thu 28/05/2020

New Music Reviews

Ringo Starr, Hampton Court Palace

Bruce Dessau

Sir Paul McCartney recently suggested that Ringo Starr missed out on a knighthood because the Queen was too busy dealing with Bruce Forsyth. At least Ringo got to go to the Palace though. Albeit the one in Hampton Court, where last night, as if by magic, a torrential downpour stopped just as he stepped on stage.

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A Tribute to Tony Wilson, Purcell Room

Bruce Dessau Tony Wilson: From denim-clad regional TV presenter to doggedly passionate cultural icon

The Meltdown Festival's tribute to Tony Wilson was a lot like the charismatic post-punk legend himself: funny, eccentric, obscure, populist; all over the place but never dull. Wilson died in August 2007 and this event was a reminder of his reputation as one of music's most fascinating post-punk provocateurs, giving the world Joy Division, Happy Mondays and more. It was also a reminder of his reputation, as poet Mike Garry put it, as a "knobhead". As someone who appeared on regional news...

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Eliane Radigue/New London Chamber Choir, London Sinfonietta, James Weeks, Spitalfields Music

Igor Toronyi-Lalic Drone music pioneer Eliane Radigue: A winningly modest presence at her first UK retrospective last night

What strange goings-on at this year's Spitalfields Music festival. One church is set ablaze by a female laptop trio; another is swamped by 17th-century collectivists; one man opens up a black hole with the back of his guitar; and a harpist becomes a stick insect, taking to his instrument with two bows.

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Maverick Sabre, Jazz Café

David Cheal Maverick Sabre: Reggae and soul from Stoke Newington via County Wexford

Until a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of Maverick Sabre. Then I saw his weird potato-face looks and heard his utterly distinctive voice on Later... With Jools Holland, and was intrigued; thus I found myself last night at the Jazz Café in a sold-out crowd at his biggest London headlining gig, and I was impressed. He’s quite something.

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Jamie Woon, Concorde 2, Brighton

Thomas H Green Jamie Woon, keeping things mellow on the south coast

Jamie Woon is in the fresh first flush of success but it's been a good while coming. An unassuming 28-year-old with dark good looks, he first appeared five years ago with an extraordinary spooked take on the gospel perennial "Wayfaring Stranger" but then, on the recording front at least, he vanished. 2011, however, sees him busier than he's ever been and this tour is a preamble to the summer festival circuit.

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tUnE-yArDs, Scala

howard Male

Sometimes you hear something new and your perspective on music shifts seismically, making everything you were listening to previously sound safe and predictable by comparison. Inevitably, as one gets older and more musically knowledgeable, such moments are fewer and further between; either the shock of the new isn’t as high-voltage as it used to be, or it just irritates rather than stimulates. And so it was a pleasant surprise when, one morning – heralded by a storm of tape hiss and an...

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David Gray, Royal Festival Hall

David Cheal

How much did I like this show? Well, here’s a clue: at the end, the only really bad thing I could think of was that the bass guitar could have been a bit louder. I’ve seen David Gray on stage quite a few times now, and this was easily the most satisfying show, the one that did justice to his voice, his music, his songs, and especially his lyrics, which were, almost uniquely for such an event, audible and understandable almost word for word.

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Donovan, London Contemporary Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall

Kieron Tyler

A question passed through my mind before last night’s Donovan show. Special guests were billed for this celebration of his classic psychedelic album Sunshine Superman. Perhaps they'd include Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page, both of whom played on Donovan's records in the Sixties. Then, introducing “Sunshine Superman”, Donovan mentions the then-session player Jimmy Page, who walks on and joins in. Seeing Page reunited with his pre-Led Zeppelin, pre-Yardbirds session man self was incredible....

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Wolfmother, Forum

David Cheal Wolfmother: Riffery, proggery and big hair

Did Wolfmother spring from outer space, or drift down to Earth from the tail of a comet? Did they slip into our age from another dimension, burrowing through a wormhole in the space-time continuum to land in Sydney, Australia in the 21st century? Where did they come from? Never, except for tribute bands, have I witnessed a group performing in one era whose music owes so much to another. These hairy Australian rockers are steeped in the lore of late-Sixties psychedelia and early-...

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Fleet Foxes, Hammersmith Apollo

Matilda Battersby

Music folklore has it that this band from Seattle changed their name from Pineapple back in the hazy days before their debut album went platinum because frontman Robin Pecknold thought Fleet Foxes sounded like a weird, outmoded English sport - a bit like fox hunting.

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