Live – M(h)aol at The Hope & Ruin Brighton

M(h)aol at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton, 26th May 2023

With their debut album Attachment Styles drawing together an unapologetic collection of hefty subject matters and genre-crossing musical modes, Dubliners M(h)aol have been out on a headline tour of the UK. Friday night was the turn of Brighton, and a packed crowd at The Hope & Ruin were treated to the band’s animated performance on stage and, before long, on the floor.

Kicking off with the heady trio of Kinder Bueno, Therapy, and Laundries, no time was wasted in warming things up. With lots of crowd engagement from the start, there’s clearly a lot of love for this band and it’s not hard to see why. Even if you didn’t care for the music, they seem like the loveliest bunch of people but honestly, what’s not to love about the music? Bringing back the time-honoured punk tradition of short, spiky tunes and throwing in some spoken word for good measure, the pace never lets up but keeps on surprising.

So we have big ticks for songwriting, production and performance but beyond this, what beats some of the too cool for school herd is that they look like they’re enjoying themselves, proving that you can make a statement and have fun at the same time.

Interspersed with tracks from the new album, the evening closes with Bored of Men and Jack Douglas, and it seems that M(h)aol have pulled off the magic combination of an intriguing collection of songs and a dynamic live show. Finding either one of these is a treat, both together takes things to a different level. Highly recommended.


Review and photos by Siobhan

30th May 2023



Live – A Place To Bury Strangers at Patterns Brighton

A Place To Bury Strangers at Patterns, Brighton, 20th May 2023

Rolling into Brighton on a sunny Saturday evening, you get the feeling that summer is finally upon us. The beach is packed with people enjoying the last of the day’s sunshine, drinks in hand and singing at the top of their lungs to cheesy 90’s pop music. The cheery seaside vibe is infectious, however, walking into Patterns the light quickly disappears and any sense of summer is quickly forgotten.

As we enter the venue Camilla Sparksss is nearing the end of her set, with Are You OK? welcoming us to proceedings. Camilla’s music is propulsive, catchy and abrasive in all the right ways. It’s the very antithesis of the experience we were greeted with on our way to Patterns, and it prepares us nicely for what’s up next.

Brooklyn’s A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS) take to the stage with frontman Oliver Ackermann politely introducing the band before kicking things off with new track Disgust. Not long into the song, Oliver is already throwing his guitar around and jabbing the air like a champion fencer defending his title at the Olympics.

Alone is next, and it’s here the rhythm section of bassist John Fedowitz and drummer Sandra Fedowitz come into their own and shine through. Their energy is the backbone of the band, with Oliver wielding crazy levels of fuzz and feedback over the top. You can hear the shoegaze, post-punk and shoegaze influences, but APTBS take that formula and dial it up to 100!

Tonight’s set is only an hour long, but it makes sense when all their songs are played with so much ferocity. We’ve Come so Far is another motorik banger aided nicely by the bands DIY light and visual show. Handheld strobe lights and boxes are thrown around with no concern, and disco balls of light are placed wherever the mood takes them. It all adds to the intensity and theatre, and it’s a perfect fit to APTBS’s artistic aesthetic.

You Are The One is played with a whole new purpose this evening; louder, more aggressive and totally mind blowing as the song builds. As soon as it finishes Sandra jumps over the barrier into the crowd, and from out of nowhere, a distorted drumming can be heard. Before anyone realises, the band members are in the middle of the crowd, and we’re being treated to an impromptu noise rave! It’s like those old Lightning Bolt shows where it felt like everything could fall apart at any moment, yet the band remain in total control of the situation.

Once the electro jam is complete, the band return to the stage and you can feel there’s a different energy in the room. Everyone is totally up for it now, and End of the Night causes the crowd to lose it. Hold On Tight does nothing to calm anyone down, and it really feels like APTBS are hitting their stride.

Closing things off with fan favourite I Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart and Have You Ever Been In Love, the strobe lights and volume levels are set to stun. There’s no letting up as the band franticly move around the stage in flipbook blasts surrounded by clouds of smoke. The music seems to be getting louder as we near the end of the show, with instruments and amps being picked up and moved around to create even more chaos on stage.

