Pearl Jam play Shepherds Bush Empire – August 11th!

In what is likely to be one of the ‘must see’ gigs this year for indie rockers, if not the rest of us, Pearl Jam have announced a special one-off gig at Shepherds Bush Empire on August 11th. It’s time to beg, borrow or steal your way in there folks, as this promises to be something else.

Of course considering Pearl Jam sold out London’s humongous O2 in 17 minutes I think we can all safely assume that those not in the industry will have a gnats piss chance in hell of getting in. Still, hope springs eternal, and for those of you who are hopeful (read: ‘deluded’) what you need to do is pre-order a copy of Pearl Jam’s new album Backspacer from They will then send you a unique link that lets you fight it out during the pre-order period between 21st and 22nd July. For the rest of us tickets are on sale July 23rd but let’s face it.. there won’t be any beyond 0.1ms into the pre-sale assuming HMV’s servers don’t go into meltdown. Which they will.

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):

Super Furry Daft Punk : Super Furry Animals @ Montreal

Super Furry Daft Punk : Super Furry Animals @ Montreal
Originally uploaded by ultrahi.

Another great gig last night – this time the Super Furry Animals at the Just for Laughs hall. After an interesting couple o’ support bands – the monotonal stories of Jeffrey Lewis complete with hand drawn comics, and the wonderful pop punk intensity of Times New Viking – the Super Furries came on with Gruff wearing some kind of space helmet and singing through the eye plate with some great, dark dance beats. It seems they want to be Daft Punk.. but that only lasted for a song before it was helmet off and back to some smashing melodic indie rock. The Furries are on tour right now in the US – so go see them if you can.

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.

Guitar Hero Tab: Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by The Rolling Stones

One of my favourite tunes off Guitar Hero II, an amazing game that you should go buy if you don’t already have it, is ‘Can’t you Hear me Knocking’ by the Rolling Stones. It’s a driving, simple but grippin’ blues riff that sticks in your head like super-glue or the latest chart topper by Britney… when she has something that hits the charts that is.

Anyways, as part of my irregular series on guitar practice I decided to tackle this classic tune, or at least Keith’s rhythm part.. which thankfully is relatively simple, once you’ve tuned your guitar to G, and ignored some of the nuances. Like playing guitar with a burning ciggie stuck in your fretboard… To try it yourself check out the tab here.

Ps, if you’re feeling suitably rockin’ after that, go check out some of my mate Alex’s smashing rock t-shirts, for the guitar god in all of us.

The Brothers’ Gonna Work It Out

Last night the Chemical Brothers played McCarren Pool, and since the torrential rain had stopped I wandered down to check them out. After a brief circuit outside I found a great place to watch from the kiddies playground, where the sound was amazing and I could see everything from standing atop a small wall. Splendid! They played all the classics, old and new, and had some great visuals going on behind them as always. Haven’t seen them play since Glastonbury many years ago, so it was great to get a chance to dance to them outside again. Thanks brothers!

Oh, and not only did the Chemical Brothers come to play in the ‘hood – but apparently the Vice President of Poland came to visit Greenpoint. The local church was cordoned off and surrounded by adoring throngs of local Poles which was highly surreal indeed.

TV on the Radio on the iPod

I was lucky enough to be in the UK when TV on the Radio’s latest album Return to Cookie Mountain came out over there, a good few months before the delayed US launch. As I drove around visiting my family this album was on almost constant play, but for some reason it didn’t grab me as much as the amazing Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes – with classic tracks such as Ambulance & Dreams.

Well it’s been a good six months or so now since I first heard it and now I have to say that Return to Cookie Mountain is rarely off my iPod now. I’ve never had an album that grows on you as much as this, and it’s not like I started out hating it. Every time I listen I hear different nuances and subtleties. So if you don’t have it go and get it now!! Enough fan speak now.

Sleeping Is Giving In

Tonight The Arcade Fire start their residency in Montreal for five nights. Like all of their other residencies the gigs are being held in small, intimate venues – with the associated immediate selling out and subsequent touting of tickets on eBay for significant profit. This is a shame, as like many folks, I think they’re really quite lovely and would like to see them live someday.

Then I found out that every day at 10am there are 50 tickets being released for sale at a local ticket shop. So this morning I popped along, just in case people hadn’t worked this out. Arriving at 10.10am the line looked pretty reasonable so I joined the end. Then the TV crews turned up asking people in front of us who was person number 50. A guy in orange about 15 people in front put his hand up. Doh. Of course having gone all the way up there I wasn’t going to go just because of that – so I hung around, with my new line buddies, till the shop owner stuck his head out the door and told us and the news crews that all 50 tickets were now gone and that the first in line had been there since 4.15am that morning and the 50th had arrived at 7.15am! More tickets are available tomorrow and every day after – but with -17c temperatures and lower I’m not convinced the tickets are worth hypothermia… Maybe.