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
We like to pay fair attention to new bands here at Sync, and they don’t get much newer than Fire On The Roof. The Cardiff four-piece formed earlier this year and have just released their self-titled debut EP.
Luke Prior fronts the show, He is flanked by ‘crazed Lithuanian axe wielder’ (their words not ours!) Artūras (Guitarthur) Eidukas, and Conor Kelly from the darkest depths of North Wales. Welsh Cypriot Tony Haralambos keeps the beats on drums.
Hearing how polished they sound after just a few months as a band, we simply had to find out more about these chaps – thankfully they were happy to oblige with a chat… Continue reading
We featured Lions, the debut single from Irish rock-pop outfit VINCI, a while back on Sync so we were keen to take a listen to the follow-up. It certainly lives up to our expectations.
These guys seem to have a knack for creating rich, slow-build songs that evolve into something stirring, emotional and powerful. Liars has an anthemic quality about it that deserves to be heard far and wide.
VINCI – Liars
West London four-piece The Wild Things were top of a four-band line-up at Cargo, one of the locations that makes up something of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to decent music venues in Shoreditch, East London.
Their set was somewhat truncated by late-running earlier acts but they made the most of their time nonetheless. They were loud and energetic, with strong vocals from charismatic frontwoman Syd White. They deserve bigger crowds, and given time they’ll surely get them.
You can catch them this month; again in London (9 May) and also in Brighton (19 May). Tickets here.
Photos: Jessica Piochon
PVRIS have unveiled the first track from their forthcoming album All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell which is due out on 4 August. The track, Heaven, is a striking statement of intent for the album – dark, slick and powerful, and really showing off lead singer Lynn Gunn’s vocal talents to the max.
The band are about to hit the road for a string of dates starting this week, kicking off in London on 4/5 May before heading off to Paris (8), Amsterdam (10) and Berlin (11). They’ll also be appearing at various festivals over the summer including Reading & Leeds.
PVRIS – Heaven
If there was some way of harnessing the energy in the room from a gig like this then it would probably solve many of the world’s energy issues at a stroke. Showcasing tracks from their debut album Beyond Repair, Blood Youth metaphorically took the roof off Tufnell Park’s Boston Music Room.
They kicked off with Making Waves before launching through much of the album, including Savanna, I Remember, and Parasite. Their fairly short but very sweet set ended with the epic single Reason to Stay. It was a triumphant gig – thankfully without any of the unwanted drama of the previous night’s show in Leeds which was curtailed when a fan suffered a serious leg injury during the gig. This time around, the high octane fun was allowed to run it’s full course, safely but at full speed – and maximum volume.
Photos: Jessica Piochon
It was as recent as November that New York duo Phantogram were last in London as one of a few dates on a UK tour. This time, their stopover was even more brief as it was the only UK show of their European tour. Last time they packed out the ‘under the arches’ venue Heaven, but this time around were in the somewhat more spacious environs of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire… not that it felt especially spacious, with a close-to-sell-out crowd packing out the stalls.
Their particular brand of bombastic beats, rock riffs and swirling synths puts the band in a fairly unique place – too dark to be considered pop, yet not really a natural fit for the rock, electronic or indie tags either. Lyrically, the tone is certainly on the bleak side, but that’s counterbalanced with a fierce, high octane sound that makes their live show such a compelling one.
A little late to the stage – as seems to be their style – Phantogram rattled through a 75-minute set that was full of energy and volume. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter manage to keep the between-song chatter to a minimum. Sometimes, this can create a sense of aloofness from a band but somehow, they still seem to manage a strong connection with fans old and new. The setlist kept fans from both camps happy too. There were tracks from the early days such as Mouthful of Diamonds and When I’m Small from 2009 debut album Eyelid Movies, as well as a generous helping of new material from most recent album Three, including Same Old Blues, Destroyer, and Run Run Blood.
They saved the best for last though with a three-song encore that capped the evening superbly. Firstly, Carter took up the vocal duties for the intense and mesmerising Barking Dog, before what was perhaps Barthel’s peak moment of the night with the wonderfully-sung Cruel World. They wrapped up with their uptempo anthem You Don’t Get Me High Anymore, performed with the kind of bounce and swagger that’s only possible when a band knows it has a seriously great song to end with.
Just days after the launch of their self-titled debut album, Scottish rock outfit Vukovi brought their high octane live show to Tufnell Park’s Boston Music Room for a hot and sweaty evening of energy and plenty of noise.
