Amelia’s Magazine | Bonde Do Role @ Scala

Alex Gene Morrison’s art can’t help but attract attention. Despite being displayed on a backward-facing wall, mind purchase the second I walk into the ‘The Future Is Now’ show, website like this my eye is drawn straight to it. He is exhibiting three large canvases; each of a painted face, buy more about but it is the middle one that I find most conspicuous. The head, body and hair are hidden under a dense layer of matt black paint, leaving only a set of menacing eyes in the picture. The larger than life size does nothing to mask the unnatural peculiarity of Morrison’s portraits either. My walk around, champagne glass in hand, takes me past the odd inspiring piece. Somewhere on a balcony above me I spy a tower of precariously balanced teacups that look fairly beautiful from afar. Still on the ground floor, however, I stop to admire a row of miniature portraits, skilfully painted in muted colours. Each displays a varying degree of abnormality – none of the delicate faces are by any means normal.

David Hancock‘s enormous, hyper-real landscape is definitely something to be seen. Vaguely reminding me of one of those children’s T-shirts with unicorns, hills and fairy dust on, the canvas depicts a fantasy mountain scene, with wonderful skies and a dreamlike river. Hancock has chosen to makes certain parts of the canvas 3D, presumably using something lumpy like mod-rock to create an unsatisfying surface you want to reach out and touch.The piece that really stayed with me that evening though was by Alexis Milne.

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Whilst scanning some art on the other side of the room I caught sight of Amelia and the crew hovering around a small, darkly painted shack. On closer inspection I discover that inside the hut is the scariest clown I have ever seen, complete with tarot cards and a fake American accent. Pinned to the walls are various masks of animals and child-like paintings. The clown (perhaps Milne himself?) is reading Amelia’s ‘tarot cards’ in his loud,phoney, and frankly creepy voice. He tells her that she is a horny schizophrenic. I decide I must also have a go while we’re there. He wastes no time in telling me that I am to end up a chariot racing, lap dancer with a fondness of eating.

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Hmm. He also makes me wear a creepy cat mask whilst talking to him, so I understand this is to be taken with more than a pinch of salt. On the whole ‘The Future Is Now’ show displays an array of style, quality and substance in the pieces they have chosen to exhibit. I am left feeling overwhelmed (it really is quite a big exhibition) but more importantly inspired.

Photography: Amelia innit!
Photo 1: Sophie, Anna, James and Tim

After forgetting to RSVP to the Young KnivesRough Trade instore, case some of the A-Mag team and I were sitting outside nursing ciders wondering whether it was time to try and sweet talk the doorman. Funnily enough, approved munching on some food next to us was none other than the Young Knives manager, who took pity and kindly put us on the door. Thanks Duncan!

After trying to scull the rest of our cider – yes, all class we are – we walked into Rough Trade to the sounds of the song The Decision, and an epic, Phil Collins style drum fill. Oh yeaaah baby. I, not having the vertical advantage of my companion’s six foot four inches, had to crane my neck from mid-way through the crowd to glimpse the thick rimmed geek chic of Henry and Thomas “House Of Lords” Dartnell and Oliver Askew, garbed up in what Tall James described as conservative shirts and ties, looking like they’ve come fresh out of their nine to five jobs at a real estate agent.

With mature, well-crafted indie pop songs, the Young Knives are musically tight like tigers. As has happened in the past from what I gather, Razorlight got a mention – as they have a song called Up All Night as well…incidentally, as do Unwritten Law, Lionel Richie, Boomtown Rats and the Counting Crows. Their vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Crowded House. Repetitive guitar riffs ran under infectious hooks, getting heads bobbing and a warm reception from the crowd.

With their easy stage presence and self-deprecating banter that conveyed their confidence and self-assurance at the quality of their own music; and whether they were sartorially splendid or committing fashion faux pas in their outfits, they could convince me to rent a property any day. And then I’d ask them to play at the housewarming.

It was the most incestuous night of music ever – though apparently every night at the Brudenell Social in Leeds is a musical pit of incest…

Besides being an opportunity for solo music makers to take their bedroom brainstorms out onto the stage, visit web MAN ALIVE! borne of Leeds artist collective Nous Vous, pharmacy included a number of other artist collectives showcasing and selling various works and bits and bobs.


First up was Dinosaur Pile-Up, recipe popping his gig cherry with a two song set. With a hand injury in play and the first rehearsal with a band backing him up that same afternoon, performance-wise it was much better than some could have done under the circumstances. It sounds like commercial success to me. Love is a Boat (And We’re Sinking) is an infectiously catchy anthem for frustrated heartbreak and confusion at relationships enough for an entire American teen series (enter Ryan and Marissa).

Glaciers, one Nic Burrows was up next with a bumbling Mr. Bean-like stage presence that really charmed, to many female exclamations of “Aw How sweet!” One of his mates actually commented “That slick bastard knows exactly what he’s doing.” Musically, he certainly does. Plaintive, earnest and warm, Glaciers is lovely. Guest appearances by the darling she-beast Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin fame and Mike Payne aka Mechanical Owl in Melamine made it an onstage pow wow.

Vest For Tysso is Will Edmonds and is a one, and occasionally, a two man band. Glaciers’ Nic Burrows popped in and out of the set on various instruments. Sweet, rich and multi-dimensional, just like a hearty carrot cake, this was, amazingly his first and last gig before jetting off to play at Canada’s Pop Montreal Festival.

Star of the night though was Mike Payne aka Mechanical Owl, who surprised with some genuine pop gems. After some technical mishaps including a core meltdown on his MACbook, and a badly placed mobile phone (which resulted in the tell-tale interference of an incoming SMS – though in this context, it may not have been totally out of place), Mechanical Owl impressed with the well rounded maturity of his varied and well thought out songs – smile inducing, strong and melancholic.


Then came Napoleon IIIrd, who never disappoints, with his heady mix of strummed acoustics, undulating synth, full of cuts and clicks, a triumphant trumpet section, and impassioned and ragged vocals. His is a set full of choruses that will march around in your head, with a broody, somewhat troubled, but ever hopeful Napoleon IIIrd fully in command of his electronic brigade.

Whether you like it or not, the royal family themselves are a result of inbreeding; as are most sovereign clans. Generally, this sort of family tree results in at the very least, mildly cross-eyed, buck-toothed, hammy-eared dolts. On the other hand, the MAN ALIVE! bill saw everyone having some kind of finger in everyone else’s pie; and instead of the usual weak specimens, gave birth to the rather uncanny result of an unfairly talented line up, despite springing from a small (and refreshingly un-skinny) ‘jean’ pool.

Flier by The Nous Vous Collective
Napoleon IIIrd Photograph by Christel Escosa

One of my favourite artists at the moment, illness and one of my favourite London venues…. surely Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan and co) at Camden’s majestic Koko would be fabulous, approved right? Of course it was. I missed the support because I was running late: I simply couldn’t decide what Natasha would want me to wear. When I finally arrived, mid the Bjork-esque Trophy, the quiet crowd were already mesmerized by the sound of Khan and her band. I couldn’t fathom whether the eerie, sombre silence and general lack of movement was good or bad – until the raucous applause at the end of the opener. Clearly the room was full of Bat fans, and it was a struggle to find any spot in the whole venue where a good view was to be had. I weaved in and out of folk until I found myself at the highest balcony, which was surprisingly only half full.

From here, a clear view of the stage was to be had. Winter trees framed the singer and her band, whilst a mystic moon hung creepily over the ensemble featuring interesting projections – available as a post card set for you to treasure after the gig.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this incredible act live, and instead have only read a syndicate of reviews, by now you will no doubt feel nauseous reading the following words: eerie, scary, spooky, haunting, chilling, magical, bewitching. I’m afraid, dear readers, that only this compendium of descriptions summarises a gig like this. But what most reviewers often omit is that, beyond the monstrous melodies, this is a stunning woman – musically, technically, physically.

Natasha, dazzling as ever in a bat-winged glittered smock, leggings, long boots and staple headband, moved effortlessly from track to track – presenting her svelte frame sometimes at front stage centre, bells and all; sometimes taking time at the piano, or on one occasion brandishing her recently acquired ‘wizard’s stick’ for a reworking of classic track Sarah. Natasha firmly has her feet on the ground, and spoke short, sweet sentences in between songs – her timid demeanour shining through on lines sung bashfully – such as Taste The Hands That Drink My Body.

Seeing the gig from the upper balcony was a true experience – the crowd wore their complimentary Bat For Lashes paper masks (featuring Khan’s original trademark feather head dress) and witnessing them all lined up, facing the stage, heads tilted upwards – was a little disturbing. Feeling like a prize pervert at a strange cult meeting was not what I expected, but nevertheless it was entertaining.


Songs like the dazzling Horse and I and crowd favourite What’s a Girl To Do? were given an more interesting up-tempo flavour; it was a huge shame the latter was let down with weak backing vocals. These tracks were interspersed with softer choruses such as The Wizard and the poetic Saw A Light, which were kept at their spellbinding best. A sweeter cover of Tom Waits’ Lonely was an attractive interpretation and would have gone unnoticed to all bar revellers acutely familiar with Natasha’s music. New track Missing Time was also showcased; it sounded great but stuck out like Natasha’s outfit might do at a funeral.

Last night saw the end of the Fur and Gold tour, an album that has lauded critical acclaim internationally. Let’s raise a toast to Khan and Co, and keep everything crossed that the follow up album will be equally as affecting as the debut.

Photography by Matt Bramford
Nate Smith and Pete Cafarella met years ago at university and played in a lick of bands together, page during which time Pete also starred in Nate’s student films. After uni they were reunited in New York and started as a duo in Nate’s bedroom in Queens. Shy Child was born.


They don’t discuss references or influences, order as it is too difficult. As Nate states, ‘ How many tracks are on our ipods?’ They would like to go down as a modern-day Chas and Dave, and currently listen to Metronomy, SMD, Black Sabbath and classic Wu Tang, amongst many others.

This new-wave/electronic/techno/punk pairing are going down well here in the UK and had made it their focus for this year, and after the festive season they’re heading back Stateside to pick up where they left off there.

Saturday saw their last date in London, at the Carling Academy in Islington. Nice little venue. I had been banging on about this band for a while, so I took two friends along as they were keen to offer a listen. What I failed to tell them was that it was a MySpace backed night, beginning very early, and featuring the youngest crowd I have ever seen at a gig. Ouch. Now I know it’s a little while ago now, but at 16 I do not remember skipping everywhere. Honestly. And I have no real qualm with skipping, but it is really all that necessary? Maybe skipping is the new black, or the new new-rave, maybe. Hopefully not.

Anyroad, we arrived and were asked for ID. With 80 years between the three of us, I’m hoping as we enter that this isn’t going to be the only pleasurable part of the night / late afternoon.

Whilst in the UK, Shy Child have performed a number of gigs, appeared on Jools Holland and more recently teamed up with Stella McCartney for Swarovski Fashion Rocks, which saw them enjoying a little musical chairs action with the models. “It was really fun and different for us,” says Nate. “And what we did together was a lot more exciting than some of the other pairings.” Agreed. Such a gig has brought their music to the fashion set, and their synth-styled, new-wave beats have hit the right market (it is no haphazard coincidence they have supported the Klaxons, amongst many others). The true measure of this band’s phenomenon, though, is that they can appeal to such diverse crowds – from Stella’s shmoozers to angst ridden teens, whose parents just, you know, don’t understand. That sort of thing.

I bumped into a friend of mine from Vogue there, who had a tale to tell. She’d gone into the toliets with a girlfriend, and a young girl had run out of the toilet, sssshing anyone who entered. Politely, my friend asked “Why do we need to be quiet in the toilet?” Naturally, the girl remarked, “Because Leanne is in that cubicle on the phone to her parents, and they think she’s in Pizza Hut.” Classy.

The duo that are Shy Child, on record and on stage, sound much more than two guys with a keytar and a drum kit. They are innovative, exciting and raw. They’ve stripped what was a heavy, electronic sound back to basics. Painfully catchy Drop The Phone is an immensly funky beat and is a pastiche of all sorts of tunes. Other favourite tracks of the night were Astronaut which has a distinct Giorgio Mororder disco flavour. The superb Good and Evil also floated my boat and has an incredible reggaeton influence. All enjoyed by a huddle of excited teens bouncing at the front – as well as everyone 18+ tapping their feet at the back.


A great night had by all, not least the kids. So it was time to head home, and play muscial chairs.

Photography by Matt Bramford
It’s a brand new kletzmer world!

The new Rough Trade superstore is cavernous and full of trendy young things casually perusing the flyers and freebie magazines near the coffee shop, viagra many on their own like me, website due to the stringent ticket conditions of this in-demand gig. Yes, visit this this is a gig to be accompanied by coffee or fruit juice only – beers to be had later in the bar next door.

