GURU.

23 02 2018

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Last night, I braved the bitter cold and went to the Lock Tavern in Camden to see a band I had wanted to see for ages- Dr Chan. However, my review of their set will come later on. Right now I just need to write about the absolutely fantastic GURU who are from Brighton. They are loud and nothing short of exciting.

What I loved about their set and their music in general is that it isn’t what you expect. When they took to the stage, I kind of expected them to have a relaxed sound. What hit us all was this gorgeous loudness that reminded me of Sleep but the vocals were something else. I’m not one of these people who say “Oh it is hard to impress me” when it comes to music. I know what I like, and I tend to like stuff that’s a bit dark and tormented and loud. GURU are of course, my ideal band. I’m useless with names, but my god the singer is brilliant. His vocals on the song Roses are exceptional. It is such a great song. To first be aware of them by seeing their live show is awesome. I’ve listened to some of their songs on bandcamp/soundcloud, and it seems much tamer. I love a band that really let rip in their live shows.

The bassist from GURU is massively impressive. I stood pretty close to him (the stage is tiny at the Lock Tavern) and for fear of being smacked in the head by the bass, I moved back a bit. I think I spent most of their set just gawping in awe at him. I loved how he threw himself to his knees during most of their set. I loved how during the last song, the singer walked off and the remaining three just went even wilder on stage. There is no other band around that are like this. They are truly something else, and I am so happy to have seen them.

I’m finally leaving London next month, and I really do hope that GURU find their way up north because they have a fan for life right here. I love the proper aggression in their sound and how every song is played (on record and live) with this urgency that just makes you cling on to every single word. It makes you believe in every single word. They are easily one of the best bands you’ll ever see live. They are just so fascinating and incredible. I honestly feel like whatever I write about them just doesn’t do them justice. GURU are one of those bands that just blow you away. I love that they just fucked over my expectations of them with how I thought they would sound.

If you are able to catch this band, please do. You won’t regret it. Allow yourself to be left deafened by their glorious sound, to have your face melted and your record collection improved immensely. They are easily one of the most exciting bands you’ll hear this year, probably. Brighton’s finest, for sure.

 

*photo credit: Sophie Benjafield





THE KILLS: Roundhouse. 7th October 2016

8 10 2016


The thing about the aftermath of a gig is the comedown that ruins you. For those couple of hours when you’re crammed in a room full of people who are there with the same motives and thoughts as you is comforting. It becomes your own little world. A world you normally create within the walls of your mind, and in your bedroom. For those few hours you’re not on your own, you feel like you’re home. That’s the power and that’s the beauty of live music. It gives us all a place.

The Roundhouse is a venue I’ve never really felt anything towards. I’m not into big venues. I last went there last year to see Patti Smith and I had a great time. Last night, I saw The Kills on the last date of their UK tour. Was it the best place to see them? Yes. Easily. I saw them 8 days before on the opening night of the tour in Manchester, and even though they’ve been on the road for so long, their show last night looked as if they were just getting started.

Their set is made up of tender moments such as when Alison rests her head on Jamie’s shoulder at the end of Pots And Pans. To when he glides over to her holding his gun like a weapon, then facing it onto the crowd. The way they look at each other, the way they scale the crowd with their eyes, how Jamie is easily the best guitarist I’ve ever seen, how Alison bends her body backwards during Whirling Eye and you think she’s about to snap, how Alison stalks the stage- all these moments and more lock you in. You know where to look. But are you aware of how it’s going to make you feel?
There is something truly, truly special about seeing your favourite band live. Being at the front and one of them look at you as they sing a song you love. You wish you could thank them for these moments- so, I guess writing this is my thank you. Eyes locked and a line from Hard Habit To Break is sung at me. Aware but unaware. I can keep that moment locked somewhere forever.
The set is similar to Manchester but along the way they’ve added songs- they added Love Is A Deserter and Let It Drop. I hadn’t given much attention to Let It Drop, but sometimes when you witness a song live, it changes your view on it. The lyrics are great, and I’m not sure why I’ve not played it as much as others off Ash & Ice.

