Democracy preview IMAX 8-Bit Anthems
Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll Going to my first festival was a lot like the first time I had sex. Despite seeing lots of footage on television and the internet I had no idea what to expect, how I was going to cope, how long I would last and whether my dignity would remain intact at the end of it. But, regardless of these concerns I knew it was something I had to do. As a teenager, few occasions hold such prominence as a right of passage as going to your first festival. Going to a festival is all about living in the moment so don’t plan or think too much about what you think you ought to do. If you lose your friends, instead of meandering through an endless stream of people for six hours trying to find them again, see it as an opportunity to go and do something or see a band you normally wouldn’t. Get out of your comfort zone, go with the flow and enjoy it. Obviously, people go to a festival to have a good time and festivals essentially become semi-organised chaos. One reason for this is that some people will inevitably spend their entire month’s wages on ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine. If you’re less well paid, or connected, you may choose to buy some ‘legal’ substance at the limits of scientific knowledge. This will probably be bought from some guy called Jim with less of a clue than you have about what exactly it is you’re going to spend the rest of the weekend snorting.
However, a word of warning, if you indulge in the ever increasing varieties of ‘plant foods’ and ‘bath salts’ there is the chance you could wind up naked, covered in vomit inside a Portaloo contemplating your mortality in a methoxetamine fuelled conversation with God. After that has happened, you may spend months wishing you could have your old life back, but you can’t because you will always be that guy. Nevertheless, nobody goes to a festival to be massive square either. If you’re the guy who takes a book and sits reading all weekend alone in their tent then you can expect your ‘friends’ to fashion ‘bookmarks’ for you out of used condoms. The last night of the festival is always memorable. It is an actual scientific fact that everyone will have brought at least three gas canisters too many. Fires will be started and canisters will be thrown upon them. The entire campsite will begin to resemble an apocalyptical battlefield with explosions ripping through the night sky. The following morning the campsite will be one barren, smouldering tip. Going to a festival can be a liberating experience and can change your outlook on life. They provide an opportunity to meet new people, see different bands and try new things. You could even justify throwing a beaker full of your own urine at Razorlight if you think you would find it
liberating. Just remember, don’t over do it and end up a quivering, shivering wreck coiled up in the foetal position covered from head to toe in your own masticated filth. There may be some people in the welfare tent who will take you in, give you a blanket and tell you you’re not going to die, but everyone else will disown you. Mark Mckay
Social media has enabled a generation of teenagers to create massive online cults obsessed with celebrity. In this world of rapid technological change, celebrities and social media have a closer relationship than ever before. The twittersphere is a fanatical network of beliebers, directioners and little monsters (they actually call themselves these things). Spell check highlights twothirds of these fandoms, surely this fact alone would make anyone uneasy. Lady Gaga has the most followed account on Twitter with more than 20 million followers, beating Justin Bieber into second with more than 18 million and Katy Perry into third with more than 15 million. Barack Obama is down in eighth (nearly 13 million followers) and Stephen Fry is lingering down at 77th (nearly four million followers). Lady Gaga recently won the NME award for Best Band Blog on Twitter.
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The 140 character obsession
Since when did this even become an award? A day doesn’t go by without topics about performers or other celebrities trending around the globe. Most notably, trends concerning a certain Justin Bieber seem to be inescapable and wholly unavoidable. Surely it won’t be long before Twitter introduces a way to weed out the trending topics an individual user doesn’t like. That day can’t come soon enough. The Twitter accounts and Facebook pages of these public figures might widen their fan base, but it isn’t all sunshine and mounting numbers of followers. When social media opens up the lives of celebrities, revealing true selves can be rather risky. Ashton Kutcher tweeted about the firing of an American coach and felt the backlash from his followers. He then deleted the tweet and has since handed his account over to be managed by others.
Charlie Sheen is “winning” in terms of numbers of followers, but it is safe to say that a fair few are probably just there for the tweets that make headlines, especially after he was fired from his role on Two and a Half Men. There have been numerous socalled ‘Twitter Wars’, such as Nicola McLean and Natasha Giggs, after Nicola commented on Natasha’s decade long affair with her brother-in-law. It is hard enough being a teenager with a Twitter account while going through a break-up, but for Miley Cyrus it was all too public. Ex-boyfriend, Justin Gaston, tweeted: “People mistake stupidity for bravery way to easily.” Miley responded with: “Yeah. I love it when people mistake bravery with writing a few stupid tweets trying to make it seem like they don’t care. You’re afraid to love.” We like an insight into other people’s lives, but it comes at a high price for some celebrities. This is all thanks to the beloved internet; the medium which al-
lowed Dubstep DJ and producer, Skrillex, to ask out Ellie Goulding via email. The internet is littered with tips on how to get a celebrity to respond to you or to follow you. Twitter’s @ response system is so simple that contact with an idol is supposedly easier than ever before. Maybe that is why Facebook, Twitter and other examples of social media have exploded into being. An opportunity for contact with those we respect, admire or simply have a crush on is seemingly irresistible. In the 21st century, we can access celebrities as easily as our neighbours and, if your favourite star has Twitter and your neighbour doesn’t, you’ll probably know more about the celebrity. Stephanie Mullins
This issue’s front cover was designed by the very talented Tim Rooker. If you’re an artist, photographer or designer and would like to see your work displayed in Fuse get in touch with our team and show off your talents. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
heffield is well known for its outstanding music scene. The Steel City has produced countless incredible acts, from the enormously successful Pulp and Arctic Monkeys, to newly emerging bands like The Crookes and Hey Sholay. There’s also a wealth of new bands that regularly play Sheffield’s more intimate venues and it’s incredibly rare for there to be a night where you can’t find live music somewhere in the town centre. Behind all these amazing nights though, you’ll find a promoter who works tirelessly to find the best acts for each event and get the word out about each show; if it weren’t for the quality and enthusiasm of some of the city’s independent promoters then we wouldn’t have the fantastic scene we do. Ahead of the launch of their
newest night, ‘Proof’, Fuse caught up with one of the city’s more prominent promoters, Uneven Blonde, who put on “shows and parties and events in Sheffield and [they] do it independently”. Uneven Blonde is headed up by Matt Cooper, who brought the company to the north when he moved here to study at The University of Sheffield, and Bertie Gibbon, who looks after the Sheffield events since Matt’s relocation to Brighton. Uneven Blonde’s Sheffield history goes back to 2008 when they took over The Grapes for a night headlined by Vessels and since then have gone on to promote shows for Howler, Alt-J, Battles and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, to name just a very small handful. The pair even organised their very own mini-festival, entitled 322, at The Bowery last November, which Bertie picks out as
Interview. UNEVEN BLONDE Sam Bolton chats to Uneven Blonde that independent promoters Promoting the Promoters forare‘Proof’ integral to Sheffield’s music scene. the highlight of his time working with Uneven Blonde. “We did a two day festival with Howler and Django Django and me and Matt had a great time as well. We got to basically put on all of our favourite bands at the time.” Matt identifies the Clap Your Hands gig as a highlight for him, “That was our first one together. It was probably my biggest show to date and it sold out. That was a nice moment; selling out one of my favourite bands. And that was their only UK headline date outside of London so it felt nice to be doing that.” (You can read more about CYHSY in Issue 37, available online). Between them they’ve been responsible for not only giving local music a platform, but also for bringing an array of bands from further afield and Matt explains they’re keen to play good music, wherever it’s from. With their fingers on Sheffield’s musical pulse, the pair has a fair idea for some of the best acts emerging from the city. Matt’s champions Hey
successful launch will be landing in The Bowery on March 30 with Get People, Swimming Lessons (that’s two different bands not the unusual political agenda of Cooper and Gibbon) and a DJ set to follow. They also run a club night every Wednesday at The Great Gatsby on Division Street where, as Bertie explains, “we play new music, we have friends come down and DJ every week…it’s a real family affair. It’s fun ‘cause everyone seems to know each other when they’re there and everyone gets talking. We have a good time there.” Uneven Blonde are driven by what appears like an unfaltering love for live music; for them, it seems, it’s about finding the best artists and giving them the chance to shine as well giving them an excuse to go and enjoy their favourite bands in a live setting.
detention and facing deportation back to Jamaica. Gwendolyn Roomes, 59, arrived in Sheffield to work as a supply teacher as part of the government’s Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. But now her visa has expired and repeated applications to stay have been rejected. Please don’t take the lovely singing lady away from us!
Fuse is very excited by... The Harley’s Man vs. Burger competition which is to be held on March 24. You will be served ‘The Ring Stinger’. A monstrous, spicy beef or bean burger, topped with extra spicy salsa and cheese, served with ghost chilli spiced fries. The winner will win a year’s worth of burgers! (Although, it’ll look nicer than this pretty thing...)
Fuse Musings Fuse was surprised that... after 15 court appearances in eight years, 25 drugs convictions, plus three more for burglary, driving without insurance and assault, the illustrious Pete Doherty has managed to turn 33 and still be alive. On Wednesday (March 12) Pete miracously lived to celebrate another year.
Fuse found it hilarious to hear... 71-year-old Esther Rantzen
claimed that it was in fact her who came up with the worlwide phenomenon that is the X Factor. Has poor Esther been robbed? Maybe she’ll feature as a guest judge next series - hopefully she won’t make her entrance in nothing but large leaves.
