Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

I hope you've had the opportunity to catch up on some relaxation during the past couple of weeks. I have enjoyed seeing lots of my family, eating far too much (I actually haven't been that bad this year - says me with a huge box of chocolates perched on the couch next to me!) and I took the time to indulge in my idea of relaxation, skimming stones (simple things please simple people right?!). Here's a photo of a stack of skimming stones moments before I fired them off into the sea. So satisfying...

Skimming stones

Expect more concert, album and single reviews in 2009 plus more interviews in the Music Lives On The Internet section along with lots more new and exciting features (all will be revealed in time, have patience!) Thanks for reading and hope to see you back in 2009.

Happy New Year!

Chalky xo

Monday, 29 December 2008

Leaping for a Leap Second! Yes We Can!

I've just read there will be an extra second added on at the end of Dec 31st 2008, something The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service refers to as a 'leap second'.

Leap seconds need to be added every so often due to fluctuations in the rotational speed of the earth around the Sun. An additional second is deemed necessary this year as a direct result of the extra force exerted on the Earth when too many people jumped up and down with joy at the news of Barack Obama winning the US election. The impact of his success literally changed the shape of the world momentarily which then altered its rotational speed causing scientists to conclude that the only way to reset the balance was by adding an extra second.

Here are some examples of Obama supporters jumping:

Democratic underpants alert!

even fish contributed to the change in the Earths rotational speed...

I hope you make the most of this extra second and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Kraftwerk to support Radiohead on South American Tour!

(Photo on Flickr by Little O2)

Me and mine have now left the island and have flown down to the South of France to visit more family. I wasn't intending on blogging much over the holiday period but just had to comment on the great news that Kraftwerk are going to be supporting Radiohead on their Spring tour of South America. Now that is a lineup!

I saw Kraftwerk play at The Brixton Academy in London about four years ago and it was a brilliant night. The concert started at 12am and finished some three hours later and they played classic after classic, it was truly a captivating show.

I know Radiohead have a history of organising good support bands but Kraftwerk must surely be the best so far. I so wish I could be there for this. Kraftwerk are going to be a very hard act to follow even if you are Radiohead.

Here are the Radiohead South American Spring tour dates:

03/15- Mexico City, Mexico @ Foro Sol
03/16- Mexico City, Mexico @ Foro Sol
03/20- Rio De Janerio, Brazil @ Praça Da Apoteose
03/22- São Paulo, Brazil @ Chácara Do Jockey
03/24- Buenos Aires, Argentina @ Club Cuidad
03/26- Santiago, Chile @ San Carlos de Apoquindo Stadium
03/27- Santiago, Chile @ San Carlos de Apoquindo Stadium

Tickets are on sale here.

Must get back to work on my teleportation machine and perhaps it'll be ready in time for Spring so I can make it along to a few of these concerts, what more fitting a form of transport could there be for getting to a Kraftwerk concert right?!

Kraftwerk Live - The Man Machine

Hope your holidays are going well.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Chalky xo

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

'Music Lives On The Internet' - Interview #11

Today, our featured blogger is Anika, author of Anika is a keen music blogger and a fantastic photographer who I quite often have the pleasure of running into at gigs in London. Anika can usually be found in the front row (slightly to the left of centre) poised with camera ready to go. She has great energy and enthusiasm for music.

Name (or pseudonym for the shy):

Blog Name:
Anika In London

What is your blog/website about?
The music I love, new bands I find, gigs I go to, thoughts, I sometimes post scans of my drawings too.

What started you blogging?
When I moved to London for uni I started going to loads of gigs, so I thought I'd start up a blog of my thoughts and to also show some of the photos I take at all these shows.

First record you bought?
I bought a whole bunch of vinyl LPs in one go, one of them was Elliott Smith's Self Titled, one was The Faint's 'Wet From Birth'... and a couple of others. The first CD was one of the Travis albums.

Last piece of music that got your heart racing?
'London!' by Frida Hyvönen. It's so much fun and over the top, and it's about London which makes it even better.

Last gig that made you say "Wow"?
Lots of the gigs I go to make me say wow. When I saw Alessi's Ark last week she really made me say wow. She's very, very talented and I can't wait to hear her play again. Before that, I'm From Barcelona and Soko made me say wow.

Where do you find out about new music?
Blogs mostly, and by checking out what bands are playing in London and having a listen.

What would you like to see more of in the music world?
Free shows!

Favourite music venue?
I love The Borderline (London) because it's cosy and in walking distance, but the lighting makes it really hard to take photos, besides that I love it. Oh, and St Giles (London)! It's epic. But the pews are uncomfortable.

