5th June - 11th June 2017
A music heavy week this one, with a dash of cinema thrown in, plus a new instalment of BUG bridging the gap...
Churchill - Preview and Q & A
We kicked off the week with a visit to the BFI Southbank to catch a preview of Churchill, (guess what it's about?!), which was to be followed by a discussion with the director, writer and three of the stars of the film, Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson and Ella Purnell.
The film itself is an interesting one, set in the three days leading up to D Day, and focuses on the planned landings on the beaches which Churchill felt were flawed and would put too many lives at risk, and his attempts to get the operation stopped or reconfigured.
Cox plays Winston Churchill in a manner which is not usually associated with portrayals of the greatest Briton, in that it exposes the more fragile side of his personality, primarily his depression and struggles with ill health behind the scenes, whilst maintaining the patriotic morale boosting public persona.
Richardson plays his wife Clementine, and also explores her pivotal role and influence in Churchill's life.
Purnell plays a composite character, Helen, Churchill's secretary who also provides a side story which also acts as the impetus for Churchill to finally step into his true role at a time of great uncertainty by rallying the country behind the war effort.
It's interesting to see a film which doesn't skirt over these aspects like many other versions of this story may do, and has received some criticism for this approach before it's even released.
After the film the director Jonathan Teplitzsky, writer Alex Von Tunzelmann, and actors Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson and Ella Purnell took the stage to discuss the germination and production of the film, including how they came to be involved and their research undertaken to step into such iconic roles.
All the speakers were obviously passionate about the project and knowledgeable when it came to discussing their characters, Cox and Richardson in particular evidently had a chemistry which was obvious when watching the film.
The film's an interesting and entertaining view of this historical period and should be applauded for the portrayal of Churchill in a more vulnerable and human light.
We were back at the BFI Southbank on Wednesday night for the latest instalment of BUG with Adam Buxton.
We've been to a quite a few now, and if you've seen our previous reviews you'll know the drill by now.
Buxton presents a collection of brand new music videos on the big screen, so naturally those selected are quite cinematic or creative in their own right, and are interspersed by comedic interludes made by Buxton, or analysis of some of the more interesting and 'enlightened' YouTube comments on the videos concerned which Buxton has compiled, (there really are some absolute morons out there, which makes for hilarious reading).
This instalment had videos by alt-J, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, A Tribe Called Quest and Fleet Foxes, amongst others, and is always entertaining whether the music itself floats your boat or not as the videos themselves always have something of interest and it's nice to actually see them projected on the big screen too for a change.
Highly recommended as something different for a night out.
Thursday's outing was on short notice as it was only announced less than a week before, it was a surprise warm-up show for Gorillaz at the O2 Brixton Academy.
The inaugural Demon Dayz festival hosted by Gorillaz was due to be held in Margate on the Saturday and this was the third warm-up show before that performance and the start of their world tour proper.
Although a bit of a pain to get to, Brixton Academy is quite good in that it has a raked floor for the standing area so there's always a pretty decent view.
Having a large amount of guests on their material, especially on newest album 'Humanz' meant there was the worry that the songs might not live up to their studio counterparts, however many of the collaborators were present and those that weren't were either represented in video/audio form or substituted by an appropriate stand-in.
Having started life as a cartoon band, and continuing in this form, (although with more human performances now), the screens behind the band were used to suitable effect projection videos, animations and laser shows to compliment to the tracks.
The set was quite heavy with new material, including a couple of not even released yet songs, however they didn't neglect the hits, including a fantastic version of 'DARE' for which Shaun Ryder even made an appearance.
Although marrying so many styles could come across as disjointed, the lynch pin of Damon Albarn created a cohesive whole and the assembled band, replete with backing singers really pulled it off, ending superbly on the Beach Boys-esque gospel tinged 'Don't Get Lost In Heaven' and 'Demon Days'
A great chance to see them in a more intimate setting than the venues on the world tour so a rare treat, and a great show.
The full set list was as follows:
Intro : I Switched My Robot Off
Ascension (With Vince Staples)
Last Living Souls
Saturnz Barz (With Popcaan)
Stylo (With Peven Everett & Bootie Brown)
Tomorrow Comes Today
Momentz (With De La Soul)
Strobelite (With Peven Everett)
Interlude : The Non-Conformist Oath
Submission (With Kelela & Graham Coxon)
Sex Murder Party (With Jamie Principle & Zebra Katz)
She's My Collar (With Kali Uchis)
Dirty Harry (With Bootie Brown)
Let Me Out
Interlude : Penthouse
Busted And Blue (With Kelela)
Kids With Guns
DARE (With Shaun Ryder & Rosie Wilson)
Out Of Body (With Zebra Katz)
We Got The Power (With Jehnny Beth & Graham Coxon)
Feel Good Inc. (With De La Soul)
Clint Eastwood (With Kano & Vince Staples)
Don't Get Lost In Heaven
On Saturday night we took a trip to Shepherd's Bush for a bit of a guilty pleasure and a blast from the past to see Hanson.
Currently touring as it's the twenty fifth anniversary of their debut album 'Middle Of Nowhere', (I know, twenty five years!), and their debut hit 'MMMBop', they were in London for the first of two sold out nights at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire.
However they played tracks from their whole career, including new single 'I Was Born', and those from their earliest releases haven't lost any of their charm, in fact the slightly more rock based arrangements live meant they still had a freshness to them, in particular 'Where's The Love' and ''Weird'.
They also played a few from 'Underneath', (their comeback album), including 'Strong Enough To Break, 'Penny & Me' and closed with 'Lost Without Each Other', some of the strongest material in my view.
Their reputation may be largely based on 'MMMBop', however their talents as writers and performers shouldn't be underestimated. With the ability to switch between keyboards, drums and guitar, whilst all singing and harmonising, they are consummate talents, backed by a bass player and guitarist to augment the core three piece's sound.
They played for around two hours non-stop, and were clearly enjoying every minute and put on a note perfect show which sounded great on the new sound system installed during the Empire's refurbishment last year.
We'd highly recommend giving the later albums a listen if you're still of the opinion that Hanson are a teeny pop band and see how they've matured and produced a really quite entertaining body of work.
The full set list was:
Waiting For This
Where's The Love
Look At You
Thinking 'Bout Somethin'
This Time Around
Strong Enough To Break
Penny & Me
Watch Over Me
With You In Your Dreams
On And On
I Was Born
A Minute Without You
Get The Girl Back
In The City
Johnny B Goode
Lost Without Each Other
Next week contains some more live music, some theatre and a bit of art chat, till then get inspired...