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  1. #26

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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Saw the Gloaming (Irish trad Super Group) in the Philharmonie, Luxembourg last night.
    I have their album but only gave it one listen and wasn't impressed, I had also watched a youtube video of one of their performances that did not raise may hopes of a great concert. It looked like Martin Hayes provided the musical narrative and the other band members would go off on musical benders from there, sometimes it works but on the video I watched, it seemed to degenerate into 5 separate simultaneous solos. But hey, they are critically acclaimed and the like of them are mighty rare in this part of the world.

    Anyway they came on stage looking pretty cool, the first four members looking like they had walked out off the Reservoir Dogs film set, bringing up the rear was a bloke carrying a wine bottle and wearing what looked like a sleeping gown, he turned out to be the pianist..

    Iarla O'Lionard kicked off with a sean nos piece that was then picked up by Hayes and the others - I liked it, it was trad but re-invented, re-arranged, tunes being explored and developed in ways not heard before.
    But after the first two sets the pianist took off his man-burqa to reveal his t-shirt and low cut jeans. He tended to sprawl across the piano, when he wasn't playing he was slumped on the keyboard, exuding all the energy of a washed up jellyfish. It didn't help that his low cut jeans and posture meant that he was exposing his builders bum to the audience, I was glad that I was far enough away that I didn't have to stare into the crack of his arse. If his pants had been any lower, he would have been mooning at the crowd. Maybe it was his intention, a statement of his opinion of the punters behind him. Or a sly dig at the rest of the band who looked like armani models while he was a wine drinking bohemian which he proved by topping and draining his glass at every interval between tunes. On the quieter pieces when he was reduced to playing one subtle note, his vertebrae appeared to dissolve to the point that it seemed a matter of time before he would slide off the stage like a human blob and land in a heap in front of the stage. It was pretty disconcerting which was unfortunate because the concert was great, one of those evenings that you wished would go on and I had to check my watch when they announced the last number because the time had flown.
    Well worth catching if you can but don't sit too close or on the left side of the hall (unless you really want to stare at a pianists fundament).

  2. #27
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Teenage Fanclub this evening, outdoors, a lovely evening on the edge of Sydney Harbour at Taronga Zoo. They were absolutely great.

  3. #28

    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    I was down Nambucca to see The Priscillas and MX Tyrants last night; I'm mates with the front-persons in both (all-female) bands and MXT's singer/keyboardist also plays in Ye Nuns and Joanne Joanne (female Duran Duran tribute).

    Both bands are crackingly good and play a good tune.

    I missed Adam Ant & band on John Bishop, but saw the performance via YouTube - Stand and Deliver, played with gusto.

  4. #29

    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    I went to see Swans here in Oslo last week. They were, as always, fantastic live.

  5. #30
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    I can't see if it's been mentioned above, and I'll be there a couple of months too late to attend myself - something I'm more annoyed about than I thought I would be - but for UK folk, Shuggie Otis is touring there in May. He must have played in the UK before but I'm not sure he's ever done a full tour. And having not been back in over four years, I'm going to miss him by two months. Fuck sake.

    My brother's got a ticket for the Bristol gig and even though he's my brother, I'm still jealous. I doubt he'll ever come to Argentina.

  6. #31
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Well, it's finally happening: there is to be a Cabaret Voltaire gig in the UK - in a cave outside Sheffield, to be precise.

    Am I going? No.

    Why not, when I'm such a huge Richard H. Kirk fan? Because it's over 40 fucking quid, that's why! :-(

    Then there's the incredibly tiresome 'name debate'.

    It goes like this: as Kirk and Mallinder became increasingly at odds towards the end of CV phase 2, Mallinder was having less and less input into their output, so to speak. Details are sketchy, but it is generally held that Mallinder had little, if any, hand in the last three albums and pretty much everyone accepts that the last album of the old CV era, 'The Conversation' was solo Kirk and nothing more. But here's the thing: no-one had a problem with that at the time. Everyone seemed to accept that, sadly, it was just another case of a band disintegrating and their lineup changing. No big deal, it seemed.

    However, the acrimony between the former pair was great. At first, Kirk wanted nothing to do with the name anymore - didn't like talking about the band, even. He instead started to 'play with identity' and gladly hid behind a plethora of monikers throughout the 90s and early 00s: Sandoz and Electronic Eye were the main ones, with a whole bunch of others cropping up from time to time as well. He actually enjoyed the anonymity of the 90s dance scene and seemed content to stay below the radar.

