PAUL CAPSIS LIVE [Paul Capsis]

A live recording from a concert you’ve actually attended warms like a travel photograph, and Paul Capsis’ turn at Angel Place was worth remembering. In the bowels of the City Recital Hall the diva chameleon let loose with carefully chosen blues, gospel and rock faves -“ with nothing less than the Caf?f the Gate of Salvation in booming backup. Add to the mix the accomplished jazz turns of the Aron Ottignon Trio and you’ve got a genuine treasure, which more than transcends Capsis’ former reputation as a (nonetheless incredible) vocal impersonator. With this in mind, Capsis and co are at their best when they go to town on a classic and shake it up, as with Take Me To The River and I’m On My Way. Presenting Little Girl Blue with Nina Simone’s original blending of Good King Wenceslas is beautifully done, but one aches for Capsis to utterly abandon homage. The album cover is also curiously blurry -“ a shame given Capsis’ striking presence and countenance. Don’t be put off, Capsis is a passionate and spirited vocalist and hopefully this first recording will prompt many more.

Review: Tim Benzie.

MEDULLA [Bj?

With everything that’s been said about Bj?over the years, it’s understandable people find her a bit fruity. But whatever she might or might not have worn to awards ceremonies, she is still one of the most interesting figures in pop music. Not that her latest effort, Medulla, can really be defined by two such simple words. For starters there are almost no instruments and there is no discernible beat. It’s absolutely impossible to dance to. Instead it’s a chance for Bj?to spread her vocal wings, soaring at times, coughing out guttural lows at others. If you saw her perform Oceania at the Athens Olympic Games opening ceremony you’ll have had a taste of Medulla already. Why the organisers got an Icelandic ex-punk to sing a song with the lyrics, Your sweat is salty/I am why, at the Olympics in Greece will be forever a mystery. Whatever the reasons, we can be glad they did.

Review: Stacy Farrar

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