Paramore, The Royal Albert Hall (19/06/2017)

Paramore played a sold out show at The Royal Albert Hall, in London, on the 19th June 2017, as part of the first leg of their global Tour One tour, in support of their latest album After Laughter, which was released in May. The band were supported by a band called Bleached.

Paramore played a set which felt intimate, despite the venue being filled. It felt like the band were playing comeback shows to a room full of friends. The band opened with ‘Told You So’, from their latest album, whilst the expectant fans swarmed towards the stage ignoring the all-seating layout. The crowd sang the band’s latest songs- including ‘Fake Happy’, ‘Rose Coloured Boy’ and ‘Caught in the Middle’- word for word, as if they had been setlist staples for years. The band seemed happy and comfortable- the happiest they’ve seemed in a long time- and the band seemed relaxed. It’s their first tour since Zac Farro rejoined the band and the stripped back, no fuss stage layout- with an impressive light display- seemed to complement the band’s choice of setlist.

The band threw in a stunning cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, which showed off the versatility of lead singer Hayley Williams’ voice. The band explained how they’d listened to it a lot during the recording of their latest album. It was a refreshing song choice for a once pop-punk band.

The mix of covers and new tracks peppered into a heap of older tracks, straying from their newer sound. The band played songs from their five album deep back catalogue, including the hit ‘Still Into You’ and Grammy Award winning single ‘Ain’t it Fun’, from their 2013 self-titled album, as well as ‘That’s What You Get’, from their 10 year old album Riot, and ‘Brick By Boring Brick’ from Brand New Eyes. The band didn’t play any songs from their debut album- All We Know is Falling– on this tour, which is understandable as they’re spoilt for choice with popular hits and fan favourites from their other albums.

The band invited fans up to sing Misery Business with them, as they have done for the last few years. The atmosphere is always especially buzzing throughout this part of the set, as fans eagerly anticipate being picked and lucky fans dance around the stage with Williams and co.

Paramore played a three song encore, including a HalfNoise track- ‘Scooby’s in the Back’- from their The Velvet Face EP. Half Noise are Paramore drummer Zac Farro’s other band. This was incredibly well received. They also played ‘Foregiveness’, before ending with their latest single ‘Hard Times’, which felt like a triumphant ending to an immensely successful gig.

This show felt like a special warm up show, teasing something huge that’s to come. It was an absolute treat. The band could’ve sold out venues twice the size or easily played three nights in a row, yet this felt exclusive. I can’t wait to see what they do next because I, for one, will be there.

Paramore, The Royal Albert Hall (19/06/2017)

Lorde-Melodrama (album review)

Lorde released her second studio album, Melodrama, on the 16th June 2017. The album follows up from her stunning debut album, Pure Heroine, in 2013. So far only two singles from the album- ‘Green Light’ and ‘Perfect Places’- have been released. The album focuses mainly on Lorde’s break-up with long term boyfriend James Lowe in 2015.

The album opens with the explosive hit Green Light. It’s the ultimate break-up song. There’s something so personal about it, whilst the lyrics are overlaid with a heavy syncopated piano and a strong dance feel. It’s an infectious opener, which stands strong as a single. It sets the tone of the album, as a break-up track- a theme which Lorde draws on a lot throughout.

Sober (again, with it’s syncopated beat) tells tales of growing up, late nights and love. It remains close to Lorde’s usual style. It incites a feeling of wanting to dance, the perfect party song.

Homemade Dynamite remains close to the style that made Lorde famous. It’s a brilliant song that is set to get crowds singing.

The Louvre is by far one of the strongest tracks on the album. It’s different to Lorde’s usual style, so much so that it’s refreshing. It’s a song about “having a crush”, Lorde told the audience at Glastonbury Festival, and that feeling of having a crush- the rush. The song encapsulates that ‘rush’, if you will. It’s filled with obsession, love, promise and hope. It holds a strong narrative, too.

This is followed on by the piano lead ‘Liability’, which is about that feeling of not fitting in, feeling too ‘different’, ‘weird’, “not good enough”, hopeless, almost. It’s gut wrenchingly poignant. I think it’s something most people can relate to in some respect and I think that’s why it commands so much respect as a song. It feels as though Lorde understands and connects with the audience, despite being personally confessional. It showcases her vulnerability as a writer and artist. A reprised- albeit more optimistic- version of Liability (‘Liability (Reprise)’) features later on in the album. It creates a somewhat theatrical sense, which makes it exciting to listen in full.

‘Hard Feelings/ Loveless’ is a post break up song. It’s incredibly sensitive and beautiful for a break up song. Lorde’s good at that. After 4 minutes, ‘Loveless’ plays after a sample- “what is this tape?This is my favourite place”- as if it’s almost not meant to be found. It’s a welcome treat.  Lorde sums up the modern generation as a “L-O-V-E-L-E-S-S Generation”, due to the way we love, through smartphones and Snapchat, as if it’s how she feels that she is meant to feel. She voices what is expected, what happens now, the norm. It’s interesting how she can go from writing such a reflective, passionate song and juxtapose it with a more generic, blunt break up song.

‘Sober II (Melodrama)’ feels like a triumphant reprise. It follows a narrative, like a show. The album is a spectacle itself and the almost theatrical side aides it. It feels like the album deserves to be played as one whole piece.

‘Writer in the Dark’ feels like it could’ve been a Kate Bush song. There’s something beautiful and fascinating about it. It’s one of the album’s key stand out tracks and unlike anything Lorde has done before. This versatility is what makes her so admirable.

‘Supercut’ seems almost like an epilogue for The Louvre. It feels reflective. Reflective of the last few years, of love, of fame, of friendships. It’s a beautiful song.

The final song on the album is ‘Perfect Places’. It’s the perfect closing track because it feels like it sums up the album. It sums up the life she appears to lead, the feeling of euphoric rush that comes with being young and tales of love and loss. It epitomises life. It feels triumphant, yet not overtly optimistic.

The concluding line “what the fuck are perfect places anyway?” is a lasting sentiment.

Lorde’s Melodrama is easily one of the strongest album’s of the year so far. It could quite easily have been a disaster, but Lorde pulled off the tricky second album with effortless ease. She did something different. She took risks. Ultimately, she told the story of life, of being young, of falling in and and out of love, of self deprecation and self worth and I think everyone can relate to that in some way. Lorde was young when she released Pure Heroine, she was championed by David Bowie and thrusted into the public eye, yet she has managed to grow and produce an incredibly mature, phenomenal record, which feels timeless.

 

Lorde-Melodrama (album review)

June 2017- What I’m Listening To

A month of festivals, tour announcements and new music (thank God).

Firstly, Rat Boy are finally releasing their debut album. The record is called Scum, which we already knew after Jordan Cardy (Rat Boy) teased it at Reading Festival last year. The record is out on the 11th August 2017 and features the previously released singles ‘MOVE’, ‘GET OVER IT’, ‘REVOLUTION’ and ‘FAKE ID’.

The Killers are back with a new album and single. The band are set to release their sixth sutdio album, entitled Wonderful Wonderful, later this year. The band released the catchy lead single, The Man, simultaneously to the record announcement. The single channels Two Door Cinema Club’s funky 2015 album, whist remaining iconically infectious, like most of The Killers songs are.  They’re also set to tour the UK in Winter this year, following their surprise Glastonbury set.

Everything Everything have announced a new album, A Fever Dream, which is due to be released on August 18th. The band also released lead single ‘Can’t Do’, which is equally as fascinating, mad and marvellous as their previous material. I love the absurdness of Everything Everything songs, which often include one absolutely brilliant, strange line, which is madly catchy.

Mystery Jets are set to release a remix EP, called The Electronic Earth EP. Key tracks have been remixed and reimagined from their 2016 album Curve of the Earth, especially to dance to and “shed new light on the material”, according to the band’s website.

Wolf Alice have released the raucous ‘Yuk Foo’ (or, err, “Fuck You”, as the song’s lyrics transpire) as the lead single from the second album, Visions of a Life, which is due to be released later this year. The single is explosive, angry and intriguing. You can’t tell a lot about how the album will pan out on just one song, as usually their songs are vastly different throughout- and that’s what makes them brilliant.

