Just thought I’d mention a wee bit about my day in Oxford. Firstly, the road directions and layout around that place are shite!

Now that gem of info is out of the way (and after wandering for an hour or so looking for a decent place to park for the day, preferably for free, which I found) I can say a smidgen more about Oxford itself, which ain’t a great deal ‘cos I, unusually, got myself a blister on my foot which kind of curtailed my wanderings. That said, there’s some wonderful architecture around the city and the universities with their old sandstone structures and weathered gargoyles brought to it a sense of history, which I always love about a place. Unfortunately, most places of interest had a cost to enter which meanly prodded a stick at my Scottish side so, I ended up in the only places that cost nowt: churches. But I love old churches anyway as, as well as their history, they’re great places to rest and get out of the crowds of the main city streets.

The only place I really wanted to go was the Ashmolean Museum which, according to johnwilliamwaterhouse.com houses a study by John Waterhouse for his 1896 painting Hylas and the Nymphs. But guess what? It was closed. I was looking forward to that as well. I walked past the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (the John Ruskin who had much to do with the Pre-Raphaelites back in the mid-1800’s) and thought I’d have a nosey around there but guess what? It was closed to visitor’s that day. The moral of all this, I now realise, is don’t go to Oxford on a Monday!

The Waterhouse study I never got to see. Beautiful it is too. Maybe next time!

So, to the main reason I went; Piano Magic and Brendan Perry. Piano Magic arrived just before they were due on ‘cos of a car crash on the motorway so, no soundcheck. That didn’t seem to affect them though and they were great for the all too short a time they were on (about half-an-hour, I think). They didn’t do any of the songs I’d hoped for but I still recognized most of them and the few they did off their last album Ovations were enough to keep me smiling. I hope to catch them when they headline a gig which, I believe, are few and far between (or usually in London or abroad).

A few photo’s of Piano Magic live at the O2 in Oxford.

Next up was Brendan Perry, one-time singer/songwriter from Dead Can Dance. I didn’t know what to expect really from Perry as I hadn’t heard his new album Ark (except a little from his MySpace site). I certainly didn’t expect anything from his Dead Can Dance days for some reason but he treated us to a few and they were belters as well: two of my faves in fact, which I’ve stuck in below 🙂

I played A Passage in Time a good few times on the way down to Oxford so I was sooooooo pleased when he did it and seeing the way he played the guitar bit which he plays a few times (which first kicks in at 2.47) was an absolute pleasure. I’ve always wondered how that sound was achieved as I’ve heard it on a few songs (I always think of water cascading over rocks when I hear it) and now I’m convinced it’s done by just using a delay pedal. Still a great song after all these years and it’s off of their self-titled debut album from 1984.

From their 1993 album Into the Labyrinth, The Carnival Is Over reminded me straight away when I first heard it of Joy Division’s Decades. If that wasn’t enough to get me thinking that maybe Dead Can Dance were Joy Division fans then hearing Perry sing “The procession moves on, the shouting is over” removed all doubts; that line is taken from JD’s song The Eternal, the song that appears before Decades on their album Closer. But, being such a big Joy Division fan, it ain’t no bad thing. I love this song, anyway.

Brendan Perry at the O2 live in Oxford

The photo’s I’ve put in here are from my mobile so the quality isn’t great, but at least I got to the front so there are no silhouetted heads in the way 🙂

Perry also did a Piano Magic song (he’s a big fan of theirs) that he sang on from their last album, so that was good too. All in all, a great gig and driving back home in the wee hours of the morning in the teeming rain with Dead Can Dance, Killing Joke and New Order rattling my ears from the CD player only added to a great night. I was very tempted to go see Perry again in Manchester a few nights later (no Piano Magic support, though) but I was bit skint. Highly recommended stuff.

See ya,

Jimbob