Category Archives: Music

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, 25th May 2011, Union Chapel

Kc1 With King Creosote having provided the most amazing live music moment of the previous year, it was going to be difficult to beat that. He played at the Union Chapel with John Hopkins. Performing their diamond mine album in its entirety and a bunch of gorgeous encores. The atmosphere was intense and reverential because here whether real hard-core fans hanging on every note and every smile and every gesture from Kenny, John Hopkins and the guest players from geese. His most ardent fan was there as before calling out and whooping after each song. We had seen this guy last year in the slaughtered Lamb. But here the sense of occasion and the overwhelming atmosphere of wanting to hear the music overcame even his most fanatical follower. He played everything I wanted to hear and more, including a lovely version of nothing compares 2U which has been helpfully uploaded to you Tube. He played Leslie and he played And the racket they made.

There was nothing else I could have asked for.Atmospheric, unrepeatable and wonderful.

The Mekons 20th May 2011, The Lexington

 

Mekons1 Appropriately enough I am with one of my oldest friends from back in the day in Leeds. Familiar faces are all around. It's almost like some gathering of the ancient clans. They have heard the call but the  are Mekons are in town and they are gathering, one more time. Inside the venue we stand near a couple who are making a video. John Langford announces that after 38 years they are having a documentary film made about them. This makes little difference to the way they go about things. Apart from, after messing up two new songs when Langford says why should I care after 38 years have I written enough songs. Everyone is on great form. My favourite songs still come from fear and whiskey and me cons rock 'n' roll. Down the front of the stage a new generation of me cons are having the time of their lives and slowly and gently staking their claim and pushing aside the older never been in a riot fraternity. A great night as always

M Ward, 15th May 2011, The Union Chapel

MWard1

I had seen M Ward play before. But never at the union Chapel. It was a first for him as well. He makes the most beautiful, timeless sound from his guitars and it all look so effortless. Like it has always been easy for him. But this particular skill is hard one and not as simple as he makes out. The union Chapel is packed and hushed. The atmosphere is warm and Sunday night. So many of my favourites are played, including the Sandman the brakeman and me from the monsters of folk album. He plays a Nick Drake song, Place to Be, and his immaculate cover of Let's Dance both songs performed because he is in England. There is no new material but when you have been as prolific as he has at turning out atmospheric beautiful music for more than a decade you don't need to have new material. A short but beautiful set.

Jim White, 2 May 2011, Jazz Cafe

JW1 I had never seen him play before. So it was good to have my first experience of seeing him play right at the front at the jazz cafe. He was tall, thin and grey-haired.

He had a picture of one of his daughters on his guitar.He had some great younger musicians with him. He played those beautiful songs which I loved from the album A town called amen.

And even though Jailbird did not go quite according to plan it was still very beautiful.

Again, how is it that this man is not so much more well known?

Josh T Pearson, 23 Feb 2011, Slaughtered Lamb

JTP1

Down at the Slaughtered Lamb he came on stage, or rather he walked into the middle of the room, looking like no one else. He was tired and emotional. I don't mean he was drunk. I mean, he was tired and emotional. There was an atmosphere of reverence in the room. Here were people who could not believe they had stumbled across the uncut singer of the month in person no more than 20 feet away at the furthest point. He played most of last of the country gentleman. Reviews have pitched his voice, delivery and subject matter somewhere between Ian Curtis and Johnny Cash. Neither of these reference points really does justice to the experience of seeing him play live. The guitar is used as an extension of the voice not as an accompaniment. Chords are not played so much as used to prop what emerges from somewhere beneath the long hair and beard and 10 years of living, loving and  troubling his mind with altered states since the implosion of Lift to Experience, his former band. What emerges, is a spine tingling but also worryingly, essentially voyeuristic expedition into some particularly dark places and sad experiences. No one writes a song called Sweetheart I ain't your Christ because they feel light of heart and that they might make the Kiss 100 playlist. He seems as surprised as anyone else in the room at the fact that this music which appears to be on the point of collapse into nothing at several points actually works. And moves. This surprise extends to catching sight of the actual CD for the first time at the end of the night when my friend offers his pre-release copy to him for his signature. “This is the first one of these I've seen” is what he tells him. And this night and this music too is something the like of which I have not quite seen before.