Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Seen It>>Desaparecidos at Electric Ballroom, 11 February 2013

Eleven years after the release of Read Music/Speak Spanish and their subsequent break-up, Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst finally brought his hardcore band, Desaparecidos, over the pond, playing three shows in London, Manchester and Glasgow. After the efforts of Detour and Songkick, Desaparecidos were able to head to the UK for their first ever shows, including the tour finale at Electric Ballroom, which was packed to the rafters to see the band who had reunited in 2012, to play a local festival in Omaha.

Oberst appeared clad in long black hair and indoor sunglasses, neither what you’d expect from punk activist, nor appropriate attire for the incumbent weather. However, new song and opener, “The Left is Right”, saw a crowd push of excited fans eager to get their first glimpse of the Nebraskan quintet. Another newbie in “Anonymous” is greeted with the fist pumping anthem “you can’t stop us, we are anonymous”, whilst “Greater Omaha’s opening chords are greeted with excited loud cheers. The relentless set vary rarely offers an opportunity for a rest, just an enthralling political noise on stage, supplemented by a passionate following within the crowd.

“MariKKopa”, written after their reunion in 2012, about a racist sheriff of Phoenix, Arizona, seemed to be Oberst’s vocal calling. They returned after the encore with a cover of The Clash’s “Spanish Bombs” and set closer “Hole in One”, which saw guitarist Denver Dalley, diving into the crowd.

Even some eleven years after they first came to our attention, the passion and message of Desaparecidos is still there to see. With youth unemployment and disillusionment still at rife, this is their time to speak. Perhaps Oberst means the truth, when he says they will see us again. This isn’t a reunion to pay the bills. 

Seen It>> Dinosaur Jr at Electric Ballroom, 4 February 2013

Nearly thirty years since their formation in Amherst, Massachusetts, Dinosaur Jr have more than enough material to fill over three shows, but their NME Awards show at the Electric Ballroom, is a trip through their career, which has seen them influence countless bands of both past and present.

Opener “Lung” is a distorted mess of noise, which gives guitar wizard J Mascis, his first chance to show off his impressive skills. But it wasn’t solely dedicated to their impressive back catalogue, last years’ I Bet On Sky, is on show with “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know”, “Rude” and “Watch the Corners”, showing the trio can still write tracks as good as in their late 80s heyday.

Other classics appear, such as “Feel the Pain”, complete the quiet-loud dynamic that has long been recognizable in alternative American rock, and Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow’s previous band, Deep Wound, gets an outing with “Training Ground”. They return from the encore with their take on The Cure’s classic “Just Like Heaven” and the 6 minute ear bleeder “Sludgefeast”.

The may now be longer in the tooth, but Dinosaur Jr showed that on their day, they can still compete with the youngest of mammals. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Reviews>>My Bloody Valentine - m b v

After some 22 years of waiting, hoping, waiting some more, on-going jokes and finally, resigned belief that it would never happen, My Bloody Valentine finally released their follow up to the legendary Loveless album, with the self-titled mbv. Given the immense amount of hysteria and excitement circulating the internet ahead of the album’s release on Saturday, it was never quite going to live up to the hype. It wasn’t going to be The White Album or London Calling, it was just going to be My Bloody Valentine doing their thing, which has seen them influence countless bands in the last 25 years.

The time of the release, unfortunately, happens to be in an era loaded of fuzz, droned shoegaze bands (or the awful term ‘nu-gaze’ it’s been credited with), it doesn’t feel as transcendental and bold a statement as Isn’t Anything was back in 1989. However this is 21st century MBV, and with the advancement of technology over the years, it is a very different beast to their previous two. It isn’t all just reverb and noise, Kevin Shields is keen to implement melody and make the songs memorable to the listener. The dreamy, “She Found You” lets the listener drift off on toward a spiritual journey, “Who Sees You” has a passing similarity to “Only Follow” with the alarming guitars, “Is This and Tomorrow” is an ambient slice of dream pop, “Wonder 2” and “In Another Way”, argubaly the highlight of the record, add a techno vibe and a different dimension.  Whilst “Nothing Is” is a thundering instrumental club anthem.

It isn’t the jaw dropping release many critics may claim it is, but it’s still a solid listen and better than the new breed of shoegazers currently out there today. Take away the 22 year wait and it’s the perfect follow up to Loveless.