Some of the first people I ran into on the streets of Brighton capturing the attention of a small crowd near The Royal Pavillion were Bradley Hicks and Simon Stewart. Bradley’s album Candidates is due for release on Saturday 25th May before the start of a number of UK gigs. The album is not on national release but if you can make it to one of the live dates, you may be lucky enough to get your hands on a copy after the show and it’s worth it. Eleven tracks of acoustic beauty, it’s a heartfelt offering of soulful tunes with my favourites Baited Breath and 36/1 – a cautionary tale of gambling addiction and human mistakes. Although it is not just the lyrics that cut to the heart, Bradley’s signature fragile, raw tones mixed with quiet instrumental accompaniment make the lead vocal the star of the album as it should be. If ever there was a voice that deserved to be heard….it features heavily on this album. If you are a fan of unplugged simplicity without the accoutrements and set dressings to distract, give this a whirl.
Keep up to date with Bradley on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/bradleyhicksmusic
First Dog on the Moon (real name: Andrew Marlton) may not be known to audiences outside Australia (and indeed, to a large number of uninformed Australians as well), but ignorance here is no longer bliss. Cartoonist for the website Crikey, First Dog has taken time out of his busy schedule of scrawling and shaping daily toon-based missives to tour his first show, ‘Cartoobs and other Typos.’
Cartoobs is a wander through the mind of one of Australia’s unsung political satirists. I write ‘unsung,’ but the man could easily print ‘Acclaimed Journalist’ on his business cards without feeling a pang of conscience. It seems that he likes a challenge, and just to make us all wonderfully jealous, has embarked upon his first Comedy Festival Show, made possible by crowd-funding site Pozible.
While his cartoons are the only reason why a sane and balanced mind opens up the Crikey daily newsletter of an afternoon, does his stand up (pardon me here) stand up? To this question that I have just posed myself, I answer: yes. Resoundingly so. Unlike some acts who deliver a whizzbang of lights and sounds and noise to bamboozle the senses into a form of pre-epileptic submission, First Dog wisely chose to deliver ‘Cartoobs’ via PowerPoint. In a small room in a hotel where there would be nothing to mask the shame of an unprepared comedian or an unfunny joke. It’s fortunate that he has the comedy to back up the chutzpah because it was a hoot.
Cute cartoons, cat photos and a whole lot of false bravado were cleverly interwoven with heart-warming tales of feminism and family and then booted home as he sang Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ whilst playing a ukulele and wearing a bandicoot’s tail and ears.
Few grown men would do that, and even fewer during their debut Comedy Festival show. But First Dog, clearly isn’t your typical grown man (or dog). And for that we can be thankful, as we wouldn’t have had the hour of joy that was ‘Cartoobs and Other Typos’ if he was.
Accents can make anything funny, which is why Dave Hughes and Billy Connolly can always get a crowd giggling even with the most mundane of observations. It helps too, if your lovely Irish brogue is accompanied by a cutting wit and miniature keyboard skills. David O’Doherty’s 2013 MICF show ‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is chock-full with songs, puns and a surprising number of self-deprecating anecdotes from one of the UK’s most successful comedians on tour.
From the moment the introduction began ringing out over the Forum Theatre (a large plush venue with allocated seating, for those playing along at home), the crowd was O’Doherty’s for the taking. ‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is meant to be a life-affirming hour where he aims to fix the world. If anything, O’Doherty proves that he doesn’t even need to provide genuine solutions—he does a lot of good just rolling around the world generating belly laughs. Like Patch Adams if he were actually funny (and Irish, and not a doctor).
O’Doherty’s trademark is the rollicking good show that is a little unstructured and flits between topics. Here he is as disorganised as ever, but it’s why we’ve come to love him: The man can make a good joke out of anything. Or a silly song with good jokes which is just as great. If you don’t believe me, consider one of the show’s final pieces: a song about a man wanking on a bike. If you can construct one joke that doesn’t require an obvious rhyme, like ‘banking,’ then I suggest you close this page and get to the Edinburgh Fringe, stat. Comic geniuses are in short supply; they’ll be needing you this year.
‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ is naturally meant to be a show all about positive thinking and bouncing back after a relationship breakup and depression.
While it is very much so a peppy affair, it largely really ends up being about how great he is.
