Michael Halpin Journalism

20Feb/140

Purple rage: Prince slammed for ‘overpriced gig in boring venue’ at Manchester Academy

http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/200267835-purple-rage-prince-slammed-overpriced-gig-boring-venue-manchester-academy

The pop superstar Prince has received a backlash from angry fans who have criticised the ‘overpriced ticket price' and ‘boring’ venue for his upcoming Manchester gigs.

Interest for Prince’s highly-anticipated Manchester ‘guerrilla’ gigs was huge, and both dates, this coming Friday and Saturday, sold out within seconds.

The pop legend kept the venue secret right up to the wire, only revealing he will play at Manchester Academy as tickets went on sale.

The tickets, priced at £70 each, went on sale at 7pm yesterday evening with minimal publicity, as the pop superstar presented the Best British Female category at the Brit Awards.

The Purple Rain star recently played a string of ‘secret’ gigs in London, with tickets priced at £10 –£60 less than the Manchester gigs.

Die-hard fans can still pick up tickets however – but expect to pay upwards of £300 each.

Fans took to Twitter last night to vent their frustration regarding online ticket touting.

Laura Maley was seemingly unimpressed: “London gets excitement, fan queues, &10 tickets & interesting venues. Manchester gets an overpriced exam hall #Prince.”

One disgruntled fan didn’t mince her words: “Fuck Prince and his overpriced gig in boring venue. I had a dream last-night that Alan Partridge curated a festival in Denton. Great lineup,”@MissParky86 said.

Leslie Lee wrote: “Sad to see touts got those #prince tix. The pitfalls of online ticket sales”

One hard-core fan traveled to Manchester specially to get her hands on tickets, came away furious with ticket touts.

@319AB said: “I’ve traveled 8 hours in the hope of queuing for tix. Had shower, tix sold out. Ripped off by touts. 3x price!”

Manchester Academy has announced that a limited number of tickets will be available at the venue but have not yet announced when these tickets will go on sale.

6Jan/140

Gig Preview: Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip @ Academy 2, Manchester – Sunday January 19th 2014

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/060114021-gig-preview-dan-le-sac-vs-scroobius-pip-manchester-academy-2

For Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, 2014 essentially begins in Manchester with the first date of their UK and European tour taking place at Academy 2 later this month.

Promoting last years Repent, Replenish, Repeat album the Essex hip-hop duo are set to tour what is arguably their heaviest work do date.

Following the release of The Logic of Chance in 2010, Repent, Replenish, Repeat holds heavier beats, darker subject matter and an overall aura of somebody slightly wounded by life. Scroobius Pip’s words sound bitter, angry and suffocated, as though something hugely distressing has occurred somewhere along the line.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip first came to prominence in late 2006 when XFM London’s John Kennedy played their demo of Thou Shalt Always Kill on his Xposure show within two hours of receiving it. Within a matter of weeks, the track had become Single of the Week on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio1 Evening Session and Single of The Week in the NME.

With an eclectic set of influences including Gil Scott-Heron, Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Devendra Banhart, The Beta Band and Mogwai, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip followed up Thou Shalt Always Kill with tracks The Beat That My Heart Skipped and A Letter From God To Man. The latter featuring a sample from Radiohead’s Planet Telex.

Their debut album Angels, released to high acclaim in May 2008, reached number 31 in the UK album charts while their second album The Logic of Chance followed two years later after which both members took a break in order to work on solo projects.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip reunited to work on Repent, Replenish, Repeat, which, upon its release, debuted at number 22 in the UK album charts, their highest chart position to date. Lead single from the album, You Will See Me, is undoubtedly one of the most powerful pieces of work they have released, while the accompanying video is, like much of their work, completely engaging and compelling.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip are playing at Academy 2, Manchester on Sunday January 19 2014

12Dec/130

Gig Preview: Primal Scream @ The Academy, Manchester – Sunday December 15 2013

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/121213815-gig-preview-primal-scream-manchester-academy-%E2%80%93-december-15

Playing Manchester twice in the space of one week, what more could a Mancunian Primal Scream fan ask for?

