Monthly Archives: August 2015

Party at the Palace – Linlithgow

McEwan’s Party at the Palace, Linlithgow 8th/9th August,2015.

Sitting just west of Edinburgh, twenty minutes by train is the very charming Scottish village Linlithgow. I’d been to the village before and once to the romantic and idyllic Linlithgow Palace to attend a wedding. Being the birth place of ‘Mary Queen Of Scots’ its fair to say this place is steeped in history and one of Scotland’s most beautiful  and sought after venues. On this occasion it was hosting the second annual McEwans’ Party At The Palace. We weren’t there to admire the wonderful panoramic views although impossible they were to ignore on a shocking and surprisingly sunny weekend. This two day musical feast had course after course of fantastic local, national and international musical acts.

Soon after we arrived Horse took to the stage and sang her heart out, I’ve wanted to see her live since watching Will Young & Horse on The Quay Sessions with Edith Bowman. This was an excellent performance, superb vocals with some proper Fife banter between songs.

Horse - Photo by Cat

Horse – Photo by Cat

Horse - Photo by Cat

Horse – Photo by Cat

Horse - Photo by Cat

Horse – Photo by Cat

Justin Currie still sounds great, I’ve a couple Del Amitri CD’s and was pretty chuffed to hear the man himself sing live.  Cat was amazed I knew the words and I was disappointed she didn’t, Justin and I were both rocking Double Denim and nailing it.

Justin Currie - Photo by Cat

Justin Currie – Photo by Cat

Justin Currie - Photo by Cat

Justin Currie – Photo by Cat

When The Feeling took to the stage the Party went to another level, playing all their big numbers and pleasing a bouncing crowd. Dan Gillespie Sells crowd surf through frenzied revellers was magic. The Feeling are very much at the top of their game and personally speaking their performance stole the show.

The Feeling - Photo by Cat

The Feeling – Photo by Cat

The Feeling - Photo by Cat

The Feeling – Photo by Cat

The Feeling - Photo by Cat

The Feeling – Photo by Cat

The Feeling - Photo by Cat

The Feeling – Photo by Cat

The Feeling - Photo by Cat

The Feeling – Photo by Cat

The Feeling - Photo by Cat

The Feeling – Photo by Cat

On their only UK tour date, Travis took to the stage and we were treated to hit after hit of their legendary songbook. This was another incredible performance and indeed an honour to see a band I’ve loved for many years but had never seen live. You could feel the Scottish pride throughout the crowd, this was very a special occasion and a fantastic end to day one.

Travis - Photo by Cat

Travis – Photo by Cat

Travis - Photo by Cat

Travis – Photo by Cat

Travis - Photo by Cat

Travis – Photo by Cat

Travis - Photo by Cat

Travis – Photo by Cat

Our very own ‘Disco Prince’ Stephen was unable to resist the temptation any longer and decided to join us for Day Two at The Palace, I knew this would happen.

Soon after we arrived The Red Hot Chilli Pipers filled the stage with a fantastic wall of charismatic, immaculately presented kilted musicians. The crowd were loving it and “Bagpipe Rock” most likely was heard for miles, these guys know how to put on a show.

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Red Hot Chilli Pipers - Photo by Cat

Red Hot Chilli Pipers – Photo by Cat

Red Hot Chilli Pipers - Photo by Cat

Red Hot Chilli Pipers – Photo by Cat

Red Hot Chilli Pipers - Photo by Cat

Red Hot Chilli Pipers – Photo by Cat

Scouting For Girls fans were well represented in the crowd, they played a great set as we moved further into evening time. Roy Stride has an incredible talent which although I don’t always connect to the lyrics, his skill and voice are very impressive.

Scouting For Girls - Photo by Cat

Scouting For Girls – Photo by Cat

Scouting For Girls - Photo by Cat

Scouting For Girls – Photo by Cat

Scouting For Girls - Photo by Cat

Scouting For Girls – Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

Photo by Cat

By now everyone was in full party mode with massive excitement, anticipation and indeed acute Disco Fever building through the crowd of hungry music lovers present. I looked to the side and there was local woman Susan Boyle having a carryon and enjoying a night out and chatting to the various performers.

