CD Review – In Animal Character by Bruise

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I received this CD around Christmas time but have only just been able to give it the time it deserves.

On their social network sites Bruise describe themselves as Nu Folk (facebook) and Progressive Folk (twitter), but my only labels for them are Jim and Isobel who I have known now for several years. (Which is my way of declaring a little bit of bias.)

I was enchanted from the opening track by the vocals, the arrangements, instrumentation, the melodies. Seriously, I know it sounds like I’m just gushing, and to be honest, I am. The songs already feel like old friends as I play it through for the second time. The opening track, Dreamland, is the kind of tune that is going to lodge itself into my subconscious and echo around in there at random moments for quite some time. And as I listened to the second track, I Am A Dancer, I was already recommending the album to family members! My Favourite Hurricane sounds brilliant played loud through my headphones, and even as I pick out tracks for comment I feel I shouldn’t be leaving the other tracks out.

You can buy In Animal Character here direct from the band via Amazon, or if you prefer the instant gratification of a download you can get one by clicking here.

And don’t just take my word for it about this album, check out these tweets from Gordon Giltrap.

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Asia – 29th October 2014 – RNCM Manchester

2014-10-29 20.31.08-2Venue – Royal Northern College of Music
Gig Buddy – Emma
Gig Booty – A pre-signed photo.PhotoGrid_1414845566059-2

First of all I’d like to say how much I love this venue. It has an
intimate feel, comfortable seats and even a cafe for pre-gig food. (In fact Geoff Downes was chatting to some friends on the table next to ours in the cafe before the gig and my gig buddy didn’t notice.)

There was no support band and Asia took to the stage around about 8 o’clock launching directly into Sole Survivor. The set, which included a short intermission of about 15 minutes, was liberally peppered with hits as well as a few more recent tracks from the new album Gravitas and from the previous album XXX which held their own amongst the classics.

Stage chat was amiable and minimal leaving the songs to do the talking. New boy Sam Coulson acquitted himself very well with only one small mention of his youthfulness.

It was all over by about 10.15 and we all disappeared off into the night to make our way home feeling fully musically sated.

Asia - Manchester October 2014

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Neil Young – Liverpool Arena 13th July 2014

Screenshot 2014-07-18 at 22.40.31 - Edited  The list of people I am willing to go and see at the Arena in Liverpool is a short one. It’s one of my least favourite venues ever. However when Neil Young comes to town and brings Crazy Horse with him you just have to go along.

As you can see from the set list there was a good range of stuff. I was particularly pleased that I got to hear Psychedelic Pill live as I love that track. The cacophonous
sounds through the electric bits were something to behold. They vibrated throughout your entire body as guitar licks were traded.

The acoustic bit included a Dylan cover, as featured on Screenshot 2014-07-18 at 22.38.15 - Editedthe latest album from Neil, as well as Heart Of Gold which was obviously a crowd pleaser. (Well at least everyone seemed to know that one)

Actually there was certainly more back catalogue stuff in the set than I was expecting, though apparently not enough hits to appease some critics.

Screenshot 2014-07-18 at 22.36.43 - EditedThe finale of an amazing, way out there jam of Like A Hurricane was marred slightly from my point of view by the bloke in front of me lighting up a cigarette (could have even been a joint) and when security arrived trying to fight them off before being escorted off the premises. Anyway, once him and equally drunk/high girlfriend were gone there was a chance to properly enjoy the creative, buzzing mess of a ending. Strings were snapped and minds were blown. I loved it! I was particular amused when I was leaving and over heard a local fan declare “he was alright till he started f***ing about at the end” – but that was the best bit!

Neil sounded great, and looked like he was having a great time on stage, and it was awesome to finally see him with Crazy Horse.

(Screen grabs courtesy of whichway)

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