Friday, 31 August 2012

Pulp, Doncaster Dome, 26th November 1998

So the last plug on the blog for my own art but this one is kind of a gig review anyhow.
My MA work has focussed on the first gig I ever attended Pulp at Doncaster Dome, 26th November 1998 and uses it as an exploration into the banality of internet culture and modern societies obsession with nostalgia and sentiment, no matter how attainable or worthwhile.

The 17 songs that Pulp played that evening form the circular wall pattern and are accompanied by a series of foil prints, positioning these ridiculous binary shapes alongside Yugoslavian war memorials (not dissimilar in structure to Doncaster Dome itself). In Simon Reynolds Retromania he talks about the (pop) moment becoming a monument which is what I kind of wanted to recreate. A ridiculous, religious like experience that totally misses all the important parts out.  I remember very little of that gig in 1998 but after a few clicks on the net I can find every detail about what happened.

Why are people at gigs viewing the entire event through a mobile phone screen? A desperate need to archive everything. Why listen to a ten track album when you can listen to 5 seconds of every song ever made on the internet? Saturation point has arrived. 

Anyhow, the flowers were a nod towards Ringos 'Welcome Back to the Beatles' floral drumkit surprise (re-imagined on Oasis' Don't Look Back in Anger sleeve) and the video can be seen beneath this image.

An artist statement can be found HERE on my website which should hopefully help to explain it a bit better, but for those who prefer their art just with their eyes there is a bunch of photos below. I passed.



And with regards to the 'best album of the nineties' debate raging on this blog This is Hardcore would probably be up in second place behind Loveless in my list. But more of that to come no doubt...

Something for the Weekend #6 Tim Burgess / Dan Tombs

Cracking official music video for the new Tim Burgess track made by psychedelic visual artist  and mate of mine Dan Tombs. Feels like doing the Divine Comedy on mushrooms.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Green Man Festival

'Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street' William Blake

A cursory glance at your standard Green Man line-up would do little to deter the hordes from their annual pilgrimage to Reading, Leeds and the auto-tune orgy that makes up the modern V festival gathering.  A festival headlined by Mogwai, Feist and professional grumpy sod Van Morrison is unlikely to bring the youth flocking into the Brecon Beacons, but one imagines that Green Man's organisers more than like it that way and, if you scratch that line-up a little deeper than the top of the bill, there were plenty of thrills to be had at this year's bash, and a feast of new sounds that are unlikely to have made it onto Fearne Cotton's i-pod.

The persistent rain on Friday saw a larger than expected crowd gather for Remember Remember's afternoon show in the Far Out tent, but more than a few converts were made by their dark, long and quite lovely rumblings, with glorious outbursts of melody compensating for the sun's stubborn refusal to show itself.  Most of those present hung around afterwards for Toy's set, which clipped along at a fair lick and pleased those of us who still find thrills in the sight of young men with hair playing essentially the same song for 40 minutes.  Toy's name has been mentioned in the same breath as The Horrors since their emergence this year, and comparisons are there to be made, but at present they lack the elements of light and shade that have made Badwan's mob such serious big-hitters.  They have some potential, however.

Slow Club threatened to part the clouds on the main stage later in the day, bringing large parts of last year's breakthrough "Paradise " album to Wales and making this whole festival playing malarkey just seem like so much fun. The sun, however, finally raised its head for Dexys, who were by far the best dressed people in Glanusk Park over the weekend. The chemistry between Dexys' commander in chief, Kevin Rowland and his female foil, Madeleine Hyland was incredible to watch as they duetted on the two stand out tracks 'I'm Always Going to Love You' and 'Incapable of Love' from new album One Day I'm Going to Soar. However, it was the pantomime-esque rendition of 'Come on Eileen' that brought the crowd to their feet - though I was disappointed not to see anyone adopting the traditional 'hands clasped behind your back' dance that was synonymous with this song at school discos up and down the country during the early eighties.

The day's genuine, pop-star-in-the-making moment came with Cate Le Bon's headline set on the Walled Garden stage.  Le Bon has the look of a pop star, genuinely otherworldly, and with this year's magnificent "Cyrk", she has demonstrated the chops to move onto bigger stages than this in the years ahead.  She berated the audience for being there when Mogwai were playing at the same time, but in truth she must be aware that what was on offer here was more than enough to divert attention away from the post-rock veterans.  A stunning "Ploughing Out Parts 1 and 2" built to a magnificent climax and closed the day in exuberant fashion.  It can't be long before Florence decides that a few psych-folk influences will be necessary to see her stay anywhere near the same ball-park as this wonderful performer.

