Archive for the ‘Jazz rock’ Category

Beth Hart rocks out the Forum, Kentish Town, London, November 16th 2012

Beth Hart rocks out the Forum, Kentish Town, London, November 16th 2012

Beth Hart’s exuberance was a delight to watch as she came bounding onto the the Forum stage looking very excited. Mind you, with the audience having been kept waiting longer than expected, you could feel the crowd getting fidgety as some small ripples of slow-handclapping were heard. Not to worry, it was worth the wait as Beth was to prove. Practically bursting onto the stage, Beth started off with a relaxing piano ballad with “With You Everyday” but soon went into hot rocking mode and after that her energy knew bounds. The atmosphere cranked up with “Better Man”, a mid-tempo rock ballad – with a tinge of drama whose deliciously accusatory lyrics to a no good old flame revolve around description of life in a better relationship.

From then she had so such much enthusiasm she looked like she was going to explode. Two awesome americana rock songs followed – “Well Well” and “Delicious Surprise” that saw Beth, dressed in a knee length red dress marching and gyrating around different parts of the stage like she was about to burst. But then bringing the tempo right back down, she demonstrated her vocal versatility and subtlety on “Caught Out in the Rain” with a raw soulfulness akin to that of Randy Crawford at her height. As she smooched and swooned in front of the blues guitar, the solo was from this instrument was sublime.
There was humour too. While introducing the song “The Ugliest House on the Block” Beth recounted a story of her and her husband needing to find a cheap place to stay in Los Angeles , finding a cheap place online and it being horrible but stated that they are living still there.
Other highlights included a thrilling performance of Something’s Got A Hold of Me” with such an up-tempo beat that it could have come out of a Tina Turner songbook and the jaunty piano rock of title track of her latest album Bang Bang Boom Boom.

Then just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, as gift for the British audience , Beth and the band blasted us in the encore with a full-on version of Led Zep’s Whole Lotta Love .
We thought that was it and many started to leave but Beth came back to her piano and sang one last glorious tune “My California” conveying a glorious soulful feeling of nostalgic homesickness, that a London crowd could appreciate. This was a truly magnificent gig from Beth Hart and a long one at just over 2 hours. “Thank god you came” she said almost in a whisper at the end of the song as a compliment to the crowd. No Beth, it is for us to thank you for coming.

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The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, live at Scala, London, UK, April 10th 2012

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour land in London, Live at Scala, April 10th 2012

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour land in London, Live at Scala, April 10th 2012

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour is a group hailing from Denmark and based in Copenhagen. It is principally  a collaboration between song writer and producer Lars Iversen and singer Mette Lindberg. On tour the band bring in other musicians to round out their psychedelic and slightly funky based sound. They formed in 2007 and released their first single in September of 2008.

The group have a good claim to one of the most unusual and original names around for any band. Along with other bands with memorable names like Death Cab for Cutie, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine and The Ozric Tentacles to name but a few , this group’s title does stick in the head but does the music?

Mette Lindberg of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour exudes a air of cool European chic, Live at Scala, London, April 10th 2012

Mette Lindberg of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour exudes a air of cool European chic, Live at Scala, London, April 10th 2012

Judging from the very intimate live show I attended at Scala, it does. The stunning looking Mette Lindberg made her way on stage in a shimmering gold jacket backed by a guitar, bass, drummer and a three man horn section, lightly stomping her way through the set, moving occasionally from one side to the other on the small stage.  The band started with the opening three tracks of their 2nd album- “Gold Rush part 1 -Dollar in the Nights –  Gold Rush part 2” rolled into one and played many of the tracks from the new album  “Out of Frequency” including the title. Second track of the night “Heart Attack” was definitely a stomping song. Third one “The Sun Ain’t Shining no more”, a song about a short term fling had the ambience of early 1970’s Steely Dan jazz rock about it.

Mette Linberg didn’t say that much to the audience between numbers. She didn’t really have to. Many in the audience knew the songs and were just happy to swing along to the rhythms. Mette appeared controlled in her delivery and at times a little detached at the start but this may just have been her stage persona.  She noticeably relaxed and became more engaged with the audience as the gig went on.   The band – particularly the brass section – seemed to be  having great time throughout. Even the guy sound in the caged covered sound desk was constantly moving through the gig.

From a musician’s perspective, the 6 minute long “Theme from 45 Eugenia” mid-way through the set was probably the most interesting combining as it did a 60’s style psychedelic melody and lyrics with a slow Kravitz style funk beat.

Lindberg did speak to the crowd saying it was great to be back in London and at one point tried to make a joke about the size of the horn section but somehow it got lost in translation. What really got the crowd going though was “Around the Bend” with its infectious horn packed rhythmic hook. The main set wound up with the flourishing psychedelic fanfare and sliding downscale minor chords of “Push the Envelope”.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour live at Scala, London, UK, April 10th 2012

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour live at Scala, London, UK, April 10th 2012

The encore saw the group play “Golden Age”, essentially a party piece as homage to the Brat Pack era. This is the song that has brought them to the attention of a wider public via a TV commercial and naturally the crowd responded enthusiastically. The set was rounded off with another great funky horn section hook in “Major”, a song whose lyrics raise the pitfalls of rising stardom, ambition and a fast lifestyle.

Undoubtedly, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour has still a way to go to make themselves more widely known in the UK but on this performance they certainly deserve to increase their following and start playing bigger venues in the future.