Monday 25 September 2017

The Sherlocks - Manchester Academy 15th Sep 2017

Sherlocks at the Acedemy. So to start I had a spare ticket which was quickly snapped up after a quick Facebook share (at Face value I might add, I am against any form of sapping up tickets and selling them on for profit! I believe the law & Ticket agencies could do much better still).

So I met the buyer at queue for the doors opening @ 6:45pm, not my plan - far too early. Sherlocks aren't on until 9:30pm. There was a very big queue of 12-18year olds. I'm trying to work out if this is their first gig and don't yet know they'll be stood around waiting or they're making a night of it... either way fast forward 2hours and we head back to go into the Acedemy. There was a bunch of 14year olds being refused entry for basically crawling and falling all over the show.

Get inside after a search and ID check, best go to the bar and get a pint and shot before they come on... apparently 1 ID per drink, so you can only have a pint or a shot at 1 time!

Time to start... Last Night, what a song to start, excellent! Leading on from Escapade to Will You Be There.

I can't complain about the performance, they were as excellent as my review from Leeds Festival.  Playing the album in full rather than just 5 tracks. 

I was hoping for some other songs, maybe a treat of a cover or something but they stuck to their tracks. Which was pretty good anyway and well performed, they weren't  a note out.

The only criticism was their stage presence. Interludes between songs is yet to be refined by these guys, maybe a continued bassline, feedback or drum beat. Instead, they stopped the songs and plunged into silence except the rumble of the audience. 

The obligatory Manchester how you doing, and thank yous came, but still felt very empty between. Their was a chant of Oh Jeremny Corbyn, I'm not sure what/why, even stating they arent political.

None the less, worth the visit and ticket price. Looking forward to seeing them grow and slicken their set over the coming years.

Sunday 24 September 2017

Collaborations / Side Projects

When it comes to joining forces, creating synergies from mega artist and mega artists, sometimes it the ones who go a little under the radar who are the best.

I don't want to talk about 'featuring' tracks, or collaborations were both artist hold their stage names as the artists (ie Greenday & U2).. I'm talking side projects under new names, new publicity, starting back from the roots.

Lets starts at a personal favourite of mine:

Banks and Steelz.
Comprising of Paul Banks off of Interpol and RZA of Wu Tang Clan.
Neither are new to side projects, Pauls released Albums under several names and also his own name. He also released his own hip-hop mix. Which is where they lie.. a new breed of Rock meets Hip-Hop. With a full album and new wave of singles out, there is a plethora of Rap verses by RZA supported Indie lyrical riddles courtesy of Paul.

Most tracks have a theme with philosophical focus to the world and to humanity. Such as the most recent release Who Needs the World. But the track that gives a mixed taste to their album Anything But Words would be Giants

Yes lets go punk. Primarily the work of Tim Armstrong & Rob Aston (Rancid) and Travis Barker (Blink-182). Again artists not unknown for side projects, but they'll probably come up later on or in Collaborations Pt2. 

We're heading into deeper faster sounds as you'd expect from Rancid and the flowing hip-hop elements from a mixture of featured guests along with Rob. 3 Albums have been released over 15years, with the self titled first being a favourite of mind.. lets go with the most popular
- Diamonds and Guns  followed by  DJ DJ

Team Sleep 
Chino Moreno (Deftones), Gil Sharone (Marylin Manson's drummer) and DJ Crook bring together this headf*** of  band Team Sleep. With guests such as Mike Patten (Faith No More)
I say headf*** because this is the frontman of Deftones in an Alt.Rock/Trip Hop sound... His voice is so unique and awesome in Deftones, to hear him more relaxed is weird, but it works and it's awesome.

But it goes further - Chino Moreno has another - Palms
and from a scale of Deftones to Triphop, Team Sleep is in the middle and Palms is Triphop.

Ahhh Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio/Blink 182) and Josiah Steinbrick (LA Producer) come together to produce an Indie Album : Patent Pending (2006). Again Matt's unique voice is pretty recognisable from his major acts and this combination works. Its like Morrissey's down beat vocals meets Joy Division... with Matt's voice.

Hotel Persona
Ok this is more Side project than collaboration but hey I feel I've neglected one of my fav bands: Placebo. Naturally you'd be drawn to Brian and all his collaborations and features but today I'm looking at Stefan. Stefan and his husband have a side project 'Hotel Persona'.
Also a track does feature Brian Molko, so even better.

