’ve ever heard – Kiss by Prince. It’s just amazing how she turns this classic into a lyrically ambiguous sexy mantra.

There was lovely touch as she came on for the encore. Tom Rose, her label manager and all round good guy, is a massive Forest fan and seeing as though this was his hometown he had customised a red and white Forest top which Joan came back on wearing. On the back it read Joan APW and underneath was the number eight. Now quite what the eight signified I don’t know, but I like to think it refers to the eight million people who will no doubt go to see her next year. Make sure you’re one of them .

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes.

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Glastonbury Festival 2019 – Small Stages Review

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Glastonbury Festival 2019 – Small Stages Review

Posted on 02 July 2019 by Joe

This year’s Glastonbury Festival was all about the sunshine. With no rain or mud the site was full of smiles. Getting about from stage to stage was far simpler. This gave us a good chance to investigate the small stages, that are often away from the glare of the television cameras. They also feature some of the event’s up and coming stars and established acts alike.

Here’s some of our highlights:

William’s Green Stage

Once again this small venue excelled at promoting new and emerging acts, with Amyl and Sniffers, from Australia among the best. Performing on the Friday, lead singer Any Taylor was almost upstaged by the mullets of the rest of the band. Not quite though as she snarled through tracks such as Cup of Destiny. Three minute punk pop songs across the board meant their set flew by.

Amyl and the Sniffers

Amyl and the Sniffers

Speaking of snarling through tracks, Irish punk quintet Fontaines DC were busy at the event with gigs at various venues. We were lucky to catch their fiery show at William’s Green which showed they have ready made Festival favourites already, despite being one of the event’s newest acts. Too Real and Boys in the Better Land in particular sounded great. Worth noting that in lead singer Grian Chatten they have a great frontman who patrols the stage frantically, with more than a note of Joy Division’s late great Ian Curtis about him. It was like he was in another place at times – a very angry place indeed.

Fontaines DC

Fontaines DC

Snapped Ankles are another new act to offer a surprising Festival highlight show. Looking like Hall and Oats in the wilderness, dressed as trees and forest creatures they looked the part. The music of frantic dance rock appealed too. In terms of stage prescence they nailed it.

Snapped Ankles

Snapped Ankles

Special mention goes to Sundara Karma who I last saw in the larger John Peel stage during a fairly lacklustre set. Here they were harder, faster and better. A treat for the small crowd assembled.

Sundara Karma at William's Green

Sundara Karma at William’s Green

Avalon Stage

Tucked away near the south-east corner of the festival site is the Avalon Stage, which offered up some impressive sets from festival regulars and those making a return. Steeleye Span were among those we saw, with a mix of original and new members, churning out a back catalogue of fine folk rock, especially Alison Gross, about witches.

Steeleye Span

Steeleye Span

Our highlight was Morcheeba, who were playing for the first time at the Glastonbury Festival since 2003. Often seen as the lesser cousin of the likes of Massive Attack and Portishead they should surely be seen alongside such trip hop greats, with our favourite set of the festival. Hits from Big Calm were the crowd’s favourites, as was an impressive version of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance.

Morcheeba

Morcheeba

The Acoustic Stage

Another venue primed for the wandering music fan is the Acoustic Stage. It features one of the best acoustics at the site and an eclectic line up with the likes of Hawkwind and Keane on stage. Here we’ll mention a couple of our favourites, with Grace Petrie putting in a great performance elevated over the years from some of the site’s smallest venues to the luxury if the Acoustic Stage. She’s a self confessed protest singer and like Billy Bragg she combines songs of politics well with other themes of love and growing up. Black Tie, her ode to her teenage self, was among many highlights.

Gracie Petrie

Grace Petrie

Rodney Brannigan had a great band in tow for his bluesy rock set but it was his solo meanderings featuring instrumentals played on not one, but two guitars that most impressed. The secret is in the sustain.

