3...2...1... You're back in the room...
Tuesday 20th December 2011
Yes, it has been a while, but it's good to be back, Lloyd. And because it's been a long time I've got plenty to fill you in on, so I'm breaking up the update into 3 parts, so that you don't get overloaded. Yes, it is rather kind of me, isn't it?
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I suppose I ought to be flattered that someone has ripped off my Internet name. Specifically, these Indian T-shirt manufacturers, who have not only set up a website but also signed up on Twitter and set up a Facebook page. Although luckily I bagged the fatfakir user name on Facebook before them. I expect I'll be engaged in some sort of domain name dispute next. Well, hard cheese, my foreign friends, I've owned the .com (and .co.uk) domain for the last 10 years (at least) and they can go whistle. If anything I ought to be suing them...
Given that summer has long gone and most of what I did, or didn't do is now rather irrelevant, we'll gloss over most of it. Suffice to say that there are a few 2011 Weaver Wander pictures and some sculptures from the Nantwich Festival of the Arts on my flickr site. I'll be filling you in on my musical adventures and the number of terrible DVDs that I've bought in another update soon, I promise. I just decided that it was probably best to get an update up before I forget how to do one... More anon.
I am Kimble, the nimble
Monday 20th June
Following the revelations that Gay Girl In Damascus was actually a middle-aged man in America, and that one of the founders of LezGetReal was also a man masquerading under a pseudonym, I'd like to come clean and announce that actually, I'm not a fat, middle-aged English bloke, but actually a 32-year old Swedish lesbian...
Anyway, a touch on the late side but here's a review of my weekends watching the Nantwich Jazz Fest and the Crewe Live '11 music festival. To make it easier, I'll get the jazz fest out of the way first. Got to say that despite the nominal use of the word jazz in the title of the festival, there was very little actual jazz on display. And what jazz there was, I managed to miss due to football matches taking place at the same time. That and the small matter of the fest starting three days before payday. Anyway, I managed to drag my heaving carcass out for the traditional Sunday piss-up, when the population of Nantwich triples and the average age drops by a good ten years. The first band on the list to see were my ex-colleague Charlie's band Steamy Windows. I'm no great fan of the blues, but these guys mix things up a bit and rarely let the tempo drop, keeping things rolling along. After that it was a case of wandering the town and finding a venue that wasn't too packed and wouldn't take twenty minutes to get served in. Well, we didn't have a lot of luck with that, but did end up at the Railway Hotel, where we could at least have a sit down. We saw The Jalapenos, who are a good time covers band. Plenty of rock'n'roll japery going on, alongside the excellent musicianship. And after that, it was time for more beers and a realisation that, despite being out for nearly six hours, I'd only seen two bands and was feeling a bit pished. Plus I was fed up of having to queue for beer or for the toilet. I could have used the outside toilet at the Railway, I suppose, but that was just a load of buckets behind a screen - I've been to free festivals with better bogs than that. So it was off to Spices takeaway for a curry and off home to collapse on the sofa. I had vague intentions of going out again to catch Nunz With Gunz at The Bowling Green, but I never made it. And that, my friends, was as much of the Nantwich Jazz Festival as I saw this year. But then I never see that much of it anyway - I'm usually watching footy over the Easter weekend and I'm no fan of the crush in town on the Sunday.
In between the Jazz fest and the Crewe Live fest, I managed to fit in some more music, checking out some bands at The Rifleman in Nantwich, who were playing a benefit gig. I turned up a bit late, expecting to miss the first two bands, one of whom I didn't particularly want to see. Well, I managed to miss one band and the band I wasn't bothered about were on when I got there. Proud Proud People is their name, and they'd transmogrified from the terrible acoustic folk duo I'd encountered at The Box once, into a snarling folky-rocky-indie beast, complete with brass section. My word, what a transformation. Next up were Swim Into Scarlet who I've been keeping an eye on since I saw them in The Box about a year or so ago. As I predicted (he says modestly) they've developed their sound and now incorporate elements of shoegaze, surf and an Eastern influence to become something a bit special. They've even incorporated a trumpet, which always gets the fatfakir seal of approval. They were very good and even name-checked me during the gig, which was flattering. Incidentally, they have an EP coming out on Butterbridge Records, which I urge you all to seek out. (I did consider being a bit cheeky and asking for a review copy for this website, but I suspect that my readership is back in the single figures now I don't update this too regularly...) Headlining the night were Bathroom Crooners, another eclectic bunch that I enjoy. They sounded on top form, so all in all it was a good night out, even if the pub were charging £3.20 for a pint of Carling!