It’s brilliant to witness and it’s a cathartic experience I didn’t realise I had missed after years away from watching live music. APTBS are an incredible live band so catch them on the Nothing Left To Destroy tour if you can.

Review by Ryan Howarth
Photos © Hannah Mesquitta

25th May 2023

The Great Escape Festival 2023

The Great Escape, Brighton, 10th-13th May 2023

Every May the streets of Brighton are heaving with creativity as the Festival, Fringe and the biggest showcase of new music in The Great Escape all hit the city. With hundreds of artists playing showcase events at venues big and small, this year brought as eclectic as ever a mix of music from across the world.

Hard to know where to start but the first of three shows from Jessica Winter seemed as good a place as any on Thursday. With the crowd singing and dancing along so early in the day, a lasting impression was made that involved catching two more of her sets across the weekend.

Next up, The Umlauts and I swear each time I see them they try to add more band members onto the stage. Given that the stage at Revenge isn’t that big they did well to reach 9 people not to mention multiple instruments – novel to listen to techno at 3.15 in the afternoon rather than 3.15 in the morning, and a fun time for the crowd.

Following a recommendation to catch New York’s cumgirl8, it seemed the hype was widespread as they filled out not just the main room at Volks, but had probably as many people again watching from the bar. A popular choice for sure.

Another recommendation took us to The Paganini Ballroom for some dreamy shoegaze from Whitelands opening the BBC Introducing stage in style. Some strong choices from Steve Lamacq as they were followed by an accomplished set from Nottingham’s rising stars Divorce.



The next act on stage was the mighty VLURE – the first of two outstanding sets from them over the weekend. To say all I want to say about them would realistically take over the review, so head on over to our separate feature here for more from Glasgow’s finest.


On to Brighthelm for another tightly packed stage with The Joy Hotel and some serious musical talent on display. And for the third Glaswegian act in a row, Dylan John Thomas impressed everyone with some powerful yet understated vocals and melodies to finish the night – definitely one to watch.

The Joy Hotel

Dylan John Thomas

Friday started with a couple of ‘unofficial’ sets, always worth popping into some of the local pubs and breweries to see what’s happening. At Unbarred, Mary of the Junkyard kicked off another busy day with a deft mix of guitar riffs and violin, while The Pipeline opened with the silky vocals of Rosie Alena.

Mary of the Junkyard

Rosie Alena

On to Charles Street Tap and a smoke machine that wouldn’t have been out of place on Stars in Their Eyes. Once the haze cleared, singer-songwriter Childe held a rapt audience, the calm before the inevitable upcoming storm as next up VLURE were back to notch things up several levels with another stand out performance.



Over at Revenge, Jessica Winter finished her excellent run of shows at the Gay Times showcase, GT written on her back in tape in homage. Then over to Komedia Studio for the beautiful soundscape of Pozi, the trio melting together their unique blend of calm and chaos.

Back to the mounds of dried ice at Charles Street Tap for one of the weekend’s most hotly-tipped acts in Heartworms. Some tech issues that seemed to run throughout the set didn’t stop a captivating performance, particularly impressive under the circumstances.


After a full day it’s easy to pack up before the later slots. However, worth the late night, PPJ definitely restarted the party bringing French house (more château than maison), Eurodance and donk to the table; a high energy end to Friday at Komedia.

No let up in the energy stakes on Saturday as Yabba took their hard-hitting, in your face act to the dark sweat box of Volks. Then over at The Hope & Ruin bar, although not technically part of the official TGE line-up, we were introduced to Dutch psych group A Fungus, who warmed things up nicely for the mayhem of Personal Trainer and surely one of the most packed and interactive sets of the day.

A Fungus

Personal Trainer

Continuing the fun at Inn on the Square, bigfatbig’s enthusiasm was infectious and ably backed by the sun streaming through the windows – a sunny day at the seaside finally joining proceedings.

Some much needed relaxation next as Canada’s Ellevator played in the fabulous setting of One Church, delicate tunes sweeping into something bigger and certainly memorable.



With a list of production credits as long as your arm, it was James Ellis Ford’s time to take the spotlight at Chalk performing his own music with backing band. Everything blended well and the music was cleverly put together with a sense that you couldn’t quite put your finger on what some of the exact sounds were, a sax sounding like a synth just one of the many enigmas.