    Now, I'm not sure what order the next few things happened in, but they all contributed to Kirk eventually wanting to reclaim the name, if only so he could write what will be the band's final chapter on his own terms. One was that at some point, Stephen Mallinder wanted to use the name again, for his own purposes*. Kirk resisted and what felt like a very bitter and drawn-out legal battle ensued. This was exacerbated by others 'behind the scenes' seemingly persuading Kirk of the value of the CV name and drawing his attention to the ever-growing murmurs of "I'd love to see CV again" from an aging and increasingly nostalgic public. (There was even an abortive event - around the turn of the century, I think - where one such person who 'had Kirk's ear' for a while went so far as to start creating publicity for a gig, using the Cabaret Voltaire name on the materials. Kirk freaked out (as the legal battle was ongoing) and the event never happened in the end. At least one other OTFer knows who I mean.)

    However, at some point since Kirk finally won the legal rights to the name, the Mute label also seem to have stoked the flames of his intransigence, enlisting him to help with the creation of seemingly interminable re-releases - usually in the money-spinning 'box set' format. With them helping promote Kirk and the revived CV name, it was only a matter of time until there were gigs and new material. I actually get the impression that at some point over the last 10 or so years, Kirk probably thought "hang on - I need some kind of pension!" and thus his former indifference over use of the name disappeared in favour of doing what so many aging musicians do: milking their legacy. Now, in a way, I can't blame them for wanting to do this. Most musicians have a career in that particular profession that makes those of footballers look extensive. Those that stick at it tend to diversify into other aspects of the field: production, management, journalism, etc. Not Kirk, though - he has so single-mindedly ploughed his furrow of low-profile Electronica releases that he didn't seem to notice time passing until it was almost too late ...but now he seems to want to make up for lost time with this revival of the CV name.

    So at this point I ought to make it clear: I don't care what name Kirk records under, just so long as I get to hear some new output by him. I was never a big CV fan, back in the day, and so I don't care about seeing the name used once more. And to his credit, Kirk is indeed trying to 'move on' with the CV identity - partly due to having a loathing of nostalgia and I think partly due to the more practical concerns of possibly not being able to play much of their former repertoire! (Although Mallinder's current project, Wrangler, certainly play some of CV's 'greatest hits' during their set, it has to be said.) Whatever the main driver for this is, he's not making any bones about it being forward-looking. From the blurb on the poster: "Consisting solely of machines, multi-screen projections and Richard H. Kirk. New material; no nostalgia."

    HOWEVER... it seems that, with the announcement of a gig under this name, a lot of former CV fans - now middle-aged at best and living firmly in the past - having seemingly not bothered keeping up with what any of the former members have been doing musically in the intervening years, are reappearing out of the woodwork to join in a chorus of "No Mal, No CV"! Never mind that there's plenty of bands who continue with only one member of the original line up in place - for some reason, CV have to be an exception! There never seem to be these complaints about the likes of Blancmange, ABC or Kraftwerk having only one active original member. Indeed, taken to the extreme, Tangerine Dream currently have no original members in their line-up, I believe! For some reason, Cabaret Voltaire inspire this near-obsessive 'wedding disco' mentality in people, where all they want to hear is the 'greatest hits' - the 'safe' stuff. I think it's sad that the attitude of people who might once have considered themselves as 'alternative' can have atrophied so much into regressive comfort-zone seeking, rather than looking to the future and the prospect of new material.

    The question everyone asks is "why don't they get back together?" The answer is that they fucking hate each other! Personally, I'm not bothered about them making up. I'm of the opinion that they're both adults and, as such, it's entirely up to them if they deal with this and how. Sometimes relationships end and people move on. We don't all gather round our divorced friends and try to lock them in cupboards together, do we? So we should treat bands that have split in the same way. Some band splits can make messy divorces look sane and polite. I think this was one of those.

    In a way I've been dreading this moment, as I knew all these negative attitudes would emerge. I've been trying to introduce people to Kirk's output for over 20 years now and it's been a struggle. I've pretty much given up. I think it's sad that people only sit up and take notice when the see a familiar label being bandied about. I also think it's sad that Kirk has resorted to this, frankly. Furthermore, with this nostalgic mindset dominating old fans of CV, I reckon this can only end badly for him, with it creating a lot of antipathy from those fans when he bombards them with some quite aggressive and uncompromising Electronica, both live and on recorded media. If it was me that had 'had Kirk's ear', I would have advised him not to bother - to just stick with the approach he's been taking all along and not go back. Never go back.

    On a more practical note, the bigger problem for me with this gig is that IT'S FORTY FUCKING QUID, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!!! FOR A MAN WITH A LAPTOP AND A KEYBOARD IN A FUCKING CAVE!!! FUCK OFF!!! I wouldn't pay this much for anyone else and I've certainly only ever paid less than half that for any of the Kirk solo gigs I've been to before! Thus, it's pretty galling for me when - just because of a name that I'm not particularly attached to anyway - the ticket price suddenly more than doubles! Okay, maybe there's a fair bit of logistical expense behind staging a gig in a cave, but that still doesn't justify it for me. I have, for some reason, got an inbuilt mental block with ticket prices that are over the almost bizarrely arbitrary point of £37:50! Don't ask me why - I really don't know. It's always just felt that, above this point, the artist is just being a greedy mainstream twat. Kylie, Tom Waits, Prince, Bowie - I have spurned the lot of them over tickets that were way above that mark and although I wish I'd been able to see the latter pair, I stand by my policy.

