Photo: Ojeda Photography Last night, the ongoing ‘Above The Storm’ tour arrived at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre for a night of reggae and dub. Headlined by Stick Figure, the show was supported by Iya Terra and well-known jam band Twiddle. It was interesting to see Twiddle play to an audiencethat was a bit different from their own, but ultimately the Rastafarian crowd that came to see Stick Figure left satisfied by all the musicians that played.Iya Terra opened up the show with a short and upbeat set. Twiddle was up next, dove right into their trademark style. Not catering to the crowd, they opened up with the authoritative power chords of “Nicodemus Portulay”. The reggae vibes then seeped in, as they followed that up with “Beethoven & Greene”. Fan favorite Plump: Chapter 1 track “Lost in the Cold” came next. “Doinkinbonk!!!” saw bassist Zdenek Gubb seemingly slapping his strings just short of their point of breaking. For the last song of their set, Twiddle brought out Stick Figure’s Johnny Cosmic on guitar for a rousing rendition of Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels”, perhaps not-so-coincidentally for the evening on which Petty’s autopsy results were made public and the world learned that his October death was caused by an accidental prescription drug overdose.The headliner of the tour, Stick Figure, then played a set filled with songs spanning their 10+ year career. The band’s leading force and frontman, Scott Woodruff, led the band through the set, bringing along his Instagram-famous tour dog, Cocoa, to join in the fun. At first, it was odd to see a dog on stage the entirety of their set. However, it quickly became clear that the dog was almost as much a member of the band as the other musicians. She had a great stage presence, and it was great to see that Tails of Love, a charity supporting animal rescue, had booths set up so fans could help support animals like Cocoa in need of a loving home.The band played plenty of old favorites like “White Fire” and “Livin’ It” as well as newer numbers “Fire on the Horizon” and “Easy Runaway”. They also invited Twiddle frontman Mihali out for a cover of Bob Marley‘s “Mellow Mood”. Perhaps the most special moment of the evening came during the show’s encore the encore, as Stick Figure worked their way through a sing-along rendition of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. Finally, a show-ending version of “Smoking Love” with a multitude of musicians from the opening bands brought a great night of reggae music to a close. The ‘Above the Storm’ tour is just starting so be sure to check it out if it comes near your town.For a full list of upcoming “Above The Storm” tour dates, head to Stick Figure’s website here.Below, you can check out a full gallery of photos from the evening courtesy of Daniel Ojeda.SETLIST: Twiddle | Riviera Theatre | Chicago, IL | 1/19/18SET: Nicodemus Portulay, Beethoven & Greene, Lost in the Cold, Daydream Farmer, Doinkinbonk !!!, You Don’t Know How It Feels**with Johnny Cosmic of Stick FigureSETLIST: Stick Figure | Riviera Theatre | Chicago, IL | 1/19/18SET: Lincoln Intro -> Shadow, Above the Storm, Fire on the Horizon, Weary Eyes, White Fire -> Bongs Jam, Think N Thin, Winds from the West, Coming Home, Mellow Mood^, Smiles on Faces, Boulevard, Livin It, Let the Music Play, Intro -> Choice is Yours, Weight of Sound, Easy RunawayEncore: Shelter, Breathe -> Hey Jude, Smoking Love^^with Mihali[Cover photo: Daniel Ojeda]Twiddle, Stick Figure | Riviera Theatre | Chicago, IL | 1/19/18 | Photos: Daniel Ojeda Photo: Daniel Ojeda Load remaining images Ojeda Photography
A UK workers’ trade union has hit out at a proposal from Royal Mail Group for a hybrid pension scheme to replace its existing defined benefit (DB) scheme, which is due to close next year.Last month Royal Mail – which is responsible for the UK’s postal network and was privatised in 2014 – announced plans to close the £7.6bn (€9bn) scheme to future accrual from April 2018.Royal Mail expects employer costs to more than double to £1bn a year from 2018 under the current system.For its proposed replacement scheme, Royal Mail said in a statement released last week that it was “looking at options”, including a version of a previous proposal from the Communication Workers Union (CWU). The union had proposed a hybrid, risk-sharing structure combining a guaranteed element with a bonus pool linked to investment performance, instead of indexation.The CWU indicated that its proposed investment policy would be “aggressive” and heavily equity-based, in stark contrast to the Royal Mail’s current DB strategy. According to Royal Mail Pension Plan’s 2016 report and accounts, the group’s two main schemes had roughly 6.7% of their combined assets invested in listed equities at the end of March 2016.Royal Mail’s new “cash balance” scheme contained elements of the CWU plan “without some of the inherent risks to the company that, in our view, the CWU scheme would have created”, the statement said.“We very much appreciate the care that the CWU applied to its proposal and we have agreed to meet them to discuss it further,” Royal Mail said. “However, at the moment we do not believe the CWU proposal, in its current form, meets the fundamental principles underpinning our 2018 Pension Review. These are: sustainability, affordability, and security.”A spokesperson for Royal Mail told IPE that the company felt the CWU’s equity-based strategy was “too risky”, and would cost “significantly more than we can afford”. In addition, Royal Mail had calculated that the scheme’s liabilities “could be larger than the value of the company” within six years, and could “continue to grow quickly”.“Having reviewed matters with its actuarial advisers, the company believes that the risk to the company of [Royal Mail’s] proposed DB cash balance scheme would be materially lower than under the current plan,” Royal Mail’s statement said. “The company would also take steps to manage risk further through an appropriate investment strategy and a proportion of the company contributions would be held as a pension risk reserve for additional security.”However, this morning the CWU attacked Royal Mail’s proposal as “intellectually boring, morally sickening, and an insult to its employees”.Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary for postal at the CWU, said: “It is an example of the closed-minded, idea-redundant mentality that the CWU are up against. It beggars belief that the company really do consider that this mutant defined contribution proposal is in any way an adequate response to the work and imagination that the union has put into our ‘Wage in Retirement Scheme’ proposal.”He added that the union had been gathering “intellectual and moral support for our efforts”, and stated that the pension negotiations were “far from over”.Unite, the UK’s largest union, is also involved in the ongoing negotiations. Its officer for the Royal Mail Brian Scott said the talks were “complex and difficult”, and warned that the unions had not ruled out industrial action if no solution was agreed.
