Close call at The Jazz Bar

There’s a bar/music venue next door to Richer Sounds on Chambers Street, well, the door’s there, then lots of steps heading downwards. It’s been there as long as I can remember, though it’s probably gone through a few reincarnations since I last went in one time in the, ooo, late eighties, early nineties?! The Jazz Bar is it’s current moniker and it’s rather a fun place.

Last Saturday night had Logan’s Close in the midnight slot, so I thought I’d trot along. As I had time to kill I headed to the cinema to see Knives Out, I’d liked the look of the trailers and folk had said it was very good (I had some reservations as an all star cast does not by any means mean a good film!)  Daniel Craig got to have fun with an odd accent – not as odd as the one in Logan Lucky though. Knives Out is actually a fairly cracking film and doesn’t feel as long as it’s length, it’s keeps up a good pace through to the end.

Anyhoo, I meandered back and headed down into The Jazz Bar about quarter to twelve. A bit of red velvet round the place and I’d swear I’d walked on to some Lynchian-type movie set! Cool, hip, young things were bopping around, I was almost expecting to hear the word “Daddio” yep, there was some vibe going on. Then I noticed, near the entrance, a certain bass player tapping madly on his mobile, this went on a while, til almost midnight, hmmm, a whole set of bass solos,  nice!? Slowly over the next fifteen minutes or so, the rest of the band appeared (though it wasn’t til much later when I realised they were sans keyboards).

The Close made up for their tardiness with two long, cracking sets, including in the second Love me two times by the Doors, rather good, it was! Great to hear What d’I say as well, I’ve been playing the Bluefinger recording recently, that has a seriously lonnngg intro, lads, they probably have a good couple of minutes on you. You may have noticed in a previous post that I have a problem in gigs with tall guys getting in the way, but here there was a slight variation on this; whilst in rock/blues gigs the tall guys tend to be seriously broad too, these were all skinny, easier to peer round!

Indeed, the crowd were undulating, seemingly strange currents moving bodies around and about; I felt I was Sheldon Cooper playing at Spock, it was fascinating to watch, almost like….wow, was this the modern version of what we used to call a “cattle market”? I guess in this new “me too” environment it’s trickier for anyone to express any interest in another without risking any offence, so subtlety is to the fore. It makes a fun spectator sport, watching from the sidelines.

I have to mention the white t-shirt, I have no recollection of anything else the young lady had on, just her white t-shirt, which become pinker and pinker as the time went by. Even her back had two great splodges of red wine on it by late on, huh?

The Jazz Bar was fun, the people friendly; bar prices pricey but no more than you’d expect; entrance was £6 but that was anytime of the evening, I could have seen another two bands for the same amount had I gone in earlier. I like it, definitely a place to keep an eye on.

Toodle pip!

Wet does not suit mooses

It’s a miserable, wet day here in Edinburgh, typical November. It’s so soggy oot there that even a set by Logan’s Close in Stramash can’t tempt me to leave the moose cave! Maybe if  I’d had more notice about it my mind could have been set on going no matter what, but I just spotted it on the board as I squelched past at lunchtime.

I was quite surprised as Facebook usually informs me of such things (and then tells me again and again and again….) but not a peep. Had a quick ganders at the Close and Stramash’s pages – nothing! The Pianodrome at Leith Theatre would appear to be the Close’s next outing (Friday 6th December, annoyingly I’m otherwise engaged that evening) and the Stramash events bit mentions two bands on tonight but not the lads.

Hmmm, usually there’s three bands playing on a Saturday night. So I checked it with the Close and indeedily they are playing, just seen on Facebook that Stramash have finally mentioned them this afternoon. Is it, like, really uncool to do the 7pm slot? Like, Yeah, we’ll do it but let’s not mention it to anyone, okay?!

Of course, Strictly is on telly tonight too, oo, soon. A good reason to stay in by the fire. 

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I shall leave you with this marvellous pic of the lads. Hmmm, what’s going on in those heads……..

– That’s it! We’re taking them down!

– Uh oh, I’m gonna keep sitting quietly and hope no one notices me

– Shit! Better protect the family jewels!

– Aw, hell! Here we go again. Why do I let myself get into these situations?!

😆😆

What ever happened to the sideburns?

So back in April Logan’s Close played the Voodoo Rooms with a new addition of a keyboard player – fine. Next thing, the new pics on FB only show four guys, four plus one should be five? Was it an aesthetics thing – sorry only four to a photo, five would be too much!? The drummer with the great sideburns seems to be oot of the picture, literally. The Close have a new single out soon, no doubt they’ll play Edinburgh to herald it’s arrival, and we’ll see who’s in or out. Same drummer, new drummer, drum machine?!?

