Posts Tagged ‘world music’

Robert Plant Newcastle Academy 18th Nov 2014

Robert Plant Newcastle Academy 18th Nov 2014
robertplantadYou just know that Robert Plant is enjoying himself.
The Newcastle Academy was completely packed last night; packed to the walls, so you couldn’t move at all; probably the fullest I’ve ever seen it. I was right down at the front crammed close to the stage, and there were lots of Zeppelin veterans around, everyone talking about their memories of that legendary band. One guy was relating stories of Zeppelin gigs at the Mayfair and an early City Hall show in 1970. Two other guys were talking about Earls Court and Knebworth. The respect for Plant remains solid, immovable, deep and immense. But a Plant performance these days isn’t simply a Zeppelin tribute act; far from it, The Sensational Space Shifters are a band, and each of the members are great musicians in their own right. The set is a mix of tracks from the new album, blues, folk (“there is lots of folk music tonight”) and Zeppelin classics reworked (a little, but not too much). Shape Shifter music is an eclectic mix: the world music side is clear and exemplified by Gambian Juldeh Camara’s contribution to the performance on the “riti” (a single-string fiddle) and Robert and the others playing those large tambourine-like instruments (are they called a “daf”?), but it isn’t as simple as combining african instruments and rhythms with rock. robertplanttixThere is also rockabilly, particularly from crazy rock-out guitarist Justin Adams, psych, and the blues runs through everything, and screams from Liam “Skin” Tyson’s guitar. Oh, and of course, those familiar Zeppelin rock riffs come thundering through every now and then, as if we needed to be reminded where this guy’s roots lie. Plant looks great, his lion’s mane of hair intact and swaying, his voice as soulful, powerful and gentle as ever. You can feel that he is enjoying life and the music; he smiles and chats and jokes with the crowd, who give the band a roaring reception. The Sensational Shape Shifters give Plant the freedom, opportunity and space to safely bend the blues, rock, world music, mix it with excerpts from his back catalogue, and throw in all of the other musical influences which obviously run through his head, within a safe environment. The crowd know what to expect, and love it. We even get a snippet of House of the Rising Sun which prompts a massive singalong from the Geordie crowd. Amazing. Possibly the best time I’ve seen Plant in recent years.
Setlist was something like this: Friends; Spoonful; Turn It Up; Going to California; Embrace Another Fall; Rainbow; What Is and What Should Never Be; No Place to Go; Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You; Little Maggie; Fixin’ to Die; House of the Rising Sun; I Just Want to Make Love to You / Whole Lotta Love. Encore: Rock and Roll

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The Slits : Simply Whats Happening; Newcastle City Hall 23rd September 1979

The Slits, Don Cherry & Happy House, Prince Hammer & Creation Rebel: Simply Whats Happening; Newcastle City Hall 23rd September 1979
slitstixThis was a very adventurous and quite ground breaking tour, which united female punk thrash icons The Slits with legendary innovative jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and Jamaican reggae masters Prince Hammer and Creation Rebel. An early example of punk acting as a platform for world music fusion, this collection of artists toured the major concert halls in the UK, calling at Newcastle City Hall. I’d seen the Slits perform twice before as support for the Clash, and also supporting the Buzzcocks. They had just released their first album “Cut”. Viv Albertine “We knew we were a first, which could be uncomfortable, and we were much more revolutionary than the Pistols and the Clash. They were rock bands, whereas we were using world music and reggae, filtered through our own musicality. We were like a female Spinal Tap, really: we argued, toured and wanted to make a classic album that never dated.” (Interview by Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian, Monday 24 June 2013)
slitsprogThe Slits line-up was the late Ari Up on vocals, guitarist Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollitt on bass and (soon to be Banshee) Budgie on drums. I think Neneh Cherry, Don’s daughter joined them for the tour. Ari Up was a crazy wild front lady, complete with dreads, outlandish outfits and nifty dancing.
From the programme: “This is simply what’s happening…..what’s happening here is real music played by people from three different cultures. Three different musics united by one expression – freedom.
Enjoy yourself, keep room in your head and heart for music from all different cultures and places – we all live under the same sun…” Disc O’Dell
Sadly, with no massive audience draw on the tour, attendance was not great. The Newcastle show was very poorly attended with only a couple of hundred people in a hall which holds 2,400. Pity, because this was an interesting evening with some different and challenging music. The programme (pictured here) is also very different and contains some scribbly doodling artwork and slogans, presumably drawn by one or more of the band.