Favourite music store?
Rough Trade East. It's nice and big and full of cool stuff and the staff are all friendly and they host some fantastic instore gigs. I also love Pure Groove because they do lots of instores too.

Which blogs do you read?
Lots! This blog, Adam's blog (A heart can stop a bullet), CrazyBobbles' blog, I recently discovered this really cool blog called Let Me Like It ( which features lots of great musical tips. My favourite thing to read (when ever she posts) is Heather D'Angelo's blog ( She's 1/3 of the band Au Revoir Simone. I love the band and her posts are really interesting.

What songs would you include on the soundtrack to your life?
From this year I would include An Eluardian Instance by Of Montreal. Also, The News From Your Bed by Bishop Allen, Between the Bars by Elliott Smith (for depressing times!), Winning by Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton, With Arms Outstretched by Rilo Kiley... and lots of others.

In 10 years time music will be....
Probably not that much different.

If you could have 3 musicians over to your place, they would be...
Emily Haines, Chan Marshall and Kevin Barnes.

If I asked you one more question what would it be and what would be the answer?
Errrrrrm... musical tip? and the answer would be Ema and the Ghosts. I think she's great and everyone should listen to her.

A big thanks to Anika for taking to the time out to take part in this interview. Be sure to check out her blog (

Of Montreal - An Eluardian Instance - Bandstand Busking

If you're interested in reading the interviews I've carried out so far in the 'Music Lives On The Internet' series, here are the links:

Interview #10 - Danish Poet
Interview #9 - You Ain't No Picasso
Interview #8 - Consequence of Sound
Interview #7 - Nine Bullets
Interview #6 - The OCMD
Interview #5 - Lonesome Music
Interview #4 - Count Me Out
Interview #3 - The Middle Distance Runner
Interview #2 - Blend Apparel
Interview #1 - Stress Management

Monday, 22 December 2008

Notes from a very small island

We've escaped the bright lights of the city and headed out to see my folks who a few years back made the very cool decision to live on an island.

I love spending time here, there are miles of lovely beaches full of good skimming stones (a big hobby of mine), snow capped mountains to climb and country lane walks (if you're lucky you get to meet the farm animals who are poking their heads over the gates hoping for some food). As evening arrives, there are the most amazing sunsets that make me wish I could paint. Lots of painters choose to live on this island because of the especially soft light.

In the night time you get total pitch black darkness and an almost deafening silence (this makes you realise how much noise you are normally putting up with on a daily basis in London) and as a result I sometimes find falling asleep quite difficult for the first couple of nights. When this happened the other night I took the opportunity to check out the night sky. It was a clear night and without the background light pollution I actually managed to see part of the Milky Way very clearly. It made me feel very small.

With so much lovely scenery to take in and family to catch up with, I won't be spending as much time on this blog as usual over the next week or so but there will still be the occasional update. I hope you are getting the chance to take a break and relax as well.

Chalky xo

Thursday, 18 December 2008

The hat I got for Christmas is too big!

This morning during a moment of weakness I attacked my advent calender and well basically pretty much stripped it of all its chocolate. There are a couple of days left but I don't think they're going to be around for long. I'm not proud of myself.

This is our favourite Christmas song and I dedicate it to my husband whose tin of chocolates (the ones I got for him to take to work today but he forgot and are now sitting on the dinner table) are under immediate threat.

The Hat I Got For Christmas Is - Mel Blanc

Here's the link in case the imeem player doesn't load properly for you. The song is called The hat I got for Christmas is too big sung by Mel Blanc. My husband introduced me to this song a few years ago and now I can't go a Christmas without hearing it. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

'Music Lives On The Internet' - Interview #10

Today I am pleased to be posting another 'Music Lives On The Internet' interview, the tenth in the series so far - woo hoo! An impressive amount of time has passed since the last interview so I am keen to get this feature back on track.

Todays featured blogger is Ian author of Ian is a keen music blogger, photographer and musician who lives in New York.

Name (or pseudonym for the shy)

Ian France

Blog Name: Danish Poet Blog

What is your blog about?
It's supposed to be about indie art and music, but right now I think it's more of just an indie music blog. At least it's leaning in that direction.

What started you blogging?
I used to love to take black and white photos (I still do) so I started a photo blog. After a while I began looking up indie music blogs and started getting really into them. Then I decided to start my own music blog, because I thought I might actually have something half decent to say. To my surprise, it all actually panned out.

