ALBUM REVIEW: Seth MacFarlane “Music Is Better Than Words”

Seth MacFarlane is without any doubt best known for his comedic work as the creative force behind ratings winners “Family Guy”, “American Dad!” and “The Cleveland Show”, but as his long-awaited debut album “Music Is Better Than Words” dewmonstates, the versatile vocalist is far more than simply convincing as a big band vocalist. A dexterous performer, MacFarlane is far more than a playful swing singer a la Robbie Williams, or a modern day crooner a la Michael Buble, he has a sprinkling of old school class that sets him in the same league as the unforgettable Frank Sinatra.

“Music Is Better Than Words” is a cleverly constructed collection. Rather than simply reworking old time favourites, MacFarlane has taken the time to compile lesser known classics by celebrated composers Rogers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe.

MacFarlane unsurprisingly shines on the more playful numbers. Notably  “You’re The Cream In My Coffee” manages to tease without edging into Dean Martin cheese. However, it is a tender rendition of  “Something Good” that really sees MacFarlane soar. While he may not have the winsome innocence of Julie Andrews, his strikingly smooth vocal certainly comes close to stealing a signature song.

While MacFarlane shines throughout, it is the to and  fro of the album’s two duets that steal the show. Norah Jones is on fine form as she soothes on “Two Sleepy People”, while a Jane Russell-esque Sara Bareilles knocks MacFarlane for six on the perfect “Love Won’t Let You Get Away”.

MacFarlane’s debut musical outing  may not be catering to the tastes of his loyal comedic following, but it is nonetheless a timeless record that uplifts and entertains.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

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NEWS: Take That Announce Progress Tour

Today, the most exciting reunion in British pop history gathered speed as dates for a brand new Take That Tour, Progress Live 2011, were announced at a press conference in London. Gary, Howard, Jason, Mark and Robbie confirmed that they will hit the road next year for a monumental 14-date summer stadium tour around the UK before heading to Europe for a further six shows. Progress Live 2011, is the band’s biggest tour yet and will be the first time they have toured together as a five-piece since 1995.

Progress Live 2011 will be a feast for the imagination, charting the evolution and progress of Take That and Robbie Williams through their extraordinary 20-year history. The spectacular live shows will celebrate Take That’s biggest hits from the last two decades and, will also see Robbie take to the stage to perform songs from his incredible chart-topping solo career.

Between them, Take That and Robbie Williams have sold over 80 million albums, had 13 number one albums, 17 number one singles, played to over 14.5 million people live, won 19 BRIT Awards, eight MTV awards and five Ivor Novello awards; and the list goes on.

Progress Live 2011 follows the band’s time-honoured tradition of starting in the UK’s North East , kicking off at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on the 30 May, then heading to The City of Manchester Stadium, Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, Dublin Croke Park, Glasgow Hampden Park, Birmingham Villa Park and finally London’s Wembley Stadium for four nights.  The band then head to Europe for shows at Milan’s San Siro Stadium, Copenhagen Parken, Amsterdam Arena, Hamburg Imtech Arena, Dusseldorf Esprit Arena and Munich Olympiastadion.

UK Tickets go on sale at 09.00, Friday 29 October 2010

European Tickets go on sale Friday 5 November 2010 (see timings overleaf)

Samsung Electronics is proud to announce that it has become the Presenting Partner of Take That’s Progress Live 2011 (UK only), a partnership that will allow Samsung to showcase its latest technology and enable millions of fans to capture and share exclusive footage from the tour. In announcing its headline sponsorship, Simon Stanford, Managing Director of Samsung Mobile UK and Ireland said:

“Samsung is thrilled to come on board as the Presenting Partner for the Take That Progress Live 2011 UK Tour and we are very enthusiastic about working with one of the biggest and best names in the music world. We intend this partnership to take Samsung’s position in mobile entertainment to new heights and allow us to market our leading mobile technology and brand to millions of Take That fans, whilst adding value to and enhancing their overall anticipation and enjoyment of the tour. Samsung’s loyal customers can look forward to enjoying money can’t buy experiences and offerings, and an extensive range of exclusive content.”

Take That also release their brand new album Progress on 22 November, with the first single, The Flood, released on 15 November. The album, which has been produced by Stuart Price, comes 20 years after the band first sang live as a group on the TV show The Hitman & Her in 1990.

