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.

VLURE

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

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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.

SUEP

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

16th January 2023

New Music – Frankie Wesson

Frankie Wesson – Just Friends

Hard gigging Frankie Wesson and her band have just had a launch party for her new single Just Friends. Frankie Wesson started writing songs and performing in her hometown of Abergavenny at the age of 16. Her cinematic songs draw inspiration from her personal experiences of bitter-sweet nostalgia, unrequited love, teenage angst and the complicated reality of growing up LGBTQ+.

Her versatile vocal range and talent for emotive, relatable song writing makes for captivating live performances. Frankie’s original songs have been featured on BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing as well as Spotify’s Chilled Pop Hits and New Music Friday playlists. The electro-pop single Reasons from her album Still Got Time has had over 112,000 streams on Spotify. Swansea’s Soundboard magazine described Wesson’s music as ‘timeless; appealing to fans of Fleetwood Mac and Paramore alike without compromising or diluting any of the style that makes Wesson’s music her own’.

Frankie Wesson

We’re really happy to have some new contributors joining us from across the UK – check out more of photographer Del Edwards’ work on Instagram, Facebook and the website link below.

Words and photos by Del Edwards

16th December 2022

Live – Blancmange at The Venue Worthing

Blancmange at The Venue, Worthing, 9th December 2022

There’s a moment every year when it suddenly starts to feel like Christmas, and this year Friday night at The Venue was that moment. For those not local, the eponymously named venue in question is what used to be converted church St Paul’s Arts Centre. Retaining the original stained glass windows and balcony, and festooned with giant snowflakes and balloons, it felt more like walking into a weird office party than a gig (in a good way). It’s a very cool location, in architectural features and temperature, but coats firmly staying on didn’t stop the crowd from singing and dancing their hearts out as the current formation of synth-pop royalty Blancmange hit the stage.

With a set list spanning the decades, the songs held a certain charm that combined the original sound with subtle reworkings from different eras. Tracks from new album Private View received a great response; latest single Reduced Voltage showcases a deeper version of electronica that stands up in today’s market, and vinyl copies of the album had sold out at the merch desk before the show began. Neil Arthur clearly still loves being on stage and there was lots of chat and interaction with the crowd. 

And those hoping for a little nostalgia weren’t to be disappointed, as the set was interspersed with favourites including Waves, That’s Love That It Is and Blind Vision, before the inevitable flourish of a finish with Living On The Ceiling. With the room still singing along to the riff, the band left the stage briefly before returning to close with Don’t Tell Me. A night full of atmosphere and top tunes – and good to see the live music circuit in Worthing continuing to expand.

Blancmange

Review / photos by Callum / Siobhan

14th December 2022

 

 

 

 

 

IDLES – Five Years of Brutalism

Having stumbled upon IDLES by chance in a tent at 2000 Trees in 2016, news of a show at Brighton’s 100 capacity Prince Albert was a welcome follow on. As the date grew nearer and tracks were shared from their then upcoming album Brutalism, the scrap for tickets was huge. For those of us lucky enough to have picked some up early, it was obvious that something big was about to happen for IDLES, as their stage performance and the buzz around the album got louder and louder.

IDLES, The Prince Albert Brighton, 13/03/17

Now five years on, it sits as a collection of tracks that has marked its place in the annuls of musical history, and the occasion will be suitably marked. Details from the press release here:

Set for release on Friday 9th December via Partisan, Five Years of Brutalism will be re-issued on limited cherry-red vinyl with alternative artwork. The digital package will feature the entire set from their surprise performance from the BBC Introducing Stage at this year’s Glastonbury.

Brutalism was originally self-released in March 2017, surpassing expectations to become one of the decade’s most important debut albums. Beneath the surface of its aggressive, foreboding music and lyrics lies a level of confessional vulnerability and honesty that comfortably cemented it as an instant classic.

Having previously released two cult EPS, 2012’s Welcome and 2015’s Meat, it was Brutalism that catapulted IDLES into the spotlight. Showcasing the band’s ability to summarise societal discourse with pin-point accuracy, one of the album’s central themes was to highlight the role of women in singer Joe Talbot’s life. Having lost his mother during the recording of the record following a long illness, it journals his experiences with grief and eventual rebuilding. The original album artwork features a photograph of his mother alongside a sculpture created by Talbot and his father. A limited edition of 100 LPs were released in October 2017 with Talbot’s mother’s ashes pressed into the vinyl. Speaking further about the album, Talbot writes;

“What started as a headstone slab of indulgence and unrest became a long journey of beauty, forgiveness, and gratitude. Little did we know that it was not just a headstone but the foundations we were building, for a house full to the brim with loving human beings. Thank you so so much”.

