Nights Out

HouseOfLard's picture

John Mayall - 80th Anniversary Tour

Where: 
Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells
When: 
21/10/2014
Comment: 
My 1st Mayall show. I can’t claim to be a huge fan – I have the Clapton / Green / Taylor albums but that’s all – but I was excited to see a bona fide blues legend in the flesh. Support came from King King who were fronted by Alan Nimmo, a huge bear of a man in a red kilt with cargo pockets on the sides. They made a fantastic blues-rock noise augmented by some lovely B3 / Leslie work. Included the first guitar solo I have seen where the guitar was played while turned off. As you might expect, Mayall has surrounded himself with some excellent musicians including a shit-hot guitarist called Rocky Athas who was a school friend of Stevie Ray Vaughan. There was plenty of soloing from everyone, which made it feel like a jazz gig at times. They played material from across Mayall’s career, including several from the new album but frankly they all sounded timeless. Mayall looked chipper, his voice sounded great and he played guitar, harp and keys at various points. A wonderful show.
The audience: 
A lot of snow on the roof, but warm and appreciative and both bands got a standing ovation. Nice to see the venue staff tackle the few that waved their mobile phones about.
Food & drink: 
£6.10 for a Spitfire and a small diet coke.
It made me think: 
John Mayall is 80 and still out there working like crazy. He has something like three days off in the next month. He may love what he does, be skint, or both. Whatever, you should go and see him while you can. You won't be disappointed.
Skirky's picture

Steve Hackett

Where: 
Ipswich Regent
When: 
21/10/14
Comment: 
After his occasionally spiteful kicking in the Genesis documentary aired recently it was extraordinarily welcome to see guitarist-de-force Hackett and his exemplary band take the early catalogue by the scruff of the neck and give it a good seeing-to live. Largely faithful to the (lengthy) originals, there was still space to funk up "I Know What I Like" to a "Sledgehammer"-like degree while generally maintaining the bass pedals & dry ice magnificence of the 70's arrangements. Vocalist Nad Sylvan was an admirable Gabriel/Collins stand in, his coquettish performance (channeling Frik-out-of-Merlin) barely undermined by an occasional resemblance to Angus Dayton in a Coverdale wig. Replicating Mike Rutherford's bass & guitar parts stage left (and emphasising what a great player and composer he is), none other than Nick Beggs - a hoary rock monster capable of standing in for Scott Gorham in a police line up these days. The evening was Hackett's however - deservedly stage centre for once.
The audience: 
Many, and enormously pleased at the composition of the set list. Occasional clapping along (tricky when you know what's coming is in 12/8) and some enthusiastic lyrical participation ("...a flower?"). Did spot one in a satin tour jacket in row N.
Food & drink: 
I only live up the road, so I did chicken and chips for tea at home before I left. The show ran until just before eleven, so we missed last orders at The Dove afterwards.
It made me think: 
"Squonk - what was *that* all about..?" pondered Steve at one point. Now you mention it...

Clannad

Where: 
The Hexagon, Reading.
When: 
17/10/2014
Comment: 
Having never seen them in their prime this was my 3rd Clannad gig in 18 months. With a new album out, it wasn't just a Greatest Hits show, and the new songs sound wonderful anyway. Moya Brennan is sounding better than ever and the band are in fine form. The 5 of them are augmented by keyboard player Ian Parker and the fantastic drummer, Ged Lynch. The sound is crystal clear, with Lynch's drums perfectly balanced so that they don't overpower the quiet, almost delicate songs but have enough muscle on the more uptempo numbers like Closer To Your Heart. Newgrange is a personal favourite because we've been to the amazing, ancient site in Ireland (it knocks Stonehenge into a cocked hat, IMHO) and the beautiful, haunting song is perfectly pitched to summon up memories of the place. When we get to Harry's Game they sing it so beautifully you would swear it was a new song. Moya finishes it and points out that Gerald Seymour, who wrote the book Harry's Game, is sitting behind us. Great gig.
The audience: 
Old fogeys, hippies and duffers. My kind of people.
Food & drink: 
A glass of wine and a bottle of water? £11.20 sir. Scandalous. We had eaten at Jamie's Italian in Reading beforehand, which was brilliant.
It made me think: 
Over 30 years in and this band sound as fresh and different as they always did. Some (Moya) may have aged better than others but they clearly enjoy what they do and are a really great musical night out.
illuminatus's picture

