gig: Milton Jones

May 20, 2011

Milton Jones at the Pavillion Theater.  Milton’s style of comedy is fast one liners and puns, meaning that you leave a gig after laughing uncontrollably and can’t quote one funny thing you heard.  Well, almost, I can remember one example at the moment:

” My Grandad achieved his lifetime goal, to become a Lion Whisperer… just before he died. “

All I can say was it was a great night and I do hope more of those jokes keep popping into my head for the next few weeks.

Thanks Ross & Leigh for the birthday present.

 


gig: Blind Boys of Alabama

January 26, 2011

The Blind Boys of Alabama at the Concert Hall as part of Celtic Connections. First formed at the “Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind” in 1939, they did the black gospel circuit, playing in churches, auditoriums, and stadiums across the country. Influential for many gospel, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll artists The Blind Boys have been recording and touring for more than 60 years.

In the 1990’s they received two Grammy nominations and performed at the White House. In recent years the Blind Boys were awarded five Grammy Awards and their musical brethren have paid homage to their legacy and their continued relevance by asking them to contribute and collaborate on new projects.

Seeing them being led onstage to their microphones starts to build anticipation, but when they start to harmonize together to the blues rifts of guitar and bass the magic really happens.  As a show, it is fairly simple, three vocalists, keys/organ, a blind drummer (which is a first for me), fantastically talented guitarist and the coolest Bass player I’ve ever seen.

I love the sound of the Blues, I’m not too up on old time Gospel but I do like the Blindboys sound and their sound is the sound of the blues.  A fantastic night as part of the Celtic Connections, probably the only gig I’ll get to Celtic Connections this year and worth it.


wedding – food – music – busy Saturday

October 10, 2010

To the SECC for the Scottish Wedding Show!  For some reason people seemed surprised that I would be interested in going to this at all.  I wasn’t the only ‘groom’ in the room but I do think D might have gotten more out of it if she was with her bridesmaid(s).  Lots of cars to sit in and try to have an opinion about, many cakes, dresses, wedding bands, photographers, etc.  what there wasn’t much of was things that are a little out of the ordinary or quirky – so I don’t think we came away with any new ideas.  There really is a massive industry built around weddings and I don’t think I saw anything today about making your marriage last after that one day, or the commitment involved in the sacrament of marriage, which is a bit sad.  Perhaps there is room for a christian marriage preparation course to market itself at an event like this.

After an exhausting afternoon going up and down the isles of this exhibition we had a bit of a rush to get into town and had to grab some place quick to eat before the concert.  We almost walked past Dragon-i, but had a quick check of the menu and from then on everything was quick – and excellent!

Dragon-i is on Hope Street (across from Theater Royal) and is a modern fusion Asian restaurant with influences from Chinese, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. The pre-theater menu (at £12.95 for two courses) had more than enough choice for us and we had hardly started our complementary crackers before the first course arrived.  Between the two of us we had nothing bad to say about anything we ate.  The service was quick, friendly and efficient, the garlic rice was lovely and flavorsome.  We were slightly rushed but I would certainly like to go back to Dragon-i – my new favourite Asian restaurant!

Lastly, the slight gamble of the weekend was a surprise for D, we went to an RSNO concert in the Royal Concert Hall.

Nice’n’Easy was billed as a celebration of your favourite hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s by such songwriting greats as Bacharach & David and Henry Mancini.  …Music to Watch Girls Go By, Soul Bossa Nova, Do You Know the Way to San José?  The Girl from Ipanema, Strangers in the Night, etc.  This was a fantastic evening of great performances and lots of fun.  Most of the music was nice and familiar with a few new arrangements of songs.  There were lots of nice highlights in the evening but the standout performance was certainly from Peter Grant, check him out if you like that style of music.

By the way – I found out about this concert and got two tickets for the price of one through the 5pm email list!  5pm often has good deals worth being reminded of.


gig: Barenaked Ladies – Academy 24 Sep 2010

September 28, 2010

This was only the second time I’ve see the BNL live and they were great. It is hard to describe a BNL concert because so much of it is about the characters of the band members, the patter between songs and the atmosphere in the crowd – and on top of that there is the music.

There are of course a few iconic songs that lots of people know and many others that you sort of recognize or know the hook but not all the words. Probably the best example of this is the theme tune to The Big Bang Theory: (did you know there was more to the song than the first bit?)

The Barenaked Ladies were of course fantastic, playing the usual mix of upbeat, slow, poignant and funny songs. Between times telling of the connections they have with Glasgow and Scotland, playing Proclamers tracks and generally having fun. A BNL gig is an experience and one that should be repeated as often as you get the chance. There has been some change in line-up recently but they haven’t lost any of the fun, energy or quality. Long live the naked-ladies!


Montage of Paul McCartney gig

June 23, 2010


gig: Paul McCartney Hampden Park 20 June 2010

June 23, 2010

What can you say about a legend like Paul McCartney.  Well for a start you could continue to spread the rumour that he died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike (here, here, here),  but lookalike or original you can’t argue that he is an extremely talented man!

