Thursday, 29 April 2010

Discovering Gil Scott Heron......


I'm quite glad to be able to say that my taste in music goes right across the board and can usually find something I like within any genre. The great thing is there's still so much music out there that I haven't heard yet and havent had a chance to fall in love with!

The other night I got invited to the Gil Scott Heron at Warehouse, he'd rescheduled the gig after being stuck in America due to the Volcanic ash fiasco! I'd heard of the man and his music but had never taken time to listen to it. As 9pm approached the venue was nearly packed when the crowd begin whooping as this frail looking old black dude comes on stage. For a minute I thought it was the tour manager, come to tell us the gig was cancelled but it was Gil Scott himself, come to warm up the audience with some stories and some jokes.

As soon as he opened his mouth I was hooked. There was soul ingrained deep in that voice, something you rarely hear, especially here in Aberdeen. After about 20 minutes speaking about himself, volcanos and dissapearing he took his seat and began playing his Fender Rhodes keyboard. The keyboard holds almost as much soul as he does, the deep sounds of his voice over the Rhodes made for an incredibally powerfull combination.

He played a few songs by himself and then his band joined him to take things up a notch with the addition of his new keyboardist, bongo player & harmonica player. The bongo's rythm really added to the keyboards and it was quite amazing to hear a harmonica played properly,each member a master of their instruments with multiple solo's throughout the night!.

I love it when you get those moments at concerts where your seeing and hearing someone, knowing that you might never get that chance again and they just blow you away. I didn't have much expectations before the gig but I've realised that Gil Scott Heron has been missing, like a part of a jigsaw that isn't essential until you get to the end and see its main part! Hearing a tune like Winter in America was just so amazing, theres a history in that can't be faked, there's emotion, pain and power. I bet a lot of singers would give anything to be half as good as Gil Scott Heron. Anyway below you can see a live video of Gil filmed earlier this year for a taste of how amazing his show was!


Its also got me thinking about how I've discovered other music and bands. Music seems to be a pretty unifying cultural thing, we pass on history through song's, we maintain grudges with it (Flower of Scotland, ahum hum) but it also bring's us together whether it be at live concerts or just appreciating the same band.
 
I remeber hearing Stairway to Heaven when I was 12 or 13, walking into my bedroom just as my dad put it on the record player. He'd taken all his old vinyl down from the loft for me and my bro and figured if we liked Oasis we might like Zepplin and The Beatles. That was a pretty powerfull introduction to Led Zep!
 
The Microphones "The Glow Part 2" was another amazing album but I took ages to fully appreciate it. I was sitting on the sofa reading a book which I dont remember the name of but for some reason the album went from being 3 amazing songs to a whole amazing album that captured my mind, the lightning crashes, the acoustic guitar, the old piano everything just made perfect sense to me.
 
Elvis Presley "Thats All Right Mamma", never been a big Elvis fan but by the time I'd walked from my flat to the ASDA in Garthdee I was hooked, lyrically and musically its such a simple song but it just jumped on me.
 
There's been so many times when music has saved me, listening to Dancing In The Dark everyday before going to work gave me strength and hope, "Cant start a fire, sitting round crying over a broken heart" amazing to hear especially after another failed long term relationship, the Boss had my back! Music is pretty damm important, cant remember what my original point was but never close your self to new things I guess.