Contact: tdharvey@hotmail.co.uk Or Follow On Twitter @TimDavidHarvey

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

REVIEW: TANK-SAVAGE

4/5

Savage Garden.

Another one for the soul soldier artillery, 'Savage' is exactly that for the strong-armed R&B battalion singer Tank, who has been rolling like a 'One Man', 'Force Of Nature' since his 'Sex, Love & Pain' classic took him from background singer for Ginuwine, all the way to the Grammy family. He successfully sequeled his definitive, groundbreaking classic to begin last year, amid rumors of a breakdown in his three-way supergroup marriage TGT with modern R&B innovator Elgin 'Ginuwine' Lumpkin and singer/actor Tyrese Gibson. The Hollywood star who right now is engaging in a war of beefed up words with 'Fast and Furious' co-star The Rock over some hard place feelings over a Dwyane Johnson 'Hobbs' spin-off with Jason Statham (and possibly according to some Instagram back and forth, Durrell Babbs himself, Tank). Despite being fans of all parties that came together for the classic 'Three Kings' album we would be remiss to not point to reports that the man making the most money from movies didn't want an equal share of a sought after sequel with his big-three band of brothers. Despite producer Tank doing the lions share of these kingsmens work writing and manning the boards on some of this trios biggest hits. Even away from the collaborative classic which we hope one day follows up with another album (we invite you to listen to 'Open Invitation's' standout track, 'Prior To You'). But that's another song, for another album and another story on another day. As inbetween all the work for other artists that Tank's been putting on, not to mention the mixtapes and Valentine and Christmas E.P.'s Tank has being keeping busy on his own solo outings that play not to over inflated ego, but only to his love of soul and dedication to his songwriting craft. For almost a straight decade Tank has been rolling out an amazing album between everything else just less than every other year. There was 'Now Or Never' and then all the work that followed after like it really was. The fresh 'This Is How I Feel'. The Motown 'You're My Star' feeling fuelled 'Stronger'. And then of course 'SLP2' last year in twenty fifthteen. But now this time only a calender and change later Babbs is back as Tank gets really 'Savage' aiming for the head of the R&B throne via the heart.

And of course all that sweet soul for the streets that may be found Isley inspired somewhere between the sheets. "Everybody wanna taste it/You can tell that you my favorite/I give you the gas and/Now you burning up the pavement/If you ever leave/I'ma probably have to chase it/It took too long to make it/And now I can't replace it", Tank cooly croons on the opening self-titled track of the same name. Getting deep, down and dirty and ever so Parental Advisory: Explicit Content sticker stamping slick and leather cool since he got 'Lonely' with frequent 'Shots Fired' collaborater Chris Brown on the opening to 'This Is How I Feel' in 2012. The hard hip-hop R&B R. Kelly like duality to his Babyface ballad atmospheric inspired pure persona continues on 'Everything' where his line rhymes body even those of his guest features of him ten years ago Trey Songz and too 'Fast and Furious' punchline king Ludacris. As Tank raps and waxes lyrical confidence with his "You just want it real and if you/Lookin' I ain't that far/Oooooh Oh, you just want the/Cash and the fast life/Know you see the Lambo' you can/See that I'm the fast type/I can make you famous got the/Cameras and the flashlights" competition crippling couplets. Staying in this same vain fast lane, Tank keeps driving some smooth rides with the burners 'Do For Me' and 'Only One' who on a nightdrive will find themselves tuned into the dials of the radio as the roof on the convertible rolls back as cool as a crisp summer setting night. All before the beautiful 'You Belong To Me' keeps the ballads slow burning on the blacktop as Tank takes it slow between lines like, "We done made some big moves/G-wagon and a Wraith/Bel-Air mansion coming soon/I been down to put the paper down/For anything a lady wanna do/I could let you walk on air". As the Fresh Prince wills his way in a world of music Mr. Smith's to become the one, true, sole heir and king or R&B.

