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)

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

November 2016- What I’m Listening To

It’s been a long time. Too long. I’ve been busy lately, hence the distinct lack of blog posts, so this could be a bumper post. Brace yourselves.

Where do I even begin? Everything seemed to happen in November 2016!

Firstly, The Big Moon have finally announced details of their debut album. I can’t wait to hear the album because it has been a long time coming. I remembering hearing them for the first time about a year ago (when I found out they were supporting The Maccabees) and have been obsessed by their huge indie anthems and grungy guitars. The album is called Love In The 4th Dimension and includes songs such as “Cupid”, “Sucker” and “Silent Movie Susie” and is available to pre-order now, before it’s released on the 7th April 2017.

VANT took to the streets of London to play various anti-Trump shows in early November. The band played in various secret locations in London for #DontDoABrexit¬†shows, such as Brixton station and Oxford Circus. They aimed to “encourage the idea of bringing important conversations back into the real world”. Despite the Trump win, I admire VANT for doing this. VANT are politically fuelled and inspired, in a real punk kind of way, which we don’t get so much anymore. There’s definitely a rise in this ‘punk-laced’ music, with artists like Slaves and Cabbage taking the world by storm, but there’s a distinct lack of activist and protest music about. We should be talking about things like this collectively. It only helps.

Blossoms have also announced a Spring 2017 tour, where they’ll play venues such as the London Roundhouse (!!!!) and The Brighton Dome. This announcement went hand in hand with an extended album announcement, which features all their previous EP tracks AND the latest album all in one album! I usually hate deluxe albums and extended editions, but this one is particularly stunning. All this was announced during the band’s latest sold out UK tour, where they played their biggest ever sold out show at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

November was an unexpectedly big month for Circa Waves. The band announced details of their second album Different Creatures and announced the song ‘Wake Up’ as the lead single. The single is similar to their older material, however it’s seemingly less sun kissed than the last. I can imagine it being an absolute banger live, too. It’s a brilliant song. The record is out on 10th March (and co-produced by Alan Moulder, who has been a producer for bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Killers) and hopefully this means we’ll see them at a string of festivals next summer. The band have also announced a March/April UK tour, which includes a date at the O2 Kentish Town Forum.

I’ve spent the last few years wanting to go to Scotland’s iconic T in the Park Festival because I honestly believe it has the best line-up going. It’s line-up is an eclectic mix of the highlights from Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and V Festival (amongst others) and I’m envious of those who get to go. Sadly it was announced late November that T in the Park would be cancelled in 2017, however reports suggest that the festival organisers will, however, host a similar (but separate) event in Glasgow next year instead. They’ve had problems over the last few years (mainly since the move to Perth) with site and traffic issues, drug related deaths, the stealing of an ATM at this year’s festival etc. and with the added pressure of financial issues the future remains uncertain for the festival. I was in Scotland- Edinburgh or Aberdeen- when the news broke and spoke to many local music fans about the news and many were sad about its cancellation (and countless suggested how great festivals in inverness are). I hope T in the Park pulls it back in the next few years because the line up is always class and I hope to go!

November was an incredible month for live music. I’ve been really, really bad at writing reviews though due to college and work experience. I think it’s probably a bit too late to write reviews now, however I’ll do some quick summaries now:

  • I saw Jake Bugg play at the O2 Academy Brixton on the 1st November. Bugg played a full band set with brilliant little solo, more stripped back songs. He played a mixture of songs which spanned accross his impressive three album back catalogue, yet managed to showcase the best from his latest record- On My One– which was released this year. ‘Broken’ remains poignant and one of my favourite songs to hear live. Everyone sings along and it feels very intimate and personal to many. Of course, the crowd were eagerly anticipating ‘Lightening Bolt’- Bugg’s breakthrough hit- as well as current chart singles, such as ‘Love Hope and Misery’ and ‘Gimme The Love’. I also loved how varied the age of the crowd was. I love seeing people of all ages enjoy music because I think music should be enjoyed by all and it’s now so easily accessible.
  • A few days later I saw Tom Odell play at the Brighton Centre (4th November). Tom Odell is a fascinating live act, who I love to watch. He ventured away from the piano at points, especially during songs from the latest album Wrong Crowd, and at one point he was even stood on the piano. The drummer dislocated his arm before going on stage and so the drum tech had to fill in for him at the last minute to save cancelling the show. There was plenty of on stage banter and support about this. Odell played songs from his first album, Long Way Down, too, such as ‘Another Love’ and ‘Grow Old With Me’. Odell’s voice is so brilliant that the room was silent when he sang, so much so that you could hear people’s movements and hushed chat around us. Tom Odell was supported by Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and Johnny Lloyd- neither of which I’d particularly want to follow. Rag ‘N’ Bone Man was actually in danger of stealing the show because of how brilliant he was. Keep a look out for him. He’s definitely the next big thing.
  • ¬†Catfish and the Bottlemen played a sold out show at Wembley Arena on the 15th. It felt as much a showcase as to how far they’ve come in the last few years and a celebration of their new album success as it did a ‘normal’ show. The band played for nearly two hours. It didn’t seem as though they didn’t want to be there and it felt that they were genuinely grateful and wanting to share their music with fans. The band played songs from The Ride and The Balcony¬†to a sea of singing fans, mosh pits and crowd surfers. It was huge.

Two Door Cinema Club released their latest album Gameshow. The album features the huge singles ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’. The whole 80s inspired album is brilliant, fast paced and full of hits, which I can’t wait to hear live next year at Alexandra Palace. They’re a band with the capability of headlining- or at least co-headlining- festivals and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them topping bills soon.

I haven’t written a lot on here recently because I’ve been so wrapped up in my week’s work experience on tour with Black Grape. It was an incredible if not eye opening experience, which I’m sure I’ll remember forever. It was hard work, but it was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes, which, as a punter, you don’t get to see. Everyone was really friendly, normal and very skilled and good at what they do. It’s a whole other world and I did manage to see a bit of Scotland/Newcastle over my week away, too. If you haven’t heard of Black Grape then I think you’re missing out (although I might be slightly biased, I don’t know). Black Grape formed after the Happy Mondays disbanded in 1992, with Shaun Ryder as the front man (with Kermit from Ruthless Rap Assassins on vocals too). Ryder and Kermit still tour, however the other instrument players are (incredibly, incredibly talented) session musicians (who are incredibly skilled at what they do). They released their first album, It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah, in 1995- which went straight to number 1. Their music is so diverse, which I love. The music has grungy, brit-poppy undertones which are intertwined with hints of rap, tracks laced with samples and incredible instrumentals. I’d definitely have a listen to them. If you’ve not heard of them, listen to: In The Name Of The Father, Tramazi Party and Kelly’s Heroes (as a starting point). Enjoy!

I can’t wait to see the Courteeners next month at Banquet Records and also to see The 1975 play their biggest ever (sold out) headline show at The O2 Arena. Mad.

This month’s playlist features a lot of Black Grape, Two Door Cinema Club, (the incredible) Declan McKenna (who I absolutely love this month- check out Brazil and Bethlehem) and Catfish and the Bottlemen. I’ve added Catfish’s ‘Glasgow’ because Black Grape played Glasgow’s O2 ABC, which I believe is where the song is written about. I found this exciting.

 

 

 

 

November 2016- What I’m Listening To

What I’m Listening To- October 2016

As Winter ‘creeps’ up, it’s time to get cosy with some new music and golden oldies.

This October Dirty Hit announced that they had signed King Nun, a fantastic up and coming band which I’ve liked for a while now, with a debut single, ‘Tulip’. I saw the band last year (for free!!!!) in the middle of Kingston for a Banquet Records summer show type thing, along with the equally talented Jungle Doctors. I remember thinking that they were good and now they’re back with this! The single is loud and frantic and I love it. It’s all over the place- in a nice way. It’s raw and heavily guitar laced. Keep an eye on the London lads.

VANT have just finished touring with You Me At Six and have announced details of their debut album. I am so excited about this, as I’ve been waiting so long for it. Their debut album,¬†Peace and Love, is due on the 17th February. ¬†It’ll feature all the current faves and a whole host of new ones- how exciting! VANT, from planet Earth, are on a UK tour currently.

