Live – Deliluh at The Hope & Ruin

Deliluh at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton, 17th June 2022

Something of a well kept secret, Deliluh combine influences from different eras and genres, their Canadian roots and European base no doubt adding to the melting pot. The band are now a duo comprising Kyle Knapp and Julius Pederson, but the sound they create is worthy of a stage full of musicians, perhaps not surprising as they seem able to switch between instruments at the drop of a hat, without even needing a hat.

A heady mix of synths, distortion and a lap steel guitar, topped off by the unexpected but delightful addition of sax, the crowd veered between transfixation and jubilant dancing. Elements of early VU, the darker side of 80s’ electronica, hints of melancholy and the stage presence of a certain Mr E Smith made for a very special evening. I wonder how long the secret will be well kept.

Words and photos by Siobhan

23rd June 2022

Live – Blood Red Shoes | Ciel | GLU at Chalk

Blood Red Shoes, Ciel & GLU at Chalk, Brighton, 15th June 2022

Touring with their latest album Ghosts on Tape, Blood Red Shoes were always bound to receive a warm hometown welcome in Brighton, playing last night to an elated crowd at Chalk. Eclectic support came from locally based rising stars Ciel and the elusive GLU (aka Michael Shuman – Mini Mansions / QOTSA). Check out our photo gallery from Mike Burnell below…

GLU

Ciel

Blood Red Shoes

Photos © Mike Burnell (iso400.com)

16th June 2022

Festival – Dot to Dot Bristol 2022

Dot to Dot Festival, Bristol, 28th May 2022 / Nottingham, 29th May 2022

While competing with the likes of Wide Awake and Bearded Theory this weekend, Dot to Dot proved itself worthy of both its status and name by creating a landscape of music over two cities in two days. Catching the event in Bristol on the 28th, I was treated with a great sweep of music, emblematic both of the talent of those involved in creating events like this, as well as of the bright world of local music. Throughout, band and audience joined, each enticed by other bands, hen nights, buskers and all the delights that the city had to offer on the sunniest day of the month.  

The day started off at the lovely Louisiana’s bar with Hamburger. The Bristol locals have a musical collection which (personally) can only be described as having the energy of the ending of a coming of age teen film. Their performance, which enticingly involved three guitars with no bass (creating a lush style of light sadness), was backed by a wonderful collective atmosphere, with each member of the front of the band singing along. The lead singer, Fearghall, shines through with falsetto style ‘emo’ singing, fitting well within the upbeat tracks the band had to show. ‘Supersad’ was a key highlight, reflecting the band’s talents for emanating fun sounds between reflections of misery. With a scream from keyboardist Katie, the day was set with a fun energy. 

Once their time came, it was a short walk to the Dockside for Sam Akpro. After seeing the band open for Connie Constance back in September, their style of melancholic rock found a whole new light, quite literally, within the summery setting given to them. Assuming their tracks would be misplaced out of the dark room I’d first caught them, the band instead caught me offguard, providing a new fun and joy alongside their atmospheric moods. Alongside the weaving personality of the titular singer, both guitarists on each side of Sam brought an integral aspect to the band: the lead guitarist with sparking blood, biting his guitar strings any chance he could, and the bassist with some beautifully clean riffs, keeping subdued but integral. If you’re into Krule-ish styles, or just good music, ‘Juno’ acts as a nice introduction into this world.

With a good 15 minute break we were given time to head into the Academy, where DAMEFRISØR kicked off with their stylish musings. The collective, made of 6, are perfectly able to craft a distinct level of mood, enveloping the audience in a pool of sound, sprinkled with techno fusions, like in the closer 2-HEH-V, beginning with a glitchy monologue alongside a beautifully simple arpeggio, before expanding into a blazing fury. It was a shame, given the time constraints, that they weren’t allowed to play for longer – a full Dame set would surely be special.

Clearly, whoever was working on the setlist was a mastermind, because this mood was regained almost immediately by the seminal Just Mustard. With their album Heart Under released just the day before, their style was ready to be injected into the academy. As they went on each track gained more traction, especially energised in Mirrors, which closed off the first half of their setlist, symbolised by the surprise reveal of a bow for one guitarist to make even more of a disturbingly long groan, a key staple of Heart Under.  From both near and far, their signature sound was sure to find its way inside each audience member, with all its beautiful grime. 

Next, it was a megawalk to The Fleece, to catch Coach Party. Arriving around 5 to 10 minutes before its start, it was a surprise to see the room already packed, brimming with fans. It wasn’t hard to see why: the Party themselves have an infectiously fun energy pervading through their songs. Even watching from a distance, their atmosphere carried through the crowd, elevating their bouncy rock thanks to both the audience and the band’s own energy – seen most effectively in the second scream of the day, from guitarist Steph Norris. Each track felt as vibrant from the next: even the more talkative, bleaker ‘Shit TV’ has ended up replaying most in my mind days after their set. 

A well earned break accidentally led to a disastrous time mismanage, where in trying to find any way to choose between BG favourites Honeyglaze and techno-duo Jockstrap, time chose to take both away. To make this situation worse, a mishap at doors led to the departure of the camera into the cloakroom for (almost) the rest of the night. Tragedy seemed set. The dots of dot to dot were forming an outline of disaster. 

So what better time for some nice indie-pop?

