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Posts Tagged ‘Live Music’

This was first published on Clash Magazine’s website. 

When you think of Brighton, you think of bright sunshine, deckchairs, candy floss and walks along the pier. Tonight, however, Brighton is bracing itself with blustering winds and howling rain. It’s up to Tall Ships and We Are Scientists to use their powerful synths and comedic charm to turn this evening around.

Tall Ships are playing to a home audience, and they certainly feel at ease playing at the Concorde 2. Throughout the whole tour they’ve been getting a good reception, and tonight is no exception as the crowd applaud appreciatively and offer cries of “We love you!” between songs.

With an authentic sound of their own, Tall Ships use synths and guitars to create songs that wouldn’t be out of place in an arena capacity. The melody of ‘Books’ is so catchy that all you can see are lines of people nodding their heads along to the music throughout the room. Set highlight of the evening has to be their rendition of ‘Snow’, which sees band members exchanging instruments to create a wonderfully atmospheric composition.

As the lights dim and that well-known Dirty Dancing soundtrack ‘Time Of My Life’ starts to play, those cheeky New Yorkers We Are Scientists enter the stage dancing along. From the start it’s clear that this is going to be an entertaining show, with the band beginning their set with ‘Nice Guys’ followed by old favourite ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’. As soon as the first few notes are played, the whole venue starts jumping up and down. Chris Cain’s bass lines and Keith’s guitar riffs are infectious.

It wouldn’t be a We Are Scientists show without the typical banter that they are well known for. Tonight, Chris sports a hilarious t-shirt with the phrase “Murray Up and Get Drunk” with Keith’s head embossed in the middle. Andy seems to enjoy sitting back and watching them roll out the laughs – even he can’t help chuckling to himself.

WAS play a mixture of songs from ‘With Love and Squalor’, ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ and ‘Barbara’. Songs such as ‘This Scene is Dead’ and ‘Inaction’ get a brilliant response, as do newer songs such as ‘Jack & Ginger’ with its upbeat tempo and sing-a-long chorus.

Finishing their set with ‘After Hours’, the lyrics “Say won’t you stay” ring throughout the Concorde. With what they offer in entertainment value, the only problem is that there are not enough hours in the day for We Are Scientists shows. The only resolve is that there will be plenty more to come in the future, I’m sure.

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It’s a cold, cold night (minus 16 degrees in fact) in Oslo and We are Scientists are in town.

As Chris Cain wanders through the tiny bar of Bla, he informs us that “Crazy shit is about to happen tonight” before disappearing off to join the other scientists backstage. 

Twenty minutes later and We Are Scientists enter the stage, in utter darkness. Instead of starting up in their usual fashion, they’re fiddling around with their guitars and microphone stands before deciding to come off the stage and play on the floor in amongst their fans. 

They start with Nice Guys off their latest album Barbara which has real energy to it. Keith jumps up and down, hammering out those riffs while Chris Cain wanders through the audience playing his bass. The crowd here tonight are enjoying the show and can’t believe their luck that their favourite band are stood inches away from them. 

The set contains all of the old crowd pleasers with some newer songs from Barbara thrown in for good measure. Scene is Dead gets one of the best responses of the night and it’s good to see it back on the set list after a very long time without it. 

Of course there wouldn’t be a We Are Scientists show without the usual banter and tonight they’re in full swing, arguing over laser pens among many other things and trying to read their set list in the dark – the lighting crew weren’t prepared for WAS to play off of the stage! 

As the show starts to come to a close, Chris tells the audience to gather around and come closer. “You can sit behind us, stand on the stage, do whatever you want.” Two people take him up on this offer, keeping Danny company on the stage and dancing crazily to After Hours.

And so the show ends with a jamming session between Keith and Chris in which we see Chris jump off the drums with a delighted fan to finish the set.

There’s something more to We Are Scientists. You can’t help but love them partly due to their infectious guitar riffs and partly due to their delightful charm.

Hopefully it won’t be long until they’re back soon.

 

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There I was one day checking my emails when I get a message in my inbox. Totally ordinary. Apart from the fact that this email told me I had won tickets to see Kylie Minogue play at BBC studios at Maida Vale. Pretty impressive.