Rodney Brannigan

Rodney Brannigan

The John Peel Stage

This is as big as this review will get stage wise. Our highlights included an early Saturday afternoon set from Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition winner of 2016 She Drew the Gun. Since scooping the top prize they have used the accolade well, building up their sound and stage prescence. Now complete with backing vocals and light show they get better each time we see them, with tracks from latest release particularly suited to a larger venue. Their version of the Beloved’s Sweet Harmony becoming a steady crowd favourite too.

She Drew the Gun

She Drew the Gun

Low’s light show at this year’s Glastonbury Festival also impressed as the US trio performed their brand of slowcore alternative rock splendidly. While they make good use of feedback the sweet vocals of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker are what makes them so mesmerising live.

Low

Low

Its worth noting that the first two bands each day at the John Peel Stage are filmed by local film students, which was among the snippets of behind the scenes festival news we heard during the event.

Words and pictures by Joe Lepper

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2019 Finals

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Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition 2019 Finals

Posted on 29 April 2019 by Dorian

After a two-year gap to let the fields and staff re-energise, Glastonbury Festival is stretching its legs and travelling its unhurried route towards the end of June. The Pyramid stage is clad; resale tickets have sold out (in the customary few minutes);  and the live finals of  the Emerging Talent Competition has awarded its £5,000 PRS Foundation grant and its coveted main stage slot at arguably the world’s most famous music festival.

Roma Palace

Roma Palace

The Emerging Talent line-up is always diverse and rarely puts a foot wrong providing great performances.  The variety makes getting into the judges heads tricky, but if there is a trend in recent years we have seen more MCs in the final, without any yet breaking through to win top spot.

Like the last event, in 2017, when Josh Barry’s vocal performance enticed the judges’ ears, this year they went for another stand-out singer. However the judges: Michael and Emily Eavis, representatives from the PRS, Glastonbury’s seasoned bookers, plus BBC Radio’s Huw Stephens – favoured a more melodic voice this time around, with Marie White clinching enough votes to take top spot with her two bitter-sweet compositions.

Aided by songs that suited the slightly subdued crowd that comes with an early start, Marie coped well with being first up. Tracey Chapman comparisons were made as part of her introduction, and her performance was authentic and moving. The tone and delivery of the second song ‘Out of time’ bears comparison with one of Adele’s tales of heartache and longing.

My personal on-the-night favourites were LIINES and Che Lingo. LIINES are in the middle of supporting Sleaford Mods, and are surely making fans with their challenging post-punk bursts. Extra points to them for rocking the “double-black Gene Vincent for the new millennium” look.  Che LIngo didn’t disappoint, he was charismatic and confidently owned that stage. At times he picked up the baton that Dizzy Rascal dropped a while back, and “Same Energy” had attitude to spare and unexpected layers that touched on A Tribe Called Quest.

The two representatives from the West Country are both well equipped to fill bigger venues. Iiola followed Marie White with another powerful vocal performance. The song ‘Sickly Sweet’ has a chorus to stick in the head and got the crowd bobbing; whilst Bristol’s Swimming Girls – the first band to fill the stage – added some polish and indie pop/rock to the night. They have some Simple Minds pomp and singer / bassist Vanessa has a distinctive delivery, a healthy sneer, and a hint of Ciccone. Clearly experienced and gig-ready, their sound is waiting for an anthem to take hold.

Whilst remaining totally unbiased, the first Neon Filler pick to make it through the final – Roma Palace – did themselves enormous credit. Their infectious guitar-led indie had echoes of Blossoms early outings, and entwined influences from beyond the shores of their current Brighton home.

Everyone is a winner on a night like this so Yamaya and Shunaji – get honourable mentions for their respective afrobeat fusion and jazz-influenced hip-hop outings. Both these acts chose to showcase just one song in their sets which left me, and possibly the judges, wanting to hear more to get a more rounded view of their repertoire.

