Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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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The Just Joans – The Lexington (3 February 2018)

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Always fantastic.

Written by Tony Kiernan

04 February 2018 at 1:30 pm

Posted in London, Music

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King Kurt – The Underworld (27 January 2018)

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Only ever seen King Kurt since they reformed (I was too young at the time, then too old). Tonight was the first with sax. It were grand. Can’t help wondering if they’re problematic

Written by Tony Kiernan

27 January 2018 at 10:03 pm

Posted in London, Music

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The Flaming Stars – The Dublin Castle (19 January 2018)

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Always

Written by Tony Kiernan

20 January 2018 at 7:55 pm

John Cage’s “Indeterminacy” – Foyles (14 December 2018)

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“The performance features Stewart Lee reading, Tania Chen and Steve Beresford on objects with Alan Tomlinson on trombone.” Did what it says on the tin [fin]

Written by Tony Kiernan

15 December 2017 at 10:01 am

Posted in London, Music

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The Penguin Cafe: Union Cafe – Union Chapel (11 December 2017)

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We are gathered here tonight for two reasons: The Penguin Cafe Orchestra‘s final studio album Union Cafe has been remastered and released on vinyl for the first time. This is kinda the album launch. Also, it’s twenty years to the day since head-Penguin Simon Jeffes‘ way too untimely death. The music dictates this will be a celebration, not a memorial.

Jeffes’ son Arthur has been carrying on the family business for about a decade now. I will never miss a chance to go see The Penguin Cafe (as they now are) perform. Usually, it’s a ‘greatest hits’ type event with a sprinkling of some of the material they are producing themselves (which is also excellent). This time it’s a different. They are playing he album and nothing else. If anything it makes for a more intense experience. We get some of the more experimental work. More of the range of work Jeffes was responsible for.

The highlight for me is Discover America. A tune I’m not familiar with. We get the story of Poppa Jeffes realising that Home On The Range, When The Saints Go Marching In and Red River Valley can be played on top of each other. The result is both epic and charmingly amusing. Pretty much the central tenets of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

There is no encore prepared for. But, the audience won’t leave (the lights have gone up). Arthur returns to play the piece he composed for his father’s memorial. There’s not a dry eye in the house.

Written by Tony Kiernan

12 December 2017 at 11:16 am

Posted in London, Music

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