Archive | November, 2011

Comedy Review: Daniel Sloss

29 Nov

Komedia: Sunday, November 27 2011
 
Still only 21, Daniel Sloss is no stranger to success with sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival and in the West End, as well as several TV panel show appearances under his belt.

But there’s no escaping his age, partly because of his boyish looks and also because his material is peppered with references to it.

He started with digs at people who are old in age or attitude, while throwing in some gentle gags about his life. He told us he’d just moved out of his parents’ house and was shocked to discover the fridge didn”t automatically fill up with food every Wednesday. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but it wasn’t bad.

What was lame, though, were his frequent warnings that some of the set was going to be shocking. Sadly, it was nothing of the sort.

There was no foul, Jim Jeffries-style rage here, just a bit of sub-Frankie Boyle bluster at easy targets.

There was a pop at Christianity where Jesus was the “wizard in the sky that doesn’t exist”, a couple of odd lines about homosexuality “is that why Brighton is such a clean place?”, and dated jokes about Steve Irwin and Schindler’s List.

It’s a shame, because he clearly has the patter, persona and delivery to impress more.

There were some genuinely funny moments, such as his tale of booking a trip to Disney World with a male friend and the travel agent asking which one of them was dying, as well as his reaction to a lack of audience interaction, “you can talk to me, it’s not grooming”, he said.

In the main, however, his material doesn’t shock, sparkle or come close to living up to the hype.

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Live Review: Cashier No 9

23 Nov

Green Door Store: Tuesday, November 22 2011.

Despite it’s title, Cashier No 9’s debut long player To The Death Of Fun brought a perfectly timed warm glow to a largely drab summer.

With DJ and composer David Holmes doing a stellar job on production duties, the Belfast band took a heavy dose of 60s West Coast Americana, a pick-me-up of psychedelia and a stash of late 80s baggy and concocted an album of melodic bliss.

There’s little doubt the wizardry of Holmes played a hefty part in making sure it sounded more than the sum of its parts, but at a heaving Green Door Store, Cashier No 9 showed they can more than cut it outside of the studio too.

The jangly opener Goldstar, underpinned by catchy, chiming keys, had the effortless swagger of the Stone Roses in their prime. After that nod to 1989, the laidback, hazy melodies of Lost at Sea harked back two decades earlier as it rolled along with waves of harmonica.

It was on the blistering Oh Pity, however, that they really came into their own with it’s carpet bomb cymbals, layers of percussion and sharp rhythm guitar, perfectly offset by singer James Smith’s honey-soaked vocals.

In lesser hands it could have been disaster with each element competing for attention, but they somehow moulded it into a shimmering pop gem.

 Cashier No 9 might not be making bundles of cash – they admitted to being unable to afford a guitar tech as they carried out running repairs mid show – but on this showing, they shouldn’t worry about finding check-out jobs just yet.

Live Review: Erasure

8 Nov

Brighton Dome: Friday, November 4 2011

 If the Government really is committed to improving the general well-being of the nation, they should make Erasure tickets available on the NHS.

Seriously, when it’s pitch black by 5pm and every other TV ad is promoting the impending horror of Christmas, a night with Erasure banishes the winter blues better than a day in bed with a bottle of whiskey and an industrial-sized tub of Haagen Dazs strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

Front man Andy Bell, initially resplendent in a garish, glittery red jacket, was the life and soul. Vocally he was booming, but the real joy was found in his gloriously camp antics.

Never one to take himself too seriously, at times he pirouetted like a plastered ballerina, at others he shimmied across the stage like a poodle on ice. He was the ultimate showman.

 For an hour-and-a-half he and sidekick Vince Clarke enthralled with all the hits – and it’s easy to forget how many pop belters they’ve produced – alongside a sprinkling of tracks from new album ‘Tomorrow’s World’.

The lolloping ‘Always’ eased us in to the classics before a brash ‘Blue Savannah’ set the standard for the rest of the show with the sold-out crowd joining in with the soaring ‘ahhhs’ on the chorus.

Later, a breathless ‘I Love To Hate You’ built to a rasping finale, ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Oh L’Amour’ featured mass sing-alongs, before a swaying sea of arms during the stomping ‘Stop’ provided a suitably euphoric ending.

Sometimes music need do nothing more than put an almighty grin on your face. Erasure, in their perfect pomp, are the undisputed masters of it.

Blue Blood on Bonfire Night

3 Nov

Forget bonfires this Saturday and get yourself down to The World’s End for a night of Blues-influenced rock at the first Blue Blood night.

The free gig features Dirty White Fever (Dominic Knight from 80s Matchbox playing dark blues with a solid drum groove), Hollowmoon (Beautiful psychedelic blues rock with a political edge), Dead Whisky (Self-described as dirty sweaty strip club blues) and Thee Mouldous Hypotenuse (the solo project from the Screaming Speakers front man)

For more info, go to the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=163240910436737

Live Review: British Sea Power and Electric Soft Parade

2 Nov

 

Concorde 2: Tuesday, November 1 2011

If, in 2001, you had been forced to choose which of these Brighton-based bands would be headlining Concorde 2 in ten years’ time, the clever money would have been on Electric Soft Parade.

As it was, they quickly clocked-up daytime radio support, Top of the Pops appearances and a Mercury Music Prize nomination before fading away, while British Sea Power have steadily gathered widespread critical acclaim, a dedicated fanbase and ongoing success.

It was a bit of a surprise, then, that it was Electric Soft Parade who seemed to be having more fun.

Here, amid the brotherly banter that flowed between Tom and Alex White, they reeled-off a classy collection of snappy and bouncy pop treats played with passion and panache.

From the fizz of ‘Start Again’ to the fuzzy harmonies of ‘Silent to the Dark’, they had the energy and enthusiasm of a new band, not one which was foolishly dropped by the mainstream music business.

It wasn’t a shock that British Sea Power were more intense, what was unexpected, though, was the hit and miss nature of their set.

The rallying call of opener ‘Who’s In Control’ was a polished, impressive start, with darting strobe lighting and plumes of smoke accompanying lines like “I wish sometimes protesting was sexy on a Saturday night.”

Later, ‘Remember Me’, complete with careering guitars and crashing cymbals, was bang on the money, but too many other tracks failed to get the pulse racing and blurred into a seething mass of distorted chords, muffled vocals and screeching riffs.

For a band famed for navigating uncharted waters with their influences, independence and eccentricity – they used to struggle to fit on stage because of the foliage and stuffed animals which were given pride of place – it was strange that this show was more workman-like than wonderful.

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