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Sunday, April 19, 2015

X Ambassadors


When I used to live about 30minutes from NYC I regularly blogged about bands and artists who were playing in the city (my fav venue being at the Mercury Lounge). It has come to my attention however, most of my recent posts and recommendations have been on bands playing in the UK. So, in an attempt to rectify this, I have posted about a band who are currently touring around the US, and who I also happen to absolutely love!

I introduce to you the X Ambassadors.

X Ambassadors is an American rock band from New York. Made up of Sam Harris, Casey Harris, Noah Feldshuh and Adam Levin, X Ambassador first hit the music scene in 2009 when they toured with a number of bands including LIGHTS.

You may find you have already heard a number of singles by X Ambassadors, since their work has featured in many popular american seasons such as Orange Is The New Black, Supernatural and One Tree Hill.

To date, X Ambassadors have released a number of EPs; self titled 'Ambassadors,' 'Love Songs Drug Songs' and 'The Reason.' The Reason is my personal favourite due to the tracks Free & Lonely, and Unsteady.In terms of albums, in 2012 they released their debut album 'Litost' and are due to release a second one (name yet to be disclosed) later this year.

I have yet to see this band live, but will most certainly be keeping an eye on their upcoming tour dates. If you are still on the fence, I should probably mention their touring alongside with the brilliant Milky Chance


Upcoming tour dates: 
22nd July - NYC. Summertage - Central Park.

For more of their American tour dates check out: http://www.xambassadors.com/tour

Previous Mumford and Sons Review (with current tour dates)

 An album launch party like no other.

Three times I have now seen this band, and they just keep getting better and better. In a previous post I wrote:

"I love everything about Mumford and Sons; their songs, their charisma, their attitude, and their voices. I have been fortunate enough see Mumford & Sons live twice, once at Glastonbury Music Festival and once in New York. They definitely didn't disappoint! Each gig was performed flawlessly."

After seeing them last night perform at the Roundhouse in Camden, London for the iTunes Festival, I can safely say this band is in my top three best live performances I have seen to date. As well as performing some of their well known and popular singles (Little Lion Man, The Cave, Roll Away Your Stone), Mumford and Sons performed many tracks from their newly released album (24th Sept) "Babel."

The evenings set list included:  Lovers' Eyes, Little Lion Man, White Blank Page, Not With Haste, Below My Feet, Timshel, Roll Away Your Stone, Lover of the Light, Thistle & Weeds, Ghosts That We Knew, Awake My Soul, Whispers in the Dark, Dust Bowl Dance.
Encore: Where Are You Now? I Will Wait, The Cave.

For me the highlight of the night was seeing Mumford and Sons do a stripped performance of Timshel (see short clip below). As soon as the four guys began their acoustic performance the crowd were in complete silence. It was incredible to watch the band at its simplest: just voices and emotion.

video

Another highlight for me was when they performed the new single "Where are you now" from their new album "Babel."   It was the first time I had heard this track, and I personally fell in love with it instantly. I found it to be an immensely emotional single that anyone could relate to.


It was safe to say the crowd had a great night too. The crowd was of all ages, but that is irrelevant, for as soon as the four men walked onto the stage the whole crowd went wild. The jam packed Roundhouse had an electric atmosphere - people singing, screaming, applauding and dancing along to all their songs (old and new) for the duration of their show.

Overall it was a brill night. If you get the chance you MUST see this band.

Tour Dates:
2nd June. MCU Park - Brooklyn, Coney island, NY (US)
3rd June. MCU Park - Brooklyn, Coney island, NY (US)
5-6th June. Gotr Seaside heights, Stopover, New Jersey (US)
28th - 30th Aug. Reading & Leeds Festival (UK)

For more information on their tour dates check out: http://www.mumfordandsons.com/

For more reviews on Mumford & Sons click on the following links:
Gentleman of the Road Review (2013)
Mumford & Sons (2012)






Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sofar Sounds Secret Gig #3

As you may be aware I have been fortunate enough to attend a number of secret gigs at various locations around London, courtesy of Sofar Sounds. On 11th February I was once again lucky enough to go to a strangers (very cool) house in Stoke Newington and watch four fab bands play.

First up was Honey Blood. This Scottish duo, made of Tina Tweeddale on guitar/vocals and Shona McVicar on drums, classify their music as 'crunch pop' - a "blend of blustery vocals and swirling guitars."

These girls were actually due to perform at another venue later that evening, however before they dashed off we were treated to a three song set.  To hear their music check out their self titled album "Honeyblood." Tracks featured on the album include Killer Bangs and Super Rat.

