The new album by The Anchoress, The Art of Losing, is the follow up to debut release Confessions Of A Romance Novelist.
Under her everyday name, Catherine Anne Davies, she had been a touring member of Simple Minds since 2015 and also toured as support for the band as The Anchoress during their UK leg of the 2017 Acoustic Tour.
Co-producing and co-writing work also in 2017 and touring as a guest artist with the Manic Street Preachers, as well as featuring on the track Dylan & Caitlin on the Manics’ 2018 release, Resistance Is Futile.
October, 2020, saw the release of her collaborative album with Bernard Butler, In Memory Of My Feelings. The album received many plaudits and could well be nominated for the Mercury Prize this year.
As a writer, producer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist and solo artist, Catherine is quickly amassing an impressive body of work.
It was a huge honour to have Catherine agree to an interview for the Priptona blog.
Firstly – coming up this evening, Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler are talking to Janice Long on BBC Radio Wales about their collaboration producing the album set for release next month, In Memory Of My Feelings. The album was originally due for release last Friday but some vinyl pressing issues meant that the release was delayed by four weeks.
Click on the photo of Janice to be taken to the relevant page. You can listen in live tonight from 7pm on Radio Wales via the BBC Sounds app.
In connecting Welsh relations – James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers joined Gary Davies (sitting in for Ken Bruce) for his “Tracks Of My Years” playlist. Included in his choices was Speed Your Love To Me. Someone kindly extracted the relevant part of the program on Radio 2 and posted it to YouTube.
Well, no gig would be complete without some kind of travel drama. Yesterday it was the APPALLING service given by Thameslink due to their absolute shambolic implementation of their new timetable. We waited an hour for a train to London! We arrived at Luton station at around 2.41pm. The next train due was at 3.28pm. Some 20 minutes into the wait, there’s an announcement of a bus replacement service to St Albans…but the way it was worded sounded as if we needed to get on the bus to St Albans to continue the journey to London. Not so…but it took some faffing about…leaving the station for said bus, only to find no bus outside, etc, for this to become clear. So, we go back in the station. Wait on the platform for the train, only to hear (AS THE TRAIN ARRIVES ON THE PLATFORM) that the train is leaving from a different platform. No chance of us legging it over to the other platform on time, so we wait yet another 20 mins for the next train.
As we’re waiting for the next train to arrive, a member of staff walks past us and he says “are you ladies watching the trains?” SERIOUSLY?! I could have kicked his arse! “No, but it feels like we are!” was me reply to him. But internally my dialogue continued “Yep, we’re a right pair of trainspotters, us! A regular Renton and Spud.” Lol. Fuck me! The cheek! Anyway, finally by 3.49pm we were on a train to Blackfriars. Phew!
Catherine arrived on stage promptly at 7.30pm and launched straight into a fabulous rendition of Long Year.
“No latecomers!” was the wording on the Festival Hall information regarding “doors open” and set times. I was sat right by the stairway leading down to the lower stall seats on the right side of the auditorium. Thought I had the best seat in the house, until Catherine’s set began, and stream upon stream of latecomers were indeed being allowed in! For the first few minutes I could understand that…but it just kept happening right through her set. So, thank you usher staff at the Festival Hall for ruining an otherwise amazing performance!
From Long Year onto One For Sorrow, a rocking version at that! Wow, loved it. Only the second time I’ve got to experience hearing One For Sorrow live and it didn’t disappoint.
What Goes Around, and again, rocking…full of energy, passion…vitriol, as a song like that should be!
Some video of new song Show Your Face, as well as some of You And Only You. Both cracking! (You’ll see from the footage just what a bugbear that seat right by the stairway became.)
Catherine’s set finished with Confessions Of A Romance Novelist. And as promptly as she arrived, she said goodnight. It was a very short set. She was gone too soon! I wanted more! And I missed her performing Bury Me. But I could see from the rest of the set list and how the performance went that maybe she felt that Bury Me wouldn’t be in keeping with how she wanted the set to be. The set was tight, blended well…Show Your Face slotted in really nicely…cannot wait to hear the new album! It’s gonna be just as fab as “Confessions” if the new song is anything to go by.
Really hoping it isn’t too long before we see more Anchoress gigs. But she’s a busy lady for pretty much the rest of the year with her work with Simple Minds, so we shall see!
As we waited for the Manics set to begin, there was music being played over the sound system…I hear the opening chords to Two To Four Degrees by Warm Digits and I am in raptures! The boys getting a nod! I hope everyone had their phones out Shazamming WTF was being played when they heard it. Love my boys! 🙂
Oh, what can I say about the Manics? I mean, geez, they just nail the whole live thing. Born to do it! Nicky was back on the stage, having very recently lost his mother. It was wonderful to see him back.
The set started with International Blue from new album Resistance Is Futile – I’m starting to believe that to be a quite aptly named album!
