Tag Archives: Music

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

First Among Cannibals

Roland Gift, charismatic front man of the Fine Young Cannibals, is returning to the pop arena with a new solo album, the self titled Roland Gift and he’ll be making a return to the city where he went to school when he plays the Welly Club on Saturday 2nd December. Gift’s career has expanded in recent years to include film acting and musical score work but this album marks a triumphant return to pop music’s front line, where Gift’s talents and unique style have long established him as one of the genre’s trailblazers. A great voice never goes out of style, and Gift’s trademark vocal prowess is both timeless and strikingly ahead of his time.

During the making of the new album, Gift (whose film resumé includes Sammy And Rosie Get Laid, Tin Men and Scandal) took time out to work on the latest entry in his other career, appearing in the forthcoming The Island of the Mapmaker¹s Wife, directed by Michie Gleason. Roland put recording on hold for two months, while on location in Amsterdam with the production and readily admits to aiming for a happy balancing act between the two disciplines.

“When I first started, I wanted to be an actor. That’s one of the reasons I came down to London from Hull. But most people I know have been in a group sometime in their life. The first punk band I was in [the Acrylic Victims] got a bit of notoriety, released a couple of singles,my music focus grew from there.”

Roland Gift was recorded at a variety of locations, from demo studios to front rooms to Mayfair Studios, with producers David Z and Ben Barson. The album is reminiscent of the sparse, classic appeal that typified Roland’s work with the Cannibals, a sophisticated blend of pop and soul with jazz and even gospel flavours, with Gift’s own new spin for the 21st Century.

“The Cannibals sort of officially dissolved in 1996 so, in a way, up until then we were trying to do our third record. Then we came out with The Finest, which was a greatest hits set plus three new tracks that didn’t have a home to go to, but, it’s better to burn brightly for half as long than to be a dim lingering light, and I get a lot of good will from people – they say they still play the albums and they’re looking forward to hear what I’m doing next. I was asked to join Jools Holland and his a big band as a guest singer touring with them for a year, it was a lot of fun and made me want to take my own group out to play”.

Gift looks forward to more live shows, where he will perform the new songs from Roland Gift and some classic fan favourites. “There are a lot of people who liked the Cannibals who never saw songs like She Drives Me Crazy in concert, and since I wrote them as well, I’ll definitely do some Fine Young Cannibals songs.”
“It’s a great feeling when you’ve got a big record and you go out on stage and thousands of people have come to hear you play for them. It’s like having a party and loads of people come because they want to have a party with you.”

“Right now as well as the live shows I’m working on a stage musical called Return To Vegas with Bob Carlton who created the show Return To The Forbidden Planet. I’m well pleased by the way the Return to Vegas songs have been received in the live set sitting nicely alongside the FYC classics”.

Tickets can be purchased
via The Welly box office
Call 01482 221113
www.giveitsomewelly.com

Texas to play the Auditorium in September

Texas are one of the most successful British bands of the past thirty years. They formed in Glasgow in 1986 and since then they’ve released a string of hit albums and singles. They’ve sold 40 million albums, have had thirteen UK top ten singles, three UK number one albums and eight UK top ten albums.

Their debut album Southside, released in 1989, reached number three in the UK and number 88 in the US and in 1997 White On Blonde became their biggest success to date, entering the UK Albums Chart at number one. To date it has been certified six times platinum.

Follow up The Hush (1999) was also successful, topping the album charts again and certified triple platinum. The band’s Greatest Hits album, released in 2000, was another big seller, again debuting at number one and also being certified six times platinum.

Singer Sharleen Spiteri has enjoyed a successful solo career, releasing her debut solo album, Melody, in 2008.

The band’s ninth studio album, Jump On Board was released in May this year. Written and produced by Texas stalwarts Johnny McElhone and Spiteri herself, it’s the first new Texas studio album since 2013’s The Conversation and has been acclaimed as a pop classic.

The new single is Work It Out, with a great video featuring Thierry Henry and there’s another video to watch out for, for Tell That Girl, which features Rory McCann (who plays the Hound on TV’s Game Of Thrones) on drums.

Texas play Grimsby Auditorium on September 20th.

For more information on the tour and on Texas go to their website at www.texas.uk.com. For tickets go to www.grimsbyauditorium.org.uk.