Staying at Chalk, Flossing offered up a confident stage presence and brooding tunes, while the room was unsurprisingly busy for the ever-popular PVA.

A stroll down the pier saw Holiday Ghosts bring their freshly released new album to their adopted home city in a packed out Horatio’s – a no nonsense fun time for all. And the latest incarnation of near locals Traams followed up, now playing their Krautrock inspired sounds as a five piece.

A strong finish from Nuha Ruby Ra at Revenge brought our Great Escape to a close with her traditional double mic set up, lighting befitting of underground nightclub status and an unexpected bugle – a fairly conclusive way to end proceedings.

Nuha Ruby Ra

Another successful year for Brighton’s annual festivities, another bunch of favourite artists revisited and new ones discovered, and now some sleep…

If you’re already thinking about next year’s TGE, earlybird tickets are available here.

Words/photos by Callum/Siobhan

16th May 2023

Brighton Fringe 2023 – Opening Weekend

Brighton Fringe 2023

Bringing hundreds of shows to stages big and small across the city, Brighton Fringe kicked off proceedings for 2023 at the weekend with a huge splash of talent from the world of theatre, comedy and performance. With multiple events daily throughout the month, there truly is something for everyone. Here are our early discoveries from this year’s Fringe, with more to come once we dip out briefly for The Great Escape.

The ever popular Spiegeltent is back, always a big draw for the crowds. On Friday night, we caught some famous characters as you’ve never seen them before in Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody – a whistle-stop tour of your favourite fairy tales with no pun unturned brought to you by The Hairy Godmothers. Over at the Bosco stage for Big Quiffy Bingo, Boogaloo Stu and sidekick Bertie Balls took bingo to a new level incorporating, as should be the case at every local Mecca hall, the occasional flash mob dance routine.

Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody

Big Quiffy Bingo

With plenty to choose from on Sunday night, we started off at the newest mini village of Caravanserai. A throwback to Camp Bestival, the space is cleverly structured from repurposed caravans and forgotten fairgrounds. A fittingly dystopian setting for the off the wall and slightly surreal comedy of Police Cops in Space, the trio of Nathan Parkinson, Zachary Hunt and Tom Roe making slapstick look easy, their talent as undeniable as the belly laughs from the audience. Then on to The Actors to see Drag Queens vs Vampires, shown to our seats by flight attendants, Eurovision contestants and well, drag queens and vampires Crudi Dench and Kate Butch, collectively Haus of Dench. As the mysterious Count threatens to ruin their attempt at Eurovision glory, some impressive audience involvement and a leaky lasagne save the day. All the fun of the Fringe, and the perfect escapism to leave the night on a high.

Police Cops in Space

Drag Queens vs Vampires

Check out the Brighton Fringe website for details of all remaining shows here.

Words and photos by Siobhan

10th May 2023

Live – Midge Ure at Theatre Royal Brighton

Midge Ure at Theatre Royal Brighton, 27th April 2023

Amid the splendour of early 1800’s architecture and a haze of monochrome lighting and smoke, Midge Ure takes to the stage with excerpts from an extraordinary collection of songs spanning his solo career, time with Ultravox, and more besides.

There is a point in all artists’ careers when their live sets tend to start with an established track, cover some lesser know tunes in the middle, and aim for a strong singalong finish. In case of any doubt, it becomes apparent immediately that there is no need for any such planning here – within the first four songs he has treated the crowd to 80s’ classics Dear God and If I Was, Visage’s beautifully melancholic Fade To Grey  and his suitably emotional cover of  No Regrets.

Throughout the performance, Midge and his band veer seamlessly from moody and magnificent to no questions asked dance-alongs. His vocal is still impeccable, and the range of musical instruments appearing across the stage is impressive to say the least. The Voice and Visions tour is more than a greatest hits outing, feeling more like personal pickings from a vast, eclectic song book. And the strong finish? No concerns there as the encore takes in Astradyne, Vienna and All Stood Still.

There are some ‘one man and his guitar’ moments where it becomes obvious why, despite perhaps being best known amongst the electronic scene, it absolutely makes sense that Midge was drafted in to weave his magic with Rich Kids and Thin Lizzy on his musical journey. And when you take a moment to reflect, there’s no doubting that whichever project he was involved in at the time, the common factor is that he added something special to all of them. 

