All posts by Craig Williams

I am a journalist currently working with Glasgow Live, with previous articles published in La Nueva Espana, The Guardian, Electronic Sound, IBWM, Mondo Sonoro and others. My twitter feed is @glasgowmixtape and email is craigwilliamsglasgow@gmail.com

9 things about Glasgow and music that you maybe didn’t know.

1 – Elton John turned up at a party once steamboats in Blairdardie

Yip, one of the biggest selling music artists in the world was once managed by a Glaswegian called John Reid. And when visiting the city at the height of his fame in the late 1970s, the author of mega-hits such as ‘Rocket Man’ turned up at a party put on by pals of Reid at the high flats in Keal Crescent in Blairdardie with a carryout. Wonder if he was still standing after that night.

 

keal

 

2 – A band called Pink Floyd once supported a guy called Jimi Hendrix

Yip, this actually happened, at a show in Green’s Playhouse on Renfield St in 1967. With Syd Barret still in the band, Pink Floyd didn’t exactly endear themselves to the Glasgow public, being bottled off after they chose not to play their ‘hits’ such as See Emily Play. Hendrix also had the curtain pulled down on him midway through his set, after the management didn’t take well to his sexually suggestive guitar movements.

 

jimi

 

3 –  Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand used to deliver curries for Mother India in his Fiat Panda.

Yip, the Franz Ferdinand front-man was the man who was sent out with your hot curry back in the days before he hit the big time alongside Bob, Nick and Paul with their debut 2004 album release. And not just any curry. Perhaps the best in the city in the form of Mother India in Glasgow’s west end. The ‘Take Me Out’ singer must have loved a take-out himself.

 

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4. Neil Young once busked outside Central Station

Yip, and if you didn’t know this one, then you must have been living on the moon. Before his show with Crazy Horse in 1976 at the city’s Apollo Theatre, a local camera crew were assigned to film some “funky shit footage” (Young’s words) of him and the band in Glasgow. It was Young’s idea to head down to Central station with his banjo and harmonica to play some music and see if anyone recognised him – in between asking people where the Bank of Scotland was. This, not long after one of either him or his band set fire to the paper table decorations at the Albany Hotel, nearly burning the whole thing down.

 

 

5. Courtney Love demanded a bath at a party in West Princes St

Yip, another party, this time not far from the city centre. After the former wife of Kurt Cobain played a gig in the city in the early 1990s with her band Hole, she turned up at a party in Eugene Kelly of The Vaseline’s gaff, and promptly told everyone there that she wanted a bath. Probably from all the pints that were lobbed in her direction.

 

love

 

6. The ‘Jimmy’ from Amy Macdonald’s ‘This Is The Life’ is actually called Graeme. 

OK so not the biggest of scoops, but one nonetheless. The title song off Macdonald’s 2007 debut album sees her sing a line about someone “waiting outside Jimmy’s front door”, and just in-case you are in Asda and hear the tune on the instore radio and you think, “Who is this Jimmy guy she is bangin on about”, well, now you know. Presumably, this was written in respect of the aftermath of a mad party somewhere, knowing ‘Jimmy’ as I do. Anyway, he used to play drums in The Apple Scruffs, so any excuse to stick one of their songs on the blog.

 

 

 

7. Bobby Gillespie’s step mum owns a dog grooming shop

Clutching at straws a bit here, but important to know some might find it. The shop is called, wait for it, ‘Grooming Marvellous’ and is situated on Cathcart Road in the south side of the city.  Rock and roll indeed. No doubt there’s a few poodles that call in at the shop with hair like he had back in the day when he played drums for TJMC.

 

 

8. There’s an Arctic Monkeys guitar pedal at the bottom of The Clyde

The first gig of their first ever UK tour  in March 2004 saw the Sheffield band play at Glasgow’s Barfly venue on the Broomielaw, remember that? Playing with them was a band called Raising Kane, and a series of disagreements between the two resulted in both bands launching each other’s guitar pedals into the adjacent Clyde river. The next day they played in Carlisle, and, off the back off their first ever Radio 1 play, the gig sold out. The rest, as we know, is history.

