Later With Jools Holland.. 20th May.

Now this was quite a varied episode. there were some outstanding points that made me smile and reassured me in the future of music, and some that bored me almost to tears. So let us start off with the latter as it’s easier to talk about things you dislike.

Obviously, The Strokes. Seriously. Why are people still liking this hideous sound that screams LANDFILL INDIE? The Strokes seem to fall into the same category of groups like Razorlight and Kings Of Leon, although I think I despise these two more than The Strokes. The lead singer needs to learn to enunciate – do his lyrics mean nothing to him? What’s the point in having words if you don’t let anyone hear them? Also, they all need haircuts and they dress like twats. Their music bores me, it sounds like background filler. The first song was kind of catchy but it didn’t inspire me to listen to anything else by them. 5/10 at best. Probably more 4.

Now. Someone a little more interesting maybe.. Staff Benda Bilili. These chaps were rather interesting. I believe they were all polio sufferers from the Congo (I’m resisting using the phrase “Congo cripples” – I’m assuming it’s fantastically un-PC but the alliteration was too good to waste), and they churned out some pretty groovy tunes. I would like to see it in its original context as I don’t know if it seemed quite right in a BBC studio, but I did enjoy it. Apparently they’re a “street group” who play primarily rumba but they also range into trad rhythm and blues and reggae. That might give you an idea of what they sounded like. They had some strange instruments that I didn’t recognise that made outstanding sounds. These guys were pretty good. 6/10?

Charlie Haden Quartet West – Oh dreary dreary couldn’t give a toss about this jazz. Even free jazz is more exciting than this. Although that is the worst form of jazz ever. This jazz was so laid back that it might fall asleep had it not been plugged in. If indeed it was that. It would not be out-of-place in an early Richard Curtis film.. The most nauseating part of this was the lyrics – they were so obvious I was able to guess the next line. Gershwin, big band or crooner jazz – that’s what jazz should be about.4/10, possibly 3.

Wild Beasts – These chaps were better than when I saw them at Glastonbury – I suspect the heat and the John Peel Stage were something to do with the enjoyment – but they still aren’t amazing as some people I know think they are. They are better than The Strokes, of that I am sure. I think their first song was best, it had that sort of odd dreamy distant quality that would be perfect for the penultimate scene of a film where the main protagonist is belting down the motorway in order to reclaim whatever he’s lost during the course of the film (usually a female). The second song was weaker – it should have crescendo-ed into something – and the third I already knew. 6/10 methinks. Yes there is a little more to it than the usual “indie”, but only a little.

Seasick Steve – Yes, definitely, end of. Everyone else loves him too. Probably because he’s something completely different but not terrible. Usually people try to be different but so different they go completely off the scale and look retarded. Like contemporary dancers. This chap has style and originality, and clearly doesn’t care that much about what he looks like (like The Strokes do). Steve seemed to be playing something that looked like a homemade banjo. And he was playing it slide.. This just improves in ten-fold. It appeared to be three oldish rockers having a jam and churning out better material than people who try to be amazing and new and, worst of all, cool. Seasick Steve is way cooler than.. (I don’t want to use The Strokes as an example again, but they are quite easy to stereotype etc). 8/10 I think.

The Burns Unit – This initially sounds like a horrible name, but it turns out that it’s Robert Burns, not the third-degree type. This ensemble met on a song-writing course called Burns Song I think, as a result there’s a lot of traditional in it. I think it’s classed as folk, although this is an exceptionally vague title. They came across, in music and appearance, as a slightly (only slightly) modernised version of the people dad used to see in folk clubs in the 70s in Chichester. I absolutely loved the first song, called ‘Send Them Kids To War’, and thought the second was slightly weaker but still pretty good. Am definitely going to listen to the album 9/10 I think, especially their first number.

Also, The Monkees (or what’s left of them) were featured, in interview and mini-jam form, and were outstanding. They were funny, still very good at performing, and completely insane. Easily the best and most entertaining oldies on the show so far. Next week, I believe Blondie have been mentioned, amongst others, so god knows what’s going to happen. It could be interesting.


Glastonbury 2010 – Part Three.

Oh Saturday… The Saturday of Glastonbury was hot! So bloody hot, but by this point I was getting used to it. Acclimatising, if you will. There wasn’t so much rushing around this time as there were less good bands to see, but we still made a good effort of it, and had a wicked evening at Shangri-La after the music finished too. Lovely stuff 🙂

We had nothing scheduled until The National at 5pm, so we took a wander around the whole site after a breakfast from Veggie Heaven, which, annoyingly, was not as good as last year. And I managed to get beans all over me 😦 But after that, we found an outstanding wine place in the Green Fields! I believe it was called Pennard Organic Wines, and we had a cup of the strawberry wine and wandered into a mini kids area. I mean the area was mini, kids are already mini.

