Music Television 1.5

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Post  misery guts on Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:17 am

All You Need Is Love: Swing That Music!
The 9th episode covers Swing music, with various elements, from Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw to Buddy Rich and Bing Crosby, not to mention Cab Calloway and Lionel Hampton. It started with whites learning from the music of black people. Mixed race bands caused furore with bookers, but they could keep busy touring. Crooners emerged from the bands. The music became diluted as it became more successful. Their records were banned for a while, but that put the power from the bands into the hands of the singers.  When television rose, the market changed.

Biffy Clyro @ Reading 2016

Headlining on the Main Stage, they spiritedly started with recent single Wolves of Winter, moving noisily and flashily through works from across their career. I even recognised some of them.

SoundBreaking: Going Electric
The 4th episode looked at innovations like Marshall Amps, electric guitars, and how the sounds evolved from jazz to blues to the British invastions, Fuzz Tone and distortion, Synthesizers and Disco, Hendrix and Stevie Wonder, and finally to the software of Laptops and EDM. A section on Devo was amusing for its total dismissal of Kraftwerk.


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Post  misery guts on Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:15 am

Hurricane Festival 2015: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
The redoubtable Noel delivered material from his sophomore album more than his first, and played in some old Oasis numbers towards the end, including the under-rated Digsy's Dinner.

All You Need Is Love: Good Times
The 10th episode of this series purported to look at Rhythm and Blues, which was explained as a more palatable euphemism for "race" music, such as came from white people being drawn to black sounds. Old Spirituals became Gospel, the North met the South, radio rejected it, but it got watered down until it became more acceptable, though record companies still cracked the whip. Bo Diddley, Jerry Wexler and Tina Turner contributed, though the more illustrative were Pat Boone (who covered and neutered the likes of Little Richard), and Sam Phillips, who found a way to bring both sides together...

The Day Before Tomorrow: Entertainment
Part of a series looking at the future. Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 was a useful contributor to point out that whilst it's never been easier to get new acts heard, it's never been harder to make money from it. Ringtones and movie games are better sources of income than record company advances. Self-exploration and cross-media synchronisation are the names of the game.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:02 am

Milos - Heartstrings
How plucky Montenegroan Milos Karadaglic found his calling in the classical guitar, and came to the Royal Academy of Music in London to learn his craft. He paid homage to Segovia, and was also compared to John Williams. He went to Granada in Spain , he had gigs at the Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw, in New York and at the Royal Albert Hall. He had a couple of albums, and considered Spanish rhythms for future projects.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - The Collector's Rarities
An oddball hour with no captions, a short bit of chats with the three guys, but mainly performances, which were impressive.

SoundBreaking: Four On The Floor
The power of percussion, the development of the rhythm and the beat, from Motown to funk and disco, individual efforts of James Brown, Santana and Chic, and then the rise of the remix and the drum machine, to the modern world of EDM and the DJ. Makes sense like that.

Pop Profiles: Demi Lovato
She's had 5 albums, successes on the small screen, been to rehab, had other personal issues, but seems in a stronger place now, and could be successful for years to come.
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Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:39 am

Foals @ Reading 2016
Friday night headliners, they did over an hour, little of which I recognised. Couldn't help comparing it to the Biffy Clyro gig, and unfavourably.

BBC Proms: Barenboim Conducts The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
A full line-up for a 2 hour show, with piano works from Liszt and Schubert (guest soloist Martha Argerich was joined by Barenboim for the latter), and a mixture of works by Wagner including 2 encores. Apparently, Wagner is the most performed composer at the Proms, even though his reputation fell off a cliff during WW2 (through no fault of his own).
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Post  misery guts on Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:57 am

