Music · Music Monday

Concert Tag + Music Monday: Nobody Move Nobody Gets Hurt (We Are Scientists)

A double whammy for today

Let’s start with my Music Monday, created by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek.

MusicMonday

Since I am also doing The Concert Tag today, I felt I should do a song  by one the bands I have seen the most live. I thought about what my favourite live song was, which is not quite the same as my favourite song. Some songs just WORK live.

I chose Nobody Move Nobody Gets Hurt by We Are Scientists, as it is one of those songs that I like well enough on record, but live it just has so much energy. And energy is what I look for in a live performance. Energy that feeds into the crowd and back into the band. That is when you know you are seeing a good gig. It is hard to get across on camera, but when you’re in the crowd, you feel it. Some bands have it and some don’t. The ones that do are the ones I tend to go and see again (and again).  If they don’t, I would still happily buy their albums if they sound good, but I may not bother to see them live again.

We Are Scientists are one of the best live bands I have seen. In their 40s these days, these guys just know how to interact with their audience and always get a great response.

I hope it shows in this video.

***

THE CONCERT TAG

1. What was the first concert you attended?

I think it may well have been New Kids on the Block (remember that boyband?) in the early 90s. 1992 maybe? I was 12 or 13 I think.

2. What was your most recent concert?

Last gig was Ash in December 2018.

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3. How many concerts have you been to? Name a few.

Lots! Too many to count. Let’s see if I remember some.

Alaskalaska, Alvvays (2x), Arcade Fire, Ash (many), Bis (4x),Blur (2x), Cast (2x), The Charlatans, Emmy The Great, Goldfrapp, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Hidden Charms, Indian Queens, The Hives, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion,  Jose Gonzalez,Kasabian, Kula Shaker,  Kylie Minogue (strangely enough – favour for a friend, but it was fun!), Mogwai, Noel Gallagher’s High Highflying Birds,  Paul Weller, The Pecadiloes, Primal Scream, Pulp, Razorlight, Sigur Ros (2x), Silver Sun, Symposium, The Vines, We Are Scientists (many), YAK and many more that my brain is throwing a blank at! 

4. Which artist have you seen the most live?

Ash and We Are Scientists, because they are both awesome live bands!

5. What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled for a concert?

I saw We Are Scientists in Portsmouth in England, but we were on holiday nearby at the time, so not sure whether it counts. Excuse the dodgy photo, but it was a fun show 🙂

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6. Best opening act you’ve seen?

Cast opened for Pulp around 1996 and blew Pulp out of the water for me. Kasabian as support for Oasis at Wembley in 2008 surprised me in a good way too. I thought I did not like them…. I stood corrected.

7. Have you met any bands/artists at concerts?

Yep, I met the guys from Ash and We Are Scientists and a couple of other bands, but usually it’s because they sell their own merch, so if you want to buy a Tshirt or an album it’s hard to avoid them!  I do love being able to tell them they were awesome though and I do like a band that is not afraid of their audience.

8.  Have you ever caught a guitar pick/drumstick or setlist?

I got We Are Scientists’ set list at the last gig, which they kindly signed for me and Tim Wheeler from Ash gave me his guitar pick after one of the gigs, which I was thrilled about as he is my favourite guitarist by a country mile.

9. Best concert you’ve been to and why?

Not sure about best concert, but the most memorable concert was what supposed to be the Ash/We Are Scientists double bill in November 2015, three days after the Bataclan attacks. We Are Scientists did not end up playing as their lead singer had been at the Bataclan with his wife and was taking her home, but the other guys joined Ash for the encore. It was such a special atmosphere and I will never forget it.

10. What is your favourite venue?

I really liked the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. In Holland I am a huge fan of EKKO, which is a venue in Utrecht, and the V11, which is on a boat in Rotterdam. Both are small venues. I am not a big fan of big concerts.

11. Any concerts coming up?

Yes, but only a couple.  I have got tickets to see Vampire Weekend in November (though in a venue I do not like) and I am seeing a new band called Cassia in a small local venue in September.

