Titan has arrived

By Theatre Royal on Nov 24, 08 04:58 PM

Titan has arrived!

We managed to slot him into his places in the show as well as send him out onto the street in front of the Theatre where once again he managed to stop the traffic.

Despite the cold and the melting snow the queue was stretching down the block.

But it seemed the crowd weren't the only ones that needed to get warmed up.

By the time the Zutons hit the stage, more than two hours after their first support act burst into their Oasis meets county-and-western set, the crowd seemed weary if well oiled.

The last of my five songs of the year is All My Love by the American Music Club.

American Music Club are one of the great lost bands of the last 20 years. They released a string of critically-lauded and pretty lovely albums in the 1980s and early 1990s but remained most unknown when they split up in 1995.

Singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel - once Rolling Stone magazine's Songwriter of the Year - released some solo albums that never matched the highs of AMC and there was great rejoicing (well, among the handful of us who like them) when they reformed in 2004.

The Bach Choir's programme booklet quotes Ralph Vaughan Williams who wrote of conducting the choir at St Nicholas' Cathedral, Newcastle, as 'a great experience.'

That was in the 1920s, only a few years after the choir was formed to sing the then barely known cantatas of J S Bach.

And the Bach Choir continues to thrive, filling the King's Hall with an audience no doubt keen to hear the still barely known choral music of Pressburg-born (now Bratislava) composer Jan Nepomuk Hummel.

This was a concert set against the tale of two halls.

The Peter Donegan Band's performance raised around £800 for the National Trust's campaign to buy Seaton Delaval Hall and 450 acres of surrounding countryside for public enjoyment.

The band packed out Seaton Delaval Arts Centre and the venue proved to be particularly apt.

Before The Feeling took to the stage, they played a video of fans lip-syncing to their songs.
The biggest reaction was to a segment of their single Join With Us, when front man Dan Gillespie Sells declares, for reasons unknown, "Ring Ring, Beep Beep, Aha" during a guitar solo.
It perhaps summed up their music and this gig, unreserved showmanship and pop melodies so annoyingly catchy they feel they've been around for years - and performed with a knowing naffness that makes you feel bad for disliking them.

Splendid music magazine The Word is trying to revive John Peel's Festive Fifty, where people voted for their favourite five songs of the year to build up a poll of the nation's top tunes. (Click here to take part).

I added my votes yesterday. Regular readers of this blog - hello, Ma! - will know that I've been very fond of Elbow, Little Jackie and Jenny Lewis in 2008, so here's my fourth choice: I Keep Faith by Billy Bragg.

Do you think someone who takes photographs in a graveyard - and I mean lots of photographs - is a bit strange? Because that's what I do. I take photographs in other places too of course, so strictly speaking, I'm only strange on a part-time basis. I also have to say, in my defence, that the graveyard in question is the most photogenic graveyard in the North East and that it has fans (can graveyards really have fans?) pretty much all over the world.

The graveyard I'm referring to is Jesmond Old Cemetery in Newcastle and for those who aren't sure which of Jesmond's cemeteries it is, it's the one that is sandwiched between Jesmond Road and Sandyford Road. If you've never been, give yourself a treat and have a'll fall in love with the place instantly, I promise.

You Can't Hurry Love is two minutes and 50 seconds of absolute pop perfection.

A number one in 1966, You Can't Hurry Love was written and produced by Motown's crack Holland-Dozier-Holland production team. Remarkably, it was recorded at the same time as the also fairly fantastic You Keep Me Hangin' On and it was left to Motown's Quality Control Department to choose which one would be released first.

It was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's permanent collection of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It's hard to argue with that judgement. Not even the efforts of Phil Collins and Whoopi Goldberg (in the film Sister Act) in their covers of it can do anything to sully its good name.

Panto time is here again

By Theatre Royal on Nov 19, 08 05:51 PM

Who would believe it? Pantomime is here again and here we are rehearsing this year's spectacular Theatre Royal pantomime, Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates.

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