Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Week 12: Sunday 27 March - Roddy Woomble, Union Chapel, London

Roddy Woomble (of Idlewild fame) played a selection of his new solo material at Union Chapel on Sunday night.  It was a lovely gig and sounded beautiful in the venue.  He even threw an Idlewild song into the encore (You Held The World In Your Arms).  Here's some pics taken on the night....  

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Week 11: Wed 16 March - The Decemberists, Hammersmith Apollo, London

I've never been to a gig before where the lights went down and the audience was instructed to introduce themselves to the people next to them and then wave at those above them on the balcony by a Voice of God, but then I'd never seen The Decemberists before.  Led by a quirky frontman Colin Meloy (who from the moment he walked on, I thought resembled the old man character in UP, don't ask me why) the group walked on to rapturous applause - they're certainly a band with a dedicated following. I've only got their last album "The Hazards of Love" which I have only recently given a proper listen and grown to quite enjoy.

They played a lot of tracks off their new LP 'The King Is Dead', with old favourites thrown in.  I was only familiar with a third (if that) of their set, but enjoyed the gig nevertheless.  They're great at interacting with the crowd who absolutely adored them.  At time's Colin's vocals grated, and it was a bit too country for me, but I'm definitely going to investigate some more of their back catalogue after seeing them live.

Blind Pilot were supporting them on the tour.  I bought Blind Pilot's album '3 Rounds and a Sound' a couple of year's ago, so it was a nice surprise to find out they were touring with the Decemberists.  They only played a short set which went down well and sounded great.  I would really like to see them again in a more intimate setting though.


Listen: The Decemberists MySpace
Listen: Blind Pilot MySpace

Cherry Ghost played Union Chapel on Sunday night (20th).  I was working but got to see most of their set.  I didn't have high hopes for it as I found the album a bit mediocre and their performance didn't really blow me away.  They delivered a series of songs which each sounded similar to the last.  Union Chapel is a great place to see live music (not that I'm biased) and that certainly helped Cherry Ghost who sounded nice, but that was it, it was nice, it wasn't exciting or interesting.  I was thoroughly bored by the end, just willing them to play 'People Help The People' as it's the one song I'm most familiar with.  They ended on that before the encore, but played it slightly differently to the original version and it just lacked something.  They redeemed themselves a bit by playing 'Mathematics' in the encore but on the whole it was quite a dull performance of some quite dull music.


This week I have become hooked on Wolf & I by Oh Land.  It's a great song, I love the vocals and eerie harmonies.  I thought I could be onto a winner with this one, so went and listened to some other tracks, but so far they've not really grabbed me and are a lot poppier than this single which is a shame, but it's a great song nonetheless.

Listen: Wolf & I - Oh Land

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Week 10: Mon 7 March - The Phantom Band, Dingwalls, Camden

It's fair to say I wasn't in a very gig-going mood last week when heading up to Dingwalls in Camden to see The Phantom Band with my boyfriend (who's a big fan and was really looking forward to the gig - sorry!).  He gave me one of their albums in January and I had listened to it a few times, but not enough to become familiar with the songs before the gig. 

Fellow Scottish band Found opened the night with a short set which didn't really do it for me. The electronic element didn't really work - they'd have been better off with a standard drummer; and some of the harmonies were a bit off.  This only compounded the mood that I didn't feel like I wanted to be there.

Luckily, The Phantom Band came on and from the outset my mood lifted whilst listening to their catchy, percussive songs.  It helps that the front man is very charismatic which made the whole gig much more interesting, but generally, the band mix intricate melodies, harmonies and percussion to create great songs.  The crowd were all dancing and bouncing along. I wasn't overly convinced by their album before seeing them live, but now I've revisited it and have enjoyed it a lot more as it's easier to appreciate all the layers within each song.

Overall a very good band to see when in a bad mood. It's hard not to find yourself bouncing along with the beat and enjoying their banter. Thank you to The Phantom Band for being that little bit different and providing a breath of fresh air.


Listen: The Phantom Band Myspace
Official: The Phantom Band

Week 9: Wed 2 March - Vessels, The Borderline

I've been a bit slow with my blog updates lately, but the good news is even though I've not been blogging about it, I have been keeping up the resolution.  

Two weeks ago, I went to see Vessels at The Borderline.  My delay in blogging about it was caused slightly by the fact I didn't really know what to say.  I'm not really au fait with prog-rock so I don't feel too confident writing about a genre I don't usually listen to as I have very little to compare it with.  That said, I'll approach it merely from an enjoyment point of view, and on the whole, I really enjoyed Vessels.

It was a completely different gig experience.  My friend described them as "guitars to melt your face off" - perhaps that's an accurate enough description.  We were struck by a wall of rousing energy from start to finish.  I was mesmerised by the speed at which the drummer's sticks were moving - he was phenomenal - it was quite the aerobic workout.  They've got some great grooves and riffs in their songs, so the lack of lyrics wasn't really noticeable as you're too wrapped up in what they're all doing instrumentally.

They're definitely a band worth seeing live, I'd be keen to check them out again.


Listen: Vessels Myspace
Official:  Vessels