Laura Moody

I can’t count the number of obscure and fantastic bands I have discovered while attempting to stay dry, and Laura Moody was no exception. It was the last day of the Bestival on the Isle of Wight, and I just wanted somewhere dry and warm to eat my burrito. I wandered into a rather empty tent with a soggy floor, and by the time I’d finished my lunch the stage had been set up and Laura Moody was making her way to center stage.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, though I thought it might be a chilled-out classical acoustic set – I was wrong. The set did start in a way that could have lead the audience to believe they were going to enjoy 45 minutes of beautiful classical cello work, however, we were soon disabused of this notion. Her set was enthralling and elegant and weird and completely out of this world.

Moody has a beautiful, haunting voice, with an operatic quality. The first part of the set included a lot of songs from her debut album ‘Acrobats‘. This album puts more emphasis on the cello work than the voice, and the two work together and compliment each other beautifully.

During the last part of her set Moody moved on to songs that were from her new E.P, which do include some wonderful cello work, however there is a lot more experimental work going on here. Moody uses her impressive vocal range to contrast with the cello, rather than compliment it. These pieces are striking and enjoyable, though probably wouldn’t be considered ‘easy listening’. Moody not only uses her voice, but ‘plays’ her throat with the cello bow, creating these weird and wonderful sounds. She also played a Nick Drake cover, which was very out of the blue, but I did enjoy it. One of the last songs she played really struck a chord with me. It was a mash-up of Marianne Faithfull’s ‘Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ and Moody’s original song ‘Creeping Alopecia‘ (that’s what I’m assuming it’s called, on the E.P it’s just ‘track 01). This was a really interesting mash-up and worked incredibly well.

All in all, I am so glad I stayed for the entirety of the set, and would recommend you go out and listen to her, and if you can, see her live. She’s a wonderful ethereal performer, and an extremely talented and impressive cello player.




Some Bad Photos

I’m now quite behind on this blog, but I don’t think anyone’s reading, so that’s ok. And if you are reading, you probably don’t know my calender, so I’ll pretend this is a recent gig. One better, I’ll pretend this is a gig from the future.

In the future, I will go to Scroobius Pip’s tour at the Nest in London.

Ok, let’s not do that. On with the actual review/whatever the hell this blog is.

The venue was fine, not the best one I’ve been to. Ok,  I’ve only been to one gig there, and I have a feeling the atmosphere is a lot better if it’s packed out. Unfortunately, though there were people, it wasn’t teeming, which was a shame. The gig I went to was an extra date, added ‘cos the first one sold out.

The gig itself was fine, but not the best Pip gig I’ve been to. Though, that was the 24th time I’ve seen Pip, so ya’know. It was pretty cool, because it wasn’t really a Pip show, it was a Speech Development Records tour, (Pip’s label). So there were loads of guests, and Pip was essentially just hosting.

The first guest was PolarBear, an amazing spoken word artist, from Birmingham. What I love about his work, as well as the content, is the delivery. Polarbear’s inspiration seems to come from a lot of hip-hop, and when he speaks, you can hear the rhythm echo those hip-hop roots. This melded with intricate and personal lyrics, and a distinctive brummie accent, you have one spine-tingling poet.

Warrenpeace were the next act. Made up of hip-hop producer and DJ, Buddy Peace, and guitarist/producer/genral cool guy Warren Borg, or as he’s often known, ‘Worgie’. Over the summer these guys released their single ‘Hungry‘ (and I was totally in the video, but that’s beside the point (it’s really not)), and then dropped their album later in the year. Their music is dirty, guitar-y, and kinda heavy. A good band to see live.

