Archives for category: Live Review

London scares me and so do the people who are there… Well especially those who turned up for Underage Festival this year. Just looking over everyone in the queue I could tell that I was probably not gonna enjoy myself as much as I did last year or as much as I had done at any other festival this summer.

First act of the day were Lightspeed Champion a band whose first album I adore but personally I’m not a fan of his whole rock opera thing for album number two. So thankfully he played about a 50/50 split of new and old  but for some reason all the moronic kids insisted on clapping at inappropriate moments which ruined songs like the nine minute epic of ‘Midnight Surprise’. His live show isn’t all that exciting either and it certainly didn’t help that his piano wasn’t set up right. Would have probably been a lot better in more intimate surroundings. Darwin Deez was next on the fizzy pop stage and seriously as soon as Peanut Butter Jelly Time came on the PA I knew I’d be in for half an hour of pure hell. What I was witnessing in front of me was more like the house band to a rich kids birthday party. How can any true fan of all that is good within modern music enjoy this drivel. O.K. synchronised dance routines are one thing but it’s not even like his songs are any good. Sure if I was 14 again I’d probably love this but I’m not I have no interest in a band who have to reference going into space in every fucking song. “You are a radar detector” what does that even fucking mean. The music is equally unintelligent as lyrics nothing less than average at best. And Darwin himself is such a douche I mean come on does he really think people are impressed with his whole look at me I’ve got krazy hair and a krazy moustache, you got to be some kind of severe moron to think thats is actually quirky or krazy cos’ it’s all been done before. Now you could say that I don’t have a heart and that or just plain cold but I gave this guy a chance by sitting through his set and seeing what the fuss was about and that had to be seriously one of the most awful bands I’ve ever seen. Let’s just hope I never have to witness that monstrosity every again.

Redemption came in the form of Los Campesinos! who were spot on as always just what I needed after sitting through that crap. However although LC! are awesome I have seen the same set three times in a row now but that can’t take away the pure joy that songs like ‘Miserabilia’ give me. Wish the crowd were up for me as much as I was but instead of dancing there was just crushing instead. New drummer Jason looked good and played well but I’d much rather see Ollie up there still to be honest. An all-round decent set the they brought out the hits and the band did what they did best so can’t complain. But dear Underage why did you insist on putting a DJ who played nothing other that hip-hop and drum ‘n’ bass before hand. You could tell this guy had never hear of the band before surely it would have maybe made sense to play some relevant bands that fans of LC! would probably like. Might wanna throw in some Frankie & the Heartstrings or Xiu Xiu but no instead we were treated to the likes of Tinie Tempah. What happened Underage why did you loose your cool. It used to be all about interesting new music and not satisfying the needs of the mainstreamer’s.

Now came the wait spent two hours sitting under some trees watching some metal bands had a bit of a laugh at this one band whose synth player kept taking his synth of the stand and playing it in weird positions. It wasn’t even like Rough Trade had a stall this year that could have kept me occupied. No one worth meeting at the signing tent well unless I wanted to wait and punch all the guys in Hadouken!

So after waiting two hours decided to sit in a tent and watch New Young Pony Club, didn’t really do much for me their lead singer woman was a bit too yelpy for my liking so we went over to see upcoming Manchester four piece Everything Everything who weren’t bad. Wish the sound in that tent was better cos’ it really couldn’t cope with the falsetto and harmonies of the band which worked really well in the same way it does for Wild Beasts. Feel like there’s a good album on the way from these guys as their eye for a pop song came across well in-front of a relatively small audience. Deffo a band to watch out for in the next few months (but I’m sure you knew that already).

After this I saw Professor Green sounded like every other pop hip-hop rappy thing that’s in the charts at the moment. Didn’t want to see him of course I was just waiting to see Ellie who I choose over the scary, noisy Crystal Castles, really wasn’t in the mood for experiencing this afternoon. She came on twenty minutes late so me and my friend spent the time confusing people by sort of sounding a little sarcastic but then mixing that by saying that I’m a hardcore Ellie fan whose seen her once before. Ellie wasn’t bad not great but by no means bad. She rattled through hits from her début record to a packed tent but I left at the wrong moment to go and see if M.I.A. had come on the main stage yet. Didn’t even get to see her play ‘Starry Eyed’…

So in the wait to see M.I.A. I thought I’d go and catch the end of Crystal Castles, glad I didn’t go. Don’t really get the all the hype surrounding Crystal Castles sure from the song I saw it looks like they put on a quality live show but it’s just all noise and Alice Glass screaming. Not for me. Think everyone was coming on late during the day the question being was the wait for M.I.A. worth it. I’d say no I left feeling unimpressed by her performance would have expected so much more from someone whose come out and done a video like ‘Born Free’ and then go on to say what she has done about the government, google etc. There was no such craziness today and the crowd weren’t that great either all just there to see one song I presume. Maya came out and started on ‘Galang’ before jumping into the crowd for a bit. That’s all the excitement I got from her show (had to leave before she rolled out the hits cos’ of how long it would take to get back). Really did expect so much more from her but I suppose this sort of sums up Underage this year. A festival with so much promise but delivers nothing but averageness and nothing to satisfy the need of young music fans like myself who look for something a bit different from your Tinchy Stryder’s and Chiddy Bang’s. But what do you expect eh, I am 17 now and I have been to Glastonbury this year. Sure the majority of people who came had a great time this year and that’s important in terms of making sure that youth feel inspired to go out there and try music for themselves. Whether that be making it or going and to experience live music in the future. As for me I think it’s safe to say my time for this sort of festival has definitely been and gone.

