We took the kids to see Siro-A on Friday. An absolutely fantastic show: very intelligent, very clever, and hugely entertaining. Despite the full-on techno soundtrack and their total dependence on technology they work very hard to involve the audience. Highly recommended. In London until January 11th.
Surprisingly good. I came feeling slightly apprehensive and (at worst) expecting an evening of Bible-bashing, but my fears proved totally unfounded. McGuinn proved himself to be an excellent singer, with no need for the shouting that these days passes for emotional expression and a wonderful sense of the melodic line. He probably wouldn’t be deemed a virtuoso guitarist but he certainly has a strong individual identity and is not afraid of putting himself out there: his version of Eight Miles High that closed the show featured the first psychedelic guitar freak-out that I’ve ever seen performed on an acoustic guitar.
Between songs McGuinn regaled us with stories from his long career. Although worn smooth with repetition and essentially little more than self-mythologizing, these were leavened with a nice line in self-deprecating humour and were hugely entertaining.
You’d have to say that at 72 years old McGuinn is doing pretty well for himself. His talent is intact, he’s producing new material, and he’s still very much his own man. The highpoint for me and the moment quite early on in the set when I knew this was going to be a good evening: his singalong version of Mr. Spaceman:
This weekend, as part of the Cardiff Open Studios project (part of Cardiff Contemporary), we took the opportunity to visit a few local artists in situ: we went to Butetown Artist’s Studios in the Bay and Fireworks in Grangetown. The latter is mainly a populated by ceramicists and there was some truly beautiful work on view. A great chance to nose around in someone else’s mess:
The Baroque Cello Project
At the urging of my better half we ventured up to Arcade Cardiff and the Baroque Cello Project. I had no idea what to expect, but in very simple terms it’s a collaborative piece based around the building of (yes, you guessed it…) a Baroque cello, the constituent elements being the cello itself, the bits of wood left over, a piece composed for the cello, and a soundscape produced from the sounds generated by the luthier when building the instrument. The conceptual underpinning could therefore be summed up in a single sentence from the hand-out: what happens when the disregarded is given the same close attention as the instrument?
Overall impression: pleasantly surprised. I was particularly interested in the decision by the artist, Leona Jones, not to manipulate the found sounds. More performances scheduled in the next couple of weeks: details on their website.
Further up then to the National Museum of Wales and the private view for the 6th Artes Mundi International Art Exhibition and Prize.
Chocolate sculpture: smells fabulous…
Mmmmm… chocolate. Next up, a Health & Safety catastrophe waiting to happen:
Back to the electric goat. Whatever else you make of it, it produces a lovely sound:
Needless to say the place was heaving, and so it was very difficult to concentrate on the works themselves. Still, as a show it’s clearly got a really interesting and challenging mix of approaches, materials, and intention on display. We’ll be going back for a more considered appreciation.
And you’d have to say it’s great to see such a major event happening in Cardiff. Nice…