Author: Gunnar Mallon

Black Star Riders Bound For Glory @ Academy Sheffield

In their short lifetime, Black Star Riders have managed what few bands achieve in a career and that is to create a dedicated fan-base who will travel many miles to see them perform their cheerful blend of good-mood hard rock – many of whom made their way to the O2 Academy in Sheffield last week. Listening to Black Star Riders, I sometimes wonder if this is what Springsteen would have sounded like if he was Irish. Giving emerging bands a shot, Black Star Riders were supported by the fantastic Dirty Thrills from London, Bristol-based Tax The Heat, and Swedish...

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Rock Medicine With The Blues Pills @ Sheffield Academy

Earlier this week, my favourite band from Sweden stopped over in Sheffield, as they joined Black Star Riders for the UK leg of their European tour. And no, Agnetha and Björn hadn’t decided to stage their comeback in South Yorkshire. With big grins on their faces, the five Blues Pills took to the stage, clearly there to have a great time. With her boundless bouncy energy powerhouse frontwoman Elin Larsson did not hang around long to get the show started. Kicking off with the title track of their second studio album, Lady in Gold, Blues Pills launched right into...

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Magic Wands Were Out On Guy Fawkes Night

The Picture House Social in Sheffield has long been known for being one of the cities “in” places when it comes to amazing niche music, so it came as no surprise that Magic Wands chose it as the venue to stop off at on their Abrakadabra tour. Supporting Magic Wands were Sheffield’s own dream-pop five-piece Grigio, who have slowly been making a name for themselves in the local music scene. From the start Grigio’s sound reminded me of the old dusty Velvet Underground tapes that are still hiding in my basement somewhere, but updated to the 21st century. With...

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Arch Enemy Relentlessly Racing Ahead

Having just completed a successful run of dates across Eastern Europe on the Will To Power International Tour, extreme metal giants ARCH ENEMY are back with another ripping single from their recently released album, Will To Power, with the music video single for The Race. Founding member Michael Amott commented: “This was actually the last song written for the Will To Power album. Listening through all the material we had up to that point we agreed that the album needed one more song that would be a relentless and fast paced counterpoint to some of the more epic compositions we...

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Photography: Y Not Festival 2017

On a wind and rain-battered weekend in the Derbyshire countryside, the masses gathered for a musical spectacle that most had been looking forward to for a long time. Strewn across eleven stages, artists were set to entertain and dazzle throughout the four day festival. Unlike all of the previous years, however, the festival had recently been sold and the new management company seemed to have been caught with their pants down when it came to running a festival in heavy rains. Consequently, many acts were cancelled, cut short, or moved to indoor stages and the festival was cancelled on...

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Live: Y Not Festival 2017

It looks like Y Not festival has finally found its answer and the operative word of the weekend was most definitely mud. Marred with problems from the start, the festival was cancelled on the morning of the final day, seeing only one out of the three main headliners perform, with other big names’ sets being cut short or reduced to DJ sets. The festival started with a bang with Feeder and The Skints headlining a Thursday set, drawing early crowds and getting what was a well-billed British summer festival on its way. In true British summer fashion, it didn’t...

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Vision: INHEAVEN. World On Fire

Each step that INHEAVEN take towards the September 1st release of their self-titled debut album seems to be both bolder and darker than what came before. That’s exactly what their current track World On Fire delivered, with Dork calling it “a typically incendiary mega banger.” If the rush of imagery that accompanied the feral Vultures signposted a band with growing confidence in their visual aesthetic, the new video for World On Fire pushes that stance to new heights. Entirely directed, produced and edited by the band, the video uses the 17th century witchcraft purge as an allegory for contemporary attacks on women’s rights. INHEAVEN explain: “Inspired by the 1692 witch trials of Colonial Massachusetts,...

