Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Green Man Festival 2009 - more acts confirmed

News hot off the press!

The following acts have been added to the 2009 Green Man Festival line up:

Four Tet, Grizzly Bear, Rodriguez, The Phantom Band, Unicorn Kid, Vetiver, Andrew Bird, Dirty Three, Beth Jeans Houghton, Joe Gideon & The Shark,The Leisure Society

Very exciting! Especially nice to see Grizzly Bear, the lovely Vetiver and The Leisure Society on the menu. Green Man is shaping up to be a great festival.

Click here for the full listing and general information about the festival such as tickets etc.

[Source: Green Man Festival Website]

Royksopp Photopass Competition!

If you are a fan of Royksopp (argh spelling!) and enjoy watching a gig from behind your fancy camera lens then you may want sit up and read THIS:

According to the blurb on the Royksopp website you need to send a link to your portfolio or Flickr profile to photographer@royksopp.com along with your full name and the show you would like to attend. The winner will receive a Photopass for themselves plus an extra ticket to take a friend to the show! Cha-Ching!!!

Here is the list of shows in the competition:

Pumpehuset Copenhagen - 6th April
Lido Berlin - 7th April
La Trabendo Paris - 8th April
Ether Festival London - 11th April

A couple of summers ago, Royksopp played in the park next door to my house. Tickets sold out fast so we ended up listening for free in the comfort of our own back garden and very nice it was to. Their latest album 'Junior' is currently streaming in full on their website. My favourite song is 'Vision One' which I think utilizes the "balloon rubbing" sound well. They also have some nifty album artwork uploaded here.

Good luck!

Monday, 30 March 2009

What's on in London this week (Including FREE shows + Downloads) w/c March 30th 2009

Here is my hand picked list of gigs happening in London this week. Please leave a comment if you think I've missed any worth knowing about.

Monday 30th March
SixToes, Laura Marling and Polly Scattergood @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Chess Club ft. Chew Lips @ The Social

Tuesday 31st March
'The Fishing Trip' Johnny Flynn and Josephine Oniyama @ The Lexington
Broken Records @ Monto Water Rats
Dean Owens + Adam McBride Smith + Kim Edgar @ The Slaughtered Lamb

Wednesday 1st April
The Fall + Bobby Peru @ Koko
Iain Archer & The New York Fund @ Bush Hall
Sunharbour and Pevin Kinel @ The Slaughtered Lamb

Thursday 2nd April
Oxjam - The Sleeping Years, Alessi's Ark, Beans on Toast, Josh Weller, The Rapscallions and Betty Steeles @ The Troubadour
Dirty Projectors + Lucky Dragons + Polar Bear @ Scala
MIA + Daniella Maria + Lucy Kitt + Elliott Morris +Aliyah @ The Star
The Mekons + De Rosa + Laura Hocking @ The Brixton Windmill
Delta Spirit Instore @ Rough Trade East, 1:15pm (FREE)
Delta Spirit @ The ICA

Saturday 4th April
Rota ft. Tim Tem Yen + Internet Forever + Pope Joan @ Notting Hill Arts Club (FREE)
Pure Groove All Day Record Fair, From 12pm

Sunday 5th April
Slow Club @ 1pm, Theoretical Girl @ 1:30pm Bandstand Busking in Northampton Square, Silington, London, EC1V

(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 makes sense right?)

Future Event:

The Electroacoustic Club 5th Birthday Concert
ft. The Johnny Parry Trio (album launch) + Soy Un Caballo + This Is The Kit (split single launch) @ The Union Chapel, May 9th
Early bird tickets are available @ £6 (link) other advance tickets/door are £8 (link)

Continuing the 5th birthday celebrations, the kind people at The Electroacoustic Club are also offering you a present in the form of a FREE Downloadable EP with songs from all the artists who will be playing during the evening.

This week I'm going to be dusting down my fishing rod, packing my sandwiches and heading off on a fishing trip with Mr Johnny Flynn to The Lexington, probably one of the least likely places to find a fish unless it's on the menu. I'm not really sure of why this is being called a fishing trip but Johnny does seem to want to run with the theme requesting we all bring our own fish to the show.

"last minute request for those of you coming to the gig this tuesday at the lexinton (the fishing trip)...please help me decorate the room by bringing (very not compulsory) a FISH of your own design and hand - be it drawn, cut-out, papiermashed, painted, loved, caught hook, line and sinker; we will display them all a-la tony hart as part of the evening. the more fantastical the better. think magical realism. think picasso. think fish. someone'll win a beautiful hand-made medallion, i warrant, for most beautiful fish. eat your hart out tony."

