Category Archives: Music

Erasure at Hull City Hall

So City of Culture year has been and gone and what a year it was. From my point of view it meant Jeff Lynne, The Flaming Lips, Ocean Colour Scene and lots more. The question now is whether or not Hull can continue to attract big names, to the new Venue, or the football stadium or my special favourite Zebedee’s Yard for open air gigs and, of course, to the amazing Victorian pile that is the City Hall.

Early signs are promising – maybe the City of Culture can do attitude is still around – and we have the likes of Orbital and Chase & Status and local hero Calum Scott lined up for the summer. The year’s major musical events start out with a sold out show from 80s pop legends Erasure at the City Hall.

Support comes from up and coming nu-disco star Bright Light Bright Light who is making his second visit to the venue, having played last year’s LGBT rights festival night. He’s got some great catchy songs, a style that’s midway between classic pop and musical theatre and a nice line in restrained ironic showmanship. Plenty of the crowd at the front are obviously fans already and it looks like he’s made a few more by the end of his set.

The stage set up for Erasure is a surprise, with the duo separated from each other for most of the show, Andy Bell performing in the narrow space between the front of the stage and a large ziggurat constructed from scaffold and fluorescent tubes atop of which is Vince Clarke with his keyboards and a guitar. There are two dancers and singers who initially occupy frames, also fluorescently defined, on either side of the stage but their contribution is pretty minimal. All eyes are on Bell who dominates proceedings by sheer charismatic presence although Clarke descends from the gods towards the end of the set it almost seems like a one man show.

But what a great show it is. Even though I’ve been playing Erasure tracks all week I’m amazed by the strength in depth in their back catalogue. The set kicks off with an eerily gorgeous Oh L’Amour and heads for a climax with Sometimes and Respect but along the way are Stop, Drama, Blue Savannah and a variety of Love related matters including Chains Of, Victims Of and Who Needs It Like That.

Tracks from the new album World Be Gone are interspersed throughout and on tonight’s showing it’s a strong piece of work. All around the City Hall it’s pretty much a non stop dance-a-thon, from the main hall to the steep galleries and what more perfect way could there be to celebrate some of the most elegant and romantic pop music ever than dancing the night away.

By the time Clarke descends for the last couple of songs you’d imagine that people would be exhausted but of course they’re not and the final Respect is a triumphant statement of the power of great pop music to unite people in joy. Fantastic stuff.

The Peoples talks to reggae legend Ali Campbell

As founding members of Britain’s biggest reggae band UB40, singer Ali Campbell, second vocalist Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue topped the UK singles chart on three occasions and sold 70 million records as they took their smooth yet rootsy musical blend to all corners of the globe. Now with ‘A Real Labour Of Love’ the trio give us a fresh take on the legendary series of albums, putting the focus primarily on reggae tracks from the 1980s.

We got to talk to Ali and we started out by asking him about the inspirations behind the new album.

idp: First of all congratulations on a fine new album. It’s got the real classic UB40 feel – a bit cheeky, a bit sly, a bit chilled, a bit romantic. It’s going to be very popular with the fans, I’m sure of that. And it sounds like you were all having a lot of fun in the studio.

Ali Campbell: Well yes, we loved it. It’s a delight to go into a studio to record songs that you already know and that you love. That’s why we called them the Labour of Love albums. We’ve called this one A Real Labour Of Love just to differentiate it but they were very successful albums. We sold more than 21 million of them and some of our biggest hits came from them including Cherry O Baby, Kingston Town, and Red Red Wine.

What made you decide that the time right for a new version and what’s special about the songs on this one?

