Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan at Union Chapel

Going fast forward and we’re in early December. Non-Kiwi readers may ask ‘who on Earth Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan are?’ and I would have asked the same question if I wasn’t into NZ music that much. To be honest, I found out about Dave Dobbyn’s existence about three years ago, when Flight of the Conchords invited him to sing with them in a charity song “Feel inside (and stuff like that)” (the song starts from 10:15, but it’s worth to watch the interviews with the kids). He was big in the 80’s and now he’s a legend in Kiwi music industry.

Don McGlashan is another Kiwi music giant, whose career started in the 80’s as one half of a music/theatre duo The Front Lawn. Now he plays solo and with a band called The Seven Sisters in which plays Chris O’Connor, the drummer of my favourite NZ band, The Phoenix Foundation. So as you can see, everything is somehow connected with either Conchords or TPF.

Two great Kiwis in London was something not to be missed, even if I didn’t know all their songs, but I knew it’d be a fun evening. And I did very much enjoy the concert. Union Chapel was full of Kiwis singing along the songs they knew for more than 20 years.

For me, the highlight was The Front Lawn’s song ‘Andy’. A few years ago, back in my small home town, when I was listening to this song and loving it, if someone told me that I would hear it live some day performed by Don McGlashan himself, I’d say that person was crazy… or I’d want to know how and when it would happen. Amazing what twists and turns life can take, even when it seems like nothing happens, when we look from a short distance. It was quite an emotional moment when I recognized the song and I don’t know how I managed to record it.

I was absolutely impressed by Don and his multi-instrumental skills!

The first part of the show was just them two playing each other’s songs and for the second part they were joined by two more musicians. Here’s Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Whaling’ with the complete band.

You did notice the Christmas Tree in the left corner? Yes, holiday was just round the corner.

6 December, 2013

Villagers at Heaven, Under the Arches

Less than a week after my trip to Lincoln, I went to see Villagers live.

Villagers - screencap

Villagers is Conor O’Brien’s band, whom I saw at Barbican, where he shared the stage with and overshadowed (in my humble opinion) Glen Hansard. I bought both albums soon after that and was hoping to see the whole band performing in the nearest future. The opportunity came up, when one day on my way home from work, I saw their poster on Heaven’s door. I didn’t knock, but I went online, double checked the date if it wasn’t an old poster from their previous tour and bought a ticket right away a few months before the actual event.

Their supporting band was We Were Evergreen. I didn’t film them, but they were very good and you should check them out. There are plenty of videos on YouTube with them.

We Were Evergreen

So as with the Villagers. 🙂

Seeing Conor O’Brien solo just with his guitar vs. Conor with his band are quite different experiences and it was interesting to see both sides of this artist. This time there was not much of melancholy or shyness, but thanks to the power the rest of the band members were giving him, he was full of energy or even some rebellion. They gave an amazing performance and the same songs Conor played in Barbican, were like new when I heard them in Heaven.

I would love to see them again sometime.

This concert was on 7 November, 2013.

Peter Gabriel – Back to Front tour at O2 Arena

Last weekend I went to a concert and it reminded me how far behind I am with my blog.

So, back to October last year, which was pretty busy with concerts.

About one week after I came back from Poland, I went to see a guy who most of you must have heard of, not like the previous shows I wrote about.

I had seen Peter Gabriel years ago in Poland when he was promoting ‘UP’. The concert was on a comparatively small stage, so the possibilities of special effects were limited and I left the show not completely satisfied. After watching Secret World DVD many times, I hoped Peter would come back with a similar show some day. Back to Front wasn’t as theatrical as Secret World, but never the less, spectacular.

The show was divided into three parts. The first one was acoustic with full lights on on stage and the audience. Some people between the songs were yelling to turn them off, as if they didn’t want to understand that it was part of the show. Then, in the middle of one of the songs (I’m not going to give away which one, because Peter is coming back with the show this year and I don’t want to spoil it for you), the lights went off and the second part started, ‘savory’, ‘main dish’ as Peter called it. The transition from one part to the other gave me shivers and ‘wow’ moment. Third part was a ‘dessert’ – full album SO live from beginning to the last song. We all knew the order of the songs on the album and I had thought it would be boring, but actually we had so much fun waiting for the first notes of the next songs. Before Sledgehammer, we even started singing them and then the band joined us.

I recorded some footage, but the quality isn’t the best, because I was far away from the stage and my camera struggled with getting the focus, so here’s only one song I’ve uploaded.

