Tag Archives: music

Kate Bush suffers backlash after backing Theresa May

Kate Bush: Before the Dawn Album cover. Source: Amazon.co.uk

In an interview with Canadian current affairs publication, Maclean’s Magazine, the iconic British singer-songwriter, Kate Bush, expressed her admiration for the UK Prime Minister. In the process, Bush has angered much of her fan-base.

When asked in the interview whether “the fear [of women in power] is stronger than ever” in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the US Presidential election, Bush spoke approvingly of UK leader Theresa May.

She said:

“We have a female prime minister here in the UK. I actually really like her and think she’s wonderful. I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to us in a long time. She’s a very intelligent woman but I don’t see much to fear. I will say it is great to have a woman in charge of the country. She’s very sensible and I think that’s a good thing at this point in time.”

Continue reading Kate Bush suffers backlash after backing Theresa May

The Weeknd- Starboy


The Weeknd’s Starboy front cover


With its immediate chart success, use of artistic music videos, and a recent single cover already making BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, The Weeknd’s latest album Starboy seems to have made a huge impression on the music industry.

Released on Friday, the R&B singer’s third studio album,  immediately catapulted to the number one spot in charts spanning 80 countries. Continue reading The Weeknd- Starboy

Father John Misty releases new, highly political song


Photograph taken by Bruce (Flickr)

By Nadine Schwizer

Father John Misty released a new song this morning via soundcloud.

“Holy Hell” is another politically charged hymn by the American singer/songwriter (also see “Real Love Baby”, “This Is America”, and “Trump’s Pilot”, which he released earlier this year).

Whereas the new song lacks in musical originality and might be considered one of many piano ballads out there, it certainly does not when it comes to its lyrics.

Recognizing that “the future ain’t looking so bright…” and lamenting about the United States’ current political situation at first, Father John Misty ends the song stating “But all my friends, yeah, I’m talking to you. The world won’t end unless we want it to. There’s no one in control. And it’s our life to choose.”

The song thus shows a neat transition from complaining about what recently happened to finally, in the end, reassuring that the current situation does not have to be the very end.

“Holy Hell” is certainly a song worth listening to, even if it’s just for its critical, topical lyrics.



Beach Boys will surf at Scottish music festival

By Pau Llosa and Nadine Schwizer


Photo credit: Louise Palanker
Photo credit: Louise Palanker


The Beach Boys have been announced as the closing act for the next Montrose Music Festival.

After more than half a century on the stage, the iconic Californian band will be playing their signature tunes to the festival audience on Sunday, 28 May.

For its 10th anniversary, the Montrose Music Festival chose to bring The Beach Boys’ ‘good vibrations’ and an assortment of their legendary pop songs to Scotland’s trademark beach resort.

In an official statement, singer and co-founding member Mike Love said: “It is great that 50 years plus we are still in a position to be touring and sharing our music with fans around the world.”

“We’re really looking forward to performing outdoors in Montrose, and being part of this popular festival.”

“It’s going to be a great night.”

The festival’s organisers are ecstatic about having the pop legends from the 60s lined up as well. David Paton, Chairman of the Montrose Music Festival, said:  “We’re delighted that The Beach Boys are joining us for a special Sunday night show to bring our tenth annual live music festival to a close.”

“The Beach Boys are renowned as one of the biggest selling bands of all time, and we just can’t believe that they’re joining us for MoFest 2017. This is a really exciting time for MoFest and we promise an exceptional festival.”

Tickets for the show go on sale at 09:00 a.m. on Friday 25 November.

Kylie Minogue Drops a New Xmas Song into Our Stockings

by Stuart Mackenzie

The Australian music sensation is back, and just in time to spread more holiday cheer. However, this friendly neighbour isn’t singing the traditional carols. Ms Minogue debuted her brand new track ‘At Christmas’ on BBC Radio 2 this morning.

The cheerful tune kicks off with a keyboard-riff, not dissimilar to The Foundations’ ‘Build Me Up, Buttercup’, and accompanying sleigh bells. It’s not long before the ‘Can’t Get You out of My Head’ hit-maker chimes in with lyrics taking you through all four seasons.

She leads us into a chorus of musical cheer juxtaposed with winter blue words that fits right onto our playlist of classic Christmas pop songs.

The jingle may not be ‘Santa Baby’ but there’s a good chance Kylie will once again be the star at the top of this year’s Christmas charts.

Listen to ‘At Christmas’ here:


Primal Scream live review – Usher Hall 22/11/2016

by Eoghan Scott

Photo credit: Phil Guest
Photo credit: Phil Guest


In a month that has brought about the election of Apprentice-star Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, and a year that has seen the UK vote to leave the EU, sometimes you just need the comfort of knowing that some things never change.

