2017

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Live Review: Kasabian, Live at The 02 Kentish Town Forum (20th April 2017)

The O2 Forum Kentish Town is tonight’s venue for the third and final London show as part of the Kasabian‘s intimate UK tour in preparation for the band’s 6th studio album ‘For Cryin Out Loud’, released on April 28. Opening with the track ‘Comeback Kid,’ one of twelve songs featured on the highly anticipated album, marks a gentle way to start what we all know will turn out to be a raucous Thursday night gig.

© Chloe Dobinson

Crowd pleasers ‘Bumblebee’, ‘Underdog’ and ‘Eez-Eh’ follow sending the sold out 2300 capacity venue into a frenzy. Frontman Tom Meighan and guitarist Sergio Pizzorno true friendship is demonstrated throughout the gig and their love for performing together is still very much evident.

New single ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’ receives a warm welcome showcasing Kasabian are back where they belong with fans already singing along. The set takes a slower turn with guitarist Pizzorno taking to the centre stage with ‘La Fee Verte’ and ‘Treat’ which both show their appreciation for the singer songwriter.

An encore consisting of ‘Stevie’, ‘Vlad the Impaler’ (which saw a cameo appearance from comedian and new Bake Off star Noel Fielding) and ‘Fire’ left audiences members on a high chanting as they exited the North London venue.

Kasabian’s set list was 17 songs strong but their back catalogue is of such size and stature that it would’ve been easy for them to take it up to 20! No doubt their upcoming album will contain at least a few numbers that will join the ranks of their previous singles. One thing is for sure, their hits that include ‘Shoot the Runner’, ‘Club Foot’ and ‘L.S.F’ left fans (on this particular evening) wanting more.

★★★★

Read more of the live review on Contact Music.

Album Review: Shake off your Troubles, The Little Kicks

The 10 LP album has a versatile yet intriguing sound from Scottish four piece The Little Kicks. Opening track Theme is a 2 and a half minute instrumental track preparing listeners to take a journey full of genres and musical influences the band have adapted to make something of their own.

Sing About Something has infectious guitars, funky keys and high pitched falsetto vocals being reminiscent of indie electronica heroes Joy Division. It’s a slow yet memorable track with its hauntingly yet beautifully vocals. Don’t Get Mad, Get Even juxtaposes the previous track as it’s far more of a chilled, laid back song; it has light drums and soft guitars before leading into an upbeat chorus.

Let’s Get Lost Together is true alternative track on the EP album. Catchy hooks and light-hearted melodies make it a fun, innocent and poppy and has bags of radio playlist potential. While Bang The Drum Slowly is raucous and oozes confidence from the Aberdeenshire band having only formed in 2009, this a personal highlight of the record as it has eclectic keys and synths which demonstrate the band’s creativity.

You and Someone Like Me utinises a long intro which appeared to draw influence from the 80’s video games, the hollowed vocals of the frontman fits brilliantly together with hints of scuzzy guitars making it a great 1st single released from Shake Off Your Troubles.

Before We Were Friends marks the end of the album with soft distant strings. Overall, the album demonstrates The Little Kicks potential as a band not wanting to define their music by one genre. While there is versatility, the album can be hit and miss and often leaves listeners wanting something a little more punchy.

★★★

Live Review: Micky Flanagan live at Leicester Square Theatre (21st January 2017)

Micky Flanagan played a sold out 400 capacity venue at London’s Leicester Square Theatre in anticipation of his 2017 UK and Ireland tour An’ Another Fing.

Micky Flanagan (copyright:mickyflanagan.com)

Playing a colossal 13 dates in London alone, to nearly 250,000 people, Flanagan’s material mainly involved what he has been up to since taking a year off from the limelight including observing building sites, midday drinking and creating uneasiness amongst customers in corner shops.

Flanagan was one of the first comedians I had seen in 2012 playing a small and intimate show at 200 capacity Pleasance Theatre, since then he’s embarked on several tours and is one of the most recognisable comedians in the UK today.

Keeping topical, no subjects were left behind with brief mentions of the women’s march, Trump’s inauguration and celebrity deaths of 2016.

The Bethnal Green comedian interacted with members of the front row having a cabbie’s knowledge of the east end and relating to audience member’s various hometowns. Flanagan’s wife was mentioned heavily throughout the show often depicting her as a goddess throughout their 16 year marriage.

Since his last DVD (The Back In The Game Tour) the comedian jokily depicts of how he is ‘rolling in money’ since touring and how he can do whatever he wants now fame has come. Proving his ability to make absolutely anything funny, Flanagan managed to make a full 10 minute routine on BBC programme Eat Well for Less? which sees families across the UK reduce their food bills with help from Gregg Wallace – the comedian’s impression of Wallace is uncanny.

It’s clear to see that the 54 year old comedian is back at his best and able as ever to put audiences in continual fits of laughter during his 90 minute show.

★★★★

Read more of the comedy review on Contact Music

 

Culturefly 

Albums of 2017

This year I have contributed my two favourite albums to Culturefly’s best albums of 2017 feature. Here is what I chose:

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built the Moon?

The third studio album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds saw the frontman take a different approach, resulting in one of his best musical offerings yet. From the psychedelic and eerie instrumental opener ‘Fort Knox’ to the more poppy Vaccines inspired ‘Holy Mountains’ – this album introduced listeners to a softer, more subtle sound from Gallagher, taking away the hard persona fans have grown accustomed to. Who Built The Moon is Gallagher’s most ambitious solo record and it’s one that gets better with every listen.

Kasabian – For Crying Out Loud

Kasabian’s sixth album is a punchy, confident sound, delivering songs that range from raucous and arrogant – like opening track ‘Ill Ray (The King)’ – to the softer, more melancholy ‘You’re In Love with a Psycho’, which highlights guitarist Serge Pizzarno’s hypnotic guitar. However, it’s ‘Bless This Acid House’ that feels like a future indie anthem and radio favourite with its catchy chorus and harmonic melodies. For Crying Out Loud is the epitome of British rock music, marking a triumphant return from the Leicester born lads.

 

Album Review: Noel’s Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built The Moon?

Who Built the Moon is the third release from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and it sees the band take a different direction with their sound, shaking off any Oasis similarities.

Fort Knox’ kick-starts the album with its instrumental intro and echoing vocals reminiscent of The Chemical Brothers’ 90’s track ‘Setting Sun’, which Gallagher had guest vocals on. The track’s heavy bass and punchy sound eases listeners into the 11-track album.

Released in early October, ‘Holy Mountain‘ was the first single taken from the album and it’s also the most surprising – and probably the least likely – track on the album that you’d associate with Gallagher. It’s a catchy, upbeat and poppy sound with influences from Bowie and The Vaccines to – dare I even mention – a hint of Ricky Martin.

Keep on Reaching’ and ‘She Taught Me How to Fly’ feel more like classic Gallagher songs, writing about love, hope and opportunities, whereas ‘It’s a Beautiful World’ is a subtle yet mesmeric track that lingers in the memory long after it’s finished playing. The soft sounds of the guitar with Gallagher’s distinctive voice are a particular album highlight, showing off what the singer-songwriter does best.

Bringing a little 60’s inspired flavour, ‘Black and White Sunshine’ feels more in tune with The Beatles era, with catchy melodies and slick tones. There’s plenty of variety and experimenting with different sounds here and it works a treat.

Who Built the Moon marks some of his best produced songs since Gallagher’s early Oasis days. It’ll keep long-time fans happy, whilst appealing to a new generation of listeners at the same time.

★★★★

Comedy Review: John Bishop, Winging It live at the 02 Arena 

Last night John Bishop played London’s O2 Arena for the first of two nights at the venue as part of his Winging It tour.

The comedian often opens with a video link and, true to form, Bishop started the show from a bathtub, admitting he was getting lazy with his tours due to old age – a key theme throughout the show. He also insisted on playing some ‘pop videos’ to get the massive crowd hyped up for the evening ahead.

Madonna’s ‘Vogue’, Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’, Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ and Robbie Williams ‘Let Me Entertain You’ all got the Bishop treatment, with the Liverpudlian starring in the iconic videos.

Taking to the stage, Bishop got the crowd going by reminding everyone it was a Thursday night in London and therefore the start of the weekend.

It’s been three years since the comedian’s Supersonic Tour and Bishop split the show into themes of what has happened to him over the last 18 months.

The first half of the show focused on age, with the comedian recently turning 50. He talked about noticing the changes in his body and the decisions he was making, while also comparing how different men are to women when getting old. The comedian made frequent references to his wife and friends comparing themselves to when they were younger; something all adults tend to do.

Bishop is unlike other comedians who write gags and take notes of things that they think would be funny. Instead, he takes key experiences that have happened to him recently and tests them out on smaller audiences. Most recently, Bishop tried them out on a small Scottish audience for a warm-up tour for Winging It.

His honesty in the show revealed a different side to the comedian, as he admitted he went through an ‘odd depression’ once his kids had left the nest. To fill the void, his wife, Melanie, took in rescued animals to which the comedian said she’d taken it too far. Horses, Shetland ponies, chickens and a hypochondriac pig brought Bishop back to his theme of age and getting older.

Overall, it was great to see Bishop back on stage and on top form. He’s still one of the greatest comics on the circuit today, telling personal stories and sharing experiences that the audience can relate too.

