Monthly Archives: May 2015

David Ford – The One Man Full Band Show

David Ford “The One Man Full Band Show” 7th/May/2015 at The Caves, Edinburgh. Brought by Fake Frown Acoustic Sessions.

Performing as a solo artist for around ten years, Eastbourne’s multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter David Ford returned to one of my favourite Edinburgh venues for one night only, I didn’t make it last year when he and Jarrod Dickenson were in town, smugly I have now corrected both wrongs. We arrived to neat rows of occupied golden seats, positioned centre stage between two pretty elaborate gothic candelabras and surrounded by a feast of instruments stood proudly the man himself David Ford.

Photo by Andy

Photo by Andy

Like ourselves many of the audience had probably cast their votes for the general election on the way, naturally this fearless and pretty funny Englishman charmed his mostly Scottish audience from the get-go, unusually I wasn’t the oldest person in the room nor was Stephen the youngest either, attracting such a diverse crowd is a testament to his appeal, some had travelled across from Glasgow for this show. With banter established quickly, David interacted and worked his way through the first half, occasionally swigging his beer telling us little stories some relevant and supported swiftly by song and others purely just for a chat and carry-on.

Photo by Andy

Photo by Andy

From the simple, raw and emotional “I Don’t Care What You Call Me”, I was pulled right in. I now had fallen under the spell of this ridiculously talented musician. Remembering the riots and singing of austerity, gradually this musical illusionist introduced the pedal allowing more instruments into his songs. Building and layering as he went along, creating a full band sound seamlessly and never appearing to feel the pressure of so much going on at once. Mind-blowingly starting with acoustic guitar and using his pedal, introducing piano and now with 3 guitars on the go. Even from the back of the room I saw the veins in his neck bulge, his voice had a strong gravel like quality and a vocal velocity like that of Bruce Springsteen at times. “Don’t Tell Me” erupted with electric guitar and these caves were completely on fire. Another favourite “One Of These Days”, “Let It Burn” and “O’Sullivans Bar” wrapped up the first half perfectly.

Photo by Andy

Photo by Andy

“Panic” performed live is going to be a tricky one to attempt to even describe, its my favourite of all David’s songs and has featured on many of my playlists. Although a seated event(we were standing) Stephen, Andy and I were spoilt with a perfectly uninterupted view of the stage. Winding his wooden ‘music box’ and creating a playful if not perhaps a tad sinister melody, the pedal gets to work as the piano is included, another beat added by tapping, guitar and lyrically stacked vocal. Slapping out flat chimes, David Ford incredibly continued to find more levels to raise this epic track, again with 3 guitars on the go, drums, tambourine. At times managing lengthy monologues this outrageous vocal seemed possible without ever breathing, this I wouldn’t believe possible had I not witnessed firsthand, every hair on my body was standing on end and I was experiencing nothing short of a rush(what ever that is), resulting in me needing peeled off the wall.

Photo by Andy

Photo by Andy

Other instruments featured include a harmonica and maraccias or a shaker of some description. The crowd were proper going for it throughout the second half, he seemed to sing everyones personal favourites, covering topics including matters of the heart, the music industry and the general condition of the world. In various styles and via songs such as “Throwaway”, “Medicine Show”, “Waiting For The Storm”, “State Of The Union”, “To Hell With The World” and “Every Time” finishing with “Cheer Up, Ya Miserable Fuck” where somehow the instruments all seemed to say goodnight one by one, I know that sounds odd but you kinda had to be there. Seeing talent of this caliber perform doesn’t happen often, a man so humble yet confident in his own genius he isn’t even intimidating, he doesn’t need to be. Remaining undiluted, protecting and staying true to what he believes David Ford is a respected artist whose success isn’t measured from a ‘Smash Hits Poll’ or whatever the current equivalent may be, for him its doing exactly what he’s doing and nailing it nightly.

Joe.

Get information on Tour Dates and tickets, the latest news, music, videos, social media and store, visit the Davis Ford website.

