sat 13/07/2024

music industry

DVD/Blu-Ray: Back to Black

Sam Taylor-Johnson’s biopic Back to Black, written by Matt Greenhalgh and starring Marisa Abela (Industry) as Amy Winehouse, has been criticised for its soft-focused approach.And its sympathetic portrayals of Blake Fielder-Civil (a punchy Jack O’...

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The Hills of California, Harold Pinter Theatre - ladies' night for Jez Butterworth

Art makes for unexpected bedfellows, and so it proves in Jez Butterworth's moving if meandering The Hills of California. Butterworth's first play in seven years owes a lot more to as unexpected a source as the musical Gypsy than it does to such...

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Just For One Day, The Old Vic review - clunky scenes and self-conscious exposition between great songs

So, a jukebox musical celebrating the apotheosis of the White Saviour, the ultimate carnival of rock stars’ self-aggrandisement and the Boomers’ biggest bonanza of feelgood posturing? One is tempted to stand opposite The Old Vic, point at the...

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Album: Matt Berry - Simplicity

I usually find it useful to listen to the music before I tackle the often bile-inducing press release that generally taints each launch. Admittedly, it's a hard job to sell music without veering into hyperbole and very few achieve it. Why am I...

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Manic Street Creature, Southwark Playhouse review - songs in the key of a traumatised life

There’s an old-fashioned feel to the story at its outset: Young woman, guitar in hand, Northern accent announcing as much as it always did, who makes a new life in London, all the money going on a room in Camden. One recalls Georgy Girl or Darling,...

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Ain't Too Proud, Prince Edward Theatre review - Temptations musical is none too tempting

Ain’t Too Proud? Ain’t too good either, I’m afraid. Which is a shame as there’s plenty of the raw material here that powers juggernaut jukebox musicals around the world, but this production has the feel of a cruise ship show with a much tighter band...

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Hallyu! The Korean Wave, V&A review - frenetic but fun

Remember Gangnam Style, the music video that went viral in 2012? PSY’s cheeky lyrics and daft moves attracted 1.6 billion hits on YouTube, sparked dozens of parodies and turned the world on to K-pop. And that was just the beginning; K-pop has since...

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First Person: Michael Volpe on the utopian thinking behind his new If Opera company

“But what’s in it for you?”. It was a simple enough question, asked by an accomplished opera singer. It stemmed from hearing that the new version of the Iford Arts opera company I was running was aiming for a different kind of guiding philosophy: it...

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The Velvet Underground review - Todd Haynes tunnels through band history

Todd Haynes’ documentary about the Velvet Underground has to be one of the better uses of time by a film-maker during the Covid pandemic. He spent lockdown putting the film together with a team of archivists and editors working remotely. It’s a...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Daryl Hall

Writing something people want to stream one billion times is inconceivable for most of us. But then, most of us aren't Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Daryl Hall. Alongside John Oates, he is behind some of the greatest pop songs of all time: "Maneater...

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Filmmaker Frank Marshall: 'People don’t understand what geniuses The Bee Gees were'

Frank Marshall might not be the biggest household name, but his footprint on Hollywood is unrivalled. He has produced hits ranging from Indiana Jones and Back to the Future to Jason Bourne and Jurassic World. He also takes occasional forays into...

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Billie review – new documentary captures the rebel

Listen to "The Blues are Brewin", "You Better Go Now", or even "I’ll be Seeing You", and you can hear the hurt reverberate in every note Billie Holiday sang. Her voice rang with the wisdom of experience – perhaps too much experience. She lived a...

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