1. So Ben Howard did a cover of Call Me Maybe in the live lounge, turning poo into melancholy, drony-guitar-y GOLD.

     
     
  2. J shot Howler for our upcoming ‘zine today at Rough Trade, message us if you’re interested in it!

     

  3. WILD BEASTS / Oxford 02 Academy / 11-11-2011

    Nearly a whole week after the gig, I start writing up about it.

    Wild Beasts in Oxford were supported by Canadian band Braids who have an ABSOLUTELY fantastic drummer (he had glasses on and kept having to adjust them). Luckily, their atmospheric sound seemed to actually work in a venue as pocket-sized as Oxford, their nearly-7-minute-songs would possibly fall flat in a bigger space.

    When watching Wild Beasts, it’s enjoyable to watch and listen to the minor things. Hayden’s banter mainly stayed on the side of “We like Fridays, especially SWEATY ONES LIKE THESE,” or “This is Katie, she’s our fifth limb. BUT NOT IN THAT WAY.” Also, this band are HELLA GOOD at swaying. I even have evidence in a .gif:
     

    Imagine that, but CONSTANTLY. 

    The night was almost exclusively made up of albums Smother and Two Dancers (With the exception of The Devil’s Crayon and His Grinning Skull), beginning with the Bed of Nails, featuring the famous (within my friendship group at least) “SEX NOISE CHORUS, YES MATE.” The addition of Katie Harkin, previously of Sky Larkin, as their fifth limb initially made me sceptical. I (stupidly) thought that a girl wouldn’t fit in with a band so focussed on male vocals and lyrics such as “girls between me, you’re birthing machines” but feel free to track me down and punch me in the face as I was TOTALLY WRONG.

    Tom Fleming and Hayden Thorpe came together to play an intimate ‘Albatross' which made the photographers scrabble to the front. It was a rare moment when the audience was completely silent. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful I find this song/I had a moment.

    If I hadn’t got teary-eyed enough already, Tom whacked out THE VOICE for Limbo, Panto song, The Devil’s Crayon. I’m listening to it now and crying. That’s all you need to know.

    After the loudest request for an encore I’d ever heard (EVEN LOUDER THAN KYLIE AT HURTS) they played Lion’s Share (that’s a live clip, OH YES.) with Tom’s voice completely encapsulating the whole venue during his whole section of fifteen words, followed by audience (and personal) favourite All The King’s Men. Introduced with a simple, quiet “this is our single about fucking” before exploding into the gallant screech of “WATCH ME, WATCH ME!” complete with Fleming’s foppish hand gestures. Never before have I been more excited to sing “girls astride me, girls beneath me, girls before me,” and I don’t think I ever will again.

    wat a babe

    Altogether, Wild Beasts are a strange combination of demure and bizarre. Between songs Hayden got through about 2 glasses (glasses) of red wine, yet Tom didn’t seem to be able to stop skipping and jumping about. The concluding song was End Come Too Soon, which definitely reflected the crowd’s feelings. Clocking in at nearly 8 minutes, it was a fantastic finish complete with strobes and Hayden’s falsetto screaming of “END COME TOO SOON”, but not before he’d had a little sit down with a glass of wine.

    Blurry picture evidence that it actually happened:

    SERIOUS MOMENT LOOK OUT: I regret not seeing them earlier. It’s hard to describe how good they actually are using words that don’t really mean a lot such as ‘atmospheric’. Their songs linger on the fence between sensual and brilliantly, creepily baroque. They seem to be sincere enough to deliver lines such as “This is a booty call/my boot up your arsehole" with the audience completely taking it all in and swaying along.
    Basically, from the WTF-ness of Assembly to the sincerity of Deeper (check the swaying) : 

      

     

  4. HURTS / Brixton Academy/ 4-11-2011

    How can you deny the shit hotness of that? You cannot.

    Brixton Academy is well weird. It reminded me of a big posh sports centre that I used to go to see Lostprophets in with my mum. It didn’t help that I actually went to Hurts with my mum too, who thoroughly enjoyed herself.

    Hurts had support from Niki & The Dove, who seemed to be wearing some of Patrick Wolf’s cast-offs and necklaces on their SHOULDER that were shining in my eyes. They were really nice and sweet, but I had no idea what they were on about. They seem to sound better recorded than live. Most people were talking over them and not taking them seriously which gave an impression of style over substance.

    Jess Mills was there too. She was pretty decent. By that I mean, I appreciated the bass, and her stage presence was quite captivating. QUITE. She had a dress on with what looked to me like some Rorschach test pattern on it. WHICH WAS GOOD.

    I think the main reason why I was put off by the support bands was just how QUIET they were. 
    Obviously this changed when Hurts came on.