They’ve been asking us for a long time to do another one so we thought that enough time had passed and we should give it a go. The songs that we cover on this album are all over thirty years old now. They’re the songs that we listened to when we were on the road with the first Labour Of Love album. When we made that album we were we were just covering the songs we grew up listening to – the songs that made us love reggae in the first place – whereas this one takes us into the 80s. These are the songs from when I was in Jamaica.They’re all classics and big hits in the reggae world and we’re trying to bring them to a new audience.
I’ve spent a long time on YouTube and elsewhere tracking down the originals of some of these songs and it has reminded me just how powerful great pop can be. How were the songs for this album chosen and did they bring back a rush of memories for you of the time when you first heard them?

Well most of them are reggae classics that I was listening to in the 80s like JC Lodge’s Telephone Love and Strive by Shinehead which is a great record. And then of course there’s She Loves Me Now by the great Dennis Hammond which is the first single from the album. There’s a really nice and funny little film to go with it and you can find that online. These are the sounds that made us love reggae in the first place and when me and Astro sat down and started to draw up a list we were like all we got to have some Dennis and we’ve got to have some Gregory. It really is a joy to do these albums. It’s always nice doing your own material but it’s a lot easier and more fun to cover songs that you love. It’s only what The Beatles did and the Stones and The Who but they loved blues and we love reggae. Their hero was Bob Dylan and mine was Bob Marley.

It sound like you’re still as passionate as ever about making music.

It’s the best job ever and i think I’ve got the hottest reggae band in the world right now. I think this is the best thing we’ve done in 25 years.

How does your approach to a covers album differ from making an album of original material? It must be important to avoid doing anything like a note for note copy.

If there’s a secret to it, it’s that you have to stay true to the melody because that’s why you liked the song in the first place but then we do our take on it and we try and make it more accessible to a pop audience. That’s all we’ve ever tried to do really, When we started the band in the first place my main idea was because I loved reggae music I wanted to promote reggae music.

Just like I loved dub and I wanted to spread the word about that. There’s a song by Goldie Lookin Chain and one of the lyrics goes “I wouldn’t know what dub was if it wasn’t for UB40” and hearing that for the first time was one of my proudest moments. The first dub album we did was our third album I think. Present Arms had gone in at number two and we thought this is the perfect time to do a dub album and show people what it’s all about. A lot of people brought the album and then took it back to the shop saying it was faulty. No vocal and some strange echoey sounds. But if you look all around the world at pop music today so much of it is informed by reggae beats. People like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande even The Script. I saw them the other day doing a reggae track. The Sly Dunbar beat, the Bogle beat, that’s what contemporary dance music is at the moment. So reggae is more influential now than it’s ever been which makes me happy.

There’s some excellent artwork with the album and you’re auctioning some of it for charity. It’s nice to see performers taking an interest in the music as an artefact for a change. We used to love reading the album sleeves and looking through the racks at the record shop but now it’s all electronic, living in download world as we do.

It can be a bit soul destroying when you spend a year or two of your life making an album from its inception to the point where it’s finished and you spend all that time and all that money and all that effort and then you see people listening on little white headsets coming out of their phones. It’s like why was I worried about getting the bottom end to sound just right and trying to marry the bass drum and the bass guitar perfectly; it all seems a bit futile but it’s what we do. When you go back and you’re re-recording tracks that you remember as classics they always seem a bit rougher than you remember them. So it’s nice to go in and do a clean version and try and reduce it as best I can.

You act as the producer on the album. Is that something you’ve always done.

UB40 have always produced their own around music and I like to be there at the mix because there’s nobody else who knows better than I do how I want it to sound. We had Sly and Robbie mix for us but even though they’re geniuses and we love them it’s never been exactly what we wanted out of our own music. We believe we’re the ones who know what it’s meant to sound like.

Any particular favourite tracks on this album that you’d recommend we go listen to?

I think people should go and have a look at the funny little movie that goes with She Loves Me Now. It’s a terrifying thing to follow in the footsteps of Dennis Hammond I felt the same way when we did Many Rivers To Cross. It’s a tall order. I had a lot of sleepless nights and worry because he’s one of my favourite singers. It’s a bit like taking on Stevie Wonder. That’s got to be one of my favourite tracks on the album because it’s one of my favourite songs of all time anyway.

