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Post  misery guts on Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:01 am

Friday Night at the Proms '15: Holst's The Planets
The BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by Susanna Malkki, performed the whole 7-piece cycle. The 1st & 4th pieces (Mars & Jupiter) were the stand-out moments, as ever. As an encore, they did a piece called Notations by Pierre Boulez, which was OK.

The Nation's Favourite... 80s Number Ones
A hearty hour & a half with contributions from all sorts of relevant people from Nik Kershaw to Jazzie B. Here was the voted rundown:
20 - Especially For You - Kylie Minogue + Jason Donovan
19 - Into The Groove - Madonna
18 - Back To Life (However Do You Want Me) - Soul II Soul ft Caron Wheeler
17 - You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) - Dead Or Alive
16 - Don't Leave Me This Way - The Communards ft Sarah Jane Morris
15 - Stand And Deliver - Adam and the Ants
14 - Two Tribes - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
13 - Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham!
12 - West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys
11 - China In Your Hand - T'Pau
10 - True - Spandau Ballet
09 - Karma Chameleon - Culture Club
08 - House Of Fun - Madness
07 - Don't You Want Me? - The Human League
06 - Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners w/The Emerald Express
05 - I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) - Whitney Houston
04 - Tainted Love - Soft Cell
03 - Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler
02 - Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
01 - Every Breath You Take - The Police
king


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Post  misery guts on Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:14 am

BBC Proms 2015: Elgar's 2nd Symphony
The Manchester Halle Orchestra, conducted by Sir Mark Elder, rattled through the 4 movements of his piece, apparently Elder's own favourite.

Whitney Houston: Her Greatest Hits
A somewhat muddled compilation of videos, though notably omitting most of the ones from The Bodyguard. I used to be fondest of 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody', but nowadays I far prefer 'I'm Your Baby Tonight'.

MTV Crashes Plymouth: Foxes
A short burst of 5 songs from Plymouth Hoe. It's a shame recent single Body Talk tanked.

Concerto at the BBC Proms: Currie Plays Gruber
Colin Currie, that is, with the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by John Storgards, playing Gruber's Into The Open, followed by Stravinsky's Petrushka. Nice enough.

Dancing Through The Blitz: Blackpool's Big Band Story
Another lengthy epic with Len Goodman this time sharing the presenting with Lucy Worsley and Jools Holland, to relate what was really quite a simple tale. Petula Clark was a useful contributor, as it was during this time that she made her first break into fame as a singer.

Meghan Trainor: Story of a Lifetime
A hugely silly title since she's only done 1 album as yet, though her "previous" as a song-writer was one of the few interesting points here. It was another show culled from radio interviews in the UK, Canada, Germany and finally the US. One recurring theme was her plans to get hammered on her 21st birthday - it was that level of insight. Oh, and her love for soca.


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Post  misery guts on Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:13 am

Cities in the Park: Manchester's Music Festival
Quirky concert from 1991, put on by Tony Wilson, inevitably, and made a tribute to the freshly-dead producer Martin Hannett. There were many acts presented, from Durutti Column to Buzzcocks, Cabaret Voltaire and A Certain Ratio, to the closing Electronic and Happy Mondays. A really entertaining showcase.

Example - Chart Show Chat
UK rapper back with an imminent new album and a kooky new single 'Whisky Story'. He's got an Aussie wife and a new child, too, but prefers London culture to life down under.

Slaves: On Record
An amiable chat with one of my favourite new bands of this year, though they've been around for a few. Laurie and Isaac came across well, with Laurie doing the bulk of the chat. Isaac related his infamous encounter with Bono. The crazy 'Cheer Up London' video was discussed, with their new album, and future plans.

A Blackpool Big Band Boogie
From the Empress Ballroom, the gig from Jools Holland & his Big Band to connect with the other doc reviewed previously. Guest vocals came from Marc Almond, Ruby Turner, Rumer, Louise Marshall and Mabel Ray. A good show.


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Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:33 am

Concerto at the Proms '15: Benedetti Plays Korngold
Kirill Karabits conducted the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as violin whizz Nicola Benedetti played Korngold's Violin Concerto, whilst the BSO followed with a piece from Britten's 'Peter Grimes', which wasn't as good.

Don Broco: On Record
Rising Brit pop-rockers interviewed about their new album 'Automatic', and their early years in the business. That they had a big upcoming gig as headliners at the Brixton Academy judged how much higher they have yet to climb.

Metal Evolution
Sam Dunn's mammoth 11-part series on Metal music, from early days in the US and UK, through its heydays, and splitting into different genres (Glam, Thrash, Grunge, etc). The calibre of interviewees matched the breadth of bands included, and I enjoyed the series a lot.

