IDLES: Manchester Academy. 4th December 2019.

5 12 2019

idles

I apologise in advance for potentially how erratic and lengthy this will be. Last night’s show went beyond meaning the world to me, and although I may not be able to eloquently put into words what the show meant to me, I know that there is an incredible group of people who fully understand. That group of people are the AF Gang. Thank you.

Prior to the show last night Joe, Lee and Bobo walked past me. I stupidly (or sensibly) used my self-control to not go up to them and spurt out words of love and ask for a photo. I think part of me couldn’t believe it. Not that these real people walked past me, but because I was a couple of hours away from seeing them on stage. It hadn’t sunk in yet; the tickets were last minute (and I owe it to two complete strangers who have hearts of gold.)

Sadly, I didn’t make all the 45s set but what I could hear was truly wonderful and it sounded so energetic. But I did catch all METZ’s set. I think anyone who knows me, knows I love two bands a hell of a lot- METZ and IDLES. I saw METZ earlier this year when they played the Pink Room at YES (USA Nails supported, and again this was a dream line up.) I was blown away and I was left struggling to hear the day after. It was incredible. Second time around in a much bigger venue- they sounded the same. Full of this beautiful rowdiness that just makes you want to pick up a guitar and make a lot of noise. They are one of the best live bands around, and to see everyone else react the same was a beautiful thing too. Songs like Get Off and Acetate were sheer madness, and of course just made me fall in love with them all over again. If you ever get to see them, GO. In any capacity, just go. They’ll shake your bones and shatter your skull in the best way possible.

The main event. The bit where my heart beats faster in a good way, not from having a panic attack. The part where my life probably changes. Where it all kicks in.

IDLES take to the stage and open with Colossus. If you ever want to see a bunch of passionate, beautiful people rush to the front upon hearing the opening chords to an anthem- go to an IDLES show. This was the first time in a very long time where I was in the midst of the crowd. I normally stay back or near the side. I don’t do big venues usually. But I can safely say that I felt so fucking safe at this show. IDLES played 18 songs, and I’m pretty sure we would have begged them to stay longer and play them all again. They are a band that just make me feel so fucking happy and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. They are a band that say the things I probably can’t, and just voice out my worries and emotions better than I ever could. They are my outlet and my safety net. I have never sung (well, shouted) like this at a show before. This morning my body hurts and my throat hurts in the best way possible. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every single song is a highlight (we got QUEENS for fucks sake!!!) and I wanted to stay in the moment forever. Is this how someone feels when they see their child for the first time? I think this is probably better. From the crowd chanting IDLES prior to them coming on stage, from Bobo ending up in the crowd to Joe ending up with someone’s shoe on stage- this was truly the best gig I’ve ever, ever been to. Sorry Nick Cave, I think you’ve bene overtaken! The crowd chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” to the mass sing along of Wonderwall and All I Want For Christmas Is You. It was the most loving and precious atmosphere; I just wanted to be immersed in it forever.

This was my first IDLES show and it won’t be my last. There is something about seeing them for the first time that just gives you that kick up the arse that you need. Everything that this band and us fans stand for is something to treasure and to pass on. There were kids at the gigs with their parents, and if it was their first ever gig then everything else in life has a lot to live up to! I loved that during Rottweiler birthday girl, Catherine got on stage to play guitar with them. To see a fellow AF Ganger up on stage with the band and just ripping the stage apart was beautiful. That’s how you do a birthday and close a show.

Slow Savage broke my heart. This was the only moment I cried during the show. There is something about the way Joe shouts, “I’m the worst lover that you’ll ever have” that rips you apart. It’s the sheer openness and vulnerability in their songs that lures you in and wraps itself around your heart. This song is a prime example of it. But there is something else about their shows that will wrap itself around your heart- the strong feeling of unity.

Danny Nedelko is sang like a football chant on the terraces. This song means a hell of a lot to me and so many. It’s a perfect example of what makes this country great- the people who come here to better themselves. Our beautiful immigrants. We love you and you are welcome here. Always.

