Last Saturday was one of our "London days". This time, it was cinema and music.
For a writer interested in the close links between writing, music and the visual arts (and in this, I include cinema), Macbeth was just perfect.
We chose the threatened Curzon Soho to see Macbeth.
We have regularly attended this lovely cinema in the heart of London over the years and thought it would only be right to go there and support the campaign to save it from destruction. The cinema experience is always more civilized in that kind of cinema anyway.
I will not write a review of the movie here, but I will say it loud and clear: this is the best movie I have seen in years. We walked out of the cinema somewhat stunned into silence for a while.
It is captivating from start to finish (we always stay until the very end of the titles...)
It's beautiful, dark, bleak, cold and brutal, so brutal - the brutality of the human condition but also that of nature. The portrayal of the uncompromising life lived by the protagonists of the story, literally dwarfed by the hostile yet majestic landscape that surrounds them and in which they must constantly fight to survive and thus, every single minute of their lives, is full of poetry and lyricism. Even the epic, slow-motion battle scenes, full of unimaginable savagery, are imbued with beauty.
Here, Shakespeare's play is turned into a magnificent Ode to a staunchly pagan environment and landscape that seemingly cannot be tamed by a nascent and still primitive Christian faith. Subtle supernatural powers are at work below the surface, embodied by various ghostly apparitions and by the dignified, quietly menacing three sisters who always appear silhouetted against a foggy, yellowish backdrop (maybe they are walking straight out of the sulfurous mouth of Hell? The mud, the rain, the ashes of burnt bodies and buildings, the raging flames ravaging the forest and the red skys in the last moments of the movie, all point out to Hell actually being on earth).
Michael Fassbender (whom I had never seen in anything before) and Marion Cotillard, as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, are both superb.
And the music...
Swans' track "Lunacy" is used for the trailer (below), which should give an indication of the mood of the movie to people who know about the band and their music.
Jed Kurzel's score, recorded by the London Contemporary Orchestra, is genuinely splendid and is an essential element of the film (although rarely mentioned in reviews), helping to create the atmosphere of foreboding, unease and, ultimately, madness - those with gothic/neo-folk/industrial musical tastes will appreciate the expressive and disquieting cello and violin solos, the drones and tribal drums. Dread, bleakness, death, the workings of fate and the onset of lunacy: they are all here, in the stunning soundtrack.
You can preview the tracks HERE.
I am definitely getting this soundtrack as soon as possible!
And I want to go back to the cinema and see the film again. I want to fill my eyes and ears with that dark spectacle again.
Afterwards, we got a little bit of work done for the event we are organising in London next year! We went to do a quick recce at the venue: I can officially say that it is lovely! More details soon...
Then it was time to make our way to The Pipeline in Shoreditch for an evening of rock'n'roll... (a great venue... On our way out of the basement after the gig, we found ourselves face to face with Uncle Al (Jourgensen) arsing around on stage: the big screen was showing a live Ministry DVD. Top marks!).
Devilish Presley are calling it a day after 13 years of releasing music, touring and putting up events around the country (and abroad!). Now they have embarked on a Farewell Tour to say goodbye to their fans and to promote Johnny Navarro's debut novel, Kill Devil Delta.
It was at the same time an exhilarating experience (the music) and a sad one (this was the last ever DP gig in London...) - this is a cult band who has been able to build a following of faithful supporters through hard work and generosity towards their fans. As a parting present, Johnny and Jacqui have offered them a brand new album, Electric Ballroom, a (now sold out) Memorabilia USB stick packed full of music, pictures and videos, and a glorious set.
This is new act The Court of Sybaris, who mixes genres in a very interesting way...
The Underrunners are Dave Roca, Eva Menon and (new guitarist) Andi Emm, all three charismatic in their own unique way.
After their set, which opened with single "Joyrider" (see below), I purchased their excellent first album "No God, No King" which has already had several listens in our house!
We left the realm of post-punk melodies to enter the thunderous industrial/metal world of the outrageous Global Noise Attack who gave a raucous performance. Big sound, great fun!
The camera cannot cope with movement in low light, so my pictures are somewhat blurred; trying to catch singer Brian proved to be a hopeless task!
Headliners Devilish Presley really gave it their all to the delight of their fans. Jacqui is all powerful presence and big voice - she really is a captivating performer - whilst Johnny is the guitarist extraordinaire with the rock'n'roll attitude and the in-between songs banter. That's the thing, with Devilish Presley: they are deadly serious about the music, but the music is immensely fun as well as being superbly performed.
I had seen DP live before, but Saturday's performance really was special. They will be sorely missed.
Their resilience in the face of adversity and staunch DIY ethic has to be admired; their talent is undeniable.
And that's the thing, you see: I really can't believe that they are going to just stop. Creating, expressing themselves is in their blood and DNA.
They really do need to start creating some more monsters... whatever they are!
If you need an extra injection of rock'n'roll, I urge you to read Johnny Navarro's debut novel-cum-memoir Kill Devil Delta, about the trials and tribulations of musician Henry Douanier.
This book really is a superb read. It reveals a true talent for storytelling and a fierce imagination.
Kill Devil Delta was designed and typeset by my partner Matt ArtPix who was really chuffed to see copies of the book on the merch table on Saturday!
If you want to know more about the book and Johnny's inspiration, go HERE to read my in-depth interview with Mr Navarro himself!
You can still catch Devilish Presley on their TOUR:
YORK Fri 16th Oct
GLASGOW Sat 17th Oct
KETTERING Sun 18th Oct
BIRMINGHAM Sat 14th Nov
NEWCASTLE Sat 21st Nov
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