It is without doubt that 2016 has been one of those years that won’t be forgotten for a long time. With momentous showbiz deaths, a US election like no other and the biggest shake up of all, The Great British Bake Off announcing its move to Channel 4, 2016 has dealt all its wild cards at once but with no spectacular jackpot at the end. That was until DIY folk singer Beans On Toast released his latest offering, with a fitting title, A Spanner in the Works.
For the eighth consecutive year, Essex born singer songwriter Jay McAllister has stuck with tradition and released this album on 1st December, notably his birthday. With seven albums already to his name, his latest record sees him embracing technology to create an album that was recorded at his friend’s house on solely his laptop. With him fully embracing his DIY culture, A Spanner in the Works offers a mixture of genres and styles from heartfelt, personal songs to tracks with political subjects that only an artist like Beans is quite brave enough to sing about.
As the audience in the sold out arena chat amongst themselves, a breaking story from Wild World Communications hits the screen. No it’s not another update on the American Presidential Election, it’s breaking news that indie-pop band Bastille are about to take to the stage.
Whilst the news reporter continues, the instantly recognisable intro of Good Grief begins to reverberate around the room. It’s quite an achievement that with only two albums under their belt, Bastille are able to play sold out arena shows. But whilst it may seem like yesterday that their debut single Pompeii was being played on the radio, three years have since passed and it’s clear the band have been honing their skills all this time, proving why they deserve to be performing to crowds of this size.
Although the band are based in London, lead singer Dan Smith and keyboardist Kyle Simmons both attended Leeds University, so in some ways this is like a homecoming gig. “We’re back in our uni town and we’re so happy to be here,” proclaims Smith mid set. A reminder of how successful the band have become comes in the shape of Smith reminiscing about once playing the O2 Academy and Stylus, popular small venues in the city. But whilst the size of their audience may have increased over the years, the band are still as humble as when they first started. Smith continuously thanks the audience and appears taken aback by their enthusiastic response each time.
Having just finished touring the country on their sold out UK tour, newcomers on the indie rock scene, The Hunna, sat down with Georgia Arundell to discuss the challenges when starting out as a band, the highlights from their recent tour and their killer schedule for 2017.
You’ve just finished your sold out UK tour. What would you say was the highlight for you?
Jermaine [bassist]: Glasgow was pretty cool. We played to around 700 people. There were just so many pits every fucking song. They were going crazy. You could really see that the fans were connecting with the music, which is always good to see.
So was that the most memorable venue from the tour?
Jack [drummer]: I’d say the venue in a boat in Bristol.
Dan [lead guitarist]: Yeah The Thekla was pretty cool. The venue was on a boat. And we walked onto the stage to ‘I’m On A Mother F*cking Boat’ – it was dope.
As your album only came out a couple of months ago, this is the first time that you’ve toured and people have already heard your album. Was the reception different compared to previous tours because of that?
Jermaine: Yeah definitely. With the first show you could see a difference from that to the last tour. The fans are so much more into it and you can see it in their eyes. We thrive off the energy of the fans, so every show got crazier and crazier.
Dan: The Hunna Squad is growing, definitely. At every venue we turned up to our fans have been waiting, which never really happened before. There were a lot of queues, which is really special. Read more ›
“It’s a Friday night in Manchester and it’s gonna be a fucking good night.”
In one of the most infamous venues that Manchester has to offer, Irish singer songwriter Gavin James takes to the Gorilla stage to a screaming crowd. With nothing but a couple of guitars to aid him, the 25-year-old stands solo on stage. Tonight there are no gimmicks – all eyes and ears are focussed on him.
In the packed out dimly lit room, James announces before his opening song, “it’s so smoky in here it’s like we’re in a fucking cloud.” With all the effing and blinding, it’s hard to believe that such a pure and delicate voice comes from the same person. But as the guitar riff for opening song, ‘Til the Sun Comes Up’ begins, the crowd fall silent and James’ voice begins to resonate around the room. With not a single phone screen to be seen, the room is submerged into pure darkness, with just the faintest spotlight beaming on James. The audience are clearly absorbing his refined and crisp voice, as the room stands so still and quiet that you could hear a pin drop.
Live At Leeds celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday, with a successful day full of live music. The annual festival’s line up boasted 180+ plus acts, performing on twenty-two different stages across the city. With such a huge variety of bands and artists for the 10,000+ strong crowds to see, there was certainly something for everyone. We headed down to the festival to catch the best up and coming artists from across the UK.
Screaming is part and parcel of going to a live show nowadays, but the sound that comes from inside Manchester Arena for 5 Seconds of Summer’s second night in the city is like nothing else.
The Australian four-piece have had a successful few years, having previously supported One Direction on two worldwide tours, gaining them a loyal fan base. Since then, the band have gone on to release two albums and play to larger audiences each year.
It’s no surprise then that as the lights come up and the band run on for opening song ‘Carry On’, the screaming from the thousands of adolescent girls gets unimaginably louder. Comments such as, “oh my god I get to hear my favourite songs live” can only just be heard over the crying and emotional displays from nearby girls.
As one of the biggest festivals in the world embarks on its second weekend of live music, the question is, what has happened to the music?
Last weekend it was difficult not to stumble over an article covering Coachella, the annual live music and arts festival held in Indio, California. With headline acts including Guns ‘n’ Roses, Calvin Harris and LCD Soundsystem, the festival had coverage from hundreds of newspapers, magazines and blogs. The reportage, however, was a mixture of reviews of the performances, which so called ‘celebrities’ attended and, most importantly, what they were wearing.
Festival fashion is not a new thing, with high street stores annually guiding you what to wear to the biggest live music events of the summer. Bum bags, flower hair garlands, see through rain macs – we’ve seen them all, but shouldn’t the focus be on the music and not the fashion?