Notes From The City

By Londonist_Laura Last edited 151 months ago
Notes From The City

Notes From The City

I've had a very interesting few days. I was sent up for a couple of auditions to play bass for some pop acts last week (neither of which seem to have been successful), had a casting for an Italian watch advert where they need a "sexy, powerful female guitarist", co-stage-managed an all day music festival and played two sets within it and had a day's work on the set of Woody Allen's new film - cue semi-flirty smiles at a surprisingly charismatic Ewan McGregor (I wasn't a fan) and Colin Farrell. I couldn't have felt more different each day about what my role was.

As a session musician your job is to complement the artist's style, to add something to their live show that is totally in keeping with what they're trying to present. I really enjoy doing that because it's a great way to be around people in the music business, it makes you play outside of your own style and sometimes you get to go to really nice places to play gigs. It's not supposed to compare to writing, recording and performing your own material though and the feeling I got from being a part of the Freedom Festival on Saturday is very hard to put in to words. So have some pictures instead:

Freedom Festival Collage

I read on BBC News today that "Madonna has unveiled a bronze cast of her hands outside Wembley Arena, becoming the first star to be honoured in the venue's new Square of Fame.

The singer, who plays the first of eight dates at the venue on Tuesday, said it was a "great honour" that made her "feel like an honorary Brit".

Venue owners Quintain Estates wants the square to be a "Hollywood-style feature" to honour top performers.

It hopes to add Kylie Minogue and George Michael casts in coming months.

Madonna said: "I look forward to seeing other artists adding their handprints alongside mine."

I think that's quite nice, in a kind of couldn't-really-care-less kind of way. I mean, I won't be rushing over to Wembley Arena to look at the handprints of stars but it might make the tourists happy. What I do take issue with is 'stars' of any calibre charging £80 for gig tickets. I have the utmost respect for Madonna as an artist and a businesswoman but the sooner people start refusing to pay these ludicrous prices the sooner tickets will become affordable again.

It makes it even more of a good idea to find out about artists before they get so successful that their gigs sell out in 10 minutes or that their tickets cost £80...

You may remember me mentioning Regina Spektor in this column a couple of weeks ago - I bought her album "Begin To Hope" after my sister saw her play at Latitiude Festival and fell completely in love with her vocal style and dark, quirky lyrics. Since then I discovered that she's been releasing records in the US since 2001, Begin To Hope being seemingly her fourth studio album to date. Her earlier albums "11:11", "Songs" and "Soviet Kitsch" are only available on import or through iTunes but a compilation CD, "Mary Ann Meets The Gravediggers And Other Short Stories" is quite easy to get hold of in the UK.

She has an excellent website - - where you can listen to a lot of her music and watch videos and an excellent EPK for 2004 album Soviet Kitsch.

There are a whole load of Regina clips on the fabulous YouTube but this is my current favourite:

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Regina Spektor plays the Shepherds Bush Empire on Wednesday 23rd August. Tickets are available here.

This Week's Ten

1. Carbon Monoxide - Regina Spektor

2. Way Out - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

3. Broken Boy Soldier - Raconteurs

4. The Only Living Boy In New York - Simon & Garfunkel

5. So Real - Jeff Buckley

6. Preaching the End of the World - Chris Cornell

7. Entertain - Sleater Kinney

8. Living Proof - Cat Power

9. Sweet Sunshine - Beck

10. Union City Blue - Radiohead (Blondie cover, yes!)

Last Updated 02 August 2006