Nights Out

Rudy's Rare records

Where: 
Birmingham Rep
When: 
Saturday 20th September
Comment: 
Originally a Radio 4 show Rudy's Rare Records co-written by and starring Lenny Henry is now an uproarious stage show. It chronicles the story of a Birmingham record shop owned by a Jamaican immigrant and his family that has fallen on hard times and is vulnerable to an offer from Planners trying to redevelop the inner city area that it is situated in. The stage is the type of record shop many Afterworders would dream of owning in more record-friendly times. Rudy is the star of the show - played by Larrington Walker he has a deep Jamaican patois that is initially hard to understand but which we quickly acclimatise to. His humour is bawdy throughout but the glint in his eye quickly endears him to the whole of the audience. There is a love interest, social commentary on acceptance of the West Indian community and a new challenge from more recent immigrant groups that is tackled with friendly humour. Roughly half of the audience was Afro Caribbean and they were in raptures. Also great music
The audience: 
Lenny Henry was genuinely moved by the audience warmth to the show and the cast - he remarked that it had been like this every night of the 3 week run. The auditorium was packed and everybody left thinking they had seen something special.
Food & drink: 
Just a pre show coke and an interval Icecream - standard Theatre fare.
It made me think: 
It made me proud of the multi culturalism in this country. The loudest laugh was for a comment by Rudy saying he had let two UKIP Canvassers into his house but had spiked their coffee with laxatives.
timtunes's picture

Ryan Adams

Where: 
Shepherd's Bush Empire
When: 
18th September 2014
Comment: 
Ryan Adams was in good spirits last night. Being churlish a bit too much banter, that wasn't that funny (and why is it that peoiple laugh uproariously when anyone opn the stage says anything even vaguely meant to be humourous?). THe stage set-up emphasised it was his band with bassist and second guitar squashed over on the right to give him the full limelight. However it made for a great gig. The band all sounded good and his voice was in fine fettle - the setlist featured the new album quite heavily, but fortunately chose the right tunes from it. Most tunes were done & dusted fairly quickly - some stretched out and were the better for it, in particular Shadows from the new album. Bizarre was the sight of what looked like Lenny from Mice & Men lumbering on, drunk, with a guitar for the encore. Transpired to be his new bff, Johnny Depp (actually I thought his guitaring sounded alright). Setlist etc here http://www.gigwise.com/news/94395/johnny-depp-joins-ryan-adams-on-stage-at-she
The audience: 
Fairly wide-range from 20s to 50s. Woman behind talked constantly throughout both the support and Ryan - and proved to be oblivious to my increasingly unsubtle turning round, glaring etc. God it's annnoying - why do people talk during gigs? Grr etc.
Food & drink: 
Yesterday was a 2 day on the 5:2 so nowt
It made me think: 
He still looks young - he must have been an embryo with Whiskeytown
mikethep's picture

Steve Nieve

Where: 
Spiegeltent, Brisbane Festival
When: 
10.9.14
Comment: 
Brisbane by the river at night looks like something out of Blade Runner, but the wonderful old Spiegeltent, all polished wood and stained glass, fits right in at the river's edge. It's a perfect venue for Steve, just one man and a piano. He wanders onstage diffidently and launches into one of his own tunes. Then Shipbuilding kicks off a row of Elvis, including Accidents Will Happen, Oliver's Army, Shot With His Own Gun and others I didn't recognise - Steve is a bit random with the introductions. Occasionally he tosses in an amiable Elvis anecdote, including a tantalising snippet about after-show shenanigans with Olivia Newton-John. Rock 'n' roll it ain't - it's as if he's channelling Franz Liszt at his most elaborate, with occasional guest appearances from Debussy and Satie. It's wonderfully entertaining, though - astonishing skill and musical imagination, full of light and shade, myriad little touches that come out of nowhere and rock you back in your (incredibly uncomfortable) seat.
The audience: 
Mostly well-heeled over-50s as you might expect, with a sprinkling of pork-pie hats, Amish beards and drainpipe trousers.
Food & drink: 
Lots of up-market snack stuff - pulled pork, mini-burgers etc - served on boards. Anything to drink your little heart could desire, set up outside the tent. Cheap(ish) by Brisbane standards.
It made me think: 
Elvis was lucky to find him all those years ago. And I can't play the piano, AT ALL.
tiggerlion's picture