Santana and Earth, Wind & Fire Newcastle City Hall 15th September 1975

Santana and Earth, Wind & Fire Newcastle City Hall 15th September 1975
santanatix75This was a strong double bill of two quite different bands. Disco funk legends Earth, Wind and Fire opened the show. They had just released the album “That’s the Way of the World” and were massively successful in the USA, if less well known in the UK. I remember them having a big show, with lots of people on stage, and the highlight was a revolving drum kit (you had to see it to believe it 🙂 ). Santana had a lot to follow with such a strong opening act, but Carlos and the band rose to the occasion playing a set that included favourites like Black Magic Woman, Samba pa ti and Soul Sacrifice. The tour came between Santana’s sixth album “Borboletta” and their seventh “Amigos”. I recall that the concert was sold out and Marie and I went along without tickets. We managed to get two single seats, and spent the evening watching the concert standing at the back of the hall. dylantixstjames
The next time I saw Santana they were special guests for Bob Dylan at St James Park Newcastle, on 5th July 1984. Santana’s set at this massive open-air gig was Touchdown Raiders; Spirit; By the Pool; Samba pa ti; Breaking Out; Gypsy Queen; Incident at Neshabur; Waited All My Life; Two Points of View; Brotherhood; Savor; Who Loves You; Open Invitation; She’s Not There; Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile); Right Now.

Santana Newcastle City Hall November 22nd 1972 early (6.30pm) show: Exclusive Northern appearance

Santana Newcastle City Hall November 22nd 1972 early (6.30pm) show: Exclusive Northern appearance
santanaJohn and I went to see Santana at Newcastle City Hall on November 22nd 1972. The band played two shows at the venue that evening, and we went to the early show which was at 6.30pm. John’s memories of the gig: “As I recall Santana were not frequent visitors to the UK and this was one of the earliest times they played in the North East in the post-Abraxas period. They played two shows, with no support and it was my birthday. At that time Carlos was heavily influenced by John Mahavishnu and was moving in a more jazz/fusion-influenced direction than the heavily percusive sounds of the first two albums. I believe at the beginning of the set he said “A moment of meditation for Devadip” which was the name given to him by his guru Shri Chimony. Apparently it means “The lamp, light and eye of God”. This change in musical direction caused considerable tension within the band and precipitated a number of line up changes. I remember really enjoying the gig and I think they played most of Side 1 from the Caravanserai album – “Waves Within”, “Look up (to see whats coming down)”, “Just in time to see the sun”, “Song of the wind” and “All the Love in Universe”. Funnily I don’t remember if they played “Black Magic Woman” or “Oye Como Va”. I never saw the band again but have great memories of this show.”
santanatix72 My memories of the gig are also of an enjoyable concert. I’m pretty sure that they also played “Samba Pa Ti”. Their visit covered only two UK cities, Newcastle and Manchester, as part of their 1972 European tour (not sure how it could be an “Exclusive Northern appearance” when they also played Manchester 🙂 ; but maybe it was at the time the tickets were printed). Santana had just released their fourth album Caravanserai, and as John says it was a sharp departure from his critically acclaimed first three albums. We were all familiar with Santana at the time because of their excellent storming performance of “Soul Sacrifice” in the “Woodstock” film. By the time John and I saw Santana and his band in Newcastle their musical style had changed considerably from the band we all saw and loved in “Woodstock”. I recall being quite surprised by the difference, which was moving the music closer to that which John McLaughlin was pursuing in his Mahavishnu Orchestra. Santana’s exquisite guitar playing shone out, as it always does, to this day. I also remember that Slade were performing at Sunderland Top Rank that evening, with Thin Lizzy and Suzi Quatro as support acts. As we returned home after the Santana gig, which will have bee finished by 8.30pm to allow for the late show, we could see people entering the Rink (aka Top Rank) for the Slade gig.
A setlist from three days later at a concert in Switzerland shows Santana as having played the following songs. I would suspect the Newcastle set is likely to have been similar to this one: Going Home; A-1 Funk; Every Step of the Way; Samba pa ti; Look Up (To See What’s Coming Down); Just in Time to See the Sun; Incident at Neshabur; Bambele; Stone Flower; Waiting; Castillos de arena; Free Angela; Earth; Se a Cabo; Savor; Toussaint L’Overture