I feel I am missing key moments from the show, but I’ve had 5 hours sleep and a bit of a migraine brewing. I don’t care. I have never felt so alive as I did last night. The atmosphere was safe and full of love- just how it should be. We got Queens for fucks sake! I’m still delirious over that; incredible. Last night changed something in me. I’m not entirely sure what just yet, but something will emerge I’m sure. It has to. Since losing my Gran 3 months ago, I’ve not had hold of any emotion I have; everything has been a downward spiral in my head but last night I had a glimmer of stability. I have to go with that.

There is also nothing more satisfying and therapeutic than screaming along to their song Mother, and yelling “MOTHER! FUCKER!” with a few thousand people. Nothing can beat that.

Keep fucking going, and love yourself. LOVE.YOURSELF.





HATE MOSS.

2 12 2019

HATEMOSS

 

There is so much that I love about Hate Moss that I have no idea where to begin. The name of the band alone should make you love them. This Brazilian/Italian duo are based in London, and I think if I still lived in London, they would be THAT band that I constantly go see. They have something about them that just makes you really want to invest in them. As far as duos go, they’re up there with the best of them. They take elements of bands I love and make something of their own which is beautifully dark and creepy.

I think the best time to listen to Hate Moss is, well, all the time! But aside from that, listening to them in the dark when nothing and no one is around is an ideal setting. I’ve got a few bands that I listen to like this, and there’s something so sacred about listening to music in this vulnerable setting. I guess in a way, it makes you really soak up everything that’s going on in a more heightened manner.

 

 

Hate Moss don’t make sounds for those wanting sickly delicate emotions and thoughts. They’re for those who aren’t afraid to stay on the edge of something that could probably terrify someone else. Their songs have this euphoric glow to them, and it is really brought to life on songs such as The Time Your Remake which is 8 minutes of sheer heaven. Their synth-based sounds remind me of the likes of Drab Majesty and my all-time love, Cold Cave. They give you this atmosphere that gets you right in the gut.

Hate Moss totally stop you in your tracks when you listen to them. You simply can’t do anything when you listen to them apart from just that- listen to them. The vocals will send shivers right through you, and the music alone will increase everything you could possibly feel when listening to them. Two people are doing this- just two people. The incredible thing is that they don’t have that many songs, but every song feels like this ethereal cloak of darkness that you want to constantly cover you. They are such a special band, and you can really hear where they want to go when you stop and listen to their music.

Songs like Evil and Honey were made for you to just play really, loud. They’re the kind of songs you can see yourself screaming back at the band. Sometimes you just find a band or a song that you absolutely cling to, and these songs because your everything for that specific moment in your life.

 

 

I could quite happily switch off from the world and listen to Hate Moss on a loop. I could also sleep for a few days because I am so tired. But anyway, Hate Moss have something about them that just makes you feel like their live shows are really something else. This duo really knows how to get the listener right in the gut, and with just a handful of songs- they have mastered this perfectly.





FANTAZMAZ: Better In My Head.

1 12 2019

fantamaz

 

This isn’t going to be long, because I’m not well and I’m not happy that I had to pass on seeing Amyl & The Sniffers tonight. I saw them earlier in the year, and I was SO excited about seeing them tonight. But it’s not meant to be. Instead, I made myself pizza and watched a film. I’m mad at myself for getting ill. I eat vegetables, I take vitamins and I do my best to look after myself (and the planet by not eating animals!) but it happens. I just wish it happened earlier or not at all! Anyway, you’re not here for that and neither am I.

Fantazmaz have just one song out, and that one song is powerful enough to write about. With the world evidently on its tits at the moment and lies being spat at us by pretty much every politician, it’s pretty easy to cling onto bands or a song that let out our frustrations, and Fantazmaz do exactly that. They are fronted by Thamila who has such fury in her vocals, and just reels you in immediately. I can only liken her to Amy from Amyl & The Sniffers, and I mean that because when I first heard Amy I thought “OH SHIT! WHAT IS THIS!?” And I was hooked, Thamila has done exactly the same. Raf and Chokis keep this fury up with their guitar and bass, then you have Edgar on the drums and it feels like he is the one sort of pushing the band to be louder and unapologetically ferocious. They may just have one song for now, but this one song is enough to make you really believe in this band.

