Tag: Live Reviews

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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Live: The Libertines, O2 Arena, London.

The Libertines, O2 Arena, London. The word “great” is bestowed on a lot of bands these days, sometimes merited sometimes not.  It’s certainly a word that’s been pushed in the direction of the The Libertines, although for me there’s sometimes been a sense of the emperor’s new clothes about them.  Does the hype and legend that surrounds the band, and especially Pete and Carl’s tempestuous relationship transcend some of their musical shortcomings? To add to the challenge, this is a re-scheduled gig after Pete failed to make it to the Electric Ballroom last Autumn following an anxiety attack.  Moving...

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Live: Travis @ The Lexington.

Live Review: Travis @ The Lexington. Travis are probably not the first band that springs to mind in 2016, but with their eight studio album, Everything at Once, set for release on the 29th April, the band are still exerting themselves on the music scene.  This week saw the BRIT award winners play two back-to-back shows on the same night at north London’s intimate The Lexington. It’s been almost 20 years since the four-piece, led by frontman Fran Healy on vocals and guitar, released their debut album Good Feeling.  Mainstream success quickly followed which drew both new fans and critics in...

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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: 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: 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: Foals @ O2 Guildhall Southampton

Foals Live at Guildhall, Southampton. Sometimes its good to be reminded why we take up a pastime or career, and tonight was the night I was reminded why I took up music photography. 20 minutes in the photo pit of pure energy excitement and adrenaline thanks to an awesome encore by Foals and their enigmatic front man Yannis Philippakis. There were indications of good things from the start.  Anyone who’s ever taken pictures at a gig will have heard the words “First three songs, no flash”.  It’s pretty much the same at every event, so to be told in...

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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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