And so, after a hiatus last year, to the return of Crewe Live music festival. The festival proper kicked off on Friday night with all manner of bands playing round Crewe, but rather than tour round the town, I chose to start the festival in The Box, as they had an attractive line-up on offer. I turned up in Crewe fairly early. Too early, I thought, so nipped into The Express for a cheeky pint. Turned out that was a bit of a mistake, because when I headed round to The Box there was a fair bit of a queue on. By the time I got in, the ever-excellent The Flares were already on stage. Acoustic guitars and trumpets a-go-go. One of several bands currently employing brass, which can only be a good thing, in my opinion. It shows a bit of imagination, I think, and a willingness to move away from the standard indie-slash-rock template of guitars, bass and drums. Next up were Crewe/Northwich's old skool rappers The C-Dub Soundtrack. Three MC's and One DJ, as they say, plus a live bassist. They were much better than they had any right to be. If I was being hyper-critical, I'd say that occasionally they could do with another live instrument on stage just to break things up a bit, but that really is nitpicking of the highest order. Next up were Stoke's rising indie stars The Rivalry. They were very good too, sort of like Oasis meets The Who. The one minor quibble I had was that I couldn't hear the keyboard player for the first half of the set. Finally, indie-ska-rap mash-up merchants Kid British. I'd heard a few of their tracks and was expecting a ska-heavy sound live, but they were more indie. Still pretty good though - certainly better than anything I've ever done! Top band and worth checking out, in my humble opinion. I knew I'd had a good night when I woke in the morning and couldn't remember how I got home...
On Saturday, I had originally intended to head out mid-afternoon to catch the League Two play-Off final before heading on to see Swim Into Scarlet. Unfortunately, they had to pull out of their early Saturday evening slot due to illness, so I decided to have a bit of a lazy afternoon at home. I then headed out to see Not Penny's Boat at The Bank instead. Young whippersnappers, not been going long but already finding their feet and writing their own material. Promising. With excellent comic timing, Russ, who had tipped me off to NPB the night before, turned up about two minutes after they finished their set... From The Bank, it was on to The Express to see The Retrospective. Unashamed pop-rock, with a quality singer and decent tunage. Another good band in another decent pub. This festival was going pretty well for me! And it only got better when I nipped down to the Duke to catch a storming performance by Proud Proud People at The Duke. After that it was off to some girl's birthday party up at The Alex (sorry, name's forgotten). I had intended to slip out of the party to catch Sway but due to my own inability to pace myself, I was slightly pissed and somewhat knackered (well, totally knackered, to be honest) so I made my excuses and left early. It was probably a good idea.
