Community Festival, 01/07/2017 (Festival Review)

The first ever Community Festival, run by Festival Republic (the masterminds behind Reading and Leeds, Wireless, Download, Latitude and V-Festival), was held in Finsbury Park on July 1st 2017. The one day event was headlined by the brilliant Catfish and the Bottlemen and promised to showcase the best new music has to offer. The event consisted of two stages- The Main Stage and The N4 Stage- and saw 14 up and coming acts take to the stage. Community Festival, despite being a new festival, saw no teething problems and proved a roaring success amongst the hundreds of keen festival goers.

Here’s my pick of the day:

RedFaces kicked off the day with a raucous, yet exciting set. The day’s freshest faces played a captivating live set, with a sound and stage presence similar to that of The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys. The Sheffield band played a selection of new songs, including ‘Wise Up’ and ‘Kerosene’, and proved they’re ones to watch, earning their place on such a talented line-up.

Brighton band Fickle Friends took to the stage fresh from releasing their latest EP Glue. Momentum is just starting to build for the band and their set was full of radio hits and established indie anthems, including ‘Swim’ and ‘Cry Baby’. They consistantly write and release songs that you can’t help but want dance to, which are up-beat and infectiously catchy. The crowd were well and truly warmed up by the awe inspiring set.

Darlia are always fascinating. The Blackpool band played songs from their 2015 debut album, Petals, and impressed the audience with new songs, including ‘Ballard of Black and White’ and ‘Beam Me Up’. Their grungy sound is intriguing and also exciting.

You can’t deny that the The Hunna have done a lot over the last year. They’ve put out their debut record, 100, toured nationally and graduated from the BBC Introducing Stage into a world of main stages and chanting fans. Their Community Festival set seemed triumphant, with the crowd lapping up their every move. Granted, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they did bring energy and enthusiasm to an already exciting line-up- what’s a festival without The Hunna these days anyway?

Nothing But Thieves are- debatably- no longer the new kids on the block. They’re established enough to have had hit after hit on their brilliant self-title debut album, including the singles ‘Trip Switch’, ‘Itch’ and ‘Wake Up Call’, and are set for success in releasing their up-coming second album. The band- with Conor Mason (lead singer)’s stunning, mature voice- played a huge set at the festival, with fans gathering in anticipation. They showcased new single ‘Amsterdam’, as well as other new songs.

If you haven’t seen Slaves live then you’re missing out. They’re extremely fascinating and tell the most brilliant anecdotes. The Kent punk duo played a mix of songs from their 2015 debut album Are You Satisfied?, as well as from their latest album Take Control (2016). They even brought out Madness’ Suggs to announce their guest appearance at Madness’s House of Common Festival, on Clapham Common, London.

I don’t think it’s fair to call The Wombats ‘new’ considering their debut album came out ten years ago. They’re one of the best live bands about and aren’t afraid to bring the stereotypically British party to any location. The band played songs spanning their impressive three album back catalogue. The huge crowd sang along word for word with the Liverpool trio and danced throughout the set and into the impromptu instrumental at the end (as they had a bit of time left). They definitely played one of the best sets of the day.

Catfish and the Bottlemen made a rare appearance headlining the new event.  They’ve remained pretty quiet since their sold out run of areas late last year, which saw them playing Wembley Arena, and are hopefully set to release new music soon. The band played hits from their first record- The Balcony– and a selection of tracks form their second record- The Ride. The indie-rock sensations brought a successful day to a close and proved what could happen with hard work and determination in just few years. It was the perfect end to a brilliant day and left the day with a euphoric, triumphant feel.

In conclusion, the first ever Community Festival was a success. I hope the event returns next year as there’s a lot of great new music that needs exposure and it proved such a success this year. The day was laced with the latest music, fan favourites and was a celebration of what can be achieved with drive and enthusiasm. The atmosphere was special too, with friendly fans and a real ‘community’ spirit (if you pardon the pun). I couldn’t recommend it more.

