Friday, 31 August 2012

Green Day at Shepherds Bush Empire

Last week I went to see Green Day at Shepherds Bush Empire. Yet another favourite from my teenage years playing a reasonably tiny venue? Well, I couldn’t resist. I may not listen to Green Day on a regular basis anymore, but one thing that I really don’t have in life is musical regrets. If I loved a band once, they will always have a place in my heart and on my ipod, and Dookie is a damn fine example.

To be honest this review won’t take me very long because it was a fun show, pure and simple. When Tré was the first member of the band on stage and opened with All By Myself I knew we were onto a winner and followed straight up with Welcome to Paradise and Burnout, I was immediately satisfied that we were going to hear plenty of old material. And indeed we did.

A few new songs from their soon to be released album ¡Uno! were integrated in nicely (the album which will be followed shortly by a further two albums, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré!) and marked a return to an older style rather than the longer rock operatic songs of the American Idiot era.

Other highlights included When I Come Around, Hitchin' A Ride and She, and a comical portion following King For a Day with the band all playing their guitars lying on their backs. It was a great show and reminded me exactly why my Green Day albums are still in my collection. It's hard not to get sentimental about a band from your childhood who have survived a 25 year run without a split and over two decades without a line up change.

The only thing missing from my night was Good Riddance but hey, you can’t win ‘em all.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Friday Fashion Fix #4 – True Romance

First things first, I know it's not Friday – the combination of a good friend and a bottle of wine meant that I didn't quite get round to posting this yesterday! But this week's (almost) Friday Fashion Fix is dedicated to an absolute style icon, the beautiful Patricia Arquette as Alabama in True Romance.

I was recently asked what my favourite film is, in an interview for a magazine that I'm contributing to. I always think that's a particularly difficult question to answer. It's easy to pick your top five, but to single out just one film? Well that's much harder. I figured that if I could only watch one film for the rest of my life it would be True Romance, so that was the answer I gave.

Strange then, that earlier this week came the sad news about director Tony Scott's death. So in tribute to him, and the amazing film that is True Romance, this week's Friday fashion fix is dedicated to one of my total style heroines – Alabama Whitman.

If you haven't seen True Romance, I'll give you 12 very good reasons why you should: Christian SlaterPatricia ArquetteMichael RapaportDennis HopperJames GandolfiniGary OldmanChristopher WalkenChris PennTom SizemoreBrad Pitt, Val Kilmer and Samuel L. Jackson.

An outstanding cast, but the star for me has always been Alabama... for managing to be such a total bad ass and a complete romantic at the same time, and for wearing leopard print like absolutely nobody else can. Patricia Arquette, I salute you.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Rolling Stones: 50 exhibition

For fans of the Rolling Stones, I thoroughly recommend a trip to Somerset House for The Rolling Stones: 50 exhibition currently in its East Wing Galleries. It’s free to visit but only running until Monday 27th August, so get in quick!

The exhibition features a selection of fabulous photos that span the band’s impressive 50 year career, from a baby-faced group on their very first trip to New York, to their epic halftime show at the 2006 Super Bowl – and plenty in between. It’s nicely curated with each image showcased in a simple frame, some classic Stones music playing in the background and even a pop-up shop.

There’s not a lot more I can say really, except that fans of the Rolling Stones really shouldn’t miss this opportunity to see so many great photos exhibited together – a fabulous tribute to an absolutely seminal band.

Check out the video below to see Mick and Keith wandering around the gallery.


Sunday, 19 August 2012

The fabulous Kendra Grey

For the last couple of months I've been blogging on the quiet, the reason being that I didn't have a banner design and frankly it all looked a bit bland. Now that the design is done and I've come out of the blogging closet so to speak, I must admit I am very surprised by how many of you are actually reading my weekly ramblings, so I just wanted to say a big thank you. I really do appreciate it!

If you are short on time, there is now a link on the right where you can pop in your email address and you will automatically receive my latest rambling with no effort at all.

I'd also like to say a huge thank you to my very good friend Kendra for designing the perfect banner and knowing exactly what would work – I swear this lady can read my mind! Aside from being a comedy genius and the Bert to my Ernie, Kendra is one very talented illustrator and designer. She is currently working as a graphic designer for Laura Ashley but has previously been featured in lots of magazines and even designed a T-Shirt for Animal. Below are just a few examples of her illustrations.

For plenty more examples of Kendra's work visit

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Forever 21 opens at Bluewater!

So a little bit of news on the shopping front today…. American import Forever 21 opens its doors at Bluewater Shopping Centre at 9am on Saturday! And best of all, if you’re one of the first 300 people to arrive you will receive a free gift card that could have up to £210 on it.

I might spend a lot of time drooling over Louboutins and Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, but let’s be honest, the budget doesn’t tend to stretch that far. Forever 21 is without a doubt my current favourite high street shop for having such great clothes at H&M prices!

The selection is insane and not just for 21 year olds as the name implies… their dresses are spot on and tend to be around £20. They’ve even had the lovely pink haired Charlotte Free (of Chili Pepper’s video fame) model for them, so that gets my vote.

Recent purchases include several pairs of shorts for holiday, a couple of dresses and a heart print top (below). Oh and sunglasses for under £5! You know how I love cheap sunglasses

Apologies for the dodgy picture above, I couldn't find an image of the heart print top on their website. I promise I'm not about to start publishing 'what I wore today' posts! Especially not when I'm the kind of girl who runs around with her top scruffily half tucked in as you can see...