For more information check out their Twitter page: https://twitter.com/yumhoneyblood

Next up were Elliot Galvin Trio. The great thing about Sofar Sounds is the opportunity to see a wide range of artists and bands of all different genres. This couldn't have been more true for the next band. 
Elliot Galvin Trio were fabulous. These three very understated lads took to the floor with their instruments and performed an absolutely flawless set. Elliot Galvin on piano, Tom McCredle on bass and Simon Roth on drums, incorporate classical, jazz and art into their music. The mastermind of this band, Elliot Galvin, composes all the bands material. To highlight how good these guys are, in 2014, they won the European Young Musician of the Year Award. 

Regardless to whether you listen to classical music or not, these tremendously talented guys are definitely worth your time. 

For more info about this band check out their Twitter page: https://twitter.com/ElliotGalvin

Next, and my personal favourite of the night: Jay Brown. Although Jay Brown, a singer from Northampton, usually sings with a band, she performed solo on this occasion. She played a number of tracks including Sun Comes Up, We Are The People and my personal fav, Diamonds.

Brown has already played at a number of large venues including Glastonbury in 2013 on the BBC introducing stage. She is definitely someone to keep an eye for in the future.

I thoroughly enjoyed her set. Again, very understated, Brown's raspy/gruff vocals oozed rawness and emotion. If you, like me, are a fan of stripped back/acoustic music, than you will be a fan of Jay Brown.

For those of you who are Bastille fans, you may also recognise Brown from when she featured on the track "Forever Ever" with Kate Tempest.


For more info on Jay Brown, check out her website: http://jaybrownofficial.co.uk/

And finally but by no means least, Rozi Plain. This girl is hilarious - I loved her! Originally from Winchester, Rozi in an indie singer who has previously supported KT Tunstall and played at a number of festivals including The Green Man and End of the Road Festival. To date Rozi Plain has released two albums "Inside Over Here" and "Joined Sometimes Unjoined." During her set, Rozi sang Actually and Jogalong.

Rozi played a great set. Her dry sense of humour, accompanied with her upbeat and catchy tunes was the perfect finale to a brilliant night of live music. When listening to Rozi I was reminded a great deal of Tegan and Sara, for their similar music styles and distinct vocals.

For more info on Rozi Plain, check out her website http://roziplain.co.uk/.

Overall I had a great night of live music. If you haven't signed up, you are missing out. Here is the site if you are interested: http://www.sofarsounds.com/

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Damon Albarn live


So it has occurred to me I had yet to review the gig I went to whilst on my travels in Australia....

On 16th Dec, I managed to get hold of free tickets to Damon Albarn's show at the Sydney Opera House, courtesy of my sister. I had already seen Damon Albarn live when he headlined at Glastonbury with Gorillaz. However, I was eager to see what he would be like going it alone

Just as a quick summary, Damon Albarn first ht the music scene in 1988 with his band Blur. It was not until 1990 however that blur got their big break. Despite their success, Blur have found themselves in the middle of media spats, bust ups, and rivalries (both in and out of the band). Saying that after taking a hiatus, Blur are due to release their eighth album "The Magic Whip." Another successful band Albarn has been a central force behind is the 'virtual band' Gorillaz. Working alongside Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz released their self titled debut album in 2003. To date, they have released four albums, the last being 'The Fall' in 2011.

Anyway back to the gig.

Starting the evening off with Spitting Out the Demons, Damon Albarn had the 2000+ seated crowd immediately up on their feet.  He has such a stage presence (laughing, smiling and jumping around) it is easy to see how he has become such a name in the music world. Saying that, I was relieved I wasn't sat too near to the front - Albarn had a tendency to sprout water all over the first few rows throughout the gig.

Albarn sang tracks that spanned across his 20+ year career by also performing tracks from his Blur and Gorillaz days.

For me the highlight was having De La Soul come out on stage to perform Feel Good Inc. As a huge  Gorillaz fan, it was awesome seeing the original guys rapping and singing it out on stage. Going by the crowd around me, my feelings were definitely shared.

The set list for the evening included: Spitting Out the Demons, Lonely Press Play, Everyday Robots, Tomorrow Comes Today, Slow Country, Kids With Guns, Three Changes, Hostiles, Photographs, Kingdom of Doom, You and Me, Hallow Ponds, El Manana, Don't Get Lost In Heaven, Out of Time, All Your Life. Encoure: End of a Century, Mr Tembo, Clint Eastwood, Feel Good Inc (ft De La Soul) and Heavy Seas of Love.

Overall I had a great night of music. If I am being honest, before the evening I was more excited about the venue itself, however, Albarn proved to be a great performer and delivered a hugely energetic and exciting show.

