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Tuesday, 19 February 2013



Redemption Ready.

Little background, I'm sitting in this Manchester Arena for the first time since the epic, beautiful night of witnessing the wonders of Bon Iver in November with my closest. The same month where I was supposed to see the group I'm seeing tonight in the midst of enjoying their latest album-which was arguably 2012 and their best-at it's peak at the most exciting time of the fall right before Christmas. But lost voices, disgruntled fans and rescheduling lead me to wait until mid-February to see the band I love, Brandon Flowers and The Killers touring their Springsteen epic/Heartland Vegas music touring their 'Battle Born' album.

A little more background. I'm sitting here with one of my greatest friends. A guy I've shared a lot with especially when it comes to traveling and touring the classic cities of the United States Of America. We even drove through the desert to the State of Nevada seeing where these boys came from. Aptly listening to 'Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas' off Brandon Flowers incredible solo set 'Flamingo' as neon replaced sand and we arrived in the sin city of casino, make or break dreams. So this definitely was the gig for us and the soundtrack of our nostalgia as we traded American stories in between some 'Hard Rock' food and showing more than a passing respect for the sensational support act.

Then as soon as the 'Battle Born' AC/DC-esque thunderbolt lit up to the opening riffs of 'Mr Brightside' it all came back together to a chorus of crazy cheers. We where right back on that road to Vegas from two years back, like the huge screen print of the bands latest highway strewn album cover on stage. All the time and memories came flooding back, as all the time and disappointment of the double-header gig cancellation of November ebbed away. This was well worth the wait.

From 'Sam's Town' to Manchester, England all the hits where rolled through with a 'Hot Fuss' of epic Springsteen, stadium style anthems ignited like Gaslight. It was Brandon Flowers who was boss however, donned in all black, leather and smart shirt and pants he owned the stage with assured confidence but humbled charisma that suited him down to the ground. "You came back" he marveled as everything from 'Human' to 'Smile Like You Mean It', 'Somebody Told Me' and 'Spaceman' where rolled out to bright, effervescent stage sets, fireworks, choruses of confetti and fire explosions that could even warm the foreheads of those up in the nosebleeds.

From reading Flowers mind to joining him in chanting "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier", you really got a taste of just how many hits one of the worlds best, but still somewhat underrated bands really have. Flowers and his boys couldn't be stopped, only taking a break to alert security that someone was in trouble...just like the nice, well raised rocker he is. The desert boys even paid tribute to Manchester's own Oasis and featured New Order on the mother of all tributes, besides this band got their name from one of the Manchunian bands videos, which they truly showed.

It was when this band banged out their latest work, where they really brought out the big guns. Flowers has admitted he's troubled by finding time on the set for all of his latest. He wants to tour the whole album in its entirety and we wish he would. Still, greats like 'Be Still', 'Here With Me', 'Deadlines And Commitments', 'Carry Me Home', 'Prize Fighter' and 'Heart Of A Girl' where missing on the milk bottle. Even so, everything was made up with the ravishing riffs of 'Runaways', the added "daaarlings" of 'The Way It Was' and the nuclear explosions of the tested 'Miss Atomic Bomb'. After this band ended their epic encore with the title track of their latest and greatest album and raised the bar with an army of hits it was clear to see and hear that these boys really are 'Battle Born'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



The 'D' Is Loud.

As singer/songwriter/comedian and actor Jamie Foxx rides through the Wild West with the wonderful Christophe Waltz to save his leading lady Kerry Washington from the classic craziness of Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson, Quentin Tarantino really has crafted another classic with his genre whipping 'Django Unchained'. The only thing left to make this all complete is a soundtrack...and boy do we have one here that's truly off the chain.

With incredible interludes of Q.T.'S famous and favorite dialogue (even with some deleted scenes that didn't make the movies final cut, but avoid this albums cutting room floor) and some Spaghetti Western tasty genre joints this really is one of the top scoring, 'Music From The Motion Picture' releases in recent times. You'd have to go back to last years 'Lawless' to find an audio sign of the times more apt or fitting. This is Tarantino's best score since 'Pulp Fiction' and just like the film this OST follows Quentin's greatest with it's own claim for first place.

OK, the talented leading man/singer Jamie Foxx doesn't sing...that may have been a little too 'Wild, Wild West' (coincidentally Will Smith was originaly up for the leading role, before Foxx got it), but he does have his own theme and 'Django' really is one of the best. Harking back to the good, ole days of Western films like Tarantino's traditional opening credits. He even has his own epic, Clint Eastwood style stand down, draw moment in this movie which is punctuated perfectly by 'La Corsa (2nd Version)' by Luis Bacalov. A song that just like in the movie follows modern day soul legend Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton's beautiful cry for 'Freedom'. It doesn't get much more epic than this with the two greatest pieces of music for one of the films greatest and moving moments.

