Gig Review : KRS One – MK11

This was a gig that I only attended because I happened to be visiting a friend in Milton Keynes this weekend, and we were so surprised to find some half decent live music on in the city that it felt rude not to attend. Despite KRS One’s legendary status, I’m not actually that familiar with his work, and my experience of attending hip-hop shows has been mixed at best, so my hopes were not especially high. Arriving at the venue, a barn in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, which had been converted into a sports bar/live music venue, even less so. It seemed a particularly incongruous place to find a legend of hip-hop.

Continue reading

Gig Review : Bjork – Manchester International Festival

Bjork is one of my all time favourite artists. I’ve been listening to her since ‘Debut’ was released over twenty years ago, and there hasn’t been a single album I’ve not enjoyed. I can’t think of another artist who I’ve appreciated so much for so long. So getting the chance to see her first European show since the release of her latest album ‘Vulnicura’ was very exciting.

The show took place at the Castlefield Bowl as part of the Manchester International Festival. I’d lived in Manchester for over a decade, but hadn’t been back for a couple of years, so even before the start of the gig I was full of memories, walking past old haunts, noting how my former home city had changed. Feeling slightly melancholy at being away from my wife and daughter and back in my past.

The venue is a kind of outdoor ampitheatre, and it was a perfect sunny summers evening (the usual Manchester storms having passed earlier in the day), and we settled ourselves on the slope overlooking the stage, trying not to slide down the steep, damp grass banks. I had to give up and go stand in the end, which meant a worse view, but better sound quality, a trade-off worth making I think.


Continue reading

Track of the week : Belle and Sebastian – The Boy Done Wrong Again

The Belle and Sebastian theme of the week continues with this week’s Friday music recommendation. There are many songs of theirs which I love, but ‘The Boy Done Wrong Again’ is the one that stands out most, because of one particular occasion on which I heard it.

I had had been on a drunken night out the night previously, and behaved in a particularly poor fashion, upsetting a good friend of mine. You know how it is (or maybe you don’t) when you first wake up the morning after a night drinking, full of remorse at your behaviour. It felt, briefly, like the end of the world. So I slouched around the living room, listening to sad songs, and happened upon Belle and Sebastian’s ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ album.

‘The Boy Done Wrong Again’ was a song from that album I had never paid much mind to before, but that morning the tale of regret and shame it told spoke to me as I lay on my sofa feeling ineffably sad. As it turned out, the whole situation had resolved itself by the time the week was out, but it’s a beautiful song which reminds me of that morning to this day.

Gig Review : Belle and Sebastian – Leeds Town Hall

Last night my wife and I finally went to our first gig together since February 2014, a few months before our daughter was born (after a failed attempt to see The Decemberists back in February). As I’ve mentioned before, we first met at a music festival, and many of our favourite memories are from that weekend, and other shows we have attended together in Brighton, London, Manchester and Leeds. We knew that when the baby arrived attendance would become less frequent, but I don’t think I ever imagined there would be a gap of 15 months.

We’d booked tickets to see Belle and Sebastian 6 months back, so long ago in fact that we realised a few days before that we had entirely forgotten to arrange a babysitter. Fortunately a good friend of our stepped in at short notice and off we went to Leeds Town Hall, a building whose splendour is not really captured in the dark blurry photo below (I’m not much of a concert photographer as it turns out, especially from the back of the balcony in a dark, crowded venue, with a poor quality cameraphone)

A magnificent, if badly captures, Leeds Town Hall
A magnificent, if badly captured, Leeds Town Hall

Continue reading