You can email me

Oil City Confidential (2009) by Julien Temple

Ten months ago, the Blonde from Canvey took me to a special screening of Oil City Confidential at a time when the producers were looking for a distribution deal. I blogged about it — here — because that’s what I do now.

A few days ago, she took me to see the film again, as part of a special Dr Feelgood extravaganza at Koko's (film + gin&tonics + Wilko Johnson concert). That night the film was showing silmutaneouly in 60 cinemas across the UK and Ireland, and the cinemas that were satellited went on to stream the Koko gig live.

Oil City is even better the second time around. For one thing, my enjoyment of the film wasn’t spoiled by excruciating back pain (the screening of 10 months ago was only weeks before back surgery). It also was my first time watching a film on the big screen while getting intoxicated on gin&tonics (I recommend). The Wilko concert that followed was really good too but thank god for Alison Moyet's guest appearance; she saved us from Wilko's vocal deficiency.

……………………………………………………….

"I don’t think [Julien Temple’s] ever made a film as good, and purely insightful as this one. […] Oil City Confidential is a vivid study of period, music and place. I ­certainly felt good." — Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian

"A clearly affectionate homage to the Canvey Island foursome whose incendiary R&B paved the way for punk." — Neil Smith, Total Film

(Tomatometer)

The Joy Formidable @ Koko, London, 27 Oct 09

I had never heard of them until I saw them open for Passion Pit at a recent gig. That was a very nice surprise. Particularly because I was in the mood for that type of music that night. Ritzy Bryan is such a good poser; I don’t know how much of a rock chick she truly is, but man does she play the part well.

They’ve made a few tracks downloadable for free on last.fm. Good stuff but their sound and attitude translate better on stage; they’re just more enjoyable live and loud.

The Joy Formidable - Austere

The Joy Formidable - Whirring

Flick set: The Joy Formidable @ Koko

"I said no photos, you little shit!" — angry Michael Angelakos bashes a fan’s camera with his mic at a recent Passion Pit gig.

….Ok, so, that’s not exactly what happened. Angelakos is too sweet a guy to be doing that. But his mic did collide with my camera. The collision was very minor and totally accidental, I am sure of it. Now, I wish I could say the same of the tiny girl standing next to me: she suddenly disappeared under Michael’s weight and when she resurfaced a minute later she looked somewhat damaged by that unexpected encounter. Ouch.

Flickr set: Passion Pit at Koko, London, 27 Oct 09

Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding. Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding. Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding. Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding. Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding. Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding. Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding. Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding.

    Deerhunter @ Koko, London 24 August 09

    Well, I wasn’t particularly blown away by Deerhunter live, nor was I particularly disappointed. They mostly performed songs from Microcastle, which I’m not complaining about since it’s got plenty of great tracks and I’m not familiar with the rest of their discography anyway. Thing is, they hadn’t really reworked any of their songs for the stage, some of them sounding like pale copies of their studio versions. One thing I really found annoying was how Bradford Cox’s vocals were completely drowned out by the chords and drums, except for “Microcastle”, which for that precise reason was the highlight of the evening for me.

    Sidenote: Deerhunter brought along two Californian bands for support. I found Crystal Antlers rather cool the first couple of songs but then I swiftly moved on and proceeded to go to my happy place and watch a movie there. It was however impossible to mentally block out Health, but I’m not sure if it’s because I found them impressive or if it’s simply due to the fact that their noise rock was so loud that it caused internal bleeding.

    Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy. Full flickr set here

      Grizzly Bear @ Koko, London, 18 Aug 09

      And me who thought that Grizzly Bear would be the typical band that struggles to sound as good on stage as they do in the recording studio. I couldn’t have been more wrong: last night’s gig was perfect in all respects. The overall production was absolutely flawless with lots of instrumental layers produced with a really crisp sound, impeccable vocals, and beautiful lighting.  Me happy.

      Full flickr set here

      M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me. M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me.

        M83 @ Koko, London, July 2009

        A month after seeing Phoenix, I was back at Koko’s for another helping of French cheese. Anthony Gonzalez kicked off with a few really beautiful ambient pieces before beeing joined by the very cool Morgan Kibby and the drummer. They were really sleek, switching back and forth between dream-pop and more hardcore electronica with ease and to really good effect, and I thought the band sounded as good live as on the records. Having said all that, however enjoyable the gig was, it never quite took off for me.

        Phoenix @ Koko, London, June 09 

        Perfect little gig that was. Good energy, good crowd; it started early, finished early and I left with my hair dry. It was all very civilized and yet pleasantly loud and messy.

