Friday, 9 October 2009

Robbie Spotted Secretly Shopping In Swindon

Robbie’s back in the UK! But he’s already getting back on his bike!

The international super-star was spotted bicycle shopping in the Old Town area of the sleepy Wiltshire town, close to his newly purchased £7million mansion in the heart of the country side.

It’s the first time the ex Take That member has been seen on these shores since news of him moving out of Los Angeles broke out late last year. Williams, who is often known for his big ego, was in no mood to be recognised; wearing a large black puffer jacket, dark shades and a thick, black balaclava.

However, even this elaborate disguise couldn’t keep Robbie’s fans at bay. Word spread like wild-fire that the Angels singer was actually in their town! Before long a herd of frenzied female fans had gathered outside the Red Planet Bike Shop hoping to get a glimpse of the Robster.

But fans were left disappointed as staff at the bike shop politely asked them not to “hassle him so he could enjoy his first day back in peace”. Robbie made a quick exit from the shop before being ushered into a chauffeured limousine, giving only a brief wave to the large group of waiting fans.

One onlooker said “just Robbie’s presence sent this area of town into chaos, there were camera flashes everywhere! It’s not surprising he just wanted to be left in peace”. This celeb spotting comes only months after Queen of Pop, Madonna, was also seen shopping in the Swindon area.

Williams, 35, who has sold over 55 million albums worldwide plans to release his first album in three years, Reality Killed the Video Star, at the end of the month with a subsequent world tour to follow.

Review of 'The Sandman'

When most people hear the words ‘the sandman’ it usually conjures up images of a pin-striped, barbershop quartet singing that annoying tune of the same name. However, after watching this short piece of epic animation I can safely assure you that 1950’s style, singing, male hairdressers are nowhere to be seen.

The Sandman is everything animation shouldn’t be. It’s dark. It’s gloomy and it doesn’t contain any witty musical numbers sung by washed up Z-List Hollywood stars. Instead, it takes us on a (brief) journey and explores a day in the life of the sandman; that horrible creature which we warn small children of when going to sleep is not an option.

The film takes place in a small house situated on a dimly lit street, on an eerie night; most probably Halloween night (just to make the cliché complete). The time is eight o’ clock exactly and children all over have to put down their portable snare drums and make their way to bed. We are introduced to a small boy who remains un-named throughout the film (however for the purpose of this review I shall refer to him as Eric). After a quick kiss good-night from his mother Eric is sent to bed with only an oil lamp to guide his way up the masses of stairs to the next floor. In his room, we find Eric awake and trembling as the creaking floorboards and bright moonlight send shivers through his body. As this is happening, something is lurking amongst the shadows in the downstairs hallway. Is it the bogeyman? Is it the demon Sandman? Is it his mother putting away his toys? Whatever the being may be, it can sense young Eric’s fear and begins to make its way up the colossal set of stairs to the second floor. It enters the room to find Eric asleep. Obviously distraught that his presence has not caused young Eric to be wide awake, he begins to vent his anger by dancing vigorously around Eric’s bed.
What is Eric’s fate? Will he ever see the morning light ever again? Will the mysterious dancer’s identity ever be revealed?

This review may be seen as a little tongue in cheek. But by no means does this mean the Sandman is a bad film. The puppet animation is done with such precision and accuracy that at times you could be fooled into thinking you were watching animation which has been digitally enhanced with the use of a computer.
The story-line may be a little predictable but while watching I did feel a very slight feeling of nostalgia; from when I was fed the stories of strange creatures living under my bed. This is obviously a good point for anybody wanting to feel like a frightened 5 year old again.

The Sandman lasts for exactly 9 minutes and 18 seconds, in that amount of time you could make and enjoy a hot cup of coffee, walk around the block or just sit down and stare into space. But don’t let me tell you what to do.

Velvet Revolver @ Birmingham

Velvet Revolver
23rd March 2008
Carling Birmingham Academy
plus support: Aura and Pearl

It’s Easter Sunday and the choice between labouring through an extended edition of Songs of Praise or popping down the ‘academy’ to witness the only real rock n’ roll band left on the planet in all their glory seems fairly obvious. Unfortunately, the TV’s on the blink…so it looks like we’ll be celebrating the resurrection of Christ with hard-rock supergroup Velvet Revolver.

Velvet Revolver formed in late 2002 and by the look of things is set to break up in March 2008 (Yes, that is now!) For those of you who don’t know about the turmoil, here’s a brief overview of the events that have so far taken place.

