Tag Archives: music

Preview: Hastings Fat Tuesday weekend 21st-25th February 2020

This article was originally published by Hastings Online Times here

Fat Tuesday festivities break out on Friday

Now in its eleventh year, Hastings’ annual Mardi Gras celebration, Fat Tuesday, where scores of acts converge on dozens of venues to entertain thousands of punters for five days of music and general madness, launches on Friday 21 February this year. Darren Johnson surveys the rich offer of music and entertainment which lies in store.

Friday 21st

In what organisers claim is the most diverse line-up ever this year, Baxter Dury (indie singer-song-writer and son of the legendary Ian) will headline the opening night at the White Rock Theatre. He’ll be supported by Hastings’ own Kid Kapichi.

Earlier in the day the White Rock Hotel next door will host another Unconvention conference, a day of panel debates, discussion and workshops for those involved in some way in the grass-roots music industry – or looking to break into it. Keynote speaker is singer and broadcaster Tom Robinson.

While most of the Fat Tuesday weekend gigs are free, these two are ticketed events which you can book via the Fat Tuesday website.

Saturday 22nd

As usual the centrepiece of Saturday’s proceedings is the mega Saturday Unplugged session. Running from 1pm until 5pm 40 artists from a wide variety of genres will play 15-minute sets across a number of participating bars and restaurants in Hastings Old Town. Brand new for this year, St Leonards will also be part of the action with 10 acts spread across five venues.

Always a great opportunity to seek out new talent or enjoy old favourites, you can either stay in one place and catch the whole programme for that venue or you can move from bar to bar seeking out the acts that particularly catch your eye. For the really dedicated you can simply stalk your favourite artist all afternoon and watch them perform each of their sets.

In the evening there’s another ticketed event at White Rock Theatre, where the The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, featuring Red Dwarf and Corrie star-cum-radio DJ Craig Charles, is the headline act at Le Grande Mardi Gras Ball.

Sunday 23rd

The pace, but not necessarily the volume, quietens down a notch on the Sunday when two venues, The Carlisle and Printworks, play host to Under The Radar. Aimed at showcasing the best emerging young talent from across the country, it’s curated by BBC Introducing, the Academy of Contemporary Music, Incubate and the Joe Strummer Foundation. The organisers are touting Kudu Blue, Brighton-based indie rising stars, as one to watch out for this year.

For those on the look-out for something a bit more traditional, there’s always the eccentrically quirky Umbrella Parade which culminates in an afternoon of music and some flamboyantly extravagant brass at the White Rock Theatre.

Monday 24th

Now an established fixture on the Monday evening, the Lord Nelson plays host to acoustic blues/roots musician King Size Slim for a laid-back evening prior to the frenetic madness of The Fat Tuesday Tour the following day.

Tuesday 25th

This is the big one. Twelve venues will host The Fat Tuesday Tour where 24 bands will play 20-minute sets in three venues apiece. Again, there’s a ticketed aftershow at the Brass Monkey with live music from Buddah Triangle and a DJ set from Greentea Peng.

Announced so far

While the full weekend programme is yet to be announced, all of the following acts have been confirmed so far:

Baxter Dury, Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club, Plaid, DJ Food, Greentea Peng, Sam Wills, Kudu Blue, Kid Kapichi, Duke Garwood and the Rank Panache, Nova Twins DJ set, Dizraeli. Hayley Ross, Buddah Triangle, Loud Noises, Georgia Meek, The Great Malarkey, Funking Barstewards, Mzz Kimberley, Sister Suzie, Dr Savage, Aris, The Colleens, Blabbermouth, Otto, The Curst Sons, The Shady Pines, King Size Slim, Johanna Bramli, Georgia May, Trevor Watts with Grassy Noel & APE, Leila (DJ Set), Mr Thing, Creature Creature, The Village Metronome, Massicot, Tim Exile, Silent Natives, The United Stoats Of America, Victoria McDonnell Band, Milton Hide, Sugar Loaf Band, Frank From Blue Velvet, Anna Page, Kahlla, Dayana, Claire K Nicolson, Edward Sanson, Oli Barton & The Movement, Glashin, L, Now and Then, Someone Anyone, Abstract Source, Crunchy Bat, David Toop & Rie Nakajima, Gawd Status, Dave Malone.

Keep an eye on the Fat Tuesday website for more information as it’s published.

Header photo: Loud Noises - image supplied by Fat Tuesday PR team

Related posts:

Fat Tuesday preview 2017

Review: Hastings Fat Tuesday 2017 – Unplugged Saturday 25/2/17

Dodgy at The Carlisle, Hastings (Fat Tuesday headliners 28/2/17)

Live review: Glen Matlock headlines Hastings Fat Tuesday 5/3/19

Rock and pop memorabilia at the V&A’s Theatre & Performance exhibition

With a free afternoon in London before heading off to Minehead for the Butlins rock weekend I thought I’d take a look at the V&A’s Theatre and Performance exhibition. This permanent exhibition is about stage performance in its widest sense, but amidst the magnificently ornate costumes from nineteenth century productions of Shakespeare, a sparkling line-up of pantomime dame outfits and Dame Edna’s famous Sydney Opera House-shaped hat, there are a number of exhibits that are of particular interest to rock and pop enthusiasts.

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Madness memorabilia

From a small display devoted to Madness memorabilia, to stage outfits worn by the likes of Elton John and Jimmy Page, to a ukulele played by George Formby, there’s some interesting artefacts, even if the selection seems somewhat random.

