Tag: Live Reviews

Ferris & Sylvester: Americana SW16 Style

With 2018 a blank canvas to paint with exciting new musical talent, Ferris & Sylvester’s modern take on Brit folk is a great place to start. The singer-songwriting duo release their forthcoming EP Made in Streatham on 2 February 2018 to follow up last year’s critically acclaimed debut The Yellow Line. Ferris & Sylvester are London-based musicians Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester. First meeting as solo artists, they navigated their way through London’s vibrant live music scene alone before realising that writing together would create an almighty partnership. The twosome swiftly made an impact, including on high profile producer...

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Fallen Angels Offer Smoke Signals to the Ancient Gods:  Fields of the Nephilim Live

With few commercial releases in the last decade Fields of the Nephilim have relied on their status as one of the original and most influential British goth rock bands to maintain their fan base.   From their musical style to their carefully cultivated look, they set a standard, a feel and a design for the entire goth subculture.  The motifs and symbols of their band logo and artwork, the uniform theatrical costume, and of course the themes in their music of romanticism, mysticism, and the occult.  They do also share some of the goth tropes which are often mocked by...

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Extreme Get The Funk Out Live At Brixton Academy

Extreme formed an essential part of the soundtrack to my youth. Their debut album may have looked (and let’s be honest here) sounded like an offering from a formulaic late eighties hair metal band, but with the release of Pornograffitti and III Sides To Every Story, the Boston four-piece cemented themselves as artists of real creative integrity. Their amalgam of hard rock, pop and funk – cemented by creamy harmony vocals gave them a sound that was uniquely theirs. And then there was Nuno. Nuno Bettencourt, born in the Azores of Portuguese descent quickly established himself as one of...

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Reconciliation Of Love and Fury:  Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ Brixton Academy

Ex-Gallows and Pure Love frontman Frank Carter is one of the most exciting performers to witness live.  Never predictable, with hardcore punk band Gallows he was an explosion of vitriolic rage, lyrics streaming out of him to vent pain and nihilistic despair.  With Pure Love, the pendulum swung to the other extreme as Carter flirted with pop and found himself to be a brilliantly round peg in a square hole. Thanks to collaborator and band mate, former Heights guitarist Dean Richardson he may have found a successful carrier for his divided musical heart and a new sound.  With this...

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Robert Plant Shifts Space And Time At Royal Albert Hall

Like every well-worn rock ‘n roll story, Robert Plant’s has definite touchstones. He possesses one of the genre’s finest voices. He’s the original golden god who, with Led Zeppelin, defined what it is to be a rock star. He’s not one for nostalgia, turning his back on lucrative reunions to focus on creating music that pays no heed to genre. He loves Morocco, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and having a pint in his North London local . But he could also be considered something of an anthropologist or musicologist. Clearly fueled by an innate curiosity, Plant is well versed in the...

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Benjamin Clementine Lays Down A Challenge At Brixton Academy

  Benjamin Clementine knows the conventions that live gigs follow. “I play, you clap,” he observes at one point during his Brixton Academy performance. So the hits from his 2015 Mercury Prize-winning debut, At Least For Now, get an airing. A generous selection of tracks from its ambitious, experimental follow-up I Tell A Fly, are slipped into the set. There’s audience participation. There’s between-song conversation. And of course there’s an encore.   But the self-described expressionist whose latest album started out as a theatre piece about two romantically entangled flies exploring the world, isn’t one for blindly following those...

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JW Jones Raises The Temperature @ London’s Borderline

JW Jones is an award-winning Canadian blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He has released eight studio albums, performed in 19 countries, toured four continents, and played with legends like Buddy Guy, Canned Heat, and Red Hot Chili Peppers phenomenon Chad Smith. This winter he brought his flying Gibson to the UK to promote his latest studio album, High Temperature. The tour came to London’s Borderline last weekend for what was, in my opinion, one of the best gigs of the year. Starting with Wham, a crazy jam from the current album, Jones set the tone for the evening, a night of...

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Reinventing Himself On The Road: John Bramwell Live @ Union Chapel

After many years as frontman of Manchester-based band I Am Kloot, in 2013 John Bramwell took a change of direction and set out on a “Never-ending” solo tour that charted a course that has criss-crossed this country and into the continent. It’s a journey that has wended its way though clubs and pubs, churches and village halls giving plenty of time for musing on life and love, hope and heartbreak, desire and despair en route. Returning to Union Chapel in London tonight, John is promoting his first full solo album Leave Alone The Empty Spaces, self-released in November 2017,...

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The Pretty Reckless Run Wild At Brixton Academy

The stage is what makes or breaks a band. There are no do-overs, no overdubs, no ProTools to iron out those imperfections. It’s just you, your songs, and (especially if you’re an opening band) an audience to win over. The Pretty Reckless, who’ve been doing this since 2009, know the score, especially when they’re playing to fans as rabid as Stone Sour’s. So, no time for ballads like You and House On The Hill. Instead, the 50-minute opening set is packed with a succession of their heaviest songs, each performed with a matter of life or death intensity rarely...