Make Friends were the next unplanned surprise of the night. After it taking us half the set to realise this wasn’t Gretel Hänlyn (which in hindsight should’ve been more obvious from the all-male band), we found the dig which allowed the grooves of the Bristol locals to set in. It was hard to find a more delightful sight, between their breezy tunes and the delighted dancing of some of the older fans. Placed elegantly before Cassia, the band’s atmosphere holds a similar summery quality, while keeping fresh with passionate lead singer and elegant percussion. With hits like ‘Hesitate’, the mistakes of the past were left behind, and our minds were set towards the future. 

The future came immediately, with Cassia fronting just five minutes after in the room beside. Sitting down, it was a matter of spotting any member we could through the legs of audience members, as well as feeling the rhythms of the bass through seats. Even a false start couldn’t stop the atmosphere from feeling soft, comforting. If it wasn’t for the other bands that night, I could’ve happily slept to the dreaminess of their sound, exemplified by hits like ‘Drifting’. Sadly cut short, the atmosphere Cassia created couldn’t be left behind.

The summer sun transferred from sound to sight with a return to the dockside for Bleach Lab. In risk of running that sun metaphor too long, the Lab’s signature tranquility turned it purple, into a Violet Light of sorts. The quality of the band, especially in singer Jenna Kyle’s delivery, was truly put into its space here, with recent and (hopefully) soon to be released tracks making the most of the summer atmosphere. 

Heading back to the Louisiana, it was a delight to chat briefly to George O’Hanlon, who had been a last minute replacement to the set. He gave some integral behind the scenes information, especially concerning a hot dog mixup with another George from festival mindblowers FEET. It was clear that Lime Garden was the place to be, and it only became more clear once their set began. In a full room, the quartet were electrifying, both in and between songs. Each track transformed on stage: ‘Marbles’ became even more funky that it already is, ‘Clockwork’ gained an extra groove – they even gave ‘Sick and Tired’ a new light once feeding me the actual lyrics, as opposed to the usual ramble I’d sing in the post-chorus. It’s hard not to see this as the highlight of the day – even with a 30 minute set, the band showed their place as a force of pure excitement, hopefully making their way up to the bigger stages soon enough. 

As much as this praise could seem to dislodge headliners Squid from their place, the night couldn’t have wrapped up any other way. Now, with camera back in hand, the night was set to end in burning intensity. Intensity was certainly there. ‘Sludge’ kicked off the team’s repertoire, a track whose title speaks for itself, wading through stellar lines and bass riffs. Two (assumedly) new tracks set the tone for what the band sounded like to those who hadn’t heard them before – good noise, essentially. 

Houseplants provided the second best joke of the night, with the song’s rise and fall of tempo acting like the friend who won’t stop starting the car as you put your hand on the door. The best, of course, had to go to the fan who decided to go shirtless-on-shoulders to ‘Documentary Filmmaker’ – the most subdued of the band’s setlist. Whoever he was, he brought the joy of the room together, and I can’t thank him enough for it. Singer/drummer Ollie Judge’s constant references to the Superbock logo were certaintly up there, too – I think at one point, the only word stated in a song interval was ‘Superbock’. 

Waning between their rage and atmosphere (halved pretty perfectly in ‘Boy Racers’), the headliners allowed for breathing room between the high octane numbers of the night. The mosh was a place of both fuel and love – a delightful mix of characters to end a delightful day. Someone may even have been married within that night, according to the wedding dress caught on camera.

All in all, it should’ve been expected that those in Dot to Dot would deliver yet again, both in the artists actually performing to the audience and the audience itself. Each provided their own slice of the D2D pie: conversations with drunk guys who’d lost their mates; buskers providing backing for the walk to and from venues; the sun itself; all were in place to make it yet another day to remember, even if impossible to recall for some of the more excited members of the audience. 

Dot to Dot Festival

Words and photos by Jacob Rose

2nd June 2022

Festival – Call of the Wild

Summoned by Wolves : The Return of the Rock Festival

Call of the Wild Festival, Lincolnshire Showground, 19th – 22nd May 2022

Header shot: These Wicked Rivers

The Call Of The Wild sounded loud and clear, beckoning the faithful from across the land for only the second time.

Just days before the festival was due to open in 2021, the government once again altered their restrictions and, despite everyone’s best efforts, the festival was cancelled. This year, the organisers were poised and ready to go with vengeance and passion!

With 4 days of outstanding rock/punk/metal music, offering variation enough to delight festival goers of any age, an incredible 70+ bands delighted the crowd between Thursday afternoon and late Sunday evening in (almost) perfect festival weather.

Top: The Howling Tides
Bottom: Raging Speedhorn

Lincolnshire Showground provides a top backdrop for a music festival with camping availability, shower/toilet blocks and a perfect performance arena with access for all. A compact site, offering parallel stages, traditional music festival market stalls, merch tent, a well-considered selection of food vendors catering for any pallet and a third (smaller) stage serving fantastic coffees for the duration of the weekend meant that everything was to hand.

The roll call for this year’s Call Of The Wild Festival featured immense talent including a number of incredible bands from The States and Scandinavia. A quality line-up attractive enough to have a huge draw for festival goers who have missed out on so much for the past couple of years, desperate for the return of live music. Major weekend headliners, ex-Motorhead’s Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, Reckless Love, Massive Wagons and The Treatment did not disappoint delivering loud, wild, exciting sets, absolutely right for the end of the night!

Dallas & Drizzle – The L.A.Maybe

Personal highlights included Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders’ favourite, Ricky Warwick and the Fighting Hearts, who rocked even the hardest souls of the few who had reluctantly ‘come along with the other half,’ and breathtaking Bournemouth-based hard rockers, South Of Salem, who brought the ‘Slipknot’ vibe and gave a show (complete with pyrotechnics) ensuring their right to be much further up on festival posters in the 12 months ahead.