You’ve got lots of festivals lined up and an arena tour as well so you’re going to have a busy few months.

We’re doing mostly festivals in England and Europe this year. I still love touring and playing live. As I said I’ve got the hottest reggae band in the world at the moment we’ve we’ve had Morgan Heritage play with us, and Inner Circle and and Jo Mersa Marley. Raging Fyah too, they’re one of my favourite bands of the moment.

Well thanks for the chat, congratulations again on the album and we’ll hope to catch one of your summer festival shows.

Thank you.

ERASURE PLAY HULL CITY HALL WITH NU-DISCO SUPPORT FROM BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT

Legendary eighties hitmakers Erasure play Hull City Hall on 7th February – check the website for ticket availability – as they launch a major tour of the UK and Europe.

The duo, (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke), who recently accepted the Icon Award at Attitude’s 2017 award ceremony, have had 5 UK Number One albums and 35 UK Top 40 Singles and their latest album, World Be Gone, went to Number 6 in the UK Official Albums Chart, giving them their highest album chart position since 1994.

They’ve also been working with Brussels based post classical musicians Echo Collective on a project which sees the new album given a post-classical rework.

Tour Support comes from nu-disco/synthpop project Bright Light, Bright Light (Welsh singer songwriter Rod Thomas), whose most recent album Choreography has taken him on a whirlwind ride in the past year or so.

He’s a long term Erasure fan and has worked with Vince Clarke in the past on remixes of some of his best known tracks so it made sense for them to tour together.

So is he looking forward to being on the road with his heroes? It certainly sounds like it.

“Touring with Erasure will be a total joy. The teenage me can’t believe what’s happening and the current me isn’t much calmer either really! Vince and Andy are legends and also happen to be two of the nicest people I’ve met so this tour is a dream come true.”

Bright Light Bright Light has had two albums in the Indy top 20, collaborated with Scissor Sisters and Elton John, performed on the Graham Norton show and even appeared as an extra in The League of Gentlemen.

It should certainly be a great tour and we’re looking forward to the Hull show – it promises to be one of the highlights of the year.

PALOMA FAITH ANNOUNCES AUGUST SHOW AT MARKET RASEN RACECOURSE

It looks like it’s going to be a summer of great music in our area, with Plan B already announced to play Market Rasen Racecourse on July 1st and now things are getting even more exciting with the announcement that Paloma Faith will be playing an open air show at the racecourse venue on Saturday 18th August.

With her acclaimed Number 1 album ‘The Architect’ riding high in the charts and a BRIT nomination for Best British Female, Paloma Faith will be bringing hits old and new to the course for a stunning headline performance.

‘The Architect’ builds on the the huge success of her 2014 album, ‘A Perfect Contradiction’, which spent 66 weeks in the Top 40. The new album is currently on course to become her fourth double platinum album in a row – which would make her the first British woman in chart history to achieve this incredible feat!

Equally at home both onstage and in the studio, this show will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the summer season.

Tickets will be on sale at 8am on Friday 2nd February via thejockeyclublive.co.uk, with a presale available to customers at 8am on Wednesday 31st January. Tickets are priced starting at £30 with a limited number of child tickets available from £20. All T&C’s are available on marketrasen.thejockeyclub.co.uk.

Interview: Jess Clemmons of Jess and The Bandits

Jess Clemmons first came to the attention of British music fans a couple of years ago with the release of Here We Go Again, her debut album with The Bandits and one of the most exciting country rock albums we’ve heard in recent years. Many of the people who now count themselves fans first heard of her when her version of “Wichita Lineman” was played by DJ Terry Wogan, who afterwards declared it to have been even better than the Glen Campbell original. Praise indeed.

Since then she’s been a regular visitor to the U.K., touring all over the country and winning a large following. Last year her second album, Smoke and Mirrors was released. It was selected as one of the highlights of 2017 by Country Magazine and the lead single “Sister” received extensive airplay from the BBC.

