Regular readers will know that I have two blogs. As adversity always brings out the best in people, on morethanmyblogsworth, during the first two lockdowns I shared some of my friends’ humour to brighten the long days in isolation. We had all hoped that there would be no need for another but, like all trilogy franchises, although the first one was quite successful, the follow-up was hopeless; meaning the third has come-along quite quickly. So welcome to Lockdown 3 – Attack of the Variants!
This time I have decided to try something different to lift spirits through what could be a long winter. So, taking the cue from my favourite DJs Radcliffe & Maconie, I started a Lockdown Chain on my Facebook page – every day a live video of a track with a tenuous link to the previous day until we are finally free again to go to real live gigs. Below are the daily choices if you want a catch-up:
2020 was probably the strangest year of our lives for a lot of us, especially those like myself, of more-advanced years, who have been semi-isolating for most of it. Even when we were able to escape, the closure of non-essential retail for months on end curtailed the ability to browse record store racks to find candidates for my Album of the Year 2020.
Not only that, but the complete shut-down of live music venues since February has meant, for the first time since I was a teenager in the early-sixties, that this has been a year with no live gigs whatsoever. We did have tickets to see last year’s AoTY winner, Sam Fender, in January (postponed from December) but that gig was also postponed twice further, eventually falling-foul of the lockdown along with another pre-booked gig by Tash Sultana later in the year.
Recently during Lockdown, there have been lots of ‘challenges’ on social media that you had to be nominated for by someone who had already done them. Name ten albums that mean something to you, one a day for ten days was probably the most popular – I did it twice, although I modified the ‘rules’ to suit, as is my wont. Then there were books, films, TV comedies, and so on. The last one, just before it all began to peter-out, was your six most memorable gigs of all time.
A friend was nominated and I was hoping he would pass on a nomination to me, but it never came. I was discussing this omission with another friend – actually I was having a bit of a whinge about it – to which he simply said: well, write a blog then! Obvious really – duh! Continue Reading
Selecting my Album of the Year 2019 was a lot more difficult this year, as there was a lot of good music about. Although some of it was from a selection of new artists, this was a small cohort in relation to the number of old friends whose new offerings found their way onto the player this year.
Having said that, there were also some notable absences from the purchases of acts I have followed for many years, who also released albums this year. Old favourites that couldn’t raise my interest beyond a tentative listen included Hozier, Chemical Brothers, Morrisey, Santana, Madonna, Kaiser Chiefs, Sheryl Crow, Bat for Lashes and Stereophonics. Others survived the tentative listen test, only to be rejected fairly swiftly in the shortlisting process. Continue Reading
There’s always a touch of deja vu about going to gigs when you get to my age, particularly when seeing a band again that you first saw many years ago. But it’s unusual when a set from a new band revives memories of another gig from fifty years ago. Such was the case with Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats at the O2 Academy in Bristol last night.
Their latest album, Tearing at the Seams, featured high in my 2018 Album of the Year review, so we have been looking forward to this gig, and they did not disappoint. The album, on the Stax label, brought back memories of bands from the sixties who graced this fabulous brand, and that sound was here in spades, perhaps with a hint of Van Morrison in places. Seeing all eight of them on stage complete with horn section and a genuine vintage Hammond, rotating speaker box and all, recalled the UK soul bands that made a brief appearance during the mid-sixties – I recall one from Bristol who I think were called the West Coast Showband that we saw around the area at small venues.