First record you bought?
My first vinyl Led Zeppelin IV, by Led Zeppelin. Bought it at a garage sale for $1.00

I honestly can't remember the first CD I bought. I know one of the earliest CDs I got was probably Imagine, by John Lennon. Great stuff.

Last piece of music that got your heart racing?
Just recently I was listening to Nude (Holy F**k Remix). It's a remix of that Radiohead track, Nude, by Holy F**k.

Last gig that made you say "Wow"?
I don't get out as much as I'd like to. Probably when I saw Dustin O'Halloran at the Tilles Center (New York). Now THAT was powerful.

Where do you find out about new music?
I check out a lot of music blogs. Some of the main ones are Stereogum, GvsB, We Like It.Indie, Terrible Love Songs (of course) and a lot of other ones.

What would you like to see more of in the music world?
I would like to see more passion in a band's music. Just pure, indescribable passion, both lyrically and melodically. A couple of bands that would be good examples of this are Beirut, DeVotchka, and Eksi Ekso.

Favourite music venue?
The Bowery Ballroom, New York.

Favourite music store?
Generation Records in Greenwich Village, NYC. It's got great vinyl, CDs, posters, and t-shirts.

Which blogs do you read?
I listed the main blogs I read frequently above, but here are some other ones - The Middle Distance Runner, The Speed of Dark, Lines of Oration, Phase 02, Music for Robots, Big Stereo, I Guess I'm Floating,!tashed, Discobelle and Pretty Much Amazing.

What songs would you include on the soundtrack to your life?
I've actually thought about this question before. The first track would be Black Swan, by Thom Yorke (that would be my theme song), The Denial Twist, by The White Stripes, Oxford Comma, by Vampire Weekend, and Ready for the Floor, by Hot Chip.

In 10 years time music will be.... Either way more disco and heavy techno, or way more indie chill, like Beach House and Okkervil River.

If you could have 3 musicians over to your place, they would be... Banjo Or Freakout, Zach Condon, and Moby.

A big thanks to Ian for taking to the time out to take part in this interview. Be sure to check out his blog (

If you're interested in reading some or all of the interviews I've carried out so far in the 'Music Lives On The Internet' series, here are the links:

Interview #9 - You Ain't No Picasso
Interview #8 - Consequence of Sound
Interview #7 - Nine Bullets
Interview #6 - The OCMD
Interview #5 - Lonesome Music
Interview #4 - Count Me Out
Interview #3 - The Middle Distance Runner
Interview #2 - Blend Apparel
Interview #1 - Stress Management

If you write a music blog or contribute to the world of music in some way or form and fancy taking part in an interview, drop me an email with your contact details at tlsreview@ gmail dot com.

I'll be posting a review of last night's 'Fee Fie Foe Fum' Laura Marling and friends concert shortly, I'm struggling with a cold and my brain is working really slowly so bear with me!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Garden Party Series: Catherine Feeny and The Challenge of Feral Green

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you'll probably know that I am a big fan of Living Room Concerts (musicians play for you and your friends in your living room). During the last six months I have managed to organise 3 LRCs all of which were very enjoyable and truly unique experiences. The level of intimacy between you and the music is taken to a whole new level that you'd strive hard to find in any bar or club and the social aspect of a musician turning up at a persons house to share their songs and to meet new people is not only intriguing but refreshing in a time when as a society we are perhaps becoming more insular.

Singer/songwriters Catherine Feeny and The Challenge of Feral Green (more commonly known to his friends as Sebastian Rogers) have embraced the LRC idea wholeheartedly and have been touring the States for nearly 2 months, travelling some 15,000 miles playing to people in almost 50 living rooms. Now that's a pretty impressive set of stats!

This tour hasn't all been strictly living rooms, they also played a show in a secluded garden in LA for a group of people who run the Garden Party Series (which is like an LRC only moved outside onto the patio.) Thankfully this event was filmed and the footage is stunning, check out these videos:

My Living Room Concerts:

Rod Thomas
Jacob Golden
The Makepeace Brothers

Monday, 15 December 2008

What's On In London This Week (Including Free Shows)

Here are a few of the gigs going on in London this week that caught my eye. This is by no means a definitive list of ALL gigs happening so please leave a comment if you think I've missed any worth knowing about.