In the 5 years since Brutalim’s release IDLES have gone on to achieve so much, including a number one album, sold out tours and festival headline appearances around the world. Its follow-up, Joy as an Act of Resistance, further springboarded the band into the UK (and beyond)’s consciousness and paved the way for the colossal ‘Ultra Mono’ – the band’s first UK No. 1 album. Last year’s CRAWLER contained the buzz-saw urgency that their now global fanbase had come to expect, but expanded its sound with more melodic and introspective songs. At every step of the way the band have garnered a wealth of dedicated supporters – from the early breaks given to them by Steve Lamacq and BBC 6 Music, the independent live music circuit and the rabid AF Gang community – the latter of whom produced a feature film entitled “Don’t Go Gentle: A Film About IDLES” released globally and screened at many international film festivals.

To further celebrate the release of the Five Years of Brutalism the band will be taking part in a Youtube Listening Party on release day at 19:00 GMT, giving fans the opportunity to listen and chat alongside members of the band whilst they communally listen to the original album. The event will begin with the broadcast of a brand new video for album track ‘1049 Gotho’ directed by frontman Joe Talbot. Speaking further about the video he writes: 

“The 1049 Gotho video is a pastiche of some old cliched ideas I had when we started the band and I wanted to honour that and also nod to the references of Crawler which were a reflection on the Brutalist period. It’s a time capsule of ego and gratitude”.

Join the Party at 19:00 tonight, Friday 9th December here: https://youtu.be/IpvpJnR1MJk

IDLES

Intro and live photo by Siobhan, header photo by Tom Ham via Sonic PR

9th December 2022

Live – Shinedown | Asking Alexandria | Zero 9.36 at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham

Shinedown Planet Zero World Tour at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, with Asking Alexandria & Zero 9.36, 29th November 2022

The Rock was hot on Tuesday night at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena when Shinedown brought their Planet Zero World Tour to town.

The good people of the city and beyond turned out in force to enjoy an amazing show complete with huge pyro effects throughout!

Asking Alexandria’s incredible energy and Zero 9.36’s contrasting style all came together to deliver a faultless evening’s entertainment.

Long live Rock!

Shinedown

Asking Alexandria

Zero 9.36

Words and photos by Tina Sherwood at All the Ts Photography 

1st December 2022

Breaking Glass Magazine – December 2022

Breaking Glass Magazine – December 2022

Where did 2022 go? Here we are again approaching the end of the year and looking forward to the annual ‘Best Of’ galleries – still a few days left to submit your best music shots and favourite general shots from 2022, full details on November’s cover page.

Huge thanks to everyone who’s been a part of Breaking Glass this year, big or small. Whatever you’re doing over the holidays, look after yourselves and each other x

Words and cover shot by Siobhan

1st December 2022

Live – Squeeze at The Brighton Centre

Squeeze at The Brighton Centre, 26th November 2022

For a band who first charted back in 1978, Squeeze undoubtedly still have a lot to offer, and it’s not just nostalgia. Saturday night was cold and wet, but inside The Brighton Centre a warm atmosphere and a buzz of anticipation for the performance, that never abated throughout the evening.

When you have Dr John Cooper Clarke as your warm-up act you know it’s going to be a good night. With wit and charm as abrasive as ever, the good doctor was perhaps a bit off brand for some of the crowd but, undeterred by any such notion, he delivered his beautifully cynical observations on the world and quickly gained traction in winning everyone over. Always a pleasure.

And so to Squeeze, a band still more than cool for cats whose lyrical content is matched only by their obvious love of the music it sits alongside. Taking no prisoners on the opening trio of tracks, the crowd were treated to Take Me I’m Yours, Hourglass and jewel in the crown Up the Junction to kick things off. The perfectly matched songwriting team of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook are responsible for a long string of hits over the years, and it was great to hear their new material make itself a strong mark in the setlist. With all proceeds from new EP and single Food for Thought, being donated to independent food banks, there was also an invitation for those attending to bring non-perishable items to be passed on to local food banks, and the response was huge. It warms my heart and makes me angry in equal measures that this is necessary but hats off to the band for doing this on their tour dates and taking time to talk about the Trussell Trust mid-set.

