Friday, 24 October 2008

LATER...with Jools Holland (Series 33, Show 6)

A really poor couple of shows this week for a number of reasons. Yet again the 'headliners' failed to impressive with their brave new material from new albums. Both sets from Keane and Bloc Party yielded mixed results and an injection of 'world music' from Amadou & Mariam did not lift my spirits. There was another pointless interview with a non-performer plugging a new 'greatest hits collection' and the promising new band, thecocknbullkid was simply awful. The best artist on the show Jakob Dylan only got one song each show - it was a brief uplift to the rest of the acts.


Keane - Spiralling
Amadou & Mariam - Ce N'est Pas Bon
Dave Clark (Chat with JH)
Jakob Dylan - Something Good This Way Comes
Allen Toussaint (Chat with JH)
thecocknbullkid - On My Own
Allen Toussaint - Working In A Coal Mine
Tribute to Levi Stubbs
Bloc Party - Mercury


Bloc Party - Talons
Keane - The Lovers Are Losing
Amadou & Mariam - Mogosa
Allen Toussaint (Chat with JH)
thecocknbullkid - I'm Not Sorry
Jakob Dylan - Evil Is Alive And Well
Bloc Party - Signs
Allen Toussaint - Southern Nights
Keane - Better Than This
Dave Clark (Chat with JH)
Amadou & Mariam - Ce N'est Pas Bon
thecocknbullkid - On My Own
Bloc Party - Ares
Keane - Spiralling

Keane performed three tracks from the new album Perfect Symmetry, opening the Tuesday show and closing the Friday with Spiralling. The song has grown on me a lot but it doesn't work well live - lacking energy. Current single The Lovers Are Losing was also flat and the least said about Better Than This the better. It would be a horrible cliché to say 'right back at ya boys' as Tom sings the lacklustre chorus - just about everything on the band's impressive debut is better than this. But that was old world Keane and this is new world Keane. Bands move on and they evolve. Even with the past indiscretions, give my old Keane every time.

Another band trying something new is Bloc Party. They closed Tuesday with Mercury - a great experiment with Kele Okereke recording his opening vocals to play it back as a stuttering sample, with his feet then down on his knees at the end. The band had the privilege of opening Friday with the boring Talons. Signs was much better - a decent vocal but Ares is a noisy mess with a bizarre falsetto mid-section then more of the same noise. It was like a bad reworking of Setting Sun by Chemical Brothers. I am all for bands trying new things but as Radiohead found out, it takes not only guts but some decent ideas.

African duo Amadou & Mariam are a breath of fresh air. The guitar work on Ce N'est Pas Bon is excellent and for some reason they were joined on the Friday by Romeo from The Magic Numbers on bass. No idea what that was all about. The other song Mogosa was dull and repetitive after three minutes. A shame, as the show needs more diversity and we didn't get it here.

On a positive note, ex-Wallflowers Jakob Dylan was really great. After missing the chance to review his new album I was looking forward to hearing some of his songs. Only one on each show: Something Good This Way Comes and the exceptional vocal and guitar of Evil Is Alive And Well. It was captivating. Allen Toussaint's solo piano version of Working In A Coal Mine on Tuesday was also great and he was an engaging and entertaining interviewee for JH. His Friday song Southern Nights was not so good. London's very own thecocknbullkid are now officially the worst band to appear on Later. Whether they were nervous or just lacking experience, both On My Own and I'm Not Sorry were instantly forgettable, tuneless and poor. A real shame.

There was a brief tribute to Levi Stubbs from the Four Tops, which was good to see, but the interview with Dave Clark - repeated on Friday, was just a blatant plug for his new 'hits' record. I really wish JH would not just use this great show as one big advertising campaign. It is cheap and poor judgement - no longer about the music but promotion. And if the new matrial is weak, so is the entertainment. It was so obviously the case for show 6. Poor.

No comments: