Rise and Shine

We all had a splendid afternoon yesterday at the Rise Festival – a diverse collection of musical groups that combined together to support racial tolerance in the form of a free concert in Finsbury Park. The weather had been threatening all morning, but once we got there and met up with Chris et al the weather stayed lovely and sunny for the most part. Of course none of us had brought suntan lotion so there are a few tan lines today.

We arrived in time for the Dub Pistols, who I don’t really know, but they were accompanied by Terry Hall from The Specials who I do know which meant we all got very excited when they played some Specials tracks. They also played a dub version of Peaches by The Stranglers which made me think for a moment they had some of those guys up there with them as well, but unfortunately not. And as Terry Hall reminded us, this festival is not really about music, it’s about saying ‘F*ck the BNP!’ Nice. In-between the main bands we were entertained by beatboxing from Beardyman, who is something quite special indeed with his beatbox versions of most popular dance anthems.

My personal highlight of the day was CSS – who were as strange and bouncy as ever, even if the sound was a bit off. Although they got most of the crowd bouncing, they were outdone by Jimmy Cliff who played some classic tracks that had the whole crowd swaying along. Lovely stuff, and the sunset that accompanied him was perfectly timed.

The Land of the Cover Version

What is it about England right now that leads us to be constantly fascinated by leftfield cover versions of well known songs? Every day I hear something that’s a cross-genre cover/mash up/something that brings me up short as I try to work out a) the original song and b) the artist singing it.

Right now there’s a country version of ‘Walk this Way’ coming over the air which is cute but probably forgettable (except in nightmare). Yesterday on the train we had four young Suffolk lads blasting a Chris Cornell cover of Seven Nation Army from their mobile phone as they debated whether or not to mix the rum with their soft drink, or to drink it neat and follow up with the soft drink* – they all agreed though that Chris’s version was better than the original, which just goes to show that there’s no accounting for taste, or lack thereof.

*The answer was rum first, soft drink later as “We’ll get more drunk that way” “You’re roight!”. And lads, for reference, having the money to get drunk in Ipswich does not stop you from being ‘skanks’ too like your penniless friends – sorry.

Jason Kent’s New Album

My Canadian drinking buddy and part time yoga studio sweeper Jason Kent has released his splendid eponymous album for your delight and enjoyment. I think it’s only out in Canada right now, so those non-Canadians out there will have to fly over here and buy it. Off you go now…

In the meantime, here’s Jason demonstrating his musical talents by running through the entire album in one go (with Jen, owner of the best yoga studio in Montreal, on camera):

Letting the Days Go By

I’m in a total Talking Heads fest right now. It’s funny really, as I was never a big fan of their hits back when they came out, now after some water under the bridge I’ve realised quite how outstanding they were and how much they’ve influenced modern bands. That and lead singer David Byrne was one of my more regular celeb spots back in New York, striding purposefully around the East Village with his spiky gray hair.

Glasto in ‘not sold out’ Shocker

Amazingly this year’s Glastonbury Festival did not sell out over the weekend.. This is a slight change from previous years where the tickets were all but gone within a few hours. I guess that means all my friends will have tickets, but unfortunately I’m at a wedding that weekend so I won’t be there. Ah well.

As to why there are still tickets left, well a number of reasons are being suggested. The ticket pre-registration process was the same as last year, so it is doubtful that that was the reason for the slow down. Most likely culprit is the current line-up which is seen as pretty crap, generally because Jay-Z is the biggest touted headliner and most hardcore Glasto folk are more indie/rock/dance than rap – not that I’d mind seeing him perform as I’m sure it’ll be a good show. Another reason is the explosion of alternative festivals in Britain now, each aiming to be a new Glastonbury. Perhaps we are seeing a social network effect in real life, with big social networks becoming less common and focused, niche networks sprouting up to directly support the needs of smaller groups of people. Would you rather go to a festival that just plays music you like with all you friends, or to a large, expensive, crowded festival that tries to be all things to all people?

Daedelus in Montreal (Igloofest)

Just got back in from a splendid night down in the Old Port of Montreal, watching the ever splendid Daedelus. He played an hour set, half an hour less than scheduled for some reason, but what an hour. The beats ranged from mellow hip hop to near techno, with seamless mixing and live playing from a range of film samples and of his own creation. It even snowed a little which just made it seem all the more magical. Thanks again, Mr D.

As usual Daedelus was creating live tracks on his wonderful box of lights ‘n buttons, which you can buy now should you so desire. Samples are started via the box on the fly and you can watch the lights moving across in time with them as they play. The samples can then be adjusted, repeated, replayed or played as if on a keyboard all from the same box. It’s amazing to watch in action if you get the chance.. oh wait, here’s a live clip from youTube so you can see (not Igloofest!)

Go see him if you get the chance – or check out one of his amazing albums. He’ll be huge soon, and deservedly so.

Daedelus Decries the Snow’s Demise

The ever wonderful Daedelus is coming to play Montreal on the 25th January, as part of this year’s IglooFest. Plus he has this awesome video out to keep me going till then, splendid.

Maybe I’ll try and give him a CD of all the photos from his gig at APT the other year. He seems to like one of them at least, since it’s currently his mySpace profile pic. Bless {:).