Author: Simon Reed

Live: Music Venue Trust #FIGHTBACK Benefit Concert @ Roundhouse

In Eastney, on the fringes of Southsea in Hampshire lies an empty, unassuming looking pub now hiding behind sagging net curtains and white washed windows. Eighteen months ago, it was The Cellars, a truly special, vibrant live music venue that attracted some of the freshest upcoming talent around. It was a place where I had spent many happy evenings. The fate of The Cellars is being replicated across the country and you don’t need to have lost your local venue to feel the effects. Emerging artists need somewhere to play other than between ad breaks on Saturday evening TV....

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Live: Ramblin’ Man Fair @ Mote Park, Maidstone.

Wow, what a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, the inaugural Ramblin’ Man Fair in Maidstone’s Mote Park experienced modest audiences, kept in check by wretched weather. The event made a loss and resulted in a change of management, with Spirit Of Rock taking the reins. Roll forward to 2016. Twenty-two thousand people packed out the park. For two days, the sun beamed under blue skies and the mercury resided comfortably in the mid-70s to 80s. Ramblin’ Man Fair is the festival for the people who sew denim patches on their denim patches; a celebration of all things...

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Live: The Struts @ Dingwalls

Every so often, a band comes along that the online music photography community opines as a ‘must have’ in the portfolio. Vintage Trouble are one such artist. I’ve snapped them and can confirm that they certainly lived up to the hype. More recently, The Struts have been listed in the same exalted company, so when an opportunity presented to photograph them performing at Camden’s iconic Dingwalls, it wasn’t one that needed thinking about for very long. The Struts have been active as a band since 2010, although the current line-up of Luke Spiller (vocals), Adam Slack (guitar), Jed Elliott...

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Live: Santana @ Eventim Hammersmith Apollo

It’s been a really awful few weeks. Brexit, no Government, no opposition, defeat to Iceland, Jo Cox, Caroline Aherne. You’d be forgiven for thinking that tonight’s crowd at the Hammersmith Apollo might have reason to be a little agitated right now. In residence was Carlos Santana, legendary guitarist and head of the nine-piece Latin jazz-rock fusion band that bears his surname; and the artistes did engender a few whistles of dissent by emerging close to 20 minutes late. Within a few bars of the opening number Soul Sacrifice however, it was clear the audience were going to at least momentarily...

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Live: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown @ Boston Music Rooms

Nashville born heavy rock and blues 4-piece Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown are making significant waves as a support act on AC/DC’s current stadium tour. Tonight, I had the pleasure of seeing them perform in the tiny North London venue that is Boston Music Room. This was the gig for people who wanted to see Bryant without feeling obligated to hang around for a sixty-one-year-old man running around in a schoolboy’s uniform. I am definitely one of those people. Mark Curran, front man of acoustic two-piece first support artist Curran commented that having heard the sound check, he knew...

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Live: PiL @ O2 Indigo

If you can forgive those adverts for the butter (and please do – actually they were pretty funny and they did fund new PiL music, so let’s all just get over it, shall we?), John Lydon must surely be one of the most iconic musical artists still occupying a stage. Tonight’s stage was the O2 Indigo, the second (but still significant) performance space under the East London tent. The gig was part of a tour promoting PiL’s 2015 self-released album What The World Needs Now and the scheduled stage time was 8.45pm. At 8.45pm precisely (it’s all a little...

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Words of Wilko: Don’t You Leave Me Here Book Launch @ Rough Trade East

I’ve documented on these pages once before, that if it wasn’t for Wilko Johnson, I wouldn’t be shooting live music. It was his terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis early in 2013 that made me consider how sad it was that I had no decent lasting memories of any of the many gigs (including Wilko’s gigs) that I’d been to – so I set out to do something about it. Of course, the one artist I thought I would never be able to photograph was Johnson, who by the end of 2013 was supposed to be dead. What happened next is...

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Live: The Dandy Warhols @ The Electric Ballroom

Whilst The Dandy Warhols have enjoyed mainstream success over a number of years, it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that to the general populous, they’re really only known for one song. The royalties from ‘that song’; Bohemian Like You – an instantly recognisable tune that is played hundreds of times a day on rock radio stations across the globe could probably sustain the band in perpetuity – yet ask somebody to name the last time they heard any other Dandy Warhols song on the radio and you’re likely to receive shrugs and the scratching of heads....