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Community Festival, 01/07/2017 (Festival Review)

Glastonbury Festival 2017 Review

*Apologies that these posts have taken an age. We’ve been without internet for nearly a month!*

This year’s Glastonbury Festival took place on Worthy Farm from the 22nd-27th June. The festival was headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran, with Bee Gee Barry Gibb playing the festival’s prestigious Sunday afternoon legends slot. Other notable acts across the weekend included Lorde, The Courteeners and Declan McKenna. The Killers performed a surprise set, which was headline worthy, on the John Peel Stage, and Elbow, too, performed a surprise set, which was on The Park Stage, on Friday.

This year’s festival felt very exciting. It came at a time of political unrest (a year on from Brexit), great new music- with grime deservedly taking centre stage- and a line-up sufficient to fill the Glastonbury shaped gap in the festival calendar next year, when they take a fallow year. This year’s festival was surprisingly sunny too- result!

Friday 23rd June

Glass Animals, BBC Introducing – There’s little more exciting than the opening act on the BBC Introducing Stage. It’s often big enough- yet secret and special enough- to rival whatever 80s legend is playing a killer set on The Other Stage, in this case it was The Pretenders (who played a pretty brilliant set). In recent years we’ve seen the likes of Circa Waves and plenty of other BBC Introducing alumni christen the stage, but this year it was the turn of glorious, indie art-pop band Glass Animals. The stripped back set was extremely short and sweet- a mere four songs long- but left the audience hungry (perhaps because of the sheer volume of pineapples dotted about the stage and throughout the audience) for their full band performance later that day. They played ‘Life Itself’ and ‘Season 2 Episode 3’, at the audience’s request, from their latest album How to be a Human Being, which was released later last year. They also played the hit ‘Gooey’ and ‘Black Mambo’, from their 2014 debut album ZABA.

Blossoms, The Pyramid Stage – It’s always brilliant to see a band graduate onto the prestigious Pyramid Stage (we saw Wolf Alice triumphantly do it in 2016), but none more refreshing, exciting or well deserved than that of Blossoms’ early afternoon set. The band played a setlist filled mainly with songs from their debut album Blossoms, which was released last year, with the odd B-Side and latest single ‘This Moment’ with Chase and Status thrown in for good measure. I’ve seen enough Blossoms shows over the last year to say that this was nothing much different to the rest yet this felt extra special. The sheer volume of the crowd reflected the huge year that Blossoms have had and it’s great to see them finally get the recognition they deserve.

Declan McKenna, John Peel Stage – 18-year-old Declan McKenna is no stranger to Glastonbury Festival, but this was his first taste of major stage success, despite being given the chance to play the same stage two years prior. The set came just weeks before the release of his stunning debut album, What Do You Think About the Car? It felt like a pivotal set of his career, with the chance to open up his already huge fan base to a totally different audience. His youthful depictions of life, love and-importantly- politics are refreshing and his energetic stage presence is exciting. He ran about and scaled things like any 18-year-old playing Glastonbury would dream of doing. He even crowd surfed, much to the securities dismay. He played again over the weekend (Sunday on the Left Field Stage, which seemed very fitting). I recommend you watch out for Declan McKenna; he’s only just getting started.

George Ezra, The Other Stage – George Ezra played the ultimate feel good, sing-a-long set on The Other Stage. His set rivalled an unannounced, not-so-secret set by Elbow on The Park Stage, yet the size of his crowd wasn’t hindered by this. Ezra played all the hits from his first album, opening with a jazzed-up, trumpet filled ‘Cassy-O’, closely followed by ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Blame It On Me’ and ‘Listen to the Man’, from his first album, Wanted On Voyage. George Ezra also showcased many a song from his long awaited second album, speaking tales of writing the album- like a delightful in person version of his weekly email updates- and what he learnt in the process of making it. He encouraged the crowd to sing along with his new songs, which they did and they did loudly. He even played his latest single ‘Don’t Matter Now’, which, at the time, had only been out for a matter of weeks and yet everyone knew all the words. When he ended with undoubtedly his biggest hit, ‘Budapest’, he seemed somewhat overwhelmed and moved by the audience’s reaction. He didn’t even need to sing it because the audience sang it so loudly for him! George Ezra is always a pleasure to see, but he really does pull out the stops for Glastonbury.

Lorde, The Other Stage – Lorde played Glastonbury for the first time this year, but she was welcomed as if she was a regular. There’s not many times that I’m emotionally moved by a performance, but Lorde’s set was something else. It seemed dramatic, theatrical, a spectacle- all words which, too, describe her incredible second album, Melodrama. Her second album was released a week to the day and Lorde described it as celebrating the album’s “birthday”. She performed in front of a moving glass cage-type contraption. Various actors would fill the container and interact to the music with one another, in front of a changing screen, using props. This was not a gimmick. At first I was confused, but the theatrical performance seemed fitting with the huge, dramatic production. Lorde opened with a short, orchestra lead version of ‘Green Light’ before bursting into a set full of new and old favourites. The pinnacle point of the set was Lorde performing ‘The Louvre’, from her latest album, which she explained was about “having a crush” and urged the audience to “close their eyes” and think of their crush when listening to the song. This flowed seamlessly into the emotional “The Louvre”, whereby Lorde sat on the front of the stage and explained how it was a song about “not feeling like you’re good enough”. It was highly emotional and felt incredible intimate, ironic given the setting. Lorde sang and danced throughout, even ending up in the crowd at points. She played an incredible set, one which topped my entire weekend.

Saturday 24th June

The Magic Gang, William’s Green – Brighton’s own The Magic Gang managed to bring their chilled indie-rock to an eager crowd on the Saturday morning of Glastonbury Festival. Many a huge band have played William’s Green at some point in their career and I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see The Magic Gang at the festival. The band played a selection of tracks from their EPs, including latest single ‘Your Love’, and the audience loved every minute of it.

The Amazons, John Peel – I’m a huge supporter of The Amazons and love their music, but if ever there was a moment you don’t want to have your electrics fail on you this was it. The set was laced with technical issues but proved triumphant nonetheless. The band played to a packed out John Peel tent, which is a promising sign for any up and coming artist, and played the majority of their 2017 self-titled debut album. The set was full of highlights, from the bold ‘Junk Food Forever’ to fan favourite ‘Black Magic’.

Katy Perry, The Pyramid Stage – When faced with the hideous clash between Liam Gallagher and Katy Perry, who do you choose? I spoke to a guy who saw both and his verdict was Perry. The risk of missing a potential- yet hideously unlikely- Oasis reunion tempted the masses but pop-sensation Katy Perry played to nothing short of a full Pyramid field. I find Katy Perry extremely fascinating and her bubbly stage presence and brash production overtly captivating. The set was odd from start to finish (what else would you expect?). Perry came out dressed as some sort of sparkly school child- pink hat and rucksack in tow- with latest album eye logo plastered pretty much everywhere. There was a huge pink moving eye, pom-pom clad dancers a plenty and confetti cannons to make any audience happy. Gimmicky? Maybe. Fascinating and theatrical? Absolutely. Perry played hits from her latest album, including the singles ‘Chained to the Rhythm’, ‘Bon Appétit’ and ‘Swish Swish’, but ultimately it felt obvious she was there to sell her latest album- Witness– which had recently (unfairly) flopped in the charts. Perry played unknown song upon unknown song from her latest album, which became slightly laborious after a while. Having said that, the odd hit she peppered in was absolutely incredible and the atmosphere was buzzing. The mash-up of hits and (infuriating) rearrangement of ‘Teenage Dream’ made up for the lack of desire for the newer songs. You can’t say she’s not entertaining though!