That’s not to say Bobby Gillespie and Co. have ever been content just to keep things the way they are. Over the course of 11 albums and almost three decades, the Glaswegian band has been defined by a willingness to reach out and experiment with new and exciting sounds. Even so, it’s just nice to think that Primal Scream will always be Primal Scream, regardless of what new or exciting sounds they choose to explore.

Monday night in Usher Hall saw the legendary Scottish band amongst a home crowd, so anticipation was high. Continue reading Primal Scream live review – Usher Hall 22/11/2016

Things to do in Edinburgh: Our Top Five Picks

Stuck in the capital this week with nothing to do?

Follow our guide to find the best events Edinburgh has to offer.

5. Cinderella – Australian Ballet

STARRING: Leanne Stojmenov, Kevin Jackson, Ako Kondo

Released: 23rd November


Picture Credit: The Australian Ballet

The classic fairy-tale returns in beautiful ballet form. If you can’t catch it on stage, you can watch it at your local cinema.

The award-winning, critically acclaimed production, created by Alexei Ratmansky, one of the world’s most sought after choreographers, puts a twist on the story of Cinderella, her wicked step-mother and sisters and of course the glass slipper.

After sell-out seasons in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide the show makes its way to London, and various Vue cinemas, including Edinburgh. Be sure not to miss the ball.

4. Book Week Scotland


Scotland’s Book Week

Book Week Scotland, beginning yesterday (Monday 21st) and is running until Sunday 27th November, is a week-long event organised by the Scottish Book Trust that aims to celebrate reading and writing amongst the young and the old alike.

Featuring talks and events across the country, speakers like Tony Robinson and Val McDermid will be appearing to discuss their work and love of literature face to face with readers. For any lover of books, this one is not to be missed!

3. Edinburgh Christmas Market

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano
Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

Edinburgh Christmas Market began this week with Sunday’s Light Night which officially launched Christmas in Edinburgh.

From Five Guys Named Moe on the West End stage to the European Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens.

Get yourself in the Christmas mood and visit the event website for more information.

2. Ghost The Musical starts run at Edinburgh Playhouse

Ghost the musical starts its six day run tonight at Edinburgh Playhouse.


Ghost starts it’s run at Edinburgh Playhouse

Produced by Bill Kenwright, the musical presents a re-imagined, unchained version of the classic film.

Sarah Harding, the Girls Aloud singer and actress, makes her stage debut as Molly, opposite Hollyoaks star Rhys Ashworth as ‘Sam’.

The musical is based on the Academy Award winning movie and starred the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.

The plot sees Sam tragically murdered in front of his girlfriend, Molly. Sam finds himself trapped between this world and the next. Assisted by a psychic Sam attempts to communicate with Molly and protect her from imminent danger.

With such a popular film to live up to, fans have been promised the iconic scene in which Molly sculpts a pot to the Righteous Brother’s Unchained Melody will also feature in the musical version.

Ghost The Musical premieres tonight at the Edinburgh Playhouse at 7.30pm and runs till Saturday and then tours to Nottingham.

1. The Heavy

Good news for all Edinburgh-based fans of indie rock, as ‘The Heavy’ are playing at Liquid Room tonight.

The band from Bath will be presenting their new Album ‘Hurt & The Merciless’, which is in line with what makes The Heavy’s style so unique: powerful arrangements, rough guitar sounds and, of course, Kelvin Swaby’s haunting voice – all topped up with drums that promise to make an audience go wild.

Tickets are available online


Edinburgh’s Christmas Market delivers and delights

by Noemi Distefano

Photo credit: Noemi Distefano
Photo credit: Noemi Distefano

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market has opened to the public this weekend.

The market, one of the most popular Christmas celebrations in the UK, will run for six weeks until the 7th January.

Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens will be transformed into a veritable winter wonderland by a rich array fairground attractions, lights, buskers, artists and street-chefs.

The market has grown its reputation as one of Europe’s largest Christmas attractions.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, said to Edinburgh Evening News, “Edinburgh’s Christmas promises to wow once again, and the Christmas Market alongside with the Street of Light is a spectacular and mesmerising addition to what is already a brilliant line-up.”

Around 900,000 unique visitors from all over Europe are expected to fill St. Andrews Square in the coming weeks.

Hundreds of chefs and artisans are expected to open their shutters, offering nibbles, trinkets and a more magical Christmas experience.