Where you find several incarnations of a band, it can often be the case that the original members will hang on the spotlight and effectively find themselves a backing band to play live with. This is far from the case with Squeeze as there is some fierce talent amongst the entirety of the band members, not to mention moves that would leave Gene Kelly pondering his place on the dancefloor from Stephen Large on keys. It was refreshing to see the authenticity of performance and, whilst you wouldn’t have to be a Squeeze fan to have enjoyed the night, the room was full of people who most definitely were.

The evening closed with an encore of Slap and Tickle and Black Coffee in Bed, and we headed out to battle the weather again with umbrellas unable to meet their need, but a bunch of songs stuck in our heads that most definitely could.

Review and photos by Siobhan and Callum

28th November 2022

 

New Music – Thomas Truax with Budgie

Thomas Truax with Budgie – Everything’s Going to be All Right

In the left corner – Thomas Truax, multi-instrumentalist, musical inventor and purveyor of all things unexpected. In the right corner – Budgie, the drummer whose instantly recognisable hooks made him the lynchpin of The Banshees and The Creatures. This could never be a dull collaboration. Everything’s Going to be All Right sounds a little as though Sonic Youth teamed up with Sparks at a very, very cool party. It’s clever, it’s fun, it’s an experiment that you’ll want be involved in. Watch the video here, and look out for Truax’s new album, Dream Catching Songs, in the new year.

Thomas Truax | Budgie

Review by Siobhan

21st November 2022

Mutations Festival 2022 (part 2)

Mutations Festival, Brighton – 4th/5th November 2022

It was good to see Mutations back following last year’s successful post-lockdown event. Word seemed to have spread, as we met lots of people who’d travelled from across the UK to be here.

After an energy-filled start on Thursday, Friday saw a welcome return to Brighton for Pozi at the Latest Music Bar. Some technical issues at the start of the set must have had the band reminiscing about the feedback horrors of the Great Escape, but fair play to the sound team on this occasion for getting things back on track; setting up a violin to be its best must be a challenge after a swathe of guitar bands, but thankfully not an insurmountable challenge on this occasion. It wouldn’t often come across as a compliment to say a band is interesting – Pozi though really are interesting in the best of ways, and always a good booking.

Some consternation from ticket holders that their expectations of being guaranteed entry to the headline acts at Chalk were blighted by long queues outside the venue, which seemingly was already at capacity, resulting in some missing out on the joys of Warmduscher and the eclectic stage presence of Squid. Security is often much maligned but did a great job here in appeasing the crowd and keeping things upbeat.

Happily, this seemed to have been resolved by Saturday, and not even the continuous rain could dampen the mood. After lots of strong rumours about the secret set at Chalk, The Murder Capital came on fashionably late; a general crowd-pleaser seeming pleased themselves to cause a mosh pit so early in the day.

More audience interaction over at The Albert, as Saint Agnes stepped in at the eleventh hour and brought together old fans and new – their tribute to Keth Flint, a pure punk version of Firestarter, putting a smile on everyone’s face.

And if those present thought that was a lively performance, they were about to have the stakes upped in dramatic fashion. Priestgate are always going to be in line for the most photographed band award – the fact that they could barely all fit on the stage not causing an issue as vocalist Rob Schofield is barely still for a second, and as happy in the crowd or hanging from the lights as at the front. A delight to watch and shoot, look out for a return date to Brighton in February.

Over at The Hope & Ruin, Spang Sisters brought the pace down with ease and style. With an ever-changing line up and numerous ties to other local bands, they played a beautiful set complete with flute, cello, violin, drums, bass, and some hopping between guitar and keys. It can be easy in all-day events to stick with the most outrageous or frenetic on the bill, but to master laid back orchestration is something special and those present here were onto a winner. Charismatic, refreshing, and a welcome break from ego that delivers more than any facade could.

