Monday, 29 June 2009

Hark Rock Calling Photos - Saturday 27th June 2009

Here are some of the photos I managed to snap at Hard Rock Calling last Saturday. The quality isn't great but getting close to the stage at a concert that big is pretty much impossible and sometimes you just end up taking photos of the big screen.

Neil Young pulling the strings off his trusted 'old black' guitar

Look, it Neil Young and Paul McCartney!

Fleet Foxes -Soo far away!!

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons


What's on in London this week (including FREE shows) w/c June 29th 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 29th June
Regina Spektor + Jonathan Jeremiah + Reggie Watts + Blue Roses + Scott Mcfanon @ Hyde Park
Nouvelle Vague instore @ Pure Groove, 7:30pm (FREE)
Does it Offend You, Yeah @ Bush Hall
Lets Wrestle instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm (FREE)

Tuesday 30th June
M. Ward + Lavender Diamond + Iain Archer @ O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Bon Iver + Alela Diane + It Hugs Back + Beth Jeans Houghton + Villagers @Serpentine Session
Django Django instore @ Pure Groove, 6.30pm (FREE)

Wednesday 1st July
Deerhoof + Rumspringa + Anabel's Poppy Day @ Scala
Chief instore @ Pure Groove, 1.15pm (FREE)
She Keeps Bees @ The Britannia
Crosby, Stills & Nash @ Royal Albert Hall

Thursday 2nd July
Blur + Foals + Crystal Castles + Friendly Fires + Hypnotic Brass Ensemble + Golden Silvers @ Hyde Park (London)
Chief + She Keeps Bees @ The Luminaire

Friday 3rd July
Svarte Greiner + The Sight Below + Simon Scott + Xela @ The Luminaire
Blur + Vampire Weekend + Amadou And Mariam + Florence & The Machine + Deerhoof @ Hyde Park (London)

Saturday 4th July
Daylight Music ft. Alex Monk + Roshi feat.Pars Radio + Isnaj Du @ Union Chapel (FREE ENTRY midday -2pm)
O2 Wireless Festival @ Hyde Park
Plaid @ KOKO
ROTA ft. Picturebooks in Winter + The Rifle Volunteer + Monster Bobby @ Notting Hill Arts Club (Doors 4pm, FREE ENTRY)

Sunday 5th July
O2 Wireless Festival @ Hyde Park

(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)

It's a busy and hot week in the capital, the grass in Hyde Park is starting to look very similar to the baselines at Wimbledon, brown and worn out. I really enjoyed the Hard Rock Calling Festival there last Saturday the only downside being the extortionate price for food and drinks. The amount of money those food vans make is ridiculous. I worked a couple of days in one many years ago before I went to university when I was desperate for holiday money and can remember serving Big Ron from Eastenders a large bag of chips, I gave him extra because he was Big Ron.

I have a huge amount of sympathy for the nice people who work in those vans, probably on the minimum wage, the bosses are not often nice people and if you think this weather is hot, you don't know hot till you've stood in one of those hell holes for 10 hours - honestly sticking your head in the fridge is the only relief, you find yourself fantasizing about hugging ice burgs etc. To anyone doing that job - you have my sympathies.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, ever wondered how goths deal with the summer heat? I've just seen a website that has all the answers, it's called gothsinhotweather SEE HERE.

Whether you're a Goth or Fast Food van worker or neither, I hope you have a good week and find lots of ways to keep cool.


Sunday, 28 June 2009

Been a busy bee!

Wow, I've been incredibly busy over the last week and haven't really had much of a chance to update this blog. My week went something like this:

Tuesday: The Low Anthem @ Union Chapel - Fantastic show, amazing venue. Picked up a hand painted copy of their first album that has a cover made from reused cornflake boxes they collected.

Wednesday: Morning flight from Stansted to Dublin. Ryanair -need I say any more?

Thursday: Dublin - Family time, enjoying the company of my 5 wk old niece- she's gorgeous. Started watching the Michael Jackson news and had to stay up late to see if it was real.