Kicking off with latest single La Di Da, they pretty much showcased the entire album during a set of around 50 minutes or so. Weirdo, And He Lost His Mind, Bouncy Castle, I’m Wired and Prey were all strong highlights, with singer Janine Shilstone proving herself to be a highly accomplished frontwoman for the hotly-tipped four-piece.
The album has been receiving rave reviews – not least by us – but the key measure is always how the material stacks up live, and it was a test they passed with flying colours. They clearly won’t be playing venues this small for much longer, especially after more music-loving punters clock on to them this summer during their many festival slots.
Vukovi saved the best until last though, with an encore of Animal and Boy George to send the punters home on a high and with their ears no doubt ringing.
Photos: Jessica Piochon
Now it may be seem like an attempt at vying for the ‘stating the bleedin’ obvious award’ but Sync is very much not Kerrang! in terms of the music we tend to cover, which means that out of all the more heavily-inclined stuff out there, it has to take something pretty special from that genre to get us really excited. This is certainly special.
We’ve been tracking Scottish four-piece outfit Vukovi for a while now. Their energetic yet tuneful sound hooks you in, with vocalist Janine Shilstone providing the real point of differentiation from a lot of bands out there with her great range and powerful vocals.
Vukovi’s self-titled debut album (out today, 10/3) has been in the making for a while, and it’s clear that it has been a real labour of love. Its twelve songs are mostly spiky, upbeat affairs but this sometimes belies the multitude of themes at their heart, including topics such as individuality, drug abuse, depression and suicide. “The record might sound quirky,” says Shilstone. “But there are many darker notes in there…”
Tracks like Prey see Shilstone digging deep into personal experience (“It’s about a time in my life where I thought I’d met my knight in shining armor – but he fucked me up even more”) and the sublime I’m Wired, the singer’s favourite song on the record: “I wrote it trying to describe being in a relationship with severe depression and trying to express that you need that person even though you don’t show it most of the time.”
But the undoubted meaning and depth to the songs does not render this an overpowering or difficult listen – this is much more a collection of great songs which paint a picture of a creative, inventive band. There is a fun streak that runs throughout, with Bouncy Castle and especially Animal being our own favourites from the album, both cracking examples of pop-rock at its best. Their real quality shines though on the more subtle tracks such as Wander, in which the noise is tamed to reveal some accomplished, brilliantly written tunes. It’s the variation on this album that enables it to bust traditional genres… which is exactly how it should be.
The band starts a UK tour today in Glasgow (10 March), before rolling on to Leeds (11), Manchester (13), Bristol (14), London (16), Nottingham (18), and Aberdeen (19) – snaffle tickets here. If any of those fine cities are near you, head along and catch tracks from what is one of our albums of the year so far.
Almost two months after the release of their debut album Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect and only a fortnight after concluding a support slot for Two Door Cinema Club on their sold-out tour, indie four-piece Sundara Karma returned to London to play the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. With the show selling out weeks before and fans queuing from 10am, it’s clear that they have already developed a loyal and dedicated fan base since bursting on to the scene last year.
Opening with single A Young Understanding, the show started on a high with the crowd’s voices almost drowning out frontman Oscar Pollock. This high energy from both the band and the fans continued throughout the set, peaking during songs She Said and Flame – both singles from the album. It suggested that their lyrics particularly resonate with the younger generation, as the venue was filled with glitter-covered teenage girls who knew every word – particularly the case for new single, Happy Days, which provoked a very emotional reaction as eyeliner and mascara ran down faces.
All this was not lost on the band, who expressed their gratitude to their fans many times in between songs. During hit single Vivienne, Pollock came off the stage on to the barrier and held hands with as many people as he could. They even brought their own large balloons that were thrown into the crowd; often ending up back on stage, they made the small venue feel more like a festival.
Finishing with energetic single Loveblood – and plenty more balloons and a confetti cannon that covered everything and everyone in blue and white paper – Sundara Karma proved that a small venue doesn’t necessarily have to mean a small show. As most of the crowd will attest, youth can indeed be plenty of fun – and not just in retrospect.
Words & photos: Tabetha Parrick
Here’s a song that’s been bothering our own playlists for quite a while and which now has it’s very own brand new video.
Control is by Brighton trio Tigercub and is taken from their debut album Abstract Figures In The Dark. Hope this tune gets into your head as much as it has ours.
Tigercub – Control
The anticipation is short as an infamous techno song drops when the lights go out and Two Door Cinema Club enter the stage to blast through summer anthems Cigarettes in the Theatre, Undercover Martyn and Do You Want It All? This Liverpool crowd don’t need warming up as they immediately lose it simultaneously.
