Search Still Got The Fever

Thursday 22 November 2012

Led Zeppelin : Celebration Day review

It seems a lifetime ago that the clock on the Led Zeppelin website started counting down to the big announcement. Now, a worldwide cinema screening later, Celebration Day has hit the high street.

The band’s sensational 2007 reunion for the Ahmet Ertegun memorial concert at London’s 02 Arena (that’s the Millennium Dome in old money) has been captured on two CDs and a DVD – and it’s a barnstormer.

It sits comfortably alongside the previous landmark live sets, The Song Remains The Same and How The West Was Won, bringing the Zeppelin story to what many still believe is a premature conclusion.

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham – son of late, lamented John – are on fine form as they power through a setlist of classic Zeppelin anthems, and the odd surprise.

As befits a great gig, it’s a memorable movie, too. Director Dick Carruthers keeps camera trickery to a minimum, allowing the music to do the talking, only occasionally inserting mobile phone fan footage.

So how can they possibly still cut it? After all, the original Zeppelin high-fliers are spring chickens no longer.

Plant’s vocal isn’t what it once was, hence his more melodious work of late with Alison Krauss and Band Of Joy, and some of the songs have been lowered in key to make things just the right side of comfortable. Page’s fingers aren’t as nimble as they used to be either.

Sure, some of the guitar solos are sloppy – he admits as much himself – but they emerge gloriously messy in very best live rock and roll tradition.

Jones, however, is the constant. Solid, sure-footed, the glue that binds his bandmates to the revelatory powerhouse drumming of Bonham Junior, whose Rock And Roll concert closer is a man-made thunderstorm.

Opening with Good Times Bad Times – you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face – Zeppelin serve up Ramble On before letting the song ramble on into the opening of Black Dog, rock’s most impossible guitar riff.

There’s a spine-tingling In My Time Of Dying, during which Plant and Page excel, then the first curiosity of the night: a live debut of For Your Life, unprepossessing in the Presence studio but better onstage.

Trampled Under Foot, with Jones’ keyboard funk, ups the game again. After the bluesy Nobody’s Fault But Mine, he’s back with No Quarter, shimmering soundscapes slowly unveiling the underlying riff.

Since I’ve Been Loving You is nostalgia incarnate, Dazed And Confused gives Page the opportunity to bring back the violin bow, and Stairway To Heaven, well, Stairway To Heaven brings the house down.

The Song Remains The Same races along like a runaway train before Misty Mountain Hop boasts a surprise vocal duet between Plant and Bonham, Plant explaining how John loved to sing.

They save the best ‘til almost last. Kashmir proves an epic performance, Led Zeppelin after all checks completed, surely ready for take-off again. The gig closes with a playful Whole Lotta Love and that Rock And Roll thunder.

Don’t let this be their swansong.

* There are all manner of versions of Celebration Day, by the way, ranging from a basic double-CD to the deluxe edition which boasts a bluray, DVD, two CDs and a bonus DVD tracing rehearsals at Shepperton Studios.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Paul McCartney finds Diana Krall in his Christmas stockings

Beatle Paul McCartney has teamed up with jazz songbird Diana Krall for a Christmas cracker.

The 70-year-old pop legend has recorded an old chestnut with dishy Diana, 47, who is already a firm favourite with Still Got The Fever fans.

Quite literally, too.

The unlikely duo have revised The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) for the first big seasonal selection of the year.

They’re joined on Decca’s Christmas Rules set by the likes of Rufus Wainwright, The Civil Wars, The Shins, Calexico and many more.

The album, out on November 26, offers 17 all-new recordings from across the musical spectrum.

Chart favourites fun deliver an upbeat Sleigh Ride, The Shins take on Macca’s Wonderful Christmastime, Wainwight and Sharon Van Elten tease on Baby It’s Cold Outside.

Other highlights include The Civil Wars (come on, guys, bury your differences and get back together) serving up a sublime I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.

Soul icon Irma Thomas leads The Preservation Hall Jazz Band through May Ev’ry Day Be Christmas; alt.folkie Holly Golightly tells us That’s What I Want For Christmas; Fiery Furnaces alumna Eleanor Friedberger wanders all over Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me.

There are also tracks from Black Prairie, Heartless Bastards, Fruit Bats, Y La Bamba, Punch Brothers, Andrew Bird, The Head and The Heart, and Ages and Ages.

