Fab week for music fans
Busy, busy week here at SDE HQ. The Beatles‘ Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years premiere happened on Thursday evening, six days after the reissue of The Beatles (Live) at the Hollywood Bowl which is being promoted as the ‘Companion Album’ to the film…
The premiere was a ‘star studded’ affair (are these things ever anything else?) although I was on the other side of town in Hammersmith at the Mercury Music Prize.
It was the first time I’d been to a Mercury Prize (as it’s now called) and I’d bought a couple of tickets out of curiosity. Highlight of the evening was seeing Michael C Hall perform Lazarus, and the very next day, details of the Cast Album of David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s Musical were announced. Cannily, three new Bowie songs from the Blackstar sessions will appear on the Cast Album, ensuring it will sell much better than the average ‘original cast recording’ releases!
Personally, I didn’t think it was a great evening. We were up in the ‘cheap seats’ in the circle and it was all a bit ‘industry’. Bat For Lashes opened and they were great, but the whole evening was a slave to the format and the TV broadcast. Of the 12 acts nominated, most performed one song on the evening in the first part of the show. Then six shortlisted acts ‘went through to the next round’ and performed again. THE SAME SONG which was, how do I put this, boring (Laura Mvula performed her song three times). By this time it was live on BBC 4. It was also incredibly hot in the Hammersmith Odeon and poor old Lauren Laverne was struggling under the lights.
I was sure Bowie would win, but Michael Kiwanuka was excellent, so by the end would have been happy for him to take the gong. In the end, as I’m sure you know by now, ‘grime’ artist Skepta won. Everyone went mad, and suddenly you were no one if you didn’t LOVE Skepta. Well I heard Shutdown twice during the evening and was struggling to understand what was cutting edge and different about this artist. But hey, I’m old and ‘the kids’ love Skepta, apparently. As a footnote, you do wonder why they bother putting artists like Bowie, Paul Weller, or even Radiohead on the shortlists. They never win because the judges are generally skewed towards giving the prize to debut albums and young artists.
Earlier that same day, I’d been to see photographer Guido Harari in Bermondsey, so check out his Kate Bush exhibition which coincides with the launch of his The Kate Inside book of photographs.
You may remember that I interviewed Guido a few weeks back about his years photographing Kate. Anyway, the exhibition runs to the 30 September. I recommend you head down to the Project Space gallery and check it out.
Last night there was a Q&A with Guido and Lindsay Kemp, just down the road at the Underdog Gallery. The pair have been friends since the late 1970s and of course Lindsay taught Kate to dance in the early days. It was a great evening (Lindsay was hilarious) and a few familiar faces were in the crowd including Holly Johnson and Marc Almond (I steered well clear after seeing someone approach them for a photo and they said ‘no’, rather firmly). Kate’s former partner, longtime engineer and bass player Del Palmer was there, which was very exciting for someone who has been buying Kate Bush albums for well over 30 years. I managed to have a chat with him. He’s a charming man and was more than happy to answer some of my questions, albeit ‘off the record’ (sorry). Guido grabbed my phone and took the photo below. Nice!
The evening ended with a concert performance by Mandy Paines, Michael Mayell and Dave Roberts of Kate Bush covers band Cloudbusting. They were superb!
George Michael deluxe edition
In other news, the announcement that there will be a reissue of George Michael‘s Listen Without Prejudice album was fairly well received. A few of you pointed out that the cover is different. It’s effectively a tighter crop of the old image. Good spot. But no complaints about the price of this set, unlike The Human League‘s forthcoming anthology where the ludicrous pricing is all that’s being discussed on SDE, on that particularly post.
Simply Red Stars vinyl reissue
I told you quite a while back that Simply Red‘s classic 1991 album Stars is being reissued on vinyl. The band finally confirmed this yesterday and a sliver of extra info has emerged. The reissue will feature the ‘original album track listing’ (okay…) and comes in a gatefold sleeve featuring previously unseen photos of Mick (see image above). That’s not exactly blowing me away, but it’s still only £13 in the UK which isn’t bad.