Walk A Mile/2012 Hours Against Hate
July 24, 2012
The Hospital Club, 24 Endell Street, London – WC2H 9HQ
As the saying goes, you don’t know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. And that is the philosophy behind the 2012 Hours Against Hate and the Walk A Mile initiative, launched on July 24 at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden. It was set up by the US State Department and is headed by Hilary Clinton. The music portion of the UK initiative, including the theme song, is fronted by British music God Dave Stewart. So needless to say, when I rocked up at the Hospital Club in a pair of cut off jeans and a tshirt with Annie Hardy from New York band Giant Drag being “gagged” by Hollywood, I felt a little underdressed. We were handed a beautiful leather “Good Work(s)” wrist band, covered in phrases like “give back”, “seek wisdom”, “plant peace” and “seek kindness”, and then plonked amongst people dressed in suits and evening dresses drinking wine and partaking in plates of miniaturised food. Needless to say, I felt slightly out of place in my usual gig wear. But after all, this was still a gig… right? I was seeing a host of international artists that were most likely going to rock my world, and I didn’t want to be sweating it out in a suit.
The proceedings were opened by Dave Stewart, looking every inch the rock star in his Ringmaster General getup – black top hat, black glittery jacket, with a pale white face offset by his dark beard. He launched into songs from his 2011 album The Blackbird Diaries. Opening with ‘So Long Ago’ and ‘Beast Called Fame’, he owned the stage – as you’d expect from one of brit-rock’s most eccentric elders. On stage with him was the sexiest saxophonist of them all, Candy Dulfer, and it wasn’t long before the familiar tones of ‘Lily Was Here’, the hit they penned for the film Mystery Date, wafted over the sound system. Candy is one of the most accomplished saxophonists in the world, having played with not only Dave Stewart but Prince, Madonna and Van Halen, and she still packs as much of a visual punch as a sonic one – it was a pleasure to watch and listen to her.
The official song for Walk A Mile is a duet called ‘Man To Man (Woman To Woman)’ with South Korean trip hop, folk and multimedia artist Jihae, who joined Dave on stage to perform the stunning song, created for Transendental Music, the charity record label run by maverick film director David Lynch. The song moved me lyrically, and by the second time I’d heard the chorus I was singing along, drawn in by Jihaes’ beautiful voice. As she performed two of her own songs, specifically the stunning ‘Illusion Of You’, from her forthcoming album of the same name, I was struck by her vocal tone, and how it recalled Grace Jones and Marianne Faithful, tweeting that she sounded like “Marianne Faithful on a trip with UNKLE”. Jihae is definately one I will be watching in the future, and I’m already excited about Illusion In You.
Irish folk outfit The Waterboys were next up, bringing us their unique brand of rock tinged folk, and as they played through hits ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ and ‘Strange Boat’, along with ‘Bring ‘Em All In’ from Mike Scott’s debut solo album, the audience lapped up their beautiful melodies and boundless energy. Then a bunch of kids came on and stole the show. Typical.
‘Everybody Dreams’, a song written and performed by students from Gladesmore Community School in Tottenham, is their bid for chart success, and with its pop melody and rap section, it’s easily the best and most current school choir single I’ve ever heard. Released as an effort to show the flip side to the Tottenham that burned during the London Riots last Summer, it’s a song I am behind 100%. I was once a Tottenham local, a place defined by its community spirit and it was shocking to see it disintegrating in front of me.
Forget about what you’ve heard.
Forget about what you’ve seen.
We’ve found a place to be,
Where everybody dreams…
The positive message of ‘Everybody Dreams’ should be applauded and I for one will be buying it when it is released on 19th August.
I’m a sucker for a loop pedal – so when KT Tunstall stormed onto the stage, a vision in sequins and leopard print, to perform her poundingly brilliant ‘Uumannaq Song’, recording the backing vocals on her loop pedal and then singing over the top of them, I had to struggle not to get on my feet! Having said that, my stool was quite high and I’m quite short, so I think getting on my feet might have been a problem. I’ve always been a great fan of KT Tunstall, and her performances of this along with ‘Push The Knot Away’ and new song ‘Invisible Empire’ did nothing to change that. But was with her closer, ‘Suddenly I See’ the song she wrote about Punk legend Patti Smith, that I realised exactly why she is the force she is.
“Suddently I See exactly why I love @KTTunstall! Outstanding.”
That was all my Twitter would handle.
Now, this wouldn’t have been a Dave Stewart show without a couple of Eurythmics classics, and on the first he was assisted by legend Daryl Hall (of Hall And Oats fame) in a stunning ballad rendition of ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’. Daryl also sang a couple of his own songs, including the monster hit ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’.
This being an event to raise awarness of the Clinton Global Initiative, #2012HoursAgainstHate and the Olympic WalkAMile campaign, we had some beautiful and inspiring speeches from Hannah Rosenthal and Farah Pandith from the State Department, who made me even more interested in the 2012 Hours Against Hate campaign than I already was. I really do agree with them that if everyone spent an hour a day helping someone who doesn’t live like them, love like them, look like them or pray like them, this world would be a much better place.
Other highlights of the evening including award winning composer Hans Zimmer joinging Dave Stewart on stage to play electric guitar with him (at which point I could have sworn someone had put something in my wine) and the amazing KT Tunstall giving us a truly awesome rendition of ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’, our other Eurythmics classic.
Music has always been a unparalleled way of uniting people and, despite the twitter feed from those watching the live stream who announced that the audience at the Hospital Club looked bored, there was a wonderful atmosphere in the venue. After the tremendous night we were treated to, all my worries of being under dressed were gone and I hope the rest of audience (including the suits) left with the same spirit as me, with a sense of pride, community, and wanting to do my bit for 2012HoursAgainstHate.
Photography by: Gemma Hall