Live Reviews

My previous Arctic Monkeys shows at the Astoria, Brixton, La Zonta Rosa and the megazone of Glastonbury really was no preparation for Alex Turner’s persona at the 02 last night. Like the Vaccines intro music, American Rock n Roll radio which they weren’t but, Alex Turner most certainly was.

Leather jacket, quiff, hair combed through a few times during the show (combs available on the merch stand). The new album continues the American odyssey the band seems to be in the midst of.

Matt Helders, is as much a star of the proceedings as front man Alex.  A more solid drummer  would be hard the find.  Thunder behind the kit and two out of three catches after the throwing the stick in the air segments. Jamie Cook and Nick O’Malley guitar and bass respectively continue to make this a growing band.

It takes some doing just to get your head around how far and fast this band they go but, there is still the dark humour and the earthy lyrics. A show just scrapping in at 90 minutes could have been much longer after four albums but it’s still a non stop music feast through those records.

Let’s hope next time out it’s not ‘American Express presents The Arctic Monkeys’!

Pete

I have decided that the Roundhouse, whilst a spectacular place for a concert, is just not that brilliant for viewing. Half the Wilco set crushed up the front ,half behind the mixing desk meant a disjointed show, viewing wise, as you lose all the atmosphere up at the back. This was however a great set that comfortably covered the band’s history with a massive chunk of the new record.

We went as far back as ‘Shouldn't Be Ashamed’  from AM and all points leading up to The Whole Love. It’ did seem to me a bit low key but that could have been because I was waiting for the current dynamic version of Via Chicago, which didn’t arrive until the next night. My Recent Wilco gigs have also been at festivals and also seemed to be more urgent. As I reflect  on set list however I think I’ll be enjoying the ipod playlist over the next couple of months.

Pete

 

Where to start, numerous Ryan shows under my belt already and this is the second London show for me this year, following the Barbican gig in June.  I have seen Ryan play over the years in many different forms, with band, solo, playing with other bands. Focussed, unfocussed, sullen, happy, quiet, chatty, but throughout all of that, there are the songs and their delivery which remains for me spine tingling every time out. 

At the moment we have the cool, focussed, amiable Ryan. Fine new album just released (Ashes and Fire) and a back catalogue to make even more seasoned veterans weep.

 

Anyway back to the start. A healthy queue outside the venue early on as, a venue official  wanders down the line shouting, no recording no video no pictures,. even on phones etc etc etc. The Union chapel is a jouous church for a concert and being there ‘early doors’, pretty much guarantees a decent pew.

 

Chris Stills (Stephen’s son) provided a strong set to start and is well worth checking out on record and live. As you would expect (being in the genes) a good guitarist and interesting songs.

The biggest concert of their ten year three album, steadily rising career. The gig was pretty much sold out. Three bands on the bill, we kicked off with Bear’s Den. Created by Former Cherbourg front man Andrew Davie, they had a really nice sound, a mixture of Mumford’s, Admiral Fallow and Fanfarlo. Keep an eye out for them.

 

Scanners, were a more straight forward rock band. Potential for sure particularly with the lead singer. Sarah Daly.The band have apparently  had songs featured  in American TV shows, 'Gossip Girl' , ‘Entourage’, ‘90210’, and ‘One Tree Hill’  A career in the ascendancy but, they never really connected with the Shepherds Bush crowd last night.

 

Boxer Rebellion were a joyous experience, nice to see a ninety minute set rather than a festival and, very nice to seen them headlining such a prestigious venue. Slight tentativeness at the start, but they soon settled as you would expect, with such strong songs in their armoury.

First things first, water £2.70 a bottle (rip off) Richmond Fontaine T Shirt £10 (bargain!) and beer is the usual £4 plus. 

It was a predominantly male audience (more so than your average gig) - much to Laura Gibson’s horror, when she remembered that her T-shirts on the merchandise stall were covered in bunnies. Not that she really needed to worry as she had all the big butch guys (with sensitive hearts) eating out of her hand and singing along by the end of her set. Doubt she sold many T-shirts though.

 

Laura Gibson is a fine Americana / folk talent. Distinctive songs and vocals, and possessing a cute shyness, like Laura Marling way back when. This Laura delivered a lovely set of original songs plus Leadbelly’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night? (Perhaps to tie in with the current Nirvana over-hype machine which is on the roll) but a good gravelly version, none the less. Some nice home spun tales as well.

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