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Vision: Julia Jacklin’s Eastwick

Today Julia Jacklin shares a stunning live performance of her latest single Eastwick, the first single from her upcoming 7″ release, out September 15th 2017 via Transgressive Records. The live performance was captured by Sideshow Alley – an independent, music-focused filmmaking collective based in Julia’s home country, Australia. The original series records artists performing one song in one take with no fixed agenda and no rehearsal – by imposing location, time and technological restrictions this informal approach brings out a unique and honest take on each artists’ music. Julia Jacklin grew up in the Blue Mountains, NSW. As a...

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Photography: bluedot Festival 2017

“Science has no frontier” – These words by Sir Bernard Lovell FRS are displayed on the wall of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, where each year nerds, geeks, music lovers, and people from all walks of life come together to celebrate the frontier-free nature of science and music at bluedot festival. With fun activities and science talks during the day and inspiring and jaw-droppingly good music in the afternoon and evenings, the festival catered to all in attendance. Throughout the weekend, everybody enjoyed the fantastic family-oriented atmosphere of a very special festival that not only opened our eyes to new...

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Vision: Live For The Moment With The Sherlocks

The Sherlocks have today announced the release of their single titled Live For The Moment ahead of their debut album of the same name, due for release August 18th. Live For The Moment is an energetic song that bristles with confidence and triumph. Filled with big bold drums, a galloping bassline, an infectious guitar riff and a vocal that’s delivered with heartfelt honesty that inspires the listener to LIVE FOR THE MOMENT. After a sold out UK Tour last September, Sheffield four-piece The Sherlocks have been relentlessly touring the UK ahead of the release of their debut album and dates have...

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Live: bluedot Festival @ Jodrell Bank Observatory

Hosted at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Macclesfield near the M6 between Manchester and Birmingham, the second incarnation of the bluedot festival took place last weekend and drew crowds from all over the country. Bluedot is a very special festival in that it is as much music- as science-oriented with a good few comedy acts and nerd-pleasing performance shows thrown in for good measure, satisfying all of my geek-receptors. Standing in the queue on one of the many excellent food stands, which catered for every taste, ranging from vegan falafel to traditional fish and chips, one would hear talk...

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Vision: Gloves Off for Future War Bride

Future War Bride Release Video For Gloves Off “Can you keep your head when everyone around you seems to be losing theirs? Can you lose yourself for a while and let down your guard without giving up fighting for a peaceful, better and more equal world? Can you win your battles without creating losers?” Future War Bride’s frontman, Mikkel Böstrom has channeled these simple messages into their new video for debut single Gloves Off. A track that was recorded at the same time the Copenhagen based singer’s memory was actually failing him. The song itself is a fragmented example of...

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Vision: Introducing… Rubén González

“The greatest piano soloist I have ever heard in my life. He’s like a Cuban cross between Thelonious Monk and Felix the Cat” – Ry Cooder Recorded in two days immediately following the completion of Buena Vista Social Club with many of the same musicians, Introducing….Rubén González now gets a welcome reissue on double 180gm vinyl. Mastered at Abbey Road, two tracks are now heard in unedited, full length form for the first time with the addition of a further track that has never previously been released. The re-issue will coincide with the summer 2017 world-wide theatre release of Buena...

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Live: Vieux Farka Touré @ Howard Assembly Room

Every year, Opera North in Leeds hosts a very well curated selection of artists and this week was no different, with an enchanting and magical performance by Vieux Farka Touré. Having been a massive fan of Ali Farka Touré, Vieux’s late father, and seeing Vieux perform at the 2010 Fifa World Cup Opening Ceremony in South Africa, he has been on top of my list of musicians that I have wanted to see for a while. Naturally, I was not going to pass up the opportunity to see him live. Arriving at the Howard Assembly Room, I was surprised...

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Live: SlamDunk North 2017

Following on from the hugely popular Live At Leeds festival, the northern incarnation of SlamDunk, which took place in Leeds city centre on Sunday 28 May, had a lot to live up to. Taking the rather controversial decision to not publish or print a program but rather to only make the stage times and line up available via an app, made it rather difficult to plan the festival, especially for less technology literates or those with old phones. Nonetheless, I managed to talk a security guard into giving me a copy of their briefing handout, which included the stage...

