All posts by harricorns

Who To See At Boardmasters

The summeriest festival of them all, Boardmasters offers a Cornish take on the usual mud-crusted fest vibes, offering not just music, but also surfing competitions, laid back campfire jam sessions and even morning beach yoga. However, don’t let this host of other activities distract you from what is set to be an impressive line-up of acts.

The Vaccines

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A personal favourite band of mine who I’ve had the pleasure of seeing both at a gig in Leicester and at T in the Park in 2012. Despite me no longer being an exuberant young teenager with a penchant for feelgood indie pop, as well as the departure of drummer Pete Robertson, these are a band I’m excited to see live again after so many years. Still enthusiastic and energetic, The Vaccines seem, to me, to be the perfect band to headline a festival like Boardmasters, with catchy summer tunes such as Wetsuit and If You Wanna guaranteed to get the crowd going. If you’re headed to Boardmasters and have never seen these guys live, re-familiarise yourself with their work and get ready for a treat.

Two Door Cinema Club

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Despite their best efforts, NME never managed to whip up an Oasis v. Blur style rivalry between Two Door and The Vaccines, as both of these bands will be sharing the stage at Boardmasters. Equal to The Vaccines in terms of pop-fuelled hits and punchy debut albums, one thing I can not compare is their styles as live artists, having never seen TDCC live before. In many ways, I’m more excited to see these live than The Vaccines after having missed my chance in my younger years. For a festival that promises a summer of alternative music seen through the Aden Instagram filter, Boardmasters is certainly delivering on the line-up, with TDCC’s Sun and Undercover Martyn sure to put the crowd into a beachy trance.

Jake Bugg

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Providing the festival with some much-needed folk-rock and melancholia is the immeasurably talented Jake Bugg. Although he seems to have slipped off the ‘indie radar’ since his acclaimed debut at the tender age of 18, it’s irrefutable that he’s an artist with plenty of growth left in him, and an impressive discography with which to fill his set. Having seen him tour his debut album, I know that his style as a live performer is worlds away from the energy of The Vaccines, but is no less compelling. What Doesn’t Kill You and Lightning Bolt will certainly please the crowd, whilst if Broken gets an airing down in Cornwall, I’m certain we will be in tears by the end.

The Amazons

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Relative new kids on the block compared to the other artists listed, The Amazons have been stirring up excitement these last 12 months as they establish themselves as another band with a heavier sound, following loosely in the footsteps of other artists such as Royal Blood, Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Hunna. Heavier than the likes of The Vaccines and TDCC and more high octane than Jake Bugg, The Amazons are another band I’m looking forward to seeing live for the first time, with their songs Junk Food Forever and Black Magic having found their way onto a couple of my Spotify playlists. Judging by their steadily growing popularity, their Boardmasters set could be a busy affair.

See you at Boardmasters!

Harriet xx

Disclaimer: I own none of the pictures featured.

Who To See At Community Festival

As festival season begins to rear its big, beautiful head once again, it’s time to start planning who you’re going to see. Coming up on the 1st of July, Community Festival is offering a small but select line up of bands, from indie bread and butter like The Wombats to relative new kid on the block Rosborough. If you’re heading off to Finsbury Park this summer, make sure to check out these great acts.

Catfish And The Bottlemen

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An obvious choice, yes. But they’re the headliners for a reason. Having quickly established themselves as one of the rawest and punchiest live bands around at the moments, it’s guaranteed that their headline slot at Community will not be one to miss. If you’ve seen them before, you’ll know how good they are. If you haven’t, this is definitely not an opportunity to pass up.

The Wombats

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One of the founding fathers of indie pop, The Wombats are still going strong and are definitely set to be one of the best slots at Community this year. With old school tunes like Let’s Dance To Joy Division and newer hits such as Your Body Is A Weapon to play you through the summer sun, The Wombats are probably the most unmissable act of the festival. Don’t miss out on your chance to see the Liverpool three-piece.

Slaves

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If their 2015 Glastonbury set is anything to go by, Slaves are a band with stage presence for days. For just two people, the noise they create is immense and are also another unmissable act at Community. Whether you’re a fan of Are You Satisfied? or not, Slaves are very much a live band and a bona fide crowd pleaser. If you find yourself at Community, searching for a heavier, louder, angstier interlude, head to Slaves’ set – guaranteed not to disappoint. 

Fickle Friends

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Deffo a summer band if there ever was one! This Brighton quintet have been making waves since 2013 and are finally recording their debut album. No need to wait for that though, because their many singles are more than enough to put you into a full summer trance. Let the twangling guitars and HAIM style vocals of Brooklyn and Play elevate you to your best summer self. Make Fickle Friends a top priority for you at Community.

