Quite a few attempts have been made to piggyback onto a successful band by covering their music in an ironic genre. Dredd Zeppelin, Hayseed Dixie, those fannies that did a dub Dark Side of the Moon and John Martyn’s hip hop LP, which while not strictly relevant is so appalling that it should serve as a warning to all who attempt this sort of musical miscegenation.
Clearly Chris Greive and co didn’t get the memo and decided that reworking a few Zeppelin classics as a three piece jazz ensemble was a good idea. Annoyingly it turns out it was.
In the so achingly hip it needs replacing uber groovy Pianodrome, Chris, with accomplices Graeme Stephen (guitar) and Davide L. Rinaldi (on drums)launch into ‘Black Dog’.
Mr. Greive manages to get the bass line and Robert Plant’s vocal histrionics down pat. They rocked it. ‘Communication Breakdown’ and the ‘Immigrant Song’ follow. Then, Grasshopper, the student surpasses the master.
‘Going to California’. Reimagined as an instrumental Miles/Louis lament had the audience brimming up. It is an alright puff addled bleating match from Zep 4 but these chaps grabbed the melody like a snapping turtle and extracted a plaintive ‘is it a bit smokey in here’ heart wringer. The essential oil of the tune if you like that sort of bollox.
Imagine the sound the last wallaby in Penrith made when after a few years happily stoating about the Snakes Pass he was kidnapped by some fucking hippos in a helicopter and dropped onto an island in Loch Lomond there to join a colony of arsehole vegan wallabies. Poor cunt.
I’m only making some of that up.
A double funky Heartbreaker is Niles Rogered to fuck.
‘Kashmir’ and ‘Livin’ Lovin’ (she’s just a Wendy)’ follow with only the minimum (still too much ed.) of jazz noodling.
The trombone in the right hands lends itself to Plant’s ‘Steve Irwin getting spiked in the distance’ vocals and doubles for the bass and all.
Filling in for Jimmy Page or John Bonham is a bit of a reach but these boys manage. Chris reckons he was lucky that Zep didn’t have a trombonist. I reckon it is Robert Plant and John Paul Jones who were lucky Zep didn’t have a trombonist or they’d be playing in the Royal Oak.
Well, well, well, what the hell is all this about, eh? It seems Edinburgh has created its own mini festival on the very edges of the Tesco Fringe, perched high on the slopes of Calton Hill like a Norman castle overlooking the conquer’d. The name is the Pianodrome, & the aim is to bring Edinburgh’s finest musicians together under a single roof – supported by a brewery from just down the road – & just, well, jam!
My mate Tam had told me about both it & his gig there last Friday. So rustling up some of the Mumble team we all wenmt along & were completely wowed by the vibes – its so well laid out – bars inside & outside, tasty food, top beers & a shabby-chic vibe which is just pure Edinburgh – the quintessence of the city one could say.
We went to watch the Tinderbox Orchestra, with all their youthful bohemia & unusual collaborations, in what was once going to be the debating chamber of the Scottish parliament, but was usurped by the modernist monstrosity of Holyrood. As an arena its stunning – a colosseum of seat around an oval floor into which the orchestra ducked & dived & swooped & skirmished as they played the scruffy-scraggly, tight-as-fu£k Baudelair bop, The ‘Fleur de Mals, erupting from every squatting gargoyle.
The Tinderbox Orchestra have all the instruments, have all the style & work wonders for the for the local community. In fact, one of their last numbers was sung by an adult lassie who’d been working with their outreach programme since she was 10. Watching them is quite an adventure as you scitter-scatter eyeballs from play to player. They also made people cry, such is the brilliance of their music including one of the Mumble team who had to catch some fresh air for a while after seeing such a wonderful family vibe among musicians.
After Tinderbox I got chatting to Tim Vincent-Smith, a remarkable fellow who just happens to be the director for the Pianodrome.
Hello Tim – so how did you end up living in Edinburgh? My first experience of Edinburgh was as a boy in a Fringe show with the National Youth Music Theatre. I was entranced. As an adult I moved here from London to be with my partner. That was fifteen years ago and I have never regretted it.
