Category: Live Reviews

LIVE: Meadowlark, Talking Heads, Southampton (12/10/17)

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Meadowlark, Southampton, 12/10/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

Meadowlark returned to Southampton to play an intimate gig at The Talking Heads as part of their UK tour marking the release of debut album Postcards. The band – comprising Kate McGill and Dan Broadley – have been doing their thing for a few years now, steadily building a committed following along the way.

The audience were captivated by the duo throughout the night, listening intently and clearly enjoying themselves. In addition to the band’s enchanting performance, their clever lighting set-up made for a very atmospheric show, with the lights flashing in sync with the beat of the music. Continue reading

LIVE: Tora, The Lexington, London (9/10/17)

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Tora, London, 9/10/17 (© Sync Music Blog)

Midway through a huge month-long European tour, Australian group Tora came to London’s Lexington for a sold-out show full of sublime tunes from start to finish.

The quartet from Byron Bay – Jo Loewenthal, Jai Piccone, Thorne Davis, Shaun Johnston – are entirely DIY in their approach, seamlessly blending electronic production with organic instrumentation to create an immersive and wholly engaging sound.

There’s a soulful groove to what they do – something that comes through loud and clear on listening to their debut album Take A Rest. But the live proposition elevates things further still, enabling you to feel as much as hear the music. Continue reading

LIVE: Dua Lipa, o2 Academy, Bournemouth (6/10/17)

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Dua Lipa, Bournemouth, 6/10/17 (photos: Becca Egerstrom)

It has been a pretty incredible 12 months or so for 22-year-old Londoner Dua Lipa. Her rise from relative unknown to major recording artist has come quickly, helped in no small part by an album packed with material that ranks among the most accomplished British pop music of recent years.

Her current ‘Self Titled’ tour – so named since her debut album is indeed self-titled – has seen her packing out venues around the UK with most dates sold out soon after going on sale. In Bournemouth, the clamour was clear, with the queue to get in going around the block. Once the show started, it became clear that the hype had plenty of substance behind it. Lipa was super-energetic, putting plenty of oomph into her performance throughout and transmitting that energy to the audience.

Her set saw her perform most of the tracks from her debut LP, including opener Hotter Than Hell, Blow Your Mind (Mwah), Be The One, and the collaborative tracks that have helped her raise her profile so effectively this year, namely Scared To Be Lonely, and No Lie.

This was a high tempo, superbly polished display, with Lipa’s wide range vocals flawless throughout, and a visual spectacle emphasised by a slick lighting set-up. It’s all a far cry from when we first saw her live back in 2015, performing at Bristol’s tiny Start The Bus venue (now HY Brasil Music Club) in front of a modest crowd of around 100. Although there was nothing lacking in her performance that night, she has certainly grown in stature and as a performer, with her strong material and powerful live show elevating her to the big league.

She wrapped things up with New Rules, arguably the best pop track of the year so far. It was also Dua Lipa’s first UK number one… and almost certainly it won’t be her last.

Photos: Becca Egerstrom

LIVE: The Hoosiers, The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth (4/10/17)

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The Hoosiers, Bournemouth, 4/10/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Hoosiers’ debut album The Trick to Life. They returned to Bournemouth to play at The Old Fire Station as part of their massive 27-date tour to mark the occasion.

Though the band’s line-up may have changed over the years – now the core being Irwin Sparkes (lead guitar) and Alan Sharland (drums) – this doesn’t stop their energetic performance or ability to interact with the crowd. The duo and their touring band took to the stage dressed in a range of bright colours with the crowd cheering in excitement, before opening with the classic Worried About Ray.

This was followed by Worst Case Scenario, where frontman Sparkes got the crowd involved, clapping along. The band rattled through their debut album in its entirety, with fans of all ages singing along to all the hits, including Goodbye Mr A and Cops & Robbers. Continue reading

LIVE: Seafret, The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth (29/9/17)

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Seafret, Bournemouth, 29/9/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

Acoustic duo Seafret returned to Bournemouth, this time to support Amber Run at the Old Fire Station as part of their current tour. Though it wasn’t a headline gig, they had a large number of dedicated fans singing along to songs including Give Me Something, Atlantis and Wildfire.

