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Live Reviews

Elbow, O2 Apollo, Manchester

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Tuesday saw Elbow take to stage for the final night of a 4-day residency at The Apollo. Hailing the end of a near month length tour of the UK. Doing my best to avoid a collection of superlatives, I was fortunate enough to catch the final night. Opening proceeding’s for Elbow was C. Duncan, and whilst the Mercury prize nominated musician certainly had very tight and enjoyable melodies, after the second track the atmosphere felt a little flat and frustrated as the set, for me became a touch monotonous. Given, however the wide demographic in the audience, it would have been…

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State Champs, O2 Institute, Birmingham

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As It Is are a band well known for their energetic live shows. Therefore, it was only reasonable that they tour with the ever-eccentric State Champs. With the release of their second full length album ‘okay.’ that graced the shelves in January this year, As It Is came out to prove to fans that their energy had no wavered, and showed no signs of stopping anytime soon. The band took to the stage, as fans had eagerly anticipated this tour for a while now. There was no denial that As It Is had the audience hooked from the very first…

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Weirds Rock Sheffield!

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Friday night saw the up and coming Psych Rock foursome Weirds, play the Picture House social in Sheffield as part of their latest tour. I turned up a bit early and spent some time backstage with the band, I was greeted with free beer! Any band that offers you free beer and hospitality like these guys did are ok in my book. After chatting to the guys from the band for a while I realised what a great bunch of guys they all were, genuinely nice blokes with a great outlook on life and music! 10.30 rolled around and before…

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Natives, O2 Academy, Birmingham

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Natives took the stage by storm with their half hour set at the O2 Academy. Oozing with confidence and passion, the four-piece tribal pop band were the perfect openers for a huge act like Busted. On Saturday 18th February, I headed down to the main room of the O2 Academy Birmingham to catch Natives’ opening for Busted on their Night Driver Tour. They came on to the stage at 8pm after a mix of classic songs, such as Ignition – R Kelly, had been blasting through the venue since the doors opened to warm the crowd’s voices up. Now, I…

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Nearly Their, Bridge Tavern, Bradford

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As we stand in the photo pit awaiting the arrival of a multi-platinum band we sometimes forget as reviewers and photographers, that around the world there are bands plying their nightly trade in small bars and indeed that is all they live for. Well tonight was one of those nights where I took myself off to a local pub, The Bridge Tavern and had a great time. Nearly Their a Bradford 5 piece a bunch of talented musicians who just want to play because they can, and it shows. With a set comprising of mainly 70’s and 80’s rock classics…

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Fun Lovin Criminals, Plug, Shefield

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If you’ve ever been to a Fun Lovin Criminals gig then you’ll know just how chilled out a vibe it is. Tonight was no exception, a chilled out crowd, chilled out band and chilled out music. It was also a chilled night and Huey did think that the crowd were a bit mad for coming out on such a cold night. But the hearts of 500+ kept the chills away. The band bust their way into the popular music scene back in 1996 hailing from New York City and have thankfully endured. You get such a variance in music with…

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Alex Clare, Gorilla, Manchester

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Alex Clare, king of heartbreakingly beautiful love anthems, is back on the road The British singer-songwriter has embarked on a European tour, new album in tow. Alex Clare doesn’t mess about. Kicking off his first gig in Manchester in over three years, he launches straight into a dynamic rendition of ‘Up All Night’, the first single off his 2011 debut ‘Lateness of the Hour’. Less than a minute later, the audience is already stomping their feet and joining in the chorus. Next, he plays ‘I Will Never Let you Go’  from the 2014 LP ‘Three Hearts’, followed by his latest single ‘Tell…

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Two Door Cinema Club, Leeds O2 Academy

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It’s a cold Monday night in January, but that has not stopped the sell out crowd queuing outside the O2 Academy in Leeds. After a slight delay in gaining access to the venue (thanks Loz) it was clear that this could turn out to be a special night. On stage first are, London based, Anteros. Lead vocalist Laura Hayden commands the stage like she was born to be there, with more than hint of Stevie Nicks in her vocals. Their catchy indie- pop soon had the audience dancing along. The set covered the majority of their 2016 Breakfast EP, highlight’s…

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Tyketto, Liverpool O2 Academy 2

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Tonight was a night that will be remembered by those in attendance for a long time. As we entered the venue many were heard to say ..”wow this is intimate”, and indeed it was. A smaller 500 capacity venue below the main arena was just right for tonight.  What was interesting form the off were the number of families in the room. A fact commented upon by Danny Vaughn, lead singer of Tyketto. Formed in 1987 by  the former Waysted frontman this band were rose to prominence with their first release on Geffen records “Don’t Come Easy” and have attracted…

