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





DRAB MAJESTY + SRSQ: Soup Kitchen, Manchester. 19/09/2019.

20 09 2019

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If ever there was a dream line-up, then this would be one of them: Drab Majesty AND SRSQ together. Playing a venue that I adore, even if it was an absolute sweat box last night. I missed the first song of SRSQ’s set because I am shit at catching the tram from my flat to town, but that’s irrelevant.

Kennedy (who is SRSQ) was part of a band that I was obsessed with; Them Are Us Too, and to see someone who was part of a band who have left a lasting impact on me live, was something to truly treasure. There is the same passion there, and it is just a beautiful thing to be immersed in. For me, the music Kennedy makes as SRSQ is so ethereal and so delicate. I adore her vocals so much, and how Kennedy has this impressive power within their vocals that are just a thrill to witness. The way Kennedy controls the room with this gorgeous voice and haunting songs just leave you covered in goose bumps. For me it is songs like Cherish that show us just how effortlessly brilliant Kennedy is, and how every fibre of their being is exposed on stage.

 

 

Kennedy uses her voice how a guitarist would create fury with their instrument. She does it all on her own, and you cannot help but be in awe. Her music has been a massive comfort for me recently, with my Grandma dying very recently. I have used her music to escape a little, and to see these songs live just got me. If it can hit you in the gut, then you’ve found a band worth holding on to. Kennedy tells stories and takes you off into another world with her music, and the way she does it in a live setting is just nothing short of beautiful, in its truest and purest form. Only One was the song that just moved me the most. It made me think of listening to Zola Jesus for the first time- they both have this power in their voice, and this tone that is just unlike anything else. It can make you cry almost instantly because it is that soothing and perfect. I hope she comes back to the UK and does her own headline tour because her set was just a joy to watch.

Now it is time for Drab Majesty to take to the stage.

A couple of months ago, Drab Majesty released the chilling new record, Modern Mirror. This is a record that is dripping in synth-filled songs to hit you right in the soul. The songs were made to hit you right in the pit of your stomach. So how do they do this live? Effortlessly. So easy. Deb and Mona D are two exceptional musicians who just have this stage presence that leaves you so intrigued and moved by what you are witnessing. Their songs are euphoric symphonies that make you feel as if you have found yourself in the underworld where Deb and Mona are your leaders.

As someone who has frequent panic attacks (and they are ever increasing) I find bands like Drab Majesty and SRSQ so calming. It is the relaxed tone in the vocals, and it is the purity in the sound. It just eases me. They open their set with A Dialogue, which kicks off their new record. The perfect opener to their set. I’ve waited a hell of a long time to see this band, and I can honestly say it was one of the most moving shows I’ve been to. Something I really admire about Drab Majesty is that their music feels like it could be in a film, and they make you feel like you are part of it. There is so much fragility in the music, and I love it so much. I love how they are unafraid to be gentle in their music. The Other Side broke my heart, but to see it live was just remarkable.

 

 

It was such a joy to see both bands last night, and to see them both command the stage in ways that show us that less is truly more. In an ideal world, I’d watch their sets every single day and be in a constant state of bliss. They all make you want to create this dark, moving music to release all that you’re carrying. You can see for Kennedy that there’s a fair bit of release when she performs live and Drab Majesty have this hypnotic and stoic stance on stage, but there is so much emotion within all of them when they perform their songs. You can truly see how much it means to them, and given that most of this tour is sold out- it shows us just how much they are loved. It was so good to see the venue packed for Kennedy’s set. There was just a lot of love and respect in the venue for both sets, and to see this was nothing short of wonderful.

I can only urge you to see both bands whenever you can. It will feel like the most perfect out of body experience, and you will feel like both bands are in control of how you move during the show. You’re their puppet, and in this instance it really isn’t a bad thing. As hard as it was for me to leave the house last night and go to the show, I’m so glad I did. This is what I needed at this moment, what comes next now I have no idea but I have this to hold on to for a little while.

I can only reiterate that you just need to see both bands, and allow yourself to be immersed in such beauty and ethereal synth magic.

 





THE VOIDZ: O2 Ritz, Manchester. 7th November 2018.

8 11 2018

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If you’re ever wanting to see some of the world’s most talented musicians put on a show, then for your own sanity- go see The Voidz. Everything about the show last night was just utterly mind-blowing. It’s 7:40am and I’m going to try explain why this was one of the most inspiring and earth-shattering shows I’ve ever seen.

Let’s get it out the way first; The Voidz are fronted by the coolest person in the world, Julian Casablancas. However, if you are thinking it’s all about him then you’re dead wrong. The band is unreal, and left you wishing you could be as cool as them. So there you have it; it isn’t about Jules- it’s about the whole damn band. Oh and please stop assuming they are going to play a bunch of songs from The Strokes. Ain’t happening, kiddo. The Voidz have records that are eccentric and mind-blowing. They’ll fuck with your head, and that’s why you love them so.

