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.

 

 

Kate Tempest

So if everyone could ignore this huge gap in the posts on my blog, that’d be great. The condensed version is that last semester at uni I had a lethal mix of laziness, too many gigs and the stress of trying to write a number of essays and papers. Well, it wasn’t so much the stress of writing them, more the stress of trying to find things to do (and countries to go to) instead of doing them. Procrastinating is hard work guys.

Ok, so the next lot of reviews are going to be horrifically out of date, however, I’ll write about how the gig was, and the artist in general. Though I’m sure you don’t mind reading these things well out of date. I’m not sure what the half-life is on these kind of blogs.

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Now all that admin is done, on to Kate Tempest. So I’ve known about Tempest for a couple of years now, after I became a fan of Scroobius Pip. I first knew her as a spoken word poet, however she is a prolific playwright as well, and is about to release her third book.

Kate Tempest is really something when it comes to lyrics and performance. She has been influenced by ancient mythology, this is evident in one of her songs Icarus and in her first book, ‘Brand New Ancients’. Tempest has also written and performed a poem called  Tiresias, about the myth of Tiresias (surprisingly). [WARNING: LINGUISTIC DIVERSION UP AHEAD] For any linguistic nerds out there, it is also interesting to note that Icarus was written in dactycal hexameters. The ‘dactyl’ part refers to the pattern ‘TUM-te-ty’ essentially, the syllables for the pattern ‘stressed-unstressed-unstressed’. The hexameter part refers the amount of syllables per line (in this case…six). This was a common in epic classical poetry written in Latin and Greek. I just think that it’s really cool that she has written a poem in dactycal hexameters, which aren’t used much at all in poetry and spoken word nowadays.  Ok, people who hate linguistics  can tune back in now.

Tempest has played at Bestival for a number of years, and every time I see her (whether it’s at Bestival or any other of her gigs) I get chills when she speaks. She has this passion and power in her voice that is hard to come by. She makes you want to get up and do something with your life, to experience life in the fullest way possible. Tempest blends flawlessly elements of spoken word, rap, poetry and theater to create beautiful pieces that create characters so solid you can almost touch them. This, combined with her strong East London accent makes for stunning pieces that are so different from anything anyone else is doing. All this is helped of course by the fact her work is littered with amazing lines riddled deep in meaning, such as:

‘And the days are all dust
and the only thing worse
than losing the trust
of a lover is finding the rust
in their kiss.’

Which can be found in Hold Your Own, Tempest’s first book released back in 2014 – and can be found relatively cheaply from wordery.com. She is about to release another book called The Bricks That Built The Houses which you should definitely buy, like everything she does it’s going to amazing.

Kate Tempest is actually about to go on tour for her upcoming book, starting in London in April, and stopping off around the UK until she flies stateside to tour in America, so for any Americans reading, this would be a chance to see one of the UKs most prolific and talented writers, an opportunity that should not be passed up. The dates and tickets for the tour can be found here.

It’s hard to use words as eloquently and as effortlessly as Tempest does to do her any justice, my recommendation is to pick up one of her books, see her live, and blab on about how amazing this woman is to anyone who will listen. Much like I’m doing.

Anywho, her are some photos of Kate Tempest at Bestival in September last year.

 

 

 

 

 

Party in the Park

Second gig in this fair old land that is Aus. Again, I hurriedly bought tickets for this before leaving the UK after hearing that the Cat Empire were playing. Which, in retrospect, was a brilliant idea. When I got the tickets the only billed acts were the Cat Empire and the Jezebels, who I hadn’t heard of before. But that didn’t really matter, because if they were playing with the Cat Empire they were going to be good. A couple of days before the gig I got an email from the organisers giving details.

So, with a few days before the gig I made an effort to look up the other bands online, even if it was only to listen to one or two songs. I also thought it was delightful that all the bands playing at Party in the Park hailed from Australia. The event turned out to be more like a mini-festival, with a bar, a couple of food stands, and a large shaded area with lots of bean bags, which was fun. It was held in a cricket ground which mean just by being there you felt somewhat middle-class. It was a lovely crowd, everyone was very well dressed, even though there was range of people from 18 to 80. It was nice to spend the last part of the afternoon in the sun, watching all the shiny happy people enjoy the good weather and good music.

The first band that played were Sons of the East, a trio local to Sydney. They are an indie/folk band, with definite hints of Mumford and Sons. Though, we’re all inclined to say that as soon as a band appears with a banjo and harmonica now, which is a shame. But they played a good mix of songs, great music to listen to in the sun. They seem to have parts of Sydney flowing out of their instruments. All of this made for an enjoyable start to an evening of good music.

The second band that played were an almost all girl group band Little May. It was refreshing to see an all girl band come up on stage and play their own instruments. I know there are girl bands out there that do play their own instruments, I just don’t feel they get as much exposure as they should. Anyway, I’m going slightly off topic. Little May had a mix of raw guitar and bass with electro-y piano and soft vocals. They managed to blend them together in such a way that they didn’t grate, but complemented each other. They managed to get the crowd off the ground where they had been watching to actually come up and dance, which was excellent.

The third – and final band before the two headliners – was a band called Husky. Husky are another indie/folky band. They set started off fairly slow and low-key, though as they played through their songs they upped the tempo and got more and more people dancing. The highlight of their set however, was their final song, ‘I’m not coming back‘. It was a very memorable song both lyrically and musically, and left the crowd begging for more.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the Jezabels, I’d only listened to one song before I saw them, so I wasn’t fully prepared for what they were going to do. They were vocally similar to Little May, in my opinion, without being samey. Hayley Mary on lead vocals did give Little May a shout out, and commented on the guys that had shouted ‘take your top off’ during Little May’s set that they were ‘bearing their fucking souls, which is way more intimate’ than a naked body. This obviously got a massive cheer from the crowd, and it was nice that she had been listening to their set and had the balls to call out the perpetrators. I felt the set was comparable to a La Roux gig, but that might just have been because the lighting was very similar (purples, pinks and blues – which, incidentally, mean that my photos aren’t great). The Jezabels are definitely a band I would make an effort to see live again, would recommend to anyone looking for a dancey band that stands apart from the rest.

Aha, now we get to the main event of the evening. The Cat Empire. So, if you’ve got this far without knowing who Cat Empire are, let’s take a minute to change that. Cat Empire are described as ‘Jazz/Ska’ but in reality they’ve got elements of salsa, blues and pop in their music, as well as jazz and ska. The band consists of a bajillion people. Well, there’s six of them. But still. That’s a fair amount of people on a stage at anyone time. The gig was everything I wanted it to be and more. They opened up with ‘Brighter than gold‘, which, as far as I’m aware is their latest single. Their set list had a good variety of songs, from ‘Chariot‘ to ‘Like a drum‘. The energy in the crowd was uncontainable, without being (too) violent. The fusion of instruments on stage is an exhilarating mix. As well as the core band members playing percussion, keys, trumpet, double bass and decks, they were joined on stage by The Empire Horns, a brass duo with Ross Irwin on the trumpet and Kieran Conrau on the trombone.

Each band surpassed expectation, as did the weather. The atmosphere went from chilled to dancey to there-so-much-energy-here-all-my-hairs-are-standing-on-end. All in all, the night could not have gone better.

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)