Joshua Banks Live at the Power Lunches – Hackney, London 04/08/2012

It’s only once or twice in your lifetime that you stand and watch an accident unfold in front of your tear-filled eyes while sweating so profusely, you may as well be the sun.

It is also only once or twice in your lifetime that you will see a tiger, a beardy mouse, a dwarf and a vegetarian play a set together. No, this is not some nightmarish version of Winnie the Pooh. It is a Joshua Banks gig.

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Image by Lia Schopmeyer

Having had much success at the very first gig at the Stag and Hounds in Bristol earlier this year, Joshua Banks, the exclusive recluse (reclusive?) decided to put on another show, this time in London, this time headlining. The man is going for gold it seems.

But unfortunately, due to his long history of illnesses, of both physical as well as mental nature and the fact that the crowd mostly consisted of former lovers as well as current lovers (awkward), Banks thought it’d be a better idea to give his backing band, namely Andy Price, Gareth Main, Luke Chanelle and the ever so tiny Bitchard James, the stage for 30 mins of glory they probably will never experience again for as long as they live.

The Power Lunches is to you and me a tiny cafe in Hackney, but for the guests it was a haven to gather and exchange many a good tunes, thanks to Steph Main who provided the evening’s second brain blasting musical experience

Good Guy Ant (That’s Mr Anthony Chalmers to you!) organised this gig after his mind was unmistakably blown at the first appearance mentioned above. He had to retreat for a few months, build a pond and recover from what was the most awe-inspiring moment of his life.

And he is not alone. People travelled from as far as Sweden to see this spectacle. Granted, they may have moved to London many years previous to the gig but those petty little details are of no concern to me.

What is of concern though is after a thorough rehearsal, the band took the stage to a raucous applause.

They started with Who is Joshua Banks to ease the crowd in. I have heard this song more times than I care to mention and quite frankly, having been one of the formerly mentioned former lovers of his, I still and will never know for sure who Joshua Banks is.

The Wicker Man – A song about Nicholas Cage. He punched a woman in the face. But unlike Chris Brown, we love him more than ever.

Fashanu’s Smile, so will everyone agree, ended too abruptly, it caused me mild hiccups. With a 10 minute version, it was still only a third of what we all know and love it to be.

Your Face, My Dre – Pride Fest take note, this is not a ballad of love and worship between two men. It is quite frankly sex on stage. At Power Lunches it was, fortunately for us, off stage amidst the crowd who not only looked horrified but also down right pleasure filled.

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Image by: Lia Schopmeyer

You can see the sweat pouring from Price’s pores; this was not caused by the temperature in the basement which was good to moderate, occasionally poor, but just by being in the vicinity of his main man Main, who cheekily grabbed a cheek or two.

You have the visual, now enjoy the aural:

Ending with Jesus is Just Alright with Me – a Doobie Brothers cover, it is quite clear to me, a gottesfürchtig German Christian, that Jesus is more than just alright with this version.

What a grandiose second gig. Yesterday it was Bristol, Today it is London, what’s tomorrow? That remains to be seen.

Review by yours truly,

Lia

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Super (2010) Dir.: James Gunn – REVIEW

My expectations weren’t exactly high as I have seen another film directed by James Gunn. “Slither” was just one of those forgettable, less than mediocre horror films which you pick out from Blockbuster when you get desperate after perusing the aisles for over 40 mins.

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Image by: imdb.com

This is a film that pretty much destroys any preconception you may have of superhero movies.

First of all, this really isn’t a superhero film, despite what the cover reveals, or the fact that Ellen Page is in this one, who, taking Hard Candy and Inception aside, typically plays the quirky, tomboy-ish type girl. Examples are Whip it or Juno.

The other main cast and central figure is Rainn Wilson, who after his wife runs away with a drug dealing scumbag Kevin Bacon, decides to “rescue” her from her very certain drug-filled doom. To deal with the pain of losing her and feeling incredibly inferior in his day to day life, he goes a bit off the rails and dreams that God himself tells him to fight evil. He is inspired by a pretty lame superhero called The Holy Avenger who preaches post marital sex and a good diet.

Still sounds ok, yeah? Yeah.

To do his research on superheroes, and to sculpture his alter ego “The Crimson Bolt” he visits a comic book store where he meets the shop assistant and comic enthusiast Ellen Page.

His first attempts are as expected, funny, clumsy and seem to indicate that he just isn’t cut out to be a superhero.

Until he gets the advice to carry a weapon.

The chosen weapon is a wrench and believe me, he gets very wrench-happy. And this is when things take a darker turn. Suddenly the slightly pitiful but likeable character shows his dark side and demonstrates what can happen when mere mortals believe they are chosen to fight crime.

To be fair, any sane person probably wouldn’t put on a mask and go crime hunting, so we have to question how sane any superhero really is. Not surprising that many of the most famous superheroes all suffered from traumas in one way or another and then became masked fighters (recently found out that Spiderman was molested as a child, Jesus!). So it might not actually be that far fetched that this loser turns a bit psychotic when taking on a second identity.

The surprising thing is, though the film gets darker by the minute, it also gets oddly sad and while you may not endorse Rainn’s brutality, you still kind of want him to “win”.

Ellen Page does a great job looking like a bit of a twat who likes comics too much to really understand the consequences of Rainn’s actions, however, yet again, we see another side of her when it turns out that she is just as disturbed maybe even more so than Rainn himself.

Not to spoil the ending, this is a brilliantly refreshing watch which will have you raise your eyebrow several times and put you through some internal confusion about what you are actually watching.

I really enjoyed it due to that ever changing nature. Genre? Well who needs to stick to boundaries anyway these days, eh?

7/10

-Lia

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Grebo – Live Music Review – The Croft 30/06/2012

This was the first time I heard of the band Grebo.