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Live: Gov’t Mule @ The O2 Forum Kentish Town

It’s an unseasonably (read ‘unreasonably’) warm night in London; indeed, if the weather got any closer I’d practically be nose to nose with it. I imagine that Warren Haynes, front man of Gov’t Mule and a native of Asheville, North Carolina, is feeling right at home. Gov’t Mule, pronounced ‘Government Mule’ but known almost exclusively as ‘Mule’, are a band that emerged with Haynes and the late Allen Woody from under the wing of The Allman Brothers Band, and much like the Allman’s, when it comes to live performance, they don’t really bother with too much in the way...

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Live: Gregory Porter @ Eventim Apollo Hammersmith

My nineteen-year-old daughter first played me Gregory Porter. It says a lot about the width of the demographic that it was her educating me about a forty-four-year-old American jazz singer, and not the other way around. 2013’s Liquid Spirit rang around our kitchen for much of last summer, so when an opportunity presented to pop down to the Eventim Apollo (I think that’s what it’s currently called, though that could easily have changed by the time this is published) in Hammersmith, to photograph and review a night of Porter’s Take Me To The Alley tour, it wasn’t one I...

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Live: Roger Hodgson @ The Royal Albert Hall

Put one hundred Supertramp fans in a room and ask them if they would rather see ‘Supertramp’ or ‘Roger Hodgson – solo artist and the voice of Supertramp’; and I’d be prepared to bet the mortgage that a significant majority would choose the latter. Pink Floyd isn’t Pink Floyd without Waters or Gilmour; Supertramp isn’t Supertramp without Hodgson. And this would explain why a solo performer that’s not a universally acknowledged household name has successfully sold out the Royal Albert Hall tonight. This majestic auditorium is packed full of avid fans of the man who wrote the majority of...

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Live: Augustines @ Electric Ballroom Camden

Augustines are a band that have had nearly as many name changes as Spinal Tap: (“There was already a band in the East End called the Originals, so we became the New Originals”). Through the various shifts in identity, (Pela became Augustines became We Are Augustines re-became Augustines), two things have remained constant: the pairing of singer/songwriter/guitarist Billy McCarthy with multi-instrumentalist Eric Sanderson, and the passionate support of a loyal fan base. The latter are out in force tonight at a sold-out Electric Ballroom. I’ve come with my friend Matthew, and he subscribes to the ethos of Augustines fan...

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Interview: Federal Charm, Generating Headlines.

Federal Charm are a four-piece blues-edged rock band from Stockport, Greater Manchester. Both their eponymous debut album released in 2013 and the sophomore Across The Divide have received strong critical acclaim, and the band are set to commence their first headline tour later this year. I caught up with the twin guitar pairing of Nick Bowden (who is also vocalist) and Paul Bowe ahead of the final night of the current tour with Australian rockers Tracer at The Talking Heads Southampton. Whilst the band most obviously occupy the Free/Zeppelin part of the musical Venn Diagram, their influences extend some...

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Live: Tracer @ The Talking Heads, Southampton.

Tracer Live at The Talking Heads Most of the time I head out to gigs, I’ve a reasonable idea what I’m going to get – it stands to reason that you check out the stuff that would ordinarily fall under the radar. Occasionally however, it’s nice to take a punt on something a bit different. Tonight, I’m seeing Australian three-piece Tracer, a band previously unknown to me and if I’m honest, I’m primarily here because of the support, Federal Charm. Federal Charm are a band I’ve followed for a while and an interview we conducted will be on these...

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Live: Mack Hofberg @ The Wedgewood Rooms

When you spend your time photographing and reviewing live music, it stands to reason you try to chase the biggest acts you can possibly find; there’s something particularly exciting about snapping a major artist in the throes of performance. But, the thrill of capturing a superstar that you know has been pictured thousands of times before can still be eclipsed when you find yourself at the other end of the spectrum. Who is to say that today’s unknown band or artist isn’t tomorrow’s Catfish And The Bottlemen or Adele? So, when I was recently tipped off that a highly...