 

 

9. Oasis once supported the Verve at the Cathouse

Yip, of all places you could have seen these two bands in Glasgow, the Cathouse would probably come up last on your list. The alternative music club on Union St played host to two iconic groups of British music in December 1993, when Oasis supported the Verve on their UK tour prior to the release of their debut album, A Storm in Heaven. Apparently only a few folk turned up to see Oasis, and most of them thought they were pretty average. Funny how things change. Oasis released a live version of ‘I Am The Walrus’ from the show, as a B-side to Cigarettes & Alcohol the next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did Adele subconsciously rip off BRMC with her mega-hit Skyfall?

Adele is one of the world’s most bankable singers, possessing a voice that has seen her graduate from performing arts student to full on worldwide superstar, thanks to the success of her trio of albums, 19, 21 and 25, which together have sold over 100 million copies.

The 28 year old’s songs surround the themes of heartbreak and relationships, with hits like ‘Hello’ and ‘Rumour Has It’ generating a popularity reflective of her status as what the British press have called “the finest singer of her generation”.

But, amidst all the glory and adulation towards the singer, exists the allegation that she may not have subconsciously borrowed from others in the creation of one of her biggest hits, Skyfall, the theme from the James Bond movie of the same name.

The song in question sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, and earned Adele an Academy Award for Best Original Song alongside a Golden Globe in the same category and the Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media in 2014.

But listeners on Youtube have noticed that the song bears a quite strong resemblance to the song ‘Suddenly’ by the American rock-and-roll band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a hit from their 2003 album Take Them On, On Your Own.

Lyrically, Skyfall is dark and moody, with a heavy orchestration that effectively captures the real James Bond ‘feeling’ of the Shirley Bassey era theme songs. Co writer Paul Epworth stated that the song is about “death and rebirth”, saying “It’s like, when the world ends and everything comes down around your ears, if you’ve got each other’s back, you can conquer anything. From death to triumph, that was definitely something we set out to try and capture.”

On the other hand, ‘Suddenly’ by BRMC doesn’t speak of all too dissimilar themes; themes concerning dark days, impending judgement, the sky and, most importantly, bitter love.

The James Bond theme was developed as part of a writing duo between Adele and producer Paul Epworth, who himself has produced acts similar to BRMC, artists such as Bloc Party, Primal Scream and Death From Above 1979 – who last year toured with BRMC.

Epworth also worked with The Big Pink on their second album, ‘Future This’, while BRMC’s guitarist/singer Robert Been also worked with the band in contributing to their 4 song EP ‘Empire Underground’.

This isn’t the first time Adele has been accused of ripping off other people’s tracks by people on social media.

Tom Waits fans believe her song ‘Hello’ shares a lot of similarities – lyrically – with Waits’s 1973 hit ‘Martha’.

Meanwhile, fans of Turkish/Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya believe Adele ripped off Kaya’s 1985 song ‘Acilara Tutunmak (Clinging to Pain)’ with her own ‘Million Years Ago’ track off her 25 album.

Listen to both here and make up your own mind:

Caught live – Ulrika Spacek, The Hug and Pint

Apparently, London-based five piece Ulrika Spacek only play Glasgow on Sunday nights, as singer Rhys Edwards attested too midway through their set at The Hug and Pint.

Even against the threat of a low turn out with their return to the city coinciding with Falkirk troubadours Arab Strap’s second 20th anniversary show at a sold out Barrowlands, fans turned out in numbers to ensure the venue felt pretty packed.

Many presumably there on the strength of the airplay Ulrika Spacek have received on BBC Radio 6 by the likes of Steve Lamacq, while others making the visit off the back of their impressive support slot for DIIV at SWG3 earlier in the year.

ulrika

For all those who did make it, they were not to be disappointed. Spacek seemed genuinely happy to be back in Glasgow, and the intimate setting of the basement venue felt a perfect fit for their raw, atmospheric sound.

Playing against a projection of hypnotic, psychedelic visuals, the band burst to life with new A-side  ‘Everything: All The Time’, and, with little let up, proceeded to work their way through their debut album ‘The Album Paranoia’.

