Entries tagged with: Blur
Albarn being carried off stage at Roskilde 2015
Damon Albarn played Denmark's Roskilde Festival over the weekend (7/4) as part of Africa Express, the project he founded that brings together Western and African musicians. Where most festival sets keep things short and sweet, sticking to the hits, the Blur and Gorillaz frontman -- along with Songhoy Blues, Nick Zinner, Jeff Wootton, and Seye Adelekan -- played a marathon five-hour (!) set that also featured appearances from Blur's Graham Coxon, Laura Mvula and more. When the 4 AM curfew hit, Albarn still wasn't ready to get off stage and launched into a cover of The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" That question was answered by security who carried him offstage while he was still singing. Video of that, plus Africa Express performing Gorillaz's "Clint Eastwood" and a song with Coxon/Mvula, below.
Albarn will be in the U.S. with Blur this fall, playing the Hollywood Bowl (10/20) and NYC's Madison Square Garden (10/23) with opener Courtney Barnett. Tickets to MSG are still available but if you'd like to go for free we've got a pair to give away and as a bonus it comes with a vinyl copy of Blur's The Magic Whip. Entry form is below.
photo: Courtney Barnett at Bowery Ballroom in May (more by PSquared)
To follow their (very tiny) first NYC show since 2003, Blur are returning for much larger US shows at LA's Hollywood Bowl on October 20 and NYC's Madison Square Garden on October 23. If that wasn't exciting enough, those shows just got a pretty awesome opener: fast-rising indie rocker of the moment, Courtney Barnett.
Courtney has other dates, and will be in NYC for a headlining show this month at Terminal 5 (7/22) with Speedy Ortiz (who also play NYC with Waxahatchee) and Torres (who also plays NYC with Garbage). That show is sold out.
All Courtney dates are listed, with the video for "Pedestrian At Best" off her great new album, below...
A man who has an endless supply of irons for the fire, Damon Albarn has written the music for a new stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland which will make its debut at the upcoming Manchester International Festival. (It's not his first stab at the theatre.) Titled wonder.land, it reimagines Lewis Carrol's classic fairytale as an online game where shy Alice escapes to from her unhappy life. Lyrics are by Moira Buffini and the production is directed by National Theatre's Rufus Norris. The musical will run at Manchester International Festival from June 29 - July 12, and will begin its London run in November. You can watch a trailer for it below.
photo: Blur at MHOW in May (more by PSquared)
Blur, who played their new album The Magic Whip and a couple other songs in NYC this spring, will be back in North America for big shows on both coasts. They'll play NYC's Madison Square Garden on October 23 and Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl on October 20. Tickets for MSG go on AmEx presale today (6/15) at noon and MSGE presale Friday (6/19) at 10 AM with the general on-sale starting Saturday (6/20) at 10 AM.
Tickets for Hollywood Bowl go on AmEx presale today at 10 AM Pacific with the general on-sale also on Friday. No word on shows for the rest of North America. Updated dates are listed below...
Blur will release a comic book this week, titled Travel To Hong Kong With Blur. Made with Hong Kong comic artist Kongkee of Penguin Lab, it's a 24-page visual companion to Blur's new album, The Magic Whip, where the band take a futuristic trip through the city of its title. It's available from Blur's webstore starting June 12 and will also be available at the Blur's concert merch tables. Let's hope NYC will have a merch table this year.
Watch a video about the Blur comic's creation, below...
Dash Radio, the online radio network which now includes East Village Radio as one of its stations, officially launches today though it has been broadcasting in beta for a while now. EVR's lineup includes returning shows like Chances With Wolves, Club Ted (aka Gay Beach), and Andy Rouke's Jetlag, and they're also broadcasting Blur drummer Dave Rowntree's show as well. Like all stations on Dash Radio, shows are done live and it's ad/subscription free. Welcome back, EVR!
Other folks with shows/stations on Dash Radio include Odd Future, Snoop Doogg, Mac Miller, Rinse FM, XXL, Isaac Hayes, Cherrytree Records, TLC's T-Boz, and there's currently an Entourage station surrounding today's movie release (if that's something you want to listen to). As mentioned, the EVR folks will soon be adding Dash Brooklyn too. That will broadcast live from a storefront studio on N. 7th and Wythe in Williamsburg. Stay tuned for that, and for other developments.
Blur have made a video for the "Ong Ong," which is probably the most sing-a-long-able song on their new album, The Magic Whip. Directed by Tony Hung, the band star as Big Bosses in a NES-style video game: Damon Albarn is "Mr. Cream," Graham Coxon the cockroach "Mr. Brown," Alex James is the tomato-y "Mr. Red" and Dave Rowntree is the fly "Mr. Black." You can watch it below.
Blur will be playing select dates (mostly festivals) over the summer. Still no word on North American dates (they played NYC last month). They do have dates in Chile and Mexico on October, however. Stay tuned. All dates are listed below.
