Focus on folk music: Pete Seeger; Inside Llewyn Davis

There is a certain poignancy to the death this week of the great folk hero Pete Seeger, the singer and songwriter of protest songs who helped define the folk music landscape of the last century. There are several of his compositions that I remember from my childhood and they feel like traditional songs passed down through…

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The Orb 25th Anniversary, The Trades Hebden Bridge

The Trades in Hebden Bridge I decided would be the right place to experience The Orb for their 25th Anniversary Show. It felt appropriate to be somewhere intimate and immediate, friendly and just a bit off the wall. The Orb are scheduled to play near me at The Forum in Kentish Town, which is a…

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Review: 3 Daft Monkeys at the Half Moon, Putney

While some people play air guitar, I confess to air violin moments. Ideal material for this innocuous pastime: The Levellers, Peatbog Faeries, and Cornish trio 3 Daft Monkeys. I first discovered them at Towersey in 2011, followed by an autumn gig at the Half Moon pub in Putney. And here they are back again, two…

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Review: Crosby, Stills and Nash play Manchester Arena 2013

There’s a feeling of warmth and unmistakable pride here in Manchester as we await Crosby, Stills and Nash to make their entrance. For Graham Nash, it’s his homecoming gig – the Blackpool-born, Salford-raised kid who helped create hippy history. Carry On is the opener, and it’s those distinctive, urgent vocals of Steve Stills, rising and breaking…

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Review: Laura Marling at York Hall, Bethnal Green, 2013

Laura Marling performing at York Hall, a boxing hall in Bethnal Green, sounds initially like a bit of an mismatch. But during one of her chatty moments between songs, Laura informs us that she used to live locally and she asks the audience for an update on the area. These days, Laura’s an L.A. babe….

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Review: Fleetwood Mac joined by Christine McVie 02 Arena, final night

One of my earliest music memories is Peter Green singing Need Your Love so Bad, and his own composition Green Manalishi (with the two prong crown), which to my pre-teen brain sounded bewilderingly mystical. Strange to now see Fleetwood Mac, in their present form, live in 2013, over 30 years later. Mick Fleetwood and John McVie command…

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Festivals round up 2013. The greats and the RIPs

With such a gorgeous hot summer it’s been a good year for music festivals. Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis who finally bagged the Stones this year is calling it one of their best ever. But my interest is in smaller festivals, partly because I like being able to walk from tent to arena in under ten minutes, partly…

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Review: End of the Road festival 2013

With David Byrne, Sigur Ros and Belle & Sebastian amongst others on the lineup, End of the Road festival set in lush Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset looks like a perfect musical finale to the summer. Far from feeling chilled and serene, I’m feeling a knot of tension. Which act should I see? … and while I’m…

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