There is not enough music in my life. But here’s my personal top ten lis of live gigs of 2012 – in no particular order, except for number one.
10. Komla – In a Soho basement. Never seen, heard nor heard of them a week ago. Very good – mellow, charismatic, smooth – a bit Eagle Eye Cherry (which is a good thing). The band website is here. (They were supporting the relaunch of the charity Art Saves Lives.)
9. Aletia Upstairs – This Cape Town, South Africa singer song writer and I shared a radio studio. I was plugging an excellent book, The Obituarist, by, ahem, me – available to download from Amazon here or Smashwords for non-kindles here. She arrived expecting to play some CDs, but rose magnificently to the unexpected challenge of playing live instead. I’m listening to one of her CDs as I type. South Africa can be very annoying in the same way Swiss people are – irritatingly and seemingly effortlessly multilingual. Aletia sings in various languages. (You can see her and hear the radio show – and me – by following this link.)
8. Tom Williams and the Boat – Another intimate performance. Just Tom and Anthony (lovely riff) Vicary rehearsing for a live radio show I produced. It was almost as though I’d arranged the whole thing just so that I could have a gig all to myself. But I’d never be so devious, would I?
7. Adam Beattie and the Consultants – Again, another complete surprise. Very good, including a song dedicated to and about his late grandfather, who died aged 100. (Or so the songs say anyway.) See it here.
6. Africa Express – Baloji, Paul McCartney, Baaba Maal, Damon Albarn, Fatoumata Diawara, Noisettes, Rokia Traore, Seye, Spoek Mathambo, Thandiswa, Tony Allen – breathtaking array of African musicians and some Brits playing behind Kings Cross railway station in London. Assembling and moving this crew must be the musical achievement of the year. You can get a flavour here.
5. Nights at the Bonnington Cafe – cheap food, priceless music. Pretty much everyone there is a performer except me. (Well, to clarify, everyone else there is a talented performer as opposed to a chancer… like me.) You might hear camp musical theatre like The Boy From or intense laments from oppressed Latino lands (or at least that what they sound like to me). Guaranteed good piano playing. Tsivi Sharett is the musical maestro. The nights only happen every now and then – find out here.
4. The voices of the girls of Gweedore. When I was a cook in New York state, they ran the grocery store next door. We were all illegals. I’ve never encountered such beautiful conversation since. Doesn’t matter what they were saying, whether it was Irish or English, because the way they said was bewitching. I’ve no recording – that would be creepy – but they came from the same townland as Enya, Altan and Clannad. (OK – so that’s not this year – but they’re on my list any year.)
3. Judith and her Multitude of Sins – This band has never performed in public. Yet. That changes this Friday. There are some talented musicians and singers in the band. And me. And a guy who makes farting sounds on his trombone. Judith came up with the idea. And Trombonio and I are the multitude of sins. We’re hoping that the loud sax player will cover us. True, I’m looking into the future and I’m not promising it’ll be the best gig ever (especially if the rehearsals are anything to go by). But I know it’ll be memorable. No matter how hard I try to forget.
2. That bloke I saw busking on the London Underground – surf wall-of-sound – turns out he’s called David O’Connell. He belongs in a movie.
1. Top Girl singing. (I know… pass the sick bag, but I don’t care.) It’s loud. It sometimes seems constant. It makes some people flee and shout. But I can’t get enough. And in case you think I’m damning with faint praise – she wowed an audience of 400 the other week with a spectacular solo. I was splitting my face with a big grin at the back of the hall. Guess who was near the front? Surprise surprise. Cilla Black.
This was a (very late) post for the Loose Bloggers Consortium – with the theme set by Shackman – and you can find out what music mellows or maddens the rest of them by scrolling down the right hand side of the screen and clicking on their links.