They open the set with Leave It In My Dreams, and to be honest that just sets the tone for the whole set. It is full of this raw emotion that Jules conveys so well in his voice. His voice is so distinctive, and you just know it is him when you hear it. The way he can project it so it fills up the whole room is pretty damn spectacular. They blitz through the show with M.utually A.ssured D.estruction and Permanent High School most certainly being my favourite. But there’s something that needs touching on- Amir and Beardo.

If you’re ever looking for two guitarists to be left in awe of, then open your mind up to Amir and Beardo. The way they sound together is just nothing short of guitar heaven. I swear Beardo is the happiest person I have ever seen on stage. His smile and stage presence is a thing of beauty. He totally hams it up on stage, and you cannot help but grin like a total buffoon back at him. He’s absolutely mesmirising. Amir too, has the same quality. They both bounce off each other, and as Jules steps back from the stage- you truly notice what this band are about. They are loud, the songs are important and the way they sound together is just stunning. If I could think of my dream line-up, I’m pretty sure these guys would be it. The Voidz are the body of Punk, the soul of Punk and the heart of Punk. But they’re not a Punk band- they’re out there, and they aren’t afraid to truly push themselves.

There’s an improvised song early in the show when Jules spots a young kid in the audience. His concern for if the kid is old enough to be there, and if they have headphones on causes him to suggest that the kid shouldn’t be so close to the speakers. Anyway, if it was the first show that the kid had been to then they are pretty damn lucky.

For some of the shows they’ve mixed up the set which is pretty great, and the show last night was just a perfect set. The show ended on Human Sadness. But we were also treated to Black Hole and Dare I Care. Songs like Wink were greeted with such rapture. In fact, every song was.

There is something really remarkable about The Voidz and it truly comes to life at their shows. Alex is such a ferocious drummer, and you have Jeff and Jacob who add a calmness to the set. But don’t let that fool you. The Voidz, like I said, are made up of exceptional musicians. Musicians who know exactly how they want to sound and aren’t afraid to experiment and push themselves, and for me that’s what makes a band great. On record they are obviously perfect, by my god their live shows are out of this world.

The Voidz are loud, passionate and brutal. They aren’t coming for your blood, but just your undivided attention- which is pretty easy to give.

 





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.





DUM DUM GIRLS/PINS. Hoxton Bar & Grill. 14th December 2013.

15 12 2013

The last show I go to this year is the one that is probably the most sentimental for me. It was something I had been waiting for since 2009, when I first heard the band.

Dum Dum Girls mean the world to me because their music is like nothing else. Their 60s girl group feel mixed with the dominance found in a song by the Ramones immediately lured me in years ago. A firm grip around my heart, and of course ears. A band I listen to every day on the way to work and on the way home. A band that have been a source of comfort and providing words to get strong to. More than just a band. More than just music. I firmly stand by my statement that Dee Dee is my generations Patti Smith; but after seeing them live last night, I know I am right. There is something about her that gives you the sense of confidence that the likes of Patti and Shirley Manson do. If you’ve seen Dum Dum Girls live, you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you’ve not seen them live, you quite simply have to.

Before I write about their set, I need to mention their support for the night; PINS. PINS are undeniably one of the best bands around. Girls Like Us is no doubt one of the best records of the year. To see those sinister and eerie songs live is incredible. As you watch them live, you truly see how united they are as a band and also how much they love making music together. They have this brilliant gang mentality that makes you want to start your own band. They blaze through their set in a ferocious and passionate manner. For me it is always going to be LuvU4Lyf that blows my mind live. Probably because it was the first song I ever heard of theirs last year. To see them go from that to supporting a band like Dum Dum Girls makes you proud of them, and also proud to be a fan. Manchester is the home to some of the greatest bands ever; you can put PINS in that list. Lois coming into the crowd holding her guitar like a woman possessed, Faith’s powerful glares mixed with her fearless vocals, Anna’s hypnotic bass-playing and Sophie’s captivating bashing of the drums made PINS set last night something that was nothing short of an honour to watch. PINS are a band to lose and free your mind to. They’re the band you wish you could join. I just really bloody love them.

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Just after 9pm it was time for Dum Dum Girls to take to the stage. Dum Dum Girls now have an extra guitarist (Andrew- he was involved with their first release. The guy is a brilliant musician.) They play songs off their EPs, both records and Too True, their new record which I know will be my favourite record of 2014. I probably won’t listen to anything else next year (apart from Warpaint’s new one.) As they play Bedroom Eyes, some form of epiphany happens. I’m not sure what exactly, but it happened throughout the set. I was hoping they would play Rest Of Our Lives- it’s my favourite DDG song. As they played it, all I could do was sing along and hold my girlfriend’s hand. It didn’t matter for the past week or so I’ve been disgustingly ill, none of that mattered last night. I felt alright! I forgot that my body was in pain and the like. I sang every word back as if I was the only one in the room. Rimbaud Eyes was a song they played earlier in the year on a radio station, and it sounded brilliant. To see it live was just mesmirising. Are You Okay? sounds like a psychedelic trip into a better world. Basically, a Dum Dum Girls show feels like a lucid trip into the unknown. A daydream you don’t want shaking or waking up from.

