Tag: Music Photography

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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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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Tears For Fears Sow The Seeds Of Love @ Royal Albert Hall

  Tears For Fears were superb last night at  the Royal Albert Hall in London. They opened the show with a recording of Lorde’s haunting new realisation of their own hit Everybody Wants To Rule The World, from the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, before appearing on stage to kick off the night with their own classic take on the song. Of course tonight was about their “comeback” and to headlining in their own right. After a massive tour in the US with Hall & Oates (sadly cut short by the death of Roland’s wife) and supporting The Killers (reportedly blowing them off...

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Promise Realised: Lukas Nelson And The Promise Of The Real

Country music has come a long way, there are now as many variants and classifications into sub groups as there are for rock and roll.  The music crosses over into all other musical genres.  The prevailing image of country as ‘Big Hat’ corporate stadium bands who sing about Christian values, driving your truck and falling in love with a demure ‘good girl’ or a gun toting Daisy Duke wearing ‘bad girl’ has fallen away leaving room for a resurgence of American folk music, storytelling, and crossover. This is process that started in the early ‘60s and hit a kind...

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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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St. Vincent Dazzles Her Masseduction At Brixton

The proceedings tonight at London’s famous Brixton Academy kick off with a screening of The Birthday Party, a directorial debut for Annie Clark, better known as musician extraordinaire St. Vincent. The film is part of female-driven horror anthology feature XX which was released earlier this year and adds co-writing to Clark’s résumé alongside Roxanne Benjamin. St. Vincent has been making waves the music world over, first hitting the scene as part of choral rocksters The Polyphonic Spree and going on to become a part of eclectic indie-folk man Sufjan Stevens’ band. But it was her solo debut Marry Me...

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Slowdive Go Deep At Roundhouse

On the excellent Song Exploder podcast, Slowdive singer and guitarist Neil Halstead spends a solid 10 minutes detailing the genesis of Sugar For The Pill. It’s a story of seagulls, effects pedals, layered drums, Wuthering Heights, multiple vocal takes, ProTools experiments, and bubble-wrap that gives a fascinating insight into the group’s meticulous creative process. That attention to detail is equally apparent during a transcendent Roundhouse performance that hinges on the quintet’s ability to create beautiful noise. There’s no long-winded between-song banter, no encouragement of audience participation, just an almost two-hour dreamscape carefully woven from gossamer vocals, ethereal harmonies, inexplicable...

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Kelsea Ballerini, Country’s Newest Starlet at The O2

They don’t come much more Country than rising Nashville born and raised star Kelsea Ballerini, even though the 24-year-old grew up on a diet of pop, only delving into Country later on. And that might explain her catchy, hook-laden pop-country tunes that had her named CMT’s Next Woman of Country back in 2014. Appearing on stage in a star-spangled blue cut-off dress, silver hot pants and sparkly heels, if we didn’t already know that Lady Antebellum where the main act tonight, Ballerini could easily have been mistaken for the headliner, breaking straight into her first single and biggest hit...

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Third Eye Blind Soak Up The Love At Roundhouse

The equation’s simple. Albums aren’t selling like they did a decade ago. But gig tickets are in higher demand than ever. Therefore, mark the anniversaries of those unit-shifting LPs by playing them live from start to finish. In the past year alone, U2, Manic Street Preachers, Interpol, and even The View have all done it. Now celebrating the 20th anniversary of their six-times platinum self-titled debut album, Third Eye Blind could rightfully add their name to the list. But they haven’t. The slick quintet are so keen to dispel notions of nostalgia that they open their Roundhouse performance with...

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Amy Macdonald Takes Over Omeara

When Amy Macdonald released debut album This Is the Life some ten years ago now at the tender age of just 19, it was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful in the UK and Europe, landing at number one and winding up three times Platinum in the UK and five times in Germany. With few independent female solo artists breaking through in the UK at the time, mixed among the ever-increasing output from TV talent shows, hers was a sound unlike others, her distinctive Celtic voice adding another dimension to clever yet hook-laden songs. Ten years on, Macdonald is...

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Rewind North The 80s Festival 2017 Photography

Sometimes the best things in life start in an unexpected way. Imagine, you’re about to go to a festival, you’ve kept your ticket safely in your desk, and you’ve been getting excited as the date approaches. You pack your bags with the essentials: small stove, sleeping bag, waterproofs, clothes, and food. You’ve got your train ticket on your mobile, and you’re ready to go. Then your accommodation falls through. On the bright side, I discover this before setting off from London. But it’s the day of the festival, my train departs in 2 hours, and I have nowhere to stay....

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