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Just announced: An evening with Peggy Seeger Neill Macoll and Calum Macoll, 18th May.

An evening with Peggy Seeger

Neill Macoll and Calum Macoll

18 June / 19:30 / More Info / Buy Tickets

Having recently released her 22nd solo album “Everything Changes”, Peggy Seeger remains one of the strongest characters in folk music. She built her reputation with evocative renditions of traditional folk songs and writing her own songs of activism with her husband, the late Ewan MacColl and continues to write and perform with the same emotion, whit and fire at the age of 80.

She was an influential feminist figure in a folk scene which is now remembered as a golden era in the revival of folk music, the same era that saw artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Donovan all produce their greatest works. Despite her connection to the roots of folk composition, she isn’t afraid to innovate and experiment on her latest work.

Her latest album has received rave reviews, including a 5 star appraisal from The Guardian, who said “…here she explores new, pained and personal territory, and does so with delicacy and soul”, adding that “Everything Changes and the agonised We Watch You Slip Away are among the finest new songs I have heard his year”.

She’s joined on stage at this special show by her and Ewan’s sons Neil and Callum MacColl, both talented musicians themselves. Given her current fine form and rich folk history with strong family ties, this show is not to be missed.

Just announced: Sarah Jane Morris, 15th January.

Sarah Jane Morris

15 January / 19:30 / More Info / Buy Tickets

We’re delighted to welcome the fantastic Sarah Jane Morris to Band on the Wall.

Famed for her association with the Communards in the mid-80s and infamous for a banned rendition of the classic Me and Mrs Jones, Sarah Jane Morris has always attracted as much attention for her politics as for her soul-driven, seismic voice. Sarah Jane Morris will present music from her new album “Bloody Rain” plus many of her classics.

The songs featured on “Bloody Rain” are influenced by African, European and South American rhythms and melodies, and have subject matter that is equally as worldwide. Lyrical content touches on love, corruption, greed, fear and freedom. Sarah Jane has brought together world class musicians from Africa, from North and South America and from Europe to combine with her regular, brilliant line up, and the result is musicianship of unique and memorable power and creative authority.

The reception of the new album has been excellent, with the observer calling the album  “..a transcendent mix of cold fury and compassion” and Jazzwise hailing Bloody Rain…is her masterpiece”

Below is a video for a new song entitled “Coal Train”.

Interview with David Thomas, Pere Ubu

Pere Ubu

Throughout your history as a band you’ve evolved your sound and have begun to create music in less conventional ways, like with the underscoring of films. Does changing your approach to creating music make for more interesting results?

Nearly every album starts with a change or variation of methodology. A different, sometimes unique, set of parameters is set up - a specific set of rules for the project, which is usually dictated by Meaning. Any time we finish an album, it's apparent to me where the next album can go. This can be dictated by ideas that have come up but weren't thoroughly explored, or by new paths that become obvious, or by the realization that we have completed a cycle of ideas and it's time to start a new cycle. Any number of things. Pere Ubu is not a static pop statement. It's been said that we are 'restless.' I think that's a good description. I don't like looking around and seeing the same stuff I saw last year. That doesn't make sense to me. The band is based on ideas not on style or a pop front. I have, myself, gone through at least three major stages in vocal approach where I have ditched what I'd been doing and set off in a different direction. Once you know how to do something, why keep doing it?

Your first two albums “The Modern Dance” and “Dub Housing” are considered some of the best albums of the 1970s and of the post punk era. Are you proud of the groups earlier work, and does it still feature in your sets today?

I don't look back. Am I proud of those albums any more than any other work? No. Everything I've done has been a failure. I will keep working until I get it right, or die trying. A sense of my own shortcomings motivates my work. In the live shows we have always tried to cover a wide range of our history - I'm not sure what we will be doing in the November set yet. We have a list of possibilities and we are in the process of whittling that down. And it's likely that, as we start to rehearse, some previously unconsidered piece will suggest itself. Also, most of the shows we will be doing will consist of 2 sets. The first, shorter set will be like the 'Visions of the Moon' tour we did last November and will consist of more improvised pieces, or more free-ranging ideas where we take an historical Ubu song and deconstruct it, or improvise something new out of older pieces, or make something up out of whole cloth, or... The second, longer set will be the usual 'professional' presentation. I'm looking forward to it.

