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.





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

20 11 2019

 

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“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

 

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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.





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.





BAMBARA: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 22nd October 2019.

23 10 2019

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I went to this show as someone who casually listened to Bambara; I left as someone who is now obsessed and in awe of what I witnessed in a room that should have been packed.

I think the best way to describe a Bambara show is wonderfully loud and chaotic. As soon as they ripped into their set, I immediately felt like I was watching The Birthday Party for the first time. They have the same raucous sound that is all over the place in the best way possible. I don’t want my music to sound polished or perfect- I want it to be noisy, all over the place and powerful. I got all of that and more from Bambara’s set. They put their absolute everything into their performance, and honestly, Reid Bateh is quite possibly one of the best performers I’ve ever seen. He absolutely puts all he has into the songs, and in a live setting you can truly see just how much this means to him. It’s like he has to get THIS out. I don’t know what “THIS” is exactly, and maybe it’s something we all have in us, but he gets it out in a way that is beautifully enthralling and terrifying at the same time.

Bambara aren’t a band for those wanting roses and sunshine. They are a band for those seeking something to cling to. They’ve toured with two bands that own my heart- IDLES and METZ. Imagine seeing that! It’d be like witnessing something so sacred, and spiritual. I had a great spot at this show, and maybe it was because it wasn’t sold out. It should have been sold out by the way. I could see everything, and I was so fascinated with drummer, Blaze. His style reminded me so much of one of my favourite drummers- Alex Robins. I loved that Blaze’s stage attire was shorts and cowboy boots- if that doesn’t define cool, then I don’t know what does. His style of drumming is intense and captivating. He’s the kind of drummer that a kid would watch and think, “I want to do that.” He made a 32 year old feel that way (me, by the way.) I love how the band all have this sense of solidarity when they play. It feels like a brotherhood (obviously that’s the case with Reid and Blaze!) and this tight sound they have just makes you completely hooked on every sound they make, and every word that Reid sings.

 

 

Songs like José Tries to Leave, and brand new song Serafina (which I think they had only played once before maybe?) were just magnificent to watch. With this possibly being the second time they performed Serafina, they nailed it perfectly. I love how Reid thrashing the microphone wire like an out of control lion-tamer, and he definitely reminds you of a very young Nick Cave when he was in The Birthday Party. This was probably one of the loudest shows I’ve been to at the Soup Kitchen- it wasn’t as loud as the times I saw The Jesus And Mary Chain (I couldn’t hear properly for 2 days, but I was stood right by the speaker so…it was to be expected!) Although the venue wasn’t packed, but to be honest sometimes it doesn’t matter you know. Sometimes it can feel like the whole world is there, and Bambara definitely made you feel that way. At times it felt intrusive as you witnessed them leave their absolute everything on stage, but bands that do this just have my complete respect. To be that open on stage is something to really appreciate and admire for sure.

I love how bassist, William completely lets go on stage. Sometimes you see bass players who are holding back and seem to be teetering on letting go, but William is unafraid and just makes you wish you were as cool as him. Bryan and Sammy are INCREDIBLE guitarists; they could easily have blown the amps with how loud they were, and take that with how grand Blaze’s drumming is- then you get the general idea of how wild and loud this show was.

There was something about this show that at the end, I felt like I had got what I needed. I felt some kind of release. I’m not sure what of. I mean today is 2 months since my Grandma died and I’m ready to go back to bed and spend the day crying. But last night, that gig gave me that feeling that you get from your favourite band. It was truly special for so many reasons. I urge you to see Bambara whenever and wherever you can. It’s not just a show, it’s an experience. An experience that will stay on your mind until the next time. Over and over.

 

 

Their set ended on Monument, and it was such a high to end on. Of course you wanted more, and you just wanted them to carry on for an eternity but this was just one of the most mesmerising shows I’ve ever been to. Bambara have been around for some time now, and these New York heroes are a band to become majorly obsessed with.

