Recent Posts

Oct 25 Taylor Swift’s “1989” Reviewed: The Voice Memo Early Listen
It doesn’t peak as high as Red, “This Love” isn’t as great as “State Of Grace” and “Shake It Off” isn’t as great as “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Again” but there is no weak spot, it is consistently superb. A major work but how much more?
Posted 25 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 25 Mansions On The Moon At Sonos Studios, Tuesday October 21st 2014
The four members – Lane Shaw on drums, Jeff ‘baby’ Maccora on bass and programming, Ted Wendler on guitar and vocals and Ben Hazlegrove on keys –seemed to be in a very good mood on Tuesday night, joking around and visibly happy about their first milestone
Posted 25 October 2014 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Oct 25 Kenny G Angers China And Turns To Be A Coward
it nevertheless didn’t please the Chinese government at all, which held a press conference, no less, reminding ‘foreign governments and individuals’ to ‘speak and act cautiously and not support [Hong Kong’s] Occupy Central and other illegal activities in any form’.
Posted 25 October 2014 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Oct 25 Eric Clapton To Play Seven Nights In London, Can New York Be Far Behind
Seven days is the sort of figure that sounds like someone is making sure everybody gets one last chance to see him and if he plays at MSG and does, three maybe four nights, you can kinda count him out and more is the pity. What a great guitarist, what an incredible career.
Posted 25 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 25 Singles Going Steady: New Singles Released Week of October 20th, 2014
This Is Not A Game – The Chemical Brothers – No it isn’t at all, it is track off the eagerly awaited Huger Games Soundtrack, with a bouncy synth thing zooming along and a pop vocal on top – B+
Posted 25 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 25 The A+ List: 10-25-14
It is in the very first couplet, “make my heart come all undone” -it is like he is begging for the sweet sensation of love: make and undone are the two words that come tumbling through and it captures her illsuiveness, his insecurity: the earliest sense of insecurity of love
Posted 25 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 25 10 Songs: Saturday, October 25th, 2014
This sounds like the climax to a high drama opera, a German composer, played backwards with the vocals pitched even wilder than ever before and the sound modulating between drone and droner with Bernard Hermann brought back from the dead. An acquired taste? Sure, but superbly different even if you hate it – A
Posted 25 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 24 The Tomas Doncker Band At The “Dodge Poetry Festival” Friday, October 24th, 2014, Reviewed
The vibe was magical, it was like watching a preacher converting people to Christianity, Doncker was converting people to the blues and you could see the kids come alive, perk up, smile, like they couldn’t believe how great it was. Like they were being changed.
Posted 24 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 24 CMJ’s Music Marathon Presents Gerard Way, Webster Hall, Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 Reviewed
Why not make it 75 minutes and throw in some hits? Especially when you are pushing an iffy album which hasn’t helped you even sell out a 1500 SRO? Why not give people what they want to hear? You wrote the suckers, sing em.
Posted 24 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 24 Billy Idol At Amoeba, Wednesday October 22nd 2014
Billy played his diva side a little bit, in the sense that he took him a few extra minutes to get on stage, but the rest of the evening certainly proved he was not the aloof and snob type
Posted 24 October 2014 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Oct 24 As If Music Tastes Would Tell Anything About Intelligence!!
Beyonce Lil Wayne, Jay Z and most hip hop score badly while music I listen to, like Radiohead, The Shins, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Beck score pretty high – this is a very sad graph, so flawed I don’t even know how to start with this thing!
Posted 24 October 2014 by Alyson Camus  Add comment
Oct 24 Giants And Royals Not Just About Baseball: Fighting Over Lorde
Tenuous musical connection, true but try this from the MBL: “On Friday, two stations in the Bay Area, KFOG and KOIT, removed the song from their playlists for the duration of the World Series.”
Posted 24 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 24 How To Cover CMJ’s Music Marathon
I’ve been winging it and trying to make up for that by writing full reviews of the bands I do see as opposed to a paragraph in a larger post. The hope is to maybe not see as much as other people but really watch what I do see.
Posted 24 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 24 rock nyc Top 10 Songs w-o 10/20/14
Sleater-Kinney is growing on me with every spin, it is exactly what you think, angular, atonal, guitar shards and it works like a memory reflexive. Meanwhile Taylor Swift’s least song off the upcoming album ain’t bad at all, I mean not at all, and the Game reminds us why he is the best rapper this side of Cam’ron.
Posted 24 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment
Oct 24 10 Songs: Friday, October 24th, 2014
Lips Are Moving – Meghan Trainor – If Meghan is descending to schtick it is very good schtick with a funny hooks “I know you lie you’re lips are moving” and meghan throws everything she has at it including a rap – A-
Posted 24 October 2014 by Iman Lababedi  Add comment

Previous Articles

Cliff Richard Gramercy Theater Saturday June 21, 2014 Reviewed
Cliff Richard Gramercy Theater Saturday June 21, 2014 Reviewed
Sir Cliff

Sir Cliff

The difference between Elvis Presley and the English equivalent Cliff Richard, is Presley’s voluptuousness was carnal and Richard’s remains boyish. The result was a a star who was by definition an Elvis disciple yet considered,  Stateside at least, a minor artist. The teenage Cliff  of the  late 1950’s, had a tender lushness about him, girls adored him,  he wasn’t threatening but rather Mickey Rooney meets post-Army Elvis meets Dion . Any thoughts of juvenile delinquency disappeared as hit after hit after hit turned him pop.

