Magic Whip out April 28
Weekend one of Coachella 2013 is complete — one of great success for those who long for the good old days. While the kids in SoCal bemoaned the influx of old British dudes in this year’s lineup, it was a victory lap for the artists who paved the way for anything resembling “indie” today.
The highlight of the weekend, and this post, was the triumphant stateside return of Blur. With Graham and Damon reunited and 25 years worth of material to pull from, the Britpop kings were at the height of their powers. From opener “Girls and Boys” to closer “The Universal” they touched on almost all of their many incarnations and threw down the gauntlet for the rest of the weekend’s headliners. Watch the full set:
Arguably more important, but certainly not as well-oiled, was the reunion of The Stone Roses. Incredible that this ever happened — the Roses in a headlining slot at an American festival after years of John and Ian refusing to even speak to each other. Unfortunately, this isn’t a full set but you can check out an extended jam of “Fool’s Gold” plus “Made Of Stone” and “This Is The One”:
Perhaps the most talked about item from the weekend, besides the Daft Punk trailer, was the guest appearance from R. Kelly during the Phoenix set. The French band are in full promo mode for next week’s release of Bankrupt!, and the buzz from this unlikely pairing will definitely help. Enjoy the full set:
A few more full sets worth your attention… the return of onetime indie darlings Franz Ferdinand, a blistering math rock set from Oxford’s Foals, and the jangle of Northern Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club:
Of course New Order and Johnny Marr, who have teamed up for some gigs around the two weekends of Coachella, are the most influential of the old guard infiltrating Indio. Unfortunately, haven’t been able to track down full sets but you can get the flavor with clips of “The Perfect Kiss”, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and “Sun And Moon”:
This Friday they’ll do it all again, but no webcast for weekend two. I want to go to there.
Fast as Usain Bolt, the London Olympics have flown by, culminating with the closing ceremonies Sunday night. Considering how badly NBC butchered Danny Boyle’s opening ceremonies, who knows what we’ll actually get to see stateside, but it looks to be an epic party.
Head of the ceremonies Stephen Daldry advised that everyone should “get the beers in” because “it’s going to be a real party – like the best wedding party you’ve ever been at.” Confirmed performers in the “Symphony of British Music” include George Michael and Muse, who will perform their over-the-top Olympic theme “Survival.”
Among the rumored performances are The Kinks’ Ray Davies singing “Waterloo Sunset”, Adele singing “Someone Like You”, Kate Bush singing “Running Up That Hill”, Liam Gallagher and Beady Eye performing “Wonderwall” and Eric Idle leading a singalong of “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.” Other artists expected are Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Take That, Queen, Paul Weller, Annie Lennox, One Direction, Elton John and the inevitable reunion of the Spice Girls.
While this massive karoke party is going on at Olympic Stadium, the real action will happen across town in Hyde Park. “The Best of British” concert will feature The Specials, New Order and Blur. While New Order (without Hooky) is in mid-tour form, the reunited Blur have booked a few warm up shows to get ready for the spectacle — which depending on when you talk to Damon Albarn may or may not be Blur’s last show ever.
To get you ready, here are a couple of live sets from Sunday’s headliners. First up is New Order, live from Berlin on June 21st:
- True Faith
- The Perfect Kiss
- Blue Monday
- Love Will Tear Us Apart
And here is Blur’s July 31st set for the BBC from Maida Vale studios in London:
- Tracy Jacks
- Out Of Time
- Young & Lovely
- End Of A Century
- This Is A Low
- Under The Westway
- The Universal
These songs of course are the fruits of Blur’s most recent reunion, which will culminate with the big Olympic closing show. It’s unclear if the band will remain together beyond that — or if a new album will ever be finished — but let’s just focus on the positive for the moment.
“Under The Westway” sounds to me like a blown out brit ballad that would be right at home on their over-the-top opus The Great Escape (updated 7/6 with new official video):
“The Puritan” has a much more impish vibe that’s reminiscent of Modern Life Is Rubbish, but polished up with Think Tank or Gorillaz style production:
Britpop legends Blur turn 21 this year, and it appears that’s as old as they’re ever going to be. Recently, Damon Albarn has strongly hinted that the band isn’t long for this world — dashing hopes of a new Blur album and turning this summer’s Hyde Park Olympic-closing gig into a farewell show.
To soften the blow, the band have announced Blur 21, a career-spanning box set that features expanded editions of all seven albums, two live DVDs, a DVD of “video rarities,” a hard-bound book, and four exclusive discs with more than 3½ hours of previously unreleased material “selected from the Blur vault and band member’s own archives.”
Also included, a 7″ single of the previously unreleased track “Superman” recorded in December 1989 at The Square in Harlow, Essex. It’s such an early track in fact, the band was known as Seymour at the time. Listen below or watch a video of the performance here.
All seven albums will also be re-released on vinyl, both individually and together in a “sturdy” hard case. To get you in the nostalgic mood, here’s the band’s life flashing before your eyes in the form of the Blur 21 trailer:
Today was quite a day in the comeback year of britpop icons Blur. First, the band announced that they will headline a concert at Hyde Park on August 12th immediately following the closing ceremonies of the London Olympic Games — a show that will also feature New Order and The Specials.
Then the band picked up the Outstanding Achievement Award at The Brits and closed the show with a greatest hits set. Blur’s appearance cut short Adele’s album of the year acceptance speech, which prompted her to shoot the bird MIA-style, but who could stay mad after such a raucous performance of “Girls & Boys” and “Song 2” (scroll down for the rest of the set):
Prior to the Brits, Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn performed an acoustic show at a War Child benefit Saturday night. After opening their brief set with “He Thought Of Cars” and “Strange News From Another Star,” the duo debuted a brand new song entitled “Under The Westway”:
Nice one. Coxon has hinted at a new Blur album, so this could be a very big year indeed.
Watch the rest of Blur’s set at The Brits; “Parklife,” “Tender” and “This Is A Low”:
“Photoshop Handsome”, the band’s third single, is due to be released in mid January and includes this disco re-work entitled “II Figures Remix”:
“Photoshop Handsome” was originally released as a single way back in 2009 — here’s the original version and it’s uproarious video:
They’ll be performing with a full orchestra for that show… here, check out “My Keys Your Boyfriend” from Later with Jools Holland:
“AIRBRUSH! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY FATHER?”