“I’m tired,” Josh T. Pearson says. “It’s been a long life. I don’t even know what day of the week it is...” Someone in the crowd tells him the day and the date. “Friday the 13th?” he wryly muses, as if his life has been full of nothing but such days of potential reckoning in the ten long years since his band Lift To Experience released their fearsome album, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, and soon after blew apart. That record imagined humanity making its last stand in Texas during the apocalypse. Pearson’s eventual follow-up Last Of The Country Gentlemen considers a recent relationship in similar terms. There’s the rare sense tonight of every bitter, funny, helpless word mattering, because they’re being pulled up from a harrowing place and being relived on stage.


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Sitting on stage at London’s BFI Southbank, Bruce Springsteen is reflecting on events 33 years ago, when he and the E Street Band entered New York’s Record Plant studios to record the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album.


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What is it about Simone Felice and hushed and sacred places that make your voice drop to a whisper as soon as you walk into them?


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This sounds familiar. It’s a blast of Aaron Copeland’s “Hoedown”, a loud orchestral stirring the faithful many here tonight recognise immediately as the taped introduction to his shows he’s been using now for at least the last 10 years that still never fails to thrill and make you also laugh out loud. The voice of his long-time tour manager, Al Santos, follows, mock-serious.


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When I get to Hop Farm on Saturday still blessed-out on memories of Van Morrison’s set the night before, I find it a very different place.


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Like the many thousands who will eventually be here this evening, I’m still on my way to the Hop Farm when Los Lobos play, which is why when I get there, the band’s David Hidalgo, instrumental star of the last two Bob Dylan albums, is already in the hospitality bar, deep in conversation with a couple of confederates. Things moving to a strict schedule here and people going on surprisingly early means I’ve also missed Dr John and have in fact made it just in time for Blondie, who have just stepped out on the main stage to a great cheer.


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The week’s gone by at such a clip, we’re nearly at the end of it and I still haven’t, I’ve just realised, written about this show, which was frankly too good to let pass without comment, however belated.


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The first thing you would have noticed arriving in Hyde Park last Frday to see Pearl Jam is how many more people there appear to be than were here for last year’s Hard Rock Calling weekend, the size of the crowd, a hint of mob surliness and the press of people at the front of the stage something of a concern later for a visibly worried Eddie Vedder. It’s almost 10 years to the day, after all, since nine Pearl Jam fans were crushed to death during the band’s performance on June 30, 2000, at the Rosskilde festival, over there in Denmark. No wonder at one point he looks so rattled.


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When Ryan Sambol, who frankly looks like he hasn’t slept since beds were invented, asks if we want to hear another new song the only people in a packed Borderline who perhaps aren’t sure they do at this particular point are his band, Austin’s The Strange Boys.


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What would Murdoc make of it? Previously, Gorillaz live performances have seen the “real” musicians play anonymously behind a curtain. But not tonight. If anything, tonight’s show abandons the notion of Gorillaz as a “virtual band” altogether. It seems more about establishing Damon Albarn’s overdue re-emergence as a front man, after spending close to a decade in the background on a number of collaborative projects, from Mali Music to The Good, The Bad And The Queen and Gorillaz.


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Editor's Letter

Dave Edmunds at 70! Happy birthday, boyo!


First of all, there was the somewhat staggering recent news that Captain Sensible was about to turn 60. Then a few weeks ago, Nick Lowe was 65. And today, it turns out, Dave Edmunds, Nick’s former best mate and partner in Rockpile...