Andy Zaltzman

Where: 
ARC, Stockton on Tees
When: 
October 18
Comment: 
Everyone's favourite Art Garfunkel/Three Stooges lookalike and co-Bugler rolls up in the birthplace of the safety match and satirises to order. The material is cerebral, but also beautifully silly, with an audience who are willing to heckle (politely and constructively, it must be added). It's clear he has some pre-prepared ideas and uses a little time to weave them together with pre- sent emails (I sent one), and more semi-improv stuff on the night. He does a good job, though even Zaltor baulks at wringing levity out of TTIP. Zaltzman is not to everyone's taste, but if you want to listen to a clever, metropolitan, lapsed-Jewish cricket and snooker fan riffing on the Scottish referendum, "we're all in it together", KP and why Jesus is responsible for the 2008 crash, inter alia, then Zaltor is your man (albeit from a small number of options). He very much happens to be to my taste.
The audience: 
Mixed, though tending towards the bookish, let's say. Quite a few teachers in too, as it happens.
Food & drink: 
Decent selection at the ARC and not extortionate, though I stuck to the Fentimams D&B as I was driving.
It made me think: 
He's wonderful, but God it must be hard work to wonder if there's a career to be carved out in something the mainstream finds so alien right now. The venue was moved to a smaller studio space, though the audience tonight was receptive and good fun

Nerina Pallot

Where: 
Komedia, Bath
When: 
15th October 2014
Comment: 
Nerina Pallot is one of those artists that I always quite liked, and is one of my wife and I's car journey favourites(see also Crowded House). She hasn't always fit in with my listening, but as her back catalogue has grown I've become more and more fond of her work. She's occasionally a bit slick, but if she was a man I suspect people would compare her to somebody like Costello. Strong songs with strong lyrics that say a bit more than moon/june and a powerful distinctive voice. This evening at the Komedia, a tiny venue in the centre of Bath was a vocal/piano/guitar evening, with Nerina on stage by herself, filling the venue with great versions of songs from all through her career. Backed by a screen showing Harold And Maude. The visuals sometimes worked with the songs, sometimes against but it worked well. Nerina kept us entertained between songs with some nicely witty and enchanting chat. A very nice way to spend an evening.
The audience: 
Very mixed bag, quite restrained, we were all seated.Average age was probably equivalent to Nerina herself,ie nearer to 40 than 30 and above.Lots of people looking like Afterworders, lots of middle aged couples and a sizeable gay following present.
Food & drink: 
The Komedia is a comedy club, so just a normal bar with plastic glasses. Friendly bar staff. Not too expensive.
It made me think: 
Haven't been to a gig since forever,last time I went to one I was drunk.This time I was on soft drinks because we were driving home to relieve babysitting grandparents!Also reminded me that I saw Nerina years ago at the sadly missed Kashmir Club.
Tasty Hasty's picture

Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express

Where: 
The Tunnels, Bristol
When: 
Monday, 13th October
Comment: 
An exhilarating performance by the great man. As usual, he never disappoints. His material over the last couple of albums has never been stronger and it's just one great song after another. He has a tremendous band with him, including lovely wife, Stephanie Finch, and definitely benefits from having a regular unit touring with him. 2nd guitarist James de Prado is up there with Chuck as a top player and both rattle out the licks like nobody's business. The interplay between them is particularly outstanding, especially on the Lizzyish "Willie Mays is up for bat." You know you're in for a great night when the band come on the stage and Dylan's "Willie McTell" is playing. Chuck says "I love Willie McTell but we've got work to do." Throughout the show, Chuck's humour shines through and he could easily do a stand up show if his singing voice ever gave way.
The audience: 
Very enthusiastic, mostly male and over 50, but always a good turnout. Chuck calls Bristol a "Guitar Town."
Food & drink: 
No food but Bath Gem is a beer to die for and £3.60 a pint isn't overly expensive. The fabulous Harts Bakery is next door if you're there early enough.
It made me think: 
Why oh why is such a musical giant such as Chuck Prophet scratching around 200/300 size venues still? But then we are blessed to witness such greatness at close hand. Such are the vagaries of rock'n' roll. Coming next, the Sadies, the Alvins, Delines
Vulpes Vulpes's picture

Nic and Joe Jones

Where: 
St. George's, off Park Street, Bristol.
When: 
Monday October 13th.
Comment: 
Father and son on the stage. Father obviously physically damaged, frail but unbowed, and so full of spirit and lively self-deprecating wit, a wicked grin on his face and in his voice throughout. Son perfectly in tune with father, outing the elephant as soon as they took to the stage, allowing the audience to relax into the event. And event it was. The floor full of devotees, all of a similar age, greying and growing rounder, keen to see their man do his thing once more. Does he have the power still? Not in his lungs perhaps, but in his wit and his humanity it's there in spades. The love and pride between them sustains the performance, and a beautifully judged choice of song makes the evening fly. Joe's playing is assured and deft, and his singing, despite his obvious nerves at the start, much stronger than he perhaps realises. Together, they make a wild and wet night outside fade beneath the warmth of a truly wonderful treat.
The audience: 
Fans wall to wall. Mostly of an age, but not exclusively so. Young turks aplenty too. Many know the songs and mouth the words or softly sing along, encouraged by Nic to do so throughout. Warm with applause, pin-drop quiet when the occasion calls.
Food & drink: 
A splendid pint of Young's Best in the Ram on Park Street, 50 yards away across the road.
It made me think: 
How good it was to see the generations spanned both on stage and off, and how transcendant the evening became as we all relaxed into the company of this talented duo. If you get the chance, catch them when you can. It's a magical thing.