I'm intrigued!

Chalky xo

R.I.P. Tony Hart

Friday, 27 March 2009

Dengue Fever Documentary Screening (Monday 30th)

One of favourite bands of 2008, Dengue Fever are having their documentary called ‘SLEEPWALKING THROUGH THE MEKONG’ screened in LA at 8pm on Monday 30th (next week).

The documentary follows them on their recent journey to Cambodia to perform 60s and 70s Cambodian rock n' roll in the country where it was created and very nearly destroyed.

It's all happening in the courtyard of Space15Twenty, just up the street from Amoeba at 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. Not only is it FREE entry, I've been told there will be FREE IZZE soda and FREE popcorn and wait for it....apparently Dengue Fever are going to be there as well! I met the band last year and they are truly top people so if you like their music or just want to go to something that doesn't cost money I strongly recommend putting this in your diary (not dairy as I initially typed). The only thing stopping me from going to this is 8645 km but they will be back in the UK in June so I'm not going to complain.

If you have no idea who Dengue Fever are, read this and this and watch this, they are awesome!

and this:

For more information about the event click here.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Lawrence Ferlinghetti - 90 Today

Today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 90th birthday. For those of you who haven't heard of him, he is an American poet and painter and the guy who in 1953 co-founded City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. City Lights later went on to become the literary home of beat generation authors such as Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs.

(Photo: Our very well read copy of Kerouac's The Dharma Bums)

Reading beat literature seems like a right of passage for most college students and my husband and I weren't any different possibly favouring Kerouac's work the most. A couple of years back we were making our way around California on a road trip and decided to visit the City Lights Bookstore and indulge ourselves in a little Beat nostalgia.

(Photo: Howl Receipt from City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco)

Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl has quite a history attached to City Lights which involved Lawrence Ferlinghetti getting arrested on charges of obscenity, read the full story here. We agreed it would be nice to purchase a copy of this book in particular from the store to keep as a little memento of our trip. The photo above shows the receipt which I keep pressed flat in the first pages of the book to remind me of when and where we bought it. I also hope it will bring the book to life for someone who reads it in the future when myself and City Lights Bookstore may be long gone.

Anyway, everyone knows that reading books is thirsty work so after a very pleasant morning browsing through loads of fascinating books at City Lights we popped next door to Vesuvio, an old famous beat watering hole. I can report the beer there is nice and so is their bourbon, especially the one called Knob Creek. A few drinks too many and a some rambled conversations about American Football with a nice local at the bar later, we retreated to our hotel in a taxi to sleep off our beat experience. It was a lovely day and one I will always remember, well most of it...

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is on my list of people I would love to have over for dinner. It would be great to hear all his stories about the beats and the people of North Beach from that time. What it was like living in San Fransisco in the 50's and how life there has changed. On top of all this he has a great accent, I could quite happily sit and listen to him speak for hours. I do hope some of his conversations are being recorded for people to enjoy in the future.

On a musical note, (this is after all a music blog!) when the beat generation was starting out, bebop was already well established as an innovative style of music. Musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie apparently made quite an impression on many of the beat writers who could often be found hanging out at Jazz clubs in New York. Some people argue that the genius of these jazz musicians provided the inspiration for Kerouac's 'On the Road' and Ginsberg's 'Howl'. Whatever happened, I'm glad it did and what a time it must have been to have lived in.

Happy 90th birthday Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

Monday, 23 March 2009

What's on in London this week (Including FREE shows) w/c March 23rd 2009

Here are some of the gigs going on in London this week that caught my eye. Please leave a comment if you think I've missed any worth knowing about.

Monday March 23rd
Chew Lips instore @ Pure Groove Records, 6:30pm (FREE)

Tuesday March 24th
Official Secrets Act instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm (FREE)
Animal Collective + Dent May @ HMV Forum
Antony And The Johnsons with Florence and The Machine, V V Brown @ Royal Albert Hall

Wednesday March 25th
Ghost Bees, Jake Flowers, Laurie McNamee and Stephen Junior @ The Slaughtered Lamb
Topman Ctrl Curated by Metronomy @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Thursday March 26th
Mono @ Scala
The Boy Least Likely To @ Cargo
The Leisure Society + Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards + Caroline Weeks @ The Luminaire

Friday March 27th
Vaselines @ HMV Forum

Saturday March 28th
The Joy Formidable @ 93 Feet East
Rota ft. It Hugs Back, Dutch Uncles and Animal Kingdom @ Notting Hill Arts Club

Sunday March 29th
Beth Orton @ The Slaughtered Lamb

(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.)