Fuse was devastated to hear... Sheffield’s happiest woman and best-known singing character is in
Fuse loves the possibility that... The Smiths will get back together if the current government decide to pack up and step down from power. The audacious claim was made by the band’s legendary guitarist, Johnny Marr at the recent NME Awards at London’s O2 Brixton Academy. Do us all a favour David and stand down.
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Sholay, “signed their first ever record deal yesterday [February 23], they supported the Jezabels in London at KOKO to a sold out crowd of about 1,400 people, they went on first and apparently they just owned it… They’ve got a really good sound.” Alongside Hey Sholay, Matt sings the praises of Dead Sons, “they play really bluesy rock and roll and it’s just loud and dirty” and Wet Nuns, “they’ve got good management and Matt Helders remixed one of their singles and a good artist who does all their videos. You kind of love them or hate them because they’re so out there.” Uneven Blonde has an incredibly busy schedule for the next few weeks. They’ll be hosting Spector at The Bowery, they’re bringing Kwes to The Harley and they’ll even be bringing Mystery Jets to queens social club on April 16. ‘Proof’ #2, the follow up to their
Opening night nerves (from left to right): Crispin Lilly (Cineworld VP Business Affairs), Karen Godfrey (Cineworld Sheffield GM), and Larry O’Reilly (IMAX President Worldwide Sales).
When IMAX Met Cineworld... On March 8, Cineworld Sheffield unveiled its greatest addition since the introduction of reclining seats: IMAX. Phil Bayles and Dale Griffin went along to the grand opening to have a chat with those responsibile for bringing IMAX to Sheffield and report on whether or not it lives up to the hype.
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he unveiling of a new idea to the public will always induce a feeling of apprehension in its creators. As the motion picture company IMAX launches its newest screen in the Sheffield branch of Cineworld, it would be hard to understate the nerve-racking feelings of its executives. But surely Sheffield, with its already loyal army of moviegoers and half a dozen theatres to choose from, doesn’t need the added incentive that IMAX offers? Crispin Lilly (Vice President of Business Affairs at Cineworld) doesn’t believe this is so. He makes a case that the loyal audiences of Sheffield’s Cineworld is precisely why Sheffield is the perfect site to launch IMAX. “Sheffield audiences love this cinema. This cinema’s been here for over 13 years, and we think it’s the second-busiest cinema in the whole country. “We have a large, film-addicted, audience base here, and the scale of the venue makes it perfect to test and try out new things.”
But even with the perfect market of faithful film buffs in Sheffield, an expensive project is pointless without the venue, and fitting an IMAX screen, even in the former home of the admittedly massive ‘Full Monty’ screen, was no small task. Fortunately, the Sheffield staff seem to run a pretty tight ship. “Karen [Godfrey], our General Manager, runs a very slick team. They know how to keep the builders in their place!” Lilly adds, laughing. His confidence in the Sheffield team is genuine.
“IMAX is an experience in and of itself and is top of the charts on value for money.” But can audiences really afford the luxury of an IMAX ticket? People are less and less inclined to spend their disposable income in the current economic climate and, as Larry O’Reilly (President, Worldwide Sales at IMAX) adds,
customers need a very good reason to part with their money. “People pay for the experience in and of itself. “The reality is, when people leave the cinema, IMAX is top of the charts on value for money, even though you’ve paid the highest possible amount for a ticket. “The reality for us is that our biggest commercial rollout has happened within the recession period, within the last four or five years or so. “Just in the last two years, we’ve put in 440 new IMAX screens, and 83 per cent of those were pre-existing venues that came back and added more. And that was because their customers told them that they wanted more. When we opened in Edinburgh, the theatre managers were saying, ‘Hey, I want one of those too!’” Looking at the figures it’s apparent that the RealD 3D craze seems to have lost its novelty, but it would appear that IMAX is something with a real chance at longevity in an era of scepticism towards new cinema technology.
But more importantly, both O’Reilly and Lilly are certain that cinema in general will be able to weather the financial storm.
“These are the films that audiences want to see and filmmakers want their stories to be told in this format.” “Yes it’s tough times out there, but the cinema-going population is stronger than ever,” Lilly states confidently. “Last year we had record UK box office takings of £1.1 billion, and when you look at the offers that Cineworld has – the Unlimited Card, for example – these show that cinema is still a very accessible night out.” He mentions a shift in popularity over recent years towards films typical of a growing desire for escapism, particularly
comedies. And when you consider the titles O’Reilly lists as scheduled for release in IMAX this year – virtually guaranteed blockbusters such as The Avengers, The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises, Men in Black 3, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – it seems that audiences will be able to do just that: escape into a magnificent world of fantasy, something they have always been able to do in a cinema, but never before in IMAX. “These are the films that audiences want to see, and filmmakers want their stories to be told in this format. They’re always looking for new toys, and we’re just that!” So the obvious question is: after IMAX, what’s the next step? Lilly reveals that in Glasgow, Cineworld is simultaneously launching another brand-new creation: 4D cinema, in which the seats move along with the action on screen. “Cineworld is constantly looking for the next innovation, so we can add further value to the cinema experience. “You have to do this if you want to stay ahead of the game.”
“IMAX is a revolution that will change the way people look at cinema forever.” Somewhat typically for a company from the other side of the Atlantic, size is a priority, and everything here is enormous. The two projectors, for instance, had to be lifted in through the ceiling by a crane. Weighing in at almost a ton each, they obviously couldn’t fit through the front door. The ceiling itself has been lifted by about four metres, and the screen has been brought
closer to the audience by about six metres. Clearly the people at IMAX believe the whole ‘square eyes’ thing is just a myth. But there’s more to the layout than just size – there is an impressive attention to detail. The Toronto-based company has headquarters that monitor and attune every IMAX auditorium’s technology daily. The position of the speakers has been calibrated by lasers. The seats are aligned precisely to ensure that all patrons get the same experience so that, no matter where you sit, you’re put right in the centre of the action. It may seem a little extravagant to some, but you can’t deny that they care about their audiences. Still, even with all the bells and whistles, nothing can prepare you for the moment right after the lights dim. The sound throws you back in your seat, the bass high enough to make your bowels shake. Small wonder, then, that they had to specially soundproof the auditorium so it didn’t interfere with other films showing at the time. Suddenly the idea of laser-calibrated speakers doesn’t sound so ridiculous, because the sound quality is immense. Loud without being unbearable, every sound is crystal clear, and it’s thrown around the auditorium with spooky levels of realism. This will make even the best surroundsound system sound like a tape recorder at the bottom of a well. And then there’s the picture quality. Six metres closer and four metres higher doesn’t sound like a lot, but it makes one hell of a difference when you’re sat in front of it. The size and curve of the screen mean that the im-
age takes up your entire field of vision – like Alex DeLarge, strapped to the chair in A Clockwork Orange, you can’t escape the movie.
“Unfortunately, even in IMAX, 3D fails to make a lasting impression.” Not that you’d particularly want to – when presented in IMAX, John Carter was a vibrant, beautifully detailed film that almost looked alive. Even minute details, like the tiny pebbles in the Martian landscape, were perfectly visible. Unfortunately, even in IMAX, 3D fails to make a lasting impression, although the experience is definitely enhanced compared with the bog-standard RealD 3D systems currently making the rounds. Granted, in IMAX there’s no longer the problem of the film being made darker and murkier when you put the glasses on, and the clearer images do tend to ‘pop’ out of the screen more. But, at the end of the day, the enjoyment one gets from 3D is not proportionate to the hype. Plus, the glasses make you look like a tit. 3D aside however, IMAX truly is a game changer. It’s designed to make the experience of watching a movie an even more unforgettable one, and it could easily become a funda-
mental part of cinematography in future years. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was the first feature film to utilise IMAX cameras, and slowly the format is being adopted by other filmmakers like Brad Bird and J.J. Abrams. However, the technical drawbacks of the shooting system – the camera’s bulk and the noise it makes whilst filming – mean that there is yet to be a film shot in its entirety in native IMAX format instead of 35 and
he comedian Dara O’Briain once joked that 3D cinema is a little bit like cholera: it flares up once a generation, we all get very excited, and then it dies down again and we all just get on with our lives. IMAX is an entirely different scenario. Far more than just a gimmick, this is – at the risk of sounding clichéd or, heaven forbid, a PR nut – a revolution, something that will change the way people look at cinema forever. Even just walking into the auditorium is a mind-blowing experience in itself. The aptly named ‘Full Monty’ screen which formerly resided in the Sheffield branch of Cineworld wasn’t exactly small, but now that Screen 7 has been transformed into one of the largest screens in Western Europe (70ft by 39ft 5in) the room feels more like a cathedral; albeit one with less wooden pews and some comfy armrests.
70mm film. But with almost an hour of IMAX footage in The Dark Knight Rises, it surely won’t be long. There’s an old myth in cinema about a film in the 1890s showing a train arriving at a station. Apparently the sight of a life-size train heading straight for the audience caused many to run to the back of the room hysterically. If they’d seen it in IMAX, they’d have probably all had heart attacks.
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Fuse. A typical IMAX auditorium. Jaws on floors and eyes agog in amazement not included.
Feature. DEMOCRACY PREVIEW As part of the Michael Frayn season at the Crucible, Martin Bottomley talks to the cast of Democracy.