James

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(COME) SATURDAY

Anyone like the pun I did there? So Saturday began with a trip to the cafe at the station/festival site where I had possibly one the most down right hideous and artery clogging breakfasts of all time. But hey how can you complain when you get all this food for free. It had hash browns, I never have hash browns. Later that morning me and the guys reported to the church where we would receive are duties for the day. Oooooh instrument store that sounds like it could be fun. WRONG! Possibly the most boring thing I have done in my entire life just sound there for what felt like hours staring blankly at the faces of the festival goers that went past making sure only authorised personnel were allowed to get in there. Thankfully I didn’t have to do that job too much and got what was probably the best of the rota’s out of me and my friends over the weekend. The only other thing I had to was take over the ticket desk for a while which was a hell of a lot better than working the instrument store.

All of this meant I didn’t have much time to experience the festival so first band of the day was a bit later on than what I would have liked. Saw a little bit of Antarctica Takes It! they were a little boring, then saw a bit of The Smitten’s who were more than a little bit twee and didn’t really take my fancy. So instead of watching bands thought it would be more fun to go and visit the model railway club.

That brought back some memories to say the least. After this I sat by myself and watched some more bands on the Outdoor Stage (as the guys were working). Now I don’t care how legendary or influential you may find The Orchids or Ballboy but I found both bands incredibly dull and boring. I sat thinking while watching both their equally average brands of indie pop how maybe this festival is far to specialist for my liking. Indietracks while being a great underground festival it can often alienate those like myself who have a reasonable knowledge of the genre but not one that is as in-depth as those for who the festival is aimed at. This could possibly prove to me the festivals main downfall as how many bands will continue to create music like this in years to come it’s hard to tell as many of these bands playing are pretty obscure apart from those playing late in the day. But for now the festival works a treat and caters for this market really well and not one person I met throughout the weekend had a bad word to say about it.

Final band I saw of the day were easily the best and that was Tender Trap who replaced Love Is All at short notice to headline the Indoor Stage. From what I saw Amelia Feltcher + band played through a selection of songs from their new record (which I hadn’t heard anything from at the time) to a packed audience. This was the first time I’d seen a band in the converted barn all weekend and the sound in there was easily the worst of any festival or venue I’d ever been to. This meant that although Tender Trap from what I could hear were pretty damn good the sound their sort of ruined what was a solid performance from an indie legend. Picture equally as awful as sound

Day two ended pretty much the same as day one as we sat back after a hard days of ‘work’ with some fine locally brewed ale. However the best (and worst) was yet to come…

James

FRIDAY

The day began well, left the house soon after booking tickets to see Belle & Seb in December. The train journey to Alfreton was pretty fun and successfully managed to annoy the majority of people on the train, especially this one guy where we accidentally sat in ‘his’ seat. He could have had it back if he’d ask but instead of telling us to move he decided to complain to the staff on the train and the glare and us from where he was sitting for most of the journey. Really don’t get some people. Alfreton remind me a lot of Winsford in the way that is well and truly miserable. Continued to cause more disruption on the bus to the camp site some elderly woman behind us complaining about how long it took us to get on the bus. The bus driver however had more sympathy and was very helpful and friendly. The campsite was brill it had everything and it was all for free plus we were put in the stewards, bands and other festival worker people field. Used the same tent we had for Glastonbury some how it had a pole missing in these times of missing poles we had to make do. This meant making do and almost destroying the tent every time I tried to get in.

Reported to the church stage for stewarding duties later that afternoon where we given all the free food and drink vouchers we could possible ever want. As well as finding out that I would be working backstage later that evening. Three bands were playing the festival on Friday and I thankfully had the pleasure of seeing all three of them. Veronica Falls sadly only played six songs. This was down the fact that the morons working the sound desk had still had them in sound check mode playing to themselves for ten minutes. It had looked like the band had stormed off stage but they came back on to play some of the finest indie pop songs around at the moment starting with recent b-side and personal favourite ‘Stephen’. Songs that hadn’t been put out yet sat equally as well along side the likes of ‘Beachy Head’ the perfect song about suicide for a sunny afternoon. Snooping around backstage I found out that the band are now going off to record their debut record and to be honest it couldn’t come soon enough, guaranteed to be awesome. Here’s a photo of them from where I was standing wish I could have gone done the front but stewarding got in the way.

