Tag Archives: Live

A PowerSolo live show is like no other gig you’ve ever seen.

At times it feels more like you’ve stumbled on a situationist comedy performance at the Edinburgh Fringe, with music breaking out only sporadically.

Eccentric frontman Kim Kix is mingling happily with the audience just before they’re about to go on stage.

The band gurn and clown around hilariously, quaffing from bottles of hot sauce and staging so many false endings that it’s hard to know when one song has finished and the next one has started.

But boy, can these guys play. Eschewing the bass player you might expect for this type of three-piece, they conjure a supercharged rockabilly maelstrom from just two guitars and Mike Sullivan’s jackhammer drumming.

Charlie Shapiro can also play some mean guitar – which is just as well, seeing as Kim frequently slings his own over his back to indulge in yet more audience banter. At one point ,Kim comes down into the crowd but then feigns that he can’t drag himself back onto the stage. “Grab his leg someone and help him up!” urges Charlie, enjoying the fun.

PowerSolo are an extraordinary experience – it’s just a shame that the Brudenell community room wasn’t packed to the rafters for one of the most insane Monday evenings you’re ever like to have.

Simon Ashberry


Terrorvision – live review

Terrorvision at St George’s Hall, Bradford

Friday 3 November, 2023
After three decades, Terrorvision are still very much in the pink.
Literally so as they played a triumphant homecoming show at St George’s Hall in Bradford, their first at the venue for more than a quarter of a century.
Dressed resplendently in various items of pinkish hue, the lads (and lass) gave a performance that was infused with more energy than anyone decently had a right to expect.
Although this was billed as a 30th anniversary show, Terrorvision are a band who have been blasting out their unique blend of rock ‘n’ roll and Yorkshire folk wisdom in different guises for even longer than that – since 1987 in fact..
And yet their infectious enthusiasm remains utterly undimmed. Tony bounced around as vigorously ever and Leigh struck some classic splayed-leg bassist poses.
Of course their biggest hits all sounded massive, like proper H.I.T.S – the soaring choruses of Oblivion and Perseverance, the relentless drive of My House.
But it was some of their ‘lesser-heard bangers’ that maybe impressed even more. The band had given their fans the chance to vote for which LHBs would go into the set list – and the fans chose well.
Tracks like the rollicking twangathon Fists of Fury hinted at the pop potential lurking between Terrorvision’s gruff rock exterior while earlier material like the earthy Problem Solved revealed an altogether darker, punkier underbelly.
And when Tony sang: “Stop the bus, I live here”, it was with real feeling. This felt like a true return to their roots – welcome back.

Simon Ashberry

Crystal Castles + HEALTH, Leeds Met, 23rd October 2010

I hadn’t realised how popular Crystal Castles have become.  I haven’t got their second album and have missed what I can only assume has been a huge furore surrounding them since the release of their debut in 2009.  Last night’s gig at Leeds Met was a sell out, and the kids were loving it.  [I can now legitimately refer to such gig-goers as kids as I believe I am now scientifically old enough to have fathered a child the same age as at least half of last night’s audience.  This fact is reassuring rather than alarming, as it evidences my belief that I’m still ‘cool’ (although use of that 20th century word may betray me) and have not yet succumbed to the type of ‘safe’ dad music someone of my age might start realising is going to see my happily to my retirement.]

HEALTH, Leeds Met, 23rd October 2010

This tour isn’t the first time Crystal Castles and HEALTH have been mentioned by me in the same breath, as I have played previous musical collaborations by them in my show.  I had thus far failed to see HEALTH and having heard they were marvellous live, I was not disappointed.  They were quite brilliant and I was left wondering whether Crystal Castles may have made an error by being supported by a band so good.  The charismatic bass player was centre stage, being as he was  the most visually entertaining member of the band.  I was actually surprised by how organic their line-up was.  There was a fair amount of synthetic effects, but largely their sound was comprised of guitars, bass, drums, more drums, and vocals.  Their whole set was an onslaught of confident, articulate, tightly knitted noise, and the highlights were Die Slow and USA Boys.