Tracks such as ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘She’s a Cult’ and ‘Beta Male’ saw Spacek at their own distinctive, gnarly, lo-fi best, not forgetting a face-melting rendition of ‘NK’ and the fantastic ‘There’s A Little Passing Cloud In You’.

Although ‘The Album Paranoia’ is in itself a work of near majestic talent, its live that Spacek really show off their strengths as composite musicians. For a band on their 23rd gig of a lengthy European tour, they exuded an energy that belied the heavy tour schedule.

With the confidence to debut a new track for the first time in front of a Glasgow audience that knows a good band when they see one, Spacek left the stage to familiar, yet fully merited, cries of ‘one more tune’.

A stellar Sunday night from a band – a mix of left-wing German militant Ulrike Meinhof and American actress Sissy Spacek – who will no doubt go on to grace venues fitting of their stature as one of the UK’s most invigorating, original and purposeful acts around today.

New on our radar: Stillhound

At last night’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards at The Garage in Glasgow, in between sterling sets by The Van Ts, Shogun and Baby Strange, the real highlight of the night were Stillhound.

The Edinburgh based ambient pop trio – made up of Fergus Cook, Laurie Corlett-Donald and Dave Lloyd – produced a set of lush synth pop hooks and organic electronica that had those in attendance in raptures, as they showcased songs off debut album Bury Everything (released via Lost Oscillation Records on 23rd September).

Featuring Cat Myres of Honeyblood fame on writing credits, Bury Everything offers up an irresistible slice of genre-defying soundscapes, fusing entrancing guitar progressions, fragile, dreamy vocals and samples.

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With a sound that recalls NZCA Lines and M83, alongside hints of 2 Door Cinema Club at their best,  the promise of the release of two singles off the album in October will no doubt see their stock rise even further.

 

 

Bury Everything Tracklisting:

  1. Spring Conscious
  2. Time Enough For Love
  3. Lofty Ambitions
  4. Think This Way
  5. Mountain Rescue
  6. Shy
  7. Summer Nightmares
  8. Seethe Unseen
  9. When Ghosts Get Angry
  10. Bury Everything

 

 

Gone, but not forgotten. 4 of the best bands to come out of Glasgow

Nostalgia is an often criticized beast that pulls at the heart strings of music lovers, with bands that had long since broken up ready to forget their differences in the name of a new album, tour and deeper pockets.

And with scientific studies showing a direct link between music and brain stimulation – including how we recall memories – we never tire of taking a glimpse back over the past few years to reminisce about the music that struck a special chord, by bands that have since disappeared.

Here’s a list of 4 Glasgow bands that are gone, but definetly not forgotten:
The Apple Scruffs
Formed in 2005, the punk-rock four piece from Glasgow garnered a wide, loyal following in Glasgow thanks to their raw, energetic rock ‘n’ roll and memorably frenetic live performances that, more than any other Glasgow band to date, have fully characterised the passion of youth. Influenced by the likes of The Smiths, The Clash and The Libertines, the band played wisely to their strengths in the form of frontman Jonny Skinner’s majestic song writing.

Paper Planes/Astral Planes

Regarded in their heyday as ‘Glasgow’s best kept secret’, Paper Planes were a band that really were destined for bigger things. Opening for The Pigeon Detectives at The Carling Academy in only their fourth show, the band revolved around New Jersey native Jennifer Paley’s stunning vocals (and looks) and guitarist Christopher Haddow’s reverb-heavy licks. With a surf-pop, trashy rock ‘n’ roll sound it was a band that were cooler than every Julian Casablancas leather jacket sown together.

Sonic Hearts Foundation

Widescreen cinematic shoe-gazers Sonic Hearts Foundation only called it a day last year but the void is still present. After building up a formidable reputation in Glasgow thanks to support slots with the likes of The Duke Spirit and The Telescopes, the band achieved near mythical status in 2011 thanks to a legendary rooftop show outside the Barrowlands after a Pete Doherty gig. With an intoxicating sound that mixed alternative post-rock, electronic and even Krautrock influences, the band’s live gigs were as much visual, projection fuelled feasts as they were showcases of their own maverick, captivating originality.

