best live act you’ve seen now dead …

continuing the maudlin theme… for these purposes no classical…

Ali Farka-Toure

Nanci Griffith 


Good call. Muddy Waters.

When he was asked a related q Pete Townshend said and I paraphrase, you fvckers who complain you missed Hendrix. Fvkc off, I missed Charlie Parker. So. Go see musicians. There really are few other people apart from actors who can make a difference to your lives. God help us.

In related news there was a guy whose act was doing songs by dead dudes. He was an Elvis impersonator who’d branched out. From Belfast iirc. No idea if he himself is still extant.

I did not know Nanci Griffith was dead... 

I saw the Cranberries at one of their first gigs in Limerick when they were "The Cranberry Saw Us".  They were supporting "The Hitchers" who were being bigged up by the Irish music press as the next U2... so the drummer from The Cranberries left and joined The Hitchers... he has regretted that since.  

The day after the gig, I was speaking with Dolores and she asked me to get my guitar and join them up in Xeric Studios where they were recording the demo for Linger... I thought about it for a second and then declined her invite.

I wish i’d seen George Michael, too. Watched the documentary about him the other week on the Beeb. Fell into a GM music rabbit hole. God, he was so, so talented. 

Am not really a Queen fan but Freddie at Wembley Stadium was an amazing performance.

Tina Turner was awesome on the Private Dancer Tour.

Does Charlie Watts counter a performer?

Joe Strummer was good too.

I saw Amy in Brighton at the gig at the end of the Back to Black tour where she was 2 hours late and was pulled off after I think three songs, a very sad evening.

+1 for Bowie (the Hammersmith Odeon show was the best one)

also - Brett Smiley on a very bowieish tip, he was awesome (stream him today folks)


@kaulbach - which Lou Reed show did you see? describe, pls

I saw Lou Reed at The Town Hall in Birmingham, he sat on a stool and performed I think Magic and Loss and Songs for Drella.

It was a good gig but mainly because of the dude who played the electric double bass.

Lou was good but the performance hardly rated as "best".

Not that many artists I remember seeing have died I don't think. Bowie, Jeff Buckley. Saw Pantera at the Marquee and a few of them are now dead. Man, that show was ferocious. 

Of the people mentioned so far, I have only seen Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed

And the Lou Reed concert was at the Virgin Megastore in Paris in connection with the release of the Set the Twilight Reeling album. His heart wasn't in it, the material wasn't that good and it wasn't a good concert


Rolling Stones and the Who (they must all be dead surely?).  Pretty sure that when the Stones played Glastonbury that Keith Richards played a 15 min guitar solo just so Mick could go and have a lie down in his coffin (with earth from his homeland), or to get a blood transfusion before carrying on.

Biggest regret is not seeing Queen play live.

The Fall, of course.

Smithy's wiki isn't bad.  The first quote below is wonderful.
Unconventional by normal standards of course, but of course, a pure
punk attitude which was entirely normal in punk and new wave circles
when I was growing up ("muso" was a term of abuse).  Sadly, much
misunderstood by today’s pop-pickers, with their regressive adulation
and pedestalling tendencies.


“Smith's approach to music was unconventional and he did not have high
regard for musicianship, stating that "rock & roll isn't even music
really. It's a mistreating of instruments to get feelings over."”

“… defiantly Northern English in outlook. Brix said that he carried "a
chip on both shoulders. I remember him talking about fooking southern
bastards a lot and not wanting to come to London. He hated London

“Fall songs written in this style are often not concerned with
character or story development, establishing a sense of place and
atmosphere instead.”

“… asked during a mid-1980s interview with Smash Hits as to what
policies he would adopt if he became Prime Minister, he said: "I'd
halve the price of cigarettes, double the tax on health food, then I'd
declare war on France.”

[Despite being a Man City fan], “He admired mavericks such as George
Best, whom he met and drank with …”

“He would fire musicians for seemingly trivial reasons; he once
dismissed a sound engineer for eating a salad, later explaining that
"the salad was the last straw”.”


I played some Fall tunes recently, to my long-suffering better half.  I think I played "Spectre vs Rector", "Prole Art Threat"  and "Impression of J Temperance".

