Gig Review: Shakespear’s Sister at Sage Gateshead, 10th November 2019

The second gig of my weekend double-header at Sage Gateshead, following Adam Ant on the Saturday, was Shakespear’s Sister on the Sunday. Geth came with me on this occasion, as he’s probably more of a fan than I am – I like their stuff but am not hugely familiar with it. The November tour was in support of recent reunion album Ride Again, the band’s first new material since the early ’90s.

The support act was an artist called Delena, whose saccharine pop was a bit forgettable. I don’t usually have high standards for support acts, as I think it’s great that artists who are just starting out get the chance to go on big tours, but having enjoyed the Glam Skanks so much the previous evening, I was fairly disappointed this time round!

Delena

Shakespear’s Sister did a very varied set – a mixture of their new material and their old classics. The new stuff has a slight country and western tinge, which I’m not usually a fan of, but I didn’t mind on this occasion (though Geth wasn’t particularly impressed). It was the more well-known songs in the second half that really got the audience on their feet, though. Both Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit were apparently struggling with colds, and so they sang exceptionally under the circumstances!

Shakespear's Sister

On the whole it was a great show with lots of good tunes, onstage banter and interesting visuals. Can’t ask for more.

Updated Band Aid baby bucket list progress: song artists 6/37 (16.2%); message artists 2/7 (28.6%); total artists 8/44 (18.2%).

Always out and about

I’ve not had a lot of time for running over the last couple of weeks, but for the last few days, I’ve certainly been getting my daily step goal met! I doubled it between yesterday’s parkrun and dancing to Adam Ant last night, and tonight Geth and I were back at the Sage Gateshead to see Shakespear’s Sister – a slightly more sedate gig but still a very enjoyable one! I also managed to fit in a vintage fair trip today, which was fairly successful.

I had originally planned to go to Manchester tomorrow to see a talk at the Central Library, but given that I’ve had zero time for NaNoWriMo the last few days, it’s sadly looking unlikely. I think I’ll be having a quiet day with my project (and my text adventure updates) instead!

Judy's Vintage Fair hand stamp
Not an OOTD: it’s a bit faded now, but I do like the hand stamp you get at Judy’s Vintage Fairs.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Shadows In The City
Adam & The Ants – Antmusic
Kygo and Whitney Houston – Higher Love
The Knack – My Sharona
Shakespear’s Sister – Stay

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #22

Day 22, and we’ve arrived at 27th July 1992.

July 1992
This was the way the world (Germany, to be precise) looked in July 1992. We went touring all around Europe that month so we’ve got oodles of pictures showing how the world looked, but I’ve chosen our car in front of a building, ’cause I like pictures of cars.

Let’s see what might have been on the car stereo while we were exploring!

Now! That's What I Call Music #22
Track 1: Erasure – Take A Chance On Me

Erasure get to their ‘Abba covers’ phase.  I’m generally a fan of synth covers of classic songs, and I do like this one, apart from the random rap towards the end.

Track 2: CeCe Peniston – Finally

I’ve always found the chorus on this one annoying.  Sorry!

Track 3: KWS – Please Don’t Go

Nice tune, but it’s a bit repetitive for me.

Track 4: Take That – It Only Takes A Minute

Take That make their first Now! appearance!  I adored them so much as a little girl.  Robbie was my favourite, and I was so gutted when he left the group.  To this day, I don’t consider them proper Take That (‘Fake That’, I used to say derisively when they first reappeared in the ’00s) unless Robbie’s involved.

Ahem.  Anyway.

This is a nice solid pop cover of the Tavares classic – good, danceable stuff.

Track 5: Nick Berry – Heartbeat

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Urgh, Nick Berry‘s back.  I thought after Every Loser Wins, we had all suffered enough.  This one is a pointless ’90s cover of the Buddy Holly classic, presumably to tie in with the TV show Heartbeat.

Track 6: Snap – Rhythm Is A Dancer

Absolute classic, epic dance track – I love this one!  One of my favourites.

Track 7: Utah Saints – Something Good

Brilliant track with epic-level sampling of Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting.  Now, THIS is how you sample appropriately.  Wonderful stuff.

Track 8: The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

One of my favourite tracks from my favourite band – lovely feelgood song with beautiful instrumentals.

Track 9: Marc Almond – The Days Of Pearly Spencer

I’m going to see Marc Almond later this year!  I’m very excited.

