Wildlife Festival 2017- Friday Review

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

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

Here are my highlights…

Zara Larsson- Wild Life Stage

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

Clean Bandit- Wild Life Stage 

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

Chaka Khan- Wild Life Stage

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

George Ezra- Wild Life Stage

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

Jess Glynne- Wild Life Stage, headliner

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

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

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Wildlife Festival 2017- Friday Review

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 á (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

What I’m Listening To- December 2016

December 2016 wasn’t just festivities. It proved a brilliant month for music, too.

Firstly, Reading and Leeds announced their first batch of artists for 2017. They announced Muse as their first headliner (which is huge) and I’m excited to see them play Reading having seen them triumph at Glastonbury in 2016. Muse are no stranger to headlining festivals and their festival sets are always visually spectacular, comfortable and full of hits. The rest of the announcement is a mixed bag, with artists like Bastille, Glass Animals, Major Lazer, While She Sleeps and Tory Lanez (amongst a handful of others). Whilst this announcement doesn’t look entirely promising, I know that the line up will pull itself together as it always does and that the weekend will be brilliant anyway. I can’t help but wonder what- or rather who- is next!

In other festival news, Shoreham’s Wildlife Festival- which was set up by members of Disclosure and Rudimental- is set for its third year at Shoreham airport. The festival will take place on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th June 2017 (which is a bit odd if you ask me… especially with it being exam season). The change of days allows them party until 1am each night. A line-up announcement is expected to follow shortly.

Isle of Wight Festival have also made another announcement. Arcade Fire (Saturday) complete the headlining trio, along with Rod Stewart (Sunday) and co-headliners Run DMC and David Guetta (Friday). Other artists announced include (my absolute favourite) George Ezra, Bastille, Jack Savoretti and the phenomenal Rag ‘N’ Bone Man. The festival runs from 8th to the 11th June. More information can be found on their website: http://www.isleofwightfestival.com/

Rag ‘N’ Bone Man follows in the footsteps of artists like Adele, Florence and the Machine and James Bay by winning this year’s Brits Critics Choice Award. I’ve been following (and loving) Rag ‘N’ Bone Man’s music for nearly a year now and have been lucky enough to see him a couple of times like. He has the most incredible voice. It’s powerful, soulful and haunting. This award couldn’t be anymore deserving and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Rag ‘N’ Bone Man- whose real name is Rory Graham- and to get the exposure he deserves. He was up against pop-pioneers Dua Lipa and Anne-Marie. The full list of nominations is expected in January and the award ceremony takes place in February.

Both Royal Blood and Kasabian have been teasing new music. Royal Blood posted an album teaser video showing Mike Kerr (frontman) getting a tattoo of “2017” on his arm. It’ll be hard to follow up their 2014 self-titled album, but I can’t wait to see what they bring out. Kasabian teased new music on Christmas day with a one-minute clip of new song ‘Pressie’. This was following a 2017 Italian tour date announcement. It’s rumoured that they’ll bring out a new album in 2017 and I hope to see them tour with it.

Another month brings another (very sad) celebrity death and this time it was George Michael, on Christmas Day. The news came as a shock to many and his music had been influential throughout the last 20-30 years. What’s more, after he died a lot of his incredible charity work came to light, which he did anonymously. The cause of death is currently unknown, but the circumstances are still shocking and upsetting.

This month I have listened to a lot of Biffy Clyro- very festive, eh? Their latest album, Ellipsis, is stunning. It’s filled with huge songs and plenty of guitars and I love it. I’ve also listened to a lot of Brit-pop and 90s indie, having come back from touring with Black Grape. I’ve listened to a lot of Black Grape again this month and I’ve also been rediscovering my love for Arctic Monkeys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m Listening To- December 2016

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