Ennion Morricone's 'The Braying Mule' really rides us through the Wild West and straight to the saloon of past times. Whilst 'Lo Chiamavano King (His Name Is King)' by Bacalov is just movie music at it's moment making best. Jim Croce gives us a nice settled, montage break with 'I've Got A Name', writing beautifully and sounding like a young Elton John. That is before hip-hop comes into play for this modern day reworking of a classic...its only right. Rick Ross (with some co-writes from our movies co-star Foxx) gets deep and dark on the criminally good '100 Black Coffins'. Still it's the 'Unchained' melody and incredible, inspired blend of late legends Tupac Shakur and James Brown that gives this film it's perfect wild shootout music.

'I Giorni Dell'lra (Days Of Anger'), 'Nicaragua', 'Sister Sarah's Theme' and 'Ancora Qui' provide beautifully diverse, and wonderfully sitting background music to score the tempo of this film. Still soul star John Legend's 'Who Did That To You' really steps things up a notch in the movie and on the score. Mr. Stephens furthers his 'legend' with his best individual song in years vowing revenge on the fool that hurt Django's woman. "You better call the police/Call the coroner/Call up your priest/Have him warn ya" Legend warns as Foxx emerges from the smoke of dynamite for an explosive moment, made emphatic by this heated and hot track.

This really is the perfect music for Foxx's 'Django's' rise and redemption. Brother Dege gets real Western and upbeat with the poignant and yet proud 'Too Old To Die Young', while 'Un Monumento' and 'Titoli (Trinity)' are the perfect closers. As an added bonus what Tarantino, hip-hop inspired soundtrack would be the same without a RZA track? As the Wu-Tang, rapping and producing turned acting and directing (Q.T. recently debuted and co-singed the RZA's first martial arts flick)  legend closes the credits with a real rundown. Thus ends a classic film and it's perfect soundtrack. One that scores big on more than just being epic and great music. One score that really makes it's motion picture that bends the history that much more believable. Just like this movies modern take on a classic genre, this soundtrack has moments that you can't distinguish from the past and now and thus here lies a classic for today. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 15 February 2013



Relentless Harper.

Ben Harper isn't just one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our generation...he's also the most profound and prolific. The man with more bands and side projects than Rolling Stone and Beatle frontmen combined is truly on the great form that began his classic career. It only seems like yesteryear his latest solo set ('Give 'Till It's Gone') proved to be just as great as his best individual work (see 'Both Sides Of The Gun', 'Diamonds On The Inside', 'Fight For Your Mind' and 'The Will To Live'). Now the man who has many great live albums and soundtrack contributions to his credit adds another collaboration to his list of groups. An honor roll that features 'The Innocent Criminals', 'The Blind Boys Of Alabama', 'Relentless7' and the group 'Fistful Of Mercy' and some incredible, inspired records.

The man who even released a greatest hits, ballad retrospective ('By My Side') with the single 'Crazy, Amazing' last year is showing no slowing signs. Teaming up with blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, Harper gives us yet another side-project and yet another album at the forefront with the stand up anthems on 'Get Up!' The beautiful blues, slow burner 'Don't Look Twice' begins this dynamic double act, before things heat up with a bang on 'I'm In, I'm Out And I'm Gone', a straight whiskey strong joint with little chaser. It all goes down smoothly and soulfully.

Exploring and traversing new blues landscapes, Ben's slides and glides with Charlie who rides shotgun on harmonica providing the perfect backdrop for Harper to lay new musical groundwork. The chorus pleading of the down but not out nature of 'We Can't End This Way' gives our singer his new classic. While you can be certain to have faith in the wonderful writing of the single 'I Don't Believe A Word You Say'. The excellent word-smith who know how to turn a lyrical phrase is still on top of his wonderful wordplay.

As Ben hauntingly hums "I sit here in a daze/Wishing I could change my ways/And let's not pretend it isn't what it is/Its time we both go on and live", 'You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)' is another sensational single example of this, lamenting the unfair war of love and loss of friendship. It all ties together like this new perfect partnership for the generation gaps ages. The artistic mix of this couple mirrors the black and white album artwork, splashed with color. The traditional texture of the music transcends. It's classic music for the new ages. 'I Ride At Dawn' swings straight out of the saloon of a classic Western. The albums darkest and best could have earned it's spurs on the 'Django Unchained' soundtrack.

'Blood Side Out' paints more dark and decadent themes ("Got a wine soaked heart/And whisky soaked lips/Don't know how to get to you/But I know how to get my kicks") for the lyrical genius who once sang "you wrote me a four page letter, front and back/wrote in your favorite colors, blood and black". The title track 'Get Up' see's the pair get down even further as Charlie mussels in with some epic scores, that help bring out the harp like beauty of Ben's slides across the strings. More guitar punch comes with the 'She Got Kick' boot-cut, boot strapped classic on an album that harks back to 'The Will To Live' days. The 'Paris, Sunrise' evocation of the instrumental beginnings of 'All That Matters Now' is all you need to end this epic album perfectly. As Ben Harper forms another great group with Charlie Musselwhite, he's gives rhyme to the reasoning that here lies another collaborative project that the versatile singer should expand on. Like all his other groups we hope and wait for another album. The question now however is whatever next? TIM DAVID HARVEY.