Europe In Concert: Tindersticks
From Le Trianon, Paris, in 2012, this was a pleasant set which was at least captioned. Not a band I'd otherwise care for, but certainly delivered the goods, even a cover of "If You're Looking For A Way Out."
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Post  misery guts on Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:49 am

Friday Night at the Proms: Eric Whitacre's Choral Prom
A lengthy mix of Whitacre's own compositions and some by Copland, Newman and Gershwin. Whitacre was the conductor, too, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The closing work. 'Deep Field' included audience participation with the help of apps. Futuristic, indeed.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:46 am

BBC Proms '15: Mahler's Ninth Symphony
Sir Mark Elder conducted the National Youth Orchestra through its 4 Movements, taking a bit over an hour.

Rock N Roll America
A serious 3-part series coinciding with the 60th anniversary of Rock Around The Clock hitting #1. Both sides of the story were well represented, with Jerry Lee Lewis, Don Everly, Mike Stoller, PF Sloan and Bobby Rush on the prevailing side, with Pat Boone and Bobby Rydell happily defending themselves. Though there was trouble as the 50s gave way to the 60s, the arrival of the Beatles and the following Brit invasion helped cement the success of Rock N Roll after all.

BBC Proms '15: The Bach Recitals
Violin whizz Alina Ibragimova performed 2 Sonatas and a Partita with no accompaniment at all, from memory. Impressive, and melodic.
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Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:50 am

Feats First: The Life & Music of Lowell George
Over 2 hours to relate how an under-rated rock singer-writer tried to make stars of Little Feat, but only managed it with help from Phil Spector. Drugs wiped the smile off the good times, and the guy died at 34.

BBC Proms '15: Sunday Symphonies
Part of the many celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Danish composer Carl Nielsen, this saw the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fabio Luisi, bash out Nielsen's 2nd Symphony, known as The Four Temperaments, with the Helios Overture as an encore. OK enough.

Metallica @ Reading 2015
From their headline spot on Aug 29, they delivered over 2 hours of stuff, much of which I knew for once. The band seemed thrilled to be there, and even delivered a great encore, too.

The Best of Psychedelic Rock
A fun compilation from 1991, covering the gamut from Pink Floyd to Cream to Captain Beefheart. The inclusion of Dr John, Soft Machine and the Steve Miller Band raised the tone from above the predictable.
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Post  misery guts on Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:59 am

Europe in Concert: Hollie Cook
Live at the Vielles Charues Festival, France, 2002, the daughter of Sex Pistol Paul Cook delivered a steady pleasant set, enlivened by her attempts to get the crowd joining in, and her interaction with her drummer, Horseman.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:06 am

Bonzos 50th Anniversary Special
At the Koko - unlike the previous half-hour tease, this was well over an hour of concert. Oddly, Neil Innes didn't feature until the 2nd half, so I wondered at the arrangement of material. Much great joy, though.

Jennifer Lopez: Let's Get Real
Somewhat ersatz effort mixing a few chats with J Lo cribbed from movie red carpets, and the general narrative of short & silly marriages, and droning waffle about her Latina background. The more this was mentioned, the less honest it seemed. As with other supposed role models inspiring their communities, the ethnicity seems to be a crutch to prop up the career.


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Post  misery guts on Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:57 am

Van Morrison - Up On Cyprus Avenue
Legendary Irish soul-rocker giving an open-air concert at the Eastside Arts Festival. Kim Cattrall and Rick Stein could be spotted in the audience. Amusingly, Van broke off near the end to read a poem, mentioning having to plug a book, and how much he hates showbiz Laughing

BBC Proms: The Bach Recitals
Alina Ibragimova completed her cycle of the Partitas and Sonatas, alone and from memory. A great achievement.

The Stereophonics - Live @ V Festival 2015
A short extract, featuring material from their new album, with a couple of oldies to finish. Still odd how their star dipped after they finally had a #1 single.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:31 pm

BBC Proms '15: Sunday Symphony - Premiere
Sir James MacMillan's 4th Symphony received its first performance from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Donald Runnicles, to whom MacMillan wrote the piece as a 60th birthday present.

Bryan Adams: In Concert
From Toronto this year, the "Groover from Vancouver" apparently has a new album of mainly cover material coming this Autumn. From his efforts at "C'mon Everybody" and "God Only Knows", it looks like being a mixed bag. Otherwise, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre crowd got quite a good show.

HARDtalk: Paul Gambaccini
Anglophile American DJ has written a book about his year as a (wrongful) suspect in the ongoing criminal investigations (or 'witch-hunt' as Gambo calls it). He's understandably cross with the police and the press, but also the BBC, his employers, who celebrated his 40th anniversary in broadcasting around a month before his arrest, and who offered no solace or friendship during his year on ice.


