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Skagen festival with Neil Brophy Band

I seem to be consistently one festival behind at the moment…here’s last week’s as I recover from this weekend at Vig.

It was my first time at Skagen Festival.  I’d heard so much about it, and was looking forward to it, partly because of its reputation, partly to see friends and colleagues I don’t see that often and partly because I was looking forward to playing the new Neil Brophy Band set.

When I arrived The Revellers were playing at the Havnescene.  I love when bands mix folk and rock music, and when musicians have fun on stage.  The Revellers did both, and with an infectious energy.  Top musicians and top blokes.  We spent quite a lot of the next few days in the company of one or more reveller (and they all lived up to the name!).  I saw them again on the Torvescene on the Friday night and they were even better – it suited them being a little closer to the audience.  And they had a guest appearance from the fabulous Perry Stenbäck on Nyckelharpa which was fantastic.  He let me have a go on it the day after – and, goddammit, now I want one!

Other top highlights were Australian Toby Beard who rocked the Havnescene with her great Dutch band, charisma and showmanship.   Bullmilk Leftovers I enjoyed, Hawkeye and Hoe were better than ever (with Torvescenen eating out of their hands – or should I say drinking?), and The McLaughlins with Pia Nygaard did a great late night job at the sports club for those of us still conscious.  Outside the festival Scoops did a blinder at The Old Irish Pub.

I enjoyed both of the gigs with Neil Brophy Band. The lads played grand and the new material went down really well.  Fear of fear is becoming a live hit.

It was “good to see you” as they sing in Skagen…hopefully see you again next year!

Glastonbury highlights

Glastonbury memories are beginning to fade, particularly as I’ve been at Skagen festival since, so here’s a quick recap of my highlights while I can still remember.

Thursday night I played a set at the Peel Sessions bar…of which there are many great photos due to Stone from Stone Free appearing bang on time at the start of the gig.  However, I was there to compere the John Peel Stage, so let’s get onto Friday when that opened.

Friday started fairly quiet at the John Peel Stage with Dan Stuart not pulling the crowds he would have 15 years ago – still a good set though.  X Ambassadors had to cancel their set as their monitor gear didn’t work – their trip was worthwhile though as Sam did a roaring acoustic version of Renegades to a packed tent before they left.

Next up was Elle King who was brilliant.  Top showmanship, a better voice than on record and lots of banjo.  What’s not to like?

Aurora had to be seen from out in the crowd – she and her band are lovely, and the noise they make is tremendous.  A tip for the very top.  She lives out her music entirely when performing and the passion is infectious.  At the same time there is a Scandinavian humility that is hugely endearing.  I remember afterwards calling it one of the best shows ever on the John Peel stage.  I stick by that.

I only caught the last few songs of Half Moon Run, but they were terrific too.  Jack Garrett had the crowd totally in the palm of his hand – amazing to see a one man show with so much power.  Not really my music though…so off I trotted to catch a couple of songs from ZZ Top’s set at the Pyramid Stage.  I hate watching bands at such big gigs as all you can see is the screen, but I guess I can say I saw them.  They sounded great – Billy Gibbons has always been one of my biggest heroes.

I got back to John Peel to take Jack Garrett off and to see Explosions in The Sky who were phenomenal.  This despite the fact that some of them had food poisoning.  Sigur Ros was a huge spectacular show, and a massive crowd to end the day.  Or nearly end it.  Did a set with Jim Fox at the sessions bar following the adorable and talented Charlotte Campbell.

Saturday Nothing But Thieves did an early gig at John Peel that was electrifying.  Amazing band and an amazing voice.  I’ve been listening to them a lot since and can’t wait for the album to come out.  Dua Lipa was on after them, and I hadn’t expected much of her, but she really had the crowd and did a great job.

Mø was another positive surprise.  I know her music, obviously, and she lives not far from me, but I’d never seen her live before.  She sang well and totally owned the stage.  As well as being out in the audience 3 times.  Great performance and a great crowd – she has really arrived as a major act.

But then came the highlight of the highlights.  John Grant on the John Peel Stage.  It was like a religious experience.  Great musicians, great music, great lyrics, a bit of fun and lots of personality.  And no bullshit.  Mostly songs from the new album, but with GMF and Queen of Denmark getting everyone singing along.  Mind blown.