Sadly, it won’t be at the one-off Soft Cell reunion gig, which is one of my big gig disappointments this year – I really wanted to go, but due to a miscommunication I missed the ten-minute ticket window.  However, I will be seeing him solo at the Electric Dreams festival, so that sort-of makes up for it.

This track has a lovely epic atmosphere and beautiful instrumentals – really like this one.

Track 10: The Beautiful South – Bell Bottomed Tear

Pretty tune and nice vocals, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 11: Prince – Thunder

I like the epic intro and chorus, and the instrumentals are interesting.  Good track.

Track 12: U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing

Repetitive instrumentals, dull tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 13: The Shamen – LSI (Love Sex Intelligence)

Good upbeat dance track – happily nodding along here.

Track 14: Electronic – Disappointed

Nice bit of synth electro from Electronic.  Solid stuff.

Track 15: Shakespear’s Sister – I Don’t Care

Nice upbeat track with a rockier edge.  Vocals not as impressive as usual for Shakespear’s Sister, but still solid.

Track 16: Carter USM – Do Re Me, So Far So Good

So, after me going on for weeks about various great Carter USM covers of various tracks, they finally show up on a Now! compilation with one of their original songs!

Great upbeat rock song, typically brilliant Carter lyrics and singalong chorus.

Track 17: Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You

Could do without the spoken word on the intro, but it’s a classic track and a good head-nodder.

Track 18: SL2 – On A Ragga Tip

The reggae bit’s good, but the track in general is a bit haphazard.

Track 19: The Orb – Blue Room

Nice bit of chillout, though I could do without the siren noises.

Track 20: Richard Marx – Hazard

Epic atmosphere, great solid track.

Track 21: Elton John – The One

Nice tune, but it’s fairly generic for Elton John.  Not a favourite.

Track 22: Roy Orbison – I Drove All Night

This one was apparently written for Orbison, but I prefer the Cyndi Lauper version, which came out first (I’m not sure which one counts as the ‘cover’ in this case).  Still a great song, though, whoever’s singing it.

Track 23: Jimmy Nail – Ain’t No Doubt

More upbeat than usual for Jimmy Nail – I quite like this one.

Track 24: Joe Cocker – Unchain My Heart

A bit overblown in the vocals at the start, but once the beat gets going it’s quite good – great funk bassline.

Track 25: Curtis Stigers – You’re All That Matters To Me

Another too-slow too-saccharine one from Curtis Stigers, and this time there’s no sax to save it.  Not keen.

Track 26: Wilson Phillips – You Won’t See Me Cry

Nice feelgood tune, nice atmosphere, great sax solo.  Still a little slow for me though.

Track 27: Crowded House – Four Seasons In One Day

Lovely tune, great lyrics – really like this one.

Track 28: Annie Lennox – Why

Nice introspective track from Annie Lennox – I really like her stuff from this period.

Track 29: George Michael and Elton John – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Classic duet, epic track – lovely song.

Track 30: Diana Ross – One Shining Moment

Lovely tune, but again it’s a bit of a slow ballad for me.

Track 31: Vanessa Williams – Save The Best For Last

This is another one of those feelgood ballads that I always heard on the radio on ferries during family holidays around this time.  It was also used in an advert for Bisto or Oxo (I think?  I’m sure it was stock cubes or soup or something ‘comforting’), so I kind of associate it with that vibe.

Track 32: En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)

Great upbeat head-nodder from En Vogue – really like this one, especially the a cappella bit towards the end.

Track 33: Soul II Soul – Joy

This one’s a bit dull in my view – nothing special going on here.

Track 34: Incognito – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing

Great upbeat track to finish on today – love those instrumentals!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #21

Day 21, and Now! #21 was released on 13th April 1992.

April 1992
This is the way the world looked in April 1992. If you’re thinking it looks a bit ’80s, that’s because this shiny new-to-us holiday caravan was a few years old when we bought it, and so its original features are actually of a similar era to those of the gorgeous late ’80s house in which Geth and I now live. That TV was definitely not new either (I don’t think they were even still making black and white TVs in 1992).

Let’s have a listen to the stuff that soundtracked those ungodly-long-to-a-seven-year-old three-hour car journeys to the caravan!

Now! That's What I Call Music #21
Track 1: Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Absolute classic, the ultimate in epic atmospheres.  A welcome return to the charts made it the Christmas number one for 1991.  Beautiful piece of work.

