Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Friday, 23 September 2011

Live Music: Hard-Fi at The Junction, Cambridge

Back in 2005, Staines based Brit-rock/pop band HARD-FI stormed the charts with debut album Stars of CCTV, packed full with popular indie anthems that received radio play long after the band stepped out of the spotlight. It feels like yesterday that my sister and I crushed up against the metal barriers in the Junction's main arena and sang along to front man Richard Archer's brooding, urban lyrics about "Living for the Weekend" and nights on the streets of Staines as the "Stars of CCTV", watching the red lights of Heathrow's planes.

Last night, after a three year break from the music scene, HARD-FI celebrated their long-awaited brand new third album with another exciting gig at the Junction in Cambridge. Six years older but still bursting with energy, the band were clearly pleased to be back. Performing old favourites, like opener "Tied up too tight" and "Cash Machine", the boys put on a polished, passionate show. With Richard Archer's fantastic stage presence and witty banter, the crowd were loving it. Far more than a one or two hit wonder, the band reminded their Cambridge fans of a whole range of hits - including upbeat "Gotta Reason", "Hard to Beat" and "Suburban Nights". Still sounding as fresh and unique as ever, the band wowed the crowd as usual with their musical talent, story telling songs and confidence.

Reminiscing the soundtrack to my student days would have been more than enough to send me home happy and humming about 'getting my boots on' and 'flashing blue lights camera action'. Yet, the best was still to come. New tracks "Love Song" and "Fire in the House" took the unmistakably HARD-FI indie anthem style to a whole new level - mixed-tempo, funky, bordering on dance music. I enjoyed the band's jerky and excitable moves almost as much as the original and fascinating new sounds they were blasting out. A cover of the Boomtown Rats' "I don't like Mondays" topped off the night - Archer's cheeky quips, humility and total inability to say a sentence without at least five F words made it even better.

The verdict? HARD-FI's music is indie pop for grown ups. And effortlessly making a comeback is the definition of cool. Buy the album!!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Review - Caroline Horton: You're not like the other girls, Chrissy

I went to see Caroline Horton's solo performance last night at the Junction in Cambridge. It was fantastic: imaginative, touching, heartbreakingly and delicately written, and, above all, performed with outstanding wit, talent and feeling.

Caroline is young (surprisingly so - I wondered about her age throughout the play and was astounded when I found out at the end that she was born in 1981). She is a clever and eloquent story teller. "You're Not Like the Other Girls, Chrissy" is the story of her French grandmother's unconventional engagement to an English soldier and her unwavering love for him in the face of adversity in occupied France during the second World War. Caroline, as Chrissy, plays the part beautifully - capturing the strength, resolve, eccentricity and faltering English perfectly.

The audience was drawn in from the very first scene - in the busy Gare du Nord in Paris, with a Chrissy full of hope and love, at last to be reunited with her uptight Englishman - to the last, captivated along the way by suitcases, opened up to reveal English countrysides, flowers, illuminated Paris scenes, and undercover BBC radio broadcasts. Chrissy's story, like her manner, jumps from humour, to elation, to despair, to anger, to wistfulness and willfulness. Cleverly illustrated with props and hilarious expressions - facial and vocal - Chrissy's tale lovingly describes war-torn France, family life, English idiocies and Liberation.

The most amazing aspect of Caroline Horton's performance is her ability to flawlessly act out something so close to her heart. As the play concluded, the audience shed a tear, some sobbed whole heartedly, as we were suddenly and completely immersed in Caroline and Chrissy's family, allowed to share an honest and poignant insight into their memories, and to experience the joy of a real life fairy tale.