After the first four tracks it is obvious that 2010’s Tourist History is going to dominate this set despite the tour supporting recently-released third LP Gameshow. The group play their debut album in its entirety – with the exception of You’re Not Stubborn – and it’s no surprise because the tracks are still as strong now as they were back then, clearly finding a newer, younger audience along the way.
A showcase of Gameshow, their long awaited album, comes but it’s only short as they get back to the indie pop anthem crowd pleasers like Something Good Can Work.
The crowd sees a mix of ages, 20-somethings who grew up listening to the group because of TV shows like Skins or their first Reading and Leeds Festival experience, an older crowd who enjoy the light and feel good sound of the Northern Irish trio, and a student crowd who look at music from 2010 as, ‘vintage’ perhaps, after discovering the group.
During Ordinary, the pretty spectacular stage set shines – a light show that could make stadium shows envious – with colours and images matching their wonky pop sound.
A quick mention of the support act Sundara Karma who keep the momentum and energy high ahead of TDCC’s arrival. They’ve been touring and on the festival circuit for a couple of years now, picking up a following on the way. They look set to follow in similar footsteps as TDCC and that’s evident here as the crowd sing to arena-ready anthems She Said and Flame as if they are the main act they’ve come see.
But back to the headliners, the set built up to perhaps one of the most radio friendly hits I Can Talk which sees mosh pits, dancing, singing and plenty of sweat in the packed out Student’s Guild in Liverpool.
After a quick step-off stage Liverpool want them back for an encore. Anteros lead singer joins the guys to play Sun before they finish up with Someday and What You Know, the first an indie ballad that has the crowd chanting like they’re watching a headline set at a festival with no inhibitions and the latter being a time to party as people are propped on shoulders and the dancing starts again.
Two Door Cinema Club have the strong foundation of a debut album that has the ability to appeal for years to come, that’s clear tonight in the sold-out Student’s Guild, as they deliver a festival-style show to a dedicated crowd in a venue that’s way too modest for their huge performance.
Words: Johnny Yates / Photos (from the band’s Manchester show): Kitty Riddell
About to hit the road in support of new album All These Countless Nights is Norfolk band Deaf Havana.
The latest track from the LP is Fever, which frontman James Veck-Gilodi describes as “the darkest song lyrically” on the record. It is a tale of periods of heavy drinking, the resulting behavioural changes and ultimately the tests they present to the relationships you hold closest. The line “I saw myself in my mother’s eyes and I found some hope,” sees the singer reflecting on a visit to his mother and a conversation that inspired change and brought balance to his lifestyle.
The accompanying music video, is the third part of a story shot in Monterrey, Mexico, at the end of 2016. “I always loved the idea of having several videos that were all part of a bigger story,” says Veck-Gilodi. “I felt like the 3 singles – Sing, Trigger and Fever – were perfect for this as they all shared and underlying theme of feeling alienated and out of control.”
“Travelling to Mexico and shooting with the guys was such an amazing experience, being so far away from home and out of our comfort zone really lent itself to the lyrical content of the songs and they ended up being the best music videos we have ever been a part of.”
The band’s UK tour begins later this month and takes in Manchester (17 Feb), Glasgow (18), Bristol (20), Birmingham (21), Norwich (23) and London (24).
Deaf Havana – Fever
Pop-rock quintet Lightscape have released the video for their new single Running, taken from their forthcoming EP For Present, For Past.
The Norfolk-based band filmed the video at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth with director Ryan Lovejoy. Guitarist Sam Nichol said: “We’re incredibly proud of our first video. It took two days to film while we experimented with different lights/ filming positions.
“The room was circular, so there’s so much to play with. Most of all we just had fun jumping about and doing what we do best, whilst trying to make something visually appealing enough to do justice to the audio.”
The forthcoming self-released mini-EP from which the track is taken is released on 2 September, ahead of a live date for the band on 17 September at London’s 229 Venue.
Lightscape – Running
There’s an even more eclectic line-up than usual on this month’s Sync List. Among the highlights, it kicks off with the finely-crafted Cecile from hotly-tipped Pumarosa, followed up with more indie brilliance from Marsicans, Swimming Tapes, and Bristol newcomers Cousin Kula.
There’s also a chance to rock out a little with Suzerain and Partisan, as well as some sublime chillout from Leo Kalyan, Tora, Capyac and Kidnap Kid.
Hope you enjoy the latest selection – and do keep sending your suggestions for future inclusions.
The Sync List 4