Just An Observation: Friday November 1st

Well that is Halloween over for another year! But is it though? It would seem in line with everything else which was once a relaxed, informal bit of fun it has now become a big business that extends over a week long period. Rivalling Christmas as an ongoing theme-don’t even start me on The Dome in George Street who put their decorations for the yuletide period up several weeks ago- there were seemingly Halloween parties from Tuesday onwards and no doubt many will extend into the weekend for those who work the Monday to Friday nine to five shift, lest they miss out on anything which might make them and their lives appear more interesting than they actually are.
It is not mainly the extension of Halloween which has spoilt it for me though but the out and out Americanisation of the event. Thus we have trick or treating rather than guising, pumpkins as opposed to turnips whilst monkey nuts have all but disappeared-this is actually a blessing- and youngsters no longer have to perform or provide anything in exchange for their rewards but instead come accompanied with a sense of entitlement just for actually knocking at your door demanding something. Perhaps someone should start a curmudgeon themed festival for those like me who can no longer bear the false pretentiousness, overblown extravaganzas and commercialisation which have now spoilt every time of year once associated with celebration somehow relegating said times to an expensive and drained of fun bore!
On a more positive note tonight sees a date with the magnificent Nick Cave at the Usher Hall. An artist who stands alone foraging his own path Cave has an extensive back catalogue to pull from but even more impressively his latest offering, Push the Sky Away, ranks among his very best work which when it includes classics such as The Good Son, The Boatman’s Call and Kicking Against the Pricks among others then this is no mean feat. A full review of this gig will be posted soon after but inevitably I am expecting great things and no doubt will crumble in an emotional heap as soon as the opening lines to ‘The Ship Song’ start up; as I always do!
Following the gig –as if it needed followed- for those not ready to retire before midnight is the very welcome return of Hot Mess at the Wee Red Bar. Essentially a gay club it is as far removed from that notion as it is from anything else on the scene in Edinburgh at the moment- with the exception of Rammed about which more later- and concentrates on more on providing excellent music accompanied by equally excellent people. Once a stalwart bi-monthly experience Hot Mess has departed to Glasgow of late where its charms and attitudes seemed to be more appreciated as Edinburgh folk seem to be slow on the uptake these days as far as good clubbing is concerned; preferring instead to sit around complaining that there is nothing happening. If you are looking for a good night out with great music and interesting company then I suggest this is the place to be tonight!
The aforementioned Rammed is also returning to the Voodoo Rooms on Saturday the 16th November. This live music/club experience is back for its second instalment and this time around features the wondrous Teen Canteen as the live act. With their debut single ‘Honey’ having sold out within its first week-it is still available on iTunes however- along with extensive radio play and rave reviews it would appear that this also a date not to be missed. A full write up on Teen Canteen will be gracing these pages very soon as will further details about Rammed whose team are at the heart of organising a Lou Reed tribute night to take place during that hinterland week between Christmas and New Year featuring several select local musicians and scene faces. Details will be updated as soon as they are released.
The Lou Reed tribute night is of course in recognition of the talent and importance of Reed who sadly passed away last Sunday. Extremely important in terms of his contribution to rock and roll –both glam and punk are hugely indebted to him as is gritty realism in rock lyrics- he was also an extremely important personal figure to me and one who will be sorely missed even if his recent output failed to reach me in the same way as his work with the Velvet Underground or his solo seventies efforts such as Transformer or Berlin. Thank you, Lou!
On other musical fronts this week I was pleased to see James Blake win the Mercury Prize for his second album Overgrown which I have been playing on rotation for several months now- along with Nick Cave’s latest and Bowie’s The Next Day which Blake triumphed over at these awards- and have grown to love as an exquisite piece of music.
These albums are about to be joined by the fourth Arcade Fire album ‘Reflektor’ which on pre-release I thought was a bit overblown and indulgent but after a week of living and growing with it realise it has longevity and definitely ranks with their other output if not improving on it. The introduction od James Murphy formerly of LCD Soundsystem has given them a dancier more electronic edge which has allowed them to forge ahead into new sonic and musical terrain whilst still retaining their own individual sound.
Co-incidentally Murphy has also done a sterling remix of Bowie’e ‘Love is Lost’ from the aforementioned The Next Day which is accompanied by a $13 video which succeeds by showing up others by lesser artists with hundreds of thousands thrown at them as the artistically void pieces of work they are.
Here to kick the weekend off is that great remix of ‘Love is Lost’

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