It’s reminded me of one of my favourite Fringe acts, Dead Cat Bounce. They wrote a rather magnificence song about the day they fired the drummer, performed at the end of the show literally as though the other three had just agreed earlier that day to fire him. Nine years later I still laugh when I hear it, absolutely brilliant, but then Dead Cat Bounce were top class comedy writers and performers as well as being great musicians. They would most definitely be one of my Desert Island Fringe Acts!

Ironically it was the keyboardist who left the band just over a year later. Sadly the remaining trio only played the Fringe one more time in 2012, it wasn’t quite the same without Mick; and it put Outsized Orthopaedic Shoe and Four Lads off the playlist, shame. In 2013 they called it a day, well, playing live, until in 2017 they apparently did a 10th anniversary reunion show, and there’s a DVD of it!! I must hunt one down. I shall keep on with the occasional stalk to see what they’re up to, in case they reform proper!

The Penny Dreadfuls, particular favourites of mine, were originally a four-man sketch show when my buddy and I first came across them in their Victorian sketch show Aeneas Faversham. It was our favourite show that year, silly, surreal, clever, witty, and thoroughly British! The following year they pulled it off again with Aeneas Faversham Returns, by George, even Bud’s elderly maiden aunt loved it, especially the Invisible Man sketch – the one part we feared she would disapprove of! Why? Specimen 626 had escaped from the lab and they had to find him, he was invisible, at least to them on stage, we could all see Specimen 626 who was stark bollock naked! He was prancing around, jiggling about between the others talking trying to put them off, he even did a cartwheel across the stage! By the following Fringe Jamie (aka Specimen 626) had left them. Had the naked cartwheels been too much for him? So 2008 saw the Penny Dreadfuls down to a trio for Aeneas Faversham Forever, and they’re still loosely together, every now and again popping up on Radio 4 and Radio 4extra, besides following their own solo careers, occasionally popping up at the Fringe. David Reed is up for  four nights with Inside the Comedian and of course, Thom Tuck is up as usual doing lots of silly things with lots of silly people.

Just to show you there were originally four Penny Dreadfuls and also what an awesome act they are……

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behold, the Penny Dreadful playing cards! Yes, they didn’t just do badges, they had decks of playing cards! Three years in a row! The chap at the back of the middle card is Jamie. I wonder what became of him? And can he still cartwheel?

 

…. meanwhile at the Voodoo Rooms ….

Evening, peeps! Friday evening and I’m home, drinking alone, tapping my thoughts down. I could be out, you know. I could be in The Pond listening to the dulcet harmonies of Carl and Scott; I could also be wandering lost in Leith trying to locate said Pond, I’ve never been there. No, I intend to write this post, this post that I intended to write late last Friday night but was side-lined by a need for more music (til after 3 in the morning).

So last Friday night I was back in the Voodoo Rooms to see Logan’s Close supporting Black Cat Bone. Crikey, it’s almost a year since I was there for the launch of their EP Fried Bangers there. But what was this? A keyboard on stage? Ummm, not sure what to make of this development. A favourite band changing it’s line-up has connotations of a pub “being refurbished”, ummm. I remember way, way back when Thin Lizzy brought in keyboard player Darren Wharton for their Renegade album and tour in 1981 (first gig I ever saw!) I was dubious but it was the start of the 80s and keyboards were a thing. I actually quite like the Renegade album but it’s not like classic Lizzy, but hey Phil Lynott’s voice was my passion. Then I recall the last time I saw John Martyn perform around ’92, ummm, I remember wishing someone would shoot the saxophonist! I do like sax, Reuben Legge, case in point, but the saxophonist that night just would not shut up. He was up in the mix and played continuously through everything (I like my sax sparse and selective) Aargh!

So there I was, supping a half of Joker IPA, wondering if this could be the end of my crush on the Close. First number, Work, hmmm, well that worked rather well! Just enough, not too much, a nice touch. I don’t remember the name of the second song but I know it’s one that sounds like it belongs in a Tarantino soundtrack, again, keyboards like a bowl of baby bear’s porridge. New songs thrown in too, nice! A fine set, In The Morning and I Want You particularly brilliant (Scott’s vocals on I Want You are sooo good) Yes, I totally approve of the new chap, except, dude, the trousers, turning them up so high with white socks, no, really.

