Live Review: Warpaint @ Brixton Academy 30/10/2013
Warpaint, Brixton Academy 30/10/2013
The sloping descent of Brixton Academy’s floor slips away beneath the trample of Dr Martens. The black boots give way to laddered tights which in turn transform to ripped denim shorts and leather jackets, a rucksack is optional. The young, strong, independent woman type is everywhere. Something I should have probably seen coming. The line up consists of solely women with a couple of well-known male DJ’s thrown in to fill time, but nobody is here for them.
It’s not just girls here though. Throughout the evening Childhood can be found lingering by the bar, Steve Lamacq overlooks from the back with his all-knowing sagacity and of course men of all ages have flocked to watch the opposite sex demonstrate how it’s done.
Martina Topley-Bird commences the evening with her solo act of multi-instrumentalism and charms the crowd with the tales behind her guitars. Following her is the first of the Pulp DJ’s. Bassist and producer Steve Mackey is heard and not well seen, this leads to some confusion amongst the crowd and doubts turn to whether it is in fact an iPod playlist titled (Steve Mackey (DJ SET)). Nonetheless he keeps the crowd warm for the second wave. Here come the girls…..
Pins set is packed with more of a punk punch. A refreshing contrast compared to the somewhat gentle tunes heard in Martina Topley-Bird’s set. It’s this set of Manchester gal-pals that extract the most full body movement out of the crowd throughout the entire night. Powering through the tracks of their rowdy debut with ebullience, they manage to manoeuvre the crowd who are now reflecting the same sort of vivaciousness back at the stage, which only makes them better to watch.
The fourth act of the evening is one Mr Jarvis Cocker, the second of the Pulp DJ’s. Armed with a suitcase full of records he passes the time as the crowd bubble to boiling and consider themselves warm enough to host the queens of the night. By this time the walls are dripping as bodies hug them like ugly wallpaper. There is a considerable wait as Cocker’s 45s spin in the background as a soundtrack to the anticipation.
Warpaint began with an exploration into a vocal-less version of new song, ‘Keep it Healthy’. An odd choice to open with, or perhaps just exercising their instruments. Not that they needed to, the LA girls showed a remarkable, intuitive musical relationship with each other that continued throughout their entire set. Stella Mozgawa’s drumming filled every square inch of every skull. The well accomplished percussionist displayed her talents and the reason why she’s so sought after by artists such as Kurt Vile, who she joined on his latest tour. It was these cavernous drums complimented by Theresa Wayman on an array of electronic effects such as the drum pad that left impressions on the ears, whilst the swift dancing of bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg looked so very pretty on the eyes.
The unfamiliar songs failed to pull any significant movement at all from the crowd as they looked on and came to their own conclusions of what the new self-titled album will sound like. But all was resurrected when new single ‘Love Is To Die’ returned the kinetic energy and injected life and visible enjoyment. Enjoyment that ran throughout the band themselves and at points it seemed like Stella Mozgawa’s drums were actually in complete control of the lighting.
Women of few words, Warpaint continued for the remainder of the set on a high and delivered controlled and well-crafted tracks to a brimming Brixton Academy. And the Dr Martens made their way to Brixton tube station, satisfied and smiling.
And on the Eighth Day……..David Bowie
The majority of musicians from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, do not write good music any more. Not that it’s bad music. But few have done it so effortlessly and caused such continuous ebullience as David Bowie. A hero of his own generation, and a hero of ours. Unlike others he lacked a certain precocity that caused the rest to fade with the decade they owned. Perhaps they didn’t know that their careers would last so long. Perhaps David Bowie harbors a skill that no man or musician has held before him.
Even Paul McCartney, idolised as half of the greatest song-writing partnership the world will ever see, has failed to cause a similar vivaciousness with his current new album. The whole idea of Paul McCartney gaining mixed reviews holds an incredible indignation that questions whether he should stick to rare collaborations and cease to perhaps, spoil his musical success.
But David Bowie, with his all-knowing sagacity should not stop. He continues to coruscate like a diamond in the candlelight. With a virtuosity that grants him God-like status and legions of aficionados. He boasts that eternal youthfulness and has become the puppet-master. Curating emotions while the entire world watches with eager eyes.