My friend Andy from Cassette Culture asked if I wanted to go and see them, it was some kind of a reunion gig. Sure why not.

Only on the night when I asked a few more questions about the band did I realise what this night meant for a lot of people.

This was a gig to celebrate and surprise Mr H. who, as the singer Ben Hayes’ Dad was the person who drove the band around throughout the years, not only that but he was a crucial part by being a great support. He was really into the music I hear too.

Grebo and Mr H.

Image by: Jessica Holly Hardie

So for his 60th, the band got together and invited all of the people who were part of the scene back then.

As soon as I entered The Croft where the band was playing, I knew that this was quite the exciting and emotional night for them, people who hadn’t seen each other for years greeted one another as if hardly any time had passed.

When Grebo finally started playing I was pleasantly surprised. Their upbeat pop punk was exactly what I hoped for and the type of music I listened to 10 years ago. It evoked the kind of nostalgia in me that shouldn’t exist, as I didn’t know Grebo then but their style of music, the spirit they wanted to get across is something I recognised.


The music was incredible and the whole band could not have looked happier to be back on stage.

Their happiness was very catchy and I realised that I was grinning like a fool for a lengthy period of time. Seeing people sing along and remember the lyrics after all this time was also something that made me particularly happy.

This show reminded me of why I loved going to gigs. The feeling of being part of something great, this is what any band should aim for when playing live. I was bopping to the fast rhythm and wished I had known the band 10 years ago, just so I could feel the same nostalgia everyone else was feeling evidently.

The atmosphere was amazing and I did not find myself thinking about checking my phone, wondering what time it was or whether I’m hungry or not. That is quite the achievement.

Check them out, here are some videos of Grebo on youtube. If you were ever into pop punk in the early 2000s, then this is definitely something you should give a go. They can also be found on spotify.

I am a fan.

-Lia

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Moonrise Kingdom – THE REVIEW

It has been a few weeks since I saw Moonrise Kingdom and over time I mulled over what i really thought of it.

And here it goes:

I will save you from all the background info on Anderson, because quite frankly, if you read reviews on this, you probably would have seen at least The Royal Tenenbaums.

I really loved it. At the time I was entertained and loved the much quoted “quirkiness” of it. However, if you are a seasoned Anderson fan, you might be pleasantly entertained but definitely not surprised or mind blown.

It is a typical Anderson film and that is not to say it was bad, but it didn’t deliver anything new.

So here is what I liked:

I loved the cast. Murray is obviously at the top of my favourite actors, though his screentime was limited which I did not appreciate.

Edward Norton was a surprisingly good choice for scout master Ward. He was pitiful and subtle, exactly what Anderson was looking for, but then again, Norton is a good actor so it is no surprise that he delivered this role brilliantly.

The kids were cool. I liked their acting ability and I am usually pretty sceptical about kids in movies. Suzy was pretty convincing and seemed to be the child of an Anderson generation, that is to say, she reminded me a lot of Margot Tenenbaum, quite an achievement for a kid who isn’t the most seasoned actress.

Bruce Willis acted as the slightly dim witted, sad cop Bishop who does his job dutifully on the island where NOTHING HAPPENS, yet he feels alone, isolated and finds comfort in the arms of a married woman (Bill Murray’s wife and mother of Suzy). While his performance did not have me go for the full standing ovation, he did do better than I expected. Afterall, Willis is not a likely Anderson character.

Photo courtesy of imdb.com

image courtesy of imdb.com

There we have it, the good part: the cast, now to the bad:

The plot:

I loved the beginning, I loved how the story was unravelled to the audience. The fast pace and the flashbacks were a nice touch. It moved the story along nicely.

But once the whole plan of little Sam and Suzy was discovered and they were separated, the whole film slumped a little bit. It went from bad to worse in the last third of the film where I was turning around thinking “Have I accidently  stumbled into a re-run of Fantastic Mr Fox?!”

The story became so bizarre, that you were pulled out of the atmosphere that Anderson carefully created at the beginning. Suddenly the whole film became a laughable fugitive film where no one took anything seriously,

While I never watch any of Anderson’s films with the delusion that this is real life, I however like things plausible. And I am tired of arguing this point. YES, I don’t believe in zombies, or ghosts or whatever and still enjoy a good horror, but that is because the plot in itself is plausible and that is the most important thing about any film, no matter if it’s kitchen sink or exploitation.

So when the last third had my eyebrows going wild with scepticism, I knew that wasn’t a good sign.

It ended too cliche, too good and not enough Anderson.

The score of course, was as usual, excellent, I did not expect any less from him though.

So my verdict is: It was an enjoyable, typically Anderson film but please, don’t expect a new Tenenbaum as this shines with its casts but disappoints with the plot.

I give it a 6/10.

Lia

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The Deal wit ‘dis

Hello non readers,

This is my introductory post to Aural & Visual.

No doubt in about 10 years time, I will look back to this fondly and reminisce while I sit in my million dollar, yes, $$$ mansion, stroking my Dodo, thinking about the humble way I started my empire.

Yes, this is definitely going to happen.

What the deal is with this:

I am bored.

And when I am bored I destroy or create, like any genius, I get productive or flip.

So, all Rain man style, I will be counting the toothpicks in seconds and then hit ya’ll up with my musings. This primarily will be about cool gigs I went to and cool films I watched. Depending on my bank statement, this will be free gigs and films I have on DVD.

NEVERTHELESS, I hope that my unique and difficult style of writing will somehow manage to find your corneas and you will support my efforts, as I will be supporting the local music scene here in Bristol with my live gig reviews.

Plus, if you are all nice and shit, I will buy you your very own diamond encrusted Dodo in my very rich future.

Enjoy.

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Lia

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