Let’s go back to the tender moments of the show. For the encore, Alison takes to the stage to perform That Love. A heartbreaker of a song, but if your mind is in a rut, play it and it will help. Trust me. I mean, you’ll cry but that’s okay. What comes after That Love? The Last Goodbye. I’ve always had a hard time listening to that song, and for a period of time when Blood Pressures came out, that song meant the world to me. It in a sense, became my world. For sentimental reasons, that record was my glue for a long time. I thought seeing it live would just break my heart. I’m not in that place anymore, so why would it? Because the lyrics are gorgeous. I don’t know where Alison goes in her mind when she sings this, but there’s no way I could do it. Despite all that, it was truly a beautiful song to finally see live. The lyrics are just beautiful, and the care and feeling that is within them is mind blowing.
The set ends with Sour Cherry. The perfect song to end on (check the lyrics.) But you just don’t want it to be over. It is over far too soon. You feel as if it has just started, and it is done.

The Kills are a band that have no bounds with regard to who is a fan of theirs or who goes to their shows. There is a beautiful mixture of people at their shows irrespective of age, gender, race etc. There’s just nothing there to pin point what kind of person loves this band, and that shows the power they have. It’s amazing to be part of, and as mentioned many times before, being in that moment where it’s just you, them and others who love them as much as you- it makes nothing matter. All that matters is the music.

The gentle songs like Echo Home break your heart (the lyrics are perfect) are intertwined with rowdy limb flailing Whirling Eye to U.R.A Fever. When you think you know what you’re going to get, they upper cut you and you are constantly left in awe. Your head is swimming, jaw on the floor and you want more, and more. I could quite happy watch them play every night and cling on to this feeling as tight as I possibly can. There’s no replica for this. You can’t substitute it for something else.
Your favourite band will always be your world. Live music will always be a way to escape whatever you need, and part of the escapism is finding something you need. And when you get it, cling. Cling. The Kills are medicine for the mind, body and soul. They create moments for you to live in. You feel powerful with their words ringing in your ear. Everyone does mention this bond they have, and it is truly one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see. 

I could quite happily write thousands and thousands of words about them and their live shows, but words don’t do any of it justice at all.

*all photos from the show are mine.





JESSIE WARE. Roundhouse. 18th September 2014.

19 09 2014

 

 

Exactly a year ago I won tickets to see Jessie Ware at Abbey Road Studios, a year later I win tickets to the iTunes Festival. This meant selling my Fat White Family ticket, but it was fine- it went to a good home.

Anyone who has seen Jessie Ware live (and I don’t mean via the internet) will know she has this indescribable presence that just makes you want to keep seeing her perform live. I don’t know what it is, but as soon as she starts singing even if the songs are heart-breaking, you just feel alright. She has this effortlessly gorgeous voice that doesn’t hit the music industry very often. I know I’ve said it many times but she’s got the soul/passion that I’ve only heard in Sade and Aaliyah’s voice. All three of them have this soft, gentle and reassuring quality to their voice and music. It is a pleasure to listen to.

She opened her set with Running which everyone pretty much went nuts to. But the new songs are really something else. Sure everyone loves Wildest Moments but can we PLEASE just declare Want Your Feeling as the best thing to happen all year? If you don’t dance, even just a little bit to it, then you should see a doctor about your joints. They’re not moving right, go sort yourself out. Her new songs sound beyond brilliant live, so I think we have all reached a mutual understanding that Tough Love is probably going to be one of the best records out this year. We’re all okay with this aren’t we? Good. Every year I find at least one song that I could quite happily play on repeat, all day every day and Want Your Feeling is that song for me this year. I love every little thing about it. The lyrics may be a little sad, but the song just makes me massively happy. My moves to Groove Is In The Heart (my girlfriend will say they are embarrassing, and they probably are) are pretty much similar to what Want Your Feeling makes my limbs do.

Her songs just make you want to turn to the person you love/adore, and to just tell them that. Her songs, even when heart-breaking just ooze a wealth of love that isn’t conveyed enough. Or maybe it is, and Jessie is the only one doing it in a real way. A way that is relatable. However, my attention was lured away from Jessie a few times when I saw a man doing incredible dance moves up in the seating area. His moves were seriously influential and they’ll be taking over dancefloors soon. Hopefully. He was having a ball, and his moves really showed that. Anyone who saw them enjoyed the little hand gestures he was unleashing. I’ll probably be using them.

I read a few reviews of last nights show, and some were bashing the fact that her set consisted of new songs. Her album is out in a few weeks; surely it makes sense for her to use a platform as massive as this festival to play them? Some people are never satisfied, so we ignore them. Her new songs sound gorgeous live, and it is fairly obvious that Tough Love is going to sit nicely next to Devotion as being a fine piece of work. When she performs live, she is someone who really puts their all into it without being forced. You can see just how happy she is to play these new songs, especially Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe which pretty much makes you want Jessie and Miguel to work with each other all the time. For me, I really loved Cruel and Pieces. You And I (Forever) is brilliant also, basically it is all excellent and you’re daft if you don’t buy her new record.