If I was holding an imaginary competition and the prize was tickets to three of this weeks shows, the question would be:

Which singer once described Kelly and Mckee of The Vaselines as his "favorite songwriters in the whole world"?


The three shows I would choose would be:

Animal Collective
The Vaselines
Beth Orton

If you think you know the answer (without looking it up on the Internet) leave a comment and if you're correct you'll get.. well nothing because it's an imaginary competition but lets not focus on that, details, details!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

My new record, taking pleasure in simple things...

I have a sexy new record! I bought M Ward's 'Hold Time' yesterday at Rough Trade East after deciding it would sound particularly great on vinyl and I wasn't wrong.

I haven't bought any records in years for one very good reason, I didn't have anything to play them with! This all changed recently when I got a record player for my birthday and although it's been a lot of fun catching up with all my old records I was eager to buy some new ones.

Perhaps it was self indulgent nostalgia but my husband and I both made the time to sit down to listen to the first play of 'Hold Time'. There was something inexplicably pleasant about the feeling I got as the needle settled in the groove and the first song began, I can't think of an equivalent feeling I've experienced from listening to a new MP3 or CD for the first time.

I wonder whether I find a certain amount of satisfaction in being more physically involved in playing a song rather than just pressing the button on my CD player/ipod and waiting for it to start. Maybe I take great pleasure in watching things go round and round. Maybe this album just sounds better on vinyl. Whatever it is, I'm happy I bought this record and you bet I'll be buying more in the future.

(Photo: Fully unfolded album art for 'Hold Time')

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day!

The Pogues & The Dubliners sing Irish Rover

Love this version of Irish Rover with The Dubliners and The Pogues, my favourite by far.

Beards and banjos, The Dubliners have been working the image for ages. Is this what the Fleet Foxes will look like in a few years time?

(The Dubliners on Flickr by Dena Flows)

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Monday, 16 March 2009

What's on in London this week (Including FREE shows) w/c March 16th

Here are some of the gigs and a couple of other events going on in London this week that caught my eye. Please leave a comment if you think I've missed any worth knowing about.

Monday 16th March
Camera Obscura @ The Lexington

Tuesday 17th March St Patrick's Day
Betty Frances, The Black Maria Memorial Fund @ The Slaughtered Lamb

Wednesday 18th March
Sparky Deathcap @ The Slaughtered Lamb
Girl Talk and Daedelus @ Scala
Archway Nights, Roller Lights @ Archway Tube Station 6-9pm

Thursday 19th March
Doves + The Invisible @ The Forum

Friday 20th March
Ujino and the Rotators (sound sculptor/performance) @ Southbank Centre, Ether 2009 (FREE)

Saturday 21st March
Mr Scruff @ Koko
Veto @ Bar Rumba
Rota @ Notting Hill Arts Club (FREE ENTRY) 4pm
Beyond The Wall Traditional Chinese Music @ Barbican Centre, 6pm (FREE)

(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 sometimes I get things wrong.)

A somewhat quiet week for music in London thanks to most of the music industry relocating to Austin Texas for the South by South West (SXSW) music showcase extravaganza. I was going to pretend I was there and Twitter my heart away in some sort of fantasy world but realised the other London music bloggers would suss me out straight away. Instead we'll have a bbq here, drink some Coors light and I'll get my guitar out and put my husband on the bongos, almost the same and we won't have to catch a long flight home, nice.

It's St Patrick's day on Tuesday and I think it's fair to say no matter where you go in the World, you can always be sure to find an Irish themed pub. I've sat (and occasionally wobbled) in them in all sorts of places including deepest darkest Peru, Berlin, Istanbul and New Zealand. Flying back from New Zealand at the end of Paddy's day was probably my worst experience. Due to the time zone changes you basically get the same day twice so we were getting Paddy's day twice over. An old Irish bloke decided to celebrate for two days straight, this is just what you want on a 25hour trip. It was loud, messy and smelly and definitely the worst flight I have ever taken.

Anyway, here's a list of London pubs where you can lift a glass or two to celebrate should you feel the urge.

