Tag: Live Reviews

Live: Sheryl Crow @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Be Myself, the title of Sheryl Crow’s latest album, says it all. After flirting with soul and classic country on her last two outings, 100 Miles From Memphis and Feels Like Home, she’s gone back to her roots, embracing the sound that first made her a household name. The decision to be herself once more was clearly personal, as lyrics like “Hanging with the hipsters is a lot of hard work” make abundantly clear. But there’s the added benefit of the new material slipping seamlessly into a live show that, from the get go, leans on her first three...

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Live: Kishi Bashi @ Oslo

On a rainy Sunday evening in Hackney as one approaches Oslo you’d be forgiven for wishing you were at home curled up in a warm blanket, but what small handful of us (and when I say small handful I mean all 353 people in the at capacity room) got was a heart warming display of raw musical talent. For those of you haven’t come across our patron of strings before, Kaoru Ishibashi aka Kishi Bashi has spent his years playing violin for Of Montreal and Regina Spektor before wowing us with his solo prowess. Drawing from a range of genres (from folk to...

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Live: Hey Violet @ The Garage

Hey Violet’s hyperactive performance at North London’s The Garage begins, and ends, with deafening screams from an equally hyperactive audience. To be fair, though, there’s a lot of screaming the whole way through. Like when singer/dynamo Rena Lovelis asks: “How’re we doing London?” Or when she tries to tell the excitable crowd about falling for this city (on her second visit), her love of British accents, and how she could just “listen to you talk and talk and talk”. Or even when, for the purposes of a video shoot, the band perform the big-grooving Hoodie twice, both times prompting en-masse...

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Live: Saint Leonard’s Horses @ The Borderline

With a backstory featuring Stanley Kubrick’s estate, a Los Angeles cult, William Blake’s grave, a near-death experience in the Mojave desert, Jim Morrison’s meditation chamber, and a bust-up at Father John Misty’s wedding, you’d expect Saint Leonard’s Horses’ debut album to be special. You’d be right. The twelve tracks of Good Luck Everybody rock up ‘70s Laurel Canyon folk with big Eagles-style hooks as British (now resident in LA) frontman Kieran Leonard’s slightly-rough-around-the-edges voice as he negotiates such nimble turns of phrase as “swimming through the ashes of the bridges I burned”. Performed live, and in sequence, to an...

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Live: Live At Leeds Festival Turns 10

With the rise of city festivals, such as Sheffield’s Tramlines and Brighton’s The Great Escape, Live At Leeds has seen a steady growth in size over the years from a handful of bands in 2007 to 189 acts performing at 21 venues across the city on its 10-year anniversary. This year’s festivals attracted a host of well-known big acts as well as a plethora of equally fantastic lesser known ones. Headlining acts this year included Slaves, Rag’n’Bone Man, White Lies, Wild Beasts and Nothing But Thieves and it was one festival that I wasn’t going to miss. Besides being...

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Live: Geraint Watkins and the Mosquitoes @ The Sound Lounge

It’s 3pm on a warm spring Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon and Tooting’s newest café-come-music venue The Sound Lounge is packed to all four corners with middle-aged hipsters eager to see Geraint Watkins and the Mosquitoes play their first show in 18 months. The show’s organiser, host and support act Niall Kelly kicks off the afternoon with an uplifting fusion of blues-folk-country packed with foot-stomping tracks from his second studio album Not Sleeping as well as new material that he hopes to release in the next year.  The latest studio offering features legendary pedal steel player BJ Cole on three tracks, and was aptly titled during the period following the birth of Kelly’s first child, a period to which I can...

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Live: Dan Patlansky @ Islington Academy 2

Guitarists are not unlike magicians – a lot of practice and work goes into making it look easy. But Dan Patlansky is clearly not one for cheap magic tricks. He pours so much passion and intensity into his performances that how he plays is as powerful as what he plays. Not just his face, but his posture changes whenever he teases, cajoles, or downright strangle’s the at-times incomprehensible notes out of his trusty 1962 Fender Stratocaster. That guitar – and Patlansky’s entire body – gets a full workout during his visceral, sold-out London show that begins quietly with a...

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Live: Katy Hurt @ The Sound Lounge

I first met Katy Hurt back in July 2014 when I got chatting to her parents at a Kacey Musgraves show at west London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We were all enamoured with the meteoric rise of Country Music’s popularity in the UK but the Hurts had an ace up their sleeves, daughter Katy’s incredible Southern-styled voice coupled with her song-writing talents which her parents were immediately gushing about and championing. Spending her early life in the U.S., it’s no surprise that Hurt was exposed to Country music and got the bug herself. But pursuing it following the family’s relocation...

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Live: Dua Lipa @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Rising London pop star Dua Lipa has been making waves and setting grand expectations since bursting onto the scene back in 2015 with top 10 single Be The One. Last year saw singles Hotter Than Hell and Blow Your Mind (Mwah) continue to show promise along with not one but two sets at last June’s Glastonbury Festival, her name already up in lights behind her. June will see the release of her much-anticipated self-titled debut album, and following a busy pre-album launch tour comprised of a massive 18 dates across the U.S. and Canada, followed by a further 10 across Europe and the...