Monday 15th December
The Wombats Free Instore @ Pure Groove 6pm
James + Athlete @ Brixton Academy
Tracy Chapman + Joseph Arthur @ Hammersmith Apollo

Tuesday 16th December
Emmy The Great, Eugene McGuiness & Friends Free Instore @ Pure Groove 6pm
Manu Chao @ The Forum
James + Athlete @ Brixton Academy
Laura Marling + Mumford And Sons + Johnny Flynn + Jay Jay Pistolet + Peggy Sue + Derek Meins @ Cargo
Tindersticks @ Union Chapel
Tracy Chapman + Joseph Arthur @ Hammersmith Apollo

Wednesday 17th December
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip Free Instore @ Pure Groove 6pm
Herman Dune @ Scala
Manu Chao @ The Forum
Biffy Clyro + Frightened Rabbit @ Brixton Academy
Julia Biel + Nick Mulvey @ Cafe Koha
The Hold Steady + The Mark Inside @ The Roundhouse

Thursday 18th December
Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly Free Instore @ Pure Groove 6pm
The Pogues + DJ Scratchy + Urban Voodoo Machine @ Brixton Academy

Friday 19th December
Stereolab @ Koko
The Pogues + DJ Scratchy + Urban Voodoo Machine @ Brixton Academy
Mumford & Sons Free Instore @ Pure Groove Records 6pm
PORTOBELLO WINTER FEST: Gazz + The Thirst + Bridgette Amofah + U-Cef + Crystal Fighters @ The Bridge

Saturday 20th December
The Pogues + DJ Scratchy + Urban Voodoo Machine @ Brixton Academy
Madness + Stereo MC's @ O2 Arena
Matt Wates Sextet @ Club 606

(In case any concerts have changed dates/ changed venues/ been cancelled or I've made a typo, you'd be wise to check out the venue websites before heading out the door because it's mighty cold out there and I wouldn't want you to freeze.)

Christmas is almost upon us and as the list above proves there are still plenty of bands out there strapping on their guitars in the name of entertainment.

If your Christmas shopping has left you penny less, Pure Groove has a fantastic lineup of free instore shows this week including Emmy The Great, Eugene McGuiness, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip and Mumford & Sons. All of these shows are going to be VERY popular so I'd suggest getting there with a good amount of time to spare since the Pure Groove Record Store is pretty small.

If my cold disappears in time, I'll be going to see Laura Marling and Co. at Cargo tomorrow evening which should be good just hope they start at a reasonable time.

Whatever you're doing, hope you have a great week!

Be well,


'Me Gusta Tu'- Manu Chao

Sunday, 14 December 2008

TLS Edinburgh Edition: Five Favourite Albums of 2008

I'm happy to bring you the Edinburgh edition of Terrible Love Songs written by Ian who shares with us his five favourite albums of 2008.

I guess we will look back on 2008 as not a classic year - no new emerging styles to thrill and memorize a nation and too much focus perhaps on the follow on albums of Coldplay, Kaisers and alike - with even Oasis getting in on the act.

I did have a few gems though :

We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery

It was great to see We Are Scientists recreate the mirth and joy of their live performances on an LP. Reduced to a duo the guys are indies best writing double act of the moment and the album combines the wit of Afterhours (my favourite drinking song of the year) with more serious song content on the rocky and the more dancy Chick-LitImpatience. The band worked hard to promote this album and there YouTube videos are well worth a look if you need a laugh.


Fighting With Wire - Man vs Monster

Derry Rockers Fighting With Wire broke through on this side of the Irish Sea with a series of impressive shows and a mighty fine album. Solid rock throughout, Man Vs Monster is stocked with anthems. Some of the guitar work reeks of quality, particularly on Strength In Numbers and Everyone Needs A Nemesis with Cahir O'Doherty's vocals reminiscent of fellow Derry hero Fergal. The strength of the album is a stripped down sound and keeping the tracks tight, short and free from any padding - 2009 should be a big year for these guys with hopefully more live shows and plenty potential for more great songs to come. Get this album and play it loud !


Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday At Devil Dirt

The debut collaboration by Isobel and Lanegan was the biggest surprise of 2006 and news of this follow up was greeted in many quarters with equal surprise. Sunday at Devil Dirt compares favourably with The Ballad Of The Broken Seas debut . The pair have gelled following a set of gigs which were quite mesmerising (panned however in The Observer who criticised the pair for lack of communication between their songs - Was the reviewer expecting 'Terry & June' ??) Sunday At Devil Dirt feels less experimental partly due to a fan base becoming more familiar with The Campbell & Lanegan style - Oil and Water vocal contrasts blend perfectly on a set of songs which lilt from almost traditional country through to 21st century blues. I rate this as a great find and a true achievement for both artists. This is very different from the Belle & Sebastian collective where Isobel Campbell contributed some white satin vocals and cello rifts
and the more blustery Screeming Trees work of big Mark Lanegan . Difficult to pick out a star track however Lanegans growl on Backburner crashes wonderfully into Campbell's cello playing and Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart modernises the world of country pain. More of the same can't be ruled out ...



