Live Reviews

It was so good to be at The Joy Formidable’s gig at Colchester Arts Centre.
They really set the place alive - sonic waves of rock filling the Medieval roof and arches.
The venue is small and intimate with a superb sound so was perfect. (As is the fine selection of beers!)

They kicked off with ‘The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade’ from their excellent first album The Big Roar. They also finished the set with a number off that album ‘The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie’. Finally they finished at the end of the encore with ‘Whirring’ from that same album producing a whirlpool of sound which left us ecstatic.

Many bands use their tour to showcase a new album, but not The Joy Formidable. They played only 3 numbers from their new album Hitch which came out earlier this year (The Last Thing on my Mind, Liana and Radio of Lips) and so the gig was a superb smorgasbord of their rock numbers to date.

They were on top form and looked so pleased to be performing for us. Ritzy was leaping about the stage all smiles and it really came across that the whole band were enjoying the gig and playing for us.

They are only a 3 piece band but sound so much bigger. A blitz of fuzzy guitars sounds from Ritzy accompanying her impressive rock diva vocals. Base arpeggios from Rhydian and strong drumming from Matt. The sounds are multi layered, in harmony with powerful jamming rhythms.

I first saw them at Reading Festival in 2009. I didn’t know them then, but was well impressed. Since then I’ve seen them at a number of Festivals but not at a gig. After this performance I’ll certainly be looking out for their future tours!




The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade
Little Blimp
Wolf’s Law
The Last Thing on my Mind
The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie
Radio of Lips
The Leopard and the Lung

Band website 

Photos of the gig

A pleasant late spring Sunday evening in Nottingham and first on stage is Laura Lee (bass), Mark Speer (guitar) and Donald Johnson (drums), collectively known as Khruangbin from Houston, Texas.

First impression was West Coast psychedelia from this three piece, then came the soul and deep grooves. The usual 30 minutes for a support band just left me wanting more, certainly a band to investigate further!

Just after 9pm and a tall gangly bearded man with the energy of a 5 year old takes the stage with his band, Josh Tillman, A.K.A. Father John Misty then delivers a dynamic musical and visual show, stuffed with the humour that lives and breathes in his songs, this was a captivating 90 minutes.

It’s the ‘Fear Fun’ album that get’s the show started, with ‘Everyman Needs A Companion’, with the stage drenched in green lights, followed by the brilliant ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings’ which just highlighted Josh in dry ice and red light, barely visible. With the driving drum beat, this was an electric start to the set.

Latest album ‘I love you Honeybear obviously gets well represented with much gusto. The quieter moments often get drowned out by crowd noise, but that is just part of gig going in 2016 I suppose if, you stand in earshot of the bar .

Nothing came from the albums in Josh’s own name which was surprising as the songs from these records, are really great. There are however no complaints about this very solid and entertaining gig. Josh has his heart in the right place!

Still dates on the tour, just don't get tempted by the FJM leisurewear trousers on the Merch stall!


Tue, 17 May Colston Hall, Bristol, Bristol

Wed, 18 May Roundhouse, London 

Thu, 19 May Roundhouse, London 

Fri, 20 May Roundhouse, London 

Sat 21, May O2 Guildhall Southampton

It was great to be at the 100 Club in London on the 6th April for The Poses only UK gig of their current European tour.

We like the quirky 100 Club in London for its intimacy. The stage is low (with a large pillar just in front of it) but the room is wide and shallow so can get close to the band.

The band are from Seattle and are Ken Stringfellow on keyboards and guitar, Jon Auer on guitar and Frankie Siragusa on drums. On some of the numbers they were joined by Gizelle Smith who provided some great soulful vocals. We were impressed with their new drummer Frankie. His drumming was enthusiastically brilliant. (Last year the Posies long time drummer Darius sadly died).

As always their songs were full of poetic lyrics and beautiful harmonies. Sometimes you need raw piercing sounds of heavy rock and sometimes you feel like standing on a warm beach and letting the gentle waves of rock wash over you. The Posies sound was the latter. It makes you feel good, but there were some serious lyrics wrapped up in there.

They played all of the tracks on the new album Solid States which is to be released next Friday on 29th April. Other numbers were from previous albums dating back to Frosting On The Beaters of 1993.

On the new album we really like the tracks We R Power which has a faster rhythm, the foot tapping March Climes and meditative like The Sound Of Clouds.



Gig photos

The Posies website

Set List

We R Power
Unlikely Places
Squirrel vs Snake
March Climes
The Glitter Prize
Sound of Clouds
Rollercoaster Zen
The Plague
The Definition
M Doll

Fucking Liar
You’re the Beautiful One

Treetop Flyers have been through a lot since their debut album landed in 2013, both personally and professionally, but thankfully they have come through the other side, dropped new album Palomino and are now on a short tour to promote it.