Don’t Let the Robots Eat Me (At Least Not In Hull)

The Flaming Lips
Zebedee’s Yard , Hull
25th May 2017

Hull’s newest music venue is Zebedee’s Yard, close to the quayside. a car park by day, hemmed in by the backs of Victorian warehouses and office buildings. It might sound unglamorous but in practice it works just great, and while it’s probably destined to be a one summer only thing for the City of Culture celebrations it would be nice if it could continue to be used for the future because the city needs an pop up venue like this.

It certainly makes a great and slightly disorientating backdrop for The Flaming Lips,a band for whom great and slightly disorientating are the rule rather than the exception and they give us a show that certainly makes it into my top ten ever, an explosion of music, colour and joy whose psychedelia is only enhanced by the venue’s anachronistic red brick bowl.

Everybody’s favourite young fogeys, Public Service Broadcasting, are the main support, equipped with tech and traditional instruments in equal measure and dressed as if they knew the yard’s buildings when they were young.

It’s the first time I’ve seen them live and I’ll admit to sometimes harbouring grave suspicions about bands that play computers on stage. I’ve vented them in QRO reviews on occasion, so I’m ashamed to admit that I have relatively low expectations of PSB. In my defence I’ll just say that it takes about fifteen seconds to realise that they aren’t what I’m expecting at all. No crouching over the decks gesticulating like they’re communicating in some sort of sign language for the constipated. No dancing on tables. None of the shouting “Come on Hull make some fucking noise” which usually passes for literacy for players of the Apple Mac and related instruments.

Their complex weaving of live music and samples is completely thrilling and even if I’m not dancing, (which puts me very much in the minority), I am completely mesmerised. No good asking me about the first few songs because I’m busy with cameras but I spend the rest of the set getting my head round their sound, which takes some time.

It’s not until The Other Side, which deploys samples from the Apollo 8 mission, that I start to pick the threads from the complexity sufficiently to understand what’s going on. It’s a great track with the tension rising throughout,like a hundred heartbeats woven into one until it reaches a massive crescendo.

Favourite tracks are hard to call because it still all felt very new but Everest, which closes the set, is incredible and when Public Service Broadcasting leave the stage I have a new favourite band.

And then we’re all set for the main event. As a prequel nets filled with huge balloons are manoeuvred into the gangway at the side of the stage but so bijou is Zebedee’s Yard the crew are unable to get them past the scaffold structure. After several minutes of effort, filled with the sound of popping rubber, they give up and the balloons are distributed to the crowd by way of a human chain. It’s an impressive piece of work.

It’s my first live encounter with The Flaming Lips, a band whose shows have achieved legendary status. The previous night they were at Glastonbury, closing things up on the Park Stage. Tonight it’s a car park in Hull. It might seem like a bit of a come down but you have to remember that this year Hull is the official UK city of real, proper culture, and Glastonbury is, as ever, the home of middle class beardy weirdy wannabe culture.

It’s difficult to know how to approach a Flaming Lips review. If you’ve seen them before you won’t need a description. If you haven’t then you probably won’t believe me.

The balloons having been pretty much eliminated by the end of Race For The Prize, Wayne Coyne, dressed in crimson velvet, is joined on stage by several large inflatable manga characters for a glorious Yoshimi. For the first time ever I miss loads of shots because I am too busy singing along. When There Should Be Unicorns trots in Coyne rides a ten foot luminous equine monocerous into the crowd. It’s a dangerous thing to attempt and the only safety gear with which he is equipped are some inflatable rainbow wings and a pair of fluffy green crocodile feet. If it all sounds a bit predictable then all I can do is promise you that it’s great. The unicorn completes a full circuit of Zebedee’s Yard and Coyne dismounts.

After that it all gets a bit weird.

The hamster ball comes out for a strangely poignant Space Oddity and there’s a giant rainbow, more confetti cannons than you can shake a stick at, and a large inflatable Fuck Yeah Hull sign which has a much more pleasing symmetry than the previous night’s bottom heavy Fuck Yeah Glastonbury.

What’s most important though is that at no point in the whole bizarre process does the quality of the performance ever slip below fantastic. There may be a lot of nonsense in the air but it isn’t allowed to compromise the music.

The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song is a huge singalong and Coyne seems pleasantly surprised at how many people are able to join in with verses as well as chorus. The show winds up with a storming She Don’t Use Jelly and a tender and lovely Beatles tinged Do You Realize, which has the crowd singing as they leave.