Why Sweet Baboo is not a household name is an absolute travesty. Kicking off the Mountain Stage proceedings on Saturday morning, the hardest working man at this year's Green Man (he also rocked up to play with Cate le Bon and Slow Club) didn't let a disappointingly sparse crowd put him off his stride. Van Morrison's early evening headlining slot is played out in glorious sunshine and doesn't disappoint as the grumpy old git turns out a greatest hits set to the biggest crowd of the weekend. From Brown Eyed Girl to the garage classic Gloria, Morrison wastes no time with any banter and after 75 minutes is whisked away in his helicopter over the Brecon Beacons before his band have brought the set to a triumphant finish.

With Morrison already tucked up in bed, it was left to Metronomy to close Saturday's proceedings on the Mountain Stage and they did so with aplomb. The evocatively infectious 'The Look'  and 'Everything Goes My Way' from last year's Mercury nominated 'The English Riviera' are standouts in a set that showed off the diversity in Joe Mount's songwriting repertoire. Though an overheard aside that they sounded a little like "Kraftwerk meets Bucks Fizz" did seem a little cruel.While not the official headliners, Metronomy's set felt like the perfect way to end the day...until, that is, we stumbled upon Pete Paphides 'Vinyl Revival' disco in the walled garden.  For three hours, Paphides had us shaking a wellington clad foot to the likes of Dee-Lite, Bob Dylan, ELO and....Hanson. Despite the mud, the appreciative crowd were throwing shapes as if they were on the sprung dancefloor at Wigan Casino and were sorely disappointed when he was hauled off at 3am.

Following a very late night, there was no more perfect antidote for easing ourselves back to normality than King Creosote & Jon Hopkins who played the sublime 'Diamond Mine' in its entirety. The beautifully crafted songs helped to clear the fug from our heads, while a sublime cover of U2's 'Running to Standstill'  just as three para gliders made their lofty descent into the festival site was mesmerising. Sunday also saw the Far Out Tent once more rammed to the gills, but, with the sun blazing down over Sugar Loaf Mountain, this time it was more than inclement weather that drew in the masses to catch Alt-J's terrific set.  With the songs on 'An Awesome Wave' now sounding much more bedded-in than the last time they came onto our radar (when supporting bedfellows Wild Beasts in March)  it quickly became clear how much they have grown as a band, and this show saw them greeted like all-conquering heroes.  With 'Breezeblocks', 'Tessellate' and 'Matilda' being bellowed back at the band, the celebratory feel to show felt as if this band will be further up the bill the next time they visit Glanusk Park. 

The surprise hit of the weekend, however, was Merrill Garbus' tUnE yArDs. Through some innovative vocal looping and the cacophounous squalling of saxophonists, Matt Nelson and Noah Bernstien,  the band's layered grooves and funky beats had everyone on their feet and lead (unusually for that time of day) to the band returning to the stage for a mid-afternoon encore. While The Walkmen belting out a rousing rendition of 'The Rat' gave us that extra boost to see us over the finish line. 

Now ten years old, Green Man has carved a successful niche into the UK's festival landscape and, by navigating a path away from the Killers/Kasabian/Foo Fighters/Muse treadmill, it continues to bring surprises and revelations in equal measure.  As a reminder of the depth that continues to exist within the realms of so called "alternative" music, it is pretty much without equal.  Long may it reign.  And rain.

The Gallones Brothers 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Something for the weekend #5 G O A T : World Music

Uh huh... best looking record in like forever. And the most exciting thing I've heard since sliced... goat. The W's and M's have been totally punched out dude!

 I've read about a zillion pro-plus reviews of this beast in the past few weeks and would have to agree that this is total bat shit crazy. In the best way a 30 minute orange vinyl could be. Basically the reviews go along the lines of: 

GOAT are an unknown entity from a historically voodoo-friendly part of deepest, darkest Sweden (stay with it) and they make a ritualistic, psych rock,  krautROCK, afro beat, looney fucker 'W O R L D  M U S I C' NOIZZZZ. Basically A soundtrack cooler than 'Live and Let Die' for 'Live and let Die'.

Y          RECOMMEND ......