Can you tell us about the Pianodrome project? The Pianodrome is a state of mind. In subtle and unsubtle ways we are inundated these days with messages that say do this, don’t do this mostly relating to consumer culture supported by capitalist government. Pianodrome hopes to open a space where people are encouraged to ask questions and to express themselves. Human’s are inherently communal and creative. It actually takes a lot of work and money to convince us otherwise. This is why when a space is opened a spontaneous outpouring of creativity occurs. That people find this surprising is only a testament to how all consuming the currently dominant ideology is.
How did you secure the building? St. Mary’s Music school invited Pianodrome to be part of their bid to secure the lease of the Old Royal High for the coming National Centre for Music. It was their development manager Peter Thierfeldt who championed Pianodrome through this process. He stumbled across the first Pianodrome in the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2018 and has supported us ever since.
What is the main ethos behind the Pianodrome? “Use what you have to make what you need.” If you have a seemingly endless source of discarded pianos and you need a bespoke amphitheatre for experimental, acoustic, improvised music performances, make a Pianodrome.
How is going so far? Great.
What plans have you got for after the Fringe? We are hoping to have a Winter Resonancy at the ex Debenhams, now a collective of community organisations called The Wee Hub, in Ocean Terminal in Leith
While we were chatting, it was Time for Tam Treanor to strut his electro stuff in the bar. I’m a big fan of his work, he jams different versions of his songs out every time, no two sets are the same, & can yo-you between uberchill’d & megatechno at the drop of a seamless hat. After that came a reopening of the debating chamber, renamed the ‘Tinderbox Grand Hall’ – for a donation – to watch some acts play including this cool duo called the Ugly Royal which were just making some proper dancey tunes – a great & wonderful evening that finished about 1AM – I think.
Was that the best time I’ve had this Fringe? Dya know, I think it was!
REVIEW: Dowally and Daniel McGeever (14/8/22)
Pianodrome. an ‘iconic symbol of community and cultural resilience in Scotlands Capital’ even if they say so themselves, have set up at the New Parliament Old School buildings up on Calton. Hill. The forty something up cycled piano amphitheatre that is Pianodrome fits cosily into the old debating chamber. The mini colosseum lending an apt intensity to the quiet drama of Daniel McGeever’s pianoing and Dowally’s choice meanderama about the range of their musical mapo mundi.
Daniel McGeever (Portobello Chief Rocker and all round good egg) gives it plenty, solo on the piano. Charting his journey from Paul Rodgers to Paul Weller via the barbers. Hold tight for new Delta Mainline LP ‘Unicorn Connections’. (Don’t laugh). In the man himself’s words ‘Reality fantasy and everything in between’.
Speaking of the in-between straight outta Nashville Welsh chanteuse Jasmine Power stepped up in the interval and belted out two tracks. With a voice that resounded round this excellent intimate venue and some nifty keyboard skills is it easy to she why she is making waves accross the pond.
Dowally’s core duo (they are keen collaborators) comprises Sheffield’s Finest Daniel Abrahams on the geetar and Edinburgh based Weedgie exile Rachael Walker on the fiddle. And they are joined this evening by Normandy groover Phillipe Boudot on drums. And some chap on the accordion who prefers to remain anonymous.
Despite only having rehearsed in the main via you tube they keep it proper tight. With a set that veers from the Highlands and Islands to Mexico via Morricone and Normandy they barely put a foot wrong. Picking and rocking on a Gibson F hole, plinking and soaring on the violin with a drummer who gets it. vThe pulsating sounds created in this reverbulous space could be the soundtrack to a home movie featuring Miles Herbie and Sabbath getting plastered in an Orkadian bar. The musicians seemed to enjoy it as much as the crowd.
Listen carefully and you can hear the ghosts of the pianos past
Not so long ago I was in my bookshop on Arran listening to the best of Dolly Parton CD, & for the first time I heard the wonders of her Love Is Like A Butterfly. Oh my god that’s one sexy tune, in a sweet non-sext way. I’ve even put it as the ballad in my disco hip-hop set is that fuc£in’ good. Anyways, the Fringe arrives in my life, in one corner of which are the Night Owl Shows at the superb arena that is Edinburgh’ Symposium Hall.
