Category: music


GOGOL BORDELLO Live at the Rocca Malestestiana, Cesena, Italy 28th August 2015

gogolbordelloI do not own any Gogol Bordello records and, prior to this concert, could only name two songs of theirs – Start Wearing Purple and Think Locally. Fuck Globally.

I knew the first from the very wonderful movie Everything Is Illuminated which featured Eugene Hütz ,the band’s extrovert frontman, as a linguistically challenged Ukrainian guide, Alex, in the main character’s “rigid search” for his Jewish roots. The second is simply one of those titles you only have to hear once to remember.

Although I was not au fait with the band’s back catalogue, I figured this would prove no handicap to my enjoyment of the show. If you Google a few concert reviews, the consensus seems to be that this band are ‘awesome’ live.

I expected them to be rowdy, anarchic and loud – all positives in my book. They were all these things but I still came away bored and unimpressed. Continue reading

INTIMACY directed by Patrice Chéreau (UK, 2001)

intimacy-POSTERSex in movies or music videos is mostly more concerned with titillation than realism while in porn its primary function is stimulation.

The makers of Intimacy, based on a short story by Hanif Kureishi, adopt a less glossy and therefore more adult perspective.

In the movie, scenes of coupling are explicit, including un-simulated fellatio. Little is left to the imagination but, equally, nothing is particularly arousing.

On the contrary, the sex act is reduced to the level of a basic human need (like eating and sleeping but more energetic).

This is fucking not lovemaking and seems more akin to an act of penance than passion. Once the desire is satiated, words are unnecessary and the two go their separate ways arranging only to meet again the same day (Wednesday) the next week. Continue reading


Live at the Rocca Malestestiana, Cesena, Italy 18th August 2015

calexico-poster“How do you say ‘oomph’ in Italian?” asks Joey Burns; as in ‘You need to give it more oomph’!

Fellow Calexico-in-chief and drummer, John Convertino shrugs his shoulders in reply.

Burns poses the question because he wants the crowd to show more grit, spunk, blood, fire, energy, passion; AND he wants them to raise the volume level for the big ‘whoooaaaa’ at the beginning of their supercharged rendition of Minutemen’s Corona.

With this prompt, he succeeds although, it’s fair to say, the overall level of enthusiasm ebbs and flows during the course of this 90 minute open air concert.

An obstacle to more universal acclaim lies in the fact that much of the newer material lacks the drama (oomph?) of Calexico’s earlier, more familiar songs. With notable exceptions, World Undone for example, these are less spacious or ambient in feel than the kind of widescreen post-Giant Sand tunes that distinguished an album such as The Black Light (1998). Continue reading

THE MARK LANEGAN BAND Live at the Rocca Malastestiana, Cesena, Italy 11th August 2015

Mark Lanegan - not a summery kind of guy.

Mark Lanegan – not a summery kind of guy.

On stage, Mark Lanegan looks and sounds every inch the rock and roll survivor.

This gives added authenticity to his songs about salvation and healing.

For Lanegan’s brand of bleak urban rock, black is the colour, as typified by tunes like The Gravedigger’s Song and Gray Goes Black.

Lanegan stands centre stage like a pugilist, not as someone who is picking a fight but as a man used to standing his ground. Continue reading

DIFFERENT EVERY TIME – The Authorised Biography of Robert Wyatt – by Marcus O’Dair (Serpent’s Tail, 2014)

a wyatt bookI look for two things in a biography. Firstly, I like to learn something new and/or surprising about the subject; secondly, I want what I already know (or think I know) to be presented in a way that shares my enthusiasm. Marcus O’Dair‘s marvellous book scores top marks on both counts.

Based on extensive interviews with Robert Wyatt and most of the key people he’s worked with over the years, it is meticulously researched but never stuffy or overly academic.

The author (who is also a lecturer, broadcaster and musician) gives well-informed opinions but never seeks to force his point of view on the reader.

Robert’s story comes two parts – divided by the accident in 1973 that confined him to a wheelchair at the age of 28. Continue reading


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