Monday, 13 October 2008

LATER...with Jools Holland (Series 33, Show 4)

Coldplay make a return to LATER this week to showcase five songs from their new Viva La Vida album. The other big name is Glen Campbell, performing a mix of covers from his new album and a couple of classics - with mixed results. As ever I was more interested in the other lesser know guests, such as Cage The Elephant and Amy Lavere. The Friday show was fairly straightforward but the Tuesday live show was the most entertaining, mainly for the wrong reasons.


Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Glen Campbell - Good Riddance (The Time Of Your Life)
Sia - Buttons
Coldplay (Chat with JH)
Cage The Elephant - In One Ear
Amy Lavere - Killing Him
Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman
Coldplay - Lost


Coldplay - Violet Hill
Cage The Elephant - In One Ear
Sia - Buttons
Mick Fleetwood (Chat with JH)
Glen Campbell - Times Like These
Coldplay - Lovers In Japan
John Mellencamp - Longest Days
Amy Lavere - Killing Him
Coldplay - 42
Glen Campbell (Chat with JH at the piano + William Tell)
Sia - Soon We'll Be Found
Glen Campbell - Galveston
Amy Lavere - That Beat
Cage The Elephant - Ain't No Rest For The Wicked
Coldplay - Viva La Vida

A really strange set order for the Friday show with Coldplay taking centre stage and performing four songs. Even though the material is not strong, the band are incredible live - full of energy and commitment. The polish of the Viva La Vida album was put to one side in favour of a more loose sound with only Chris Martin's vocals letting the side down - they tend to waver in and out and get lost in falsetto a bit too much. Opening and closing each show respectively, Viva La Vida is a decent song, as is Violet Hill but things go wayward with Lost, Lovers In Japan and 42. Lost is all sound and no substance, empty lyrics and quite monotonous (and for some reason there is a comedy ending which doesn't work - and in light of what happened to Glen Campbell on the Tuesday show it seemed like a piss take), whereas Lovers In Japan is an odd choice and the piano seems to play itself in the middle. 42 is all about the Radiohead-esque guitar break and Chris Martin trying to jump between guitar and piano and back again. For the most part the band seem to be determined to shake off the serious exterior and show some of their playful side. During the main chat with JH on the Tuesday they present Jools with a Zimbabwe bank note and talk about their refrigerated awards room. Jools confronts them over their absurd revolutionary image stolen from Adam Ant and CM freely admits the plagiarism. What I don't like to see is well established musicians, who are successful in name only while producing substandard music, joking and smiling - it smacks of complacency and arrogance and does nothing to help the image.

Which brings me to Glen Campbell. He seems to be everywhere these days, peddling classics and plugging his covers album. The Tuesday performance of the Green Day masterpiece Good Riddance (The Time Of Your Life) was the worse rendition I have heard in all my years of watching Later. It is not a good cover which isn't a great start but it was like bad karaoke with Campbell reading the words from an auto queue. He messed up twice, once at the start and then again on the last verse which is inexcusable, especially from such a legend of music. Thankfully Wichita Lineman was supreme and everyone looked much more comfortable. Likewise Galveston was great, the guitar playing was amazing, but Times Like These suffered from the same auto queue problem and there was no connection between Campbell and his audience. He spent the entire song looking down at the screen. The main Friday interview was a bit dull - at least they honoured Jimmy Webb and there was a neat guitar and piano rendition of William Tell which was a lot of fun.

Of the rest, Cage The Elephant were a big disappointment mainly due to only getting two songs: In One Ear and Ain't No Rest For The Wicked. The live energy is fantastic mainly from the weird and wired lead singer and a cool guitar sound, but the songs weren't that great. Amy Lavere was very good, singing and playing the double bass effortlessly. The dark overtones of Killing Him was the most impressive song, played on both shows. John Mellencamp made an appearance (on his birthday) and showed why he is always in the shadow of Bruce Springsteen. His only song Longest Days was superb but short. To complete the line-up Sia attempted to jazz up her rather listless voice with a psychedelic flower-pop show in the dark and some bizarre sign language from painted blue hands. I just don't get current single Soon We'll Be Found and Buttons isn't much better. Again there was a chat with a 'friend of the show' Mick Fleetwood, on to plug his new tour with the not quite Fleetwood Mac. It was very out of place.

So a frustrating show - something we expect these days. Coldplay did the best they could with weak songs, Glen Campbell showed us why he is still performing...and why he should stop, and I was introduced to the lovely Amy Lavere. Onward and...onward.

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