Ahhhhh, this is a weird and exciting thing that happened over the last few months which I haven’t previously been able to talk about. Way back in August, in a time before Reading 2016, I was called by the BBC to take part in a ‘Music Focus Group’, which didn’t end up being a ‘Music Focus Group’ after all (and, for your information, they don’t actually exist, which I was most upset about). I don’t want to give too much away because I don’t know if it’s a format they’ll do again in the future, and there’s no fun in spoiling it for others, but somehow I ended up getting stuck in a lift with Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs reassuring me it’d be alright and then, in a really odd turn of events, having the Kaiser Chiefs sing ‘Ruby’ in front of me… literally. in. front. They also played their recent single ‘Hole In My Soul’, too, and it was all filmed! It was an odd, but nonetheless brilliant experience which I was very grateful to have been able to take part in. Luckily for everyone, I think there’s still a few days of it left on the old BBC iPlayer to be enjoyed: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03xkg0j/episodes/player – thank me later!

Glastonbury organisers have announced Radiohead as the first confirmed headliner for Glastonbury 2017, via a large Radiohead crop circle type thing. The band will headline Glastonbury Festival on the Friday. The air is rife with rumours of who else will be joining Radiohead, with many reports indicating it could be The Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga, The Stone Roses or Ed Sheeran. Robbie Williams has announced an interest to headline and Cliff Richard is also rumoured (help us)! Obviously, these rumours will keep coming thick and fast before anything is officially released. Either way, I can’t wait for the full line up release next year eeeee. The thought of summer festivals is giving me hope through the relatively festival free winter.

The Courteeners released their album Mapping the Rendezvous this month, too. It’s an album that I can’t wait to review shortly. The band tour in November, with Liverpool beauties Clean Cut Kid, and also play two shows at Banquet Records in December.

Two Door Cinema Club released their brilliant disco fuelled album,¬†Gameshow. The band also announced a tour which includes a couple of dates at Alexandra Palace in the new year, which I’m so excited for.

This month’s playlist includes a lot of Two Door Cinema Club because I’ve been craving the summer vibes all throughout ‘the changing of the seasons’ (I hope you appreciated that Two Door Cinema Club reference), M√ł (because ‘Final Song’ is a good song) and Blossoms, as always. I had a nostalgic evening listening to Lily Allen too.

In November I’ve got so many concerts coming up. From Catfish and the Bottlemen to Jake Bugg to Tom Odell, it’s a busy month! I’ve also got a week on tour with Black Grape for work experience, which I am beyond excited for. I can’t wait to see what the next month brings.

What I’m Listening To- October 2016

What I’m Listening To- September 2016

September saw festival season draw to an end, with festivals like Bestival and Always the Sun drawing the season to a close. This year’s Bestival had mixed reviews, whilst Guildford’s first Always the Sun Festival was a great triumph.

This month saw various releases from Jamie T (and his incredible new album, Trick) and Bastille (a review is on the way, but it’s taking forever, sorry). Mystery Jets also re-released their latest album, Curve Of The Earth, in a special ‘The Whole World’ edition, which includes five new tracks (including the brilliant ‘The World is Overtaking Me’, which I love).

I have been so in love with Mystery Jets this month. I’d seen them at Glastonbury, ¬†where I’d fallen in love with ‘Two Doors Down’, and I was so excited about seeing them at Always The Sun festival, earlier this month. Having seen them at Always The Sun festival I’ve been listening to them constantly since. I’ve especially loved ‘Flash a Hungry Smile’, ‘Alice Springs’ and ‘The Hale Bop’, but there are so many other brilliant ones. Twenty One¬†has been on repeat since.

Wolf Alice announced that they are part of a brilliant film project this month. The film On The Road¬†is directed by Michael Winterbottom with Wolf Alice and their busy touring schedule the subject of the film. It follows the band on tour and there’s even cameos from bands like Swim Deep. The film premieres as part of the London Film Festival at BFI South Bank on October 9th.

This year’s Mercury Prize Ceremony took place in September. The award was won by Skepta for his formidable album Konnichiwa, which was released earlier this year. Other artists up for the award included Radiohead for A Moon Shaped Pool, David Bowie for his last album Blackstar and The 1975 (who won the people’s choice vote, the first time they’ve ever done it) ¬†for I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (which no one could say), which was released in February. Skepta’s Konnichiwa was definitely a worthy winner.

This month’s playlist features a lot of Mystery Jets and Spring King. Other artists on this months playlist are The Hunna, Blossoms (who I saw this month and they were insanely brilliant, as always) and The 1975.

Next month I look forward to seeing Jamie T and for the release of Two Door Cinema Club’s latest album, Gameshow‘s release.

 

 

What I’m Listening To- September 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