Throughout the last few months, Michael McIntyre has been announcing some warm up shows in small venues. Basically he has a big UK tour coming up next year and by booking these shows, he is taking jokes which he has written and seeing if they are funny. He also has a charity Christmas show tomorrow actually (this was written on Sunday 11th Dec) and a TV recording on Tuesday night for a show that will be aired on Christmas day. He also announced a few shows in London in small theatres, one being The Duchess Theatre, to warm up for these Christmas shows. I got a ticket for one of the Duchess dates not really knowing what to expect. In the first place, I didn’t know he was doing Christmas shows, which is what he warmed up for in the show I saw. A quick word about the theatre - it is slightly tucked out the way near Covent Garden. Before locating the theatre, I was looking at the map on my phone and almost fell down the stairs of a drag queen club. After that though, I found the place fairly quickly. I feel organisation was a bit strange in that there were no times up about when people could go take their seats or anything. That annoyed me as I was there alone so that information could have been useful. I ended up walking around the local area, even walking quite a long way down The Strand. When we were eventually let downstairs, we weren’t allowed into our seats. So I went to the bar and sodomised my wallet by paying £4.50 for a 500ml can of Carlsberg – not a fun experience. After that was consumed I went back out of the bar to stand and wait in the corridor which was just awkward as I was pretty sure I was there alone. Eventually my pain was spared and we let into the seats. Josh Widdicombe served as support for the evening and he was really quite funny. The highlight of this for me was him talking about singleton activities as I was there alone, and could relate. Not long after, Michael McIntyre came on and started his show by highlighting how someone in the front didn’t clap him. “I’m not clapping for previous work, I reserve my claps for tonight’s material which hasn’t started yet!” and then after some more banter tried to throw Malteser’s into the guys mouth. It is hard for me to review a comedians warm up show without spoiling the material which I’m sure is to be used soon so I will simply say he was superb. I know some people don’t care for his style of comedy but I think he is hilarious, and this evening in London reaffirmed that for me. I am seriously considering going to his headline tour now next year as he was that funny.
Moving forward a week to yesterday (again, 11th) and the Rock Sound Riot tour came to the Wedgewood Rooms. This was Every Time I Die, Trash Talk, Defeater and Spycatcher. As a side story to this, I got to Fratton via train, on which I wanted to use the toilet (that maybe too much information but it explains why I was outside the toilet to witness what I did). The one by where I got on the train was out of service so I walked down the train to the next one, which was occupied. Now, Cosham to Fratton is usually only a 9min journey so I wasn’t sure if I had time but figured if this person left the toilet fairly soon, I’d be fine. When we got to Hilsea, two guys emerged from the toilet. Now, all sorts of things could have gone on in there, but the two most likely are they were in there trying to join the 0m club (trains aren’t that far off the ground!) or they were in there doing drugs. Hey, I just think the worst of people don’t I? They could have been in there playing Hungry Hungry Hippos for all I know (wait...what’s that hippo eati....never mind!) As I decided one of those two things just happened in there, there was no chance I was going in, and I resigned myself to waiting until we got to Fratton, who locked their station toilets as I arrived (cheers!). The overall result of this was going to a pub for a pint (I’m not usually someone who shits and shoots) and missing most of Spycatcher, which was a real shame cause they sounded quite good.
The next band up after a wee break was Defeater who I thought were really good at the time, and said this quite a few of times to Dave (who was with me). I would like to say more about them but I am suffering from a complete brain fart and actually can’t remember much of them other than them being good. The tour was essentially a co-headliner with the two final bands getting 45-50mins each. The first of these co-headliners was Trash Talk. I was really looking forward to seeing them live when they got announced for this tour and if I am perfectly honest, I was disappointed. There were aspects of their set that I did like but the major gripe I had with them was how quick a lot of the songs they played were. I tweeted that they had been on stage for no more than 6mins and were already into their 4th song. That to me is just absurd. After a break and a lot of twitter usage to lament something I will talk about shortly, it was time for Every Time I Die. Now, considering this tour was a co-headliner deal, they really were adequate headliners. I would say the only disappointment would be how short their set was but I guess if they are on a package tour then it was always going to be a short set. Their set was a very good one and included a new song which was excellent. If their new album is even half as good as that song, it will still be great. ETID saved the gig for me really.