Call Of The Wild is still a ‘young ‘un’ on the live music scene, but this year it’s pulled on its big pants and is now steaming ahead to knock more established events sideways.

For an unforgettable festival, check out Call Of The Wild on all social media platforms to see what you missed and to discover how to get on it for next time. You won’t regret it!

Tickets are already on sale for next year’s festival, with VIP packages almost sold out: Call Of The Wild: Lincolnshire Showground, 26th – 28th May 2023

Words and photos by Tina Sherwood at All The Ts Photography

30th May 2022

 

Live – Yard Act | Nuha Ruby Ra at The Establishment

Yard Act & Nuha Ruby Ra at The Establishment, Wakefield, 25th May 2022

In a touring schedule that’s seen them traverse land, sea and air, from Coventry to Copenhagen to Coachella, Leeds indie rock outfit Yard Act return to West Yorkshire for an intimate show in neighbouring Wakefield. 

Opening act Nuha Ruby Ra is a singular, striking onstage force. Illuminated by red light and flashing strobes she is a compelling performer, rarely staying still, whether shuffling to the sound of the rumbling bass and industrial beats of her backing track or submerging into the crowd itself. An inspired choice of hers is handling two microphones, one heavy with reverb, allowing her voice to range from seductive whispers to shattering yelps; she’s certainly an artist to keep a tab on. 

It can be tough to tell when Yard Act are joking. 

It’s present in the satirical edge of frontman James Smith’s lyrics, being often counterbalanced with a helping of genuine sentiment and consideration; for every Rich or Payday there’s a 100% Endurance – it’s sincerity with a smirk. Their ambitions to top the album charts proved difficult to pin down in a similar way, initially their campaign seemed like a sharp parody of music industry mechanics in its relentlessness, but the idea of a group like Yard Act gaining a debut No 1 record captured the imagination of so many, that it would be insulting to suggest it was just some bit smarmy piss take of the system. 

It’s present on this night too, there’s a lot of humour to be found in seeing a band walk onto a tiny stage in Wakefield to the sound of Fatboy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now like some ancient arena rock monoliths. 

But again, it sort of works, this tour which began as an album driver now looks more of a seemingly never ending victory lap (despite coming 2nd in the chart after all) and so why shouldn’t they enter the stage to a big beat classic? Why shouldn’t they throw everything at the wall for a number one record? 

How many times does anyone in life find themselves in these positions – at least Yard Act seem to be having fun with it. 

They continually poke fun at themselves and the audience, and in between songs Smith’s quick witticism evokes that of a stand-up comic more so than rock n roll star; jesting about the crowd owning multiple copies of the album, lightly butting heads with them over song requests and describing the vinyl preparation procedure as “the Macarena for 6 Music dads”. 

The Wakefield crowd is warmly receptive, but though the show sold out minutes after going on sale it’s not quite the unbridled mayhem I expected, more respectful enthusiasm, which Smith naturally jibes the crowd about. 

It’s never awkward however, there’s a sense that the moments of sudden self-deprecation and off the cuff tangents mid-song keep things fresh, with this being their 10th consecutive date in a tour that seems to show little in the way of slowing down, it’s maybe a necessity at this stage to keep them from exhausting themselves of their own material. 

Said material sounds, naturally, well oiled to within an inch of its life and is performed with vigour and energy, standouts being the post-punk throttle of The Overload, the wonky funk of Dead Horse and the anthemic hopefulness of 100% Endurance, all which sound brilliant in such an intimate venue. 

Tall Poppies however is the highlight of the evening, its extensive and emotional concluding monologue testament to Smith’s talent as a lyricist and performer. 

In spite of the initially subdued crowd, Smith concludes the set with affection for Wakefield, bringing up its similarities to his hometown of Warrington, remembering his days around these parts in previous group Post War Glamour Girls and playfully relaying a list of local pubs and landmarks during a duet of The Modern Lovers Roadrunner with Nuha Ruby Ra. 

Be clear, Wakefield loves them back, we just often don’t show it on our faces. 

The tour will continue to march on, to bigger stages and bigger crowds, but shows like these where the group’s character and charisma, their sincerity and their smirk are in full force, are a great reminder of why the public got behind them to begin with. 

Yard Act

Words by Ryan Bell
Photo by James Brown

27th May 2022

Live + Interview – South of Salem

Definitely not Massachusetts

Live from Call Of The Wild Festival, 2022

South Of Salem. Mean anything? Not a direction to an American town, but an incredible new band from beside the English seaside!

Hailing from Bournemouth, South of Salem have made it up to the Lincolnshire Showground for Call Of The Wild Festival, 2022 and last night produced what frontman, Joey Draper, called ‘one of the best gigs (he’s) ever played.’ Anyone in the audience would find it hard not to agree that their set was a ‘standout’ memory of the festival’s first day.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Joey and his wife, Lolly, the morning after the night before, to find out a little more about the SOS ‘phenomenon.’

Conceived just a month before Lockdown 1, it’s astonishing to realise that this band is holding its own alongside bands of much greater experience within the New Wave Of Classic Rock genre.

Belying everything his stage persona would lead you to believe, Joey Draper is shy, unassuming and well spoken. When he talks, his whole being is embroiled with the passion he feels for what he and his band of amazing creatives are doing.

