Reading Festival, 25th-27th August 2017 (Festival Review)

So Reading (and Leeds) Festival is over for another year and this year’s festival was a huge success. The event, held at Richfield Avenue, took place from Friday 25th August to the 27th August and was headlined by Kasabian, Eminem and Muse. There were a couple of (not so) secret sets over the weekend too, including appearances from Wolf Alice and Queens of the Stone Age (who will no doubt be back next year, perhaps the latter as headliners).

Here are my highlights:

Friday

The Magic Gang played a triumphant late morning set on the BBC/NME Stage to set off an exciting weekend of live music. The Brighton band played an enthusiastic and energetic set, filled with previously released songs- including ‘All This Way’ and ‘Jasmine’- as well as their latest single ‘Your Love’.

If you haven’t seen Declan McKenna in 2017 then I don’t know where you’ve been! He’s played pretty much every UK festival and Reading and Leeds was no exception. The 18-year-old played his first ever Reading and Leeds set (having attended Reading for the past two years) on the BBC/NME Stage to a packed out audience. McKenna sang songs from his debut album- What Do You Think About The Car?– and jumped into the audience a few times in the set, with the first time unsuccessfully ending up in the middle of a mosh pit. McKenna laughed off forgetting the words to ‘Paracetamol’ and continued to gleefully run around the stage as the audience sang, cheered and clapped along. Declan McKenna knows how to excite an audience.

Anne-Marie might not have seemed an obvious choice for Reading Festival, but by the sheer amount of people who turned up to see the ‘Rockabye’ singer she’s clearly a popular one. The singer played a mixture of singles, including ‘Do It’ and ‘Alarm’, and lesser known songs, before ending with the hit-singles ‘Ciao Adios’ and a stunning version of Clean Bandit’s ‘Rockabye’, which she features on. The audience were in awe as she sang pitch perfect songs and as she jumped into the crowd to take selfies with the audience.

It’s been quite a year for Two Door Cinema Club. Last year they headlined the BBC/NME Stage and now they’re creeping up the Main Stage line-up, with a new album and countless tours under their belts. Two Door Cinema Club know how to put together a good setlist, which featured hit after hit and a copious amount of fan favourites. They always put on a good, feel-good show.

Bastille brought the Wild Word tour to Reading Festival, with brilliant visuals and stories of politics and life laced throughout. The band played songs spanning their back catalogue and the radio-hits from their latest album. The drumming on Pompeii was an obvious highlight, as the audience loved singing along.

British rock band You Me At Six closed the first day of the BBC/NME Stage. The set- which featured huge pyrotechnic displays- was plagued by technical difficulties, which prompted a spine-tingling acapella rendition of ‘Lover Boy’ from the album Sinners Never Sleep. The band played under a sea of mobile phone lights and lighters during ‘Take On The World’, before bringing guitar lead rock hit after hit to the Reading Stage. The band treated fans to songs from their debut album- Take Off Your Colours– ahead of its 10 year anniversary next year, with front man Josh Franceschi telling his desires of wanting to do an anniversary tour next year. The band were on top form that night.

Saturday

The not-so-secret secret act Wolf Alice played to dedicated fans and festival goers at 11:00am on Saturday morning. The set was incredibly lively with famous fans, label mates and onlookers (including The 1975’s Matty Healy and Slaves’ Isaac Holman) stood side of the stage. The band played songs from their 2015 debut album, My Love Is Cool, and showcased new songs from their forthcoming second album, Visions of a Life, including the singles ‘Yuk Foo’, ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ and ‘Don’t’ Delete The Kisses’. The atmosphere was incredible.

Blaenavon played the BBC/NME Stage early on in the day. The band brought That’s Your Lot to Reading Festival and treated the crowd to their mature, alternative music. The band played songs including ‘Orthodox Man’, ‘Let’s Pray’ and the stunning ‘Prague’ before front man Ben Gregory jumped into the crowd.

Dan Stock played on the BBC Introducing Stage. Singer songwriter Dan Stock stood solo centre stage and played as if he were playing to an arena. His lyrically clever and satisfying songs echoed that of Alex Turner and his assured stage presence commanded the respect of Jake Bugg, Declan McKenna or Liam Fray. With the aid of a band (eventually) he could become pretty huge. He’s definitely one to watch.

A couple of weeks before Superfood released their triumphant ‘comeback’ album Bambino the band played Reading Festival. The festival gave a platform for the band to showcase songs from the upcoming album, including ‘Where’s The Bass Amp?’, ‘Double Dutch’ and ‘I Can’t See’, throughout which they encouraged the audience to dance. The band also played tracks from their 2014 debut album Don’t Say That, including the song ‘Superfood’.