It’s amazing how great effects they could create using lights on those cranes. YouTube is full of films from the whole tour, but I wanted to post here my all time favourite song of Peter.

Thanks to my sister who bought me ‘Encore’ album, which is a complete show recorded live off the soundboard, I can re-live the concert any time.

22 October, 2013

The Guitar Festival in Szczytno, Poland

Initially, I was supposed to come back to London on Saturday. I even had a plane ticket. But my friend, who is a musician and was about to release his debut album, said that he was going to have an album release concert on that Saturday as part of the Guitar Festival in our home town. Luckily, Ryanair came through, because they changed the airport I was to depart from, so I cancelled my ticket, got my money back and then bought a new ticket for Sunday. And so, right after seeing Poluzjanci in Warsaw on Friday, the next day we were all three in a car to Szczytno.

We came late to the concert, so they gave us the seats in the front row.
fotograf
Photo by Marek Zawrotny. See more photos from that evening.

We were right on time for my friend to take the stage. The blue light was a killer to my camera, so sometimes you barely see him, but I hope you’ll enjoy his music. If you do, you can buy his whole album from his website.


One very annoying thing was, and I can even hear it in those videos, that the official photographer was allowed to take photos through out the whole concert and it was so distracting. Not only the noise of the shutter, but he was walking from one side to the other and if you were sitting in the first front rows, he was destroying the whole atmosphere. A big fail.

My friend wasn’t the only one who played that evening. He also invited a very promising young guitarist, Piotr Szumlas…

…and the star of the evening, Jon Gomm! It was his only concert in Poland and I couldn’t believe he came to our little town. I saw that that my other friend was recording official videos, so didn’t film anything from Jon’s performance. Unfortunately, nothing has been posted online from that show since then, so here’s a video from Gomm’s YouTube channel, a song he performed in Szczytno and is available on his new CD, which he was selling weeks before its release in the UK.

My sister’s boyfriend loved his performance so much that he went straight after it to buy the CD. That was a pretty good score – out of three shows we went together, he liked two. My sis liked them all.

On Sunday morning my tour ended when I went back to London to my regular ordered days.

12 October

Poluzjanci at Palladium, Warszawa

Polucjanci, Palladium

Poluzjanci were one of my favourite Polish bands back in my twenties, but I hadn’t had the chance to see them live when I was still in Poland. What a great coincidence that was, when I saw they were performing just two days after Dylan and in the same place as him. Again, I went with my sister and her boyfriend. Poluzjanci’s songs are mostly about love and all that romantic stuff, so me and my sis loved the show while for B. there was too much sugar and he couldn’t wait until the concert was over. He couldn’t stand the vocalist (who was pretty handsome) and he hated him even more when my sister told B. he sometimes looked like him. LOL.

After the concert, Jola said she finally got the sense of living in Warsaw. This was a cool place to be and we were cool, because we were there. We were sitting in the 3rd row, behind us there was sitting Tatiana Okupnik, an ex-vocalist of Blue Cafe, another cool Polish band (by the way, my ex-housemate said she used to be in his old band as well) and she sits on the Polish X Factor jury and just a few seats to the centre, there was sitting Aleksandra Kwasniewska, the daughter of ex-President of Poland. She’s actually the vocalist’s wife, so her presence was justified.

Enough about the audience and gossips. Back to what was happening on stage. Poluzjanci played a lot of new songs, but I was waiting for the ones from their first album, which I love the most. Sorry they’re in Polish, but I hope you’ll enjoy them anyway.

One of the fun moments was, when at one point, the drummer sat down behind a mini drum kit and the bass player took out a home made bass guitar. How it sounded, you can check out in this video.

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As I had said, I liked the concert and it was worth the wait. But it wasn’t the only thing I was enjoying that weekend that I had to wait for quite a few years… t.b.c.

11 October, 2013

Yeah, Yeah – Dylan Moran at Palladium, Warszawa

My apologies for this longer break: first the trip to Israel in February, then soon after that an emergency trip to Poland in family matters and now I’ve just taken up a third job, so not much time for life and posting about it.

My last entry was about how sick I was at Fat Freddy’s Drop concert. I lost about 3 kg during that time, but don’t worry, got them back when I felt better. I had to get back to form pretty quickly. The concert was on Saturday and on Wednesday the week after I flew to Poland to see Dylan Moran and go to two other concerts and all that I was to do in four days.

Wait… going to Poland to see an Irish comedian? Wouldn’t it be easier to see him in London or Ireland (he actually lives in Scotland)? Well, no, because he was touring Europe outside of the UK.