At the back under a sign saying Dance CDs, a small stage had been erected and the racks shunted out of the way. Beirut is a cute teddybear of a man accompanied by his scenester hoodie crew. Only here will you see what looks like a new raver playing double bass to a new wave kletzmer soundtrack.

Beirut is discombobulated…he’s got jet lag and the mikes are having feedback issues that mean I spend most of the gig with a hand over the ear nearest the speakers – but that doesn’t stop a rousing set. Accordians, multiple ukes, a man playing a funny drum thing on the floor next to the cds, mandolin, violin, trumpet – all musical bases are covered. This is the return of the rock orchestra – people are bored with the traditional guitar, bass, drums combo, and everywhere I turn I’m seeing a move towards the instruments of an orchestra or big band. This is music that wouldn’t be out of place in Red Square in Moscow, but suddenly it is being feted as the next big thing. Not a bad thing I say.

I met Nancy at Thermal Festival in September. She’s ace. Wearing a very fetching grey jersey dress – that I am sure had more than a few men drooling over some carefully revealed chest – she sat down between guitar and harp.


In her hair were some artfully arranged buttons (tip: she sews them onto hair grips) and on her lap she placed her harp. Nancy sings songs that touch your heartstrings. It’s just her, more about her pure sweet voice and a harp or guitar, nothing else. She peppers her uniquely modern folk songs with funny little Nancy-isms and anecdotes. “You’ve cheered me up. I get all flustered when I come to London; I feel all weird. I stayed on my brother’s sofa in Hackney and he told me not to leave the house today cause I didn’t have a key. So I stayed in on the sofa watching daytime TV. Not good!” Down to earth and naturally talented, Nancy didn’t disappoint. Not many people seem to know of Nancy in London yet, but with a multi-album deal sorted her reputation is bound to grow. Catch her while the venues are still intimate, where she can leap off the stage to sell her merch as soon as she finishes playing. “There’s albums over there for sale. By the way…”
Three years young and buoyed by the glowing acclaim heaped upon their second LP, approved 2006′s Yellow House, try Brooklyn’s own Grizzly Bear offer up something of a celebration of their talents with the release of Friend – a ten track compilation of covers, nurse collaborations, new material and reworked favourites. Having invited the likes of Band Of Horses, CSS and Zach Condon (Beirut) to contribute, Grizzly Bear have managed to avoid notions of ‘shameless cash-in’ and produced an offering of merit. Indeed there is lots here to enjoy.

Brooding, dirty guitars help define opener Alligator, an alternate take on a cut from GB’s debut release. It features the first contribution from Zach Condon, and though it plods and outstays its welcome slightly, a glorious choral burst midway through manages to save it from being the drab opener it threatened to be. Things take an upturn with a brilliantly dark cover of The Crystals smash He Hit Me. It’s sinister tone is offset by a vocal that tips it hat to the late 80′s new romantics, and the sporadic sonic explosions serve to create an unforgettable slice of haunting pop.

The middle of the record then drifts along in a pleasant enough manner, without really exciting – which is a bit of a shame. The bizarrely titled Granny Diner exemplifies the problem. Positively, things are kick-started again with an energised, disco version of Knife courtesy of CSS. It begins, rather unfortunately, with a sample that appears lifted directly from StereophonicsDakota, but soon recovers itself. Punchy, choppy beats and a wave of synths dominate, and the upbeat tempo is just what the record needs. Band Of Horses then take us from disco to country and western with a banjo led take on Plans. It doesn’t quite work, but there are enough quirks – a lovely honky tonk piano solo outro being one – to engage. The record ends in a melancholic way, with a rather dreary Daniel Rossen home recording entitled ‘Deep Blue Sea’. It’s inclusion ill-judged.

Despite it’s flaws there are some lovely moments on Friend. It is diverse, sonically ambitious and at times captivating, which is no mean feat.

Gigs like this, no rx epic ones, medical are always daunting. You want to see all the bands but you’re clearly not going to. At ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES, pharmacy it works. It’s over a whole weekend and everyone is in the right mindset. So that is what made this gig kinda strange; as essentially it was all the same people you get at ATP looking slightly bemused.

With a line-up of bands like these, even though they are becoming big, you still like to think of them as your little secret. So when you see them playing at a venue like that of The Forum, the enchantment is somewhat lost, you wish you were seeing them at Barden’s or at a festival, or, most idealistically, your friends’ warehouse. Especially, ESPECIALLY, when at first you’re told you cannot leave the balcony (what is that all about?!) where I was confined to as I watched Black Lips. Who – besides being as far away as I could possibly be – were exciting. I missed Fuck Buttons and all but one song of Deerhunter, because I was putting my white face paint on. Which is a little unforgivable, as Fuck Buttons are one of the best dirty yet beautiful duos around of late. Though Black Lips, with their lo-fi garage punk and their sloppy vintage sound and sweaty little faces, was the perfect start for me. They did a very special cover of Thee Headcoats ‘Wildman’, which was the point when we got distinctly pissed off being stuck on the balcony so snuck downstairs, for Liars.

The Liars’ new album is strange. It is just really simple. Had it come first, before ‘They Threw Us In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top’ and two more equally as concept driven albums it would have made more sense. But ‘Liars’, self-titled as it is, is a key, not just as noise led or art like, like their set, which bar the old songs, resemble more of a 1970s garage band than that of the beautiful, sadistic nature of the Liars we have come to expect. Its like they’re doing everything backwards; digressing to a pared down, more simple punk sound. But they’re Liars, so in all probability just messing with us, so maybe we should just let them get on with it.


By Deerhoof I wanted to expect big things, a grand and innovative performance. It all began charmingly enough, but by this point and most of my friends were trapped outside because they smoke and I really wanted find two them to be there as Deerhoof are so magical you want to re-assure yourself its real. So I spent a good deal of time during Deerhoof’s set wondering around as a lost zombie, and the big venue meant I kept losing the sound and meeting more equally frustrated people who were leaving. So halfway though their set I did just that. Left. ATP do festivals best.

Gillan Edgar (yes, dosage that’s his real name) is a Scottish songsmith who has set up home in Manchester with his girlfriend, prostate their two dogs, rx and an cluster of instruments. His performances tend towards the retro; reliant on basic acoustic grooves, and he has a unique, happy-go-go-lucky sound. Imagine how today’s fix of troubled indie bands might sound if they actually had a smile on their face, and you’re half way there.


On Monday, Gillan and his band put on a show at the Indigo2 – the new, lavish O2 arena’s cooler, alternative sister venue, housed in what was the Millennium Dome. Edgar is, at the moment, unsigned; but the clock is ticking for him to find his perfect match in the music industry. Bound for the pop charts with his boyish good looks, Gillan exudes confidence and is a completely natural show-off. I’m not usually one for crowd participation, but encouragement by Gillan to sing The Greatest Gift’s chorus (No no no no, no no no no) was met by myself and the crowd with excitement. This is exactly the kind of thing he promotes at his intimate gigs, which light-up the faces of his small but loyal following. In between marvellous melodies he connects with his audience with his laid back, witty persona and larger-than-life stage presence. I had been waiting for him to play in London for a while, so imagine my excitement when I heard the Bedford (the small Balham live music venue) were to host him here at the Indigo.


Edgar’s music is exciting indeed – and can only be described as pop and rock sitting contiguously, providing heart warming lyrics and a musically ‘up yours’ to pretentious indie bands who have the attitude but not the substance. Gillan has the credentials to perform with his band in such a grand venue, and I’m sure seeing him play solo with his guitar at a cosy gig would be equally impressive.

It’s so refreshing to find a musician who combines honest music with good old-fashioned fun. Gillan knocks out quality tunes with a huge smile on his face. Hooks like Mr Inconsistent and The Eureka Song make you bounce with glee, whilst the more poetic The Greatest Gift and Victoria Has A Secret make the mind move instead.

Gillan’s music isn’t complicated, assuming or prescribing – it’s just effing good. I smile smugly at my compadres with a look of ‘I told you so’ as Gillan plays his last tune. A long awaited debut CD is in the pipeline (hurry up, man!) but until then, it’s back to his MySpace for a listen.

Photography by Matt Bramford
It’s the politest crowd of all time. People move out of the way without me asking them to. One skinny guy, site wearing glasses and a cardigan, sildenafil apologises for no discernable reason. This isn’t surprising. Nice people generally come to the Luminaire. Normally to watch nice men play quiet acoustic guitars, nicely. A bit like Gravenhurst’s first record Flashlight Seasons.

The first shock for anyone whose only involvement with Gravenhurst being Flashlight Seasons – an accessible, downbeat folk album – is that this is not just that one guy. It’s a four-piece ensemble onstage. Singer Nick Talbot wears earplugs, unnecessarily. He makes some Slint-y harmonics on his electric (!) guitar. Alex Wilkins on other guitar echoes it with warm swathes of gentle noise. The rhythm section is pounding, concise and unrelenting.

This is unsettling. Gravenhurst’s four excellent albums sound markedly singular, the product of one brain. But the band’s performance is crucial to their live sound; the instrumental moods build up, develop and fade. Talbot’s voice, when it finally arrives after a drawn-out jam, is fey and resigned. His voice is often the band’s main draw on record, but live it’s not quite translating. On The Velvet Cell, Talbot’s a pissed off computer techie, singing about murder “lying dormant in the heart of every man” with a touch too much passive relish. It’s great, but the harmonic guitar stuff at the beginning of the set led the songs better than his paper-thin voice, which was weedier and shyer than it should be.

The second shock is the music. It’s hard to think of a neater, more comfortable niche than “that band on Warp who do the quiet folk thing,” but to their credit Gravenhurst have moved closer and closer to total psych noise mania with every release. Hollow Men from new album The Western Lands is total Dinosaur Jr territory, without the solos. Talbot strums his guitar manically, making his right arm look like a crazed, live side of ham.

They get called “post rock” a lot. I guess that’s fair. The quiet parts are inventive and fluid. The loud bits are rocking, not revolutionary, but totally worth the wait when they arrive. That’s about the biggest plaudit I’m ever likely to give “post rock”. But it sounds more like bastard Kraut to me, anyway.

Occasionally the strumming, feedback, fragile voice and layered drums catch alight and it feels like everything is beautifully interlocking. Except, you know, in a non-stoned way. Talbot’s voice warms up and becomes the beautiful counter to the instruments’ tired, reliable funeral song. It’s weirdly welcoming, but it wasn’t what I expected.

When music editor Christel told me I was on the guest list for this gig, patient she was greeted with a week of agitated over-enthusiasm and stupid Devendra-related questions. Not only was I smitten for the Banhart, I was a recently converted Laura enthusiast too, after weeks of listening to her soothing melodic tones in Amelia’s kitchen. To say that she has featured on every one of my recent mix tapes is an understatement. (She’s made it on to each one twice.)

So finally the evening arrived, and with my floral maxi-dress and lace headband in place I met up with my +1 (boyfriend Jake) for a pre-gig beer in Camden.
I thought I might be a teensy bit jealous of Laura Marling before the gig – (she’s a 17-year-old singer/songwriter extraordinaire who gets to support folk legends for god’s sake!) but after watching her I was absolutely green. How dare she be so unfailingly talented and successful at her age! And her attributes didn’t even seem to end there: to watch, she was the cutest of urban nymphs: tiny, with somewhat scene (click on this, no really) peroxide hair, an oversized hoodie slung off the shoulder and an unassuming manner that found her mumbling graciously between songs. Though she looked like she might not be enjoying herself, she was making a lot of us in the audience happy. I sang along fanatically to the ones I knew, and enjoyed hearing some new tales from her latest repertoire. Unfortunately the set was pretty much over before it began – she slunk off stage after five prettily concise tunes (alas without playing my favourite New Romantic) but left me in high spirits.

Devendra kept an impatient audience waiting for half an hour after Laura’s set, while he probably did something cool like smoke a joint backstage with his bohemian friends. We were pretty heated up by the time he stepped out from the shadows (hey just ‘cos it’s folk doesn’t mean the audience don’t push and shove a little) but oh my god did he make up for it! The most beautifully enchanting man I have ever seen, Devendra practically seemed to shine in the light of his own velvet clad aura. He opened the set with a joke song that he deliberately mimed, and just kept the skillz coming and coming, somehow managing to be funny, talented and entertaining the whole way through.

His voice sounded quite different live, and I mean that in a good way. Maybe it was just to do with getting the whole Devendra Banhart experience. It would be unfair not to mention his band while reviewing the gig because they obviously play a big part in his live performances. I couldn’t stop looking at the guitarist to his left. I swear he had actually stepped right out of ’69, complete with a shoulder-length mat of centre-parted hair and three piece flared suit. Together they made a pretty marvellous bunch.

I left the gig with an even bigger crush than I’d arrived with and a desire to pick up the guitar and learn a few tunes… perhaps next time I’ll be the supporting act.

