The Lovely Beth Orton @Wedgewood Rooms

13 12 2010

I was meaning to write this last week, but due to being ill and then becoming addicted to Pokemon Diamond on the DS, but that is a different matter.

I have liked The Lovely Beth Orton since first hearing her guest vocals on the Chemical Brothers Exit Planet Dust album, through her proper debut album Trailer park, and everything up until Comfort in Strangers, so basically 15 years of great music.  I had wanted to see her live for years and finally I got the chance to do so at this intimate seated gig.

In my opinion there aren’t may voices better than hers and with 2 Mercury Music award nominations, her songwriting isn’t bad either.  Listening to her playing through the back catalogue was an absolute delight, She Cries Your Name opening the set was great and it got better from there.  I really cannot wait for the new album to come out.

One thing I will say is that she is taller than I thought.

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The National @ Brixton Academy

6 12 2010

Before I start, thanks to Beeskiffle for getting H and I these tickets as an Engagement present.

The Brixton Academy is an awesome venue (save for it being an Academy and them scalping you for your hard earned cash at every opportunity)inside an old theatre, so it has a loveley sloping floor, so even I could see the stage behind the tall people.  The stage looks like a set from Romeo and Juliet, with Italianate style bluidngs built around the wings.  All in all its a pretty epic venue.  Support for the evening came from Phosphorescent who were really good, but to be quite honest I was just a bit excited about what was to come.

I discovered The National late really, only after Boxer had come out and they were playing at an ATP festival.  Anyway, I had fallen in love with Boxer, and Alligator and the new one High Violet, so seeing them again was bound to be good.

Great songs from all albums were playes, with Slow Show and Apartment Story being my highlights, but the “I’m Evil” part of Conversation #16 getting a good sing-a-long.  The highlight however was the encore with a raucous version of Mr November including stage diving followed by the band asking for silence in the venue (which they got) and playing acoustically and singing without microphones.  What happened was the quietest sing-a-long in musical history, an almost lullaby like air, which still gives me goose bumps thinking about it.  Half way through the guy stood behind said to his friend “All gigs should be like this!”  I am inclined to agree.