Silver Jews - Look Out Mountain , Look Out Sea

David Berman is a genius and this record has the hallmark of genius all the way through. Renowned for clever lyrics, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is a bit more upbeat than some of the Silver Jews previous efforts . Totally thought provoking stuff from start to finish with San Francisco BCa particular favourite (romance is the douche of the bourgeoisie is one of my lines of the year) Aloysius, Bluegrass drummer is a typical example of Berman's humour and the lament We Could Be Looking For The Same Thing closes the album perfectly. Of course there is more to Silver Jews than Berman and the band drive and low fi their way to layer clever accompaniments to bring these songs to life. In particular some of the guitar on the album stand outs as being the most original heard anywhere this year - This record has had as much impact on me as the early Pavement albums which Berman influenced behind the scenes. Lookout Mountain Look Out Sea is a joy to listen to and a privilege to own.


Sigur Ros - Med sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaus ( With A Buzz In Our Ears We Play Endlessly)

This is a thing of beauty. I have not been affected by a record in this way since The Cocteaus released Treasure. Probably the best crafted music heard this century, Sigur Ros seem to have done the impossible of crossing over into the spotlight without compromising their unique sound. With outstanding quality throughout, it is difficult to single out highlights however the wax and wane of inni mer Syngur Vitleysingur and godan daginn captures the essence of what Sigur Ros are all about. The biggest compliment for the band however was that all 8 minutes of Festival was played regularly on radio when the album was released. The instant recognition that this was a very important record was clear and appropriate. Tracks form this album will be played at weddings, funerals and in maternity suites throughout the land. The influence of Sigur Ros and Bjork from such an isolated music community is staggering and perhaps a clear indication of what can grow when protected from the festering sores of commercialism - Yeah Iceland great bands, crap Banks ( A bit likely Scotland really !)


Saturday, 13 December 2008

A Great Christmas Song!

Bit predictable I know, but this is a great Christmas song, couldn't resist, enjoy!

The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl - 'Fairy tale of New York'


Following on from yesterdays blog, I managed to source a lovely pink wig (think Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation) at my local friendly costume store Stagerrin and put together a sort of punk/cyber girl look for my work Christmas Party. I chickened out of wearing my wig on my way out to the party, (it was an hour on public transport!) but after a couple of glasses of wine, wore it with pride on the way home (well half under a beanie hat).

The party was lovely. Tucked away in the snug annex of our therapy rooms, a few of my colleagues sang and played some songs on their guitars including a great rendition of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' (naturally we all sang along during the choruses) which made me feel Christmasy. I am so lucky to work with such a nice chilled out talented bunch of people.

Dancing and general partying followed and then I reluctantly left slightly early to avoid having to take the last train home which is truly a nightmare in London during the office Christmas party season. I had no choice but to take it on Tuesday evening after the Mumford & Sons concert started so late and ended up having to find help for a business man because he was so drunk he couldn't stand and was throwing up his office party all over himself and South West Trains! Yuck! There should be paramedics on those late trains at this time of year, seriously.

Couple of things I noted about having bright pink hair on London's public transport:

- People stare when they think you can't see them - c'mon, have they never seen pink hair before?!

- Far fewer people get in your way/push into you than usual - bliss!

Maybe it would be a good idea to wear a bright pink wig while you're out Christmas shopping. Not only might you have less people bumping into you in the busier shops but you could also be bagging the best deals while the other shoppers are busy staring at you! Here's the address of that costume website again...

I love this version of Hallelujah.

Brigyn - 'Haleliwia'

Friday, 12 December 2008

Lail Arad - Who Am I?

There I was staring into my morning coffee pondering over what style of wig I should wear to tonights wig themed Christmas party and then I noticed I had received an email from Lail Arad with a link to her new video for 'Who am I'. What's the connection I hear you ask? Not only do Lail's sweet songs always make me smile, this video has some great wig ideas (and an awesome shiny table tennis table with matching bats!) I'm thinking the pink one at 1 min 3 secs...

Lail Arad - 'Who Am I'

If you'd like to know more about Lail, you might like to read the interview I did with her a couple of months back, here's the link.

Lail I think you're great and can't wait to catch one of your performances in 2009!

Here are some more Lail Arad videos.

'Winter' - Lail Arad

Lail Arad in Paris

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Stories from 2008

As we wrap up 2008, here are some highlights from this blog and some stories that have interested me from the year.