Of course I was gonna see the Dolly Parton Show, which contains two of the Night Owl team – a young bonnie singer & an exceptional acoustic guitarist in a cowboy hat. They’re a busy bunch these Night owls; the singer, Hannah Richards, does 4 shows a day for example. Anyways, it was well wicked, a blend of wonderfully sung & play’d tunes mixed with wikipedia style narratives & projected images detailing Dolly’s fascinating life story. Learning that Elvis wanted to sing her I will Always Love You in return for owning half the song, a proposal swiftly rejected, would be an act karma would have mischievous fun with, for the royalties Dolly got from Whitney Houston’s version gave Dolly the money with which to buy Graceland.
All the classic were there – Two Doors Down, 9-5, Jolene, Islands in the. Stream. But one tune was missing – Love is Like A Butterfly. After 9-5 & Jolene its literally the third best Parton tune & I was like wtf! Anyways, I don’t normally do this, in fact never, but being the last to leave the arena I walk’d up to the guitarist unpacking his pedals & I said, ‘hey mate, one quick question.’ ‘Yeah,‘ he replied. ‘What happen’d to Love Is Like Butterfly, its the third best tune,’ I replied to his reply. For a moment he was taken aback, but warmly, & proceeded to tell me that they do know it & perhaps it would be OK to mix the set up a bit. My answer was;
‘Do it – drop that tune yer play after 9-5 & put Butterfly earlier on in the set,’ & with that I left the Symposium Hall singing all sorts of country ditties. The Dolly Parton show is a triumphant blend of music & memories is a Night Owl Show, & when they put Butterfly into the Parton Story it’ll be the best show at the Fringe, but until then I can only award them 4 stars. Its like leaving Figo out of the 2003 Real Madrid Galactico team.
The day was bright with sunshine; the streets were filled to brimming with traversing theatre goers I was in the perfect mood for the life enhancing performance called ‘the Fleetwood Mac Story’. The venue at The Space – Symposium Hall for me is one of the most resplendent I have attended at the fridge it was just framed for a historic rock concert, with its blue leather seats that slope down to the spectacle on stage.
The band stepped on under a wonderful Fleetwood Mac signage, excitement spread in taking their respective places they began with the tune ‘Black Magic Woman’ the sound was right and note perfect, sang with a hinged voice on par with the bluesy tones of the Legend Peter Green.
The room was compelled as a grouping of super fans and the band brought their praise for the life and times and the music in whopping proportions. ‘Black Magic Woman’ was the only song Roberto Picazo would take lead vocals for, leaving him to focus on the lead guitar so much an element of the music Fleetwood Mac made.
To a theatre inviting on stepped the grace of sultry tones of lead singer (standing in huge shoes) Hannah Richards, magic was definitely at hand as the show became more than a tribute but an championing letting rich passions of Fleetwood Mac very much loose and uncaged.
The care taken in presenting this must see performance (11 times at the Fringe)was matched in the sheer joy taken to celebrate the story in its megalomania, success and profound fusions of music. The original band (there were 18 or so different line ups) had it so down so cold they could move between genres of music whenever the mood took them.
The band were electric, dynamic, talented, effortless (timeless), marvellous, distinct, dedicating their entirety to a swell time, of songs from early Peter Green blues (the amazing evocation of the song Albatross) to Rumours to after rumours; Rumours is an album brought out as their 11th in 1977, after many saga’s scince1969, Fleetwood are said to have outsold the Beats and the Rolling Stones to give you an idea of their success and importantly their popularity.
The respect of the musicians telling the story dare I say it was as big as seeing the original for sure, they broke all formality while they played every stroke, line and delivery with revelry, delighting the room with electric rock n’ roll spectacle. I was impressed and blown away by the beauty, of three four voices praising tones of wonder with the profound voice of Alex Beharrell who was just a vocal barrel of a fitting epic quality.