Friday: Dublin - Delayed flight home, 40 mins late and I was so hungry but had run out of Euros - remind me, why don't we have the same currency? Also, why do people start queuing for Ryanair flights over an hour in advance of the departure time? Is it really that important to be at the front of the queue? Really? I just wait till everyone else is on and I never see to have a problem getting a seat. Then we had to wait 15 mins on the runway at Stansted for a gate and then I sat in my car in serious disbelief that there was a traffic jam at 1AM -why were there so many people in cars at that time of the day?! Honestly! It was shear weight of traffic, there wasn't an accident or road works. I finally got home sometime just before 2am.

Saturday: Sleep, afternoon and evening at Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park with Neil Young, Fleet Foxes etc Neil Young was superb and was joined on stage by Paul McCartney for the last song of the night 'A Day in the Life'. Fleet Foxes harmonies sounded great but not sure they are suited to such big venues.

Sunday: Catching up with life in general i.e. all the boring stuff like doing the washing, watering my lettuce etc.

Anyway, expect reviews shortly for The Low Anthem and Neil Young et al (I'm writing this one for another website but I'll post a link here) and please bear with me while I catch up.


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Stubthing of a phenomenon!

I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to collecting ticket stubs. After a show I pop them in an old designated shoe box and then occasionally I sift through them laughing at how my taste in music has changed or how good a show was, they also serve as a good reminder of where all my money went!

It's one thing reminiscing by myself but it's a far more fun experience to share those memories with other people (if they're interested!) and that's where concert website Songkick neatly steps in. The newly launched Songkick provides a platform for gathering information in the form of photographs, posters, set lists, reviews and concert stubs for over a million concerts, past and present. It's an absolute must for all you concert going junkies and stub horders.

Creating an account is very simple and then should you choose, Songkick can be set up to analyse your itunes/windows media player collection or LastFM profile and then import those details into your Songkick profile to monitor upcoming shows saving you the task of adding each artist one by one - if you like to listen to a lot of music this is a very useful tool and you'll always be in the know when your favourite band is coming to town.

If you have a ticket stub you'd like to share/show off then you simply take a photo of it, find the relevant concert on Songkick and then add it. To give you an idea of how extensive their database is, here is a ticket stub for a Nirvana concert in April, '93 added yesterday - incidentally the guy who added this photo had the most amazingly large collection of ticket stubs I've ever seen, you can see more here.

OK, time to snap out of this geek induced ticket stub trance and get back to normal life, now where did I put that ticket for tonight's concert, ah yes it's an e-ticket, damn!


Monday, 22 June 2009

Free Noah And The Whale track from new album 'The First Days of Spring'

Noah and the Whale have made public an exclusive mp3 from their new album 'The First Days of Spring' now confirmed for release on August 31st.

The track is also called 'The First Days of Spring' and if you'd like to listen, click here.

This is quite a slow atmospheric number and I'm now quite interested to see how the rest of the new album pans out, guess I'll have to wait till August 31st!


What's on in London this week (including FREE shows) w/c June 22nd 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 22nd June
White Denim/DEAD WEATHER LIVE STREAM instore @ Rough Trade East (FREE) 7pm
Slow Club + Viking Moses + Pete Ingo @ ICA
The Magic Numbers @ Union Chapel

Tuesday 23rd June
The Low Anthem + Gemma Ray + Snowbird @ Union Chapel
Slow Club instore @ Pure Groove (FREE) 1:15pm
The Thermals @ Cargo
Blue Ghost presents Chew Lips, Indica Ritual, Wild Palms @ The Lexington

Wednesday 24th June
She Keeps Bees @ The Britannia
Shonen Knife @ The Windmill
The Dead Weather @ HMV Forum

Thursday 25th June
The Low Anthem instore @ Rough Trade East (FREE) 7pm
Hot 8 Brass Band @ The Scala
Shonen Knife instore @ Pure Groove (FREE) 1:15pm
Lulu and the Lampshades + Tristam and Hungamunga DJs @ The Slaughtered Lamb

Friday 26th June
LET'S WRESTLE + Video Nasties + Evans The Death + ADHDJS DJS @ Luminaire
Battant instore @ Rough Trade East (FREE) 7pm
Post War Years @ Pure Groove (FREE) 7:30pm

