Tuesday, 28 August 2007

I don't want to be a silver fox..

The above picture may be dodgy. You may not be able to see what that is on the black background, so I'll spell it out for you.

That is a grey hair. A grey hair. I am 23. This is not acceptable.

I'm off to bed to dream of covert trips to boots to buy 'Just For Men'.

It wasn't meant to be like this...

Monday, 20 August 2007

Martha Wainwright, Island Arts Centre, Tues 14th August.

Last week I went to see Canadian-American chanteuse Martha Wainwright at Island Arts Centre. She is currently touring in lieu of her new album which is to be released in the new year. The evening was opened by The Winding Stair, an unconventional quartet who meld Celtic and conventional styles with beautiful harmonies and some really original ideas. Their new album Finistere is just out, and definitely worth a look.

Although other nights of the tour have featured a full band, tonight's show was a solo acoustic show. Martha appeared on stage looking beautiful and started on the front foot, opening strongly with some banter with the crowd. However as the night wore on, she did start to cut a lonely figure on stage, fluffing some of the lyrics from her debut, and at times crossing the line from charismatic performer into aimless rambling between songs.

The show itself was stunted by too many new songs within the set. Its obvious that she is itching to play the new material she has been working so hard on, but it didn't really appease the waiting crowd.

I like Martha Wainwright. The above paragraphs might sounds negative, so I just want to clear that up. It's just that I think that she could be so much more. Her voice is a unique gift, and when she sings a whole room listens and is abandoned to her image.

I can't help but feel that she is struggling beneath the weight of expectation from her family, inside of the shadow of her brother who has been more successful at carving out his niche in the industry. She even commented as much on making a mistake, saying something along the lines as "No wonder I'm the least successful one!". It was only fitting that on making a mistake during crowd favourite 'Ball and Chain' she restarted the songs at the bridge crying out "Why does this always happen?!' as if it were a in-joke of previous tantrums.

Her debut was good, exceptional in places, and has laid a basis for her to rise up the ranks. There is no reason why she couldn't become as iconic a figure as someone like Emmylou Harris - a singer respected and admired by all within music. (Especially as her contemporaties number Natasha Beddingfield and Lily Allen...) She could be a voice of a generation, if only she figured out what it was that she wanted to say..

3 stars ***.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Nottingham (Not seeing Bright Eyes), 17th & 18th August

Nottingham is good. Their tour book says that it is 'a compact city', which was well suited our flying visit, and although I didn't make it to Sherwood Forest, I did manage to see the sights of the town centre's shopping district. And I have to say that I liked it.

Anyone who knows me well will know that I have a CD obcession. Some might even say I'm a CD pervert. Maybe it's unhealthy, but when I go to town to buy something new, its not just about the buying.. It's the experience. It's the interesting people that you meet. The other things that you see and hear whilst browsing. The new finds and great offers that you come upon whilst fingering through the racks.

In Nottingham, I stumbled upon this great independant record store called Selectadisc which stocked everything that is great and good about music. Indie, Electronica, Classical, Motown, Jazz.. whatever any trained ear could want is all available here, at reasonable prices.

It's not just their stock though, its the ethos behind the store. They obviously love CD's. All of the dual cases are held in a polythene sheath so as not to get scratched, broken of sticky whilst in the racks. The place kind of reminded me of Rob's store in 'High Fidelity', but without the snooty staff and 'unique' employees.

The city also had some fantastic clothes shops- 'Wilder' inparticular had some great indie clothes, along with a fantastic range of Vintage items. (Some of which smelled, but which mostly were class.)

In short, a good time was had by all (despite the lack of gig). The true spirit of Robin Hood has been adjusted slightly by Nottingham airport to allow them to mearly rob the rich, in exchange for... well toasties. And bad service.

I would just like to digitally shake my fist at said banditsm and yell 'Shenanigans!'

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Deep Breath & Count To Ten..

This weekend I had plans. Bright Eyes in Nottingham. There were no Ireland dates, so whilst feeling adventurous I decided a trip that a trip to Nottingham wasn't such a bad idea at all. I might even be able to squeeze in a visit to Sherwood Forest if I'm lucky!

I went through the to do list in my head methodically until everything was sorted..

Book Friday Off Work Check
Book Gig Tickets Check
Book Flights Check
Book Somewhere to Stay Check

This morning I received a text from Ticketmaster telling me the gig was cancelled. There are a couple of things wrong with this picture. Here they are..

1. 'By Text Message'???! Who does that? What professional company used this impersonal, vowelless medium to tell anyone anything.. If its not good enough to dump someone with, then its not good enough to tell me about a pain-in-the-ass cancellation with either.
We live in the 21st century, but that is ridiculous..

2. The reason given was '..due to illness'. A sceptic mite suggest that this isn't illness at all. Its to do with another oversexed, drug addled rock star being too messed up to function as a person, let alone a musician, forcing cancellation of shows, annoyance to promoters, and inconvenience to everyone else. So it's a good things that I'm not a sceptic then..

My flights were expensive. I don't get many days off work. I am angry.

I'm off to scream into a pillow, and see about a visit to Sherwood Forest...

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Advertising Jesus...

I was at the Oval the other night watching half of Man Utd. beat Glentoran 3-0. I was surpised to see this billboard in their stadium - No other words other than ' J E S U S ' in block capital letters.
Disco Stu don't advertise, but its good to see that Christians around there do!

You Lazy Dog..

I snapped this in the Ravenhill Road in Belfast recently - you do have to had it to this dog.. he travels in style..

Monday, 6 August 2007

Apple encourages piracy..

I just bought a new iPod. I didn't really need one, but I have a new job, and my old one is quite annoying displaying only a smug iPod with a sick face which tells me its broken.

I had to laugh though when I opened the packaging to find an amusing 'mixed message'. On the plastic cover of the iPod they have printed the words 'Dont steal music'.

Fair enough. An important point in this day and age, but on the cover of the box is Captain Jack Sparrow..

Encouraging piracy eh?