A quick run down the road to Komedia Studio delivered a very busy room engulfed by the smoke machine. Thankfully, Jessica Winter’s vocals are consistently so sharp and on-point that they cut through the dried ice with ease. Replicating recorded versions of tracks isn’t a gift everyone has, and it’s a measure of talent and confidence that lets an artist carry off a solo performance where nothing is lost in translation – downstairs at the theatre felt like stepping into something separate from the rest of the festival, a happy parallel world in a darkened basement.

Sticking around at Komedia, finally a chance to see Hamish Hawk live – and it didn’t disappoint. Hawk falls comfortably into that cluster of Scottish vocalists who have a certain euphonious quality of tone that captivates and charms (preceded by Mackenzie, Collins, Kapranos et al). Another act returning to Brighton in the new year, and one not to be missed.

And then the inevitable choice between headliners and more intimate surroundings resulted in a dip into both. Shame brought a big crowd at Chalk, choosing a wall of sound over clarity, and won the crowd over with lots of early favourites mixed with teasers from next year’s album release.

While back at The Hope & Ruin, Fräulein showcased their grunge-tinted talents, giving a great performance and engaging the room from start to finish. The two-piece have an obvious musical connection which only seems to get stronger over time. A perfect way to end the evening.

With more to follow for those attending on Sunday from Scalping and Bob Vylan amongst others, Mutations managed once again to put together an impressive list of artists to fill the venues of Brighton, leaving the train strikes and the weather a distant memory. See you next year!

Review / Photos by Callum / Siobhan

Gallery from Thursday at Mutations here (featuring Pussy Riot, Penelope Isles, WH Lung and Pip Blom)

12th November 2022

Live – VLURE | Kynsy | Redolent at The Lexington London

VLURE, Kynsy & Redolent at The Lexington, London, 3rd November 2022 (BBC Introducing)

In a week where BBC services have taken a potential battering, a reminder of all that they do outside of the regular TV and radio shows. Thursday night saw The Lexington packed, despite the irascible weather and threats of a train strike that happily never happened – an eclectic platform to showcase three artists, all of whom are well deserving of that support.

First up, Redolent’s mix of dark drums and synth samplers drew the crowd in, with a visible upturn in appreciation as the set progressed.

Redolent

Next on stage, Kynsy impressed with a collection of songs that charged down the standard indie-pop of other acts, with accomplished vocals, great musicianship and ridiculously catchy hooks.

Kynsy

Headliners for the evening, and crashing with ease through the huge wave of anticipation for their set, VLURE maintained their status at the top of the new acts you cannot miss tree. It’s beyond me that they’re not already much bigger, but they have an astute awareness of how the industry works and of keeping things moving at their pace rather than feeling forced into saturation; a stance that many  over-exposed acts could learn from.

But this isn’t just clever marketing, VLURE have style and substance in abundance. An unexpected switch up with Alex taking vocals in her stride on the opening track, some new songs, some already firm favourites, a cacophony of sound that somehow brings calm and makes sense of the madness going on in the world right now. There’s a bit of me that wants it to stay like this, but VLURE deserve every success that comes their way and, if there’s any justice in the world, it surely will.

VLURE

And to all the teams at BBC Introducing who continually work to bring artists like this to the forefront, we’re all keeping our fingers and toes crossed for you – to lose this would be unforgivable.

Review & photos © Siobhan

7th November 2022

 

Live – The Bug Club | The Dream Machine | Hutch at The Piper St Leonards

The Bug Club, The Dream Machine & Hutch at The Piper, St Leonards-on-Sea, 29th October 2022

It would seem there’s no stopping The Bug Club, with tickets flying out wherever they play. And they have been playing far and wide, amassing followers as they go, and gifting what must be close to a 20-song set to those who came to see what all the fuss was about at The Piper on Saturday. It’s pretty simple really – they know how to write a great hook, their energy is infectious and they look like they’re having the best of times. There are still loads of dates coming up if you’re lucky enough to grab a ticket on a night that isn’t sold out, value for money guaranteed.

Support came from Liverpool’s The Dream Machine, who may also be relative newcomers but are already making a name for themselves with a nod to local stalwarts of the Merseyside scene The Coral and The Zutons, and an added layer of pure NYC punk rock riffs. Proficient and precise, the band played a strong set and look to be well on their way to bigger things. Frankly, anyone who can rock a NWA T-shirt with a crocheted waistcoat is deserving of some attention.

