Friday, 30 March 2012

M Ward @ The Leicester Square Theatre & 'A Wasteland Companion' Stream

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing M Ward play at the Leicester Square theatre in London. Anyone who has ever been there will know it's a pretty intimate venue so I always knew this was going to be a bit of an extra special opportunity to see the maestro at work.

Over the course of the show we were treated to a mixture of his classics mixed with a sprinkle of songs from his soon to be released album, A Wasteland Companion. No backing band meant fairly stripped down renditions of songs; 'Me and My Shadow' sounded almost like a different song compared to the album version. 'Poor Boy, Minor Key' sounded divine as did 'Helicopter' and the awesome looking 'Duet for Guitars #3' where he gets his fingers into the kind of shapes that would make many a guitarist weep.

As with all good shows, it was over too fast. I've seen M Ward play 3 times now and each time has been an absolute pleasure. I highly recommend you listen to his new album which is streaming for a limited time over on NPR.  I'll write more on that soon.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bill Withers - 'Grandma's Hands'

If there's one thing I'm certain of in this world it's this, Bill Withers sure can sing. Flicking through the TV channels on Saturday night, I stumbled across a BBC4 program called 'Bill Withers - In Concert', filmed for the BBC in 1974. I was just in time to hear him singing 'Grandma's hands' and to put it simply, his performance is nothing short of perfect. His voice is soothing and his talent effortless. What I would have given to have been in that audience.

You can see the full 'In Concert' on the BBC iplayer here. For those of you who are not in the UK, here's a clip of that performance of 'Grandma's Hands'. He starts singing at about 1 min 20 but his intro explaining the song is well worth a listen.

You can also watch the really lovely documentary about Bill Withers' life called 'Still Bill' here (that's another iplayer link, sorry non UK people).

Friday, 9 March 2012

'John Maus' Days

Watching John Maus perform a free show at Rough Trade East a few months back left me needing a lie down. Pacing around the stage like a crazed animal while repeatedly banging himself on the head, John's live show is pretty out there. A girl who I volunteer with has also seen him perform and this has led to us sometimes refering to crazy days in the office as 'John Maus' days.

Since that show, I have found myself going back to his 2011 album 'We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves' time and time again. His cover of Molly Nilsson's 'Hey Moon' really is quite something. Take a listen.

Song: Hey Moon
Album: We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
Date: 2011

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bonnie Tyler - 'Holding Out For A Hero'

I love how videos from the 80's knew no boundaries, especially Bonnie Tyler ones. If ever there was an appropriate time to use the word epic, this is it.

Artist: Bonnie Tyler
Title: Holding Out For A Hero
Year: 1984

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Alabama Shakes @ The Boston Arms (London) 24/02/12

Here are a few of my photos from The Alabama Shakes concert at the Boston Arms last Friday. I don't think I've stood in a crowd with that many smiley faces in forever, maybe I should make a point of listening to cheerier music more often.

My friend and I agreed that singer Brittany Howard sounded like she had swallowed Janis Joplin, she has an incredible voice, so very very talented.

So happy I went and excited to see what new songs they'll have to offer next time they're in town. What a great way to end my fairly long gig drought.

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