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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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Feature: Oddity Road, Profile Of An Emerging Band

Earlier this month, we caught up with the four young lads from Oddity Road, while on tour with The Sherlocks. Following their sell-out shows in Sheffield, there has been a certain buzz about this band. We wanted to find out more about what makes these up-and-comers draw large crowds of fans after only playing together for about a year. The last time that I spoke to Oddity Road was at The Leadmill in Sheffield in November 2016 and a lot has happened to the A-level students since then. 2017 has seen them headlining shows and supporting legendary indie art-rock...

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Festival: Live At Leeds, Frightened Rabbit, VANT, The Hunna & Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

Already boasting an incredible day and night of invigorating new music and classic live moments, Live At Leeds has further cemented its position as the defining kick-off for the summer, with a string of new names joining the stellar bill of future stars and revered favourites. Frightened Rabbit (Photographer: Simon Jay Price) Leading the latest additions are cult Scottish heroes Frightened Rabbit, bringing their emotional and passionate live show to Leeds city centre in what’s sure to be a truly defining moment of the festival. Over the course of six studio albums Frightened Rabbit have become one of the nation’s...

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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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Photography: Glenn Hughes @ Church Leeds

In a very emotional show, dedicated to his late mother, Glenn Hughes showed the audience who made it to Church in Leeds on a school night, why he is the rock legend that he is. Transporting the audience right through the decades, Glenn and his fantastic band, comprised of guitarist Søren Andersen, drummer Pontus Engborg, and keyboardist Jay Boe, enthralled the audience with a wonderful blend of slow blues and heavy rock tunes. Hughes was supported by emerging newcomers Stone Broken, who are on a very steep trajectory to stardom, having recently been added to the Download Festival line-up....

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Live: The Blue Aeroplanes @ The Leadmill, Sheffield

The Blue Aeroplanes – punk poets from Bristol – once more came to Sheffield to mesmerise the audience with their unique blend of folk, rock, punk, poetry and dance. But before the Aeroplanes could dazzle everyone, support act Harri Larkin performed solo material from her latest EPs. Harri Larkin, who usually performs as a four-piece, took to the stage by herself, armed only with an acoustic guitar. It is always great to see young female artists keeping alive a long tradition of British singer-songwriters. Larkin seemed a little tense, sometimes muffling her words, which made it difficult to get into her songs fully....

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Live: Highly Suspect @ Night And Day Café, Manchester.

In years to come when people talk about Oasis playing at the Joiners in Southampton, The Arctic Monkeys’ gig at the Frog and Parrot in Sheffield, and Highly Suspect’s Night and Day Café concert, I can say “I was there, man!” One of the traits that make Highly Suspect such an endearing and lovable band is that, despite their fame and their current album topping the Mainstream Rock Song Billboard Charts, they embrace the proximity to their fans by playing in small venues. It is in venues like the Night and Day Café, with capacities in the low hundreds...

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Live: Hinds @ Academy 2, Manchester.

Saturday evening at the Academy 2 in Manchester was an evening of two halves: the support acts and the headliner. It isn’t often, but on occasions, the support acts outshine the headliners, and Saturday night was one of those occasions. Setting aside the greater depth of repertoire of Hinds, the line-up could very easily have been reversed. London-based lo-fi disco quintet SWEAT hit the stage first and quickly won over the half-full venue with their spellbinding and seductive sound and stage presence. Supporting Hinds on four dates of their UK tour, SWEAT are worth seeing in their own right. From...

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Live: Rachael Yamagata @ Kings Arms, Salford.

On the road, promoting her latest album Tightrope Walker, Rachael Yamagata treated a crowd of dedicated music aficionados to a very special night of low-key and introspective musical delights at the King’s Arms Ale House in Salford. Playing a mixture of old and new songs, ranging from soft sway-along ballads to ultra raspy rock tunes, Yamagata was supported by promising new acts, Tragicomedies and The Gildings. First on stage, singer-songwriter Tragicomedies entertained the people who had ventured into the attic with his own blend of whiskey-powered dark songs about lost love with believable folk sounds reminiscent of Jackson C....

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