tue 22/10/2019

New Music Reviews

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl/ Rose Elinor Dougall, Hackney Empire

Kieron Tyler

Hackney’s Empire is the perfect venue for pan-Atlantic producer/hipster Mark Ronson’s vehicle The Business Intl. New album Record Collection is an aural revue – with guests ranging from Eighties idols Boy George and Simon Le Bon through Wu Tang’s Ghostface Killah to Andrew Wyatt of Swedish dance-poppers Miike Snow. A former musical hall, it’s a fitting showcase for Ronson’s portmanteau sensibility. It’s as if variety was primed for a comeback at this show, the second of six smallish...

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Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics, Barbican

howard Male

After only a couple of songs there are shouts from the audience to turn Mulatu up. But these people have missed the point. The clue is in the name of the instrument he's playing: the vibraphone, or vibes for short. The word "vibe" has long been slang for “a good feeling” or a mood, and that’s precisely what its role was in last night’s concert; to add some of that ambient mysteriousness intrinsic to the five-note Ethiopian scale.

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I Am Kloot, Union Chapel

Russ Coffey

I Am Kloot are a band it’s hard not to like in an almost personal way. The Manchester-based trio exude warmth, northern charm and a sense of self-contentment, seemingly impervious to the fact that they still haven’t made it as big as everyone thinks they should. Maybe that’s unsurprising. With the band’s leader in his forties, maybe it would be odder if they weren’t making music for reasons other than pampering egos. And it shows.

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Willis, The Electroacoustic Club, Clerkenwell

Paul McGee Willis: 'An intriguing otherness about her and her music'

“Thank you for waiting. I know some of you have been waiting a long time – about seven years – but it takes me a while to get things done.” Thus did singer/songwriter Hayley Willis greet the audience at her return to active service. Two Willis albums have bookended that seven-year period: 2003's acclaimed Come Get Some, her debut for 679/XL, and its excellent follow-up, Uncle Treacle, released on 4 October on her own Cripple Creek label, for which last night's performance...

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Placebo, Brixton Academy

David Cheal Pervy sex and drugs and rock and roll: Placebo's Brian Molko

My, haven’t they grown? In the several years (perhaps even a decade) since I last caught Placebo live, they’ve gone from being a scrawny three-piece with a somewhat thin sound – for much of the gig, I saw, they didn’t even have a bassist on stage – to become a properly equipped rock band with six on-stage members: here, on the first of two nights in south London, the band consisted of the regular trio, plus three side-persons on guitars, bass, keyboards and violin. They made quite a noise,...

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Edwyn Collins, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Bruce Dessau Edwyn Collins: A pop survivor in every sense

Just before Edwyn Collins came on, the throbbing bassline of Chic's "Good Times" rumbled out across the packed South Bank auditorium. As a statement of intent it was pretty clear. Having suffered two debilitating brain haemorrhages followed by a bout of MRSA in 2005, Collins is understandably delighted to be gigging again. To paraphrase the old stand-up comedy opening salvo, he is probably delighted to be anywhere again. Some paralysis down his right side means he walks with a fetching...

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Josh Ritter, Barbican

David Cheal

This was a warm and convivial evening in the company of the American folky-rootsy-rocky singer and songwriter Josh Ritter. His band made a rich noise, and his voice was keen and true, almost every lyric clearly audible. At the end of this, the last night of Ritter’s UK tour, the crowd – he seems to have a strong female following - were on their feet, and there were several calls of, “We love you, Josh!” from the stalls.

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Jimi Hendrix, Snap Gallery/Handel House Museum

sue Steward

A soundtrack of "Purple Haze", "Hey Joe" and other eternal Jimi Hendrix hits, is currently drifting out of the Snap Gallery along the swanky Piccadilly Arcade in Mayfair. A boutique exhibition space, Snap sits incongruously amongst purveyors of "fine" jewellery and gentlemans’ tailoring and its front windows are transforming the chi-chi mall with Gered Mankowitz’s photographs of the Sixties guitar genius, Hendrix.

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Wilco, Royal Festival Hall

David Cheal

Rock music doesn’t get much better than this. For two hours, the raggedy Chicago band Wilco poured out song after song from a repertoire that stretches back 15 years, slipping effortlessly between gentle alt-country and avant-garde rock, between the whisperingly quiet and the crushingly loud. They were sensational, a band at the top of their game.

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Muse, Wembley Stadium

David Cheal

Some years ago I saw Muse playing at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. Towards the end of the show, at a climactic moment (I think it might have been during their proggy epic, “New Born”), singer and guitarist Matt Bellamy reached into a bag attached to his microphone stand, pulled out a handful of shiny golden confetti and flung it into the air. It fluttered downwards most attractively.

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