There is not a word in any known language that can do proper justice to the most epic Bond film of the past few years. I am not a fan of Daniel Craig’s rough and rugged approach to the character – I’m not even a huge Bond fan – but this film was just freaking kick-ass.
Comedy in Jim’s Bar always promises to be a great night, and this was no exception. With a selection of comedians from 3 separate continents and 5 different countries, it was a multicultural comedic bunch. The night was kicked off by the first foreign influence, American comedian Sarah Cassidy, who did an admirable job of compering the crowd with some tips on how to get the most out of cute animal pictures. She introduced the first act, a wild looking man, Richard Brown. Richard turned out to have hidden a topical and intelligent mind for jokes behind his shaggy hair and beard, and was very sharp in his humour.
The next act was the furthest travelled, having come from Australia. Geoff Gawler was witty, loud and altogether very funny, despite not having a leg to stand on (quite literally; he’d broken it somehow). Crutches and all, he was very amusing. The final act of the 1st half brought an altogether darker yet still hilarious tone to the stage, Adam Struth. With his tales of death and Govan, Struth managed to make the crowd cringe and laugh at the same time. The break was followed by Paul McGuinness, a brilliant Northern Irish act that led us with him on his journey through masturbation from the 90’s to today, where he can’t go a minute without saying ‘pussy’.
The final act of the night was Liam Withnail. Having compered a previous Jim’s Bar night in Freshers’ Week, he returned as the headliner for this gig. He did not disappoint, and had the whole place in stitches with his comedy beatboxing of the Nazi Synthesiser. All in all, a great night, and an excellent bunch of comedians, well worth the £1 entry. If you weren’t there this time, come along next time!
Director John Hillcoat, whose previous films include The Proposition and The Road, stays on broadly similar ground with Lawless Continue reading
It’s a sleepy Thursday afternoon, and I roll out of bed at approximately 1330 hours and on to Facebook to discover that not only is the University holding an open day, but Pronto Mama, Fatherson and Washington Irving are playing a free afternoon show in Qudos in roughly an hour. Being a generally good citizen, loyal QMUite and fan of at least one of these bands I promptly proceed to the shower and onwards to what looks to be a promising afternoon.
I arrive late, but not too late to catch the first act, Pronto Mama, in action. The room is sparsely populated, but the band are excellent. They masterfully blend solid, heavy indie rock with glitchy rhythms and fairly mad progressive passages that become near jazz-like in places, if still dominated by guitar. Their banter may be slightly directionless and circular but their music certainly isn’t; a really refreshing blend of rhythms and textures and definitely something to keep an eye on in future.
They clear the stage to make way for Fatherson, and the first sight to catch the eye is that of a cello being set up onstage alongside the more traditional combination of guitars, bass, drums and synth. The set opens with a fat bass drone that builds up into the first of many soaring, triumphant sound pieces. Theirs is a slightly more straightforward brand of alternative rock than that of Pronto Mama, but their energy is great and they build some impressive crescendos, their bass player looking positively joyful at the thunder his distortion brings. More importantly, the cello does not play the one bit part (a la Twin Atlantic) that might be expected. It makes a welcome textural addition to upbeat and heavy songs as well as the slower ones, although the cellist’s backing vocals are sadly inaudible. The songs are well articulated and go down well with those punters in attendance, although the room is still near empty.
The third and final act is Washington Irving. Until fairly recently the band were characterised by their celtic brand of folk pop, embellished with the fine flute playing of Roslyn Potter. Having now parted ways with the flautist however, I’m interested to see how their sound has evolved, and to hear new material. To begin with, the result appears mixed. The folk feel is certainly still there, but some of the instrumental passages on the older songs feel empty without those soaring flute melodies. However, a couple of songs into the set sees them find their stride, and a darker and heavier side to the group begins to unfold. Unsurprisingly, it is the newest material that works best with the new line-up, and breathless, moody passages balance well with powerful, chant-like celtic choruses on which frontman Joe Black’s voice is often joined by the rest of the band. In places, distortion adds a gritty but beautiful extra texture; in others, a couple of deft, folky lead guitar arpeggios make a welcome throwback to the days of yore. By the end of the set, the band have well and truly won the audience over. The room is now shockingly empty, but those remaining work hard to let the band know they are appreciated. Their forthcoming album will tell for sure how well their new sound has been established, but this appears to be a taste of great things to come from Washington Irving.
As for the open day – was anybody convinced to come to Glasgow University by this gig? Who knows, but if prospective students were in attendance then they were certainly treated to an excellent slice of current Glasgow music for no money at all – and who can argue with that?
