Author: Kalpesh Patel

Feature: PopShot – A Year In Pop

I love rock music. And I love shooting rock shows. Let me get that out of the way first. I’ve been a gig-goer for twenty years but have only been photographing gigs since around 2009, and as a rock music fan I mostly went to rock and guitar-band shows. But I always like to think I have an open mind and a broad sense of adventure, particularly when it comes to music. I would say I have at least one favourite track or piece in most music genres with a soft spot for cheesy pop music, having grown up...

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Live: Chairlift @ Scala

Brooklyn-based synth-pop duo Chairlift are back with their third studio album Moth, a good four years since 2012’s Something. And following an outing of the new album at Hackney’s Oslo venue in December, the group were back in London for one of only two European stops, this time hitting up King’s Cross’s historic Scala venue. Comprised of Caroline Polachek on vocals and synths, and Patrick Wimberly on drums, bass and keyboards, the duo came together in 2007 with Wimberly joining an early Chairlift formed by Polachek and Aaron Pfenning. Following early success with 2008’s Does You Inspire You, Pfenning...

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Live: Silversun Pickups @ Islington Academy

Los Angeles-based alternative rock outfit Silversun Pickups are back with their fourth studio album. And ahead of their upcoming festival appearances, including Indio, California’s dual-weekend Coachella festival next month alongside Foals, Chvrches and Guns N’ Roses amongst others, they’re road-testing Better Nature with a run of European shows including tonight’s stop at London’s Islington Academy, upgraded from the 500-capacity Dingwalls venue due to demand. The Brian Aubert-led four-piece kicked off proceedings with new album opener Cradle (Better Nature) before tearing straight into early hit, and my personal favourite Pickups tune, Well Thought Out Twinkles from 2006 record Carnavas, Chris...

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Festival: Bilbao BBK Live 2016. Underworld, Editors, Junior Boys + Blossoms added

Bilbao BBK Live have today expanded their already bursting at the seams 2016 line-up with British electronic group Underworld, Tom Smith-led English rockers Editors, Canadian electronic duo Junior Boys and Stockport-based five-piece Blossoms. British duo Underworld have been synonymous with world-class electronica over the past four decades with eight studio albums used across numerous film and television appearances including London’s 2012 Summer Olympics and, of course, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. Forthcoming ninth album Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future, their first in six years, is eagerly anticipated. Described as post-punk and industrial rock, Editors have remained vital to the overflowing...

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Live: The Japanese House @ Dingwalls

Singer, producer and guitarist Amber Bain – aka The Japanese House – had an incredible 2015. From hooking up with drummer George Daniel and frontman Matt Healy from chart-topping alt. rockers The 1975 to produce her music to releasing well-received first EP Pools To Bathe In, with single Still being Zane Lowe’s last ever Hottest Record on Radio 1. Second EP Clean was then released, adding a further four floaty tracks to her repertoire. Only now does the 20-year-old Londoner really have the combined material to put on headline shows of her own. But given her vocal style is...

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Live: Coldplay @ The IndigO2

They played the Super Bowl 50 halftime show in Santa Clara, California at the start of the month alongside Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson to a televised audience of some 200 million. They won the NME Godlike Genius Award at last week’s NME awards and played a short set that night at London’s Brixton Academy venue for the ceremony. And tonight, Coldplay won Best British Band at the 2016 Brit Awards, their fourth such award, following an explosive performance of latest single Hymn For The Weekend at London’s O2 Arena in front of a room of their peers as well...

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Live: Jess Glynne @ Brixton Academy

English soul-influenced popstress Jess Glynne played the second of two sold-out shows at London’s Brixton Academy in support of her debut album I Laugh When I Cry, both 5,000-strong shows reassuringly sold out. Bursting onto the scene in 2014 with hit single Right Here, following a collaboration with deep house producer Route 94 the previous year, she achieved further chart success from a collaboration with Cambridge-based electronic outfit Clean Bandit and eventually topped the UK charts with her following two singles, rounding out 2014 where I caught her last, on an all-star line-up at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire alongside Ellie...