Next on were the very lovely Allo, Darlin’ starting with the ultra twee ‘Henry Rollins Don’t Dance’ a song that throws about it’s fair show of Grease references . By this point everyone had put their dancing shoes on and from that moment they’d pretty much stayed on all weekend. Still stuck watching from afar though but enjoyed as myself as they ploughed through a set of tracks from their long-awaited debut album. Front woman Elizabeth was clearly relishing the opportunity to play on the main stage with some severe Ukulele moshing on the go . Overall a great set from a band who I sometimes feel are a little hit and miss but tonight they disproved all doubts and played a wonderful set from start to finish.

Headlining the Friday night were one of many of Eddie Argos’ project’s Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! I of course working backstage got a little bit star stuck  with Eddie Argos constantly walking in out of the area. Also learnt a little bit about his toilet habits went twice in ten minutes before coming on stage to the sound of the French national anthem. The ridiculousness then continued by playing a song about the French resistance. The great thing about this project is that they really couldn’t take themselves any less seriously Eddie playing the jester in the court of the other indie pop titans headlining this weekend. Eddie himself couldn’t be more pleased to be there creating hilarity with his onstage banter throughout describing the formation of each one of his so called ‘response’ songs. Including ‘responses’ to ‘Jimmy Mack’ by Martha Reeves and a song called ‘Billie’s Jean’s’ in response to Jacko in which Eddie declared himself the illegitimate son of the dead superstar. Other stories included one about the time when Eddie worked in a chippie and stupidity reached a climax during the encore in which they played ‘Formed a Side-Proeject’. Think that pretty much sums up Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! definitely one of my favourite bands of the weekend and was so great to finally see Eddie Argos. Heres a really crap picture.

Me being me though was far too shy to go up and talk to him at the merch stall after the show so I went and got my free beer and me and the guys sat listening to some tunes at the campsite and reeled over how surreal and brilliant the opening day of the festival had been.

James

Feels like ages ago it’s just finding the time to right up all this…

SUNDAY

The final day of the festival started off early again due to once your awake there’s no way you can get back to sleep in the tent. Went to look at merchandise and tried on a Blood Red Shoes t-shirt the woman at the stall didn’t look very happy when I decided not to buy it. Oh, well. First band of the day were The Joy Formidable a band who I’ve been wanting to see for ages and ages and ages. A great start to the day as was expected bringing their epic guitar noise to a bleary eyed other stage. Just one of a number of bands other the weekend who looked like they were having the time of their lives. Especially in set closer the eight minute long ‘Whirring’. Next up was my last trip over to The Park to see Irish folk outfit Villagers. Very impressed by their heartaching tales of love and loss perfect for just lying down and chilling in the midday sun. Back over to the other side of the festival next for These New Puritans. Personally I thought they were great but obviously not for everyone’s taste. So like the majority of other English football fans I decided to go over and watch the game only to notice on the way that Laura Marling was performing on BBC Intoducing stage later in the afternoon. Hmmm Marling or England, I know I made to right choice. Laura performed two acoustic songs from new album ‘I Speak Because I Can’ for Radio 1 which was very nice indeed.

The later part of the afternoon was spent for the majority at The Other Stage where I first enjoyed Grizzly Bear who were good but no way near as good as they are on the record. Shame they had to play to a smaller crowd due obvious reasons. Next up We Are Scientists were nothing other than brilliant. O.K. some of the newer songs aren’t so great but that can’t take away how fucking awesome the likes of ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ and ‘The Great Escape’ are. The banter from the guys were top-notch as was expected and performed through a blistering set of new and old. Fun was had by all. MGMT followed and were boring as expected, the new songs aren’t as bad as some people make them out to be but don’t translate too well live. The Brooklyn two still managed to bring the hits out and ‘Time to Pretend’ still sounds as fresh as it did back in ‘o8. LCD Soundsystem impeccable as always. How can James Murphy call time on the band when they’ve got those kind of tune. An hour was no way near long enough need to dance myself clean. The only reason it wasn’t as good as their show in Manchester back in May was because of the length. Still enough time to back in the likes of ‘Drunk Girls’ and ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House’ before removing their ‘LA douche’ sunglasses to perform a truly epic ‘Yeah’.

Finally it was the one and the only Stevie Wonder and god do I wish I’d got a good position or not be so tired that I can barely stand up. From what I saw on the screens his performances looks like it could go down as being one of the all time great Glasto headliners. Got so much respect for that guy. But the circumstances meant that I had to turn in half way through only to be unable to get to the sleep due to the constant noise of the Dance Village and Orbital.

MONDAY

Woke up feeling a lot less tired, some random Scottish guy gave us a shed load of beer so me and my friends sat around just drinking and chilling playing toilet roll cricket and human buckaroo. Put the tent away successfully before heading to they drop-off point again at five. Felt so sad to walk out of the gate knowing that it would be a long time before I would head back to Worthy Farm again.

