Tag Archives: review

Deaf Havana + Black Foxxes + Decade @ Kasbah Coventry, 14 November 2017

Norfolk band Deaf Havana, formed in 2005, have changed their style considerably over the years, going from pop-punk to a more alternative rock. The line-up has also changed, not least going from a three piece to a five piece, with the introduction of keyboards and piano which have given them a softer side. Supporting Deaf […]

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Alice Cooper + The Mission @ Arena Birmingham, 14th November, 2017

Despite his age, Alice Cooper still tours regularly with his traditional shock rock show and tonight he has the support of 80s goth darlings, The Mission. A sampled drumbeat penetrates through the venue with additional guitar sounds heralding the entrance of Wayne Hussey to perform one of The Mission’s most successful tracks, Tower Of Strength. […]

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Embrace @ The Slade Rooms, 7th November, 2017

Some bands never reach the finish line, instead falling at the first hurdle. Some make it a little further and fall at the third hurdle; for that, read “difficult third album”. Some bands reach the finish line in record time and collapse in a hyperventilating heap, hype being the operative word. Some bands however never reach the finish line. They can can set their own, have it moved from in front of them or just jump across into a different track. Embrace fall firmly into the latter category. They don’t need to re-invent themselves by jumping tracks, they might have stuttered in the past when the line was moved by record labels, but equally, they set their own finish lines, run their own race and at their own pace. This year sees the band release their latest single, the beautiful orchestral string strewn, “The Finish Line”, complete the recording of their new album, “Love Is A Basic Need”, perform a short run of six dates on this tour, and finish with a headline slot at Shiiine Weekend in mid-November. Oh…. and the small matter of two dates at Principality Stadium, Cardiff supporting their old mates Coldplay. Tickets for this intimate Slade Rooms gig and all others on this tour sold out in next to no time, many going before general release and to their dedicated following. You can see this at most of their gigs where you will see the same faces night after night gathered together in a few local hostelries pre-gig. So, here we are at a sold-out Slade Rooms, intimate for a band with such history, awaiting their arrival on stage. Coming on to the dying strains of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” they are welcomed like heroes. Like a band that has been around enough to have a set of crowd-pleasers in their bag which is precisely what they proceed to treat us to. A greatest hits package with a big lump of soon-to-be-crowd-pleasers to back up their still-got-it credentials. Opening with “Protection” from the last album with almost New Order-like echoes, they are quickly into their stride as they launch directly into one of their biggies, “All You Good Good People”. Almost twenty years old and still as fresh as it was in the 90s. It glides on disc, but live it positively soars and Danny McNamara uses his arms in the gesticulations of a football manager telling his players to get up the pitch. Here it is to lift the whole crowd in the first of several singalongs. They instantly oblige. “Nature’s Law” is another song that builds and then soars followed by a newer one, “Follow You Home” with “Oh,ohh! Oh ohh!” singalongs. We’re then back into crowd fave territory with “Come Back To What You Know” which lets the crowd stretch their lungs again. Newer tracks like “Refugees”, preceeded by “Where You Sleeping”, and both sung by guitarist Richard McNamara, and the latest single “The Finish Line” sit as easy as any other song in the set. If you don’t know the words, and so many of the people there tonight do know them, every single word, then there is sure to be a belter of a hit along shortly that you can sing to. The last five of the set are total killer hits; “One Big Family”, early full on Indie hit and anthemic growler that gives it’s name to the online social media group that follow the band with extreme zest. Next the emotional “Gravity” which, whilst being penned by Chris Martin of Coldplay and given firstly to tonight’s heroes , it is undoubtedly fully Embrace. “Someday” from the same album, and one of my personal faves, drifts over the venue dripping reverb and gentle feedback on the heads of all of us, before leading into the set closer, “Ashes”. Cue another bouncer of a song; uplifting, soaring and  full of phoenix from the ashes positivity. All the way through the set Danny McNamara has urged us onwards, those waves of the arms looking like he is almost trying to physically lift the audience and make us soar the same way that the songs soar. How close he is to doing that is hard to say but it was close enough that it means that the band are not getting back to their tour bus alive if they don’t oblige us an encore. A couple of tracks from the new album include a duet with a young lady called Eevah (?) who has the sort of vocals that much of the generic dross on X-Factor would give their right Autotune to have! Final track of the four song encore, the ultimate Embrace singalong, and possibly the song that typifies the band is “The Good Will Out”. Danny tells us that this was the song when they, as a band,  realised who they were and that they sounded like themselves only. The moment when they became Embrace. Well, yeah hell yeah. This is Embrace going to the heart of it. This is them being their most honest and emotional. However, above and beyond that, for me when a song is so strong, you can hear how someone else could drop in and put their own spin on the song making it sound different but equally as good with ease. That’s not to say it’s in some way simplistic. I mean to emphasise how strong a song it is. As I stand there in the midst of the crowd, as they out pour their emotions back at the band, I’m imagining my favourite vocalists, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding, and how they and their bands would have covered such a great song. It’s a killer of an end to a great set and the band take centre stage to take a well deserved bow. Still not there yet. Many more Finish Lines still to chase down. Reviewer: Mark Veitch Photographer: Phil Veitch Tweet

