With his 1994 eponymous debut, Keb' Mo', the Los Angeles-native also known as Kevin Moore let loose with an album full of solid songwriting and extraordinary acoustic blues guitar work, spurring some critics to hail him as the second coming of Robert Johnson. Four releases and two Grammy awards for "Best Contemporary Blues Album" later, Moore continues to refine his sound, seeking to bridge the wide stylistic gap between the rich history of Southern blues and the best of current pop sensibilities. His latest release, Big Wide Grin, certainly runs that broad gamut with a number of new originals combined with a healthy dose of covers, including Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely", Sly and the Family Stone's "A Family Affair", and Joni Mitchell's environmental anthem "Big Yellow Taxi". Unafraid to acknowledge his musical roots while at the same time trying to reach beyond his own experiences into the deep past of the blues, Moore weaves a curious amalgam of tradition and modernity into a style that is uniquely his own. Moore's solo appearance at the Madrid Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, signaled the second-to-last stop on a lengthy summer tour that started several months ago in Europe. But even with this grueling schedule, Moore seemed relaxed and comfortable; the boundless energy and affable humor that characterizes much of his studio work was present in abundance. With a black porkpie hat topping his tall and lanky frame, he shuffled to his chair set on the edge of the stage armed with a steel guitar and a sheepish grin. With a declaration of "Well, let's go"! he immediately launched into "Muddy Water", the first track off of his 1998 release Slow Down. "I love muddy water", belted Moore, "I'm ready for the blues tonight". The audience was ready too and they certainly got what they wanted. From the frustration and anger of love in "Am I Wrong" to the sublime beauty of Moore's guitar work on "Henry," the set was filled with wit, sly humor, and passion, capturing the attention and appreciation of the crowd. A brief sidestep into the blues classic "Kansas City" in the middle of "Hand It Over" was also met with raucous approval. With occasional support from fellow guitarist and banjo player Clayton Gibb, Moore paced through an 18-song, two-hour set, taking time between songs to joke with the audience and introduce nearly each number. The unique atmosphere of the Madrid with its spacious dance floor and candlelit balcony made it the perfect venue, lending a welcome sense of intimacy to the whole affair. The most poignant moment of the evening came during the lengthy encore. Introducing the first song by only saying that he's been playing it for the last nine years, Moore quietly slipped into "America the Beautiful". Tender and subdued, his voice trailed off leaving the audience to sing the final verse. Out of the context of a national holiday or the recent tragedies in New York and Washington, D.C., it would have been odd decision for encore material, but now it was an intensely moving choice. Given the heavy-heartedness of the past few weeks, it was a welcome irony to be able to find a brief escape and a sense of uplifting hope from listening to an evening of the blues.
So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.
As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.
This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.
It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.
Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.
"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"
Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.
Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.
Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.
There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.
There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."