Month: July 2014

TaikOz Future Directions, 14/6/2014

Disclaimer: I learned taiko with members of TaikOz for a number of years.

It’s taken a while to write this. I’ve felt conflicted, as I am a TaikOz tragic and want them to succeed and grow – but I’m also a gig-goer with limited time and limited cash. And I like to spend my time (and money) accordingly, and to feel some kind of reward – not always in the form of back-slapping woo-consuming-arts! kind of way, either – for the investment of both.

Unfortunately, the Future Directions gig was one of the poorest shows I’ve seen from the ensemble. There’s been member injuries to contend with – artistic director Ian Cleworth was not on stage – but I feel Kaoru Watanabe‘s guest artistic direction didn’t provide enough cohesion to the performance to pull it off. (more…)

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West 78: American Girl (2002)

FILL ME IN MANThis is an older review of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word. 

I’d like to apologise in advance for this review. I am sure that no matter how much I plunge through the dictionary, and no matter how hard I try, I won’t be able to find words succinct enough to communicate to you exactly how awful, how dog-humpingly insipid American Girl is. (more…)

Mark Lanegan Band: Bubblegum (2004)

Click to visit his homepage.This is an older review of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word. Again, it’s a long ‘un. A decade ago I obviously wasn’t into precision. 

Until now, most people who’ve been aware of Mark Lanegan’s solo career have been die-hard fans. His solo work – a brace of pared-back albums that provide distinctly uneasy listening – is more noted for its barely-restrained menace, rather than the volume-heavy terror of the singer’s turns with Screaming Trees or Queens Of The Stone Age. His work over albums like Field Songs and The Winding Sheet contained a starker, (more…)

Feel the Payne

So this afternoon saw me finish the third Max Payne game, the startlingly originally-titled Max Payne 3. Despite my being hamstrung by some weird sinus/skull thing, I really enjoyed the ending; Rockstar (who most non-gamers would probably know as the publishers of the Grand Theft Auto series) took the cinematic roots of the series, whacked it full of booze and sent it on holiday to Brazil.

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Croft and Creed

I’ve just finished playing last year’s reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise, called – funnily enough – Tomb Raider.

And it was good. I mean, Uncharted 2 levels of good, if widescreen, epic-setpiece and press-x-not-to-die QTEs are your bag. I mean, check it out:

It’s a gorgeous game. I must qualify: it’s largely muddy browns and greys, all snow and storm – but it is certainly the best-looking game I’ve played on the PS3 thus far.  (more…)