Highlights of 2022

A few words on the year about to end. Highlight of the year: my book on Peter Hammill was published to good reviews.

Old music: it was a great year for archival box sets – Xenakis’ Electroacoustic Works, :zoviet*france:’s Châsse 3, Albert Ayler’s Revelations, The Beatles’ Revolver. I also loved the reissue of Savage Republic’s Tragic Figures and the ultra-limited handmade packages from Finders Keepers Records – Graeme Miller’s Comet In Moominland, Bruno Spoerri’s Der Würger vom Tower.

New music: Shearwater’s The Great Awakening was comfortably my album of the year. Other fine releases: Beth Orton’s Weather Alive, Richard Dawson’s The Ruby Cord, Will Sheff’s Nothing Special, Breathless’ See Those Colours Fly.

Concerts: this was the year live music took off again. Highlights: Van der Graaf Generator in London and Paris. The Young Gods, Kraftwerk, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Buttercup Metal Polish and Kollaps in Geneva. Tindersticks in Lille. Einstürzende Neubauten in Lausanne. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in Montreux.

Reading: Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads. Paul Morley’s A Sound Mind. Markus Müller’s monumental FMP: The Living Music. Rob Young’s The Magic Box. Andy Beckett’s When The Lights Went Out. Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman.

TV: another great year for drama. For All Mankind, The White Lotus, My Brilliant Friend, We Own This City, Severance, Sherwood, Bad Sisters, A Friend of the Family. I watched folk horror classics Children of the Stones and The Owl Service with my daughter, but I enjoyed them a lot more than she did.

Deaths: I mourn the passing of Hermann Nitsch, Bill Bryden, Norma Waterson, Albin Julius, Mimi Parker and Harrison Birtwistle.

1996: my year in concerts

As an addendum to my post the other day in which I reminisced about London concertgoing in the 1990s, I recently dug up my gig diary for 1996. I have no idea if I actually went to all of these, but the list gives some idea of how enjoyable those times were. As expected, Peter Hammill and Tindersticks scored highly. It’s good to see a brace of appearances by The Cowboy Junkies, whom I would dearly love to see again someday. And I must have really liked The Divine Comedy, since I saw them four times that year. In fact I remember the October event well, since it was their big orchestral concert at Shepherds Bush Empire. Across town at the Festival Hall on the same evening, Towering Inferno were doing their awe-inspiring multimedia show Kaddish – a clash of dates that led to much agonized hand-wringing on my part. Since I’d already seen Kaddish the year before (at Shepherds Bush Empire, ironically enough), I elected not to see it again and plumped for The Divine Comedy instead – a decision I now regret. Strangest gig on the list: Aphex Twin at Clink Prison. And finally, a big hello and thanks to Tim Keegan, whom I saw more than anyone else that year.


8 – Tim Keegan
19 – Tindersticks
22 – Tim Keegan
28 – Foetus


20 – Martin Stephenson, Tim Keegan
23 – :zoviet*france:
28 – Michael Gira


4 – Boo Hewerdine, Tim Keegan
8 – Main
14 – Stereolab, Tortoise
16 – The Divine Comedy
29 – Heather Nova


13 – Natalie Merchant
16 – Bruce Springsteen


3 – The Divine Comedy
12 – Scanner, Robert Hampton
17 – Peter Hammill
24 – Cowboy Junkies
30 – Experimental Audio Research, Stereolab


5 – Tim Keegan
6 – 10,000 Maniacs
10 – Lloyd Cole
28 – His Name is Alive


27 – Elvis Costello


7 – Cowboy Junkies
8 – The Divine Comedy
30 – James Dillon et al.