Bill Nelson The Hepworth Wakefield 20 Sep 2013

Bill Nelson The Hepworth Wakefield 20 Sep 2013
unityhall Last night I spent a fascinating couple of hours in the company of Bill Nelson in Wakefield, the city in which he was born and grew up. This was a one off performance that showcased Bill’s instrumental soundscapes, accompanied by live projections. The location of the gig was especially apt as it was once home to Be-Bop Deluxe’s own rehearsal space. The gig took place in the Calder building of the Hepworth, an art gallery just outside the centre of Wakefield. It was a charity gig to raise money for a restoration project for Unity Hall. The venue for the concert was a new annexe to the Hepworth, situated in an old textile mill on the banks of the river Calder. Attendance was limited to 300, apparently for health and safety reasons, although the venue could have held many more, and the event sold out some weeks ago. There were some seats, although not nearly enough for everyone, with most people having to stand. hepworth I bought myself a badge and a signed programme from Bill’s last 2004 tour, which I missed.
The evening started with a screening of Memory Codes, a very personal film created and soundtracked by Bill which looked back at his early life and at Wakefield in the ’50s and ’60s. It was interesting, if a little like a home movie, with old photos of Bill and his family, as he grew up in Wakefield.
billn1 The concert started at 8.30pm and was a set of instrumental performances, each one played on a different guitar (I counted 10 guitars, and there were 12 songs so it wasn’t quite one per song). Bill’s guitars have to be seen to be believed. They really are beautiful, exquisite instruments, all of with tinges of 50s and 60s in their design. The music is difficult to pigeon hole, as is the man himself. You can hear the influences, which Bill discussed at one point; The Shadows, Duane Eddy, Santo and Johnny. Add to that echo, futuristic, soaring solos, some funk, and some rock. The video images of the evening included many which I recognised from my youth: Dan Dare, Rupert the Bear, Torchy the Battery Boy (my favourite TV programme when I was a kid), Amazing Worlds, Sci Fi, MarvelMan, old film of Be Bop Deluxe.
biln2 Setlist: ‘Gloria Mundae’ accompanied by images of the sonambulist from the Cabinet of Dr Caligari, and which Bill explained was first performed in Wakefield in 1990 on the Bandstand with his brother.
‘I always knew you would find me’; ‘Blue Amorini’; ‘Think and you’ll miss it’; ‘The boy who lived in the future’ a new number played on the Stratovariouse(?) guitar; ‘The girl on the fairground waltzer’; ‘Beyond these clouds the sweetest dream’; ‘Sleepwalk’ A cover of the Santo and Johnny track. This was simply astounding. It was difficult to believe that it was one guy on stage producing all those sounds. I found it just stunning. Maybe that was because it was the only song which was familiar to me. ‘Golden dream of circus horses’; ‘A dream for Ian’ dedicated to the memory of Bill’s brother. ‘Artifex’ which featured the voice of William Burroughs; and the last song ‘For Stuart’ in memory of Stuart Adamson, with tinges of Big Country running through it. Bill produced Stuart’s band The Skids.
hepwroth2 Bill explained that he would normally perform an encore, but that the back stage area was so far away at the rear of the building, that it would seem silly walking right across their only to return; and hence For Stuart was the encore.
A great performance. It is over 30 years since I last saw Bill Nelson in concert, and his performances are rare occurrences these days. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed; the show made me realise what a tremendous guitar player Bill Nelson is.
sculptureThe event was a total success and a great homecoming for Bill, with lots of family and friends present, including Bill’s mum, nephew and son and youngest daughter; and fans who had travelled from very far afield, including the USA (which makes my 100 mile drive seem nothing at all :))
Stopped off for sausage and chips at the Wetherby Whaler on the way home. Pleased to see that it is still there, and still making fine fish and chips; must be 10 years or more since I last called in; it used to be a regular calling point when David played hockey in the Yorkshire league. Got home just before midnight.