Friday March 16 2012
et’s face it, who doesn’t love a bit of Commie-fighting? Over 20 years after the Cold War ended, the battle between rival blocs seems to be enjoying a cultural revival. While the James Bond franchise has abandoned the glamorised world of Cold War-era good versus evil action, grim battles of the wits such as the recent silver screen adaptation of John le Carré’s spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy have gained a foothold in Cold War fiction. It’s certainly fitting, then, that the Crucible theatre is staging a play about spies and intrigue, personal and political drama at the height of the Cold War in its microcosmic epicentre of Germany. Michael Frayn’s Democracy takes place in 1974, when the revelation that an East German spy, Günter Guillaume, had infiltrated the government of the charismatic first Social Democratic Willy Brandt, rocked West Germany and ultimately proved to be the trigger of Brandt’s resignation in the wake of the discovery. But director Paul Miller is certainly not inclined to follow fads of historical fantasy; Democracy is being staged in the context of Sheffield Theatres’ Michael Frayn season as one of three plays (the others being Copenhagen and Benefactors) by the award-winning playwright. The plays tell quite different stories but offer a glimpse at the great divides of the 20th century through the perspective of those who found themselves at the centre of events that shaped modern history. Copenhagen and Democracy tell the stories of momentous personalities (Niels Bohr/Werner Heisenberg and Willy Brandt, respectively) during politically decisive moments in their careers. With the sharp eye and thorough research of a former journalist, Frayn offers the audience a remarkably accurate, yet heightened naturalistic (as Democracy cast member Richard Hope puts it) view of historical events. As I talk to the leading figures o f
“The battle between rival blocs seems to be enjoying a cultural revival.”
The Michael Frayn Season.
Photo: Manuel Harlan the Democracy cast, it becomes clear just how much Frayn’s writing challenges both the actors and the audience. Despite making it clear that the play is a fictionalised version of events, the actors are very familiar with the historical events. “It’s not Willy Brandt, but Frayn’s version of Brandt,” insists Patrick Drury, who plays the aforementioned West German chancellor, but explains that even this version of Brandt is deeply rooted in the real SPD politician’s biography: “He’s a sympathetic character who has weaknesses, but there’s a more personal story inside. “He’s like a Russian doll; you’re left to guess who the real Willy Brandt is.”
“Capitalism is on the brink, staring down into the abyss. What is it looking down upon...? Communism.”
Drury is well acquainted with Brandt’s troubles of depression, compulsive womanising and anxiety of identity, possibly sparked by his origins as an illegitimate child who later adopted his nom de guerre from his time as an anti-fascist and Communist during the Second World War. Drury points out, however, that Frayn’s Brandt has moved on from those days: “At the start of the play, one of the first things Brandt says is: ‘Capitalism is on the brink, staring down into the abyss. What is it looking down upon?’” Drury pauses for dramatic effect... “Communism.” Such wit is a surprising element to what might’ve been Ten Men In Suits or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Politician.Frayn’s writing, however, makes such a thought quite implausible. Far from being a le Carré-style spy whodunit, the audience knows who the spy is from the start. The real drama unfolds in the clash of political ideologies, multiple rival factions, and personal trust and betrayal. Frayn never patronises the audience, and with time and place of the action constantly in flux as well as actors often speaking over each other, it’s certainly not frivolous stuff.
riod. The historical Brandt, McArdle points out, was a firm believer in democracy - He once stated that after the war, “the only resource Germany had was the people.” The story about Brandt is, in this sense, also a story of the difficult and not always straightforward struggle of democracy itself. The biggest theme looming in the background, however, is the question of a whole country’s identity in the wake of the Second World War and the ensuing divide: What is being German? In a way, Germany at the time had a divided sense of self, symbolised by the split of Berlin. In Democracy however, the characters of Brandt and Guillaume, as different as they are, are each microcosms of the schism between East and West. “Paradoxes, but not contradictions”, as McArdle puts it. They are figures in a play not just about politics, conflict or intrigue, but about the search for identity in democracy during the most destructive century in human history. That certainly may be a pathos-laden sentiment to base a play on, but seeing the actors talk enthusiastically about its background and becoming so deeply involved with their characters, it can hardly be a bad thing.
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It’s a bold style, which is not fully European, but certainly indebted to continental theatre and very much modern, explains Richard Hope, who plays Brandt’s Chief of Staff Horst Ehmke, who only came to Sheffield as a favour to Frayn, having worked twice before with the playwright. Clearly, there is something more alluring about Frayn’s work that sets it apart from mere whodunits. One of the main draws is the personal drama that unfolds between Brandt and Guillaume, the former a charming, larger-than-life figure beloved by the electorate but troubled by depression and frustration at party intrigues against him. The latter, on the other hand, seems a servile, friendly and efficient bureaucrat, but secretly obeys his spymasters in East Germany. As Aidan McArdle - who plays Guillaume - points out, Brandt’s complex personality is disdainful of his secretary’s seemingly simplistic nature, although he comes to rely on him on travels. McArdle notes that Guillaume seems to be moving inescapably towards his unmasking and downfall, “like Charlie Chaplin being ground through the gears in Modern Times.” Does this mean that there’s a tinge of levity to the play?
“It’s a bold style, which is not fully European, but certainly indebted to continental theatre and very much modern”
“Definitely. But at the same time, the comedy also has dark undertones.” Ultimately though, the dramatic tension moves to the forefront. “Brandt is a breath of humanity in the play. He quotes Whitman, which perfectly encapsulates himself: ‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’ So he only really becomes interested in Guillaume when he realises that he also contains multitudes, that he actually was this contradictory, complex person all along, unlike his easy-going appearance.” From these complicated characters arises a fierce tension; from the almost Stalin-like doggedness of Guillaume amidst the intrigues of the cabinet, Brandt’s difficult personality and his sense of being robbed by the beggar he befriended (as Patrick Drury puts it) the political conflict becomes intensely personal. A 2003 review of a London production of the play in the Guardian still preferred to highlight its political dimension, asserting that it was a “metaphor for the Blairite present.” But if Frayn’s piece were really just a suspenseful story about cabinet intrigue and clash of egos - a Shakespearean court drama transposed into the Cold War era - why is it called Democracy, not Politics? Hope sees the difference in Frayn’s background as a “The political theme still is slightly problematic, as much historical evidence is only just coming to light”, he emphasises: “The post-script of the actual text is extremely long, where Frayn lists a vast amount of sources.” It’s the historical background, then, of the growth of democracy, of arising from devastation in West Germany, that m a kes this story unique to the pe-
MUSIC & GAMES
Feature. GAME MUSIC
8-BIT ANTHEMS This issue Sam Bolton and Arnold Bennett take a look at some of the highlights of game and music’s harmonious relationship.
Original Scores Portal 2 2011
he Portal games are quick to display personality in otherwise inanimate objects. Such as the companion cube, a square block embellished with a heart, the player’s one friend throughout the first game. And the the Ikea-styled turrets that despite their clean, iPod aesthetic monitor Aperture’s sparse corridors with a ruthless red glare. One moment in particular pulls the curtain back on these mostly dormant objects. A conveyor belt slowly pulls broken and unwanted turrets towards an incinerator. However, amid the rubble and scattered parts lies a turret still alive, still aware and scared of death. “I’m different”, it says as you near it. Then, should you rescue it from certain death it whispers, “Thank you”. Valve composer Mike Morasky perfectly captures the turret’s personality at the game’s conclusion in what is, to my mind, the greatest use of both a game’s fiction and an original score to date.
As the AI GLaDOS ejects you from the Aperture facility you’re greeted with four turrets staring straight at you. However instead of firing, their red lights blink out and their arms begin to contract and expand like an accordion. The four turrets begin to play an opera song as your elevator climbs to reveal an expansive hall full of turrets also belting out Mr Morasky’s composition in startling unison. The song, titled ‘Cara Mia Addio’ features Italian lyrics (sang by an overweight opera turret) which translate into a story about a mother letting go of her child, an appropriate theme considering the context, with GLaDOS allowing the player to leave, finally, after a life of enslaved testing. Mike Morasky’s score is a feat of storytelling. It’s a complete examination of Portal’s effervescent universe, captured in two minutes of stunningly beautiful music. AB AB
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The Legend of Zelda
1986 - Present
f you mute the television whilst playing Zelda you’ll see a boy in a ridiculous green, velvet suit rolling and jumping around. Un-mute the television however and these images twist into that of a brave hero on a daring adventure to fight a dark evil. So much of Nintendo’s success is owed to a single man, Koji Kondo. Somewhere in Japan, at some point before 1986, Koji Kondo transformed the character Link from a mute boy scout into a household brand, just as he did for an overweight plumber in dungarees a few years earlier. Whilst Koji’s composition of the Super Mario Bros theme is a colossal achievement, and one that’s become synonymous with the franchise, his work on The Legend of Zelda surpassed that. Riding through the
fields of Hyrule it’s hard not to smile as a symphony of violins escalates into an upbeat crescendo. It’s not just the theme that gives the franchise its irresistible personality, the familiar jingle that chimes as Link hefts open a treasure chest is just one example of how Mr Kondo’s music infuses the gameplay with a crucial sense of wonder and exploration. And that’s the point. So many of these little jingles and tunes stick in your mind. Playing the ‘Song of Storms’ to the strange, eccentric old man in the windmill, the theme that plays as you enter and search the village shop, the ominous bellow from Ganondorf’s Organ. Ocarina of Time is a game that centres around Link’s ability to master the Ocarina, a strange, shell shaped instrument; and in keeping with this theme, Koji Kondo’s music stands the test of time. AB
f there’s one thing that Guitar Hero lacks: it’s all out, head to head, combat. That’s where Gitaroo Man comes in. In this surreal Japanese game, you play as U-1, a down-and-out teen who’s trying to get through his otherwise bland life, when one day his dog, Puma, reveals to him that he is in fact the last hero of Planet Gitaroo. This is where the game begins and Puma and U-1 battle there way through a series of musical duets in order to retrieve the magical ‘Gitaroos’ and save Planet Gitaroo from the dastardly Zowie. Yep, its completely ridiculous, nonsensical and frankly confusing, but that doesn’t matter; you don’t play Gitaroo Man for the plot, you play if for the 10 incredible levels.
