Gig Review - Grace Jones

January 26th, 2009

Sunday 25th January 2009 @ Colston Hall

Grace Jones is of a rare breed. As is the mark of the great auteur, she manages to exist above the zeitgeist and seem perpetually avant-garde – a remarkable feat considering she’s approaching her fifth decade as a performer; though shaman or sorceress would be an equally apt description considering how she’s apparently defied age and gravity by retaining the startling cut-glass features and serpentile physique of her commercial peak some twenty-five years ago (how d’you like them apples, Mr Newton!).

So, like the great Ju Ju atop the mountain, Grace is revealed from behind a dropped curtain to start the show standing on top a dauntingly high hydraulic podium, surveying her audience and greeted by collective rapture. There’s no subjective consciousness tonight, everyone is wired to the same circuit board. “Ladies and gentlemen: Miss Grace Jones!”
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Cinema Review – Slapstick 2009: Tramp, Tramp, Tramp

January 25th, 2009

Friday 23rd January 2009 @ Watershed

Tramp, Tramp, Tramp is the second film to be screened as part of the second night of the festivities at Slapstick 2009. Now in its 5th year, Slapstick is Bristol’s festival of silent comedy, featuring films from all the slapstick greats like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy. Tonight’s film stars one of the lesser known talents of silent cinema, Harry Langdon, and it appears Watershed were surprised by its popularity, having to upgrade the size of the screening due to ticket demand!

The pull of Slapstick then, a fantastic festival which gets bigger and better every year, is now enough to attract people to see any of their recommended screenings. Films are going to be especially popular though when the showing is accompanied throughout by a live piano and has a very special introduction by none other than animation legend Richard Williams – he of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? fame.
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Gig Review - Escape The Fate

January 24th, 2009

Friday 23rd January 2009 @ Anson Rooms
With Support From: All Forgotten, Glamour Of The Kill

Tonight the Anson Rooms was packed with a young crowd all herding in to see some good talent. Three amazing bands blew everyone off their feet as they made the whole room move throughout the night.

Opening were All Forgotten, a young 5-piece band from Surrey. They kicked things off with their awesome breakdowns that got the pits moving straight away! Front man Jonathon Thorne screamed his lungs out as the fans were demanding more and more. They are a very talented band who seemed to fit right in tonight and were enjoyed by everyone!
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Theatre Review – The Little Red Hen

January 22nd, 2009

Showing between Wednesday 21st and Friday 23rd January 2009 @ Tobacco Factory

The brilliant children’s show, The Little Red Hen, returns to the Tobacco Factory Theatre for a second time following a string of sold out performances back in September 2008. The fact that this original show by the Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company has been invited back for a second time in a matter of months is pure testament to the magic, dynamic and un-patronising fun of this fantastic kid’s show.

You can always tell how well a show is being received by young children because fidgeting and moaning will quickly set in if they aren’t engaging with it. This is the second time I’ve watched The Little Red Hen and in both shows the kids watching were immaculate, only breaking their enraptured silence to shout and sing along as prompted to by the actors!
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Gig Review - Bristol Acoustic Music Festival 2009

January 20th, 2009

From Friday 16th until Sunday 18th January 2009 @ The Folk House and St Georges
Featuring Performances From: The Wraiths, Jane Taylor, Babel

This wet and windy weekend in January saw Bristol celebrate its 5th annual Acoustic Music Festival and, in break from the norm, after a full, successful programme at The Folk House on Friday night and Saturday, Sunday saw proceedings move over the road for the first time with St Georges taking a turn at hosting. To see how this classical venue would fit into the Bristol Acoustic Music Festival ethos, SY went along on Sunday night to celebrate the last evening of the weekend’s shows.

We arrive late in the day to catch The Wraiths, a Bristol two-piece that do folk old-school: honest and beautiful but you wish it had a bit more of a kick! Their best song was the penultimate of their set, ending with a breathtaking collaboration of banjo strokes and grand piano twinklings – delicate music that showed off the talents of the venue and underlined why the organisers were so keen to try St Georges for a day. The acoustics here are without a doubt the best in the city as even the gentlest pluck of an instrument or whisper of a voice can be heard to perfection, making the performances that bit more pure and intimate. It’s fitting considering this is an ‘acoustic’ festival focusing on the music but I can’t help but feel that St Georges was stifling the atmosphere a bit.
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Club Review - Weapon of Choice: First Birthday

January 19th, 2009

Tuesday 16th January 2009 @ Mr Wolf’s

On their first birthday, even the edgiest of hipsters were still filling nappies and projectile vomiting as far as the eye could see. Luckily, one-year-old club night Weapon of Choice - Bristol’s monthly fusion of live street art and the hottest local DJs - entirely bypassed such scatological beginnings, claiming its title of one cool motherfucker at birth.