        I’m a big fan of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix so that gig was a real treat as it showcased quite a few songs from that album. They kicked off with "Lisztomania", which set the mood and energy beautifully for the rest of the night. They kept their energy levels and the noise up until halfway through their set when they interrupted the frenzy with "Love Like A Sunset (Part I)”, a nice instrumental interlude that gave Thomas Mars the chance to catch his breath (and have a lie down on stage). I loved the slow build up of that number and the explosive finish; making it my personal highlight of that gig. “Rome”, however, was a flop, comparatively. It’s probably the song from the album I’ve listened to most, so I was really looking forward to roming it in unison with Mars and my fellow gig monsters. Mars did try to warm us up with some clapping excercises and some “Rome Rome Rome” chanting but it didn’t work as well as the earlier “Run Run Run” and overall the crowd was simply not inclined to make that song a hit the way, say, “Too Young" had been just a few minutes earlier, and the way we were all prepared to make "1901" the climax of the night. Which we did during the encore.

        Sidenote 1: The drummer tried his hardest to break his drum kit, battering his cymbals from a standing position for maximum force. He was rightly compared by last.fm’ers with Animal from the Muppets.

        Sidenote 2: French peeps everywhere. There was a lot of talk about how personal hygiene was overrated and the stinkier the cheese, the better.

        Sidenote 3: The guy next to me managed to give Thomas Mars a music demo of his stuff while Mars was crowd surfing on “1901”.

        Friendly Fires @ Koko

        Friendly Fires @ Koko, London, Dec 08

        My last concert of 2008 and certainly one of the best (along with Bon Iver, Hot Chip and Sigur Ros).

        Here’s a last.fm review of last night’s gig that perfectly sums it up for me (“I didn’t really have any expectations of Friendly Fires’ performance. Obviously their album is great but how would that translate to the stage? In the most amazing light and hip gyrating show ever!”).

        Last night was full of out-of-synch jumping, serious headbanging, bad-but-who-cares singing along (apparently, we’re all gonna live in Paris, I promise, I’m on it), profuse sweating, camera flashing and the predicable flying beer cups. I did manage to dodge the beer (for once), but I couldn’t escape the attack of FF frontman Macfarlane’s armpits….The dood threw himself at me, not once but twice (during “White Diamonds” I think, and then again during “Paris”), and each time, my head ended up completely pressed against his chest so the only way for me to get some fucking air was to move towards the armpit area… not a smart move, I know.

        Highlights: “White Diamonds”, “Jumping In The Pool”, “Paris” and Macfarlane’s dance moves (I might steal those from him).

        Friendly Fires - White Diamonds

        Full set of photos here

        Rararioting @ Koko’s

        I’d like to start by saying that if I have to get back surgery, I’ll send the bill to Ra Ra Riot’s management. My herniated disc and I had to sustain 2 hours of standing through a DJ set (DJ Mikey Four in the Main Room) that got some uncontrollable back contortions from me (that can’t be good for my back, surely), another 30 minutes of an annoying opening act [insert back spams of total disapproval] and then — finally!—  an hour or so of rocknrolla, Syracuse style. By the time Ra Ra Riot came on stage, my back and my entire left leg had gone to sleep anyway; not a bad thing, considering that I had made the risky decision to position myself on the front line: that’s about a few hundred people plotting your death behind your back. Not good. At one point I got the ritual beer showering treatment but I pretended as if nothing had happened coz, I’m that classy, and also I couldn’t turn around without risking a major sciatic trauma.

        As for the Ra Ra, they were sensational. I’ve been a fan since earlier this year and that was based on the handful of songs from their EP. They dropped their first album a couple of weeks ago, and it’s excellent, albeit just a predictable extension of  that EP I knew and loved already. But I seriously recommend seeing them live. They are 100% into their set and they do the sort of crazy shit to their backs that I can only dream of being able to do myself. Vocalist and front man Wes Miles kept jumping up and down (which makes taking good shots of him a bit challenging) and pounding his chest. Cellist Alexandra Lawn, and violinist Rebecca Zeller are total cuties and they were so into the songs that it was clear to me that all they wanted was to ditch their instruments and join Wes Miles in his jumping frenzy (and chest pounding maybe?).

        I know that it’s stating the obvious but every single one of their songs sounded much better live. Their set was a bit short (1 hour or so I think) but their repertoire is still limited so fair enough. However, they did not come back for an encore, which left me wanting for more. And I can’t for the life of me remember if they played “Suspended in Gaffa” (one of my favourite songs from their album)…I mean, did I miss something? Did those nasty kids finally manage to put me in a coma for an entire song? Oh well… It was great, it was a riot.

        Added bonus: Koko. It’s the former ‘Camden Palace’ (the first London venue Madonna ever performed at, back in her ‘Everybody’ days). Beautiful club/concert venue that has had an impressive line up of musicians. This year alone, they’ve hosted some of my favourite current bands such as Operator Please, the Ting Tings and MGMT. By the way, the venue’s website has a great photo gallery (side note: that cute Koko photographer kept getting in my shots).

        Ra Ra Riot - Suspended in Gaffa