The word genius is much overused in the world of music.  In truth there have been no more than a handful of people that the term can accurately be applied to since the birth of rock and roll.  We could spend all day arguing about who those people might be, but the fact that Lee Perry ranks amongst them is unarguable.

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Pakrac is a small town in the western Slavonia region of Croatia. Multimedia in Pakrac, better known as Multipak, is a week-long event of culture, music, Hifi and good vibrations.

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PMC has reinforced its commitment to nurturing music talent and live music through sponsorship of the Milton Keynes music and education venue, The Stables.

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I can still remember the first time I saw Paul Carrack.  It was on Top Of The Pops way back in 1974 singing How Long with his band Ace.  It was their only hit but it has become something of a radio classic, the type of song that makes you stop whatever you’re doing and just listen.  Once How Long faded from the charts, Paul Carrack pretty much disappeared from view as well until he popped up fronting Squeeze’s 1981 hit Tempted, another song that has the power to stop me in my tracks when it turns up on the radio.   Carrack would carry on making the occasional appearance in the charts, most regularly with Mike and The Mechanics.  Between times, he’s been quietly plowing a blue-eyed soul furrow, releasing solo albums and co-writing a song that would appear on the Eagles multi-million selling album Hell Freezes Over. 

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ECLIPSE, the Japanese loudspeaker brand, who have a long association with music creation and reproduction, was chosen by Davide Sciacca for his recent solo classical guitar performance in Liverpool, which was supported by retailer Doug Brady.

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In advance of the release of her new album Woman In The Arena In May, UK singer/songwriter Lauren Ray is touring as support to former Ace/Squeeze/Mike and The Mechanics vocalist, Paul Carrick.  Hifi Pig caught with Lauren recently as she prepares to go out on the road. More »

Tonight I shook the hand of Amy Helm; the hand that was held in the hands that held the sticks that played the drums on The Weight and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and helped to invent the musical genre we now now as Americana.  As a lifetime fan of The Band and their drummer Levon Helm, Amy’s father,  it was a special moment but not as special as the gig that preceded it.

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Like them or not, tribute bands are here to stay.  Despite the fact that every one of the half a dozen tribute bands I have seen has been nothing short of excellent, I still harbor a slight feeling of apprehension whenever I go to see one – that sense of “not the real thing” is hard to shake. More »

It has been around eighteen months since Robert Cray came to town, touring his latest album Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm.  He’s back again tonight with no new album to promote and in a much larger venue. More »

It has been more than 40 years since Steve Hackett recorded Wind and Wuthering, his last studio album as a member of Genesis.  Since then he has done more than anyone else to keep the legacy of the prog-era Genesis alive.  Oddly these efforts have gone largely unrecognised by his former band mates, although they probably welcome the additional royalties that Hackett has generated over the years.  Genesis fans old and new have, however, applauded Hackett’s reworking of the classic Genesis canon and turn out in droves whenever he tours, either in support of a new solo album or a Genesis Revisited set. More »

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 »

Festival Of Sound in London is on the 28th – 30th of September 2018 at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith, London. Having evolved from the successful Indulgence shows of the last two years, Festival of Sound is a Music and Audio show, promising some exciting Hifi and live music. 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 »

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