Tag Archives: 2011

Blood – The Middle East

8 Aug

Although the title of this post might seem like an ominous headline in a newspaper, I can promise you that today’s song is as beautiful as they come. The Middle East, a ten-person band originating from Queensland have stormed onto the radar after releasing their first full album I Want That You Are Always Happy in April of 2011. A friend had told me about them, but they had slipped my mind until I went to see Steve Carell’s new movie, and guess what song played during the film?

This song is gorgeous. The lead singer’s falsetto works beautifully with the backing track, which in case you hadn’t noticed, is full of whistles and wind chimes. These actually go really well with the song, and add to its overall tone. I also love the harmonies in the chorus, and the eventual crescendo. Really, there’s just so much in here. Their album is gold also, you should most definitely download it, and make sure to watch the music video below:

Live @ The Isle of Wight Festival 2011 – Day 3

14 Jun

Fun fact: the Isle of Wight is the first festival to be filmed in 3D, the on site Sky lounge is probably full of people trying to stay warm and enjoy the festival experience as rain hits the third day of the festival. But for those who brave the elements the main stage is the place to be, with both Liam Gallagher and the Kasabian front man, Tom Meighan, commenting on the Third dimensional aspect of the festival with appropriate hand gestures.

Two Door Cinema Club
Opening up the main stage were the indie rockers, offering a light early afternoon jam with sympathy for the drizzle laden crowd. They offered the perfect example of how an indie band can fill a main stage, while remaining true to their tightly arranged style.The first of an incredible line up they stood out with their modest words and tunes, getting the early crowd bouncing and singing along.

Pixie Lott
The weather had turned for the worst as the young soloist stepped onto the stage in an outfit made for conditions far from the actual weather. Her slightly nervous start could be excused for inexperience with the festival crowd, she first played a festival here in 2009 in the Big Top stage, but unfortunately it really didn’t lift anything, especially the spirits of the crowd. The early siting of an auto tune unit was also confirmed when she spoke to the crowd, thank god she wasn’t lip-syncing though, or I might have never have forgiven what I had hoped was the start of a different pop star. I still have hope for this genuine and modest girl, her preview single, No One Does It Better, sounded more orchestral and soft than previous tunes, the weather was perhaps unfortunate for her but that’s the British summer for you.

Plan B

The stage was dressed for the Defamation of Strickland Banks star, and on strolled a grey suited man to warm the crowd up. Using only human formed sounds he wowed the frozen fans with an eclectic mix of beat boxing drum & bass, dance, and popular music, using only a microphone. Then on strolled Plan B and we finally got the show we wanted, as he cycled through the hits on his avant-garde and edgy album. Perhaps not the best performer on the stage that day but he definitely brought a sense of solo performance with boldness to warm even chilled festival goers.

The Script

If Plan B warmed the crowd The Script offered a sense of connection that makes the word sympathy sound pathetic, almost all of them got out from the cover of the stage to get wet, almost hurling themselves into the front rows of the crowd. Their usual jovial  personalities made the festival seem almost sunny for a while, and they managed to get one of the biggest sing a longs of the whole festival, and I only say ‘one of’ because of the acts to follow. All in all The Script delivered their popular and catchy tunes with genuine brilliance but also were able to connect with the crowd during a day where most artists would have feared the daunting task.

Beady Eye

You never know quite what to expect from a Gallagher when they walk out onto the stage, both musically and antic wise, in Liam’s first festival gig with his new post Oasis band there were plenty of expectations. The mission statement from Liam himself was to become bigger than ‘the Beatles’ even provocatively choosing a similar typeface to them. Four Letter Word opened their set and those words continued to gush throughout the performance. I have to say I liked their style. Songs such as The Roller really sounded good on the festival stage Oasis never played. But I can’t help feel Oasis had been his chance to become as big as the Beatles. Even the crowd clamored for those old classics, and the band themselves apart from Gallagher and on occasion the drummer were nondescript and bland with no personalities to latch on to. Good? Yes, better than the Beatles? No not really at all. His sound needs to evolve for it to move further, though he is dressing for where he wants to get to so far.