So off I went with my friend Paul to Warwick Avenue just like that song that Duffy sang to watch our favourite Aussie sing some music. We got there and were made to sit there in the canteen until we were called into the studio. When we arrived at studio 3, they had set out tables of four in the whole room with a candle and a rose on each one. We managed to grab a place at the front. Everyone looked a little nervous waiting for her to come onstage.

All of a sudden a short, blonde haired woman entered the room singing to the radio and making rock on signs. She said hello and we waited for the all go from Ken the DJ who was back at Broadcasting House.

First of all we were treated to a chilled out version of Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. She was accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a small orchestra with violins and a double bass. In a conversation with the radio DJ she said: “I hope to release an album of chilled out versions of my songs.” There was a little murmur of excitement in the room as she declared this.

Kylie looked amazing in white flared trousers which were too long for her – she had to wear huge heels with them and even then they were still touching the floor! She was wearing a matching white shirt and her blonde hair looked incredibly shiny and lovely. Basically she looked stunning. Plus her accent was incredible.

She then played the rest of the songs from her new album Aphrodyte which were new to me however they sounded brilliant. She even got people dancing by the end of it which the BBC weren’t too pleased about as it spoiled the view of their cameras but what could they do? You can’t stop people having fun and dancing to Kylie!

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So I have spent the past two weeks following one of my favourite bands We Are Scientists. Some people tell me they’re just another generic Indie band but honestly, there’s something more to them than meets the eye. They seem to have something that hooks you and I can’t explain it. I guess part of it is their infectious guitar riffs and the other part is their delightful charm.

I started the tour off in Paris, France in a tiny little venue called Fleshe d’or. We took about an hour to find it and actually realised that we walked past it twice and even stopped outside to look at the map. Danny informed us later that he did exactly the same thing when he was looking for the venue.

The gig was good and involved many things a european gig without a barrier does. Keith’s leap into the crowd for Textbook, stage invasions and the usual almost hitting my head with the guitar. The band left quickly but we managed to talk to Danny after who was lovely as always.

Next up it was Birmingham Academy which was a good show. The guys were really into it and there was more textbook action which saw Keith being pulled into the crowd, him sitting on my shoulders and him hitting my mum in the head with his brand new pointy shoes.

They played a DJ set after the show which I have to admit wasn’t looking forward to or expecting anything as I imagined them to be behind a glass case. At half midnight, they step onstage and oh my, it was incredible. I have never heard a band play so much crap ( apart from Editors Papillion!). Chris came over and said hello and I got the biggest hug – I had to let go because he wouldn’t! Then Keith came over, got mobbed, I got fed up and went and danced with him to What is Love. And yes that is the youtube video. Apparently they’ve seen it. Danny thinks it’s hillarious and Keith only watched half, probably because he was so wasted that he doesn’t want to see the rest of the damage he caused. We then danced to I’m Too Sexy which was incredibly hilarious. We decided to leave them to it as one crazy girl was still trying to mob him and she was making me angry! Apparently after we left, Keith fell on his ass at Danny’s feet and had to be picked up which would have been so funny to watch!

Wednesday was Bristol which was a home gig for me. It took a while for the venue to fill up but when it did, the crowd was rough and there were loads of crowd surfers. Just as Keith and Chris like it apparently. They had pretty much the same setlist apart from Central AC which was good to hear but I was holding out for You Should Learn! Still waiting! Apparently now I find out that they played it in Portsmouth! What a joke! We went and spoke to the band afterwards for a little while before they rushed off to do a DJ set at Propaganda. Keith and Chris left in a hurry and with Danny so we ended up walking him to the club in which we were dancing in the middle of the road pretending to be Cockney geezers. Danny does a mean cockney accent i’ll have you know!

We had a day off before joining the tour again in Norwich at the UEA which was one of the most difficult places to find. Insane. After about half an hour searching through the middle of nowhere, we find it and see that there’s a big queue. No worries. I think it was time for a day off from barrier duties especially as our partners in crime Jo and Tracey weren’t there either. We had a good view on the side which meant we got to see how rough a WAS crowd usually is. There were shoes going around the audience, one of which Keith chucked back and continued to play Nobody Move. It was pretty funny. There wasn’t as much banter as usual but Keith was sick with a bit of a cold and sore throat so that was probably why.

