April 2017- What I’m Listening To

April was full of music surprises all set for summer.

George Ezra’s been popping up on festival annoucements ever since they’ve started releasing them late last year and he’s finally announced a UK tour, but shhhh it’s a secret. The nine night tour, which spans across late May and early June, visits some of the UK’s most obscure, intimate venues, with dates in places¬†such as Exeter, Barnstaple and Bath. The tour’s fully sold out now, but I’m sure it’ll be brilliant.

The Kooks played two very intimate shows in Brighton on the 8th April 2017, ahead of their sold out UK “best of” tour (in support of their upcoming greatest hits album). The band played two sold out shows: a matinee show at The Prince Albert (under 14s) at 1pm and a later show at The Haunt at 7:30pm. Tickets were made exclusively available from Resident Records, in Brighton, on the morning of the concerts, for ¬£11. Brighton is deemed the home for the Kooks, with the band forming there over ten years ago. Three of the four members attended BIMM Brighton. The shows were huge and a great way to start a month of touring across the UK and Europe.

America’s prestigious Coachella Festival took place from the 14th to the 16th April 2017 and a week later from the 21st to the 23rd April 2017. It was headlined by Radiohead (who struggled to overcome technical issues during their set), Lady Gaga (who replaced pregnant Beyonce, who has been confirmed for next year) and Kendrick Lamar. Artists, such as Lorde, Bon Iver and The XX, played to huge crowds across the weekend. I managed to catch some of Blossoms’ set via the Coachella live stream YouTube page, on weekend one. Their set was impressively brilliant from the Stockport lads, who dazzled a transatlantic audience. It’s strange to see Blossoms play to smaller audiences, having seen them sell out UK tours and play to big festival audiences, but it’s brilliant to see a band as good as Blossoms getting global recognition.

The news we’ve all been waiting for is finally here… Declan McKenna is set to release his debut album- called What Do You Think About The Car? –¬†which is set for release on the 21st July. The album is set to feature some of McKenna’s finest songs so far, including 2014’s ‘Brazil’, latest single ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ and ‘Isombard’, as well as some brand new tracks. This could potentially be one of the year’s biggest records and I can’t wait to hear it. McKenna sets off on another UK tour in May, before playing a whole host of festivals.

Royal Blood have released details of their second album, How Did We Get So Dark?, which is due out on the 16th June 2017. The Brighton duo also premiered lead single ‘Lights Out’ this month.

Paramore have finally released details of their fifth album, After Laughter, which is set for release on the 12th May. The band announced lead single ‘Hard Times’ (which is heavily 80s influenced and a bold new direction for the band, which feels like a more mature, developed version of parts of 2013’s Paramore), closely followed by the release of another new song, ‘Told You So’, as well as details of a (now sold-out) June 2017 UK tour-¬†Tour One-¬†with the album details. The band’s new line up consists of Hayley Williams, Taylor York and rejoined member Zac Farro, having lost bassist Jeremy Davis in December 2015. I can’t wait for this release. Paramore are still one of my favourite bands ever and I love how their style constantly evolves into something more sophisticated than the albums that come before it.

The Sherlocks, too, are finally set to release their debut album, ¬†Live For The Moment, on the 18th August 2017. The Sherlocks are a band who I’ve been following for the last couple of years now, so this new has been a long time coming. The Manchester band featured on my list of bands to look out for in 2016¬†and I think it’s finally their time to shine.

Haim are back with the brilliant new song ‘Want You Back’. It’s chilled out and feels very summery and I think it’ll be a staple of festival season 2017. It’s nice to have the Haim sisters back again finally; it’s been a while!

The prestigious Ivor Novello Award nominations were announced in April. It’s an award ceremony which focuses on songwriting and has seen nominations for artists and writers including Blaine Harrison and Henry Harrison (Mystery Jets- ‘Telomere’), Adele Adkins and Tobias Jesso Jr (Adele- ‘When We Were Young’) and Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin (Coldplay- ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ and ‘Adventure of a Life

Reading Festival released a mammoth line up update early this month. Artists such as Liam Gallagher, VANT, Blaenavon and Declan McKenna being added to the already brilliant line up. The festival is shaping up nicely and I can’t wait to be back at the Festival in August. The event is being headlined by Kasabian, Eminem and Muse and runs from the 25th-27th August 2017, which is, as always, bank holiday weekend.

Glastonbury continued to make line up announcements throughout April. Arguably most notably, the festival has announced the Field of Avalon Stage line up, with artists such as Busted, Birdy and Scouting For Girls being added to the already star studded bill. As well as this, Josh Barry won this year’s Emerging Talent Competition and will also perform at the festival. He beat a whole host of brilliant up and coming, unsigned artists, including Lucas & King, Silences and Young Yizzy. Previous winners of the competition include the incredible Declan McKenna. The event, which runs from the 22nd to 26th June, is headlined by Radiohead, the Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran.

Latitude Festival made another huge announcement this month. The bumper announcement includes artists including Mystery Jets, The Coral, Leon Bridges and Jesus Mary Chain.¬†Katherine Jenkins is also set to perform a special lakeside performance on the Sunday and it’s set to be magical. The festival is held between the 13th and 16th of July, in Suffolk, and is headlined by The 1975, Mumford and Sons and Fleet Foxes, .

In other festival news, Radio 1’s Big Weekend- which is due to be held in Hull on Saturday 27th May and Sunday 28th May-¬†has released its full two day line up. The event is being headlined by Katy Perry and Kings of Leon, with Plan B and Royal Blood set to headline the ‘Where it Begins’ Stage respectively. Artists including Biffy Clyro, Kasabian, Blossoms, The Amazons, You Me At Six, Lorde, Two Door Cinema Club and Alt-J have also been announced to play the event.

Record Store Day 2017 was held on the 22nd April internationally. The annual event saw thousands of music fans scramble for limited edition records by the likes of Bastille, David Bowie and Blossoms. However, as frequently seen in the music industry, limited edition records- once sold out in stores- were appearing across the internet for a grossly heightened price. The day was overall a triumphant success though.

In other news, The 1975 are set to release their third album entitled¬†Music For Cars¬†at some point in 2018. That’s something to look forward to.

This month I have been listening to a lot of Alt-J (because I have been doing a lot of A-Level coursework and Alt-J is perfectly ambient, especially good for revising), Tom Grennan (who is definitely someone to look out for because he’s brilliant), Paramore, Rat Boy (‘Revolution’ is their best yet) and I’ve been rediscovering Wolf Alice and Gorillaz. Pale Waves and The Night Caf√© are two to keep an eye on too.

Next month is a month full of releases, from Paramore to The Amazons. I’m also off to see The Kooks and to Radio 1’s Big Weekend, in Hull. It should be great.