The majority of songs came from their debut album Tell Me It’s Real released in 2016. Their set also included unreleased track, Monsters which was well received by the audience. Continue reading

LIVE: Nick Mulvey, Lemon Grove, Exeter (2/10/17)

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Nick Mulvey, Exeter, 2/10/17 (photo © Sync Music Blog)

For the second night of an extensive schedule of UK, European and worldwide dates over the next couple of months, Nick Mulvey brought his show to Exeter, showcasing songs from his second album Wake Up Now.

As he promised when we chatted with him recently, the full band he worked with on recording the album transfers brilliantly to the live stage. For this show at Exeter Uni’s Student Union venue, the small, atmospheric space was packed out with a crowd drawn from across an incredibly wide age range, underlining the broad appeal of Mulvey’s unique sound.

Often categorised as folk, such a label doesn’t really tell the full story of this artist. Mulvey’s time spent living in Cuba a few years ago significantly impacted his creative leanings, with a somewhat exotic lilt to his phenomenal guitar craft. Right across his repertoire, there are hints of folk, sure, but there is also a real air of world music, along with touches of radio-friendly pop thrown in for good measure.

Among the set highlights were Unconditional, Myela and Imogen from the new album, while old favourite Fever To The Form, from his 2014 debut album First Mind, got the kind of enthusiastic reaction you would expect for what is one of his signature tunes. But he sent everyone home bouncing with Mountain To Move, the upbeat track that features the lyric from which the album Wake Up Now takes its name.

What Mulvey is particularly good at is conveying an on-stage demeanour that is as soothing, approachable and reassuring as his faultless vocal tone. That is one aspect of a winning combination – along with his meaningful songs of substance and highly accomplished musicianship – that sets him apart as one of the most creative contemporary talents around.

 

LIVE: Amber Run, The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth (29/9/17)

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Amber Run, Bournemouth, 29/9/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

As part of their current tour, Amber Run took to the Old Fire Station for their first ever gig in Bournemouth. The band arrived on stage to a packed-out venue, full of committed fans who sang along to every song on the setlist.

The energetic and catchy Pilot opened the set, which got people pumped for the rest of the night. Following this was Spark, a clearly well-loved track from their debut album, with everyone screaming the lyrics. Fickle Game highlighted the musical bond between the band, as they performed together in what seemed their own little world. Continue reading

GALLERY: SeptemberFest 2017

There was an eclectic mix of artists at the first ever SeptemberFest held at Donington Park in Derbyshire last weekend. Here’s a selection of some of the acts who performed during the event, including both emerging talents as well as big names from the past…

Photos: On Track Media UK

 

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LIVE: John Legend, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff (19/9/17)

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John Legend, Cardiff, 19/9/17 (photos: Becca Egerstrom)

You only have to consider his list of collaborations to get the measure of John Legend. The Ohio-born singer’s roll call of team-ups has seen him working with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Britney Spears and Magnetic Man over the years – among many others.

His current Darkness and Light tour has seen him take his breathtaking showmanship around the world this year and he was in top form for this Cardiff stop-off. Of course, his well-known hits figured prominently in the set, including Used to Love U, Ordinary People and All of Me. A dazzling backdrop of graphics and illusions accompanied him throughout, sometimes using visuals to emphasise some of the more serious points he wanted to convey, including his support of the Black Lives Matter movement during Wake Up Everybody. Continue reading

LIVE: R5, o2 Ritz, Manchester (20/9/17)

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R5, Manchester, 20/9/17 (photo: Becca Arnold)

American pop-rock outfit R5 rolled into Manchester for one of many shows on their extensive New Addictions tour. Fronted by Disney’s latest heart-throb Ross Lynch, the group got the sort of reaction you might expect from an audience whose demographic leaned heavily towards teenage and female.