Glastonbury really was the most perfect weekend and as I look back two weeks on I have to say it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. No matter what you decide to do at the festival you know you’re gonna experience something really special. And I suppose that’s what makes Glastonbury the king of all festivals. Like where else would you get the likes of Rolf Harris, Snoop Dogg and Vampire Weekend play on the same stage on the same day. And there is no way you can explore everything that the festival has to offer in the four proper days that are on offer. Everything is just perfect and I could go on about how great it is forever so if you get the chance go because you know you’re gonna have the time of you’re life.

James

SATURDAY

The searing heat meant an early start every morning as the tent felt more like the Sahara that Somerset. The day started off with another drip up to the Park Stage and a hunt for somewhere that sold male shorts since I got mud down my good pair. Sadly I failed at finding some. Perched myself up on the hill for first act of the day I Blame Coco, really wish I hadn’t bothered watching them half an hour of my life I’m never gonna get back. First band of the day I really wanted to see were Frankie & the Heartstrings. They certainly didn’t fail to impress and justify the hype that they have been gathering. Front man Frankie Francis possessed the stage the band were performing on all clearly reeling in the opportunity of playing the festival. One to watch for future months for sure. Next on The Strange Boys who brought their bluesy garage rock to the Park Stage. Weren’t bad and did justice to a version of ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ by the legendary Dusty Springfield. After a superb set at Dot to Dot Festival at the end of May it was time for Beach House to bring some darkness to the Park on what must have been one of the hottest days of the year so far. The heat of the sun mixed with some sort of drug fuelled haze which the band were apparently in didn’t lead to a great performance. But all the same the quality of third album ‘Teen Dream’ shone through but not in the same way for example if they were playing in a Cathedral (which I’m seeing them play in later in the year). Stand out tracks being the likes of ‘Norway’ and ‘Heart of Chambers’.

After got knows how long I’d spent in The Park is was time to move over to the other side of the sight to see Marina & the Diamonds for a third time. This was the best time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Marina and it lead me think how you look at all these current female singer-songwriter types have nothing to say. Then you listen to Marinas lyrics and seems like maybe she does well either that or the heat was getting to me. With society being the way it is at the moment think it’s certainly not a bad thing to have someone like Marina out there saying what she does. However her brand of operatic bubble gum pop isn’t for everyones taste and for at times not mine but once again she put on a good show; even at one point ditching the band to play one song by herself on piano. Major contrast next as the math-rock of Foals livened things up with a sadly heavily ‘Antidotes’ based set which meant that such brilliant songs as ‘2 Trees’ and ‘After Glow’ didn’t get aired. Foals were highly energetic and so were the audience which meant I couldn’t really enjoy their set cos’ I kept worrying about my ankle (typical). Best bit of the set was seeing Yannis climb the scaffolding of the John Peel tent and jump from into the crowd bellow (see photos). Next up were easily biggest surprise of the best band of the day The XX. The atmosphere in the tent was just about perfect for them to perform the dark and hauntingly beautiful tracks from their debut album. The three members came out and went straight into ‘Intro’ with rapturous applause before moving on into personal favourite ‘Islands’. The chemistry being just as apparent between Jamie and Romy onstage as it is off. The band blitzed through ‘XX’ playing the majority of their spellbinding record before ending on their version of Florence’s version of ‘You’ve Got the Love’. Featuring a very special guest… wonder if you can guess who it was.

Following this it was time for cider and time to reflect up by The Park once again while sitting and listening to end of Laura Marling’s set and the start of Midlake’s. I stayed in The Park into the early hours to watch what I was expecting to be Freebass. It wasn’t’. Instead me and everyone else in The Rabbit Hole were treated to a DJ set from the one and the only Jarvis Cocker. Does it really get much better than that.

James x

Where to begin…

WEDNESDAY

7 o’clock and were on our way out of Sandbach down onto M6 and the mammoth drive that awaits. My dad managed to keep his cool for the most part in the relentless heat. Managed to avoid a lot of queueing which was good but still ended up crawling at a snails pace through Shepton Mallet. After about seven hours spent on the road we arrived at the drop-off point where the eight of us boarded a short coach journey to the festival. Arriving was probably easily the worst part, having to carry all you bags in the mid-afternoon heat to look for somewhere to camp is no way to start the festival. But after severe amounts of moaning we found a nice little spot next to the toilets which were next to the dance village. Most of Wednesday for me at least involved exploring the sight and just sitting and chilling up by the top of the Park area. Most of this is irrlevent

THURSDAY

Suppose this is the day Glasto actually begins. After little sleep (because of those bloody Welsh guys in the tent behind us) a few of use went of down to watch Where The Wild Things Are. It was cancelled. So we went back to the tent and came back for Ponyo at the Cinema tent. Ponyo not Miyazaki’s finest work but a fun film non the less. Would have been better if I hadn’t of needed the loo all the way through it. Music then began later in the day at the Queens Head stage. Two Door Cinema Club were the first band we saw. Well heard, the place was packed but managed to get down the front from then after. Watched worst band of the festival Chapel Club. Could music possibly sound anymore boring and contrived. Micachu was very good, so good that her drummer proposed towards the end of the set. Local Natives ended the night a band who have really grown since seeing them for the first time on a cold Sunday night in Stoke.