Saturday 27th June
Action Beat ft.Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring, Pennines, Pagan Wanderer Lu, Tim Ten Yen, Alan MX, A Scholar and A Physician, and Hysterical Injury @ The Windmill

Neil Young with Mumford & Sons, Ben Harper and Relentless7, Johnny Flynn, Priscilla Ahn, The Magic Numbers, Pretenders, Ben Harper, Seasick Steve, Fleet Foxes, and Steve Appleton @ Hyde Park

Sunday 28th June
Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band with Dave Matthews Band, James Morrison, Starsailor, Joshua Radin, Pretty Things, Gaslight Anthem, and The Low Anthem @ Hyde Park
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti @ Bardens Boudoir

(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)

The Low Anthem return to the UK this week with 3 concerts in the capital including one free show for the "I'm not so sure about them yetters" at Rough Trade East on Thursday. I'm very sure about how good they are and would recommend getting yourself to at least one of these concerts while they're over here.

Portland's finest The Thermals are playing Cargo tomorrow (23rd). Here's the video for 'No Culture Icons'. I really like this song, reminds me of being younger and stupid, my husband thinks it's awful, I think he's wrong and sooo unfair!

The Thermals - No Culture Icons

On a totally different note, here are a couple of websites that have been making me chuckle:

LOL Celebs

Have a good week whatever you're up to,

Chalky xo


Friday, 19 June 2009

Concert Review: Dengue Fever @ The Scala 18th June 2009

Zac Holtzman

The first time I saw Dengue Fever play was at Rough Trade East just under a year ago. At the time, their third album 'Venus on Earth' was on heavy rotation in our flat and rapidly becoming the soundtrack to my Summer. Their unique blend of Cambodian psychedelic surf rock had me hooked but seeing them live brought another dimension to their appeal. Their energy on stage is incredibly infectious and this filters through into their music creating a sound that seems impossible to recreate on record. Since then I have seen them perform twice. If I hear they're coming to town I can't help myself, I have to book a ticket, I have to get my Dengue Fever fix!

The music that Dengue Fever plays might best be described as a reawakening of the 1960's heydays of Cambodian pop music including covers of songs by such artists as Sinn Sisamouth, Pan Ron, and Ros Sereysothea, they also perform their own compositions. Most of their songs are sung in singer Chhom Nimol's native language, Khmer with only some tracks on their latest album sung in English. The fact that I don't understand what the lyrics mean most of the time surpisingly doesn't deter me as I thought it might, Khmer is a such a beautiful sounding language.

The Show

After a disappointing couple of failed attempts at showing the Dengue Fever documentary 'Sleepwalking Through The Mekong' the band seemed keen to start and entered the stage to huge applause, the word on these guys has travelled fast, the room was full.

They played mostly tracks from 'Venus on Earth' and a couple of others I didn't recognise but sounded equally as good. Singer Chhom Nimol looked as glamorous as ever in a dress not that dissimilar to the one I wore on the day of my wedding give or take a good few inches shorter and I was pleased to see guitarist Zac Holtzman was still sporting his fantastically long signature beard.

Chhom Nimol

Watching bassist Senon Williams move about the stage is a show in itself. That guy is always on the move, take your eye off him for one moment and before you know it he's standing right there in front of you, balancing off the edge of the stage strumming and bouncing away, last night he even handed me and another girl spare bottles of beer each in between songs! Zac Holtzman also made it into the audience near the end of the show playing his guitar while four Cambodian audience members who had been dragged on stage by Senon made a commendable effort at singing and dancing along with Chhom Nimol. Maybe this is another reason why Dengue Fever are so good live, they make you feel like a part of the show, they get you involved and you just can't help but smile and have a little dance!

Crowd members on stage

Zac Holtzman & Senon Williams

Summer 2009 officially begins on Sunday (June 21st) so it seemed fitting that Dengue Fever were back in the UK for a one off official London show last night. Forget visiting Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice, these guys are the marker I now use to officially start my Summer.