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L-r: Jimmy Page's peacock suit, Elton John's bicycle outfit and George Formby's ukulele

However, the exhibition really needs to be seen in it’s wider context to properly appreciate it and the way that twentieth century rock and pop acts fitted into a tradition of stage performance stretching back centuries.

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Recreation of Kylie Minogue's backstage dressing room

If you are taking a trip to London’s museum quarter in South Kensington anyway it’s definitely worth taking a look at – and like all other permanent exhibitions in the capital’s main museums it’s completely free.

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L-r: Coldplay's Chris Martin's stagewear and Adam Ant's Dandy Highwayman outfit

 

Live review: Mott The Hoople ’74 at Shepherds Bush Empire 27/4/19

Back in the early 80s, I was on a voyage of discovery voraciously buying up the back catalogues of some of the great bands of the late 60s and 70s. Many of the big beasts – the likes of Deep Purple and Humble Pie and, yes, Mott The Hoople had called it a day by then. Even though such bands were at their commercial height less than a decade previously they seemed to inhabit a completely different world to the early 80s music world of my teenage years. I loved the records. I absolutely adored both the ‘Mott’ and ‘The Hoople’ albums, in particular, but I never really entertained the idea of seeing Mott The Hoople live on stage. A brilliant slice of rock n roll history? Indeed. But they were the past and I could, at least, enjoy Ian Hunter’s impressive solo career.

That all changed in 2009, of course, when the short run of reunion concerts by the original line-up were announced. Jubilant, emotional and electric the one small niggle about the reunion, and of a further run in 2013, is that while they rightly celebrated the band’s original line-up, they didn’t do justice to the input of the later members – namely Ariel Bender on guitar and Morgan Fisher on keyboards.

Again, I accepted this as a small niggle in an otherwise perfect reunion. I never really entertained the idea that I’d get the chance to see it put right. On the way to Shepherd’s Bush Empire I was feeling quite emotional about having the opportunity to see it become reality after all, and remembering back to the time when I first happened upon this veteran band in a second-hand shop in Preston as a teenager. This was always going to be more than just a gig. I want it to be special. They more than deliver on that.

Songs from ‘The Hoople’ – Mott The Hoople’s brilliant final studio album (and the only one to feature Fisher and Bender) feature prominently: the camp splendour of ‘The Golden Age of Rock n Roll’, the glammed-up deliciousness of ‘Roll Away The Stone’, the glorious insanity of ‘Marionette’ and many more.

At earlier dates on the tour there had been some online disquiet from fans about the quality of Bender’s playing. True, he was never going to be Jimmy Page (or Mick Ralphs for that matter) but his over the top antics and tongue-in-cheek craving for adulation were an essential component of late-period Mott’s 70s stage act – and so it proves tonight. Moreover, Bender’s blunt in-yer-face guitar work really suits the proto-punk of those early Mott songs like ‘Walking With a Mountain’ and ‘Rock n Roll Queen’ that Bender made his own when he became part of the band.

Fisher, always a magnificently talented pianist, when he’s not tottering around the stage with copious glasses of white wine, gives us many wonderful musical flourishes on the keys. With the untimely deaths of Dale Griffin and Overend Watts the ranks of Hooples are sadly depleted but Ian Hunter’s long-time side-kicks in the Rant Band, gifted musicians all, do a seamless job co-opted into the on-stage madness that is Mott The Hoople.

Hunter’s unmistakable voice, as ever, is in fine form. At 80 he shows no signs of slowing down, of losing his grip as a performer or his creativity as a songwriter. However, if this tour is to be the final chapter in the ballad of Mott the Hoople it serves as a fitting end to the career of a wonderful, unique and utterly, utterly irreplaceable band. Mott the Hoople – thanks for a great trip….

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Set-list:

American Pie / The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll
‪Lounge Lizard ‬
Alice
Honaloochie Boogie
Rest in Peace
I Wish I Was Your Mother
Pearl ‘n’ Roy (England)
Sucker
Sweet Jane
Rose
Walking With a Mountain
Roll Away the Stone
Marionette
Jerkin’ Crocus / One of the Boys
Medley: Rock ‘n Roll Queen / Crash Street Kidds / Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On / Mean Woman Blues / Johnny B. Goode / Violence / Cleveland Rocks / You Really Got Me
All the Way From Memphis
Saturday Gigs
All the Young Dudes

 

https://mottthehoople.com/classof74/

Related reviews:

Ian Hunter at Shepherds Bush Empire 2016

Ian Hunter at Shepherds Bush Empire 2014

Ian Hunter at Giants of Rock 2016

Mott The Hoople Fan Convention 2016

 

Book Review: ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’ by Daniel Rachel

‘The music and politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge’

For someone like me who has long had a burning passion for both music and a range of progressive causes ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’ was an interesting read. It is written as an ‘oral history’ which means that you don’t necessarily want to read it continuously for hours on end, given it is just one long succession of quotes from key players rather than being wrapped up into an overarching narrative and analysis. Nevertheless, it is an absolutely fascinating read. It covers the period from the late 70s to around 1990 with insights into the Rock Against Racism movement, the bands brought together under the 2 Tone label and finally the Red Wedge initiative which worked to try and build support for Labour in the run-up 1987 General Election.

In terms of how well popular music and political activism can mix the main message I came away with from this book is that it can be a great force for change on particular issues at particular moments in time (Rock Against Racism, Free Nelson Mandela) but it all starts to get a bit complicated and a bit messy when you try and combine it with party politics and a long-term programme (Red Wedge). There are real parallels here with John Harris’s ‘The Last Party’ which covers Britpop’s flirtation with New Labour a decade later.

Published 2016 Picador

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http://danielrachel.com/