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Gig Review – Wolf Alice @ O2 Academy, Leeds (18/11/2017)

Hey-up, happy Sunday!

I’m currently sat here on a chilly Sunday afternoon, still exhausted from the mania that was Wolf Alice at Leeds O2 Academy last night. Do see gig review below:

So I wander into this lovely little O2 venue, one that does well to support new bands and established bands also, at around 6:20 and catch the majority of Superfood’s set. They’re a bit of a hipster outfit, very B-town – something that I feel even as a 23 year-old, I’m a tad too old for… or maybe that was because I was surrounded by 17 year-olds and students. Who knows. Anyway, they were a bit out there with their indie-funk influences and were a decent enough start to the evening.

Then about half an hour after they’d left the stage, Sunflower Bean from NYC stroll on and kick into some killer Southern rock jams, as well as reliving a couple of solid tracks from last year’s ‘Human Ceremony’ LP. I was especially impressed by Nick Kivlen’s guitar playing. The guitar itself resonated a slick sound and all-in-all it was a tight performance from one of the best support bands I’ve seen in a good while.

The crowd of course start piling in before Wolf Alice arrive on stage and the place gets typically warmer. The lights goes down and on come Ellie, Joff, Joel and Theo. The band launch into the first few chords of hazy opening track from ‘Visions Of A Life’, ‘Heavenward’. After that you are immediately launched into Wolf Alice’s world, and it’s just wonderful. There is no break in between opening track and the frenetic ‘Yuk Foo’. The kids go mental and I quickly become a sweaty mess.

After a little tribute to the debut album with a run-through of ‘You’re A Germ’ and ‘Your Loves Whore’, arguably the most fabulous moment of the evening comes early in the set when a sparkly disco ball makes itself known above us alongside a gorgeous rendition of ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’. Ellie’s now top-quality vocals shine through and it’s a highlight of the set.

The rest of the set pre-encore is a 50/50 mixed bag of tracks from the first two records, with ‘Silk’ reminding me of ‘T2 Trainspotting’ I re-watched a night prior to the gig. It must be stapled in the band’s set now following the significant feature in the film’s soundtrack. ‘Formidable Cool’ is also a personal best bit for me, its sickly swagger bleeds through the O2’s floorboards and sounds bloody awesome.

After promoting the new album with blasts through of ‘Planet Hunter’, ‘Beautifully Unconventional’, ‘Sadboy’ and ‘Space & Time’ (much to everyone’s pleasure), fan-favourite oldie, ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ draws the biggest moshpit of the night and I notice a kid missing his trainer, frantically searching the dark ground of feet and over-priced spilt beer, with only his Iphone torch for help.

Someone eventually returns the shoe to this grateful chap and Wolf Alice reach the end of their first set with the insanely exhilarating ‘Fluffy’. This is pretty much my favourite WA song and I go positively apeshit. It’s amazing.

After a little breather, the band return to the stage with the smooth, dreamy ‘Blush’. By this point the crowd are heavily anticipating hearing ‘Giant Peach’ then buggering off to grab some water to hydrate themselves with. Joff Oddie’s technically gifted guitar-playing throughout the duration of the set has been second to none and his passionate on-stage tendencies are synonymous with gig closer ‘Giant Peach’. The place erupts and everyone slumps out onto the streets of Leeds City Centre, knackered.

So yeah, there you have it. If you’re going to any of the remaining shows on Wolf Alice’s UK tour this month, including the massive date at London’s Ally Pally, make sure to have a cracking time and enjoy it. It’s a gig you won’t forget for a while, from a band who are swiftly becoming the most relevant and important band in Britain. Cheers for reading.

 

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Posted by on November 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Girl Power

Coming to the end of the year now and it seems to me that 2018 may be the year that the women finally blow up and come into the mainstream on festival line-ups, album charts and maybe even TV events.

There’s been a lot of moaning in the media in the last eighteen months or so concerning the lack of female bands/female-fronted bands on festival line-ups particularly, with the Reading and Leeds festivals this year shedding limelight on only half a dozen (tops) girl bands over the main stages the whole weekend.

This doesn’t look good for the festival organisers, as the ideology in this liberal age is for everything, from the Cabinet to the Festival Republic stage to be absolutely 100% equal, 50/50. This is difficult in music festival terms, as your big names (Foo Fighters, Green Day, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys etc) are all men. It seems to be getting increasingly harder for girl bands to break through and reach the headline status that maybe some deserve.

However, it may be due to the global success of Adele, Beyonce and Tay-Tay, or the cult sensations of Warpaint, Savages and Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell (had to mention her of course), but there does appear to be a notable influx in girl bands. Black Honey, Dream Wife, Pale Waves, Bloxx and The Big Moon are all female-fronted at least and are breaking through at speed. The Big Moon especially have captured people’s ears and released one of the best debut albums of the year in April with ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’.

All have been touring hard, whilst prolifically releasing DIY-type music – to hopefully re-invigorate a generation of punk rockers in the UK.

