Johanna was over for a visit and we went to see Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall.
Johanna was over for a visit and we went to see Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall.
I’d rather talk about seeing Antony & the Johnsons at Hammersmith Apollo last night. I went with Sooz (the ticket was her birthday present as she missed seeing Antony at the Barbican last October), but we had to leave Stu at home to try to sort out a serious computer crisis, which sucked a bit. After seeing Antony at Kulttuuritalo in Helsinki in 2007, and then at the Barbican last year, I was a bit worried about how a venue like the Apollo would work. And, as it turned out, I had a reason to be worried.
I have waxed lyrical about the out-of-this-world quality of Antony Hegarty’s voice, and the life-altering effect of experiencing his live performance, plenty of times before. And yes, those things were present yesterday. There’s no other voice I have ever heard that can instantly move me to tears when it flows through me, and in that respect, I wasn’t disappointed.
What I was disappointed, no, disgusted with, was the audience. Well, not everyone obviously. I’d say about 80 per cent of the people were there to actually listen, but the other 20 per cent did do their darnest to try to ruin the whole experience for everyone else. Seriously, if all you care about is running back and forth getting more beer, not giving a shit how much noise you are making or how it might be affecting the artist on stage, why not just go to a pub? Surely that would be a lot cheaper night out as well. I just cannot comprehend it. When something larger than life is happening right before your eyes and ears, and when the artist is clearly dragging out the start of the song waiting for people to quiet down, how can anyone in the same space not notice this and stop breathing, instead of carrying on with banging and running around? It’s such an insult to the artist, and in this case, to everything that is good about the whole friggin humanity. At some point Antony clearly got annoyed and pulled back emotionally. The voice was still there, but it was clear he didn’t want to give anything more to the audience. He did come back for two encores, one of which was the always amazing Cripple and the Starfish. To be honest, if it was me, I wouldn’t have come back. But it was lovely that he did want to do that for the people that were there for him. I think everyone did try to make up for it by the huge standing ovation.
I am glad I went, even if it was a mix of elation and pure anger, and I’m sure I will in the future try to see him live when ever I get the chance. My overwhelming feeling throughout last night was put into words by someone commenting on a youtube video with ‘The world doesn’t deserve him’.
Oh and the picture from the concert is by Marc Broussely, who funnily enough is one of my clients (whom I’ve yet to meet), who’s wedding I’m photographing in August. I had no idea he’d worked the gig until I saw his blog today! Funny coincidence. :D
Here’s a clip of River of Sorrow from the Barbican in October 08.
I’ve managed to avoid the O2 Arenta thus far as I’m not generally a fan of big venues, but I really wanted to see Snow Patrol so had to take the plunge. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The layout was really good, there was a clear view from every seat. And the seats were really comfy (yes, this is an old persons view of venues, get with it. :P), at least compared to the horrid plastic buckets of Wembley Arena.
The atmosphere was nice for such a big venue as well. Obviously it’s not the same experience as being in the same physical space with the artist, but arenas give you another kind of rush, of being part of a huge collective experience.
The gig itself was good. Not mind-blowing or anything, but thoroughly enjoyable.
Aaaand here are a view videos I took.
Jeez Louise I’m tired. This is not the first time, nor will it probably be the last, when I curse being too old for these mid-week gigs. Old wimmin need their beauty sleep! But oh my god was it worth all this tiredness though! On the outset, Monto Water Rats isn’t the most pleasant of the venues I’ve been to. Sort of cramped and smelly, with an erratic air conditioning system constantly going from hot to cold, hot to cold. However, what it lacks in general pleasantness, it more than makes up for in the sense of intimacy. You really are in the same breathing space with the artist. So in that sense, it is my kind of venue for sure (wish they did something about the smell though :|). The only time I’ve come that close to the talent before was seeing Johnossi at The Spitz. But this time I could have just reached out my hand and touched Rachael.
To kick off, we got to listen to a set by Meme Love. She was very sweet and had a few interesting songs that showed off her impressive vocals. There’s still some way for her to develop as a songwriter though I think, judging from the fact that she sounded by far the best when singing a cover of Biffy Clyro’s Mountains. Do check out her MySpace though and see what you think for yourself.
Rachael Yamagata didn’t come on stage until it was nearly 10pm. My feet were already aching and I was nodding off by then (so shouldn’t have watched the Oscars as late as I did the previous night), but when she and the band came into the room there was an instant hit of electricity (there certainly is a thing called charisma, and it’s palpable when you share a room with it) and I instantly forgot about my tiredness. The whole band looked a bit jet lagged, having just come to London from Japan, but were clearly in high spirits. Rachael is such a sweetheart. So relaxed and funny and comfortable in her own skin. To think how dark her songs can be, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a gig. In that sense the whole night was a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride, from laughter to rapture. And her voice, oh, her voice.