JEFF LYNNE’S ELO DAZZLE AT THE KCOM STADIUM

Sometimes you leave a show with a review almost written in your mind already. Sometimes you can’t think of a word to say. And sometimes you just leave shaking your head gently and thinking did I really just see that and how am I going to describe it to people who weren’t that lucky.

The visit of Jeff Lynne’s ELO to the KCOM Stadium in Hull on Saturday July 1st was one of the latter kind, not just great music but a light show that would have been worth going to see in its own right plus excellent support from the Shires and Ben Chaplin, formerly of Keane.

The good people of Hull turned out in force to welcome a man who has become synonymous with a sound, achieving a celebrity not unlike that of Brian Wilson, as the guiding light and chief creative force behind one of those bands who had maybe slipped our minds for a while but for whom the zeitgeist has returned so that they’re probably bigger now than they ever were in their heyday.

Nostalgia? We’ll leave that for another night. This was simply a joyful celebration of everything that’s fine about great pop music. Yes the hits kept coming. Yes mums and dads, and some of their mums and dads too, were up and dancing away, (in many cases pretty well) but there were plenty of kids and grandkids present and many times the biggest cheers were for lesser known songs from the ELO canon, such as Rockaria or Can’t Get It Out Of My Head.

When I Was A Boy from 2015’s Alone In The Universe wass well received, as were The Travelling Wilbury’s Handle With Care and Xanadu, which most of us remember as an Olivia Newton John song (although ELO wrote and played the soundtrack and Lynne provided paranthetic vocals on the original).

Technically it was a masterpiece. How do they get the music to sound almost exactly like the original album cuts in a football ground? Heaven knows, but they do. As for the staging, well what can you say. One of the widest stages I’ve ever seen, so much so that they set it along one side of the stadium and not a the goal ends, equipped with huge davits full of lights, screens that towered into the night sky, and surmounting it all the red, yellow and blue disc of the ELO spaceship which emitted lights and clouds of steam as appropriate during the course of the evening.

Of course the hits are what people have come to see, and why not, and there are plenty of them from Evil Woman, near the beginning of the show to closer Mr Blue Skies, for which we all stand singing ‘the sun is shining in the sky’ into the blackness and while it’s true that there isn’t a cloud in sight that’s because it’s too dark.

By the end of the show Lynne and the band have done just about enough to remind us what a unique sound they have/had and so they finish with a neat and dirty version of Roll Over Beethoven. It’s like saying “Look I fooled you all. It’s just rock and roll really.” And it may well be, but it’s great rock and roll.

 

The best party ever! The Radio 1 Big Weekend 2017

Imagine the best party you ever went to. Perfect venue. Great music over four stages. Excellent food. Add in some fairground rides and your favourite radio personalities to make the whole thing go with a swing. Arrange it so it’s free admission (albeit with some minor ticketing and transport expenses).

Then arrange for the sun to shine like it’s never going to stop.

Add that all together and you’ve pretty much got the Radio 1 Big Weekend which this year came to Burton Constable Hall, just outside Hull, as part of the City of Culture Celebrations, and in the opinion of many, the highlight of the whole cultural shebang.

The Peoples was lucky enough to get an invite and we were treated to fabulous performances by the likes of Little Mix, Rita Ora, Lorde, Kasabian, Imagine Dragons, Rag’n’Bone Man, Haim and of course the headliners, Kings of Leon and Katy Perry. What more could you wish for?

Well Alt-J, Biffy Clyro, Emeli Sande, Clean Bandit and Stormzy would be a start.
The line up offered something for all tastes, from synth beats to rock, from pure bubblegum to grime and hip hop, and from electro-folk to seventies disco (that last one courtesy of the extraordinary Christine and The Queens, all the way from France and absolutely brilliant).

Of course with such a line up spread over a huge field you can’t see everything and you can be sure that everyone missed at least one of their favourites, but hey that’s festivals for you, and at least at this one you could be sure that whoever you were missing them for was probably pretty great.

Of course it was all happening within the week of the Manchester attack and while no-one was going to let it dampen their spirits it was ever present, the elephant in the field. People were cautious and surprisingly well behaved. I didn’t see any trouble at all during the whole weekend and police reported no arrests. Security was tight at the perimeter but once you were in it was unobtrusive and everyone was helpful and the minutes silence was incredibly moving even to an old cynic like me. I felt really sorry for the guy near me who didn’t realise it had started and who suddenly laughed and swore loudly, only to be angrily shushed by everyone around him.

