2008/06/24

2008-06-24 - White Session, France Inter, Paris


On Stage :

"White Session" for the Bernard Lenoir's broadcast.


Setlist :

turn you on
dead savior
faith
king of the pavement
temporary people
honey and the moon
redemption's son
a smile that explodes
black lexus


Recording :

2008-06-24 White Session

2008/06/20

2008-06-20 - Emporium Galorium, Rouen


On Stage :

Solo concert in the vaulted cellar of the Galorium Emporium.
Joseph was very tired that night, he also wrote a poem about that day...


Setlist :

echo park
faith
lonely astronaut
king of the pavement
slide away
turn you on
dead savior
even when yer blue
a smile that explodes
could we survive
redemption's son
temporary people
all the old heroes (aborted)
honey and the moon
invisible hands
in the sun


Recording :

The concert was officially recorded, and was available for download on JA's website

Thanks to Thierry, a huge fan of JA, who filmed the entire concert.









Poster :



Ruined in rouen
I thought I was ruined in rouen
But their love brought me back from the dead
Hang on to this ride
Fuck the moment
Live in the moment
Its better when dreams don't come true
They push you harder to be more than u though u could do
I thought I was ruined in rouen
But it all came to me there
The next dawn of inspiration
I gotta protect like a seed
Bury it some place deep
We drove all the way from london
And caught a ferry
We barely spoke a word
I was sinking on the ship but it floated the whole way across
We were stuck on the highway in france
And in that small vw with my stuff crammed in the back I got in all sorts of various positions in order to obtain that rare dignity called sleep
The crossed legs up on the dash with the neck pillow holding up a hanging head
I thought I was ruined on the way to rouen
When we arrived
The place was tiny and carved out of stone
I ducked into the small enclave basement where a claustrophobic stage was made for me to sing my song
Newspaper articles about my arrival hung on stone walls
The whole thing was really weird but nice and strange and wrong and right
I wrote a new song at soundcheck
Based on new inspiration
And when we goto the hotel
The keeper had my picture there too
He called me sid
He called me lou
I was late for the gig
And dying for a moment to find some dignity
This road life
Is no easy matter
But then what kinda life is?

2008/06/17

INTERVIEW : 2008-06-17 Joseph Arthur Is Damned, But Optimistic (by Chart Attack)



Musician and artist Joseph Arthur has become accustomed to seeing his work get dismissed as diluted and pretentious, simply because of the staggering efficiency with which he releases records.

He's also been labeled self-indulgent. And who could blame the press for doing so after he opened a gallery called The Museum of Modern Arthur to display his own paintings?

"I think you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't," Arthur surmises.

The New Yorker has released more than 10 discs of material since 2002, and he doesn't plan on slowing down. Arthur has already released three solo EPs this year (Could We Survive, Crazy Rain and Vagabond Skies), while Foreign Girls will follow on July 8.

As if that weren't enough for one year, September will see the release of Arthur's latest full-length, Temporary People, with his band The Lonely Astronauts (guitarist/keyboardist Kraig Jarret Johnson, guitarist Jennifer Turner, drummer Greg Wieczorek and bassist Sibyl Buck). Arthur agrees that he'll always be in danger of supersaturating the marketplace, but he insists that there's no other way to make music.

"I think people in the prime of their creative lives — the people I like the most — put out lots of music in short periods of time. And I think that's when some of the strongest work gets done. Let time sort it out. I think you have to strike while the iron's hot... It's better to get it out than to hold it back. Those are the chances you take.

"Look at The Beatles — their whole book was made in five years. Neil Young and Dylan used to put out two records a year… and that was just expected of you if you were an artist. Now if you do something similar, people tend to view it with raised eyebrows, like that means you're not editing yourself."

Arthur's musician's eye may be fixed on the past, but he certainly isn't the type to let the present pass him by. He sees the survival of the music industry in the internet, scattershot releases and digital distribution. That perspective prompted him to create Bag Is Hot, a blog of sorts that he's using to release music, poetry, photography and artwork for free at a sporadic and fluid pace.



"I usually break it down to what's the most interesting thing to do," says Arthur. "For instance, blogging poetry, or something like that. There's a certain vulnerability and risk in doing that. You have to ask yourself: 'Is it more interesting not to do that or to do that?' You break it down like that. And right now, I think it's more interesting to do it."