5 – Tortoise, Flying Saucer Attack


10 – Lisa Germano, Mojave 3
20 – The Divine Comedy
31 – Aphex Twin


3 – Peter Hammill
9 – Tindersticks
14 – AMM

2019: that’s a wrap

Concerts: Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach in Geneva and Music in Twelve Parts in Dublin, Akhnaten broadcast live from the Met in New York. Gavin BryarsThe Sinking of the Titanic and Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. Low. The Necks. Peter Rehberg & Russell Haswell, Bill Orcutt and Richard Youngs at Cave 12. The Unthanks at Towersey Festival, Lankum in Dublin. Meeting Gavin Bryars and talking to him about Cornelius Cardew, AMM and pencils. Records: new releases by Tindersticks, La Féline, Richard Dawson, Peter Hammill & Isildurs Bane. Glass’ Music in Twelve Parts live in Paris from 1975. The staggering :zoviet*france: box set on Vinyl on Demand. Peter Hammill’s Not Yet Not Now. Film: didn’t see many new releases, but loved Locke and Marianne & Leonard. A great year for TV though: Years and Years, Chernobyl, The Deuce, Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, True Detective. Reading: Iain Sinclair’s The Last London, David Stubbs’ Mars by 1980. Visits to Manila, Delhi and DRC. Seeing the Taj Mahal and the Long Room at Trinity College Dublin. Biggest downer: Brexit, Johnson and media lies. New Year’s resolution: to restart this moribund blog.

Concerts of 2018

Another year of failing to keep up with this blog. Here are the ten concerts I enjoyed most this year:

1. Einstürzende Neubauten, Alhambra, Geneva
2. Glen Hansard, Alhambra, Geneva
3. Roger Waters, Stadthalle, Vienna
4. Nurse With Wound, Cave 12, Geneva
5. Philip Glass: Satyagraha, Coliseum, London
6. Fire! Orchestra, AMR, Geneva
7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Montreux Jazz Festival
8. Anna von Hausswolff, Montreux Jazz Festival
9. Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love, AMR, Geneva
10. Sir Richard Bishop, Room Art Space, Cairo

Concerts of 2017

This blog is in hibernation, but I’m making a quick return just to note the eight (why eight?) concerts I enjoyed most this year:

1. Peter Hammill, Café Oto, London (actually three concerts, but impossible to pick one)

2. Richard Youngs, Cave 12, Geneva

3. This Is Not This Heat, Cave 12, Geneva

4. Einstürzende Neubauten, Donaufestival, Krems

5. Michael Nyman Band, Schauspielhaus, Zurich

6. Schlippenbach Trio, AMR, Geneva

7. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Arena, Geneva

8. Felix Kubin, Cave 12, Geneva

Concerts of the year

As usual, I find myself way behind with writing for this blog at the end of the year. I hope I’ll be able to go back and fill in some of the gaps in the list below, but who knows. Anyway, here is a list of the best concerts I attended in 2015:

  1. King Crimson, Paris L’Olympia
  2. Glen Hansard, Vienna Konzerthaus
  3. Sun Kil Moon, Vienna Arena
  4. Mono, Sarajevo Kaktus
  5. Al Stewart, London Royal Albert Hall
  6. Neil Cowley Trio, Vienna Porgy & Bess
  7. Einstürzende Neubauten, Munich Haus der Kunst
  8. Jaga Jazzist, Vienna Porgy & Bess
  9. Peter Brötzmann & Steve Noble, Vienna Blue Tomato
  10. Schlippenbach Trio, Vienna Martinschlössl

Concerts and albums of the year

Once again, time and other commitments have defeated me and I am way behind with this blog. The last concert I reviewed here took place in October; I’ve seen quite a few more since then, but haven’t had the time to write reviews of them, much to my regret. I’d still really like to fill in the gaps, but who knows if or when I’ll get around to it. Anyway, here’s some kind of list of the ten best concerts I saw in 2014, of which only a few currently have links to reviews:

  1. Shearwater, Vienna Szene
  2. Pharmakon, Vienna Arena
  3. Oliver Welter, Vienna Floridsdorf
  4. Michael Nyman Band: Battleship Potemkin, Vienna Konzerthaus
  5. Kraftwerk: The Man Machine, Vienna Burgtheater
  6. Fire! Orchestra, Vienna Porgy & Bess
  7. Ken Vandermark/Paal Nilssen-Love, Vienna Blue Tomato
  8. William Basinski, Warsaw Pardon To Tu
  9. Peter Brötzmann/Jason Adasiewicz/Steve Noble, Warsaw Pardon To Tu
  10. Christian Fennesz/Peter Rehberg, Vienna Grelle Forelle

I’m still not much of a consumer of new recorded music, although my new part-time job as a reviewer for The Quietus has given me some very welcome exposure to 2014 albums.   With that in mind, here are five new releases I enjoyed this year:

  1. Peter Hammill, …all that might have been…
  2. Fennesz, Bécs
  3. Neil Cowley Trio, Touch and Flee
  4. Pharmakon, Bestial Burden
  5. Fire! Orchestra, Enter

See you in 2015!

