A quick glance at the news is enough to make anyone lose a little faith in humanity. A constant stream of intolerance, inequality and Nigel ‘when will they stop putting him on the TV’ Farage. It’s a genuine relief then to see an event like Nicky Bray's Musical Menagerie. An annual celebration of local acts and an all-day/ all-ages fundraiser for a good cause. This year’s event sees all proceeds go to Linden Brook, a respite centre for children with disabilities.
It’s Thursday night and my energy reserves are running particularly low, thankfully I’m heading to the Brudenell Social Club for a night crammed full of afro-fusion sounds. It doesn’t take a genius to work out where the London Afrobeat Collective hail from and what kind of music they play. This information, however, won’t prepare you for the party to come.
There’s something reassuring about the success of idiosyncratic indie-folk act, The Mountain Goats. While not exactly a household name, the band has built up an ever-growing and passionate following. This weekend they’ve managed to sell out two consecutive nights at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds with an in-store performance at Jumbo records for good measure.
From all the early 90s bands that have reformed in recent years, perhaps the biggest surprise announcement of them all was that Adorable were getting back together, albeit for a brief, but welcome run of shows.
- Steve Rhodes
As Stephen ‘Babybird’ Jones will point out later this evening with a weary smile, it’s been “24 years since that wonderful single”. Since then Jones has recorded an absolutely staggering amount of music, releasing “120 albums in 8 years” through his ever-growing Bandcamp page. An incredibly talented and prolific artist, Jones has somehow remained one of the country’s best-kept songwriting secrets.
Inspired by Black Sabbath’s original name, drone-metal pioneers Earth started life way back in 1989. Drone and repetition have remained constant yet the project has absorbed elements of country, psychedelia and metal. Earth’s latest long-player, Full Upon Her Burning Lips, finds Dylan Carlson and long-serving drummer Adrienne Davies embracing all things rock. Tonight promises to be exceptionally heavy.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I am, of course, talking about Halloween. The spooky mood reinforced as I walk through the doors at the Belgrave Music Hall on a typically cold October night. The upstairs room cast in red light, creepy atmospheric drones courtesy of DJ Padawan Sound and the venues smoke machine on full power. It sets the tone rather beautifully (or should that be spookily?) for tonight’s main act, Tim Hecker.
When it comes to psychedelia Acid Mothers Temple are something of an institution. Formed in the mid-nineties and led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto, the Japanese experimentalists have remained an essential presence in the ever-bustling world of psychedelic-rock for 23 years. Last year’s Reverse of Rebirth in Universe revealed a band still very much at the top of their game.
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.
- Mark Moody