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Live: The Hunna @ Boston Music Room

I’m at Boston Music Room in Tufnell Park, attending the first of three sell-out shows by Hertfordshire four-piece The Hunna. Although not a venue that’s about to win any awards for its appearance, the slightly decrepit, run-down nature of the place sits well with the angsty yet anthemic sound of this guitar laden young band. There’s a real feeling of anticipation being shared by the front row I now find myself alongside and the fan base has grown rapidly since The Hunna’s inception – so much so that following a tour supporting Coasts last Autumn, they have already announced...

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Live Review: Hinds @ KOKO Camden

Live: Hinds @ KOKO Camden They can’t sing, can barely play, and their debut album Leave Me Alone sounds like it was recorded down a phone line. And yet, Madrid based all female four-piece Hinds, are currently darlings of the mainstream music press and were nominated in the ‘Best New Artist’ category in the 2016 NME Awards. Still, if questionable technical merit and lo-fi albums were a barrier to entry, The Sex Pistols and their ilk couldn’t have given the music industry a much needed kick up the arse in the late 70s and I think we’re all in...

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Live: Kula Shaker @ The Roundhouse

Live: Kula Shaker @ The Roundhouse Kula Shaker were to the nineties what Franz Ferdinand became in the noughties: a band with a wildly successful debut album followed by over-saturated press coverage followed by descent into obscurity – whilst everybody wondered whether they had actually been any good in the first place. Everybody, that is, except for the people who saw Kula Shaker play live. I had that pleasure twice in their eminent years and they were without doubt one of the most exciting live acts I’ve ever seen. The band went on hiatus in 1999, fully reforming (minus...

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Live Review: Hozier @ Portsmouth Guildhall.

Live: Hozier @ Portsmouth Guildhall Listen to Hozier’s eponymously titled debut album a few times and you soon appreciate there’s a lot more to the 25 year-old from County Wicklow than a song that takes a pop at the Catholic Church. Andrew Hozier-Byrne is a truly consummate songwriter and lyricist whose music exudes a depth and soul that belie his modest years – and the success of the hit single Take Me To Church has propelled him from a Dublin unknown to a global megastar. Following a string of festival appearances and an oversubscribed world tour in 2015, Hozier...

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Live: The Temperance Movement @ Forum, London.

Live: The Temperance Movement @ The O2 Forum Kentish Town I’ve been lucky enough to have been experiencing one of Britain’s most promising new rock acts The Temperance Movement since the days when their beautiful ballad Chinese Lanterns was performed from in front of the microphones. Just two years ago, an estate agent would have struggled to sell the venues as deceptively spacious. Since then, the fan base has exploded and support slots on stadium stages with the Rolling Stones have cemented their pedigree. The long-awaited sophomore album White Bear was released to rave reviews on January 16th and...

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Live: Guy Garvey @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Sometimes it’s nice to be proved comprehensively wrong about something. The first time I saw Elbow, I was ambivalent at best. Dragged by my wife to Wembley Arena (quite possibly the worst place in London to see live music), it turned out to be one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. It seems she has great taste in all things. The anthemic nature of a song such as One Day Like This deserves to get the enormodome treatment but the most striking element to me of the live Elbow experience was the remarkable raconteuring of Guy Garvey...

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Live: Catfish And The Bottlemen @ Guildhall Southampton

Live: Catfish And The Bottlemen @ O2 Guildhall Southampton To say that the band Catfish and the Bottlemen are on an upward trajectory would be something of an understatement. A little over two years ago, they were playing support slots in dank basement bars across the country – and now, via a top ten gold selling debut album, they have just concluded a UK tour that sold out every venue. Their two nights at London’s Brixton Academy sold out in six minutes. With a combined capacity of close to ten thousand, that’s twenty-seven tickets every second. Wow. The O2...

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Live: Tedeschi Trucks Band / Jo Harman @ London BluesFest

Live: Tedeschi Trucks Band / Jo Harman @ London BluesFest I’ve never much cared for Robert Elms if I’m honest. Finding him prone to hyperbole, when he appeared under the tent at the O2 Indigo and introduced the Tedeschi Trucks Band as “The best blues band in the world, the best rock band in the world, the best band in the world”, I did have to take time out to roll my eyes. To be fair to Elms, there is plenty of evidence to help back up such a bold claim. Husband and wife team Derek Trucks and Susan...