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The Hunna, O2 Ritz, Manchester

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A night of explosive music fills the sodden Manchester air as a sellout crowd packs the O2 Ritz. As far as Sunday evenings go, normally by the time 4pm comes around we’re all just counting down the hours until the Monday morning wake up call. Tonight however, I found that the best way to overcome the doom and gloom of a depressing Monday morning is to go to a gig! WINNING! The opening band of the night, Kovic, recently signed to the same label as The Hunna lads, High Time Records, in fact was only the bands 2nd gig ever. With…

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Placebo, Wembley Arena, London

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Placebo

I fell in love with Placebo six years ago, after listening to Every You and Every Me for the first time, and after seeing its accompanying video, the Cruel Intentions cut. Slowly, but surely, my love for Placebo grew; I became completely fascinated by their sloppy sadness, painful lyrics and cathartic sound. By Brian Molko’s dresses, smokey eyes, nasal voice, by his mysterious demeanour and saddened self, by the alluring dynamic he shares with Stefan Olsdal. I found comfort in their verses and listening to their music represented a healing process for me. So, naturally, as any respectable, head-over heels…

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Glass Mountain ‘Glacial’

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Released earlier this year, Glass Mountain’s “Glacial” is a mesmerising masterpiece. A heartbreaking ode to unrequited love, the band’s first single and accompanying video have taken the UK music scene by storm. Bradford-born and bred Glass Mountain have caused quite a little stir since appearing on the scene just earlier this year. Their debut EP “Glacial” is a critically acclaimed compilation of five very refined tracks – testament to the fact that Glass Mountain was formed “from the broken ashes of several other bands”, as they so aptly put it themselves. Their first single “Glacial” stands out especially, and is accompanied by…

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Cabbage, The Blind Tiger, Bolton

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Cabbage are on a roll it would seem and though my culinary expectations for such a bland dish would be fairly low my anticipation at finally getting to catch up with the afore named five piece Manchester band at The Blind Tiger in Bolton is quite the opposite . Currently riding on a wave of press and fan adoration I only have their photos and videos to base my anticipation on but freely admit that I’m already a fan.   The tales of debauchery and chaos go before them and I can’t help but wonder if this will detract or…

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The Blinders, Deaf Institute, Manchester

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Blimey. In the 6 months since I last saw them, things have moved on for The Blinders. Tonight, The Deaf Institute is heaving with anticipation as The Blinders launch their debut single, Swine.   A massive cheer goes up as frontman and guitarist Tom graces the stage, joining Charlie (bass) and Matty (Drums), and they launch straight into the heavy yet atmospheric “Brutus”. The crowd are totally into it from the offset, there’s no standing back, nonchalant gazing going on here, no pit, no barrier between band and audience. As they career through their set, playing better-known tunes such as “Murder…

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Jake Bugg, 02 Apollo, Manchester

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Yet another cold, dark and rainy Manchester night brightened up with the folk rock sounds of Jake Bugg… well, eventually. I don’t think I’ve been to an O2 Apollo gig where it’s not been crammed front to back. With it’s gold and cherry red furnishings and 3500 capacity, tonight was no different. A very young audience packed the theatre, coming inside, out of the rain, to catch tonight’s warm up ‘Georgie’. Hailing from Nottingham and influenced by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, The Pretenders, Crosby Sills & Nash and Mamas & Papas, Georgie and her band are a perfect match for the Bob Dylan…

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White Denim, O2 Bristol

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Texan rockers White Denim roll into town, well the 02 at Bristol as part of a 6 date UK tour to promote recently released album Stiff, their 6th studio release. Syd Arthurs, a four piece from Canterbury opened proceedings, is this the re-incarnation of the Canterbury sounds of the 70’s, that I’m not sure, but I did enjoy. The band comprises of brothers, Liam Magill, (vocals) Joel Magill, (bass) Josh Magill, (drums) and joined by Raven Bush on keyboards and mandolin who take a little while to warm the audience up but do so effectively. When it’s time for White…

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The Specials, House Of Blues, Las Vegas

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Tonight is an exciting night for me. First of all, I’m seeing a band that has been part of my musical upbringing for as long as I can remember. …and secondly, it’s in a city that I never thought I would visit, Las Vegas. Oh and it’s the last night of what has been a hugely successful U.S. tour. There was a time I never thought I’d see the specials play live again. What with various key members leaving and the passing of drummer John Bradbury, you would be forgiven in thinking that the end was near. However the guys…

