July 14, 2013 by Robb Powell
WOW!!! I’m still up on a rather atmospheric high. It is so cold up here I’m not used to it with all this insane heat we’ve been experiencing. That gig at the LG Arena in Birmingham took me so high I almost went into orbit. I kid thee not! They were just sensational! Phenomenal! As a big lover of live music and more of the indie stuff, as you know, I’m not really one for these kind of huge arena gigs any more but when you want to see a band of this quality there really isn’t much choice. I must admit though, I was impressed with the sound because I was expecting there to be less of the quality than you would get at a more intimate venue. Perhaps this is because I was fairly close to the stage, I don’t know. All I know is I need to get back down to earth somehow. I have far too much to be getting on with.
It all went a bit silent after the band had been on for about twenty minutes and finishing their fourth song, which was the awesome Closer. There was an almighty loud screeching noise. It sounded like a parallel universe imploding in on itself and getting sucked into a black hole. Not that I’ve ever actually heard such a thing, but that is how I’d expect that to sound. Then just nothing. There was a lot of ooh haa-ing about and the guys went off for a few minutes while some tech guys were rushing around the stage like they were on a mission for the holy grail. It wasn’t too much longer before all sound was restored and it turned out some idiot had chucked a full pint of beer at the sound mixer. That was a close one. The brothers Followill soon got themselves right back into the swing of things, reeling off hit after hit in truly magnificent splendour.
The arena was packed and I was pleased to see so few empty seats. These events usually have too many, chiefly due to the ticket touts who like to buy in bulk and then flog them at extortionate rates on various websites not the least ebay. The crowd went wild, singing back tunes like Bucket and Closer. Then, when the final number Use Somebody began, I couldn’t help myself. I had to get my mobile phone out and attempt to record with its 7% remaining battery. Luckily it worked and then some more with Sex On Fire in the encore. The quality of the audio on my videos is lacking but they capture the epic nature of this gig. I’ve chosen to use other people’s better videos from YouTube though. I highly recommend these guys live if you like their stuff. I won’t be forgetting the experience any time soon, that’s for sure.
LIVING FOR LIVE MUSIC
Not only this but I’ve just recently booked up tickets galore. I really should start using some kind of electronic organiser that will sound off air-raid siren style alarms when a gig I’ve booked is approaching. I’m so busy I wouldn’t put it past myself to totally forget about one. Even if it would be one I’m terribly excited about. This is me. Then there’s the Oxjam gig I’m organizing myself, which is coming along nicely. More news on that soon though.
WHITE CLOUDS & GUNFIRE
In addition to the Goo Goo Dolls in October, I’m now also going to see Peterborough’s AMAZING alternative indie rock band White Clouds & Gunfire in Milton Keynes next month. This is one of the dates on their very own headline tour. Please get along and support these guys because their sound is mint!! Check out the video and links below for more. I featured them recently before switching to the new website so you can check them out on the blogcast to podcast #14 >>here<<. https://www.facebook.com/wcagf
I clicked on a link in an email I received from the Wolverhampton Civic so fast to get myself tickets for Robert Plant‘s latest musical incarnation and venture, I thought I’d broken the mouse. I then had a few problems getting some standing tickets which I thought was due to them having already sold out. Thankfully and what led to a sigh of relief and pure joy so voluminous I made the cat jump, I somehow managed to sort it out. I last saw Mr Plant when he joined the surviving members of Led Zeppelin for that phenomenal ‘once in a lifetime’ one off show at The O2 in December 2007. Before that it was at a solo gig in Birmingham in 2002. He will be playing some Led Zep tunes which is a big highlight for me given how big a fan of the band I am. That said, I do enjoy a lot of his solo stuff as well. http://www.robertplant.com/
I’ll also be heading down to the Capitol to see US singer-songwriter Joe Pug. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It is a Thursday night in September and I’ll be getting back from London at silly O clock to be in work at again, silly O clock but it will be so worth it. I’ve just proved with the Kings Of Leon gig I can do it. I may well need an IV of strong black coffee but, ah, what the heck.
