Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jools Holland and Imelda May plus Marc Almond and Ruby Turner

We just got back from a night out (yes a real night out with babysitters and everything) at Portsmouth Guildhall for Jools Holland's tour.
Jools is an awesome musician and very well respected as well as having a road appeal. So the demographic of the audience was from kids to pensioners. He and his 16 piece band of brass, hammond organs, drums guitars and singers plays a lot of blues, boogie woogie and just fantastic music.
We had seen him and the band before twice over the years so it was good to go again as the sets and the guests are always very varied.
The biggest initial treat was the warm up act, which does her a dis-service. Imelda May and her band perfomed a set of songs.
I was blown away by her and her 3 man backing band. A double bass, a single drum and a guitar. It was pure rocakbilly. In fact the closest thing I could could think as a way to get your head into who she is is a cross between the stray cats and Gwen Steffani. I love the simplicity and style of rockabilly and proper rock and roll. When delivered with such a powerful voice and passion it just gets better. It was a real hairs on the back of the neck moment. Those are seldom wrong in my experience, (Maybe I should go and be an A&R person in the music Biz as I am sure thats how they feel about good artists).
Imelda May has a couple of free songs on her site if you register. Worth a listen, if you like what I have described. I will certainly be following this career.
I found this on Youtube from another festival gig.

Then it was onto Jools and the band. Very good, the usual comedy and passion that Jools and his crew bring. You cant help but be moved by that boogie woogie blues.
I managed to snap this, we we at teh back in the cricle, but you get the gist.
Jools Holland
Not only is he an awesomely talented pianist, but he also picked up a rhythm guitar at one point. It is unusual as most music I like featured guitar heavily, usually the guitar blues solos and the bass are sparse, favouring the sax, trombome and trumpet solos. Which is all very refreshing. In particular Jool's band features Rico Rodriguez a ska and reggae legend. He even got to sing a couple of tracks in his awesome style.
The biggest surprise though was Marc Almond coming on as a guest. He got a massive reception from everyone. He has such a powerful and crooning operatic voice that his songs lifted the emotion of the crowd and had people on their feet. It moved from semi laid back boogie to powerful driving vocals.
He finshed his part of the set having done Say Hello Wave Goodbye and Games People Play with the anthemic Tainted Love. Now this is a tune that takes me way back. I even loved the marilyn manson version, here it was a driving blues band power croon. To see so many of the auidience singing along given the older demographic there was actually very amusing. All the fuss made back then in the press about tainted love and his sexuality it was reassuring that his pure talent and the strength of the song and the delivery had even made him a granny favourite. The song was originally done back in 1964 so maybe that helps, but Soft Cell putting it on "Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret" is the famous one and somewhat adjusted its meaning. Either way though it rawked.
You would think that would be hard to follow, but follow they did with Ruby Turner. Another powerhouse of blues and gospel. She just grabbed the whole thing and blasted out some awesome tunes.
It ended up with a good couple of encores ending with the entire band doing "enjoy yourself"
You are not supposed to record these concerts, so this is not an attempt to give anything away other than a snippet of the setup. You clearly cant beat real life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Consoles and Consoling

A very odd couple of weeks is in progress here at the lair.
I am about to dash off back to my hometown to visit my Dad (who is having an operation today), My 93 year old Grandad, who recently ended up in hospital, which led to my Nanny having to be moved to a care home, where she fell out of bed and bashed her face leading to here being in Hospital. On top of that predlet1.0 had one heck of a fever at the weekend which meant we had to go to the out of hours doctors. In trying to find a chemist on a Sunday Mrs Epred ended up in Boots in a shopping centre where she was verbally abused by someone who was clearly not totally stable.
The shop was unable to call any security, "they dont work Sundays". Grrrrrr
Still, on the plus side (which is not that good a plus) Call of Duty 4 on the 360 proved to be awesome, though I have only played a few hours. Its all too hectic to shozu flickr and youtube. Then yesterday Assassins Creed arrived, which I got for the PS3, yes its on the 360, but I felt I needed at least one decent game to keep me interested in the PS3. Creed is graphically very good, gameplay is a little same-y. Its certainly not the next gen masterpiece that is was hyped as.
COD4 of course is awesome, its mixture of adrenalin pumping action and set pieces is stunning.
AC is a bit more relaxing really, though I dont think the climbing about is as good as the super hero feel of Crackdown
Anyway here is a view out over Damascus. Clearly youtube, mobile and compression does not d oit justice, but it was a memorable moment as you ride your horse through canyons and emerge at the first major city. Seemed to take 2 hours to get to this point with a lot of "story" and "training", still good though.

Assassins Creed on ps3