Sunday, 19 June 2011

Amy Winehouse - Live and wasted

Encase you haven't heard the news the allegedly now sober Amy Winehouse recently played a rather unsuccessful gig in Belgrade. And by "unsuccessful" I mean car-crash, as demonstrated by the opening number.

But I'm not going to hawk over this one, as Amy is clearly in need of some serious help, and I'm not going to discredit her talent based on this performance as her recorded career shows that she can sing. However I am going to ask "Is anyone really surprised?" as it's hardly the first time she's been wrecked at her performances and wasted the audiences money. She's been caught sniffing drugsfalling over and not singing many times before; this is hardly a one off incident and, as long as people keep on buying tickets to her shows/enabling her, it's unlikely to be her last.

The simple truth of the matter is that Amy Winehouse isn't that good at live performances and everyone knows it, including her fans. She has a well deserved reputation for being awful at her own shows so you're options are either to not bother seeing her live (though carry on getting the albums and catching her one-song TV appearances if that's your thing) or to pay your money and take your chances whilst remembering to not moan when it all goes horribly wrong. Also remember that there are normally no refund clauses for "show went ahead but singer was too trashed to be any good", though there is for cancelled shows so get ready to claim if the rest of the tour goes up in smoke. I'm not going to say that there is anything wrong in liking Amy Winehouse but don't be blind to her flaws.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Download 2011 - Day 3

For the final day of rock-and-roll partying the gods decided that this festival should be played in Hard-Mode so we were graced with rain that managed to soak through leather and wind that cut through bone. Still the crowd had poncho's, J├Ągermeister jackets, and an unstoppable willingness to keep enjoying the weekend so it was on with the show

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Download 2011 - Day 2

After the threat of rain on Friday it was a relief to spend Saturday at Download in sunny and calm weather. A little bit of a breeze, along with the odd cloud, kept the heat off the festival throngs as they enjoyed another day of fine music, fine company, and not unreasonably priced beer. I didn't get to see as many bands as on Saturday, mostly due to catching up with friends, but there were still some absolute corkers to bear witness to...

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Download 2011 - Day 1

Yes, for the first time in my 25 years of being into music I've decided to walk the hallowed turf of Donington Park and enjoy the world of one of the more legendary rock/metal festivals in the world, namely Download. I am happy to report, first and foremost, that it is a lovely place, filled with lovely people and friendly event staff.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Born This Way - Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is not a musician, she is an artistic construct performed 24/7 by Stefani Germanotta, so the chances are that by now your view on her & this album will already be formed and will mostly be based on the videos, TV interviews, concert footage and Tweets that Gaga exists in. However if you can get past there is some good music to be heard in Born This Way which shows off Miss Germanotta's considerable talents, beyond the ability to wear a couple pounds of beef in public.

First thing to note is that over all this is a much more musically complex album than Fame or Monster, which isn't surprising if you consider her first two albums to have been minimalistic Pop. There are more layers, there are more styles, and it's got a much richer production to it all over. Lyrically it's also far more blunt than her earlier work, which comes across as a bold and solid refinement of what she conveyed with her stage shows. However it's also clearly struggling with it's new direction, resulting in an inconsistency between the tracks as they battle between old and new Gaga.