Ukrainian National Opera at Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Llandudno’s Venue Cymru last night played host to the Ukrainian National Opera of Kharkiv and their internationally acclaimed performance of Puccini’s La Bohéme, directed by Ellen Kent.
One of the most popular and romantic operas, La Bohéme tells the tragic tale of Mimi, a doomed and lonely Parisian woman and her love for the poor, penniless writer Rodolfo.
Set in 1830s Paris, the performance immediately enveloped the audience as soon as the curtain rose, and transported them to the poor, impoverished world of Rodolfo and his friends. The set was very believable, complete with hand painted scenery and impressive smoke effects, as well as sumptuously designed costumes.
The performance itself was a complete treat, and included many famous arias such as Your Tiny Hand Is Frozen and They Call Me Mimi. There was also a memorable appearance from Musetta’s small dog during Musetta’s Waltz, which had some of the audience in stitches.
The on-stage relationship between the lovers Rodolfo and Mimi was entirely believable; they performed extremely well. It was very easy to believe that they were two people completely infatuated with each other, despite desperately trying not to be, and the final act depicting the death of Mimi brought at least a tear to all in the audience. The performance also caused some mixed emotions between laughter and sadness at points, due to the antithesis of the sad and tragic relationship between Mimi and Rodolfo and the comical relationship between Marcello and Musetta, which were both portrayed on stage simultaneously at some points.
It was difficult to feel sadness for one relationship without laughing at the other – until the end act, when all elements of humour were completely forgotten, and sadness took over the audience at the tragic death of Mimi.
After a slightly shaky start in act one, in which the orchestra had a tendency to drown out the singers, the performers settled in to an extremely successful performance, enjoyed immensely by all. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride that drained much out of all watching, but left all very satisfied. An excellent performance.
The Ukrainian National Opera of Kharkiv continues their tour of La Bohéme around the UK.
Read the original article here: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/leisure/theatre-reviews/2012/04/20/la-boh-me-55578-30802626/
Indie rockers All the Young seem to have burst onto the music scene with pretty much no warning whatsoever. Their debut offering, Welcome Home, a title that rather presumptuously seems to assume that listeners will immediately be captured by their sound and feel like they’ve been ‘missing out all this time’, is a bold and intrepid release, with a sound and a feel that’s sure to be taken notice of.
It comes as quite a surprise, in all honesty. It’s a very well produced album, in fact the production is astonishing, and that seems to draw attention away from the actual music. Surely it’s better to write music that’s enjoyable to listen to however it’s recorded, than to make music that’s produced brilliantly but is ultimately rubbish? Not that this album is entirely rubbish, but there are some problems.
The issue with this album is that it’s just not as unique as the band seem to want to be. They claim, in their own words that they’re a band with “the brains, brawn and balls to take 2012 and smash it into a brave new frontier of indie rock n’ roll”. The problem is, they haven’t really done that. It’s not a brave new frontier of indie rock n’ roll, in fact the album can immediately be compared musically to some other rather famous bands, especially Biffy Clyro. This really draws away from the “brave new frontier” ideology that the band seem to want to put forward, in fact it collapses completely.
Happily, on the plus side the excellent production means that, despite the problems that comes with it, every element of the music is clearly audible, and within it there are some redeeming features. The vocals are excellent, and the presence of massive amounts of echo and reverb on the guitars gives the music an eerie, haunting quality, that’s mournful in some places and uplifting in others. As an overall sound it really does remind one of Biffy Clyro, but whilst this puts paid to the unique ideology that the band want, it’s not actually a bad thing because it does sound rather good.
So, it’s not necessarily an entirely bad album, but it has slightly been overproduced which has given it the wrong angle to approach an audience from. With a little more care and consideration when producing the music, it might be received slightly better.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/all-the-young-welcome-home
Indie folk trio the Bowerbirds’ second full length studio album The Clearing is the follow up to 2009′s album Upper Air. After a turbulent couple of years fraught with break ups and reconciliations, it’s almost a miracle that the album made it to production at all. But we should be glad that it did.
Initially, the first thought is that indie-folk is a strange genre to put this album in. In fact, it’s a strange genre full stop. Folk is usually unmistakably unique, and therefore it’s odd to put the title of ‘indie’ in front of it. With The Clearing though, it all seems to make a lot more sense. It fits the idea of indie-folk quite perfectly. It’s not quite the same as other folk, there are other elements in there too, which makes it interesting to listen to, and makes it more unique to other folk releases.
It’s a relaxing sound, more than anything. Moore’s vocals are of a soothing and mellow sort, complementing the folk music excellently, and the vocals of the excellently named Beth Tacular are exactly the same. It’s good background music, well recorded and really quite pleasant to listen to. Musically it’s gentle and acoustic with the addition of some other alternative elements, like some dance drum beats and even some Spanish castanets that added variety to the album.
It’s not going to be without its dissenters, though. This album certainly won’t be to everybody’s tastes, it’s a bit slow and takes some getting used to, and the more impatient listeners might not give it the chance that it deserves. It has more depth than most new releases, and this might stop it from reaching a wide audience.
