Thursday, 28 April 2011
'The Way I See It', 'Stone Rollin', 'Instant Vintage' from 'Ray Ray'.
You don't get many gigs like this. As a matter of fact you don't get many nights like this...period. If you have mistakenly never seen this guy in concert, or even more criminally never heard of him you would do no wrong and find no better thing to do then book tickets for the next time he's in your town. Sure this writers a star struck fan who got to meet the humble and charming, genius singer/songwriter but still if you took in tonight as your first experience into the neo-soul singers matrix you'd simply agree with me. This performance and evening was so perfect that this review can't begin to do it justice, but let's try.
I'd seen him two years prior when his literally classic and groundbreaking album 'The Way I See It' hit, so I thought I knew what to expect...but I was wrong. Saadiq's soul was bared even more in an even better live show that left my foot, hand and head moving all night from 'Love That Girl' to '100 Yard Dash' and all the timeless, modern-day classics. A day before the wedding of the year, R&B royalty reigned supreme. All the crowd, singing word-for-word where in unison as Saadiq had the women in his hand and the men in his pocket, singing to his, Stevie Wonder and Earth Wind & Fire's song sheet. The night was being filmed, and the audience where on their best DVD behaviour but not because they wanted to be on T.V, but because the night called for it.
Raphael looked like Buddy Holly with his guitar but sang songs like Marvin Gaye. As a matter of fact that may be the best way to describe his 60's throwback style...but wait! Raphael Saadiq has his own style and is his own man, sure his gigs and latest music may be a testimonial to that classic Motown sound but it's no memorial. The musical art-form is no longer lost and it's because Saadiq is bringing it to the modern day with his unique twist. Showing that the art of the love song is far from dead and gone. Singing songs from his classic albums and some from his hot, 'The Way I See It' same vein 'Stone Rollin'' latest (like the title track or epic 'Good Man') the singer kept rolling out the hits and the good-times. The Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl hits came out too, (as did a cool remix to his D'Angelo assisted classic 'Be Here') and the mixed crowd of fans young and old didn't miss a beat. This wasn't just real music, it was real fans too. Tonight reminded us of how good things can get and how deep music can touch your soul.
His band and backing singers where so musically in-tune with their lead and talented and diverse that they could have all held the stage on their own, but still the man of the evening was Saadiq. Note perfect-he set the tone. Stylish in suits or his encore Summer garb-this was a grand design. Even off mic singing hit after hit Saadiq would smile, clap, click and ad-lib through the night showing he was just as into the music as his audience was. Charismatic and confident he held the crowd as well as the stage. The raw but fresh way he danced and sang off mic or off stage spoke volumes for his passion and devotion to his soul craft, and the feel-good times and smiles he brought to his audience was a refreshing infection. Now that's real music. It hasn't felt or sounded this good since the last time Ray, Ray hit the road and a concert hasn't been this classic since Sam Cooke hit the Harlem Square Club in 1963. Once again, the singer who is about to redefine music yet again, reinvented the live show. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 23 April 2011
The city of Liverpool becomes the capital of hip-hop culture.
With no offence intended to the great location of 'The Kazimier',(it was the perfect location for a gig of this nature) in the heart of Liverpool's city centre it really felt like the slums of Shaolin as Wu-Tang legend Genius/GZA took to the stage just shy of midnight to wield his 'Liquid Swords' album live. The hot, sweaty, cramped crowd really needed that real, rap refreshment too, despite some serious support which came courtesy of a worthy MC Battle the weekend prior. Local concert organisers and brothers Doug and Kris Wood (who put all this together) really produced a classic, for their debut hip-hop gig. With an iconic legend relaying one of the best underground albums of all time, this was a long way from the rock music the two would feature on their 'Band Royal' classic, but the pair stepped into hip-hop's shoes so well they may as well have been wearing Run-DMC Adidas.
It all sounded so good too as GZA slashed through the best strokes of his 'Liquid Swords' set with serious sickness. The crowd may have waited a while but as soon as the 'Shogun Assassin', "When I was little... my father was famous. He was the greatest samurai in the empire" kicked in the wait was worth it in hardcore hip-hop gold discs as this assassin killed it with some major chess moves. He even dropped the album titles song twice, the crowd loving to hear the classic intro, "When the MC's came, to live our their name" twice. If that wasn't enough for the sold out, packed in crowd that showed that the Wu really is everywhere the Genius MC also ripped through more classic Clan tracks, including 'Careful (Click, Click)' and his late friend and fellow swordsman Ol' Dirty Bastard's 'Shimmy Shimmy Sha' (a perfect, fitting tribute).
At the end of the night it may have been late, but the venue wasn't the only thing that was unbearably hot. The raw but fresh, confident but humble GZA and his fanbase showed that even with all the 50's and Kanye's him and his Wu-Tang Clan are still so relevant. Meaning that this won't be the last time him or the brotherhood of concert organisers will be unleashing real hip-hop in a city whose music scene is mainly synonymous with four local boys. This night it only took two local guys to redefine it. TIM DAVID HARVEY
The Foo's have delivered consistent classics one after the other over the years ('One By One', 'In Your Honor' etc, etc) and their latest 'Wasting Light' is no exception. Still for your definitive Foo Fighters album you need no look further then 'The Colour & The Shape'. Rounding out the hits and painting a mid-nighties picture of more mature college rock the band rolled out a classic. With stellar, anthemic awesome singles like 'Monkey Wrench', 'My Hero' and 'Everlong' the group cemented their legendary status with their sophmore album. Other standouts included the rocking acknowledgment of 'Hey Johnny Park' and 'Wind Up' and the beautiful closer of 'Walking After You'. Every song on the album was big, even the 10th anniversary deluxe edition (featuring the tremendous Gerry Rafferty (Rest In Peace) tribute cover 'Baker Street'). Still this album and band are at their best with the epic 'February Stars'. A heaven sent, angelic classic from rocks Gods. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
The playlist of our favourite songs this week. 'Side A' features some latest cuts, while the classics make the 'B Side'.
