Did you know that a bully was partly responsible for providing Arcade Fire with their name? A bully at Win Butler’s old school spoke constantly about an old arcade that burned down resulting in the death of a number of children.
“Please could you stop the noise, I’m trying to get some rest” October 15, 2011
I’d like to wish the brilliant nme.com a happy 15th birthday. To celebrate the site now hosts a list of what they consider to be the best tracks of the last 15 years. Not too many surprises, even for someone like me who has been an NME reader since 1971. I am really grown up now and actually subscribe to the printed version. But nme.com along with the BBC and the Guardian are the sites that I check out each day. There must be people out there who have been reading NME for longer than me and equally kids who have only got into music since the launch of nme.com. I would love to hear your NME related stories.
Click here to access the whole top 150. The top 5 in descending order are;
So this years Brits have undergone yet another revamp and moved to the O2 Arena as well. It is now designed to build up to a finale of the announcement of the Best British Album, with each nominee introducing their album in little vignettes throughout the show. I guess it’s based around the Oscars where the whole spectacle concludes with the Best Film Awards. Even the actual award has had a makeover too, thanks to Vivienne Westwood. With Viv involved it seems weird that the Brits effectively started at the height of punk and it was all black ties and very formal and Cliff Richard was the winner of Best British Male Vocalist, oh how times have changed, well mostly anyway.
The show was kicked off by Take That with “Kidz”. I hate to say it but even with Robbie back in the ranks I quite like them. The performance was good and the boys were surrounded by riot police dancers who stripped at the end. Maybe there’s a lesson for the police the next time they are called out to student protests. But did anyone else think that a couple of the ‘That were wearing incontinence pants?
Hosted by James Corden, personally I’m not sure about that choice I have never really found him either funny or exciting. First award was for Best British Male presented by Dizzee Rascal, last years winner, to Plan B. Now that was a good choice, the ‘Defamation Of Strickland Banks’ is a killer album.
Another live performance came next, it was the abundantly talented Adele, boy that girl has got a superb voice. She sang “Someone Like You” accompanied just by a pianist. It’s hard to believe that she is so young. Now that’s what you call real singing, are you listening Cheryl Cole? It was a brilliant example of how talented a lone singer can be, but did they have to shower her with all that silver snow/ confetti?
Now that interlude of James Corden speaking to Justin Bieber was weird. James telling Justin how wonderful he smelled. Is that grooming? (Yes I know you could read that two ways!) It was left to Fearne Cotton presenting the Best British Breakthrough Artist award to take that awful scene out of my mind. The winner was Tinie Tempah, apparently Prince Harry and Prince William are fans!
International Album was presented by none other than German Musical Superstar………..errrr Boris Becker. Anyone for Tennis? It was justly won by Arcade Fire with ‘The Suburbs’. They gave a fantastic name check to British acts; Clash, Bowie, Culture Club, New Order, Depeche Mode.
And now we have Rihanna who started her medley set from behind what could have been a giant shower curtain or giant grass skirt. The hair matched the dress, but did the collar match the cuffs? 😉 We came close to finding out as she removed the dress pretty damned quickly! Maybe not everything but the kitchen sink, but Burundi style drummers and wait……. was that the Olympic flame? Oh and another thing, now that’s what you call real dancing, are you watching Cheryl Cole?
Mark Ronson was there to present the Critics Choice Award, was he dressed like an Accountant or was it just me? I don’t mean that I was dressed like an Accountant, obviously! Don’t you think his hair was like a ski slope? Well even more obviously no surprise that the winner was Jessie J, as this was one of the awards that was announced some while in advance of the ceremony itself. The fourth woman to win that award and she didn’t blub….. but only just!
One of the nominees for best album were the next band on stage, it was Mumford And Sons. It’s no wonder they’re so big in America is it? They look like hicks and hillbillies; mind you they were bloody good at the Reading Festival last year. Who wears cowboy hats or truckers caps in this country, which just puts my flat cap to shame really!
To present the International Male Award we had yet another musical superstar; Lewis Hamilton…..errrr how many albums has he had then? The award gave Cee Lo Green his first ever Brit. Now that’s a big “Fuck You” to all the previous voters, they won’t “Forget You” next time Cee Lo. A brilliant choice in my opinion. He gave a great shout to Boy George too. Nice to see all the Johnny Foreigners thanking the Brits this time around. I’m not xenophobic ok, I’m just an archetypal arrogant Brit! Well actually I’m not really, I am a Brit but I don’t think I’m arrogant or even archetypal, although I’m sure some might disagree!
What was the Best British Single then, it was presented by Alan Carr, is it me or does his voice really grate on you? It was also voted for by fans, so that should mean a good choice right? Well it was a good choice, it was Tinie Tempah with “Pass Out” It could have been so much worse with all those X Factor related nominees.
Two blokes off of Duran Duran presented the Best International Group award to the magnificent Arcade Fire. What can one say? Flipping heck another good choice, this revamp has done wonders for giving the right people the awards too.