Singer, Scott Weiland, cancels the Aussie leg of the band’s world tour for a quick trip to rehab; the rest of the band gets annoyed and do the mature thing by totally ignoring him for the next 3 months. Singer announces the band “dead in the water” at a show in Glasgow three days prior to tonight’s show. Drummer, Matt Sorum, writes a blog (like a diary entry but on one of those computer thingies; get it? No, neither do we!) In which he tells fans about how a certain lead vocalist has been acting like a baby. Singer retaliates with another blog; calls the drummer “immature” and stands by his words that VR is over bar the few remaining dates of the UK tour.
So at this exact moment in time, the future of Velvet Revolver lies within these last few shows, so let’s see how things on stage go down.

The clock is ticking and has been since support act Pearl left the stage nearly an hour ago. Some members of the crowd are in a restless and impatient mood. The stamping of feet and aggressive hand claps are followed by deafening ‘boos’. Birmingham is definitely a city that does not like to be kept waiting. But as 10pm rolls around, the lights go down and the mayhem begins.
The roars of the crowd are drowned out by the ferocious bass beats of NWA’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’. An unusual choice of entrance music for a band the sells themselves as “the only band that knows how to play real rock music” nevertheless it all adds to the atmosphere.

With every band member on stage (guess who which one they were waiting for) the hardcore rap music comes to a sudden stop. In the darkness, a voice surges over the tannoy system, “Birmingham! The band that puts the punk in punctuality…Velvet Revolver!” The irony is wasted on the crowd of Brummies as the opening riff to Let It Roll fills the Academy. The whole place erupts into utter hysteria; crowd-surfing, bottle-throwing, manic headbanging and the occasional person actually watching the band and singing along.

Let It Roll ‘rolls’ blissfully into the funk infused She Mine; a song written by drummer Matt Sorum about his volatile relationship with his somewhat younger girlfriend. The song has many levels and was obviously written to be performed live and Weiland takes full advantage of this opportunity. Strutting up and down the stage like a peacock but this peacock has a severe chip on its shoulder and he’s not afraid who knows it. Throughout the song, Weiland pounces around the stage without even giving a glimpse to his fellow band members and of course they’re doing exactly the same. The song finishes abruptly without the usual ‘let’s hit the shit out of each cymbal and make an enormous racket’ sort of attitude. A rapture of wild applause follows. Now is the part of the show where the singer addresses the crowd, the band all have the same wary expression on their face. What is their ‘singer’ going to announce tonight? However, Weiland is in more of a civil mood and simply shouts the usual “we are Velvet Revolver and we play rock n’ roll!”

The band carry on belting out the hits. The hard rock monster which is Sucker Train Blues is ferociously beaten out like a demon inside each of their instruments. Do It For The Kids is met with delight by the fans, a true rock anthem which calls for the voices of every single person in the audience. Just Sixteen, Get Out The Door and American Man (three of the weaker tracks from the band’s latest album, Libertad) are over quite quickly and met with a mediocre reception.

“Time to open our jukebox a little bit more,” announces Weiland as the band launches into a cover of the Guns N’ Roses classic, Patience. The crowd are lapping up every ounce of this song and the cameras are out to snap an iconic picture, guitar-hero Slash complete with top-hat playing a double-necked Gibson Les-Paul. This is the sort of stuff that can make a grown man scream and go weak at the knees.

The set carries on flawlessly, songs like The Last Fight and Big Machine go down a treat with the fans. However, a poignant moment arises when the band dive into the power-ballad Fall To Pieces (a rather suitable title for this segment of the band’s life). The lyrics represent the break-down of a relationship, but at this stage everyone in the band knows that the words are no longer specific to a relationship. Trying to hide any sort of emotion, the band gaze into the crowd while Weiland sings stationery with his eyes shut through most of the song.

The main part of the set closes with a rip-roaring rendition of Velvet Revolver’s first ever single, Set Me Free. A menacing rock tune with a riff so powerful long exposure to it could probably make your head explode. Weiland swaggers across the stage, with the audience held in the palm of his hand. Slash is the epitome of cool; cigarette dangling from his mouth, guitar wielded behind his head in tribute to his childhood hero Jimi Hendrix. Duff McKagan and Dave Kushner stand fixed to the mic stands providing perfect backing vocals and a solid rhythm section and Matt Sorum…well he’s just the drummer.

After what seems like hours the band return to the stage to play the cliché rock encore. Slither is on the cards. The band’s biggest hit. A song of epic proportions, it’s the perfect way to end a rock concert. The song incorporates everything that every red-blooded male loves about rock n’ roll; a pounding rhythm, sneering vocals, a heavy guitar riff and an ear-piercing guitar solo.

Scott Weiland falls to his knees and kisses the fans goodbye, for the final time? Who knows? But one thing we do know, even when on the verge of a breakdown Velvet Revolver know how to put on one mother of a rock n’ roll show.