Rhythm and blues. Sex, love and mother####### pain all menage together in the second half of this 'Savage' piece that see his smouldering sensual single 'When We' take center stage like his model wife Zena Foster in the velvet rope smooth and pulling video. As between powerfully provocative lyrics licking "I like it when you lose it/I like it when you go there/I like the way you use it/I like that you don’t play fair/Recipe for a disaster" between X-rated harmonies and melodies your ex wouldn't want to hear that haven't been this racy and raw since Ginuwine hummed ad-libs of 'When We Make Love'. Tank brings many a coupling collaboration to the better half of his jacket diamond grafitti stamped album. 'Good Thing' with Candice Boyd is oh so much more than that. Whilst the complete closer with one of the last young guns with bullets left in his R&B revolver J. Valentine 'Stay Where You Are' keeps us right here in this albums hold. An album that gets 'Sexy' and nasty and horribly hardcore as we 'F It Up'. This is the sexual liberated power of Prince, LeBron muscled up to a baller that wants the crown in a modern day where everyone is going for your dome for their piece. "No use for you to rush perfection" Tank laments as he rhymes with raw reason "We need a camera crew/Cuz I’m ‘bout to get you loose/I’m ‘bout to make ya yell/Like somethin’ was wrong wit’chu/Undo your ponytail/Let all that fall down/Told you I’m gon’ be there/To beat it all down" on another heater on an album so hot summers about to come back before the dark fall. This cohesive set is in a class all in its own aside from Tank's classier numbers, but still it will move millions in behind closed doors unison for that midnite hour love-in as Tank's latest may be darker, but man how it cuts deeper too, going for the jugular. The hardest working man in urban radio, if not mainstream music as a whole may have his head on his hands on his back to us album cover. But this is not out of desperation...not for album sales anyway. Sex sells, but real love wins and Tank's fans continue to stand by him in solidarity despite the lines drawn be enemies whether critical or commercial. Write him out of the pop charts all you like, but he'll stay writing songs on and popping as those not giving him his fair share will finally see real success isn't how much you sell...but how much you don't sell out. Savage? You be the judge, but when it comes to Tank and his guilty, lustful pleasures fleshed out here, in his industry no one has more conviction. And that always makes more than the zeroes after your name. Real music isn't just in the hit-making, but the pen and paper, voice and microphone songwriting beginning. And you best believe the man who started it all has more in the you know what. You can't stop this Tank in an arms war when he keeps reloading like this. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

REVIEW: SHANIA TWAIN-NOW

4/5

From This Moment Now

1.2. 'Now'. She's still the one after all these years. Forever young like Keanu Reeves post-50, Canadian country singer Shania Twain has been through it all and taken a long and winding road just west of Route 66 to get to this point in 2017. From Nashville to taking Dollywood as the best selling female country star of all time in the world, Shania was tailor making pop/country crossover hits that were a little bit rock and roll and moving C.D. copies swiftly years before todays biggest music star that wrote her name in the blank space left when the Twain train stopped at station. But now it's back on it's wheels for the first new album Shania has put down since 2002's three-way, blue, green, red, pop, country and international big 'Up' release that came off the heels and leopard skin catsuit success of her and country music as a whole's most groundbreaking album. One of the biggest diamond albums of the golden era 90's and of all-time, 'Come On Over'. And after the 'From This Moment On' era came to a close, 'Now' finally comes after a decade and a half as Shania has survived bitter betrayal and divorce. Lyme disease. Almost losing her signature sound, let alone tragically her voice as a whole. And not to mention 15 long years that has seen the music industry change and download into a new age of Spotify streaming that even Taylor Swift ended up having to give in to for fear of real 'Bad Blood' with fans and industry heads alike. But despite all this and that in a time where Nashville is a soap opera T.V. show and country music in the modern day is more Lady Antebellum than Johnny Cash, the Canuck that took Tennessee has scored yet another number one album. Shania is still a girl on fire. Man I feel like a comeback. In the words of Lionel Richie on his 'Tuskegee' country album, 'My Precious Love' collabo with Twain, "Welcome Back Shania"! Let's go girl!