Progress Live 2011 Presented by Samsung full Tour Dates:

Monday 30 May 2011             Sunderland Stadium of Light
Friday 3 June 2011                  City of Manchester Stadium
Saturday 4 June 2011             City of Manchester Stadium
Sunday 5 June 2011                City of Manchester Stadium
Tuesday 7 June 2011              City of Manchester Stadium
Tuesday 14 June 2011            Cardiff Millennium Stadium
Saturday 18 June 2011           Dublin Croke Park
Wednesday 22 June 2011      Glasgow Hampden Park
Thursday 23 June 2011          Glasgow Hampden Park
Monday 27 June 2011            Birmingham Villa Park
Friday 1 July 2011                    Wembley Stadium
Saturday 2 July 2011               Wembley Stadium
Sunday 3 July 2011                  Wembley Stadium
Tuesday 5 July 2011                Wembley Stadium
Tuesday 12 July                         Milan San Siro
Saturday 16 July                        Copenhagen Parken
Monday 18 July                          Amsterdam Arena
Friday 22 July                             Hamburg Imtech Arena
Monday 25 July                          Düsseldorf Esprit Arena
Friday 29 July                             Munich Olympiastadion

Progress Live 2011 Produced By SJM Concerts and KSE

UK TICKETS ONLY:

Buy Online at: www.ticketmaster.co.uk / www.gigsandtours.com / www.ticketline.co.uk / www.theticketfactory.com

Credit Card hotlines: 0844 847 2011 / 0844 871 8821 / 0844 888 9991 /0844 581 9900

For Hampden Park, T: 0844 847 2011 / 08444 811 222 / www.gigsinscotland.com

Cash sales available at face value at all Venue Box Offices except London – Wembley Arena (for Wembley Stadium shows); and Glasgow – SECC (for Hampden Park shows).

For Official Premium VIP packages call Mark Butler Associates 020 7603 6033 www.markbutler.co.uk <http://www.markbutler.co.uk

Tickets are priced at:

Regional: £55 / £65 / £75 / £85
London: £55 / £65 / £75 / £90

Milan – onsale 10.00pm (tbc)
Telephone: 00 39 02 33020070
www.ticketone.it

FEATURE: Lucinda Belle “Luck Is Opportunity Meets Dedication”

“I had to literally just ask myself a question, “Do you think it’s ok to eat the mould off the bread?” But I don’t know why, I just feel the need for a bit of mould in my life.”

It is early-ish Saturday morning and Lucinda Belle is rushing about doing her chores. She has not had time to get to the shops and her bread has gone mouldy, but she needs her once a year dose of Marmite and so what she has will have to do. As Lucinda munches between sips of tea she tells us all about how playing harp for Robbie Williams has led to her leaving the family launderette.

So, what is to be – the music or the dirty washing?

Well basically, the launderette business is up for sale, so I am not finished with that really. My feeling about the launderette is that I’ll be sad to see it go but I am extremely excited about pursuing my career in music. It is something I have been waiting for all my life.

“Luck is opportunity meets dedication.”

The record deal came about because I was working with Robbie Williams on the Electric Proms. I was playing the harp and backing singing. I was asked to do that through Trevor Horn. It was just one of the most amazing experiences ever.

So the story goes, I got spotted by Fearne Cotton and Greg James and they asked me to go on their show. I ended up sort of featuring as a harpist and doing lots of cover versions, like Green Day and Elbow, on the radio. I got spotted by Universal and that’s when it all sort of really took off. But my theory on life is that luck is opportunity meets dedication.

How do you choose which songs to rework?

I don’t really do covers unless I think I can impose who I am onto them. I don’t think there is any point in doing it otherwise. So, how do I pick my covers? I guess what I tend to do is I speak to people who’s opinions I respect. I am always open to ideas when people say how about you cover this or that.. Then I also go into songs that I really like. I am giving you the whole detail here. I download the lyric. I break it down. I listen to the song. Then I just attempt to do them on my own. If I feel I am moving the song away from the original in my direction, then I will go with it. If I don’t and I feel it is too close to the original then I won’t do it. I want to put my stamp on something otherwise I won’t really do it.

What has been your favourite so far?

The Lady Gaga (‘Telephone’) one is actually my favourite one for two reasons. Firstly I am crazy about Lady Gaga, I just love her. I love all her songs and I just love what we came up with. The version that I did just seemed to work. When I am doing things like that, I am just consumed by it. I do it, then I go back and I think ‘how did I do that?’

Your forthcoming album “My Voice & 45 Strings” also features original compositions. What are your inspirations?

Firstly I draw my inspiration from ordinary everyday life experiences. I have to say that I got some of my ideas from sitting in my launderette watching the machines go round. There is a kind of rhythm to that. Other than that, I draw on the emotional kind of thing. The album is about indecision, it’s about love, it’s about loss and about hope. It is basically love in different guises. It is sentimental. It is all of those things and they represent who I am as a person. So I think one could safely assume that I am a bit of a romantic.

“I was trying to run away from who I was.”