Track 2: Wet Wet Wet – Goodnight Girl

Wet Wet Wet definitely into their slower, more introspective ’90s phase.  Some lovely vocals here.

Track 3: Shakespear’s Sister – Stay

Beautiful, classic song, with both vocalists used to brilliant effect.  Absolutely adore this one.

Track 4: The Temptations – My Girl

There seems to have been a bit of a trend in the early ’90s for ’60s classics coming back into the charts, though I think this example probably had something to do with the My Girl film.  Lovely track, anyway.

Track 5: Simply Red – Stars

Nice instrumentals, but the vocals and tune on this one annoy me.

Track 6: The KLF – Justified And Ancient

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Bit of a messy track, with too much going on.  Not keen on the tune to the vocals either.

Track 7: Madness – It Must Be Love

Re-release of Madness’ awesome 1981 cover of the Labi Siffre song.  Great to have this song and its fabulous sax solo back in the mix!

Track 8: Genesis – I Can’t Dance

Great rock-edged head-nodder from Genesis.  Love that singalong chorus, not to mention the classic shuffle in the video!

Track 9: Julia Fordham – (Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways

Nice piano instrumentals, but it’s too much of a slow, dull ballad otherwise.

Track 10: Crowded House – Weather With You

I’ve always liked the atmosphere of the verses on this – lovely guitar and vocals.

Track 11: Right Said Fred – Deeply Dippy

Typically daft track from Right Said Fred – nice tune on the bridge though.

Track 12: Mr Big – To Be With You

Argh, annoying vocals from the start, and that chant-along chorus only makes it worse!  Never been a fan of this one – too cheesy for me.

Track 13: Everything But The Girl – Love Is Strange

Everything But The Girl are a bit hit and miss for me.  This one’s too slow and too repetitive as far as I’m concerned.

Track 14: Roxette – Church Of Your Heart

Solid pop-rock as ever from Roxette – nice tune, good head-nodder.

Track 15: Brian May – Driven By You

Nice upbeat rock track, suitably epic lines going on.  Really like this one.

Track 16: The Wonder Stuff – Welcome To The Cheap Seats

I actually had this one in my head earlier today because the interview I was transcribing for work contained the phrase ‘we’re in the cheap seats’.

Anyway, the song is an absolute belter and one of my favourite Wonder Stuff tracks.  Stunning folk-rock instrumentals, singalong chorus, and bonus backing vocals from Kirsty MacColl.  Beautiful.

Track 17: The Jesus & Mary Chain – Far Gone And Out

Great upbeat rock track – Jesus & Mary Chain are another band that nailed that ’90s sound early on.

Track 18: James – Born Of Frustration

Love this tune and the way it builds – that trumpet hook is truly epic!

Track 19: The Cure – High

Lovely, sweet track from the Cure – gorgeous tune.

Track 20: Shanice – I Love Your Smile

The vocal hook on this one has always annoyed me, and that rap is awful and misplaced.  It gets one point for the sax solo, though.

Track 21: The Pasadenas – I’m Doing Fine Now

Pleasant, inoffensive cover of the ’70s classic.  A little dull for my tastes, though.

Track 22: Kylie Minogue – Give Me Just A Little More Time

Another generic cover of a ’70s track.  Not a fan of this trend.

Track 23: East Side Beat – Ride Like The Wind

Nice atmosphere, good upbeat dance track.

Track 24: 2 Unlimited – Twilight Zone

Typically epic dance from 2 Unlimited – great track.

Track 25: The KLF and The Children Of The Revolution – America: What Time Is Love?

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

An annoying doubling-up-the-artist faux pas from the Now! compilers – we’ve not had one of those for a while!

Unfortunately, this track is just as messy as the earlier one in my book – some nice samples, but they get drowned out by the cacophony.

Track 26: Clivilles & Cole – A Deeper Love

This one’s a bit generic – the piano instrumentals and vocals sound like pretty much every song that was released around this time.

Track 27: Opus III – It’s A Fine Day

Really like the vocal melody on this one.

Track 28: Erasure – Breath Of Life

Another perfect piece of synthpop from Erasure – those synth lines are to die for.

Track 29: MC Hammer – Addams Groove

Daft novelty track to tie in with the Addams Family film.  Still better than most of the stuff MC Hammer did.