Plan B was the next live performer. Show stopping set and dancing, a tight band. It was like a modern version of the old Motown or Stax Revues. Were those Police left over from the Take That performance? Of course they were, the Riot Squad were there again. It’s one thing infiltrating eco-activists, but this level of police intrusion is so far beyond subtle it’s off the bloody scale! What about the dude that was set aflame? Was that a tribute to the recently deceased Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch off of the Fantastic Four? Check out issue number 587 of the World’s Greatest Comic magazine for more info on that one people!
Avril Lavigne and Will Young combined to present the next award, now that is a novel but strange pairing. It was International Breakthrough Act and was won by Justin Bieber, well I suppose it couldn’t all go my way could it. Still at least it wasn’t the Glee Cast was it? Still the boy done good bearing in mind he is not quite seventeen yet.
Best British Female Solo award was present by Georg O’Dowd aka Boy George, isn’t it about time he upgraded to Man George? Deservedly won by the beautiful talent that is Laura Marling. She was followed by a brilliant performance from Arcade Fire with “Ready To Start”. Are these guys one of the best bands on the planet right now? I think so and it always looks like they’re really enjoying themselves too.
Now that’s what I call presenting an award, are you watching Cheryl Cole? Ooops no you’re not, you’re actually presenting the damned thing for Best International Female. It went to Cheryl’s ‘Girl Crush’ (hmmmm interesting in a pervy kind of way); Rihanna in a big white dress with roses….. they grow on you!
Tinie Tempah took to the stage next and frankly he did it like he owned the thing. Great performance and bloody good laser show to boot. The stage was full of Tinie lookalikes, how about a spoofed version of Eminem, anyone for ‘The Real Tinie Tempah’? This dude is a really top bloke in my humble opinion. Move over Mr Rascal and make way for Mr Tempah. Are the organisers of the Reading Festival watching? How about Tinie Tempah on the afternoon bill on the Main Stage Saturday or Sunday, it’s worked well for Dizzee before hasn’t it?
Dermot O’Leary off of the X Factor (amongst Others) no less was on hand to present the Award for Best British Group. It went to Take That. It pains me to say that with their current album I actually like some music that Robbie is involved in. I must be ill in the head. Robbie was his usual nonsensical arse with just a couple of shouts of ‘Shabba’ thankfully leaving the other boys to do most of the talking and thanking.
So then came the grand finale the Best British Album Award, presented by Rock God Roger Daltrey off of the Who. He said that he thought that Plan B’s set had made him reminisce of the early days of the Who,(was he serious?) but sadly the award didn’t go to him, it went to Mumford And Sons, still not a bad choice.
The show was closed by the mighty, magnificent Cee Lo Green with “Forget You”. A great tune but I kind of wish he had done the original ‘naughty’ version! A great singer none the less. So that is as they say it for this years Brits. I will be back with other posts before the 2012 Brits so feel free to keep reading my blog now that you’ve found you’re way here. I bet you’re relieved that I have got to the end of a whole post with no mention of Lady Gaga……….DOH!
“Everybody wanting a piece of Michael Jackson” November 8, 2010
Another selection of random news snippets for you all in this post. Firstly are Arcade Fire the only band ever to have a gig pulled by NATO? It would certainly seem that way after the NATO top brass and the Portuguese government have forced the cancellation of the band’s show during the weekend of 20th to 21st November. Apparently the gig clashed with the weekend of a NATO summit and it was felt that security forces would be stretched too thin by having to police a gig by the Canadians and 20,000 of their fans. The band have said they will come back at some time in the future. Read the story here in the Guardian.
There will be a ‘new’ Michael Jackson album released in December, it will be called ‘Michael’. It is believed that it contains a number of songs that Jacko had been working on in the few years preceding his death last year. It has been reported that all the songs have been ‘recently completed’, which clearly suggests that the self titled King Of Pop either had nothing to do with the completion or that he isn’t actually dead or maybe he is communicating from beyond the grave! It has been reported at various times that he had been working with many acts before he popped his clogs; including Lady Gaga, Akon and Will.i.am. The latter has been quoted as saying that to release any ‘new’ material in this way would be disrespectful. For a limited period you can hear a stream of one of the songs “Breaking News” by clicking the title. It sounds reasonable if not a little weird. The cover of the album has a typical over the top Jacko theme painted by Kadir Nelson. Read the story at the BBC and the Guardian.
I recently chanced upon a JPEG file for a film poster of a starring role by none other than one of my all time favourite singers Mr Johnny Nash. He starred in the movie ‘Take A Giant Step‘ It was released in December 1959, when even I wasn’t quite one year old. I wonder if it’s available on DVD. So in a very gratuitous use of that opportunity here is that poster, followed by a clip of Mr Nash singing “I Can See Clearly Now” on Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special.
Amy Winehouse has been recording again with Mark Ronson, they have been laying down three tracks for a Quincy Jones tribute album. One of them has been ‘leaked’, it’s a cover of Lesley Gore‘s “It’s My Party” which was produced by Quincy back in 1963. It’d be fair to say that the vocal is certainly different and I’m not sure yet whether it works for me or not! Read about it on the Guardian website and then check out the video below followed by the original. My favourite cover of the song was by Bryan Ferry off of Roxy Music for his first solo album ‘These Foolish Things’ back in 1973, click here to hear it.
