Hello, It's us again, back at the Foxlowe. I recognise some of your ....clothing” says Simon Nicol guitarist and vocalist of Fairport Convention setting the relaxed atmosphere for this evening on their Spring tour 2019. The Fairport Spring tour is a more relaxed acoustic stroll round the country, the band are seated on stage, Simon's guitars are acoustics and drummer Gerry Conway sans drum kit plays a variety of percussion and the cajon on which he is seated with his hands only.

Some background first. Important context needed. Built in the late 1950’s in response to Sheffield’s chronic social housing issues, which in turn resulted from the need for back-to-back tenement house clearance post WW2, Park Hill has dominated Sheffield’s skyline ever since. It’s a monolithic structure (afforded Grade II listed status in 1998) after the ‘Brutalism’ style French architect Le Corbusier, under the supervision of John Lewis Womersley (never knowingly under built?) containing 1,160 dwellings across 4 high rise blocks – it was the biggest social housing estate in Europe at that time. Got it. But what do Sheffielders think of it?

In January 2018, the world was left with a Mark E Smith sized hole to fill with the sad passing of the iconic front man of The Fall. At the time of his passing, The Fall had been enjoying their most stable and longest serving line up, with members Dave Spurr, Kieron Melling and Pete Greenway having done over a decade with the mercurial frontman. So what to do next ? Recruit a new vocalist, record a debut album and get out onto the road...that’s what.

Usually the opening band's set sees the bars full, the merch stalls doing good business and a relatively unknown band playing to a half-full hall containing a half-interested audience. Tonight there's something different as the support band James have chosen for the UK shows on their 'Living In Extraordinary Times' tour is.....James.

Liberty Hall is a 400 seater theatre inside the Siptu trade union building on Dublin's Eden Quay. The Siptu building used to be the tallest building in the city and remains an iconic landmark. Every now and then the venue pops up in gig listings and on 23 February it played host to Lisa O'Neill and band, with support from John Francis.

A quick check on my CD shelves (yes that shows my age) reminds me that I bought The Joy Formidable debut E.P 'A Balloon Called Moaning' in a poster bag packaging 10 years ago from the band who were working their own merch stall that night. The 2019 merch stall is an impressive cornucopia of T-shirts, music, towels, badges, earplugs, stuffed toys and what appears to be a signed drum stool seat, alongside their most recent album 'Aaarth' released last September and which is the reason we are in Nottingham tonight.

Saturday in Leeds generally is party night, and the Academy at 10pm transforms into a club night. This means an 8pm start for London’s funk and disco kings Jungle, and judging by the atmosphere in the venue, I would guess 90% of the audience were using the gig as a warm up for the rest of the night.

A bumpy flight over the Irish Sea for tonight's gig at Elmwood Hall a beautiful former Presbyterian church with its decorative ceilings and classical columns which is now associated with Queen's University.

Support tonight is from Dublin five piece Silverbacks who do their rocking Fall-Teleman-Joy Division thing to great effect, single 'Just In the Band' was a Steve Lamacq recommends in December '18 and debut album scheduled for release later this year.

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