Newton Faulkner at ULU Student Central Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Time to start turning up to every Newton Faulkner gig an hour early folks!

Faulkner gives the first 50 people in the queue VIP meet and greet wrist bands for an intimate chat after the show. Being one of the first in the queue brings many benefits – first to the bar, merch and the stage. Almost too many choices; I picked the stage. Front and centre, the perfect spot to see any gig.

Kicking off with ‘To the Light,’ the first song from his first album Hand Built by Robots. Faulkner plays this with soft guitar drumming followed by the intricate finger picking we expect from him. With a chuckle and a smile, he introduces himself before moving onto his next song, Smoked Ice Cream, taken from his newest, self-produced album Hit the Ground Running. He not only uses his acoustic guitar, kick drum and mini keyboard (which he plays with his feet), he has now picked up an electric guitar and even taken up the piano.

After playing hits including Teardrop, I Need Something and Clouds. Faulkner introduces us to Tessa Rose Jackson as they play So Long. Beautiful and eerie, this song perfectly displays their talent with harmonies vocally and musically. Doing this with one microphone was a brave choice and at his request the audience stayed silent and enticed the whole time.

Carry You was written to comfort his son along with a carving of a father and son Elephant whilst he was on tour. His son however did not share the sentiment and found it creepy. Finishing the first piano song there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Finishing up with his biggest song to date Dream Catch Me goes into a medley of UFO, Gone in the Morning and Write It On Your Skin. At this point the crowd takes on a mind of its own and starts doing all the harmonies, splitting themselves into groups which takes Faulkner aback as they go wild – which he loves and continues.

 

Words by,

Courtney Solloway

Trampolene at 229 the venue (Live Review)

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Trampolene are an oddity in the modern music scene,  an otherwise bashful Welsh trio combining chaotic guitars with spoken word. However, as support from Libertine legends Carl Barat and Pete Doherty proved, sometimes you don’t need a predecessor to pave your way, sometimes you’re better off treading your own.

The band are becoming familiar faces of This Feeling, partaking in their festival and club appearances over the last few years. One of such nights was at 229 The Venue, London.

“We have a love no one can comprehend,” singer Jack Jones once told me, and it really is something you have to see to understand. The sheer breadth and diversity of the crowd was immediately striking- young and old, punks and hipsters – similar only in their joy for music. Looking around the crowd as the band tore through one of their most well known, ‘Alcohol Kiss’, drinks were raised and heads were thrown back by a crowd that never missed a note.

The highlight of a set filled with poetic interludes was undoubtedly the duet between Jones and a fan, singing ‘Beautiful Pain’- the band’s latest single. Hearing the song live, in such a raw and unrehearsed manner really drove the lyrics home, and cements the fact that Jones is capable of far more than just writing clattering anthems. Lyrically he is arguably one of the best around, and filled with the anecdotal charm perhaps Doherty, and Morrissey before him, mastered.

The show was brought to a close with Jones riding through his final chords- literally, as the mandatory crowd surf brought him to the very centre of the crowd. The mic was passed, and even the guitar was shared with the audience. This gang mentality is at the heart of Trampolene, their shows are not only a performance, but a great get-together of friends reunited every time.

Trampolene are an honest band, working their way up to greatness the old fashioned way. There’s something so endearing about their awareness as a small group, yet simultaneously there’s no denying the ambition they have.

They may only just be beginning to ride the big waves now, but with their talent and driving force of support, it seems they’ll be soon be the ones making the waves that inspire others.

 

Words by,

Briony Warsop

Napoleon, Polar and Counterparts @ The Dome, Tufnell Park (Live Review)

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

As Anchorman would say, the gig was like being “in a glass case of emotion” with the constant feel-good vibes contrasting jagged sound. It was amusing to see half of the fan’s faces turn sour as they’d glue their fingers into their ears as the microphone pelted through the room during the entirety of the gig. The music vibrated not only your eardrums but your jugular too, morphing you into a human blender.  There was nowhere to run as you’d stick to the floor from the beer being tossed, so you’d just stay there in the hopes that the distortion dies down.

This wasn’t your typical hardcore gig, this felt more like a nursery watching kids play with Lego.The typical ex pop punk diehard fans scattered like noodles amongst each other, not quite knowing what they’re doing in the pit.  Smiles dropped as a middle-aged woman off her nut threw beer over people – but yet again, would it really be a gig if you didn’t get the complimentary back washed booze shower?

Napoleon set the mood with a djent tone and the soft synths provided a calming hiss.  This was soon contrasted by frontman Wes’s vocals which did bring the hardcore vibes, but as the sound guy didn’t know what he was doing, the execution of the microphone wasn’t up to its full potential.

Polar were the best band.  Some folks may say they were a diet Heart Of A Coward, but they knew their shit when it came to fitting into the metalcore label.Counterparts fuelled the electricity alongside the over distorted mic, screwing up the missing crème de la crème.It was like making spaghetti without garlic – flavorless and average, Mediocre to say the least.  Three hours of pure metalcore hardcore was being let down by the sound-tech guy making the overall experience flaccid. Maybe he should just stick to his day job!

 

Words by Izzy Hoppová

Kirin J. Callinan: LIVE REPORT

Live Reviews, Music Reviews

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Who is the partially naked man dangling from the rafters at Hotxon Square Bar and Kitchen? That my friends is Kirin J Callinan. Relatively unknown to the wider music press besides reviews from The Guardian, The Fader and Needle drop. The Sydney based eccentric singer/songwriter’s latest album ‘Bravado’ feels tediously overlooked. It’s fusion of cheesy dad rock and euro dance performed with just a hint of irony resulted in one of the most unique records of the year.

I bumped into Kirin being shot by two photographers in the ladies’ bathroom before the show. He’s sporting a velvet sleeveless jacket, a long white pleated skirt and a cowboy hat. My only interaction with Kirin came in the form of a hug before the show, he seems eager to meet his niche fans but, anxious to get backstage before the sound check.

The minimal electronic pieces performed by Bea 1991, in support, were in stark contrast to Kirin’s erotic bombastisim. Bea’s ‘Fever Ray’ style vocal modulation made for an intriguing yet short set building up to the main event.

In all his finery Kirin J Callinan finally arrives on stage, beginning with a spoken word intro verging on five minutes. His husky vocals and dramatic body movements entrance the audience as he moves into ‘Bravado’s opening track ‘My Moment’. For 3 minutes Callinan brought Ibiza to Shoreditch with an unbelievably tacky synth drop.

After a few older tracks, Callinan engages in some ultra-smooth crowd interaction, his voice sounding like an even raspier version of the vocals on Yello’s ‘Oh Yeah’. 40 minutes in, Callinan finally plays ‘the hits’ ‘S.A.D’ and ‘Bravado’, the sophomore albums singles, are the campest, most fun moments of the entire show and an opportunity for the audience to sing along to lyrics like “Wrapped up in plastic thrown down the stairs feeling fantastic”.

Callinan constantly references the intimate encore before the initial show has even ended, parodying the fake feeling of surprise that’s supposed to be built by every gig. Kirin’s band, consisting of his two head shaven brothers, leave the stage allowing Calinan a solo moment. He sings the hilarious song ‘The Toddler’ – minimal guitar strumming in-between the audience repeating ‘I’m the toddler!’. After the song, he proceeds to build a football-style chant of his band the “KJ3” until they finally return, with significantly less clothing than before. Callinan follows suit and loses his cowboy hat and jacket with assistance from an audience member.

The funk fuelled ‘Down to Hang’ reignited the audience and was one of the most danceable moments in the entire show. Callinan finally breaks into the final song ‘Big Enough’ – the crowd becomes one of the friendliest mosh pits I’ve ever taken part in as Kirin climbs onto a speaker and slips into the crowd. His return isn’t graceful but certainly endearing as he climbs onto the rafters above the enthralled crowd, his manhood in full view above our heads.

The show was over too soon. It’s no surprise that he’s attracted collaborators like Conan Moccasin, Weyes blood and Mac Demarco. One of the most exciting performers I’ve witnessed in a long time. A true showman.

Words & Images: Aimee Armstrong

 

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The Heart and The Heart at Latitude Festival- Live Review

Festivals, Live Reviews, Music Reviews

With festival season well underway, Latitude came upon us promising a weekend in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing other than woodlands, pink sheep and lots of good music.

Heading down to the BBC Music Stage on the Saturday were the folk pop creatives, The Head and The Heart. After having a break to fulfil other motives they came back with their latest release Signs of Light which is a compilation of all the inspiration found during their time apart.

The crowd that gathered for their set was a mass of all ages from the front to the back, all ready to wave and sway to the uplifting yet appeasing set. They definitely received back every ounce of energy they were giving out, in particular the raw emotion coming from vocalist Jonathan Russell who was clearly loving every moment just as much as us. Of course a popular favourite was “All We Ever Knew” which with its call and response vibe allowed even complete novices to feel a part of the community within the evasion they created away from the main stage.