    They started off with Silver Lining, but not before some CAPED WOMEN arrived bearing flags. I’m not quite sure what that was meant to symbolise but it was a brilliant opener. When Theo and Adam actually arrived, I couldn’t hear for the amount of FEMALE SCREAMS. I think it was because of the leather gloves. 

    Now I don’t usually swear (PARGRH), but Theo Hutchcraft has a good voice. A PISSING GOOD VOICE. It’s usually good for bands to be album-pitch-perfect, but this was SOMETHING ELSE. Wonderful Life welcomed the sexy Hurts ladies with their Silent Hill-esque angular dancing, even if I’m not quite sure of their purpose (apart from being sexy Hurts ladies with see through dresses) the crowd seemed to like it. 

    The personal highlight of my night was Evelyn (which I’ve written about before), (see 1:27 for my EXACT MOMENT OF PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT) basically because I am a massive perv, and the WILL-THEY-WON’T-THEY bet for it being their last show of the Happiness tour. And despite Theo smashing the microphone being hilarious, it was also kind of powerful. It was good to watch. IT MADE ME FEEL LIKE AN EMPOWERED INDEPENDENT WOMAN. 
    In all seriousness, it’s also lovely to see Adam taking centre stage on the guitar as he can sometimes be overlooked, but the BEST WAS YET TO COME. 

    CHECK THIS SHIT OUT:


    IT’S ONLY A BLURRY PICTURE I TOOK OF BLOODY KYLIE. As it was their last date of the tour, it was KIND OF expected, but when she arrived it was still the loudest (and only, admittedly) ovation I’ve ever heard in my life. 
    She joined them for Devotion, and their cover of Confide In Me. The latter was FANTASTIC. Theo’s voice turned into that of a stout opera singer (seriously, check it out.) and despite past bad reviews, Kylie was brilliant too, (despite being old enough to be HIS MOTHER they also shared some beautiful moments.)

    After playing B-Side Affair, the pre-encore song was Stay, with the audience joining in at the chorus. I WON’T LIE TO YOU, I DID HAVE TEARS IN MY EYES. But Theo did as well, so it was all good.  The show could have easily ended on that and left me happy, but THEN:


    FIRES RAINED DOWN FROM THE HEAVENS. And even better, THEY CAME BACK AFTERWARDS to perform two other songs.

    The first was the beautiful (and first ever live performance of) The Water, which is worth Youtubing and watching all the way through for THAT HIGH NOTE at the end. Without sounding like a dick, it was spine tingling. Or if my spine was a Curly Wurly (which was something my brother suggested) it would’ve melted into a big pile of plops.
    Ending on a high note with Better Than Love (AND FIREWORKS, BLACK SWAN HURTS LADIES AND CAMP FLOWER THROWING THOUGH NOT IN MY DIRECTION), this gig is definitely up there with the best I’ve been to this year, if not IN MY LIFE. Everyone left shouting “FUCKIN’ KYLIE” and even the band themselves were so thankful. 

    I don’t ever want to end talking about it so here’s another few blurry pictures I took.


     

  5. NME Radar Tour

    For anyone who’s ever been to a gig at Norwich Waterfront, you’ll know where they generally take place. For those who haven’t, there’s a downstairs room with a capacity of about 700, and generally it’s full to the brim with sweaty teenagers, especially for the NME Radar shows. With a line-up like this I generally assumed we’d have trouble getting tickets, there’d be use of the back-up ‘just beg for guestlist’ plan and we’d have to rampage through a throng of skinny-jeaned girls and 7 foot tall men (they always end up at the front don’t they?) just to get to the barrier to see. Instead, we were ushered upstairs to the 200-capacity club room, which had about 15 people milling around the bar. Thinking there might be some grave mistake and everyone was hiding out elsewhere I went through the door labelled ‘Band Merchandise’, and was greeted by a couple of Wolfgang t-shirts but no actual people. So that was that, the ominous first signs of the weirdest gig I’ve ever been to.

    Don’t get me wrong, all three bands were great. I was pant-wettingly excited to see DZ Deathrays, and expected a brutal show from both band and crowd. They delivered of course, but everyone who had turned up in time was about 8 foot away from the stage with confused looks on their faces. Apparantly all the fans of face-melting hardcore were at the Black Veil Brides show at the nearby Uni, or punching something at home. All I know is I was the only one in that room. Where their stand-out track Gebbie Street could have been anthem of the night if there were people there to mosh/dance/shout/go mental, instead it was lost in the emptiness of the room. I’m sure it went down brilliantly in the shows they’ve been playing recently supporting Cerebral Ballzy in Europe (try and imagine something more mental than these bands in some dive in Belgium, I dare you) but it seemed under-appreciated enough for me to shout ‘I’M RILED!’ over and over until S.C.U.M began.

