Monday, 27 June 2011

Music On The Hill


Yesterday I attended a fabulous day out called Music on the Hill, which was held in West Malling, Kent. Luckily, the weather was clear blue skies and quite warm at 28 degrees. Perfect for a day full of music and activities.
I got there at about 2 O Clock, so I missed any acts that were between 1 and 2. The first act I saw were called Some Velvet Morning.


They were very good, and had a really rock-pop sound which was quite professional and slick. The lead singer had a very good voice and their sound in all was something I would definitely want to listen to again. Next up were a more hard-rock band called City Stereo.


They had a more fast-paced, energetic, rock sound then Some Velvet Morning but they were excellent. They were all absolutely going for it. Putting 100 percent into their performances. These guys really impressed me, and I am looking forward to seeing them explode onto the scene in the future. As I could see the lead singer and lead guitarist stir up teenage hormones.


Stacey Solomon and a lovely blonde girl who was hosting the day were on next and between most of the performances. I feel really bad but I cannot for the life of me remember the blonde girls name! She was a very good host though. Another host was a radio DJ named Dave Berry who was VERY entertaining and made some funny jokes, he was just a natural with an audience. Stacey Solomon also performed about 5 songs of her own. What a VOICE on that girl! I'd like to see her get a solo album sometime soon. She deserves it. Next up was an X-Factor finalist called Ben Mills.


He was very good, and performed some original songs, some covers, then came back afterwards to do some Rod Stewart covers as well. He has a real rock sound but something about him is quite gentle and it shows through his music. He was also very multi-talented, singing, playing the keyboard and the guitar all at different intervals. He had quite a large fanbase going from children right up to grandparents. He was a good choice for this event and got a lot of people cheering.
Next up were the reason I was there. ABC!


Martin Fry was FANTASTIC. I think the only other ones who were members of the original band were the drummer and the lead guitarist. Their sound was incredible, and they had a young guy doing the saxophone who really made the songs pop. Fry still sounds amazing and his voice hasn't wavered at all. It still has that smooth, sexy sound. They played a lot of their big hits from the 80's and the crowd was going crazy for them. There was this kid standing next to me who kept trying to get Martin to wave at him, which annoyed me because he didn't even know the songs. Martin Fry was looking slick in a suit, which must have been boiling as it was a very hot day.

I did not stay for Bjorn Again as I am not an ABBA fan. This was a really fun day, and at only 25 pounds, the quality of the music acts was a bargain, with all the profits going to charity. A really well put on day and I hope it continues to be successful in the future!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Chou Wonderful! 6 Review

℃-ute (キュート)

℃-ute have invoked a much more adult sound in their 6th album, which I would argue to be one of their best, if not the best, they have released so far. The Airi and Maimi show has lessened, and we get to hear the amazing voices of Chisato, Saki and Mai more often. ℃-ute are sounding like their voices have been thoroughly worked out, as they are all sounding like divas in this fantastic album. There are less cute tracks and more mature sounding tracks. Which I think now, that their youngest member Mai, is 15, they can start pulling off more often.

As a 5 member unit. Their voices sound great together, and a lot of people who have never bought a ℃-ute album or single before are starting to. As a result, their sales are going up massively. I hope that they hit a number 1 soon, as they really, really deserve it. I'd also like to see them, and other Hello! Project acts to get Kouhaku, as they seem to have been forgotten in recent years.

This album is the epitome of pure pop fun, and the new grown-up, yet still youthful sound of ℃-ute is a phenomenon that I hope sells them a lot of records. Please listen to this Chou Wonderful album if you can! I have included radio previews or youtube versions of the tracks I can find.

Track by Track Breakdown

1. 超WONDERFUL! (Chou Wonderful!) - This is an upbeat, fast song that is almost even-line distribution. It's a good introduction, with a really 'get up and dance!' kind of vibe, which sets the pace for the rest of the album.