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The Killers @ Genting Arena, 6 November, 2017

Tonight Birmingham Live have the chance to see The Killers on our doorstep. Opening the set is a giant triangle lit up, this then folds back to reveal Brandon Flowers.  For those not able to see from the sides, the rear screen has moving videos and is in the shape of a triangle.  In fact […]

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Oh Wonder @ o2 Institute, 4 November, 2017

Where do you turn when you want a good dance song and some sunny vibes? For many the familiar and stable sonic repetition of pop music tends to be the automatic turn when the weather turns cold and a moment of dance is necessary. Pop music has long been a haven for sunny sides, yet […]

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Wire @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton, 31 October, 2017

What I love most about Wire is their unconventionality and their unpredictability.  While other bands from the post-punk era are happy to ride the nostalgia train, regurgitating their past glories, Wire just keep on doing their own thing; producing new and better music and doing it on their own terms.  Maybe they can do this […]

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Gregory Porter – Nat “King” Cole and Me, Album Review

Following a very successful career to date, some may ask why Gregory Porter has chosen to release a covers album, but not of various artists, just of the great Nat “King” Cole. These are certainly large shoes to fill, however, from the first listen it is cleary evident that the shoes are not only filled, […]

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Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts @ Hare and Hounds, 12 October, 2017

Every single time that Jeffrey Lewis and one of his bands have been in the same town as myself… I’ve been otherwise engaged, so tonight was the night that I’d finally get to watch him perform his music, poetry-metred lyrical delivery and cartoon presented backdrop. I first came across Jeffrey Lewis while floating around the […]

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Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017

Promoting his recently released album, Savage (Songs from a broken World), Gary Numan called into the Institute as part of his UK Tour. There is some delay actually getting into the venue and the huge queue were getting slightly impatient as nothing was happening way beyond the clock striking seven o’clock, but slowly security staff […]

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Loyle Carner @ o2 Institute, 3rd October, 2017

If you were to ask me to name my top 5 artists of 2017 Loyle Carner would certainly be one of them; he may even be number one. He crafted one of the greatest debut albums of 2017 with Mercury nominated “Yesterday’s Gone” and tonight he delivers it live to a sold-out O2 Institute. I’m […]

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Wolf Alice + Superfood @ o2 Institute, 16th November, 2017

If Wolf Alice were looking to project an image of established rockers, they certainly succeeded. During a concert that ebbed […]

Brooke Bentham – “This Rapture” EP released 17 November

Before you read this and listen to Brooke Bentham’s latest release “This Rapture”, if you haven’t already I need you […]

Morrissey – Low In High School LP

Some thirty years ago Morrissey famously sang about dead people who had “loves and hates, And passions just like mine”. […]

Run the Jewels + Danny Brown @ O2 Academy, 14th November, 2017

If you are familiar with both of these artists you will understand why I was so excited to attend this […]

Deaf Havana + Black Foxxes + Decade @ Kasbah Coventry, 14 November 2017

Norfolk band Deaf Havana, formed in 2005, have changed their style considerably over the years, going from pop-punk to a […]

Alice Cooper + The Mission @ Arena Birmingham, 14th November, 2017

Despite his age, Alice Cooper still tours regularly with his traditional shock rock show and tonight he has the support […]