What made you choose the harp?

I clearly have to blame my parents for that, but I will do is give you a big reveal; so far in my interviews I have swapped parents and given them both credit. In my first interview I think I gave it to my Mum, then my Dad called me up and got really upset. So in my second interview I gave it to my Dad. The truth is that they suggested playing the harp when I was about six. So I went along to this woman’s house for some lessons and it was amazing. The rest is history. I wanted to be a ballerina, saw the harp and fell in love.

When I was in my early twenties I was experimenting with music and got really into r’n’b which was trendy at the time. I was a bit scared to use the harp, because I didn’t see the harp as central to that. I think in a way I was trying to run away from who I was. It was really refreshing when I came back to the harp. It felt really comfortable to suddenly know who I was in life, which is a harpist and a songwriter.

Did the identity crisis help you realise you wanted to perform?

That was genetic. It was written in the stars when I was born. There was no other question in my life about what I wanted to do. There was never another ambition about what I could do. It’s kind of like playing the harp, which is just a part of who I am.

Words: Jeremy Williams Image: David Tett

NEWS: A-Ha Say Farewell…

Multi-million selling Norwegian trio A-Ha have announced that they will perform together for the very last time in the UK on their Farewell Tour in November.

Following a fantastic international career spanning 25 years, in excess of 35 million album sales and 15 top 10 singles in the UK alone, A-Ha’s Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy announce that they will perform their final shows together in 2010, the anniversary year of the release of debut album ‘Hunting High & Low’. Riding high on the success of their critically acclaimed current album ‘Foot Of The Mountain’, A-Ha have decided to call it a day and as a consequence will not release any future albums.

The band would like to thank their fans and everyone who has contributed to their amazing journey and say, “We’ve literally lived the ultimate boy’s adventure tale, through a longer, more rewarding career than anyone could hope for. Doing this now will give us a chance to get more involved in other meaningful aspects of life, be it humanitarian work, politics, or whatever else – and of course through new constellations in the field of art and music. We are retiring as a band, not as individuals. Change is always difficult and it is easy to get set in one’s ways. Now it is time to move on.”

A-Ha released 9 studio albums, most recently returning to the UK top 5 with the album ‘Foot Of The Mountain’.  They toured the world, including the legendary show at Maracana Stadium, Rio De Janeiro in 1991 which earned a Guinness World Record for the largest-ever audience attendance at a paid concert – 196,000 people, recorded a James Bond theme song and produced an unforgettable groundbreaking video.

In the mid 80’s the Norwegian trio created teenage hysteria and general pandemonium wherever they went. In recent years the focus has shifted to the musical legacy they will leave behind, inspiring a whole generation of artists such as Coldplay and Keane to Kanye West, Oasis, The Strokes, Robbie Williams and U2.

In 2006 the band received the ‘Q Inspiration Award’ in honour of their lasting musical influence. 2010 marks the 25th Anniversary of A-Ha’s multi-platinum debut album ‘Hunting High & Low’ and debut single ‘Take On Me’ which reached number 1 in 27 countries including the USA.

To see A-Ha on their Farewell Tour 2010:

NOVEMBER 2010

MON 15 BRIGHTON CENTRE 0844 847 1515
TUE 16 NEWCASTLE METRO RADIO ARENA 0844 493 6666
WED 17 GLASGOW CLYDE AUDITORIUM 0844 499 9990
FRI 19 BIRMINGHAM LG ARENA 0844 338 8000
SAT 20 MANCHESTER MEN ARENA 0844 847 8000
SUN 21 NOTTINGHAM TRENT FM ARENA 0844 412 4624
TUE 23 SHEFFIELD ARENA 0114 256 5656
THU 25 CARDIFF INTERNATIONAL ARENA 0292 022 4488
FRI 26 BOURNEMOUTH INTL CENTRE 0844 576 3000
SAT 27 LONDON WEMBLEY ARENA 0844 815 0815

TICKETS ONSALE NOW

WWW.GIGSANDTOURS.COM / 24HR CC HOTLINE 0871 2200 260

VIDEO: Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow “Shame”

So Robbie is rejoining Take That eh? Who didn’t see that coming the moment “Reality Killed The Video Star” proved a relative flop? Stage one is the below duet with former sparring partner Gary Barlow. But as you can see their undying love won out in the end!  Credit where credit is due – the pair deliver a ballad without a sentimental sap overload, though the “Brokeback Mountain” spoof should have surely taken a few more risks? Shame…

NEWS: Katherine Jenkins, Alesha Dixon, Enrique Iglesias and The Wanted join Heroes Concert

Acts Announced So far:

Robbie Williams
James Blunt
Alexandra Burke
Alesha Dixon
Enrique Iglesias
Katherine Jenkins
Pixie Lott
Plan B
The Saturdays
The Wanted
John Bishop
Kevin Bridges
Jack Dee
Rhod Gilbert
Peter Kay
Jason Manford
Michael McIntyre

Special Guest Appearance from the legendary Bruce Forsyth

Following an already incredible line up of talent announced for September 12th 2010 for the biggest event of the year, more top stars have been added to the bill of the Heroes Concert in aid of Help for Heroes at Twickenham Stadium on September 12th.