Also (S look away now), I totally fell in love with the drummer, Chris Giraldi. Now it might have been a mixture of tiredness, euphoria from the music, flashbacks of an old drummer boyfriend from a lifetime ago, and of course Chris being amazing on the drums, but I was as good as done for. I swear we even had a ‘moment’ with direct eye contact sealing the deal! :D If I was 10 years younger I would so follow him on tour, take him to rehab (daydreams are allowed to include stereotypes), and we’d live happily ever after while he played romantic drum solos to me. Yes.
But back to Rachael. Did I mention she was amazing? It’s hard to say what the highlights were, as each and every song was so perfect. Be Be Your Love, Little Life (which is my favourite track on her latest album Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart) and Faster (which possibly kick-started my Chris-obsession) probably gave me the biggest shivers though. She’s playing another gig tonight, and if I thought I could physically do it, I would totally go again. If you ever get a chance to see her live, do not miss it! She alternated between playing the piano and acoustic and electric guitars, and did a few songs completely on her own without the band as well. It was nice to have that variation in moods and sound levels. The whole band completely kicked ass, and they were such a nice bunch to boot – no big egos in sight.
Weird, I just realised Chris is the same age as me (as is Colin actually). Does it say something about me finally reaching an approriate maturity level that I’m at last fancying people the same age as me? Hmm. Perhaps I don’t need to be 10 years younger after all! :D (Just kidding S…)
I kind of wish I’d taken my SLR with me now… there were so many missed opportunities that just couldn’t be captured with a compact. But I’m always so torn between recording video and taking snaps that I sort of figure the Ixus is a good compromise, and less hassle. Hmm. Maybe I should invest in the 5D mkII after all… :P
But yes, couldn’t have wished for a better gig to start this year off with. Snow Patrol certainly has their work cut out for them next month if they want to beat last night’s experience.
And last but not least, here’s the only bit of video I took. I’ll probably kick myself in a year or so, but I just wanted to be more in the moment and it felt sort of overwhelming trying to think about filming at the same time…
Last time, when I saw Tracy Chapman in Helsinki, I was blown away by the power of her voice and the way a live band really made her music come alive. This time it was just her on her own without a band. Her wonderful voice was present, even when suffering from a cold, and I really loved all the old songs performed in this more low-key manner. But I did miss the band a bit, especially the drums… that take-your-breath-away punch, which the last gig delivered, wasn’t quite there. Never the less, I could sit in the same room with her voice for however long, it’s just that incredible.
~The Lady is a Tramp~
Just a few blurry shots from last night’s Lisa Hannigan gig. A couple of videos to come later when I have some time!
St. John’s Church certainly made for an impressive venue.
Gavin Glass performed some of his on solo stuff before Lisa got on stage. There were a few ok songs, but mostly they were perhaps a bit… dare I say it, boring. Although a huge plus point was the fact that if I closed my eyes he sounded just like Colin Farrell. :P
Lisa was adorable! And having not really heard her solo material before I was very impressed. I liked her, a lot.
She was way too lively to take pictures with a compact camera from the back rows. :P
It was a coooold night. Very christmassy views of the Houses of Parliament on the way home though.
Earlier on the day of the concert we were discussing the point of living with Jen. Especially if you don’t have any kids, or specific passion for any causes, or strong religious beliefs that give you purpose, or extraordinary skills or even defects that make you feel part of something bigger… If your life is just about working and ‘being’, without any clear plot – is there any point? For my own part I can say that experiencing moments like Friday’s Antony and the Johnsons concert, is something that reaffirms my faith in being alive and in being part of the human race. When you get to, even for a fleeting moment, experience what some people are capable of, to be part of something so amazing that it actually lifts your soul – that, to me, is the point of living.
I knew that we were in for something magical since I had already experienced being blown away by Antony and the Johnsons last year in Helsinki. But add to that the combination of a venue like the Barbican and the London Symphony Orchestra, and you get something almost unbearably powerful. The production was very low key in the way of stage activity, most of the time Antony stood in the dark, while his voice filled the auditorium. It was lovely to hear new material from him and I can’t wait to get to know some of the songs better. Last time I felt a bit uncomfortable with his live version of The Cripple and the Starfish, but this time, hearing it backed by the LSO, it was so beautiful it was almost too much to bare emotionally. Someone nearly passed out in the front row and I found tears were falling down my face at the end of it without me even realising.
