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: 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: by LJ user gothindulgence (Fog)
I was there far too early because doors only opened at 7 and I had a seated ticket but there wasn't really anything I could have done productively in an hour or so so I just sat and watched people turn up, most of whom were at least my age but many were older. There were a few with '92 t-shirts and that had at least been the last time he was in Europe. Doors opened and I got myself a hoodie because it was a bit chilly and I was only wearing a t-shirt.
The evening started with a road/tour documentary shown on a huge screen which was great for the background info on what was going behind the scenes of the tour and the recording of the last album. Showing live footage was a bit weird, though, because that's what we'd be seeing later. Anyway, I didn't mind it.
The man himself came on stage at 8:45 and didn't stop until almost two hours later. As soon as the stage lights flashed on and the first chords rang through the speakers, the audience jumped out of their seats and off we went on a tour de force through most of Mellencamp's back catalogue with a number of songs thrown in I'd never heard before. Mellencamp's charisma and ability to engage the audience became immediately apparent, making them dance and sing along with the rock numbers and completely quiet during the slow and thoughtful songs and the occasional anecdotes. His band was also superb, playing their hearts out and providing one of the best backing grooves I've ever heard. When one (or two) band members played a solo, Mellencamp would step into the shadows so the focus was completely on them.
There were superb versions of Jack and Diane, Small Town (thoughtful and acoustic) and R.O.C.K in the U.S.A. was the stomping finish. There was no encore but everyone in the audience was happy and exhausted with a huge smile on their faces when the lights came up.
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 LJ user gothindulgence (Fog)
Got out of work on time to catch the 5:15 train and made it to the Underworld at just before 6:30 where there was a queue but no open doors. [livejournal.com profile] civi was there and later [livejournal.com profile] fractalgeek so at least I had a few people to talk to while we were waiting in the freezing cold. Around 7 they told us there had been problems during soundcheck. Another 10 minutes or so later and the doors finally opened. I'd also found a random bloke who needed a ticket so my spare wasn't wasted.

First on the bill were Pettybone, a rather retro, all female hardcore/punk band who didn't do much for me but they had a good energy/vibe on stage.

Then, Bitter Ruin, the "musical sorbet of the evening". I've been talking about them repeatedly so just listen to their music if you haven't heard them. They played a great set of favourites, keeping the new songs secret, dammit (especially as I can't make the 15th).

Next up, back to loud and fast music in the shape of Bo Ningen from Japan. The best I can describe it is "psychedelic wall of noise" or "Merzbow with guitars". They also had a lot of hair. ;o) The more and longer they played, the more I warmed to them and I really enjoyed their set. Here's an interesting bit about them from the Guardian.

And finally, the main event, Gentlemen & Assassins, consisting of (at least this instance) Sxip Shirey (mad beatboxer and improv percussion monkey from NYC), Brian Viglione (best known as drummer and other half of the Dresden Dolls) and Elyas Khan (who I knew very little of/about and who sang, played guitar and a sequencer thing).
It's hard to describe, really, as there was a lot of improvisation and mix of styles but they played a couple of tracks from Sxip's latest album and other things and it was fantastic and a lot of fun. Sxip is a mad genius who uses his voice(?) to make noises and occasionally to sing, all kinds of bells and whistles (incl. the Sxipenspiel made by Neil Gaiman and AFP) and various actual and improvised percussion instruments. Brian is a beast on the drums (but unfortunately was sitting in the back in red light and usually covered by Sxip). Elyas sings in an Arabic/Middle Eastern style and plays guitar. The combination is just wonderful.

I'd taken the camera along because I knew The Underworld aren't usually arses about it but the light is still awful and was mostly red. I don't think I'll post any of Bitter Ruin's because they had only red light. Also, due to the distance (I was on the main level in the back) a lot of them were blurry. :o( A few samples:

  
 

Bigger )


They finished early and I made the 23:15 train to Cambridge.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
The Carolina Chocolate Drops have released an EP containing four tracks on which they collaborated with Sxip Shirey and the Luminescent Orchestrii to create a wonderful crossover of the Drops' take on old time/mountain music, the Luminiscent Orchestrii's whacky percussion and brass based gubbins and Sxip's beatboxing.
I haven't heard anything that grooved so much since I saw Son of Dave live last year.

You can get the EP as an MP3 download on amazon or physical CD or if you really want, on itunes.
Four tracks for three quid sounds like a lot but trust me, it's worth it.