George Ezra has also released the lead single from his imminent second album. The single- which he debuted on his recent UK tour and is now a staple on his 2017 festival setlists-  is called ‘Don’t Matter Now’. It’s infectiously happy, upbeat and filled with summery, laid back vibes. It’s gloriously optimistic and I love it. I was lucky enough to hear his 2017 festival setlist at Wildlife Festival (his first festival of the season no less) and at Glastonbury and it’s great to hear our George performing such wonderful new tracks. I can’t wait for the album.

Lorde has announced a September UK tour, which includes a date at London’s prestigious Alexandra Palace, as well as dates at the Brighton Centre and at a string of O2 venues across the country. She will be supported by Khalid.

Reading’s Sundara Karma have also announced a September/October UK tour, which features a HUGE date at the O2 Academy Brixton. It’s so exciting watching Sundara Karma get bigger, especially after the release of their triumphant debut album earlier this year. The band are on their way to big things.

Blaenavon have also released a tour (with The Night Cafe). The tour kicks off in November and features a date at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. These dates are set to be special, especially after the success of their debut album, That’s Your Lot, which was released earlier this year.

Just when you think there could be no more tour announcements… The Libertines released details of a seaside stop UK. The tour features dates in Brighton, Blackpool and Scarborough. I’m hoping the band showcase some new material, as a follow up to 2015’s Anthems For Doomed Youth.

Reading and Leeds festival have announced details of their Alternative Stage line-up. The stage offers a break from the music, with comics, speakers and DJs.  The line-up features DJ sets from Blossoms, Circa Waves and The Big Moon, as well as a Transgressive Takeover. The line-up also features comedy sets by Bill Bailey, Katherine Ryan and Joe Lycett.

Glastonbury Festival announced earlier in the month that Liam Gallagher and Johnny Depp were amongst the latest faces to join their mega 2017 line-up. The festival itself has since gone by in a flash and was a huge success. The festival was headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran and featured secret sets by the likes of The Killers and Elbow. Highlights across the weekend include the spectacular Lorde, Scotland’s finest Biffy Clyro and Blossoms. A full review will follow.

In July, I look forward to Finsbury Park’s first Community Festival (headlined by Catfish and the Bottlemen, with The Wombats, Slaves and Fickle Friends amongst loads of great acts) and the long awaited release of Declan McKenna’s debut album. There’s also Haim’s new album, which is set to be good.

This month I’ve listened to a lot of Anne-Marie’s brilliant ‘Ciao Adios’, which is already soundtracking my summer, as well as the Clean Bandit hit she features on- ‘Rockabye’- having seen her play at BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend. There’s also the summer hit that is Little Mix’s ‘Power’, which I’ve been enjoying (in various layers of guilty pleasure) since Big Weekend. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Everywhere’s latest single, ‘Man Up’, who are my new band of the month in June. I’ve also been loving Declan McKenna’s ‘Paracetamol’, as well as bit of Blondie. There’s also a lot of Lorde on this playlist, especially ‘The Louvre’, which I recommend you listen to at full volume on repeat for full effect.

 

June 2017- What I’m Listening To

Wildlife Festival 2017- Friday Review

Wildlife Festival returned to Shoreham airport for the third time this year, with Jess Glynne and Dizzee Rascal as headliners. The festival- which primarily focuses on dance and grime music- ran from the 9th and 10th June 2017, across Friday and Saturday (which allowed the festival to run later into the evening).

I attended the festival on the Friday. It felt like a local, quite intimate festival, yet it consistently pulls in huge, globally renowned artists. The crowd were energetic and young, yet the atmosphere felt strange at times. The dance tents were full at all times.

Here are my highlights…

Zara Larsson- Wild Life Stage

Zara Larsson played a brilliant- albeit short- hit filled set, which featured collaborations she has appeared on, songs from her 2017 debut album- So Good– and even an Ed Sheeran cover. Larsson has mastered the art of a good pop song and the songs sounded perfect under the beaming sun. A guilt-free pleasure.

Clean Bandit- Wild Life Stage 

Clean Bandit have soundtracked summers ever since they released ‘Rather Be’, with festival headliner and pop-sensation Jess Glynne, in 2014. Clean Bandit’s set was a huge sing-a-long, as the band played hits from their first album- New Eyes– and singles from the (pending) upcoming second album. The band performed with session singers, but brought out guests including Stylo G. The band played songs including Christmas number one, ‘Rockabye’, and ‘Symphony’, for which they brought out Zara Larsson.

Chaka Khan- Wild Life Stage

You’d be foolish to think that 60-something-year-old Chaka Khan couldn’t sing anymore. The Queen of Funk played a hit filled set, which spanned across her 40 year back catalogue.  It goes without saying that the highlight of the set was the huge crowd sing-a-long to the iconic ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ‘Ain’t Nobody’, which Khan seemed to forget the words to.

George Ezra- Wild Life Stage

I can’t stress how pleased I was to hear George Ezra was back on the festival and touring circuit. Ezra played a glorious, trumpet filled set, which showcased songs from his upcoming second album, hits from his debut Wanted on Voyage, as well as a few old B-sides. Ezra had re-arranged some old fan favourites to include his touring band and give the songs a new lease of life. He also showcased brand new single ‘Don’t Matter Now’ and encouraged fans to sing to some of his new tracks. I can’t wait to hear more new George Ezra material. I can’t help but feel as though George Ezra was out of place at the primarily dance music led festival. He played an assured set, which the crowd enjoyed, but his placing on a line-up encased by artists like Stormzy and Wiley seemed strange. He managed to play a brilliant set though.

Jess Glynne- Wild Life Stage, headliner

Jess Glynne- and her incredible sparkly trousers- headlined the Wild Life Stage on the Friday of the festival. Glynne played songs from her first album I Cry When I Laugh to an excited and enthusiastic crowd. Huge screens changed to the music, whilst backing dancers and a full band made the stage an even bigger spectacle. The pop-senstation played a thoroughly enjoyable set, which was hit after hit. The crowd sang and danced all evening.

Overall, the day was exciting and full of great, fun music. The weekend also featured sets from Fat Boy Slim and a DJ set by festival creators, Disclosure.

Wildlife Festival 2017- Friday Review

Declan McKenna, Concorde 2 (31/05/2017)

Up and coming indie-rock sensation Declan McKenna played a triumphant show at Brighton’s Concorde 2, on the 31st May 2017. Girli (an energetic, feminist artist, with a sound vaguely reminiscent of a young Charli XCX with a Ke$ha edge) played a support set worthy of a headline act and managed to get the whole crowd engaged.

Declan McKenna- clad in the most fabulous American flag leggings, over laying pinafore and made-up, glittered face- brought his charming (and extremely significant) political tunes to a receptive Brighton audience. He opened with crowd favourite ‘Isombard’, which was met with dancing amongst the packed out audience, before seamlessly blending into ‘Bethlehem’. McKenna and his touring band played a selection of crowd-known hits, including ‘Basic’ and ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’, as well as ‘Paracetamol’, a poignant song which draws on audience reflection.

McKenna also played a selection of songs from his upcoming debut album, What Do You Think About The Car? McKenna has debuted tracks such as ‘Make Me Your Queen’, ‘Listen to Your Friends’ and ‘Why Do You Feel So Down?’ on this tour, all of which were enjoyed by the eager audience. McKenna played his latest single ‘Humungous’, which got the crowd singing along, with its catchy chorus, despite it only being days since its official debut. The already sweaty, packed out crowd danced all evening to what shaped up to be a career defining set.

McKenna ended the set with Brazil 2014 World Cup protest song, ‘Brazil’, which helped the 18-year-old win Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent competition in 2015. The song was played to a sea of confetti filled balloons (as McKenna couldn’t find any confetti cannons) bouncing on top of an already bouncing audience. He left the stage to huge applause.

There’s always a sense of protest, of teenage rebellion, of revolution at a Declan McKenna show, something which most gimmicky pop gigs lack. Yes, there’s confetti and glitter galore, but it’s not a gimmick. It’s a statement. At 18, McKenna voices a generation and I can’t wait to see where it takes him, especially after the release of the album in late July. Watch this space. It’s definitely his time to shine.

Declan McKenna, Concorde 2 (31/05/2017)

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 (Review)

This year’s BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend was held in Hull, at Hull’s Burton Constable Hall, on the 27th and 28th May 2017. The free music festival was jam packed with the biggest and hottest names in the music industry and was a huge success.  Katy Perry and Kings of Leon headlined the two day bank holiday weekend event, with acts like Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille and The Amazons playing across the weekend. It’s always one of the most fascinating and exciting music festivals of the summer, for where else can you watch Kings of Leon, Little Mix and Twin Atlantic all within a matter of hours?

I was lucky enough to attend the festival on the Sunday this year and the day was full of glorious pop music and all things Radio 1. Bands and artists played short hit fuelled sets (exactly the sort of thing you’d hear on the radio) with the station’s DJs playing in-between sets.

Here are my highlights (a very small selection of them)-

Little Mix opened the main stage on the Sunday. The X-Factor winning girl group played a phenomenal confetti filled set, full of all the hits (that you’d know even if you don’t- or rather won’t admit to- like), dancing timed to the second and huge, captivating graphics. It was totally feel good and empowering and distinctly awe-inspiring for the many families in the crowd. Little Mix are very clearly the biggest girl group in the music industry currently and what they’re doing for music is very significant, even if you don’t like it personally. The set felt special and unifying (especially considering the huge amounts of families, mainly children, in the crowd) after the tragic events in Manchester, which happened a matter of days before.

Bastille brought their worldwide tour (in support of their latest album, Wild World) to a sunny Hull and played an energetic afternoon set. The band played sing-a-long hits from their first album, Bad Blood, including ‘Flaws’ and the iconic ‘Pompeii’, as well as a whole host of songs from their UK number 1 2016 second album, Wild World. The highlights of the set was definitely when the single ‘Good Grief’ was played to a backdrop of post-modern, satirical, futuristic collage graphics.

Pop sensation Shawn Mendes brought illuminations to Hull with his Sunday set. Mendes brought all the hits to Burton Constable Hall in what transpired to be a huge sing-a-long spanning all ages. He played a selection of songs from his new album Illuminate, including the singles ‘There’s Nothin’ Holding Me Back’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Stitches’. It was the Radio sensation’s first ever festival performance and he performed it with ease.

Brighton’s brilliant rock duo Royal Blood played a huge set headlining the Where It Begins stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend. The band played what could’ve been an arena show to a packed out tent, just before the release of their second album How Did it Get so Dark? (June 16th 2017). The band played a blend of stunning instrumental and memorable hit, including ‘Two Tonne Skeleton’, ‘Little Monster’ and ‘Figure it Out’ (from their 2014 debut album Royal Blood). The band also played new single ‘Lights Out’, which was met by applause from the eager crowd.

Scotland’s finest Twin Atlantic played the Where it Begins tent on Sunday afternoon to a captivated audience. The band played a riff filled set featuring songs from all four of their albums, including the latest album GLA (which was released last year). Frontman Sam McTrusty was full of energy as he leapt into the crowd and crowd surfed at the end of the set. Twin Atlantic are one of my personal favourite live bands ever because the energy their shows give off is just electric. You just have to experience it.

Alternative icons Circa Waves brought sun-kissed tunes and an overdue dance session to the sunny Hull festival. The band, who are consistently brilliant live, played a short set filled with songs from their 2015 debut album, Young Chasers, including ‘Fossils’, ‘Stuck in my Teeth’ and the fan favourite ‘T-Shirt Weather’, as well as a handful of tracks from their latest 2017 album, Different Creatures, including the mosh-pit inducing ‘Fire That Burn’s, ‘Goodbye’ and the single ‘Wake Up Call’. It was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Stockport’s finest Blossoms brought their huge debut album tour to Hull, one year on from their return to the festival as special guests on the BBC Introducing Stage in Exeter. Blossoms played a set filled with crowd pleasing hits, including ‘Blow’, ‘Blown Rose’ and ‘At Most a Kiss’. Like at ever Blossoms show, the band dedicated acoustic hit ‘My Favourite Room’ to a member of the crowd who had “recently been dumped”, an appreciated gesture. Lead singer Tom Ogden effortlessly merged the ending of the song into an impromptu mash-up of Babybird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’ and Oasis’s ‘Half The World Away’, which the crowd loved. The band played latest single ‘This Moment’ (featuring Chase and Status) at the end of the set, before ending with the indie anthem ‘Charlemagne’, which never fails to excite a crowd.

The day was headlined by American rockers Kings of Leon, but their set was slightly lack lustre, bar the handful of iconic anthems the band have, which the audience and atmosphere made entirely. The band, whilst still sounding brilliant in instrument, played a 50 minute long set, which saw the audience consistently disintegrate throughout the set. The band’s iconic status made their headline set fitting, but their lack of connection to the mainly young, radio listening crowd seemed uncomfortable and awkward in part. It seemed as though the set was a year too late, as the hype for their latest album, Walls, had somewhat fizzled out. The band are set to headline British Summer Time in July though.

Overall the weekend was brilliant with plenty of huge sets. I’d like to mention how brilliant the tail end of Anne Marie’s set was (with the singer performing hits such as Christmas number one single, ‘Rockabye’, which was originally sung with Clean Bandit and latest single ‘Ciao Adios’), how fascinating Christine and the Queen’s captivating dancing was and the star filled Clean Bandit set, which was perfect for a Sunday afternoon dance.

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Hull 2017 (Review)

Up and Coming Artist of the Month- July 2017 // Everywhere- “Man Up” (new single)

everywhere.jpg

This month’s featured up and coming artist are a UK based band called Everywhere. The band recently released the new single “Man Up”.

Everywhere are an Alt Rock band based in London, who formed in 2012. The band started out with Swedish lead singer Max Berga emailing out early demos to producers all over the world- something which paid off as acclaimed hit maker Mark Needham (The Killers,  Imagine Dragons, Fleetwood Mac, Blondie) proposed sessions in LA. The band eventually became what it is today as a result and they have previously released singles, including “Eddie”, in 2013, which got played on BBC Radio 2.

The critically praised band are already starting to make waves in the music industry and have found success in playing alongside huge indie artists including Django Django and Palma Violets at the NME Awards in 2013. They later went on to support indie-rock icons the Kaiser Chiefs and headline Notting Hill Arts Club, in London. They’ve been snapped up by BBC Introducing London for their previous single “Some Other Dude” (from the band’s 2016 Sophomore EP, Fiction Act) and have had over a million streams on Spotify so far.

The band officially released their first 2017 single “Man Up” on the 9th June (which can be found on Spotify, as well as on Soundcloud and other digital online stores). The single features Swedish singer/songwriter Rebecca Nohr.

“Man Up” is an infectiously catchy electro-pop tune, complete with groovy synths (vaguely reminiscent of 80s pop music) and a funky, distinct bass line. The tune is gloriously upbeat and optimistic, despite the lyrics echoing tales of unfulfilled expectations, dominant partners and the archaic ideas of what being a man is and what it really takes to be one. Rebecca Nohr’s vocals lend perfectly to the tune- offering a female perspective to the unfolding events. Overall the track is effortlessly easy to listen to and its bold chorus lingers in your mind for ages. It’s a keen dance floor filler, as well as a perfect summer anthem. It’s harmless pop in a bold electronic, alternative disguise. There’s definitely an undertone of assured anthem, similar to that seen in songs by The Killers, Mystery Jets and Two Door Cinema Club, within it too.

The single’s stunning abstract artwork was designed by German graphic artist Sebastian Onufszak.

The band say “We’re currently working on an album, it’s still early but hopefully it should be out this fall” and I, for one, can’t wait. Watch this space.

You can find and follow the band here:

http://www.everywheretheband.com

http://www.facebook.com/everywheretheband

https://twitter.com/Everywhereband/

 

 

 

 

 

Up and Coming Artist of the Month- July 2017 // Everywhere- “Man Up” (new single)