Aaaargh UPSET THE RHYTHM. What would I do without them? They make seeing the noisy and alternative acts so easy for me. Just pick up a long orange flyer from your local east end haunt and you’re pretty set for your spiky, here choice, information pills and intercontinental for most part of the month. I got to 93 FEET EAST, a relatively new venue for UPSET THE RHYTHM, (which sound wise I am fine with, but in terms of character I’m not so sure) in time for YACHT. Active is definitely the word. Bouncy, fun, epileptic dance moves bordering on ADHD. Formerly the second half of THE BLOW it is the best music for indie kids to dance to. Jona Bechtolt’s percussion is infectious with jerky legs and shoulder thrusting all over the show. I am willing to forget the Michael Jackson sample used as an intro and his public school boy style rambling, as he was much fun.

Then NUMBERS. Trios really work! CELEBRATION, GET HUSTLE, PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED. NUMBERS are a no-wave-art-punk band of relentless drumming. They are coarse but ultimately captivating. They make a powerful noise, which, although better in previous recordings, makes you stop and fucking pay attention. Indra Dunis on drums and lead vocals is scratchy and piercing in the best possible sense. NUMBERS claw away at you, drawing you down and throwing you away. And there is a synthesizer. Need I say more?

Oh the anticipation! Toe twinkling, recipe shoulder shivering, check hand tingling excitement; the kind that reminds you of waiting for Christmas, or going on a ride in a hot air balloon. Though my evening shuddered to a start by being in a decidedly bad mood, the infectious promise of the night ahead soon took over, imbuing the pilgrimage to The Roundhouse with impatience at all manner of minor public transport issues (like waiting nine extra minutes for the tube – well I never!).

The crowd at the Roundhouse was eclectic, and as excited as I was; waiting anxiously for Beirut to get onstage with the boy wonder Zach Condon at the lead. When they ambled on, there was a warm roar of approval as the raggle-taggle gypsy mob began to play.

Zach has the quiet self-assured confidence of one having been around for a little while and knowing what he’s doing. With his brass (a flugelhorn to be precise) slung over his shoulder, baggy white tee-shirt and tousled hair, he is a rather unassuming figure…until he begins to sing. Condon’s undulating voice soars over the joyful raucous of the other nine musicians who make up the collective that is Beirut.


It is a gorgeous din they make, warm and fresh. Their music manages to make the most jaded cynic feel like there’s still the endless possibility of many journeys to be had. Incongruously mature, yet still curiously innocent, the atmosphere that Beirut creates is simply a happy one. Uplifting and beautiful, the wide-eyed optimism of youth conveyed with well-travelled worldliness that is addictive to listen to. You just don’t want them to stop playing; even though the whole set sounds sort of like one long song with different variations on the theme – this is irrelevant, just like their image or whether they ‘put on a show’. Because it’s simply their sound, the purity of the music that absolutely holds you in rapt attention. Beirut is robust and swirling, just like snow and makes you feel like you’re seeing such a phenomena for the first time. Every song is epic, the soundtrack to the homecoming scene after the kind of adventure told in folktales, with a kind of refreshing joy and resolution that is ultimately satisfying.

For my virgin experience at the Roundhouse, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer time. And then came the after party in central Camden. The free bar made this buoyant Beirut fan a little more buoyant. The only vaguely eye-rolling thing was the opening few songs from the Djs – who I observed had a little trouble getting in at the door –making Liz (yet another tall companion of mine, who has the advantage of not having to crane to see ANYthing ANYwhere) and I raise our eyebrows. Ambient house at the Beirut after party? Hmmkay.

So we decided to make an exit a little while after the free bar dried up. Our timing was canny, as Beirut decided to make like trees (and leave) also. I caught Nick, the Beirut drummer, on the way out the door to tell him – like countless others had in the past no doubt of course – how much I enjoyed the gig. After a happily tipsy chat that I can’t actually recall very much of besides the fact that I flashed some blood (TRUST, click this) at him, my stomach grumbled and the best egg and bacon baps in London called my name. These are so good in fact, that Liz broke FOUR YEARS of vegetarianism to scoff a bit of my bacon a week ago. OH YES.

Nick decided that he too, could hear bacon calling him, and came with us. The lovely chap then proceeded to buy me an egg and bacon bap with BARBEQUE SAUCE! I had lost all hope that this condiment existed in the UK, and this event restored my faith in both rock stars and British condimentation. On that note, it was the perfect night…


…And the bus ride back into East London was free too, innit. Hollaaaa.

{Somewhat dodgy) Photography by Christel Escosa
Despite their credentials and that Robot Man song, sickness the Aliens just aren’t cutting it. Black Affair, cialis 40mg Steve Mason’s new incarnation, doctor is at once audacious and amazing but probably won’t please the faithful. So what are those once enamored with and still lamenting the demise of perhaps the only British band of the last decade to actually be any, er, good, to do? I’m mean fans of the Beta Band, of course. Easy now. You’d do well to investigate this stone cold gem of an EP by Peter Hedley a.k.a. Beneath Fire and Smoke.

Sounding not unlike a Romanian folk band free-styling over the best bits of the Beta’s first three EPs, this has much to commend. No surprise then that Hedley is a sometime collaborator with whacked-out-folk genius, Voice of the Seven Woods. His music is shot through with the same rustic romance and bleary eyed wooziness…but it’s so much more. Opener, Smoke and Flames, is the finest cut. It uncurls, ebbs and flows over euphoric flutes and strings, electro-acoustic beats, monastic, loved-up vocals and down right cheeky Fairport’s style bass. Hot damn! Songs from a Slipway is how A Hawk and A Hacksaw wish they’d sound whilst The Iceberg Waltz deals in the same desolate and disconcerting piano led melancholia last heard on a Beach Boys Smile bootleg circa December 1966. Closer, So It Came To Pass, contorts celestial psychedelic string parts over minimalist bass and heart broken lyrics of unrequited love: So it came to be/That you and me will always be/Apart

Beautifully packaged vinyl courtesy of the bespoke Battered Ornaments label, this is what it’s all about. No downloads. No guerilla PR campaign. No hype. Music for music’s sake. And don’t doubt it, pal – this is fucking music.
Dearest Anarcho-Hillbilly Barn Dance Compadres, visit this

Cut-a-Shine are at it again, viagra buy hosting another rip roarer at the glorious Finsbury Town Hall. It’s going to be a bonafide hoe-down; themed as a Barn Dating night, click with plenty of lil dawgie roping, partner swapping, do-si-do-ing, gingham neckerchiefs and yeehaw-ing.

Couples, trios, doubles, groups, gay straight bi, tri, or try anything, come on down. Single as sliced cheese? You might just meet a sweet thing to take you off to the love parlour for a roll in the hay. If you’re feeling really lucky, you might receive a gingham beard (for the girls) or a pretty bow (for the boys), with a saucy love note attached. If you’re from the house of jealous lovers though, maybe stay at home, as it’s gonna be a mixing and mingling good old fashioned time, and we don’t want no fighting shenanigans going on.

Opening up the evening will be The Bona Fide Family Band, promising some hillbilly mountain music on a wealth of odd instruments like mandolins and banjos.

Cut-a-Shine are on 9pm-11pm with Amelia calling some dances, if you fancy meeting the lady herself.

After all that there’s Fat 45. Jump jivin’, jitter buggin’, rock’n’rollin 11-piece swing band.

Can’t get any cooler than a shindig like this one. And whilst you’re cutting a rug out there on the barn dancing floor, spare a thought for the poor old band stuck up there on the stage, and send us some love too (cider will do).

So long now, see you at the shindig this here Friday!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Huw Stephens – Radio 1 DJ (and all round good egg) have afforded the gig going hordes of the Welsh capital a real treat this weekend in the shape of a three day musical feast. It’s simple title (‘swn‘) belying the riches on offer. Aside from Sons and Daughters, more about tonight features the likes of The Cribs, stomach Beirut and The Duke Spirit scattered amongst a host of venues throughout the city. Over the course of the weekend there will also be the opportunity to catch anything from Two Gallants, viagra 40mg to DJ sets by Annie Mac and Steve Lamacq – these being just a handful of acts from the impressive 120 plus assembled by Stephens for the inaugural event.

The Scottish quintet arrive in Cardiff midway through a tour in support of new album This Gift, due early next year. Rather unusually, the bands online tour blog boasts of the pre gig joys of consuming Chinese green tea in Cambridge. So much for the Rock ‘n’ Roll excess then. But in the flesh they do a stellar job of presenting themselves as strangely stylish, sexy and diverse outfit. The striking presence is most welcome.

Style aside, so to the substance – and the songs. Or rather ‘song’ as it turns out. Tonight’s performance is so repetitive in nature that it almost feels like the set is one big song. From a very early stage in the set, songs blend into one another, and the absence of differentiation is stark with the overriding effect being one of tedium for long periods.

As a unit, the band kick and splutter without really going anywhere – even if at times they manage to create a surprisingly big sound. The lack of craft however often relegates this to mere ‘noise’. But, on occasion everything does fall into place. Cathy Come Home (a homage to socialist stalwart film director Ken Loach) has the necessary chorus, and said big sound (not noise in this instance) to resonate somewhat. Whilst new single Gilt Complex – which we are reliably informed is ‘about c*nts’ – recalls the wilder moments of Echo and The Bunnymen with some zest.

It’s all a little too late, but there are glimpses of excellence right at the end of the set. Chains is definitely the best new song on offer, it’s defiant energy and bite offering hope for the new record, and they end on Johnny Cash – with a bit of Iggy and The Stooges thrown in for good measure.

So much for the green tea eh.

It’s a Friday night and I’m in the SEOne club situated beneath London Bridge Station for an Evening with The Rakes. An interesting line up of new musical ‘talent’ including the likes of The Metros, sale We Start Fires, page Ghost Frequency and various DJ sets seems to have drawn in a mixed crowd for a Friday night knees-up south of the river.

Strolling between the two stages/bars (separated by a DJ room in which I thoroughly enjoyed some old school reggae) I caught bits and pieces of the support acts; none of which left a real impression on me – they weren’t bad, seek just not quite my cup of tea.

Not massively impressed at the new music on display, my ears pricked up when I heard the rumor that the special guests had “good shoes”. True enough half an hour later the Morden boys made an appearance on the second stage and ripped through the majority of their debut album Think Before You Speak as well as a new song for good measure. The fact that not only were they on top form but that all the scene kids were at the other stage awaiting The Rakes and guarding their “spot” only widened the grin on my face. That was more like it. With my clothes suitably ruined and my beer everywhere it was time for the main event (via the bar of course!).

Having been a fan of The Rakes first offering Capture/Release and a critic of their second, far more commercial album, Ten New Messages, I was both excited and apprehensive to see what was on offer. Opening with lesser-known songs from the second album and a few new ones left the crowd somewhat bemused. However, The Rakes soon riled us all into frenzy performing riotous renditions of Strasbourg, 22 Grand Job and Retreat. The front of the room seemed to erupt into chaos as tune after tune from Capture/Release got a much-deserved airing. With Alan Donohoe twitching and jerking around the stage like he’s the secret love child of Ian Curtis on speed and the band drilling through their best material, I stumbled home with my grin still firmly in place…

It’s the end of the show already and the stage is dripping in red light. From where I’m standing, what is ed the perspiration in the room looks like blood. Two Gallants have just been on for over an hour, so the perspiration on the walls feels like blood too.

They have wrecked this place. Their blues, rock, folk, punk, loud, quiet, angry, sad mayhem has blown the place to smithereens. Adam Stephens‘ voice is cracked, rasped and broken. His heart is heavy, his songs are long, his words are laced with the worn down dejection of a hard life. The mouth organ can barely hold up for the rust and rot.

Tyson Vogel bashes his drums like he’s making up for a past deed. He has no crash cymbal, just high hat and ride. He provides the drama, the beard, and the mystery. There’s just the two of them. Named after a James Joyce short story, as you know, they are literate. They tell tales: “I shot my wife today/Hid her body in the ‘frisco bay”. That’s a tough gig. They repent: “If you got a throat/I got a knife”.

But they’re not depressing. They’re painting a picture, writing a novel, making you think. Amidst the almost White Stripe-y rock-outs and the down beat Americana they’re doing rustic graffiti on the side of an old wooden cabin. They’re drinking whisky and opening their heart to a best friend because things haven’t worked out how they planned and they don’t know what to do about it. And they do it every single song.

Long Summer Day is as controversial and opinion-splitting as ever, the Gallants belting out Moses Platt’s lyrics as if they were their own: “And the summer day make a white man lazy/He sits on his porch killing time/But the summer day make a nigger feel crazy/Might make me do something out of line.” It raises an eyebrow, provokes, and stretches boundaries. But as reckless and offensive as some might see it, that, compadres, is what it’s all about.

