Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Used at Koko – bourbon, burgers and Bert McCracken

There are a few bands that you inevitably buy tickets for, no matter how busy your schedule is or what other events might be causing you to hemorrhage cash that month, and for me The Used is one of them. If Bert McCracken's in town, you can bet your bottom dollar I'm going to be there too.

Last Thursday The Used played Koko and having seen them plenty of times before, I'll admit the first question on all of our minds was, where should we have our pre-gig dinner? Typically if I'm in Camden I'm drawn to Hache, like a ravenous moth to a delicious flame. It's a gourmet burger place a stone's throw from the tube station (gourmet in the good sense, not the pretentious kind of place that thinks that four chips constitutes a portion). The food is incredible for carnivores and herbivores alike and if it's been a few months I start to get cravings.

Recently, however, we've been trying to branch out, so my BBQ loving BFF suggested we try The Blues Kitchen, which turned out to be a pretty good call. It has the distinctly Southern American vibe that the name suggests, live music later in the evening, and over 100 types of bourbon.

The Blues Kitchen – bourbon anyone?!

The food was good and the drinks selection even better, although I did reel in horror while weighing up the bourbon choice, when our waitress said, "don't worry, by the time you've got a mixer in it you won't taste the difference anyway!" Really? Really?! Anyway the bourbon was great, my creole bean burger was delicious and we were soon on our way to Koko.

Last time I saw The Used at Scala I think the two points I made very clearly were a) how much I love this band and b) how fantastic and engaging Bert is (you can read about that night here), and this show was much the same. The more you see a band the harder it is to write about them, especially if they consistently put on a good show, and you find yourself tempted to write a three word review: It Was Awesome. But there's always a twist to the tale and, just when I think The Used can't make me love them anymore, they incorporated New Noise into Maybe Memories to kick things off. And we all know how much I love me some Refused.

The fourteen-song set then consisted of almost exactly what you would expect: Take It Away, The Bird and the Worm, I Caught Fire, Listening, The Taste of Ink, All That I've Got, Cry, Revolution, The Best Of Me, Blood On My Hands and Pretty Handsome Awkward. Fairly short and sweet but pretty darn perfect and a nice showcase of over a decade of hard work.

As I've said before, I'm a fan of The Used's sound from the early days of their self-titled album right up to last year's release, Imaginary Enemy. I think it's the sign of a great band when the setlist can span the years seamlessly and, despite a variety of ages in the crowd, each song gets an (almost) identical reaction. The only glaring omission appears to be 2012's Vulnerable, which for some reason is notably absent from recent shows. I'd like to see the raw energy of Hands and Faces live but I have a sneaking suspicion it won't happen any time soon.

The night concluded with an acoustic performance of On My Own performed from the balcony then back onto the stage for A Box Full Of Sharp Objects with a bit of Nirvana and Rage Against The Machine thrown into the intro and outro for good measure. What can I say? A night that starts with bourbon and ends with Bert McCracken was always going to be a good one.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Cinderella's glass slipper reimagined by Jimmy Choo

To celebrate the release of Disney's live-action Cinderella next month, some of the biggest names in shoe design have reimagined the princess' iconic glass slipper – Jimmy Choo, Nicholas Kirkwood, Charlotte Olympia, Stuart Weitzman, Salvatore Ferragamo and Paul Andrew to name a few. The results are as magical as you would expect and will be available to order soon from key stores around the world, including Harrods and Saks Fifth Avenue. I assume the price tags will also be fit for a princess, but if you have a fairy godmother then it's time to start calling in the favours....

"I think every girl desires a Cinderella moment in their lives," says Sandra Choi, creative director of Jimmy Choo. "This story ignites a love affair and fascination with shoes that never dies. The power they have to transform is instilled from a young age and the fantasy remains alive forever. I wanted to create a shoe that felt magical, with alluring sparkle and a feminine, timeless silhouette evoking those childhood emotions."

The stunning design from Jimmy Choo has achieved exactly that, with a timeless shape and plenty of sparkle. You can see a few more of my favourite sketches below. I think Cinderella would have a tough time picking a winner...

Nicholas Kirkwood
Paul Andrew

Salvatore Ferragamo

Cinderella will be in cinemas from 13 March (US) and 27 March (UK)

Monday, 9 February 2015

Kotur's 'ouija board' clutch bag

Today a new item caught my eye by Kotur, a brand that was founded 10 years ago by Fiona Kotur, whose bags have been featured on shows like Lipstick Jungle and Gossip Girl and have taken many trips down the red carpet.

There are many beautiful clutches out there, so it takes something a bit different to stand out from the crowd, and this is definitely not something I've seen before. Designed to resemble a ouija board, this perspex box clutch is lined with brocade and has an optional shoulder strap. Black and gold is a classic combination (and a personal favourite), but the design idea is totally unique. Who would have thought that the star of many a cheap horror film would make such a classy container for your lipstick and credit card?

Merrick perspex box clutch, £615 by Kotur
Find more fabulous Kotur designs at
© Rock & Runway

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