    Anyway... The first few 'new CV' gigs were all on the continent - France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Netherlands - and all were as part of festivals. But there was always going to be a clamour over Kirk's first UK gig back under the CV name. If you're really interested, then you can buy tickets here. Sadly, I won't be joining you on this particular occasion.

    Ironically - or perhaps by a particularly devious bit of planning - it so happens that Stephen Mallinder's aforementioned current project, Wrangler are also playing, over in Hull, that same weekend, as part of the 'John Grant's North Atlantic Flux' event. The exact dates for each band haven't been announced yet, but several of us Kirk/CV fans are betting that the Kirk and Mallinder gigs will magically clash. So if you were dead set on hearing 'Sensoria', that weekend, you still can! :-)

    Alternatively, if you can tolerate multi-day festivals and Goths, then this year's 'Wave Gotik Treffen' festival featuresnot only CV, but Skinny Puppy, Revolting Cocks, Jarboe and a whole host of others and all for the relatively bargain price of 120 Euros.

    I'm holding onto my money until the CD comes out, frankly. If you're a fan of Kirk, or if you can tolerate relentless and drawn-out Electronica where the intro is half the song (an old Kirk trick) then it sounds promising.

    -

    -

    (* - Mallinder wasn't shy about wanting to use the CV name. Instead, he had to satisfy himself with some slightly arch projects with Billy Ray Martin that milked the name in another way. As previously stated, though, Wrangler play some old CV tracks live and they're very good in their own right - better than the sum of their parts, in fact. I can thoroughly recommend both their albums and their live shows are pretty damn good too.)

  7. #32
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Sam wrote: My brother's got a ticket for the Bristol gig and even though he's my brother, I'm still jealous. I doubt he'll ever come to Argentina.
    That's cold, man. Your brother won't visit you? Even this random Dutch dude came over to say hi, and we hadn't even met!

  8. #33
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Ha, indeed. My brother has visited, for several months in fact, but I'm incensed that he won't pay for my flight over to attend the Shuggie gig with him.

  9. #34
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    I've booked for both nights of The Magnetic Fields at the Barbican in September. Feeling stingy, I went for the front row of the balcony, which will be a first time. Hopefully the sound won't be too distant.

    After a very slow start to the year, next up is the Radiophonic Workshop and Andrew Weatherall on Wednesday.

  10. #35

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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Tits, an untimely bout of illness made me miss the Senseless Things gig last night, but I'm assured it went very well indeed.

  11. #36
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Apparently I have a ticket for the Tom Robinson Band doing a fortieth anniversary version of Power In The Darkness at the 100 Club in October. I'm not sure about this...

  12. #37
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    I've tickets to Elvis Costello some time in June and the original Specials around the same time, I think. The Specials were here last September and I missed out completely, so they're doing back to back nights this time. Looking forward to that.

  13. #38

    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Saw The Specials here in Perth a couple of weeks ago. Despite not having particularly high hopes and them playing in a pretty ordinary venue, they were very very good. Unsurprisingly the audience was 99% expats over the age of fifty all out to recreate their youth. The good thing about that was that everyone was there to watch the band rather than film the whole fucking concert through their phones.

    Next up for me is the Mountain Goats in a couple of weeks, followed by Against Me! and then a couple of Australian Bands: Bad Dreems and Methyl Ethel.

    I might try and squeeze Billy Bragg in as well but as I've seen him a number of times it's not the highest priority.

  14. #39
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    I saw the Radiophonic Workshop at the Jazz Café last night. Supports that we caught were a dispensible electronic jazz duo and an entertaining set of vaguely medieval sounding dubby techno from Andrew Weatherall. He trod on my brother's foot afterwards, which bro' was quite excited about having been a big fan of his as a student.

    The RW started off well with selections from the back catalogue accompanied with relevant archive footage (the juxtaposition of cheapo BBC sci-fi and actual 60s space race works quite well). Public Service Broadcasting owe their whole career to them.

    Not so good was the dreaded new material. They explained that they'd been asked to soundtrack a Picasso show and had retreated to the studio for two days and knocked out 90 minutes of material. Even in abbreviated form, it sounded like it.

    Inadvertent comedy moment of the evening was a pre-song introduction given through the Dalek vocoder. The speaker got a bit sidetracked and recovered himself with that most Dalek of phrases, 'But seriously...' If only the BBC hadn't wiped those episodes where the moody bin creatures tear around squawking, 'Here All Week! Try The Chicken!'

    It was fun enough but I rather wish that I'd bitten the bullet pricewise and gone to Marc Almond at the Roundhouse instead.

