Tagged: Live Music

LIVE: Tom Walker, The Garage, London (29/11/17)

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Tom Walker, London, 29/11/17 (photo: Becca Cribb)

Manchester singer-songwriter Tom Walker‘s star has ascended extremely fast during 2017. The 25-year-old has rapidly built-up a strong reputation not only for his engaging, heartfelt songwriting, but his live performances have also wowed, with a voice that has a ‘sit-up-and-pay-attention’ affect that is reminiscent of the first time hearing Rag’n’Bone Man live for the first time.

Highlights of this London show included Karma, and latest single Leave a Light On, with the whole audience singing along to both songs and really ramping up the atmosphere. The stripped back Fly Away With Me slowed the pace down a little, uniting the audience in a flow of escapism. This was all perhaps topped by Heartland which, along with Blessings, is arguably among Walker’s signature tunes.

His live performance was a great combination of meaningful lyrics with raw and raspy vocals that accentuate his ability to capture the audience. There are even interesting influences of hip hop which make his sound quite unique.

He told the crowd that he had previously performed in every room in this London establishment, from the tiny back room, to the slightly larger space upstairs, and now the main stage itself. It tells the story of Walker’s growing profile, and suggests the stages he’ll be performing on in 2018 will be larger still.

He’ll be back on the road during March and April 2018 with a tour across the UK and Europe – tickets here.

Review & Photos: Rebecca Cribb

 

LIVE: Mystic Peach, Heartbreakers, Southampton (31/10/17)

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Mystic Peach, Southampton, 31/10/17 (photo: Ant Penny)

Opening Spinning Coin‘s recent Southampton show were local three-piece band Mystic Peach. Their energetic live show really warmed the small but appreciative group of music lovers up for what was to come.

Hearing them here, for me for the first time, I was captivated by their tight musicianship, energy, and ‘wall of sound’. The basslines were thick and powerful; the beautiful jangly-reverby-guitar sound was Johhny Marr-esque and the drummer added to all of this with simple grooves when needed, and technical flourishes and big cymbal washes where appropriate too.

The highlight of their set was the song Downtown with its disco drum beat and off-beat syncopated guitar juxtaposed with the aforementioned ‘wall of sound’ choruses. The people at fledgling venue Heartbreakers really seemed to appreciate this song and many were dancing or nodding along. Definitely keep en eye and an ear open for what these guys do next!

Review: Mike Vaughan / Photos: Ant Penny

GALLERY: DMA’s, First Direct Arena, Leeds (23/11/17)

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DMA’s, Leeds, 23/11/17 (photo: Dani Blakeley)

Aussie indie-rock outfit DMA’s more than set the scene in their support slot for The Kooks in Leeds recently. The three-piece – comprising Johnny Took, Tommy O’Dell and Matt Mason – made quite the impression on this high-profile set of dates and look set to make plenty of waves during 2018.

Photos: Dani Blakeley

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LIVE: COIN, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London (21/11/17)

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COIN, London, 21/11/17 (photo: Tabetha Parrick)

Playing their first UK show as part of The Great Escape First Fifty, American indie band COIN prove that they are most certainly ones to watch.

After the release of their second album How Will You Know If You Never Try? earlier this year, the indie four-piece embarked on a lively tour across the US – but now they’ve ventured overseas for the first time ever. Tickets sold out quickly for the small show in Hoxton, some fans arriving hours before the event, desperate to get a good spot for this historic moment.

There was an undeniable atmosphere of anticipation and excitement before the show, only matched by the euphoria when the band came on stage – opening with electric song Feeling. They played songs mostly from their second album, with frontman Chase Lawrence exclaiming his amazement that their international fans already knew the words.

His strong presence on the stage was undeniable, alternating between dancing, playing the piano and interacting with the crowd. Similarly, bassist Zachary Dyke, guitarist Joe Memmel and drummer Ryan Winnen couldn’t be seen without smiles on their faces – it was hard to tell who was more excited to be there, the band or the crowd. Continue reading

LIVE: PVRIS, o2 Academy, Birmingham (23/11/17)

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PVRIS, Birmingham, 23/11/17 (photo: Arta Gailuma)

US alt-rock outfit PVRIS played one of their biggest shows to date at the sold-out 3,000-capacity o2 Academy in Birmingham.