Alt-J, Headliners of The Other Stage – We tried the HUGE (on all accounts) Pyramid Stage set Foo Fighters, which was filled with hit upon hit from their massive expansive back catalogue, tributes to Florence and the Machine’s 2015 filler- but killer- headline set and two and a half or so hours of Dave Grohl being the absolute legend he is, but settled for Alt-J’s euphoric Other Stage headline set. Alt-J are a band I’m fascinated by. Their live sets always feel as though they’re an experience. A journey. This was no exception. The audience were taken on a journey through the last few years of Alt J material, as each song was seamlessly- and effortlessly- sewn together by instrumental and an impressive light show. Alt-J proved that they know how to navigate a good headline set.

Sunday 25th June  

Sundara Karma, John Peel Stage – You can’t go far without escaping the up and coming indie kings that are Sundara Karma and rightly so. Sundara Karma have picked up massive momentum this year, having released their huge debut album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, toured the UK both on a headline tour and with indie legends Two Door Cinema Club and set to embark on a huge tour which includes a date at the Brixton Academy. The tent was filled with new and old fans, as they played songs from their debut in both its standard and recently released extended form. I’m beyond excited to see where this leads them, but things are looking up- perhaps they’ll do a Wolf Alice or Blossoms and we’ll see them on the Pyramid Stage in a matter of years?

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, The Other Stage – Is there anything Rag ‘N’ Bone Man can’t do? More specifically, is there anything he can’t do without total grace and gratitude? Brighton’s Rag ‘N’ Bone Man seemed to soak up and enjoy every minute of his Glastonbury set. He seemed genuinely grateful that so many people had turned out to watch his hour long set and that’s something that came through in his flawless singing. He sang many a song from his debut album ‘Human’, which was released earlier this year, including the pop-hit title track and others, including ‘Skin’ and ‘Wolves’. He even brought out and shared the stage with his previous rap collective, an understandable yet contradictory move away from his famous soulful voice. He’s a special act.

The Killers, The John Peel Stage – The weekend had been swarming with rumours as to what the mysterious Sunday John Peel Stage TBA act could be. The area was so heaving they had to block all entrances off and stop more people from entering the field and people spilled out of the tent in all directions (you were lucky if you could get close). Luckily, the set turned out to be none other than The Killers, who played a headline worthy set. The band rattled through their hits- ‘Somebody Told Me’, ‘When You Were Young’, ‘Smile Like You Mean it’- as well as their infectious new single, ‘The Man’. Brandon Flowers needn’t sing as the crowd sung along (loudly) word for word on every single song. It was pretty incredible really. The hightlights included the bridge of ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ where thousands sung ‘I got soul, but I’m not a soldier’ back to a blown away Flowers and, of course, Mr Brightside, which still remains one of the greatest songs of all times.

Biffy Clyro, The Pyramid Stage – Biffy Fucking Clyro played Glaston-fucking-bury for the first time in a few years and they had been missed. The band played a hit-filled, guitar fuelled set which could quite easily have filled a headline slot. It’s refreshing to see such an incredible rock act play at such an accessible, all-genre embracing festival and seeing the crowd- plenty of whom waiting for pop icon Ed Sheeran- enjoy it despite it being unusually different from the day’s headliner. Songs such as ‘Many of Horror’ provided one of the most goosebump inducing moments of the weekend, as the entire crowd sung back to Simon Neil (lead singer) and Co.

Ed Sheeran, Pyramid Stage Headliner – I’d been eagerly anticipating Ed Sheeran’s headliner set for the best part of six months, let along the few days of the festival that had already been. Sheeran played- entirely solo, with the help of his trusty loop-pedal- centre stage with hundreds of screens behind him projecting his face almost everywhere whilst he delivered a set everyone could sing along to. He made remarks about the audience ‘knowing it even if they didn’t like it’ and assertively directed the crowd to sing, jump and dance at intervals. I wasn’t disappointed by his set, but it had nothing on the likes of Biffy Clyro, The Killers or, especially, Lorde. He’s pretty admirable and gutsy to do it though, you have to give it to him.

 

 

 

 

Glastonbury Festival 2017 Review

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)