But it’s the McCartney-Krall duet that will grab the headlines, a late-night jazz smooch simply played and simply sung mostly by Macca, with Krall’s piano and harmonies.

The Big Mac, of course, appeared at the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony, while Lady Di recenty released Glad Rag Doll, with its sexy cover photoshoot.

For more photos from Diana’s Glad Rag Doll photoshoot, click here.

That’s What I Call Christmas, it ain’t.

Thank goodness.

Friday 9 November 2012

Beth Hart : Bang Bang Boom Boom, the blues just got sexy again

IF anyone has the right to sing the blues, it’s Beth Hart.

At the age of 40 she’s had a tough life. You name it, she’s done it.

But the LA songbird has risen from the ashes to become a high-flier.

“My Dad was sent to prison for drug offences when I was five,” she says. “I went off the rails, turning to alcohol and drugs at the age of 11. My sister did too, but she died from the effects of drugs when I was still a teenager.

“I was eventually diagnosed with a form of Bipolar, and I’ve had my battles with drugs and alcohol addiction.”

Hart says her life was saved by the roadie who went on to become her husband, Scott Guetzkow.

“It was thanks to Scott that I decided enough was enough,” she says. “I started out on the long road to recovery. I still have my bad days, like everyone else, but I’m stronger these days. I’ve learned how to deal with them a bit better than I used to.

“It helps me to write songs that reflect these feelings – it’s a kind of exorcism for me.”

No surprise, then, that Hart’s new album Bang Bang Boom Boom isn’t a set of upbeat poppy songs. But while it’s rooted in the blues, it’s certainly not a blues album. This is her most mainstream set yet.

“I grew up with a lot of different music,” she says. “I like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, James Taylor and Carole King, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. Then there’s the music my mother turned me on to: Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday.”

Opener Baddest Blues opens with almost absent-minded piano before exploding in blues guitar drama. With You Everyday is another blues – but the rest of the album is an enticingly eclectic exercise.

Spirit Of God boasts brassy gospel punch; Swing My Thing Around is big band swing; There In Your Heart wears singer-songwriter chic; the title track is almost playful.

The semi-biographical Ugliest House On The Block could sit in either the Alanis Morissette or Sheryl Crow catalogue, Thru The Window Of My Mind gives Adele a run for her money, and the bawdy Better Man explores Hart’s remarkable range.

Best, however, is the seven-minute Caught Out In The Rain which finds her one moment in a passionate rage and the next reduced to a vulnerable whisper, all set in trademark Kevin Shirley production which puts you right in the heart of the studio, as only he can.

It’s Bang Bang Boom Boom time for Beth Hart.

Monday 5 November 2012

Download 2013 : Queens Of The Stone Age, 30 Seconds To Mars, Gaslight Anthem, Motorhead join the bill

Download 2013 just got bigger.

Queens Of The Stone Age have just confirmed their Download debut.
Other additions just announced are 30 Seconds to Mars, Gaslight Anthem, Motorhead, HIM, Alice In Chains and A Day To Remember 
They’ll join headliners Iron Maiden, Rammstein and Slipknot at Donington Park from June 14-16 next year
Organisers are pleased to announce that Queens of the Stone Age are confirmed to make their Download Festival debut, marking the band’s first UK date to be announced for 2013.

30 Seconds to Mars are back for the third time to treat audiences to hits such as ‘Kings and Queens’, ‘This Is War’, ‘Closer To The Edge’ and ‘The Kill (Bury Me)’, and Gaslight Anthem, who played in 2011 and recently sold out Brixton Academy, establishing themselves as one of the foremost contemporary rock bands, are also confirmed.
Returning to thrash out for the fourth time at Download Festival are Motorhead. In 2010 Lemmy and the gang were joined on stage by Slash creating a mosh of thousands to punk-fused metal classics ‘Stay Clean’, ‘Killed By Death’, ‘Overkill’ and ‘Ace of Spades’.

Finnish rockers HIM are also  confirmed playing hits spanning their 20-year career. The band have just released celebratory compilation Two Decades of Love Metal which includes all of their greatest hits and brand new track ‘Strange World’.