Heartbeats

Another band that, live, were equal to the more established bands from which they themselves drew influences, such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, Heartbeat’s shoe-gaze, anthemic wall of sound had your ears ringing for days after their shows. Backed by singer Steve Allen’s primal, emotional lyrics and Matt Hardie’s pulsating drumming, they are another Glasgow band solely missed from the venues around the city they called home, as their fantastic ‘We Make Jesus Cry (Death By Misadventure)’ illustrates – a song that, on a personal level, finds itself in my top 20 favourites of any band, ever.

https://myspace.com/weareheartbeats/music/songs

 

 

 

 

‘Breakfast’ time with Catholic Action.

Glasgow based four-piece Catholic Action are no strangers to the art of eclectic creation, with March’s L.U.V. single release seeing their stock rise exponentially thanks to their signature brand of stylish indie art rock.

Having supported the likes of FFS, Swim Deep, and more recently, Teenage Fanclub, the band are kicking off an 8 date UK tour (see below) in London tomorrow night in support of their new AA release ‘Rita Ora’/Breakfast – out on 7″ and digital format on September 23 via Luv Luv Luv Records.

And in Chris McCrory (also of Casual Sex), we may have a new pretender to Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand’s throne as the most talented frontman that Scotland has produced in recent years.

 

Tour dates:

Thu September 22 2016 – LONDON Old Blue Last
Fri September 23 2016 – LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall
Sat September 24 2016 – MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Sun September 25 2016 – GLASGOW King Tuts
Wed September 28 2016 – ABERDEEN Tunnels
Thu September 29 2016 – INVERNESS Mad Hatters
Fri September 30 2016 – DUNDEE Buskers
Sat October 01 2016 – EDINBURGH Mash House

 

Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs) returns for 2016

THE Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs), in association with Rebel Rebel Barbers, are set to return this October with a massive main awards line-up.

 

Celebrating their 7th birthday, the awards will again be hosted by Jim Gellatly. It has also been revealed that Paisley grime MC Shogun will perform live at the main awards night at the Garage Glasgow on Wednesday 12th October.

 

The awards re-launched over the summer by staging a show at Highlands creative industries festival XpoNorth in June and hosting a networking event at Glasgow hotel citizenM earlier this month.

 

SAMAs Founder/Creative Director Richy Muirhead and his team have since been hard at work assembling an events schedule, with a successful Paisley showcase in the bag and one to follow in Perth (9th September).

 

The SAMAs have also been working on a new streamlined nomination process for the main awards which will see specialist judges working on each award. The judges will be made up of members of the Scottish music industry from areas such as; live sector, music publishing, journalism. Set to take place on Wednesday 12th October at the Garage, Glasgow. As always, you can expect a few SAMAs surprises in the line-up!

 

Of the latest SAMAs developments Muirhead said:

 

“We’re absolutely delighted to be back after a summer of music research and attending all the festivals. This year, the SAMAs are going to be slicker than ever with our new nomination process and increased judges. Turning seven is a massive achievement and we’re thrilled to be hosting the main awards in October!”

 

The awards to be handed out this year at the main awards in Glasgow are:

 

Best Acoustic in association with citizenM

Best Electronic in association with Assai UK

Best Hip-Hop in association with 1000fans

Best Live Act in assocation with XPO North

Best Metal in association with Cathouse Glasgow

Best Newcomer in association with The Academy of Music & Sound

Best Rock/Alternative in association with Eventbrite

 

Tickets available are available from £20/£10/£6.50 through Eventbrite.

 

#SAMA2016

 

For more info visit http://www.officialsama.co.uk

 

Email: info@officialsama.co.uk

Facebook.com/OfficialSAMA

Twitter.com/OfficialSAMA

 

Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs)

info@officialsama.co.uk

http://www.officialsama.co.uk

Todo el mundo es ‘Bueno’

La canción “La gloria de los que fracasan” está incluida en el album “Perros, santos y refranes”. Es una canción pop con pequeños arreglos orquestales que incluye cerca de 90 pistas de audio. La letra habla de la relación que establece una persona con la música, algo doloroso y hermoso como puede ser una relación de amor con una persona. Siempre hay una parte épica en el fracaso que convierte ciertas derrotas en pequeñas historias gloriosas.