'Life's About To Get Good' indeed as is evident on Shania's soaring new life affirming single that is right there with her catchy hallmark 'Man I Feel Like A Woman', 'That Don't Impress Me Much' and 'I'm Gonna Getcha Good' singles that she will roll out in her next Las Vegas residency in tribute to that great, unstoppable town (stay strong, stay praying) and all the country stars and fans who have rocked there. "Oh! Life's about joy/Life's about pain/It's all about forgiving and the will to walk away/I'm ready to be loved/And love the way I should/Life's about/Life's about to get good" Shania sings in chorus for the new post-break-up survivor anthem that's the 'We Will Never Ever Get Back Together' for the millennial parental generation. And if that wasn't enough than the follow up second single and opening first track of the album 'Swingin' With My Eyes Closed' keeps the party going with a reggae flavour that sparks the nostalgia of the international version of 'Up'. "It's in the air we're breathing/Oh can you taste the freedom, oh oh/I'm swinging with my eyes closed/Got my hair down a wide open road/I'm swinging with my eyes closed/Only god knows how far it goes/Fist up in the air/Oh like we don't care/Swinging" Twain traces lyrically in a song and video party fusion laced with sex appeal. As the woman who in stunning portrait black and white still fits and wears the same iconic as Madonna's closet outfit she wore in the 'That Don't Impress Me Much' video shows she's not only still the one, but she's still got it too. 'It' being the appeal of one of the greatest legacy making legends in two diamond dominating genres of music. Brad Pitt!? Captain Kirk?! John Wayne maybe?! Elvis or something?! Not even the King can touch the queen.

But despite a double act of dominating sole standing singles, 'Now' is all about the album as a whole right here and it really is her most cohesive and classic set in terms of ballads in the same 'The Woman In Me' vein. The country strong 'Home Now' confirms her arrival back in her second residence outside of Ontario and in those United States. Whilst the atmospheric 'Light Of My Life' could find itself perfectly between 'I Won't Leave You Lonely' and 'You've Got A Way' as she sings "My little piece of the pie/American beauty/Apple of my eye". But it's the modern maverick 'Poor Me' that would have the Parton and Emmylou Harris raising a glass too in it's clever songwriting skill of lyrical dexterity. As it mixes sorrow on the rocks with a twist as she sings "poor me this/poor me that" and then "pour me...another". 'Whose Gonna Be Your Girl' is a classic 'no need to roam you're love is at home' call and response yearn as she asks her man about the town "whose gonna be your girl/when all your boys are gone". Whilst the catchy chorus vocally and instrumentally of 'More Fun' kisses those Monday blues away to a Friday night live and love for the weekend embrace. And as this deluxe album delves deeper than the studio set tracks like 'I'm Alright' are more than that as the woman who wrote 'Black Eyes, Blue Tears' and 'When' shows she has great love songs growing on trees no matter her songwriter or partner. 'Lets Kiss And Make Up' and 'Where Do You Think You're Going' continues that reconcilliation of love trend and theme. Whilst 'Roll Me On The River' gets the mood back on an upbeat track as she pleads "play my favourites on the ride downtown/'Love Me Tender' on the radio/Turn it louder, kiss me slow". The hand clapping keeps rounding up in applause for the positive reaffirming 'We Got Something They Don't'. Before she finally sits down with her acoustic with the personal beauty we've been waiting for in 'Because Of You' for an inspired interlude as she gets back on her feet and the floor for the take your partner 'You Can't Buy Love'. 'All In All' this is a vast and versatile velvet smooth set that's worth all the years of paid off wait. But it's the heartfelt, soulful 'Soldier' that really is the nation to nation proud standout. "Has anybody seen my soldier/Standing all alone/Has anybody seen my soldier/Just trying to get home" she sings in military tribute testament. As this adopted American from Canada looks to keep those States united in a house of falling cards. Even a trumped up president needs to recognize a queen from another country. They said "I'll bet she'll never make it", but here she is forever and always, more than holding on. Looks like she made it. And that does impress us much. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 25 September 2017

REVIEW: THE KILLERS-WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL

4/5

Leaving Las Vegas.

Neon lights read "Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada" in the rearview of a Mustang riding towards the desert. That's right The Killers are leaving Sin City and all their troubles behind. Splits, personal problems at home and band counselling. And as they roll away like the last dice off the strip they see all their bright lights inbetween the big cities attractions, from the Monte Carlo and fountains of the Bellagio, to the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty like they had Paris, Egypt, Italy and New York in the same city. From the skyline shine of their 'Hot Fuss' debut which had more hit single classics in the first few tracks then most bands have in their entire careers, to the sophomore star 'Sams Town' and the neon future of 'Day & Age' that asked if we were human or dancer. But after lead singer Brandon Flowers went out on his own with the native 'Flamingo' that really welcomed us to the red or black heart of this luck be a lady casino town (following his solo debut with the 80's revival of 'The Desired Effect' two years back), The Killers looked primed for a change. And the Springsteen inspiration fuelled 'Battle Born' (perhaps their deepest and desert at night darkest best yet) saw them hit the road for a new heartland sound, leaving their 'Direct Hits' in a compilation next exit as they thunder road gunned for their own 'Shot At The Night'. Now unbelievably a half decade later the band that gift us with a new Christmas song every end of year are back before the fall with something 'Wonderful, Wonderful'. And even a million miles away from the pink flamingo's, Brandon Flowers is still 'The Man'.

