Ray's Gigs

Daily news and reviews of gigs bars clubs restaurants product launches films theatre fashion shows books art galleries hotels competitions interesting places to visit ...and much more!

Tuesday 06 June 2023.

Had some important things to attend to the past few days, so was too busy to write the following six gigs in six days reviews or look at the 600 plus emails that arrived...but will gradually get around to everything being back to normal...sorry for the delay. Monday 05 June 2023. SIMPLY RED live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Simply Red play an intimate one-off UK show at the start of their European Tour to promote their new album 'Time'....needless to say the show sold out pronto. I have seen Simply Red around 20 times since May 1985 , when i saw them supporting soul legend James Brown at three Hammersmith Odeon shows, when their debut single came out. Simply Red have sold over 50 million albums. Singer Mick Hucknall replaced Rod Stewart for stint in The Faces , just over a decade ago. I saw a few of those shows, which were great. This show is three days before Mick Huncknalls 63rd birthday. ------- An older crowd here tonight, so pretty full for when the support act came on stage. DANI SYLVIA and her keyboard player were on at 8pm for 30 mins...a good voice with some good songs. Comedian KEITH LEMON was here , along with ex England football team manager STEVE McCLAREN. The show sold out pronto , but there still must be 150 or so on the guest list. There are half a dozen cameras dotted around , filming all of the show. SIMPLY RED arrived on stage at 9pm and played for just 85 mins. Mick Hucknall still looks the same , with his curly ginger locks and shades. Mick still that superb effortless white smooth soul voice. His band members are tightly rehearsed , and there is some nice sax. A nice mix of new album tracks, some older classics and cover versions. Final song was a tribute to Tina Turner. A really good show, but the crowd and myself def thought he should have played 15 or 20 mins more. Full SIMPLY RED setlist played tonight... Better with you She's Got It Bad Thrill Me Fake Night Nurse (Gregory Isaacs cover) Shades 22 (Live debut, followed by band introductions) You've Got It Stars Your Mirror Come to My Aid Ain't That a Lot of Love (Homer Banks cover) (with Hold On I’m Coming outro) Thinking of You Money's Too Tight (To Mention) (The Valentine Brothers cover) Something Got Me Started Just Like You (Live debut) Encore: Sunrise For Your Babies Nutbush City Limits (Ike & Tina Turner cover) ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Sunday 04 June 2023. BEYONCE plays the last of her FIVE massive shows at Tottenham Hotspur Football Ground. Beyonce is playing a UK & European Tour of stadiums. Expect a two hour plus show , along with several costume changes and dancers. A few years have passed since the singer last toured solo. During that time, she released yet another critically acclaimed seventh studio album, Renaissance. The “Renaissance World Tour” opener in Sweden saw Beyoncé dressed in a custom wardrobe made from Alexander McQueen, Mugler, Courrèges Paris, David Koma, Loewe, Coperni and Balmain. All five shows sold out...with 43,000 tickets for each all snapped up quickly....pretty amazing. ------- BEYONCE has been lucky with the weather, as all five days were nice and sunny. The crowd is pretty much 75% female, with many wearing revealing outfits...lots of LGBTQ here too... PAUL McCARTNEY and daughter STELLA were watching from the VIP viewing flatform. It is a Sunday so Beyonce arrives on stage around 30 mins earlier to beat the 10pm curfew. Too many reviews have said Beyonce was playing three hour shows...pretty much fake news that. No proper support act, just a DJ playing modern r n b tracks that the crowd sang along to. Beyonce arrived on stage at 7.25pm and the show was on for 2 hours 30 mins. I have a perfect view on the pitch, between the inner gold circle and outer gold circle. The big screen showed images during costume changes so Beyonce actually on stage more like two hours. Rather than your standard showcase of her greatest hits, tonight’s set pulls heavily from 2022’s Renaissance, proving it truly is an album of “no skips”. Meanwhile, other tracks from across Beyoncé’s impressive back catalogue that speak