So, it’s an experimental and highly successful release, from a band with a lot of songwriting talent and a carefree attitude towards the music they make. It’s a refreshing take on music, with little care for the commercial side and an obvious love towards writing music that sounds like it has been written for the love of writing and playing music. It might not reach a commercial, widespread audience, but that’s not what it’s about.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/bowerbirds-the-clearing
The glamorous location of Brooklyn, New York has seen some famous people come and go in its time, but one of the most recent stars to erupt from its depths is the R’n'B singer Doe Paoro, who’s unique and experimental debut Slow to Love comes out this week.
As new sounds go, the first thing that strikes you is that it reminds one strongly of late seventies/early eighties pop star Kate Bush, Doe Paoro’s voice really throws itself back to her eclectic style in a big way. It’s a fresh, new look at the R’n'B scene, yet retro at the same time. One of the other special things about this album is the way in which it manages to cement itself firmly in the genre of female popular R’n'B and yet remains unique at the same time.
Strengths – its unique traits will encourage listeners to broaden their horizons and listen to something a little bit different. The way in which Doe Paoro has managed to write something that will both be different from mainstream marketable music and also remain within the same classification as it means that some more mainstream listeners will be, in some ways, forced to listen to and enjoy it. There’s also no denying that Doe Paoro has an extremely powerful voice that she puts to excellent use. The use of vocal harmonies is also thrilling, especially on the Intro, which can remind a listener quite easily of Imogen Heap’s famous song Hide and Seek, and the vocals on I’ll Go Blind remind of some early noughties hip-hop.
Limitations – it’s really not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Some might find Doe Paoro’s voice a little grating and the music a little sparse. There isn’t a whole lot for a listener to sink their teeth into really, it’s going to take a lot of appreciation for the elements that ‘are’ in the music – the vocals, some occasional drums and some even more occasional bass sounds – for a listener to be able to enjoy this album to its full potential. This might limit the audience slightly, and drive away some would-be listeners. It also sounds rather manufactured, which this reviewer appreciates might be the point, but still won’t be to everyone’s tastes.
It is, therefore, a slightly vexing release. There’s definite potential in the artist and in the song writing ability but the genre and the production clouds this slightly to make something that isn’t fully realised, and sort of a flop. There are some shining moments on the album that show that Doe Paoro really has the potential to be a great artist, again like the impressive vocals on I’ll Go Blind, but it needs a little refining and a little ‘spicing up’, really. Minimalism is, in this case, not the key. 5/10.
Read the original article online here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/doe-paoro-slow-to-love
Welsh rockers Lostprophets return with the follow up to their 2010 album The Betrayed with their latest offering, the aggressively, politically titled studio album Weapons. It’s been a turbulent few years for the band since Liberation Transmission, with the departure of drummer Ilan Rubin in favour of band Nine Inch Nails in 2009 and the subsequent delay of the release of The Betrayed, it’s good to see Lostprophets back on the scene.
From football crowd-esque chants to quick raps, this is another album meant to hit the young generation with an intense political message, not unlike that of bands such as Rise Against. Lostprophets are no stranger to writing music like this, and it’s earned them some bad press over the years, occasionally accused of being a band aimed at young teenagers, fans who are slightly older than children. But, in this reviewers opinion, this is an unfair accusation. This is an act that has done a huge amount of maturation since 2000’s Thefakesoundofprogress. Gone are the slightly childish song names (examples: We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan and Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja) and, if this album is anything to go by, they’ve matured extremely well.
There’s a slightly heavier sound on this album than we’re used to from Lostprophets, echoing back to some of Start Something in 2004, but without the punk feeling to it. It’s refreshing from the Welshmen, yet somehow it remains extremely ‘Lostprophets’. That is to say, it’s immediately recognisable as them, even though it does sound quite different. The band has experimented a lot more with this release than others; raps, chants, distorted bass guitar and synths, it’s more progressive and shows more thought than before. The rap actually reminds of a sped-up form of Gorillaz. This new policy of experimentation works, too, it’s an album that doesn’t get boring as it progresses and leaves a listener wanting more.
There are, as, always, a couple of improvements that could be made though. Some of the songs get a little repetitive, and the political message, while still very relevant in today’s society, could have been slightly more obvious if that was the main ambition of the album. Compared to other politico-punk releases (Rise Against’s Endgame is a good example of this) it doesn’t come across as political music, but rock music with a slight political twist. This is slightly nit-picky though, it’s a great release from the rockers.
So, it’s one of Lostprophets’ best efforts in years. It’s good to see them back on form and trying out new styles. It sounds like the band enjoyed writing and playing their songs, and in the end that’s the point. Hopefully this will signify the end of the turbulent years for the band and we’ll be seeing more from them in the near future. When it comes to rating this release, this reviewer gives it a good solid 9/10.