Following a distinguished performance in the most elegant of venues at Brighton’s Theatre Royal, the tour now moves on to Ipswich tonight, Aylesbury tomorrow, York on Sunday, then across the UK throughout May. If you’re still able to grab a ticket, it comes highly recommended.

Midge Ure Voice and Visions Tour

Review/photos by Callum/Siobhan

28th April 2023

Live – His Lordship at The Prince Albert Brighton

His Lordship at The Prince Albert, Brighton, 15th April 2023

On the last night of their current UK tour and their second Brighton show of the day, His Lordship play to one last packed room, no hint of fatigue on display despite the frenzied pace of every performance. The band are here to bring rock’n’roll back to its core, with not insignificant nods to the classic two minute punk song and the lure of primal rockabilly.

With the swagger and stance of Elvis on speed, James Walbourne slots easily into the lead vocal role and, given the range of guitar styles he plays effortlessly, it seems likely that he could pick up a Bontempi plastic six string and make it sound phenomenal. His recording partner in crime and not a drummer to be shuffled away on the backline for no-one to see, Kristoffer Sonne is as at home pitching lyrics down a megaphone as he is either behind or on top of the drum kit. It’s a formidable pairing, enhanced performing live as a three piece with Dave Page on bass and occasional drum swaps with Sonne. With the look of a next generation member of The Strokes (an Albert Hammond Junior Junior if you will) Page’s playing is absolutely on point and integral to the set.

At their fast and furious best on recent releases I Live In The City and Buzzkill, the band work their way through a 15 track setlist, barely pausing for breath and taking the crowd with them on every split second of the journey. Their merch T-shirts carry the slogan ‘Rock’n’Roll is not for everyone’ but that seems blatantly not to be the case for all of those squeezed into The Albert. A fine show indeed, let’s hope for more soon.

His Lordship

Review and photos by Siobhan

17th April 2023

New Music – Tapeworms

Tapeworms – IRL

New from French trio Tapeworms, IRL manages to turn alt-pop on its head – there may be a pop undertone but there is certainly no saccharine sentimentality here. Reminiscent of Stereolab / Yo La Tenga, the track feels hypnotic and weightless, an accomplished soundscape of crashing synths and samples.

The band are heading out on a UK tour in a few weeks, catch them at the venues below:
May 2023
4th Manchester – Soup
5th Liverpool – Kazimier Stockroom
6th Rawtenstall – The Whip & Kitten
7th Birmingham – The Sunflower Lounge
8th Bristol – Crofters Rights
9th Hull – Polar Bear Music Room
10th London – Strongroom
13th Chelmsford – Hot Box Live


Review by Siobhan

29th March 2023

Live – Suede at Brighton Dome

Suede at Brighton Dome, 20th March 2023

Since the release of their eponymously titled debut album in the early 90s, Suede have always run outside the pack, try to lump them in with the Britpop crew if you will but they’ve always been more than that. With a string of classic albums to pick from, choosing the setlists for their current UK tour can’t have been an easy task, but the inclusion of latest album Autofiction only adds to the mix and there is truly something here for everyone. To be fair, judging by the crowd reaction and singalongs, everything was for everyone – not quite a homecoming show but as near to Haywards Heath as you’ll get with a big enough venue, the welcome at Brighton Dome was justifiably warm.

There are few bands who could hold the audience captive with 30 year old B-sides and new album tracks, but from openers Turn Off Your Brain And Yell and Personality Disorder, the whole venue was enthralled, and the inclusion of The Living Dead  received a great response.

No worries for those searching out the hits though as Animal Nitrate, Trash, We Are The Pigs and So Young amongst others all featured, Brett Anderson as at home singing his way through the crowd and strutting across the balcony as on stage. And as a whole, the band couldn’t complement each other more, a unit so established that the production and performance is seamless.

It’s obvious that Suede love playing live and Brett’s intro to an acoustic The Wild Ones reminded everyone of why we go to gigs rather than just listen to music at home – it absolutely is a shared experience that can’t be replicated, and brings memories that can’t be recreated.