Terrible love Songs is born!

Heath Ledger dies (story)
Ali Campbell leaves UB40 after 30 years (story)
Sam Riley wins a rising star award for his acting in the Ian Curtis biographical film 'Control' (story)


Beatles guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi dies aged 91 (story)
Fire ravages parts of Camden Market (story)
Daft Punk make their first ever appearance at the Grammys (story)
Fans riot at an Akon appearance in a shopping Mall (story)
Air re-release Moon Safari 10 years after the original hit the shelves (story)


Duffy beats Nick Cave to the UK number one album spot (story)
Yeasayer @ The ICA concert review(story)


I take a holiday from blogging and go to Hong Kong and Bangkok (story)
Silent rave takes place in Union Square, New York (story)


MGMT release 3-D Time To Pretend Video (story)
Nine Inch Nails release free album for download (story)
Ireland announce their Eurovision entry is a turkey called Dustin (story)
Jacob Golden plays a gig in my living room! (story)


Fleet Foxes play a black cab session (story)


5 top home made instruments to form your own band (story)
The Makepeace Brothers play a living room concert at my friend Nic's house (story)


Dengue Fever instore @ Rough Trade East review (story)
Great Britain does much better than expected in the Beijing Olympic Games (story)


I share with you my experiences of being sixteen years old (story)
Brian Wilson plays a black cab session (story)
IKTOMS Wired festival review (story)


Interview with Lial Arad (story)
Mumford & Sons play a black cab session (story)
The Dears instore @ Rough Trade East review (story)
Of Montreal @ Koko's concert review (HOT PANTS ALERT!) (story)
Interview with Nick Mulvey (story)
Rod Thomas plays a Living Room Concert at a friends house (story)


Mumford & Sons instore @ Rough Trade East review (story)
Langhorne Slim and The War Eagles @ The Borderline concert review (story)
Tom Jones goes busking in London (story)
Dengue Fever @ The ICA concert review (story)
Low Christmas Party @ Koko's concert review (story)


Department of Eagles instore @ Rough Trade West review (story)
Liam Finn @ Scala concert review (story)

The Jacob Golden Living Room Concert is one of my favourites.

Jacob Golden Living Room Concert - 'Bluebird'

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Langhorne Slim does his laundry and I go wild!

Langhorne Slim @ The Borderline, London

OK perhaps a slightly misleading title, let me explain.

Like many of us I suffer from impossible hair. I have to spend loads of time blow drying and straightening it if I want it to look half decent. I really envy those people who can get out of bed, run a brush though theirs and then shoot out the door looking great, they have no idea how lucky they are! Yesterday I finally got fed up with my year long battle against the kinks and waves, tossed my straightening irons to the side and allowed my natural wild curly hair to take over once again and I instantly felt better. Sometimes you've just got to let your wild side out right?!

That's enough about my hair! On a musical note, I found some great videos of Langhorne Slim and The War Eagles on the Laundro Matinee site produced by myoldkentuckyblog. These guys know how to put on a fantastic sounding (and while we're on the theme) wild performance! I saw them play at The Borderline in London a few months back and it still stands out as one of my favourite gigs of this year. Here's a link to my review of the evening which incidentally Mr Langhorne Slim (Sean) also enjoyed reading which was a nice to know.

There are five videos in total- to check them all out try this link.

These are my two favourites:

Monday, 8 December 2008

Chas 'n' Dave are back again - would you Adam and Eve it?

When I was little I thought Rockney rebels Chas n Dave were already ancient so I was a bit surprised to see they are playing a gig at the Electric Ballroom this week, no offence Chas n Dave but I thought you were dead!

Well obviously they’re very much alive and they’re not actually as old as I initially thought, I guess when you’ve six even a ten year old seems really old!

To my non-British audience – Chas n Dave play pub (bar) sing along Music Hall type music in a Cockney accent (London). To get a feel for it, try this song:

London girls - Chas and Dave

To my British audience (who haven't heard of them?!): Chas n Dave are a bit like old Salt n Vinegar crisps, they’d be at home in a London pub like the Queen Vic along with Peggy Mitchell dancing and serving up some jellied eels whilst cackling hysterically - you get the idea!

To understand some of the lyrics in Chas n Dave songs you need some understanding of cockney rhyming slang – “Wot we all speak 'ere in Landun tawn!