Evening fell into night and the DISCO was turned on and set alight with Nile Rodgers and Chic warming up the audience as night temperature fell . This wasn’t just the largest nor the poshest  disco in the world indeed this was the best, open air and atmospheric setting you could ever wish for. Nile Rodgers and Chic give us everything they had as these top shelf musicians, famous for their singing, dancing and some funky disco lights and general ‘boogieness’ finished off a spectacular evening and weekend that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Nile Rodgers & Chic - Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic – Photo by Cat

Party at the Palace Photo by Cat

Party at the Palace
Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers - Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers – Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic - Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic – Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic - Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic – Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic - Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic – Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic - Photo by Cat

Nile Rodgers & Chic – Photo by Cat

Party at the Palace Photo by Cat

Party at the Palace
Photo by Cat

Also performing over the weekend though before our arrival unfortunately were ‘Battle of the Bands’ Winners Apache Darling100 Fables who are just about to release their debut, Little Eye, Julie Fowlis and Jamie & Shonny who I just managed to catch the end of, these guys are incredible and have an amazing energy so I guess the lesson for next year would be to arrive early afternoon. Already plans are taking shape for next year, to keep up to date and ‘in the know’ visit: Party At The Palace.

 Joe 

February 15 – Nao

There seems to be an overload of modern/electronic soul recently, and the EP February 15 is the best of the bunch. Whilst most of this genre is preoccupied with trying to be cool, Nao is unashamedly fun.

NAO - February 15

‘Zillionaire’ was the first track I listened to; it’s quite brilliant. The first thing that grabs me is a distinctly squelchy sound (can synths fart?). My favourite element in the track is the lilting 808 backbeat, without it, the track wouldn’t have half the character. Also, her use of the word ’September’, in the first verse ‘You’re lovely like September’ and second ‘Of you you’re my September’ is very relatable because as a student, as with September comes a whole sea of emotions as school starts and you’re one year closer to independence. Describing a person as a month rather than a common adjective is much cleverer. I think the message of the track is more than just love, it’s refreshingly anti-capitalist. She describes how if she and a potential partner got together they would be richer than the richest person alive; they would have something so precious and priceless, something a zillionaire wouldn’t be able to buy.

‘Apple Cherry’ is my absolute favourite. If FKA Twigs were to cover a Prince song this is how it would sound. My sister and I have danced around, singing it out loud on repeat manys a time. There’s something about that chilled feel that I love. The chorus isn’t a huge deal, it’s laid back which makes it all the more cool. Just before the chorus hits, time seems to slow down as if it’s stuck in slow motion yet the tempo is constant- it helps retain the chilled vibe. Every song in the charts right now has the word ‘love’ in the title or chorus. It’s overused so much that it puts me off a great deal of music, however in tracks like ‘Apple Cherry’ when the artist uses imaginative alternatives for ‘love’ it instantly wins my interest.

‘Inhale Exhale’ is my second favourite simply because it makes me want to dance. It reminds me of car journeys speeding up winding Italian roads as my family and I shuffled our shoulders and heads in unison to the beat; Italian locals looked at us, and wondered what kind of lunatic tourists we were. The structures in each of her tracks are never traditional- another way in which she’s unique and creative. There is no definite chorus or specific middle eight as such, it’s more of a song made up of riffs and ideas put into a slightly unusual structure. As we both come from Hackney, I can definitely say she is the sound of Hackney right now.

‘Golden’ is my least favourite… Although the hook is melodically catchy and in my opinion great, the verse seems a little dull. The wind chimes make me cringe and I find myself skipping this one each time I listen to the EP. Wind chimes remind me of Disney films and cheesy songs- it seems so out of place! It’s great that she’s doing something very different but I find ‘Golden’ is not as good as the other tracks.

‘It’s You’ is the last track on the EP. It has a good sound, and a good song however it’s theme is too generic, too similar to typical love based electronic soul.  The only vocal section which stands out for me is the middle eight, when she questions ‘who says what is beautiful?’ leading the listener to wonder whether beauty is universal. The introduction really draws me in, it paints a picture in my head of great stalactites and stalagmites dripping slowly at first, gathering speed until great pools are formed. The fact that that simple sound has the power to create such a vivid, specific image in my mind amazes me.

I can’t wait to listen to her new music; I think Nao will definitely be a huge star of the future.