Unsigned pop-rock quartet The City Divided, hailing from the county of Hertfordshire, last month released their debut EP The Endless Moment under their own steam. Hertfordshire is a county that is rapidly becoming famous for producing rock bands, the most prominent being Enter Shikari, and then also The Subways and more recently indie rockers The Electric Modern. The City Divided are the latest act to come out of the county, with catchy, sing along choruses, epic build-ups and smooth, mellow interludes on this, their debut EP.
It’s quite hard to class this release, actually. It’s not pure rock, it’s not pure metal, it’s not pure pop, either. The closest that a listener can come to classing it is ‘pop-metal’, but there’s masses of eighties style power metal in there (especially on Higher Ground) that makes even that quite tenuous at best. What it is, though, is catchy. It’s a very varied release in terms of sound and style.
It’s a well structured release. The opener Laughing is very tone setting, very catchy and really sets up the rest of the release. Higher Ground is more of a meaty and in some ways comedic song, with obvious influences from other genres and even other decades. Watching the World Burn slows down the EP considerably and is a much more emotional song which really displays the singing abilities and the vocal range. The final song Waiting at the Gates is all about the build up to an epic finish, and is therefore a very fitting end to an epic EP.
Limitations – as a whole EP, it’s a bit short, and the inclusion of now released single Blue wouldn’t have gone amiss either. Plus, the heavier sounds, pinch harmonics and Killswitch Engage-esque chugging sounds, as well as the odd inclusions of tight vocal screams might not be to everyone’s taste, if they’re looking for a catchy pop-band. Otherwise, it’s a very impressive release.
Overall, The City Divided have provided an impressive and soon-to-be successful release, and it will surely help them to be noticed in the very near future. They’re definitely another band from Hertfordshire to keep an eye on. 8/10.
Find out more about The City Divided at their website, here: http://www.thecitydivided.com
Birmingham indie rockers Since Monroe burst onto the scene a year after their formation with their debut EP, Lost Generation, a great release with plenty of catchy, rock hooks and a carefree attitude that’s sure to get plenty of people sitting up and taking notice. Formed in March 2011, Since Monroe have gone from formation to acclamation in an impressively short space of time. Lost Generation is released to the public on March 26th 2012.
As an EP, it has plenty of variety and changes in sound between songs, and plenty of energy that’s sure to get fans rocking along. It’s a very good release, especially considering that it went from concept to fully recorded reality in the space of a year. It’s an ambitious and rock-orientated release that has the potential to bring the fans back into the more rocky aspects of the indie genre, which has become increasingly stagnated in the last few years. It’s a breath of fresh air into the genre that’s sure to get the band success.
It’s produced extremely well. Musically, the vocals fit over the music style perfectly, and the sounds of the instruments begin as they mean to go on, plunging the listener from the first notes of DJ into hefty, dirty sounding guitar riffs and, over the top, the uplifting almost shouted-yet-somehow-sung vocals add relief from the instrumental onslaught. The bass sounds growly and hefty and adds excellent depth to the songs. Completely, with all the aspects together, it sounds like very carefree rock n’ roll, music for the sake of making very fun music, and gets the head bopping up and down appreciatively from the offset. The album then slows down slightly, giving the listener more to think about and more proverbial ‘meat’ to sink their listening-teeth into. Lost Generation is a complete triumph of a song, and the cheeky claps on Satellites bring a smile to the face.
Limitations – it might get a bit repetitive as time goes on. Whilst DJ plunges the listener straight into Since Monroe’s style at the deep end, it does tend to then only have the options of either carrying on with the audio-onslaught, which gets a tad tedious after a while, or slowing down and becoming less interesting, and Since Monroe seem to have opted for both when putting this album together. Whilst the rest of the songs on the EP are very good, they don’t change from the first one nearly enough and yet also get slower at the same time, which can make listening to it a bit ‘samey’. The technique of starting quickly at-the-deep-end would work better with a full length album, because there would be more opportunity to chop and change sounds, slow down and speed up again, but with a short EP this doesn’t work as effectively. The best suggestion here is just to change the order of the songs to make it more of a wild ride for the listener.
On the other hand, the other songs definitely show the band’s maturity. They’re all very well written, performed, recorded, mixed and produced. Since Monroe are packed full of songwriting talent and this album definitely has the potential to herald in a new generation of indie-rock, one that’s sure to take the music industry by storm. They’re definitely a band to watch out for, and a sound that’s certain to become trademark. Excellent. 7.5/10.
- Biffy Clyro – Opposites Album Review (Planetmosh Review)
- When We Were Wolves – The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP Review (Planetmosh Review)
- Alexisonfire – Death Letter EP Review (Bring the Noise Review)
- Lewis Watson – Another Four Sad Songs EP Review (Never Enough Notes Review)
- Parkway Drive – Atlas Album Review (Bring the Noise Review)
- February 2013
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- November 2012
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- Born Music Online
- Bring the Noise
- Contact Music
- Never Enough Notes
- New Junk
- Popped Culture
- The Daily Mail
- The Daily Post
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