March 31, 2014
17 February – The Strypes have come on in leaps and bounds since I last saw them at The Cockpit in May 2013. The biggest difference is the confidence they now exude. Whilst sticking to the R’n’B template that has served then so well they are beginning to slowly widen their palette, tonight including covers of songs by the Ramones and The Specials. Next time they play Leeds it’ll be at the Academy and hopefully I’ll be there.
Set list: What a Shame, So They Say, Lucky 7, She’s So Fine, What the People Don’t See, I Don’t Wanna Know, I’m a Hog for You, I Can Tell, Angel Eyes, Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Concrete Jungle, Perfect Storm, Hard To Say No, Mystery Man, Hometown Girls, Got Love If You Want It, Blue Collar Jane, Heart of the City, Rollin’ and Tumblin’.
Encore: Still Gonna Drive You Home, Rockaway Beach, Louie Louie, You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover.
21 February – In my opinion, which is not at all humble, Laura Cantrell is currently the finest female traditional country singer performing. Fortunately I’m seeing her for the third time tonight at The Wardrobe. This is a well judged set that covers her entire output but, as fine a songwriters as she is, prolific she is not. This means that she has to do a number of covers. She always chooses these well – tonight including Lucinda Williams’s Letters, Burt Bacharach’s Trains And Boats And Planes and a particularly fine version of New Order’s Love Vigilantes. A particularly amusing moment occurs when Laura was introducing Kitty Wells’s Dresses by explaining who Kitty Wells was. “You won’t have heard of her,” she says. The audience loudly disagrees and one wag shouts. “She didn’t come to Leeds either!”
An evening in the company of Laura Cantrell is time well spent.
July 1, 2011
4 May – Laura Cantrell is someone who is difficult to categorise, and I don’t like to do that anyway, but if pushed I’d say she was a country singer. I saw her in November 2003 opening for the awesome Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and, to be honest, I don’t remember much about that 30 minute or so set. I did try to see her during a trip to SXSW in Austin in 2005 but the queue was far too long.
Now she’s touring to support her new album, Kitty Wells’ Dresses, The Songs of The Queen Of Country Music, so I persuade the GLW to make the short trip to Sheffield’s Memorial Hall to see her.
Laura knows how to pick a cover version and, not surprisingly as her new album features nine songs (of ten) made famous by Kitty Wells, she plays several amongst her own compositions. She opens with Trains & Boats & Planes, the song that first attracted the GLW’s attention. Among the other cover songs she plays are It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels and I Gave My Wedding Dress Away as well as some of her own compositions, such as Not The Trembling Kind, from across her career.
I hope it’s not another 11 years before I see her again.
26 May – Wilko Johnson is a force of nature. I’ve had no desire to see him since he left Dr Feelgood in 1977 as I always felt that somehow I would be disappointed. So I was a little surprised when my mate Stephen told me he’d bought me a ticket to see Wilko at the Leeds Irish Centre with him but I bit the bullet and went along.
Playing as a trio with Norman Watt-Roy on bass and Dylan Howe on drums I have to ask myself why have I denied myself this fantastic entertainment for so long? A mix of classic Wilko penned Feelgood songs: Sneaking Suspicion; Roxette; Back In The Night and She Does It Right, as well as solo tracks such as Dr Dupree and classics like Chuck Berry’s Bye Bye Johnny.
I won’t be depriving myself of this kind of entertainment in the future!