to the same sense of liberation and fierce defiance are threaded throughout. There’s no space for ‘Halo’, ‘Drunk In Love’ or ‘Single Ladies’ but it’s impossible to argue with the tropical hammer of ‘Heated’ or the snarling disco stomp of ‘Pure/Honey’. A stadium epic in every sense of the word, the concert is punctuated by fireworks, costume changes and a gigantic video screen. Despite all the polish though, the show also lets Beyoncé’s personality shine. She looks and sings fantastic....and the mainly silver costumes were certainly dazzling and space like. Queen Bey really was taking us to another planet with this visual extravaganza. Beyonce performs on a truck, and inside an oyster , dressed like a mermaid. Her male and female dancers were fantastic, and Beyonce joined in with dance routines. Beyone and dancers used the stage extension to great effect. Beyonce even got her daughter out on stage to dance during one track. A cover of 'River Deep Mountain High' was dedicated to Tina Turner. 'Run The World (Girls) ' was a highlight and a nice surprise to see her cover 'Before I Let Go' (by Frankie Beverley feat Maze)...and 'Crazy In Love' sent the crowd wild. Near the end Beyonce was sitting astride a giant glittery silver disco horse. It was a pretty amazing show and visual spectacle. -------------------------- -------------------------- Saturday 03 June 2023. PERFUME live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Perfume is a Japanese pop (J-Pop) girl group trio from Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. The group has been signed with Universal Music Group since 2012. They will be promoting their seventh studio album 'Plasma' from 2022. On their previous UK tour, their London show was at Hammersmith Apollo. They actually played Shepherds Bush Empire back in 2013. ------- My chums on security said there 100 fans outside the venue at 1pm. It is a big deal for them , as Perfume play arenas back home in Japan these days. The show was being filmed and shown live back to cinemas in Japan at 4am in the morning. PERFUME arrive on stage at 8.05pm and perform for 90 mins. The crowd is pretty much 75% Japanese , but plenty of white folks too. On stage we have proper high tech Japanese visual wizardry going on. We have a massive big screen , showing live footage and pre-recorded images, along with six eight ft high screens that move around as they are remote control drones....looked incredible. Lots of lights and lasers as well....also costume changes. The three girls arrive on stage...there is a dance routine to every song, which is on backing tape. The vocals sounded a but squeaky at times, and they didn't look like live vocals to me. The fans expected an encore at the end, but all they got was a reminder to visit the merch stand. Visually it was top notch fun to watch. --------------------------- --------------------------- Friday 02 June 2023. ICE NINE KILLS live at The Forum. This is the second of two shows at this venue for this fast rising 'metal horror' band on their UK tour. They will be also playing at The Download Festival in June 2023. They have released six studio albums...The fifth 'The Silver Scream' which peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard 200 and their latest, ' The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood ' which peaked at number 18 on the US Billboard 200. Their band name is derived from the fictional substance ice-nine from the novel Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. --------- A mainly goth metal crowd who are dressed in their usual black attire. LANSDOWNE arrived on stage at 7.45pm for their 25 mins set. Up first are Lansdowne who hail from Boston, Mass, USA. Their singer is showing off his biceps. A good set ,with their final track 'One Shot' , a proper corker. SKYND arrived on stage at 8.25pm for their 40 mins set. Tall and slim female singer Skynd is joined by bass and a drummer, who were both hooded. Skynd is known for her diverse vocal styles – ranging from high pitch to low pitch and often with an inhuman element. Notably, Jonathan Davis of Korn is also a fan of true crime and joined Skynd in her song, "Gary Heidnik". Davis appeared in the music video as well....a good set that went down well with the crowd. Their intro song was quite ironic as it was 'Walking On