Opposite of Robot 23-Starless & Bible Black+Table+Homemade Lemonade-Saturday 27th March

Saturday 27th March 2010

Yorkshire House, Parliament Street, Lancaster LA1 1DB,
£4/3 Concessions

OoR23 – 27th March – Starless & Bible Black+Table+Homemade Lemonade
Buy tickets here:


New album “Shape Of The Shape” available now on Static Caravan (UK & France) and Locust Music (rest of world).

Shape Of The Shape Reviews

“If The Old Grey Whistle Test could ever return to our screens, Starless & Bible Black would be the house band…..russet coloured portraits of ’70s folk rock, bleached and spacey.” Music OMH

“The record is so intimate you can feel it’s breath on your cheek – subtle, moving and powerful. This could go head to head with Cate Le Bon for the award of best gothic folk album of the year.” Art Rocker

“Singer Helene Gautier channels Sandy Denny over Cortez The Killer period Neil Young. Like a haunted stroll across the moor…..the more mind blown fringes suit them well.” Mojo

“A confident striding into different pastures, combining very different styles into compelling interplays. A majestically effortless mix of folk, country rock and hippy psychedelia. You may well be in love.” Bearded Magazine

“Heavenly vocals, immaculate chords and fabulous songs, all eight of them on the verge of an evergreen status.” Penny Black Music

“This melding of talents is essentially timeless and it demands attention; this is a record to be savoured on those dark winter’s evenings.” Music Fix

“It is indulgent, it is hedonistic, it is bacchanalian, it is beautiful….an exceptional album.” Americana UK

“Heavyweight in quality but fluid and expansive in execution, Shape Of The Shape is epically beautiful.” Wears The Trousers

“Moving effortlessly between jazz, rock, country and cosmic indie vibes. Quite simply stunning.” Selby Times

“Starry, atmospheric elements that build into insistent, unshakable songs. It’s hard to imagine we’ll hear a more rewarding modern folk rock oriented album than this one for quite a while.” Dusty Groove

“A gorgeous voice, filling the spaces between exquisite guitar arpeggios, spindly riffs, brief and fluid solo passages, and the occasional power chord with analog-synth parts that alternate from spaced-out to warmly gurgling.” Chicago Reader

Debut Album Reviews

“Full-blooded revivalists of bold 70’s folk rock eclecticism……from bare acoustic ballads to Pentangle style rambling and bitter sweet harmonies…… stamping their own personality on their material.” Wire Magazine

“This Manchester-based group is responsible for one of the year’s best folkie songs” New York Times

“… songs informed by Appalachian folk, downtempo jazz, Middle English pastoralism, and smoky continental balladry. They perform each of their stylistic shifts with an effortless agility, resulting in a collection that captivates primarily through its graceful, almost nonchalant simplicity.” Pitchfork

“Folk strains, art songs, and electronic atmospherics combine for a beguiling blend in the debut by this Manchester band.” Amazon.com

“Starless and Bible Black’s music feels absolutely effortless, born out of thin air. It’s like Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval singing through a curtain of opium smoke and fireflies, only a whole lot more awesome.” Harp Magazine

“Starless engage the tropes of antique folk and folk revival through a rigorously formal songwriting approach…… the green, reserved air of the heath and the Arctic Circle, serious and hard.” Dusted Magazine

“Those songs are built like trellises: finger-picked guitar, banjo, glockenspiel, winds, and brushed skins augmented by carefully placed electronic glitches and synth washes. Gautier can sound wraith-like or husky, like Francoiz Breut channeling Sandy Denny.” Allmusic .com

“ What really sets Starless apart from the average acoustic-based warblers are Helene Gautier’s vocals, notably her airy high notes, throaty alto and French (her native tongue)-via-Manchester accent.” CMJ

“Starless & Bible Black se permettent même d’errer vers des teintes plus sombres et gothiques comme seuls le Velvet Underground ou Nico savaient en apposer sur les murs de leur cave.” Rock & Folk Magazine, France