He has a vision, clear and entirely realistic in terms of the speed with which South Of Salem have rocketed onto the scene during unprecedented times. The Voice of Conscience rings loud and clear through the lyrics, addressing contemporary issues such as male suicide, sadly something which has impacted on the band with their friends over the last year and a half.

With Gothic-style dolly dancers, (one of whom is Joey’s wife, Lolly), pyrotechnics, creative lighting and boundless energy, the front row members continuously leap atop strategically placed risers, allowing everyone to enjoy the limelight.

I’m not a betting person, but I’m prepared to lay long odds that the Big NameRock Festivals will be after these guys for their shows next year.

Get ahead of the crowd and discover them for yourselves now.

South Of Salem really do ROCK!

South of Salem

Words and photos by Tina Sherwood at All The Ts Photography

27th May 2022

Live – Kate Nash | Revenge Wife | Orchards at Chalk

Kate Nash, Revenge Wife & Orchards at Chalk, Brighton, 23rd May 2022

Just a few months away from the 15 year anniversary of her debut album Made of Bricks, Kate Nash is working her way through a string of UK dates. Last night she put on a great show at Chalk in Brighton, with support from Revenge Wife and Orchards. Mike Burnell was there to capture the evening in pictures, gallery below…

Hosted by Lout Promotions

Orchards

Revenge Wife

Kate Nash

Photos © Mike Burnell (iso400.com)

24th May 2022

 

 

Live – Michael Kiwanuka at The Brighton Centre

Michael Kiwanuka at The Brighton Centre, 20th May 2022

Following the inevitable postponements that have hit almost every artist over the last couple of years, Michael Kiwanuka is finally taking his Mercury award winning album KIWANUKA out on the road. On Friday night the tour came to a packed Brighton Centre and proved, unsurprisingly, to be well worth the wait.

It only takes the first few seconds of opening track Piano Joint before the crowd is singing along, a tale of healing that seems wholly appropriate in the current environment. His vocal is, as ever, smooth and effortless, think the most chilled version of Curtis Mayfield you could imagine and you’re some way there.

Then, as the light show kicks in, he launches straight into One More Night, funk undertones joining the soulful reach from not just Kiwanuka but his accomplished band and backing vocalists, spread across the width and height of the stage in a multi-level formation. The stage at The Brighton Centre is far from small but it feels like every inch is filled with something to watch and listen to.

When the intro to Black Man in a White World begins, the room is instantly clapping along and as the show continues, his skills cross-genre are apparent, influences of blues and folk  jumping into the mix seamlessly. It’s one of those performances that’s great to watch but you could equally just shut your eyes and listen for a solidly beautiful experience.

It’s not hard to see why Kiwanuka is a regular on awards nominations lists, there’s something almost unworldly about his ability to segue from track to track, changing tempo and style while holding the audience completely captive in his palm. A night full of special moments and songs set to become classics, ironic that the most unassuming artists often have the most to shout about.

Michael Kiwanuka

Words and photos by Siobhan 

23rd May 2022

The Great Escape Festival 2022

The Great Escape, Brighton, 12th-14th May 2022

After three long years, The Great Escape returned to Brighton, a showcase for new music like no other as every corner of the city is only a pebble’s throw from the next venue. With hundreds of artists playing daily, it’s impossible to capture more than a fraction of the festival. Given that its whole ethos is about discovering new music of every kind from the local, national and international scene, and that we’re always looking to do the same, we’re bringing you our highlights and putting the spotlight on five featured artists from varying genres who we feel deserve to be shouted about. Inevitably there are others we would’ve liked to meet and feature too, but there’s always another time.

So, 3 days of sunshine, over 450 artists on the line-up (not even counting all the Alt Escape shows), 54,842 steps walked, and it all kicked off with the chance at last to catch Fräulein play one of their many sets of the weekend at Queen’s Hotel. An assured start to the day, and already bumping into friends old and new.

The variety of what was available to see on both the main and Alt stages didn’t take long to surface as we caught new to us She’s in Parties (Unbarred) and Tony Njoku (Shortt’s Bar), then later the awesome Pozi, who received loads of support from the crowd as they deftly tried to battle through really painful sound issues at Revenge.

Across the course of the weekend there were some incredible solo artists to witness too; on point electronica from Michael Georgian at The Pipeline, a heart-warming set in the gorgeous surroundings of St Mary’s Church from Douglas Dare, and a slick prowl around the Coalition basement with Sinead O’Brien.

Always bringing a bit of fun to the table, excellent stuff as expected from The Bug Club at Brighthelm, and if there’s a vest to be ripped you can rely on Priestgate to do the honours, frantic as ever in their animated performance at Unbarred.

Medicine Cabinet made their mark with a strong set, a big crowd and a plastic sword that can only ever add value at One Church, and the wonderful Audio Books once again gave a masterclass in playing live at Horatio’s Bar.

Well, we promised you featured artists and here they are. In no particular order, we think there’s something here for everyone. Check them out if you haven’t already and let the memories of the weekend soak away the blisters on your feet ( a beautiful picture to paint I know, you’re welcome).

deep tan

Intriguing, enchanting and with stabbing riffs that demand a space to stay rent-free inside your head, London based deep tan are amassing a following and lots of media interest, but are still way less exposed than they deserve to be. Not surprising that those who were watching for the first time immediately asked when they could see them again, and those who weren’t present at Shortt’s Bar who I spoke to later in day were genuinely annoyed that they’d missed them.