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Film Review - Rachel Getting Married

January 18th, 2009

Screening between Friday 23rd January and Thursday 5th February 2009 @ Watershed

Home movies are always very personal pieces of footage, imposing and low-tech; it was an interesting style choice for this film. We were thrust into the lives of the Bushman family with sympathy and laughter, and director Jonathan Demme made our eyes part of the furniture.

The film begins with Kym’s arrival home from rehab; she is so self-absorbed that it is hard to find her character likeable. Kym is played by Anne Hathaway, Hollywood’s darling daughter, but unlike her other films, Rachel Getting Married is saturated in unpredictability. It doesn’t feel the need to explain everything it does like Daddy Hollywood, and it tackles family conflicts in a genuine, honest way.
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Gig Review - Kerrang! Tour 2009

January 17th, 2009

Friday 16th January 2009 @ Academy
With Performances From: In Case Of Fire, Black Tide, Bring Me The Horizon, Dir En Grey, Mindless Self Indulgence

The weeks of excitement building up to tonight’s show was well worth the wait! 5 great bands making for 1 fantastic evening. Opening tonight was In Case Of Fire who built things up very quickly. Everyone was raring to go as they played their funky riffs and beats and they involved the crowd well and set everyone up for a breathtaking show.

Black Tide were up next; a very young, talented band who know how to play to please their fans! They had a really tight performance which emphasised their talent through their instruments. It’s very hard when you’re so young to create a good musical atmosphere but they grasped it easily and use it to their advantage.
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Gig Review - Tim Garland

January 16th, 2009

Thursday 15th January 2009 @ St Georges

The impressively grand St George’s Bristol venue tonight held a celebration of British jazz royalty. Tim Garland and his Lighthouse Project trio are showcased compositions from their forthcoming, as yet untitled, album to a modestly packed hall. Having learnt all I know about jazz from the Fast Show and Lisa Simpson, I went into this gig with an open mind not knowing what to expect. I was also not used to sitting down at a gig so this is a first on all accounts.

Tonight Tim Garland was joined on stage by percussionist Asaf Sirkis and pianist Gwilym Simcock. It was clear in an instant that these three gentlemen are masters of their craft and they got to showcase their individual talents separately throughout each song. Such is Tim’s appreciation of the other two musicians that a lot of the time he would stand to one side and watch them perform together ‘wooping’ and clapping along. For me this was both pleasing and puzzling to see. I found it puzzling because tonight’s set, like a lot of jazz I know of, has no real structure so Tim clapping along seemed strange as there was really no rhythm that would stick around long enough to clap to!
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Gig Review – Man In The Long Black Coat

January 15th, 2009

Barb Jungr sings the songs of Bob Dylan

Tuesday 13th January 2009 @ Tobacco Factory Theatre

Tonight’s show was an interesting prospect but one that toyed with my ideals; I absolutely love Bob Dylan and would jump at any opportunity to see his songs live but I wasn’t sure how I felt about seeing and supporting a woman who had made a career out of performing songs that weren’t her own. However, as soon as Barb Jungr opened her broad mouth and treat the assembled crowd to her powerful and inspiring voice, I was enraptured.

About 100 of us were sat in the Tobacco Factory Theatre amongst old boxes, barrels and endless strings of laundry – the set for the currently running A Christmas Carol at the theatre – but all eyes were permanently fixed centre stage at the keyboard, huge grand piano and glamorous Barb herself perched on the edge of her high stool. We were treated to nearly 2 hours of Dylan’s back-catalogue from career defining songs like Like A Rolling Stone to the obscure, ‘lost’ b-sides like Man In The Long Black Coat and each tickled my soul and brought a wide, delighted grin to my cheeks.
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