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The Age Of Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons: Live @ Sheffield Academy

It is not often that rock legends make a stop in Sheffield, but this Monday in November a guitarist, his three sons, and singer Neil Starr rolled into town to raise the roof of the O2 Academy, supporting Aussie-rockers Airbourne. It was therefore no surprise that the venue was packed even on a school night. However, before Phil Campbell and his Bastard Sons went on stage, hillbilly rock’n’rollers from Canada, The Wild! made sure that everyone knew that jeans vests are back! In a patch-covered sea of jeans on jeans, the four heavy hardrockers took to the Academy’s stage...

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Royal Blood Have It All Figured Out At Alexandra Palace

Following At The Drive-In takes balls, especially when the Texas quintet finish their 45-minute assault with a rendition of One Armed Scissor that’s the sonic equivalent of a napalm attack. But Brighton-based Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher certainly aren’t lacking in confidence. And rightly so. In the five years since forming Royal Blood the duo have taken their crunching blues riffs and titanic choruses from open-mic nights in Worthington to headlining London’s Alexandra Palace three nights in a row. It’s been a rapid rise, certainly, but gradual enough for the singer-bassist and drummer to scale up their production and...

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Michael Chapman & Julie Byrne Combine At The Union Chapel, London

Venues and artists don’t always make happy bedfellows, but the combination of Michael Chapman and Julie Byrne playing at London’s Union Chapel on Monday 13th November was a rare occasion of an acoustic match made in heaven. Billed as a ‘special guest’, legendary guitarist Chapman took to the stage under the church’s rose-tinted windows, appearing in his trademark baseball cap, illuminated by a spotlight, through occasional billows of dry smoke. Delivering a mesmerising performance to a hushed audience, his finger-picking playing style and stony voice cut through the room, while occasionally interspersing his set with tales of more than...

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Joanne Shaw Taylor Beats The Blues At Royal Festival Hall

Joanne Shaw Taylor is suffering from a cold. But, other than her drinking hot water and honey (not gin, she promises) between songs and an added hint of huskiness to her voice, you wouldn’t know. The singer and guitarist is all energy and smiles as she (sometimes quite literally) bounds through a set that stretches all the way from her 2009 debut White Sugar to last year’s Wild. Three songs from the current release (the swinging Dyin’ To Know, aptly titled all-out rocker Nothing To Lose, and the touching No Reason To Stay) kick off the show, before she...

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Dan Patlansky Offers Style And Substance At Royal Festival Hall

Gone are the leather jacket and checked lumberjack shirt. When Dan Patlansky steps out onto the Royal Festival Hall stage it’s in waistcoat and suit jacket. “As soon as I put on these clothes, I feel like I’m about to to go to work. It changes your headspace a little,” he tells me later. “And also with all these tattoos popping up everywhere,” he gestures towards the intricate inking on his neck, “I love the contrast of wearing something suave.” A less visual, but certainly more important, change is the interplay with his band. For his previous visit to...

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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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Maren Morris Lights Up The Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Country Music’s latest rising star Maren Morris brought her Nashville sound to London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night, the third date on a six-show UK and Ireland tour following on from her appearance at London’s O2 Arena in March as part of the 2017 edition of C2C, the UK’s Country to Country music festival which is growing year on year as demand for Country acts both from the U.S. and home-grown continues to rise. The night opened with Morris’ fiancé, Country songwriter-turned-singer Ryan Hurd, playing the Shepherd’s Bush Empire a few of his own tunes including the massive You...

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Alice Cooper Hot & Hip Live At Leeds

 I’ve seen a number of artists recently that are passed their normally ‘used by’ date, but tonight the usual careful hiding of wrinkles and disguising of chins isn’t needed, because it all adds to the image of the Godfather of Shock Horror Rock. Alice Cooper approaches his 70th Birthday (Feb 2018) with the same vim and vigour as he would have done at his 30th – 69th, bringing along a hot new band and some old friends for company. Looking around the Leeds Arena tonight we have a big collection of old relics, ok that’s a bit harsh, let’s...

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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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Weezer Get Their Hooks Into Wembley Arena

Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo isn’t your typical rock star. He keeps a Google Sheets database of lyrics, tagged by rhyme and meter. He sticks to a strict writing schedule: Monday’s for words, Tuesday is melodies, verses, and structure, and Wednesday’s all about new hooks. He’s clearly no slacker either, having released six albums since 2008. Oh, and he wears a sweater vest (without irony) for the band’s debut headline performance at Wembley Arena tonight. But looks (and work ethic) can be deceiving. Cuomo and his three bandmates may never rival KISS in the rock ‘n roll showmanship stakes, but even...

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Placebo Bring 20 Years To Brixton

When Placebo appeared on the music scene some 21 years ago, their rise wasn’t overnight. But by the time they released the fifth single from their self-titled debut – Nancy Boy – they were peaking in the top five of the UK singles charts. Not bad for a group of unassuming lads led by the 5’6” tall androgynous frontman Brian Molko. They went on to have an instantly recognisable sound and were quickly noticed both by the general public and those in the industry, such David Bowie, who took them under his wing and even contributed vocals to 1999...

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