Have a good week!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Friday Brain Dump

I've found it a little difficult to concentrate this week, possibly a result of slowly eating my way through this belated birthday cake, yum:

Anyway, here is a brain dump of some of the things I've been up to and I promise to stay away from sugary things next week.

I've been listening to Tom Brosseau's new album called 'Posthumous Success' which is out May 11th on Fat Cat Records and sounding good. Royksopp have their new album called 'Junior' streaming on their MySpace page. Some of the tracks such as 'The Girl and the Robot' have an almost club anthem appeal - watch out for them being played to death in clubs this Summer. The more laid back 'Royksopp Forever' is my favourite track at the moment and should sound awesome at The Royal Albert Hall gig next month. Full reviews of both albums coming up soon.

I've been rediscovering Department of Eagles who I have to say are pretty fantastic. You can get a good taste of their sound on LastFM.

I've been reminiscing with some Joni Mitchell, Beth Orton, Nirvana and Man or Astroman? and also indulged in a couple of Fun Loving Criminals tracks, just for the memorieeez OK?!

I've been trying to do my bit to hasten the end of the recession by booking a couple of concert tickets. I'm finally going to see M Ward, this time at the Shepherds Bush Empire in June, not as intimate a venue as The Borderline but hey, lets not be too choosy. Incidentally my lovely pregnant friend will be joining me for that one. She'll probably be approaching 'beach ball, weeble wobble' status by then but I'm sure the M Ward folksy crowd will be chilled out enough for her to be able to enjoy the evening. I mentioned I thought she should introduce her baby to good music at as young an age as possible, in the womb is as good a time as any I guess!

I've been smelling the sweet promise of Spring in the air. The almost intoxicating thought that Summer with all it's warmth and sunshine (hopefully) is on it's way has had me Spring cleaning like a crazy woman. So far I have taken 10 bags of "stuff" to the charity shop and have a couple of things for sale on ebay, not much interest being shown in them yet.

I'll leave you with this video from last night's Graham Norton show. It's basically some audience members dancing and I think it's quite entertaining. The first guy does a very energetic unexpected dance to the James Bond theme (at about 1 min in) and this is followed (at about 3 min 20) by a really cool little group dance to the Athlete song, 'Wires'. Athlete, if you are going to be making any music videos in the near future, you really should consider getting those guys involved, they are fantastic. If the subtitles are too annoying in this clip, here's a link to the full show on the BBC website.

Tomorrow, same time, same place.

Chalky xo

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

2009 End of the Road festival line up announced

The End of the Road Festival organisers have posted a line up and here's how it's looking so far: (please check the official End of the Road website for changes to this line up etc since they're information will be the most up to date and reliable.)

The Acorn
Alela Diane
Archie Bronson Outfit
Bob Log III
The Boy Least Likely To
The Broken Family Band
Charlie Parr
Dan Sartain
Dent May
The Dodos
Explosions In The Sky
Fleet Foxes
Howlin Rain
J Tillman
Joe Gideon and the Shark
Lay Low
The Lost Brothers
The Low Anthem
Magnolia Electric Co.
Motel Motel
Mumford and Sons
The Mummers
Okkervil River
Peter Broderick
Sam Baker
Sparrow and The Workshop
Steve Earle
The Tallest Man On Earth
This Frontier Needs Heroes
William Elliot Whitmore
Whispertown 2000

Not a bad lineup thank you End of the Road festival organisers. Good to see The Dodos, Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons and The Tallest Man on Earth on the bill. No low flying guitars being thrown into the audience this year I hope.

End of the Road Official Website

This festival takes place on the 11th, 12th and 13th of September in Larmer Tree Gardens, North Dorset.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Mumford & Sons: ICA performance of new song 'Pompey'

Here is one of the new songs from Mumford & Sons performed at last weeks concert at The ICA in London, see my review here. They called this song 'Pompey' on the night but that was only because it had only previously been performed at a gig in Portsmouth. The song doesn't have an official name yet.

Mumford and Sons release a limited edition 10 vinyl, The Cave and the Open Sea on Chess Club on 6 April 2009.

Thanks to SeeGigFilmGigPost for posting this on YouTube.

YouTube 0 - 0 PRS (LOSE : LOSE)

Yesterday evening the news broke that YouTube was blocking all premium music videos to UK users after failing to reach a new licensing agreement with the Performing Rights Society (PRS).