Love Amongst Ruin
Steve Hewitt (Placebo) and Perry Bamonte (The Cure). So this isn't major frontmen merging, but they have a good sound and very placebo-esque.

Lose You're way:

When I started this post I tried to add structure and maintain a flow of genre. The list of Collaborations & Side projects is ridculous so I've decided to continue with just a selection of some of my fav eclectic, new/old, side projects.

Zwan (AKA The True Poets of Zwan)
Formed by members of The Smashing Pumpkins, Slint, Tortoise, Chavez, and A Perfect Circle
Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) and Paz Lenchantin (Currently of Pixies), with David Pajo (Slint and short term Touring member of Interpol)

Bring together this supergroup, who, with a very short stint bridge the gap after the original disband of Smashing Pumkins. The sound is very much smashing pumpkins with an increase in tempo.

If you've enjoyed some of these, check out some more well known ones 

Bernie (Joy Division / New Order) with Jonny Marr (The Smiths)... what more could you want.

The Falcon
Punk Supergroup: Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms), Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio), Tod Mohney (Rise Against)

Recent collaboration of Davey Havok (AFI) and Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young (No Doubt)

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Poets Of The Fall - Alt.Rock Finnish Band

So if I challenged myself to try and shar some of the lesser known, long established, bands I enjoy. I am going to start this journey with a Finnish Alternative Rock band who have dominated Finlands Album charts with numbers 1s for the last 15years. 

They're on their own record label which may explain the smaller reach as over in the UK and wider music communities I've struggled to come across anyone who has heard of these (except the friend who pointed them out to me).

Origins of the Band: Having been made famous by their adaption of poem 'Late Goodbye' which was produced as the song for the closing titles of the game Max Payne 2 : The Fall Of Max Payne, and also featured several times within the game being sung/whistled by some characters.
Essentially the Poet writer and producer formed to create POTF off the back of their friendship and success in the game. They are therefore more likely known to the Gaming community

If I was to describe their sound: I would think 'Metallica Nothing Else Matters'. Which is to some people Metallica's worst song, but to others it's the best. The heavy rock come acoustic. They are extremely catchy lyrically and with a very wide range of vocals and sounds, much of their catalogue comes under Alternative / Progressive / Indie genres.

Personally my favorite song goes back to the title track of their 2006 album 'Carnival of Rust' 

Monday 18 September 2017

Ryan Adams - Manchester 14th Sep 2017

Heres a guy thats been at it a long a time and probably hasn't got the accolade he deserves and honestly, until recently I hadn't heard of him. Ryan Adams, 42 from North Carolina, he's had a 2 decade long career with 16 studio albums. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know them and him, my knowledge comes from the 20 or so songs I've known from being played in my partners playlists.

Alternative Country / Folk Rock is pretty much the genre, though I'd say at parts he floats into Hard Rock. 

The gig was at The Apollo, which wasn't the best venue on the night. I'm not sure if this was a combination of recent events but upped security was frustraiting and at times over the top. You can't stand within 1.5meters of the sides or back so there was a lot of people getting pushed to the sides and back in, nothing aggressive but poorly managed/set out. I don't recall it being like that at previous gigs.
Also the lower bar was closed, there was rumours this was at request of Ryan, though I don't know. So getting booze was a long wait, it was made up though by the queue having a chuckle at a the Barman who had an uncanny resemblance to Samwel Tarly so there was a lot of Game Of Thrones based jokes about the long queue. Also they don't do Tequila!

Into to the Stalls and we're waiting on Ryan. Got a couple of jokes murmuring in the background about playing 'Summer of 69' I guess this happens alot, I know got the jibe a few times at work when I said who I was seeing tonight. 

The set and lighting for Ryan Adams expect mood lighting and backlighting with an array of TVs stacked instead of the usual strobe lights. The reason for this is Ryan suffers epilepsy, but that doesn't stop the show from looking visual fantastic.

The lights made it difficult to see Ryans face a lot, plus the long hair didn't help. Not that it really made a difference, the performance was a show of why he's had 16albums. He's an excellent guitarist and never missed a note vocally. It's hard to say who i'd compare him to, he's very much the classic cult rocker long hair and V shaped guitar, you can hear similarties to  Father John Misty and Springsteen at times.

