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Posts Tagged ‘NME’

The Drums, a three piece band from Williamsburg, New York have been talked about for a while now. After being mentioned in the bands to watch in 2010, they had a lot to prove to everyone. Now they’re finishing off 2010 with a member down (Adam Kessler left the band earlier this year leaving the band as a three piece.)

They released their debut album earlier this year which includes radio favourite “Let’s go Surfing” which also appeared on the H&M soundtrack for months. Highlights of the album are “Best Friend” which although having upbeat lyrics explores the idea of losing a friend and not being able to see them any more. “Down By The Water” is probably the slowest track on the album and probably the love song on the album, it’s simplicity is rather beautiful.

If you want to really know what The Drums’ music is about, you have to see them play live. The Drums’ live shows are where the music really comes to life with their enthusiastic but melancholic tales that Johnny sings to the crowd. They’ve got energy live that is hard to re- create on CD.

When they play live, Jacob can’t help but make you laugh with his dancing and bowing to the crowd while Johnny sings in such a serious manner, sometimes it’s actually quite frightening. They are also so grateful for the cheers and applause and after each song always thank the crowd and every now and then Johnny shouts “We’re The Drums and we love you!”

The Drums are the type of band that feed off the crowd and love nothing better than catching up with fans after the show, talking and having photos taken with them. It doesn’t matter what the subject of the conversation is, they always turn it around to….”so tell me about you.” What lovely guys!

The Drums have stopped for a break from their hectic touring schedule and haven’t said how long they’ll be on a break for however bearing in mind how much they love playing live and how much they love English crowds, it won’t be long until we see them back here soon.

 

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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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So it’s currently the in thing to go solo. Everyone’s doing it from Brandon Flowers to Kele and so now it seems time to introduce to you Paul Smith, lead singer of the magnificent Maximo Park. The question is why does he need to go solo? He’s the front man of an impressive band. As with many bands, the front man is the band. Without the front man, they would be nothing. So what’s made Paul Smith think he can go without the band?

Apparently, well according to Mr Smith, it’s not a solo thing. I guess he’s concerned that Maximo fans will worry too much about the band breaking up which may I add will never happen! He said in an interview with ITN that he has been working on the album for four years without even knowing it!

Margins came out today on his Smith’s own record label and he will be touring in November and December as well as an instore at Rough Trade East this Thursday. Hopefully if Electric can make it then we will bring you what happened!

So here is the first listen to Paul Smith’s solo efforts!

It’s no Graffiti but at then end of the day, his voice is so distinctive you can’t help but love it. It seems like this is one of the slower ones on the album which makes Electric think… for the energetic ones will we see the trademark kicks and jumps or will his shows be completely different from Maximo’s? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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After waking up in our lovely hotel room we headed straight downstairs for a nice big German breakfast of bagels, salami, cheeses and muffins. We headed out and did a whistlestop tour of Berlin – the town hall, Brandenburg Gates, Checkpoint Charlie before ending up at possibly the biggest train station I have ever seen.. the Berlin Hauptbahnhof where for the first time we caught a train in Germany.

The train to Hamburg was about two and a half hours but the weirdest thing was that it was in compartments like something out of Harry Potter. It all was a bit strange, especially as we had to share it with other people, so there I was fast asleep with my mouth wide open and mumnbling basically being an embarrassment to myself. NICE.

We had a bit of a wander, got something to eat and headed to the venue which was again in a bit of a weird place. We Are Scientists like to take us to the classiest of places. There are a couple of people there already so we hang around and kind of queue. The doors open and the people in front of us in the queue asked if we could go in first – who knows why?!

We got where we wanted to be. Centre stage. No barrier. Lovely. Until a German photographer asked me if he could push in front to take photos for the first three songs. I said in my best German. “No way”. He didn’t like it very much at all. But hey the show must go on. Minus the bear entered the stage and did pretty much the same set as the night before. Again they were very good but the guitarist didn’t half get close to my head when he jumped around.

We Are Scientists enter the stage and start again with Dinosaurs, then I don’t Bite which is becoming really popular with the crowds almost as much as the older ones. We are then hit with Nobody Move which gets the whole crowd going really. There is a lot of banter again. I don’t think they even mean to be as funny as they are!

Keith keeps laughing and looking at something in the crowd until we see a guy with curly hair wearing a fake mustache. Keith says “Look! It’s another Chris Cain! Get this man up here. ” and he does. WAS and an extra Chris Cain play Great Escape and fake Chris gets given a bass to play so he can pretend to strum along with the band! How cool is that?!

The encore was Break it Up which is a personal favourite off of Barbara how ever I really wish they would play You Should Learn because it is clearly the best track off of Barabara. They end with Cash Cow. Perfection the the max. What a band.

We hang around at the end like we told them we would. There are a couple of annoying fan girls outside screaming their heads off. They break into the backstage area which I thought was a little much… we just hung around and waited for twenty minutes until Keith came out and declared he was coming back but just had to put some stuff on the bus.

Five minuted later and he came back, signed my poster, had another conversation until some more fans wanted some stuff signed. When he was finished with them and they’d gone he turned to us and said: “Right then mams! We’re heading inside the bar. Meet us around the other side!”  and so we did.

It was quite funny watching Keith get mobbed by people wanting to talk to him. We spent a lot of the time with Danny who was talking to us about Cats and Australia which was hillarious and then we watched him and Keith playfight pretending to be cats. Extremely surreal. And so that was the end of the evening. We bid them farewell with a hug and told them we’d see them in Brighton. Keith wished us a safe journey home and that was that. The end of the European adventure – well for now anyway. Bring on November!

