Thanks to Billy Bragg’s first foray into non-fiction, ‘Roots Radicals and Rockers’, markontour is currently listening to Lonnie Donegan. Although I’m sceptical that ‘Rock Island Line’ would induce the same excitement in twenty-first century kids as it seemingly did in 1957, as Bragg turns out to be as eloquent in prose as he is in lyrical verse, I am nevertheless both highly entertained from taking the book’s journey and prepared to believe that skiffle did indeed change the musical world.
Hannah Peel loves the stars, synthesizers and Barnsley, although she’s slightly in denial about the latter. Mary Casio dreams of inter-stellar travel to Cassiopeia, the ‘W’-shaped…
I landed in New York just in time to catch a band last night, and my pot-luck choice turned out to be a blinder – Sydney indie-poppers, Middle Kids, at the Williamsburg Music Hall. Last time I was there it was to see a stunning set by Matthew E. Smith, a joy I inexplicably shared with only a half full audotorium. Last night it was pretty full, so presumably Middle Kids are already pretty established on the live-scene, despite only having a single EP for sale at the gig. Singer/songwriter, Hannah Joy, is a ready-made star. Time to find out a little more about them.
Ah – the last festival of the season, for markontour at least, and there couldn’t be a better conclusion than Festival No.6. This year’s festival was slimmed down a little and was all the better for it. The Port Meirion setting is so exquisite – Clough William Ellis’ faux Italian village, nestled between the mountains of Snowdonia and the Irish sea – it needs a little space to be enjoyed properly. Some of my favourite moments this year included sunrise over the beach as the estuary tide powered in, wandering around the woods trying to find the Ghost Gardens, and finishing the festival on a moon-lit Stone Boat. You don’t get so many of those moments with 20,000 people knocking around.
Ten Fe’s debut album, ‘Hit The Light’ has provided entrancing holiday listening and a host of instant ear-worms. It’s proper indie-pop, full of allusions to great songs of earlier days – although I still don’t get why The Guardian likened them to Springsteen.
Charlatans singer, Tim Burgess, has swapped drink and drugs for coffee and tweets, but his record buying obsession remains. Tim Book Two finds our hero feeding his crate-digging addiction in pursuit of vinyl targets set by a host of music luminaries over the course of a Charlatans world tour. It’s all an excuse to write with passion and depth about music and record shops and for anyone who loves either Tim Book Two is 257 pages of pure joy.
The western world’s greatest music festival is over for another year and 2017 was undoubtedly defined by the way that Glastonbury embraced Jeremy Corbyn. I’ve been going to this magical festival for 25 years and have experienced countless ‘Glastonbury moments’, when an entire crowd is moved to euphoria as one under the power of extraordinary musical performance, but I’ve never witnessed anything like this.