It was a day dominated by pop and all the better for it. I don’t get to shoot a lot of chart acts. I see a lot of punk and heavy metal and lo-fi and alt-country but pop just seems to pass me by so seeing the likes of Little Mix, Lorde and Clean Bandit was a big thrill.

In the end it was the women what won it. Some I’d seen before like Anne-Marie who played her own set early in the day in the Where It Begins big top and then came onto the main stage to join Clean Bandit for Rockabye. She gets better every time I see her. Some, like Dua Lipa and Charli XCX were new (or even news) to me but they were great and real ear openers.

Highlights? Well it seems a bit redundant to even talk about them because it was one highlight after another all weekend.

Best new (to most people) band: Life who I could only hear and not see from my position backstage. A great Hull band on their way to the top and with a new album out. The Amazons were good too.

Best new (to me) band: Alt-J. How did I manage to go this long without listening to Alt-J? I remember all the praise heaped on An Awesome Wave but for some reason our paths never crossed. I’m ashamed to admit that with the keyboard reference for a name I think I assumed they were another of those techno acts that play laptops and dance on tables. Anyway the good thing is I now have a new favourite band.

Best playing laptops and dancing on tables: Galantis and The Chainsmokers – joint winners. Impressive balancing skills.

Most awesome vocal: Rag’n’Bone Man. The man is a genius.

Best dancing: Lorde. I’m going to practice till I can do it too. Lorde also gets the most photogenic performance award. I could photograph Lorde all day and never get bored.

Nicest surprise: Little Mix. Little Mix pretty much sum up the kinds of bands I don’t get to see but they were great, even if they did get themselves temporarily thrown off the iPlayer. Ah, the exuberance of youth.

Best bubblegum bubble blown live on stage: Nathan Followill, drummer from Kings of Leon. Impressive size and symmetry and great breath control, blowing, bursting and retrieving all in perfect time to the music.

And the highlight of the weekend? Well that has to be Katy Perry. She brought the set from her world tour with her and just lit the evening on fire. It’s a fact that some performers don’t give it a hundred percent for festival stages, but Katy Perry gave it everything. Sensational. I can’t remember ever seeing a performance so perfect.

So thanks to Radio 1 for arranging the best party Hull has ever seen and if you could arrange to bring it back next year that would be just great.

WARD THOMAS: THE ENGINE SHED, LINCOLN – LIVE REVIEW

Credible British country music artists tend to be somewhat thin on the ground but with the arrival on the scene of Hampshire based duo Ward Thomas, (made up of sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas) it certainly looks as though UK fans might have some top drawer home grown talent to cheer about for once. Call it the Nashville effect or the C2C effect, call it the Whispering Bob effect, but British country music is on the up.

Ward Thomas have two excellent albums to their names including Cartwheels, a UK number one album earlier this year, (and not the UK country charts either, the real proper chart), recorded in Nashville with Bobby Blazier and Chris Rodriguez, who have worked with Wynonna Judd and Shania Twain respectively and they have a deal with Sony who appear to be prepared to invest some serious effort in them. It’s pretty clear where Ward Thomas see their trajectory and it’s right up there where Taylor Swift is leading the way.

They certainly write terrific country pop songs, not those huge lumbering epics that some country artists prefer but sweet little songs about love and aspiration and their voices are superb, with just the right amount of heartache and Southern twang without it getting silly. So for my part their show at Lincoln Engine Shed on Thursday 25th May is about finding out whether they can carry it off live and the answer is that they can do it in style.

Extra security checks mean that we only get to see the last couple of songs from openers Wildwood Kin which is a shame because from what little we heard their harmonies were terrific, particularly on their cover of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Helplessly Hoping. They’ve got a packed schedule of summer festivals on the way and if you get the chance to see them you should definitely take it.

Whatever the little bit of magic is that turns country music into gold Ward Thomas have oodles of it and then some. They take turns at lead vocal and their four piece band are as sharp as you could wish and they switch between the Roadhouse style bluesy swingers and the softer ballad style numbers easily, performing an acoustic section mid show by way of variety.

Highlights include Town Called Ugley which recalls The Mamas & The Papas Creeque Alley, Cartwheels and the new single Material and they round the show off with Push For The Stride, the opening track from 2014’s From Where We Stand, probably the first Ward Thomas song that many of the crowd tonight heard and just about the perfect way to finish. It’s a song full of platitudes, I’ll give you that, but it’s a song that gets even the most curmudgeonly of us, (that would be me), tapping their toes and as we leave we’re all smiling and singing as we scour the pavement for an authentic looking stalk of corn to chew on.