12. Are there any bands or artists you would still like to see that you haven’t yet?

A few. I haven’t seen Arctic Monkeys yet for some reason. I am rectifying not having seen Vampire Weekend in November. Apart from those I can’t think of any ‘big’ bands I am desperate to see. Otherwise, The Big Moon are high up on my list, as are Asylums and Circa Waves. I am sure I will think of more once I have posted this!

FEEL FREE TO DO THIS TAG IF YOU LIKE AND POP THE LINK TO YOUR ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS!

 

 

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Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Trick (Natalia Jaster)

Jaster, Natalia - Foolish Kingdoms 1 Trick

★★★★★★

Title: Trick (Foolish Kingdoms #1)
Author: Natalia Jaster
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Romance/New Adult   Pages: 300
First published: 2015
Edition: Paperback, self-published in 2018

It’s only the most cunning, most manipulative soul who can play the fool. Poet guards a secret. one the Crown would shackle him for. One that he’ll risk everything to protect.
Alas, it will take more than clever words to deceive Princess Briar.

Fantasy Romance is not a genre I read that much of. As with paranormal romance I very rarely love these books. But, I also like being surprised and this one had been on my radar for a while. A princess and a jester? Yes, please! For some reason, I felt in the mood for it, so I picked it up on a whim. I am glad I did.

Despite the fact that the writing started out a little shaky, I pretty soon knew I was going to enjoy this one. As the book progressed I liked where the author took the story. Yes, it is pretty light on the fantasy, but neither is it not too heavy handed on the romance side. The characters have backstories that are interesting enough and I felt the dynamic between them was really good.

The few love scenes were well enough written that they did not make me cringe, as they too often do. The romance was not just about sex and I much prefer it that way. I don’t think I did an eyeroll once, which is a bonus.

Although a bit limited in this book, I liked the world Natalia Jaster has created and I hope to find out more about it in the rest of the series, which I hope to pick up soon. There are definitely some issues with the world building, but it was a decent enough start.

I feel my rating is a little bit on the high side, as there were areas where the writing let me down a little bit, but overall I did really enjoy it and therefore I feel this rating is fair.

6 out of 7 stars

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: 3 April 2019

Not in the best of moods today. I parked clumsily and hit the car next to me. Completely my fault and completely avoidable. Such a stupid move! I am so annoyed with myself!

Besides that, my reading slump continues, but I have sorted accepted that. In general though, I have been feeling so uninspired. Blegh!

Anyway, my WWW:

untitled

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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Jaster, Natalia - Foolish Kingdoms 1 TrickWhat am I currently reading?

Well, since I am having quite a bit of trouble reading at the moment, I picked up something on the lighter side. I have picked up Trick by Natalia Jaster, which I guess is a fantasy romance? I have only just started it. It feels a bit novice writer-ish here and there, but I think I will enjoy it.

Paver, Michelle - WakenhyrstWhat did I recently finish reading?

I finished reading Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver yesterday. This was an e-ARC and the novel is out tomorrow. It was well enough written, but it really was not the book for me in my current slumpy state. I think that I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I been in a different mindset and I did take that into account in my review of it.

Matzen, Robert - Dutch GirlWhat do I think I will read next?

Not sure, but a book I will pick up in the next week or so, is Dutch Girl (Robert Matzen), which documents Audrey Hepburn’s life in The Netherlands during WWII. I am actually quite looking forward to that one. I have seen interviews with her and I find her tremendously fascinating. She was such an icon.

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Wakenhyrst (Michelle Paver)

Paver, Michelle - Wakenhyrst

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Wakenhyrst
Author: Michelle Paver
Genre: Historical Fiction /Gothic   Pages: 304
First published: to be published on 4 April 2019 by Head of Zeus
Edition: e-ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

1906: A large manor house, Wake’s End, sits on the edge of a bleak Fen, just outside the town of Wakenhyrst. It is the home of Edmund Stearn and his family – a historian, scholar and land-owner, he’s an upstanding member of the local community. But all is not well at Wake’s End. Edmund dominates his family tyrannically, in particular daughter Maud. When Maud’s mother dies in childbirth and she’s left alone with her strict, disciplinarian father, Maud’s isolation drives her to her father’s study, where she happens upon his diary.