Darlia

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A fan favourite and a band who already has an impressive back log of big tunes and crowd-pleasers, Darlia should definitely be on your Community list! They’re cool, they’re catchy and they’re not going to disappoint this festival season. Well at home alongside other similar indie rock bands such as Catfish and Slaves, Darlia is helping Community to become one of the most unmissable festivals of the season.

Harriet x

Disclaimer: I own none of the pictures in this post

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GIG REVIEW: Maxïmo Park // De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill-On-Sea

Another excellent live band, another gig in an obscure seaside town for me. I don’t know how I end up in these far flung parts of the country, but there I was. The venue itself was actually not too bad, although I’m never sitting down at a gig again (note to self, buy the tickets before all the standing sells out).

Although I arrived halfway through the support act, PINS, I was really impressed. I would recommend checking out these Manchester gals if you haven’t already. Everything from their gritty sound to their onstage look was a massive plus in my eyes.

With a band as energetic and lively as Maxïmo Park, it’s a real sense of pit envy when you watch everyone downstairs dancing along with Paul ‘Snakehips’ Smith to Our Velocity and Apply Some Pressure. However, the band themselves were big enough and loud enough to reach even us on the balcony. Old bangers, primarily from the first two albums, still gained the biggest reaction from the audience, especially The Coast Is Always Changing, but the new singles What Did We Do To You To Deserve This? and Risk To Exist, the first two songs of the set, still exploded onstage.

Rumour has it that Paul Smith, the lead singer, wears reinforced trousers onstage to stop them from splitting when he leaps up into the air. Whilst I have seen him do this before, this gig was leap-free, but no less exciting. As a frontman, it’s clear that he’s passionate about his music and his performance, as well as humble. Cracking jokes with the audience, dancing like there isn’t a hall full of people with their eyes only on him, and graciously thanking us for our support, Smith is a consistently brilliant frontman, a very key part of what makes Maxïmo Park a consistently brilliant live band.

Touring their new album, Risk To Exist, it’s clear that the band have gone in a much more political direction with their music, singing about the refugee crisis, inequality and the increasingly apparent right-wing agenda in global politics today. Although I wasn’t as familiar with the new album as I was with the first 4, hearing these new songs live really made me warm to them. I think the truest test of this came at the end of the encore, when the band finished with another new single Get High (No, I Don’t), a seemingly anti-drugs song. A square subject matter for a rock band? Perhaps. But whether you actually did get high before/after the gig or you’re teetotal, the whole audience lapped up this punchy track and continued their chants of “Maxïmo, Maxïmo” until well after the last chord.

NEW MUSIC: Debut Release For Student Band ‘The Gallery’

Wakefield five-piece ‘The Gallery’ have just released their infectious double A side debut single today, featuring the tracks Daddy’s Car and Go Twice, showing their musical clout already by tackling different sounds in each track.

For the die-hard indie kids who like their music with a side of twangly guitars and Arctic Monkeys-style lyrics circa Whatever People Say I Am…, Daddy’s Car is the track for you: fresh, witty, Northern; all the things guaranteed to cement you a place on people’s playlists! Being an A level student myself, the lyrics are super relatable, as I’m sure we’ve all come across people just like the subject of the song, who act like they own everything, but still end up with “F all A*s”.

As for Go Twice, this is a grittier tune, with heavier guitars, a killer intro and angsty vocals, but still carrying the same recognisable sound (quite the feat to establish in a mere two tracks). For a band of 18 year-olds, the tune of this, well, tune sounds like the sort of thing you’d hear on a track made by people with double their musical experience: it has the quality of a sort of instant classic, an unforgettable guitar sound that you swear you’ve heard before, it’s that catchy.

However, for such an up-and-coming band, they’ve already supported the likes of Pretty Vicious, Clay, The Academic and October Drift and they’re adding onto to their live gigging experience with sets at Live at Leeds and Tramlines Festival. I would say, watch this space.

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GIG REVIEW: Kasabian // Venue Cymru, Llandudno

Despite the Leicester lads being well and truly established as stadium rock gods, there still is nothing like seeing them in a small venue (as is the case with all bands I reckon). Kasabian’s pre-album intimate tour opened Wednesday night in Llandudno – a strange place for an opener for many reasons, which I will come on to. Having seen them well over 10 times now, I feel like I can review this gig (which was weird, again, for a number of reasons) more objectively.