Each level consists of an original piece of music, usually split into two parts; a lead guitar motif which you play by using the PS2 analogue stick, and in doing so, you attack and counter your opponent’s melody from which you have to defend in traditional rhythm game style. What places Gitaroo Man ahead of the masses of other rhythm games is the quality of music. There is no bad song, nothing is borrowed and every track is different. One minute you’re playing along to some dub reggae, the next you find yourself battling a funk trumpeter and then you’ll taking on a synth-playing spaceship. It’s a shame there was never a true sequel, just a port onto PSP. SB
Pop Music in Games
EA Games foreign audience sampling your music and doing it in a participatory manner is invaluable. A catchy tune is a catchy tune, regardless of the language it’s sung in, and players don’t need to understand every word when they’re bombing down a mountain on a snowboard. For artists who’ve fallen out of the public consciousness EA Sports titles can propel them back into the limelight, especially in the UK where FIFA is so prevalent. Sam Sparrow’s song ‘Black and Gold’ shot up the UK Singles Chart the week following the release of FIFA 08, and artists such as The Veronicas, Peter Bjorn and John and The Naked and Famous have all profited from FIFA’s colossal popularity. It could be construed as lazy, but popular music in sports videogames is a symbiotic relationship that’s cemented itself as a crucial gaming tradition. AB
uitar Hero revolutionised rhythm games. It gave players the chance to ‘experience’ the thrill of being in a live band and embodying their living idols… sort of. But games like Guitar Hero and its mongrel cousin, Rock Band, have a lot to owe to an obscure acid trip from the mid90s entitled PaRappa the Rapper. In this anime adventure, a dog dressed as an old skool American rapper – and I mean this in the most clichéd possible way – rapped his way through everyday life. Using the magic of rap PaRappa learned how to drive, cook, sell knick knacks at a flea market and the art of self defence under the watchful eye of his sensei, Chop Chop Master Onion – an anthropomorphic onion. The game play was simple; all you had to do was tap the buttons on your PS1 controller as PaRappa’s face scrolled over a corresponding symbol on the screen. By doing this, you’d mimic your teacher and, if you did well you’d be rewarded with positive animations, if you did badly the animation would reflect you ineptness, i.e. your car would break down. If you were particularly good, you’d enter an even trippier scene where you could freestyle your way home. The games sequel was unfortunately piss poor. Chop Chop Master Onion returned
to teach you how to woo a lady and the games iconic 2D figures that lived in a 3D world were given unnecessary depth. And the spin off wasn’t much better: Um Jammer Lammy used the same mechanics but applied them to PaRappa’s guitarist friend, which was never worked quite as well. Whilst it’s somewhat unknown, PaRappa was a game that helped define a genre and you know what? Those songs were god damn catchy. SB
Little Big Planet 2008
f it wasn’t impressive enough that Playstation managed to bag QI genius, Stephen Fry, to play the narrator for their console defining platformer, the entertainment giant also managed to source a startlingly good soundtrack, compiling an incredibly diverse collection of music. The game was revered for its gameplay and user created content when it was released early in the PS3s life but it was the soundtrack that defined it for us back in 2008. The OST included a few big names like Battles, whose track ‘Atlas’ played on the Metropolis level, the Construction Site. Similarly, The Go! Team’s ‘Get It Together’ offered the soundtrack to the King’s course, ‘Skate To Victory’. Along side the big names, LBP also treated us to some truly obscure
artist that you might not have heard of before the game. Mexican funk band Kinky’s track ‘Cornman’ was one of the game’s defining songs and the simplicity of ‘My Patch’ gained Jim Noir a fair few new fans. However successful Sackboy’s adventures have been though, the first game didn’t hit the market without a little controversy; one of the songs chosen for the soundtrack caused outrage. The song in question, ‘Tapha Niang’ by Toumani Diabaté featured lyrics lifted from the Qur’an which was deemed to be offensive. In response to this, Sony patched the game and replaced the track on all future releases.SB
Friday March 16 2012
usic in games exists in multiple forms. There’s music created from scratch, music that’s part of the gameplay experience and music licensed as an additional layer of icing on top of the game cake. EA Sports as a brand are particularly fond of the latter. For sports games where traditional ideas of narrative and atmosphere are of little concern, it’s more appropriate to throw a Morrisey track at you whilst you select the team you’d like to play with, rather than force some ill fitting composition on your ears like it’s the Europa League. Popular music in videogames serves an alternative purpose to just pure titillation though. For lesser known artists it’s a doorway to fame and popularity, albeit for a limited period of time. In it’s first week on sale in the UK, Fifa 12 sold 3.2 million copies. For a German artist like Verstralht, to have such a large,
PaRappa The Rapper
MUSIC & GAMES
Reviews.RELEASES Miike Snow Happy To You Columbia 7/10
fter the Swedish pop band Miike Snow’s selftitled debut album was released in 2009 to much critical acclaim, it’s obvious that their follow up, Happy To You, has been eagerly anticipated. The simplicity yet elegance of the electro-pop used in Miike Snow meant that it was not wholly surprising to discover the band’s collaborative work not only includes remix tracks for artists like Vampire Weekend, Depeche Mode and Passion Pit, but that the Grammy Award-winning mastermind of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ was also
the responsibility of two of the band members; Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg (under the moniker Bloodshy & Avant). The band’s second studio album however, changes direction from the simplistic pop music which made the songs like ‘Animal’ and ‘A Horse is Not a Home’ hits with a wide-ranging audience. Happy To You presents musicality which seems to better represent the band’s abstract lyrics, like “Black sheep, black sheep, in the aftershocks / Thought you could survive in the black tin box”. This change widens the range of instruments used throughout the album; horns are present on ‘Devil’s Work’ and there’s a big emphasis on a marching band drum section. With variety, however, comes
the reduced accessibility to some of the songs, where concentrated listening is needed to fully understand and enjoy the music, as in ‘Black Tin Box’. To attract their same fan base, first single ‘Paddling Out’ is the most reachable song on the album with a catchy chorus and simple structure. Although the second album does not have quite the same ‘instant hit’ feeling that came with the band’s first record, and none of the songs have quite the same easiness that made ‘Animal’ such a success, it does deliver musically. The interesting mix of instruments, synth and in some places downright weird lyrics shows the potential of the band, as it seems that from here they can go pretty much anywhere. Katie Laurence
Bad Weather California
full length LP, Sunkissed, is what you wish your summer sounded like. ‘I’ll Reach out My Hand’ starts with a motto for life; “Hush baby don’t you cry / you know we’re all bound to die”. This really sets the tone for the rest of the album, with its do you what you want and don’t care about what anyone says attitude. This is also replicated in ‘I’ll Reach out my Hand: Part 2’ which feels like a hazy, hot afternoon when you’re too lazy to do anything except appreciate that moment. The spirit in this record is refreshing, far away from the
Now Playing ith the abun-
Friday March 16 2012
dance of new releases each week it can be difficult to sift through the shit in search of the gold so Fuse has handpicked some of the musical highlights for you. This week we’ve been excited by news of Alt-J’s forthcoming debut album, An Awesome Wave, which is set for release on May 28. The announcement was preceded by an excellent free remix of the band’s single ‘Matilda’. After being supported by the Leeds quartet on his tour last month, Ghostpoet has given us ‘Matilda (Ghostpoet ‘Gang Panang Adlit’ Remix)’, a track that’s every bit as fantastic as its full name. And did we mention that it’s free? On a rockier, but still Leedsbased note, the second single from Pulled Apart By Horses’ album Tough Love is out next month. ‘Wolf Hand’ is a grinding embodiment of youthfulness, featuring the excellent lyric “When I was a kid I was a dick, but nothing changes.” It’ll certainly get the crowd going when the band play Dot to Dot Festival in June. Last issue we espoused the brilliance of The Crookes’ newest single, ‘Afterglow’. Well, now it has a fantastic video as well; a beautiful black and white affair with humour thrown in for good measure. The local lads also popped by over the weekend to play an acoustic version of ‘Afterglow’ for Forge Radio, which was absolutely lovely. Back to remixes though, and we’ve been enjoying Two 2 Bears’ take on Saint Etienne’s newest single ‘Tonight’. The original, out this week, is a sensuous slice of polished dancepop, whilst the edit turns it into a tasty house track.