So, Ridley Scott, you’ve finally decided to come crawling back to the Alien franchise have you? Prequel, you say? Well, goodbye Sigourney Weaver; Hello, Noomi Rapace, whose face I must say is very distracting. Why does it look like it’s caked in make up to look natural? Does make up not get better in the future?
Anyway, Prometheus is what I’m here to review, and if you don’t want to read a full review, the best way to describe this movie is: It’s alright. It’s a prequel to one of the finest examples of both sci-fi and horror – Alien – and tries its best to do it all over again. The over-complexity of the storyline does however ruin any chances of this. Alien was simple- alien comes on ship, alien kills everyone on ship; easy. Prometheus adds a whole level of philosophy when trying to scare you, something about our creators being aliens and such. Either way it proposes more questions than it answers.
The real saving grace in this film is the acting talent, with Elba and Theron acting their asses off. Michael Fassbender steals the show though, and as a robot nonetheless. When will people just accept he is the perfect actor for every role? I would watch this film again purely for his performance. The movie has accepted the change of the times, so rather than have people scared from tense and anxious moments, it is just overly gory. It gets disgusting in places. In all honesty, there is very little I can say about this movie, because I myself don’t know how I feel. It has great acting and the scenes are beautiful, but it leaves too many unanswered questions and is just not entertaining enough.
Now that I consider it, there was also some terrible acting; that stupid Scottish woman needs to shut up. She has nothing worthwhile to say, and sounds like she has the worst dubbing since The Room. There was also possibly the worst scriptwriting I have heard in a long time. The biggest cliché was pulled right of the bag. All I could think was ‘Charlize, I thought you deserved that Oscar but not anymore’. If a horror sci-fi film is want you are in the mood for, just buy Alien. If you must see this film, just don’t get your hopes up. It’s technically a really great film, but you need to really not care about being entertained. I guess it’s like watching a Wes Anderson film.
Next time, Moonrise Kingdom.
Tenacious D have always been a band that have faced a tremendous uphill struggle. Infusing music and comedy is by no means an easy task and many bands have fallen by the wayside attempting to balance humour which is legitimately and consistently funny, with music that is… well… good. The acts that have achieved this fate are in the minority. However, bands that have been successful in this field have cleverly developed and amalgamated their humour and sound into a level of maturity that stays fun but ultimately offers something new. The pioneers of this were The Beastie Boys and when Tenacious D entered the stage in front of an inflatable, phallic phoenix I was reminded of the controversial backdrop from the aforementioned rap group’s Licensed to Ill tour. Despite this, there wasn’t an ounce of outrage in the house. It seems as though times have changed.
The venue was by no means packed and the crowd was of a very interesting demographic. The first time I saw Tenacious D it was in the midst of their first album. On this occasion the bar was dry and the average age was probably around 14. This was what I naively expected from the evening’s gig and as I shuffled into the venue, which boasted Westlife’s up and coming tour on all four corners of the building, I was pleasantly surprised. It became apparent that Tenacious D’s following were mid 20′s nostalgic rock fans clinging onto the success and glory of their self-titled first album. This was truly hammered home half way through their two hour set when from the back of the room came the call ‘stop playing all of this new shit.’
The gig had started slowly. The band played track after track from the most recent album “The Rize of The Pheonix” and as much as I appreciate a band trying to diversify and move on from early successes, it is just not a very good record. What is bold about the new material is that it confronts the mishap that was “The Pick of Destiny”. However, what has become problematic for the dynamic duo is that the tracks that were played from their most recent offering are not a lot better. Tenacious D have taken a risk in confronting their previous failings and it has not paid off. Nevertheless, to use the tired footballing expression; it was a game of two halves.
Almost instantly after the tattooed drunk heckler had expressed his opinion, Tenacious D came to life. It was clear that the pair enjoyed playing their sing-along anthems such as ‘Kielbasa’, ‘Tribute’ and ‘Rock Your Socks’ a lot more than their weary yawn-evoking new material. The comedic chemistry between Jack and Kyle suddenly ignited and the audience was treated to a brilliantly crafted show. The highlight of the evening was the groups rendition of The Beatles’ ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ which showed the bands’ technical skill and appreciation of their personal influences.
As I left The SECC with ‘Fuck Her Gently’ still ringing in my ears, I was conflicted. On one hand I had enjoyed the show and had been treated to at times a musically breathtaking event, mainly thanks to the flawless backing band. However, it was sad to see a band attempting to progress but falling short. Tenacious D will never do what The Beastie Boys did and achieve critical acclaim whilst evoking elements of comedy. It is fair to say that The D are not ‘The greatest band in the world’ as Jack humorously boasts, but a band with an incredible first album that will always have a place in all rock and metal fans’ hearts.