Hawklords, O2 Oxford, 20th October 2011

Went to an enjoyable gig in Oxford on Thursday October 20th 2011 where (for the first time) I saw the Hawlords in action at the O2 in Oxford. If you are in a rush all you need to know is that it was a good gig and they are well worth seeing; if you have a bit more time why not stay and read on after the break?!

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Twelve Year Rule – clipping the long tail of rock & roll

Does even the greatest band stop producing great work after time?

What’s the premise?

A colleague at work made the following observation (my words): “All the great bands have a period of 12 years in which they release their best works. Even if they keep together for a lot longer, you can’t put their recent works in the same league as their best works.”

It seems to me that there is a lot of plausibility to this, but I thought I would think it through with some examples…

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Bad ShepherdsOne day there will be a thesis written exploring the theme of ‘what happened to traditional folk music – why is it not contemporary’. This thesis will discuss the power of popular music to displace other creativity but will deconstruct traditional music into pointed, passionate tales of everyday life, politics and anger; at this point the focus will move to the late 70s punk and early alternative/indie music and point out that UK Punk (and its contemporaries) are, indeed modern folk!

This will then cite the Bad Shepherds as one of the bands that first made this point by example, and mention that they include Ade Edmondson (also known as a comedian and ex-member of Bad News).

Musically this is a mix of traditional music, a lot of celtic influence and echoes of the kind of multi-ethnic folk showcased on the Imagined Village.

The choice of tunes is eclectic, lots of them work very well (God Save the Queen and London Calling leading the way). Some are growers (Tube Station for example). Yes the vocals could be stronger but Ade gives a lot of passion this is clearly no spoof outing but a genuine heart-felt performance.

At the end of the day it is tempting to wish for a follow-up album with any number of other tunes of the time (e.g. Germ Free Adolescence, Anarchy in the UK, Psycho Killer, Hong Kong Garden…) but I suspect that the Shepherds will do things their own way, and I look forward to the outcome.

If you’ve got fond memories for the music and an open mind, give this a go!

[This is a slightly tidied up version of my Amazon review]