Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Prestige - Review

I went to see this last week and was duly impressed.

The film focuses on a pair of aspiring magicians (Played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) who develop an intense rivalry. The pair become obsessed with stealing each others secrets which results in tricks aplenty and an escalating series of double crosses which spirals dangerously out of control and ends up consuming and ruining their lives.

The film is directed by Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, Memento) who is fast becoming one of my favourite directors and displays his typical style and love of twists and turns as previously shown in Memento. You definitely need to keep your wits about you so the plot doesn't get away from you.

I thought the film was excellent and not really like anything I'd ever seen before. It also has a rather excellent cameo from David Bowie playing a partially fictionalised Nikola Tesla and if that doesn't recommend it to you surely nothing will!


Monday, November 20, 2006

Recommendation - Soothing Indie Pop From The Minutes

The Minutes are a lovely summery indie pop electronica project including a chap I used to be in a band with.
I can heartily recommend their blend of bleeps and melody.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Gig Review - The Magic Numbers - London Hammersmith Apollo 18/11/06

The Hammersmith Apollo is the biggest gig the Magic Numbers have ever played and tonight they look like a bunch of excited puppies bounding around the stage clearly loving the jubilant reaction of the capacity crowd.

To celebrate this milestone they have invited along Robert Kirby (The genius arranger responsible for the strings on Nick Drakes first two albums) and a string octet, both of whom play on their recently released second album.

I've been lucky enough to see The Numbers three times with the first being a Camden pub gig in early 2005 while they were still just another band playing Camden toilet circuit gigs. Even then it was obvious that they were something special, by the quality of their songs and their infectious sunny harmonies, so what has changed in 18 months? (other than the size of the venue and the Mercury nomination)

As you might expect the songs are tighter and the band have gained confidence and stage presence, but the biggest revelation is Michelle. She has clearly grown into the role of rock bass player strutting around the stage like Gene Simmons and stomping to the music whilst throwing a series of rock shapes. It's surprising and heartening stuff coming from a 20 year old girl who is probably most famous to the general public for being part of the band that walked off Top Of The Pops after insensitive remarks were made about the bands weight by Richard Bacon.

The reason for the tour is the new album (I haven't heard it yet, but as soon as I have a review will be forthcoming) and the gig is a mixture of old and new with the old favorites unsurprisingly sounding tighter and ushering the strongest response from the audience. The highpoint of the gig is undoubtedly Angela and Romeo's duet on "I See You, You See Me" with every line from Angela provoking yells and whoops from the audience. One of the great strengths of the band is the quality of the three voices and wisely both girls get a turn on lead vocals with songs from the new album. Surprisingly it is Michelle rather than Angela whos vocal turn is most convincing taking centre stage and swapping bass for guitar with Romeo. Whilst Angela has arguably the finest voice in the group her turn is less engaging as she stands off to the side and seems too nervous to cope with being the main focus of the audience.

It remains to be seen if the new album will be as big a hit as its predecessor, but if the reactions of this crowd are anything to go by then they can count on a devoted live following for some time to come.