Showcasing the cream of the nation’s entertainment industry, names as diverse as Robbie Williams, Jason Manford, Plan B, Jack Dee, The Saturdays and James Blunt will now also be joined by more stars from the music world – classical crossover superstar Katherine Jenkins, pop beauty Alesha Dixon, latin sensation Enrique Iglesias and the UK’s latest Number 1 boyband The Wanted.

Welsh star Katherine Jenkins says: “I’m really proud to be a part of what is going to be the most amazing day in honour of our troops. The troops have always been very close to my heart having visited them overseas many times. It’s fantastic that so many artists are coming together to raise awareness and show support of all that they do.”

Alesha Dixon says: “I’m really excited and privileged to be playing the concert, firstly and foremost because it’s for such an amazing cause but also because there are so many other amazing acts on the bill. Our troops have been through so much for us and to give just a little bit back is a real honour.”

The Wanted add: “It’s an absolute pleasure for us to be taking part in this show. Our service men and women do a superb job and if we can help in any way then that’s what we’ll do. Help for Heroes is a cracking charity and we’re so honoured to be asked to perform.” 

Due to phenomenal demand, organisers have acquired special permission for Twickenham Stadium to hold an extra 5,000 fans and troops, taking the concert capacity up to 60,000 for the very first time.

The show will be hosted by the cream of the UK’s comedy talent – John Bishop, Kevin Bridges, Jack Dee, Rhod Gilbert, Peter Kay, Jason Manford and Michael McIntyre have all pledged their support.

All proceeds go straight to Help for Heroes to raise money to help fund further rehabilitation centres around the country.

The spectacular event will be broadcast on BBC One and around the world to military bases through British Forces Broadcasting (BFBS).

Bryn Parry, CEO Help for Heroes

“Help for Heroes is all about ordinary people doing their bit to support the men and women of our Armed Forces. We feel helpless when we hear about our young men and women being wounded and want to do what we can; with Help for Heroes we can make a difference. Over the last three years, hundreds of thousands have joined us in doing their bit and millions have been raised to improve the quality of life for some wonderfully brave people.

This concert is a fantastic example of a nation doing its bit for ‘the blokes’;

I am particularly grateful to all the acts and the organisers for their support and to Hesco Bastion, our lead sponsor. Music and humour can reach and lift those in the darkest of places, making life worth living and helping in recovery. Our boys and girls, both those operating in the remote patrol bases and those recovering from life changing injuries, will hear this concert and know that they are in the forefront of our minds. They are not forgotten, wherever they are.”

Richard Knight, Stadium Director for the Rugby Football Union

“It’s a privilege to be asked to host such an amazing day of entertainment for such a fantastic cause. We have a long history of supporting Help for Heroes starting with our charity game here at the stadium in 2008, which raised over £1.5 million for the charity. The chance to be a part of such a landmark concert is an honour and a testament to the role Twickenham Stadium now plays as an iconic concert venue. The pitch that has been graced by legends of rugby will now be graced by legends of music and comedy. A fitting tribute for our heroic armed forces.”

TICKETS ON SALE 9AM Wednesday August 4th

Tickets:

Standard Prices:
Reserved Seating: £55
General Admission Pitch Standing: £55
Outer Gold Circle Standing: £70
Inner Gold Circle Standing: £80
Ticketmaster hotline – 0844 879 4376 (outside UK – 0161 637 2692)
Buy tickets online from http://www.livenation.co.uk, http://www.heroesconcert.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk
To book disabled customer tickets, please call Ticketmaster’s access booking line – 0844 847 1655.
For disabled access information – email any enquiries to: access@heroesconcert.com or visit the website at http://www.heroesconcert.com for more information.
For VIP Hospitality or Golden Circle packages please visit http://www.livenationexperience.co.uk or telephone 0207 009 3484
All tickets are subject to booking fee.
All revenue of Live Nation from the Event after deduction of Live Nation’s fee together with all costs and expenses directly relating to the hire of the venue and the staging of the Event will be paid directly to Help for Heroes (Registered Charity Number: 1120920) or to Help for Heroes Trading Limited in support of Help for Heroes. It is expected to be in the region of £750,000

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