Cheeky guest blog from the twin as I’ve been pretty dull recently…
The Royal Albert Hall
A few weeks ago I did something stupid. I bought a £55 ticket to a gig three hours away from where I live. Yet sometimes stupidity is a blessing, and this was definitely one of those times. This wasn’t just any old gig. It was Florence + The Machine, and it was the Royal Albert Hall. I probably should also throw in the word “orchestral” somewhere as well, but rather than wait for a convenient time I’ll just play that card now. Florence + the Machine, an orchestra, at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Royal Albert Hall feels special, the high arches and domed ceiling means you could watch an episode of The Apprentice there and it would seem like a dreamy night in the 1920s. The gig was in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust, meaning the ticket price was well worth it as it raised a load of money for an excellent cause.
Support came from “Big Deal”, which whilst it might have been for them certainly wasn’t for us. Obviously opening for such a powerhouse main act is a tough gig but the Anglo-American duo did little out of the ordinary to entertain the audience and live up to the spectacle of the occasion. Also, bizarrely, Caroline Flack compered the evening, which was wholly unnecessary considering it consisted of only two acts. But I suppose she needs to get work from someone to keep her in those mini skirts and non-existent shorts. Rock legend Roger Daltry also popped up with a teenage boy to say a little about the brilliant work the teenage cancer trust does for teens around the country.
Florence Welch – A woman so pale her facial features cannot be detected by the average phone camera…
After what seemed like a lifetime Florence arrived, dressed all in gold and pale as a ghost. And she didn’t disappoint. From her opening song, the brilliant The Source Cover ‘You’ve Got The Love, to ‘Shake It Out’ to close she relentlessly showcased her amazing voice. Both Ceremonials and Lungs are excellent records, but they almost don’t do justice to her talent and the sheer power of her vocals. Set in the backdrop of the beautiful hall and accompanied by a full orchestra it was truly something special. Despite saying she was nervous Welch handled the occasion like a pro, engaging with the audience between songs and looking nothing short of ethereal during her performances. Before closing the show she engaged the audience with a spectacular rendition of Dog Days Are Over reminding everyone just why they fell in love with Florence and the Machine in the first place.
And so we all left happy and content with having helped out a brilliant charity. Oh and with even bigger girl crushes on Florence Welch. What. a. woman.
I literally can’t stop listening to James Blake’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’, it’s just beautiful, I’d hasten to say its better than the original. His eponymous album was one of my favourites of 2011, his covers are just magically, he has a knack of taking an already amazing song (E.g Feist’s ‘Limit to your love’) and making it his own, but with no detriment to the original. I’d put money on this song being snapped up for a movie soundtrack any day now.
Having experienced bouts of sleeplessness in my past, I often turn to spotify/youtube to fill the hours of insomniatic boredom. My go-to album is hands down Fink’s 2007 album ‘Distance and Time’, in particular the track ‘If Only’. It’s the perfect calming soundtrack to catching some z’s and fits nicely into my usual obsession with acoustic singer-songwriters, Enjoy!
Currently sat in my house in Birmingham putting the finishing touches to an essay I wrote on the megabus (there’s a lot of things wrong with that sentence, I know) and avoiding writing a legitimate blog post as per usual. Procrastination is most often my friend, and today I would argue that we’re best friends, as procrastination has gifted me with THE greatest cover. So you know how everyone loves Bruce Springsteen, he is quite literally “The Boss”, and you know how everyone loves up and coming folk artist Ben Howard, yes? So combine them and add in Yael Naim ( she sings that ‘New Soul’ song from the macbook air adverts) and you get one hell of a cover of ‘Dancing in the Dark’. Who says spending hours on youtube doesn’t pay off…
I normally don’t buy into hype, but sometimes, one has to realise that many things are hyped for good reasons. As a staunch Zooey Deschanel fan since Elf and the beautiful 500 Days of Summer I am totally riding the Deschanel hype wave right now. Anyone who’s recently fallen in love with her after watching New Girl (and quite rightly) should check out her musical effort with folk/country singer M.Ward, known collectively as She and Him. Like a modern day Carpenters, She & Him’s take on country infused folk is transporting, evocative of 1920’s swing jazz coupled with almost Formby-esque ukulele rifts, it is truly enchanting.
My late-night-studying go to album is ‘She & Him: Volume one’ , with my favourite tracks being, ‘Black Hole’,
And Why do you let me stay here?
I often post on my Facebook wall certain tracks that have taken my fancy. The majority of them by irish folk artists, as I have a penchant for all things gaelic. However, todays choice is by an Illinois native and multi-talented man by the name of Ryan O’Neal under the moniker Sleeping at Last. Taken from the ‘Yearbook’ (2011) album, Next to me is one of the most calming and enchanting love songs, the lyrics maybe somewhat pessimistic at times (reflecting on him playing in front of crowds of 3) but the romantic overtones and haunting vocals install it in my all time folk fantasy playlist.