Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lil' Band O' Gold

Lil' Band O' Gold serve up an irrepressible gumbo of swamp pop, blues, country, cajun, soul and good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. Lily Allen loves them so much she flew them all over to play at her wedding, and their songs have featured in the hit TV shows 'True Blood' and 'Treme'.

Comprised of a revolving line-up of some of Louisiana's most respected musical exponents, the current line-up features the venerable Warren Storm - 75 years young and widely considered to be the 'godfather of swamp pop'. He has toured with such luminaries as Elvis and Johnny Cash and still sports an impressive helmet of coal black hair.

On sax is Dickie Landry, a whipper-snapper at 73 who has played extensively with the likes of Laurie Anderson, Phillip Glass, Talking Heads, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan.

The collective's nominal leader CC Adcock paid his dues playing with Bo Diddley and Buckwheat Zydeco and is the band's young upstart at 40. When not working with the Band o' Gold, he is a highly sought-after producer and composer of TV and movie soundtracks.

On keys is songwriting legend David Egan who has written songs for a veritable who's who of first-class vocal talent. Solomon Burke, Percy Sledge, Joe Cocker, Etta James, Mavis Staples and Irma Thomas are just a few of the artists who have recorded his material. Rounding up the line-up are 'accordian prodigy' Steve Riley, saxophonist Pat Breaux, funk pioneer and renowned blues guitarist Lil' Buck, token Australian Lucky Oceans (pedal steel) and bassman extraordinaire Phillipe Billeaudeaux.

Their forthcoming album 'Lil Band o Gold Play Fats' is, unsurprisingly, an album of Fats Domino covers, however the heavyweights featured on vocals include Robert Plant, Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams, alongside Down Under heroes Jimmy Barnes and You Am I's Tim Rogers.

Their ramshackle rock and soul revue has reminded more than one critic of The Band on their best nights and their last visit to NZ in 2010 made them a whole mess of new fans.


Tix go to :

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Chaperone - Laura Moriarty - Penguin

When I first got this, I admit, I was tempted to pass the book straight to my Wife. Chic Lit! Not worth the time. Then she read it, told me all about it and I though "mmmm ok, maybe I should be less harsh and have a read. Give it a chapter or two, see where it goes." The 1920's are de rigueur again. The Musical 'Chicago' is on the stage constantly, recent screenings of "Underbelly" was set in the "gin club" era and then there's "Boardwalk Empire". So - plenty in our faces. Good place to dive in to the world of the '20's but this time with less crime and more time - so to speak! So with her shiny black bob and milky skin, our heroine Louise Brooks epitomizes the silent-film glamorous femme. However, in Laura Moriarty's engaging new novel The Chaperone, Brooks is really just a hyper-precocious and bratty 15-year-old. And the protagonist, the 36-year-old Cora Carlisle has unenviable task of keeping said missy in line (read 'virtuous') while on a tour from their native Kansas to the Big Apple (that modern den of vices!). After many battles of wills, there's a sudden change of destiny for both character, with it would seem surprising and poignant results. Apart from the slightly pious approach, I still at first find it hard to believe Brooks is a teen of the day. Somehow she seems to be too modern for my liking. This of course is because Moriarty needs to connect with the modern audience, I get that. However, I still think there's a need to understand how the 15 year old of the 1920's really behaved - authenticity is very important to the story. What it The Chaperone does show is that for women to adhere to ideological restrictions over their bodies, they had to inhabit a permanently suspicious and overly-eroticised mindset. They had to be looking out for the slightest signs of sexual intent in others and in themselves, all the time. Every man was a predator, every encounter a possible flirtation to be avoided. The attitude they had to adopt wasn’t sensible or realistic at all, and rather than enhance a woman’s purity, it kept her thinking about sex and its disgustingness continually. The alteration that Cora’s attitude undergoes in New York enables her to make bold choices about herself, and to find a life that fits her properly, unlike her corset that squeezes her into the acceptable shape. It is very easy for the characters to fall into the demure "Little Women" cliché' or the role model of a rebel like "Pippy Long Stockings" an outrageous youth who kicks against the pricks and makes fun of the starch and flannel of the day. Yet hats off do go to Moriarty for keeping the plot at the helm of her novel and steering a course through this environment. At the end you will still agree this is not a new thing you've read, but the journey was pleasant and there's something to be said for that.