A set full of songs came to an end only too soon with a whole array of applause from everyone there who were now feeling re-energised and prepared to go back to the craziness of the festival. Their time in the UK was all too short but I have no doubt that they will be back for us after they’ve taken over America later this year.

 

Words by: Louise Tindall

Photography by: Louise Tindall

[LIVE REVIEW] THOUGHT FORMS AT LEVEL 3

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Slap bang in the middle of Melksham’s post-rock titans Thought Forms’ UK tour, a stop on the winding road at Swindon’s Level 3 proved to be and incredible and breath taking evening of power and sound.

The evening was opened by The Hound on The Mountain, a solo project in the process of becoming a full live band, featuring Jack Moore on drums, delivered an outlandish alternative rock sound with an abundance of style. The carefully constructed songs navigated through sounds reminiscent of Jack White and Talking Heads. It delivered a taste of something that was new, raw and undoubtedly different.

Now it was time for the main event, the moment that the 50 strong crowd had been waiting for. From the moment that the first chord was hit, Thought Forms were a powerhouse, delivering a wall of sound that gave the audience a euphoric and captivating feeling. They were locked in a tornado of sonic splendour, while the band danced around the stage as if they were possessed. They were a tight nit unit, doing their jobs perfectly.

At times you would lose yourself in a trance of sonic waves and occasionally forget where you where because everything was perfectly timed it felt like you were listening to the songs on record. Songs like Landing, Forget my name and the final song Burn Me Clean standing out as some of the most powerful moments of the evening, not to mention Ghost Mountain You and Me which was a hypnotizing display of the ability, passion and craftsmanship of Thought Forms. The band stand out as a group that pour their heart and souls in their work and everyone who sees them live will knows that a Thought Forms gig is more than a gig, it’s an experience.

Words by Rob Mckelvey

[LIVE REVIEW] INSECURE MEN AT THE WINDMILL

Live Reviews

Before tonight not much could be guaranteed about Fat White Family founder Saul Adamczewski’s new project Insecure Men. They had previously performed one show somewhere in New York and the only real taste of the new venture could be found in Saul’s Karaoke for One a nine track album available on the Insecure Men Soundcloud made up of covers performed by Saul and his keyboard.

Needless to say, with the vast growth in Fat White Family’s popularity and the air of mystery around what this new endeavour would sound like, tickets for the show sold out almost immediately. This was to be something special, a first glimpse at something fresh and undoubtedly weird, with the promise of uncommon instruments within the band, including a vibraphone as well as a lap steel guitar.

The evening started with Sleaze a four piece with some serious balls, the frontman had a striking resemblance to a young Begbie from Trainspotting, maybe it was the moustache that gave me this impression, but something was definitely screaming young Robert Carlyle at me. The bassist looked like he could have been a member Marilyn Manson in the early days, dressed in ankle high boots with knee high black socks, leading up to a black skirt ad then a black shirt and tie, all topped off with a huge afro like hairstyle squashed under a trucker style cap with the words “MEATUP” printed into it.

The sounds of Sleaze were very bass driven, it seemed to be the meat of the songs, while the guitar and keyboard seemed to enjoy a lot of harmonies that added an extra layer to the bass and gave it an almost country like twang at times. It was well rehearsed and performed brilliantly, there was definitely a strong stage presence that connected with the crowd, which is always so inspiring to see from bands with a pretty small reputation.

The next band Horsey brought something much different to the table, to start off the entire band’s image said to me that these four got half way through a degree in geography and realised what a stupid fucking life choice it was, and so decided to start a band. A few of the members honestly looked like they could have been part of some university comedy show like Fresh Meat.

When they started their set I was almost instantly pushed away, they keyboard player and guitar player would share harmonies like the last band, but it seemed out of tune and out of practice, it almost felt a bit painful to watch. Eventually it seemed to warm up and the two delivered some really good harmonies which complimented the music really well, I’m unsure as to whether the earlier out of tune vocal harmonies were on purpose as they seemed to be trying really hard to give off this kind of rough edge.

The way that they would deliver some harmonies was like they had spent years of their youth in the church choir, this and the lyrical content combined with their image seemed to really reflect that they were tired of living with mummy and daddy in the 10 bedroom estate house somewhere in the country, they wanted to move to the city and play in a band but still kept a strand of their upbringing.

I say all of this like I hated the band and I thought they were a bunch of posers, but really the way their lyrics were structured, the way they would go from quiet parts with choir like vocals into madness and screams like a posh Heck in a split second. They were different and at times they impressed me and caught me off guard.