The five piece – three scrawny men, abortion one portly man and one petite woman – clamber onto the stage. Fashion doesn’t trouble them. It’s five-years-too-late skinny jean/tie combos for the men (great for squeezing the tunes out presumably) and a trashy silver cocktail dress for the girl. They pick up their instruments and play a pick ‘n’ mix selection of all the pop you’ve grown to hate (Wham!, pills Katrina and The Waves, Aha), but somehow they’ve jumbled, mashed, stretched and twisted it into something kind of… well…good.

Really good actually. These geeky kids can play. And for all the cruise ship Europop melodies (they’re from Denmark) and synchronised shimmying you can’t help but move your feet with them. Your poor old heart – smacked around by dull jobs, worn-out worrying over neglected friendships and Kasabian on the radio – starts to really kick again. A weird craving for Nerdz and Curlywurly’s and Dib-dabs creeps up on you. Suddenly you want The Beano and Live and Kicking on a Saturday morning. Look around and see a dark room above a pub in North London half-full of thirty-somethings dripping from the miserable weather all lost in similar reverie.

Before you know it lead singer Anders SG is introducing the final song of a far too short set. Alphabeat scamper into a note-perfect performance of their flagship hit Fascination – sample lyric: “fashion is OUR fashion” (that’ll explain the wardrobe then). Andres whoops, spins, shakes and slams his tambourine against his chest. His band skip around the stage bellowing “Super-duper!” in unison and beaming at each other with undisguised affection. Alphabeat are making that kind of giddy pop that makes you want to run all the way home and yell: “Mum MUM, I found this brilliant new band and they made me dance until my feet were sore and they sound like S Club 7 smacking the snobbery out of Arcade Fire and let me sing you their songs and I want to BE in their band and can I go and see Alphabeat again tomorrow night please please PLEASE!?”

And if she’s seen them, she wouldn’t be able to say no.

The way into our hearts here at Amelia’s Magazine, link is through our stomachs. Faye Skinner, treatment the clever little muffin, wooed us with cupcakes hand delivered to our door – these ones in fact:


After worrying about whether they were actually meant to be eaten or not (admittedly, we were only briefly torn about it) and whether we wanted to digest the lovely little things, leaving only crumbs and paper cupcake wrappers as evidence that they ever existed, these three piglets couldn’t help but scoff the lot (with Amelia’s help).


In one fell inhalation, all the cupcakes were gone, so we thought we might ask Faye a few questions…

Who were the illustrations of on the cupcakes?
They were a little bit of everything that influences me, queens, victorian children, dolly birds and female musicians.

Were the illustrations actually edible?
Yes, entirely edible. I painted them onto wafer paper using food colouring which work just like watercolours. I then stuck them on with the pink icing.

How do you feel about people eating your illustrations and them disappearing into the bowels of their stomachs?
I quite like the idea of eating very pretty food, like sugared rose petals! Mary Pickford used to eat flowers when she was a little girl in the hope that she would be beautiful when she grew up. It must be very good for the soul.

Can you tell us the recipe for the cupcakes?


5 oz (150g) Butter – softened
5 oz (150g) superfine (castor) sugar
6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
drops of pink food colouring

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350oF (180oC).
2. Line a 12 cup cake pan, with cup cake papers.
3. Crack the eggs into a cup and beat lightly with a fork.
4. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Beat with a whisk for 2 minutes, until light and creamy.
6. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and firm to touch.
8. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
9. Allow to cool fully before icing.

For the icing whisk together water and icing sugar and a drop of food colouring until slightly thick and runny, then dribble onto the cupcakes, stick on the wafers while the icing is still sticky.

You can buy packs of wafer paper which you can then directly paint onto with the food colouring and then cut out with kitchen scissors ready to decorate the cakes with.

Do you bake other things? Like what?
I do make a lot of chocolate cupcakes for my flatmates when I am having a domestic housewife kind of day. When I was younger I was obsessed with baking salt-dough fat mermaids.

Tell us some of your favourite things.
Some of my favourite things include Vivien Leigh, The National Portrait Gallery, The Electric Ballroom, pub quiz and kareoke on a tuesday, Katie Jane Garside, classic children’s novels, and shopping in and around Dalston’s £1 emporiums with my friend Victoria.


Scrumptious. Find out more about Faye at

Photography by Amelia
Photo 2, L-R: Jess Jayne and Christel
Photo 3: Jess

He’s come a long way has Dan Snaith aka Caribou. From the purer electronic instrumental cut’n’paste soundscapes of his Manitoba guise to this: the Odyssey and Oracle goes Pro-Tools psychedelic pop of his Caribou incarnation. Summer’s Andorra long player exemplifies just how a musician, medications given time to grow and develop creatively, can create beautiful art. That’s not to negate his previous works but Snaith’s most recent album is fucking light years ahead, marrying choral song-structures with a left-foot sensibility.

So, how to rock this complex and multi-layered beast in a live context. Get a bad-ass band together. Lap-tops, two drummers, vintage guitars, neck-ties, wigged out projections, Electric Prunes circa ’66 haircuts…Check, check, check….Oh man, it’s gonna so fucking rule. In truth, it nearly didn’t. Squandering triumphant nugget, Sandy, as first number was a shame. You could hear the band finding their feet and acclimatizing to the stage as the song thundered on in cack-handed fashion. No bad thing of course, but when it’s such an unabashed turntable hit as Sandy it kinda grates. Still, with Snaith finding his voice and his beautiful boys kicking up a psych-storm they lay waste to Brighton’s Audio with aplomb. Melody Day does that whole scorched earth thang leaving the audience mouths agape whilst She’s The One is just sublime, like Kieren Hebden producing the Beach Boys today. Desiree is heartbreaking; with soulfully strained harmonies seeping into our ears, glooping down like wild honey over a Midi-orchestra backing. Sweetness personified.

You rarely get to hear such celestial orch-pop made flesh. Vibrant, human…alive. Dan Snaith and friends know how to do retro and make it so fucking fresh. Tell that to the hordes of dim guitar slingers taking up space in this town or in the pages of the NME. This is how you do it, boys. Class dis-fucking-missed.

He’s come a long way has Dan Snaith aka Caribou. From the purer electronic instrumental cut’n’paste soundscapes of his Manitoba guise to this: the Odyssey and Oracle goes Pro-Tools psychedelic pop of his Caribou incarnation. Summer’s Andorra long player exemplifies just how a musician, information pills given time to grow and develop creatively, site can create beautiful art. That’s not to negate his previous works but Snaith’s most recent album is fucking light years ahead, prescription marrying choral song-structures with a left-foot sensibility.

So, how to rock this complex and multi-layered beast in a live context. Get a bad-ass band together. Lap-tops, two drummers, vintage guitars, neck-ties, wigged out projections, Electric Prunes circa ’66 haircuts…Check, check, check….Oh man, it’s gonna so fucking rule. In truth, it nearly didn’t. Squandering triumphant nugget, Sandy, as first number was a shame. You could hear the band finding their feet and acclimatizing to the stage as the song thundered on in cack-handed fashion. No bad thing of course, but when it’s such an unabashed turntable hit as Sandy it kinda grates. Still, with Snaith finding his voice and his beautiful boys kicking up a psych-storm they lay waste to Brighton’s Audio with aplomb. Melody Day does that whole scorched earth thang leaving the audience mouths agape whilst She’s The One is just sublime, like Kieren Hebden producing the Beach Boys today. Desiree is heartbreaking; with soulfully strained harmonies seeping into our ears, glooping down like wild honey over a Midi-orchestra backing. Sweetness personified.

You rarely get to hear such celestial orch-pop made flesh. Vibrant, human…alive. Dan Snaith and friends know how to do retro and make it so fucking fresh. Tell that to the hordes of dim guitar slingers taking up space in this town or in the pages of the NME. This is how you do it, boys. Class dis-fucking-missed.

When one thinks of Washington DC’s musical scene, website like this it evokes images of right-on punkers kicking up a politicised, ask Converse clad riot. Loud guitars. Soap box sermons between songs. Well, meet Washington’s Mark Charles, a.k.a Vandaveer, and prepare to swoon to a different beat. Or lack of beat…

There’s no shortage of neo-folkers right now and some might say we need another one like the world needs another epidemic of the Black Plague. But Vandaveer is something else. What he has is soul; and that genuine, bohemian restlessness that characterises truly great singer-songwriters. Seeing him play to six people in Brighton the other week did little to diminish his aura and captivating stage presence – it oozed into every nook and cranny of the venue.
Vandaveer’s debut album is a sonically stripped down affair that serves to melt the listener’s heart in slow motion. Its minimalism renders Charles’s voice the main weapon here. A good thing given that he sounds like a most pleasing bastardisation of Dylan and Donovan. These are appropriate musical and lyrical references too but, at times, Vandaveer seems even more archaic, beamed down from another place and time. The harmonies that caress the chorus of Grace and Speed are almost pre-Beatles in their innocence while the tumbling chords of Parasites and Ghosts will make the hairs on your neck stand up. Dark humour, too, abounds on Out Past The Moat, its mellifluous melodies couching disconcerting lyrics: “Got my guns, I got ‘em both/Now’s a good time as any, tell my brothers I love them both…”

There’s more to meets the eyes and ears then. All human life is here and then some. Not bad for a dude with a guitar. Clear all that Homefires Festival endorsed shit and make way for a talent that demands a place in your life.

Reckon you’ve got Sons and Daughters sussed? Think again. Over their successful five year career, cost the Glasgow foursome have released two addictive albums of lusty, rx ragged blues punk, ambulance but they are set to blow expectations skywards with forthcoming effort This Gift, out in January, which finds their trademark, dark and ferocious sound rubbing up against 1960s girl group stomp and straight-up pop with magnificent results.

Tonight in the normally clinical surroundings of the Islington Academy we are treated to a preview of this latest material as they mix songs old and new throughout a fiery and captivating set. But before they take to the stage, Foxface work their folky magic on an initially uninterested smattering of people, followed by an intense performance from Victorian English Gentleman’s Club who arrive sombrely to the sound of a single clanging bell and climax with ear-shattering howls, menacing basslines, scratchy riffs and the colossal impact of two thundering drummers when Sons and Daughters’ sticksman David Gow joins the Cardiff trio for a dramatic finale.

The crowd is clearly unsure of the second support act, but not so by our headliners who whip up a storm as soon as they kick into rhythmic opener Broken Bones, provoking a sea of flailing bodies and lobbed pints. The dapperly dressed band make for a striking sight – the boys boasting quiffs, braces, colourful shirts and skin-tight jeans and the girls in glittery gold tops and short skirts – and they have immensely grown in confidence since they last played the capital as they attack their instruments unabashedly, while bassist Ailidh Lennon skips and hops in time to the music and Adele Bethel prowls the stage, switching effortlessly between sweetly sung vocals, soaring choruses and blood-curdling shrieks.

Gilt Complex is a highlight, as are warmly received newies like Rebel With A Ghost, The Nest, House In My Head, The Bell, Darling and Chains, however, the most frenzied reactions come in response to the airing of fan favourites Taste The Last Girl, Dance Me In, Red Receiver, Rama Lama and finally Johnny Cash which sees the quartet bathed in flashing red and white strobe lights and ends with guitarist/vocalist Scott Patterson screaming into the front row astride an amplifier. Explosive stuff indeed, and on form like this, Sons and Daughters seem unstoppable.
With recent solo exhibitions at Rotterdam’s Witte de With Gallery and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, treatment one might imagine Tris Vonna-Michell; who has spent the last few years zigzagging across Germany and Europe, sick making and performing his work, would be in the throws of nervous collapse. But with future appearances scheduled at Performa, New York (2007), the Berlin Biennial (2008) and judging from the energy and dynamism with which he delivers his performance it would seem not.

Act three of Tris Vonna-Michell’s performances in the “Tall Tales and Short Stories” series will be showing at Islington’s Cubitt gallery on November the 24th. Those patrons of performance art who favour public nudity, blood and guts need not look this way however, as an all together more understated idiom of performance prevails.

Incorporating, slide photography, moving image, documents and found objects Tris’s performances are essentially stories, albeit with meandering and non-linear narratives. What is charming about this artists work is its uncontrived nature as well as his near obsessive engagement with its subject matter. Tales of intrigue and espionage are woven around the topography of various European cities. Those big themes of the late twentieth century, the chaos in the aftermath of the Second World War and the division of Europe are touched upon too, but strangely through references to Quail eggs and through rather fragile, melancholy photographs, often concentrating on objects which themselves have something of a faded and nostalgic feeling. Curious art lovers who long to see new work with real passion and individuality should seek out Tris’s next exhibition no doubt coming to a country near you.
Daniel Johnston has bi-polar depression. He has a unrequited love for Laurie Allen. A girl he met whilst at Art College and whom he idealizes and uses as his muse for his music. He also sings of Christianity, visit this Captain America, try Casper the Friendly Ghost, malady the Devil and has fixation with number 9. He was born in 1961. He was there when MTV boomed and in 1985 they did a special on Austin, which brought Johnston to a broader consciousness. Record shop started selling his cassettes which he had largely given away. He was hospitalised when he wrestled the controls form his father who was flying the plane in which they were travelling. In 1991 whilst hospitalised he was able to air his music where he sang of Mountain Dew and requested Yoko Ono produced his music. Kurt Cobain loved him. Wore his t-shirt on TV and his live performances are the most emotional and affecting you will ever witnessed, with each line you feel like you are watching some crumble. He is an unassuming genius.