And with lyrics like "I got gas in the tank/I got money in the bank/I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man/I got skin in the game/I got a household name/I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man" in a video where Flowers plays a vest, grill and shotgun trailer park boy, a woman on each arm suited and booted socialite, a rhinestone cowboy riding a Cadillac, an Elvis glitter glam in the talent contest of a dive bar wannabe star and an Evil Knievel like motorbike stuntman what more could you expect. The Killers can still make a killing. Even if for the first time their name and iconic spotlight logo isn't front and center on their album cover. But hold the desert shell to your ear and you'll hear one of this leather and white tee bands best and biggest hits for the jukebox yet. And it all sounds so dynamite, dynamically different, between hallmark couplets and Bowie homages that call back to their 'Spaceman' age. And if you thought it ended their with big, bold and bright new singles that really are that then you better 'Run For Cover' from the rip-roaring guitars of their stadium rocking follow up with rolling Flowers in vocal bloom. "I saw Sonny Liston on the street last night/Black-fisted and strong singing Redemption Song/He motioned me to the sky/I heard heaven and thunder cry/Run for cover/Run while you can, baby, don't look back/You gotta run for cover/Don't be afraid of the fear, that's a played out trap, man/You know you're not the only one/And don't look back, just run for cover" Brandon sings. But it's not the only knockout pugilist reference the singer/songwriter boxes clever with.

Aiming to be the greatest like Ali in a town all too familiar with the belt or ropes, make or break nature of life that can either leave you with a clenched fist to the sky or a black and blue eye for your purple heart, Flowers looks back at his own adolescent mortality and validity of his youthful dreams that he never knew would come this true on 'Tyson vs Douglas'. Thinking Iron Mike couldn't be beat he laments, "You can change the channel, take the phone off the hook/Avoid the headlines, but you'll never grow up, baby, if you don't look/I had to hold my breath 'til the coast was clear/When I saw him go down/Felt like somebody lied/I had to close my eyes just to stop the tears" as the man who went from heavyweight to 'Hangover' movies hit the canvas. The Killers frontman alive with back against the wall aspiration even tries to impress his wife on the classic love song 'Out Of My Mind' with rock God hero references, talking about The King like The Boss did. "I stormed the gates of Graceland/To make you realize/Went back to back with Springsteen/You turned and rolled your eyes/So I told you about McCartney/And that's a heavy name to drop/You say you don't need confirmation/But I don't know if I can stop". But even caught between a rock and a deserted place, Flowers still has the will and the way his heartland music promises in close your eyes and hope to fly faith as he sings, "I'll climb, I'll climb" again and again in religious like call and response. Just like this L.P.'s standout title track back and forth cries of resolution to the "motherless child' which offers faith from this Mormon preacher in the same vein as 'Battle Born's' 'Deadlines and Commitments'. Holy Ghost evoking forgiveness and redemption echo through this album as par for this bands course. From the "call my name" relationship reliability of 'Life To Come' to the welcome Hollywood star Woody Harrelson opening scripture introduction of 'The Calling'. These top ten tracks from The Killers with no filler really belong with the best of the rest even if calling critics believe this isn't the groups most powerful project. But from the singles to the deep album cuts like the atmospheric 'Some Kind Of Love' it's hard to pick the best from this beautiful bunch from Flowers...that is until you get to the end. Where Brandon and his band of brothers search for more in their backpocket with 'Have All The Songs Been Written'? And judging from lines like, "Have all the songs been written/Have all the truths been told/Has all the gas been siphoned/Do the banks still carry gold/Has every ship gone sailing/Has every heart gone blue/Have all the songs been written/Oh, I just need one to get through to you/I just need one more", it looks like they really do have one too. And plenty more wonderful ones left in the tank as they tune their car radio in. For this band on the run there's still plenty of roads left to take. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 28 August 2017

FOR THE RECORD: WILL SMITH & DJ JAZZY JEFF Live @ Blackpool Livewire Festival

5/5

Getting Jazzy Wit It.