Ever since coming across Joe’s music thanks to a few free samples courtesy of Noisetrade, I have been mesmerized by his sound. A classic song writing genius along the lines of Bob Dylan, I’d say. I love his distinct vocals and guitar style too. Expect to see and hear plenty more about Joe Pug on this website because he just may well have become one of my top favourite new artists. Ever! Make sure you also grab your FREE download of his In The Meantime EP from his own official website. Click >>here<< to grab that! Just enjoying these couple of videos is getting me hugely excited for this gig. The countdown is on. Now, I must remember to book my train tickets in advance.
Make sure you check out all the dates on Joe’s UK tour and for any US readers, he will be performing at a few US festivals in August too. http://www.joepugmusic.com/
THE BOXER REBELLION
Admittedly a bit of a wait for this one but then, hot off the end of their massive and hugely successful North American tour and a few other festvial dates, The Boxer Rebellion have announced a UK & Ireland tour for early 2014. I wasted no time at all in snapping up my tickets to this because given the sheer quality of their music and most recent album Promises, I did not want to miss out.
I’ve still got Promises and the album Union in the car stereo. Nothing in this universe makes me want or need to change them over to anything else. http://www.theboxerrebellion.com/
I was wondering when the follow up to the excellent debut single from new experimental indie electronic duo Bloodflower would grace my ears. Indigo was a real breath of fresh air. Some quality new wave sounds that came as a result of two friends just working together and seeing what they could produce. As far as I recall there was no set plan as such.
What has resulted, is enough material to work on for an entire album. It really is masterful stuff too. Horizon opens up just that, a vast panoramic horizon right before your eyes. The single is due for release on Monday 12th August but in advance of that you can stream it to your hearts content via the soundcloud page. And just one listen will pull you in to doing just that. Again and again and again. That’s the kind of fresh vibrant sound this is. It’s exactly the kind of thing that is needed, not only on the electronic scene but for music on the whole. I just love how the tune builds, the intricate layers intertwine and I will never tire of listening to Jonnie’s vocals. There’s such a depth to the finished article so expect to feel vertigo. Horizon is worthy of a summer smash club anthem but one that has a real gritty soul to it. I’m not one for dancing much thanks to the two left feet I was blessed with but this tune really gets me jigging and moving. It is a stunning follow up that has left me desperately wanting Bloodflower’s album, and soon!
It comes as no surprise that Horizon has already been aired on national radio thanks to BBC Radio 1‘s Huw Stephens and also John Kennedy at XFM. Bloodflower will be making their live debut at SWN Festival this October. https://www.facebook.com/iamBloodflower
THE DREAMING SPIRES ARE BROTHERS IN BROOKLYN
This special iTunes single is released Monday 15th July by Clubhouse Records and features a brand new unreleased recording of Friend You’re On Your Own. Being the title track from The Dreaming Spires‘ fantastic debut album (released last year – for my review go >>here<<), it is a superb introduction to this cutting edge UK americana band. Although it isn’t a straight cut and paste from the album. That isn’t their style at all. Instead you get a special edit of Brothers In Brooklyn so your quality music collection deserves to feature it. The video for the song also captures the heart and soul of these wonderful and hugely talented musicians.