“Le groupe publie en cette fin d’année un album se situant dans la droite lignée des ambiances de Sixteen Horsepower, Led Zeppelin (lorsque Jimmy page et ses acolytes avaient opéré un retour aux sources folk), voire des maîtres Nick Drake ou Bert Jansch.” Popnews, France

“This apparent bouquet of contrasts is the sonic essence of Starless & Bible Black, a blissful, down-tempo conundrum that maintains a pastoral presence” Glide Magazine

“Distilled sunlight, perfume bottles on an aunt’s dresser, driving south, unplanned friends’ jams, certain bookstores on cold afternoons, and the raking of leaves.” Poly Revenge

Moving on from their well-received eponymous debut, Starless & Bible Black have drawn together the sounds of ‘70s Topanga Canyon country-rock, ‘80s Mancunian jangle, and space-age psychedelic drones to make this dynamic, warm and woodsy second album. Gone are the dulcimers and banjos of the first record, replaced by an electrifying wall of Telecaster and Moog, and standing in the centre of this bold, widescreen sound resides the earthy and husky voice.

Recorded at Bryn Derwen within the wilds of the Snowdonian mountains, and during all night sessions in the relative tranquillity of their local village hall, Shape Of The Shape is an album of contrasting styles, themes and approaches that coheres beautifully into a seamless entity.

We get guided through verses and choruses of swamp rock, gothic bluesy chanson and smoky acoustic ballads, as well as a jazz-folk tinged instrumental – after all the band take their name from the classic 1965 Stan Tracey cut – but the apogee of this collection is the driving drone-choral opus, Les Furies – sung in French, this is a very Gallic observation of after hours culture. And while this album traverses all these different styles, the band never deny the importance of a fine tune and a fine song.

Starless & Bible Black were formed in Manchester in 2005 when Hélène Gautier, guitarist Peter Philipson and synth man Raz Ullah started performing live together and they were soon joined by Paul Blakesley on double bass and Brian Edwards on drums. Drum duties on recent recordings were performed courtesy of Karl Penney, another friend of the band.

Their first record was released in 2006 to unanimous critical acclaim most notably from Pitchfork, Wire, CMJ and The New York Times and a seven-inch single Up With The Orcadian Tide was pressed up in summer 2007. Live shows have included playing alongside Vetiver, James Yorkston, Espers and The Earlies as well as performing at the Green Man and Moseley Folk Festivals.

Shape Of The Shape available on Static Caravan (UK / France) and Locust Music (USA / Europe / Japan) via all good music stores. CD, vinyl and download.

The debut album is available on Locust Music on CD, 180 gram vinyl and download. Locust Music through Cargo (UK).

TABLE (Manchester, Static Caravan/Humble Soul Recordings)

*New Single this week’s Record of the Week @ Piccadilly Records*

Manchester-based six-piece Table are led by songwriter David O’Dowda, who combs together different strands of modern folk music to create something new and wonderful on this, their first seven-inch titled ‘Songs You Can Sing’. A record so strong it takes two decent labels, Humble Soul and Static Caravan to give it the full time partner it requires. The two tracks on this single are sumptuous delights, airy and ornate while being oddly familiar. Marshalled by David, Table waltz through quietly elegant folk-pop with minimal guitar, stately piano and low-key vocals on what sounds like an endearingly sweet single, despite the deceptively barbed tale woven throughout.
If ‘Songs You Can Sing’ is beguilingly understated, then ‘ Most’ is multi-layered and bursting with ideas where electronic and organic sounds collide. It’s a many hued delight which pulls together disparate elements and twists them into a myriad shapes, blurring excitedly before sweeping to a beautiful climax. Music that reaches into you and pulls out your soul, personal and frankly as dangerous as it is fragile. Imagine East River Pipe covering a Richard Hawley penned lullaby and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.
Not to be confused with that bloke from The I.T Crowd (that’s Chris O’Dowd – factual ed), David has supported Peter Gabriel – while playing with Sizer Barker (others members are now Wave Machines) – and appeared on radio with Elbow’s Guy Garvey who says “‘Songs You Can Sing’ is one of those songs that you will want to play to your friends, because it makes you look cool…”. To coincide with the release of the single, a session on Marc Riley’s 6Music show was booked on the strength of the only burn circulated at that time, once again showing how far ahead of the game Riley is nowadays.