Having had an early night I was up in plenty of time on Sunday to have a big fry-up and watch the Grand Prix before heading off up to Crewe for Day Three of the music fest. The plan was to meet Kerri in Hops for a few beers to celebrate her birthday, but knowing that she'd be late, I decided to check out New Romantics at The Imp first. Despite the name there was absolutely nothing New Romantic about them, and I did feel a bit of a fool standing in there in my frilly blouse, pirate jacket and make-up... Still, I met up with Jules from creweblog, so things weren't all bad. New Romantics were OK - good at what they do, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Scrubbing off the make up and changing into something more suitable, we made our way to Hops to meet up with Kerri and friends and get involved with some serious drinking. An hour or so and a few beers later, Jules and I hit the road to catch the pop-punk sounds of Lost Response up at the Bank. They sounded pretty good and had a fair few fans in the venue, which is usually a good sign. There was was also a bloke in there planking.Yes, I said planking, Which was quite amusing, especially when he fell off the bar stool.. We then ventured on to the Corner Bar (now known as The Stage door, apparently) to catch the grunge stylings of Sumofly. Unfortunately, they hadn't started by the time I had to move on, leaving Jules to the ministrations of his friends. I moseyed on down to The Duke to catch The Flares doing an acoustic set. Sadly, there was no brass on display, although there were one or two bras on display in the audience, so not a total disaster... The Flares' set was also enlivened by a police raid halfway through it. Luckily they weren't looking for under-age drinkers, but some proper villain, who appeared to have given them the slip. They didn't find him (or her). After that flurry of excitement, it was up to Square One to see Iron Door Club. Their 60s-flavoured pop-rock stylings sounded pretty good to my ears. After that it was off to The Waldron to round the day off with an acoustic-ish set from rock cover merchants, Mutha Humbucker. They are very good at what they do, but I have to admit, I'm no great fan of the genres they work in. Once they'd finished I was struck by the realisation that I was both pissed and tired (shocker!) and so dragged myself off to catch the last train home, which turned out to be a replacement bus. No matter - they didn't check tickets or anything so it was a free ride home. Result.
Monday and the final day of the festival. I was feeling a bit knackered and, mindful of the fact that I was due back at work on Tuesday, I resolved to try to take it easy. Which is probably why I was still out drinking at 9pm... Anyway, the afternoon started with an acoustic session from Swim Into Scarlet. Short but sweet. I then hung around waiting for Kerri to drag herself out of bed. When she finally arrived, we decided to go to Square One to see New Romantics in acoustic action. They were alright, except for the fact that every song was "rehearsed about twenty minutes ago", which stopped being amusing after the third time they said it. And stopped being plausible once their set passed the twenty minute mark, and they were still trotting it out ten minutes later... After they'd fginished we ducked back into The Express to catch the melodic post-hardcore of Bet It All In Vegas. I appreciated it, although Kerri said it just sounded like a lot of shouting. Mind, she doesn't really know anything about music! Then we headed up to the Brunswick to catch Sumofly, but just like the previous day, they didn't start on time so although they sounded alright we had to move on, heading to The Bank to witness the electro-rock mash-ups of Kalahan. I've seen them a couple of times and they really are quite good. They didn't disappoint. Once they'd finished, we followed up on a tip-off one of group had had, and headed back to Square One, where we were blessed with a solo spot from John Bramwell from I Am Kloot. Absolutely fantastic. And I even got to shake his hand afterwards and tell him so. Probably one of my personal favourite moments of the entire weekend. After that we stayed in Square One, drinking, and were treated by a performance from local legend Snakey Jake. He's a fantastic slide guitar player but his set seemed to go on for hours. It probably didn't but he certainly spent longer on stage than any of the other bands I saw on Monday. Anyhoo, come 9pm, I finally managed to convince myself it was time to go home, so staggered off to catch the train and hit my bed.
So overall, I've got to say, it was a fantastic festival, although I didn't get round to see as much of it as I would have liked. Personal highlights were Proud Proud People, Swim Into Scarlet and John Bramwell, but to be honest, I'm struggling to think of any duff bands that I saw over the course of the weekend. One or two bands that I wasn't a big fan of, but I can't fault any of the musicianship on show. What great work by Volume PR and their associated guys to assemble such a line-up. Can't praise them enough. And they are, apparently, already planning for next year. I am too - I'm definitely booking the Tuesday after the festival as a holiday - I can't take the pace like I used to.
Inside my glass of hours
Tuesday 29th March 2011
Typical. You wait months for one update and then two come along almost together. This time you get the benefit of reading all about the crappy, er, cheap, DVDs that I've bought over the last few months. There's a fair few to get through. Do try to keep up. Or at least stay awake.
- Four Lions Chris Morris' take on suicide bombers in England. It's mostly hilarious, with everyone coming out of it looking a bit daft, but Morris isn't just poking fun here - there seems to be some warmth and sympathy at the core of this film. well, at least that's how it seems to me. Worth checking out.
