Following the recent announcement that legendary prog-rock band Camel will bring their acclaimed live show to London’s Royal Albert Hall in Sept 2018, the band are happy to reveal that this will be preceded by an extensive run of UK tour dates.

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Start to End are a collective of Scottish musicians who have garnered a reputation by tackling a brave, diverse selection of classic albums and playing them from start to finish.

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The Wedding Present are one of those bands that I seem to be intertwined with having seen them many times over a long period of time. The first time I remember seeing them was in Leeds in about 1994 at the Town and Country Club and not that long after they had released their single a month for a year (this was big news at the time) and one aspect that can always be said about the Weddos is that they have been consistent live, regardless of the line up, over the years. I have so many great memories of them playing from the first reunion tour, to the Cinerama days and the dual stage all-dayers they used to host at the Sheffield Leadmill, to walking past a bar in Atlanta and seeing them advertised as playing the following evening playing the Bizarro album in full and watching them in an entirely different cultural setting. So, when it was announced (on the Wednesday) that they were going to be playing in the very small The Lantern Venue in Halifax on the Sunday night for the upcoming Tommy tour I was keen to get tickets. More »

Some nights are not to be forgotten.  Like the first night I saw Elvis Costello and The Attractions here at The Playhouse, back in 1981, rattling through a setlist that included a mashup – way before anyone knew what a mashup was – of Watching The Detectives and Stevie Wonder’s Masterblaster and later a spine-tingling cover of Randy Crawford’s One Day I’ll fly Away.   Or the two night residency on The Spectacular Spinning Songbook tour where the content of the evening’s entertainment fell to the fates of a wheel of fortune.  Or the night in 1991 when seeing Elvis on his Mighty Like A Rose tour meant that I missed the first tiny steps of my first born son.  More »

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Nils Lofgren’s life as a touring musician. By the time he was 18 he had garnered enough of a reputation to be asked by Neil Young to play on his After The Gold Rush album, going on to be involved in the infamous Tonight’s The Night album and tour.  Lofgren went on to carve out a successful solo career – the support act on his 1977 UK tour was some guy called Tom Petty with his band The Heartbreakers – and when Bruce Springsteen needed a guitarist to replace Stevie Van Zandt in 1984, Lofgren got the call.  It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that after more than 30 years playing in what is almost certainly the hardest working band in the business, Lofgren might want to take some time out but that is obviously not the case; E Street down time is regularly filled by Lofgren’s solo shows. More »

This gig marks a first for me – I confess to having only recently discovered Scott Matthews when I heard, almost by accident, the track ‘Elusive’ (which has won an Ivor Novello songwriting award) from his debut album – which, as it turns out, was released some 12 years ago.  That’s correct – 12 years!! – and I’ve been blissfully unaware!  It turns out that Scott’s been pretty busy in the intervening period, having penned a further five albums, including his recently released ‘The Great Untold’, from which a number of tracks are included in tonight’s set.

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They say that familiarity breeds contempt.  It would seem that unfamiliarity does likewise.   I’d mentioned to a few people over the last couple of weeks that I was going to see Josh Rouse; the response was invariably a variation on: “Never heard of him” and implicit in these statements was the conviction that if they hadn’t heard of him, he couldn’t be any good. More »

Nostalgia tours roll into town with rapid regularity.  Missed one Seventies or Eighties hit-maker?  There will be another along before you know it.  Nostalgia sells.  It’s less common though for someone who had their first number one in 1979 and their last top ten single in 1982 to come storming along with a set that draws heavily on their new album and yet delivers a credible, and relevant, performance. More »

I last saw Public Service Broadcasting three years ago, here in the Usher Hall, opening for the Kaiser Chiefs.  As much as I enjoyed their set, I struggled to imagine how they might sustain their mix of electronics and newsreel audio and video samples over any more than forty five minutes without running out of steam.  Tonight, I found out. More »

Edinburgh in March can be a cold, damp, miserable place.  So used are we to wet, windy weather that we even have a special adjective to describe it: Dreich.  If only there was a band who could bring a waft of warmth, a shaft of sunshine, a hint of hot African nights.  Step forward then, London Astrobeat Orchestra for a two night residency at The Voodoo Rooms. More »