Following Wednesday Night’s XFM Winter Wonderland Gig at the O2 Apollo with Jake Bugg and The 1975, this Sunday’s line-up looks equally as mouth-watering.

Support comes not only from Temples (surely the best new band of 2013) but also superstar DJ Andrew Weatherall, the man responsible for the remix of Primal Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, which, after Bobby Gillespie had given Weatherall instruction to ‘abuse the track’ evolved into the beast that we now know as Loaded.

Sunday night’s gig is Primal Scream’s last of 2013, a year that once again has proved that despite their advancing years, they are still wholly relevant in today’s musical landscape.  It is genuinely difficult to think of any other acts this year who have released anything as culturally pertinent as songs like 2013, Cultureside and Tenement Kid.  Taken from More Light, their most critically acclaimed work since 2000’s XTRMNTR, the album has also spawned not only a guest vocal from Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant on Eliminator Blues but also one of the best singles of the 2013 in the shape of Its Alright, Its OK.

A number of inspired festival performances over the summer showed Bobby Gillespie to still be the proverbial indie pop star and also showed why Primal Scream are still such a huge live attraction, possibly being a better live act now than they have ever been.

The prospect of set list including the likes of Moving On Up, Rocks, Country Girl, Swastika Eyes, Higher Than The Sun, Come Together and Loaded as well as tracks from one of the years most highly acclaimed albums, all delivered with a still genuine punk-rock ethos, will surely make for one of the best gigs Manchester has seen this year.

Primal Scream play The Academy, Manchester on Sunday 15th of December.

 

12Dec/130

Gig Preview: Primal Scream @ The Academy, Manchester – Sunday December 15 2013

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/121213815-gig-preview-primal-scream-manchester-academy-%E2%80%93-december-15

Playing Manchester twice in the space of one week, what more could a Mancunian Primal Scream fan ask for?

Following Wednesday Night’s XFM Winter Wonderland Gig at the O2 Apollo with Jake Bugg and The 1975, this Sunday’s line-up looks equally as mouth-watering.

Support comes not only from Temples (surely the best new band of 2013) but also superstar DJ Andrew Weatherall, the man responsible for the remix of Primal Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, which, after Bobby Gillespie had given Weatherall instruction to ‘abuse the track’ evolved into the beast that we now know as Loaded.

Sunday night’s gig is Primal Scream’s last of 2013, a year that once again has proved that despite their advancing years, they are still wholly relevant in today’s musical landscape.  It is genuinely difficult to think of any other acts this year who have released anything as culturally pertinent as songs like 2013, Cultureside and Tenement Kid.  Taken from More Light, their most critically acclaimed work since 2000’s XTRMNTR, the album has also spawned not only a guest vocal from Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant on Eliminator Blues but also one of the best singles of the 2013 in the shape of Its Alright, Its OK.

A number of inspired festival performances over the summer showed Bobby Gillespie to still be the proverbial indie pop star and also showed why Primal Scream are still such a huge live attraction, possibly being a better live act now than they have ever been.

The prospect of set list including the likes of Moving On Up, Rocks, Country Girl, Swastika Eyes, Higher Than The Sun, Come Together and Loaded as well as tracks from one of the years most highly acclaimed albums, all delivered with a still genuine punk-rock ethos, will surely make for one of the best gigs Manchester has seen this year.

Primal Scream play The Academy, Manchester on Sunday 15th of December.

 

 

 

7Nov/130

Gig Preview: Beady Eye @ Academy 1, Manchester 15th & 16th of November

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/071113347-gig-preview-beady-eye-manchester-academy

There we were, now here we are.  Liam and Noel - The Solo Years.
Granted Gallagher junior’s band are called Beady Eye and not Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye but like Paul McCartney and the other members of Wings, would anybody, other than the die-hard fans, actually care if Gem Archer, Andy Bell, Chris Sharock or Jay Mehler decided to leave the band?