Johnston never intended for drawings to be sold. They are his cartoons about his personal battle between good and evil, like missing frames of a much longer story. So the fact that they are now adorning the walls of galleries far and wide must be bemusing for him. Like when he painted the “Hi, How Are You?” frog, also known as Jeremiah the Innocent on the Austin Sound Exchange music store. It was initially going to be torn down when the shop closed but public outcry meant that $50,000 was spent to save it. His work is enjoyed. They are witty cartoons with characters like Joe The Boxer with his head cut off. He references from Greek sculptures that have been defaced though time in art books he get from the library. He doesn’t want to insult girls too much though, so he draws them with heads. He is Joe The Boxer. He is battling Vile Corrupt in his drawings, Vile Corrupt being is his alter ego. He is all of America’s ideologies residing in one effected fellow. His life in part hiding and consuming of comics and popular America culture combined with poetic and intuitive nature has made art wholey pure in intent but riddled with excessive certitude and fundamentalist rigor. I am not arguing that Johnston’s drawings convey the purest most infinite beauty but like Johnston once said ‘–if you’re not entertained, depression will get you.’

Alongside Daniel Johnston’s work in this exhibition is that of James Unsworth, I suppose a rather more together version of Daniel Johnston, whose work is darker than Johnston’s visually, dense and macabre. He uses print to develop his pen and ink drawing into something even more forceful. He is destined for seminal. His work is honest, dark and gruesome, which although some won’t admit is work we can all relate to sometimes. In short go see this show.

Johnston’s drawings were also featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. His artwork is shown in galleries around the world, including exhibits in London’s Aquarium Gallery (April 28-May 20, 2006) and New York’s Clementine Gallery (March 16-April 15, 2006). Unsworth has had previous shows at Crimes Town Gallery, Atlantis Gallery, The Boys Hall and NOGgallery.

Giant bow necklaces. There are not enough accessories that make me feel like a 5 year old kicking about nowadays. I’m not one to favour delicate jewellery, page and maybe that says a lot about my Peter Pan like refusal to grow up, more about but if brands like Neurotica have jumped on this idea then I guess I can get away with it (until my next birthday). Neurotica’s Spring/Summer 08 collection, Dark Heart/Grinning Soul, has been inspired by sci-fi culture including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, but the part of the collection I’m most interested in is the accessories. Complementing the prismatic designs are giant bows hanging on silver chains, neon fireworks on black fabric. It’s all very futuristic and fun, and what better time of year to dress up like a Christmas present? When taking the photos of Jess wearing the bow, there was an old man larking about in the background wearing a boiler suit with what looked like a jet pack on his back. Maybe the world’s gone mad with sci-fi influences, but I wouldn’t mind running into Harrison Ford trying to save the world from old men cyborgs the next time I leave the house.
It’s always infuriating when you hear about a band, patient roughly about your age, visit from the same country as you, who suddenly grab everyone’s attention in the best possible way.

Now this is one of those things that’s just about possible to deal with if the artists in question are untalented and/or a flash in the pan and/or play thrash metal. Elle
are fortunately none of these things. Having only been together for less than a year, they are a wonderful mix of bouncy guitar pop with perfectly fitting lady vocals over the top. With beautifully worked in melodies, they’re just as catchy as one could want.

Little Flame is a perfect debut single, with the silliest lyrics this side of a Decemberists B-side, about a cheeky little flame who burns his way through a neighbourhood. The vocal harmonies of girl (Lucy) and boy (Andy) are delicate, sweet and sing-songy in equal measures. B-Side She Sells Sea Shells is perhaps superior even to its bigger sister, with layered keyboards on organ setting, it’s as chirpy as one
would hope for, and with a boy taking the main vocal line, it is a nice variation from Little Flame.

It’s only a matter or time before you see Elle S’appelle filling the more Death Cab inclined indie dance floors across the country, limbs will flail, feet will stomp, beer
will be spilled.
The Drawing Rooms is one of those rare salvations in deepest Dalston. True beauty amidst lofty tower blocks. Their current exhibition Every Eye sees Differently as the Eye, page has taken words spoken by William Blake to present what is almost certainly the most elegant body of art you will see in East London this year. It is truly stunning drawing. It sees existing visionaries expressing true imagination through their drawing for an exhibition that marks Blake’s 250th Anniversary.

Ernesto Caivano perhaps represents the most contemporary approach to folklore inspired narrative drawings. His long panels convey a story of a love that cannot be shared between a knight and a princess. Their paths are dogged with twisted trees, cheapest toothed plants and increasing branches and conveys their 1000-year separation. In his heartache the knight and the wood’s inhabitants struggle together incapable of movement. All off which meticulously drawn on an epic panoramic panels. Medieval in spirit but with present-day signifiers, Heiko Blankenstein‘s works on light boxes and paper cite humanist metaphysics and systems of chaos. The cognitive principles conveyed in his works are equaled in his drawing style, which is architectural. Augmented landscapes with depth and feature no figures, heightened in dynamic by being back lit. Charles Avery’s work is finely researched and philosophical in approach. He has twice been nominated for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and cites PG Woodehouse, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Beuys and Joseph Kosuth as influences. He work is extremely well observed and passionate and absorbs you. And you are left feeling like you have read a novel. Work by Dirk Bell and Kerstin Kartscher is also featured to make up a show of pure and striking hand rendered works that is truly inspirational, that I plead you to go see.

Beauty is a concept that we never tire of debating. Whether you’re philosophising, help politicising, fantasizing or simply scouring Perez Hilton for car-crash beauties fallen from grace, we are all out there searching for the secret behind the allure. One valiant attempt to unearth some truths on beauty in contemporary society is the fifth and latest issue of Garageland, a captivating magazine of substance from the editing suite of Cathy Lomax, a prolific east end painter and director of the Transition Gallery (which plays host to the launch of each issue).

On a low key, Sunday afternoon, works taken from the Beauty issue were sporadically displayed in the small yet adequate gallery and proved more than a warm welcome from the torrential downpour outside. Gentle conversation acted as an appropriate pre-cursor to the thoughtfulness and sensitivity used to explore the themes of art and beauty/beauty and art in this lovingly put together tome. Garageland is fortunate enough to boast some of the most revered names in contemporary modern art on its contributors roster, who do well to prove that their talents extend effortlessly from the paintbrush to the pen (surely this is unfair?).

The contrasting depths of commentary and insight sit comfortably side by side; Dolly Thompsett digs deep to uncover the beauty within war films, while Alex Michon looks into the effect of blusher in the childlike paintings of Stella Vine. And, what joy! To find a truly laudable article on the legendary John Waters, life-long purveyor of all that is revolting in its beauty. This article alone is well worth the modest £3.95 asking price. The true appeal of Garageland however, is that it is not solely a retrospective nor is it obsessed with deconstructing the zeitgeist; it is a serenely happy marriage of the two. Here, beauty is at times, disgusting and putrid and as such, it is a constant source of fascination. Beauty is not (as so often chimed into us by commercial mags for girls) all-encompassing and happy and glowing, it is a striking image, a brave representation of one’s self and bold step into the unknown.

My only discontent is that I now have to decide whether to rip out the gorgeous Garageland pages for my bedroom wall or archive it, untarnished in its original glory for lazy Sunday reading in years to come.

Ah London – cobbled streets, information pills spooky fog and Dickensian urchins around every corner. That’s what I expected when I moved to the big smoke. Not monsoon style rainstorms that make me look like a drowned rat and smell like a wet dog. But that’s enough about the effects of global warming, my point was that I got rained on when traveling to the Swarovski press day and I wasn’t too happy about it. Especially when it was held in the achingly hip Sanderson Hotel whose elegance was more than matched by the designs in the Swarovski suite. If Marilyn Monroe were alive, she would have been cooing over the contents. Crystals were strewn over Marios Schwab designs, evoking both frailty and defensive armour, whilst Hussein Chalayan‘s crystal dresses refracted light in a futuristic boudoir. Hot on the heels of Fashion Rocks, Swarovski have continued their commitment to nurturing the hottest new designers. As well as working with Schwab and Chalayan, highlights of the Swarovski collaborations include crystal skullcaps designed by Giles Deacon and encrusted bangles by Jonathan Saunders. Perfect for magpies (last animal analogy, I promise).

Bonde do Role are a 3 man band, order slash circus act. The relatively intimate venue that is King Cross’ Scala suits this shouty, effervescent band perfectly. With no instruments in sight – cheating a little, maybe – a rotund fella (DJ Rodrigo Gorky) bounds on to the stage and starts with a 90′s rave track (that I now cannot remember the name of, after a few beers) but it certainly brought energy to the crowd. The singers (shouters) come on when said rave track finished, and jump straight into crowd pleaser Danca do Zumbi. BDR have a certain baile sound which sounds incredible live, an attractive pastiche of disco, funk and metal. Marina Ribatski, the female lead, is a diminutive creature with the attitude and vocal capacity of Beth Ditto, but much nicer to look at. BDR fly through tracks from their debut album, mixed interestingly with a medley of past and present dance tracks. Personal favourite Davine Gosa is not showcased, which is a little annoying, but Gasolina and Office Boy are – and certainly make up for it. A small set finishes with a stage invasion from forty or fifty members of the crowd. Bonde do Role certainly know how to throw a party.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Spank Rock – Interview


Since the release of his debut album YoYoYoYoYo in 2006, search Spank Rock and his merry band of smut peddlers have been on a relentless globe-trotting journey filled with critical acclaim and controversy. Debut single Bump was named Single of the Year by Xfm London DJ Lauren Laverne that same year and since then they have taken their high-tempo Baltimore-style hip hop to the masses, buy performing with the likes of Bjork, M.I.A. and Diplo. Spank Rock a.k.a. Naeem Juwan is also responsible for kick-starting the career of the equally controversial hip hop femme fatale Amanda Blank.

Despite receiving widespread appreciation for their innovative form of party rap that infuses electro and big bass house, Juwan’s lyrics have often been criticised as gratuitously sexual and misogynistic. Amelia’s caught up with the boisterous rapper ahead of his appearance at Fabric in London to talk about his upcoming new album, provocative lyrics and the truth about getting kicked out of the MTV Woodie Awards.

What can you tell us about your upcoming album?

I don’t know what to say. I don’t really like to talk about my projects until they are done. I am not gonna commit to a release date because you know how rappers state a release date and then it never comes out. I will say it is close to being done.

I heard you were originally meant to do I Need Love on Amanda Blank’s debut album but you pulled out because it wasn’t your style. Is this true?

Yeah, that’s true. I kind of have an issue with doing covers because I just don’t think it’s cool. If I am going to spend time doing something I want it to be something that is coming from me.

You are now signed to Downtown Records. What happened with Big Dada?

It was a classic situation of a bigger label wanting to buy a smaller group out of their record deal. Big Dada is an awesome label but I just thought it was a better opportunity to work with a company that was a little larger. Big Dada has always been a great hip hop label and it was rad working with them. I respect them for taking a chance on me.

How would you describe what you do?

I usually call it progressive, intellectual party rap.


Your music has a lot of sexual content and graphic imagery. Would you say that you are a quite provocative individual?

Yeah, I think I can be. I don’t really like to go with the flow of things. I think right now there is so much happening in the world and none of it is being represented in hip hop music. I just want to introduce new ideas and new images that can provoke people.

What would you say is a topic you keep coming back to in your music?

Partying and dancing are usually staples of what I do.

But as you get older, surely you can’t keep talking about these subjects?

I hope my progression as I grow is obvious. I think on the last album a lot of people missed out on the sub content and focussed on all of the sexual content. I think this time I make a lot of the serious content more obvious. I model a lot of the stuff I write on James Brown. You know, he made the dance stuff but he loved to touch on political issues like civil rights issues, the economy and discipline for the black community back in the ‘60s. He used popular music to get people thinking about the world around them.

Can you explain what happened at the MTV Woodie Awards in 2007 when you were thrown out for hitting another group with a drink?

Yeah, that’s kind of what happened! I didn’t really throw a drink at them. I was throwing drinks and one happened to hit them. I do think I was being a little bit of a dick that night but it wasn’t intentional. I have no idea who they band were that I hit.


They were called The Academy.

Oh, yeah, that wasn’t intentional. Haha!

Do you have any plans to come back to Europe this year?