Here are some examples to start you off:

Jack Jones = alone, (on your own - 'On your Jack')
Loaf (loaf of bread) = head ('use your loaf')
Moby Dick = sick
Vera Lynn = gin
Whistle (whistle and flute) = suit
Trouble and Strife = Wife
Strawberry Tart = Heart

and "Chas and Dave" means "Shave"

There are people out there who do actually use cockney rhyming slang as part of their everyday vocabulary. My former boss used to say things like "don't get yourself in a two and eight" (that means don't get yourself in a state). Quite often it would only be during my drive home from work that I'd figure out what he'd actually been talking about. Cockney can also turn up in the most unexpected places the oddest being when I was trekking through the Andes mountains in Peru a few years back. Just when you think you've got as far away from home as you can, you overhear an unmistakable cockney accent talking about "apples and pears"! Those cockneys get everywhere I'm telling you!

If you want to know more about how to talk in cockney rhyming slang, this website is quite fun and this is good video called QI: Cockney Rhyming Slang: A Lesson with Stephen Fry - BBC.

Gawd bless ya!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

What's On In London This Week (Including Free Shows)

Here are a few of the gigs going on in London this week that caught my eye. This is by no means a definitive list of ALL gigs happening so please leave a comment if you think I've missed any worth knowing about.

Monday 8th December
Duffy @ The Brixton Academy
Tanlines @ Pure Groove Instore (FREE) 1.30pm
An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump @ Pure Groove Instore (FREE) 6:30pm
WOMEN @ Rough Trade East Instore (FREE) 9pm

UPDATE: A Place to Bury Strangers @ The ICA
UPDATE: Loney, Dear @ Old Blue Last
UPDATE: Gregory and the Hawk @ Big Chill House

Tuesday 9th December
Mumford & Sons @ The Hoxton Bar And Grill
Cargo Christmas Party
Duffy @ The Brixton Academy
Joan As Policewoman @ Shepherds Bush Empire
VIVIAN GIRLS @ Rough Trade East Instore (FREE) 7.00pm

Wednesday 10th December
Supergrass @ Shepherds Bush Empire
Siren, Sirens @ Pure Groove Instore (FREE) 6pm

Thursday 11th December
Chas & Dave @ Electric Ballroom ("Rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit")
Kings of Leon @ The O2
Alessi's Ark @ Pure Groove Instore (FREE) 6.30pm
eARmusic @ The Star

UPDATE: Rachel Unthank and the Winterset @ Union Chapel

Friday 12th December
The Prodigy @ The Brixton Academy
Rose Elinor Dougall @ Pure Groove Instore (FREE) 1.30pm

UPDATE: M83 @ St. Giles In The Fields

Saturday 13th December
The Prodigy @ The Brixton Academy
GUNS N ROSES GUITARIST MEET & GREET @ Rough Trade East Instore 11am - 12:45pm

(In case any concerts have changed dates/ changed venues/ been cancelled or I've made a typo, you'd be wise to check out the venue websites before heading out the door because it's mighty cold out there and I wouldn't want you to freeze.)

I'm looking forward to seeing Mumford & Sons on Tuesday and catching some of the free instore concerts this week. I really wanted to see Vivian Girls at Rough Trade East on Tuesday but it clashes with Mumford & Sons at the Hoxton Bar and Grill which is going to be a popular concert so I probably need to get there reasonably early.

If you fancy a bit of
Rockney (that's Rock + Cockney) then you should check out Chas 'n' Dave at the Electric Ballroom on Thursday. "Rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit".

Have a good week!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Music Concert Injuries!

Photo: Crowd Surfing by Lauren Murphy (CC)

Tomorrow I will be refreshing my life saving skills at a First Aid course and given the amount of injuries that are suggested to have happened at music concerts, you might just be glad I bothered!

Here's a list of just some of those that I've read about today (research for my first aid course of course):

Twisted ankles
Sprained ankles
Black eyes
Fractured cheekbones
Broken legs
Broken arms
Broken feet
Broken nose
Drug overdoses
Over heating
Nose Bleeds
Sun burn (not so much a problem at UK outdoor festivals)
Burns caused by pyrotechnics
Various head injuries caused by drumsticks and other objects being thrown into the crowd, read here.

...and of course the occasional bruised ego which I don't believe will be covered in my course.

Apart from the odd bout of brief post show deafness and having my foot stepped on more often than I care to mention I have generally fared pretty well, but then again I've never hung around mosh pits which is where I'm sure a lot of the injuries I mentioned have occurred.