Track 30: Salt-N-Pepa – Expression

Not enough in the track to keep my interest here – pretty much Salt-N-Pepa-by-numbers.  I do quite like the line ‘excuse us while we rap’, though.

Track 31: CeCe Peniston – We Got A Love Thang

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Annoying vocals, generic tune.  Not a fan.

Track 32: Paula Abdul – Vibeology

Like the instrumentals, but the song structure is a bit messy.  Also, that I-can-only-imagine-it’s-a-pregnancy-reference ‘in the funky way’ hook is insanely annoying.

Track 33: Alison Limerick – Make It On My Own

Not enough melody for me here – this one’s pretty dull.

Track 34: Tina Turner – Way Of The World

As is typical with most Tina Turner songs of this era, this one’s a bit slow and dull for me.  Nice sax solo though.

Track 35: Curtis Stigers – I Wonder Why

Mega sax intro, but it can’t save this boring, saccharine ballad.  Not for me.

Track 36: Diana Ross – When You Tell Me That You Love Me

And we’re back to an overblown, slow ballad to close the compilation.  Nice tune, but it’s just too cheesy for me.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #16

Day 16 takes us to 20th November 1989.

November 1989
This is the way the world looked in November 1989, when I was small and Christmas trees were…silver. I am 100% positive that nobody usually put up their Christmas trees in November back in the ’80s – that is most definitely a 21st century thing due to ongoing Christmas creep – but I think my great-aunt and great-uncle got the decorations out early that year so that the wee bro and I could ‘help’. Of course, in my world, Christmas decorations still look like that – or even older – ’cause my mum and her mum before her have been keeping them all as heirlooms since the ’40s.

So, we’ve reached the end of the ’80s in our Now! compilation journey.  Let’s enjoy those last few glorious tracks!

Now! That's What I Call Music #16

Track 1: Tears For Fears – Sowing The Seeds Of Love

So I was super gutted when Tears For Fears announced their tour last autumn, ’cause the tickets were pricy, we would have had to travel to Leeds, and I just couldn’t justify the expense at the time.  It was one of my big gig regrets for 2018.

In the last week, they’ve announced they’ve had to postpone the tour to 2019 for medical reasons.  The tickets all became available again, I found out Alison Moyet was supporting (which I hadn’t known before), and I was feeling a bit more flush than I had in the autumn.  I bought tickets for the Leeds gig.  Of course I did.

So I’m going to see Tears For Fears (and Alison Moyet) in February 2019, and now I don’t have to feel sad and disappointed every time one of their tracks comes on Vintage TV (which is approximately every five minutes).  Winning!

Anyway, this track.  It’s a bit ‘pre-1990s’ for my liking, especially ’cause I adore their early-to-mid-1980s stuff so much, but it’s a nice tune and I always find myself singing along when it comes on Vintage TV.  Which, as I say, is often.

Track 2: Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On

Really like this singalong track.  Lovely vocals, lovely tune.

Track 3: Erasure – Drama!

Lovely tinkly slow synth intro before the beat bangs in.  Epic atmosphere, great track.

Track 4: Debbie Harry – I Want That Man

Really like the tune on this one.  Nice upbeat pop.

I think you can probably guess, however, how I feel about the line ‘here comes the twenty-first century/it’s gonna be much better for a girl like me‘.  Yeah.  I’m glad someone’s optimistic.

Track 5: Sydney Youngblood – If Only I Could

Gotta love those bouncy instrumentals.  Great head-nodder.

Track 6: Curiosity Killed The Cat – Name And Number

I’ve always really liked this one!  That chorus is great.

Fun fact: Little Mix avoided a pointless cover of this by doing that strange 2010s thing where you cover the chorus only and then do a completely different verse, meaning you can call the track a different name (in this case How Ya Doin’?).

Fun fact 2: In a further example of my family’s sloth-like speed at adopting new phone technologies, we didn’t get an answerphone until the mid-’90s, so I wouldn’t have understood the premise of this song at the time.

Track 7: The Beautiful South – You Keep It All In

Nice jaunty instrumentals, and in comes Jacqui Abbott on the vocals – we are definitely post-Housemartins now.  Not my favourite Beautiful South track, but it’s a nice tune with typically whimsical lyrics.

Track 8: Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Surrender

A bit slower from Wet Wet Wet, but I really like those instrumentals.  Chorus could be more epic, though.