 

Nick Cave – Live In Concert

Nick Cave

Click image for tickets.

 

Nick Cave’s ‘Live In Concert’ was one of the most highly anticipated musical events of the year for me and I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to see him at a sold out Edinburgh Playhouse on 28th of April 2015. I went to the show with extremely high expectations yet was still utterly blown away by the sheer musical genius I witnessed on stage that night.

The set list spanned most eras from his career but, perhaps unsurprisingly, the excellent last album “Push The Sky Away” featured heavily in the show. Material from other albums such as “No More Shall We Part (2001)”, “The Boatman’s Call (1997)” and “From Her To Eternity (1984)” sounded just as dramatic and exciting performed live. One of the highlights of the night for me was the stripped back version of “The Mercy Seat” from the “Tender Prey (1988)” album which was simply spine tingling in its pared back form.

Prowling the stage like Dracula’s achingly cool love child, Nick Cave hypnotised the audience from the moment he walked on the stage until the final note. While singing the songs, he transformed into this intimidating commanding character, often staring the audience down, while in-between songs appearing witty and charming. The four musicians backing him, including his long time collaborator Warren Ellis, are intuitive musicians with a clear understanding of the cinematic feel of the music. Being a musical fan, to witness such talent and craftsmanship on stage has left me almost speechless to this day and I still struggle to find the words to do Nick Cave’s talent justice.

The Nick Cave concert was a master class in story telling. During the songs, he appears to become possessed by the characters he is singing about and has the ability to pull the audience into their bleak cinematic world almost like voyeurs. Nick Cave is one of those artists who have the ability to evolve music and performance onto a higher plane. What he writes and performs is not just entertainment, it’s a form of dazzling and breath-taking art with every word and note creating these fascinating but tragic worlds that we briefly inhabit while the song lasts. In many moments throughout this concert I found myself stunned by sheer genius and hearing “Jubilee Street” in its dramatic live form will be something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

I think it’s fair to say that most people left the concert hall absolutely awestruck by an artist who has been recording since 1979 yet continues to reach a new artistic peak with each new album. Make sure you put seeing Nick Cave live to the top of your ‘bucket list’.

Malcolm.

Get tickets, all the latest news, music, videos, social media and store, visit the Nick Cave website.

Take That – Live 2015 – Glasgow

Take That 2015 Tour

The week commencing the 27th of April 2015 saw the triumphant return of “Take That” to Scotland playing 5 nights at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow. The loss of Jason Orange and Robbie Williams has not appeared to have had an adverse effect on their career with the “These Days” single and the new album “III” both reaching no.1 in the British charts and tickets to their latest arena tour snapped up like hotcakes by their adoring female fans.

The night was about pure showbiz entertainment from start to finish. The concert must have been one of the most elaborate stage shows I have ever seen. From massive video screens to flying bikes, from flame throwers to acrobats, Take That aimed to thrill and entertain the audience and they certainly did. In fact there was so much going on during the concert, I’m going to have to watch the DVD to full appreciate the staging of the event.

The remaining three members of the band appeared to be having a great time on stage and were obviously delighted at the ecstatic response from the mainly female audience. To their credit, each member of the band worked very hard to make sure everyone in the arena felt included in the show.

Drawing heavily off the new album III, I felt this was a band keen to prove that the tour was not just about nostalgia but a band keen to assert a new identity and more mature adult sound. Not that the past wasn’t celebrated from the boy band era, there was their first top ten hit “Could It Be Magic” and the classic No.1 single “Pray” plus a gloriously OTT version of “Relight My Fire” to thrill the crowd. Most of the material featured in the set came from 2006 onwards with the comeback hits “Patience”, “Shine”, “Rule The World” and “Greatest Day” receiving an equally ecstatic welcome as the early hits. The new material was surprisingly strong live too especially “Let In The Sun” and “These Days”

Take That offered their fans an evening of pure escapism and entertainment and I would challenge anybody not to leave the arena smiling and many of the men in the arena can take comfort from the fact, Gary still can’t dance (bless him).