The full band line up, as I feel I must state it was: Hannah Richards as praiseworthy main vocals, Maia Elsy, second vocals, that misty beautiful harmony, Alex Beharrell guitar and astounding vocals, Harry Whitty, that delectable keyboard, James Morgan, playing the heart of the band drums playing his heart out, Noah Nelson, spooky base and one more praise goes to Robert Picazo in the most beautiful tear jerking lead guitar.
What a short 50 min spent in a level of giving so good we weren’t even putty in their hands we were entertained by a story made to rival the gods of all rock and roll, songs as rich as time itself. Hannah’s voice went so well as to humble the whole room, she sang songbird close to tears, as sad as the artist who wrote it (Christine McVie) was when it poured out of her.
If you really love music but aren’t sure or unfamiliar about Fleetwood, please go to enjoy an abundant celebration of it, rarely do we experience quite the gusto, faultless breathtaking example that if you let it will swell your heart two sizes.
Jeff Mills is touring with his latest opus ‘Tomorrow comes the Harvest’ alongside keyboard legend Jean-Phi Dary and tabla maestro Prabhva Edouard. Original co -rocker co founder Afro Beat pioneer Tony Allen died in 2019.
‘We are just going do some new stuff from our upcoming album’.
Not the words you want to hear.
Jeff Mills. Jeff Mills. The Wizard. The founder of Underground Resistance. The man who brought Derrick May Juan Atkins and the like to the light.
Is exploring some ‘new free jazz directions’
You don’t ask Boris Becker for financial advice.
You don’t go to Doctor Shipman for a second opinion
And you don’t go to hear Jeff Mills playing the Bongos.
Pleasance Courtyard Grand Venue 33 (16:00) Till 29th August (Tuesdays excepted and strikes permitting) Strobe lighting Possible Brouhaha
An hour long drum solo performed by two French hippies/mime artists and featuring a kazoo trombone fashioned from the plumbing aisle at B&Q is a hard sell. and would have me reaching for my gun. On hearing this pitch the temptation is to roll the eyes and stride off indignantly muttering ‘festival bollox.. grumble grumble…’
There is no doubt the festival has its share of ‘Macbeth on a bouncy castle‘ codswallop, and long may it reign, but these things are not everyones cup of tea. So you’d be forgiven for dismissing this show out of hand. and flicking the safety off*
You would however be missing a cracking percussive hour of virtuoso drumming visuals and music that thrums along as tight as a paradiddle.
First and foremost these guys are world class drummers.
They employ a surreal quiver of instruments, from drills with which to torture their instruments and each other. From the aforementioned kazoobone (ed.?) to chainsaws and their skulls, and more. They belt out the classics from Queen to AC/DC via Pantera and Grease with brioche (ed. I think you’ll find you mean brio) Of course being French you get a bit of Jean-Michel Jarre and Daft Punk. (Mais qui, d’accord, bien sûr, pôt pourri).
As they are the only two French recording artists since Edith Piaf that anybody takes seriously. MC Solar doesn’t count.*
The dynamic between the pair is played upon but not dwelt upon. Excellently conceived vignettes are conjured. Morricone’s Wild West, Bruce Lee style Martial arts movies and Star Wars. There is crowd participation, but this involves a bit of whooping and stomping and not the the dreaded dragged up on stage variety.
The audience loved it from kiddie winks to ‘aul grumpy punters (like me). The lighting sound musicianship choreography and timing are all as tight John Bonham’s trousers and everyone left with a smile on their face and a slight ringing in the ears. Excellent
What a lovely rock n roll couple of days it has been. I woke up on Sunday Morning So Had breakfast, a shower and put some thought into looking cool as fuck.
I left the house at 9.30 am, it was raining and blowing, Hmm I thought maybe shorts, a black dinner jacket and my fave black shirt, Hair freshly tinted Crazy Colour Rouge Red. With just a touch of eyeliner, I wondered if I had overestimated the lovely summer we are having, Och I had my brolly in case things got out of hand, so am on the 30 bus, gets to Nicolson st and pulled my cash card out of my pocket to realise that it was nae my cash card . but my Council Tax Card. I didnae have any other money on me, so had no option but to get off the 30 bus at The Cats Protection Leagues bus stop on Nicolson St. I walked back home along the innocent railway path. Got home, the card was in the pocket of the shorts that I was wearing on Saturday. It took 35mins to walk the Innocent Railway Footpath and it did me the world of good.. So the 30 to Princes St and the 900 to Glasgow To go and see Kelis and Groove Armada at the Junction 1 festival.