They rushed off after the show to do a DJ set in the centre of town which turned out to be in the tiniest bar I have ever seen. The guys were at a tiny table with people crowding around. They were lovely as always with Keith and Chris giving me the biggest grin as he saw me walk up to them. That’s the thing with these guys, they are so nice, you want to see them every day! I have no idea what it’s going to be like after the tour is over! I’m going to miss them so much!

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OK so there’s a song i’m currently obsessed with…not one you’ll probably be expecting. It’s not anything by Lady Gaga or the new one from Cheryl Cole…in fact it’s not new at all, it’s actually from 1933. It’s House of The Rising Sun.

Most of us know it from Muse playing it at their live shows – they played it at this year’s Glastonbury and during their Summer stadium shows. At Glastonbury it was amazing to hear so many people singing along and actually knowing the words. Muse manage to do something different when they cover a song, they make it their own with their jittery guitar basslines and Matt Bellamy’s voice. They tend to put it in right in the middle of a set which fits in reall well getting you ready for Time is Running Out. It’s incredible.

I decided to do some investigating which led me straight onto the monkeys brilliant version of the song. Their version dates back to 1964 and you can tell but in a good way. It’s got that antique sixties feel to it and Eric Burdon’s vocals in it are really echoing. It’s actually now my favourite version. Watch it here:

This made me think though….who else has covered it? I decided to youtube it and here is what i’ve found so far:

  1. Bon Jovi
  2. Duran Duran
  3. Muse
  4. Sinead O Connor
  5. Dolly Parton (yeah that surprised me too)
  6. Nina Simmone
  7. Bob Dylan

And i’m sure there’s many many more. But the question is where has this song actually come from?

It doesn’t belong to The Animals so who do we owe the thanks to? Well apparently the oldest recording was in 1933 by Appalachian artists Clarence Ashley and Gwen Foster. Ashley said that he had learnt it from his grandfather.

Alan Price from The Animals said in an interview that the song was a sixteenth century song about a brothel and English emigrants took it with them to New Orleans when they moved to the US.

So really we’re none the wiser. Although it’s pretty impressive that a song can be re recorded and covered so many times in such different ways. And it’s impressive that we all seem to know the words but aren’t really even sure where we’ve heard it from. All we know is that Muse’s cover won’t be the last cover we hear of the song. That’s a good thing too.

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So it was announced today that Kings Of Leon will be playing a summer UK stadium tour. Honestly, it was a bit of a shock. When you think of bands that do stadiums, you don’t exactly think of Kings Of Leon.

The question is can they really fill out and play a memorable stadium show?

Look at all of the bands we associate with stadium shows….

Muse who played two incredible nights at Wembley and had a giant UFO flying over the crowd.

U2 who manage to play the hits that get everyone singing along while they play under a giant claw costing around £10m.

For a band who famously had a little breakdown whilst headlining Reading festival, it does make you question how they’ll cope playing such big venues where there will be lots of people who only know Sex On Fire. And isn’t that the thing that makes them REALLY angry? Should be interesting.

All of the stadium bands mentioned above have huge stage presences that make the crowd go “Oh my god! I can’t believe i’m seeing them!” or “Oh My God! Did you see what he just did – isn’t he amazing?!”. As much as we all love Kings Of Leon – they just don’t have that stage presence for it yet. During their live shows, there is hardly any interaction with the crowd – they just play for almost three hours. But can they really do that at Sunderland or in Hyde Park? As great as they are musically, you want that extra oomph to say “wow I saw Kings Of Leon and they were incredible”.

Don’t get me wrong, they are a great band who write amazing songs, it’s just puzzling as to who came up with the idea that they can play stadiums. Last Summer they played a show in Hyde Park, London which got mixed reviews, lots of people loved it but even more people were critical of the way Kings Of Leon played without really seeming to care….

All we know is that Summer 2011 could be a massive test for KOL, whether they’re ready for it or not, they’re going to have to get used to people only knowing Use Somebody and Sex On Fire and they’re going to have something memorable to make seeing in a stadium worthwhile. Let’s hope the Tennessee boys are up for the challenge.

