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
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
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
We never tire of banging on about Fickle Friends. Not only have they put out a string of ridiculously catchy tunes over the past year or two, but they’re also a superbly polished-but-fun live proposition. We saw them late last year during their own headline UK tour (see review) but were so pleased to be able to catch them again, this time in support of The Kooks.
They made an impression with all their radio-friendly hits, including Swim and Cry Baby, with latest banger Hello Hello being a particular highlight. Catch them at a festival this summer if you can – they’re doing the summer big-time with appearances at Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape, Secret Garden Party, Kendal Calling, Leeds and Reading. They’ll be capping that off with their biggest headline show to date at London’s o2 Forum in Kentish Town on 26 October – tickets here.
Photos by Phoebe Reeks
The Kooks returned to the O2 Academy Bournemouth for a sold-out date on their The Best Of… So Far tour, a mammoth 17-date run of shows that concludes on 13 May at London’s Alexandra Palace.
They rattled through many of their best-known tracks from a back-catalogue of music stretching back over a decade, including Eddie’s Gun, She Moves In Her Own Way, Sofa Song, and Junk of the Heart (Happy), as well as newer material such as current single Be Who You Are.
The Kooks have forged a solid reputation for strong songwriting and engaging live shows over the years since forming in Brighton more than 10 years ago. Frontman Luke Pritchard was in great form, clearly enjoying this extensive return to the road.
Other highlights of the set included Seaside, Always Where I Need To Be and Ooh La ahead of an encore consisting of Around Town and Shine On before ending with signature song Naïve.
The release of a ‘best of’ album and tour can often signal the beginning of the end for a band – a precursor to winding down and fading away. But everything about this triumphant performance suggested that there’s still plenty more to come.
Review and Photos: Phoebe Reeks