The Red Cross website has some very simple tips on how to deal with some of the injuries I mentioned such as:

How to treat to a nose bleed
How to help people who have collapsed
How to deal with a heart attack
How to resuscitate
How to deal with a spinal injury
How to deal with strains and sprains
and a list of First Aid myths

All good stuff worth spending a few minutes reading up on. Go on, knock yourself out with it and hopefully by the end of tomorrow I'll know how to help you.

If you have a story to share about an injury at a music concert, please leave a comment!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Concert Review: Liam Finn @ Scala 02/12/08 and how I was squashed and fed into a loop pedal!

Liam Finn

Yesterday evening I got squashed and fed into a loop pedal. Wondering what I did? I stood in the audience at a Liam Finn concert.

Having easily managed to secure a spot directly in front of the stage (so I could take fuzzy photos to share with you) me and mine stood patiently chatting and waiting for the support acts to show and we were so unprepared for what came next. Even though the room was still pretty empty, one lady annoyingly decided to lean into us; it was so unnecessary and a prime example of really bad gig etiquette. Shoot me down for saying this but a lot of my bad experiences at gigs have been as a result of girls trying to aggressively push their way to the front – here’s an idea: if you really want to be at the front, get there earlier! (grrrrr… there, rant over :-p).

The room eventually filled up and the first of two support acts, Connan Mockasin, wandered onto the stage. His voice was a little high pitched for my liking but his show was quite a spectacle involving lots of black tape, toilet paper and a beach ball! Lots of fun!

Connan Mockasin and guy covered in toilet paper and black tape

Lawrence Arabia played next. Their tunes were OK but as the sound of chatter coming from the audience highlighted, people were here to see Liam Finn and I felt that maybe they played a few songs too many, it must be hard to be the second act.

Laurence Arabia

When they had finished the drum kit was moved to the front of the stage along with a tray of electronic switches that would make any Maplins enthusiast salivate.

Tray of electronic switches

Liam made a brief appearance on the stage to record some drum loops and then retreated backstage for a few moments before reappearing with his other band member backup vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Eliza-Jane.


This was the final week of a tour that has taken them across the states, promoting the album I’ll Be Lightning, which has made it into Q magazine’s top 50 albums of the year.

Kicking off the set with “Better To Be” Liam might have left a few audience members wondering how there were drums in the song when there was no one sitting at the drum kit? And how did his guitar go on playing after he had put it down? Remember that tray of electronic switches I was telling you about earlier? Well some of the switches are loop pedals and in effect (along with Eliza-Jane) are his band (sorry if you already knew that!). Loop pedals enable a musician to record music being played at any moment of their set and play it back at the press of a pedal at any point they want. It was impressive to watch the pace at which he recorded and controlled all the different sounds during the songs; the guy is a multi-tasker extraordinaire!

Liam Finn - multi-tasker extraordinaire!

Much to Liam and Eliza-Jane's pleasure, the audience sang along with many of the songs, and later on during the set Liam turned the microphone towards us all and recorded our fairly reasonable attempts at singing (?) into a loop pedal to be used as part of the song. Even though I don’t think it actually sounded that good in the song, I thought this was a nice touch.

My favourite song of the evening and an instant crowd pleaser was “Second Chance”. Towards the end of the song Liam performed an intense drum solo that he finished by pretty much ejecting himself backwards off his chair in a way that would make you think he'd suddenly burnt his bum. It was a good example of the kind of energy he injects into his performances. Watch this video I found on Flickr from last night to see what I mean.

Liam Finn performing Second Chance

Towards the end of the set, something small hit me under my right eye causing a short sharp jab of pain. I thought it might have been a splinter off Eliza-Jane’s drumsticks because she was standing mighty close but then, at the same time, something went wrong with Liam’s mass of electronic pedals, they seemed to loose power making me wonder whether I’d actually been hit by an electronic spark. As I mentioned earlier, I was standing right in front of the stage, there’s no press pit at Scala. I do have a bit of a history of giving electric shocks to people, so beware crowd pushers – it might actually be dangerous to stand next to me! An un-phased Liam fiddled with lots of wires, quickly resolving the situation and then brought on all the members of the support bands to accompany him and Eliza-Jane for the next song.

Leaving the stage on a high after a superb rendition of “Lead Balloon” I felt for sure that would be their last song so I was a little surprised when they returned for an encore. Unfortunately about two songs in we had to leave to catch a train missing the end of the gig.

Overall I did really enjoy the evening, the energy and passion with which Liam throws himself into his music was a joy to experience but I did feel that some of that momentum was lost during the encore and maybe they should have finished at “Lead Balloon”.

I must also mention it was nice to bump into music blogger Crazy Bobbles who has some fantastic photos.

Liam Finn

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