Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I have seen quite a few live acts recently but haven't felt sufficiently moved to blog - but as my poor noggin can only hold *so* much information here goes...

First up was Beverley Knight at the Royal Albert Hall.
What?? I saw Bev for the 11th time and didn't blog immediately? The trouble was I had kinda forgotten the show by the time I got home.

I am usually bouncing with joy after seeing her but this time I felt becalmed. I suspect my malaise might have been down to several things - we were in a box stage-left and while this gave an ok view of the stage, we were in the second row within it - and in the front row? Some Italian gayer with his equally Italian fag-hag. Now I was okay with them standing up to dance - but their incessant yakking during the numbers - uptempo or ballad - got on my TITS. I actually shouted at them at one point to shut the fuck up. Owen was a bit more restrained and had a quiet word with them - I'm amazed he could get a word in edgewise.

After that they both buggered off to the bar - only to come back for the encores to stand at the back of the box taking photos each other. Now I despair that whenever I go to a gig I appear to have some mong-magnet that attracts twats who NEED to yap through every song but these two were truly something else. I can only wish them a slow painful death.

So apart from them pulling my focus, I also had to contend with a show which sadly delivered no surprises. She played the tracks I wanted to hear and she was in excellent form - but the show held no surprises at all. I think also there was a feeling of having waited nigh-on 6 months from booking the show to the actual event there was some fall-off in expectation.

The last time I saw Bev was at the ICA at the launch of "100%" and while there is the kudos of being able to fill the Royal Albert Hall, she works better in a smaller venue.

I remember having a similar feeling about a Beverley show in 2006 - I think she needs to maybe get some new arrangements, a new band, something...

The next show was the incomparable Boy George in his Up Close And Personal show at the Leicester Square Theatre (the old Venue Theatre where his show TABOO had it's successful run).

Again there wasn't too much difference in the set than when we saw him there just after Christmas - a couple of new songs including "Grand Scheme of Things" and the truly infectious Lovers Rock of "Ken".

Da Boy has a new album out later this year - it would be great to have some of the countless unrecorded songs he has been singing in gigs in the past few years on cd.

He sounded in great voice and sprung a surprise at the start of the second half when he dedicated "Blue Moon" to the Pet Shop Boys - who were in the audience. I nearly swooned.

I think this was the eighth time I have seen George in concert - and I can't wait for the next one.

Last week we saw another star who first really came to prominence in those mad 1980s - August Darnell aka Kid Creole accompanied of course by his Coconuts!
This was my third gig by the Kid and as always he gave 110% - working his band, the Coconuts and the audience while remaining unflappably cool.

Sadly we saw him from the front row of the circle of the stubbornly un-atmospheric Barbican Concert Hall so although the stalls were up and dancing I was too aware of my surroundings to surrender to the music.
Um... also I was BUSTING for a wee and kept thinking "Ah this is the last one.... no? well this must be the the set-closer..... ok, THIS is the last one then..." But I had forgotten about the Kid's propensity for the extended jams on his songs so being stuck in the middle of a row with what felt to be a small pachyderm sitting on my bladder was No Fun.

After an EXTENDED encore of "If You Wanna Be Happy" - which isn't even his bloody song! - and the obligatory invitation to a "Lifeboat Party" I happily started bundling my way along the row - only for the shagger to come out again! Well tough... thanks for the show Kid but a man's gotta wee what a man's gotta wee.

So that brings us to the final show. Last Saturday we went to the chintzy Bush Hall to see Amanda Palmer and regular support Jason Webley presenting their new discovery... the co-joined twins from Walla Walla, Washington Evelyn Evelyn.As you will have heard on their debut album, life has not been easy for the twins - oddly every person or animal that crosses their path ends up dead or mad - or both!

As befits this - and the lengthy abuse they have suffered at the hands of the people who have adopted them along the way - they are a bit shy in public so, when introduced, they edged on quietly and sat behind Amanda's keyboard, clutching a large Kelly handbag and using their free hands to demurely clap us.
Owwwwwwww I can't keep this up - it was great to watch Amanda and Jason as Evelyn Evelyn! They must have rehearsed for ages to do it, co-ordinating playing an accordion then a guitar as well as all the shtick of fishing things out of their handbag - hankie to wipe the germs off the microphones and off each other. To say nothing of when they did an impromptu Q&A and improvised their answers - each saying a word at a time!

The second half consisted of Jason and Amanda doing short sets before a rampaging encore of Jason's Drinking Song which had us all spinning around 10 times looking at our aloft fingers to give us the suitable experience of being drunk! They are daft buggers them.
Amanda didn't hang around afterwards as she was visibly suffering from a cold on stage but Jason was out front signing and having his picture taken with the fans.

So there you go... four gigs, some enjoyed more than others.

And the music don't stop... am seeing the titans of pop Alphabeat tonight!

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