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So ok you probably know by now that i’m a big We Are Scientists fan, ever since Mr Keith Murray crowdsurfed over our heads during the Arctic Monkeys at the NME awards, i’ve had a bit of a soft spot for this band. Five years later and it’s still going strong. Recently travelling to see bands has become a bit of a habit…. you know when something starts off as a joke and then it becomes reality……

Reality hit me when we set off from home to Stansted airport at two in the morning, park the car and head for the Ryanair (yes i’m a cheap person) departure area ready to head off to Berlin. Yes Berlin. Actual Germany.

Two hours later and we touch down ready to spend 24 hours in Berlin. We do the sightseeing stuff, eating at Hard Rock Cafe where (yes random things happen to us all of the time) we were kind of serenaded by the lead singer of The Script who was practising on the balcony for a television appearance.

We head to the Berlin Lido with a little time to spare, but it’s all good. The sun is shining and the RayBans are out. BAM. Doors open at eight and support band Minus the Bear are on at nine. They were pretty good actually. One of the best support acts WAS have ever had and believe me i’ve seen a mixture of good and bad ones.Mostly bad ones. Sorry guys.  The crowd really like Minus the Bear a lot and they thank us for being so lovely.

But now it’s time for what I got the plane for. My beloved We Are Scientists. Tonight they’re doing a small show to 400 people. I’m sat on the stage in between breaks  – the place is that small and by the time they come on the place is rammed to the max. If i’m being honest everything’s a bit of a blur. It’s so much fun watching that band that sometimes it’s hard to remember what songs were even played. I can tell you that they started with Dinosaurs which I thought was a bit of a strange one – never seen that done before! Then they went straight into I don’t Bite before doing some old stuff like Scene is Dead and then some stuff off Barbara like Jack and Ginger and Pittsburgh. Lots of banter. A hell of a lot of banter. They are so good at that kind off stuff it’s all part of the performance. They ended with After Hours and then a shocker Cash Cow which actually works really well at the end of the setlist. What a show though. Seriously. Those guys know how to create the best hour and twenty minute show that will blow your mind. Wow.

So after having our minds blown we decide to hang around and say hello. Well we didn’t need to. Keith came up to me and said “Hello! How are you?!!” something which made me laugh. The thing is with these guys is that they are so nice – pardon the pun and so easy to talk to that you could be there forever! I think we were there for like twenty minutes to half an hour. We told him that we’d been to Hard Rock Cafe and he gave us the BIGGEST lecture on eating from a chain. Apparently when you’re in Berlin you don’t eat from a chain. Well that’s the words of Keith Murray obviously. He told us that he expected better from us. Sorry Keith! After several more random conversations and a big hug we bid them farewell and tell them that we’ll see them tomorrow. In which they replied “safe trip to Hamburg! See you tomorrow!”

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U2 they’re like marmite, you either love them or you hate them. For some people they don’t understand how a band like U2 can be so popular or so famous and others just really don’t like Bono. But for the people who have been queueing in the September cold overnight, U2 are one of those bands that manage to create a spectacle that can never be matched by any other band no matter what.

Tonight U2 bring the 360° tour to Paris and with it comes the giant claw – each one being worth £12m each and taking almost three days to set up.

The doors open and eager fans are crushed as they try to fit their tickets through the automatic scanners on the gates. Then it’s a free for all, people running everywhere wanting to get to the places on the barrier that they’ve been hoping for. The Stade de France fills up quickly as darkness falls and Interpol step onto the stage to open up for the Irish mega rockers. It’s a shame that they just really don’t have the umph about them tonight, they just seem really uninterested about being there although to be fair to them, it must be really hard to interact with the crowd when everything feels so far away.

The tension begins to build as Interpol leave the stage and the big giant clock appears on the claw, counting down the minutes until U2 grace us with their presence. Time goes by and that familiar David Bowie song is played. It’s time. And the four Irish geezers enter the stage with a wave and smile. Here we go.

They start with a bit of jamming which is apparently called The return of the stingray guitar and then go straight into Beautiful Day which is a bit of a shock but fits perfectly with the evening and the occasion. Old favourites remain on the setlist such as I Will Follow and Sunday Bloody Sunday which prompt a mass sing along and jig amongst the 80,000 strong crowd. Newer songs off No Line On The Horizon are just as popular as the older songs.

They continue with a lot of upbeat songs such as Magnificent, Mysterious Ways and Elevation before slowing things down a little with classic I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. With a song like that it makes you wonder how anyone can really hate U2. Songs like these don’t grow on trees and hearing the whole stadium of European fans sing it word perfect in English is truly amazing.

Bono and co play Walk On in honor of Aung Sung Suu Kyi who is still currently under house arrest in Burma. It’s such a beautiful song anyway but now it seems to have more meaning and emotion to it.

The two big ones are left for the encore. With or Without You and Where The Streets Have No Name – both from The Joshua Tree album. Probably the best of all the U2 albums with it’s anthemic biggies like these two. There’s something emotional about this one because for every single person in the crowd there is a complately different meaning to these songs – for some they just like them because they are stunning musically and lyrically while for others they remind them of poignant moments in their lives. Tonight’s crowd show how amazing those songs are when they continue the choruses without Bono – they didn’t even need the band onstage!

The night draws to a close with Moment Of Surrender which has closed all of the 360° tour dates. It’s a slow one, calming the audience down and rounding of a magical night in Paris. As Bono hesitantly leaves the stage and says in his perfect French accent ‘ I will never forget tonight’ it’s clear that U2 are still the stadium mega stars to beat and aren’t willing to be pushed off their pedastool too soon.

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