Photo credit: Noemi Distefano
Photo credit: Noemi Distefano


Shopkeeper Judies, owner of ChristmasWorld, sells traditional German wooden ornaments. She said, “Me and my brother have been here in Edinburgh for the Christmas markets even before they became a huge event.  This is our fifteenth year in this street, and I wouldn’t like to be anywhere else.”

Norwegian shopkeeper Kari Ittervel claims that she comes to Edinburgh just for the market. A resident of Amsterdam, she flies over for just two months a year to sell her handmade pottery.

“I’ve been here for two years now, I was in London’s Christmas Market before, but it’s not even a tenth as nice as in Edinburgh’s. One day I heard that there was a beautiful market here and I resolved: ‘let’s make Edinburgh’s ladies happy with my items!’”

“The markets are amazing. Beautiful people, beautiful city, it’s just fantastic!”

It’s not just the shopkeepers who love the atmosphere. Jasmine – a tourist from Newcastle – said, “I came a long way from Newcastle, just because I think the Christmas markets are great. They bring a bit of European culture to the cities in the UK.”

“I think it is really nice, the smell is nice in the air, the sites and there are really a lot of lights and we are looking forward to go around, it is a great thing.”

The experience is certainly rich – families peer into the Gardens from the terrace of the Scottish National Gallery as the smell of burned wood and the sound of buskers fill the air.


Photo credit: Noemi Distefano
Photo credit: Noemi Distefano


The Edinburgh Christmas Market will stay vibrant with music, sounds, sights and smells until early 2017.

Tickets are right now available at www.edinburghschristmas.com

Stu’s Spotify Specials

Stuart shares his Spotify picks

Music buff Stuart Mackenzie shares his top musical picks with edinburghnapiernews.com


  1. Bruno Mars- Chunky

With the new album’s release on Friday, the Hawaiian harmoniser is out with yet another funky single that is sure to get you grooving. Following suit from the previous jams such as, ‘24K Magic’ and ‘Versace on the Floor’, the new song indulges us into a romanticised old-skool aura with classic R&B sounds. The only thing that mattered back then was the size of your girls’ backside. Opening with a short synth-solo, we are instantly greeted by the classic Mars voice and a nostalgic, Rapper’s Delight-esque bassline. As the tune increases in party-rhythm, we are led into a chorus melody not dissimilar from past-hit Treasure. The song may not make it to party-anthem territory, but it is definitely one to tap your toes and cruise with your crew to.

  1. John Mayer- Love on the Weekend

Mayer the Player has been toying with his social media followers all week with the repeated announcement of this song dropping. This single is the first we’ve heard of the mega-guitarist since his acclaimed stab at Country in 2013 (not counting his cover of Beyonce’s ‘XO). The ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ singer is back to his usual ways with his new single, well almost. The drum-tempo and guitar-strumming sounds like classic Mayer, however his vocal melody and production have remnants of his Country-exploration. Mixing the two genres is far from a bad thing as the romance song is a tranquil piece that reminds you that after 15 years of making music, Mayer has still got it. His seventh album is definitely one to look out for.

Continue reading Stu’s Spotify Specials

The Mercury Awards comes under fire.

Mercury Award nominations
Mercury Award nominations

By Stuart Iversen

The Mercury Awards have come under fire this year for an “unadventurous” shortlist and a lack of transparency when it comes to judging.

The annual music awards takes place tonight at London’s Roundhouse.  It has previously claimed it exists “solely to champion music in the UK” and has long been praised for it’s highlighting of exciting underground acts.

However, with a shortlist that contains five albums that went to number one this year and an average charting of 10th compared to 48th a few years back, it has been described by Sam Wolfson, executive editor at Noisey, as a “narrow view of music picked by judges of a narrow background.”

These same judges have come under fire for their lack of transparency.  One former judge spoke to The Observer and stated, “I was quite open when I did it and I don’t see a problem with that.”

While Mike Diver, the online editor of Clash Magazine, proclaimed that “knowing who’s picked these albums at the time of their announcement – or, better, beforehand – would help critics like myself form a more complete picture of how certain albums have made the cut.”

On the other hand, Mike Smith, the president of record company EMI, feels the lack of transparency is a necessary evil.  “The judges should be anonymous, if they were not, I am sure they would be lobbied quite hard.  The idea, I think, is that major labels would have an advantage over the independents… people would try to influence the decision.”

He was also a defender for the awards as a whole stating, “the thing that is still great about Mercury, is that bands can be picked that the public were not yet aware of.”

With the ceremony taking place tonight in London, it’s clear that there will be a lot of attention focused it’s way, whether that is for the right reasons is another matter.

