28 June 2005

REM delivers powerful live experience

As part of the European leg of their current world tour, R.E.M. paid a visit to the small Danish city Horsens and delivered a truly remarkable concert in front of 23,000 people.

Despite the presence of beer-drinking hillbillies clearly without the dedication to this rare visit of a world name, the band managed to reach the majority of the audience with a sparkling performance and great sound.

And as completely dominant front figure, Michael Stipe once again proved that his stage presence oozes charisma and that he is without doubt, along with the likes of Bono, one of the best frontmen today.

The concert did have a couple of low points where 2-3 relatively anonymous songs followed each other but the band always managed to pull the ship back on course with yet another one of their greatest songs. So the overall impression is one of a band who may have seen their greatest day but still possess a lot of strength and a back catalogue most other bands would sell their mother for.

And when those songs are delivered in radiant form like on this night, R.E.M. are hard to match for any band.

Set list:

01 I Took Your Name
02 What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
03 Bad Day
04 Drive
05 The Outsiders
06 Don't Go Back To Rockville
07 Animal
08 The One I Love
09 I Wanted To Be Wrong
10 Wanderlust
11 Leave
12 Leaving New York
13 Everybody Hurts
14 Turn You Inside-Out
15 Orange Crush
16 Electron Blue
17 Electrolite
18 Walk Unafraid
19 Losing My Religion

20 Imitation Of Life
21 The Great Beyond
22 She Just Wants To Be
23 I've Been High
24 Nightswimming
25 I'm Gonna DJ
26 Man On The Moon

By the way, if you're new to R.E.M. and wonder where to start, my personal top six of their albums is:

1. Automatic For People
2. Around The Sun
3. Reveal
4. New Adventures In Hi-Fi
5. Out Of Time
6. Up

Good luck!

Le Mec

12 June 2005

DJ River - excellent dance/chillout mixes

If you're into dance/trance/chillout music, here's the best offer you'll find for some time: This Swedish DJ called DJ River regularly posts some awesome 70-80 minute long dance mixes, compiling some of the greatest dance and chillout tracks into one long epic of melody, atmosphere and soul.

One of the greatest things about the mixes is his choice of songs. They're always brilliant songs, making every mix a joy from start to end. And it's also top-notch car music.

But the best of it all is that all the mixes are completely free! All you need to do is download the high-quality sound mixes and burn them onto a cd.

Anyway, give it a listen at:
...or go straight to the page with the mixes here.

My favourites include:
Chicane Anthology Vol. 1
Chicane Anthology Vol. 2
Ambient Chillout Mix 4
Chill House Mix 4

Happy downloading!

Le Mec

Why I don't like live albums

I'm not a big fan of live albums. There are people who swear by live recordings and think that this is when a band really comes alive and brings the music to life. Well, I come from a totally different place...

Most of the music I listen to has a certain feeling, atmosphere or energy which is created via the sound and production of the music. Often it can be a certain keyboard sound, guitar rif or hook that makes a great song become a brilliant song. And when listening to a song, certain sections of that song are often defined by these special moments.

The transformation from recorded album to live situation is often where things go wrong. To me, live recordings most often fail to capture these small recorded details of brilliance and many songs become a lot less layered sonically and thus less interesting.

Also, live albums rarely manage to capture the atmosphere and excitement at the concert and will therefore always be the second best way of experiencing a band live.

Finally, too many bands just try to reproduce the album versions when they play live. In my book, this will almost always make the live rendition of a song inferior to the recorded version.

If I'm going to buy a live album, it's either going to be because I was there at the concert and want to cherish the experience or because the band plays the songs in more interesting ways live. Otherwise, why bother at all?