The Nation's Favourite... Carpenters Songs
To push a new compilation (which went into the chart at #2), this was a voter-led countdown of 20 tracks, with Richard and other band members and songwriters talking about them. Here's the list:
20 - Touch Me When We're Dancing
19 - It's Going To Take Some Time
18 - Hurting Each Other
17 - I Need To Be In Love
16 - For All We Know
15 - Sing
14 - I Won't Last A Day Without You
13 - Superstar
12 - Only Yesterday
11 - Goodbye To Love
10 - Jambalaya (On The Bayou)
09 - Solitaire
08 - Yesterday Once More
07 - There's A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)
06 - Rainy Days And Mondays
05 - Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (The Official Anthem Of World Contact Day)
04 - (They Long To Be) Close To You
03 - Top Of The World
02 - We've Only Just Begun
01 - Please, Mr Postman


Pop Profiles: Sia
Her uncle was in Men At Work. She was part of Crisp and Zero 7 before going solo. She hit paydirt with Titanium and her plans to just fall back on the songwriting went for a burton.

SoundBreaking: The World Is Yours
All about sampling, how toasting turned into rapping, the rise of DJs and MCs, scratching turntables and other technological innovations. Of course, copyright is an issue of importance to some and less to others (Nile Rodgers still seems rightly pissed off). The suggestion that it's just a new take on an old recipe forgets that someone had to come up with the old recipe in the first place.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:30 am

BBC Proms: Simon Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonic
They do a short piece by Boulez, and then a lengthy one by Mahler, his 7th Symphony. Hmm...

Olly Murs - A Day in the Life
He talks about his tour manager, Mark, who he's known since he was on The X Factor, and how his first idol was Michael Jackson, with his new LP coming in November. Otherwise, he's a guest attending Wayne Rooney's Testimonial match. Olly is a pal of the team, and even crossed swords with new manager Jose Mourinho during a charity Soccer Aid match.


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Post  misery guts on Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:40 pm

SoundBreaking: Sound and Vision
Basically a potted history of MTV, from the early lack of material, the convenient English invasion that filled up air-time, the Michael Jackson saga and how it turned tacit racism around to open the floodgates for rap and hip-hop, the success of Madonna and subsequent controversy and censorship, to the Unplugged era, and the growth of non-music programming, whilst YouTube and social media is far more relevant.

Live With... Kandace Springs

A pianist from Nashville, supposedly one of Prince's final projects. The songs were pleasant enough, she finished with a cover of "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face".

DNCE - Live @ V Festival 2016
One of many of these half-hour gig extracts, time will tell how long this project lasts.

BBC Proms: CBSO Plays Tchaikowsky
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra have a new conductor, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, and this was both her London and Proms debut. She finished their set by shouting to the audience "See you in Birmingham", so they can't fault her for trying. It was a good set, can't deny it.

Jake Bugg - Live @ V Festival 2016
He was on at night, but his career seems to be on an upward trajectory, and he has some good sons like Slumville Sunrise and Lightning Bolt.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:36 am

Bastille - Live @ V Festival 2016
A short spell pushing their main hits, since their new album has re-established them well.

SoundBreaking: I Am My Music
The 8th & final episode served as another potted history of the last 70-odd years, both through the major acts who moved things on, whether Presley, Sinatra or Dylan, to the changing formats, LPs, singles, concept albums (good luck with the notion that Sinatra "invented" concept albums), longer singles, AM & FM radio, portable tapes, bootlegs, Sony's Walkman, digital downloads and so on. Personally, those who consume through iPods whilst on the move have something fundamental wrong with their lives. Personal listening increased intimacy but reduced the social togetherness. I did get a good laugh from the idea that CDs were an expensive scam with 1 or 2 good tracks and a lot of crap (as if vinyl albums never saw that happen). The bottom line is that consumers may want new music for free, but producers can't make it for free.