Vinyl Lovers

Record Store Day took place this weekend, and saw musicians, artists and the record-buying public come together to celebrate the unique scene. Set up in 2007 it was established to promote independent music shops by selling exclusive vinyl recordings to fans.

Our reporter, Shiv Das, spoke to Avalanche Records, in Edinburgh, discussing how the weekend went.

Edinburgh is home to five independant record stores-

1.Avalanche, 5 Grassmarket, Edinburgh


2. VoxBox, 21 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh


3. Elvis Shakespeare, 347 Leith Walk, Edinburgh


4.Underground Solushn, 9 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh

5.Vinyl Villains, 5 Elm Row, Edinburgh


Edinburgh Festival Gets New Director


The Edinburgh International Festival has today announced it has appointed a new artistic director. Fergus Linehan, the former director of the Sydney International Festival as well as fomer Head of Music at the Sydney Opera House, will take over the role in October. He succeeds Jonathan Mills, who has been in charge at the festival for seven years.

Mills will step down after the 2014 festival, but Mr Linehan will work part-time as director designate from 1st May this year. He will step up to the role full-time from October 2014, which will mean 2015 will mark his first festival as director. He will remain in charge at the EIF until at least 2019.

Under Mr Linehan the annual turnover of the Sydney International Festival almost doubled, rising from $12m to $20m between 2004 and 2009, thanks to a rise in ticket sales, funding, and sponsorship.

Speaking of the appointment, Linehan said “I am delighted and deeply honoured to have been appointed as the next director of the Edinburgh international festival. I look forward to safeguarding the founding principles of the festival in ways which are engaging and relevant to all.

“Successful festivals respond to both place and provenance to create a unique identity and this is particularly true of Edinburgh, the pre-eminent festival city. It is with this in mind that I will begin the exciting work of developing my plans and ideas for 2015 and for future festivals”

Mills had previously faced criticism over his festival programmes, which some critics claimed were lacking in homegrown talent.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Donald Wilson also welcomed the appointment, saying “Fergus brings new skills, intellectual rigour and a highly successful track record to the Festival and the city.

“Having previously lived in Edinburgh and worked with companies visiting the city he is familiar with what the city can offer its residents as well as visitors and artists from around the world. I look forward to welcoming him back to Edinburgh and Scotland’s creative and vibrant cultural life.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, added ‘The Edinburgh International Festival has a worldwide reputation for excellence and innovation. In bringing together exceptionally talented artists from nations across the globe, it helps to celebrate and promote Scotland’s rich culture and heritage on the world stage and strengthen our links with other countries. I welcome Fergus Linehan’s appointment as Director and wish him every success in the role.’

Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh

Street Party in Edinburgh for the New Year.
Street Party in Edinburgh for the New Year.

1. Street Party

The renowned Edinburgh street party is something that should not be missed. Join 80,000 partygoer’s dance into the New Year with music from top DJs and musical entertainment such as The Maccabees, Reverend and the Makers and The OK Social Club. Celebrate at midnight with the extravagant firework display.

Tickets are £15 available at http://www.edinburghshogmanay.org/

Music ★★★★  Food ★  Venue ★★★  Family Friendly ★★

2. Concert in the Gardens

The music event of the evening proves to be as big as it ever has. Scottish musicians dominate this year with legends Simple Minds, Dundee-based boys The View and Edinburgh four piece Bwani Junction rocking into 2013. Enclosed tickets are sold out and the Garden tickets are soon to follow.

Garden tickets are £37.50 available at http://www.edinburghshogmanay.org/

Music ★★★★★  Food ★  Venue ★★★  Family Friendly ★★

3. The Loony Dook

Maybe the craziest Hogmanay tradition of them all! Join the ‘loony’s’ plunge into the River Forth on the 1st of January 2013. The Dooker’s parade kicks off the event and then it’s into the water. What a better way to kick off the New Year!

Register at http://www.theloonydook.co.uk/Register.html

Music ­­­­- Food – Venue ★★ Family Friendly ★★

4. Propaganda New Years Eve Party Animal

Celebrate 2013 with the UK’s biggest club night, Propaganda. The HMV Picture House will be home to student friendly club night. This event is for the mainstream indie music fans, but chart music is also played.  Curfew is 5am. Definitely the perfect place for those who want to dance all night long.

Tickets are £7.25 available at http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/

Music ★★★★ Food – Venue ★★★ Family Friendly –

5. The Keilidh

Fancy learning some traditional Scottish dance moves? If so, then head to the outdoor ceilidh event in the Princes Street Gardens. With a food village and outdoor bar, your every party need is catered to while you master your ceilidh technique. Last years event was a total sell out; so don’t miss out this time.