Story time 🙂

To display to us how diverse Glastonbury is, we inadvertently managed to pick the spot of shade where next to us was a small model of ships and general sea-bay-18th century antics. Some chap in a dashing costume then started advertising his performance to the general public, and for half an hour, we were read a lovely story, with the models as props and visual aids, in the cooling shade, on a relaxed Saturday afternoon, with strawberry wine – and it was all about pirates! It was excellent. In many ways, I’m very glad there was no interesting music on at that time. It’s pleasant being read a story when you’re 22 and should be reading to small things yourself.

After our literary excursion, and once we’d finished the wine, we went for a wander and our first musical event was Wild Beasts, on the John Peel stage. They were ok. They didn’t exactly ‘wow’ me, but then they weren’t tragically bad I suppose. Accomplished in what they were trying to do, but nothing special. Like nearly everything else, according to me, it would seem. There is literally nothing else to say about Wild Beasts. Except one of them REALLY needs a haircut.

Mr National protects his retinas

Moving on, our next band was The National. I love this band. Really, I think they’re brilliant. Their performance was good – they started with ‘Anyone’s Ghost’, my favourite track from their new album, and also played ‘Mr November’ and ‘Fake Empire’, along with a good mix from the last two albums. However, they were everything I expected them to be – excellent, very good live, a good together band, but for some reason I wasn’t blown away by them. That doesn’t mean they weren’t immense, but then I was expecting them to be so. Possibly this is why, but on the plus side, at least they didn’t disappoint. What a lovely band 🙂 What an interesting band! Surrounded by a tsunami of generic indie bands, it’s excellent to find good ones still clinging on.

Tom wished to see Holy Fuck at The Queen’s Head after this, and refusing something to him is impossible to do, so off we went. It’s also a bloody stupid idea to refuse something musical to him. I believe it was described to me as “live electronica”, to which I said “How?!”, but it turned out to be refreshingly good! A huge surprise, his suggestions can be exceptionally hit and miss. Plus with a name like Holy Fuck, and described as live electronica, it could have been anything. But it was good! Almost definitely best live, though check out the track ‘Stay Lit’, not too offensive on the ears (for me anyway), and not pretentious wankers! Good music, actually good and original music. By that I mean they didn’t sound like every other band played most at the moment.

We spent the majority of the evening on that side of the festival site, and our next stop was to get a pizza. Yum. This was consumed, with a pint of cider, in the ‘West Holts’ field, with Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra to entertain us. Having seen them before, it was rather comforting to have them playing in the background, and like last time, the orchestra is outstanding, and does not necessarily need the ‘guidance’ of Mr Dammers to help them along. He did, however, manage to bring Arthur Brown (as in, Crazy World Of-) onstage, which I thought was pretty cool as I assumed he was already dead. But no!


Now, this evening, everyone was talking about Muse. Muse have never been a band I’ve caught the bug of, which appears to be essential to get the need to see them as much as the rest of the site did. So instead, we went to see Parliament/Funkadelic with George Clinton. Having only heard about them in the Mighty Boosh, and after researching their music on Spotify (and discovering their songs were about 5-6 minute tracks of the same sort of thing), I was dubious. It was another occasion of me saying “There’s nothing much on. What shall we see?” and Tom saying “Well I did rather want to see…”, HOWEVER, they were freaking awesome, and possibly the best thing I saw this festival. They all looked like they were having so much fun, and there were times when they’d merge one song into another for about twenty minutes, so you just got your groove on solidly, occasionally clapping when you were allowed/able to, and everyone in the field seemed to be having a good time. There was no crowding or pushing or anything – there was a general feeling of “this is awesome” and it was so much fun! I can’t remember the last time a band was actually fun. They went on for ages, but it felt like half an hour – I also can’t remember the last time I wanted a band to play more. YES P-Funk!

The weirdness of Shangri-La

By this stage of the festival, money had been saved (as apparently we’re too boring to drink it or something), and money had been found (by those who had drunk their money and dropped the rest of it), so to the Brothers Bar we went again, and then headed to Shangri-La before the Muse crowds got there. We actually got in this time! Easily as well, and headed straight for a crazy place called Bezs Acid House, which was, like the last event, so much fun! Apparently no one cares what you look like at Glasto, and we, for the second time that evening, cracked out some serious dance moves (yes really), and grooved away until we’d had enough. Which, given the early waking hours, the sun and the fact it was 2am, was pretty soon after, but we also explored the other crazy goings-on there, like a place called Fish N Tits, the Micro-rave, and consumed a saltfish fritter from the Caribbean food bar. It was simply marvellous, a brilliant evening. If all clubs were like that, I’d be there every evening. Being filled with scantily clad women, drunk leery men, and terrible music, I am not.