Since I saw his cult comedy show “Black Books”, I really wanted to see Dylan live and as soon as I saw he was coming to Warsaw, I bought tickets for my sister, her boyfriend and myself. That Wednesday was a crazy day. I worked from 5 to 9am in my shop, then went straight to the Luton airport to catch my plane to Warsaw. No delays there, luckily, so I landed at 5:40pm. Dylan’s show was at 7:30pm in the city centre. Plan A was, that first I would go to my sister’s, leave luggage and go together to the show, but she missed the last bus to the airport to pick me up (public transport in Warsaw is not that easy as here), I didn’t have any bus to her place, so we decided to meet up at the venue. I got on the next bus to the centre, but just as we managed to reach the first stop, one of the passengers had an epilepsy attack. Don’t get me wrong, I felt for that girl, one of my closest family members suffers from epilepsy, but it sucks when something like that happens when you’re in a hurry. The bus driver called an ambulance, told the rest of us that the course was cancelled, so we all had to wait for the next bus. To cut the story short, I got to the venue about 5-10 minutes before the show started.

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Dylan Moran was absolutely amazing. He quickly got our love when he showed appreciation for coming to see his stand-up, even though he couldn’t speak Polish, apart from few words. Then he made some jokes that Poles like travelling and making coffee in the West and he also showed he knew what was on the recent news in the media (Polish Catholic priest named Michalik blamed children, who didn’t get enough love at home for pushing priests to pedophilia, which was a good joke on its own).

The whole 90 min show was a lough out loud delight. Someone uploaded an audio of the whole thing, so if you find some time, have a listen. Or rather, you must listen!

I was wondering if I could see anyone famous in the audience and I did. There was Hubert Urbanski, a guy who hosts “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” Polish edition. He was much taller than I had thought he was! That was a nice welcome back to Warszawa.

9th October

Fat Freddy’s Drop at O2 Academy Brixton

It was the first weekend of October. That evening was a fail. Not because of the band, but because of my poor health. The band was great, people loved them and the show was sold out, but I was ill.

I don’t often get sick, maybe once every second year, but when I do, I just have to stay in bed for 2-3 days, because I don’t have enough strength to get up. On Friday I didn’t feel well and didn’t eat much. I tried to stay at work as long as I could, but when I started getting shivers, I thought it was time to leave early and go to bed. I spent whole Saturday in bed without eating hardly anything and I felt weak. But at the back of my mind I remembered I had a ticket to a concert that evening bought in summer and it cost me over £20, so it would be a great waste if I didn’t use it. Going to a crowded venue was the last thing I needed, so I thought that if I manage to go, maybe I’ll be able to sell the ticket and go back to bed.

So I did get up from bed, went to Brixton and once I got there, I thought I felt well enough to go inside. I managed to listen to the concert just for half an hour, because the crowd, the smell of sweat and smoked pot, loud music and flicking lights made me feel sick and weak again that if I stayed there any minute longer I’d faint. The fresh air outside woke me up. I decided not to torture myself going back inside and just went home.

Sorry, Fat Freddy’s Drop fans. I really wanted to film a full song, but I struggled to stand at all. Besides, the music was very loud so I’m not sure if my camera would bear it. Someone posted over 30 minute footage, so you can see how it was. The guys were great, but I was too sick to enjoy it. Here are just some screencaps from short videos I recorded.

FFD are playing at Alexandra Palace in October. It’s pretty far north from me, but who knows where I’ll be living by then? My housemates are expecting a baby and are looking for a house to buy. Changes… life…

Connan Mockasin at Village Underground

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and New Year holiday. It does look it’s almost over, because the trains are getting busier and the life pace goes back to normal.

I’ll come back to my holidays later. First, I want to catch up on last events from 2013 and a concert in September.

Usually, if I enjoy a concert, I want to discover more about the artist, buy the albums I haven’t bought yet and listen to their music quite often after the show. It wasn’t like that after the last show of Connan Mockasin. I still haven’t bought his last album, which was released in November and critics love it and I haven’t come back to listening to his first album. I didn’t want to start this year with a negative post and I don’t usually complain about NZ artists. I rather adore them, but this time I was pretty disappointed and still feel put off when I think of that evening.

After seeing Connan Mockasin playing with Charlotte Gainsbourgh last year, I was looking forward to having a chance to see Connan’s own show and as soon as it was announced, I bought the ticket, which was I think early summer. In the meantime, a 16 year old artist from New Zealand called Lorde became a shooting star and announced her first and only show in a small club in London on the very same day as Connan’s, 18th September. My thinking was that since I had already bought the ticket to Connan and Lorde was just starting her career, then there should be more opportunities to see her another time. I stuck with Connan Mockasin.