Blackpool? BLACKPOOL?! Yep, underneath the Blackpool Tower (L'Eiffel has got nothing on this!) on a summertime's night in the "Las Vegas" of the United Kingdom of all places, movie megastar Will Smith and his Fresh Prince rapping partner DJ Jazzy Jeff reunited on stage after seven years and one night in Croatia (in the shortest...and strangest world tour), to thousands of promenade shutting down fans whose eyes were peeled with as much awe as disbelief. Can the worlds most recognisable face of entertainment that has the ears to play President Barack Obama really forgo London, Manchester and even the Beatles home of Liverpool (let alone the rest of the whole world) for a town more known for it's sticks of rock and rollercoasters than fans screaming after rock stars? Well...yes he can! Just days after Michael' men, The Jacksons took to the same stage of ultimate musical and cultural icons just across the road from pound arcades and shops, this rhyming and scratching brotherhood finished one hell of a Bank Holiday weekend with a special show that was everything and anything but a cash grab for the multi-million 'Men In Black', 'Independence Day' and 'Suicide Squad' Deadshot actor and one of the greatest deejay's of all-time in hip-hop and music history. "You have no idea how amped I am" Big Willie, Will Smith said taking the stage after the outstanding opening of his bombastic classic 'Boom! Shake The Room'. Pyrotechnically puncuated by fireballs and fireworks that neon illuminated the night like the Blackpool lights and tower front at Christmas or the name of Smith's next movie coming this December. With the smell of firecrackers in the air and the man himself live in the "Fresh" the amazing atmosphere was set. But even without that the excitement would have still been as palpable from the met awe-inspiring anticipation of the powerhouse energy enthuser whose catchphrases include "WOO" and an even louder "HA HAAA"! Were he or we about to let this once in a lifetime night in a small town by the seaside go to waste? "Oh HELL nah"!

Code Red! This was it! After the 'Simon Says' call and response of epic, ultimate hypeman Fatman Scoop got the crowd going like it's "how the hell is THIS happening HERE" feeling didn't even need to. Or his 'Be Faithful' Crooklyn Clan remix with Notorious B.I.G. wife and R&B queen Faith Evans did in every club since the early 2000's. The man who supported Scoop on the 'Put Your Hands Up' remix like Faith went from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air to literally the most famous person you'll ever see live now the late, great Jacksons M.J. (not to mention the freshest Prince of them all) is no longer with us for the biggest selling yet most underrated discography you've ever heard or known word for word. Remember "first rap Grammy! Let's talk about the only reason your a## went to Miami". Sure when it comes to Will, you know his way. He is legend and you know the movies from 'Hitch' and 'The Pursuit Of Happyness', to 'Collateral Beauty' and 'Wild Wild West'. Just like you know Jeff, whether you're a hip-hop purist or a famous face fan who knows Jazzy as the dude that always get thrown out of the late, great James Avery Uncle Phil's Bel-Air mansion everytime he made a "you're uncle's so fat" joke or wore that gold and black and white polka dot shirt. But these two are more than one of the 80's 'Cosby Show' and 'Cheers' rivalling most successful sitcoms of all-time 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' that their Magic and Kareem, bars and decks, one-two punch dynamic duo actually chicken before egg birthed. When it comes to true jewel, genuine hip-hop history and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Will Smith and Jeff Townes are first and foremost like Charlie Mack out of the limo. As iconic and legendary in rap circles and ciphers as fellow 80's pionners Run-DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and N.W.A. Don't let the nice, clean raps confuse you. Or the family movies like LL Cool J or Ice Cube guy. Will Smith, you know he's fresh. But the kid who thought he could beat Mike Tyson has skills to. Capital Z.

