sat 22/06/2024

New Music Reviews

Wilco, Royal Festival Hall

David Cheal

Rock music doesn’t get much better than this. For two hours, the raggedy Chicago band Wilco poured out song after song from a repertoire that stretches back 15 years, slipping effortlessly between gentle alt-country and avant-garde rock, between the whisperingly quiet and the crushingly loud. They were sensational, a band at the top of their game.

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Muse, Wembley Stadium

David Cheal

Some years ago I saw Muse playing at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. Towards the end of the show, at a climactic moment (I think it might have been during their proggy epic, “New Born”), singer and guitarist Matt Bellamy reached into a bag attached to his microphone stand, pulled out a handful of shiny golden confetti and flung it into the air. It fluttered downwards most attractively.

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Archaos: Circus From Hell, Bargehouse

Peter Culshaw Archaos: Fun with motorbikes and chainsaws

Archaos were the mad, bad and dangerous troupe who revolutionised circus back in the Eighties and early Nineties – their antics with juggling chainsaws, raunchy Galllic attitude and mayhem with motorbikes is celebrated with a pop-up exhibition at the Bargehouse in the Oxo Tower Wharf on the South Bank for just three days ending on Sunday. It’s also a tribute to the genial genius behind the troupe, Pierre Bidon, who died earlier this year, at the age of 56.

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Janelle Monáe, KOKO

howard Male

The video for this Kansas fantasist’s new single shows Monáe in harshly lit close-up singing the adrenalin-charged “Cold War” directly to camera. But then halfway through the song her concentration goes and she starts laughing and then crying, leaving one wondering what the thinking was behind its release.

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The Runaways

Graham Fuller

A drop of menstrual blood spatters the ground in the opening shot of The Runaways, an insolent enough metaphor for the unstaunchable female energy that drives writer-director Floria Sigismondi’s bracing biopic of the pioneering all-girl teenage 1970s rock band until it heads up a narrative cul-de-sac.

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Shea Seger, The Half Moon, Putney

Russ Coffey

Shea Seger is a woman with a story. A story of a career interrupted. At the age of 20, the fragile and slightly dangerous-looking blonde from Texas came over here and made a record which sent ripples across the pond of the Americana scene. Shortly after, her father became crippled after a botched operation on an old Vietnam injury and she returned to Texas to care for him. During those 10 years she also brought up a little girl, Luna, and lived in a trailer. Now she’s back in the UK; and she...

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Caitlin Rose, The Windmill

howard Male

Last night was the third and probably last time this 21-year-old Nashville songstress will grace the humble Windmill pub in Brixton with her charismatic yet down-to-earth presence. Not because the gig wasn’t a sell-out and an unqualified success, but because of the radio airplay and unanimous critical praise she has received for her debut album Own Side Now from...

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Robert Plant, Band of Joy, Forum

David Cheal

It’s funny how things turn out. Of the four former members of Led Zeppelin, John Bonham is dead, John Paul Jones is an odd and unpredictable figure, popping up only occasionally with an album or a collaboration, while Jimmy Page is, according to Mick Wall’s definitive 2008 Led Zeppelin biography When Giants Walked the Earth, lost in a twilit world of his own creation.

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The Moons, 93 Feet East, London

Kieron Tyler

The keyboard player usually associated with Paul Weller is "Merton" Mick Talbot, who, after leaving mod revival band The Merton Parkas, filled out The Jam’s sound in their twilight days and accompanied Weller’s journey through the Style Council. Andy Crofts of The Moons has made the journey in reverse: currently Weller’s live keyboard player, he also fronts and plays guitar with The Moons, a five-piece he formed in 2007.

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Eels, O2 Academy, Brixton

Russ Coffey

Coming on stage in a gangsta bandana, wrap-around shades, and what looked like Saddam Hussein’s beard, Mr E was giving little away. There was no opening gambit, nor any indication of what direction the evening was going. Some had said the Scotland concerts hadn’t been so great. I heard one girl say that if Eels concerts had personalities they’d be as capricious as the fragile moods of the man simply known as E. But E stood there saying nothing.

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