 

 

 

April 2017- What I’m Listening To

FEBRUARY 2017 WHAT I’M LISTENING TO

February saw the continued festival announcements and there were plenty to keep you busy. With announcements from festivals, such as Victorious Festival (Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th August, Portsmouth, headlined by Madness, Stereophonics and Elbow, with the likes of Slaves, Jake Bugg and Sundara Karma announced so far), Parklife Festival (10th and 11th June, Manchester, headlined by The 1975 and Frank Ocean, with artists like George Ezra and Two Door Cinema Club also announced to play), Festival No. 6 (September 7th- 10th, Portmeirion, headlined by Bloc Party, Mogwai and The Flaming Lips, with artists like Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Kate Tempest and Charlotte Church announced to play)¬†and Boardmasters (August 9th-13th, Cornwall, headlined by Two Door Cinema Club, Jamiroquai and Alt-J, with artists like The Vaccines, Kate Nash and Frank Turner recently added) just a few of the month’s announcements.

Now sold out Truck Festival unveiled their 20th anniversary celebration lineup, which announced The Libertines, The Vaccines and Franz Ferdinand¬†to headline. The festival takes place from 21st- 23rd July and is set to play host to a whole host of brilliant artists, such as The Wombats, Sundara Karma, VANT and Twin Atlantic. Clearly, it’s the place to be this summer for up and coming artists.

Glastonbury have announced the Foo Fighters as their Saturday night headliners, which has been highly anticipated. The band were due to headline in 2015, but pulled out¬†as lead singer Dave Ghrol suffered a leg injury before the event (they were, however, replaced by the phenomenal Florence and the Machine). The band announced their prestigious headline slot by playing a secret set in Frome, Somerset. Tickets were sent out exclusively to fans via boarding passes. Their headline set is set to be a spectacle and I can’t wait.

The line-up for Community Festival was released in February and it looks insane. Community Festival is a day festival held at London’s Finsbury Park on July 1st, which, boasted by its website, is a “one day celebration of the best in new music”. The event is headlined by Catfish and the Bottlemen, with artists like The Wombats, Slaves, Nothing But Thieves, The Hunna and Fickle Friends announced to play the ¬£40 festival- a bargain!

Bestival has announced that they’re having a change of site in 2017. The festival is moving from the Isle of Wight to Dorset! The festival is being played in September by artists such as The XX and Jamie T.

Imagine Dragons have teased the follow up to 2015’s Smoke and Mirrors,¬†with new single “Believer”. It remains in a similar vein to their old material. It’s got their iconic heavy use of drum, catchy lyrics that warrant area/festival crowds chanting and it’s no doubt a brilliant comeback from the Las Vegas band.

The Amazons released their new single ‘Black Magic’ in anticipation from their debut album release, which is due this year. It’s a huge, guitar laced track and hopefully an indicator of what’s to come- it’s brilliant. The Amazons are destined to be huge. They’ve recently toured Europe with You Me At Six and set out on UK tour in April.

All Time Low are set to release a new album, the first since 2015’s Future Hearts, called Last Young Renegade. It’s the first album they’ll have released on their new record label, Fueled By Ramen, who support huge artists like Paramore and Panic! At The Disco. ¬†The band have released the lead single from the record, entitled Dirty Laundry, ahead of their UK tour next month.

18-year-old indie-rock master Declan McKenna released his latest single- ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’- this month. It’s a brilliant song, which you won’t be able to get out of your head. Declan McKenna keeps bringing out absolute bangers, and this one is no different. McKenna speaks for a lot of young people and, with bands like VANT, are hugely necessary in today’s world. The lyrics, again, are politically laced and set off by an chilled out indie-rock tune. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

The dreamy Will Joseph Cook has announced details of his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, which is due to be released on April 14th this year, on Atlantic Records. The 12 track album features the singles ‘Take Me Dancing’, title track ‘Sweet Dreamer’ and ‘Girls Like Me’. It’s set to be huge.

From one debut album announcement to another… Clean Cut kid are finally releasing their debut album! The album is called FELT¬†and is due for release on the 28th April. The album will feature all their previous hits (I hope) and is set to be a success (they deserve it). The band are off on a UK tour in April/May and are set to support The Kooks with Fickle Friends on their May UK tour, which features a sold out night at Alexandra Palace.

The 1975 released a charity single, in support of children’s charity War Child,¬†ahead of their charity concert in London, for Brits week. The song ‘By Your Side’- a cover version of a song by Sade- is a slight change of direction from the band, yet it’s exciting to hear new music from the Manchester band.

This year’s Grammy awards took place and saw records taken home by the likes of Beyonc√©, Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and The Chainsmokers. Adele won plenty of awards (obviously) and took away the prestigious ‘record of the year’ award, beating Beyonc√©’s Formation.¬†Adele did, however, snap her award in half giving half to Beyonc√©. Standard.

This year’s Brit Awards took place at The O2 Arena, London. The awards ceremony saw performances from The 1975, Emeli Sande, Ed Sheeran (with special guest Stormzy), Little Mix and Katy Perry (with dancing houses and giant Trump/May puppets, no less) amongst others. Awards were won by the likes of Bowie, Emeli¬†Sande and Little Mix. The 1975 won ‘Best Group’, which was very exciting, and Blossoms were beaten by Critic’s Choice Award winner Rag ‘N’ Bone Man to the prestigious ‘Best British Breakthrough Artist’ award. Robbie Williams was honoured at the ceremony and celebrated with a shocking, yet memorable performances.

Next month I look forward to seeing Blossoms and Circa Waves, as well as Circa Waves’s new album.

This month I have been obsessed with Blaenavon’s ‘Orthodox Man’ because it’s absolutely brilliant (a real masterpiece). The playlist also features Ed Sheeran, Pulp, the Happy Mondays and King No-One.

FEBRUARY 2017 WHAT I’M LISTENING TO

The 1975- The O2 Arena (16/12/2016)

“I’ve always wanted to say this… Good evening the O2” frontman Matty Healy speaks for the first time on stage, almost breathlessly, between ‘Heart Out’ and ‘Change of Heart’, as the band settle comfortably into the second sold out night at London’s O2 Arena. The Manchester lads appear on stage, suit clad, and perform an effortlessly brilliant and stunningly beautiful two hour set to a packed out arena.

The 1975 played the second of two sold out shows at London’s prestigious O2 Arena on their latest sold out UK arena tour. The Friday night show (this one) was the first of the two shows (and whole tour) to be announced and fully sold out in minutes. These shows are the band’s biggest shows to date and they were again accompanied by label mates The Japanese House. This UK tour tops off a massive year for the band featuring two UK tours (including three sold out shows at Brixton Academy and two sold out shows at the O2 Arena), a stunning number 1 album, a Mercury Prize nomination and plenty of festival sets. They’ve toured almost non-stop for the last year and it has been a rollercoaster ride.

The band played for nearly two whole hours and played songs which spanned across both albums and also previous EPs. Songs like ‘A Change of Heart’ bled seamlessly into songs like ‘Robbers’, whilst the set was sewn together by breathtaking instrumentals, talking and interludes, such as ‘Please Be Naked’ and ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’, from the latest album of the same name. ¬†The band’s song ‘Milk’ (a hidden track from the ‘Sex’ EP, which can be found at the end of ‘You’, if you’re willing to wait long enough) ¬†was played for the first time in the UK on this tour since 2014, due to fan demand, too.

