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Posts Tagged ‘London’

First published in Clash Magazine

Tonight’s gig at Shepherds Bush is The Boxer Rebellion’s biggest headline show to date. Known for their appearance in chick flick ‘Going The Distance’, there’s always been more to the band than meets the eye.

Starting with the atmospheric ‘No Harm’, Tennessee-born Nathan Nicholson’s voice is stunning as he builds up tension before the band go straight into more energetic ‘Step Out Of The Car’.

The band has possibly the most excited look on their faces as the crowd jump along and wave their arms with serious enthusiasm. Lead guitarist Todd jumps around as if his life depends on it, leaping over to play on the barrier every now and then.

And then there’s the point where it’s about time they played that infamous song. “We’re getting tired of this one,” says Nathan, as the starts to strum the intro to ‘If You Run’. It’s beautiful, as always, but you suddenly realise that the band have so many better songs, and it’s pleasing to see that it gets less of a good reception than the likes of ‘Locked In The Basement’.

The Boxer Rebellion return for an encore and surprise the crowd with a stunning acoustic cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy The Silence’, which shows off Nathan’s unique and beautiful voice.

They finish with ‘The Gospel of Goro Adachi’ and then it’s time to leave the stage. It’s pretty clear that they don’t want to, but they can leave knowing that tonight’s show was possibly the best gig they have ever played. With a new album in the pipeline, there are still greater things to come.

 

 

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We’ve all seen it. Pictures of London being ripped apart by gangs of so called rioters are being beamed all across the world. It even made the front page of The New York Times yesterday. With the Olympics less than a year away, this is highly embarrassing.

Although many people don’t really care about what the world think. For people in London, this is too close to home to even think about international reactions. People’s homes and livelihoods have been lost and many things are irreplaceable.

Last night, a video was shown of a woman in hackney standing up to the youths. She was amazing. Not only because she was standing up to them but because she was the only person yesterday who seemed to really hit the nail on the head.

What are all of these people fighting and causing destruction for? A young man has died, a father of children, a family man. Would he really have wanted his life to end with all of this? People took advantage of people’s upset and turned it into reasonless fighting, hurting even more people.

As the woman in the video says, they don’t have a reason. Maybe people would be able to understand it more. People in Egypt have been fighting for democracy and what are we doing in the UK? Rioting so someone can get some nice new air maxes and then be able to make some money from the Tesco value basmati rice that they also stole?

It’s pathetic. In the current economic crisis that we’re in, people are struggling enough without their businesses being targeted. It’s saddening when you hear tales of businesses that have gone through 5 generations of the family, destroyed by mindless, violence hungry people within minutes. Some people might have saved for years so that they can start their own business and then suddenly it’s gone. Then what about the people who live above the shops? Children’s toys gone, family photos that will never be replaced.

There were also reports of masked people going into a Michelin star restaurant in Notting Hill and making shocked and distressed diners give them their jewellery. It is shocking that a country like the UK is behaving like this. This is something you would expect from a third world country. It is dreadful.

I feel sorry for the emergency services who have to deal with this unnecessary trouble, fixing things that shouldn’t need to be fixed. They are ordinary people trying to do a job that isn’t being made easy by this. They should be helping people who really need help. The police horses that have to deal with rioters throwing stuff at them, and the dogs that have to keep working even as fires blare in the background.

As people are still panicking in London and the violence spreads to Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol, the question still remains, where was our prime minister when we needed him? Why didn’t nick Clegg step up to his deputy role? Rumours are beginning to suggest that the government were warned about dissatisfaction amongst certain communities so why was nothing addressed before it got so serious?

If there is one good thing out of this, it’s the fact that people used twitter to rally together and clean the streets. Not only that but they clapped the police as they drove past. It suddenly reminds you that the people doing the damage to London are a minority while the rest of us are incredibly devastated that this beautiful city is being damaged and victimised.