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Post  misery guts on Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:37 am

BBC Proms '15: The Bach Recitals
Legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs all 6 Cello Suites in succession (or rather, in 2 sets of 3), encoring with "the Song of the Birds". Noticeably, he needed longer breaks between the final pieces to get the circulation back into his arms. A great performance though.

Creedence Clearwater Revival: The Golden Era
A recent hour+ doc retelling the story that the band were formed by guys born after WW2, and after a couple of name changes, and a war-enforced hiatus, they let John Fogerty take command, and scored some major hits such as "Proud Mary" and "Bad Moon Rising". Though stiffed by the Grateful Dead at Woodstock, they built an impressive reputation for thoughtful, sometimes political, material. But internal dissent led to the slow demise of the band, and even when inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Fogerty refused to share the stage with his former band mates.

Bonzo Dog Band - Jollity Farm
A 2-part concert from 2007, with Phill Jupitus and Ade Edmondson helping out the usual gang on a few numbers (Ade even crowd surfed while dressed as a parrot). The material varied, but I've grown to quite like them.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:59 am

Enrique Iglesias: Latin Hero
How Julio's son made his name beyond simply being Julio's son. He managed to outdo Ricky Martin, and made use of the Latino market. His success grew and he crossed over to the mainstream with 'Bailamos' and a duet with Whitney Houston, before hitting big in 2002 and romancing Anna Kournikova. He continues to win awards and release albums, and hone his sound.

The South Bank Show Originals: Lang Lang
The piano prodigy featured in 2008, with Jamie Cullum happy to pay homage and admire his arising from modest beginnings to world-class success.

Marina and the Diamonds: Live @ V Festival 2015
A short enough show from a daylight slot. She seems to have gone off the radar since her 1st album, but there's no faulting her performance or stagecraft.

MTV Crashes Plymouth: Little Mix
The dull former X Factor winners recently scored another #1 in the UK, which they did here along with other melodic but samey hits.


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Post  misery guts on Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:14 am

Live With... Nerina Pallot
She's got a new album out, and did some songs from it, but also her biggest (and worst, IMO) hit 'Everybody's Gone To War', and a soulful take on Ce Ce Peniston's 'Finally'.

Marvin Hamlisch - What He Did For Love
The piano prodigy grew up to be an ace composer, theatrical hit star, Oscar winner, Bond theme co-composer, and erstwhile champion for music in schools. Despite his big success, he seemed somewhat narked that his talent wasn't stretched enough, and when it was, it didn't bring the same success. A cavalcade of faces were here to sing his praises, from Barbara Streisand to Carole Bayer Sager, to Quincy Jones to Idina Menzel to John Lithgow. He was hugely busy still even up this death.

Hot Chocolate at the BBC
Poor Errol died back in May, and it took 4 months to put together this rather soul-less compilation of the band's appearances. Though at least they rattled through the numbers with aplomb, all the big hits and more.

Paloma Faith - Live @ V Festival 2015
Chelmsford in the daytime, and a busy little selection, ending with 'Changing' inevitably.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:26 am

The South Bank Show Originals: Tasmin Little
Violin genius learnt from the great Menuhin. 1990 saw her 1st record and her 1st Proms performance. This 2008 extract plugged her "Naked Violin" website initiative. She turned 50 earlier this year.

Live at... the Tabernacle
A short concert from Notting Hill, from virtuoso legend Rick Wakeman with his also-keyboard-playing son Adam. Amongst the tunes was a nice cover of Eleanor Rigby.

Rihanna: No Regrets
Took a few goes to sit through this. Her problems with Chris Brown really sent her career on a fresh path after the blockbuster success of her 3rd album "Good Girl Gone Bad". Mica Paris was a contributor here too, bizarrely.


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Post  misery guts on Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:40 am

The John Peel Lecture 2015 w/Brian Eno
The noted ex-Roxy Music producer and creative thinker talked about the importance of the creative industries, against government talk of putting a price on its worth. He seemed a bit heroically optimistic at times, talking of the wealth of the west and the prospects for a more artistic future with robots doing more of the work. Well, we'll see.

First Love: Sophie Winkleman
The posh actress has 3 months to prepare an operatic piece from La Boheme. Though plummy and likeable, Sophie stressed a lot, but after chats with Renee Fleming and others, she delivered on the night.

The South Bank Show Originals: James Galway
The Irish flautist was featured in 1999, and is still wowing them to this day. He revisited Belfast, where he grew up, spoke of his career in various orchestras, and his big moment where he struck out alone. He's still as dedicated as ever.


