Wednesday, 9 July 2008

New album from Neil Halstead

Since listening to Neil Halstead last week I've been obsessed with a couple of songs he played at both gigs. Tracking them down has been virtually impossible but this must be because they are off his new solo album, due for release in the UK 29 July.

Living in Cornwall, with a penchant for surfing, bikes and the cultivation of facial hair, Neil is now signed to Brushfire Records and this is his second solo album. He's touring with Jack Johnson in the States during August but is currently lining up some UK and European gigs for September.

Thankfully Neil has just uploaded two songs off the new record, Oh Mightly Engine! onto his MySpace page and they are most definitely worth a listen.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The Happening in the UK

The Happening at Village Underground

This week I was lucky enough to check at The Happening in both London and Cornwall. On Tuesday night the show rolled into Village Underground, Shoreditch. The venue was great and it was a nice sunny evening which is always a bonus. The brick, arched interior provided an atmospheric backdrop and the rooftop terrace, scattered with reconditioned tube carriages, was set up by the Roxy crew with promotional posters and clothing.

Photography by Joe Curren

With art from established names such as Andy Davis, Thomas Campbell, Harry Daily and David Lloyd, photography from Joe Curren and Ryan Heywood, films from Woodshed productions and music from Mason Jennings, Neil Halstead, Zach Gill and G Love it really was a rare treat.

Zach Gill

However, it was a disappointment that there weren't more artists on hand to talk about their artwork and inject some real life into the fantastic array of pictures and films that the event its supposed to represent. In their absence, which was partly due to the artists having to fund their own travel, there was no information available on the art which left the focus firmly on the music and film. It was also a shame that so many people who should have known about the show well in advance saw it completely pass them by. Tickets were available on the door and there was plenty of room inside. This wasn't through a lack of interest, but largely because the marketing for this event was pretty low key and communications virtually non-existant.

The tube carriages

Fast forward three days to a windswept, sodden Gwithian and The Happening had arrived in Cornwall. The weather outside had no impact on the jubilant mood inside and the Sandsifter was packed the rafters with a tent out the front to host the musicians who included Mason Jennings, Neil Halstead, Matt Costa and G Love.

Matt Costa

The vibe was really friendly and although the art was a bit crammed in it felt very at home in its location. It was a bonus to meet Mike Fordham, man behind September and the Book of Surfing, and chat with Helen Gilchrest about her plans for Stranger magazine. There weren't any pieces from Wolfgang Bloch or Andrew Kidman but it was good to see local artists such as Ben Cooke represented.

Harry Daily

I had pretty high expectations for the Happening and although I certainly wasn't disappointed I would have liked to have seen more focus on the artwork. Cornwall hosts gigs all the time but the opportunity to see art from some of the most recognised surf artists of our time is much rarer. The concept is genius and lets hope they come back even bigger and better next year.