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Brooders, Zanzibar Club, Liverpool

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I wasn’t sure what to expect as they looked so young, but all my fears were washed away when they blasted into the first track “Thrill Killer”. It amazes me how so many bands with so much attitude seem to be overlooked. They hammered thru the track with gusto and aplomb, showing more talent than belied their years. They went into their debut release ” Isolation” from their  “Hunny “ EP.  Lyrically, it is a well crafted piece, musically it has many similarities to other major bands, but it still stands up on its own! don’t make the assumption that…

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Moose Blood, O2 Institute, Birmingham

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Coming straight from their Europe tour to the UK, Canterbury emo band Moose Blood kicked off their UK tour at the Birmingham o2 Institute2. Their second album Blush, which was released in August this year, had taken the music scene by storm.  The 4 piece came back to the UK for the third time this year to prove that they haven’t lost their spark, with supports coming from Luca Brasi, Boston Manor, and Turnover. First up to the stage was Australian band Luca Brasi. When first entering the stage there was a slight awkwardness whilst setting up, however, once they…

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Leopold and His Fiction, The Old Blue Last, London

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I love serendipity (which, incidentally, comes from the old name of Sri Lanka). I had been planning on having a quiet week, with only one gig in the diary, when a fellow photographer, who wasn’t feeling well, needed someone to cover a show. I didn’t know the band, but nothing unusual there as most of the bands I shoot tend to be relatively unknown (at the time). So, off I trundle to The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch for another of their endless stream of free gigs. Unsurprisingly, for a Monday night, the room was all but empty when I…

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Echo & The Bunnymen O2 Ritz, Manchester

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While we may disagree on football, let’s all agree that Echo and the Bunnymen love Manchester and Manchester love the Bunnymen Mancunians and Liverpudlians don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things. Thankfully music is not one. Echo and the Bunnymen always receive the warmest reception from yet another sellout Mancunian crowd. The five-piece band, take to the stage, to bring us through material of what will be a near 40 year career. Only two original remaining members, Enigmatic frontman Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant are warmly welcomed by their adoring fans. As usual a backlit stage,…

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Van’s Warped Tour 2016, Mountain View CA, 6. August

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Van’s Warped Tour once again arrived in Mountain View, CA, and although the date was moved from June to August, the powerful atmosphere still remained throughout the day. As always, the tour garners long lines of diverse people; from small children to grandparents still full of angst, hundreds made their way to Shoreline Amphitheatre harboring excitement as the day begins. Of the seven stages to choose from, I began at the Monster Energy North stage to shoot Atreyu. The band played off their latest album “Long Live” and delivered a hell­ of ­a show. Constant energy to kick off the…

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In The Fumes + Stream City @High Voltage

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Solid kick-ass performance from two bands that know what they’re doing. Last weekend I had the pleasure of checking out Violmace on High Voltage, and guitar virtuos Nickie Jensen invited me to check out his other band, In The Fumes, in which he plays bass. But first, let’s talk about the support. Stream City The support act plays Irish folk-punk-rock, ala Dropkick Murpheys, but mix in classic metal elements with a matter of course, that makes this strange mix an obvious success. Members are a mix of very different parts of Denmark, some from Copenhagen and some from the semi-remote…

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The LaFontaines at The Sunflower Lounge

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On Sunday 24th July, Scottish quintet, The LaFontaines brought their current UK tour to Birmingham’s The Sunflower Lounge. After being downgraded from The Rainbow Courtyard the day before I wasn’t sure what to expect when arriving at the smaller venue, but it was jam-packed – with some audience members having to resort to standing on the stairs at the side of the 150 capacity venue in order to see. First up though, was Birmingham-based band Plastic Factory. With their thirty minute set only lasting twenty minutes, I, along with others in attendance, were left a little disappointed – wanting more…

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The Last Shadow Puppets & Johnny Marr, Castlefield Bowl, Manchester

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How do you make an entrance at a gig in Manchester and know it’s going to work? Well if you take into consideration that most of the audience here are well clued up on Manchester’s musical heritage it shouldn’t be too hard. However I wasn’t quite expecting this. It seems like the Turner/Kane super group has just gained another member. Johnny Marr has just plugged his guitar in as the band launch into ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’ by The Smiths. It’s a stunning performance that instantly wins over the young Manchester crowd. Alex Turner is no…

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