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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/

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!!



Happy New Year to you all. 

First off, apologies for the lack of reviews & posts recently. Due to a combination of living, working and travelling gig attendance has been low...but alas, that is all about to change.

Upcoming gigs include Milky Chance, Fleetwood Mac and my absolute all time fav, Ryan Adams. 

In the meantime please feel free to take a look around my blog. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sofar Sounds



For those of you who are unaware of  Sofar, than I urge you to check it out NOW!!

Sofar Sounds first began in North London in 2009, when three artists played to a room (usually a living room) of music lovers. Since its launch, Sofar has gone on to achieve great success - not only hosting events in London and other UK cities, but in 37 countries around the world (incl. Turkey, brasil, US, Ireland and Australia).

Such a great concept, it is not surprising Sofar has become so popular. The set up is very simple; after you register via their website and select the dates you wish to attend, you just have to wait for an email confirming your place. It is important to note that although Sofar try to give as many people the opportunity to attend  an event, they are hugely popular and so don't expect to get an invite after your first attempt.

If you are successful Sofar will then send you an email, two days before the event, with the address of the venue. What is exciting about this is you have no idea where this venue is (since it is someones house) or who is playing.

Previous  well known artists who have played at Sofar include: Dry The RiverBastille and George Ezra.

At the beginning of this month I was lucky enough to get tickets to attend a Sofar event in Hackney. A very cool venue (a warehouse converted into a home), myself and 100 other die hard music fans sat together and watched three great live acts - Beans on Toast, Too Many Ts and Gorgeous George.

A night full of live music, laughter and sing alongs, I really can't stress how fun the evening was. Check it out. I can promise it will be well worth your time.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Alt J - Music Review




On wednesday 25th September I headed to Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace) to see Alt j live.

I am a huge fan of Alt j and was absolutely ecstatic when I got tickets to see them. Alt J is an English indie rock band who first formed together in 2007. In 2012 Alt J had a fabulous year, winning the Mercury Prize and releasing their debut album "An Awesome Wave." Their follow up, and highly anticipated second album "This Is All Yours" was released last month (september) and went straight to number 1 in the UK album charts.

Starting the night off was british singer/songwriter Marika Hackman. Although she has a lovely voice, I will say all her tracks seemed a bit samey. Very sombre and chilled out I felt her style was a strange choice for the opening of an Alt J gig. One of the tracks she performed was Bath Is Black - check it out Here.

After hackman came Alt J - and boy was the 10,000 packed out crowd excited to see them. Arriving on stage surrounded by a haze of smoke, the guys started the evening with the lead single from their new album 'Hunger of the Pine."

The evenings set list included: Hunger of the Pine, Fitzpleasure, Something Good, Left Hand free, Dissolve Me, Matilda, Bloodflood, Bloodflood Pt.2, Ripe & Ruin, Tessellate, Every Other Freckle, Taro, Warm Foothills, The Gospel of John Hurt. Encore: Lovely Day. Nara and finally Breezeblocks.

I must say I was thoroughly impressed with the live performance of Alt J. Keeping things simple and singing both new and old tracks from their albums, the crowds attention was kept from start to finish. It was clear that Joe Newman's unique yet instantly recognisable vocals were just as strong live than they are on record. Accompanying the music was also an impressive light arrangement. The lights changed in time with the the music and seemed to perfectly reflect the theme of each song. Combine the lights, the music, and the four boys from Alt J and you have yourself the ingredients for a perfect live show.

For me, the highlight of the evening was hearing the guys perform my personal favourite track "Taro." Check out the video below for more...


video

This was easily one of the best gigs I have been to in sometime and I would definitely urge people to check them out. Later this year Alt J will be performing at the O2, and I can't stress enough, if you are interested then grab tickets soon because you can bet they will be sold out in no time.

Tour dates: 
16th Nov - Beacon Theatre, NYC
24th Jan - The O2, London    http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/AltJ-tickets/artist/1684909