June 2017- What I’m Listening To

A month of festivals, tour announcements and new music (thank God).

Firstly, Rat Boy are finally releasing their debut album. The record is called Scum, which we already knew after Jordan Cardy (Rat Boy) teased it at Reading Festival last year. The record is out on the 11th August 2017 and features the previously released singles ‘MOVE’, ‘GET OVER IT’, ‘REVOLUTION’ and ‘FAKE ID’.

The Killers are back with a new album and single. The band are set to release their sixth sutdio album, entitled Wonderful Wonderful,¬†later this year. The band released the catchy lead single, The Man, simultaneously to the record announcement. The single channels Two Door Cinema Club’s funky 2015 album, whist remaining iconically infectious, like most of The Killers songs are. ¬†They’re also set to tour the UK in Winter this year, following their surprise Glastonbury set.

Everything Everything have announced a new album,¬†A Fever Dream, which is due to be released on August 18th. The band also released lead single ‘Can’t Do’, which is equally as fascinating, mad and marvellous as their previous material. I love the absurdness of Everything Everything songs, which often include one absolutely brilliant, strange line, which is madly catchy.

Mystery Jets are set to release a remix EP, called The Electronic Earth EP. Key tracks have been remixed and reimagined from their 2016 album Curve of the Earth,¬†especially to dance to and “shed new light on the material”, according to the band’s website.

Wolf Alice have released the raucous ‘Yuk Foo’ (or, err, “Fuck You”, as the song’s lyrics transpire) as the lead single from the second album, Visions of a Life, which is due to be released later this year. The single is explosive, angry and intriguing. You can’t tell a lot about how the album will pan out on just one song, as usually their songs are vastly different throughout- and that’s what makes them brilliant.

George Ezra has also released the lead single from his imminent second album. The single- which he debuted on his recent UK tour and is now a staple on his 2017 festival setlists- ¬†is called ‘Don’t Matter Now’. It’s infectiously happy, upbeat and filled with summery, laid back vibes. It’s gloriously optimistic and I love it. I was lucky enough to hear his 2017 festival setlist at Wildlife Festival (his first festival of the season no less) and at Glastonbury and it’s great to hear our George performing such wonderful new tracks. I can’t wait for the album.

Lorde has announced a September UK tour, which includes a date at London’s prestigious Alexandra Palace, as well as dates at the Brighton Centre and at a string of O2 venues across the country. She will be supported by Khalid.

Reading’s Sundara Karma have also announced a September/October UK tour, which features a HUGE date at the O2 Academy Brixton. It’s so exciting watching Sundara Karma get bigger, especially after the release of their triumphant debut album earlier this year. The band are on their way to big things.

Blaenavon have also released a tour (with The Night Cafe). The tour kicks off in November and features a date at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. These dates are set to be special, especially after the success of their debut album, That’s Your Lot, which was released earlier this year.

Just when you think there could be no more tour announcements… The Libertines released details of a seaside stop UK. The tour features dates in Brighton, Blackpool and Scarborough. I’m hoping the band showcase some new material, as a follow up to 2015’s Anthems For Doomed Youth.

Reading and Leeds festival have announced details of their Alternative Stage line-up. The stage offers a break from the music, with comics, speakers and DJs.  The line-up features DJ sets from Blossoms, Circa Waves and The Big Moon, as well as a Transgressive Takeover. The line-up also features comedy sets by Bill Bailey, Katherine Ryan and Joe Lycett.

Glastonbury Festival announced earlier in the month that Liam Gallagher and Johnny Depp were amongst the latest faces to join their mega 2017 line-up. The festival itself has since gone by in a flash and was a huge success. The festival was headlined by Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran and featured secret sets by the likes of The Killers and Elbow. Highlights across the weekend include the spectacular Lorde, Scotland’s finest Biffy Clyro and Blossoms. A full review will follow.

In July, I look forward to Finsbury Park’s first Community Festival (headlined by Catfish and the Bottlemen, with The Wombats, Slaves and Fickle Friends amongst loads of great acts) and the long awaited release of Declan McKenna’s debut album. There’s also Haim’s new album, which is set to be good.

This month I’ve listened to a lot of Anne-Marie’s brilliant ‘Ciao Adios’, which is already soundtracking my summer, as well as the Clean Bandit hit she features on- ‘Rockabye’- having seen her play at BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend. There’s also the summer hit that is Little Mix’s ‘Power’, which I’ve been enjoying (in various layers of guilty pleasure) since Big Weekend. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Everywhere’s latest single, ‘Man Up’, who are my new band of the month in June. I’ve also been loving Declan McKenna’s ‘Paracetamol’, as well as bit of Blondie. There’s also a lot of Lorde on this playlist, especially ‘The Louvre’, which I recommend you listen to at full volume on repeat for full effect.