2. Midnight Temptation - a high-energy song that also has even line-distribution, which is nice to see. The girls voices are a bit echoed and whispered, giving them a different effect, there's also a heavy hit of synth that pulses through this track, which is fantastic. There's also a minimum of high pitched tones in this song, which is a really great change. Chisato does a few very belting lines too. Radio Preview Here

3. Kiss me 愛してる (Kiss Me Aishiteru) - An EXCELLENT A-side that really catapulted C-ute to the front. Their strong vocals, coupled with the new promotion of Chisato, who is pushed almost as much as Airi and Maimi in this, makes for a really new and fresh sound. Also, the non-stop style of the instrumental makes this a very powerful and punchy track. Official Video Clip Here

4. いざ、進め! Steady go! (Iza, Susume! Steady go!) - A medium-paced song led by Saki, which is nice to hear as she isn't exactly super-promoted in C-ute. She sounds very good. A lot of 'Whoah Whoah Whoahs!' in this. An individual song that doesn't really sound like any other C-ute track. The instrumental break in the middle coupled with the 'yays!' make it a bit generic though. I think I could say this is the weakest song of the album, which is a shame, because Saki is my favourite from C-ute!

5. ルルルルル (Rururururu) - A slow sounding ballad song, that Airi leads, this is a song that really showcases their vocals. They still have a certain high-pitched sound, which I am sure is a result of the key they are having to sing in, which sounds mostly good in this, except for a few certain parts, where they could stand to sing lower. When C-ute sing low, they sing sweet. They have nice voices, but this needs to be in a lower key for it to be exceptionally pleasing.

6. 別れたくない… (Wakaretakunai…)- A synth sounding, boppy song that Chisato leads. Her voice is argueably the best of C-ute. This particularly suits Chisato's voice, as it's a bit slower and a bit lower. She sounds really good here, as do the rest of C-ute. This is better than ルルルルル and would suit an energetic break in Concerts as even a Chisato solo. Which is what this really should have been.
Vocal Cut Version Here

7. 会いたいロンリークリスマス (Aitai Lonely Christmas) - Another excellent A-Side from C-ute. This is the song that was used in the 9th generation Morning Musume auditions. Everyone sounds exceptionally good in this, again, Chisato shines, really supporting the others with her voice, as she has depth that Airi and even to an extent, Maimi, do not have. The oddness of the instrumental break, which is very much channeling the 80's, gives it a really unique feel too. A fantastic song. Official Video Clip Here

8. Circle - Another slower song, led by Mai! Underappreciated, Underloved Mai. Her voice is still very cute. This is a simpler song, with an understated instrumental, of course still a bit of synth, because C-ute bring all the synth to the yard. It's not super memorable though. It's very sweet, but forgettable.

9. Danceでバコーン! (Dance de Bakoon!) - This is what we are talking about! A fantastic, upbeat, funky song that is very much for dancing. The Airi and Maimi show is on in this track, but we still get to hear snippets of Saki/Chisa/Mai. The translation, on, shows the lyrics as being fun and youthful, just about wanting to dance! It's also a bit more traditional music wise, with thumping guitar and less synth than C-ute usually have in their music. A great A-side from C-ute! Ja ja ja! Official Video Clip Here

10. 3 Ban Home 3 Ryoume 3番ホーム 3両目 (3 Ban Home 3 Ryoume) - A funky, R'n'B infused song that is lead by Maimi. With a slower beat and a 'head bopping' kind of feel. This song has a few really nice vocal breaks too, with a twist in the instrumental and Maimi's excellent vocals shining through. Radio Preview Here

11. キャンパスライフ〜生まれて来てよかった〜 (Campus Life ~Umarete Kite Yokatta~) - A really uplifting track. Just a feel-good song. Hardly any synth in this. More focused on traditional instrumentals. Which is a nice change as well. This isn't as powerful as Kiss me Aishiteru or Dance de Bakoon, but it is still a pleasant song. Official Video Clip Here

In conclusion, if you are a new C-ute fan, I would actually start here and work backwards, it's a really good album with some kicking A-sides and some excellent album tracks. We could all stand to listen to more C-ute!

Chou Wonderful 6 Jacket Photography making of part 1.

Chou Wonderful 6 Jacket Photography making of part 2.

Kiss Me Aishiteru Dance Practice.