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Live: Poliça @ Village Underground

Poliça Live Review @ Village Underground American band Poliça are back with their third studio album United Crushers due out next month. And to ease themselves back into the live circuit, they hit up Shoreditch venue Village Underground for their only announced UK date of 2016 so far. Emerging in 2011, following the demise of Poliça frontwoman Channy Leaneagh’s previous band Roma Di Luna and marriage to bandmate Alexei Moon Casselle, the debut album from Leaneagh and producer Ryan Olson’s collaboration, Give You The Ghost, was recorded in just two weeks and resulted in something that couldn’t easily be labelled. Was...

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Live: Black Stone Cherry @ Wembley Arena

US touring hard rock mini festival Carnival of Madness made its way to the UK, including a stop at London’s Wembley Arena. With the event offering a line-up of Brooklyn-based trio Highly Suspect, the Lzzy Hale-led four-piece Halestorm and Jacksonville rockers Shinedown, headliners Black Stone Cherry were challenged to go above and beyond to follow such a stellar line-up of their peers. 10 years after the release of their eponymous debut album, this mainstay of the American hard rock scene have toured the US extensively as well as building a huge following across the pond early on, hitting up...

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Festival: Bilbao BBK Live 2016

Back for it’s 11th year, Bilbao BBK Live returns in 2016 to welcome 40,000 revellers to the picturesque Basque Country for a weekend of incredible music. Taking place from 7 – 9 July the festival places an amazing lineup in front of a stunning backdrop of green mountains and scenic views across the city. Today the festival proudly announces its first wave of artists for next year with Pixies, New Order, M83, Hot Chip, Jose Gonzalez, Father John Misty, Courtney Barnett and We Are Standard all set to take the stage. With a legacy that speaks for itself, Pixies...

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Live: Caro Emerald @ Hammersmith Apollo

“Good evening London city!” Dutch jazz singer Caro Emerald screamed. “This is the very last show we’re going to play in the Absolutely Me tour tonight” she continued. “We’re going to make it a party, enjoy!” The Amsterdam-native brought her 18-date UK headline tour to a close with a show at West London’s Hammersmith Apollo. Coming to prominence in 2009, following her debut single making waves in the Netherlands and her second single reaching number one in the Dutch charts, both released on her own record label, she quickly followed up that early success with debut studio album Deleted...

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Live: Lianne La Havas @ Brixton Academy

British folk-soul singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lianne La Havas closed out her UK headline tour in support of sophomore studio album Blood with the first of two massive shows at London’s Brixton Academy. “I’m going to be honest with you ladies and gentlemen” she said, a grin stretching across her face, “I’m trying very hard to remain calm and it’s really tough, but I find that the singing helps!”, headlining the Brixton Academy definitely a milestone for any band or artist, especially one that grew up on it’ doorstep. La Havas released her first single and subsequent debut album...

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Live: Flo Morrissey @ Bush Hall

London-based singer-songwriter Flo Morrissey played a show at West London’s Bush Hall as part of her first UK headline tour following a busy year which included slots at Glastonbury, Green Man and End Of The Road festivals, in support of her debut studio album Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful which was released earlier this year. Bringing her wispy, pastoral sound back to London, the now Paris-based singer was in fine form in front of the 200-strong crowd. This was always going to be a gentile show, given Morrissey’s summery, free-flowing sound. But with her band comprising just a keyboardist/guitarist along with...

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Live: Sugar & The Hi-Lows @ Royal Albert Hall

Sugar & The Hi-Lows @ Royal Albert Hall Nashville-based blues rock duo Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup – AKA Sugar & The Hi-lows – played an opening slot at London’s Royal Albert Hall for Country music starlet Kacey Musgraves’ headline show as part of the Kensington venue’s Albert Sessions initiative. Coming together as two solo artists who were writing together, it took an idea from Dabbs to begin writing songs with soul and dance influences, which ended up working well for the pair. They took it to the next level by discarding their true “normal acoustic, introspective” personalities and...

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Live: Suede @ Roundhouse

Live: Suede @ Roundhouse “Let’s have it!” yelled Brett Anderson at the Roundhouse crowd before Suede transitioned into 1996 album Coming Up’s hit single Trash, the North London crowd erupting into a frenzy at the opening bars. But that came well into the evening’s events … The London-based alternative rockers have been known over the past 25 years as a group who innovate, struggle to find their place, collapse, reform, elevate and have ultimately become a band that will always have a true rock and roll backstory. And so with their seventh studio album Night Thoughts due to be released in...

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Live: Bear’s Den @ Roundhouse

Live Review Bear’s Den @ Roundhouse English alternative folk band Bear’s Den played their biggest headline show to date to a sold-out crowd at London’s 3,300 capacity Roundhouse on the closing their run of shows in support of debut studio album Islands, which was released a year ago on Communion Records, the label founded by Bear’s Den drummer and bass player Kevin Jones along with Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett back in 2006. The tour follows a busy summer of festivals for the band including stand-out sets at Chicago’s Lollapalooza, Spain’s BBK Live in Bilbao as well as an...

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Live: Third Eye Blind @ The Forum

Third Eye Blind Live at The Forum. American alt. rockers Third Eye Blind returned to British shores for the first time in five years for two dates, including a headline slot at the newly rebranded O2 Forum Kentish Town, as part of a short European tour supporting their fifth studio album Dopamine, the second release on the band’s own Mega Collider Records label. Following huge success in the late nineties, with their eponymous debut album going six times platinum and spawning three hit singles, and it’s follow-up Blue achieving critical and commercial success, the band began leaving longer and...

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Interview: The Shires. Fish ‘n’ Chips & Country Licks.

Interview: The Shires. It’s hard to have missed the relatively recent upsurge of interest in Country music in the UK. Be that huge American Country music stars touring in the UK more and more and the establishment of the UK’s very own Country music festival, to home-grown talents making their mark. And leading the wave of British Country music acts are English duo The Shires. Formed in 2013, the duo of singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ben Earle and singer Crissie Rhodes have gone from opening support slots at tiny venues to a number ten-charting debut album, a packed-out Glastonbury...

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Live: Half Moon Run @ Koko

Half Moon Run @ Koko Montréal-based indie rock four-piece Half Moon Run brought their newly expanded set to Camden as they headlined Koko in support of sophomore studio album Sun Leans Me On, which was released just last Friday. For a band that came together via a Craigslist ad to make music together, everything about their rise to success could have seen them fold at any stage. From a tempting record deal with Indica, which they took against advice, Conner Molander almost leaving the band in pursuit of a firefighting career in British Columbia to being a band with...

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Live: Rae Morris @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Rae Morris @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire It’s been a great year for Blackpool-native and sometimes Bombay Bicycle Club collaborator Rachel Anne “Rae” Morris. Following the release of her debut album Unguarded in January, which peaked at #9 in the UK album chart, she hit the road for a full UK headline tour of smaller venues before hitting up the summer festival circuit including stops at Field Day, Glastonbury, T In The Park and Bestival. She even had time to contribute to sister-in-law Lucy Rose’s sophomore album Work It Out. Now she’s back, touring larger UK venues and stopped in...

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Live Review: Gin Wigmore @ Dingwalls

Gin Wigmore @ Dingwalls New Zealand singer-songwriter Virginia “Gin” Wigmore played a show at Camden’s Dingwalls venue in North London as part of a short run of European shows in support of her third studio album Blood To Bone. With a distinctive voice often compared with the likes of Wanda Jackson and Amy Winehouse but with songs fashioned with rock guitars instead, it was truly a treat to catch her live. Thankfully making it to the stage following a short stay in a London hospital after arriving in the capital a couple of days ahead of the show, Wigmore...

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Live: Gabrielle Aplin @ Village Underground

Gabrielle Aplin @ Village Underground English singer-songwriter and musician Gabrielle Aplin built up a fan base the new-fashioned way, by posting acoustic covers of hit songs from the likes of Katy Perry and Cee Lo Green on her YouTube channel. She was thrown into the limelight after her cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s The Power of Love was used for the 2012 John Lewis Christmas television commercial. The then 20-year-old followed through with the release of well-received debut album English Rain the following April. Aplin is back with her second studio record Light Up The Dark and played...