On the subject of attire, harp-inclusive ensemble Hutch picked up the Halloween memo and wore it well, opening the evening in style and with a gentle wash of soft-psych nostalgia; photo gallery from all three acts below.

Hosted by Acid Box Promotions and Dictionary Pudding.

Hutch

The Dream Machine

The Bug Club

Review and photos by Siobhan

2nd November 2022

Live – Frank Turner | PET NEEDS (+ Interview) at O2 Guildhall Southampton

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & PET NEEDS at O2 Guildhall Southampton, 14th October 2022

Interview – PET NEEDS

PET NEEDS played the final night of a USA and UK tour at the O2 in Southampton last week. It was the culmination of weeks on the road, coast to coast across North America, touring with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls.

I managed to catch up with two of the members of PET NEEDS after they’d finished their sound check. The other bands were still on stage so we decided that we would go outside and sit in their tour van for a chat. The first thing Jack (drums) and Johnny (lead vocals) did was to apologise for the state of the van. I told them that after such a long tour, it had every right to look well lived in (it really wasn’t that bad at all). Looking out of the van window, we could see the queue for the gig building already.

I started by asking Johnny how the USA Tour had been for them…

The tour has been nuts! The reception we had in the States was overwhelming. We could see the momentum building as the tour went on. We even had people buying flights from the east to the west coast just to see the next show! Our favourite gig was probably the Las Vegas one, it was wild! As a place, it’s the complete opposite of my ideological position, but I think that’s why it was so surreal. It’s like the Toby Carvery of life, just too much of everything, all at once!

I see you’re heading back out for a headline tour soon

Yeah, we can’t wait, it starts in December, we’re playing Germany and then to the UK, and we’re back in Southampton too. We have a show at The Joiners which we’re so excited about. We finish the tour in Colchester for a hometown finale and it’s already sold out! That’s going to be such an emotional night!

I happen to be one of the City Managers of Sofar Sounds in Southampton and I know you’ve played a Sofar show in Oxford. How was that for you?

We absolutely loved playing it, it’s so nerve racking though. We knew that we were walking into a room where no one really knows our music, so it’s a strange experience. The audience have no idea who they’re coming to see because it’s a secret gig, as you know, but the audience was so full of love, and it was obviously made up of real live music lovers. They really are special gigs to be part of.

I listened to some of the lyrics you write and thought that some were really on the money, I particularly liked Only Happy. Where do the song ideas come from?

Lyrics are important to us. I [Johnny] write most of the lyrics, sometimes it’s based on true stories. Only Happy is based on a woman I met in a park in Germany. We were chatting about her life and her plans for the future, and she was convinced that she was going to meet the person she would marry in that city. She seemed almost obsessed with the idea. It started me thinking about whether happiness is a thing you’re aiming for or whether it’s about life being a journey of ups and downs. I hope that come across in the song.

Are all the band involved with the writing of the music?

The songs are born in my spare room on a battered acoustic guitar, and I bring them to the band and they bring their musicianship to build it to the final version. It’s all about trust, something I really enjoy compared with being a solo musician.

How is it working alongside your brother (George – lead guitarist)?

It’s really good, although challenging at the start. We both brought our own ideas, from different styles. George excels at arrangements and after about a year, we found a way so our joint creativity can show through. It now works so well for us all. We all get on so well together. We’re now on the final night of the tour and there’s not been a cross word between any of us.

So how do you see the future panning out?

We just want to keep this going. This is our life for now. We’ve got some festivals planned for next summer, but we can’t give you any details at the moment. We really want to get back to the States while we have the visa, so maybe a solo tour, or with another band. This tour with Frank really has changed our lives. It all began when one person saw one of our shows, that was the catalyst to being asked to tour with Frank, we left our jobs, and here we are. We’re really enjoying the ride and want to keep it going.

……………………………………………………

The gig itself was certainly a mix of genres. The opener was Mash Pea, a solo Afro Beats artist whose mix of singing and rapping certainly started the evening off with some energy. He was then joined on stage by Truck Stop Honeymoon, a couple from Texas, who played some wonderful Americana Country style guitar and double bass. They really engaged with the audience by telling stories from the other side of the Pond that had everyone smiling.

We then got to the PET NEEDS set. The emotional end to their epic first tour. You could tell that the lads were at the end of this emotional roller-coaster, but they played with confidence, skill and unabashed enthusiasm! From the opening bars to the final note, their energy burst through any nerves.

