My birthday was relaxed. Macsen brought home a feast from Camisa & Son: braesola, parma, buffalo mozzarella, gogonzola filled gnocchi, tomato basil sauce, and pumpkin and ricotta raviloli. We washed it down with an earthy Alsace. Needless to say it was all delicious. For desert he surprised me with four cakes from Yauatcha: La Matcha Pamplemousse (green tea with ginger and grapefruit), Far Breton (flan with sake-soaked prunes), Shibuya Casual (passion fruit cream with pears and pineapple), and Fraise Rhubarbe (strawberry, rhubarb, and rice pudding). The Fraise Rhubarbe ended up being my favorite; gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. The green tea one was in second place, but they were all good.
mozzarella salad, gorgonzola gnocchi
pumpkin ravioli, yauatcha box
fraise rhubarbe, shibuya casual, la matcha pamplemousse, far breton
Birthday girl in birthday dress:
M's parents came up on sat. to give my pressies (kimono style bathrobe, necklace, and tickets to see the Indian version of Twelfth Night next week (review). We watched Control Room on BBC2, a documentary about Al-Jazeera. Interview with the director, Jehane Noujaim, can be found here
Massive Attack (oh. and the vfestival...)
Early Sunday morning M and I headed off to the Vfestival in Chelmsford. After squeezing every last quid out of us that they possibly could for parking (£10) and a fiddly little around the neck program (£6) we wandered the grounds to check out some bands we weren't particularly interested in. We watched part of Kasabian's set and decided they were a bunch of pretentious jerks so we wandered over to Kosheen who were slightly less annoying. We watched Badly Drawn Boy and Damon Gough seemed to have a thinly veiled loathing for the audience, saying "All the beautiful women sing with me now." then pointing at a woman and proclaiming, "You there, you're not beautiful, who said you could sing?" He later then told a group, "Would you lot in the front shut the fuck up, you're getting right on me tits!" We also saw The Zutons, Snow Patrol, Scissor Sisters, and N.E.R.D, none of who I was thrilled about. I actually enjoyed N.E.R.D. live more than I expected to. Pharrell Williams said that British audiences are, "The craziest in the world" and I don't doubt that. I would have liked to catch Groove Armada, Audio Bullys, and Roni Size, but they were in tents packed with bacardi breezer-stinking chavs, so we passed.
By about mid-day I was fed up with the strangely violent atmosphere (people were throwing half-full cans of beer at others' heads in the audience and everyone was paralytic on booze and drugs. I watched one girl next to me throw down 9 mushrooms and follow it with a pint chaser). Not to mention the overflowing toilets which made me appreciate the appeal of The Whiz for women. But, we had come to see The Pixies and Massive Attack, so I held out until evening.
Mercifully evening approached quickly. I originally intended to fight the crowds to get closer to The Pixies, but after witnessing the violent behavior earlier on I was happy to stay back. I'm now glad I didn't bother as The Pixies' performance left me somewhat cold. I was pleased to hear a few of my favorite songs live, but Frank Black seemed to be an automaton: Press play, churn out the tunes, goodbye. Kim Deal looked like a soccer mom, but at least she seemed to be slightly more present. Now I'm relieved I didn't get tickets for a dedicated Pixies concert because I think I would have left feeling unsatisfied. I don't want to sound as though I disliked them, I just thought the performance lacked soul. It seems the "sellout tour" really is that.
frank black's big head
I was beginning to feel like the day was a failure by the time Massive Attack came on. By Ganesha, did they ever save the day.
Since Massive Attack rarely do US tours this was my first time seeing them live. They started off powerfully with Angel sung by Horace Andy. He is incredible, as his voice floated through the night I felt a calmness come over me, "yes, yes this is what it is about." That man has an aura, a presence. He cast his spell over me and I was hooked. Second was Risingson and I was deeply entranced. I moved with Daddy G and his flowing verse and felt 3D's intensity; to hear and feel that beat rippling through the air was breathtaking. We were treated to the intense instrumental Bullet which built into a crescendo unlike any I have ever heard Massive Attack produce before. Teardrop sung by Dot Allison was well-received; she is no Liz Fraser, but she gave it the treatment it deserves. Safe From Harm and a beautiful rendition of Unfinished Sympathy (one of the best songs in the world) were sung by Hazel Fernandez. Once again, she is no Shara Nelson, but she definitely did it justice. Finishing the set was Future Proof Redux with 3D on stilts in an eerie green beam, resembling something like an alien abduction. Overall it was powerful, intense, moving, and one of the best gigs I have ever experienced. My only complaint is that I would have liked to hear a few more songs from their underrated latest album, like Butterfly Caught, Special Cases and Antistar.
Since I don't have a zoom on my camera my photos don't show much more than lights and figures, but I will see them live again someday with a new camera in tow.