Another good night to see some of the musical talent from across the nation and I for one will look up at least four of the acts at the main festival in June. Still no Hip Hop / MC winner though, but Flohio from the 2017 final is proving that just getting to the final can be enough to herald a growing career.

Words and pictures by Matt Turner

For more information about the competition and live final click here.

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She Drew the Gun – The Fleece, Bristol ( February 28, 2019)

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She Drew the Gun – The Fleece, Bristol ( February 28, 2019)

Posted on 01 March 2019 by Joe

The last time we caught a live set from She Drew the Gun was at the 2016 finals of the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Contest.

Singer and songwriter Louisa Roach’s stage presence and beautiful vocal performance, combined with political lyrics aimed firmly at disaffected youth, ensured their victory.

She Drew the Gun's Louisa Roach

She Drew the Gun’s Louisa Roach

On the evidence of their sold out show in Bristol, She Drew the Gun have clearly put their prize of a £5,000 development grant from PRS for Music Foundation and the kudos of a main stage slot at the festival to good use.

Now their live set is bigger and bolder. The political edge has increased, unsurprisingly after three years of the grimmest current affairs imaginable, from Trump to Brexit. The sound is also fuller, with an extra guitar added and the synths made chunkier. They also have  far greater command of the stage, with their latest visual show really adding to their live set.

Revolution Of Mind

Poem, the song that so impressed ETC judges was great. But the real highlights came from their second album, last year’s Revolution Of Mind.

This offers a great range of tracks that are even better live, with the 1960s guitar pop of Something for the Pain sounding even brighter and lead single Resister even more powerful and edgy.

She Drew the Gun 3

Best of all was Wolf and Bird, which has a Portishead feel to it and is shaping up to being a live highlight of their set for years to come.

Speaking of 1990s influences, the encore included an excellent version of The Beloved’s Sweet Harmony. This somehow fitted perfectly among, what Roach refers to as, the band’s main business at hand – producing “three minute deconstructions of capitalism”.

Support for She Drew the Gun included a blazing set from Warrington’s Man and The Echo, another act with a strong political edge.

By coincidence we also saw them live back in 2016, when they impressed supporting Billy Bragg in the Leftfield Stage at Glastonbury Festival.

Man and the Echo

Man and the Echo

Here they showcased some fine new tracks such as Capable Man as well as older songs, including Operation Margarine and I Don’t Give A F**k What You Reckon. We thought they were a great live band three years ago and they are even better now, with echoes of the likes of XTC, Fatima Mansions and Teardrop Explodes throughout their confident and fun set.

By Joe Lepper

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Laura Veirs/Sam Amidon – The Bodega, Nottingham (Feb 5, 2019)

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Laura Veirs/Sam Amidon – The Bodega, Nottingham (Feb 5, 2019)

Posted on 09 February 2019 by John Haylock

My first exposure to the music of Laura Veirs was with the very beautiful album Carbon Glacier, which after a quick peep at my copy came out back in 2004 – a remarkable fifteen years ago.

Her stunning latest album The Lookout (2018) is now her tenth long player and her songwriting continues to dazzle. Her incredibly expressive singing voice and ability to pull out gorgeous melodies is as immediately identifiable as ever.

Laura 3

Tonight Veirs, who is from Portland, Oregon, performs solo apart from a number of tracks on which she is more than ably assisted by her support, Sam Amidon. He’s a fellow American now residing in London and incidentally married to Beth Orton (another bloody genius).

To call Veirs’ music pop folk may sound like a disservice but it is most assuredly not. It is both delicate, melodic and infused with a poppiness that is hard to resist.

Sam did a short set highlighting his not meagre talents on guitar, banjo and vocals and then Laura joined him for his last two numbers. He was an integral part of the show as he returned the compliment by accompanying Laura on her final numbers with some subtle violin, which was just awesome.

