karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
Bitter Ruin are trying to get their new single "Trust" into the charts and you, my friends, can help by buying it on amazon or itunes (there's a video, too).
I'm not just asking because I'm friends with the band but also because they really deserve it and it would be cool to get some fantastic music into the charts.
They are yet unsigned so this could be a big opportunity for them.
Thanks a lot.


Have a look at my Bitter Ruin tag for more about them.
karohemd: (Photo)
Strawberry Fair is an annual (except for last year) free festival on Midsummer Common in Cambridge. Last year, the police objected to the event because policing it had been difficult (disorderly conduct, drugs etc.) and the council didn't grant the license. This year, the setup was changed, Midsummer Common was fenced in and the number of entry points severely restricted so you couldn't simply walk onto the Common. Spot checks were made at the entrances for drugs and excessive alcohol (restricted to four cans). I wasn't stopped on the way in, possibly because it was still early and I didn't look like I would cause troubles with my two fancy cameras strapped to myself.

This year I was early enough to catch the parade coming in which had a steel/drumming band, stiltwalkers and other costumed participants.

The main difference to the setup of the fair was the lack of a big main music stage on the east end and other stages (like the Reggae Tent) were missing as well. I found the music generally lacking in quality or maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Instead, there was a large cordoned off area called the "Village Green" in the centre with organised events like The Knights of Honour reenactment group's fighting displays.
The Cambridge Community Circus was present as well and made for some of the best photos I managed to get (see below).
As the stalls went it was either food (more expensive again, 6.50 for a portion of curry goat and rice with more bone than meat) or rather commercial ones selling clothing, accessories and tat. Most of the little stalls/traders were missing.
The weather was good, there was always a nice breeze so even when it was quite hot (hottest around 5pm!) it was bearable.

Overall, it was a good day out (I had to leave around 6 because my back was complaining too much) but it felt a bit subdued compared to previous years. The official numbers said there were a lot fewer arrests (13 compared to 73 in '09) but I think I saw just as many drunken yobs as in previous years.

Here's the Cambridge News article on the Fair. I randomly walk through the frame in the first video at 1:28 (but sadly with the head cut off). BBC Cambs' selection of my photos is here.

karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
I first heard of Son of Dave on Later... with Jools Holland (like so many other recent musical discoveries) where he was the weird new act. His combination of blues harp, beatboxing, percussion and singing using a digital loop and other effects which produced an incredible groove immediately pushed my musical buttons.
When I recently saw that he was playing at The Junction 2, I obviously had to go and see him. The ticket was only a tenner, too.
I got there at doors open at 7, picked up my ticket and waited for the venue to open. First, there was only one other guy. Various hipsters came in, looking lost and were told to go to the other Junction for Yann Tiersen. It was funny that you could exactly tell who people had come to see.
They finally let us in 10 to 8 and I got a seat in the front row, dead center. :) The venue actually filled up quite a bit but wasn't sold out so maybe about 100 people, maybe a few more.

Support was Gil Karpas who was OK (vocals and guitar). Nothing special but not exactly bad, either.

After a short break, Son of Dave came on stage, wearing a thin red, patterned coat (see website) and a black and white striped shirt/trouser outfit, a bit like a classic comic prison's outfit but with a red heart stitched onto the breast pocket; two pairs of shades and a huge hat.
In front of his chair were two microphone stands (one for a vocal mic, one for percussion), there was a table with a selection of harmonicas and percussion instruments, a handheld mic for harp and beatboxing, one mic on the floor for recording the stomping and an effects/sampling/looping controller.

He would start a song by creating a beat and background (either vocally or with the harp), recording and looping it and then singing and playing harp and percussion (various shakers or tambourines) over it, sometimes recording and looping parts of that as well or replacing the previous loop, creating several layers of sound in the process. His main influences are Blues but also other areas of music. It's really difficult to describe. Have a listen on myspace or find some videos on YouTube.
ETA: Oh, Alabama 3 would fit into this category as well with the difference that they're a full band.