This was my first time seeing the band, and I definitely hope it won’t be my last. Their new record, Stray will be out in February. It’s their fourth record and I reckon it might just be their heaviest to date. I cannot wait to hear it, and can probably call it as one of 2020’s finest records.





THE MURDER CAPITAL: YES (The Pink Room) Manchester. 18th October 2019.

18 10 2019

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A very wise person once said, ‘The Murder Capital are one of the best bands you’ll ever see live.’ Not sure who it was, it was probably anyone who has ever been to their show.

Their debut record, When I Have Fears has been my crutch since my Gran died in August. It’s been that something I turn to when I have no idea what is going on and when I’m trying to get a hold of what I’m feeling. I never get hold of it; I never will. The show tonight meant the world to me for this reason, and I honestly don’t think I’m ever going to get over just how incredible it was.

 The Pink Room at YES tonight was completely rammed. It was full of people who were clinging to these songs. The Murder Capital are a band of the people, and my god they are a band to be utterly proud of. James’ is one of the most enthralling front men I’ve ever seen. He’s got the presence that will make him be likened to Nick Cave. The band are just the most captivating and passionate band you’ll see. During songs, James leans over to Damien, Gabriel and Cathal and plants gentle kisses on their heads- it is such a simple moment, but you just know how much it means.

 

 

When I Have Fears is one of the most hard-hitting records of the year. Before they play On Twisted Ground, James announces “This is for everyone who should be here.” I immediately think of my Gran and my friend who took her life in the summer this year. I cry. I cry for many reasons. Some obvious and some not. All reasons I try to grasp every day. I wish I could say this show was a form of healing, but I won’t heal, and I’ve accepted this. What I can say is that this was one of the most emotional, passionate and important shows I’ve ever been to. With just one record, The Murder Capital have created something we expect from bands who are playing huge venues and have numerous of records- but The Murder Capital are different.

 Watching the band, you simply cannot get over just how immense the experience is. The way Diarmuid annihilates his drumkit, and makes you feel like the stage is going to crumble because of the sheer weight of his playing, this merges so perfectly with James’ vocals which can be grand yet delicate. The band are exceptional at creating tender moments on their songs, and the bring it out so well in their live shows. I love when they all completely let go in their heavier songs like More Is Less and Feeling Fades and I love seeing the quieter moments where you can see them take everything in. You can really tell that this isn’t just a band to them, it isn’t just a job. It’s their life. And as a fan, that’s how you feel. They go beyond being just a band; they are just everything. Simple as really, yet it holds a lot.

 Everyone goes apeshite to More Is Less, Green and Blue and set closer, Feeling Fades (stage invasion from the Happy Couple was great, and James launched himself into the crowd!) And the tender moments in songs like Slowdance I and Slowdance II are just so perfect. For Everything is belted out by the band and is also sung back to the band by the crowd even louder. These are the moments that make you realise that you have seen something truly special; this will probably be the last time we see them in such small spaces. They’ve just announced a tour for early next year, and it’s only a matter of time before they start selling shows out in seconds. They are such an important band, and they aren’t afraid to vocalise the issues many want to shy away from.

 Don’t Cling To Live reads as a poem, but when you see this live it becomes an anthem. It is one of those songs that regardless of where you hear it (live or in your room) it changes you. It becomes part of you; it has something that makes it such a gorgeous composition. Seeing it live is truly something else. Seeing The Murder Capital live is truly something else. Once you see them, that’s it. It takes over you. In an ideal world I could be at their shows every single night. They hold so much power in their music; it can break you, then heal you, then break you again. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for sure, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Aside from being way too close to people who thought talking all the way through the show was appropriate, I can safely say that this was one of the most personal and captivating shows I’ve ever been to. It’s hard to put into words just how exceptional the show was, and I think anyone who has seen them or even just loves the band knows what I mean. There are some bands that just love beyond words, and The Murder Capital are exactly that. There are no words good enough to describe this band and all they mean to me. It was such an intense experience, and although it was over all too quickly it has left a lasting impression that is permanently etched upon my heart.