I now wish I’d seem him on both nights of performances at the Barbican. I wish I could always and forever to be in that state of mind where you feel the human race is capable miracles.
Filming was strictly verboten, so unfortunately there’s no video to show you. It’s kind of a scary thought that something like that will only stay alive in my memory… for as long as my memory serves me. Somehow I feel it should be recorded somewhere for safekeeping, but then again, there’s always that certain something missing from a recording. The ‘moment’, the magic of live music. I did sneak this one picture during the final applauses.
Here are finally some videos from Monday’s Heather Nova gig. It was quite a tricky spot to film from, hence all the shakiness, my arm was cramping quite badly. And damn that railing! :D She was awesome though, and her voice is just… otherworldly. She sang a couple of songs from her new album, including Beautiful Storm below. You can buy and download the album directly from her website. I recommend! It’s fast becoming one of my favourites out her 8 albums.
~Walk This World~
Maurelitalta tupsahti parikin Suomalaisissa blogeissa kierrellyttä meemiä. Laitanpa pitkästä aikaa ihan Suomeksi vastausta. :D Eli kiitos kovasti tästä I Love Your Blog prenikasta, on oikeastaan aikas söpö!
Samaan syssyyn sain myös seuraavanlaisen musiikkimeemin :
“Tämän syksyn parhaat biisit, jotka saavat olla joko täysin tuoreita tai mahdollisesti vanhempia tapauksia. Postaa siis lista näistä viidestä tämän hetken lempparilaulusta blogiisi ja haasta sitten viisi muuta bloggaajaa samaan!”
Jaa-a, on viimeaikoina ollut aika heikoissa vetimissä tuo uuden musiikin etsiminen ja löytäminen. Ei oiken aika tahdo vaan riittää kaikkeen. Joten enimmäkseen iPodissa soi tällä hetkellä vanhat tutut suosikit. Meikäläisen musiikkihan on tunnetusti sitä ‘masismusaa’, että jos tanssijalan haluat vipattamaan ei ehkä kannata näitä linkkejä klikkailla. :D
Damien Rice – Baby Sister
En tule varmaan koskaan kyllästymään Damienin ääneen, karismaan, sanoituksiin tai melodioihin. Ehdottomasti karismaattisin artisti jonka olen livenä (noh, Antony Hegarty tulee hyvänä kakkosena) nähnyt. Toivottavasti pääsen vielä osalliseksi mahdollisimman monesta livekonsertista tuleivaisuudessakin…
Antony & the Johnsons – Hope There’s Someone
Siinähän olikin mainio aasinsilta Antony & the Johnsons:iin. :P En malta odottaa ensi kuuhun ja konserttiin London Symphony Orchestran kanssa. Oi että. Tämän miehen ääni ja autenttisuus on jotain aivan utopistista.
Tonic – If You Could Only See
Tämä oli suosikkibiisejäni joskus about kymmenen vuotta sitten ja jostain syystä se on nyt taas noussut kuuntelulistoilleni. Kaunis melodia ei mene koskaan muodista.
Imogen Heap – Glittering Cloud (The Plague Of Locusts)
Imogenin seuraavaa levyä on saatu odotella jo ihan liian kauan. Jossain vaiheessa saatiin esimakua mahtavan Glitterin Cloud biisin verran, ja heinäkuussa julkaistiin virallisesti Not Now But Soon, toivottavasti lisää on tulossa – ja pian!
Alanis Morissette – Tapes
Oih, olen niin iloinen että Alanis on palannut ruotuun. Alanis on minulle sellasia ‘foundation’ artisteja, jonka laulut ovan muokanneet ajatuksiani ja omakuvaani monessakin elämänvaiheessa. Kesäkuussa Brixton Academyssä hän lumosi minut, ja koko yleisön, täysin – energia keikalla oli jotain käsittämätöntä.
Jaa, kenellekköhän tätä nakkaisi eteenpäin, aika monessa blogissa on nämä meemit varmaan jo kiertäneet. Laitetaan nyt ainakin Susannalle, Jennille, Evelle, Annelle (Hyvää Syntymäpäivää! :D), Marjutille ja Emmielle.
Well, I didn’t take my camera in the end, so there are no videos. Not that there would have been even had I had my camera, simply because as a venue Twickenham Stadium was just way too big and the sound way too loud and distorted. Add to that the Irish fuckers (no offence to Irish people in general) sat behind me, who obviously thought they were attending a contest for the loudest karaoke singing in the world. When they knew the lyrics they were singing, nay, shouting, out of tune at the top of their lungs straight into my ear, and when they didn’t, they were shouting inane things to each other. Oh and they also managed to tip a pint of cider over me during the second song, which meant I sat there soaked to my knickers for the whole two and a half hours. But yeah, I’m not sorry I didn’t capture their sweet voices on any videos.