Cliff Richard is no minor artist but he is no Elvis either and on stage at Gramercy Theater, Saturday, June 21st both his immense gifts and limitations were clearly on display.

Gifts? Richard has sold over 250 million albums worldwide, and he is the best selling single artist of all time in the UK.  Limitations? He became both a best selling AOR artist in the  70’s and a nostalgia act ever since, no matter how often he dons the Heathcliff cape.

Hawking the Nashville recorded covers album “The Fabulous Rick And Roll Songbook”, his first New York concert in decades  included his early hits, other 50’s hits, and highlights from the 1970’s and between them they amounted to a set, interspersed with an interview, which did what the true greats can do, it overwhelms its weaknesses and makes a strength of them.

The last time I saw Cliff on stage was  in 1963, the last time he performed in the States was 1981, so when Morrissey announced Sir Cliff (sell 200 million records and they’ll Knight you as well) was opening for him, some of us felt Cliff would eclipse the night. Cliff himself was thrilled at the opportunity to introduce his music to a new audience as well as the fans arriving from Australia from England from Canada for this opportunity to see the man in person.

“I didn’t speak to anybody for two days after learning it was canceled.” Cliff told us but slowly a plan emerged and there we were. “It’s a long time since we”ve shared such an intimate space ” he said at the 500 seater Gramercy a week after the Morrissey show was  canceled.

Somethings were necessarily lost. Cliff came to us with only a backup singer Suzie Furlonger, , a programmer and back up Keith Hayman and an interviewer Phil Silverstone,  but it was enough. He looked incredible. Not incredible for a septuagenarian , just incredible. Inches away from him he looks as though he’s 45, every single song he both sang and danced, if his voice is aged I couldn’t tell, he sounded the same as ever gentle, sweet, sharp Cliff.

Watching him hit the stage the years seem to roll away, the first three songs are just about what you want from Sir Cliff. The title track from his 1963 movie “Summer Holiday” followed by the lovely teenie bopper “I Could Easily Fall In Love With You”  and the early stretch “In The Country”. Then a song off his last album “Apron Strings” which fits in nicely. Interviewer Phil Silvers mentioned that Cliff had begun his career as a rocker, become a pop singer and is now balladeer, we started with the rocker.

Speaking of the interview, it was interesting to a degree and very unsentimental but a touch too much of it for my taste. A third of the two hour set was taken up with question and answers.

Speaking of ballads,  a note perfect take on “Miss You Nights” a good song I was not particularly fond of,  morphed into a valued fave with a powerful and moving take.  The other ballads I was less sure of (“We Don”t Talk Anymore”, the sixth song ever played on MTV, was the only time I found myself glancing at my watch) but this was a goodie.

Which leads us directly to set lists and pacing; there isn’t a musician who couldn’t learn how to put together a set list from this show. Early hits followed by later period  hits, followed by newbies astutely placed among favorites, followed by an acoustic set followed by two of his biggest hit.  Sure it was Cliff’s audience ti lose but still that’s the way it is done. Nothing is taken for granted.

This is all fun, well except for “the Twelfth Of Never”, but again it is the earliest stuff  that really is magnetic. Cliff’s first hit, at the age of 17, “Move It” is a real rocker that Marshall Crenshaw (who knows about 50s rock) has covered and is given an excellent take and the two #1 hits in succession, “Living Doll” and “Traveling Light” bring the house down. “The Young Ones” (six weeks at the top of the UK charts) was a huge singalong.

During another interview segment, Cliff  claims Elvis as his greatest influence. He doesn’t say before there was  Elvis there was nothing but he kind of meant it. A solo acoustic “All Shook Up” connected the dots. 

The interviews weren’t  really revealing at all, Cliff remains a guarded cipher, but he was very astute about the business, when Phil tries to claim EDM isn’t real music, Cliff corrects him about as sternly as Cliff can. And when Cliff says he was lucky to have been born in the era of the recorded song he puts his finger on what is missing in 2014. “Bands are not given the support we were” he claimed.

My only real problem with the show was mostly a question of taste, The late 70’s, early 80’s hits that closed the show doesn’t do it for me. The only time Cliff looks silly is the dance to “Devil Woman”.

But I wouldn’t of missed it for anything. Cliff mentioned that Morrissey is still in hospital and wished him well, and would be happy to support him if he tours again. So why leave it to chance?  Still voluptuous, still boyish, come back and play Carnegie Hall, we miss you nights.

Grade: A-