I was on my way to London last Sunday to see Michael McIntyre when the following tweet appeared on my timeline:
@loubut - Dear Leona Lewis. Please leave Nine Inch Nails track 'Hurt' well & truly alone. Cash did it well, but he WAS Cash. Enough said.
The very news of such a cover made me sigh. It is not uncommon for X Factor winners and finalists to cover songs. Every so often these covers make a news story (Matt Cardle changing Biffy Clyro’s ‘Many of Horror’ to ‘When We Collide’ being a notable example). So the news that Leona Lewis is covering a song is not news. The choice of song though is the aspect which made me sigh. ‘Hurt’ is a very emotional song. It was released when Trent Reznor was in the middle of drug addiction and my interpretation of the song is his acknowledgement that his addiction is harming himself but others as well. As discussed in the tweet above, Johnny Cash covered ‘Hurt’. I don’t know the story behind Cash covering the song but I’ve heard the cover (and love the cover for that matter) and it is equally as emotional as the original. The video really makes the cover version better though as it shows Cash in his home, looking very frail with his wife, who passed away not long after it was filmed. Cash himself passed away not long after his wife. The cover is a very emotional song, especially with the benefit of hindsight as we know now that Cash was dying. You read that, alongside the news that Leona Lewis is covering the song and something doesn’t seem right. I saw the story on NME and thought “...what?!” I arrived home on Friday and saw that it was on YouTube and thought “I have to know”...
It is not good.
Actually it is bad.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise coming from me. Before I heard the song I thought I wouldn’t like it. But with things like this, I love to be proved wrong. In the first place, it is not a good cover. In the first place, I don’t think her voice suits the song. It is almost like what I heard someone say about comedy once – “if you don’t write your jokes, you can’t deliver them with conviction”. Using that rule that would be why Trent Reznor said that ‘Hurt’ was now Johnny Cash’s song, as he made it his own. Anyway, it sounds as though the person playing piano has tried to subtly change a few notes here and there. Unfortunately, it is not subtle. I wondered when I found out about this song, whether or not she would sing the line “the needle tears a hole, the old familiar sting” as there is no doubt what that is about. Well she does sing it. I was unaware she was an intravenous drug user. Hell I almost became one during this song. This line was not omitted which seems odd to me. Leona Lewis has basically just sung about injecting drugs into her. I would wager that is a slight change in lyrical direction than usual (although she did once sing about bleeding love. Now, I always thought that was about her period or something* but maybe it is in fact that she loves heroin and bleeds when she injects it in herself). So yeah, that lyric not omitted. Following the first chorus in the original, the lines are “I wear this crown of shit, upon my liars chair, full of broken thoughts, I cannot repair. Beneath the stains of time...” and in the Cash cover, those lines are all there aside from one word change (“shit” to “thorns”). Leona Lewis kicks back into the song at “Beneath the stains of time...” What?! Where did the lyrics go? How can you cut that bit out but leave in a bit about pumping yourself full of smack? Anyway, the end of the song suddenly becomes a lot more full-on than the rest of the song but not in a good way. Basically, I don’t think the cover of ‘Hurt’ by Leona Lewis is good. I think it was the wrong choice of song for her to do. The only part of me which hurt after this was my ears!
The cover annoys me because I am a massive fan of the two previous cover versions. Hell even the YouTube exclusive of ‘Hurt’ by Sad Kermit is better than the version by Leona Lewis. As a side note though about the song. On X Factor (where I am told Leona Lewis sang it live), it was introduced as a cover of ‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash. Trent Reznor may have said that the song is now Cash’s; that does not mean the version by NIN just disappears! 1994 was the year The Downward Spiral came out (the album that ‘Hurt’ was on). Cash’s cover came out in 2002! It shouldn’t bug me but X Factor has a big audience and they have given out incorrect information to millions of people, ignoring the contribution of NIN. It bugs me as a NIN fan that people are saying this is a Cash song. You are allowed to not know, but a simple bit of research will learn you on this matter. Do yourself a favour, go listen to the NIN original, then listen to Cash’s cover. Then go and yell at whoever thought Leona Lewis covering ‘Hurt’ was a good idea!
*I didn’t nor do I think her song “Bleeding Love” is about her having a period. Get the sand out of your vagina before complaining about a joke. If you didn’t complain, ignore this!