 

 

I love how this song feels like you’re escaping everything around you and opting for living in your head. I wouldn’t recommend living in mine, but when you can create a world to escape from it gives you this comfort and to be honest, we all need that. It is such a vital Punk song, and once you hear it- it really stays with you. You have the chorus repeating in your head like a mantra, and it’s a pretty cool one to take on.

You can stream/buy the song on their Bandcamp page, and you can keep up to date with the band right here. I cannot wait to hear more from them because two minutes and nineteen seconds just isn’t enough!

Play it loud!





FONTAINES D.C. : O2 Ritz, Manchester 19th November 2019.

20 11 2019

 

fontainesdc

 

“A sell-out is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money. An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of their thinking. A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they effect. A dilettante is someone who can’t tell the difference between fashion and style. Charisma is exquisite manipulation, and money is a sandpit of the soul.”

 

Recently crowned by Rough Trade as being their record of the year, Dogrel by the mighty Fontaines D.C. is a record that you need to witness in a live setting. If like me, you’ve been playing it almost religiously since it came out this year you will know just how powerful this record is. It’s romantic, it’s brutal, it’s honest and it is powerful. There’s only one way to play it, and that’s loud. In a live setting, it becomes something else. I knew it was going to blow my mind, but my god it exceeded everything and anything I thought about this beautiful band.

Their set is basically Dogrel in full, and every song is performed with this ferocious energy that makes you believe in every single word that comes out of Grian’s mouth. He’s a poet yet he delivers the words in a way of a preacher, it’s absolutely hypnotising and such a great thing to witness. As I watch the band, I can’t help but feel that they have the same energy and presence that The Birthday Party had. Grian stalks the stage like a young Nick Cave; Carlos and Conor are like Rowland S. Howard and Mick Harvey/Blixa.

 

 

Fontaines D.C. are unapologetically loud, and they touch on subjects that most tend to shy away from. Their songs touch on the sexism in the workplace to dreaming of being big to black cab drivers. There is so much reality in their songs, and this reality is something that many would fear or try to shy away from. No one at the Ritz last night was shying away from any of this. Pints of beer were flying; middle aged men were screaming the songs at the top of their lungs and the kids at the front were no doubt soaking up everything Fontaines were giving us to create their own noise in the future. I sure hope they do.

Songs like Too Real, Sha Sha Sha and Liberty Belle see the venue absolutely erupt in euphoria. We all know that this is one of the greatest records of the year and beyond, but trust me it all changes when you see it live and when you are surrounded with people who love this record, and this band as much as you do. You feel at home and oddly secure. Chequeless Reckless was my highlight for sure, but I’m going to touch on the set closer Big shortly which was equally as powerful. So, Chequless Reckless goes beyond being a song; it is a vital piece of poetry that should be studied. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if, in the future their lyrics find their way onto syllabuses in schools. Fontaines are no doubt our future and are showing us a side that we need to be exposed to. You can see their world anywhere, but so many chose to ignore it. Don’t. Just don’t. I love the way the band just play with this urgency and dedication to make these songs be heard. Grian’s vocals takeover the venue, but when you see the sheer devotion in the way Tom beats the living shit out of the drums and how Conor treats his bass like a machine gun not to forget how Carlos and Conor thrash their guitars about with this sheer Punk energy that would make even Johnny Ramone proud if he was here. If you were at this show last night, chances are that like me, your love and obsession for Fontaines has gone through the roof.

The band end with Dogrel’s opener, Big. In a way, this has become a bit of an anthem. All their songs have done this. Fontaines could easily sell out arenas there’s no denying that, and maybe this will now be the last time we get to see them in a venue this size but their songs and the way they perform them do create a sense of intimacy and sheer devotion between the band and the fans. Big is THAT song that will inspire many to get out of their current town and to make it elsewhere. Anyone can do it, and the self-belief that Fontaines have, and had got them where they are now. Big is the song you play to pump yourself up or to just give yourself reassurance that you can make something of yourself, even if your beginnings aren’t grand.

