Posts Tagged ‘artrock’

Pulp: Life, Death and Supermarkets (with live Q and A from Sheffield City Hall) Tyneside Cinema 6th June 2014

Pulp: Life, Death and Supermarkets (with live Q and A from Sheffield City Hall) Tyneside Cinema 6th June 2014
pulp_filmThings weren’t looking too good for Pulp back in 1988. After a disastrous farewell show, they packed their bags and relocated to London from Sheffield. Some 25 years and 10 million album sales later, the band returned home for an emotional farewell show. Rather than making a conventional concert movie, award-winning film-maker Florian Habicht uses this momentous occasion as his backdrop for a more intimate documentary. Setting up a series of artfully arranged tableaux, he presents a fascinating exploration of the close and enduring relationship between Pulp and the “common people” of Sheffield. At this charming and insightful film’s centre is the band’s charismatic, endlessly quotable lyricist and frontman Jarvis Cocker. (From the publicity for the film).
Starring Jarvis Cocker, Mark Webber, Candida Doyle, Nick Banks, Steve Mackey and the people of Sheffield. Directed by Florian Habicht.
‘Florian Habicht’s concert movie follows Jarvis Cocker and his bandmates as they prepare to mark their 25th anniversary as Britpop royalty with a concert in their native Sheffield. Songs will be sung, stories will be told, and pies will be eaten, because the only way to fully understand Pulp is to hang out in the town that birthed the band. “Sing along with the common people” isn’t just a lyric – it’s a mission statement.’ (NowToronto.com). “Fittingly, Florian Habicht’s affectionate documentary tells the story of the band from the streets of Sheffield with the help of friends, family and fans, aged and youthful alike (one wears a T-shirt proclaiming: “I am a common person so **** you”), all of whom have their own stories to tell.” (The Guardian)
The UK release was last night, 6th June 2014, and the Sheffield premiere, with the band, local stars and filmmakers in attendance was broadcast live to 90 cinemas across the UK from Sheffield City Hall. Laura and I went to the screening at the Tyneside Cinema.
pulpfilmtixThe event started with a live feed from outside Sheffield City Hall, a choir of Yorkshire ladies singing “Common People” on the steps of the Hall, and the audience mingling and making their way to their seats. Soon we see Jarvis and the rest of Pulp arrive. The screen at Sheffield lists the towns and cities to which the film is being beamed out, each one followed by a little Jarvis  joke, some rhyming…”Doncaster….Clap faster….Tyneside….You shall have a fishy….” (lots of cheers from our home crowd). The film is introduced by Director Florian who brings Liberty, a young Sheffield girl who features in the movie as one of the “stars” from the people of Sheffield, up on stage to say a few words.
The film itself centres around the farewell 2012 Pulp gig at Sheffield Arena, the day of the gig and, most of all, the people of Sheffield. There are clips from the concert, but not many in comparison with other concert films. Most of the time we are taken around Sheffield, meeting the people and talking about their personal connections with Pulp. A group of older people sing a lovely rendition of “Help The Aged”. Jarvis, and each band member, talk a little about themselves, their connection with Sheffield and the importance of holding their last gig there for the people they grew up with. A paperseller outside the market tells us why he likes Pulp. Liberty listens to “Disco 2000″in her garden.
This works well, and paints a picture of a band returning to, reflecting on, and respecting their roots.
After the film, Paul Morley hosted a live Q & A session with the band, and Florian, talking largely about the movie, the concept behind it, and how it came about. At one point, Javis asks everyone in the audience who features in the movie, to stand up. Almost half the crowd in the City Hall do so.