Get Jiggy with it all you like, but the legendary legacy of Fresh and Jeff is not just about "Here come the Men In Black" as you nod your head. Because for every trademark Will, heartfelt and hilariously introduced stool-sitting  'Just The Two Of Us' (with his first born sitting in V.I.P. with what looked like either Blackpool's mayor or an old white dude who loves Slick Rick jewellery) and welcome to 'Miami' (as the man who played the late, great 'Ali' said and show proved he was the greatest) there was a 'I Wanna Rock' and 'Brand New Funk'. As we were tour taken with our guide through the 30 odd years and back catalogues from 'Big Willie Style' to 'He's The D.J. I'm The Rapper' and 'Rock The House' to 'Willeniuum' in Blackpool's homebase. Just how actually legendary are these big names? Well if you didn't know that these 'Girls Aint Nothing Trouble' and 'Parent's Just Don't Understand' hitmakers won the first rap Grammy when musics Oscars wouldn't even televise the category. And that the cultural bringing together ground and barrier breakers were even sued by the claws of Freddy Kruger in a real waking horror for their Halloween hit 'Nightmare On My Street' then now you do, as one of the greatest and most fun storytellers told you. As he rocked and rolled, just cruising through the hits at a relentless pace, not looking as middle aged as this 50 plus all Hollywood action hero actually is. With his wheels of steel partner Jazzy Jeff on the ones and twos, perfecting the most impossible crowd fuse igniting scratches and transforms on vivid vinyl like the return of the magnificent he really is. And before you wonder like sampling 'I Wish' by Stevie, of course they did the ultimate greatest hit of the season for this festival in 'Summertime', just like a spark of nostalgia. As there it was a groove slightly transformed like their encore mash-up of the still relevant post-Willeniuum hit 'Switch' and the alternating, cult recited legendary 'Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' theme. But as school was out like a sort of a buzz the nights called for "drums please", as the world premiere of a new empowering song came out to a 808 roll. And the new single material, bright shining 'Get Lit' was exactly that for the new, next gen, Netflix smartphone littered crowd this 80's hit making baby still related to like Banks residents this Bank Holiday. Even with the likes of 'Ring My Bell', 'Lovely Daze', 'Will 2K', or Alfonso Ribeiro doing "The Carlton" to 'It's Not Unusual' by Tom Jones on a fridge carton, this glee grinning great still milked the gig in concert with D.J. J.J spilling the crates for all it was worth before the night gave way to glass bottles on the sidewalk. And after the Times Square, gunpowder Fawkes explosive fireworks finale fans were left rubbing their eyes like lamps in the same shock and disbelief awe, as the man whose about to play the genie in Disney's live-action 'Aladdin' remake, live and in living colour strolled off stage as casually as he came. Leaving everyone in attendance with their one wish his command in something we'll never take for granted. And whether on your way back you caught a cab that was rare or yelled "I'm home, smell you later", that was story of how Blackpool became the home of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 19 June 2017

REVIEW: THE BEATLES STORY (Liverpool)

4/5

Magical Mystery Tour...With The Beatles.

Hans Zimmer was in the capital of culture, Liverpool this weekend with his full band and orchestra as part of the German's U.K. leg of his world tour. And the composer who has scored what seems like almost every film in the modern movie industry, from 'Gladiator' to 'The Lion King' and 'The Dark Knight' to Christopher Nolan's forthcoming 'Dunkirk' war story had to give it up for the town that were "all the best songs come from." And across the road from the Liverpool Echo Arena showcase of the man behind all the soundtracks is another exhibit at the iconic, infamous Albert Dock landmark. That being the history of the Fab Four themselves, and The Beatles Story. Descend down the classic brick steps of these docklands to this museum of music legend and legacy and you will soon learn all that is to be known about the four horsemen of rock and roll. John, Paul, George and Ringo. Starr, Harrison and of course Lennon and McCartney. From The Quarryman beginnings to the rooftop end that saw them go their solo ways and beyond.

There's so much more to the exhibits of this museum that doesn't just tell The Beatles tale, but the story of the rock and roll they helped invent too alongside the likes of the late, great, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. This is the genuine article, with real artifacts too. From The King's belt, that Elvis Presley rocked in his casino slot in Las Vegas, to David Bowie's guitar (for those who like me didn't know that John Lennon wrote the fantastic 'Fame'). Start with a drink at the replica of the still standing next to a statue of John in the city, Cavern Club and you'll be able to see all the landmarks. From the steps of Abbey Road (although here it's more of a street corner than a pedestrian crossing photo oppurtunity (lets face it a longer and more winding road would reduce traffic stops at the real thing across the road from the studios)), to the stage of the Ed Sullivan show taking you back to the U.S.A. like U.S.S.R and all the studio sets for the record inbetween all the album pressing. Then after paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of 'Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band' and respect to the grave of Eleanor Rigby it's time to all go on a 'Yellow Submarine' and the trippiest era in the Fab Four's 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' day-tripping history. Before from those depths you go to the heights of where they let it be, speaking words of wisdom.

