Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu HustleWent to see Kung Fu Hustle yesterday. When I saw Shaolin Soccer last year, I remember thinking it was the best comedy I had seen in years. Well, Kung Fu Hustle didn’t disappoint either. With most of the Shaolin Soccer cast getting back together with a bigger budget and more ambitious story line, this could have been a disaster like so many follow-ups. For once, bigger and better actually worked.

Photo by Adyani, Saeed and Sun, Tang Chak – © 2004 Sony Pictures Entertainment. All rights reserved.

It’s summer…

I feel gooooooood…

Converting Vegetarians - Infected MushroomIt’s finally here. After a few false starts, torrential rain and positively chilly winds, Summer has arrived. Glorious sunshine and hypnotising blue skies, it feels good to be living again. Man, it feels good. Perfect temperature for listening to Infected Mushroom‘s masterpiece The Other Side, the second disc of the Converting Vegetarians album. Oh yes. This is high quality stuff. You just have to listen to it loud. Actually, louder that loud. The orchestration and arrangements are superb, the rhythms always flow in the right direction, the diversity of the sound textures and the variety of the melodic influences make this a piece of work of the highest quality.

Highlights: Converting Vegetarians and Blink

Disappointments: NONE

Roundhay Park bollard

Roundhay Park bollard

This is my favourite picture from the batch of photos I shot with my borrowed digital camera. I’ll post them as a gallery soon.

Minghe Morte at the Packhorse

As I said in my previous post, on Monday I went to the Packhorse to see the first “proper” Minghe Morte gig. I saw them at the LIMA showcase last May (more about it here) and really loved their performance. The Packhorse gig confirmed my first impressions: Minghe Morte just ROCK! They are Colin Sutton on bass, guitar, bass pedals and sampler, Chris Bussey on drums and sampler and Christophe de Bezenac on sax. The music is loud and powerful but full of melody and surprises, the rhythms are complex and demand full concentration from the audience, what else could I ask for?

And on top of this, when you go to a Minghe Morte gig, you get fed! The flyers didn’t lie, for the £3 entry fee, each of us got a free cheese toastie and the chance to win “fabulous” prizes at the free prize bingo during the interlude. This was a great stunt, the turn out was impressive and the audience really loved it.

My brother David and I spotted a few covers and quotes including a piece from virtuoso drummer Jim Black’s Alasnoaxis and another from Queens of the Stone Age. Need I say more?

Musical highlights: Bussey’s drumming (from start to finish), great use of samples, Sutton’s bass guitar sound.

Minor disappointments: de Bezenac seemed a little tired and the sax could’ve been a little louder.

Overall, a great night of music and cheese. Definitely looking forward to more feeder gigs!

Minghe Morte at the Wardrobe

Photo: Minghe Morte at the Wardrobe in May

An evening of improvised music

LIMA Last night I went to the Holy Trinity Church in Leeds for the first LIMA gig since their showcase event last month. Well, actually, I’m not sure whether there has been any gigs in between because their mailing list system doesn’t seem to be working very well. I was one of the first people to add my address to the list but I didn’t get notified of yesterday’s gig. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because the music didn’t disappoint.

This was my 3rd visit to the Holy Trinity Church and the best so far. For once, the musicians really took advantage of the stunning acoustics of the place. Christophe de Bezenac’s solo effort at the beginning of the second part was in my opinion the highlight of the evening. He can do it all: quiet, loud, subtle, raw, powerful, aggressive, experimental… An endless string of surprises. Definitely looking forward to hearing more from him.

Having said that, it would be wrong to focus on a single musician as the quality of the music created last night was consistently high. The first trio which consisted of reed multi-instrumentalist Richard Ormrod, Ricardo Tejero on alto sax and John Barwood on guitar filled the church space with rich, beautiful sounds. The second trio started with Christophe de Bezenac’s solo and a grinding bow-powered sonic attack by Dave Kane and ended with a dizzying group effort with drummer StÃ¥le Birkeland. Birkeland’s muted kit complete with a suitable collection of bells was again perfect for the church’s acoustics. Both trios joined forces to end the evening with a “musical game” initiated by Dave Kane in which each participant was only allowed to make a sound when no-one else was playing.

I was greatly impressed by the LIMA showcase in May and last night reinforced my belief that there is a lot more great music to come out from this collective. Tomorrow, I will be at the Packhorse to see Minghe Morte do their thing. I can’t wait…

The colorado potato beetle

I don’t have a particular interest in the colorado potato beetle but I think it’s a pretty cool looking insect.

Colorado Potato Beetle

More information from Wikipedia:

The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata, Chrysomelidae) has also been known as the Colorado beetle, Ten-striped spearman and the Ten-lined potato beetle. It is approximately 10 mm (0.4 inches) long, with a bright yellow/orange body and bold brown stripes across the length of its wing covers. Despite its name, this beetle is not native to Colorado, probably originating in central Mexico.