I have been watching Later… with Jools Holland for a long time now, and always find myself enjoying and loathing certain bits of it.
One of the most fulfilling and enjoyable parts of Later…, and the part I think they should continue to focus on much more, is the focus on new and contemporary music.
I remember watching and discovering Villagers a few years ago, who played a solo, acoustic version of his song “Becoming a Jackal.” I was blown away by that performance, and that exposure lead him on to greater things.
I also enjoy expanding my knowledge of new artists I’ve heard of but know nothing about, such as the otter-voiced John Newman and the Alex Turner wannabe, Jake Bugg. Later… allows me to sometimes make or break my opinion of these new artists (broken for the latter artists mentioned).
But of course, then comes the bits of tradition I despise. The bringing back of old bands, who play lackluster sets, interviewing them about the ‘good ‘ol days’, full of nauseating nostalgia which makes me wants to roll my eyes out of my sockets. This week it was Graham Parker and the Rumour who fulfilled that nausea. There’s a great sadness in seeing bands that were once good, reform into empty shells of themselves. There’s little integrity, and it’s not because they’re old, it’s because they have nothing more to say. Jools loves this though, he loves bring back the dead. The last time he had the Beach Boys on, I was so upset by how bored Brian Wilson looked, sitting behind an unplayed piano and singing ‘Good Vibrations’, that I had to skip past.
This week was, as always, a mixture of emotions. The National were brilliant and sublime at translating songs from their latest album Trouble Will Find Me; full of uncomfortable, anxious lyrics and instrumentation that leave me pleasantly troubled.
John Mayer continues his descent into filler music. Ever since the brilliant Continuum, I feel like Mayer is just biding his time.
Lissie was in my category of someone I had heard of but knew nothing about. Unfortunately her continued singing about jeans didn’t convince me there was any artistic value.
London Grammar kept me engaged and are a group I will actually go out of my way to do more listening on.
Ballake Sissoko was a brilliant performer of the Mali harp, a great and quiet relief from the rest of the painstaking hubbub of the night.
Graham Parker and the Rumour (please see previous paragraph of nauseating nostalgia).
Apparently next week there will be the Killers and Boy George, oh boy….
Watch The National’s performance of “Don’t Swallow the Cap” on Later…with Jools Holland.