I will definitely be back this year. On this tour it’s just me and a DJ so it’s pretty tough to get through a show – but I’m challenging myself. I usually kind of roll in a crew. Ideally, I would love to come back out and do a double headlining tour with Amanda Blank.

How does your new material differ to what you have done before?

I think some things are similar. A lot of the stuff is still dance tempo but I think there are some pop influences on the new album. I don’t want to say too much. I haven’t changed up my whole style. I just continue to go on a path of taking the influences around me and putting them in a blender and seeing what comes out.

What artists are you listening to right now that are getting your excited?

Crocodiles – it’s probably my favourite album of the past year. Other than that, I really can’t think of anyone. I was really bored with the music that has been coming out this past year.

Categories ,Amanada Blank, ,bjork, ,Diplo, ,M.I.A, ,Spank Rock

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings November 23rd – 29th

pythia futuremap copy

In June 2009 Zoe Paul graduated from Camberwell BA Sculpture. Whilst at college Zoe participated in numerous shows around London from the group exhibition Factory at the James Taylor Gallery organised by Royal College MA Curation graduate Dean Kissick to ‘Between the Eyes’ at Coleman Road. Zoe Paul has recently been selected to participate in ‘Future Map 09’. Amelia’s Magazine spoke to Zoe Paul about her creative processes and the development of a sculpture from idea to creation.

What is it in particular about sculpture that interests you?

I am interested in the form and mass that is sculpture. I like the way we as humans relate ourselves to objects through their three dimensionalism. We are given the option to walk around and view the object from multiple angles and vantage points, clinic creating our own image from that object. We judge the object as being larger or smaller than human scale and this plays a large role in our perception of the object.


You have made numerous paintings, have interests crossed over from painting into sculpture?

I feel happier thinking in three dimensions and I have always felt more successful in making objects but I highly appreciate painting and drawing. It’s a very different way of thinking. I’ve done a fair amount of life drawing and painting; which I think has helped me to appreciate form.

I strongly believe in drawing, if not as a final out come, then as a practice to learn to see. I think as a sculptor it is important to learn to look at things and see how they work formally in order for you to understand them. I always think I can see things better after I draw from life because it forces me to look and not just glance. The art school in Athens I went to for a year before my degree in London provided amazing classical training. I definitely think it gave me a different perspective.

I am a bit shy to make paintings now because I feel like I expose too much of myself, but with sculptures I rely on the materials and the mass of the objects to defend themselves.

amazon boob

How do your sculptures develop through the design process?

For myself the making process is a vital part of how I develop an idea. I make a lot, a lot of which, doesn’t always work but I find the action useful. I try not to think of anything as a definitive piece, the process is important.

My work is frequently based around materials. By using impoverished materials I devalue the monumentalism classical sculpture holds. Making ‘Pythia’ was an incredibly labour intensive process. I relate the carving of the polystyrene armature and the precise measuring and cutting of each individual tile to the carving of ancient marbles. It was industrial and ordered. I made the sculptures imagining I was making an architectural fitting, similar to what classical sculptures were in their day. I also spent time in the British Museum taking photographs and working on these as drawings and sketches.

Do you start with an idea or a medium or are both equally important in your work. If this is a bit vague, I mean does the medium start the idea or does the idea influence the medium used?

I think the two go together, although I pay more attention to materials than I realize. I thought up ‘Sunset Island’ whilst in LA, I wanted to represent the crummy, grimy glamour of Hollywood with the cocktail sticks and the industrial fiberglass sphere. Materials make me think of ideas, my degree show work on temporal exoticism and classical Hellenistic sculpture developed from working with tiles, trawling the isles of hardware stores, and finding cheap marble effect ceramic tiles. This cheap marble effect alludes to the wealth represented by classical marbles.


Do you prefer to work entirely on your own as you are creating a sculpture?

I need to think and write by myself, but its really boring working alone. Now I’ve finished college, my studio is really small, crammed and damp. I miss being able to find someone to get a coffee with, when I want a break.

Sculpture is a social process, I didn’t really paint at college because of the open studios and I need to be alone to paint, its much more personal. Sculpture, however, requires banter. Conversely I pretty much had to make my degree show piece, ‘Pythia’ entirely on my own. The tile cutter makes such an awful noise I was as good as exiled out the studios at college.

Rock and tuft

Who or what are your artistic inspirations

My biggest inspiration was going to Los Angeles last year when I interned as a studio assistant for Mindy Shapero. College was OK but working for Mindy made me really hungry to make and to be an artist. There was so much energy and exuberance in the approach to life. I realized that I could do it if I wanted it badly enough.

I met amazing artists out there, like Thomas Houseago. He was so inspirational and had so much energy.

I can’t help being inspired by greats such as Picasso and Brancusi. Recently I have been reading about Rodin’s love for Greek sculpture as it conveyed the ‘ravages of the time’ in its ‘fragmentary aspect’. Rodin was a pioneer of the existential being conveyed through representation of human form, which he showed through his tactile figures.

My interest in classical Hellenistic sculpture lies in the history attached to it, ‘the ravages of time’, and the wars fought around it. Also the way sculptors repeatedly revert back to it as true sculpture.

I love museums, especially the old musty sort. They contain an exoticism: a longing for a bygone age. I am interested in fragmentary discovery and understanding history, therefore museums are exciting transient spaces full of mystery and discovery.

ahrodite study double

Do the paper drawings feed the physical process of making a sculpture?

The drawings are really beautiful. I started making them as plans for sculptures to understand the anatomy and form of classical sculptures. Really, they are just spruced up working plans, but I think that’s what’s attractive about them. I tried making sculptures directly from them but it was a complete failure so in a sense they are failures at working drawings. Again they were important for my process, especially as I was making work about existing work, it was important for me to understand existing sculptures.

I tried to convey the museum feel in them. Displaying the images like old school posters or crumbling educational departments in museums. As museums attempt to explain history, the classical sculptures I was looking at. They are objects, which represent an exotic bygone age, but essentially are just glorified rocks

The Amazons1

What’s next for Zoe Paul?

I’m excited to have been selected for ‘Future Map 09’, a selection of a handful of graduating students from across the University of the Arts London, of both graduates and post graduates.

In terms of work I’m excited to continue my idea of temporal exoticism and the allure objects hold. I’ve been reading an amazing book about a shipwreck containing sculptures on their way to Rome during the Roman occupation of Greece around 70BC, discovered off a Greek island in 1900. The book delivers amazing descriptions of the sculptures being gnarled and eaten by the sea. I like the idea of these vast powerful sculptures rotting at the bottom with such history attached to them.

I would like to make more tactile works that show my process. I love the way Rebecca Warren’s figures do that.

Future Map 09 will be hosted by 20 Hoxton Square Projects and will run from the 25th November 2009.

Monday 23rd November, salve Lisa Hannigan, site Royal Festival Hall


Debut album “Sea Sew” came out this summer from Miss Hannigan and she is now touring to support this. The Mercury Prize nominated album includes singles “Lille” and “I Don’t Know”. She continues the tour in Manchester and Birmingham before a string of Irish dates leading up to Christmas.

Tuesday 24th November, Pyramiddd, Flowerpot


Previously known as something that isn’t suitable for publishing at this time of day, these punk/rock/pop/disco kids tick all the boxes. They are touring in the UK for the first time to support debut single “Medicine” which is out November 30th. As well as appearing at the Flowerpot tonight they will also play ICA with those Filthy Dukes on the 25th and Notting Hill Arts Club on the 26th of November.

Wednesday November 25th, The Puppini Sisters, Pigalle


Catch jazzy pop trio The Puppini Sisters at the peak of a 5 night stint at the Pigalle club. Album “The Rise & Fall of Ruby Woo” is out now on which Beyonce, The Bangles and Take That get the unique Puppini swing-stylee treatment.

Thursday November 26th, Musee Mecanique, The Luminaire

Musee Mecanique

This Portland based posse come to London to treat us with their mellow indie folk tracks that feature on the beautiful album, “Hold Your Ghost”. These guys who have been compared to Neutral Milk Hotel and Beirut are tonight performing with Laura Gibson.

Friday November 27th, Silver Odyssey Experience, Secret Location


Fancy some Friday night stimulation? The Silver Odyssey experience covers all bases with Sounds, Sights, Smells, Touch, and Tastes to please. The techno teatime sounds come courtesy of Radio Slave and The Time and Space Machine. The secret location shall be revealed 2 days before the event.

Saturday November 28th, Cinammon Chasers, Master&Servant and Glover, Proud

Cinnamon Chasers

Listing films such as “The Never Ending Story” as one of his influences, Cinnamon Chasers says . “I try to create music that gives me the vibe those classic films gave me as a kid”. Do you need another reason to go and experience this?
Electro act Cinnamon Chasers shall perform along side Master&Servant and Glover.

Sunday 29th November, Sophie Solomon, Purcell Rooms
Sophie Solomon

Learning to play the Violin by ear from the age of two Sophie Solomon combines this with her vocal skills and merges a melody of styles into her music. The album “Poison Sweet Madeira” is her most recent offering.

Categories ,beirut, ,beyonce, ,camden, ,Cinammon Chasers, ,Filthy Dukes, ,Flowerpot, ,gigs, ,Glover, ,laura gibson, ,Lisa Hannigan, ,live, ,Master & Servant, ,Musee Mecanique, ,music, ,Neutral Milk Hotel, ,Proud, ,Purcell Room, ,Pyramiddd, ,Radio Slave, ,Royal Festival Hall, ,Sophie Solomon, ,Take That, ,The Bangles, ,The Puppini Sisters, ,The Time and Space Machine, ,“The Never Ending Story”

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Amelia’s Magazine | Savages at Electrowerkz: Live Review

Savages by Sharon Farrow

Savages by Sharon Farrow

Tucked away behind Angel Tube Station, down a small side street, you seem to be a world away from this most respectable part of North London. Indeed, only a stone’s throw from a Jamie Oliver restaurant, Electrowerkz stands in stark contrast. Housed in an old warehouse, Electrowerkz, or more officially, the Islington Metal Works, is a slightly surreal warren of rooms that, according to the website (when it’s not hosting weddings and other functions) still operates as an actual metal works. As a venue, it’s probably better known for club nights, and its dark, almost claustrophobic interior has that late eighties/early nineties rave feel to it. I’d first been here almost a decade ago (to see a then housemate play an electro set) and, until a month or so ago, hadn’t been back since. In all that time, the place remained unchanged.

Tonight, the buzz was all about Savages, on the first night of a brief residency. First up, though, were Blue On Blue. I’d seen them a couple of years ago as a shoegazey three-piece, but now as a duo (Dee Sada on keyboards and bass, Billy Steiger on keyboards, guitar and violin), they offer a more minimal, glitchy sound. I was most impressed with them, and the crowd that had gathered to watch seemed supportive.

Savages by Shy Illustrations

Savages by Shy Illustrations

During the break, I went for a bit of a wander, navigating a new set of stairs I’d never noticed previously. Hidden away on the lower level, past what appeared to be a video installation of some sort, was a small screening room showing an unusual early sixties Japanese film (which I later discovered to be the avant-garde classic The Woman In The Dunes).

YouTube Preview Image

Back upstairs, the crowd in the main room was beginning to swell as Savages’ set approached. This is a band that has really appeared from nowhere. Despite only being together since last year (and playing live for a few months), and with one single to their name (the double A side of Flying To Berlin and Husbands), they have earned lashings of praise from the music press, featured at a number of festivals, bagged a TV spot with Jools Holland and played at packed out venues (including an audience featuring the great and the good of the major indie record labels at Dalston’s Shacklewell Arms). I’d seen singer Jehnny Beth a couple of times before, as one half of French duo John & Jehn, but the sound of Savages is much darker than their pop noir, more a lesson in post-punk back to basics.

Savages by Gemma Green-Hope

Savages by Gemma Green-Hope

Taking to a suitably industrial looking stage, and bathed in harsh beams of white and blue light, Savages immediately let rip. With Fay Milton pounding away on drums, the rumbling bass of Ayse Hassan and Gemma Thompson’s squalls of guitar noise behind the jittery presence of Jehnny Beth, they recall such luminaries as Public Image Ltd, Siouxsie And The Banshees and Joy Division (indeed, the bassline on Flying To Berlin tips a sizeable doff of the cap to that of Peter Hook on Joy Division’s Colony). I tend to be a bit wary when it comes to hype bands, but with songs like City’s Full and Husbands reverberating around the tiny room, it proved that Savages are the real deal. And they are loud! They certainly got the audience going, though it looked a bit too sardine-like at the front for any moshing. Most surprising thing, though, was seeing a guy in front of me actually sketching the band on his iPad!

YouTube Preview Image

As the set closer Husbands shuddered to an abrupt halt, Savages left the stage to roars from the crowd, but there was to be no encore. Instead, to console ourselves, there is the newly released live EP and the prospect of seeing them once more in the UK in November, after a short trip to the States and some dates around Europe. After that, we shall have to wait and see what surprises Savages spring next.