Nirvana - In Utero
In Utero 20th Anniversary
It’s 1993, and the eye of the media storm is worn as a halo on Nirvana’s head. They’ve earned all of this but it appears,
Prior to the release of ‘Nevermind’s’ successor, ‘In Utero’, both fans and music professionals alike anxiously waited
with presumptions of ‘third album failure’. However, Nirvana were on course to a produce a piece of iconic music
history, and with it destroyed the part of time that promised to wilt the leaves on their tree.
Two decades on, Artrocker remembers a record that it finds impossible to forget with some of the generations it inspired.
“We recorded our album with Ross Orton who worked with Steve Albini on the Jarvis records so for me we have an
immediate connection with In Utero. It’s the quintessential Albini record. If I had to pick one track “Tourette’s”, it sends
me off. Perfect representation of art/emotion; Nirvana nail that,” Says Drenge frontman Eoin Loveless, whose debut
owes a lot to ‘In Utero’ and boasts an urgency that is a must for any band that hopes to list Nirvana as an influence.
The self-titled LP is riddled with pieces of the ‘In Utero’ puzzle. ‘Backwaters’ isn’t just an acknowledging nod towards
Nirvana, it’s an ‘on your knees salute’. Brothers combine both guitar and percussion to disembowel your morale. It’s a
song that rattles the tracks and burgles tricks from the blueprint of ‘Nevermind’s ‘creators. It’s so expertly put together
that it could have featured on any great grunge record of the last two decades.
Delve a little deeper and you can find the fingers of ‘In Utero’ lodged deep into even the more famous and mainstream
pies. Take Arctic Monkeys third album, Humbug, for example; like ‘In Utero’, a much deeper darker journey than
anything they had ever done before. One particular song, ‘Potions Approaching’, share’s the same riff with ‘In Utero’s’
‘Go Ape’. Now, whether Alex Turner knows this or not, you can imagine him knocking it out on an acoustic guitar and
thinking, ‘shit, this sounds familiar’. That’s because it is a familiar record. Even when falling on unsuspecting ears, there’s
a painful pot of nails that can only be lodged in Kurt Cobain’s vocal chords.
“When I was in grade nine I vividly remember staying up to watch the premier of Heart Shape Box on MuchMusic
(Canada’s MTV). I recorded this to a VHS and watched it over and over. I lined up on the day of the album’s release and
bought In Utero on cassette, within a few weeks I had worn the cassette out and needed to get another copy.
I can say with confidence that if In Utero wasn’t as good as it was I may not be playing music now. Recently revisiting
this album I think I still love it as much as I did when I was a kid. It’s a true classic” – Chris Slorach, METZ
Canadian rockers and fellow Sub-Poppers METZ wield the same weapon forged by the professors of grunge twenty
years earlier. With the same brave enthusiasm, they’ve been able to pick apart Nirvana’s back catalogue and steal the
pieces that mean the most to them, in order to produce their own blend of classic grunge rock.
Nirvana’s self-conjured brief for the recording of what was to be their third and final album was one of few words.
Simply that ‘Nevermind’ was too ‘polished’. So this record was to be uncompromising in terms of production, and only
one name sprang to mind.
Of course the songs are important; the essential centrepiece of the exhibition. But for a truly great album there has to
be that somebody, separate from the band, that guides the music to a place where it becomes that little bit more special,
a ‘maneuverer of the magic’ if you will. And in Steve Albini, Nirvana found a wizard.
‘Steve Albini just has this way of letting the character and personality of the musician come through the microphone,
down along the cable and out through the speakers in a way that I’ve not heard anyone else do. I later read that the Steve
Albini sound, the Rapeman LP in particular, was a great inspiration and influence on Kurt Cobain,’ Said Ross Orton when
we caught up with the producer and Albini collaborator.
Nirvana crafted the ammunition, whilst Albini built the catapult. A collaboration that is yet to be weathered by any
decade it’s faced. The future will have a hard time of denting its corners. A record built to last and inspire. Despite a
relatively small body of work that spanned just over four years, I defy you to find a hall of fame long enough for the band
that changed the world.