Family Tree Records 6/10
his isn’t next level music, this is street level music, or so claims Bad Weather California’s self-proclaimed mantra that ultimately encapsulates the band’s easy going, punk-but-not-quite-punk, homebred sound. Consisting of four guys, most of who grew up in Denver on a diet of no MTV and home recordings, Bad Weather California’s second
Careless World: Rise of the Last King Cash Money Records 2/10
verything about Tyga, from the spelling of his name to the abomination that he calls music, is just wrong. At the risk of sounding like an elderly person, there is far too much swearing. There’s rarely a line that isn’t full of obscenities and far from being cool, it is in fact grating. Collaborations with almost every urban artist around don’t save the album either. Some of these tracks are actually the most irritating, because at least when Tyga is on his own there’s less going on. Some of the tracks are bearable, but this is only because they
leave no lingering sound pollution. Fatally, they fail to evoke anything in you at all. ‘For the Fame’ featuring Chris Brown and ‘Lay You Down’ with Lil Wayne could probably be chart hits for Tyga due to sounding fairly commercial but it seems doubtful that this will be an album full of hits, and if it is, then the public really do have no taste. That said, ‘Rack City’ has been a huge hit for Tyga in the U.S. despite being a repetitive bore of a song. The worst thing about Careless World: Rise of the Last King is that it is made up of 21 tracks, and most are pretty long too. This would be excessive on a good album, but listening to the entirety of this would take the patience of a saint. Lianne Williams
over-commercialised, over-produced pop that was promoted at the recent BRIT Awards. “It’s the sun in the sky, it’s the spark in your eye, it’s the number of teeth you’ve got showing”, Chris Adolf yearns over in ‘When You Smile’. Through songs like this, there is the definite feel of The Velvet Underground and John Lennon influences laced in the music. However, in Sunkissed there is a real emphasis on the music and not just the lyrics. Long, varied introductions in songs such as ‘I Feel Like Dancing’ and ‘Let It Shine’ pinpoint what mood the band want to create instead of
the words behind them. The only instances where Bad Weather California fall down can be in how almost specialised they are. They promote a specific type of neo-punk in a way which isn’t always universally appealing. Though, after a few listens, you’ll revel in the sheer warmth this album expels. Amelia Heathman Follow us on Twitter @ForgePressMusic
Reviews.LIVE Dog is dead Plug
Monday March 12
F Dog is Dead: Talie Eigeland
A HAWK AND A HACKSAW St. George’s Church Saturday March 3
atre, which brought the rare, but welcome, advantage of a place to rest a pint. The performers were entirely in darkness as the film was projected above their heads. It was clear that A Hawk and A Hacksaw are phenomenal musicians, and the visual delights of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors are not of the variety to be easily turned down. But the question needs to be asked: would they have been more enjoyable if watched independently of each other? Isaac Baggaley
Portico quartet Queens Social Club Thursday March 8
he highly anticipated Portico Quartet met an eager and diverse crowd in The Queens Social Club. Touring their third album, Portico Quartet have a lot to offer in a live performance and expectations were high. However their smooth, yet experimental jazz style was not what the audience had in mind. Their latest, self-titled album has a surprise; a new, interesting twist that makes them break more barriers in music and diversifies their sound even further. The evening began with the one man band, Juffage. He recorded over himself, playing whining guitars, solid bass lines and snappy synth to make an interesting post-rock come techno sound. Along with emotive lyrics he silenced a restless audience (who were ironically sitting down). He is clearly talented, managing to demonstrate the ability to play two things at once, and deserved the loud applause when he finished Portico Quartet followed Juffage’s impressive opening, coming on stage to an audience tense with anticipation. They broke the tone by introducing their new addition to their armoury of musical experimentation; synth in jazz. You would
energetic and their breezy, British indie pop was well received by the crowd. They almost have a type of Vampire Weekend aspiration about them, with their accessible music but minus the African beats. Comprehensive music this is not, but as the type of band you’d see perform on the Saturday afternoon bill of a festival, Dog is Dead don’t pretend to be anything they’re not and you can love them for their simplicity and universal appeal. Amelia Heathman think at a moment’s thought that the two are incompatible but Portico Quartet manage to pull it off, quite well too. ‘4096 colours’ featured interesting, off-beat rhythms combined with double bass and a quirky synth. This theme was continued throughout their set, finishing with ‘City Of Glass’. This new, synth infused jazz was broken up with a few older songs, which was more to please the audience than anything else. ‘Clipper’ was one of these fillers which mediated the heavy synth, as was their encore, ‘Dawn Patrol’, which was met with applause and cheering from the audience. While they were fantastic live and did a good job of incorporating electronic sounds with more traditional jazz sounds, it has to be said that it’s sad that Portico Quartet have veered away from their quirky, experimental jazz style because their new music lacks the relaxed, smooth tone that Portico Quartet used to be associated with.
St Georges Church: Tom Childs
crowd as a result of their laidback nature. When Dog is Dead took to the stage, they were greeted by cheers, woops and shouts of “We love you Dog is Dead”. The band performed well, with an air of a group that had been doing this for a long time, which considering the fact they haven’t released a full length EP yet, shows almost a need for new material. The show was sharp and together; the chemistry from the members was obvious, showing their history as old friends, especially on their most well known songs such as ‘Young’ and ‘Glockenspiel Song’. Robert Milton’s vocals were strong and
Friday March 16 2012
t is often said that the best film music is the music that goes unnoticed; this of course isn't the case. The best film music is overt and obvious, think Jaws or Psycho or Star Wars. However, there certainly is something to be said about film music being discrete. Which brings us to the inherent problem with live scoring films: The audience have paid close to £15 to see the artist and would feel hard done by if the music was at an appropriate level to accommodate dialogue or follow a story without being acutely aware of a man hammering away on a dulcimer the whole time. And if, as in this concert, that problem is tackled by playing loudly only in places of minimal dialogue, the whole experience becomes a very jilted and frustrating one where you find yourself becoming engrossed in the music and lose the plot of the film completely. That criticism of the medium aside, A Hawk and A Hacksaw did a very good job of the task at hand. The task this time being performing a live score to the beautifully shot and hugely symbolic Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a 1967 Russian film by Sergei Parajanov.
This proved to be a hugely appropriate choice for the band, who with the key twinning of violin and piano accordion have already established an Eastern European sound over the course of their five albums. The subtitles allowed the band to drown out the dialogue without impairing understanding, and the use of intertitles gave clear markers for anyone who had fallen behind on the narrative. The concert itself took place in St George’s Church, which gave an unusual atmosphere. Whilst being undoubtedly a church, it is equally very much a lecture the-
rom an aesthetic point of view, Dog is Dead have got it. Good hair and good harmonies are all it appears are needed to capture a teenage girl’s heart and showing from the major demographic of the audience being under the age of 17 and female at Plug, it seems that Dog is Dead have found their niche. One of the support acts, Another’s Blood, were a really good addition to the bill. Advocating the type of chilled out electro which has come to the forefront of music recently; Another’s Blood’s music would fit snugly in between M83 and The Sound of Arrows on any iPod and were attractive to the
Jack Crisfield More reviews online Read more reviews online at: www.forgetoday.com
Reviews. the raven
Dir: James McTeigue 6/10
he last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life have been shrouded in mystery for decades, and The Raven – the latest film from V for Vendetta director James McTeigue – plays on this mystery and provides its own explanation. Poe (John Cusack) is recruited by a Baltimore detective (Luke Evans) to hunt down a serial killer whose grisly works take their inspiration from Poe’s own morbid writings.
“Horrific, but strangely artistic” The idea of crime inspired by art is nothing new. But with such gruesome tales as The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum in his repertoire, Poe is the perfect artist to be plagiarised. Unfortunately, McTeigue’s film is inconsistent in its pacing, and suffers greatly for it. The first act is brilliantly nerve-wracking, full of the atmospheric fear that made Poe such a renowned author and poet. Tense, claustrophobic scenes that set the heart on edge, and there’s just enough gore to shock without de-sensitising. It’s rather like the murders in Se7en; horrific, but strangely artistic. Unfortunately, this soon devolves into an experiment to see how much blood and gore could be crammed into a single film – the murder based on The Pit and the Pendulum, for example, is just a scene from a Saw movie in period dress, and subsequent victims are covered in ludicrous amounts of the red stuff. The ending, proves to be
something of an a n t i - c l i m ax . You’ll be hard-pressed to figure out who the murderer was before it’s revealed, but this isn’t a clever concealment of facts that seem obvious with hindsight. It seems tacked on to the end of the story in order to give it an ending. Still, the uneven plot does have one saving grace – its protagonist. John Cusack tends to out-act everyone else on screen, and The Raven is a great example of this. His Edgar Allan Poe has a little something of his role in High Fidelity – he’s an arrogant intellectual, assured of his own artistic genius, who speaks in eloquent, almost lyrical phrases that make for some very imaginative insults. Despite, or maybe because of, the bloody murders there’s also a generous helping of black humour here; “If I had known my writing would have had such an effect on people,” he remarks at one point, “I would have devoted more time to eroticism.”
