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…

Read More

The best French band right now: no, not Daft Punk. It’s Chinese Man

There’s a trip-hop Dix­ieland jazz-lov­ing col­lec­tive based in Mar­seilles in the south of France who I have been a big fan of for the past cou­ple of years. Some­what elu­sive and under the radar in the UK, the intrigu­ing posse go by the name of Chi­nese Man. So who are they? To quote from their website:…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Cafe society in the Northern Quarter: tea with DJ Mr Scruff and an Icelandic style venue

Please note that Teacup has now sad­ly closed dur­ing the pan­dem­ic.  Ear­ly Man­ches­ter mem­o­ries include being per­suad­ed by my friend’s old­er sis­ter to hang around out­side George Best’s shop, hop­ing he would appear. My favourite retail des­ti­na­tion was Crowthers dim­­ly-lit lit­tle bou­tique stuffed with gor­geous Biba-style clothes. Teacup on Thomas St has Mr Scruff the Man­ches­ter DJ…

Read More

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…

Read More

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.…

Read More

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 the…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More