I didn’t want to see anything else after John Grant.  But it was hard to avoid the vibe that was happening when Fat Boy Slim was on…it was doing my head in backstage, but when I came front of house it was amazing – the biggest crowd we’ve ever had on the JPS and everyone dancing.

I wandered off through the mud bound for Avalon, stopping to catch a few random acts along the way (the best being a group of beatboxers).  The reason for my trudging was to catch The Treacherous Orchestra.  And it was entirely worth the exhaustion it caused.  Anyone who doesn’t know them check them out.  Particularly live.

Sunday morning at JPS was opened with the biggest crowd ever for an opening act on a Sunday for She Drew The Gun. Mystery Jets were brilliant, as were Band of Horses.  Things got more anthemic with an incredible set from Of Monsters and Men, and then came the surprise of the festival.  I was expecting nice songs and a bit of humour, but the attitude of Mac Demarco and his band, the contact with the audience, the sheer funniness blew us away.  By comparison Jake Bugg was a disappointment.  However, the green room crew took to the stage for the John Peel tribute at the end and the traditional New York New York farewell…another Glastonbury over.

Except for the Sunday night party backstage featuring a performance by Jim Fox, me and Michael Gillett.  What a week…

John peel stage 2016

Glastonbury festival approaches!  And if you are one of those lucky enough to have a ticket, here’s an invitation to come down to the legendary John Peel Stage, which this year has moved into the next field away from Silver Hayes.

This year we have none other than Sigur Rós headlining Friday night.  I know.  I can’t wait either.  A more amazing live music experience may be hard to imagine, but Explosions in the Sky are on only 3 hours before them, and may well at least come close.  2 of the most symphonic rock bands of the last 30 years on the same night!

The ultimate one man band and utterly likeable chappie Jack Garratt, Canadian harmony kings Half Moon Run and M83 will all be spectacular in each their own way and I’m hugely looking forward to the enigmatic Elle King who’s on Friday afternoon.

We have the pride of the Danish music business – none other than Mø, alongside other huge acts Band of Horses, Of Monsters and Men, Bat For Lashes and Jake Bugg.  Also hugely looking forward to Dan Stuart and the Twin Tones kicking off the festival on Friday.

3 acts I didn’t know until recently, the amazing Ozzy singer Matt Corby, fellow Ozzies Tired Lion and winners of Glasto’s emeerging talent contest She Drew The Gun (check out their song Poem) kick off the Sunday morning. Alunageorge, Mac DeMarco, the chilling Aurora from Norway (she’s fab…and not just when she’s doing Oasis covers at Xmas), Rat Boy, Example, Låpsley, Palace, Mystery Jets (love this band!), the wonderful no bullshit Alessia Cara, Nothing but Thieves and Dua Lipa…sound good to you?

But happy of all happies for me is that John Grant is playing.  Thank you music gods (you know who you are!).

Oh, did I mention Fatboy Slim?  Yeah, he’s on too 🙂  What a party!

If you’re at Glasto, come by, say hello and enjoy some of the most fantastic music on this planet.

Glastonbury

So much happens at Glasto every year that even those who are there miss out on most of it.  I spend most of my time at The John Peel Stage, obviously, so most of my Glastonbury experiences have been here…but to give those who’ve never been an example of what the festival is like (and here I’m just talking music – not the healing fields, green futures, circus, caberet, or the raving heavens of Arcadia, Blok 9, Shangri La and all the other amazing and insane stuff) let me tell you about a Sunday evening in 2014, when I had a couple of hours off.

I saw on the program that St. Vincent was playing at The Park, which is about as far as you can get from JPS.  Being a big fan, I started out a couple of hours before she was due to go on, thinking I could hear a couple of songs from The Wailers at West Holts on the way, partly because it’s the Wailers, and partly because Chris from our monitor crew was playing keys for them.  Passing through Silver Hayes I stopped to listen to an unlisted reggae band, catching a couple of songs before moving on.  Passing by The Other Stage I saw Ellie Goulding, and, as there was quite a crowd, it took me a while to get round to where The Wailers were playing to an immense crowd, especially as there was someone at Leftfield I listened to for a while, treating myself to a sit down.  Moving on after a few Wailers hits (wanting not to miss St. Vincent) I passed a bar area where Coco and the Butterfields were playing.  I’d never heard of them before, but ended up sitting down and listening to a good half hour of their set…banjo, fiddle, upright bass, guitar and beatbox.  Fabulous show.  But I had to get up to The Park.  Passing other promising acts at Croissant Neuf and Toad hall I finally made it to the park in time to see the last 3 songs of St. Vincent’s set.  Well worth the walk.  On the way back I saw (apart from stopping at a jazz tent and wandering around Arcadia) Massive Attack, though I was not impressed.  Finally, just before getting to JPS again I watched the 2nd half of The Beat’s brilliant and exhausting set.  Back at the John Peel,  I missed out on London Grammar, as I was too tired to stand…enjoyed my cider at the bar though.

