Kelly Jones + The Wind And The Wave – New Theatre, Oxford – September 18th, 2019

It was a new venue for me. I hadn’t been to a gig at the New Theatre before. I had wanted to try and catch a show on the previous leg of the tour in June/July but money was just too tight at that point, and although money is still tight, things are set to ease somewhat very soon. Kelly had swung by closer to home on the last leg, having dates in London and Cambridge, so Oxford was a stretch in distance to cover, but I would get to see the tour’s finale. Not an entirely bad thing.

The show started promptly at 7.30pm with support act The Wind And The Wave. A duo from Austin, TX, comprising Patricia Lynn and Dwight Baker. Kelly appeared on stage to introduce them saying “Patti could sing the fucking phonebook.”

I enjoyed their set. Due to the prompt start, there was the obligatory interruptions from endless latecomers. Made all the worse for some of us. I was right by the entrance point for the middle section of the circle so the interruptions were constant. The ushers kept latecomers at bay to try and minimise the interruptions, but seated where I was it helped little.

But I still managed to enjoy their set. Dwight was full in interesting banter between songs which sometimes Patti interjected with or elaborated on. Minimal instrumentation, just an acoustic guitar with Dwight and some electronic percussion triggered by foot from both of them. They had fantastic harmonies. Favourites they performed were The Redhead In Aberdeen, Happiness Is Not A Place, This House Is A Hotel, and Human Beings Let You Down. I’d happily see them again. Just beautiful, simplistic music that is beautifully expressive and on any subject affecting the human condition…from the sublime to the ridiculous.

A short break and stage set up before Kelly arrived on stage at 8.45pm. A brief hello and then straight on with things. A few slow numbers to open and just the use of acoustic or electric guitar from Kelly with either piano or violin – sometimes both – accompanying him.

Of course I was also there to see Cherisse. Out she came about the 5th song in and instantly reminded me what I have been missing while Simple Minds are on a break for this year. I MISS MY TUTOR! Lol. Yes…it’s a contradiction, I know…as while she’s touring, she’s too busy touring for any tuition. Still, with the money situ having been as tight as a duck’s proverbial of late, I’d have not been able to afford lessons anyway. Chicken and egg…

You’ll have to excuse my ignorance on my knowledge of Stereophonics songs and my appalling memory to recall the songs I heard last night. But I will do my best to go over the standouts for me.

The first definitely was Kelly talking about Stuart Cable. It was quite a reminiscent homage but it was wonderful to hear. He then performed Before Anyone Knew Our Name. Another highlight was a brilliant version of Mr Writer. “For the past 20 years I’ve been having to explain what this song is about. For the record, I don’t hate journalists. This song isn’t about a journalist.”

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He performed a new song from the forthcoming Stereophonics album, Kind, called Fly Like An Eagle.

Below is a video I recorded of him performing I Wanna Get Lost With You.

A couple of covers were also a standout. Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through The Night was beautiful, and The Wind And The Wave joined Kelly on stage for a fabulous version of Stop Dragging My Heart Around.

Towards the end of the show some “hits” – the most familiar Stereophonics tracks I know – were performed. I never knew the story of Local Boy In The Photograph. Also there was a wonderful rendition of Maybe Tomorrow.

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Finally the most wonderful encore of Dakota that had the crowd up off their seats and singing along (me included!).

There are a few clips on my Facebook page if you want to look, including that wonderful Dakota finale.

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I tried so hard to get some good photos of the stage set. I really loved the backdrop. It was a simple set up, but it was just visually quite lovely. The stage arrangement was great too and the lighting worked really well. The staging was expertly done. And the acoustics and sound was absolutely spot on.

I’ve shared a few pics but they’re not the best.

A fabulous gig. I’d definitely see Kelly again in future.

Say Who You Are!