Dr Feelgood To Headline Cleethorpes Blues Festival

Promoters Solid Entertainments have announced the full line up for the 7th annual Cleethorpes Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival which will be returning for to Pleasure Island on Sunday 18th June 2017 and it looks like being quite an event!

There are eleven acts performing over two stages, including, for the first time an acoustic stage) and headliners will be Canvey Island’s favourite sons, Dr Feelgood.
Formed on Canvey Island in Essex in the early 1970s, Dr Feelgood remains one of the most popular and exciting live rhythm and blues acts in the world. They have also enjoyed global success with a string of hit singles including Roxette, Back in the Night, Milk and Alcohol, Down at the Doctors, She Does it Right, Going Back Home and See You Later Alligator – which gave the group their first gold record.

Ealing Blues Festival 2015

In addition to the Feelgoods the Main Street Stage will play host to blues guitarist Aynsley Lister, soul singer Kyla Brox and her band, Alabama singer songwriter Debbie Bond, no nonsense rockers Albany Down and Glasgow-based, contemporary blues band the Brian Rawson Band.

With this calibre of artist stepping on stage, festival goers can expect to see top class live performances and hear a range of incredible sounds with sets that incorporate a creative mix of Blues, Rock and R&B, with a sprinkling of Soul for good measure!

No need to worry about searching for food and drinks on the day either, there will be a range of alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, real ales available and a varied menu that should meet everyone’s taste!

For more information and tickets go to www.solidentertainments.com

Keep On Climbing

Singing sensation Joe McElderry heading for the Auditorium in August

It has been a busy few months for X Factor winner Joe McElderry. He’s been back in the studio recording his new album Saturday Night At The Movies, scheduled for release in July but available for pre release on iTunes on Mothers Day and there’s a new single, Gloria, written by renowned songwriter and 10CC front man Graham Gouldman, released on March 6th.

The album includes iconic hits from film and theatre including I’m into Something Good, Love is All Around and Daydream Believer as well as the new single.

Number 1 and platinum selling artist Joe has already released four top 20 albums, two of which reached the UK top three. His debut single The Climb went to the top of the charts and was nominated for the Best British Single BRIT award in 2010.

To celebrate the release of his fifth studio album Joe will embark on a nationwide live tour where he will be joined on stage by special guests, X Factor’s Lloyd Daniels and Any Dream Will Do runners up Keith Jack and Ben James-Ellis who have all featured in the musical phenomenon that is Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.

You can catch the tour at the Grimsby Auditorium on Friday 11th August.

Tickets are on sale now and are available from the Auditorium Box Office on 0300 300 0035. There’s more information and online booking at www.grimsbyauditorium.org.uk

Wonderland at Grimsby Auditorium

Alice isn’t a little girl any more. In fact it’s her fortieth birthday and it’s not going well. Her car has been stolen from outside her desolate tower block, she’s been fired from her job, there’s nothing in for tea and she has fallen out with her own daughter. Oh yes and her ex-husnad, with whom she is secretly still in love, is getting remarried.

Sounds like a cue for a song.

At least it does if you’re ready to be transported to Wonderland – but it’s not the old fashioned pastel hued Tenniel Wonderland we’re talking about here. It’s not Disney either and it’s definitely not Tim Burton.

This is a new, urban, technicolour Wonderland inhabited by a delightfully frenzied Cheshire Cat, a soulful caterpillar with some very chic detachable legs, a Mad Hatter with ideas above her station, a narcoleptic Dormouse, and a cunning White Rabbit who used to be a judge. There’s also a torch singing Queen of Hearts played by Wendy Peters (that’s Cilla from Corrie to you and me, and she’s in the image below) who steals the show with her off with their heads routine.

It’s full of great music too, (by Frank Wildhorn with lyrics by Jack Murphy), more pop than traditional stage musical, with a boy band number here, a power ballad there and a tea table that doubles as a disco floor. But with some of the best sets and costumes you’ll ever see this is a show that looks great and sounds great and it’s definitely well worth a visit to the Auditorium.

Wonderland runs at Grimsby Auditorium until Saturday 4th March. Tickets are available from the Auditorium website – www.grimsbyauditorium.org.uk