Not in the content itself (typically, O’Doherty is caustic about his own self and inability to attract the opposite sex: “People see me and think: Wow, Chris O’Dowd has let himself go!” he says at one point, rather incorrectly), but the overall Carpe O’Diem experience reveals just how funny, interesting and amusing he is.
Rapid-fire jokes sent a delighted audience into raptures, and I believe I did not stop laughing until the very end when I had to run to catch a train. Emergency pulls on my drink were necessary to ensure that I made it out of there alive, but there certainly are worse ways to die. A bit of CPR from one of the funniest comedians on tour today truly would be the Kiss of Life.
‘Seize the David O’Doherty,’ proves that David O’Doherty is getting better and better with every year that passes.
Oblivion is set 80 or so years into the future on a post apocalyptic Earth. Tom Cruise plays Jack (again) a former marine commander and one of the last remaining men on the planet. His job is to act as a maintenance mechanic, repairing faulty Drones. The Drones are armoured airborne machines that patrol earth protecting it from scavengers using up the last of earths remaining resources. Things, however, get complicated for our hero when a beacon brings down a ship, carrying a surviving female. Who is she? Where’s she from? And just why does the Cruiser find himself trying to help her?
MTV’s influence has since inspired most of postmodernism within television and film, boasting a style over substance technique for the younger audiences. What Spring Breakers has done is take that motto to make one of the most stylish films that attacks the approach. It is hypocritical in a way but that’s the purpose. This attack on it makes for a very confusing film but not in comprehension, but whether one likes it or not. This confusion is throughout but even more so after you leave the cinema, thinking about how hollow the viewing was yet there’s an enjoyment to it. It’s a bizarre feeling of confliction and affection. That bad ending doesn’t really help either.
The Place Beyond the Pines comes after Derek Cianfrance‘s last outing, 2011’s heart-breaking anti-romance Blue Valentine that breaks people. The story of a couple at the beginning and end of their relationship with no coverage of the seven year gap. It was intimate, it fixated on them as a couple at their birth and their death. It’s one of the most real films that one can experience especially if you’ve had a similar experience that it can leave you completely harrowed for days and days. The Place Beyond the Pines is a much bigger film, scope and budget wise, considering it follows in an episodic fashion of three different stories that are linked as it passes from one to the other. This episodic direction makes it much harder to advertise it correctly and it hasn’t really; it seems like another cops and robbers but it’s far from it.
The unexpected pressure of a meteoric rise or a highly successful debut album might be enough to make some bands quiver in their live boots but not Bastille who hit the Concorde 2 in Brighton with the kind of multi-layered skill of a band secure in their talents.
Side Effects has since witnessed Steven Soderbergh announce his retirement from film citing problems with executives, producers and a lack of respect to filmmakers. This, being his swansong, is a loss to cinema as this is a great film by Soderbergh who had now seemed a lot more stylish, more comfortable with directing. Trailers have painted this in different ways for different people with their own interpretation of what the story would be like, already trying to guess the ending but to not guess makes this film a much more thrilling ride. One with all the highs and lows of drugs – prescription or otherwise.
G.I. Joe‘s first outing on the big screen wasn’t a masterpiece or anything close to that. A film based on toys was always going to be a difficult thing to do and with that challenge in mind, it made a commendable effort to make it not so terrible. Although the first was filled with problems, it can be said that it was still a good bit of fun to phase out and watch. The first succeeded from its inherent silliness by even casting Marlon Wayans and Brendan Fraser to add some good comic relief in the action pieces and melodramatic world domination plan of the Cobra Commander. This has all been replaced with an attempt to become a dramatic effective piece when the audiences don’t want that. But more than that it can’t handle it: it doesn’t have the writing, direction or anything to pull it off.
Oz The Great and Powerful finds scepticism ripe because Disney’s live-action output can be described as a bit of a failure lately. John Carter bombed, Prince of Persia bombed, Tron: Legacy sort of bombed. It seems a commonality for them all to bomb but when Raimi stepped up to the plate to develop a prequel to the 1939 classic film more than the novels by L. Frank Baum, everyone seemed to notice and go to it with a bit more respect. What seemed like a cash in has turned into a good film and that could be because of Raimi’s return to form after the annoying Spider-Man trilogy. Sam Raimi has lavishly created a luscious, wondrous fantasy land that you feel a part of.