Watch out 2018, the girls are back in town.

Ciao for now.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Why Live Lounge Month 2017 Is The Best Live Lounge Month Yet

Aaah, September. Big month, September. School starts again, first dashes of Autumn and of course, Live Lounge Month on Radio 1.

The last one there probably doesn’t relate to as many people’s lives as the others do but hey, it does mean something to the dedicated listeners of BBC Radio 1 – some of whom may have been listening since Day One, way back in 1967.

And that very anniversary is getting brilliantly celebrated this month through the medium of the ever-so intimate Radio 1 Live Lounge, these days curated by bubbly mid-morning presenter, Clara Amfo.

All bands and artists selected this month are asked to play their new single, an older classic of theirs and a cover of a popular track from the last fifty years. This, as you can imagine, opens up many doors indeed.

We’ve had The Foo Fighters unleash the almighty power of rock with an AC/DC cover from their LA studios, The Killers blend 2017 single, ‘The Man’ with Bowie classic, ‘Fame’, (mainly due to the not too dissimilar beat and time signature) and Wolf Alice beautifully deliver a haunting rendition of Green Day sing-along, ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’.

As well as excellent Live Lounges from Radio 1 favourites, The xx and Stormzy; we’re sure there’ll be plenty more to enjoy before the end of the month is upon us.

Now, gotta go and catch up. Jay-Z’s to watch. Na-nite.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Two Of The Best With Two Of The Best

Good afternoon, happy Saturday!

So you always get those times in a calendar year where no good albums at all come out, and then you get those times where so many great, brilliant records come out and you’re absolutely bombarded! The latter is definitely happening at the moment in music I feel, not forgetting also that we are building up to the winner of this year’s prestigious Mercury Music prize being announced.

We start with Queens of the Stone Age. Coolest rock band on the planet? Possibly behind Foo Fighters you may argue. Anyway, they’ve just released their seventh studio album titled ‘Villains’. There’s no doubt that it would have taken a massive record with many top quality songs to even be spoken in the same breath as sixth colossus, ‘…Like Clockwork’, but it’s certainly up there.

Smooth, silky, sexy, even boppy to some degree; ‘Villains’ is full of heavy guitar-driven behemoths of songs such as ‘The Evil Has Landed’ and ‘Domesticated Animals’. Synths are even included, as lead single ‘The Way You Used To Do’ fuses Californian distortion with drops of electro. The whole record is dark, but also feel-good. Really great listen.

Secondly, we come to one of my favourite bands, currently and of all time; LCD Soundsystem. ‘American Dream’ has only been in stores for around twenty-eight hours at the time of writing this blog post. It’s been purchased and I’m listening to it right now. Wow, it is phenomenal. I’m probably biased because I adore all the albums and still to this day they hold a top five place in my best gigs ever – but it’s fantastic.

With so much inspiration from 70’s and 80’s retro groups and electro, James Murphy has planned and tirelessly worked hard on every track. He’s documented some of the production of the album on social media and you can really sense that LCD have gone back to some of their roots from the self-titled debut era. ‘Tonite’ must be a throwback to old-school funk-soul electronica. ‘Emotional Haircut’ is loud, bombastic and barbaric, similar to how ‘Movement’ was on the debut; and it doesn’t matter how long closer ‘Black Screen’ may be, it’s hypnotic and scintillating.

This is a band whose musicianship is hugely underrated in my opinion, and are live performers like no other. Every album is a masterpiece, ‘American Dream’ being the latest to the collection.

Cheers, have a great weekend. Keep listening!

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Weekly Escape

Evening all.

So as I wrote about a few weeks ago now, I’m officially ‘back behind the mic’. I’ve started presenting and producing a regular music show once more on my local community radio station, Sine FM, (Sundays at 6pm if you’re interested).

I wanted to start doing the show for a variety of reasons:

  1. I’ve missed radio. It’s been a year since I did some hospital radio, that which I didn’t get much out of, and it hooks you in once you’re into the routine. You start listening to more radio in general, especially the station you’re part of. It’s like a family you don’t see much at all, but you know you’re all part of the same fish tank so to speak, it’s literally got community written all over it.
  2. I need it for the CV. After doing a degree in Radio Production, you really would think that I may have found a job in radio, but as of yet I haven’t (typically in this day and age). Therefore, I figured I’d need to have something written on the CV so as to make me look interested still, which of course I very much am. SOMEONE EMPLOY ME.
  3. Lastly, it’s something to look forward to every weekend. Sometimes when you’re in a job, you have weekends where you just really can’t be arsed because you’re so tired and you lounge around watching sitcoms and eating doritos… (remind you of anyone?) I desperately try to utilise my weekends anyway and I knew that this show would give me something to strive towards every week, even if it is just an hour on air, playing music, with only potentially a few listeners. That’s something I can happily accept, because it makes me feel great. At the moment, I feel like I’m reaching a crossroads in my personal and social life, and this show and what comes with it is the beautiful form of escapism I crave for weekly. I know from now on in that I’ll just be looking forward to Sunday at 6. I’m able to play the music I’m listening to and enjoying, to people whom will appreciate it and support my passion. What can’t you love about that?

