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Posts Tagged ‘review’

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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That’s right. The Kills NOT the Killers. Don’t mix those two up!

The Kills are made up of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince. They formed after Alison heard him playing guitar from her hotel room below Jamie’s. They jammed for a while and decided that they liked the stuff they played. The only trouble was, Jamie lived in England and Alison lived in the US. For months they sent demo tapes to each other with ideas for songs until eventually Alison had enough and was ready to make the move to the UK.

The best Kills album has to be Midnight Boom. At the time it was a breath of fresh air and really established The Kills as a duo not to be reckoned with. Highlights on the album are Last day of Magic, Sour Cherry and Cheap and Cheerful. The Kills are very simplistic, a drum track, guitars and Alison’s voice. There’s something about its minor imperfections that make the album slightly addictive. After the first play you’ll want to play it all over again.

Now you’ve probably heard of them before and are wondering why I’m talking about them as if they’re new. Well they haven’t released anything since 2007 as they both went off to do other things. One of those other things was Alison’s involvement in The Dead Weather with White Stripes (RIP) cool dude Jack White.  They were pretty awesome and managed to make and release two albums in the space of a year.

But now the Kills are ready to come back with their fourth studio album entitled Blood Pressures. The album is released worldwide on April 4th and in the United States April 5th. They’ve just put out their video for their new single Satellites on Youtube. The video was directed by Sophie Muller and follows Alison and Jamie on a road trip along the English coast in a vintage Rolls Royce.

Take a look here:

Again the Kills really don’t disappoint. And luckily you can see them on tour. Take a look at their website to see if they’re visiting you on their tour. Also you should check out their website because their photos are beautiful.

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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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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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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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