The ‘headliner’ in this talented, musical event thing, was a guy called B.Dolan. B is known primarily as a rapper/spoken word artist. His music deals with a range of subjects, from the death of Russell Jones (Ol’ Dirty Bastrd, one of the founding members of the Wu Tang Clan) to Agoraphobia, to police brutality. The last one brings us onto one of B’s other passions. He’s also an activist, and co-founder the site, a site that tells consumers social responsibility information about corporations. He is passionate about a range of issues, and was recently interviewed by Russell Brand on the ‘Trews‘. This episode is well worth a watch even if you’re not a fan of Brand.

The evening itself was pretty good, as mentioned above, it wasn’t my favorite Pip-esque night, but it was fun. I do have a bit of a confession about the photos though. This gig was almost straight after Billy Idol, where I managed to get some pretty decent photos, thanks to the brilliant lighting. However, one thing The Nest doesn’t have is great lights. They essentially had two small red lights, one ultra violet light, and a blue light *shudders*. So, all the photos came out terrible. This is why I’ve uploaded a compilation of photos of the bands mentioned above from other events – most of the photos are from Pip and Polarbear’s (and Kate Tempest) spoken word set at Camp Bestival, the others are from Bestival and Pip’s solo album tour in 2011. Hope you enjoy ’em.

The Correspondents – Jazz cafe

Now we come onto a band I have seen a number of times.

The specific gig I’m writing about was in February this year at the Jazz Cafe in Camden. Which is a lovely little venue, really good for small intimate gigs. To make the venue work the people on stage really have to work hard to engage the audience, and can’t be frightened to get a little bit too close. (To be honest, at a venue the size of the Jazz Cafe they really have no choice)

The Correspondents released their second album earlier this year. I am a huge fan of them, and loved their first album. It’s full of ‘electro-swing’ numbers, sampling music (done masterfully by part 2 of 2 in the duo, Chucks) from the 30s,  and mashing it with his own beats. After hearing the 9 tracks on the first album (titled: What’s happened to Soho?) I longed for more. They did have a couple more songs (no longer played at live sets) from an EP entitled Rouge, which I recommend you have a listen to.

The Correspondents are famous for their live gigs. They are a band focused on the here and now, the live performance rather than recording an album. Their debut album was only recorded (I’m sure) because the MC(?) lead vocalist(?) Mr.Bruce, had broken his ankle.

I, like many of their fans, saw them while waiting for another show (they were the in-between act on mainstage at Bestival in 2009) and was completely blown away. Mr.Bruce is very charismatic, which is surprising, given the energy he puts into his performance – read: he dances. Like a nutter. But, ya’know, in a good way.

After being stuck with a limited amount of live shows and the same nine songs I was very happy to hear that they had finished recording their album, and were going to tour it. (They are the kind of band that tour 24/7, except when they’re making an album, obviously).

They live streamed the album when it was released, which was a couple of days before the show. I listened to it, and, in all honesty, was uninspired. It sounded quite samey, and nothing really jumped out at me – except the line ‘I’ve got the keys to the devils lighthouse’ from ‘the devils Lighthouse’. To be fair, I wasn’t giving it my full attention, but first impressions count.

Anyway, I was still pretty excited about the gig, they always managed to put on a good show. As soon as they came on stage they played the first track off the new album (What did I do), and immediately, I knew I had made the wrong judgement on the album. They played almost the whole album, with some of their older stuff as well, and it was fantastic. I would now site The devils lighthouse as being my least favorite, though it’s still up there. The song I enjoyed most, and still enjoy is ‘Puppet Loosely Strung’ – weirdly the title track of the album. I don’t often like the title track.

In summary, it was an amazing gig, the energy in the tiny room was brilliant, the crowd were into it, Mr.Bruce was practically bouncing off the walls, and the music was both lyrically and musically enticing.

*A note on the photos: I’m particularly proud of these, I’m not great a getting clear photos when the subject is – to quote the man himself -‘dancing like a loon’. But I have to say after seeing them 7...8...9 times I’ve managed to leave last few gigs with some half decent photos*

The photos included are from the Jazz cafe in Feb 2014, and Bestival in Sept 2013.