Returning to the stage to close their set with The Beautiful Ones, there was a sense that the crowd would have been happy to stay and listen to Suede play all night. Still, there was some solace to be found in knowing that we’d spent the evening at a phenomenal performance by a band at their best, and clearly still with so much more to give.


Review / photos by Callum / Siobhan

22nd March 2023

New Music – VLURE

VLURE – This Fantasy

Continuing their pathway to dominance of the new music market, VLURE share latest single This Fantasy. A Molotov cocktail of taut drums and guitar meeting searing synths, overlaid with the ever present intensity of Hamish Hutcheson’s vocal, it’s another stand out track. The quality of self-production shouldn’t be ignored either; I can’t see who could have done this better. They make no secret of the fact that Faithless have been an influence, and it feels as though This Fantasy could be their very own Insomnia.

In a world of uncertainty, this is the sound of a band that knows exactly who they are and what they need to do. Whatever your chosen belief, give thanks for the purity of VLURE.


Words by Siobhan

17th March 2023

New Music – Snows of Yesteryear

Snows of Yesteryear –  Something Shatters

New from Glasgow’s alt-folk trio Snows of Yesteryear, Something Shatters offers a hopeful insight into what’s to follow on their debut album, scheduled for release in May.

There’s something slightly other-worldly about the track, as it conjures up the allure of untamed desolation as an attractive escape. Full of delicate melodies, the subtleties of the musical backdrop are as skillful as they are understated. There’s more than enough intrigue here to pull you in to search out more from the band, look forward to seeing what comes next.

Snows of Yesteryear

Words by Siobhan

17th March 2023


Live – Mogwai at Brighton Dome

Mogwai at Brighton Dome, 17th February 2023

Friday night saw masters of their craft Mogwai return to a sold out Brighton Dome. It may have been foggy outside, but inside the clarity of their music and talent was in no doubt.

With the exception of an impressive light show, there are no frills or gimmicks with Mogwai. Their stage presence is sophisticated but understated, the crowd none the less are mesmerised by the wall of sound hitting every bone in their body. You could be forgiven for believing there were twice as many musicians on the stage, not just for the volume but the intricacies of the music emanating from it. Cinematic and veering towards the hypnotic, opening track Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home sets the pace, with highlights interspersed throughout – Ritchie Sacramento, How To Be A Werewolf and Ratts Of The Capital all making a welcome appearance.

The regency opulence of The Dome makes for an excellent backdrop, its acoustics probably the best of Brighton’s venues. Seeing Mogwai is more an experience than just a gig, and this is a great venue to match their performance.

After the briefest of breaks, the band return to play the mighty My Father, My King. A total treat of an evening ending with a song described on its release as ‘two parts serenity and one part death metal’. As always, a night to remember from the finest purveyors of Scotland’s musical hierarchy.


Review and photos by Siobhan

20th February 2023

New Music – Tungz

Tungz – One Night

Released yesterday, Tungz’ latest single One Night creates a dreamy wave of spikey, guitar-riffed nostalgia, complete with a cleverly shot video that begs to be watched to the end. Think alt-pop meets the echoes of CHIC on the way home from a club on a balmy evening, and you’re some way to reaching the sound of Tungz – it’s an experience to savour and bodes well for debut album, A Good Dream, available tomorrow via Heist or Hit.

Tungz’ Nicky says of the track: “Life was very still and I was dreaming of a new beginning or just anything exciting to inspire me and carry me away. Being just on the tails of a dream and never quite reaching it is what keeps me going so that’s what came through in the lyrics. Told through one of those old romantic running away from everything leaving it all behind kind of tales.”

A few UK dates coming up to watch out for if you’re nearby (or fancy jumping on the Eurostar) in Manchester, Bristol, Paris and London, check out the video for One Night below.


Review by Siobhan

16th February 2023

Live – Hamish Hawk | Lizzie Reid at Komedia Brighton

Hamish Hawk & Lizzie Reid at Komedia Brighton, 6th February 2023

With a double helping from the seemingly bottomless pit of exceptional music coming out of Scotland right now, Hamish Hawk landed in Brighton this week, bringing support from Lizzie Reid. 

Reid’s stunning vocal would surely break through the noisiest of venues, however it was lovely to see (or hear) a distinct lack of chat from a presumably captivated audience. Some beautiful songs, relatable stories and a trumpet solo performed without a trumpet all going to show why you should always arrive early for the opening act.