Is it correct that the songs on “Carnival of Souls” changed and evolved as you played them on tour? Do you think they could develop further from the recorded versions as you play them on this British tour?

Yes, over the course of the 'Visions of the Moon' tour in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Croatia last November we set out with a group of ideas and evolved them from night to night. Our soundman records us every night for his own reasons and listening to the tapes of the entire tour was revealing. Basically, we could have 'stopped' at any point and gone with the version of any song established. The songs will continue to evolve, as they always do, but not as radically as they did during that tour. I miss that excitement which is why we are going out this time with the introductory set that I describe above.

We’ve recently booked Sarah Jane Morris to play Band on the Wall, who's collaborated with you before. Is collaboration important for Pere Ubu and did Sarah Jane Morris help you form music you otherwise wouldn’t have come up with?

I love Sarah Jane. Please say hello for me. Sarah Jane IS Mere Ubu. I think she has been the only person Pere Ubu, as a band, has ever collaborated with, actually. We did a thing with Wayne Kramer but not on the same level. In my solo work, I have collaborated with a wide range of people: Richard Thompson, the Henry Cow people, Todd Rundgren, David Johansson, Van Dyke Parks, Sun Ra Arkestra, actors John Goodman & George Wendt, Firesign Theater, Frank Black, Linda Thompson, Peter Hammill, many others.

You’ve spoken about your liking for combining acoustic and synthetic sounds before, and creating interesting textures as a result of this. Are there any albums you feel have done this brilliantly before, or any composers that inspired you and the group to experiment with creating new textures?

We don't really get 'inspired' by other people. We are well versed in the history and evolution of ideas in rock music and proto-rock forms. We hear what is being done in regards 'new' ideas. I study how and why others do things. I like to watch other people work. How others solve the problems we all face. I am driven by competition. I want to be better than anyone else. If I'm performing with other people, my only motivation is to 'cut' them. They may be friends and people I personally like, but if I'm on stage singing with Nick Cave, or Shane McGowan, for example, I'm going to do anything I can to 'outclass' them. To walk away top dog, alpha male. Those are the rules. That's the gig. It's not personal. It's fundamental, like the young Charlie Parker getting on stage with Lester Young in some funky jazz club in Kansas City. Lester set out to whip the pup and he did. But Parker came back stronger and better. There is no shame in failure or coming out second best. The shame lies in being content to stay that way. I got on stage with the Sun Ra Arkestra - imagine the pressure - but I was intent on standing my ground - on being alpha male with the SUN RA ARKESTRA!!!! - and afterwards they say to me, 'You're a real bluesman, aren't you?' That is what it's about. Those are the moments you take to your grave.

Pere Ubu - Road To Utah from fire records on Vimeo.

 

Pere Ubu

15 November / 19:30 / More Info / Buy Tickets

The Pere Ubu project was supposed to be an end, not a beginning. Assembled in August 1975 to be the Crosby Stills Nash & Young of the Cleveland music underground, the plan was to record one, maybe two singles and exist no more. Within months, however, those first self-produced records were being snapped up in London, Paris, Manchester, New York and Minneapolis. Pere Ubu was changing the face of rock music. Over the next 39 years they defined the art of cult; refined the voice of the outsider; and inspired the likes of Joy Division, Pixies, Husker Du, Henry Rollins, REM, Sisters of Mercy, Thomas Dolby, Bauhaus, Julian Cope and countless others. 

Frontman David Thomas's absurdist approach to lyricism and experimentation is at the heart of the band’s long career. Their sound is utterly unique – from Thomas’s demented vocal delivery to an all-round self-destructive melodic dissonance and wild rhythm section. 

The next Pere Ubu album, Carnival of Souls, is scheduled for release in September and we can’t wait!