Side B track, Friend You’re On Your Own is another gem from the acclaimed album sessions. There’s a trademark huge chorus describing the power of music in ceremonial detail. This together with the rootsy guitar and percussion make it a perfect friend to accompany the title track. The importance of music and the power it has is a running theme through this band’s work. Making music with friends and performing this to music lovers is what they were born to do. And boy does that come through with full gale force in how they reach out to the listener with the results.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see The Spires live a few times now over the past year but the most recent was by far my favourite. They closed Wood Festival in superb style with a rip-roaring sensational set worthy of a huge main stage. The Tree Tent was a wonderful and more intimate place to be for it though. As if their stunning cover of Springsteen‘s Born To Run wasn’t going to be enough, a number of other musician and band friends joined them on stage at the very end to perform The Weight by The Band (the second video is one taken by someone at Summer Pie Festival and demonstrates what this was like at Wood). It was a perfect end to what was a perfect festival. My apologies my review of it hasn’t been posted yet. It is coming so keep your eyes peeled. Heck, hit the follow button so you definitely don’t miss it. Buy the Brothers In Brooklyn single from iTunes >>here<<. http://www.thedreamingspires.co.uk/
I know I shared this track from this young band only in the last post but such is how impressed I am by their music. The sheer quality they demonstrate at such a young age and early stage in their musical career is nothing short of mind blowing. I’ve heard another two tracks that should be getting released as part of the EP they are currently working on. I am thrilled to say that each of these subsequent tracks retains the huge promise of This Time.
I urge you to jump on board, share the tune with everyone you know. They have a a decent number of likes on their Facebook page but bands always need more so get liking up on there. More importantly as they are relatively new to Twitter we need to get them followed and the number of their followers up. Come on folks, let’s get behind such exceptional talented young people. Follow them @nisheband.
The band are also currently looking for an indie rock guitarist so any readers passing by who play guitar and want to try out for a place in Nishe, get in touch with the guys please. You’ll have to be damn good though because just listen to the quality they are producing already! https://www.facebook.com/nisheband
HALF MOON RUN
I do read a fair bit on the online magazine Vulture Hound (you should too please) and as I’m now contributing a few things to the site myself I’ll be keeping tabs more on stuff. As I can of course, with this semi-self-imposed screwed up crazy schedule of mine. I happened to stumble across an article about a band called Half Moon Run in the Ones To Watch section. Billed as a talented young trio from Ottawa, Ontario and Comox, British Columbia the first video I watched really caught my attention. They got me hook, line and sinker.
Different musical backgrounds mix, blend and fuse together effortlessly to produce both modern and classically inspired complex arrangements that take you to another dimension. Strike that, let me revise. Their music takes you to several paradise dimensions all at the same time. It’s like multidimensionally transcendental. It is like an omlette of beauty, magnificence, perfection and splendour.
Even though I’m not sure my funds can stretch fuel-wise I don’t thing there is any way on this earth I can miss these guys in Birmingham at Library, The Institute on November 21st. Shame I couldn’t get around to a few more festivals this summer as they are also at a number around the UK, including Latitude next weekend (which clashes with Truck Festival anyway and where I’ll be at). I better get saving those petrol pennies then. Or mastering that bending of time and space Hiro did so skilfully in Heroes (I’m re-watching season 1 of the show, this isn’t just a random geek insert).
I do love that while their sound does bring Fleet Foxes (who I absolutely worship, by the way) and The Lumineers instantly to mind, Half Moon Run sound too unique and distinct for there to be any need for worrying they are too similar to these other bands. It is of course the highest compliment to get compared to these too. These guys may well just have become my new favourite best band of the moment. Remarkable stuff! http://halfmoonrun.com/
A DANGEROUS FOX
Well, depending on which role the actor Laurence Fox may be playing at the time I guess. His music is dangerous too, insofar as it gets right inside your head. In the right kind of way. Gutted his date at Bush Hall in London was on a school night or else I’d have made sure I was there. Next time Lozza. Dangerous is the latest new tune to delight my ears from Mr Fox. If you haven’t heard his previously released EP, Sorry For My Words then rectify this folly this instant! You’ll be glad you did so. http://www.laurencefox.co.uk/
THE MUTS ARE BACK TO TELL YOU WHY
Manchester-based alternative rock band Mutineers are about to bounce back out there with a brand new tune, Tell Me Why. I featured the band way back when I was first finding my feet with the music blog and podcast. Their album Friends, Lovers, Rivals can still be purchased from iTunes so get on that and here’s Tell Me Why for you to enjoy ready for more top music to come from them.