Day 2 is here and my feet are blistered from wearing new and very heavy (steel toe capped) wellies, I wore them again today, but the forecast looks good for better shoes on day 3. The first band we saw was Soul Circus on the BBC Introducing stage. They were on when we arrived so we didn’t see their whole set, but they were very good, the vocalist in particular was excellent. We stayed at the Introducing stage for the next band, they were Penguin from Wakefield. I think it’s fair to say that they rock!
After that we paid our first visit of the weekend to the Alternative stage aka the Comedy tent, we were hoping to see Kevin Bridges but his flight back from Edinburgh (he had been there for the festival) was late. He was replaced by an American comedian and I use that word reluctantly, he calls himself Neil Hamburger but his real name is Greg Turkington. He got off on the wrong foot and went further down that same road throughout his act. Firstly he told all the folks that were there expecting Kevin Bridges that they could “fuck off” and then called those of us who remained “pieces of human shit”. The audience was to barrack him for his whole act with chants of “off, off, off” and “you’re shit and you know you are”. There was a fair array of missiles sent stage wards too. The only way he could have redeemed himself would have been if his jokes were funny, they weren’t! The funniest thing he said was “I guess I’ll do my encore now” as the compere opened the backstage curtains. But for us it was entertaining for us anyway!
Over to the Main Stage next for the fabulous Gaslight Anthem from New Jersey and they were an amazing live band. I know they are close to Bruce Springsteen and I reckon they could turn on a lot of the younger generation to Bruce. I would definitely pay to see these boys. A trek back to the Introducing Stage was next on the agenda for the mystery special guest slot. It was Everything Everything with a couple of acoustic songs and an interview for Radio 1’s Live Lounge. They finished with a Shakira cover and given what was going on in the crowd I’m amazed that they didn’t get a fit of the giggles. There was a guy on someone’s shoulders in the crowd and he was wearing a leather fetish mask in the shape of a dog’s head. If that wasn’t funny enough he then produced a large black strap on dildo which he fellated, much to our own and the rest of the audience’s amusement. If you re that person then get in touch, I’d be happy to give you a mention on the blog!
The Festival Republic stage was our next destination for I Blame Coco. It would be fair to say that Coco does pop and does it very well. (Feel free to insert your own Coco Pops joke here). We returned to the Comedy Tent after that in order to redress the Neil Hamburger experience. JJ Whitehead, a Canadian, was the performer and he is a very good comedian. Much of his act is really well thought out observational comedy and he works the audience really well. I loved the story about pretending to be retarded at Disney in Florida. The next band we saw, albeit briefly was Chapel Club. I liked the sound of them and will be checking them out on line, some good tunes. Then it was My Forever at the Introducing stage (we really have been there a lot!) This was jangly indie pop with an edge and done really well.
I don’t how I have managed to miss Frank Turner on all my many visits to this festival, but I didn’t miss him this time. He was abso-fucking-lutely brilliant. He has passion, power, excitement and an audience that love him. I also see him as a Billy Bragg for this generation and I will definitely be buying some of his material when I get home. I hope he’s back next year too. We stayed for the first part of Serge Tankian’s (off of System Of A Down) set. He had and orchestral ensemble and introduced the rest of his band as ‘The Flying ****s Of Chaos’ (word starred out for the more easily offended of you dear readers, well actually I’d prefer that my Mum didn’t see that I had used ‘that C word’, those of you who are not easily offended can click on the stars to see the missing word on Wikipedia). He was good but not as good as when I saw him before a couple of years back. We joined Nick’s son Jake, who was with his girlfriend Suzie in the Festival Republic tent to see Villagers. The lead singer Conor came out on his own for the first song, cue my joke about it being a small village which did amuse one Villagers fan standing next to me. This is a very good band and I would say genre defying too. I reckon that if the original Wicker Man movie had a house band this would be them. I can almost picture Britt Ekland’s body double dancing to them!
So now for the Libertines, their entrance was preceded by Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”. This was all very sentimentally Albion, but guys cut the schmaltz, you did this for the money! I have seen them here twice before and as always they were very good, but for me they will never be a truly great band. I may take some stick for that comment, but folks it is just my opinion ok? The crowd loved them though and it seemed that over exuberance in the crowd caused a short break in their set in which Pete and Carl were escorted from the stage. Arcade Fire were today’s headliners and any reservations I had about them filling that were quickly blown away. They were bloody amazing and even managed a little dig at the previous night’s headliner’s Guns N Roses by saying how punctual they were. The vibrancy, energy and power they display is phenomenal. The stage set including the film projection was at times weird and disturbing, but added to an overall brilliant experience. Obviously as they have performed with David Bowie before I was hoping for an appearance by the great man, but despite seeing some helicopter traffic during their set it never happened. I guess I should have crossed my toes as well as the fingers!
So in summary, Day 2 was another excellent Reading day. We’re knackered but still looking forward with excitement to Day 3!