|Index||5 reviews in total|
For those who don't get British television, this DVD was something new:
a look at the some of the highlights of long-running show hosted by
Jools Holland. His show, I'm guessing, has varied musical guests who
perform and chat with him and the music is centered in rock 'n roll,
although you get a big mix.
On this DVD, of the same title as the TV show, we get individual songs performed by singers. (There are no interviews; this is strictly a concert-like tape.)
It gave me an opportunity to see some people I've never seen performed as this DVD has over 20 performers filmed over the years. Everyone should have a least a half dozen songs they really like in here. My personal favorites, for either the great song they did or the fact it was fun to finally see them perform, were: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Beck, Robert Plant/Jimmy Page, Bo Diddley, R.E.M., The Kinks and Ian Dury. Of that group, I think Bo Diddley's number ("I'm Crazy') was the most fun.
In a media world full of fluff, triviality and mindlessly produced &
manufactured pap-music, comes a polished diamond in a sea of plastic
"Later..." has been delighting a more mature & sophisticated music audience for a decade and long may it continue to do so.
Using a very standard but successful studio set our host, the very easy on the eye, Jools Holland introduces perhaps 3 or 4 groups or singers positioned almost adjacent to each other throughout the studio.
The set arrangement is complete with perhaps an audience of around 150 people in the mid 20s and above group, who seem to understand and appreciate fine music.
The choice of music is not themed, and neither does the show play "populist" music that would only really see light of day on MTV, Top of the Pops or children's TV programs where quality-music just isn't an option.
Instead the majority of artists are real musicians with a backing band who play real instruments. There are no over-dubs, no miming, no boy/girl bands prancing about like moron-fodder to a witless tune no one with even a iota of intelligence really gives a fig about.
Thus a typical show might open with a hard rock riff say Jeff Beck and then the next group will play some World Music, or Folk music or just a simple ballad before moving on to the next invited group on the show.
In all an artist will get to sing perhaps 2 or 3 songs in each 40 minute show, coupled with a brief but very informal chat with the lead.
All in all it makes for a very satisfying show that is easy on the eye as well as the ear. There are no fancy gimmicks, graphics, menus or other stupid video sfx here. Holland, is just a natural talent to host a show like this, and on a few occasions he actually gets his piano out and gets involved with a song or two from one of the bands.
"Later...." is a quality tv show, a cultural oasis in a desert full of averageness. If only it had a longer runtime rather than the 40 minutes it gets now.
Let The Good Times Rock (and Roll)
Music on television is a strange thing. The majority of music is aimed
at a young audience and this is even truer about the television
programmes that tend to dominate. MTV, Top of the Pops, CD:UK, call it
what you want, they all tend to be aimed at teenage (or thereabout)
girls and boys. Therefore the pressure is on to provide a product
rather than a piece of music and any visual presentation of this music
must fall nicely within specific tick-boxes hence lots of GQ male
ballads or lots of ass-shaking depending on the type of music. However
for the last decade "Later" has at least tried to be a bit more adult
and more about the music, aiming for a different audience section.
This is not to say it is somehow better than "popular" music and turns its nose up at anything that sells, but rather than it takes a wider view generally. So we will get the artists from the singles charts as well as new bands, established artists as well as genres of music that MTV etc just don't have any time for or interest in. Not all of it is great and by definition not every viewer will like all the artists performing on any one show but at least it is interesting and grownup about the whole thing. The presentation makes it all feel a lot more intimate because it is a small audience, the bands are within an open, circular area and the mood is relaxing; it is refreshingly free of the feel of gloss and, although the music at times will still be like this, most people will be tuning in for the music and the vibe rather than as a way of staring at a black woman's backside (which, lets be honest, is why MTV Base has a big male viewing base).
Jools himself matches and sets the mood as he genuinely seems excited about the music and the format. The artists selected range from the well-known to the unknown (to me anyway) but they are mostly interesting and allow you to experience different things rather than only getting music from one genre (although there have been special shows that do this). I normally would tape it so that I can fast-forward anything I really don't like but more often than not I have got into an artist thanks to hearing a couple of tracks from them on Later.
Overall this is a solid music show that, although not perfect, is certainly better than pop shows and music video channels for showcasing music and providing interest. Many viewers will prefer to stick with videos and the nice safe formats where you know what you are getting but Later will always get my vote as somewhere where I expect more.