The original version of Hit 'Em Up Style is my favourite Drops song anyway but the rework on this EP just makes it a work of genius.
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: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
[livejournal.com profile] violen found this:

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.

  
 

Bigger and more )
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: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
was fantastic.
I managed to get out of work early, caught the 4:45 to KingsX, 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. 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 to get 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, and after yet more waiting outside the studio we were finally in 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 guy 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)
ETA: The first one is just after 8:20, when the camera is on Jools and pans from Steve Miller to Janelle. I'm in the second row behind two shortish women.

Later!

30 Sep 2010 02:59 pm
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
Next Tuesday! I just got a ticket! Only after several years of trying! My ugly mug might be on national TV!
Lineup looks interesting: Janelle Monáe , Steve Miller Band, Cee-Lo Green, Cheikh Lo with Pee Wee Lewis, CW Stoneking and his Primitive Horn Orchestra and Jim Jones Revue.
It's always a bit of a gamble because you can only apply for one show in each segment and the lineup isn't published yet so I think I was lucky.
Really looking forward to this.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
Remember that teen piano wizard AFP randomly met in the street and took home so he could show her his music on her piano?
She's helping him record an album, funding it via Kickstarter (already funded, within a few hours) and eventually publish it via Bandcamp (and possibly itunes and other distribution channels later).

This pleases me greatly. :D

This is going to be the way music will be produced across the board in the future and what traditional big labels should be afraid of, not piracy. :o)
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
On University Challenge last night, one of the music rounds was about songs that had plagiarism lawsuits attached at one point or another (Huey Lewis' I Want a new Drug and the Ghostbusters song, for example). Just like the Down Under debacle this year, I found the similarities extremely tenuous.

I also believe that it's quite likely that two people come up with the same melody/phrase/riff/bit of music completely independently, not least because I witnessed it myself. Back sometime in the early 90s, I was at my mate Stefan's flat chatting and he went, "Hey, I wrote a new song", grabbed his guitar and played the opening chords to Steve Earle's Devil's Right Hand. I asked him if that had been deliberate and he didn't even know the song. I then played it to him and he almost fell off his chair. ;o)
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)


"Check out the new album from SKatterBrain: "The Basic Condition of Life" - very cool, listenable, chilled electronica, practically free (a quid! - I'm not sure if that's a launch price).

There's also a TOTALLY free remix album that happens to feature a remix by yours truly :)

If you like, please do share the link / like it on Facebook via the Tumblr page, etc :)"


As always, that man knows what he's talking about and I recommend it, too. Perfect background music for working.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
or anyone in the vicinity or who's there for the Fringe atm:

The awesome Sxip Shirey will be playing at the Forest Cafe this Thursday, 10pm, free entry.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
I was utterly exhausted last night, didn't even cook and was just able to move enough to use the remote and switch DVDs (sorry, [livejournal.com profile] ebb!). By midnight, I couldn't even concentrate on Babylon 5 anymore (The Coming of Shadows is indeed a fine episode and as things go on I can see the appeal and it saddens me that my watching was interrupted my moving to the UK, missing a whole season) Anyway, midnight rolled along and I went to bed and ... couldn't sleep. So I got up again after a while, switched the laptop.

Amanda Palmer twittered the following:

- just passed a group of berklee summer music students on mass ave & got accosted. one of them is named Tristan and is an aspiring......pianist and songwriter. he asked if I would listen to his songs if he could wrangle a practice room. i said yes and we went inside......but berklee closed the practice rooms for the day. so I'm taking him and his two school friends from Mexico to my house. I have a piano.
- HOLY SHIT HE'S AMAZING. HOLY SHIT
- here;s tristan at the piano. i think we maybe have to webcast this shit http://twitpic.com/2eg9d2


And she did and he was indeed amazing. He played one of his own compositions, then a four handed duet with Amanda, then some random bits , another duet in which he played a toy piano better than Amanda played the real one and a final improvised four handed duet with Amanda. It was fantastic. This shy, quiet guy - the complete opposite personality wise to AFP - turned into this wizard on the piano, playing all kinds of wonderful music.

He has a myspace but he isn't happy with it. Still, it should give you a rough idea of his music.

Archived webcast:


I love the future of communication we live in. This isn't even high tech, it's webcast from a Macbook using a free webcast/streaming service everyone can access.

Now to see if I can rescue this wasted Saturday (I did go to sleep a bit after three and finally got up just after 2), still exhausted so I'm going to attempt another early night tonight.
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.

  
 

Bigger and more )
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.

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