“The Revolution Will Be Live!” – Malik & The O.G.’s come to Cambridge.

The revolution will not be televised… but it will be at Cambridge Jazz Festival this upcoming weekend as Malik & the O.G.’s prepare a run of events at the festival celebrating the work of Gil Scott-Heron.

The upcoming appearance at Cambridge Jazz Festival include multiple seminars, talks and performance by Malik Al Nasir, showcasing why Gil Scott-Heron is still relevant to artists  as well as social politics today.

Gil Scott-Herons most notable work comes in the form of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, a spoken word track released in 1971 – it’s free form style and spoken-word, poetic approach to lyricism within music is an example of breaking down the wall between music and art, the song is not only musically but literarily insightful.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” holds lyrical significance even by today’s musical standards, whilst contemporary lyricism is more explicit and straight forward. The message it gave was a public one and that if there was going to be a revolution within 1970s America is not going to be televised; it was going to stare you in the face and it was going to be real.

“The Revolution will be not be re-run, the revolution will be live.” Are the final words of the iconic track that Gil Scott-Heron is most notable for – it’s a message that still holds strong within the current socio-political climate within America.

Malik Al Nasir who was Gil Scott-Heron’s protégé is currently following in his footsteps, delivering a message that is direct, insightful as well as artistic.

Malik Al Nasir is a Guyanese activist, poet and filmmaker from Liverpool, following in his mentors footsteps; Malik’s work Malik discusses how colonialism and slavery destroys identity, he also establishes the significance of genealogy, anthropology and DNA as an insight into “who we actually are” as well celebrating our inherited roots and cultural identity without anyone else dictating otherwise – using his Guyanese roots as an example of claiming his heritage and being self-aware of one’s cultural inheritance.

“My own journey back to Guyana to re-connect with my South American roots, was actually both a quest for lost family ties and a search for historical truth. Discovering I had an indigenous Amerindian grandmother, further complicated an already convoluted sense of self and the discovery of my Scottish aristocratic slave-owner ancestry, will offer the basis of a paradigm shift in how we view Transatlantic slavery – as it was practiced in Demerera South America.”

Malik will also explore the significance of the “Black Arts Movement” in America and how he contributes to that via Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets – with his role as an activist in breaking down colonialism and its control over identity.

Malik will be running an “Artist as Activists seminar” at the University of Cambridge, Centre of Latin American studies at 5pm on the 17th of November. “The Revolution Will Be Live!” will take place on the 18th of November at 8:30pm, Cambridge Wine Merchants. Finally Classic Album Sundays event; a tribute to Gil Scott-Heron will be running two events on the 19th of November at 2pm, Hidden Rooms, and 8pm Arts Picture house.

Links to tickets for these events can be found here;

https://www.cambridgejazzfestival.info/malik-the-o-g-s – “The Revolution Will Be Live!” tickets.

http://skiddle.com/e/13023561 – “Classic Album Sundays” @ Hidden Rooms

Free – “Artists as Activists”

You can keep up to date with the events at Malik’s social network links found below;

https://www.facebook.com/Malik-The-OGs-171722166201820/

https://twitter.com/MalikAndTheOGs?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

http://malikandtheogs.blogspot.co.uk/

Journey through the cosmos with Modiwo

Hailing from four corners of the globe, Modiwo’s colourful dreamscape Cosmic Bus is a joyous journey through the emotions that will leave you full of wonder and warmth.

Their latest track, “Cosmic Bus”, is a gradually-building anthemic slab of euphoric pop, perfectly twinned with an animated video which highlights the band’s infectiously happy outlook.

Watch the brilliant animated video to their new single, Cosmic Bus here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHlmXCN4k8w&feature=youtu.be

As well as conquering their homeland with their music, they are currently involved with a charity called Fruit Fusion, where audiences attending their gigs will pay with fruit rather than money, the proceeds then being donated to local orphanages, in conjunction with The Bureau of Children’s’ Rights Protection. An average show can deliver up to 700kg of fruit to those most deserving. Modiwo carry this healthy living ethos through to their own lifestyles and into their music, promoting yoga and meditation as well as using their music as a form of relaxation therapy.

Keep up with Modiwo here!

https://www.facebook.com/modiwomusic/

https://www.instagram.com/modiwomusic/

http://modiwo.com

 

Live Review: NME x Starling Bank’s Under The Radar

On the 12th of July I was very fortunate enough to be invited to NME’s first Under The Radar event as sponsored by Starling Bank, for a night of new music in one of London’s more quirkier venues.

Under The Radar is a showcase of upcoming talent; an opportunity to see some of the U.K’s hottest new acts in an intimate space before they play more crowded venues, an opportunity to see artists like these in a 300 capacity venue do not come around often.

The event was held at London’s Omeara in Southwark, with a cryptic looking interior and sporting a food court round the side of the venue, the venue suited an exclusive event. The sound in the venue brought out the best in the carousing bands.

The artists that were showcased – both London based were Anteros, a contemporary indie band with rock accessibility and Age of L.U.N.A, a rap/hip-hop group with a nostalgic element to their tunes.

The first of the two artists were Anteros, based in London; an indie band with rock accessibility, comparable to the Britpop bands of the 90s, with the grand stage presence akin to Blondie and an upbeat personality, a band with a catchy arsenal of tunes that got people dancing.

Vocalist Laura Hayden boasted a swagger that set the tone of what the band are all about, and the rest of the band are aware of this, presenting their own confidence and holding their own presence. The band capture their audience and know exactly what to do with them.

Anteros carry a set of tunes that are both catchy and well structured, fans or not, listeners will be unable to resist the urge to hum their tunes days after.

