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.

 

 

Advertisements

Billy Idol

Yup. That’s right. Billy Idol.

One of the many reasons I like going to watch older bands/musicians is precisely because of their age. If they’ve been touring for 20 odd years, chances are, they’re gunna be good. I know there are a lot of new bands on the scene that have fantastic live shows, some even make their names with their live shows rather than releasing a mountain of singles and a couple of albums. Such as the correspondents. Anyway, we seem to be getting a bit off topic.

I was good for this gig, I arrived at 4, and doors didn’t open ’til 7. I had time to eat some food, and got a hot drink to keep myself warm while waiting in the queue. I meet a lovely couple while waiting, who had traveled up from Cornwall to see Billy. The guy was a Billy Idol look-alike. He had the hair, the spikes, the random pieces of metal sticking out of his face. They were lovely, and kept topping up my chai tea with brandy, which made the waiting a lot less painful. We also made friends with another girl waiting in the queue, and when we got into the gig all four of us were constantly looking out for each other. It was nice. It felt like a little family. A weird family, but a family none the less.

It was at the Apollo, in Hammersmith. I’ve seen a number of shows there, from Queen (and Adam Lambert – who are playing again in January) to Russell Brand (my opinions on whom are complicated) and Tim Minchin. It’s a great venue, and have utilised the trick of ‘the sloping floor’ so that everyone has a chance at seeing, even if they’re right at the back.

The support act were…interesting. A band called ‘the Dough Rollers‘ hailing from the Big Apple. They had a very punky vibe about them, but the lead singer seemed to be very into ‘the music’ and paid little heed to the audience. Many of the older members of the audience weren’t impressed, but I thought they were a genuine punk band, and worked well as an opener.

Billy himself was…amazing. The whole show was grand. He had about 5 costume changes throughout his two hour set, and came very close to the crowd, constantly making eye-contact with people in the front (including me) which helped keep the gig personal. (Even if it was staged). I know he’s be doing this a long time, and you can tell (not just because of the wrinkles). He had signed set-lists he personally gave out to the front row (which I sadly did not get) and Stevie Stephens (the lead guitarist) had a seemingly endless supply of picks, which he kept throwing out to the audience (I did not get one of these either). Stevie is a brilliant guitarist. He entertained the crowd with heart-stoppingly good solos while Billy was changing into yet ANOTHER outfit.

All in all, great gig. I’m using it as my warm up for Die Toten Hosen, who I am going to see in December. I feel the crowd will be a bit more violent with them.

I’m pretty proud of these photos. I seem to have come out with a number of good shots. (Well, I did take 577 photos, so one or two good ones is to be expected, even if it is just luck)

Imagine Dragons – Brixton O2

WARNING: Another old gig review.

So Imagine Dragons got pretty big last year, what with this, which, I’ll admit, is a good song. Got all the elements of a good pop hit, which is probably why it did so well.

Anyway, veering off point a little. So. The Brixton O2 Academy. As I’m sure you know O2 have a number of venues under their name – not least the O2 Arena in Greenwich. The Brixton O2 was the first of the smaller O2 venue I’ve been to. The venue itself is quite nice. The drinks are overpriced and staff were helpful but tense, though I guess that comes with the gig. The best feature about the venue is that the floor is sloped towards the stage, which is a brilliant idea, and works wonderfully. Brixton itself is quite easy to get to, and after the show there is no shortage of cheap fast food places.

Imagine Dragons had two supports, which isn’t unusual in a venue that size, specially when the bands are on a major label. Their support acts were Eliza and the Bear, a very typical indie/rock band. They did support AWOLNATION before their Imagine Dragons slot, which only strengthens my theory that the two bands are different versions of each other, but in a good way. Eliza and the Bear are doing pretty well, supporting Chlöe Howl, Bipolar Sunshine, and having their own set at the Isle of Wight festival earlier this year.

The second support act were Grouplove, Fronted by Blue-haired Christian Zucconi (Though when he played his hair looked a little bit green, giving him a Ledger-esque Joker look). They a fairly talented bunch, however, they have a typical indie-kid vibe about them. They’re taking fashion from the hipsters, and giving it the masses (ya’know, like Ubran outfitters). Which is fine, because we’re not worried about their style, but about their music. Unfortunately, it’s the same case. If they had released an album four or five years ago, I’m sure they’d be dominating the whole scene by now. The audience loved it, (they were mainly 14-18yr olds with wayfares and baggy shirts). However, I felt like their music had a stale indie-pop taste to it.

And so onto the main act. Imagine Dragons were technically very good. Their music sounded good, but it was NOT how it sounded on the CD, which is always nice when you’ve paid £20 to go and see them live. They only have one album out, so the setlist was fairly predictable, though they added a few b-sides and covers to mix it up, (including With or Without You – U2 and Song 2 – Blur) which was nice. Despite all this, the show had a very polished feel to it. When I go to a gig I want raw excitement, I want to feel the adrenaline radiating from the stage. To be fair, an Imagine Dragons was not the place to go for this.

All in all, good gig. Good music, nice to dance to. Not something to get very excited about.

(Also, I’m very sorry, these photos aren’t my best. I’m gunna blame the blue light, my lil’ camera can’t handle it)