    Wrestling with whether to go and see the Mary Chain in Shepherds Bush in a fortnight. For is that I absolutely loved them between the ages of 15-17 (to which family photos testify), against is that the two times I've seen them live, separated by twenty years, they weren't really much cop.

  15. #40
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    Thanks for the write-up, Benjm! It helps ameliorate my sense of regret at not going, a little.

    Not sure what my next gig is. Once I know, I'll probably announce it here. It's sure to be electronic in nature, of course.

    Actually, I can tell you now what I have my eyes on, and that's The Orb, Metamono, et al. at the RFH on the 24th of April and Sync 24 et al. at Bar 512 on the 5th of May (a 'Scand' club night).

  16. #41
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Don't know if it counts, but just got home from Home in Manchester for the screening of "Rammstein: Paris", a film of the mighty German band on their last tour. It looks amazing, sounds great - there is a lot of post-production cheating on the filming aspect because you can't get cameras near where you want them for safety reasons. But as far as trying to capture a Rammstein gig on film goes, about as good as it gets.

    Wish they would do another arena tour - they seem to be happy enough playing the big summer festivals these days.

  17. #42
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    I've bought tickets for Kraftwerk at the Albert Hall. If I ever at all look like participating in a conversation about the undue prevalence of overpriced heritage acts, laugh in my face.

  18. #43
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Excellent. Seen them twice and would do so again.

  19. #44
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    I know I've gone on about this kind of thing before, but this time it's got to be ridiculous.

    I saw Blancmange in Sheffield, last October, for £5, at Local Authority (the small, upstairs section of Corporation). Now, I know that was freakishly low-priced, but...

    Blancmange have recently announced their new tour dates and - for them - the tickets are fucking obscenely expensive! London is £25+, Nottingham is £22+ and even Darwen is £20+. Also - and this is what really pisses me off - they're offering these so-called 'Meet & Greet' tickets for £60-£80 a time too, where you just get to say hello to Neil Arthur and shake his hand before the gig, basically. (Anyone who's seen them live will know that if you're near the front, there's a good chance you'll get to do this anyway ...and possibly buy him a pint too - his regular onstage blag!)

    He's not the only one to pull this shit, either. John Foxx, Heaven 17 and others (within my sphere) have started doing the 'VIP ticket' thing for £50+ and sometimes even £80+. It boils my piss that they assume that everyone who was following them in the 80s is now in a middle-/upper-management role, with a large detached house, Audi A7, wife, 2-point-whatever kids and over £100 to burn on an evening out at a gig, just so that they can tell their uninterested colleagues back at the office that they got to shake the singer's hand, the following workday morning!

    Fuck this arrogant, presumptuous shit!!! Give us standard-priced tickets and gigs in small, grotty venues rather than this 'boutique' bollocks!

  20. #45
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Metallica are offering the Hardwired Experience to 12 people for each of their forthcoming UK gigs. You meet the band, photos (just the 12 people who pay), hang out backstage, buffet, two drinks, limited signed poster and t-shirt.

    Just the TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED POUNDS to you, squire.

    Seated tickets for the lower bowl in Manchester were £95 inc booking fee. I'm seeing U2 this summer, ourside, with more bands, for less than that.

    Rammstein are cheaper than that, and they set their keyboard player on fire each night.

  21. #46
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    The Meet & Greet wouldn't be for me anyway but it does seem a bit unnecessary at that level (to evilc - Metallica are proper superstars I suppose, even if two grand is insane). Also I'd guess that it is still the hard core fans who will spring for it, rather than the equivalent of the corporate hospitality crowd, so there is a danger that they are soaking the very people who have stuck with them through the £5 dingy cellar periods.

    I forgot to mention, vis-à-vis Kraftwerk, that I went to a show last month that was a promotional thing for an electronic music convention in Dusseldorf in the autumn. One of the events there is to be held in the old Kling Klang studio and we were shown pictures of it during the presentation. Rarely has a smallish, empty room dripped with such mystique, even though it could have been someone's self-storage unit in Whitby for all the discernible signs of the 'Werk ever having been at work there.

  22. #47
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    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    The two drinks detail in that Metallica package is particularly galling/hilarious. I wonder if you get a perforated sheet of coupons for each item, like at greyhound racing.

  23. #48

    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Rammstein are cheaper than that, and they set their keyboard player on fire each night.
    Hetfield has done that too on at least one occasion. Stand clear of the pyros, you horrible fuck.
    It might be worth paying the two grand to ask him if he's still getting his kicks by shooting animals.

  24. #49
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    To be fair, Hetfield getting set on fire was a screw up whereas Rammstein need to keep Flake safe so that he can be abused by a prosthetic dildo later in the set.

  25. #50

    The Big Gig Thread 2017

    Well, naturally.

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