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PVRIS, Birmingham, 23/11/17 (photo: Arta Gailuma)

The three-piece – consisting of Lynn Gunn, Alex Babinski, and Brian MacDonald, from Lowell, Massachusetts – kicked off with their single Heaven to begin a set heavily-loaded with songs from their second album All We Know Of Heaven, All We need Of Hell.

The set also delved into some of their older material too, with some from their 2014 album White Noise. For songs both old and new,  fans were excited and energetic throughout, with a brief respite in the middle of the evening for the stripped back Same Soul.

The stage was set up with two drum sets; including one for Gunn, who added some drumming reinforcements at the end of Half, and also for the big finish for encore song No Mercy. It was a strong end to what had been a powerful and utterly compelling performance from a band whose cross-genre style has found a sizeable following and which has of late generated plenty of hype… the kind that in their case is absolutely warranted.

Photos: Arta Gailuma

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GALLERY: Liam Fray / Carnival Club, Albert Hall, Manchester (3/11/17)

The Courteeners frontman Liam Fray went back to his roots with a mesmerising solo acoustic set at Manchester’s Albert Hall last week. Long before enjoying the considerable success of his band, Fray initially developed his skills as a solo performer playing countless shows in and around the Manchester area from which he hails.

It was an intimate set-up, far removed from the raucous, full band set-up that fans will be more familiar with. But with the crowd singing back almost every word, what was lacking in volume was more than made up for in atmosphere.

Local four-piece Carnival Club provided the support, with a bold, confident set that belied their relative lack of experience of such large venues. Expect to hear/see more of this rock & roll outfit.

Photos: Dani Blakeley

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LIVE: Spinning Coin, Heartbreakers, Southampton (31/10/17)

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Spinning Coin, Southampton, 31/10/17 (photos: Ant Penny)

Spinning Coin hail from from Glasgow, and are currently on a UK tour to promote the release of debut album Permo. This gig was the third night of the tour, where they brought their eclectic mix of jangly guitar and vocal harmony laden anthems to relatively new Southampton venue Heartbreakers.

That word ‘eclectic’ seems to sum this band up, both in image and sound. To look at, they all could be playing in different bands; ‘bookended’ by the two most interesting-looking members: the keyboard player on one side, noticeable just as much for her Russian hat and dancing as for her keyboard playing, and the bass player on the other looking dapper with smart shirt and trousers, this wide variety of styles seems to sum up their diverse musical output too. Continue reading

LIVE: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, o2 Academy, Birmingham (28/10/17)

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Birmingham, 28/10/17 (photo: Arta Gailuma)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club kicked off a mammoth world tour in Dublin last month in support of forthcoming album Wrong Creatures (released 12 January 2018), and we caught them at Birmingham’s o2 Academy a couple of nights later.

New material was given an airing alongside their better known classics. Kicking off with new single Little Thing Gone Wild, the stage sunk in deep red light and smoke to set a suitably dramatic tone. The crowd started a little on the subdued side, but soon livened up, with the occasional drink flying high in the air over the crowd every couple of songs. Continue reading

LIVE: Little Dragon, o2 Academy, Bristol (30/10/17)

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Little Dragon, Bristol, 30/10/17 (© Sync Music Blog)

One of the bands close to the very top of our hitlist of acts to see live was Little Dragon, a group with a pretty phenomenal track record when it comes to innovative, inventive music. Formed in Gothenburg just over 20 years ago, the quartet have spent most of their career ‘below the line’ somewhat, rarely bothering the upper echelons of the charts. This is mostly to do with their material being more predisposed to a more selective, perhaps even cult following than the mass market, but it’s all the better for it.