So with ten albums of material to choose from, Laura dipped and dived into her exquisite body of work starting off with the lead track on The Lookout, Margaret Sands, and veering far and wide, Seven Falls, and a cover of Mountains of the Moon by the Grateful Dead, which brought out the inherent beauty of the song.

Laura 2

She did Song for Judee, a tribute to the late Judee Sill, which appeared on her 2016 collaborative album with Neko Case and K D Lang.

Her set was mesmeric to watch,  with such delicate guitar playing and her crystalline pure voice, especially on July Flame and Thru December. 

I was hoping for Galaxies but sadly it wasn’t to be. But this was more than compensated by her and Sam dueting at the end of the show – it was heavenly. I had waited 15 years to see her, make sure you don’t wait that long.

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes

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Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Brighton Concorde 2 (October 25, 2018)

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Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Brighton Concorde 2 (October 25, 2018)

Posted on 01 November 2018 by Dorian

I don’t feel like I’ve seen Stephen Malkmus play often, but counting through the times (Pavement at Reading 1992 and their ATP in 2010, with The Jicks at Reading 2001 and three times in Brighton) this is my 6th time seeing him play live.

Stephen Malkmus 1

I’ve also never seen him play a bad show. The reunited Pavement shows may have been done more out of duty than love, but the songs were great so I’ll take it. Given how much I enjoy his work it is odd that I only really keep half an ear on his solo recordings. I enjoy them a lot when I make the effort but I don’t rush to listen to them.

Here on the Concorde 2 stage in Brighton he plays a set that draws heavily from his recent albums and it sounds great from start to finish. Tunes like ‘Middle America’, from Sparkle Hard, may lean towards his more laconic side, but they are so well constructed that I’m happy to sit back a bit with them.

He throws some more upbeat tunes into the set, personal favourites ‘Stick Figures In Love’ and ‘Jo Jo’s Jacket’ both get an airing and they really highlight what a great band he has backing him.

Stephen Malkmus 2

One thing that really strikes you watching Stephen Malkmus live is what a great guitar player he is, and what a confident stage presence. His days in Pavement may have left him with the reputation of being a slacker with scrappy musicianship, but this is far from the truth. As he throws his guitar behind his head, never missing a note, you can see how skilful he is.

He’s witty too. St one point a scuffle breaks out in the crowd, some people a little inebriated causing problems. The band reprimand them, Malkmus standing statue like displaying two peace signs. The scuffle ends and the crowd calms. He leaps into a boxer’s pose, hands clenched. “Save your fists for the class war!” he proclaims.

He has also softened in his stance to nostalgia and his old band, he is clearly at ease with his musical legacy and what the crowd wants to hear. When the band return for the inevitable encore he launches into a raucous version of ‘Stereo’, the crowd (inevitably) goes wild. Last of all he appears to deviate from the planned final song, responding to requests from the crowd, and plays early EP track ‘Box Elder’.

His European tour is almost over, you’d need to head to Paris on Saturday to catch him before he returns to the US, but I’d recommend catching him next time you can. in the meantime, give Sparkle Hard a listen.

By Dorian Rogers

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TC&I – Swindon Arts Centre (October 29, 2018)

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TC&I – Swindon Arts Centre (October 29, 2018)

Posted on 31 October 2018 by Joe

Spoiler: If you are going to one of the forthcoming TC&I shows please do not read on. Enjoy the surprises. If you’ve been or are not attending, read on.

On Monday October 29 in Swindon musical history was made.

Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers, the rhythm section of XTC, performed together on stage for the first time in 36 years as TC&I.

That will mean nothing to most people.

Colin wrote many of the bands early 1970s/80s hits, such as Making Plans for Nigel. That may garner a grunt of acknowledgement from some.

But to the 200 passionate XTC fans, who made the opening night of a sold out week long set of gigs at the Swindon Arts Centre, their appearance meant everything. Their whole world.

