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Iggy Pop Royal Albert Hall, Friday 13th May 2016

Lust For Life: Iggy Pop at the Royal Albert Hall, Friday 13th May 2016

Iggy Pop Royal Albert Hall May 2016

Richard Pearmain with words and phtopgraph on Iggy Pop in London.

The only UK stop on a tour promoting what may well be his final album, Iggy Pop at the Albert Hall was always going to be a more than just another gig. The portents had proved promising, with an acquaintance who’d seen him in Berlin a few days earlier telling me that they’d been blown away by his performance.

With a sell out crowd, and a preponderance of Bowie t-shirts on display, I also spotted Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream dashing through one of the venue’s entrances – clearly, Kensington Gore was the place to be tonight.

Co-written and produced by Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, and featuring bandmate Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, Post Pop Depression is a fine swansong, and occasionally redolent of Pop’s collaborations with David Bowie – indeed, The Idiot and Lust For Life figured heavily in tonight’s set list. Continue reading…

Bruce Springsteen The River Tour LA March 2016

Bruce Springsteen Close-up

Photograph ©TheSubstantive

Bruce Springsteen The River Tour – LA Memorial Sports Arena, March 2016

The 2013 Ridley Scott produced film Springsteen and I begins with footage of The Boss speaking almost evangelically on stage which sets the tone for an enjoyable journey of short home-made movies from a few of his many disciples, compiled to show the long lasting effect Bruce Springsteen and his music has had on their lives. The highlight of the film, even more so than the wonderful archives, the comedy (often accidental) contained in some of DIY videos and a range of great anecdotes and emotive testaments, is an epilogue when Springsteen meets some of the contributors to their surprise; the film is just a glimpse, but a telling one, into the transforming experience he promises, and delivers, at the start of his live shows as he takes his audience back down to The River, thirty-six years after its release.

The River, as he explains on stage in this tour, was his attempt to make an all encompassing “big” record. His fifth album in 1980 followed two masterpieces, Born to Run (1975) and Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978), both of which he started playing alternatively in their entirety during the 2013 European leg of the Wrecking Ball, starting at Wembley, and also throwing in the hit laden and under rated Born in the USA (1984) to lucky crowds as well on other nights. Now it’s the turn of the double album, The River, taking the first two hours of performances that last 3 hours 20 minutes, where Bruce hardly takes a breath, sweats a monsoon and the E Street again prove all night that they are the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time. Continue reading…

Willie Nelson and Family, Austin, Texas

Willie Nelson and Family, Austin Rodeo 2016

Photograph ©TheSubstantive

Willie Nelson and Family, Austin Rodeo – 12 March 2016

Even in Austin, Texas, where every type of live music can be found on a daily basis, one man is the figurehead. In the centre of a bustling downtown area there are large murals of Willie Nelson, a life size bust and a Boulevard named after him while in the airport there is his memorabilia available at numerous outlets while on screen in souvenir stores video footage show him receiving plaudits from Presidents. Now aged 82, a homecoming performance in the Texan capital is an event. Continue reading…

David Bowie: Loving the Alien

Richard Pearmain on the loss of David Bowie.

“Where the fuck did Monday go?” A line from a song on an album that had come out only three days before. That particular Monday went floating in a most peculiar way.

I first saw the news on the platform at Hackney Downs station, idly scrolling through Facebook on my phone whilst waiting for a train in to work, noticing an unusual number of Bowie related posts, and then I saw a link to the story on BBC News. You get that immediate sense of incomprehension (“but he’s only just released a new album! I’d just been to a Bowie birthday club night in Brixton!”), and then a sense of – well, I don’t know really. Why was I feeling so upset? I got a text from a friend, who I’d been to that club night with, who was in tears, and asking the same question. We didn’t know David Bowie personally, we’d never met him, but it felt almost like a death in the family. Continue reading…

The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight could easily be sold as Quentin Tarantino doing Agatha Christie in the Wild West but it does even more than living up to that mouth-watering billing; it is Tarantino’s most political film to date, set in post-Civil War United States and challenges throughout, with lines that are topically relevant while daring the foolish to laugh at the Punch and Judy violence against women and the throw-away racism; and it is delivered in cinemas in panoramic vision and surround sound, with stunning cinematography and the sounds of blowing blizzards, galloping horses and guns blazing. Continue reading…

New Order Brixton Academy Nov 2015

New Order Brixton Nov 2015

New Order Brixton Academy

It seemed fitting that, as Storm Barney was worrying garden gnomes up and down the land, Bernard “Barney” Sumner and co were breezing into Brixton for the second of two nights at the Academy, promoting their first studio album in ten years (and their first album post Hook).