I normally pop into the Oxford Street store but can also recommend their online service. Delivery was quick and I got informed of the day by email and a time slot on the day by text, so no waiting around.

So to cut a long story short, Forever 21 rules. And if you are heading to Bluewater Saturday, please get in there early and pick up a gift card for me!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Refused at the Forum, Kentish Town

I’ve learnt two new things about fans of Refused: firstly they are typically more than 6ft tall and secondly, they like to be fashionably late. I may not be 6ft, but I do like to be late. Our usual pre-gig trick is to go for dinner when the support act are on, then casually stroll in when the queues have disappeared, leaving just enough time to grab a drink before the band appear on stage. Apparently most Refused fans adopt the same approach, and at 9 o’clock on a Sunday night we were queuing outside the Forum.

Anyway I’m digressing. Last night’s Refused gig was exactly what I needed to make up for Monday’s lukewarm Head Automatica show. All the odds were against us; we were late, there was no way to get to the front as the place was so packed, it was as hot as a freakin’ oven and the tallest guy in the world (who also had a mohawk) was partially blocking our view! But none of this mattered.

Refused were every bit as good as they were at Download and played exactly what we wanted to hear, namely a sizeable chunk of 1998’s The Shape of Punk to Come – the album that was released a matter of months before their split and that has contributed greatly to their posthumous success. With such an energetic performance, very little was lost from standing at the back, in fact given the venue’s tropical climate it was possibly the best place to be!

Seeing New Noise live for the second time in as many months was a privilege and there were plenty of other highlights, including Refused Are Fucking Dead, Summer Holidays Vs. Punk Routine and The Shape Of Punk To Come. The whole night was in stark contrast to the Head Automatica debacle last Monday. Both bands were performing some of their first gigs in a very long time to a crowd of devoted fans, but the difference was that Refused gave the crowd exactly what they wanted.

Front man Dennis Lyxzen is always fun to watch, he’s a powerful vocalist and hugely animated – a real juxtaposition between strangely awkward and very, very cool. At the end of the night he announced “Don’t let anybody tell you how to live your life! This isn’t a rehearsal, you only get one shot!” Sound cheesey? You’re probably right. But it was conveyed with such passion that you can’t help but love him, because he means it. All of it.

So in conclusion…  a great show and a band that always deliver. These guys are all about the music. They aren’t in it for the money or the fame, they are genuine and they believe in what they do. And you can’t ask for more than that.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Head Automatica at The Garage, Islington

During my first few months of university, back in 2004, a friend pushed a CD under my boyfriend's door. Scrawled across it was a hand written description – 'sleazy pop punk dance' – it was a copy of Head Automatica's first album, Decadence. It was a bit more up beat than my usual taste but it had a certain edge, thanks to the talents of Glassjaw's Daryl Palumbo.

I never fell in love with their second album, Popaganda, the way I did with the first, although some recent listens reminded me it has some great songs on it.  But Decadence, and Beating Heart Baby in particular, became the soundtrack to my first year of university and has held sentimental value ever since.

We had tickets to see Head Automatica that year but the tour was cancelled due to Palumbo's ongoing problems with Crohn's Disease. I was disappointed (especially as I never got my money back – a big problem when you're a student…) but I soon got over it. The band stopped releasing material and fell off my radar somewhat.

Fast forward eight years and I'll paint you a picture from Monday night. I'm at the Garage in Islington, beer in hand, waiting for Head Automatica to come on stage. The crowd is a real mixture and I think most people are like us, taking a trip down memory lane and excited about making up for missed opportunities many years before.

The lights go off and the band walk on stage. I barely notice Palumbo because I'm transfixed by the guy standing in front of the key board. He is wearing an anorak... with the hood up. Oh shit, this is not looking good. And it wasn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm genuinely glad I went, but their performance did little to make up for my disappointment all those years ago. For starters they played a lot of new material, which is fine, but when you haven't released an album in six years you know the crowd are going to want some classics.

And the classics that we did get (Beating Heart Baby included), had been slowed down and lost their sleazy edge. Too much keyboard and not enough guitar – this was just annoying dance/electronica with a slightly weird new romantic twist. Why change all the songs the crowd know when you are mostly playing songs that they don't?! When you've been in a band as long as Palumbo has, surely you know how to work in the new material around the old stuff so that you don't lose a crowd's attention.

But that's exactly what they did and it soon became apparent that I wasn't the only disappointed person there. Almost everyone looked a little confused to be honest and one man started heckling during a quieter moment, which didn't go down particularly well with the band. They finished the set and left the stage – no encore and no thanks.

I didn't leave feeling as annoyed as you might expect, just a tad deflated and with an overwhelming urge to go home and listen to Decadence in all its original glory. Yet again I've learnt an important lesson at a gig, some things are just better left in the past.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Friday Fashion Fix #3 – Loving Louboutin

Today's Friday fashion fix comes to you from fantasy land – a place somewhere in the depths of my mind where I have thousands of pounds to spend on beautifully impractical shoes and am surrounded by bars with valet parking to wear them to.

Ever since visiting the Christian Louboutin retrospective at the Design Museum I've been fantasising about his shoes more than usual and these are two of my favourite pairs. A picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, so as it is Friday I will keep it brief and let the shoes speak for themselves...

Asteroid 140 suede and patent-leather pumps

20th Anniversary Isolde 160 patent-leather sandals

If you have the cash to burn, both styles are available from Net-a-porter. I meanwhile will keep dreaming and maybe write a very nice letter to Santa... do you think he accepts bribes?!
© Rock & Runway

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