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Live: Buck & Evans @ Half Moon Putney

Buck & Evans Live at Half Moon Putney In the summer, I was lucky enough to take photographs at the Ramblin’ Man Fair festival in Maidstone, Kent. Optimistically scheduled against Blue Öyster Cult in an unassuming mid-afternoon slot on Saturday, the Outlaw Country stage presented a band I’d never heard of called Buck & Evans. Given the name and the stage, expectations didn’t run much beyond a bit of banjo plucking and that at least one of them would be chewing straw. How wrong I was. Buck & Evans turned out to be a powerhouse of soul-infused rock with...

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Interview: Buck & Evans. Slow Train Coming.

Buck and Evans Interview. Slow Train Coming. Formed in the valley’s of South Wales, quartet Buck & Evans have been honing their own brand of ‘rock ‘n’ soul’ since forming for what was expected to be a one off gig in London’s Soho in 2013. The ‘Buck’ is Chris Buck, a guitarist of sublime talent who has been endorsed as a player by none other than Guns N’ Roses’ Slash. The ‘Evans’ is Sally Ann Evans, a pianist and vocalist of extraordinary power and soul. An obvious and somewhat lazy comparison is Janis Joplin, but it’s hard to make...

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Live: Darwin Deez @ Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth.

Darwin Deez at The Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth “You Up?” proclaims the kick drum belonging to Tim McCoy, skinsman with New York indie pop-rock band Darwin Deez. Tonight’s big crowd at Portsmouth’s Wedgwood Rooms is certainly giving that impression. The band is touring the UK in support of their third studio album Double Down and tonight they are greeted by an enthusiastic, discerning and highly age-diverse audience. Whilst a number will be clambering aboard school buses in the morning, there are some people in here that are even older than me – and I don’t have the joy of being...

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Live Review: Sleaford Mods @ The Forum

Sleaford Mods @ The Forum This live music review is brought to you by the character * In March, my mate Rob Davies saw Sleaford Mods at The Bowery District, Reading: capacity 300, it wasn’t full. In June, I photographed them at KOKO, Camden: capacity 1500, sold out. Tonight, they played The Forum, Kentish Town: capacity 2300, sold out again. To say that Andrew Fearn and Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods (they’re not mods and they’re not from Sleaford) have had an encouraging 6 months would be something of an understatement. “We sold it out, we sold it out,...

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Live: Rich Robinson @ The Jazz Cafe

Rich Robinson @ The Jazz Cafe. In the early 1990s, no self-respecting fan of good ole’ southern rock would be without a copy of The Black Crowes’ Shake Your Money Maker whizzing away in their CD player. Although the band never quite replicated the dynamic energy of their debut in later releases, there’s no denying the quality of the music that the brothers, vocalist Chris, and guitarist Rich Robinson cooked up in The Black Crowes – and their legacy is secured; listen to any US Classic Rock radio station and they are never more than 15 minutes away it...

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Live Review: Victorious Festival @ Southsea Seafront.

Southsea’s Victorious Festival is now in it’s fourth year and has seen nigh on exponential growth in that time. The site certainly is vast. Although the festival has no less than 10 performance spaces of varying size and scope – much of it showcasing local talent – my attention was focused on the two principle Castle and Common stages. With a few clashes and a not inconsiderable transit time between them, getting the best out of Victorious does take a little planning. It rained practically all day on Saturday and Castle stage afternoon acts such as Birmingham band Jaws and...

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Live Review: Heartless Bastards @ The Borderline

Austin based band Heartless Bastards brought their own amalgam of Americana influences to London’s Borderline on Tuesday night, promoting their critically acclaimed fifth album, Restless Ones. The place was a sell-out, though any claustrophobics would have been twitchy at the back as the audience oddly chose to leave a generous gap between themselves and the stage for the duration of the show. A shame for the band, as it subtracted from the intimacy of this most intimate of venues – though great for shooting pictures since there was freedom to move around at the front – and that is...

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