Apr 19, 2019

Kurt Vile @ Enmore Theatre

There are performers who strut the stage as if they own it. Nick Cave and Josh Tillman are two that come to mind. Then there are performers who look like they don't naturally belong there. Kurt Vile is one that comes to mind. But when you are as musicially talented as Kurt is then ultimately it doesn't really matter. Kurt vile is full of goofy charm and innate shyness. He hunches over his guitar and doesn't say much. Escept to stop and thank the audience for coming. He seems a totally genuine soul who just doesn't naturally exist on a stage. But his supreme talent as a musician demands his place on stage. Monday night at the Enmore Theatre I was delighted to see him again. He has become a regular visitor to ur shores but I will always seek out his shows.

Last year Kurt released his latest album in 'Bottle It In' and as per usual it was a great pleasure. Long and seismic guitar tones. His songs lope and canter at their own pace. Languid and quite beautiful. This show would showcase a few tunes from that album but also many from his burgeoning career. Sadly we didn't receive 'One Trick Ponies' from his latest album but songs like 'Check Baby' and 'Bassackwards' absolutely slayed live. Kurt is such a natural master of the guitar. I think I counted at least three electric guitars that he used plus his beautiful acoustic which he showed off on the epic 'Wakin On a Pretty Day' and also 'Peeping Tomboy' which was performed by Kurt solo. He also broke out the banjo on 'I'm an Outlaw' to ecstatic acclaim. Backed by his excellent Violators Mr Vile proved yet again that exquisite musicianship can always carry the day.

Set List
Loading Zones
Jesus Fever
Bassackwards
I'm an Outlaw
Check Baby
Girl Called Alex
Cold Was the Wind
Peeping Tomboy (Kurt solo)
Yeah Bones
Wakin' On a Pretty Day
KV Crimes
Puppet To The Man
Wild Imagination

Mutinies
Pretty Pimpin'
Baby's Arms

Mar 29, 2019

Lucy Dacus @ Oxford Art Factory

Firstly, Lucy Dacus is an incredible talent. Secondly, her show Wednesday night at the Oxford Art Factory was wonderful in so many ways. Thirdly, I can't wait to see her again. Ms Dacus has released two highly acclaimed albums. They are intricate, intelligent records full of grace and wit. It was an enormous pleasure to hear tracks from both on Wednesday night. Naturally the set leaned more heavily on last year's 'Historian'. My favourite was the blockbuster of a song in 'Timefighter' and the serenely powerful 'Yours & Mine'. Obviously the greatness that is 'Night Shift' received the biggest cheers. It lifted the roof for sure. Lucy also played two new songs solo and both were honestly fantastic. My absolute favourite song of the night though was 'Map on a Wall'. It was epic and extraordinary. I had tweeted earlier in the day that I would love it if she could play it so I like to think that I played a small part in the song being played. Special mention should also go the band. They were great. Totally in sync with Lucy creating a rapturous and euphoric sound. A night to be long remembered.

Set List
Fool's Gold (Lucy solo)
Addictions
The Shell
Nonbeliever
Green Eyes, Red Face
La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf cover)
Yours & Mine
Timefighter
Map on a Wall
I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore
Night Shift
Historians
New Song (Lucy solo) - "I would kill him"

Mar 16, 2019

Neko Case @ Metro Theatre

Neko Case possesses quite simply the best voice I have ever heard. It is pure and radiant. Strong and sensual. It evokes many emotions. It transcends and cuts through. So naturally any opportunity to see her live is one to be excited about. So it proved Tuesday night at the Metro Theatre. Sadly it wasn't a full house, about three quarters full perhaps. But those fortunate to be there witnessed greatness.

The set was a great chance to showcase her latest album in last year's excellent 'Hell-On'. The songs, she played ten from that album, shimmered and shined. Backed by an excellent band as per usual I especially loved 'Winnie', 'Halls of Sarah' and the superb 'Curse of the I-5 Corridor'. With an ever growing back catalogue to choose from we still received some deep cuts such as the emotionally resonant 'Hex' and the glorious 'Deep Red Bells'. I think my two favourites of the night though were the eternally melodic 'Hold On, Hold On' and the foot stomping 'Man'. It was a night to celebrate the greatness of music and the greatness of Neko Case.

Set List
Pitch or Honey
Last Lion of Albion
Deep Red Bells
City Swans
Margaret vs. Pauline
Maybe Sparrow
Calling Cards
Winnie
Bad Luck
Curse of the I‐5 Corridor
Gumball Blue
Oracle of the Maritimes
Hex
Look for Me (I'll Be Around)
This Tornado Loves You
Halls of Sarah
Dirty Diamond
Hold On, Hold On
Man

Hell‐On
The Pharaohs
Loretta
Ragtime

Mar 7, 2019

Snail Mail @ Oxford Art Factory

Lindsey Jordan is Snail Mail. What was a solo project has now become a band and that band was in full effect Tuesday night at a sold out Oxford Art Factory. Fresh off last year's debut album in 'Lush' it was a short and sweet set that effectively showed off Jordan's considerable talents. She has great range as a singer with powerful voice and is also a great guitarist on her red Fender Jaguar. The four piece band was tight and robust giving a great bedrock to the songs on display. As said the set was relatively short, going around an hour. But it was deeply sweet. Especially songs like 'Dirt' and 'Deep Sea'. The biggest cheer of the night was for the wonderful 'Pristine', which basically had the whole room singing along. I think this genuinely shocked Jordan. It must be quite a thrill to be so warmly received half a world away. But it was totally deserved. Snail Mail are a force to be reckoned with.