Another week

Another week in the life…

Tuesday is a day off hopefully in the wonderful heat-wave sun we’ve been enjoying…the calm before the storm.

Wednesday I head to Copenhagen to play the Scottish Pub.  I’ll be staying in the capital for rehearsals with Neil Brophy Band Thursday, followed by a gig at The Scottish Pub again in the evening.

Friday there’s another Neil Brophy Band rehearsal and then Brian and I will head off to do a corporate gig as Strong Ale.  Following that I head to Roskilde to play at Mulligans. 9pm until midnight.

Saturday we’re playing with Neil Brophy Band at Dragør Marked at 2pm, then I have a 3 hour drive over to Holstebro to play at Nørrelands Dansested.

Looking forward to Glastonbury Festival in a couple of weeks!

Life of a musician – this week

Life of a musician:  this week…

Monday:  drive to Copenhagen, rehearsal with Neil Brophy Band, gig at Scottish Pub.

Tuesday: Office morning in Copenhagen, rehearsal with Aliens!, gig at Scottish Pub

Wednesday: Rehearsal with Neil Brophy Band, gig at Scottish Pub, drive home.

Thursday: day off

Friday:  Drive to Bagsværd for Go Nat Bagsværd with Aliens!.  Drive to Odense for solo gig starting midnight at Old Irish Pub.

Saturday:  Gig in Kolding with Strong Ale in the afternoon and then back to Old Irish Pub in Odense for gig with Strong Ale followed by 2 solo sets until 3am.  Drive home.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy 🙂

glastonbury line up announced

So yesterday the first Glastonbury line-up poster was posted.  See it here. So first impressions…

my top 10 bands announced to be playing Glastonbury this year (so far…)

1. Earth Wind and Fire:  if their live show is still what it was in the 70’s…they were the best live act in the world (ask anyone who saw them)

2. Madness:  What’s not to love?

3. ELO:  I saw them without Jeff Lynne a few years ago and they were fantastic:  you forget just how many huge hits they had.  And now with Jeff, though I’ve not checked who else is in.

4. Savages.  Blew the John Peel Stage to pieces last year.  Lovely blokes and utter nutters.

5. Sigur Ros.  Terrific band…crossing fingers that they’ll be on JPS, but we’ll have to wait and see.

6. P.J. Harvey.  Legend.  Nuff said.

7. ZZ Top.  Always wanted to see them live.  You know exactly what you’re going to get.  Southern boogie with cool beards.  And Billy Gibbons is one of my favourite guitarists and a huge influence on my playing.

8. Last Shadow Puppets.  Alex and Miles are Glasto regulars and together they sound fab,

9. Kamasi Wahington.  Jazz with twists!  Love it much more than I usually love jazz.

10.Daughter – Great band.

The Great Malarkey in Odense

Last gig I went to (that wasn’t my own) was The Great Malarkey at Dexters in Odense.  If you know the Great Malarkey, you’ll know that they put on an energetic, fun show.  They started the show by getting everyone to stand up and move forward.  Great for those at the front – unfortunately, Dexters being a sit down jazz venue, half the audience were left out of the experience from the start.  The sound at the back was awful, and visibility zero.  However, those of us young enough (haha) and keen enough, sneaked up to the front where the sound was great and a full-blooded gypsy punk party was in full flow.  The singer is a terrific front figure, the drummer looks mad (in a good way), the band look like they enjoy themselves, the trumpet player is (a very young) virtuoso, and they have a french horn.  What more could you want?  Great band – go see them if they play near you.  Just hope it isn’t a jazz venue.