When I got on the 900, I fell asleep and woke up just as the bus was pulling on to Buchanon St Bus Station. Must have been that early morning exertion. So I headed to catch up with my festy companions of the day, Raymond Speedie, Al Roberts. Teri Welsh and Lotty. They were all a bit worse for wear, having already done two days of this pop up festival. All the main stage stage performances were cancelled because of a dispute over payment on Saturday night. Luckily the DJs wear top Notch and the Leftfield Set will have been brilliant. By the time I got to Teri’s I was raring to dance, Al and Teri needed a disco nap, So myself Raymond and Lotty went for a wander around the West End and Kelvin Grove Park. It was very pleasant indeed.
After Pizza and beverages, we got a taxi, to the most unusual of festivals, very industrial with the main stage right next to the M74, We got our guests and back stage wrist bands and i was off. Brilliant house DJs had me in the Groove. Within 5 mins of Dancing to Kelis I started to feel better. The sheer love coming from the young lasses who knew every word fo every song. It made my heart smile and the bass was rattling my rib, cage.
After Kelis I went and joined the lengthy queue for one of the ten cubicles in which to have a wazz. Had a really good natter with Kirsty McNicol who was standing in front of me, Too few loos for a festy population of that size consuming rather expensive alcohol. I was straight back into the groove after having a waz. Had a great dance, then back into the main arena for Groove Armada. Who were fresh from triumphant shows In Bristol and Ireland. It was spectacular, the light show was out of this world, the vocalists, all stars in their own right brought The Hits of Groove Armada to life, it was just as brilliant as The Barrowland Ballroom Gig in April. (More in a bit am hungry and want my Tea ❤ )
The house DJs really were exceptional. And is part of the course with The Groove Armada massive everyone was up for this exceptional show of performance art. It was at the Barrowland Ballroom Gig that the light and laser show was revealed, I thought then how wonderful it will be to experience this in a festival setting. I wasn’t disappointed However the setting did leave a lot to be desired, Of which the quality entertainment on offer totally distracted everyone. The dancefloor in the main arena was rubble, I really felt for the people wearing high heels, good job I had my good stout walking boots on and to the left of the stage one could see the traffic wizzing past on the M74. It was the last place anyone would want to be on a beautiful Sunny Sunday evening. Especially when there are so many beautiful parks in Glasgow. Good job we were nae there for the aesthetics we were there for the Rock N Roll. When Kelis finished the performance the Arena cleared really quickly and the lass that was DJing next, was playing to an empty arena of a building site, next to the M74. Everyone had gone to support the local DJs in the Adjacent arena with an astroturf dancefloor boogie, boogie, boogie. They were really really good. I went to give the DJ in the main arena a bit of moral support, There was no way a rug could be cut on the broken stone rubble.
However the GA light and laser show was firing up and the main arena filled up really quickly, The only flat surface on which to dance was centre stage on the plastic that covers the cables to the PA. Perfect stereo and a few inches higher to really take in the lasers and lightshow. Had been listening to Groove Armada’s “Lovebox”, Vertigo and Good Bye Country And Hello Niteclub” all week. This music and uplifting songs have been part of my life for 20 years or so to hear them live is always nothing less than an exhilarating joy for the senses. I was singing along in the same way the lassies did for Kelis.
MC MAD, Veba and Saint Saviour along with the Amazing Groove Armada Electronics of Andy Cato and Tom Findlay have made the Greatest Hits tour and the songs performed so great. Groove Armada bring the party to the people in great style. It was fantastic. with Dorian Dolem on Guitar and Martin Carling on Drums. These guys have taken The 25 Year Anniversary tour to thousands of people since the tour started in March, having performed in Bristol on Friday and in Ireland Headlining the Splendour n The Grass Festival on Saturday Night. As one can imagine everyone was tired but performed fantastically. So being invited to the after party by Mike Daniels who ensured that we had backstage access. Thankyou Mike It was a rare joy to be in the same room with such amazingly talented people. Brilliant conversations were had after I had come out of Starstruckness. Getting back to Teri Welsh’s pad at about 3am I was buzzing the day had certainly been a tonic for the soul.
