Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here on Burgo’s Blog. For today’s show, I’ve decided to post one of the most requested sets from my readers: Radiohead, performing live at the BBC Radio Theatre, on April 1, 2008.
Long-time readers of this blog might remember that when Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” finally arrived, I was… well, slightly ambivalent about the album. There was something there that didn’t connect with me, as in their past albums. But, despite that, I had the feeling that the album was one which would grow in time.
And, for me at least… I was right.
This set, of Radiohead performing live at the BBC Radio Theatre took place on April 1, 2008, and was largely in support of that “In Rainbows” album. That said, there’s also a smattering of songs from other albums, including “Airbag“, “The Tourist” and “Lucky” (from the album “OK Computer“), and “Everything in its right place” from “Kid A“.
It’s a great live set, and certainly one for all Radiohead fans… not only the completists. The highlight for me comes in the three songs “House of Cards”, followed by “Weird Fishes” – the two strongest songs on the “In Rainbows” album, in my opinion – followed up by a wonderful rendition of “Lucky”. Without a doubt… Radiohead are still one of the most important bands of our time.
Listen. Love. Support.
Radiohead, live at the BBC Radio Theatre, April 1, 2008
Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here at Burgo’s Blog. For today’s post – and largely due to the fact that I’ve just watched “August Rush” again – I thought I would post something slightly different; a 2004 show, where guitar virtuoso Kaki King performed, lived at the Ironhorse.
Now, I’m pretty sure this show isn’t going to appeal to everyone. It’s not always “easy listening” music. But, especially if you’re a guitarist, I implore you to listen to this show.
Kaki King is one of those rare musicians who comes along, and you just know there’s something otherworldly there. There’s an emotion, and an intelligence behind her compositions that is few and far between in current music. With a sound that involves fret-tapping, slap bass, percussive guitars and – lately – sound layering and looping, Kaki King is reminscent of Michael Hedges, Preston Reed and Andy McKee. In short… that’s bloody heady company.
In the last 2 years, particularly, Kaki has been getting some major mainstream exposure; not only is her music featured in the film “August Rush” – in fact, she was actually Freddy Highmore’s “action hands” – but she also contributed tunes to the, quite frankly, brilliant “Into the Wild” soundtrack. Add into that mix some major support from the Foo Fighters, and in particular Dave Grohl, and you can see this girl’s ready to hit it large.
While in the last few years, Kaki King has made an obvious effort to step back from the “solo instrumental artist” label that was beginning to attach itself to her – take one listen to her new single, “Pull Me Out Alive“, from her new album, “Dreaming Of Revenge“, and you’ll see what I mean – this show from 2004 was more in her original style. There’s minimal vocals, acoustic guitar… and it remains one of my favourites.
If nothing else, make sure that you listen to the track, “Lies”. It’s pure poetry.
Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here at Burgo’s Blog. For this week’s post, I decided to revisit a past Live Music Friday post, from April, where I featured The National live on the Radio Inter Black Sessions. In that post, I mentioned that they had followed up from that show with another show in 2007 for the same radio station… and here it is… The National White Sessions.
As mentioned when I wrote about their Black Sessions show in that previous post, the Black Sessions are “broadcast on the French radio station France Inter, and recorded in front of a live audience“. The White Sessions put out by the station are pretty much the same thing, but without the live audience included.
There are positives and negatives with this; a negative is that, without the murmur of an appreciative audience in the background, the show somewhat loses some of its intimacy. That said, however, the sound quality of this live performance far more than makes up for this.
This show took place on May 7, 2007, and was in support of The National‘s then upcoming release, “Boxer“, and the majority of songs (9 of the 11) are from that album. It really is that when you listen to this band live, that you truly can appreciate their artistry. And Matt Berninger’s hypnotic voice comes across as if he was putting on a private show in your kitchen. Essential “must hear” stuff for any National fans. Highlights for me? Either “Slow Show”, “Racing Like A Pro”, or the simply beautiful “About Today”… but make your own minds up.
Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here at Burgo’s Blog. Thanks to all the regular readers who were patient while I took my week off from posting… it was much needed, and I think it did me a world of good. For this week’s Live Music Friday, I decided to post a show from 2005, when Alex Dezen and Dave Chernis of The Damnwells played on World Cafe Live.
