Tag: Music Photography

Synth Metal Aerobics With Carpenter Brut

If you’re a synthesizer, wailing guitar, thundering drums, 80s horror movie music obsessed type human then you’ve gotta go listen to Carpenter Brut right now! Carpenter Brut is French synthwave artist Franck Hueso who’s currently on tour with latest release Leather Teeth accompanied by guitarist Adrian Glitter and drummer Flo Sparkles. Imagine a huge LED screen, dramatic lighting, high contrast beams and so much red. It feels like we’re getting to be a part of something BIG here at Koko tonight. Bring on the live synthwave!! This is a gig where dreams and fantasies from the dark side of...

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Bay Breathes New Life Live @ The Electric Brixton

He was the UK’s favourite pop artist of 2015. He was adored for his long hair, his sexually alluring voice and (of course) ‘the hat’. But the James Bay that was, was no longer. Adamant to change his identity, Bay has, for the past few years, focused on an evolutionary journey that would allow him to not only remain relevant, but true to himself. This year, he took this notion from concept to reality with the release of his latest album Electric Lights. And so Thursday night was the 27 year old Hertfordshire man’s opportunity to prove himself as a...

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The Guitar God Robin Trower Plays Hometown Show @ Islington Assembly Hall

As London braved snowmageddon and getting anywhere was a case of determination and luck, a living legend, Robin Trower, was headlining a sold-out gig at Islington Assembly Hall. Despite the weather, or should I say, transport conditions, the fans came out in their masses and filled up the venue to capacity. Some diehards even waited outside in the cold for any last minute ticket returns. The Sari Schorr Trio opened the night for Robin. The American singer-songwriter was accompanied by the exceptional blues guitarist Ash Wilson and Hammond organ wizard Bob Fridzema, who’s known from his previous work with...

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Natalie Imbruglia Delights Union Chapel

When a 22-year-old Natalie Imbruglia broke onto the music scene in 1997 following her departure from hit Australian daytime soap Neighbours, the UK set their expectations firmly in the Kylie camp. But as big a hit as her debut single Torn was, Imbruglia’s style was very much planted in the pop/rock genre, a style that produced wonderful debut record Left Of The Middle which threw her out into the public domain and up there with the likes of contemporaries Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette. But Imbruglia wasn’t made for arenas and massive festival stages, her dulcet tones and delicate...

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Kashena Sampson Showcase Provides American Sun On A Winter’s Night

Kashena Sampson, a new singer-songwriter from Nashville, made her London debut with an inspiring performance at Hackney’s Paper Dress Vintage. Despite the cold winter night, Americana lovers found their way to one of the city’s more unusual venues. Located above (and part of) a clothing shop, Paper Dress Vintage is one of those places you wouldn’t expect live music to be played. Yet it is, and the fully packed club proves there are times when first impressions couldn’t be more wrong. On the night of the Americana Music Association UK (AMA-UK) Conference Music Showcase, the venue becomes a home for...

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Dirty Sister Stir Up Water Rats

Showcase nights that throw together different groups of musicians spanning a mix of styles are always fun to go along to, opening your ears to a range of talent. And so tonight we bounced from the rocking tones of Doctor Da Vinci to the growling screams of metalers Rank Outsiders and onto the delicate, dulcet tones of solo keyboardist/vocalist Conrad before bouncing London duo Dirty Sister grace the Water Rats’ stage. The indistinguishable tones of a Bouzouki, a Greek stringed instrument for the uninitiated, kick off the duo’s set, the instrument’s imposing form and intricate detailing ensuring Tom Bridle...

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Photo Story Frank Turner @ Tunbridge Wells Forum

The Forum at Tunbridge Wells has an enviable reputation for booking the next big thing before it’s the next big thing.  This has resulted in it surviving far longer than most small venues. Being able to get a slot to play there is seen as an endorsement and a possibly a predictor of things to come. Now in its 25th year of operation a few names have been invited back to celebrate this success and to promote grass roots venues and talent. Frank Turner first played here years ago as a member of Million Dead before embarking on a...

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This Is The Kit Are Engagingly Enigmatic At Shepherd’s Bush Empire

There aren’t enough songs with whistling. Maybe that’s because most end up sounding either cloying (Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy) or downright irritating (The Scorpions’ Winds Of Change). So when somebody does get it right, the effect is spellbinding. Like when This Is The Kit’s Kate Stables, plucking out the chords of Two Wooden Spoons alone, whistles the vocal melody. Together, the stark instrumentation and the haunting sound from her lips easily create a feeling of intimacy and vulnerability in a venue as vast as Shepherd’s Bush Empire. And this is even before she’s begun to sing or...

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Laurence Jones Reveals The Truth At Borderline

Laurence Jones is 25, which makes him just an infant in Blues years. But he plays with the talent and conviction of a veteran. Turns out, he is. He first picked up the guitar at 8, discovered Eric Clapton at 12, and released his debut album at 20. Over the course of four subsequent LPs, he’s evolved exponentially as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter capable of injecting his own DNA into a fusion of the old (Jimi Hendrix, Gary Moore) and the new (Royal Blood). Never has that been more apparent than on the upcoming The Truth. His boldest...

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Sari Schorr Rising Star Of Blues-Rock Firmament @ Half Moon Putney

Some bands are lucky enough to have time to rehearse before they gig whilst others might just have to rely on what they have in there head and hearts. Sari Schorr & The Engine Room certainly fall into the second category. The band only got together few days before the tour kicked off in Half Moon Putney. This is the blues after all and you don’t rehearse the blues! The group, now powered by phenomenal Ash Wilson on lead guitar, keyboard/organ player Bob Fridzema, known from an earlier collaboration with King King and Joanne Shaw Taylor, Mat Beable on...

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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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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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Samantha Fish Gets The Voodoo Working At Borderline

Some artists, like AC/DC, specialise in familiarity. Others, like Kate Bush, Bjork, and now Samantha Fish, specialise in surprise. The singer-songwriter-guitarist has been looking beyond her blues base to incorporate elements like Americana, ‘50s rock ‘n roll, vintage R&B, and retro soul into her sound. At this point in her career, all that’s guaranteed are her powerful vocals, expressive guitar playing, and emotional authenticity. “You should always get outside of the box,” she explains. “Challenging yourself is how you grow.” As if to prove her point, this year the Kansas City native’s released not just Chills & Fever (reinterpreting...

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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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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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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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Michael Schenker Fest Celebrates Rock At Shepherd’s Bush Empire

The Michael Schenker Group are a band with such a complex history that their Wikipedia page has one of those colour-coded timelines to track the various line-ups through the decades. Formed by Scorpions and UFO alumnus Michael Schenker, since 1979 the group has had 14 lead singers, 11 drummers, 12 bass players, an extended hiatus, and even a name change (from Michael Schenker Group to McAuley Schenker Group from 1986 to 1993). Schenker, lead guitarist extraordinaire, has been the sole constant. By comparison, the idea behind Michael Schenker Fest is clear and simple. Reunite ‘80s era MSG band members:...

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