She’s back on tour in the U.K. in February, kicking off at Fruit in Hull on February 6th and if you’re a fan of top notch country music then we’d highly recommend a trip to the north bank to catch the show. We got to talk to Clemmons about music, marriage and the perspicacity of small dogs, and we started by asking about the distinctive change of sound on the material on the new album.

idp: Let me start by congratulating you on Smoke And Mirrors. I’ve been listening to it for a couple of weeks now and it’s an excellent thing. It has a distinctly different sound to Here We Go Again. A little less country rock, a little more pop and gospel. Was this a deliberate decision or did it just happen, like a natural progression?

Jess Clemons: It was absolutely deliberate. The last thing that we ever want to do is to try to recreate something we’ve already done. There’s a kind of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix” it trap and some performers and bands fall right into it. It’s easier but it also means that you don’t grow as an artist and you don’t give the audience something new. Making a big change to your sound involves taking a chance and that’s why we spent a whole year working on the songs for the new album to try to get the best of both worlds – still recognizably the established Jess And The Bandits sound but with plenty of the new in there as well.

Photo By Sam J Bond

idp: Did it feel like a risk?

JC: Well there were certainly lots of times when I was in panic mode because much of this was so different from anything we’d done before but that was mostly before I’d really started living with these songs, sharing them with friends and colleagues. Gradually it came to feel less strange. I would take the old album and choose a song to play at random, and then I’d play one of the new ones and I came to realize that there was a coherence between the songs – a big similarity in the body of work, which is exactly what you want. I wanted to find a way to tie all the songs together because when you’re in a club playing live you don’t want it to sound like you’re performing songs that don’t belong together. So I’m really glad that I went with my gut and that my management team supported me and I decided to take a risk and go for it.

idp: There’s a lot of gospel influence on the album. Is that something that you grew up with? You seem to drop into the groove very easily.

JC: I did grow up singing in the choir and the gospel feel as always been a part of me. It used to hurt that whenever I would get a solo in church I was always given the gospel part and I used to say, “I want to sing the pretty little songs,” but soon I decided that I’d embrace it. When I decided to use the gospel sound on the new album it felt really good because I felt I was getting back touch with the gospel tradition within myself that I had not made use of for a long time. It was like I was going back to my roots and to being a little girl again.

idp: There’s an extensive list of writers who contributed to the album, many of them working with you as co-writers. Do you enjoy collaboration?

JC: I love it and I got to work with some fantastic writers on Smoke and Mirrors. Femke Weidema, who co-wrote “Sister”, is actually the producer of the album and it’s great to work with a producer who is also a songwriter because you can see a song go from it’s very beginnings to being almost complete in just a few hours. Having her as a producer with such gave me such an advantage. And there’s Emily Shackleton as well. She wrote “Every Little Thing”, which was a big hit for Carly Pearce and she’s fantastic to work with.

idp: So you work in Nashville but you live in Houston?

JC: I’m in Houston now and I think I have been here for longer than I’ve ever been but I’ve taken full advantage of the downtime including getting married. I’m Mrs Peavey now. I’m getting used to that but it still feels a bit weird writing it down. I’ll get used to that soon.

idp: I understand that your dog told you that he was the right one.

JC: Unfortunately my puppy died a couple of months ago but he was always very protective about who was around me. He was just a little dog but he was one of those little dogs who think they’re very big dogs. But when Chris was around he would just cuddle right up and I thought that if I hadn’t already figured out that he was the one then maybe I should just pay attention to the dog.

idp: I think you were also hit by hurricane Harvey.

