Saturday, 7 July 2012

(#10) Lewis Watson - It's Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW EP

This one came about as a really nice surprise.  My good friend Marion will occasionally turn up to wherever we happen to be and greet me with the phrase "I've got a little present for you".  She'll then leave me on tenterhooks for a while (like - until we're about to leave) and then casually hand over a nice signed E.P. from someone or other (usually).  And this was one of those times.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting too much from Lewis - yes, I know he works bloody hard and has worked his way up from a loyal following on YouTube to now gigging and has a very loyal fan-base.  I'd managed to miss his Borderline performance as @JediJon wanted a pint at a rocker's pub across the way.

But you should put any doubts of your own to one side and give it a look.  It's a nice set of four "old before his years" melancholy songs minimally produced and all the better for it.

You can watch his Youtube channel here.

(#11 & #12) Antonio Lulic - Becomes Unstoppable EP and Never or Tonight Album

I'd had my copies of Antonio Lulic's album and EP for a while and my collection wouldn't be complete if they weren't signed.  If you haven't caught Antonio performing live then you're seriously missing out.  He tours relentlessly around the UK, so if you haven't seen him live yet then check his website to see when he's going to be playing near you.  Make sure to say hi if you get the chance!  He's also got an acoustic EP Rough, out on iTunes and is working on a new EP Boozehound which will be out in September (I think!)  Antonio is also the host for the amazingly good Acoustic Domestic events showcasing some of the best acoustic musicians out there.  Archive of previous Acoustic Domestic evenings can be found here.

Demii is a big fan as is Marion.  Be sure to check out their links as well as Antonio's!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Alex turns 4

My son, Alex, is 4 years old today.  That time has flown by.  He's my youngest son and it's been amazing to watch him and Jamie develop into such great boys.  It's been a crazy year or so for all of us but now things are settling back into some kind of normality I'm really looking forward to seeing what surprises lie ahead on their journey.  Hopefully from now on they will be nice surprises.  Happy Birthday son!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Station Sessions

The Station Sessions Festival is a music festival that is running at St Pancras International station from 22nd March to 4th May.  If you've ever wanted to see some amazing musicians playing live with train noises and station announcements in the background, to an audience of mostly busy commuters then this is the festival for you!

This year Ryan Keen and Leddra Chapman were both performing there so as the festival is just a train ride away it would have been rude not to make the effort to get down there to check them out.

So for your listening pleasure this is Ryan Keen playing Trouble at the Station Sessions on 23rd April 2012.

And this is Leddra Chapman playing Getting On It at the Station Sessions on 25th April 2012.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Acoustic Domesticity

I'm not sure that this has been mentioned previously but I have two amazing kids.  Jamie is 7 years old and Alex is 3 years old.  They take a lot of their musical cues from me and have become big fans of one Antonio Lulic.  So when an opportunity to go to one of his monthly Acoustic Domestic music events came up while I had the kids, it would have been rude to pass it up.

The performers at this event were to be Alastair James, Zoe Konez and Ilona.  I thought it would be a good idea to turn up fairly early so the kids could get used to the situation and make themselves comfortable.  I couldn't be sure whether they would run riot or feel so uncomfortable amongst so many new faces that they'd possibly cause problems during the acts.  I needn't have worried.  They pretty much charmed everyone they came across and their behaviour during the performances was spot on.

So first up was Alastair James, a performer new to the London scene but gigging all over the place and as it happens, living literally minutes walk from Antonio's place.  While I do have some film of the event itself, unfortunately I don't have anything of the acts performing as when I did manage to get a good vantage point to film, Alex decided to take over the camera work and decided that the filming method he would use was to press the film button on and off repeatedly.  But here is a performance of Alastair's from We Love Sundays:

As it turned out, Alastair is quite amazing at multi-tasking for while on stage, tuning up and getting ready to start he was also able to take a call from his mates to direct them to the venue.  Who says chaps can't multi-task!  So after 3 songs from Alastair it was the turn of Zoe Konez who is also a fellow alumni from W.E. Love Sundays.  And because they couldn't bring a drum kit with them, her percussionist, Will,  had brought  a kettle with him making the performance a true definition of Acoustic Domesticity.  Here is Zoe at another performance from W.E. Love Sundays:

A short break and then it was the turn of Ilona, a performer who I had not previously seen.  She'd recently performed at SXSW in Texas.  I wish I'd got some video of Ilona on the night as there is nothing I could find online that does her justice - she is at her best when it's just her voice and some stripped back guitar.

