Emma Ruth Rundle has been making waves for some time now, having released a number of albums with different bands as well as under her own name. Her music has absorbed everything from ambient, folk and post-rock while the singer-songwriter has cited the likes of David Lynch as an artistic influence. Tonight Rundle rides her dark horses through the iconic Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.
Pavement released their final album, the much underrated Terror Twilight, back in 1999. They’ve reformed a couple of times and played the occasional show yet I’ve never seen them live, well at least not all of them at the same time.
I’ve been lucky enough to see Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks a few times and tonight, in the intimate surroundings of Hyde Park Book Club, I’ll get to see none other than, Spiral Stairs.
Not a lot of bands survive a major lineup change while keeping a steady quality. Whether the dynamic changes too much or the talented member leaves the group, this can be a disaster for any good band. So when a band like The New Pornographers, a group with a half-dozen changes with varying degrees of permanence, announces a tour, you’re not always certain what you’re going to get.
Given a delayed start, there was a rowdy Saturday night crowd on hand for opening band Hand Habits. In spite of leader Meg Duffy’s efforts to calm the crowd with a plea for the “good children” (aka quiet fans) to be rewarded vs. the “bad children” punished, the boisterous ones weren’t very good listeners. By the end of the night though attention spans seemed to lengthen and the “good” and the “bad” all ended up being rewarded.
Walking down into the basement at Hyde Park Book Club and it’s the smell of incense that hits me first. I’m fairly early so the crowd hasn’t started to assemble yet but there is, to my surprise, someone wandering around in a white wedding dress. It’s going to be an interesting night.
I’ve always been a fan of the idea of balance in one’s life, and that applies to the world of music as well. The concept of Yin and yang, for example, the dark and the light, the negative and the positive, etc. So, if Saturday was a day full of darkness and mayhem (which is a bit overly dramatic, but just go with it), then similar to Friday, Sunday’s lineup was kind of the anthesis of that idea.
If Day 1 of Riot Fest leaned a little too heavy on the “cute and cuddly side”, then the lineup on Saturday was seemingly the perfect antidote. One might even argue that it was somewhat of an extreme antidote at that, given the markedly heavy-metal nature of the bands at hand. We’re talking a lot of very old-school, very textbook thrash-metal bands here, including the likes of Gwar, Testament, and two of the so-called “Big Four” classic thrash bands: Anthrax, and the almighty Slayer.
Friday the 13th is supposed to be a spooky day, but you wouldn’t have known that if you happened to be at Douglas Park for the inaugural day of Riot Fest last week.
Not only was the lineup that day a tad on the cute and cuddly side (was pretty loaded with pop-punk bands…and The Flaming Lips), but the weather also turned out to be fairly pristine to boot, with mostly sunny skies and near 80-degree (26C) temperatures. In fact, the only mildly menacing ingredient in the air that day was probably the wind, as the city of Chicago was definitely living up to its nickname (which is a bit of a misnomer, but I digress) that afternoon.
Chicago-born multi-instrumentalist Jeff T Smith first caught my attention back in 2011 under his Juffage moniker, something of an experimental one-man-show. Gradually Smith started to collaborate with other like-minded musicians on the ever fertile Leeds scene and Living Body was born.
Wikipedia defines the word “cool” as:
“An aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style which is generally admired”.
That’s all well and good, but the definition is far too ambiguous. The correct answer should simply be: “Mezzanine”. There, fixed it.
A sensible person would avoid an early launch into another day of cloudless mid-90’s temperatures. But somehow the lure of an endless morning spent lounging in a frosty hotel room with unlimited trips to the powdered egg buffet starts to lose its appeal. Thoughts of “maybe I do need to see all eleven bands” begin to creep in. And the possibility that the craft beer line could be shorter at 1pm than it was last night is just the nudge that is needed.
They say that thieves come in the night. And apparently, they do. At this year’s opening day of the Moon River Festival, the thief came in the guise of a scruffy haired singer-songwriter playing in the pre-closer slot on the event’s smaller stage. Sandwiched between the day’s two biggest draws, Josh Ritter used a twenty year catalog of incisive songs and a crack band to show how an hour-long set should be done.