But whereas many of the similarly hyped pop-rock bands are all production and little or no substance, the difference with R5 is that they really can put on a performance, and one that is every bit about the musicality as it is the showmanship. Sure Lynch is the focal point for many of the fans, but the band as a whole is a tight unit that delivers a strong and engaging set. Continue reading

LIVE: The Sherlocks, The 1865, Southampton (21/9/17)

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The Sherlocks, Southampton, 21/9/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

Indie rock band The Sherlocks returned to Southampton to play a packed-out show at The 1865. The packed-out venue was full of excitement from the moment brothers Kiaran and Brandon Crook, and Josh and Andy Davidson stepped on stage. Last Night opened their energetic set, which got the crowd pumped. This was followed by other singles Escapade and Blue which both also went down well.

They continued to play tracks from their recently released debut album, Live For The Moment. Frontman Crook thanked the crowd for coming and especially buying the album and helping it reach the top 10. Continue reading

LIVE: Banfi, The Joiners, Southampton (14/9/17)

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Banfi, Southampton, 14/9/17 (photos: Phoebe Reeks)

Pop-rock trio Banfi took to the stage at The Joiners in Southampton as part of their September UK tour. We first caught these guys live at Dot To Dot in Bristol back in May and they were one of the real gems of the line-up, impressing with an accomplished live show, so their tour was one we had to catch.

The set opened with Where We Part, a song which immediately got a cheer from the crowd and everyone singing along and dancing. This was followed by Answers and newest release, June.

A cover of Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street came next, perfectly suited to their style and the delicate vocals of lead singer Joe Banfi. The band then continued to perform their original material, including signature tune Happy When You Go and Sync favourite She Comes Home. Banfi closed their set with Rosedale House with the crowd singing along and clearly gutted when it was all over.

Banfi are visibly at ease on stage, smiling and interacting with one another as well as the crowd. The band mentioned they have an album scheduled for release next year. If their live show is anything to go by, it’ll be an absolute must-have.

Review & Photos: Phoebe Reeks

LIVE: Yonaka, Bestival 2017, Dorset (10/9/17)

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Yonaka, Bestival 2017 (photos: Phoebe Reeks)

Alt-rock band Yonaka were one of the first bands to play at this year’s Bestival 2017, with an exciting performance on the Invaders of the Future stage. Both the energy of lead singer Theresa Jarvis and heavy guitar hooks got the crowd jumping and moving along to a dynamic performance.

The band performed several unreleased tracks as well as Drongo and newest single Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya. They drew a wide-ranging audience to this early set, including plenty of committed fans at the front who knew every word of every song. Towards the end of their set, Jarvis leapt from the stage and down into the pit, screaming lyrics from Ignorance to fans in the front row, before the band wrapped things up with final song, Bubblegum.

Yonaka’s set was high tempo energy at its best, and a great way to kick off a weekend of live music.

Review & Photos: Phoebe Reeks

 

LIVE: Blaenavon, Bestival 2017, Dorset (10/9/17)

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Blaenavon, Bestival 2017 (Photos: Phoebe Reeks)

Blaenavon put on an exciting and action-packed performance for their set on the Invaders of the Future stage at Bestival 2017. With the band hailing from various parts of Hampshire, lead singer Ben Gregory recognised familiar faces in the crowd as they performed so close to home.

The band owned the stage, performing several songs from their recently released debut album, That’s Your Lot, including My Bark is Your Bite, Let’s Pray and Orthodox Man as well as older song, Into the Night. The tent was packed out with fans singing along.

They closed their set with Prague 99, which the crowd really responded to, singing back the lyrics loud and proud. The song ended with a frenzy of guitar and drums as Gregory jumped off stage and got a little closer to the front row fans.

There’s no shortage of talk about Blaenavon right now. Believe the hype.

Review & Photos: Phoebe Reeks

 

GALLERY: South West Four 2017

The sun shone strongly for this year’s SW4, headlined by Pendulum and Deadmau5 across the two day event at the end of last month. Here’s a little flavour of a bass-filled weekend, including shots from sets by Example, Disciples, Laidback Luke, Knife Party and Sub-Focus

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