- Sharktopus BlueWater Corp creates the perfect killing machine for the US Navy - half shark and half octopus and all deadly. Mainly because, of course, not only has the mad scientist spliced together a shark (not a natural predator of man) and an octopus (shy and retiring unless provoked) but he's messed with the creature's brain. (He's also messed with its vocal chords, giving the frankenfish a roar...) Luckily, Sharktopus can be controlled by a neuro-transmitter. Unluckily, the neuro-transmitter gets knocked off during a test run and Sharktopus goes rogue. It's up to the mad scientist's pretty daughter and a maverick ex-employee to save the day. Pretty predictable b-movie hokum, but propelled to greatness by the awesome Sharktopus. What a concept.
- Mega Piranha - Having endured Megashark vs Giant octopus, I was tempted by this one. Yet again it's a case of scientists meddling with nature to produce the ultimate killing machine... This time it's piranhas. Great big piranhas. Absolutely fecking huge piranhas, in fact, that can grow to the size of a whale, at least. Bonkers, and not in a good way.
- Saw: The Final Chapter - Entitled the Final Chapter, but I'm prepared to make a wager that it isn't. It ought to be though, because this one is f-in' rubbish. The main villain turns out to be a killing machine who has more in common with Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees and the worthy hero cop has less clue than Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun movies. Worse still, the subplot involving the traps has no possibility of redemption at all - from the minute the set-up starts you know that the victims are all going to die. And there's a rubbish (and not unexpected) twist at the end which leaves the writers with plenty of scope for another film.
- The Expendables - Big, brainless action movie that has a stellar cast list. Unfortunately they just prove that most of them actually need some other decent actors to bounce off. Lots of sound and action, but not much else.
- Saxondale - Series 1 & 2 - Another masterful Steve Coogan creation. Former roadie, Tommy Saxondale, now runs a pest control business in Stevenage. Struggling to reconcile his former rock 'n' roll lifestyle with the responsibilities of business, Tommy finds ordinary life just a bit difficult at times. His anger management group probably doesn't help much either.
- Porridge - Box Set - Timeless prison-based comedy. If you don't know this, you've not lived.
- Hot Tub Time Machine - Quality time-travel-cum-buddy movie. Three friends end up back in their old lives in 1986 and have to decide whether to live it all again or do things differently and possibly change their futures.
- Manhunt - Norwegian horror covering much the same ground as Deliverance. A group of holidaying youths find themselves attacked by the locals and then hunted through the woods as the locals make their sport. Of course, the pretty young one somehow survives and kills off the yokels before being rescued by the local cafe owner. Or is she...?
- Dragon Wars - 75 million dollars spent on the special effects. 100 dollars spent on the actors and absolutely nothing spent on the script.
- Attack of the Sabretooth - A mini-Jurassic Park, only this time, instead of an island full of dinosaurs, we've got a couple of sabretooth tigers. Of course, they get loose and go on the rampage.
- Burn After Reading - Some sort of comedy caper. I bought this cheap ages ago and haven't got round to watching it yet. I've had it so long, the film was shown on terrestrial television the other night. I didn't watch it then either.
- Son of Rambow - Brilliant. The sort of film the old Children's Film Foundation used to encourage. Kids, sans parents, having adventures and two of them forging a life-changing friendship.
- The Court Jester - A Danny Kaye classic. Hawkins, jester to outlaw The Black Fox, gets mixed up in a plot to overthrow the evil king and restore the rightful heir to the throne. Plenty of comedy capers along the way including the famous "vessel with the pestle" schtick. A decent way to pass an hour and a half or so.
- Shoot 'Em Up - Ludicrous actioner in which Clive Owen turns out to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, at least as far as the bad guys are concerned. Coming to the aid of a heavily-pregnant young lady he ends up with a baby and a mystery to solve. Oh and about a thousand guys all trying to shoot him. He kills them all in a variety of totally unrealistic scenarios.
- Rats - Terrible b-movie schlock about deadly rats in the basement of a psychiatric hospital.
- Pathfinder - Medieval actioner, in which an abandoned Viking saves the tribe that raised him by taking on and slaughtering, almost single-handedly, the marauding Viking raiders who have been wiping out the Native Americans.