I've watched 'Later..' a lot over the nine years that it's been running. I think what makes it an enjoyable watch is the musical vriety that this show embodies. For instance... a guitar-god like Jeff Beck ripping it up in the studio and then onto some plaintive African singing, and then to delta blues artists and current pop acts and also a couple of interviews for good measure. Unlike kid's music shows that just focus on Spice Girls, Hear'Say and Robbie Williams or whatever! So it has my vote. Keep it up Jools...! 9/10
"Later With Jools Holland" can never be on late enough, for me at
least. In fact, I'd have preferred "Never With Jools Holland", a sort
of elusive non-show, with Jools never quite managing to make an
appearance in a show that never quite existed. This would be a kind of
twilightzoneish scenario, but even the most malevolent episode of that
60s fantasy series is a picnic for its main protagonist compared to
having to listen to Jools and the talentless, over-hyped "artistes" he
invites to his sleepy program.
Not once have I heard interesting music played there. Not once has any band or so-called "artiste" played their music with more energy than is barely contained in a small, near-death table lamp. The audio drowsiness LWJH's music emits out of the small screen can only be matched by the soothing voice of a master-hypnotist as he puts his client into deep slumber. Except that Jools & co have become such experts over the years that the nap is more like a deep coma. No wonder it's "later" with JH: UK television execs aren't foolish enough to put their viewers to sleep before prime time...
To make matters even worse, even more predictable, Jools calls all his guests "artists". Everyone's an artist today, even 50 Cent; soon even janitors will be praised for their artistic tackling of our waste products in emergency situations in toilets around the world. Who knows, maybe the mere ability to drink water out of a glass will be praised as "art" in a few years. Perhaps burping, as well? The term "artist" used to mean something. But thanks to MTV, the lobbyist media, the general dumbing-down of the increasingly riff-raff-ish Western populace, and cowardly types such as Jools, we now have a situation in which Green Day and Nelly Furtado are on par with the likes of Rembrandt and Debussy, at least semantically.
Even when - by pure chance, I imagine, or by severe miscalculation on the part of the show's clueless/tone-deaf/bribed producers - Jools invites a band of quality, they manage to sound their worst on this ultra-lame show. Jools has a talent, no doubt about it: the rare talent of getting the worst possible performance and sound out of everyone. There is something magical about Jools. He inspires his "artistes" to dig deep, very deep, down, down, to find that inner worthlessness that even the most experienced and sold-out musicians never knew existed in them. Jools draws the absolute worst out of everyone, which can serve as an inspiration to us all, sending a clear message: YOU CAN BE THE WORST YOU CAN BE IF YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO IT. Sort of like the reverse of the American Dream. Let's just call it The Dream of The Jewels. Money for nothing, jewels for free.
Are the Netherlands offended that Jools carries their other name? I'd be. They ought to sue his sorry little ass. And after they bankrupt him, he can write a dull, emotionless ballad about "them da blues he's feelin'" on his long-suffering piano. Come to think of it, pianos should sue him, too. Music, also. Notes, as well. Do re mi fa... all twelve of them ought to sue him. God forbid he should invite a band heavier than Coldplay! They might wake up the MTV-slave crowds sitting pathetically at home or in that badly-lit studio...
Fans of Jools and his non-glittering jewels praise how uncommercial the program is. They remind me of those severely deluded 20-something Take That fans who believe that they're listening to "adult music". LWJH features easily-digestible commercial pap, rarely going beyond the realm of charts - or "artistes" that were once in the charts (but now that they aren't, are considered by their fans to be "super-artistes"...)
I've no idea how this guy got his own TV show. He has the charisma of a fish. I mean the kind of fish species that has so little personality than even the hungriest shark will delete it from its menu for fear of getting contaminated. The thankfully brief interviews he does are a perfectly dull prelude to the apathetic music that nearly always follows. It's almost as if the conversation between Jools and the "artiste" serves as a way to drain away the last ounce of motivation and energy (if there is any to start with; usually not) from the "artiste", so that he can achieve his maximum in the art of under-performing.
The fact that nearly all of these guest "artistes" put on a cowardly, fake smiles on their collective faces while appearing on this show only goes to further prove how little pride or integrity they have nowadays. Prostitution has a new name, and it's called "agreeing to appear on Jools' lousy program".
Seriously, even Tobey Maguire's lifeless, unmotivated, blank face doesn't make me nod off as much as Jools and his non-traveling, static, studio non-circus does.
For more of my music-related rants: http://rateyourmusic.com/~Fedor8
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