There are a few reasons that I chose to post an Alex Dezen post today. The first is that I’ve noticed a lot of you are finding my blog searching for Alex Dezen, and in particular the song “Tonight and Forever”… I’m guessing this is as a result of The Damnwells getting a lot of exposure lately, thanks to no less than five of their songs – “Tonight and Forever” included – appearing on the new Ryan Reynolds flick, “Chaos Theory“. That’s really encouraging for a supporter to see, and, in a weird way, I’m really proud and happy for the band. So if you’re one of those people just getting turned onto the group, then I’d really suggest you check out some of my past posts on the band: particularly my post about The Damnwells documentary, Golden Days, which shows the movie’s trailer; my post The Damnwells – A new release and some old love; and a previous Live Music Friday, showcasing Alex Dezen and Angela Dezen performing live at the Hotel Cafe. And finally, there is of course this post, which features a live version of the song, “Tonight and Forever”.
The second reason is that, during my week off from posting, I returned to my roots somewhat, in order to recharge my batteries. This included copious amounts of Ryan Adams listening, and… you guessed it… Alex Dezen and The Damnwells.
The third reason? It’s, quite frankly, a freakishly beautiful set, featuring both Alex and Dave Chernis, with Dave playing some of the most atmospheric lap steel that I’ve ever heard from him. There’s a bit of nostalgia for me there as well, as in recent times, there have been questions about who exactly The Damnwells are. Whereas it used to have all the band members listed on the group’s Myspace as permanent members, eagle-eyed fans noticed that earlier this year the band’s members section changed to “Alex Dezen – vocal/guitar… often with…“. And going by Alex’s myspace blog, it seems to be that their much rumoured new release might be more of a solo project. As he wrote:
“Back to the record. People have been asking, “Is this a Damnwells record or an Alex solo record?” The answer is: I’m not sure. The Damnwells has always been about my songs with extremely talented musicians and producers collaborating. The personnel have changed, but the essence—one of this week’s vocabulary words for the 7th graders I teach—remains the same. That was always the idea Ted and I had for this band, that it would be a kind of collective, a collaborative vehicle for artists and friends. Dave, Ted, and Steve were the in the shit with me for 7 years. Now they’ve got other things going on, more important things. Are we still friends? Some of us. Will we ever play together again? Does the pope wear a funny hat? Even if some of us aren’t in communication right now, I know we wish we were. So are the Damnwells finished? I think I just answered that question. If you’re still unsure, come down to the Double-Decker fest in Oxford, Mississippi on the 26th, or the Workplay Theater in Birmingham, Alabama on the 27th and see for yourself. Just remember to bring some earplugs and a broken heart. On the stage for this limited engagement will be Ole Dick Dick, Ratty, Jay, and myself. There are some plans in the works for more shows this summer, though who knows if that will happen.”
And really, a large part of my love for this set is that it features both Alex and Dave. Don’t get me wrong; I know that The Damnwells is more than just certain members. As Alex has always said, The Damnwells is more of a collective. But, to me… I’ll always look at the musical connection that Alex and Dave have with much fondness, regardless of whether they play together again or not.
Alex Dezen in 2000, before forming The Damnwells (image credit: Heather Conley)
Apart from questions about the band line-up, if we add onto that the fact that Alex has another dream – writing – and it becomes clear that he has a lot going on in his life right now. Back in the above post, he wrote:
“Trekking back in time now just to confuse you, while in Oxford I got a phone call from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. I had driven myself crazy for the past six months applying to grad schools for fiction writing. I took the GRE, filled out 15 applications, and worked day and night polishing my writing samples. A couple nervous breakdowns later, it was all done, all applications were submitted, albeit a few with missing transcripts.
“We’re gonna be accepting you to the program,” Connie Brothers said, “and you left the box that indicates your preference for assistantship blank. I need to fill it in so you’ll be considered for funding.”
After assuring me this was not a practical joke, I thanked her and called my wife, who subsequently cried with equal parts joy and fear at the prospect of living in Iowa City for the next two years. It was one degree there a few weeks ago. Just one. So, if there are any Damnwells fans in Iowa City, drop me a line. I’ll be teaching Rhetoric (whatever the hell that is) to freshmen and writing the great American novel.”
All in all… Alex Dezen is – to put it mildly – a multifaceted person; husband, writer, teacher, musician. But that’s the way I like ’em.
And perhaps, for all of those Damnwells fans who are worried that this much feted new album will never come out, or worry about the future of the band itself, I might quote one more passage from Alex’s blog (really, this is just an excuse for me to post more of his writings.. I just love his way with words):
“It’s been a long time, he said. She didn’t answer but looked right back at him unflinching, even though she desperately wanted to turn away. Sorry I haven’t been in touch, he said. She was mad, but that was okay because it was better than being sad. It’s okay now, she said. There was so much more to say. It was tied in a knot somewhere inside her, refusing to unfurl. I’ve been making a record, he explained. There’s been some complications, as always, he said, laughing quietly. But it’s almost done. She laughed with him, pretending to understand. It sounds really great, he said. I think this is the best one I’ve ever made. That’s great, she said. When will I get to hear it? I’d love to play it for you. He was always saying that. Another promise unfulfilled. She heard another language, though—a language of broken promises to her. When can I hear it? she asked. Soon. It’s that good, huh? she said, turning her head to the side and smiling with licked lips.