 

 

 

 

Podeis escuchar mas en

http://www.lawebdebueno.com/web/?menu=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beefy tunes and dirty washing.

One of Scotland’s top DJs is returning home to play a gig for 30 people – in a laundrette.

Jackmaster, aka Jack Revill, from Glasgow, has firmly established himself among the top DJs on the planet, constantly touring the world to play in front of packed audiences in clubs and at major festivals.

The man from Hillhead’s  hard work ethic and versatility saw him pick up the accolade of Best Breakthrough DJ in 2010 before going on to be crowned Best DJ by DJ magazine in 2014. He is also nominated for Best House DJ at the DJ awards, which takes place in Ibiza in October.

 

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And no stranger place could play host to his talents behind the decks than in Glasgow’s Majestic Laundrette in the city’s Finnieston area. A mainstay of the area for more than 30 years, the laundrette has transformed itself into Scotland’s hipster HQ.

Having hosted everything from fashion shoots, celebrity interviews, acoustic concerts, Emeli Sande  music videos and even 40th birthday parties, the laundrette has taken advantage of its perfect location sandwiched amongst trendy eateries, bars and restaurants.

 

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And with its walls emblazoned with the flyers and posters on the latest events and concerts across the city, the laundrette doubles up as a place to both clean your smalls and find out what’s happening in the city and when.

Chris Edwards, who works in the laundrette, said “Where we are situated is absolutely spot on. There are a lot of coffee places, its ideal where we are. There are a lot of laundrettes in the city centre that are tucked away that you wouldn’t even know are there.”

“It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever heard. That people will be saying that they were at a gig in a laundrette the other night and it was amazing.

“But a lot of people seem to pop their heads in here for a look, just to read the flyers, to see what’s on in Glasgow. We don’t mind it. Then when they are in they ask us how much it will cost to get their suits dry-cleaned and things like that. Its two birds with one stone.”

Finnieston recently came top in a poll to find Britain’s hippest place to live, with the area’s transformation from former warehouses and dock lands into a trendy hotspot beating off competition from areas such as London’s Shoreditch.

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The event, as part of Red Bull’s Music Academy’s UK tour, takes place on the 15th October, with the drinks company labelling the event “quite literally the freshest party of the weekend.”

BANKSY: HOW THE WORLD’S MOST ELUSIVE ‘ARTIST’ MAY IN FACT BE ‘ARTISTS’.

