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)
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: (Photo)
The lights were difficult as most of it was from the back or side with very little from the front but Roi Robertson is a pleasure to shoot. Too bad I couldn't document some of his antics off stage because of the inadequate lights (and that's despite my ridiculous ISO capabilities). So all in all, a pleasurable performance.


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karohemd: (Photo)
at the New Players Theatre, London on Saturday, 16/05/09.
The Tiger Lillies are hard to describe, their music encompasses various styles from classic French chansons, Brecht/Weill style dark ballads, gypsy music and other influences. Have a look at their myspace and YouTube sites linked from the main website to get an idea.
The trio (Martyn Jaques on vocals, accordion and piano; Adrian Strong on drums and percussion and Adrian Stout on double bass, theremin and singing saw) are currently celebrating their 20th stage anniversary with The Songs of Shockheaded Peter and Other Gory Verses at the New Players Theatre in Soho, London. Well worth a visit, it's still on until the 23rd.


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The whole set is on flickr.
karohemd: (Photo)
Better light than on Thursday, still not much but the quality was better. I can live with low light thanks to the D700 but even that wonder machine can't deal with red...

karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
Am rather wet and a little bit tipsy.

First night in Beale Street was cool. Had dinner at B.B. King's and listened to two bands (and ended up on stage with the first one, don't ask), the first played all kinds of covers and the second classic Rythmn&Blues, Soul and Funk, all very good and worth the $5 cover. I then moved on to the Rum Boogie Cafe where "Blues Healer" played dirty Memphis/Texas/Chicago Blues. Had a really nice chat with the drummer when they had a break. We were just chatting about music and then he basically told me his life story. Really nice guy. I was also in the place next door (with an connecting door between the two) where Dr. "Feelgood" Potts played classic Howlin' Wolf/John Lee Hooker style Blues.
Felt a bit unsafe on my walk back so will probably take a cab tomorrow. It was only a 15 minute walk so shouldn't be too expensive.

More exploring tomorrow, Stax Museum, Rock and Soul Museum, maybe Graceland although I'm considering doing Graceland on my way to Birmingham on Wednesday as I'm going South, anyway.
karohemd: by sogoth.livejournal.com (Music)
They say you should leave the best for last and I think I've just broken that rule. The Bluebird Cafe was on my high priority list to visit and as the time was just right for the first show and I wanted to eat something, anyway, I drove to Hillsboro. I think if you didn't have exact directions you'd never find it because it's a tiny store front tucked away in a retail park type street next to furniture shops, petrol stations and fast food joints. Not exactly an area where you'd expect the venue for up and coming as well as established songwriters. Many a big name in Nashville played here first, some even used to work there (like Alan Jackson as a barman). Ever since I'd heard Together at the Bluebird, the fantastic live album by Townes van Zandt, Steve Earle and Guy Clark, it had been my firm intention to go there if I ever ended up in Nashville and I managed it.di
It's really small, I'd say about 80 capacity (seated at tables, the bar or in the back on a couple of church pews) so no wonder the second shows are sold out quickly. The musicians sit in the centre, facing each other. On "In The Round" nights, it's usually four who sing a song each, going round the circle several times, from 6 to 8.

Tonight it was Teresa Wright (all her songs are sung by others on her myspace but she has a wonderful voice, too), Ben West, Todd Caudill and Dar Franz who I couldn't find online, except in reference to tonight. Each had a different style which kept interesting although it was just the artist with an acoustic guitar. Nothing else. The sound system is superb, too, especially considering the size of the place. A wonderful wonderful evening and a perfect start for my time in Nashville.

A small collection of photos which might give an idea of how great this place is:

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