Categories ,Blue On Blue, ,dalston, ,electrowerkz, ,Gemma Green-Hope, ,Islington, ,Jamie Oliver, ,Japanese film, ,John & Jehn, ,Jools Holland, ,joy division, ,Peter Hook, ,Post Punk, ,Public Image Ltd, ,Savages, ,Shacklewell Arms, ,Sharon Farrow, ,Sheilagh Tighe, ,shoegaze, ,Shy Illustrations, ,siouxsie and the banshees, ,The Woman In The Dunes

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Amelia’s Magazine | Gig Review: Wichita 10th Anniversary Celebrations at The Highbury Garage

Peggy Sue Illustration by Emilie Lashmar

Wichita, price the record label that has brought us Bloc Party, The Cribs, Los Campesinos! and Simian Mobile Disco (to name but a few) continued its 10th Anniversary celebrations at the Relentless™ Garage in sunny Highbury. As a special birthday treat, early arrivals received a gift bag full of delightful Wichita goodies, including a Simian Mobile Disco vinyl LP and the new album from Peter, Bjorn and John. The resultant hubbub and excited rustling of bags did little to detract from a nice opening set from Meg Baird, whose delicate fingerpicking and lush, hushed vocals set the tone for a great evening of folk.

Next on stage was the more vivacious Peggy Sue, who didn’t hesitate to show a dazzled crowd why their debut album Fossils and Other Phantoms was so critically acclaimed. Opening the set with the captivating, percussive ‘Watchman’, Rosa and Katy really were a surprise and a delight – consider me a convert. Their luxurious, soulful vocal harmonies were only outdone by their impressive instrumental dexterity, alternating effortlessly between guitar, percussion, ukulele and accordion. With Olly’s marching drums ably complemented by the violin and cello of Becca and Emma, the highlight of the set came in the form of a particularly stunning rendition of ‘Yo Mama’, its chirruping, Gallic accordion and bluesy lead riff laying a spirited backdrop to Katy and Rosa’s spectacular voices. As the girls finished their all-too-brief set with a modest thanks to Wichita and the crowd, the sheer volume of rapturous applause (particularly in such an intimate venue) was a real testament to the performance. You can’t help but get the impression these two have only good things on the horizon.

Illustration by Jill Patterson

Last up were headliners (and perennial Amelia’s Mag favourites First Aid Kit, each taking to the stage in stunning gold dresses – Klara’s marbled with purple paisley, Johanna’s with a magnificent Persian pattern flecked with deep reds and autumnal browns. As someone who had heard little of their music beyond their fantastic cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ (Youtube it) and recent single ‘I Met Up With the King’, I was pleasantly surprised by their laid-back, distinctly acoustic folk-pop; mature, intricate lyrics and the sibling’s vocal harmonies – the combination of which results in a sound reminiscent of Tegan and Sara’s ‘So Jealous’ crossed with the aforementioned Foxes’ eponymous first album.

Despite coming off a little awkward at first, Johanna and Clara soon settled into a relaxed, warm-hearted banter with the crowd between songs as they made their way through debut album ‘The Big Black and The Blue’. It was settling in to be a perfectly pleasant – if unremarkable – set until, four or five songs in, Kara brazenly unplugged her guitar and the sisters emerged from behind the microphones and belted out a beautiful rendition of ‘Ghost Town’ to the muted room. The stripped down version of an already great song perfectly played to the intimate setting.

The spectacle didn’t stop there. Perhaps buoyed by the song’s thunderous reception, the girls then proceeded to hilariously produce four tickets to this weekend’s Latitude festival, before plucking four volunteering fans from the crowd for a heart-warming demonstration of the brave souls’ lyrical knowledge, with a pair of tickets going to the two winners. It certainly brought the evening to life, as the crowd – now buzzing with excitable chatter – cheered on their favourite contestant. And although you had to feel bad for the unlucky guy and gal who left the stage empty handed, it was impossible not to be charmed.

Closing off the set with the lovely lilting melodies of ‘I Met Up With The King’ was a perfect end to the evening (and no, I wasn’t biased by it being the only song I knew all the lyrics to). Emerging from the Garage and shuffling sleepy-eyed towards the Tube with a bag full of music treats, I couldn’t help but feel contented: beautiful music, memorable chatter and an irrepressible charm to the whole occasion – it perfectly summed up Wichita as a label. And the celebrations aren’t over; the likes of Los Campesinos! (a truly great live act), The Cribs and Johnny Foreigner are still to come later this week. On the basis of last night, it will be well worth a look.

Categories ,Bloc Party, ,First Aid Kit, ,Gig review, ,Los Campesinos, ,Meg Baird, ,Peggy Sue, ,Tegan and Sara, ,The Cribs, ,The Garage, ,Wichita Recordings

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Amelia’s Magazine | Operator Please

Emerging from the deep woods into Portland, web see Oregon and subsequently into The Pigeon Hole in London, cialis 40mg is one Alela Diane. Armed with her simple yet meticulously picked guitar and bluesy, plaintive vocals, she quietly charmed the audience with her soft presence.

Alela Diane’s deceptively sweet melodies often belie the darker, more shadowy subject matters of her songs; telling of rural family existences and the cycles of nature and life. If you’re a cynic you’ll be skeptical of her authenticity; her earnest performance may be too sweet for some, but if you suspend disbelief you find that her somewhat selfconscious presence and performance convey exactly what she sings about: hard working pioneers, silt, water and tatted lace.

A contented kind of yearning accompanies her campfire-style, gospel tinged vocals. An encore presented a new song that showed a more complex development of her music. It looks like this young nouveau-folk-singer/songwriter will be conquering the miles of prarie-land ahead in what could be a long career in the biz.


Everyone seems to have a bit of a crush on all-girl keyboard trio Au Revoir Simone , cialis 40mg consisting of hot girls that epitomise geek and their self-proclaimed ‘sandbox chic’.
Au Revoir Simone is like a perfectly whipped pavlova: light, viagra buy fluffy and crunchy, topped with cream and tangy fruit. As leggy and willowy as their music are Annie, Erika and Heather. With five keyboards, omni-chord, a drum machine and a glockenspiel amongst other miscellaneous electronic and otherwise paraphernalia, their synth-driven compositions are quite delectable.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Jarvis Cocker

Five albums in, medications malady and with only mild commercial success to date, it would be a reasonable assessment to describe Rufus Wainwright’s dramatic, theatrical pop as something of an acquired taste. For many, he over eggs the pudding , and then some. But whilst bold ambition may be a deterrent to some, his loyal fans will rejoice at this offering. This is classic Rufus, and whilst it wont be winning him many new fans, this simply doesn’t matter. This is a record to admire, it may even be his most satisfying work to date.

As expected, Wainwright offers up his usual mix of epic and restrained throughout the 13 songs, and there are a number of gems. Striking orchestration and characteristically high in the mix Rufus vocals lead us into opener Do I Dissapoint You. It is a brilliant opening song to set the tone for what is to follow. The diversity of instruments employed here alone is staggering, and like many songs throughout the album the arrangement is gloriously ambitious. The recurring operatic theme, present throughout all his previous work has been thankfully maintained.

First Single Going To A Town (which was B listed by Radio 2) follows. Its mournful tones echoing latter day Beatles balladry (think Fool On The Hill) and it features the albums most engaging lyrics. Amidst numerous misforgivings with his homeland, Wainwright again finds himself lost in the confusion of love and religion (another recurring theme here), “Tell me, do you really think you go to hell for having loved?” he pleads. For all the record’s grandiose, it is these moments of human insecurity that really strike a chord. It is also one of a number of outstanding vocals on the record.

The pace doesn’t let up throughout the opening half – Nobody’s Off The Hook, Between My Legs and Tiergarten sit easily amongst the artists best work. But, it cannot quite be maintained throughout the second half – a better focus on sequencing next time perhaps. But this is a minor gripe. With each listen, hidden depths are revealed, suggesting that this is a record that will endure also. It is a joy.

Troubles! That’s exactly what the Concretes got into during the last year. One of the three founding members and nonetheless the lead vocalist of the band decided to quit to start her solo project Taken by Trees. If that was not enough the destiny decided to punish them furthermore and as a result they had all their equipment stolen during the U.S. tour. Quite a difficult time for a band, sildenafil isn’t it? However, The Concretes decided to look ahead and continue their career as a seven piece band, giving Maria Erikkson the difficult task to substitute the charismatic and easily recognisable voice of Victoria Bergsman.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings

Not as impressive as their first output, more about mind not as depressive as their comeback, ask their third album manages to have some really solid hits while they explore their own roots and bring the angular guitars back. Unfortunately, site the excessive number of fillers making the experience less pleasant than it should be. You can’t blame them for trying. Their new songs see them trying to sound like their old selves – back when they had enough dancefloor anthems to make Franz Ferdinand jealous, and a major behind after them. After being dropped by their label because of News And Tributes, the second album which lacked the material which made them interesting in the first place, they had no option but to go back and give us their best impression of The Jam playing punk versions of Beach Boys songs. In The Beginning of the Twist, Radio Heart and Broke Up the Time they show that they still have what it takes to create shiny pop-dance songs. So what am I forgetting to mention? Oh, yes, the bad songs on the album. The ones that sound like a pastiche of themselves; soulless use of guitar and drums (as well as their accent – which we all liked) making me wonder where the energetic, meaningful two minutes of punk madness went. It could’ve been their chance to make it via their self made label, but regrettably This is Not the World could only be a good if it was an EP.

The member of Black Ghosts‘ solo project Lord Skywave is steeped in biographical influences and sways into the worlds of pop, and dub reggae and avant-garde electronica. Then again, order when you look at Simon Lord’s musical career you can see why his solo project is such a multi-genre mish mash.

Perhaps the most heartwarming part of this album is his extensive use of his families musical past. He samples the music his grandmother used to make so many moons ago. After a summer of visiting his grandfather’s house and going through his collection of old reel-to-reel tape recordings and 78′s, pilule he had an entire archive of her fantastically composed sweep off-your-feet instrumentals to work with.


As well as this, all the electronic bass sounds on the album were produced using the Lord Skywave synthesizer which was built by Simon’s dad in the 70′s, and only 10 were made. Which I find hard to believe with such a tantalizing name, surely there must have been more demand!

I don’t know about you, but I find all this absolutely fascinating, and such a refreshing change from the majority of music, which can sometimes can appear to be something of a soulless, money grabbing, dried out husk.

It’s so hard to pinpoint my favourite tracks on this album because it’s all so diverse and to start comparing them makes my retinas hurt. I think what I find so gripping about his style is his voice. At points it’s heartbreak in a sound wave and at others it‘s the happy morning shower singing that I thought only really occured in plays set in New York in the 1950′s.

Even though Simon Lord is an established musician, as both an ex-member of Simian and current half of The Black Ghosts, this album sets him apart from all his previous endeavors. It sounds like Prince if he was quintessentially British. What more can I say?

I’d seen the Amarylas a couple of weeks ago at an Oxjam night at Brixton’s Windmill and had been pleasantly surprised. Heading over to Islington’s hallowed pharmacy +Greater+London, what is ed +UK&fb=1&view=text&latlng=469594232395886090″target=”_blank”>Hope & Anchor, it was time to reacquaint myself with their psychedelia infused sound.

Tonight they were the opening act on the bill, so the venue was still pretty quiet, which was a shame. A guitar based four-piece, led by mop haired singer Luke Segura, they blend that classic, slightly psychedelic pop whimsy of Syd Barrett or Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake-era Small Faces with a Clash inspired New Wave edge. Basically, what Pete Doherty might sound like if he didn’t have quite so many, er, distractions!

For all of you still mourning the passing of the Libertines, make sure you check out the Amarylas when they play a venue near you.

Calling all budding fashion designer’s, adiposity Carla Fernandez, medicine founder of the leading ethical label, there Taller Flora, is giving designers the opportunity to jet over to Mexico to become part of her team for five months.

After winning the British Council’sInternational Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award, Carla has been rewarded with a cash prize to spend on a project which both tailors to her specific interests and contributes to developing the relationship between her country and the UK. The Mexican designer has chosen to give a printed textile designer and menswear designer from the UK the fantastic opportunity of working with herself and the Taller Flora team on two lines of clothing in Mexico in August 2008.

This is not, however, for someone who just likes the idea of sipping tequilas in the sun. The menswear candidate will work with Carla to develop tailoring within the range while the textile designer will help out on her printed textile designs.

Requirements for the menswear applicants:

Should have a BA or MA in fashion or be a talented designer.
Demonstrable competence of pattern cutting is mandatory
Ability to work independently
Team player with good interpersonal and communication skills
Knowledge of and an interest in ethical fashion
Knowledge of Spanish would be an asset
Must be a resident in the UK.