Blur @ MHOW 5/1/2015 (more by PSquared)
If you follow Blur on Instagram you may have seen them, over the weekend, post little mini-films about each track on their new album The Magic Whip. Turns out those were snippets from a half-hour documentary on the making of the album that Blur have now released in full. You can watch it below.
Blur played their first live show since The Magic Whip's release on Friday at Music Hall of Williamsburg here in NYC and you can check out pictures, video, setlist and review, if you haven't already.
photos by PSquared; words by Bill Pearis
Blur @ MHOW 5/1/2015
Blur played Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday (5/1), a free surprise show sponsored by Converse Rubber Tracks which marked a number of firsts: it was Blur's first live show since the release of their new album The Magic Whip, their first NYC show since 2003 and their first in even longer with guitarist Graham Coxon back in tow. (It was also the first time this writer had seen them since The Supper Club in 1997.) Along with frontman Damon Albarn, drummer Dave Rowntree and bassist Alex James, Blur were augmented by a chorus, extra percussionist and keyboardist. Pictures, video and setlist from the show are in this post.
Damon Albarn was in a very good mood the whole time, sporting a mischievous grin for most of it, and spent a lot of time trying to crack up guitarist Graham Coxon when not continuously dousing the audience with water. Like in London in March, Blur played almost all of The Magic Whip, in order, and it all sounded pretty great. You do notice live the fast song / slow song / repeat nature of the record but that was alright. Especially good: the very Blur-esque opener "Lonesome Street," thoughtful "There Are to Many Of Us," the '70s funk lite of "Ghost Ship" and sing-a-long "Ong Ong" (which they played on The Tonight Show.) The best part for me was watching Graham Coxon, still an amazingly inventive guitarist, play. At one point he either pushed up his glasses or scratched his face with his knee while still playing guitar. It seems impossible now that they existed those years without him. The only Magic Whip song they didn't play was Gorilaz-esque "Ice Cream Man," and when an audience member shouted for it, Damon said "If you'll have us back, we promise to play it next time."
Blur came back for a three song encore, doing "Beetlebum," Parklife deep cut "Trouble in the Message Center," and then, because it's America, "Song 2" which basically sent Music Hall into hysterics. Great show. As for the line, it was long but folks were behaved and from what I could tell, it seemed like everyone got in. They made you print out your tickets (no mobile apps) which sent some people in search of an internet cafe, but they weren't checking IDs against tickets and once they opened doors the line moved quick. The only craziness was people trying to get the very nice free show posters after the gig, which was a bit like Black Friday at Toys R Us.
Opener Honduras, who were chosen after being involved in the Converse Rubber Tracks program (which provides bands with recording time at Brooklyn's Rubber Tracks studio), really lucked out with a packed captive audience. They did pretty well with their vaguely Brit-pop-meets-Strokes guitar pop. They actually play MHOW again tonight, opening for Twin Peaks. Pictures from their set, and lots more from Blur, below...
by Bill Pearis
Blur are in NYC and played The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday (4/30), their first US television appearance in over 15 years. They performed the rousing "Ong Ong" from The Magic Whip and sounded very good. (They all look pretty much the same, too, right down to Dave Rowntree's Fred Perry shirt.) Watch it below.
Blur will be playing The Magic Whip in full today at Music Hall of Williamsburg. It's an early show -- doors at 5 PM with Honduras on at 5:45 and Blur around 7 PM. If you were lucky enough to score tickets, remember, "Fans who receive a confirmed 'ticket' will be allowed to enter the venue on a first come, first serve, with admission based on capacity day of event." Ticketmaster says: "Please print out your tickets at home and arrive early."
Tickets for the FREE Blur show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, their first in NYC with Graham Coxon since 2000, become available today at noon. "Fans who receive a confirmed 'ticket' will be allowed to enter the venue on a first come, first serve, with admission based on capacity day of event." Good luck.
The show happens this Friday (5/1) at Music Hall of Williamsburg before the late Trail of Dead show at the same venue. Honduras are opening.
UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, tickets "sold out" in about a minute. Did you get through in time?
As mentioned, Blur are playing The Tonight Show on Thursday and we wondered if they might do a show while here...and yes they are. Blur will play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday (5/1). It's an early show (Trail of Dead got moved to the late show you may remember) and sponsored by Converse Rubber Tracks and is a free show. Honduras are opening and it's all ages. You do have to claim free tickets through Ticketmaster which will be available Wednesday (4/29) at noon.
Blur will be playing The Magic Whip live in full, with some older favorites as well hopefully. This will be Blur's first NYC show with Graham Coxon since 2000. Poster for the show is below...
Blur's new album, The Magic Whip, is out this week and the band will be here in NYC to play The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday night (4/30). That will mark the band's first US appearance since Coachella 2013 and their last NYC appearance in much, much longer. (Their last tour here was 2003.) Seems a long way to travel for just one or two songs on TV...might there be a show while in New York?