 

 

If you’re looking for a band that will blow your mind, burst your eardrums and leave you covered in other people’s drinks- then go to a Fontaines show. It was most certainly one of those shows that you know people will be talking about in decades from now; it was memorable for so many reasons, and as time goes on those reasons will evolve. People will start bands because of this show, people will create their own poetry because of this show, this band and Dogrel. There is no denying just how brilliant Fontaines are and of course, they deserve to be big. Last night’s show went beyond proving that. Definitely one of my favourite shows of the year.

 





EZRA FURMAN: Albert Hall, Manchester. 12th November 2019.

13 11 2019

 

ezra-furman-2019

 

Yesterday was my birthday; it was the first without my Grandma. It was a weird and painful day. Thank god I had my girlfriend and an Ezra Furman show to distract me.

I’ve been a fan of Ezra for so long, and various things I’ve always got in the way of me ever catching a show of his. The main being me having panic attacks. He once played a tiny venue right by my old house on Chatsworth Road in London, of course I couldn’t go because I had a panic attack and was broke. Living just to pay rent and have no life is now a thing of the past, but back then it was pretty much all I did. Last night was special for so many reasons.

 

 

The crowd was full of people who just made the show feel like home. To see the front row absolutely scream the words back to Ezra gave off a sense of hope. They are our future, and maybe they’ll be the ones to fix all the fuck ups that past and present leaders have caused. The crowd was made up of beautiful people from our LGBTQ+ community. People were free to be whoever they wanted, dress however they wanted and to just be free. To truly be free. I sincerely hope Ezra is aware of the power and influence he has, and how he is probably spurring on a younger generation to speak up and fight back.

There were so many moments in the set where you could truly feel and hear the words being screamed by Ezra and being screamed back at Ezra louder than most. I did my very best to hold back tears for many reasons, and to hear certain lines being sung just caused some tears to fall. There’s one line that I have in the back of my mind constantly from his brilliant song (and one of my favourites from Twelve Nudes) My Teeth Hurt. I love the line, “I don’t know how I’m doing lately. Fuck you if you ask.” I didn’t have it in me to scream that line last night, but I have it constantly screaming in my head. If I could personally thank Ezra for writing that line, and that song I truly would. I really cannot put into words just how much that line means to be. It’s a crutch for me.

We all know that Twelve Nudes is probably the best record of the year, and it’s been my safety net since it came out. I love how on the record you can truly hear the fury in Ezra’s voice. The cracks in his voice on the songs occur just as beautifully on stage. You can really feel every single emotion when Ezra does songs like Calm Down, Evening Prayer and Trauma. He played about 22 songs last night, and I’m pretty sure we want Ezra and his band to just stay on stage forever. He’s our hero, he’s our voice. Thank fuck we have people like him. He’s 2 months older than me, but I still idolise him in the same way I idolise Patti Smith and Nick Cave. He’s everything to me, and he is everything to everyone who was at the show last night.

Hearing the new songs live was such a beautiful experience but it is older songs like My Zero (who he dedicated to our Mancunian treasure, Marc Riley), Haunted Head and Love You So Bad were such an honour to see and hear. He created moments on stage that you just wanted to stay in for the rest of time. I have never felt so safe at a show; it felt like home. It felt like we were all witnessing something truly powerful yet utterly sacred. Of course, I wish I had seen him live before, but to see him in a venue that I adore, with my favourite person was most certainly worth waiting for.

Suck The Blood From My Wound opened the show, and it was played with this urgency that made you instantly realise just how vital this show was going to be. It is one of those shows that you know you and all those who were there will be talking about in many years to come. I hope the younger kids there start their own band and get their voices heard. I hope anyone who felt out of place, felt at home at this show. The way which Ezra and everyone screams, “To them we’ll always be freaks” is so powerful. Everyone felt it, as did I. You could tell that from the first song that this was going to be a truly remarkable show, and you could see on Ezra’s face that he knew immediately too. This beautiful city means a lot to Ezra, and the love and respect is hugely reciprocated.