- Benidorm - series 2 - Series 4 is currently running on the telly and I'm still catching up. Got this one cheap from Morrisons, like the first series. I'm hoping they'll have season three in before too long.
- Blakes 7 - Series 1 & 2 - Classic BBC sci-fi from the late 70's. Although it has all the production values you associate with the BBC of the time - unconvincing CGI/animation, the same five locations standing in for any number of alien worlds, maximum re-use of sets for internal scenes - it does at least focus on the relationships between the main characters, rather than simply being an action-driven space opera. Our hero, Roj Blake, leads the resistance against the totalitarian government of the day. Framed for crimes he didn't commit, he's shipped off to some distant penal planet. He manages to escape before making planetfall and, using the alien ship that he's acquired, sets about striking back at the evil Federation that framed him. Sexpot Supreme Commander Servalan turns up around episode 5, but alas doesn't change into her black outfits till Series 3. And Blake's nemesis, Space Commander Travis, is played by a different actor in the second series, which is slightly confusing.
- Hammer Horror - Box Set A whole heap of Hammer's classic horror films. Some twenty-one titles here including, Dracula, She, To The Devil A Daughter, Quatermass And The Pit, 1,000,000 Years BC and The Plague of the Zombies. Haven't actually watched any yet though as I'm saving them for a project. Expect reviews in a couple of months.
And that's it for this update. I've got a project in mind to watch and review my Hammer Horror films on a regular basis, like I did with the Carry Ons a couple of years back. And I ought to give you a few reviews of my local eateries (something else I keep meaning to get round to...) Whatever, hopefullyI'll get round to something before the summer solstice.
Time, flexes like a whore...
Thursday 24th March 2011
Another couple of months tick by without a regular update. Anybody would think I've abandoned the updates on here in favour of regular updates via Facebook. And they'd probably be right to some extent. Although admittedly, I haven't posted much of substance on Facebook for a while either. I have been keeping Sick, Sorry and Sober up to date with reasonable regularity but even there I'm always a couple of days behind with my match reports.
I did mention in my last update that I'd got myself some new albums. I used to love music, still do in fact, but haven't really bought a lot of new stuff in recent years. I really ought to get back into the habit, rather than wasting my money on crappy DVDs... Anyway, here's a quick run through the music what I have bought:
- Valhalla Dancehall - British Sea Power A return to form following the slightly disappointing 'Do You Like Rock Music'. The band retreated to a remote farmhouse and spent time crafting this one, and it shows. More of the epic, sweeping tunes of the first two albums and a cracking single in 'Living Is So Easy'.
- Collapse Into Now - REM It's probably a little late in the day to be expecting REM to be producing startling, ground-breaking albums. However, they are capable of revisting some of their former glories and producing something with a few singalong up-tempo tunes and mournful ballads. Fans of Automatic For The People or New Adventures In Hi-Fi should definitely enjoy this.
- Red Barked Tree - Wire Sporadically active, long-running art-punk band, all now well into their 50's, make album that is pretty good. Some cracking tunes on here as well as some jarring agit-prop sentiment.
- Office Space Soundtrack Loved the film, so got round to buying the soundtrack. Mainly so I've got a theme tune if I ever leave my current Jay-Oh-Bee. Perhaps shouldn't listen to it at work too often though!
- Trans Continental Hustle - Gogol Bordello I'd heard good things about them and they seemed to be flavour of the month when I bought this. Earnest, shouty Gypsy-folk-punksters, who sound like they ought to come from some small Eastern European country, but actually hail from New York. I probably should have first encountered them at some wild alcohol-fuelled party or a festival or something, because in the cold light of a sober day, this can rapidly become grating.
- The Resistance - Muse Oh dear. I'm pleased I bought this cheap and didn't pay full price when it came out because otherwise I would have been asking who this band were and what had they done with the real Muse? Given its bass-heavy throb (reminiscent of Goldfrapp's sub-Moroder offerings) I kind of get the feeling that this is the album that Matt Bellamy finally gave in to Chris Wolstenholme's pleading and let him come up with a few tunes, only to discover that he didn't have any... For all that, it's worth having just for the fun of speeding up the first half of track 8 (available on youtube here, for reference) and realising how much it sounds like this classic parody from the Not The Nine O'Clock News team.
