A quick question to all the smartphone-wielding gig-goers out there. Does a blurred image of Robbie Williams’s left shoulder tattoo represent the highlight of your night? Also, is using Florence (not to mention her Machine) as a backdrop for a selfie really going to boost your social profile? By all means treat gigs as an immersive experience but please remember to enjoy the music while you’re at it.
Diva Alert! Music legends Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand will be playing Hyde Park over the same weekend as London’s live music scene takes a step up in class. Expect big ballads, long anecdotes and glittering gowns. If that wasn’t exciting enough, a certain Mr Stevie Wonder will take to the stage on the intermittent Saturday.
The subsequent weekend will find the tempo and energy being kicked up a notch as home grown legends Robbie Williams and Florence + The Machine hit town. Robbie’s back catalogue might not be as extensive as the Stevie’s (almost no one’s is), but he can sure work a crowd. Three years ago, Florence conquered Glastonbury. Now the home town girl is set to make London fall in love with her all over again.
During a career which has spanned post-punk, blue-eyed soul and the foundations of Britpop, Weller has rightly been lauded as a song writing legend. He also remains a compelling performer as he veers from spiky rock workouts to bluesy folk-tinged ballads.
He remains true to the mod-influenced roots which inspired many of his classic rock heroes and made Britain such a musical powerhouse in the 60s. There’s a distinct Britishness to his sound that manages to borrow from American traditions without veering into transatlantic insincerity and in that he follows the footsteps of The Who and The Small Faces.
This year is the first time in 20 years that England has hosted the world limited overs trophy and, for once, the home side are hot favourites. It won’t be easy as a couple of defeats in the early rounds have already indicated that there are no easy matches. Should they progress to the knockout stage, the home side will most likely slug it out with Australia, India and maybe New Zealand who all seem to be on good form.
Whichever two reach the final in St John’s Wood, fans can expect a high-quality contest with plenty of explosive batting and skilful bowling. Winning the trophy might come down to who has the strongest lower order as teams tend to go for big runs in the last stages of an innings. This is where England may have the edge over other squads.
Every time you see a clunky reboot or a mindless instalment to a well-loved movie franchise (looking at you, Shrek), you just want to grab the producers, point them at Toy Story and say “That’s how you do it guys!” The fourth part of the animated saga about life seen through the eyes of a child’s toy is impeccably scripted, imaginatively realised and, as always, geared to all age groups.
The story is quite simple. The toys make new friends. One gets lost. The others set off on a rescue mission – so far, so Toy Story. But it’s the way that Pixar can weave in new characters, explore profound truths and still supply endless laughs that puts them far ahead of anything out there.