Archive for July, 2007

Mercury Prize Nominations 2007

July 17, 2007

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What a yawnsome list:

Arctic Monkeys – ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’
Klaxons – ‘Myths Of The Near Future’
Amy Winehouse – ‘Back To Black’
Maps – ‘We Can Create’
The View – ‘Hats Off To The Buskers’
Jamie T – ‘Panic Prevention’
Dizzee Rascal – ‘Maths & English’
Bat For Lashes – ‘Fur And Gold’
Young Knives – ‘Voices of Animals And Men’
Fionn Regan – ‘The End Of History’
New Young Pony Club – ‘Fantastic Playroom’
Basquiat Strings – ‘Basquiat Strings’

Shoo in for Wino then. Maybe she can use the £20,000 prize to buy herself some food.

Good to see that Bat has been nominated though, and amused by Guardian music blogger Paul MacInnes’ description of her as ‘our mate Bat For Lashes.’

Umm, I was there way before you ‘mate’.

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Courtney Love, Bush Hall, London

July 10, 2007

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In town to showcase her endlessly postponed album Nobody’s Daughter to a small group of 300 adoring fans, Love didn’t disappoint. Looking aggressively thin and toned, due to a crash diet reportedly involving a lock on her fridge, she took to the stage on her 43rd birthday with loyal drummer Stuart and a band of puppyish English adolescents. Providing support were two male guitarists; Micko Larkin formerly of Larrikin Love and Liam, a sometime model from Grimsby, and two female musicians; Bethina on keys and percussion and Pato on bass and vocals.

All the old favourites were given an airing – Celebrity Skin, Doll Parts, Miss World and Northern Star, in a set list that spanned 16 songs. The good news is that the new material sounded just as good as the old – opener Samantha went down a storm, as did Never Go Hungry Again, Letter To God and Nobody’s Daughter.

Okay so she had to be taught the chords to her own song – Miss World, by her baby faced guitar player but this crowd were ready to forgive anything. Just as well, because Love was in a brilliantly abusive mood. On being passed a handmade birthday card from the crowd, she used it to fan herself for a few seconds, tossed it to the floor, then drowned out a chorus of Happy Birthday and shouts of ‘We love you Courtney’ with ‘Shut up! Just shut up!’

Intermitttent song requests were likewise rewarded with ‘Shut up. You’ll get your fucking encore’, and; ‘I’m not playing that fucking song,’ to calls for Violet. Rather than use the opportunity to thank her long suffering English fans for their patient wait for new material, Love found something to complain about everywhere she looked.

‘This fucking smoking ban you’ve got here. I can’t even smoke on stage,’ she said looking desperate and throwing a hot pink cigarette into the audience. ‘The only place you can smoke now is the Houses of Parliament. Did you know that? That’s so retarded.’ Of the sound she moaned bizarrely; ‘I wanted chandeliers and shit sound and I got chandeliers and shit sound,’ before dismissing her entire audience and asking one of the puppies, ‘Do we look like retards? It doesn’t matter if we look like retards. This is 300 people. This isn’t Wembley.’

Love played the diva to a ‘t’, swapping her guitar every song, getting impatient if her personal guitar hander was too slow, and then barely playing a note. She also repeatedly stopped songs after losing her place or forgetting what they were playing. Just as well that the puppies were musical prodigies.

In fact some of the best moments were the few songs where she left her guitars alone. This was Love in all her car crash glory (‘Rehab can be good for you. Yeah, I want applause for that.’) The voice and the emotion were both undiminished – raw, real and utterly captivating. The high point of the evening came when Love let rip on a new ballad penned with Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes fame; Letter To God.

This summer’s exhausting spate of huge stadium telethons – Glastonbury, the Diana Concert, Live Earth has been enough to kill off even the most ardent music fan. But Courtney Love was just the person to restore the faith.

Rude, yes, belligerent, certainly, but this was, quite simply, an exhilarating, exciting gig to remember. Packed into the tiny auditorium, with sweat trickling off every surface, the adoring fans were abused and dismissed by their bumbling, incompetent Queen. But when she did pull it together the raw power of Love’s emotions and the energy of her performance were viscereal and life-affirming. Abused they may have been, but this audience would have stood there all night as long as Love was on stage.

Set list:

Samantha’
‘Malibu’
‘Stand Up Motherfucker”
‘Sunset Marquis’
‘Miss World’
‘Nobody’s Daughter’
‘Pacific Coast Highway’
‘Doll Parts’
‘Letter To God’
‘How Dirty Girls Get Clean’
‘Celebrity Skin’
‘Never Go Hungry Again’
‘For Once In Your Life’
‘Loserdust’
‘Northern Star’
‘Happy Ending Story’