Algiers – L’Aeronef, Lille (19 February 2018)

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In younger days, checking the end of the year polls in the music press took on a partisan edge: The purpose was to see where and if your favourites sat in the list. And curse the bullhonkey that inevitably got a higher listing by the fucknuts at the NME. These days, with considerably more sources of opinion, they becoming a way to pick up on some* of the releases that I’ve completely missed that were right up my street. (Until 2004, this roll would have been taken by the Festive 50.) As January rolled in, I found myself listening to Eurgh! by Breakfast MUFF (more of whom when they play a gig in London that doesn’t clash with something I already have tickets for, no doubt) and The Underside of Power by Algiers.

The latter is a remarkable piece of work. It does that thing of being steeped in musical history (punk, soul, funk) yet sounding completely now. Completely new. That something-I’ve-never-heard-before quality. It’s powerful. Angry. Damned political. And groovy as all hell. I’m rather taken by it.

When European tour dates were posted on Twitter, I was miffed to see mo UK on there (especially as the band – apparently – formed here). But, it being that time of year. The chunnel train had a sale on. As did several hotel aggregators. And, they were stopping in Lille. Roadtrip!!!!

The travelogue bit: With reports ranging from shithole to lovely. I’m rather excited to check out the city. And, of course, find it somewhere in between. We arrive just in time to drop our bags off and swing round to the Office de Tourisme in time for the noon departure of the city tour bus. A nice hour-long crash course in the cite. De Gaulle** was born there. They are horrendously proud of this. The rest of the time is spent wandering around. Drinking beer. Eating food. (Welsh rarebit seems to be the signature dish. Seriously. With bechamel replaced with a shit-ton of local really smelly cheese.) These are good things. Yes, a typical north-European french speaking town. Not without it’s charms. I’ve added it to Songkick as a location for alerts. Which probably tells you all you need to know.

The gig bit: And, here we have an object lesson in how to put a gig on if you’re a tech-heavy band. Or, the value in hiring a decent touring sound man. (Take note Go! Team.) We get all the power of the recordings and more. A lot more wibbly improv stuff and lengthy outros. All pumped through that compression that makes it sound really bloody loud. Which is something I really like, until someone behind you starts having a conversation and it gets really distracting.

I mention online I’m a bit under the weather. The band reply that so it front-man Franklin. If this is him half-cocked… Blimey! I’m ready for the rest of the dates later in the year!!

*Of course this isn’t even a drop in a bucket of ocean. Occasionally I get saddened by the fact that there are a myriad of bands out there that I would lovelovelove that I will never ever hear. Thankfully, I’m not much of a FOMO mofo, or I’d have exploded by now.
**Charles not Asterix. Arf!

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Written by Tony Kiernan

20 February 2018 at 11:49 am

Posted in France, Lille, Music

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The Go! Team – Electric Ballroom (15 February 2018)

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There’s a first time for everything. And this was gig-ruiningly poor sound at the usually excellent Electric Ballroom. Shame

Written by Tony Kiernan

16 February 2018 at 10:24 am

Posted in London, Music

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Loveless

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It can’t have been all that bleak and miserable, it made me want to go back to Russia. It was pretty bleak and miserable though. And, therefore, surprisingly funny. Right up my street

Written by Tony Kiernan

15 February 2018 at 11:30 am

Posted in Film

The Shape of Water

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When I heard that Jean-Pierre Jeunet was getting pissy about this lifting from his work, I scoffed. (Not least because I’m fairly certain Marc Caro was the real talent.) But, flipping ‘eck Tucker, he sure does have a point. While not quite a Ziggy-Bauhaus cover version level of things, but we are definitely in the realm of written by Gallagher-Innes-Lennon-McCartney. It brazenly and blatantly tonally lifts from his work. There are recognisable riffs and rhythms to it. This means that it ultimately is cutesy with none of the real grotesquerie that it needs (so, all Jeunet no Caro). I’d rather have seen this made with the voice of the director of (the over-rated) Pan’s Labyrinth than this weird Dick Tracy world.

Truth be told, I’d rather see the daddy of it all Terry Gilliam tell this tale.

That said, none of this should be taken as an indication that the film’s no good. I definitely went with it’s premise, which is probably triumph enough. The problem is, once you have, there’s ot really much more to it. Could/should be better

Written by Tony Kiernan

15 February 2018 at 11:01 am

Darkest Hour

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The portrayal of Churchill as some Trumpian populist has to be deliberate? I expected this to be tosh, but not this much [fin]

Written by Tony Kiernan

12 February 2018 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Film

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Journey’s End

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Ever wonder what Blackadder Goes Forth would be like with Toby Jones as Baldrick and Paul Bettany as George? Me neither. But, pretty damn good it turns out [fin]

Written by Tony Kiernan

09 February 2018 at 10:39 am

Posted in Film

Phantom Thread

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Paul Thomas Anderson is a director I’m convinced I don’t like. Although, I think I’ve only seen one of his films, it was over 20 years ago, and it was excellent. I’ve now seen two. This was also rather good. Intriguing. Sumptuous. Weirdly romantic

Written by Tony Kiernan

09 February 2018 at 10:32 am

Posted in Film