inulro: (Default)
So I completely forgot to buy a ticket for this gig and was only reminded that it was happening the day before. Yesterday I had to choose between doing overtime and going to the gig because I felt like crap, so I chose the overtime because I've been spending way too much lately. But I got a call from [livejournal.com profile] girfan - she'd won some tickets at the last minute and did I want one? So I worked till 7 and went straight to the gig.

I've not been paying much attention to Amanda Palmer over the last few years - I've been busy, and I've never been as fond of her solo stuff as the Dresden Dolls material. Plus, the ukulele thing was taking irony too far for me. I've always been of the opinion that ukuleles are for people who can neither afford nor play real instruments (primary school trama? probably. I feel similarly about recorders).I've seen the Dresden Dolls twice and Amanda solo once, and it was always a good solid performance but nothing magical.

This was. She can afford a bigger band and isn't stuck behind the keyboard all the time. She puts a lot of effort into making the evening a really big occasion for everyone. The crowd surfing was - gutsy. I'm not sure whether it's a good thing or a bad thing that some of the loudest cheers she got all night were for bashing the Daily Mail.

Towards the end she did about three slow numbers in a row and my back, which was hurting anyway from being at my desk for too long, was really painful. Then she launched into "Common People". Which I can confirm was about 10 times more fun than seeing Pulp do it live. And I say that as someone who spent a good deal of the 90s with Common People and Babies on repeat. They were right up against the curfew, so after they went off stage and the house lights and music came up, they came back on and did a really fast rendition of Girl Anachronism.

Anyway, mad thanks to [livejournal.com profile] girfan for making this all possible - I owe you!
inulro: (Default)
I can't believe I wasn't going to go! That was all kinds of awesome.

It was an evening of Bauhaus tunes. Including Boys, the first Bauhaus song I was ever exposed to. He's a wonderful performer (and very self deprecating, he kept saying "I can't believe people are still coming to see me") and his band were very, very good. Bassist is cute, but not as sexy as the fretless bass he was playing.

I didn't get there early enough to be right down the front, but was really close- both times I've seen him/ Bauhaus previously were in even bigger venues and it was impossible to get anywhere near.

Though the performance was spot on and the material (obviously) some of my favourite stuff, it didn't have the emotional impact of seeing Mark Burgess do Chameleons songs last year.

He has a new album coming out in the autumn. They played clips from it before he came onstage. It sounds really good. And I haven't taken any notice of his solo work since Deep.

Lots of other thoughts which I can't articulate today.

Neil Gaiman and Peter Murphy in one week! Life doesn't get much better. Except, of course, that I'm going to see Dead Can Dance for the first time since 1993 on the 2nd.
inulro: (Default)
I've never been to a sold out gig at the Louisiana before. That was - cramped. We were tempted to see him yesterday at the Gloucester Guildhall instead because it's a better venue. Really should have.

I'd been looking forward to seeing Duke Special in a smaller venue than the Thekla, but I've always had a better view at the Thekla. Having said that, it was more of a fun and intimate show. It was just him and his piano - in the past I've said I prefer the gigs he plays with the full band, but this was lovely.

Seeing Duke Special live is always one of the highlights of my year. Much as I love his recorded material, his voice is much richer live, and his battered old piano brings a real warmth to the songs.

I've now seen him do several very different renditions of Wake Up Scarlett, and have been left in tears every time. I never cease to be amazed at how effectively he uses the piano for the rhythm parts on Brixton Leaves[1].

There was the usual mix of his greatest hits, music hall- & silent film- inspired numbers, with indeed a real Ivor Cutler music hall number, and some really, really random covers - most notably Love Will Tear Us Apart (it's on one of the albums) which might just be better than the original[2]

He does several numbers as sing-alongs. I usually refrain out of respect to everyone standing around me, but I love Last Night I Nearly Died so much, and I know all the words, so I was singing along loudly and badly before I knew what was happening.