Tickets are £37 available at http://www.edinburghshogmanay.org/

Music ★★★★  Food ★★  Venue ★★  Family Friendly ★★

6. St Giles Candlelit Concerts

If you want to celebrate Hogmanay somewhere that is warmer that Princes Street, then maybe this event is for you. Michael Harris with the St Giles Cathedral Choir directs this year. Parts 1 and 3 of J.S.Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Vivaldi’s Magnificat will be featured. The Candlelit Cathedral provides an exquisite atmosphere.

Tickets are £16 available at http://www.edinburghshogmanay.org/

Music ★★★  Food – Venue ★★★★  Family Friendly ★★★

7. Vegas! The Grand Hogmanay Ball

Can’t afford a trip to America to celebrate 2013? Well, Edinburgh’s own Voodoo Rooms will turn into Las Vegas for one night on the 31st of December 2012. This sophisticated event features music from Cow Cow Boogie, a swinging six-piece from Edinburgh. Burlesque dancers and showgirls will provide entertainment as well as blackjack tables.

Tickets are £25 available at http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/

Music ★★★  Food ★★  Venue ★★★★  Family Friendly –

8. Baby Loves Hogmanay Disco

Electric Circus plays home to the perfect event if you have a baby that loves to dance. Music is played at a baby-friendly volume and Club DJ’s provide the tunes. The disco is family friendly as there is a chill out zone, catering and even a bar for mum and dad.

Tickets are £8 available at http://www.babylovesdisco.co.uk/

Music ★★★ Food ★  Venue ★★  Family Friendly ★★★★★

9. Your Lucky Day Festival

Head to the National Museum of Scotland for some culture on New Years day. Your Lucky Day festival is for all the family and provides dance, music and theatre. There will also be chance to see the Lady Luck art instillation by Walker and Bromwich.

All events are Free.

Music ★★  Food ★★  Venue ★★★★  Family Friendly ★★★★★

10. El Barrio NYE Party

The Latin bar and club will provide a New Years Eve Fiesta. Their aim is to bring the Latin spirit to Edinburgh by providing Latin music, dancing, drink and flair. This night will not disappoint avid Latin music lovers.

Tickets are £10 available on the door

Music ★★★ Food – Venue ★★★ Family Friendly –

Review: The Black Keys

The Black KeysThe Black Keys had the Glasgow crowd bouncing, dancing and singing at the tops of their voices at the SECC on Saturday.  The two-piece band, whose hits include Lonely Boy, Gold On the Ceiling, Howling for You and Sinister Kid, stunned the audience with their atmospheric blues. 

The night began with the supporting act, The Maccabees who are renown for their live performances and they did not disappoint.  Front man, Orlando Weeks, has such a unique voice that could almost be described as hypnotic.  The South London band was so in-sync with each other, their live performance was absolutely flawless.  They delighted fans with a forty-five minute set including Feel to Follow, X-Ray, Love you Better and Pelican. As far as warm up acts go, they certainly had the crowd fired up in anticipation for the headline act.

Shouting “Let’s get this going!” Dan Auerbach tore into Howling for You alongside drummer Patrick Carney.

The tone was set for the evening and the audience sang, clapped, chanted, and crowd surfed throughout the show.  The atmosphere was so electric, we could have even revived a dodo.

There was a momentary pause in the rocky proceedings as Auerbach was illuminated by a beam of light during the first two verses of Little Black Submarines.  The almost haunting solo piece soon broke into The Black Key’s distinctive sound focused heavily on the electric guitar.

It was not only the sublime rocky sounds of The Black Keys which impressed fans, but the overall production was a visual spectacle.  Live images were projected onto screens surrounding the stage, giving the concert an edge and an alternative outlook.

The last song was, of course, the anthem, Lonely Boy.  The venue erupted after the first few, distinctive chords were played out from Auerbach’s guitar and the fans can only be described as wild.

However, like all respectable shows, there was an encore and it was a shame for those who rushed out to catch the train home because they missed an absolute treat.  After clapping and stamping our feet, we were awarded with two more songs from The Black Keys and quite possibly the biggest disco ball the SECC has ever seen.

The Black Keys were set-up to be amazing to see live but they exceeded all high expectations and were truly first-class.  If you want to be entertained with good, honest music played back-to-back then go and see this band!

New record label launched at Jewel and Esk College

Staff and students at Jewel and Esk College have launched a new record label, Feast Records. Utilizing the college’s impressive array of recording equipment the label is aimed at promoting “new young musical talent in Scotland”.

