Archive for the ‘Joshua Radin’ Tag

Joshua Radin and Justin Nozuka at Manchester Academy

First things first, I had been very excited about this gig for some time and as such, I could have a slightly biased view of it. But all you really need to know is that both artists were amazing. If you still need to know more then here are some more words to describe it…

With both Nozuka and Radin having toured with Missy Higgins before, my excitement for the concert was already heightened. Throw in the fact that I’ve previously seen Radin live at the Hard Rock Café and knew of his incredible musical talents and you get a picture of the energy that was buzzing through me before I even left my flat.

Justin Nozuka

Nozuka took to the stage for his half an hour set opening with Carried Away. His vocals were much stronger than is evident on his album and I was immediately impressed. As he continued with a mix of songs from Holly and You I Wind Land Sea I couldn’t help but find myself entranced by him. Whilst his conversation with the crowd wasn’t a patch on what Radin was about to offer, his songs were performed so well that what was said between them didn’t matter.

Be Back Soon, Golden Train and Mr Therapy Man all had the Nozuka fans in the audience singing along whilst the tracks from his newer release seemed to be slower burners. Unbroken Man brought the tempo down in the same way that his final song, Heartless, did. All in all it was a very impressive eight song set from the young Canadian.

Setlist:

Carried You
Be Back Soon
Golden Train
Mr Therapy Man
Unwoken Dream
How Low
After Tonight
Heartless

Joshua Radin

From the moment he casually strolled onto the stage, to the moment he departed through the crowd, Joshua Radin had the audience in the palm of his hand. If there’s anything that this guy doesn’t know about how to woo a crowd then it’s not worth knowing. Marriage proposals were aplenty from the females, with one ambitious guy offering his own scream of “Marry me Joshua” only for a polite refusal from the man with the guitar.

Why haven’t I mentioned his music yet? I hear you ask, or think rhetorically as the case may be. Well it’s quite simply because Radin is the epitome of an artist who (wait for it…) has a lot more than the music to offer. He crafts a relationship with the audience, be that with his questions as to the name of that guy who does a Sunday morning show on Radio 2 (“I think he’s a Sir or something, I should know his name”) or through his endless ramblings about Australia after he thought he’d heard someone say they were from there.

Vocally his talents were obvious to all – he even walked away from his microphone at the end of No Envy, No Fear, filling the room with his unadulterated voice. Each song tells its own story but Radin was always on hand to offer more insight into his mindset at the time of writing. Many of the night’s highlights were songs from his forthcoming album, The Rock and the Tide, with the title track being about the first time he had a crush. He admits that his previous two albums were written about break ups so it was different for him to venture into new territories with this third offering.

A new sound has come about with the latest songs to. Radin put aside his acoustic guitar in favour of an electric for several tracks including a personal favourite of mine, The Ones with The Light, which had the crowd parted in two to sing (or scream as it turned out) a different line in the chorus.

After telling the crowd about how people often go on dates to his concerts, Radin joked about couples arguing and finding new partners in the room, before clarifying that the song he was about to play, Today, was not about polygamy.

After a bout of rock numbers from his third album he returned to the fan favourite with his biggest UK hit I’d Rather Be With You getting the most enthusiastic reception from the crowd before his whisper rock style kept us enthralled in Winter.

As we cheered for an encore, the sound of acoustic guitars could be heard behind us so we raced to the back of the room to find Radin and his two guitarists had made their way to the middle of the venue and performed one last track for us all in his typical unplugged fashion.

Overall, I am still struggling to sum up the evening in comprehendible sentences. Radin is a sublime performer and I cannot recommend him highly enough.

Setlist:

No Envy, No Fear
Everything’ll Be Alright
Closer
Think I’ll Go Inside
The Rock and The Tide
Today
Brand New Day
One of Those Days
The Ones with The Light
We Are Only Getting Better
Here We Go
Nowhere To Go
You Got What I Need
I’d Rather Be With You
Winter
———————————–
I didn’t catch the name of the encore

Joshua Radin and Justin Nozuka
Manchester Academy 1
17/10/10

Justin Nozuka (not looking so great) and I.

Joshua Radin at The Hard Rock Café

When I found out about Joshua Radin playing an intimate Absolute Radio gig at the Hard Rock Café, I knew I had to go. An intimate venue, I’d previously read a review of a John Mayer gig there which I genuinely would have given my life to go and see. But how to get a ticket when they weren’t for sale and I was a month to young to enter the competitions to win them? Fortunately, I asked a very similar question to this on Twitter and a helpful guy pointed me in the right direction and before I knew it I was on the Guestlist.

I travelled alone to the gig. Having never been guestlisted and with no mention of a +1, I wrongly assumed that I wouldn’t have been entitled to one. So when I got there and was faced with the question of “Have you not brought a friend?” I looked a little confused and politely said “No”, making myself look like a little bit of a loner. And so I continued to fulfil this persona in silence for twenty minutes or so before I found some lovely people at the front to talk to.

Although, I wasn’t exactly alone to begin with. I had free food. Now, I’d heard rumours of free food being on offer at the Hard Rock Café shows, but remained sceptical and decided to eat before going there. This was a mistake. Upon my arrival, I was welcomed by waitresses holding trays of beers, wines and finger food. ALL COMPLIMENTARY. Not being one to miss out on free food, I tried a chicken piece and my first ever mini burger. I could have eaten so much but unfortunately my stomach was screaming against it.

Rumours had been floating around that Lissie was to support Radin, however shortly before the show, a smiling waitress informed us that she’d cancelled at the last minute because she’d got a call to do Jules Holland. I’d say that’s understandable enough. And it meant that we got to see Joshua Radin earlier as he casually strolled up onto the small stage at half past eight.