Sunshine' with all the crowd singing it loudly. ICE NINE KILLS arrived on stage at 9.40pm for their 65 mins set. The six man band are playing uptempo horror metal from the start. The crowd surfing bodies soon start coming over into the pit. There are lots of lights , including strobes, and plenty of dry ice plumes. It is pretty much shock rock, that Alice Cooper started 50 years ago , but maybe more macabre. They have songs related to classic horror films including 'Psycho' , 'Candyman' and 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'....so we have chainsaws and machetes and huge knives on stage. A female actress acted around them for three songs, twirling around the stage. The band produced a nice thunderous metal sound , and it was very enjoyable. --------------------------- --------------------------- Thursday 01 June 2023. LOUISE live at Shepherds Bush Empire. Louise is playing a very rare UK tour....featuring Eternal hits and solo hits. It is to promote her 'Greatest Hits' album. My only time to visit Catford Theatre, SE London was in 2002 to see Louise. Louise was married to footballer Jamie Redknapp, but in 2017 decided to split up with him, so she could get back to singing and acting and presenting after having their two children. -------- The show is not sold out, and it is stalls seated , so maybe 700 or 800 tickets sold. The crowd is pretty much middle aged women and loads of gay men. Actress LINDA ROBSON was here. LOUISE was on stage for two hours over two sets of 70 mins and 50 mins. Her lovely 'pretty girl next door looks' are still there at the age of 48. A nice stage production with a huge L on stage , and raised platforms for the band. Louise also had three female backing singers. A nice mix of Eternal hits and solo hits, and every three or four songs Kate Thornton would ask questions. In the second half , Louise was presented with an award for selling 15 million records during her career. Louise was joined on stage by a couple of her female friends for a song each. A very enjoyable show. Full setlist played by LOUISE tonight.... FIRST SET Stay (Eternal song) (Reimagined mix) So Good (Eternal song) (Reimagined mix) Light of My Life Naked (Reimagined mix) In Walked Love (Reimagined mix) One Kiss From Heaven Sweetness (Michelle Gayle cover) (with Michelle Gayle) New York Moon (Shortened - second verse cut) The Best That You Bring (Shortened - second verse cut) Undivided Love (Shortened - second verse cut) 2 Faced Stuck in the Middle With You (Stealers Wheel cover) Pandora's Kiss SECOND SET Hammer Stretch Crazy (Eternal song) (with Kelle Bryan) (First time Louise has performed with Kéllé since 1995) High Hopes Super Magic Just a Step From Heaven (Eternal song) (Reimagined mix) Arms Around the World (Reimagined mix) Encore: The Boss (Diana Ross cover) Let's Go Round Again (Average White Band cover) Note: An Evening with Louise - The Greatest Hits Live. Interspersed with interviews by Kate Thornton. --------------------------- --------------------------- Wednesday 31 May 2023. POLYTHIA live at Shepherds Bush Empire. POLYTHIA play prog rock/metal instrumental songs. Their first show at this venue, a fortnight before this one sold out...so they are back again. Metal Talk gave the first show at SBE a glowing review. Tim Henson and Scott LePage,the diabolical guitar duo and main drivers of the Dallas-based progressive band Polyphia. Over the course of the group’s 12-year career, the two ax wizards have delighted in busting balls and messing with their fans’ heads (who can forget the band’s aptly titled 2017 EP, The Most Hated, on which the celebrated virtuosos purposely featured nary a lick of fretboard theatrics?), and in preparation for the release of their new album, Remember That You Will Die – their first studio offering since 2018’s New Levels New Devils. --------- Like their previous show here a fortnight ago , tonight is sold out. POLYTHIA arrived on stage at 9.15pm and played for 70 mins. Lots of Marshall amps on both sides of the stage, and lots of lights , including strobes. There is lots of loud shouty stage banter between songs, but no actual vocals on the tracks played. Plenty of twin guitar gymnastics from the pair of top notch guitar players. It got lively down the front, with over 50 crowd surfers over the barriers into the pit. A good show.