The Show of Shows bears some similarity in terms of composition to a 2011 Tribeca Film Festival selection that I saw, The Miners’ Hymns. Both set black and white footage from a UK archive against an original score from an Icelandic composer (or in this case composers) to present a documentary feature. Each has a score essential to the narrative arc of the film yet stands alone—particularly the final cut in Miners, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s epic “The Cause of Labour is the Hope of the World”. But, while The Miners’ Hymns carried political weight, The Show of Shows is lighter, more entertaining fare.
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Iggy Pop’s latest album Post Pop Depression, made in collaboration with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, may be his last according to him. But even if that is the case, at 68-years-old, Pop has made one of the strong albums of his career and a rock album that all others will have to live up to in 2015. Currently on tour in support of the record, Pop has taken Homme (guitar, bass, keys), and other album collaborators, including QOTSA’s Dean Fertita (guitar, keys), Matt Helders (drums) of Arctic Monkeys and Those musicians, as well as QOTSA/A Perfect Circle’s Troy Van Leeuwen Matt Sweeney from Chavez, on the road with him.
Though the set avoided any Stooges songs, Pop dazzled fans with numerous other classics and the full weight of the songs from Post Pop. As Radio.com noted, “this show saw an artist who became a legend by challenging his audience, challenging them one more time. Happily, the fans were up for it: like a jazz legend, he wasn’t just playing the songs that blew our minds in the first place. He reminded that he can still blow our minds today, and that’s a bit more satisfying.”
Gaz Coombes’ first solo US tour included two very well attended, if not sold out, nights at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. Coombes is supporting his latest release, Matador which had been nominated for a Mercury Prize last year. On hand to open both nights was Piney Gir, who introduced herself as hailing from Kansas originally but now London based, performing her delightful pop songs, including tracks from her sixth album mR. hYDE’S wILD rIDE.
Coombes sounded fantastic, his solo efforts were as grand as the originally fully band Supergrass material. As the Examiner noted, “Though the production and arrangements on Here Come the Bombs and Matador are anything but organic, Coombes showcased his material quite sparingly in this intimate setting, performing solo with an occasional loop to assist him. One might assume that watching Coombes perform on his own with nothing but guitars, loops and keyboards as accompaniment would be lacking in energy. Hardly. What quickly became apparent is that not only is Coombes’ voice still in fine form and incredibly strong after all these years, but that the structure of his songs is durable enough to withstand being stripped down to its bare bones.”
It has been hard for Pete Yorn to make an album that critically surpasses his 2001 debut, Musicforthemorningafter. That record, with it’s scratchy, needle drop intro is ingrained in my memory and a string of hits like “Murray”, “Strange Condition” and “Life on a Chain” was an impressive debut. Since then, Yorn has released five more albums, including this year’s similarly strung together title Arrangingtime, his first in six years. The new album sees Yorn reteaming with his original producer R. Walt Vincent to create a set of warm songs that envelop Yorn’s generally strong lyrics. At Irving Plaza in New York City, Yorn treated fans to a set that drew from his entire catalog, including many of my aforementioned favorites. Check out photos from the show below and catch Yorn on the road as he wraps up his tour.
RNDM, the band featuring Joseph Arthur, Richard Stuverud and Jeff Ament (of Pearl Jam), went on tour to support their latest album Ghost Riding with a short string of dates across the United States in early March. Ament had been kind enough to speak to PopMatters about the recording process and the band’s expanded sound ahead of the show (in case you missed the interview, you can find it here) and of course we went to check out the versatile group’s performance. Photos are below.
At the same time I was taking the photos, Joseph Arthur’s friend, videographer Ehud Lazin and his crew were capturing the event across multiple cameras. He and the band were kind enough to allow us to premiere the live video of “Trouble” from the Gramercy Theatre show here. Since their RNDM tour ended, Arthur has announced a forthcoming solo record The Family (which is now available for pre-order) and will hit the road later this month. Ament too will be touring, but this time he sets out for arena shows with Pearl Jam, beginning their tour tonight in Florida. Their respective tour dates follow below.
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