Live Reviews

One half of electro duo F*** Buttons, Benjamin John Power’s ‘job on the side’ is Blanck Mass. A reasonable sized crowd, ‘early doors’ in a freezing Academy, saw Mr Power deliver an ambient delight of layered sounds that were at times delicate and, at others, thunderously loud. The light show enhanced the set as the only other onstage activity was Benjamin crouched behind his lap top and effect pedals, swigging on his beer. 


Newcastle’s own Lanterns on the Lake had an even more respectable crowd and played a superb set. Perfectly suited to a larger stage with their cinematic songs, they stormed through a 30 minute set. Also nice to see guitarist Paul Gregory in full flow in front of an amp covered with the Flag of Texas. Memories of SXSW came flooding back.


Having only seen Explosions In The Sky at festivals before, I was looking forward to experiencing the indoor power of the band. As they took the stage at 9.30pm the venue, now pretty much full, at last held some heat. The band said they were amazed that their music can fill this particular venue, and thanked everyone for coming. They graciously thanked Blanck Mass and Lanterns On The Lake. Done with the niceties, they reminded the audience, “We are Explosions In The Sky from, Texas, U.S.A” and proceeded to shake the walls of this venerable venue for the next 90 minutes without another word.


Being up close you can feel the gentle moments and see the intricacies of the music (I even spotted a tambourine a couple of times) as well as feeling the barrage of sound that they unleash. Expanded to a five piece for the live show, we got a good selection from the entire band’s career and a very satisfying set. Ninety minutes is just not enough though, so perhaps next tour we could do without the support (even though they were both excellent tonight) and have a three hour set…if our ears can handle it.




Postcard From 1952  (Take Care, Take Care, Take Care) 

Catastrophe and the Cure  (All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone) 

The Only Moment We Were Alone   (The Earth is not a Cold Dead place ) 

Be Comfortable, Creature  (Take Care, Take Care, Take Care)

Greet Death  (Those Who tell the Truth)

Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean  (The Earth is not a cold dead place )

Let Me Back In   (Take Care, Take Care, Take Care)

The Birth and Death of the Day   (Reclaiming the Blade Soundtrack)

The Moon Is Down  (Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever  


Please let us know your thoughts if you were there, via our Message Boards



BROOKLYN Mexican Summer Indie ‘REAL ESTATE’ @ 11:45pm with ‘The Babies’ @ 10:30pm  - The shows are coming fast and furious and its time to check off another off the list!

On a cold and snowy night in Toronto, the Babies and Real Estate play Lee's Palace in Toronto, a sold out show that is pretty much a must see as Real Estate have yet to confirm their appearance at SXSW.

Babies are the side project of Cassie Ramone (of Vivian Girls) and Woods bassist Kevin Morby. They have this Melodies/Anti-Melodies style similar to Thurston and Kim of Sonic Youth. As a sweet melodies fan, this meant that for about 25% of their show, I would simply appreciate the musicianship. but for 75% of the show, the melodies and sonic/no wave sound really came through to draw me in. 


These guys are a really solid band and a great way to warm up for Real Estate. A lot of Vivian Girls shirts in the crowd so that would explain why the crowd are so responsive to the band and they put on a great show.

Real Estate had toured fairly recently as openers for Kurt Vile but this was their show and there was very little they could do that was wrong with this crowd. Their polyester shirts and youthful smiles greet the sold out crowd with some beautiful guitar picking and some stunning melodies...these guys work really well together.
For fans of their self titled debut, they were rewarded with a couple of songs from there but for most, they were waiting for songs from "Days”. Another top of the year album for me!   


Lead guitarist/Singer Martin Courtney is a very talented lead and he does command attention though it’s very subtle! With a lo-fi style and a whispering voice. its easy to spend the whole show watching him but the whole band is fun to watch. They are true to the sound on their album and its clear the crowd have their favourite songs.   


About mid way through the set they jump into a great version of "Its Real" which really sparks a response from the sold out crowd and there is no letting up with classic tracks like "Out of Tune" and "Municipality". It’s only now that singer Martin smiles and he can tell there will be very few leaving the show disappointed. If you like a show with lots of noise and in your face singing, this is not one for you but if you enjoy their sound on their releases, the live shows adds to that a new element that makes the trip out on this snowy cold night even more worthwhile.    




Friday night seems to be the night for gigs so far in 2012. Last Friday, it was down to the local Portland Arms (Winter beer festival next weekend 28-30 Jan) for a short of indoor indietracks festival. Three bands started off with an ever improving Model Village, who, from being a bit too twee a year ago (could have been an off night), really sounded great on Friday, delivering some really nice songs in a Rock/Americana type of way.  

Tiger Cats where the high light of the evening. This is a sparking band full of fab tunes, in a Vampire Weekend, Modest Mouse vibe. Lead singer Duncan (in bare feet) has a David Byrne type voice so the songs are sharp clean and hip swaying.  Keep an eye on this lot. 


Standard Fare are on the more the serious (tune wise) side, the songs were darker and the delivery more grungier from this 3 piece. The audience more stood and listened rather than, jigged around. The first gig for the band in a while and I think in a few places that showed. Certainly though, the potential is there, to be a really interesting band. A great show for a fiver!


 First gig of the year brings us to what is becoming one of our most regular and favorite gig venues in London - The Lexington on Pentonville Road. With its well stocked bar (40 different types of bourbon, Camden Pale Ale on tap) and decent food you could happily spend all evening downstairs, however we were there for the music. So after a few rounds the seven of us (it had turned into a bit of a gathering) moved upstairs for the gig (which was an extremely reasonably priced £6 per ticket). 

Woman's Hour were up first - a four piece with a female singer, two guitars and a bass - with no drummer they used a drum machine for their beats. Having heard nothing of the beforehand I have to say that they were pretty excellent - certainly one of the best supports I've seen for a while. Sounding quite a bit like The XX, but also with hints of The Cocteau Twins , they easily held our attention throughout their set - definitely a band you should check out. 

For Trailer Trash Tracys this was an album launch gig, as their debut release 'Ester' came out on Monday. Another four piece also with a female vocalist, they did however, have a real drummer, who at times also used electronics. 

The songs from the album came over really strongly live, especially 'Wish You Were Red' and 'Candy Girl', although the set did lose a bit of momentum as it went on. I thought they'd finished without playing one of my favorites, but they quickly returned to play what was apparently their first ever encore, a great version of 'Dies in 55'. 

Overall a really good night out, and I'm sure you'll hear more about both of these bands as 2012 gets older. 


Trailer Trash Tracys 

Womans Hour


My first gig of the year and, in one of my favourite intimate venues. The Junction 2 in Cambridge is a delightfully small, acoustically fine theatre and just ideal for tonight’s soundscape of a concert.

Fuzzy Lights actually hail from Cambridge itself but, should be a lot better known on the UK music scene. The band really grew into their set last night and. seem increasingly confident every time I see them. With a catalogue of fine songs that as the set progresses, just seep into the mind as you find yourself becoming more and more engrossed.

The band hope to record a new album this year in the meantime, their fine debut album Twin Feathers released in 2010 is still available as is more music on their Bandcamp site. The band’s website is here .


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