She said she had never heard worse.  Described it like walking past a jackhammer or something you'd naturally put your fingers in your ears to avoid : )

See below for why I love The Fall.  The chippy youth culture of my youth exists in opposition to the modern elitism of musical talent:

" ... the refusal, indeed the sabotage, of virtuosity that defined the group’s sound from its earliest recordings and drove its many radical line-up changes ..."

As good a summary of punk as you'll get.  That principle mostly has been lost.  It's not that musicianship was inimical to punk.  Rather, as with eloquence, musical proficiency - if thoughtlessly-deployed - is an artifice, a convention, which stupefies and obscures.  You become smooth, not authentic.  

Josef Bloch, in Peter Handke's novel, Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter, "... had to keep his guard up against words that transformed what he wanted to say into some kind of statement" .  

I remember decades ago the Stranglers being interviewed, and how they saw punk as not dissimilar in intent to Fauvism.  

As the above article notes:

"... as the musicians in each successive line-up became more conventionally competent, Smith’s quest for the ‘magic’ of the first take, as Brix Smith put it, took ever more desperate and obnoxious forms."

Shades of Beckett's "Not I"; of Wordsworth's describing our second nature as " shades of the prison-house".  

As in the intro to one of the songs on the 1984 Fall album "Grotesque" :

‘I always have to say to myself
It has nothing to do with me
He has nothing
He is not me.’

In other news, Brix Smith remembers the glamour of getting married to M.E.S.:

" ... we had a reception at the Eagle and Child pub, which was arranged by his dad. We had sausage rolls, pickled onions, crisps and beer."…

And closing the circle, the wake was held in his fav pub, and, fittingly, a fight broke out:

"... funeral was just like a Fall gig, some strange people there, it was unpredictable and it kicked off."…

"It’s impossible to explain his appeal to anyone (let alone someone
like me, a suburban Texas kid), other than to say that you either get
it or you don’t. It’s why Fall fans are notoriously tribal; merely
“getting it,” a nigh-biological response to Smith’s voice in your ear,
grants automatic passage to its cult ..."

Please do read:…
They were for so long the soundtrack to my life, in a way that went
beyond entertainment!

And please do check out the few minutes of interview at start here -
if only to see Mark before he was wrecked with speed and booze - fav
quote: "I always thought accessibility was something to be spat on":

Escaped - it was in Budapest. I think 2003. Summer. It was in a park.

The performance itself was, in retrospect now I think about it, probably going through the motions, but it was a perfect summer evening, and Mrs K and I had only been an item for a few weeks. I suspect Lou Reed was incidental to the fond memory rather than the cause.

i actually saw the Fall at Hammersmith Palais around that time, but i think it was '87/88 ish

Are you sure you weren’t lead guitar but didn’t know it?

And it's a tough choice but think Pavarotti is the best.  

I was in Rome with Mrs Face when he threw a seven and while I respect him as an artist it was comical how there were literally no restaurants anywhere we went to that night that DIDN’T have a picture of him eating there with a smile on his generously proportioned chops. 

Warren Zevon


Tom Petty

Bruce Guthro (with Runrig)

Glenn Frey (with the Eagles)

Walter Becker (with Steely Dan)

Paul Cotton/Rusty Young (with Poco)

Nanci Griffith

Lowell George (with Little Feat)

David Crosby

John Prine


Amy Winehouse 

Not one of the greats but one of the last gigs I went to in the UK was Viola Beach circa 2015. A friend got some last minute tickets and I had no idea who they were. I thought they were pretty good and have always wondered what would have happened if they hadn't met that Bridge in Sweden


I have a friend/acquaintance (I didnt want to presume) who plays the bass in Jools’ Holland’s big band. I talked to him about Amy Winehouse over a drink once. We both agreed she was the best of the best and when on the slide in the closing months of her life she put in a mix if the best and the worst shifts. There is a session she did at one of the NYE things where she just mumbled the words but seemed still to cast a spell and produce a breathtaking performance, yet she was clearly absolutely all c vnted out.  He said she was a nightmare. At rehearsals she turned up with good and bad angel in full fight and teased with bursts of excellence and wandered about and didnt really engage in the detail, left everyone shitting themselves but saying well that’s Amy and hoping it would be alright later, which it was until suddenly and finally it wasnt. Addiction kills people eventually. I am still sad she has gone. A true once a century talent. 

Shit I just rewatched that. When she holds that endless knowwww on a vibrato you know you’re watching snd hearing something special and it gets better from there.