Ela Orleans, The Pastels

music

Cafe Oto, April 15th 2018

This was my dream gig. I hadn’t seen the Pastels play before, and I have loved their music for more than 30 years. For them to be playing with Ela Orleans promised to be the best thing ever. I was not disappointed. Ela Orleans did a ‘greatest hits’ set which was amazing, and then The Pastels took the stage and I thought I might cry because it was so beautiful.

2018-04-15_ela-orleans

2018_04_15-pastels

Gwenno

music

Hoxton Hall 12 April 2018

I hadn’t been to Hoxton Hall since the mid 90s, I played there and it was falling to bits. I remember that a lot of the building was boarded up because it was unsafe, but now it’s been done up with lottery grants and is a fab place. Gwenno was perfect to play there. We saw her a while back at Moth Club and she was great, but this gig was outstanding. She tried to get everyone singing along in Cornish to her cheese song, but our London ears are unused to Cornish words so we mumbled along awkwardly.

In the day time I went to the North Korean graphic design exhibition at House of Illustration, and thought it’d be fun to attempt to draw Gwenno in the style of the North Korean poster art.

2018_04_12_gwenno

Dingy Skipper

music

My band Rabies Babies played at the Hand in Hand in Brixton, with Dealing With Damage, Slow Faction, PCF and Dingy Skipper.
Dingy Skipper turned out to be my very old friend Dick Ugly, formerly of Hackney anarcho punkers Ugly Beat, a band who I shared many a bill with back in the 1990s.
I love Dingy Skipper – sort of like if Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie were Durham miners. This was his first gig, hopefully there will be many more.2018_02_23_dickugly

Euros Childs

music

Euros Childs and Oh Peas! at the Sebright Arms. 19th Nov 2017.

My first trip to the Sebright Arms since it’s been done up. The gig room is loads better than before, but it is about £6 a pint. Before the gig we had food at a place 2 mins down the road called VegItalian; a cafe on a double decker bus that does vegan & veg food. It was v good.

Rosie Oh Peas! was support act and backing band for Euros. For her set she played guitar and sang (no effects or keyboards this time), and then for her backing band stint she moved between keys, drums and guitar.

Euros Childs plays in London yearly, when he has a new album to tour and each time it is with a different backing band and always different, always good. He played some older stuff, including my favourite song about dog shit from last years album Refresh and a lot of stuff from the new album House Arrest. He’s got some new keyboards and was using his phone as a drum machine, which sounded surprisingly alright.

2017_11_19-euroschilds

more Euros Childs reviews on Gigs & Pencils:
Euros Childs at the Boston Arms 2013  Euros Childs at the Red Hedgehog 2014

Xavier, Snapped Ankles

music

At the Shaklewell Arms, London.

I can’t find any information about Xavier, they sound a bit like Boredoms but more groovy. I loved their set and I hope I get to see them again.

2017_10_04_xavier

Snapped Ankles remind me of an 80’s squat party band; anarchic, visual and drum heavy. I’ve never seen the Shacklewell Arms so packed and everyone was dancing. You can’t not enjoy Snapped Ankles.

2017_10_04_snappedankles

Argonaut, Rabies Babies, Thee Dinner Ladies, Militant Girlfriend

music

All ages/family friendly daytime gig put on by Loud Women at the Lexington.
Saturday 30th September.

All ages kid-friendly gigs are the way to go for so many reasons!

1. You get to hang out with your friends who have kids and can rarely come along to gigs.
2. Kid-friendly gigs are in the day time! You can also fit another gig in later in the evening, so doubling your gig-going potential.
3. Kid friendly gigs are just MORE FUN! Where else do you get offered sherbet dib-dabs or Love Hearts as you walk in the venue? Where else is the promoter of the event dressed as Wonder Woman? Where else do you find yourself enthusiastically making lightning shapes while watching the excellent Argonauts?

I’d never been to such a fun gig. The kids had a great time, and so did the adults.

