Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tim Burgess - Telling Stories at St. James's Church

To promote his autobiography, Tim Burgess lead singer of The Charlatans appeared at St. James's Church in Piccadilly, London. Over the last 3 years I have seen The Charlatans live in a number of different type of venues. The rain of Guilfest, the splendour of The Roundhouse, the intimacy of an Oxfam shop and the high energy Brixton Academy. This event really was something different as the audience got to hear Tim read from his book, endure a question and answer session and then get back to where he is comfortable at by performing a few songs. The church setting was beautiful right in the heart of the West End of London, and it was interesting to hear the occasional expletive ring out in the hallowed chamber!

One of the other bonuses about the evening was getting a signed copy of the book on arrival and judging by a quick flick through and from Tim's recital it promises to be a great read as the book pulls no punches addressing all the issues the fans will want to read about, but without losing a sense of humour. He admitted to feeling nervous about doing the readings, but it was brilliant and great to hear the words spoken by the author.

The Q&A session was both entertaining and quite poignant as it couldn't have been easy for Tim to answer questions about some of the darker times documented in the book.

The 5 song acoustic set was a great end to the evening with Tim being joined by Mark Collins. They played "The Only One I Know" and "Impossible" plus songs from Tim's forthcoming solo album.

There is sometimes more to music than just listening to the records and going to the gigs, and this event was a great way to get a unique insight into a great musician.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

Discovering music happens in so many different ways. Swedish band The Soundtrack of Our Lives were literally given to me by a very good friend. He lent me their album "Behind The Music", which completely blew me away remaining one of my favourite all time albums, and I have never looked back.

Unfortunately for me their UK live appearances are rare, but on their last visit promoting the "Communion" album I got to see them at Bush Hall in London. I was expecting great things and it was without doubt one of the best live shows I have ever seen.

Their most recent album "Throw It To The Universe" released in April 2012 is classic T.S.O.O.L. Other great albums by the band include "Welcome to the Infant Freebase", "Origins Vol 1" and "Communion". The "Golden Greats No 1" compilation album is a great introduction to the band's work.

September 13th 2012 saw the band play their last ever UK show at Heaven in London (see video below). It was another live masterpiece, and absolutely tragic that it sees the curtain being drawn on a wonderful career. Roll on the reunion shows! :)

And to think I could so easily have missed out on this band completely...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Police

The Police played a pivotal role in my music tastes. In the late 1970s I was moving away from pop and the post punk new wave guitar sound was becoming something I really enjoyed and still do! If Blondie started the process it was The Police that bridged the gap. "Message In A Bottle" was not only a huge number 1 hit it contained everything I love. A great melody, a catchy guitar riff, with the unique Stewart Copeland drum beats giving the band their totally unique sound of new wave / reggae / ska.

The success of the fist two albums "Outlandos D'Amour" and "Regatta De Blanc" led to a quick rise to world wide stardom. Sting's ability to pen a chart topping song was evident throughout the career of The Police. "Roxanne", the a fore mentioned "Message In A Bottle", the million seller "Don't Stand So Close To Me", the pure pop of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", to the world wide conquering "Every Breath You Take". Too many classic album tracks to mention but some of those lesser known album tracks are stunning!

I was a huge fan of the band and was a member of the fan club. I collected the singles in coloured vinyls, picture discs and just about any format that came out, many of which I still have packed away at home. The fan club enabled me to get tickets for the 1983 Wembley Arena shows in London getting seats 3 rows from the front. 2008 after 25 years I saw the band again on the reunion tour at Twickenham and it was wonderful to see the songs played live again after so many years.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Serious Drinking

During the early 1980s as I began to develop my own musical identify when I hit my mid teenage years, I came across Serious Drinking whilst listening to nighttime Radio 1. A band with a punk and ska sound. "Love On The Terraces" was the first single I bought by them and for me this was and still is what a great footie song should be all about. Football, drinking and romance! The next single I bought by the band was "Hangover" which being self explanatory was also very relevant back then and is today occasionally too! The compilation album "Stranger Than Tannadice - The Hits, Misses and Own Goals" is a great compilation of their two albums, and well worth adding to any record collection! :) My other personal favourites are "Spirit of 66" and the brilliant "He's An Angry Bastard But I Like Him".