    S.C.U.M were actually the reason I skipped seeing My Passion for the 5th time to attend the night. They didn’t disappoint, aside from playing the shortest set in the history of ever. The members of S.C.U.M are the kind of people who are so ridiculously cool they glide instead of walk, and they could wear excrement as attire and Vogue would catch on within hours. On stage frontman Tom Cohen was a barefoot king on louche, casually pulling shapes that others would be heckled off for, but with his tweed suit and otherwordly demeanor it seemed like a religious act only a few understood. Well maybe not quite, but they were bloody brilliant. 

    Cutting their set short because they ‘ran-over’, it seemed more likely that they just gave up. They could have their whole album again before Wolfgang appeared, and I can only assume they were so late because it was a mission fitting all five of them on the tiny stage. A much more guitar-heavy set than you’d expect but still full of high-pitched ‘oooo-oooohs’ (which take a bit of getting used to in a quite samey set), which made up for the near constant technical problems that seemed to arise. Now i’m not a massive Wolfgang fan and only knowing Lions in Cages didn’t help, but it seemed to me that their best songs were the once they described as ‘pre-album’. These seemed to be the ones with the most, for want of a better word, passion, and the rawest. They were good but for a headline act, the supports surpassed them completely. Saying that they actually had fans their who were where fans should be - in front of the stage - so they must be doing something right.

    To be honest, the vibe was more about the lack of crowd than the bands themselves. They were all impressive with strong sets, but no-one to watch them and they didn’t seem used to it at all. So next time there’s a Radar gig in Norwich I suggest you get down their and build up some cool, because if another one like this goes down it looks like the NME lot won’t want to come back.

     

  6. Ben & Jerry’s Festival / Clapham Common / 24-7-2011


    Music-wise, the day began with STARLINGS, and up and coming band from Sheffield formed in 2009. Despite having one line of audience and few stragglers, they still managed to deliver a tight set of cosmic pop songs that would prove a hit with fans of the 80’s electro scene. 

    STARLINGS - ‘SIRENS’

    SOUND OF RUM - ‘SLOW SLOW’

    The festival then proved its diversity by adding SOUND OF RUM next in the line up, shocking quite a few older people that had arrived for Gary Numan. A hip/hop/rap band, I doubt they are something Notreallylistening would report on as their favourite, it was definitely impressive. Kate Tempest is opinionated with her words, but also educated (and almost inspiring with her compliments to the audience.)

    For the next one, I am definitely biased as LITTLE COMETS are an all-time favourite of mine. The audience grew massively for them, and when the set finished there were still shouts of “COMETS!”. 'JOANNA' was a strong point, with the majority of the crowd almost screaming along. Without any trouble, the band bounced through every perfectly formed song and were definitely the highlight of my day. The sun was out in force while Little Comets radiated jangly guitar pop fun, complete with a string crossing the stage on which hung ‘instruments’ such as a saucepan. I’d definitely recommend them for summer. (Or all the time.)

    LITTLE COMETS - ‘MATHILDA’ 

    I almost missed out on GARY NUMAN who also played due to getting free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and visiting the Ben and Jerry’s festival FARM. From what I did see, he managed to pull out all the hits while also catering for the obsessive fans who seemed to be in the crowd since the day began.

    The headliners of the day were MAXIMO PARK, who unfortunately I had not heard much of before. They definitely impressed, and also have rumours of a new album. The songs I had heard before are fantastic in a live festival setting and bands like them and Little Comets have proved that fun guitar bands have not died out, just the strongest ones have prevailed. Outwardly, Paul Smith was very well dressed and there were also some fine examples of the jump and this was backed up by some fantastic banter nobody understood.

    "ENOUGH OF THIS HORSEPLAY."

    MAXIMO PARK - GIRLS WHO PLAY GUITARS

     

  7. Blurry photos aside, The Joy Formidable played Rough Trade East this week (12/7/2011) to celebrate the release of their new single A Heavy Abacus.

    Very much in-keeping with the song’s title, the stage was adorned with abacuses/abacusi/abacuso/abacusas, many of which were nabbed towards the end. The stage set-up also included hanging plastic white rats, large plastic toads and lights wrapped around the microphones.

    Musically, despite the short set and few technical difficulties The Joy Formidable stomped through songs, classics such as Cradle and the haunting & atmospheric Buoy, completed with A MASSIVE GONG on stage that was so loud it made my bowels explode (almost). 

    The gig ended on a high point with (Dave Grohl’s song of the year) Whirring, which must have clocked up about seven or eight minutes of noisy feedback, lots of on-the-floor-writhing (from the band.), and the always-impressive double kick outro from drummer Matt.

    The Joy Formidable’s debut album The Big Roar played live soars to a point of euphoria, with the chainsaw-style guitars stopping and starting within songs.

    Live dates are here. (I’d really recommend it.)

    -R