Dengue fever on MySpace



Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Low Anthem on Daytrotter

The Low Anthem board the London Eye

The Low Anthem are one of my favourite discoveries right now. Last month I very luckily got to see them perform a few songs in a pod on the London Eye (read here) and I thought it was one of my best musical experiences of the year so far, well that was until I saw them pull off a jaw dropping show at The Slaughtered Lamb the very next day (read here). Totally blown away by both performances, I just HAD to buy tickets to their Union Chapel show (which is next Tuesday 23rd, tickets here). I also had to buy a ticket for my other half - I always do this when I get really excited about a band, I need to share the experience. In fairness my husband is a good sport and I have a fair idea of the kind of shows he'll like but I'll admit, occasionally I do get it dreadfully wrong. Anyway, I digress.

The Low Anthem have recorded a Daytrotter session and I would very much suggest you take a listen/download. They sing 'To The Ghosts Who Write History Books', 'Cage The Songbird', 'Don't Let Nobody Turn You 'Round' and 'Ticket Taker'.

The Low Anthem Daytrotter Session

Funnily enough only the other day I stumbled across a video of them covering Blind Willie McTell's gospel number 'Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around' and secretly hoped they would play this at The Union Chapel show next week, the surroundings would be perfect. The fact they have played it for a Daytrotter session is promising.

The Low Anthem @ The Slaughtered Lamb

Here's the video of The Low Anthem performing 'Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around' at a Celebration of Life in Barre MA a couple of years ago -see they've been really good for quite some time, really pleased they're finally getting their break.

The video is shot at a strange angle but you can still gauge the emotion Jeff Prystowsky puts into playing that double bass.

The Low Anthem: Don't Let Nobody Turn You 'Round

The Low Anthem are playing a free instore concert at Rough Trade East next Thursday 25th @ 7pm, check out the details here.

The Low Anthem @ The Slaughtered Lamb

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

My beloved headphones

(My beloved headphones)

It's a gorgeous day out there, I feel bad for anyone stuck in an office today. Most of my work happens during the evenings and on weekends so on days like this I tend to get on with my household tasks and try to spend a bit of time in the garden working on our vegetables and soaking up some sun.

Of course being a music blogger I do spend a certain amount of time in front of my computer but thanks to wireless technology, I can take my music with me wherever I go. Some days the wireless headphones are on as soon as I wake up, when I brush my teeth, get dressed, hoover, wash the dishes and on a day like today I also garden with them on.

When I was a kid, I had a next door neighbour who was in her 30's and loved rock music. I used to watch her go crazy jumping about in her living room with her headphones on so she could listen to her music pumped up as loud as she liked, I guess it was her timeout from the responsibilities of being a mum and living in a sleepy village. Now I think I'm turning into her (well not the mum bit yet) going wild with the headphones on at any given opportunity.

So today I'm rather geekily saying thanks to the inventors of wireless headphones.

(Thomas Edison by Sheepback.Cabin)

Thomas Edison for experimenting with electrical currents (although I can't forgive him for using 6600 volts of electricity to kill Topsy the elephant in less than one minute in 1903, this was according to wikipedia partly to prove that Tesla's AC power was dangerous but mostly to execute a dangerous animal or so the story goes. Edison filmed the event, I wouldn't recommend watching it. Poor Topsy);

Beyerdynamic for marketing some of the world’s first headphones designed for public use in the 1930's;

and Jazz musician John C. Koss for inventing stereo headphones in 1958 and developing cordless headphones using infrared signals, (though other manufacturers developed cordless headphones using radio transmitters of the kind used in cordless telephones) in the 1990's.

My wireless headphones have had a long and sometimes painful journey to reach my ears but I am so glad they made it.


Monday, 15 June 2009

What's on in London this week (Including FREE shows) w/c June 15th 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 15th June
Yo La Tengo @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
Banjo Or Freakout + A Grave With No Name @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Tuesday 16th June
Ungdomskulen + Dutch Uncles @ Madame Jo Jo's
Totally Enormous Exctinct Dinosaurs @ Pure Groove 6:30pm (FREE)
Meltdown 09: Moby @ Royal Festival Hall

Wednesday 17th June
Shonen Knife + Screaming Tea Party + Sputniko! @ The Windmill Brixton
For a Minor Reflection + Hook and the Twin @ 229 great portland street
Dengue Fever @ Pure Groove 6:30pm (FREE)

