Live Review: Thank You Scientist, Satan’s Hollow Manchester, 22nd Feb 2020

IMG_20200222_201130-01One of the most frustrating first world problems that comes with running a music blog, especially one covering new acts and niche genres, is discovering incredible bands and artists from across the globe that you may never get to see live. I was worried that Thank You Scientist would be in that category for a good long while yet; a real blow as, being the most exciting prog act around and our 2019 album of the year winners, they were also near the top of my list of bands I most wanted to see. In a stunning stroke of good fortune however, TYS decided to embark on a UK tour. Despite everything from stormy weather to closed rail links battling to keep me away, I was determined that this was one show I was not gonna miss! Continue reading

Live Review: Megan Dixon Hood, Gullivers Manchester, 24th Jan 2020

25af6df-ed434ad9-221-0null-01As January lingers on it still feels like a time for looking forward and thinking on the future. That suits us just fine as in a way Belwood is all about looking forward as we champion new music and up-and-coming artists. It seems fitting then for my first gig of the year, of the decade even, to be Megan Dixon Hood, our ‘best new artist‘ pick for 2019. Based on her grand and mystical music released thus far, most notably her most recent powerhouse single ‘The Wishing Tree‘, I was adamant that 2020 was hers for the taking. Little did I know that she was planning on starting early by beginning the year with her first UK headline tour. Naturally I just had to make my way across to Manchester to see her in action. Continue reading

Live Review: The National, First Direct Arena Leeds, 8th Dec 2019

IMG_20191208_211406-01It seems odd to think that in a busy year for gigs, this was perhaps the one I was the least excited about leading up to it. I’ve been a big National fan for years now but due to various misfortunes and twists of fate I kept missing out on seeing them live. Then, when I finally get my hands on a ticket, they go ahead and release the deeply disappointing I Am Easy To Find, and in a flash much of my enthusiasm died away. In breaking their winning streak of great albums I felt certain that the quality of their live shows would similarly suffer. I grabbed a spot front and centre at Leeds arena hoping to be proven wrong. Continue reading

Live Review: The Lumineers, Manchester Arena, 24th Nov 2019

IMG_20191124_205353-01The Lumineers are a band that have consistently surprised me. I wrote them off as a Mumford clone and they came back with a brilliant second album. I wondered whether they may have bitten off more than they could chew by releasing a hard hitting concept album, only for it to be one of the stand out releases of 2019. Last time I saw The Lumineers it was in a much smaller venue, but this latest tour in support of III finds them setting their sights on arena crowds. The old me might have questioned this big leap and had doubts about whether they were really arena material. If I’ve learnt anything these past few years however it’s that you should never sell this band short, and this gig only served to prove that point further. Continue reading

Live Review: Foy Vance, Albert Hall Manchester, 20th Nov 2019

IMG_20191120_212126-01__01If you’re a regular visitor to Belwood then you’ll know that my all time favourite artist is Foy Vance. He’s the artist I’ve seen the most, and the first time I saw him still remains the best gig I’ve ever been to. Several brilliant shows later and I was unsure of what to expect from my latest live experience. Firstly down to it being in the Albert Hall; while it’s one of the most beautiful venues in the country, it was a much less intimate setting than I was used to. Secondly in terms of the setlist; Foy released two albums in 2019, one I loved and one that I really couldn’t connect with, and I was curious to see which record would take precedent. The only way to find out was to take my place front and centre and see what Foy had in store this time around. Continue reading

Live Review: Hozier, Sheffield City Hall, 20th Sept 2019

LRM_EXPORT_283021641608284_20190921_135320950-01What artist most exceeded your expectations when you saw them live for the first time? For me it was Hozier. I saw him live in London just as the hype surrounding ‘Take Me To Church’ was reaching a fever-pitch, after following his meteoric rise right from his first EP. In a sold out show in Shepherd’s Bush there was an electricity in the air which I’ve only experienced a handful of times, the kind that makes just another date on a tour feel like something special and unique. To this day it remains one of my favourite gigs. Several years down the line, and with a new album under his belt, I decided to see if the magic was still there. Continue reading

Live Review: Barn on the Farm Festival 2019

IMG_20190704_143638-01 (2)A lot can happen in ten years. People change, trends come and go, and a small gathering of music fans in a wooden barn in Gloucester can become the best festival in the world. After building up a reputation over the past decade for championing new music, breaking down barriers, and being the most warm and welcoming festival family around, Over Farm found itself at the centre of a very special birthday. With Barn on the Farm celebrating it’s tenth anniversary (and Belwood returning for a fifth year), expectations were high that they would pull something special out of the bag. And, in spite of a few big names pulling out last minute, they did all that and more.  Continue reading

Live Review: Glen Hansard, Barbican Centre London, 16th April 2019

LRM_EXPORT_112745519479385_20190418_135803273-01They say you should never meet your heroes as they never live up to expectations. Leading up to this gig I was worried that the same principle applied to seeing one of your favourite artists live. After discovering Glen though the usual method, falling deeply in love with the movie Once, I’ve become a deep admirer of his artistry. Although not always captured by the studio versions, the energy of his live performances that I’ve seen online are just in a whole other league. He sings with such passion, as though music were his sole purpose and he is giving away his very life-force to his songs. Some of these have proven to be some of my favourite live performances of all time, videos that I watch almost religiously. That is an awful lot of expectation to live up to, but when Glen announced a new tour I decided it was a risk I had to take. Continue reading

Live Review: Árstíðir, Rebellion Manchester, 25th Jan 2019

arstidir mancGenerally the start of a new year is a time for looking forward, but I thought it would be an equally good time to momentarily look back. Surely there’s no better way to spend my first gig of 2019 than checking out the band behind one of the best releases of 2018. We stumbled across Icelandic indie folk outfit Árstíðir shortly after they released their latest record Nivalis. It impressed us so much that it snuck its way into our end of year list, and also ensured that I would be in attendance for one of their UK dates. Continue reading

Live Review: Caligula’s Horse, Star & Garter Manchester, 5th Nov 2018

Caligula's horseThough Bonfire Night is traditionally celebrated with fireworks, I spent mine with something just as exciting and vibrant, albeit even louder; the brilliant Caligula’s Horse on their first headline European tour. Though I was a bit late to the game regarding their latest record, 2017’s In Contact, it has quickly become one of my favourite releases of recent years and has been one of my main go-to albums. So naturally I wasn’t going to miss out on seeing them, along with a few of their friends from back home, for an all out Australian invasion on the penultimate stop of their tour. After all, if anyone knows how to have a good time it’s the Aussies.  Continue reading