They just rocked the place, really. Next up was Motorcycle Emptiness and…the crowd erupts. The inevitable sing-a-long ensues and for one who is not a hard and fast fan (but by no means a person who doesn’t like the band! I have delved into the Manics on and off over the years), you just get swept up in the passion and love of it all. The band love the fans, and the fans certainly love the band! “You Love Us” is not a song of bravado, but pure fact!
At this point I’ve got to mention the mix of the sound. The vocals for both The Anchoress set and for the Manics were not mixed well. It’s why I missed what the new song Catherine performed was called, and I was missing most of the lyrics too. JDB was just as lost in the mix most of the night as well. The mix was actually quite distorted for both sets…but it detracts none from either of their respective performances.
Highlights of the Manics set for me? You Stole The Sun From My Heart (it has long been a fave track of theirs), their cracking cover of The Cure’s In Between Days, Catherine’s appearance for Little Baby Nothing and Dylan And Caitlyn, If You Tolerate This, Faster, Hold Me Like A Heaven, Tsunami, People Give In and ending with arguably the BEST crowd sing-along anthem that exists, Design For Life. Wow! What a set!
Trust me, people…resistance really IS futile!
Next up on the Prip world tour is a trip to Edinburgh and Newcastle for the Rip It Up exhibition, a talk from Bruce Findlay and Ian Rankin, followed by ANOTHER gig with those Warm Digits boys again…this time on home turf! (Well, for one half of them anyways…Mr Steve Jefferis.)
I was working out how many gigs I’ve got coming up last night – and the answer was – 14 of the things! (And still hoping to sort another two Simple Minds gigs on top of that…if only money grew on trees.)
I have NEVER been to so many gigs in my life! The love of live music given to me by…a certain someone. (See pic stolen from a certain band’s FB page)
Anyway, the first of the 14 (16?!) will be The Anchoress and Manic Street Preachers at Meltdown at the Royal Festival Hall tomorrow night. Wowzers! (One of the gigs is a comedy gig, by the way. The other an art exhibition and talk.)
Thank you, Mr Beautiful, for instilling in me this love of live music. Being Aussie and all, and growing up in a country that prides itself with a music scene that produces the best live bands in the world…my love for live music was hindered by: my sheltered existence, lack of money, etc, etc…I could make all the excuses.
The “lack of money” thing is still a big issue…but, it’s about priorities, and good budgeting and picking bands to see that give value for money…the irony being, the band I love the most now being my most expensive outlay to see live. But, it is what it is.
Hopefully I can do those other two SM gigs, but we’ll see. In amongst the 14 are three opportunities to see Simple Minds, so it isn’t ALL bad! It’s just, you know…after the Acoustic tour , and the dates in February…the more Minds gigs, the better.
Anyway…on to Catherine and the Manics tomorrow night. WOOT!
9.59 am I phoned the Southbank Centre to join the queue for tickets to Manic Street Preachers – supported by The Anchoress – about 11 minutes past 11 my call was answered. For how long it had taken to get through, I was not hopeful for tickets. Nine Inch Nails and My Bloody Valentine tickets had already sold out…and the Manics were only going to be a matter of time, if by the time I asked the agent on the phone had not said “Sorry, those tickets have just sold out, I’m afraid” …but, YAY! I got two tickets! And good ones too! Right here! Happy days!
A slight change this week – for what is usually MINDS Music Monday…for this week I wanted to share the new single from the Manic Street Preachers – featuring The Anchoress! A beautiful duet between James Dean Bradfield and Catherine Anne Davies (the Welsh do like a full name, don’t they?). Enjoy!
I have NEVER experienced a year like it! I have never been to so many gigs in one year before! I can safely say that I have seen more live music in this past 12 months than I have seen in my previous total sum of gigs experienced. Here’s a rundown of the list…
March 25th – The Stranglers, Cambridge Corn Exchange
April 3rd – Holy Holy, Waterside Aylesbury
May 2nd – John Grant, Union Chapel Islington
May 18th – Simple Minds, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
May 22nd – Simple Minds, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
May 25th – Simple Minds, Bridlington Spa
May 27th – Simple Minds, London Palladium
May 29th – Simple Minds, Colston Hall Bristol
June 3rd – Simple Minds, Brighton Dome
June 4th – Simple Minds, Theatre Royal Drury Lane London
June 7th – Simple Minds, Olympia Theatre Dublin
June 8th – Simple Minds, Olympia Theatre Dublin
June 22nd – Manic Street Preachers Bristol Sounds
August 25th – Warm Digits, The Lexington London
September 23rd – Paul Draper, O2 Institute Birmingham
November 10th – Wolfgang Flür, The Lexington London
December 10th – Alexis Taylor and Green Gartside, Esquires Bedford
Apart from the obvious and overwhelming highlight of all those Simple Minds Acoustic gigs (it’s hard for me to single out the best of them all…but perhaps just for the sheer finalé of it…and how, with each gig they just killed it and killed it…that final Dublin one stands out…but it was ALL amazing), I would say the biggies were…John Grant – an absolute DREAM to see him live (I wish I was again, in Feb/March…but DEF. no funds for that now), The Manics – my first experience of them live and they are everything you’d ever imagine them to be, Warm Digits – I absolutely LOVE these guys…I *will* see them again next year…somewhere!)