This morning I listened to an interview on Radio 4 with representatives from both sides and from what my little brain could take in pre- cup of tea it seems YouTube and the PRS disagree on the amount that YouTube should in future be paying to the PRS in royalties for streaming premium music videos. In simple terms, the PRS wants more money than YouTube is willing to pay. From what I understand, the PRS wants to raise the costs of the licence because the number of people watching premium music videos has increased considerably over the last year or so. Meanwhile YouTube say the proposed increase in fees is not "economically sustainable" for them as a business. Obviously I have simplified the situation to make this post a reasonable length so I recommend you read both sides of the full negotiation details here and here.

From where I'm sitting it's currently a lose:lose situation. The plug has been pulled, the product removed from the British shelves so to speak, no one makes any extra money and the goose will not get as fat.

Who suffers more?
I haven't seen any figures so can't comment in financial terms but in simple terms I'm guessing if YouTube really can't run a business on the new terms being put forward by the PRS and both parties can't come to a workable compromise then in the short term it is probably financially better for YouTube to cut the UK out of the picture. On the other hand in the long term, not being able to advertise premium musicians through music videos in the UK (and I'm assuming YouTube is one if not THE favourite sites to view such videos) could be harmful to the overall value of the UK music industry and as a result harm YouTube, The PRS and the musicians revenues.

I don't know what the answer is and I'm not sure YouTube and the PRS do either so I'll be following these talks with a certain amount of interest over the coming days.

In the meantime I'd like to recommend a book to both YouTube and the PRS I just so happen to have a copy of for sale this week called 'Getting To Yes' - 'Negotiating an agreement without giving in' by Roger Fisher and William Ury. It's theirs for £1 (+ postage and packing) or I suppose they could just borrow it from their local library for free or even just read it for free on google books here.

P.S. It might not seem like it but I really am selling a book called 'Getting To Yes', if anyone is interested in buying my copy for a £1 (plus P &P) please send me an email to tlsreview [at] gmail dot com. Remember how good it feels to own your own book, what a privilege!

Monday, 9 March 2009

What's on in London this week (Including FREE shows) w/c March 9th

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 9th March
Broadcast 2000 and Laura Hocking @ The Social
Franz Ferdinand + The Soft Pack @ HMV Apollo Hammersmith (SOLD OUT)

Tuesday 10th March
The Boy Least Likely To instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm (FREE)
Skeletons, Ponytail and Gentle Friendly @ The Lexington
Rod Thomas @ Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen
Sam Isaac + The All New Adventures of Us @ The Old Blue Last
Huw Stephens Introducing @ The Social (FREE)

Wednesday 11th March
Micachu instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm

Thursday 12th March
Patrick Wolf, Craig Template and Micachu and The Shapes @ Heaven

Friday 13th March
The Acorn and Babel @ The Windmill, Brixton
Patrick Wolf + Micachu @ Koko

Saturday 14th March
Rota @ Notting Hill Arts Club 4pm - 8pm (FREE)

(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 well it makes sense right?)

Not the most lively of weeks musically speaking but plenty on that list to see and it always makes me smile inside when one of them has played in my living room. Incidentally, I do hope to be able to host some more Living Room shows this Summer, just need to find a new flat first. Also have you noticed how the sun is setting that little bit later every evening? Great isn't it. British Summer Time (BST) begins in just under 3 weeks meaning those long and hopefully hot summer days are edging that bit closer. Did you know the purpose of the one hour shift is to make maximum use of daylight hours, principally to maximise commercial efficiency? The idea was first introduced (and made law in 1916) to save on fuel costs by increasing the working hours available in daylight. I wonder what difference this will make in the current economic climate. I digress.

It's a busy week for me as I try to start my Spring cleaning and get rid of loads of junk from the flat. I find it easier if I approach this boring task by setting myself goals. The idea is I am to be rid of all the junk I've sorted out so far (and there's a fair bit) by Sunday 15th which gives me a week. I'm going to try to raise as much money as possible and keep my environmentally friendly hat on, so I'll be using Ebay, Freecycle and if all else fails, the local Recycling centre (in that order). All the monies raised can then go into my ticket fund so I can go to lots more shows and then write about them here. So I'm recycling my junk into concert reviews (no jokes please). I'll let you know how it goes and I'll be posting my progress on Twitter as the week goes by.

Are you out and about this week? I'm sure there will be plenty of fun things going on I've missed so please leave a comment and tell the world about the good stuff.

Bye for now,

Chalky xo

Sunday, 8 March 2009

TLS Edinburgh Edition: Concert Review - Franz Ferdinand @ Glasgow Barrowland 4th March 2009

2009 is the
Scottish Year of Homecoming to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of poet, philosopher and philanderer Robert Burns.