But now, on to the main event the reason so many had travelled to Brixton to cram themselves into a small pub, Insecure Men! I would like to point out at this part that while trying to cool off in the cold January air in the venue’s garden my friend and fellow writer Liam spotted Lias and a few other members of Fat White Family sat down entangled in conversation in the smoking area, it was at this point that Liam began to scream like a with excitement! This was also interesting because Lias had been present in many of Saul’s Instagram posts that were to do with Insecure Men rehersals or recordings, so now it felt like there was a strong possibility that he would be part of the large cast of musicians to feature within the band.

As we ventured back inside to take our place for the show, a man in a dark velvet suit, with a thick beard and a kind of trilby hat with a large peacock feather sticking out at one of the sides was setting up a lap steel guitar. He soon exited the stage to fetch more equipment and while doing this he bumped into me trying to get past, almost instantly I could hear people all around me talking about who this mysterious man could be.

The strongest rumour seemed to be that it was the son of John Lennon, Sean. I quickly flicked on to one of his social media profiles to find the poster for the show with the with the caption “I’d love to invite you to this show, but it’s sold out” it was true, and the son of John Lennon had brushed shoulders with me, I will probably never stop bragging out it, I know it sounds silly, but then the man is technically half of a quarter of the Beatles.

The true triumph of this evening was the logistical masterpiece of managing to fit eight people onto a stage that I had watched four people struggle to share all evening, in total there was a drummer, vibraphonist, a saxophone player, bassist, two keyboard players, Sean Lennon on lap steel guitar and Saul with guitar and vocals. They were squeezed on to the point where you could only actually see four of them for pretty much all of the set.

Once Insecure Men began they captivated the audience with the unbelievable wall of sound, so many instruments combining together to create mellow almost heartbroken noises. The lyrical content was at times hard to pick out due to Saul’s vocals occasionally being mumbled, however I am sure that this was part of the song to compliment his mellow vibe. However, the lyrics that I did hear clearly were provoking, funny and almost chilling.

I remember being moved when the words “I never got to kiss my lover, she’s buried in foreign sands” was repeatedly muttered through a song, I laughed when he announced the title of another song Whitney Houston and I, singing “Whitney Houston and I enjoy hot showers” seeming hinting towards some illicit substances that the pair may also have common interests in. There was also a song where he seemed to throw a lot of shade at Rod Stewart, I don’t recall the lyrics entirely but he definitely wasn’t singing Rod’s praises. Saul didn’t seem afraid to go all the way and say what he wanted to say with these songs.

The set was rather short, probably about 45 minutes or so, but for an act that haven’t released anything but a short album of covers I wasn’t expecting much more. Needless to say I was blown away by the craftsmanship and passion that had been thrown into this project, the collection of friends that Saul had managed to bring to the stage for the evening, and how it was all held together very well despite having minimal time to rehearse as a full group, there was one point where Saul seemed to get a bit angry towards the saxophone player for playing a few notes wrong during one song, before turning around to the audience and apologising saying how “shit” it was, although I still thought it didn’t sound too bad. He sometimes would wave his arms looking pissed off at sections of the band, like a violent orchestral conductor.

Overall it was a fantastic glance at an interesting new band, that dare to be and do things differently, to throw in as many instruments as possible to produce sounds that may be uncommon to many gig goers. Insecure Men stand out as one of this years most exciting new acts and I eagerly await an upcoming EP or album!

Words by Rob McKelvey

[LIVE REVIEW] BASEMENT – BUSH HALL (2/3/17)

Live Reviews

With no backdrop and a minimal light show, Ipswich five-piece Basement take to the stage for their first of three headline dates at Bush Hall. The venue itself looks more likely to host a theatre performance than host an emo band but this only adds to the sense it being a real event. As the meaty opening notes of Whole reverberate around the venue no time is wasted in getting things well and truly kicked off. Limbs flail as devoted fans stage dive whilst those in the crowd scream “Lie to me, lie to me make me see” at the top of their lungs.

The eleven song set dips in and out of their three albums. On Earl Grey, the crowd join vocalist Andrew Fisher who dons the uniform five panel and plaid shirt to sing “I looked up at your window, pretended I could see you, you don’t live there anymore.” The song switches pace at breakneck speed and limbs flail.

Fisher introduces Yoke and pleads with the audience to “go out and start a band”, he also quite sweetly dedicates Brother’s Keeper to his grandmother. Title track of their most recent album and closer of the night Promise Everything sees the most vicious pits of the night. Fisher confesses they’ve run out of songs they can play and treat the audience to a riotous cover of School by Nirvana.

As they leave the stage and the audience make their way out not a single person feels short changed. Basement do what they do better than anyone in the game and tonight was a no frills, gimmick free celebration of that.

Words by Jack Winstanley