Something You Said’s top gigs of 2016
As usual, our contributors have spent the past year at venues and festivals all over the world, checking out a whole bunch of gigs. Here are some of our favourites, in no particular order:
KATE TEMPEST – SYDNEY FESTIVAL
I don’t recall the last time I saw a show that was quite so honest, life-affirming and empowering. At times, I agreed with her so vehemently that it was as though she had reached out from the stage, pulled my brain from my head, read my exact thoughts and emotions and written a poem about them. As she finished to rapturous applause, I wanted to storm the government, throw my phone in the bin and give a stranger a cuddle, all at once.
I implore you to see Kate Tempest (pictured at Sydney Festival, above) at the earliest possible opportunity. As she stares you down and spits another inalienable truth at you, the feeling of connection and engagement will be almost tangible and you will know that you are in the presence of a genius. A genius with fire in her belly and love in her heart. Bobby Townsend
RODRIGUEZ – FAIRGROUNDS FESTIVAL
My favourite gig of 2016 was definitely Rodriguez’s set at Fairgrounds on the South Coast of NSW. Front row and centre watching him get helped on stage my friend and I just looked at each other, I guess we didn’t know what to expect. I must admit I can’t remember what song he opened with, just because I was fangirling at the fact I was standing in front of a musical icon that long ago I came to terms thinking I’d never see him play…but, it was absolutely amazing. He sounded exactly as he did 40 odd years ago. Mind. Blown. Travis Jordan
CHASTITY BELT – OXFORD ART FACTORY
Chastity Belt are feisty, young female musicians making great music, raising questions about anxieties and often tapping into feminism through personal experiences (subtle battles with the patriarchy e.g. mansplaining), which features heavily in their track ‘Drone’. Their gig at Oxford Art Factory in early October emitted a warm and friendly atmosphere, as if we were their friends and family watching them jam in the comforts of a garage. Melissa Barrass
DAVID FORD (with THE WINDSOR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA STRINGS) – CAPITAL THEATRE 🎭, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
A labour of love promoting this fundraiser with my great friend Dr. Alan Wildeman and The Windsor Symphony Orchestra. Our mutual friend, the incomparable British songwriter David Ford made his second trip to Windsor (breaking from a recording session in New York State) to perform a set of rapturous beauty with four members of the WSO strings. Those lucky enough to be in attendance for Ford’s largest North American show ever, were treated to a second set of Ford playing a number of his other compositions and stunningly a track with Wildeman from Alan’s Lp “The Apologist” .
David was his usual brilliant self The songs were brimming with passion, wit and insightful observation while David was his usual self-deprecating self- contemplating the gamut from the 2008 financial meltdown to the forthcoming birth of his first child. G William Rex
WILCO – BRIXTON ACADEMY
On the back of two really good albums, Wilco returned to the UK and proved why they’re the greatest live band from the States. Not only do they possess an exceptional songwriter in Jeff Tweedy, they also have in their ranks a mesmerising pair, drummer Glenn Kotche and guitarist Nels Cline. They and the rest of the excellent band showed the full spectrum of their back catalogue to stunning effect on a cold November
Brixton night. Gary Page
PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT – ST. ANDREWS HALL, DETROIT, MICHIGAN
With energy to burn, the world’s greatest bass player and his band audaciously stomp through the New Order “highlight” album “Substance” followed by a second set of the Joy Division tracks from the Lp of the same name! Over 30 songs delivered with amazing sound, punch and energy. Pick your favourites- they were all on display. From “Ceremony”, “Temptation” “Blue Monday” and “True Faith” to “Digital” “Sound of Music” “Transmission” and the NME #2 track of all time- “Love Will Tear Us Apart” it was an evening for the ages. G William Rex
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS – CAUGHT BY THE RIVER THAMES FESTIVAL, LONDON
The five-piece belted out a greatest hits set with all the trimmings, including the famous Power Rangers helmet, the instructional placards (“applause” “louder” etc), the costumes and a dazzling light show. These fun embellishments added to a genuinely magnificent collection of songs which spanned the sparkling career of a band who do things entirely their own way. Opening with Slow Life, they carried on through Rings Around The World and delved back to their early work for Hometown Unicorn and The International Language of Screaming.
Hello Sunshine was an appropriate soundtrack for the festival and Juxtaposed With You proved itself to be even more necessary and meaningful now than ever before. If we need a 21st Century anthem, then one with a gentle, swaying chorus of “You’ve got to tolerate all of those people that you hate,” is surely it. These two songs showed just what this group does. They bring people together with their positive vibes and singalong music. And of course they can bang out an indie-pop banger. Golden Retriever and insane new single, Bing Bong, are examples of this. As the night reached its denouement, Mountain People started the familiar SFA path towards a wonky techno climax and The Man Don’t Give a Fuck got weary legs bouncing up and down and tired voices yelling along for one final hurrah. After the Welshmen had reappeared wearing yeti suits to end the song and the festival, the crowd filtered happily into the London night in the knowledge they had witnessed genuine, barmy genius. Bobby Townsend
BEACH HOUSE – 170 RUSSELL
Stark lighting transformed a small tight knit crowd into a wash of silhouettes. Minimalist spectacle. Brilliant. Riley James
LUSH with TAMARYN – ST. ANDREWS HALL, DETROIT, MICHIGAN
Two essential artists. New Zealand born Tamaryn swept us through the tracks of her Latest Mexican Summer Lp “Cranekiss” (the title an homage to her fave band Cranes). We were then treated to a thrashing by the legendary Lush- on tour after nearly 20 years of silence following the tragic death of drummer Chris Acland. Featuring a range of tunes by these “shoegazing” legends, Miki Berenyi and co sounded as fresh as when I saw them on tour with RIDE in the early 90’s). Thank you, Lush! G William Rex