Seattle alt-rockers Alice in Chains will be performing for the second time in Donington Park, while US rockers A Day To Remember will make their third appearance.
Weekend tickets with camping are on sale now at Download RIP ticket packages can be purchased via or by phoning 0207 009 3484.
Tickets for Download Festival Weekend Arena and five-night camping can now be purchased using a new Deposit Ticket Scheme, which allows eligible customers to pay for tickets over three instalments. DTS is available to customers who purchase tickets before Monday 31 December 2012. For further information visit
Download celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with a sell-out event headlined by The Prodigy, Metallica and Black Sabbath.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Robbie Williams : Take The Crown review

He says that he’s ready to take on the world again,  to take on the pop star persona that could so easily have been the death of him.

But this time out Robbie Williams is also a 38-year-old dad; he’s eaten humble pie with his old Take That team-mates, and he doesn’t have a desperate need to prove himself.

Cue a comfortably upbeat album with just the right amount of rock and roll edge to temper the occasional outbreak of pop nostalgia.

Here’s the track by track verdict:

Be A Boy: Smooth sax ushers in an unassuming song underlaid with a sneaky stadium singalong chant for subliminal success. 3/5

Gospel: Handclap pop rides retro rock-a-boogie guitar, then rolls out the red carpet for a cinematic widescreen chorus. 3/5

Candy: You've already heard the single, written with Gary Barlow. It's soda pop, finger-clicking, summer pop with 1950s flavour. 2/5

Different: The first ballad. "This time I'll be different, I promise you," he sings. "This time I'll be special – you know I will." Huge hit. 5/5

Shit On The Radio: Not going to get much airplay! Pop playing at rock, complete with cheesy synth straight out of Europe's Final Countdown. 2/5

All That I Want: Robbie’s been listening to U2 again. Thriller-style beat adds scuzzy guitar, a suggestive lyric and Bono vocal curve. 4/5

Hunting For You: Oddly familiar, perhaps borrowing from an earlier incarnation, it's more U2-lite complete with Edge informed Coca-Cola bubble guitar. Good song. 4/5

Into The Silence: Musically the most accomplished track on the album, again with a hint of U2 before building to a Coldplay clone crescendo. 3/5

Hey Wow Yeah Yeah: You've got to love this punchy post-punk pop, which recalls Plastic Bertrand's classic Ca Plane Pour Moi. 4/5

Not Like The Others: Cheeky upbeat pop rooted in rock and roll. With the hook 'You and me are not like the others' it'll be a huge hit. 4/5

Losers: Robbie saves the best till last, a jangly semi-plugged duet with alt.folkie Lissie. Lyrically it's the confession that fame isn't everything. Musically, it's proof that an old Rob can learn new tricks. 5/5          

Overall a good album, more mainstream than Rudebox and Reality Killed The Video Star. Just don't expect another Let Me Entertain You or Angels.

That was then, this is now.

Status Quo : original line-up back rocking all over the world

It was bound to happen eventually. The only surprise is how long it’s taken for the wounds to heal.

Rock veterans Status Quo are to reunite their classic original line-up for a series of shows next year.

They’ll play a short five-date tour and see how it goes. Hopefully they’ll manage that without falling out again.

But don’t hold your breath.

Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan will play live together for the first time in three decades.

Rossi and Parfitt have carried on under the name, of course, but Lancaster and Coghlan left in acrimonious circumstances.

Coghlan left the band late in 1981 after rowing with Parfitt and Rossi, who publicly claimed that they wanted a better drummer.

Bassist Lancaster was next to go, ousted after sessions for the 1983 album Back To Back, and later sued his former bandmates in a bid to stop them using the Status Quo brand name.

He accepted an out of court settlement which enabled the Quo to record and tour again, but now with a poppier sound.

The reunion is being staged because 2013 marks marks 50 years since Rossi and Lancaster first formed the group.

The band became known for hits such as Rocking All Over The World – actually written by Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty – Down Down and Caroline.

Quo manager Simon Porter says: “People have wanted this announcement to be made for years, and here it is.

“This is a real moment in the chequered history of Status Quo and it comes after almost 30 years of acrimony, and 10 years of lawsuits and court battles.

“Just two years ago the thought of the Frantic Four performing again was unthinkable.

“Now, 50 years on from when Francis and Alan first performed together as schoolboys, it is fitting that everything has come full circle for these unique one-off shows.”

Tickets for the shows, taking place in Glasgow 02 Academy (March 10) , Manchester 02 Apollo (March 12), Wolverhampton Civic Hall (March 13) and London Hammersmith Apollo (March 15 and 16) will go on sale on November 16.