All Saints & The Human League – Nottingham

Forgot to post for all of November, so here’s a double gig review to make up. I yield to nobody in my love for a good Girl Group and, when I didn’t get the Post review slot (Rachel did a good job here) and couldn’t persuade anyone to go with me, I went to see All Saints at Rock City alone. Not quite sold out, and I got a good spot near the front, as the photo above shows. Their new album’s OK, and I was pleased that they included the best song from their last album, which made it onto our 2016 best of compilation. (which reminds me, this year’s sleeve notes will begin to appear later this week). More to the point, their band…

Kacey Musgraves – Oh, What A World, Nottingham Royal Centre, October 26th, 2018

This review was written for the Nottingham Post. Now and then an act plays the Concert Hall you know you’ll never get to see there again. They’re destined for arenas and bigger. Tonight, Kacey Musgraves joins that short list. After some small, self-recorded releases and two mainstream country albums with sassy lyrics, the thirty-year-old broke through to another level with this year’s Golden Hour, as glorious a set of country-pop as you’ll hear. Until today’s release of Robyn’s Honey, it was the pop album of the year, no contest. No wonder the Royal Concert Hall is packed. Dancing Queen and Staying Alive preface the thirty-year-old star’s arrival. The staging is elaborate, with a large three fan backdrop and raised area where the Texan stands, hidden…

RICHARD THOMPSON TRIO, NOTTINGHAM ROYAL CENTRE 18.10.18

  ‘We’ll get to all those classics you’ve driven a hundred miles to hear a little later…’ There are two kinds of Richard Thompson fan: those who prefer his electric tours and those who enjoy him most playing solo acoustic. Nottingham used to get his acoustic tours, but his visits this century have been with a band. You’ve had to travel to see him solo, though it’s always worth the journey. The last one I saw was ten months ago, in Sheffield, where he was touring Acoustic Classics. Yet, while Thompson is one of our greatest songwriters, he’s also one of our greatest, most distinctive guitarists. Band shows allow him to solo and stretch out. He must love playing them, because the prices are the…

Dylan Moran: Nottingham Royal Centre 7.10.18

Extended, more considered (ie less tactful) take on the show at the Royal Centre last weekend, the original of which appeared in yesterday’s Post. Dylan Moran has lost weight and gained a better haircut since he was last here, four years ago. He’s sharper in other regards, too, and starts with something he never does: audience participation. However, he warns ‘If you join in, I will judge you.’ It’s 22 years since the Irish comic, now 47, won a Perrier award, 14 since the glorious bookshop comedy, Black Books, opened the door for more TV and film. Yet his work in neither area has fully taken off and he remains primarily a stand-up, with a new tour every three or four years. Last time round,…

From Sleaford Mods to Gallery 47. Big Gig Week & the All Night Bookshop launch

There always tends to be one week where the gigs pile up. Just did four in five days, Wednesday to Sunday. Would have made it five in six if I’d got to the great guitarist Michael Chapman at the Running Horse last night, but it was the first day of term and I was knackered. Suede (acoustic) were excellent at Rough Trade. On Friday, Trombonist Dennis Rollins was in terrific form with the house band at Nottingham’s newest venue, the wonderful Peggy’s Skylight, a jazz club I’m sure I’ll be writing more about. Only been open a month and we’ve been three times: an inspiring, imaginative venture which, as Rollins pointed out, has no equivalent outside London. Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets were stunningly good…