Arctic Monkeys- AM
It’s a rare thing. When a band are so consistently brilliant that no matter how different their new material is from their last,people will still come round to falling in love with it. It’s exactly the reason why Arctic Monkeys are the best band of the last few decades. Music is magic, and in Alex Turner the Monkeys found a wizard. With a face made for bedroom walls and a shiny new stage persona that will of course grant him the title of ‘legendary’ one day, he’s done it again. A beautiful sleaze ball of a record that dirties you with it’s charm and leaves you bedraggled by it’s whisper. Like with Humbug they’ve turned a different way this time, down a dirt path off of some deserted highway somewhere and jettisoned the old ropes from the boat.
They lift between the pitfalls while the rest are low on energy. Complacency is not a word in the cavernous vocabulary of one Mr Alex Turner.
"Later, I go into the bar with Turner for what I hear him describe to the other band members as “a solo”. I’m ready with the money but he pays for the beer out of his own pocket. For an occasionally cocky frontman with an occasional foul mouth and furious guitar, there’s an ethereal, almost gravity-defying quality about the man himself, twisting in his chair, floating in his thoughts. Turner exhibits a sort of double jointed-ness of both body and mind, as if he might metamorphose into a puff of smoke or ring-tailed lemur should the notion occur to him. A kind of human slinky, he looks like he could turn around inside his Highly Evolved T-shirt without taking it off or even touching the sides, and with his long, wavy hair and big brown horse eyes, it would be churlish to deny that he is a creature of beauty"
"Simon Cowell Destroyed Music"
Perhaps you should consider changing your point of view on the whole “Simon Cowell destroyed music” thing. I’m not saying we should start throwing our money at Little Mix ‘records’, quite frankly I’d rather dismember my own face with a pair of child’s scissors. But if you view the ‘X Factor’ as the opposition to the ‘indie’ charts, due to it’s severe scale and success, it has a driving force on the ‘alternative’ bands. It forces them to be better. To write songs that snap mindless consumers of the UK Top 40 buying anything with a series of auto-tuned vowels, out of their trance. It’s the reason you believe these bands are so amazing. They have to be.
Imagine a world where televised talent shows didn’t exist. Where a guitar band can split the mist with their first single and waltz straight up to the door of Number 1, UK Chart Road. Where established acts like Arctic Monkeys knock out a tune every month to keep bank accounts packed. This is a world where complacency would be devastating. A world in which bands become the ‘One Direction’, and perhaps, God forbid, pop acts become the alternative, and NME is filled with JLS nostalgia.
So perhaps you re-think your outlook on it all. Maybe Simon Cowell single handedly destroyed a world that nobody would want to be part of. And for it I tip my hat to him. But if you buy something that he’s had anything to do with, may your soul burn in hell.
Rock Stars, Do You Not Have All You Ever Wanted?
Rock stars. Do you not have all you wanted? You do, do you? Then stop fucking moaning about it. About how hard it is ‘being on the road’. Nobody normal gets to say that sentence, ‘being on the road’. The only time I’m on the road is the half hour commute to my job that in no way involves pissing about on guitars or chatting up super models in five star hotel lobbies. I have to talk to Debra, in the kitchen, whilst she makes shite tea not margaritas and talks about the ever present eczema eating away at the back
of her neck. I can assure you Debra is in no way ‘super’, or model-like.
Okay, so you have to be away from home a lot, which I can understand might be quite upsetting and hard for you right? Wrong. What are you fucking talking about? You don’t have to put the bins out you cretins. Or pay your bills. There is no waiting for a late bus in the rain on Hollywood Boulevard is there? The bus waits for you. Your tour bus. And as if that wasn’t enough it’s got your fucking name on the side of it. Not some advert for a shit Bruce Willis film.
I’m sure the one and half hours of “work” you do a day is really hard and soul destroying though. I mean god knows how you put up with having thousands of girls pleading with you to let them devour your genitals. I suppose the repetition of ‘please yes you can all come back to room 505 with us’ could get tiresome but come on!