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Strange venue this 4 stories up inside
Cherry Ghost at Liverpool Carling Academy
with the traditional music press being made increasingly
redundant by the speed and relative freedoms of the
internet, many music fans rely on a thin portfolio of
advisors for their news. Zane Lowe perhaps. MySpace
perchance. Toilet doors inscribed with the words Holocaust
Breakfast R the Future of rock possibly.
lies a problem, as with the explosion of new music content
comes a reduction in reliability, and accountability.
Previously, any print journalist extolling the virtues of a
band could be humiliated by the non-performance of their
Next Big Thing. Bets were not hedged, colours to the mast
were not pinned unless an act was so startling good and so
cruelly forgotten that to not shout their praises from the
rooftops would make the infant Jesus cry with horror. Now,
print journalists are few, and web journalists are many. Web
journalists are largely unaccountable. As Kirsty Walker I
can proclaim that a band I quite like are the most amazing
musical happening since Og the caveman banged on a stretched
animal skin. Tomorrow, as Lulu DeBournville-Smythley
I can proclaim that they are, in fact, shit and
everyone has jumped the gun. Whoah, whoah, everyone back in
their own beds, they are not the Messiahs, they are The
may have jumped the gun with Cherry Ghost. But so did Zane
Lowe. So ner.
to six months ago I was telling everyone I knew that Cherry
Ghost, AKA Simon Aldred of Salford, was the Next Big Thing.
I had found him through MySpace, where the four songs on
their meagre profile were enough to send me reeling into
ecstasies. The multi-layered, wonderfully over-produced
ballads swelled with fat xylophone notes and swirling
prickling strings. Aldreds voice was raw and brilliant, like
a tramp in a doorway singing Handels Messiah with full
accompaniment. Its a whiskey voice, a smoke filled battle
cry of a voice, which lends every lyric a kind of drunken
truth. Its gorgeous, and its a pleasure to listen to.
was on offer at Liverpool Academy was so diluted, so
understated that it smacked of embarrassment. The Big Sound
of the produced tracks offered up on the Cherry Ghost
MySpace profile was gone. It was replaced by a bloodless
strumming and dreary bass lines performed by a band who
looked like they were kicked out of Towers Of London for
being too scruffy. Aldred himself looked grateful for the
attention, and his voice was as moving as ever, but the
songs which made people sit up and pay attention to Cherry
Ghost in the first place were abandoned for a setlist which
was prosaic and well, average. In an hours set, only the new
single Mathematics and a strutting mid-tempo number called
Here Come The Romans stood out. The problem was they stuck
out too much, like two Monets in a gallery full of wallpaper
quick glance at the front row of the audience spoke volumes.
Polo shirts and Timberland as far as the eye could see, all
checking their watches to see if they could still make last
orders in the Dog and Duck. It was your typical Supporters
Club. The story was a little different a few rows back where
interested parties had assembled to hear more of what they
had been treated to from free downloads and the first single
from the album, played to death on Zane Lowe. It didnt
happen, and some wandered off before time.
Cherry Ghosts music has been compared to Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips. I pray that Simon Aldred sees the distinction between their live performances, and his. He may feel more comfortable returning to the working mens clubs after his performance at the Academy, but if it takes glitter, a light show and forty piece orchestra to translate his recorded material to the stage, he should do it, and Heavenly should pay for it. Buy the album, it will be wonderful, but give Simon Aldred a few more coins and a few more months before his live performances live up to the hype.
Shack Royal Albert Hall
by Alan Metcalfe
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