Almost every fan of the Wiltshire band, who finally split in 2000 after 18 years as a critical acclaimed studio band, has prayed to the gods of pop for them to reform and perform again.

With other songwriter Andy Partridge never to perform live again after suffering stage fright in 1982, Terry moving to Australia shortly afterwards, Colin largely shunning the music business for a number of years and guitarist Dave Gregory plying his trade in other acts, that has seemed an impossible dream.

But with Terry returning to the band’s home town recently and Colin dipping his toes more frequently into musical projects they left fans gobsmacked last year when they joined forces as TC&I with a four song EP of Colin songs. And best of all, this summer they announced they would give playing live a go once again.

Colin Moulding (l) and Terry Chambers (r)

Colin Moulding (l) and Terry Chambers (r)

All dates are sold out. They could have played non-stop for the rest of 2018 given the interest, but the Arts Centre panto takes precedence going into December.

Given the very long wait to see their idols, the atmosphere in the packed arts centre was understandably reverential, especially as some had travelled from around the world to attend.

The smiles when Colin and Terry arrived on stage was a moment of beauty.

Colin in the middle aged man’s uniform of cargo trousers and sensible walking shoes, looked more like he was about to nip down to Marks and Spencers to buy some new socks. His scarf and slight mullet the only hint that he has in fact played on Top of the Pops.

Chambers in white t-shirt, looked shy but itching to get behind his drum kit. They were joined by Steve Tilling on guitar, Colin’s son Lee on backing vocals and Gary Bamford on keyboards and guitars for a mammoth 24-song set,  full of the hits, new songs but also some surprises along the way.

Below is the full set list but here we will rattle through some of our particular high points.

Wonderland

What a revelation from 1983’s often overlooked album Mummer, which was sandwiched between two of their most ambitious collections  – English Settlement (1982) and the Todd Rundgren produced epic Skylarking (1986). Here the soft production of Mummer was cast aside and on stage with full band its melody had room to shine. This was the surprise high point for many I spoke to on the night.

Sacrificial Bonfire

Skylarking was well represented, as it should be with Rundgren upping the Moulding song count. Meeting Place, Big Day and Grass were great, but Sacrifical Bonfire was by far the best. Lovely to see Terry take a softer tone with this on a track that was new to him. Mind you, he made up for it by beating the beejesus out of Big Day later on.

Bungalow

Colin’ voice is beautifully preserved, as if kept in honey in his shed for decades, untainted by the rigours of relentless touring. He sounded great all night but Bungalow, which was largely just him and keyboards, was where audible gasps were heard around the enthralled room at the quality of his vocals.

Drums and Wires guitar interplay

The Drums and Wires album track segment early on of Day In, Day Out, That is the Way and Ten Feet Tall gave Steve and Gary a chance to recreate the classic guitar interplay of Andy and Dave. It was perfectly executed.

The hits

Colin also  knows how to write a hit. Making Plans for Nigel, Generals and Majors, Ball and Chain and Life Begins at the Hop were all performed and with his preserved voice it was as if the last 36 years had never happened. We were transported back to their chart bothering prime with only Colin and Terry’s white hair a give away that it was no longer 1982.

Scatter Me

Three of TC&I’s own tracks graced the set list but it was Scatter Me that may well stand the test of time and grace the next live shows in another 36 years. Colin embraces his mortality in perfect fashion as his ashes are spread around his favourite haunts.

Statue of Liberty

The talk before the gig was that Colin would be covering one of Andy’s XTC songs. Which would it be? Surprisingly it wasn’t Senses Working Overtime but Statue of Liberty, a pop gem from their debut album White Music with boop-boops galore . They sailed beneath this song’s skirt with gusto.

Andy chose to leave town during these gigs, especially as he lives nearby. It was probably a smart move. This is Terry and Colin’s week, but he is genuinely keen for the shows to be a success, passing on kind words via Twitter to the band. The XTC brand is at risk if they cock it up, so he has a stake in its success. Andy can be rest assured that the XTC brand is in safe hands.