Earth Wind & Fire

Where: 
Liverpool Echo Arena
When: 
9th September 2014
Comment: 
An Earth Wind & Fire concert is life-affirming. They are the musical embodiment of love, hope & joy. They are special because they are driven by the fonkiest engine of a rhythm section and are blessed with the heavenly voice of Philip Bailey. Tonight we were treated to some 'deep cuts' from their long catalogue; acoustic ballad I'll Write A Song For You and infectious groove Let Me Talk. First, hit after hit, groove after groove, please the dancers. Then, the spotlight falls on Bailey. He must have been pissed off in the sound check because his eyes are ablaze. He tests himself with four ballads whose top notes are beyond any other human being. It is as though he is in the eye of a storm, perfectly still and focussed at the centre of a frantic show. I'd say it's the single best live vocal performance I have ever witnessed. Otherwise, there is plenty of fun with chief playmaker, Verdine White, as energetic as ever on bass and Ralph Johnson stoking the crowd. What a band! What a show!
The audience: 
Nobody is getting any younger. They leave with their ears ringing, hands stinging, feet throbbing, hearts singing and beaming smiles, the physical effects of dancing and singing all night. I bet it was way past bed-time when they finally got home.
Food & drink: 
As you'd expect but the docks are next door. Plenty of middle-aged couples indulged themselves with a nice meal before the stage lights came on.
It made me think: 
Philip Bailey is a natural wonder. There isn't a singer alive anywhere near as good. Maybe, if Marvin Gaye had lived? But why tease the UK with just three gigs (Liverpool, Bournemouth & the proms)? Plus, new guitarist, Serge, slotted in perfectly.
Vincent's picture

Steely Dan

Where: 
Bank of America Pavillion, Boston, USA
When: 
Saturday 6th September 2014
Comment: 
What can I say about the 'Dan for this readership? A 13 person band (horns, singers, plus the regular band and Don n' Walt) joyfully tore through about 20 of the snappiest bits of great American popular music, channelling slinky funk (a nicely rearranged "Show Business Kids"). a more reflective "Razor Boy", along with the hits (as they were in the US) all tight as a drum, and with some nifty jamming. No REALLY deep cuts, nothing after the Gaucho album, no solo tracks, but a cover of Joe Tex's "I want to (do everything to you)" for Walt to introduce the band over. The event was joyful, with drama added by the threatening storm adding strobe lighting at points. Every player was a star, with high points including Keith Carlock's drum fills in "aja", Donald fagen happier than I've seen him in the last 5 Dan shows, the disconcerting sight of Walter Becker playing a Flying V, and lead trombone solos. Let's hope they return to Europe next year.
The audience: 
Much like the British equivalent audience of Dan fans, but rather louder, viz. the roar at "sweet things from Boston" (in "hey, Nineteen"). Standing ovations during most songs, bad dancing in the home run, and friendly to strangers.
Food & drink: 
Sam Adams and a fish combo plate at the Yankee Lobster whilst avoiding a downpour. Managed to smuggle-In a diet Snapple Lemon Tea to avoid extortionate, but by UK standards impressive,food and drink options.
It made me think: 
What a phenomenal set of songs Steely Dan produced in their first 8 years, and how they have soul and heart as well as wit and intelligence. Why don't they play Britain again? Will there ever be another band of such genuine class?

Hayes Carll

Where: 
Bush Hall, London
When: 
Wednesday 3rd April
Comment: 
Long a favourite artist of mine for his recorded output it is rare that Hayes Carll gets over to these shores, the last time being 5 years ago. So news of this gig was greeted with enthusiasm by yours truly. Never mind it being a mid week gig 120 miles from home,I had to be there. This was my Kate Bush moment but without the big price and the fanfare. First visit to Bush Hall which has something of a gothic interior but pretty good acoustics. Hayes came on stage supported by a brilliant Dobro player, his name was Travis but didn't catch his surname. All of my favourites were played including She left him for Jesus, Bad Lives and a broken heart, Beaumont, Grateful for Christmas plus a couple of new songs the most memorable of which was The Magic Kid, a song about his card trick playing son. He also played the Tom Waits song I don't wanna grow up which first appeared on Trouble in Mind and which he has made into something of an anthem.
The audience: 
Knowledgeable of his catalogue of songs, quiet when needed to be, loud and enthusiastic between songs. The hall was near full following a sell out at the Lexington the previous night. He left with the promise to return sooner next time.
Food & drink: 
Excellent Welsh rarebit and haddock and chips next door plus a few Peronis. Two courses £13.50,decent.Good company from Carl Parker. Hayes Carll was in the restaurant with his lady friend, I was gauche enough to request Beaumont which he played.
It made me think: 
Nights like this are very enjoyable, good food, a good natter pre-gig and some excellent live music. It's what makes my world go round.
thecheshirecat's picture

Folk at the Hall

Where: 
Memorial Hall, Trelawnyd, Flintshire
When: 
15th & 16th August 2014
Comment: 
This was some line up! Inge Thomson performing a rare solo gig would have been reason enough to make the journey. Afterword fans of Juana Molina would surely find familiar rewards in the looped and sampled inventiveness, layering one person into a band and a chorus. Virtuoso Will Pound provided a different take on the usual range of harmonica colours, drawing upon English Morris traditions and tunes of the likes of Chris Wood. By contrast, O’Hooley and Tidow’s songs are all about the voice. And can they sing! But the performance of the weekend belonged to Duncan Chisholm. Drawing especially from his recently completed Strathglass Trilogy, rooted in the glens of his clan, this veered into the territory of a classical recital. He took extra effort over his sound check and it paid off. The subtleties of Matheu Watson’s guitar and Jarlath Henderson’s understated pipes were the foil to the fiddle that lifted this to that post-gig thermal that carries you home smiling.
The audience: 
North Walian with a few of us exotics from beyond the Dee. The usual folk profile leaning towards over 40s, mostly in couples. There was about 100 of us, i.e. only about 5 times the number of artists on stage, so by the end we all knew each other.
Food & drink: 
Local ales and even cocktails. Home made soup, butties, cakes and baked potatoes, all from the fair hand of the event organiser’s mum - bless. Having sampled just about everything, my WI verdict declared the butternut squash soup the victor.
It made me think: 
A village tucked away in the hills behind Prestatyn hosting so many artists of international renown, all for £44. Martin Carthy FFS! How can this be? If the calendar was peppered with more such downhome events, the world would be a better place.
David Wright's picture