Lizzie Reid

To consider Hamish Hawk a force to be reckoned with would be a huge understatement. It’s very hard to pinpoint another artist that he’s similar to, and therein lies the key. Talk to people after the show and you’ll hear a consistent theme of ‘he’s different to everything else I like but I saw him once and I keep coming back…’ And for those who do, Hawk is a master of charm and humour which, coupled with his distinctive vocal, make for a performance to be savoured and locked away for prosperity every time.

The Komedia show was the best yet that I’ve seen – and a shout out to the rest of the band is merited as well, as a unit they really do allow the whole experience to come together and spotlight Hawk’s talent.

If you’re lucky enough to be in the right place (or able to travel), there are a few more dates through February on this tour and a string of instore sets coming up too. Deciding to go along will not be a decision you regret.

Hamish Hawk

Review and photos by Siobhan

8th February 2023


Live – Lewis Capaldi at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham

Lewis Capaldi left Nottingham in a Heavenly Kind of State of Mind after performing at the Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, 27th January 2023

Review by Lisa Kaye
Images by Paulwdixonphotography

As excited Lewis Capaldi fans entered the sold-out Nottingham Motorpoint Arena for his eagerly anticipated Broken by Desire to be Heavenly Sent tour, the atmosphere was pure electric.

As the visual production began on stage signifying Lewis Capaldi’s entrance, the audience screamed. The large black screen which concealed the stage slowly began to rise to the beat of the music and revealed the band, all dressed in white. Lewis then made his angelic entrance from the floor of the stage to the bars of Forget Me, dressed in white jeans and top. As the song came to its crescendo, Lewis didn’t disappoint as a cannon covered the audience in a flurry of white ribbons. He certainly opened the show with a bang!

As the sea of torch lights shone from the 10,000 strong audience, Lewis took hold of his guitar and comfortably began to move around the stage as he sang Forever. The audience sang along, captivated by his amazing vocals. Lewis Capaldi, known for his comic dialogue, then greeted the audience with “Good evening, Nottingham” and then ran from one side of the stage to the other, seeing who would cheer the loudest. A sign stating “I need a big boy” from the audience caught his attention and laughing he confirmed, “I am a big boy!” The audience squealed as he retorted “Talking of my waistline that is!”.

“We are going to have fun tonight Nottingham!” stated Lewis. “We have all come here on a Friday night to sing songs about heartbreak and about people outside of this building who do not love us, am I right?” he quizzed. The audience whistled and cheered. “Sorry if there are any couples in the audience”, laughed Lewis, “Come to my show and in love! – Not on my watch!” he joked. As the audience responded with laughter, Lewis apologised, “I don’t normally offend the audience quite so much within the first two minutes”. After discussing health and safety, he advised those who felt unwell during the performance to make their way to medical professionals. “We just want everyone to be safe and happy” said Lewis, “I’m not sure why people always feel faint at my concerts, maybe…“ he paused for comedy effect, “they just haven’t been in the presence of such sexual prowess!”.

“One last thing” shouted Capaldi above the screams. “No Fighting! I don’t know what it is about my music that makes people want to knock the s**t out of each other. Aberdeen, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, beating the s**t out of each other whilst I’m singing Bruises”. He shook his head in disarray. “We are on a date tonight, me and you Nottingham,” stated Capaldi. “Imagine, we have gone out for a nice meal, in a nice Italian restaurant. I have the steak, you also have the steak, which I think is a bit of a p**s take as I am paying.” He laughs. “We go to a bar, smash a few drinks then back to my place Nottingham for coffee. I then give you the best minute and half of your life. And then you ask for me to sing you a song, and I sing you this”. His comedy is genius and as he begins to play Lost on You, Nottingham becomes lost in his music.

Lewis Capaldi then treated the audience to a new track, Heavenly Kind of State of Mind, from his new album Broken by Desire to be Heavenly Sent, which is due to be released in May 2023. As Lewis shouted “Nottingham – are you having a good time?” he caught sight of someone in the audience with a carboard cut out of him and the wording “Can I get a selfie with you”. Laughing he invited her up onto the stage. As the young lady called Rebecca climbed onto the stage he smiled for a selfie, and she explained she was at the concert in memory of her friend Jacob, who had passed away last year due to cancer. In a touching tribute to her friend, he then dedicated the next song Before you Go to Jacob. Looking at the twinkling lights in the crowd and hearing the audience singing along for Jacob was incredibly moving and it was impossible not to have a lump in the throat.