Photos by Al Roberts and Raymond Speedie. Words Divine ❤
‘Damo, the Fantasy Orchestra is amazing,’ said my good friend, Lady Fee, a resident of the western extremities of the ever-gorgeous Calderdale valley. It was a frequent statement of hers from the time she went to the first rehearsals in January, right through to last weekend when I found myself at the Golden Lion in Todmorden mooching about to some serious deep bass reggae.
‘Why don’t you come to rehearsals on Wednesday,’ she insisted rather than asked on the Golden Lion dance floor, ‘& write one of your mumble thingies?’ I love a good mumble, me, like, so I accepted her invitation most gracefully & the following Wednesday returned to the vales of Sappho for my induction to the Calderdale Fantasy Orchestra.
The CFO is the third incarnation of the Fantasy Orchestra ‘franchise,’ the brainchild of Jessie Vernon, a musical maestro who currently plays guitar in the band ‘This is the Kit.’ His idea was to introduce an inclusive, happy vibe into the staid world of orchestras – in fancy dress, with proper banging tunes. Bristol was first, Paris was second, & thanks to a former musical director of the Bristol posse moving to Calderdale, Todmorden is next. His name is David – a delightfully ebullient chap, who says he’s a percussionist, but his conducting skills are something to be relished. He appear’d in the valley a couple of years ago, & within about 3 months realised it was no ordinary place, a cauldron of odd-bod flamboyance simply ripe for a Fantasy Orchestra – & so it has proved. I met him quite by accident driving pass’d me & Lady Fee at the bus stop, & I was soon motoring to the Golden Lion, giving him a wee inquisition as to what the hell I was going to be up to that evening & why? It turned out I would be joining the choir.
The Golden Lion is a beacon of sanctuary, sound & light – some quality acts flow through its chambers. The main performance space is upstairs & doubles up as the practice rooms for the CFO, with the roof terrace being where the choir do their own thing. One-by-one the singers & players drifted in – a rag-tag collection of active bohemians & happy retirees. Among them was a permaculture designer, a clinical herbalist, an outdoor educator, a really cute baker called Lois, a medical tattooist who specialises in 3D nipples, & a doctor of palliative care. Each was in fine spirits, happy to be there & re-releasing the pressures of life into a fine melange of music.
They warmed up with a jazz-infused piece of random razzmatazz which David conducted like Tony Blair on acid, & when he wiggled his fingers at the wind section I was ‘like what kind of sorcery is this?’ Then we divided up for a while, the instruments buzzing about like bees on the bouquet-like interactions of energized razzmatazz, while next door choir leader Jan tightened the singers up into SAS precision. The orchestra was comprehensive; strings, brass & wind – guitar, bass & drums among which Lady Fee’s bass trombone held everything together, the veritable & vital glue of the CFO. Outside Jan was teenage-giddy, yet matron-efficient, as she guided us through ‘Don’t You Love Me Baby.’ This was one of 200 songs which Jessie has transcribed for orchestra, from which pool the CFO will be choosing their pieces. The idea is that a member of the Bristol or Paris Fantasy Orchestras can just slot into the CFO, & vice versa.
Jan & David were at the Royal Northern Music College together, & we were in capable hands. Both their rooms were planning together, & building an experience which when conjoined later flowed like magic, full of a go-for-it attitude fleshing out a spontaneous spine. Novices performed side-by-side with experts, an unpretentious crazy gang abounding with equal quantities of mental, where the central edict is ‘more is more!’ With a quirky acceptance for anything new, the Fantasy Orchestra is for those who think a traditional orchestra too intimidating. Its also a unit with little comprehensive rehearsal, & more a vague idea of doing it right – no brilliantly – on the night, with the confidence of doing so running through every note.