Damon Albarn currently has not upcoming live shows, however for more information please check out his website: http://www.damonalbarnmusic.com/tour/



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ryan Adams Live



On Friday 27th February, for my birthday, I headed to the Evertim Apollo. After years of being a Ryan Adams fan (and close monitoring of his UK tours via google alerts), I was finally able to see him live.

For those of you who are not aware of Ryan Adams - and yes, I do mean Ryan and not Bryan - he is an American singer/songwriter from North Carolina. Ryan first hit the music scene in the early nineties, and has to date released a staggering 14 albums and five EPs.

My particular favourite period of Adams' career thus far is when he sang with the Cardinals and released two albums "Cold Roses" and "Jacksonville City Nights." In terms of singles, Ryan Adams has had a number of great tracks, however the one that branched out to the largest audience was his cover of Wonderwall by Oasis. His cover even proved popular with Oasis lead singer Noal Gallagher who said "I never got my head round this song until I went to [see] Ryan Adams play and he did an amazing cover of it."

Anyway enough of the bio - lets get back to the gig. With any artist that has been around for over 10 years, the fan base was vast and diverse! There were young'uns and oldies, all wearing their leather jackets and excited for the performance ahead.

Supporting Adams that night was American singer and songwriter Natalie Prass. Natalie is a relatively new face to the music scene, only having just released her debut album in January of this year. Despite Prass' soft yet strong distinct vocals, her songs did very little to enrapture me. Overall I feel her performance did not do a great job in warming up the crowd. However saying that, I did feel Prass sang very well when she performed two duets with Ryan later in the evening.

It was clear by the cheers and applause from the crowd, they were ecstatic to see Ryan Adams. Dressed in his denims and standard mass of wild hair, Adams welcomed the crowd "That's right, its the weekend. Time to get sad." A man with a dry sense of humour, Adams seemed more than happy to take the mic out of himself and his 'depressed' fans! Even when a minor fight broke out near the end of his set, Ryan was able to keep up the banter and question how anyone could get so riled up to his music. Not one to be distracted, Ryan Adams soon got the show going again and announced 'Right, lets try another f***ing miserable song." Cue rapturous applause from the sold out crowd.

The set list for the evening included: Gimme Something Good, Let It Ride, Stay With Me, Dear Chicago, This House Is Not For Sale, Everybody Knows, My Winding Wheel, Dirty Rain, Magnolia Mountain, New York, New York, Kim, Two, My Wrecking Ball, I Just Might, I love You But I Don't Know What To Say, Your Fool, Oh My Sweet Carolina, La Cienega Just Smiled, Trouble, When The Stars Go Blue, I see Monsters and Come Pick Me Up.

What was great about this gig was seeing Ryan Adams perform some of his best singles for a solid two hours. The combination of great songs, banter and talent (vocals, guitar and harmonica) meant Ryan Adams was able to deliver a flawless night of bloody brilliant live music. He even was able to demonstrate his musical talent by singing an improv song "I ate something off the street" after overhearing a conversation from the crowd. A pure genius.



I am well and truly thrilled I can now scratch "see Ryan Adams live" off my bucket list. I would urge all fans out there to GO and see him live.

Upcoming gigs include: 
5th June - The Governors Ball Music Festival - NYC
4th July - Calling Festival - London

To see the rest of his tour dates check out: http://www.songkick.com/artists/332590-ryan-adams/calendar


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Milky Chance Review


A couple of weeks ago I headed over to O2 Shepherds Bush to see Milky Chance live. I have been a fan of this band for the last year and a half, and so I was ecstatic to get my hands on tickets.

Milky Chance, made up of Clemens Rehbein (on vocals) and Philipp Dausch (DJing), are a reggae psychedelic folk band (i.e. folk mixed with reggae electronics) from Germany.

Milky Chance has achieved great success from the very beginning. Their first single "Stolen Dance" was released in April 2013 and went straight to number 1 in many European countries such as France and Hungary.

The pair released their debut album "Sadnecessary" back in October 2013. If you haven't done so yet, I would highly recommend you checking it out. Personal favourites of mine include "Becoming" and "Down By The River."

Due to work commitments I sadly missed the support act: Kafka, a three piece band from Southampton.

So onto the main event; Kicking things off, the boys came out onto the stage in complete darkness and performed a 5 minute intro song. I thought this was great way to start - the dramatic, electric track mixed with reggae guitar beats seemed to really build up the atmosphere of the venue. After a 2.5 minute instrumental intro, the feeling of anticipation from the 4,000 strong crowd was finally answered when Clemens delivered the first vocals of the evening. And boy was the build up worth it! A man with such a distinct and raspy voice, Clemens, with his mass of wild hair, looked  completely relaxed and at ease out on stage.

