Saturday, 25 September 2010

Seu Jorge: the greatest encore I ever saw

LOTS is spoken about the best gig and the best solo and whatever, nothing much is ever talked about the best encore you ever saw at a gig.
YET'S TWIST AGAIN... Super Furry Animals
I've seen my fair share of no shows, perfunctory 'Hey let's play the new single again' and 'Here's our favourite cover', but nothing touches two I saw in Liverpool's best music venues.
The second best was the Super Furry Animals (right) coming back on to the stage at the Royal Court, dressed as Yetis and playing a white noise guitar version of That Man Don't Give a Fuck which was introduced with a 10 minute techno mix with a sample of Bill Hicks intoning 'All Governments are murderers and liars'. (Great alternative review here at Time magazine.)
However, the best was Brazilian legend Seu Jorge (Last FM link) at the Liverpool Philharmonic a few years ago.After doing a mesmerising two hour mega show full of solo acoustic hits and full band material, he took the band on a tour of the stalls and upstairs to the balcony of the great old hall one and all beating out a samba rhythm. I was 'that' close to the man, I touched his dreds, blud.
All gigs should close with a parade - or may be that's the Northern Ireland in me coming out.
Here's some more youtube footage of a magnificent evening I enjoyed with our much missed mate Dave McManaman RIP - if you stare closely you'll see me and Macca dancing up on the balcony.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Spotify Playlist for the North West Massive Mingle (which I missed)

I have put together this playlist for the meeting of the North West branch of The Word magazine bloggers. It's a shame I had to miss it due to work commitments, they are among the best nights of the year.
So this playlist features a lot of French hip-hop I eulogised here, one song from Washingtonian Ankh Amen Ra,  the brilliant Rachid Taha makes an appearance and there are some songs I have loved for many years by Irish singer songwriters Nick Kelly, Damien Dempsey, Paul Brady and Christy Moore.
In the cruelly overlooked/ nearly were section, there are two songs by Beulah, one each from Liverpool indiers Smaller, Replacments front man Paul Westerberg and San Francisco indiers American Music Club. Belfast guitar soundscape kids And So I Watch You from Afar get stuck in while Texan country legend Guy Clark performs a song which has haunted me for years.
Spotify users click on the link below, everyone else, the full playlist is below the fold.
Massive North West Mingle

Monday, 20 September 2010

Sweet Seoul Music: #2

Dave Candler has posted his second Korean Homesick Blues podcast. I've not listened yet, but I recognise a name or two that I like and know that Dave knows the score, so go 'ead and listen, la.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Two interviews with Lloyd Cole: Part 2

You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who (edit) do you think you're talkin' to?
THIS is my interview with Lloyd Cole during my time as the music corresponent of the Liverpool Daily Post, actually, I think it was still the plain old Daily Post. I had offered to caddie for Lloyd around West Lancs Golf Club where my brother was a member at the time and Crosby, the town mentioned in the piece, is where I live and Lloyd's oul fella was brought up.

IT'S A reflective Lloyd Cole who talks to the Daily Post. Maybe it's the bad flu he suffered with while moving house back home in Massachusetts before he flew into Britain. Maybe the fact he's had to leave his beloved golf clubs at home for this two-week tour of Britain grates too.
(He's had to reluctantly decline an offer from the Daily Post to play West Lancashire golf club in Blundellsands due to the aftereffects of the illness. His Crosby-raised father, a former pupil of Merchant Taylors' school in the town, regularly played the famous links course in his formative years on the way to becoming a club professional.)
Either way, it isn't the same cocksure, archly ironic hipster who fronted Scots pop outfit The Commotions to no little chart success in the 1980s and then embarked on an acclaimed solo career more than a decade ago.

Two interviews with Lloyd Cole: Part 1

Lloyd appears sceptical at the choice of Leon Osman on Everton's right 
Picture: Boston Globe

I did two interviews with Lloyd Cole while working for the Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post.
In hindsight, they aren't very good, Lloyd's answers were great, they're just not terribly well written. They are what they are. I'm not looking writing plaudits, 'Good job too,' says y'all.
Here's the first:
FROM his Stuttgart hotel room, one of the coolest songwriters of the last 30 years is talking about his admiration for Gerry Marsden.
Lordy, Lloyd Cole , the king of intelligent 1980s pop praising the bard of Mersey River crossings?
"I have more respect for Gerry and the Pacemakers, still playing the oldies rather than writing mediocre new songs, " he says earnestly.
Some might think that the erstwhile Commotions front man, known for his candour and wit, has gone soft prior to his first Liverpool show in donkeys' years.
But no, the Derbyshire-born, 'naturalised' Scot now living in Massachusetts still airs his opinions very freely, taking in everything from The Waterboys to The Clash, and US indie band The Strokes.
For many, Cole, now 42, signifies an all-too-brief moment in the 1980s when pop music was smart, when Manchester's The Smiths, Australia's The Go-Betweens and Glasgow's Aztec Camera along with Cole And The Commotions looked set to dominate the charts.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Michaél Ó Muircheartaigh: A tribute in text and sound

