Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2018

Teenage Fanclub - Live At The Barrowlands

As previously mentioned, there was a certain sadness attached to this run of gigs by Bellshill's finest. My fear was that the imminent departure of Gerry Love would change the atmosphere from one of celebration to regret. Fortunately this was not to be the case. Whilst the atmosphere WAS different from a normal Fannies gig, that had more to do with the set list and personnel on stage.

Billed as 'The Creation Years- Songs From 1994-1997', this was exactly as advertised. What we got was "Grand Prix" and "Songs From Northern Britain", (SFNB), top to tail and in order. 

Given that those two albums are the finest work the band produced, there were no complaints from me. What it did highlight was the difference between a live show and an album in terms of sequencing. Whereas most gigs will build to a big finish, "Grand Prix" for example finishes with "Hardcore/Ballad", a mash up of the early raw sound cutting immediately into a heartfelt sol…

Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit - Live From The Ryman

Coming a year after one of the standout albums of 2017, "The Nashville Sound", "Live At The Ryman" showcases material from that and his two prior albums.
Given that this is Jason Isbell we are talking about, the songs being of the highest quality is a given.

In fact the expectation of high quality might actually hold this album back a little. Whilst it's not an all-time classic live album like  "Live At Leeds" by The Who, or Lucinda Williams' "Live @ The Fillmore", it is 'merely' an excellent record of a very good band and a superb songwriter. For me, and many others that will, and should, be enough.

The performances are excellent; the hard rocking and dynamic "Cumberland Gap" 
along with the impassioned vocal of "Cover Me Up" standing out. Great lead guitar work pours from the fret-board on "Super 8". The easy groove of "Something More Than Free", and relaxed shuffle of "The Life You Chos…

Young Elvis vs Old(er) Elvis

Most Elvis fans will tell you that he was never the same after he came out of the army. That he was wasted, both talent wise and physically,  in Vegas.

Here's my alternate take. The Vegas Elvis, musically at least, was the real Elvis.
A friend recently lent me the complete Sun sessions, and having listened to it I was shocked. Other than "That's Alright Mama" and a couple of other tracks, this was not the King Of Rock 'n' Roll, this was the king of croon. Nearly all ballads, with not much energy compared to what came later. 
Given that this was recorded before anybody knew who the boy from Tupelo was, I think it is not unreasonable to say that what was put down in those sessions reveal the true musical heart of Elvis. He was a sentimental homeboy.
Rather than sinking into the artistic mire in the back end of his career, he actually went back to what he loved. 
Now, I'm not saying that the film years weren't a waste and that Colonel Tom Parker's visa wo…

A Star Is Born Review

Spoiler Warning: mild plot spoilers alluded to within

A story that has been told more than once, remade for a new generation, with first time director Bradley Cooper and first time leading lady, Lady Gaga.
In the interests of full disclosure, other than her Superbowl halftime performance, I'm not overly familiar with, or a fan of her music. Likewise I've not seen any Bradley Cooper film, other than his voice work in the first Guardians of The Galaxy.
Given that, here are my thoughts on the film.
From the very opening, the scene is set convincingly. With any film documenting the live music experience, getting the 'feel' right is critical. Director Bradley Cooper nails this from the outset, and I was on board from this point. Other than the lead guitar parts where the camera conveniently can't quite see his fingers, Cooper is clearly playing in many scenes. His voice, both spoken and singing, sounds great for the world weary part.
Lady Gaga's ability as a performer is…

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- Distant Sky - Live In Copenhagen Review

Recorded on the tour to support his emotionally crushing response to personal tragedy, the 2016 album "Skeleton Tree", which I was fortunate enough to witness in Glasgow in December 2017. 

A four track vinyl and digital EP that gives a flavour of the gothic revivalist preacher ministering to both his congregation and himself.

It kicks off with "Jubilee Street"from 2013's "Push The Sky Away". With a typical constantly circling chord progression, it serves to showcase the live Bad Seeds experience well. The atmospheric playing, with a slow build that constantly teases you into thinking it is going to lift off until a dramatic explosion 5 minutes in takes it to the next level.

This along with the elegiac and moving "Distant Sky" really capture what it felt like to see them live on this tour. The duet vocals between Cave and Else Torp are something special. Equal parts despair and hints of future hope, with haunting violin from Warren Ellis. 

It is …

Living The Dream by Slash feat. Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators Review

The second release in short order to feature the vocal talents of Myles Kennedy after Alter Bridge's "Live At The Royal Albert Hall", (review here ), and the fourth 'solo' studio album by Slash.

Right from start, as the sinuous opening riff fades in, this album rocks hard and keeps going. Brent Fitz's drumming crackles with energy, the production is impressive and muscular throughout, sounding like a modern classic rock record. Unsurprising given the artist, but kudos to producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette nonetheless.

The twisting riffage of "Call Of The Wild"  gives way to the chugging groove of "Serve You Right" before "My Antidote" continues the hard rocking goodness. 

Mid album highlights are "Lost Inside The Girl" and "The One You Loved Is Gone". These two really show off the full range of Myles Kennedy's vocal talent. I mentioned in my review of the latest Alter Bridge release that too many of …

Alter Bridge Live At The Royal Albert Hall Review

From the ashes of Creed, the big-selling '90's Floridian rock band, rose Alter Bridge, to the point where they can play two nights at the Royal Albert Hall, backed up by a 52 piece orchestra.

The musicians from Creed, (Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips) are joined by powerhouse vocalist, and no mean guitar player himself, Myles Kennedy. The first couple of studio albums were more rock than metal, with "ABIII" and "Fortress" taking a bit of a heavier tone. I have to confess to not owning the most recent studio album, "The Last Hero", as I found "Fortress" a bit underwhelming. 

I'm a big fan of the orchestral enhancement of a rock or metal band. I think "S&M" by Metallica is probably the best thing they've done apart from "Master Of Puppets".

Anyway, back to matters in hand. How does this live recording, the band's fourth, stack up?

Pretty well I'd say. Due to the sheer amount of sound of …