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.

 

 

 

 

 

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 knowmore.org, 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.

Bestival

Ah, Bestival. Probably my favorite festival of the year. Run by Radio 1 DJ and Record Label boss, Rob da Bank. It year has it’s own theme, and on the Saturday there’s the fancy dress competition. Robbie has a good knack at choosing acts, and although, when they’re announced it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, by Sunday night, everyone has had a fantastic time.

On of the bonuses about Bestival, is that as well as being a music festival it put just as much effort and time to be a literary festival, film festival, silent disco and cabaret club. In a field. This means that even if the music isn’t to your liking (which is in itself a challenge, since the festival has over 20 stages) you can always spend a morning doing some yoga, and afternoon listening to some poetry, and an evening playing ping-pong in an ultra-violet shipping container.

Right. Onto some bands.

Fine Lines

The Bandstand stage is usually commandeered by local bands. On Thursday night the stage was graced with Fine Lines, a folky, rock band, with haunting vocals and intricate melodies. They were a superb band to watch on a Thursday night.


La Roux

Everyone was very excited about La Roux, performing in the big top late on Thursday night. In truth, I wasn’t too fussed about seeing her. However, I’m very glad I did. She had a great stage persona, talking to the crowd, getting them hyped up. I felt the night could have gone either way. La Roux appeared on stage in a shirt and full length chinos, which was a refreshing change from all the crop-tops and short short skirts we’re so used to seeing on 4Music.


Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip

Ok, so now we’re getting into some emotional territory. Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip are were one of my favorite bands. So you can imagine how I felt when they announced this was to be their last gig. Actually, I was fine with that. See, they had a three album deal with Sunday Best (Rob da Bank’s label), and they’ve produced three fantastic albums. I’m actually quite happy they’ve decided to quite while they’re ahead. It means we’re left with 3 album’s worth of songs, and 7 years of memories. (Or ya’know, release a multitude of bad records, and then sell their soul to popular talent show. I’m looking at you Ricky Wilson. Such a waste. Such a terrible waste). Rob himself introduced them in the Big Top on Sunday afternoon, which was unusual, and he made a speech about how great they were and blah blah blah, which was lovely. Their set was, as per usual, astounding. (Though I may be a bit biased). Pip posses a rare talent to switch from dark, harrowing lyrics during the songs to throw jokes at both Dan and the audience.


London Grammar

Though I like their music, a lot of it’s quite hard to dance to. Hannah Reid has a cracking voice, which means there’s always the danger that it will be 45 minutes of us watching her hit very difficult notes very well. And although that’s better than a poke with a sharp stick, we could get the same effect by spending £5.99 on a CD and listening to them that way. Unfortunately, I found that was pretty much what happened. People around me seem to enjoy it though, and I can’t say she’s not talented. But the whole show ended up with people looking up at four people on stage, in silence – much like this (credit goes to beeb & Glastonbury for that vid) – because no one has the self confidence to sing along – waiting for them to end. I’m glad I’ve seen them, but I feel no desire to see them again. I mean, Reid didn’t even take her coat off. Very little movement.


Foals

I’m going to end this on a positive. Foals. After all the dance-y bands, disco music, and singers with laptops, it was nice to see some people with actual guitars. The Foals know how to play a crowd. They came out, covered in glitter and those fantastic gold leggings. They started with ‘My number‘, getting everyone to dance the cold away. They managed to get everyone singing, to their less well known tracks. Defiantly Festival material.