Homemade Lemonade

Lancaster’s very own based purveyers of live electronically enhanced indie folk meets post-rock:

“Loops, drones and spiralling riffs with mantra-like vocals characterise much of their live set. Crashing waves of guitar under a chant of ‘I can walk on water’ … give way to a bleak early-Factory Records sound updated with electronic effects … reaching an impressive drawn out climax in the explosive ‘Bliss, Ostensibly.’”(Lunecy Review, July 2009).

Lit Fest Lunchtime Lecture — Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Reviewed by Kev McVeigh

To a gratifyingly packed auditorium at the Storey CIC, Carol Coates introduced her talk by saying that the only simple facts about Coleridge were the dates of his birth and death (1772-1834.) She proceeded then to list many of his attributes and roles in an attempt to assure us, it seemed, of Coleridge’s importance. Although she mentioned his role in inspiring and mentoring Wordsworth (and in my eyes it was a more mutual relationship than that) what she missed was his role as inspiration to a generation of prose writers (Hazlitt, Hunt, Hone, Cobbett Jeffreys, etc.)who reacted against Coleridge’s Toryism and his abandonment of his ‘powers’ and became leading figures in British radical reform.

For most people, however, Coleridge’s reputation rests on two works, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, which Coates read long excerpts from, and Kubla Khan read entire. Correctly, in many critics eyes, identifying that the latter is in fact a constructed whole rather than the ‘fragment’ the poet disingenuously claimed, I think she caused a stronger reading of the poem to emerge than simply the rich fantasy image often seen. (The same applies to Wordsworth’s ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ which is about imaginative power rather than flowers.)

To finish this brief talk, she read two of Coleridge’s conversation poems highlighting his role in creating this then new and original form. ‘This Lime-Tree Bower, My Prison’ and ‘Frost At Midnight’ epitomise Coleridge at his most confident. They also serve to highlight Hazlitt’s remark of 1825 ‘all that he has done of moment, he has done 20 years ago.’

Of course Coates’ brief here was an overview of Coleridge the poet, and she delivered a charming, entertaining and enlightening talk. For me it left me wanting more, which was her stated intent, ‘Go away and read Coleridge’ she told us at least a couple of times. It also left me, personally, wanting a discussion opportunity and the chance to go into more depth. Another time?

Charlie Gillett RIP

Morecambe-born Radio presenter and music writer Charlie Gillett has died. There’s a BBC Obituary here

Sympathies to his family and friends, his shows will be missed by many.

The Dukes Youth Theatre to Perform at Lancaster Castle

Hot on the heels of demi-paradise productions, The Dukes Youth Theatre will be performing their new play at Lancaster Castle on Saturday 27 March.

Legend of Eve the Brave has been written by youth theatre members alongside group leaders Lenny St Jean and Mary Sharples. New characters have been created including Merlin’s evil brother, the Lady of the Lake District and Eve, who has always wanted to be a knight but can’t because she’s a woman…

Sixteen young people aged between 7 and 10 are currently rehearsing for this unique experience and what will be their first show outside the DT3 space.

Two older members of DT3 are currently receiving training as directors and have also secured work at Lancaster Castle with demi-paradise productions. Eve Burton is working as Assistant Director and Stage Manager on The Merchant of Venice and Ruby Clarke has been working as Deputy Stage Manager.

The Gift and The Glory

A double bill of brand new plays set in the great outdoors of the Lake District will be opening at The Dukes this Spring.