Tonight, 16000 police officers have been drafted in to help keep London to some kind of normality. I question whether this will truly work, but all I know is that this needs to stop. Innocent people are being harmed and the emergency services are being stretched all for vandalism and damage without a cause.

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So electric was invited along by the wonderful Drums to go and see them play at their small gig in Hoxton. Of course it was wild. No one was really sure what to expect as it was rumoured that they would only be playing a short set. However they actually played a bit more than a full set which made the evening even more special.

At one point the security guards thought the show was a bit too dangerous and decided to stand right in front of the stage meaning that everyone couldn’t see. The guys didn’t put up with this and refused to play until they got off of the stage. It was kind of funny to see.

Even after injuring himself by falling down some stairs, Jacob’s dance moves were pretty epic. Sadly though it will be a while until we see The Drums again. They’re taking a long break after non stop touring. They still love us though so that makes it alright.



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First published in Clash Magazine’s website. See it there at: http://bit.ly/dW3dQa

In London it’s a chilly one degree and that’s the highest it’s been for the past week. No doubt everyone is in need of some cheering up. What better than Johnny Flynn to warm us up and bring a bit of summer sparkle to this dreadfully chilly night.

The crowd at the front have been queuing for a while and are awaiting Johnny’s appearance. The lights dim and Johnny and his band appear on the stage ready to warm up those frozen toes. Starting with Lost and Found, everyone has their hands in the air, clapping wildly to the music. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a barn dance although not everyone in the audience is country dancing. Well not just yet anyway.

Johnny’s sister Lillie made appearances throughout the show including current single Barnacled Warship. They seemed to work well together, giving each other those cheeky brother and sister grins as they both sing along.

There’s little interaction between the crowd and the band however with this audience who tend to scream at every song, tonight Johnny and his band can do no wrong.

There was speculation that a friend would be joining the band on the stage and of course that friend was none other than the wonderful Laura Marling. The Empire erupted with screams and cheers as the princess of folk entered the stage. Her voice contrasting with Johnny’s was just truly magical. It’s a shame she wasn’t there for longer but she almost seemed a little shy about being there.

Finishing onstage with his sister, Johnny went into Tickle Me Pink which saw even the reluctant people at the back of the Empire barn dancing it down to the instrumentals.

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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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Ok so this is a little contraversial but i’m going to say it. I prefer European gigs to UK gigs. There we go. Done it.

Everyone gives me a weird look when I say i’m off here or there to see this band. They usually reply “why don’t you just see them in the UK?” Or if you’re Keith Murray: “Is Wolverhampton not random enough for you?” Well no Keith it isn’t actually. You know why? Well here’s why actually:

European gigs are smaller than UK ones which means a lot more of the serious fans go. The past three times i’ve seen We Are Scientists in other countries i’ve been resting my drinks on the stage and been hit on the head by Keith’s guitar – ok well that’s not a benefit, actually it’s a little painful. There’s a sense that the band are playing to you and sometimes only to you. There’s better interaction between the band and the audience. Once WAS actually invited a crowd member onstage – you don’t get that at Brixton Academy do you?!

Europeans are politer. Sorry Brits. It’s true. In the UK, someone always has to try and push in front of someone who’s been queueing for hours which really rattles me. It’s wrong. Why do you deserve that place more than them? Well in Europe, people stand there and have a good time – no pushing, no fights. It’s so relaxed it’s unbelievable. In fact at one gig, a girl asked if I could go in front of her in the queue to get in because she didn’t want to go in first. Don’t mind if I do actually!

Europeans love to clap and sing. They get really involved. I have never seen Editors play a show like they did in Paris. It was so incredible I actually could have cried at the end. Maybe I did. The crowd were so ready for it and so up for it that Editors responded in a way I have never seen them play before. They didn’t want to leave the stage at the end. I didn’t particularly want them to either.