★★★★

Live Music Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 

Last night, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds played London’s York Hall as part of an Apple Music documentary for his upcoming studio album Who Built The Moon. 

The gig was a balloted ticket system with only 1200 lucky fans given the opportunity to see the former Oasis member in such an intimate venue.

© Laurence Watson

Playing an hour-long set, Gallagher kicked off proceedings with leading single ‘Holy Mountain’ which is a fast-paced, vivacious track from the singer-songwriter. The frontman debuted three new tracks from the upcoming album including ‘It’s A Beautiful World’ and ‘Black & White Sunshine’, which have a subtler, more soulful sound compared to the two previous albums.

As well as playing new tracks, Gallagher also treated fans to Oasis classics including ‘Little By Little’, ‘Half The World Away’, a beautiful acoustic version of ‘Champagne Supernova’ and a faultless ‘Don’t look Back In Anger’, which the crowd sung every word to, overpowering the boxing club venue.

The memorable set ended with ‘In the Heat of the Moment’, ‘Riverman’ and ‘AKA..What a Life’, leaving the audience wanting more from Gallagher. It was particularly great – not to mention a novel experience – to attend a gig that had a no phone zone. Without the audience being able to catch every minute of the concert through a phone, attendees were able to enjoy the live event, living in the moment for a single night.

The exclusive documentary, entitled On the Record: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds — Who Built The Moon?, is due for release on Apple Music from November 24.

★★★★

Live Review: Camden Rocks Festival 2017

The one-day rock festival that is Camden Rocks took place over the weekend (3 June) and it was a momentous triumph, boasting a strong line-up of 250 bands that was arguably the best to date.

The festival – now in its sixth year, four of which we’ve been lucky enough to attend – certainly didn’t disappoint. Glorious sunshine, an eclectic line up and happy festival-goers made this year’s music event one to remember.

Once we’d collected our wristbands, we hopped next door to Underworld to catch four-piece band Turbowolf. I managed to see the band two years ago at Camden’s Barfly where frontman Chris Georgiadis captured the audience’s attention from the get-go with his enthusiastic performance. This year was no different.

The only bad thing about a festival that takes place across a single day is that there are inevitably line-up clashes. We therefore decided to cut Turbowolf’s set short and head over to KOKO, where one of our top five bands of the festival, Reverend and The Makers, were performing.

It was the band’s second time at the festival and they played plenty of tracks that fans wanted to hear including ‘Bassline’, ‘Open Your Window’ and ‘She Said She Loved Me’. The band’s distinctive frontman, Jon McClure, got audiences hyped for the following acts with attendees jumping, singing and bouncing along to the catchy tracks. A highlight of the gig was when the band played their 2007 track, ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’, which delivered a nice dose of nostalgia for anyone who’s been following the band for a while.

Reverend & the Makers ©Chloe Dobinson

Indie music fans were treated to a stellar KOKO line-up, which included not only Carl Barat & the Jackals and The Coral, but also Camden Rocks 2017 headliners, Feeder. Many people remember Merseyside band, The Coral, from the noughties but they’re still a great band. They played well-known tracks ‘In the Morning’ and ‘Pass it On’, with dedicated fans singing along to every word and getting the place warmed up for the most anticipated headline slot.

Welsh rockers Feeder took to the stage and lived up to their reputation as a brilliant live band, opening up with ‘Universe of Life’. The set mainly featured their earlier material (which nobody seemed to be complaining about about) and saw the band play as if it was their last ever performance. As expected, ‘Buck Rogers’ got the biggest reaction, with over-excited audience members throwing cups and singing at the top of their lungs.

Like previous years, Camden Rocks Festival 2017 was a huge success and delivered something for everyone. Until next year fellow rockers!

Read more of the article on Culturefly

 

Live Review: Charlie Baker’s Cabaret Boulangerie at The Other Palace Review

Following a successful string of shows, Charlie Baker’s Cabaret Boulangerie returned to London’s The Other Palace theatre on the 23 May, 2017.

Boasting a roster that includes an array of comedians, magicians and musicians, the show offered something for everyone and was headlined by quick-fire pun comic Tim Vine.

Starting off proceedings was comedian Tom Allen, who was a last minute addition to the line-up replacing Angela Barns. Allen was a great replacement act, opening the show with a discussion on how his accent is often misrepresented and the challenges of passing his driving test. Allen’s charm and quick wit had audiences in fits of laughter, getting them warmed up for the 2 hour spectacular of a show.

Next up was British comedy magician John Archer, whose tricks and rib-tickling stories entertained the 120-capacity crowd.