One side I hadn't known from his albums is that he's a really funny guy, either in his interaction with the audience or telling little stories (like the one about his great-great-grandfather who invented the encore).
After a few songs, he randomly picked a couple from the audience, took them backstage and came back with a set of seats and a table for them, told them to sit down and then took a pack of Kettlechips, a bottle of wine, two glasses and some fruit out of his suitcase for them. He even turned one of his monitors so they could hear better. In return they had to join in during a few songs playing percussion (wine bottle and tambourine). It was hilarious and the two while clearly a bit overwhelmed (especially the girl) also had the time of their lives.

The gig was a lot of fun and the music very infective, I certainly couldn't sit and was constantly moving, stomping, clapping or clicking my fingers. Shame it was a seated gig, really.
During the grand finale he handed me a huge, inflatable banana which I had to blow up and which was then thrown around the audience. Very random.

I'm still buzzing, not from the volume because that was nicely understated but from the sheer energy of this one man on the stage creating such fantastic music. Another great gig this year.

No photos because I stupidly left my G10 at home when I rushed out of the house this morning. It would have been tricky, anyway. There was generally enough light but his face would have been mostly in shadow. Also, I was just having too much fun and grooving too much for taking photos.

Next gig: Bellowhead on the 25th.
karohemd: (Photo)
Still more on flickr

karohemd: (Photo)
Club Sacrilege ran a Halloween Special last night and the Undead and other critters turned out in droves.
A fine need indeed with cool music, cool people and lots and lots of fun.
Here's a first selection of photos, more to come, i.e. I'm going to expand the set on flickr as I process more images.

  
 

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karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
was fantastic. After years of applying, I finally "won" a ticket for this week's show.

I managed to get out of work early, caught the 4:45 to KingsX, the tube to Wood Lane and when I came out of the station I already saw where I was supposed to be going: where the queue was on the opposite side of the road.

Turned out there were two queues, one for Later... and one for Buzzcocks. Having found the right one, the first bit of waiting started. At about 7:10, things started moving, we got given wristbands and had to put our stuff through an X-ray machine like at the airport before we were allowed into the "audience foyer", basically a big cafeteria type space with cloakroom and a food/drinks counter. Oh, and a gold Dalek. ;o) After more waiting, we filed through the back door towards the studio complex, and after more waiting outside the studio we were finally let into Studio 1 being sent between set dressing and wall to our corner.
The studio's quite big, a rectangular space, with a stage on each side, with the audience in the corners, smallish speakers (like monitors) hang from the ceiling pointing into the corners. I was in the corner between Steve Miller and Janelle Monáe.

There was a funny grey-haired and -bearded bloke explaining what was going to happen (they do the recorded show first and then do the live bit that goes out on Tuesday evenings) and what to watch out for ("mind those cables, they can trip you up and kill you"), when to applaud (and when not to), that sort of thing.

They started a bit earlier than advertised as they recorded the alternative (NSFW) version of Cee-Lo Green's F U for the website first. He's a funny man, a really cool guy in an awesome pink suit and has an all female band.
Then the recording for the Friday show started(, with a recording of the audience applauding, just in case we all died before the show ended). They repeated the jam in the beginning (Duane Eddy's Peter Gunn) because it didn't quite work but the second take did and there was a bit of a pause in between when it turned out that Janelle Monáe had lost her voice and couldn't do her second planned track and schedules had to be moved around a bit. CW Stoneking filled the spot and did a second track instead. Otherwise, everything worked and it's really all recorded live and in one go. The sound quality was good and what really surprised me was the lights. They are a lot less strong than I expected, modern TV cameras must have a good sensitivity/noise ratio. Speaking of cameras, there are a lot for a reasonably small space: two large ones, one boom camera and two handhelds roving around.

The music:
- Janelle Monáe: A lot of fun, didn't sound like the stuff on her myspace at all. Rather classic, with elements of Soul, Rythm'n'Blues, Jazz and Swing. Her band is a lot of fun, too, and always danced and clapped along when the other bands were playing.
- Cee-Lo Green, the big man in the even bigger pink suit: Again, classic Soul, great voice, huge smile, cheeky bugger, fun! Was mostly goofing around when other bands were on.
- Steve MillibandMiller Band: Don't really need an introduction. He first played two tracks from his new album, Bingo, classic Blues Rock, really well done and Abakadabra to finish as well as The Joker at the end of the live bit.
- CW Stoneking: Fantastic, old-time music, somewhere between old Jazz, Cabaret/Vaudeville and mountain music, with a bit of Tom Waits thrown in. Dobro/Banjo, upright bass, trumpet, trombone and bass drum. Quite melancholic but fun.
- Jim Jones Revue: were a bit crap, to be honest. Screechy Rockabilly made by twats. Sounded OK but I wasn't too fond of the band's personality (is spitting on stage cool again?).
- Cheikh Lo: low key, guitar, bass and sax, with lots of African influences (duh). Very enjoyable, shame he only got one track.