“The Raven is ultimately let down by a bland supporting cast” But this macabre mood isn’t just a show – Poe’s life was literally filled with death and misery, and Cusack ably conveys the weight of experience on his shoulders and makes the audience feel genuinely sympathetic. If only the rest of the cast were
so engaging. Luke Evans’ detective Fields is a bland, stoic man who seems to only want to solve the crimes because, as he regularly puts it, “the mayor wants results”. Alice Eve plays a love interest whose only attributes seem to be looking terrified and filling out a corset rather nicely, and Brendan Gleeson does his usual shtick of being grumpy whilst sporting a rather fetching moustache. Quoth the raven; “Yawn”. U l ti mately, The Raven proves most disappointing because of the potential it had. The premise is a great one, and Cusack gives a fabulously dark turn as Edgar Allan Poe, but it’s ultimately let down by a bland supporting cast and the director’s failure to keep the tension consistently high. Still, for a director whose last film was called Ninja Assassin, this is definitely a step in the right intellectual direction. Phil Bayles
Small Screen. LUCK
Saturday, 9pm SKY ATLANTIC
Friday March 16 2012
ay what you like about the Americans, but when they’re not scrambling to find the worst possible potential president, they make seriously good television. The best of that TV is to be found on HBO. No other three letters are a greater mark of quality; not BBC, not SAS, not even KFC. HBO can do no wrong, as is shown by their new drama Luck. Set in the world of horse racing, Luck stars Dustin Hoffman (from films), Nick Nolte (from films) and the pilot was directed by Michael Mann (from films). In the competition between cinema and television, HBO gives us the best of both worlds. Its cinematic sensibilities give Luck its high production values and big name stars, and as television it can give its characters and stories room to breathe and grow. Luck takes its time, and that is to its credit. We meet
Hoffman’s character, awesomely nicknamed Ace, as he is released from prison, where he’d been for reasons that are only made clear in the second episode. We’re then introduced to a large number of equally intriguing characters without finding out much about them, including a group of down-andout gamblers, who are looking to win big. Because we’re thrown in at the deep end and surrounded by horse racing jargon, we’re never quite sure exactly what’s going on. This is not a problem; on the contrary, it keeps us guessing and keeps us watching. It’s certainly preferable to the lazy exposition of so many shows that insist on spelling everything out. The show’s intelligence comes as no surprise, given the track record (horse racing pun intended) of its writer and creator David Milch, the man behind HBO’s Deadwood. Milch carries across his unique style of dialogue, and there is something of Deadwood’s Western theme about Luck, with its dusty stables setting and enigmatic, low-life
male characters. These characters are played brilliantly by the impressive cast, from grizzled old Strepsildodger Nick Nolte to freshfaced Tom Payne, who looks like a cross between Tobey Maguire and an elf. The degenerate gamblers contrast perfectly with the magnificently shot racetrack, which sits sun-soaked before the stunning Californian mountains. As for the horses themselves, Luck clearly cares about them, sensitively capturing their thunderous galloping sound and elegant beauty. This makes the audience care about them too, in a way that War Horse can only dream of. That said, two horses had to be put down in the making of this show, so maybe it doesn’t care about them as much as it should. This is immaculate, interesting, intelligent television, making scenes in which men sit looking at screens and muttering numbers to themselves genuinely exciting. Plus with Michael Gambon set to join the cast, you can bet that Luck is one to watch. Dan Meier
Dir: Andrew Stanton 7/10
ohn Carter is a curious film. Costing a mindblowing $250million, it was released nowhere near a school holiday, with a less than intriguing title. It was to be called ‘John Carter of Mars’ until a focus group informed Disney that having a planet in the title would put non-sci-fi fans off. Pair that with a relatively unknown leading (Taylor Kitsch) and this looks odds on to be financial flop of the year. This is a shame, because as brainless blockbusters go, JC is better than OK.
“As brainless blockbusters go, John Carter is better than OK” Director Andrew Stanton helmed the fabulous animation Wall-E, so he clearly knows his way around the galaxy, creating a world that looks splendid and draws you in, particularly if seen in IMAX. Bigger is better when it comes
john carter 3D
to the epic scales and scenes of this picture. On the other hand, when we aren’t viewing the tremendously well orchestrated fight scenes or admiring CGI aliens, we see what the film can’t do so well. The premise is that American Civil War veteran Carter is inexplicably transported to Mars where he encounters a mysterious cave, and so there is 20 minutes worth of wraparound on Earth that is entirely wasted, as we know what we came to see, and though the end twist on Earth is superficially satisfying, it is utterly needless. When on Mars, however, things pick up. As said above, it is very well shot. So often of films of this ilk, bad editing and overcutting results in a lack of engagement with on-screen events – one of the many reasons why Transformers is so awful – however Stanton allows more to happen in each shot, showing a skill and dexterity of direction that belies the fact that this is his first foray into live action. There is an issue, however, when the action stops and talking starts. Whatever else it may be, JC is the geekiest film of the year by a million miles. There is a sequence during the middle movement when Carter and
his companion, Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), discuss how Carter came to Mars and about the war that rages on Mars between the cities of ‘Zedanga’ and ‘Heliun’. Unless you have a thorough grounding in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ source novel, you will be totally baffled by the ‘Tharks’ and ‘Jeddaks’ that get thrown around in the dialogue.
was out of his depth. Unable to express any charisma Pattinson doesn’t fit the desirable womaniser the film keeps telling us he is. He just mopes around, brow embedded half-way down his face. A career-changing role this is not.
too many times from Ricci, most notably in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. Thurman, whose not cutting up dudes or starring in rubbish romantic comedies for once, gives an able performance as Madeleine Forestier. Sadly her character is underdeveloped, often just the catalyst to Duroy’s actions without any real motives of her own. Even as the film draws to a close and a quasifeminist tone emerges, it feels crowbarred in at the last minute and the film forgets it as quickly as it brought it up. Thomas, however, is the best of the lot, throwing herself fullheartedly into the role of the wonderfully pathetic Madame Walter. There’s no doubt this film had potential. It had a pretty male lead, an impressive cast of Hollywood ladies and a storyline that could’ve said something about how success is riddled with lies and corruption. But it didn’t. It didn’t really do anything. Joanne Butcher
“John Carter is the geekiest film of the year by a million miles”
The elephant in the room however – or white ape in the arena, if you’ve seen the film – is Avatar. There is a moment when Carter gets covered in blue alien blood, and only the most cineilliterate person would not smirk and think of Pandora, especially with the giant CGI aliens running about – although they are green here, so there is less confusion. Disney should be congratulated on allowing Stanton to realise his ambition, and the film is very enjoyable, but I fear the squawking of a cinematic turkey. Matthew Smith
Dir: Declan Donnellan 4/10
B studio 60 on the sunset strip 2006
“Bel Ami doesn’t seem to care much about cinematography or a good story”
Fortunately the three main actresses offer a bit more. Each taking it in turns to say the name ‘Georges’ as Frenchly as they can, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristen Scott Thomas give the film something worth watching. Ricci gives a strong performance as Clotilde de Marelle, teasing the edges between woman and little girl. Although impressive, it’s a performance we’ve seen
Friday FridayOctober March 16 7 2011 2012
aron Sorkin is, without doubt, one of the greatest screenwriters currently working. The phenomenal success of White House drama The West Wing and The Social Network are a testament to his talents; and the shelves full of Emmy Awards and Oscars can’t hurt either. There is, however, one stain on the record of his success; Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Based around Studio 60, a fictional comedy show in the same vein as Saturday Night Live, the show ran for just 22 episodes between 2006 and 2007. It followed the trials and tribulations of the show’s cast and crew, as well as the executives of the fictional network NBS, as they tried to keep their bosses (and their audiences) happy. And it was sensational. It had all of the essential ingredients that had made The West Wing an enormous success. The characters were well-rounded, and performed brilliantly by a cast that included
Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford. The storylines were engaging and emotive, and believably portrayed the high wire act of trying to make millions laugh every single week without pissing off the censors. The scripts meanwhile were pure gold. Almost every line crackled with a palpable energy and razor-sharp wit that would have had Oscar Wilde rolling around on the floor. So why did it flop? American audiences found it ‘too smart’. They just couldn’t envisage anyone who works in television being that intelligent. But that was entirely the point. Sorkin knows all about the kind of vapid morons that make vapid, moronic television shows nowadays – ironically the same morons that cancelled Studio 60 after one season – and he wanted to show everyone how it could be different. Studio 60 showed us a world where TV networks aired good shows, not just commercially viable ones. After all, what’s wrong with having a dream? Phil Bayles
el Ami tells the story of Georges Duroy, an exsoldier whose recent descent into poverty soon inspires him into a corrupt rise to power. More accurately, this is one man shagging his way to the top. Or, even more accurately, it’s how Robert Pattinson tries to carve himself a proper career without sparkly vampires or dead Hufflepuffs. And it would be nice to prove the haters wrong and say that Pattinson shows himself to be more than just a pretty face in his new film. It would be nice and maybe it will happen some day because this certainly isn’t that film. The main problem is Bel Ami is charmless. The floaty dialogue does nothing to disguise the emptiness of the story and despite nearly every character having an ulterior motive they still manage to seem onedimensional and opaque. Also surprising for a period drama, there are no lingering shots of Victorian landscapes and the dresses aren’t even that beautiful - in fact they look a tad uncomfortable. Despite being on the big screen, it looks more like Downton Abbey. But this film, like every other film Pattinson appears in, doesn’t seem to care much about interesting cinematography or a good story. No, Pattinson is the main event and it’s actually worrying how much he doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing. Red-eyed and unshaven, Pattinson broods his way through the film, occasionally breaking into a weird grin just in case you weren’t completely convinced he
ather round my friends and cast your minds back to a simpler, more innocent
time. A time encompassing a single moment which brought glee and unadulterated excitement to the hearts and minds of boys and girls of all ages, races, nationalities and creeds across the planet. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and remember that magical moment when you powered on the Playstation 2 for the very first time. You will probably remember a certain demo disc which arrived with your brand new PS2 and if you do, you will probably also remember there were only two things worth looking at on that disk. These were the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo and a plucky little snowboarding title, which would soon grind its way into the hearts of gamers all over the world, cementing itself as the undisputed champion of the snowboarding genre. Remember SSX? Well it’s back, and then some. The franchise has returned for its fifth instalment and for, surprisingly, its debut on current generation consoles. It’s been a long seven
Osmos is an odd puzzle game. Admittedly any game in which you play a single-celled organism is going to be slightly odd. With the simple mission of growing by propelling yourself at smaller organisms, Osmos offers a quaint escape from hard-core, mainstream games. It is beautifully crafted and sneakily difficult at times but sadly offers very little variety. Unfortunately, after playing for a few hours, you give up hope that the game will develop into anything more complex. Whilst gorgeous to look at, it is hard to imagine who would pay for a disappointingly straightforward puzzle game when there are floods of similar games on the internet for free.