Back in 1994 when Liam and Noel held their infamous but highly entertaining NME interview in which Liam threatened to hit Noel ‘with a f*ckin’ Rickenbaker, right on the nose!’ we all knew that this solo era would be upon us one day.

By the time the popularity of Oasis had gone stratospheric and their constant fallout’s had become a national soap opera, certain experts predicted that the future for the Gallagher brothers would be thus:  Liam would either be making obscure jazz records or would become a drug casualty and Noel would either become Prime Minister or still be the leader of Oasis.  Albeit by now, Oasis would consist of Paul Weller and his drummer’s brother as well as various members of Ocean Colour Scene.

Although none of these predictions came true, Noel has become something of a National Opinion Ombudsman.  Policing a wide range of areas such as Musical Decency, Football Opinion, Reality TV and the use of Electronic Cigarettes – to name but a few.

Liam on the other hand has become the rock star that the tabloid press turns to when they need a story about a drunken indie-mod trying to sit on the back of an oversized dog tied up outside a London pub!

Somewhere within all of this remember, there is actually two brothers who, for a short while at least, were the best singer and the best songwriter of their generation.

Noel’s 2011 release under the guise of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, was met with modest acclaim whereas Beady Eye's Different Gear, Still Speeding was mocked in certain quarters for its title and its lack of lyric prowess.  All of this was before Liam’s often criticized vocals, had even been addressed.

Since his mid-90s peak, Liam’s vocal range has diminished considerably, yet much of the criticism surrounding his voice comes from those who still care and are willing him to deliver those magical tones that gave genuine shivers with such ease when he was at the height of his vocal powers.

Beady Eye’s second album BE, released in June of this year, has faired slightly better with critics although Liam’s old nemesis Robbie Williams did amusingly refer to lead track Flick The Finger as "f**king amazing if (it) had a chorus.”
It has not been an easy ride for Beady Eye since they last played Manchester in June of this year. Liam’s very public split with wife Nicole Appleton and guitarist Gem Archer’s fractured skull have all taken the attention away from Beady Eye’s actual music although Liam's recent appearance at The Charlatans organised Evening For Jon Brookes showed that there may still be some life left in those vocal chords.

On an evening where Liam Performed George Harrison's My Sweet Lord, as well as both Columbia and Live Forever, his voice sounded like the voice of old. Maybe he knows that he, as well as Beady Eye have got something to prove. Maybe he knows that the year has been a roller coaster for all involved with Beady Eye and maybe he knows that this is the point where he starts putting things right.

Liam Gallagher with a point to prove could be a dangerous prospect but then again, it could be a magical one.

Beady Eye play Academy 1 in Manchester on November 15 and 16.

 

 

 

8Oct/130

Gig Preview: Jim Jones Revue, Ruby Lounge, Manchester

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/081012857-sworn-secrecy-jim-jones-revue-albums-mystery-guests-playing-live-lot-and-mancheste

There are not many bands who can take the spirit, the adrenalin rush, and the sheer euphoria of 50s rock ‘n’ roll, mix it with the evangelical cries of Motor City heroes such as the MC5 and The Stooges, and then somehow manage to bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  That however, is exactly what The Jim Jones Revue manage to do.

Next week they kick off their UK tour at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge.  Mancunian Matters caught up with Jim Jones himself while he took a brief break from the bands rehearsals for this tour.

Jim explained how the rehearsals are going so far: “(They’re going) good, we’re working out a lot of numbers that we haven’t done live before, some b-sides and album tracks, and some old stuff that we haven’t done for a couple of years.  We’re just hoping to throw in a load of stuff so that everyone gets a fresh set when they come to the show.”

Jim also explained how he is looking forward to the tour: “We’ve had about a month away from the road since festival season and I can’t stand it.  I’m climbing the walls!  I like to be out there, we all do.”