Concerts and records of 2013

These pages are horribly out of date due to various other commitments giving me no time to work on this blog. I do intend to try and fill in the missing gaps at some point. In the meantime, here’s some kind of list of my favourite concerts of 2013:

1. Roger Waters: The Wall, Vienna Ernst Happel Stadium
2. Steven Wilson, Vienna Gasometer
3. Naked Lunch, Vienna Arena
4. Van der Graaf Generator, Prague Divadlo Archa
5. Philip Glass: Music in Twelve Parts, Ostrava Multifunkčí Aula Gong
6. Schlippenbach Trio, Vienna Porgy & Bess
7. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Vienna Arena
8. The Thing, Vienna Blue Tomato
9. Mats Gustafsson/Didi Kern, Vienna Blue Tomato
10. My Bloody Valentine, Vienna Arena

I find myself listening to less and less new recorded music these days, but here’s ten albums I enjoyed this year:

1. Steven Wilson, The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
2. Okkervil River, The Silver Gymnasium
3. The Thing, Boot!
4. Naked Lunch, All Is Fever
5. Boards of Canada, Tomorrow’s Harvest
6. Sagor & Swing, Botvid Grenlunds Park
7. Julia Holter, Loud City Song
8. Tindersticks, Across Six Leap Years
9. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Mind Control
10. My Bloody Valentine, m b v

2013 concerts wish list

A year ago I made some kind of wish list of artists I was hoping to see play live in 2012. Unsurprisingly, my hit rate was very low, with only two of my 12 wishes (Peter Hammill and Tindersticks) being fulfilled. I can’t really complain, though, since I did see a slew of great shows this year (see Concerts of 2012).

Ever the optimist, here are 15 artists I would like to see in 2013. Once again, these are all artists who tour on a regular basis and whom I have not seen for a good long time (in a few cases, never). Most of them are repeated from the previous list, and there are some new names as well. Dead Can Dance have dropped off the list because, even though I didn’t see them this year, they are coming to Vienna in 2013.

1. Okkervil River

2. Gillian Welch

3. Kathleen Edwards

4. The Hold Steady

5. Home Service

6. The Dirty Three

7. Einstürzende Neubauten seen, 27 June 2015

8. Spiritualized

9. Cowboy Junkies

10. Richard Youngs seen, 12 February 2017

11. Lucinda Williams

12. Van der Graaf Generator seen, 16 June 2013

13. Richard Thompson

14. Six Organs of Admittance

15. Low seen, 15 February 2019

Concerts of 2012

Here’s some kind of list of the most memorable concerts I attended this year. (By the way, you won’t find a list of albums of the year here. I hardly ever listen to recorded music any more; increasingly, music to me means live music.)

It’s been an excellent year for my kind of music in Vienna, and shows by The Walkabouts, Tindersticks, Shearwater, The Cherry Thing and Bruce Springsteen might all have made the top ten on a different day. I was also gutted to miss, for one reason or another (work, illness, domestic commitments) many shows which I was looking forward to, including those by Brötzmann/Lonberg-Holm/Nilssen-Love, Death in June, Broken Heart Collector, Bulbul/Tumido, The Thing, Kern & Quehenberger, Sonore, Nadja, Josephine Foster, Double Tandem, Kurzmann/Zerang/Gustafsson, Glen Hansard and A Silver Mt Zion, not to mention the entire Konfrontationen festival.

A few of the concerts listed here have links to the reviews I wrote at the time, but most of them do not. This is partly because I haven’t had time to write those reviews, but mostly because it’s getting harder and harder to keep this blog going, to the point where I’m considering giving it up altogether. Very few people read these pages, and of those who do, only a few bother to leave comments. Those people, and they know who they are, have my eternal gratitude; but it’s rather disheartening not to be making more of an impression on the wider world.

In chronological order, then:

1. Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach, Barbican Centre, London
2. Codeine, Szene Wien, Vienna
3. Peter Brötzmann’s Full Blast, Chelsea, Vienna
4. Anthony Braxton, Jazzatelier, Ulrichsberg
5. Peter Hammill, Porgy & Bess, Vienna
6. The Thing, Blue Tomato, Vienna
7. Marilyn Crispell/Eddie Prévost/Harrison Smith, Blue Tomato, Vienna
8. Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Martinschlössl, Vienna
9. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Arena, Vienna
10. Swans, Arena, Vienna