 

June 2017- What I’m Listening To

May 2017- What I’m Listening To

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

 


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 2017- What I’m Listening To

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

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

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Exeter 2016- 29/05/2016

This year’s BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend was held in the scenic grounds of Exeter’s stunning Powderham Castle on the 28th and 29th of May 2016. It was headlined by Mumford and Sons and Coldplay, with other huge acts (such as Ellie Goulding, The 1975, Wolf Alice and Skepta) all playing over the weekend in the glorious sunshine across three main stages (the Main Stage, the In New Music We Trust Stage and, of course, the BBC Introducing Stage). I was lucky enough to have attended on the Sunday (and created a blog post about what I recommended you see across the weekend, which you can see here) and it was simply incredible. Bands and artists get roughly around 30 minutes each (which is PERFECT as they mostly play all their hits, which goes with the whole “radio appeal” theme), so you’re not left wondering when it’ll end as they’re playing tonnes of artsy album tracks and obscure b-sides, and headliners get about 50 minutes (although I’m sure Chris Martin could and would have gone on for a lot longer if allowed). DJs from the station, such as Greg James, Annie Mac, and Huw Stephens play short DJ sets in between sets which makes the waiting a bit more bearable.

Opening the festival on the Sunday were One Republic. Prior to the event I didn’t really know how much I knew of their material or how good they’d actually be. Not only is Ryan Tedder (lead singer) an extremely successful and incredibly talented song writer, he’s also an effortlessly brilliant front man with the most incredible live voice and captivating stage presence. They played songs such as “Counting Stars” and “Wherever I go” and also played huge hits such as “Apologise”, accompanied by Tedder on the piano. They’re back shortly and are touring the UK in 2017 (I believe) and I think it’ll be unmissable.

Panic! at the Disco opened the In New Music We Trust Stage. Panic! at the Disco played a nostalgic hit filled set and played classics like “The Ballad of Mona Lisa”, “Nine in the Afternoon” and “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”. They also did a breathtaking cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which the crowd loudly (and proudly) sang along with. Oh, and Brendan Urie (lead singer) did a back flip off the drum platform, of course. Every time I see Panic! I’m hit with an overwhelming desire to listen to all my old “pop-punk” records and relive my Panic! days. Again, Urie’s voice is simply stunning live and he’s charismatic and hilarious too!

Catfish and the Bottlemen conquered the Main Stage for the second year running (having filled in last minute for Sam Smith who was on voice rest after becoming ill and having surgery) and this year it was in their own right. I thought they were a band capable of playing higher up on the list and later in the day, but their early afternoon set proved popular among eager punters. They played songs from their recently released second album, “The Ride”, and their incredible first album, 2014’s “the Balcony”. ¬†Van McCann further proved his effortless capabilities of fronting the band and remained grateful for the experience. The crowd loved it from start to finish with many singing and the odd person standing on shoulders. Catfish know how to get a crowd excited and they’re constantly playing second-to-none sets.

Years & Years are a band who don’t get boring. Olly Alexander (lead singer) is an energetic, bubbly and enthusiastic front man who knows how to get the crowd excited. It was a pure visual feast with the bands logo changing colour in the background throughout on a large LED screen and dancers- one of which was Olly¬†himself! The band played songs off of their debut album “Communion” , such as “King”, “Shelter” and, with Olly on the keyboard, “Eyes Wide Shut”. There was also confetti and nothing gets a crowd going quite like confetti (which Olly noted himself).

The In New Music We Trust Stage saw Wolf Alice triumphantly play before Sketpa. Wolf Alice are everything you could want in a band. They’re one of my personal favourite live bands with their impeccable singing, no-fuss approach and captivating instrument playing. They played many tracks from their Mercury Prize nominated debut album, “My Love is Cool”, such as “Bros”, “You’re a Germ” and latest single “Lisbon”, as well as Grammy Nominated “Moaning Lisa Smile”. They’re fascinating to watch live, especially when they’re furiously jamming on their instruments, but they’re simply incredible.

