I would also like to thank those nice people at the Hype Media for send the EP my way. Let me know what you think of it.
I would also like to thank those nice people at the Hype Media for send the EP my way. Let me know what you think of it.
I have decided to post any music related jokes that I come across, especially if they are at my usual groan level of humour. So with thanks to those lovely people at Popbitch for bringing this one to my attention.
The drummer off of the Inspiral Carpets, Craig Gill apparently now runs Manchester music tours. Last weekend he did two tours entitled ‘Morrissey and the Smiths’. The first one in the morning had a very healthy 85 punters. The tour stops off at many Smiths historical highlights including; Strangeways Prison, Salford Lads Club, the Southern Cemetery and Morrissey’s childhood home.
But according to one Smiths tourist the highlight was this joke from Mr Gill.
Q – What does Morrissey have in his sandwiches?
A – I don’t know, but Marr might!
I love that one, feel free to send me your favourite music related jokes. I will be happy to post them and to give you a name check. You can send them via email to me at email@example.com. Just put Another Crap Music Joke in the subject line.
In case you were fooled, this last one is an excellent spoof!
On Saturday I had yet another opportunity to attend a live show from my favourite all-girl punk band the Tuts and obviously I wasn’t going to turn that down was I? The Tuts were the third and headlining act in the musical close to the Leeds Ladyfest. This festival exists to promote and celebrate women in the arts. The first part of the day included some very successful workshops I’m told. I was only there for the music and more of that later. The venue was the rather excellent Wharf Chambers in Leeds, this co-operative pub/ venue has the potential to become one of Leeds’ best small venues in my opinion. I understand that money raised from the event would be going to charity. One of the recipients will be Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL). This is an organisation that I know a bit about thanks to my friend Rachel Vernelle who is a passionate supporter. If you wish to contribute to SARSVL or indeed to help fund Wharf Chambers the links are above.
Anyway on to the music. The first band on were Demitaves. Three people, one acoustic guitar, some basic percussion and harmonies to die for. The well rehearsed vocals were reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at their best. The band also had some excellently written and performed songs. The acoustic cover of Britney Spears “Toxic” was a highlight. In my opinion if you cover a song you should make it different from the original and for this cover it was definitely mission accomplished. So would I go and see the Demitaves again? Of course I would and so should you if you get the chance!
Next up were Chambers a two-girl duo who told us that they had only been together for two months. If I heard that part correctly then they really were bloody good! A complete contrast to the close harmonies and largely a capella sound of the Demitaves it would be fair to say that Chambers rocked hard. Would it be a cliché to say that Chambers rocked the (Wharf) Chambers? It would? OK I won’t then. These women have a very heavy and very loud sound and are closer to heavy metal than any other genre for me. They only played three songs, but on the strength of that I would certainly check them out again given the chance.
Finally it was my chance to see those fabulous Tuts once again. This is the third or fourth time I have seen them and it would be very fair to say that they have got better every time. They have a great set of songs “Tut Tut Tut”, “Dump Your Boyfriend” and my current favourite “Worry Warrior” among many others. The Tuts are nothing like either of the other bands on the bill which for me makes for a brilliantly varied and interesting evening. It would have been nice to see more people there but it was a fabulous atmosphere and great show from Nad Tut, Bev Tut and Hat Tut. They even managed a crowd invasion at one point with Nadia and Harriet bringing their guitars and microphones onto the floor in among us punters. Jen Doveton off of Colour Me Wednesday also joined them on stage for one song.
Their UK tour is over now, the last show was in Manchester on Sunday. However the big news is that they will be treading the boards in the UK again very soon, in the early part of 2015 in fact. If you’re a Tuts fan you’ll already know this, but the girls are supporting the legendary Selecter on their UK tour! Check below for the dates. This came about after Pauline Black saw the Tuts thunderstorm interrupted Glastonbury set in June this year. I will definitely be there at the Leeds Brudenell show in 2015. If you haven’t yet checked out the Tuts I want a letter from your parents explaining why!
Have you ever thought about having a garden gnome on display at your home but then thought that you were too cool to do it? Well think again, especially if you are a fan of a Manchester band that you may have heard a little about. Yes folks you can now buy a full set of Gnome Roses who look remarkably like the Stone Roses. You could create your very own Spike Island next to your garden pond. Check out the Gnome Roses on Facebook and purchase them here at Alternative Merchandise. If you have already bought yours or received them for Christmas feel free to send me a picture and I will definitely give you a mention on this blog!
Creator of these little gems is Andrew McDermid and he has ideas to expand the range, starting with the Ra-Gnomes with the advertising strap line of ‘Hi Ho Let’s Go!’. He also plans to work on the Rolling Gnomes, Kurt Cobain and Queens Of The Gnome Age. What? No Bowie as “The Laughing Gnome“?