- Pictures: 40 Years of Hits - Status Quo Inspired by my trip to Bridlington to see The Quo live, I thought I ought to have all their songs on CD to remind me of that happy time. I've listened to it once.
- The World Is Yours - Motorhead As with Status Quo, there's no other band out there that sound like Motorhead. This is more of the same from the now LA-based Lemmy and his long-standing cohorts, Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee. It's Motorhead, is actually the best way to describe it. And I have to confess that I haven't actually bought this, just borrowed my bro-in-law's copy and ripped it.
- Human Amusements at Hourly Rates - Guided By Voices I was lent this ages ago by my friend Charles, and ripped it to my PC. Said PC has subsequently died and the songs are all trapped on the hard drive. Rather than faff about trying to rescue them, I've taken the easy route and bought this compilation. Now I'll have the songs forever, or at least until the CD degrades to the point of unplayability... Anyhoo, herein are the hand-picked highlights from Guided By Voices' career. One song clocks in at well over 4 minutes, but of the rest, nothing much more than 3 minutes and several songs less than two minutes. All quality.
- Sings Greatest Palace Music - Bonnie "Prince" Billy Another one borrowed from Charles and now entombed (along with a whole stack of other Will Oldham stuff) on my dead PC. Here, Will revisits some of his earlier work, aided by a host of Nashville session musicians. Some folks feel that the songs are a little too countrified compared to the original versions but I like them.
- Harder, Fatter, Louder - Various Artists A mere 8 years after their last Fat Music sampler, Fat Wreck Chords finally get round to releasing another, number 7 in the series. To be fair, they've also released a shedload of other stuff in the meantime. The usual mix of the stalwarts and recent arrivals, mostly sticking to the nu-punk template. One or two notable exceptions, but nothing that should shock those familiar with the Fat roster.
- Man Opening Umbrella Ahead - Vivian Stanshall The great ginger geezer's first solo album from way back when. Way back when a bag of crisps was 5p and a gallon of petrol was 42p (about 10p a litre). Yep, 1974. African-fused rhythms meet Viv's distinctly warped lyrics to give us a slightly surreal experience. Definitely not as pop-friendly as his later works.
- Da Opera - Buccaneer Having been a fan of his collaboration with Rancid on the single 'Bruk Out', I finally got round to checking out the source material. Can't say I'm much of a fan of the original version of 'Bruk Out' but much of this opera-based ragga is actually pretty good. Especially the title track.
- The Great Escape - Blur - Discovered in the bargain bin of my local discount book retailer. I bought this and two other albums (more of which shortly) for a mere five English pounds. Starts off well with Stereotypes and country House but then sort of tails off and by the end all the songs are bleeding into one. Too much filler, not enough killer, in my opinion. and even when a decent tune does rear it's head, you realise you've heard it before - 'Mr Robinson's Quango' borrowing heavily from Syd Barrett's 'Octopus' for example...
- Parklife - Blur Bought at the same time as The Great Escape. Suffers from some of the same problems as that album. Too long and too much filler. It does at least have some decent tunes towards the end but, again, occasionally you recognise the source-cum-inspiration for some of the stuff on here.
- A Little Deeper - Ms Dynamite Mercury-Prize-winning British rap album, found in the same bargain bin as the two Blur albums. Infinitely more rewarding, especially if you're after something other than clumsy re- interpretations of old Small Faces and Pink Floyd songs. Easy to see why this won the Mercury Prize back in 2002. Yes, I can get down with da kidz, just 9 years late, that's all.
- Arkology - Lee "Scratch" Perry Actually slightly disappointing compilation of the work of the legendary Dub producer. Not because the music isn't up to much - far from it - but because it's been lazily put together. Far too many of the songs are immediately followed by alternate versions or the dub versions, which means you're listening to the same song two or three times (or even five as happens on Disc 2). It would have made more sense to me to put all the dub versions on one (or two) CDs and all the proper versions on another couple of discs. But hey, that's what mp3s were invented for - rip this and re-order it to make your own classic Lee Perry compilation.