FRIDAY

Started off a little slow not that Rolf Harris wasn’t brilliant/hilarious and all but there just seemed little on elsewhere. Tune-Yards weren’t bad and neither were The Stranglers. However earlier in the day I received a text saying that Thom Yorke will be playing a secret set up at The Park. This had to be investigated so off I went to the Info booth up there and asked. Apparently he was. Risks must be taken I thought to myself so after watching a rather good Phoenix i wandered up to The Park to see Local Natives once again who sadly said exactly the same things inbetween songs as they had the previous night. The came The Big Pink who were too loud for my liking, thank god no one I know saw me singing along to ‘Dominoes’. But the came possibly one of the greatest moments of my life, as soon as the various pieces of equipment and instruments came out I knew what was coming next. After a short wait Michael Eavis arrives on stage announcing the pair who were about to grace the stage as two superstars yet still refusing to say who was about to arrive.

“Hello I’m Thomas Yorke” he says before taking a seat next to his piano to whack out a few tunes from solo LP ‘The Eraser’ starting with the aforementioned track. Don’t think I’d heard Glastonbury this quite all weekend, everyone around hooked by his every word as if they were a group of school children listening to their teacher reading some sort of marvellous story. He continued to play through tracks from ‘The Eraser’ even messing up ‘Black Swan’ in which he called himself a ‘fucking amateur’. The magic however really began when Radiohead band mate Johnny Greenwood arrived on stage. Every song played felt special and intimate from then on in, ‘Weird Fishes’ even more magical than on ‘In Rainbows’. Then the hits just continued flowing from ‘Pyramid Song’ through to ‘Street Spirit’ everyone around totally engrossed and captivated by what was being played out before them. Personal highlights for me were ‘Idioteque’ in which Thom took to the piano and played it on that, just sweet. But you can’t beat ‘Karma Police’ really can you. Don’t think I’ve ever heard a sing-a-long that loud before, so loud that Thom decided to carry on playing when the crowd wanted more of it. The band closed on ‘Street Spirit’ to a rapturous applause and as people left the park area the mass sing-a-long continued. So good to know that we could possibly have another Radiohead album out by the end of the year. They’ve been away for far too long.

I paced it back to the Other Stage following this with a grin from ear to ear to try and catch the end of Hot Chip and from what I saw they looked brilliant. Of the three songs played it looked like they’d taken another step towards to big time with songs like ‘I Feel Better’ sounding epic as the sunset over the festival. Next up the band I was most looking forward to seeing of the whole festival. If anyone knows how to kick start a party then it’s The Flaming Lips, consistently one of the best live bands on the planet and a brilliant alternative to the averageness that is Gorrilaz headlining the Pyramid. So the madness began with Wayne Coyne running around the crowd in a giant hamster ball, whats not to love? Confetti and balloons showered the audience from above with Wayne screaming gibberish down a megaphone. After a few songs from recent double LP ‘Embryonic’ the awesome tunes that the band are famous for begin to kick in. Starting with ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ featuring dancing Caterpillars and Frogs of course.  The ever enthusiastic Coyne continued leading the crowd through a set of old and new. Favourite for me being the supremely awesome ‘Do You Realise?’ a song that could be considered even more poignant at somewhere like Glastonbury. By this point and the end of what was an unbelievable day let alone performance from The Flaming Lips I decided to head back to the tent where me and my friends sat and discussed what a brilliant day we all had. And by 2.oo (ish) we were all in bed dreaming of what would lye ahead for the rest of the weekend.

James

1:30 was the time the first act of the day appeared on stage, The Heartbreaks from what I’ve read of them are apparently local. Not bad, decent post-Futureheads indie rock with a Smithsy twist. Sadly the sound down in Club Academy was terrible for them and I can’t see myself ever wanting to see them ever again but I knew better was still to come. However they made a decent show of it considering how early in the day it was and generally an interesting and engaging band to watch, not anything to write home about.

And the same could be easily said for White Hinterland who we’re all kinds of meh. Like some kind of really, really poor mans Beach House. I don’t mind Hinterland on the record but this was just plain boring what can you really do live with just overly repetitive beats and a front woman who insists on going woah-oh ahhhhhhhh oh after every line. It’s just plain irritating and dull, really didn’t do anything for me.

Small Black we’re the next band on in Club Academy a band who I’d read a lot about but never actually listened to. Definitely the biggest surprise of the day with their pretty sweet mega-hipster chillwave vibes. The kind of think that tunes that I expect will soundtrack a lot of peoples summers. Potentiality capable of producing some real hits but we’ll see  when either the chillwave scene fizzes out into nothingness or when their debut record comes out.