On Thursday 30th May I attended a simulcast of the world première of the new Stones Roses documentary ‘Made Of Stone’ at York City Screen. The cinema is part of the excellent Picturehouse chain and was one of 200 UK cinemas that were broadcasting the première which took place in Manchester. There was a live link to the activities on the red carpet for the first hour and personally I found that part terribly dull, not helped in my opinion by Edith Bowman‘s interview style. She seems to ask a high percentage of closed questions. The most interesting interview she did was with Shane Meadows, the director of the film. The interview with Mick Jones off of the Clash was embarrassing in my opinion.
The film however was a million light years from being dull. I would say that it is probably among the best music documentaries I have ever seen. It didn’t set out to tell a chronological story of the band, although some of the montages which included previously unseen footage were excellent. Much of that material was provided by the band themselves directly to Shane Meadows. This included some grainy Super 8 ciné film of Ian Brown and John Squire on motor scooters from the early 80s. The film is essentially split into three parts; The resurrection press conference and the Parr Hall in Warrington free show; Then the rehearsals and finally some stunning footage from the Heaton Park gigs.
I really loved the rehearsal element. It showed just how close the band really are and it was incredibly intimate and insightful. Apparently some of the rehearsal footage was shot by Shane Meadows using a Super 8 App on his iPhone. Does that mean we’ll all be making films soon? The filming and editing of the Parr Hall show and the build up to it was wonderfully entertaining. Especially the sequences of the people queueing up to be among the lucky 1,000 attendees. I order to get a wrist band for the gig you needed to bring along some official Stone Roses merchandise or CD/ Records and obviously to be in the first 1,000 people in the queue. One bloke arrived still in his paint spattered overalls having not even bothered to lock up the house he had been working on.
The finale of the film is truly amazing and culminates in some superb footage from the Heaton Park gigs. There must have been countless cameras used and I hope that the video includes much more footage of the shows. Some clips of the pre Heaton Park warm up shows were shown leading up to the big gig. You saw the band back stage in Lyon meeting one of their Manchester United (or Mani United) heroes; Eric Cantona. Is it just me or does he look like Grizzly Adams these days? I’m sure that Liam Gallagher, who made a brief appearance in the film wouldn’t have liked that part. The classic non encore from the Amsterdam is also included. This was where Reni threw a bit of a hissy fit following some problems with his ear monitors and went straight back to the hotel. Ian Brown then had to come back on the stage and announce to the disgruntled audience that this was no joke and that the drummer had gone home. This culminated in the classic line ‘What can I say? The drummer’s a cunt!’ To be fair that is a little rich coming from a soon to be middle-aged man who wears his jeans low enough to see most of his undercrackers!
The posters and trailers for the film include the line ‘this film will make grown men cry’. Well I didn’t cry, but perhaps it’s just because it’s not my generation and not ‘my’ band in the way it is for the hardcore Roses fans. But even with my eyes remaining dry this was a five-star music documentary. I urge you to go and see it if you can or put the DVD (scheduled for release in October) on your letter to Santa Claus. But you know the drill by now; if you have to sell your Granny to get a ticket then say bye bye Gran today!
Once in a while you are presented with the opportunity to see a band that you have listened to a lot but have never really made the effort to see play live. I had a lucky break as my friend Andy Golborne’s partner Rachel was unable to attend a gig by the truly splendid Counting Crows. So I became the lucky owner of her ticket and went along to the O2 Apollo in Manchester last to see the band. This was the first time I have seen them but Andy has seen them on many occasions.
The support was provided by Lucy Rose a 23-year-old singer songwriter from Surrey. She has previously provided some vocals when recording with the Bombay Bicycle Club. She strikes me very much of a young Joni Mitchel but with even more jazz sensibilities. Her band is tight and very talented. To me there is almost an undercurrent of some of the better aspects of prog Rock in their delivery. The exposure of touring with Counting Crows can only enhance her profile and I would definitely see her again. In fact I would like to apologise for missing her at last years Reading Festival.
The Counting Crows. What can I say? Probably that they are even better live than they are on record and I do believe that their recorded output is bloody good! I can’t believe that this is the first time I have seen them in concert. Adam Duritz mentioned that he had woken up in the morning with a sore throat but that did not seem to mar his vocal performance which was brilliant. it did mean that we missed out on some of the story telling introductions that he often does when playing live. But that was a very small price to pay. The crowd was made up of mostly hard-core Crows fans. The bloke in front of me went nuts for almost every song and it looked like he had his kids with him, they also seemed to love it.
The band seems to really love what they are doing as well and this made for a stupendous all round performance which they enjoyed as much as the audience. I was really pleased that they raided their back catalogue excellently and didn’t stick with just the big hits; there was no “Mr Jones” for example. The band took to the stage to the sound of Bill Withers’ classic “Lean On Me” and left at the end of the evening to “California dreamin'” from the Mamas and Papas, to which Mr Duritz led us in a sing along. But obviously it’s what was sandwiched between those classic records that was most important. If I mentioned every highlight I would simply type in the set list! The first part of the show had excellent versions of “Omaha” and “I Wish I Was A Girl”.
