£11.37 a month. That's all a TV license costs. For that you get Eastenders, Match Of The Day, Nevermind The Buzzcocks, 6 Music.....there's literally thousands of great things made and produced by the BBC. The Electric Proms surely must sit some near the top of events to look forward to during the year. I had the good fortune to go to 2 instalments of this week long series of events at the Roundhouse in Camden. Both were massive stars, both in an intimate venue, both artists I've followed for many years, through their respective careers. The artists in question; Brummie urban poet turned 21st Century everyman philosopher, Mike Skinner, better known as The Streets. And godfathers of Britpop, perhaps one of the last flag bearers for British Rock, Oasis. But could the setting, the support and the songs stand up in such an unfamiliar environment?
In the case of the Streets, very definitely yes, in the case of Oasis, it didn't really matter. Thursday night saw the Streets take the stage, coming on after an excellent Santogold, to the orchestral strains to Everything Is Borrowed, lead single off his latest album. When I heard about this show, I'll be honest, my eyes lit up. I'm a big fan of the new direction Skinner has taken with his new album, and the idea of a full 30-piece orchestra brought to mind a mine of possibilities. With a set littered with new tracks, highlights being The Edge Of A Cliff and The Escapist, but also a few tracks of Original Pirate Material, the debut that will always be the benchmark The Streets are measured against. Don't Mug Yourself still sounds fresh and Turn The Page, with the surrounding suupport, gets the movements that you can't really get in a bedroom, with an 808. The other thing that needs a mention is that Mike can put on a show. While some of the tricks might be deemed a bit crass, the Skinner-brand Moses, Freeze and Go Low (Check the video here) make the whole show more than a pleasure.
And so it was onto the last night of the Proms and probably one of the most sought after tickets in town. Have 2 days previously sold more than half a million tickets for their summer tour, playing infront of 3,000 must have been like playing a front room for the Brothers Gallagher. And that feeling permeated into the crowd, with everyone pretty sure, not only were they very lucky to be there, and that they were also in for a treat. It wasn't really to be the case. While the show was good, it wasn't the greatest. Talking before the event, Noel Gallagher suggested that the Proms were an opportunity to do something very special. Having seen them 2 weeks ago, it was still the same Oasis, just in a smaller room, and with a bit of a choral backing. I mean don't get me wrong, the show now is tight, the songs have evolved, with older tracks like Don't Look Back In Anger, Champagne Supernova and Slide Away being real highlights, and Liams voice, despite evidence that may suggest otherwise being better than the video would suggest. But talk beforehand of guest collarborations and possible Rolling Stone covers left the crowd looking around getting distracted by Russel Brand and James Bond.
Closing with the now restored I Am The Walrus, and bringing the curtain down on a series that also incuded perfomances from Burt Bacharach, and Nitin Sawnhey in London, and The Last Shadow Puppets in Liverpool, it proved that the BBC's Electric Proms could be beginning to become an institution. Not unlike its more illustrious, traditional counterpart.


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