Jason Donovan tells us about going glamorous for Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Bristol Hippodrome
1:47pm Thursday 11th April 2013
12:04pm Wednesday 10th April 2013
NOW I’ll make a confession right off. I’m too young to remember Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons the first time around, but that is not to say I’m not familiar with their lengthy list of classic hits.
10:58am Thursday 4th April 2013
2:36pm Wednesday 3rd April 2013
10:59pm Monday 25th March 2013
10:53pm Monday 25th March 2013
YOU can’t seem to turn on the radio these days without hearing a song from the new Stereophonics album. And there’s a very good reason for this - the band are back to their eardrum-bursting best and we want to hear more! The boys from the valleys are currently on a mini-tour of smaller venues around the UK, prior to their just-announced arena tour which is due to take place in November. So those present at the Cheltenham Centaur on Thursday evening felt very privileged to be there indeed. Graffiti on The Train was released just a couple of weeks ago, and so it is unfair to assume that the enthusiastic crowd would be as familiar with the opener for the show - 'We Share The Same Sun' - as they undoubtedly were for the many of the band’s older hits, such as 'The Bartender And The Thief' and 'A Thousand Trees'. The set for the evening veers from staple tunes to those from the new album, which are accompanied by a somewhat schmaltzy sepia-tinted rolling film on screen behind the stage. This does, however, serve to give the crowd something to concentrate on if they are not yet familiar enough with the songs to sing along - which is of course what they would all rather be doing. The Stereophonics are something of an enigma, having crept to ‘supergroup’ status rather stealthily, but there is no denying the popularity of their tunes. Their songs seem to split into two categories - half are catchy, crowd-on-their-feet pop rock while the rest are a more aggressive, reverberant wall of sound, with some of the latter category coming over even stronger on stage than they do on the albums. The bluesy Been Caught Cheating is a step away from the Stereophonics norm, but gives singer Kelly Jones the chance to really show off his vocal range. With an extensive back catalogue to choose from (Graffiti is their eighth studio release), the hits just kept on coming, with the biggest receptions reserved for Just Looking, Have A Nice Day, Mr Writer and Local Boy In The Photograph. Future classics already abound on the new album, and current single Indian Summer is sure to get the stadiums rocking when the tour kicks off for real. Title track Graffiti on The Train reels you in with its dark, heart-wrenching lyrics, while other new material such as Violins and Tambourines and Catacomb sound like they have been on the playlist for years. The band gels to perfection, while new drummer Jamie Morrison, formerly of The Noisettes, lends a wildman element to the show, especially with his flamboyant routine on the cajon box drum. The band rounded off their performance in Cheltenham with the feel-good Dakota - their only number one single to date - leaving the delighted audience to head home in the pouring rain with smiles on their faces.
10:50pm Monday 25th March 2013
THE STRANGLERS Review: Feel it Live tour, Bristol O2 Academy, March 23 THE music industry has certainly moved on in the past 40 years, leaving many bands in its wake. The Stranglers are certainly not one of them. As ‘the men in black’ took to the stage at the packed Bristol O2 Academy on Saturday night, their sound was stronger and more complete than ever, with JJ Brunel donning the crown as veritable ‘king of the bass’ and the amiable Geordie Baz Warne playing faultless lead guitar and vocals and showing the crowd just why he was the man to bring the band back from the brink of anonymity more than a decade ago. Toiler On the Sea, Goodbye Toulouse and Grip open a set which gradually builds up to work the crowd into a sweaty frenzy by the final encore. Underlying musicality comes courtesy of Dave Greenfield and his magnificent keyboard skills - complex and creative - and yet Dave is able to pull off any combination of notes without error (and often single handed whilst drinking a pint of water!). This is a band at the pinnacle of their career - and they have a recent critically acclaimed album to prove it. When veteran drummer Jet Black came on to replace Jim Macauley, who had done a sterling job for more than half of the set, the roar of the crowd proved just how much the original ‘Strangler’ - who is now nearly 75 years old - is respected by fans old and new for his ability to maintain the most complicated of rhythms, even if, understandably, he can’t quite cope with a whole set. The Stranglers have never been afraid of taking chances, and there is no other band quite like them. Their idiosyncratic style allows each instrumentalist to take turns at the lead to make a perfect whole, in classic Stranglers style. These are guys with fire in their belly and as JJ and Baz ‘duel’ with their instruments, there is no mistaking the expressions of joy on their faces. They still love what they do. It’s not like anyone else - but then it never was. The set is a perfect balance of newer material with old favourites - and with 40 years of back catalogue to choose from there is no shortage of material. Zipping back and forth between classic, recognisable tunes such as Something Better Change, Always The Sun, Peaches, Skin Deep, and the beautiful Golden Brown to less well-known album tracks such as Norfolk Coast, Bring on the Nubiles and a couple of newer songs from the most recent album, Giants, (Time was Once on My Side and Mercury Rising) there was something indeed to please everyone - but then 17 albums is a lot of material to choose from. Bass-driven, menacing and occasionally snarling and aggressive, this is a band who refuse to tow the line. But, like a good wine, the Stranglers have mellowed with age, and they taste so much better for it!
2:40pm Monday 25th March 2013
10:40am Thursday 21st March 2013
8:38pm Tuesday 19th March 2013