I could write thousands and thousands on my love for Ezra and about the show last night. If you’ve ever seen his show, you’ll know exactly what I mean and how safe it all feels. Ezra is someone who plays shows with everything he has. He leaves it all on stage. He pours his heart out into these songs; sure, you can hear it on record, but to truly witness this live is something else. Twelve Nudes is the Punk record he always wanted and needed to make. It’s the Punk record I always needed. His cover of The Clash’s Police On My Back (which is also a cover) was beautifully done, and I saw one person on the opposite side of my totally lose his shit to it. It was beautiful. The setlist was perfect. Every single song was played with such passion and fury. Every song made you feel like you belonged and that they were for you.

 

 

The show last night was made up of all ages, races, genders and sexuality. It was a freeing and welcoming atmosphere. Also, the person selling the merch was just the sweetest. I just needed to add that.

Given my own personal circumstances, I can say that this is one of the best shows I have ever EVER been to. If you have the chance to see Ezra, go. Go and sing your heart out with him.

“And if it’s not enough to keep the lights on
Let ’em turn the lights off
Broken spirit and a bad cough
Turn ’em off, turn ’em off
And when you’re really at the end of your rope
No, you don’t take the night off
Too many demons to fight off
Cut me off, cut me off.”

Thank you, Ezra. Thank you.





FALSE HEADS.

5 11 2019

FH

 

It’s that wonderful time of year where we play, gun shot or firework. To drown out the exploding sounds (I really hate fireworks) I’m playing False Heads super loud. I can just about drown out the fireworks.

 When I lived in London, I heard of False Heads quite a few times, but I foolishly didn’t pay close attention. They probably played a shit ton of shows I could have gone to, but I can’t dwell on the past. Fast forward 3 years since they formed, and False Heads are most certainly one of the most exciting bands in the country and maybe one of London’s loudest bands. Their sound will get out all of your frustrations and disdain. There’s a slight Grunge like feel to their sound, but aside from that you can’t really lump them as anything but excellent.

 Their newest single, Fall Around come out on the 25th October. Initially I was going to write about the single, but they deserve way more than that. The new single is a heavy and raw song to really get stuck into, and to let False Heads suck you into this world they’ve created with their brutal sound that makes you feel like you’re in a pub brawl that’s spilled onto the street. I love the heaviness on Fall Around- that really heavy drum and guitar sound together is just divine, then you get the slick bass hitting you along with the vocals. It is such a perfect sounding song- if you listen to it after listening to previous songs you will massively hear how their sound has just continued to evolve and is still on this brilliant journey. They take you along for the ride, and it is such a joy to listen to.

 

 

Songs like Slease, Retina and Help Yourself were made to just lose your shit to. I’m annoyed at myself for never seeing them when I had the chance in London, but the thing with their music is that they make you feel you’re right in the midst of their live shows when you listen to them. I love Slease, and I think it’s one of the year’s most underrated gems. It’s got everything you’d want from a heavy sounding band. They have this captivating sound that just makes you want to turn it up a little louder, and to try see if you can actually make your ears bleed from the loudness. They’re that great, they’ll have you wanting to do dumb stuff.

Their debut record should be with us next year, and I reckon it’ll be something to truly treasure and pay very close attention to. False Heads have songs that are nothing short of anthems, and in a few years’ time they’ll be playing them to stadiums full of devoted fans. They have this glorious Post-Punk feel to their sound, but they give us something more. Something we may never have heard before; there is so much charm in their sound, and the lyrics are so easy to connect with. False Heads may only just be getting started, but they’ve won over a wealth of fans all over. You cannot deny just how great they are, and how a sound like this is so vital.

 

 

With new single Fall Around thrust into the wild now, there is really no telling how the debut record will sound like but I reckon it will consist of real heavy bruisers that will be destined to be played loud and screamed back at the band.

Iggy Pop and Danny Fields are fans of this trio, and if that isn’t enough to get your attention then I really don’t know what will.

*Photo by Neil McCarty





BANKS: O2 Ritz, Manchester. 1st November 2019.

2 11 2019

BANKS

 

Last night was only my third time seeing BANKS, but to see her perform the songs from her new record III was a completely different experience from the past two shows.

Her voice is stronger than ever, her confidence has grown, and she is easily one of the best performers you’ll ever see. I can safely say this morning that my voice is a bit fucked. I sang my little heart out last night, something which I rarely do. I guess I felt I needed to get everything out. Her music is soothing, it is healing and just makes everything alright. She’s is nothing short of phenomenal.