Thursday 18th June
Dengue Fever + DON LETTS @ Scala
She Keeps Bees, Six Toes and Erland and the carnival @ 229 The Venue
We Were Promised Jetpacks and Nacional @ The Lexington

Friday 19th June
Laurel Collective @ Pure Groove 7:30pm (FREE)
ROCKFEEDBACK VS. WHITE LIGHT PRESENTS Clinic + Banjo or Freakout @ The Lexington

Saturday 20th June
Pocahaunted + Sun Araw @ The Luminaire
Daylight Music - Yndi Halda / Paul Marshall / Snowbird @ Union Chapel FREE (12-2pm)
NEON noise presents Kitsune Maison Ft. Aeroplane + AutoKratz + Beni + Chew Lips + Delphic @ Scala

Sunday 21st June
Summer Solstice (5:45am): Stonehenge right?! Celebrate the beginning of the longest day of the year by dressing up to look like an extra from Lord of The Rings and hanging out around some 5000 year old stones , getting cold, watching the clouds, beating some drums and through your cider haze wondering what it all means and why we're all here (especially the stones) etc etc. Alternatively, set your alarm and then take great pleasure in staying in the warmth and comfort of your bed sparing only a second of thought for those standing in the rain around some ancient stones. Yeah, I know, I'm getting old!

(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)

Loads to see this week! I'm going to take the opportunity to get my little dance on at Dengue Fever at Scala but if I wasn't there then I would be at The Lexington watching We Were Promised Jetpacks - such a great name for a band.

It's also well worth grabbing an ice cream and taking it for a stroll along the Southbank this week with the beginning of Meltdown 09, see here for more info. Whatever you get up to, have fun!

We Were Promised Jetpacks (Fat Cat Records) - Quiet Little Voices

Incidentally, We Were Promised Jetpacks have a new album out today on Fat Cat Records called 'These Four Walls' and a new single 'Roll Up Your Sleeves' out June 29th.


Friday, 12 June 2009

Revolver: Music for a While

A French band singing in English might not help me much with my struggle to learn the French language but it does mean I can sing along to Revolver, my latest French musical find (thanks to FG for the tip off!)

Yes they are named after THAT Beatles album. Revolver are three twenty something classically trained Parisian men: Ambroise Willaume (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Christophe Musset (vocals, guitar) and Jeremie Archache (cello, vocals) who began playing together as a band in late 2006.

Willaume happened to see his friend Arcache performing at Notre Dame. 'He was improvising a Haydn concerto for cello. He was playing like Jimi Hendrix. He didn't even know The Beatles or the Stones by name! Willaume and Musset, keen to involve Arcache in their musical plans, gave him a list of essential albums to listen to : Sgt Pepper, the Velvet Underground, Elliott Smith's Either/Or, the works of Bob Dylan." And so Revolver was born.

EMI signed Revolver after listening to their MySpace page, this was quickly followed by the release of an EP called 'Pop de Chambre' in France and the US.

The name of Revolver's debut album is a tribute to Henry Purcell: 'Music For A While' is the title of one of his most famous pieces of music. Released date: June 23rd, 2009.

What do they sound like?

Baroque indie-pop, mellow vocals esp. harmonies, catchy melodies, a French Beatles.

Recommended Track:


Tour Dates?

12 Jun 2009 Diff. TARATATA France 4
22 Jun 2009 Café de la Danse w/ Fredo Viola Paris
25 Jun 2009 La Boule Noire Paris



Revolver - Get Around Town


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Bella Union @ The ICA July 6th and more EOTR bands announced!

Yesterday I booked my ticket for the Bella Union night at The ICA on July 6th and I highly recommend you do the same.

The lineup includes Sleeping States, Here We Go Magic, Chimes and Bells and a special guest still to be confirmed. Tickets are £11.50 in advance + £1 booking fee per ticket, you can book them here.

Bella Union have a stunning number of great bands on their books right now, just check out this list. Whoever is in control of signing new bands for them certainly has their head screwed on, I'm impressed.