JC: Oh yes that was precisely why we had to postpone the U.K. tour last year. It was scheduled and I had been in the U.K. for a month getting ready and everything was all set and then I got the word that my parents home and been severely affected. It was the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed especially from thousands of miles away. I spoke to my mum and she said, “Do what you have to do,” but I could have hear the pain in her voice so I asked, “Do you want me to come home?” and she just burst into tears and said “Yes.” I said, “Right I’m going home, people will understand.” She’s okay now. She’s back in the house and it’s coming together slowly. They don’t have a kitchen yet but they do have a bedroom and a bathroom.

Photo By Sam J Bond

idp: You also issued an old fashioned Christmas CD which has lots of U.K. country performers on it and a song by Gary Quinn. What do you think of the current U.K. country scene?

JC: I’m a big fan. I’ve been touring the U.K. since 2016 and I’ve seen the country scene develop so fast. I love the way a lot of U.K. country artists are using their own heritage to make authentic British country music. It’s not just a question of copying the U.S. music anymore.

idp: Are we expecting a mixture of new material and old when the tour comes round?

JC: Absolutely. It’s good to be starting in Hull because Fruit is an excellent venue and we’re hoping for a good crowd. I’ll try and put in the songs that people really love plus some from the new album and hopefully people will have had time to get to learn some of them and sing along.

idp: I’m sure they will. Have a great tour and we’ll look forward to seeing you in Hull.

Ladies Of The Blues At Lincoln Alive

Local blues enthusiasts are in for a very special treat, when the Ladies Of The Blues Tour, featuring the combined talents of Connie Lush, Kyla Brox and Erja Lyytinen arrives at Alive in Lincoln on Saturday 24th March, the fourth show of their tour and it’s going to be a very special night indeed because these are some of the most acclaimed female vocalists in the world and they’re all at the very top of their game.

Connie Lush

Connie grew up in Liverpool and was singing in her church and school choirs from the age of five. Regarded as one of the finest blues singers in the UK, five times winner of best UK vocalist and twice European Blues vocalist of the year, she has performed at some of Europe’s most prestigious festivals, wowed audiences from Moscow to LA and toured the UK with the late, great BB King culminating in an unforgettable night at the Royal Albert Hall. Twenty years into her award winning career, entertaining audiences in thirty countries throughout the world, Connie Lush has arrived at a new beginning. As BB King said “That woman makes my heart sing”.

Kyla Brox

Born in Lancashire in 1980 and introduced to the passion of Afro-American music at first hand by her blues singing father, Victor, Kyla’s voice is a stunning example of the soul singer’s art: turning up the heat by degrees, lulling and charming before unleashing emotional catharsis, and blurring the distinction between pleasure and pain like the soul greats of old. Whether fronting the mighty Kyla Brox Band, or harnessing undiluted soul power in a duo with musical and life partner Danny Blomeley, Kyla is without doubt the most authentic UK blues and soul singer of her generation. You can have a look and listen to Kyla on YouTube singing “If You See Him” and other great tracks.

Erja Lyytinen

Erja was born in Finland and quickly emerged as an artist to watch in her native country. Since first setting foot in a recording studio she has become a bona fide star in her homeland and a celebrated fixture on the international music scene. She has recorded nine studio albums in locations as diverse as Helsinki, Memphis and Clarksdale, Mississippi, earning numerous awards and honours along the way. Erja is equally at home in traditional and modern blues and has never been afraid to incorporate jazz, pop and soul elements into her work. Erja was described by City Life as “an authentic soul diva … sensitive, sexy and with infinite reserves of sassiness”.

Lincoln Alive is located at 22 Newland, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN1 1XD
Advance tickets are £18.00 + bf and can be purchased by calling 01472 349 222 or online at www.solidentertainments.com

“blues music has never sounded …. or looked so good”.

ROLAND GIFT BRINGS CLASSIC 80s POP TO THE WELLY FOR A GREAT HOMETOWN GIG

This was the first club I ever went in, back in the days when I was underage. We all were.

