Archive | October, 2014

Cracking open The Lovely Eggs.

28 Oct

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The wonderful serendipity related to being a music fan is that every so often you just inadvertently stumble across an artist you’d never heard before in your life, and you actually really like them! So it happened at the weekend with a Lancaster based band called The Lovely eggs. I discovered them in a post from a contact on Facebook, which I find a bit ironic as this blog entry was originally going to offer comment on the pros and cons of social media (but the first draft went missing; hey ho…maybe next time).

The Lovely Eggs consist of married couple Holly Ross and David Blackwell, and they’ve been making music for some time now (and Holly was previously in the band Angelica, who I had heard). But at no point can I make a strong argument that these two produce sophisticated ground breaking music; I think their irreverence and enthusiasm are their strengths. They are extremely punk orientated in their style and DIY approach, but within their low-fi noise are some really strong, catchy tunes. I know it’s lazy to offer comparisons between bands, but they remind me a little of some Buzzcocks tracks, with shades of The Sultans of Ping FC (if you need your memory jogging about the latter, then can I ask “where’s your jumper?”)
Basically, they make me smile greatly and I want to pogo around the room. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about sitting through a whole album of theirs (as I haven’t done it yet), but in three minute bursts they are quite the tonic, and Holly’s strong Lancastrian tones find approval with this fellow North Westerner. The Lovely Eggs are, as one BBC reviewer (Noel Gardner) said, “…about as indie as indie gets. In addition to Shuttleworth and Fair, their stylistic ancestry takes in the tweest of 80s twee-pop – Talulah Gosh or The Pooh Sticks – and other descendants of theirs, like Helen Love and Bearsuit”. They write and perform songs about practically everything, and say they get their inspiration from the people and places around them, rather than other bands. In the interview clip below they comment about how the band have remained proudly local and ‘Northern’, rejecting any expectation to go to London, or elsewhere, in order to push for great success: if you receive a hundred rejections, just go and make music anyway, is their message. I get the impression they make music because they enjoy it, and that really communicates.

On the strength of a few singles, I looked them up further and discovered that they were playing as part of the ‘Spectacular Spectacular’ series of events in Manchester, with the gig booked at the newly refurbished Gullivers on Oldham Street on Thursday 28th November. So I’ve already bought two tickets, and I shall be there! I’m very much looking forward to it.
For other upcoming dates across the UK, check out their website below:

Love in several languages: Nana Mouskouri at the Bridgewater Hall, Tuesday 30th September 2014.

18 Oct

1297542050954_ORIGINALWhen did it become cool to like Nana Mouskouri? Well, for those (liable to be relatively few) people asking this question, the answer is that it didn’t.
Sat, as I was, in the marvellous amplifying vacuum that is Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, it didn’t feel as if I was on the cutting edge of music performance. Surrounded as I was by an audience that was probably at least fifty percent in their dotage (and I had a good view from the upper balcony), I was expecting a very tame affair. Not to say that there were not much younger people there, because there was; Mouskouri has been recording and performing for around sixty years, and I imagine she continues to amass new fans. I was also reminded that many artists performing at the Bridgewater are also seasoned recognised talents, who have often sold millions of records. I had the pleasure of seeing Tony Bennett and Nancy Sinatra here nine years ago (not on the same bill I have to say!) Those artists are popular in a way that transcend considerations of ‘cool’ and fashionable. So if I was in any doubt about Mouskouri, I was about to find out for sure. Continue reading