Thursday, August 28, 2014
Moseley Folk Festival 2013 from Old Dead Eye on Vimeo.
Woah! Where did the summer go eh? How the hell can it be Moseley Folk Festival already? I know I bang on about this every year but I swear someone's stealing days here and there. One minute you're stuffing your face with Easter eggs, the next you're hanging stockings on your bedpost and necking a pint of 'egg nog.' Just me? Oh...right. Anyway once again the line up plays fast and loose with the folk definition at times and it's all the better for it with Friday night being headlined by none other than Johnny Marr (following a set from Mr Sonic Youth himself Thurston Moore). Saturday sees arguably one of the greatest folk musicians in the world, Richard Thompson, take to the stage. And Sunday things clatter gloriously to an end with The Waterboys. The last few tickets usually sell out today so if you want to go snap 'em up today. As is traditional here are a few highlights to whet your whistles...and any other part of your anatomy for that matter.
"This is what you've all been waiting for: the ultimate potential commercial breakthrough EP from me and my beautiful band." So begins the latest communication from Miles Perhower, spat out into the inter-ether and accompanying quite possibly the band's least commercial work to date. That's obviously the point. Neither Miles nor his glorious band of messy men and women conform to our expectations and this latest EP, a series of twisted brain frying sonic experiments upon which Perhower rambles on, savant like, ain't about to change that. it's not until the last track, Hypaorig, that things drift back to planet earth but even then, beneath the glitchily cool beats, there's an ominous droning gnawing away at the senses like a rat on a cadaver.
The body of work (a wanky phrase I know but it serves a purpose) that's flowing out of Miles and co right now is frankly astonishing and if this uncompromising but fascinating musical missive wins them just a handful of discerning new fans, hell, that would be the biggest triumph of all.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The last time we went to this place it was called The Cross. Fast forward a few years and it's now The Dark Horse, part pub, part restaurant, part gig venue. I can't keep up with it all. I still end up wondering where the Virgin Megastore in Corporation Street has gone. Anyway, as with a number of the recent shows on here tonight's gig was free. 100% free, gratis and for nothing in fact which is somewhat surprising given that Seth Faergolzia (ex-Dufus) has been around for nearly 20 years but I guess that's the music biz for you these days. After short, sharp sets from Hawk, Alderman and Michael Stork (all local acts well worth a listen) Seth and guest Laura Lee hopped on and then just as quickly quit the stage for a stomping Walk Sit Talk, a kind of positive mantra for life that's still marching through my brain hours later.
If you've not seen/heard Seth before it's a strangely inspirational and joyful thing to behold. With long hair and an increasingly voluminous beard there's more than a touch of the old hippy in there and given that he's chosen to reject the live of a corporate whore for that of a wandering musician I guess for once you can judge this particularly hairy book by its cover. His vocal is pretty remarkable too, veering from the sweetly angelic to blow yer wig off power that, at odd times, brings to mind a hipper US version of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson in his mad standing on one leg prime. Seth's been experimenting with loops and stuff recently, building up vocal samples live which at first seems slightly at odds with his more organic and unplugged side but this evening soon becomes hypnotically addictive. It's the simpler more stripped back material that really grabs you though, with Be Awesome (is one of the lyrics really "lose a testicle"?...genius), a transcendent Silence and the defiant Doubting Won't Do (possibly the best summary of life as a struggling musician as you're ever likely to hear) all well and truly making the grade tonight.
He saves the best till last though with a typically blistering blast through the Dufus classic Freedom, the manifesto through which this strange, loveable and unique creature clearly still lives his life. Well, you know what they say...the best things in life really are free.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I'm pretty sure there have been longer gaps between gigs (and I'm pretty sure Mr Bailey has played live in some form or other in the intervening three decades) but last week Thompson Twins' lead singer Tom Bailey played the hits for the first time since the late 80s. I wasn't there...I didn't make the Rewind Festival that he played over the weekend either...but predictably there are a growing number of clips popping up on You Tube. The above is one of the better ones and, unless you live out in the US (hello there to all four of my American readers), it's as close as you're going to get to seeing him live for now. I suspect he'll be back to the UK and Europe for some more shows though...hopefully in less than 27 years this time.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Musical collective Brain Wave release the debut EP from the riff little fingers of London two piece JOHN on September 15th. Its three tracks clock in at just a shade over 8 minutes so don’t go expecting any two week proggy guitar solos. Heck no. Opening number Big Game Tactics is all schizoid guitar and man on the edge vocals with the kind of heavy head nodding riffs that should come with a neck related Government health warning. If anything Homme D’affaires kicks things up a gear, constructing a ruddy great wall of guitar that struggles to contain the band’s ranting vocalist (presumably a chap called John) whilst last track + sounds like freakin’ Quo on a speed induced mental breakdown. And if that isn’t an intriguing enough prospect to get you listening then frankly m’dears there’s no hope for you.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Back in the day Henry's Blueshouse at The Crown (RIP) played host to some of the best blues players in the world, along the way attracting the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Robert Plant who no doubt picked up a tip or two. Now the dude behind Henry's Blueshouse, Big Bear Records head honcho Jim Simpson, is launching a brand new night at The Asylum 2 to give some of the best local blues players the kind of platform that’s perhaps been missing since those days. Kicking off on Tuesday 23rd September entry’s just a fiver and here’s the initial line up for your delectation and delight.
And here's a quick blast of one of the unmissable acts, Steve Ajao Blues Giants. Hell yeah, now that really is finger lickin' gooooooood...
Monday, August 11, 2014
Okay, I have no idea about his views on ‘erb but anti-folk veteran Seth Faergolzia (the artist formerly known as Dufus) has certainly stuck by the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle after deciding way back in 1998 to forsake stuff like a regular wage, company car, parking space and his own stapler in favour of the precarious life of a full time musician. The fact that he’s still at it, some 20 albums and nearly as many years later is pretty remarkable. From what little I know of the economics of life as a musician these days it’s a pretty tough existence and most will need to fall back on some kind of other job to make ends meet. Somehow though Seth seems to survive life as a wandering minstrel...with that beard he looks like one too...and his latest tour takes in a over a dozen UK cities including Brum (August 20th in the new Dark ‘orse pub...which used to be The Cross I think). I have no idea how much tickets are...if indeed there is a charge to get in...but having seen Seth once before back at The Jug of Ale (RIP - see the vid at the top of this waffle) it’s highly recommended. Here’s a taster: