Radio 2’s Beatles Bank Holiday leading on to ramblings on greatness.

They’ve dedicated this whole bank holiday weekend to them. Realistically it’s unrealistic; but it’s been outstanding. They’re just the most amazing band evur.

It’s interesting how God chooses to bless certain individuals with extraordinary talent, like heaps of it. Others include:

Obviously there are many more if I try to think of some more, but you get the gist.

When I find out about someone I tend to idolise them (wrongly) and want to follow everything they do and say. If only I could keep that up with Jesus! It’s the best option. He’s the guy who changed the most, has been written about most, has the most followers, made the biggest difference in everything. No one is bigger than Jesus (yourself included Mr. Lennon).

Do we search for greatness, just like the disciples did because we are made in God’s image and he is greatness?

Apparently 1 in 4 people think they are great, possessing some sort of unique world changing talent, ability or gift.

Do we all want that greatness and crave it to an extent? Is it positive, or purely a craving for pride and self gratification?

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.

Jesus flips all our natural thinking right on it’s head;

Jesus called a child over and said, “This is the truth: unless you become like a little child, you will never enter God’s kingdom. Only those who understand how small they are compared to God’s greatness will be important in God’s kingdom.”

The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.

This whole way of thinking is completely contrary to the way we naturally think and feel. It sounds nice in theory, but is impossible (without God) to live by.

But God hasn’t given us gifts for no reason, he wants us to use them (parable of the talents?).

I suppose praying needs to be the first thing we do. It makes sense if you want something to talk to the one who can make it all happen, and the one who knows best, and the one who gives gifts. Look at Solomon, he was the wisest man who ever lived. He asked for wisdom and it was given to him.

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

This has been a rather lack-lustre journey of finding out about greatness. I ask for wisdom, and will continue to ask for it.

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Arctic Monkeys + Them Crooked Vultures @ Brixton Academy

Arctic Monkeys Brixton Academy

The new album was officially out on Monday, and I’d been greatly enjoying it for a week or two previous to that due to a leak. But having properly bought it by now and listening to it on a proper CD player, a new sound for the Arctic Monkeys was becoming apparent to my ears.

Official owners of the crown ‘fastest-selling debut album in British music history’, this is the bit where I tell you that their success was all down to a “DIY marketing campaign”, and that they were an “Internet phenomenon” speaking for “the youth of 2005.” What it ultimately comes down to is whether they can say something, whilst also sounding good to my ears.

Before I get on to assessing how they got on last night I must briefly mention the support act. As any gig-goer will assure you, the warm up/opening/support/special guest act is never something to be excited about. If you’re lucky you’ll get an exciting promising new band, or with the bigger gigs a good 6 out of 10 type outfit. However this was not the case last night. Support came from a new super band known as ‘Them Crooked Vultures’.

They consisted of…

him:

Josh Homme

Josh Homme

 

and him:

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones

off of them:

oh and him:

dave grohl scream shout

 

I think you’ll agree they do definitely fit the requirements for a super band.

So apart from the awesomeness of seeing Dave Grohl smack those drums like there’s no tomorrow and watching Josh Homme slur with effortlessness and seeing John Paul Jones and thinking… that guy recorded Stairway To Heaven! Were they any good?

My immediate reaction as they played through new songs such as, Elephant and Gunman was – this is heavy. This was a hard rock masterclass, a similar sound to what Velvet Revolver are going for, but with a bit less of the obvious riffs. There didn’t seem to be anything particularly fresh here, they just rocked hard and harder.

Things got slightly more interesting when they played Caligula, and John Paul Jones switched from bass to keys.

Overall first impressions were reassurance that these guys really can play. As well as noticing that their experience and enjoyment was very evident.

However, I think they were just too heavy for anyone to gain any sort of true impression as to what they were like. Homme’s vocals were drowned out by the rest of the instruments and Grohl’s phenomenal mental muppets’ Animal style drumming was not enough to redeem the band’s live performance.

I suspect that when given the chance to listen to some studio recordings from the band, more can be deciphered from this potentially promising super duper crew.

After a far too long wait, the Monkeys eventually wandered on, aided by a torch to get them through the thick dry ice that coated the psychedelically lit stage. They opened with sure-fire next single My Propellor. A song which is topped by some catchy backing vocals. This sound was still hard, just like the previous act, but the lyrics could actually be heard and the band seemed less intent on making a racket and in gear to play some good tunes.

 

Next came an unusual choice of song, in the form of a Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds cover, Red Right Hand.


This nicely gives me the opportunity to add to my rant about the duty of a live touring band. Now touring is not essential for success, Kate Bush for example has famously only ever toured once, and that’s fair enough. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you’re a popular band and you’re gigging, you have a requirement to play the songs that made you famous. This was something that first got to me with Radiohead, when they omitted Paranoid Android & Creep amongst other accepted classics. Punters have paid good money to see their much beloved band play all their favourite tracks, and don’t care if you’re bored of the songs which were your hits; we paid good money! We don’t want to hear covers or B-sides! We want hits & classics!

The Arctic Monkeys played a great set. Some of the best moments came in the form of Brianstorm, I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor and View From The Afternoon. Guys,I understand your hesitation,I’m just as bored of those songs as you Monkeys are, I skip them when they come up on shuffle too! But you knew best to play them, because when you see a song live, it gives it a whole new angle, and you’re fans like you for those very songs, plus they paid money.

So that’s where they fell short, there was no Fake Tales of San Fransisco, or Mardy Bum, or Scummy Man, or Leave Before the Lights Come On. Come on lads.

Other than that oversight it was a great gig. Familiar tracks from the second two albums were appreciated and Still Take You Home was adored.

Music is a wonderful thing, I’d recommend it to anyone, so would Oliver Wendell Holmes as it happens;

Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.

I haven’t had a water bath for a while though. What does that mean?


The Slush Puppy debate.

Hola!

Alright?

I’m still infected thus am forced to sit here on my own in confinement. I just watched The Producers (1968) it was pretty jokes.

After much encouragement from my younger brother, I’m listening to the leaked Arctic Monkeys album, Humbug. I will buy it when it comes out, I pwomise. It’s very psychedelic and about as far from Mardy Bum as you can get. It’s currently under the genre Psychedelic Rock on my iTunes, that may change in time. I love the band though, they’re one of my favourites. I always assumed they were hugely popular in every circle, however I was talking to a Christian guy a couple of weeks back and he was surprised when I confessed my love for them. He claimed that Christians generally didn’t like Alex and The Arctics. There isn’t anything particularly offensive about them, they have the odd dirty word here and there, but it’s usually to dramatic effect. Most Christians play it safe with their music taste. Here’s my list of the top 5 non-Christian Christian bands/artists:

5. U2.

4. David Gray.

3. Muse.

2. Regina Spektor.

1. Coldplay.


Sibyl is my flu-friend and has opted to venture out and get me some tamiflu. According to her I might die if I don’t take it.

____________________

In the moonlight they’re more thrilling
Those things that he knows
As he leads you through the grinning
Bubble blowers in the snow
Watching his exit
Is like falling off the ferry in the night.