Archive for the ‘TV reviews’ Category

Any thought on Alabama Shakes‘ debut performance on Later Live with Jools

Quite an individual style I thought… To me they looked like a group of misfits who had converged only because of music. Lead singer Brittany Howard is a male version of Lenny Kravitz. Bassist Zac Cockrell looks like a Magic Number who’s recently returned from a shopping spree at H&M, or simply – Zak Dingle off Emmerdale. Meanwhile, the woolly hat perched upon drummer Steve Johnson’s scalp makes him look like a small-time bandit.

On Hold On, Brittany Howard’s gob has no limits to its aperture! The rubbery thing just keeps stretching to the point where you could shove a baseball down there. Or any other sized ball or object of equivalent dimensions. Her voice has such power and soul. Combined with guitarist Heath Fogg’s (what a name, incidentally)  jazzy, groovy and bluesy twangs, the Shakes are a unique recipe

The Guardian spoke to the Shakes a few weeks back, see here for full interview.  Candidates for 2012’s best breakthrough?

‘I bring a little bit of that punk with me. The energy, man; I can still thrash. I can’t play the guitar very well but I can fake it’ – Brittany Howard.

Live this second over on BBC Radio 2 and Red Button is the 13th renewal of the Folk Awards. An unlucky number perhaps for some, but not for Bellowhead who are aiming to win their 6th Best Live Act title in 8 years. The maverick eleven-tet are also in the hat for their 3rd Best Group gong, to add to victories in 2007 and 2011. Lead vocalist and fiddler Jon Boden is up for his 2nd Best Folk Singer award, to clunk alongside two Best Duo awards he previously won with fellow Bellowheader melodean John Spiers. Hedonism will surely accompany an awards whitewash!

Completing the list for the coveted Best Folk Singer are June Tabor (and/of Oysterband), Jackie Oates & Emily Smith.

Tonight’s ceremony is being graced by performances from Seth Lakeman, regulars The Unthanks and later on – The Dubliners! Along with American Pie-artist Don McLean, the Irish aces will receive a Lifetime Achievement award to commemorate a marvellous 50 years in the business. Hearty renditions of Whiskey In The Jar, Wild Rover & Dirty Old Town down the years have injected the nation’s bloodstreams with nothing but warmth, thus the award is richly deserved.

An extra celebration of their half century service comes in a special programme entitled The Rocky Road From Dublin. Listen: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01blk01/The_Rocky_Road_From_Dublin_50_Years_of_The_Dubliners/

Two weeks after Lana Del Rey transfixed the British public and watching world with her stunning performance of Video Games, Florence Welch & her musical Machine last night returned to Holland to stake a claim in the plaudits stolen by the New York girl.

Singing What The Water Gave Me and No Light, No Light [below], the ‘lady with the harp’ delivered a near-motionless, typically angelic display. Both tracks are taken from Florence’s peach of a new album Ceremonials which was released on Monday.

See the full programme now (or Later!) at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b016zg5s/Later_Live…_with_Jools_Holland_Series_39_Episode_7/

Tragically, this week of Deal or No Deal? has been dubbed Bankenstein’s Monsters. Even more tragically, I am writing a post about it.

Words cannot explain watching ‘wacky scientist’ Noel Edmonds marvel at the show’s special new addition: Dr Pettigrew’s fantastic brains firing catapult. It’s hard to suppress a wry grin when a comical bolt of graphical lightning strikes every time the banker rings. The only real surprise is the omission of the ‘pilgrims’ from the costume drama. Some wisecrack could have at least afforded them a bunch of pumpkin suits. Still, first contestant Garry’s partner has teeth scary enough.

 

What clichés and howlers did the Channel 4 producers miss? 

Lana Del Ray. Captivating.

Performing her single Video Games on Later Live with Jools Holland last Tuesday evening, the “internet sensation” stole the show. Forget Later Live… Five Minutes With Ms Del Rey would have been a more appropriate programme billing. Lana’s ballad leaves me almost as spellbound as Adele’s spine-tingling performance of Someone Like You on the Brits

Resisting the initial compulsive urge to switch off, the melancholic piano keys lure me in. Something about the young New York girl in the white dress and heels is simply fascinating. Her mysterious voice, cute facial expressions and delicate swaying are transfixing. On a par with Marilyn Monroe? You decide. I confess that I am glued tighter to my sofa than Derren Brown ever promised with his hypnotic methods. My finger hovering over the remote’s off button has gone numb, my mouth agog. I know I just witnessed something special.

“They say that the world was built for two”. How I would love to meet her. 

Ther. Theryy. Thoros… Excuse me, where was I? Oh yes, half-way through a programme review… THE HORRORS. Faris Badwan’s troupe of post-punk revivalists also star tonight with their ghostly, transparent single I Can See Through You. It’s echoing noise and keyboard overtones are thrilling, like listening within the vacuum of a tube or with one’s hands clasped over one’s ears. Ahead of their time, or out of place? 

Badwan’s pallid-faced band resemble the Damned in their later gothic years, now more than ever. Faris’ image carbon-copies Joey Ramone’s with his lanky figure, skinny jeans, crooked nose and scruffy barnet trim. Debut single Sheena Is A Parasite also flashed back to The Ramones’ Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, if only in name.

Jools also welcomes Noah & The Whale; Peter Gabriel too (reference for Vampire Weekend fans, think Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa).