Despite being a pretty big deal in her homeland, Swedish singer Tove Styrke has remained mysteriously under the radar in the UK. With this, her comeback gig after a period of time in the studio, she did much to further the mystery of why she isn’t more up front and centre, with a powerful, high tempo performance that suggests she should be on a far bigger stage – metaphorically as well as literally.
Her long-standing domestic profile is due in part to a third-place finish in Sweden’s version of Pop Idol back in 2009, but the music that immediately followed that TV experience in her youth is a far cry from where this sassy lady is at nowadays. New song Say My Name offers a good handle on the strong and creative approach to pop that Styrke is taking, but her hour-long London show was nicely varied, stringing together a mix of material old and new.
Kicking of with Samurai Boy and Borderline from her second album Kiddo, she followed that with another from the same LP, Ego, which is arguably the most accomplished song of her career up to this point.
She excitedly announced that she had a couple of new songs to play for the first time, and they went down a storm; Mistakes and On The Low giving some indication that her third album will represent another major step forward for her material, full of hooks and energy.
She returned to tracks from Kiddo, mining the album for Who’s Got News, Number One, and Snaren before launching into new tune Say My Name, which was delivered with panache as the crowd sung the lyrics back to her. But it was encore tune Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You which really sums up what she is all about. Bold, confident and fun – it’s pure pop… and she’s brilliant at it.
Flyte returned to Winchester to perform their dreamy indie-pop to a packed Railway Inn. This was essentially a hometown show for the lads, with the room being filled with family and friends as well as fans.
The show opened with the band performing a stripped back cover of Archie, Marry Me, by Alvvays. They then went on to play an old favourite, Closer Together before performing a string of unreleased material due to be featured on their upcoming debut album. The crowd listened intently and danced along to these songs they’d never heard, and sang along to more recent singles Echoes and Victoria Falls and old song Harley Street.
The band also performed their own rendition of Wings of Love in which their bassist, Nick Hill and drummer, Jon Supran switched their instruments for lead guitar. I felt this, mixed with the band’s harmonising vocals throughout the night, really highlighted their talent.
Their set finished with the first song they wrote together, Faithless, which the crowd went wild for. After three years together, the band announced they have recently recorded their debut album in Australia, which we should hear more about next month.
Words and photos: Phoebe Reeks
Australian singer-songwriter Matt Gresham, has been making a big impression during his recent support slot on James Arthur‘s Back From The Edge tour. Gresham made his UK debut last summer with superb single Small Voices – and we spoke to him back then about his plans for making progress in the UK and Europe.
Gresham’s first break came on Australia’s X Factor, when in 2013 he quit the show citing the talent show’s artistic restrictions. Since striking out to pursue a more independent route, he has built himself a loyal following, winning over fans and critics alike in becoming one of the country’s hottest emerging talents. His song Whiskey, released in 2014, won Western Australian Music Awards ‘Song of the Year’. Last year, he played a string of showcases at SXSW and a sell-out Australian tour.
The past month though has been all about touring the UK with 2012 UK X-Factor winner Arthur. It’s been a different experience for him no doubt, performing solo to some sizeable venues when his live shows would usually involve a full band. But he rose to that challenge impressively well, grabbing the attention of all the early attendees during this Manchester show – strangely, a second night in the city for the tour having also visited earlier in the month.
Gresham will be releasing his debut album in August, and this tour was very much a preview of some of that material, although there were some familiar songs in there, including Survive On Love, Ghost, and Sync favourite Small Voices.
Now back in Oz for a couple of live shows in early April, he has described the past month or so touring with James Arthur as “the best time of my life”. But there’s little doubt he has plenty of good times ahead as more and more people discover the music of this talented singer.
Photos: Becca Arnold
It’s hard to believe that American pop punk outfit All Time Low have already racked up six studio albums – with number seven on the way in the shape of Last Young Renegade, due out on 2 June.
This was a chance for fans to see them in a smaller venue following last year’s Manchester Arena show and their set included a varied mix of old and new material, although with an emphasis on some of the more well-known favourites rather than too much emphasis on tracks from the forthcoming LP.
Opener Kicking & Screaming was followed by Weightless, Somewhere In Neverland and Six Feet Under The Stars. Beach balls were released into the crowd during Somethings Gotta Give, a track from their 2015 album Future Hearts, keeping those closest to the stage especially entertained for the middle section of the set.
There was the obligatory cheesy mobile phone flashlight moment during Therapy when batteries were drained to help illuminate frontman Alex Gaskarth while he did his thing. That track aside, the pace never really slowed throughout, although there were several other stand-outs. Take Cover and Dirty Laundry certainly scored highly in the crowd-singalong stakes.
During final song of the night Dear Maria, Count Me In, from their 2007 second album So Wrong, It’s Right, Gaskarth and Jack Barakat handed their guitars to their crew before taking up positions on the barrier to sing with fans, giving some of their most fervent devotees a bit of up-close-and-personal time.
Full of energy and showmanship, it’s really rather reassuring to see that these guys have lost none of their live show spark after 14 years in the business.
Photos: Becca Arnold
South London duo Alpines are currently touring their second album Another River and were in Bristol last night midway through a run of dates across the UK and Europe.
Singer-songwriter Catherine Pockson and producer Bob Matthews have put together a striking album full of emotive lyrics and experimental sounds. Transferring this to the live show was never going to be easy given the highly polished nature of the songs they have created, but bolstered on stage by a drummer and guitarist, they manage to bring the album to life beautifully.
We’ve written a full review of the show for Bristol’s leading events website 365Bristol.com so do have a read. In the meantime, here are a few shots from the gig…
Boxed In wrapped up their UK tour with perhaps their biggest show to date for what was a triumphant return to their home town.
The four-piece, led by frontman Oli Bayston, performed much of their new album Melt, bringing to life an already superb set of material that somehow took on a whole new level on the live stage.
Right from the start, they set the bar high, kicking things off with Jist and, during a set of a little over an hour, included several from the new album, including Shadowboxing, London Lights, Black Prism, and Oxbow. There was also a pick from the first LP too, including Foot of The Hill, All Your Love Is Gone and a majestic performance of Mystery.
After a brief encore, the band returned with Open Ended and False Alarm, before concluding on a real high with the superb Melt.
Bayston was keen to emphasise his gratitude to an appreciative crowd for turning out on a Monday night for this show, but in reality, making such an effort to be here for this one – even at this ungodly start of the working week – was no hardship. The band gave an accomplished performance that was atmospheric, high-tempo, and full of the kind of substance that can be all too hard to find. It also felt way more ‘complete’ than very early Boxed In, with a live sound that brought the very best out of the whole band. It made you glad to have been there to see it, hear it and, most of all, feel it.
For a taste of Boxed In live, see their superb mini-set for Low Four.
Among the countless gigs we went to during 2016, we were lucky enough to be photographing as well as reviewing many of them. In the name of nostalgia (or something!), we thought we would pick out a few of our favourite shots of the year. Hope you like our little selection slideshow – and if you do, please follow us over on Instagram where we put lots of our other photos from gigs… and there are plenty more of those already in the diary for 2017.