An event will be held to celebrate the new label on the 30th of March at Edinburgh’s Electric. The launch will be ticketed at £5 on the door and will feature young Edinburgh bands such as Maydays, The Nature Boys and Fridgemaster. Feast’s upcoming website will also feature gig and album reviews, studio sessions and up and coming bands.

This record label comes as the latest in a line of recent small independent labels to be launched in the capital such as Song by Toad, Offbeat, Alextronic and Pure Synthesis.

Feast records can be found here on facebook.

Jewel and Esk College website can be found here.

UK’s 2012 Eurovision entry unveiled

Engelbert Humperdink is the UK entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

The UK’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 has been unveiled today on the official Eurovision website. The entry, a ballad entitled “Love Will Set You Free” is performed by veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck.

Humperdinck, 75, will perform the song at the Contest finals in Baku, Azerbaijan on May 26, in a bid to reverse the recent UK bad fortune in the competition.  It has been 15 years since the UK have won the first place prize, with the 1997 entry from Katrina and the Waves, “Love Shine A Light.” It has won the competition a total of 5 times since first entering in 1959.

Born Arnold Gerald Dorsey, Humperdinck is best known for his 1967 hit, “Release Me.” His career has spanned 56 years, and he will be the oldest male performer to take part in Eurovision.

A soaring power ballad with lyrics, “Though I’ll miss you forever, the hurt will run deep. Only love can set you free,” the song has drawn mixed reactions on twitter.

User @barnabyedwards was enthusiastic, “What madness is this? The UK’s Eurovision entry appears to be a proper song sung by a proper singer,” while @garydunion was more condemnatory:  “Oh Jebus, the UK eurovision entry is even worse than I feared. This is truly dire.” His thoughts were not echoed by @dvolvemusic “Love that people are being forced to EAT THEIR WORDS about Humperdinck’s eurovision song. Its insanely brilliant, Yeah, i still love it :D”

Spamalot opens at Playhouse tonight

Monty Python’s Spamalot, a hit Broadway musical is opening at the Edinburgh Playhouse tonight.  Written by Eric Idel and John du Prez, this production of the “rip-off” of Monty Python will run for six-days.

The production stars former Doctor Who Star Bonnie Langford and this UK tour will run in Edinburgh for 6 days.  In celebration of the musical, a giant spam tin is making appearances around the city centre, visiting Edinburgh Castle, the National Gallery and Parliament.

Spamalot tells the story of King Arthur and his knights of the round table à la Monty Python.  Featuring the 1975 film’s killer rabbits, foul-mouthed Frenchmen alongside Broadway staples like chorus girls, the show was immensely popular in the US, winning the TONY award for best musical in 2005.

The show begins at 7:30 Monday-Saturday (matinees at 2:30).  Tickets can be purchased on The Playhouse’s website for between £15.50 and £39.50.

Bob Dylan set to release new album

Bob Dylan has started recording his new studio album.

This will be his 35th full-length effort and it could be released before the end of the year.

“It’s an amazing thing, how he keeps creativity,” Los Lobos singer David Hidalgo told the Aspen Times. He has recently finished recording with Dylan at Jackson Browne’s Los Angeles studio.

Adele, Miley Cyrus, Pete Townshend and Bad Religion were recently featured in a tribute album for Bob Dylan, which included 76 of his best tracks.

Bob Dylan’s label is also preparing to release his complete discography for around £200.

Michael Jackson music stolen

Sony music confirmed today that a number of Michael Jackson tracks were stolen when their website was hacked.

The security breach occurred in April last year, and Sony announced that as many as 70 million PlayStation Network users’ details may have been stolen. The theft of the Michael Jackson tracks came shortly afterwards, but was not revealed until now.

Sony will not confirm which or how many tracks were taken. The music company paid Jackson’s estate £158million for the rights to his remaining songs, some of which it released in the album Michael in December 2010.

It has not been established whether or not tracks from other artists have been affected by this hack. Two British men are due to stand trial for computer misuse in January 2013.

The message in Freddie Mercury’s silence

World Aid Day raises awareness around the globe. Photo: Courtesy UNAIDS

“Goodbye everybody – I’ve got to go, gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.”

These are some of the lines from one of the most famous songs in music history and looking back they seem hauntingly accurate. The song, written by Freddie Mercury, reached number one for the second time in 1991, staying there for five weeks following his death.

Mercury was a larger than life character and shocked the world by publicly announcing he was HIV positive one day before he died.

The legendary icon died at 45, from a type of bacterial pneumonia brought on by AIDS. He died in London, 20 years ago. Mercury is still well known for his flamboyant stage presence, powerful vocals and talented songwriting that has inspired millions.

