2014: A Year In Music

1. Linkin Park (Download Festival, Derbyshire, UK)

The first 45 minutes of the Linkin Park set at Download 2015 was superb. Hybrid Theory played in it’s entirety with such energy it was pretty much flawless. That added with the fact my boys were in absolute awe of what they were seeing put this at #1…

2. Lionel Richie (Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, US)

You’d never guess this Walkers Crisps advertiser has been a bus pass owner for over 5 years. So much energy on stage for someone getting on, but some of the banter had me and the wife in stitches. As this was a special occasion to mark our second wedding in Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay), this one came very close to top spot. Lionel, you are forgiven for those extra-crunchy adverts with Gary Lineker (the smarmy silver velvet owl)…

3. Lenny Kravitz (Wembley Arena, London, UK)

3. Lenny Kravitz

He may well have swapped his microphone recently for clapperboards (Hunger Games) and high spec CAD programs (interior design business), but once he is back on the stage, our Lenny sure does know how to rock. Banging out some of the old classics as well as fresher tunes from his new album, me and the significant other bopped the night away in that there London…

4. Gun N Roses (Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, US)

4. Guns N Roses

So I finally got to see GnR and where better than the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. All the songs I wanted them to knock out they did, and most surprisingly them came out on time! I guess the retainers in Las Vegas for residency artists make sure that happen. This also marked a special occasion, my boy’s first gig ever, kind of cool to say that your first gig was GnR in Las Vegas, mine was a sweaty Lisa Dominique in a sweatier Milo’s Bar in Liverpool…

5. Nick Harper (Leaf, Liverpool, UK)

5. Nick Harper

Like a good whiskey, every time I see Nick Harper he improves with age. Even though this time he was well under the weather, his Leaf gig in Liverpool once again did not disappoint. Becoming more and more familiar with his works makes each gig a little more personal, a little more pleasurable. I bought his cd which he dutifully signed at the end of the night – even though he did manage scrawl a reference to his bowels on the cover…

6. John Legend (Apollo Theatre, Manchester, UK)

"YouTube OnStage Live from the Kennedy Center" Concert Event Celebrating YouTube's 9th Birthday

An evening with John Legend. When the tickets for the Manchester gig came up we were in Las Vegas. We were in fact getting married (again) in Las Vegas to one of his songs (although it probably wasn’t the exact same time as the text message we received). Our friend duly bought the wife and I two tickets, and when the time came around the boy didn’t disappoint. Touching story telling mixed with beautiful piano playing, plus he had everyone up out of their seats at the end. The man, the Legend…

7. Ozric Tentacles (Live Rooms, Chester, UK)

7. Ozric Tentacles

I have always been an admirer of the Ozrics earlier albums and was quite shocked to find out recently that they had 24 albums out to date. How do you listen to all of them before a gig? Answer you don’t. The Live Rooms at Chester was very personal indeed, a tiny venue meant it was as close as you were gonna get to the Ozrics without getting your eyes wet. Cosmic soundscapes were blasted through various instruments, Erpland the best on the night (and probably the only one I recognised). Far out maaaaan…

8. Lawnmower Death (Download Festival, Derbyshire, UK)

8. Lawnmower Deth

What visit to the Download 2015 Pepsi Max Tent would be complete without a set from Nottingham’s finest Lawnmover Deth. Banging out classics like “Thermo Nuclear War is Good for Your Complexion”, “Watch Out Grandma Here Comes A Lawnmower” and the seminal classic “Cobwoman of Death Meets Mr Smelly Mop”, all to the back drop of a game human Pinball Fantasies, using massive gym balls. One word to describe it all – CARNAGE!

9. Anathema (Download Festival, Derbyshire, UK)

9. Anathema

My sons have long admired the outputs of Scouse progsters Anathema, so when I told them that the were playing an acoustic set at Download 2015 as a side order to the Linkin Park main course, they were overjoyed to say the least. Due to some technical issues, they only managed to knock out 4 songs, but all of that was enough to whet their appetites all the more for their upcoming performance at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool next year.

10. Richard Townend (Cafe de Bieb, Den Haag, Netherlands)

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I’ve worked with Richard this year (we are both Business Analysts when dressed in our corporate cloaks), and it was only through chance that I came to understand that he was into music. Not only into music, but by jingo a very talented artist! I listened to some of his songs on Spotify and acquired a few CD’s of his which I liked too. A complete juxtaposition to the likes of Lawnmower Deth, the blues/jazz open mic night he played at the uber-cool Cafe de Bieb in Den Haag was top drawer. I wish him all the best for his new album and hope to see him live again in 2015.

Down the rabbit hole…

If I’m certain of one thing in relation to consciousness, it’s time dilation.

I had one of the most profound dreams I’ve ever had two nights ago, one of those meaning of life experiences. Sadly as the events of the previous night involved a bit too much festive cheer at the work Christmas Party, the contents of the dream remain a mystery.

It was only after going through the entries of the Notes app on my iPhone that there was some semblance of recall. This is what it said:

What I do remember is climbing (crawling) into bed around 2am, and at some point waking up from a dream and reaching across to the bedside table in the hotel and picking up my phone, the scraps of dream content being type with some accuracy (given the state I must have been in) in the same way I once kept my Lucid Dream Diary.

Time. Time is the only thing I remember about the dream. The visual representation has been lost, no pictures were stored to hard disk, but what I do remember is that the dream lasted quite literally an eternity. I had with the space of 2 hours of ‘real time’ lived not only a previous life, but the entire history of human consciousness.

Time really is wonderful, as is the perception of time. Clearly, our consciousness (our “awake-state”) perceives time as linear, with each segment clearly defined, measured and going from left to right. However, the same cannot be said for our sub-conscious / unconscious self (our “not awake-state”), the rules of the game are different and simply do not apply.

It is as if we have in our noggins two distinct consciousness’s, Observer 1 who observes time in accordance to the rules of being awake, and Observer 2 who operates in a time with no real rules at all. These consciousness’s have the ability to talk to each other, to commune and share each other’s experiences and it is the duty of Observer 1 to interact with other conscious or awake Observers (you) in what we call reality.

What is reality? Reality it seems depends on which Observer in charge; both could argue that their definition / experience of what reality is, is correct.

So how far down the rabbit hole are we; is there an Observer 0? Is what we think Observer 1’s reality just a part of the “super-consciousness” of Observer 0, in the same way that we think that Observer 2 is simply a subordinate of Observer 1, our waking self?

I’m not sure, but “I” hopes to find out one day…