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FEATURE: Gig Rig

Howdy folks! This week has been pretty awesome for gigs – with an intense set from Sleigh Bells on Monday and a stellar performance from The National on Wednesday, which ended with an unamplified acoustic rendition of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.

There’s a few new gigs to add to the list this week, and the most notable one is probably the upcoming tour from White Lies, whose music is gloomy yet upbeat and sounds like a cross between Joy Division and Interpol. I’ve not seen them live before but I’ve been reliably informed they put on an impressive show.

If you fancy some old-school ska-punk to reminisce about the “good ol’ days” of the 90s music scene then tickets go on sale today for Reel Big Fish‘s UK tour.

As always, hit the link for the full up-and-coming gig listings. Enjoy your weekends!

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News

NEWS: Levellers Add Additional Dates to Levelling the Land Live Tour

As announced recently Levellers are on tour next year with an anniversary show of their seminal album Levelling the Land. Well it would appear that it isn’t just me that’s excited about being reminded of those heady days 20 years ago when the album was first released, as demand for tickets has been so high that 5 extra dates have been added to the tour.

You can now catch Levellers, being supported by the equally effervescent The Wonder Stuff, at Dublin Academy, Liverpool O2 Academy, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Lincoln Engine Shed, and Bournemouth O2 Academy.

I’d suggest getting in quick for your tickets as these shows are bound to be popular as well.

Hit the link for these new dates.

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Reviews

REVIEW: 3 Daft Monkeys – 11/11/10 Gloucester Guildhall

Inflatable Buddha - image courtesy of Martin Svancar

I’d not heard much of 3 Daft Monkeys before we reviewed their latest self-released album The Antiquated & The Arcane a short while ago, but since then I’ve had the album on near-constant repeat and have fallen in love with their eclectic folk stylings. It was with some excitement, then, that I recently attended their gig at Gloucester’s Guildhall.

Arriving late due to a slight guestlist kerfuffle and having a bit of a chin-wag with an old friend in the bar, I missed the start of opening act Inflatable Buddha. It turns out that this was a major mistake on my part. Wandering in to find enigmatic poet/mandolin player Steve Larkin joking around with the crowd as naturally as if he were best of mates with everyone in the room, I was instantly hooked. Their particular brand of quirky folk punk was quite mesmerising to behold, a relentless energy surging from Larkin, and also double-bass player and co-vocalist Susannah Starling, through the remainder of their set. Particular highlights for me were ‘Clown’, a highly entertaining tail about a bi-polar, alcoholic circus worker which very clearly showcases the poetic nous that won Larkin 2004’s Spoken Word Olympics in Canada, and ‘Life Is Sweet’, which got the crowd well and truly warmed up through the liberal use of well-timed hoi‘s. A thoroughly enjoyable set, and I shall certainly be looking out for this 4-piece in the future.

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Features

FEATURE: Gig Rig

Afternoon folks! Tomorrow is the LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip gig up in Sheffield, which I’ll be going to and am getting insanely excited about. It should make for a cracking night!

There’s really not a huge amount of new live music that I’ve found to report about this week. The most notable bit of info is that tickets for the NME Awards Tour 2011 go on sale today, and I must say that the line-up is looking pretty special: Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man, Everything Everything and The Vaccines all on one stage at various locations across the UK in February next year, and I imagine tickets for these gigs will sell out quite quickly.

Esoterica are a relatively unheard of and underrated band hailing from Surrey, whose vocals and prog metal tendencies draw instant comparisons to the likes of Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle fame. They’ve recently added a new London date to the end of their UK tour in December.

As always, hit the link for the full up-and-coming gig listings. Enjoy your weekends!

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Features

FEATURE: Gig Rig

Afternoon guys and gals, it’s Friday again which means it’s time for the fortnightly lowdown on forthcoming gigs. November is shaping up quite nicely for live music – so far I’ve got tickets to see !!!, LCD Soundsystem/Hot Chip and Sleigh Bells, all of which should be pretty awesome.