BBC Proms: Ten Pieces II
A jolly effort to encourage children, with several presenters linking the performances (including Dr Who monster regular Dan Starkey as the composer Haydn), and a narrative building to the finale with the Ride of the Valkyries. Fun stuff, of the sort I don't really recall happening 30 years ago when I was in the target audience.
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Post  misery guts on Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:34 am

Faithless - Live @ V Festival 2016
A decent little spell, inevitably ending with Insomnia Smile

Live at the Water Rats: The Zombies
How to celebrate your 50th anniversary as a band - take a long hiatus in the middle. Recently re-emerged Rod & Colin have recently had their 1st album hit the Billboard lists since the 1960s. This was a good gig, enjoyably ending with Hold Your Head Up and She's Not There.

BBC Proms: Verdi Requiem
Marin Alsop conducted the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment through the mammoth work best known to the uncultured as featuring the Dies Irae bit (three times, excitingly).

Example - Live @ V Festival 2016
He seems to have gone off the boil career-wise, and the failure of Whisky Story last Autumn still amazes me. He gave the crowd encouragement as he ran through some of his hits.

Katy B - Live @ V Festival 2016
Her 3rd album doesn't seem to have been as successful as her first 2, but she does open with her #1 Turn The Music Louder (Rumble). She now has a song called Freak Like Me, which isn't a cover version (!). She did end with Katy On A Mission, which is still tremendous.
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Post  misery guts on Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:30 am

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Live From Gainesville
A 2 hour gig from 2006, something of a homecoming affair, as Tom led his gang through a wild swathe of their hits, with some help from special guest Stevie Nicks. He threw in some early covers they did, and even a Travelling Wilburys number. The Gatorville crowd ate it up.

The Jazz Singer
Neil Diamond's 1980 film stars himself as a Jewish cantor in New York who has a chance to be a rock star in LA, despite his wife and father wanting him to accept his lot. He sings "Love on the Rocks" amongst others, so his wife leaves him, and he falls for the chick who's helping his career. He has a temporary brainstorm allowing him to sing "You Are My Sunshine" in some dive, before he finds he has a son, after which he reconciles with his dad. Paul Nicholas makes an amusing cameo as an obnoxious punk-type singer who wants to sing Love On The Rocks as uptempo, whilst Laurence Olivier plays Neil's dad.

The South Bank Show: Afro-Cuban All Stars
The saga from 1998 of a bunch of oldie performers brought together for a film and albums, and unexpected worldwide success. Rather life-affirming, really.

Lethal Bizzle - Live @ V Festival 2016
An amusing short set, ending with Fester Skank, the tune which seems to mark his increasing rise.
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Post  misery guts on Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:37 am

The Last Night of the Proms 2016
Sakari Oromo conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra through a wide mix of surprises and familiar material. Guest tenor Juan Diego Flores contributed a few pieces, and later dressed as an Inca god as part of the general festivity. The lengthy gig made a warm end to this year's season.

Asking Alexandria: On Record
They've been around 8 years, but recently lost a member called Danny, who preferred his chances with Harlot. The remaining members were sanguine at his loss, and optimistic about their future, even if they were waiting for a UK headline tour. Their new album "The Black" reflected their being in a dark period.
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Post  misery guts on Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:39 am

John Newman - Live @ V Festival 2016
I didn't rate him at first, but I can't deny that more recent material like Come and Get It, Give Me Your Love and especially Ole have changed my view.

The South Bank Show Originals: Bjork
This 1997 show was done during the making of her 3rd solo album in Spain. She had classical training and spent time as the singer in the Sugarcubes. Her stepfather encouraged her, because he was also in the business. Her quirky career choices are forgiven because of her quirky background. Most similar female artists would get slagged off, but here "oh, it's just Bjork being Bjork".

Years & Years - Live @ V Festival 2016
Nice enough, but just a bit shticky.
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Post  misery guts on Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:09 am

BBC Proms: Last Night of the Proms - from Around the UK
Edited compilation from 4 simultaneous gigs which took place at Colwyn Bay, Glasgow Green, Belfast and Hyde Park in London. The talent were spread around well, so KT Tunstall, ABC, All Saints, Tony Hadley, Collabro and Frankie Valli were among those entertaining the crowds. A nice show to finish off the season.

