Music
The Manchester Review

The Smiths/Morrissey Convention, The Kings Arms, reviewed by Fran Slater

The Smiths/Morrissey Convention, The Kings Arms, Salford, 12th April 2015 It’s a good thing The Kings Arms is a good pub. A great pub actually. But even in such a wonderful establishment, some may have balked at the long waiting periods between the events at this convention. With a minimum of one hour waiting time, […]

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Marli Roode

King Creosote, Manchester Academy 2

King Creosote, Manchester Academy 2, 27 January 2015 You remember the first time you hear King Creosote. ‘The internet sent me on a date and the guy gave me a lift home afterwards,’ the woman next to me says. Like everyone else in Academy 2, she is wearing her coat, both hands around her plastic cup of […]

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The Manchester Review

David Gray: The Lowry, Manchester

Rewind fifteen years and you’d find David Gray enjoying something of a heyday. White Ladder was well into platinum sales and, after three previous albums that had performed disappointingly, this small singer from Sale was suddenly something of a superstar. He was at every festival. On every television show. The album was one of those […]

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Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival, reviewed by Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival: Glynde Place, 4 – 6 July Love Supreme, now in its second year, promised bigger and better and, in some ways, delivered. The weather forecast wasn’t promising, and the driving drizzle that swept over the campsite on Friday night/Saturday morning didn’t bode well. Fortunately, Saturday was comparatively clear and the sunshine […]

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The Manchester Review

Love Supreme Jazz Festival: July 5 – 7, Glynde Place, Sussex, reviewed by Ian Pople

Well… Jazz with a lot of RnB/Soul thrown in. Especially on the Main Stage on the first ‘real’ day, Saturday, where performances started with the wonderful a capella Naturally 7 and, via Michael Kiwanuka, finished with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra! So calling it a ‘Jazz’ Festival was stretching it a bit, and other punters seemed […]

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The Manchester Review

Jose James: Band on the Wall, Manchester

by Ian Pople

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The Manchester Review

Jack White at The Empress Ballroom, Blackpool

by Janet Rogerson

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Ian Pople

Alice Russell and Combo Barbaro/Quantic: Band on the Wall

The combination of Alice Russell’s smokey tones and the South American inflected drive of Combo Barbaro proved irresistible to the packed house at Manchester’s Band on the Wall, on Friday.  Combo Barbaro put together by the Worcester-born but Colombian resident, Will ‘Quantic’ Holland, contained a Colombian percussionist, a Peruvian keyboard player, long-time Russell collaborator, Mike […]

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Ian Pople

Soweto Kinch, Submotion Orchestra: Marsden Jazz Festival

When Soweto Kinch moved into his ‘free-styling’ rap, he elicited words from the audience that came from the letters of ‘Marsden’.  The Marsden audience, part of the arc of Pennine post hippydom that runs from Hebden Bridge, through Todmorden, and Marsden to Mossley, initially gave him ‘melifluous’, ‘artisanal’, ‘sheep’, ‘dung’,  ‘energy’ and, finally, ‘Northern’.  Kinch, […]

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Simon Haworth

Album Review: Thrice, Major/Minor, 2011 Vagrant Records

Album Review: Thrice, Major/Minor, 2011 Vagrant Records Major/Minor is the seventh full length from Irvine, California based quartet Thrice, produced by Dave Schiffman in LA who had previously worked with the band as an engineer and mixer on the albums Vheissu (2005) and Beggars (2009) respectively. In their thirteen years together Thrice have been uneasy […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Metronomy: 21st September 2011, The Cockpit, Leeds

If Metronomy are disappointed at having missed out on the Mercury Prize to P. J. Harvey, they fail to show it in this frenetic, joy-inducing set. From the chugging guitar and swelling keyboard of hypnotic opening track ‘We Broke Free’, it’s clear that this band that started as a one-man outfit recording in a bedroom […]

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Ian Pople

Stuart McCullum: Manchester Jazz Festival, Royal Northern College of Music

Last year on this page, I reviewed guitarist Stuart McCullum’s last performance for the Manchester Jazz Festival.  That performance was in the festival tent, and he was first on the bill with Trio VD and The Golden Age of Steam.  Then he was performing solo with laptop and electronics. This year, launching his new album, […]

