I Love Your Live Action

I went to two concerts in three days last week, I don’t think I even did that at the height of my gig-going early 20s. The two shows and artists couldn’t have been more different, except that they were both fantastic. All the videos here were shot by my lovely wife at the actual shows.

First up on Thursday night was Father John Misty with his California-flavoured country-rock. The audience was all plaid shirts and beards, and for an encore the band did a cover of Canned Heat’s “On The Road Again” which should give you the general vibe. Old-timey dude rock can still be a wonderful thing with a band as tight and skilled as this lot were, and Father John (aka Josh Tillman) is a terrific front man, all slinky Jagger-esque moves and laconic stoner humour. Man has a hell of a voice too.

The next band we were seeing would have to be very good to top that show which made me a little nervous as the next band was Saint Etienne. Sorry, I mean OMFG SAINT ETIENNE!!!!!!

St. Et exist in an alternate pop universe from the very trad, dad Father John Misty, with the “band” being Pete and Bob standing behind a bank of synthesizers and Sarah Cracknell (swoon) vamping it up like the indie disco queen in her sparkly dress and feather boa — the only “real” instrument being the cowbell played by backing singer (and semi-legend) Debsey Wykes.

Whatever nerves I had evaporated a few seconds into the opening number “Lose That Girl”, and the wildly enthusiastic cheers and gleeful, arm-waving singing-along from the audience that greeted every number made me realize that the place was filled with people like me: fans from way back who have never had the chance to see them live before and were just beside themselves with joy that finally, here they were. I think Sarah and the band were pleasantly taken aback by the delirious noise and appeared quite chuffed by it — at one point I saw Bob exchange a sheepish grin with Debsey that seemed to be saying “Blimey!” It was a magical night for me too, I was smiling and dancing and singing the whole time.

With a set that included “Like A Motorway”, “You’re In A Bad Way”, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now” (the highlight for me), and “He’s On The Phone” we had plenty to go mental for. On the way there I joked to the wife that for me this was like seeing The Beatles which was obviously meant as jokey hyperbole, but by the end it didn’t seem that way.

(That isn’t me singing along very badly in the background of the Saint Etienne videos by the way.)


The Way We Wore

The opening titles of this got me all misty-eyed and wistful and I wasn’t even that big a watcher of the show at the time. This might sound silly but it’s the coats they’re wearing, especially the green Parka with a fur-trimmed hood that Sam has on. Seeing that just whisks me back to the school playground with a veritable Proustian rush. If he had a black Adidas sports bag too I’d be a blubbering wreck. Never had a paper round myself though.

Terrific theme song by Renaissance who had a hit in 1978 with this lovely tune.

The Cost of Frying

I don’t think it’s the cheapest anymore, last time I had a portion of chips it cost me a pound — a pound! for a bag of chips! — and having fish with it will set you back a fiver in London, so it’s probably not the working-class staple it once was. There used to be a line going out the door of my local chip shop (which is still there!) every Friday night with people buying fish and chips for the whole family, that’d cost quite a few quid now.

But I suppose “cheap” is all relative, I still remember the day chips went up from 10p to 12p. My mum sent me and my sister to the chippie one night to get some chips for our tea, both of us clutching a 10p coin in our eager little hands, only to find when we got there that they had gone up in price and we had to go back home to get the extra money. You could say we were crying all the way from the chip shop. Ho ho.

Download: There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis – Kirsty MacColl (mp3)

Did you ever do this when you were a kid? Go into a chip shop right before they closed and ask “Got any chips left?” When they said “Yes” you shouted “Serves you right for cooking so many!” and then run out of the shop. Oh, what wits we were.

New Monday

Lana Del Rey, the girl many love to hate, is releasing an expanded “Paradise Edition” of her debut album Born To Die that includes this new song “Ride” which I think is rather wonderful. Though with eight new songs on this edition I don’t know why she isn’t just putting out a proper new album instead.

This video is a ridiculously overblown 10 minutes complete with pretentious spoken word bits, but bugger me if it isn’t also hypnotic and beautiful. I think I hate to love her.

Alice Through The Test Card

Last week would have been the 43rd birthday of Trish Keenan, the lead singer of Broadcast who died in 2011. James Cargill, her partner in the band and in life, has posted a couple of personal recordings of Trish singing and reading on the band’s website which are lovely but incredibly sad under the circumstances. Much as I want Cargill to put out whatever unreleased recordings he has I’d perfectly understand if he decided he couldn’t bear to listen to them ever again.

(The title of this post comes from this tribute. I thought it was about the most perfect way of describing Trish that I’d ever heard.)

Something for the Weekend

I first saw this clip over at Dangerous Minds and seriously think it might be about the most brilliant music video ever made. The story goes that Hall & Oates were a bit cheesed off about having to lip-synch their latest hit “She’s Gone” for some local television station so they filmed this piece of hysterically fucked-up magnificence which takes the piss in rather epic style. It also looks like large quantities of drugs might have been involved too. Apparently the station never broadcast it, I wonder why.

(The girl walking across the screen is Daryl Hall’s girlfriend Sara Allen who he wrote Sara Smile about.)