Matty Healy (lead singer of The 1975) turned up to Radio One’s Big Weekend with dog Allen, who proved popular among the backstage crowd… It only got weirder from there! The 1975 played on the Main Stage, with a very drunk Matty Healy. They brought their incredible stage set up to Powederham Castle, as well as a stand in drummer (as George Daniel (drummer) is recovering from a¬†broken¬†shoulder). They played songs off their latest album, “I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” (February 2016), such as “Somebody Else” and “A Change of Heart”, and their debut album “The 1975”, such as “Girls” and “Chocolate”. Matty was feeling particularly talkative throughout the set and spoke his mind on the BBC’s no drinking/swearing/smoking policy on stage (they run a “tight ship” at the BBC, apparently). He was especially sad about the swearing aspect. His vocals are starting to lose the shine they had at the start of the year, but with huge shows at Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds and, of course, their headline show at the O2 Arena in December, I’m sure they’ll be able to get back to their best after some rest.

The Last Shadow Puppets played on the In New Music We Trust Stage. I’m a fan of both Alex Turner and Miles Kane respectively in their own rights, as well as when part of the ‘supergroup’, if you will, The Last Shadow Puppets and thought their last album, “Everything You’ve Come to Expect” was brilliant. I’ve been excited to see the pair play together live for a while now, but nothing (nothing) could prepare me for this. The band played with a stunning accompaniment of violins and other string instruments, which was not only exciting to hear, but lovely to see. Alex Turner, on the other hand, was, well, hilarious. He pranced around the stage, sometimes with a guitar other times not, and, at one point, was lying on the floor with his arms and legs up in the air¬†reassembling what could be described as some sort of bewildered insect placed upside down and still attempting to walk, or something.

Blossoms returned to the BBC Introducing set for a short set (before the brilliant Catholic Action headlined). Blossoms are a hugely refreshing and original up and coming act. They were one of the best acts I saw over the whole day. Their songs are new, current and exciting and they’re championed by Huw Stephens and BBC Introducing. They played songs like “Getaway”, “At Most a Kiss” and “Charlemagne” all with a dreamy indie rock feel. With a perfected indie rock ‘vibe’, think The Kooks, The Courteeners and Catfish and the Bottlemen, and the brilliant gratitude of Van McCann- it’s a perfect combination. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they’re about to become huge.

Coldplay¬†headlined the Sunday night of the festival (and it’s not the first time they’ve done it). They pulled out all the stops with huge pyrotechnic displays (confetti, fire and all) and dazzling lights and graphics, along with ALL the hits. Singles, such as “Hymn For The Weekend” and “Adventure of a Lifetime”, from their triumphant latest album, “A Head Full of Dreams” (released November 2015), proved a hit with the Exeter crowd and dazzled young and old alike. The older classics, such as “Fix You” and “Yellow”, provided special moments shared by and across many generations. Their music is timeless and expansive of all age groups. I love how the music brought everyone together and provided a special experience for all. They covered Prince’s¬†“Raspberry Beret”, which Chris Martin dedicated to Prince, and his parents- this was another special moment (one of many throughout the set). Chris Martin was born and raised in Exeter, which made this performance quite something to be a part of. Martin hopped from piano to the ultimate entertaining front man and provided the most spectacular of sets. It’s hard to imagine a better closing to the weekend.

Overall the day was jam packed with a vast variety of music and some the finest acts music has to offer and it was all (yellow..?) free! All of the sets can be found on the BBC iPlayer for a short amount of time. I look forward to seeing wherever it’s held next and I hope I’m lucky enough to bag tickets!

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BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Exeter 2016- 29/05/2016

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Reccomendations 2016

Over the last few years I’ve been keeping track of BBC ¬†Radio One’s Big Weekend and hoping it would come within travelling distance of my home town. For me, BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend marks the start of a three month or so UK summer festival season and showcases some of the summer’s hottest acts and staple bands. Typically, it plays the stuff you hear on the radio, but with the ever increasing interest in genres like “alternative” and “pop-punk” becoming more ‘mainstream’ and the huge demand for bands like Bring Me the Horizon- who exploded all over the radio after releasing last year’s (pretty incredible) “That’s the Spirit”- becoming integrated into modern day mainstream culture and radio, it’s unsurprising to see some of your favourite “non-pop” bands on the bill too.

This year’s Big Weekend is being held at Powderham Castle in Exeter. The event runs for two days over the bank holiday weekend from Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th May. There were 50,000 tickets up for grabs, which all sold out in less than an hour, and 200,000 people trying to get them! Although, BBC Radio One have been running competitions for those who lost out. The event is being headlined by Mumford and Sons (who headlined last year’s Reading and Leeds festival) and Coldplay (who are headlining Glastonbury this year). The festival is free (although there’s a small booking fee of literally ¬£17 for two tickets)- yes FREE- which, in itself, is quite something. For the price¬†a booking fee you’re getting a day of excitingly current music (with line-ups condensed but on par with the likes of Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds) which, at pretty much any other festival in the UK, would ordinarily cost you hundreds of pounds- a concert ticket for Coldplay alone at Wembley Stadium this June would cost you upwards of ¬£70! BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend is Europe’s largest free music festival- so you’re lucky enough for it to be in your town, you’d be daft not to go for tickets!

This year’s line up is composed of some of the world’s most current and exciting bands and artists across three stages- the Main Stage, the ¬†“In New Music We Trust” stage and, of course, the BBC Introducing stage. From The Weeknd to Bring Me the Horizon to Catfish and the Bottlemen, whether you’re watching there live or in the comfort of your own home via the red button or catching up with the highlights on BBC 4 television or on the internet, there’s bound to be plenty of unmissable stuff. I’m lucky enough to be attending on the Sunday, which I’m so excited about and have been for months! Below are some of my most unmissable acts from across the weekend.

SATURDAY

Mumford and Sons (MAIN)– Mumford and Sons are playing the event for the first time this year- and they’re headlining… Is there anything more exciting than hearing the well known classics and hits of Marcus Mumford and Co live? Following their formidable visual feast of a headline set at Reading and Leeds Festival last year, you won’t want to miss Mumford and Sons.

Jake Bugg (MAIN)– It’s no secret that I love Jake Bugg. Having seen him a few times here and there it’s safe to say he’d definitely be on my watch list and with new material from his upcoming album, “On My One”, which is due out in June, he’s an obvious one not to miss! There’s something timeless about Bugg’s voice which is so familiar and comforting to many, across all ages. He has an incredible stage presence too, where he manages to win over and transfix crowds.

Tom Odell (MAIN)– Tom Odell is back properly for the first time since the release of “Long Way Down” in 2013 (and the stunning 2014 John Lewis coveted christmas advert single, where he covered John Lennon’s “Real Love”) with the album “Wrong Crowd”, which is, again, released in June. Tom Odell has an incredible voice which, accompanied by his band and piano, is certain to mesmerise in Exeter (especially after his hugely successful live lounge in Exeter last week). He’s sure to leave the crowd dazzled with old hits and new tracks across both albums.

Bring Me the Horizon (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Bring Me the Horizon are headlining the In New Music We Trust stage on the Saturday of this year’s festival. Somehow, through brilliant song writing and modern day music fan appeal, this current blend of “post hardcore”and popular culture has intertwined to allow incredibly unique bands headline ‘mainstream’ events like these. Getting your hands on Bring Me the Horizon tickets ordinarily is difficult, as they go like hot cakes, so I wouldn’t miss the chance to catch them. This could be a career defining set, especially in terms of the radio.

Tame Impala (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Tame Impala’s psychedelic pop/rock is another different choice for the festival. Kevin Parker and co are set to bring something truly exciting and unique to the festival, with their laid back tracks and radio singles. They’d be an interesting and worthy watch- I couldn’t think of anything better for a Saturday afternoon.

Spring King (BBC Introducing)– Spring King are returning to play on the BBC Introducing stage in Exeter. Spring King are a band on their way to success, with triumphant sets on Jools Holland and at The Great Escape festival already under their belt this year. Songs like “Rectifier” are huge and not worth missing live. They’re on the brink of success and you’d be silly not to see them now.

The Hunna (BBC Introducing)– Again, why not catch them playing smaller stages whilst you can? The Hunna are another up and coming band who are on the brink of something big. With the support of the BBC it’s highly likely we’ll see them playing bigger stages at some point and here’s your chance to be there “from the start” so you can say ‘I was there’ in a few years time!

SUNDAY

Coldplay (MAIN) – Coldplay are headlining BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend on Sunday. Chris Martin, lead singer, is from Exeter so it’s sure to be a huge set. They’ve played the event before and each time they’ve provided the crowd (and effortlessly won them over) with an energetic set full of fan favourites and current tracks. 2016’s “A Head Full of Dreams” featured some great tracks which will surely be played live. It’s the ultimate Glastonbury warm up show and will, undoubtedly, be a defining moment of the weekend.