The search for the real identity of Banksy is a story one that never fails capture the imagination of the media and the millions of fans across the globe of the subversive Bristol street artist, ever since he came to the public’s attention back in 1997 with his The Mild Mild West mural.
And with the news that filtered out in March of a scientific study by Queen Margaret University confirming previous studies that pointed out to him as being plain old public school boy Robin Gunningham, the final nail in the coffin was struck in what had left the world scratching their heads.
Banksy_MIld_Mild_West_and_poster
But what if Banksy isn’t the one person everyone thinks he is. What if – akin to the Shakespeare consiparcy theories, Banksy is a group of people who have stencilling different locations both at home and abroad. Such a rich body of work done over a decade, across the globe, may allow for the suggestion.
A rumour exists from 2010 that his work that went up around North America was his work but were not necessarily painted by him, but rather by a street team that happened to be following the Massive Attack tour.
And on analysis of his North American work, this makes perfect sense.
Around the time when six Banksy murals were reported to the press in San Francisco on the 1st of May 2010, including the famous ‘This Will Look Nice When It’s Framed’ image, Massive Attack performed a two night stint in the city on the 25th and 27th April, a few days previously.
Also in Toronto a similar pattern arises. Massive Attack played the city’s Sound Academy on May 7th and May 9th in 2010, the latter being the day that three new Banksy murals appeared in the city.
On the 12th of May, a new Banksy mural also appeared in Boston’s Chinatown area, depicting a ‘cancelled’ ‘Follow your dreams’ stencil. Massive Attack performed at the city’s legendary House Of Blues venue one day later, on the 13th May.
We can also jump backwards and forwards to both 2006, 2008 and 2013, when Banksy held residencies at art galleries in L.A. and New York and when new works of his appeared in the country. Again, a link with Massive Attack is evident.
banksy
In 2006, Massive Attack embarked on a US tour which saw them play in California in Berkeley on the 22nd of September and the famous Hollywood Bowl venue on the 24th in Los Angeles, the week after Banksy held his ‘Barely Legal’ exhibition in the city, over the weekend of the 15th-17th of September.
Fast forward two years to 2008, and Banksy returned to the US to produced 14 stencils throughout New Orleans to mark the upcoming third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Del Naja wrote the soundtrack alongside fellow Massive Attack member Neil Davidge to the New Orleans-themed documentary ‘Trouble the Water’. It received its New Orleans premiere on the 17th August that year – the same time period, almost to the day, that the stencils appeared.
And in 2013, when the artist’s month long residency in New York kicked off on the 1st October, the dates coincided with Massive Attack’s four night residency in the city between the 28th September and the 4th October at the city’s Park Avenue Armoury.
What about the wider field of play? The locations across the globe where Banksy has left his mark, apart from in Bristol, London and North America include Italy and Australia, and even, if we are to be believed, Africa.
As order dictates, I started at the beginning. And with that, somewhere close to home. Glasgow.
the arches
One of Bansky’s earliest public displays of his work was at the now defunct Arches nightclub and event space, under the city’s Central Station. The event saw the artist- then relatively unknown, share a billing with fellow, and more established, artist Jamie Reid of Sex Pistols fame.
Running from around the 1st to 18th March 2001, the Peace is Tough exhibition was poorly attended, but saw Banksy showcase some of his early work, like ‘Monkey Queen’. So why in Glasgow?
If Massive Attack are anything to go by, they also found the venue’s rugged charm to be the perfect launch pad. To celebrate the launch of their second album, ‘Protection’ (which came out on September 26 1994), the band played a concert at the venue on 8th December that year.
Looking abroad, one of Banksy’s first appearances outwith the UK was in Naples, Italy. His famous ‘Madonna Con La Pistola’, painted on the side of a church in the centre of the city, appeared some time around August 2004.
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Banksy himself refers to the piece in a photo of the stencil in his book ‘Cut It Out’, released on the 14th of December 2004 – which allows me to make the jump back some months. Searches indicate that photos where first taken around this time of the work, which is still present in its location, covered by a Perspex protective cover.
A work appeared by Banksy in the city in 2010, only for it to be painted over quickly after, with which little information is available. So we know Banksy had ties to Naples, as its the only place he ‘tagged’ in Italy. And that he has visited on more than occasion.
Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja (‘3D’) is a massive Napoli fan and gave an interview to Naples’s Radio Marte  in 2010, revealing his passion for the team – a passion handed down to him from his Italian father. In the interview he reveals he attended a Napoli match in Naples against AS Citadella during their time in Serie C1, a match that took place on the 26th September 2004.
So although Massive Attack didn’t play a show there, at least Del Naja was there around the time the mural appeared. The band have had a relationship with the city stretching back to a decade before then in 1994, when Channel 4 filmed a documentary on their visit to the city to visit Del Naja’s father’s place of birth and record with the Naples band Almamegretta.