But first, a quick word about the support: Cabbage. This was the first time I’ve seen them live and, although I didn’t know many of their songs, I spent the entire journey back home from Wales streaming their album Young, Dumb and Full Of…. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Cabbage, you can think of them as a political Drenge who took their inspiration from the 1970s punks (heavy Clash, heavy New York Dolls, heavy Stranglers). And if you haven’t heard of Drenge, I recommend that you head over to Spotify pronto (but after you’ve finished reading this).

Now, let me give the lads the kudos they well and truly deserve. For me, they are the best live band I’ve ever seen, as well as the most consistent. With heavy classics such as LSF and Vlad The Impaler receiving the same buzz as newer tracks like eez-eh and bumbleee, it’s no secret that these guys have perfected the art of creating massive crowd-pleasing tunes. But, as well this gift for mosh pit fodder, mellow epic treat still holds the crowd captive – everyone is always putty in the talented hands of Serge Pizzorno. Even as the band suffered through some technical issues with the bass, being the class musicians they are, Tom and Serge were able to create an impromptu acoustic singalong to the hook of the previous song on two occasions. Not only this, but Serge showed his worth again and again, blending eez-eh with Daft Punk’s Around The World and proving that he’s not too proud to be the Bez of the band as well as the Noel Gallagher, switching from guitar to synth to maracas.

So why is it that a band with such a catalogue of massive tunes chose to omit so many of them from the setlist? And why did they end the encore with the mellow and still relatively unknown Put Your Life On It? It’s one thing moving LSF from the encore to the end of the main set; it’s another to finish the encore on a flat note. Where was Switchblade Smiles, Days Are Forgotten or Reason Is Treason?

Having said that, from where I was standing the crowd were just not that into it. It wasn’t until I moved to the very front that I found people jumping around like they should, and I was pretty close to the front to begin with. Never in my life have I seen a Kasabian crowd this tame – surprising as the crowd seemed to be overwhelmingly comprised of Northerners and Midlanders, like myself, who, I guess, failed to get tickets for their local venue, like myself. Which leads me to another question – why pay £50 per ticket just to stand still throughout the entirety of Underdog?

Maybe it was the mega-long queuing time and high security at the venue that dampened people’s spirits, or the fact that Leicester had lost 1-0 that night. As the opening night of a pre-album tour, held in a small seaside town in North Wales, perhaps it’s expected that it’s not bound to be one for the history books. I think (and hope) that we were the guinea pigs, because I can’t let a band that I love that much continue with a setlist that bizarre.

Were you there at Llandudno as well? What was your take on the gig – and have you seen Kasabian before?

That Charming Man // Johnny Marr, Wulfrun October 2013

I gotta cast my mind back to my early teens in order to remember probably the most formative gig of my life: Johnny Marr in Wolverhampton on his tour for The Messenger. No, The Messenger isn’t my favourite ever album, or even an album I listen to regularly, but this was Johnny Marr. The same Johnny Marr who brought the world the massive guitar riffs of This Charming Man and How Soon Is Now? The same Johnny Marr I had been looking up to my entire childhood, following the example of reverence my parents had set for me.

My dad always teased me that he got to see The Smiths for free before they had even released their first single, courtesy of a girl who went to the same chippy as them. Whilst this couldn’t measure up (I had paid and, obviously, this was not Marr’s first time at the rodeo) this was the best chance I had to hear my favourite songs played live to me. And although the crowd were happy to get down to tracks like Upstarts and Generate! Generate!, we were all there for the old hits – and Johnny Marr knew it.

I’ll never forget when he finally played There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. That’s what we were really waiting for. The gig as a whole had been a complete success: I had bruises on my legs, I had been elbowed out of the way (and elbowed back in) and my hair stunk of beer that had rained down on me during Bigmouth Strikes Again. But as soon as I heard that familiar opening twang, I knew this would be the very end of the encore and I never wanted it to stop.

Never in my young life did I believe I would be witness to Johnny Marr in the flesh, let alone did I think that I would be standing right there in front of him, in this small venue in my hometown, mere feet away. My teenage enthusiasm had built him into an idol, a God, to be worshipped – this song my prayer. And so I noticed that the rest of the congregation had too hushed in devotion, allowing the lessons of the master to rain down upon us like holy drops. I was crying, my parents were crying, my friend was crying, the incredibly tall man on the front row was sobbing and shouting the lyrics in a zealous trance

The song went on and on, the guitar solo lasted an eternity – but the shortest eternity anyone had ever known. Even now as I am writing this, listening to the song, all I can see is the figure of Johnny Marr, triumphantly standing before us as a man in complete command. Even without Morrissey’s haunting vocals, this song live is the most precious concert memory I possess. Decades after The Smiths’ heyday, their teenage fans now parents, their songs are still bringing them to tears. They’re bringing us to tears.

*Photo property of Native Monster