The lovely Day & Night Cafe in the uber hip Northern Quarter of Manchester hosted the band on a cold Thursday April night when their new album was given a run out. Debut album The Mountain Moves seemingly gave the impression of the band as a folk-rock outfit, but Palomino takes several twists and turns and expands their sound significantly to include prog, soul and americana. My first experience of the band was on a sunny festival afternoon, so I was looking forward to the indoor show experience and wasn’t disappointed.

Singer Reid Morrison has the most wonderful soulful and unexpected voice, and various songs on Palomino show it off to its best, including title track You, Darling You, with the rest of the band performing the harmonies.

Several tracks on the album clock in at over the 6 minute mark, and in the live setting, seem even more at home. Keyboard player Sam takes on the vocal duties on Lady Luck, and what a voice he has too by the way, and closer for the night Dance Through The Night will quickly become a live favourite with its funky, proggy, groovy dance beat.

Several other tracks from Palomino made up the set, including Sleepless Nights, 31 Years and Never Been As Hard, along with opener from debut album Things Will Change also gets an airing.

The word joyous came to mind when I first saw them in that field, sitting in the sunshine with a cider, and I’m pleased to report that feeling remains even on a cold dark night in Manchester. Reid was constantly engaging with the audience, the band clearly having a great time playing their new tunes live.

Treetop Flyers are a fabulously talented band, and now they have 2 albums to their name, are able to expand their live repertoire even further. Catch them live to see for yourself, and preferably at a festival in the sun.

Keith @kjsmith4082

Treetop Flyers website

Pic below from Leicester gig and taken by Paul.

Muse's Drones World Tour returns to the UK after nine months for the first night of the European leg at Birmingham tonight. The spectacular stage built “in the round” consists of a central round stage from which two walkways ending in platforms extend; above the stage is a 360 degree video screen and high in the ceiling are a dozen large globes.

As the house lights dim the globes light up, take off from their platform and float around the arena in a ghostly ballet to the title track of the 'Drones' album. The band who entered from the far corner of the arena emerge from under the stage to the Drill Sergeant “Your ass belongs to me now- Aye Sir”, as the chunky riff intro to 'Psycho' starts up and signals the leaping down the front. The end of 'Psycho' leads into the drums and guitarist Matt Bellamy's fretboard tapping intro to 'Reapers' as the now illuminated floor of the central stage starts rotating giving the audience a decent view regardless of where they are in the arena. The new album has a more stripped back, direct sound when compared with the previous two albums which helps highlight the big chunky guitar riffs and pounding, driving section provided by Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard. The squealing feedback which ends 'Reapers' morphs into the familiar guitar riff and throbbing rhythm of 'Plug In Baby' the chorus of which results in the first big audience sing-along of the night.

During the first pause of the night as Matt welcomes the audience “Hello Birmingham, ...we're back home” to the pounding drum beats of 'Dead Inside' semi-transparent projection screens drop down above the two walkways as animation of the drone being prepared for war plays on the giant screens. This is topped by a stunning use of the technology for 'The Handler'; a sinister pair of eyes appear on the screen above the central stage and above the walkways two giant hands from which strings appear to connect to Chris and Matt controlling their movements as they play the track.

The spheres take flight, change colour and pulse, rotate and dance to accompany 'Super Massive Black Hole' and 'Starlight', during the latter track half a dozen super massive balloons are released for the crowd to play with and as each balloon approaches the stage Chris bursts it with his bass showering the front rows in confetti.

John F Kennedy's speech against political-economic- military complexes forms the intro to a brutal 'Stockholm Syndrome' with an eye-melting, migraine–causing use of the light show. 'Time Is Running Out' and 'Uprising' get more mass audience participation.

Just when you think they've used every spectacular trick in the rock arena play-book they top it all during 'The Globalist'. The whole length of the arena in now being used as a giant projection screen which shows vast cityscapes appearing and being destroyed by the drone, the heavy instrumental section is the cue for a large spaceship to take flight for a lap of the arena and for the big finish a grand piano has risen from under one end of the walkway. The main house lights dim again as the globes resume their ghostly ballet to the backdrop of a depiction of the end of the universe and the ecclesiastical 'Drones' to finish the main set to the sound of jaws hitting the floor and a standing ovation in the arena.

The three track encore starts with 'Take A Bow'; ghostly representatives of the band appear on the screens which dramatically pull back to the ceiling to the huge power-chord near the end of the track to reveal the band. 'Mercy' has a dozen canons blowing drone-shaped confetti into the air and a couple of giant party poppers exploding steamers through the confetti blizzard. All that's left is 'Knights of Cydonia', Chris plays a harmonica which he throws into the front rows, who are fist-pumping during the “la, la, la,...” introduction, and belting out the words to the chorus as they appear on the central screens as Muse play the galloping track and you remember what a great live track it is.
Whilst I understand that advances in technology have allowed what once only existed in the imagination to become reality in a live musical performance, Muse have created the most ambitious, spectacular and successful rock show I've ever seen.

Alisdair Whyte

Muse website

Note picture from O2 London 3rd April 2016

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