Thank you for all the music, everyone…all the support acts as well. You all rock. Special thanks to Catherine Anne Davies for making my attendance of two of these gigs possible. Both of those gigs were amazing!
2018 is set to be another year of great live music for me to see/experience. The tally for Simple Minds again is already currently standing at seven, plus there are gigs from Franz Ferdinand and the Art Of Noise already booked. Who else is on the cards? Well…as just alluded to…Warm Digits HAVE to be seen again…and let’s hope there will be gigs showcasing new material from The Anchoress next year. Beyond that? We’ll see!
PS: I just HAD to share my appalling montage (these have NOT been cropped…they are REALLY THIS BAD!) of epic fails of attempts at getting a pic with Gordy Goudie. The man is a SAINT! Honestly…and people were ASKING ME to take pics of them with Jim?! Lol.
This really was quite an unexpected treat. Catherine was very generously giving away a few tickets last week on her Facebook page. Before I commited to putting my hat in the ring, I made sure I could get there. I wasn’t going to waste her time by putting my hand up for tickets if I then couldn’t make it.
I looked at the cost of getting to Bristol – quite cheap if I get myself to London first and get a National Express coach there and back. I checked with Yvonne that she would be okay with having me stay for the night, and as a way of doing so, she’d be my “plus one” and come along to the gig with me.
That sorted, I put my name in for the chance. Wonderfully, my name was picked and so on Thursday morning, off I went to Bristol again.
Delays from hideous traffic around London meant I didn’t get to Bristol until about 4.20pm. I took the wrong route down to the Harbourside and Birdy actually beat me down there (and she was at work until 5pm).
(Couldn’t help but give the pic of Birdy and I a subtle “improvement”. Lol)
We had a while to wait to get in. We got talking to another ticket recipient, Shaun, and his wife Dawn. A wonderful couple and lovely people. We could hear Catherine going through soundcheck as we were waiting to get in. We were champing at the bit! Catherine was sounding amazing!
We were let through just MINUTES before she appeared onstage. And WOW! It was great to hear stuff that got a rest during the acoustic sets with Simple Minds. I got to hear Popular and Chip On Your Shoulder – the first time since last December, but the surprise was One For Sorrow! She hadn’t performed it last December, and not on the acoustic tour, so it was a first for me to hear it live…and wonderful!
She was fabulous…but of course it SSOOO made me wish that I was able to see her in Chester the next day, but finances just could not stretch. I was hoping they would. I had purchased a ticket in the hope I would make it, but it would have been more expensive for me to get there and back and stay overnight. Funds had been severely depleated after all the touring around for SM.
I am forever thankful for the tickets from Catherine, without which Bristol would not have been doable either.
I had not eaten since arriving in London at midday (a doughnut), so we headed off to the stalls for a bite to eat and a drink. We sat on a side wall and had our food and drink, and took in the sounds of British Sea Power from a distance. They seemed pretty good and were going down well with the crowd.
(Temptation was put in front of me…but I resisted! One doughnut was enough for one day. Lol)
The Manics appeared around 9pm and started with Motorcycle Emptiness. Quite a crowd-pleaser. I am not super aware of the Manics’ canon of songs. I really like them, but have (like I was with SM for many a year) not explored their back catalogue extensively and only know bits and pieces. The first song they performed I recognised was You Stole The Sun From My Heart. Others I could just about sing along to were Ocean Spray (one Manics single I actually bought! And I did have a copy of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours too, back in the day), If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, Tsunami and, the rousing finale of Design For Life. I think they performed a couple of other songs from “This Is My Truth” I should have recognised, but it had been SSOO long since I’d heard the album, they weren’t as familiar to me.
They were…AMAZING! Just wow! JDB and Nicky were on top form. They knocked it out of the park. I’d love to see them again, and get myself familiar with their music once more…and actually explore it more extensively this time. Amazing guys!
There was a little time to explore Bristol the following day…and…the wallet got stretched YET AGAIN, as there was a record shop a little Birdy had told me about called Rise, and well, they had THIS!
I had never seen it before, and the cover art obviously caught my eye. So very in the theme of Hokusai. I will definitely give it a spin very soon!
One final thank you to Catherine for the tickets and the opportunity to see such a wonderful gig. You are just such an amazing lady! I love to bits! I hope to see you again very soon…with new material! It’s going to be so exciting!
(No pics of the acts themselves, but I took a bit of live footage I shared on my Facebook page.)