The album that did it for me. The one that, during my exploration of the Simple Minds back catalogue, “sealed the deal”. Empires And Dance put me into a state of…I dunno…suspended animation. I quite literally could not believe what I was hearing…that the band responsible for Don’t You (Forget About Me ) – subsequently I learned how much involvement there was in that, obv. – Alive And Kicking, Sanctify Yourself, etc, had also made stuff LIKE THIS?! It just blew my tiny frigging mind. I’m not holding up the songs mentioned to belittle them or say they’re inferior in ANY WAY….it is just a fact that Simple Minds within a 5 year period became a very different band musically and that I had NO KNOWLEDGE of how they sounded in 1980.

So, again for me personally, in 2014 listening to Empires And Dance for the first time was like discovering an entirely new band. And with the anniversary of its release this week, I just wanted to talk about it a bit, share some of my art inspired from the tracks and just give it and its content some praise.

I wouldn’t be the mega diehard (but has she earned her stripes yet?) SM fan I am now without this album existing, I don’t think.

Today I share what is at this point possibly my very favourite live version of Thirty Frames A Second. Jim stalking around that stage like a freshly uncaged animal. Leaping about like a jack rabbit…never faulting vocally…but being raw and emotive and just….GGRRRRRRRR!!! I love it!

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Live In The City Of Angels

I think I may actually like this more than the Love Song offering. What’s going on, guv? Lol

I’m still not sure about how much overdubbing has been done…dunno.
Jim’s voice seems more natural and recorded “on the night” than it does on Love Song.

I’m feeling a little more optimistic after this.

The other thing I would say is…it lacks a little bit of … guts … musically….acoustically. I mean, it’s a sonic assault to the ears, being at a Simple Minds concert, and this sounds like someone’s turned all the amps down. Dunno…

Maybe it was the way I listened to it? Through my in-ear phones on Spotify? It just …doesn’t fill the space I was expecting it to sonically. I’m not wording it right, but I know what I feel it’s lacking. I’m just not articulating it very well.

I’ll have to listen to Love Song again and see if it suffers the same thing.

I’m assuming like other recent releases, we’ll get a new song to listen to each week or so until release day.

Burning Gold Memories…

Well maybe SMOG will get better. But I fear it’ll be VERY selective and VERY exclusive.

And…I have no memories from a lifetime ago…nothing of any significance to contribute so I’ll keep schtum. My memories will probably just be shared here on the blog.

This post from Carol Loudon deserved its posting to SMOG. It’s beautiful. The note from Jim is wonderful. And to have a setlist handwritten by him is just…wow!

And here I can express just how lovely it is, how much envy I have of it…how much it kind of stings with regret…how much I wish for things…and all from the comfort of my own blog. No one to tell me what a sad, pathetic creature I am. No one to spread scorn upon my feelings.

As for Carol not having met them still? Oh, I do get it. I get this thing about not wanting the myth shattered. Not wanting that…exalted image you have of someone be tainted. But having met Jim several times now, albeit them all very briefly, I would never want it any differently. He’s beautiful. What else can I say? I feel absolutely inferior in his presence. I always will. But…just to be there. I adore him.

Aside from Jim? They are all so lovely. Charlie at the meet and greet last year tried to engage with me…get me talking..and I was just a clam. Lol. But he’s lovely. At Bridlington in 2017, there was a man who was so, so nervous! He wanted to get his tour program signed but was too scared to ask. As Charlie was leaving to get on the tour bus, I stopped him. “Charlie, this man (pointing to the man in question) would love to have his tour program signed, but he’s too nervous to ask. Would you please sign it for him?” Of course he did! The irony of ME stopping Charlie to ask if he’d sign a tour program for a nervous fan was not lost on me. But…I just knew how that guy was feeling. And he was right there! He’d have regretted not asking all the rest of his days.

I’m pretty sure Jim signed it too. But once Jim appeared, my memory turned into a haze. Lol. Such a silly mess of a girl I am.

Meeting Brian McGee last year. And Bruce Findlay too. Having my drumming lessons with Cherisse. And meeting Mick MacNeil just last month. They are all so lovely, patient and kind.

So, yes, I see some good in SMOG…but I’m worried about just HOW exclusive it’ll feel and I feel somewhat immediately ostracised from things. Time will tell.