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Live: Erja Lyytinen @ 100 Club

Erja Lyytinen is a phenomenal guitarist. That’s a given. Not just technically brilliant – capable of playing with speed and precision, able to imbue every solo with unique character and tone – she has an edge over many other virtuosos: the ability to cram so much tangible emotion into six strings. So when she delivers the cascading, intensifying instrumental break of the magnificent Black Ocean, it’s as if she’s actually reliving the same dark feelings that went into lyrics like “I need some peace/ Please hear my call”. The jaw-dropping how-did-she-do-that slide solo of swampy Koko Taylor reimagination I’m A...

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Live: Sting @ Hammersmith Apollo

Sting is a man who needs no introduction. Or maybe he does in a world where his solo tour has been hitting up medium-sized venues rather than the arenas and stadiums of years past. He is probably known to most as former The Police frontman, the 1970’s new wavers who exploded globally with their three-piece rock offerings before bowing out in a blaze of glory following hit 1983 album Sychronicity (obligatory noughties reunion tour not withstanding). But Sting was always more than just a rock singer and bassist, having a foundation in both Spanish guitar and jazz, so it’s...

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Live: Melanie C @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire

There are pop stars and then there are The Spice Girls – probably one of the most successful female pop groups of them all – a group comprised of five very different personalities, something that made them stand out from the rest from the off when they broke onto the scene in 1996. And, while probably not the biggest tabloid star of the five, one of the stand-out voices of the group was always, always Melanie Chisholm AKA Sporty Spice or Melanie C, to differentiate between the two Melanies in the group. Proceeding the Spice Girls effective disbanding in 2000, Mel...

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Live: Bear’s Den @ Hammersmith Apollo, London

It’s funny, I always think of the Hammersmith Apollo as one of London’s bigger, less personal, gig venues.  But last night Bear’s Den managed to make it feel like the back room of a smoky pub. Whether it was their particular brand of spiritual, emotive folk rock or the soft but striking set lighting I don’t know, but I liked it. Since Joey Haynes left the band last year, Bear’s Den don’t play alone. On stage with songsmith and lead vocalist Andrew Davie and singer and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Jones, is Dutch session man Christof van der Ven on guitars and banjo,...

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Live: All Time Low @ Academy Bristol

A band who keep getting bigger, keep growing and maturing musically, a band at the top of their game and who have lasted over ten years is hard to come by these days.  With that in mind, it’s a good thing that All Time Low are in Bristol this evening, prepared to show the city that the hype they had received in 2007 is stronger and still worth believing in in 2017. Starting the evening, Waterparks ooze out enthusiasm like today’s the last day they’ll live. There’s a clear sense of freshness and excitement from them, as playing venues...

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Live: The Sherlocks @ Sheffield University Foundry, Sheffield

The Sherlocks were back in town on Friday night with their infectious good-mood beats and heavy riffs. It had been a while since I had seen them and like the sell out crowd, I was looking forward to their set and those of the supporting acts Oddity Road and Sundance.  Like a ray of sunshine, Sundance brought interesting new sounds to the Sheffield University Foundry with a mixture of 4/4 and 7/8 beats, combining fun alternative pop with upbeat bluesy reggae vibes. Although not expecting to play to such a large crowd – the sold out Foundry was filling up fast...

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Live: The Handsome Family & Courtney Marie Andrews @ Union Chapel

Union Chapel is a cosy venue, perfect on a late winters evening.  People are bundled up in warm clothes settling onto padded seat cushions and cradling mugs of tea and cocoa in the soft coloured lighting, candle light and the kaleidoscope of the chapel’s rose window. The Handsome Family are enjoying a sell-out tour in part thanks to the support of opening act Courtney Marie Andrews.  This petite Arizonan introduces herself in a small, breathy voice reminiscent of a young Joni Mitchell or Nanci Griffiths. Just like Griffiths, when she begins to sing, all of that delicacy is replaced...

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Live: Boss Hog @ Oslo Hackney, London.

All you needed to do was to follow the cooler, older crowd straight upstairs to know where the gig was. Queuing up in all shades of black, anyone who knew the history of Boss Hog is here, representing with green hair, pink hair, long hair or no hair at all. Boss Hog are making a bit of a come back with Brood X their first full album in seventeen years due out in March, and now this show at Oslo in Hackney, London. Oslo is a gorgeous old rail house, formerly Hackney Central’s main building, it’s bare brick walls and tall round topped...

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Live Review: Highly Suspect @ Our Black Heart

So a band that’s just been nominated for two Grammy Awards are playing in London.  What’s your first  guess on where they’re going to play? The Forum, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, or maybe Brixton?  Well that’s not the Highly Suspect way of doing things, so instead they’re playing the 150 capacity Our Black Heart tucked away in a back street of Camden.  So for a lucky few it was the chance to see this Brooklyn based trio who could be massive, up close and personal in one of those hot sweaty rock clubs, making a name for themselves from the bottom...

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Live: Hunck, Life and Phobophobes @ The Old Fire Station.

Hunck, Life and Phobophobes @ The Old Fire Station.  It’s a very rainy windy night in Bournemouth for the Launch gig of Hunck’s short tour to promote their new EP Never had a Dream at the Old Fire Station.  This gig is also part of Independent Venue Week, a 7 day celebration of small music venues around the UK and a nod to the people that own, run and work in them, week in, week out, so it’s a bit of a shame that there wasn’t a bigger crowd to help support 3 excellent bands, and a great little...

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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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