Thursday, May 07, 2009

"Todd's fucking great"

David Johansen explains to Pop Matters why the New York Dolls reunited with Todd Rundgren to make their new album. He also explains why they are happy with the results: "You go [into the studio] and play the songs and go back into the other room and listen to them on these little speakers and you think, 'Okay, that's a good song.' But then [Todd] gets finished mixing the thing and you're like, 'Oh man. That sounds great.' So I don't know how he does it, but he's got ears where he can hone in on each instrument and, whatever you call it, tweak it to make it sound distinct from all the other sounds and it comes out really great."

Taylor Swift @ Shepherd's Bush Empire 06/05/09

It's not very often I go to gigs and feel like an old man, but last night was certainly one of them. The majority of those present for Miss Swift's second visit to the UK were teenage girls, who all came armed with the kind of photographic memory knowledge of all the lyrics you have at that age, and with that ability to cheer/scream at the same time. Kind of what you'd have expected a Spice Girls audience to have been like.

By the time Swift had left the stage after her encore all said girls were going home happy. She may be the biggest selling artist in the US over the past 18 months, and that doesn't always mean a guarantee of success in the UK, but on the evidence of tonight and the fact of 2 back to back sell out nights at the Empire, it will not be long before Swift is likely to be playing much bigger venues - maybe even Wembley or 02 within the year - the girl is going to be Huge.

The question then is, is she actually any good?

I must confess to thinking her current album 'Fearless' is a pleasant surprise. Yes it is country/pop by numbers to a degree, but there are some good catchy hooks in some of these songs and whilst you could argue her lyrics are a bit twee and girly, I don't think you'd have gotten that opinion from the majority of those at yesterday;s gig who are the target audience for those lyrics. Live, Swift handles things well. Her voice holds up well, and she has a solid band around her to fill out the sound - which is even less country live than it is on record. The band also get to rock out a bit on numbers such as Change and Fearless, which all seem to enjoy.

Live, Swift is an energetic performer who moves around the stage well and has already masters many of the stock rock/pop star poses: pose with acoustic guitar, rock pose with mic stand etc - my companion for the night felt this was all a bit too polished and practiced, although even he had to admit that the girl is destined to go far.

Highlights? hit single 'Love Story' (the song which hooked me on her. Pure fairytale fluff, but catchy as hell), 'You Belong with Me', and 'Change'

Would I go and see her again? probably not, but I'll settle for being one of those annoying peopole who says there were there back when she played smaller venues.