Meanwhile, Blur just appeared on UK show Later With Jools Holland, playing "Go Out" and "My Terracotta Heart" from The Magic Whip. You can watch both those performances below.
Blur have released a video for "Lonesome Street," the new single from The Magic Whip, the band's first album in 12 years. It stars the Phoenix Fly Line Dancing Group of San Francisco and you can watch their charming choreography at work below.
You can also watch guitarist Graham Coxon and longtime collaborator/producer Stephen Street talk about the making of the new record, below.
The Magic Whip will be out April 28 in the US.
by Bill Pearis
photo: Blur @ Mode, London 3/20/2015 (via @stokesie1978)
Blur have released another track from their new album, The Magic Whip, and "Lonesome Street" seems like the kind of bouncy song a lot of fans were hoping the band hadn't given up on. There's whistling and it sounds to these ears like Graham Coxon gets to sing a little on this one too. There's a video coming for this one, so perhaps it's the official single. Stream it below. The Magic Whip is out April 28.
As mentioned, 300 fans got to hear The Magic Whip live on Friday (3/20) when Blur played it front-to-back at West London club Mode. They encored with "Trouble in the Message Center" from Parklife which they hadn't played live in 20 years. You can watch video of that, and clips of a few other songs, below...
by Bill Pearis
Blur have shared another track from their new album, The Magic Whip, which is out April 28. With stabbing strings and a martial beat, "There Are Too Many of Us" is a glam-ish stomper, albeit one with a rueful outlook. You can stream it below.
A lucky few will get to hear Blur play The Magic Whip live in its entirety tonight (3/20) at a secret West London location.
Woohoo! Blur have just announced The Magic Whip, the band's first new album in 12 years, and their first in 16 years to feature guitarist Graham Coxon on the whole thing. It's out April 27 via Parlophone. The band recorded most of the album in Hong Kong and then finished it with their longtime producer Stephen Street. That's the cover art above and you can stream "Go Out" from it (and check out the tracklist) below.
Blur will also play the British Summer Time Festival in London's Hyde Park on June 20. Poster for that show is below.
Damon Albarn may be having a busy year, because supposedly Gorillaz are coming back too.
You may have heard/seen that last week it became a thing on the internet to follow anything comedian Russell Brand said with a cry of "Parklife!" It's a jab at his hyper-verbose way of speaking, especially on social/political issues (to which he speaks a lot these days) and how in his accent it kinda sounds like Phil Daniels on Blur's 1994 UK hit. Video mashups were made.
Russell Brand has now offered up his own take on "Parklife," hitting back at those making fun (and his critics) while getting in a bunch of politics as well. You can watch it, Blur's original and one of the mashups, below...
"There was a certain amount of science to it. An entire week of work experience students left the office thinking that cutting-edge music journalism in 2014 mostly involves calculating which bands have been mentioned most in NME in the past two years, then hunting out references to the bands that influenced those acts online and finally adding up the number of times each influence came up. This gave us a rough list which our editorial team - heads swimming with all of the bands that Wolf Alice (or whoever) have raved on about over 4am ciders - then took to the pub, tore into shreds, fought and shouted about and finally reconstructed in the rundown of 100 you see in the mag today. The Beatles didn't make it. Sorry." [NME[NME went ahead and listed who they think the 100 most influential musicians and bands are (their latest cover story). Radiohead topped the list. Read the rest with justifications at NME, or just look at their full list below...
by Bill Pearis
Damon Albarn is in NYC currently, getting ready to play Governors Ball tonight (6/6) and Irving Plaza on Sunday (6/8), both part of his current tour. While here, he stopped by The Tonight Show last night to perform "Lonely Press Play" from his new solo album, as well as an old Blur nugget: the gorgeous "This is a Low" from Parklife, which turned 20 years old in April. Videos of both are in this post.
While some artists, like Jarvis Cocker, keep their solo sets free of songs from previous bands, Albarn has been peppering his sets with cuts from Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the Queen, and Blur. A recent setlist is below. Tickets are still available for Irving Plaza.
Videos from The Tonight Show below...
by Bill Pearis
Damon Albarn @ SXSW 2014 (more by Tim Griffin)
We mentioned earlier today that Damon Albarn would be playing Irving Plaza on June 8, one of the official Governors Ball afterparties. He's playing Governors Ball proper, too, and doing a string of dates between that fest and Bonnaroo. All dates are listed below.
Album's solo debut, Everyday Robots, comes out this week (4/29) and features appearances by Brian Eno and Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan. It's by far the most sedate, wistful record of his career though. If you're familiar with songs like Blur's "Tender," Gorillaz's "Broken" or The Good The Bad & the Queen's "The Bunting Song," you mostly know what to expect. You can still listen to the album for free via iTunes and a few track streams, videos (including the new one for "Heavy Seas of Love") and a "track by track" commentary from Albarn, are below.
In other news, Albarn happened by London's Red Lion pub last week (4/23) and joined the house band for a rendition of Blur's Britpop classic "Parklife." Video of that is below too.