The DCH Blog
Corn Hall Comedy Club - Steve Hall and Vikki Stone - Sunday 28th June 2015
The final Comedy Club before the refurbishment of the Corn Hall featured two very different comedians, Steve Hall and Vikki Stone. First Steve Hall in his understated and charming manner previewed his Edinburgh show 'Zebra' which took the audience through the trials of being a new parent and what it's like hating other people's children, and also featured anecdotes starring a drunk Anita Dobson, Kermit the Frog and a liaison between Steve's aunt and the actor Robert Mitchum.
Sadly I cannot go into detail about this liaison, and for similar reasons neither can I go into detail about Vikki Stones' hilarious songs which included odes to Phillip Schofield, the scientist Brian Cox and Sam (everyone present will remember Sam for a while!). Vikki raced across the stage in the opening half of her set featuring new material playing Key-tar, flute, clarinet and violin bemoaning social media and explaining the difficulties of becoming a star flute player, before settling down behind the keyboards to rattle through her established songs. It was great to have such a unique performer in the final Corn Hall Comedy Club in its current state before the refurbishment.
The next Comedy Club goes ‘on tour’ to Diss Rugby Club on 31st July. Details of the location can be found on this website.
By Robbie Sunderland
Mishaped Pearls presented by FolkEast - a review - Sunday 21st June 2015
The Corn Hall was treated to one last night of live music before its imminent closure for refurbishment by Misshaped Pearls, who provided a fitting swansong for the venue with their elegiac, pastoral music.
Support was provided Daisy Vaughn, a local artist with an astonishing voice. Accompanied only by her guitar, she provided the perfect contrast the big sounds to come from the headline act. Fronted by the imposing figure of German-born mezzo soprano Manuela Schuette, the aptly name Misshaped Pearls defy categorisation. Notionally folk, Massimo Troiani’s heavy basslines are reminiscent of the Afro Celt Sound System, while the Andrew Sleightholme’s loops trigger memories of early Hawkwind. There are moments of Steve Reich in Tom Finigan’s insistent mandolin, while Laurel Pardue’s emphatic violin brought to mind Ennio Morricone. But whatever the inspiration for this eclectic, edgy music, all of it was beautifully and crispy performed by this super talented and super cool seven piece band.
The Corn Hall’s commitment to folk music over the last few years has made it a key venue for audiences and performers of traditional music. As the Hall embarks on a new era, it is perhaps fitting that this final performance came from a band that is so radically redefining the genre.
By David Vass
Whiplash (15) - a pre-screening review - Monday 15th June 2015
Drummers are so often seen as the poor relations of “proper” musicians - their bone-headed stupidity at the heart of drummer jokes for generations. Whiplash, in the course of its brisk 100 minutes manages to demolish every prejudice you might have about this odd hybrid of craft and art, showing that it requires an almost obsessional dedication and other-worldly dexterity.
Although this is a film about music and musicians, writer and director Damian Chazelle also explores the nature of mentoring and teaching, unafraid to look into the narcissistic dark heart of the artistic process. The conclusions he draws are uncomfortable, but the argument he builds is compelling and convincing. JK Simmons is brilliant as a pathologically bullying teacher whose wrong-headed tactics drive his pupils to the edge of sanity. In a narrative masterstroke, the object of his relentless cruelty is no shrinking violet either. Miles Teller’s chilly portrait of a selfish, driven student frequently loses our sympathy, and audience loyalties are constantly manipulated in this clever, thought-provoking film.
While some of the set pieces may seem implausible, it’s worth noting that the film is based on the director’s own experiences. What emerges is a tightly directed cautionary tale with an abiding message that, though it might seem unlikely, some people really are this mad, bad and dangerous to know.
By David Vass