Change ain’t easy. And it’s not quite time for Syracuse to panic after losing two games to what should be a top-five team in Louisville and a team that will likely be ranked at some point this season in South Florida.SU has shown growth in each of those games. It’s also shown the pain it’ll take to get where head coach Dino Babers thinks the team can end up.The Orange outscored the Cardinals for two-thirds of the game, 28-27, and romped in the first quarter against the Bulls, jetting out to a 17-0 lead. In 53 minutes, 42 seconds of game time, Syracuse has outscored those two opponents, 45-21.Then there’s the pain: the other 66 minutes, 18 seconds. In that time, UofL and USF obliterated Syracuse, 65-3. For the third time in as many games, the Orange ended with Zack Mahoney under center because each one has been out of reach — either good or bad.“For the most part, for the offense to flow, you have to have weapons all across the board,” Babers said. “That’s when it really gets to be good because it doesn’t matter what they take away. You’ve always got a weapon somewhere else. We’re not there yet. We’re not there today.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We will get there someday.”MORE COVERAGE:Stock watch: How are Syracuse players trending after loss to South FloridaWhat we learned from SU’s loss to USFWatch: Dino Babers’ postgame press conference after 45-20 loss Three games in, Syracuse (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) has looked as expected — just like former SU head coach Scott Shafer’s players playing in a system that really doesn’t fit them yet, especially on defense. SU has allowed 649.5 yards per game against FBS teams, good for last in the country. The next closest is Texas Tech, which allows 612 yards per game to FBS teams, and only three teams allow 600 or more yards per game.Syracuse has a long way to go, and it’s not always going to be pretty. But to turn the program around, it has to get worse before it gets better. Babers said he was unwilling to put ceilings on the season, but that also means he didn’t put a floor on the season either.“Give us the time, it’ll work,” Babers said before the season. “It’s a proven product. It’ll work. Just don’t be quick to judge.”This qualifies as quick to judge, but the offense has found a way to live up to its billing in spots. The Orange has run 101.5 plays per game, the most against FBS opponents in the country according to TeamRankings.com, and averages nearly 482 yards in those games.John Williams | Contributing PhotographerBut Babers has taken over possibly the least-talented Syracuse team since Doug Marrone replaced Greg Robinson. Mix that in with the injuries SU has suffered and it’s no surprise the season has started the way it has.Unlike Marrone or Shafer, Babers has an offense and defense that aren’t used as much by other teams. Putting both in has shown Syracuse was understandably unready for either. Fans were excited by the Baylor-style spread.But Babers said when he came to SU the system might take two years or more to fully implement, and it looks like that number was right.At his other coaching stops, Babers has used a phrase, “Don’t tell me about the pain, just deliver the baby” (he says it’s been shortened to “Don’t tell me about the pain” for sensitivity reasons).The problem at SU is it’s all about the pain, and it’ll be that way for a while because the process is going to be painful. Instituting new systems without the players you need to run them naturally causes problems and takes time. Delivering the baby, that might take a little longer.“When we get there someday,” Babers said, “that will be a heck of a day.”Chris Libonati is an Asst. Sports Editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] or @ChrisLibonati. Comments Related Stories Stock up/stock down: A look back at Syracuse football’s loss to South FloridaWhat we learned from Syracuse football’s 45-20 loss to South FloridaSyracuse football loses control of game during 28-point 2nd quarter for South FloridaGallery: Syracuse football blows 17-point lead in loss to South FloridaWith shrinking margin of error against USF, Syracuse football makes too many mistakes in 45-20 loss Published on September 18, 2016 at 11:05 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonati Facebook Twitter Google+