Friday March 16 2012
A selection of games currently available on Steam
Machinarium is a point-andclick adventure from Amanita Design. Made for only $1,000, the game was showered with game awards and five star re-
years since an SSX title was released, allowing ample time for inertia to take its toll. Dated gameplay mechanics can pose a threat to the reception of any modern game, but with a franchise such as SSX, there is only so much you can change. What’s more, developers EA Canada run the risk of treading too far from their roots, in a bid to satisfy the industry’s lust for innovation. Happily for all, EA Canada have managed to strike a perfect balance between innovation and the features that make SSX great. That’s not to say they don’t miss the mark on a few counts, but in its entirety, SSX is a worthy return of a timeless classic and one that all fans of the franchise should consider picking up. The single-player revolves a grudge match between Team SSX and their mouthy rival, Griff (that’s right, the same douchey kid from SSX 3). The victor will be the first to ride and survive the nine deadliest descents on the planet. The concept of survival has been incorporated into the gameplay, with the player being able to choose what equipment they take with them to best survive the elements which make these descents so deadly. This choice matters, as a wingsuit will often be infinitely more useful than a headlamp when launching yourself across the 1,000 views in 2009. The story of a little robot’s adventures in a dilapidated mechanic city is told seamlessly with gameplay. More impressively the game is visually stunning, appearing to be the lovechild of Tim Burton and Pixar’s Wall-E. Regrettably however the game’s beautiful design often gets in the way of gameplay. On more than one occasion, objects you need to pick up are indistinguishable from the background and you find yourself randomly pressing the scenery in hopes of making something happen. Considering what an immersive game Machinarium can be, this problem breaks flow with an incredible clunk. Revenge of the Titans is a tower-defence game with aspects of real-time strategy from the relatively unknown developer, Puppy Games. The premise centres on saving the planet from monstrous aliens and unlike many other games, Revenge of the Titans seems to have a sense of humour about itself. The game is designed with a cartoon sensibility and its simple game mechanics make it easy to pick up. Sadly the RTS element is not what you would call “perfected”. The game gives you little explanation for what you’re doing and the player is most-
feet deep crevasses of Patagonia. The incorporation of equipment is a first for the franchise and a welcome addition as all of the tools are fun to use, even when you make an ill - advised selection. The game design hits that mystical sweet spot of being challenging but not frustrating and rewards you with a sense of genuine accomplishment. Using your last tank of oxygen to make it to the bottom of Everest, or desperately searching for a patch of unspoiled sunlight to help you not to freeze to death in the Antarctic is exhilarating and does not get dull. Of course, tricks are back and in a big way. They’re still at the same level of insanity that they always were, though the control scheme has been tweaked slightly, to make it more intuitive for beginners. This is SSX at its heart. Do tricks, earn boost. Do enough tricks, enter ‘Tricky’ mode. Do enough ‘Tricky’ tricks, enter ‘Uber Tricky’ mode. After ly dependent on guess-work which, by the time you find yourself up against a real challenge, rarely pays off.
reaching this, you’ll be performing acrobatics which break every law of physics and make you feel smug, accordingly. There are a few technical issues here and there. Occasionally, your rider will inadvertently choose to perform a grab, seconds from hitting the floor and if he or she is feeling particularly smug, may opt to phase through the floor entirely. But these hiccups are few and far between, never detracting from the experience as a whole. The music of SSX is one of the reasons why people gravitate to the franchise and this installment only reaffirms that. While playing, you’ll be treated to mixes of indie rock, chill rap, electronica and dubstep all of which are remixed on the fly with Run
humble indie bundle #3 ONLINE
H Grouped alongside these three independent titles, platformer Braid seems to stick out like a sore thumb. With developer, Jonathan Blow, forking out $200,000 of his own money into the project, you start to wonder whether it’s right to compare Braid with its indie competitors. Maybe it’s fairer to put it up against the godfather of platformers, Mario. Surprisingly Braid seems to win in both cases. Expertly designed, the game melds together its platform foundations with a range of impressive time-based mechanics. The soundtrack is beautifully put together, perfectly reflecting the game’s delicate and charming style. At points Braid can be painfully difficult but the pay-off is one of the greatest in gaming and should not be missed. Joanne Butcher
ere’s an interesting idea: get some indie game developers, put their work in one collection, make distribution on a ‘pay what you want’ basis and then give most of the proceeds to charity. Sound good? Well that is exactly what The Humble Indie Bundle is. With a new incarnation released every few months it is a brilliant way to explore what the independent community has to offer and see why it is the best place to look for affordable and genuinely interesting gaming. Here are a couple of highlights from one of the more recent collections. First up we have the ominously titled And Yet It Moves. With a name that sounds like a bad monster movie it might be surprising to see that the game initially appears to be a rather generic platformer. You play as a paper cut out of a man traversing across a world that looks suspiciously like a collage. At first all you have to do is jump across the gaps and move to the right. Then there appears that first wall that you can’t jump over. That’s when you take advantage of the game’s main mechanic; the ability to rotate the world to create new routes through it. That wall becomes a floor and a new platform to jump from. It creates an opening for some entertainingly disorientating physics puzzles based upon changing the centre of gravity; moving boulders from place to place while staying on your own precarious ledge.
D.M.C songs to correspond to whatever action you perform in game. The end result is something inoffensive, enjoyable and technically impressive. Songs will fade out while in midair so the player can hear the ripple of their wingsuit soar through the sky and once you hit the ground, the bass will be turned up once more, its ferocity directly linked to how wild your landing was. SSX is as timeless as it ever was. Once again the franchise has set the bar for what all snowboarding games should aspire to be and aside from a few technical glitches, is a fully enjoyable experience. When it comes to snowboarding games, we all know, the only way is SSX. Andrew Smith Apart from some vaguely unresponsive controls it’s an experience that is definitely worth checking out. Cogs is more straightforward. Each level is based on one of those old slide puzzles where you moved tiles to reveal a picture. The objective of each level is to move different parts, cogs or pipes carrying steam for example, to achieve a particular effect like starting a piece of clockwork or filling a balloon. With several puzzles requiring you to work around cubes and other 3-D shapes, it’s commendable that the developers have been able to create so much variety from a relatively simple base. Finally there’s the fiendish VVVVVV. You play Captain Viridian, a little green man whose space ship has crashed in another dimension. His mission: to find the rest of his crew in a surreal 8-bit world. Being unable to jump, your one way of getting across the many gaps is by flipping gravity and suddenly finding yourself on the ceiling. Although the game can get frustrating (hazards are often fast moving and unpredictable), there are plenty of checkpoints and it harks back to an era where a game’s fun is derived from its difficulty and isn’t hindered by it. Plus that soundtrack won’t be getting out of your head for a long time after playing. Whenever a Humble Indie Bundle comes along it’s definitely something to look out for. Not just because the money goes to charity but because the games that it comes out with are some of the most inventive in the market at the moment. Tom King
Reviews. The Michael Frayn Season.