This week has seen a more contemporary homecoming with Franz Ferdinand playing a series of sell out shows at the famous Glasgow Barrowland. Our man Ian in Edinburgh was there and shares his thoughts from the evening.

Fair play to the Franz, given they can command a headlining festival slot at the drop of a hat, it would have been easy to have done two nights at the arena sized SECC however the band chose instead to take the extra time to play shows at the most energetic and engaging venue which is every bodies favourite. Wednesday night was no exception to this as the room crackled with anticipation the minute the doors opened and by 9pm the crowd had reached a state of fever pitch.

Now I think Franz Ferdinand have it just about perfect - a broad church of musical references - everything from German disco to comparisons to early Postcard favourites The Fire Engines (yes FF score the bonus point for their part in the reunion of The Fire Engines in 2005) and an ability to race along the tightrope of populist beats with enough innovation to keep the more seasoned fan ( ie old git like me) interested.

The previous occasion I had seen the band was at an Edinburgh Festival show in Princes Street Gardens which felt sanitised and distant - an antithesis of everything that Glasgow Barrowland has to offer. The second song, new single 'No You Girls' received the sort of reception of an old classic which was merited given the quality of the mix and Kapranos' bitter sweet , suggestive and pleading lyrics. Other tracks from Tonight were also enhanced by live performance with 'Twighlight Omens' coming across stronger than on the record. From there, the band guided us through a personal favourite 'Walk Away' which always remind me slightly of other Scottish giants Big Country. In their stride the energy of the band was being matched by a youthful and exuberant audience and the usual Franz high spots of 'Take Me Out' , 'Matinee' and 'Do You Want To' were greeted with expected adulation from a home crowd. I was impressed however that Kapranos played it straight and resisted a temptation where many performers fall foul, reminding the Barras audience that they are the best in the business.

Aside from this, an advantage of a multi night run is that the sound engineers get a fighting chance of producing a sound which is worthy of the music and this was as close to perfect as I've heard recently. During tracks like '40' and 'Michael' from the debut LP, McCrathy produced guitar licks worthy of Nile Rogers whilst strutting like Angus Young. If he had been around in a different era, positive comparisons would have been made with jaggy guitar post punk legends The Gang Of Four or personal favourites Big Flame.

The addition of keyboards on some tracks and at one stage a bit of impromptu mixing by Kapranos shows that the Ferdinand are still pushing their creative edge and despite the time taken to deliver the third album, there still appears a freshness and a confidence that they can stay at the top of their game for some time to come. Indeed with songs from the new album sounding strong live, particularly album opener 'Ulysses', they now have more weapons in the armoury to allow for further creative diversions. That coupled with a desire to play live shows in venues of all shapes and sizes will keep them fresh and on the radar for a long time to come.... pity it didn't happen to Big Flame as well.

Written by Ian Campbell

Friday, 6 March 2009

Mumford & Sons + Alessi's Ark + Sons of Noel and Adrian @ The ICA, London 04/03/09

Chomping on a Peking Duck wrap I scurried across Trafalgar Square past The National Gallery (which looked awesome in the dark with bright Picasso paintings projected on to the building walls) and up The Mall stopping just short of Buckingham Palace at The ICA. Yes The ICA shares it's postcode with The Queen, there was no sign of her but I did manage to spot some of London's musical type royalty in the shape of Laura Marling hanging out at the back of the room, a regular fixture at every Mumford & Sons show I've attended in London so far.

It was great to meet up with Anika and Crazybobbles who were both suffering a bit from a combination of gig fatigue and colds. They go to gigs pretty much every night of the week! The three of us have a bit of a history of bad things happening to us during Mumford & Sons concerts and tonight was no exception. In the past Anika has fainted, I've got into an argument with someone in the audience and tonight it was Crazybobbles turn to feel faint. What's going on? Very strange.

Sons of Noel and Adrian were up first and they pretty much filled the stage, I counted ten in the band. Not quite the crazy So Solid Crew Collective numbers but ten is still enough to keep your head moving checking out what everyone is up to. They played sweet foot stomping folksy music which I really enjoyed. My favourite song was called 'This Wreck Is Not A Boat' which involved lots of whistling, fiddles and banjos. Their album is currently streaming on LastFM, I highly recommend checking them out.