Live With... Jones
An uninspiring name, and an even more uninspiring penchant for one-word-titles. She was from East London, and promoting her 1st album, and the songs were fine enough.

All You Need Is Love: Whatever Gets You Through The Night
The penultimate episode of this mammoth series looked ostensibly at Glitter Rock, but short sections on David Bowie, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Elton John, Eric Clapton (who observed he'd have probably been better to stay with John Mayall than to do Cream) and Bryan Ferry were balanced against an amusingly sustained negative rant from critic Lester Bangs who was really affronted by the music scene of the time, and felt rock was dying, that the 60s were still winding down, that there was nothing new, that it was "the time of the bland-out". The more he went on, the sillier he seemed, especially in hindsight.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:40 am

All You Need Is Love: Imagine
The final episode purportedly considers the likely future (and inevitably fails miserably). There is some consideration of acts who seek solitude away from the spotlight (George Harrison, Jack Bruce, Black Oak Arkansas (!)). Then Lester Bangs comes back on to pick up from his ranting in the previous episode, so he can slag off Brian Wilson and Mick Jagger, and then reflect on how he started in journalism (if indeed, you feel generous enough to consider his rock criticism counts). The series closed with an amusingly younger Richard Branson discussing Mike Oldfield, before the latter was able to evoke the spiritual escape theme, before a final series montage. Overall, well worth seeing for many of the rare interviews with famous names now long gone.

A Day To Remember: On Record
Their new album is "Bad Vibrations", and a rather tedious bunch they seemed, to. They're touring with Blink 182, and bumped into Liam Gallagher. They started the Self-Help Festival, a more positive idea than most.

Pop Profiles: Pink
From Pennsylvania, she got her nickname at the age of 8. Her first LP was tentative, but she hit paydirt with her 2nd. Working with Linda Perry helped. She's see-sawed on the latter 3 LPs. Her private life had its ups and downs too.

La Dolce Vita: The Music of Italian Cinema

The New York Philharmonic performed pieces from the movies, introduced by Alec Baldwin and Martin Scorsese, and with occasional singing from Renee Fleming and Josh Groban. A pleasant concert.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:53 am

I Am La Scala
Enjoyable recounting of the story of the Milan opera house, narrated as though the place itself was talking, relating its highs and lows, with Placido Domingo and Patti Smith among those singing its praises, and archive of Maria Callas and Luchino Visconti, among others. A fascinating story.

Pop Profiles: Ella Henderson

She broke through on the X Factor, but was surprisingly eliminated early in a sing-off with eventual winner James Arthur. She kept working away with a YT channel, and her 2014 album Chapter One got good reviews. She's toured with Take That! and made collaborations with Sigma and Kygo. So, time will tell what happens next.

From the Teatro Alla Scala - An Evening With Puccini
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann starred as Jochen Rieder conducted the Filarmonica della Scala through a selection of the composer's works, inevitably encoring on a 2nd run through of Nessun Dorma! A pleasant show.
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Post  misery guts on Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:14 am

Hip Hop World News
Brit legend Rodney P gives his take on the history of hip hop, and its current importance to the world. There are 5 tenets to hip-hop culture - DJs, MCs, Graffiti, Breakdancing and Knowledge. He worries about the treatment of women and abuse of the N-word. But he gets to meet and talk to legends like Rakim, Russell Simmons, Chuck D and Lord Jamar. Oh, and Estelle. He decides the problem now is that commercialism of the industry ignores the culture and simply sells the images of death.