Yeah, he said, and kissed her.”
The fact is, that in the last few years, Alex Dezen has become one of my favourite artists. Without a doubt. And this set on World Cafe Live perfectly showcases that. Alex’s achingly beautiful way with words, his tales of love and heartbreak… and hope; and his voice that completely sucks you in. Add in the perfect complements of Dave Chernis, and you’re in for one of my favourite sets of The Damnwells.
Anyway, I’ve jabbered on enough about the band. If you’ve stuck with me this long, then you really deserve this set. So let’s just get to the show, shall we?
Listen. Love. Support.
Alex Dezen and Dave Chernis of The Damnwells, live on World Cafe Live, 22 November, 2005
Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here at Burgo’s Blog. Today, we’ll be featuring someone a little closer to my (adoptive) home… Australian musician, Xavier Rudd.
One of my favourite shows of 2007 was an Xavier Rudd gig on the Gold Coast… in fact, I even put up a post about it, although that post was more about his opening act, Jeremy Fisher. Nevertheless, that night with Xavier was one of the most powerful shows I’ve been to in recent memory. There is an energy and passion in Xavier Rudd’s music that you would be hard pressed to find in most other artists.
Although Xavier Rudd sometimes gets mixed in with the rest of the surfer-folkie crowd (ala Jack Johnson, Donovan Frankenreiter & Tim Curran), I’d probably place his music more in that slightly harder mix of Ben Harper & Co., with a more activist view present in his music. Not only does Rudd display a strong connection with the aboriginal people of the world through his music, he’s also a leading light for environmentally-conscious musicians.
Finally, anyone who has seen Xavier Rudd perform before will know what an inventive musician he is live; often performing as a one-man-band, Rudd masters percussion, the slide guitar, and… of course… his well known ability on the didgeridoo. In fact, in my mind, he’s one of the top dij players in Australia, point blank. Here’s a video to show his versatility…
Anyway, enough background, and on to the show at hand. The set I’ve posted below is Xavier Rudd performing live at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2007, right around the time that he released his stunning album, White Moth.
It’s a great set, and one that finds him performing personal favourites, “Messages“, “Message Stick“, “Famine“, “Come Let Go” and “Gift Of The Trees“. It’s everything that is right with great live recordings, and makes you feel as if you’re in the tent with Xavier himself… thanks go to the original recorder.
Listen. Love. Support.
Xavier Rudd, live at Bonnaroo Music Festival on June 16, 2007
So I was all set for a Calexico “Live Music Friday” post today, and then at the last minute, an email came through pointing me towards this NME article, which in turn led me to the BBC Radio 1 site, which – finally – pointed me towards this set: Coldplay, performing live from the Brixton Academy in London.
Given that it was a live set, it was simply too fortuitous a timing to pass up… so I decided to post this set for today’s Live Music Friday.
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you might remember me mentioning that I was slightly hesitant to embrace Coldplay’s new album, “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends“, and that it’s lead single, “Violet Hill”, just didn’t hit me where it should have. That, of course, was based solely on that single. Since then, I’ve managed to listen to the album in its entirety… but I’m still undecided about it. Something tells me that it will be one of those albums that will grow on me over time; but right now, while I think it’s a good album (and great, by other bands’ standards), it doesn’t quite reach the heights that I know Coldplay are capable of.
That said… this live set, featuring both new and old material, is an absolute cracker, and makes me like the new songs all the more. It’s not surprising, really… Coldplay are a band made for dramatic, passionate live performances. And this, their first live performance in two years, is no exception.
It’s a great set, that finds Chris Martin in a playful mood (once he finally addresses the crowd, before “Viva La Vida”). For example, before the track “Chinese Sleep Chant“, Martin jokes about the fact that the band’s live return had been a free ticket giveaway, with “I know there have been complaints about the ticket price. What can I say, we’re money grabbing whores!“. Or, between “Square One” and “Trouble“, where the band seamlessly switches songs, and there’s this wonderfully surreal moment where he stops and says:
“How seamless was that? How professional was that crossover? You know, if ever… if ever Jonny’s ego grows out of control and the band splits up, and you happen to be on a piano ferry going to Calais or wherever they go, and you see me doing a little piano-turn, you can say, “Chris, I remember when you used to be a pop star, and you did those seamless crossovers between Girls Aloud, and your own beautiful ballads. And I will say thank you so much”
… before… well… seamlessly picking up the tune again. And when the crowd sings along to the outro of “Trouble”, it’s such a powerful moment that Chris Martin comments, “Whoa. What a ferry journey that would be“.