Argonauts kicked off the afternoon with a fantastic set and lots of props, and everyone loved them. They handed out kazoos and gave us dancing instructions for audience participation, encouraged a stage invasion for ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ and passed around bananas for their singalong version of ‘The Banana Splits’ theme.

2017_09_29-argonaut

In between bands there was stories for the kids while the grown ups drank beers.

Next on was my band, Rabies Babies. This show was the second time that our guitarist Laura’s toddler son has been at a Rabies Babies gig, he doesn’t really like us. We are too shouty and he gets frightened. This time he didn’t cry for the whole time we played, so we are slowly winning him over. We re-worked out set – we dropped some of the inappropriate sweary songs and added some kid-friendly songs. Our drummer Mike ended up playing guitar and drums at the same time for one song so Laura could run about on stage pretending to be an elephant. There was a boy of 5 or 6 who was right at the front and slam danced and pogoed non stop all the way through our set.

2017_09_29-rabiesbabies

Thee Dinner Ladies are just plain and simple brilliant garage. Musically they are right up my street, they are garage punk with equal measures of punk and garage. Shouty fun male & female vocals with flirty lines like “you’re only shopping cos you fancy me”. All this, plus the whole band are dressed spectacularly as dinner ladies. Who doesn’t love a dinner lady?

2017_09_29_thee-dinner-ladies

Sadly I missed the final band, Militant Girlfriend, as I had a train to catch to get me to a wedding in Sheffield, hopefully I’ll get to see them soon.

Roll on next Little Loud Women show!

Why Birds Sing

music

The Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Collon.
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London.

First half pieces & text by Olivier Messiaen, Kate Wakeling, Brett Dean, György Ligeti.
The first half of the performance ended with the musicians placing ticking metronomes on the edge of the stage, kneeling next to them and making origami cranes. The audience were invited to add their own cranes during the interval.

The second half was Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, The Pastoral. The orchestra stood, playing the whole symphony from memory, surrounded by paper cranes and fairy lights, some parts of the symphony were played in the dark, with the musicians wearing illuminated paper cranes on their wrists. Because the musicians were playing from memory they were able to move around and change positions. In the second movement the strings moved back and the woodwind came to the front, which absolutely changed the perception of the piece. The bird songs between the flute and oboe became far more prominent and alive.

The encore was a repeat of a part of the Pastoral, but with the orchestra spread out amongst the audience, so that the we were surrounded by the music.

It was incredible.

2017_09_24-pastoral

watch a clip of the encore

DAM at Kamio

music

2017_06_20_DAM014 London had a shit week. I want to cry and scream with rage. And it is over 30 degrees. London is too crowded and dirty and sad for hot weather. It is sunny, and there is a big cloud of sadness and anger. The cloud of the Finsbury Park Mosque attack the day before, the cloud of Grenfell Tower, the cloud of London Bridge, the cloud of disappointment that we still have a government that we do not agree with or vote for, the cloud of Brexit, the cloud of Westminster Bridge. Too much. Give us a break. We are all being nicer to each other to ease the pain, but we hurt. If any other band had been playing on tuesday night then I wouldn’t have gone.

I’m sure Dam know a thing or two about rage and sadness and being attacked. They are from Palestine. They are Palestine’s longest running hip hop band, they’ve been making music for around 20 years. I only came across them a couple of years ago, when they released the excellent anti-gender violence song Who You R.

Within minutes of Dam bounding on to the stage all of the tension I felt inside started to melt. They were medicine for my soul. This band are so full of positive energy, hope and catchy tunes. It was impossible not to dance. They preach a serious ethic with a smile and a wicked sense of humour. “We are Dam, from Palestine. Our country is occupied, but we have a scene… Hey, you should all move to Palestine, I hear London isn’t so good lately”.

 

 

OOIOO

music

OOIOO (support from Bamboo) Kamio, Shoreditch, 30th May 2017.