Rubble Kings
Shown with the above, this documentary relates the story of how one thoughtless planning decision turned the South Bronx into a war zone, until finally one group, the Ghetto Brothers, turned it around in the wake of one of its key members being murdered. The violence turned to music, and hip-hop was born from guys like Kool Herc and innovators like Afrika Bambaataa. Whilst things might not be perfect, at least all these people now had hope.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:44 am

Anna Netrebko & Rolando Villazon in Paris
With Emmanuel Villaume conducting the Orchestre National de Belgique, at the Champs-Elysees Theatre, the performers dubbed "opera's dream couple" belted through almost 2 hours of material, though disappointingly no Nessun Dorma from either of them. Still a fine show.

Live With... Jake Isaac
A 3-piece from South London, they ran through half a dozen songs, and may well go on to great things.
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Post  misery guts on Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:47 am

Emeli Sande - Heart Live!
A half hour concert and interview with 4 tracks from her 2012 debut album, and finally her comeback single Hurts. It did suggest an enormous gulf between those successful first singles and this, but there might be better stuff on the new LP.

Concert Gala for the Brazil World Cup
From 2014, with the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira conducted by Eugene Kohn, and performances from Placido Domingo, Ana Maria Martinez, Lang Lang and Paula Fernandes. A jolly pleasant couple of hours but still no Nessun Dorma.
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Post  misery guts on Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:44 am

On Set With... Dua Lipa
For her "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)" video. She shot it in London, which is her most fond place in the word (as also seen in her "Be The One" video). She got her own friends to form part of the "gang" that she hangs around with in various scenes. It did occur to me that Mwah would be a great name for a Kiss tribute act, but I suppose that's an old joke. Anyway, good song.

Lulu - Something To Shout About
This 2011 major career reflection pitched from her shooting to fame as a boisterous 15 year old frae Glasgae, to troubles with record companies trying to keep her career going in ways that didn't appeal to her own preferred type of music, her brief film career with Sid Poitier that made her a lifetime star in the USA after "To Sir With Love" went to #1 there. Her brief marriage to Maurice Gibb was unsuccessful, though they did a live duet on a show of hers not that long before he died. She developed her own skincare range as a pension plan, and after her career went into decline, her long-term manager died around the same time she did the Independence LP, which caught the attention of Gary Barlow (a notable omission) and led to her inclusion on their cover of "Relight My Fire" which catapulted back to the limelight, where she's stayed off and on ever since.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:21 am

The Big Sing (Songs of Praise)
A special edition of the weekly religious prog from the Royal Albert Hall, where host David Grant exhorted his audience to sing along with hymns, and more interestingly there were special star guests plugging their albums in the main. The Priests were an obvious fit, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe are a gam partnership, and the ubiquitous Laura Mvula is a frequent standby for any old show like this.

Classic Albums: Catch A Fire - The Wailers
How Island Records polished up Bob Marley's 1st big record in the UK, with tracks like Stir It Up, Slave Driver and Concrete Jungle. There was archive of Bob and Peter Tosh, whilst other engineers and band members were able to speak for themselves, in this repeat from 1999.


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Post  misery guts on Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:07 am

Years & Years - On Shoot
For the "Meteorite" video. Olly appears to be the guy's name. Lara makes the outfits, such as his 90k crystals thing here. The stylist and choreographer were also considered. It all seemed terribly bland to me.

Island at the BBC
This 2009 compilation is one I don't recall seeing before, though I might have. Island Records have covered wide tastes in the market, from Roxy Music and Sandy Denny, through Linton Kwesi Johnson and Julian Cope, to Baaba Maal and Jimmy Cliff. Reasonable stuff.

Pop Profiles: 5 Seconds of Summer
An Australian alt-pop-punk outfit who used YouTube to build a fanbase, before they started gigging in December 2011. Being linked to One Direction helped them a lot, and they signed to Capitol Records. They've had #1 singles and albums in the UK and USA. Their 2nd LP sustained their status. I'll be honest, I don't really get it.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:02 am

Boy George's 1970s: Save Me From Suburbia
How a 9 year old from Eltham, London, grew through a decade of political crisis and musical change, to become the crazy character of Boy George in the early 1980s. This was mostly fascinating social stuff, covering glam rock, punk rock, new wave and beyond. George handily spent a brief time in Birmingham, allowing him to get with the 2Tone train. Made his telly debut as a guest discussing clothes on Something Else. It all came together in Culture Club. But that's another story.