 

Anyway, I don’t mean to go deep, but it happens sometimes. Cheers for reading. Joe x

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

My First Glastonbury

Phew. So I’ve just about recovered and feel fairly human again after getting back from my first Glastonbury Festival yesterday afternoon, (Monday 26th June 2017).

What a festival, what a weekend. We arrived very tired and very dreary-eyed on Wednesday morning in the stupidly early hours and started queuing, with a bit of a kip thrown in too, ready to get in through the gates at 8am. After setting up camp on what MUST have been the hottest day of the year so far, it was time to spend the next two days exploring the magnificence and weird wonders of the festival. I really was taken aback and overwhelmed at how big the site was, and how much stuff was going on. It’s true what people say; you can easily not see any bands and still have an incredible time at Glastonbury!

From the Circus Fields to Shangri-La to the Stone Circle, the walk around the site is something to behold. One of the first things I saw on Thursday was a bearded man sipping a cup of tea outside one of the stalls in the Hippie Fields absolutely starkers! I’ve heard of hanging out at Glastonbury but that was taking it a bit far…

But who cares? It’s Glastonbury. Anything goes. And anything did go. I spent Thursday night raving with my Uncle at the Glade where we experienced The Orb going through their seminal album, ‘The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld’ and then saw nearly thirteen hours of live music on Friday.

My feet absolutely murdered by the end of the day but I can safely say that I saw one of my favourite ever bands, Radiohead, right up close and it was so worth it. After shedding a tear to second song, ‘Lucky’, they ran through tracks from ‘The Bends’, ‘OK Computer’, ‘Hail To The Thief’ and ‘In Rainbows’ most notably. The set has had its mixed reviews but it didn’t stop me enjoying it nonetheless. The most special moment had to be the continuous rapture from us all in the crowd of ‘For a minute there, I lost myself’ after they played last track, ‘Karma Police’.

Saturday was being taken a bit easier until the mighty Foo Fighters took to the Pyramid Stage and played a hit-packed set, with a couple of Queen classics thrown in there. Forever the crowd pleasers! Fireworks were shot up in the air after ‘Everlong’ was blasted out and then it was time to hit the Unfairground, which is, well, just bloody bizarre. I can safely say before that evening that I’d never stepped into a club where the entrance was a huge mouth, or acknowledged the Madchester legend that is Bez from the Happy Mondays. It was an interesting and top night that concluded in a slow walk back to camp with a massive bowl of nachos. Beautiful.

I felt pretty Glastonbury-ed out by Sunday morning, so the decision to chill out and watch a few bands at the John Peel stage was a good one. Real Estate, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes all smashed it before it took me what felt like a year to navigate my way out of the John Peel area back to the Pyramid for Chic. Word had been brewing all day about The Killers playing a secret set and it was all true, so it’s safe to say that it was bloody packed when I was trying to leave. While we’re on this subject, can I just say that I think it’s great that Glastonbury do these secret sets – it really gets everyone excited and it seems to intertwine well with the magic of the place and what it can spice up – but bloody hell, if you’re going to book The Killers, put them on the Pyramid! Not only did it take me forever to get out and step over all the waiting bodies, but there was a sea of people being cordoned off who wouldn’t have even got in to see Brandon Flowers strutting his stuff on the screen, let alone the stage itself. Madness in my opinion. But as I said earlier, anything goes at Glasto.

An early night was had after another little tear at Biffy Clyro and we left the site at about 7am on Monday morning with zero queues, thank God! Very tired, very disorientated, but so, so worth it. Thank you Glastonbury, thank you so bloody much.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Back Behind The Mic

Evening all. Gosh, it’s been half a year since I’ve blogged. I’m eating my words all the time, a bit like a politician. Very topical, eh?

Anyway, for the first time in what felt like forever yesterday, I pre-recorded a radio show, and I can confirm that it felt really bloody amazing. It really was such a joy just to chill out for an hour, enjoy some carefully-selected tunes and talk about them. That’s what I initially went into radio to do, and that’s what I endeavour to do once more for the foreseeable – be the 14 year-old Joe in some ways.

I’ve got in touch with my old community radio station, Sine FM, and shared interest to start doing a show again, just like the old times; before I could vote, drink, drive or basically do anything remotely adult.

The reign of freedom that the presenters have when choosing the content of their shows and/or the music has always been the most refreshing thing about Sine. Since the stations’ expansion into other areas of Doncaster, the attitude is still the same. Laidback, free reign, to an extent of course. It’s brilliant though, it’s certainly the approach that more community stations ought to adhere to. I personally can’t wait to get stuck in again.

I’ve already had some feedback on the show I pre-recorded yesterday, so that will be worked on. In the meantime, I’m going to go away and collate some good tunes. Keep those fingers on the dial. Cheers.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Uncategorized