Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gig: Ladyhawke @ Koko

The final gig of the week took me to Camden for another New Zealand act, Ladyhawke.

The support act was a Glaswegian act called Isle. They had good repartee with the crowd encouraging us to cheer for Ladyhawke after every other song and ensuring we were getting noisier each time.

Like TNAF the night before, Ladyhawke opened with a couple of the more upbeat numbers before mixing a number of the slower songs in. There looked to be a little bit of sound imbalance at the beginning with the vocals sounding like they were being drowned out by the synths but it seemed to sort itself out through the set.

The crowd were a mixed bunch with the hard core fans jumping up and down at the front and as you moved further back the crowd got more still and as you went up the venue towards the top floor the audience got older.

Being Koko, good use was made of the mirror ball and the set finished with Delerium, one of her bigger hits.

Another great night of music, and she has a few more nights in the UK left before heading off elsewhere. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Gig: The Naked and Famous @ Forum Kentish Town

 The second gig of the week took me to Kentish Town and the forum to see indie/electronic group The Naked and Famous, a band I'd never seen before but who's tracks I've liked when I've come across them.

Support act came from a female singer called Shells (I'll guess her name is Michelle). Whilst a little daunted at the size of the venue and audience she did a great job. One to keep an eye on.

Onto the main event and these guys were great. Alisa has an incredible voice and if she wasn't miming (she wasn't) then there was not much production needed on her voice on the albums. Opening with some of their more upbeat recent tracks they worked the crowd brilliantly. One thing I really liked was even their slow tracks seemed to finish with an incredible build up.

This was the last night of the European leg of their tour and I think we gave them a good send off as they head into the next leg. America, be nice to them!

Film: Tower

A spontaneous trip to the cinema and this documentary Tower was the most immediate so I chose to see this. It tells the events of 1966 when a lone sniper took post at the top of the University of Texas tower and started shooting at the people below, killing 13 and injuring many others.

Told through a medium of archive footage and rotoscoped animation of people reliving their memories of that day, the end result becomes one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. I knew nothing of the events of that day (In the UK 1966 is known as the year England won the World Cup) and knew nothing of the documentary, but I was pulled in and hooked from the outset.

The people who have pulled this together have done an incredible job and this ought to be shown to more than opportunistic cinema goers. Although the events were over 50 years ago, there's a synergy to events of today. As laws are passed that insinuate terrorist atrocities are caused by foreigners the US needs to remember that some of their more grisly atrocities were caused by their own, and it also reaffirms the thought that not everyone should be given access to firearms, which is apt in a week where the president announced the lifting of a rule that prevented the mentally ill from owning a gun.

Do try to see this, and to try to see this as I did I've not spoiled anything.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Gig: Tegan & Sara @ Roundhouse

Off to the Roundhouse for my second opportunity to see Canadian Sisters Tegan and Sara. A duo I saw a few years ago but could barely hear on account of getting a double ear-infection in the days leading up to the gig. It made the night a bit weird so I did vow to see them again.

Opening act was Ria Mae. I caught the end of the set and they sounded OK but nothing memorable. They may have performed songs about breaking up, I'm not sure.

Up next was Alex Lahey, she sang songs about breaking up.

Then onto Tegan and Sara who also sung songs about breaking up and relationships, themes that feature heavily in their songs, more so in the more recent album. I preferred the album before and they did play some songs from there which was welcomed. Performance wise they were very good with Tegan sounding better than her sisted, and I liked the banter they have with their audience. They really do know how to connect with their fans.

So a good gig and nice to be able to say I've seen and heard them live.

Film: Lego Batman

Following the success of The Lego Movie, the Batman genre gets the same treatment and the producers have come up with a very entertaining film.

The trailer gives the story, as a loner Batman has to learn to trust others. The story doesn't really matter, as you'll find yourself laughing at not just the comedic script but the in-jokes and 80s references that are peppered throughout. At times it felt like a Zucker Brothers movie with the blink and you miss blam blam blam rate of joke firing. It also benefits from not taking itself seriously at all with nods to the other Batman movies throughout; and yes we even get the anti-shark repellent of the old 70's film.

So a film the kids will like at one level and the grown ups will like at many others. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Event: 2000AD's 40th Birthday @ Hammersmith Novotel

More for the 40th birthday of the UK's greatest comic, 2000AD and the droids came out into the opening for a mini-con event in Hammersmith West London. An opportunity to be awestruck by artists who provided a big part of my growing up.

I got there a little after opening to avoid the queue so getting in was a breeze and every attendee got a little goodie bag as a welcome. Nice!

The official signing desk where the artists would take it in turns to sign memorabilia. This area always had a sizeable queue. I did buy the Chopper stories as a souvenir. He was one of my favourite Dredd characters and the Supersurf stories were great when I was growing up.

The main hall was full of artists doing more signings but also selling art and in some cases drawing sketches for those willing to queue up. I didn't queue for any but instead would just watch these guys work, which was incredible. I should apologise to Carlos Ezquerra who I watched for ever as he drew someone else an amazing Middenface McNulty (a character in the Strontium Dog story). He did look up and I apologised like some teen.

Sorry Sir!

One corner of the floor held some props from the rather excellent recent Judge Dredd movie (we don't really talk about the Stallone one)

Elsewhere there were a number of panels where the artists and people behind the comic would discuss their stories and the success of the publication. 

Some fans have gotten together to make their own not-for-profit Strontium Dog short. This was great and even better they were going to show it at the end of the day. It would mean I'd have to spend longer at the event but it would have been special to see it.

A 3D printed dark judge. 

Some more models. These rather excellently painted.

Some of the artists at work. It's incredible seeing the muscle memory that allows them to knock up a Dredd in no time. I can do that with Smurfs, perhaps I should try to learn something a bit cooler such as this.

The main hall was popular all day with the artists at their tables for most of the day. I hope they found meeting the fans as enjoyable as we did meeting them.

The presentation of the Strontium Dog film. It's clearly a fan film so you can't expect Hollywood effects but they've done an admirable job.

On one wall there was a selection of some of the artwork that has featured in the comic. I thought there would be a lot more but what they had was cool. I'd already seen one gallery exhibition of the art a while back and I've another planned to see some more. 
There was some cos-play with Judge Death being pretty cool. Here, he's chatting to one of the guys behind the Strontium Dog film.

Two of the artists who made Slaine an incredible comic story; Glenn Fabry and Simon Bisley. Both are incredible artists and Bisley gets the nod from most fans but I grew up with Glenn's and prefer that.

One of the writers of Judge Dredd, Alan Grant.

and that was the day, an incredible event that everyone who had made the effort to go had enjoyed. Here's to another 10 years. 

Oh, and I also bought a couple of special event prints which are rolled up ready to be framed.