And what of the headliners Black Cat Bone? A great, bluesy, sleazy, pretty darn sexy sound, I’d reckon not so much black cat, more dirty ol’ ginger tomcat heading out on a night of fighting, f**king and caterwauling ’til dawn.

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And here’s a look at the newest member of the Close doing his stuff….

Some Lillies are Tigers that bite

Last night I headed down Leith to the recently re-opened Leith Theatre to see a performance of The Last Days of Mankind by Karl Kraus featuring the The Tiger Lillies. No, didn’t know anything about it, but the poster suggested a hard-hitting, provocative piece of theatre about man and war, and The Tiger Lillies! Oh yay! If they were providing the music, then definitely hard-hitting, plenty of sarcasm and black humour and no shying away from man’s vileness and depravity. It’s been just over five years since I saw The Tiger Lillies at the Fringe, way too long…….

The first time I saw them was 2004, performing Punch and Judy at what was called Pod Deco, this was an odd pop-up venue in the much-loved but sadly closed-down Odeon cinema on Clerk Street (I saw many films there, it was a proper old cinema). This was no family-friendly puppet show – the big clue being the blurb in the programme, “A lurid operetta, with supporting cast of shadows, glove puppets and rubber blow-up dolls. Step into the dirty, chaotic and violent world of Punch”. Yeah, violence and blow-up dolls, but still some idiots brought children along, only to leave before the second song was over! My friend who’d introduced me to the TLs told that when he’d seen them the year before at St Stephen’s the singer warned a mother with two children, she waved him off only to skunk out during the first number!

Punch and Judy was like nothing I’d ever seen or heard before, grotesque, heart-searing, beautiful, depraved. I came out needing a good shower to cleanse my soul – this reaction became my benchmark for a good TLs show. To paraphrase Eric Olthwaite, their humour is black, very black, even the white bits are black. Not for everyone, given the lyrics, but the music itself is sublime; a trio of very talented musicians who will spell-bound you and Martyn’s voice will stay with you forever.

Described as “an avant-punk Brechtian cabaret trio” the Spiegeltent was the perfect venue in 2005. We felt transported to another era, just without the thick cigarette smoke that would have been there. They returned to the Spiegeltent in 2008 with their 7 Deadly Sins. Loved, loved, loved this show, a brilliant set of songs, a burlesque dancer and a puppeteer/clarinetist with little angel wings who seriously looked like Timothy Claypole (a character from a long-ago children’s tv show).

The next two years the TLs were in the Pleasance Beyond, a soulless, functional, modern theatre with no ambiance at all. The performances were great but after the sleazy atmosphere of the Spiegeltent, well, it wasn’t the same overwhelming devineness, they were a band on a stage.

It was 2013 before they returned to the Fringe, playing at the Underbelly’s Cowbarn (aka Reid Concert Hall). A much better venue for them, I seem to the remember the lighting being really good, especially the uplighting on the bass player’s face, fair gave me the willies it did! Another great show with the usual crowd around their CD stall afterwards, they are quite prolific doing all sorts of musical projects, so there will always be new CDs to procure. Sadly I haven’t seen them at the Fringe since, so when they put a picture on Facebook with the comment Watch out Edinburgh, ooo.

So I got me a cabaret table seat in an old slightly dilapidated theatre, even walking in the ambience was right, a piano was centre front in amongst the cabaret tables, percussion at the right wing, bass in front of the left wing; liking it. Two gents with paled faces sat at desks on either side of the raised piano. The Tiger Lillies walked on to their instruments and played…

What a theatrical performance! Everything just outstanding!! The Last Days of Mankind was written in the early twentieth century, satirically charting the war and it’s effects on humanity as the author saw it in Austria; the collapse of civilisation in Europe at the time. Apparently the original play has over 200 scenes, almost 500 characters and an estimated 10 day running time! This new adaptation had a cast around 30 (from all around Europe), 35 scenes and a running time of about 3 hours, phew!

The whole theatre was the stage, with scenes emerging from the sides, the back of the central aisle, even the balcony! Pictures and film clips were projected on to the backdrop and curtain of a sparse stage. Martyn moved between the piano and stage to serenade us with his sarcastic dark wit (his accordian was a thing of beauty, always fancied learning to play one). It was a breath-taking, thought-provoking, mesmerising evening. My cabaret table seat was great, sometimes being right next to the action, but I am quite tempted to go back before it finishes to see it again from the balcony! After all, god knows when the Tiger Lillies will come back to town.