Off to the larger surroundings of Academy 2 for The Answering Machine who we’re very nice. Nice being the key word here. They played through a mix of nice old songs and nice new songs that sat very nicely next to each other. Fairly average show and they didn’t play ‘that one of FIFA’ which was a bit disappointing. New songs suggest a possible more electronic sound but still sticking to the basic indie rock/pop formula that they’ve used for through early stuff. Nothing more than average.

After a short trip to Spar, fifth up we’re one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing  during the day that being Blood Red Shoes. The crowd we’re gagging for it from the off with opener ‘It’s Getting Boring By The Sea’ carnage behind ensued with limbs flying all of the place. And it’s pretty safe to say straight from the off that BRS have nailed there two-piece indie rock to perfection. With Laura-Mary walking around the stage with a moody swagger and Steven going hell for leather on the drums. The intensity only increased as the band played a good mix of songs from their debut and latest album ‘Fire Like This’. Definitely the sweatiest show I’d been to all year and one of the noisiest, surprising how much noise they create for forty-five minutes just one massive huge assault on the ears. And wasn’t it brilliant…

SET LIST

  1. It’s Getting Boring By The Sea
  2. It Is Happening Again
  3. I Wish I Was Someone Better
  4. Light It Up
  5. Keeping it Close
  6. This Is Not For You
  7. Don’t Ask
  8. Heartsink
  9. Colours Fade

After going to the loo to wash my face from all the sweat, thought we’d go and try to catch a bit of Field Music of course Club Academy was packed and I could see a thing. So I was time to just sit and chill and the back and listen the lovely sound of Field Music from afar.

The Chapman Family are a band that I could almost certainly say I was guaranteed to enjoy. But alas I was still on a big come-down from Blood Red Shoes and decided to sit on the floor and watch the insanity of their live show commence. Even if you’re not a fan of The Chapman Family you can’t argue that there possibly one of the most passionate and raw live bands in the country. All four members will give it their all every show and once again they didn’t fail to disappoint from my spot on the floor. Playing a half an hour set of post-punk noise before front man Kingsley decided to rap the mic around his throat and smashing his guitar into the stage. Lovely stuff.

Another food break was now in order which meant missing Liars who we’re apparently brilliant. Eighth band of the day then we’re Wild Beasts who sadly I only got to see three songs of to ensure a good spot for Beach House. Still not sure if I really get Wild Beasts but they ultimately have one distinctive sounds in British guitar music at the moment. With haunting guitar melodies and even scarier falsetto vocals that really can’t be matched by anyone, as show by ‘All The Kings Men’ which I think is probably my favourite Wild Beasts song and thankfully I got to see it. For three songs they we’re rather gooooood.

Beach House just beautiful. Playing a set full of songs from my favourite album of the year so far ‘Teen Dream” bar ‘Gila’ from ‘Devotion’ they really we’re just perfect especially with the gorgeous stage props and lighting throughout to make the atmosphere that little extra special. I have never seen anyway play keyboard or synth like Victoria Legrand possessing her instrument and lashing her head around to sounds of some of the best dreamy pop songs written in years. Songs we’re played a lot higher intensity than on the record with the addition of live drumming as well as sequenced beats. Victoria’s voice as well even more outstanding than on the record filling up the room in all corners. Highlights for me included ‘Norway’ (obviously) and ’10 Mile Stereo’ which closed the set which was just epic with howling reverb screaming out of Alex Scally’s guitar. Nothing less than absolutely perfect

SET LIST:

  1. Walk in the Park
  2. Lover of Mine
  3. Gila
  4. Norway
  5. Silver Soul
  6. Used to Be
  7. Zebra
  8. Take Care
  9. 10 Mile Stereo

From one kind of brilliant live show to one that on a completely different level. LC! are always nothing less than quality every time and it’s only better when they come back to Manchester. The band we’re well and truly giving it their all tonight as it’s there last proper show for roughly a month. Gareth later explained that this was because five of them we’re expecting a call up from Fabio. The band raucously played through tracks from all three records with Gareth’s vocals throughout absolutely terrifying and had everyone at his finger tips, don’t think there were many people in the room screaming along with him. Didn’t think anything would have beaten the sweatiness of BRS  today but with the intensity of the crowd and the size of the venue anything was possible. Every song played was a hit due to it being a slightly smaller set than usual. The band finished on the big four as always with Gareth as per usual jumping into the crowd for ‘Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks’. Don’t think it will ever be possible for me to get tired of this. LC! 4 EVA

SET LIST

  1. Heart Swells/100-01
  2. I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know
  3. Death to Los Campesinos!
  4. Miserabilia
  5. A Heat Rash In The Shape of the Show Me State; or Letters From Me to Charlotte
  6. My Year In Lists
  7. Straight in at 101
  8. Romance is Boring
  9. You! Me! Dancing!
  10. We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
  11. The Sea is a Good Place To Think Of The Future
  12. Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks

Overall a quality day out with a wide selection of quality bands (even if the line-up is of a slightly less quality than in previous years). Same again next year please

James

Personally I’m not familiar with the current state of music within Liverpool but if Signal Flare are anything to go by it shows that it must be pretty dire. It was one of those support acts where quite blatantly the only people who have come to see you are your friends. Simple enough pop by numbers music that could of been written by anyone, no heart or personality and managed to murder There She Goes by The La’s.