As the large black screen came down again to cover the stage, the visual display of moving water was projected onto the screen. It was a delight to watch as the scenery changed to show the sea against the back drop of a sunrise and clouds forming in the sky. The stage production was something incredibly special to watch. Then from up high on top of the clouds, Celestial Capaldi appeared with his keyboard. The audience screamed hysterically as began to play Bruises, followed by Wish you the Best. Even with such a large audience at the arena, there was an intimate feeling to these songs. As the song came to an end, Lewis retorted that he wasn’t even playing the keyboard. Laughing, he held his hands in the air to prove this as notes played. Back in comedy mode, Capaldi stated that the production team had not thought through placing him 20 foot in the air as he had a fear of heights, was dressed in white and suffered with IBS. “My trousers may not be so white when I come back down” he said as the audience laughed and cheered. Touching on his Tourettes and ticks during his performance, his honesty and vulnerability on stage only made the audience love him more with each song he sang.

He then appeared on the safety of the normal stage. As the stage turned to red, Capaldi urged Nottingham to join in his next song Grace. As the crowd sang along and cheered, another cannon of white ribbons was released into the audience. Another member of the crowd then grabbed his attention with their banner which asked him to draw her next tattoo. He couldn’t resist inviting her onto the stage and secretly drawing something for her. As the audience laughed, anticipating what he would draw, he turned to show the camera, revealing a cat’s face, apologising for how badly drawn it was. It was another unique moment of the evening and certainly one that the lady on stage will not forget. His warmth on stage, his down to earth personality and engagement with the crowd was amazing to witness and although he made the audience boo with the occasional reference to Birmingham instead of Nottingham, it was very easy to forgive him. After singing another new song, Leave Me Slowly, he then sang Pointless, thanking the crowd for making it #No1, followed by Hold Me While You Wait, which had the crowd all singing along.

As the audience anticipated that this was the last song of the evening, Lewis disappeared into the floor of the stage. The audience screamed for more and as he returned he didn’t disappoint by stating he would sing two more songs. “I’m going to sing something different,” he said. “Let’s have Love Story by Taylor Swift”. The crowd loved this and went crazy as he began to sing the well known hit. As he sang, his ticks and little laughs demonstrated how comfortable he felt on stage. Even when he got the words slightly wrong and asked the audience to help towards the end of the song, they obliged by singing even louder and encouraging him to the very last note. He ended by stating he had “freestyled it like Jagger!”. As the audience knew the evening was coming to a close, Lewis made a heartfelt comment to them, concluding his thanks and appreciation. “Thank you all for coming tonight and selling out the show, it genuinely means the world to me. It’s not lost on me that you’re all willing to spend your money to come and see me at this gig. I know I take the p**s a lot, but I really appreciate it.”

As the last song of the evening began to a backdrop of the ocean, Capaldi stated, “I am Lewis Capaldi and this is Someone you Loved. As torches swayed in the crowd, Lewis encouraged the audience to sing acapella, which sent shivers down the spine. As he sang the last note and waved his final goodbye to the audience he shouted, “Until we meet again Nottingham”.

I’m really hoping that means we have a second date.

Lewis Capaldi

Photos by Paulwdixonphotography
Review by Lisa Kaye

1st February 2023

New Music – VLURE

VLURE – Cut It

I’ve been grappling with writing something about music and grief. When I lost someone close in December, I astutely avoided listening to any of my favourite songs in the fear that they’d forever be associated with that point in time where it felt like I was watching life go by from a distance, detached from the world of Christmas shoppers and giant inflatable snowmen looming ominously over hedges. The first week in the new year brought a long since booked trip to Rockaway Beach. A slightly surreal but welcome distraction, it felt good to see live music again, even if my heart wasn’t really in it. I knew the set of the weekend would belong to VLURE, but wasn’t prepared for the absolute battering back to reality it would bring – sometimes you don’t know you’ve been feeling nothing until you feel something. There are only a handful of artists that fall into this category for me, but there’s no doubt that VLURE join the elite few whose music stops me in my tracks and allows that total escape from everything else.