And then it's time to go it alone, riding on the solo tip. From the Wings Paul McCartney took as he lived and let die like 007 (Rest Peacefully forever more Roger) to the photograph exhibitions of Ringo's Thomas The Tank stardom. But for this kid from a local seaside town just a train ride away it was crazy to see just how far these four lads and the genre of music and style they inspired-from the hair to the strings of guitar-that still lasts to this day has come. And yet remains standing the test of time as you see all the world over tourists walk around this musical theatre with head-sets in any language, locked down like this was Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. But even Californian surfer dudes know Beach Boys and every new kid trying to knock the latest and greatest off the block would be nothing without a handful of Scousers. This three decade old man who stupidly only got into what The Beatles were really about at 25 beamed when he saw all the accolades of solo Travelling Willbury and passionate garderner George Harrison like I just met my sweet lord, or the late, great himself. And then was moved to shedding genuine tears upon seeing the final, best saved for last, Lennon exhibition after all his artwork and the New York, black and white ballad of John and Yoko, which I won't spoil. You'll just have to come together and imagine. Now don't let it be, or wait for yesterday. All you need is a ticket to ride. As the history of The Beatles is for sale...eight days a week. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

FOR THE RECORD: HANS ZIMMER Live @ Liverpool Echo Arena (17/06/17)

5/5

Zimception

'Batman Begins', 'The Dark Knight', 'The Dark Knight Rises', 'Man Of Steel', 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', 'Inception', 'Interstellar', '12 Years A Slave', 'Gladiator', 'The Lion King', 'Pirates Of The Caribbean', 'The Last Samurai', 'The Da Vinci Code', 'Rain Man', 'Thelma & Louise',  'Driving Miss Daisy', 'The Thin Red Line'...'Spanglish'. Classic cinematic composer Hans Zimmer has scored so many massive movies in the Hollywood mainstream. So much so that is literally looks like he's the only man behind the music in every film you watch not called 'Star Wars' (wands up for John Williams). And the legendary cinematic conductor was back with his full band and orchestra last night in Liverpool. The town that the great German behind every other movie soundtrack described as being "where all the best songs were wrote". And echoing more soundscape sentiments in the Liverpool Echo Arena, just across the road from The Beatles Story museum in the awe-inspiring landmark Albert Dock, Zimmer brought us another exhibition as we took a tour through modern movie history with one of the greats of screen and sound.

Opening the proceedings with his fun ditty from 'The Holiday' as his band came into play, you almost expected Tenacious D's Jack Black on his one-man instrument-less Saxophone to join this maestro with all his epic players. And after the full string and horn section were spoiler-alert revealed, Zimmer shined as he showed he could play every instrument including the banjo in a set of epics so epic in itself it needed an interval like theatre. A soaring sonic soundscape with vivid visuals and timeless, 'you almost forgot' classics. From the siren choir singing of Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman's submarine submerged drama 'Crimson Tide', to the 'True Romance' of Quentin Tarantino's Xylophone number which has been used and reused again in adverts today. The late, comic great Garry Shandling lookalike whose bank must be even bigger than his studio had not the cocky confidence of a legend rolling in royalties, but the honest humility of a man who knows it takes every instrument and every musician to make the music behind movie magic happen. From the panflute of 'Gladiator', taking us back to the fields of gold and stirring singing. To the opening call of 'The Lion King' (sung by the actual man himself as Hans tells us, "you don't get with the Broadway show") which had everyone out for a beer or bathroom break rushing back to their seats with nostalgic youthful glee as if they were about to see a young Simba being raised to the rooftops of the arena bathed in the light of the yellow sun.