Loved every minute of it, as always. He tours Ireland playing tiny venues in towns I've never heard of all the time, and I always mean to take a fortnight and follow him around. One of these years I will.


[1] OK, I've seen so many crappy goth bands where the singer's girlfriend is plinking away with one finger on the keyboards that any outfit that offers a musician who can actually play with both hands I get over-excited.

[2] Yes, really. You all know how much I love JD, but Duke Special has a much better singing voice, for a start.
inulro: (Default)
So much to catch up on, I'll start with one of the more recent things.

This was yet another gig that I almost didn't make it to because I'd been feeling fluey all day, but I knew I'd be fine once I got there, and I was.  I didn't arrive early enough to get down to the front, but I managed to find a spot about 1/3 back, and as it was a proper Bristol crowd (ie, I was just about the tallest person there), I had an excellent view.

I've only seen the Furs live once before, Leeds University in (I'm practically certain) the autumn of 1990.  As I recall they were good, but it was a huge venue and I was way at the back.  I've somehow managed to miss every single reunion tour they've done since, and would have missed this, but the day tickets went on sale, the only post Facebook would show me was one of the Bristol goth DJs announcing that tickets were selling swiftly, so I logged on to Bristol Ticket Shop immediately and got myself a ticket.

They came on stage as a six piece - vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and sax.  Richard Butler has held up really well, despite the awful glasses.  Most importantly, his voice is still amazing.  The whole performance was flawlessly tight.  Extra points to the saxophonist for switching off between soprano and tenor sax in one song.

I can't remember that much of the set list; sadly for me no Heartbreak Beat or All that Money wants (which I get are minority favourites at best).  I have a terrible time with song titles anyway.  Highlights for me were Heaven, Love My Way, Pretty In Pink (it took me a decade to get past it being used in a John Hughes movie, but mixed in with all their other stuff it's clear why it was their biggest hit).  What really made it for me was that they closed the encore with an interesting arrangement of President Gas - it took me longer than two notes to work out what song it was - which is my all time favourite.

Did I mention the voice?  It held up pretty well throughout the whole set.

As did the sound - the Fleece is definitely better kitted out than the Tunnels, no doubt about it.

There's an obvious comparison to seeing the Chameleons last month.  While I had the time of my life being 2 feet away from Mark Burgess, I now feel the Chameleons were let down by the crappy sound that went to hell by the end of the set.  Both were excellent gigs in different ways - the Furs are a lot more polished and have more of a performance element, but the Chameleons are - well, the Chameleons.  Both bands hold a very important place in my heart.  There's a lot more women down the front at a Furs gig though.
inulro: (Default)
I had no idea, but the Durutti Column (yes, The Durutti Column) are playing at the Thekla on Thursday 26th February! £13.25 incl. booking fee from Bristol Ticket Shop.

Who's in?
inulro: (Default)
Went along to see Amanda Palmer at the Thekla last night.

The first act was some guy with an accordion with a Kurt Weil/Brecht thing going on. I have to find out who he was, because he had the best t-shirts I've seen in a long time, but not the money to buy one.

Middle act was Amanda's cell player doing some solo stuff - I think there was a Muse song in there, but mostly it was pretty minimalist & arty. Which didn't suck, but also didn't work in the context. It might have worked if she'd gone on first, but completely didn't work after the accordion guy.

Amanda, predictably, rocked. She played a mix of her new solo stuff and Dresden Dolls material, including a stunning rendition of Half Jack with strings. (Half Jack and The Jeep Song are my favourite Dresden Dolls tracks). She had a lovely quartet of Australian performance artists making the stage show more lively (Amanda is one hell of a performer, but a girl and her piano have a limited visual range). The new material is, not surprisingly, a lot like the Dresden Dolls stuff, but may be different on CD as she said that they had more instruments in the studio. Sadly, acquisition of album has to wait till I get paid.

I'm feeling distinctly post viral (ie the cold is gone but I still feel like I've been hit by a truck) and nearly didn't go; but I'm really glad I did, because it was a great deal of fun.

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