Catfish and the Bottlemen (MAIN)– With the release of their latest album “The Ride” due for release two days before they play the event, it will be one of the first times they’ve played since the album release. The band played last year and it was heavily talked about. Either way Catfish and the Bottlemen are one of the UK’s most exciting bands and I think you’d be mad to miss them considering their tours sell out in minutes! With countless anthemic tunes, a new album, Van McCann’s admirable stage presence (and copious “thank yous”) and incredibly supportive fans they’re sure to be a hit (as they have been at every other festival in the UK).

The 1975 (MAIN)– The 1975 seem to pop up everywhere! They’re currently on tour in the States with label mates Wolf Alice, who are also playing, but are returning back to the UK for the event. They played “Radio One Presents” back in February for Annie Mac’s show where they, along with fellow Big Weekend performer Jake Bugg, managed to dazzle a crowd of all ages. They bring their stunning live set up and catchy tunes with them as they prepare for a long festival season. The band will give a taste of what to expect over the festival season with songs from their latest album (“I Like it When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It”) and last album (“The 1975”), and perhaps a few EP favourites, hopefully on the setlist. With George Daniel’s (drummer) shoulder broken there will most likely be a stand in drummer playing with the band (I believe Dave Elitch of The Mars Volta will be joining the band for a bit as a stand in).

Biffy Clyro (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Biffy Clyro played¬†the event in 2013 and are co-headlining Reading and Leeds Festival this summer. This year they’re headlining the “In New Music We Trust” stage. It’ll be interesting to hear Biffy Clyro play new songs, like “Wolves of Winter”, with the likes of popular favourites, such as “Many of Horror”. Biffy Clyro always seem like fan favourites at these events and are always heavily enjoyed by the crowds.

Panic! At The Disco (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Panic! are the best band to listen to if you want a bit of mid 2000’s nostalgia or a quick fix of all things “pop-rock”.The best part is that they’re still creating absolute tunes and only get better. With songs like “Victorious” being popular with radio listeners, it’ll be exciting to hear them play at an event like this. They’re also headlining “Slam Dunk Festival” that weekend!

The Last Shadow Puppets (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Turner and Kane are back to play songs form their latest album, “Everything You’ve Come to Expect”, and, of course, from “The Age of The Understatement”. ¬†I’m excited to see the pair live as I find their style interesting, especially with their incredibly written lyrics and unusual style.

Skepta (the In New Music We Trust stage)– Ahhh, how can you not mention grime? Grime is currently dominating the UK music scene, with the likes of Sormzy performing on the Saturday. Last year Skepta performed his hit “Shutdown” with Slaves (and it’s something quite special). “Shutdown” is undisbutedly a tune. I’m hoping for some more incredible collaborations- maybe Wolf Alice?

Wolf Alice (the In New Music We Trust stage)– You can’t miss Wolf Alice. Wolf Alice are one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen; they’re different, incredible live and simply brilliant without all the funny gimmicks. They’re full of good songs and have a brilliant track record of appearances at festivals. They’re headliners of the future, along with Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Blossoms (BBC Introducing)– Returning back to the BBC Introducing stage, possibly for the last time before the release of their debut album, will be a defining moment for the band. Blossoms are currently one of my favourite up and coming bands. You can’t miss them this summer. There’s something so comforting in the vocals that sort of reminds me of a the Kook’s style mixed with a dash of Catfish and the Bottlemen. Songs like “Charlemage” and “At Most a Kiss” have already been popular, and they’re ones to look out for (they were part of my “ones to watch in 2016”). Their current single “Getaway” is creating quite a storm among radio listeners too and, having played it on Jools Holland recently, they won’t have to work too hard to win budding fans over!

Catholic Action (BBC Introducing)– I saw Catholic Action support Swim Deep last year at Concorde 2 in Brighton and since then I’ve been supporting them and their music. They’re seriously talented and will undoubtedly be back. They’re new and current and ones to look out for across the weekend. Catch them whilst you can!

Of course, there’s many more across the weekend and those mentioned here are just a fraction of the brilliant music that the weekend has to offer. There’s Ellie Goulding, CHVRCHES, Years and Years, Jack Garratt, THE Craig David (who did a brilliant weather report for the week on Nick Grimshaw’s Breakfast show- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pD1zG0yN ) and Twenty One Pilots along with a whole host of other acts. Check out the BBC Radio One website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e2f9rz) for more information or keep up to date with it via the BBC Radio One facebook page or Twitter (@BBCR1). Below is BBC Music’s playlist of artists you can catch over the weekend.

If you’re going I wish you the greatest weekend and hope you enjoy yourself! Here’s hoping the weather is nice.

BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend Reccomendations 2016