Let me start of by saying my rating is a combination of my enjoyment of the book versus the quality of the writing.

The writing is pretty solid. The main character Maud is interesting. With her restricted upbringing and her father’s disinterest, I found myself both rooting for her and pitying her. And yet the plot of the book did not engage me enough to keep my attention. I found myself being distracted from it too easily.

Whether I was not in the mood for a gothic tale or simply because this book was not quite for me, I am not sure, but I simply did not enjoy it as much as I felt I should have done.

I did like the writing style overall, but I found Maud’s father’s journal entries were a bit much at times and I wish the story and plot had unfolded in a different manner.

Having said that, I think there will be plenty of people out there who will really enjoy this novel and if the synopsis sounds up your street, I would recommend giving this one a go.

5 out of 7 stars

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Dress Codes for Small Towns (Courtney Stevens)

Stevens, Courtney - Dress Codes for Small Towns

★★★★★★☆

Title: Dress Codes for Small Towns
Author: Courtney Stevens
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / YA     Pages: 337
First published: 2018
Edition: Paperback

This novel was such a pleasant surprise. I picked it up on a whim and I am so glad I did. This is the kind of contemporary YA I love. Very well written and without a romance being the main plot point.

I love the relationship dynamics in this book. Essentially this book is about six friends growing up and trying to figure out how they fit together. The friendships are wonderful, the small moments of romance are tentative and feel honest. Beside that, I liked the way main character Billie’s relationship with her parents was woven into the story.

I think the main thing to take away from this novel is that the world is not always black or white, things are not always clear and lines are often blurrier than you wish them to be, especially as a teenager. There are themes of gender  and sexuality here and they are very well handled.

I enjoyed reading this novel a lot.

6 out of 7 stars

Music · Music Monday

Music Mondays: Dead in the Water (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds)

So, I have chosen a Noel Gallagher song for Music Monday this week. Music Monday is hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek.

MusicMonday

Back when I was a teen, I was a huge Oasis fan. I saw them live for the first time in early 1996 – I was sixteen years old. I remember it like yesterday. They were playing Live Forever when singer Liam Gallagher’s voice gave out. Big brother (and songwriter) Noel took over and finished the song before they broke off the gig. There was plenty of outraged fans and seats and all sorts were thrown on the stage and I remember sitting there, in awe of the band I had just seen, who only managed to play half a gig, but made such a huge impression nonetheless. This was a smallish venue, maybe 1000 people, and it was a privilege to see them that day. I never even contemplated demanding my money back.

Many of my favourite songs were the little sensitive B-sides that big brother Noel tended to sing. Though I loved the rockier numbers, these touched my heart. Talk Tonight and Sad Song were favourites.

The last time I saw Oasis was a couple of weeks before they broke up, at Wembley Stadium.

When Oasis inevitably fell apart it was Noel’s music I continued to listen to. His third and most recent High Flying Birds album is probably my least favorite, but there was this little song called Dead in the Water tagged onto the end that reminded me of those old Oasis B-sides, that managed to bridge that gap to teenage me. Something about this song pulls on my heart strings.

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Bird King (G Willow Wilson)

Wilson, G Willow - The Bird King

★★★☆☆☆☆

Title: The Bird King
Author: G Willow Wilson
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Fantasy     Pages: 440
First published: 12 March 2019 by Grove Press
Edition: E-book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

I think some people will love this book, but I just did not get on with it. I like both historical fiction and fantasy, so the fact that those two genres collided in this novel was a compelling reasong for me to read it. That the novel was set in Moorish Spain was a definite bonus.

For the first 50 pages or so I considered DNFing it, but then it picked up and I felt I was going to really like it and then it simply sort of fizzled out for me.

I did like the setting and I liked aspects of our main character Fatima, who starts out as the Sultan’s concubine. I feel her character could have been explored a bit more, as could Hassan’s, who is a really interesting character and I feel he is so underused in the narrative.

As I read the latter half of the book I just found I did not care as much I wish I did and it lost its shine for me. The events that unfolded just did not hit me in the right places.

If the premise interests you, do pick it up and try it out.

3 out of 7 stars