The 26 song setlist started with Do You Still Love Me off his new album, then it was mixture of the back catalogue flicking from one album the other. Very fast paced making his through the tracks pretty quickly with a lot of energy, it seemed each song had a guitar change too, it's almost asif he swapped guitars for each album the song related to. I haven't seen that many changes before.

The paced slowed down when he played the title track to the new album Prisoner, opting to go it alone in an acoustic with just a few fairy lights on the mic stand

Picking up the pace and moving back between albums, and a load more guitar changes. He certainly looks to be enjoying himself and the audience too. It's not heavy or overly fast paced so much of the crowd is just stood bopping along and singing. Although that didn't stop several people needing to be stretchered out by paramedics.

I don't recall a huge interaction with the audiance, the occassional Hows everyone doing and a joke about the TV's. Overall the gig was pretty good, worth the night out and a different genre than I'd normally go to

Ryan Adams - Prisoner (Spotify) 

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Photography (side project blog)

With the various styles of photography I take at Gigs or during my Travels I have a created a new blog specifically for some of my fav pics.

Saturday 9 September 2017

Top Indie Covers

After sharing a few cool Punk covers I decided to look at sharing some of my favourite Indie covers. 
Where better to start than two epitomes of Indie The Killers, covering no other than Interpol.

Killers - Obstacle 1

Tegan and Sarah's cover of Umbrella

Lissie covering Go Your Own way 

Not sure if we're venturing into Post-post/Alternative  but hey, what's  a better cover than: 

Placebo's  Running Up That Hill

With Indie being  a fairly varied Genre its hard to pick just a few, espcially ones that are just not another Live Lounge Version. Anyway no good covers blog could exclude this next one

Futureheads  Hounds of Love

Bloc Party - Say it Right 

Franz Ferdinand - Call Me

The Kooks - Kids

The Courteeners - About You Now

Heres a few others on a spotify playlist
Spotify Playlist - Indie Covers

Dancing On My Own  -  Calum Scott
No Diggity  -  Chet Faker
99 Problems   -  Hugo

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Top Punk Covers

So spent the day listening to Punk covers, here's a few of my top ones. Originally I set out to share my top 10, but I came across this amazing Daft Punk cover by Halestorm so that's tagged on too.

Link to my spotify playlist, if you fancy a listen
Spotify : Playlist Top Punk Covers

In no particular order:

Little Lion Man - Tonight Alive
Lose Yourself - Cut Down Clay 
The Boys of Summer - The Ataris
Payphone - Crown The Empire
I Melt With You - Mest
Somebody That I Used to Know - Mayday Parade
My Own Worst Enemy - Get Scared
Dead and Gone - Cute Is What We Aim For
Rolling In The Deep - Go Radio
Sweater Weather - Slaves
Get Lucky - Halestorm

Monday 4 September 2017

Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights 15th anniversary Manchester 3rd September

It's not unknown that Interpol can be inconsistent when it comes to live performances. I've seen Paul enough times to know he can often be vocally out of sorts, even a listen to their 4th studio album shows they're not a flawless band.  None-the-less, every opportunity to see Interpol should be taken. Even if you hit an off day, you can guarantee that the gig will be one you never forget.

Today was not a off day, not by far. In fact, this was one of the best performances I have witnessed from Interpol, and I've seen Paul in his many forms across the world. Vocally Paul was clear to hear, even if after 15years its still impossible to know just what he's saying (lets see about this ham), and he was hitting notes better than his 24year old self.

It took a while for the gig to start, doors opened at 8pm and due to start at 9pm. It was 9.30 by the time it got going, queues were still trying to get into the Albert Hall.
We managed to get ahead and to the front pretty easily though. 

I've seen a few setlist and track arrangements for this tour, but in this instance they come out and started straight into Turn on the Bright Lights, with Daniel kicking us off with the unmistakable rift which is Untitled. Nothing but goosebumps

As usual the donning the Black suits and saying nothing other the odd introduction and Thank You. What do you expect from the mysterious quintet? This is their style and this is what makes them Interpol.

I watch showmen, I watching bands who offer a different take on their own songs, I love them. But I also love a band who turn up, smash their perfectly fine songs out one after another, uninterrupted, to a joyful crowd. It works.