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Roxy Music Newcastle Arena 12th June 2001

Roxy Music Newcastle Arena 12th June 2001
roxytix2001Roxy Music reformed after a lengthy absence and in 2001 they were touring across the UK again, calling at Newcastle Arena on 12th June. Marie and I went along to see them again; it was 22 years since we last saw the band perform. The tour reunited four original members Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson. The core members were augmented by Colin Good (piano and musical director), Zev Katz (bass), Julia Thornton (percussion and keyboards), Lucy Wilkins (violin), Sarah Brown (backing vocals) and Chris Spedding (second guitar; remember seeing Chris play Newcastle Mayfair around the time of his hit “Motorbikin'”). Support was singer Rosalie Deighton. We were a bit unsure how the old songs would sound and whether they could withstand the test of time (and the acoustics of a cavernous arena) but we needn’t have worried. They were just great. roxyprog2001
It was good to see Roxy Music live again, and the concert (and indeed the tour) was a massive success with critics and fans. The set included many of the old favorites, along with some new tracks. Setlist: Re-make/Re-model, Street Life, Ladytron, While My Heart Is Still Beating, Out Of The Blue, A Song For Europe, My Only Love, Oh Yeah, Both Ends Burning, Tara, Avalon, If There Is Something, More Than This, Mother Of Pearl, Jealous Guy, Editions Of You, Virginia Plain. Encores: Love Is The Drug, Do The Strand, For Your Pleasure.
That brings we to the end of my reflections on Roxy Music in concert. I saw Roxy Music once more, in 2011, and blogged about that concert at the time.

Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 13th October 1975

Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 13th October 1975roxytix75
“….Boy meets girl where the beat goes on
Stitched up tight, can’t shake free
Love is the drug, got a hook on me
Oh oh catch that buzz
Love is the drug I’m thinking of
Oh oh can’t you see
Love is the drug for me…” (Love is the Drug, Roxy Music, 1975)
Everyone I knew was either going along to this gig, or wanted to go and was trying to score a ticket. This was largely as a result of the massive singalong power of “Love is the Drug” which was played everywhere I went, and always resulted in a massive scrum of dancing on the ballroom floor. Roxy were on tour again, and stopped off for two sold out nights at Newcastle City Hall. I attended the second night.
Support came from the Sadistic Mika Band, a Japanese rock group who received quite a bit of publicity at the time and appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test. roxyprog75This was another great performance by Roxy Music. The band were augmented by a couple of female backing singers who danced along with Bryan Ferry just as we had all seen in the video for “Love is the Drug”. Bryan, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera were all recording solo material at the time and some of this was featured in the concert.
Setlist: Sentimental Fool; The Thrill of It All; Love Is the Drug; Mother of Pearl; Bitter-Sweet; Nightingale; She Sells; Street Life; Out of the Blue; Whirlwind; Sea Breezes; Both Ends Burning; For Your Pleasure; Diamond Head (Phil Manzanera solo song); Wild Weekend (Andy Mackay solo song); The ‘In’ Crowd; Virginia Plain; Re-Make/Re-Model; Do the Strand; Editions of You; A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Bryan Ferry solo cover of the Dylan classic).
Roxy line-up: Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay (oboe and sax), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Paul Thompson (drums), Eddie Jobson (keyboards, synth and violin), John Gustafson (bass).

Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 27th & 28th October 1974

Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 27th & 28th October 1974
roxytix74It was 1974 and Roxy Music were on a roll. Things were very different from the last time I saw the fledgling band perform at the Lincoln pop festival jamboree in 1972. In the two years that had passed Brian Eno had left the band, they had hit the singles charts with “Virginia Plain”, “Pyjamarama” (wonderful and one of my favourites) and “Street Life”, and were just about to release their fourth album. Eno had been replaced by local hero Eddie Jobson, whose violin virtuosity I had marvelled at when Fat Grapple stormed out local Locarno ballroom, and John Wetton was the new guy on bass, fresh from prog super maestros King Crimson. So all was good in the Roxy camp, and the band were truly at the height of their powers. There is a view that Roxy were never really Roxy again after the genius that is Eno left the fold, but it doesn’t hold water in my book. Yes Eno was a vital part of the early band, but the 1974 line-up was strong enough to stand on its own, and although Eddie Jobson may not have seemed as enigmatic as his predecessor, his musical skills are without question. I’d missed a couple of Roxy tours, and realised how foolish I had been, so made sure that I went along this time. They played two sold out nights at Newcastle City Hall. roxyprog74I went along with a group of mates to the first night, and we were so knocked out by Roxy’s performance that a couple of us decided to go along the following night and try and buy tickets outside. We succeeded, and this is one of the few occasions where I went to see a band two nights in a row (and enjoyed both concerts). Amazingly, I was in the same row of the stalls both nights. Bryan Ferry was at his best, stylish and cool, although sometimes looking a little nervous and uncomfortable on stage. And Eddie Jobson was simply brilliant. Oh and the songs: “Mother of Pearl” a beautiful classic, the dark brooding menace of “In Every Dream Home” which we thought to be curious, funny and shocking all at the same time, and the hits “Street Life” and “Virginia Plain”; the crowd went completely bonkers. By the last encore of “Do the Strand” the entire City Hall was going absolutely nuts, singing and dancing along. Great memories. Can I go back and relive this one please? 🙂
Setlist: Prairie Rose; Beauty Queen; Mother of Pearl; Out of the Blue; A Song for Europe; Three and Nine; If It Takes All Night; In Every Dream Home a Heartache; If There Is Something; All I Want Is You; The Bogus Man; Street Life; Virginia Plain; Editions of You. Encore: Re-Make/Re-Model; Do the Strand.
Roxy line-up: Bryan Ferry (vocals and ultra cool suaveness) Andy Mackay (oboe and sax), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Paul Thompson (drums), Eddie Jobson (keyboards, synth and violin), John Wetton (bass).
Support came from the excellent, under-rated and almost never mentioned these days Jess Roden, who was a great soul / R&B singer.

Roxy Music the Lincoln Festival 27th May 1972

Roxy Music the Lincoln Festival 27th May 1972
RoxylpI will spend the next few days trying to recall as much as I can about the seven or so occasions on which I have seen Roxy Music live. I first saw a new and relatively unknown Roxy Music at the Lincoln Festival on 27th May 1972. This was their first major performance and only the seventh time the band had played together. They appeared early on the Saturday afternoon, sandwiched between sets by Locomotive GT (a Hungarian rock band who were pretty big during the ’70s) and Heads, Hands and Feet. The Roxy line-up at the time was Bryan Ferry (vocals and keyboards), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (sax and oboe), Paul Thompson (drums), Eno (synths) and Graham Simpson (bass). I recall that there was quite a buzz about the band at the time, largely as a result of their connections with King Crimson. Bryan Ferry had auditioned as lead singer for King Crimson, and impressed Robert Fripp and Pete Sinfield, although they felt that his voice was not suitable for Crimson. They went on to help Roxy Music obtain a record contract, and Sinfield produced their first, wonderful, album. roxysoundsThe sound at the festival wasn’t great; it was windy and the mix was poor. But it was obvious even at this early stage in their career that there was something new, different and unique about this band. The guys all dressed outrageously and looking at pictures of Roxy taken at the festival you would think they had come from another planet, and they all look so young! The image here is from a Sounds poster of the time and was taken at the festival. And the music sounded very different to anything else around at the time. Eno’s use of synths, Ferry’s vocals, and Mackay’s oboe all gave Roxy their own distinctive sound. Roxy Music were recording tracks for their first album at the time of this appearance, and it was well before the release of their first single “Virginia Plain”. Their short set is likely to have consisted of the following songs: 2HB; Would You Believe?; Sea Breezes, Ladytron, If There Is Something!, Re-Make/Re-Model, The Bob (Medley), Virginia Plain. Roxy provided a short interlude of majestic bright glam/art rock in what was an excellent line-up, but a very wet windy and cold weekend. Looking back, and although I didn’t realise it at the time, there were glimpses of the greatness and richness of musical texture which would follow. Foolishly, I saw Roxy Music simply as a quirky weird new band, and because of this I left it a couple of years before I saw them again, which I now regret. The next time I saw Roxy Music was on their 1974 tour, and I’ll reflect on that tomorrow.