FOO FIGHTERS-I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.: Among the groups best work on their latest and one of their greatest albums ('Wasting Light'). Critics who wrote them off should have known better. This and they are the best.
TANK-CELEBRATION Feat DRAKE: Tank pops bottles with Drake as he celebrates one of his best albums to date with a scorcher of a smooth single, expect Tank's career sailing to feel the same.
GINUWINE-HEAVEN: Tank isn't just out for himself, here he produces a gem for TGT partner Ginuwine, and it's another classic to add to the G man's discography. Same ole G.
LUDACRIS-FURIOUSLY DANGEROUS: Luda not only acts up in 'Fast Five' (which opened this weekend), he also acts a fool and gives the soundtrack one of his best efforts. Not only has he been missed from this franchise, he's been missed off the airwaves.
SNOOP DOGG-I DON'T NEED NO BITCH: Never has disrespect, been so well received. Respect for one of raps older, more legendary artist who's still got it.
TYRESE-ONE: Keeping with the 'Fast & Furious' and TGT theme, Ty's dedication off his testimonial album 'Alter Ego' is an R&B track that even Usher, Ne-Yo or even R. Kelly would kill to have sung..
JA RULE-LIFE AINT A GAME: Another track that's synonymous with the words 'Fast' and 'Furious', from the first soundtrack Ja's cameo was good...this was better...
JOE BUDDEN-PUMP IT UP: ...and from '2 Fast 2 Furious' Budden really pumped the gas and put his fut down on an adrenaline fuelling classic.
FOO FIGHTERS-STILL: In their honor (pun intended). Let's select a classic Foo's track to go with the times, but with all the great songs how do you pick one? Answer you don't, still this one is as atmospheric and as deep as it gets. 'Still'.
LIL' WAYNE-JOHN: With the best that new singles have to offer, Weezy F. Baby sends out a 'Dear John' dedication that is hip-hop to the letter. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Seeing the light the older Foo's come out fighting fit.
It's crazy to imagine but in only a few years or so the Foo Fighters will be celebrating their 20Th anniversary and what a stellar almost two decades it's been for one of the best bands in the world. From their self-titled debut, to the different but decedent 'Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace', the band have released some incredible records and now lead screamer Dave Grohl, dynamic drummer Taylor Hawkins and guitar heroes Chris Shiflett and Nate Mendel are back with old friend Pat Smear to recreate some of that 'The Colour and the Shape' magic.
'Wasting Light' was recorded in Dave Grohl's garage and still this small-setting, concise classic Foo's album has come at the perfect time this Spring, right before the big Summer festivals that this band will look to headline. 'Light' is a Summer ready, bright-eyed, illuminating heater of an album that also comes when all the great legendary American band are releasing new albums to add to their book of records (see R.E and M).
From the band-leading drum-solos to Dave, this set is rock and roll Nirvana. The album title featuring, time-back teaser release 'Miss The Misery' serves as a welcome, happy return for Fighter fans after so long. While 'White Limo' (who's video features Lemmy from Motörhead) is a distorted trip and a different type of harder sound for the band which drives and pistons open their creative envelope even more. The lead-single 'Rope' however, pulls the guys back to old, familiar times and is a signature classic for a band that has engraved their names into the rock hall of fame.
'One Of These Days' is also an atypical but radical Foo Fighter's anthems, with great lines like, "one of these days your heart will stop and play its final beat". The band get deeper still, stepping further with 'Walk' a building track which is yet again hallmark Foo's stadium-ready-certified rock. While 'I Should Have Known' is a deep, atmospheric cut, which awakens the nostalgic senses and 'Dear Rosemary' is an epic lament that reaches it's full bloom. 'Back And Forth' also is a thumper of a number that takes us all places, fast and slow.
Grohl and his gang talk relationships and really say something with 'Matter Of Time', as Grohl growls "it doesn't matter much to me, if it doesn't matter much to you". The opening and closing tracks of this piece are the perfect bookends to a structured set of tracks that fit perfectly into this bands legendary library. 'Bridge Burning' is a rip-roaring, ravishing track that bridges the gap between the groups typical sound and a more experimental, instrumental one which sees the now old guys moving with the times. Whereas the aforementioned 'Walk' is the perfect finishing track for the guys to leave us away with. One of this albums and the bands best in years 'Arlandria' may as well be a bonus track as it is serves as a little something extra and a special treat from the group. It's kind of like the theme of this album; traditional Foo's but with a twist.
You can't compare these songs to tracks previous as their nothing like them, although they do fit together as a cohesive 11 song set showing us that the band have found a new comfort zone that we can all sit with. 'Wasting Light' is bright and illuminating this is something you want because this is something you should waste not. Lenny Kravitz was wrong, Rock and Roll is still very much alive. Check the bands Twitter feed or the billboards. 'ROCK AND ROLL IS NUMBER ONE IN THE UK.', 'ROCK AND ROLL IS NUMBER ONE IN AUSTRALIA', It's official...ROCK AND ROLL IS NUMBER ONE IN AMERICA !!! As a matter of fact the whole world is showing that this band are still top. I guess all that doubt was coming from the bottom. The Foo's won't change for anybody, they just adapt with the seasons. The Summer and the sound-scape of the season is here. Time to open up the curtains and let in the light. TIM DAVID HARVEY.