The most enjoyable song for me was Fall On Me, not least because the Irish people were at the bar getting another round in, so I could really enjoy the song. Orange Crush was a joy as well. Everything in between… well. Imagine Michael Stipe, singing into a microphone, at times with a megaphone, and yet all I can hear is ‘EEEOOOOAAAAaAaaaAa I FOKEN LUV THIS SONG VERTIGOOO’. Micheal never stood a chance really…
Today is our first ever wedding anniversary. Surprisingly, this time I won’t add how quickly a year has gone, as it feels like ages since the wedding! So much has happened in a year… we changed jobs, homes, countries… everything really. It’s been quite a whirlwind of a year.
So far today we’ve been mostly trying to prepare for holidays at the end of next week. Washing clothes, getting the suitcases down from the loft, that sort of thing. We’re planning on driving down to some little country pub for lunch later on.
Yesterday we went to see Riina, Noa and Elli, and in the evening us adults went to a (yet another) picnic concert at Audley End house. This time we were more prepared though, with an actual picnic, woolly cardigan, and the most genius idea of all, woolly socks! The weather was also a bit more pleasant. Even though it rained on and off during the day, the skies cleared by the evening and we had blue skies and sunshine, all the way until the sun went down. That’s when my woolly socks really came into their own!
No matter how tacky the idea of the ‘Music of Dirty Dancing’ sounds like, it truly was great fun, with everyone singing along and dancing around us. And the place was gorgeous! I’m definitely going to attend another picnic concert there, maybe next summer. I’m sure we’ll slowly advance into picnic master-class!
Phew. While it’s nice to be able to fit more videos onto the card, it sure means a lot more work to get them all converted and uploaded! Anyways, here you go, Rufus Wainwright at Kenwood House. :)
~Nobody’s Off the Hook~
~King of the Road~
(with Teddy Thompson)
~Going to a Town~
~Not Ready to Love~
~Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk~
A lesson learned: when attending a ‘picnic concert’, wear enough clothes. I’m not quite sure what we were thinking (or not, as the case may be), but we certainly were very much under-dressed for the chilly wind that blew straight through our deckchairs. But hey, at least it didn’t rain! Still, it was a shame about the weather as on a warm evening the experience would have been a thousand times more enjoyable. Still, apart from the cold, it was all good. Kenwood house was beautiful and the whole atmosphere of the venue, with people spread around having their picnics was lovely. There was also a lot of celebrity spotting to be done, as people like Derren Brown, Alan Carr and Helena Bonham-Carter, to name but a few, were also in attendance. And Rufus himself, of course, was most entertaining.
More pictures on Flickr. And there’s videos to follow once I get them uploaded…
Phew! There are a lot of them! And these are not even all of the ones I filmed… :D The 8gb card is sure making a huge difference, I still had space left for over 40 minutes at the end of the gig.
~Not as We~
~In Praise of the Vulnerable Man~
Wow. What a night. Hands down one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. I took a lot of videos, but it will be a while until I get home and can do something with them. (Oh, which reminds me I haven’t even looked at the Joshua Radin videos yet. Hmm.) She played a long gig, two encores and all, it went on until after 11pm. Was so brilliant though that I could have stayed for another two hours. Am absolutely wiped out today but still buzzing! No idea how I’ll stay awake until 4am tonight. Must take a nap after work…
Bush Hall was a cute little place, a room bit ‘like wedding cake’ as Joshua himself described it. :) It was painfully hot though and the odour wasn’t the most pleasant mix of mouldy old building and sweaty people…
The venue definitely suited his kinda of ‘whisper rock’ better than the vast stage of Hammersmith Apollo, where I saw him last. The intimacy of the space added something special and you could hear the nuances of his voice a lot better.
All in all it was a very enjoyable gig, even though Stu and Sooz were up to some mischief and even though I felt reeeally tired. Walking back from the train, not having really eaten anything much all day, we checked out whether against all odds our chippie would be open (which it’s usually not). And what do you know, there was a big sign in the window declaring that it was now ‘open all day’ and that it was under new management. I must say I was very impressed on all levels, it was much more pleasant in there and the fish & chips was definitely up there among the best I’ve ever had. Very good news indeed.
Feeling absolutely knackered today.