- Trojan Dub - Various Artists This is more like it - no messing around with several versions in a row. Strictly dub here. Sounds pretty awesome at any time of the day, but probably best late at night when you've had a herbal cigarette or two.
- Best Of - Nouvelle Vague 60s-style bossa-nova-flavoured arrangements of various punk, new wave and synthpop songs. Good where it works but terrible when it doesn't. Fortunately, this being a Best Of, there are many more examples of the former here rather than the latter.
- Rio - Duran Duran Probably shouldn't have mentioned this one, but I grew up listening to this stuff back in the 80s, so excuse my nostalgia. And besides, it's a better album than the critics would have you believe. So there.
And talking of music, I have to say a big "Ta, Love" to my friend Miriam, who pointed me in the direction of TagScanner, which has allowed me to update all the filenames on the mp3s I created using my USB Cassette Converter. The software was simple to install and use and I'd updated all my files within about thirty minutes of downloading the thing. And I probably could have done it faster if I hadn't spent time playing around with the various settings and things. Cheers Mims!
On a final musical tip - I haven't been out to see many live bands over the last year, for many and various complicated reasons. But what I have been out to see, I have enjoyed. So, in my favoured stylee, here in no particular order is a list:
- Status Quo - Obviously. Think I've covered them in sufficient depth last time.
- Swim Into Scarlet - Went to see this lot up at The Box, after a long day's drinking in Manchester and Stockport. It probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had. Not because they weren't very good (they were) but because I was just about done in for the day when I got up there. I saw this lot and a bit of the main support band (who I didn't enjoy) but couldn't last to see the headliners, so packed up and called it a night. I'm off to see the Swimmers again tomorrow and I won't be so drunk, so perhaps I'll enjoy it more.
- The Lockdown - A rare outing from The Lockdown unfortunately coincided with my works Christmas party. Luckily the Christmas party was a bit shit, so I didn't feel guilty about ducking out early to see these chaps. The Lockdown were excellent as always.
- The Flares - These lot were a bonus item from The Lockdown gig. They were the support and were still on when I arrived. Two guys with acoustic guitars and friends with trumpets and trombones. Very different from the usual indie fare. Impressve stuff that makes good use of the brass section. And if I hadn't fallen for them already, they finish off with a marvellous cover of Jona Lewie's 'Stop the Cavalry'. Excellent.
- Disarm - Ah, me old pals. Not seen them around for a bit, as they've not been gigging too much, but luckily a rare outing for them coincided with a trip across to South Yorkshire for me. They were spot on as usual but wer ehampered by the vocals not being quite loud enough, in my humble opinion. Turn yourself up, Brad!
- Rage Against The Bean Topping the bill at the Disarm gig were South Yorkshire's finest Rage Against The Machine tribute band. I'm not normally a big fan of tribute bands, but I have to say this one is very good. There's a bit of visual incongruity - the shaven-headed lead singer will never be mistaken for Zack De La Rocha, and there's five of them in the tribute band as opposed to four in the original but these are minor quibbles. Ignore the between-song banter, delivered in a broad Yorkshire accent, close your eyes and listen to the music and they're pretty much spot on. Worth checking out if you're a fan of the original.
- Kalahan - An act that I'm pretty sure I saw at the Crewe Live festival a couple of years ago. I've certainly got their CD from that time. Electronica, dance beats, samples and some scuzzy guitar. At times reminiscent of Pop Will Eat Itself (look them up), but with less of a rock'n'roll vibe. Suitably non-standard enough to confuse the rugby players in the pub.
And that's about it, apologies to any band that I've missed out on, but then you obviously weren't that memorable! On a final musical note, it's been good to see that the Crewe Live festival is returning over the late May Bank Holiday, and they've booked some quality acts this year. Check out that website for details. Before that there is, over Easter, the Nantwich Jazz & Blues festival, which features ever less jazz as the years pass. I'll be there because my old colleague's band are playing on the Sunday afternoon. I may even get round to posting an update all about it! Anyway, that's enough for this one. There's a DVD-based update hopefully just around the corner, but don't go holding your breath.