“I Hope You Get Cancer” – Frankie Boyle Live at New Theatre Oxford

WARNING: This post contains adult themes and explicit language

Now, let me start by stating the obvious, I don’t want anyone to get Cancer! But it certainly got your attention didn’t it? It also maybe gave you an indication of how “inappropriate” some of the content in this post may be. So if jokes about Cancer or AIDS or Pedophilia aren’t your bag, do us both a favour… Don’t read on… Because this review-of-sorts of Frankie Boyle’s ‘Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved‘ tour may not be for you…

Frankie Boyle, even at his most polite, isn’t a “family friendly” comic. This is a man who was banned by the BBC because he once said on stage “I thought the only way they’d let me back on the BBC was if I shagged a child” But despite not being as mass-marketable like others in his line of work, such as Michael McIntyre or John Bishop, Boyle is still very popular – A fact that was made very evident by the fact that despite being extremely politically incorrect, he sold out his show in Oxford. Even if it meant fans driving down from London or Redding or god knows where else, as many had seemed to have done.

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Joining the Tig Nation – Tig Notaro Live at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Okay I think a lot fewer people would have “the Mondays” if they managed to stat their week off the way I did – with a superb comedy gig. Stumbling about on LiveNation yesterday, hunting for some fun stuff to do while I’m in London, I came across a comedy gig by Tig Notaro (a known comic if you’re from the States, lesser so here in England or back home in India) and was delighted when there were still tickets available for the show. So of course I booked immediately!

Before I get into her set though, a few words about the support act – Matt Rees. In his own words, his set is all about junk food, sex and drinking – “Are you okay with that? Good. Coz that’s all there is.” I wasn’t familiar with Rees before yesterday, but I’d be happy to come to a show again. He dry humor and often deadpan delivery were a good match up for Tig Notaro’s style, though the content was far blue-er I suppose. If I had to describe him to my friends I’d say, “think Louis C.K meets Milton Jones” – funny, a bit crass, self-deprecating and with lots of confusingly humorous jokes.

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An Evening of Sufi Rock

I had the amazing opportunity yesterday to not only be around my wonderful family to celebrate my Grandmother’s 80th Birthday, witness the posthumous launch of my Grandfather Praxy Fernandes’ book “Of Vanities and Profanities” as well as take another shot at some gig photography – something I haven’t tried my hand at in a while.

It was an amazing night of music with performances by Agam, well-known Indian fusion band which had a celebrated involvement in the second season of Coke Studio at MTV. The band performed with wonderful Sufi siren Zila Khan, daughter of the legendary sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan. The combination of Agam’s dual sound with Zila’s beautiful melodies was simply masterful and I think I managed to get some decent shots out of it.

Of Monsters and Men: Live at The Empire

On Wednesday a friend and I caught Of Monsters and Men, the Icelandic indie-folk rock band, at the 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, after I got my hands on some last-minute tickets. The evening was rather entertaining and if you’ve heard their music or are a fan, you know how lost you can get in it.

The opening act – a one man band called Mugison was quite… “interesting”. He started out by coming onto stage, admitting that he was a bit pissed (hilarious!) and played his first three songs on a self-crafted instrument that looked a bit like something an Engineering/Electronics student might construct for a project. The sound was definitely very sci-fi. Though he had a rather soulful and powerful voice, I have to say that this part of his set felt very self-indulgent. The music at times was harsh and didn’t even seem to go with the lyrics; it was almost like random sounds thrown together – it sort of reminded me of Ross playing his synth on Friends. The second half of his set was dramatically better. He picked up a guitar and played a few more songs. But unfortunately the set was still rather unfulfilling. He definitely has talent. And at times I felt that if he had a few more members for his band his sings would sound great. But I suppose that’s a personal artistic choice, and I respect that. Will say this though, he is a pretty funny guy – he seemed to really enjoy himself up there and not take himself too seriously.

The downside of this support act, entertaining though it may have been as far as my friend and I were taking the piss throughout his set, was that the crowd wasn’t really as fired up as it should have been when the main act came on – so it took a few songs before people really started feeling the music and jumping a bit – but we definitely got there. Of Monsters and Men has an amazing sound and their use of so many instruments makes them sound really big and powerful. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting them to sound as big live. It’s easy to get that feel in a studio but to do it live – wow. It helps of course that they have 7 people up on stage. The contrast between the range of their two co lead singers –  the angelic notes of  Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and the mellow accompaniments of Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson – makes such a beautiful and sometimes spine-chillingly touching combination. By the time “Mountain Sound” rolled around, about half-way through their set, I was welling up with excitement. The band got most if its fame I’d say from the massive popularity of their single – “Little Talks”, which has a massive brass element which I think gives it some real power – but “Mountain Sound” and “King and Lionheart” are actually two of my favorite tracks.

If you haven’t already checked out this band, you absolutely must! – Of Monsters and Men