Benefactors Crucible Studio 9/10
rmed with the infallibility of a flawless script, little can go wrong with a Michael Frayn play. Add to the mix impeccable performances from Rebecca Lacey and Andrew Woodall, and the silky-smooth direction of Charlotte Gwinner. The result is a near-flawless production. Benefactors follows a domestic foursome in the 1960s, their careers and their marriages smattered onto the simplistic set of an antiquated middle-class kitchen. David and Jane are the successful, glossy duo who begrudgingly allow neighbours Colin and Sheila to increasingly inhabit their lives. David’s career as an idealistic architect intent on redeveloping
Comedy of Errors National Theatre Live 8/10
Both sets of twins become pawns in a comedy of confusion and mixed identities, in which every character is implicated and suspected of thievery, madness, cuckoldry and barefaced lying. Comic and familial resolution is re-established at the end of the play when Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus (Chris Jarman and Daniel Poyser) are reunited with their siblings and order is restored in the city. Director Dominic Cooke’s reinvigoration of Renaissance humour certainly translated well from the stage to the big screen. Perhaps the most comedic renovation Cooke made was the transforming of Renaissance superstition into a comical Caribbean fear of the supernatural, in which Henry and Msmati performed humorous rituals to rid them of the temptation to copulate with the Ephesian women. Both sets of twins interacted fantastically with each other, performing with brilliant comic timing in moments of physical and verbal comedy. However, the two central female characters, Adriana
(Claudie Blakely) and Luciana (Michelle Terry), played their parts as ditzy, London wags with six inch high heels and miniskirts. Unfortunately, much of Shakespeare’s word-play was lost in their vociferous East End accents which became song-like when coupled with Shakespeare’s continual rhyming couplets and regular iambic pentameter. Nevertheless, staging was extremely professional with a revolving stage in the centre of the performance area. This became crucial to the chase scene at the end of the play in which both the characters and audience became confused as to the identities of the twins. Lighting and use of stage-craft, however, would have been much more of a dramatic spectacle if you had been a member of the audience at the theatre itself. Consequently, while NT Live is a fantastic innovation for extending British drama to a wider audience, nothing will compare to the excitement and anticipation of going to the theatre yourself for a real live experience. Ellen Nichols
Copenhagen The Lyceum 8/10
heffield Theatres’ current season of plays by the acclaimed British playwright Michael Frayn showcases the very best of the artist’s work. Tense and emotionally rendering, Copenhagen derives its ultimate power from the fact that its narrative, characters and the horrendous moral dilemma at its centre are all based upon reality. With one set-piece and masterful directed lighting, the play’s three actors vividly re-enact and re-evaluate the mysterious meeting between physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenburg in Copenhagen in 1941. Jewish physicist Heisenburg’s safety within the land of his birth and childhood is guaranteed, so long as he and his team of equally racially stigmatised
Of All Possible Things Site Gallery 6/10
art of the ongoing, international art project If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, Of All Possible Things is digital media artist Jeremiah Day’s latest exhibition at the Site Gallery. Site is one of a collective of many galleries based around Brown Street, and housed in often wonderfully conserved buildings from the peak of Sheffield’s industrial era; for the buildings and atmosphere as much as for the artworks, check them out. Day’s exhibition is based around the legacies arising from the aftermath of the Cold War, from a Lidl superstore located in a former checkpoint in the Berlin Wall, to the remaining slabs of
researchers progress with the task of aiding Fascist Germany to produce a nuclear bomb. Meeting his former teacher ostensibly to talk about times past and their mutual works, his true mission is a desperate attempt to inform Bohr of the nature of his new undertaking, and to stop its success so as to save the lives of the millions living in Allied territory in Europe. Barbara Flynn, as Niels Bohr’s wife Margrethe is an adroit and pragmatic mediator between the two scientific powerhouses, whilst the dizzying debates between Bohr and Heisenburg evidence at once of the scale and splendour of the pair’s working relationship, and the humanitarian dilemmas arising from discoveries such as nuclear fission. Copenhagen leaves you truly enlightened - and also aware of a unique, triumphant new angle on the incomprehensible destruction of the Second World War. Kirsty Moyse
obsolete concrete left, to this day, in parts of Germany’s capital. Using enlarged Polariod-style photographs, video and image projection, Day presents an atmospheric and vivid, if at times slightly affected visual account of the legacies of this extraordinary period in 20th century history. Day’s annotations of Berliner recollections of the time add a true sense of documentation, and also serve to re-contextualise the images within human experience: “so many people wanted to leave”, runs one memory, “but leaving was punishment for the dissidents. They wanted to stay at home and change it”. Of All Possible Things repays careful viewing, and those studying German history should definitely not miss this atypical, if diminutive view of the Cold War and its visual repercussions.
aesthetic. The consistent description of Colin and Sheila’s house as “foul and brown” and their children’s perpetual illness become metaphors for the stinking moral blindness beneath their marriage. The children, just like David’s architectural vision, are an unseen undercurrent of the script - a decaying presence in the shadows. Tiny additions to the direction and scenery of the production enhance its subtle power, such as Colin’s broken chair. Sheila’s character barely deserves a chair; she is lowered to the second-rate seat on the floor of their house as her husband aggressively towers over her with a cold menace akin to David’s skyscraper tomb stones. For a Frayn novice, Benefactors is a deceptively simple, wonderfully rewarding snippet of his career. Laura Connor
Friday March 16 2012
or the past three years, The National Theatre Live has provided a unique cinematic experience for theatregoers: a series of live theatre productions which are broadcast from London to hundreds of cinemas across the world. As part of their third season, NT Live performed William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, which was transformed into a modern, urban setting and exotically infused with Caribbean music and humour. Boasting a star-studded cast, with Lenny Henry at the centre, the play follows two sets of identical twins that are separated at birth and reunited years after on one chaotic day in the city of Ephesus. Antipholus of Syracuse (Lenny Henry) and his servant Dromio (Lucian Msamati), enter Ephesus illegally to find that both of their twin brothers, who conveniently share the same names as them, dwell amongst the community.
a run-down estate into tower block “tomb stones” on the London landscape becomes the backdrop for the strain and uncertainty of the quartet’s relationship - although the description is much to David’s consternation. David’s ‘friend’ Colin is a typical ‘Angry Young Man’ of the era, complete with Philip Larkin-esque googly glasses and a rapidly receding hairline. The sardonic journalist initially seems jealous of his stylish neighbours, as wife Sheila flits manically through the set like an over-medicated bunny who is desperate to be anyone other than herself. The one-set scene absorbs the intensity and tension of David’s disastrous never-seen, only-heard housing project, becoming the microcosm of the frayed internal relationships. The prickly development of the script allows the audience to see things that never enter the play’s
arate is a martial art and system of self defence that focuses on striking and blocking without the use of weapons. It’s great for improving fitness, balance and core strength, but that’s not all there is to it - it is also a ‘way of life’ aiming to develop the mind as well as the body, promoting self control and courtesy. Go along to one of their sessions and be introduced to the basic techniques of this art, including blocks, kicks and punches. Please wear comfy sport clothes. Sunday March 18 outside Information Commons; £3; 6:00pm til 10:00pm
All films are shown in the Students’ Union Auditorium. Tickets cost £2.50 and can be bought from the Union Box Office or Union Shop. Friday March 16: Miss Bala; 7:30pm Miss Bala is a Spanish language film that tells the tale of Laura Guerrero, a young woman desperately trying to achieving her dream of becoming a beauty contestant in the troubled and crime-filled environment of Mexico. It follows her life as she is forced by some of Mexico’s most dangerous drug dealers into roles she would never have chosen. An interesting and
emotive film that will captivate the audience from beginning to end. Saturday March 17: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 4; 7:30pm Tom Cruise is back! This time the IMF is shut down when it is implicated in a bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team (including Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner) to go rogue and clear their organisation’s name while tracking a dangerous terrorist around the world to prevent a nuclear attack on the US. Plus, show your film ticket at the box office before 5pm on Saturday to get £1 off your Pop
Tarts ticket. Sunday March 18: Midnight In Paris; 5:00pm & 7:30pm Woody Allen is back on form with this romantic comedy starring Owen Wilson. A disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter (Wilson) visits Paris with his soon-to-be-wife, and finds that the city revives his dormant longing to be a serious novelist. Switching from the present-day luxury tourist Paris and the 1920s bohemian era with appearances from the like of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Cole Porter, this is a must see for die-hard fans and newcomers alike.
Fuse’s four for the fortnight Sheffield Student Comedy Festival: Friday March 23 - Sunday March 25 @ Students’ Union
hose of you looking for a comic injection should be sure to check out the Sheffield Student Comedy festival. Between March 23 and 25 the Student Comedy Fest will be raising money for St. Luke’s hospice. A
weekend ticket will only set you back £8 or, if you can only get down for one day, it’ll cost you a mere £5. Acts playing include Piff the Magic Dragon who’s been commended as “Very funny...a great act” by Jonathan Ross and Sheeps,
Forge Press AGM: Monday March 19 @ Arts Tower LT6; 6:00pm
who have been revered by The Independent. You can follow the weekend’s action on Twitter @StudentComFest and get involved with the hashtag #SheffComedy.
ave you been on the ground reporting for Forge Press this year? Have you been getting irate for Comment? Critiquing Sheffield’s music scene? Or enjoying a fast and furious MatchDebate?
n March 24, Uneven Blonde (check out our interview on p.3) and No Uniform will be bringing British recorder, producer and songwriter, Kwes, to The Harley. The London based
Friday Friday March September 16 201216 2011
Kwes: Saturday March 24 @ The Harley; £4; 7:30pm
musician has worked with labelmate and rapper DELS in the past, so expect experimental and wonderfully produced tracks. Doors open at 7:30, but expect a late one with an amazing party atmosphere.
Then get yourself down to the Forge Press AGM on Monday March 19 in Arts Tower Lecture Theatre 6 and have your say on who takes over the editorial team and commitee. You don’t need any experience to get involved
there are roles that anyone can get involved in. We’re going to be sorry to say goodbye but it’s time for new talents to take over and put their stamp on Forge. We’ll see you there. For more info email: email@example.com
Joe Bonamassa: Saturday March 24 @ Motorpoint Arena; £30; 7:30pm
If you really feel like treating yourself, get down a bit early for one of The Twisted Burger Company’s newest culinary creations which will be available in The Harley from March 20.
lues guitar great Joe Bonamassa will be making his way to Sheffield on March 24 for a special show at Motorpoint Arena. The 34 year old has been hailed by the likes of Eric Clapton and in 2009 was voted Classic Rock
Magazine’s breakthrough act of the year. According to Motorpoint’s website, “Joe is a living legend, one of the premier Blues/Rock guitarists on the planet and he is also evolving into a singersongwriter of stylistic depth and emotional resonance.
“His ability to connect with live concert audiences is transformational. Joe Bonamassa was discovered by blues legend BB King at the age of twelve and hasn’t been off the stage ever since.” If you love blues, this is not one to miss.