Toodle pip!

 

 

 

It’s strictly about the dancing!

This year is turning out to be fun!! And at present we get the rivetingly marvellous Killing Eve later on (enough time to do the washing up and plonk back down with a glass of something). I was away to darkest Yorkshire last weekend so recorded everything to enjoy once I was back up, including Dr Who (of course). Yes, they do have telly in Yorkshire but I’m always way too busy to watch any!

Movie Week is always good, but I sometimes wonder about the choice of movies and the music, and who makes the choice and determines which couple gets what? The Powers That Be can definitely make or break couples with their decisions this week. Poor Lee gave it his best but the cha cha has brought down better male celeb dancers than him and The Power of Love is a tad overplayed and cliched now. Even an improved dance-off performance wasn’t gonna save him. Mind I only placed him in the middle-rank, didn’t reckon he’d make it to the end anyway.

My highlights were Vick & Graziano, Kate & Aljaz, Stacey & Kevin and Seann & Katya. I must just say, I’m really having to watch what the print goblin in this tablet is playing at, he clearly doesn’t care for Strictly considering how much he keeps changing names and words when he thinks I’m not paying attention! Those four dances also had the best music for me, especially Why Don’t You Do Right? Kate nailed that performance, wowzah! Happy keeps floating in and out of my Desert Island Discs, but I was unsure beforehand how well dancing minions would come across, hey wow, I loved Stacey & Kevin’s routine.

And then there was the Matrix paso doble! Wow, he really trained hard for that and gave it everything. That foot lift and slo-mo bit – she has incredible core strength. Orchestrated music rather than a song can really make a performance stand out from the crowd as well, who would have thought we’d have the Matrix Theme on Strictly?  And I loved Seann’s comment afterwards “Bruno, you can have your trousers back now!”

Strictly speaking Dr Ranj and Janette could have done their paso last week too as Cancion del Mariachi is part of the soundtrack of Desperado, check it out on YouTube, it has Antonio Banderas singing it! Late on last night I had to play it, one of my favourite soundtrack albums, not a bad track on it. I may have to watch the film again, and that means I’ll have to watch El Mariachi as well, I would thoroughly recommend both, if you don’t mind a bit of violence, that is.

So I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon, who will be oot this week? Well, if the public vote similar to the judges then the dance-off will be between Kate and Katie as theirs were the lowest scores, 20 and 18 respectively. Next above them with 25 a piece are Charles and Lauren. That’s Charles’ fourth 25 in a row, dancing to a great disco classic; but no matter how well Lauren danced, jeez those dress colours were distracting and not in a pleasant way!

I did feel for Kate having to dance to Africa by Toto and a samba too! Not a kind dance anyway – but to Africa?! Toto only ever had one good song Hold The Line and even that has lost something over the years (yes, I’m really showing my age now). On the other side of the scales, one of THE naffist, overplayed songs Hi Ho Silver Lining was a joy to hear with Stacey looking totally mod and really selling the performance.

Ok, but strictly about the song and dance – the charleston to Bills, well the song doesn’t move me but neither does it annoy me and it does kinda tie in with a busy pizza place. Seann did do plenty of swivveling and that first lift! Loved it! Did the judges mark up? (For the first time ever I had a look at the Strictly Facebook page, the comments are brilliant, people don’t half get their knickers in a twist!) Yes, I think they did but as I’m ranking him in the middle still, I don’t think there’ll be any harm done from it. Plus, the silly sod could do with a boost after the week he’s just had 😉

So what was so important last Saturday? Exploring pubs in deepest Yorkshire that time and town-planners forgot……

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So long, farewell, ta-ra, toodle pip!

No! Not me! I’m still here! Many shows only come for one week, so now just as the party is really getting going, some are packing up and leaving us. Nevertheless, their flyerers were out yesterday, desperately drumming up one last audience. I bumped into the delightful pair from Uke Belong To Me on the Royal Mile still flyering only an hour before their final show and Stiffs were about; saw them on Friday evening, a great two-hander, I except to see more of those young chaps in the future.

The Aspirations of Daise Morrow finishes today; a beautiful production with live music, served up with brash aussie humour and pathos. It’s a shame that the heavens have opened and today all day is forecast wet, wet, and more wet! Yup, at the realisation that the boys of the Ukulele Death Squad are soon to depart us, the Edinburgh skies are already sobbing. One last soldout show at Leith Depot tonight and before that something at the Book Festival, that’s gonna be soggy, guys! I saw them last night for their soldout Assembly show, awesome, just one thing could have made it better, if we’d been able to get up and dance (more on that later). I’d set myself up nicely by nipping into the Cowshed on the Cowgate to catch Logan’s Close set earlier on, the place was jumpin’!