Kasabian

When a band are late on stage, it’s bad. When they are late on stage in the rain, it’s unforgivable, but I could have forgiven Kasabian for murder once they were on. They strolled on to lights and Club Foot, an old favourite and it only got better, with Tom Meighan thanking the crowd at every opportunity. The wind seemed to die and so followed the rain as we plowed through a set list full of the very best that this great band has to offer. Throughout Empire and Shoot The Runner, LSF and Underdog the crowd where with them. They played new songs Velociraptor! and Switchblade Smiles  from their forthcoming fourth album, also called Velociraptor! set to come out in September. Showing the Kaiser Chiefs how to play unreleased material at a festival, they truly rocked the foundations of the stage, putting on a visual and audio spectacle. The animated Tom Meighan strode off stage for Take Aim, leaving Sergio Pizzorno to sing his mellow trumpet accompanied song, Meighan strode back on to take charge of the crowd again raising his glass to the 75,000 strong soaked crowd. Then came Fire, but only after the whole band departed from the stage before returning with lights and an intro playing what can only be described with the use of expletives; the flares lit in the crowd and the stage was framed by smoke as the crowd forgot the conditions around them. Awesome doesn’t do moments like this justice. The crowd sang for a reprise and kept on singing, leaving Meighan to take his time thanking them before departing. We were still singing the chorus as we trekked back through the mud.

So the Isle of Wight Festival, perhaps the best line-up this year of all the festivals:

Best Crowd Vibe: Chase & Status/Kasabian

Most Misplaced Stupid Awful Band: Parade (and they were in a tent on a sunny day without rain and I still hated them)

Best Song: Fire – Kasabian

Best Crowd Interaction:  The Script

Artist That Should Never Have Been Booked – Parade

Best Quotation: ‘I Hate F***ing vips’ – Iggy Pop (as he drags David Grohl onstage)

Best Dress: Pixie Lott/Liam Gallagher

Best Pleasant Surprise: The Stornoways/The Courteeners

Biggest surprise at being worse live than on a screen – Parade

Happiest band – Foo Fighters

That’s all for now. Hopefully CYHT will be at more festivals this year.

Live @ The Isle of Wight Festival 2011 – Day 2

11 Jun

 

 

I’ve taken the opportunity to update everyone in the afternoon lull from a beanie bag in the rather eclectic incense-filled surroundings of the H&M lounge. Mike & The Mechanics are on stage but already this morning I’ve seen a multitude of great artists.

Lissie
Starting off with Lissie on the main stage, the American songstress took her mainly acoustic and rustic sound and managed to fill the main arena surrounding the main stage. When I’m Alone sounded great and her sunny personality complimented the weather. Ending with a cover of Kid Cudi’s Pursuit Of Happiness, the day looked promising.

Semi Precious Weapons
A quick look at the Semi Precious Weapons on the big top stage confirmed the lead singers obsession with sex and cross dressing. Unfortunately the band’s first ever play of Cherries On Ice with girl band The Parade really failed to do anything and sounded almost gratingly amateur.

Stornoway
Stornoway were the next up on the main stage. They provided a nice juxtaposition to Semi Precious Weapons, delivering violins and piano in a set with two upside down sails. I have to confess they were billed at the perfect time, providing great tunes to relax to for brief periods.

The Vaccines
Running back to the big top stage for a festival debut of The Vaccines was well worth the burrowing through the packed tent crowds. Their set started fashionably late and was okay but only got better, delivering a healthy mix of crowd favourites and crowd engagement. For the first time on a festival bill they really performed and I don’t doubt that if they continue in this way we can expect them to feature in some major line ups.

Hurts 
Hurts were next on the hit list and provided the first real spectacle of the day, with dancers and a small light show backdrop. Despite my early fears that they might not have enough material to sustain their one hour main stage set, they managed to do quite well, smashing a microphone stand and delivering a heavy and loud set which was pleasantly surprising.

Iggy and the Stooges

Iggy bounced onto the stage with his brown naked torso showing us why he still is rocking the house. He was obviously under the influence of a few too many but all the better for it. After making the earth shake with a few brazen chords, he set about delivering some of the lines of the festival so far, turning on the VIPs. He told them to get out onto the stage and dance, even you with your “F***ing kid,  get out there or I’ll drag you by your f***ing hair, I hate goddamn f***ing VIPs.” He was worth it for the shear personality and energy he brought onto the late afternoon period of the main stage, and also the early appearance of the Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl.

Parade

I only mention this band in passing because I had the misfortune of walking into the Big Top whilst they were performing. No offence but they are truly awful, misfits in the whole festival thing. They had awful songs, and their song Perfume warrants a boycott after it chased me round by being played on the screens around the festival site. Don’t get me wrong on girl bands, I once -when I was quite young- considered Spice Girls as the height of musical brilliance, looping Wannabe for at least a weekend on my Sony walkman, but this was outdated and horrible. They couldn’t sing, resorted to covers most of the time, and not even their backdrop was inspiring let alone their stage presence, which resulted in their high squeaky accented voices screaming with glee as they forgot what their next song was about. Needless to say I walked out of the tent in under five minutes.

