Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sonic Youth playing Daydream Nation at the Glasgow ABC

I have written about my love of Sonic Youth and Daydream Nation many times. I first heard silver rocket on a compilation tape given to me in my first year at secondary school (1989-90). I then borrowed a cassette copy of daydream nation from the East Kilbride public library. I copied it and listened to it on my personal stereo religiously. In the past 17 years I believe that I have listened to daydream nation more than 1000 times. I own many other Sonic Youth records and I saw them once before, on their Washing Machine tour, at the Glasgow Barrowlands in the mid-late '90s.

Sonic Youth are great.

My job is a bit shit. It interferes with my life in many ways. I work long antisocial hours and I can be forced to move around the country at short notice. When I saw this show was happening I just bought tickets and thought 'fuck work' I will be miserable of I don't see this. I was initially meant to be on a week of nights this week but I swopped my entire rota to see this gig. I'm glad I did.

The sound was great. The energy level of the no-longer youthful youth was brilliant as they flung their guitars around the stage and had mock swordfights during teenage riot. Noise jams were tastefully inserted into most songs. This was not a dry reading of the record. This performance was alive.

Highlights included silver rocket, erics trip, hey joni, total trash, hyperstation, rain king, the sprawl and every other song they played. A second short set of the best of recent SY albums with Mark Ibold of Pavement on bass was great too. Do you believe in rapture?, incinerate and rather ripped all evoke the old sonic youth fire.

This was a brilliant night. Words fail me when I try to tell you how good this show was. See sonic youth play daydream nation if you can. I want to see them play sister and dirty now.



Slint playing Spiderland at the ABC in Glasgow

This is the sort of gig that I never thought I would see. Legendary obscure American noise rock band Slint playing their classic album spiderland as it appears on vinyl live in my favourite Glasgow venue. As an adolescent I used to fantasize about shows like this.

It wasn't very busy. I went with one mate and caught up with another old friend who is a member of an internationally successful Glasgow noise rock band. We stood and watched as the band ran through spiderland. The band were tight and loud. The show made me want to listen to the album again.

The last show was a new song. My friend, who knows some of the band, tells me that they have recorded some new songs and that a new album may happen. That could be good.

Listen to spiderland.

It's an interesting record.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tony Wilson is dead

I met Tony Wilson once at a book signing in Glasgow and I thought he was a bit of an arse. I also knew a guy at uni years ago who claimed to work for the Factory 2 label and he was a total cock. Ignoring these small asides Tony Wilson was very important on the UK music scene. His Factory label was inspirational and he provided a home for Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays among others. He released records that have soundtracked my life.

Outwith the actual music Factory was interested in Art and culture. The hacienda had a massive impact on dance culture and probably helped shape modern Britain for good or bad. Wilson was also a television presenter and a regular pundit on arts shows. The film '24 hour party people' is based on his life and is well worth seeing.

He died of cancer on Friday night apparently.


Andy Warhol at the National Gallery of Scotland

I braved the pissing rain and cold of the east coast of Scotland to visit this retrospective of the work of Andy Warhol in Edinburgh. I had to stand in line for 10 minutes getting totally drenched but it was worth it.

I like Andy Warhol because of the Velvet underground/Exploding Plastic Inevitable connection and in many ways I got into the Velvets because of the iconic bananna cover to The velvet underground and Nico. As a teenager I half-read a few books about Warhol including some of his diaries. He was a strange guy but he created strong images.

Everyone knows his soup tins and his Marilyn Munro but this show spotlights many of his less familiar work including his 'multiple elvis' images, his 'stitched photographs' and other portraits of trash cultue icons such as Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones and Liza Minelli. He was very interested in multiple repeated images and the effect is much better when you see the massive pictures in a big space.

I really liked his paintings for children which he produced in the early '80s. I had not been aware of them in the past and I felt that they had a warmth that is missing from some of his more famous work.

It tool about an hour to walk round and I plan to go back before the show closes in October. It was well worth eight quid and I spent a bit more cash in the gift shop. My only grumble was about some of the annoying national gallery staff who didn't like you carrying a rucksack around the show.

Worth making the effort.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Transformers - film review

This film is much better than it should be. It had serious potential to be pish but it is acutally rather funny. The special effects are a bit over the top but it does have some cool action sequences.

Like most Scottish kids of my age I grew up with the Transformers on TV, in comics and as toys. I was totally immersed in them from a very young age. If you had told me back then that a live action Transformers movie would come out one day and look good I would never have believed you.

I will buy this on DVD and I will watch it again. I will go and see the sequel.

You should see it in the cinema if you can