There are bands that sound good on record and there are bands that hit the nail on the head when they play live. A thing of joy when the two collide, deep tan do both consistently and faultlessly. Their latest EP diamond horsetail is out now – dip in and be prepared to stay for a long swim.

C’est Karma

Hailing from Luxembourg, C’est Karma offers up a heady mix of electronic music coupled with vocals that range at times from frenetic to blissfully peaceful, a touch reminiscent of Sugarcubes era Björk, updated to reflect the skills of an artist who can grab your attention with just themselves and a table of tech onstage.

Addressing the gender gap and the joy that comes from a bowl of pasta (two pretty serious issues, let’s be honest), Karma seems wise beyond her years. With a calm and unassuming presence, she comes to life on stage at Brighthelm and is definitely one to watch. New EP Amuse-Bouche has just been released, get ready to be impressed.

Banji

On their first trip to Brighton, Dutch four-piece Banji are here to provide a big old dose of indie, tinged with a soulful undertone and the energy of a freshly opened can of summertime. The breezy exterior belies some deeper lyrics though, as they sing about the pressures of existence amidst pop art style explosions of samples and Devo-esque production.

Their debut album Freshcakes is due for release via PIAS Recordings in October and, judging by the reaction from the crowd at Latest Music Bar, they’ll be very welcome back for their second visit to the city to play it, whenever that may be.

Honeyglaze

Managing to combine an incredibly accomplished sound with a clear enjoyment of what they do, South London trio Honeyglaze are not only riding the crest of a wave of super talented breakthrough artists, they’re sitting right up there taking the reins. There are sprinklings of spoken word in their tracks but without the reliance so many bands hold to this, Anouska’s vocals are more than able to command the spotlight, a pure sounding hybrid of Alvvays and The Long Blondes with the class of both.

Their set at Unbarred was seamless, their self-titled album is out now and frankly, it’s just really, really good. Absolutely would recommend and it feels like this is just the beginning of something that will only get better and better. A happy discovery.

VLURE

It likely won’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who knows me who our last featured artist is. Dispelling the theory that you can have too much of a good thing, I headed down the pier to catch up with the inimitable VLURE before their set at Horatio’s Bar.

Confirming that they would only be playing one set at TGE “to keep it special”, we talked about the huge wave of musical talent coming out of Glasgow, something it’s always been famous for but seems right now to be unstoppable. “It’s a comparatively small city so it’s easy to get involved” they tell me, noting that lots of the current legion of bands all practice at Axiom and all support each other with lots of “healthy competition” (they’re heading to see their friends in Medicine Cabinet over the weekend). Then there’s a wealth of local venues to take your first steps in – Broadcast, The Hug and Pint and Nice N Sleazy to name a few.

Their previous visits to Brighton have undoubtedly been memorable for anyone attending their gigs but what’s their impression? With reference points ranging from Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days on Earth to how cold the floor is at Green Door, it’s good to know we’re not just known for Quadrophenia Alley and sticks of rock. Hopefully, the weekend will treat them well enough that they’ll want to come back soon. Check out their aptly named Euphoria EP.

The venue is justifiably rammed as they finally come on stage. It’s late, it’s hot, the performance is once again vehement in its total commitment to make sure each and every person in the crowd is immersed in a feeling of complete elation. No blood to my knowledge but certainly plenty of sweat and tears. 

I asked them how they do it, how they make every show more of an event than the last and there’s a fairly simple answer. “It’s just the way we do things, that’s who we are. That’s what it’s all about – just getting in front of people and giving it everything we have every single time, we can’t do it any other way”.

In an industry that encourages artists to saturate the market as they blindly covet the  momentary rush of a top three chart position, it’s easy to forget that music is about more than just money or status. It’s about what it means to people, how it makes you feel, how it cuts into your heart and lets you forget about everything else just for a few minutes. In a world of fakery and pretence, this is what matters, this is real… this is VLURE.

To all at The Great Escape, to all the artists featured and to everyone we met along the way, thank you for the past few days – see you next year, go get some sleep now.

The Great Escape

Words and photos by Siobhan

16th May 2022

Live – James Bay at Chalk

James Bay at Chalk, Brighton, 3rd May 2022

As fans eagerly await the release of his third album, James Bay is providing a taste of what’s to come on latest track Give Me The Reason, and is part way through his UK tour of the same name. Last night saw him take the stage at Chalk in Brighton, Mike Burnell was there to capture his performance, gallery below.

Details for remaining tour dates for James Bay here

Photos © Mike Burnell (iso400.com)

4th May 2022

Live – Gary Numan at The Brighton Centre

Gary Numan at The Brighton Centre, 1st May 2022

When Gary Numan first appeared on Top of the Pops back in the late 70s, he immediately presented something different to other artists. Despite the plethora of electronic bands on the scene at the time, there was no frippery from Numan, just a half smile, half sneer, perfect eyeliner and an element of the androgynous android.

Who would have imagined that all these years later, he would still be selling out venues far and wide, not in some kind of nostalgic revival show, but with consistently released new material and a message to save the world to boot?

Latest album Intruder considers environmental damage from the perspective of the planet, disillusioned and angry at the devastation caused by its inhabitants. Numan and his band perform like a dystopian dance troupe, confrontational through concern. The music, old and new, fits perfectly.

Starting with the suitably gnarled title track from Intruder, the show hits its stride straight away, segueing into Me! I Disconnect From You, the parity between decades impressive to note.

