Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Monday, 27 July 2020

The culmination of a lifetime of struggle

A Cure For Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage In the Prologue to A Cure for Gravity Joe Jackson describes an eventful 1975 gig in Basingstoke. He follows up with musings on where his love of music came from, his first musical memories (The Runaway Train, and Exodus), his working class upbringing in Portsmouth and first attempts at gigging. And then, aged sixteen, he has to choose what to study for his A-Levels. It was an important decision, because what you chose to study in 1970s England could limit your further education choices and consequently what sort of job or career you ended up in. I should know. My own plans had to change for the sake of the headmaster's timetable. I discussed my future options with Mum, as did Joe Jackson, whose mother suggested he become a librarian. His reply? "A librarian! I might as well be buried alive."

Sunday, 28 July 2019

David or Donny?

Kill the Boy Band First there was "Sinatramania", then there was Elvis, and in the 60s it was The Beatles. When I was ten years old, I passionately defended David Cassidy and vilified Donny Osmond. The Bay City Rollers, Bros, Take That; Goldy Moldavsky's book, Kill the Boy Band, will speak to anyone who has had a teenage crush on an inaccessible, world-famous popstar.

The story begins in a hotel suite, where Rupert P., member of The Ruperts, is tied to a chair with a pair of tights. Four Strepurs, as fans of the band call themselves, are discussing what to do, and one of them, a self-confessed liar who is in therapy, narrates the story.

Labeled as a YA book, it's a very easy read, written in a casual and chatty style, with a lot of humour. There's a dark side too, raising questions about obsession, friendship and mental health. I found myself, early on, thinking if I would be chuckling quite so much if it were a bunch of teenage lads who had captured a female pop star.

You have to suspend disbelief at a couple of plot points, but overall it's a fast-moving, entertaining who-dunnit mystery.

As for David or Donny, you be the judge:



Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The giddy carousel of pop

Rock Stars Stole My Life!Oh, the "Giddy Carousel of Pop"! Mark Ellen's amusing and nostalgic memoir brought back many happy music-based memories: Dad making annoying comments during Top of the Pops; sniggering with a chum over copies of Smash Hits; being in a band.

More seriously, the book traces the changing face of music journalism and the consumption of music since The Beatles. It also touches on what the life of a pop/rock star might be like.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

General Elektriks: back in Europe

It was hot on Friday night. The temperature didn't drop much below 27 degrees, even once the sun had dipped behind the hotels overlooking Jardin Albert Premier. A guy walked past wearing a black t-shirt that said "Johnny Fucking Marr", and I thought, "Me too, mate." (1)

But hotter still was the music. French band General Elektriks walked onto Massena Stage at 21:15 and didn't stop for 75 minutes. Led by Herve "RV" Salters, the five-star, five-man, multi-instrumentalist lineup was at Nice Jazz Festival to promote Carry No Ghosts, released in February this year. RV writes and records his funk-based music alone in the studio, but when he tours, he's surrounded by talent.

The band looked cool, everyone dressed in white, the only colour being provided by RV's red striped tie and the title of the opening number, Different Blue. Bassist Jessie Chaton channels the 70s with his wild affro and white silk scarf. Jordan Dalrymple, aka Antonionian, adds a touch of 80s with his white framed shades. Touski's Mohican punks up the vibraphone and drums, and Eric Starczan's virtuosity on the guitar needs absolutely nothing else.

The music ranged from the slow and easy Au Tir A La Carabine, through the catchy Raid the Radio to the early-80s-electronic sounding I Can't Relate, all underpinned by a driving, infectious funk beat. RV invited the audience to "sautez avec nous" in David Lynch Moments, and the jumping continued through a gritty-guitar cover of Soft Cell's Tainted Love. During Tu M'Intrigues, RV's torso was in danger of disconnecting entirely from his hips and legs, as he jumped, shuffled and swung whilst his hands slapped at the keys of his Hohner Clavinet. The set ended with Amour Uber Alles, its multi-lingual lyrics reflecting RV's French nationality, his lengthy sojourn in San Francisco, and his current home, Berlin.

General Elektriks is touring France until the end of 2018, with one gig in Belgium. Check out the dates on the band's website here: General Elektriks concerts. It would be cool to see them more often now they're back in Europe.

(1) The French phrase "J'en ai marre" means "I'm fed up".

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Whatever happened to Depeche Mode?

I'd completely forgotten about Depeche Mode, and I didn't bother to refresh my memory because by the time I made enquiries about the gig at Nice's Stade Ehrmann it had sold out.

The Man wanted to see them. He said they were one of his favourite bands, and lucky for him, we got two tickets that were going spare because his mates' girlfriends decided they didn't want to go.

I wasn't sure I wanted to go either, so I did a bit of browsing to find out what the Essex band's top hits had been, and what their recent output was like. A YouTube search followed, to see if I recognized anything.

And the memories came flooding back…