Brian Eno Movements Edinburgh International Festival 23 Aug 2013

Brian Eno Movements Edinburgh International Festival 23 Aug
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Friday, 2.30pm
enotix As part of the Edinburgh International Festival Movements is a series of talks and events, presented in association with National Museums Scotland, exploring how artists have kept pace with technology over the centuries and how technology in turn influences artists. “An afternoon in conversation with influential, ex-Roxy Music synth player Brian Eno, as he shares his thoughts on the future of music and music production.Music since recording is a new art form, which bears only as much resemblance to traditional, performed music as cinema does to theatre. What are the special characteristics of this new art? How did it evolve? Where might it be going? Brian Eno shares his thoughts.”
Laura and I had a pleasant train journey up to Edinburgh, arriving at Waverley station shortly after noon. The weather was fine for this, our third visit to Scotland in last couple of weeks, and our second to the Edinburgh festival. We were both looking forward to hearing Brian Eno speak. He is a hugely influential figure in popular music, and we figured that it would be interesting to hear his views. I haven’t seen him in any live context since the 70s and his days with Roxy Music, and a performance with Phil Manzanera and the 801 band at the Reading festival.
The venue for Eno’s lecture was the National Museum of Scotland, which is a grand building just off the Royal Mile and a short walk from the station. We had a sandwich lunch at a cafe on Bristol Square before taking our seats in the lecture theatre. The chance of hearing Brian Eno speak does not come vey often, and the event had been sold out or some weeks. At 2.30pm prompt Eno entered the hall to a round of applause. He stood at a desk strewn with visuals, which he displayed on an overhead projector.
He explained that his talk was to centre around the two concepts of “the composer” and “the audience”, how these have developed over time and continue to develop, and how music sits between the two and “sometimes brings them together”. eif He then took us the through the history of the composer, starting back when music was there simply to enable dance, or as a way of creating noise which would frighten away big cats who had come to prey on ancient man. This progressed to a discussion of early recording media, and how the advent of multitrack enabled music to become an entity in its own right, a piece of aural painting or sculpture, separate from the performance, and existing not in a score, but in the record itself. He used the recording techniques of Les Paul and Mary Ford, Phil Sector and George Martin as illustrations of this, showing visuals to support his point.
Eno then turned to the subject of the audience, making a distinction between the formal, regimented, and structured way in which an audience of a classical recital behaves, and that of a rock concert, where the audience and the performer come together, sometimes literally, showing a picture of Iggy Pop standing on top of his crowd. He explained how he wanted to use technology to create aural soundscapes, as he has done in his pioneering work on ambient music.
The lecture finished with a short discussion of where music lies now, being created and layered from the recordings of our past, drawing an analogy with the techniques of the animator in film. Time was short, and the lecture was strictly constrained to one hour, which soon passed, with our speaker finishing with a couple of questions from the audience, and a few visuals left unused. One guy asked “what do you think of jazz?” and Brian answered that Frank Zappa said that “jazz was the definition of how to be unemployed”.
It was a very interesting and engaging lecture, which passed all too quickly. it was fascinating to hear Eno’s thoughts on music. Well done to the Edinburgh International Festival for including this in their programme.
Laura and I caught the 4.30pm train back to Newcastle; we were home around 7pm.

Kid Creole and the Coconuts Newcastle City Hall 1983 and 1985

Kid Creole and the Coconuts Newcastle City Hall 1983 and 1985
kidcroeleprog I saw Kid Creole and the Coconuts twice more, on their 1983 and 1985 UK tours. Looking back on this guy and his crazy band, makes me wonder why they weren’t a bigger success. You can see lots of influences in Kid Creole’s show, and it turn, he must have influenced lots of people. There are shades of James Brown, Sly Stone, Prince, and crooners like Frank Sinatra.
From the Kid’s official site: “Kid Creole and the Coconuts were born out of the burning embers of the brilliant and legendary Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band. August Darnell (Kid Creole) claims to have had a vision of the band in a nightmare while walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City. Born in the Bronx, Darnell is a man of multiple cultures, legends and personalities.” kidtix83 “For over 27 years Kid Creole and the Coconuts have been entertaining sellout crowds around the world. Inspired by Cab Calloway and the Hollywood films of the 30’s and 40’s, the Kid fills out his colorful zoot suits with style and grace, dancing onstage with his inimitable, relentless and self-proclaimed cool. The Kid is suave, smooth, self-centered and secure. A legend in his own mind. His talent for self-adoration, though, is equally matched by his brilliance as a songwriter, social commentator, and lyricist.” And the guy was an early example of world music, with a multi-racial band, and a fusion of jazz, big band, and south american rhythms. kidtix85 Setlist from a show of the period (probably from 1983): Turkey Trot; Going Places; I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby; Mr. Softee; Loving You Made A Fool Out Of Me; Say Hey! Ain’t You Heard The News; Don’t Take My Coconuts; Annie I’m Not Your Daddy; No Fish Today; Que Pasa; Table Manners; Dear Addy; Stool Pigeon; Gina Gina; Imitation; Maladie D’amour. kidprog85 The song I remember most from the 1985 show is Endicott, which was a minor hit in the UK. Like most of the Kid’s songs, this told a story. Endicott was the perfect husband: “Endicott’s up by 5 o’clock, Endicott’s givin’ it all he got, Endicott’s job is six to nine but, Endicott’s home by nine o five, Endicott helps to cook the steak, Endicott helps to wash the plates, Endicott puts the kids to bed, Endicott reads a book to them. And the Kid’s girl would ask “Why cant you be like Endicott?” The Kid’s answer was: “Cause I’m free, Free of any made-to-order liabilities, Thank God I’m free, Cos it’s hard enough for me, to take care of me, oh-oh”. All of this would be played out as part of the show, with one of the Coconuts taking the part of the Kid’s girl. Great, fun stuff.