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Source: @Anterosofficial (Facebook)

The next artist and final of the night were Age of L.U.N.A, a hip-hop/rap outfit also from London. An example of the finest quality of hip-hop in contemporary music. With a classic, nostalgic vibe to them a la De La Soul & A Tribe Called Quest, the trio got the room moving with ease and a charm to their performance that makes them unique in the genres climate.

The quality of performance spoke volumes, from the choreographed style of their stage presence all the way to their interaction with the audience. The intricate instrumentals the mixture in diversity of vocal styles, from Daniella Thomas’s smooth soulful vocals to the mixture of rap styles; slick to aggressive from Butch and Kyote, it made the trio constantly interesting to watch and listen to.

Halfway through their set they performed a mash-up of classic hip-hop tunes which got the room moving, Daniella Thomas also brought out a Saxophone and played the hooks to these tunes, which added to the performance and made it even more exciting.

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Source: @Theageofluna (Facebook)

Overall, NME x Starling Bank’s first Under The Radar event was a success, an overwhelmingly entertaining show, the question is; how are they going to top the next one?

You can keep up to date with Anteros here;
www.instagram.com/anterosofficial
www.soundcloud.com/anterosofficial
www.twitter.com/anterosofficial
www.anterosofficial.com
www.facebook.com/anterosofficial

And you can keep up to date with Age of L.U.N.A here;
http://theageofluna.com/
http://www.twitter.com/ageofluna
https://soundcloud.com/ageofluna
http://youtube.com/user/ageofluna

http://instagram.com/ageofluna
www.facebook.com/Theageofluna

Live Review: Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot!

Three time Grammy award winner and seasoned Rockabilly veteran Brian Setzer marked his return to London for the first time in six years last Tuesday (11/07/17), playing the only U.K show in his European tour at the O2 Kentish Town Forum.

London is a significant place for Brian Setzer, being the city that the Stray Cats, the Rockabilly revival band made it’s inception in 1981 after travelling from Long Island, New York to join in with the Rocker revival happening in Britain at the time.

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“Hello London!” Setzer at his first London flat. / Source: @briansetzerofficial (Facebook)

With a crowd both young and old the streets of Kentish Town were lined up with rockers clad in leather and pomp’s up high. With a career spanning over 40 years and indulging in not just Rockabilly but Jazz too, London welcomed him with open arms.

Setzer’s presence was known as he walked on stage in a classy pinstripe suit donning his orange Gretsch as his musical hero Eddie Cochran would have done. His Rockabilly Riot included the regular, orthodox line up of an upright bassist and drummer, with the inclusion of a pianist (rhythm guitarist for numerous songs) and went straight into a cover of Carl Perkins ‘Put Your Cat Clothes On’, which emanated a certain suaveness.

Setzer; in his pinstripe suit donning his orange Gretsch, during the opening song. / Source: Christina Vigh (Youtube)

The show was what you would expect from Setzer and his entourage to this date, a humble showcase of Setzer’s career spanning from the Stray Cats, with a welcoming performance of Cry Baby, from the cats revival era album Choo Choo Hot Fish to his Orchestra which included a delightful performance of his Louis Prima cover of ‘Jump, Jive an’ Wail’.

Setzer continued to play a collection of songs throughout his career, including ‘Slow Down’, which lead into a cover of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ with a career with as much longevity as Setzer, he worked his charm and the entire crowd joined in.

Inbetween songs, Setzer would work that charm and converse in stories of rock and roll and the occasional memoir, one of which talking about Dave Edmunds and the original recording of Runaway Boys, leading into a dual guitar rendition “the way it was recorded”.

But of course, many of the audience were most likely there for the love they share for Setzer’s primary band The Stray Cats, and fans walked away content hearing the bands popular tracks, including ‘Stray Cat Strut’ and ‘Rumble In Brighton’, the latter being fitting of the Cats inception in the U.K.

Whilst the performance itself was a spectacle, I felt the sound of the venue could have been better; notably the pianist, who was playing Jerry Lee Lewis “staccato” styled licks adding to the authenticity of the performance, whilst a welcoming feature, the live mix would boost the solo’s to an uncomfortable rate, often being muddled in the mix, this was also the case with a couple of the guitar solos, mayhap my position in the venue did not help being front & center.

It’s hard to talk about a performance like this and not mention the virtuosity of the bands playing, from the incredible speeds and textures of the upright bassist, to the Jazz influenced Rockabilly style that Setzer has crafted in the latter part of his career, the subtlety of showing off technique and skill in a humble way, Setzer gives off a vibe of enjoying his craft, from the instrumental version of the 1950’s classic ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’, all the way to the encore of his version of Santo & Johnny’s ‘Sleepwalk’, a bittersweet conclusion to the show before blasting into the final song ‘Rock This Town’.

Brian Setzer, and his Rockabilly Riot are currently in the middle of their European tour. With the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Stray Cats debut album coming up next year, we may (or may not) be seeing more of him very soon.

Source: Christina Vigh (Youtube)

Setlist;

  1. Put Your Cat Clothes On (Carl Perkins cover)
  2. Rumble In Brighton
  3. Vinyl Records
  4. Stray Cat Strut
  5. Nothing Is A Sure Thing, Baby
  6. Stiletto Cool
  7. Cry Baby
  8. ’49 Mercury Blues
  9. Whatshername
  10. Drive Light Lightning
  11. Slow Down (Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash cover)
  12. Gene & Eddie
  13. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys cover)
  14. Runaway Boys
  15. Jump Jive An’ Wail (Louis Prima cover)
  16. Fishnet Stockings
  17. Let’s Shake
  18. Sleepwalk (Santo & Johnny cover)
  19. Rock This Town