In other news, Vetiver (another Bella Union band) have just been confirmed to The End of the Road 2009 festival lineup along with Blitzen Trapper, Brakes, The Duke and the King (with Simon Felice from the Felice Brothers), The Horrors, Loney, Dear, Shearwater and Wye Oak. For up to date info check out the official EOTR new website here and there is an EOTR forum here.

Here's a video of Here We Go Magic playing 'Fangela' at a recent Laundro Matinee session. Does this song remind anyone else of Mrs Robinson? I must also say well done to the Laundro Matinee organisers for their excellent choice in paint on the walls in the session room, really works well - I want that room! Here We Go Magic are currently on tour supporting the very talented Grizzly Bear.

To see more of the Laundro Matinee sessions by Here We Go Magic, click here.


Monday, 8 June 2009

What's on in London this week (Including FREE shows) w/c June 8th 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 8th June
The Drones instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm
Manic Street Preachers, New Young Pony Club + Adem @ The Forum
The Joy Formidable @ Borderline
Wave Machine FREE instore @ Pure Groove, 6:30pm
Rough Trade presents the Guided Missile Pop Quiz! @ The Lexington 8pm

Tuesday 9th June
Batrider, Oliver Mann, To Arms Etc + Olivia Chaney @ The Windmill, Brixton
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart + Pocketbooks + Trailer Trash Tracys @ Madame Jo Jo's
Broken Records @ ICA
Ora Cogan @ The Windmill, Brixton
Huw Stephens' Introducing ft. Gold Panda, Gallops, Copy Haho, Stricken City @ The Social (FREE)
Battant FREE instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm (wristband collection 1 hr prior to gig etc)
Curly Hair FREE instore @ Pure Groove, 1:15pm
Rose Elinor Dougall FREE instore @ Pure Groove, 6:30pm

Wednesday 10th June
The Fall, Buzzcocks & John Cooper Clarke @ The Forum
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart + Tender Trap + Shrag @ Cargo
The Pretenders FREE instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm (wristband collection 1 hr prior to gig etc)

Thursday 11th June
Josh Bray + Holden @ Slaughtered Lamb
Black Lips DJ Set FREE instore @ Rough Trade East, 7pm
Copy Haho FREE instore @ Pure Groove, 1:15pm
RockFeedback presents Fol Chen, Hind Ear @ The Lexington 8pm (FREE)

Friday 12th June
Willkommen Collective ft. Sons of Noel and Adrian, Kopek, Rowan Coupland, The Leisure Society, Sweet Billy Pilgrim + more @ Union Chapel
Chas & Dave @ 100 Club

(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)

If someone said "Chalky, you can have three of the bands on this list perform in your living room this week, who are you going to choose?" I would pick Batrider so I could tell them stories of my travels around New Zealand, there's nothing quite like hearing people's travel stories from around your own country. John Cooper Clarke because I think he would appreciate my tea making abilities and I'd get him to ring my brother up and sing 'Evidently Chickentown'. And finally Sons of Noel and Adrian especially to sing 'This Wreck is not a Boat' and sometimes a member of The Leisure Society plays with them so that would be like having both bands there, bonus!

Who would you choose and why?


Thursday, 4 June 2009

Street Piano comes to London!

Continuing on from yesterday's FREE stuff theme, I've just read about a really great concept called Street Piano which involves pianos being left around various cities for anyone to play.

In their latest venture, Street Piano are delivering 30 pianos to the streets of London as part of Sing London and the City of London Festival 2009. The pianos are going to be scattered around the capital in parks, train stations, street markets and they are there for ANYONE to play and it's FREE. Here's a map of London with the locations of the pianos clearly marked out. They even encourage you to decorate and personalise your piano!

"...the pianos are also aimed to provoke people into engaging, activating and claiming ownership of their urban landscape. The pianos have also levered many hidden musicians from out of the woodwork. It has become apparent that there are hundreds of pianists out there who don’t have access to a piano to play. This project is about providing access to musical instruments, promoting creativity and creating music in public."

The pianos will be in place during June until July 13th, after which time they’ll be donated to local schools and community groups.

I love the whole idea and I'm so looking forward to locating a piano and entertaining the locals with my scratchy grade 1 scales, poor locals.