Ahead of their biggest UK tour to date (which features shows at London’s O2 Brixton Academy) Sundara Karma delighted the Reading audience to a spectacular homecoming show. The Reading band played a no-gimmick set filled with tracks off of their (now extended) debut album, Youth is Only Every Fun in Retrospect, which was released earlier this year. The band opened up the Main Stage at Reading Festival last year in what turned out to be a career defining performance and this felt like a triumphant progression. Sundara Karma are continuing to make waves with their effortlessly cool, alternative music and the fans sure are loving it.

Everything Everything played a lot of their new album A Fever Dream at this year’s Reading Festival. The band’s set featured heavily a lot of new tracks, including the single ‘Can’t Do’, with the odd fan favourite peppered in to the audience’s excitement. The highlight of the set was the weirdly wonderful ‘No Reptiles’, with its absurd, yet clever lyrics and infectiously catchy nature, with songs like ‘Distant Past’, ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Spring Summer Winter Dread’ also loved by the fans. It’s great to see Everything Everything back with refreshing new material though, even if it seems relatively toned down compared to what came prior to it.

Glass Animals are a band so powerful that they brought on an entire pineapple ban at this year’s festival. The Oxford band brought How To Be A Human Being to Reading with it’s chilled out, psychedelic (almost) tracks and performed in front of the world’s largest golden pineapple disco ball and a plethora of pineapples and cacti on stage. The ban on pineapples did not stop fans from smuggling the odd pineapple in, as those successful sat holding their prize goods high on top of the shoulders, commanding proud applause. The band opened up with the gloriously energetic ‘Life Itself’ and closed with the song that brought on an entire fruit ban, ‘Pork Soda’. Front man Dave Bayely even performed the entirety of ‘Gooey’, from their debut album, stood in the crowd. It was a sight to behold.

Sunday

Ten Tonnes played to a packed out tent full of festival goers on the Festival Republic Stage. The singer songwriter graduated from The BBC Introducing Stage, which he played last year, onto the Festival Republic Stage in a move that felt fitting with his growing audience. Ethan Barnett- as he’s formally known- is gathering momentum, with his catchy, easy to love, feel-good songs.

Up and coming London band King Nun played a raucous Sunday afternoon set on the Festival Republic Stage, where they showcased previously released singles including ‘Speakerface’ and ‘Tulip’. Their punk riddled indie-rock music proved popular with the young crowd who jumped, danced and moshed accordingly.

The Sherlocks returned to Reading Festival for the third year, having progressed up to the BBC/NME Stage this year. The tent was filled with fans and flares and had a similar feeling of excitement to that of a Courteeners concert. This came a week after their debut album, Live For The Moment, was released, so the band treated fans with hit after hit from the album.

Will Joseph Cook brought his gloriously, sun-kissed indie-rock tunes to a blissful Reading Festival late on a sunny Sunday afternoon. His set rivalled Giggs’ on the Main Stage- who brought pop/hip-hop sensation out Drake– and the atmosphere in the tent was chilled out in comparison. He played a whole host of songs from his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, and also treated fans to songs from his earlier EPs.

Blossoms played a tricky set before Liam Gallagher on the Main Stage. Blossoms are a band completely capable and worthy of playing huge stages, but this felt as though they were swimming against the tide, with crowds refusing to participate, Muse fans sitting about in preparation for the evening, huge lack of singing, support and engagement with the audience. The band seemed to pick up on this and it all felt a bit depleting. Having said this, the Stockport lads delivered a set full of the hits- with everyone going crazy for biggest hit ‘Charlemagne’- from their debut self-titled albums, with the usual gimmicks thrown in for good measure. I could probably recite the whole set by this point; it’s quite predictable now!

Liam Gallagher performed a gallant set on the Main Stage at Reading Festival before headliner Muse. The icon, clad in his usual green trench coat, sunglasses and iconic haircut, sang Oasis hits (including ‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Star’) and songs from his forthcoming debut album, As You Were, which is due for release in October. Gallagher ended his set with the indie classic and obvious anthem ‘Wonderwall’, which saw fans of all ages united in song. Liam actually sounded top of his game though and seemed as happy as ever.

Halsey played the BBC/NME Stage whilst her North American tour mate Charli XCX brought her iconic pop hits and bubble-gum pop to the Dance Stage. Charli XCX played surrounded by pink confetti, dancing blow up ‘people’ (I suppose) and her all-female band and brought the party to the festival. The tent overspilled with people jumping and dancing all around. Definitely a highlight.

Haim closed the BBC/NME Stage at Reading Festival with a spectacular headline set. The band’s performance was a year over-due, as they cancelled their headline slot last year due to wanting to finish up their new album, but it was definitely worth the wait. The band played hits from their first album- Days Are Gone – and their latest album, Something To Tell You. The set featured a lot of dancing, bursts of humorous chat, a bucket full of bass face and the most captivating drumming display ending. Definitely a huge highlight over the weekend.

Overall, it was another great Reading Festival and the strong line-up proves why the festival is still going so strong after so many years. The good festivals do it properly and well, setting them miles apart from the rest.

 

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Reading Festival, 25th-27th August 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 AppĂ©tit’ 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

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

May 2017- What I’m Listening To

Firstly, I’d like to open this post with something tragically sad that I wish I didn’t have to talk about- the horrific terrorist attack on Manchester Arena. The terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena happened on the 22nd May 2017, after an Ariana Grande concert, and the death toll stands at 22, with many others injured and still in hospital. The youngest victim was 9. Many parents collecting their children were injured, as well as many (young) concert goers. Ariana Grande has offered a HUGE amount of support for the victims though and even managed to arrange (or rather be the crucial figure head of) a One Love Manchester benefit concert, with some of the biggest names in the music industry, which raised millions, within weeks of the event. It didn’t stop her, which it quite easily could have. I think it’s important to talk about these sorts of things because we have to get on with our daily lives in the same ways as we did before and because they’re tragically sad and need to be talked about. What really struck me was that it was just young kids enjoying music, something which I strongly believe we should all do and expose our children to (it’s a beautiful thing). It’s the fact that these children would’ve gone to see their favourite pop star, perhaps on their own or with their wonderful families (I have so much time for parents who take their kids to see things, regardless of whether or not they actually like it), at a place where they clearly felt safe and how they were met with terror and lifelong fear. It’s the blatant attack on a culture full of compassion, love and acceptance. It really hit me when I saw Little Mix at Radio One’s Big Weekend. There were children everywhere, with their (albeit less enthusiastic) parents, singing their hearts out and dancing to their childhood heroes, the ones they look up to. It was quite magical and to think someone would go about trying to destroy the innocence of this is truly heart breaking. I hear security is being stepped up, but of course this can’t be undone. We just can’t let it stop us.

 


 

Paramore have released their new album (finally)! It’s the band’s first album since the 2013 self-titled album and since bassist Jeremy Davis’ departure and ex-drummer Zac Farro’s return. It’s a stunning blend of old and new and feels more perfected and polished than their other albums. Their genre certainty feels assured and confident. They’ve definitely matured and are undoubtably on the top of their game. The album’s called After Laughter and was released on the 12th May. I thoroughly recommend you check it out (or read my review of it here).  They’ve also announced their third ‘Parahoy’ cruise, which sets sail from the 6th to the 10th April 2018, on a cruise around the Bahamas. It’s set to be huge and they’re set to welcome some of the biggest, most exciting names in the music industry on it too.

Glastonbury Festival have announced the famous Shangri La’s 2017 line-up this month. The line up features names from Rat Boy, Napalm Death and Gentleman’s Dub Club across eight stages. The stunningly artistic, themed area (which features artwork by the likes of Stanley Donwood) has welcomed a brand new area this year- the Earache Express- which is dedicated to metal music, a first for the festival! This joins the newly added, 2016 addition, women only venue ‘The Sisterhood’ in the area. You can’t forget to mention the stunningly immersive 360 experience of the gas tower either, which features 360 degree screens around a permanent gas tower structure, where many DJs play throughout the festival, including DJ Yoda.

Glastonbury also released their full line up this month, where names like Liam Gallagher joined the bill. The festival runs from the 22nd to the 26th June 2017, at Worthy Farm, Pilton.

Haim have released their latest single, ‘Want You Back’. The single is a brilliant blend of pure pop, with hints of the classic alternative vibe that made them famous. It’s a significant follow up single and makes me eager for their new album, Something to Tell You, which is due out in July (07/07/2017).

90s band Black Grape have announced their first album in 20 years, Pop Voodoo. It was initially due for release on the 7th July, but has been pushed back due to mixing delays. The album features the newly released songs ‘Everything You Know is Wrong’ and ‘Nine Lives’. The album gets political in lyric, so is crucial to our current (volatile) political climate. It’s set to be huge.

Wolf Alice have been sending our cryptic postcards to unsuspecting fans with lyrics on the back. These mysterious ‘clues’ are hopefully an indication of new music!

