wed 08/12/2021

New Music Reviews

Rufus Wainwright, London Palladium review - superb musicianship and a warm welcome

Liz Thomson

Rufus Wainwright believes opera to be “the greatest art form that has ever existed on the planet” and of course he’s written an opera himself – Prima Donna, which has been described as “the work of a man who loves opera and the sensations it delivers, without understanding how it is paced, or how it generates dramatic tension”.

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Music Reissues Weekly: Fire - Father's Name Is Dad, Flowerman - Rare Blooms From The Syn

Kieron Tyler

Between August 1966 and November 1967, The Syn played 36 shows at London’s high-profile Marquee Club. In June and September 1967 they issued two singles on the happening Decca subsidiary Deram, an imprint scoring hits with releases by Cat Stevens, The Move and Procol Harum.

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Manic Street Preachers, Brighton Dome review - solid gig occasionally explodes to another level

Thomas H Green

There is a three song segment midway through Manic Street Preachers’ set which suddenly ramps everything up. For this brief while, the performance and response in the sold-out, nigh-on-2000-capacity venue, elevates the concert from another decent gig on another tour in front of a devoted fanbase, to something more memorable and truly electric.

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Maximo Park, Saint Luke's and the Winged Ox, Glasgow - indie veterans still have fire in their bellies

Jonathan Geddes

Time waits for no band, as Maximo Park’s lively singer Paul Smith opined early into his band’s set. “I am young and I am lost” he declared during "The Coast Is Always Changing"’s jangly guitar-pop, before drily admitting afterwards that he might have to retire those words soon enough.

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Karine Polwart, Birmingham Town Hall Review: Expertly crafted modern folk

Miranda Heggie

With a few extra dates to her rescheduled UK tour, Scottish folk legend Karine Polwart returned to Birmingham Town Hall with some tunes from her latest album – Still as You’re Sleeping, an album of just voice and piano recording with jazz pianist Dave Milligan – plus a mix of earlier material, covers and traditional songs given her own signature twist.

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The Velvet Underground review - Todd Haynes tunnels through band history

Saskia Baron

Todd Haynes’ documentary about the Velvet Underground has to be one of the better uses of time by a film-maker during the Covid pandemic. He spent lockdown putting the film together with a team of archivists and editors working remotely. It’s a beautifully shot and ingeniously collaged portrait of the decadent New York band which weaves together an extraordinary wealth of archive footage and some choice and apposite interviews. 

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Psychedelic Soul - Produced By Norman Whitfield

Kieron Tyler

While there’s undoubtedly some of “Papa Was a Rollin' Stone” in Rare Earth’s “Come With me”, another correspondence also immediately springs to mind – the Melody Nelson-era Serge Gainsbourg. And maybe, due to the female moaning, the “Je T’Aime”-period Gainsbourg too.

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Patti Smith, Royal Albert Hall review - a wild ride from a musical legend

Katie Colombus

Patti Smith has been making rabble rousing punk rock for half a century.

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Balimaya Project, Colectiva, Milton Court review - Africa and Latin Jazz re-invented

mark Kidel

40 or so years on from the first wave of London gigs by musicians from West Africa – many of them at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden – London’s connection with the music of Senegal, Mali and the Gambia has taken a new and exciting turn.

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Imperial Wax, Dead Wax, Birmingham review - ex-Fall guys whip up a storm

Guy Oddy

As Sam Curran leant into his microphone for the first time this evening, he announced “If you want any ear plugs, there’s some free on our merch desk”. Most of us were way too cool for that though and stayed where we were. It was a decision that some will have later regretted as we spent the rest of the evening with screaming ear drums.

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