Summer Camp however certainly managed to raise the bar opening with debut single Ghost Train which was even more dreamy when played live. They contently continued to play a set of songs that obviously no one had heard, all of which were a pretty good a mix of  cheesy pop masked by lo-fi sensibility and  beautiful tales of heartache and woe delivered wonderfully by Jeremy Warmsely and Elizabeth Sankey throughout . I feel there’s a long way to go for Summer Camp yet as this being their first ever time out on tour and roughly about their tenth or eleventh gig. But I’m sure they’ll only get better as time progresses, a promising start though for a band who are just beginning to find their feet.

Slow Club entered in the crowd rather than ending in it for the second time I’ve seen the Sheffield two piece starting off with a lovely acoustic rendition of b-side ‘Wild Blue Milk’. Slow Club are at there best like this with Charles and Rebecca’s voices complementing each other beautifully and resonating throughout the venue. The band moved up on stage to start off a set which was almost 50/50 new songs and old songs. Second song was a new song and already the second album is looking like it’s got potential be just as good or if not better than the first. Heard it here first there is definitely a new sound on the way to go by how the new stuff is performed live.  For the first of the new songs Charles and Rebecca we’re joined by Jeremy Warmsley on bass and the drummer for Summer Camp later stating that this was the first time they’ve ever played with a live band. Surprisingly noisy and un-nervingly chaotic showing off a new abrasive side to them which I hadn’t seen before. This however does not mean the superb lyrics and pop melody’s have disappeared for good later shown by the only new song that was given a name ‘Gold Mountain’ which showed of a louder darker side to Slow Club. From debut album Yeah, So the band played a more of the quieter songs from it in favour of some of the singles from it. Both ‘Trophy Room’ and ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful’ both criminally missed out. ‘Sorry About The Doom’ coming being one of my favourites of the night. Personal highlight for me though was my favourite track from the album ‘Our Most Brilliant Friends’ showing what a quality live act Slow Club are once again. Throughout the band managed to deal with stupid drunken man in England shirt (“Play that one that was on Canadian TV”) quite well in which one point Charles told him to fuck off. Banter between Charles and Rebecca was funny all night. The band finished with new single ‘Giving Up On Love’ with Jeremy Warmsley once again returning to the stage before final closing with traditional encore ‘Christmas TV’, and invited everyone to a mass sing-a-long.

SET LIST (can’t be sure though)

  1. Wild Blue Milk
  2. (new song)
  3. I Was Unconscious, It Was A Dream
  4. (new song)
  5. There’s No Good Way To Say I’m Leaving You
  6. Because We’re Dead
  7. (new song)
  8. Sorry About The Doom
  9. (new song)
  10. Our Most Brilliant Friends
  11. (new song)
  12. Giving Up On Love
  13. Christmas TV*

*encore

Slow Club are ultimately one of the best and also underrated song-writers in the U.K. and it’s good to see them stepping up to bigger venues like they thoroughly deserve. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for them, more of the same please.

James x

First gig on my own, hmm. I have to say I didn’t mind waiting outside for an hour. Just stood their listening to Romance is Boring and watching the scary looking people with scary hair and scary face going to see whatever scary sounding band they we’re going to see queue outside Academy 2. Doors opened on time and god did it feel weird to be the first one to enter a very very empty Manchester Academy. I took my spot underneath the huge discoball and spent my time while waiting for YACHT to come  by listening to the conversations of the couple to left of me and the two blokes to right. When i couldn’t hear what they were saying my attention turned to where on earth was the air conditioning coming from. Seriously I looked everywhere and I could not for the life of me work out where the air-con was coming from. Anyway…

YACHT probably the ideal support for a band like LCD and they did a very good job of warming up the crowd. And whats not to like when  you’ve got a Kelvin Stancombe look-a-like on the drums. The band played a highly energetic 30 minute send from debut album See Mystery Lights and were generally really enjoyable throughout. Highlight for me came from set closer and ridiculously catchy Physic City featuring plenty of dancing and yelping etc. All of which was very very fuuuuuun.

“From this position I can see the whole place” and I could, great positioning right in-between James and Nancy when they arrived on stage. And POW LCD got straight into it with Us v Them with the lights hitting the disco ball and mixing up the set from previous nights on the tour. Get Innocuous was next to come but it took until track three for things to really get going. Daft Punk Is Playing At My House was just epic and oh my god the bass. Double bass attack with James Murphy screaming down the microphone and pretty much everyone in the place going crazy. Tempo then went down a bit for Yr City’s a Sucker before first of new tracks Pow Pow which featured the same dance moves that had been perfecting in my bedroom for it (don’t care what you think) and me and everyone else shouting back “advantages advantages”. Followed up by Drunk Girls which sounds a hell of a lot better live than on the record and really highlights what a tight live band they are. It seemed hard for me to imagine how hard it might be for a band like LCD to fit all the sounds they got going on into their live set but everything just worked perfectly.