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Live Review: Florence + the Machine @ Alexandra Palace

Florence + the Machine @ Alexandra Palace It’s hard to have missed Florence + the Machine’s meteoric rise to stardom over the past six years. Even before debut studio album Lungs was released back in 2009, the Florence Welch-fronted group was longlisted for BBC’s Sound of 2009, ultimately losing out to synth-popper Little Boots. But even during her early evening Reading Festival slot that year, she was making a name for herself, climbing the rafters of the NME tent on what was her 23rd birthday. Six years on and three studio albums later, she has proven her staying power,...

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Live Review: Alvvays @ The Empire Shepherds Bush.

A staple of the festival circuit this summer, including stops at Glastonbury Festival’s John Peel stage and the end-of-season Reading and Leeds dual events, Toronto-based Canadian indie-pop troupe Alvvays brought their instantly pleasing brand of jangle-pop to the UK road once more, finishing up with a headline show at West London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire before a run of shows in their native Canada to close out what has been a busy year for the band. Following the release of their critically acclaimed, eponymous debut studio album in July last year, Alvvays have worked tirelessly to get themselves in front...

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Live: The Gaslight Anthem @ Shepherds Bush Empire

“We wanted to let everyone know that we’ll all be taking a break from The Gaslight Anthem after this next European tour in August. We’re all going to do other projects and stay active in some way or another, both in and out of music, but we’d like to step away from the band until we decide what we’d like to do next.” Leading with this statement to followers of the band on Facebook ahead of heading to Europe for a series of headline and festival dates was bound to be heart-breaking for some. But the 2000 or so...

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Live: Death Cab For Cutie @ The Empire

Pacific Northwestern alternative rockers Death Cab for Cutie played the first of a trio of sold-out shows at West London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in support of eighth studio album Kintsugi, which refers to the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using precious metals. Following 17 years as four-person outfit, the dynamic has shifted for this tour as founding member, guitarist and producer Chris Walla departed the band last year following completion of Kintsugi. The touring line-up has expanded to five in order to fill in the void. Kintsugi track No Room In Frame opened up proceedings followed quickly by Crooked Teeth from...

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Live: Republica @ Under The Bridge.

Techno punk rockers Republica returned to the stage at South West London’s Under The Bridge venue, situated under Chelsea FC’s famous Stamford Bridge ground, to play a set of hits, fan favourites and new material. Huge during the mid to late 1990s Britpop scene, the London four-piece, led by Saffron Sprackling, along with Tim Dorney on an array of synths and keyboards, Johnny Male on guitars and Conor Lawrence on drums, returned to the London stage following a reformation in 2010 and a string of co-headline shows with fellow Britpoppers Space in 2014. Following their well received 2013 E.P....

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Live: Brooke Fraser @ Dingwalls.

Kiwi singer-songwriter Brooke Fraser played the only UK date of the European leg of her Brutal Romantic tour at Camden’s Dingwalls venue in support of her fourth studio album of the same name. And while her music has been touted as New Zealand pop, that’s where any Lorde comparisons can end. While not as well established on these shores as she is in her native New Zealand, her sound has evolved more in the direction of Scandinavian synth-pop, something that is likely to sit well with a British audience. Shrouded in darkness from the outset, the first thing you...

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Live: Sweet Billy Pilgrim @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen.

Coming from the roots of a self-starting band, experimental folk-rockers Sweet Billy Pilgrim didn’t begin recording in studios until third album Crown and Treaty in 2012, with everything preceding that famously recorded in a garden shed, including 2009 Mercury Prize-nominated sophomore album Twice Born Men. And it is that struggle to get themselves out there and heard with really limited resources that lends itself to their quirky and local-band feel. With fourth album Motorcade Amnesiacs due out in May, the four-piece – expanded to six on stage – hit East London’s Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen to preview their...

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Live: Lucy Rose @ Dingwalls.

Just over two years on from releasing her well-received debut album Like I Used To, Warwickshire folkster Lucy Rose Parton is back with follow up Work It Out, due out in July. In anticipation of her forthcoming release, Rose and her band have hit the road this month for a series of intimate shows across the UK with two stops at Camden’s Dingwalls venue. I last saw Rose buying records at Brick Lane staple Rough Trade Records while supporting friend and fellow female solo artist Rae Morris as she played a short in-store set to celebrate the launch of...

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