Surely this is just screaming out for a band and a video camera? Street Piano busk? I'm sure someone will pick up on the idea soon, maybe a Takeaway show? I wonder if there will be musicians venturing out at night for a secret moonlight musical moment (around the same time Kevin Spacey walks his dog), and then the locals will dream they heard someone playing beautiful songs but will never know the person was actually there, I digress...


Wednesday, 3 June 2009


If the current economic climate has you shaking your penny jar for concert ticket money have no fear, there's plenty of free live music happening in the capital over the coming month...

Check out Rough Trade's free in-store lineup here. They have The Leisure Society, Broken Records, The Drones, The Pretenders, Lets Wrestle, Bombay Cycle Club and many others...

Pure Groove also have a pretty impressive line-up of not to be missed free shows including Dengue Fever, Slow Club and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (great name) and plenty more! Check out the full list here.

It's always worth keeping an eye out for a free Bandstand Busk as well, their website is here.

Oh and RockFeedback are hosting a FREE show at The Lexington on June 11th featuring Fol Chen, Hind Ear and Plug, more info here.

**UPDATE** Thanks to at_the_sea for leaving a comment mentioning
The FREE Daylight Music gigs at Union Chapel taking place most Saturday lunchtimes until the end of July. They also have bacon sarnies and homemade flapjacks - yum! More info on their Facebook page, here.**

Because I like they're name, here's Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs dabbling in a bit of dirty techno and wearing some pretty random costumes in 'Ducks'.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Ducks


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Upcoming Concerts - June

It's a muchos scorchio day in London today and I've decided to take refuge in the shade of my spare room in front of my computer for a minute or two, apparently the temperature is going to drop tomorrow, oh well, it was nice while it lasted!

I haven't got that many concerts lined up over June but this will hopefully change as the month gets underway.

So far I'll be seeing Dengue Fever @ Scala, The Low Anthem @ Union Chapel and M Ward @ Shepherds Bush Empire. I'm very excited about all three of these bands. The Low Anthem's 'Charlie Darwin' and M Ward's 'Hold Time' are in my top albums of 2009 so far.

You can get tickets for The Low Anthem @ Union Chapel show here and Dengue Fever @ Scala here and I think you can still get yourself some M Ward tickets for The Shepherds Bush Empire here. All three bands well worth seeing.

M Ward - Rave On


Monday, 1 June 2009

"Festival Toilet Phobia" and The End of the Road Festival 2009

(Photo on Flickr by Project 404)

Not put off by our slightly rainy camping experience last week at the Hay Festival I've finally bought tickets to The End of The Road festival 2009 in Dorset, England taking place during the second weekend of September.

I think I've already written a few times on this blog about my fear of festival toilets which is usually what stops me from going to ANY music festivals anymore (I wonder if this condition is documented?) but this year I've decided to put past experiences properly behind me and I'm just praying The End of the Road organisers don't provide End of the Road style toilets (if you know what I mean). I would actually pay a lot extra to have my own toilet. Must be getting old.

Here's the line up that has got me fighting my Festival Toilet Phobia:

The Acorn
Alela Diane
Archie Bronson Outfit
Bob Lind
Bob Log III
The Boy Least Likely To
The Broken Family Band
Charlie Parr
Dan Sartain
Darren Hayman
Dirty Projectors
David Thomas Broughton
Dent May
The Dodos
Explosions In The Sky
First Aid Kit
Fleet Foxes
Herman Dune
Howlin Rain
Iain Archer
J Tillman
Joe Gideon and the Shark
Lay Low
The Leisure Society
The Lost Brothers
The Low Anthem
Magnolia Electric Co.
Malcolm Middleton
Motel Motel
Mumford and Sons
The Mummers
Neco Case
Okkervil River
Peter Broderick
Richmond Fontaine
Sam Baker
Sparrow and The Workshop
Steve Earle
The Tallest Man On Earth
This Frontier Needs Heroes
Tiny Vipers
Whispertown 2000
Wildbirds and Peacedrums
William Elliot Whitmore

Loads of goodies on that list to look forward to, bet they get their own toilets...

Oh God, what have I done...
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