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The Killers have always been my favourite band since I was got given Hot Fuss for Christmas at the grand age of 15. I liked it. A lot. So much so that it jumps at almost every track. I went to the shows, saw them grow into the band that they are today. Hell, I even went to Hong Kong to see them (and it got cancelled *cough*). I’ve made some of my closest friends from seeing The Killers on their Day and Age Tour. So I guess i’ve got a lot to thank the band for.

Enter talk of the hiatus. I was at V festival watching them when Brandon said those words that made every Killers fan FREAK OUT! “We’re going away for a long time but we will be back”. Personally it was a bit of a relief – my bank account had taken a bit of a hammering thanks to the Day and Age tour. But it was sad all the same.

But then…what was this?! Brandon Flowers going solo?! Never! Well he did. I liked Crossfire as a single. It worked really well. Then came along Flamingo – half of which I liked – Only The Young, Magdalena, Hard Enough and Right Behind You are really great songs. The album got some good reviews from Q and NME. So I decided to join the mass of fangirls outside Birmingham Academy and see what Brandon had to offer.

Transfer, the support act were amazing. They had that American feel to them infused with the bluesy Jack White bass lines. The crowd weren’t sure what to make of them but Transfer seemed to win them over in the end. I even bought their CD after the show I was that impressed – Go Transfer!

And now we get to the man himself. Brandon Flowers. Of course by that point in the gig I already knew his name thanks to all of the wonderful fangirls behind me screaming his name at every available point. Believe me I was not like that when I was 15 and i’m definately not like it now! And so the dude from Las Vegas came onto the stage and started with On The Floor. Beautiful. Stunning. The fact that it’s so simple and so raw makes it so perfect. Best song on the album by far. Then we’re hit with Crossfire. As I mentioned before it is a great single. Everyone here knows all of the words and all of the actions – yeah Brandon does that on his solo tour too.

But I tell you something. It felt wrong. I wasn’t enjoying it. I felt like a fraud. Everyone around me was transfixed by the man himself. When he came over to me I looked at him and then felt really awkward. I suddenly had to look away. I wasn’t as into it as everyone else I guess. I actually felt like I was betraying the other three. I looked at the guitarists and I actually missed moody Mark Stoermer bobbing about with his bass, I missed Dave wearing outrageous clothes and I missed Ronnie’s winks as he looked at people in the crowd. I suddenly realised that I loved The Killers for being The Killers and not because Brandon Flowers is hot. I mean he totally is…but The Killers are a team and the fan girls have seemed to miss that.

Brandon played more songs from Flamingo including the wonderful Only The Young. I even managed to remember the actions – see there is still a bit of a fan girl left in me! Brandon grinned at me at one point. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. And then they went into Losing Touch. it was different. The band decided to shake it up. Nothing too bad about it in fact it was a bit refreshed and sounded pretty good. I was beginning to warm to the show until *shudders* they finished with When You Were Young.

As soon as the acoustic guitar came out. I knew what was happening. Great. Those chords began and I actually felt angry. In fact i’m going to confess here….. I started to cry. For all of the wrong reasons. The fangirls around took their chance in the silence to yell ” WE LOVE YOU BRANDON!!!!!!!!” which I really didn’t appreciate. They are like 15. They love their Mum and Dad not some dude in a band. Anyway so he starts to sing…and the tears stream down my face. The Killers have rarely done acoustic versions of When You Were Young but they performed it at the White House and it was so beautiful and now I see some strange bearded man sat with Brandon playing it. It felt wrong. I’m sorry but it did.

I left that gig feeling more down in the dumps than when I left. Someone told me that I should look at the gig at what it is and not what it isn’t. But let’s face it guys, in the musical world of today, if Flamingo wasn’t by the lead singer of The Killers then we wouldn’t have liked it at all. Or he would have been a one hit wonder with Crossfire…either way – not the same is it?

My conclusion tonight? Bring the Killers back. And when they do come back, i’m going to the US to see them and taking my Killers friends with me. I’ve heard there’s less fangirling over there.

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