When they play live, there’s a ferocity that can’t be ignored. No half-hearted measures, they put everything they have into their performance – you don’t watch VLURE, you let yourself be engulfed by what they do, it’s immersive and emotional. And it’s heartening to see the direction their new music is taking, away from the mass of soundalike post-punk bands to unashamedly incorporate the fearlessly heavy beats of the best of electronic dance. New single Cut It, released at midnight, is the epitome of this. Already a firm favourite at their recent gigs, the recorded version is perfectly produced to replicate the exhilaration of a nocturnal anthem sending shockwaves through the early hours of clubland. “Do you see what I see, do you feel what I feel?” fast becoming a rhetorical lyric, as the ever growing pool of familiar faces in the crowd clearly do feel it to the core. Despite the confrontational exterior, there’s something intrinsically beautiful about this song, a wave of nostalgia firmly kicked into place amongst early contenders for track of the year.

So here’s the thing – sometimes life’s a bit shit but on it goes regardless and the best you can do is embrace it, let good things happen, and don’t hide from the music that makes it feel better, it’ll find you anyway and might be just what you need to see through the mist. And if you haven’t already, don’t waste any time in getting onto this band, you’re really missing something very special. Now let’s get 2023 started.


Words and photos from Rockaway Beach by Siobhan

20th January 2023


Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology

We will always love her: Praise for Parton the poetic muse

In the new poetry anthology Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology from Madville publishing, 54 poets both professional and up and coming share their love and admiration for Dolly Parton.

The anthology, which consists of several categories and genres, looks to Parton as a poetic muse who is worthy of praise, admiration and devotion. The poems, which vary from camp, kitsch, autobiographical, and almost overtly religious, all view Dolly in diverse ways. Some poems view her as a glittery icon who while steeped in rhinestones, embodies the true definition of a rags to riches story. Other poems in the collection view her as a maternal figure who acts a mother to all wayward souls in need of a gentle bosom to rest on. And others view her as an almost pantheistic mountain Gaia whose essence pervades the Smoky Mountains and holds the landscape and its people together. With the diverse representations and admirations for Dolly, she becomes an almost living country and western Christ who in these turbulent times, helps humanity to be the best versions of themselves.

Whilst some outside of the devoted Parton fandom may view such an anthology as unusual, it is a moving tribute to a universally beloved and non-divisive icon who deserves such recognition and praise, though Parton herself is too modest to ever consider herself such a muse. What makes the anthology even more special is that a portion of the proceeds from this poetry tribute go to Parton’s Imagination Library, a charity that gifts free books to children all over the world.

With much writing still needed to be done on Parton, this touching and original anthology reiterates why we will always love her.

Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology, edited by Julie E Bloemeke and Dustin Brookshire, is published today by Madville Publishing

Review by James Reeves

19th January 2023

New Music – Ist Ist | SUEP

New releases – Ist Ist | SUEP

Ist Ist – Something Has To Give

Once again, Ist Ist master the art of producing something that manages to be complex in its simplicity. The dark undertone of the music is complimented by the clarity of Adam Houghton’s vocal, a puzzle of questions about the uncertainty of life.

Houghton explains, “Something Has To Give is all about new beginnings. It’s a sort of stick or twist situation. Do you settle or go for it?” In the case of Ist Ist, the sensible option seems always to be to go for it. And happily, there’s more to come; UK tour dates begin on 31st March to coincide with new album release Protagonists.

Ist Ist


SUEP – Just a Job

Taken from their debut mini album Shop, due for release on 27th January, SUEP bring latest single Just a Job to the table. The track is a quirky conundrum of acceptance and angst, described by the band as, as “a lament and an ode to outsiders, late-risers and lost souls, and a protest song against having to do the arduous tasks that tend to pile up in life”.

Nothing arduous though about the entertainment value provided by SUEP, their combined talents showcased here in a compelling few minutes of off-centre art pop. Catch them live on dates starting 30th January as part of this year’s Independent Venue Week.



Words by Siobhan
Photos: Ist Ist by Tom White/Black Rock Creative
SUEP by Josh Cohen and Max Warren

16th January 2023