There is a joke, attributed to John Lennon, that when asked if Ringo Starr was the best drummer in the world he replied that he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. Something similar could be applied to Mike Rutherford, the guitarist from Genesis. That accolade would probably go to first Steve Hackett and subsequently Daryl Stuermer. However, on the evidence of last night he sure knows how to bash out a catchy tune or two, not something you could accuse Starr of.
Rutherford has reformed (resurrected?) Mike + the Mechanics but with Paul Young sadly gone and Paul Carrack now busy those roles now go to Tim Howar and Andrew Roachford respectively and this seems to have given the band a whole new lease of life. This means a new writing partnership between Rutherford and Roachford/Howar along with some of the original contributors.
Given that it has been 25 years since The Living Years has been released and the considerable catalogue of hits the band has accumulated you could be forgiven for assuming that would be all we got. However, not only did we get a couple of Roachford classics (This Generation & Cuddly Toy) but also a couple of Genesis songs (Turn it on Again and We Can’t Dance).
Hearing a couple of late Genesis songs was quite novel as , understandably, Hackett only plays those he was with the band for. This does mean, however, that he plays the “classic” era Genesis and I would struggle to call We Can’t Dance a classic.
The addition of Andrew Roachford is inspired as he is such a great and energetic performer. I’ve always liked his music but only got to see him live at last year’s Weyfest and thought that he stole the show. The combination of Roachford and Hewar worked really well.
So a good night out with a sing along to some great hits – what’s not to like!
So a real bumper crop this month, although somewhat skewed by De La Soul releasing their back catalogue for free for 24 hours.
So this months additions are:
King King – Take My Hand
Samantha Crain - Kid Face (SoS)
LSO – Bruckner – Symphony No 9 (SoS)
De La Soul - AOI: Bionix
De La Soul - Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump
De La Soul - Stakes Is High
De La Soul - Buhloone Mindstate
De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising
Neil Finn – Dizzy Heights
Jesca Hoop - Undress
Mike + The Mechanics - Living Years (Deluxe Edition)
So quite an eclectic mix this month spanning classical to hip-hop.
The De La Soul collection is an interesting one as it was given away in return for your email address. They have struggled with getting their music onto the major download sites due to rights issues so, I imagine, are not getting the air time they might hope. Giving the music away brought them plenty of coverage and, crucially, thousands of email addresses that they can now market to.
Neil Finn is one of my favourite artists and I have been eagerly awaiting this latest release for some time. It is, how can I put this, a challenging listen. While the title track is the usual Finn affair others, such as Divebomber, are going to take quite a few listens to appreciate I suspect. Need to put the hours in though as we are seeing him play in May.
The Jesca Hoop release is an interesting one as it has come via the crowdfunding site Pledge Music. This is the second time that I have pledged this way and it is a good way of some less popular musicians being able to fund a release.
Those above marked (SoS) are from a subscription service called Society of Sound which is curated by Real World Records, Peter Gabriel and the LSO.
All my music is held in a web-based music streamer called Subsonic, a roll-your-own Spotify if you like. This provides statistics on number of tracks and size of collection, as you can see below.
So I attended another gig at the superb Arlington Arts Centre on Thursday. It is a small venue, maybe only 300-400 people but they seem to manage to get some really good acts there.
This time it was the excellent blues band King King who had first come to my attention at Weyfest last year – I recommend you seek them out. They were supported by a band called Devlin Blue who were musically very good, the lead guitarist was fantastic but the lead singer clearly fancied himself!
I have been keeping a list of gigs attended for a while now (I like lists) and thought that I should look at some stats. So I have moved the list to a Google spreadsheet as that means it is both easier to maintain and to pull stats from.
If you can be bothered to look at the second tab you can see the number of gigs attended by year and what is very clear is that as the kids have left home and the disposable income has increased so has my attendance at gigs.
The only thing that is stopping me going to more is that I much prefer to go with someone else and Helen isn’t always as keen on the artist as me and while I will still go and stand (Helen won’t) I’m not as up for it as I once might have been.
But there is nothing to beat music live, it is such an uplifting experience. It almost doesn’t matter what you go and see. I marvel at the ability of the artists and getting engrossed in the theatre of it all.
Bring on this year’s crop as we already have a number booked already.
I’ve decided that Birmingham gets a bad rap. This last weekend Helen and I spent the weekend there, ostensibly to visit our younger son who is studying at university there but also as a chance to spend a weekend away. And Birmingham is really not as bad as people make out. In fact it is quite attractive in an urban sort of way.
To prove it here is a selection of photos that I took around the town including the canal area and the stunning new library building, though quite who thought building a library in the age of the ebook was a good idea I’m not sure.