We are continued to be serenaded with the Tour titled album; Obstacle 1, NYC, PDA

You will notice despite this being a tribute to their first album, the band was lacking Carlos on Bass. This is unfortunate but the guy on bass was more than adequate, I dont know his name though.
Edit: Thanks to fellow Redditor user cheesy_star  the touring bassist's  name is Brad Traux on bass

Continuing through the album, Say Hello to the Angels, Hands Away, Obstacle 2, Stella was a Diver, Roland, The New. Amazing! Everyone was inline ontime and giving a performance to truely ode the accomplishments of the last 15years.

At many Interpol gigs you get a wider range of fans in the audience, your punks, indies, electro/synths, goths, and alround eclectics - spanning every age. Which often means the atmosphere can vary from standing quietly and nodding along to all out sing and, air guitar & pogo.

It was clear today was going to be all and more, at several points drawing a circle in the pit, something I've not witnessed at an Interpol gig before. Best atmosphere by far. Being so into it I took very little pictures of the crowd.

Progressing onto a mix of their greatest hits Specialist, Not Even Jail, Slow Hands, Hienrich Manoeuvre, All The Rage Back Home and ending on the classic Evil.

In the midst of all that we got a taste of the new stuff, with the latest song Real Life. Honestly it sounded good, but amongst the centre front of a pit it's hard to get a true feel for the track and all videos seems to be poorly filmed... so I'll await the release before I really get a feel for it.

Overall this Tour shows why Interpol stand the test of time and truely can provide the show of shows, especially when it comes to their best album. 10/10.

And after all thats if you've not got it here is a link to the TOTBL album download here:

Saturday 2 September 2017

Leeds Festival 2017 Friday

Leeds festival to me is a home turf, spending most of my teen years and early 20s at the weekend its easy and known. I've not been for about 5 or 6 years as the line ups have been a little off. This year changed, it was an awesome line up. Unfortunately due to family commitments we opted for the friday only. 

Maybe it's time, or festival conditioning, but it seems a lot smaller in the main arena than I remembered. Every tent feels much closer together, mind you this is easier to move between acts.

The Sherlocks
If you've not heard of these guys, they sound like an amalgamation of Arctic Monkeys come Courteeners. Having only just released their first ablum in August its a good to see them on the NME stage, fair play thought, they have put a lot of work in promoting their EPs and singles for the past few years.

They drew a large crowd, I headed in early so couldn't see how big, but it was a very good atmosphere. 
The lads were in spot on, perfectly in sync and no notes missed. Really showed why they are drawing the attention they've been getting. 

Smashing out great performance on the main stage, the stockport, band gathered a large crowd which saw them play some of their top songs; At Most A Kiss, Honey Sweet, Charlemagne  as well as covering The Smiths There Is A Light And It Never Goes Out.

Definitely a band to go and see, really good performers live and a large vocal range. 

Liam Gallagher 
Liam Gallagher is Liam Gallagher,  you get what you expect, alone, Oasis or with anyone else. It doesn't change, it doesn't need to either. Sounded great, looked, well, as usual, in a raincoat! Typical manc.
The set was very much a flit between his solo tracks and Oasis classics such as; Morning Glory, Slide away, Wonderwall

With Muse and The Hunna clashing we opted to listen to half 1 of Muse and half 2 of The Hunna.

This worked well for as my favorite muse songs were at the beginning, Plugin Baby, Hysteria & Stockholm Syndrome. You know what you're getting with Muse, they've been around for years and prove their style is as current as ever. 

Matt Bellamy's vocal range was the best of the night hitting the usual drawn out high notes, alongside the part Progressive part Electronica instrumental reminded me why Origin of Symmetry is one of my favorite albums from early 00's.

The Hunna
This was a let down, I've seen The Hunna at Manchester Catherdral and they were very good. The band was in sync and vocals were perfect. Since then the guys released their album and I was hoping to hear a full set.

The sound was off, who ever did the soundcheck did a bad job. Particulary the Drums, they were over powering and at times seemed out of sync. We stuck out a few songs and were partially able to enjoy Never Enough, We Could Be and Piece by Piece. Part way through Shes Casual we called it a day on the set and left, I'd rather wait till their next in town and listen to a bad a version.

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