Archive for November, 2008

Sigur Ros - Alexandra Palace, 20 November, 2008

November 24th, 2008

Sigur Ros, Alexandra Palace, 20 Nov, 2008 - Photo by Kryzian on flickr

This is my last blog entry for the year, and what a way to end it, with a haunting Sigur Ros concert in one of London’s gradest old venues…

After a lovely meal at one of Wood Greens best kept secrets, We headed off up the hill to Alexandra Palace, to stunning views of London on the way up (its amazing how much you miss hills in this city!). As expected, Alexandra Palace was an amazing old Victorian palace with high ceilings and huge halls. Unfortunately, having entered the Great Hall where Sigur Ros was playing, I was abit disappointed - its quite a long hall, so unless your in the first third, your not going to be seeing much, added to by the fact there arent any additional screens for viewing.

None the less, Sigur Ros came on stage and began into a typically cinematic and diverse set. Their performance, as with their music ranged from quiet introverted moments of absolute silence, to sweepingly loud distorted guitars with heavy reverb. The visuals were quite striking with live feeds of abstracted video shots being projected onto the back of the stage, and huge hanging spheres. The best part of the show was was the massive crescendo that happened over 20 minutes in the encore, with a spectacular snow storm of confetti, seen the image above.

I’ve been in love with Sigur Ros’s music since their Untitled album many years ago. While I dont always get into their new albums, I still believe they are boundary pushing visionaries with contemporaries like Radiohead and Bjork. Unfortunately we had to watch the last half of the set from the back of the hall, so I’m hoping to see them again at some time in the future to satiate my thirst for their music… If anyone is curious about them live, I strongly suggest you go see them - their music is even more hypnotic and mesmerizing in reality.

Here are a few tracks:
Sigur Ros - Svefn-g-Englar.mp3
Sigur Ros - Hoppipolla.mp3

and some flickr sets: (including the set by Kryzian, containing the one above)

Leonard Cohen - The O2, 14 November, 2008

November 19th, 2008

Leonard Cohen @ The O2, photo by jules2view on flickr

Leonard Cohen. What can I say about seeing him in concert? It was like watching a tribute to his legendary life - with the man himself performing. The audience were incredibly appreciative, giving many standing ovations, almost thanking him for what his music had meant to them over the years.

His Players were all masters of several instruments, and were a pleasure to listen to in both solo and ensemble, while the man with the golden voice crooned like someone out of the ’50s. What was amazing, was for an old fellow, who hadnt toured in 14 years, he sounded remarkably good. I’ve always considered Leonard Cohen to be a Poet first and a Musician second, as his lyrics are truly beautiful, but having now seen him live, I can see him in a new light. He has a soulful musicality in performance that is much more evident than in his recordings (yes, I know - he sounds great on tape - but recordings dont always tell the truth).

He played 2 sets, totalling around 3 hours, including his early classics, to many of the more modern tracks. ‘Hallelujah’ made an unexpected entry early in the second set, and while it was hard not to hear Jeff Buckley’s voice singing along, once he got into it, I realized that his interpretation was his own, and hell - he WROTE the song - he knows how it should go (I could almost hear an additional gospel choir joining in on his choruses).

I’m glad I went, as I think the chances of seeing him again are fairly low. He might be fighting fit now, but even Leonard can agree that time is surely not on his side. Even so, even a young fan like myself can be grateful for how he nourished my early musical experiences. So Leonard - Thanks for the music. May you keep playing for as long as you are happy doing so.

Here are some tracks:
Leonard Cohen - In My Secret Life.mp3
Leonard Cohen - Chelsea Hotel #2.mp3
Leonard Cohen - Tower of Song.mp3
Leonard Cohen - A Thousand Kisses Deep.mp3
Leonard Cohen - Famous Blue Raincoat.mp3

here are some flickr photos: (including the one above)