Auftakt in Berlin
Claudio Abbado's inaugural concert, from December 1989, conducting the Berlin Philharmoniker in Mahler's 1st Symphony in D, aka "Der Titan". Quite pleasantly done.


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Post  misery guts on Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:43 am

A Don Letts Film - Skinhead
The noted music producer reflects on the origins of Skinhead music, and how it became unjustly perverted during the 1970s, and twisted to mean much the opposite of what it was supposed to. Some tried to claim there was ignorance than just racism, though Letts rightly scorned this. Much like the Northern Soul story, Skinhead survives with its true fans.

MTV World Stage: Kings of Leon
From Slane Castle, Ireland, May 2011, and thankfully not playing Sex on bloody Fire.

MTV World Stage: Martin Garrix
From Isle of MTV, Fosos Square, Malta, July 2015, a muddled list with no titles which is no good to the casual viewer like me.

Eminem: The Making of 'We Made You'
Only taken me 6 years to catch this, a scene by scene look through assorted parodies over a 2-day shoot. His most notable impressionist co-stars were Trisha Paytas and Lisa Ann. It was hard to tell sometimes how serious things were, although I don't doubt Eminem's humour, but some jokes were desperately unfunny, and some of the premises were even worse.


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Post  misery guts on Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:03 am

Relentless Ultra presents SoundChain with Zane Lowe: Joshua Homme
The "last in the series" was twice as long as the others I've seen, but Homme is worth the air-time. He strikes me as like Jack White, another guy with prodigious ideas and gifts. The interview was in a church in Ljubliana, Slovenia, and Homme happily related his past, how he moved on to guitar when drums became too loud an option, how his granddad inspired him: "life is hard because it's worth it". He was drawn to ominous bands, citing the Beatles and the Doors. He enjoyed being in Kyuss, but admits they were really hated. Joined Queens of the Stone Age at 21, and is in a good place now. He's proud of his wife, Brody Dalle, feels family is crucial to life and music, counts Dave Grohl and Jake Shears among his friends. The chats were interspersed with band performance of various QotSA numbers. Good bloke, good show.

Live With... The Beat
Still around, and with a new LP "Bounce" out soon, this was a decent half-hour mixing new tracks with old classics.


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Post  misery guts on Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:27 am

The Hacienda House Orchestra
How a few alumni from the legendary Manchester club, the Hacienda, working with an orchestra to recreate several classic tunes like Inner City's "Good Life" and Black Box's "Ride on Time". Peter Hook gamely did his best to sing New Order's "Blue Monday", but legends of the scene like Bez and Rowetta helped out at some of the gigs. Apparently, they're doing more shows in 2017, and a tie-in album went Top 20 this week.

Aberfan - A Concert to Remember
From the Millennium Centre, Cardiff, a world premiere of Cantata Memoria, a new piece co-written by Karl Jenkins and Mererid Hopwood in commemoration of the tragedy of 50 years ago. Bryn Terfel was one of the voices performing the piece.

Arena: The Roundhouse - The People's Palace
The story of his playwright Arnold Wesker thought to convert an old railway shed into "Centre 42", or the Roundhouse as it is more commonly known. Though ostensibly for performances of poetry and theatre, it needed rock gigs to balance the books. It lay empty for 14 years, but a bloke who made his money from "Polly Pocket" toys bought it and got it fixed up and reopened. The Electric Proms were broadcast from there for a few years, but it still seems to be on an even keel. Much of the story came from archive from previous shows on the place, allowing the likes of Jonathan Miller, Jon Savage and John Peel to contribute.
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