Last year when I saw her, she had just got engaged to Sam and now when she talks about her husband this captivating glow just takes over her, and you really feel a sense of pure and unconditional love. That’s how it should be. The fact that she is happy but can write painful and heart-breaking love song really shows how brilliant she is. And I do think one thing about Jessie is that she really doesn’t know how good she is. She’s better than good obviously. This humble soul is a credit to the music industry, and I do stand by the fact that she’s my generation’s Sade. She’s a genuine soul whose voice just takes you somewhere else. I wish I had the words to describe just how wonderful she is, but those that love her know.

She’s not released her second record yet, but last night proved that Jessie Ware is easily the best vocalist around. No one else comes close.

 





WARPAINT. Koko. 18th February 2014.

19 02 2014

 

“I’ve got a friend with a melody that will kill.
She will eat you alive.”

Everything I’ll ever write about Warpaint will just be a poor attempt at saying something I haven’t said before. Even that sentence is weak. To me, I think they are everything a band should be. On record they send you to a different world. When you see them live it is like you’re in a dream- the reality after all of this is of course, pretty shit. But Warpaint have this beautiful way of making you feel something truly precious as you watch them sing the songs that make you shut your eyes, sway and dream. See on record I suppose it is quite easy to do but to able to do it live, must take some work right? Not if you’re Warpaint. They make it look so easy, and if you’re like me and musically untalented- you will leave a Warpaint show wishing you could play something.

Before I get into the magical world that Warpaint led the crowd into last night, I must mention that their support act All We Are are bloody brilliant. As I was listening to them I immediately thought of Baltimore’s finest, Beach House. Last time I saw Warpaint the brilliant PINS supported them. Their ferocious and sinister music was the opposite of what Warpaint offer, but I loved it. Then again, I just really love PINS and would happily watch them live over and over again. All We Are have this gorgeous ethereal sound, and I truly hope that the crowd left as fans if they weren’t already. They too, like Warpaint make you shut your eyes and sway to their delicate sounds.

Warpaint’s setlist is a wonderful mix of new and old tracks. Their new record is stunning live. Disco/Very live is one of the best things I have ever seen. Warpaint aren’t really a band you can dance to; they are a band to dream to but Disco/Very is a song that just makes you jolt your body about in whatever way you want.  I just LOVE the lyric, “Only in the sound of the voices I scream.” If anything, Warpaint stand for freedom. They make you feel entirely free as you watch them. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a band and had a constant smile on my face, until last night. There is something special about Koko that just made it perfect for Warpaint to play here. I saw them play Brixton Academy and I honestly think their show at Koko had a lot more soul to it. I don’t know what it was to do with, all I know is that it was a pleasure to watch and be part of.

For some reason I decided to have a little cry when they played Undertow. I wasn’t expecting it, but it just happened. There is a lot of sentimental value to that song for me, but I have no idea why I had to bloody cry! They played Billie Holiday which was like being guided through a dream and into the unknown. I just want to go back to Disco/Very because I REALLY love Jenny’s voice on this. All of their voices together sound like haunting chants; as of they are calling you towards something quite eerie but you go alone with it because it feels right. Drive is powerful to witness live; the lyrics are beautiful to this one and I think it is the way that Emily sings this song that makes it feel quite sacred. Apparently Baby was down as part of the encore, but it didn’t happen. I wish it did but they closed the set with Elephants which is pretty much one of the best moments of musical history….EVER. The song on record is a forceful thing, but to see it live is something else.

Watching Warpaint live is like watching a band play in their rehearsal space. It feels very personal but not intrusive. Once you see them live, you simply don’t stop. I feel as if I am missing something with knowing I won’t see them again until they come back down here. Warpaint live is a salvation for the soul. It is escapism and discovery. They are everything a band should be. They way they perform together is such a joy to watch, you sort of can’t imagine music without them. What did we do before them? The band formed on Valentine’s Day 10 years ago and are evidently one of the strongest bands around. My record collection would have been lonely without Warpaint.

I found myself listening intensely to them last night with my eyes shut, but when I looked around I saw a lot of people were having the same reaction as myself. There was one guy in the crowd who had enviable dance moves. If anyone knows him, he was the guy with a white t-shirt near the middle with a beard and tied up hair- if he’s your pal, I do hope you go out dancing with him and you learn from him because he’s amazing!