All My Friends came next and by this point I’d nearly burst into tears because how unbelievably brilliant it all was. The sheer noise and emotion coming out of the music and lyrics. Everyone else around me just dancing their hearts out, it’s hard to describe how awesome it was at the time. I Can  Change probably my favourite of the four new tracks showcased tonight. The energy and devotion put in my both fans and band increased even more during ‘Tribulations’ and the whole place just erupted during ‘Movement’. And it just got better and better and better everyone bone in my body dancing hard than ever before everyone else just going crazy, no matter if you we’re the drunk underage kids to the left or the middle-aged aged men and women behind everyone just loosing control. I felt like I was drowning under the weight of progressive electro perfection. The band walked off stage after playing Yeah and it was quite obvious what was coming next.

After a brief pause various band members came back on stage and acknowledged the audience and as soon as the opening synth hook dropped we all knew what was coming next. James Murphy walked back on-stage after he’d let the distinctive tones of Someone Great rumble on for a while. His voice lit up the whole venue and you could see the emotion run through body and into his microphone. Next came Losing My Edge which was just flippin awesome.  Just that complete scene of euphoria felt by everyone it had only happened one time before. It really is hard to describe the sense of energy that the band we’re showing with throughout. After all the droning synth noise and immensely intense drumming came the final of the new songs. All I Want came across well and it was a good way of winding down before set closer New York I Love You But Your Bringing Me Down. In which James said that they would return to Manchester again this year before randomly talking about his towel. And it was just beautiful the way the song builds up before the massive crescendo at the end. With Nancy Whang even taking over lead vocals for an impromptu version of Empire State of Mind before James Murphy taking one final bow and walking off stage with each band member in turn walking off after him.

SET LIST:

  1. Us v Them
  2. Get Innocuous!
  3. Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
  4. Yr City’s A Sucker
  5. Pow Pow
  6. Drunk Girls
  7. All My Friends
  8. I Can Change
  9. Tribulations
  10. Movement
  11. Yeah
  12. Someone Great*
  13. Losing My Edge*
  14. All I Want*
  15. New York I Love You But Your Bringing Me Down*

*encore

It was a long, long, long way away from an empty Sugarmill on a Tuesday night five days earlier. LCD Soundsystem really are something special and if you don’t get to see them before they disappear forever then there is something seriously, seriously wrong with you.

James x

Only thought there was gonna be one support tonight, oh if only there was. I don’t mind so much artists who are really shit at songs but a lot of effort into their live shows but seriously what is interesting about a guy standing there for a full 30 minutes playing with a sequencer. Absolutely nothing. So I just stood there watching this guy playing his thumping techno beats out of his laptop. And it was really really really boring.

Second up were Party Horse who weren’t really that interesting either playing a horribly annoying party tunes with song titles such as “You Don’t Need To Go To New York To Have A Good Time”. Groan. Sugarmill was still half empty at this point and they were evidently not enjoying playing to a handful of people and who can blame to be honest. Not really my cup of tea.

By the time Chew Lips had come on stage a good few people had moved there way to the front and it wasn’t as half empty as what I’d expected it to be. The band themselves were obviously grateful for the numbers that had turned out especially when it was guitarist/synth player Will Sanderson’ birthday. They played a roughly similar set to what they played the last time they were here. With the band getting into full flow during ‘Play Together’ after opening with a slow yet no less brilliant ‘Eight’. Tigs once again possessing the stage with her unique style and grace with her voice echoing throughout the venue. The band plodded along contentedly playing most of debut album ‘Unicorn’ in what was a good show and I always adore strobe lighting. Highlights for me include second single ‘Salt Air’ which is one of those songs that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired listening to and is only made better by how flawlessly the band before the song life. The band closed with reverb drenched ‘Gold Key’ before coming back on stage to an encore of ‘Piano Song’. To be honest I really don’t understand why a band such as Chew Lips aren’t tearing up the charts, as almost all of their songs are 2 or 3 minute burst of  sublime electro pop that is quite clearly better than a lot of artists doing a similar thing at the moment. Only made better with a charismatic and genuine front woman such as Tigs. Yet I am sure that Chew Lips will continue to blitz festival audiences this summer and carry on the same high standard of live show that they left Stoke with tonight.

SET LIST (i think):

  1. Eight
  2. Play Together
  3. Two Hands
  4. Toro
  5. Slick
  6. Karen
  7. Salt Air
  8. Seven
  9. Solo
  10. Two Years
  11. Gold Key
  12. Piano Song*

*encore

Now for Saturday

James x