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The Manchester Review

Fleet Foxes with The Bees

by Evan Jones

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Ian Pople

Pharoah Sanders Quartet; Band on the Wall, Manchester

Tenor sax giant, Pharoah Saunders came to Manchester on the first of May channelling the spirit and legacy of his great mentor, John Coltrane. The first half of the concert was all Coltrane favourites: Giant Steps, Naima and then, My Favourite Things. Sanders is obviously not as agile on his pins as he once was, […]

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Ian Pople

Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin’. Columbia

There’s a determinedly retro feel to much of Raphael Saadiq’s new album. The cover shows Saadiq in roll-neck sweater with drums and bass accompaniment playing at a party full of beehive hairdo’s, and preppies in bow ties. And much of the music harks back to the early Motown and Stax days. Tracks like ‘Heart Attack’, […]

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Jo Nightingale

Cat’s Eyes, St. Philip’s Church Salford, 14 March 2011

When I booked to see Faris Badwan’s Cat’s Eyes play the beautiful St. Phil’s in Salford I admit I was hoping for spectacle.  The Horrors’ frontman and his skinny jeans, playing with a classically-trained multi-instrumentalist, in one of the city’s oldest churches, with his big hair – it’d take someone much less gothically-inclined than me […]

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Ian Pople

Henry Purcell The Fairy Queen : Philip Pickett The New London Consort

Had Purcell and his anonymous librettist been working in the twenty first century, they would have been had up by the Advertising Standards Authority.  There is little or no resemblance between Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream  and this semi-staged opera.  In the late sixties the Purcell Society published a comparison between the Shakespeare and the […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Sonic Youth, Manchester Academy, 30th December 2010

Sonic Youth’s gig at Manchester Academy sold out well before Christmas, so walking down a misty Oxford Rd to get to the academy building was to run a gauntlet of touts and mournful fans all desperately hoping for the miracle of a spare ticket. Inside, a packed crowd that ranged in age from teenagers to […]

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Ian Pople

Robert Glasper Trio, Royal Northern College of Music

In the post-EST era, the jazz piano trio seems to be going two ways. The European trio seems as influenced by contemporary European classical music as it is by the jazz ‘traditions’ of America. Tord Gustafsen’s trio play music that is as influenced by the folk-music of his native Norway as it is by anything […]

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Evan Jones

The Soundcarriers. Celeste. Melodic Records 2010 (MEL0070CD).

The sound of Nottingham’s Soundcarriers seems both right and wrong. One can hear in the opening bars of their second record, Celeste, their interests and influences from the contemporary to the obscure: early Stereolab, Birmingham’s underappreciated Broadcast, the cool Kosmische Musik of Neu! and Can, the psychedelic era of Italian composers Ennio Morricone and Piero […]

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Ian Pople

Stuart McCallum, The Golden Age of Steam, Trio VD: Manchester Jazz Festival Friday, 30th July.

Stuart McCallum, The Golden Age of Steam, Trio VD: Manchester Jazz Festival Friday, 30th July. British Jazz appears to be going through a period of rude health. A generation of young musicians has been emerging fresh from jazz courses at British conservatoires with a technical brilliance and eclectic sense of influence that was on show […]

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Evan Jones

Jane Weaver. The Fallen By Watchbird. Bird Records 2010 (10EGGSCD).

Amid the casualties of punk rock’s necessary and thrashing critique of popular culture and music in the mid-seventies was folk rock and psychedelic music, which had blended in so many angry young minds with the era’s MOR meanderings of British Prog. Folk became a bad word, associated with hippies and a bygone era of flared […]

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Ian Pople

Bobby McFerrin Vocabularies Wrasse Records

Bobby McFerrin’s new disc is a complete revamp of a capella in jazz, dragging it away from the finger clicking parodies of the Swingle Singers, via Manhattan Transfer into something edgier, larger and more contemporary.  McFerrin is universally known for Don’t Worry Be Happy and, occasionally, for his version of McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’.  But since those […]

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Jo Nightingale

The Cure – Disintegration, Deluxe Edition

So the sequence of expanded Cure re-issues has finally reached Disintegration, for many the band’s defining album.  As a long-term fan I never quite saw it that way; my favourite album was, and is, ‘the one no-one else likes’ (The Top).  As time’s gone on, though, ‘the one that first got me into them’ has […]

