Franz Ferdinand – Leeds, 20 October 2009

October 21, 2009

Franz FerdinandWhen I checked the O2 Academy web site before setting off to the show, in an attempt to find stage times, I noticed that the ‘buy tickets’ button was, surprisingly, still active. When I entered the venue it was packed full!

As a general rule once a band get to their third album, tour set lists tend to favour the early and better known songs. Nothing general about Franz Ferdinand though. The songs played tonight are spread fairly evenly across their three albums with their latest, Tonight, getting its fair share. The highlights, as you might expect, are the singles; Take Me Out, The Dark Of The Matinee, Michael, Do You Want To, Walk Away, Ulysses and No You Girls, but all the material is very strong.

At their best, and tonight they’re very good, Franz Ferdinand manage to mix intelligent rock with pop and then add a funky (for white boys) edge. They remind me in some ways of Talking Heads, particularly around the time of Fear Of Music, and that’s always a good comparison.

The thing that annoys me tonight is the audience, or at least a part of it. I’ll be writing a separate post soon about the O2 Academy and what I think of a number of the people who attend shows there.

The Hot Rats – Leeds, 12th October 2009

October 14, 2009

Hot Rats

Supergrass have always been one of the great underappreciated groups of Britpop. Album after album of finely crafted pop songs. So that’s why I’m heading to The Cockpit on a Monday night to see The Hot Rats – Gaz and Danny’s latest side project.  The premise is simple; they record covers of their favourite songs, with producer Nigel Goodrich, and then go on the road to play them.

Despite there only been the two musicians the sound is full, fast and furious.  Eight songs I’m familiar with and four I don’t know. It’s a good mix and my favourite tonight is a storming version of Damaged Goods, which prompted me to play the original as soon as I got home.

Danny reveals that they were paid £35,000 to record Drive My Car for a Boss Orange  fragrence advert featuring Sienna Miller, that largely paid for the making of the album.

The album, titled Turn Ons, is out in January 2010 but you can get a taste of the sound at their Myspace site.

The set list is at the top of this post and, for your ease and information, the originals are by The Velvet Underground, The Kinks, The Beastie Boys, the Doors, Gang Of Four, Pink Floyd, The Beat, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Elvis Costello, The Beatles, The Cure and the Sex Pistols.

Richard Hawley – York, 3rd October 2009

October 4, 2009

Richard Hawley0001

This is the third time I’ve seen Richard  Hawley and he continues to impress.

Tonight’s opening act is the Smoke Fairies. They are Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire, who both play guitar and sing, supported by a violinist and drummer. Their music is an interesting mix of folk/blues and bluegrass. Give them a listen at their myspace site. I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

Richard Hawley’s set is drawn largely from his new album Truelove’s Gutter, which I recommend you purchase as soon as possible, with two songs from Coles Corner and one apiece from Lady’s Bridge and Lowedges. This is a brave decision, given that many present will have come to hear the singles and other tracks they are familiar with, but it explains why Hawley will continue to make music and have a loyal following – he’s not prepared to coast. His band is superb, and this is the first time, to the best of my recollection, that I have ever been to a gig where someone played the saw!

If you’d like to hear Hawley and his band there is a live CD of their show at the Devils Arse Cave near Castleton, available here. It’s a fine show from December 2008.

Finally, a word of warning to anyone attending the Grand Opera House. While in most respects a fine venue, you’d better have either a strong or empty bladder as the toilet facilities leave something to be desired in terms of numbers!