TC&I set list

Say it

Day in, day out

That is the way

Ten Feet Tall

Greatness

Scatter Me

Wonderland

Where Did the Ordinary People Go?

Grass

Meeting Place

Sacrificial Bonfire

War Dance

Big Day

Bungalow

The Smartest Monkey

Cynical Days

Kenny

Ball and Chain

King for a Day

Standing in for Joe

Generals and Majors

Making Plans for Nigel

Encore – Statue of Liberty, Life Begins at the Hop.

Words by Joe Lepper

See Also: Ten bands that changed our lives – XTC

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Brighton Concorde 2 (October 23, 2018)

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Brighton Concorde 2 (October 23, 2018)

Posted on 30 October 2018 by Dorian

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (Rolling Blackouts C.F. for shortish) have been around for half a decade now but only started releasing music in 2016. That debut EP (talk Tight) and 2017’s French Press were very well received but they didn’t really break out until they released their debut long player, Hope Downs, this year. So it is curious how much their live show seems like a greatest hits set by an artist with dozens of releases to draw from.

Rolling Blackouts CF

It might be partly their set-up of three singer-songwriters that contributes to this as it adds a freshness and variance of style through their set. Crucially though it is the quality of the songs that carries them through; the standard hardly drops all evening and even though they don’t play my personal choice (‘Julie’s Place’) I’m still greeted with a barrage of favourites through the evening.

The performance is great, with the three singers switching the lead, and knocking out some great guitar lines throughout. Even though they each have a distinctive voice and songwriting style there is enough consistency of sound to demonstrate an undeniable Rolling Blackouts C.F. sound.

The rhythm section is consistently brilliant, a real driving engine behind the sound that really boosts the songs with energy and urgency. It is perhaps this frenetic driving quality that makes them sound quite different to The Go-Betweens, an act they are often compared to.

They’ve finished their UK tour, although I’m sure they’ll be back again next year, so if you aren’t familiar with the band give Hope Downs a listen. In my view the best debut album released this year.

By Dorian Rogers

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The Lovely Eggs – Leeds Brudenell Club (October 19, 2018)

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The Lovely Eggs – Leeds Brudenell Club (October 19, 2018)

Posted on 24 October 2018 by John Haylock

The Lovely Eggs are husband and wife duo David Blackwell (drums, vocals, home made box of wires with a bright light screwed onto it) and Holly Ross (guitars, vocals and orange tights).

The redtops would probably describe them as quirky. They play ramshackle, coming apart at the seams punk-rock that goes blam blam blam…Blam!

The Lovely Eggs

Tonight’s mayhem happens inside a sold-out Brudenell, one of our favourite venues. I mean how can you not love a club in which you hear Can, Neu ! The Sleaford Mods and The Velvet Underground while you’re waiting to get served?

Holly takes to the stage clad in the aforementioned orange tights, probably the same ones she wore at the Greenman Festival in August (I do hope she’s changed them ).

Gobby, excitable and bonkers

 

She’s gobby and excitable, with a guitar style best described as bonkers. They’re playing on their own turf tonight and the crowd love it.

The Lovely Eggs are very much a one trick pony, albeit it a muscular, slightly demented Lancashire pit pony. And the trick is second rate Paul Daniels. No matter though, as they are adored by the faithful, who sing along vociferously to some great song titles such as I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too, Fuck It and the sublime People Are Twats.

We even get some cooking tips for onion rings. There’s also a minor crowd altercation with an over excited bouncer and a some drunk lads. This is swiftly tackled with humour and some Northern common sense.

Not a bad night. A bit one dimensional but that might have been the (very) pale ale.

Special shout out to Rob Auton who hails from York who’s doing some daft stand up on the forthcoming The Lovely Eggs dates. Now he is quirky, but in a good way.

Wiggy Giggy was great.

Words by John Haylock

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