Live Reviews

Let me take you to two concerts by the same artist, playing the same album, thirty five years apart.

Peter Frampton: Frampton Comes Alive

Wembley Empire Pool – Saturday 23 October 1976

Cambridge Corn Exchange – Saturday 12 November 2011


Well what can I remember of that night back in 1976. Peter Frampton was at the height of his worldwide fame. Almost every home in the western world that loved rock music and owned a record deck, would have had a copy of ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ in their collection.

Wembley Empire Pool (now Arena) was packed (imagine the scene with the Artic Monkeys playing the same venue today). More long hair in the place in those days, sweet smoke (that’s not dry ice) filled the place. Support was keyboard maestro Garry Wright ex- Spooky Tooth, who had a popular album out at the time called Dream Weaver but Frampton got all the God like treatment. A full on 70’s Rock Show and a band in their prime. Ticket price £2.40 (yes, Two Pounds and Forty Pence).

Fast forward Thirty Five years, No support this time but a three hour show none the less. Peter has bass player Stanley Sheldon in the band who would have been at that Wembley show as well. Peter’s long blonde curls have gone, receding hairline and turning grey like most of the (this time around, seated) audience from that era, he still plays a mean guitar.

The almost two hours Frampton Comes Alive section of the shows flashes by like a time machine, with some great video backdrops from that 70’s peak. The 2011 band gels extremely well, Adam Lester on guitar is a great foil for Mr Frampton and the album is enthusiastically reproduced. A great two hours!

The second set is a bit patchy, but  there is a Humble Pie highlight, a decent cover of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun and some great musicianship throughout and, a few years on, its £27.50 for the ticket. 

Pete

Cate le Bon kicks off proceeding tonight. a lovely lady, great voice, great songs and a second album surely just around the corner??? Purely on eclectic guitar with an attentive audience, this was a very nice opening set. 

St.Vincent, with band (and added Cate le Bon) were visually spectacular and engagingly original from the off, (being part of part of Sufjan Stevens' touring band, certainly has had an influence) with Annie able to draw your attention like a magnet.  

A well drilled and extremely tight musical unit delivers a seventeen song set drawn across Annie’s three albums to date. Electric energy abounds on stage. You get the impression that Annie certainly seeks perfection from those around her (even the sound guy!) but sadly the energy is not replicated by an almost reverential seated audience, who I guess at the end of the day, are just awe struck.

 

Mark Stewart popped up to sing along to the Pop Group’s ‘ She Is Beyond Good and Evil’ which left Annie seemingly awe struck herself and tempted to veer left and play the rest of the Y album!

 

This was a tremendous show and demonstrated yet again what a unique talent Annie Clark is.

 

 Pete

 

Set

1.Surgeon  

2.Cheerleader   

3.Save Me From What I Want  

4.Actor Out of Work  

5.Chloe in the Afternoon

6.Dilettante  

7.Cruel   

8.Just The Same But Brand New  

9.Champagne Year  

10.Neutered Fruit  

11.Strange Mercy  

12.She Is Beyond Good and Evil ( Mark Stewart Pop Group)

13.Northern Lights

14.Year of the Tiger  

15.Marrow   

 

Encore:

16.The Party

17.Your Lips Are Red  

 

 

A set lasting two hours and 15 minutes, not bad for a band who have been around in various guises, for over 40 years. Yes provided  good coverage of what the crowd wanted to hear, Yours is No Disgrace, And You And I , Roundabout, Wondrous Stories, Starship Trooper were all there, as was the nucleus of the band.  

Central focus a wiry Steve Howe, as technical and spectacular on guitar as ever .  Chris Squire seems to morph more into Gene Simmons each time I see him. A giant of a man, he stomps and commands the stage with various bass guitars (one upright) churning out a menacing vibe. That’s an idea let’s swap Chris and Gene around ! Alan White, solid if a little stilted is a powerhouse. Time marches on for all of us though I guess. 

I have never been a close follower of Turin Brakes indeed I have never actually heard the Optimist LP all the way through until Monday night.  

This was the first night of a 10th anniversary UK tour of the said record. The venue was around ¾ full and with little in the way of lighting effects the band played the Optimist LP front to back.

 

Soon into the groove the next fifty minutes were enjoyed by both the crowd and the band.

This formed the first part of the set and after returning to the stage the band continued for another hour or so, turning out song after song for the back catalogue and a new ep.

 

The Monday Blues are quickly consigned to the bin!

 

Pete

 

 

 

This was the third night of celebrations for the 15th birthday celebrations of the Fortuna pop record label. Boss of said label ‘Sean’ was the subject of much adulation all night long.

The Ladybug Transistor formed in the mid1990s in Brooklyn. I only discovered the band this year on the launch of their latest album, Clutching Stems. A quite remarkable band, this year’s LP was their sixth! Not a million miles away from the National in sound, but more with a Neil Hannon vocal style and a Belle & Sebastian stage presence I guess. A very nice set, even when they get the said ‘Sean’ onstage for the last song, that he is more than reluctant to sing or play guitar too. Just excellent though to see the band live and hopefully, more next year!!!?? 

 

Tender Trap are led by Amelia Fletcher. The five strong band are a bouncy happy smiley indie band aith a great pop spirit  so you can forgive some of the odd missed notes and vocals sequence as they jump around the stage. Songs come from the first album Dansette, Dansette plus a new song from the record the band are now recording, which should be out in time for them to conquer the UK festival afternoons next summer .

 

Darren Hayman(ex Hefner) & The Secondary Modern are a full band tonight (including Allo Darlin’s bass player) and are in prime form. Half a dozen songs played with gusto, banter in freefall between songs it’s a great set of songs from the Essex landscape.

 

On the Merchandise stand there is a 6 track 10" EP from Darren in a hand screen printed sleeve, which, comes with digital download code and Darren's choice of loose leaf lapsang souchong (I could not make up my mind what the package contained when I got home late last night, so had to look it up) and a recipe for Julia's Christmas Cake. Fika Recordings are here where you can find Christmas in Hayworth.

 

Allo Darlin' are the epitome of a good night out, bright shiny indie things they had the audience’s toes tapping and hips swaying within minutes of the opening song. Like Tender Trap a second album is underway and with Darren Hayman’s violin player tagging along, he makes it a collaborative night.

Australian singer  Elizabeth Morris leads the band with her ukulele ,occasional  electric guitar and fabulous voice and personality. This band will be around for a long while to come. 

 

All this for £11.50 a ticket. just wonderful and happy Birthday Fortuna Pop!

 

Pete

 

 

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