Malcolm

Get tickets, all the latest news, music, videos, social media and store, visit the Take That Website.

Sea Legs – Ciaran Lavery and Ryan Vail

Ciaran Lavery and Ryan Vail ‘Sea Legs Album Launch’ Sat 18th April Aboard the SS Nomadic Belfast.

Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ryan Vail and Ciaran Lavery, Photo by Nurse Ratched

The venue for this launch was a location to be proud of aboard the SS Nomadic Belfast. This boat was commissioned by White Star Line to ship passengers onto the ill fated Titanic. It is the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world and has been restored to its former glory and is back home in Belfast’s historic Hamilton Dock under the shadow of the Titanic Museum. The boat is beautiful and the detail in all the decorative wood is divine. We took the opportunity and toured as much of the ship as we could even acting out the infamous ‘Im flying’ scene from the ‘movie’ even though it was the wrong boat. Below deck the chairs were laid out and subtle lighting displayed one single mic on the right and a whole array of keyboards and electrical equipment on the left.

Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ciaran Lavery, Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ciaran Lavery is a singer songwriter from the small village of Aghagallon. He began singing at fifteen and soon became the frontman for the band ‘Captain Kennedy’, playing with them for over seven years. Ciaran later went out on his own and has since created a well earned loyal following.

Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ryan Vail, Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ryan Vail is from Derry and is a talented ‘multi-tasker‘ who’s a techno geek, musician, DJ and electro artist. He puts together a drum machine with whispered vocals to soothing piano. Stemming from his love of drum and bass, hip hop, vinyl and synthesisers he puts them together and what he comes up with is mesmerising, fresh and truly beautiful sounds. Ryan has also turned his hand to producing, shared his talents with other artists and given their songs an unusual twist.

After meeting at a festival and chatting online together Ciaran and Ryan decided to write a song or two that I believe was influenced by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins. This quickly spiralled into what was to become the album ‘Sea Legs’. You normally wouldn’t put these two together but you only need to listen to this album once to realise it just makes sense.

The warm up act for the evening was the amazing Arborist otherwise known as Mark McCambridge. Up on deck I mistook him for Ciaran Lavery before the show but thankfully he was quite pleased.

Photo by Nurse Ratched

Arborist, Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ciaran and Ryan began the show with ‘Ebb’. This is both haunting and intriguing as you listen to ropes and poles clang together with the distant engine and fisherman’s talk of their time at sea. Ciaran’s guitar is then introduced in its magical simplicity accompanied by Ryan’s keyboard. Leading straight into ‘The Colour Blue’, which is a stunning song/tune that shows the mix of the two artists in their opposing genres. Or perhaps not so anymore as this album may prove.

‘The Sea at Night’. This is where Ciaran and Ryan let themselves go and embrace their musical talents. Out of their comfort zones the pair suck everyone into their worlds where they sometimes collide. I feel that this tune alone deserves full attention, set to repeat and a set of very good quality headphones.

‘The Shipping Forecast’ is of a sailor telling his story of loss and loneliness. “Its black and wet in my head. I smoke on the high deck at the place where my family set sail yesterday” This is a piece of genius that I wish there were more of but I guess that’s the intention. It pulls on your heart from everywhere. I believe the voice of the lonesome sailor may be that of James Patterson the poet.

‘Nick Caves Band’ gives you a piece of Ciaran all to yourself for a while. Then beautifully accompanied by Ryan’s piano and electric strings. Ciaran may be Northern Irelands answer to Ryan Adams. With the beat and the guitar followed by a harmonious and rhythmic repetitiveness, this number will stay with you long after its finished.Last and most certainly not least, ‘Ceol Na Mara’ features the voice of Technopeasant(Conor O’kane). A haunting poem of winds and scented salted sea air works its emotions into your soul.