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Jo Nightingale

The Charlatans perform ‘Some Friendly’, Blackpool Empress Ballroom, 15 May 2010

I should admit to a certain bias when it comes to seeing The Charlatans, this being my 19th time.  But they were a decade into their career before I caught on, when they made a giant indie disco of the 1999 Leeds Festival, so a whole gig from 1990’s Some Friendly era is still a […]

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Jo Nightingale

Deerhunter, Club Academy, 4 May 2010

There’s something not quite right with Bradford Cox.  Tonight specifically, I mean: what begins with a late start and some fairly surreal musings ends with the sound-tech lining-up receptacles for a threatened up-chuck by the front-man. The last time I saw Deerhunter make their waves of big noise it was in broad daylight, in the […]

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Ian Pople

Jerry Dammers’ Spatial A.K.A at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

The late, great Sun Ra operated his jazz Arkestra through much of the seventies and eighties until his ultimate and untimely return to the Saturn of his ‘birth’. Ra (aka Herman ‘Sonny’ Blount) was renowned as an iron disciplinarian who inspired either devotion or scepticism amongst the players in his band.  In the early 1950s, […]

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Evan Jones

Midlake, Manchester Academy 2, 17 February 2010

Are Midlake adult-oriented? A few minutes into their set and I’m still at the bar, still wearing my jacket and scarf, as M. and I are late arriving for the sold-out show. The bartenders have never heard of Midlake, and the youngish one serving us is surprised they’re so popular yet unknown to her. ‘I’ve […]

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Evan Jones

Life on Earth: Music from the 1979 BBC TV series. Composed by Edward Williams. Trunk Records 2009 (JBH034CD).

While lacking a childhood nostalgia for the various incarnations of Sir David Attenborough’s long-running nature series – a nostalgia expressed often by many British friends and colleagues – I have in recent years developed a profound respect for what is, by North American standards, very exotic television programming. What would be relegated to the public […]

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Evan Jones

The BYG Deal. A “Finders Keepers” Production (FKR025CD).

I’ve just spent the morning with the 24-page booklet that accompanies the latest release from Manchester-based reissue masters Finders Keepers. The write-up in small print is a history of an obscure but seminal French record label that formed out of the wind-blown ashes of the May ’68 student demonstrations in Paris. It tells this via […]

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Evan Jones

Vetiver, Manchester Academy 3, 7 September 2009

If we could travel back in time (and what good story doesn’t begin with a time machine?), pick up a few core members of the Grateful Dead, bring them and their gear forward and get them to release an album of Curtis Mayfield covers, one of the songs on that record (likely an Impressions-era Mayfield […]

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Ian Pople

Prefab Sprout. Let’s Change The World With Music. Kitchenware Records

When is a new Prefab’s album not a new Prefab’s album?  When it was written and recorded in 1992-93, and isn’t played on by anyone other than Paddy McAloon.  And therein, perhaps, lies the problem. McAloon is incapable of writing a bad song.  He also has that touch of the truly great songwriter in that […]

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Jo Nightingale

Manic Street Preachers, Venue Cymru Llandudno, 26 May 09

One of the great things about living in Manchester is its closeness to contrasting day-trip destinations.  So when the trend for big bands to tour less obvious, often seaside, locations offered the option of The Manic Street Preachers plus afternoon tea in genteel Llandudno, I didn’t take much convincing.  Arriving just as the band took the […]

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Vona Groarke

June Tabor – RNCM, 20/11/2008

Yeats supposed that we make rhetoric out of the quarrel with others; but out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry. When I first started listening to folk music, it was Irish and very much concerned with the quarrel with others. It was dedicated to the wronged and with the search for finding some way of […]

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Ian Pople

Herbie Hancock at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Herbie Hancock, unlike Miles, has never been afraid to revisit his back catalogue and this Sunday’s concert in Manchester was a trip down memory lane.  However, as we know, revisiting is usually rather more than revamping.   This evening’s concert started with ‘Actual Proof’ from Hancock’s second Headhunters’ album, Thrust, And for a while in […]

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