Here are two videos of the performance. You can see even my camera's led screen in the bottom right in a few of the crowd shots. :)
Angel [17.5 MB] // Risingson [20 MB]
Massive Attack - Bullet (Sonar2004).mp3 [8.12 MB -- ignore the radio jibber jabber.]
03. Black Milk Redux
05. Bullet (instrumental)
08. Hymn of the Big Wheel
09. Safe From Harm
10. Inertia Creeps
11. Unfinished Sympathy
12. Future Proof Redux
Sapience/Sophia a plethora of common interests etc and your name (S. Adrienne--I am A. (Adrienne) Selene). I have added you but couldn't tell you that in your own journal. I understand if you are undergoing a culling of sorts. I just passed through that cycle myself - Anyhow, this adding business doesn't need to be mutual.
To be honest, it's very nearly put me off music festivals for life. It was the worst run festival I've ever seen. A few of the problems: overflowing trash everywhere, by the end of the evening it looked like it had snowed garbage, under-staffed, horrific dark toilets with no loo roll, overcrowded, overpriced, and the parking lot wasn't managed at all when we left so it took over 1 1/2 hours just to get out of the parking lot. In the end someone discovered an open gate elsewhere and we darted through behind them, leaving the rest of the suckers to queue until dawn. ;) (We didn't even make it home until 2am!) I'll never go to another Vfestival, if anything just to prevent lining Richard Branson's pockets.
I'm left wondering if all British music festivals are like this? I hope not.
In the end I tend to prefer more intimate affairs, anyway.
Dot Allison sang on a couple of other songs as well, such as Black Milk Redux. I wasn't previously aware of her music, but I want to track some down now. I'll let you know if I get ahold of a video or mp3 of her performing Teardrop.
you guys and your pumpkin ravioli! ;) i really like the pics of the sky from the festival. before i go any further, i must admit to having a thing for your sky photos in general. this one has been my desktop photo ever since i got my new ibook. so hope you don't mind! :)
your birthday dress rocks! i'm so glad the world (or at least you) is over that completely soulless and untrue stereotype that redheads don't look good in red. it looks great on you! my grandma was a fiery scottish redhead and stuck to greens and earth tones. i think she would have done just fine with a tomatoe-red dress every now and then, but maybe that's just because red is one of my favorite colors.
and by the way, i completely understand what you mean about the "strangely violent" atmosphere at the festival. i noticed that at reading in 2000. my guess is it's due to throngs of people being very close to one another and not in their right minds.
i really want to see massive attack now. hopefully they'll make it to the states at some point.
I love it when people use my photos like that, thank you for telling me (obviously I don't mind at all).
Thanks! the dress is pure silk and feels so good on. I have a confession, though, I upped the contrast on that photo to bring out the reds in the sofa and dress which in turn made my hair look slightly redder than it really is.. in reality it's a darkish brown with red highlights (natural). I wholeheartedly agree that red looks good on redheads (just look at Jessica Rabbit. ;) Red and green are my favorite colours, but not together!
I've heard bad things about Reading and the violence there. I was surprised at the violence at the Vfest, it seems most of the men were competing to see who could be a bigger asshole. During the Massive Attack concert a group of drunk men were yelling "Get your tits out, love!" at Dot Allison while she was singing and dissing the music. They were actively trying to piss off the fans to incite a fight, thankfully MA fans are too mellow for that and ignored them until they went away. :)
ah, I think I've been a bit unfair.. most of his comments were in jest, but his performance was good. Faithful renditions of his more popular songs, including one he recently wrote for his girlfriend which I hadn't heard before. It was a fairly short set, however. In truth I wouldn't blame him for hating the crowd, they met him with mostly disinterest or drunken asshole behavior.
thank you. :)
You should definitely leap at any opportunity to see them live, especially while they're still a creative and passionate force (unlike some other bands I could mention *cough*pixies*cough*). I have been a fan of MA for so many years that seeing them live was euphoric, I'm still riding the buzz.
yes, that camera trick is always fun! Especially when it's so dark you have no idea what anyone looks like around you.
You look lovely! The colors are wonderful, too. The dress, the shoes, everything -- beautiful.
The Massive Attack show looks like it was a blast. I haven't heard Dot Allison before, but if she can fill Liz Fraser's shoes well enough (for one song, anyway) I think I ought to. I daydream about seeing the Cocteau Twins live, but alas...
Dot Allison has such charisma on stage, I really enjoyed watching her perform. Some complained that she wasn't good enough to stand in for Fraser, but I thought did wonderfully even if no one could ever match Fraser's ethereal quality.
My step-mom gael saw Cocteau Twins live in the late 80s. She said it was slightly disappointing because at that time Fraser was a very timid performer and her vocals could barely be heard. I don't know if she has improved her public performing in the years since.