Music Complete is arguably New Order’s finest LP since Technique, and certainly their most dancefloor orientated. It’s a different beast to its immediate predecessors, the heavier Get Ready and the slightly more dad rock Waiting For The Siren’s Call, and (not getting drawn on the whole “they’re not the same without Peter Hook” argument) with new bassist Tom Chapman refraining from trying to ape the sound of you-know-who, it sounds better for it.

Although tonight’s show didn’t seem to be sold out, there was the longest queue I’d been part of at the venue – no doubt it was due to tightened security following events in Paris that was slowing things down (leaving the venue seemed to take much longer than usual, as well). It was also, as you’d expect, a pretty mixed crowd – plenty of younger fans in amongst the veterans. Continue reading…

House of Commons

The House of Commons an Antropology of MPs at Work_

House of Commons: An Anthropology of MPs at Work

The idea of a study of the nature of MPs in their own habitat could have been dreamt up from Spitting Image in the early nineties, with David Bellamy getting in close to the slugs, the sheep and the grey leader in white underpants. But anthropologist Emma Crewe respects MPs as humans and goes into the House of Commons at a fascinating time, before the 2015 election, with regard at party politics and Members of Parliament at a modern time low.

A week is a long-time in politics, and already in a few months since publication party politics has taken a new turn. The Labour Party has become a mass membership party again after an election of a leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who packed out halls around the country in his campaign, re-energizing politics by speaking up against an ideological austerity agenda when many in his party, particularly the parliamentary party, had lost either the political will or lacked the intelligence to articulate an alternative. And interestingly Emma Crewe interviewed the backbench Corbyn, giving the book an unexpected element of topicality. Continue reading…

Refugees are our Football Family

Refugees are our Football Family

Listeners to Radio 2 medium wave shortly after the 1989 FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough kicked-off will remember reports of fans streaming on the pitch in large numbers. First hand evidence from those who told the truth that day said more and more fans came over the fence, despite being pushed back. It was obvious something was wrong and over 25 years later any rational thinking would question how it was for so long accepted that the fans weren’t offered sanctuary, rather than being penned in further.

That incident is a reasonable parallel to scenes that have featured on the news for months now. Refugees have been fleeing to mainland Europe in large numbers on a daily basis. We regularly hear of large groups dying, suffocating in lorries and drowning in the sea, while there is filming of survivors sleeping in railway stations and then walking for miles with children on their back. From the traffic jams in Kent to the pictures of toddlers washed up on the shore via footage of the displaced being in being imprisoned in coiled razor wire in Hungary, the clues have been there for a while now. And in the last few weeks some in the people’s game have stood up to offer a helping hand as we see a humanitarian crisis of an enormous proportion unfold on TV screens every night. Continue reading…

Postcapitalism

postcapitalism-book-cover

At significant moments for the economy in the last ten years, from the global banking crisis in 2008 to the recent near shutdown of Greece, anyone in Britain interested in current affairs would be sure to catch a Paul Mason TV report like Tarantino used to run to the cinema for a new Scorsese release in the seventies. Like those news despatches, Mason’s new book, Postcapitalism, is informative, enlightening and engaging.

As it says on the tin (in this case a lovely black hardback), the book looks to the future in a fast changing world, but not before exploring the past and explaining the present. As well as sharing his experiences in the field, Mason mixes micro and macro economics, an in-depth political and economic knowledge and hard evidence to make a convincing case why the current economic model is not only reaching the end of its life-cycle, but how the information technology network can be the basis that both connects globally while individually giving us autonomy in a sustainable society. Continue reading…

Football Column – Concrete Jungle

Spurs at Bayern Munich

In the latest drip-drip of stories from Sky Sports News in the first week of the English Premier League season they announced this evening that Sunderland have opened a Fan Zone; in other words they have made use of a vast car park to put up a few large umbrellas and a big screen in which they can flog bland lager in plastic containers. Half way through a week that started with a live 12.45pm game decided by a lone own goal and will end with football on Friday evening due to drained police resources being diverted to a march by wannabe fascists the following day, EPL Week 1 is dragging like a shoot out midway through Season 2 of True Detective: overblown, unrealistic, fragments of flying glass flying at bleeding coppers and a bit boring. Continue reading…



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