It’s an awesome tune to follow up the previous album, really big sounding and has got me very excited for what’s to come! http://mutineersofficial.tumblr.com/
CHECKING IN WITH…
It’s been a wee while since I featured Luke but all in good time. I’ll no doubt bring more news, music and videos as and when but came across this excellent video of him covering Tom Petty‘s Free Fallin with Ciaran Algar. Everything Luke does WOWs me beyond belief and this is no different.
I am loving those harmonies. Sublime. Keep updated with all things going on with Luke at his official website because he is a busy chap always playing gigs somewhere and is out on tour at the moment. Do not miss out if you’ve never seen him before! You can read one of two live reviews I’ve written >>here<<. http://lukepauljackson.com/
Likewise, it’s been a while since I put up anything from Perry Hood. He’s been uploading a number of rather excellent videos on his YouTube channel. A mixture of both original songs, which always impress, and a few covers too (one you MUST watch being of Great Expectations from one of his favourite bands The Gaslight Anthem – they are quality, and Perry’s cover is awesome).
One important thing I’ve learned doing this music blog is that setbacks to potential release dates for EPs and records are very common. You can get some superb music from Perry that he released on bandcamp (go >>here<<) but he has been working on a new EP for a while and is hoping to release it at some point this summer. I’m just selfish because I want them tunes. https://www.facebook.com/perryhoodmusic
Perry is also now part of a 3-piece Emo Rock band called Southpaw. You can like the Facebook page to keep posted on tunes as they come because the guys are currently working on their debut EP. I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to offer. https://www.facebook.com/southpaw123
IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN…
TO TRUCK FESTIVAL
The Truck has finally arrived. Well, it will be arriving this coming Friday, rather. I’ve been good and started to try and sort out my own personalized planner but there are clashes. While they are a staple and common occurrence at all festivals (except for the really tiny ones with just the one stage), it always saddens me when I can’t get to see a band or artist I really want to. I’ve tried the cloning myself idea but I just ended up with multiple mini-mes (yes, as per Austin Powers’ Dr Evil) who banded together to form a 4-piece grunge rock come gangster rap group. They’re working on their debut record and struggling to settle on a name. More on them another time (although trust me you really don’t want to hear what they sound like).
Given the length of this post and how much I have to do (yes, yes – I’m still on the album reviews, apologies) I’ll have to be very brief here. I’ve done this opposite to how I covered the wonderful Wood Festival. For that, I promoted and featured like crazy in the run-up to it but while my review is pretty much sorted it’s still waiting to get up online. For Truck, I’ve not been able to promote on the website as I’d have liked to, yet I’ll be getting the review up quick smart. My reviews for both festivals will also be featured on Vulture Hound magazine. Anyway, I digress.
MY TOP TRUCK TIPS OF WHO NOT TO MISS:
DRY THE RIVER
THE JOY FORMIDABLE
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING
GUNNING FOR TAMAR
BROTHER AND BONES
I best draw the line there for the moment then. Or else Truck 2014 will have come and gone before I’m done. There are a number of other top quality bands and artists I’m hoping to catch and after watching Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider with my Pa last weekend I am more than ready to chill out in The Great Western Whiskey Saloon and Blues Kitchen (The Saloon Bar). There is a full fantastic line-up of music being hosted inside in association with those wonderful Clubhouse Records fellows.
This year’s festival is bigger than ever and yet it will retain its status as the best smallest independent festival that there is in the UK. There’s just heaps more available for festival goers. A village fete, a food festival as well as the wonderful offerings from the regular Rotary Club. A cocktail bar for those wanting the more exotic alcoholic beverage (or I’m sure they probably even offer non-alcoholic ones). The BRAND NEW Saloon (as mentioned above), a Virgins & Veterans Stage and the healing fields. So long as the big comfy sofas are out again too, this is going to be a Truck not to miss! Tickets are selling like flaming hot cakes. Strike that, given the heat at present, they are selling like ice-creams! Don’t be a fool and miss this amazing live music event. http://www.truckfestival.com/