Track 9: Queen – Breakthru

Nice vocal harmony intro to a slightly erratic track.  The tune is a bit dull, but it’s still pretty solid from Queen.

Track 10: Tina Turner – The Best

Classic singalong track – one of those ones where I’m up on the dancefloor at the wedding disco.  Epic song.

Track 11: Transvision Vamp – Born To Be Sold

Slower and a bit acoustic from Transvision Vamp today.  I still really like it, though.

Track 12: Wendy & Lisa – Waterfall ’89

Slow pop-by-numbers, dull repetitive tune, nothing special.

Track 13: Kate Bush – The Sensual World

Church bell intro!  You don’t hear that on every pop song, but then it is Kate Bush.  Love the tune too, nice epic atmosphere.

Track 14: Fine Young Cannibals – I’m Not The Man I Used To Be

For some reason, on Now! #16 there were a few tracks that featured on the CD release only.  I don’t know if it’s because CDs had more space, and the Now! compilers were excited about the novelty of that, or what.  Anyway, this is the first of them.

Nice instrumentals, but this track is a bit slow and dull for my liking.

Track 15: Then Jerico – Sugar Box

A bit saccharine, but I quite like the tune, especially when it gets a bit rockier as the track goes on.

Track 16: Living In A Box – Room In Your Heart

Wow.  We’ve reached 1989 and even Living In A Box were doing dull ballads.  Nothing to elevate this one.

Track 17: Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting

I’ve always had a soft spot for this ballad.  It’s the kind of thing I should hate, but I don’t.

Track 18: Milli Vanilli – Girl I’m Gonna Miss You

It’s Milli Vanilli and their possibly-fake vocals again!  I actually really like this one, it’s a lovely tune and theme.

Track 19: The Rebel MC and Double Trouble – Street Tuff

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Nice upbeat dance track, like the sampling.  Good stuff.

Track 20: Bobby Brown – On Our Own

Good instrumentals and sung vocals on this one – the rap’s a bit dull though.

Track 21: Technotronic and Felly – Pump Up The Jam

Classic dance track – another ‘oh, it’s this one!’ moment.  Happily chair-dancing right now.

Track 22: Lil’ Louis – French Kiss

Another track that was on the CD release only.

Repetitive intro that goes on too long – get on with it!  The shortest version I was able to find is eight minutes long, so it takes forever to get going.  Not my kind of thing, especially when it slows down and brings in the orgasm noises.  I’m guessing this is not the version that was on the Now! compilation.

Track 23: Adeva – I Thank You

Highly pre-1990s dance track.  Vocals a bit over-the-top for me.

Track 24: D-Mob and Cathy Dennis – C’mon And Get My Love

Really like the drum machine on that intro.  Solid dance tune.

Track 25: De La Soul – Eye Know

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Too repetitive for me, and I don’t like the backing tune.

Track 26: Inner City – Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’

Not an Inner City fan anyway, and this one is kind of slow and repetitive.  Not for me.

Track 27: Big Fun – Can’t Shake The Feeling

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Something about the tune annoys me.  It’s fairly pop-by-numbers otherwise.

Track 28: Cliff Richard – I Just Don’t Have The Heart

Actually quite an upbeat one from Cliff Richard!  His vocals are still super cheesy and irritating though.

Track 29: Jimmy Somerville and June Miles Kingston – Comment Te Dire Adieu

Great track!  Daft French atmosphere, awesome tune.  I’m chair-dancing again here!

Track 30: Brother Beyond – Drive On

Another ‘CD release only’ track..

A bit cheesy, but I really quite like this – it’s just nice, pure, upbeat pop.

Track 31: Shakespear’s Sister – You’re History

Really squawky and squeaky in the vocals, with Siobhan Fahey going a bit overboard, obviously still feeling that post-Bananarama freedom.  Quite an interesting tune, though.

Track 32: Oh Well – Oh Well

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Nice funky melody, quite a nice track when they’re not rapping.

Track 33: Neneh Cherry – Kisses On The Wind

Bit of a messy sample mishmash at the start, but it’s okay once it gets going.

Track 34: Redhead Kingpin & The FBI – Do The Right Thing

Headache-inducing intro, repetitive track.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 35: Fresh 4 and Lizz E – Wishing On A Star

Not a fan of this drum ‘n’ bass cover, but at least it does something different to the Rose Royce original.