So yeah, good fun and an excellent glimpse behind the scenes of one of my favourite TV programmes, all for the price of a travelcard.

The live bit from last night is on iplayer and if you know where and when to look and the shape of my head, you can see me in the background in two shots but you'll have to pause or it's gone too quickly. ;o)
karohemd: (Photo)
Buddy Guy was amazing.
He's 73 but you don't really notice it. He's still got the blues, his guitar playing is wonderful, his rapport with the audience is inspiring (he even went on a little tour through the main auditorium, making his way through the standing audience) and he clearly has a lot of fun doing it.
The light was brilliant and I managed to take some awesome pics with my G10. The shots could be a little sharper as focusing with a compact isn't great but the light was good and I could keep the ISO down to 400 which is important with the G10. The improved noise reduction in Lightroom 3 helped as well.

The main album is here on flickr which also contains a few more shots of Bjørn Berge, the support act.

  
 

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karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
Zoë Keating is another artist I came across via Amanda Palmer when she both supported and joined her on stage in a few shows.
She's a classically trained cellist but her music is completely her own. Despite her tracks having several "voices", she plays all of them herself. She even does this live by recording and looping layers as she goes along, it's absolutely fantastic instrumental and wonderfully varied in style. It's mostly quiet and thoughtful so makes wonderful background music for reading or working.
If I had to name a similar artist, it would probably be Ed-Alleyne Johnson (who did the Purple Electric Violin Concerto) but (perhaps oddly) not Apocalyptica as she doesn't emulate metal.

Her new album, Into the Trees, is out now and you can buy it both as physical CD or electronically via Bandcamp (where you can also stream the album). Give it a listen!

It's an amazing effort for a self-produced and self-published album (she remains unsigned and happily so) and Keating is a perfect example that you don't need the traditional commercial route and can still make a living from music (as she said in an interview "I bought my house with itunes"). It's the way of the future, no doubt.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
After a long absence I had the opportunity to man the decks again. As this was the first set of the evening, I chose a mix of Dark Ambient, Apocalyptic Folk, Minimal Electronics and Mittelalter. If you're interested in what some of the bands sound like, I've provided links to myspace or their homepage.

The [Law-Rah] Collective - amelisweerd
Near The Parenthesis - Not Here, Not Tonight
SonVer - The Atlas Tree
Tonal Y Nagual - Honey
Conscientia Peccati - Prima Lux
Klangstabil - lauf, lauf!
Ordo Equitum Solis - Playing With The Fire
Forseti - Der Graue König
Sonne Hagal - The Black Rune
Saltatio Mortis - In Taberna
Estampie - L'ham de Foc - A Virgen*
Potentia Animi - Domina
Mediaeval Baebes - Ecce Mundi Gaudium
Cultus Ferox - Aufbruch (Tanzmix)
Faun - Rhiannon
Deine Lakaien - Mindmachine (acoustic)*

*artist request
karohemd: (Photo)
Sacrilege is a new alternative/goth club night held every 3rd Friday of the month at the Q Club, Cambridge.
The website has all the details.
There will also be photos from another photographer soon.

  
 
  

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As always, many more on flickr.
karohemd: (Photo)
Finally I managed to edit and publish the photos from Saturday night. The sequence of the show was the same, with "The Lost Airman" (Thomas Dolby) taking the role of compere.

The full set is again on flickr.

 
  
 

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karohemd: self portrait (photo 85mm)
The opening night of Sacrilege last night seems to have been a big success. Excellent turnout, lots of people I hadn't seen in years and obviously the reopened Q Club which holds a lot of fond memories for the local alternative crowd. As was to be expected, the music was rather 1999, which was pretty much the intention.
So yeah, finally an alternative night in Cambridge on a Friday!

  
 
  

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karohemd: (Photo)


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