And the requirements for the textile applicants:

Should have a BA or MA in textile design or be a talented print designer
Excellent freehand drawing skills
Knowledge of Photoshop is mandatory
Silk screening experience
Ability to work independently
Team player with good interpersonal and communication skills
Knowledge of and an interest in ethical fashion
Knowledge of Spanish would be an asset
Must be a resident in the UK.

Sound like you? Designers interested in the project are asked to send a short (no longer than 300 words) written statement outlining why they want to be part of this project, up to 12 images of their work, their CV and the details of one of their references, to or Carla Fernandez at by 16th June 2008.

For more info visit the British Council website.

Good Luck!



Wednesday 11th

HEALTH at Korova, abortion Liverpool
Emmy the Great, web Diane Cluck, buy information pills younghusband at Cargo, London
White Williams at Puregroove Records, London
The Dodos at Night and Day Cafe, Manchester
I Was A Cub Scout at Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Semifinalists at Amersham Arms, London
Beach House, Fleet Foxes at ULU, London

Thursday 12th

Gnarls Barkley at Bush Hall, London
The Dodos at Crawdaddy, Dubin
O Children, S.C.U.M. at Puregroove Records, London

Friday 13th

Little Boots at Club Pony w/Midfield General, Sheffield
Sportsday Megaphone at Club NME @ Sin City, Swansea
Wild Beasts at Cross Keys, London

Saturday 14th

Deerhunter, High Places at Dublin Vicar Street
Leonard Cohen at Irish Museum Of Modern Art, Dublin
Meltdown – Massive Attack, Fuck Buttons at Royal Festival Hall, London
Sportsday Megaphone at Club NME at Welly Club, Hull

Sunday 15th

The Twilight Sad at Edinburgh Bongo Club
The Sugars at Fleece, Bristol

On Monday evening Ethic held the award ceremony for it’s annual ethical fashion competition in London.

Being one of the hottest days this year, buy I arrived at the uba trendy Fashion and Textile Museum feeling slightly harassed having endured 10 minutes of the rush hour on London’s sweaty central line. Thankfully I quickly located the bar and after gladly helping myself to a chilled white wine and tasty mini tuna baguette I was ready to fully immerse myself in the show

Now in its second year, more about The Ethic Competition is a contest open to over 150 fashion courses in the UK. Students were given the brief of designing a garment under £100 which addressed a key issue surrounding ethical fashion (eg fair-trade, organic materials, recycling, animal friendly or innovative environmentally friendly new materials), while still maintaining elements of current trends.

While I’d admit that none of the finalist’s work could be worn beyond the museums four walls, credit has to be given to the students for managing to produce garments that were at least visually appealing and a pleasure to watch on the catwalk. Design team Reduce, Reuse, Recycle managed to create a strapless full skirted gown using just newspaper, bubble wrap, bin bags and scrap pieces of recycled material.


The winners, and admittedly my favourites, were Nicole Da Silva and Phong Nguyen from Hackney Community College, who used second hand materials and clippings from the BBC website to address the issue of recycling while still managing to incorporate this season’s obsession with volume and ruffles in an extravagant tiered wedding gown.


Once the winners had taken their lap of honor and the buffet started to fizzle out, I made tracks to leave feeling very inspired and I must admit, a little merry!

Whether you’re eco-minded, page bemused by the concept, price or like me, help just generally confused; scribble down in your diaries ‘Climate Forum’, which is happening this weekend! The event includes a huge range of 50+ seminars with speakers varying from Michael Meacher MP, Tony Jupiter (Director Friends of the Earth UK) to George Galloway MP. But, you’ll not be listening to others all day as workshops, art, music, performance, stalls and exhibitions allow you to get stuck in straight away. There’s even a Saturday night party ‘Climate Caper’ at the Synergy Centre for those groovy rebel campaigners wanting to throw some shapes.

The event is organised by the group CCC (‘Campaign against Climate Change’) who seek to raise awareness about the gravity and urgency of global warming. They aim to get people together, forming street campaigns, pushing for a reduction in global emissions. The first day’s plenary is: ‘Are we losing the race against climate catastrophe?’ where workshops will investigate solutions such as climate justice, biodiversity and even ‘Youth and climate change: Campaigning for our future’ (so all you raging student activists with burning questions to ask-note this down)! Sunday will consequently focus on ‘Climate change from around the world’ where speakers will be holding a selection of workshops, including: ‘direct action’, ‘climate change, energy and health’, ‘combined networks’ and many more.

One workshop that pinpricked my interest was: ‘Youth and climate change: Campaigning for our future’ with Abigail Jabines of Greenpeace on Saturday. In a 2007 seminar in Sydney she stated that a one-metre sea level rise would result in 700 million square metres of land where 15 out of 16 regions’ coastlines would be affected. Not only does risen sea levels effect eco systems but it also has immediate consequences for small communities ill equipped to deal with climate changes.

The assortment of workshops happening throughout the weekend range from the political (‘Energy and Anarchy: why we need to escape from market-based thinking’), economical (‘Climate change and your bank’), political (‘Direct Action’), to spiritual (‘Faith and Climate Change’). One organiser told me the objective of the Weekend was to ‘raise awareness and forge a community of people who care about these issues; through political action as well as individual choices’. Her sunny outlook imparted a sense of positivity in me, as in the words of Abigail Jabines in her lecture; ‘We can do something. The window for action is getting very slim and the time to act is now.’


The line-up tonight does appear a little bit thrown together, page as all the bands don’t really lead on from one another. What Would Jesus Drive kick off the night’s proceedings. I’ve yet to decide on how feel about bands who get their names from bumper stickers, but judging a band by their favored car trinkets should always be avoided. This duo and their drum machine manage to put on a quirky live show of American tinged indie rock that seems to entertain this crowd at least.

Next on the bill is Polka Party, who offer a perfectly enjoyable bunch of pop songs with more southern drawl and dandy temperament than you could shake a stick at. Their latest single ‘Japanese Haircut’ is almost perfect indie disco fodder and it certainly had one girl at the front pulling Agyness Dean style pouts for the camera. I think this must be how indie music is rated nowadays.

Dananananaykroyd stole the show quite easily, though it’s not their style to do things effortlessly. The energy from their live show was infectious, and I’d have to say the catalyst for this was their duo of drummers. Facing opposite ways they dual perpetually, and the effect is almost hypnotic. Thankfully there is a large distraction from all the fun drumming in the form of the ever so brash lead singer. His microphone seemed to be broken for the majority of the set, but he truly didn’t care, and neither did I. He was shouting so loud that you could get the jist of what he might sound like if the microphone was working, and his flailing was for more interesting than any type of lyrics. I’d like to think of him as a lead flailer than a lead singer.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Review: Glastonbury!

Illustration by Natasha Thompson

There is no denying Glastonbury 2010 was a really special one. So if, stuff illness like me, website like this you are still feeling a touch of the post-festival blues read on and let us reminisce about some of the musical moments that made this years festival truly great.
In the weeks before the 40th Glastonbury there was an anticipation that everyone down on Worthy Farm would be pulling out all the stops. And sure enough, medicine ecstatic festival-goers arrived to a spruced up site; a beautiful patchwork sign spelling Glastonbury surveyed the beauty of the colossal site from its perch on the hill near The Park; a giant wicker man stood proudly in the middle of the stone circle; and a ravetastic new henge made from glowing cubes provided a place for guys and gals of Glastonbury to come and worship in the dance fields. I’m sure there was much much more but all this added to a general impression that Glasto 2010 was going to be bigger, brighter and better than ever before.

Then, of course, something really magical happened, something that no one could have predicted. The sun shined for the entire festival – and boy did it shine! Umbrellas found a novel new purpose in life protecting their owners not from rain but the unrelenting heat of the sun, and wellies remained slumped in dark corners of tents or abandoned by the very optimistic in cars.
As with the extra effort put into everything else, the line up was incredible — too good! Everyday my heart was broken a little as I realised that two, three or four of the bands I would have liked to have seen were on at the same time. The line-up was an eclectic music fan’s (such as myself’s) dream. Neatly summed up, of course, in the festival’s headline acts; Gorillaz, Muse and Stevie Wonder — three acts big enough to hold their own on the famous Pyramid Stage but definitely diverse in their musical stylings. I’m going to end on Stevie but first to another of his namesakes.

Illustration by Gareth Hopkins

Seasick Steve took to The Pyramid in what felt like one billion degree heat in the middle of the day on Saturday. The cider in my hand was hotter than the sun and doing nothing to quench my thirst but Seasick Steve was all the refreshment that the large crowd who had turned up to see him needed. He’s been on the summer festival circuit for a while now but his stripped-down act, wailing three string guitar, and songs about life on the streets in the USA were still as thrilling as ever. ‘Burning Up’ managed to sum up quite succinctly the general atmosphere among the sea of sweating fans but we all stayed with him despite the heat for his tremendous trademark finale of the ever-accelerating bluesy number ‘Dog House Boogie.’

 Then, later that day, Laura Marling’s gig provided one of the most memorable moments of festival. After a blissful and beautiful Saturday afternoon Marling emerged just as the bright ball-like orange sun dipped behind the trees. She said very little but the hush over The Park as everyone stopped to listen to her was such that my friend aimed a “Shhh” at a low flying helicopter above us. Her set was a combination of the now veritable folk standards from the old album such as ‘Ghosts’, ‘My Manic and I’ and the countrified ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ and pretty ditties from new album I Speak Because I Can. She began ‘Blackberry Stone’ to whoops of delight from the crowd and by the end of the delicate guitar-based ballad from her latest work Laura had herself a few new fans and a boy at the front had himself a new fiancé. “I don’t know if you saw, but someone just proposed and got a good answer,” Marling told the mesmerised crowd.

Illustration by Donna McKenzie

 Mumford & Sons caused me a fair bit of heartache, an ill-timed arrival meant that I could barely get near the tent. Recently the Mumford boys have pretty much exploded — planting their banjo-touting and harmony-singing selves firmly at the forefront of the British antifolk scene. Their gig at the John Peel Stage was a monument to how popular they have become. The audience and, really endearingly, the band were completely overwhelmed. As their set saw some of the biggest sing- a-longs of the festival it was all the boys could do to steal glances at each other with looks of utter disbelief. The intimacy of their songs and acoustic nature was not lost among the huge crowd though — proving once and for all that these are folkies who really know how to rock. In fact many were left wondering why the boys had been billed for the John Peel and not The Other or West Holts Stages, they definitely proved they can draw a big enough crowd.

Illustration by Luke Waller

 Dizzee Rascal, a bit of a festival staple these days, was perhaps one of the only acts who could have drawn me away from the Mumfords. Ever the entertainer he bust out his best hits including ‘Bonkers’, ‘Holiday’, new one ‘Dirty Disco’ and a version of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ — all unbeatable at geeing up a cider-fuelled rabble for a night of raging away in the dance fields, Shangri-La, their own tent, or whatever it might be. And, of course, his set wouldn’t have been complete without an appearance from Florence for ‘You Got the Dirty Love’ (her own gig on The Other Stage another massive festival highlight for many). After also appearing with The xx, Florence actually sung ‘You Got the Love’ three times this Glastonbury. In fact if you watched Florence at her gig and all her guest appearances and then went to see Candi Staton croon her way through her original version, you could have gotten a whole four renditions — I’m not sure that’s ever happened before at Glasto and surely that’s more than enough love for anybody?

Illustration by Abi Daker

 But it was Stevie Wonder who stole the show for many, proving that 50 odd years in the business only makes you more of a superstar not a washed-up one. Ripping a keytar to shreds, Wonder promised a night of celebrating Michael Jackson’s life as well as 40 years of Glastonbury. Now, I would never have bought a ticket to see Stevie Wonder play but clearly this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience and anyway, his music holds some pretty serious sway in our house (my Mum requested songs by Stevie to be played out on hospital radio after the births of me and my sister!) But even my friend, who couldn’t claim to be a Stevie Wonder fan — “I don’t know any of the songs, sing one to me!” — soon realised that basically everybody knows Stevie Wonder’s music. His songs are all around us and like some kind of musical oxygen have been seeping into our brains via osmosis since the dawn of time! Stevie unashamedly rattled through the biggest hits of his half century-long career, saving ‘Superstition’ until near the end of his set, unleashing a rapturous response among arguably the biggest crowd of the festival.
Then the ultimate finale to what has since been reported as the best Glastonbury ever, Stevie’s legendary soul interpretation of Happy Birthday. Glasto founder Michael Eavis was dragged out on stage and serenaded by the superstar — providing the ultimate warm fuzzy feeling in the stomachs of everyone who witnessed it. Even if Eavis’ singing was less than easy on the ears.

Categories ,acoustic, ,dizzee rascal, ,Festival Review, ,Florence and The Machine, ,glastonbury, ,john peel, ,Laura Marling, ,live, ,Michael Eavis, ,Mumford& Sons, ,Seasick Steve, ,Stevie Wonder

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