“People say to us ‘you guys, you play so much, how do you do it?’ and we say ‘How do you not do it?”

“We’ve become conditioned to getting all of our energies together for that two hour period on stage and then winding down after that.  That’s kind of how we live.”

Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds produced their latest album The Savage Heart as well the bands previous album Burning Your House Down.  We asked Jim Jones what it was the band liked so much about Jim Sclavunos as a Producer?

“We trust him! Most of the music we know, he knows, or he played on it! He played in Sonic Youth, he’s played with The Cramps and he’s in Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds!”

On The Savage Heart’s lead single, Seven Times Around The Sun there is a backing vocal that sounds very much like Nick Cave himself.  Mancunian Matters asked Jim if it is in fact Nick Cave on the record?

Jim: “(laughs) You’ll never know! We’re sworn to secrecy!”

Mancunian Matters: “So that’s a ‘Yes’ then?”

Jim: “(Laughs again) We’re sworn to secrecy! In fact were sworn to secrecy on a number of people on there that you might know of!”

We then moved onto talking about the very beginnings of The Jim Jones Revue and the ethos of the band:  “I wasn’t even trying to create a band” Jim told us.  “I was in a place where I was between projects and something that had always been niggling at me was that there wasn’t anywhere I could go to a show and see a band playing Little Richard type music.  So the first step in how this band formed was getting a bunch of guys together and see if we could get in a room and get anywhere near the energy of it…So we started off playing this Little Richard number Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey and we all looked at each other and said, ‘This Sounds really exciting’ and it just went from there.”

From there they signed a record deal, developed a ferocious live reputation, gained admirers in the shape of The New York Dolls, The John Spencer Blues Explosion, Jools Holland and Liam Gallagher, and have become regulars on the both BBC 6 Music and XFM.

Now, as they tour their third album, they are set to put together a string of irresistible live shows that manage to retain the visceral spirit of rock ‘n’ roll whilst still pushing it forward into the 21st Century.  Describing the bands music as ‘Positive, uplifting and spiritually intense.’ The Jim Jones Revue are a live experience that not to be missed.

The Jim Jones Revue begin their UK tour at The Ruby Lounge, Manchester on Wednesday October 9th.

11Sep/130

Gig Preview: The Pretty Things @ Band On The Wall, Manchester

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/110912436-gig-preview-pretty-things-band-wall-manchester

The Pretty Things were one of a clutch of bands who spearheaded the British-Beat-Boom of the early-to-mid 1960’s.  Alongside the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Animals, The Pretty Things were at the forefront of turning millions of British Teenagers onto Rhythm and Blues.  The knock-on effect being that of opening the doors for a whole generation to embrace both soul music and what would later become rock music.

 

Rather than being content with being one of the bands at the centre of a musical revolution, in 1968 The Pretty Things also released what is largely considered to be the first rock opera/concept album, SF Sorrow.  Although SF Sorrow was largely ignored upon release, the album has since gone from holding a cult-style status to being regarded as one of the most important albums of all-time.

 

This year see’s The Pretty Things celebrating their 50th anniversary by playing a series of live dates around Europe, something that must have seemed unimaginable in 1962 when Dick Taylor gave up the bass player role in the unsigned Rolling Stones in order to study at London’s Central School of Art.

 

While studying however, Taylor met singer Phil May and together they formed The Pretty Things.

 

After a short period playing the London Rhythm and Blues circuit, they built up a strong live following.  Their reputation as an exhilarating live act grew far and wide and for a year or two at least, they were regarding as being as exciting as The Rolling Stones and The Who onstage.

 

In 1964, The Pretty Things signed to Fontana Records and quickly released their first single Rosalyn.  The track landed just outside the UK top 40 but was hugely popular among young R ‘n’ B fans.  One of which being a young Mod by the name of David Jones who eventually became David Bowie and covered Rosalyn on his 1973 Pin-up’s album.

