Goldfrapp - Union Chapel (friends and family)

Goldfrapp - Union Chapel (friends and family)

So, I was amongst the lucky few that got to attend Goldfrapp's dress rehearsal at the Union Chapel last night. Mmmmmmm special. Intimate affair, amazing venue, great sound and well... Goldfrapp!

She played a bit of Felt Mountain and Supernature and a lot of the new material. Damn, I had shivers running up and down my spine the whole way through Paper Bag. So great to see it played with the string quartet and two harps. Needless to say her stuff has been on heavy rotation since this morning. How had I forgotten how amazing this was?

3rd time I've seen her play, 3rd time's the charm, they say.

Idjut Boys - Press Play

Idjut Boys - Press Play

In my mind these guys are another Nextmen or Unabombers; a DJing duo that put great lesser known tunes that make you want to dance before everything else. I accidently caught them at The Big Chill in 2005 and really loved what I heard. I think they Manchester based too.

They definitely swing more towards the soul / funky / disco side of the dance floor. The mixing is really simple - in fact, it's not really mixing at all, blending would be a better term. It's primarily a showcase of good tunes.

I've only heard a couple (consistently showing my ignorance, eh?) of the songs on here before (Word Up and Low Rider), though not these versions. Of course they're all killer. The music itself sounds like good old funk/soul stuff - but it can't possibly be. I need to do a bit of digging but I think some of these songs must be from the last couple of years (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas' Ballerina for example).

Yes yes, I have some friends that are about to find out they've been missing this all their lives.

Fastnacht Festival - Luzern, Switzerland (Jan/Feb 2008)

Fastnacht Festival - Luzern, Switzerland (Jan/Feb 2008)

Lord, what a week. Celebrating Fastnacht is hard work (though it's a good excuse for my recent absence). While the holdrio (tea laced with schnapps) is still flowing the bands keep playing. While there are still bands playing, we keep dancing.

Fastnacht most certainly is a local festival for local people - just the way festivals should be. The general idea is that everyone gets dressed up (in outfits ranging from bizarre to the downright scary) and then makes a lot of noise to drive out the spirits of winter. The noise comes in the form of more than 100 brass bands, some with as few as 6 people and others as large as 70.

Hilariously it's almost like this is the land that time forgot - thankfully it slipped from the loving grasp of the 80s. Hang out with the right people and you may even be treated to the theme from MacGuyver though more commonly you'll hear things like Holding Out For a Hero and Time After Time. There were about a dozen absolute Swiss classics that popped up continuously - I was amazed at how many I had learnt (read: was happy make roughly melodic noises to at the top of my lungs) by the end of the festival (having said that I was pretty happy to sing along one first listen).

I made dozens of recordings throughout the week, unfortunately while the best of them were playing I ran out of batteries. This one, I think, captures the spirit of the event nicely.

Lonski and Claßen

Lonski and Claßen

This sound is a hard one to throw a label on. I guess you can kind of think Whitest Boy Alive on shedloads of valium or maybe Sparklehorse on uppers. It's beautiful and oh so gentle. As are their videos.

I saw them play at the Goldmund Festival though I'm struggling to remember what they were playing... machines, guitars and drums I think. It would be stupid to point out that there are two of them in the group (it's late at night and my brain is going).

Listening to it again I simply can't pick a favorite but I Could is the most accessible track; hopefully that should serve to get everyone hooked.

Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings

Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings

The moment I arrived back in London after my travels I asked my friend, Will, to give me a big musical dose of the new and interesting. This was the second album on the stereo. Now I'm hooked. Currently sitting on the train back from Bristol trying to jam as much of this stuff into my head as possible before the Dan Deacon gig at The End tomorrow night. I can't wait, looks like damn good geeky fun.

Synths running arpeggios, fat basslines, catchy hooks all bashed together in wonderfully cohesive poly-rhythms. And let's not forget the sing-a-longs for the whole family (which seem to be the basis for the live gigs).

I guess, to most it's just noise (though I'm not going to presume to know what's going through the head's of the masses). Wham City has it all covered (12 minutes long, you gotta let it build). If you ain't got it by the end of that pearler, well, I guess you never will.

Seasick Steve - Doghouse Music

Seasick Steve - Doghouse Music

Just look at his name! "When you're Hobo Low there ain't nowhere to go, there ain't nuttin lower than Hobo Low." I think that lyric alone should give a pretty good insight into Seasick Steve's sound.

Naturally he has plenty of tales to tell. In Dog House Boogie we're treated to a synopsis of his life and the album is rounded off with a cool little story about a dog he once had.

