EXTC – The Victoria, Swindon – 10 March 2020

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Can be a potentially dodgy thing when a long gone and cherished band makes some kind of come back, especially with few original members (in this case 1), but this isn’t at all the same and it turned out magnificently!

Original XTC drumer Terry Chambers reunited with bassist Colin Moulding for their wonderful TC&I recording and shows in 2017. I was there! Since Colin stepped back from playing, this EXTC project is Terry carrying on with Steve Tilling and Gary Bamford from those shows, reviving songs from XTCs extensive catalogue rather than mainly Colin’s songs. Since XTC stopped performing in 1982 (carried on recording ’til 2000) but have become legendary over the years, the excitement about this first open warm-up show was incredible and people travelled very long distances, including me!

Well you might imagine a barely credible tribute band … but no! What a great job of replicating such interesting and challenging songs pretty faithfully. All great players but most credit must go to Steve Tilling, clearly the leader and driving force, for assembling such a convincing and compelling experience delivered with great skill, panache and humour! Terry Chambers is a great drummer and can still bash those skins with the same power and unique technique (see video I took below of ‘Ball & Chain) and credit also to Matt Backer and Ken Wynne for great jobs on guitar and bass.

A packed, enthusiastic crowd of super fans with 2 well played sets of their favourite songs was a magic combination. We sang along ’til hoarse and cheered them to the rafters! Great to see old friends and make some new ones too. Catch them asap when all this Coronavirus is over!

 

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The Postcards – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh – 29 Feb 2020

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What a great night at Alan’s party.  Thanks for having us and we had a blast just like everyone else seemed to. The birthday boy even got up to play guitar on Spring Rain by The Go-Betweens! Thanks to various people for pics and vids, not sure who’s, sorry!

 

 

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Sleater-Kinney – Barrowland, Glasgow – 28 Feb 2020

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I think I must have died and gone to heaven! Gig of the century for me? I think so, at least equal! Having just seen my favourite band in the world at a great show in Amsterdam last week how could they top that? Maybe 2 reasons –

This was the second last show of the their entire 6 months (with breaks) of ‘The Center Won’t Hold’ tour, and having fun, they threw the kitchen sink at us with 27 songs over nearly 2 hours covering their extensive career. Secondly, Barrowland is bigger than Paradiso and hey it’s Glasgow. So the great energy from the band was given back from an ecstatic crowd in spades and the feedback loop of love was magic to behold! Great sound helped. So spectacular, like a mad fanboy I jumped up and down and sang all the words like a loony!

And what a set. So many of my faves and quite a few changes from Amsterdam, great to cover so much ground with new ones sounding super live and lots of time for the most loved classics. ‘The Fox’ is my favourite S-K song, played brilliantly, but Corin Tucker doesn’t scream the high bits quite the same nowadays. Losing it? No way given the evidence of ‘Gloria’, where in the only cover of the night (Laura Branigan) Corin let rip with the perfect song to show off her stunning voice. I was dubious to see that one on the list but wow, surprised and impressed.

Not to be outdone, my guitar heroine Carrie Brownstein surpassed her Amsterdam self with even more of her usual intensity. The same brilliant and unique guitar playing and singing, but even more of her trademark moves. How she can jump around, high kick, play and sing, all at the same time is a fabulous mystery! Katie, Toko also brilliant, and especially Angie incredible on drums, but the band is so much about Carrie and Corin (though I still miss Janet). What a night. Couldn’t love them any more.

Attended by George & Chris

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/sleaterkinney/2020/barrowland-glasgow-scotland-4399a3f3.html

https://www.theskinny.co.uk/music/live-music/reviews/sleater-kinney-barrowlands-glasgow-28-feb

https://www.scotsman.com/whats-on/arts-and-entertainment/music-review-sleater-kinney-barrowland-glasgow-2006202

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Sleater-Kinney – Paradiso, Amsterdam – 19 Feb 2020

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I LOVE Sleater-Kinney so much, but it’s baffling that I never managed to see them live until tonight. Sorted! Still magnificent. I bopped along and sang all the words ’til I was sweaty and hoarse … magic. After a tour break Carrie and Corin seemed really up for this and appeared to enjoy it nearly as much as I and a packed Paradiso did. The level of smiling and grinning all round was a pleasure to see. I always wanted to go to this iconic venue too and was not disappointed.

