The Skinny on Latvia’s Positivus

A few days ago I was sitting on cool sand, watching the sun like an electric arcade coin drop from a sorbet sky into the waters of Riga Bay, off the Baltic Sea, black as a pint of Imperial Baltic porter, some accident of algae and tidal patterns.  This was minutes before one of the secular saints of my childhood, Robert Plant, took the main stage, just a short walk east through the pines.

IMG_8258The Skinny sent me to cover the Positivus music festival in Salacgrīva, Latvia last weekend – so go ahead, click, and skip the precis.  It was incredible: intimate, idyllic, with a great mix of marquee acts (Kasabian, Robert Plant) hot newcomers (St. Vincent, Warpaint, Jack Garratt), and delightful Eastern Euro surprises (The Big Bluff) and in size, setting, and atmosphere, a total contrast to T in the Park, which I’d covered the previous weekend. IMG_8449

Naturally, I spent my days sampling as many of the Baltic States’ distinctive beers as I could.  I’ll also have a post on the charms of Riga, where the UK and Central European press (and plenty of the bands) stayed during the festival – expect more soon.  In the meantime, you can see my pictures of Riga and the festival here, and my amateurish efforts at band photography from the press pit here, and listen to my interview with The Big Bluff (just under 20 minutes – at turns awkward and heartening, always interesting) here.

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The Skinny – Reviews and Cultural Commentary

Independent, in-the-know, on the edge – journalism with panache and velocity.  The Skinny is a monthly culture mag serving Scotland and Northern England, covering the music and arts scenes in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen, and Dundee.  I started contributing in June – you can find all my articles and reviews for The Skinny here.

Interviews and Features

Living Abroad in Edinburgh: An Ex-Pat Guide

WOMPS

C Duncan

Lydia Kavina (theremin virtuosa)

Live Reviews

SxSW 2016

The Edinburgh Festivals – August 2015 (The Black Sorrows, James Brown Is Annie, Japan Marvelous Drummers, The Sun Ra Arkestra, Antonio Forcione and Adriano Adewale, The Waterboys)

Positivus (Latvia) 17-19 July 2015 (featuring Placebo, Kasabian, St. Vincent, Warpaint, Jungle, Basement Jaxxx, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters)

T in the Park ,10-12 July 2015

Friday, featuring: The Cribs, Jessie Ware, Hozier, Model Aeroplanes, Kasabian

Saturday, featuring: The LaFontaines, Stillhound, Charli XCX, Enter Shikari, Vukovi, St. Vincent

Sunday, featuring: Admiral Fallow, Idlewild, Alabama Shakes, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks) – Glasgow School of Art, 16 June 2015

Earl Sweatshirt – Glasgow O2 ABC, 8 June 2015

Album Reviews

From 2019:

Cage The Elephant – Social Cues

From 2018:

Gorillaz – The Now Now

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Yonatan Gat – Universalists

Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart – Black Coffee

From 2017:

Benjamin Clementine – I Tell A Fly

Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

BadBadNotGood – Late Night Tales

Beach Fossils – Somersault

Gorillaz – Humanz

From 2016:

The Last Shadow Puppets – The Dream Synopsis EP

Warpaint – Heads Up

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

WOMPS – Our Fertile Forever

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything That You’ve Come To Expect

Lake Street Dive – Side Pony

From August 2015:

Dr. Dre – Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre

From July 2015:

Albert Hammond, Jr. – Momentary Masters

Ghostface Killah – Adrian Younge presents: Twelve Reasons to Die II

Gunship – Gunship

C Duncan – Architect

Admiral Fallow – Tiny Rewards