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Kimya Dawson – Islington Assembly Hall

15 Apr


Another one ticked off the bucket list.  A great gig, once the lady herself came on stage.  The support acts were quite lukewarm and did nothing but bore. As soon as Kimya came on stage, she set the place alight.  Her poetry, her wit and her soulful voice shone in equal measures.  She may strum the same three chords but what you hear with your ears is a beautiful melody.  Her lyrics are honest and sincere and she leaves herself vulnerable by sharing her most intimate concerns.  One example was a song that she’d written about a friend with a newborn who’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  The friend spends her time worrying about whether she can still accompany her child through life somehow.

Kimya is the Picasso of music.  It seems so easy and simple but it’s really so beautifully complex.  She also recited a poem about police brutality towards Afro-Americans.  The art of protest in art is certainly not dead!

Ghostpoet 24-09-15 Kyiv

24 Sep


This gig was amaze balls.  Ghostpoet has buckets full of talent.  He has very real lyrics, great variation and a terrific stage presence.

Lee Scratch Perry, Kyiv, 28-08-15

29 Aug


The beats were massive and the old guy was happy to be there.  Although, I’m not entirely sure he knew where he was.  He did refer to the crowd as “Russians” on several occasions and ordered “Russian children” to dance.  He was clearly high!  Even lit a few spliffs on stage.

All in all it sounded like a stoned grandad singing karaoke reggae.  Nevertheless,  when you are 79 you can afford to be as punk as you want.

Patrick Wolf, Kyiv 5-4-14

6 Apr

I haven’t been to such an emotional gig in a long while. The gig was held at an old factory hall. Apparently these halls were quite common during the Soviet Period. They were like the British equivalent of a working men’s club.

From the outset, Patrick connected the crowd. He stated that he wasn’t doing a tour, he was just playing a date in Kyiv because he was invited to. People brought flowers to the gig. I saw violets, tulips and daffodils. I have never seen such a thing, like people had come to witness a performance at the ballet or theatre. Mid-song, flowers rained on him, and at the end of the song he was showered with rose petals, confetti and glitter (I’d seen urine being thrown mid-song but never flowers) . Wow!

He addressed the audience as Ukraine throughout and spoke of what an honour and a privilege it was to be there, the inspirational but sad scenes at Maidan and as he left the stage he told the crowd to not give up the fight.


Jay Jay Yeaaaaaaaaah

29 Sep

A support act can overstay their welcome. They are greeted with enthusiasm when they come on stage but then you find yourself clock watching. Every clap they get is not because of their performance but to urge them off the stage. The singer stroke DJ from the band Tomato Jaws (whoooooooooo? Nice name though) misinterprets the applause and continues playing. JJ Johanson, on the other hand, is left waiting in his portacabin.

Jay Jay certainly gave everything. He brought a welcome dose of Swedish minimalism to this part of the world. The crowd lapped it up. They were like gigged starved hungry monsters, wanting more and more live performance. The highlight from the night was the song Dilemma. His music lends itself well to live performances.

The most exciting Graham

23 Apr

Is Graham Coxon the Woody Allen of pop?

To sum up the Coxon gig in one word…brilliant.  I’d seen him previously 5.5 years ago in Finsbury Park but a small grotty venue seemed to suit his music much more.  The Rescue Rooms, in Nottingham, was the venue.  It’s a place the majority of seasoned rock stars have played at some stage in their career.  A place they would now refer to as a toilet.

Coxon played some brilliant raw guitar.  His vocals weren’t brilliant but they fitted with his style of music.  Let’s face it, garage rock doesn’t require a brilliant voice – the Hives have known that for a while.

For a chap that’s played in one of the biggest bands of the modern age, Coxon appears quite shy and sheepish.  I guess that’s what makes him so loveable.  He’s a total contrast to Damon Albarn.  Albarn has retained his cockiness whilst Coxon has kept his humility.

The best stuff that he played came from his album “Love travels at illegal speeds”, but some of the jamming was proper grunge-adelica.  Later in the year he’s supporting his “one time rival”, Noel Gallagher, at Wembley Arena.  It’ll be interesting whether they take to the stage together.  It would certainly be a highlight.

plus special guests

7 Apr

This is something that regularly annoys me about going to gigs. Before the main act there is always a warm up act, something that I am ok with. However, to call a band special guests when they have simply been dragged in off the streets is quite cheeky. Sometimes the main act doesn’t even know the band.

I recall one gig that I went to, in York, I was basically falling asleep to the support act. I was actually nodding. Greyer than David Gray. And the main act was Ray Davies – the biggest rock poet of them all.