Bryan’s back in town and the Ferry fans are out in force; it seems unlikely that a bleached blonde in a blingy black blouse will anywhere to be seen outside of the Usher Hall tonight.  And that’s as it should be; after all, septuagenarian sex symbols are in short supply and who knows when this one will pass this way again. More »

I’ve been a bit sniffy about tribute bands in the past, and deep in my bones I suspect I always might be; it’s the “it’s not really them” factor I suppose.  But having seen three of the best in the business: The Australian Pink Floyd, The Musical Box and Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac, I’ve learned to appreciate how seriously these bands take the work they do and how much their fans love it as well. More »

Texan singer Chrysta Bell first came to my notice when she played Agent Tammy Preston in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks:The Return.  CB, as she is known to her band mates, first met Lynch in 1999 and they have worked together on a number of musical projects including her debut solo album This Train and a 5 track EP Somewhere In The Nowhere, both of which were co-written and produced by Lynch. More »

Following their critically well-received slot as the opening act on Tubular Bells For Two’s UK tour last autumn, Gypsyfingers now embark on their first ever UK tour, with a brand new single, Half World, released to coincide with the dates. More »

It has been just over two years since the last time I saw Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac perform.  The hook for this current tour is a 40th anniversary celebration of the Rumours album, although we are actually now closer to the 41st anniversary.  The band has recently undergone a radical restructuring with original members Allan Cosgrove on drums and Dave Goldberg on keyboards, guitar and vocals being joined by two new female vocalists, and a new bassist and guitarist. More »

Support: IDestroy, Trillains, Newcastle13th March 2018. 

Arh man I hate days like this, sitting in front of the computer trying to compose a witty, yet informative review of a band that you know simply won’t do them justice. I mean they are certainly cornering a niche market here, punk/metal Victorian comedy anyone? And I know several if not all of those words will put some people off, but oh they are glorious to behold, especially live. More »

John Scott pops along to The Caves in Edinburgh to see Paul Draper.  More »

Having been suitably warmed up by support act Bright Light Bright Light, whose synth pop torch songs from his album Choreography are enthusiastically received by tonight’s sell out audience, there is a tangible thrill of anticipation as the lights dim and Erasure take to the stage. More »

London Astrobeat Orchestra are bringing their spectacular live show to venues across the UK over the next few months.  Band leader and bassist Edd Bateman has brought together West Africa’s finest session musicians to form a group that fuses rhythmic influences from Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Cameroon and Congo with the music of legendary new wave pioneers Talking Heads.

The band put their dizzying spin on Talking Heads classics from albums such as Remain In Light, Speaking In Tongues and Fear Of Music to produce a simply unforgettable live experience.

As Hifi Pig’s John Scott said in his review of last year’s Edinburgh show , if London  Astrobeat Orchestra are playing within a hundred miles of you, just go.

 

Dates announced so far:

 

1 March – The Prince Of Wales, Brixton, London

 

2 March – Bridport Arts Centre, Bridport

 

15 and 16 March – The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

 

14 April – Colston Hall, Bristol

 

11 May – Colchester Arts Centre

 

22 June – Oran Mor, Glasgow

Tonight’s support act is a guy called Thabo.  I assumed from his accent that he was American but when I checked out his website after the show I discovered that he was born in Zimbabwe and lives in…Huddersfield.  Thabo’s songs are intelligent, tuneful and incredibly engaging.  By the end of the first song he has the audience in the palm of his hand, much to his evident surprise and delight.  He explains that when he opens shows he is usually only singing to the sound man and the security, as everyone else is still in the bar.  Right now the hall is three quarters full and everyone here is giving him their full attention.  On the evidence of tonight’s show, Thabo is a man to watch out for and I hope the next time I see him he will be headlining in his own right. More »

In January 1977 John Scott paid £2.80 to see Genesis.  Tonight, nearly forty one years later, he’s paid £35 to see some Canadians pretend to be Genesis.   More »

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