Monday, 27 August 2012
Sunday, 26 August 2012
So last night I watched Nirvana's highly regarded Unplugged set as I continue to investigate their work. I have to say that it was one of the best live performances I have ever had the fortune to watch! Trying to pick my definitive highlight is very tough, I loved About A Girl, Come As You Are, The Man Who Sold The World (Bowie cover), Polly, On A Plain, Something In The Way, Plateau and Lake of Fire, the last two of which are covers by The Meat Puppets and two members of the group actually join Nirvana onstage for the performances. I know I've basically rhymed off all but five of the songs performed in their hour long set, but it really is one of the most consistently brilliant live performances you're likely to see. Anyhow, I've chosen Come As You Are as the video here purely because the song sounds absolutely beautiful in an accoustic style, and I honestly do think I prefer this to the original! Given that the original version is one of my favourite Nirvana tracks that I've heard so far (I've heard Bleach and Nevermind but only a few from In Utero however) I think that may say something. Due to the fact that I can see myself playing this even more than the original version in the long term, this may prove to be my favourite performance from Unplugged, but if you haven't already done so I really recommend you watch the full set. Its quite eerie to watch really given that the prominent flowers and candles make the stage take on a funeral service look (and Kurt would sadly be dead in a matter of months). Its also however, a beautiful performance by a band who would come to a sad end far too soon. Highly recommended!
Saturday, 25 August 2012
I just love this live performance! This is Stone Roses, performing their fantastic single Waterfall on The Other Side of Midnight, which was hosted by the late founder of Factory Records, Tony Wilson. It's interesting to see them on the show really, given Tony's apology here for initially disliking them, and Stone Roses weren't exactly Factory's biggest fans either. (One of their earliest songs from late 1984, Fall, was allegedly about their dislike for the label). Tony would further apologize for his initial dislike of them in a 2001 interview he conducted with lead singer Ian Brown. You've also got to admire Tony including them on the show because in 1989 you could say they were rivals to Happy Mondays, which were a Factory records act. I have to say I think this is one of the band's best live performances! The arrangement here is slightly different to the studio version, in fact I think I may prefer this version to the studio version (even though its also fantastic). The song here seems to sound more echoey and sometimes a bit similar to the 12" version. What I really like about this version is that it allows Mani's bass to be properly heard and I have to admit, I never actually released just how strong the bass in this song is until I heard this version. On the subject of bass, I just love the look of the bass he's playing here, it is absolutely gorgeous! Its not just Mani though, everyone here is at the peak of their powers. Even Ian Brown, who's live vocals have been subject to a fair bit of criticism sounds really good here, I honestly don't think he's half as bad as people say he is. You can find this performance on the 2 disc DVD The Very Best Of The Stone Roses. Its good that its been released I think, as its a stellar performance!
A vastly underrated song from their Modern Life is Rubbish era in my opinion. The album itself marked a big change in direction for Blur from their debut album Leisure, with the band favoring a much more guitar pop oriented sound in the vein of The Kinks and The Small Faces in comparison to their shoegaze influenced debut. Peach was originally on the original version of the album which would have been released in spring 1992 (the album wouldn't get released until May 1993) but this version of the album was scrapped and Peach got relegated to B-side status, being released as a B-side to the album's lead single, For Tomorrow. Musically, the track is very laid back and is in this slightly bizarre electric meets folk style. It's one of the most relaxing songs Blur have ever done I think and is a perfect counterbalance to more punchier songs of the Modern Life is Rubbish period, like Advert. The song definitely really benefits being played on a decent set of speakers or headphones I think, as there are some really beautiful subtle parts in the course of the arrangement of the song that sometimes don't come through. In terms of lyrics, its one that I have trouble deciphering. On one hand its easy to assume that the lyrics' weren't meant to make any sense, I've read that the song was intended as a psychedelic experiment and that explains why some of the lyrics (first verse in particular) makes little sense. Although, I think with a bit of inferring its possible to come up with an interpretation that sounds semi plausible at least. The lyrics are actually quite depressing I think, and in my opinion discuss someone who isn't in a great mental state, or to paraphrase the song's lyrics themselves, they've gone crazy. Part of the lyrics discuss a lost love and asks the question "Where is she now?", and state that the person in which the song is about wears a locket around their neck containing a strand of the girls hair. A repeated refrain of "You've got a massive hole in your head, I'd let the birds nest there instead" seems to suggest that the person has ended up in such an emotionally fragile state that they've either shot themselves or that their mental state is merely rotting away metaphorically. They could have shot themselves considering the lyrics also state the person has a gun in their pocket. As for the opening line of "Chemical eats the best part of the peach", I think the peach is actually a metaphor for the persons brain, and the chemicals could be a reference to drugs or something, with the eating reference possibly suggesting further how their mental state is just disintegrating. All of this is just my opinion though and I could be completely wrong. In any case, the song's beautiful arrangement coupled with lyrics that are more interesting than I had initially thought makes this song their best B-side in my opinion, and its a contender for the top spot in my list of favorite Blur songs!
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Their new single, this has five tracks. All variations of the same two songs, The Puritan and Under The Westway. I have to admit, I am not the biggest lover of The Puritan at all, but Under The Westway is a beautiful song that is one of Blur's finest moments I think! This cost me £5 in Head, in all seriousness, in Head today I was debating whether or not to go for this or for the Oasis Definitely Maybe and Creation Record Story DVDs which would have totalled £6 for the two. What swung it for me though was that I had heard it would be stocked in Head in limited quantities so I decided to get the single, as the DVD's are much easier to get cheap after all.