The between-band downtime, prolonged due to the malfunction of either an XLR or a DI box on stage, wasn’t the usual painful wait, for me at least.  The soundman had a penchant for Elliott Smith, so I got to hear all of Elliott Smith and half of Either Or during the wait.

Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles, Leeds Met, 23rd October 2010

My paternal concerns about whether Crystal Castles may find themselves upstaged by HEALTH proved unnecessary.  They started with (I assume) a couple of tunes from Crystal Castles (II) and the youth were going crazy, lapping it up.  The sound was quite immense – deep, full-on electronics, piercing vocals and live drums.  Couple their aural onslaught with the visual element of the live experience, and it was a performance I really could not find fault with.   The heavy use of backlit strobes, against an otherwise mostly dark stage, with Alice Glass’s onstage athleticism, and they are quite a proposition.  Quite a brilliant night.

External references:
Crystal Castles – crystalcastles.com
HEALTH – www.healthnoise.com
NIck Pickles music photographer – www.music-photographer.co.uk

Leeds Festival Review: Day 3

Finally, the review is complete.  And so to bed…

That wind has got up again.  In fact, there would appear to be a tornado whipping up around my tent.  I’m going to take off like Dorothy in the wizard of Oz.  I wonder if I will land on a witch.  It really is causing a racket and there’s no way that I’ll be able to get back off to sleep now with that tent flapping about.  Oh, it’s raining now.  Goodness, it really is raining rather hard.  Perhaps the rhythm of the rain will lull me back to sleep…

Thats a map of Mordor isnt it.

That's a map of Mordor isn't it.

No, that didn’t work.  And anyway I need a wee.  The weather has been very kind to us these last few days, but I suspect that I may finally have to bite the bullet and don the wellies today.  I struggle into these and hope against hope that on this occasion I won’t be wearing them for long enough for them to stink like they did when I wore them at Glastonbury last year.  On that occasion the smell was an odd mix of styles – imagine if you would that someone decided to make a speciality cheese out of cow poo.  It would smell exactly the same as that.

Speaking of cleanliness, I notice on the way to the urine trough that the queue for the showers is not very long.  I know – showers at festival.  We get all the home comforts in the Guest Area you know.  Sadly, there’s all of four showers serving around 400 people, so thus far I’ve not bothered because I didn’t want to miss the entire festival whilst standing in a line to have a wash.  Hmmm, that line hasn’t moved at all.  What to do?  I decide to give it a whirl and see how far the queue moves in ten minutes or so.  After the ten minutes have elapsed I’m no nearer the shower, but I’m too stubborn to give up now I’ve started. Continue reading

Grinderman, Leeds University Refectory, 27th September 2010

The aural equivalent to being spat on, support act The Hunter Gracchus subject a bemused audience to 15 minutes of improvised white noise. This consists of electric guitar and violin feedback, a dying saxophone and the old cliché, a wailing woman; if you’re planning on butchering your family with a pick axe and want some appropriate music to do it to, this band is for you.

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Leeds Festival Review: Day 2

(Yes, I know, I’m shoving this up on the blog somewhat after the event, but I’m a busy man y’know.  Better late than never…)

Bloody hell, it’s windy.  Either that or someone has got hold of the outside of my tent and is flapping it about like a Killer Whale with a half dead seal.  Maybe it’s them Spam bastards paying me back for nicking their tent pegs.  One thing is certain – the noise it is making has rendered any further sleep impossible without tranquilisers.  I dare say there’s a fair bit of Ketamine washing around the festival site, but personally I’ll give that a miss if it’s all the same to you.

Horse tranquilizers: its a race horse called Horlicks, apparently.

Horse tranquilizers: it's a race horse called Horlicks, apparently.

I am a parent now and hurtling towards middle-age, so 8am is considered an indulgent lie-in anyway, so I get up and go for breakfast – the details of which started the first blog, so we’ll skip over that.  However, before I can go to eat I am refused entry to the festival main area as no one is allowed in until 9am.  Eh, do what?  The festival closes at night?  I thought this was supposed to be a playground of non-stop revelry and no sleep ’til Brooklyn.  Now I find that everyone went to bed before me, tucked up with a cup of Horlicks (other revolting bedtime drinks are available).