But after Zimmering between his 'Da Vinci Code' signatures and those iconic 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' themes, Hans told us it was time to do the "superhero stuff". Or should he say the Nolan era. As after getting electro electric with his 'Amazing Spider-Man' Times Square neon splitting scoring and mixing his strong 'Man Of Steel' mix complete with timely 'Wonder Woman' theme interlopation, he delved into 'The Dark Knight' of all that cut-throat, razor-wire violin violence. From the beginnings of Batman to the last rise of this Dark Knight. Also paying beautiful tribute to the testament of the late, great Heath Ledger's iconic Joker and character of man and thoss who lost their lives in the cinema shootings with the moving 'Aurora' musical tribute. Dedicated to those today too who lose their loves to terroism that even tragically happens in concert venues of late. All from a the ever audience engaging band leader full of Ridley Scott stogie stories, who dedicated his show and proceeds in London to the victims and families of those who lost their lives and livelihoods in Grenfell tower. This magnificent man closed his concert with maybe his more stirring sound yet with the space odyssey organs of the out of this world inspired 'Interstellar' starring Matthew McConaughey. Before coming back with the most epic of encores with the 'Inception' influenced 'BAWS' that left us hanging on for more like Leonardo DiCaprio's spinning thimble that refuses to topple (or does it?). It sounds like Christopher Nolan's 'Dunkirk' is about to be IMAX epic from the speakers. After this we don't know what's next for the hardest working, composed conducter, but after Hans took us through the hands of modern movie time last night we know it's going to be iconic, timeless, legendary and just classic Zimmer. Filmmakers Beethoven in a symphony of sound. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 9 June 2017

FOR THE RECORD: SUGARHILL GANG & FURIOUS 5 Live @ Hangar 34, Liverpool (8/6/17)

4/5

The Real Get Down.

This is not a test! Delight was in full effect for rap fans in The Beatle, Rock-N-Roll Hall Of Fame town of Liverpool last night. Like colour T.V.'s on the wall. Or the Knicks playing basketball. As the first real, rap group and fellow R&R H.O.F. inductees in the same year as Miles Davis, U2 and of course George Harrison, the Sugarhill Gang brought the 70's pioneering golden age, true old school, hip-hop era back like a Baz Lurhman Netflix show.

Hotel? Motel? Holiday Inn? It didn't matter how the gang got down last night as after sugaring Liverpool with their biggest hits, Wonder Mike, Master Gee and the Flava Flav dressed and Sceptre staff, cane-wielding hype Henry 'Henn Dogg' Williams brought their friends, all whilst honouring the late, great Big Hank. As two fifths of the Furious 5 showed the kid Cudi's and Kendrick's of today that their name had nothing to do with a Vin Diesel car franchise vehicle sequel. As Scorpio stung like a Scorpion with his signature syllable soundbites and the "RAH" of great Grandmaster Melle Mel brought a melee of beats and rhymes.

Exploding on stage like a fire hydrant on a Bed-Stuy Summer. All whilst flexing like he could bench press fellow pioneering legendary icon LL Cool J, whilst pushing 60 and a grey goatee. Skipping and shuffling across stage like Ali on the canvas as the pair furiously tore through classic gems like 'White Lines' and of course 'The Message'. One of the greatest was easily the most entertaining thing about this energy-redefining evening that was something like a phenomenon and only missing Grandmaster Flash on the turntables.

Hanging on to these legends every word in Liverpool's hip new Hangar 34 venue (whose exterior is littered with great graffiti featuring A Tribe Called Quest's classic 'Low End Theory' cover), Sugarhill had everyone joining their gang last night. Proving that even approaching the age of the decade they made rap relevant they were still a knockout to these young pretenders like Sugar Ray. Leonard or Robinson.

A perfect precursor to the first rap Grammy, D.J. Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith's Fresh Prince Summer festival with The Jackson's in the U.K.'s Vegas of Blackpool. Sugar's Master and Wonder had everyone doing the Will and Carlton stank face, Bel-Air shake and spin to 'Apache'. Bringing the classics back like that fan favourite 'Fresh Prince' scene, "awooga" akin to being hooked on a 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' volume feeling. But this packed out crowd really hit the high notes after the legendary coming of golden era age 'Rappers Delight' rhymes went bar for bar like more credit cards than a sucka could ever spend.

As both groups united to roll through other hip-hop greats and rock with the hometown Beatles motto of 'All You Need Is Love'. In a truly beautiful moment of musical and cultural solidarity, standing and singing in the face of everything that has gone on in the world, this country and in concert venues recently. It was truly something special as all these untouchable greats fist-bumped, shook hands and pointed at individual members of the crowd telling them that they loved them. Refreshing in a stand-offish genre and industry today too concerned with looking too "hard" or full of hate. Last night when it came to raps realest you needed nothing more. TIM DAVID HARVEY.