My love affair with the show is fading a little over the last couple of weeks. I still love the format and the fact that it is the only real live music show on TV, but the music itself has not been so inspiring in this show and the last.
Kelis started the show with a song called Acapella, but it was not an acapella (song without musical instrument backing). It was a kind of electronic funk, but not really very funky either, something like a slowed down Donna Summers. Kelis dressed weird too, she looked like she was wearing half of a bulls head. She was interviewed by Jools and had taken off her horns and replaced them with a statue of liberty type crown. Jools showed a 10 year old clip of her on the show singing with two other women, this was much better than her first song. She then sang the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams accompanied by Jools on the piano. He jazzed it up a bit and it was pretty good, but brief. She came back later to sing a song called The 4th of July (fireworks) which started with that all too familiar doof doof beat. It was not a bad vocal, she retained her crown, but to me it is just disposable music with repetitive lyrics.
Kelis, with crown, sings the Eurythmics
Second up was Crowded House with a song called Saturday Sun. It started with Neil Finn‘s voice going through some treatment, via a keyboard he was playing. But after that reverted to a regular type Crowded House song and not a bad one. The drummer was very busy, doing far more than keeping time.
The National followed playing Bloodbuzz Ohio. The vocals were very Leonard Cohen like, but very quiet, in fact the whole sound seemed busy but restrained.
Jools then interviewed Sam Taylor Wood and Aaron Johnson the director and star of a film called Nowhere Boy, the story of John Lennon’s youth. They showed a clip of John buying a guitar and exchanging sarcasms with his Auntie Mimi. In the clip John says “Look it’s Rock and Roll, it’s only 3 chords, it’s easy”. Jools corrected them after the clip, saying The Beatles initially only knew 2 chords E and A and they went to see a bloke in Bootle who taught them B7. Yoko Ono has apparently enthused about the film and it looks worth seeing to me.
LCD Sound System were up next singing Drunk Girls. It’s a good title and was good driving rocker, it reminded me a little of Roxy Music.
Tracey Thorne from Everything But the Girl played piano and sang a slow and mournful song called Oh, the Divorces. This had two lines in it that really amused me “He was a charmer, I wish him bad karma”. Apart from that, it was all a bit depressing really.
As she finished the familiar intro to Don’t Dream It’s Over from Crowded House came in. This is a classic song in it’s own right, but it also reminds me of The Beatles song Shes Leaving Home. This performance felt a bit restrained to me, but the studio audience loved it.
The Nationals were back with Anyones Ghost. The lead singer sang quite different to their first tune. It was a little louder, but just an OK song, that’s all
Next up was Pete Molinari who played guitar and sang Streetcar Named Desire this was a bit of a Rock and Roll, 50′s style boogie. Jools sat in with the band and I think it was Gilson Lavis from Squeeze and Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra on drums. Pete Molinari sang a bit flat, but I liked it.
LCD Sound System returned with I Can Change. This featured some falsetto vocals it was kind of keyboard bound, but I liked it. This song featured the second amusing lyric of the night “Love is a curse, shoved in a hearse”. What the? Everybody in the band had a drumstick, or two and 2 or 3 of them looked like they had no idea what to do with it. It went on a bit, at least a minute longer that it should have been.
Crowded House‘s final song was called Amsterdam. It was a nice slower story tune. Neil played a nice lead break. Another good typical Crowded House tune.
The Nationals wound up the show with Terrible Love. The vocals were back to being too quiet. The song had a slow start then a big build, with lots of nautical references.
So all in all it wasn’t a bad show, but just lacked anything really outstanding. Let’s hope for more next week when they feature Alicia Keys, Jeff Beck, Macy Gray, The Creole Choir Of Cuba, Yeasayer, White Rabbits. At least four of them sound promising to me.
By Max Power