??????????

The supporting band, Connan’s band member Rory McCarthy’s was great, then there was a DJ set for about 40 minutes. Connan was supposed to play from 9:45 to 11pm. He was 15 min late. He played great, although I was expecting him to play more from his coming album to promote it, but he just did the first single, ‘I’m The Man That Will Find You’ and the rest 25 min were songs from his debut album, ‘Please, Turn Me Into The Snat’.

After playing just for half an hour, he said he had to finish, because of the curfew, which was at 11, but he announced this already at about 10:30. People started shouting, ‘What?!’, ‘No!’, ‘You were late!’, ‘F*ck off!’, but he pointed to his wrist (not sure if he had a watch, because clearly he didn’t know what time it was), played one more song and left the stage. No one left the venue, at first some people were clapping and cheering as you usually do when you wait for an encore but not with great enthusiasm. Everyone was just waiting, talking to each other and expecting him to come back, because it was just bullsh*t. And he did after maybe 4 min, played a veeeery long version of ‘Forever Dolphin Love’, but not long enough, because when he finished, there was still about 5 min left till 11 and he wasn’t sure if he should start playing one more song or just talk to us. I thought it would be the waste of my time if I stayed there any minute longer and left feeling sorry that I didn’t go to see Lorde in the end. My friend, who saw her that night said, that she played a short set as well, but I would be more understanding to her, because she was just starting.

Connan is playing at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in January. I haven’t bought the ticket yet, because I’m still a little angry with him after the last time. Should I give him a chance? Three times lucky? After all, I still like his music, but I’d hate to be disappointed again.

EDITED to add:

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra at Union Chapel

I had never thought that I would see Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra on the Northern Hemisphere, but they were invited to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, hit the goal on Pledge Me (NZ version of Kickstarter) to get the funds for the trip and gave one off sold out show in London on 29th August on their way back home after performing for over a month at the Festival.

I couldn’t believe I would see them on stage at Union Chapel where I had already seen Glen Hansard, Kimbra, Andy McKee and in December am going to see two NZ music legends, Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan.

I went to see WIUO with V., my best companion in watching Kiwi acts. I was coming late straight from work, but luckily V. could come earlier and thanks to her we had great seats in the second row right in the centre. It was no photo, no filming restriction show, but I managed to lift my camera high enough to film something and I’m happy I did that. Some things are worth risking to save them.

The show was in two parts. The first part was mostly the songs from their latest EP, I Love You and well known hits. The second part were new songs or the songs they’ve performed live for many years, but haven’t released yet. Flawless performances, brilliant audience, some people hassled the band to play “Common People”, which WIUO finally did, some people danced, even almost took over the stage for a moment. All in all, everything in atmosphere of great family and friends festivity and fun.

Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” was the last song of part 1, that’s why I got braver and when I heard new tunes I turned my camera on.

This was my highlight of the concert: Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

I didn’t know where to point my camera, because there was A LOT happening on stage during this song – Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Push It”

This is almost the end of the show. Thank yous, introducing the band and because I wanted to film the whole band, I lifted my camera too high and got noticed by the Chapel staff. That’s why it’s not the whole song: David Kilgour’s “Today Is Gonna Be Mine”

In the videos you can notice a hooded person on the right. She was filming the show, so let’s hope that there are going to be some official videos from WIUO.

After the show I was able to talk to Gemma, Megan, Nige and Age. I was wondering if they’d remember their Polish fan they met in Wellington two years ago. When I came up to Gemma, she welcomed me, ‘Sylwia!’ and gave me a big hug. When I saw Age and told him, ‘Greetings from Poland!’ he said, ‘I remember you!’. He said they were planning to come back next year and have a proper UK tour and I almost ended up being their manager when he saw my enthusiasm. No connections, though. 😉

To sum up the evening,

The Black Seeds at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

Oh, no… The Black Seeds again? Will I ever get enough of them? The answer is: NO! And this time I went not only with my sister and her boyfriend but also we took two more friends with us!

Great music, awesome audience, amazing atmosphere especially when they started playing Cool Me Down and then So True.

Here’s the mayhem the guys make during Take Your Chances. It was really difficult to film this song.

One of my favourite songs from their Dust and Dirt album – Cracks In Our Crown

I won’t mind seeing them again. 🙂

18 July