A highlight of the evening was guitarist Deirdre Cartwright, who performed two songs – one with a jazz influence and a cover version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ – before returning to the stage with musical theatre performer Gabrielle Brooks (who’s appeared in West End shows The Book of Mormon and I Can’t Sing). After a couple of songs, Brooks revealed to the audience that there’s a new Tina Turner musical in the pipeline, which she auditioned for, before perfecting a cover version of ‘Proud Mary’.

The second half of the night saw award-winning comedian Nathan Caton take to the stage. Having seen the laidback and charming comedian perform a few year’s ago at a tiny Northern London theatre alongside Romesh Ranganathan, it was great to see him tackle a bigger event, discussing how his life has matured since moving out his parent’s house.

At the end of the night, Tim Vine performed his fast paced one-liners to the audience who were left in hysterics as the comedian packed a punch with his constant stream of quick-witted jokes. The extravaganza saw the comic do his reputable ‘pen behind the ear’ routine, which pretty much does what it is says in the title.

The night was a huge success with MC Charlie Baker guiding the audience through the cabaret line-up, delivering an unforgettable evening of entertainment.

★★★★

Camden Rocks 2017: 5 acts to check out at this year’s festival

This year’s Camden Rocks Festival is set to be the biggest and best yet, with over 250 bands performing across 25 venues on Saturday 3 June.

It will be Cuturefly’s fourth appearance at the festival which features headline slots from the likes of Feeder, The Coral, The Damned and The Rifles.

The festival will see established and up-and-coming acts, both home-grown and international, play at the iconic all-day event, which is renowned as one of the best rock festivals in the UK.

Here are our top 5 acts to check out from the mammoth line-up.

Reverend And The Makers

Reverend And The Makers are expected to make a triumphant return to Camden Rocks this year. The Sheffield band last played Proud at the festival in 2014, which saw them deliver an energetic performance to the packed out crowd. Frontman Jon McClure brings terrific showmanship to the stage, getting the crowd involved with their performances. This is a band we’re truly looking forward to seeing at the festival and you should be too.

Feeder

Headlining this year’s summer festivities are rock band Feeder, who bring their Welsh charm to the legendary festival. The band are fantastic live and fans will be expecting to hear some of their most popular tracks on the day, such as ‘Buck Rogers’, ‘Just a Day’ and ‘Feeling A Moment’. The festival appearance follows their ninth studio album, All Bright Electric, which was released at the end of last year, and they’re sure to get everyone into a frenzy with their superb back catalogue of alt-rock hits.

The Coral

Another great addition to this year’s line-up is English band The Coral. Having emerged with their breakout self-titled debut in the early noughties, they’ve since released a further seven studio albums, with their latest, Distance Inbetween, proving that they still have plenty to offer fans new and old. Expect a big crowd for the Merseyside rockers.

The King Blues

The King Blues are a punk rock band hailing from London with influences including The Clash, The Specials and Public Enemy. Their sound is described as “rebel street music” by lead singer Jonny “Itch” Fox, so this should be one of the most fun gigs on the Camden Rocks line-up.

Orange Goblin

Orange Goblin will be bringing their heavy metal talent to the festival. They released their debut album in 1997 and since then have released seven more albums, the last back in 2014. This is the type of band that Camden Rocks is all about and if you get to see them live, you’re in for a treat.

Click here for more information on Camden Rocks.

 

Album Review: For All Ours Sins, Sounds of the Sirens

For All Our Sins is the engaging and upbeat debut album from female acoustic-pop duo Sounds of the Sirens.

Album opener ‘Smokescreen’ is a captivating track that grabs the listener’s attention from the get go, before leading into the soft acoustic sounds of ‘Mr Wilson’. The beautiful, subtle vocals against a melancholy backing provide the perfect track to listen to on a chilled-out Sunday afternoon.

Together Alone’ and ‘In This Time’ are passionate, foot stomping songs, which bring a vibrancy and energy to the 11 track album. With tracks like these, it’s hardly surprising that the duo have received high-raise from the likes of Chris Evans, who invited them to perform alongside U2 and Take That on TFI Friday last year.

The album’s seventh track, ‘Cross Our Hearts’ lowers the tone, allowing Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood’s voices to really shine. Its heartfelt lyrics make this track the true highlight of the album, demonstrating the Exeter two-piece’s great potential in the folk scene.

Given that it’s currently Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, ‘The Voices’ seems particularly pertinent, as it supports the #itaffectsme campaign which the duo are advocating as both musicians and teachers to the younger generation.

Following the release of their new album, Sounds of the Sirens are embarking on a small UK tour in May and June, as well as playing at festivals including Oceanfest, Jimmy’s Festival and their biggest show to date at Glastonbury.

For All Our Sins is a debut album to listen to on a sunny afternoon and one you can easily immerse yourself in. It’s out now via DMF Records.

★★★

Read more of the album review on Culturefly