“It’s been a mental year, hasn’t it?” Matty Healy asks the crowd between ‘Milk’ and ‘Loving Someone’, in reflection of their own year and also 2016 collectively. Matty Healy is known for his onstage speeches (I’m reluctant to in any way call them rants or preaches) and tonight’s speech seemed relevant and, almost, too real. I saw the band play Glastonbury the day after the Brexit vote had been announced where Matty spoke, before ‘Loving Someone’, about the lack of compassion outside of Glastonbury and wanting to encapsulate Glasto spirit and ethos and put it into everyone and everyday life and Matty’s words resonated with me. For some reason tonight’s words had the same effect. People listen to him.

“I’m not here to talk about politics. We’re not here to think about politics. We’re here for a release…” Matty opened “it’s not about fuck Donald Trump that’s the thing…We see loads of young, liberal, compassionate people every night, so this is like our world. This is the world that we see. So when things go at odds of that it’s really confusing and… it makes you really angry and the thing is I know it’s very sad to see all these young voices of progression and change being drowned out¬†by regressive, ideals and bullshit- it’s very sad- and it appears to be paradigms of race and it is about that and it is about gender and it is about age and it is about sexuality, but it’s also about a lot ¬†of those that voted against what we stand for… They feel so, so disenfranchised¬†by both sides of political systems that that felt like the right thing to do, so if we’re young, right, and we’re liberal and we’re compassionate and we’re Muslim and we’re black and we’re gay and we’re whatever, if we are that then it’s out responsibility to be compassionate and to listen to everybody, listen to their concerns and move things forward… and you are our people and we love you so fucking much you have no idea… This song is about loving someone.”

The band played ‘Loving Someone’ under a stage lit with rainbow colours, to symbolise the ‘pride’ flag. This, along with the speech, gave the song a special and important message, hidden within the lyrics. It’s one of the best, stand out songs on the album (if not the year), one which I like very much. It’s lyrics are witty and clever, but resonate. It’s almost a protest song, but one of and for peace.

The band played ‘FallingForYou’, but asked for fans to put down their phones and watch it with their eyes and in the moment, as opposed to on a screen. The band feel as though they’re simultaneously battling against modern life, but aiding it and supporting it perhaps more than all. There’s a definite feeling of wanting people to live in the moment and experience things, but also a ‘change the world’, ‘spread the word’ sort of message. It’s empowering. The arena was lit only by the stage lights and there was not a phone light in sight. This was amazing. A couple got engaged at the end of the song, too, and Matty Healy was one of the first to congratulate them- “good song choice, mate. Nice”- before trying (and failing) to get them on stage and ending up in the crowd for a selfie.

The band played a four song encore of ‘Medicine’, ‘If I Believe’, ¬†‘Chocolate’ and ‘The Sound’. During ‘Medicine’ the area was lit by lighters and phone torches. It was incredible and visually stunning to see the area lit up this way, as many looked around in awe. It felt intimate. However, ‘The Sound’ was the highlight of the set for me. A song destined for areas. The whole of The O2 Area was jumping with the band as they played for the last time leaving the audience on a high. It was a buzz which took days to shake- not that I had any interest in shaking it- and it was easily one of the best concerts I’ve been to this year.

The 1975’s stage design and craft were brilliant, too. The band’s¬†lit screens were the continuing focal point of the performance. The columns and accompanying screens changed colour sympathetically with the songs, as they have done on previous tours. However, this time The 1975 had light beams and screens either side of the stage so that fans at the back could see because the place was well and truly packed (right up to the top). The set was not just audibly pleasing, it was aesthetically pleasing too and created this immersive experience.

There’s something special in the community spirit of a show by The 1975. Something quite poignant and almost tragic, yet everyone’s brought together by the same thing. Take ‘Robbers’ for example where everyone joins in, without Matty Healy saying anything, by saying “Now everybody’s dead” or, similarly, in ‘FallingForYou’ where the whole crowd collectively sing “I don’t wanna be your friend I wanna kiss your neck”. Each song means something different to everyone and yet everyone is there together not only to celebrate The 1975’s music, something which everyone has in common, but also for their own personal reasons. It’s hard to stay objective about this.

What this show affirmed was The 1975 are made for arenas. They’re an arena band. I saw them play shows at the O2 Kentish Town Forum and at Brixton’s O2 Academy this year and, yes, they were good, but something about them makes them so fascinating on this huge platform. They almost need that. They’re a huge band, arguably one of the biggest, most current bands, and there’s more to it than just good songs. They crave the atmosphere of a huge arena.

Interestingly, The 1975 had been gradually deteriorating throughout the year (in my eyes). I’ve seen them six times this year- which is mad in itself- and each time has been very different. The first time I saw them this year was the first time they had played live since the album had been released at The O2 Kentish Town Forum for a BBC event. They were back and on top form and on their way to another number one album, which had been brilliantly recieved. This, however, slipped over the next few months, where I saw the band play at Radio One’s Big Weekend. The performance was upsettingly awful, somewhat cringe worthy and very embarrassing. In fact, I’d rather not have seen it. It ruined the ideals I had surrounding the band, although they’re only human. They were exhausted, Matty wasn’t allowed to drink or smoke on stage and was very angry, they were a drummer down (George Daniel had dislocated his shoulder) and were given a half hour set paralleling Stormzy, which was mostly spent with Matty mouthing off BBC staff and the institution about the smoking/drinking rules. At this point, I questioned whether the band (or Matty) would make it to the end of the year. Their set at Glastonbury totally redeemed this though and their BBC Radio 1/NME Stage headline performance at Reading Festival further confirmed their triumphant uprising. Their O2 Arena set, however, was unlike anything I’d ever seen them do before. It was stunningly breathtaking. Phenomenal. Matty Healy was on top form and any doubts I’d ever had had gone. They were truly brilliant. I hope this continues and I hope that they have a good break before releasing another album because they’re clearly exhausted. It’s been a year since I saw them play at The Brighton Centre and to go from The Brighton Centre to The O2 in a year is a huge step, but a necessary one. They can do it and they can probably do it better than anyone at the moment.

What’s next for The 1975? I don’t know. World domination, probably. Festival headline slots? Almost definitely. Watch this space. The 1975 aren’t done yet. They’re only just getting started.

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The 1975- The O2 Arena (16/12/2016)

Reading Festival 2016 Review

Reading festival 2016 took place from the 26th-29th August 2016. If you’ve not been to Reading before, Reading festival is a festival twinned with Leeds Festival ¬†(in… well… Leeds) and they share the same star-studded line up.¬†Reading and Leeds festival are festivals commonly associated young people, many of whom will have picked up their GCSE results the day before the music kicked off. This being said, there are still many people of all ages there (and I’m still not convinced people don’t bring their kids just to pick up used cups for a bit of cash), especially on the days where they pull in big classic headliners, this year’s being Red Hot Chilli Peppers and 2015’s being Metallica. This was my third Reading festival, but my first time camping and with my friends.

Whilst this year’s line up may have been sightly lack lustre and some of it seemed a bit odd to me, the weekend didn’t fail to impress, as always. The festival was headlined, or rather co-headlined, by Disclosure and Foals (Friday), Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Saturday) and Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro (Sunday). Other artists across the weekend included The 1975, Imagine Dragons, Jack Garratt and Blossoms.

Friday 26th August

The Wholls played their debut Reading Festival set on the BBC Introducing Stage early on Friday afternoon. The Bedford band “rolled out”, if you pardon the pun, to a large, inquisitive crowd, all eager and hungry for new music, under the beaming sun. The band played a short set, but attracted a large crowd. They played many a guitar laced rock song, including “Angry Faces” and the huge “X21”. I’ve been following the band for a while now and can’t believe they’re not bigger! With a true rockstar finish, a guitar was handed out into the crowd along with a few t-shirts. Keep tabs on The Wholls; they’ve not even started yet, but they’re about to grab your attention.

Manchester’s latest rising stars The Sherlocks once again dazzled a large Festival Republic Stage crowd. Following the success of last year and promising what was going to be a “special” show for the band, The Sherlocks played an energetic, optimistic set which proved their exciting future. The band played songs such as “Escapade” and “Live For The Moment” whilst fans sang, bounced and danced along. This set was special, as with their 2015 set, and will go on to define and shape their bright futures. The Sherlocks are a band not to be missed- and they’re currently on their UK tour, too.

Chvrches returned to Reading and Leeds following a triumphant set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage in 2014, but this time they played on the main stage. Any band who dedicates a song to Harambe (“RIP Harambe”, Martin Doherty announced before playing “Under The Tide”) deserves a mention if I’m honest. The band played a significant set, which could see them progress to headliner status in no time. The band played a crowd pleasing selection of songs, new and old, from their two albums (2015’s “Every Open Eye” and 2013’s “The Bones of What You Believe”). The distinct lack of collaborator Hayley Williams on “Bury It” was not to be looked down on as the band managed to pull of an ambitious set in front and seemed the perfect transition into co-headliner Disclosure’s set.

I used to have a love/hate relationship with Twenty One Pilots, but after their Reading Festival set they have well and truly won me over. Throughout the day everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) had been gushing over how brilliant Twenty One Pilots are and how good they’d be later on in the day (many people came solely to see them). I must admit, I was originally skeptical. The tent was overflowing with fans who couldn’t squeeze themselves in and I ended up watching most of it from the screen outside of the NME/BBC Radio 1 tent as there was no way I could fit inside. The set was nothing but captivating. For starters, I’ve never seen a man with a drum kit crowd surfing, nor have I ever seen someone finish a show (albeit abruptly… there’s a lot of conspiracy about what happened when Josh (drummer) crowd surfed during the show) on top of a huge pole thing and I’ve only once before (A Day To Remember 2014, incidentally at Reading Festival too) seen someone sing whilst “zorbing”, too… It was genuinely fascinating to watch and they had a¬†non-pretentious showmanship about them. The band played a hit filled set, which was filled from songs from their two albums (2015’s “Blurry Face” and 2013’s “Vessel”). They played songs, such as “Heathens”, “Car Radio” and “Stressed Out” (although many did leave after they played Stressed Out). ¬†Given a few years and seeing their popularity rocket, I wouldn’t be surprised if Twenty One Pilots were headlining in the future, but for now you can catch them play two huge shows at London’s Alexandra Palace later on in the year.

The main stage was closed by Oxford math rockers Foals. The band played a huge headline set which proved the band’s headliner status. Foals are a band who deserve all the success they get; they put on good, entertaining shows, play catchy up beat songs and are so easy to listen to that anyone could listen and enjoy. The band played many songs from their vast back catalogue, but, again, the highlight of their set was “My Number”. The set was not without its long deep-cut songs, such as “Knife in the Ocean”, and it’s old classic. The band reminisced with “Cassius” from their first album, “Antidotes”, which they haven’t played for a number of years, during the encore. The encore was short and consisted of recent hit “What Went Down”, “Cassius” and, as always, “Two Steps, Twice”, where the band were joined by co-headliner Disclosure. It was a pretty special set. I’ve been so excited to see Foals conquer the main stage at Reading as it’s time we found the next generation of headliners.

Saturday 27th August

Reading’s own Sundara Karma opened up the Reading Festival main stage on Saturday morning, a huge leap from their Sunday morning Festival Republic Stage set last year. Sundara Karma are a band full of huge potential and a band I’ve loved for a good year now, so I’d been very excited about seeing the band play again. Prior to the show temporary Sundara Karma logo tattoos were handed out to fans at the front and many were seen dotted about across the day. The crowd were enthusiastic, despite the rain and early morning start, and many mosh pits were formed throughout (whether or not you can mosh to Sundara Karma is debatable, but everyone was enjoying themselves so). The band played a selection of new songs from their upcoming debut album, including new single “She Said”, as well as previously released hits, such as “Flame”, “Loveblood” and “Indigo Puff”. The band are due to release their debut album, “Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect”, in January.

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man is another of the George Ezra kind- what you hear and what you see is not what you first imagined, but it’s better than you could ever have guessed. My mum called me down to ask me who sang a theme tune song off of a programme not so long ago and it happened to be Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, so I felt I had to go and give him a watch. His voice is powerful and booming. It’s distinctive and unique, in a good way. I love the way he sings and how success close he is to success. The highlight of the set for me, though, was “Humans”, a song you should definitely have a listen to, if you haven’t done already. ¬†“Hell yeah!” he managed to get the crowd to yell and “hell yeah” the set was good.

Ahhhh Blossoms, what would a 2016 festival be without them? It was a big weekend for Blossoms. The band played a brilliant little set on the BBC Introducing stage on Friday afternoon and I met them on the Saturday morning in the BBC Radio 1 signing tent and they managed to pull of a faultless Saturday afternoon set on the large NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage, a huge step up from the BBC Introducing stage they played last year. The band played a set full of songs off of their UK Number 1 debut album, “Blossoms”, including “Honey Sweet”, “Blow” and “Blown Rose”. Tom Ogden (lead singer) played a solo acoustic version of the stripped back “My Favourite Room” and dedicated it to a dumped fan and her ex-boyfriend in the crowd. He was engaging, sweet and comical. The band dedicated their, arguably largest, hit “Charlemagne” to their close friends and tour mates Viola Beach and their manager Craig Tarry, who were tragically killed in a car accident earlier this year. The band managed to get everyone to sit down before Charlemagne and jump up after the tune kicked in. Blossoms are on their way to something big, like a huge main stage performance, so keep a look out for the Stockport lads- they’re everywhere.

The Courteeners¬†played a hit filled set under a ¬†sea of colourful smoke flare mist on Saturday afternoon, on the main stage. The band sang songs off of their upcoming album, “Mapping The Rendezvous”, including the first released song from the album, “The 17th”. The set was energetic and engaged with the eager fans, many of whom had been anticipating their performance (judging by the many, many fans with Fallowfield Hillbilly shirts about- “Can you play guitar, my boy? Can you fuck?”). The band played songs from their large four album back catalogue (excluding the latest, unreleased album), including the incredible “Not Nineteen Forever”, which was easily the highlight of my weekend. It’s a song which I love so much, and so did most of the crowd, and the song that got me in to the Courteeners and so it was a pleasure to have caught it! The band are playing on a UK tour in November, in support of “Mapping The Rendezvous”, which is out on October 21st.

I saw Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons at Reading Festival in 2014 and swore down it was one of the most fascinating and captivating performances I’ve ever seen in my life. They had drums, beaming sun and an adored selection of songs from their debut album, “Night Visions”. The same, err, couldn’t be said for their performance at the O2 in November last year, which was easily the most dire thing I’d ever seen (and not because of the band, who were still brilliant). I don’t know why, but Imagine Dragons are a band who just work¬†on festival stages, with the outdoor setting only complementing them. They thrive on the energy and enthusiasm of youth and manage to pull off incredible, fascinating performances consistently. The band played for the festival in the UK as a one off, in support of last year’s album, “Smoke and Mirrors”. The band managed to intertwine hits off of both albums to create a set to please fans both new and old. With a cover of Blur’s “Song 2”, Dan Reynolds (lead singer) singing from within the crowd and a lengthy guitar solo from lead guitarist Wayne Sermon (whose real name is Daniel… The third Daniel in the band), the band ended with a stunning performance of, arguably their biggest hit, “Radioactive”. The song was laced with booming drums and a chorus of people singing along to a song that many love a lot. ¬†Whilst it didn’t top their 2014 performance for me, they sure played a memorable set which was loved and enjoyed by all in attendance.

Two Door Cinema Club are back. The band are due to release a new album, “Gameshow”, in October and played Reading and Leeds in anticipation of its release. The set follows a summer of festivals, including Glastonbury earlier in the year. The set was built around the band’s popular back catalogue, with huge hits, like “Something Good Can Work” (a song which holds many memories for me of being about 12 and shopping in Hollister), “Sun”, “We Can Talk” and “Undercover Martyn”, being played. The set was impressive and had interesting visuals on screens behind the band. It was amazing hearing some of their big songs played, but it was also good to hear songs off of their new album, including the brilliant “Bad Decisions” and latest single “Are We Ready? (Wreck)”. Their NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage headline set proved the bands popularity and potential and I’m sure they’ll be back to play the main stage once again soon.

Sunday 28th August

Spring king played a raucous set on the NME/BBC Radio 1 Stage on the Sunday afternoon. The band played songs from their debut album, “Tell Me If You Like To”. I love their live set up. For a starter, the lead singer,¬†Tarek Musa, is also the drummer, which I find fascinating. The set was energetic and wild and the tent was packed out (and not because it was raining outside). The Manchester lads played songs such as “The Summer” and “Detroit”. They managed to get the crowd to sing “who are you?” along to the song of the same name and then ended the set with the popular “Rectifier”, which was met with applause. The band’s set cemented their place at the festival and welcomed them onto the larger stage, having played the Festival Republic stage last year.

Again, what would a festival be without Rat Boy? Jordan Cardy and his band mates pop up everywhere! The band played many a song off of multiple mix tapes and in the light of their future debut album, “Scum”, which is, hopefully, to be released early next year. The set was wild, hot and sweaty. The band, all bar Cardy himself, came on in masks of themselves, as seen on their Spring/Summer 2016 tour, along with a person dressed in a red boiler suit and a Rat Boy logo (I suppose)/Cardy creation yellow mask, who ran up and down the front of the stage and into the crowd multiple times in the set, like their own personal hype man. The set was full of crowd surfing, mosh pits, set climbing (and subsequent hand cutting) and jumping. The band played songs such as “Left 4 Dead”, “Fake ID” and “Sign On”, as well as their latest, recently released single, “Get Over It”. Rat Boy never fails to impress crowds with his antics- he even got the crowd to sit down (which they “did at Boardmasters”) and jump up at one point. I think they’ll keep going and going and I anticipate seeing them slay the 2017 festival scene once again.

Everyone loves The Vaccines, or so it seems every time I see them play live. Everyone knows The Vaccines; they’re pioneers of songs you know but can’t place just how and have been around for what feels like forever, or at least that’s what they mean for me. Their Main Stage set was busy, full of sing-a-long classics and thrilling from start to finish (although you wouldn’t have thought Justin Young (lead singer) thought so). They’re a band who can put together killer set lists and please fans of all ages. The band played songs from each of their three albums, including “Post Break-Up Sex”, “Teenage Icon” and “Melody Calling”. The highlight of the set was seeing so many people, old and young, dancing to “If You Wanna” at the end of the set, along with “Norgaard”. Easily one of the best acts of the weekend.

The Wombats¬†are another band that you probably just know and don’t know how. They constantly create relatable songs filled with teenage heart ache, jaded youth and clumsy tales. ¬†They’re, again, a band who hold a special place in my heart as they were one of the first “indie” bands I really got in to. In a weird turn of events, I managed to watch the set by myself and I can’t stress how amazing the experience was (watching one of your favourite bands by yourself and singing and dancing as recklessly as imaginable with no fear of real judgement is incredible). The band played songs from each of their three albums and played to a packed tent- a step up from last years very sweaty Festival Republic Stage headline set. The band played songs such as “Give Me A Try”, “Moving To New York” and “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)”. “Jesus… and the Mary Chain” muttered the band as they realised the scale of which they were playing and how “insane” it was. The band closed with “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”, a song which holds many memories to many people. I can’t wait for The Wombats to be back properly again. I miss The Wombats.

The 1975¬†have been building up to their Reading and Leeds sets for a good while now. The band have played many festivals this summer and promised their Reading and Leeds sets would be something special, and they were. Matty Healy (lead singer) was sounding the best I had seen for a while and sang often with cigarette in hand, obviously. I can’t help but love and be fascinated by Healy every time I see him. ¬†The first time I saw The 1975 play was at Reading Festival in 2014, where I was converted to being a fan of the band. The set was boozy, but something else. It was the last thing I properly saw at Reading Festival in 2014 and, incidentally, the last thing I saw at Reading Festival in 2016… Headlining the festival in 2018? It wouldn’t surprise me. The band played in front of their stunning visuals, which they’ve toured with for nearly a year, and back with their drummer, George Daniel, again. They played songs from their debut album, “The 1975”, and their latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”. The band played songs such as “Loving Someone”, where Healy even spoke the spoken word part in the middle, “Sex” and “The Sound”, where everyone had to jump on the count of four. “We’re going to go away and make another record and then come back and headline this whole thing” Healy promised fans, whether or not they will only time will tell, but for now their stunning NME/BBC Radio 1 set was enough to keep them remembered and treasured by fans. I look forward to seeing them play a sold out show at London’s O2 Arena in December.

Overall, Reading Festival 2016 was, once again, a huge success. With secret sets from You Me At Six, incredible performances on the BBC Introducing Stage and huge headline sets across all stages, I look forward to what Reading 2017 might entail. I can’t wait! I might, in the future, make a blog post about what I think festival season 2017 might look like.

 

 

 

Reading Festival 2016 Review

July 2016- What I’m Listening To

July

July was a month of festivals I didn’t attend, Glastonbury highlights and a fair share of new releases.

On the 7th July, The 1975 released the stunning video for Somebody Else from their latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”. I did touch on this in my June playlist post, but it was technically released in July! The video is cinematically and artistically applaudable. The opening three minutes, where some suggest you’re meant to play “Ugh!” during it, are filmed as though it’s a black and white silent film, where the only real noise is from an ‘audience’ giving applauds, boos and cheers where deemed necessary. This fades into the main video for the song. Matty Healy (lead singer) takes a central role in the video (which includes subtle nods to the previous videos, photo frames with pictures from the Robbers video etc.) and is seen stumbling, drunk presumably, through an evening. He’s in clubs doing karaoke (singing “me me me”), in car parks (and… er… cars), wandering the streets and even in cafe type places, but they’re all fragmented and somewhat distorted. It’s all focused around him though and everyone, in the end, turns into him (you just have to watch it to understand). It’s as though he’s only causing damage and pain to himself, despite being loved by others. It’s a brilliant and weirdly beautiful video, which many say is part of a trilogy with Robbers and A Change Of Heart.

There have been so many huge festivals this month. From T in the Park to Latitude to Truck, there’s something for everyone! T in the Park saw triumphant headline sets from the likes of The Stone Roses, Calvin Harris and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, ¬†Latitude played host to some of the best alternative artists about and saw The Maccabees rise to worthy headliner standard and Truck was the place to be for up and coming bands, such as Blossoms. I’m absolutely gutted to have missed out.

Jamie T tour tickets went on sale in July too. The tour, in support of upcoming album “Trick” (out September 2nd), has sold out dates at The O2 Academy Brixton, as well as dates in Birmingham, Portsmouth and Cardiff. The tour is set to be big and I hope he plays a set bursting with old, sing-along favourites and new material- I can’t wait!

In other news, Haim have cancelled many European and UK festival dates over the summer as they’re at a “critical point of finishing up [the new album] and need to stay close to home until it’s complete”. The sister trio have cancelled dates at festivals such as Reading and Leeds, Way Out West and Electric Picnic. As a Haim fan I felt disappointed by this, but, on the other hand, could understand where they were coming from to an extent. Whilst there’s many an act I can’t wait to see at Reading, I was planning to catch Haim and can’t imagine how awful it must have been if they were one of the main reasons you were going. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to hear the new material they have come out with over the last few years since their 2013 debut album, “Days Are Gone”.

Viola Beach have released their exceptional posthumous self-titled album. The album is brilliant and a huge legacy for the band. It’s an incredible example of the dedication and brilliance of an up and coming band who were just trying to leave an impression in the music world. They’ll no doubt be remembered for far, far more than their tragic deaths. The band reached number one in the UK, too!

The song I’ve had on replay all month is Tame Impala’s “The Less I Know The Better”. The bass line, hilariously quirky, rhyming lyrics and the chilled out, easy listening vibe all have caused it to be on constant repeat everywhere I go. It’s a song I just haven’t got bored of!

There’s been new single releases from The Big Moon (“Silent Movie Susie”), Blaenavon (“Let’s Pray”) and Rat Boy (“GET OVER IT”), all of which are incredibly different to each other and are all great songs respectively.

This month I’ve been listening to a lot of early Mystery Jets songs, Blossoms (especially in the build up to the release of their self-titled album in August), VANT and Izzy Bizu (who I saw at Glastonbury). I’ve also listened to a fair bit of Two Door Cinema Club as we, in the UK, have had a few rare boiling hot days and Two Door Cinema Club are perfect for hot weather (and, of course, in preparation of their Reading and Leeds set next month).

In August there’s the release of Blossom’s self titled debut album to look forward to, as well as more festivals, such as Boardmasters. I will, however, be going to Reading and Leeds festival at the end of the month, so expect many a post about it!

(Also, I’m on Twitter and Instagram now! You can find all the latest at @undercovermix on Instagram and at ‘undercovermixtape’ on Instagram.)

July 2016- What I’m Listening To

June 2016- What I’m Listening To

June- the month of new releases, reunions and festivals.

Let’s start with the rather unexpected comeback from The Strokes. At the end of May, Julian Casablancas (lead singer of The Strokes) debuted a new track, “Oblivius”, on his SiriusXM radio show. The new track came after an announcement that The Strokes would release an EP called the ‘Future Present Past EP’, on the 3rd June, which would be their first release since ‘Comedown Machine’, three years ago. The EP was released on the 3rd June and featured three tracks: ‘Oblivius’, ‘Drag Queen’ and ‘Threat of Joy’. They played the Governors Ball festival in New York City on the 3rd June. Their new material is edgy and effortlessly cool. It’s guitar laced classic indie rock and I love it. I can’t wait to hear more of what the band will release over the next few months.

June didn’t disappoint on the album release front either, with releases from artists and bands like Tom Odell,¬†Spring King and Jake Bugg. Tom Odell’s stunning follow up album was the perfect reinvention of classic Odell. Whilst he still manages to get the piano in many of the songs, Odell is less dependant on the piano and ventures away from the keys throughout the album. “Wrong Crowd” is a bold move, but it works and he sounds great (“exquisite” even, if you ask my dad). The same can be said for Jake Bugg’s third album, “On My One”. “On My One” is an eclectic mix of old, country laced classics intertwined with many an upbeat anthem, a ballad or two and, surprisingly, a rap, which is perhaps best forgotten. It’s one of my favourite Jake Bugg albums and I can’t wait to see him on tour in November. Spring King, too, have released an album. “Tell Me If You Like To” was released on the 10th June. Its raucous, raw sound, with hints of Palma Violets, makes it an interesting, yet thrilling, listen.

Bastille are also back. The band released “Good Grief” on the 16th June and also announced that they are set to release an album, ‘Wild World’, on September 9th this year. The album follows their debut album,”Bad Blood”, which was released three years ago (in 2013), and will be followed up by a UK arena tour, where the band are set to play huge areas like The O2 in London, as well as a huge string of festival sets. “Good Grief” is infuriatingly catchy. It’s an incredible track which has been stuck in my head since its release. If the rest of the album is anything like this then we’re in for a treat!

As if this wasn’t enough, Jamie T has released a song, too. On the 29th June 2016 Jamie T unveiled latest single “Tinfoil Boy” from his ¬†upcoming album, “Trick”, released on September 2nd. The album has a set of supporting concert dates, too, which sees Jamie T (whose real name is Jamie Treays) play three nights at the O2 Academy Brixton. “Tinfoil Boy” is¬†quite vocal for T, but it has huge echoey lines and hooks¬†reminiscent of earlier material. I can’t wait to hear what else he has to release.

Following a weird stint playing undercover comeback shows as a band billed as “a tribute to Two Door Cinema Club”, Two Door Cinema Club have debuted a new song called “Gameshow” (which was not played at any of the comeback shows) and another new song, and upcoming single, called “Are We Ready? (Wreck)”. The single is from their upcoming album ‘Gameshow’, released October 14th. “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” is a song I find very exciting. It’s upbeat and refreshing, with hints of classic Two Door Cinema Club. The sung “na na na na…” bit reminds me of Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries”, if you wanted a very distanced comparison, and I can imagine huge crowds singing back the lyrics (are we ready? Hold it steady).

On the first of June, The 1975, once again, hit us with a cryptic clues and a countdown. The band announced that they would play their biggest ever show in December this year, but, frustratingly, kept the location secret. Many speculated a date at London’s prestigious O2 Arena and they were spot on. The 1975 will play, to a sold out arena, The O2 Arena on the 16th December 2016. They promise to include “expanded visuals and a brand new set list including songs that have never been played live” and noted that their performance is “constantly evolving” and will “fuse art and technology to create a unique live experience”. I am beyond excited to see how this will play out. The band latterly released arena dates encasing this one in December, which includes another date at The O2 Arena. The 1975 also released the cinematically stunning video for “Somebody Else”. I’d love to delve into and explore the video further, but overall it’s a sympathetically shot video with brilliant and clever nods to past videos. It’s quickly cut, honest and clever. I like it.

In June, for my birthday (19th June), I saw Coldplay at Wembley Stadium. Coldplay are a live band who never get boring. It’s amazing how after constant touring they can still put on fascinating, encapsulating and almost perfect performances, which are never short of the odd, well handled hick up. The band genuinely seem to be having the time of their lives and looked genuinely grateful that people were still out and supporting their band. They managed to entertain a crowd which easily spanned three generations. They were incredible.

Obviously no June post would be complete without mentioning the formidable Glastonbury Festival. There’s nothing I love more than spending the weekend covered in mud with good people, good music and good tasting (yet probably not healthy) food. The festival was headlined by Muse, Adele and Coldplay, with the Sunday tea-time legends slot going to Jeff Lynne’s ELO (who have just released a one off date at Wembley Stadium on the 24th June 2017). Other acts across the weekend included Tom Odell, Wolf Alice, Madness and Jess Glynne. It was an incredible weekend and I could go on about it for ages. You can catch up on the blog posts here!

Other notable festivals from June 2016 included Shoreham’s Wildlife Festival, headlined by Disclosure and Rudimental, and The Isle of Wight festival, which both looked incredible.

This month’s playlist includes songs from artists I saw at Glastonbury, new releases from this month and some golden oldies. It also includes artists like Christine and the Queen, who I have been listening to a lot this month, as I’m baffled by her incredible talent. There’s also a bit of Viola Beach (having seen Coldplay’s emotional Glastonbury tribute) and Adele, of course.

 

 

 

 

June 2016- What I’m Listening To

Glastonbury Festival 2016- Saturday 25th June 2016

This is the third of four blog posts about Glastonbury 2016. You can find the introduction here and the Friday post here.

The Saturday of this year’s festival saw yet another risky headliner. Last year we had Kanye West and this year we had, arguably the most significant and/or popular female solo artist of the last year, Adele. Adele is an artist who is globally appealing. Her songs touch a wide range of people across all age groups and she can even play into the hearts of those who maybe aren’t fans with her irresistibly entertaining and hilarious live act. Many still labelled her boring and depressing though. Other acts across the day included Wolf Alice, Madness, The 1975 and Tame Impala.

At 11:50 in the morning, on the John Peel Stage, Nothing But Thieves played to a packed out tent. The set comes off the back of their recent supporting slot to the Friday night headliner, Muse, and the release of their debut album, “Nothing But Thieves”, last year. It’s the first time they have played the festival so it was unsurprising that they wanted to win new fans over with an impeccable set. Conor Mason (lead singer)¬†showed off his incredible vocal range with breathtaking vocals echoing those similar of artists like Muse, further proving they’re on a steady path to success. They played hits like “Itch”, “Trip Switch” and “Wake Up Call”. These songs proved particularly successful with the Worthy Farm crowd early, in festival terms, on Saturday.

We stumbled upon a nervous Izzy Bizu playing The Park Stage. She played a short set, but it was enjoyed by a large crowd. Bizu is effortlessly, and enviably so, cool. Her songs are laid back, chilled out and extremely easy to listen to. It wasn’t a fussy and over the top set. It was just her, her band and the boiling heat (scarcely seen over the weekend). She was joined by her friend and writing partner, HONNE, at one stage for a song, “Someone that loves you”, and told many little anecdotes throughout the set- she even let us know that she’d scattered various polaroids across the site, with prizes on, for us to find. Keep an eye out for Izzy Bizu and check out “White Tiger”.

Wolf Alice played another stunning set at Glastonbury Festival, following last year’s¬†highly talked about set on The Park Stage, and this year they played on the prestigious Pyramid Stage. In a weird way the fact that they were playing on a stage as big as that of The Pyramid Stage filled me with an odd sense of pride and satisfaction. Wolf Alice are genuinely one of the greatest live acts I’ve ever seen (and I say this over and over) and aren’t to be missed. This set, however, was different to the many times I’ve seen them before. If you ask me, I’ll tell you their set at The Brighton Dome is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen before (and, to this day, one of, if not, the best concert I’ve ever been to), but this was incredible again. It seemed like a weird cyclical thing. Last year, just after the release of their debut album, “My Love Is Cool”, they played Glastonbury Festival and then this year, after a whirlwind year of constant touring, almost exactly a year on from the original Glastonbury performance that sparked it all, they played the same festival on a much larger stage, with many more fans. It seems like the end of an era. Ellie (Rowsell, lead singer) was even wearing a gold dress, perhaps to symbolise the album artwork, and it felt as though they were perhaps winding down and preparing for another album- or so we can hope! The set saw guitarist Joff Oddie’s poor hand covered in blood by the end and Ellie jumped down into the crowd at the end to high five fans (and she even hugged a young fan). Their gratitude radiated through the faultless set. Ellie even stated that her and Joff had entered the annual “Emerging Talent Competition” a few years back (this “made up for it” apparently) but hadn’t been selected- look at them now! It’s incredible to think how big things have gotten for Wolf Alice. They played songs such as “You’re a Germ”, “Bros” and, latest single, “Lisbon”, as well as a few b-sides and EP tracks, such as “Blush” and (Grammy nominated) “Moaning Lisa Smile”. They’re a firm favourite at Worthy Farm and I’m sure this performance is only the start of a long stint of successful Glasto sets.

Madness managed to pull in one of the largest crowds of the weekend. It was an audience composed of all ages and provided great family entertainment- Suggs was particularly excited to see the staggered ages. It was a hit fuelled set and managed to put a smile on everyone’s faces. The band genuinely looked like they were having the time of their lives and were joined by their families on stage at the end. Madness played an array of their most popular songs, from “Baggy Trousers” and “Wings of a Dove” to “House of Fun” and “Our House”. They took a short ‘encore’, by turning round and waiting for people to clap and scream enough to warrant more songs, for they didn’t have time to go off stage, before they closed with a whole crowd sing along to “It Must Be Love”. ¬†There was also a very odd cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and an emotional Bowie tribute with a cover of “Kooks”. The set was hilarious, fun and family friendly.

Shortly after Madness dazzled a huge crowd on the Pyramid Stage, Tom Odell took to the stage on the Other Stage. Tom Odell is a hugely talented singer-songwriter, who is perhaps best known for “that song in the John Lewis Christmas advert” (“Real Love”, John Lennon cover), who has recently released his brilliant second album, “Wrong Crowd”, after 3 years. Tom Odell sat at his piano and played throughout the set, but ventured away from the piano at points in order to sing and interact with the crowd. His sets feel intimate and personal, as well as highly emotional. Odell has an incredibly special voice, complimented by his “Wrong Crowd” band, which works well and thrives in a setting like this. His songs are appealing to all and his wonderful showmanship, despite being behind the piano most of the time, is second to none. He played all the big songs from the first album, “Long Way Down”, including “Another Love”, “Can’t Pretend” and “Grow Old With Me”. He also played songs from his latest album including “Concrete”, “Wrong Crowd” and “Magnetised”, which was the latest single. He ended up stood on top of the piano at the end of his set, which was quite impressive, too. ¬†His set was “exquisite”, to quote my dad, and he’s bound to gain popularity whilst touring with the latest album. Tom Odell appeals to everyone, so I’d strongly urge you to have a listen!

The 1975 played an incredible set on Saturday afternoon on The Other Stage. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting anything much from the set prior to seeing it as I’d last seen The 1975 at Radio One’s Big Weekend, when they didn’t seem to want to be there and it was all a bit embarrassing. This, on the other hand, was something else. The 1975 are finally back and Matty Healy (lead singer) is back on top form. The set was brilliant and captivating with a similar live set up to how they’ve been touring for nearly the last year (with the light blocks). Their production is always impressive and works particularly well at festivals like this, as it’s as much about the art as it is about the music. I particularly loved Matty Healy’s speech about the EU before “Loving Someone” (Ellie Goulding was even spotted showing her support for the band and their speech from the front of the stage). The set proved the band’s capabilities and suggested they could go on to play higher up on the festival line-up (“see you in a few years” Healy said whilst leaving). George Daniel (drummer), whilst still not drumming, managed to pass Healy his guitar during the set too, which achieved a huge round of applause from the crowd. Healy had the odd cigarette between songs and danced throughout in his wonderful white suit and with his brilliant new haircut (a fringe- the highlight of my weekend). He made the crowd jump during “The Sound”, from their latest album, ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’. The also played other songs from iliwysfyasbysuoi (oh my), such as “Love Me” and “A Change of Heart”, as well as many songs from their debut album, “The 1975”, including “Chocolate”, “Girls” and “Sex”. They even managed to squeeze “You” in from their pre debut album EP, “Sex”. It was a move appreciated by many big fans and enjoyed by those who didn’t know it as much too. Overall it was a triumphant set thoroughly enjoyed by many.

If you don’t know Tame Impala you’re missing out. Tame Impala are an Australian psychedelic rock band who won the “Best International Group” award at the Brit awards 2016. The band’s music is infused with psychedelic twists, which prove popular with a live audience. The set up is interesting and was complimented by a large LED screen at the back of the stage featuring many moving graphics. They played songs such as “Let It Happen” and “The Less I Know The Better”, both of which are from 2015’s “Currents”, as well as many songs from previous albums and a Mark Ronson cover of “Daffodils” (Kevin Parker, lead singer, played a DJ set with Ronson that weekend too). The set was the perfect warm up for headliner Adele.

Adele headlined the Saturday of the festival. It was the second time she’s played the festival- the first time she played she played the Guardian tea tent years ago just before Florence and the Machine. Adele is a globally recognised and loved artist, which made this so special. The set was the talk of the weekend as many were eager to see Adele and her potty mouth headline a festival like Glastonbury for, really, the first time. Adele opened with comeback single “Hello” (to a backdrop of her blinking eyes). It was an incredibly strong opening to the set, as the whole crowd sang along with her. “Fucking hell” were the first words she muttered as she began performing. I love how her singing voice and speaking voice and mannerisms totally juxtapose one another. She goes from singing in an angelic voice to cursing the next minute in a thick cockney accent in a hilariously comedic way and it all seems totally natural.

Adele let us into many personal anecdotes throughout the set. She told “us”, as though we were her best mates gathered in her living room having a cup of tea with her, about the absence of a “Skyfall” video and the fact she’d been watching Muse from her house the night before and joked that she almost didn’t come. She made remarks about the mud and toilet situation throughout (as though she was ‘one of us’), stating that she had been coming to the festival for years. At this point she pulled a young girl out of the crowd for a selfie and a chat, it was incredibly special to watch.

Nestled between songs, spanning across all three of her albums, such as “Water Under The Bridge” (one of her only “not depressing” songs, apparently, as she dismissed the critics for branding her songs too “depressing”, although we can all be “depressed together”, and suggested they “wouldn’t be watching” anyway), “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)” and “Rolling in the Deep”, there was a medical emergency (which she spoke through, telling stories of grannies and drunk middle aged women and watched as help was gotten), foreign fans up on stage and booing of hometowns (“there will be no booing at one of my concerts; we’re all one big happy family”). She played a Bob Dylan cover of “Make You Feel My Love”, which “broke and fixed her heart” when she first heard it. At points the audience were encouraged to use the torches on their phone to create a sea of lights, at other points there was confetti and at other points Adele was in the heart of the crowd (wearing a fez). Adele played “River Lea” for the first time, although she had to restart during the first verse to make sure it was perfect as she was out of breath from dancing.

She played a two song encore. Before coming on to play “When We Were Young” a video played of her first Glastonbury performance. Adele suggested that she agreed to do the festival whilst watching Kanye West headline last year with organiser Emily Eavis. “When We Were Young” was highly emotional and definitely a highlight of the set for me. Behind her were various clips and photos of her as a child and it made the it more special and personal. With her face plastered through a projection onto the side of the Pyramid Stage, Adele closed with “Someone Like You”, the song which got her the ‘big break’. This was incredible and the atmosphere was buzzing.

Adele is an artist who you almost didn’t want to sing. I could literally have listened to her talk for an hour and a half and still have had a brilliant time. She’s effortlessly funny and full of incredible stories. It felt unimaginably intimate and special, as though she was talking to the audience personally despite it being broadcast all over the world live. Yes, she curses and makes hilariously savage remarks (“you still live with your mother”), but she’s undeniably talented and brilliant. Her set was definitely one of my highlights of the weekend and I’d love to be able to see her again. It lived up to all my expectations.

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Glastonbury Festival 2016- Saturday 25th June 2016