 Tickets for their tour next year are now on sale. Buy them and go sing your heart out.

*Photo by JustGrayce





GHUM: The Castle Hotel, Manchester. 15th July 2019.

15 07 2019

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Of all the gigs I’ve ever been to, the show tonight was the hottest and most sweatiest. A tiny venue with no air con but who cares? One of the most exciting bands around played here tonight, and it was something truly special.

Their debut EP came out a couple of weeks ago, and it is one of the most remarkable and gorgeous records of the year. It is a euphoric dream of a record, and has the most intense sounds and ethereal feelings within the songs. It is perfect; so how does it come across live?  Divine. Absolutely divine.

Before I get into their more known songs, they played a new one called California which I am obsessed with! I wish it was on The Coldest Fire, but it definitely proves that they are pretty much the best band around in this country. For me, I got the same feeling I did when I first heard TwoFiftyFour and Warpaint years and years ago. They have that same dark yet euphoric feel to their sound.

 

 

Their live show is something else. This was their first time that they had played Manchester, and it honestly felt like a band that were “coming home” in a way. Everyone was just having the best time, even if it felt like we were in a sauna. For a band that have put out their debut EP, they just make you feel like they’ve been around forever. They are so sure of their sound, and that just makes them even more inspiring.

I loved finally seeing 1000 Men and Saturn. These are two songs I’ve had on repeat more than usual, and the live versions of these songs are truly mind-blowing. GHUM are band that you cannot help but fall in love with from your very first listen. They have something about them that just sucks you in, and nothing else comes close to it. They have this colossal sound and presence that you know means that this will probably be one of the last times they play such a small venue. They played the best venue in the world over the weekend, The Shacklewell Arms and honestly, it is the best venue for a band like this. But tonight at The Castle Hotel was something else. It isn’t a big venue, and it has a proper intimate feel to it. A rare treat to have such a band play here, and I think it has the potential to be one of those shows that in decades from now, you’ll be gloating that you were there. Like when the Sex Pistols played the Lesser Free Trade Hall.

The sheer passion in the way they play and deliver these songs is truly astounding and hugely inspiring- they are effortlessly haunting with their sound, and you just want it to consume you. Everything about GHUM just leaves you in awe. You cannot help but feel that you were part of something really special tonight. I hope it is one of those shows that this city talks about for years to come. The crowd were equally as perfect. It’s been known that Manchester crowds are the best, and tonight they really did prove that theory correct.

I think Get Up was the song that really got everyone going. I love how the song vocally is delicate, then the hook comes in and just smacks you in the face. There’s honestly no reason as to why GHUM won’t become massive and win over thousands, and thousands more fans. They are a band that have you hooked immediately and tonight, they fully exposed that notion in ways I’ve never seen a band do before.

 

 

For me, this show is one that will stick with me. When they play bigger venues, this show will still go down as being one of my favourites. The venue may have been a sweat-fest, but it didn’t matter because we were in the presence of one of the best bands around who will undoubtedly go and take over the world.





WALLOWS: Manchester Academy 2. 7th June 2019.

7 06 2019

 

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The crowd at tonight’s show consisted of mainly teenage girls. As soon as Wallows stepped on the stage, the venue was deafened with screams that could rival a One Direction concert. There would have been a time where this would have annoyed me, but tonight it was beautiful to hear. A couple of hundred kids in this room watching a really great band. A lot of them were with their parents, and it may have been their first ever show. A pretty cool first gig if you ask me. I was stood behind a dad and her daughter. The dad was wearing a t shirt of The Smiths (which alone is great!) and was singing and dancing along with his kid. It was a beautiful moment. Some kids would be embarrassed, but there was so much love there. It was beautiful.

Nothing Happens is the band’s first full length record. It is made up of songs that sound like The Smiths meets The Cure and dives right into The Strokes. Personally, I love it. Three bands I love, and Wallows have created a sound that is equal parts L.A. and 80s Manchester via New York and the South of England. Maybe that’s why this crowd were absolutely brilliant. There’s something about Manchester, and given it was Wallows first time playing here- it most certainly was a night to cherish. Manchester crowds never disappoint, and they created such beautiful moments tonight.

 

 

The set opened with Do Not Wait which is by far my favourite song off Nothing Happens, and probably my favourite Wallows song. I love the depth in the lyrics, and I love the angelic yet grand sound in the song. Dylan’s vocals on this one are something else, and he truly does it justice live. To have them open with such a big song was great, and it only got better.

Songs like These Days, Pictures of Girls and Are You Bored Yet? are probably sung louder by the crowd than the band- but everyone is just so taken with it. There is something about Wallows that makes it so easy to fall in love with their sound. I loved how the crowd sang Clairo’s part on Are You Bored Yet? Braeden and Dylan share vocals throughout the set, and their voices compliment each others so well. When they need to be gentle, they truly hit you with the fragility in the tone. But when they need to ramp it up and be rough with their tone, they deliver it effortlessly.

With only one full length record and an EP to date, they had no problem selling out shows. This show was originally at the Deaf Institute but got upgraded. To be honest, they could have easily sold out The Ritz or the main Academy next door. That’s for next time though, and there definitely will be a next time.

Wallows give you more than a show. They are the best at what they do, and let it be known that Cole is one of the best drummers around. The band have got a lot of soul, and a lot of heart in their music. Their lyrics are relatable and their songs are just blissed out gems that you can’t help but continually to fall in love with.

The set closes with Scrawny. This song has my favourite line of the year, “I can still have wisdom and look like a child.” I can wholeheartedly relate to this, and it’s such a great song. To see it live just gave me a new appreciation for it. I cannot wait to see them again. I really can’t. My only downer is that they didn’t play Uncomfortable, but hey- the show was just perfect and the set just showed us why they are not only a great band and musicians, but also one of the most exciting performers around. They all have this beautiful energy, and create this atmosphere that you cannot help but soak up.

 

 

I hope kids that were at this show end up starting their own bands or something, and use this show as their blueprint or something. It was perfect. Manchester truly embraced Wallows tonight, not just because it was their first time here but because this is the best city in the world!





ZIG ZAGS: Soup Kitchen, Manchester 21st May 2019.

22 05 2019

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Last night I got the chance to see one of the loudest bands ever. There’s only a couple of bands that have left me partially deaf after a show, and Zig Zags are one of them. They are LA’s nosiest band for sure.

They played my favourite venue here, the Soup Kitchen. The only bad thing about this show was that there was hardly anyone there. I’m disheartened about this because Zig Zags are a brilliant live band. However, although the turnout was poor that didn’t stop them and maybe subconsciously they decided to play louder than usual? I don’t know, but I do know this- it was one of the standout shows I’ve been to this year. It was their first time in Manchester, and I really hope it isn’t their last because they are a band that you’ve just GOT to see live. There’s something about them that just spurs you on.

They recently released their new record, They’ll Never Take Us Alive. I wanted to write a review about the record but, I kind of wanted to see their show first before taking it on. I wanted to see how it’d come across in a live environment because it has such a big sound. So, this is part live review/part record review/part me just going on about how great they are. I don’t know where any of this will go, but it’s out of pure admiration.

 

 

The new record is full of anthems, and I as I watched them in awe last night I couldn’t help but feel that their songs would be perfect in a stadium. They have this wonderful, grand sound but it isn’t overpowering. They are amazing musicians, and I swear Dane is one of the greatest drummers of our time. Although the venue wasn’t full, last night he played as if it was a huge fucking stadium and for me- that just sold it. The way they played last night just cemented my respect for them.

