England, Music

Jesse Malin – Denmark Street

Having heard about the unplanned gig at the 12 Bar on Denmark Street at the first Barbican show, we quickly called to get tickets the following morning. We were half-hoping Ryan would join Jesse but cannot say we were even slightly disappointed. The venue is fantastic; a tiny, sweaty 400 year-old blacksmith’s forge on Denmark Street. Jesse was the middle act of a 3-part session but he must have been on stage for 2 hours maybe, it was an amazing acoustic set shared with only maybe 100 people, all crammed together in one room.

It was so hot and packed I couldn’t even move my feet at times (I certainly couldn’t change my camera-lens!), thankfully they opened the back door out to a small courtyard filled with the recording studios and tattoo parlours, so some air came in. It was cool to be listening to Jesse onstage but also have people drinking and chatting in the yard and police sirens passing on the street not too far away.

We came away feeling we had seen Jesse play in a place way more suited to his style than the big theatre halls, I have lost count the number of times we have seen Jesse now, but this historic venue made this impromptu concert easily the most special.

Jesse Malin 12 Bar Denmark Street 1

Jesse Malin 12 Bar Denmark Street 2

Jesse Malin 12 Bar Denmark Street 3

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England, Music

Ryan Adams – Barbican (Monday)

I think it’s incredible that despite being quite a long-time listener of Ryan Adams, at an acoustic set, old songs can suddenly seem new again. Some were played differently but other songs I simply hadn’t listened to in ages. He’s probably released around 14 albums in 10 years and there is a wealth of unreleased material too, so that’s a lot of songs.

As he flipped through his songbook on-stage, there were a few nice surprises last night, a couple of tracks I never would have dreamed to hear and it was totally different to Sunday, he seemed a little more at ease with things and there was less guitar-tuning.

Many people think I am crazy to see him once, let alone twice in a row, but the chances to see him are few and far between so I am really happy we saw him both nights. People were again pretty respectful of the no-pictures rules through the show, I have just this one picture as he settled on-stage for the encore.

Ryan Adams Barbican Monday 1

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England, Music

Ryan Adams – Barbican (Sunday)

I had been waiting a while since the last time I saw him, but Sunday finally came and we went to see Ryan Adams play the first night of his two ‘Acoustic Nightmare’ sets in London.

The fact that this was a no-phones / no-taping / no photography gig really did make a difference; no bright screens to distract from the music. There was a very short burst of photographs as he left at the end of the show, and I took advantage of that, but to sit in darkness for 2.5 hours listening to him play acoustically alone was heaven. Despite a few guitar-tuning issues, the sound in the Barbican was amazing, it shocks me every time to hear just how good his voice sounds and how skilled a guitar player he is.

The acoustic black-metal / spanish-guitar improvised song made us laugh, as did his stories of norway. The two new songs he played were brilliant and I can hardly wait to hear the new album.

Ryan Adams Barbican Sunday 1

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Music, Travel

Oh Danny Boy

As I said before, music became quite a feature of to our mini-holiday; we stopped in various pubs over the weekend and saw a couple of really nice, live, informal sessions. I was secretly pleased on Saturday night when a really annoying drunk woman bothered the musicians so much, they finally gave in and played Danny Boy which was an old favourite of my grandad. The song was played beautifully and the drunk woman finally left.

As well as Guinness, we tried a few other different stouts, one at The Porterhouse with fresh Oysters shucked into the brew which was lovely. We are quite sad to be home really, and after all the beer and breakfasts, my diet definitely starts tomorrow…!

Dublin PorterHouse new 1

Dublin Traditional Music Pub 1

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England, Music

Ray Lamontagne – Royal Festival Hall

Tuesday night we were at the Royal Festival Hall to see Ray Lamontagne. Though we were sat quite far back, it was a magical show, his voice is of course incredible; unique and powerful. He played with the arrangement of some of his better known songs so it was like listening to him for the first time again in parts. ‘Repo Man’ was great, as it is on the album, and his electic harmonica (yes, electric harmonica) on ‘Henry Nearly Killed Me’ left us tingling. The quieter parts of the show were as intimate as a big music hall gets, ‘You Are The Best Thing’ was paired back and played without any of the unneccessary trumpets on the album version. Small parts of the show were predictable but moments like that I will remember that for a long time.

We were sat pretty far away so I didn’t even try to take photos but there are some on flickr by a guy called Jeff G, who has kindley given permission for us to post this one here. See the rest of Jeff’s pictures of Ray Lamontagne and the supporting Secret Sisters here….

Ray Lamontagne Royal Festival Hall Jeff G

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England, Music

Jesse Malin Islington

Well, confession time. I have bought a new camera. I have treated myself to an early birthday present after talking about doing this for such a long time. I haven’t had chance to ‘learn’ it yet so although I am super-pleased with the first photos I got with it last night, they are down to the camera, rather than any skill of mine. It seemed more like simply luck and the position of smoke / lighting as to whether I got a good picture or not. Maybe for once in my life, I will read the manual…

We went to see Jesse Malin, a punk / rock singer from New York and he was brilliant. It is maybe the 6 or 7th time I have seen him since his gigs are always fantastically entertaining. It was the last show of the tour last night and he was on-stage for well over 2 hours which was amazing, he played everything we wanted to hear and more, including his famous Pouges Christmas cover; a real treat. He had new tales to tell (he always talks a lot) and came into the audience, making the whole crowd sit on the floor to hear a funny story about his single drug-taking experience… He is Atsuko’s absolute favourite artist these days so she knew all the songs and loved the gig.

Jesse Malin O2 Islington Academy 9

Jesse Malin O2 Islington Academy 1

Jesse Malin O2 Islington Academy 2

Jesse Malin O2 Islington Academy 3

Jesse Malin O2 Islington Academy 4

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