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Fire destroys Johnny Cash's house

I have to admit choking up somewhat when i heard this story on the TV this morning, not something a Johnny Cash fan wants to wake up to hear :(

"It was a sanctuary and a fortress for him," neighbour Country sartist Marty Stuart said. "There was a lot of writing that took place there. The Folsom Prison prison record came from there, the San Quentin record, The Holy Land, the Man in Black book came from there."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6543503.stm 

And, freakily, Last.fm decides, as I'm writing this, to play Johnny Cash's brilliant cover of Hurt, which of course featured the house quite heavily in the video (which i'd link to, except Youtube seems to have gone down)

Gig summary - 2006

Well, I went to more gigs in 2006 than i ever have before (thanks almost entirely to tippex79!) so I thought I'd try and give a brief summary.

Without doubt the definite highlight gig of the year was The Dresden Dolls at the Camden Roundhouse (full review here). It's a hell of a standard for anyone to pass, but who knows, maybe 2007 will find another band willing to spend the time assembling a support show that does actually support their music.

In terms of the gig i was most looking forward to in the year, that would certainly be David Gilmour (with Richard Wright) at the Royal Albert Hall. It didn't disappoint either, and it was a great gig (though sadly I didn't go on the night that David Bowie performed Arnold Layne (see journal entry with video) but did get Mica Paris doing Great Gig in the Sky. For full review and tracklisting see my review. Seeing half of Pink Floyd is probably the best i can hope for now (though I'm seeing Roger Waters in 07 (anyone know if Nick Mason is touring with him?))

Clearly the most seen artist was the wonderful Duke Special, 5 times I think. He's gone from nowhere to 8th on my most listened to artists in the space of less than a year, and he is wonderful live. Each time i think he had a slightly different support set-up, and each time he didn't disappoint with setlisting or arrangements. It is a definite skill to be able to adapt your songs and still make them work, and it's certainly something that needs other artists could learn from.

One of those is certainly James Morrison, who i saw three times this year, and I can say with a fair degree of certainty I won't be seeing him again. The first time i saw him was supporting the wonderful Martha Wainwright (review here). The second gig was a very cozy set with just him and his keyboard player again (review here) which was another excellent gig. However, the third gig really wasn't up to much. As i feared after listening to the horribly over-produced album, the addition of a backing band sucked the life out of the songs and made him sound rather dull.

Other highly enjoyable gigs this year included:

Martha Wainwright with all her helpers on stage Chris Stills, Ed Harcourt, Thea Gilmore and the fab Kate & Anna McGarrigle.

The fantastic OK Go who hopefully will break through in 2007 (they've been Grammy nominated for their great treadmills video) so fingers crossed for them!

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins supported by Johnathan Rice

Sir Willard White performing the life-story of Paul Robeson. What a voice that man has (well, both of them), a truly mesmerising performance.

The Divine Comedy (see my full review).

BJ Cole whilst supporting Duke Special, hopefully i'll be able to get hold of some of his stuff in 07.

Ben Kweller, a perfectly good gig, even if the band did make me feel old.

Venue of the year is probably The Camden Roundhouse, though I did muchly like Bush Hall too.

There, I think that's everything! Not a bad year at all, and 2007 is shaping up nicely too!

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There's a very amusing video from the Dresden Dolls and Panic! 'set' very loosely, backstage on tour. Suffice to say it isn't a normal backstage movie!


Petition

Do you rip your CDs onto an mp3 player? Even if you've only ever done it once, you're breaking the law!

Sign this petition to get the copyright law updated!

Dresden Dolls

3rd November saw me at the Roundhouse for the second consecutive night, this time to see the The Dresden Dolls.

Now, I've been to a few gigs in my time, especially over the last few years, but I can truly say this was one of the oddest. Some of the oddness I can understand, some I still can't get my head around!

Full review behind the cutCollapse )Without doubt the best gig I've ever been to. And I can see the Dresden Dolls shooting up my favourite artist list!

Divine Comedy and Duke Special

Thursday 2nd November, tippex79 and I went to Divine Comedy supported by Duke Special at the awesome Roundhouse in Camden.

First, just a little about the venue. The Roundhouse in Camden is something of a legendary venue, and it's great to see it back in use after many years of decay. As a Pink Floyd fan it was great to get into a venue where they created a lot of their history.

To be honest, we're both really gone to see Duke Special, I think that's the first time I've gone to a gig to see a support artist rather than the main event.

It was a good gig, not perhaps the best I've seen him do, and, of course, being the support, the crowd were talking quite a lot, which was a shame. Duke voice was excellent, but i felt sometimes the sound levels weren't quite right, but nothing major. It was a very long set, longest support set I've ever seen. The Duke was ably supported by, amongst other, Chip Bailey, and, for one track by Foy Vance with his wonderful voice.

Overall then, a good set, and he certainly got a good reception and I think won over some new fans, which is great!

Then the main event, The Divine Comedy. In advance of this gig, i did try to dig out the one album of his I had, Casanova, but sadly couldn't find it, so went to the gig very under-prepared!

It was an excellent gig, Neil Hannon was in exceptionally good fettle, and had the crowd in the palm of his hand; cavorting about, using monitors as props, smoking, and of course, singing wonderful songs! We also got a lovely cover of Prince's Raspberry Beret

I've always felt encores are ideal time for covers, and was duly rewarded with another, this time The Doors' Touch Me, very faithfully done and got people singing along.

Overall, the night was fantastic, great gig, great to see Duke Special raising his profile (coupled with a slot on Later with Jools Holland

Protect Free Speech!

Amnesty International are calling on all bloggers to stand up for freedom of speech. I'm more than happy to assert my belief that the internet should be free for people to say what they think about things without fear of recrimination from governments, which sadly isn't always the case, especially in countries like China and Iran.

Amnesty highlight the case of Kianoosh Sanjari who was arrested in Iran for reporting on clashes between security ofrces and fighters supporting a cleric. And Chinese journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo! account to email a US-basedwebsite about an internal government directive instructing journalistshow to handle media coverage of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Squarecrackdown. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "illegallyproviding state secrets to foreign entities." Yahoo! provided information to the government that was used in his prosecution.

Stand up for freedom of speech!

Emusic

I've blogged several times about downloading music, and the deplorable practice of 'renting' out music or restrictive DRM so favoured by most of the major legitimate downloading sites. So it was very refreshing when tippex79 pointed me in the direction of Emusic.

Essentially, you pay a monthly subscription and can legally (not like allofmp3!) download from 2million plus DRM free tracks. When you stop your subscription, the music stays unlocked and stays yours.

Just how downloading music should be!
Oh god, is nowhere safe, is there no sanctuary left? *sigh*

Latest sign of the apocalypse: ad-spewing hand dryers

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

[via Engadget]

Wicked!

On Friday night Damian and I went to see Wicked at the Victoria Apollo. For those of you who have been living under a rock (or not using public transport) wicked tells the story of Elphaba and Galinda, best known as the Witches of Oz.

It is, quite simply brilliant. The story is strong and is a very interesting suggestion of why the wicked witch went bad and it really draws you in and makes care for the characters. The songs are excellent, the set superb. Best of all though are the performances. Idina Menzel is excellent reprising her broadway as Elphaba and she is excellently supported by Helen Dallimore as Glinda. Miriam Margolyes and Nigel Planer (as the wizard) are both very good as the more senior characters.

If you get a chance to see this I strongly recommend it!

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I'll climb that hill in my own way
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