Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kansas to outlaw practice of evolution

Headline from todays edition of the onion. try

Also, has the Iraq war now lasted longer than world war two? Possibly from an American point of view.......

Ate in Michael Caines restaurant in Glasgow tonight. It was good. Not cheap but good.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Twilight Singers - Live at Oran Mor, Glasgow

This wasn't the best gig that I've been to this month but Fishbone and TV on the Radio were both exceptional. I really like the Afghan Whigs (singer Greg Dulli's first band) but I only own two Twilight Singers records. I don't listen to them too much.

Nonetheless I was looking forward to the gig. Dulli has a good voice and a reputation for being a strong live performer. It was also the first time that I had been to a concert in the Oran Mor, a converted church on the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road. About 10 years ago I lived in a shitty student flat on Great Western Road opposite the building when it was derelict so it is nice to see that it has been done up. It's quite nice inside now.

Support was supplied by a guitarist (?Jeff Klein?) from the Twilight Singers playing some of his solo stuff. It was depressing.

The main set was loud. My ears are still ringing. Dulli was in good voice although he is a bit 'fat elvis' now (sorry). Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees/Queens of the Stoneage/Kurt Cobains friend) was on hand to sing five songs including a version of Where did you sleep last night? by Leadbelly. We were also treated to a TV on the radio song in the encore which was entertaining.

The crowd was composed of ageing musos on the wrong side of 30 who were into the Afghan Whigs the first time around. I would like to take this opportunity to say 'hi' to the wanker with the blonde hair and black jacket who said 'fuck off' as my friend and I walked in front of him before the show started. You, sir, are a cock (I doubt he'll read this, I doubt he can read). I was glad to see that a group of people much taller than me soon stood in front of him.

So, it was an OK show. I'm glad I went but it could have been better. I wish I'd seen the Afghan Whigs.....


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fishbone - live at King Tuts, Glasgow

I nearly didn't go to this show. I didn't have a ticket, it was raining and I was on-call until 9. I'm glad I made the effort. A lot of my friends were there (one from Bristol and another who has just got engaged) and the show was great.

I have a confession to make. I don't really know much Fishbone music. I saw them 13 years ago at the Glasgow Barrowlands with Bad Brains and the Goats but I had to leave early. It was a school night and my mum actually came to pick me up. I was 15 and legally not allowed yo be in the venue. My mum actually knocked on the door to get me and was allowed backstage. I think she actually met the Bad Brains which was cool cos they were one of my favourite bands.

Anyway, I digress. I don't listen to Fishbone much. I have an old LP in a crate somewhere but I haven't listened to it in 13 years. After tonight I'm going to change my ways and raid ebay.

The first band were a funk-rock combo from Bordeaux. The singer bore a striking facial similarity to Sacha Baron Cohen and the band were funny in a Borat sort of way. Lost in translation but entertaining.

Fishbone were a revelation. The musical talent and energy that they displayed was amazing. In a 2 hour set they employed several instruments that I could not name as well as a theramin, Bass, Alto and Tenor saxophones, Trumpets plus the usual array of guitars, etc that you would expect from a modern rock band. Seven large men crowded the tiny stage of King Tuts. It is small. I've played there.

Singer Angelo wore a kilt and a pork-pie hat. He spent half of the set in the crowd. The band seem to be quite into physical comedy with lots of on-stage slapstick moments. Norwood (the bass played) also offered some political opinions before their 'dance with Saddam' song. He pointed out that the Bush family were in the past friendly with both the Bin Laden family and Saddam Hussein. He expressed a desire to attain world peace through partying with Bin Laden instead of shooting people. He said that he wanted to 'party with Bin Laden, fuck his bitches, drink his booze and smoke his weed'. While I realise that these sentiments have a noble pacifist inspiration I feel that they also display a lack of understanding of Islam.

Back to the music. Amazing. Ska funk punk rock. Everyday sunshine. Date rape (a sublime cover). Freddie's dead (Curtis Mayfield). Many more I am unable to name. Brilliant.

If you ever get a chance to see this band, take it.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Lazy film review - Superman Returns

Just saw the DVD. Didn't like it. Too dark and serious. Bryan Singer should have done x-men 3 instead. Not sad that I missed it in the cinema.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

TV on the radio - live at the Glasgow ABC 2

For some time now I have been waiting to see TV on the Radio live. Their album Desperate youth, bloodthirsty babes has been a constant fixture on my personal playlist since I heard it a couple of years ago. New album Return to cookie mountain is growing on me. Tonight was the first chance that I had to see them live. My level of nervous anticipation was quite high. I was scared that I would be disappointed and that they would spoil it somehow. A mate had seen them in edinburgh earlier and assured me that they would be good. He was right.

The support band were ok. I can't remember their name. if I do I'll put it in here (.......). Noise with a bit of stooges and spacemen 3.

Tv on the radio were even better than I expected. What was great was the organic quality of their live show. The lead singer Tunde Adebimpe danced around the stage like he was in a gospel choir. Star producer/guitarist David Andrew Sitek had a set of windchimes hanging from the headstock of his guitar for most of the gig. Songs were adapted to the live performance. Wrong way was fast and joyous. Bomb yourself was punky and aggressive with a heavy james brown style bassline. Dreams, ambulance, wolf like me and satallite were all played in a way that revealed new facets of the original song. Recent single I was a lover was excellent.

My mate was worried that they would be a bit serious live but generally they seem like a party band. They took the time to slag off Donald Rumsfeld and at times the stage was filled with smiling lunatics madly banging improvised percussional instruments.