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When you finally see a band that have meant so much to you for so long, it just increases your love for them. I’m not entirely sure how but it just does. I suppose if a band can leave you speechless like this, then you know you’ve seen something truly remarkable. Dum Dum Girls are just a delight to watch. You’ve got Jules with her cool demeanor elegantly slaying the guitar. Malia sways with her bass taking you in on this hypnotic trip. Sandy is just my favourite drummer around; she’s incredibly powerful and makes me wish I could play the drums. Dee Dee has this presence that like I’ve mentioned already, much like Patti Smith. She’s not aggressive in the slightest but still manages to hold your attention. Your eyes never leave the stage. Fixated on the brilliant musicians stood in front of you.

Certain songs cause me to shut my eyes, sway and sing the words as if I wrote them. Are You Okay? and Lord Knows are ones to do this to. Season In Hell was magnificent to see live. For me, that song just sums up everything. It is made up of comforting sounds and reassuring words. He Gets Me High was stunning. I could easily have summed this up easily by saying their music just makes me really happy. But to see it live, finally, did more than make me happy. This year I’ve seen (and met) three bands/singers that over the years have been everything to me. Patti Smith, Crocodiles and (two members of) Dum Dum Girls. Meet your heroes, and thank them for the music.

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Lost Boys And Girls Club is something all Dum Dum Girls fans are part of, for sure. It’s an anthem for the lost generation. They posses the mentality of Punk but with tranquil tones that cleanse the soul. It Only Takes One Night is amazing to witness live; I wasn’t expecting them to play it and I think it just set me off completely. If I could see just one band live for the rest of my time, it’d probably be Dum Dum Girls. The crowd was awesome too. I’ve been to a few shows in London now, and this was probably the best crowd I’ve seen. Was really cool to see Charlie from Crocodiles in the crowd too. The atmosphere was just perfect. Their songs truly come to life when you see them live. I’m a massive fan of lyrics, and I feel Dee Dee is an exceptional song-writer who really gets to the core of any emotion and portrays them in a fearless way. Her lyrics are beautiful and the way she writes them, is exactly how she sings them- delicate and pure.

Before we saw them live, my girlfriend and I had dinner (Hoxton Bar & Grill do the BEST veggie burrito, and they sell Jameson!) as I was enjoying my whiskey I saw Dee Dee walk past to go outside to do an interview. I was instructed by my girlfriend to say hi to her when she came back in. I obviously said no because that’s just massively creepy. After about half an hour or so, Dee Dee walks back in. I thought, “If you can hold it together a little bit when you met Patti, you can do this.” So I did (basically my girlfriend forced me and I had a lot of whiskey.) I went up to Dee Dee, introduced myself and as soon as I mentioned the cover of Just Like Honey she did for me, she hugged me. I FINALLY got to thank her for doing that. Finally. Photo taken, year complete. At the end of the show when we were leaving, Malia was walking out behind me. I decided to turn to her and say, “I know this is probably an inappropriate time to say this but you were amazing tonight.” She told me it wasn’t inappropriate, and that being in a sweaty environment like that is good for the pores. See, musicians are full of beauty tips too! The hat she was wearing was beautiful. I hope she made it to the other side of the bar safely, and her hat too!

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So there you have it. 2013 didn’t suck and I’m ending the year with Dum Dum Girls as the last show I go to. There’s no other band I’d want to end the year seeing. I’m aware this isn’t the best thing I’ve ever written, all you’ll get from this is hopefully my love for a band that are just insanely brilliant.

“Lift your gaze, it’s the end of daze.”

PS: My girlfriend took the photos (aside from the one of Dee Dee and I because I have really short arms and can’t use my iPhone properly!) I also walked head first into one of the kings of radio, Don Letts at the tube station which was pretty embarrassing. He’s very tall….





Some Beautiful Songs.

14 04 2008

The Strokes- Heart In A Cage

Lightspeed Champion- Dry Lips

Florence And The Machine- Girl With One Eye

Kaki King- Playing With Pink Noise

Duffy- Warwick Avenue

The Moldy Peaches- Anyone Else But You

Bob Dylan- Like A Rolling Stone

 

Alicia Keys- No One

 

 

Cat Power- Sea Of Love (acoustic)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been listening to some beautiful music recently, so I thought I’d share..legally! 😉