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Post  misery guts on Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:15 am

Rush: Music in Review 1974-1977
Covering their first 5 LPs, including legendary concept '2112'. The album-by-album review format seemed less generous than it often is in these things, perhaps a knock on them for being Canadian.

Annie Lennox: Nostalgia - Live in Concert
From Jan 28 this year, at the Orpheum Theatre, LA. Annie played the whole of her middling covers album, before an encore of 'Here Comes The Rain Again' and 'Why'. I wasn't impressed when Rod Stewart did this sort of thing, and I'm not impressed here, either.

Echo and the Bunnymen - MTV Live
From "Galicia 2010" apparently, only a short extract but fitting in the significant hits like "The Killing Moon" and "The Cutter".
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Post  misery guts on Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:27 am

BBC Four Sessions: Georgie Fame - The Birth of Cool
Jolly hour-long concert, with guest help from Zoot Money, Madeline Bell and the late Rico Rodriguez. Fame is another one who's survived the last half-century well.

Andre Previn at the BBC
Hour-long compilation of the great pianist/conductor in various profiles and performances, though his sketch with Morecambe & Wise probably remains his cultural highlight.

Arcade Fire - MTV Live
Possibly some night in Spain, an hour or so with various hits, some of which I already knew.

Europe in Concert: Glen Hansard
The former Frames frontman, here at the Event Hall at Messe Basel, in 2013. OK, I've not heard of him before, but it was a nice show, with a surprising cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect" along the way.

Courteeners: Live @ V Festival 2015
Chelmsford in the daytime for a half-hour from a band unlikely to have another heyday.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:53 am

Music For Misfits: The Story of Indie
A lengthy 3x1 hour series looking at the last 40 years from the Buzzcocks releasing their own record on their own homemade label, and how other minor labels in England and Scotland helped make stars that major labels would not have. A recurring theme was the eventual inclusion of the majors when the indies couldn't keep business going (or when they were too successful to be ignored). A huge number of folk were interviewed, from reclusive mavericks like Bill Drummond, to mouthy egomaniacs like Alan McGee, and well-meaning but fairly irrelevant types like poet Simon Armitage. Some labels received inordinate attention (Factory Records featured in all 3 editions), but the story was so honed in on events like Britpop that it couldn't see the wider scene it took part in. Fun, though.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:14 am

Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship - Live on Air
A pleasant half hour culling together material from both bands, including 'White Rabbit', and 'Somebody To Love'.

Ry Cooder - Live on Air
Also a half hour of performances from a couple of shows, notably starting and finishing with the same song ('Tattler').

Leonard Bernstein at the BBC
Not as endearing as the Previn compilation, though his track record was also formidable. One lighter moment came when asked about his view on the infamous Nice re-interpretation of 'America', which he denied having criticised at all.

Jessie Ware - Live @ V Festival 2015
She was on at night, and ran through a handful of hits, one of which segued briefly into Marvin Gaye's "I Want You".

Live with... Barenaked Ladies
Another half hour performance, they did "One Week" as an obligatory big number. I still prefer "If I Had A Million Dollars".
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Post  misery guts on Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:37 am

Totally 60s Psychedelic Rock At the BBC
Complementing the former, this rattled through most of the above, but also including Joe Cocker, the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band, the Incredible String Band, Status Quo and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Nov 10, 2015 6:13 am

Leee John: Live at... the Jazz Café
In Camden, and introduced by DJ James Whale, LJ ran through a short set of Imagination's hits, and seemed in keen form, even after 30 years.

Alfie Boe: Storyteller at the Royal Albert Hall
Over an hour and a half of material from 2013, from across the spectrum, and with guest help from Emilia Mitiku. His banter and enthusiasm helped lift the overall tone of an entertaining performance.


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Post  misery guts on Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:23 am

Europe In Concert: Kyla La Grange
From the Event Halle at in Basel, 2013, like a lot of this series. A steady set, perhaps enlivened by a cover of the Talking Heads number 'This Must Be The Place'.

Girls in Bands at the BBC
There was a documentary with this, but I couldn't stick with it. It's a pretty broad umbrella anyway, from the Runaways and the Go-Go's, to Sonic Youth and Skunk Anansie. No signs of the Slits, amusingly.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:34 am

Don Broco: Rock Stories
They played a few hits, but mostly talked about how the band came together, how they fitted in University, and then realised they had what it took to make a proper go of being a band. Their Don Brew-co tea was an amusing sideline, too.


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Post  misery guts on Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:48 am

Lawson - Live @ V Festival 2015
They need more time, really. And more hits. But this was fair enough for the stage they're currently at.

Live With... All Kings and Queens
Gabriella Cilmi has now become a duo with her brother Joseph, and they've some decent songs, whilst she remains a singer with a great voice.


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