Tracks from Numan’s now extensive back catalogue mix in with more recent material, The Chosen and My Name is Ruin both set highlights. And then there’s room to go back to where it all started with Tubeway Army. A personal favourite from Replicas, for me Down in the Park has all the despondency of the bleak landscape the newer songs convey but, of course, the final track of the encore is as ever the timeless Are Friends Electric?

Based on the energy and dedication apparent in his work, Gary Numan shows no signs of stopping any time soon. The Brighton Centre sees a loyal fanbase out in force, many of whom have been there from the start. Clearly, they’re not going anywhere either.

Further tour dates for Gary Numan here

Words and photos by Siobhan

3rd May 2022

 

Live – Red Hot Chilli Pipers at Albert Hall Conference Room

Red Hot Chili Pipers at Albert Hall Conference Centre, Nottingham, 28th April 2022

Spice Up Your Night

Albert Hall Conference Centre, Nottingham, is a stunning venue; sparkling, pristine but retaining much of its original Victorian heritage. With great sound, great lighting and great seating, what better place for Red Hot Chilli Pipers to launch their 20th Anniversary 2002-2022 English Tour.

With barely time to breathe, following a hugely successful five-week tour of the USA, the Pipers are off again touring the concert halls of England in celebration of twenty years being ‘…the most famous bagpipe band on the planet…EVER!’

Now before you turn away at the thought of a couple of hours of bagpipe music, think again!

With nearly 40k social media followers, in today’s terms RHC Pipers are stratospherically popular and, judging by the night’s concert goers, they appeal to everyone across the board.

What is the Pipers’ magic?

You could be forgiven for thinking you should have been at Nottingham’s iconic Rock City when Founding Director Willie Armstrong engages with the audience: ‘Are you ready to rock? Are you ready to Bag Rock!’ With a resounding ‘Yeeesss!’ the familiar skirl of the pipes begins.

From beginning to end, the show is packed with a varied programme, featuring every member of the band at some point, demonstrating immense musicality in every quarter.

The show, in two halves, covers a delicious menu of emotive music as well as some great rock standards. Particularly moving in the first half is when people are invited to wave the torches on their mobiles as the wonderfully powerful Chris Judge serenades the audience with the gorgeous Tom Walker song Leave A Light On: one of those ‘hairs standing up on the back of your neck’ moments!

Its equal, in the second half, is a beautiful traditional tune, Heroes of St. Valery, written in remembrance of the hundreds of soldiers of the 51st Division of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders captured after the Dunkirk evacuations in the Second World War.

Predominantly, the show was light, fun, and entertaining with brilliant arrangements of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck fused with Smoke On The Water; Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and a bit of Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You to give just a flavour of this rather different rock concert.

With an encore of It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) and Queen’s We Will Rock You, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers left the Nottingham audience cheering, applauding and definitely wanting more following an evening’s top entertainment from a much (unjustified) maligned instrument.

#bagrockrules

Red Hot Chilli Pipers

Words and photos by Tina Sherwood at All The Ts Photography

1st May 2022

DIY Alive Festival 2022

DIY Alive, London, 23rd April 2022

It’s always good to see a new festival staking its claim in the ring and, given their record for championing new music, the prospect of DIY Magazine as a contender was always going to be intriguing. The inaugural DIY Alive took place at the weekend at East London’s Oval Space, ably flanked by great venues at The Pickle Factory and Canvas across the road and Space 289 a few minutes walk away.

As you’d expect, an eclectic line-up to choose from. Our day got off to an impressive start with locals Human Interest, the rhythm section a shining light for the laid back vocals – an energy akin to The Cramps without the psychobilly twang, and who doesn’t love a standing drummer?

Next, to the main stage to witness Chilli Jesson’s new incarnation and material. Interesting to see how he’s starting to develop his own brand away from past indie classics. A solid crowd response to an early set, and a nod to the past for the old faithful fans, closing with Best of Friends. 

With their contemporary take on a contorted dystopian world, Legss felt like the perfect fit for the festival, starting with more familiar tunes then drifting into newer material. By the end your eyes were torn between watching them or watching the front rows trying to jump in time to awkward drum patterns and time signatures – that’s what happens in dystopia.

Continuing their whirlwind of shows, Baba Ali have honed a slick performance, their blend of soulful vocals against a rock/electronic background a thing of beauty. Understated but impossible to ignore, a welcome addition to any line-up.

Something different as the DIY Alive experience included workshops and in conversation events alongside the music. Anyone who’s read Baxter Dury’s book Chaise Longue will know it’s full of tales of growing up in what might seem like a pretty bohemian world but, as he says, you don’t know any different when you’re a kid. There was plenty of opportunity for this to be an uncomfortable chat as a keen to please audience seemed ready to laugh at his every word, maybe not gauging that some of the stories might be funnier from the outside than in. Dury however took control and guided the tone of the discussion graciously, sharing glimpses into his upbringing, his love for Kendrick’s music and much more. An easy raconteur for sure, hopefully there’s another book in the offing. (I’d love to hear someone interview him without mentioning you know who just once).

And then VLURE. It never gets easier to describe VLURE playing live without sounding like a gushing child. The intensity and intimacy of their set, whatever size venue they’re in, makes for a very special experience. The relatively small stage at Space 289 never really caused a concern as so much of their time is spent in the crowd anyway. At this point, they’re so good it feels like the only people VLURE have to outdo is themselves… and still they do it every time. A band with a seemingly limitless ceiling; it’s tantamount to watching a block of flats being demolished. If it didn’t feel genuine it would be weird, but there’s no shadow of insincerity here. Euphoria indeed.