It occurs to me that I’ve not really had a proper look around the whole site, so I rectify this.  There’s not a great deal around other than food stands and stalls selling t-shirts with wanky slogans, although I do spot a place which sells ale as opposed to the rather flimsy Tuborg which is the only other beer available onsite.  Sadly, further investigation later in the day reveals the ale to be rather horrid as well. Continue reading

Leeds Festival Review: Day 1

Before me sits the remnants of a full English breakfast, served to me with piping hot hash browns to mask the fact that the rest of it was clap cold. I’ve paid £7.50 for the privilege. I’m just wondering if I’ll manage to be be able to consume my body weight in orange juice from the refillable dispenser before they tell me to shit off.  You’ve got to get your five a day somehow, but fruit & veg isn’t especially forthcoming at a festival.

I arrived here yesterday morning intent (and with tent) on having enough time to pitch my canvas Shangri-La before going to catch The Walkmenopening up the Main Stage at Noon. But for a false start where I had to return to my temporary home after being denied entry due to possession of a can of well-known stout (cans not allowed apparently – though I later noticed that the novelty of the power wielded by the “Customer Protection Office” had waned after a few hours and his bag check became somewhat less censorious) and the fact that the splendid New York noiseniks start 8 minutes early for some reason, I’d have pretty much timed it to perfection.

The Walkmen: larger than actually pictured.

The Walkmen: larger than actually pictured.

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Don’t look back, but there’s a band over there playing a whole album

In Phil Cope’s recent review of the ATP Festival we attended, he expressed an aversion to the modern trend of artists performing a seminal album in its entirety at a gig. Phil’s objection was prompted by Spiritualized performing their 1997 album Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space at the festival. I would like to defend this increasingly popular phenomenon.

J Spaceman at ATP: which song shall we do next, band?

J Spaceman at the ATP Festival: "which song shall we do next, band?"

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Saltaire Live 2010 (and Selection Box 131)

Only a wazzock would begin a blog entry about what he played on his radio show this week by discussing a band whose wares he failed to commit to the airwaves.  I am that aforementioned hitherto hypothetical wazzock.  I had all good intentions of playing Salsa Celtica on this week’s programme, and then when the weekly task of packing the record bag full of goodies in preparation for the programme came along, I just plain forgot.  If you see me on the street, feel free to point and boo me for my continued enslavement to lacksadaisy.

The timing of the proposed play was imperative, as it was meant to serve as a “heads up” – as I believe trendy people say – to the fact that Salsa Celtica, who released their new live album En Vivo En El Norte on 19 April, are set to play at Victoria Hall this coming weekend as a part of this 2010’s Saltaire Live.

Salsa Celtica play the Saltaire Live festival this weekend.

Salsa Celtica - only one of them was expecting rain.

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Selection Box Playlists & Kate Walsh preview

Before this gets too involved, I’d best catch up on myself and give you the playlist from the last two editions of the show.  So here tis.  They are.  Them’s these.

Selection Box Show 108

Transmitted 12/10/09

1.  Billie Holiday – Them There Eyes
from: The Collection

2.  Nouvelle Vague featuring Ian McCullough – All My Colours
from: 3

3.  Dirty Projectors – Cannibal Resource
from: Temecula Sunrise EP

4.  The Big Bopper – Little Red Riding Hood
from: The Best of The Big Bopper

5.  Grandaddy – He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot
from: The Sophtware Slump

6.  Zé Cafofinho e Suas Correntes – Meio de Transporte
from: The Rough Guide To Brazilian Street Party (various artists)

7.  Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
from: The Best of Kenny Rogers & The First Edition

Utterly splendid compilation of axe backed babes Girls With Guitars

Utterly splendid compilation of "axe backed babes" Girls With Guitars

8.  Bob Dylan – If You Ever Go To Houston
from: Together Through Life

9.  The Beat Club – Security (Midnight Club Mix)
from: The Hacienda Classics (various artists)

10.  Tomboys – I’d Rather Switch
from: Girls With Guitars (various artists)

11.  Richard Hawley – For Your Lover Give Some Time
from: Truelove’s Gutter

12.  Devendra Banhart – Baby
from: What Will We Be

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