You wouldn’t think much of the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles if you were to merely walk past. Sitting in a neglected neighborhood of the city, the Bootleg barely boasts a front: just a building, with one door, with red marquee letters reading “Bootleg”. Congregating outside the venue before being let in provided me with an opportunity to speak with fans and, as a new fan myself, get to know the band from admirers, friends, and family alike. The overwhelming recurring response that was shared was that this band was electric; an absolute delight to see live, and like no other band to be seen (or heard). Continue reading
Photo by Carl Gac
“We’re guerrillas, we don’t announce gigs. We hit, then we sink back into the night.” While The Commitments is an immensely quotable film, that line to me has always felt like a testament to a long forgotten phenomenon. Modern life thrives on routine, modern living is done squarely within the comfort zone, and these days spontaneous gigs sound like a foreign concept unless you’re in the big leagues and just fancy messing with people. But then the message came through loud and clear that a little pop-up gig was occurring; a showcase of some of the finest local talent, at the delightfully cool and quirky Cafe Indie. This was very much a new experience for me and not one that I was inclined to miss! Continue reading
Pasadena, California is home to The Rose Bowl, an American football stadium, and whose grounds are now home to the Arroyo Seco Weekend festival. The inaugural year of the festival looked mighty impressive on paper: over the course of June 24th and 25th, incredible headliners Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Mumford & Sons would be supported by some of Los Angeles’ favorite bands. It would seem that Southern California lives and breathes for Arroyo Seco’s self indulgent, exhibitionist older sister festival, Coachella, so I was interested in a lineup and experience that seemed more suited to SoCal’s alternative music scene.
There are few acts that I would consider worthy of the caliber that the Hollywood Bowl holds. On June 26th the Bowl was lucky to host actual Legends of rock Brian May and Roger Taylor as Queen with current frontman Adam Lambert.
The mere fact that I had tickets to begin with was a miracle, as both shows at the Bowl quickly sold out. I inherited the tickets with eyes-wide from ticket holders who couldn’t make the show, and before I knew it I was in velvet and red lipstick, seated (but only just) at the Hollywood Bowl, waiting to hear classic tracks that had been an integral part of my childhood.
My favourite weekend of the year, bar none, has sadly been and gone. But in its wake it has left behind memories that will stay with me for many more years to come. The line-up for 2017 was a curious one. Though it was lauded as their most ambitious to date, there weren’t actually that many names I was familiar with. While previous festivals had gathered together some of my favourite up-and-coming artists, 2017 was all about adding new names to that list… as well as checking in with a couple of old favourites of course! I wandered around the pastoral paradise clutching my programme like some racing punter following his gut; the key difference being that Barn on the Farm kept up the trend of providing nothing but winners. Continue reading
When I first heard the rumour that Arcade Fire would be playing The Baths Hall, a charming little local venue that sadly sees few bands making an appearance, I remember saying that I thought there was more chance of me backflipping over the venue than one of the biggest bands of the 21st century playing there. After swiftly eating my words and queueing up in the rain from 4:30am to be certain of being a part of the intimate audience, I felt euphoric to the point that I might actually have been able to make that flip (after all, it seems miracles do happen). So gather round one and all, as I regale you with the legendary tale of one of the most unique and noteworthy gigs in the calendar, and the best thing to happen to Scunny since… well, ever! Continue reading
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, and likewise all great acts have to start somewhere. Belwood is all about supporting new music, and transatlantic duo Samuel Taylor and Rebecca Van Cleave are one of the most exciting musical projects the site has supported thus far. Blending classic Americana with modern English folk, and with plenty of addictive indie pop hooks for good measure, Ophelia’s music has something to offer everyone. Having just released their debut single, I caught them at their homecoming gig at the lovely Greystones in Sheffield for the final stop of their Vagabond Tour. Continue reading
Belwood Music has found plenty of new favourites over the past couple of years. One act that has certainly earned a place in our hall of fame is former Bottleman Billy Bibby and his new band The Wry Smiles. Post-Catfish he has maintained his high standard of songwriting and has made an assured and promising start to his solo career. Billy was our first ever interviewee and his track ‘Are You Ready?’ found its way into our top ten songs of the year. All that has been missing was the chance to see the lads in action up on stage. I caught up with them at The Leopard to see if they could keep up their high standard for the eager Yorkshire crowd. Continue reading
Photo by Lewis Marchant
There are some concerts that we simply go to on a whim, some that we have planned for ages in advance, and every so often a band comes along that you would drop everything to go and see. Having missed out twice already on seeing Amber Run, seeing the lads up-close and in their element was already long overdue. They have long been my white whale, the one that got away. However, with their new album For A Moment, I Was Lost surpassing all expectations and launching headlong into contention for album of the year, there was no power in heaven or Earth that would stop me from catching them on their latest UK tour. I made my way to their gig in Sheffield for what was sure to be a night to remember. Continue reading
Concerts are naturally a very thrilling and special thing, but every so often one comes along that feels like the most important thing in the world. Seeing the acclaimed yet reclusive singer/songwriter Keaton Henson at the London Palladium felt like the most significant concert I have ever been to. Despite his immense talents ranging from folk, electronic and classical music, and even art and poetry, Keaton rarely performs live due to his crippling anxiety. Thankfully for me and the rest of his adoring fans he decided to face his own personal hell, a fully sold out London Palladium, to produce a truly unforgettable night. Continue reading