Chase & Status

If The Parade in the Big Top were bad then what came next was simply incomparable to anything. Chase & Status really did make everything that had come before seem feeble. They pitched the new album with style and poise (Kaiser Chiefs take note) and had the crowd both raving and shouting the lyrics. Blind Faith, End Credits came alive, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to those tunes again on my iPod. The crush to see them was so big that they had to stop the show and ask everyone to get off the tent poles and take a few steps back, a responsible move that gave everyone more space to really dance to the incredible sound they produced.  With the shouts of “Drop, drop, drop,” it was always going to be a good time, what it actually became was burned into my memory as insane.

Foo Fighters

Moving swiftly on, we caught the dying refrains of ‘I want to live like common people’ from Pulp’s set as we forged into the crowd to get as close as we could for the Saturday headliners the Foo Fighters. They walked on and I ate my previous words. My god they were incredible, they struck an excellent balance between old and new, crowd rocking and more quiet, and it only got better. Dedicating Best of You to SeaSick Steve who was in the barrier-cordoned VIP stage area, you know someone is popular when you have to hold VIPs back on the stage. They vowed to play for 3 hours or until they got kicked off. We had the drum singing of Taylor Hawkins and the guitar rifts of David Grohl, there was only rock and everyone was happy. Walk, Best Of You, and The Pretender all left the expected ringing in the ears. They ended with no fireworks, simply copious thanks, a promise to return, and the sound of pure music.To be honest, nothing else was needed. We were left asking “Kings of Who?” They looked as if they were having the times of their lives and loving every second of something rare and beautiful, to quote David Grohl “No f***ing computers only rock and roll.” They did the impossible and topped Kings of Leon, and I fear for Kasabian I really do, but something tells me I really don’t have to. We shall have to wait and see…

Day 3 coming soon.

Live @ The Isle of Wight Festival 2011 – Day 1

11 Jun

So after minor delays and the unfortunate event of missing We Are Scientists, We arrived at the site of the Isle of Wight festival, burning a trail directly to the main stage, and stopping only at the H&M lounge to pick up our access wristbands, arriving halfway through Band of Horses’ set. They provided a short and light introduction into what has to be one of the best line-ups of the summer.

The Courteeners
Next up where The Courteeners who began the real festival action. Getting close proved to be a reckless but awesome experience, and they truly took the atmosphere to a new level. Definitely a band which was perfectly billed for the stage and the crowd, nicely exciting the revellers for the night ahead while delivering their own unique and memorable performance. Frontman Liam Fray was especially outstanding.

 Kaiser Chiefs
The Kaiser Chiefs were next on the main stage and they  came on to a ready and waiting crowd. The people five metres from the front were readying themselves for the brazen chorus of ‘I predict a riot’ and the antics to accompany it. Unfortunately their first song put this vision in jeopardy and we were suddenly looking at a band trying to sell their new stuff from The Future Is Medieval, which wasn’t festival worthy in its lyrics or tunes. They started to rectify this with a few older tracks from their repertoire, Ruby and I Predict A Riot came and went, but there still were too many new tracks which left the crowd unsure as to how to respond. The mood could be summed up by taking another sample of their lyrics ‘we are the angry mob, we love you, we love you, we hate you we hate you, oh but we are oh so easily swayed.’ Thank god they ended with ‘oh my god I’ve never been this far from home.’ It was noticeable that they’ve fallen slightly from the days they used to headline this stage in 2008.

Kings of Leon
If Kaiser Chiefs need any advice on how to run a Friday night main stage, I refer them to the headliners. Kings of Leon. The moment they stepped on stage you could tell why they deserve that first word in their band name, despite their frontman Anthony Followill’s humble words claiming that he didn’t know how to front a band but still had a hell of a lot of fun. Their rule was glorious, equally rocking the ground and delivering more mellow tracks as darkness engulfed Seaclose Park. After their awesome entrance, they had a task to provide an end which befitted them. After the lasers and light show, the fireworks crowned them the kings of the festival season so far, framing the stage and lighting up the sky, while exploding from the backdrop. I don’t envy the task Foo Fighters and Kasabian have over the next two days, though I have seen flying equipment today so I’m preparing to eat my words this evening.

More soon from the Isle of Wight festival.

The Wilhelm Scream – James Blake

18 Jan

Come on and jump on the James Blake bandwagon. 2011 is sure to be a big breakthrough year for this man after placing on multiple ‘best-of’ lists at the end of 2010. Check out this video of Blake playing The Wilhelm Scream for the BBC. It’s from his forthcoming self-titled album James Blake which is set to be released on 7th February 2011, so look out for that. Check out more of his stuff at his MySpace.