Here’s my highlights of the new gig listings this week:

Fear Factory are predominantly an industrial metal band, who formed in the late 80s but then decided to go their separate ways in 2006 to work on individual projects. They have since re-formed, releasing their seventh studio album, Mechanize (not on Spotify yet :( ), earlier this year and will be playing a handful of UK gigs in December.

American indie rockers Band of Horses, whose 2010 album, Infinite Arms, is absolutely sublime will be hitting stages in the UK in January/February time next year.

If you fancy something a little more upbeat and live in the Bristol area, then you can catch Penguin Prison at Start the Bus in November or Metronomy at Thekla in January.

Cheers!

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Features

LIVE: Levellers Present ‘Levelling The Land Live’

Every now and then something happens to remind you that you aren’t as young as you used to be (and I’m not talking about the hangover I had this weekend, here). The first thing that made me feel old was earlier this year when I found out Marathon hadn’t been called Marathon for 20 years! (for younger readers Marathon is the old name for Snickers). The latest thing that reminded me of the passing of the years was Levellers announcing they were on tour again next year. Now, you may ask why such an announcement would make me feel old? Well, the reason is that this tour for Levellers is to mark the 20th anniversary of their album Levelling the Land, and the first ever concert I attended was on the original tour for that album all those years ago.

Levellers, and indeed Levelling the Land, mark a special point in my music growth. Not only was this my first gig, but Levellers were one of the first bands that I introduced to my older brother rather than the other way round. Since then I have, of course, gone on to develop my own music tastes, but this album marked one of the first steps on my journey of musical discovery.

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Features

ARTICLE: The Death of the Festival Headliner?

So, another year of festivals completed. Having attended Reading along with a host of smaller local festivals, and having read about and seen the TV coverage of Glastonbury, I was left with the feeling that maybe the notion of the true ‘headliner’ at such events has had its day – either that or maybe this just wasn’t the year for it.

I’ll start with Reading as thats the biggest festival I attended this year, with the three headliners being Guns ‘n’ Roses, Arcade Fire and Blink-182.

On first inspection, only one of these leapt out a bona fide show stopper, which to me is what being headliner is all about; something that will draw people in whether the casual music listener or the die-hard fan, and that was Guns ‘n’ Roses. And, despite all the stories surrounding the band that really should be known as ‘Axl & Co’, things had seemed promising, with reports of a very talented group of musicians playing a bunch of undeniably classic songs, along with some stuff from the recent album Chinese Democracy.

Sadly when the band eventually hit the stage (an hour and half late – thanks Axl!), though the music was there, it was one of the most heartless displays of rock ‘n’ roll I have ever witnessed. This was just compounded by the crowd’s reaction; hearing 80,000 people boo is quite a sound, and sadly many, myself included, were left majorly dissatisfied by the Friday headliners.

So, I thought to myself, that wasn’t so good, but Blink-182 should be a fun, upbeat crowd-pleaser on Sunday.

Maybe I came to this show with rose-tinted specs having attended my first Reading festival in 2000 with the express purpose of seeing Blink, but I don’t think my disappointment can be put down solely to fanciful memories.

While bassist Mark and drummer Travis were both on fine form, the band and the show were let down disastrously by Tom De Longe. Whether he was actually out of his tree, or just acting it, was unclear. And it really didn’t matter, as either way his performance was abysmal. It felt like watching a member of an under-rehearsed teenage band playing their first show. Maybe this was intended as charm to remind us they were a ‘punk’ band in their heyday, but if it was, it sadly didn’t work.

So another headliner and another disappointment.

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Features

FEATURE: Gig Rig

Howdy folks! The weekend is here and tomorrow night a few of us will be in attendance at the MF Doom gig in Bristol, which I’m rather looking forward to.

If you fancy re-living the ska punk days of the 90s, Less Than Jake will be performing in London, Birmingham and Bristol, as well as a few other locations around the UK.

Dare I say it, Christmas is fast approaching and the O2 Academy Brixton will be host to this year’s Soulwaxmas, which is sure to be a sell-out event – so get your tickets in quick!

There’s plenty of new music on the horizon for the new year that is slowly looming upon us, including Scottish post-rockers Mogwai, and The Go! Team, who will also be releasing a new album, the first since 2007’s Proof of Youth.