IN THIS era of wall-to-wall sport coverage, where every hack commentator turns to the US or wherever for a gimmick to set them apart in a crowded market, one man (and one voice) has set himself apart - Michaél Ó Muircheartaigh.
A Kerry man who has been one of the key voices of Irish GAA sports on RTE radio since 1949, he has, mercifully, never been one to let his own opinions intrude in the key job of a radio commentator - vividly describing a match for those who can't get to see it.
While British soccer commentators are seemingly in thrall to imparting their own op-ed opinions on what is going on - step forward Alan Green, no cares what you think, you boor - Ó Muircheartaigh, 80, has established himself as a real time storyteller and, if I may be excused a cliché, a painter with words.
Some of his classic quotes are here.
His rapid fire, high octane delivery and encyclopaedic knowledge of the games perfectly captures the spirit and energy of gaelic football and hurling. His frequent interruptions in Irish into English commentary, his shout outs to ex-pat Gaels listening in across the world and brilliant turns of phrase have marked him out as being, literally, one of a kind. Listen to this clip to see what I mean if you have never heard the man before.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Lloyd Cole Interviews: Part 2

Maconie and Radcliffe react to Cole's 'You think I asked for a 12" pianist?' joke punchline

EDIT NOTE: Made a gooly on album title and name of a track played here. Lloyd's album is called Broken Record and the title track of the album is 'Like a Broken Record'. Sorry, haven't bought mine yet. You can buy yours from Lloyd's own shop here.

THIS is the second part of Lloyd's one day blitz of two BBC radio stations earlier this week.
And here is a great piece of funny, interesting radio thanks in no small part to the hosts, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie, having a genuine affinity with Lloyd and letting him talk.
There are live acoustic versions of Writers Retreat! The (see got the title and punctuation correct this time, although I still have reservations about the lack of an apostrophe), 'Flipside' 'The Flipside' (from Broken Record) and a brilliant version of 'Perfect Skin'.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Get on board the Seoul Train: a guide to the music of an expat in Korea

DAVE Candler (right), a great Merseyside/ Cheshire journalist has gone on a remarkable journey in the last 10 years. The journey has seen him swap the strip lighting of the night shifts of Liverpool ECHO and Daily Post for first, Manhattan and the New York Daily News, and then the bright lights of South Korea.
Along the way he has met Paul Simon and Lou Reed, taken people to Johnny Thunders' grave and guided a local journalist around New York during the days after September 11, 2001. And then he and his wife upped sticks and headed for Wonju in South Korea.
He's a difficult man to keep track of, jaysus, Lord alone knows where he is right now, but at least he is making podcasts of the things he holds most dear. It appears he is back in the Far East and turning an ear to some of the music of his adopted homeland.
See, at heart he is still a punk rocker and in this, the first of hopefully a series of shows, he guides us through some of the music he is listening to now. It's a selection of flinty guitar pop with the kind of lo-fi atmosphere sadly lacking on BBC's 6Music and which would fit Late Junction on BBC Radio 3 perfectly.
Better than tha, the so and so has the greatest voice for radio ever. Mr Thompson, I think you have found the new Peel, but, he'll have to work out of the Seoul bureau.
A track listing, biogs and links have been requested from Dave.
I really think this is what the internet may have been invented for.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Huzzah: Lloyd Cole on network radio

Lloyd Cole was on the BBC Radio 5Live mid-morning show's music review section today and the peerless Radcliffe and Maconie on BBC Radio 2 this evening.
He was promoting his new record, Broken Record, which was financed by fans through his brilliant website. 'Writer's Retreat' is the first single from it - it's not really a single - but it's the one he has chosen to film a promo for.
For my money it is the closest album he has recorded to 1995's Love Story, my favourite of his. (See GMs passim) Crucially his voice gets better as the years go on and he gets even more wry, which is, in the parlance of modern girls the world over, 'a good thing'.
I've filleted the section from Radio 5 below, the longer Radcliffe and Maconie session will follow when I have time to edit it.