He immediately created a relaxed atmosphere, talking with the audience about football teams in order to gage the type of audience that we were. He plugged in his guitar and looked set to start before deciding there was no need for an amp and played a completely acoustic version of No Envy No Fear less than a metre away from me. No mic was needed as his vocals filled the room, turning a song that I’d previously overlooked on Simple Times, into some incredible. Changing the lengths of key notes, I became aware that Radin likes to play around with his songs to make a great live set.

Telling us the story behind One of Those Days, Radin described it as a song about a serious break up where (after a year of being depressed) he decided the best thing to do was to write a song. And I’m glad he did, because it’s a lovely song that I can find optimism from even if that was not his intention.

After having written depressing songs for a while, Radin decided that he couldn’t release an album full of them as nobody would buy it. So one morning he woke up and wrote Brand New Day, describing it as a “happy song”. It’s one of my favourites and I was not disappointed with this live performance. Stunning vocals were combined with beautiful guitar playing from him and his lone band mate Brendan.

The only song to be played from We Were Here, Radin’s debut album, was Only You. A song which, in fact, appears twice on said album, has a version mixed by the British Imogen Heap and hence Radin found a way to connect it to his British Audience. Another way that he tried to bond with us was his humorous description of the offside rule. Struggling to find the right words, an audience member had to shout out “attackers” after Radin had worked his way through describing the players as offence, forwards and left and right wings. Not only was the venue extremely intimate (I’d say that there were about a hundred of us lucky people there), but Radin made it even more personal. He willingly bantered with the crowd, agreeing to going to a football match with one couple, before jokingly disclosing “this is just for radio, I don’t really know you, we’re not really going”.

Unplugging his guitar once more, Radin took to the front of the stage to play a song that will appear on his third album which Radin told me he was currently mixing. Titled The Ones With The Light, Radin decided that audience participation would add to the song so split us in two, giving each side of the room a line from the chorus to sing/shout/destroy. It was a catchy song which I look forward to owning upon the third album’s release.

To end his short set, Radin plugged his guitar in to sing a version of I’d Rather Be With You that is likely to be played repetitively on Absolute Radio for a while. A beautiful song anyway, the close proximity that we had to Radin made the song even more stunning.

After he left the stage, my new found friends in the audience immediately grabbed him for a photo before he fled to the green room. Not wanting to miss out, I stayed around (with others) for a good half an hour or so, making the most of the complimentary chocolate brownies, before the man himself casually strolled into the venue in the same relaxed manner that he’d approached the stage. He was extremely lovely, posing for photos and genuinely seemed interested in making conversation with his fans.

A lovely ending to a lovely gig. It might have been short, but the hospitality of the venue and of Radin himself made it a memorable night. With plenty more live performances coming up at the Hard Rock Café (Katie Melua is there tonight) I just hope that this won’t be my last there.

Joshua Radin at The Hard Rock Café for Absolute Radio
4th May 2010
http://www.hardrock.com/Locations/Cafes3/events.aspx?LocationID=91&MIBenumID=3

Joshua Radin – Simple Times

As I’d Rather Be With You has just entered the UK charts at number 11, I thought it’s about time I introduced you to the talent that is Joshua Radin. Unlike most of my musical discoveries, Radin does not come from Australia. In fact, he’s American. That is, of course, not to say that he hasn’t toured with Missy Higgins, hence my discovery of his music last year.

Simple Times offers a great array of songs that really show off Radin’s soft vocals. He’s been compared to Jack Johnson, although I personally feel that Radin’s songs are slightly faster paced and easier to singalong to (obviously, I can still sing my heart out to Better Together.)

In the leading single I’d Rather Be With You, the chorus just screams catchiness. Radin’s soft tones are placed over simple acoustic guitar playing with some quiet drum sounds adding to the beat.

I love the semantics of Friend Like You. The lyrics are sung much like a letter. There are times when it sounds more like a poetry reading with background music, but it works. Maybe not the easiest track to singalong to, but I can still manage alright.

Brand New Day always makes me smile, simply because of it’s title and my brain’s immediate reaction to link it to Bran Nue Dae. A great song that reminds me of a great film. This song is full of optimism and is well worth a listen on those mornings when you wake up full of sorrows and regret. It reminds you that you’ll be OK. And sometimes that’s all you need to hear to force a smile and get on with your day.

My favourite song on the album? It’s got to be Vegetable Car. The story of a girl who the narrator’s never even spoken to. And yet he knows enough about her to write an entire song. He knows about her “Diesel Mercedes: Green, Two door”. It’s the simplistic nature of the song that I enjoy. The extreme details that are sung about help me to think that I’m not the only person who picks up on the little things. Finally, it makes him sound a little obsessive. And in my books, obsessive is an endearing quality. It lacks depth lyrically, but sometimes I like that. It’s refreshing in my iTunes full of songs with about twenty seven hidden meanings behind each lyric.

We Are Okay is possibly fastest paced song on the album. Reflecting the optimism of Brand New Day. it houses the title of the album. “Simple Times now seem so far” speaks of the complexity of life, and yet how we remain Ok.

One Of Those Days continues with the whole “life’s alright, why don’t you just get on with it” motto.  It’s a track that’s easy to listen to, but you have to be careful not to leave it as background music. The lyrics are insightful. They speak of positivity and tell a story. Radin’s use of narrative is something that I’m particularly fond of. He knows how to tell a story and connect with a listener.

So yes, he’s another singer songwriter. But that’s what I love. He’s not the most amazing artist in my collection. But he produces music that I could happily listen to for hours. Which is good enough  for me. I’m just gutted that I was away for his London gig. Hopefully he’ll return to the UK soon and I’ll get to see him play live.