This album is brilliant. You may not have thought that folk and techno were your thing well think again. This unusual combination works incredibly well together.  If you live by the sea as I do you will hear the familiar sounds of the water and its vessels. If you don’t you will certainly feel a closeness to the water and the haunting of the boats and perhaps find a new yearning for such things.

RC Sea legs Sleeve Art DIGITAL500x500

Follow the links to stream the entire “Sea Legs” album on Spotify and SoundCloud, you can purchase from iTunes and the vinyl/CD is available from Quiet Arch.

Nanno.

Duke Special – Electric Circus – Edinburgh -17/04/2015

Duke Special Photo by Cat

Duke Special
Photo by Cat

The highly accomplished performer and songwriter Duke Special (aka Peter Wilson) struck a chord when he recently visited Scotland’s capital, wooing the crowd through a spectrum of emotions as he performed his wonderful and unique style of showmanship.

Duke Special Photo by Cat

Duke Special
Photo by Cat

Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Peter Wilson is from a long line of piano players. He was in various groups before going solo in 2002, taking the stage name of Duke Special. In that time he has released nine albums, six EP’S and has been nominated for the Choice Music Prize. He has performed extensively throughout his career including on televised events such as live on Later….With Jools Holland and Live at the BBC Proms. His latest album, ‘Look Out Machines!’ was released in early April of this year and comprises of eleven well written polished compositions.

Duke Special Photo by Cat

Duke Special
Photo by Cat

Duke Special walked on stage to screams, whistles and a warm Scottish welcome. With great energy and enthusiasm he took to the keys and started with a bang . After his first number he stopped for a quick chat, offered his thanks to his supporting act ’She Makes War (who was incredible), and removed any barriers with the adoring audience by even inviting us on stage if we wished. We satisfied ourselves by moving even closer, snuggled around the stage with him and his piano and absorbed his facial expressions, eye-liner and waist length dreads. He talked and sang his way through a hefty set list, almost 20 songs in total. There was some new and old favourites, a couple of covers each with a back story, some whimsical and light while others had a more personal content.

Duke Special Photo by Cat

Duke Special
Photo by Cat

Nail On The Head’ cleverly describes that essential necessity in life of having family and friends around you keeping it real, who sometimes have to give those hard home truths. ‘In A Dive’ is a song about kindness and a huge hit with the crowd who were not shy in showing their appreciation of Duke. As the show progressed, so did the electrifying atmosphere, ‘Step To The Magical’ one of my favorites from his latest collection sounded superb live. ‘Son Of The Left Hand’ has a Gothic/church style to it with tension building throughout, the hard rhythm of bashing drums contributing to its climax. Each song was able to capture and move the audience whether it was light and comical or dark and difficult subject matter. His stage presence is powerful, with a unique and individualistic approach, captivating and endearing to one and all. He finished the show with ’No Cover Up’, a perfect choice on which to end this ‘Avant Garde‘ performance.

Duke Special Photo by Cat

Duke Special
Photo by Cat

One of the highlights for me was ‘Domino’, a beautiful and emotive song I first discovered on the Eastside Arts,Eastside Sessions’ DVD of various Northern Irish talent.  On the DVD Duke Special plays in the historical and atmospheric offices of Harland and Wolf. This song gives me goosebumps and gets me every time.

Duke Special Photo by Cat

Duke Special
Photo by Cat

Of his cover songs, ‘The Alabama Song‘ really shone out for me, making this well known track his very own. Afterwards he happily stopped and chatted to us and signed his new album. I shared my appreciation of ‘The Alabama song’ with him, which he then in turn told me of its history, not from The Doors as I had thought. It is true, you learn something new every day. The whole evening from start to finish was an absolute showstopper. He pulled off a fantastic performance and as I left the venue, I found myself humming ‘Andrew in drag’ all the way home.

Duke Special Photo by Cat

Duke Special
Photo by Cat

To visit the Duke Special website, music store/stream, videos, upcoming gigs, news and links to his social media, click the image below.

Stephen

lookoutMachines