Let’s hope the skies cheer up soon, after all, tomorrow is another week! New shows will take the slots vacated. So it’s goodbye from them and hello to them others 😆

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Antipodeans at Large

Just looked up antipodes in my dictionary, it said “places diametrically opposite (to each other), esp. Australasia as region on opposite side of earth to Europe.” Hmmm, so technically we’re antipodean to someone living in Auckland or Melbourne. It’s just that we stuck in on Australasia first, or they bagsied the word. Personally I think it’s a great word, an-tipo-des, it trips off the tongue.

But why did you need to look it up, Bruce, didn’t you know what it means? Yes, but I wanted to be sure, words can be such tricksy things. Like on that last paragraph I was going to continue the sentence on “and it evokes” but the words of what it evokes escaped me! There is evoking going on it’s just indescribable for a moose.

I have a slightly better chance of describing how good the Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds were this afternoon, awesome! And not just great singing, the storyline was a slow reveal as we learnt more about the characters, their current situation and their truths. Yes, the truth will set you free (very important to the show) but, as shown it can be hard to admit and own. Some thought-provoking stuff going on, all delivered with that wry, no-nonsense antipodean humour. So if you have a mid afternoon free, you could do a helluva lot worse!

And while I’m on antipodeans, I’m sooo looking forward to seeing the Ukulele Death Squad this evening. Also from Oz, The Aspirations of Daise Morrow is on at the Assembly George Square Gardens in the wonderful Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete, but be warned, it’s after lunch, in a warm tent, beautiful soothing live music and lazy aussie drawls. Yeah, do go see it but have a coffee first! And have I mentioned how delightful Felicity Ward was?

Oo yeah, badges, to misquote Blazing Saddles “we DO need stinkin’ badges”, extra points to shows with free badges at the end. For a few years plenty of shows were giving out badges,  not so many now. Yay, to Tom Neenan and the Modern Maori Quartet for having badges, my only two so far.

Well it’s nearly time for me to trot down Leith Walk to see the Squad. This fringing and blogging thing is tricky, I want to tell you about all the brilliant stuff going on here – but I’m too busy out enjoying it!!

Toodle pip!

 

 

A work in progress

Goodness me, how time flies when you’re having fun! Just have time to give you a quick rundown of shows so far – before I have to run back up to the Gilded Balloon for another one.

First night, top show was Russell Howard: Work in Progress what a lovely lad still and blimey it was 2007 when I last saw him at the Fringe, before all the fame on the telly. In second place comes Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead, more on this show later, but if you like the film Evil Dead II and old Elvis songs, go see it! In third place on the first night, sorry guys, The Pin: Backstage. It was still very good 4☆, but at times it felt a teensy bit lame which was a shame because most of it chugged along fine with brilliant flashes from time to time.

Thursday I managed four shows. No obvious order of brilliance here, Games by Henry Naylor was more of his usual, minimal stage, thought-provoking, powerful female performances – go, watch, learn. Belly of a Drunken Piano at the Assembly Rooms, if you like Tom Waites you’ll love it, if you don’t you won’t. My highlight was Martha, it’s so long since I played it. Next up Felicity Ward: Busting a Nut, a bundle of neurotic joy! One of my favourite Aussies. To finish the evening with a bang Thrones! The Musical!  Definitely more on that later!

And that’s only up to last night! There’s another five I’ve seen so far today, and two more to come!!

Onwards and upwards!

You should go see Incredibles too!

Just in from seeing Incredibles 2, wow, that was sooo good! Brad Bird is a genius! Tomorrow I’ll do Mama Mia 2 straight from work, see I’m getting in the film-going now before the Fringe starts on Wednesday. Nothing wrong with a bit of Abba – I’ll balance it up with some AC/DC in the car afterwards 😎

There’s pockets of frenzied activity around the town and bright young things wearing lanyards are buzzing everywhere. Posters adorn walls, fences, railings, lampposts. It’s nearly here!! The Death Squad are on their way, apparently by boat according to Facebook. By this time next week I’ll have seen nineteen shows, yay!

I will be putting photos n stuff on Facebook, just look for Bruce T Moose (the T is for Theo, bet you thought it was The, didn’t you?)

Here’s to a great August, I hope you all wherever you may be have as good a month as I intend to have   💛

TTFN