Blossoms have released a huge new song with Chase and Status called ‘The Moment’. It’s a blend of Blossoms’ glorious indie-rock, with a clear Chase and Status touch. Perhaps this collaboration was unsurprising as a follow up to their 2016 collaboration with Slaves on ‘Control’.

Sundara Karma have also announced that they are re-releasing their debut album, Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, which originally came on in January this year. ‘Explore’ is the first new single to be released, joining two other new tracks on the re-release, which is out on the 7th July. I can’t wait!

Soundgarden’s front man Chris Cornell sadly died this month, at the age of 52, on the 18th May. The news is tragic, but his will undoubtedly live on.

Next mont is set to be massive. There’s Wildlife Festival, Paramore at the Royal Albert Hall and, of course, Glastonbury. There’s even a new release from the mystical Lorde. I can’t wait!

This month’s playlist features Liam Gallagher’s new single ‘Wall of Glass’, Blondie and The Courteeners, as well as Alt-J’s stunning new song ‘3WW’ (which I’ve had on repeat) and a throwback to Mystery Jet’s stunning Radlands hit ‘Greatest Hits’ (another on repeat track). There’s also Biffy Clyro, Dan Auerbach, The Kooks and The Magic Gang’s new track.

 

 

 

 

 

May 2017- What I’m Listening To

Two Door Cinema Club- Alexandra Palace (10/02/2017)

On the 10th February 2017, Two Door Cinema Club played the second of two sold out shows at London’s prestigious Alexandra Palace to top off the end of a triumphant sold out UK tour. Support for the show came from the next generation of indie-rock flag flyers, Sundara Karma (who were also on/about to start a UK tour at the time, in support of their debut album) and London exclusives Circa Waves (seemingly as ‘warm up’ shows for their upcoming UK tour in support of their upcoming album release in March). The band played songs spanning their extensive back catalogue, including many from their latest album, Gameshow.

The band played a similar setlist to that of which they’d be playing for headline sets at festivals and was, of course, fueled by fan favourites and new hits.

The band opened with ‘Cigarettes in the Theater’, from their debut album Tourist History. They quite often open with this song as it’s a good strong way to get the crowd hyped up ready for a night of class music and dancing. They followed it up with the instantly recognizable indie classic ‘What You Know’. The set was laced with those classic songs that audiences love, like ‘I Can Talk’,  ‘Sun’ and the sun-kissed ‘Something Good Can Work’. The audience went wild and the atmosphere was especially incredible because of Ally Pally’s all standing, compact, sold-out audience.

They played plenty of songs from their latest album, which was released last year. They sung the singles ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’, which excited fans new and old. They played other songs from the album, too, including ‘Gameshow’, ‘Lavender’ and ‘Ordinary’. It’s incredible finally getting to hear these songs live after their release, especially when the atmosphere’s buzzing.

Overall, the night was brilliant. The evening was laced with a killer line-up, which played host to some of the finest new and established artists in the industry, plenty of crowd singalong hits and an atmosphere you’d want to save for a rainy day. I can’t wait to see what Two Door Cinema Club do next and look forward to seeing them at many festivals this summer, including headlining Boardmasters and at Reading and Leeds.

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Two Door Cinema Club- Alexandra Palace (10/02/2017)

January 2017- What I’m Listening To

2017 is off to a fine start on the music front, with comebacks, new singles and a whole host of festival announcements.

Firstly, Bon Iver has cancelled his Winter 2017 UK and European tour due to “personal reasons”. The tour, which covered dates in Blackpool, Edinburgh and a four night stint in London, will not be rescheduled and refunds for the shows will be given. We hope to see Justin Vernon and co back in the UK soon!

Ed Sheeran has released two new singles, Shape of You and Castle On The Hill,  from forthcoming album ÷ (divide), which is due out on March 3rd. Ed Sheeran has also announced a European/UK/South American tour (spanning over four months) and is heavily rumoured to headline Glastonbury Festival in June. Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill could not be more different, and I think that’s possibly part of the reason for their success. Castle on the Hill is more chilled, alternative. It’s a beautiful little song recalling life whilst growing up and you can see it appealing to alternative/indie fans. On the other hand, Shape of You is an upbeat song which echoes previous hits like ‘Sing’ and ‘Don’t’. It’s upbeat and full of energy and has more of a dance vibe, as opposed to the chilled out pop-alternative which can be heard laced through hits like ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and the acoustic dream ‘A-Team’.  I can’t wait to hear more of the album as it is released.