Zig Zags remind me of the Misfits mixed with the Melvins and Sleep; with a hint of Noothgrush. Basically, a perfect sound On record, sure you can hear loud they are but when you see them live, something else happens. The songs are heightened and they have this bigger feel to them. Considering they played a small venue, they made it sound like you were somewhere quadruple the size of where you were. For me, that shows you just how great a band is.

With three records into their career, each one is a step bigger and louder. They evolve in a brilliant way, and I really hope I get to see them live again because this was some show! I don’t think there’s a band around right now that are like this, and I just love how they can just annihilate your eardrums in the most beautiful way possible. They’ll Never Take Us Alive is definitely one of this year’s most out there records, and one that oozes fearlessness and this ferocious energy that you just cannot get enough of.

 

 

Zig Zags are the best at what they do, and not only do their records prove this- but their live shows do too. I’m pretty much going to live in the two shirts I bought last night!





CROCODILES. Soup Kitchen, Manchester 17th May 2019.

21 05 2019

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How do you write about a band that you have seen 11 times live without repeating yourself? Who cares! Friday night was my 11th time seeing my buddies, Crocodiles and they played my absolute favourite venue in Manchester- the Soup Kitchen. It’s a sweaty and dark basement venue; just how it should be.

End of April 2009, Crocodiles released their debut record. A record I bought by accident on the day it came out and since then, I’ve just fallen in love with everything they’ve done since. Every record has blown me away, and every show has done the same.

However, there is something truly special about their shows in Manchester that stand out. This was my 3rd time seeing them in Manchester, and I just love how you can see how much this beautiful city means to Brandon and Charlie. There was even a nod to local hero, Pete Shelley with their Buzzcocks cover which I’m sure he would have been proud of.

I stood directly in front of Charlie, and was in awe of his pedal set-up. It’s a piece of art, and he swings his guitar around like a machine gun whilst looking like a young Scott Walker. Brandon and Charlie have this way of just changing how you feel about their music when you see them live, and it is always a wonderful thing to witness. They are just of the most talented people I’ve ever met, and they just put their all into their shows.

 

You can’t help but shift your eyes across the stage to watch them all annihilate the stage. Brandon sings with this passion that is just astounding, and Charlie matches it with his effortlessly cool way of using his guitar as a weapon. As cliched as it is, they are just the coolest cats around, and it just shines through perfectly in their songs and their live shows.

The energy in the crowd is typical of a Manchester crowd, and just an absolute pleasure to be part of. The love that Crocodiles have for this city is just admirable, and something us fans here truly treasure. They feed off the crowd, and this crowd were reciprocating it. 10 years in, and they are still making music to lose your shit to. Songs like I Wanna Kill and Marquis De Sade, and new songs such as Exit My Head come more alive. I can’t ever get enough of hearing I Wanna Kill, and the crowd are the same. It’s one of those songs that just do something to you, and once you hear it. It’s an anthem.

Crocodiles are a band that you just don’t ever get tired of listening to, and watching. They have this way of just making you forget the real world for the time they are on stage. They make you want to start a band, they make you want to always be in the moment of being at a live show. As a fan, this is what I absolutely adore about music and how powerful it is. Also, Brandon and I had Bad Brains shirts on which anyone else would regard as a wardrobe clash. However for this, it’s just two people who love one of the best bands ever!

There’s a good balance of songs from all of their records, and sure I’d want them to play all of them but hey- that’s too much, I know! This was my first time seeing them on my own, and as someone who suffers with depression and anxiety I full on prepared myself to have some form of panic attack. I was wrong, I just felt totally safe at this show. Trivial I know, but small things like this help. Anyway, smushy stuff aside- it was just a brilliant show.

 

They are a band that just need to be seen live. Their live shows allow you to see even moreso just how fantastic they are. If I could, I’d see them on every tour at every date. But shows like Friday’s in Manchester are treasured dearly.

Crocodiles new record, Love Is Here is out now and they have 2 more UK dates left before a couple of shows in Paris this week.