You’re on holiday. Yes funnily enough, getting on that plane or getting in the car means that  you’re automatically on holiday. If you love travelling then why not combine two loves music and travelling and experience completely new things and meet new people.

And lastly. I’m not weird honest. You get recognised by bands for making the distance. They’ll come over to you and ask you how you are or they’ll do the appreciative nod when they’re on stage. Or the roadie will chuck out a setlist or a drumstick for you – although watch out for any french fans that want to fight you for it. Yeah that’s a story for another day I guess. All you need to know is that I won. NICE. Plus at European festivals, bands wander around without a care. While we were watching Louis XIV we were there stood behind Editors and half of The Killers road crew. It’s just so relaxed.

So there you go. If i’m being honest i’m looking forward to seeing We Are Scientists a lot more in Oslo and Paris than I am say London or Newcastle. As much as I love my country and our music scene, the amount of idiots occupying the standing area is beginning to get frustrating and sometimes the only way to see that magical show is to make the distance  something that seems to be easy to do now thanks to the likes of Ryanair, Easyjet and my mum’s Honda Civic.

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We all have twitter, it’s powerful force of letting each other know what we’re doing 24/7. Well the truth is sometimes it can be really handy, in this case I logged in and had the page running for about twenty minutes when a tweet came up from the Scissor Sisters informing people of how to get free tickets to the filming of a special show at ITV studios. A week later and I find myself stood outside ITV studios waiting for the band to arrive. Twitter, a powerful thing isn’t it?!

So there I am, looking rather glamorous, as asked by ITV and the band, stood outside ITV studios on the South Bank. I was asked to attend the show early so that I am able to speak to the band and take photos. Scissor Sisters arrive twenty five minutes late but come along and say hello to everyone outside and I get a lovely polaroid of Ana who loved my camera. In fact she said so herself!

The audience are then let into the studios which have been decorated in true Scissor Sisters style with lots of glitter, mirrorballs basically enough to have a big fat party with. Isn’t that what Scissor Sisters shows are about anyway?!

And so there is a lot of talking to the audience and getting them to scream and chant before FINALLY an hour later the band enter the stage and go straight into the first single off Night Work ‘Fire with Fire’.  I’ve always thought Scissor Sisters to be a guilty pleasure of mine, but  you know what I am about to shout this loud and proud. I love this band. If you’re feeling rubbish or just want to dance around a bit there is nothing like a bit of Night Work or I don’t Feel Like Dancing.

They seemed to do a lot of famous stuff first like Take Your Mamma Out which went down extremely well with the crowd along with newer songs such as Any Which Way which is a personal fabourite of mine after the itunes show they did. There’s actions to the songs and everything and all of the regular punters do it in perfect time with Jake and Ana. NICE.  The one problem with going to a filming, or upside I guess, is that the producers and filmers decide if the band have to play the song again. There were a couple of restarts which meant that we got to witness a couple of songs twice as well as having the banter between Ana and the crowd. The best bit being about them performing on Jools Holland along with Brandon Flowers. When talking about Scissor Sisters’ backing vocalists Jake Shears said: ” Our singers’s could kick Brandon Flowers’ ass”. Which is actually true. Seriously. They’re awful.

After a couple of costume changes and restarts, the band start their last section of the show where they invite a special guest onto the stage. I was hoping for Elton. I really was or if not then Kylie would do. Let’s face it, Scissor Sisters are great friends with these people. Who was it? Sir Ian McKellen? Like seriously? Actuall it was great, he came on the stage mid song and used all of these sayings from films he had been in, ending with “You shall not pass!” while Jake and Ana danced on the stage. I wish I had some photos but it wasn’t allowed!

And so the night ends with I don’t feel like dancin’ which is such a great dance track. Love it. The band give it their all and a decision is made to end the show. Wow. What a great band and super friendly too. What a great free night out. Cheers Scissor Sisters and cheers Twitter! I’ll be checking you more often now!

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