I have waited for years to see Japanese band OOIOO, and they absolutely were worth the wait. They are amazing and brilliant and words can never do them justice.
The whole band are incredible, but I couldn’t stop myself being fixated on bass player Aya. Everything about her is cool and she makes her complicated bass lines look so effortless.

2017_05_30_OOIOO

Otoboke Beaver

music

Otoboke Beaver at the Working Man’s Club, Bethnal Green. 5th May 2017.

Otoboke Beaver blow my mind. They are all absolutely masters of their weapons, they play with exact precision and ease at 100mph at the same time as contorting into acrobatics. They command absolute attention, waiting for silence before launching into a full on punk rock assault.
They promised to return to the UK again next year. I will be counting the days.

Support was from the excellent c86-ish Say Sue Me from South Korea.

2017_05_05_otoboke-beaver

more GIGS AND PENCILS Otoboke Beaver:
Otoboke Beaver in the gigs and pencils calendar 2017 (free to download)

Otoboke Beaver  at the Shaklewell Arms May 2016

Immersion at Ambience Chasers 28/2/17

music

I’ve wanted to see Immersion for ages. I love their album Analogue Creatures Living On An Island. I cycled up west for ‘Ambience Chasers’, a new night put on by the Sonic Cathedral label at The Social. Immersion were completely worth braving the freezing cold for. I have no idea how long they played for. Time stood still and I was wrapped in a beautiful bubble of warm ambience (and some annoying dry ice) for the length of their set.
2017_02_28_immersion

Slags

music

Plurals/Sly & The Family Drone/Slags/Workin Man Noise Unit at a warehouse near Manor House.

All the bands who played were fantastic. Plurals were maniacs, Sly & The Family Drone gave beautiful textured sounds, WMNU blasted us with noise, but most of all I love Slags. They have songs about shit shags, creeps on the night bus and Janine off Eastenders. They are funny, fantastic and play great garage punk music. And they are stylish too. I wish I was a Slag.

2017_02_18_slags

HAPPY 2017!

music

For anyone who did not get one of the limited edition 2017 Gigs & Pencils calendar, do not despair! You can now download the pages for free to print out and enjoy!

 

For more info on each band:
JANUARY: Otoboke Beaver – otobokebeaver.bandcamp.com
FEBRUARY: Maid Of Ace – maid-of-ace.com
MARCH: Brix & The Extricated – facebook.com/extricated
APRIL: Hagar The Womb – hagarthewomb.bandcamp.com
MAY: Skinny Girl Diet – skinnygirldietband.tumblr.com
JUNE: Menace Beach – menacebeach.co.uk
JULY: Laura J Martin – laurajmartin.com
AUGUST: Mountain Of Fire & Miracles – mofam.bandcamp.com
SEPTEMBER: Sauna Youth – saunayouth.bandcamp.com
OCTOBER: Hell-o-Tiki – reverbnation.com/hellotiki
NOVEMBER: Ela Orleans – elaorleans.com
DECEMBER: The Parrots – theparrots.bandcamp.com

To hear tracks from all of these bands, plus some other gigs&pencils favourites please listen to this radio show:
https://www.mixcloud.com/magiclorne/gigs-and-pencils-calendar-special/

 

2017 Calendar

music

I have set up an etsy shop selling a limited number of calendars here: etsy.me/2gdbgIC

The cover was screen printed by gavin at bigboxoftricks.com and the inside pages were digitally printed. The calendar is limited to 99 copies (only 25 are for sale), each is hand numbered (/99) and signed, and wrapped in tissue with a stickered bellyband and gift tag.

Page size = 9cm x 15.5cm.

Artists featured: Otoboke Beaver, Maid Of Ace, Bix Smith Start, Hagar The Womb, Skinny Girl Diet, Menace Beach, Laura J Martin, MOFAM, Sauna Youth, Hell-O-Tiki, Ela Orleans, The Parrots.