wed 13/11/2019

New Music Reviews

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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Archaos: Circus From Hell, Bargehouse

Peter Culshaw Archaos: Fun with motorbikes and chainsaws

Archaos were the mad, bad and dangerous troupe who revolutionised circus back in the Eighties and early Nineties – their antics with juggling chainsaws, raunchy Galllic attitude and mayhem with motorbikes is celebrated with a pop-up exhibition at the Bargehouse in the Oxo Tower Wharf on the South Bank for just three days ending on Sunday. It’s also a tribute to the genial genius behind the troupe, Pierre Bidon, who died earlier this year, at the age of 56.

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Janelle Monáe, KOKO

howard Male

The video for this Kansas fantasist’s new single shows Monáe in harshly lit close-up singing the adrenalin-charged “Cold War” directly to camera. But then halfway through the song her concentration goes and she starts laughing and then crying, leaving one wondering what the thinking was behind its release.

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The Runaways

Graham Fuller

A drop of menstrual blood spatters the ground in the opening shot of The Runaways, an insolent enough metaphor for the unstaunchable female energy that drives writer-director Floria Sigismondi’s bracing biopic of the pioneering all-girl teenage 1970s rock band until it heads up a narrative cul-de-sac.

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Shea Seger, The Half Moon, Putney

Russ Coffey Shea Seger: A dangerous-looking blonde

Shea Seger is a woman with a story. A story of a career interrupted. At the age of 20, the fragile and slightly dangerous-looking blonde from Texas came over here and made a record which sent ripples across the pond of the Americana scene. Shortly after, however, her father became crippled after a botched operation on an old Vietnam injury and she returned to Texas to care for him. During those 10 years she also brought up a little girl, Luna, and lived in a trailer. And now she’s back in...

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Caitlin Rose, The Windmill

howard Male

Last night was the third and probably last time this 21-year-old Nashville songstress will grace the humble Windmill pub in Brixton with her charismatic yet down-to-earth presence. Not because the gig wasn’t a sell-out and an unqualified success, but because of the radio airplay and unanimous critical praise she has received for her debut album Own Side Now from...

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