Over at The Pickle Factory, Jessica Winter once again wowed with her off the scale vocals. For self proclaimed sad music, what she produces makes people surprisingly happy. It can be difficult to compete as a solo performer with a backing track, but it says a lot when just you, your keyboard and laptop still stand out against a backdrop of full bands.

Back at Oval Space, no surprise that Shame drew the biggest crowd. Amidst extensive touring, they’re well versed in whipping up a crowd frenzy, and despite it being hard to be a bigger band nowadays, they’re still gaining fans to surf across and taking the most likely to cause a moshpit award.

Time for one last set and, from the get-go, Audio Books sounded like the best of Chris and Cosey, while displaying a persona and performance all of their own. Captivating dark techno with lyrics spat like a challenge, they couldn’t have done a better job to round off the night and the encore, though a thing less prescient these days, was well deserved. Some like to mosh, others like to dance – if you’re a dancer head for Audio Books.

Day 2 looked set to be just as enjoyable with more fantastic breakthrough artists – Fräulein, Keg, Phoebe Green and Lily Moore to name a few.

Big thanks to DIY for having us along. Their plan to bring ‘the spirit of DIY Magazine to the heart of East London’ an unquestionable success – look forward to seeing what next year brings.

DIY Alive | DIY Magazine

Words / Photos by Callum / Siobhan

25th April 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live – Late Night Legacy at Corporation

Late Night Legacy at Corporation, Sheffield, 20th April 2022

If you’re reading this in Leeds, then you probably know these guys!

For the rest of you, here’s a recommendation to update your track listing and to put on your gig list. Late Night Legacy is an Alt/Rock band who are well and truly on the up.

With charismatic frontman, Ryan Kitto, these guys have moved on apace to delivering a much heavier, energetic and more socially conscious live set, as I witnessed earlier this week when the band were supporting Jaya the Cat in Sheffield.

Last week saw the release of their most recent track, JUST a SOnG, which, from the opening bars suggests the shift to a heavier sound whilst maintaining melodic vocals, reminiscent of bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers.

If Late Night Legacy is a new name to you, check them out across all major socials: you won’t be disappointed!

Late Night Legacy are:
Ryan Kitto…vocals/guitar
Rob Orange…lead guitar
James Iain Clegg…bass
Matt Exton…drums

Late Night Legacy

Words and photos by Tina Sherwood 

23rd April 2022

Live – Japanese Television at The Green Door Store

Japanese Television and Frank & Beans at The Green Door Store, Brighton, 14th April 2022

On the eve of their debut album being released, Japanese Television demonstrated first hand what they mean by the ominous yet enticing world of ‘Space Surf’ – READERS BEWARE – it’s loud.

A Thursday evening at the iconic Green Door Store is where I was introduced to Japanese Television (JTV), but first were the supporting act of the evening, Irish act Frank & Beans.

The duo, consisting of guitar/vocals and drummer, conducted unearthly sounds from the get-go. They departed with a trudgey first song which paved the way for the remainder of their set. The guitarist produced sounds from his instrument comparable with a nuclear generator about to explode, serious ear bending stuff which has slowly been noticed in more and more live sets.

Notoriously, GDS is a nightmare of a venue to get sounding good, however in this instance Im more inclined to say that it was the distorted fret muffling and pedal stomping which caused such a raucous sound. New single To Be Fair conquered any ambivalence though, with a slap-back lead vocal and a steady and assertive thud-thud-thud drum beat rolling through the toms on the kit, and I was swayed by the vast noise the pair were creating. With only a few seconds of breathing time between songs, Frank & Beans rattled through their set with such prominence I was left invested in such a power that the Irish duo presented – a blazing start to the evening!

During the interval, promoters Acid Box had someone tucked in the corner of the room with an unusual addition to the layout of the Green Door Store venue. An abundance of coiling cables, vintage pedals, a suitcase full of obscure cassettes and a 6 track mixer. From all this, they produced eerie and atmospheric sound pockets which reverberated around the room. The ambience was perfect, and a nice change up from your bog standard sound engineer’s Spotify playlist (not always the one). However, no one else seemed that bothered by the strange sounds from the looping tape. Saying this, I was potentially the youngest person in the room so perhaps everyone else was either oblivious to it or too cool to care – either way I was very impressed. By this time, the gaps in the room had been filled and everyone was ready to enter the void of music which JTV were about to open up.

As the looping intensified and the lights dimmed, headliners Japanese Television took to the stage. The band took off with such velocity and volume – the rhythm section and synths dominated the sound in the room leaving the surfy guitar parts adrift for the first few songs. When the bassist trod on their distortion pedal it almost tore the room in half, reminiscent of the bass outro in the Post Animal tune Gelatin Mode, only here theres no vocals and the full instrumental force is felt. It reminded me again of how loud it can get in the Green Door Store, if you like it turned up to 11, strap on your space boots because Japanese Television are sending you intergalactic!

After a couple of space jams, the guitar parts appeared and gave the surfy melody which I had been promised after hearing their recordings. Whether its the more laidback 60s influence of Mosquito Dance Routine or Ghoul Rules with the waltzer-sounding keyboard leading the pack, or the huge bass sounds from creepy number Doppleganger Disco, it was nothing short of experimental trippy brilliance! All together it was a mega blend of psych pudding ready to be devoured by its hipster spectators and dancing mums. Admittedly, not the tightest band Ive seen but then again, they do say time bends in outer space.

