October started with a big name. RADIOHEAD was in the building, namely London’s O2. In such a big venue, the sound was incredible for this 24-song set — including rarely-played songs such as “Paranoid Android” and “Street Spirit” as well as personal favourites “Weird Fishes / Arpeggi” and “Reckoner.” Thom Yorke was fantastic to watch — he has no inhibitions (his dancing proving the point) — and it was a complete joy to see Jonny Greenwood hugging his telecaster no more than a few feet away, says our London team.
I’ve been tracking APPARAT for a while, fascinated by German electro musician Sascha Ring’s sounds and arrangements. We finally found him at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. I’ve been glued to his albums, and he’s definitely one of the musicians to watch in this new generation of cross-genre electronic music.
I’ve loved DEACON BLUE since its beginnings. Who can forget the beauty and energy of 1987’s “Raintown / Riches” and the rawness of “When the World Knows Your Name” two years later? I recently started listening to the albums again — what masterpieces, and the songs never tire. The perfect overlapping of Ricky Ross’s and Lorraine McIntosh’s vocals are unique. An iconic band who are touring again, they are down-to-earth, musical romantics, consummate professionals — one of the great British bands. In 2012, loyal fans couldn’t wait for band’s ironically-titled new album “The Hipsters” and Manchester welcomed the band back into its swaying arms… We missed you guys so much, come back again soon!
Our most exciting discovery of the year came in Tokyo, with the emergence of experimental synth-violin duo GROUP A, aka Tommi Tokyo and Sayaka Botanic. Catching them supporting Brooklyn band CHAIRLIFT in Shibuya, I was absolutely determined to get them to headline our FREE PUSSY RIOT TOKYO CONCERT in November and spent a few weeks campaigning to get them — many a late night was had in order to seal the deal. With the brilliant combination of thought-provoking lyrics, heavily-stylized image, dramatic synth-violin sounds, topped off with live florescent body painting, I fell in love with this band on first sight. This was a headlining band in the making and little did we know that, just one month later, they were going to deliver our favourite performance of the year.
CHAIRLIFT‘s presence in Tokyo did not go unnoticed as the crowds piled into Shibuya’s Under Deer Lounge. To top off a lightning show, we chatted to the band aka Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly, ate ramen noodles with Caroline, followed by drinks with Patrick at legendary music bar Beat Cafe — a truly Shibuya night. A few days later, the duo followed up their live show with a packed out DJ set at another famed Shibuya venue Trump Room. Caroline has a particular affinity with Tokyo, and enjoyed making track “I Belong In Your Arms” in which she sings in Japanese. They’ll surely be back in the neon city.