Stipe – Live at Alexander’s

Stipe

Friday 24th April 2015

Alexander’s, Chester 

OK, so I know I’ve already written about this band once this year.  But I went to see them again, and I think a brief write-up is in order.

The last time we saw StipeR.E.M. tribute band extraordinaire – you may remember, was in Chester’s Live Rooms.  A larger venue than I’d seen them in previously.  It was a great gig.  This time around, we were back to Alexander’s, also in Chester, but a smaller, more intimate place.  How did the band fare?

Well Alexander’s is hardly a downgrade.  It’s a very cool, laid back venue with a positive vibe.  Though in this smaller room, the close proximity of the band really makes the experience a welcoming one.

The music sounds clear, sharp, immediate.  Stipe are not merely a carbon copy tribute band; even if I forget about the brilliant musicianship, they manage to accomplish much more than just replicate the music of R.E.M.  There’s a love for the original material that can really be heard in this venue, and makes the songs that bit more true and warm.

Unfortunately there’s no keyboards, so still no “Nightswimming” (sad face Mrs Platinum Al).  But the absolute total highlight for me is a sublime rendition of “Drive”, one of my favourite R.E.M. songs, delivered gracefully.  Blinding version of “Losing My Religion”, too.

Another fine gig from Stipe.  This band are authentic, sincere and able to create a genuine atmosphere.  Thank you.

The Alexander’s website is here.

Stipe’s Facebook page is here.

Stipe’s website is here.

Stipe – R.E.M. Tribute Gig Review

Stipe

Saturday 24th January 2015

The Live Rooms, Chester

The great thing about tribute bands is the ability to witness music by defunct groups that you wouldn’t otherwise get to hear. Unfortunately REM have ceased to exist, so an evening with Stipe goes some way to filling a void. As the premier REM tribute band, they offer up authentic, exciting versions of songs that, nowadays, you can only hear on your music player of choice.

I’ve seen Stipe a few times before, always at Alexander’s in Chester, which is a much smaller and intimate venue. So it was going to be interesting to see how they fared in a larger venue like the Live Rooms. There was no need to worry: Stipe performed brilliantly, bringing their versions of classic alt rock tunes to an eager audience.

The set was split into two sections, enabling the band to delve into the REM back catalogue and dig out gems from across their career. It says a lot that Stipe are able to entertain both the more casual fan and the die-hard aficionado like my mate; he sang along with every single line, no matter how obscure. Stipe1

Where this band succeeds is in the accuracy of the sound. Though the lead singer certainly looks the part, his voice is a fairly uncanny likeness of Michael Stipe’s. He may have the moves down to an impressive level, but the voice is what really works, especially on “Orange Crush” (with megaphone prop!) and “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” Stipe2

The other musicians also manage to create a brilliant rendition of the songs, fully convincing and delivered with confidence and enthusiasm. When they bring out a mandolin for “Losing My Religion”, it’s like welcoming an old friend who isn’t even on Facebook.

Any minus points?   Well “Shiny Happy People” has never been a favourite of mine, and it gets a rare turn in the spotlight tonight.   To be fair though, it’s a faithful version and I enjoyed it!  It would also be nice to see a live keyboard player added to the line up again, so we’ll get to hear classics like “Nightswimming”.

All in all, it’s another success for the Live Rooms. No disrespect to other venues, but it’s nice to see Stipe doing so well in this larger environment. Stipe did not fail to deliver: they can be relied on to accurately recreate the sound of REM and entertain an audience. Close your eyes, and it could almost be the real thing. And that’s how a tribute band should be, right?

Let’s hope they’re back soon.

Stipe’s Facebook page is here.

Stipe’s website is here.

The Live Rooms website is here.

New Year – New Playlist: Part 2

Remember the alphabetical musical playlist game?  Part One was posted a few weeks back, here’s Part Two.

The idea was to take turns playing a song from my iTunes collection, in alphabetical order by artist.  You can read the first instalment here.

Below is the next session, N to U.  The final few are still to be chosen…

  • Al: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – “Straight to You”
  • Ness: Nirvana – “Heart Shaped Box”
  • Al: Ozzy Osbourne – “No More Tears”
  • Ness: The Offspring – “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)”
  • Al: Public Enemy – “Harder Than You Think”
  • Ness: Pearl Jam – “Alive”
  • Al: Queens of the Stone Age – “Make It Wit Chu”
  • Ness: Queen – “Who Wants to Live Forever”
  • Al: Ramones – “I Believe in Miracles”
  • Ness: R.E.M. – “Nightswimming”
  • Al: Senseless Things – “Homophobic Asshole”
  • Ness: System of a Down – “Chop Suey!”
  • Al: Turbonegro – “The Age of Pamparius”
  • Ness: Tenacious D – “Tribute”
  • Al: Urge Overkill – “Jaywalkin'”
  • Ness: U2 – “One”

So I know it’s not New Year any more, but this list needs finishing off.  Final part soon…