Having been a Porcupine Tree fan for many years, and with the band playing a key part in my musical development as it were, a trip to see the main man himself Steven Wilson was long overdue. With his new solo record To The Bone offering some of his most well constructed songs to date (and with the size of his back catalogue that’s saying something) now seemed like the perfect time. I had not been this excited about a gig in a long time, and knowing his reputation for his spectacular live performances over the years, I was eager to see one of my idols in action. Continue reading
All fans of live music, whether or not they care to admit it, are in search of the same thing. We go to gigs in the hope that it will be special and unique, one of those “you had to be there” moments. With Portland band Typhoon releasing my album of the year, hearing the highlights of the incredible new record Offerings in the flesh is more than enough to make seeing them live something special, but the icing on the cake was that it just so happened to be the first show of their first ever UK tour. I battled the “Beast from the East” on my way down to London, bracing snowy conditions (and even dodging crashing cars right outside the venue), as this was not a gig to be missed. Continue reading
There hasn’t been a good track record this year for small festivals. After the abject failure of Liverpool’s Hope & Glory Festival, the news of another new city festival surely must have set off a few alarm bells. I am delighted to report however that Lincoln’s inaugural 2Q Festival broke the downward trend, and provided a jam-packed day of entertainment for music fans from across the county and beyond. The event really brought out the best of this picturesque city and set the foundations for yet greater festivals further down the line. Continue reading
We all have our own little habits and rituals, but every now and then we need to break free of them, and take a chance in the hopes that life catches you off-guard. You can’t be pleasantly surprised unless you first take a plunge into the unknown. The same mantra applies well to music, as I found upon returning to the quirky Cafe Indie. With three bands on the bill, I went in knowing next to nothing about any of them, and left as a new fan of all three. It seems like small bands and smalls gigs can offer the biggest surprises, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the night exceeded my expectations in every sense. Continue reading
Music is always there; it’s your home, your family, something to depend on. It’s an essential part of life, and there’s a rare feeling of belonging and contentment that comes with going to gigs. With this in mind, the ‘Feels Like Home’ tour seemed like the perfect way to spend my weekend. Charlotte Eriksson, aka The Glass Child, is one of my favourite discoveries of the year, and the lovely Emma Buckley came highly recommended, so what better way to welcome in the autumn months than catching them both live in a cozy intimate gig. Continue reading
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
“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