For me another highlight was when the third man on stage (not entirely sure who he was) played a harmonica solo during two of their tracks (Loveland and a single that has yet to be released). The harmonica went down a treat and had the crowd going crazy. For me, the harmonica just added something extra to their already feel good tracks.

I will add this gig did leave me feeling a little unsure. There is no question these guys are talented - just listen to their album if you are not sure! No, what was missing for me was the signs of a fine tuned/ well oiled gig. The transition between songs were at times quite poor, with the stage often falling into complete darkness between tracks. Also, it wasn't until after the third track that Clemens  actually even said anything to the crowd. Don't get me wrong, I had a great night of live music. I just felt it took a good hour for Milky Chance to really get into their performance and get the party started. Negatives aside however, I did think the lighting and staging set up was brilliant. The two were completely on theme and further exposes the reggae influences in their tracks.

The set list for the evening was: intro, Stunner, Fairytale, Sadnecessary, Flashed Junk Mind, Given, Nevermind, Loveland, Sweet Sun, Indigo, Feathery, Running, Stolen Dance and the Encore: Down By the River.

Although I talk about some finer tuning needed to be made, I found the gig to be highly enjoyable. Going by their new track, these boys have kept to what they know, and for that reason I am excited to hear what new music they will be treating us to later in the year.


Upcoming tour dates: 
Sat 28th March. Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NYC
Tues 31st March. Webster Hall - NYC
Wed 1st April. Webster Hall - NYC

To see more dates for their North American tour check Tour Dates and tickets

For more information about Milky Chance check out their Twitter

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sofar Sounds (Secret Gig number 2)


Back in November you may remember me posting about a secret gig I attended courtesy of Sofar Sounds. If not, here is a reminder: Review

This week I was fortunate enough to get my hands on another set of tickets to another secret gig at another secret location in London.

On Tuesday, with my friend in toe, we headed to Swiss Cottage to see three local/talented acts, and boy were we in for a treat. Not only were the three acts completely different from each other but they were all awesome!

First off was Miss Baby Sol. What can say? Sassy, fun and uber cool, this girl sure can sing. With orange hair, impressive heal boots and a black jumpsuit, Baby was the perfect pick to start the night off. Baby, along with her guitarist, soon had the whole crowd swaying and clicking along to her soulful tunes.

Baby sang a number of her own singles including She Cries, Always and No No. Although bashful between songs, this girl oozed confidence as she sang her way through her set.

Miss Baby Sol (picture from @marina111288) 

With the support of Paloma Faith behind her, it is clear the Sofar crowd are not the only ones who think she has talent. To hear more from Baby check out her website: http://www.missbabysol.com/

Upcoming gigs: 
Sat 7th Feb. Passing Clouds - London

Next up, were the Irish foursome, The Riptide Movement .
Riptide Movement 
Riptide Movement, made up of lead singer Malachy Tuohy, drummer Gar Byrne and guitarists John Dalton & Gerald McGarry, are an irish rock band from Dublin. Having never heard of them before I was impressed to hear their album "Getting Through" went to number 1 in the Irish Charts last year.

I must say, as a huge fan of folk rock music, this band were right up my street. Having already supported The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, it comes as no surprise these boys looked relaxed and comfortable performing to a living room full of 50 strangers.

When they played, I was reminded a great deal of a more upbeat and cheery version of Kodaline and The Coronas. Their set included singles "You & 1," "Glor" and "Skins & Bones." They are due to release their debut UK single "All Works Out" on March 9th, and I for one will be definitely downloading it.
Malachy Tuohy - Riptide Movement (picture from @marina111288)
Although Riptide Movement have no upcoming gigs, they have just played a sold out three day tour at the Islington. Watch out for these boys, I'm confident this is not the last we have seen of them. 

And finally, from soul, to folk-rock to....beat boxing. The last act, and by no means least, was Reeps One

I have one word; Wow! As someone who only ever finds herself listening to dubstep when out on the dance floor on a night out, I was completely mesmerised by the whole thing. Harry Yeff, or otherwise known by his stage name Reeps One, made beatboxing look a breeze. Joking with the crowd, Reeps One showed off his vocals, dubstep sounds and versatile beats. Having played at Glastonbury three times, supported the likes of Chris Brown and won the Vauxhall UK Beatbox Championships two years in a row, I am thrilled to have got the opportunity to see this guy live - it was like nothing I had seen before. 

Reef Ones website is currently under construction but here is the link anyway; http://reepsone.co.uk/

Overall I had an absolutely superb night of live music. Three very different acts, all known for their own style and genre, I was spoilt. I had a cracking night, and couldn't thank the brilliance of the Sofar Sound group enough. Again, if you haven't signed up, you are missing out. Here is the site if you are interested: http://www.sofarsounds.com/