More from Japanese Television here – Space Fruit Vineyard is out now on Tip Top Recordings

Words by Matisse Moretti
Header photo by Luis Kramer

20th April 2022

Live – Sparks at De La Warr Pavilion

Sparks at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, 16th April 2022

The iconic art deco De La Warr Pavilion, steeped in history and complete with a record shop housing a life-size Bowie cardboard cut-out, seems an appropriately worthy setting for Sparks’ visit to the south coast.

After decades of performing and making music that has consistently set rather than followed trends, this was always going to be something special, and as the Mael brothers arrive on stage it takes less than seconds for the crowd to erupt into a cacophony of cheers and declarations of love that will be maintained throughout the evening.

With a showcase of songs from different eras, there are classics, surprises and delights galore. Taking it right back to the start, Wonder Girl rubs shoulders with Edith Piaf and Johnny Delusional, while Russell pours his heart out to a hand mirror in I Married Myself. 

Theatrics have always been integral to the Sparks’ brand, Russell the playful protagonist while Ron’s unsettling stare has been often copied but never matched. These days he rightly allows humour to take the forefront at points in the set, taking centre stage to share vocals on Shopping Mall of Love, and treating us to the famous ‘Ron dance’, a sight to behold; an artist deserving of their keyboards bearing the name Ronald instead of Roland. Still, Russell is the conversationalist, chatting to the audience about everything from the failures of the early days to the highs and lows of lockdown, including the film releases of The Sparks Brothers documentary and Annette, for which they composed the music. His shout out to Ron’s songwriting skills is a reminder of just how accomplished their back catalogue is, their latest album A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip maintaining the standard and showcased perfectly in the articulately dramatic Stravinsky’s Only Hit. With nods to operatics, vaudeville and the purest electronic glam, it’s obvious just how many other artists have been influenced by them along the way.

The two hour set culminates with the big hitters of The Number One Song in Heaven and This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us – both as utterly iconic and timeless as the setting we’re in. Once the adulation from the crowd has eventually died down a little, Russell takes time out to thank the band and extol their individual talents. Of course, they’re never going to get away without an encore and return to complete an absolutely outstanding performance with Suburban Homeboy and All That.

A night to remember for sure and a privilege to witness the phenomenon that is Sparks. When do they get to sing My Way? Any time they like, any song they like, they really have earned a space in the musical elite. It’s worth a mention that everyone from security to the ticket desk and merch stand at the De La Warr was really friendly and helpful too.

Difficult to adequately sum up the experience but, to steal a line from the final song, the show was ‘all that we’ve seen, we’ve heard, we’ve dreamed, all that, all that and more…’

Sparks play tonight at The Roundhouse in London before heading across Europe.

Words / photos by Callum / Siobhan

17th April 2022

Landlubber Music Festival 2022

Landlubber Music Festival, Barnsley, 9th April 2022

A brand new grassroots festival emerged from the depths of the pandemic during April. Situated in the fantastic Birdwell Venue, just off the M1 at Barnsley, this event was Quality (with a capital ‘Q’) from start to finish. The venue, recently refurbished, has outstanding sound and lighting, with live screens throughout the venue, so you never need to miss a thing!

Looking down the programme of artists, you just knew this would be a fantastic day! Opening act, Canadians In Space, were hilarious! They would have benefitted from being further down the list for a greater audience, but they were playing more than one gig that day. Do check them out: tremendous musicians, but their songs are laden with a good old Yorkshire sense of philosophy, leaving the audience with some fantastic earworms that might get you slung out of the supermarket if you were singing them aloud!

Huddersfield Alternative Grime Rock band were also moving on to another gig, this time in Mamchester. Loud, energetic and with a conscience, these guys were in complete contrast to the previous act, a real selling point for future events: a broad selection of genres.

In contrast again came 15-year old Dan Ottewell-Naish, a young man so clearly inspired by The Levellers. What a talent he is! Great songs. Great guitar playing. Huge stage confidence! A really humble young man off stage. Lovely to see!

The wonderfully named Frank Grimes and The Disasters (a Simpsons reference) continued the diversity with their Punk/Pop/Rock set, reminiscent of bands such as Green Day, The Offspring and Smashing Pumpkins.

Warsop’s Caution Horses played a great set, even though they were a man down, followed by more Warsop talent, the very funny and entertaining Star Botherers.

The final 4 bands of the day can all be found in the same circuits. Firstly, the wonderful Celtic Punk Black Water County, filling the stage with that wonderful penny whistle sound that makes you want to swing a pint and jump up and down!

Following on, came Sheffield new favourites, Shanghai Treason, described as ‘Yorkshire Flatcap Punks.’ Their front man, vocalist Sam Christie, was largely responsible for the whole event , so he fully deserved all the accolades that day!

Penultimate performers were the raucous Roughneck Riot, from Warrington. They filled the stage with energy and angst and Punkish excitement!

The Barstool Preachers gave a phenomenal performance of Ska and Punk to close the day. Their frontman, TJ McFaull, strides the stage and delivers with passion and vehemence the band’s tirades against the injustices within society.

This was a day with a social conscience. A day full of top music, with musicians of all ages having their say and entertaining a welcoming crowd.

All credit to Sam Christie of The Gig Cartel and his team at The Birdwell for putting on one hell of a show! Bring on the next one!

Landlubber Music Festival

Words and photos © Tina Sherwood at AlltheTs Photography

16th April 2022