After more than two and a half years, we finally got to a live gig again to see When Rivers Meet at Bath Komedia.  Turned out it was also their first gig since the lockdowns.

This is the first time we had taken-in a gig at this local venue, but by no means the first time we had been in the building.  It used to be the Beau Nash Cinema way back in the day, and I well remember the Saturday morning matinees back in the fifties when we paid sixpence to see a Western in which the wagons were circled to fight off those pesky injuns, or the White Hats defeated the Black Hats in a shoot-out in the local corral.
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It was good to see the Brits back in full flow last night, especially the sets and effects which have to make this, at least visually, the best Awards Show in the world.  Stand-out for me last night was Liam Gallagher – not only a great performance of a debut track, but how on earth did they do that with those lasers!?

Of course, the headlines today are all about Adele ‘scooping the pool’ and the new non-gendered categories.  But it’s amazing how, in making their woke points, the mainstream media virtually ignore what the awards are actually for – the music.  It is also somewhat ironic that in highlighting the fact that the award categories did not reflect gender in any way, shape or form, the likes of the Grauniad still had to stress, very pointedly, that more categories were won by female artists than male. Continue Reading

album of the year 2021

Welcome to my Album of the Year 2021 blog. I guess we all had hoped for a better time after the prevails of 2020 but, despite a few short months of relative freedom, its successor has turned into another strange year with a real sting in the tail. Not, however I am pleased to report, in the quality and quantity of great music it has produced.

I guess you find, when you have written about music for as long as I have, that you hear ever more echoes from the past – whether they are influences on new artists or samples from old hits. This year, I found myself both concentrating on a vast array of new music, as well as on my Classic Albums section, which has featured a number of albums that celebrated their 50th anniversary this year, the majority of which still sound as fresh today as they did all that time ago.
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got away

When I wrote at the beginning of my Album of the Year blog for 2020 that it was probably the strangest year of our lives, there were two things I was not expecting.  Firstly that, six months later, we would still be suffering the majority of restrictions imposed on our lives – particularly in the arena of live music – and, secondly, that so many great albums from 2020 could have got away from being assessed for that last blog.

Regular readers will already be aware of my ‘ One that Got Away ‘ feature most years, mentioning albums discovered too late for inclusion previously.  These often arrive as a Christmas surprise from one of my offspring or the subject of emails from regulars where a sentence commences with the words: ‘I’m surprised that you missed ….’   But those can usually be counted on the fingers of one hand, and have normally had their first listening well before the end of January.  This year’s crop, however, are now well into double-figures, and have kept on coming through the early months of this year – so many that the regular slot for them would potentially take over this year’s blog.  So, halfway through 2021, here is a roundup plus a top ten of all those albums that got away last year.
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brits 2021

So, the Brits 2021.  Billed as the first major live musical event without masks and social-distancing since the pandemic started, and another major step on our road to freedom.  But is this what the industry’s leading lights think they should be serving up for us as normal ‘entertainment’ in the future?   Where to start?

It was, of course, great to see the country’s first live virtual-signalling event in over a year go ahead with a crowd, even if they were specifically-selected to react positively to every loaded message thrown their way. It was also unfortunate that, of all people, that prince of wokedom Bono couldn’t be there for such a prestigious celebration of the art, but he did suffer from the worst-possible handicap to getting such an invitation on this particular night – he has a dick.

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