This is some of the coolest blues I've ever heard. It's just got a great blues attitude - it works so well when it's written/performed by someone who's actually lived the life. Looking at my itunes I've basically just gone through and given everything my top rating.

If there's only one blues album you ever listen to, make it this one. It really is that good.

Joan as Police Woman - Real Life

Joan as Police Woman - Real Life

I stumbled across Joan on the internet one day and was very impressed by the few samples I heard... then I forgot about her/them. It was seeing them billed for Rock Werchter that refuelled my interest.

It sits reasonably close to standard american, piano playing female pop rock, but the deviation is wide enough that one has to give it more attention. Eternal Flame jumped out at me straight away - very interesting chord progression. The whole thing is quite dark.

Listening to it again I think that it was the loss of the subtleties in the concert killed a bit of the inspiration for me. This is actually really cool.

Orchestre International Du Vetex - Flamoek Fantasy

Orchestre International Du Vetex - Flamoek Fantasy

I was very lucky on Saturday when I chose to walk into that unassuming little record store (Sax) in Leuven. The guy behind the counter was understandably sceptical about my taste in music when he noticed the Rock Werchter armband I was wearing. I asked for something local and this is what I got - what a treat.

I'm glad I sacked off the festival to head back to Leuven to see them play that night. The performance was fantastic. Great energy, great fun, great act - gypsy ska at its best. Jos from the record store proved to be wonderful company with fine taste in music.

A wonderful experience - the memory of which I'll treasure all my life.

Rock Wechter 2007 in Brief

Rock Wechter 2007 in Brief

All in all this turned out to be a really enjoyable festival. Everyone was friendly and it was well organised and clean. Unfortunately the corporations have taken control - the one place I could get something to drink other than coke/beer (I drink neither) was closed down after Stella claimed they were cutting into their market (mutually exclusive markets people).

The bulk of the music was Brit Rock/Pop - briefly:

Joan as Police Woman

Very nice, some of the subtleties were definitely lost in the festival soundsystem. I always appreciate an artist that gets up and disses the US government.

Lilly Allen

One of the great performances of the festival. She smoked the whole time and apologised for being so drunk (drinking Jagermeister straight from the bottle may well be the reason for that). Her voice actually sounded great live.

Queens of the Stoneage

It wasn't loud enough or something - just seemed to lack any real balls. There was actually a problem the whole festival with the vocals being lost in the mix on the main stage.

Arctic Monkeys

Why are these guys so big right now? There's not much to recommend them. Young boys who have no idea how to perform yet. Watching stuff like this makes me feel cynical.

Pearl Jam

Man it was great to finally see these cats play live. Thankfully they stuck almost entirely to Ten/Vs (i would have been lost otherwise). Vedder rambled on a bit (too much weed for him methinks).

Amy Winehouse

What a voice, eh? It comes across well live too. I found watching her was a tad disturbing - too goddamn skinny.


"I don't give a fuck!" - and you know they mean it. The whole performance was very much in that vein (in a good way). Absolutely mental dancing.

Cold War Kids

Not too bad - a bit serious in their performance. The sound was a little uninspirational but I'll have a listen to the recordings 'cos there may well be something there.

Frank Black

What can I say - I've been listening to more and more of his stuff recently because I think he may be a rock god (an angry one at that) - and his performance backs that view up. I think he did a Fat Boy Slim cover in there (performed while lying on the floor).




Why are these guys the kings of metal again? Oh yeah, it's because they completely kick ass. Such a powerful live performance. They tried to lose me with the ballad based encore but the So What madness soon fixed that.

Tori Amos

Pleasantly surprised by this one - great performance. I haven't listened to her stuff before (though I will now). The girls in the room (almost everyone) were definitely feeling the empowerment (:


I've seen these guys before so I didn't waste to much time on them. The whole thing feels dated and lacking in energy. They were are a certain place at a certain time and that's why they're famous. Let go England - for the love of music.

Accu - Lasso

Accu - Lasso

One of the dance highlights from Sonar 2007. Slicked up white suits, long flowing hair and keytars - they certainly have an ultra cool look... cool sound too.

The album itself is much smoother than I expected - when they played live the sound system was a bit quiet so I guess I figured the album itself would be more raucous. Great bit of work anyway. Silky electro beats with a jazzy edge.

Coupé is a stomping upbeat track, reminds me a bit of Leftfield. Cooper King has a really cool disco edge to it that then drops away into a funky 70s movie soundtrack vibe.

Great stuff.

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