Saturday 30 July 2011

Gary Numan in York (DV8Fest)

Gary Numan
The Barbican, York

'DV8Fest' is York's Goth Weekend, featuring 40+ bands performing over three nights. Gary Numan was in action on the Friday night and that's why I was there. I have seen him once before, but only in the role of one of a number of DJs during a very memorable evening at Camden's Roundhouse.

By the way, I have nothing at all against Goths and I enjoyed seeing the extraordinary range of attire and watching some suitably unusual dancing.

Support was supplied by Luxury Stranger, a loud group with a big, beat-driven sound. They were well received and did a decent job in warming up the audience.

Luxury Stranger

It was a long evening. Gary Numan didn't appear until 10.25 p.m. but it's fair to say that he was worth waiting for.

I haven't followed his career post-1980, although I knew that his style had changed since the robotic stance of the first few albums. There's a heavy Rock style these days, albeit fused with the electronic element.

The lighting was very effective in setting the mood as the evening progressed (but proved not particularly conducive to taking clear photos).

The microphone stand came in useful as a stage prop. Gary Numan carried it around wherever he wandered and frequently slammed it onto the floor like an explorer - or invader - proudly claiming territory.

A lot of the lyrics were really blasted out. It was a passionate performance.

The set list featured songs from most stages of his lengthy career. Two new CDs - and a UK tour - are on the way.

Set List

Down In The Park
In A Dark Place
The Fall
When The Sky Bleeds, He Will Come
Noise Noise
Everything Comes Down To This
A Prayer For The Unborn
Are 'Friends' Electric?


I Die, You Die

Extra guitar was added to some of the tracks; it doubled as another prop at times too.

There was lots of Rock-posturing!

The band - destined to remain in (at best) semi-light - went unannounced.

By the end of the set, his voice was really showing the strain. Given the power he'd put into the vocals, it was no surprise.

Things drew to a close just a minute or two before midnight. It was a very good show and an enlightening evening. If the UK tour dates turn out to be good ones for me, I will be very interested in seeing him again.

Keep up to date with all things Numan by adding his official website to your 'favourites'.

Saturday 23 July 2011

2011 Americana Festival at The Sage

Summertyne Americana Festival
The Sage, Gateshead

Another year has flown by. It certainly doesn't seem that long since I was at the 2010 Summertyne Americana Festival.

The weather made an intermittent difference this time. The outdoor 'Jumpin' Hot Stage' had to be temporarily abandoned due to the wind worrying 'the health and safety' and the first two artistes on the bill shown above had to perform indoors, just near the cafe.

There was a bonus indoor session with Samantha Crain, which was a very short but enjoyable set.

The 'Jumpin' Hot Stage' was deemed safe enough to continue, just in time for the next act.

It was back indoors - Hall 2, to precise - to see Sarah Jarosz. Sarah is clearly very talented, but still only 20!

Back outside for the last three acts of the day.


'JTE' brought the day to an entertaining conclusion.

Free tomorrow? Pop along to The Sage to catch the last day of this year's festival.

Friday 22 July 2011

Gary Numan in York

A full review of Gary Numan's great show at The York Barbican will follow soon...meanwhile, here's a couple of photos to be going on with.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Rachel Harrington - 'Pitch In!'

Last October, I published an interview with Rachel Harrington in which we discussed her 2010 CD, 'Celilo Falls'.

Good news - Rachel is currently writing and recording material for a new CD, which is provisionally scheduled for release early in 2012.

This time around, there is scope for a little audience participation. Rachel has put together a number of packages to enable music fans to directly contribute to the success of her latest production. These packages range from standard pre-orders for the CD all the way up to deals including song comissions.

For full details regarding this exciting opportunity, please head for the 'Pitch In!' section of Rachel's website.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

More Maverick

The new issue of Maverick Magazine has just been published and I'm pleased to report that my reviews of the recent Emmylou Harris and Cara Dillon concerts are both included.

For ordering details, please visit the Maverick homepage.

Monday 18 July 2011

CSC Update

My mid-July report for the Chess in Schools and Communities website is now available.

Please click here for further details.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Roger Daltrey at The Sage

Roger Daltrey
The Sage, Gateshead

I've never seen The Who play live, but I'd like to. Rumours abound regarding a new CD and a possible tour, but a lot depends on the state of Pete Townsend's ears. A lifetime of loud music has left them in a perilous condition.

Meanwhile, Roger Daltrey knows he has to keep singing or lose the power of his magnificent voice. This tour, 'Roger Daltrey Performs The Who's Tommy (plus Who Classics and More)' is set in that context.

Arriving on the stage to a magnificent reception (I don't think I've ever seen a better one), mug of tea in hand, Roger made it clear that this wasn't a show aspiring to match The Who, but that we were all here to have a really good time. It was the start of an unforgettable two and a half hours.

Without further ado, the band struck up the Overture of Tommy, with Roger bashing away on the tambourines in time-honoured tradition.

It wasn't long before we were being treated to the famous voice and classic poses.

The classic 'Tommy' was played in its entirety during the first half of the show. The rock opera, with it's amazing tale about a deaf, dumb and blind boy (becoming a messiah figure via a spell of pinball wizardry) can be appreciated on various levels. There's no doubt that the songs are varied and very catchy, taking the listener on a roller coaster journey.

The microphone gamely endured Roger's famous swinging punishment!

Frank Simes is a much-travelled guitarist. I enjoyed his work on Mick Jagger's 1993 'Wandering Spirit' album.

'Tommy can you heeeeear me...!?'

Simon Townshend is Pete's younger brother. A highly accomplished musician in his own right, Simon has also been a long-term supporter of The Who's tours (and with Roger's solo events).
Simon sang Pete's 'Tommy' parts.

Scott Deavours and his drums were behind perspex shields. Roger is experimenting with various sound systems to minimise damage to his own ears, partly in preparation to bring Pete back onstage for a future tour.

Loren Gold (keyboards) and John Button (bass) completed the line up.

Tommy Set List

It’s a Boy
Amazing Journey
Eyesight to the Blind
Cousin Kevin
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It’s Alright
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
There’s A Doctor
Go to The Mirror
Tommy Can You Hear Me
Smash The Mirror
Miracle Cure
Sally Simpson
I’m Free
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take It

There was still plenty more to come...

Frank lifting his hat to prove, (in Roger's words), that he '....aint wearing a syrup under there.'

'Anyone fancy a bit of Johnny Cash?' asked Roger, but the audience was lively and preferred to hear more rock numbers.

Roger was clearly delighted to play several songs that The Who don't normally do live anymore, such as 'Tattoo', 'Pictures of Lily' and 'Going Mobile'. He explained that John Entwistle used to to excel on the high-pitched vocal parts, but that one day he turned up with a much deeper growl and it ruled out a number of songs for good.

'Who Classics and More' Set List

Who Are You
Pictures of Lily
I Can See for Miles
Behind Blue Eyes
Real Good Looking Boy
Days Of Light
Going Mobile
Young Man Blues
Baba O’Riley
Blue Red and Grey

Goodbye to the band!

More tea before the final number.

Roger and his ukelele closed the show with a charming rendition of 'Blue Red and Grey'.

It was easily one of the loudest shows I've been to. It was also one of the most enjoyable and uplifting. For a man who famously sang 'Hope I die before I get old', this 67 year old sings and plays as if he is still enjoying the prime years of his life. If you have the chance to catch the tour, make sure you don't miss it.

For further details regarding the tour, head for the official page. Downloads are available too, although they appear to offer just the 'Tommy' part of the evening.