street
Let’s move on to Australia, jumping back and forward as we do. He first went down under in April 2003, after being invited to attend to participate in the Semi-Permanent design event in Alexandria, Sydney, creating one of his biggest ever art works while he was there – a collage piece stretching 2.5m high by 9m long.
While in the country he also visited Melbourne, being shown around by a guy called Puzle from a t-shirt label called Burn Crew, whom he met in Sydney, where he sprayed some of his famous rat stencils and a ‘Little Diver’ image around the city, including the famous ACDC lane.
When Banksy’s work appeared in Melbourne, this also represents the last time Massive Attack played in the city, at the Vodafone Arena on March 11th that year, before playing at the Sydney Entertainment Centre of the 14th March, Brisbane on the 16th March and Canberra on the 18th, as part of their Australian tour.
In early August of 2005, Banksy visited Palestine, painting a total of 9 pieces on the Palestinian Wall, including the famous ‘West Bank Guard’ showing a young girl searching a soldier for contraband. He returned a decade later, in February 2015, he further stirred the collective conscience by ‘bombing’ his way across slabs left over from Israel’s 2014 offensive in Gaza.
westbankd
As for a possible Massive Attack appearance around the time Banksy visited Palestine in early 2005, there is none. Del Naja and Massive Attack have been working since 2005 with the HOPING foundation- Hope and Optimism for Palestinians in the Next Generation –  and have continuously lent their support to Palestine issues. After having played 2 gigs in Israel previously, he joined the movement for a cultural boycott of the country in 2010.
The band also played a run of three benefit concerts in Birmingham and London in 2007 for the foundation, while also made the headlines in July of 2014, with their headline show at Longitude Festival in Dublin including graphics which highlighted their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. Later that month the band staged a concert in Lebanon in collaboration with the HOPING project to support Palestinian refugees after visiting the Bourj el Barajneh refugee camp.
Perhaps of all the locations tagged by Banksy, Mali has to be the most random of places to have felt his artistic presence. Concretely, his work was uncovered in the suburbs of Bamako in Mali around January/February of 2007, with images first appearing online around four months later.
Bamako is a name that resonates due its links to Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project. Del Naja became involved with the project after visiting The Congo with Albarn in late 2007, and has strong links to the Mali music scene – being cited alongside Johnny Marr in Malian musicians’ Madou and Mariam’s section of the ‘Voices United For Mali’ song of peace, which was released in January 2013 – a song which was recorded in Studio Bogolan in Bamako.
Alburn himself part produced the album ‘Welcome to Mali’ by Madou & Mariam, which itself was part recorded in Bamako in early 2008, around the time when the murals appeared in the city.
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Skip to 2008, and Banksy made his Asian debut after his work was included in the ‘Love Art 08’ exhibition at the end of April at the city’s Art Centre. This was around the same time that the art group United Visual Arts were invited to showcase their award winning multimedia artwork ‘Volume’ at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, from the 11-20th April.
Interestingly, the piece was a collaboration between design collective United Visual Artists, Del Naja and his long-term co-writer Neil Davidge (as part of their music production company, one point six).
Throughout his career, Banksy has spoken of his friendship with the band’s Robert Del Naja – himself a graffiti artist. Del Naja and Banksy are said to have exhibited together at shows in the past, with Banksy citing Del Naja as a big influence on his work.
And Del Naja himself appeared in Banksy’s ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’, speaking about his relationship with the artist from his early days in Bristol.
2013_BM_RobertDelNaja-054.jpg
2013_BM_RobertDelNaja-054.jpg
The artist also provides the foreword to the tome ‘3D & the Art of Massive Attack’, released in August 2015, which reads… “When I was about 10 years old, a kid called 3D was painting the streets hard. 3D quit painting and formed the band Massive Attack, which may have been a good thing for him, but was a big loss for the city.”
Del Naja was a graffiti artist long before becoming the ‘creative director’ of sorts of Massive Attack, and is held in high regard as one of the pioneers of the stencil graffiti movement, helping to bring hip-hop and graffiti culture to Bristol in the 1980s. And his work has been featured on all of Massive Attack’s record sleeved to date.
It’s also worth noting that Massive Attack cancelled a headline performance at Banksy’s ‘Dismaland’ event in September, citing ‘technical difficulties’. Banksy himself asked attendees to the event to wear masks, with the idea for ‘The Masked Ball’ being that he could attend without his identity being revealed by the paparazzi in attendance.
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Perhaps the assertion then that Banksy is just one person is wide of the mark, instead being a group who have, over the years, followed Massive Attack around and painted walls at their leisure.
And perhaps, at the head of such a group we have Del Naja. A multi disciplined artist in front of one the seminal groups in recent British music history, doubling up as the planet’s most revered street artist. Now that would be cool.