The club in question is the Welly on Beverley Road in Hull and the speaker is Roland Gift, formerly of the Fine Young Cannibals and here tonight for a solo gig in his former home town. Judging by the warmth of the reception he gets there are plenty of people here with fond memories of the venue and of the era and of Roland himself.

The place is pretty well packed and the temperature at the front is terrifying. The Welly has ridden out the Year of Culture urge to gentrify and is still doing what it’s supposed to – being a proper old fashioned sweatbox rock and roll venue – one of a dying breed these days.

Gift is a very cool performer, chatting with the audience (many of whom he seems to recognise) about the City Of Culture bunfight, and sipping tea between songs. He arrives on stage in a white kurta and blazer combo with a ballpoint pen clipped in the top pocket, in case inspiration should strike or he feels the need to take any names.

There’s a sly air of mischief about him and he’s happy not to take himself too seriously, pausing the show half way through to draw a raffle for a huge bag of meat (including a nice rack of ribs and some venison sausages) into which everyone who has made a purchase at the merch desk has been entered. There is of course a meat free option – it’s a 5lb bag of potatoes. I guess you don’t get that many vegetarian cannibals.

Time has done remarkably little to his vocal and the trademark effortless falsetto is still in fine order and the set is a crowd pleaser, taking in all the hits, but it’s the variety of the Cannibals output that is most striking. Until this gig I hadn’t revisited the Fine Young Cannibals or The Raw And The Cooked (did they really only make two) albums for some time and it’s amazing how fresh they sound today and tucked in among the tunes we all remember (like She Drives Me Crazy and Johnny Come Home) are several that have slipped my mind and come back fresh and shiny as new, in particular covers of Suspicious Minds and The Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen In Love, reminders of an era when UK pop music hadn’t been consumed by posh boys and girls and we were all under age, at least for a while.

Come and sing with the Humber Belles

It’s time to let all that music out for everyone to hear!

If you love to sing then you’ll love the Humber Belles, a group of ladies who meet to sing each Thursday at Wendover Hall from 7.15-9.30pm.

The Belles will be holding a short course in close harmony singing soon after Christmas. These sessions, which will be held in a happy and relaxed atmosphere, should help to banish those Post-Christmas Blues! They’ll be lots of fun and help improve your technique too so for further information please email sing4parts@outlook.com

Visit their website or contact Vere Conolly on 01472 695836 for further details

Win Tickets For Slade At The Welly, Hull

Whatever your favourite hit may be – and you’ve got the likes of Take Me Back Home, Mama We’re All Crazee Now, Come On Feel The Noize, Gudbye To Jane, plus many more to choose from – there’s no doubt that Slade are the most Christmassyest band in the world and we’ve got tickets for their show in Hull on December 23rd to be won!

Just go to our Facebook page, find the Slade promo image and like and share.

You’ll be in the draw for the best show on either bank of the Humber this Christmaaaaastime and we’ll see you there for what should be a fantastic night of proper old fashioned glam.

Belinda Carlisle Tour 2017

Some artists become part of the soundtrack of your life and if you were around in the early 1980s then there’s every chance that Belinda Carlisle is an essential part of your musical memory of the era.

Having risen to fame in the early 1980s as the lead vocalist of the Go-Go’s, one of the most successful all female bands ever, (they sold 8 million albums in just three years), she went on to have a successful solo career with hits such as Mad About You, I Get Weak, Circle in the Sand, Leave a Light On, Runaway Horses, We Want The Same Thing, Live Your Life Be Free and of course, Heaven Is A Place On Earth.
She’s back on the road with a very special UK tour this Autumn – the Heaven 30th Anniversary

Tour – performing a selection of tracks taken from her 1987 solo album Heaven On Earth, which in the opinion of many critics sets the gold standard for slickly produced power pop.
There’ll also be room in the show for material from other albums and with her impressive back catalogue to choose from fans are promised a great show.

Belinda Carlisle plays Manchester Academy on October 6th. Tickets via the Academy box office on 0161 8321111 or www.manchesteracademy.net