The acoustic set in the middle of the show was beautiful, especially the arrangement of “Mercury”. acoustically this was accompanied by a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend Of The Devil” and another Counting Crows classic, “When I Dream Of Michelangelo“. After that excellent trio the set kicked back into electric gear, starting with a rousing “Round Here”. The cover of Gillian Welch‘s “Look At Miss Ohio” was truly stunning and new arrangement (to me at least) of “Rain King” was a truly emotional experience. The encore included “Washington Square” and a gorgeous rendition of “Holiday In Spain”. are the Counting Crows the best live band I have ever seen? Not quite but they are definitely in my top 5 and I will certainly see them again. In fact next time I shall take the wonderful Catwoman (a.k.a. my beautiful wife Catherine) with me.
Please note that apart from the picture at the top of this post none of the images or films were taken by me.
Some months ago I bought tickets for Catwoman and I to go and see Lady Gaga on her Born This Way Ball show. Well the time finally came around and we were there at the MEN last night. I should say up front that as far as the music goes I have been a fan of Gaga for a while so I was certainly looking forward to seeing her. But first there was the little matter of the Darkness who were on stage when we arrived at the MEN. I have unfinished business with these guys. I saw them at the Reading Festival back in 2003 when they were easily the highlight of Saturday afternoon. In fact highlight would be an understatement, they blew the opposition away. However the following year they were elevated to headliners and they truly sucked the big one, they were awful. So whilst I was pleased that they have got back together I was a little apprehensive. In my opinion they are easily back to their best and their new album is pretty good too. Catwoman wasn’t so keen and claimed that the volume almost had her ears bleeding! possibly a little exaggeration there!
After Justin and the boys left the stage we were promised a 30 minute wait for HRH Gaga, this stretched to about an hour which is never a good thing is it? Gaga’s entrance though did tick all the right dramatic and spectacular boxes. The curtains dropped to reveal a stage set that was part Disney princess castle and part Hammer Horror film left over. She then made her way onto the stage on the back of what can only be described as a very posh pantomime horse. For most of the gig the band were hidden away in the castle; shades of Bowie’s theatrical excursion across the USA in 1974 for the Diamond Dogs tour.
I felt that all of Ms Germanotta’s influences were on show during the evening. Bowie in the theatrical element, Freddie Mercury in how she tried to manage the crowd and I suspect her loyal little monsters won’t like this; Madonna for all the costume changes and a bra with two guns pointing from it. I can’t believe that didn’t have it’s roots in Madge’s now iconic cone bra from a few years back. How did all this rate? 9 out of 10 for the theatrical set, 4 out of 10 for crowd control and 8 out of 10 for costumes. Including one dress that allowed her to move like a Dalek, now that was cool!
Her songs are very strong and the dancers and the band are also very good. All the hits were rolled out “Born This Way”, “Just Dance”, “Bad Romance” and “Alejandro” to name but a few. It wasn’t her fault but I do believe the sound from her head mic could have been better. It certainly improved when she used a hand-held or one in a stand. Keeping up the scoring theme I will award her 10 out of 10 for the songs and 8 for the singing and the dancing, including the Lady herself, gets an 8 from me. So if I add all those scores together that would be 47 out of 60. Which is not a bad score is it? However I need to adjust it with at least a minus 30 for all the pretentious crap she spouted not so much between songs but in the prolonged talking part of the show. It’s right that a good artist should change the tempo of a performance but what she did was effectively grind it to a halt just to talk bollocks for what seemed like ages. I know that one of the dancers had suffered a family bereavement, but even so this was way, way over the top.
Constant questions about whether we ‘give a fuck’ or not tend to grate after a while. For the record I purchased tickets and I own her albums so I do give a fuck. My question to Gaga is do you? The little monsters worshipping mother monster is all well and good but her pontifications were almost cult like and a little bit Dubya in the sense that you’re either with us or you’re not, no in-between. I was with her, but now I’m not. So I assume that this make’s me the Gaga equivalent of a ‘cheese eating surrender monkey’
Also how many times did she have to tell us that “Born This Way” was written at the MEN during her last major UK tour. Once would have been enough. Then there was the new song about Princess Diana. It sounds like a reasonable song, but the spoken introduction which went on and on and on added nothing to it and would have struggled to raise a laugh or excitement from someone afflicted with a disease that means they laugh all the time.
She has a fixation for Disney Princesses and a clear dislike for Barbie which surprises me given how bland, insipid and devoid of controversy most Disney princesses actually are. It was quite amusing to see Ms Germanotta struggling to rip Barbie’s limbs off though. Overall I was disappointed I expected more from someone who I still believe has much potential and talent. But she really does need to take her head out of her, albeit rather nice, arse and get real before I would ever consider seeing her again.
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