I’m used to photographing rock bands, so am usually ready for moving around the photo pit to get the best angles, but Johnny’s energy had me racing from side to side to try and keep up with him! If I hadn’t known this was the band’s first major tour, I’d have thought I was shooting seasoned professionals.

The rhythm section (Jack on drums and Rich on bass) drove the music perfectly, precise musicianship and an obvious joy in what they were doing. The two brothers, Johnny and George, were clearly loving every minute of their stage time together. There was an emotional pause in the set for Johnny to thank Frank Turner and everyone else who had made the tour possible. When he told the audience that they had all quit their jobs to make the band their sole focus, there was a huge cheer. Johnny joked that the audience took the news far better than their parents had! The set continued with the same energy as it started. George’s guitar solos and Johnny’s vocal working perfectly together. The only downside was the ever-problematic sound in the O2. The room acoustics are not great for punk! Some of Johnny’s lyrics, which are superb, were occasionally lost, so I look forward to seeing them at a festival in the summer so that I can hear every word and enjoy another performance.

With the audience well and truly warmed up, Frank Turner walked on stage to a huge reception. His ever-engaging style and confidence meant the crowd were in the palm of his hand from the outset. He gave his usual speech about how he wanted the evening to go. He told the crowd that they were as an important part of the show as the band. He told them the rules… “Get involved…. If you know the words, sing. If someone next to you is having a problem, help them… and above all…. (which is when the crowd joined him in shouting) Don’t be a d***head!!” Huge cheers, everyone understood!

The set was polished and full of atmosphere. An obviously well-practiced set from the tour, as well as showing Frank’s desire to have the crowd involved throughout. From my spot in the photo pit, I could hear the crowd singing as loud as the PA as it blasted Frank’s vocals. They loved it!

It was a welcome return to Southampton for Frank and his band. By his own admission, it had been far too long. I met and photographed Frank in March when he played an intimate solo gig at the Brook in Southampton, but this show was a full-on, full band experience. It was clear that the final show of the tour was a special moment for Frank and, as he said, it was a home-town show for him, and special for lots of reasons.

Frank Turner | PET NEEDS

Review, photos and interview by Peter Nicholson

17th October 2022

Live – Divorce | Safety Jacket | Ladylike at The Hope & Ruin Brighton

Divorce, Safety Jacket & Ladylike at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton, 11th October 2022

Back in March, Divorce played in the bar downstairs at The Hope & Ruin. They undoubtedly made a good impression, as this time round they filled the bigger space upstairs with their subtly sanguine post-punk tunes and a hugely enthusiastic crowd. Although still relatively early days in their musical union, it seems Divorce have found their niche and their followers, even playing a second rendition of Services to allow an audience member to take over drum duties.

In support, Safety Jacket’s camaraderie is obvious as they perform their new songs with growing confidence, and openers Ladylike impressed on only their third gig.

Hosted by Love Thy Neighbour – photo gallery from all three bands below…

Ladylike

Safety Jacket

Divorce

Review and photos by Siobhan

14th October 2022

 

New Music – H. L. Grail

H.L. Grail – Sandman

An accomplished musician now best known as bassist with revered indie quartet Goat Girl, Holly Mullineaux embarks on a new solo project under the moniker of H. L. Grail. Described as ’an honest outpouring of love, pain and disappointment’, debut single Sandman is a sonic reflection of emotions and acceptance that lulls you towards a better state of mind with hypnotic vocals and the subtle overlay of multiple instruments.

The track features special contributions from bandmates Lottie Pendlebury, Reuben Kyriakides and Ellie Rose-Davies on violin, cello and backing vocals, as well as sax by co-producer (with Holly) Euan Hinshelwood and additional vocals from Daisy Goodwin (Token Girl DJs).

Sandman is out today via Spinny Nights’ offshoot Underfoot; watch the accompanying video below and catch pending live dates in Southampton and London if you can.

16.10.22 – Heartbreakers, Southampton (w/ Robbie & Mona/Bingo Fury)
17.11.22 – Bermondsey Social Club, London (w/ Ulrika Spacek)

H. L. Grail

Review by Siobhan
Photo by Maximilian Hetherington

12th October 2022