With the anniversary of his death today, and the upcoming World AIDS Day next week, there are even more reports and research being published to raise awareness of the virus.

The purpose of World AIDS Day is to remind people around the world of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. It has been 30 years since AIDS was first reported, and it is estimated that today 34 million people are living with HIV around the globe.

World AIDS Day 2011 has a ‘looking forward’ theme with a focus on 2015.  The organisation, UNAIDS, which is a joint United Nations programme on HIV and AIDS, is leading the campaign with what they call ‘Getting to Zero’. The organisation claims “we have three main targets which are: zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths by 2015”.

UNAIDS is promoting a “smarter, faster, better campaign” to raise awareness of these targets. They may seem ambitious but with the global statistics of HIV and AIDS decreasing it might not be  impossible.

The total number of Scots with HIV is now 6,845 with 72% made up of males and 28% females. The main spread of HIV is mainly due to drug use and the sharing of needles and syringes.

The Scottish charity, Positive Help, has created services to help those who are affected by HIV and AIDS in the Edinburgh area. They provide a transport service, home support service and a children and young people befriending system. The befriending system is aimed at children from three to eighteen who are HIV positive, or have parents that are.

Angus Mackenzie from the charity claims, “the befriending system is very helpful to both children and teenagers, but also their parents.”

“There was one little boy we took to a festival and his reaction was just mind blowing, as if he’d never seen anything like it before.”

One of the biggest issues with HIV and AIDS is the embarrassment and taboo that still surrounds the virus toady. Mercury himself remained silent about his illness until one day before it killed him. Many suffer discrimination and feel restrictions in relationships with friends and family. This is what the befriending systems aims to prevent.

Despite the advances in life expectancy, Positive Help claims that those influenced by HIV still suffer physically, mentally and socially. Mental health issues are a problem with the virus as it can lead to ill health, depression, isolation and agoraphobia.

Scots Fiddle Festival 2011

This weekend sees the launch of ‘Fiddle 2011’
in Edinburgh city centre.

Boasting traditional music, lively ceilidhs and world class performers the Scots fiddle festival promises to be an action packed, fun filled event for all the family.

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Tickets for ‘Fiddle 2011’ are available from the Queen’s Hall Box Office on 0131 668 2019, www.thequeenshall.net or in person at The Queen’s Hall, 85 – 89 Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9JG. Open Mon – Sat 10am – 5.30pm.

Soundtrack for the city

By Tony Garner

If someone stopped you in the street and asked you to hum a piece of classical music how likely is it that you’d turn to a film score for inspiration? From that slow-motion beach run in Chariots of Fire to Darth Vader’s Imperial Death March, music in the movies has long been a link between popular culture and the classics. Until now Scotland has had no great tradition in the genre, but Tony Garner has been finding out why that may be set to change.

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The Bang: Rory Speed Interview

by Sam Eastop

The Bang are a Scottish band that are certainly making quite a name for themselves. Playing gigs around the country, receiving air time for their songs on the radio, and notably winning the Dundee Battle of the Bands last year.
Since then, The Bang have been recording and spreading the word about their new and exciting sound to the population…and bucket-loads of praise and support seems to follow in their wake.
With top-notch songs and an excellent live performance quality, The Bang are definitely an up-and-coming band to keep an eye on.
To find out a bit more and discover what’s new with The Bang, I caught up with the band’s lead singer, Rory Speed:

Tell us a bit about how the band formed and where did the name come from?

Rory: Well the band formed a few years ago. The guitarist Stewart Black and our drummer Jamie Dunleavey formed as a younger school band which eventually fell through. Just in the past year, Stewart took a few months off to write some new material and they both started looking for a vocalist and a bassist. That’s when they came across me, and I quite rightly said, ‘yeah, I’ll take on the job!’
We were just going to be a two-piece to begin with- just guitar and drums to be a bit different, however it sounded a bit empty so we started looking for a bassist. It was at this point we took on Stewart’s brother Cameron as an additional member and it worked out really well.

‘The Bang’ came around when Stewart was looking on the back of an Arctic Monkeys t-shirt, and one of the songs was ‘Bang Bang.’ So he thought it sounded like a good name for a band, but it was already taken and so we decided to change it to ‘The Bang.’

What would you say your main musical influences are and do you fit into any genres?

Rory: We all come from different backgrounds and what we all listen to is different. A really wide variety of bands and genres such as Death Cab For Cutie who are an alternative rock band to Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Led Zeppelin and The Who which all range from 40 years ago to modern day music.
I think this is great as it allows us to explore different genres but I’d say we do fit into the ‘alternative rock’ genre. We’re trying to introduce a few pop hooks [in our music] too.