Blaenavon, too, have announced details of the release of their debut album, entitled That’s Your Lot, which is due for release on April 7th. They have also shared their brilliant new single ‘Orthodox Man’, which I haven’t been able to get out of my head since first hearing it. It’s one of those songs you want to have on repeat. I can’t wait for the 59-minute-long album and it’s one of my most highly anticipated albums of the year so far. I love Blaenavon and think they’re wholly underappreciated. Their music is timelessly classic, utterly stunning and something you should dedicate time to falling in love with (oh, and lead singer Ben Gregory has the greatest monobrow going). They’ve also announced a March UK tour covering dates in Southampton, London and Brighton.

The Brits announced their nominations in January with artists like the brilliant Blossoms, Christine and the Queens and The 1975 all up for awards. It has been announced that artists like The 1975 and Little Mix will perform at the ceremony, which is due to happen in Feburary. I’m so pleased that huge grime artists like Skepta have been nominated too, especially after the award company coming under fire for their lack of diversity in previous years. These artists join the first 2017 Brits winner, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, who has already been announced as the Brits Critics Choice artist.

Boardmasters festival have announced their first wave of artists. The festival have announced all three headliners and a whole host of brilliant artists and bands. The three headliners are Two Door Cinema Club, Jamiroquai and Alt-J. Other artists performing include Slaves and Jake Bugg. The festival is held from Wednesday 9th- Sunday 13th August, in Cornwall.

Rudimental and Disclosure’s Wildlife festival is set to return to Shoreham airport for another year. The festival will be held on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th June, having moved to Friday to allow for longer event times. The first wave of acts sees artists like Jess Glynne and Fatboy Slim announced, with other artists like Brighton’s own Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and George Ezra. I can’t wait!

TRNSMT Festival have pulled out the most impressive festival line up of the season so far. The new event, which is held in Glasgow, will be held from the 7th-9th July, as a temporary replacement for T in the Park, which announced last year that they were not returning this year following teething problems over the last few years at their new site in. The festival will be headlined by Radiohead, Kasabian and Scotland’s own Biffy Clyro. The weekend will see artists like Catfish and the Bottlemen, “Special Guests” The 1975, George Ezra, Circa Waves and Blossoms all take to the stage. There is no overnight camping, however.

January really was the month of festival announcements! Manchester’s Parklife Festival announced that The 1975 and Frank Ocean will headline the two day event, which runs from the 10th to the 11th June. Two Door Cinema Club, Jess Glynne, George Ezra and Boy Better Know will all be performing too (as well as many others).

Oh, and Zac Farro is back in Paramore! Horray!

This month Declan McKenna released the brilliant single “Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home” and Sundara Karma released the most stunning debut album, which I reviewed here.

This month I’ve been listening to a lot of Sundara Karma’s brilliant new album, Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect, Declan McKenna and The Stone Roses. I’ve also listened to a lot of The XX’s new album, I See You, which was released this month too.

Next month I look forward to seeing Two Door Cinema Club (with Sundara Karma and Circa Waves) and VANT, ahead of the release of their debut album, Dumb Blood.

 

 

 

 

January 2017- What I’m Listening To

Sundara Karma-Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect (Album Review)

Sundara Karma finally released their stunning debut album on the 6th January 2017. It features singles such as ‘Flame’ and ‘She Said’. It’s been a long time coming and it was definitely worth the wait.

The album opens up with the huge ‘A Young Understanding’, which fades perfectly into ‘Loveblood’. The album is laced with songs that they’ve been playing for the last few years, such as the anthemic ‘Flame’ and catchy ‘Vivienne’, yet it’s peppered with infectious new tracks, such as the beauty that is ‘Happy Family.

‘Happy Family’ is a beautiful 6 minute long song, which starts off stripped back with a simple upbeat guitar riff that runs throughout. Oscar Pollock’s (lead singer) vocals have a haunting echo. It gradually builds with drums, hand claps and more pronounced electric guitar. It’s one of the stronger songs on the album.

‘She Said’ is sheer, glorified, unapologetic classic indie. It’s a song you can imagine being sung for many years to come to arena audiences and large festival crowds. The same can be said for many of the songs on the album, such as ‘Olympia’ and the strong closing track, ‘The Night’, which seems an obvious closing track. It leaves a good lasting impression.

Overall, the album is a triumphant success. It’s an album that can stand the test of time and I think it’s blend of classic genre-defining songs with refreshing unique twists is something that will appeal to the masses. Their sun-kissed indie-rock is something I can see taking their music to area audiences and they’d definitely be deserving of it.

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Sundara Karma-Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect (Album Review)