2008/06/16

2008-06-16 - King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

Photo by Mark Perlaki

On Stage :

Solo concert


Setlist : 

electrical storm
turn you on
chicago
black lexus
could we survive
slide away
famous friends along the coast
birthday card
a smile that explodes
honey and the moon
in the sun
dead savior
faith
when i was running out of time (with angela mccluskey)
king of the pavement
one by one 


Recording :

This concert was officially recorded, and sold on CDr after the show. It was too available for download on JA's website


Review :

- From GigWise.com :

More of a tour of duty than a album tour, it’ll be Joseph Arthur’s eighth performance here at King Tuts tonight, not that anyone but J.A. has been counting. First up though, there’s two support acts, The Kays Lavelle and Conil, respectively. The Kays Lavelle are some Glaswegian 6/7 piece act with various degrees of beardiness and of no real fixed identity, something that’s reflected in the democracy of shared lead vocal turns. With a Talk Talk-like spirit at work, absorbing songs are delivered with various degrees of autumnal shades and a Caledonian rock-reel is augmented by viola, while power-ballads take on Mogwai-esque slow-building crescendo’s. Conil are serving as Joseph Arthur’s touring band and combine some of The Clash’s grit with Morphine’s instrumentation. There the comparisons end. The vocalist delights in his unforgiving angsty punk growl/holler that reminds of a tight-throated Shaun Ryder or Joey of FYC, while the dapper 4-piece leads with felicitous guitar licks and the warmth of standing bass. Skanking, baggy-era Madchester tunes make for the best moments from the band who hail from Peckham, while the grit remains in the teeth for a hard to palate vocalist.

Dressed in black shades, and a charity shop black jacket with an armband that reads LOVE DISEASE, only the D is blocked out as he didn’t want to have a disease, and to emphasise that for Joseph Arthur, love is ease. Making the techy Alec one of thre hardest working men in town that night, Joseph Arthur milks to the nth degree what for many would be an oversight - “Can I have some more monitors…more mic…can we take some of that top end out…can we lose that glassy sound…” making for a pitstop proper before even the opening number of ‘Electrical Storm’ gets it’s airing. With a prolific artistry that puts most to shame, Joseph is already notching up his fourth EP release this year with an album scheduled for the latter half, that’s not forgetting the double release last year of ‘Nuclear Daydream’ and ‘Let’s Just Be’.

Oftentimes, Arthur entertains and detracts from his musicianship by producing figurative works of art, most often twisted and distorted faces that are embellished throughout the performance. Tonight, there’s nonesuch. And the pedals and tricks of overlaying sound mean that there’s a purist slant to the show. Pure, and highly personal. One of Arthur’s greatest talents is the highly personal manner in which he connects with the audience, with an arresting aura and profundity of song writing that makes for an intensity of moment. Many artists have great songbooks, and Joseph Arthur’s is propped on a stand with all the density of a Biblical tome. As such, there’s any number of ways the performance could go, and tonight there’s the littering of older favourites with newer ballads and harmonica drenched tales of amorous strife - Joseph singing “…I don’t turn you on until it’s time for me to go…” that wears Lennon-esque threads and turn of phrase.

More sound adjustments make for light entertainment and a Virgoan perfectionism, “Can you put some more mid-range on the guitar…any way we can flatten the eq…”, he drawls, with Arthur declaring himself drug-free, to allay any doubters that is, and the pace is picked up for ‘Chicago’, a song with a seer’s vision and a wonderful lyrical cadence in the lines - “…you/ see the light/ see the light…“, simple, unembellished chords with all the comfort of a bear hug, followed by ‘Black Lexus’ and an aside where a Glaswegian heckle to “See it away Joe” is interpreted as a request for ‘Slide Away’, which is honoured, without any extra charge - “…what you said it counts…” makes for a belting moment where Joseph can really open the lungs.

Another new song is littered with Dylan/Lennon-esque symbolism with an anti-war stance as blood is spilt and a soul is lost in the after-life - “…the crucifix/ the hand grenade/ only you know which one can save you…”, while the purity and urgency of delivery is continued with ‘Birthday Card’. A deliciously moving and tender ‘A Smile That Explodes’ is delivered to pin-drop awe, whilst ‘Honey & The Moon’ makes for a buoyant, summery reverie that ne’er fails to delight. “What’s your favourite song?” is asked, pointedly, which causes a wriggle-squirm of discomfiture, leading to possibly Arthur’s finest and most adopted song, ‘In The Sun’, delivered with simple strumming harmonies that allow all the lyrical strengths their fullest, resonant expression for those in search of meaning.

A generous encore revels in a ‘Blood On The Tracks’ era Dylan cover - “…some are lost some are found…there ain‘t no more surprises/ like a saviour/ one that never rises…”, and Arthur declaring with his drawl that he has 3 levels of gigs - some awesome, some pretty good, which is where this one sits he teases coaxingly, he’s really not just lip-syncing or making out the sound check is to make it sound real. ‘When I was Running Out Of Time’ finds one Angela McClusky duetting with a cracked voice like Cyndi Lauper and a certain glee in the company, and solo once again for a stargazing moment, ‘King of The Pavement’. “Well, you’ve been a great audience, and I hope I’ve been an adequate performer”, Arthur concurs, and he’s after some assistance with the final number where it’s a sing-along but he’ll be going off the path, in a kind of Pink Floyd way, the audience with “…one by one they turn black…” on a poignant song about New Orleans after the flood. There’s little his unflinching gaze won’t address, and here at King Tuts, the acuteness of Arthur’s songcraft has been graced by the unadorned splendour of his arrangements.

---

- From The Scotman :

By Malcolm Jack

A Singer-songwriter would normally struggle to excuse himself for spending the first five minutes of a set wrangling with the sound man. But Joseph Arthur has, as he pointed out, played King Tut's eight times now over the last ten years and could probably lay reasonable claim to understanding the venue's acoustics better than most. 

The Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based strummer was "discovered" by Peter Gabriel in the mid-90s, and signed to his Real World label. Since then he's toured with REM, duetted with Michael Stipe, been covered by Coldplay's Chris Martin and released six albums, a few of which have been critically lauded to the high heavens. All of which poses the question: why is he still playing the same small venues? 

A shortage of authenticity wouldn't appear to be the answer: tall and thin in a beat-up suit jacket and black shades, he looked every bit the strung-out rocker dude who's lived each line of his broken hearted, dark and opaquely druggy lyrical tales. Rather, there was just something deeply clichéd and identikit about his Dylan, Lennon and The Stones-influenced acoustic rock. 

Although he sang passionately, in his agreeably coarse, croaky tones, as a performer he seemed jaded and only really made the effort to natter with his – evidently enraptured – audience between songs when prompted. If rustily going through the motions like this is always Arthur's way, he can have few complaints if he's still playing at Tut's another decade down the line.



2008/06/10

COVERART : Vagabond Skies





LYRICS : Second Sight


When I 
Pray for you 
It's true 
'Cos I'm 
In the dark 
But I see the light 
And even if it's only in my mind 
I know how to fight 
For a second sight 

Run away ... 
Run/right/back down the (aisle?) 

When I 
Pray for you 
It's true 
'Cos I'm 
In the dark 
But I see the light 
And even if it's only in my mind 
I know how to fight 
For a second sight 

Run away ... 
Run/right/back down the (aisle?) 


LYRICS : She Paints Me Gold



She paints me gold 
When I'm asleep
She paints me gold
And follows me

And I'm never alone (2x)

We kiss God together
Our love is real forever

And I'm never alone (2x)

She paints me gold
When I'm awake
She paints me gold
And I believe

That I'm never alone
That I'm never alone

LYRICS :Pretty Good Company



In the dark
I wait for you to come 
The knife in your back
Ain't as sharp as your tongue 
Ain't it funny
All the ways we run 
First for the love 
Then the money, then the spirit in the sun 

You're pretty good company 
A fire in the sky 
And when you lie down next to me 
My heart goes wild 

How can we tell 
Which one of us is sane? 
Mechanical beasts 
Turning pleasure into pain 
Riddle me this
What the hell's your name? 
Then give me a kiss
From the middle of your flame 

You're pretty good company 
A fire in the sky 
And when you lie down next to me 
My heart goes wild

Feel, feel, feel, ... 


LYRICS : Even When Yer Blue


You take a stand 
On everything you do
But if you reach out your hand
I come to you

And when you are sad
Remember no one gets it easy
And though you ain't half bad
Still no one's gonna right your wrong
Or find you a home
Or soften up your heart of stone
Even when you're blue

Everyone's got
Something to hide
Quit being who you are not 
On the inside

And when you are sad
Remember no one gets it easy
And though you ain't half bad
Still no one's gonna right your wrong
Or find you a home
Or soften up your heart of stone
Even when you're blue

I come to you
I come to you
I come to you

Where will you go?
Creeping past
This life seems to move slow
But it's over so fast

And when you are sad
Remember no one gets it easy
And though you ain't half bad
Still no one's gonna right your wrong
Or find you a home
Or soften up your heart of stone
Even when you're blue 


LYRICS : Slow Me Down



Don't know where I'm going 
Don't know what I'm trying to find 
Wish you could come with me 
To the spaceship in my mind 

You 
Slow me down 
And I can't wait 
For you 
Slow me down 
And I can't wait 
For you 

You can't take it easy 
All the people you conceal 
Judgement day is coming 
Everything will be revealed 

You 
Slow me down 
And I can't wait 
For you 
Slow me down 
And I can't wait 
For you 


2008-06-10 - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds


On Stage :

Solo concert


Setlist : 

black lexus
chicago
king of the pavement
could we survive
turn you on
a smile that explodes
birthday card
one by one
echo park
lovely cost
slide away
all the old heroes
in the sun
dead savior
favorite girl


Recording :

Sadly, there's no audio recording of this event. 
If I am wrong, thank you to inform me by email.


Poster :



2008/06/04

INTERVIEW : 2008-06-04 Pop/Rock Interview - JOSEPH ARTHUR (by Joseph Pol)


"LA MUSIQUE ME SAUVE LITTÉRALEMENT, JE N’EXAGÈRE PAS"

Joseph Arthur était à Paris début septembre pour présenter Temporary People qui sort le 30 et qu'il défendra sur scène à Paris, Alençon et Rennes dans le cadre du festival Fargo All Stars. De l'indispensable Big City Secrets au rock sous influence stonesienne de Temporary People, du bricolage en solo au plaisir de jouer du rock n'roll en bande, retour rapide sur plus de 10 ans d'une carrière très remplie.


En 1997 tu sortais Big City Secrets, te souviens-tu de tes aspirations d'alors ?

J'étais juste emballé par la possibilité de faire un disque. Je me souviens que quand on a commencé avec Markus Dravs - il vient de produire le dernier Coldplay d'ailleurs - il avait suggéré une contrainte: pas de reverb’. J'ai tout de suite voulu faire un album subversif, avec un son neuf, un son qui ne ressemblerait pas à ce qu'on entendait alors, quelque chose de décalé...Big City Secrets est un album avec une sensibilité classique évidente, mais décalé. Je crois que c'est aussi le cas de Temporary People.


Qui sont ces gens temporaires, ces humains par intérim ?

C'est une expression qui définit assez bien la fragilité de la condition humaine, qui est le thème d'ensemble du disque. Comme des humains qui seraient traîtres à leur condition. Et puis c'est un titre simple, rock n'roll, qui capte bien l'humeur du disque.


Toi qui as commencé en solo en faisant tout tout seul, quand est-ce que tu t'es dit que tu jouerais bien avec un groupe ?

Quand j'ai écrit Nuclear Daydream, j'avais le sentiment que c'était un album très rock n'roll, même s'il était prévu au départ qu'il soit enregistré en acoustique. C'était bien plus rock que tout ce que j'avais fait jusque là, qui était plutôt pop et expérimental. J'ai eu envie de le jouer en tournée avec un groupe, j'en avais marre de tourner en solo avec mon sampler, c'est ce que j'avais fait pendant des années. Et puis quand ce groupe s'est monté, on a pris tellement de bon temps qu'on s'est dit qu'on devrait faire un disque ensemble...Et voila...


As-tu l'impression d'être prolifique ?

J'imagine qu'on peut dire ça. Surtout en comparaison des autres. Mais je n'ai pas l'impression de trop travailler, j'aime faire de la musique. Ceci dit, Andy Warhol estimait qu'un auteur devait écrire dix chansons par jour, donc j'imagine que je pourrais faire plus.


Quel est le moteur de la créativité ?

Je ne sais pas trop. L'inspiration, ou au contraire le vide que je ressens quand je ne crée pas, quand je ne suis pas inspiré, le vide de la vie qui s'attaque à mon âme et la pourrit. La musique me sauve littéralement, je n'exagère pas. Quant à l'inspiration, parfois, elle coule de source, mais parfois tu attends de te sentir acculé dans un recoin, tu te sens pressé, déprimé, et tu te mets à écrire quelques mots. Alors un truc se met en route, c'est comme si tu avais un ami sur l'épaule, et que vous vous mettiez à bosser ensemble. Ca m'a sauvé.


Quand tu écris, vous êtes donc deux ?

Il y a une voix, une autre voix, c'est certain...Il y a quelque chose, c'est assez mystérieux.


Ta grande productivité t'a-t-elle causé des ennuis ?

C'est toujours une source de conflit. Quand j'étais jeune, j'étais à bloc, je voulais sortir des disques sans arrêt. Mais quand tu as un contrat, tes priorités et celles du label ne sont pas les mêmes. Aujourd'hui j'ai une liberté particulière, si je l'avais eu à l'époque j'aurais peut-être vu les choses avec plus de philosophie. J'ai fini par trouver le bon équilibre. De toutes façons, il faut accepter que les choses sont ce qu'elles doivent être, ça s'appelle être sain d'esprit. Même si tu crois que les choses devraient être autrement, tu as intérêt à te convaincre que tout est comme il se doit, sinon tu deviens marteau...


On ne risque pas grand chose à parier qu'à peine cet album sorti, tu as déjà des projets…

Exactement ! Ca ne change pas. Avant de venir à Paris, j'ai mis en boîte 17 chansons en studio !