I’m still gutted that Janet Weiss has left the band (so I must go see her in Quasi asap) but Angie Boylan played all Janet’s big beats superbly, bravo! New songs sounded great and so many of my old favourites were smashed in a brilliant, lengthy set. To hear my favourite song ‘The Fox’ live … my life is now (almost) complete … until I see them again in Glasgow next week!

Attended by George & Karen

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/sleaterkinney/2020/paradiso-grote-zaal-amsterdam-netherlands-6b987a2a.html

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Amsterdam Holiday – 18 Feb 2020

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I ‘needed’ to get to see Sleater-Kinney and this was all the excuse required to organise a few days with Karen in lovely Amsterdam taking in the gig at the iconic Paradiso.  What a great city. So much fun. Will definitely go back!

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black midi – Liquid Room, Edinburgh – 17 Feb 2020

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Only last October since I last saw black midi, and this set couldn’t have been much more different. Only 6 songs from their album ‘Schlagenheim’ … crowd pleasers like ‘bmbmbm’ left out and guitarist Matt replaced (temporarily I think) by sax and keys players. The rest of the set was so jazz and jazz/rock I know many people were flummoxed and unhappy with their new musical marmite. A band not afraid to experiment and move on … quickly!

Well I loved it all. I’m completely happy with the jazzy direction and their playing, and Geordie’s singing, is so magnificent they haven’t put a foot wrong for me yet. More, much more to come from black midi.

Attended by George, Andy, Douglas and Paul SF

https://www.theskinny.co.uk/music/live-music/reviews/black-midi-liquid-room-edinburgh-17-feb

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Dry Cleaning – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh – 13 Feb 2020

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Spoken lyrics are a thing now apparently, and a very good thing delivered by Florence over catchy guitar riffs from London’s Dry Cleaning. I’ve listened to them a lot recently so I could follow what she was on about, though even stood right in front the sound was dominated by guitar and unfortunately couldn’t hear her all that clearly. The only downside to a great night.

Attended by George

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Sorry – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh – 9 Feb 2020

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I have listened to the music of Sorry a lot recently, great stuff and knowing the words from a new band made such a brilliant show more enjoyable! Led by Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen from London, Sorry have a varied style recorded but sound more straightforward and powerful live, less jazzy, more rocky, but with the clever songs, intelligent intertwining instrumentation and twisted lyrics that make them a bit unusual … and special!

A packed sold out Sneaky Pete’s was also well appreciative and what a great set they got, all the songs I’ve grown to like and some new ones for their album due out in March – on that right away! Asha is so tiny but owns the room with her effortless cool and no little guitar skills. What a band … talented, young and super cool (makes you sick!). Buy the album soon!

Attended by George & Chris

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The Big Light – The Empress, Edinburgh – 6 Feb 2020

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A lovely evening at The Empress with so many friends and colleagues too! Cheers.

 

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Half Formed Things – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh – 1 Feb 2020

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Half Formed Things are a special group, dear to the hearts of Karen and me, and it seems a growing number of others too from the great level of warmth and appreciation in a packed ballroom! This time back to a 3 piece following Nici’s return to Oz, but they seem just as good as ever this way helped by fine sound and light show.

They also keep evolving and improving with a number of new songs. Those performed solo by Matthew and Morgan were very good, but it’s when they sing together that the magic happens most … a spectacular mix of beautiful voices and music with outstanding drumming from Stewart. Go see them asap! AND the gig raised a lot of money for the Australian bush fire emergency.  Please help them raise more by buying their album or donating  … see – https://www.facebook.com/halfformedthings/

Attended by George & Karen

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