(Opening Jam)
Heat Wave
Dirt
Slug
Golden Dream
Thinning
Speaking Terms
Let's Find an Out
Full Control
Pristine
Deep Sea
Anytime (Lindsey solo)
Stick (Lindsey solo)

Mar 5, 2019

Beach House @ Enmore Theatre

Beach House have a sound like no one else. It is singular, unique and oh so mesmerising. Monday night the threesome stunned and bewildered us at the Enmore Theatre. They have become fairly regular visitors to this country over the years and I have seen them before but they are definitely an act I will never tire of. Their sound wraps itself around you softly and quietly. It captures you and doesn't let you go. Victoria Legrand is a hypnotic presence on stage. She almost hides in the background on her keyboards but she is the central figure. Her voice is located in a deep register and it is spell binding. Situated on either side are Alex Scally on guitar and James Barone on drums. Together the three musicians concoct layers of sound laced with melody and drama. A slight quibble was that the sound mix wasn't quite right as I thought the drums were a fraction too heavy. But apart from that it was another great night in the presence of Beach House.

The set list was wide and varied, although leaning heavily on last year's excellent album in '7'. Those songs just boomed live. Especially the eerie 'Black Car' and the crashing drama of 'Lemon Glow'. 'Drunk in LA' was also a tremendous highlight. Some of my favourites weren't played. Sadly evergreen songs such as 'Silver Soul' and '10 Mile Stereo' were excluded although I was grateful to hear the sublime 'Take Care' one more time. As a bonus though we received the barnstorming 'Elegy to the Void' which escalated into a cacophony of sound. By the end we were all taken over by the display of music. The encore of the untouchable 'Myth' and the pile driving 'Dive' only confirmed the greatness of the night.

Set List
Levitation
Lazuli
Dark Spring
PPP
L'Inconnue
Walk in the Park
Drunk in LA
Space Song
Black Car
Wildflower
Elegy to the Void
Take Care
Girl of the Year
Master of None
Heart of Chambers
Lemon Glow

Myth
Dive

Feb 21, 2019

Oh Sees @ Factory Theatre

If you have never seen Oh Sees live you need to fix that as soon as you possibly can. They are more than a band on stage. They are a singular experience. Transforming and transcendent. So much energy it would power a small planet. The now veteran Californian band have been sending crowds into live frenzies for years and it's not about to stop anytime soon. They have been through various lineups over the years and in their current format they number five on stage. Keyboards, bass and yes two drummers. The drumming is propulsive and wildly intoxicating. It's the heartbeat of the band. Standing at the head is John Dwyer. The leader. The man. With his signature see through guitar strapped high on his chest he is all and everything on stage. Swerving, convulsing, moving constantly to the sounds he and his band are creating.

Tuesday night at The Factory was an hour and forty minutes of sweaty, thriving rock and roll. The energy coming off stage is palpable and furious. They belt through numbers with fervour and passion. 'Plastic Plant' sets it all off and it doesn't let up for a second. Whether it's the funky roll of 'Tidal Wave' or the pure heaviness of 'Animated Violence' we eat it up and want for more. Songs are laid out and attacked with relish. 'Toe Cutter / Thumb Buster' is just pure greatness. The bounce in that song sets everyone off. Some songs are extended into long jams such as 'Encrypted Bounce' and even the closing song in 'C'. Then it all comes to an end. We are totally satisfied. John thanks us and the band departs. No encore but safe in the knowledge they gave their all and more.

Set List
Plastic Plant
Tidal Wave
Nite Expo
The Dream
Toe Cutter / Thumb Buster
Withered Hand
Animated Violence
Ticklish Warrior
Encrypted Bounce
I Come From The Mountain
Sentient Oona
The Static God
Jettisoned
C

Feb 16, 2019

No Age @ Oxford Art Factory

Two men. One on guitar. One on drums. An hour of melodic noise. Ferocious. Impulsive. Transcendent. That was No Age at the Oxford Art Factory Thursday night. The Los Angeles two piece came and conquered. One hour. No encore. Just flat out music. Dean Spunt pounds the drums with dexterity and rhythm. He also handles the majority of the vocals. Randy Randall wields his guitar, driving the melody. With the aid of a huge array of pedals and effects it creates a wall of sound. But the noise is always in step with melody. It creates an intoxicating mix. 'Teen Creeps' tops off a night of pure and great music.

Set List
Cruise Control
Stuck in the Changer
Sleeper Hold
Secret Swamp
Snares Like a Haircut
Separation
(new song)
Fever Dreaming
Wirette
Drippy
Popper
Soft Collar Fad
C'mon Stimmung
(new song)
Send Me
Air Bud
Teen Creeps