Kira

You can stream ‘February 15’ on Spotify & Soundcloud, connect to Nao on Facebook & Twitter

Camille O’Sullivan – Brel – Edinburgh Fringe – 5 BEARDS –

Camille O’Sullivan – sings Brel – Queens Hall – Edinburgh Fringe Festival 12th – 16th August 2015 – 5 BEARDS –

Camille O'Sullivan

Camille O’Sullivan

Unaccompanied and in a dark cloak attire, Camille O’Sullivan opened her Jacques Brel songbook with “Marieke” thus ensuring that crucial first song captured the attention of every single ear in the room. Now joined by her 4 piece band, the cloak came off and the party began, the next ninety minutes  celebrated a finely selected shortlist of Brel and discovered more about her own relationship with his music. Beautiful vocals, musical arrangements and her untouchable acting ability pulled us all into this powerful array of reflection and heart-break. Singing in French, German, Flemish and English, “chameleon” O’Sullivan worked her way through various wardrobe changes very subtly, sometimes simply the removal of a garment or adding a snazzy mirror fascinator and matching matinee jacket causing a wonderful carousel feel.

I have seen this woman perform now over ten times and although that likely will put me in a fan position, it also unavoidably and involuntarily makes me very picky and perhaps at times a harsh critic. Last year, celebrating her 10th year at The Fringe was going to be a hard act to follow. I felt her return to how it all began was a risky but incredibly wise move, Camille is sounding fantastic and looking incredible, physically and emotionally this is a workout that will likely need a few weeks in a darkened room after it closes for her to recover but selfishly I’d say its worth it. If it weren’t for a very occasional(reduced) “meow” from her inner kitten this amazing creature perhaps would become absolutely barking. I was yet again moved by this stunning songstress, “La chanson des vieux amants”, “Ne me quitte pas”, “Dans le Port d’Amsterdam” and “Quand on n’a que l’amour” with my fellow Derryman Fergal Murray accompanying both on piano and vocals closed the evening beautifully.

Joe

Discover lots more about Camille O’Sullivan, upcoming tour dates and theatre performances, her music to stream and purchase , videos and links to her social media visit camilleosullivan.com.

 

 

Shit Girlfriend – She Makes War – Edinburgh Fringe

“Shit Girlfriend” by She Makes War – Fingers Piano Bar (Venue186) ‘Edinburgh Fringe’ 4pm, 7th-21st August 2015 – Free Admission – 4 BEARDS –

She Makes War Photo by Cat

She Makes War
Photo by Cat

Rummaging through failed relationships, Bristol based Singer-Songwriter & Multi-Instrumentalist She Makes War orchestrated for a solid hour some wonderful nuggets from her rather eventful history of courtship. In order to fully understand the perils of dating a musician, we were treated to a ‘Bristol Stool Chart’ of bizarre situations in the form of 10(ish) loaded reasons why she considers herself a “Shit Girlfriend”. With a half song/half chat format and a trusty ukulele, loop pedal and a megaphone featuring a rather startling siren sound, this fast paced show became pretty exciting at points.

She Makes War Photo by Cat

She Makes War
Photo by Cat

Bursting the bubble of her glamorous existence, the reality of being an independent and hard working musician gets a good airing. Delivered with natural humour and the absence of “guerning”, unnecessary “man bashing” or “self-pity”, She Makes War gets her message across. Throughout the hour of having a good old pop at herself, pointing out her tiny little flaws e.g. pure and utter laziness when it comes to housework, her well argued and justified ego, obsession and obliviousness all seemed pretty reasonable along with the crushed fantasy of a bulging Spotify retirement fund. Clocking up 150 Gigs in the last 18 months alone I can imagine how it would be difficult to watch her leave. One of her ex’s from the description had displayed some separation issue behaviours even resorting to setting the house on fire at one point to stop her going. Another ex didn’t like people looking at her on stage, that would likely prove kind of tricky to avoid in this industry unless you’re Sia who can happily sing into a corner and nobody really bothers.

She Makes War  Photo by Cat

She Makes War
Photo by Cat

It was back in March of this year I first saw She Makes War live when she supported Duke Special on tour. Since then she’s been a hive of activity musically and always has something going on including her live gig from home, the cover of Alanis Morrissette’s “Wake Up” from iconic album Jagged Little Pill celebrating its 20th year and an incredible brand spanking new album Direction Of Travel. She Makes War freely lists her faults without apology as such but she certainly owns them. She’s a talented musician with an endearing personality that seems to drift in and out of naughtiness and I like it.

Joe

Discover lots more about She Makes War, tour dates and music(stream or purchase), videos, V/Blogs and social media links visit shemakeswar.com.