Lots of the folks on the night helped the kids feel welcome and comfortable and none more so than Antonio himself.  Having seen the acts performing my kids were desperate to have a go on stage to show the crowd what they could do and as it transpired that it was Alastair's birthday and Antonio invited my kids up there to perform this for Alastair:

Anyway, to business.  During the evening I managed to acquire two more #StalkerStu signed albums - one was Ilona's EP and the other Jay Brannan's album - Rob Me Blind.
Ilona's EP When You See Me - 7/40

Jay Brannan's album Rob Me Blind 8/40
(Thanks to Marion for acquiring this one for me!) 
So, thanks Antonio for a most entertaining and chilled-out evening and thanks to Alastair James, Zoe Konez and Ilona for the tunes and to everyone else that was there for making it such a great atmosphere.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Inside the mind of #StalkerStu

So, anyway, while I'm feverishly avoiding coming up with any more ideas for my 40/40 I thought perhaps a bit of background into the whole #StalkerStu phenomenon.  I believe it all came about after Leddra Chapman and Leddra's mum Fran signed my Telling Tales album.  Another girl also there at the time, who I now know as Siobhan took a picture of the album.  We also became friends on Twitter while all the while when mentioning this amazing signing anecdote on Twitter I didn't actually realise the person I was telling was the person I was also talking about!  Oh much merriment has since been made of that fact.
And with that signed CD, #StalkerStu was born.  1/40
The next to fall victim was the amazing Kal Lavelle who I caught supporting Ed Sheeran at the Borderline and she signed thusly:
Kal Lavelle's amazing EP Shivers 2/40

To make things slightly more interesting in this whole ridiculous idea, I asked somebody else to get me the next signature and the idea of getting people to ask for silly phrases to be included was born.
So I apparently "complete" Ryan Keen .... which may well come back to haunt him once he's signed to a record label and I'm bored one day.  Thanks to Martin for getting me that one.  3/40
Lester Clayton was next to get in on the act and this was a gift from Marion - so now I don't even have to ask for them - I'm getting them as gifts - I'm loving this! 4/40
Tabitha Benjamin also loves #StalkerStu 5/40
Some wise advice here from Passenger which everyone should live their lives by - 6/40 
An honourable mention for these I guess - cheating slightly really.
These following albums remain steadfastly unadulterated by hashtags but that is something my stalking prowess hopes to change in the not too distant future:

Monday, 19 March 2012

Let Me Introduce Myself

A friend of mine, let's call her "Marion" recently decided that as she was 1 year away from being 50, she wanted to challenge herself to achieve 50 firsts in the year leading up to her 50th Birthday.  Never one to be afraid to blatantly copy as amazing idea and with 10 less firsts to achieve I thought I would jump on the bandwagon.

So, to introductions - I'm Stu, living on the outer reaches of London.  I'm 39 and a few days old and I've got a year to achieve 40 firsts.  These will probably not be bungee jumping, base jumping type affairs (perhaps 1 or 2 will be) but it could be anything from travelling to see a previously unseen piece of the world to trying a hitherto untried type of fruit - I haven't quite thought that element of it through yet but I'm excited to receive any ideas.

The 1st of my firsts I have already achieved - starting this blog.  Hopefully I will  be able to document the year and, as well as writing about this challenge, I also want to write about some of the other amazing people I'm already fortunate to know and hopefully some new faces that I'll get to know along the way.

I've got a few ideas for some of my firsts but I'd love it if this could be a collaborative adventure with ideas and encouragement from anyone out there that has something to say.

Update: Some background on how this all started can be found on "Marions's Blog"