Warpaint fans know just how special this band truly are. Their music is treasured and adored for all the right reasons. It is pure and uplifting. It is everything music should be. The way Jenny and Stella laugh with each other on stage, the way Theresa carries herself on stage and the way Emily seems to lose herself the most in the music is what makes them a sacred. Of course they all lose themselves in the music, and that’s how it should be. They just make you want to go home and learn to play an instrument. There is no doubt that they are the best at what they do. And I’m always left in awe of the way Stella plays the drums and sings at the same time. Same with Sandy from Dum Dum Girls and Sophie from PINS. Maybe if my name began with an S I’d be able to do the same.

There are many bands that everyone should see live, but I urge you to see Warpaint wherever and whenever you can. I just wish I was a billionaire so I could pay Warpaint to sing to me everyday. There was something about last night’s show that just left you without words to describe it. You just left in awe knowing you had seen something remarkable.





ELLIE GOULDING. iTunes Festival 22nd September 2013.

23 09 2013

 

If you ignore that I won Jessie Ware tickets last week, I actually never win anything. I never won anything in school and the like; but that’s alright. If you win tickets to see two of your favourite singers, it pretty much means more. I’ve never been to the Roundhouse, I’ve walked past it a few times wishing I could go in to see something magical. Last night I got to see Ellie Goulding for the fifth time. For free. I like free stuff, who doesn’t! Anyone who says they don’t is nothing but a liar.

We were stood right at the back, but although I’m awfully short- I had a pretty good view. I could rest my tired bones against the barrier and generally have the time of my life. I sang, did some little movements and had a nice time. It was a really special moment seeing Ellie; I first saw her on her very first tour and there were about 200 people in the room- to see her play venues like the Roundhouse was truly beautiful. When I first saw her, her shyness was somewhat holding her back, but her voice was more than enough. Now? Now she moves about on stage like a person in complete control. A woman with a vision that is hopefully inspiring others to do the same.

With only two records out (if you ignore the re-released versions), Ellie has this presence on stage that is found in the likes of singers that have been around for decades. This was my first time seeing Ellie in London, and as she’s a London resident- it was fair to say that this is the best performance I’ve witnessed of hers so far. I suppose in a couple of weeks when I see her at Hammersmith I’ll declare that as the best time I’ve seen her. There is something truly special about seeing a band/singer play to their home crowd.

From a personal point of view, when she sings songs about her dad I just go to bits. Not because I’m sad for her, but because I know what it’s like to have that loss. My loss is different to hers, but the songs cut to the very core. Fortunately this time I’m able to not cry at all because I’m just in awe of Ellie’s voice and how far she’s come. The thing is, she is able to write about these heartbreaking events in a way most would struggle with. To unleash them in this way and to not be afraid of being so open is a bloody brilliant trait to have. A trait most wouldn’t know what to do with. People are afraid to be vulnerable but there’s really nothing wrong with it. There is something wrong with thinking everyone is going to fuck you over. Ellie’s music, when she does songs like these, are a form of healing. The way she sings the songs that break your heart are sang with so much passion (obviously the same goes for her other songs, but you know what I mean.)

For me, Under The Sheets is always going to be the song I look forward to the most during her sets. It’s the song I remember seeing the video to on TV in late 2009. And she’s hitting this drum with glitter flying off and I was hooked. I’m not a fan of glitter, it must be said. There was something about Under The Sheets that, when I first heard it, I knew I was listening to someone who was going to be massive. I’m rarely right, but with this, I was! When I see her perform this live, it is pretty much the song that causes me to injure myself if I’m near a barrier as I like to use it as a drum. Did that happen last night? Yes. Is my hand really bruised and a bit swollen? Yes it is. If I’ve not got a minor injury after a gig, I’ve probably not had a good time. The bass drop during Lights is electrifying, I mean the whole set is. But the drop during Lights (Bassnectar remix) is amazing to see live.

Ellie’s band (Max, Joe, Chris and Simon) are amazing. Each of them makes you wish you had even a tiny amount of musical talent. All of them play with such love, and the energy all of them has is infectious. You cannot help but move your limbs around in a questionable fashion as you watch them play with all they have. Ellie and her band are tight; the musicianship they have should be enviable by others- making them want to be as tight as they are.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t really taken by her current single, Burn but after seeing it live. And yet again witnessing Ellie slay the guitar, I was blown away. She does it all. Her shy charisma on stage makes her easy to love because there is no pretentious vibe about her. She’s simply someone living out her dream, and to have watched her go from playing to 200 people to this was just magical. If you’ve never seen her live, let it be known you are truly missing out.