First, however, I feel the need of a short rant about why I do not like stadium gigs!  They are just too big – you can’t see the band – there are too many drunk people around (well in a standing gigs at least), the sound isn’t great, they charge laughable prices for poor quality food and drink… etc.  I promised to myself after a disappointing Red Hot Chillies gig in Hampden Park last year to avoid these at all costs.  Since then I saw U2 last yearSnow Patrol last week, and when you score free tickets for a Beetle you just can’t say no!

Mentioning that we got these tickets for free does let me continue to moan a little bit more about stadium gigs – firstly the view from this distance and angle is ‘limited’ and we weren’t in the worst seats and the sound was fairly disappointing from where we were with audio dropping occasionally, lack of any distinction and a tinny quality… hard to describe exactly but overall disappointing.  So I can honestly say that the tickets were worth every penny we paid :-/ but I wonder what the face price was.

I also don’t understand how places like Hampden can get away with enforcing a policy of not allowing and food or drink to be brought in and then charge £4 for a very low quality burger and £4 for a small glass of wine or pint of beer.

Right, now that is out of the way – Paul McCartney.  He is incredibly good at his job!  Switching between many different guitars, mandolin, ukulele, pianos and playing songs from the Beetles, Wings, some songs from John and George – it would be very easy for someone with a career like Paul McCartney to have turned into a parody of himself playing all the same old songs but he has managed to avoid that.  When playing early Beetles songs with the gathered voices of the Hampden choir somehow it didn’t feel like a nostalgic moment but more of a party.  You have to pinch yourself occasionally to think that this isn’t just anyone singing these standards but one of the guys who actually lived through it all.

Of course there were also many non-Beetles songs and I have to say the way the set was put together was a great mix (see the setlist from Glasgow below).  The only Wings songs I really know are Jet and Band on the Run and they were good of course, but Live and Let Die was incredible with a full on rock-show firework finale – speaking of ‘finale’ there were at least two Encores according to the setlist below but an Encore to me means one more song… Paul just kept playing!

One of the many highlights of the evening (IMHO) was Mull of Kintyre when the band were joined by a school pipe band – and the massed voices of Hampden Park, really a great and moving moment which I have struggled to upload to youtube (is it just me or is youtube getting harder to upload to):

All in this was a fantastic way to spend a lovely summer evening in Glasgow, and it was the sun gradually setting over the stadium which made this photo look like everyone was standing to salute Sir Paul McCartney, after all he did deserve it!

Glasgow Setlist – Sunday 20th June 2010.
1. Venus and Mars / Rockshow
2. Jet
3. All My Loving
4. Letting Go
5. Drive My Car
6. Highway
7. Let Me Roll It
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
10. Let ‘Em In
11. My Love
12. I’ve Just Seen A Face
13. And I Love Her
14. Blackbird
15. Here Today
16. Dance Tonight
17. Mrs Vandebilt
18. Eleanor Rigby
19. Something
20. Sing The Changes
21. Band On The Run
22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
23. Back In The USSR
24. I’ve Got A Feeling
25. Paperback Writer
26. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance
27. Let It Be
28. Live And Let Die
29. Hey Jude

Encore
30. Day Tripper
31. Lady Madonna
32. Get Back

Second Encore
33. Yesterday
34. Mull Of Kintyre
35. Helter Skelter
36. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End


gig: Snow Patrol Bellahouston Park

June 13, 2010

Some months ago some good friends suggested getting tickets to the Snow Patrol.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, I had heard of Snow Patrol but couldn’t actually have told you any of their songs.  Since agreeing to go I had spent some time on Spotify trying to get to know some Snow Patrol songs only to discover that I really can’t get into any of their stuff.  Honestly, I did try but I just seemed to zone out or even leave the room and find myself trying to figure out what I had been listening to and why.

I’m also not a big fan of outdoor or ‘stadium’ gigs because you rarely get a good view and people tend to be even drunker, more out of control and obnoxious.  So, off to Bellahouston Park on a sunny evening, we found a nice little spot near front-of-house and settled down to wait…  the first band after we arrived was Band of Horses, who were interesting enough at first but then all their songs started to meld into a very similar sound, they struck me as sort of 70s hippies out of time.  After some time, the Editors (or perhaps it is just Editors with no ‘the’) came on, and they were really fairly boring, I have nothing else to say about them – they came, they sang, they went…

Eventually Slow Patrol came on.  Many more lights were now used, more big screens with very good camera work(!) on a few songs I could also say that there were some extremely well thought out visuals to complement the music.  However (In my opinion) this might have been be because the tech’s get so bored with the long slow tedious songs they have to find something to do during a gig.

Basically Slow Patrol aren’t for me.  Their songs are repetitive, melodic, but with few real hooks.  Performance wise they seemed to have a good time with what I think they said was their largest crowd of around 25000 people, but even still there wasn’t much of a vibe coming from the stage (again – in my opinion).  Still had a good time, circling the crowd, watching from different angles, etc.  an OK night – but I really did notice how much better and stronger the first song I heard in the car was.