Thursday, November 30, 2017

2018

Uh oh, it looks like 2018 will be a 'rocky year' as in hard rock with an amazing 8 bands gig in March and tickets for 'Europe' in September already secured.

Bring it on xx

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

27.11.2017 Town Hall Birmingham: An evening with Sir Michael Parkinson

His youngest son Michael Jr in conversation with the epic broadcaster Michael Parkinson, who at the age of 82, is still a charismatic figure.


Aided by clips from the iconic TV show ‘Parkinson’ the evening focused very much on the show itself and the many celebrities that came and went during its run from 1971 to 1982 and 1998 to 2007 respectively but also covers some personal stories about his upbringing and his experiences as a broadcaster with all the ups and downs this brings.

Although all clips were from the ‘The Best of Parkinson’ DVD which has been released some years ago, it was still lovely to hear him talk about towering figures like Orson Welles or his duet with Bing Crosby.

A truly enjoyable evening

Sunday, November 26, 2017

25.11.2017 02 Institute Birmingham: Howard Jones Support act: Dan Burton

Originally planned to take the slot of support act were ‘Men without hats’ but mere days before the Birmingham gig that was changed to Dan Burton, a young man, probably in his early 20s who has just released his very first EP.



While battling some sound issues especially related to his microphone Burton played some high energy pop, reminiscent of the good old 80s and 90s and his songs were poppy and easy to listen to. Dan himself was really sweet and friendly and well received by the audience.

xx

Howard Jones’s set included all the greats including ‘Like to get to know you well’, ‘Hide & seek’, ‘No one is to blame’, ‘Human Touch’, the ever beautiful ‘What is love’ and ‘You know I love you … don’t you?’ which he dedicated to the audience.

Armed with a drummer, a percussionist (all electronic of course), a guitarist and an additional synthesizer guy Howard Jones, whose voice is still superb, upped the ante from the start and the songs were all amazing sounding and performed energetically with humour.














Beautiful video backdrops and great lighting all helped the evening to be memorable. Great night out for sure. He must be the coolest dude over 60 on the planet

xxx







Tuesday, October 3, 2017

More to come

Pop legend Howard Jones joined by Men without hats is going on his 'Best' tour and he will be in Birmingham in November. Another legend, talk show host extraordinaire Sir Michael Parkinson will also come to Birmingham in November 2017 and I will be there xx


Thursday, June 1, 2017

29.05.2017 Erasure @ The Roundhouse, London

Support act: Isgar

Three-piece opener ‘Isgar’ are a somewhat unusual choice for a support act until you realise that their synth-man is also working for Erasure.


While singer Beth’s voice is hugely impressive and their songs are emotionally deep (how refreshing) their short set didn’t really allow me to get into their music, mainly because there is ‘sparse’ and then there is ‘too empty’ as far as the overall sound was concerned. Enjoyable nonetheless. 


The Roundhouse is an iconic venue and with Erasure being an iconic band – this evening was epic.

Before embarking on a stadium tour as support act to Robbie Williams, Erasure played three gigs in support of their new album ‘World be gone’, which peaked at #6 in the UK charts and deservedly so.

The mostly downbeat, reflective and thought-provoking album is in many ways an unusual album in the high energy catalogue of the band’s work but it captures Erasure at their best.

The stage is simple and the lighting very effective and from the word ‘go’ Andy & Vince, supported by their ever present and ever wonderful backing vocalists Val & Emma own the night.

The chemistry of the band was amazing to witness and the setlist was super impressive as it featured many of their massive hits as well as less often performed gems such as ‘Here I go impossible again’ off their 2005 album Nightbird or the underrated, totally beautiful ‘In my arms’.

They played 9 out of 10 songs from ‘world be gone’ and the new material fitted in nicely with the rest, which in itself shows just how amazing Erasure’s songwriting skills are.

Erasure love their fans and the fans love them and this unbreakable bond between the perhaps most charismatic synth pop band of all times and their followers was felt during their performance.

The sound was crystal clear and Andy’s voice spot on throughout and the normally quite reserved synthesizer legend Vince Clarke smiled a lot and just to watch them live was mesmerizing. 


















Sunday, March 26, 2017

25.03.2017 Electronic Music Conference: Chris Wave, Richard Barbieri, Chris Payne, Rusty Egan, Martyn Ware

The Birmingham & Midlands Institute, Birmingham

With masterclasses, performances and talks including Q&A, the electronic music conference in Birmingham had interesting and influential musicians to offer.

While organiser Chris Wave said very little and showed a 26 minute 1980’s film called ‘Knights electric’ with a great soundtrack and a crappy storyline during his 30 minutes set the event really became meaningful when the various conveyors of electronic music gave their talks and allowed plenty of time for audience members to ask questions.


First up was synthesist Richard Barbieri whose band ‘Japan’ enjoyed success in the mid 1970s into the early 1980’s and especially their album ‘Tin Drum’ is seen as ground-breaking. Not as big in their home country as they should have been, Japan still had a large following in the UK. Barbieri was a down to earth guy who openly talked about the trappings of working on projects alone and the joys of collaborating and recalled some Japan related anecdotes. 








Classically trained musician Chris Payne was next and he talked about how confining it often was during the making of Gary Numan’s highly praised album ‘The pleasure principle’ where he was asked just to play certain chords and didn’t always get a chance to express himself artistically. 

He spoke fondly of his time with Gary Numan both as a touring musician as well as being in the studio. Payne also co-wrote the global smash hit ‘Fade to grey’ by Visage.

He was a fun guy to listen to and even asked questions inquiring how, for song writing musicians in the audience, the collaborative process worked and shaped their music and shared his experiences as a film music composer, classically trained violinist and had interesting things to say about the music industry.






World renowned DJ Rusty Egan was next and he has a highly entertaining personality. He used his hour more or less entirely to rant about the misdeeds of musicians he had once helped out and there wasn’t anything to learn or to take home particularly from his 60-minute talk.




The highlight of this exciting afternoon was clearly the presentation and talk from Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware (also of The Human League fame). He talked about ‘his life in 20 synths’ and talked about his career as a musician as well as a producer (Erasure & Terence Trent D’arby were some artists he worked with) and the second part of his talk was about his audio-visual installations that are globally successful and exciting.

He candidly answered the ever-occurring question about performing The Human League’s first two albums with the original line up and his relationship to Philip Oakey and was fascinating to listen to.
All speakers were easily approachable and there were no big egos in the room – just very nice people and influential musician who helped shape the history of electronic music.