(Alessi's Ark: Photo by Anika)

Alessi and her Ark played next. Alessi was wearing a long purple velvet dress and mentioned she felt like a 'dairy milk' which made me burst out with laughter (most of the audience did to). I thought her stage banter was great. I found myself completely captivated throughout her performance. Her voice and presence is really intriguing, she has a style that I can only describe as 'Alessi's style'. I got to meet her after the concert and thought she was charming. Check out her MySpace page to get a feel for her music.

Mumford & Sons began their set by singing 'Sigh No More' in complete darkness. The four of them lined up on stage singing in harmony with no musical accompaniment made for quite a dramatic entry and some members of the crowd squealed with delight. They played 12 songs including a couple of new ones called 'The Cave' and one that didn't have a name yet and had only been performed in Portsmouth so far so they called it 'Pompey'. Both were good but the song I enjoyed the most was the last one of the night called 'Dust Bowl Dance' during which Marcus thrashed the hell out of his drum kit at the front of the stage directly in front of us.

They sang "Steal my heart and break my pride, I've nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide, Align my heart my body my mind, To face what I've done and do my time" with passion and conviction, completely nailing the song and ending the show on a high.

Mumford & Sons are a class act to see live, they have heart and talent which is a dangerous combination. I can say with certainty these guys are not going to be playing small venues for much longer. Queenie you missed your chance on Wednesday night and it was all happening right on your doorstep *sigh*.

Here's the only video I could find of Mumford & Sons singing 'Dust Bowl Dance' during a Rough Trade instore near the end of Last year. It's the second song in the video and starts at about 4mins 40.

**UPDATE** Someone lovely person called docile33 has added the performance of Dust Bowl Dance from The ICA to YouTube. Watch out for the hectic drumming about 4 and a half minutes in...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Live Review: Vetiver instore @ Pure Groove Records 29/02/09

Last Saturday Vetiver brought their lovely blend of sweet folksy music to Pure Groove Records in London to support the release of their new album 'Tight Knit'. Me and mine decided this would be a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon, well actually more like I did and he came along because I asked him to and it was free.

We turned up early to get ourselves a little coffee (and cake which they didn't actually have but informed me they are going to start selling soon -yey!) and to take in the build up to the show, it's always fun to see the band members setting up right there in front of you.

Four o'clock came around and the shop had filled up with fifty plus people so the band took to the stage. Starting with one of their new songs called 'Everyday' they played several songs most of which I recognised off their new album thanks to it being streamed for free on LastFM a week or so ago.

All of the songs had quite a chilled out folksy feel, some sounded fantastic, a couple wavered precariously between laid back and horizontal but overall I though this was a good performance. I really like Andy Cabic's voice and the gorgeous harmonies they sing, it really is such a lovely sound.

(Slightly fuzzy photo by me: No brushes in this one but what a great hat)

I found it almost hypnotic watching the drummer's (who wears a fantastic hat - I love hats) brushes go round and round creating a mellow bluesy sound, I couldn't help but think how useful he would be in the kitchen if you needed a good stirrer. Ah gees, I need to get out more!

This was the fourth day of the UK tour which had taken them to Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester on the previous nights. That night they were due to play The Cecil Sharp House in London.

All in all a very civilized and enjoyable afternoon in lovely comfortable surroundings, the audience was pretty sedate but maybe they were all hypnotised by the drummer's brushes as well. Who knows!

Anyway, thanks for another great free show Pure Groove, your shop looks great, you make great bands assessable to fans for free and I love the new cafe, and if you get some cake in I'll be an even happier girl if that's possible. You guys are doing great things for live music.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Noah and the Whale to play FREE instore tonight!

According to Lastminute.com, Noah and the Whale will be doing a free instore at the Lastminute.com Good Stuff Store in London at 6:30pm this evening (March 3rd). The store opened for the first time yesterday and it will close after the show later today, then rather like a band it'll go on tour to Birmingham and Manchester.
The address is 2-3 James Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BH for today anyway.
This shop seems to like moving, I guess that's why they call it a pop up store. I'm new to this kind of thing.

Check out this link for more info.

The Green Man Festival 2009 Line Up (so far) just announced

The Green Man Festival tickets are on sale from 10am today, this is the line up (just announced) so far:

Bon Iver
Wooden Ships
British Sea Power
Peggy Sue
Its A Buffalo
She Keeps Bees
Golden Animals
6 Day Riot
No Thee No Ess
Sound Carriers
Martin Carr
Beach House
Peter Broderickand
The Amorphous Androgynous (AKA Future Sound Of London)

The Doves **UPDATE* (I saw The Doves were on the LastFM event info for Green Man 2009 but I'd like to clarify this hadn't been confirmed on The Green Man website when I last checked today at 13:30pm 05/03/09)**

With more to be announced.

This looks good. I'm interested to see who else is added, there's not quite enough on there yet to get me uncontrollably excited (Bon Iver does raise the tempo for me), it's still pretty good though. Now do I buy a couple of tickets at this stage or not...

If you'd like to know more, here's the link to the website.

The Green Man Festival takes place in Glanusk Park (near the Brecon Beacons) on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of August.

As per usual with these kind of events, please check the lineup details on the official Green Man 2009 Festival website incase I have any of these details wrong.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Johnny Flynn Take Away Show

The very talented Johnny Flynn recently did a Take Away Show in Buenos Aires. I like the recording of 'The Box' the best, especially the guy at the end who asks him if he wrote the music and the words himself and the lady buying bananas in the background who is on a mission to buy those bananas! Incidentally, did anyone else notice the stray bag of bananas on the floor? Good job Johnny didn't slip on them but then again, I don't think I've ever heard of anyone slipping on a banana skin, have you? Enjoy.

Johnny Flynn - 'The Box'

Here is the link to the other Johnny Flynn take away shows.

Johnny Flynn MySpace

What's on in London this week (Including FREE shows) w/c March 2nd

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 2nd March
Horse Feathers @ The Luminaire
Wildbirds & Peacedrums @ The Social
Howling Bells @ Fopp, Covent Garden, 5pm (FREE)
Ex Lovers + Eugene McGuinness + Emmy The Great instore @ Rough Trade East, 6:30pm (wristband collection one hour before gig-FREE)

Tuesday 3rd March
Women + Wavves @ The Lexington
The Invisible instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm (FREE)

Wednesday 4th March
Mumford And Sons + Alessi's Ark @ The ICA
Jason Mraz @ Hammersmith Apollo

Thursday 5th March
J. Tillman @ Bush Hall
Peter, Bjorn and John instore @ Pure Groove Records, 1pm (FREE)
Fanfarlo + Martin and James @ 229 Great Portland Street
Crazy Penis @ O2 Academy Islington
The Bishops Album Launch @ The Old Blue Last
Micachu + Big Dave + Alice and the Cool Dudes @ Montague Arms

Friday 6th March
Noah and the Whale + Jay Jay Pistolet @ Shepherds Bush Empire

Saturday 7th March
Rota @ Notting Hill Arts Club Starts at 4pm (FREE)
Frank Turner instore @ Pure Groove Records, 6pm (FREE)
North Sea Radio Orchestra @ The Roundhouse

(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 just because really.)

If you're a fan of the The Green Man Festival you might want to be near a computer tomorrow when info about the tickets and lineup for this years festival are going on sale. Green Man will take place at Glanusk Park in the Brecon Beacons on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of August 2009 and promises to be magical this year, that's if it doesn't rain right?

**UPDATE** Just saw on Londonist that Banksy has been busy stenciling London's walls again. Click here for the article and here for Flickr shots.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Happy St David's Day!

If you're Welsh then 'Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus!' If you're not that meant 'Happy St Davids Day' or the direct translation 'Day Saint David Happy'.

Here are a few notes I've made about Wales:

We're a small country with our own language called Welsh and in some parts of Wales if you expect a good portion of fish and chips from the local chippy you'd be wise to lear
n how to speak it! We like singing. The letters K, Q or Z do not exist in the Welsh alphabet, CH, DD, FF, NG, LL, PH, RH and TH do and non Welsh speakers find it very difficult to pronounce them. We like Rugby A LOT but managed to throw away a pretty important game against the French last Friday. Wales is not in England. The welsh spoken in the North of Wales is very different to the welsh spoken in the South. Last time I counted there were about 3 million of us actually living in Wales. Our national flag has a red dragon ("Y Ddraig Goch") on it (how cool is that?!). You may have heard of Duffy? She's from Wales and we're so proud of her she now has a daffodil (national emblem) named after her called a 'Duffydil'. There are some good Welsh bands around at the moment e.g. Los Campensinos, The Joy Formidable and lots of music/culture festivals including The Green Man festival held in the South-West of Wales and a literary festival in Hay -on-Wye which is basically a town full of bookshops.

Anyway, Happy St Davids Day!

Y Ddraig Goch

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