December 2012

January 2, 2013


December 1 – I’ve written before that home town shows are usually great and Elbow at the MEN Arena was no exception. This was their penultimate date before taking a year off to record a new album and they have developed in to a fine live band, exceptional musicians and probably the best front man in the country in Guy Garvey. They played almost everything you’d expect, with just one new song. I’m already looking forward to the new album and a chance to hear them play it live.

Set List: High Ideals; The Bones of You; Grace Under Pressure; Mirrorball; Charge; Leaders of the Free World; Grounds for Divorce; The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver; The Night Will Always Win; Weather to Fly; Fugitive Motel; Puncture Repair; Lippy Kids; The Birds; Open Arms
Encore: Starlings; Station Approach; One Day Like This

December 4 – For the first time ever I was considering not going to see Squeeze when they’re playing in West Yorkshire. This was due to the price of the tickets which, even for a band I love, seemed to be a tad high and that they were playing the Leeds O2 Academy. Fortunately my friend Stephen asks me if I’m going so I say “Yes”! He gets seats in the balcony and we arrive early to see the support act.

This is Paul Heaton who plays a storming set, which includes a couple of gems each from his Housemartins and Beautiful South past as well as songs from his (excellent) solo albums before finishing with a stunning version of Caravan Of Love.

To be fair to Squeeze they make a habit of picking excellent supports and then go on to show why they’re headlining. They play a mix of familiar favourites, obscure songs and four ‘new ones’. The new songs are the first new Squeeze material for 14 years!

After the show I bought a recording of the show on CD, with a bonus CD consisting of studio recordings of the new songs. Next time they tour I won’t be thinking of not going.

Parker, Graham - Three Chords Good

Now Playing – This mon

th I

‘ve been listening to a lot of Graham Parker & The Rumour. This was triggered by getting their new album, their first in 31 years, Three Chord

s Good

. It’s a lot less frenetic than their previous stuff but no worse for that. It directed me back to their earlier albums, particularly

Heat Tre

atment and Squeezing Out Sparks, and some BBC In Concert recordings.  I was transported back to the many times I saw them in the mid to late 70’s, mostly at the St Georges Hall in Bradford. They were always great and it’s still a mystery to me how they couldn’t translate live popularity in to record sales, although they were not the only group that suffered from that problem.

2013GP & The Rumour played some American dates to support their album so I’m desperately hoping they play some in England, and in travelling distance for me, in 2013. I’m going to see The Expelaires, also reuniting after about 30 years, in January and have tickets to see Gaslight Anthem. No doubt there’ll be other people I want to see but one group that I’m particularly interested in seeing is The Strypes, a young Irish band that are getting a lot of press. you can see them here.

November 2010

December 5, 2010

11 November – Raul Malo at The Arts Theatre, Nottingham. Although probably best known as the front man of The Mavericks there has always been more than just country music to Raul as he’s sought to blend it with latin, jazz and rock’n’roll. Tonight he’s performing with the excellent accordionist Michael Guerra. Highlights include Lucky One, Crying Time, Something Stupid and particularly Hot Burrito #1. A lighter note was his introduction to Roy Orbison’s Crying, which featured an Orbison style version of Puff The Magic Dragon.

17 November – Gaslight Anthem at The Leeds O2 Academy. It’s a Wednesday so the show starts promptly as they have to get us all out to start the club night that follows. I miss the support but that’s not unusual these days. A Bruce Springsteen connection and a recommendation from my nephew-in-law (is there such a thing?), Brian first drew my attention to the Gaslight Anthem but having caught it it’s their music that retains it. Their latest CD, American Slang, is a fine recording and is well featured with 8 of its 10 tracks being played tonight. What I particularly like about them, and haven’t seen for a while, is the way they grab the audience and just refuse to let go.  For me the standouts, from a 27 song setlist, were Old White Lincoln, Meet Me By The River’s Edge, Great Expectations, The ’59 Sound, new song Goodnight Irene and American Slang. These boys rock in a way few bands do these days. A great night out with Brian, I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

26 November – The Lightning Seeds/Squeeze at Leeds O2 Academy. I’ve said it before, and no doubt will again, but the Leeds Academy is probably my least favourite venue in the country. In addition to the usual non-stop talkers tonight I’m treated to the sight of two jokers relieving themselves in to plastic beer glasses and then just put them on the floor!

The Lightning Seeds are a perfect support band for Squeeze – classic pop songs, such as Life Of Riley and Lucky You get the audience in just the right mood for the headliners.

I’ve seen Squeeze more times than I care to remember and every time they deliver a great show. Their latest CD, Spot The Difference, is a collection of note for note re-recordings of their best known songs, apparently done for copyright reasons. Tonight, as ever, they play those classics but throw in some unexpected gems from their back catalogue. Highlights for me included: having Steve Nieve back on keyboards, starting with Black Coffee In Bed instead of leaving it for the encore, Tempted, Hourglass, Goodbye Girl, Model, Slap And Tickle, It’s So Dirty and Slaughtered, Gutted & Heartbroken.

By the way, if you’re a Squeeze fan it’s worth seeking out a copy of Spot The Difference as the European edition includes a bonus disc recorded live at The Fillmore on their 2010 American tour.

Some more comedy this month too. Chris Addison at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Dara O’Briain at Leeds Grand Theatre are both very funny, showing why they are so well regarded. Highly recommended.