Friday 11 October 2019

That Curtis passion: The Murder Capital, The Dome, 10 October 2019

I didn't get a chance to see Joy Division because of my subdued life as a teenager in Hatfield but it doesn't matter because I saw some of that Curtis passion last night with the Murder Capital. They were so passionate they were crying at the end. They were only on for 45 minutes but it was mesmerizing. That's how you perform. I've always said there are only two bands that are so cool they don't need to talk to the audience - The Rolling Stones and the Stone Roses. Now we have the Murder Capital. Not so much cool. Serious but they didn't take themselves seriously. Wow. Edgy, edgy stuff. 

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Dancing in the forest: Latitude Festval, 18-21 July 2019.

Warning: This blog mentions alcoholic brand names but, for balance, I slag them off for their steep prices.

Festivals aren't just about the bands. Although I have a list of 22 very good acts (see below) from this year's Latitude, I want to write about the dancing. This isn’t about the magnificent dancing in front of bands. There’s a woman who goes every year and she has a very distinctive style of dancing. This year I plucked up the courage and told her that her dancing is amazing. What the world needs now is more dancing people like her.

Carling Export bar 
No – this is about places like the Carling Export bar – a pop-up wooden thing that has a disco. And what a disco. At any time until 2am you can find yourself dancing next to an 87-year-old man, or someone my age who is also wearing fairy lights and a torch, or a three year-old girl and her parents. The dance floor is often packed. This year we also danced around the bar itself on several occasions. We danced up to the bar. And danced out again having handed over £6.50 for a pint. 

Gin bar boogie
And then there’s the Tanqueray gin bar where we ourselves started the disco. The music was really like going back to the 1970s and passers by were left bemused as we got up and boogied. I’d only had one gin. Well, they were £9 a pop. So the emphasis is on the music rather than the booze. But what a disco. 

A few years ago, Mumford and Sons played and refused to let anyone else perform whilst they were on. To escape this festival version of Enver Hoxha's Albania we danced in the Export Bar but also in the Alcove, a tent near the campsite. It was better than a gig. And, hopefully, something that Mumford and Sons would have completely disapproved of. 

Ketel bar disco 
But this year the best disco was the Ketel Vodka stand. In the Faraway Forest area of Latitude, I pointed it out to my brother-in-law - and that we should go down there - and on the spur of the moment we did. And, with another £9 in sucked into the coffers, we danced to some amazing music. I was totally happy and completely aware that you don’t get to do this in daily life. It’s a festival and this was a special time. 

So, when I got back and people asked me who the best bands were, I was tempted to say it was actually the discos that seem to spring up without warning all over the Latitude site. At those prices, you're not going to get smashed but you will hear a smash hit remixed by a talented impromptu disco DJ. 
Latitude 18-21 July 2019. Bands seen in order of merit
  1. Julia Jacklin
  2. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard
  3. Martha
  4. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
  5. Local Honeys
  6. Parcels
  7. Nadine Shah
  8. Neneh Cherry
  9. Squid
  10. Teleman
  11. Everything Everything
  12. Futureheads
  13. Teskey Brothers
  14. Anna Calvi
  15. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
  16. Japanese House
  17. Snapped Ankles
  18. Cat Power
  19. Elder Island
  20. Fur
  21. Jenny Lewis
  22. Khruangbin.

Saturday 13 July 2019

No dicking about. Mattiel: Earth, Dalston, 12 July 2019

21.59. That's the time Mattiel came off stage. After the encore. They ripped through their songs like they'd read the curfew notes wrong - and finished an hour early. 

But I love that. Too many bands, with only two albums to their name, fill, pad and do cover versions. But Mattiel - the band is called after the surname of lead singer Mattiel Brown - gave it up without feeling like they had to go on longer than needs be. 

And I've often talked about things like stage presence and reacting with the crowd. Mattiel Brown has natural stage presence. Gig buddy Steve reckoned she might have skipped a bit too much but I say that anything that gets someone around a stage and stops them being a 'shoe-gazer' is OK in my book. 

The two albums, 'Mattiel' and 'Satis Factory’ - the latter released last month - are certainly worth a listen. I think Mattiel's worked hard to cut out the cliches in the lyrics and the band have developed a distinctive sound. But it also sounds like it's straight out of Atlanta, Georgia. And we got to hear it in Dalston. 

After the gig, she came to the back of the hall and signed merchandise. I think she'll soon be too big and famous to do that. And so, last night, we were the lucky ones.