It’s been a busy couple of weeks for gigs. On the assumption that at least some of my readers have similar tastes to me, here are brief reviews of the three gigs I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks.
Fairport Convention, Union Chapel, 20th Feb
This is the second year running that I’ve seen Fairport Convention on their “Wintour” at the Union Chapel. Last year was the first time I had seen them (which is bizarre for a band I’ve been a fan of for over thirty years). I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this year’s show wasn’t as enjoyable as last year’s. I suspect it was down to the number of songs taken from later Fairport albums that I’m not at all familiar with. Oh, and the arrangement of Matty Groves was very strange. The long instrumental that ends the song was unrecognisable.
Thomas Dolby and Friends, Union Chapel, 28th Feb
Something a little more up to date. This was Thomas Dolby bringing back together the band who had recorded and toured his second album, The Flat Earth. As an extra twist, the band (who haven’t played together for over twenty-five years) didn’t rehearse at all. They met on stage and worked the songs out in a two-hour “live rehearsal”. They then went of for a brief break before returning to play a half-hour set.
The rehearsal was fun. And the band sounded great for a band eho hadn’t played together for so long. There were also a few guest stars – including Trevor Horn who played bass on “Airwaves”. The only slight disappointment was that the rehearsal overran so the final set had to be cut short.
John Cale, Royal Festival Hall, 5th March
I’m not a huge John Cale fan. I generally like the stuff of his that I hear, but I haven’t really heard much of it. This concert had him playing the whole of hist album “Paris 1919” (from 1973). This isn’t an album that I’d heard at all until I started to listen to it in preparation for this show and it’s really not that representative of the rest of his music. But it’s a great album and it was interesting to hear it all played live. It is, however, a rather short album (many were back in the early 70s) and that part of the show only lasted forty minutes. After a short break (and it was really short) the band returned to play another forty minutes of “the best of John Cale”. I was pretty surprised to realise that I recognised most of these songs. All in all, a great night out.