Much of this live performance was given over to the kind of stuff you are very unlikely to ever catch on the radio. There was all sorts there though, from trip-hop to dream pop and indietronica to trance, all delivered in Little Dragon’s own unique world; an otherworldly place full of bright lights and neon, with lead singer Yukimi Nagano – whose occasional tantrums in the studio when the group first formed inspired what would later become the band’s name – an energetic and entrancing stage presence throughout. Continue reading

LIVE: Zara Larsson, Guildhall, Portsmouth (27/10/17)

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Zara Larsson, Portsmouth, 27/10/17 (photo: Becca Egerstrom)

While it may seem her career trajectory has been impressively steep, Swedish singer-songwriter Zara Larsson is no novice when it comes to this pop music lark. She has been a big star in her native country for almost half of her 19 years ever since appearing on Sweden’s equivalent of Got Talent at the age of 10.

2015 saw her break out internationally with the release of bouncing single Lush Life which topped the charts in several countries and acted as the forerunner of her album So Good, released in March this year. Collaborations with MNEK, Tinie Tempah and Clean Bandit have elevated her profile, cementing her considerable pop pedigree in the process.

It all makes for an impressive CV, but does she cut it live? Well, in a word, yes. Hers is a big, bold pop performance, complete with dazzling light display and impressively choreographed dancers. Performing most of the tracks from So Good, singles Never Forget You, I Would Like, Symphony, and Lush Life were perhaps unsurprisingly the stand-outs. Continue reading

LIVE: Roachford, Gateway Theatre, Seaton (28/10/17)

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Roachford (photo: Arta Gailuma)

Most people will know Roachford primarily for his huge 1989 hit Cuddly Toy – if not first time around, it will be familiar to others for its appearance in the opening credits of Steve Coogan’s 2013 Alan Partridge movie Alpha Papa.

Despite his absence from the charts for a number of years now, there is no doubting the longevity of this talented Londoner. His set included songs from his 11th – yes 11th! – studio album Encore. Although the latest release is an album of covers, this is by no means a ‘cop out’ venture by an artist who has run out of fresh material, rather it is a project in which Roachford wanted to revisit – or as he puts it, “Roachify” –  some of the classic songs that had a huge impact on him during his formative years and which, arguably, led him towards a career in music.  Continue reading

GALLERY: Callum Beattie, The Loft, Southampton (21/10/17)

Supporting Clean Cut Kid on their current UK tour, Callum Beattie has been winning plenty of new fans across all parts of the country of late. We took a few shots of Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter Beattie and his band during the Southampton leg of the tour.

Setlist: Lost Souls / Shine On / Man Behind the Sun / Don’t Cut the Rope / Miracle / We Are Stars / Highlife.

Photos: Phoebe Reeks

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LIVE: Clean Cut Kid, The Loft, Southampton (21/10/17)

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Clean Cut Kid, Southampton, 21/10/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

Liverpool-based Clean Cut Kid brought their UK tour to Southampton to deliver an electric live set at The Loft. The crowd cheered with excitement as the band arrived on stage, and continued their considerable enthusiasm for the band’s indie-pop anthems throughout the night.

Runaway opened the set, an upbeat track which got the crowd jumping about and singing along instantly. They continued to power through an energetic set, performing songs from their debut album Felt, which was released earlier this year, including Stay, We Used to be In Love and Evelyn. Continue reading

LIVE: London Grammar, o2 Apollo, Manchester (20/10/17)

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London Grammar, Manchester, 20/10/17 (Photo: Jonny Yates)

London Grammar return to Manchester’s O2 Apollo for a second sold out show this week and the atmosphere is already electric as the trio head on to stage.

Throughout their set they have a perfect balance of tracks from their debut and recent album Truth Is A Beautiful Thing. But judging by this crowd you wouldn’t think it was released just over four months ago, because they know every single world. Frontwoman Hannah Reid herself notes that Manchester has been the loudest of the tour so far and it’s believable.

They play a stunning version of the album’s title track which sees Reid head to the piano and showcase her huge vocal range in an emotional performance before playing fan favourite Hey Now, which sees the group visibly impressed by how loud the audience are. Continue reading

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