Where Are The Strong?

Posted in Libya, music, revolution, YouTube by expatatlarge on March 9, 2011

And who are the trusted?*

— lots of relevant words about the chaos and crimes in North Africa at the moment.

I am sure can you can fill in the spaces for yourself as anything I could say would only come out as cliches and blandishments… Key point is this – I just hope my friends and colleagues in Libya (and Egypt, haven’t heard back from them for a while) are safe and well and positive.

And I sincerely wish that something strong and trustworthy comes out of all this bloody killing each other stuff.

What IS so funny ’bout peace love and understanding?


* IMHO – some of the most profound and heart-stopping lyrics/questions posed in rock and roll history. Always have and always will give me a chill. Nick Lowe, awesome!

Elvis In The Building

Posted in concert, music, YouTube by expatatlarge on March 7, 2011

Firstly, caught up with Madame Chiang, former blogger formerly from Manila. Good to see her again. A lovely lady. Not sure if any of my diligent and long-time readers remember her. Always on about cats.



Declan Macmanus, OK, Elvis Costello, was in town tonight, breaking the cherry on the Marina Bay Sands* Grand Theatre. And it was a one night stand as well! BOOM!

He IS so cute! In his signature horn-rim glasses (ever hear of contacts?), a white hat, grey suit, dark tie and a purple paisley shirt (IKYN)%, there’s this short guy playing rock, blues, torch songs… And there’s that cheeky slow motion pose he does during the applause, different and just as amusing after each song. He knows what works.

He had seven (7, count ’em) acoustic guitars on stage, all Gibsons. He only used five however, but he got a lot out of them: quite the kit he’s got up there… and even unplugged as he walked around singing an old blues (?name) with no mike. That was OK for me as I was front and centre, but I wonder if the acoustics of the new theatre were OK up in the cheap seats when he was unamplified.

Just like that only a LOT fewer people.

I know he’s a bit of an acquired taste, but I still think he’s completely brilliant, and live he is very much in control. No1 son and I saw him in Vancouver one night on a stop-over coming back from skiing at Whistler. A lot more torch songs then as North had just come out, but tonight he played all the classics (except maybe Shipbuilding, thankfully) and the crowd (the guy next to me anyway) seemed very happy.

It was a much smaller theatre in Vancouver and were up in the circle. There was no problem hearing him sing without a mike, then but he didn’t do that as much as tonight. In fact there was one song back then, when he just stepped away from the mike as the song was approaching its end, stepped back and stepped back, still singing full voice… It was a chilling thing to hear the character of his voice change as it’s source moved from the full gut-churning immersion you get with loudspeakers to the haunting hollowness of the auditorium’s acoustics alone. That was a defining moment when I knew this guy was the real money. What other rock singer but Elvis Costello would have the balls to do that?

Tonight he had the Singapore crowd on its feet (well, the guy next to me, and I), clapping hands and trading chorus lines on Pump It Up and, um, some others…

Speaking of money, great night out, $200 bucks well spent#, unlike last weekend in the 4FoWs…


* Yes, that is a ship on top of those three hotel towers. [shrugs] What?

% I kid you not.

# my ticket to Led Zeppelin in 1973 in Melbourne was $4.25 (with student discount)

Anyone else old enough to remember text-books that used characters instead of numbers for footnotes?

MOS 6581

Posted in music, YouTube by expatatlarge on March 6, 2011

Here’s a completely different style of music, the last one for today: Carbon Based Lifeforms. [courtesy No1 Son]

Great ambient/trance music for walking with your head in the clouds or for sitting in a coffee shop with your head in a book or for trying to sleep with your face in a CPAP mask (which fell apart this morning).

I’m trying it on writing (with my head up my arse) next.


The basic riff kicks in around 0.57…


Les Yuex Noir

Posted in guitar, music, YouTube by expatatlarge on March 6, 2011

Go Django!


I’ve been ripping my fingers to tatters just trying play the chords to Woodstock and then this guy comes along…



Posted in guitar, music, YouTube by expatatlarge on March 6, 2011

Listen, listen.

One of the comments on YouTube:
“How did we end up with The Pussycat Dolls and Britney Spears?????”

Hear, hear.


The Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rock interpretation plowed through the original arrangement (not a bad thing necessarily – see Joe Cocker and “A Little Help From My Friends”) and is the one I remember from my childhood, though I did listen to Joni sing it a bit later of course. (She never went to Woodstock btw but got the gist of it from Graeme Nash). The above version from Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson goes back to Mitchell’s hair-neck-raising original.

The hammer-on, pull-off style of his finger picking is so typical of the guitarists who played in the folk scene in England in the 60’s. c.f. Davy Graham, John Renbourn and Bert Jansch of Pentangle, John Martyn, etc… (and others of whom I can’t think this early on a Sunday morning.)


The Answer To The Mysteries

Posted in music, YouTube by expatatlarge on June 25, 2010