The Fall

Where: 
Fibbers York
When: 
30/08/2014
Comment: 
Incredibly, now the longest surviving line up, with stalwarts Pete Greenway on guitar,bassist Dave Spurr , but no sign of Smith’s wife on keyboards. Tonights Fall sound is tight and explosive with another core member; drummer Keiron Melling and Daren Garratt formerly of The Nightingales also on skins. Mark E Smith walks and groans past a friend pre gig and onstage,to say he’s had a few would be an understatement.There’s an air of menace as he struggles to read lyrics off crumpled sheets, tinkers with amps and stares out punters.Just a normal Fall gig then, but excitingly unpredictable as Smith frequently shuffles offstage (for perhaps a lie down) but his rants remain in sync with the band,like a voice growling from beyond the grave.“Cock In My Pocket” and “Bumblebee” are two of four new songs which open the set alongside more recent material such as “Bury”,“Wolf Kidult Man” and “The Remainderer". Masters of intensity, The Fall surprised and delighted myself once again.
The audience: 
Somewhat surprisingly just over half full in Fibber's bigger new venue, but many hard core fans giving the thumbs and not the two fingers up after three encores tonight! Everyone thought the old classic "White Lightning" would be the final tune.
Food & drink: 
Pre gig, two lovely pints of Bath Pale Golden Ale at the York Tap Tavern, situated off platform one at York Railway station. Post gig,two pints of Hophead in Scarborough's Valley Bar and cheeseburger from Flames takeaway, before calling it a night.
It made me think: 
This was definitely a Fall gig that will be talked about in years to come!Mark E Smith makes a Fall gig unique, whenever he is on or off the stage!An iconic and legendary front man, his voice may still lead an incarnation of The Fall when he's gone.

The Waterboys - Moseley Folk Festival

Where: 
Moseley Folk Festival
When: 
31/8/14
Comment: 
Having not really kept up with Mike Scott post Fisherman's Blues, I was expecting a predominantly acoustic and traditional instruments line-up. What we got was definitely at the rock end of folk-rock - heavy on the Hammond organ and electric guitars, with Steve Wickham playing a definitely electric fiddle. The set list took us through the early albums (a song from each), Whole of the Moon third in, and a generous helping of Fisherman's Blues along with newer tracks I was less familiar with. Raggle-tag gypsy was a still(er) moment before more extended band versions that including things veering perilously close to rocking jams. Highlight was the main set closer and what appears to be a new song (I stand to be corrected) called Long Strange Golden Road which recalls nothing so much as Desolation Row. A great gig, recalling Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Young rather than anything I'd previously associated with the Waterboys.
The audience: 
Mostly my friends and neighbours. Lots of kids. Lots of Observer readers (it was a Sunday). Friday had seen extra Mancs for Johnny Marr, but Sunday was definitely the core Moseley Folk Audience.
Food & drink: 
Purity Gold which tasted just fine, many falafel and thai street food stands. I opted for a 'Blue Cow' burger and chips which was great.
It made me think: 
If a small festival can't sell out with Johnny Marr on the Friday, R Thompson on the Sat and The Waterboys on the Sunday then we may have reached 'peak festival'. Wonder if they have split their audience between this and the Funk and Jazz fest in Jul
dogfacedboy's picture

Kate Bush - spoiler free review

Where: 
Hamnmersmith Odeon (Eventim Apollo? - yuck!)
When: 
29th August 2014
Comment: 
We never thought this something good was gonna happen - there's no reason for her to do it apart from the joy of playing live after 35 years. Those who baulked at the ticket prices - this isn't just some rock n roll show. The lavish sets, the costumes the props, the staging, the special effects and the visuals - its all pushing at the boundaries of what live music can be as she did in 1979. She and her vocal foils file onto stage to a standing ovation and a wave of emotion that catches in your throat and makes you gasp even if you didn't think you cared - despite being prepared to kill small pets to get a ticket. At first it is like most other shows you have attended but then with a jolt its becomes something else, something strange, moving, exciting, gripping expanding on the original songs with such invention and imagination it makes all other artists seem staid and boring - like they don't even care. Kate's voice has such power and intensity so remains at the centre of all things.
The audience: 
Never heard a roar like that go up when anyone else has come on stage - its was like a physical release of relief, disbelief and sheer joy. Yes, people were happy to be there, they lost themselves in the moment - I saw no phones being used at all.
It made me think: 
That a shaky Youtube clip and even an official DVD may not be able to capture this show - not just its atmosphere but also the multitude of things that were happening on stage at once. If you are going - it was worth the ticket buying trauma

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