'It is obvious that (the history of) Pere Ubu should not be thought of in terms of a linear development - reducing its entire operation and presence to an exclusive concern for 'working and succeeding in' rock and roll. Unfortunately, most criticism - of Pere Ubu, of many other folks - assumes that words have one meaning, that desires point in a single direction, that ideas are logical; it ignores the fact that the world of language, noise and desire is one of lack, insecurity, interruption, struggle, blundering, disguises, ploys, embarrassed grins
.’ NME 

'Ubu are generally regarded as the missing link between the Velvets and punk. From the beginning they obviously understood the nuts and bolts of popular music, and then loosened them.‘ Mojo


Take a look at the Beginner’s Guide to Pere Ubu on Louder Than War


Interview with Bobby Avey

Interview with Bobby Avey

Having won the Thelonious Monk Award in 2011, Bobby Avey has made certain his reputation in the Jazz World circuit.

His latest work is the first for an ensemble of 4 musicians in addition to himself, with whom he will be performing at Band on the Wall. His album "Authority Melts From Me" has enjoyed excellent reception, and the thought and passion that has gone into the project is clear in the music.

1. What first drew your attention to Haiti and Haitian culture? Was it the Voodoo music you became aware of first, or the historical events like the slave rebellion?

My introduction to Haiti was in 2009 when I visited a friend in the Dominican Republic who had joined the Peace Corps. I asked him questions about the numerous Haitian migrant workers I saw; he suggested I read Mountains Beyond Mountains, a book by Tracy Kidder profiling American doctor and medical anthropologist Paul Farmer. I highly recommend the book! In the eighties, Farmer travelled to Haiti for a year to work in public health clinics and was appalled by their general inaccessibility to the poor to such an extent that he resolved to build his own clinic that would treat anybody regardless of ability to pay. He has gone on to build many other hospitals as well as schools, houses, and water and sanitation facilities throughout the central plateau of Haiti.

Jazz has taught me to investigate, to dig deep into understanding where someone is coming from. If you listen to Oscar Peterson seriously, then you investigate Nat King Cole and so on. And so it was natural for me to trace outward from the story of Paul Farmer in Haiti to investigate Haitian history. My interest in Haitian Voodoo music came after reading about Haiti’s revolution and the role that the music played in the initial slave rebellion in 1791.

2. The music on “Authority Melts From Me” is based upon your transcriptions of Haitian drumming music, do you ever wish to incorporate the Haitian drumming to your music directly, or record with the ensembles you’ve met in a collaborative project?

The idea behind this project was to drink from the source and break down (to the best of my ability) a tradition that certainly lies outside of my experience in order to draw rhythmic inspiration to sculpt my own music. I wouldn’t rule out anything in my future, but to play with any of these particular ensembles would be a completely different project.

3. The musicians in your band have received great acclaim in their own right, and Ben Monder’s guitar work is praised heavily on this latest record. Is there something in particular you love about playing with these musicians?

For Authority Melts From Me, I chose to augment my trio with two additional musicians because I wanted various options for rhythmic layering. I chose Ben and Miguel in particular because of their contrasting styles and individuality. Being familiar with their own music, I knew I could set them up in positions to thrive.

4. You’ve been complemented in reviews for the dynamics of your piano playing, is your style inspired by any particular jazz pianist?

There have been a number of pianists (both jazz and classical) whose music has connected with me over the years and I am eternally grateful for the inspiration they’ve provided. However, I’ve made it a point over the last decade to develop my own style and approach; one of the most gratifying compliments I receive is when someone tells me that I don’t sound like anyone they’ve heard before.

 

Bobby Avey Group ft. Miguel Zenon & Ben Monder

Alice Zawadzki

09 December / 19:30 / More Info / Buy Tickets

Praised by the New Yorker as, “A young pianist of invention and refinement,” Bobby Avey has established himself as an emerging star in the jazz community. His band features Multiple Grammy Nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón and guitarist Ben Monder.