Laura Veirs

Where: 
Bodega, Nottingham
When: 
10 October 2014
Comment: 
No album to promote but a week long solo tour of the UK giving Laura the opportunity to go through an extensive and high quality back catalogue, along with a cover or two. She didn't disappoint, getting through about 20 songs in a little over an hour which covered all eight albums (I think), including one from Tumble Bee, her 'folk songs for children' album. I can't pick out any particular highlight - the whole show was superb. I've seen her about a dozen times in the past, both on her own and with her band and I think this solo show was the best I've ever seen from her. It included a moment of comedy. She introduced a song as being a tribute to an uncle who used to be a chimney sweep and had a large beard. She said that in Portland, where she lives, there are lot of beards and that her husband (and producer/drummer) 'has a massive one'. Cue large amounts of 'guffaws' whilst she carried on merrily not realising what she had said. Bless.
The audience: 
From mid-20s to mid-50s and the venue, although quite small, was pretty full. Hats off to a couple who we spoke to and who had travelled up from somewhere in Norfolk to see the show.
Food & drink: 
Nothing of any worth to report.
It made me think: 
I need to get on The Afterword and encourage anyone who lives near Gateshead (Saturday), Hebden Bridge (Sunday), Manchester (Monday), Bristol (Tuesday), Guilford (Wednesday), or London (Thursday) to take the time out and see her. You won't regret it.

Peter Hook & The Light

Where: 
The Ritz, Manchester
When: 
25/09/2014
Comment: 
I was doubtful when Hooky insisted he was going to perform every New Order and Joy Division song live but here he is, performing an immaculate 'Lonesome Tonight' a seldom heard hidden gem in their canon. He's already played a (sort of unnecessary but very enjoyable) brace of Joy Divison classics as a preamble and the obscure New Order single 'Murder' faithfully recreated complete with samples from 'Caligula' and '2001'. Aided by an excellent band including his son on 2nd bass, and David Potts (ace guitarist and occasional high notes Hooky can't reach with his gruff voice which is closer to Ian Curtis than Barney) he plays almost everything New Order recorded from 1984 to 1987 via 'Low Life' and 'Brotherhood'...neither could be called a classic LP but both feature euphoric moments that New Order never revisited, such as 'Face-Up' which sounds like a hit single that never was and even a throwaway album track like 'Angel Dust' becomes a twin-bass driven monster.
The audience: 
Rammed and very hot. A mixture of New Order Vikings who lapped up the kind of setlist New Order haven't played since the mid 80s and lots of teenagers in Joy Division t-shirts.
It made me think: 
Hooky seems very driven by his animosity toward you know who, but he translates that into pure passion which the audience responded to by going bonkers. This is beyond a nostalgia trip and unlike the 'real' New order..he means it maaan!
Carl Parker's picture

Mary-Chapin Carpenter & the London Concert Orchestra

Where: 
Royal Albert Hall, London
When: 
Monday, 29th September 2014
Comment: 
I can't think of any other show I've seen that demonstrates such a vast gap between a recording and live performance. "Songs From The Movie" is a pleasant but unnecessary orchestral reworking of songs from MCC's back catalogue. The same album performed live with a full orchestra and not a guitar in sight is a magnificently different proposition. The way the strings carve out the melodies, the rush as the brass section literally vibrates your ribcage, the punctuation of the tympani and other assorted percussion bring the, mostly old, songs back to life reshaping them into a gorgeous, vital, aural experience. The album is played almost exactly as on record. From the opening lyric "A river starts with a drop of rain somewhere in this world..." I'm embraced by the emotion of the music. It's moment after moment of heartstopping beauty. Variation from the album comes wih the addition of Stones In The Road and 10,000 Miles, before Goodnight America plus The Hard Way as the single encore.
The audience: 
We're mostly on the downhill side but that doesn't dampen enthusiasm. Totally respectful, there's hardly a whisper once Vince Mendoza taps his baton. It seems to be much more multi-national than I've noticed before.
Food & drink: 
We went to Sole Luna by South Ken tube which is our usual pre-RAH eaterie. Why? Because it's a reasonably priced, family run Italian restaurant. The food is good, the ambience is pleasant and it's very handy.
It made me think: 
Mary looks positively svelte in her evening gown. She seems happy and totally engaged. Playing in front of an orchestra is a different discipline. Praise also to conductor Vince Mendoza who orchestrated MCC's music allowing last night to happen.

Pages

Cheap Ugg UGGs Outlet Cheap UGGs cheap ugg boots cheap nfl jerseys wholesale