 She opens her set with Til Now, which is a powerful anthem. It’s a solid ‘fuck you’ and BANKS does this so well. On stage all she needs is Derek, Ben, Nadine and Allison. Nadine and Alison, along with BANKS move in ways that make you feel like you are at something that is more than just a concert. There is something so ethereal and magical about watching the three of them move together. Of course, I lose my mind when Stroke starts. I told my girlfriend we should have brought red bandanas or something to recreate the moves but luckily, we improvised (nearly smacking each other!) During the set I was stood near a guy who was absolutely having the time of his life; moving in ways we all should at shows and screaming every word back at Jillian. That’s how you do it. I think I spent more time watching him! Something I love seeing at BANKS’ shows is just how passionate her fans are. Everyone just screams the words back, as if we have been waiting our whole lives to just get this all out. She is a phenomenal writer, and like I mentioned above her vocals have become even stronger.

 

 

There are so many perfect moments during the show, but for me it came from the most tender and vulnerable part- when she recited her poem, Ode To The Grey Zone, that’s when it all fell into place for me. I was one of them who filmed the whole thing- I just had to. It is such a gorgeous and vulnerable piece of art, and it is something that is so comforting. I needed it. There are so many highlights from her new record that came to life last night. One of the most important ones was If We Were Made Of Water. Did I expect to hear it? Hell no. I lost my mind. It is such a strong song, and on record her vocals on this are insane but when you witness it live, you take on a different meaning. That’s what I love about Jillian- when you see her perform these songs after religiously playing them at home, they really do take on a different meaning. They become a bigger part of you, and that’s the part you cling to. Always.

 Seeing everyone lose their mind to Gimme was brilliant. I think this, and Underdog are the ones that caused me and my girlfriend to absolutely ruin our voice and wake up with sore throats this morning. Completely worth it. Drowning and Waiting Game were as always, a joy to witness. I love that she’s switched up the set, and even though I wanted to see This Is What It Feels Like again- seeing If We Were Made Of Water just completed it all for me. Poltergeist was ridiculous. I love the choreography to this. I think for me, the best part of the show choreography wise was Contaminated. It is such a heartbreaking song, but when you see it performed it takes on a new life almost. The way it is performed is so heartbreaking, and you feel slightly voyeuristic watching it- seeing something so fragile. But even in BANKS’ tender moments, there is so much strength and I love that about her so much. Alaska caused everyone to lose their mind as did Underdog. The whole set was a delight, and I’m just so excited to watch her keep evolving as a performer and writer. She truly is a Goddess. Also, the songs playing before she came on stage made me love her even more. My girlfriend, who is a huge Lil’ Kim fan left her place in the drinks queue to run up to me and recite the lyrics. I fucking love her. Before BANKS came on stage Where My Girls At by 702 was playing- pretty sure I was treating everyone to a nice rendition of that. She played so much Missy too, which is a given!

As someone who has been a fan right from the start, seeing Jillian grow and become the performer she is now is truly beautiful. The chapter of III is her showing us how she has grown and blossomed into this confident performer. I’ve always loved how you can see how much she loves playing shows on her face. When she performs Beggin’ For Thread, and hands the mic to the crowd this beautiful smile takes her over and the dimples shows us just how much it means to her. Maybe because she sees how much it means to us too. Seeing Godless and Propaganda live were out of this world too. Definitely a highlight for sure.

With just three records she has become this vital part of music, and so many people’s lives. I loved seeing so many people from our LGBTQ+  community in the crowd. It felt like home, it felt like a safe space and given the state of the world right now- this is what we need. Her music is a safety net, her shows make you feel like you finally belong and being who you are is enough. The world puts us down enough, we don’t need to do it to ourselves.

 

 

Last night was the first night of the UK/EU III tour; so, if you are lucky enough to be going, you are in for a real treat. If you’ve never seen BANKS live before, prepare to have your mind blown. If you’ve seen her before, you’ll truly see how she has grown, and you’ll just be so proud of her.