The hipster crowd (usually scum) were into it, singing, dancing clapping and interacting. Tunde told the crowd that he loved playing in Glasgow and invited everyone to come to Manchester the following night before saying how much he disliked Manchester.

The sound quality wasn't great but the noise produced by the band was amazing. Dreamy sweeps of white noise and pulsating rhthymns. Imagine my bloody valentine if they were a barbershop quartet jamming with lee 'scratch' perry. I am hipster scum.

Here are some reasons why you should buy a TV on the radio album if you are a music snob
1. David Bowie sung on their last album.
2. David Andrew Sitek produced the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Liars.
3. They are on genius american cooler-than-you record label Touch n go (home of steve albini)
4. They are also on 4AD in this country (home of the pixies)

If you are not a snob just but the first album cos it's fucking good.

Someday, when I'm old and close to death I hope my grandkids (if I'm lucky enough to have any) will say to me

'grandad, tell us about when you saw tv on the radio'


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thank you for smoking - film review (and a bit of a book review and some stuff about the author)

I first read the novel Thank you for smoking several years ago when I was living in shitty hospital on-call rooms in some non-descript place in the West Midlands. I can't remember exactly where I was (I was moving about a fair bit at that time) but I loved the book.

Christopher Buckley was once a speech writer for George Bush senior. I realize that based on this fact I should refuse to read any of his books but they are so good that I can't help myself. He is an intelligent guy and I just have to listen to a few extra Jello Biafra records to atone for my sins.

Anyway I love the book. It's about Nick Naylor, a man who is a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. He is a 'spin-master' who has the job of promoting smoking and denying that any links exist between cigarettes and ill-health. He is the smiling face of death and he knows it. He hangs about with similar publicists for the fire-arms and alcohol industries.

In the book events conspire to make him think about his job.

The film is a pretty faithful adaption. I liked it. The cast fitted my mental image of the characters from the book. It has been simplified enough to appeal to a minstream audience but it's still pretty intelligent. I urge you to try and see it.

It also touches on some issues that I've written about before. Public health and the nanny state. I hate smoking with a passion because members of my family have died of lung cancer or other cigarette related diseases. I meet people on a daily basis who have horrible diseases that are limiting their lives in terrible ways mainly because they smoke.

Smoking sucks but I believe that people should have (some) right to choose while tobacco is still legal in this country. I do support the smoking ban in public places in Scotland because I hate being in a room where people smoke and I hate smelling of smoke. On a recent trip to England I really noticed people smoking in pubs and it was unpleasant,

In the past lung cancer was a rare disease. Hopefully that will be the case again in the future (as Harry Burns, Scottish chief medical officer, recently said).

Until then, check out the film or the book. I hope they will make you smile.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wolfmother - live in Glasgow

I went to this gig without being too familiar with any of the bands on the bill. The show wss part of the MTV2 spanking new tour. It was very much a package tour show with four bands with very different style.

I didn't see much of the opening band the MacAbees (possibly spelt wrong). I was not upset because they weren't too good. The next band, fields, were a half-hearted tribute to my bloody valentine. They couldn't really pull it off. All noise with no heart. Forward Russia were not much better. Their sound is trapped in the post-punk era and not in a good way. One of my friends told me that their album was not too bad but I don't intend to find out.

Wolfmother saved the night. The Carling Academy is not a great venue. The sound is patchy and it can be difficult to see the band. Wolfmother overcame these obstacles easily. Despite being a three piece they produced a massive sound. The singer sounded as good as the studio recordings and the playing was tight. Their music is rooted in '70s metal like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath but they do it well. I'll be putting the CD onto my i-pod. Catch them if you can. I expect them to become BIG.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Still on holiday

I’m still on holiday. This will be the second delayed post of the week. I’ve done very little. Went for a walk yesterday and took some photos. I’ve read a few books; Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, Fragile things by Neil Gaiman. I’ve started to read The naming of the dead the most recent Rebus book by Ian Rankin.

I’ve read a few comics too. I’ve just finished reading the collected edition of The Goon by Eric Powell. It’s been sitting in my ‘to read’ pile for at least a year and I’m glad that I’ve finally got round to it. It’s a great story mixing gangsters, zombies, circus freaks and vengeful cowboys. The art is nice too.

I’ve also being reading some older comics that I bought from ebay. I’ve just read a trade paperback collection of John Byrnes run on She-hulk. I realise that I probably sound like I’m talking in double-dutch to anyone who has a sense of cool but it was a good read; really cheesy, funny and surreal. It reminds me of some of the Howard the Duck comics I’ve read (you can get them in a big black and white collection pretty cheap). Byrne even manages to make a 7 foot tall green woman appear sexy. Having said that a girl I know once told me that she thought the hulk was a turn on. I also read another Byrne book from the mists of time called the Next Men. It was ok.

I’ve watched some DVDs too. I just watched the first season of Dead like me which is an American series about a girl who is killed by a flying toilet seat before becoming a grim reaper employed by some hidden higher power to help the souls of the dead to the next plane of existence. It’s good. I will try and get my hands on series 2.

I wish I could say that I was doing something more profound. Sadly I’m just chilling out. I wish I had more time off. I have many more books that I want to read but I guess a week is a short time. I’ll have to go back to work on Monday. The price of being a wage slave is high. It must be nice to independently wealthy and not have to work. I could handle being bored. If I had time to play with I probably wouldn’t do much. Work forces me into some sort of activity which is good. Maybe I’ll be able to get a job that I really like eventually. Stranger things have happened.

I’m not missing the mobile phone or the internet. I’ll have access again soon enough. The world can wait.