In fact, it’s at moments like that, listening to the majestic sounds Coldplay create here, that it hits me… I have no doubt that the new tunes will eventually become anthems, just as the older material has obviously become.
Finally, make sure you at least listen to the track, “Death Will Never Conquer”; sung by the band’s drummer, Will Champion. It’s awesome to hear him step out from behind the skins and into the spotlight. And “Fix You“? Awesome. That’s all that’s needed to be said.
Enough rambling. The set is below. Listen. Love. Support.
Coldplay, live at London’s Brixton Academy, 16 June 2008
Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here on Burgo’s Blog… unfortunately, due to time constraints, this post might be a bit short… but still packed full of great tunes.
Today, I thought we would get a bit soulful, and listen to the silky smooth sounds of Amos Lee, live on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” show.
I thought an “Amos Lee Live Music Friday” would be timely, considering that I only found out this week that Blue Note Records have given his new album, “Last Days at the Lodge” an official release date for later this month… June 24. Amos Lee really is one of those truthful musicians; he exposes everything to you, concealing nothing. His singing is direct, confident, and delivered in a chocolate-coated voice that slowly pours its way into your soul. In fact, I once heard NPR’s Tom Moon describe Lee’s voice as one that “triangulates Bill Withers, Terry Callier and Ray Charles”, and I couldn’t have put it better myself. And, I mean, when you get right down to it… the guy’s opened for Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and the notoriously brilliant-yet-critical Van Morrison; so you know he must be doing something right.
This set, from Amos Lee’s performance on KCRW radio in May of 2005 is a slight departure from the live shows I normally post here. The set doesn’t have that “crowd interaction” feel that most of the other posted shows do… after all, apart from the interviewer, there wasn’t a crowd at all. But what it lacks for in the warmth of crowd chatter, it more than makes up for in song selection and sheer tightness. And really, it’s astounding that he and his band could produce such a slick sound live.
If you’d like to stream the entire version, along with the interviewers questions, the entire show is archived here. The set I’ve posted below is simply the songs, stripped out.
Listen. Love. Support.
Amos Lee, live on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, 25 March, 2005
So by now, if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you would know my love affair with the band Dispatch. Dispatch was, I think, probably the first band that I really obsessed over. Ultimately, they were everything that I wanted to be in the music world; they were the epitome of my romanticised view of a world where bands played for the fans and for the music… not for the adulation or the money.
While my forays into the music world somewhat destroyed that dream, Dispatch were always the band that reminded me that, somewhere out there, the dream was alive. Even when they broke up, that dream lived on. As Pete said, in the “Last Dispatch” DVD, regarding their reunion concert in Boston:
If you believe in the drama, then you might say sadness; or you might believe in the immediacy of something ending. But I don’t believe in endings. You know, it’s like the magician doesn’t stop doing tricks. So it will be what it is, a proud and happy team to be here.
All of this is a somewhat convoluted preamble to introduce today’s Live Music Friday; an evening spent with Pete Francis at the Woodstock Opera House.
Pete Francis Heimbold, aka Pete Francis, was one of the three members that made up Dispatch. When they broke up, it was no surprise that I followed his solo efforts with extreme interest. While my musical tastes have changed in the last few years, at the time of their break-up, circa 2002, I seemed to identify most with Pete’s style of music.His song,“Untold”, still ranks in my top 10 list of favourite songs of all time. His surreal symbolism, and themes that revolved around emotions – love, regret, you name it – spoke to me in a way that few other artists did.
While State Radio – led by Chad Stokes – certainly seems to have been the band that has gained the most widespread attention – and deservedly so – in the post-Dispatch days , I feel like Pete Francis (and Braddigan, as well), have a lot to offer the music world that seems destined to fly somewhat below the radar. Perhaps that will change now that Pete’s new album, “Iron Sea & The Calvary”, is out; but, in the meantime, I thought I would try change that by posting this show.
This set took place in 2005 – when Pete performed at the Woodstock Opera House, alongside guitarist Bill Foster – and contains many Pete Francis favourites, such as “Burning the River“, “Father Rose“, “Carry You“, “Sandcastle City” and “Untold“. I hope you enjoy.
Listen. Love. Support.
Pete Francis & Bill Foster, Live at the Woodstock Opera House, 20/8/2005