Avey’s latest release Authority Melts From Me draws inspiration from the Haitian slave rebellion of 1791 and more directly from the vodou drumming traditions of Port au Prince and Soukri. Avey used these rhythms and concepts to sculpt the bone structure for Authority Melts From Me. In addition to Avey, the band features the immense talents of Miguel Zenón – alto sax, Ben Monder – guitar; Michael Janisch – bass; and Jordan Perlson – drums.

Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer and as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between Latin American Folkloric Music and Jazz. He has worked with jazz luminaries such as The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, The Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson, David Sanchez, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner and Steve Coleman.

Ben Monder has performed with a variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, Paul Motian, George Garzone and Tim Berne. He has also appeared with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, the Kenny Wheeler Large Ensemble, Guillermo Klein's Los Guachos, and is a regular member of the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra.

"Zenón is superb in the quiet, voicelike overtures to his solo on the rhythm-bending, delicately impressionistic Kalfou; Avey unveils his subtlety with dynamics, patience and harmonic imagination on the unaccompanied Piano Interlude; and the climactic Louverture and Cost boil with complex polyrhythms of single-note sax hoots, metallic guitar sounds, and lashed percussion accents.” The Guardian

In addition to Authority Melts From Me, Avey will be performing original music from his critically acclaimed debut release as a leader A New Face.

Interview with Doc Scott, Soul:ution

Manchester’s best liquid drum and bass night Soul:ution night returns to Band on the Wall on Friday 31st October, celebrating the launch ‘Future Beats: The Album’ - the newest release on Doc Scott’s 31 records, and sees him heading a bill which includes Soul:ution regulars Marcus Intalex, Bane & MC DRS.

Doc Scott has been around since the conception of Drum n Bass, preceding acts like Goldie and rightfully earning a legendary status with those in the know. He’s responsible for producing such important tracks as ‘Here comes the drumz’ on the Reinforced label and then ‘Shadow Boxing’ to kick start his own 31 records. The night celebrates the release of a new LP on 31 records called “Future Beats: The Album” which contains material from various drum n bass producers.

Here’s an interview we conducted with Doc Scott ahead of the night, with some talk about Soul:ution and the new album.

This months Soul:ution night sees the launch of a new LP on 31 records called “Future Beats: The Album” which contains work from various producers. Can you tell us about the project and how the work was generated and brought together from all the different producers for this release?

I've always wanted to do an album project, an album based in the DnB word but one that hopefully appeals beyond the DnB scene. So, with that in mind, I asked a bunch of people whose music I admired, DnB and non-DnB artists, if they would be up for doing a track for this Future Beats album project. I have to say I was overwhelmed with the response and the result is a collective of artists and songs that hopefully appeal to dnb and non dnb heads. I just said, I would love you to be involves, I love your music, please make whatever you want.

Which producers worked on the album, and are there interesting collaborations happening on any of the recordings?

There are no collaborations. As of now, we can’t fully disclose the full running list as we are keen to keep some of it unwraps until just before release, but the ones that are out there are: Marcus Intalex, Nucleus & Paradox, Calibre, Commix, Jkenzo, Ruffhouse, Vromm, Hidden Turn. 6 of the 24 artists would be considered non-DnB artists, we are excited about this.

Soul:ution has been going for over a decade now, and the first night at Band on the Wall in 2002 saw Marcus Intalex and Doc Scott both play. What’s the reason this night has survived and is thriving when others have since ended?

I’m not exactly sure, maybe it's because the night is genuine; by that, I mean it has never chased whatever is deemed to be popular, but is just itself, it invites DJs to play who are individuals and that have personalities as opposed to the latest hot thing or sound.

Many of the acts on this month's bill have collaborated with each other, or with Soul:R records. Is collaboration important in Drum n Bass, and electronic music more broadly?

I don’t think it's important, but it is a way that music and artists can expand, it creates new ideas.

What have been the biggest records for you this year? Have you been impressed by any particular artist in Drum n Bass, or any artists that are from a completely different music background?

It's been an amazing year for DnB, there are lots of albums being completed this year, which is a really good thing, I’ve just listened to the new Ulterior Motive, Cern and Clarity albums and they are all stunning.

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