Dan Patlansky: Bring the world to its knees

Dan Patlanksy | The Borderline |  27 April 2015

The walls of The Borderline are lined with old performance photos of musicians who’ve gone on to sell out arenas and even stadiums. If his sold-out show is anything to go by, it won’t be long before Dan Patlansky’s picture is up there alongside Pearl Jam’s.

The South African uses the launch of his new album, ‘Dear Silence Thieves’, to showcase not only his natural talent as a virtuoso blues guitarist but also his ever-expanding skills as singer and songwriter. Case in point: the fiery funk of set opener ‘Backbite’ is a world away from the 12-bar blues he cut his teeth on – a concise, catchy radio hit-in-waiting. Here in the freedom of the live setting it plays out a little longer than the version on record, thanks to one of his signature searing solos that show off his chops (and accompanying facial gurning) without a trace of self-indulgence.

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Paul Simon and Sting: These are the days of miracle and wonder

Paul Simon and Sting | The O2 | 16 April 2015

Both started out in successful groups that split acrimoniously.Each has a failed Broadway musical to his name. And, uhm, their surnames start with ‘S’. Not much in common, then, between the quintessential ‘60s New York folk singer and a Newcastle milkman’s son born Gordon Sumner.

Doesn’t matter. Any real differences between Paul Simon and Sting suddenly seem irrelevant when, together, they open the set with a few of their biggest hits. And as they trade verses on songs like ‘Fields of Gold’ and ‘Mother and Child Reunion’, it’s obvious the odd couple share a mutual respect and back catalogues that are not insubstantial — or incompatible.

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Go back to the ’80s at Rewind Festival

Great Scott, Marty! It’s time to jump back in the DeLorean and return to the ‘80s as Rewind Festival returns for its seventh consecutive year.

This edition of the world’s biggest ‘80s festival, headlined by OMD on Saturday and Human League on Sunday, takes place from 21 August to 23 August 2015 at Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames.

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The War On Drugs: Surrounded by the night

The War On Drugs | Brixton Academy | 24 February 2015

Adam Granduciel spent two years meticulously crafting the songs on ‘Lost In The Dream’. So of course he’s put just as much effort into recreating them — near perfectly — on stage. Handling vocals and lead guitar, the War on Drugs creative genius has surrounded himself with a five-piece band — including a saxophonist and multiple keyboard players — to recapture the obsessive detail of his original studio recordings.

Musically, at least, the approach is a success. Sprawling nine-minute opener ‘Under The Pressure’ sets the tone, the earnest Dylanesque vocals swirling through long ambient passages of rippling guitars, droning saxes, and lush synths. ‘Disappearing’ and ‘Eyes To The Wind’, performed back to back as they are on the album, blend lyrics of despair with blurry, dreamy soundscapes.

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Beck: Where it’s at

| Beck | Roundhouse | 3 September 2014 |

Beck’s not one for standing still, his eclectic back catalogue leaping from hip-hop folk to psychedelic country via disco funk and indie rock. Tonight, in person, he’s equally mercurial, a livewire performer who, in the space of 75 minutes, embodies an aggressive punk kid (‘Novocane’), teen slacker (‘Loser’), tie-dyed fireside balladeer (‘Blue Moon’), sexed-up Prince circa 1982 (‘Debra’), foot-stomping busker-with-harmonica (‘One Foot In The Grave’), and roof-raising MC (the climactic finale ‘Where It’s At’). Without missing a beat. Or, seemingly, taking a breath.

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Aerosmith: Eat the rich

Aerosmith | Calling Festival | 28 June 2014

On the list of rock show clichés, playing guitar on top of a grand piano comes just below drum solos. But when Joe Perry does just that during the original power ballad, ‘Dream On’, there’s no collective eye-roll from the punters. Instead, it’s all cheers and raised lighters.

Aerosmith clearly know what their audiences want – and subtlety is not it. Tonight’s all about classic hits, confetti cannons, a blinding light show, and the rockstar grandstanding the band helped originate in the ‘70s. In his black top hat and leopard-print coat, Steven Tyler struts up and down the runway like a man half his age, twirls his scarf-adorned mic stand above his head, declares his love for London, and plasters that famous mouth all over the big screens. Perry, rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, and bassist Tom Hamilton strike various poses perfected over 40 years on the road. And the big songs just keep on coming.

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