What has been your favourite gig so far? Any particularly memorable ones?

Rory: I’ve had a few favourite gigs. The band ‘Make Sparks’ a signed Scottish band that played T in the Park, were a great band to play with. That was a Halloween gig so everyone was dressed up for a laugh and it turned out to be an absolutely amazing place to play, with about 200 people there. It was a good high for us.
The most memorable gig was definitely the Battle of the Bands final in Dundee. 340 people turned out to watch us play and we came out on top in the end and won a recording deal. This was really good and it’s helped us a lot with experience, seeing as we are younger than a lot of bands at the moment.

What’s your favourite song to perform and why?

Rory: It’s got to be ‘Qwerty.’ As I joined the band, I got a snippet of the instrumental and thought it was absolutely fantastic. So to put vocals over that track and play it live to a crowd is brilliant. It’s on our demo and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser, it’s so jumpy and upbeat that it seems to go down an absolute storm! It’s good fun.

Any exciting projects in the near future?

Rory: We’ve got a few coming up, we’re quite busy. Just over the next few months we’re playing with bands like Sucioperro and Page 44, really big up-and-coming bands at the moment with a lot written about them in Q magazine and Kerrang. We’re playing with Sucioperro on the 6th of April and Page 44 in Dundee on the 11th of May. So once we get some money in, it’s going to be all about recording after that and hopefully by June we’ll have a fully-fledged EP which will probably be on iTunes. Hopefully if all goes to plan, that’s us sorted.

Where do you hope to be in a few years time?

Rory: That’s a difficult question. Hopefully we’ll have built up a substantial fan base. We’re quite new, we’ve only been going for about eight months so it’s hard to say where we’ll be. But things have looked promising from the start so hopefully in the next few years we’ll be playing up and down the country to big crowds in England and Wales too. The best we can hope for is to possibly be signed and take on bigger challenges like T in the Park and things like that. We’ve had a few reviews, one of them stating that we were one of the best new live acts at the moment and that we’ll definitely be ‘on the scene’ sooner rather than later, which is really promising and exciting.

How can fans get access to your music?

Rory: Just now, through Facebook. If you type in ‘The Bang’ on Facebook we should be the top search. Our Myspace is http://www.myspace.com/thebanguk. That’s got all the details of gigs etcetera.
In the next few months, before we get out EP out, we’re getting a web page set up too. There’ll be a lot of information in the next few months coming up about gigs and different leases so keep in touch.

Sam Eastop

Edinburgh bands play gig for Teenage Cancer Trust

By Lisa Toner

Edinburgh guitarist Rory Fitzsimmons has set up a live music event in the city to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust as a tribute to his 18-year-old brother Jamie.

Jamie has been receiving treatment from the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the Sick Children’s Hospital for four years and big brother Rory wants to give him “a night he will never forget.”

Rory (left) and his brother Jamie

Rory said: “Jamie has been a patient at the Sick Kids unit since he was 14. We want to raise funds to help TCT, it’s a fantastic organisation who work to make the lives of teenagers with cancer more comfortable and normal.”

The gig named “One More for the Road” will be held at Studio 24 on Thursday. Local bands Still Whisky and The Black Jack Blues Band are on the bill alongside Rory’s own band, hard rock five-piece, Black Cherokee.

Black Cherokee have also written a song dedicated to Jamie, a rock ballad aptly named ‘Brother.’ Rory said: “All of the guys in the band put what they could into the song. It just came together perfectly as we all know Jamie.”

Black Cherokee

The track is due to be released as a fundraising single and all proceeds will go to Teenage Cancer Trust.

Louise Stirton, Teenage Cancer Trust’s fundraising executive for the East of Scotland said: “We’re honoured that Rory and Jamie are hosting this gig for us, they are a really inspiring pair. It’s going to be a great night and everyone should grab a ticket and come and join us!”

The money raised at Thursday’s event will help the teenage cancer charity raise the £1.6m needed for a new unit at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital for young people between 17 and 24 years and for a unit at the new children’s hospital due to open in 2013 for ages 13 to 16 years. Teenage Cancer Trust also have plans to recruit more specialised clinical staff to provide the best care and support for young people.

Tickets for One More for the Road on Thursday 27th January at Studio 24, Carlton Road are £5 and are available at the venue door or from Ripping Records or Has Beans Café.

Copies of Black Cherokee’s ‘Brother’ will also be on sale after the gig.

Find out more about Black Cherokee at www.myspace.com/blackcherokeeband.