Monday, 20 December 2010
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Just got back from Glastonbury dirty, dehydrated and knackered. All good signs, obviously.
We saw a bit of music including LCD Soundsystem, The xx, Kelis, Hot Chip, Strange Boys, er Sharika, Lulu and the Lampshades (who played not once but thrice) and We Have Band to name a few…. in-between supping on pints of cider, having some mega jokes and watching people acquire some can-you-believe-that sunburn. Slip, slap, slop, jesus.
The unequivocal winner though was Stevie Wonder, who tore the house down, ripped it into little pieces infact.
The guy is a genius, a musical legend. That we knew. But I certainly didn't know about the fact that he's a fucking player. A few light-hearted comedy skits, a bit of flirting with the backing singers, an interlude where he drank a 'magic potion' to make his voice an octave higher to bring back 'Little Stevie', were just some of the effortless ways in which he charmed us.
Not to mention his pitch-perfect, vibrant performance that left us all with our mouths on the floor. Grown men were reduced to tears all around me. No one fucks with Stevie, don't believe me, watch this.
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
But when it came to the female RnB singers I found there was a much more varied approach. You had the female groups/acts that would sing about heartbreak and the woes of being cheated on and then you had the women who were making empowered music that expressed their sexuality as well as making it clear that they weren't to be fucked around. Salt-n-Pepa and TLC were a good example of this.
Not suprisingly, the singers/rappers of this time were making much more emotional, real music that wasn't about fantasy or an exertion of power.
But when female artists DID start to push the boundaries as a backlash to the insulting anti-women lyrics that were being churned out - suddenly, there was a problem. Men started to feel threatened. You only have to look at Sporty Thieves 'No Pigeons' to see how one song can provoke the need for some men to assert their masculinity.
However, as an angst ridden teenager I wanted more. I wanted the emotion of Toni Braxton and En Vogue mixed with the tell-it-like-it-is attitude of TLC and Salt-n-Pepa. So, when Kelis debuted with her first single 'Caught Out There' it completely gave way to a whole new level of female empowerment.
With her constantly changing rainbow coloured hair and distinct Neptunes produced style, Kelis was someone to look up to. She was sexy but not over-sexed and, in RnB terms, she was incredibly alternative looking compared to the weavetastic, choreographed hunnies that were now starting to become the popular choice for the 00's.
But, in a male dominated industry, a song implying that you would be severely harmed if you were to ever be unfaithful was never going to be a lasting success. It was received much better in the UK than it was in America but there were many occasions in which I heard Kelis described as 'mental' or a 'bunny boiler' by male radio presenters.
As an album 'Kaleidescope' was brilliant. It was such a refreshing approach towards a genre that was now becoming more and more commercial. But unfortunately for Kelis, her look and her sound was too alternative for the RnB world and too RnB for the alternative world. So although she received respect from the critics she didn't received the success that should have come with it.
Her next album 'Wanderland' followed a similar sound and approach. Although critically acclaimed it never got the interest and promotion that it deserved. To many people she was just the crazy girl who wanted to kill her boyfriend.
So after a short hiatus, it was decided that Kelis was missing something. She needed that mass appeal without losing her destinct sound. What's the one thing that can sell anything? Oh yes. Sex.
On the front cover of her third album 'Tasty'. We see a brunette Kelis perching on top of a tall glass of ice cream. With a cherry on top. The first single, Milkshake was her most successful to date. A catchy floor-filler that was writhing in boob-bouncing, lollipop-sucking sexual innuendo.
What followed in the years to come was a Kelis who had been told that the only way she'd get anywhere was by singing about how sexy she was and all the things she was going to do to her new husband, Nas, in public.
This prostitution of someone who I really respected was sad to see. Because not only did it effect her music ('Kelis Was Here' was CRAP) but it hardly made any difference to her record sales. Kelis could never quite get 'there'.
Now, after a divorce and having a child, Kelis has been reinvented once again. This time as an amazonian trance diva.
'Flesh Tone' is a piano trance pop ballad disaster. With songs produced by big dance names like David Guetta, Boys Noize and Benny Benassi each song as a 'seague' between it so it flows like some sort of dance mix album.
Kelis has given up on selling sex, she's now going where the money lies - cheesetastic trance for the masses. We can only wait and see if this is finally what gets her the success she deserves, be it in disappointing circumstances.
Monday, 7 June 2010
Sunday, 6 June 2010
Friday, 4 June 2010
Lulu and the Lampshades are a four piece, with a magic touch and a knack for a darn good ditty.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Friday, 14 May 2010
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
The night’s stand-out roadblocker was Ms. Dynamite, who for half an hour or so took Room One through a selection of tunes old and new that were received with a fair amount of giddiness. “It Takes More” was a nice slice of nostalgia, and the Miss herself was moved to a beaming smile at how religiously the crowd crowed “Dy-na-mi-tee” back at her. Rarely has such a potentially irritating chorus been so generously delivered and enjoyed. Confidence bolstered, she took some time out to tell a girl at the front to wind her neck. This girl had attempted a clamber up to share the stage, and in the nicest possible way got a bollocking from the lady of the half hour who then reclaimed the space with two massive renditions of “Wile Out” and “Boo”, both of which stopped the show.
Room Two welcomed the upfront steps of Dark Sky and Deadboy, who played up to their names nicely. Whereas Room One was dealing in singalongs, Room Two was a little darker, with an edgier more directional sound being the focus. I thought Deadboy in particular got us moving in a suitably purposeful manner and I recommend his If You Want Me EP if you fancy some spooned-out funky. His blend of Tetris audio with some kitchen surface banging on “U Cheated” makes for a busy but accessible sound that certainly worked well in the broad corridor of Room Two. He was followed by Jamie from The XX who was typically down-tempo, making as much impact with the space between his dub-tinged beats as with the beats themselves. He cut a slick silhouette at the head of Room Two, all buttoned up in black, and looked confident in his orchestration of a slightly thinned-out, slightly more serious crowd. Jamie was briefly joined by Lil J, a rare appearance from the pocket-sized MC who made a name for himself up in Newcastle a few years back. His flow was as neat and sociable as ever, as he read the rhythms nicely and lifted things during his short stint in the booth.
Toddla T himself was gallivanting about the place on missions aplenty throughout the night. Be it to hang about with girlfriend Annie Mac, who seemed to be having plenty jokes, or to play some records in Room One, “the boom DJ from the steel city” was busy running the show basically, and must have been well satisfied with the fabric of his label launch. He kept things moving in Room One with his own warming brand of cuddle-jungle, and gets special kudos for dropping Boy Better Know’s “Too Many Men”. With the Asylum Sneakers drawing things to a close in Room Two, I’d say Friday’s Trouble Vision was one of the nights more shrewdly put together efforts to date. Three and three quarter stars.