Live Reviews

The thought of heading across to Portsmouth on a Sunday evening is never an exciting one, but the prospect of seeing one of our favourite bands in a small venue made this a must-see gig.  

It was the first night of a 16 night tour so the down n dirty surroundings of 'The Wedge' provided a great launch pad and certainly lead us to keep an open mind on what to expect.

 

Support was Tanya Auclair, songstress hailing from 'West London via Canada and Rwanda' with loads of cleverly used loops using drumsticks, guitar and vocals. She did a 25 minute set; sadly the chatter level grew as her set progressed.

 

Guillemots took to the stage to a classical music backdrop and launched into Kriss Kross, opening number from their Red album. This is an edgy number and set the tone for much of the set - ie a very together band, individually highly accomplished, delivering a superb show.

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.

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