Written in tandem by John Moorhouse and Lisa Evans, The Gift and The Glory tells the story of two pairs of friends at a crossroads in their lives. Old pals Tom and Jed take a familiar route through the Lakeland fells in The Gift. This time however, they’re off the beaten track as an intensely personal story is revealed.

Glory, Glory is set three months later and a new pair of friends walk that same route. Sixty-somethings Joy and Lizzie are growing old disgracefully. Swigging away and confronting their fears for the future, they share laughter, secrets and gin.

The plays have been written specifically for the local landscape and the outside will literally be brought inside when huge rocks arrive from Ingleton quarry near Carnforth to create the set. The double bill will also feature a specially composed soundtrack with gospel and folk music performed live by the actors.

Dukes’ Director Joe Sumsion will direct Glory, Glory and Louie Ingham will direct The Gift. This will be Louie’s first professional production for The Dukes. She joins Joe fresh from directing The Dukes Youth Theatre in The Things She Sees which made it all the way to The National Theatre as part of the New Connections Festival.

Glory Glory writer Lisa Evans has recently enjoyed success with The Maid of Buttermere at Theatre by the Lake and her new play, Up the Duff, will be touring nationally in the autumn.

The Gift and The Glory runs from Wednesday 31 March – Saturday 24 April 2010. Tickets cost from £5 to £15.50 and can be booked at The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or http://www.dukes-lancaster.org.

Polish Film Season at The Dukes

A collection of new and classic films from Poland will be shown as part of a Polish Film Festival at The Dukes in March.

Starting on Monday 22 March, Katyn is an Oscar-nominated film which tells the story of Polish army officers murdered by the Russian secret police during WW2.

Tricks, screening on Tuesday 23 March, is a charming and bittersweet tale about childhood. Mother Joan of Angels, showing on Wednesday 24 March, is a story of possession and one of the landmarks of Polish cinema. Finally, Ashes and Diamonds on Wednesday 31 March is a powerful and intimate study of the nature of fate and a country in flux after WW2.

There will also be Polish music playing in The Dukes bar before the screening of Tricks on Tuesday 23 March.

All films have English subtitles. Tickets cost £5 (£4 concesssions) and can be booked in advance from The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or online at http://www.dukes-lancaster.org.

International Kaiso and Steel come to Morecambe!

An international collaboration celebrating the vibrancy of Calypso, the steel pan, and story telling from Trinidad and Tobago, comes to More Music in Morecambe on Saturday 20th March.

Kaiso and Steel is a creative collaboration between a steel pan player, a drummer and a Trinidadian singer/musician. The Kaiso and Steel Spring Tour will be starting in Newcastle Gateshead then playing at venues across the country, including More Music’s newly refurbished performance space on Devonshire Road, Morecambe.

The programme will be packed with ‘old time’ calypsos and steel pan music, telling stories about love, history and relationships. The performance looks at how calypsos and steel pan music were used to comment on all aspects of life in Trinidad & Tobago.

Local steel band Pantabulous will get the evening off to a flying start. They are a local community outfit and have performed at the West End Festival and Catch the Wind kite festival delighting the crowds with their energetic playing and infectious rhythms.

This guarantees to be a fun live music night in Morecambe suitable for all ages. More Music’s performance space includes a fully licensed bar serving the Kaiso and Steel Rum punch!

There’s plenty of free parking near by and for public transport buses 2 and 2a come directly to the West End of Morecambe from Lancaster.

The performance starts at 8pm, tickets are available in advance from More Music on 01524 831997 or on the door, and are priced at £8 (£4 Concessions).

For more information on this gig, and other exciting events at More Music, see http://www.moremusic.org.uk. More Music is a community music organisation based in the West End of Morecambe offering classes, gigs and events for all ages. More Music also organises the annual Catch The Wind Kite Festival which this year is on Sunday 20 June.