 

Four months later the bands breakthrough came.  Don’t Bring Me Down hit number 10 in the UK charts and as a result of strong publicity, The Pretty Things became one of the most controversial bands in the country.  Singer Phil May claimed to have “the longest hair in Britain” at a time when long hair was a topic for national debate.  Drummer Viv Prince boasted bizarre on-stage antics such as setting fire to curtains on-stage and chopping up the stage with an axe while the band were still playing!

 

Following another top 20 hit with Honey I Need, and a successful eponymously titled debut LP, The Pretty Things suddenly lost their momentum rather quickly.  Each single and album provided diminishing returns and aside from Midnight To Six and LSD, which both became underground classics, The Pretty Things were more or less dismissed as a British-Beat-Boom also ran by the end of 1966.

 

After they split from Fontana Records in 1967, they signed with EMI Records and hooked up with Record Producer Norman Smith who had previously worked with The Beatles and had also produced Pink Floyd’s debut album, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.  Smith was creative, experienced and interested in musical experimentation and with this, he managed to give The Pretty Things a new lease of life.

 

The band began recording SF Sorrow with Norman Smith in the autumn of 1967, finishing it almost a year later.  The album was to become The Pretty Things masterpiece.  It also became the first album to tell a story from beginning to end, giving birth to both the concept album and the rock opera.  Disappointingly, for the band however, a lack of investment and promotion from EMI records meant that the album barely registered on the public’s radar and sank without a trace.

 

The following year, disillusioned with SF Sorrow’s failure, Dick Taylor left the band.  The Pretty Things continued to record and released a number of albums through the early 1970’s until Phil May quit the group in 1976.

 

Over the next 20 years however, due to the Mod Revival, the Second Summer of Love and Britpop, the bands early singles and SF Sorrow in particular, were rediscovered by many with Kasabian and Noel Gallagher both citing the band as a major influence.

 

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, The Pretty Things will be playing material from throughout their career at Band On The Wall, Manchester on Friday September 13.

 

 

23Aug/130

Gig Preview: The Back Angels, Gorilla, Manchester – 17 September 2013

http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/230812185-gig-preview-black-angels-gorilla-manchester

Self-proclaimed ‘drone rock’ exponents The Black Angels, bring their Austin, Texas-honed brand of psychedelia to Manchester’s Gorilla next month.

Currently touring their fourth album Indigo Meadow, The Black Angels draw their inspiration from fellow Austin, Texas heroes The 13th Floor Elevators as well as admiring the likes of The Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3 and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

The bands official website describes Indigo Meadow as ‘their most revelatory collection to date’ whilst going on to describe The Black Angels as ‘the undisputed avatars of contemporary psychedelic rock, simultaneously exalting the genre’s kaleidoscopic past as they thrust it further into the future.’

Formed in May 2004, The Black Angels are named after The Velvet Underground’s Black Angel Death Song from Lou Reed and company’s eponymous debut album and a further nod towards the garage-rock legends comes from The Black Angels official logo which features a portrait of occasional Velvet Underground cohort Nico.

Since their formation The Black Angels have toured with the likes of The Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Warlocks and The Brian Jonestown Massacre as well as Queens of The Stone Age, The Ravonettes, Wolfmother and The Horrors.  They have also acted as the backing band for former 13th Floor Elevators front man Roky Erikson during his tour across the west coast of America in 2008.

As well as touring with some of the most critically acclaimed names in music, The Black Angels have also struck up a strong musical relationship with Unkle.  In 2010 they collaborated on Natural Selection from Unkle’s Where Did The Night Fall? Album and more recently they have collaborated on the track With You In My Head from the Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack.

Often praised for their live performances, The Black Angels continue to push the boundaries of their own music on Indigo Meadow and with psychedelia currently being in-vogue through artists such as Temples and Tame Impala, The Black Angels at Gorilla is a gig that certainly should not be missed.

The Black Angels are at Gorilla, Manchester, on Tuesday September 17.